Saturday, November 24, 2007

Christmas tree hunt

Every end of November we travel down to the Christmas tree farm a few miles from here. Its a big tradition and the sort of thing we do as a family or not at all. So if we cant all get together until the very last moment then that happens and we just have to find the best trees left. Its always a hot daqy and there are arguements over the best tree and by the end everyone is tired and grumpy! The owner always gives lollipops at the end though!

This year Alex found a birdsnest in one of the trees (empty) as an extra surprise.

For anyone reading this in the cooler climes of Amercia or the UK its hot work decorating the tree and house this time of the year, but never fear their is always the .....

POOL!!! And it has been used several times already. We have become especially fond of outdoor BBqs by the pool and night.
This is Georgias contribution to the summer we are having so far:
we have been having the best time in summer with the pool . Oue dog has been very naughty
hoping in the pool.
When the whole family hoped in it was the start of fun. We have never had so much fun before in our wholel life but it was not hot in there .Alex and georgia kept riding on dads back. We went in it again today but this time we all didnt go in.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What a great week!!!

Alex modelling her twirly skirt

The photos here are fom my homemade Christmas. We LOVE christmas so much that I craft for it when i can and as soon as halloween is over upo they start to go. Ive plenty more yet!! Two days, two trips to Spotlight, four skirts., one tote bag(for Mum) six hanky bags for xmas presents, and two sets of criss cross coasters. Ta Da !! (thank you, thank you very much!) The tutorials for the blue twirly skirts can be found here:http:/houseon

The tutorials for the christmas hankie boxes and the polka dot skirts Very easy to follow and the skirts cost me $10.00 each to make.

The criss cross coasters are found here:

Finally I have finished Alexandras quilt... The binding I used was polka dot blue and pink inspired by crazy mums blog found here: who loves polka dots. Then in the progressive chain of one thing leading to another I kept looking at the polka dots as I was binding and thinking this would make a great skirt and thus that idea was born. I went mad and mad four, now five and will be doing another two in totally un polka dot materials. They were cheap to make too. If any one has a simple pattern for this simpleton of a clothes sewer please let me know!! I tried shirring but the elastic kept breaking... neat pattern that too can be found on same site as Twirly skirt.

My first ever tote bag. I want to do these in patch work in the new year.

Thank you Birdseye for my prize in a phone in competition. It was the most exciting trip back from the letter box in a long while and the most lesurely and fun trip around the Supermarket too!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Frugal living

Part of this Blog is meant to be about the road towards simpler living and frugal ways so here goes:

Firstly I have to say that before I found the web site I was a wannabe frugalist. I could neither hold the motivation nor could I find inspiration to do anything with what I felt should be a simpler way of living. The minute I joined the web site it was like "Aha!!" and I can recommnend this place to anyone who seriously wants to save money. I have learnt so much that I thought I should start off simply and note the biggest things I have learnt and what has worked for me.

1. Be prepared. I am a Stay at home Mum and I really dont want to "work" again so I have the time and the inclination to cook things from scratch, sew clothes and mend and repair.

2. Dont go out to the shops for food. Use what is in the pantry, freezer, fridge, fruit bowl, etc. Again all inspiration and help with this is on Simple savings.

3. Take a leaf out of our forefathers (mothers!) books. They survived on much less than we ever did and made it all work. Following this I have made my own :soaps (about a years worth), dishwash (as required) washing powder for the dishwasher and clothes wash , made my own dog food, cat food, haved found "old" recipes with simple everyday ingrediants but are big on old fashioned taste and also make my own bread. I do fall over a lot though and all it takes it a unnecessary browse around the quilt shop, or a few hours at the library or just quilting for too long for the time to be lost and all the needed preparation to go under.

and 4; Use baking soda and white vinegar to clean everything. (and I do mean everything!!)

I have for years preserved - I LOVE preserving and now my aim is too increase what is in my cupboard fourfold as I get so much satisfaction. Last season I made Plum jam (free off the neighbours trees), apricot jam, Louquat jam (Free from our tree before we chopped it down). Quince Chutney (Free off a friends tree), stewed feijoas, apples, apricots. Preserved in syrup Peaches, nectarines , apricots and pears and made ton of Tomato Sauce from a recipe that dates back generations in our family. One of the great joys we have is PYO strawberries for eating, stewing and jam, and finding wild blackberries on the side of the road and spending hours picking them with the girls. They also love picking the strawberries and fruit and helping out with the preserving. I love to think of them knowing all these old values from our "past" and just doing them without it being seen as old fashioned or hard work. Above are some photos from all that is left of my pantry goodies. But it is another season in the staring and the whole process will be starting again. If any one is interested in the recipes they can leave a comment.
I love the idea of making everything especially at Christmas. However this year I got greedy and have made too much for myself and not enough for anyone else other than a couple of things. I do believe in think global buy local and so I am going to buy as many gifts as I can from a local coop that makes all the things inside. Other than that it will be Buy Kiwi made. Unfortunaely Bratz and barbies arnt made in NZ!!!!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The first great Annual halloween/Guy Fawkes/BBQ !!

Alexandra the Spider Witch. A bold idea for one who is TERRIFIED of spiders I thought!! The hat was from last year (Cost 2.00) and the dress was my flower girls dress from eight years ago. I sewed on the spiders (2.30) and dyed it all with black food colouring. Quite pleased with the result. Alexandra wore this the actual night of Halloween, but I dont want the girls to "trick or Treat" because mostly in NZ its offensive to lots of people, us kiwis not having beeen bought up with the tradition. We had the house dressed up however and children then made a bee line for our house. Honestly last year we had a couple but this year we ran out of lollies. Alex was actually going up the street towards the children she was so keen.!! Next to her is Georgia the cutest cat on the street! (Boy those drama lessons have paid off....just look at that pose). I did say she is a natural on stage....

We had quite a crowd of children and parents on Saturady night and tons of food, lollies and a clean pool, which everyone stayed clear of as after a steaming hot day the evening turned cold for everyone but the host family, who just dont feel the cold!

I was so pleased with my Jack o lanterns. The first ever time I ever carved a pumpkin and they did look wonderful up there on the fence, above my skeleton (2.00 from Spotlight) with fireworks going off up around and beside them.

So this is the way we will be celebrating our Guy fawkes, halloween from now on. I think its a good way to combine the two and with the Amercian influence from tv all around us I think its going to be hard to keep the children away from wanting to celebrate in some way.

Now onward to Christmas!!! Our most favourite of all seasons and celebrations. Would you believe that today out came the decorations. Catch it all in my next blog!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Dyslexia. Any knowledgable Mums out there??

My youngest daughter has had speech trouble now for all her short life. I have hounded doctors, paeds, Plunket nurses, special education centres and have had her on Speech help. But there was more. When she was about a year old, I worried about Autism although that didnt seem to fit and the Doctors fobbed me off with talk of every child beoing different , milestones coming later etc etc, but a mother KNOWS. The fact that she doesnt remeber her ABC or her numbers, cannot rhyme, cant rember nursery rhymes and couldnt skip or pedal her bike until recently seemed neither here or there for the experts. And now she is in School and my bright intelligent girl is writing everything backwards, still talking in her own back to front quirky little way and her speech is hard to understand. It all came to a head a few weeks back when a fellow swimmer in her swimming class(She is an ace swimmer by the way) asked if she was deaf and when I said no she asked why she spoke like a deaf person. I chnged the subject..I couldnt think of a reply. Then at ballet another little girl innocently asked me why she spoke diiferently. Poor Alex clutched on to my hand and looked down at the ground and I stammered and stuttered and the best I could come up with was "She just talks a bit different thats all" But seeing my gorgeous daughter look downward and feeling her pain I cried through most of the recital that evening. I vowed that we were going to get more speech help and then after Alex said something really profound and enormously intelligent for one who can neither recognise words and numbers I told my husband there was a genius locked in there, and he said "What about Dyslexia"? Now neither of us know about Dslyxia and I was on the computer in two seconds flat because I had NEVER thought of this. I was in web page for pre school and school aged children and there was a long extended checklist of symptoms, Out of this long list i had ticked them all bar one. I was astounded and actually thrilled. Finally I have something to know about, something that will help my darling girl. I spoke to her teacher who had similar concerns and she agreed that it could well be this but that it was early days. I dont need a expert to tell me but I am full throttle into the various options we have now. I would love to hear from other Mums with Dyslexic children, especially if they are young like mine or were concerned from an early age about their childs development.

In the meantime I have some reading to do. Look at what Im reading (above)
Gosh Ive gone on and on but I just had to get it off my chest. I see Dyslexia not as a problem but as a gift and now I truly feel (Finally, FINALLY!!!) like I understand my daughter! Her frusrations, her way of communication, her EVERYTHING.