Hama time

Remember Hama beads? Bit retro, hey?

We’ve become a bit addicted. Adella has been churning out drink coasters for friends and family in epic proportions. After ironing, I glue a piece of felt onto the back to strengthen them, and they’ve been holding up really well. I think she should start a market stall!


Then, we were in Lincraft two days ago, and we found kits. You should’ve seen her jaw drop. So, it was mermaids and princesses, of course.


In terms of an activity, it reminds me of Lego. You have to follow the instructions carefully, plus it is SO good for fine motor skills. She pretty much did these on her own, and just needed help with the shape of the tail, and the placement of the eyes.

Arlo and I are working on a parasaurolophus!

I’m thinking that we could make some cool Christmas decorations too.

What have you made with Hama beads? Please share!




8 months

So… ahem… this is my first posting in 8 months. That’s embarrassing.

The general life juggle has been tough this year. Looking back, uni was easier to balance with a baby. Toddlers are WAY harder. I look back at baby time with envy. A big thankyou goes out to everyone who has helped me in any way possible. You know who you are, and you are fabulous.

Semester 1 was hard because I had a four-week prac. Throwing myself into full-time work for a month was difficult. Difficult on me, and difficult on the kids. They didn’t show it, because THEY HAD A BALL with Grandma and Grandpa, but Adella still talks about “that time that Mummy had to go to work”. It’s not an easy expectation on anyone to flip life on its head, let alone kids under 4!

Semester 2 was the worst because Arlo gave up napping. His naptime was my magic time, where I had a chance to completely focus. And then it slowly starting slipping from my grasp. I held on for as long as I could, but there’s only so much time you can waste forcing a child to nap. I took a deep breath and let it go. But this reduced my alone time to 45 mins, when the kiddies watched TV. That is not long. Evenings, you say? Yeah, my brain has pretty much shut down by 8pm. That made the 7.30-9pm weekly seminars pretty tough. Thank goodness they were audio only, and not video. I wonder how many other mums were surviving by sipping on a sav blanc?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really enjoying my degree. I’m learning so much, and I absolutely loved my prac in Prep, and had a great time with my random teachings throughout the rest of the year.

So here I am, late at night, with my Four Pillars, bopping to my fave music, simply reflecting.

I have this overwhelming sense of having not done anything this year, which is completely untrue. I’ve taken the two kids to swimming, Chinese playgroup and kinder x2 every week, not to mention a gazillion playdates with our awesome friends. I’ve cooked meals most nights. I’ve done kids art projects. I’ve read more picture books that I could possibly ever count. It’s just my to-do list kept growing. And that to-do list is the things that are ‘me’. That’s what I’ve let go of in order to see this study year out.

I have no idea how anyone who studies, has kids and works as well can do it. My mind boggles. You are absolutely incredible.


I handed in my last assignment a few days ago, and since then, I’ve been on an almost-adrenelin-type-high… overwhelmed by the opportunity to do things. I’ve sorted clothes. Cleaned the shed (and taught the kids what red-back spiders look like). Gardened. Run. Sewed. Today alone I made a dress-up, fixed another, and made two pairs of pj pants.

Thank goodness our oven is broken or I may have made 6 cakes by now.

Though, I did make a steamed pudding.

I’ve also kept a list of things I have done with the kids that I meant to post. They will come. But I might have to sew a little bit more first. 😉


Picture book activities

There are some amazing picture books out there and we have recently done some great craft activities based on our favourite books. Both the kiddies really love making the connection between what we read and what we make.



We made the MASSIVE COOKIE from ‘Wild Boars Cook’ (Meg Rosoff and Sophie Blackall). The recipe is on the last page of the book.


I remember ‘Corduroy’ (Don Freeman) from when I was little, and this is a follow-up. When I was at primary school, we made knitted bears and Mum helped me sew overalls for my bear to look like Corduroy.


Both my little ones love ‘A river’ (Marc Martin). They trace the river on every page of the book and also make sure they find the boat every time. For this activity, we drew patterns with crayon like the patchwork in the book, then painted over it with watercolours.


‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ (Eric Carle)


And perhaps a lesser known Eric Carle book, ‘The Bad-tempered Ladybird’. The best bit of this activity was discussing which way we were going to put the mouths to make both a happy and a grumpy ladybird.



‘The Rainbow Fish’ (Marcus Pfister)


We actually made this entire book again redrawing the illustrations because she loved it so much. It’s a great story – very cute! ‘Crayon’ (Simon Rickerty)



This one looks a little crude, but it was a LOT of entertainment. Especially when we went hunting around the house for all the elephants we could find! We also kept this box for a long time as a play thing. ‘Too many Elephants in this House’ (Ursula Dubosarsky).

What’s your favourite picture book activity? Please comment below.

I try to keep my pinterest files up-to-date with our latest fave reads if you need some library-inspiration:

Ages 0-2
Ages 2-3
Ages 3-4

My fave… of 2015

It’s nice to look back and reflect…

My fave recipe book: 250 must-have slow cooker recipes

My fave dessert: Meringues (which I finally mastered, after many failed attempts) with my homemade lemon curd.

My fave savoury dish: Lamb shanks done in the slow cooker. I’ve done them lots of ways and they are consistently amazing! Plus the leftovers go into the piemaker.

My fave read: Counting by 7s – Holly Goldberg Sloan.

My fave TV shows: Fargo and True Detective.

My fave tea: T2 released a caramel brownie tea, and I got a sampler, but never got anymore before it was off the shelves. Devastating.

My fave blog: The Measured Mom for great educational printables.

My fave garden success: Bringing my lemon tree back to life… with gusto!!

My fave DIY project: making a pallet garden.

My fave kiddie product: Actually, my slow cooker. Makes me a lot more available to the children!

My fave new shop: The Cup & Mug – Polish pottery.

My fave new cafe: Est. 1906, Seddon.

My fave entertaining-for-the-kiddies cafe: Est. 1906, Seddon.

My fave take-away: Godfather’s Pizza, Yarraville. Old-school pizza – the kids love it!

My fave place for a drink: Littlefoot Bar, Footscray.

My fave clothes shop: Pash, in Pt. Fairy. Same as the previous year.

My fave useful purchase: A family-sized tent. Never underestimate the advantages to internal doors in your tent.

My fave pretty, but unnecessary, purchase: A Gorman dress. Covered in moths. Yes.

My fave parenting moment: It’s happened more than once, and will hopefully continue for a long time… when I walk into a room and Adella is reading Arlo a book.

Happy New Year!!

A dash of Christmas

Sheesh. Where does life go?

I had all these fabulous ideas for an advent calendar. And then I was in Kmart (I love that store). They had these calendars for $7, so I bought one, pulled out all the crappy lollies and refilled it with less crappy ones. Done.


I saw a really cute post of a wall hanging made from pompoms (#mysugarandcloth) and it inspired me to make a Christmas wreath. Mine is not as classy as it is just on a ring of cardboard. It was really looking like it just wasn’t going to happen as it was taking me forever to make the pompoms… but I suddenly had a genius moment: Why wind 1 string of wool around a template, when you can wind 10? And suddenly the last 2/3 of it was done in two sittings!! Am I late to catch onto that or what?


My annual cookie swap was fabulous… look at the deliciousness:


Donna Hay introduced me to mince pie icecream sandwiches (literally chopped supermarket mince pies mixed in vanilla icecream!!!) in her latest magazine – sorry, no photos – got eaten tooooooo quickly.

And finally, another everybody-friendly dessert:


I had an image of an old-school sponge cake in my head, and that’s what inspired me. Two gingerbread cakes from this ‘Christmas in a glass’ recipe, with the centre layer filled with coconut icecream (2 tins coconut milk and 3/4 cup brown sugar churned in my icecream maker) and coconut chips, and the top is more icecream with raspberries, cherries, pomegranate and mint. This is vegan, FODMAP-friendly, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. ‘Twas delish.

That’s all from me. Gotta go pack the car with camping gear. Merry Christmas!

Rainy day fun

I just have to share this one… it was so much fun! The credit goes to an amazing website, made by joel, it is absolutely full of wonderful colouring-in pages and I can’t wait to try these paper city printables.

We spent a bit of time making this AMAZING aquarium!

IMG_4805IMG_4809 First, colouring in…

IMG_4806And a bit of button-play…


And voila! How cute is that??? And we can slide the fishies along from side-to-side.


Next rainy day? This beauty is getting some paint! With a bit of pipe-cleaner seaweed and a sprinkle of sand methinks!

Low FODMAP salted dark chocolate delicious tart (egg-free)

My favourite tart recipe in the world is Donna Hay’s Dark Chocolate Pretzel Tart. Dark chocolate and salt? The best combination ever. Ever.

(Her recipe is in Issue 64 2012)

And here is my egg-free, FODMAP-friendly version:


  • 120g gluten-free digestive biscuits
  • 120g gluten-free pretzels
  • 180g butter, melted
  • 375g dairy-free dark chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp of your fave liqueur (I used drambuie)

Process the biscuits and pretzels to crumbs and add the butter until combined. Press into a tart tin and throw in the fridge for about an hour.

Place dark choc, coconut milk and liqueur in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted. Pour into biscuit base and refrigerate until set.


The above pic is decorated with coconut chips – they are delish and have no preservatives added.

If you have extra pretzels and chocolate leftover, dip the pretzels in melted chocolate and use them to decorate the top.