Thursday, July 31, 2014

sister kendall

dominique and i have a joint pinterest board - called sister kendall, which is mostly inspiration for mission clothing. the description for the board says, "i refuse to look like an idiot..." and she is doing well to ensure she doesn't. seeing as her papers will be going in soon... today she had a trial run of packing, ensuring that everything she packed could be worn with multiple other items... so it was a fashion show in my bedroom.

she has certainly done well though... with the cheapest sister missionary wardrobe the world has ever seen... between random things she has, hand me downs, things from my closet (mostly also from the opshop and hand me downs) and opshop finds
from top left...
1. cardigan a hand me down from a past sister missionary to me, dress from the local op-shop
2. dress and cardi from the op-shop
3. cheap $3 cardigan from supre, op-shop dress (worn as a shirt) and restyled skirt (bit of running in on the sewing machine, really not bad for a first attempt)
4. dress from 3, cardi from 2
5. dress from 1, worn as a skirt, shirt $10 from valleygirl, hand me down scarf from a friend of mine
6. cardi from 1, shirt from 5, $10 maxi skirt from dotti at harbourtown

i can't wait to see what else she comes up with... but there'll be 18 months worth of opportunities! 

sister kendall here she comes!

Monday, July 28, 2014

big girl room...

we picked this up today! well, not this exact mattress - but a custom made version of the sealy posture premier "kirra"  for miss madeline's big girl bed, that she'll be going into sometime really soon! 

madeline will be having the bed i had when i was a child, that is an odd size (we found out recently that it's king single width, but double length...) so we had to have a new mattress made just to fit, as the one i had is about to give up the ghost. my mums brother used to work for the sealy factory in belmont and spoke to someone to have one organised, i paid for it over the phone and it was ready four days later. four. days. i could not believe how quickly they were done! doug and a friend of ours collected it and it is perfectly made, sized to our measurement and was such a reasonable price! i expected it to cost so much more, but it was great. i am thrilled.

i can not recommend them enough - if you need a new mattress, get a sealy!

Friday, July 25, 2014

being an eight cow woman

tonight at our relief society additional meeting, our presidency had based our activity around the movie johnny lingo. it was such an awesome night and we were privileged to be able to listen to sisters with experience speak on the topics listed above. grazy talk was one of my favourites - explaining the need of conversation between you and your husband, not about work and not about the kids. about you and him and your future together. mad cow was also good, a reminder to take time out from the daily pressures of life in general and to get some "me" time to not go crazy. another thing i certainly needed to hear. 

the final sister that spoke "udderly fantabulous" was incredible, she had so much life experience and suggestions on how to stay grounded, stand for something strong and to make a difference in your own life and the lives of others. it was a great night!

spoiler alert...

i have had a life long obsession with the lds short film johnny lingo, produced all the way back in 1969. as a youth, i grew up in a very small branch, 100kms north east of perth, western australia, in a town called northam. it was a frequent occurence that our youth sunday school class would be without a teacher, due to lack of numbers in the branch to fill every position and my dear older brother isaac took it upon himself to ensure that we had something to do, and were quiet enough to ensure no one noticed.

following sacrament meeting each week he would race to the library and grab the small tv (a dual setup with a vcr attached) and usher the lot of us into our classroom where week after week after week, we would watch the movie johnny lingo. until we all knew it by heart. there was on average 6 of us - give or take, but being that a few of us remain close friends, when we see each other these days, one of us only has to mention "mahana you ugly", or utter any other line from the many available and the lot of us can keep each other entertained, in stitches for hours.

johnny lingo tells the story of a young woman believing herself to be worthless and unattractive because she is told only as much. she lives with her father in the polynesian islands and spends her days working and such, until the day that johnny lingo arrives to meet with her father and bargain for her hand in marriage. the bargaining takes place in front of the village and the family are given cows as a reward for their daughter. 

the women of the village are seen boasting to each other prior, of the price their husbands paid for them - but when the bargaining begins, mahana is nowhere to be found. she assumes that johnny will not want her, or not want to pay much for her, as she is worth nothing in her own sight.

johnny, however shocks the pants off the entire village by offering her father eight cows for her hand, an amount that is completely ludicrous and unheard of. he then returns to pay the price and mahana and he are married.

due to his huge offer for mahanas hand and constant show of her worth in the future, she begins to see herself in a different light and blossoms to become a true beauty. it is well worth the watch and you can watch it here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

5 months old!

i cannot even begin to tell you how delicious this baby is. joseph is five months old today and what a heartbreaker he is. i mean seriously, look at those huge bright blue eyes and dimples. i cannot get enough of them. he sleeps all night without a drama, smiles non stop and just loves to be loved. 

when he is upset, he is already making a mummmmmmm mummmmmm noise, which i love! especially seeing as madeline's first word was dad. (my turn!) he loves to laugh and when you give him big kisses he giggles away and makes his big throaty gurgly noises at you.

we started him on solids this month and he's currently having a teaspoon of rice cereal mixed with cooled boiled water. some days he seems to like it, others not so much. we'll see how that goes. being that he's a bit of a tank, i am sure he will learn to love his food... he may be the spitting image of me, but he definitely has the polynesian genes when it comes to size and food (judging on his milk intake!)

joseph is now wearing the same size clothes madeline was wearing when she turned one. i know that for sure, as friends gave her an all blacks onesie as a birthday gift and joseph is now rocking it like no ones business. i am dreading how tall this kid is going to be (and yes, how much he is going to eat as a teenager). 

we love him so much and are so glad he is here in our little family! ♥

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


i did it! I finally made ratatouille! after all these years of eating my mums, i had to make it myself, cause she's not here to do it for me. :(

ratatouille jade style

2 brown onions
1 heaped tsp crushed garlic
tin diced tomatoes
1 medium gold sweet potato
4 medium sized potatoes 
3 capsicums (i used red, green & yellow)
1 zucchini
vegetable oil
1 tablespoon rosemary paste

preheat oven to 200 deg celcius, cut potatoes, sweet potato, capsicum and zucchini into 1cm thick slices, pour in some vegetable oil and roll in oil and rosemary. bake for about an hour until vegetables are soft and capsicum starts to blacken on edges. turn vegetables after half an hour. 

in a frypan, cook sliced onions and garlic until softened and then add tinned tomatoes and roasted vegetables.

serve over brown rice. 

mum always made this when i was younger, much to my brothers disgust... they would always tease mum and look for the meat. haha. i am sure it would taste amazing with chicken strips or beef stirred through... but as i always learnt from my mum, recipes are whatever you want to make them... imagination is the key, and this dish was certainly no exception. it's often had eggplant in it in our house and other vegetables that happened to be in the fridge. but yummm. i will definitely be making it again! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

hymn hit parade

today in sacrament meeting a gentlemen in our ward gave an amazing talk, speaking of his his love for the hymns of our church and how they had affected his own life and the lives of his family. he came from a home with a father who wasn't overly religious, yet found peace and strength through the beauty of music and hymns.

he spoke of his family rising early on a sunday morning to listen to the wireless (a radio! not the internet for those who came in late - or were born late...) to listen to two radio shows for children (the equivalent of saturday or agro's cartoon connection for any australian's of a similar age to me) follow by the hit parade of all the current top songs.

he then told of his top 4 hymns on his hit parade. such a good way to put it and keep everyone listening... which instantly got me to thinking what the top songs on my hymn hit parade would be.

1. i am a child of god (hymn 301)
i have loved this song since i was a young child... having learnt it at an early age in primary, then singing it each night with my eldest brother as a bedtime ritual, then even singing it at my own baptism. it is a beautiful song, speaking of the purpose of life in such a simple way that even small children can understand and love. madeline has also learnt it and could sing the entire song when she was just two, and insists on singing it with us over and over. it makes me so happy when my primary children ask to sing it with me.

2. lord i would follow thee (hymn 220)
this is such a beautiful hymn. such a beautiful and simple message of how to follow our lord and love our fellow man. the tune brings me such peace and i love to sing the words and feel the sweet spirit held within. 

3. come thou fount
published in previous versions of the lds hymnbook, but not included in the current, this old and beautiful hymn contains such sweet and perfect lyrics. i love the melody contained in this hymn and felt such emotion hearing it sung by the ward choir, which i led, last year - which contained an acapella piece in the middle leading into a verse. it is amazing what a hymn can become when those singing and listening are filled with the spirit.

4. because i have been given much (hymn 219)
the lyrics of this hymn always remind me of the words my dear grandfather joseph would speak when praying a blessing on our food. he would always pray "that others would be given the necessities that we ourselves enjoy." i know that from sharing our blessings, we are able to find greater joy in them. this hymn is my father in laws favourite and over the years i have also thought of him and his kindness to me. a girlfriend from church said to me years ago that she would feed the missionaries from our church on a regular basis as she had been told "if you feed others, you will never be hungry." i try to remember that also... not many weeks passed in my child and even young adult years that my mum would not be giving some food to a friend or someone in need. she has forever been a shining example to me of love, of giving and of service. just as the lyrics of this hymn say: "because i have been given much, i too must give."

there are so many beautiful hymns in our church (and other religions too i know...) but i honestly believe there is no other way to be closer to the lord, other than prayer, than through music. my grandmother was blessed with a gift of song and a love for music, which was passed on to me. there is nothing i love more than the music of the gospel and to share it with others has been and still is one of my greatest joys.

Friday, July 11, 2014

madeline is three

this crazy little girl turned three today and i have no idea where the time went. it seems like only yesterday i was holding that little dot (top right) in my arms, wondering how on earth my life was about to change. luckily we never know what the future holds, as i am sure no one would sign up for it... haha. but miss madeline beth has brought immeasurable joy to our lives.

madeline loves birthdays and i am sure she has enjoyed dragging this one out. she loves to sing happy birthday over and over, anytime of the year, to anyone who will listen and has relished in having it sung to her. she waited excitedly for daddy to come home from work so she could open her gifts and quickly got to work when she got the go ahead.

her favourite by far was the frozen barbie dolls that doug and i brought for her. she had a look of pure joy, along with a huge gasp when she opened them. ohhhhh frozen! mum dad! look! it's elsa and anna! winner. we also gave her some slippers, a peppa pillow, little library and figurines (cannot go wrong with this child and peppa pig)... a ribbon stick (amazingly good choice, as just this past week, she's watched a hi-5 dvd with a ribbon stick and loved it so much that she kept talking about it.) an elsa dress up costume, her own torch (yes dad, we are starting her young) and a few other little things. she was so thrilled with every little thing. what a lovely sight.

she quickly donned the costume and her crown, and a pair of silver shoes (clearly the closest we had to ice in her wardrobe) from her party saturday and went for a queenly walk around the backyard, dodging the mum-arazzi. so cute. looooook mum, i'm el-sa! yes, you are indeed.

some maddie trivia for you on her birthday seems appropriate:
favourite food: peanut butter sandwiches, polony, rice bubbles and strawberries
favourite song: i am a child of god
favourite movie: frozen and tangled
favourite tv show: peppa pig (and possibly hi-5 now too)
favourite colour: pink
favourite game: tumbling monkeys (a birthday gift)
favourite clothing: her pink tutu skirt
favourite toy: duplo blocks and her little people disney princesses
favourite animal: lion
favourite thing to do: playdough, picnics and pretend running races in the house

she is so fiercely independent and loves to do everything on her own "i do it!! i do it!!" but also loves to cuddle with us and be loved. and we love to love her.

our little princess madeline. she's everything we ever dreamed she would be, and we love her to pieces.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

toilet training

well. i think she's done! actually no. she's almost done...

***disclaimer, some oversharing will follow - if you're a parent or a really good friend of ours, feel free to keep reading, if not, you might want to stop. now. ***

don't say you weren't warned...

miss madeline is finally weeing and pooing on the toilet. i've used the way that most people i know have, stay home for a week or so, give them undies and keep putting them on the toilet. accidents will happen, but they start to learn and start to tell you (or answer when you ask) that they need to go and making their way to the toilet or asking for your help to do so. or, in early days here, sobbing that they need a nappy, which was of course a dead giveaway...

we have of course had some accidents, and even a few in the last few days, but she is using the toilet. i tried and tried and tried just before joseph was born, and then again just after, but she just wasn't ready. but a few weeks ago, i decided that she needed to be using the toilet by the time she turned three so i tried yet again - and this time it worked! she weed on the toilet without too much persuasion and drama, but poos just weren't happening, like last time, she would wait until she had her night nappy on. there was something about pooing on the toilet that just really didn't sit well with her, no matter how hard we tried.

however as the few weeks went by, one day she came to me and told me that she had pooed in her undies, so i took her into the toilet, and let it drop into the toilet while she sat there... then cleaned her up and gave her some new undies... she raced back outside to finish her game, then i heard her come back inside, climb up on her step and then yell, "mum i did a poo in the toilet!" finally! she was pleased to do it again a few times and show off, so maybe we have finally gotten it. especially when i heard her teeny feet run into the bathroom the other morning and then a little tinkle, and then caught her on the toilet pooing the next afternoon, both without encouragement.

a few things i have learnt...
the best way for kids to learn is by having an accident, or two or twelve.
bribery works. everytime. don't be afraid to offer rewards.
let your kid pick their own undies at the store, so they are excited to wear them.
let them call someone special in their life as a reward (and to show off) when they do either poo or wee on the toilet for the first time (this really worked for us, madeline loves the phone and loved to show off, plus, with both sets of grandparents being far away, they loved being involved!)
not every child will use the potty or a training seat - ours only wanted to sit on the big seat and hold the sides and would not have it another other way.
night training comes later... let them wear a nappy to bed and just bask in daytime training being done
if you're not at home, ask and remind your child constantly if they need to use the toilet, outside of their own space, somewhere they don't see the toilet every few minutes, they can easily forget.
have a step in front of the toilet and another in front of the basin. makes hand washing easier and more likely to happen without a constant reminder.
and most importantly...
if they are not ready - do not push it. maddie is so smart and knew exactly what was going on, but just was not ready to be toilet trained, and i honestly think by trying to force her, i delayed it by another few months. lesson learnt.

so... we are almost there. mostly dry days accomplished. now onto nights. please if you have any trade secrets, let me know!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

i'm just a mother

being the primary music leader i don't often get to go to relief society at all, but today i obviously arrived at the perfect time, and got so much out of the lesson! the lesson was about the blessings of motherhood and sometimes it's something we need to hear. 

the sister giving the lesson read from a book called "i am a mother" by jane clayson johnson (which you can buy here... but she so kindly loaned to me to read.) johnson tells of how she had a promising career in television and was watched by millions each day in her job as an anchor on a major network, but gave it up after following a prompting to do so, to be a mother. she met many "you must be crazy's" and even a little ridicule from co-workers, who assured her she would never again be given the opportunity she had. but it didn't matter, motherhood is an opportunity not given to all, which also must be taken when you have the chance.

she attended a function with her husband on one occasion and was asked, along with the other couples attending to introduce herself. she recalls listening as each woman got up beside their husband, and offered a little about themselves, most saying almost apologetically, "oh, i'm just a mother" "my life isn't very exciting right now, i'm just raising our children" or something of the likes. even before the excerpt from the book was finished i already knew what was wrong. there is no such thing as just a mother.

i have been guilty of that myself, when asked, i often tell people i am on maternity leave from my position in the funeral home where i have worked for almost the last ten years and i am trying to decide if i will return to work. or i simply say, i am a funeral director. never, "i am a mother." there's certainly no shame in being a mother and i know that, but it seems to be the way of the world to not want to be "just" that. i right then and there made a mental note to tell the next person who asked, "i am a mother."

there have been many times when i have asked young children what they want to be when they grow up. most tell of something outrageous... i think last time i asked my daughter madeline, she wanted to be a princess, the time before, an ice dancer, (we had just been to disney on ice, mind you) and the time before that a doctor (i am fairly certain we were playing with a doctors kit that day.) but every time i have asked my niece grace (by name and nature...) she has always answered that she wants to be a mother. even before i had children, i knew this was the most beautiful answer. i remember the day her father laid his hands upon her head to give her a blessing and told her she would one day be a mother. it was such a simple, but beautiful promise for her.

not all women are mothers directly to children they have grown in their womb or given birth to. we know of the blessings of adoption, of fostering... and for those not blessed with children, of being an example to nieces and nephews, young cousins and the children of other family members and close friends. it has often been said that "it takes a village to raise a child" and i must admit, with the love and support shown within the confines of the gospel, i think it often takes a ward to raise a child.  

being blessed with two children of my own, i have never felt the pain of not being blessed with children, that i know is only too real for so many women. i admire those who have not been blessed with children that do not allow it to consume them. that do not allow it to make them bitter, as i do not know if i could be so strong. i am thankful for those who have that to bear, yet show kindness and love to the children of others amongst that pain. 

i know some days i find myself muttering under my breath when my children are being difficult. some days i even find myself wishing they weren't there, only to feel terribly guilty two minutes later because i can't even imagine life without them. but being a mum isn't always easy. sometimes it's horrid. no one tells you about how hard it will be. it's not always smiles and laughter and pretty clothes. sometimes it's being awake all night, cleaning up after sickness, hearing your name being called 5000000000000 times (i don't even know if that's enough zeros) in one day, tantrums, mess, jealousy and many other things. but like any mother, i'll take them all, for even 5 minutes of my babies in my lap sleeping, laughing or just being with me.

i am a mother. it's hard. but it's worth it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

maddie's princess party

madeline's long awaited princess party was today! (i know i share the sentiments of every mother that has ever thrown a party for their child when i say thank goodness it's over... haha) we had an awesome, drama free, fun day and i am so glad to those who came to celebrate with us and those who helped make it a success.

 i decided quite some time ago to run with a pink and gold theme after spying this amazing dress on pre-sale at tutu irresistible boutique via facebook. a friend had tagged me in the picture saying it was something she could see madeline in. well, she was right. we snapped it up and started planning away. 

dominique took miss madeline across the road to the oval to take some pictures before we got started and got some gorgeous shots. i swear i need to make some money off my kids and put them in for child modelling, it's like they were born to be in front of the camera... (when they want to be of course.)

(shoes from cotton on kids - gold glitter no longer available,
but same minus glitter here
necklace from cotton on kids
glitter clip from a random facebook handmade store - similar here
and her amazing leather crown from hubble and duke here in perth!!)

we had everything all set up and ready to go when they came back... and madeline was absolutely thrilled. she came running through the front door, straight out the back to inspect everything. when she was done, back inside she came, stopping in front of the table - clasping her hands together and twirling on the spot before blurting out "thank you for making my party!!" what a sweetheart. she was so happy, which of course, made everything all worth it.

(table, chairs and covers hired from party promises)

finished goodie bags - you can see contents in details here

the food was all, good, tasty and kids party worthy
chocolate crackles, caramel popcorn, corn fritters, brownie recipes (as pictured) can be found by clicking on each word. iced cookies by my amazing best friend and savoury muffins by her mama.

maddie is no exception to the rule of children loving to open presents. she was given some lovely gifts by her little friends (and her big friends aka my friends) and it was so nice to see her not only excited and so grateful to receive them. i have to admit my favourite was the dumbo onesie from peter alexander and matching mother daughter scarves from my friend hayley. thats probably because part of the gift was for me as well... well played.

the crown making kits were a big hit and the girls got stuck into them, making them quickly... loving having their own crown to wear. little girls are so lovely - it was adorable to see the looks of utter concentration on their faces as they put them together.

joseph chilled with daddy while i ran around with the girls. he was so well behaved and barely even grizzled as we passed him from person to person. what a trooper. 

we of course had to have the token kids party games, including my version of pin the tail on the donkey "pin the crown on the princess" easiest way to do it outdoors... i had my arty sister in law draw a  simple princess on the brick wall in chalk, then gave each of the girls a cardboard crown (cut out of gold card) with blu tack on the back... blindfold, spin spin spin... and stick it on the wall. 

super fun and super easy - and to get it off the wall,
just spray it with the hose.

miss madeline, a bit unsure, but eager to taker her turn.

the after shot - and yes someone did manage to get the crown exactly on the princesses head. i am so convinced she could see haha, but you don't really accuse kids of that unless it's your own!

we also played pass the parcel, which was the slowest game of. all. time. i am desperately hoping that as kids get older and understand a bit more that they start to pass it a little faster!! i am keeping in mind that they are all between 3-5 right now.

finally it was time for cake - and for me to tell you all about this amazing cake. my best friend jen and her husband arrived about 10:30am and started to assemble this masterpiece with every single cake decorating accessory you have ever seen in your life. it was incredible to watch. i am so very grateful to have had a cake supplied each year for madeline's birthday and think that she is so very very clever. what a lucky girl i am, to have such a great (and generous) best friend.

madeline loved the castle cake and kept dragging everyone to look at it. she was so proud... "come and look at my cake! my cake! it's a castle. like the princesses has." haha. i am glad she liked it so much (and she would want to after that much effort!)

everyone's favourite part of a birthday, blowing out the candles and cutting the cake up - although the top layer was more than enough for all the guests - so the bottom part is now sectioned in our freezer and we shall be enjoying it greatly in the months to come. 

she was a little rockstar, posing happily for photos and smiling her big happy grin at the camera. what a sweet little girl.

me - very happy at the end of the day... and the verdict? the princess party was a raging success, all went perfectly according to plan, the birthday girl was thrilled, the guests had a good time - and now we wait - to do it all again in a years time. so... it's back to the drawing board.

good night! x

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

party prep

today i got to work prepping things for miss madeline's princess party this saturday. twelve little girls have been invited, so i am a little nervous that i won't be able to keep them entertained and that they'll run riot, for this reason i am trying to be ultra prepared and have everything sorted wayyyyyy ahead of time.

 the pass the parcel has already been wrapped, with some fabulous prizes (for the inbetween layers and the middle!) care of my beautiful friend keryn from bella blooms who also made the custom hairclips for the goodie bags. you can see some more of her goodies here!

i decided upon visiting spotlight last week and seeing their amazing gold glitter paper that the little ladies needed a placecard each at their table, so i then spent the next hour tracing off my laptop screen onto baking paper to get the letters i wanted (you then press the other side of the baking paper with the pencil to transfer your (back to front letter) on to the back of the paper you're cutting from.) super easy and the letters looked awesome! even cooler once they were stuck down on the pink card. (side note, the font if you are wondering is cooper std black at size 150)

i am so in love with this glitter paper, i just want to use it for everything!

placecards all ready to go

i also had to prep the "crown making kits". i am always so proud of myself when i manage to think of a good idea myself and haven't stolen it from pinterest... so this one i am showcasing for sure. i had this idea to get gold paper crowns (i was totally going to cut them from card, but then we found them precut in a pack of 10 from riot art and craft) winner. they also had the stickers i wanted, so we got some cool felt, shiny, glow in the dark and crystals in different shapes and sizes, then divided them up between the bags. we'll let them decorate and then pop a few staples in the back to secure them.

the only issue was, the crowns weren't gold, so i then had to make them so. a can of spraypaint later - easy done, dried in the garage over night. and they looked much better gold too. good choice. i am really hoping that making a crown keeps the kids entertained for more than 5 minutes.

pale pink goodie bags from the discount store at the local shopping centre... with a gold sparkly crown i bought from an etsy store here in the u.s. i could not find them anywhere else, but let's be honest - there was no way i was cutting each one of those out and staying sane, so it was worth the postage to get them here.

and the contents, because lets be honest, everyone's favourite part of a party is the goodie bag...
a mini stamper pen (discount store - came in a packet of 10)
stick on earrings and plastic ring (as above, packet of 7)
2 gold balloons (big w - they were nice gold metallic ones)
princess stickers (reject shop, 12 pages to a sticker book)
custom hair clips (bella blooms)
turkish delight (totally matched the pink and gold theme)
metal and crystal ring (best ebay purchase! i bought them here and thought meh, they'll be okay for the goodie bags, but they were such good quality and i was shocked more than i can explain as the pictures made them look so cheap and tacky and they were actually pretty decent quality, $6 including delivery for 20! storing that away for future reference...)