Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Favourite Gift

Okay, despite all that generous, handmade, recycled stuff, this is what really got our kids VERY excited. Good one, Daddy! Today we welcomed Nanny home from hospital after her big big heart attack, and then took the boat for a spin at the beach near her place with Cousin Kai, who, it has to be said, was an excellent and patient passenger, despite jumping overboard several times.

For Jimmy, it was like a moving jumping castle, and quite a test of skill to stay upright.

However, it was a bit lame compared with this.

Afterwards, there was plenty of good-natured water play back at Nanny's, with Jimmy happily being the victim of a solid soaking.

Recycled Gifts

As you know, I have strong anti-consumerist, anti-materialist feelings about Christmas. I save my consuming for January, when the sales are on - haha! Not really. So anyway, I really went for recycling this year. I think it's ingeniously green, you may say outright stingy. No matter. Jimmy's gifts were the felted old tennis ball above (tutorial here) - which is a fun thing to make while you watch telly when the kids are asleep, unless of course they wake up JUST when your water is hot, the ball's half done and your hands are soapy, AND there's a good bit on the telly - and the water-bottle-glittery-roly-thing.
Kees received six tin cans and a ball for a game of knock'ems. Yes, this probably was a bit scabby, teehee, but devilishly funny too. Don't think I'll be getting out of it that cheap in ten years!

Kees was given this t-shirt by a loving relative, but I never let him wear it because the slogan on it, "LOCK UP YOUR DAUGHTERS", wasn't quite my cup of tea. So I sewed some cool fabric over the top and voila, a new t-shirt for Christmas at Grandma and Grandpa's. And no, I don't know why Dad's shirt is wet, but it does rather look like dribble. No doubt a little terror had something to do with it.

I'm just cooking minestrone for dinner while the men have a picnic at the park. What are you cooking? Kees packed the picnic and we couldn't refuse: it contained a blanket, bottle of milk, cup, half an orange and a toy for Jimmy. Awwww.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Belated Merry Christmas!

It is a testament to the busy-ness of pre-Christmas that I did not have a moment to wish you friends a very merry Christmas! But I hope you did have a lovely time. I finally got everyone's stockings finished and hung them up for Santa. These were inspired by Hillary Lang of Wee Wonderfuls, who last year did a "Dreaming of Christmas" series.

We made some decorations and hung them on the tree, which was tied up high to a pole, out of reach of chubby, curious, destroying little hands!

Then all the hard work was over, and it was time for some fun, starting with the excitement of Christmas morning. It is SO much fun having Christmas with children.

And one of the best parts for the adults? The food, of course!
Hoping you had a wonderful time. xx

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cookie Decorating

Last week, as a little Christmas celebration, we got together with Emily, Isabel, Nina and Gemma to decorate cookies. This was a great idea of Em's and the kids loved it.

With a handful of concentration and a dash of creativity ...

the final product looked delicious! Well, the kids thought so anyway. And the cookies certainly didn't last long! It is so special to be all spending time together, with the children of these old friends that I've known for more than twenty years!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Christmas cookies, anyone? These are sugar cookies. What's your favourite Christmas cookie?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clontarf Beach Afternoons

Ahh, who can turn down greasy fish and chips at the beach? What a great way to get out of cooking dinner, washing up and keeping the kids happy! Once a week, Matt goes mountain-biking after work and returns home after dark. I find these days a bit challenging as the afternoon seems to drag on if Kees skips his nap, and then heads into crazyville when the clock strikes four. But this time, I had a plan, and we had a fun and relaxing afternoon instead.

Now that we have small children, I am extra grateful to live by this gentle seaside.

And for great, supportive, helpful friends who live just around the corner. I find this immensely comforting, just to know that if you're in a bit of a pickle, there is someone there who will help. Especially when she's a mothercraft nurse with two lovely children!

Our loyal scavengers, patiently waiting,

another beetle friend for Kees,

a handy climbing frame and cool soft sand
(I won't mention the odd Green Ant behind the scenes),

and beautiful, shady Cotton Trees, just perfect for climbing.

Goodbye beach! Thanks for a great afternoon. Time to cycle home. And what do you know, Daddy beat us back!
And for those of you who may be looking wistful and missing Redcliffe.... the mosquitoes here are OUT OF CONTROL! Oh my goodness. We are now under house arrest because I am frankly to scared to venture outside! My washing has been on the line for two days because you have to do a German slap-dance while you try to get it off.

Hide and Seek

Kees' latest thing is...can you guess?

Yes, hiding. And he especially likes to run off and do it when
he hears, "It's time to get dressed," or, "It's time to brush your teeth."

Where are you, Kees?

Found you!

Baby Esme

It's my pleasure to introduce Esme Scarlett Clayton, my baby niece! I am most excited as she is my first "blood" niece. There's just one little problem....she lives in New Zealand. But I can't wait to spoil her rotten every time we see her. What a little cutie! And yes, my sewing machine has been getting a workout now that I've got the chance to make girly things.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Watch Out...

'Cause there's a new hiphop dance comin' your way!

I feel really grateful for these lovely young ladies who cheer and inspire me whenever we get together. I hate it when people complain about "young people these days". I teach teenagers and they're great. The three stooges above are ex-students of mine who are intelligent, thoughtful, organised, creative, funny, respectful, punctual, considerate, well-mannered and kind. And very cool, of course! Not like me, the old lady....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Yum, Hail!

It's very exciting that storm season is with us once more. Don't you remember as a kid, the storm would always hit, drenching you, when you were walking home from school? And trying to stuff your school bag under your shirt to stop all your books from getting soaked? Kees used to be scared of storms, until I told him that when you turn three, you stop being afraid. Funny how kids just believe you!

But hail is so much fun. That loud banging on the roof, first the odd "thunk", then more and more until it's a deafening roar, and you're watching it bouncing around, pinging all over the place.

Which is when the brave and kind Daddies run out to grab some hail for their little ones to play with before it all melts. It's almost like having snow for Christmas! Almost.

A Great Roadside Find

Well, well! As Matt drove home from work last week, two blokes were carting this out onto the footpath. Matt couldn't believe it when they said he could take it! It was lucky he was driving past right then, because a lovely old sewing table like this would have been snapped up in moments. It is a lovely turn of events, because my Mum once lost a table like this: her father used it to pay the lawnmower man, and Mum was always sore about it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Sound of Music: Revisited

I gotta tell you about a dangerous little addiction I am developing. As you know, I am quite partial to using old home furnishings to fashion clothes out of, a la Sound of Music. Now a whole new door has opened: the world of bed sheets! I had already dabbled in using sheets when I made Kees' beloved hat, and now it is time for skirts. Watch out, or you just might receive one yourself!

I just feel really good to be: giving to charity by buying from Op Shops; not creating any new manufacturing waste; saving old things from the bin; saving money; and getting something new and so comfy. And no-one else has one! Not yet anyway......

Sheet skirts. More coming your way!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In the Morning

Come and take a peek in our bedroom one morning. You just might find...

an innocent angel pretending to sleep;

a little monkey ready to play... at 5am;

an elf climbing in the window;

or two little friends, with obligatory bare bottoms of course.
Or, you might find a tired Mummy (me, not the Egyptian kind) trying to eek out just a few more minutes of sleep, while she gets her hair stepped on, a bony elbow in the belly, a head butt, drool in the eye or near-suffocation from having to keep "hiding". "Oh what a beautiful morrrrning!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quiet Play

Kees watches a little bit of telly, but I would like it to be even more limited and encourage more quiet play. I find that I set something up, he plays with it for five minutes, then loses interest. I can keep repeating this with a range of activities, which is really nice time spent with Kees, but what do you do when you need a straight half hour to get stuff done? I would love to hear your children's favourite quiet play activities. What I'm after is a little more of this (above) and a little less of.......

Monday, November 23, 2009


What a beautiful afternoon for a backyard picnic. Just add Grandma, Grandpa and some teddies...

delectable cakes from the French Patisserie....

and a few cuddles for good measure.