Friday, December 20, 2013

Advent Swap Round-Up

opps!!! I forgot to do this on Wednesday!

Day #12
Good things start with B

Orange Fabric and Orange buttons! I actually already have a plan for these two items!!

Day #13
Frankly my dear, I'd like cake.

I LOVE this Frankie Magazine Afternoon Tea cookbook! It has some amazing recipes which I am totally going to try out for Christmas!
And I can NEVER have enough orange ribbon!!

Day #14
Beware the orange talons!

I Love nail polish. I used to always paint my nails. I haven't in such a long time. I think this is the perfect opportunity to start up again!! As well as all the AMAZING nail painting ideas on Pinterest!!
That Christmas bauble is too adorable!!

Day #15
I got layers!

When I opened this present I laughed so much! Layers!! A peeler!! Hilarious!
And I LOVE LOVE that bracelet! Gorgeous!!

Day #16
Walk this way

This present is so me it isn't even funny! I have always being a bit weird unique and when I was younger I had a pair of roman sandles, not because it was what we had to wear but because I wanted to have them. They didn't have any orange ones when I had mine, they were blue, but this notebook is too awesome for words!

Day #17
Here's to a hot day & 3 favourite colours

These water bomb balls are going to get a major workout when we go on holiday after Christmas!! I think the band aids might too!!

Day #18
An orange blast of retro past.

I love apricots. I'll begin with that! YUMMO
The Love Heart Lollies are hilarious!
And the postcards. Well ......

How can I even describe the beauty in these retro fashion shots!!!
I honestly can't wait to take these on holiday and send my friends postcards!

Day # 19
I've got my eyes on you.

Miriam you are hilarious!!
The little bag of eyes! Too funny, and I can think of so many projects to use them.  And thanks soo much for all the awesome orange fabric! I am going to have fun learning to use my sewing skills next year!

Day #20
Try a little flexibility.

I am very slowly trying to swap out all my kitchen equipment to orange. I have some hideous green stuff from when I first left home and went flatting! So this is such a great addition to my collection!!

Miriam I can not thank you enough! You are making me start my day with a laugh and a smile. I am blown away with the thought you have put into each gift and I feel so blessed!!

Go check out Miriam and her amazing blog Create Hope Inspire


I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful matter how simple it is.

I am loving that my biggest brother is moving back from Australia after being away for 13 years.  These cousins are loving being able to spend heaps of time together, just like cousins should!

I am loving having summer milkshake and ice cream dates with these gorgeous kiddies of mine.
I am loving that here in Whangarei we have some beautiful places to hang out.

It's all about who you know!
I am loving that because I have a friend who just also happens to be the Northland Rugby team mascot that I get great photo opportunities like this one!!

I am loving that after having these orange tiles in a box for sooo long that they are finally on the wall in my new bathroom.
On a small side note I am not loving that the bathroom still isn't finished!

Joining up with Meghan at MNMs

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Grief

I was doing ok.
I have been sooo busy I haven't had much time to think.
But it snuck up and surprised me.

I miss my husband more than ever around this time of year.

Christmas is all about family to me. So having Jason not here really hurts. A lot.
I watch my friends prepare for Christmas, see them working together with the men in their lives putting together kids presents, seeing Dads getting involved at end of year parties. My heart aches.

My heart aches that my kids don't have a Daddy to love them.
My heart aches that I don't have my best friend to hold my hand.
My heart aches for the life we are missing out on.

This will be the 4th Christmas without Jason.
It hasn't got any easier.
Yes life is going well for us. We are coping well. I have a really great routine going and we are working great as a little family of 3.
But this time of year is still hard.
Especially when the feelings sneak up on you unexpectedly.
I should have known they were coming. But they still surprised me. I really thought that after all this time I might deal with it better.
But the tears still flow and my chest feels tight and my heart aches.

And I miss him so very much.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kiwi Christmas Ornament Swap 2013

I have really enjoyed getting involved in lots of swaps this Christmas season.  I know that I am going to get much more involved in this sort of thing over the next year and dust of my crafting hands!!

These are the ornaments I made for the swap

I got some wooden curtain rings and wound the red and white ribbon around. Then I attached some bells and Christmas ribbon to finish them off. Fairly simple and cute I thought.
Thanks Pinterest for your ideas!! Here is the original pin I got my idea from.

So here are the ornaments I received


Only one of these talented ladies is a blogger and also the host of the swap Sew Funky - She made the gorgeous sequined star in the bottom pic. Not sure if it's crochet or knitting.
LOVE all my ornaments and I am definitely signing up again next year!

Check out the other participants HERE

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday Advent Roundup

I am loving this advent swap! Every day both my kids and I are so excited to see what is in my present. Miriam has certainly made me smile every day! I love the thought that has gone into each gift and the orange theme is classic!!

Day #5
If it has to be done it might as well be yum.

Yum is right!! I am not a big fan of cooking but I am giving these a good try! They sound delicious. And I ADORE nuts, I have to admit that bag was empty the same day I opened them!! So yummy!!!

Day #6
So Pointy

 I can NEVER have too much orange thread!! And I was just complaining that my needles were blunt when I was making my Advent presents! Perfect!

Day #7
For the days when large and loud are the 'flavour' of the day.

 Ok how cool is this recycled juice packet bag!! I have got to say it is one of the coolest things I now own!! And I am super glad that giant pencil comes with it's own sharpener!! Try putting that one behind your ear!!!

Day #8
For subtle hints of hope

 Orange essence ... smells sooooo good!!! And that star ornament is A.Dorable!! Did you make it yourself Miriam?

Day #9
Kick back, relax & take the easy way.

Mmmm jelly!!! I LOVE the orange cocktail umbrellas and the fabric is going to be on my pile of think of something cool to make pile!! It's quite perfect as my goal for 2014 is to learn to sew properly!

Day #10
You're just a softie really :)

So I think this has got to be my favourite gift so far! It is soft and snuggly and oh so cute!! I had to wrestle it off Abbey after I opened it!! I love cushions, I might even have too many ... na! There is no such thing as too many cushions!! I absolutely LOVE that fish fabric!

Day #11
Don't sit for too long in one position you'll get .....

This is the most adorable Pin & Needle cushion EVER!!! Love!

Miriam, I can't thank you enough! I am loving ALL these amazingly thoughtful gifts. I have been truly blessed this Christmas!!

Extra Curricular Activities - Part Two; Girl Guides

When Riley started Cubs I decided I wanted to get Abbey into Girl Guides. I knew that girls could join the Scouts but I wanted Riley and Abbey to have their own activities.  They are at home together, they go to the same school they do most things together so it was important for me to let them have something that was individual and apart from each other. Something to call their own.

When I was a little girl I remember being a Brownie.  I remember going on Brownie Camp and doing lots of fun activities. I remembered how much fun I had as a kid at Brownies and thought that Abbey would enjoy it too.  She was too young to be a Brownie so she joined the next group down, The Pippins.

Showing off her sash full of badges

Abbey LOVES going to Pippins.  She has made a bunch of new friends, done lots of crafty things, gone on camp, got involved in ANZAC Day, visited the SPCA, the Pools and even Lazer Maze.  She has so much fun there.

Pippins & Brownies at Waitangi

Girl Guides is so empowering for young girls. It shows them they can do anything. They do so much cool stuff! Like Scouts they earn badges, go on camps and do outdoorsey things. They do crafts and have fun. They encourage and support each other. It is a wonderful place to be.

Toasting Marshmallows at the camp fire

Abbey's last Pippins meeting for the year is going to be similar to Riley's last Cubs one. It will be all the groups together lots of different aged girls from all over Northland. We are heading out to the beach for loads of end of year fun.

Since the last meeting is at the beach I thought I'd give the Pippins leaders their thank you gifts tonight at the last meeting at the Clubrooms.

They were thrilled and I also got a lovely picture of them with Abbey.

Abbey & her Pippins Leaders

Abbey has only 3 more terms as a Pippin then she will move up to be a Brownie. I can't wait for more camps and activities to be parent help with!! I think I am having as much fun as the kids are!

So what kind of extra curricular activities do your kids get involved in? And do you enjoy it as much as they do?!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Extra Curricular Activities - Part One; Scouts

My kids don't play sports. I am secretly pleased about that. I'm really not a sporty person. I never played sports and I'm not a big fan of watching it. Don't get me wrong, if my kids showed an interest in playing sport I'd give them all the encouragement and do the driving to sports practices and games etc and shout from the sidelines. In fact Riley did play Cricket for a season and I was at every single Friday night game cheering him on. Thankfully But he decided to not play the next season. Sports isn't something I would actively encourage my kids to get involved in unless they showed an interest.

My Kids are Scouting and Guiding kids instead.

I first got Riley involved in Cub Scouts because I thought it would be a great way for him to get some really good positive boy time. Living in a house with two girls the poor guy hasn't got much of a chance! Jason was a Scout as a boy and I know he would have been so encouraging and supportive of Riley becoming involved. (Jase also would have encouraged sports eekk bad me!!)

First night in his uniform as an invested Cub Scout

Scouts Salute

Riley has LOVED cubs. He has a really cool troop with 3 awesome leaders.  He has had 100% attendance (apart from one camp that he was ill for) He won a prize for awesome Fundraising and he marched in the Santa Parade this year.  He has grown confidence and has developed a great relationship with all 3 leaders and the bunch of boys (and the couple of girls) that go every week. 

Marching in the Kamo Santa Parade

I like the idea of scouting as it encompasses so many different things. They encourage outdoor activities and getting rough, tough and down right dirty.  All the things that Riley misses out on living with two girls.

ANZAC Day Dawn Parade 2013 Hastings

 Riley also learns many positive and important life skills. He learns discipline, respect & honour.  He learns if he works hard he can get rewards for his work. He learns how to work as a member of a team.

Riley's first Personal Challenge badge - Collector.

Through Scouting Riley will have the opportunity to go to lots of places and do lots of things that I wouldn't ever take him to or do with him.

I am a great believer of letting people know they are appreciated.  I have always given gifts to the kids Pre-school/Kindergarten and school teachers so I decided I needed to let the Cub & Pippin's Leaders know how much I appreciate the time and effort they put into the kids.

Riley has 3 awesome Cub leaders. Akela, Kaa and Chil.  All three of these men take time out of their personal time to be involved. They spend time each week and on many weekend events making programmes and doing activities with the kids.  These men don't get paid, they volunteer their time.

So like the school teachers I decided to put together an end of the year thank you gift for the Guys.

Using THIS nifty little idea from Pinterest I decided to make the guys their own personal Cub Leader mugs filled with goodies.  I really hope they enjoy their gifts!!

We have one more Cub night this year which is a combined Shared Dinner/Party with all the Scouting troops from Kamo. It should be a fun evening.

I really look forward to seeing what Riley's troop gets up to next year and since I am now on the Scout committee I can get more involved in everything that happens.

Stay tuned for Part Two .... Girl Guides!!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Silly Season

Christmas is a really busy time of the year for most people.  It sure is for me. This year is a little bit busier than usual with various stuff going on. The short version is I have 2 of my nephews here and will soon have my Brother and his Wife here too.

I am LOVING having the kids and I am REALLY looking forward to my brother and sister-in-law arriving and staying with me.
Having four children in the house does make things a lot busier though!

So I apologise in advance for the slowness of my blog posts!

I am busy putting together teacher gifts and gifts for the Pippins and Cubs Leaders. I have Santa Parades and Summer Shows to write about. I have Advent stuff and Jingles the Scout Elf to tell you about too.

I'll get there I promise!! I have been taking the photos!!

So hopefully after I sew on a million (slight over exaggeration!!) badges onto My daughters Pippins Sash ready to get more badges tomorrow, and finish all the gifties I might have a little bit more free time to blog about it all!!!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Advent Roundup

Instead of posting every day about what Miriam has gifted me in the advent swap I thought I'd do a post every Wednesday instead ......

Day #2
Retro cup-o-tea?

I LOVE Orange and I LOVE Retro and this is just the best Tea-towel ever!!!!! It is going to look fabulous when I get my kitchen renovated!!, I actually think it's going to be too good to use .. it might end up on the wall yet!

Day #3
Ball of Joy all zipped up.

Jaffas!!!!!! mmmmmmmm YUMMY!!!
And an adorable little zip up pouch. It will definitely come in handy for my toiletries when I go camping! LOVE!!

Day #4
A bit of orange-advent-family time.

A GORGEOUS book called 'A Celebration of Christmas'. It is filled with Christmas songs, poems, carols, stories, prayers, recipes, jokes and activities! I am so in love with it. The illustrations are beautiful.
Along with the book were the ingredients to make a Christingle. I am going to get some oranges this week to make some with the kids, I just love the idea of the Christingle.

Thanks so much Miriam, all of us as a family are so enjoying opening these presents every morning and they are most definitely making me start my day with a smile!