The adventure of trying to make a house a home that we built for our family of six plus some craft, home décor, recipes & any family fun we might have.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Yoga Party Decorations

Earlier this week I showed you the quick and inexpensive birthday invitations that I made earlier this month for my daughter's Yoga Party/ You can find the instructions here.  So today I'm going to show you the other things that I made for the party. For months I'd listened to Mackenna talk about what she wanted for her party and all she really wanted was the girls to come and fun with her while they did some yoga, played in the playground and eat some party food. So I tried to make the decorations, cake and favours reflect the playful, happy and chilled theme that she wanted.

I decided a minimalistic approach would work well for her party as it would allow her to spend time playing, laughing and eating which meant that I could also interact with the other parents. We had planned on doing a few different pink and purple decorations, however the park we used can get really busy so the few things I'd purchased from the discount store didn't get used due to it been really windy. 

When we arrived the first thing I did was cover two tables with coloured plastic table clothes because the tables never get cleaned. I also didn't want to have any of the kids get sick because they'd touched the dirty tables. Luckily I'd bought a roll of stick tape with me so when the wind started blowing the table clothes off, I was able to wrap the table like a present and this ensured that everything stayed in place. 

Yoga Party

As you can see from the picture above I kept the food quite healthy to work in with the yoga theme. The first thing that I made for the girls to tie in with the birthday invitations were water bottle labels. I made the labels in PicMonkey and then I printed them off at the local copy shop. After cutting them to size (I used the same measurements as the water bottle labels) I used a felt pen to colour-in the yoga ladies outfit, I then used clear contact to cover each label before attaching it to the bottle.

Yoga Party

Yoga Party

Mackenna had requested cupcakes for her birthday so I made her red velvet ones with chocolate icing just for something different. I made the Too easy chocolate cake from my thermomix Everyday Cookbook with a few changes to suit our party. Mackenna had picked out some cute purple polka dot cupcake cases so I made some cute cupcake toppers that would tie the theme together with the yoga. I used the same elements I'd used for the party invitations and the drink bottle labels. Each child was given the coloured cupcake topper that matched their invitation and water bottle.

Yoga Party

The last thing that I made were the gift bags that we gave to each girl when they were leaving. Usually these bags are filled with sugary treats and toys that don't last very long. I thought that because Mackenna had a Princess theme for her Yoga class, I decided to include lots of princess things as well as a few stationery items.

Yoga Party

Yoga Party

I'm glad that I put all my effort into making these few things for Mackenna's birthday party. At the end of the party every little girl came up to me and thanked me for their water bottles and gift bags. I'm so glad that I went with the colour theme mixed in with the princesses because I think that was something the girls weren't expecting. Overall, it was a great party and I got to talk to a few mums and put a mum to a child's name. I also kept costs down with all the decorations and food. This meant we could take Mackenna out for a special dinner on her birthday which is something we've never done before.


Monday, 25 August 2014

Book Week 2014

Every year most Australian schools have a special 'Book Week' celebration that encourage the kids to read more books and fostering a reading relationship. The children are asked to bring a book that goes with their costume. Every year I leave organising a costume to the last minute so my son ends up wearing his everyday clothes and he goes as his favourite author. This year I was determined to be better organised as I now have two costumes to come up with. If I get it right this year then next year will be a breeze especially with three kids at school. 

The good thing about this years Book Week is that my son already knew what it was he wanted to go as and it wasn't an author. The bad news was I didn't have anything he needed to create his costume so I went off to the thrift shop to see what they had. I was really lucky to find an army t-shirt and army cargo pants for nine dollars. This was a little more than I wanted to pay but he would be more comfortable wearing a cotton outfit than the cheap nylon dress up outfit the local shop was selling for ten dollars. With a few extra accessories the entire outfit has cost me fifteen dollars but he's so excited to be going as a army private that it's money well spent.

Australian Army

My daughter started Prep this year so her costume requirements are different. The class had a theme so each Prep class was asked to come as a character from a fairytale. Many of the girls chose to come as a princess (Frozen was a popular choice). The boys had the opportunity to come as fairytale character, our class had more superheroes represented than Prince Charming. With this in mind I jumped on Pinterest to see what I could find for my daughter. We were thinking of dressing up as a fairy but we thought this fairy costume would be very different from all the other fairy costumes that might be worn on the day.

I found these instructions at Lilliedale for her Book Fairy Costume and the best thing was she provided detailed instructions that helped when I put the costume together. The best part about this costume was that all I needed to purchase were a few second hand children's storybooks, ribbon and a few glue sticks which cost me less than eight dollars. 

I made a few changes to the wings so that they looked more fairy like and less like the pages were falling out of the book. I didn't reinforce the book with wire but I did use two books to stabilise it so that it stayed in place. I also used a drill bit to make the hole as I didn't have anything else that would make a hole big enough so that the ribbon would thread through to tie around her arms.

Book Fairy
1. Remove pages from book and glue to book.
2. Glue both books together making sure the cover is on display.
3. Drill through both books.
4. Insert ribbon so that it can be tied off.
The outfit was a great success, with a heap of parents stopping to comment on the costume and asking how I made it. The only negative aspect to the outfit was that it was impossible to sit in the car while wearing it. I ended up having to place it on the front seat and dress her at school. She loved wearing it and she didn't complain once. However with the weather being questionable the school cancelled the parade and they took the children into the school hall. Each year level had to sit down prior to been called up on stage, they showed off their costumes and then they returned to sitting down on the floor. As you can imagine she didn't have a big area to sit so the skirt was compromised. 

Book Fairy

Although she had to sit down for the best part of ninety minutes. She did a good job looking after it, only a few cones came away from the ribbon. I'd bought my glue gun with me to school in case anything like this happened so I was able to fix it quickly without it causing any problems.

Book Fairy

From the look on her face she had a great day and after the class pictures were taken I took her costume home with me. Having her wear it for the entire day would have resulted in her not being able to play and the costume would have gotten in the way. When I picked her up from school she was still wearing her crown and she told me that the librarian had come and talked to her at lunchtime. Apparently the librarian had never seen anyone like it in all the years she'd been working. Overall, it was a great costume and she looked beautiful.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Colourful Tulle Tutu

We have a heap of events coming up in the next few weeks at Kindergarten and school which require me to create outfits for the kids to wear. The first event we have is the Kindy Disco. Some of the lessons they've been doing is learning about patterns so the teachers have asked the kids to wear a patterned outfit. After looking through her wardrobe I soon discovered that she would be wearing solid colours so I decided to make her a skirt.

After talking with Viveca I soon realised that she didn't want an A-line skirt she wanted a tulle skirt so that she could look like a ballerina when she went to the disco. So I took her to Spotlight as I had a 30% off discount voucher which I was able to use store wide. Viveca decided that she wanted her skirt to have her four favourite colours in it so she picked out a glittery yellow, hot pink, red and a glittery purple. These four colours formed the pattern of her skirt. We also decided on a hot pink ribbon to use so that she could have a pretty bow on the front of her skirt. Originally, I was going to sew together a piece of elastic to make the waistband but after searching Youtube I decided to use the ribbon that I'd bought as the waistband instead.

After watching the video by NashvilleWraps I knew that I had the wrong sized ribbon but I thought I'd give it a try before rushing off to the shops again for more ribbon. I'd purchased one metre of soft tulle (1.09 yards) in each colour so in total I had 4 metres (4.37 yards). Using a rotary cutter I cut my pieces three inches wide as six inches didn't provide enough pieces of tulle to attach to the ribbon. I also used every part of the tulle so if I had two inches left over I used those to fill in spaces that needed it. I'm really happy with it and for $27.00 it might not be cheap but it's original.

Tulle Skirt

Overall I'm really happy with our Tulle Tutu and Viveca loves it. She's going to wear black leggings so that the tulle doesn't itch her in any way shape or form as I'd hate to be halfway through the night and she's wanting to remove the skirt. She's already put her outfit together and she's counting down the the day's until the Kindy Disco. (Sorry about the picture but after been out all day the light wasn't working for me.)

Tulle Skirt

I'm thinking that I might make a couple more for Christmas Day as I can picture both my girls wearing pretty glittery red and green tulle tutu's on Christmas morning. So tell me what you think does she look like she's ready to rock and roll on Friday night?


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Yoga Birthday Invitations

Three months ago I decided to take the family to our local handmade market for a bit of DIY inspiration and to sneak in a bit of exercise as the kids had been spending too much time sitting down doing nothing. I discovered some really cute handmade clothing, nappy covers, soaps, toys and lots of lovely home baked goods. As the market was held on the grounds of a local school they had lots of stalls located near the playground.

Walking towards the playground Mackenna was stopped and asked if she would like to get involved in a Yoga class that was taking place. She jumped at the chance, so I sent the others off with daddy while I stood and watched her listening and participating in the class. While I was watching I was asked if I'd like to enter a competition to win a birthday party package valued at over two hundred dollars. We'd talked about having a party this year so I thought I might as well enter. The following week I received a message informing me that Mackenna had been the lucky winner.

Many of the parties we've been invited to this year the kids go and do an activity for two hours, mine eat too much sugar and then they come home with a lolly bag and the other children WANT something from the bag. As you can imagine this isn't going to work with a Yoga Party. I've had to rethink all the things Mackenna has wanted talked about all year, now I have to find a tranquil space to create a calm space, it also needs to feel like a birthday party and the food needs to be healthy so that the kids can be relaxed while participating in the Yoga.

After looking online I decided to make our own invitations as this allowed me to add the details that Mackenna wanted. To create the invitations Mackenna and I sat down together to choose the font, image and the size in PicMonkey. Caelan also helped with the wording which made my job even easier. I then took Mackenna off to Officeworks to print off the invitations.

After the printing was completed we walked across the road to a local scrapbooking shop to purchase some cardstock for the invitations. While we were designing the invitations Mackenna had already decided that she wanted to use purple, pink, yellow, blue and red as the colours for her invitations. So when we arrived at the scrapbooking store I had Mackenna choose her favourite colours in the cardstock and we purchased two sheets of each colour (leftovers to be used later). Each invitation ended up costing us twenty cents which is the least I've ever paid for an invitation.

With this in mind I decided to make my own envelope due to the size of our invitation. As the invitation is small (10 cm by 10 cm OR 4 by 4 inches) I needed to create an envelope that wasn't going to be to big. I had Mr Opoes print off an image from Google Images and then he reduced it in size to fit an A4 piece of paper. I traced out the first envelope I needed onto a piece of card (similar to what you would use to do a school project with) as you want something that'll bend easily. I then cut out the shape and folded the flaps inwards.


I then placed the invitation inside the envelope templet and using some double sided tape I marked on the inside of the templet were the tape should stop. You could also use glue for this part but I found the tape easier to work with. I also stuck a coloured jewel on the envelope with double sided tape so that the girls could open the envelope easily.

Mackenna was really happy with the invitation and as each invitation cost me fifty cents to make I was really happy. The girls enjoyed receiving them and they were small enough for the children to put on the fridge or noticeboard at home without it taking up too much room. I was also able to carry the colour scheme though to the rest of the party and each girl received additional items that matched their invitation. This also allowed me to do all the colouring in I needed to do in one go as I knew how many of each colour I needed. So tell me do you make your own invitations or do you buy them. Although this took time Mackenna was over the moon and that's all that mattered.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Sweet Potato Scones

Growing up I loved getting into the kitchen on the weekend and doing some cooking. When I first started on my cooking journey I didn't do so well but I slowly learnt how to make the basics. The one basic I never mastered was scones and it wasn't from lack of trying. My scones have been doughy, resembled rock cakes, crummy and not edible. So when we went out to Warwick for a Sunday drive during the school holidays I jumped at the chance to buy some lovely Pumpkin Scones for the children's morning tea.

The next day after purchasing four kilograms (81 pounds) of sweet potato I decided to make Sweet Potato Scones using the Thermomix, because there's no way the Thermomix could mess up scones. So after a little bit of research I found a light and fluffy gluten free scone on the Quirky Cooking Facebook page. I made a few changes to the original recipe because I didn't have everything on hand but overall I was really happy with the outcome of the scones. I also made them in a muffin tray instead of on a baking tray the first batch spread out.

Sweet Potato Scones
300 grams sweet potato
300 grams self-raising flour
60 grams butter
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 eggs
150 grams milk

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spray with a little bit of cooking spray.
2. Cut the ends off each potato and place in the oven until soft and roasted through, depending on the size of the sweet potato this could take up to 30 minutes.
3. Once cooked, remove from the oven, cut open the skin and scoop out the cooked flesh. Mash with a potato masher or set aside for later.
4. Add flour, butter and salt to Thermomix on speed 6 for 5 seconds.
5. Add eggs, milk, reserved sweet potato and mix 6 seconds on speed six or until just combined.
6. If the mixture is too wet add a little bit more flour and if it's too dry add a little bit more milk.
7. Drop large tablespoons full onto your lined tray, placing them close together.
8. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown on top.
9. Serve with jam and whipped cream.

There are heaps of different scone recipes so tell me do you have a favourite recipe that you use or are you lucky enough to be using a recipe that your grandmother passed down to you. I've always wanted to use my grandmothers recipe but with children who don't like cooked sultanas I'd end up having to eat them all on my own. So tell me what type of scones do you love.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Playroom Inspiration

We've lived in our not so new house for two years now and I'm presently looking to create a kid's area for the children to play in, create in and study in. With four children ranging in ages between nine and two it can be some what difficult to make the space work for everyone all the time. I knew straight up that I wanted the room to be multifunctional while also making it a fun and happy place to play in. So the first thing I did was search Pinterest to great some ideas of what makes a great playroom.

If you click on my Pinterest board you'll notice that colour, reading and homework area play a large roll when I've chosen the pins I've picked. In this post I thought I'd share my favourite playroom finds and the idea behind what I was thinking when I pinned each picture.

Love the colours and the amount of storage for toys.

Love the coloured canvas storage cubes and the little reading
nook between the bookcases.

A great bench seat that would be ideal for a reading nook.

Cushions for a reading nook to encourage
the kids to read.

Love the book cover letter to promote reading.

Long desk for all four children to sit at when
everyone is at school.

Love. Love. Love the colours in this room. It's so what I want for our
space because it would make you smile.

Love this rug and would love to great
something similar to it.
As you can see I have picked images that have a heap of storage within the room as well as lots of colour. If I had to describe my design criteria for the kids playroom I'd say that it might look like a 'Rainbow has thrown up in the room'. I'm wanting the colours to work within in the room without competing so I'm hoping that I'll e ale to pull this off when it all comes together.

In the coming weeks I'll share a few things that I've achieved so far within the room. I've got plans to paint a recently purchased bench seat using a new Australian made chalk paint that was released by a local business called Canterbury Blue Shabby Chic Furniture. The paint is called Chalk EZ2 Paint it's really easy to use and I'll go into more details when I get my seat finished.

I can't wait to share the things I've completed with you and I'm hoping that I get everything finished. I've now found the few things that I spent months searching for and I just need to find the time once school goes back to get this project FINISHED. Don't hold you're breath projects in this house seem to take forever to get completed. Wish me luck I'm sure I'll get there ha ha.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Donut Pudding

I love winter but this year we seem to be experiencing chilly winds and very cold nights so most nights we're enjoying so a few hot and comfy desserts after our main meal. The upside is the kids are eating their dinner most nights and we're getting to finish off dinner with a yummy warm dessert. While at the supermarket the other night I was walking through the bakery section and I noticed that they were marking down a heap of sweet treats. Walking over I was hoping to find a bargain for the kids morning tea but what I found was even better. I picked up three packets of cinnamon donuts and a a packet of date scones for $2.00 which was a fifth of the usual price. Bargain. Now for my two dollars I got 18 cinnamon donuts and 4 scones.

Straight away I knew what I was going to do with both of the sweat treats I'd purchased. Last year I shared with you my childhood favourite dessert Chocolate Bread and Butter Pudding and this time I thought I'd use the donuts and scones separately to create this classic bread pudding. I decided to make a Donut Pudding using the same principle as the classic recipe.

Donut Pudding
18 cinnamon donuts
6 large eggs
3 tablespoons caster sugar
3 cups of milk
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs until they're well combined. Add sugar and milk and continue mixing until well combined.
3. Pour a small amount of the egg mixture into your medium oven proof dish.
4. Cut each donut into slices and place them on top of the egg mixture. When you've used up all your donuts carefully pour the remaining egg mixture over the top of the donuts.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until its firm to touch.
7. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with ice cream.

In total this dessert end up costing me just over $5.00 and of five people I thought that wasn't two bad especially when everyone will get two serves each. Overall, I'm really happy with the way it turned out and the kids thought it was great. I decided to make another pudding using the date scones and with the same egg mixture and a little bit of butter on each piece of scone, it turned out beautifully.

I had one happy husband and four excited children after making both these desserts. I think next time I find that donuts have been reduced at the end of the day I'll grab a packet or three and make up this dessert again. Maybe next time I might even try it using jam filled donuts as that'll give it a nice gooey jam flavour to the entire pudding.