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.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Unconditional Love

In this day and age it's difficult to give everyone all our attention,time and energy that they need. As Quinlan gets older I'm getting a little time back from feeding that I can now redirect towards the other children and my husband. In the past I've watched other mothers, family members and our immediate family to see how they show love to their children both young and old.
Growing up I always thought my parents love for me came with so many conditions attached, for me meeting their conditions seemed impossible and often unobtainable. I came up with plans, I'd over think them and then something would happen and I'd move onto something else. I remember speaking to my Grandmother, she'd tell me that although being the eldest was difficult it didn't make me any less 'special'. So with my children I have tried to let them know how special they are to me with kisses, cuddles, individualised actions e.g. I use to play with Viveca's hair while feeding her, just spending the time listening to them and making time to be with them each day.
Sometimes its difficult getting that one-on-one time but there's ways around it. Over the weekend Mr Opoes mother celebrated a big milestone she turned 70 years young and a birthday party was held in her honour. Unfortunately Quinlan and I didn't attended but Mr Opoes took Caelan, Mackenna and Viveca off to the venue for a night with family, friends and food. Each of the kids wanted to do something to show Grandma how special she was even though they didn't remember what it was by the time they arrived. Mackenna had been working all day on a special Irish, English tap dance and she was super excited about getting dressed for the evening - so much so that she worn her dance shoes for most of the day.
Caelan and Viveca wanted Grandma to see how handsome and pretty they were so that all Grandma's friends would tell her that she had beautiful grandchildren. So Mr Opoes bathed the kids at 3pm and I started organising their outfits so that they would be ready to leave at 5.30pm. Unfortunately Mackenna had issues with her outfit because it wasn't pink enough (it's her new favourite colour). Viveca liked her clothes but she also wanted to have ribbons just like her sister and Caelan had picked his own clothes and he felt he wasn't dressed correctly.
So after much fussing around I managed to get everyone organised, dressed, give Mackenna a hair cut, styled hair, styled clothing and took a few photographs to remember the evening. Because my girls think that they are twins here is a picture of the two of them waiting to go to the car. Caelan also wanted in on the action so here he is doing his best 'print ad' impression.


When they arrived home I spent time talking to each of them about their evening. Caelan told me he had a belly ache because he had eaten too much, Viveca wanted to sleep with her balloon and colouring book but we managed to put them both in her cupboard so that they would be safe from Quinlan. Mackenna had fallen asleep on the way home so I took the time in put her in her pyjamas before putting her to bed. About 20 minutes after I put her to bed, I found her looking for her Barbie friends she told me that she had to tell them about the special night she'd had. Mr Opoes had come home looking a little worse for wear and tired.
The sparkle in his eyes had gone from when he'd carried Mackenna into her room, he looked sad. Now for those who known Mr Opoes you'd know he likes to hide his emotions and he will also buried his thoughts as he doesn't want to dwell on the things that have hurt him. So when I asked him what was wrong his answer surprised me.
During the birthday party two thank you speeches had been made and Mr Opoes hadn't been asked to join his family while these were taking place. As Mr Opoes hadn't been involved in organising the party he didn't expect to make a speech BUT what got him upset was that he wasn't asked to stand with his family they just didn't include him. In the past when he's been left out it hasn't affected him but last night it did, it's made him question his role in his family and he is now trying to show the kids that he loves them just the way they are.
So I'm hoping that we can learn from this experience, that in the future we don't leave one of the children on the sideline feeling left out and lonely. Next month we're going to start a new tradition with the kids, I stole got the idea from Naomi. We're going to have a weekly date with each child, during this time we are hoping to have time to talk with them, answer their questions and just give them our undivided attention and to show them our unconditional love.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

School Holiday Activities

Image found here
It's the second day of school holiday's here in sunny Queensland and already the children are having major issues. According to Caelan who is seven 'they're bored, so bored that it's hurting them', and they want to do something. This reaction shouldn't be surprising. I remember when I was in primary school I HATED school holiday's especially those 6 long and B O R I N G weeks at Christmas. My family never went away during the holiday's and I remember listening to my friends talk about all the fun things that they did during their holiday's. For my sister and I going to the shops to compete our Christmas shopping was the highlight of our time off school.
So at about 10am yesterday morning I grab the computer and spent the next few hours looking for things to do in and around the area so that the children would get to experience some fun these holiday's. I came up with a list of 12 things to do as I knew somethings might not be possible due to people having to change their plans. I thought my list was quiet good, it involved spending time at home, going out to do things as a family and also including activities that Caelan can do on his own without having to involve the girls.
1. Lunch with Daddy (pack a lunch just like daddy's
and go eat it somewhere together).
2. The girls and I cook Fairy Cupcakes together.
3. Caelan and I make biscuits together.
4. Jewellery making at home.
5. Do a DIY activity at Master's on a Saturday morning.
6. Organise a play date at the park with Cristopher.
7. Take Caelan to the Lego place at South Brisbane.
8. Balloon Art Chermside Library.
9. Puppet Show @ Aspley Hypermarket during the first week of holidays.
10. Lego competition @ Aspley Hypermarket from 1st October.
11. Muffin decorating on 2nd October @ Westfield.
12. Cooking Class @ Westfield North Lakes at 11am.
At the moment Caelan is really interested in helping out in the kitchen, we have allowed him to butter his own toast in the mornings. He is slowly learning to dip slide the butter knife over the butter and then to spread it across him muffin. With this in mind, I decided that we'd go and do the 11am cooking class at Westfield North Lakes especially as it's only 5 minutes away. I kept Quinlan awake with the plan of putting him and Viveca down for a sleep once we returned.

We arrived early so that all three kids could get into the activity. The class wasn't set up in front of Coles like it said on the Internet so I went off to the concierge to find out it's location. Well after speaking to a not to friendly member of staff I was informed that they never had any cooking lessons planned. I could take the children off to the Madagascar 3 activity or I could let the kids do a sand art activity. The line for this activity was really, really long and I'd overheard a women was in line complaining about how long she'd been waiting. I didn't think my three would wait 40 minutes without complaining and I knew that Quinlan was beyond tired so we headed home.

So I'm now down to eleven planned activities. We have had a talk and decided that tomorrow will be the start of our school holiday activities. I might take them to the park near the lake tomorrow for lunch and this will hopefully wear them out a bit and then they'll be quiet. Oh if only, you're still allowed to dream aren't you. I won't be doing too many posts during the next two weeks because of the school holiday's and it's difficult to do things when you have four children who all want you at the same time. So fingers crossed I have something to show you soon.


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Zucchini Spaghetti with Pea Pesto

The other week I needed a few essentials items that we'd run out of so I ducked into Coles as it was closer to where I'd parked the car. As I entered Coles I saw that they had their monthly magazine out so I grabbed one. I love getting this free magazine, it gives me the opportunity to try out new recipes on the children and it also helps introduce new meals into our somewhat boring nightly meals.
We eat meat every second night and I always struggle to find a vegetable inspired meal that the children will enjoy and eat. So when I saw this recipe for Zucchini Spaghetti I knew that I had to give it a try because the kids all love zucchini's and they're also priced within my budget. So I made it for dinner the other night but I had to make a few changes as the kids don't like peas and I didn't have time to make my own pesto.
The original Curtis Stone recipe can be found here. I added more spaghetti and two extra zucchini's. So here is my modified version, it's a bit quicker than Curtis's recipe.
Zucchini Spaghetti with Basil Pesto
500g spaghetti
6 large zucchini's, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons basil pesto
grated parmesan cheese
1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the directions. Drain.
2. Grate zucchinis lengthways into long julienne pieces. Squeeze some of the water out of each zucchini and place the useable zucchini on a few paper towels. Heat the oil in a frypan over a medium heat. Cook the zucchinis for 3 - 4 minutes. Turn frying pan off.
3. Add the spaghetti to the zucchini and stir well.
4. Add the pesto and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve topped with parmesan and a green salad.
via Coles Website.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Leasing a KIA Grand Carnival

This is not a sponsored post, I was not contacted by the mentioned car companies nor was I paid any for any of my opinions or thoughts.
Close to four years ago Mr Opoes and I made the decision to upgrade our car as we were expecting our third child and we thought that the car we had just wouldn't cope with our growing family. So a long story short our car is just not working for us as a family with young children any more. We have issues getting the pram, groceries and one child into the boot most weeks. The other major issues we have with the car is that if someone comes for a visit I have to climb into the boot so that we can go out and our petrol bill is a huge problem, it keeps growing every time you visit the petrol station.
So while I was pregnant with Quinlan Mr Opoes thought that maybe we should novated lease a car through his work. I've left all the research up to Mr Opoes as he's really good with that plus when it comes to cars I really have no idea what I'd be reading. So after much research, late night discussions and looking at various cars while driving to my various destinations we narrowed it down to two vehicles.
The first was the Honda Odyssey and the second is the Kia Grand Carnival. I won't go into all the details about the good things about these cars except that the Honda is a 7 seater and the Kia is an 8 seater. So over the weekend we all went off to the car yard to check out both cars and to take them for a test drive to see which car we liked best.
Off we went to Honda to look at the Odyssey, after looking through the car we came to realisation that i'ts very similar to what we have at the moment. The older children will still have to climb over their seats to sit in the boot, access to the seat belts was an issue especially when doing them up and Caelan wanted to know if the air-con would reach him in the boot. We looked at the car for ages and if anyone knows us as a family we are never quiet, so after waiting 15 minutes without been approached by a sales person we left.
Mr Opoes and I realised while driving to the other car yard that the Odyssey just wouldn't work for us. Its a nice looking car but we both felt that it was great for a family of 5 who would have the occasional visitor and then you would have a boot that was only used to store the groceries. So off to Kia we went. Now one blog that I like to visit regularly is Retro Mummy. At the beginning of September she was given a Kia Grand Carnival to test drive for a week. Now she is a busy mother of 5 young children who are very similar in age to my children, so it was good to read her review but to also watch a video of the family using the car.
This is the look we want.
So with this information I was looking forward to looking at the Grand Carnival especially as I've seen hundreds of them during the last week while I've been doing the school run. Mr Opoes and I both wanted to test drive the diesel Si but they didn't have one on the lot so we got an upgrade to the diesel SLi which had beautiful leather seats but they aren't very practical for this family. We loved the Kia, so did the kids and now we have to talk things over with the leasing company.
Happy little passengers.
I'm looking forward to leasing this car because it's something that we've never done before. I'll end up saving us a bit of money in the end but the best part will be that we'll have a car that's better suited to our family's growing needs.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Crafting with my girls

Over the weekend I was going through a couple of boxes when I located a few of last year's Christmas presents. I started packing up some for our stuff from the rental two days after Christmas so it was easy to choose the gifts that would travel easily, especially as we were leaving our rental in early March. So while I was going through one of the boxes I found a few small presents the girls had been given and I thought that it would be good to swap these over for some of their old and tired toys.
In one of the boxes I found a beading kit that Uncle Nathan and Aunty Renee had given Mackenna so I hid it away so that the girls and I could work on it during the week while Mackenna was at home and not at Kindy. So that is how I managed to do my first ever craft project with both my girls today. Just after lunch I sat down with both the girls and I showed them what I had for them to do.
I was greeted with smiles, happiness and loud voices. There were ten little bags of various wooden beads and three lengths of pink elastics, so I promised the girls a necklace each and a bracelet. As the girls are only eighteen months apart they have to do everything the same, this means they eat at the same time, they each the same food, they have the same coloured plastic plates and they generally want what the other has even when we only have one of them. Mackenna will regularly tell strangers that they are 'twins' and people generally believe them.
So I spilt the beads up evenly so each girl had the same number and coloured beads. I asked each of them to choose a few larger beads and we made these beads the feature of the necklace and bracelet. I had to help both of the girls thread the beads on as the activity was aimed at older children. The other thing I had to do was to stick a large needle into each hole so that the girls could thread the elastic through the beads to create their necklaces and bracelets.
I held the bead while the girl's threaded them.
Viveca's pushing the elastic into the bead.
Mackenna having a turn.
I didn't fill the elastic with a whole heap of beads because I wanted to save some of the beads for the bracelet. I threaded the remaining beads onto the elastic, I then measured what size each bracelet needed to be and I knotted them so that they wouldn't fall off their arm. The girls are very happy with their handy work and now they are running around showing off their special jewellery.

This is what the finished pieces look like and I'm glad we did this together because it meant that each of them got some one on one time with mummy and they even got to make their own special necklace and bracelet.

Mackenna's Necklace.
Mackenna's Butterfly Bracelet.
Viveca's Strawberry Necklace.

Viveca's Lady Beetle Bracelet
Viveca likes her pieces so much that she wore them to bed and Mackenna has put hers in a plastic bag so that they don't break. Maybe mummy might be able to make herself something pretty one day.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Transforming Tuesday's.

During the time I had off from my blog I had grand plans of doing so many projects that I’d be able to share with you after I returned. Well that never happened and so each night I sit here trying to think share something with you that won’t put you to sleep. I’m presently working on a little something to go into the study and I’m crossing my fingers that it’s successful.  Otherwise, I’ll have to tell you how everything went wrong.
So because I don’t have a whole heap of posts saved I have decided that starting on 2nd October I’m going to start a regular post each week. I’ve fallen in love with so many mouth-watering foods on Pinterest so I’ve decided that I’m going to try a new recipe every week. I’m hoping to learn some new recipes, a new technique or to try a different food so that I can broaden this family’s horizon in the world of food.
So I’ve created the Try Something New Tuesday board and every Tuesday I’ll be sharing with you what I’ve made. I’ll share my opinion about how the dish turned out, what the kid’s or Mr Opoes thought of it and I’ll show you a picture so that we can compare my dish to the original. I’m going to try and mix it up with each choose but be warned that my kids love biscuits, cakes, cupcakes etc. so I’ve already got thirteen recipes chosen and eight of those are cake or biscuit related. Feel free to give me suggestions, especially if I ruin the dish.
So I've allowed Mr Opoes to choose the first recipe I'll be trialling and he's picked something sweet. On Tuesday 2nd October I'll talk you through how I went making the lovely Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies. If its a success I'm going to have to hide it from the children and Mr Opoes because I can guarantee that if its any good he'll eat four or five pieces in one go.
Sweet Pea 's Kitchen
So wish me luck on my cooking journey and I'll see if I can cross most of the recipes off my list.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

I'm in LOVE....

Quinlan is going to be 11 months old on Tuesday and I'm coming to the realisation that my little boy isn't a baby anymore. Sure, he'll always be the baby of the family but he's not a BABY. So two weeks ago when he started saying DAD DA the kids and I got all excited. When Mr Opoes heard those special words, he looked at me as if it was the first time Quinlan had ever done it. You see I've always hidden the fact that said child has just said their first word, taken their first step or lost their first tooth so that when he comes home for work he'll be surprised and it'll melt his heart.
The other three children have all said DAD DA for weeks if not months before MUM MA has pasted their lips. So imagine my surprise when we were sitting down at the table on Tuesday night and Quinlan calls out MUM MA while I'm feeding him his vegetables.
I smiled, looked at him and then something magical happened. Caelan, Mackenna and Viveca all clapped and called out words of encouragement. Quinlan's face lit up and he laughed along with them. I was so excited the I told Mr Opoes that night.
My friend Fiona took this picture last week.
I know I didn't wait for him to get home, considering he is interstate until tonight it's a big secret to keep. But Quinlan had another surprise up he sleeve. This morning at breakfast he said another word, so within three days he went from only having one word to now having three words.
So tonight when Daddy gets home I hope my sweet little BOY can share with his Daddy all the new words he can say. I'm hoping that Mr Opoes isn't to tired because he might just miss that Quinlan can now say DAD DA, MUM MA and BUB BUB.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Booster Cushion Seat Cover

So Caelan sits on a booster cushion seat which we have owned for a few years now. Now the plastic seat has a cushion cover which provides minimal padding to the child's bottom but it has worked well for a few years without any complaints for Caelan, his bottom or the cushion.
Last week he informed me that his cover wasn't working anymore I was a little worried. Now when I get told important information its always shared while I'm driving the car so it makes it impossible to solve the problem immediately. So the other night I went to the car to have a look the booster cushion to see how bad the cushion was. It was bad, the velcro wasn't working, the padding wasn't there anymore and the cushion was looking really sad. As I was already going off to the fabric store on Saturday morning I decided to take Caelan with me so that he could choose some fabric to make a  new cushion.
So boys being boys he went straight for a selection of quilting fabrics that were covered in various superhero designs. I had hoped that he would choose a simple cotton fabric that was fairly plain and boring, especially as his mother really has no idea how she is going to go about making one. My next step will be to search the Internet to see if I can find a tutorial. If this doesn't pan out then I'm going to have to create my own pattern and figure it out as I go.

The seat he is using at the moment is a Infa-secure
booster cushion that we purchased from Big W.

We are in Super Hero Heaven with this piece of quilting fabric.

I'm giving myself 2 months to find what I want and create it. So I'm hoping that I can find something because if I can't it'll take me the entire 2 months to create a pattern. Wish me luck because I've never created my own pattern, gosh I've never ever altered a sewing pattern in all the time I've owned a sewing machine.
I am hoping that I can make Caelan proud with the cushion I create for him and finger crossed that I'll find a way to make the cushion I need for his seat. If not I should have some fabric left over to make him an armband so that he can channel all his super hero powers.
Wish me luck and I hope to develop some of my own super powers soon.


Monday, 10 September 2012

I want my DADDY.............

So work has sent Mr Opoes off interstate for the week and that means I'm looking after things all on my own at home. I know each child is different, their personalities change and they will all react in different ways. We said goodnight to daddy last night as he was staying close to the airport and it would have been a very early morning for Mr Opoes this morning. So I drove home with two children who were asleep and had missed saying goodbye to daddy. The two eldest children were still awake when we got home so I had them go straight to bed.
Viveca woke up moments after arriving home and as soon as she realised that daddy wasn't there she started crying and calling out for him. I tried putting her into our bed so that she could sleep on his pillow but the noise kept on going. I tried sitting on the bed and cuddling her. While I was walking around the front of the house trying to calm her I got a telephone call, it was daddy and he was coming home. Why could he here her or did he just know that she needed him. Neither, he'd left his mobile charger and ties at home so he was coming back to pick them up.
I took Viveca to the television room and we sat down to wait for daddy to say goodnight. Daddy got home at 10.30pm and Viveca had fallen asleep while I was letting him in the door. We only just managed to wake her up, he gave her a kiss and then I put her into our bed. All was right with the world. She moved around our bed like no ones business, climbed out of bed to sleep on the floor and even lay across my face. So I picked her up and put her into her own bed, so much better I could now get some sleep.
In the morning she asked me a few hundred times were daddy was but after her morning sleep she seemed to have gotten past it. Well that was until daddy rang for a quick talk between meetings after lunch. She had a little talk to daddy about her baby picture, gave the telephone to her big brother and then the crying started. Well I've calmed her down and told her daddy will be back in three sleeps time. She isn't happy. She is putting food aside for daddy and I've had to promise to keep a few biscuits for daddy as we don't want him to starve. I can't wait for tonight when daddy rings again as I have a feeling both the girls are going to have issues with daddy not been home.
So if you read this daddy, we are missing you and we have a few biscuits for you. I'm also going to miss daddy because there won't be anyone to talk to about the silly programs that on television tonight. Wish me luck and I hope the neighbours don't mind a bit of noise..

Friday, 7 September 2012

Crafting Exchange

This is a post I wrote while on my holiday and I thought that I'd share it with you especially as it's the first bit of craft I've done all year. I also wanted to encourage people to give a 'gift exchange' a go because it was a really fun thing to do.

While surfing the Internet recently I found a great blog called Craftaholics Anonymous that is run by Linda who describes herself as a 'hopeless craft addict'. She was in the process of organising a handmade gift exchange for anyone who wanted to participate. Luckily for me Linda had also opened the exchange up for people in America, England, Canada and Australia so I took the opportunity to put my name down.

I then took the time to put a few items that I'd love to receive on my wish list so that whoever got me would have some idea of what I liked. The only downside to the exchange was that while it was on I was in the middle of packing the family up and moving into our brand new house so I was going to have to manage my time effectively so that I could get it all done. My time management skills didn't improve, I struggled to find a balance between packing boxes and creating a handmade gift for the lovely Sally.

So I thought I'd share with you what I made for the lovely Sally. After asking a few questions anonymously to see what Sally would like I moved on to trying to find something I could make that didn't require too much equipment. All my sewing supplies were in storage so I wanted to create something nice that didn't require me to purchase a whole heap of supplies.

I discovered that Sally loves necklaces so I decided to make her one. I sent through a few links to get a better understanding of what Sally liked, she liked the beautiful recycled necklace that I blogged about here and the instructions can be found here.  I'd suggest that you watch the video as the written instructions don't give you all the details. My sister who lives up in Townsville created a necklace for her daughter after reading my blog. She posted a picture on Facebook so I could how it had turned out. I came to the realisation that I'd need to use a larger t-shirt so I went and got a few bigger shirts.

This is the original necklace.

My sister's necklace made from a kid's t-shirt.

I planned on sending my necklace off to Sally on Friday 6th July so that she could start wearing it asap. I tried it on a few times and every time I did I felt that there was something wrong with it and I didn't want to send Sally a necklace that would be more like a choker. It wasn't until last week that I found a similar necklace but this one was a crochet string knot necklace found here and I really liked how these crochet strings sit better.

Find here via Elisabeth Andrée.

I took the idea of just knotting it at the end so that I'd created some length especially as Sally had told me that she liked some length to her necklaces. So after a week of playing around with it I was ready to post it. Nope didn't happen instead I packed it in a box and we moved into our new house. I knew I needed to get it posted but I was trying hard to unpack the boxes, get the kids settled and figure out were to put all our stuff. It wasn't until Sally contacted me that I realised I was so late at sending my necklace.
So I made a black flower using a plain and glittery polyester organza, a felt blacking and a white scrapbooking brad. I used a safety pin to attach it to the necklace. Sally then has the option of moving it or removing it and she can then create some different looks.
So after all those detail I'm thinking that you will want to see what the finished necklace looks like. S without further ado here it is.
My necklace and my mum's neck.
So there you have it. Not bad for my first ever gift exchange and my first necklace maybe if I was to make one again I'd buy the largest t-shirt that I could get as this would allow me to do more with it. The smaller shirts stretch but they don't stretch far enough.
I hope you enjoyed my post and I'll be back next week with some more things to share with you.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Returning from my blog holiday

I've had 2 months off from my blog, unfortunately I didn't get half of the stuff done that I'd planned on doing. So with spring upon us I've made a new list of jobs I want to get started, I'll be able to do some projects during the school holidays and that I will find the pieces of furniture I want at a responsible price.
The first area I'm going to be working on is the study. I've drawn up a plan, I'm in the process of trying to locate a few pieces of furniture and I think I've got the colour combination sorted. So I'm hoping to get a few items, this will allow me to get a start on a few of the projects this weekend and I will hopefully have a few projects to share with you.