Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Bittersweet Moment

I have been thinking a lot lately about this post and whether to even share it or not but it has been a big thing for me and I have decided that I wanted to have it recorded here for me to look back on.  I don't normally post here about personal stuff but the last few months of 2011 haven't been fantastic for me health wise.  Since Miss M was born I have been having intermittent joint pain and in April I went to see a rheumatologist who diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis.  At that stage things were ok but as the year went on things progressed quickly and by Dec after many rounds of steroids and many weeks of pain, weakness and general discomfort I was back at the specialist again.  This time he has put me onto long term medication which has been a blessing and a curse for me.  On the one hand once the meds kick in over the next 3 months or so I should once again be symptom free, woohoo.
While I wouldn't say I have been crippled by this disease things have been pretty difficult when the flares are bad, especially first thing in the morning which of course is one of the busiest times of the day with young children.  The thought of being able to move about freely in the morning, lift Miss M out of her cot with ease, undo the clips on her highchair, dress her and get the kids out of their carseats again is what keeps me going.  There is however a downside to all this.  The meds I have been put on have meant that I have had to stop feeding Miss M.  I know she is a lot older now than many children are when they wean, that she has had a fantastic start and is a fit and healthy wee girl, but I still feel sad that the decision of when to stop feeding was taken out of our hands.  However when weighing up all the pros and cons a mummy who could spend quality time playing with the children was more important in the long term.
So for me more than anything here is a pic of Miss M's last ever feed.  This was a week before christmas and Mr A was quite upset to hear that this would mean Miss M couldn't even have a special feed for christmas, he is such a sweetheart.

A special bond that won't be broken, I love you Miss M.

FO: Barbie clothes

In amongst the pre-christmas chaos the DD of a very dear friend turned three.  Wow can she really be three, seems like only yesterday we were having baby cuddles with wee Miss R.  Anyway she loves her barbie dolls so I decided to lend my hand to making some clothes for her beloved dollies.  So after a couple of false starts and a last minute dash to borrow a barbie for fitting purposes here is the result.  Most of the patterns were tutorials from this blog which were fabulous and easy to follow but until this wee endeavor I never realized that Barbie's come in many different shapes so having one to hand is quite essential.
Anyway the new additions to Barbie's wardrobe.
All together
And here modeled :-)

Dress - tutorial here

Top and skirt

Top and skirt

Velvet top and skirt

 All fabric was from stash and I must say that this is a fabulous way to use up those fiddly scraps of material that you just knew would come in handy one day.


Christmas parties and Secret Santa

As always before christmas there are parties to attend.  This year we had two, one which was a family christmas party laid on by my work and the second was the kids daycare party.  Both were a huge success and we all really enjoyed them.
We are really lucky with the effort put into the kids christmas party by my work.  It is a great day out with a bbq lunch, loads of activities for the kids and of course a visit by the man in the red suit.  The main highlight for Mr A this year was catching up with one of his close friends from daycare who has recently starting school, and Miss M just enjoyed all the goings on :-)

Having a great time

First try of candy floss

I love my party dress

Santa gave me a new dolly

I do love the lego I got from Santa really
The daycare christmas party was also a good fun afternoon.  Each year the children spend the weeks leading up to the party rehearsing songs to perform and the teachers put on a wee performance as well.  I absolutely adore the daycare the children attend and love how they embrace the many cultures that are represented there.  In the past they have sung Jingle Bells in Italian and performed We Wish You a Merry Christmas in NZ sign language.  This year was no exception as the line up included the NZ versions of Jingle Bells and Twelve Days of Christmas, I Was There (a rugby world cup song), and We Wish You A Merry Christmas sung in english, Samoan and Tokelauen :-)  Again pics from the day.
Mr A was 'four huhu grubs' for NZ Twelve Days of Christmas

Miss M enjoying the singing

Having fun after the teachers performance

Thanks Santa

I got a Siku tanker!

And I got a duck from Santa (ducks are a firm favorite at the moment)
Finally I was involved in two secret santa swaps among a couple of different groups of friends this year and I was thoroughly spoilt with what I received.  Here are my spoils, don't get too jealous now ;-)
A fabulous thoughtful gift from Kate

The scrum my vintage fabric inside the bag

Yum yum to everything here

Hmmm this couldn't be more appropriate really ;-)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

Okay so I am a bit late but that seems to be the story of my life lately.  I still have a whole lot of other posts half written hat I need to get done as well.
We had a fabulous christmas day here in this part of the world.  The sun was shining and it was very summery so we made the most of the weather and the kids spent much of the day happily playing with their new toys.
Here is our christmas in pictures.
Reindeer snacks

Snacks for Santa

Seems Santa came visiting

Present time

Morning tea time and this Christmas thing is pretty exhausting.

Christmas lunch outside under the gazebo
Fun in the paddling pool

Time to paint up the cool wooden race car from Uncle Allan and co.

Our christmas Day tipple to go with the scrum my roast beef.

Aiden's puzzle ball
I think that shows that a good day was had by all :-)  I hope everyone reading this had a fantastic christmas with family and friends.

FO Karise KAL

Way back in Nov (I told you I was way behind with these posts, I participated in my first ever KAL.  For those of you uninitiated this is a Knit-Along, where a group of people all knit the same pattern in a given time frame.  The one I joined in on was hosted by Lilith of Old Maiden Aunt yarns through her Ravelry group and was a 'small shawl KAL'.  Although I have knit a couple of shawls I had yet to knit one for myself so I took this opportunity to interrupt my rather hectic knitting schedule with a selfish knit that I knew I would actually finish because I had a deadline.
So the rules were pretty simple.  Choose from one of three designated patterns (or do all three if you are really nuts) and go ahead and knit.  There were spot prizes along the way and some prizes at the end to keep everyone motivated, with an extra entry for completing your project in OMA yarn.
I have quite a stash of OMA yarn now but most of it has been in the 'too good to knit' pile.  Yes I really am that crazy but any true yarn addicts will understand exactly what I mean by that.  I mean how tragic would it be if I took one of these prized skeins of fabulous yarn and turned it into a project that just didn't work, I didn't like or it didn't fit!!!!
As indicated by the title the pattern I chose was Karise which is a lovely triangular small shawl and I decided to knit it in OMA cashmere/merino/nylon in color "Seen the Ocean".  This would have to be my all time favorite yarn ever to knit with, it is the smooshiest (yes I'm sure that's a word) and softest yarn ever and therefore is perfect for a shawl that I can snuggle into on a winter day.
I did make a couple of changes to the pattern, I made the central plain stocking stitch part smaller because I have knitting ADD and get easily bored, especially when I am waiting to start lace, then I did some extra repeats of the lace charts to make up the size.  I actually made the overall shawl one lace repeat smaller than the pattern suggested and the final size I have after blocking is perfect for wearing as a scarf :-)
So here is my finished shawl.

And it gets even better because I was the lucky winner of one of the random draws and received this most spectacular skein of merino/silk in Bramble from Lilith.  You know how I said the MCN was my fav yarn ever?  Well I might have to review that once I have knit this baby up :-)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Super Easy Fuge Slice Recipe

Here is the super quick and easy "no-bake" fudge slice recipe Mr A and I used for the teachers gifts this year.

Melt together:
4oz butter
4oz sugar
Tbs cocoa
Cool slightly and stir in a beaten egg.  To this mixture add one packet of crushed plain biscuits (we used wine biscuits but any plain biscuits are fine), then add in any extras that you want.  We did one batch with chopped up dried apricots and one batch with chopped up marshmallows, but you could also add choc chips, sultana, raisins, anything really.
Press into a flat tin and set in the fridge.

See told you it was easy, enjoy :-)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's That Time Of Year

The "silly season" and as a result I have been doing everything BUT blogging even though there is so much happening that I have to blog about.  Somehow it is suddenly only a week until christmas day and as usual I am completely disorganized.  In my defense I have had a lot of extra "stuff" going on this year which I may post about later, and even without that there have been christmas parties and birthday parties galore as well as daycare trips and all the usual shopping and organizing (in theory).
I thought I would kick off my catch up posts with our most recent achievement which was the completion today of our gifts for the teacher's at Mr A and Miss M's daycare.  I know that the teacher's are doing their job in looking after my kids three days a week and that we pay for it but in reality I couldn't be happier with the care they get and the opportunities that they are given while there.  As a token of thanks I like to do a wee something for them each year and every year I seem to leave it to the last possible minute and get in a bit of a stressed state over it.  This year, of course, was no different, well actually it was because this year all was finished at about 3pm this afternoon instead of 10pm tonight :-)
Anyway after umming and ahhing for ages over what to make and coming up with many good but completely impractical ideas I decided to keep it simple and also get Mr A to help as much as possible.  So here is what we came up with.  Each teacher will get some fudge slice (we made two batches together, one apricot and one with marshmallows) and a marshmallow snowman, along with a gift tag hand made by Mr A.

Here are some pics of Mr A carefully crafting the gift tags, all I did was supply the materials and give him a list of the teacher's names so he knew how to spell them.
Step one:  Cut out the picture (from left over fabric scraps)
Step Two: Stick it on
Step Three:  Write the names

Here are some pics of the goodies we made.

And the whole lot all ready to go :-)

Mr A tells me he is going to hand them out all by himself tomorrow so we will see how that goes.  Here's hoping for a bit more blogging time between now and christmas to catch up a bit.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


As everyone knows December comes along and life seems to go into overdrive and get more than just a little crazy.  This usually means our weekends are packed before we even blink but last weekend we found ourselves in the rather unusual situation of having a free weekend.  Woohoo.  Some time ago I got vouchers for cheap entry to Staglands on one of those 'deal a day' websites so we took the opportunity to use it.  We were lucky enough to have fantastic weather too which helped :-)

Staglands is a wildlife reserve that is about 30mins drive from where we live.  The setting is lovely and there are lots of lovely places to have picnics and plenty of space for the kids to run around.  We went late morning and started our visit with a picnic lunch before checking out all the animals.  The children both loved it, Miss M particularly liked pointing out ever duck that she saw (it was her favorite word of the day) and Mr A was very ken to see the horses (until we actually got to them).

Our visit in pictures.
Picnic lunch

Miss M's first foray into photography

A friendly rooster

Mr A walking through a tree

Miss M and Daddy following

Kune Kune piglet

Donkey (Miss M was NOT impressed by how noisy it was)

Swan and rainbow trout


Mr A taking a photo of Daddy in the stocks

Miss M having a ride in a railway cart

Mr A finally meeting that horse he was so keen to see

A lovely Clydesdale

Fluffy Chickens

Miss M being a daft girl and loving it.