Wednesday, November 23, 2011

30 by 30

I was inspired recently to make a bit of a bucket list. I decided that seeing as I am turning 30yrs old in 4 years that I would make a list of 30 things I want to accomplish by the time I am 30. Some of them are fairly easy, some are left up to God's timing, and some of them will require a real commitment and drive to get them accomplished.  Take a look...

  1. Travel to Cambodia again. COMPLETE!
  2. Sew an evening gown.
  3. Have another baby. (Up to God with this one)
  4. Bike the 22km around Rottnest Island. We biked part way last week biking 16km. I enjoyed it so much that I want to cycle around the entire island.
  5. Read all of Jane Austin's novels. IN PROGRESS
  6. Travel to Europe.
  7. Go out to dinner and eat dessert before the main meal.
  8. Visit Caerlaverock castle.
  9. Go Rock'n'Roll dancing again. I used to do rock'n'roll lessons when I was younger and really miss it.
  10. Act and sing in a musical. Again, something I used to do when I was younger.
  11. Complete a 365 photo project taking one photo a day for an entire year. IN PROGRESS
  12. Grow my hair long enough to touch my bottom. IN PROGRESS
  13. Give blood. I am terrified of needles. Enough said. COMPLETE!
  14. Read the entire Bible from start to finish. IN PROGRESS
  15. Spend one whole day without talking. Those of you who know me know that this could be a tough one! 
  16. Witness a birth.
  17. Breastfeed - this is dependant on task number 3.
  18. Learn to Crochet. COMPLETE!
  19. Eat Sushi. My hubby has been trying to persuade me to try it for years but I'm too chicken. hmmm... maybe I'll try the chicken... - COMPLETE!
  20. Surprise hubby with a weekend away somewhere.
  21. Complete my family tree cross stitch.
  22. Change a tire by myself.
  23. Set up our Christmas tree with only handmade ornaments I have made on it.
  24. Own a dress makers mannequin.
  25. Complete my Farmer's Wife quilt.
  26. Watch Breakfast at Tiffany's. Yes I admit it. I've never seen it! COMPLETE!
  27. Watch an All Blacks game live.
  28. Take our son James (2yrs old) to the snow.
  29. Make curtains for all the windows of our house.
  30. Complete 30 acts of selflessness on my 30th birthday.
So what do you think of my list? What would you put on yours?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another pregnancy test - wasted

If I were to be honest with myself, I'd have to admit that I'm starting to get angry now.

We have been trying to conceive our second child for 16 months now. Endless waiting, pregnancy tests, frustration, sadness, and watching our beloved son getting older and older without a sibling. At this stage James will be at least 3 years old by the time bub number 2 arrives - if he or she ever does.

Why can't we seem to get pregnant? God don't you want us to have more kids? Is James to be an only child? With no-one to play with? How can this be? How many more months am I to sit crying and frustrated in the bathroom starting at yet another single red line pregnancy test?

Mentioning this to anyone always seems to bring on the advice "just stop trying and relax and it will happen". Those people usually never had to wait over a year to conceive. They don't understand that try as hard as you can it's nigh on impossible to relax and pretend you dont want to get pregnant this month. That each month gets you more stressed which of course doesn't help but is inevitable.

Adoption takes 5-7 years. Fostering can leave you heartbroken when the child you have come to love returns home. We have fostered teenagers before and it was hard but awesome. I want to foster again but how can I open myself up to the heartache?

I want a second chance at breastfeeding. It didn't work with James and I've always been sad about that. I want a chance to see James play with a brother or sister. I want to make baby clothes and dress MY child in them rather than everybody elses. I want a chance to have a vaginal birth rather than a c-section.

Yes, it's testing day and I'm not pregnant.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Why does God let bad things happen?

Why is it that you seem to have the best prayer times at 4am? I'm lying here awake with the presence of God so full and surrounding me and all I can do is pray. With tears tumbling down my face I thank Him for all the incredible blessings I have received in my life. I wonder anew at why I have been given much.

 While talking with a dear friend last night about different struggles and hardships we are facing she mentions "if everything was easy where would faith come in?" It makes me ponder: if I could provide for myself and ensure that life never handed me trials, what need would I have for God? Yet it's in the midst of these trials, painful times, temptations and struggles that God is able to show His awesome power and love. 

Does he wish for us to go through these times? No - absolutely not! Think of the life He created us for - life in Eden - life of joy, no pain, no suffering - life spent in perfect harmony with Him, experiencing nothing bad. This is what He desires for us. So why does a good God allow bad things to happen? Why is this world full of pain, suffering, terrorist attacks, murder? Because He loved us enough to give us a choice. 

Who would want a husband that had no choice but to love them? Is that true love? Who would want to know that the only reason your child loved you, wanted to spend time with you, wanted to thank you; the only reason they did these things is because you forced them? God didn't want robots - He wanted real relationships. He wanted His creation to desire to know Him and love Him by their own choice. Because of this choice, we are able to choose good or bad which has let sin into the world.

Bad things happen because people happen. 

Yet amongst all this, God is faithful. He cries when we cry, He hurts when we hurt, He desires to pull us away from all suffering and protect us as a child in the womb. This is not what He intended us for. He can take terrible situations such as the loss of our baby Jessie in the womb, and bring something good of it. We would never have built our house, gone to Cambodia, got nicks job, made the friends we have, if we had not lost Jessie. Did God want us to experience the pain of losing a child? No, but He is able to work all things to the good for those who love Him. He made good come of a terrible situation. 

Yes, amongst the many hardships and trials life presents us I still praise Him. I will thank Him for the financial struggles, sickness, and pain because although I know He doesn't desire me to face them, I know He is a faithful God and will see me through these times. He desires to have real relationship with us. He created us with a plan and purpose for our lives and loves us more than we can fathom. However because of sin - our choice to do bad things - we are separated from Him and can not know Him intimately as He desires. Yet He didn't leave things this way - He sent His Son to take the punishment of our sins / wrong doings. We are able to know Him deeply because when we accept what Jesus has done for us - we receive His clean and pure life in place of ours. It is not enough just to know this - He has given it as a gift. We need to receive it. 

He will not force Himself on us - it's our choice. So what will you do with it? 

You have to make a decision one way or another - it is impossible to sit on the fence. Either you accept what God has done for you and live your life knowing His amazing presence and having a real true relationship with Him, or you turn away from Him and are forever separated - yes hell is a real place. Ask Him into your life, He desires to know you. Speak to Him - just as you would do to a friend - this is called prayer. Say something like this: 

God thank you for sending Jesus to take the punishment for all the things I've done wrong. I'm sorry for what I've done and ask you to forgive me. Please come into my life and show me you are real. I want to know you in a real way. Amen (another word meaning "I agree"). 

If you have decided to do this - please contact me and I would love to hear from you and help you find out what is next - what now?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An organised Mum

My mum said something inspirational to me today.

Remember – your house and James are your business – this is your job that God has blessed you with!
My parents with James

I don't know about you but I struggle with housework. I am not the most organised person in the world. So when it comes to making sure I am organised enough to keep my house running smoothly I find myself a bit lost in the jungle of clothes, dishes, toys and clutter.

This statement that my mum made has inspired me to take a different look at the way I think about things. I don't have a full-time job. I am a stay-at-home mum to my darling son James. What if I started organising my days as I would if I was working? If I was being paid to look after my house and my son I would put more effort into it and make sure things got done.

I have made myself a "Daily Do's" checklist of chores to do each day. These are the things that are done every day.

Daily Do's 
Prayer and Bible 
Showered and Dressed 
Load of washing 
Get meat out for dinner
Make beds 
Tidy bedrooms 
Hang out washing 
Exercise: walk, dancing with James, swimming 
Weekly do's 
Prepare dinner 
Dishes and kitchen tidy 
5 minute clean up with James 
Story's and songs 
James' bedtime 
Sweep house

I have also made myself a "Weekly Do's" checklist of chores that need to be done on certain days. I have split the housework up between the 5 working days in order that we can relax and enjoy family time on the weekends when Daddy's home.

Weekly Do's 

Clean En-suite
Change beds
Write grocery list
Water plants
Master bed, James' windows

Mop floors
Clean laundry
Sweep garage and front porch
Organise sewing room
Sewing/guest room windows

Clean out fridge
Clean out car/vacuum
Water plants
Theatre/kitchen windows

Wipe kitchen cupboards
Clean out pantry
Clean oven/stove top
Cut James' nails
Organise bookshelf
Lounge/dining windows

Clean guest bathroom
Water plants
Laundry/bathroom windows

I leave you with one last quote from my smart mother:
Tidy House = Tidy Mind
So here's hoping this works! I'll let you know....


Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 5 Minute Dress!

I've done it. I've finally conquered my fear of sewing with knit fabric! Once I found out some great tips I discovered I really didn't have anything to be afraid of. So without further ado...

This is the most amazingly easy dress ever. I swear. I am certain that once I make others in different fabric and colours that they are going to be my summer uniform. That's how in love I am!

This is yet another of my Pinterest finds. Katy at Sweet Verbena is amazing - you should definitely check out her blog for more tutorials. Here is the tutorial for this dress.

This tutorial includes only 3 lines of straight stitching (well, sewing a straight line with a zigzag stitch anyway). No hemming. No over-locking. No patterns required. Just two pieces (or one folded over piece) of knit fabric. It's just that easy!

Here are my handy tips:

  • Make sure you use a stretch needle. You are going to be working with knit fabric so you need to have a needle that is sharp and will allow for this sort of fabric with a lot of stretch in it.
  • Use a zigzag stitch. It will allow your fabric to stretch and move as knit fabric normally would.
  • Allow the fabric to feed itself through the machine. Don't pull it through otherwise it will bunch.
  • Make sure when you measure how wide you want your dress that you add in a bit of extra length to account for... um... female body parts (breasts for those of you that need the hint). If you just measure the width of your shoulders and have rather large... uh... female body parts... then you will create a dress that will stretch over this area. Those of us know have these larger parts know that this makes them look even bigger...
  • WEAR WITH A BELT!! If you don't you will end up with a Homer Simpson style Mu-mu. Not very flattering...
Have fun!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011


I have experienced death twice this year.

A dear friend of mine, Russell, passed away due to complications from a stomach virus which affected his heart at the age of 27 years old in April this year.

Friends of ours gave birth to their precious first child, a beautiful daughter, and she passed away at 6 days old - today - father's day.

I know death is a hard thing to face, especially of people so young. I know both of these special people will be with our Father in heaven. I know they are now free of pain, sadness and fear. All these things I know.

Yet it is still a very hard thing to accept. I don't understand why I am struggling to accept these sad circumstances. I guess it is all head knowledge and it is having a hard time connecting with my heart. I can't get my mind around the fact that I will never see Russell's smiling face again or catch up with him next time we are in our home town. I can't understand that he just doesn't exist any more.

I seek God for answers. I know that somehow this will all work out for His glory. But I don't understand it.

How do you comfort those who grieve? What words can you say to the fiancé left behind and the parents whose hearts are broken. All the things that are on my heart seem so cliché.

"I'm praying for you"
"They are in a better place"
"I'm so sorry for your loss"

None of it seems enough. And that's because it isn't. It can't change the fact that they have a reason to grieve.

The only thing I can do is be there. Be there when they struggle to accept it themselves. Be there for a shoulder to cry on. Be there to just listen. Be there to understand that it will take time to get up and walk steadily again. Just be there. As cliché as that is.

My heart has broken this year. I'm learning to deal with that.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baby Beanie Hat Tutorial

A friend of ours gave birth a few weeks prematurely recently to a beautiful 4lb 9oz baby girl. I have a feeling her surprise early arrival (she is doing well though) will mean that she won't be able to fit many of the baby clothes her parents have prepared for her and so decided to make her a little hat for starters and perhaps this will be joined tomorrow by a matching baby outfit... depends on how my little munchkin is tomorrow :)

scissors, thread, sewing machine
approx 40cm x 30cm of stretch cotton knit fabric - eg t-shirt fabric

I considered doing a refashion of an old t-shirt for this as I am currently on a re-fashion high but I didn't have anything girly or pink enough (go figure!).

To create a template either model it off a baby hat you already have or use a saucer to trace a semi circle and then add about 4 inches of straight fabric at the bottom as you will be turning it under. Place it on your fabric making sure that the fabric is able to be stretched sideways rather than up and down. This is important - it will help your hat stretch to fit bub's head. When your template is placed as it is in the picture your fabric with stretch left to right. Cut out 2.

Now you have your two pieces....

Place them right sides together lining up all edges.

Sew around the edge with a 1/4' seam leaving the bottom straight edge open.

At this point if you like you could overlock your seam. I don't really deem this necessary on this project as you are working with knit fabric and it won't fray. Fold up the open edge to the mark as indicated in the pattern.

Sew around where you folded your straight edge up to. This will keep it in place. NOTE: This is not the bottom of your hat but rather about half way up where your previous edge now has been folded up to.

Turn inside out. You can see where my stitching from the previous step is part way up the hat.

Fold you bottom edge up to the sewn line making sure to fold towards the outside of the hat.

Almost done! Iron your little fold rim to make sure it sits flat and perfect.

With a needle and thread stitch a few stitches over top of each other at each side to hold the rim in place. I managed to make my stitches so small I needed an arrow to show you where they are (that and the fact that my camera seemed to be having trouble focusing!)

And you are done! Since I don't have a newborn model at the moment (here's hoping the stalk will bring one soon!) James' teddy has offered to do the job - although he wasn't too happy about wearing pink....

I plan to embellish my little hat with a fabric flower (stay tuned for the tutorial!). You could also do a nice button (making sure its sewn on nice and tight so little hands don't pull it off) or sew some ric-rac around it... the possibilities are all there for you to imagine!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Easy Maxi Dress Tutorial

My dear friend and neighbour, Karina, turned 30 today! She is an amazing woman who I love dearly.

Karina is also 29 weeks pregnant with her first child. She is naturally cute and petite and so she absolutely looks stunning with a bump! I wanted to give her a gift that would be practical and celebrate this stage in her life but also be just for her and not for baby (I'm throwing her a baby shower in 3 weeks anyway when I get to bring out all the cutesy baby stuff!) As her bump continues to grow, so does the need for clothes that fit - and coming into the beautiful Spring weather we have been having, she needs some cooler clothes. Ta-da! I'll make her a dress!

I found this wonderful tutorial over at bored and crafty and knew it would look great with a bump for an accessory!

So without further ado - here she is!

I hadn't yet hemmed the dress at this stage and I decided not to make the rosettes.

As you can see she is totally rocking the bump!

As Karina prefers halter-neck style straps, I have just not criss-crossed the straps at the back.

My Tips:

  1. Unless you are making this dress for a 5 foot, size 6 person (measured on Karina under the bust so excluding the belly), make sure you buy more than 2.5m of material. 112cm width material is ok for size 6-8 but anybody in sizes above that really should aim for at least 140cm width. Also - if you are taller than 5feet - go for at least 3m of material.
  2. I made Karina's dress cinch in just under the breast in order to make it flattering for her bump. However the pattern suggests to make it at the natural waistline. Choose whichever style you prefer :) 
  3. Use a safety pin to turn your strap through to the other side and make sure you fold your strap in half and iron it before sewing. Do this also with the elastic casing... 
  4. Karina's measurement under the bust was 75cm. I made her width at the bottom of the dress 2m. It worked out to be a good proportion. 
  5. I used a non-stretch cotton but this would work really well with a knit fabric. I plan to attempt one for myself once I conquer my fear of sewing with knit...
  6. Another great idea for this dress which seems to be all the rage right now is to have a slip dress as the lining and then a longer, see-through chiffon or similar fabric for the top layer. Simply cut your lining shorter (at the moment the "in thing" is to have it just above your knees) and once you have sewn the lining pieces together attach them to the top of the dress just below the neck casing. I'm sooo going to try this!
Hope you enjoy making this fantastic versatile dress!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


For awhile now I have been a faithful "stumbler". I have enjoyed putting in my interests and having random websites selected for me to view based on what I enjoy. I have found so many wonderful websites with all sorts of crafty tutorials and also funny websites with all sorts of animals and humans doing silly things.

However - I have now discovered Pinterest! How awesome is it to be able to have a virtual pinboard to be able to post photos of my favorite things and ideas from websites to be able to easily access them whenever I am ready to do them! You can "pin" things from politics to crafts, music to photography, kids ideas to weddings. It is really awesome!

So I now have a new addiction to manage...

Follow me!

Friday, July 15, 2011




You take your 2yr old overseas to a country such as Thailand, Bali, Cambodia, India on holiday. You are having a fantastic time seeing all the sights and meeting the wonderful locals who are always smiling and friendly, willing to go to extremes to make you comfortable.

One day you head out to visit a busy crowded place. Being a crowded place you decide not to take your pram so you take turns carrying your 2yr old. While looking at wares in one stall, both you and your husband think the other is watching your child. In the blink of an eye - he's gone.

For you - this equals terror. Panic. Sickness.

For your child - it's much worse.

The man who grabbed your child has covered his or her mouth with a cloth with some sort of chemical on it to put them to sleep. They jump into a car and ride off with him.

He wakes up awhile later, finding himself in a tiny room - no bigger than most walk-in closets. It's dark and he's scared. He starts to cry.

"Mum! Dada!"

He doesn't know where you are but soon his cries attract attention.

The door opens and in walks a talk figure who smells like beer. He hits your son, making him cry even more for you. The man starts to speak roughly in a strange language. Your child can't understand why you aren't there to comfort him and protect him.

Then the man starts to undo his pants...

What follows are several hours of your child being brutally assaulted by several people. All get sick pleasure from your child's cries for help, his cries for mama and Dada.

Your child falls asleep, exhausted from fighting back and nostrils full of mucus from his numerous tears. He hurts in places he shouldn't hurt. His eyes are swollen shut from the punches and the tears. But it doesn't matter - it's so dark in his tiny hole that he wouldn't have been able to see anything anyway.

Several hours later, the door opens again to a tall figure. He starts to cry for Mama again...

And that's where you wake up... to hear your child, safe in his room, crying out for Mum to get him a bottle.

How do you feel? Are you crying? What would you do if this really happened to your child? How would you cope? How would he or she cope?

Yes, it was just a dream... at least it is for you.

While in Cambodia 3 years ago, I had the privilege of meeting 5 young girls aged between 7-14 years old. Each of these young girls had been rescued from the sex slave trade.Snatched, stolen, sold by poor families in order to feed the other 8 children, sold by relatives who didn't care about them as long as their own children were safe.

One particular young girl, the youngest at age 7, caught my attention. She was the most beautiful young girl. Gorgeous long hair, happy shy smile. She was rescued 3 years earlier. That's right. She was 4yrs old when she was rescued. I didn't catch how long she had been a slave but for many of these girls it is from when they were toddlers, even infants.

Yet still, she smiles. We hand her a pretty doll with a special sparkly dress on. Her eye's light up and she spends the rest of the time with us just stroking the pretty dolly's hair and hugging her. She's just 7.

She's now safe. They all are.

No, they will never be innocent again. No, they will probably never fully heal. Yes, they will struggle with memories and the knowledge of what has happened to them for the rest of their lives.

But hey, it's not your child right.

But in case you do care...
Do something about it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Frugal Food Challenge - Day 1 - Spaghetti and Meatballs

Having only decided to create this challenge at about 2pm today, I headed off to the supermarket to get our groceries - you can read about it here.

I must say - I was pretty excited with the grocery bill and I am very enthusiastic to complete this challenge with great recipes made on a low budget.

Tonight I decided to try a meal I have never made before - Spaghetti and Meatballs. After having a quick look in the Edmonds Cookbook I decided that I would base my recipe on this however with several changes.

2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
500g minced meat (I used mince beef but pork or turkey would work as well)
1T oil
2 carrots
400g linguine pasta
700g tomato puree
1 egg
3/4C breadcrumbs
1/2T mixed herbs
salt and pepper

Ok here are the steps....

My ingredients.

Preheat oven to 200* Celsius. In a mixing bowl combine mince, breadcrumbs,  1/2 the onion finely chopped, 1 finely chopped clove of garlic, 1/4C tomato puree, 2 carrots grated. Mix well. 

In separate bowl whisk egg and then add to mince mixture and mix well.


Using a tablespoon, scoop out some mixture and use your hands to form a ball shape. Now you understand why you need to remove your rings! Not pretty if you ignore that step! 
Cover 1 or 2 baking trays with baking paper and place balls on top. Place in the oven for 20 mins or until cooked through.

Take two pots. In a large one, bring approx 1L of water to boil. Once water is boiling, add the pasta.
In smaller pot, add 1T of oil. Once oil is warm, add remaining clove of garlic finely chopped and remaining half of onion, also finely chopped. Cook until clear and slightly golden. Mmm smell the yummyness!

Add to the onion and garlic pot the rest of the tomato puree and 1T mixed herbs. Bring to boil and then simmer for 8-10 mins. 

Take a quick break, find a cute kid and watch them play with the cat while stealing kisses and cuddles...

Back to the kitchen. Place cooked pasta in casserole dish and top with cooked meatballs. 

Cover with your pasta sauce...

Top with some cheese if you have a cheese loving family like mine and place in the oven for 10 mins before switching to grill for another few minutes until cheese is nice and grilled.

Now you can replace your rings - Doesn't my hubby have good style? I love my wedding rings :)

Ohhh doesn't that just make you want to eat right now! I already had a huge bowl and now want some more just looking at it!

Dish up and enjoy! 

Note: If you choose to make this dish - be prepared to eat it all in one night - there will be none left for tomorrows lunch!!

The Frugal Food Challenge

I promised awhile ago (I think it was my first post over 6 months ago!) that I would post on how I manage to feed a family of 3 on $50 or so a week. Well, with times as they are, this week I have set myself a challenge....

THE CHALLENGE: To feed our household of 4 adults and 3 children for $80 for 7 days.


The Money-Saving Mum - Me

The Handsome Husband

The Ticklish Toddler (comes with mouth full of mandarin...)

Our boarders:

The enthusiastic eight year old

The spunky six year old

Their Mum - the camera-shy sweet-heart
Our friend - the also camera-shy chicky-babe

Ok - time to head off to buy the groceries!

Ticklish Toddler and I in the car at Spud Shed - our supermarket of choice for this challenge due to their warehouse style premises and low prices due to absence of fancy fitting etc... 
Find them here.... 

Time to get a trolley... 

The reason I love this place is their insane cheap prices and no-frills policy. I can usually get all my groceries here including toilet paper (although only one brand available), meat, fruit and vege, milk products, frozen food, canned food, bread.... About the only thing I need to go to the 'real' supermarkets for are dish washing liquid, soap, shampoo etc and cat food!

5KG bag of carrots = $1.50

2KG bag of onions = $0.99

2L milk = $1.69 - granted I usually pay much more for it here - $1.79! Gee it's hard.... LOL

Great special this week - Pasta of many kinds = $0.69

Ticklish Toddler with our load - plus a bike and car toy - gotta have the car toy!

So here are our purchases! 

TOTAL: $66.45 !!


So I have $13.55 left in the kitty for extra milk and bread as we need it this week. 


Here are some of the standout buys:

  • Milk 2L - $1.69
  • Pasta - macaroni and linguine - $0.69 each for 500g
  • Cabbage - $0.99 each
  • Tomato Puree 700g - $1.49
  • Mince meat - $6.99kg
  • Carrots 5kg bag - $1.50
  • Bread - white, toast, wholegrain, multi-grain - $0.99/loaf

I will be posting one post per day telling you all how we are coping and giving you a 'recipe of the day'.