Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A time to thank our friends..even the imaginary ones!

KB baked her first batch of Christmas cookies.  We chose a Belgium Biscuit recipe - delicious and spicey, drizzled with a lemon icing.

It took all day from mixing the dough to cooling, baking then cooling, then icing.  As a treat she got to stay up a little later than usual with Mum to finish these off.

We chatted about giving thanks to those who care for us and for whom we care about at Christmas time.  This included her friends of course.  And she included "mmm", "yay" and "ha" - her imaginary friends.

A month ago these three appeared or at least became apparent to me.  You see I forgot to dry them after KBs shower one evening (I did not know they were there!!).

I have since learned that they are girls.  They are very small and can fit in KBs hand.  They are gorgeous as told in one of her palm stories (when our family are in places where there are no books handy we use the palms of our hands together to tell a made up story) one morning... "Once upon a time there were some girls mm and yay they were gorgeous and nice..."  Their front door is on the wall beside her bed - which explains the knocking that we hear in the evening.  They recently celebrated a birthday and quite a birthday party happened at our house with many soft toy guests and two different cakes.  KB is teaching them how to use the toilet and they help her too.  They get pushed on the swing.

Many people believe that imaginary friends appear to help a child get through hard times and certainly research seems to support this.  I thought this too.  I did some research and more thinking about when mmm, yay and ha appeared to my "eyes" and what times they appear to play with KB.

They seemed to appear not long after KB tried to initiate a game of tee ball with a four year old at play centre, with whom she had played a couple of weeks before.  The four year old did not respond despite KBs attempts at asking.  So I wonder if KB needs friends for reciprocal play and in her life mm, yay and ha fill this need between real friends.

Perhaps, they have appeared since KBs sister E joined our family.  KB loves her sister but cannot wait for her to play with her...sooo may be mmm, yay and ha fill this gap.

Or may be as this research suggests, imaginary friends are created by children with active imaginations.

What ever the reason - mm, yay and ha are a part of our family, friends to KB and this year will be getting a gift of thanks from her.

How about those names??!

Friday, December 2, 2011

On a roll...a crayon roll roll

Have you visited Skip to My Lou?  For crafting, creating and celebrating this blog is full of fun and fancy and worth a visit.

I have been creating crayon rolls for gifts for Kaea to give to her little friends as birthday presents.

In version one I followed the tutorial almost to the tee.  I made the crayon roll before buying the crayons and then discovered that I could not find a pack of sixteen crayons, so coloured pencils it was!

In version two I modified the design to fit twelve coloured pencils and created my first fabric yo yo on which to fasten the roll.  I found this tutorial on fabric yo yos to be very helpful for a beginner like me.

I know I would love to see my girls receive a gift like this, so I hope Eve and Emma enjoy them.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Bumble Bee and her Fluffy Bunny

Our little bumble bee Elidi is just over three months old.  Every day we are enjoying her gorgeous personality unfold just a little more.  She is loved very dearly by her sister, who cannot wait for her to grow big enough to play with - KB is ever so patient regarding the importance of Es sleep "Babies are like bread Mum, they need to rest to grow".  In the meantime, KB gives her lots of cuddles, joins her into her imaginary play and reads and sings to her.  E loves every minute of this.  I do so love watching the love they already have for each other.  After KB's day out with her grandparents they both love seeing one another again.  E searches with her eyes and head for her sister upon hearing her, and KB always greets her with a big kiss and cuddle before Mummy these days!

It is a real pleasure to watch a special relationship grow.

On the note of resting.... it seems I have rested a lot from posting...it's not that I don't have a lot to post about...quite the opposite really as I have a lot.  What I don't have so much of is hands free time!!

I have been busy getting back on track with preparing wholesome food for our family therefore doing much less of the "just add" stuff as we did to get by with the arrival of E.  This has involved using the great meal planning idea from Madeline at ecoMILF, as well as recipes from her blog and Emma at My Darling Lemon Thyme.

And I am on target to reach my goal of at least 80% of our Christmas gifts being handmade.  So we have been using natural dyes, making solar infusions, quilting and sewing up a storm.  I cannot wait to share these and our family advent calendar.  Here's a peek...

My man has been working longer hours too, and these will increase as the school term comes to an end.  This means I really need to pace my self and rest too.  So here I am resting and so I shall leave you to rest more with my next goal of posting at least twice a week from now on xx

With all the strawberries about.... you really must give this delish tart a go.  I did in the weekend and we all loved it to pieces.

Photo borrowed from My Darling Lemon Thyme blog to tantilise your taste buds in the hope you will visit  Em and gives this a go!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Finger Painting Magic!

My nephew plunged into using our Playcentre finger paint - made by his Mumma during his little chicken pox episode recently.

He described his painting as "magic".  I so agree with him.

Here is Kaea's latest adventure with finger paint.  Blue and Kowhai this time.  She is beginning to notice what happens when she blends colours.

And clearly the experience was super as the paint was squidged all over her arms and feet!

"Green Mummy!"

Some parents prefer to avoid "messy" play at home, but in our house it is the best play of all.  Kaea's little senses love it and she seems so refreshed and "earthed" afterward.

This time round her little body seemed to want to get amongst the paint.  So I say bring on summer and we will take the paint outside and see what happens...by then E might like to join in as well!

Finger paint recipe here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homemade Butter and Quick and Easy Bread

There was quite a bit of cream left over from our pavlova making adventure and usually it ends up going off in our fridge.  Fortunately I had just received my copy of Wendyl Nissen's "Mother's Little Helper" and I was inspired to make butter.  Such a great scientific change effect for Kaea to see, especially since it involved butter her most favourite spread.  Sometimes she even has a small piece of toast with her butter!

We chose Wendyl's suggested method of beating the cream with a little salt to the point of butter with its whey or butter milk separation. Then squeezed the butter milk from the solids, drained off the liquid and continued to squeeze under a tap of running cold water.  Hey presto - butter, real butter!!

Of course you cannot have such a high quality butter without bread.  Kaea and I used to make bread often, but have had a lapse with my second pregnancy and arrival of E.  As much as I love kneading and proving, E is not yet three months old and I feel like I don't quite have the time or energy for proper bread making.

Annabel Langbein has a very, very easy bread recipe.  No kneading required, simple list of ingredients, and the proving is done in the oven.

We loaded our bread dough with sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds.  It is delish and reminds me of vogels bread.

We gave it at least ten minutes out of the oven before slicing and lathering in our homemade butter. Yum.

Another fantastic way for the kids to make butter is with a glass jar and a marble.  With marble (sterilised) in jar, add cream and salt if you'd like (it helps with taste and preservation) and shake, shake, shake.  A good work out and lots of fun.

Thanks for the photos Ms Dunn

Here is Annabel's Easy Bread recipe sourced with thanks from "So, So Simple Food"

4 teaspoons honey
2 cups very hot water
2 cups cold water
7 teaspoons yeast

2 3/4 cups whole meal flour
2 3/4 cups strong white flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 cups sunflower seeds

Handful of pumpkin or sunflower seeds to topping (Optional) 

Into a bowl add the honey and the hot water.  Dissolve the honey and add the cold water.
This should now be hand hot water, perfect for yeast to work.  If it is a bit hot, let it cool a little.
Sprinkle yeast on top and let it bloom.
Set aside 5 minutes
In another bowl place the flours and the salt and the sunflower seeds.
Add yeast and water.
Mix and pour into 2 greased loaf tins.
Sprinkle top with Pumpkin or Sunflower seeds if you choose too, I didn't.
Snip top of loaves with scissors or slash with a knife.  I missed this bit.

Into 80C oven for 20 minutes to help rising
Then turn up to 210C and cook a further 30 minutes or more until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

All Blacks and the Little Blue Duck

"The little blue duck with a passion to cook, was busily searching her recipe book.  I'll make a pavlova that beaut kiwi treat, lighter than air and perfectly sweet"

These words are read often in our home at bed time from the story "The Little Blue Duck".  To Kaea I guess the pav has been a mystery and a promise that one day we would make one.

And so we finally made one as a contribution to our Kiwi Dinner to celebrate the World Cup Rugby Final.

For every game the All Blacks played we dined on the delights of the "other" team.  From savoury crepes, and fruit tarts, to turkey sandwiches, pecan pie and pancakes, to takeaways (we had those when we played Tonga!).

We beat the egg whites and sugar for 10 minutes as suggested by a few Pavlova websites.

We also built walls up around the outside to stop the flat Pav thing from happening.

Kaea was in charge of the eggs.  "We whipped and we beat till the white of the eggs were perfectly peaked".  The funniest part of our pav making was when Kaea asked to go and find a cow to milk so we could make the cream.  We explained that we would go to the supermarket for cream.... to which she replied "To find a cow".

The outcome of our pav was somewhat like the game really..... a bit touch and go but overall pretty sweet!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oil Spill in our Beautiful Bay

Mr G, local and internationally acclaimed graffiti artist and local artist OD provoking the need for immediate action in the Bay of Plenty to clean our waters of the oil and stranded cargo ship devastating our environment.
So hard to fathom that this is happening in our neighbourhood.
("hui" pronounced "hoo - ee" means to meet)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Well Adjusted Babies and Children

I have been a great fan of the principles and values of the Well Adjusted Babies website and book since becoming a Mumma.  Again as we enter another  challenging week of sickness in our family - Mumma struck down with a tummy bug, Bubba with inflamed throat and ears and terrible break your heart cough at just six weeks old and Big Girl with another seasonal cold I am reminded of the Well Adjusted Baby and Children principles.

I absolutely believe that chiropractic adjustments allow the immune system to "do its thang" with might and clarity.  Bubba had a wonderfully blissful  sleep and time after hers' this week and her body seems to be healing itself.  A complete contrast to dealing with her ailments beforehand.

Children know what their bodies need when they are unwell and if we have the strength and patience (in my case this week) to listen to them they will lead us to these.  My Big Girl has often told me that she needed an adjustment and can point out where on her body it was required.  She always turns out to be right!  Little ones can also make the best nutrition choice for them during times of illness.  My Big Girl as a crawler with a cold would take her self to the pantry and bite on garlic cloves!  Today, after assuring me that it was in fact warm enough outside to play, she went to her garden to pluck peas to eat and pulled out a broccoli.  This was followed with a request for her knife with which she stripped the broccoli and came inside to ask to have it for lunch with rice.  Sure thing!  We added tomato, cheese and tuna, she mixed it all up and lunch was devoured.  An awesome lunch made with my Big Girl helping in six minutes flat!

Lastly, and this one I am struggling with... a lot given the countries latest issues.  Immunisations!  Poor sick Baby is due to have the six week ims, however I put this off due to her being so unwell.  I am so unsure about immunising this time around mainly because I realised first time round I just went with it and did not allow myself to absorb enough information about the pros and cons.  I have since learned that many unimmunised children with whom I have had contact lead healthy lives with very few colds and flus compared to the immunised children I know.  My immunised Big Girl has certainly had her fair share of colds and flus in her two years.  I wonder if the immunisations can stress the immune system and run it down making it easier to catch a cold??  So I am stuck on the notion of immunising having listened to much more information than I had in round one.  I wonder if you might share your thoughts on immunising or not with me.

Again as I have posted before, I want to say thank you to our family chiropractor "Zest" for their support and energy they give me as a newish Mumma x  Check out their facebook page for helpful articles and updates on raising free range healthy children.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sisters...what a gift!

Well, while I wrote my last post on birthing soundtracks I was going into labour!  It was very surreal.
Little Elidi arrived in super quick time days before her due date on Saturday evening!

Our big girl spent that night with her treasured Nana and Poppa.  While Nana and Poppa were none the wiser - just thought we were tired and their grand daughter wanted to stay over - KB knew otherwise.  Her Dad even heard her say to Nana "Mama's at home doing yoga".  That was her interpretation of witnessing a contraction in process and her Mumma breathing through it.

We chose not to share our news of Elidi's arrival to the world until her big sister had met her.  On Sunday morning when her Daddy picked her up he showed her photos of her new sister.  Even the fact that she really had a sister was surreal to me as KB had spent the last month talking about her baby sister (and none of us knew the gender of our baby).

By the time she arrived at the hospital she was ecstatic and crawled over Mum to the bassinet to see her sister and all of this came out:

"Aw my sister"  "Hello Babe" "My baby sister I love you" and then straight into singing her her favourite lullaby "Chi baba"

It was such a tender moment that while I watched and marveled at how beautiful and loving my girl is her Daddy shed many proud tears.

Elidi is five days old today and as in her names definition "Gift of the sun" she is a true little gift  - another beautiful daughter for Mum and Dad, and a sister for KB.

I hope their relationship as sisters is one full of rich memories, fond times, interesting challenges and lots of love as my relationship with my sister has and continues to be.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Soundtrack to Give Birth to...

Music plays a big role in our family.  Its a mood changer, a motivator, a memory trigger and moment capturer!

During our first pregnancy with our daughter a friend of mine and my partner spent their time coming up with a birthing soundtrack.  It featured songs such as Salt'n'Pepper "Push it", Johnny Cash "Burning Ring of Fire", and the song "It started with a kiss" - who sings that?

My pick for the birthing room was Europe's "Final Countdown" - I liked the big sound, slow build up and victorious conclusion.  Of course using this song never eventuated, in fact no music was, our daughter arrived reasonably quick.  I must say that I did think of songs during labour.

This morning I had some me time and while out on the road cranking the Rock I heard Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" and thought that would be another great song to give birth too!

I would love you to add to the sound track for giving birth to... did you use music, do you have a song that is in your opinion the one for the "event"?  Let me know and may be we will finally put the sound track together.

We have five days til due date so we are on the "Final Countdown"!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dear Daughter

To my Gorgeous Big Girl,

Before you become a big sister I want you to know how much I love you and how much richness you have bought to my life.

Since your presence in the world in my tummy you have been a treasure to us.  First as a secret which Dad and I did not want to share, then as a taonga to all who knew you were on your way.

Before you became a part of Mummy's life I did not realise how much you would teach me.  From you I learnt to listen better, be calm, relinquish control and let you lead and grow as you needed to.

Daddy and I grow to love you more and more each day.  You have a huge heart, an amazing brain and caring nature.  Your zest for life is infectious and we marvel at all that you observe and the connections about life that you make.

You have been very in tune with Mummy's growing tummy and the soon to arrive baby we will all love together.  To "Rainbow Chocolate" you will be an awesome big sister.  Becoming a big sister is exciting and you will always be a big sister.  Too, you will always be Kaea, our big girl.  You will always be you and we want you to be who you are, always.  As a big sister you will be amazing - as a big sister myself I know what a privilege it is and sometimes what a challenge it can be.  I think if you listen, love and empower then you are doing great.

Thank you for being such a supportive, caring and beautiful part of my life.

Love you so much and always will KB,

from your Mumma xx

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gorgeous Handmade Apron!!

Our little KB has a talented crafting Aunty who lives just out of Christchurch.  For her birthday Aunty Pam crafted this simply gorgeous apron - which we all love, especially KB!  Thank you so much Aunty Pam.

She looks super in the kitchen and seems to want to bake more often now that she has her apron from Aunty Pam to wear!

The colours and fabric combo are lush, the frills are perfect.  I could never imagine being able to sew so well.  I have not photographed the very personalised tag tucked inside with a message to KB along with a scanned photo of her too. Amazing.

For this fashion shoot KB was keen to cook with marshmallows so we attempted a modified hedgehog recipe with almonds, marshmallows, coconut and biscuits.

She is mastering her knife skills.  As well as her ability to actually put the ingredients in the bowl, rather than her mouth!!

All was going swimmingly until Mum put it in a too large tin for setting.  However it has been a hit with visiting family members.

For hedgehog recipes try these:
                                  Cadbury Bournville Cocoa Hedgehogs
                                  A pure chocolate version of Hedgehogs

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Munchkins - Bed linen and Accessories for Infants and Children

What an exciting week it has been for our family!!

A trip to Auckland Zoo with Uncles, Aunty and Cousin.  A stay in the city, with a special bubbles and chocolate and breakfast hotel deal (exciting in a different way when you are pregnant and order an extra bed for your sweet little toddler!).  A trip on the ferry to Devonport for a delicious dinner at Manuka.  Dropping Daddy at the Auckland Airport to bid him farewell on his week in Singapore.

Around and in between that I helped my sister buy a business.  I am so excited about this as she will really do so well in this line.

Check out Munchkins.  An online business supplying NZ designed bed linen and accessories for infants and children.  The designs appeal to me because of their character - surfers, safari, jungle, farm animals.  They are simple yet effective.

Check out the website for more kids bedroom related products and "like" their facebook page to make a new business Mum's day.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Poppies Bookstore Voucher Draw

Have you been to your local Poppies Bookshop?

I rediscovered ours in Mount Maunganui yesterday.  With the torrential weather we had in the morning I was so please to find shelter in its warm welcoming surroundings saturated in so many high quality books.

I find it difficult to not squeal out loud with excitement when I find great new and loved children's books - and Poppies know just how to stock them.

Even more exciting is being greeted by a passionate retailer.  Our local Poppies store is hosted by Janice, a wonderfully passionate woman whose infectious love for reading won me over!  Of course she offered us excellent retail assistance and showed us through an interactive book - sans pop ups, technological wizardry or add ons, just plain and simple visual imagery, "Press Here" by Herve Tullet. It will have you pressing, shaking, and tapping away. A magical, whimsical book suitable for young and wise with great imaginations.

It is also wonderful to walk into a bookshop who care about children.  There are toys for the little ones, should they tear them selves away from the tantilising books for children on offer.  KB was treated like a real little person in the Mount Maunganui Poppies - and this means heaps to a parent.  Poppies offer story time readings for children, they are great - I have witnessed many children enthralled by the readings.  Now that KB is into books I cannot wait to take her down!!

Poppies at the Mount have recently launched a Facebook page which will include reviews, event announcements, specials and when they will host their children's story times (such fun!).  Join their page to stay up to date and go into the draw for a $25 voucher of reading goodness.  Let them know you found their page through Rochelle at Focussed Lenz.

Other discoveries made and highly recommended reads......

Have you met Lulu?  She came into our hearts around the same time KB started toilet training.  Lulu is a very sassy young lady.  "Lulu's Loo" delighted and motivated KB and continues to do so.  This is an interactive book which captures the essence of toilet training - recognising accidents, triumphs and independence.  The illustrations are a quirky mix of paint and collage.

Lulu is somewhat of a heroin in our house so it was great to discover "Lulu's Lunch".  Another interactive story about Lulu and her picnic.  KB has added this to her Christmas wishlist.

Our two year old would love to recommend these books to other sassy little "Lulu's" out there.  Go track her down!!!

Don't forget to sign up to the Poppies Mount Maunganui Facebook page, mention Rochelle sent you and get your self into the draw for the $25 voucher.

May your weekend find you trapped in a great read!

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Creative Space: A Quilted Headboard

Now that my big girl is in her bed, and we have rearranged her room she really needed a head board.  But my goodness to buy these things are expensive!  It seems even more so if you are looking for character or originality.  I still find my self being hit with a barrage of pink when looking for anything slightly girly. Perhaps I am looking in the wrong places, please redirect me if you think I am.

All of this led me to "Why don't I make it myself".  Armed with mdf, some timber, batting, foam, a few power tools, spray adhesive, buttons and sewing machine we have this... a quilted white head board with randomly sized and placed buttons.  I love spray adhesive - it has come in handy for a few things.

Luckily you cannot see the back of the head board.  The back is purely functional and hardly pretty.  Problem is that when her blinds and curtains are open you can see a corner of the poor finishing through the window.  One day, when my belly is back to normal size I shall felt the back and tidy it all up.

In the meanwhile KB adores her head board.  I could not believe how excited she was to have it up.  It has proven to become a wonderful bedtime quiet game tool too.  KB counts the buttons, we match buttons and she practices her colours.  Who knows what we might do with the buttons next!

Now KB has a  hand crafted head board to match her up cycled Dr Seuss foot stool.

Check out more creative goodness from the Creative Space community here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood...

We celebrated our daughters second birthday during the weekend.  One of her favourite books is the “Gruffalo” so we celebrated to this theme.  
KB wears her home made ears and tail - she was of course the mouse!  Her cousin proudly wore his home made Gruffalo costume. My sister is very clever!!

KB’s most favourite sweets are marshmallows, so requested a chocolate and marshmallow birthday cake.  This became a chocolate swiss roll filled with home made marshmallow, covered in chocolate and decorated as a log from the deep, dark wood.  I managed to craft a wee (well actually he is quite tubby) fondant mouse - eating the nut.

We also had scrambled snake (scrambled egg with sushi roll), owl icecream, roasted fox (chicken) sandwiches and Gruffalo crumble.  
The crumble was a home made apple crumble with boysenberries for his purple prickles, green grapes for his poisonous wart, his orange eyes were apricots and his black tongue was licorice erupting from the crumble.  It was delicious!!

The table setting was the woodland scene complete with edible toadstools and leaves.

I now get to look forward to my nephews birthday and working with my sister on creating something fun for him!!!

Happy Birthday my Little Mouse x

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