Monday, September 1, 2014

Kids Can Help- Father's Day Ideas

Here in New Zealand, we celebrate Father's Day on the first Sunday in September. That means that Father's Day falls on the 7th September this year. That is this Sunday...where did the time go?

I have been accumulating some ideas for gifts that my two boys can make for their Dad, and I thought I would share them with you. Malcolm- if you are reading this then look away!

1. First up, we always have a cooked breakfast on Sundays, so Father's Day will be a mega breakfast. I love this idea to make Dad pancakes using stencils and icing sugar. The boys are already whizzes in the kitchen, so at least I will have two helpers to make these.

2. Handmade gifts are great, but I find a lot of them aren't practical or just don't last. This toddler artwork t-shirt is cute but will also be used, which makes it a win in my book! Lucas and Adam will love drawing on t-shirts to do a great drawing for their Dad.

3. Every Dad deserves a special treat, and manly cupcakes with mustaches on top will do for dessert nicely. I have some chocolate mustache moulds already, so these should be a cinch to make. Once again, the boys will be able to help with most steps to these cupcakes, and Lucas already has the chocolate cupcake batter recipe memorised!

4. I think this book would be a great accompaniment to the t-shirt gift, as the boys love to read with Malcolm and we always tend to get a Father themed book for Father's Day.

5. Of course, we will need a card to go with the present, and this adorable monster hug card can be easily made with the help of the two boys. They have made similar hug cards in the past and loved them, so I am sure this card will be appreciated by all.

6. I can't forget my Dad and also my father-in-law, who sports a pretty awesome mustache. My two should enjoy picking out lots of candy to put in these lolly jars for their Granddads, and will probably end up getting some lollies for themselves too.

If you need some extra inspiration, be sure to check out my Gift Ideas board on Pinterest!

Sunday, August 31, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas is keeping the family photobombing tradition alive!

Adam is tired after a big day playing with his toys. I am envious of his eyelashes!

Joining in here.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Life Lately

Wow, what a busy month August has been! I have had so much to do, and things are not getting any quieter. Can you believe I am having to plan Christmas already? Plus I have the Great New Zealand Craft Show this weekend, where I have a stand, and I am going to another clothes swap to bring you some more fabulous fashion finds and get rid of some of the clothes I am still hanging on to.

Lately, I have been taking pleasure in the little things.

Baking for Malcolm's 30th birthday- I made a giant lamington cake!

Reading is how I unwind every night, and currently Unlock Your Style (full review here) and lots of magazines donated by my mother are on my bedside table.

My craft table is rather messy as I am making lots of cards, demo items and scrapbook pages for the weekend. This flip stand is one of my upcoming classes for September and I love how it turned out!

I did manage to get away at the beginning of the month to a scrapbook retreat in Hanmer Springs. Even though I was working for these three days, I did have some time for wine and a massage.

I still make time to have "Family Fun Dates" with my husband and our two boys, and recently we went to the Yoghurt Story for the first time. The boys loved being able to choose their frozen yoghurt toppings, and I loved my Watermelon and Apple flavour combination!

These little things have helped me to keep grounded in light of such busy times, and I know that my family time and craft time are both so important to my wellbeing. I would love to hear what you like to do when things get hectic, as we all have our "me time" so differently!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Unlocking My Style

A few months ago whilst participating in a Wardrobe Wednesday challenge, I came across a lovely Australian blogger called Nikki from Styling You. She graciously answered my questions about tunics, ankle boots and skinny jeans, and I really loved each of her blog posts as there was always something I could take from it.

When I saw that she had written a book, I jumped online and ordered it on release day. To say I was excited to read it was an understatement- I have started becoming more interested in my appearance since the big 3-0 is looming, and I knew that Nikki's advice in the past had been spot on.

I really liked the style of writing, peppered with Nikki's own experiences, and I appreciated seeing some of her ideas on different body shapes throughout the book. This will definitely be referenced in the future as seasons and trends change, and I know that this book gave me the courage to step away from fads and look at my own needs. I now also have a great idea for a gift for the females in my life- this book would make a fantastic birthday, Christmas or just because present for any woman.

One of the big things was taking the leap to clearing my closet. Now, I do tend to go through things twice a year but Nikki had me be brutally honest with myself, and that meant taking everything out of my closet.

That leather jacket I got for free but never wore, yet was still holding on to since it was leather- gone. The floral pants that had seen better days but cost so much that I was reluctant to part with them- gone.I ended up with a very large pile of items to take to my clothes swap!

The end result was that I could see the back and floor of my closet- and my clothes were organised and ready to pull together as outfits that expressed my style.

I also underwent a beauty haul, and I must say it is thanks to Nikki that I now have a dedicated beauty routine. I had been putting skincare off as it is so expensive to get the brand that does not react with my skin, but there was a nudge in the right direction and now I am even using an eye cream.

Nikki had some great advice, and I am armed with a list of some items to buy next time I am at the mall, and also a few things that I will be looking out for on the weekend when I go to another clothes swap.

Make sure you check out the Styling You website for more wonderful ideas, tips and outfits, and join the online community to talk through any of your style questions.

This book was not gifted to me and all opinions are my own- I wanted to share this wonderful read!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #21

I know I have already shared my delicous Lemon and Blueberry Muffins, but I can never get enough of muffins! They can be a wholesome snack, breakfast or part of a lunchbox, and they freeze well.

My Simply Heaven Chocolate recipe book is coming back to feature this week, with the combination of blueberry and white chocolate coming together to provide a moist and tasty muffin.

Blueberry, White Chocolate and Coconut Muffins
adapted from Simply Heaven Chocolate

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup castor sugar
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
125g white cooking chocolate, chopped
125g blueberries
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.

Whisk together the milk, oil and eggs, and fold into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon the mixture into greased muffin tins and bake at 190 degrees C for 15-18 minutes until golden and set. Stand for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool then serve.

These can be frozen for up to three months, or will last 3-4 days in an airtight container.

The verdict: I got so many compliments on how good these muffins were, that I will be making another batch this week already! The coconut stops the muffins from being too sweet, and the white chocolate gives a gooey, caramel taste to the muffin.

Monday, August 25, 2014

When I Grow Up....

Children always have great ideas of what they want to be when they grow up. My four year old, Lucas, has two occupations that he mentions over and over. He informs me that he is either going to be a clown or a policeman when he grows up!

This month, the theme over at Poppins Book Nook is What Will I Be When I Grow Up?

We decided to focus more on a job as a policeman, since Lucas has been dressing up as a Police Officer a lot this month and seems to have a big interest in community helpers.

The books I used for this topic were Let's Meet A Police Officer and A Visit to the Police Station. Both of these books are focused on learning about the job of a Police Officer, but are aimed at 4-8 year olds and both have great illustrations as well as a huge list of other resources at the back of the book. I decided to take advantage of the resources suggested, and they did not disappoint.

The first thing we did was create Lucas' very own police badge for him to use, using the Official Badge Generator website.

The Police colouring pages we used were a big hit, as was the CSI Cool School Investigators Activity Book. These both had free printable activities, as well as safety information and ideas on how to help out in the community. Lucas even got to take a virtual tour of a Police Helicopter and a Police Car.

We had so much fun reading and learning about Policemen this month. Please feel free to link up below with your What Will I Be When I Grow Up? inspired activities.

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.

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A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Sorry this is a day late, I thought I had set this to publish but obviously not!

Lucas with his "trophy tower" at a Lego event at our local toy store. He was so proud as he won a prize!

Adam all set up with his New World Little Shop- these collectibles are so awesome for open ended play and I love seeing how the boys play shop together.

Joining in here.
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