Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Unpacking the new house - Girls Room

I've finally completed Miss M (2.5 years) and Miss O's (8 mths) shared room in our new rental. I unpacked it all within the first week, but wasn't happy with the layout or furniture we had in there. After a trip to IKEA and many different configurations, I am happy with it. It's hard in a rental when you can't choose the wall type or wall colour, and you can't place hooks on the wall where you'd like! I definitely miss that after moving from the house we owned.

When we first moved in, we tried to simulate how the room was set-up in our old place (click here to have a look), however it just looked so cluttered.

We also didn't have anywhere for the girls to play (the living room is quite small), so I changed the room again. This was much better, but still looked too cluttered.

I decided instead to buy a chest of drawers that most of the girl's clothes could live in, therefore freeing up space in the built-in's for their toys (so they were accessible but hidden away). The chest of drawers is a MALM dresser from IKEA. I also bought a LACK side table for the girl's doll's houses.

I love the girl's bunting, which were a gift from a friend's mum (she is so talented!) Miss M's bed came free when we moved into our old house, and I bought the Adairs quilt cover from a garage sale.

The rug was from Kmart a few years ago, as was the rocking horse (which was a gift). The wooden dolls house is from and was a gift, and we were given the Little People house which sits underneath the side table.

Miss O's cot and change table were secondhand - I've only just bought the new changetable this week, and I just love it! It's so much neater with the drawers then our old plastic one.

I don't love the placement of the pictures on the wall, but unfortunately I can't alter where the hooks are (and even if I use removable hooks, the existing hooks are still quite noticeable!)

The girl's dressing gowns hang on hooks on the back of the door. Inside the drawers of the changetable are nappies & wipes & baby products. Inside the chest of drawers are the girl's winter clothes, and in the built-ins are their summer clothes, extra blankets, backpacks, toys, extra bedding & pillows and our swimming bag. I have used one side of the built-in to hang my jackets and dresses, as my built-in isn't very big (I am slowly culling clothes!)

I have created a place to hang the girl's artwork near the door on these clipboards from Kmart. In the background you can see the dress-ups on a repurposed towel rack.

 The dress-ups on the towel rack plus the dress-up hats on a hat rack from Kmart (the blind was already here).

It's a large room, and now I don't feel that its cluttered - just bright, happy and functional!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Putting together a musical instrument tub for kids

When Miss M was 1, she received an excellent percussion set from her godparents for Christmas which was from Aldi. It has a tamborine, a xylophone, maracas and bells. We've used it so much since then, and recently I wanted to add to our collection. 

I found these bongos on clearance at Big W for only $5, and found the Wiggles mini keyboard and guitar on a buy, swap and sell site. 

In the pic below, the yellow recorder, blue castanet, red harmonica, cymbals, pink egg shaker, triangle and guiro are all from ebay. I paid between $1 and $5 for each of these, which worked out so much cheaper than any I'd seen in shops. The clapping sticks were made from dowel by my Mum. The sweet pink heart shaped shaker was given to Miss M when she was a baby, the blue whistle is one leftover from teaching, and the cute clown whistle was given to us by another friend. 

I store everything in a tub from The Reject Shop. It can be pulled off the shelf, played with and then chucked back in the tub when we have finished.  

We've been attending 'Mainly Music' and this has sparked the girls love of music and percussion instruments. They have lots of songs where you play along with certain instruments. We also just spend time playing our instruments along to kids songs, or we sing playschool songs such as: 

"Oh we can play on the big bass drum, and this is the way we do it. Boom, boom, boom goes the big bass drum. And that's the way we do it! Oh we can play on the xylophone, and this is the way we do it. Ching, ching, ching goes the xylophone."

We just add our different instruments in as we go. Another one is:

"Here we go, singing in the kitchen, altogether now, singing in the kitchen, everybody singing in the kitchen, banging on the pots and pans!"

We change the room and the instrument as we play! Also:

"Let's play together. Everybody all join in. Let's play together. Everybody all join in, join in, everybody all join in. M plays piano, O's on the xylophone, who's that there, it's Mummy! On the triangle..."

We change the instruments as we sing. 

We also like Justine Clark's CD: I like to sing! 

Why is playing percussion instruments good for kids? 

- increased coordination, motor skills and dexterity
- relieves stress
- promotes sociability 
- enhances mood
- it boosts self esteem 
- it's a confidence builder 
- it can help them connect 
- it fosters creativity 
- enables self-expression and imagination
- increases brain development, short and long-term memory
- it's constant learning 
- it reflects discipline and patience
- it introduces kids to other cultures
- it's fun! 


Playschool also has some cool ideas, and often uses music as a theme for the show. Follow this link for more, like making your own shaker!

[Top image:]

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Unpacking the new house - Master Bedroom

Our master bedroom is done! There's not a lot of difference between how we've set this out in this house compared to the last, except that the blanket box and scarf ladder are now on my side of the room (right) rather than Brendan's side (left). The walls are even a similar colour - although I liked the green on the walls at our last place compared to the grey-green here.

The windows let in a beautiful amount of natural light.

There is a good amount of built-in storage in here, however, it is considerably smaller than our last place, so I've had to cull quite a few clothes which has been really good! I'll share the inside of the cupboards later on.

I've just changed my quilt to my winter quilt made of duck down - I just love it! I also still love my Adairs white waffle quilt cover, my Big W bird cage cushion, and my Target European cushions. Even though the rest of our furniture is white, I still love the dark timber of our bedroom suite (it was secondhand and free!)

Unpacking the new house - Bathroom & Laundry

This is the bathroom in our new house. It has been renovated (compared to the rest of the house) and is quite large. It has brown tiles on the floor, and white on the walls, with a brown feature tile.

I love the massive mirror on the left side of the room, and the double towel rail.

The shower is large, but unfortunately there's no bath for the kids, and this is the only bathroom! It hasn't been too different going from 2 bathrooms to 1, but we are missing the bath. I bought a plastic tub and we have been bathing the kids in that - it works quite well, but it does mean they can't play in it really. Ah well, it's not forever! I've culled their bath toys, and we pack everything back into the tub and leave it in the shower when not in use.

This cube unit was in our Ensuite at the old house, and is handy for toilet paper, feminine products, nail polish, creams, deodorants and jewellery.

The laundry is a lot bigger than our old laundry, but it hasn't been renovated. It does have plenty of storage though! The cupboard up on the wall fits my cleaning products, and the large cupboard has some pantry items in it. The ironing board was here already when we moved in. On top of the cupboards I have some party items, BBQ'ing equipment in a container, tablecloths, our iron and my watering can.

I love having our dryer in here, as it was in our garage at our last house due to lack of space. I would love to do a renovation in this laundry and put a bench in!

We've had to place two of our dining chairs in here as there really isn't enough room in our dining area. I've also repurposed this kitchen trolley as a place for our old towels, plastic bags, bibs, laundry powder and pegs.

I love the broom and mop storage behind the door in here!

Next is the master bedroom, and then the girls room, and I'm done!

Friday, 28 April 2017

The most delicious pumpkin bread!

Recently my friend and I were in Byron Bay for our friend's hens weekend, and we had breakfast out at a little café. I had the bircher muesli (which was delicious) and my friend had pumpkin bread with eggs, bacon, avocado and feta. It was divine!! Ever since then I've been meaning to find a recipe to make my own.

I looked up 'pumpkin bread themomix' in Google, and found a couple of recipes that I've combined, plus adding some of my own ingredients to come up with this recipe! It was SO good!! I used my Thermomix, but I think it would work just as well using a food processer or just mixing by hand (I have only tried the Thermomix way, so don't take my word on the non-Thermo instructions!)

PUMPKIN BREAD (Thermomix and non-Thermomix instructions included)

400g butternut pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
4 eggs
1 tsp rock salt
1 tsp YIAH pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger
50g white or raw sugar
1/2 tabs golden syrup
30g oil
1 cup almondmeal
1 cup SR flour
1 cup rolled oats
A sprinkle of pepitas or sunflower seeds for the top

1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees fan forced.
2. Line 2 loaf tins with baking paper.
3. Add pumpkin to Thermomix bowl and grate 5 seconds, speed 6, MC on (or roughly grate pumpkin using a grater or a food processer)
4. Add eggs, salt, spices, sugar, golden syrup and oil and mix 3 seconds, speed 4, MC on (or mix in a food processor, or just mix by hand)
5. Add almondmeal, flour and oats, and mix REVERSE, 8 seconds, speed 4, MC on (or just mix in by hand).
6. The mixture should be slightly lumpy. Put into the loaf tins, filling about half way. Sprinkle with seeds. Place into oven for 45 mins - check at 30 mins to make sure the top doesn't burn (cover in al foil if it looks like it is). Check with a skewer to make sure the inside is cooked before pulling it out. Leave to cool for 30 mins in the tin.
7. Enjoy warm with butter, or with eggs, bacon, avocado, feta and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar! Yum!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

An Anzac Day Craft

Inspired by a craft someone posted in one of the teacher sites I'm part of on Facebook (my apologies, I didn't save the original image so I can't give the author credit), Brendan, Miss M and I made an Anzac Day wreath today.

You'll need:
 - paper plates
 - paint (red and green, or blue & yellow to make green)
 - patty pans (white to paint, or red)
 - glue
 - a black texta
 - scissors
 - paintbrushes
 - newspaper to put down

Firstly, cut out a semi circle on the top and bottom of the inside of the paper plate, leaving a banner across the middle. Then write the words 'Lest we forget' on the banner. Paint the outside of the wreath in green.

Then, lightly paint the patty pans red. I only had very cheap patty pans and they collapsed under the weight of the paint, so we used red patty pans inside. Glue the patty pans onto the wreath to represent poppy flowers. Add a black spot in the middle of the poppy. Leave to dry and your wreath is complete!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Making an Easter Cake (and a 29th birthday cake!)

Happy 29th Birthday to me today!
In all the fuss of moving, I hadn't really thought about my birthday this year, plus 29 is obviously not a massive birthday to celebrate (can't wait to do something fun for my 30th next year!) but I always love having a cake made for me (or making one for myself!)
I saw a cute Easter cake on the 'Easter Mums' Facebook group that Nikita Falconer posted, and thought it would be cute to replicate for a combined Easter/birthday cake!

You'll need some Easter eggs, Malteaser chocolate bunnies, some candy flowers (found in the Baking section at the supermarket), some chocolate spider nests (melt a block of cooking chocolate and add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a packet of Chang's fried noodles and make nests using silicon patty pan trays - refrigerate until set), some green icing with coconut for grass, and either a baked or store bought cake - my favourite is the Woolies caramel mud cake! To make it a birthday cake I'm adding some bunting from Kmart and a candle.

Ice your cake - I made icing using butter, icing sugar, some milk, a dash of peppermint essence, some green food colouring and some shredded coconut. I didn't measure amounts because that's how I roll with baking! It's great having the coconut added to look like grass because it doesn't matter how rough it looks!

Add your decorations - a chocolate nest with eggs, flowers, eggs and bunnies. At this point you could serve the cake as an Easter cake!

I added the bunting and lit the candle, and it's an Easter-themed birthday cake!

So easy and delicious!! Yum!