Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Growing up...

"Princesses don't wear pants". This is what I was told on a daily basis by Miss Ruth when she was younger. 


The struggle I would endure to get her into pants was so frustrating. I am sure all you mums of girls know exactly what I am talking about here. We had stockpiles of leggings and stockings because come winter, that summer dress was what she wanted to wear, and some battles are just not worth fighting.


Yes, that is trackpants underneath a dress... 


I remember the tears that fell over the fact that the school uniform was not pink, and that she would actually have to wear shorts on some days as that was the sports uniform. She was also completely devastated that I refused to purchase the hideously expensive Winter dress and she had to wear trackpants all Winter to school.


Somewhere though a transition happened... she started to complain less and when it was practical she started to wear shorts or pants out.


Now she chooses to wear jeans and a hoodie most of the time. She has to be begged to wear dresses and skirts. And yesterday morning she groaned at me when I told her she had to wear her school dress. 


And don't even talk to me about the fact that she asked not to be called a princess anymore. I think this little miss is growing up. I am not sure I am ready, but I guess I will just have to run with it. Then call her princess anyway, because I am her mum, and well, its my job to annoy her right??

Is your daughter a princesses don't wear pants kinda kid?
Are your kids growing up too fast?
Are you not ready either?




Monday, 11 November 2013

Summer Sewing Inspiration

As I mentioned the other day, I am embarking on a Selfish Summer Sewing Spree for the next couple of weeks; using up some of my fabric stash, and moving it into my wardrobe. 

Today I have been trawling google images having a look for some inspiration. I like to wear clothes that are super comfy, but can be dressed up if need be. I like my jeans and t-shirts, but I love dresses, skirts and shorts as well.

 Here are a couple of the things I've found that are inspiring me.







What's inspiring you this week? 
Are you sewing this Summer? 
What's your Summer style?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Digital Parents Blog Carnival


Head over and have a read through some posts from other blogging parents. You never know, maybe you will find a new favourite (you know, second favourite, after me...)


Friday, 8 November 2013

Oh... look at that!


My old friend the sewing machine has made it out onto the table a fair bit lately. 

I took part in the Kids' Clothing Week Challenge. Well, at least in part; I had awful arthritis pain that week and was unable to sit in certain chairs around the house.

I made myself a dress. Which I am yet to blog. Actually I am yet to take photos of myself in it at all, I should put that on my to do list.

I made a whole lot of medal vests for Ruth's calisthenics friends.

You could even (almost) call me someone who sews again. I am starting to remember the joy that comes with creating with the machine and thinking that I really should get stuck into thinning out my stash and sewing. The thing is... I don't want to sew for anyone else...

Does anyone else suffer from handmade selfishness? I want to sew a few things for myself. Not the kids, not the Mr. In fact, when they ask me to sew their buttons back on, I feel like saying "well - there is the needles and thread..." 

So I am thinking of starting a Selfish Summer Sew-a-thon and sew myself some nice new items for my summer wardrobe. I think it sounds awesome, and I hope that the kids get jealous.

What selfish summer projects do you have planned??

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Melbourne Cup



I was really excited when my tickets arrived for the Melbourne Cup on Friday last week. 

I quickly set to dress shopping, and realised that I actually had a dress in the cupboard, so just went out and bought a fascinator for the occasion. If any of you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you also know that I set to finding out how the heck all you girls get curls to stay in all day (seriously one of my life's biggest frustrations!). 

We had a wonderful day. The crowd was bigger than any I have ever seen in my life. The noise was amazingly loud, and we got a wonderful position on the lawn, near the finish line. It's funny, as a girl who is originally from the country, I just kept wondering how on earth there could be a crowd this big and I actually not recognise ANYONE!! 

We didn't take many photos. I had no pockets in my dress, so the Mr was looking after my phone, but we took a few photos, most of which are covered in little fingers... WHOOPS! But here are the pick of the bunch.



We had such a wonderful time. And returned home by 7pm, completely exhausted and with feet full of blisters. We are so wonderfully grateful for the opportunity we had to go, and hope to get to go again some time in the future.

Oh... and in case you were wondering... YES! My curls did stay in all day.



Wednesday, 30 October 2013

I'm Going to the Melbourne Cup!!


I will be a guest of luxbet.com at this year's Melbourne Cup.

I must say I am looking forward to heading down to Flemington on Tuesday with the Mr, donning some fancy clothes, and experiencing Cup Day. I have never been before, so am very excited about getting dressed up and going down to be there in the flesh on such a big day. There are, of course, a few things that I will need to take care of first...

What am I going to do with the kids??
The thing about having kids is that you need to organise so much more in order to be able to leave the house. Most of the time I just don't go out, because no one is able to help out. But this time I said yes without even checking... POSSIBLE DISASTER... I am sure I am not the first mother to say yes, and then think about what to do with the children later. Thankfully I have organised it, and the kidlets will be at their friend's for the day. Phew! I am very grateful for friends being able to help out. So now on to the important stuff...

What am I going to wear??
Well, isn't that the million dollar question? I have shoes... I don't want to be breaking in new shoes between now and next Tuesday, I don't have time, so it will be all about the dress... I honestly think that getting to be all dressed up is part of the excitement of actually going. So, although this will be race-day on a budget (I am sure it is for most mummies) I am looking forward to ditching my jeans and ponytail for a day and getting all frocked up. It is easy for the boys, well my boy anyway. He has a suit that he wears for everything, and just changes the tie or the shirt. Hmm, I don't have anything like that. Such a pity when you NEED to go dress shopping isn't it?? 

It must have been by chance, but I noticed that they have Spring Racing dresses down at Target the other day. You know, when I was buying the kids socks and undies and trying to avoid the lollies that lead to the checkout... yeah... my life is THAT glamorous. Anyway, Ruth and I will be heading out this afternoon dress shopping. She says she would like to be my critic, although I am not sure I will take much of her advice, otherwise I might end up wearing something with pink polkadots...

What time am I supposed to get there??
This was a serious question I asked the Mr last night when I found out that we were going. I know we will be drinking, so it will be taxi or train for us, and luxbet has been lovely enough to provide us with a travel allowance. But what time?? The gates open pretty early on in the day and thankfully I now know that the big race starts at 3, not 2 (ex Queenslander here...) and so we will head down at lunch time-ish so we can have a look around and, of course, I am sure the Mr will want to have a bet. He tells me you always have to have a bet on cup day...

What is the best way to choose a horse??
I have always drawn a name out of a hat. But seeing as my hat will be firmly placed on my head, I think I will use the close your eyes and point method. Seems to be fail safe to me, I may even have a bit of a flutter on the cup myself. If anyone else has a super awesome tip for me... feel free to share by the way.

This comes at the end of a big study period at uni, and I feel like I am well and truly being rewarded for my efforts. I am looking forward to finishing my last assignment for the term this week, doing a test on Sunday or Monday, and being able to go out for a day kid, and uni-stress free. Now, to buckle down and finish those assignments so I don't fail!!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Who comes first?


There seems to be this ingrained part of me that thinks that if my kids need something then it is important that they get it. So I tend to go without. Yes, even to the point where I wear jeans that have a gaping hole in the inner seam (upper thigh... don't stress!) until it is completely noticeable that I do actually need new pants. If my kids had a hole in their pants, they would never wear them in public again, and new pants would be purchased ASAP. 

Am I the only parent who does this? Sometimes I think that this way of thinking somehow springs from that fear of "Oh gosh! What if everyone thinks I am a bad mum??!!??!!". What? Because I allowed my kids to wear pants that had a hole in them? Sometimes I think I need to do a bit of growing up. Who gives a flying McChicken burger what everyone else thinks??

Two weeks ago, my trusty old laptop packed it in and officially decided that it was not going to do what I wanted. I had an assignment due in 5 days and my computer said nope - I am not opening an internet browser with the click of a button... I will take an hour to do that. In tears, I walked into the computer shop and bought a new one. Because you know what?? It is not worth being stressed over a computer that doesn't work. 

I am slowly realising that I am important too. Don't get me wrong. I love myself to bits, and I absolutely think I am worth new things; I just tend to put others' needs before my own. Putting others first is great sometimes, but not ALL the time. Sometimes, the most important thing is to say yes to ME.

And guess what?? This morning I threw out those jeans and bought some new ones. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Kid's Clothes Week



So yesterday I discovered the dates for the upcoming kids' clothing week challenge. Basically, you sign up and commit to sewing for your kids for one hour each day for a week. Last time I did this, I made some great clothes for my kids. It might be a "fall" challenge, but I will be making some great spring-wear for my kidlettes I think! 

The sign up page is not available yet, but put the date in your diary, head over and join the community, and introduce yourself.




Thursday, 19 September 2013

Stuff and things

I have been completely absent from blog-land the last few weeks as I have been swamped by uni work. I have also been rushing around for the kids, mostly Ruth's calisthenics.

I finished off last study period one day before I started this one. With no break, and an overloaded study planner you can imagine I was pretty snowed under. I've made a few decisions over the last few weeks though and I think that will ease up my stress, and give me freedom to write.

Firstly, I decided to drop a subject at uni. I was overloading anyway, so I still keep my full time status, and I get a few less headaches. I will start overloading again at the beginning of next year when Oliver starts school. It is nice having time to breathe.

I also removed my blog from nuffnang. The thing about advertising on your blog is that you actually have to make time to post when they want you to, and consistently. I have no problem posting consistently usually, and blame my disestablishmentarianism, but I simply cannot do something just because someone else wants me to. It is a weight off my mind to decide to close that door.

 So here is to the wonderful, less stressed, ad-free future.


Sunday, 18 August 2013

wordless weekend




Saying it all without words today for my wordless weekend.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Creative Inspiration

Image Source

I have been spending a lot of time sitting and wishing that I was sewing lately. Aside from calisthenics costumes, I have not gotten my sewing machine out and active in over 12 months. For someone who used to sew constantly, that is a bloody long time! 

So why haven't I been sewing?? There are a few reasons..

1. There was a period of time when my sewing and creating was my job through WeePantz (my old business). After finishing up from that, I really lacked the interest in sewing anything, despite having a few bouts here and there of making skirts and what not. I think I needed a break.

2. I have loads of study to do. I am very organised, and have every single part of my day assigned to what needs to be done. Study takes up the majority of that time - after the kids of course.

3. I don't know what to sew! I've been in desperate need of some inspiration. Lately I have wanted to sew, but had no idea WHAT I should sew. So I choose not to, in case time restrictions hinder that (see #2).

So I have been looking for creative inspiration to get me started on my machine again. I am sure that once I am on there, momentum will kick in and I wont be able to stop - at least I hope so. I have been looking into what is trendy for a fashion challenge at the moment.

I am not sure that I am very trendy, but I'm sure that I will find a way to fit my style and hopefully discover where my sew-jo has been hiding because I miss it, and the joy of creating terribly.

What have you been creating lately?
Have you lost your sew-jo somewhere along the way?

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Life's lessons


I was completely grateful last night when the Mr was able to go and buy us a new washing machine. 

It has been a difficult few weeks since the holy crap we have no underwear crisis, and there have been many trips to our local laundromat to make sure that everyone has had clean clothes to wear. My jeans have also had their longest stint of no washing (you don't have to wash jeans THAT much right??). 

I have learned many things in the last few weeks. Yes - you can learn a lot from a broken washing machine!! Most of all, I have learned that my life won't fall apart when things don't go to plan. I am a massive control freak, and I become pretty frazzled when things don't go the way I planned them, and I have learned to let go a little.

I am spending the rest of today doing washing, and groceries.

What are you up to?
Have you learned anything from your experiences this week?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A morning at Essendon Traffic School

Last week on Friday, Oliver's kindergarten arranged an excursion for each of the groups to head to Essendon Traffic School. We spent two whole weeks counting down the sleeps until traffic school. We were so excited that we could hardly contain it! 

Finally Friday of last week arrived. We woke up, we looked out the window, and our excitement was squashed. It was cold, it was grey, and it had been pouring rain all night with no hope of it stopping. We packed our lunches though, ready for anything and off we trotted to kinder only to be met with a big sign saying that traffic school had been CANCELLED!!  It was a relatively tragic moment for a certain little boy who had been desperately awaiting the excursion. But the cancellation didn't come as a surprise to his mother who had assumed such would occur.

Thankfully, the excursion was re-scheduled for Monday, so for Oliver, all hope was not lost, and it meant only three more sleeps until we were able to go. 

It was a LONG weekend...

Monday morning arrived, and the sun was shining! Excited and ready; off we went to kinder, put on our name badges, jumped on the bus, and headed off to traffic school!


It was blisteringly cold. But we listened to the instructor tell us all of the road rules we needed to know, and went on a walk around the track to practice them. We learned that when we get to the side of the road, we need to stop, look, listen, and think before we cross and we learned that when we are in the car, there are special rules we have to follow with the different signs and lights.


We were then fitted with helmets, or at least Oliver was, and chose the deadliest tricycle in the whole place to ride around on for a while.



We forgot that you have to ride on the left hand side of the road, and we forgot the right way to go around the round a bout, but we remembered what all of the signs meant, and also had lots of stops for petrol too.



Thankfully there was tea in the shed too, so nobody's mum froze in the icy cold wind. 

We all then got back on the bus, very tired, and drove back to kinder. We were so glad for the rain staying away so that we could have such a wonderful morning out. We had a wonderful time, and would really recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going. It promptly rained tiny little razors of ice on us however, as soon as we stepped off the bus; soaking us through and leaving us in need of two minute noodles and tea to warm us up. Along with dry clothes and underwear!

We're now counting sleeps until the crazy hair disco. Two to go!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

It's a Party!!

Or a blog carnival at least!!

Green Power Pancakes!


My amazing Green Power Pancakes are part of the Digital Parents Blog Carnival over on Nat's Natterings. Head over and check out my own link, along with a bunch of other awesome posts by other parent bloggers.



Digital Parents Blog Carnival

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Catching up

Do you ever have that feeling that the world is moving really fast, and that all you can do is attempt to keep up? That's how I feel at the moment.

My crazy kids


It's been a really huge, very busy week here at our place and I knew I was at risk of falling off the grid again, but somehow running, organising, and keeping things going was more important. A few things that we have been up to this week?

Calisthenics

Miss Ruth had her first comp for the calisthenics season. Her team did really well, and we are all very proud of their amazing efforts.

Beanie


I finished that beanie I started a few weeks ago.


fingerless mittens progress

I cast on, and started a pair of fingerless mittens for myself. I am really enjoying knitting and it is slowly becoming quite an obsession. I told you I would become a good knitter!!

My desk

Finally, I spent lots of time studying as it is the end of the study period and there are plenty of assignments due. I cleaned off my desk, and then 10 minutes later this is what it looked like again...

What have you been up to this week?

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

What I'm reading Wednesday.

This week I have been reading Jonah by Louis Stone.

Image Source

This is not a book that I chose for myself, but a book I need to read for my Australian Literature elective at uni. Like the other books I have had to read for this subject, I am really enjoying it. It is a breath of fresh air to read something realistic, which is in contrast to the fantasy novels I often read.

I haven't finished the book yet, but basically it is a book about a deformed man named Jonah, and how he rises above what everyone expects of him, a life of crime as the leader of the local "push", a street gang. The book is about growing up, and settling down. The characters are wonderfully painted, and I am truly sucked in by the plot. I really love the character of Jonah because he is determined to be better, because he knows that he IS better than what everyone thinks of him due to his deformity. Perhaps I hold a small sweet spot for all hunchbacks though, as I have scoliosis myself (although mine was surgically corrected). I am looking forward to reading what happens in the rest of the book.

What are you reading this week?





Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Children and housework

I have a confession to make. I am a mean "mean mother", and I make my children help with the housework. 

It is my belief that, as a parent, it is my job to teach my children everything that they need to know to become fully functional members of society. One of these lessons is that, unfortunately, housework is not optional!

I should mention, my kids are not mopping floors, or scrubbing walls; although when Ruth was younger she wanted to play Cinderella, and asked to scrub the grout, I didn't say no... I choose jobs that my kids are capable of, and let them know that this is their responsibility.

I thought that today I would share some ideas about getting your children to help you out with the housework.

1. Your kids want to do what you are doing...
I was told when Ruth was very little, by my health nurse, that your kids just want to do what you are doing. So from a very young age, both of my children have helped with things like dishes, folding washing, cooking and dusting. 


2. Make cleaning fun...
My kids love helping me clean because I turn on music and I blast it through the house. If I send them off to their rooms to tidy up, music blaring is the most important part of it. If cleaning is fun it feels like less of a chore for everyone, including you!


3. Be realistic...
You need to be realistic about what you want your kids to do. I make my kids clean their own rooms, help stack the dishwasher, and put away their own washing. Ruth has recently started folding her own. They will also clean the bathroom with supervision, but I generally do most of it. Ruth often asks to do the vacuuming too.



4. Be patient...
Your kids are not going to be awesome, professional level cleaners. Oliver's idea of folding socks is shoving one inside the other and folding them in half (always funny when you pull them out of the drawer). You really need to pick your battles with kids and cleaning. Think about it, is it really SO important that the shirts get hung all the same way and in rainbow colour order?? The idea is that you get them started, that you get them motivated, and eventually they will need less supervision, and be able to do things on their own.



That's it!! There is the motivator of pocket money, if you are so inclined and we often will sweeten the deal for the kids cleaning up something in particular by paying them.


Do you make your kids help with you with the housework?
What kind of tips do you have for getting children motivated to help around the house?

Monday, 29 July 2013

Cooking with Amy: Cauliflower Pizza Crust

cauliflower pizza
I know.... this looks A-MAZ-ING!! This is a pizza I had for lunch the other day. I love, love, love pizza, but unfortunately it is not really very healthy, and for some people it is just plain old off the menu due to gluten intolerance.

This pizza is made with cauliflower as a base, something that I discovered whilst surfing instagram one day. I have tried lots of different cauliflower base recipes, but this one actually stays together, and you can pick up the slices with your hands rather than having it fall to pieces. This pizza base also has an added bonus of an optional protein boost, if you are protein powder inclined.

Cauliflower

What you'll need:
1 x head of cauliflower
1 x egg
1 x tblsp cheese of choice
2 x scoops of protein powder (optional)
Toppings of choice.

How to do it:

For this recipe, your cauliflower is going to act as a flour for your pizza base, so you need to make cauliflower rice. When I first heard of cauliflower rice, I was quite overwhelmed, but it really is as simple as putting your cauliflower florets in a food processor, or as I have done, grate it. You'll need about 2 cups to make a one person sized pizza.

cauliflower rice

Put your cauliflower rice on a plate, cover it with cling wrap, and microwave for about 3 minutes. You want to cook it. Don't add any water, because the cauliflower contains water in itself, and you actually will be drying it out in the following steps and adding water just makes the process longer.

Once it is cooked, lay out a clean tea towel and pour the rice out on it. You want it to cool down enough so that you can handle it comfortably.

Cauliflower rice

Once it is cool enough to handle, pick up the tea towel with the cauliflower inside and squeeze all of the water out. You want it to be really quite dry as, like I said, it is acting like a flour.


Put your squeezed out cauliflower in a bowl with your other ingredients and give it a good stir until it is combined. I use a fork or a desert spoon, as it helps you get it all together (and saves on big dishes!). 

**a note on the protein powder** I add two scoops of whey protein to my cauliflower pizza base, as this fits my macronutrient requirements. If you don't want to add protein powder, and you feel like your mix is really sloppy, you can add a bit of flour to the mix (oat, rice, wheat etc.).

**a note about the cheese** Use whatever cheese you have in the fridge. In this instance I used tasty cheese, but I often use ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella, or Parmesan.

cauliflower pizza crust

Pour your mix onto a pizza tray covered in baking paper. You can see from my picture that it is still a bit mushy. This will change when you cook it so don't stress out about that. Put your base in the oven at about 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until it is brown on top.

cauliflower pizza crust

Pull it out and top with whatever you feel like. On this day I was feeling in need of vegetables, so I mashed some avocado and put on some sliced capsicum, grated zucchini, and some baby spinach. But I often just put tomato paste and a little cheese on top.

Cauliflower pizza crust

Cook it again for around 10 minutes, or until your toppings are cooked. Slice up, move to a plate, and ENJOY!!

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Try it! You know you want to!


Friday, 26 July 2013

My Prosperity


I'm not usually one to start chatting about financial products on this blog, however I was offered the opportunity to have a look at myprosperity through my affiliation with Nuffnang, and I thought... why not? I could definitely do some organising in the financial department now that we have downsized to one income.



There are so many different elements to managing your finances, and sometimes it can be a little difficult to figure out exactly where you stand financially and what you can actually afford to do. Myprosperity is a free, secure, online platform that you can use to link all of your financial things, bank accounts, mortgage, credit cards, insurances, assets etc. in one place. The best thing about this is, because everything is in one place it is easy to see what is going on financially for you at any given time without having to have 100 browser windows open at once. This actually makes your financial position easier to understand.

How it works??

When you register for an account, you log into myprosperity, and you do a little online interview. You start by telling the program what your life stage is and what your goals are. This means that it is not just a cookie cutter set up and is a bit more personalised. This means that you can design a plan to suit your needs, not what "the majority of people" (whoever they are) want.

Next, you link all of your accounts to your myprosperity account. This takes a little bit of time to set up because the accounts need to talk to each other and all that jazz. Once it is done though you can log in and see where your money comes from, and also what you spend it on. The good thing about this is that it organises all of your in's and out's on its own. You don't need to add each transaction in manually, so you don't miss anything. All of the transactions are then organised into categories, which makes seeing EXACTLY what you spend your money on really easy and makes budgeting a lot easier.

From here it really is up to you. You can go into the planner and set yourself some goals, check out your wealth position etc. Personally, I really want to focus on sticking to a budget and boosting our savings for all important holidays and emergencies! So I jumped into the goals section and put that in. It was really easy to set up.

One improvement I would make is an easily accessible help link or frequently asked questions link. Although I found that it was really easy to navigate the site, it took a bit of clicking through things to figure it out.


I'm looking forward to organised finances with no surprises from now on!

If you would like to check out myprosperity for yourself, visit their site and register for an account. It is an easy, free, and secure way to take control of your finances.