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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas is coming!!!

Christmas is coming and as I do every year I race around trying to get all the decorations and trees up before the 1st of December. Well as happens every year I won't quite make it! We've managed to get the lounge room tree up and most of the decorations up around the house. We still have our 2nd tree to do, but unfortunately when I went to put up the lights I found that they were broken. So I did a special trip to the shops today and bought what I thought was a small lot of lights. I got home to put them on the tree and just before I unwrapped the lights I noticed that it said 'extension' set on the side of the box. I turned the lights over and in quite big writing on the back it said that these lights won't work without a transformer. So tomorrow I need to take the lights back and then we can finish decorating the tree. I just can't bring myself to decorate the tree before I put the lights on. I don't know if anyone else has this problem. It really is quite a silly problem, but I just can't do it. It's just not right!! ; )

I'm going to try and write a post everyday of December. It'll be like a blog advent calendar. This year I seem to have a few different things going on to count down to Christmas or just special Christmas traditions. Here goes...
  1. The kids each have a chocolate advent calendar that has a little chocolate for them to eat each day of December.
  2. We have an advent calendar where you move a felt star for each day of December.
  3. Each year when I pack up Christmas I use any unused Christmas paper to cover 24 Christmas books. They sit under the tree and each day of December the kids get to choose a book, unwrap it and we read it before bed.
  4. Each year I sew a little Christmas design onto their stocking and date it.
  5. I make the kids make something new for the tree each year. When they're little they tend to make something at school which I date and put on the tree. The older kids make something special at home.
  6. We have to make special biscuits or treats during December.
  7. We always go and visit our local 'Christmas lights' where they always have an ice-cream van (it's Summer here in Australia), and sometimes even a choir or small band. We always park the car, get an ice-cream and then walk around the streets looking at all the Christmas lights. There is a wonderful sense of community as you wander around along with many many other families.
  8. Christmas Carols. We usually try and go to a Christmas Carol evening where we pack a picnic (think wine, cheeses, chicken, salads, dessert) sing some carols and watch the fireworks at the end of the evening. I love these evenings!
  9. Build and demolish a gingerbread house. This usually involves more eating than decorating funnily enough! It's amazing that the house gets built at all with all the eating that goes along with this activity.
Anyway as you can see we have adopted quite a number of traditions for Christmas that make it special for us. Each year I try and add a little something new. Well this year I've decided to add an activity advent calendar. Here are a couple that I've found that I like.

So I better go to bed because tomorrow I need to go and buy lights, material for my new tree skirt from here, (although I'm going to sew mine as I'm much quicker at sewing than I am at hot gluing AND I think my fingers will thank me!) and also print out my activity advent calendar AND tidy all the boxes of stuff away so that the house looks merry and Christmassy and NOT like an explosion of stuff.

Here are some photos of what we've been up to lately.
Here's Hamish in church at a Christening.
Here's Sammy and Josh sitting in the pews.

At my brother's wedding with a sleeping Hamish.

Sammy and Josh at the wedding.

Hamish's new party trick!

My brother and his beautiful bride.



















Isabella watching Mr Snuggles getting a haircut.
Mr Snuggles visiting our house from daycare.



















Sammy and Josh go-carting with Scouts.

Hamish can roll over, and over and over now.
'Date night' with my usually moustache less hubby.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Balmain finds

Josh's orthodontist is in Balmain and so quite regularly we go visiting there to throw away our money on his teeth. Only joking! I had braces and think that straight teeth are important and would do anything to find the money to pay for them. Anyway, while I'm there I usually go window shopping. I love looking into the shop windows and imagining what other delightful things they've got lurking out of view. Well just last week I finally go to go and have a very short look. I had Josh wait in the car with Isabella and Hamish while they were finishing off ice-creams (bribery is a wonderful thing) and no Hamish didn't eat ice-cream, and I got to go and have a little look at the stuff inside. I'm so totally in love with the stores. ALL of them are on-line!! Yay!! So I got to show Dave and he thinks that they're great little stores too. Here's a look at some of their stuff...
Inside Traders
They are a little shop in Darling St. that have a few hand-made things like below, but mostly they have fantastic furniture finds! Go to the link above and check them out.
Pyramid Door Stop
This is only an example as I couldn't get a photo from their site. But you get the picture. Cute stuff!


















Quintessential duck egg blue
I'm in LOVE!! This shop is full on industrial finds and I could almost buy everything there. PLUS Dave likes the stuff too. Bonus!
Hope this is okay, but this is from their shop. They have fantastic stuff!!
no Chintz
This is a shop for sewers only. But if you love fabric you will love this store. They have examples of things that you can make with their beautiful fabrics. I wanted to touch everything in this store. Ahh Just in heaven.
Beautiful material range. You have to check out the store if you can sew!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lunch with Jo

On Friday I took myself, Isabella and Hamish out west to visit a dear friend that I've known for 14 year for a 'playdate' fo me!! I had to tell Isabella it was mummy's 'playdate' and not hers as she really does like to talk. Once we arrived I unpacked enough stuff for a week! Jo's house became a see of baby and little girl paraphenalia and didn't quite look the same until we packed up our stuff to go home. We had a great time catching up and luckily the kids were really well behaved and Hamish didn't stink out their house too much with a couple of almighty poos. lol When you are past the poo stage you really don't want to go back there in a rush. I even double wrapped the suckers so that they wouldn't stink out their bin too much. Unfortunately with the weather being quite as hot as it has I don't think the double wrapping will have done very much to contain the stench. Sorry Jo!! After morning tea at her house, a wonder around her lovely garden and a quick feed of Hamish again we drove to Rouse Hill shops and had a quick bite to eat and a coffee. I got to come home with a bagful of mint and some succulents which not only made the car smell wonderful but are now sitting on my kitchen bench in a variety of containers waiting to be planted and giving off a delicious aroma. Thank you for a wonderful day Jo! Can't wait to catch up again soon. Perhaps for some craft!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Josh and his wedding outfit

So handsome!
A really good looking young man!
I took Josh to buy an outfit for the wedding we're going to at the end of the month. My baby brother has finally taken the plunge and is marrying the wonderful woman that he's been with for the past 8 or 9 years!! Enough about them for the moment though. It's all about my little man who is suddenly the size of an adult at 14 years old. He's really not a baby anymore even though I like to think that he'll always be my baby!! We had to go to the men's department to find him something that would fit so that he can 'suit up' for the wedding. He picked out the tie himself and I think he did a fabulous job! I'm going to be one proud momma on the day showing off my handsome man, who is nearly as tall as me. How did that happen so quickly?!
As soon as we got home he had to try it all on. Of course none of it has been washed or ironed yet, but you get the general idea.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas Stockings


1976
1995 and very detailed.

My memories of Christmas since I was a little girl have always included the Christmas stockings that my mother made us. They are made of red and green felt with our names embroidered onto the green top in cross-stitch and three bells on the bottom that still put a smile on my face when I hear them ring. It really wouldn't be Christmas without them and I knew that when I had children one day I would make sure to carry on the tradition. My mother got the idea from my dad's mother who had also sewed a similar Christmas stocking. I don't know that I've ever seen this stocking and I'll have to ask her the story again this year so that I can write it down for my children. What a great tradition that hopefully will be passed on for generations to come.

The stockings my mum made were started on the same year for all three of the older kids. This was in the year 1976 when I was four years old, my older brother was 6 and my baby sister was only 2. The first couple of felt creations were pretty minimalist, but this didn't last long and over the years they became more and more intricate. Each decoration was embroidered on with great care and the year was added next to it. Its funny looking at the little embroideries and thinking back to the year that it was sewn on. She continued sewing stuff on our stockings quite a bit longer than was probably necessary. It was after we had left home that she finally stopped and none of us wanted her to stop! I was 25 when the last date was sewn onto my stocking in 1995 and can remember being really sad that I was finally old enough not to be considered a child anymore.
This is my stocking. It has stuff on both sides.


Not quite done.
Well because Hamish has come along I've had to again make a new stocking. I finally decided to make Dave one too. I'd been putting off making him one because I kept telling him that he wasn't a child, but really he needs to have a stocking!! So his stocking is going to have a little embroidered thing for each year that we've been married. This is all well and good that I've decided to do this, but it also means that I have to not only do four children's stockings, but also put SIX little different designs onto his stocking. Honey, if you're reading this you know that I really must love you a LOT!!

I also made an extra stocking 'just in case' that extra baby that we're umming and ahhing about comes along!! Yes, everyone already thinks we're mad having four. I'll be forty next year and think I've got a couple of years before we decide that we're done with babies, hence the extra stocking.

Sammy's stocking.
Josh's stocking.
Anyway back to the stockings...Each year I usually made a little Christmas design up and sewed it on sometime in December. Since having Isabella I've realised that when I'm packing up the Christmas stuff in January it's quite easy to quickly cut out three little designs to take out at the end of the year and sew onto the stockings. This was making things much easier but since I'm not quite as imaginative as my mother I went web browsing and came upon some Christmas designs that someone shared out in blog land. Unfortunately I don't remember where this was and will try and see if I can find her link and thank her for making my life a little easier the past two years.

Bella and Hamish's stockings.
I printed the designs out on cardboard, cut them out and put them in a zip lock bag that I keep with the felt. That way I can always find them. This year since I've had to make Dave SIX new designs and I don't want his to be the same as the kids I was able to just use the little designs I had and put my own spin on them. Of course some of them I have just copied from my mum!

I'm trying to think of some new traditions to add to the ones that we already have.

What traditions do you have?
 




Macarons

I'm going to visit a friend tomorrow and wanted to take something along that I could eat too. I love making biscuits and cakes, but since I can't eat them because of a gluten intolerance I wanted to bake something that I can eat. I LOVE macarons! I've put off making them because everyone keeps going on about how difficult they are to make. So instead of seeing what exactly is difficult about them I put them in the too hard basket. I decided last week that sometime soon I was going to make them and so when I went grocery shopping last week I made sure to pick up some almond meal. It was supposed to be fine, white almond meal, but they only had the one sort and so I picked that up. Why exactly is it so expensive?

Anyway tonight I got the urge to make them and actually had all the ingredients. I didn't age the egg whites because to be quite honest I'm a little nervous of giving my family salmonella poisoning from leaving egg whites out on the counter in the Australian heat. So I just left the eggs on the counter until they had come to room temperature and then I started to get out some ingredients. I still didn't have a recipe at this point! I frantically googled macarons and started to scan through the recipes looking for one that matched how much icing sugar I had. Isn't that a smart way to choose a recipe. lol I found one eventually and then needed to modify it anyway because I didn't have any cocoa powder. I'm quite surprised that they actually worked! Here's the recipe I used.

I didn't have any flavourings so I just added pink food colouring at the end and the broken and slightly cracked  ones tasted delicious. I may have accidently on purpose broken a couple of extras. Whoops. But seriously tasty. I'm now waiting for my dear husband (who's out finishing off go-karts that the scouts made tonight but didn't finish) to buy some cream so that I can make some chocolate ganache to go into the macaroons. You have to leave the completed macarons in the fridge after you put them together overnight and so I don't want to wait until tomorrow to do them. So here I am blogging when I should be sleeping instead.
I think I'm going to try this recipe next time.
Sitting to dry out before being put in the oven.
Following along from the internet. Licked the bowl clean.
They have 'feet'! Yay!! I ate all the broken ones. Yummo!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chest pain and an ambulance ride

Thursday nights are scout night and as Dave is the scout leader for our local scout group I not only have the older two out but him as well! I had a relaxed night watching tv and managed to get the 2 littlies down by 8pm. Really a miracle in our house!! I was flicking through the tv channels looking for something else to watch when Dave and the kids got home. So 8:30 or so they all walk in the door and Dave mentions that he had a twinge in his left arm, yes left arm!! I already had alarm bells going off in my head at this point. He came over and quietly whispered to me that he had a burning feeling on his chest. Well I immediately started badgering him about his heart. "you do know that you're the perfect age for a heart attack.""how are you feeling?" "what about now?" "and now?" "is it getting worse?" and on and on I went... The kids went straight to bed and then with much more badgering and of course consulting Dr Google on both our sides he decided to call triple zero (our emergency number here in Australia). They asked him how old he was and what he'd felt and then dispatched an ambulance. I swear we could hear it coming before he got off the phone! I went outside to direct it to our place and before you know it two very calm and friendly paramedics were giving Dave aspirin to chew on, shaving his chest to attach electrodes and taking an ECG of his heart. What a scary thing! And what a wake-up call for the both of us. Life is short and you shouldn't sweat the small stuff PLUS if anything went wrong I wouldn't know the first thing about running Daves business or where any policies were or what policies we have or the passwords for anything. Luckily there was absolutely nothing wrong other than scaring the shit out of both of us and taking 8 hours out of Dave's night running bloods, an x- ray and more ECGs. Because I was home with all four kids Dave had to travel to hospital by himself, spend 8 hours anxious about what they might find and then in the morning after 2 hours of sleep catch a cab home by himself. I was worried but knew that if there was anything wrong he was in the right place. Neither of us got much sleep! We have though now discussed some of those worrying thoughts I had and realise that we need a back up plan if Dave's sick or otherwise disposed. It also made us realise how much we love each other and how pointless some of the arguments and disagreements we have. Also we really need another holiday!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cushion covers


The first one is using the left over material from my chair and the second one is the little hessian one on my bed. So quick and easy to do and they make such a change to the lounge and bed room! I'm loving having time to be creative!!

Two before and afters

Some recently completed pieces of furniture.
And an almost after. I have to get a key plate to cover the whole in the door and some white paint needs to be painted blue.
And my other beautiful cupboard.
And the after.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recording baby's milestones

So does baby number four have to have what baby number one, two and three have had? Are you recording all those little milestones and achievements for prosperity because one day they'll look back and want to know what they were like when they were a baby? Well poor Isabella (being number three) made me feel like an awful mother when Hamish was born and we were going through the older two's baby books to see how much they weighed etc. Poor Isabella had the figures and anecdotes, but absolutely NO photos printed off. I felt so guilty that I spent an entire afternoon and evening finding and printing off photos to put in her baby record book. She was so happy! It made me realise that I had better do Hamish's book too or I'll be hearing about it when he's four!

Well today Hamish was exactly 6 months old. I measured and weighed him and wrote down little bits about his routines, likes, favourites and more. Here are his stats:

Weight at birth: 3260g

Weight at 6 months: 9kg

So my lovely little love muffin has put on nearly 6kgs in 6 months!! Wow!

Birth length: 51 cm

Length at 6 months: 67cm

That's growth of 16cm! I think he's going to be very tall! Dave checked a website out that says it can predict your height from your parents height, your age, length and weight. It says that Hamish will be 6'3". Shorter than Dave, but taller than Josh who will supposedly only be 6'1". I'm not so sure that you can predict height, but Josh is already put out that his baby brother might be taller than him. I can't wait to find out.

Hamish slept for the second time this week, from 7:30pm until 7am. I woke up on those two mornings with a smile on my face and Dave said that I almost reminded him of the normal me. I hope that this is the start of some sort of sleeping routine. I would be so excited if I could get two nights in a row where I got to sleep longer than 4 hours! Of course I'd like to think that it's something that I've done and give myself a big pat on the back for being such a good mummy, but I don't think it's me. Some babies love to sleep and some don't. Partly it's just luck of the draw, partly nature and of course some of what you do. I've tried to keep to a routine at night which has helped, but have not had any luck during the day and just try not to stress about it. He'll learn to sleep when he needs it and I can't do anything about having to do grocery shopping or take the kids to activities or cook dinner or take Isabella out.

Tomorrow I've got to remember to take his foot and hand prints. I've done it with all the kids and so I need to make the time to do it for him too. I really love looking back at those little hand and foot prints and remembering how small they were.
Here are the prints from 11 weeks. They were supposed to be done at birth. It only took me 11 weeks to get around to it!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Finished freebie!

I found a couple of ugly chairs on the side of the road just before council pick up which meant they were free!! My lovely husband even drove around the block to pick them up. He called me to find out if I wanted all of them. I said no just the two best. So he rummaged through the pile of chairs like a homeless man and brought me two back. What an absolute sweet-heart. It's taken a few months to actually sand them, paint them, choose the fabric, cut the pattern, find a store to cut a new cushion etc etc. This is in between caring for a new baby. Mad? Totally!! Here are the befores, firings and after.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exhausted!!

What do you do when you're exhausted and at the end of the line. Everyone wants to be fed at once and you only have two hands. What are you to do? Get the four year old to feed the baby! I don't know if she managed to get much in but they were both quiet while I cooked omelets for dinner. Easy dinner option!

I should've taken video. This was very funny and greatly improved my mood. I did feed him once Isabella was eating!

Hamish has a tooth

Here's a photo of me trying to take a photo of his tooth. I promise there's really one there. Isabella was prepared to do whatever it took to get to that tooth. She was very eager and I had to stop her before there were any tears.