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.

Monday, 30 April 2012

the joys of being a big sister..

We were at the shops earlier and I was trying hard to control the girls behaviour because I'm getting sick of people giving me dirty looks every time we go out. I'd given them both strict instructions on what I wanted them to do and what would happen if they didn't follow the rules. So we were in Big W looking at the gardening section for some children's gardening gloves for Caelan when I turned around to see what both girls were doing.

Neither one was standing beside me and they weren't holding hands like I'd asked. I was about to turn the pram around and start looking for them when I heard Mackenna talking nicely to Viveca. I moved into a position so that I could see them but they couldn't see me and this is what I heard:
Mackenna: Sweetie just lift your legs up high and you'll be in there.

Viveca: Why!

Mackenna: I'm going to take you shopping like you've never been before. Remember you are old just like mummy and your legs won't we able to walk you around.

Viveca: Why!

Viveca: Sore bottom.

Mackenna: You just climb in and I'll take you to the toys, that will help your bottom and your legs.

Viveca: No, No, No stay will mummy.

Mackenna: ohhhhhhhhhhh all right.

Mackenna: Sit down in the car, sit down in the car. No standing for long times in the car.

Mackenna: You can't beat that, beat that. You can't beat that.

Viveca: (silent for a long time) all right Nenna.

So this is what they were doing. I know it's not the best thing to be doing in the shops but it did allow me to find what I wanted. We purchased the gloves and then it was off home. A success and no one commented on my naughty girls.


Sunday, 29 April 2012

sunday surprises

Lake Eden at North Lakes on a beautiful day unfortunately it was very overcast today
 but it's still a beautiful setting even with dark storm clouds.

The purple looks beautiful against the greenery behind.

This baby bird was so new that it let a 2 and 3 year old stand so close they could have touched him. He still had some a few down feathers left and he was a bit fragile.

My passionfruit cupcakes we ate on our picnic.

We saw heaps of wildlife but none of them would stay still for a photograph.  Source

This is what the kids ate for lunch, they went down well but Viveca made a huge mess while eating hers. Source

So the weekend is over, the kids and I enjoyed spending time with Oomie (my mother), poppy, Uncle Evan and Davina. We got to explore our house with our extended family and we all learnt that there are a few problems with my future kitchen. I don't have enough double power points so there will be no cooking going on in that room.


Saturday, 28 April 2012

Picnic food with a chance of rain....

So Mr Opoes, the kid's and I are planning to have a picnic  tomorrow with some of my family but no one seems to let the heaven's know what was going on. Its been raining lightly for the past 24 hours, the ground is really wet and the play area will be washed out. It'll be cold so everyone will have to rug up, getting a car park won't be a problem but the challenge for us will be keeping the children entertained while its raining. I'm thinking it might be a case of eating our lunch and then take everyone to see how the house has progressed. The last time my parents were at the house we hadn't even started turning the soil.

I'm a little worried about what food I should be taking with us due to not having access to any of my usual containers because they are all in storage and because I really want to take comforting food with us. If tomorrow is anything like today we're going to need hot food, a hot coffee and warm clothing - oh well it's a shame I only have access to the warm clothing for the children. I'm hoping the rain takes a bit of a break so that we'll be able to have a conversation and so the kids can take a walk around the beautiful lake.

So far I know that we're going to be having passionfruit cupcakes and chicken sandwiches. Thanks to one of the mothers at school I've got something nice and easy planned for the kids to have. I'm going to make mini hotdogs using two simple ingredients cheerios and bake at home white dinner rolls. You cook everything up before going on the picnic and then its as simple as assembling them, adding your sauce, mustard and then its time to eat them all up. Whats great about these hotdogs is that due to their size, little children can hold them easily in there hands even while they're walking around or playing.

I took this photo of one of the tree's outside just as it started to rain a bit heavier.

I'm not sure what else I should be taking but I know that I need to make a zucchini slice early Sunday morning and I might go up to the markets to grab a few bananas so the kids have some fruit to eat. So fingers crossed that our picnic is a success and the everyone likes the progress of the house so far.


Friday, 27 April 2012

babies first foods

So the one thing my kids get excited about when we go to the shops is the lovely people who give out food samples. Here in Australia, your child only receives a sample if their parent is with them. So you can imagine how much food we get given if the four of us sample the food and then I have to listen to the sales pitch for foods I'll never buy because they're uneconomical or because I consider them to be too unhealthy. So you can imagine my surprise when I spotted a lovely little Parisian set up outside our local Woolworth's store for 'Yoplait' new Cal-tivate yoghurt. Two of us tried the passionfruit flavour and the other two went with the honey flavour and it was liked by all.

There's only one flavoured yoghurt I like and its passionfruit, so I was surprised when Caelan also gave it a try. After eating the yoghurt that had all the seeds I decided I'd try the yoghurt on Quinlan. This was the first food he'd tried since he was born and as he'd only recently turned 6 months I thought I'd try it out just to see his reaction. Caelan helped take the photo's while I fed him.

Here is my favourite photographs of Quinlan giving it a go. He is surrounded by his cheer squad who also taught him about sharing.

Quinlan has two spoons in his month in this picture as it was more of a race to feed him
 instead of having him try the Honey flavour.


so many disappointments Coral Homes

It was ANZAC DAY yesterday here in Australia, so that means a public holiday. This gave Mr Opoes, the kids and I a chance to go to the block and investigate closely what's been happening with the build. Each of the big builders require you to attend a finishing appointment soon after signing your contract so that you can choose everything you need for your future house. We'll I thought I had done a great job considering we signed our contract not long after Quinlan was born and then I pulled an all nighter to finish off the thousand and one options we had available to us and Quinlan wasn't even a month old.

So you can imagine that at the start of the build I was OK that Coral had delivered the wrong water tank see here. I was a little scared that the wrong coloured roof tiles had been delivered but at least I noticed this mistake before they had layed them all. So yesterday I've noticed some mistakes, the painter rang up to change our appointment which delays the job that little bit more and I've had to contact the building supervisor because there been a mistake made in the laundry. So now I'm annoyed, especially as I have know idea what I'm expected to do.

So lets look at the mistakes that have happened. In both bathrooms (kid's and our ensuite) we're  having double basins on black Caesarstone bench tops. The two basins are more convenient especially as I have 2 girls who are 18 months apart and when they become teenagers the boys may want to get into the bathroom each morning to brush their teeth.

Now at our finishing appointment I had a choice between picking a Mixer or 3 piece tap ware. At the moment in Australia mixer's are being used by everyone either in their renovations, in new builds and in all the decorating magazines. With four children 7 and under I don't want to give them the opportunity to turn the water off and on so easily.


So instead of choosing the mixer in the kids bathroom for their bath, shower and basins I've gone with the 3 piece tap ware. They may be considered old fashioned but I'm hoping that I choose the more modern version of the 3 piece tap ware.

So I really like my choice of taps but unfortunately these three pieces won't fit into a sink that looks like this. As you can see we need three holes in the top of the sink, this lovely sink has three holes but they are in a vertical line. This so won't work!!!


So this is a small issue but what I don't understand is how they made the mistake in the first place. The other more pressing issue I now have is the tiler placed some of our floor tiles on the wall in the laundry even though he had paperwork telling him what was to go were. He'd even written it down himself again so that he would get it right. Having spoken to a supervisor today at Coral they are telling me that I'm responsible for purchasing more tiles because we went with the 'owner supply' option. What's frustrating me is that I'd purchased more than the required 10% wastage needed and there's only 3 tiles remaining. The tiler has laid 4.5 tiles and the floor tiles are bigger than the wall tiles that were to go onto the wall. I now have to decide what I'm going to do tile wise in the laundry, I'll be fighting them for compensation though because this was their tilers error not mine. The other tile issue is he's done the feature tile wrong and again this will be a huge expense to us because of his mistake.

Fingers crossed I can work these issues out and it'll be smooth sailing from here on in.


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

decorating tips from a reality programme

So with things moving along slowly, the house is starting to take shape and I've begun to think about how to decorate various sections of it. So you can imagine how happy I was that one of our free to air channels started airing 'The Block'. As the programme has just started the four couples have to decorate each room each week from the ground up. So each night I'm trying to tune in at 7pm to watch how the couples are progressing each night, however going by the last couple of series I won't be able to see room reveals until Sunday night.

Our situation is so different but I'm trying to learn how to plan for how I'd like the décor to be. All I've achieved at the moment is deciding that I'd like a timeless style to the house so that I can introduce colours, objects or textures later on to achieve a look that works for you and your family. I realise that one thing I want is to have a house that isn't so cluttered with toys, rubbish and mess. That was our old life and our new life will be easier to manage and run even though its nearly twice the size of our first house.

I'm hoping that I see some things that I like to include in our house and if I can I'll be pinning them on one of the numerous boards I've started on Pinterest. The options I've expressed in this post are 100% mine and I'm not receiving any financial benefit for talking about this television programme.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

my little man is 6 months old

Quinlan turned 6 months old last Wednesday and I'm amazed at how quickly time has flown by. He's a really happy and social little boy. So you can imagine my surprise when I went into Bed Bath 'n' Table at Westfield Chermside and he just let out this load noise the entire time while I was inside looking. He hates not moving, so when in a shop I have to push the pram backwards and forwards the entire time. This can be really annoying for the other customers.

Since then we've only had the one instance, so I'm hoping his performance was just because he was really tired. Viveca was sharing the pram with him and I was quiet surprised that she didn't react to the noise he was making. Viveca shows me regularly that yes she can be a naughty girl but she has many times of being a polite and caring especially towards Quinlan. I'm hoping that when Quinlan gets older she will continue to interact with him just as she does now. The one thing I think Quinlan will ask make her to stop cuddling him all the time. 

Originally I was going to post a heap of pictures of Quinlan from birth up to the present day but then on Saturday Quinlan and I had a little photo shoot. I'd placed him on our bed while I packed up a few things before we rushed off to our various swimming lessons. Caelan called me into the room to watch Quinlan interact with Viveca's doll which she had handed over for him to play with. So here are all the pictures I took of him, there are a heap so I'm sorry for the picture overload.

Everything goes in his month now.

I love his eyes, they open up his face.

Getting close with dolly.

He sometimes sleeps with his mouth open.

Blowing raspberries on dolly's tummy.

6 months and 3 days old, he's growing up so quickly.

I got asked the other day if Mr Opoes and I were thinking of having anymore babies. My response was that if I could give birth to a baby just like Quinlan I'd have another one in a heartbeat but each child is different so it's not possible. She told me that 'you should stop once you've reached perfection'.  So that's what i'm going to do.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Black and White Bathroom

Well our tiles finally arrived and Mr Opoes had to move the 500 kilograms of tiles from the car's boot into the kids bathroom and our ensuite. There was a total of 17 boxes, this meant 5 trips to our ensuite and 12 trips to the kids retreat. Because we'd delivered the tiles within hours of their arrival from Sydney our tiler came out to the block around midday on Friday. I spoke to him late Friday afternoon, he's coming back on Saturday to do some more work before finishing off the job on Monday. I'm so glad that he's come in on Saturday to catch us up a bit due to the delay of having to wait for the arrival of the tiles. We have been delayed by 7 days.

There isn't too much left to do so he'll definitely be finished on Monday. So I have a few photo's of what he has done so far.
The tile in the ensuite its looking a bit blue.

Close up of the ensuite floor great black and white all from CTM

Looking into the ensuite from the doorway, the shower and toilet
will be on the right opposite the sink.

Now to have a look at the children's bathroom, their bathroom is all white with a small black feature down the wall of the shower.
The floor tile is the same as ours just in white.

Although the wall and floor tiles are different its not so noticeable due to the texture in the floor tiles.

My laundry floor its looking good.

So things are progressing nicely in these three areas and we'll have the wet area's finished by the end of today. The tiler will come back to do the splash back in the kitchen and that'll finish off his job. So now the only other issue we're going to have this week is the public holiday we've got on Wednesday for Anzac Day. Mr Opoes and I have to meet with the painter sometime this week to check over the various paint colours so I'm hoping that things continue to progress at a steady pace.

I can't wait for the bench tops to go in both bathrooms. One thing I wish I'd done in the laundry was to remove the broom cupboard and insert a table so that I can fold the washing. Well that could possibly happen in a few years time, it'll be my first renovation. :(


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Tall girls do it better......

I've had a secret obsession for the last 18 plus months and I look everyday for one or even two, so much so that I've become scared I'm never going to find her. I've stalked Gumtree, hunted on eBay and I've even started locating Antique stores that I could try to hunt it down at. Due to her varying age I want her looking nice and old without being brittle. I want original markings to show her personality, I want her to have character but to still be able to serve her purpose in our lives.

So Mr Opoes and I decided we'd take the children to an Antique store I'd found on Gumtree, they'd advertised that they had numerous different girls so on my way out the door I grabbed the laptop. I remembered how to find the address by typing in a couple of words into the search function. I then clicked onto any advertisement and at the bottom of their ad I'd find a reference to the Antique store. So I typed in the magic words, scrolled down a few advertisements and there she was. I'd seen her before but I hadn't done anything about it for a few reasons 1. I didn't have anywhere to store her until she'd be needed, 2. She was 6 foot, I wasn't sure if this was too tall or she'd be just right and 3. I didn't think we could spend the $50 they were asking (the Antique stores starting price was $55 and I was preparing to spend that) especially as a few bills would be arriving soon.

Well imagine my surprise when I discovered she was being given away, they were asking less than half of her original asking price. I told Mr Opoes I'd ring the seller to see if she was still available but people are good at leaving their ads up even when they've gotten rid of their items. Oh my gosh she was still available and her current owner was willing for me to come and have a look at her. I went off to look for bath towels but I couldn't find anything I liked, so off we went to the address.

We arrived early, really early. Viveca and Quinlan were asleep when we arrived but Viveca woke about 10 minutes after we arrived. I fed the kids Anzac biscuits for afternoon tea while we waited for the owner to arrive. Quinlan slept through the entire waiting period and he only woke up when I was trying to get her into the car. I was worried she'd hung her head out the window and that Quinlan would pull on her rope especially as she was over his car seat the entire trip home. Quinlan was gentle with her, he pulled her rope a few times but Mr Opoes turned around and moved her rope thus protecting Quinlan and her from getting hurt.

Driving slowly we arrived home a little later than it would have taken normally, but she was safe. Mr Opoes and I carried her in and we found her somewhere safe to sit. She was nearly home, I had her and I was now her owner. Finally after all these months of looking, she was mine. I could take her to the new house when it was finished and I could find the perfect place for her. I would make it her room beautiful, it would be full of warmth, styled and personality. She would be the newest member to our family. She would be arriving long before the veggie patch, the hen house and the hens.

So after much thought, time and effort I'd love for you all to meet LOTTY.


She is the apple of my eye, she will hold onto our towels with love because we took the time, effort and gentle care of her. With a little sanding to remove some of the blue paint or with additional white paint we will give her a some more personality. She will look after Mr Opoes and I for a long time and I will replace her missing nail as a sign of love and respect.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

House Update - whats happened this week?

I really wanted to start this post off by telling you how close we are to moving into our new house but unfortunately nothing has happened this week because we are still waiting for the tiles to arrive from Sydney. I found out late yesterday afternoon the truck had broken down early into its journey so the truck wouldn't arrive until sometime on Thursday. For us and the 15 other customers waiting on the delivery of their tiles it has put us all in an unfortunate position. I'm so glad our tiler isn't coming today, now its anyone's guess to when the tiles will be arriving.
So instead of showing you all the finished wet areas I'll show you what the tiler was able to finish so far.

Kid's bathroom

The corner of the bath  in the kid's bathroom.
Feature tile in the kid's shower.
 So the children are having a white bathroom with a few black features just to give the room a bit of personality. I chose a black mosaic tile called Liquorice Silk from National Tiles to go in the shower and black Caesarstone benchtop with two floating sinks.

Shower in the ensuite.

I've used the wall tile as the skirting instead of using the floor tile.
Our bathroom is also going to have a similar theme but we are going to have more black in the room while the white shares the spotlight. We are having black floor tiles and we are also having black Caesarstone benchtops. Our wall tiles have a weave, I choose these because they add a texture to the wall.

So there you have it its nearly 1 pm and our tiles still haven't arrived. Please start praying for us we need these tiles delivered today.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Why do we always over pack?

If you were to look up the definition of 'over packing' you'd see a huge photograph of me with bulging bags beside me. Whether I'm packing the family up for a holiday, a day trip to visit the family or I'm just preparing the kids for a sleepover at Grandma's I always take more than what's needed. Now I'm not obsessive about it BUT I'd have to say that we always take about 10% more than what's needed.

I'll pack extra underpants, shirts, shorts and skirts just IN CASE SOMETHING HAPPENS and that's even if I have access to a washing machine and clothesline. Mr Opoes was a scout and he doesn't even take additional items with him when he takes business trips. Over the last 8 years I have worked hard to reduce the number of extra items I take with us. Until yesterday I thought I'd been successful at not taking too much clothing with us while we are living in the granny flat at Grandma and Grandpa's place, BUT then I saw this and I realised I was over compensating what our clothing requirements were.

So I started putting our clothing into piles which needed folding after doing the washing over the weekend. How many pairs of underpants do you think a 7 year old needs, can I tell you 10 would work for him but I've got a least 16 pairs and I keep finding more  of his underpants all over the place. So over the next few days I'll be going through everyone's clothes and I'll pack away the items we don't need and I'll keep the things we DO need. I am hoping that this simple job will help us create some floor space so that Quinlan can have a play and so the other 3 can sit and play as well.

So with the amount of time it takesd to sort the clothes, fold the clothes and then count the various groupings of clothing 'm going to need I think I should come up for air early next week. I'm hoping I can reduce the amount of clothing we need for the next month or so.


Monday, 16 April 2012

Tiles - why can't I get what I want?

We're finally gotten to the nitty gritty details of the house, its common that things can go wrong and you guessed it they have gone wrong. I've spent sooooooo many hours looking at tiles, shopping around various stores for the tiles and even looking on the Internet. So leading up to Easter we went out to the various tile shops and we picked up all the wet area tiles so that we would have them sitting in the house ready for the tiler. Our building supervisor organised a meeting with the tiler on Good Friday so after arranging another time we were all set to deliver and met the tiler.

We arrived home, unpacked the tiles and then looked over everything we had. I placed one box of each tile that would be used for the various rooms so that I could determine whether or not we had enough tiles and to draw up a table for the tiler. I soon realised that we hadn't collect the floor tiles. On the day of our tiling meeting Grandma looked after the older children while Quinlan, Mr Opoes and I went to the block for our 8am meeting. The idea was to have our meeting, go off to the tile shop pick up the floor and then return to the block with said tiles. We arrived at the tile shop to discover that the tiles were still in Sydney and they wouldn't arrive until the 18th.

So what does this delay mean to the tiler and the overall outcome of our build. Now we have to sign a document stating that we have delayed the entire process. I'm a little unsure as to why the painter couldn't have started painting the outside of the house but apparently there a process to follow and we have to do its the supervisors way.

I'd spent a heap of time typing up a document that let him know the size of each tile, the position of the tile and its direction on the wall. Typing up this document took a bit of time. I'm not really sure if  it was worth the effort because the tiler walked around the house and he wrote everything down on the back of a piece of paper. Fingers crossed the tiler lays the tiles in the correct place and position because I don't want to have to have that conversation with him.

Due to the amount of time I've spent looking at tiles online I thought I'd share a few pictures of some of the tiles that I fell in love with. Just keep in mind that if money was no concern I'd make sure that I'd create dream bathrooms, toilet and laundry areas. So here are the tiles I'd pick. This first tile is really decorative and it would make a great feature in a bathroom.

I love the pattern that these floor tiles create and the size of them is really different. This pattern could be copied onto a wall to create an interesting feature wall.
This is a beautiful bathroom, I love the colour scheme and the texture of the wall tiles. I really want a black and white ensuite and I've had great difficulty finding tiles that are black and glossy. I can't wait for my tiles to arrive I'm hoping that everything works out well.

Could you imagine laying these tiles, you'd want everything to line up perfectly because of the size of the feature. If there is the slightest fault with the tile or the laying of the tile you are guaranteed that it'll be very noticeable.

This would look good in the right place and it would help reinforce what children need to do when they have a shower. You'd have to make sure that the wording was printed on the tiles otherwise you'd need to find a tiler who was one part songwriter and one part tiler.

So here's hoping that our tiles arrive on Wednesday and that the tiler can be on site by Friday, otherwise it could mean a two week delay and that'll set us back even further. I'm hoping that we can be in by May 31st but at the moment we are still in the dark as our building supervisor still hasn't commented to an end date. It would be helpful especially so that we can start talking to the removalist and their storage shed department. I'll show you what the tiler managed to get done late last week. So I hope you can come back tomorrow.