Red Letter Day quilt all finished

OK with my camera back up and running again I quickly grabbed the newly finished quilt off our bed and took it outside.

The pattern is Red Letter Day by Thimbleblossoms which you can buy here or at your nearest quilt store. The blocks are really big but once you’ve made one or two you’re on a roll and they take less time to make each one. You do have to take your time matching points and getting those seam allowances exact with this quilt because there is so much matching but I’m really happy with how mine turned out and I know a couple of points are a little bit off. I used fat quarters from April Showers by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. I also put in a bit of denyse schmidt to brighten up a blue block and the yellow block was a last minute change and I used a yellow floral from Marmalade by Bonnie & Camille as well as another Moda fabric for the other yellow (yellow and white).

The backing fabric was a bargain buy from my wholesaler coming in at $5.50 a metre and is from Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda. I needed a couple of metres for the back and basically just had 2 big long strips of fabric, sewed it together, trimmed off the selvages and then sandwiched the whole thing together.

 The binding fabric is from a range called Candy Bloom by Rosalie Quinlan and just brightened up the quilt as well as adding a hint of pink….my favourite colour.

I used 100 % cotton batting which I buy in bulk and have the hugest rolls in my craft room. The brand is Matildas Own which is australian made and cheaper than buying at Spotlight which is from the states. Quilting is not one of the most affordable hobbies in the world especially when you add all of the components so it usually pays to buy up batting when it’s on sale or you have a discount or voucher and then stash it away for when you need it.

I machine quilted it myself and it’s not my best quilting but it’s been over a year between quilts so at least I’m back at it and motivated to get better again.

I just love this quilt. Size wise it just sits on top of our queen sized bed so my plan is to get out the white linen quilt set I have and lay this on the top.

weekend in front of the fire

Time is starting to run out for me as I get everything ready here at the house……and yet I still found time (quite a lot of time actually) to spend in front of the fire yesterday. Thanks to the rain, rugby and netball were both cancelled. Now we do have central heating in the house but unfortunately it stopped working and while we wait for a new part we are enjoying the fire. I found myself just sitting staring and listening to it and had a few little people nap on me as it was so warm and cosy………..unfortunately I can’t say that for the rest of the house.

And here I am at 37 weeks pregnant looking as comfy as comfy can be.

Good things happen when you sit still. Like craft. And so I finished the binding on my red letter day quilt and couldn’t be happier. It is so huge that I had to get in my big strong man to hold it up for me so I didn’t drape it on wet grass this morning. I’m very proud of this quilt as it’s probably the most complicated that I’ve done so far and I learnt how to do 9 patches and chain piecing with it.

Unfortunately I’ve lost my camera battery and have searched everywhere so as soon as the new one arrives early next week I’ll take more photos, some up close ones and I might drape it on a gate or two since I have a few now. I hope your weekend was just as relaxing as mine was.

things I haven’t told you lately

Well on the blog I’ve been a little quiet but behind the scenes there are plenty of things going on as we enter the home stretch before a new little baby arrives.

I’ve been washing baby clothes and getting them ready. I’m also trying to find a good spot in the house for the baby changetable. One of the things I love is a well stocked changetable before baby comes home from hospital. Nappies, wipes, bepanthen, clothes, singlets, baby socks, hand sanitiser after those nappies, all the good stuff. I’ve got the changetable but just need to stock it. I went a bit gung ho giving things away after emerson was born but found a perfect changetable on gumtree for $60 and am so happy. Just need to fill it up.

I’ve been working on a cardigan to give away to little baby Albert who is home and doing well. He came from hospital too big for the little green one so I’m woman on a mission to get that finished. I’m knitting in 10 ply luxury and it’s knitting up nice and large so he might need it next winter at the size it’s knitting up to. And you’d think with a room full of wool and fabric that I’d have enough wool to finish it but am just waiting on a 2nd ball from Bendigo to arrive in the mail this week.

Binding is half on the quilt and I see  a few quiet nights on the couch under the quilt hand stitching the binding to the back of the quilt. It’s actually a hand sewing job that I really love. I’m taking my time and doing tiny stitches and loving it and just have to position myself with cushions behind my shoulder blades which have been a bit sore. I am only a short lady so as baby gets bigger each pregnancy it hurts my ribs and shoulder blades but I kept stitching through a bit of pain last night (with a cushion behind each shoulder blade) as I’m so motivated to get this quilt finished.

My hospital bag is ready to go. Packed and loads of things in there ready to go. I’m still eyeing off some lovely pj’s at Sussan but have 2 new pairs in the bag which I’m sure will be plenty. I sure do know how to pack a hospital bag since it’s the 5th time I’ll be heading to hospital to have a baby. I wrote a post here on what I pack in my hospital bag. I also had to buy another breastfeeding cushion because sure enough that was another thing I gave away after little emerson. And a big thank you to a lovely reader who runs Bags of Bliss who sent me a gorgeous big bag to take to hospital too. Loaded with goodies…….

my hospital bag is ready to go!

Baby is definitely getting lower and getting up from sitting or lying seems to take me forever. I’m wearing stretchy pants every single day and ditched the jeans. Less than 3 weeks to go and I’m counting down…………..one good thing is that we’re spending lots of time at home and just enjoying it.

Oh and please cross your fingers and say a few prayers that this little baby doesn’t come earlier. My wonderful OB who has delivered all of my babies broke his ankle and is out of action until the week before baby arrives. So I’m doing all my positive thinking to keep baby in……….usually I wouldn’t mind coming early but not this time.

what to bake for the cake stall

A big white box came home with us today in preparation for the cake stall at the fete. I’m excited and now need to choose what to bake. With a tree full of lemons I’m thinking a lemon cake with icing. If you’re stuck with what to bake for your next cake stall then I’ve put a bit of a list together for you. Happy baking………………….I’m so hungry for some homemade cake after putting this list together!

egg cracking

banana bread

my low fat banana bread

caramel slice

chocolate brownies

super rich brownies

chocolate raspberry brownies

brownie

nicely iced chocolate brownies

chocolate pretzel cookies

cinnamon teacake

gluten free carrot cake (I would leave out the nuts!)

lemon drizzle cake

old fashioned orange sponge

Old fashioned orange sponge cake!!!! Only 50g butter whole cake:) so u can eat more

jam drops

old school chocolate slice

pineapple fruit cake

rocky road

rum balls

cranberry + pistachio shortbread 

(check on the nuts policy and just leave out pistachios if necessary)

smarties tart

smarties tart ready for the fridge

toffee apple teacake

vegan chocolate fudge cake

What’s your favourite thing to bake (or buy) from the cake stall?

Penny the Pirate and testing your little one’s eyes

Brought to you by OPSM

I have to confess that only one of my 5 has had their eyes properly tested by an optometrist, two have had eye screening at preschool and two haven’t had their eyes tested at all. Growing up both my sister and I had glasses and patches for our lazy eyes and I still bear the scar from when I ran down the hallway, tripped on a straw mat and had my metal glasses go through my cheek and ended up with stitches. It was plastic glasses all the way after that and my mum saying ‘ that’s why I told you not to run down the hallway’.

If you’re a bit like me or haven’t had any eye testing done then you are going to love this. Penny the Pirate is a brand new book from OPSM to help parents screen their little one’s eyes. It’s a world first and of course it doesn’t replace a full eye test but helps you identify any problems with your child’s vision so that you can book them in for an eye test if necessary. The book is recommended for children aged 3-10 and I used it on my eldest 3 since my littlest miss 3  has special needs and would be unable to recognise the shapes. So if your child can recognise shapes and follow simple instructions then this book will be great to use at home.

 

It’s all very simple – you can download the free app or order the book for free from OPSM here. If you download the app you will be sent out the kit for free once you place the order.

And when you use the book or app there are 3 things being screened. Distance vision, colour vision and depth perception.

I tested the 3 big kids. It took less than 10 minutes for each of them and I had to ‘politely tell’ whoever wasn’t being screened to leave the room several times so they couldn’t see what was going on or hear answers. There was a lot of excitement and everyone wanted a go so I had to tell them a few times to leave the room. And don’t let the little ones read the book until you’ve done the screening with each of them as it could affect the results. At the end of the screening you simply enter the code in your booklet as well as the results you have written down. Then you will see the overall results appear as well as receive an email.

All 3 of mine had trouble with the patch and spyglass and seeing things from a distance so I’ll  be booking them an eye test each. This wouldn’t surprise me as both my sister and I have trouble with seeing things in the distance.

Oh and two things. Firstly be prepared for a house full of pirates for the rest of the day especially with that eye patch. Good luck getting that eye patch back from the kids. And secondly once you’ve read the book please pass it on to your family and friends so they can use it too. I’ve sent this off in the post to my sister for my niece who is the twin’s age.

Please note that Penny the Pirate does not replace a full test eye with an optometrist, it is designed to help parents identify whether a child may need an eye test. Optometrists recommend an eye test at least once every two years or more frequently depending on clinical need.

So does anyone in your house wear glasses? Are you a bit like me and need to get their eyes tested but have been putting it off? This book is definitely something that can easily be done at home and give you that little push in the right direction to book an eye test for your little ones. 

 

baby knitting patterns for beginners

Once upon a time I was a first time new mum. Yes, before everyone else came along I was in hospital with my 1st baby and they were special times. I still remember when my lovely nana came in with a big box full of knitting she had made for her first grandchild. She had been busy.

Fast forward to my 5th baby and she was still busy knitting behind the scenes and came over with this lovely pile of baby cardigans for little Emerson. All of them went on to be so well worn and loved.

And as if that wasn’t enough my lovely aunty Debbie (nana’s daughter) who is an amazing knitter always spoils me with some knitted goodness too. This was emerson’s little blanket that we still use and love. Knit up in Bendigo Cotton 8 ply and ravelry details are here.

Whether you are giving or receiving something handmade you just know a lot of love goes into it. And it’s one of the nicest things you can do for a new baby. A lovely school mum with a big brood of her own is expecting a baby around the same time as me and asked if I had any easy baby knitting patterns suitable for beginners. I sure do have a few favourites. And it’s a question that I sometimes get asked so here it is in one blog post. This cardigan below is Gidday Baby (on ravelry here) and more suited to a confident/advanced beginner but is so lovely and I had to include it in this post.

If you want something for baby to wear then a very simple cardigan or hat is the way to go. I like this pattern I found on ravelry which is free and made from simple rectangles all sewn together. It’s also all in garter stitch so you just knit each and every row. I would use a 10 ply from Bendigo Woollen Mills like Luxury or Rustic. The blanket can be found here (or on ravelry here). For Lion Brand patterns you just need to sign up for free and can access all the patterns on there. I think these are great and 10 ply knits up fast. Image source Lion Brand Yarn.

 

 

Another favourite but you’ll need to buy the book is Easy Baby Cardigan from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts which I really like. Ravelry details are here. Knit all in one piece and easy to follow instructions. Knit on 2 needles so nothing too fancy and if you don’t want to try moss stitch then just do garter stitch (knit all rows).

all ready for baby

Thanks to a lovely reader Deanne for suggesting these baby booties knit on 2 needles in garter stitch and they look great for a beginner. I’m a real fan of Debbie Bliss baby socks on 2 needles, you can find the patterns in a few of her books here. If you’re more of an advanced beginner and ready to tackle double pointed needles then this is a great free baby sock pattern.

14344561009_be76059f96_z

If you are knitting for a baby girl then definitely do a baby kina. Oh I will never get sick of knitting baby kinas. The pattern will set you back EUR3 but you’ll use it again and again. Buy the pattern here. I love it in Bendigo 8 ply cotton (knit the cardigan on 3.75mm needles) and also Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino.

A lovely reader Katrina also reminder me about In Threes which is a popular free knitting pattern on ravelry and great for beginners. Find the pattern here. I used Bendigo Spring Cotton which I am a huge fan of. I didn’t follow the pattern properly as am so used to a kina but you can’t tell. It was lots of fun and a fast knit.

If you’re into a bigger project and something to keep you warm this winter then a blanket is the way to go. Now of course you could knit squares and that is a great beginner project but what about a basketweave blanket which looks like squares joined together but you are just knitting back and forth with either knit or purl stitches. A few free patterns are here and here. This was a lovely baby blanket that I knitted and the trickiest bit is picking up stitches so if you’re a beginner and that seems too daunting perhaps someone could pick up the stitches for you and you can knit from there.

Now if you’re a confident beginner or want to try picking up stitches then the Debbie Bliss Ribbed Baby Jacket really is a favourite for me. You will find the pattern for free by clicking on the link in the ravelry project page here. This is great knitted in Bendigo 10 ply or any 10 ply you have and knits up fast. You knit from the back and then cast on for the sleeves, knit some more, cast off the sleeves and keep knitting the front section. Then you need to pick up stitches to knit the ribbed border. Picking up stitches isn’t that tricky and I found this great youtube video here if you need some help but instead of using a double pointed needle use a circular needle. Don’t freak out because you’ll knit back and forth. Thank goodness for youtube.

Another great free pattern from Debbie Bliss for babies is the baby shrug, I’ve made more than a few of these. Again you need to pick up the stitches but it’s knit in one piece like the cardigan above. It’s very pretty and great for babies and toddlers. Click on this link for ravelry and the scroll down to find the pdf for the pattern.

Thanks to another great reader Becci who reminded me about baby washcloths. So many free patterns on the internet and ravelry. Basically a knitted or crocheted square of cotton that are so soft and gentle for bathtimes. These were a pile I crocheted in debbie bliss cotton dk. I also love to use Lily Sugar n Cream for my dishcloths. Both are thicker and a bit more substantial than Bendigo 8 ply cotton. A few simple patterns are grandmother’s favourite and ballband dishcloth.

And if you want to buy a book (and I’m a broken record here) then get your hands on Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss which is one of my most used baby books and has a couple of favourite patterns in it. A great beginner pattern in there is the boat neck sweater.

How did I go? What is your favourite baby knitting pattern for a beginner? Or perhaps you have a question? Fire away…………………………..

carrot cake + cream cheese frosting (gluten free)

This post is brought to you by Woolworths

It was Sunday and retro daddy was taking the twins to another birthday party on the party circuit and it felt like a cake baking kind of afternoon. Has to be gluten free these days but I knew that I could take off a side of the cake and do some cream cheese frosting on the rest. I love cream cheese frosting and it’s so easy to make and take a plain cake to a wow cake.

It might look like a few ingredients for this cake but you could make a few cakes out of these or double the recipe and tin size and make a nice big carrot cake to feed a crowd.

You don’t need a food processor to make this recipe although it does help with the carrots and if you’re going to go old school and use a grater then just watch those knuckles of yours.


And I have a $100 Woolworths gift card to give away to one lucky reader this week. All you need to do is tell me your all time favourite cake and why.

{Giveaway is open to Australian residents only, entries close 24th July 2014 and full terms of my giveaways can be found here}

5.0 from 2 reviews
carrot cake + cream cheese frosting (gluten free)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Baking
Serves: 8-12
What you'll need
  • 250g Homebrand raw sugar (or caster sugar)
  • 1 lemon
  • ⅔ cup (or 150g) Woolworths Select vegetable oil
  • 2 Woolworths Select Free Range eggs
  • 6 small carrots or 3 large
  • ½ cup pecans (chopped)
  • 1¼ cup (250g) Macro Free From Gluten Self raising flour
  • pinch Allspice/Mixed Spice
  • pinch Baking Powder (gluten free)
  • 1 tub Woolworths Select Cream Cheese
  • 2 -3 cups Icing Sugar (always read the label for gluten free)
Instructions
  1. Grate carrots. I did mine in the thermomix on closed lid setting and pressing turbo about 3-5 times. Don't over process. Set carrots aside.
  2. Place raw sugar and lemon rind in TM bowl and process 10 seconds speed 9. Alternatively combine your caster sugar and lemon rind together
  3. Add in oil and eggs and combine well until nice and creamy. I did this for 20 seconds on speed 4.
  4. Add in carrots and pecans and combine. 10 seconds on speed 4
  5. Measure in flour and a pinch of baking powder and gently combine through the wet ingredients. Gluten free flour is quite forgiving but you don't want to overmix but you also don't want to have a pocket of flour in your finished cake. I did this for 20 seconds on speed 4.
  6. Pour into a lined cake tin (I love my square 20cm -ish tin) and bake in a 180 degrees oven for about 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.
  7. To make icing sugar blend together 3 Tablespoons of cream cheese with a dash of lemon juice. Gradually add in the icing sugar and keep adding until you have a nice spreadable frosting. If your icing is too thick just a dash more lemon juice or milk will fix it up.
  8. Spread icing nice and thickly all over your cake and top with some pecan pieces if you like.
  9. To make this cake dairy free just leave off the frosting.
  10. Happy cake eating.

 

don’t buy pink quilting gloves

Well I had this great idea that every day this week I’d do a bit of quilting on my red letter day quilt! But I didn’t factor in a dentist trip across town, a boy with a fever and perforated eardrum, getting everyone back to school, preschool excursion, a daddy working away and just having one of those busy weeks! So I’ve made zero progress with my quilt which is staring at me every time I walk past my craft room.

I also learnt a valuable lesson. I learnt from Kellie to use Ansell gloves or gloves with a good grip for free motion quilting. Somehow I couldn’t find one after unpacking my sewing room – it’s in there. Somewhere. So I went up to Bunnings and picked up some pink gloves from the gardening section for $12 a pair. Thought I’d get 2 pairs just in case as they seemed good. And they were pink. Wrong. Don’t buy pink quilting gloves if you have girls. They keep getting pinched out of my room. I even hid them and came home later in the day to find them in the playroom. Pink gloves are fun especially when they are bigger than your hands.

Anyway, I’ll make my next pair are a really boring colour because can I just say that for 2 years I used black and grey gloves and they never ever went missing!!!!!!!! And if you’re interested in quilting your own quilts I just free motion mine with some simple stippling. I wrote two blog posts on it here and here if you’re after a bit of information on how I do it. I also find Crazy Mom Quilts super helpful in the quilting department.

a few household questions answered

I received a great message last week from a lovely reader Katie that I knew would make a great post.

Do I do laundry every day?

Pretty much! I have a 9.5kgs top loader and a huge hills hoist and I keep them both busy almost every day of the week. I might skip a day if we’ve had lots of things on or the weather is bad and it looks like it will be a nicer day the next. I don’t mind washing and hanging it out on the line. I do mind the folding, sorting and putting it away. So whenever I have a helper in the house they usually help out with the folding and sorting and if I’m lucky it makes it into wardrobes.

I have a thing for fresh pjs each night for everyone which someone in the house thinks is silly but heh I’m the same with towels too. It probably makes more work for myself but I like fresh towels.

How do I organise the housework?

I don’t have set days for cleaning because I pretty much always find something to do every day.

Floors get swept every day sometimes twice a day depending on the room. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen so do a lot of cleaning and wiping in there, dishes etc. Dishwasher goes on when I’ve finished cleaning the kitchen at the end of the day and I unpack it with my first coffee of the day and then load it up during the day. Most days I run it twice a day.

Vacuuming once a week in the play room downstairs and then upstairs and the stairs are usually every 2 weeks.

Floors downstairs get washed each weekend and I have to do it before everyone wakes up or when they are in one room as we have a few slip n sliders.

I also  keep some cleaning products in each bathroom to make it easier to keep on top of them during the week. I’m also a fan of those easy wipe kind of products that are quick and easy and make everything look clean again.

We did have a wonderful cleaner at our last house but haven’t got someone here yet so it’s me running solo. I haven’t minded too much since it’s pretty much my exercise at the moment.

If you have a newborn then my number one lifesaving tip if you can manage it is to have someone come in every 2 weeks to clean the house for you. It is one less thing to worry about and everyone loves a clean house. One of my girls loves the smell of domestos on the floors after they’ve been cleaned:)

Unfortunately none of my little ones really love keeping their rooms tidy so I keep on top of the littlest two and have the 3 bigger kids make their own beds and do their own rooms with a few ‘interventions’ by me when they are getting really messy. They each have their own quirks. One loves to wear a few outfits a day and leave them all under her bed when she’s done. Another one dresses well and just one outfit a day but pulls out every shelf of their wardrobe in the process and one just likes to pile things on the floor around her bed. I hope it gets easier keeping their rooms organised as they get older. Maybe not.

Meal planning?

I’m a pretty casual meal planner in that I might use the back of an envelope and write out the week’s dinners so that I can base the shopping list from it. All of our dinners are gluten free and I make it dairy free for my little miss. We usually have a vegie or tuna pasta dish once or twice a week (san remo gluten free pasta is the best in my opinion), a rice dish, once or twice a week we do a meat dish which could be mince, sausages or chicken (at the moment the kids are loving roast potatoes, carrots and chicken pieces), we also have an egg dish like frittata or slice one night. Not much takeaway since we’ve moved and everything is far away.

We grocery shop on the weekend with at least two top ups during the week because I’ve forgotten something, had a craving for something and because we always need fresh bread, milk, fruit and crackers. I need a lifetime supply of crackers and fruit in this house as it always disappears with lots of little snackers living here.

I’m not a super organised or efficient person but I do just try to keep on top of everything every day. My house is never spotless or totally uncluttered but you should see me clean if I know someone is coming over to visit!!!!! And I know I’m not the only one who does that…………………

And I also like to set myself little goals like a magazine or some craft when the cleaning is done so I get through it………..otherwise I might just want to craft all day. This is my quilt progress and I’m itching to finish it but will try to do a little bit each day………………

end of the holidays

Well our school holidays are coming to an end and today certainly made me realise that. Rugby was back on, then swimming, then netball was back on, volunteering at the Bunnings bbq for a few hours then more swimming lessons to round out the day. Uniforms need to come out again and our 3 lazy weeks at home are definitely looking like they are over.

And with that busy day I didn’t think I’d get any time to do anything myself. But…….it’s amazing what you can do in an hour between trips out – I had a load of laundry on the line, another in the machine and did some nine patches and finished the last of my red letter day quilt blocks.

and I love getting the last of the day’s light to get a few photos outside which are always nicer than inside at night on my dining room floor photos!

So I’m going to put the top together tonight and who knows……..I might just have this finished before school goes back. My goal was just to have it finished before the baby was born so I’m doing pretty well!

welcome to my shop

One of the things that I love most in the world……after my beautiful family and home life……….is craft. And I’ve missed having lots of fabric in the house and buying the latest ranges, going to trade shows and just being around fabric.

So I have a little store again here and even the kids are happy to see the big boxes arrive at our house…..to play in once they are empty. I’m starting small and manageable, have a wonderful helper when I get stuck and am just happy to be running a little store again. And I also love that now you can buy your prepaid satchels from Australia Post and they post them out to you for free….that’s new and saves me queuing at the PO or trying to negotiate the shop with my big pram.

All prices in the store are in AUD and include postage within Australia as well as GST. I look forward to adding more ranges as time goes on……………

 

Party bags with Allen’s Jelly Beans + a giveaway

Sponsored by the ALLEN’S team

I love a good lolly bag. Just recently I texted my friend Sonia after her son’s birthday and said ‘ you do a good lolly bag’. She said that’s the best part and I said well some mums don’t like to do the lolly bag but we loved yours. Our big girl missed her 8th birthday because she was in plaster and we were still trying to get our heads around it. So we have promised that she can invite some friends to the movies for a movie party these school holidays. And that means party bags need to be made.

Since all of her friends are 8 or 9 I’ve probably got to get a bit more sophisticated with the bag than I usually would. Even the bubble bottles that I had in mind got poo-poo’d and I was told they’d be better for a year 2 party. So we got out her favourite stationary, glitter gel pens and got to writing invitations.

Little noodle boxes make great party bags and had pink nail polish, some lip gloss and Allen’s jelly beans.

Allen’s Jelly Beans are delicious and this month the Fruity Craze flavour is being released in Funpacks. That means you get 10 mini packs of delicious jelly beans – perfect to pop into a party bag. Or your own handbag if you’re anything like me. A sweet tooth. I’m also planning to take some to the movies to pass down to the girls during the movie for a little snack.

And for a bit of fun I have 5 family passes (2 adults & 2 kids up to 15yrs)  to give away to the cinemas to the best answers. Just tell me about when you make up party bags. Any tips you can help me out with. Best lolly bag ever received. Best hiding spot in your house for the lolly bag after the party to ration out the lollies. Love to hear from you.

{Competition is open to Australian readers, one entry per person, full terms of my giveaways can be found here, entries close 5pm AEST Friday 18th July 2014 and I’ll announce the results here and on Facebook Saturday 19th July.  I’ll ask the winners for their nearest cinema to make sure that you get the pass for the one nearest you. Just to make life that little bit easier for you. }

And in the meantime keep an eye out for the Allen’s jelly bean mini bags when you’re at the shops. I was sent 2 bags and they didn’t last long. As in I can’t show you the full bag because we had already worked our way through it before the camera came out.

red letter day progress

How are the school holidays going where you are? I’m actually getting things done. Boxes are being emptied, you can walk into my craft room, kids wardrobes are getting cleaned out and the weather has been fabulous so lots of play time outside.  Yes it really is winter at the moment.

Having some space in my craft room meant that my machine could move in and I could get a bit of sewing done………..1 red letter block done at night and one the next morning. I think the trick was doing a few 9 patches in one go, then a few half square triangles and then sitting down at a separate sitting to put a block all together. You can read about the class I did with Camille and the Red Letter Day quilt here.

I might just be able to have this finished before school goes back……… and I’ll miss my little helpers. This little guy came out just as a breeze started to blow away a few blocks.

winding things down

One of the things about being a mum and working from home is that you don’t get maternity leave. There is no magic date in your diary when you leave the ‘office’ and start to really get ready for your new arrival. And so in the past I’ve kept working and answering emails and kept the blog going from my couch or dining table with a newborn.

And so I’m taking August and September off and I’m so looking forward to it. Maybe it’s just the thought of having 6 little ones to look after that has made me realise that I need to do things differently this time around.

I’ll blog when I feel like it, sell some fabric on the side with my wonderful friend posting it out (my little store is almost ready), share some cute baby photos, share some knitting projects (haha if I get any knitting done) but most of all will not worry about the blog and just enjoy some family time and a new little life in our family. Of course if you’ve had a newborn then you know the reality will be that I’ll be feeding around the clock, getting next to no sleep, trying to keep on top of the washing and everyone fed and happy. And that’s going to be my number 1 priority.

So please bear with me this month while I get everything wrapped up on the blog and the home front…………5 weeks and counting…….

snacks + lunchboxes

This post is brought to you by Sunbites

I don’t know how it goes in your house but here we start the week well – great snacks and lunchbox treats on Monday and Tuesday after the big grocery shop. Then it’s a downhill slide and on Friday you might get an apple and some plain biscuits with a ham sandwich if you’re lucky otherwise it’s vegemite. I make 3-4 lunchboxes each day and feed hungry kids at the end of the day too so we work our way through the fridge and pantry each week.

Twice a week I need to make a lunchbox for my little miss who is my fussiest eater so it’s been an interesting challenge this year. We tried Sunbites Airpopped popcorn in mini packs and it was super popular and a bit of a change too. It was so popular that my little ones kept wanting more. So I’ve put them up out of sight and kept them for lunchbox treats and after school. And the ‘lightly salted’ and ‘sweet and salty’ flavours are our favourites.

Here are my top tips for packing a lunchbox for your fussiest eater

- lunchboxes with individual compartments are great for dips, crackers and adding variety and colour to a lunchbox. I love my tupperware lunchboxes and this yellow one has been going strong since for over 4 years and had well and truly paid for itself.

- go for variety and try out new things. I loved putting popcorn in the lunchboxes this week and I regularly check out the healthfood aisle/snack section.

- fruit, fruit and more fruit

- sultanas and dried fruit are great to keep in the pantry. Our OT actually recommended sultanas as it’s a chewy food….just get prepared to find those little suckers around the house, under the couch. Also try to buy organic/preservative free dried fruit as I find that little ones with sensitivities don’t do well with preservative 220 which can be found in a lot of dried fruit. Even my stomach doesn’t like it.

- sushi and anything with rice is a great way to add some variety to a lunchbox. When I’ve got more time on the weekend I like to cook brown rice as it takes longer but is more filling than white. Plus I feel better eating it. This is brown rice sushi. From the shops. Bought just for this post. I do love making sushi for the family but it doesn’t look this neat.

- always keep a loaf of bread in your freezer. Our favourite fillings are good old ham, egg and a dairy free mayo (please check your preschool/school policy about eggs!), vegemite, hummus, dip, avocado, tuna or if we’re at home then peanut butter. She loves peanut butter sandwiches.

And I took this lunchbox to kindy assembly to keep my littlest two occupied and they were fighting over all the goodies inside so this is a win and I’ll have to replicate it for preschool. It’s also a good excuse to buy the sweet and salt flavour which I have taken quite a liking to.

So keep an eye out for Sunbites Airpopped popcorn when you’re next at the supermarket. It’s been super popular here with our little ones and also added some variety to our lunchboxes and afternoon tea. And make sure you save a few bags of the ‘sweet and salt’ for a healthy treat for yourself because I just love them.

And do you have a lunchbox tip you’d like to share with me? Love to hear it…..I have a lot of luncboxes to make in my future.