Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Advent Swap Day 25! Merry Christmas Cat!

Merry Christmas Cat!!

For Cat's main present I made her....

A Vintage sheet picnic blanket

I hope you like it Cat and enjoy lots of picnics this summer with it!

Thank you for organising a wonderful swap, and for being such an awesome swap partner.

I loved the swap and can't wait to do it all again next Christmas!



Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Swap-what I sent Days 21-24

Here's what I sent to Cat for the Advent Swap Days 21-24

Day 21
Polymer spotty crochet hooks

Day 22
Angel Decoration

Day 23
A little bird and birdcage which can be hung from a necklace (or made into a brooch)

Day 24
Toadstool Pincushion

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Loving and keeping it real

Feeling a bit homesick for my family today.

But I know we have plenty to be thankful for.

For some loving...



Typo in Tucson!

I have been a Typo addict for the past couple of years in Aussie, but couldn't resist a visit to one of their four USA stores!

Visiting Tombstone, Arizona. The Wild, Wild West.

This hilarious email from the cattery where our gorgeous Miss Tosca is staying.

 

I was blown away by the boneyard in Tucson ... Phenomenal number of planes in one spot. Beautiful Catalina Mountains as the backdrop.

There's more but Blogsy keeps crashing!

 

Linking up with Meghan

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent Swap-what I sent, Days 16-20

Here's the gifts I sent to Cat for the Advent Swap Days 16-20

Day 16
(terrible picture!). This is a bookband. They come from the Eummundi Markets on the Sunshine Coast. I loved this one for Cat because it has a little sewing maching charm hanging off it.
Day 17
Crocheted Baubles

Day 18
Crocheted coasters and a magnet.

Day 19
LOVE magnets and some thrifted doilies.

Day 20
Bunting (it matches the Yoyo Tree)


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best and worst things we packed

Packing to go on holiday can be a huge task and this trip I wanted to streamline things as much as possible. I think i did pretty well. We had two suitcases and a carry on bag each, for five people, for five weeks, plus a car seat as Miss 7 legally has to be in one in California and Arizona.

So I have made a little list of the best and worst things we brought with us. The best outweighs the worst by a long shot so I think I planned well!


Best

1. A $6 double adapter plug from Kmart! Most electrical appliances these days have dual voltage so we can charge the camera battery, iPods, iPad and hubby's shaver!

2. The iPad. Awesome beyond words. Precise travel directions, easy keeping in touch with home, Facebook, instagram, checking weather and even local time. Best of all it's small, light and easy to carry. We have loved the free wifi at hotels and a fabulous man named James helped us set up the cellular at AT&T. (and the fingerprints all over it are free).
(the first person to figure out where I am going shopping today and comment, will get a little something in the mail from that store! *hint, look at the iPad screen)
2b. The camera connector for the iPad. Easy, small, awesome.
3. The kids iPod touches. We debated purchasing these for ages, but they have proved their weight in gold. Handy for airports, waiting for shows at Disneyland, free wifi in the hotels and for when they need a little downtime.
4. Utensils. Yes I bought my Tupperware microwave jug, a knife and can opener. When you have multiple food allergies, eating out is a nightmare. Being hungry is horrible, especially when walking around up to 12 hours a day! We stocked up at the supermarket, then used the hotel fridge and microwave.

5. Children's pain relief. We use it sparingly, but so handy to have. Especially having a brand you know and trust on hand.


6. Comfortable trainers are worth their weight in gold! These slightly funky smelling shoes have done a fair few kilometers in recent weeks.
7. For me, a black wrap dress and black leggings. So comfortable and dress it up or dress it down with a scarf, throw on a jacket to keep warm. It also washes and dries pretty quick.

Worst

1. Pillow pets! What a bad decision! Waste of space! Ugh! They annoy the crap out of me. Lol.

2. Too many clothes, although I did pack things the kids were almost grown out of so we'll do some donating to a thrift store. When I packed at home I then halved it, but it's so hard to know exactly what to pack when you are going from a super hot summer to winter.

3. Water bottles. Buying water here is cheap. Even at Disneyland a bottle of water is cheaper than at the shops in Australia or NZ.

Undecided

I am still in two minds about the DSLR camera. I am certain I will be happy I did when we get home and I have a stack of great photos... But...it's heavy to lug around and I'm no expert photo taker. I am sure I will be glad we did, it has been well used... One 8gb card -full. One 4 gb card -full. Yikes!

What are your best and worst things you've packed for a trip?


 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Advent Swap- what I sent, Days 11-15

For the Advent Swap, these are the gifts I sent to Cat for days 11-15

Day 11
Crocheted Rose Brooches

Day 12


 Christmas hoop

Day 13
A fabric bundle

Day 14
 Cute IKEA teatowels

Day 15

Crocheted strawberry keyring and pouch







Friday, December 14, 2012

Loving in the Wild West

We are finally in wind down mode!

Phew the last two weeks have been crazy full on, in a good, but exhausting way!

We went to theme parks 6 out of the 12 days in California and some of those days were 12 hours long!

But it was awesome, a dream come true.

We are now kicking back in Tucson, Arizona and I haven't taken my camera out once until tonight.

So some things I am loving...

My wonderful host family.... Who are really just REAL family to us.

Amazing Mexican food ... I CAN EAT! Can't begin to describe how good it was. We are going back next week for sure!

Girls who grow their nails after years of biting them... A special French manicure by Mum.
The funniest Santa letter in our house
she wants tights.... Was a good attempt! (she did not appreciate the tears rolling down my cheeks from laughing)

Legoland California

Sushi Freak in San Diego! AWESOME!

My new cute Fossil wallet

Disneyland Fireworks!
Long drives through the dry wild scenery of Arizona

Attempting to link in with Meghan!

 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent Swap- What I sent, Days 6-10

Here's what I sent Cat for the Advent Swap Days 6 - 11

Day 6

Yo Yo tree in Cat's Christmas colours

Day 7
A travel sewing kit! (yes Cat made me one too!...but I had made it before I received mine!)

Day 8

cute Christmas fabrics

Day 9
A soap in a tin and a facecloth (not pictured)

Day 10
Cute little wooden Deer decorations. I ended up taking them out of the plastic to wrap them.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A life long experience

In 1989 I was 18 years old. I boarded a plane for my first trip overseas. It was to be the most formative year of my life, a year living with another family in the mid west of the USA.

I struck it so lucky and had a wonderful host family. Two brothers, two sisters. How my host Mom coped with 5 teenagers in the house I'll never know!

Seven years ago hubby and I travelled back to the USA to visit. Within an hour of arriving my host Dad said it felt like no time had passed at all. We had a wonderful, but very short stay. 

Tomorrow we will drive from San Diego to Tucson (where many of my host family now live) to spend three weeks with them! I am so excited. 

ALL of my host family will be there for Christmas and they will all meet our children.

For me, this is the highlight of our trip. It is hard to describe our relationship, but I like to call them part of my extended family.

Can't wait!



Ps. Thank you to my faithful commenters, it is lovely to get your comments, sometimes it can feel like you are just writing to yourself and I must admit, if it weren't for you guys I'd close my blog. I have felt really disheartened this year and pretty much invisible so I appreciate those who take the time.

I apologise if my comments are few and far between on others posts while we are traveling, the iPad is a bit hit and miss when it comes to commenting and has a habit of freezing mid comment.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Some random thoughts on traveling with children (part A)

I tried not to have too high expectations about travelling with the kids and as adults we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is huge for them.

So far, this is what I have learned

1. When you think you have kicked Jet Lags butt, your kids will remind you that you haven't (a night of everyone awake).

2. Pillow pets are a huge waste of space. However, a special (small) cuddly toy or three, is very important.

3. Turning 7 the day after you do a long haul flight might sound exciting in theory, but the reality is you will cry. A lot. And strollers are too small for lanky long 7 year olds. But all will be right with the world if you wear sparkly shoes to dinner.

4. Fire engines and paramedics drive past inner Hollywood hotels at an alarming frequency, with sirens, horns and loud speakers going! this wakes sleeping children who are not used to noise.

5. Children see things we often miss in our hurry through life. It pays to take the time to listen and see it through their eyes. (eg. Jim Henson building around the corner from our hotel).

6. Homeless people and begging is very confronting to an 11 year old. We have constantly reassured and discussed.

7. Kids need DOWNTIME. As exciting as it is to see and do so many things, kids need a break. They need a chance to play, swim, watch tv. Play on their iPods with the free wifi.

8. Many things will be an assault on the kids senses. The day we arrived we went to the Hollywood walk of fame. Outside Graumanns Chinese theatre it is insane. There are people coming from you in all directions, trying to give you cd's, enticing kids to have pictures with their favourite characters (for which you are expected to pay) tour operators trying to entice you on their tour. I could see our kids wariness growing and the pleas to go back to the hotel started, sadly, it took the shine off their experience.

9. Bed hopping will become a fairly regular nighttime occurrence. We have finally found a combination of sharing that works for us, funnily enough, the smallest is the hardest to share with, although I LOVE her impromptu cuddles.

10. Food. We talked to the kids about food choices before we came away. It is quite terrifying reading the labels of some foods here. We have encouraged them to make healthy, fresh food choices. However, there have been stomach upsets due to so much processed and different food.

11. You will visit the toilet approximately 54376892 times a day.

12. When standing in a queue for a ride at Disneyland for 20 minutes, you can guarantee 2 minutes before you reach the ride at least one or two children will be bursting for the toilet! (regardless if they've just been). Convincing them they can hang on until after the ride works wonders, because then, surprisingly, they no longer need to go. Nerves.

13. Despite being at the happiest place on earth, there will still be meltdowns, squabbles and tears. Like I said, this is huge. 8-12 hours a day of theme parks is huge, day after day.

14. It will rain.

14. Your kids will constantly amaze you!
15. Everyone, will be exhausted when the Mum wants to shop :( (lol

16. 7, 9 and 11 years are perfect ages to take on this trip!

Love these beautiful children of ours.

We are loving our trip, and the fact we are sharing this adventure with our children. In a few days the pace will slow down and we will have three weeks to relax.

At the moment, we don't want to miss a thing!