Sunday, August 4, 2013

My Two Wee Kilted Kiwis

Recently, well over a month ago, the daycare centre that Miss M attends had their annual Cultural Dinner.  This is the focus point of a couple of weeks of activities they do embracing the wide variety of cultures represented at the centre.  Everyone takes along a dish from their country of origin and much fun is had by all.
Mr A is always keen for any excuse to dress up in his kilt but I was stuck when it came to Miss M.  Good old Mum to the rescue though.  She was looking for something in a cupboard just a few weeks before and came across a kilt that she had made for me when I was not too much older than Meg.  So here they are, Mr A dressed in his family tartan and Miss M dressed in a kilt that her Gran made for me :-)
And a couple of snaps we got at the event.

Miss M actually got to dress up again a week or so later when we went in to show off 'all things scottish' and do some ceilidh dancing with the kids.  Mental note to self, attempting ceilidh dancing with about 20 pre schoolers may not have been my brightest idea ever :-)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Rainbow Rice

Yes see I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, I've just been crazy busy with a whole lot of stuff that has keep me away from the blog.  One day I might try and catch up, but for now I will just share this quick and fun wee activity we did the other day.

I had Mr A home 'sick' from school so we decided to set up some craft stuff and I made this fun rainbow rice.  I found a recipe online (of course) but since I'm pretty rubbish at actually following recipes I just made it up as I went along.
We got a bag of cheap rice from the supermarket and put about half a cup into some snap lock bags (or you coud use any container with a lid.  To each bag add a few drops of food colouring (you can always add more later) and a dash of white vinegar (scientific that eh?).
Here are our bags.

Then we tipped them into containers and left them out to dry for about half an hour or so, this would have been quicker had it been a warm sunny day.

The kids decided they wanted to mix it all together and it looks pretty cool.

They then spent ages making pictures by gluing it onto paper and just generally playing about with it.  Cheap, easy and fun, plus it is now stored away for use again next time ;-)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

First of all I want to wish all the Mums out there a huge Happy Mother's Day.  Being a Mum is a 24/7 365 days a week kind of a job, and one of the most frustrating and rewarding things I have ever done.  People don't tell you about all the hard bits before you have kids, and there are many of them, but they do tell you about the good bits.  When I had Mr A and realised just how hard this new job was, and went through all the usual 'new Mum' insecurities, I wondered why noone told me about those bits.  But now looking back I know exactly why.  Most of the people I knew had children, and by that I mean not babies.  Their wee ones were already school age or older, and already I am learning how quickly you forget all the trying times and only remember the good bits about being a Mum.

And so to the weekend really.  Last year I had the most awesome Mother's day which I wrote about here.  This year I think may have topped even that.
Yesterday Mr A came to me asking for a big box so I knew he was planning something.  Next he asked for the box of felts/crayons and gathered up all his stickers, took Miss M with him into the conservatory and told me quite firmly to stay out.  I'll admit now that I did have an inkling as to what he was up to but it didn't make the sentiment any less sweet.  So after much time and concentration I was told not to look and said box was 'hidden' in Mr A's bedroom.
Roll forward to this morning.  I got given two lovely cards that Mr A had made (one at school and one at OSCAR), and a card and chocolates Miss M had made at daycare.  I also got some chocolate, a lovely mug with 'pekos' on it (that's pukekos for those who don't know Meg shorthand for these things) and a new wooden spoon.  As well as a nice fresh cup of coffee and lovely cooked breakfast in bed, including toast that Mr A had made all by himself.
Then I got given this box.
This is a box that Mr A got sent for his birthday with a helium balloon in it.  He had written a new message in the tag for me and told me to open it.  Inside there was nothing.  Or was there?  I was told very seriously that Mr A and Miss M had filled the box right up to the very top with kisses just for me *awwww*.
I know that Mr A got this idea from this lovely wee book by Vivian French.  We first discovered this book in our local library and every time it was there Mr A wold get it out.  It's a lovely simple wee story about a cat who doesn't know what to get his Mum for her birthday, and finally decides on a box of kisses (you may have guessed that already).  I'm not sure what it is about it that Mr A loved so much but when we saw the very same book on the 'for sale' shelf of the library we nabbed it and it is still a firm favourite here, with Miss M now loving it.
So I guess my point is that the idea wasn't original to Mr A but we haven't actually read this book for a good few months and noone mentioned it to him.  I think he was just in the same situation as Stanley (the cat in the book) and wanted to get his Mum something special, all by himself.

For all that my children can be completely infuriating and drive me mad, deep down I am really very lucky to have two caring, loving and on the whole delightful children.  I think everyone has those moments when they could quite happily give away one or more of their kids, but it is times like this morning that make it all worth while.  And lets face it when looking back it's not the tantrums and defiance, but moments like this that form the lasting memories.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

FO: Colosseo Cowl

This wee project was another that I was inspired to finish thanks to the Focus on Finishing challenge from Holland Road Yarn.  I got the yarn for this project in a swap about 2 years ago, around about the same time a dear friend of mine released a gorgeous cowl pattern.  Although the yarn was gifted along with a hat pattern I knew straight away that it was begging to be a cowl.  And not just any cowl but a Colosseo Moebius Cowl.  I had never knitted a moebius cowl before, in actual fact I had never knitted a cowl before but the process just had me fascinated so I had to give it a go.
A moebius is one of those infinity type things that boggles the brain if you think about it too much.  It is basically a ring with a twist in it and this one is knitted in the round starting in the centre of the 'width' of the cowl and working your way out.  See I told you it would make your brain hurt thinking about it. If you can get past the initial "WHAT?" though it does all work and it is kinda cool.

So anyway enough chit chat here are some pics.  Knitted in gorgeous soft Purewool hand-dyed for me by the lovely Jo of Jodulbug Creations.
As you can see because of the twist the stitch patterns have to be double sided and the brioche rib pattern and garter stitch based edging fit the bill perfectly.  Such an ingenious wee pattern, I love it.

And here are a couple of shots of Miss M playing model, it was actually a boiling hot day so excuse the lack of other attire and ridiculous hair.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Well it's not that often that we get four whole days off work/daycare/school to spend together as a family, and with chocolate, bunnies and hot cross buns thrown in it's all pretty fabulous.
We have had a fabulous Easter hanging out together and getting a few jobs done around the house.  We still have a whole garage to clear out and suddenly one day left to do it but more about that later.
A wee trip through our day in pictures.
One wee bunny here was not impressed that breakfast didn't solely consist of chocolate.
Things perked up quickly though at the mention of easter egg hunts.

Even the cat joined in.

We opened some very cool gifts from afar including these awesome wee chicks from Granny, Mr A thought his scottish chicken was fantastic.
Then it was time for egg decorating....
in preparation for egg rolling once the rain cleared this afternoon.  We went up to the school for this and threw in a bit of general running around and aerobie playing to boot.
The hill

The aftermath

Miss M joining in the fun

I hope everyone else had a happy and safe easter.  There is a lot going on here and I will come back with some of that news soon.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

FO: The Razor Cami (Finally)

One of the things I LOVE about Ravelry, and there are many, is the forums.  It is nice to be able to chat to people in different groups with similar interests.  One of the groups I am a member of is the one from my fab LYS Holland Road Yarn Company.  This year they have been running a bit of a crafting challenge called "Focus on Finishing", a challenge to pick up those long lost and forgotten WIPs (works in progress) and actually finish them.
As a person who often has severe startitis which results in multiple projects on the go at any one time, it isn't uncommon for me to have a few projects languishing unloved at the bottom of my knitting bag.  This is one such project.  It is actually the first project that I cast on in 2010!  Yes you read that right 2010!  It should have been a quick wee project and if I aded up all the knitting time it probably was, the thing was that I started knitting it and then I found out I was pregnant with Miss M.  Between completely losing my knitting mojo for the first few months, the great satisfaction of making teeny tiny baby things, and the realisation that this wouldn't fit me for ages anyway, it was soon shelved.  Last summer I got it out, finished knitting the body then got scared that I was going to run out of yarn for the straps so again put it aside.  This time round it finally got finished (and for anyone interested I had quite a bit of yarn left over.
So the vital statistics of this project are that the pattern is Razor Cami and the yarn is a merino silk blend from GrrrlShaped yarns (which is no longer in existence) in colour way Theresa.  The lace pattern is really easy to remember and the pattern itself is well written.  No complaints at all :-)

Once again the pics I have of me wearing this are completely rubbish.  I will try and get better ones next time I wear it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

FO: Top for Me

Last year a friend introduced me to some fantastic one day sewing workshops that happen locally approximately once a month.  I am now kind of hooked, what could be better than 6h sewing time, child free, without interruptions and with a teacher on hand to answer all those questions I usually just ignore when sewing at home.
Recently I attended one of these sewing days and decided that instead of packing my bag full of things for the kids I would take sewing or ME!  In fact so far the year has been mostly about "selfish crafting" and I'm kind of liking it.  The fact that may children have both grown and will need new winter wardrobes this winter isn't lost on me though so I know I will get back in the loop of making things for them.
Anyway a top for me.  The pattern I chose was Burda 7828, but of course I didn't want it quite as written.
I love the shape and style of this pattern but it has a tie on the side which I didn't really want.  Instead I cut both fronts to the left front pattern and just sewed them both into the under bust seam, omitting any need for a tie.
I grabbed this pattern in a destash for about $3 and the fabric I used I also got in a destash for about $6 so all up a very cheap wee top.  I cut a size 34 and the only adjustment I had to make to size was to take a little out of the top of the sleeve seam as it was a bit too wide across the shoulders for me.
So here is the end result (obviously not ironed, oops).
I did the front neck seam and the bottom hems with a twin needle and I love the result, and it is so easy!  I borrowed one from someone else at the workshop but will be investing in one very soon.  Of course alternatively I could get my coverseamer up and running but this seems much easier.

And here are a few, particularly rubbish, modelled pics.  Remind me never to let DP tell me how to stand for photos again :-P

And while we were taking these photos this is what the munchkins were getting up to.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Keeping It Simple

In this day and age of computers, iPads, and all things gadgety for kids it is all too easy to forget that kids still like good old fashioned fun.  I have a dear friend who often blogs about trying to keep things simple in life and every time I read one of her posts I get the urge to try harder to do this and then instantly fail at it, lol.
Over last weekend I came to realise two things: 1) that the wee community we live in is awesome and 2) that it doesn't have to be high tech, flashy or expensive for kids to have a blast.  
Last Friday our local school had an Eat, Meet and Greet family picnic.  This was primarily a chance for families to get together and meet each other and also have an informal chat with the teachers etc at school.  So off we trundled up the hill with our picnic blanket and picnic tea and found ourselves a spot in the corner of the school field.  To be honest I couldn't really be bothered going and had Mr A not hounded me constantly from the time he got home from school I probably wouldn't have, but I am so glad we did.  In the simple environment of a picnic we got to meet so many other kids and families.  There was a big trolley of sports stuff out for everyone to play with (frisbees, balls, skipping ropes etc) and that was it, we chatted, ate and all had a blast.  Yes it was a fundraising event for the school, they had a sausage sizzle and a jaffa roll, but it didn't feel like it was all put on to grab money.  Unfortunately we didn't take many photos while we were there as we were too busy playing but here is Miss M, not to be left out of the fun.
And for those of you who were paying attention you did read correctly when I said Jaffa roll.  The school sold jaffa's for $1 each and each one had a number on them.  Then they rolled them down the school driveway (it helps that we are on a big hill) and the first one to the bottom won a percentage of the earnings, plus there were spot prizes as selected by the teachers.
Here is what it looked like on the night.
So after having an awesome time at the school on Friday and enjoying the fact that the school is still the focus of our wee neighbourhood, on Sunday we went to our local community centre for an afternoon to celebrate International Children's day.  I had no idea what to expect but was ready for the usual bouncy castle, soft drinks on sale and not much else.  But how wrong could I be.  As we arrived the kids got given a card each to collect stickers on and they got given a sticker for each activity they tried.  Everything was low key and simple, they had to do things like walk along a wiggly line drawn on the concrete. throw a tennis ball to knock down a stack of cans, throw wee beanbags into a basket, kick a soccer ball into a goal and crawl under big sheets pinned to the ground with big rocks.  We had trouble dragging the kids away even once their sticker cards were full and they had been given their wee prize (a bouncing chicken toy for anyone who was wondering).  Did the kids miss the bouncy castle and candy floss?  Nope.  Did we miss the entrance fee and constant nagging to buy more stuff?  Nope.

It was so nice to come away from a weekend knowing that you don't have to go overboard to entertain the kids and you don't have to spend lots of money either.  And probably most importantly loving the wee community we live in more and more all the time.  We are not a huge suburb and only 10 mins drive from town but up here with our wee dairy, school and community centre, and where all the local kids come out and ride their bikes in the street and run between each others houses, it feels like we could be miles away in both space and time.  And that can only be a good thing :-)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Medieval Merriment

In this crazy world where just surviving and getting the boring jobs done can seem to take up every spare minute of the day, it is easy to not even bother to find out what is going on in your own backyard.  Lately I have been trying to make more of an effort to find out what is happening locally and make the most of it.  Today we went to a local Medieval Festival which is a biennial event and we have been to four times now.  It is a fantastic day out and the kids both completely loved it.  There is an international jousting competition, other forms of medieval combat, archery, stalls and a whole medieval village set up to have a look around.
Here are some snaps we took while we were enjoying our afternoon.
First up the jousting:

A lot of people dress up to go and Mr A decided to wear his knight's costume but it seems his little sister wanted in on the act.

A medieval battle:
Mr A helping Miss M get a good vantage point for the second round of jousting.
A look around the medieval village:
We got Miss M's name written in calligraphy, Mr A still had his from last time.

Grinding wheat for flour

The cooking station

Getting ready for the action

We really are lucky to have such a fantastic event so close to us every 2 years as it's something that you don't really get to experience at any other time.  If you ever get a chance to go to something similar definitely go.