Thursday, December 29, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Four

The last week of Ralph hi-jinks has been and gone- here is what he got up to in week four!

On Monday morning we found Ralph chilling in the fridge, although he did have a blanket on too.

Ralph sent a subtle reminder to the boys to brush their teeth after all the Christmas lollies.

The boys put the tree up with minimal help this year, and so Ralph did some adjusting on Wednesday with the help of a toy fire engine.

Thursday found Ralph helping me with domestic duties!

On Friday, Ralph brought some DIY ornaments for the boys to do as part of their Christmas Craft Day.

Ralph said goodbye on Christmas Eve, and left us with a Santa key and a book to read.

The boys have had so much fun waking up every morning to find Ralph, and even my husband got into the spirit of things and helped out. I know that people are very divided in their opinions of the Elf on the Shelf, but for our family it was a great chance to connect and have fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Three

I am a bit late catching up on Ralph's antics this week as I have been busy teaching cupcake classes and dealing with the first week of school holidays!

Ralph has been busy too, and it seems like he needed a caffeine fix on Monday morning.

Tuesday was our Polar Express themed day, so Ralph decided to create a train track to ride on.

The boys were delighted to wake up on Wednesday morning and find Ralph reading in their bedroom.

On Thursday, Ralph brought a new book with him to prepare for an upcoming celebration!

Friday was our family movie night, and Ralph provided the popcorn!

The boys took a while to find Ralph on Saturday morning- they had been playing with the Duplo and so Ralph borrowed the Batmobile and dressed up as Batman.

Sunday was a very special day in our household, as Lucas turned 7. Ralph decorated a special birthday chair for Lucas to sit on, and even had a cupcake outfit on to join in with the celebrations.

The next week will be the last week of Ralph's antics as he will return to the North Pole on Christmas Eve, but he still has some great tricks up his sleeve!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week Two

Ralph the Elf has been up to more shenanigans this week, and the boys have been laughing every morning when they see what Ralph is up to.

On Monday, Ralph was photocopying himself- maybe he wants to be a twin?

Tuesday was our gingerbread themed day, and so Ralph helped out by providing a gingerbread house kit for the boys to make.

We caught Ralph having a hot chocolate bath on Wednesday!

Thanks to some free printables from the Elf on the Shelf official website, the boys found Ralph colouring in a picture of himself when they got up on Thursday morning.

Friday is my personal favourite, which my husband set up- didn't he do well? Hulk against Ralph at Connect Four.

On Saturday we went shopping for Christmas ornaments for the tree. This is an annual tradition for our family and so our tree is a real mish-mash of items! Ralph was glad to help out financially for the boys to purchase an ornament each.

Sunday was another Elf antic care of my husband- climbing our lamp for a better view of what the boys were up to for his report back to Santa.

I can't wait to show you what Ralph has planned for next week, as there are definitely going to be some props and more goodies courtesy of Ralph.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Summer Style during DAREcember Week One

This December, I am taking part in two of my favourite Style Dares- DAREcember by Fox in Flats and Summer Style File by Kimba Likes.

Somehow I missed the first two days and so I then combined the first four prompts together! I wore a Red Lip, a striped and pleated skirt, and added a shoulder shrug to my outfit.

On Saturday I relaxed in the sunshine with my denim cuffed shorts and a loose fit t-shirt from Ezibuy.

Sunday was my scrapbooking workshop so I wore a half bun in my hair and put on a maxi dress! The weather as a bit chilly so I threw on my trusty Boohoo zip jersey and some matching blue flats from Farmers.

Monday was a bright wrap dress from Ezibuy paired with my black sparkly heels.

Tuesday's prompt of stripes was the perfect excuse to wear my navy and white striped top, and I layered three blue bracelets on my arm.

Wednesday was all about black- I added some texture with my black lace skirt and added a gold tassel necklace.

Next week I will be sharing my week two outfits-a few prompts are out of my comfort zone and so it will be a fun experiment to see what I come up with!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

WCW- Beetroot and Citrus Salad

I love summer weather, and with it comes a lot of picnics and potlucks as well as BBQs. This Beetroot and Citrus Salad is great for making and chilling in advance.

The ingredients all work well together and include goat's cheese, beetroot, baby peas, pecan nuts and quinoa.

I love creating homemade dressings for my salads, and this one is simple and delicious!

Layering all of the flavours together, you get some subtle sweetness from the beetroot, tang from the citrus, creaminess from the cheese and a crunch from the nuts.

This salad is a great side dish for grilled meats and looks festive enough for any Christmas potluck events.

Beetroot and Citrus Salad
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa and brown rice mix
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
450 gram can baby beetroot, drained and quartered
1 orange, segmented
4 tablespoons chopped pecan nuts
150 grams goat's cheese, crumbled

Cook quinoa in rice cooker with peas.
Whisk mustard, lemon juice and oil in a large serving bowl.
Add quinoa, peas, beetroot, orange segments, pecans and goat's cheese. Toss to combine and serve,

Monday, December 5, 2016

Elf on The Shelf Week One

An Elf on the Shelf was welcomed into our family on December 1st- here is what he has been up to for the first week of December!

When the boys came out to breakfast on Thursday morning, an elf was waiting for them! We read the book while waiting on breakfast, and the boys had a think about what to call our elf. The decision was made to call him Ralph the Elf, and so we made it official and then talked about why Ralph was here. Ralph will be in a different position each day, but he also has our advent activity tags.

When the boys woke up on day two, they found Ralph snuggled up on the couch wearing his pajamas as it was Pajama Day at school. Lucas thought this was pretty hilarious!

The boys caught Ralph sending emails to his elf friends on Saturday morning!

Ralph gave us a hint about what to make for Sunday morning breakfast, so we all enjoyed some delicious pancakes before a busy day.

My two can't wait to see what Ralph the Elf will get up to next week!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

WCW- White Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse

Sometimes you need a delicious dessert that you can make, leave in the fridge, and then serve and still feel like a domestic goddess. This recipe does it for me!

A white chocolate mousse with salted caramel and buttermilk undertones- this dessert is guaranteed compliments but it is deceivingly easy.

Sugar, cream, eggs and white chocolate make the basis of this recipe, and my two special ingredients of Whittaker's West Coast Buttermilk Caramelised White Chocolate and Dollop Salted Caramel Sauce take this dessert to the next level.

After beating the eggs and sugar, melted white chocolate and whipped cream is folded in to create a light and fluffy mousse.

The magic happens when you drizzle salted caramel sauce on top of the mousse, then add shavings and squares of the buttermilk chocolate.

This mousse is all about decadence! Perfect for potlucks and this will definitely be on my table for Christmas Day dessert.

print recipe

White Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mousse
  • 400 grams white chocolate melts
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 600ml cream
  • 1 bottle Dollop Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 block Whittaker's Buttermilk White Chocolate
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt, then set aside to cool. Beat the eggs and sugar together with a hand held electric mixer until thick and pale and the sugar has dissolved. Fold through the cooled melted white chocolate until well combined. Whisk the cream in a seperate bowl until slightly thick and soft peaks form. Fold gently into the mousse. Place the mousse in a serving bow, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Serve with salted caramel sauce poured over top and sprinkle with chopped chocolate.
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Friday, November 25, 2016

Getting started with The Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf phenomenon has been steady in America for the last few years, and recently this cute tradition has found its way into New Zealand. Unlike other overseas traditions that I am less than thrilled about, this is one I can actually get on board with!

So, what is The Elf on the Shelf?
The official Elf on the Shelf toy is a sweet elf who reports to Santa each night, letting him know if the children in his assigned household have been naughty or nice. Every morning, he appears in a different location at your house so that the children can have fun finding him.

Does the Elf have a name?
Each family can choose a name for their Elf- register it online and get an official adoption certificate.

How do I explain his appearance?
The official set comes with a beautiful storybook, telling the story of The Elf on the Shelf. This means that all the explanations are done for you!

Isn't this just a way to get kids to behave?
I hope this Elf will encourage good behaviour in my children, but I think the best part about this is the fun that your children will have trying to find your Elf. For me, the whole of December is full of fun things for my kids to do and I really hope that this will be the start of something that they will remember as part of their childhood. Children only have the magic of Christmas for a short while, and so I want to encourage their imagination while they are still little enough.

Do I have to do elaborate scenes?
Only if you want to! Sometimes, the simplest things are the best- Tall, Short, Tiny and a Pickle has some great simple ideas  and Pinterest is full of ideas that do not involve any effort. I know that Christmas can be a busy time, but this way I hope my children will get out of bed on time every morning so that we can start the day, as December can be quite full on with the end of school and there have been grumbles in the past. Even something simple like placing him in the fridge with the milk can be fun and doesn't require any props or settings.

What if someone touches the Elf?
Part of this tradition is that the Elf loses his or her magic if touched. However, there are kits you can buy to re-magic him, as well as a reminder not to touch the Elf again!

What kind of props can I use with my Elf?
You can buy so many accessories, outfits and pets for your Elf! How cute would this tutu be for a little ballerina, or even a reindeer to keep your Elf company. I have some Elf PJs for our elf to wear when he brings Christmas pajamas for the boys.

Where do I get my Elf from?
I got my Elf from Smartypants, a fabulous local shop that sells New Zealand wide. I try to support small, Kiwi businesses where possible and this shop has some fabulous Christmas ideas, dress ups and even a pocket money zone instore, as well as great Elf on the Shelf accessories.

I love this idea, how do I get started?
Your Elf can arrive at any time- the most popular are the day after Thanksgiving, 1st December or the 5th December. He can arrive in stealth mode, in the morning, or at night, whenever suits you and your family. Creating your own traditions for the arrival, goodbye and daily mischief is all part of what makes this so fun!

I need some more ideas!
The past few years, there have been Instagram posts using #kiwielfontheshelf - to share ideas, inspire and keep the motivation up! Every Monday in December I will also be sharing our elf's weekly antics, so please check in to see what he is up to and get some ideas for your own Elf.

NB: I was not compensated for this post, however I have provided links (non-affiliate) for ease of shopping.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WCW- Chicken and Corn Spaghetti

Hands up who loves frozen vegetables? I alway have a pack (or three) in my freezer so that I can quickly add vegetables to my stews, soups, casseroles and stir fries.

Today's recipe relies on standard mixed vegetables, as well as a few delicious extras to make a hearty family meal.

Gather everything together- I use chicken breasts for this recipe but feel free to use thighs if prefered. My secret ingredient is a good quality chicken and corn soup- this makes the base of this recipe a breeze!

Everything simmers together in the same pot and then you just need to add cooked spaghetti, which makes clean up minimal. Always a plus in my book!

You can even add some toppings to this spaghetti dinner- I had some grated cheese and sesame seeds lurking in my fridge and so they were piled on top.

Creamy coated spaghetti, tender cubes of chicken and the family-friendly vegetables combine to make this dinner. Perfect for all the members of my family as our version is gluten free, but you can use standard spaghetti and soup bases if you do not have those dietary requirements.

Even better, this recipe can be made in the slow cooker by placing all of the ingredients apart from the pasta into the slow cooker on high for four hours-  then cook the spaghetti and add to the crockpot for the last half hour.

print recipe

Chicken and Corn Spaghetti
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups frozen vegetable mix
  • 400 grams chicken and corn soup
  • 1/4 cup trim milk
  • to taste salt and pepper
  • 250 gram packet spaghetti
Heat the sesame oil in a large pan and add cubed chicken breast. Cook for 5 minutes, until chicken is mostly cooked.Add the frozen vegetables to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes.Pour in the soup and milk, and season to taste. Simmer for a further 10 minutes.Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to packet directions. Stir through the chicken mixture and serve in bowls.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time:
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