Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winter blues

I usually love the cold weather
(though it is always only mildly cold here).
But today I have never been so glad to see winter's end!
This season we have battled against a tide of sickness.
Flu, gastro, fevers, common colds, eczema, asthma, and very persevering hives/allergies have not left us alone.
But the promise of spring has brought an end to our winter blues.
Of course, it isn't this way for many who suffer from long term illness.
So I'm thankful to be reflecting on (rather than enjoying) some small blessings that we have known this winter.

Sun shiny spots.

Goat's milk soap and udder cream from MooGoo.

Keeping active with the Wii when it's cold and wet outside.

Slow mornings.

Being outdoors.

Indoor projects.

And sunny day getaways.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Zeb's birthday tent

I made this tent with plans for it to be
A place to chill.
And be still.
And to rest and refill.
Really, I should have anticipated..

A place for noise.
And toys.
And destructo boys!
I made up the pattern/frame for this tent but you can find clever tent tutorials here and here to make one too!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Reflections on party planning

Thanks friends for the lovely words about Zeb's party! I have had a couple of "How do you do it?" comments, so I thought I might share 'how I do it', with some tips and things that I've learnt in my limited years of non-professional party planning!

1. I think of a theme (if there is one) months in advance. When I give the creative part of my brain lots of time, the ideas seem to pop up and filter through without me having to give it too much focussed thought.

2. As my kids get older they get to choose the theme and give ideas for what they'd like. I usually give them a few ideas to choose from, otherwise you will possibly get a princess/pirate party every year! Or, if your kids are like mine, they might insist on a 'rock' party (no, not a 'rock n roll' party, a pebble/stone/boulder party)! That one would've stretched my imagination a little too far!

3. I write up my ideas and make invitations about a month ahead of the party. That way I can pick up/ make bits and pieces when I'm in the shop/ mood, instead of having to do a 'big' shop or lots of crafting in the last week.

4. There is an 'over-the-top' line which I try not to cross. I do this by allowing a few aspects of the party to shine and leaving the other things very simple or pared back. I usually limit my decorating to the one room/area that the food table is in. I have one (if any) organised games or activities. I have on only light background music. I don't make a big deal about gift opening time. I don't want the kids/guests to be overstimulated, or cranky, or on a low after a party.

5. I do always go crazy with the food. But I'm like that in non-party life too! Good and fun food brings people together. Which brings me to...

6. Money. Invitations, decorating, costumes etc always cost very little for me as I like to make these myself, on the cheap. Food makes up 90% of our party budget. But our party budget probably makes up 75% of our birthday budget. Yes, on the years that the kids have a party (every second year), we just buy them a small birthday gift. The party, the people and the celebration is the main gift to our kids. I'd say we probably end up spending less than most people do on their children's birthdays.

7. I always need help. For Zeb's birthday, my sister Clare created his first year movie, my sister Lauren helped with baking and creating the cake, my brother Brett took photos (which I never have time for at parties), and my Mum and Dad babysat for me. Thankyou, thank you, thank you to my family for this!

8. My final and most important tip is that the party is for the children! I do what I can for the party, but never at the expense of my kids moods. If I am trying to decorate a cake, and Zeb is hanging off my legs wanting a cuddle, I stop and cuddle. If India is tired and upset, I won't go out and run the errands I had planned to. This usually means that some things you wanted to do, don't get done. But of course the kids don't care about that, they just want a fun and memorable day.
And so do I!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kid, You'll Move Mountains

Zeb's Dr Seuss party part 3:
The important bit.

At each of our children's first birthday parties, we set aside some time to dedicate them to God. For Zeb, it went something like this:

We watched a movie of his first year.
(Set to this song and this song)

I read some words of advice from "Oh the Places You'll Go".
("On and on you will hike.
And I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are")

Tim shared with friends and family why we chose Zeb's name, and our dreams for his future.
(That he would grow into his strong name, and be an influencer and leader in his home, school, workplace and his community)

We recited a verse from the Bible.
("Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong" Corinthians 16:13)

Then as a family, we prayed and made a commitment to raise Zeb in God's way.

We are so thankful to God for the gift of our son, Zebulon John, and we can't wait to see him grow in the years to come!

Monday, August 22, 2011

You do not like them so you say, try them, try them and you may.

Zeb's Dr Seuss Party part 2:
The Food table.
Oh I had such fun thinking up ideas for this!

Horton Hears a Who cake pops.


Green (devilled) eggs and ham.

Yertle the Turtle sweets.

Cat in the Hat striped strawberry, jelly and vanilla panna cotta pots.

Oh the Places You'll Go cake.

Take home lolly boxes with (white chocolate) green eggs and (pink sour strap) ham, for the adults,
and Dr Seuss books for the kids (of course)!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Congratulations! Today is your day.

Today you are you, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Zeb's Dr Seuss birthday part 1:

Decorations (featuring some favourite Dr Seuss quotes)

Presents (aka wrapping paper and boxes to rip/play with)

Friends (and Dr Seuss pants!)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A year of Zeb

On this night, one year ago we made our way to the hospital to meet our miracle.

The one who would melt hearts with his smile.
The one who would laugh at his big sister, and reach out for his biggest sister.
The one who would climb everything.
The one who would kick a ball before he could walk.
The one who is all boy.

The one who would bring us so much joy!

Happy Birthday little man Zeb.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Saffron Threads and sleepy heads.

I've missed blogging!
Maybe I'm back?
I hope so.
There is much to catch you up on...
Like this:
My first ever giveaway package.

I hope you enjoyed it Cheryl!
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