Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Frocktober Take 2!

Last year I participated in Frocktober, and this year I am also taking part. A major factor for this is due to my personal struggle with endometriosis, ovarian cysts and a rife of other issues, leading to my decision to have surgery at the end of October after undergoing a barrage of tests this year. While my issues are not related to ovarian cancer, I am at high risk for this in the future and a lot of my symptoms are the same as what women will experience who will later be diagnosed with this. I want to raise awareness of these symptoms, as I myself brushed them off as "female problems" for so long until I finally went to a specialist.

Instead of wearing a dress each day for 31 days, I have decided to have a Friday Frock Feature each week. This works in better with my active lifestyle, plus I haven't accumulated as many dresses this time around!

Here are some of my favourite looks from last year.

This Boohoo dress was perfect for a high tea to celebrate my 30th birthday.

Off to a school reunion dinner in this fun take on a LBD!

Navy is my favourite colour to wear, and this dress is comfy yet practical.

I hope that I can be inspired again this year, and I would love for you to consider sponsoring me to help raise funds for ovarian cancer research.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Poppins Book Nook- Newbery Medal Books

Welcome to the September edition of Poppins Book Nook!

 This month's theme is Newbery Medal Books.

A lot of these books are aimed at readers 8-12, so we discovered one that was a nominee in the 3-5 age category. Dr De Soto tells the story of a dentist mouse who outfoxes a fox!

My boys started off our activity session for Dr De Soto with a mounth made out of apples, peanut butter and mini marshmallows.

We then went through some magazines and cut out photos of food, then catergorised them into foods that were good for teeth and foods that were bad for teeth.

This was a great way of testing how much my kids know about dental health and the appeal of sugary food! My eldest son deliberated a bit over the cookies as they did have fruit and nuts in them, but this was an opportunity to explain to my children that things may often look healthy but have hidden sugar. The end result was two collages of dental friendly food and dental no-nos! However, this also led to a discussion about eating a variety of foods and that it is still OK to have a cookie every now and then.

We then started to talk about the fox in the story, and how he ended up with a gold tooth. We made our very own fox faces by modifying this shark template. I added an extra fin and turned it into an ear, and then freehand cut a nose and punched circles for the eyes.

We coloured one of the teeth in yellow to be Mr Fox's gold tooth, and the boys had so much fun opening and closing the fox's mouth.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

School Holiday Suggestions

The school holidays are upon us- and I have put together some fun suggestions for how to keep the little ones entertained.

Pictured above is one of the activities at Pioneer Stadium's The Southern Centre, a multi-sensory experience for all ages and abilities. My boys absolutely love this place! Booking are essential.

Why not create a recipe using Griffins biscuits and submit it to the Little Bakers competition? A great excuse to get messy in the kitchen and teach the kids some filming techniques.

Westfield Riccarton has some fun Peanuts themed activities in centre between 10:30-2:30. The first week you can make a birdhouse, and the second week is a Peanuts Jigsaw. Monty the Monkey is also walking around, so be saure to say hi!

If you are looking for some outdoor activities, head along to the Tothills Maze for the Find Ken the Kiwi challenge- Ken the Kiwi is in the wooden maze and if you can find him, you can enter the draw to win a prize!  There are also special school holiday family packages - 2 adults and up to 3 children for $49.

The Breeze Walking Festival is back, and the Pukeko Stomp on Wednesday 7th October is an easy walk. Shake your tail feather as you skip, walk, hop and stomp your way around Travis Wetland to find Perky the Pukeko and friends. Enjoy storytelling and fruit kebabs along the way. A perfect outing for babies in buggies, young walkers and their families.

Get your children involved with arts and crafts by popping into The Make Company Imagination Station where your child can make a mask, a rocket, a mermaid or one of 16 other crafty options. Priced from $3-$12, you are sure to find something fun to create. You can even purchase kits to take home, which is a great idea for young ones who are stuck at home due to sickness.

I hope these give you some ideas- what do you have planned for the school holidays?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WCW Courgette, Feta and Corn Fritters with Homemade Guacamole

Welcome back to What's Cooking Wednesday!

Today I am sharing with you a recipe I love to cook for a light meal or family brunch. These fritters are packed with vegetables and are savoury morsels of goodness in every bite. Served with a homemade guacamole, these really pack a flavour punch!

Courgette, Feta and Corn Fritters
3 courgettes, grated
225g can creamed corn
1 egg
2 tablespoons mint leaves, finely chopped
20 grams reduced fat feta cheese, finely crumbled
1⁄4 cup flour
1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon baking powder

1 avocado, mashed
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice

To make the fritters, combine the fritter ingredients and add a splash of milk if needed until the batter is a runny pancake mix consistency.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, and drop tablespoons of the batter in. Cook for 2 minutes on ones side, then flip and cook for a further minute.

While the fritters are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients together.

Serve the fritters warm with the sauce.

Feel free to add extra vegetables grated into the mixture- I have also tried these with cauliflower and grated carrots.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Noteable Notebooks

Do you keep a notebook? I find them the perfect place for jotting down to do lists, recipes, notes to myself and contact details.

Here are my pick of some fun notebooks for Spring- perfect for putting in your handbag and jotting down ideas as you sip on a coffee, taking to playgroup to jot down another mum's phone number, or to doodle in as you wait at the doctor.

Noteable Notebooks

I would love to know your favourite- what do you keep in your notebooks?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Father's Day Family Fun

If you are looking for some last minute fun for Father's Day this Sunday, here are a few events on in Christchurch that are family friendly and won't break the bank!

Scarecrow Saturday
5 September // 10am - 1pm // on green beside Hillyers Cafe, Gerald St. Lincoln
Come join in the fun at this annual Lincoln event. Perfect opportunity to get creative as a family to produce a prize winning scarecrow creation. Some fantastic prizes to be won. Bring along your scarecrow between 9.30 - 10 am for registration. Winners announced at midday. New category this year includes your on site creation - see how inventive you can be making a SCARECROW against the clock between 10 - 11.30 (with items supplied by the market). Judging begins at 11.30 am. There will be live music throughout the event to enjoy PLUS all the great selection of genuine locally grown fruit/veg/plants, award winning produce inc. preserves, cheeses, artisan baking, honey, hazelnuts.... and diverse range of handcrafted gifts - perfect time to start getting your Xmas shopping in early!! See www.facebook.com/lincolnmarket for full details.

Christchurch Arts Festival 2015
27 Aug - 20 Sept
Christchurch Arts Festival is a major feature on the South Island event calendar showcasing a programme of arts and entertainment by leading international and New Zealand performers and artists. The Festival experience in 2015 will span four weekends with a range of theatrical enticements that lead the city out of winter and into the lightness of spring. It's a Festival promising a burst of creative energy, vitality, amusement and adventure. Featuring an exciting programme of cabaret and magic, high quality theatre and dance, that sits alongside a diverse offering of classical through to contemporary music and a range of community events. Make the Festival part of your year and bring the central city alive through the arts in 2015! Official Website: Click here

Any Dad who visits Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa on Sunday with a child will get a free waterside pass. Or for something a bit further afield all Dads get half-price ski passes at Roundhill on Sunday!

The Imagination Station also has a Father's Day package for their Stop Motion Animation Movies workshop- buy 2 tickets for the special price of $20 and receive two cookies as well! In this course you will learn how to make your own LEGO stop-motion animated movie covering basic film-making principles, story boarding and LEGO specific techniques used in producing animations that stretch the imagination. If you already know this stuff - great! The class time is for you to make a film, or to continue work on one with an experienced tutor on hand to answer questions and help you polish your film!

What are your Father's Day plans for this weekend?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WCW Rocky Road Slice

One of my favourite flavours is Rocky Road, but unfortunately my children don't like jelly lollies as much as I do! We have compromised and come up with this Rocky Road Slice, that mixes marshmallows with cherries and chocolate for a decadent treat.

Rocky Road Slice

225g chocolate wheaten biscuits
125g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
225g milk chocolate melts
75g glace cherries, halved
100g mini baking marshmallows

Place the biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin.

Melt the butter, golden syrup and cocoa powder in a saucepan over medium heat and gently stir until combined.

Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the chocolate biscuits, then pour into a lined and greased baking tray.

Melt the chocolate and then add the cherries and marshmallows. Pour over the biscuit base and spread over evenly. Chill for three hours in the fridge then cut into slices to serve.

You only need a small piece of this to get that chocolate hit, and this slice lasts well in the fridge for up to a week. The soft textures of the topping compared with the hard biscuit base make this popular with both adults and kids!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

This is my Happy Place Mini Album

It has been a while since I posted anything crafty on here- most of my creations are now on my Close To My heart blog, CTMH Craftings.

However, I thought this mini album warranted a look as it related to my life as a stay at home mum, and is a great reminder of the little moments of my life that make me happy. A colour challenge came up on my blog feed just as I was cleaning out some older papers and embellishments, and it was just the kickstart I needed to finally do something with my stash.

Here is the front cover- I really liked the "this is my happy place" quote that was cut on my Cricut as it inspired this entire album!

The first two pages talk about my husband and two boys- I loved the retro papers and the speech bubble accents so finally broke them out of their packaging and used them!

All the frames were cut on my Cricut and I added some extra embellishments and journalling. Baking always relieves my stress levels, and getting out and about with my family is another feel-good moment.

I must admit though, sometimes I need a wine! And of course, I love to craft. The retro housewife stickers were waiting for the perfect project, and I also used some metal flower embellishments.

Coffee is another pick-me-up in my life, and this quote sums up my morning perfectly. Waking up to these three gorgeous faces helps too!

I kept the back simple with some embossed cardstock and extra striped paper.

I encourage you to document the things that are your "happy place", whether it be in a journal, notebook or mini album, or even a note on your fridge! Reminding myself what really makes me happy in my life was such a great experience and it made me appreciate my family (and my coffee) more.

Linking up with The Creative Corner and Just Add Ink!
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