Mini Mayhem boys clothes

Eve is nearly five - how did that happen?

Our youngest one is turning five this week!!

I'm not ready to let go of my sweet little four year old so I bottled her up in a short film so that I can always look back at those freckles and chubby little fingers.  You can also check out her first ever effort at riding without training wheels.


Dinner time


Tell me I'm not the only dodgy parent who completely forgets that they have to cook dinner each and every day?!

Thursday is the new Friday


Not everyone works the traditional Monday to Friday, 9-5. 

My work week is a bit all over the shop. But it doesn't matter what day of the week it is or what hour of the day, when my Friday rolls around I start counting down the minutes until I can rush my little darlings off to bed and pop that cork on the weekend!! 

Same same but taller



We are in Bali. Again.

We've just spent three very relaxing days at one of our favourite resorts in Sanur, on the west side of the island.

We couldn't resist the opportunity to recreate one of the photos we took here three years ago. Can you believe how much they have grown in that time?!

Easter egg hunt 2016



The Easter bunny came to visit last night & brought a bucketload of chocolate.

We'd love to share our special little Easter egg hunt video with you.  Please click through.

x

Friday night, well sort of!

Friday nights aren't the crazy heading to the pub/club/bar nights of the past.

Don't get me wrong, I am always keen to kick my heels up, celebrate the end of the week that was and ease into the weekend ahead.  It's just that you are more likely to find me sipping a glass or five of bubbles on the couch than lining up for a drink at the hottest new place to be seen.

Chances are it is a bit of a slap dash meal (without a vegetable in sight) before pushing the kiddos off to bed.  Then the couch and I get reacquainted, with a tasty cold beverage and a few social media platforms to explore.  If everything goes well you might find me dabbling with a few youtube videos and before you know it I'm back to my happy place - a good old lip sync battle.  None of these tickle my fancy quite like the original bench mark of Paul Rudd rocking out some Queen.  If you haven't seen it you really should do yourself a favour.

Nothing quite says to me that the weekend has landed like that Paul Rudd pelvic thrust!

* You might find yourself scratching your head and wondering why I am rambling on about Friday nights when it is only Thursday.  Well tonight is Easter Thursday, also known as the best Friday night of the year. The ultimate four day long weekend that feels like it will last forever.

Movie: Christmas 2015


It's nearly the end of March, which has given me a big kick up the bum to finish off the video I made of our Christmas.

We were lucky enough to have a big family Christmas with Nick's family at the awesome family beach house.  Nine adults, five kids and one dog all under the one roof.  Thankfully it all came together beautifully with lots of food, fun, drinks, games and trips to the beach. 

I know a lot of people think Christmas should be cold (we have a lot of English friends!) but I'll take prawns, cold beers and swims every time.

x

ps you can check out some of our other Christmas's here and here

Month in review: February


February, the month when we all return to reality after the extended holiday season.

We got back into school and the daily grind.  I found myself struggling with how to balance being a good mum, wife and employee.  I still haven't figured that one out, but with some sweet little valentine's messages from the kiddos as well as Nick I reckon I might be doing something right.

x

Movie night: Charlie & the chocolate factory



Saturday night = movie night. 

We've been rereading Charlie & the chocolate factory, so tonight we thought we'd revisit the original movie. 

We watched the Tim Burton one recently but for me, the original will always be the one. What about you? Are you a Charlie purist?

Month in review: January


It looks like January was all about relaxing on the water with trips to the beach house, Australia Day trips to Peel Island, some paddle boarding sessions and Ollie starting sailing lessons.  

The rest of the time was all about Star Wars with Ol's seventh birthday party that saw me fashion a tonne of icing into a Tatooine sunset topped with an asteroid shower and a GIANT death star.

Ollie's Star Wars 7th birthday party


Birthday parties - you all know I love them like crazy.  I've got nothing to hide anymore.

This year I didn't really have anything firmed up theme wise until just before Christmas.  I was contemplating a water play/slip n slide party because lets face it, a party in January is going to be HOT!

But one day out of the blue Ollie asked me if he could have a Star Wars party.  Being a huge Star Wars fan it was like a dream come true so I madly started pinning every Star Wars idea I could find.  Naturally the next day he declared that he no longer wanted a Star Wars party.  Well too bad buddy, once I've committed to a theme there is no backing down!!

Luckily pinterest is ripe with a million suggestions for this theme and I went about adapting and downright copying as many as I could.  I figure why reinvent the wheel?!


The party food table was a LOT of fun with Princess Leia buns, Jabba Jigglers, Tie Fighters, Obi Wan Kebobis, Wookie Cookies, Thermal Detonators and many more.  Honestly I think the grown ups got more of a kick out of it than the kids. 

For party bags I whipped up a certificate signed by Yoda, light sabre glowsticks, stormtrooper badges, and assorted evil sugary treats.  They were also meant to take home their light sabres (see below) but a number of parents politely declined and to be honest I can't blame them.  We've had some pretty epic light sabre battles rage on since then and it does get pretty out of hand.

There was also a cake.  It was ridiculously over the top.  There is no denying that.  It was a giant death star (made of styrofoam to keep it light enough not to squash the rest of the cake), an asteroid belt and a Tatooine sunset with R2-D2, Yoda and a Jawa.  I had a heap of fun making this cake, although it didn't look like it was all going to come together at one point and I didn't really know what it was going to end up looking like.  Thankfully it all worked out in the end, Ol was suitably impressed, kids ate it and I didn't have to rush out to the cheesecake shop for a replacement.




I organised a bunch of activities like pass the death star - the same as pass the parcel but you got to choose a little prize if you were holding the death star when the music stopped - death star cantina tune of course!

We also had Stormtrooper bowling with Stormtrooper masks attached to giant inflatable bowling pins, blaster practice where we used nerf guns to shoot ping pong balls that looked like death stars and a death star pi├▒ata.  Death stars were everywhere.  I actually got totally sick of saying death star.

But like all well laid plans, things didn't quite go smoothly.  The other activities were fun but as soon as Nick brought out the giant basket of light sabres that I'd made from pool noodles (about an hour earlier than I'd planned) it was on for young and old.  The kids basically spent the rest of the party absolutely flogging each other with the things.  To be honest it was pretty awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed whacking a few of them myself.


Friyay: light sabre battle



Toasting the end of the first looooong week back at work while an epic light sabre battle takes place nearby.

Bring on December!!

Month in review: December



Christmas, Christmas and MORE Christmas. But we wouldn't have it any other way.

We got our Christmas kindness on,  made badges for school pals, wrapped a squillion presents and had an early present of a trip to the Brickman Experience.    

We even snuck in a sneaky camping trip to Straddle and rang in the New Year with a great bunch of friends.

Christmas: five more sleeps!


How can there only be five more sleeps until Christmas?

We've gradually been getting our Christmas on around here and last night was the great gift wrap-a-thon. I subscribed to the more is more philosophy and the pressies certainly look pretty dang festive!

Childhood unplugged: Camping at Straddie

We got the jump on the school holidays with a sneaky little camping trip to Straddie the last weekend of school.  Our favourite camping buddies joined us and as usual, the kids had an absolute blast.

I put together a movie of what a great time they had.  Check it out and tell me that our little ones don't just have the loveliest existence.


Manlyversary



We live in the most amazing little patch of the world.  Right on Moreton Bay we have gorgeous islands and beaches practically on our doorstep while we can also be in the city in only 30 minutes.  

Although we haven't always lived here.  Despite spending the majority of my life based in Brisbane, I had absolutely no idea that this gorgeous spot existed until five years ago when we were given the amazing opportunity to live in a house in Manly.  Of course we jumped at the chance and despite initially thinking it would only be for a year or two, five years on we are completely hooked on this place and can't ever see ourselves leaving.


To celebrate our five years we hosted what was known as our "Manlyversary"!  A chance to have some of our favourite people from the area around for a good old fashioned shindig.

Near summer weather meant that it had to be an outdoor affair.  I was thinking long table, twinkling lights and old school punch.  With that as a brief, I think we pretty much nailed it.







Monthly wrap-up: November


How did it become November?  Nothing against the month, it's been super really.  Lots of warm weather, late days, celebrations and good times.  But now that it is over it means it is December.  I am SO not ready for it to be December!!  One of these years I'm going to be organised and totally across it all.  Not this year though...

My kids are spoilt! Acts of Christmas kindness.


My children are spoilt.

I'm not talking full blown, Veruca Salt screaming "I want it NOW!!!" while coveting a golden goose.

More along the lines of having four sets of grandparents who like to show their love for them through treats and gifts.  Thankfully it's not ponies or giant stuffed giraffes, just a book here and a toy there.  But it does create a certain degree of expectation.  They are starting to think that they are entitled to new things WAY too often.

With Christmas coming up, I wanted to take the focus off the receiving of gifts and make it more about helping others and spreading joy.  I looked into creating an advent calendar of kind acts we could do each day in the lead up to Christmas.  While this is a fantastic idea in theory, I'm already anxious about all the balls I'm juggling plus whether the house is tidy, do we have clean clothes and food to eat and cripes, have I taken any photos of my children lately??  I didn't want to make it a chore that I would resent and have me hiding in the pantry eating crisps and drinking wine (that may still happen - probably on Friday night. And Saturday.).

So what I have done is put together a list of acts of kindness that we can hopefully perform throughout December.  Some of them take very little time or money.  Some require planning, others are spontaneous.  Each of them will hopefully help my little ones to spare a thought for others who are not as fortunate as them, to think about how a small act from one person can brighten another's day and of the importance of thanking people within our community for the great job that they are doing.

Here they are, in no particular order.  Thanks to some of my lovely instagram friends for some of the ideas, and to pinterest for others.

1. Christmas wishing tree appeal - we have been doing this one each year since Ollie was born.  Now the kids are old enough to choose a toy for a boy or girl the same age as they are and we always talk about the child on Christmas day, wondering whether they are enjoying their new scooter or doll.   For Details can be found at your local Kmart or here.

2. Foodbank Christmas drive - Foodbank feeds 100,000 people each week in South East Queensland alone.  Apparently a heartbreaking 50% of them are children.  We will be buying a few extra non-perishable items and popping them into the donation points to help to fill some little (and big) tummies.  Click here to find details of a food drive in your local area.

3.  Cards to friends and family - Christmas kindness doesn't just have to be acts of Charity.  The kids will be writing cards to their friends to let them know that they are wishing them well for Christmas.

4.  Pillowcase presents - we are planning to combine a crafty activity with an act of kindness by dyeing some colourful pillowcases to send to the kids at the Children's Hospital to help brighten their surroundings.



5. Free ride - how to make a little kid's day?  We are putting together some little notes to tape to the kiddie rides at the local supermarket with a $2 coin so the lucky finder can enjoy a whirl around on us.  I'm super excited about this one, probably because I'm just a big kid!

6.  Thanks to the boys and girls in blue - it's important to me that our kids respect the people who keep our community safe, so we will be taking them a big old box of chocolates (I thought doughnuts but that was probably a bit too cheeky) to help them get through their night shift.

7. Thanks for the lessons - gifts for the teachers in their lives to thank them for all they have taught them this year.

8.  Aussie Helpers - It's a pretty tough time to be a farmer at the moment.  We plan to buy a bale of hay to help the starving animals through Aussie Helpers, an organisation that supports farmers and their families.

9. Books we love - as a family who love books, we thought it would be fun to leave a few books that we have enjoyed in locations around our area with a little note that we hope the person who finds it will enjoy reading it.  I want this one to work, but I am a little worried that it might simply be well intentioned littering.  What do you think?

10. Donate clothes and toys - this one is an absolute necessity before the haul of Christmas pressies from those well meaning Grandparents arrives.

11.  Have a nice day - still a work in progress, we are thinking of leaving some little notes around in public places (perhaps the mirror in the ladies' room at the shops?) wishing people a great day or telling them how nice they look.

12.  Coins to the guide dog - my kids have always loved putting coins into the guide dog money box at the supermarket.  So it will be quite the treat when I let them loose with a big bag of silver that we have been collecting throughout the year.

13. Bound for Bali - The Care For Kids orphanage in Bali has a list of items that are currently needed.  Having been to Bali quite a few times, I'm hoping our kiddos will really grasp this one.

14.  Great job - one of our lovely neighbours puts everyone in the streets rubbish bins out the day before the garbage truck comes.  This definitely deserves a little gift with a note.

15. It's in the bag - Share the dignity is an organisation that helps homeless women and women in need.  We will be filling a spare handbag with items like wipes, toothpaste, toiletries and sanitary products. You can find details of collection points (before 11 December) here.

16. Movie night - who doesn't love a family movie over the school holidays?  We are hoping to brighten someone's day by taping a single packet of microwave popcorn with a little note to the dvd vending machine at the local shop.

So there you go. Just a few things to help us make the festive season more enjoyable for others and also to teach my littles that there are more important things than presents.






Choc top ice creams


Who doesn't love a choc top at the cinema?

In a week we are having a little shindig here with an outdoor movie for the kids. So I've been working on my cinema snackage. This afternoon's triumph: teeny tiny choc tops.

These guys are a winner hands down, not only because of that great crunch you get when you bite into them but also because you can have them made before the event.

Extra awesome thing about them? They are easy peasy to make.

The key seems to be keeping them from melting while you're making them.  I just scooped some slightly soft ice-cream into flat bottomed cones before quickly whacking them back into the freezer while I whipped up the chocolate topping. 

Melt 100 grams of dark chocolate and 40 grams of copha together in the microwave. Let it sit for a few minutes to slightly thicken up before quickly dunking each ice-cream into the mix. I wouldn't do more than two or three at a time, you don't want melty bits running down the sides.

Once they've had a really good chance to go solid in the freezer you can pop them into individual plastic bags then keep them frozen until you're ready to whip them out for movie night.

Movie: Nat & Dave's wedding


As far as fun weddings go, I'm pretty sure this one takes the cake!

Having already had their gorgeous little family, Nat & Dave wanted a really relaxed and fun event for their friends and family who had joined them from Sydney and the UK.

They totally nailed it with a dance floor that did not empty and guests taking over the microphone for some (thankfully well executed) tunes. No one wanted it to end.  Which is possibly why you might have found us all in the carpark to the yacht club at 2am drinking champagne and eating pizza.

So. Much. Fun.