Wednesday, August 22, 2012

a little Monty...

I'm always aiming to improve the life my littlies have at home, and I do this by listening, learning, Pinterest-ing, reading, experimenting and asking.

The closest Montessori preschool to where we live didn't appeal when I was checking out ECE options for my older son, it just felt too much like a business than a centre for learning and nurturing.  Call me what you will, but with the 3yo I have to make these decisions carefully because he is wired to be more sensitive than the average kidlet, and if we do things like rushing him, raising my voice in frustration, giving consequences which don't entirely make sense etc etc etc, we risk 'losing' him for an hour or four.  Just to put things in perspective.

The 3yo currently attends a preschool 2 days a week, and it seems to suit his needs and provide more socialising and stimulation than I can provide at home.  I'm constantly looking for new and better ways to do things at home to encourage learning independence, and feeling like he has a special role in our home, so I'm trying a few Montessori-type methods I've seen recently and introducing them slowly to our daily life.

The first step was to clear out our kid-plastics drawer and make it a special place for the two boys to have their eating tools in one place.  I got a bit of an idea from the blog 'how we montessori' and went from there.
Here's our drawer at the moment:
a plate, bowl, cup, fork and spoon for each child, and when they haven't been relocated by the 1yo, a couple of cloths for them to dry dishes or mop up spills.  We'll try for a couple of weeks and see how it goes, but I have to admit - the space provides so much order and peace!  And it makes sense!  I'd love to have glasses and earthenware plates but we have concrete-hard ceramic tiles... need I say more?!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

angry birds

Well, it all started with a game.
A game that my sister-in-law let my then-2yo play at his baby brother's christening which he wasn't coping too well with.

Then I found a tutorial online on how to make your own characters from this game.
So I made one...
... and then I made a beanie to go with it (once I mastered the art of crochet enough to finish something)...
 ... and it was such a hit that I started on another beanie...
... and then I made another softie...
... so you could say really that I'm feeding the addiction!  But he loves his toys and his beanie (which is also a crafty way to get one on his head, and it worked!!  one point to meee!!) and I just love seeing how he enjoys them.  Good old Angry Birds huh!!

Now that I've got those out of the way, I'm off to feed my other addiction.
My Eric Carle addiction. with their beautiful supply of Eric Carle prints on cotton are not helping... and neither is my stash of appropriate coloured wool to crochet beanies!

Monday, June 04, 2012

a little word on grief

Two days after Brett left this world for the next, we lost our other friend David as well.
Terminal cancer has taken the lives of two of the men in our close group of friends, aged 43 and 41.
We have said some farewells, shed some tears, shared some memories and leaned on each other.

Somewhere in the midst of caring for my friends and racking my brains for ideas on what I could do for my girls who were facing such immense loss and change in their lives, I forgot that I needed to grieve too.  My angels have surrounded me this weekend as I am carrying a tiredness with me that is rivalled only by the tiredness a first-trimester pregnant mother could understand.  Some angels wake me to hear my boys crying out in their sleep, others get me moving, and getting through the difficulty I've found in just putting together a simple meal.  Another angel has come in human form, turning up on my doorstep with icecream and hugs, and then taken me out to a movie the following night so I could forget myself for a while. And another angel who is a friend from secondary school, who reminded me I have my faith to lean on, which was so encouraging.  So although I grieve, and I still get angry from time to time, God has sent me enough to get through.  I always always look for the silver lining in life, and at the moment I think the silver lining in this is that I have a closer bond with my friends and my husband from this experience, even if it was a horrific way to get there.

If you're one of the confused few that has been stood up by me as I have forgotten a play date, or a housewarming, or even had me with you in body but my mind has been elsewhere, I thank you for your patience.  It's been a tricky sort of year.

I'll end this post with a message that Brett's widow Kylie shared at his funeral: slow down and enjoy what life has to offer.  There'll never be enough years to do everything you want to do, but enjoy what you can.  Laugh.  Love life.

Be kind to yourselves!

The Riley Family's website:
Suz and David's website:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

see you on the other side

Thanks for all the lovely wishes and thoughts from an earlier post on two of our friends who are dying of aggressive cancers.
Today, Brett Riley passed away.  His wife has written some beautiful words on their website (see here).

At 3:30pm, when he left us for a better, cancer-free place, I just happened to be enjoying my first family movie at home experience - the four of us had all snuggled on the couches to watch Bolt, young Maddy Riley's favourite movie.  Touching coincidence.

So tonight my heart is full of sadness, but my head is full of memories of hanging out, moving houses (plural), sharing friends' celebrations, drinking beautiful coffees made by Brett (especially last year at their beach house when both our kids had been waking allll night), listening to my husband talk Apple with him, me discussing with him the best online tutorials for making softie toys for our kids, and some of the funnier moments from the last 9-ish years that Brett has been part of our lives.  Such a gentle man, a clever and creative man, such a huge loss.

Thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful wife Kylie, and delightful daughter Maddy.

Be at peace with God, Brett.  See you on the other side.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

angry birds beanie #1

... one little Angry Birds fan is the proud owner of a crocheted beanie - not bad for a virtual beginner!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Once upon a time, the word 'terminal' was within a transport context for me.
2012 has brought new meaning to the word terminal, and I just wish it hadn't been so soon.

I have a wonderful group of girl-friends with whom I meet at least monthly for dinner and a wine, or takeout and a fizzy drink.  We've known each other since university days and since have celebrated each others' new flats, new boyfriends, birthdays, weddings, new homes, births of babes and more.  Two of these wonderful ladies have been dealing with something we never ever thought would happen around our 30th birthdays - their men have been diagnosed with terminal cancer. 

The website for the Riley family's journey with this diagnosis has been set up here:
Details of upcoming events to raise funds for their cause will be listed here:

The talented and amazing Sophie Voon (Wellington fashion & bridal designer extraordinaire) is also doing something here:

For the other couple, while they have enough to cover essentials (just), they would love help to enjoy a meal at a few of Wellington's finest restaurants... or old haunts.  A website will be up soon to donate towards this cause if this is your 'thing', so that in the weeks they have left, David and Suz can afford to enjoy some last suppers - as fancy as Logan Brown or as fun (and nostalgic) as KK Malaysia.

'David on a Plate' is a fundraising effort set up by David and Suz's colleagues:

You can follow David's journey here:

and there is a new goshorty baby beanie in production which will be helping raise funds.

For those of you who pray, please remember our friends in your prayers.  They need all the grace and healing they can get.

And go and hug your families when you read this.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A miss is as good as...

I didn't quite make it to my 40 bags in 40 days...  But I did clear 35 massive bags of unwanted, unused and unloved "stuff" out of our house during Lent!  Actually that's not quite true yet - there are 10 bags in the garage still waiting to be taken away, but that's no biggie!

The run-down:
Bags 29-30: our patio garden.  I had a little helper with his little tools (see picture above) and I filled 2 bags to the brim with weeds and garden rubbish, so although it is still a weedy mess that is in dire need of my sister or mother to come and save the day, it has stopped resembling The Day of the Triffids
Bag 31: the study corner in my room - way too much excess papers, wrappings and rubbish, gone.
Bag 32: clothing that had been destined for Trade Me that never made it there: gone!
Bag 33: one bag full of goodness knows what, from the boxes sitting on our upstairs 'landing' area.  3 baskets and 2 bags went down to 1 basket and 1 box and it is much easier to move around there now!
Bag 34: more 'stuff' from the garage, a whole basket of stuff decluttered.
Bag 35: another lot of clothing and toys my boys no longer need, off to a friend whose wee boy will be in the clothes soon and will love the new toys!

So that, and 5 bags from a friend, takes my ticker up to 215 bags, but how about the rest of you?  Any bags to add to the final total?

Even though I didn't get to my goal of 40 bags, the sense of peace in my house where once there was chaos and mess, well it is pretty addictive!  Happy Easter to you all, and God bless all of you and your homes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The eyes have it...

You know how sometimes you discover something so amazing you simply *have* to share?
Well today, it's makeup and I am loving myself sick (in the words of Kath & Kim) in two of my new beauty product staples.

Firstly: Nutrimetics Lash Impact Mascara.

A friend of mine is a Nutrimetics Consultant and it's always a wee treat when it's my birthday, because I'm guaranteed to have a wee NC parcel from her.  Last year I got this mascara and it has done the unthinkable: it has converted me from my old faithful Maybelline Great Lash mascara.  For nearly 2 decades we've had a great relationship but now it is time to move on.  This baby has a silicon brush and from first application it glides on beautifully and lasts all day.  (Shh secret squirrel - it's on special at the moment, but only for another couple of days!!  Click on the image to check it out)

Secondly... I do love a bit of sparkle, but chunky face glitter should really be restricted to school-aged kids or 1960s-1970s theme parties.
Let me introduce you to Marbleyes!

I have it in 'Cosmos' and I just dust a little on the top of my cheekbones and eyelids, and dust any remaining powder from the brush onto my decolletage.  It is a fine shimmery powder that gives a lovely subtle sparkle - simply magic when the sunlight catches it!  AND it's currently on special for $19.90 - click on the image to check it out.  The pressed powder is about twice as large as a MAC pressed eyeshadow, just to give some perspective.

... and if you need a little help choosing anything Trish is a wonderful lady with a great wealth of knowledge on all things skincare and makeup.  Spoil yourself!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a little swapperoo

I recently joined in a mystery swap where some clever ladies around the country embellish t-shirts for your kidlets (or you!) ... two clever ladies (I have no idea who they are) sent these uh-mazing t-shirts to my two little men, we LOVE them!
Mr T loves his robot t-shirt, and the Very Hungry Caterpillar for little B ... what can I say?  Someone must've done their homework!  I swear when B grows out of it, I will have to attach it to a bigger hoodie or a cushion or something so we can keep enjoying it.


(The deal with the swap was you get what you gave - I embellished two t-shirts and sent them to two places around the country, and put in my request for the two I wanted to receive - just gave the details of my kids (age 3 size 4, and age 1 size 2) and what sort of things they were in to, and which colours were okay or not okay.  Then you get what you get!  And you share photos of what you did get.  I've been so touched by what I received, and both relieved and pleased with the comments from recipients of the tshirts I embellished.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

40bags Zones

Welcome to those who have joined me in the 40bags challenge!  Here's my list of zones:

I mentally went around our house in my head, and wrote down 34 zones that need attention.  I've left the last 6 blank and... well, as 2012 is the year that I am KIND to myself, I can always fill them in with the odd bag of rubbish or recycling that goes out with our usual weekly stuff!  As you can see I've also allocated 2 outside zones as I have gardens that are more weed-pits than plant-spots.  I also have 4-5 different zones within our garage - just split it up to make it easier to do one zone a day (or conquer a few in one go to give yourselves days off).

The space can be as big as a whole room, or as small as a single shelf or a drawer. 

So those of you who are going to try to go the whole hog: this is your next step!  Find a sheet of paper and write 1-40, then start putting down your zones.

Next post ... the ticker begins!  I have one bag all ready to go, and one from a Mama friend ready to add to the tally.  (She is donating plenty of goodies to a store in Wainuiomata who sell things at a ridiculously low price to families who are genuinely in need - impressive huh?)  Get to it, and remember to let me know when you've done a bag or more.  Who knows how many we can get rid of!

40 Bags in 40 Days: Lent 2012

Last year I took on a challenge with a friend to clear 40 bags from my home in 40 days.  It was like an ultimate decluttering tool!  So this year, I'm back at it again - this time it's my Lent 2012 challenge.

The initial idea came from here... and of course I Pinned it too...
Then I got rid of my 40 bags last year, and it made a huge difference to our home!  And of course my self-confidence, the general tidiness of the house, our relationships, and so on.

SO!  Who's keen to jump on board with me??

I'll post pictures of my 40 bags every few days and keep a ticker going of how many bags we can get rid of - every time you get rid of a bag, send me an email/text/social networking notification or leave a comment below the post and I'll add you to the big count.

This is how I'm doing my 40 bags challenge:
1. Buy a roll of 40 rubbish bags - check!
2. Write a list of zones in my home (40 in total, and maybe leave a couple of spaces to be filled in later)
3. Each day of the 40 days in Lent, aim to fill up one bag to be trashed, donated, given away, returned to original owner or whatever, it just has to leave your house!!

The best tip I am carrying from last year (other than a roll of bags and a list of zones) is to do this with a friend.  We would MMS each other a photo of our bag or bags as we finished them and it was the best motivator for me.

Join me!  I dare you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pimp My Stroller

#3 in the Pimp My... Series - a dolly stroller!
I may come back and edit this pic later, but at 10:30pm last night when I finished this, I took a couple of snaps, put them together on PicFrame iPhone app, and crawled home to bed.

Inspired long, long ago by this post, and having a kick up the pants by my very clever friend to actually DO the project rather than just talk and dream about it, I finally got around to the Pimp My Stroller project.  (Anyone who visited me in November, December and this month will have seen my list of projects on a cupboard wall in the kitchen - the only thing that really changed was the month at the top!)

I've made it with a bit of padding so it may not be as easy to squish up when folding, but it makes it feel a bit more luxurious for our LaFawnduh (resident dolly - because my boys are allowed, and love to play with dolls).

So here's how it all happened:
1. Take one very loved stroller purchased on Trade Me for all of $10 which needs a bit of TLC.
2. Realise that the mould spots on the material are far too gross for my liking and cut the cover off for a good hot wash.
3. Leave the material and stroller frame sitting in their little possies for months and months.
4. Get an email from a friend with her daughter's Pimped Stroller and feel ridiculous for taking so long to do NOTHING.
5. Resume dreaming and thinking about how to make it, which material/s, how to make it nicely padded...

Actually let's start again.
1. Take one stroller purchased for $10 from Trade Me.
2. Remove material cover and use this as a pattern for all the 'bits.  Also cut off straps and front clip to use on the new cover.
3. Cut pattern sized pieces of main material (a fat quarter from the wonderful Sew Pretty), backing material, and wadding.  (I 'upcycled' our old mattress protector which still had plenty of thickness in the corners.)  Also cut an extra folded piece of backing material with sewn channel bits for the bottom frame poles to go into.
4. Sandwich all materials together, sew around the outside in a long stitch and trim excess material from the edges.
5. Attach straps and clip to the cover and sew in place using a tight zig-zag for kid-proofing.  Join the two pattern pieces together (right sides facing) and sew in long stitch, ensure no stitching is seen on the main material.
6. Make two small loops (I made them open with resin snaps to loop around the frame for ease of removal for washing) at the top of the back piece out of bias binding.  (The bias binding is from my late grandmother's stash which I use almost exclusively just for my children, 'cause I'm sentimental like that!)  Sew bias binding around the seams to secure and close.
7. Attach to frame, add LaFawnduh the dolly, and leave it to surprise the 3 year old in the morning!

And it was a hit - Mr T made a little gasp and said "Wow, that's pitty cool Mummy!" and went off to show Daddy, and proceeded to tell him it had animals on it, and "Mummy made for lou [you, meaning himself]".  Yay!  Great way to finish the week.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


image from here

I am mad.  And it feels fabulous!

Now that my body is no longer required for breastfeeds at stupid-o'clock, and I needed to do something about my growing mid-section (and growing dissatisfaction for bits of life), I have taken up running.

The big thing about this for me is that I am not a runner.  I ran most of a 5km run in secondary school, I've run/walked Relay for Life a few times, and I do plenty of chasing around kidlets, but I am not a runner!  It's kind of a big deal for me.

The other mad part about this is that I'm not learning the art of running on beginner tracks.  I live on a hill that Peter Jackson toootally could've used for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movies, but there are too many houses on it.  I'm warming up by getting out of the house at 6am, walking downhill to the end of my street, then running up as far as I can until I am about to bust a lung, and stagger up to the crest of the hill where I can run the last few houses home.  The current goal is to be able to run all the way up the hill before my next birthday in April.  I'm getting a little further every day, but like I said, Mount Doom.  It feels so fabulous doing it though - my circulation is better, I'm warmer, I don't feel super-tired until at least 3pm (instead of midday!) and best of all, I feel better in general.  And I have some space to think (and pray) about some of the crazier bits in life without being interrupted, and with 2012 off to a shaky start for some very dear friends of ours, it has certainly given me the perspective I need. 

Yesterday I had the glory of a beautiful pink sunrise when I hit the crest. 
Today I learnt the value of running with a baseball cap when it rains.  I made it up the hill in gale-force winds going the wrong way (well for me anyway!) with one eye squinting through a very wet face mixed with yesterday's eye makeup (oops) and it was harrrrd! 
Tomorrow I'll get up and do it all again.