Saturday, September 21, 2013

Talk Like A Pirate Day

We celebrated Talk Like A Pirate Day on Thursday and Friday this week, as the flu is making the rounds at our house and so Lucas was in much better spirits on Friday. We didn't get to do some of the activities I had planned, but we still had a fun couple of days.

First up was a Pirate Breakfast- Lucas didn't eat much of his due to feeling sick though.

The rest of Thursday's activities didn't happen- I had planned a Treasure Hunt with gold coins but Lucas was in full on man-flu mode!

Friday was slightly better, and so we decided to do a special Pirate Dinner. When my husband got home, we dressed up in pirate gear and played a game while dinner was in the oven.

I had this super cute Canvas Party Game from Stuck On You that was perfect for Talk Like A Pirate celebrations!

The canvas game comes with some parrots that you have to stick on the pirate's shoulder, and the game can be played over and over again. It is also customisable so you can put any sentence or name on the top of the game. We used a dress up pirate blindfold and away we went.

Lucas got the hang of the game quite quickly- we had two parrots each and had to spin around before placing them on the canvas.

It was very close- but the general consensus was that my husband won the game with his orange parrot!

Even Adam got into the Pirate spirit- he makes a cute Captain.

We settled down to eat homemade fish and chips and watch a great Pirate Movie- Peter Pan.

Did you do anything fun for Talk Like A Pirate Day?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Baby Bear

I have found a couple of new blogs for challenges, and I am having so much fun thinking of ways to incorporate two or three challenges together in the little spare time I have.

My good friend and I had our first babies together an hour apart on the same day- and they are quite the couple! It has created such a string bond between us and our children. She has now had her second baby and I can't wait to meet him once my two boys have gotten over the flu.

A special friend ( and a special baby!) needed a special card. As usual, I turned to the web to see how I could be inspired.

One of my new favourites is Dynamic Duos. This week their colours were perfect for a baby card!

I am also playing along with another new find, Mojo Monday, and their sketch.
Lastly, I am linking up to An Inky Situation. How could I resist that teddy bear?
Here is my card based on the three challenges.

This was my first time doing punch art, and I can't decide if the teddy bear looks cute or slightly creepy! It was also my first try at using alphabet stamps.
Supplies used:
Close To My Heart: Laughing Lola Assortment, Urban Alphabet stamp set.
Creative Memories: Circle Maker, Mini Circle Maker, Mini Heart Maker, Corner Rounder, Butter cardstock, Primary Paper Ribbon, Black Fine Tip Pen, Black cardstock, Espresso cardstock, Discover Baby Boy Photo Mats.
Making Memories: Pastel Mini Brads.
Stampin' Up: So Saffron marker, Pistachio Pudding ink, Pistachio Pudding cardstock, Itty Bitty punch pack, Soft Suede cardstock, Polka Dots embossing folder, Adorning Accents Edgelits.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

True Friend Notecard

Today is just a quick post to show you a fun note card I made for a friend who has done a lot for me lately.

I usually take inspiration from challenges to make my projects, and this one was no exception. I am playing along at CASology, where the theme is:

I looked through my stash and came across some cute chevron arrow stamps that I haven't opened yet, as well as a sentiment stamp I have never used. The white stitching rub-on is from a pack I have had floating around for at least two years. I went the whole hog and used an unopen inkpad and cardstock pack as well! This way, I can also link up to Use It Tuesday's theme of Friendship. I am not really a pink person, so using pink card and ink was a challenge in itself but at least I have managed to use them for the first time.

Please forgive any smudges- it was also my first time using clear stamps and blocks, and I had a few issues. I think I am converted though, it was so much easier to get the arrows lined up straight using a clear stamp.

Supplies used:
Close To My Heart: Reel Life stamp set
Creative Memories: Mini Circle Maker, Foam Squares.
Stampin' Up: Primrose Petals cardstock, Raspberry Ripple ink, Loop To Loop rub-ons, Punch Bunch stamp set.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Giveaway Winner

The winner of the $50 Westfield Gift card has been drawn.

The winner is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Congratulations Amy! I will be in touch via email to arrange your prize.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Woodgrain Wishes

It has been a while since I participated in a Merry Monday challenge, but this week I am back and ready to get my Christmas on!

I love my woodgrain embossing folder, so I pulled it out as well as some neglected Christmas embellishments, and went to work.

Very simple- and it first glance it doesn't look too festive, but the sentiment and bird are both from Christmas collections so I think it still counts as a Christmas card!

I inked the sentiment in three different colours to create a gradient effect on the writing, and the bird and frame are popped up on dimensionals.

I am also entering this into the Just Add Ink Frames challenge.

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: White cardstock, Noel Paper Embellishments, Shape Maker System, Square Punch Cartridge, Foam Squares.
Stampin' Up: Always artichoke cardstock and ink, Soft Suede cardstock and ink, Gumball Green ink, Woodgrain embossing folder, Many Merry Messages stamp set.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Purple Birthday Wishes

A lovely lady had her birthday on Wednesday, and so the usual homemade birthday card was a given! I know she likes flowers and the colour purple, so I incorporated these three challenges into my card.

Case Study: I was really drawn to the purple flower and the striped background.

Seize The Birthday: An anything goes birthday challenge with an optional "topping" of monochromatic- I chose purple.

Just Add Ink: Frames Challenge.

Here is what I created using the above challenges:

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: White cardstock, Lilac cardstock.
Stampin' Up: Elegant Eggplant cardstock and ink, Wisteria Wonder ink, Reason To Smile stamp set, Itty Bitty Banners stamp set, Rhinestone Basic Jewels, Stripes embossing folder.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Kid Friendly Lamb Biryani

Eating food from different cultures is a great learning experience, but sometimes the spices can be a bit intense for 3 and 1 year old palettes. We all enjoy spicy food in this family, but Indian flavours were something that the boys generally tended to dislike. I changed up my favourite Lamb Biryani recipe to make it more kid friendly. It is a great one pot meal with minimal prep time, perfect for a busy family!

Kid Friendly Lamb Biryani (adapted from this recipe)

500 grams lamb mince
3 tablespoons butter
1 onion, cut into thin slices
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice, preferably basmati
2 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup sliced almonds (optional- I only put these on the adult portions)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
fresh coriander, to garnish

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and rice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 

Add the lamb to the pan. Stir in the water, peas and raisins. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the rice and lamb are almost done, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand, covered, until the rice and lamb are just done, about 5 minutes. Stir in the almonds if desired, and serve with yogurt and fresh coriander.

Linking up with Kitchen Fun and Crafty Friday!


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Chicka Chicka 1-2-3 Activities

I am joining up with the Virtual Book Club for Kids as mentioned in my updated Pinterest Resolutions.

This week the author of choice is Bill Martin Jr. We decided to read his book Chicka Chicka 1-2-3.

This is such a vibrant numbers book, and I enjoy reading this to my three year old.

First on the agenda was looking through the book. This page in particular was one of Lucas' favourites.

To represent the bumblebees, we decided to make a bumblebee snack.

You will need:
2 cups dried apricots
1 cup raisins
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dried dates
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1 lemon, juiced
desiccated coconut to coat
sliced almonds
(optional) yellow icing

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (320F). Use a food processor to mince the fruits and coconut. Add the condensed milk and lemon juice and whiz to combine. Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and roll in extra coconut. Use slivered almonds to create the wings, and if you want you can add yellow stripes onto the balls. Place on baking paper lined trays and put in the preheated oven. Turn the oven off and leave the balls to dry out, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container.

After we had eaten a few bumblebees, we made a spotty tree like in the book. This was a great way to teach primary and secondary colours as well! We got out the blue paint, and had to mix blue and red paint to make purple.

Armed with some bubble wrap, we gave our tree trunk some lovely spots. I used black construction paper but a lighter colour would probably work better for this. Lucas loved the sensory part of this activity as well, as the bubble wrap was very squishy!

Lucas had so much fun with this book and the activities, and it is a fun way to introduce some of the bigger numbers to your child once they have mastered counting up to 10 or 20.

Also linking up with:

Real Family Fun

Growing Book by Book

Mom's Library

(Still having issues with buttons sorry- please click on the links to view all the fun activities shared with these link parties.)

Crayons on Cards

I was excited to see the cue word over at CASology this week-

I was watching my son colour and remembered seeing this tutorial for crayon rubbed embossing. I knew I could make it work with the cue card, and after a few experiments I ended up with this finished product. My son also helped by picking out which colour to use and then commandeering the crayons for his own use.

I am super happy with how it turned out! A negative silhouette of flowers on a dark background, and even my husband was impressed with this card- usually he just looks at them and says "that's nice" but he commented on how shiny this one was.

Supplies used:
Stampin' Up: Always Artichoke ink, Whisper White cardstock, Flower Garden Embossing Folder, Snail adhesive, Garden Green cardstock, Everyday Wishes stamp set.

On a different note, now I have had this song stuck in my head all day!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

GIVEAWAY: $50 Westfield Voucher

I love to shop, and especially love buying myself new clothes. However, usually when I buy something new it ends up grubby in no time thanks to sticky toddlers, housework and day to day activities. Luckily, I have recently discovered Napisan and now I am wearing light coloured clothes more often. I even started wearing white pants!

Nothing quite beats that new clothes look, and Vanish products work on most stains, from the ones you can clearly see to those tiny ones you might miss before the wash. Trust pink, forget stains!

To help you get some new clothes (or anything else you might be wanting!) Vanish has kindly offered to give one of my blog readers a $50 Westfield Voucher. Simply like VanishNZ on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me your best stain removal tip. Entry is open to New Zealand residents.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

*Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned here were provided to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Pinterest Resolutions Take Two.

Yesterday I shared with you my update on the Pinterest Resolutions. As promised, here are my next ten Pinterest inspired projects to do from now until the end of the year.

It is officially Spring and my house is in need of a deep clean. I hope this list will keep me motivated!

I admit to being completely unskilled when it comes to sewing, so these no-sew fridge mats will be super quick and easy. Why have I not done this already!

Come November, doing a little bit extra in preparation for Christmas will help me to keep organised and sane. My son's birthday is a week before Christmas, and this time of year can be hectic. Fingers crossed that these twelve things will keep me on the ball.

Thinking of Christmas, I already know what I want to do as gifts for some of the family members this year. I  love the look of these pans and think they will be appreciated as a present this Christmas.
My son's 4th birthday also happens to be in December, and he is having a Lego theme. These jellies look amazing but they seem so simple.
This one is for my kids- each month a different author is featured and we focus on one of their books. I am really excited to start this as it kicks off in three days with Bill Martin Jr.

Isn't this so pretty! My ribbons are shoved in a Ziploc bag and all tangled up together, so this is exactly what I need.

Weekly Marriage Shake Up

A great little list of how to woo your husband over a week- not too sappy and easy to incorporate into my busy lifestyle!

Make a Command Centre

This board is the inspiration for what I want to make with some red fabric and a corkboard. A place to put mail, keys, notes and other bits and pieces that otherwise end up floating around the kitchen bench. I am enlisting the help of Creative Mama for this one!

And finally,
Be Present

I need to focus more on the little things with my kids, and hope to cross this list off over the next couple of months. Can you tell I like lists?

I hope this has inspired you to look back at some of your Pinterest boards and find something to complete, try out or experiment with. I would love to know what your Pinterest resolutions are.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Pinterest Resolution Updates.

At the start of the year, I blogged about some of the Pinterest pins I wanted to do this year. Time for an update I think! The underlined links are the original Pin that inspired me, and I have linked my versions of them where possible.

 This was done and is all used up, with Adam on family meals now. It was very handy to have a large stash on hand, and I even used the leftover pureed spinach in smoothies.

We tackled this project at the beginning of March, you can see the bookcase makeover here.
Work on my marriage.

This was one thing I struggled with- I guess it is hard for a list to tell you what to do in your marriage. I am not sure if my husband noticed that I was treating him any differently, so I may have to try this one again!

Organise my house.

Yet another Pin that was done, but not to its full potential. I assumed that my younger son would have long sleeps while Lucas was at Preschool, but that didn't happen. However, some areas of my house are now a lot more organised and in general, my house is pretty tidy.
Create a play space for Adam.

I could have gone crazy buying boxes, buckets and toys for Adam. My husband bought home a wonderful wicker basket from work that works wonders and didn't cost anything! Adam loves his play corner, and big brother can quite often be found there too.

Make this wedding card.

My friend got married in March, and so I made this card for her. You can see my version here.

Stock up on freezer smoothies.

Lucas still loves his "mooovies" as he calls them- you can read about our Freezer Smoothies here.

Make some laundry art.

Hubby doesn't see the point of hanging up things in the laundry- so I am still working on this one!

Limit screen time.

Our family managed to do a full screen free week, and although the TV isn't ready for the rubbish pile yet, I have found myself at least coming up with other ideas. We have started going to the library more often, Lucas is now more into arts and crafts, and we have even had a few fun science experiments.

Do the Toddler Bucket List with Lucas.

 We have a few things left to cross off as outlined here, but overall this list has been invaluable in coming up with ideas on what to do. We are going to see a Puppet Show this weekend as a family, which will be another thing crossed off!

 It has been so much fun to actually do some ideas I had pinned. Come back tomorrow, when I will share the next ten things on my Pinterest To Do List.

Is there anything you have done lately that was inspired by Pinterest? I would love to hear about it!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's All White

“White covers a multitude of sins.” — Jonathan Milne.

To me, it shows a multitude of sins when it comes to stains! Some of our favourite foods are white clothes' worst enemy. This is especially true for my two boys, who seldom wear white due to their ability to seek out dirt.

Once again, Napisan has come to the rescue and I do not have to cringe every time my boys wear something light coloured.

I don't know who decided that it would be a good idea to sell white bibs, but I have ended up with a lot of them. One of my favourite bibs is white- and my son looks adorable in it. He decided that strawberries would make a good morning tea, and proceeded to dribble the red juice all over the lovely white bib. He also liked the look of chow chow pickle for lunch, and once again the white bib was in use.

Of course he looked adorable stuffing his face with strawberries, but the stain looked very unlikely to come out. I soaked the bib in Vanish Napisan overnight, and before I even put it through the wash this morning the stain was gone! Check out this before, during and after!

Chow chow pickle was also another cringe-worthy stain that was easily removed with Vanish Napisan, as well as working wonders on these other stained bibs after a quick two hour soak.

My oldest son loves guitars, and this top is very popular. But the slightest stain shows on it, like this one here. I have no idea what it is- some type of sauce most likely! I didn't soak this top, just put a scoop of Napisan in the washing machine with my whites. The stain came right off without soaking, scrubbing or spraying anything on it. I am very impressed!

If your whites are looking like my before shots, pick up some Vanish Napisan next time you are at the supermarket and give it a try. I am sure you will be pleased with the results.

*Disclosure: Some of the products mentioned here were provided to me in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Gone Too Soon.

A friend I have known since high school has lost her battle with cancer, leaving behind three young children, a grieving partner and her wonderful extended family. My thoughts go out to them to have lost such a bright spirit so soon. This card will be heading to her family.

Joining in with Seize The Sketch

The Memory Nest (I used the colours and the word You on my card.)

and Just Add Ink- Colouring  (I used a blender pen to colour in the flowers.)

Supplies used:
Creative Memories: Reminisce Paper Flowers, Reminisce Paper Ribbons, Reminisce Summer Additions, White cardstock
Stampin' Up: Bordering On Romance stamp set, Occasions Alphabet stamp set, Snail adhesive, Baked Brown Sugar cardstock, Baked Brown Sugar ink, Not Quite Navy ink, Bravo Burgundy ink, Cajun Craze ink, Blender Pen.
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