Friday, December 31, 2010

We can't wait for Hip Hip Hooray Holidays

Mel at One Crafty Mumma and Tamar at A Collection of Thoughts are hosting a great series of tips and projects to keep the school aged kids busy during the school holidays from 3-14 January.
Hip promo-blog
I cant wait (I mean, my kids cant wait!). These two ladies are incredibly talented and creative and I love visiting their blogs.
Be sure to head over to their blogs and check it out :)

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A list to complete in four weeks

While everyone is making lists of New Years resolutions we have made lists and more lists in planning for our move. I can't believe that in less than three years we will have moved internationally TWICE!! 

Anyway....I feel that one list we've made is a really important one... what we want to squeeze into the last 4 weeks of living in Queensland.

We have seen and done a lot while here and there is always so much to do. We haven't even travelled far out of the area.  Last holidays we had planned to go to Airlie beach for a week but my husband's leave wasn't approved and we had to delay our trip. Sadly, its one of those things that won't happen now before we go.

And we had plenty of other things we wanted to do too, but the weather has been ATROCIOUS!

The whole of December here has seen the highest rainfall in 150 years!!! I mean, seriously! thats huge.

As you may have seen on the news, much of Queensland is experiencing devastating flooding and whole towns have been evacuated.  These are places that have lived for a decade in drought. My heart goes out to these families who are experiencing such a terrible time.

Today we finally got a beautiful day and we got to tick off our list - Visit Stradbroke Island... beautiful, awesome day.

Anyway, I was going somewhere with all this waffle ... I thought I might do a series of posts about the cool things there are to do in Brisbane (and the great south east).  I know there's a lot of KMB bloggers out there who also live in the area and I encourage you to join in.. I'll put one of those linky party things on the first post.

Because I know my fellow Kiwi's love coming to visit here I hope that you might get a few ideas of what there is to do (from a kiwi expat's view)... because the Great South East is sooo much more than the theme parks!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gingerbread lane

On Christmas Eve (day) I think our family created a new tradition for us.  We spent hours, together, laughing and creating Gingerbread houses.

We made four houses. One for us and three to give to my cousins and uncle for Christmas.

I was the architect. The day before I designed and made the wall and roof pieces.

My hubby was definitely the builder. The houses he built were perfectly lined up and the 'mortar' (royal icing) was so neat and tidy... mine looked.. well.. a bit more interesting - you know, creative like!!

Little Miss 5 and Daddy made one together and  Mstr 7 and Miss 9 each made one themselves, as did I.

There was a LOT of lolly eating.. A LOT!!

and here's a few of the details, because all these colours are so fun to photograph!

Once they were finished we wrapped them in cellophane and would you believe.. our one is still wrapped!

and the miracle was... they didnt fall down (as usually happens when I make gingerbread houses!)
Can't wait to do it again next year !!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Day

Twas the night before Christmas... and Santa had just dropped off our pressies

Our Christmas Day was a very quiet one... Miss 9 woke at 4.30am (gulp!)

First up, after the stockings were emptied, Daddy opened his Birthday pressies.

Then it was to our Christmas corner for some more Christmas Presents.

we attempted to get a photo of the three kids (no one was cooperating!)

we quickly got ready for my cousins, uncle and their families to arrive at 8am for breakfast.
we had a YUMMY breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausages and pancakes made by Miss 9 with her new Pancake Pen.. and a very delicious tropical fruit salad.
We set the table the night before so that it wouldn't be a big rush
and I made the kids some little placecards... from an old 'Rudolph' book
Our original plans had been to go to the beach for the rest of the day with our 2kg of PRAWNS!! and buckets and spades..

But alas.. the weather here is atrocious!

The rest of our day was spent with the kids playing with their new toys, my hubby and I snoozing and we never did eat the prawns that day....

So I hope your Christmas Day was as relaxed as ours.

Healthy Fruit blocks

Yesterday we were eating fresh fruit and I commented on how the watermelon wouldn't last much longer (everything goes off super quick here in the heat in Queensland).
So we decided to chop up our fruit and make fruit kebabs and pop them in the freezer.
Here's what we did...
chopped up watermelon, strawberries, banana, grapes...
we dipped the banana chunks in raw honey (if you havent had raw honey before - get some! it is DELICIOUS!!)
 and then rolled it in organic coconut flakes (nice without all those preservatives and coconut is SOOO good for you).
threaded them on skewers..
and then we froze them and they are really yummy!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Handmade gifts

For Christmas this year I had a list of handmade gifts I wanted to make for the kids and for friends. When I started to prioritise I had to let some things go but here's what I did manage to make..
zippered pouches (pencil cases) for the kids to start at their new school - filled with some stationery goodies I picked up on special at Target.  Check out the tutorial here.. they come out so nice with a lining and nicely fitted zip..

And these peg bears for the kids

from this great book
One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Fabric Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!
and these house decorations for the Kiwi Ornament Swap and some friends....
then stockings for cousins and their kids (some I did last year but needed to finish)
so thats it for christmas crafts this year... I'm sure I'll find something else I want to make now :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cruising into Christmas

This year has been a strange lead up to Christmas. Usually Im stressing to finish last minute things, rushing to buy last minute gifts and trying to fit in just too much and keep too many people happy.
(the photo above is me when I was a wee one - not really liking my visit to Santa)

But this year I feel like Im just cruising into Christmas.
The pressies are wrapped, the baking is done, the house is er.. um.. a mess! and believe it or not I feel totally relaxed  - I even slept in till 8.30 this morning!

So what is different?

I think the big thing is I have taken the expectations off myself.

I did my shopping early and we had a budget, I had a list of sewing to do and I reprioritised (is that a word?) so only the most important would need to be done.  Theres still a bit to finish when everyone is in bed tonight.
Ive made decorations and delivered (almost all of them), Ive made stockings which are hanging in their new homes ready for the fulla in the red suit.

We also have had almost three weeks of school holidays already so plenty of time without the daily rushing and our end of year school things were over with weeks ago.

Another thing thats making me more relaxed is our simple menu for Christmas day. I have coeliacs and Im also not eating sugar or processed grains so its pretty easy to come up with an easy menu.

We are having Christmas breakfast at our place with my cousins and uncle and so the menu is pretty simple. Bacon, eggs, sausages, pancakes (made by Miss 9 -she's the expert) and a bowl of fresh fruit.  Simple.

We are planning to go to the beach for lunch and have prawns (yum) and marinated chicken with salads. Simple.  If its raining we are just going to stay home and treasure a quiet day with each other.

Christmas is also my hubby's birthday so we will also celebrate his special day too.
Yesterday and today we have baked gingerbread (super easy recipe from here) and tomorrow the kids will put together and decorate their gingerbread houses (and probably their tummies too!).

The groceries are all done (just fresh strawberries left to buy).

On Tuesday the kids had some money arrive in the mail for Christmas so we spontaneously decided to go to the Mall for dinner and so they could spend their money. The mall was so quiet (phew!) and we even squeezed in a photo with Santa (first time in years my children would do it).

We then went for a drive to check out the Christmas lights... although theres something a bit disconcerting about trudging around in the dark on country roads in rural Australia... (snakes!!!).
I forgot to take my camera and actually enjoyed the lights instead of just worrying about taking pics! I managed to snap a few on my phone.. but cant find the lead to connect it to the computer! ha!

So I like this 'new' me in what is a potentially stressful time of year. Long may it last.

I am thinking about my family in NZ who I would dearly love to be with too :)

The only thing that I would like to change is my children constantly practicing their communication skills!! The fighting!! oh my!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Our Imagination Adventure -Chasing fairies and pixies

We would love to win the Kodak PlaySport because we are three highly imaginative children who love to make up adventures. We could go anywhere with our imaginations.

We would go to the forest and hunt for pixies and fairies, especially the tooth fairy as she visits our house a fair bit and Ben keeps leaving notes for her to meet up with him but shes a bit elusive. We'd also like to play with Tinkerbell because she's so cute and clever.

We'd need Mum to film it for us as evidence to prove to our Dad they are real and of course it would need to be a tough camera in a place like a forest. We could also share our adventures with our Nana and Poppa who live in NZ.

This adventure was snapped in our family room where we recently had a Tinkerbell party for our sister.. we all helped Mum paint the big tree. Now we get to play there whenever we want.

We would have so many adventures with a Kodak PlaySport to capture and preserve it all :)

*We are entering the Nuffnang Kodak PlaySport competition*

Sunday, December 19, 2010


One of my most FAVORITE blogs is having ANOTHER giveaway!! Sheesh!!

And the fabric is absolutely gorgeous!  look at that beautiful girly gorgeousness.
And the two winners gets 20 fat quarters!! WOW!! How generous is she!
I would love to use this range for my daughter's quilt. Its so pretty and feminine.
So head on over to Retromummy and enter now :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A change of address

Do you ever wish you could just move.. to somewhere you can start afresh.. with no baggage.. just a new home ready to fill with beautiful things your heart desires?

Well, welcome to my new home. Please come in and make yourself at home. I'm still unpacking so its a bit of a mess and apparently some of the furnishings have been lost in the move ..

From now on I will be blogging from here. Its all shiny and new and I have very little baggage... hopefully when I can I will add some posts from my previous blog.. but at the moment I want to keep blogging so I'll just keep going.

Its a bit messy because I still have some unpacking to do but as soon as I can get back into the 'old place' I will try to bring across as many of the posts as I can.

I am sad because I have lost all my followers :( So please follow me here - I will be eternally grateful. And I have lost all my comments, and half my posts .. but we'll see what happens, maybe I'll get them back.

Settle in, grab a cuppa and if you are one of the first five to follow me again, a little gift will come your way in the new year to show my appreciation.


Yo Yo Christmas Tree Tutorial

What you will need:
Compass (raided the hubby’s tool box for this)
Cardboard – I recycled cardboard from cereal boxes and the inserts they use for fat quarters at Spotlight
PVA glue
Fabric marker pen
 Scissors – sewing and paper
Fabrics (a selection of the colours you want to use)
Needle and thread (i just used white for all of them)
Dowel (for big tree I used
Wooden cotton reel (perfect are old vintage style ones – I have a few but would love a whole box of them!!)
Optional : tulle of various colours
1.       Using your compass, ruler and cardboard, make 18 circle templates of the following sizes for the large tree (diameter) 220mm, 210mm, 200mm, 190mm, 180mm, 170mm, 160mm, 150mm, 140mm, 130... etc to 50mm.
2.        Cut out templates

3.       Draw one of each size onto your chosen fabrics.

4.       Make each circle into a yo-yo. Here’s a couple of pictures of how I do it but there are plenty of great tutorials on the internet. Thread  your needle leaving a long tail.

5.       Make all of your yo-yo’s. Try not to tie off the smaller ones too tight as they need to fit over the dowel.
6.       Take your cotton reel and piece of dowel and glue the dowel inside the cotton reel (i used pva glue)

7.       If you are going to use tulle.. cut several strips as wide as the yo-yos you are putting it below.  Sew a running stitch by hand across the top of the tulle and pull it into a circle.

8.       Start layering your yo yos onto the dowel, including the tulle layers.. I cut a little snip in the underside of my yo-yo’s so the dowel could feed through it nicely.
9.       You could place a bead on the top to hold them all down. 
10.   I then trimmed my dowel with a saw (also raided from my hubby’s tool box).
11.   Pop a star of your choice on top.

Ta Da – you are finished.

To make an itty bitty tree...

I bought a packet of wooden spools from the kids craft section at Spotlight.
 For the stick I used some large sized match sticks and broke off the pink bit at the top.

Make only 10 yo-yo’s from size 50mm – 140mm.
Assemble as with the larger tree (I didn’t use tulle for this one as its already quite full looking)
When you’ve made your tree be sure to head to the Flicker group and share it J