one finished jumper I almost needed to give away

I was so excited to share this little project on the blog yesterday and then my computer decided to stop working and then I got locked out of my blog! Disaster! Thankfully I’m back, still not on my own computer but I’m here.

And I think this might be my favourite knit of the year. But it was a bit touch and go whether it was going to fit…over someone’s head. So I stretched and stretched that neckline until I thought I’d try it on one more time and thankfully got it over the head. We’re not known for having small heads in this family and I thought it would be wide enough. Wrong.

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The pattern is from Lullaby Knits a lovely book for babies and toddlers. The wool is Bendigo Rustic 8 ply in Shoal and it is the most wonderful dark blue because it looks so different in every light. It’s perfect for boys and I used a smidge under one 200g ball.

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The pattern has a few very big cables in there which are easy to do, perfect if you’re wanting to learn to cable. I haven’t blocked this yet as I just finished sewing it up and put it on the model.

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You do need to knit each piece (front, back, sleeves) and then seam it all up. And it can take a while but it really is a lovely little jumper. And we’ll be wearing it lots this winter because there isn’t much room to grow in it so we better make the most of it.

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You can find my project on ravelry here and I definitely recommend this little pattern if you’re knitting for a little one.

what to do while you’re waiting for early intervention and services

One of the things that I do love about my blog is the beautiful emails I receive from lovely people. And one of the big topics is when friends and readers discover their child has special needs. Whether it’s something they were born with and/or something that has just been diagnosed. It’s a shock, a time of confusion and questions and grief and acceptance and also trying to figure out what help is available and how you can access it. Our very first instinct is to get in there and try to do whatever we can to help our children. And one of the biggest shocks is perhaps when you are given the brochure for early intervention and you think great I’m going to call them and then you are told well you’ll go on the waiting list. It was 6 months for us.

Now what I do know is that parents want to start getting therapy now. They might be told of the waiting period and the sad fact is that many families are waiting just to get a diagnosis. So what can you do? Here are a few things that I hope will help you or someone you know.

Find your nearest early intervention playgroup. If you live in Sydney then look up Lifestart and its various playgroups. Wherever you live in Australia you can look up a MyTime playgroup. Your paediatrician or local area health will also know who to put you in touch with.

If your child has a speech delay or perhaps low muscle tone and no other underlying condition then you can go on a waiting list or access services through your local health area. We were able to access hydrotherapy and a physio group for one term and it was wonderful. If you have a formal diagnosis/underlying issue then you won’t be able to access these services but this can be a great service to access especially if you are waiting for a formal diagnosis. Contact your local area health

Go private. Now this is not an option for everyone but what if you went to a speech therapist or physio or OT and got some great goals and activities that you can do at home. We are on a break from physio and OT and working on skills at home, the trampoline, swimming and are grateful that the regular sessions have made an improvement. The early days of speech were really about how I needed to be doing things at home and improving communication. You can claim 5 visits per calender year through your Medicare via a  Chronic Disease Management Plan (formally Enhanced Primary Health Care Plan). Basically you visit a GP and they will write a referral for the therapist and you will pay out of pocket but then take your receipt to medicare rather than your health fund (if you have one).

If you have a formal diagnosis then apply for the Carers Allowance and/or Payment. See if you are eligible for payments through Better Start or Helping Children with Autism Package or perhaps you’re lucky enough to live in a region receiving the NDIS trial.

Discuss with the paediatrician/GP/an existing therapist what the greatest need is and focus on that until you can receive more assistance

If you have a child of preschool age then ask your preschool to apply for Inclusion Support which helps with the cost of an extra staff member to help your child. We have benefited so much from a teacher’s aide at preschool and she came with us into a new room at preschool and we’d be lost without her. Ask around for a good preschool that will be supportive and help you implement the things you are doing at home.

When speech is a big issue then focus on communication with simple signs and/ or pictures (using photos that you have taken/PECS or Boardmaker).

Get down on the floor and get into play. Whether it’s wooden toys or their favourite toys, you might need to go back and teach your child how to play with toys. Things that you might have assumed that they have learnt will need to be expressly taught to them. So get back to basics. Model language for them, how things work, grouping colours together and give plenty of opportunity for them to copy and talk if they want to. I talk non stop so have had to learn to sit back where necessary and also when to get involved and teach. There are loads of great games and activities that can help with fine motor and sensory issues and we love kinetic sand, matching games, colours and toys from Finlee & Me, Educational Experience and Modern Teaching Aids. Also see if you have a special needs toy library near you. And we love m&m’s for teaching colours too. Cheerios are also great to thread onto string as an OT activity.

Talk to other mums….whether you meet them at a special playgroup or in a waiting room find out where they are, who they are seeing, where is a good preschool, what schools they are looking at and you’ll learn something. I’ve learnt so much from other mums.

Just keep pushing on. Whether you’re still trying to get a diagnosis or find the right person to help you just keep going. Keep records of everything, every Dr you’ve seen, assessments and so on. There is someone who can help you or will know what is wrong (you might not necessarily find out the cause) but you do have to keep pushing on and not everyone will agree with you or have the same sense of urgency that you do. And you’re not alone which is why social media can be so wonderful.

Fill up your social media with all the wonderful resources that are available – mums can teach each other so much and are in the same boat or have been there and have a wealth of information. You can join closed groups for your child’s special needs too. A few great pages on Facebook are

MamaOT 

Home Schooling Special Needs Australia

Resources for Special Needs Australia

PrAACtical AAC

PrAACtically Speaking

Future Horizons

NurtureStore – not special needs but lots of great ideas

The Mighty

and search like crazy on Pinterest too – I’ve created a board with a few ideas and things that have caught my eye here

baby bath time memories with JOHNSON’S®

brought to you by JOHNSON’S®

So you’ve probably figured out by now that I love babies. LOVE. It never grows old and the 6th baby is just as special as the 1st. And I’ll do it all over again if I’m lucky enough to. This is my beautiful baby girl when she was freshly bathed and sleeping.

I love to look back over the photos and remember each of my babies and those early days. This is one of my favourite photos when my dad came to the hospital just after my twins were born to photograph their first bath. I think we were definitely still in the ‘I can’t believe we have twins’ stage. Boy did that change once we got home and I definitely knew we had twin babies in the house. And one of the things I remember wondering before they were born was how on earth I was going to bath them. 2 babies and a toddler all needing a bath and just me at home to do it. Even now I wonder how I did it but somehow we got through those early days (well really years) with twins.

When I go through my photos of each of my babies I’ve got the first bath at the hospital for all of them and as our family has grown so has the little crowd around the baby bath. Daddy does the bathing in the hospital because it’s such a special time when he comes in and a chance for him to get to know the baby. That and he has big hands and makes it all look easy. By the way did you know that a wet facewasher over the baby’s tummy is the best way to calm them down if they don’t like a bath?

Bathing a baby is such a special time and so important for their development. It’s also a well known technique to get that little baby off to sleep. And whenever I have a little baby in the house I’ll wait until the big kids are in bed or winding down for the day and then I’ll bath the baby to help get him off to sleep. Plus there is nothing nicer than a freshly washed baby all ready for bed.

Mind you the baby of our family isn’t that little anymore. Can you believe this is the ‘baby’ of the family?

I love to bath him on his own especially when I know he needs to wind down and get ready for bed. It’s our one on one time which is pretty precious in this busy household. Mind you he is trying to stand up in the bath which isn’t too relaxing. For either of us. Bathing a baby is more than just getting clean. It’s all about the senses and helps with their overall development. JOHNSON’S® have just launched ‘So Much More‘ because bath time really is about more than just getting clean and the research backs it up. I’ll bath my little guy, pour the water gently over his head, give him a good clean (don’t forget behind his ears!), let him have a play, talk or sing to him and he’ll be learning at the same time. It’s also a big step when they can learn to splash in the bath. Oh the surprise that they can make this big mess and noise by themselves. An important step in their development.

After the bath is finished, I dry him off and then a couple of times a week will give him a good moisturise and massage with the baby lotion. He totally relaxes and stops wriggling away from me. Now I have to confess that I’m no baby massage expert but you don’t need to be ecause it’s easy to find great tips for massaging your baby. Just be gentle. He loves it. It’s all about touch, the smell, bonding and helping him wind down to sleep. And we both love it.

that elusive family photo!

So in my mind I imagined we’d all be in our sunday best at Church. When that photo didn’t happen I thought, ok let’s get a photo of everyone outside in front of a nice tree and still while we’re all dressed nicely. Then someone got some food on their communion dress, a toddler was sleeping, a baby was eating, someone wanted to kick the footy out the back, someone else wanted to get out of their good dress, there was food to serve. So then I said to my dad don’t leave before you get a photo of us…………and in the end it was just smile for the camera…..and we did it!!!!!!

how hard is it to get a photo of everyone in the family? This one should do us for the year….

the ‘first’ first holy communion in the family

I’ve always looked forward to my girls making their First Holy Communion. In fact I just love when other little girls make their First Communion. I love the dresses, the traditions, thinking of my own day ( I remember being paired up with the shortest little boy on the day and that my mum made my dress). My mum didn’t have pinterest or the internet for inspiration.

Today my big girl made her First Communion and it was perfect. I had no idea when we started looking at dresses what I wanted but once I discovered the beautiful spanish dresses and the girls with their hair out and a simple bow or crown I knew that would be perfect. We found a beautiful dress on etsy and the wonderful Monika Venika made it to my girl’s measurements (we’re a little on the short side) and it arrived at our house from Poland within a week. It was perfectly made with a little bag to match and so much more beautiful, well made and better priced than the dresses I’d seen here. If you need a beautiful dress then please use Monika because she does a beautiful job.

In fact when she put it on her little brother and sister thought she was a princess and someone kept bowing down saying ‘your royal highness’. It was the cutest. Captured in my laundry (not the most attractive room in the house).

the crown came from lovisa, some simple pearl earrings, my gold medal from when I made my First Communion with a simple little cross

and a handmade bracelet from this lovely lady on etsy Katie Bourchier with her confirmation Saint Cecilia on it and thank you Katie for the St Cecilia holy card wrapped up too. Just perfect.

We took some photos (some holy and some hamming it up for the camera) then headed to church.

It was so lovely receiving compliments and comments from the people coming out from morning mass. We took our seats, took some photos and then it all began. A beautiful mass and really directed at the children. Our gorgeous girl did a prayer of the faithful and was happy and confident. I have to say it was so organised with seats already allocated (don’t you love that, no getting in early to grab a seat or miss out) and it all ran so smoothly. The children received their communion and then the rest of the congregation.

I love the little comment from the Priest that as they grow up wherever they live in the world or whatever they are going through that they can find a Church and the Blessed Sacrament and remember back to that special time when they made their First Communion and that they can remember they are part of a family, a Church family. I know that the traditions that my parents (thanks to my mother’s faith) are what we carry on in our family.

And you can see in the Church that the other families are keeping their traditions going and making new ones. And it’s beautiful.

we took some photos after the beautiful mass and of course in my mind I imagined a beautiful family shot but kids were scattered everywhere and so I grabbed a few photos and then we headed home. There was a cupcake for the children making their sacrament and my beautiful girl gave hers to her little sister who had wanted one but wasn’t allowed because they were only for the children making their communion. She told me she already knew she wanted to give it to her. So sweet.

Home and lunchtime. Thanks to all that baptism practice I was loading trays into the oven and someone else was on champagne duty. Slight hiccup when I was driving home and realised I had put soft drink in the fridge but not the champagne! Oops so thank goodness for bottle shops and refrigerated champagne. We had a continental cake just like lawson’s baptism. So good.

There were presents, some fruit picking because we found someone who loves grapefruit (woohoo!) and then said bye to our guests and put our feet up. Well dishes, more champagne, bathtime, photos and talking about the day. A special day that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon and best of all a gift for life. As I put on my girl’s tights we had a little chat and I shared with her what today was about and the promise she should make to Jesus. As one mum says all we can do is raise them in our faith before they leave home and hope and pray that they will stay with it.

Do you have beautiful memories or traditions of First Holy Communion in your family? Or perhaps you’re just excited that someone is making it soon.

 

3 more sleeps

until the end of term! And I know what you’re thinking. Weren’t you looking forward to them going back to school? Yes. But it’s been a long term. And before my eldest started school an older (wiser) mum warned me about the end of term moods. Cranky, tired, over it, want to stay home. You might think that I’m a calm and organised mother but there has been nothing calm and organised about our mornings especially since we’re all struggling to get out of bed. I always get up first and make coffee, make the baby breakfast and do lunches. There might be the odd shirt that needs ironing. And the whole time I’ll calling kids down before I get the little ones. Thing is that no one is getting out of bed. So I have to call just that bit louder and then go and stand at the end of bed and really tell them to get out of bed. Next monday they can sleep in for 3 weeks. Heaven

It’s been a stressful term totally preoccupied with finding the right special school for our little miss. My headaches are gone, tears have been cried but she has a spot and we’re thrilled. Over the moon. In fact I have been quoted as saying it was better than winning the lottery. Of course we still have years of school ahead but knowing that we are starting at the best place just makes it all so much easier to deal with. She loves when we visit the schools and I just know she’s going to have a wonderful time. And now I can stop worrying about the whole process. And my advice? Research and visit all of your options. Think of your little one and what their biggest issues and strengths are. Try to talk to a parent  at the school and find out what it’s really like. Be strong in your own decision and remember that its your child and your decision. Remember that where you start doesn’t have to be set in stone. Get a feel for the school and be prepared to change your mind. And talk it out with people. I have to say a big thank you to family and friends who have been a listening ear to me throughout.

So plans for the holidays? Well sleep in. We have a crafting day for the school fete and I better get things made. Get my sewing room sorted. Make the kids all winter pjs. Get wardrobes organised. Knit. Spend time outside. Plant some vegetables. Get those mandarins from the top of the tree. Find someone who likes grapefruit. Teach the kids to make more pom poms and knit. See a few movies. Relax.

Oh and a little public service announcement, get yourselves the Better Homes & Garden knitting & crochet collection. It’s fabulous and so many gorgeous patterns. Sometimes things like this can be a bit hit or miss but this one is just fabulous.

How many more sleeps until holidays at your house?

I love autumn + winter

Brought to you by Natural Gas

I love autumn and winter. Rugging up in front of the fire, having soup for dinner, coming in from the cold and getting warmed up. I love layering on the clothes. And I love those crisp cold days where the sun is shining and you can warm yourself up outside just by standing outside in the sun. And it’s a great time in our garden with our citrus trees growing beautifully.

Mind you not everything is perfect when the cooler weather arrives. You know when you have those freezing days where you just can’t get warm. You know the ones. Last week we drove to netball at 7.30 and it was only 6 degrees outside. Freezing. I hate getting out of my warm bed and knowing that there is no heating on or that I need to walk to the bathroom and get the shower going. If I’m lucky enough to get a shower in the morning…I usually sleep in because I don’t want to get out of my warm bed.

When we moved into this house and the weather started to get a chilly I got just a little bit used to the central heating……………..but that didn’t last long so we started using our fireplace. ……..but it is unfortunately tucked into a small little room in our house. And the wood comes from Bunnings which isn’t the cheapest option. I do love our wood fire but have to say it requires some effort to get it going. Daddy is much better than I am and don’t ask me to light it without the firelighters. I can’t do it without. In fact daddy came home to find matches in there and paper bits and I just couldn’t get the big logs to light up. I’ve definitely got my L plates on when it comes to fire lighting.Oh and if you’re looking for a quick activity for the kids….send them out for a run around to collect kindling. So much fun and you get them out of the house and exercising at the same time. Genius. I stand at the front door supervising.

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One of my favourite fireplaces was at one of our houses when we had a natural gas fireplace. No kindling or matches required. You could walk in the door freezing cold and turn it on and it was going. And it really kicked out the heat. If I was leaving the house I’d turn it off. Too easy and also makes it efficient because you’re not running it for longer than you need. We bought a big heavy fireguard to keep little people out and it was so warm. Best of all it was where you’d want a fireplace….in the loungeroom. The couches were nearby and we’d sit in front of it. It was perfection. And the kids loved camping out in that nice warm room. It really made the loungeroom the heart of the home and where everyone wanted to be.

If you love natural gas heating or are looking at how to keep warm this winter  I’ve created a pinterest board here with loads of amazing gas heating options.

I loved that natural gas fireplace at our old house and miss it. Mind you things have changed since the 80’s and you can get so many gorgeous new options for your gas fireplace and even a natural gas heater that looks like a freestanding wood burner. Who knew.

I think a big fireplace really makes your loungeroom cosy and special and having natural gas makes it so easy to operate. And natural gas produces lower greenhouse gas emissions than other energy options. Here is my reader Sarah’s gas fire which looks super toasty

 

If you want to find out more information about gas heating or having natural gas at your home and live in NSW just visit here. There are also some great safety hints and tips here.

My last tip if you have a young family or are planning one is to always practice safety around your heating. Whether it’s natural gas, wood fire, electric you name it. You want to make sure the kids know to stay away – we do plenty of uh uh uh, stand back, don’t touch etc etc. Even with a fireguard make sure you are supervising at all times. You sound like a broken record but it gets easier. That and work on the eyes int eh back of your head. Like a few weeks ago when one of the kids decided to help me out and get the fire back up and running. I lmost had a heart attack because he used up a few firelights and had a great old time! Kids, do not try that one at home.

 

my kitchen renovations

Every month or so a question will come in about the kitchens I’ve done. And I’m always jealous that someone out there is getting a new kitchen. Most of the time I can help except when asked how big the subway tiles were? If you’re after all of the details of the kitchens I’ve renovated then you’ll find them here

everything you wanted to know about my kitchen renovation 

image source Otter Imaging

and everything you wanted to know about my 2nd kitchen renovation 

You’ll also find lots more inspiration on my pinterest board ‘I love kitchens’ 

CWA Never Fail Chocolate Cake..in the thermomix

Once upon a time I made this recipe from one of my favourite books, CWA Classics, and had to google Brandavino. That then led me to write a post on brandavino and now if you google ‘what is brandavino’ you’ll find my post. I really had no idea what it was. A few years later and I still love this chocolate cake recipe and it’s my never fail/feed a crowd or big hungry family. I made this as my dad was popping over on his way home and I thought chocolate cake would be perfect. Well we ate 2/3 of the cake before he arrived and I almost had to write a note and put it on the cake so that we had some cake left for our afternoon guest.

You don’t need a thermomix to make this recipe you can just mix all of the ingredients together with a good old spoon. And the great thing about this cake is that it all goes in and gets mixed at the same time so there is no order of ingredients. We substituted the flour for gluten free and it still turned out beautifully. I use cointreau or sherry in my cake and it adds a little something to it and just 1 tablespoon of coffee because while it’s my energy source no one else in the family appreciates it.

I hope you enjoy this cake. It’s beautiful iced but just as beautiful warm out of the oven with a cup of something nice and warm. Enjoy. And tell me what you think. This always turns out beautifully and look at the sides of the cake when I peeled back the paper. Can you believe this is a delicious gluten free chocolate cake? It just looks so light and delicious.

Oh and a note on the raw sugar. When I bought my thermomix that is how I started all of my recipes, with raw sugar. Now the recipes and the recipe chip don’t seem to start that way but I love only buying raw sugar and not 50 million different types of sugar. OK well except for brown sugar. So I start my recipe with raw sugar and process it for 10 seconds to get caster sugar. If you would rather have caster sugar then just omit the first step in you thermomix. Too easy.

CWA Never Fail Chocolate Cake..in the thermomix
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
I've adapted this recipe to the thermomix from CWA Classics, one of my all time favourite cookbooks.
Serves: 16
What you'll need
  • 2 cups /400g raw sugar (or caster)
  • 2 cups /300g self raising flour
  • 2 Tbs cocoa
  • 1-2 Tbs instant coffee
  • 4 eggs
  • 180g melted butter
  • ½ cup sherry/brandy/spirit of your choice
Instructions
  1. Place raw sugar in thermomix and process 10 seconds speed 9 and set aside
  2. Melt butter - I have to confess I still use my microwave out of habit! But in the spirit of using the thermomix and because sometimes I do melt my butter in there. You can melt the butter for 2 minutes, 100 degrees, speed 2.
  3. Add in remaining ingredients and process for 60 seconds on speed 4. Half way through you want to scrape down the sides of the bowl
  4. You can make this gluten free by using a gluten free flour (if using a cup for cup substitute like White Wings or Woolworths Macro)
  5. **Pour the mixture into a lined square or round cake tin and bake in a preheated 180 degrees oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a knife or skewer comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then remove and leave on a rack.
  7. If you don't have a thermomix all you need to do is combine all of the ingredients and mix well and follow from **

 

michael miller glitz collection – you need some!

I’ve always thought that being able to sew or have a craft is a great skill to have. Same goes for a good fabric stash. Not that I really need any more fabric but I recently picked up this Michael Miller quarter dot in a pale pink with gold dots from the Glitz Collection (google it if you need to find a stockist). Wow I couldn’t leave it at the shops. And I knew it would make great skirts but I just didn’t have the time to make something straight away so popped it in the stash.

This weekend my littlest miss has a birthday party to go to. I ordered the present online but wouldn’t you know it it hasn’t arrived. Taking everyone to the shops isn’t high on my list of fun things to do on a saturday especially when everyone except for the baby is in a crazy  mood. So it was the perfect opportunity to make something quick – while the big kids watched a movie – and the baby played with some toys behind my machine.

And it’s perfect. This fabric really does add the wow factor. You do need to iron it on the wrong side and I haven’t ironed it to death because I’m a little nervous but its turned out beautifully. I had stocked up on some new headbands and hairclips last weekend from seed so raided the bag, picked up a cute little girly toy and voila one birthday present. Now to hope the babysitter is better to watch the big kids while I take her to the party. Retro daddy is interstate at his sister’s wedding so I’ve got a long weekend with the kids. Relaxing and long weekend won’t be two words I’ll be putting together this time around.

It doesn’t happen very often that she goes to birthday parties but when it does happen and it’s one of her best friends then it’s a big occasion. What really melted my heart was that my elodie was the first girl the birthday girl wanted at her party. If you’re a special needs mum then you know that’s like Christmas. I’m going to miss preschool next year  and how wonderful it’s been for her and I just hope it’s just as great when we hit big school next year.

Anyway moral of the story – have a great fabric stash, learn to sew or have a craft that comes in handy for presents and maybe order online gifts well before you need them.

Could you be better with your money?

brought to you by the Commonwealth Government and ASIC

Although I was an accountant by trade and spent my career in banking, I’m not such a great manager of my money these days. I blame being busy and having lots of babies. Our family has gone from one child……..

to 6 (oh and there’s a grandma in there too, well she’s always been there and still going strong).

And I have to confess that I haven’t stayed up to date with everything, I’ve been trying to work from home and keep the blog up and running. Oh and when I’m not doing those things then I’m always doing things around the house or in my van driving everyone to where they need to be. And I know what money is coming in and out but tend to lose sight of the bigger financial things that I should deal with. And then there’s that little thing called shopping. I’m a spender rather than a saver. Are you?

I started writing this post and having a little think about where I should be better with my money and realised how many things I’ve let slip. Things I’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to. Combining my Super into one and making contributions, paid parental leave, look into setting up a disability trust, insurance for myself and so on. Oops. When I was working and just looking after myself it was much easier. I had shares in the bank I worked for, income protection, super, savings and on top of it. But it’s been baby after baby and I leave the bills and financial stuff to hubby to sort out who is busy enough.

Women’s Money Toolkit is a great new tool developed by ASIC where you can find information for whatever stage of life you are at.

You simply answer a few simple questions like whether you are planning to have a baby, buy a house, care for someone with an illness or disability and so on. And by so on I mean loss of job, a partner, starting or running a small business. There are so many options depending on your circumstances.  Based on those answers there will be a selection of areas for you to read up on and tools to help you like a budget, spending tracker, link to Centrelink to check your entitlements and more. You can select individual items and add them to your ‘To do’ list and who doesn’t love a ‘To do’ list to keep you honest! There are also 2 new calculators on the website which are a Career Break Super calculator and a Parental Leave Calculator.

And for me personally I know that my readers are finding out that their children have special needs. I urge you if you have a child with a disability that you make sure you are receiving the Carers payment and/or allowance. The carers payment is means tested and the allowance is not. I can’t tell you how many people don’t apply or don’t know about the Supplement paid in July each year. If you are without funding for your child this money becomes so helpful in covering the cost of therapies. I put it off for a year because of the paperwork and I just put it in the too hard basket but it now goes towards the cost of therapies before school.

I found the Women’s Money Toolkit super easy to use, helpful and am going to use the budget to start some good habits at home and get on to my super and insurance as well. I also loved the things to talk to your partner about finances. Not a problem when you are married to an accountant. They LOVE to talk about the finances and money situation. LOVE. And in my case the shopping that arrives at the doorstep. If you’re married to someone in finance then you know what I’m talking about. I married the saver and he married the spender. He can’t build a deck at our house but he does a great spreadsheet. But for all of his knowledge and love of finance I do know that I should step up and take more of a role.

How does it work in your house? Are you the spender or saver?

I know some of you run a tight ship and would have all of your finances in ship shape but even if you do check out the Women’s Money Toolkit and see if there is anything missing or that you need to do. 

 

 

my way of slowing down

I’ve decided that may/june are my new end of year busy period. I can’t remember the last time I had this much on and sometimes I’m a bit too nervous to look at my diary because there is another meeting, event, due date, kids birthday party, thing to buy, thing to do on the list. It’s keeping me busy. And probably not the best time that I decided to ban tv in the house. Well not entirely. After reading a few comments on my fb page I liked the idea of a movie on the weekend so we’ve had 1 movie on each of friday and saturday night and tv off the rest of the time. Why the tv ban? Well a few reasons, I have a little person who needs to work on her speech and with the big kids I’m sick of talking over the top of it, fighting over shows, setting limits, trying to get homework done and so on. When it’s off they find things to do, everyone plays nicely (ok almost nicely) and things get done.

When life is really busy I enjoy staying in even more than I usually do. There has been baking. Usually my way of stress relief. And eating. Of course. There was lasagne during the week, orange cake yesterday and cinnamon rolls today. And there has been knitting.

My littlest guy has a painful ear infection and doesn’t like to lie down. So I’ve been feeding him lots and knitting at the same time. This little jumper is adorable. You might remember I reviewed the book here and I’ve already picked my next project from the book because I love it so much.

The only thing I’m missing is the row count from the patterns. I will knit with plenty of interruptions so after counting a few times I decided to quickly put the row count in. I hope it will prevent me from making any big boo boos. Thankfully this is an easy pattern with a super simple large cable which I love.

And the Bendigo Rustic in shoal is just perfect. I need some more to stash away. Perfect for boys or for something different.

And I got to put the grey cardigan I was knitting for my big girl aside. I accidentally shrunk one of my favourite cardigans (never done that to one of my good ones before) so she scored a gorgeous waterfall cardigan that she wanted (in grey too) and I can use my time to get this jumper done for my little guy.

Thermomix Something for Everyone by Louise Fulton Keats

Good news if you own a Thermomix is that the cookbooks just keep getting better and better. Last year Something for Everyone was a new cookbook for Louise Fulton Keats and now the Thermomix version has been released. The book contains recipes from the original book as well as some new ones. There are 80 recipes all up and this book is perfect for families, bakers, those who love to entertain and those who are stuck in a bit of a Thermomix or mealtime rut. I know we are on a break from the good old pasta fagiole because even the kids needed a bit of a break from it.

One of the nice things about this book if you have little ones is the adjustments necessary to make it baby or child friendly. There are also allergy symbols which make life a bit easier too.

Thermomix Something for Everyone is a beautifully presented book, lots of lovely photos and a photo of each recipe. I need this. Some lovely family/country shots in there too make it a lovely book to flick through. Tell me I’m not the only one who loves to grab a big pile of cookbooks and do some meal planning. Or just get a bit of inspiration.

here are some of the delicious recipes to tempt you

All in all a lovely new book for thermomix owners and just like its title, something for everyone. We’re doing the crunchy chicken bites and cornish pasties this weekend and I have a few other recipes that I’m itching to make too. The recipes don’t require umpteen fancy ingredients or take a long time to make but they are a bit different so that you can try something new and delicious. And I give the sweet recipes an especially big thumbs up because I love using my Thermomix for baking. Well that and I have a sweet tooth.

I was kindly sent a review copy of the book by Thermomix and you can purchase the book from the Thermomix website here for $35 and you can see the recipe index for the book here. 

the girl who made me a mother

There is something special about your first child. And it’s not just because they have more photos than anyone else in the family. No, there’s more to it than that.

You have your L plates on as parents, you fall in love with this tiny little baby and are so overprotective. You do everything by the book, the littlest temperature or cough is a trip to the doctor. You don’t want to spoil them but you don’t want to do the wrong thing. From that slow drive home from the hospital you do everything with caution. You worry about them. All the time. Or is that just me?

They get all of your attention, you do crazy things with their hair (ahhh the good old waterfall ponytail), you spoil them (I mean did she really need 3 different seating options) and you do the flash cards, all the toys you think they need, the baby stuff you are told you need and soon realise you don’t. Yep all of that.

I really did love the waterfall pony. Oh and you do indoor playcentres. Probably the only child who I would take to a playcentre to meet other people. That all went out the window when the twins arrived.

you capture the first of anything and everything! There were so many photos to choose from for this post. Oh so funny first messy meal that went everywhere. There were lots more like this. Notice the fabric covered highchair. The only child who had a fancy highchair that was such a pain to clean that I went plastic or wood after that one. You learn.

And in my case I made lots of her clothes – knitting and sewing. Much easier when you just have one to make for and dress each day. Every day is a fashion parade.

they get to wear clothes the first time not handed down.

they adopt your hobbies

you think everything they do is just the cutest (another handmade outfit)

they develop a sense of fashion

they are there to welcome brothers and sisters to the family

and they have little brothers and sisters that look up to them

they lead the ‘pack’….at home!

keiracar

And they just grow before your eyes and test the water for the rest of the kids to follow.I remember as the eldest thinking it was terribly unfair that things got easier for my brother and sister but I loved being the eldest and 9 years ago we welcomed the eldest of our babies into the world. It’s gone way too fast but she’s the life of the household. Funny, sweet, talkative, a good girl who loves drawing, writing, piano, craft, baking, doing the right thing and having fun. I wish I could bottle up this sweet age and keep it forever because there are no complaints from me. For her birthday she wanted time at her favourite store kikki k and some new winter boots. Done and dusted.

mandarin picking, chicken pies and cookies

I can’t believe another weekend is over. I always feel like I need another day especially when we pack so much in. Netball in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn, rugby in the mud, swimming lessons, laundry, trips to the shops, more swimming lessons and then the weekend is over. But this weekend we had no birthday parties or events so made the most of some home time. We picked loads of mandarins and some oranges off our trees. It was always my dream to move from a concrete backyard to having more space and some apple trees. For some reason I always imagined my kids picking apple trees but citrus is close enough.

We’ve ordered our first communion dress, decided on a simple headband for the hair and went looking for shoes but need to go again somewhere else. We got on top of the laundry (for like 2 days) and Sunday afternoon I got down to some baking. Pioneer Womans’ Chicken Pot Pie and her oatmeal crispies. I just love making pie from scratch. Instead of a whole chicken I use chicken thighs and poach them on the stovetop. Then chop up and add to the pie filling. I doubled the filling recipe, chucked in some zucchini and oh it was delicious. The pastry was made by following her flaky pastry recipe and absolutely delicious. I managed to get 2 rectangle pie tops out of the 1 dough recipe which was great and froze the 2nd pie to give to a new mum at school. You need to set aside some time to make this for dinner but it is worth every minute you put it into it.

And the cookie dough I froze in logs and popped in the freezer too. This recipe is delicious and you can leave out the pecans for a lunchbox treat or add more pecans for a home treat. These are so good hot out of the oven.

I hope you had a great weekend. I always feel the need for a 3 day weekend……………………..oh and there was knitting! I have 63cm of stocking stitch to knit and am really on go slow mode. I’ll get there but every time I sit down to start something needs to be done.