Monthly Archives: September 2012

Carnival Party Preparations

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A big thank you must be sent to Cassadiva for alerting her reader’s to this super cute Ferris wheel cupcake holder on sale at Homeart here in Australia.  Amazon also have similar ones here.

I popped out this afternoon and bought one for my sons’ carnival themed birthday party later in the year.  It is going to look so cute on the dessert table.

I had chosen the carnival/circus theme after picking up these great Paper Eskimo invitations, tags and table runner on clearance at Myer.

Everywhere I look these days I am finding gorgeous decorations to suit the theme.  A lot of the variety stores are stocking the Shmick party range that has a huge selection of lovely carnival inspired items.

I also grabbed some circus toys and hats on a trip to Ikea. These will be perfect as prizes or to put into party bags.

I am certainly going to have fun preparing this party for my boys.   It is a bit hard not to go crazy over all the amazing party products that are around these days.

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning the Washing Machine

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It is easy to forget that the machine that cleans for us needs to be cleaned too.  In the past I have endeavoured to clean our washing machine every 4 months or so but since I have become a mother of two, I have been slack.  Really slack.  The machine was yuck. So yuck it spit up lint and dirt all over my white duvet.

I know the duvet looks pink…I took the picture while it was hanging on the line between red sheets.

I can’t tell you how angry I was with myself.  I hate washing, but what I hate even more is re-washing things.

So before I had to rewash my duvet and put on the 3 other massive loads I had waiting, I had to stop and give my washing machine a little TLC.

To clean my machine I gave all the outside surfaces a good wipe over.  I then wiped over the inside surfaces that gather dust and soap reside like the inside of the lid and the lip of the drum.

Very dusty and dirty

I removed the detergent and fabric softener drawers and the lint catcher and gave these all a good scrub.

Don’t miss the grime that is hidden behind your detergent drawers!

Once this was done, I could virtually sit back to leave the machine to take care of its own internal cleaning.

I like to use vinegar and bicarb to clean the soap scum and nasties from my washing machine.  Not only are they a cheap alternative to commercial cleaners, I know they are safe for my family and the environment.

For my top loader, I programed it to run a normal wash and once it was filled with water I added 2 cups of vinegar and ½ cup of bi carb.

For front loaders, Stay at Home Mum suggests  you add 2 tablespoons of bicarb to the detergent drawer  while adding ½ cup of white vinegar to the drum during a normal wash.

I have put a reminder on the calendar to ensure I don’t let this job slip through the cracks. No more re-washing for me!  Ha!  Who am I kidding?

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer

Christmas Planner

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3 months until Christmas!!!!!!

I love the Christmas season.  What I love just as much, is planing  for our Christmas. 

School returning in September marked the start of my Christmas planning.  Each year I would fill dozens of pages with doodles of craft projects, shopping lists, food ideas and promptly lose them, re-draft them, lose them, etcetera, etcetera.   While I had fun daydreaming  and bouncing around with ideas, it mostly ended up being a waste of time.

I contemplated using a planner last year as I followed various bloggers who swore by them,  but pregnancy and a newborn put a stop to that. 

Flash forward to this year and I read Cassadiva’s post on her Christmas planner.  Immediately, organisation and stationery envy was awakened.  Then I saw  Lovely Living’s  free Christmas Planner Printable with the cute owl motif and I was sunk. 

The pages were printed and the planner compiled before I even had time to think about what I was doing.

I love that the whole thing is only A5  size.  It is far from overwhelming and I can easily slip it into my bag when I am out and about over the holiday season.

It has templates for card and gift giving, crafting, baking, menus, traditions and calendars,  just to name a few. Everything to keep me organised!

My hope is that this makes my Christmas  planning more streamlined but keeps the process fun and un-chore like.  I would love to hear  about your experiences of using a Christmas Planner.  Do you find them helpful?

Ticking Off the To- Do List…..& Additives to Avoid Guide

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This weekend gone I was really itching to make some progress around the Crooked Household. 

I  made a huge dint in my spring cleaning of the house and garden and I put in place a few organisation strategies to keep me sane as the holiday season approaches.  I’ll be sharing these with you over the next week.

One little, but important, task I completed was creating a ‘Additives to Avoid’ guide for me to take shopping.

I have been on a bit of a mission in the last little while to strip back our diet and eat more fresh and unprocessed food.  A big step in that plan was the addition of the Thermomix to the household.  I am now making from scratch a lot of the foods I used to buy or avoid buying because of all their preservatives, colours and other nasty additives.

While the process has been relatively easy so far, there are certain foods and various times where store-bought will be the only option.  In these cases, I want to avoid those additive that are known to be harmful, especially for children.

My plan on the weekend was to pool what information I had on undesirable additives into a card to take shopping.  As it turns out, there was no need for a long session at the computer to generate such a document.  I found this fantastic compact shopping guide on  Hopper’s website. 

Not only did I find that, but I now know that Hopper’s sell a huge range of natural food colours and cake decorations.  These are sometimes hard to find.

I fired up my trusty laminating machine and made a few sturdy guides for myself and my family.

I love it when  items on your to-do list virtually tick themselves off!

We are loving….

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We are loving …. Sun2Sea Sun Protection Clothing……

Today has really marked the start of  Spring for me here in Brisbane.  The day was super bright and the temperature quite warm.   Everything about it  just called for you to be out amongst nature and to enjoy the day. 

I decided to take the boys to the local koala sanctuary, Lone Pine.  They have a heap of koalas, obviously, but lots of other Australian fauna such as kangaroos, platypus, crocodiles, wombats, dingoes and parrots. 

The boys love days out  like this but there is always the little whine when it comes to sun protection.   They are good with wearing hats and sunnies but they really dislike putting on sunscreen.  No wonder.  You have to stand still while Mum slathers it on and it makes you all greasy.  That is why I love the sun protection clothing I bought for us. 

It is all 50+ protection rating and can be used in wet or dry conditions.  Perfect for fishing.  In fact you can buy shirts with a fish check on the sleeve to measure your catch.  The shirts all have long sleeves, so less sunscreen application – yeah!

The boys each have a cool camo patterned one which has a slightly thicker weave and is good for winter, and a lighter plain shirt for warm days.

I have my own zip up hoodie version.  It is great just to throw on over skimpier summer clothing when you take the kids to the park.  It saves me trying to cover every bit of exposed skin with sunscreen for a quick 20 minute play at the park.

I try to keep a shirt for each of us in the car so that even in the most impromptu of outings, we can always do the right thing when it comes to sun protection.

Pram Liner – Success!

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I unloaded the pram at the shops the other day and was embarrassed at the amount of crumbs lodged in the seat.  I would have made less mess if I had taken a whole packet of biscuits, smashed it to smithereens  then emptied it into every crevice of the pram.  Children really are messy.  I decided the pram really needed liners. 

I could have bought some but I loved the idea of making my own.  I knew there were a multitude of patterns on the net but I have only basic sewing ability.  The chances were a pattern would call for some skill that I did not possess. 

I decided to create my own pattern, calling on my own skill set.   Luckily, the process was quite easy.  I learnt a thing or two from the first liner and happily the second one was a breeze to make.

Now my pram looks nice, bright and clean and I have the satisfaction of saying, “I did that!”

Storing Children’s Books

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I had set up a little reading station for Master O’s in our front room.  You can read about it here.

Our Reading Station

It was well-loved and used – probably too much.  You see, very rarely were the books neatly packed in the bookcase like you see in the picture.  As my son is only 3, he lacks the dexterity to put the books as they are meant to go.  Some go back as they are meant to, others are shoved back every which way, waiting for the opportunity to come toppling out.  So when we decided to do a shuffle of furniture this weekend, I took the opportunity to address this situation.

We decided to remove this small bookcase and replace it with some Ikea Expedit units to give us some more storage.  Initially I was just going to use some of  the shelves in these units  just like a bookcase but as I started to put the books in place I cringed, thinking of the mess they would be in by day’s end.

Taking a break and brainstorming ideas over a coffee, I recalled how my library stores kids’ books.  They have them in partitioned wooden boxes on legs, similar to this one I found on the net.

Super cute, right?  Practical too.  A kid could easily flip through the books and replace them when they were finished.

While I loved this idea and wanted it, I instead had an Ikea Expedit unit.  Adapting the idea, I took some of the Lekman boxes we had purchased to go in the Expedit unit.  I sorted through our books and broke them into categories and stood them up in the boxes.  I made sure that I didn’t overfill the boxes so there was plenty of room to flip through the books.

Easy Flipping

Seasonal Books

All done!

I also used this idea in Master O’s room.

Toy Storage

Reading seat to go here

I had moved these Trofast units filled with his toys into his bedroom a little while ago.  His little brother had been raiding, sucking on and trying to swallow his toys when these units sat in the playroom.  I had been wanting to make the middle section into a seat with a chair pad and cushions.  I had pictured him reading here and had used the sections below it as bookcases for his favourite bedtime books.  They too got messy.  Pulling out the Trofast boxes I had in storage, I packed the books away neatly with the hope that my kids’ bookcase cleaning days were over.

Master O’s favourite books in easy reach

I’m giving this system a few weeks trial to see if it works.  I will let you know how it goes.  In the mean time, I  would love to hear how you store your kid’s books.

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer