Today I am pleased to publish a guest post from Zoe Toft from Playing by the book, a wonderful site that reviews books and the crazy, fun things they inspire us to do. Zoe share my thoughts about books. They are a magical, wonderful and necessary part of life. Children should be encouraged on every level to put down their game consoles and delve into a book instead! Today Zoe is sharing details about The Children’s Festival of Literature, a wonderful opportunity to engage your children in reading and to inspire existing passions.

Continue reading “The Children’s Festival of Literature”

The different shapes of cookware from the different Le Creuset collections allow you to cook almost any dish in them. For example, in the Le Creuset range, you will find flat pans that are ideal for dishes that first need to be fried and then baked in the oven. They are also suitable for making Risotto. Other pans have a condensation lid with thickenings on the inside that condense the steam.

Classic sauté pans with a special ventilation system that prevents food from overcooking, or the ‘Gourmet’ frying pans, are also Le Creuset products. They have a system of uniform heat distribution from edge to handle and are therefore suitable for boiling and stewing.

Continue reading “Le Creuset Cast Iron Cookware in my kitchen”

There are so many reasons chefs and home cooks love Staub Cookware, but we’re sure it’s not because of the price tag. Staub is one of the most expensive cookware brands in the market today. Its products can cost well over US$300 for a 5.5-quart Cocotte. 

Is it really worth spending a hundred bucks for one single cookware? And why is Staub so expensive when there are other US$50 brands with the same function? Let’s find out why Staub costs so much here!

Continue reading “Why Is Staub Cookware So Expensive?”

1: R2D2 Baby Onsie  $52.17

This is the droid you’re looking for. This limited edition robot baby costume is my newest design. This is the perfect Halloween costume or baby shower gift. Hat included. So Cute!

2: Lamaze Mortimer The Moose  $13.99

This was my sons favorite toy from about 4months to 10months old.  Cuddly and Stimulating with bright colours and sounds. A  great stocking stuffer!

3: Glow In the Dark Necklace Fairy Dust $23.64

I wish they had these when I was a little girl I would of loved one!   Perfect stocking stuffer for your little princess :)

4: Whats That Stand For Stand $179.00

I love this multipurpose stand! From Lemonade stand to puppet show it can be used for many things!  It even has a reversible chalkboard/whiteboard sign so kids can write their own titles.

5: Imaginarium Wooden Train Set $39.99

I cant think of a better gift then a wooden train set.  It sparks the imagination, the possibility’s of what they can build is endless.

6: Mellissa and Doug ABC Magnet Set Letters and Pictures Pairs $14.99

Magnetic letters and animals make a colourful jumble of possibilities in their handy wooden case. Ideal for letter recognition, matching, and stenciling, this must-have toy spell “learning fun”!

7: Grey Antler Knotted Hat $25.00

These hats are not only  stylish hats but are also made in Vancouver BC.    Breathable, comfortable and wonderfully versatile, these hats are the perfect accessory to any baby ensemble

8: Kids VW Camper Van Tent $59.95

What child wouldn’t want this.  Available in light blue and baby pink, they are packaged in a stylish and easy to store VW Wheel bag. Each tent accommodates up to three children comfortably.

9: Baby Einstein  2-in-1 Safari Adventure Gym and Tunnel $59.99

At 4 1/2 feet long, this creative play space provides a padded, roomy environment promoting three fun ways to play – tummy time, sitting and crawling! It mixes in real-life imagery with vivid colours and 3 languages to enhance baby’s sense of discovery

10: Kids Ruflee Teepee Play Tent $245.23

Stunning handmade Play Tent.  Made from all new fabrics with gorgeous vintage pink lace and off white knit ruffles paired with a cocoa brown base fabric, with four perfect ruffles.

This idea was originally going to be for the kids to do, but Noah got all excited and just ran with it. So, even though an ‘adult’ has actually made these, the plan was for it to be an activity to do with the children! As we have been excavating a huge hole for our tyre hidey hole we have been left with lots of stones. Some of them were huge. They were rescued from the wheel barrow and given a good clean. The plan was for the children to paint them and make them into colourful monsters, ladybirds, fish; whatever they felt like really.

Noah had other ideas. He wanted to have a hige stag do in budapest http://www.budapeststagdoactivities.com

He had been popping into the garage on and off all day. I just thought he had been sniffing wood ( honestly, he does do that). So I was very surprised to be greeted by 2 lovely little ladybirds the next day. Not as surprised as the dog though, judging by the pictures below!

These 2 were such a success that before long they were breeding in the garage. Noah found that using poster paint meant that he had to use at least 6 coats of paint to get the effect he wanted, he then had to spray with clear varnish to protect from the elements.

His new plan was to use spray paint for the next few and see if there was a difference in the end result. He sprayed the whole stone black using Wilkos own brand enamel spray (it’s cheaper than everywhere else we’ve looked, and it is also on special offer at the moment). Once that was dry he used masking tape to mark off those bits he wanted to spray red. The final job was to add lovely white smiles and eyes and a final coat of clear varnish to seal it all. There was a marked difference in the ladybirds finished with the enamel spray. They had a lovely glossy finish. This would probably be a project for dad’s to do with their children, or for very patient children to do alone if you decided to build up the final effect layer by layer with poster paints. (I personally think that Noah had so much fun making these the children would have been lucky to get near them!)

Since these were finished the dog had dug up several new big stones. For a change we are going to try monsters or maybe fish. If the children are good they may even get to have a go themselves!

Our child friendly garden is coming along nicely. The pencil and ruler pagoda is up and finished but needs a lick more paint, so I will share that next week. It honestly looks amazing. All the kids who come into the garden say “Wow!”, so we are obviously on the right track in encouraging them to get outside and get some fresh air in their lungs. I saw the blackboard today and to say that is has been well used is an understatement. I shall give it a wipe down tomorrow and see what else they can come up with!

A little bit of creativity is good for the soul of young and old alike!

I am hoping this blog will be a sort of talking therapy for me, even if there is nobody out there to listen. I want to get my spark back. To define myself as something more than a wife and mother, but still to be the best wife and mother I can be. I have a brain and I want to use it. I have a huge creative urge that I want to find an outlet for. I want to be a better version of myself. I want to find my old spark. Is that even possible? Let’s find out;

Who are we?

Noah

I have been together with Noah for 13 years and married for almost 4. He is the most fabulous carpenter, hence the name Noah. He would build an ark if he had enough wood. He often goes into joinery shops just to smell the wood! It is his passion. Sadly, a seemingly small break to his wrist 2 years ago has resulted in various surgeries and his right wrist is now screwed and plated and fixed so he can never bend it again. Learning to do things again has been a steep learning curve. He is now at the stage where he can do an hour or so of work before the pain gets too much. He shouldn’t be doing this but he can’t help himself. Morphine is his new best friend and dulls the pain enough for him to function on a semi- normal level.

I have 1 child from a previous relationship and we have 3 children together. To best describe our brood I have named them after the elements.

Jim

 My eldest son is 14 and is a typical teenager in many respects. The thing that makes him different, and  so unique, is that he has autism and aspergers. This is a very recent diagnosis that we are still coming to terms with it. This is an issue I would like to cover in more detail in further posts because I feel it merits some in-depth details and discussion. Fire best describes him because you never know when he is going to combust into flames of anger and rage and you are never quite sure when he is going to burn himself out and become calm and still once more. There is never a dull moment, that’s for sure. I am the only person he totally trusts and I am proud to say that even at this age he tells me he loves me every day.

John

My second son is 7 and he is by turns wonderfully calm and even and then suddenly a tsunami hits and all hell breaks lose. He has the most wonderful cheeky sense of humour that sadly gets him into a lot of trouble at school. He is not the most academic child but is developing a passion for science and with maths he just seems to ‘get it’. His dad is teaching him about woodwork and he is amazingly quick to pick things up, a natural talent. He just has to learn to curb the swells and tides of his temper and spend more time being my lovely helpful hug-bug.

Kate

My eldest daughter is 4 and spends most of her time floating in the clouds with the fairies. She lives in a dream world that I don’t want her to lose until she has to. That is not to say she isn’t capable of conjuring up a storm at a moments notice if the mood takes her! She is very academic and excels at school but when it comes to common sense, lets just say she was not gifted in that department! She is a stunning girl and I sometimes just sit and watch her and marvel at her little quirks and mannerisms.

Camila

My youngest daughter is  2. She is astounding in the grasp she already seems to have of the world and the things that she says totally unprompted. She is the baby of the family and all her siblings adore her, but OJ has a special bond with her that makes me all fuzzy to watch. My little earth girl has her shoes on and is out side in a flash. I think she would live outside in a tent if we let her. The terrible twos are rearing their ugly head at the moment and I am patiently waiting for her to get the message that I am the boss. Somehow, though, with this one I think she will always be the boss of the house.

Percy

Our cat has the shiniest fur in the world. Not that I ever get much chance to stroke him. He is very anti social. He does love the boys though and sleeps on one of their beds every night if he is not having a wild night out on the tiles. Dirty stop out.

As a child my mom and nan always had a sewing machine and were able to make clothing with ease. I dabbled a little as a teenager, but it didn’t really become a passion until later in life. It started one day when I picked up a cheap cross stitch kit with the aim of making Will a birth sampler. I spent the next few years engrossed in cross stitching until, for some unknown reason, I decided I wanted to make a cushion cover. I borrowed my mom’s machine and acquired some of her fabric and I was away. I soon purchased my own machine and progressed beyond cushions to making clothes for Bella. Every item I have made has taught me something new and with each creation my skills improve.

Below is a selection of items I have already made;

I hope to share new items with you, mistakes and triumphs, and hopefully share some tips along the way.

Bella and I spent a few hours of quality time together this morning decorating  candles.

Our first task was a trial run on one of our ‘emergency power cut candles’, just to check that the process we wanted to use would work. It was a success, so we set to work and let our creative juices flow!

The process is lots of fun, really easy and very effective.

Once you have gathered all you will need together you start by drawing your design onto white tissue paper. Bella had a large pillar candle and decided to draw a picture of Pinkie Pie, a character from My Little Pony, surrounded by balloons. She later added 2 robins and some love hearts for good measure

I used 2 smaller candles to see what effects could be achieved. For my first candle I stamped a rose onto the tissue and coloured it in with my trusty pro-markers. For my second candle I drew a robin free hand and wrote Merry Xmas onto the tissue.

Once your design is complete cut around it and place onto the candle. Wrap grease proof paper tightly around the candle and use the heat gun to melt the design onto the candle. You will know this is working when you see the design turn a slightly darker colour.

Handy hints learnt through trial and error ;

Don’t over heat the paper or you will end up with wax dripping down your leg (ouch) and your finish will be uneven.

It is easier to do a few smaller designs and apply them separately than to do one large design over the whole candle.

Cut your grease proof paper large enough for you to get a good grip on it whilst heating, it is easy to cook your fingers by mistake.

All that remains is to stand back and admire your handy work!!