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, 30 August 2013

Framing the Entry

I'm a lover of Pinterest and while I've been blogging I've enjoyed looking for DIY projects, recipes, clothing projects that I might get around to sewing and any things that might relate to decorating our house. Recently though I haven't gotten to pin too much as I've been concentrating on doing Amy's Growing Together: Summer 2013 course and making changes to the look of my blog. So it came as a huge surprise the other week when I realised that we moved into our new house just over twelve months ago and not much has changed.

My entry is still the same as it was the day we moved in (OK there is a lot more dirt and dust than there was on handover day). It's plain, boring and in need of so DIY loving. When you walk into our house it would be really hard for you to see how many hours I've spent dreaming about how I want to decorate the house (particularly the entry), planning how to decorate many of the rooms and collecting pin's for my Pinterest boards (when I have time) so that I could use any of the idea's later down the track. Well I'm pleased to say that I've finally taken the leap and I'm going to use a few of the pin's from my Entry board to create a warm and welcoming entry to our house.

It all started in May when I visited Jen's blog Tatertots & Jello and I discovered her Wall of Frames. I fell in love with it instantly, I pinned and then I showed it to my husband the moment he walked through the door after work. Let's be honest It was an ambush and my husband didn't know what had hit him. So I started collecting frames from around the house, I visited thrift stores and I purchased more few decorative frames from a dollar store, Target and Bed, Bath and Table.

I rang my sister later in the week and shared Jen's link with her to see what she thought about my idea especially because she helped design our house. While talking to her she suggested that we could use more than one colour which would add to the feature I wanted to create. So I jumped back on Pinterest and I started searching for gallery walls that used colour and when I found a few pin's that used a heap of colour I knew this was the direction I wanted to take.

Source can be found on my Pinterest Board.

So I got to work collecting frames, looking for paint chips that complement each other, dreaming of a new light fixture and looking for a hall table. In order to save money I started looking at thrift stores for wooden photo frames and I was able to find a few but each one looked the same so I had to spend a bit of money buying nice ornate frames. I also tried Gumtree to find my hall table and pendant light however all the ones I liked sold really quickly or they were priced out of my budget.

So you can imagine my delight when found a women on Facebook who sold used furniture. The best part she was only 20 minutes drive away and I had the option of buying the item as is or she could 'shabby chic' the piece in a colour that you wanted. I went to the store just to see what she had on offer and also hoping that I'd find something. When I went into the back room I saw a beautiful little mustard table but it had been given the shabby treatment and I didn't really want to spend the time and money changing the colour. That's when I remembered that my father had up-cycled a dressing table for my daughter last year so I thought that it was a possibility. I decided to leave it at the shop because it was more than I wanted to spend and I knew that I could get something cheaper on Gumtree.

A few weeks later I decided I'd go back to see if the table was still available or if there was any other pieces that might work in the entry. I found lots of chairs, bedside tables and other beautiful pieces but I couldn't find a hall table. Then I saw the mustard table again BUT this time it was within my price range so I went and had a good look at it. I bought it because I knew that it would be great in the space and secondly because I really liked it. So here is my little mustard beauty that I'm going to paint black and I'm going to change the colour of the hardware.

My little Mustard Hall Table.

I'm hoping that everything works out well with my first ever house project. Pop back next week and I'll share with you the colours I chose and the layout I decided on. I'll also share with you the method I used to select the colour combination that I used.

I'm in love with colour at the moment, which is really funny because I don't generally have a heap of colourful clothes in my wardrobe. Tell me do you only use two or three colours when you decorate or do you use a selection of colours that compliment each other.


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Landscaping Part Three: Grass and Trees

So I thought I’d share the final part of our landscaping story with you, considering it’s been about six months since it was finished. The best part about completing this project has been that the children now have a yard to play in and they don’t spend their day’s complaining about how bored they are. Not long after the landscaping was completed by Barry and his boy’s Brisbane and the rest of Queensland was inundated with rain. This made our job of 'establishing everything' a little bit easier as we didn’t have to water the lawn and tree’s every day to make sure that they were getting a good start in life.
The front of the house and all our Lilly Pilly's
Due to the amount of rain we experienced we had to wait a few extra weeks before we fertilised or cut the grass as we wanted to make sure that the grass and soil had knitted together. During the first ten weeks Mr Opoes and I bought more timber stakes to secure the Lilly Pilly's more and to correct their positioning due to the increased amount of wind we'd been experiencing. Once all the Lilly Pilly's were straightened up everything was looking better and all we had to do was make sure that each planet had enough water BUT not too much water. Barry's parting words were very specific about looking after the Lilly Pilly's as they can die if they're under watered or if they're over watered.
We now have street appeal and we don't look like the new kid's on the block.
We are really happy with how everything is looking and the children have loved have green grass to run around on. It was so great that we had the yard all landscaped by the end of January as it gave us an entire month of Summer left to play outside and enjoy the grass. The other great thing about having the backyard completed was that we were able to set the trampoline up that Grandma and Grandpa gave the kids for Christmas 2011. The children have loved going outside everyday and having a bounce on the trampoline.
The backyard which the kid's LOVE.
Quinlan is now at the age were he's able to use the trampoline and he really enjoys playing on it with Viveca and Mackenna. The next step will be for the girls to teach Quinlan how to jump up and down, I can safely say that Quinlan will probably have achieved this by his second birthday and he'll be spending quiet a lot of time over the Summer playing on the trampoline and running around on the grass.
The back of the house (top row of pictures) and the side of the house (bottom three pictures).
Since the we've had the landscaping done we have realised that it's about 90 percent finished and we still have a few things that we need to do before SUMMER arrives. As a family we are really happy with the way it is now but I'm really looking forward to getting it finished and having it all complete so that we can enjoy it all year round.
With summer been only four and a half months away I've drawn up a To Do List which I'm hoping we'll be able to tick off as the months pass:
  • install a garden shed so that we can free up some space in the garage.
  • create a concrete, paved or gravel based floor for the shed.
  • start planning and planting out a veggie patch and then harvest the vegetables.
  • possibly get a few chickens in the backyard.
  • install two side fences so that the chicken are safe when playing in the backyard.
Once all these things are completed I'll be able to focus on organising the outside patio area which will require us buying some furniture so that we could eat outside during summer but that won't be happening until the summer of 2014. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to be sharing more of the projects that I have planned for the yard.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

When motherhood throws you a curve ball..

This post was written not long after I took a break from blogging
and it's one of the reasons why I choose to focus on my family.

Where has the time gone? It seems like it was on yesterday that I was celebrating my birthday, we were madly running around getting Caelan's birthday organised, school was about to break up for Easter and I was preparing to get ready to celebrate Easter with the children.  So what have I done while I've not been blogging? The answer to that questions is 'not much but I have done more than normal'.
I generally love been a mother to my four young cherubs, its hard work sometimes but more often than not its really rewarding. My eldest son came first in he's school cross country for the eight year old group two days before his eighth birthday and we were all so proud of him. However, at the same time I was dealing with a sick little cherub.

Quinlan picked up a cold due to teething at the beginning of March, I was really grateful that he's improved by about the 10th March as this meant that I could use my evenings and his sleep times to work on getting Caelan's birthday party organised. However, seven days later he was sick again. This time things were a lot different and my happy go lucky little boy was pale, tired and NOT HAPPY AT ALL. He has since had small bouts of the flu every couple of months so I'm watching him closely to make sure that things don't get any worse. I have a new understanding for parents who have sick children who spend time in and out of hospital.

I took Quinlan to the doctor's one day after a four and a half hour sleep because when he woke up he was pale and lifeless. I then spent the next 5 hours sitting on the couch holding him and trying to get him to drink a little bit of water as the doctor had informed me that he was dehydrated. The other difficult thing was trying to get a seventeen month old (he's now 22 months old) to tell you what was wrong, it seems funny now but every time I'd ask him if his tummy was sore he'd shake his head 'yes' and then vomit. At the time though I just felt sorry for him.

After countless trips to the local doctor's and the children's hospital I was informed that he'd probably started off having a gastro bug which had been masking the fact that he also had pneumonia. I found during my time at the Children's Hospital it was important to see the funny side of thing otherwise you can spend all those hours thinking the worst. On our first visit they wanted a urine sample from Quinlan so he spent four plus hours in his room naked in the hopes that the cold air would make him urinate. Didn't work. They even suggested I go to the toilet in the hopes that he gets the idea of what they wanted from him. No such luck. At the end of the five hours I left the hospital with a urine collection container and a very tired little munchkin.

One of the best part of the whole visit was the number of nurses who came in to talk to Quinlan and left after telling me that he was a very cute little boy. However, as his mum I already knew that Quinlan is cute BUT I did enjoy all the cuddles that we had during the time that Quinlan was sick.

Motherhood had been difficult of late. I've had to learn how to multi-task in area's that I've never had to before. More importantly, I've had to learn how to look after a very sick little cherub while also being solely in charge of three other cherubs. Mr Opoes took a business trip to Newcastle and I was left to figure things out on my own. It's funny no matter how old you are you still run to your mum for help and that's what I did.

I rang my mum just to make sure that I was doing the best for Quinlan and that the decisions I'd made were the right ones. So I'm hoping that my little man can bounce back and continue to improve. One thing I will miss is all the time Quinlan and I spent cuddling when he was ill, he's not a typically cuddly boy so the time spent together was really special.

During this time I learnt some very valuable lessons. The first thing I need to start doing more of is  cuddling my children more often and I need to spend some one on one time with each of them. I noticed during this time that the other three were trying to get my attention and because I was always tired up with Quinlan I never seemed to have any time for them. They would then end up being naughty in the hopes that this would get them some attention. The other thing I learnt was that I'm generally doing the right thing. I may over think things, worry about small things and get confused with who has done what or when something needs to be completed BUT overall I'm doing well and I'm forever learning.
So thank you for allowing me to have a moment and for sharing my thoughts with you. Tomorrow is a new day and things can only get better.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Slow Cooked Corn Chowder

I recently purchased a few cookbooks as I'd come to the realisation that I was generally cooking the same meals week after week. Although they were meals that the majority of the children (three out of four) ate we were all getting a bit bored of them. So when I walked into the book shop looking for a classic CWA book I was really surprised when I found a selection of 'Food Lovers' books that took my fancy. The shop was having a sale which would allow me to purchase three books for $12 so I walked way with three additional books to add to my collection yah.
During winter I love to use my slow cooker as it frees up the day and I can go about doing other things while dinner is cooking slowly on the bench. So the first recipe I decided to try was the 'Corn Chowder' but I wanted to put my own little spin on it so that I could give a few extra vegetables to the kids.

Corn Chowder.
Serves 6
800ml chicken broth (stock)
450g corn kernels
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), diced (optional)
1 onion, diced
300g broccoli
2 sticks celery, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
7 tablespoons cream
200g cooked chicken, diced (optional)

1. Add the broth, corn, potatoes, capsicum, onion, broccoli, celery, salt and pepper into the slow cooker pot.
2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. Using a potato masher, partially mash the mixture until thick. Alternatively, you can use a stick blender and blend it all together. Stir in the cream and cooked chicken, if using. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
4. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with chopped rosemary. Serve with a small bread roll of toast fingers.

The recipe states that you'll get 6 serves from the chowder, however I was able to get a heap more than that but that's because I had four little people eating it. What was great about the amount of chowder I'd made up meant that I had enough soup leftover to use it for lunch the following day for the kids and I. I also made a toasted cheese sandwich to accompany the soup as I have an eight year old with a huge appetite and his two little sisters who want to keep up with him.

So if you're looking for a great meal that you can cook while your at work for the day or while you're busy with the children then this slow cooked Corn Chowder is the meal for you. So give it ago and leave me a comment to let me know if you liked it or not.


Monday, 26 August 2013

Blogging Again

Welcome back to my little piece of the blogging universe. As you may or may not have noticed I’ve been MIA during the last twenty plus weeks. Unfortunately, this wasn’t because I’d been whisked away to a beautiful tropical holiday resort - I’ve just been busy looking after sick children, getting over the flu and working hard to improve my relationship with Mr Opoes. One thing I’ve come to realise in the last few weeks is that when times are tough you’ll discover who your true friends are and the same can be said about close family members as they too may desert you.
Now I’m not someone who likes to tell everybody my business so you won’t read anything here that is too personal. I will share my personal weight loss journey, interesting things that the kids have done, craft projects the kids and I have done together, things that I’ve discovered that I think you might be interested in and there might even be times when I try getting things off my chest without going into too much detail. Don’t get me wrong I won’t be airing my dirty laundry all the time BUT sometimes I might just have to get it off my chest.  Please don’t judge me because by no means am I doing everything right. Although motherhood is difficult at times I am blessed everyday by things that the children say, do and show me. All in all I have found that I've spread myself too thin (wish my weight was looking that good) so I've taken the time to focus of been a better mum, wife and friend. Let's talk about more positive things..

So what have I been doing since my last post?
I've had a few visits to the Emergency department due to Quinlan been really sick with Pneumonia, then moved onto weekly doctors visits just to make sure he's gaining weight, trying to make the children happy while daddy's been away on business trips, rang up to get quotes for built in bookcases, a 3 metre long desk and curtains to go into the kid's play area. I've tried to work these quotes into our families budget BUT some of these dream items will be left sitting on the shelf for a long time. I've been planning on making this little house of ours into a home and one of the last things I've been doing is taking time out for 'myself'. I read earlier in the year that to be a better mother and wife you should look after yourself, otherwise you won't be much good to anyone. Well I can tell you now that this is a hard lesson to learn especially when you've put yourself last ever since becoming a mother.
Have you thought about your blog while you've been away?
The simple answer to this is YES. During my time away I decided to enrol in an e-course run by Amy Davidson Latta from One Artys Mama and I can tell you it was the best money I've ever spent. I was one of twenty bloggers who took part in Amy's Growing Together: Summer 2013 group. During the twelve weeks I learnt about program's I didn't even knew existed, I developed skills using Picmonkey and with help from my fellow blogger's I was able to set up a Facebook page, clean up my Blog, add a button and make cosmetic changes to my blog so that it's more appealing. When I started this blog nineteen months ago I had an idea of what I wanted it to look like but as I'm not really good with computers I just did a basic job. With the assistance and guidance of Amy and the girls I cleaned up my sidebar, installed a button, added an about me page, I joined bloglovin and I added some social media buttons. So I hope you like the cleaner, modern look that I've we've created especially as it was a team effort.
Will anything be different?
Ever since I started this blog the one thing I wanted to do was share my craft projects with people. I have come to the realisation that I don't share many projects on my little blog so I'm going to work on doing and sharing projects that I do and those that I do with the children. Last year I created a board on Pinterest called 'Try Something New Tuesday' and the whole idea behind it was to find, learn and cook new recipes. As I enjoy trying new things I will be maintaining this weekly feature with the hope of building up both my skills and my Pinterest board.
In the coming weeks I hope to share some home décor projects I've been working on, share a few really yummy recipes and just babble on and on like I usually do ha ha. So I hope you come back to see what I've been working on.