Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Keeping it alive!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013
On February 18 this year I stopped blogging. It was the best decision I've made since I started my blog!

Since then I've opened up Instagram to my real-life friends and family; previously I kept the two very separate. Our Little Sins was my online space for online friends and Facebook was for my real-life friends.

Now it's all gotten so blurred and lots of my online friends are real-life friends and loads of real-life friends are online. So now it's all just friends.

And I've wanted to share my 100 Pantone Postcards project with people but haven't been able to as I set this whole blog to private. Now I'm opening up selected posts, just so people can see.

So "hi", and "bye". I'm still not sure whether I want to start blogging again, but until I do here's some of me.

kate x

Monday, 18 February 2013

The time has come...

Monday, 18 February 2013
I've deleted all my draft posts, Googled how to close a Facebook page and started telling people... I've had enough. 

I'm stopping blogging. 

When I finished my 100 Pantone postcards project last year it's like I ran out of steam. My mind was working in over-drive - so, so many ideas - but my ability to stay up late (the only time I can write) and my desire to write when the laptop was open just seemed to disappear. SO many ideas. Ideas for weekly things, and projects, and challenges, and cool things. I have books of notes and lists. Then I joined the gym and I quite like the gym. I started a new job, finished up my teaching contract. Then daylights savings started and the boys stopped going to bed at 7/7:30 and started going to bed later and later and later leaving me with no writing time. The pile of lists and ideas grew bigger. Occasionally I'd sit down to write and I would struggle. I'd struggle so hard to get anything out. There was so much to say but I'd be paralysed by all the thoughts. So I'd write a draft and promise I'd come back to it quickly. I wouldn't let this one languish in my drafts folder. Then I'd re-read it days or weeks later and realise it was rubbish. What I meant to say wasn't really in it. So I'd delete it and start something new. Then I'd realise it'd been weeks since I published and I'd panic and think 'I should get something up' so I'd shove any old thought up. Or a recipe. Meanwhile, my list of cool things would still be growing. But I also want to change my design, add new things, take away others...but I'm no techie and struggle to learn these things. But I don't want to pay someone to do it because my blog doesn't make me any money so how can I justify spending money on a 'hobby' like this? 

And really, until I sort it all out I need to free up the space in my head. So I'm stopping blogging and shutting down my Facebook page. 

The relief when I finally made the decision was uplifting. I felt like I could actually think about other things. I could enjoy doing things just for the sake of it and not because I could write about it. I've started projects I've wanted to do for ages. I'm actually referring to my Pinterest boards for things to do, not just pin and forget. 

Maybe I'll come back to it, with something slightly different. My blog was never meant to be what it is. But maybe not. For now, I feel like I can breathe again. 

When I started this I had no idea of the amazingly positive impact blogging would have on my life. I'm continually blown away at the wonderful women (and men) with whom I wouldn't normally have come into contact. I'm sad I'll miss out on things - calling myself a blogger and going to some cool events - but I'm hoping that the friendships I've made are real enough to withstand my lack of published words. And really, I'll still be around. In practical terms I'm keeping this blog public for another week then I'm setting it to private. But if you want to find me elsewhere:
Instagram ourlittlesins
Email ourlittlesins AT gmail DOT com
Pinterest ourlittlesins 

To everyone who's ever read or commented - thank you.  

kate x

Monday, 4 February 2013

Easy washi tape thank you cards

Monday, 4 February 2013
We celebrated the boys' birthdays last weekend with a party for their friends. It was lots of fun and the kids had a ball tearing around the traffic school on their bikes and scooters. There were a few spills but nothing serious! 

The boys received some beautiful and very generous presents and rather than just send text messages to thank everyone I decided to hand write them. I kinda like handwritten thank yous, and handwritten notes in general. I would love to have the boys write them but at four Chatterbox is just a little young; at two Little Cowboy is definitely too young. But I want to get them accustomed to thanking people properly for their generosity. 

I had so many ideas in my mind about how I was going to make the thank yous but the supplies I expected to be readily available weren't and after a few changes and ideas and cock-ups these ended up being the thank yous I sent. And they worked quite well. 

You'll just need some coloured paper or cardboard, washi tape, a fine black felt tip pen, a thicker black felt tip pen (preferably permanent), scissors and glue. 
I'd recommend working out which envelopes you're going to use before you cut the paper (mine were too big so I had to cut them further...). Cut the paper, cut the washi tape into little triangles, arrange on the page, draw little lines and write your message. Everyone loves bunting and they're simple, inexpensive and cute. Win-win-win! 
What have you made lately? 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

month in review: january

Sunday, 3 February 2013
:: a slow beginning; a quiet new year's day

:: a random meal - indicative of the food we eat. i baked blackberry and apple crumble for chatterbox because he'd seen it on peppa pig; he didn't like it



:: catch up with new, but already-very-dear friends, lots of play dates; we are so blessed to have such wonderful friends

:: last weeks of childcare for chatterbox; the relief is unbelievable. the poor kid just never took to this centre.


:: some HOT days; i'm so very grateful we now have air conditioning - we started what i think will end up being a summer tradition - sleeping downstairs on a blow-up mattress in the lounge room under the air con because upstairs is sauna-like

:: our first real trip to the emergency room because of an accident - little cowboy's split head (i really want to put a photo up but it's really very nasty!)

:: our first surgery - he needed a plastic surgeon to patch him up

:: i wore my spotty dress a lot




:: the outside of our house was painted and the innovator started to build his shed; a ceiling fan was installed in the boys' room - the house is coming together nicely!

:: there were some good workouts at the gym

:: a job interview; they were so lovely and wanted me but the role didn't really sound like something i wanted

:: there were lots of wonderful little moments
:: our family's first bout of gastro - the little boys were troopers

:: a fabulous blogging event; i fell back in love with target but i'm just a little jealous this gorgeous stuff wasn't available when the boys were babies
some of target's delightful range of baby products
:: we rediscovered story time at the library and realised little cowboy doesn't like it so we won't be going again for a while

:: not a drop of soft drink passed my lips. i will persist and see if i can make it another month...

:: i had many meltdowns over my boys' late bedtimes...i can't wait for daylights saving to end


still awake...
:: chatterbox turned 4, little cowboy turned 2. there were many birthday cakes and candles and celebrations!

:: the boys had a joint party at kew traffic school and it was fun!



:: we spent australia day down on the bellarine peninsula. i did some shopping and we went blueberry picking at tuckerberry hill

:: i worked out that my job is awesome, perfect for me, i just need to have courage to push back and the gumption to push on

:: marimekko bed linen can now grace our bed, but i learned a valuable lesson: don't assume that because it's sold in australia it will fit standard bed linen - the bloody pillow cases are too small and i didn't figure it out until after i'd washed them. annoyed the retailer didn't alert me at the point of sale

:: my darling uni friend alice gave birth to her twin boys

:: i was lucky to go to another blogging event - for chan's yum cha at home. who knew frozen food could be so good!? we don't eat any frozen food but we will be now!
quotes of the month:
:: the smallest deed is better than the greatest intention
:: the useless days add up to something. these days are your becoming

i read: the secret ingredient by dianne blacklock
i listened to (audio book): temptation by nora roberts

Monday, 21 January 2013

Happy birthday boys!

Monday, 21 January 2013

It’s January, which means Chatterbox’s and Little Cowboy’s birthdays. Straight off the back of Christmas it means a veritable toy fest but four years into this parenting caper we’re learning how to keep it to a minimum.

The boys are having a joint party for their close friends next week. A relaxed affair, there will be no theme and no styling. There will be sausages in bread, and cake. Chatterbox has requested the easiest cake in the world – a Thermomix chocolate cake. It’s insipid and plain as plain but who am I to argue with a four year old? After last year’s triple layer chocolate mud Malteser cake I’m keen for simple! Little Cowboy is probably having a number two covered in Smarties. I haven’t really decided and being two he doesn't care. 

More important than the party is the reminiscing about the time that has passed since the boys were born… And the celebrating we’ve made it this far. And the mourning that so many days have flown by.

I look back at the beginning days and weeks and months and laugh. I had no idea what I was in for. And everyone who said it gets so much easier in some respects but so much more difficult was correct. Some of the days we have now are delightful and the stuff I dreamed of when planning my future life. Others are tough. So much more tough than anything I’ve ever done before. But who’d change it?
::


Chatterbox

You are now four. You have been waiting for January for a long time. On the 1st you woke up and declared “it’s January so it’s my birthday”!

Clever and articulate and with a memory like an elephant, I am often shocked at your ability to process information. The other day you overheard me talk about ‘my mother-in-law’.
“What’s a mother-in-law?” you asked.
“Grandma is my mother-in-law” I explained, “because she’s not my mum, but she’s my husband’s mum.”
“Oh” you replied and went on your way. A few days later Daddy was telling a friend of his about something his mum did and you piped up “Grandma is Daddy’s mum, and she’s also Mummy’s mother-in-law.”

But you can’t say caterpillar, calling it a calla-pitter. You are so cute. “I love you Mummy” is my favourite thing you say. And you say it often. You ask for standing up cuddles, where I pick you up and squeeze you tightly while I’m standing up. Sometimes I’m too tired or achey to do it so we just sit on the floor.

At the moment you love your new tablet, your birthday present from Daddy. I don’t really like that you have your own tablet but I have to let Daddy make some decisions! You love to play Angry Birds Star Wars. Toy Story, Despicable Me and Bee Movie are the favourite movies this week. Two weeks ago you watched Wall-E four times. You don’t really like watching Peppa Pig on television so much anymore, which is a pity because Little Cowboy loves it! But you’ve been watching a bit of Charley Bear and Wubzy (or whatever it’s called).

You and Little Cowboy got 12 dollar coins and money boxes as part of your present from Jo-Ma and you love them. You tip the money out and put it back in the money box, then tip the money out put it back in again.

We’ve been reading more lately, and going to the library for story time. You would probably happily sit at story time but Little Cowboy won’t so I don’t think we’ll go again, unless I can leave him somewhere else! You’re getting a real kick out of finding books like Where’s Wally and books with flaps.

You told me this week you want to be a builder. Uncle Pete was a carpenter so I couldn’t think of a better profession! Really though, I don’t care what you want to do for a job, it’s who you are that I’m most interested it. Be a good person, be confident in your choices and always do what you know to be right. You told Little Cowboy he could be a fireman. I think he was happy with that!

You still wear a pull-up to bed at night but I suspect that will disappear this year. You took longer to toilet train than I thought you would but when it happened it was swift. You clearly just like to do things in your own time. You have a Lightning McQueen doona on your bed and you hate it when I change it so I can only really wash on sunny days so I can put it straight back on again!

Daddy introduced you to Nutri Grain so given a chance you’ll have it for breakfast every day. Sometimes you agree to eat toast with Vegemite or honey. You have a sweet tooth and ask for chocolate every day. But you don’t like lollies. You ask for cheesey pasta most often for dinner and you like carrots. But that’s about it. Sometimes you eat chicken or hamburgers or other meat, but often not. I'm sure these funny little food quirks will sort themselves out.

You’re going to a new kinder this year will no doubt be trying for you but I’m sure you’ll get used to it quickly and will love it as much as your old kinder. You're a big four year old now so I have no doubt you'll take it in your stride. 
::


Little Cowboy

You are nearly two. Just a few days off. Up until the end of December I probably would have described you differently but in the last few weeks something has changed. Your speech is incredible and your vocabulary is increasing so very quickly. I am often dismayed at the 7-8-9 word sentences you construct. Though it’s hardly surprising having Chatterbox as a teacher. My favourite is when you say “me wuvs you Mummy”. I love you too darling boy. 

You’re so boisterous and loud and rambunctious. I think you’ll be my ‘problem child’. We already had one trip to the ER last week with your split head but I envisage so many more. You climb and run and dance and are just so energetic.
 
But you are also sweet and snuggly and cuddly. You love stories and will listen to anything though Hairy Maclary is definitely a favourite. You constantly ask “what dat?” while I’m reading. You love to point and ask it all the time. Even for things you already know. You love animals – especially dogs. And you like to draw snakes. Peppa Pig is your favourite on television this week but until about ten days ago you insisted on watching Toy Story 2 or Toy Story 3 every single day.

You’re still sleeping in a cot but I’ve picked the bed I want to buy for you. I guess we now just have to make a decision. I think a part of me is reluctant to let you out of the cot because that means definitely no more baby. But really, you’re probably a bit too big for it!

You’re still my best eater – and you like most things I put in front of you. Cherries, grapes, watermelon, strawberries and kiwi are the favourite fruits, carrot and broccoli your favourite vegetables. You like chicken but not cheese.

You’re off to childcare again this year – just the one day a week. I think you like it. I hope you like it. I'm still not 100% confident leaving you in childcare but I'm sure as you can communicate more you'll be able to tell me exactly what you do and don't like and we'll go from there. 

::

I mourn the babies you both were – the time went just far too quickly – but am proud of the boys you are becoming. It is exciting to watch you grow and develop. Definitely brothers but so distinctly different, I can’t wait to see who you become. Happy birthday darling boys.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Things I'm loving...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Here are some of the things I'm loving right now... No real reason for any of them. I just kinda like some stuff now and then and feel compelled to share.

Crocs shoes


I entered a giveaway to win Crocs. Knowingly. Really. Because have you seen Crocs' range? It is awesome. And my new shoes are awesome. I won't be knocking Crocs again. Except those gawd-awful rubbery ones. They are still ugly. 

Fresh flowers

Especially when I don't have to buy them myself...

New carpet

We have new carpet downstairs. No longer will I have to apologise to everyone who walks through the door about the state of my grey-but-really-cream carpet. Now it's grey and wonderful and sooooo plush.

Raspberries 


MIL grows raspberries. We worked out she's picked more than $200 worth in the past two weeks. A great saving in my world!

Bakers Delight scrolls

Bakers Delight contacted me about trying some of their new range. I said yes because I like Bakers Delight and I like trying new things. Usually wheat products are out but, well, I do have times where I just want to rebel against not being able to eat them. If I only eat small amounts I can get away with it and that's how I managed to try these! If I was a more-constant wheat-eater I'd certainly be eating many more of these scrolls. Inexpensive and a great thing to take along to a play date for the mums, they're light and lemony and cream-cheesey. All the adults who tasted it loved it (though my boys weren't so keen)! If you want to try some yourself enter the giveaway (scroll to the bottom) to win one of three $20 vouchers. 

Flushable wipes 


A while ago I lamented Chatterbox's stubbornness when it came to avoiding going to the toilet. One day in August something changed and he's been a keen toilet-goer ever since. He's not what you'd call 100% au fait with all aspects and consequently I've had to use my flushable wipes. In the goody bag from DPCON12 I'm in love with them. They are now a staple item in our err... toileting repertoire.

Serendipitous supermarket specials

The Innovator's communication is somewhat unusual at times. He asked me to get cans of soft drink for a barbecue we had but couldn't tell me what type. Fortunately good old Kirks cans were on special so I got Creamy Soda, Passiona and Lemonade for $4 each.

‘Me time’ in the car

My new job is miles from home. Well, 35 kilometres to be accurate. And on a bad day it takes 55 minutes to get there and 1 hour 20 to get home. The time in the car with just my thoughts is bliss. I can think what I want and can continue the thought without interruption from a questioning child. 

Music from time past

After going to the gym for four weeks and lacking music I loaded my phone with some old music. It was kept in a folder called Noosa 2008. The Innovator and I drove to Noosa when I was 36 weeks pregnant and this had been my playlist. It was wonderful listening to some of my old favourites. 

Saltwater sandals


Love, love, love.

Kikki K A5 red diary



It was new diary day last Monday. I don't wait to start my new diary on January 1, I start it on the first day printed. This year it was Monday 3 December. Shiny new, not-ruined-by-a-child, smooth pages and clean. Love the beginning of something new and the impeccable-ness of it! This year Kikki K's designers changed the diary and although it's taking some getting used to, I really love it. Equal space for every day.

Going to the gym




I forgot how much I love that feeling of strength and agility. I love the muscle burn at the time, and the tenderness the next day. I love seeing the progress. Some numbers going up, others going down.

Cute toddler/pre-schooler words

"Mummy, want to play hoa-canger" (coat hanger) (Little Cowboy)
"Mummy, why did you buy a present with a calla-pitter?" (caterpillar) (Chatterbox)
"Mummy, want curdle..." (cordial) (Little Cowboy)

Giveaways

I love winning prizes through blog giveaways. You can win a prize too. Bakers Delight has given me vouchers for you. I have 3 x $20 vouchers. Leave me a comment telling me what you're loving at the moment. Most creative wins. As judged by The Innovator.

Entries open to anyone who can get to a Bakers Delight store!
Please leave me a way to contact you. If you don't feel comfortable putting your email addy in then email me directly.
Winners chosen on Wednesday 19 December at 8:30pm and announced/contacted that night.
Winners have 48 hours to reply with postal address or new winner(s) will be selected.

And the winners are Em, Lisa and Tamara. Girls, I've emailed for your postal addresses. Thanks to everyone who entered. 

So what are you loving at the moment?  

Monday, 10 December 2012

Portuguese custard tarts

Monday, 10 December 2012

At this time of year, like everyone else, we have Christmas parties, end-of-year get-togethers, birthday parties, drinks catch-ups and every other type of party/catch-up/get-together. With some groups it’s the only time of the year we see them. Others it’s just another excuse to gather again. At all there is always way more food than everyone can ever eat, which seems to be the way in every culture.

My staple for a little while was Portuguese custard tarts. With a long-time fear of baking and cooking with pastry I didn’t start things like this until a couple of years ago. But talk about stellar way to break me in. They’re a bit fiddly and not quick, but SO worth it. I forgot I could make them until last week when I spoke with a friend. “What would you like me to bring on Sunday?” “Ummm, er, if you have time, I’d love Portuguese custard tarts.” Done.

Portuguese custard tarts
½ cup caster sugar + 2 tsp
2 tbsp cornflour
3 egg yolks
¾ cup milk
½ cup cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
5 cm strip of lemon rind
1 sheet puff pastry
Melted butter for greasing pan, flour for dusting work surface

Pre-heat oven to 220 deg C (200 fan-forced).

Grease 24 x mini-muffin pan (I use melted butter).

In a large saucepan, place ½ cup sugar, cornflour, egg yolks, milk and cream and whisk until well combined.

Place over a medium heat, continually whisking until the custard begins to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

Lay pastry on lightly floured surface. Sprinkle with remaining caster sugar. Fold in half, then in half again, and again until it looks like a log.



Slice into 24 even rounds. Roll each round into a little ball and use a rolling pin to roll flat to fit into the muffin tin holes.

Spoon 1 heaped teaspoon of custard in each pastry cup and tap the tray on the bench to even the filling.

Bake for 12 minutes or until pastries are slightly browned and crisp. Cool on a wire rack to retain crispness.

Makes 24. I don't know how long they last. Ours have only ever lasted a few hours!

There would've been more but there was a bit of a mishap...

What have you been baking lately?