Monday, September 29, 2014

The Wild West

Yeehah- it's time to saddle up!

This month, the theme over at Poppins Book Nook is The Wild West.

Living outside of America, we only see the Wild West on television or read about it through books. One of Lucas' favourite stories is "Let's Sing a Lullaby with the Brave Cowboy", mostly because he gets to shriek like this:

This is a book I enjoy reading, as it has a funny storyline and the lullaby is a sweet ditty to sing to the boys at night. The main feature of this book was the cows that helped the cowboy to be brave, and with a twist at the end of the story, this tale is a feel-good read for all ages.

When we talked about the Wild West, my four year old knew about cowboys and cacti. He also mentioned the Wild West scene in the Lego movie!

The first thing we did was some painting using homemade non-toxic puffy paint.

To make the puffy paint, you will need
1/4 cup flour for each colour
food colouring
rice bran oil

Whisk the four ingredients together and get ready to paint! This goes puffy as it dries, so it is meant to be a thick, gloopy paint. If it is too thin, add more flour.

We painted a cactus scene printed from the internet, and the boys had great fun colouring the different pictures.

When the paint dries, it becomes puffy!

We also practiced our threading skills by making a cactus out of pipe cleaners and dyed pasta.

To dye the pasta, I simply put 1/2 cup penne pasta in a ziploc bag with 3 teaspoons of green food colouring and 5 teaspoons of white vinegar. After an hour I drained the pasta and spread it out on a plate to dry.

Lucas and Adam wanted to be cowboys themselves, and we talked about the wanted posters we have seen on the Lego Movie in the Wild West Scene and when Bad Cop is searching for Emmett. It was a fun afternoon activity to make our own wanted posters!

Soak some teabags in hot water for an hour, then add some white paper with a sepia photo printed onto it.

The boys discovered their Cowboy names through the Cowboy Name Generator to put on the Wanted posters. The "Wanted" was stamped using one of my stamp sets.

Lucas was Gummy Chuck Huggles! WANTED fer bitin' a bull dog and shavin' a horse.

Adam was Roper "Snuggle Bug" Sweetwater! WANTED fer plain not picking up after himself. (That sounds about right actually!)

The boys got a chuckle out of this, and we put their names and crimes on the posters.

Lunch time had to have a Cowboy theme, and so we had Cowboy Empanadas (bread with a ham and cheese filling), sherriff stars made from ham, some apple slices, Cowboy Crunch (dried cranberries and Cheerios mixed together) and a drink of milk with a cow straw.

Lastly, we had so much fun playing Pin The Moustache on the Cowboy! This was a great game for spatial awereness, taking turns and hand/eye coordination. I purchased this game but you could easily make your own.

We had a lot of fun learning about cacti, cowboys and colours this month with Poppins Book Nook!

Clip art by MelonHeadz.

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A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2104.

The boys both love scrambled eggs on toast, and I love how this photo captures their similar facial expressions. Usually both boys seem completely different, but this moment shows that they are definitely brothers!

Joining in here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Navy and Leopard Print under $25

I am entering another one of my outfits into the Mystery Case challenge.

This outfit is actually under $25, and I wear it often when I want to be dressy but comfortable.

The top is a great tunic length, with a tie that can be done up at the back or the front.

The jewelry was all gifted to me.

These denim capris were picked up at a clothes swap.

These shoes were my splurge a couple of months ago- super comfy and they brighten up a simple outfit.

I am wearing this today to a 4 year old's birthday party, but it could easily be dressed up with a sparkly cuff and some wedges.

Total cost of all items:
Top: $5 on clearance
Shoes: $19.99 (can be purchased here)
Pants and jewelry free!
Total: $24.99

Clothes swaps are wonderful for picking up new items of clothing, and it is always a great idea to do swaps within your family as well for items they do not wear anymore. Bargain websites are another one of my shopping happy places, and the company I bought this tunic top from always had $5 deals but unfortunately closed down after Easter. However, with a little bit of know how and some friends willing to share their closets, you can get a whole new wardrobe for less!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Butterfly Birthday

I am really getting into butterfly embellishments lately, so when I saw the sketch at Just Add Ink this week I knew I had to take part!

I am heading to a party for a girl turning 2 tomorrow, so this was a great excuse to make a sparkly butterfly card.

The butterflies pop out from the card for a 3D effect, and the pink banner is also slightly 3D with embossed polka dots.

This card was a lot of fun to make, and I am sure the birthday girl will like it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Rockin' The Frock

This October, I am celebrating a big birthday. I feel very blessed that I will be celebrating with family, friends and loved ones. 

However, others aren't so lucky. Ovarian cancer is the most common cause of death from a gynaecological cancer. Worldwide almost a quarter of a million women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year and it is responsible for almost 150,000 deaths annually. Ovarian cancer due to lack of specific early signs is usually diagnosed at advanced stage when a cure is difficult to achieve.

I am teaming up with the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation. The main goal of the OCRF is to improve the survival of women affected by ovarian cancer. This will be achieved by development of an, which is the focus of much of the fundraising activities of the OCRF. Another important task of the OCRF is to raise community awareness of ovarian cancer.

This is where Frocktober comes in. Frocktober raises funds and awareness for ovarian cancer research, through dress-related fun! In the month of October, we encourage people to wear frocks, make frocks, draw frocks, remember frocks and hold frock-related events in the name of this important cause. I have joined up with Team Kimba Likes for this fundraising event so we are sure to see some amazing frocks from my fellow bloggers! 

I will be wearing a dress every day for 31 days in October and posting here about each frock. I have some old, new, borrowed and blue dresses, as well as a plethora of other dresses, each with a story to tell. Some were free, others were a splurge for a special occasion. This is my opportunity to wear dresses, as with two young boys I often revert to pants!

How can you help?

I would love for you to sponsor me and help me to raise my goal of $700 for ovarian cancer research.

If you want to do your own part to raise awareness, here are a few suggestions.
  • The 31 Day Challenge: Don a frock for the whole month, a week or just one day, and get sponsored for it! You could even wear a different dress every day (or the same dress for 31 days!). Borrowing frocks from friends and family is half the fun! Or, how about a week, or fortnight, or every Friday?
  • Challenge your mates: Have you seen Donna sporting anything but pants since wearing that purple taffeta number at a wedding in 1987? Put some money on it, and get those unlikely few to step outside their comfort zone for a good cause!
  • Frock Friday: Ask your colleagues to get involved, and book out a Friday to have some frivolously frocky fun at work, and pass a hat around.
  • Frock-tail party: Invite your frock loving friends for a fun night good-times, with a few frock-tails (and a frock-mock-tail).
  • Dude in a dress: Guys can wear a dresses too! Get your gentleman friends to frock up but if they're not keen, getting a little fancier than normal is super fun too!
  • Frock swap: Between you, Shirley and Laverne there are bound to be some 'diamonds in the rough' hiding in your wardrobes. Reusing dresses is so Frocktober!
  • Morning / afternoon tea: Call your frockish friends; turn the kettle on, put out some dollar-dazzling slice and your event is complete!
  • Keep a Frock Blog: Set up a blog for the month, and keep a diary about your dresses, where you found them and what they mean to you.
  • Schools Challenge: Having a 'Frocktober Day' where students are invited to donate a gold coin and wear casual clothing dresses or just 'get a little fancy' is a great way for schools to be involved. Teachers can ask students their students to write a story about 'a significant dress' that they remember.

You might think that Frocktober is just for 'frock wearers' . You're wrong! Frocktober is for YOU. We recognise that there are many people out these who wear different kinds of clothing for all kinds of different reasons. Whoever YOU are (even if you are a staunchly 'jeans-only') there is a challenge out there for you. If you are having trouble thinking of one, feel free to contact us for help!
Whatever your Frocktober challenge, make sure you share you dress stories with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (#frocktober)!

I love the idea of a morning tea, and will be putting on my best frocks for my birthday, a school jubilee and a wedding during the month of October, as well as every other day in October.

Please consider sponsoring me as I frock up and do my part to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and the work of OCRF. 


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

Lucas was very excited to make his colourful leaves.

Adam has the longest eyelashes, I love taking photos when he is concentrating and looking down.

Joining in here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #24

Spring always makes me crave fresh vegetables and juicy fruit, and so I am very glad that salads are back on my menu.

I have been excited to try out a recipe called Bang Bang Chicken from my recipe book What Shall We Cook Today?, but have simplified it a bit. Who wants to roast a chicken when it is swelteringly hot outside? This salad combines two of my favourite things- satay and roast chicken, and serves them on a salad bed. Simple, delicious and full of flavour.

Bang Bang Chicken
adapted from What Shall We Cook Today?

400 grams pre-cooked chicken
1 medium cucumber
1 large carrot
salad leaves
for the dressing
5 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1 spring onion finely sliced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon castor sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons hot water

Shred the cooked chicken and put onto a plate.

Slice the carrots and cucumber into sticks, then add to rinsed salad leaves.

Add a pile of the salad to each plate then place the sliced chicken on top.

Combine the dressing ingredients and spoon over the chicken to serve.

The verdict: I really enjoyed this! The sweetness of the apple cider was a bit different to my usual satay sauce recipe, but the spring onions helped to balance it out and make it not too sweet. The roast chicken and salad mix was very refreshing, and it was a great way to get a good vegetable intake into the kids. I will be making this again, and experimenting with adding other favourite salad ingredients such as boiled egg, bean sprouts and croutons. 

Linking up with Wow Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Reese Witherspoon Inspiration

I was over on Mama Stylista's blog the other day and she asked who our style inspiration was. I love Reese Witherspoon- she makes casual chic look effortless and know the power of accessories. Here are some outfits I have put together based on her signature looks.

Being on a SAHM budget, I shopped within my favourite stores: Boohoo, Ezibuy, The Warehouse, Shopolla, Colette, Glassons and No1 Shoes. These shops are affordable and yet I can usually find what I am looking for at a fraction of the price of other stores.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 1

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 1 by laurenmoore-ii featuring skinny leg jeans
This outfit is great for school pick ups, heading to the supermarket or running errands. I love the touch of tortoiseshell glasses- and the striped top is a bargain! Total for this outfit is $160- a bit beyond my usual range but those boots will last multiple seasons.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 2

This pink and floral ensemble is a bit out of my comfort zone, so I have kept with pastel tones for Spring, but I am also splashing out on some Guess sunglasses here! I did not realise that the Warehouse had Guess brand, they are really pushing the bar when it comes to bringing New Zealand some recognisable brands.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 3

This one is my favourite- I love everything about this outfit! I will roll up the sleeves on the shirt and unbutton it more for a relaxed look. This entire outfit comes in at just under $200, but once again there are a lot of accessories that can be mixed and matched with different outfits.

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 4

This outfit is the epitome of casual chic- and yet this outfit can be worn for a movie night, preschool run, day out with the girls or any other occasion where you want to look stylish yet comfortable. This Guess tote is on sale today only at The Warehouse too by the way!

Reese Witherspoon Outfit 5

Lastly, I have a few weddings and special occasions coming up, so this outfit is definitely on my to-buy list. I love the navy and green together, paired with nude and gold accessories and a pretty clutch.

Which Reese Witherspoon outfit do you like the best? I would love to know!

Joining in with Wardrobe Wednesday and What Wives Wear.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Leaves are Falling

Here in New Zealand, Spring has finally arrived! However, I have had a few activities I still wanted to do for Autumn and Winter, and when I saw a Facebook prompt about doing leaf activities I decided to spend an afternoon crafting with my two boys.

The first thing we did was to print out a leaf template and smear glue all over it.

Then we placed bits of coloured paper over the leaf templates.

The next step was to run the templates through the laminator.

We then cut out the colourful leaves.

The boys were very excited to see the finished product!

This activity took only a few minutes to set up, and the boys loved it. Glue and coloured paper can be used for a range of activities, and the possibilities for templates are endless. you could do colourful dinosaurs, planets- the choice is yours!

Linking up with the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop and Mom's Library.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


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

Lucas has a beautiful smile, but always hams it up for the camera.

Adam is being a "little teapot" with Dad's sunglasses!

Joining in here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #23

My boys are both kitchen whizzes, and so when I saw this book I knew we would get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

This book follows in the footsteps of the original "I want to be a chef" book by the same author, but focus on baking and the skills needed for success in the kitchen. Baking is a lot more precise than putting a meal together, and I am lucky that both my boys are quite mathematical and enjoy measuring, weighing and converting cooking times.

We decided to make a version of the Apricot Cookies featured in this book.

Apricot Cookies
adapted from I want to be a chef Baking

120g butter, cubed

3/4 cup castor sugar
2 tablespoons good-quality apricot jam
200g dried apricots, chopped
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup plain flour

Lemon icing:
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 lemons, juiced

Line two trays with baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy then add the jam and apricots- mix to blend.

Lucas thinks the cake mixer is hilarious- as long as it doesn't get too loud!

Stir in the combined sifted flours.

The boys love to sift and make it "snow" into the bowl.

The good thing about baking with the boys is that they can do a job each- sifting and juicing going on! It can get messy but it keeps the boys happy.

Divide the mixture into two portions and roll up in the baking paper to form two logs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut the logs into 1cm slices and place on the trays. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden.

It was at this stage that I realised the boys had put all plain flour into the mix and no self raising flour, so the cookies came out rather flat!

Combine the icing sugar, lemon juice and 3 teaspoons of hot water. Drizzle over the cookies.

The verdict- Even though we had a bit of a flour failure, the cookie taste was so good! They were a very soft cookie, nice and chewy. We will be making these again and again, with the correct flour of course! I encourage you to make these cookies with your kids, baking is such a great skill to have and kids get a kick out of creating something to eat.

Linking up with Mom's Library, Worth Casing Wednesday, Wow Me Wednesday
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