Friday, March 30, 2012

grace is nine!

our gorgeous niece grace turned nine today - and when i asked her earlier this week what she wanted, she said "smiggle!" so smiggle it was. such a lucky girl... she and all the fam are off to mary poppins on stage at burswood tonight. i am so jealous!!
she is such a gorgeous girl and we are so blessed to have her in our lives. happy birthday miss grace!!

the girls getting ready to go - no dressup session is complete without a few ridiculously posed photos. :)

ellie drops in

i haven't seen ellie in years - not since she was about 9 years old... and now all of a sudden she's 21 years old and just flying on across the country to a friends wedding in perth this weekend. it was so so fun to catch up and have a chat - our parents are friends and we used to go and stay with them on the school holidays and hang out. it seems like it was just yesterday - and she kept saying what a spin out it was to her that i "suddenly" have a baby - when according to her i haven't changed one bit. i just hope that's a good thing. it's been way too long!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

lisa's having a baby!

my beautiful friend lisa is having a baby! she is due june 14 and i was lucky enough to be able to throw her a baby shower yesterday with our friend dannielle. lisa is from america and she is an identical twin - to the lovely michelle, who was here for two weeks doing a final prac for her college degree, so we took advantage of it for the party. i mean - what's a party without the twin?!

we had so much fun planning and preparing - and decorating... i could not have done it alone though, dannii was an absolute gem, baking a whole pile of gorgeous stuff, including baby cookie shapes (onesies, bibs and bottles), organising some of the games and just generally being a huge help!
it was such a lovely day - and i am grateful for lovely friends and the opportunity to do something like this. i really felt at home again organising it all - i mean in all honesty, that's what being a funeral director is after all - a party planner on a huge scale. i loved every minute of it and i can't imagine anything i'd love more either! maybe that is what i should do with my life one day... event styling! now there's a thought... it would be incredible and could be so so much fun!

i went to a baby shower just a few weeks ago for a girl i work with and she had this incredible fountain filled with juice that i just fell in love with - i was all set to go and rent one, and then found out it was a reasonable priced one from a local store - and that my friends mum actually owns one and was quite happy to loan it to me, so we had a fountain of pink lemonade on the table, which was so cute, i loved watching it.

plus... what's a party without goodie bags! little cookies stamped with a thanku logo, dannii's iced cookies, a pink and white wafer stick and pink swirl marshmallows.
i am so blessed with wonderful friends (and a fabulous husband - who watched miss maddie for the entire day so we could do everything without entertaining a baby as well...) and i can't think of a better way to have spent a saturday. i love you girls!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

wee jennie wren

every now and then you come along a fabulous page on facebook - with funky stuff, that's actually worth buying. i have finally found one at wee jennie wren. mum and i bought some of the above birdies - and i got some of these earrings... and the best bit? she's here in perth - so i haven't even had to pay for delivery! unfortunately they are relocating soon to the eastern states, but i am pretty sure that won't stop me! make sure you check out her page - it's well worth the look. :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

end of an era

this wonderful man was my boss for the 6 and a bit years that i worked with chippers before maddie arrived, but as of this friday just gone - he isn't anymore. it truly is the end of an era, kind of like i opened the floodgates when i packed up and left, there's only one of the original crew left. he's off to greener pastures, working as an office supplies rep. i don't think it'll ever be the same without him

r.i.p. mark. you'll be sadly missed

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

photo shoot

our beautiful friend kai took some pictures of maddie on sunday at church - she did such a beautiful job and i just wanted to share a few of my favourites. she's such a little doll and we love her so much. 

thanks kai! we love them!

hot day backyard fun

monday this week was so hideously hot that maddie and i hid out inside like two little recluses. i let her crawl around on the lounge room floor while i was doing the ironing and 10 minutes later found her here in the corner standing up looking pleased as punch, hanging on to anything she could get her hands on - clever girl!

when daddy came home though, he finished blowing up the play pool we got madeline for christmas and then filled it up for her to have a splash. she splashed away, flinging water all over the place, having a great old time until she started to get wrinkly fingers and toes. best investment we've made in a while, she absolutely loved it!!

then she had a turn in the swing, it's been passed down from her kalgoorlie cousins and as you can see, she's a little bit in love with it. she giggled away as she swang back and forth and no one could wipe that toothy grin off her face. Simple things are clearly the best according to maddie!

eight months!

oh my baby girl. not such a baby anymore. eight months (on sunday) have gone by since she joined us and made our little family complete. she is such a joy and makes us laugh so much. so inquisitive and now into everything. babbles away to herself all the time, but whenever we give the phone so she talk to her grandparents in qld, she would much rather eat it than talk :( crawls around like a crazy and now stands up! she is determined, thats for sure. on friday night we were driving home and clear as anything we hear the word "dad" from the back seat. hasn't said it before or since, so we have no idea if it was actually dad or just a noise, but we were thrilled to hear it. we had our clinic appointment yesterday and she weighs 7.5kgs. perfect size! we love every gram of her!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

blue birthday cake

this - is elder semu. he's on his mission here in perth right now and i would be lying if i said that he wasn't one of mine and doug's (and maddie's of course!) favourite missionaries. as most of you people reading my blog should know by know, we are members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. most commonly known to most people as mormons. if you don't know about us and want to know more then ask me! or click here and we'll organise for someone like him to come and tell you more. promise.
anyway - back to elder semu. today was his birthday and he and some of the other missionaries in our area came to have dinner with us and i made him a cake. an awesome cake. something i hadn't actually tried before - and i was rather proud of myself when it actually worked.

i found the cake here - via pinterest (michelle if you're still reading my blog i know you'll want to try it so the link is for you!!) and decided to give it a go. only i opened the link and discovered that as per usual the entire thing was written for someone living in the good ol' us of a. so i googled - and googled and then googled some more. until finally i had worked out the entire thing and had it in the oven.

so - for you all - here it is!
(with my aussie variations so you can all go and make one!!)

blue velvet cake

1 and 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
(equal to a cup measure with 2 tablespoons of cornflour, filled to the top with plain flour then the same with a quarter cup only 2 teaspoons corn flour then fill with plain flour)
1 and 1/4 cups ultra-fine sugar
(caster sugar)
11 egg whites, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 oz. blue food colouring
(1 x 50ml bottle of blue "queen" brand colouring)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh not frozen
(i only used 1 cup - i bought a 250g punnet and that was 1 cup - i am actually thinking i'll leave them out altogether next time, not because it wasn't good - but because they are hard to find in australia and when you do they are freaking expensive!! - the cake actually had a blueberry syrup as well - which i kicked out altogether - it was becoming far too expensive for me with all these blueberries!)

preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. (190 deg celcius - 170 for a fan-forced oven!) in a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flour, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cocoa powder. in a large bowl, beat together the egg whites, vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt until they begin to hold soft peaks. (warning! this will froth up and take ages to get soft peaks!!) then beat in the remaining 3/4 cups sugar and the blue food coloring until the mixture begins to hold stiff peaks, about 4 minutes or so. (again - a long time. be patient!)

slowly fold in 1/4 cup of the flour mixture at a time. use a spatula and take care not to stir the mixture, just keep folding until all of the flour mixture is incorporated. pour one cup of blueberries into the batter and fold them in as well. pour the batter into two well-greased 9-inch cake pans and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. (yes - 30 minutes - perfect!)
while the cake is baking, make the cream cheese frosting recipe below. once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. shake the pan a little bit to loosen the grip of the cake, then place a plate on top of the pan and, wearing oven mitts, flip it over so that the pan is on the top and the plate is on the bottom. gently remove the pan and place the plated cake layer in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. repeat this process with the second cake pan as well.

once the cake layers and the frosting have finished cooling, place the bottom cake layer onto the display surface, (i.e. a cake stand or pretty plate that you will serve it off of), and begin evenly frosting the top of the bottom cake layer. then, center the second cake layer on top of the bottom cake layer so that they line up perfectly. now frost the sides and top of the cake so that the entire cake surface is frosted and no cake surface is visible through the frosting. place 1/4 cup of the frosting in the center-top of the cake in a dollop. (this must be why i had leftover frosting!!) take the remaining 1/2 cup of blueberries and arrange them on top of the dollop in the center of the cake. serve at room temperature. (after taking crazy amounts of photos!)
cream cheese frosting
10 tb butter, softened
(150g butter)
16 oz cream cheese
(450g cream cheese)
3 cups powdered sugar
(3 cups icing sugar)
4 teaspoon vanilla extract

mix the cream cheese, vanilla and butter together until they are completely combined. add the powdered sugar and mix until blended. refrigerate for 15 minutes to help solidify the texture before icing cake.

final comments? well - it was the first in-depth cake i've ever made and i have to say it went quite well. the blueness was a tad frightening, but fun to cut into and show off - so i am pretty sure i would give it another go - maybe in different colours even once the blueberries are gone? who knows? stay tuned. x

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

first date preserved

many years ago - there was a first date. i had moved into doug's ward in brisbane and he had spied me and decided i was worth pursuing. (i wonder if he regrets that decision all these years later hahaha) so he asked me to the stake ysa ball. i being rather uncertain of the male species (after having my heart torn out and stomped on by a certain individual that will remain nameless) said, "sure but you'll have to ask my brothers permission." which he promptly did. ugh. having no other excuses after aaron's response of "i don't care, what are you asking me for? ask her!" i agreed and off we went. he arrived promptly looking very nicely dressed and handed me a rose. polite much? i was thrilled. there's nothing like good manners in a potential suitor. 

that night we kissed for the first time and have been pretty much inseparable since. i have always kept the rose for some reason, and even managed to sneak it back into wa through quarantine (shhh - i don't want them to come and take it!!) so today i made the above masterpiece. a few years back i found this gorgeous inch thick shadow frame in the vinnies near our house and knew i could make something fabulous with it, i just hadn't decided yet what it was. so after peeling open the top, sliding in a piece of cute scrapbooking paper (courtesy of my lovely friend dom - who you can get to know here) with double sided tape on the back to press it down and hold it tight - and the rose hotglued in two spots to the front - i hotglued all the openings at the back closed and voila!! a masterpiece for my children! i'm pretty proud. all at a cost of $3 for the frame. paper was a freebie, glue i already had.

and time and all eternity? priceless.

bulk rubbish collection

bulk rubbish collection, oh how i love thee! much to doug's disgust, i spied this little beauty on the side of the road last night on our way home... watch this space, because ladies and gentlemen, i see potential. this gorgeous little seat will be having a makeover and i see white paint and a gorgeous cushion in it's near future for miss madeline's little bedroom.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

bonds baby search

aunty niques has entered madeline in the 2012 bonds baby search, and has gone all crazy pageant mom on us and wants her to win so badly that she would probably give her first born in return for the prize (which i must say isn't half as exciting as i thought it would be, other than the fact that she'll be in the bonds catalogue - but that in itself is pretty darn cool!! i always thought there would be cash involved, but it's clothes - a photoshoot and a trip to melbourne - also good!)

so please help us - vote vote vote, and if you have more than one email address, then vote more than once!! i am scared of what she'll do if we don't win, plus it's fun and above all - she is pretty freaking adorable. you know she is.

so head here - as fast as your internet connection will take you - vote for miss madeline, and don't forget to share the link on facebook. thanks! x