Friday, January 25, 2013

Milly turns 3!

We've had a busy, but very fun week of preparing for Milly's 3rd birthday party this past week.  There was not meant to be a party at all, it just kind of happened and I'm so glad it did.  She really had a great time, both leading up to, and the actual party itself and so did I.

She has recently developed a thing for fairies, so when we knew we were going to have a few guests coming I got 'pinteresting' straight away and boy did I hit the jackpot for ideas! I decided on Peg fairies (I used scraps of fabric cut into petal shapes and coloured card for the wings), tissue paper flowers for the tables, and wand making and canvas painting to keep the little fairies busy.

I had sewn the girls some 'Tinkerbell skirts' already and I made them some wings. Seeing as though we only invited one other child, I made her costume too.   I didn't take any photos of the wing making process, but there are tutorials all over pinterest or just make it up!

Homemade costume
Birthday present costume

I put our tables outside and bought some cheap poplin (even cheaper in the 1/2 price fabric sale lincraft was having at the time) with pretty coloured polka dots and flowers to use as table cloths.  I didn't actually sew these at all, just put them on as fabric pieces, so now I have some pretty material for a few summer dresses. I put vases of 'fresh' flowers on the tables too!

The skirts were also very simple, but again I have no photos of the process. I've just tried to type instructions without photos and it sounds complicated and makes no sense so I'm giving up, but they were VERY simple to make and I just made it up as I went along.

The cake was one she picked from my AWW kids cake book with a few things added from other cakes in the book and some of our own ideas. I've never decorated a cake before so I was a bit worried, but daddy took the girls out for the whole day before the party, so I was uninterrupted and didn't have too much trouble.

For the wand making I just cut out some star shapes on coloured card and went for a walk in our bushland to collect some bamboo sticks to tape them onto.  I ran out of time to paint the sticks before hand, but nobody seemed to notice.  I also gave them some blank canvases to paint on, which was a big hit!

I also set up the princess tent she received for her birthday last year and put every fairy themed book in their collection in there incase they wanted some quiet time.  To my surprise, they actually did sit in there and read to each other and then they ate their dinner in there too!

Dinner, as requested by Milly, was sausages and homemade pizza.  The rest of dinner (not requested by Milly) was marinated chicken, salads and veges.

Desert was birthday cake and multicoloured layered jelly.

Opening her present from mummy and daddy.

Overall, she really had a great time and soaked up the afternoon with her fairy sister and fairy friend just enjoying herself.  Myself and daddy had a really good time too! 

Monday, January 14, 2013

I'm back! (well that's the plan anyway)

Over the last year or so since my last post I've had a great time with my little family.  I've met some new friends, grown some real actual grass, had a complete flop of a vegetable garden, done a lot of work around the shouse and stayed at home watching my babies grow.  As sad as I am to say this, Claire is a real little toddler now and she has a lot of attitude and personality.

Anyway, I'm back because we only have 1 year left in the shed and I'm starting to panic that I haven't gotten as much out of the experience as I should have.  Not because I haven't been busy (I've had a baby, a toddler and a very tiny place to try and keep safe and clean), but because I haven't taken the opportunity to do things here that I won't be able to do when we move into a house.  When we move into a real house next year, Lyle will be working more so I will lose some of my help and I won't have 5 acres of land with a creek running through it.  I also have my body back to myself after 3 years of being pregnant and breastfeeding and although I'm not sure there won't be anymore babies, it's mine to get back into shape for at least a little while.  

Here's my plan and the reasons for the plan (to remind myself when I get off track) for the next 12 months:

Stay at home more - I'm terrible at this.  I can really only cope with 2 whole days at home before I feel like I NEED to go somewhere.  I think this is because we live 30 minutes out of town and that makes me feel very disconnected and isolated (so does having no TV reception!) Even visiting friends out here doesn't help much.  I feel like I have to go into town to keep in touch.  The plan is no more than 2 trips to town during the week (weekends are different because that's when we can see our family). The reason is so I get better at being home and just enjoying what we're doing and to save money on petrol.

Learn to run - I used to be an ok runner, but I haven't done it since I was in uni and I want to get back into it.  Ultimately this is to get fit, but I won't complain if I lose some weight at the same time.  

Eat healthy(yes, I know everyone says this) - I know what to do, I'm just not great at doing it.  I feed my family well and the healthy food is not in short supply (if I ate like Lyle and the girls I wouldn't have to put this point on my list), I just choose bad food over good food for myself out of habit and because it fills me up quicker when I'm starving.  The reason is to be healthier (duh) and to make getting fit easier and to actually show my children how to eat well, not just tell them. 

Grow a productive vegetable garden to actually feed us - this is one of the things I may not be able to do as well in a house because I won't have the space.  I have already built a new compost heap and dug out 4 gardens that I'm going to rotate.  I was given a book on vegetable growing for christmas and am using it as my guide (bible). One reason for this project is to learn about what works and what doesn't and trial some things so that when I get to a house I can get started straight away because I'll be a bit more experienced.  I also want to do this to encourage my girls love of gardening and fresh food.  They really enjoy being out in the dirt and helping me plant things, then getting to eat what they grow.  Another reason is to save some money on veges.  Produce markets aren't great up here so buying it from the supermarket is more expensive and not as good in quality.   

Establish our fruit trees - We have a few and I think they are going to be ok, but I just want to really make sure they are established enough to survive once we leave so we haven't wasted our time and money. 

Learn how to do some DIYing with power tools and be a little bit handy - just something I want to do and I should make the most of Lyle being home more often than he will be when we move.  He will be able to teach me things and also look after the girls while I do stuff.  I have already learnt so much about this kind  of stuff just from living here (you have to be able to look after yourself a fair bit), but Lyle has learnt SO much more than me.  Most recently he fixed the septic system (glad it was him, not me!). I'm going to make some things and fix some things.  

Continue to bake and even a little bit more - my goal is to not buy cakes and biscuits from the supermarket.  This won't be too hard, because it's something I do most of the time anyway, but there are times when I get lazy and buy instead of make.  The reason is to save money, I can make it healthier and it's another thing my girls love doing.  Something I have only just started doing and am going to keep up is making bread when we run out instead of making an extra trip into town to get some (if only we had a cow for milk!) 

I want to do these things that I enjoy while I have the time to do them  and I want to use the time that I have to make some of the things habit.

Panic actually set in a few weeks ago, which is what kicked this little list off and I've been working on it since then, this is just the first time I've written anything down.  So far I'm doing pretty ok, but I really need to get onto the running.  I've been exercising, which is a good start, but I need to find somewhere our here where it's safe to run.

I know this post is worded terribly and a bit like a primary school students diary (I should know, I teach them!), but it's out of my head and down on paper, so it's clear.  

Friday, February 3, 2012

Our Bedroom

I thought I would share the rooms of the Shouse.  I've already posted about the lounge room here. This one is about our bedroom.

I actually took these photos a long time ago (look how tiny Claire is). It was obviously winter and I remember that Milly was spending a few days with my parents.  Claire was still a newborn and doing lots of sleeping (something she could do with a refresher course on at the moment) so I used the quiet, uninterrupted time to clean our room and take some photos.  After looking at these photos for the first time since I took them, I am planning to clean the room tomorrow, because it is looking a lot more cluttered right now!

Here it is:

Claire's corner

This side actually has the cot in it now, instead of the bassinet.

That's the back of the lounge room that the mirror is leaning on.

Now I just have to find a time when Milly's room and the kitchen are looking tidy enough to photograph when I know where the camera is!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favourites again...

Has recently turned 2 and some of her favourites at this amazing age (are they all amazing?  I'm only up to age 2, but each new age is amazing to me!) include:

Singing! Seriously, if she's not talking (which admittedly is rare) she is probably singing.  Some of her favourite songs are twinkle twinkle, one banana two banana (or whatever it's called), the 'diddle up a tree' song from play school, baa baa black sheep.  Sometimes she just hums the melody and she is even on tune (I'm a qualified musician, so I'm not just being a biased mother I promise!) a lot of the time.  Today she was just singing the word 'quack' to the tune of twinkle twinkle and at the moment she is hanging over the baby gate to her room (she should be in bed sleeping) humming.

Play school.  She got a DVD from us for her birthday and watches one episode every morning when she needs a rest, but not a sleep.  Luckily for me this usually coincides with Claire having a morning sleep so I get 25 minutes to either use for myself, watch play school, or get some housework done without interruptions.

Jumping on the trampoline is still a big favourite and she gets to do it most afternoons.

Riding her big girl bike that she got for christmas.  Although her great aunty that lived 2 properties down has just moved very far away so we haven't been riding for awhile.  Must remember to take her for a ride to check the mail box tomorrow!

Swimming lessons. She's definitely getting her confidence in the water back after no swimming for a good 9 months.

Finally, I'd say her absolute biggest favourite thing to do right now is play with her figurines.  She has some little people, some toys from happy meals and some farm animals and she loves to cart them around the 'shouse' and make them 'do' different things.  I don't have many photos (MUST take some more), but she does things like line them up on the floor or the couch or a chair or stand them in a circle all around her cereal bowl and says 'they watching Minnie eat', or in the sandpit or the rocker.  Pretty much everywhere.  She also loves to have tea parties with them.  She always removes the lid of the teapot before she pours them a cup of tea and she makes a pretend eating noise when they take sips from their tea cups.  She often describes what's happening as it happens to herself.

Milly is also starting to want to interact with her baby sister more and gets so excited when Claire can get involved in something she is doing.  Although, she's not too happy with the handfuls of hair that Claire removes or when Claire accidentally catches a toy she is, was, or might want to sometime in the future play with.  She tries to give her a dummy, gives her toys to play with and ALWAYS has to give her a kiss and a cuddle if she is going somewhere without her.  Actually, she's pretty relentless with that last one no matter who it is.  She gets seriously upset if she thinks someone is leaving and she hasn't given them a kiss and a cuddle goodbye.  Something that became habit for us when we lived in Brisbane because we didn't see relatives very often and it has really stuck with her.  She will not go to bed without giving me and daddy a kiss and a cuddle, but she will accept an explanation if Lyle is at work when she goes to bed.

She is also starting to want to do things 'by herself'.  (Not sure why she talks in the third person so much, but she does!)

Claire is nearly 5 months old and is so so so so adorable and cute and I could just smell her sweet baby breath all day ( in between cuddles of course).  I'm sure this girl gets more kisses than she wants what with me, daddy and her adoring big sister slobbering all over her all day long.

She is doing all of the typical things a baby of this age does like grabbing things and catching her feet and eating them and whatnot, so I'm not going to record those, but I'm going to record the things that make her HER.

Claire is very happy to go to almost anyone, although her face just lights up with a huge smile if she sees me.  Also with Milly and daddy, but mostly me.  She does get a bit worried if she can't see me for awhile or if she is with someone very new to her.

Claire has been going on the swing a little bit over the last week and she LOVES it! She just smiles and giggles the whole time.  OR if she's really relaxed she falls asleep.  She especially loves it if she can see Milly jumping on the trampoline at the same time.

She loves playing with her toys and her favourites are a lamaze caterpillar, a butterfly rattle, a cube with taggies on it and her activity centre.  She plays happily with them for ages.

She really enjoys tummy time and probably prefers to be on her tummy rather than her back.  She likes to be able to look around and see all her favourite people, especially so she can see what her sister is up to.  She just loves that girl.

She loves to chat and touch my face while she's 'talking' to me.

She likes it when I make her 'walk' around the house chasing Milly or when she stands on the trampoline while Milly is jumping (Milly's only light, so it's not too much bouncing for Claire).

She's enjoying her swimming lessons and is very relaxed when she's floating in the water.

Last night she was dropping her bottom lip and had the saddest little face all because Daddy was blowing on the pitch pipe to tune his bass.  Everytime he blew it her bottom lip dropped and her chin trembled.  I wanted to video it, but I felt too mean so I just gave her some extra cuddles instead.  It was so adorable, but so heartbreaking at the same time.

I'm enjoying getting in the pool for swimming lessons or the creek every few days in this heat.

I'm enjoying the fact that we are finally, although barely, getting settled enough in this place to get some sort of weekly routine happening.  It's making me appreciate the days at home a little bit more and using my time at home more efficiently.  We are still a long way from being settled, but it will never happen here in the amount of time we are going to be here for, so we're just doing the best we can manage.

Gardening - put in a herb garden, planted some stuff in a new garden bed.

Mostly, I am loving the fact that we have a plan to buy a house in Brisbane in the next few years.  This is a whole new plan, but Daddy and I seem to make big plans and then either stick to them or find a way to make them work even better for us.  We are still going overseas at the end of the year at this stage ( there is one instance that may change this, but I can't see it happening), but we have come up with a plan to be able to buy hopefully only a year after we come back instead of lots of years after we come back.  I'm disclosing the plan at this stage, but I think it will work.

Getting a lot more time to practice now that we are slowly getting more settled.

I plan to do some posts on the rooms of the 'shouse' soon, it's just difficult to align a room looking mildly presentable with knowing where the camera is and having the time to take photos.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This is going to be a very boring post.  I'm not even sure why I'm writing it, but maybe it'll help bring back my motivation.  Since before Christmas I have had no motivation to sew or craft.  I started making a few christmas presents, but never finished them.

The thing is, usually when this happens I get really anxious and worried that I'm just being lazy and stuck in a rut.  It tends to freak me out a bit and I tend to get really proactive and make myself sew something and I usually get back into it.  This time, though, it doesn't seem to be bothering me. I should mention that this happens to me every few months and this is the first time since Claire was born.  I think I am finally learning to accept that sometimes it's ok to focus entirely on my home and my family and not feel like I have to fill my free time with doing something for myself.  Lately I have just been doing typical domestic things like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, tidying, etc and general maintenance (there is an awful lot of that here and just when you think you're up to date something else presents itself, the most recent being rain and we had to get out in the yard and dig to change the shape of the yard because the water was dangerously close to coming inside) and playing with my girls.  It's been a much more relaxed pace in the sense that because I haven't been trying to cram too much in I have time to be more organised, I get to places on time and my house seems tidier.

That was a bit of a ramble, but I think I'm trying to say that at the moment having a 2 year old (this week!!!!) and a 4 month old and living in the 'shouse' just has me too busy to do too much other than maintain the 'shouse' and look after my family and I am ok with the lack of motivation to do anything else, because I feel pretty confident that when I do have time again, the motivation will come back. Also, I LOVE that I have the opportunity to do nothing but care for my family.

Here's hoping my motivation comes back soon, but in the meantime I'm very content with life at home.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Shed happenings

 Wow, 3 posts in one day.  This is just a quick one though and I wrote the first one yesterday.

Daddy put the water tank up last week and spent sometime inside it sealing holes today.  Now we are just flushing it out and cleaning it before we use it.

My new closthesline.  Some clothes horses pulled apart and hung up from the beams from the toilet/shower block.  This is an upgrade from string between trees and I hope it works better than string between trees. 

This year....

I'm going to start this post by commenting on my goals from last year, because I am so proud of myself for accomplishing them and much, much more.  I'm not proud because I did so much, I'm proud because I did the things on the list.  I'm the type of person who makes goals and doesn't stick to them at all.  Infact, I stopped making goals for anything because I was tired of being disappointed in myself for not accomplishing them.  BUT, this year I did it! All except for one, which I had very good reason for. Oh, I just re-read the goal list and I actually didn't complete another thing on there, but it's still a huge improvement for me.

 The list was:

  • Grow a successful vegetable garden
  • Grow a successful herb garden
  • Complete crochet blankie
  • Complete knitted cardigan
  • Sew a patchwork quilt
  • Join a soccer team (this terrifies me!)

I didn't join a soccer team because I was pregnant (I think that's pretty fair!)
I didn't complete the knitted  cardigan.  No excuse for that one, except that I forgot it was on the list.  

Now for this years goals:

Go on more outings with my new family of 4
Enjoy my days at home and make the most of living so far out of town before it's over.
Do at least one productive thing while Milly has her nap.  
It's time to get fit and lose the weight now that my baby making days are over for awhile. I would like to lose 12 kilos, but I don't want to jeopardise breast milk production in the process.  
I would like to be more specific about my crafting goals but I don't have any ideas so far, except that I would like to do some form of crafting every day, even if only for a few minutes.  I don't always have the motivation to do this, but I know I always enjoy and appreciate the rest of the day more if I spend some time crafting, so this is me giving myself a little push.

These are sounding more like reminders than goals, so I will leave it for now and spend some time over the next few days thinking about things more specifically.  I would love to be able to complete a goal list 2 years in a row!