Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shine Bright

And I leaned over and whispered to her 
'You're gonna shine bright like a diamond,
Shine bright like a diamond,
You're beautiful like diamonds in the sky'

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

School Mum

Tomorrow I will have two children in school.

As I expected, I am troubled.
Nervous even.
But it's a different feeling this time round.

I am not worried that she won't cope without me.
I am worried that she will.
I am worried that she will make friends and learn more and grow up and slip out of my grasp.

She is a free spirit kind of girl, and I think about how I will show her love as she needs me less? 
I suppose I will stumble and fail and try to listen to her heart and learn some things myself. 
Perhaps school is education for all of us.

(I remember the words I whispered to myself two years ago...)
Love is an evolving thing.
And so I smile at the future.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fabric Book Cover Tutorial

School book covering has come a long way since brown paper. 
Contact has come and (largely) gone.
Now plastic book covers are the new black.
But they aren't cheap when you have to buy a pile.
So last year I tried my hand at making some fabric book covers. 
I used largish scraps so they cost me nothing.
I'm pleased to say that they handled the in-out-in-out of the tidy tub well and, after a quick wash, are being reused on school books this year.
Since I could explain how to make them by saying 'wrap it like a gift and sew where you would put sticky tape', there is probably no need for me to show you a tutorial.
But, just in case you'd like to see, here are my instructions: 
 Lay your exercise book out flat and cut a fabric rectangle about 3cm larger on all sides. 
 Overlock or zig zag the edges.

Optional: cut a 10x10cm square of clear plastic and sew it to the front of the book cover, leaving one edge open (for a name tag to slide in later). I find it easier to use a walking foot with my machine, and to leave a 2cm edge when sewing, which can be trimmed down later.

Lay the book in the centre of the fabric and, yes, wrap it like a gift. 
Pin and sew the book corner together. I find hand sewing easier (and more therapeutic!)
 Do the same for all four corners. Remove the book. Press.
 Pop the book back in. Add a cardboard name tag if you have made a window.
Repeat for 25 books (or more if you have more than two kids in school!)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Giveaway of the Triple Century!

It's my three hundredth blog post!
That seems, to me, a lot of little moments I've shared with you. 
A lot of small time wonders I've written about. 
A lot of photos and musings and blessings.

I've blogged pink, red, blue, and yellow!
I've blogged fairy wands, sandpits, robots, and pencils.
I've blogged Albert, Abby, and Calico Jack.
I've blogged slices, cakes, and cheesecakes.
I've blogged marriage, babies, and big kids.
I've blogged about God, dreams and loss.  

I'd like to celebrate with a giveaway! 
Leave a comment on this post, sharing one of your own small, wonderful moments from the past week (like seeing your gorgeous girl walk around in her piggy nose?), and I will randomly select someone to receive a package of small and wonderful things!

(This time, I am only able to post to an Australian address. If you live elsewhere, you may enter as long as you have a friend in Aus to receive the package! Entries close on Jan 31st, 2013)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Ironman Flower Cafe

We had some spontaneous holiday fun this week, opening up a cafe in our home.
Morning: Elara, India and their cousin Rayya decide on the cafe name. 
Next we announce our enterprise and send out a few texts to potential customers.
Then five clever chefs in the kitchen make gingerbread men and caramel slice, while local artists create cafe signs and menus.
Afternoon: Tables are set and waitresses are prepped for service.
Customers arrive and are greeted with 
"Welcome, let me show you to your table". 
Menus are perused, orders and money taken, and drinks and treats served with a smile.
Finally, tables are cleared and the days takings are counted. 
These four delightful children raised $26.70 (which they decided would go towards better health care for poor and marginalised families, through TEAR), and they had a wonderful day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Blackberry and lime cheesecake popsicles.
These were fresh and summery and a little bit tart.
And very easy to make (here's the recipe)!
I layered mine in baking cups and slid in some paddle pop sticks after an hour or so in the freezer.
I love making popsicles this way because you can make ten 
(or thirty) at a time.
And because you can colour coordinate them.
And because you just peel off the paper to eat (no hot water required).
And, let's face it. 
The quicker you can eat ice cream, the better!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Gelati Party

Back in 2007, to celebrate the impending birth of our second child, we organised a gelati party baby shower. It was in my pre-blogging years so I haven't ever shared it, or the few photos I have.
We decorated in (unisex) gelato colours of lime, lemon and orange.
Our friends and family gathered and made predictions about our soon-to-arrive bundle.
I bought an ice cream maker, and spent weeks stocking our freezer with icy delights.

The first course was 'A Trio of Fruits': blueberry sorbet, lemon gelato and watermelon sorbet served in a hollowed out orange.
The second course was 'The Cone of Indulgence': double chocolate gelato with pistachio gelato or mint ice cream, served in a crispy waffle cone.
The third course was 'A Tropical Tempter': coconut lime gelato served with sweet tortilla chips.

It's lovely to remember this relaxed day. 
And those 9 months that I carried our sweet and delightful daughter, India!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Frozen Family Fare

At the end of school last year, we gave out a few DIY ice cream packs.
What better way to say 'Thanks for a long year of teaching my children', than with a gift the teachers could enjoy with their own children and friends, over the summer break.

We bagged up sprinkles (chocolate/rainbow/blue-green/pink) and made some cute labels.
Added some colourful ice cream cups, spoons and a plastic scoop.
Wrapped some waffle cones in paper and attached this printable tag.
Arranged them in a disposable baking tray.
And gave them to our lovely, generous, caring, patient school/kindy teachers.


Monday, January 7, 2013

I Scream, You Scream

Summer has well and truly arrived. 
So... I've taken it upon myself to celebrate with a whole week of ice cream posts!

I like ice cream a whole lot
It tastes good on days that are hot
On a cone or in a dish
This will be my only wish
Vanilla, Chocolate, Rocky Road
Even with pie, a la mode
(Vada Sultenfuss - My Girl)

These ice cream cone cupcakes were taken to Kindy for India's last-day-of-Spring birthday.
Very simple to make.
Bake cakes in mini cupcake tray (don't overfill them!)
Pipe a little buttercream icing around the inside of the mini cones and push the cupcake on to the cone.
Ice the cakes, going over the rim slightly (the messier, the better)
Add some sprinkles.

I covered a nappy box in pretty paper, and cut in some crosses to display the cakes.
This size is perfect for little mouths (can you believe that all the kids in her class ate all their cake/cone!)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Simplify my Relationships

I have some wonderful friends. And for a long time I've wanted to acknowledge them on this blog. So it's time for some raps.
(Domonique Bertolucci thinks that there are six types of friends. 
Most of mine fit into one (or many) of these categories.)
The friend that's cooler than you: Ange, Liz, Bek, this is you. Younger, hipper, and heaps of fun.
The friend who is up for anything: Debb, this is you. I text "bad morning", and you enthusiastically meet me for coffee within half an hour.
The friend who you aspire to be: Tash and Martine, this is you. Always interesting, inspiring, and encouraging.
The friend who doesn't know your other friends: Lauren, Jo, Adela, Leilani, this is you. My new friends! It's a privilege to get to know you more.
The friend who's honest: Jayde, Karen, Anna and Melissa, this is you. You give me reliable advice and feedback.
The friend you've known a long time: Kathryn, Ruth, Kate, Melanie, and Wendy, this is you. We don't see each other much, but when we do, it feels like we can take off just where we left.

There are others, of course, who I love and cherish and appreciate.
And if I see even less of you all this year, I hope you won't wonder if I'm your friend.
Because I need to simplify. 
To prune off some lovely green leaves.
And spend more time enriching the roots.

My children are blessed to have 4 Great-Grandparents, but they hardly see or talk to them.
So much history, culture, and love to pass on.
And it goes both ways.
I don't want them to miss out!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Simplify my Homemaking

Housework never ends.
Even in our modern world.
Pass many hours of a day tiding, over many weeks, and you will not be surprised that many stay-at-home Mums feel bored and inept. It is monotonous and impossible (at least in my small children-at-home world) to finish. 
But for some reason, tidiness seems to have become a mother's success measuring stick.
I'm not going to buy into this any longer. I want to look after my house (I actually enjoy many aspects of cleaning, and my house is quite organised). But I don't want my days to be crowded with stress about the toys on the floor, or the height of the folding pile. So I will be content to do what I can today, and then do more tomorrow. I hope that this relaxing of the rules on how neat my house must be, will give me some more time to gather some broader homemaking skills. Skills that we have largely lost because of our craving for tidy. Soap making, composting, mending, bread baking, preserving, and cheese making are all traditional skills that I have always craved to learn and use. Sewing and crafting are already practices that I love. I can't wait to cheer up my Mummy brain with this variety of homemaking practices in my life! 

(Now, you might be wondering how adding extra things into my routine is adhering to my 'simplify' resolutions? To me, simple living is cutting back anything that overcrowds my brain, heart or life, and this in turn brings freedom and new opportunities.)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Simplify my Ordinary Day

This time I have really put time into thinking about my new year resolutions.
I've been thinking about it for weeks.
Be better at my job as a parent? YES!
Be better at my job as a wife? YES!
Be better at my job as homemaker, Jesus-follower, daughter, sister, friend? YES!

It's a bit overwhelming. A bit burdensome. A bit full.
A bit what-i-do-with-almost-everything-in-my-life.
I crowd it up with dreams of more and better and best.

What I really need is some pruning.
Some cutting back the excess branches.
Some simplifying.

So, less is more for my resolutions this year. And hopefully I will uncover some fresh, green life underneath.

First things to be cut back are a few daily time wasters: 
Facebook; Pinterest; Blog reading. Particularly on my phone. I check often because it is right there. Instead, I can wait till the kids are asleep, and spend a good half hour catching up then. Thinking of all the great kid moments I will no longer miss because I'm checking my phone, makes my head feel clearer already!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Singing a New Song 2013

I'm gonna race you to the fence, to the fence
I'm gonna race you to the fence
I'm gonna chase you round the block, round the block
I'm gonna chase you round the block.

Come on, jump out the door
You can't hold it back no more
I'll show you how the birds learned how to fly.

I'm gonna take you on a ride, on a ride
I'm gonna take you on a ride
I'm gonna race you to the sky, to the sky
I'm gonna race you to the sky.

I'm gonna race you to the moon, to the moon
I'm gonna race you to the moon
We're gonna get there real soon, real soon
Hold your breath, I bet we will get there soon.

Come on, jump out the door
You can't hold it down no more
I'll show you how the birds learned how to fly.
Don't mind leaving your nest
Don't mind making a mess
This might be the best day of your life!

Lyrics are "Best Day of your Life" by Katie Herzig.
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