Friday, February 28, 2014

Lemon-Coconut Bundt Cake : Scrumptious Company

Back into playgroup routine again (wahoo) so a good excuse to start baking again.  I tried this recipe for Lemon-Coconut Bundt Cake from Scrumptious Company.  It combines two of my most favourite things, lemon and coconut, and meant I could use my new baby Bundt tin.

A beautiful moist cake, with the flavours complementing each other and not to overpowering. As my bundt tin is just a baby, I made muffins as well with the leftover mix.

Its no exaggeration that its as good as Scrumptious Company states it is.  It really is.  For the recipe and beautiful photos check out the above link.  Nom nom nom.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bibs, Wipes and Snap Press Machines

We welcomed a new niece into the family 3 weeks ago.  For my in-laws, this is number 12 Grandchild, and for my SIL her 4th baby.

I am guessing by the time number 3 and 4 babies come along, things like bibs and wash cloths are looking like they need to be doused in petrol and set alight.  This was certainly the case for me when The Girl entered the world.  

So I've made up a pile of nice fresh new wash cloths and bibs to gift to the new arrival.  

I cheated and brought a bib panel from Spotlight - I got totally sucked in by the cute owls.  And it meant I got to use my new toy - a Snap Press Machine!  Happy days.  The wipes are made of muslin - nice and soft and fast drying.

Stupid really, but I hadn't realised how easy bibs are to make, there are heaps of free patterns on-line, and you can never have enough with teething, dribbling and solid eating babies around.

For my SIL .... I haven't actually put these in the mail yet .... so I am being very naughty blogging about these before you see them.  Surprise.....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Child's Play - Getting Back to Basics

Yes!  The same thing happens with the box the toy comes in - the box more often than not is played with for longer.  Or the wrapping paper the toy was wrapped in.

Before seeing the above, I had already been tearing my hair out at the massive amount of 'stuff' my children have.  7 plastic boxes full of toys to be exact, not including lego, building blocks, train sets, match box cars, RC toys, board games, puzzles, crafting materials (including playdough and paints), dress-ups and The Girls baby dolls and accessories.  Just masses of stuff, and barely any of it really gets loved and played with.  Stuff stuff stuff.  Its really just driving me mad.

Do children really need all that stuff?  Is it really necessary?  When I think about what my children truly play with, I can draw the list down easily.  For the boys - bikes, lego, match box cars, Trash Packs and crafting materials.  For The Girl - bike, lego, baby doll and accessories and crafting materials.

The rest of the stuff is just that.  Stuff.  

They don't need it.  Is it going to deprive them of an amazing childhood if they don't have the latest plastic accessory?  No.  Why do I keep it all when it hardly gets touched?  I don't know!!

I even tried to rotate toy boxes to encourage play, but it hasn't worked.  They still just go back to their favourites and ignore the rest.

Danger Mouse is a prime example of not needing the latest stuff.  He likes to collect treasure. And he cherish's it.  The hubby and I recently went to Queenstown and spent a lot of time rock skimming on Lake Wakatipu.  The rocks are amazing, and we brought a pile back for Danger Mouse as his special surprise.  He loves rocks.  His Wakatipu rocks are now home to his frog he has found on his travels.  Tomorrow no doubt I will find them somewhere else.

He brings back pinecones from every trip to the Mountain Bike Park.  Cardboard boxes if he sees them anywhere.  Leaves.  Cicada shells.  Rocks.  Bits of string.  And he plays with this stuff.  They just don't get played with once and dumped in the bottom of a box with the rest of the pretty stuff. They get used again and again until they are worn out, broken, lost or squashed.  And then easily replaced on the next outing.

It doesn't cost me anything, is not wasteful on the environment, harmful and none of it really takes up much room.  It inspires him, challenges him to find different uses for his treasures and helps him sculpt an amazing imagination.

So its inspired me to get back to basics with my children's play materials.  Anything that they really do play with can stay, along with anything that inspires creation or imagination.  Everything else is getting whittled down and will be found new homes elsewhere.  We really don't need it all, its wasteful and its got to go!

Looking forward to freeing up more space.  For op-shop treasures maybe?....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Op Shopping - Tea Cups and a New Collection..

There is always much excitement from me when I manage to find a tea cup trio on my op shopping forages.

This is a Queen Anne 'Violet' 8301.

There is even more excitement when you manage to find a set of awesome vintage double sheets that don't cost your left kidney!!

And I think I have also started a new collection.  Sigh.  In my vintage years I am going to be that 84 year old lady with 17 cats and a house full of hundreds of dusty salt and pepper shakers.

What is the appeal?  I can't tell you, except I wasn't able to leave them behind.  Am I starting a new collection?  I think so.

My finds this week were found between Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army.  There were also a large pile of chocolate molds that came home with me, along with a few books for the kids.  

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Back From the Summer Madness

The summer holidays are over.  Feeling a bit sad, but we really can't complain as we have had the most amazing summer break.  Its time to focus back on school, kindy, work, exercise and overall get back into a normal routine.

We traveled a fair bit these holidays. The kids had a blast.  So many new learning experiences and awesome memories created.

We took the kids to Whakatane where we lived for 6 years.  Still feels like home.

We then headed to New Plymouth, for a wet few days, and discovered the awesomeness that is Pukekura Park and the Lights Festival.

There were a few wet days in Taupo as well.  We actually had to buy the kids raincoats here.  Did someone say it was summer?  A little bit of rain never stopped us though.

And two fun filled weeks were spent at Cooks Beach, adventuring with cousins, swimming till we were water logged, going for endless bike rides and the kids caught their first fish each.  

There were hours of fun spent at the Hamilton Mountain Bike Park - lots of dirt, tumbles, laughter, tears and achievements. 

In between all this a special princess turned 3.  She has now moved up a class in kindy and calls herself a 'big girl' when she wants to do something and a 'baby girl' when she doesn't.  

Really looking forward to this year and all that it brings.  Hopefully lots of special op shop finds....