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.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Coeliac Awareness Week

So today's Coeliac Awareness Week and this week is dear to my heart because this September it'll be ten years since I was told I needed to follow a Coeliac diet. My diagnosis came just after we'd found out we were pregnant and it came as a complete shock. All I remember about my diagnosis was walking out of the doctor's room, sitting down at a coffee shop and wondering what I'd be eating for lunch while I drank a cup of tea. I'd been experiencing morning sickness and it was while I was drinking my tea that I remembered the doctor had told me I'd need to eat my breakfast twice if I was sick. I soon got use to making two lots of breakfast every morning.

Ten years ago I read labels every time I went shopping, never went out to eat and I always made sure that I had enough gluten free food in our pantry in case the grocery store went out of business. I'd spend hours on the internet researching recipes and looking for new products that might be good to try. The one thing I did learn quickly was that eating gluten free wasn't cheap and with a growing family I had to find products that would be tasty and good value.

I'm now happy that our supermarkets have increased their product range for people who have intolerances and that they're always looking into ways to make it easier for the consumer to find items that suit their lifestyles. Recently my local Aldi store sent out a catalogue showcasing all the new products that they're offering to help celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week. I'm looking forward to trying a few of the new cakes and biscuits that they're offering however, I'm hoping that the other three big stores also celebrate the week with new products, cooking displays and free recipe cards.

Every little bit of information you can collect can make a difference. So this week if you're a coeliac why not try looking for a new product that you wouldn't normally eat, try a new recipe or maybe go out to that new restaurant and try their menu (remember to ring first and check that they can accommodate your dietary requirements). I know this week I'm looking forward to trying a new pasta and some gluten free lasagne sheets. Lasagne is one of my all time favourite meals and for a few years I tried making it using rice paper sheets and it just never tasted the same.

So if you've intolerant to gluten I hope that you use this week to do something different or special. I know that my children will be looking forward to eating some of mummies' lasagne. Maybe if I get it made before we go away on our trip up north, I might get around to sharing my recipe with you. Until then I hope you have an enjoyable week.


Thursday, 6 March 2014

Thrifty Finds

As you know it was my birthday on Tuesday, so this year I decided I'd go and do something I wanted to do for a change instead of rushing home after school drop off. First off I went to Muffin Break which is my all time favourite coffee shop and I collected my free coffee (which I up sized) and my birthday muffin. Like all good mums I gave the muffin to the kids to share because hey I'm doing weight watchers and who needs to use all those points before lunch! We then headed off to a thrift shop I'd seen years ago but never visited.

In Australia we've had a few issues with our thrift (aka Op shops) stores so I was hoping that this store was large, not over priced and they had things I wanted to buy. In the past I've always gone with Mr Opoes because he helps control the children and this means the kids are better behaved. So today I set out a few ground rules with my four and two year old just so we got a good look around without them touching or breaking things. In the past I've always found Lifeline to be a little over priced and today was the same. Some of the items were the same price as the brand new equivalent and pieces in the furniture section were a bit on the pricey side considering they're second hand.

Now when I started I didn't really have a list of all the things I wanted, all I knew was that I wanted a novel so that I could turn the pages into flowers for a craft project I'd been thinking about and maybe a ramekin dish that was bigger than the ones I already own. As you can see I didn't want much as my expectations were low especially when I knew it was a Lifeline store so I was only expecting to spend ten dollars.After walking around for about forty minutes I was ready to pay for my items and that's when I found a coffee table with the most beautiful lines and I knew straight away it was coming home with me. I didn't even care about the price, it was love at first sight. Sorry Mr Opoes I've another man in my life and he's got curves, DIY potential and he was cheap ha ha.

I've only had the items for a couple of days but I've got plans for every item so I thought I'd share a picture of each item, a brief description of what I want to create with each item and how much I paid for them. I paid a total of fifty-two dollars and fifty cents for everything which I'm really happy about.

Each of these items were very cheap and they'll get used within the next month or so. A is a book that I'll be using to create paper flowers with and it cost me two dollars. B is the two ramekin dishes that I had on my list. The taller dish is just perfect for Caelan when I make cheese soufflés, it cost fifty cents and the smaller dish is a heap bigger so that'll come in handy when I'm making a soufflés for Mr Opoes dinner and it cost two dollars. C is a single pillowcase that Viveca fell in love with and I thought that it would be perfect to use to make a skirt with. She loved the flower with the smiley face and it only cost me a dollar and fifty cents.

The picture on the left is a wooden tray box that has six cubes and I'm thinking of either painting the inside of it or putting scrapbooking paper in there so that the children's pet rocks can be put on display. I'm not sure if I'd hang it on the wall or put it on the desk yet but at four dollars I was really happy with it. The item on the right is a pillow and at two dollars and fifty cents I'm really excited to find a cover or make one so that it can go into any of the bedrooms. I'm thinking I might use it in my room.

This is a brass bowl that I saw from a distance and when I picked it up I was happy with its weight and the fact that it wasn't dented. At two dollars and fifty cents it was the bargain of the century. I'm going to clean it up a little on the inside and then spray paint it silver, it'll then go into the study to fill in some of the vacant space in the bookcase. I'm looking forward to completing this small project.

I'm going to paint the coffee table so that it can go into our lounge room. I'm in the process of picking things for the lounge room so I'm going to have to wait a while before I decide what colour to paint it. My first thought was white but I'm thinking of picking one of the colours from my entry. It might work better as the gallery wall can be seen from the lounge room. I may have to live with the table as it is for a while as I don't want to get it wrong and then have to redo it. I paid thirty dollars for it and it was the cheapest coffee table they had in the store. I'm really happy I saw this on my way to the checkout, so much so that I did a happy dance when I paid for it.

The last thing I found is for Caelan and as soon as I saw it I knew he'd love it. It wasn't until I got it home that I realised that Star Wars storm troopers had been mixed up with Batman and Robin. When I gave it to Caelan that was the first thing he saw but after a bit of thought he decided that he loves it. One thing he's asked me to do is to change the colour of the background but I'm going to use it when we get around to decorating his bedroom especially when he wants a space, Star Wars inspired bedroom. The artwork cost me seven dollars and fifty cents and I'm now kicking myself that I didn't buy the other Star Wars inspired piece. I'm thinking of framing it as the edges are a little rough.

I'm thinking that I might need to frequent thrift shops more often because I was really happy with what I found today and if I play my cards right I'll be able to find things at a good price and then I'll finally be able to decorate this house sooner than later. So what do you think of my treasures? I'd love to hear about things you've found or even see pictures so if you've got something on your blog or Facebook page leave me a link and I'll check it out. If you just want to share the picture with me contact me via my Facebook page (One Plus One Equals Six) as I'd love to see what you've found.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Getting closer to 40

It's my thirty-ninth birthday today. I can't believe it where have my thirties gone? When night clubbing was all the rage I'd continually get asked for identification, even when I was ordering a soft drink because I'd be the designated driver again (lack of money meant I couldn't party with alcohol). I remember being told over and over again wait until your thirty and things will change. Holy Moly have they ever. Sometime I feel like I've slept through the last nine years of my life especially now as time seems to be fly by at the speed of light.

Don't get me wrong I've enjoyed the last nine years of my life even when it's filled with loud, crying and naughty children I wouldn't swap it with anyone WELL NOT FOR A LONG TIME ANYWAY. I've birthed four children who I love to bits and everyday they do or say something that makes me love them just that little bit more. We've sold our house, moved three times within eleven months before our house was built and I've done most of that while I was pregnant. We've changed schools, picked kindergartens, had a few holidays, caught up with family, celebrated a few weddings, planned Christenings, birthday parties and generally lived life one day at a time.

So today I thought I'd share ten things you mightn't know about me.
1. I was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, started school over there but I was made to wait four months before I could officially start school in Australia.
2. When I was young we were going to travel around Australia, we never made it out of Queensland.
3. Growing up I loved athletics and I won a few age champion things at school.
4. I ran against Cathy Freeman (Australian Olympic Gold Medallist) when I was in primary school. She won.
5. I'm the eldest of four children.
6. When I was twelve I wanted to be a nun and we weren't even Catholic.
7. A month before my eighteenth birthday I was told I was a type 1 diabetic.
8. I got pregnant on my honeymoon, we found out while in Hamilton New Zealand which we thought was unusual.
9. I studied to become a Primary School teacher but never finished and I only had one more semester to complete.
10. I always support New Zealand in sporting events especially the rugby. I also love yelling loudly so the neighbours can hear if New Zealand beats Australia in the Bledlisloe Cup.

So there you have it a few little bits of information about me, think about it as my present to you. I'm off to have fun with the kids and wait for Mr Opoes to come home from his business trip. The kids have been talking for the last three days about the great gift they have (daddy) gotten me and there's been times when they've nearly spilled the beans. Hope you have an enjoyable day and have a piece of cake for me.


Friday, 28 February 2014

Our Willy Wonker and his Chocolate Factory

As the shortest month of the year you'd think that time wouldn't whiz by at double the speed it usually does. I'd like to know where February has gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were finishing up with January and now we're about to wave goodbye to February. This month we've celebrated four birthdays, had a big party for my mother's sixtieth, driven long distances for events, started dance lessons for a four week trail period while still going about our day to day lives.

The temperatures here in my part of Australia have been hot, humid and really uncomfortable especially when you don't own an air-conditioner, but we've managed to work through them. I've worked on a few little things this month that were food related which I planned to share with you but unfortunately with the heat I've forgotten to take pictures or save leftovers so all my great blog ideas have literally been eaten up. However, I've managed to try a few new recipes which have been well received by four of the five food critics I have living with me. As always I'm yet to receive a perfect score with my dishes but I'm still trying because one day soon my two year old will love what I've made at the same time as the other children. It'll happen and when it does I'll have the camera ready.

School is in full swing at the moment, the eldest two are adjusting to the change in routine and they've also embraced the changes made to the homework program. We're loving the fact that we can do a small amount of homework over the weekend which frees up time during the week to play in the afternoon. Mackenna is enjoying having her violin and she practises every night plucking the strings, however ask me in a months time what I think especially when she starts using the bow. Caelan's teacher is lovely and I think she'll encourage him to focus more this year which should help him in the coming years.

One of the activities he could do from his homework sheet this past fortnight was to create a chocolate bar anyway he wanted. As this activity requires some adult supervision I had the pleasure of helping him create a chocolate that he'd share with his class. Initially many of the ideas he had were already available and with the majority of his classmates also doing this project he was running out of ideas. While walking through the lolly isle at the supermarket he choose two different chocolate bars that he was going to mix together with the melted chocolate in the hopes of creating something edible.

After a bit of brainstorming and guidance I helped him create a cute little chocolate that he took to school to test out on his class mates. Later in the term he'll work on branding, a logo and an entire marketing campaign for the chocolate bar he's created. At the moment he's named it 'Crunchy Heart Bar' but once he's been given more direction and an overview of the assignment I'm sure his little chocolate bar will get a new name, packaging and a cute little logo.

So what do you think of his little chocolates? I love how he's used white and milk chocolate while also incorporating little candies I had in the pantry, when you bit into them its nice to see tiny little pieces of colour. I'm very proud of his efforts, who knows maybe I'll talk him into making chocolates for Easter instead of going with the traditional Easter Egg thing. I'd love to here if you've ever made chocolates before.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

5 Minute Ribbon Necklace

We're five weeks into the new school year and my little Prep girl has just received her first birthday party invitation. To say she is excited is an understatement and she's been talking non-stop about what she'll do when she arrives, the games, the music and the PRESENT. Every time we get a party invitation I get a little stressed because I'm never really sure whether I should buy or make a gift for the birthday boy or girl. This year I'm a little luckier because my eldest is going to be nine and nine years old boys don't want handmade gifts so I'll just have to brave the toys aisles to see what we can find.

So been the first party of the year I decided that I'd contact the birthday girl's mum, ask her what she'd like me to get for her daughter and then go from there. I found out she loves Barbie, dressing up and jewellery. Now I took my daughter to the shops to LOOK for ideas and if she'd had her way we would have been walking away with hundreds of dollars worth of Barbie dolls and accessories.

After sitting down with a drink together we came up with a plan to create a few special, one of a kind necklaces that worked in with the Barbie theme while also adding a few other accessories so that they could be used during dress up time. This meant our gifts would tick off all three of the birthday girl's favourite things list and we'd be guaranteed to get a smile. First up I went looking for a few small pieces of jewellery that would be ideal for dressing up and I also found a small quilted case to hold them in. While in Kmart my daughter found a Barbie make up kit and we also found some really pretty silver bangles that would go perfectly with dressing up.

The only thing left was to make a couple of ribbon necklaces and the gift would be ready to wrap. While visiting my local scrapbooking shop one week earlier I'd found a few antique gold jewellery bits and I knew that they'd be perfect for the job. The great thing about this project was that I already had most of the items on hand and each necklace cost me under two dollars. I also personalised one of the necklaces because I wanted it to be special for the birthday girl. I drew the Barbie logo with a black pen on a piece of pink paper and I added the year that she was born as there wasn't much room to write her birth date.

Overall I'm really happy with the entire gift. Mackenna and I really like the necklaces the most and that they're handmade, makes them extra special. I have chosen colours that relate back to Barbie and that will work easily when the birthday girl is playing dress ups. Although the gift might be small in size there's been a lot of thought, effort and care put into the entire gift. 

These necklaces are easy to make and the fact that you can personalise them makes it even better. I think I'll buy a few more pieces for future birthday parties so that Mackenna or Viveca can give them as personalised presents. If I knew making a necklace like this was so easy I would have made some of them ages ago. My birthday's next week and as a treat I'm going to make myself a few of these necklaces so that I can add something personal next time I go out somewhere special. Kidding! I'll just make one pretty one and wear it when I go to school and grocery shopping.

With the success of this project I'm now thinking I'd like to try making some more jewellery but I want to try making something more decorative and something with a chain. In the last few days I've taken more of an interest in the jewellery section when I'm out at the shops. Might have to take my time with the next project as my craft area is getting crowded with all the stuff I've already got. Glad Mr Opoes leaves me to my own devices when it comes to crafting but I think I might need to narrow it down to two crafts and focus my attention on them.


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Test Tube Birthday Treats

Last weekend we celebrated Viveca's 4th birthday and although we weren't having a birthday party I wanted her to give little thank you gifts to her sibling and that's when Test Tube Treats were created. I'd been walking the aisles of my local dollar store when I came across these test tubes in the birthday section, so I grabbed a few boxes and off I skipped home. Like every birthday we have at home I make a specific birthday cake, we have birthday presents and generally do what were the birthday person wants to do. So as you can see it's a very low key affair.

This year Viveca wanted a Peppa Pig birthday cake and as I was purchasing it from my local Woolworth's store I felt the need to do something a little extra for her on the day. Now the hardest part of this project was designing a little gift tag as I'd never done it before and printing out the gift tag. All this was difficult because I had know idea what I was doing and our printer ran out of coloured ink, so off to our local print shop I went to get three tags printed. Now for all of you out there who know how to use a computer I'm sure you'd have this done and dusted in less than five minutes. Next time I do something like this I might reduce the size of the tag because when I printed it out it was a little large.

The next thing I did was to divided my Jelly Beans into different colours just to give a more scientific look to each test tube and then I filled each tube with the jelly beans before screwing the lid on. I then attached a small piece of twine to the gift tag and I wrapped it around the top of the tube, tiring it off to secure it to the top of the test tube.
There you have it. If you're talented you can have these made within fifteen minutes but if you're not so great it could take you that long just to design something simple. Viveca thought they were a great idea and as her Barbie bike wasn't ready to be delivered I was able to still make her feel special. I love the size of these test tubes because you don't have to fill them to the top and they would be great for a science themed party.

So what do you think? I'm really pleased because each test tube treat come in at under $2 but it would have been a bit more expensive if I hadn't used lollies we already had on hand. Viveca thought it was a great. To save on any future dental bills I shared the two tubes between the four children and they were happy with that. If I was going to use these at a birthday party I think I'd fill the tubes with a mixture of small and large jelly beans, overall I was happy with this project.


Friday, 7 February 2014

Man Cave

Like most men my husband would love a space he could call his own and that's why I decided to turn our study into a man cave. For Christmas we put a shed up in the backyard, in order to free up some space in the garage. Now my husband isn't a shed type of guy so we needed an area in which he could hide away and do what ever men do in their caves. So with only one room left, the study will become his office when he works from home and thus it'll also be known as his man cave.

Like many couples if you present a space to them and asked them how they'd decorate it their responses would probably be quiet different. That's what it's like in our house. Mr Opoes likes a modern, minimalistic look with clean lines and I like wooden things, vintage items while also liking some modern pieces. I know you're thinking that we really don't have much to work with because we like different things but when we moved into our house we decided that we would like to decorate the house in a classic, vintage style with items that aren't cheaply made so that they will last us longer or so they'll last the children's treatment of them.

When we were building our house we designed the study to have two functions, one was to be a study and the other was to act as a guest room. After living here for nearly two years we've never had a guest sleep in the study. So when I was planning how I wanted the room to function I've made room for a blow up mattress to fit, still allowing the room to serve two purposes. This foresight meant we were able to add a built in wardrobe, thus allowing us to divide up the space between my husband's study and a guest room.

Last year I purchased a beautiful barn style door that I wanted to use as a table top for a desk and after explaining my concept to my husband he seemed pleased with the idea. Using the door will allow me to create a unique feature within the study as the door is  fifty years old so it'll be a vintage item with somewhat of a classic style. I'm looking forward to seeing what the door has to offer once it's stripped back and I'm hoping that we'll have a unique desk top for the room. The additional benefit is Mr Opoes will have a place to rest his laptop on while he works instead of sitting in the middle of the house, in the kids area.

Gallery Wall

Other decorating ideas include creating a gallery wall that you see when you come through the door. Directly opposite I'm creating a storage space so my husband doesn't have to leave the room to find a file while he's working. After talking to some of my blog friends on Facebook I also decided to hang three pictures above the storage space as they're sentiment to my husband and I, but I'll share those with you when the room is all finished. When I did the gallery wall in our front entrance my husband helped me hung all 33 picture frames and it was during this time that I learnt he liked the concept behind a gallery wall.

With this in mind I wanted to create something slightly different so that it would have more of a masculine feel about it. When I talked to my friend Mel over at Mellywood's Mansion she gave me the idea of creating a monochromatic gallery wall as she thought this would be something my husband would enjoy. This idea was perfect as I'd wanted to cover a corkboard within fabric, plus I had a few embroidery hoops that would be ideal for showcasing pieces of fabric to create the monochromatic look I was after. Not long after this Christian (another blogging friend) posted a picture on Facebook showing what Jamie from Raising up Rubies did with an embroidery hoop and I was hocked.

Now if I'd shown this picture to my husband he would have laughed but I had just the right shirt to go in my embroidery hoop and it would work perfectly with the monochromatic theme. The shirt I had in mind defines my husband so it was a no brainier that it would be perfect for my gallery wall. The other good thing was I could use the wooden hoops frames and this would save me having to paint them. After spending time ironing the shirt, sewing it down in places and hiding all the extra material in the back I was left with this.

Gallery Wall

I was really happy with the way it turned out and because of the size of the hoop I found it was easier to use cotton to hide the extra fabric instead of using glue to hide it away. I was really happy with they look that the various hoops created especially when I paired it with a few square canvas's, the rectangular corkboard and photo frame. When I presented the finished wall to Mr Opoes on his birthday he really liked it and ultimately that's all I was trying to achieve.

Gallery Wall

I am really happy with the look of this wall and I think that even though its monochromatic and masculine I really like it and I can't wait to get the entire room finished so that I can continue blogging in there when Mr Opoes isn't working from home. I'm hoping to find a way to use the kid's pet rocks in the room so maybe I'll find a space for them in the future. So what do you think I'd love to hear your thoughts on my little wall. Should I use the rocks on the wall? Tell me what you would do.