Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ten for Tuesday - Dry Season Edition

Here's my recipe for the best dry season evening. It's how we spent the Queen's Birthday long weekend and is really just all the best parts of a great camping (but with a hot shower and a good night's sleep in my own bed at the end of it!)

Step 1. Make something fruity and delicious. 
I made Lemongrass, Lychee and Lime White Sangria - just throw ice, a tin of lychees, a sliced lime and a few stalks of lemongrass into a jug and your favourite sav blanc in a jug. Easy!
Make the kids their own version with soda water instead of wine. Fancy! Step 2. Drink it in the pool
With the warmer-than-usual weather we've had the pool is the perfect temp - cold at first but perfect once you're in. Step 3. Watch the sunset
Or the sky change colour depending on your vantage point. We had the added bonus of bats flying overhead - lots of counting practice! Step 4. Wish upon the night's first star
Then have your kids whisper their wishes in your ear. There's nothing better than a special insight into how their minds work. We found Venus too. Step 5. Snuggle up around a fire
The best part about a cold pool is getting out, being wrapped up in a big towel and snuggling up in front of an open fire. We substituted the Kamado. Step 6. Plan to eat something that can cook on the fire while you're relaxing in the pool
Our pick? Grilled Kransky sausages which we then piled into rolls with grilled onion, sauerkraut, grated cheese, pickles and sauces. All prepared before we headed outside for fun. Step 7. Enjoy!
Delicious food and great family conversation. Doesn't get much better.
Step 8. Prepare your marshmallows
...like a ninja!
Step 9. Toast those delicious morsels over your fire 
My big boys loved being in charge of the marshmallow roasting and took their role very seriously. Dad is a great teacher.
Step 10. Make S'mores
We like to squish our mallows between choc-chip cookies. Mmmmm. 
Step 11. Repeat
We loved this so much we did it all again the next night! Hooray for long weekends!

What's your secret for the perfect weekend?

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Nursery to Big Boy Room

In an effort to distract my troubled mind I've thrown myself into projects this week. 

Cupboards are being emptied, walls are getting painted, clutter is being sorted, further plans are being made and the house looks like an enormous pile of rubbish has been dumped right on top of our busy household.

The boys' sleeping situation is also being reassessed and it occurred to me that I haven't really shared (except on Instagram) the changes we've made to Rohan's room this year.

I had fun trawling through the photo archives and remembering what the room looked like two and a half years ago. So, let's travel back to his blissful, calming nursery. *insert magical time travel music here*

There are were so many things I loved about this room. The gallery wall - with the chalk drawing of a giraffe that Liam did for his brother, the mobile I made by revamping the one we had for Hamish, the soft blue accents that featured throughout the room and the incredible patchwork quilt my Mum made.

I made bunting to match the quilt...
and set up my favourite chair for feeding babies in...

Remember when I made the bookcase rainbow coloured? It was such a relaxing space to be in.

Then, when it came time to move him out of the cot we decided to start with a mattress on the floor, give him time to get used to it and then find the perfect big boy bed.

I chose this gorgeous new Adairs bedding to continue that soft blue but transition the mood to suit an energetic three year old. The "To the moon and back" cushion and letter bunting are from Cotton On Kids Room.
Although, I think the Ikea shelving with that adorable Little Rosie and Me pom pom garland are my favourite part...

So far the new bed has been great for jumping on and cuddling brothers on...

I also got a bit distracted looking at old photos. Can we take a moment to appreciate the wonder that is 18 month old Rohan with his first-curl, fairy floss hair and chicken-drumstick thighs. *Sigh*
 
On a personal note, a thousand "thank you"s to everyone who has sent such kind words and messages to me. It meant so much to feel so much love from this incredible online community of mine. Healing is happening.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Box of Hopes and Dreams

There's a cardboard box sitting in the corner of my bedroom. 

This is not unusual. In my never-ending war on clutter I seem to be constantly taking one step forward and two steps back. Also, I'm almost positive children's toys breed while we are sleeping. 

This box, like most of the boxes in my room - the rest of which fit tucked away under the bed - is filled with clothing. 

And like those other boxes, this one is filled with clothes that no longer fit the adorable little bodies that run around my home. 

But unlike those other boxes - the ones which are, of course, carefully packed away, filled with vacuum-sealed clothes, labelled according to size and patiently waiting for someone to grow into them - this box is filled with clothing that all of my boys have grown out of. Clothes that no other little person in our family is waiting to slip into. 

A couple of years ago these clothes were placed together in this box in a cheerful, hopeful 'maybe one more' pile. They were even subtly - but not too hopefully - separated into 'baby boy' and 'gender neutral' piles of sweetness. 

And about fifteen months ago - when we decided to turn that maybe into a slightly more active 'let's let fate decide' - that box truly became a box of hopes and dreams.  A box of delicious anticipation. A box which represented my dreams of the future taking flight and a box which, upon glancing at it, would fill my mind with visions of snuggling a tiny newborn wrapped up in one of the even tinier little onesies that had lovingly adorned his (or her) big brothers. 

My Mother's Day gift this year was the most incredible gift a hopeful parent can get. Those two little lines on a stick that represent a future filled with so much potential. 

Sadly. Oh so very, very, soul-crushingly sadly it turned out that little dream was not meant to be. 

I now have a cardboard box sitting in the corner of my room that makes weep. I've cried so many tears this past fortnight that I'm not entirely sure I have any more left in me. 

I'm troubled by this box and it's contents. I hadn't truly believed until now that my little maybe could be an improbability. I've been floating in a sea of unknowns and trying desperately hard not to drown in my sorrows. How can you not abandon all hope when fate is clearly sending you a message?

I've always been one of those people who reassure their troubled friends and family that 'things happen for a reason' and that 'the right thing happens at the right time'. I've always been able to deliver these missives with confidence and often heard the news of their dream jobs or the joyful, long-awaited arrival of a baby feeling a little smug. Because I was right. Have hope and the universe will deliver.

Hopeful me is telling devastated me the same things now - every time I happen to glance at that box in the corner - and, frankly, I just want to slap her! Smug little know-it-all cow. Doesn't she know how hard it is to maintain your hope when it's been boxed up for so long? 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A Super Avenger's Sixth Birthday Party

As April draws to a close I'm reflecting once again on how busy this time of year is for us. Two birthdays - 6 days apart, two birthday parties, Easter and school holidays sure keep me on my toes.

I'm also marvelling at the fact that I have finished blogging about both parties before the end of the month. Hamish's Ninja Party last year got blogged about in July!

This year he chose an Avengers theme because, well, superheroes! We altered it slightly to include all superheroes and incorporate a bit of old school comic book style animation. (Totally ripped off inspired all these amazing ideas from Tamsyn at Pink Milk and Ponies.)
 
Hamish wanted to have his party at the Leanyer Water Park, which is an awesome place for kids to cool off and - amazingly - free to enter. We all wore our superhero costumes but they didn't last long when there was fun to be had.
Unfortunately, they are running restricted hours on the children's water play area and the water switched off just as the party started! But most of the kids were tall enough for the big water slides and everyone jumped in the pool to chill out too.
Not including riding the water slides with his friends, Hamish's favourite thing without doubt? Hulk Punch!

After the extreme heat of Liam's party we decided to take as much water as we could too!
I kept the food simple but fun and themed, of course!

I love the Pop! tags on these mini popcorn boxes...
Hawkeye arrows for a bit of healthy to balance all the sugar...

Thor Hammers...
and Iron Man Hot Dogs.
The mini hot dogs were a big hit!
I think this guy ate most of them...
I tried to get a nice pic of the birthday boy but in all of them he's filling his face and having fun with his mates!
After slides, swimming, slides, kicking a ball and a few more slides we hit the dessert table.
I'm on a roll with cookies and love how these Spiderman ones turned out.
Hamish and I found this idea for a fruit shield on Pinterest and just had to make it - Captain America is his favourite! The kids demolished this...
Cupcake toppers really are the simplest way to make easy cupcakes part of your theme.
The kids all loved these Hulk Pops - marshmallows coated in green chocolate with choc sprinkles for hair - so easy!
And the cake! Our friend, Julie, did another superb job for us. Love, love, love! I've never seen Hamish smile as big as he did when he saw this...
The glorious cool breeze made lighting the candles impossible, but Hamish was a good sport and pretended to blow them out.
Oh, how I love photos of kids crowding around birthday cakes!
Happy Birthday to my sweet Avenger! Thanks for being my Superhero! (Yep, he's still eating!)
Another Pinterest find, Hamish was keen for each friend to have their own personalised take home bag. He chose a specific superhero for each friend. We made Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Batman, Green Lantern and Spiderman for the boys...
And Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Black Widow and Supergirl for the girls. 
I filled them with a few sweets, a chocolate pop, bubbles and a balloon with a superhero figurine for the boys and some superhero hair bands for the girls...
My very talented friend, Cerrie, is the creative force behind Ruffle Hair Creativity. She made these incredibly cute hair bands for the party and I'm really wishing I'd got some made for me! So cute! Now, tell me, who's your favourite Superhero?

Mine? Wonder Woman. I even have the costume!

Friday, 24 April 2015

A Ninth Birthday Soccer Party

My boys are currently obsessed with soccer. 

They play it everyday - after school and on the weekends. They watch it on TV when we record a game that 'their' team is playing in. For their birthdays they asked for new goals for the backyard and a jersey of their favourite player/s so they look the part!  

And when it came to choosing a theme for this year's birthday party, Liam's choice was easily made.
This was a really fun party to put together and effortless to execute, because... kids + a ball = hours of entertainment

I found lots of great ideas on Pinterest and the inspiration for the whole party were these invitations from Simone Made It which came in an amazing customisable, printable pack with heaps of inclusions at a very reasonable price.

Each guest was given a ticket invite and VIP pass lanyard. I had the tickets printed at Officeworks on a thicker card and they turned out so beautifully. Nearly everything else I printed at home as I customised each item. 

The envelope label printables were included in the pack and I lined the green envelopes I bought with some soccer themed scrapbook paper I found at Spotlight.
I kept the colour scheme for the party really simple to match the invitations- black and white with a hint of green.

We headed to our favourite park and the fun began! Soccer...
More soccer...
Love this bloke...
Can't believe my cheeky little love is 9! Honestly, mamas - don't blink!
We had some half time snacks - fruit, potato chips, and a simple guacamole dip with corn chips (and vegetable sticks - not pictured because I forgot about them until half way through the party!) which we made a little bit special with some sour cream piping and a couple of waffle chip 'goals'.
My boys were very excited to get energy drinks...
...but they sure needed them in the awful, awful heat. And we spent the morning really worried it would pour with rain!
Then there was more soccer...

In spite of the heat, everyone was in high spirits.


Then we fired up the barbeque for a Build your own burger bar. I made simple beef patties and had lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion, pickle and a variety of sauces available. (By the way - this sauce. Best ever!)
Our exhausted players came in for some food and a much needed rest...

The dessert table looked so pretty and was very difficult to resist! The poster, banner, cupcake toppers and thank you tags were all part of the printable pack.
I was excited the cookies turned out so well. In that they actually looked like soccer balls!
And I love these Paper Eskimo stripey baking cups...
We also had some chocolate pearls and Oreos and - can we talk about that cake?!
When Liam picked this one I knew it was beyond my cake decorating abilities and luckily our friend Julie at Sugar Storm Cakes makes the most amazing, delicious cakes! That Barcelona FC logo is completely edible!

Have I mentioned how hard it is to comprehend that he is 9 already?!?

May all your wishes come true, Baby Bear.
Our little tag home bags were trophies (plastic goblets I sprayed gold) filled with sweets that looked like soccer players and balls.
I'm sure no one noticed but each bag had two different coloured jelly babies or chico babies as teams and a single other colour for the referee! 

Hubby thought I was nuts! Though, for me that wasn't the point where I realised I was insane. That was when I was ironing the tablecloths to take them to the park!

Insane or not, I love birthday parties! And I think all the ideas here could be easily transferred to rugby, afl or basketballs too, don't you?

Are your kids obsessed with a sport?