Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Making an Easter Cake (and a 29th birthday cake!)

Happy 29th Birthday to me today!
In all the fuss of moving, I hadn't really thought about my birthday this year, plus 29 is obviously not a massive birthday to celebrate (can't wait to do something fun for my 30th next year!) but I always love having a cake made for me (or making one for myself!)
I saw a cute Easter cake on the 'Easter Mums' Facebook group that Nikita Falconer posted, and thought it would be cute to replicate for a combined Easter/birthday cake!

You'll need some Easter eggs, Malteaser chocolate bunnies, some candy flowers (found in the Baking section at the supermarket), some chocolate spider nests (melt a block of cooking chocolate and add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a packet of Chang's fried noodles and make nests using silicon patty pan trays - refrigerate until set), some green icing with coconut for grass, and either a baked or store bought cake - my favourite is the Woolies caramel mud cake! To make it a birthday cake I'm adding some bunting from Kmart and a candle.

Ice your cake - I made icing using butter, icing sugar, some milk, a dash of peppermint essence, some green food colouring and some shredded coconut. I didn't measure amounts because that's how I roll with baking! It's great having the coconut added to look like grass because it doesn't matter how rough it looks!

Add your decorations - a chocolate nest with eggs, flowers, eggs and bunnies. At this point you could serve the cake as an Easter cake!

I added the bunting and lit the candle, and it's an Easter-themed birthday cake!

So easy and delicious!! Yum!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Toy Storage in the new house

We've had to get creative with our toy storage as our new place is smaller than our last, and we haven't brought our cube units with us. You can read about how we used to store toys here.

In the girl's bedroom, we have a 4-cube IKEA storage unit with fabric boxes. The top two boxes have soft toys, and the bottom has random toys plus dolls items (see pic below). The unit used to be in our Sunroom.

Also in the girl's room is another taller unit (from The Reject Shop) which has puzzles in clear document walls, and books on the bottom, and then all play kitchen items in a tub above.

Above that is a tub for musical instruments. I'll share a blog post on what is in our musical instrument tub soon! The top cubby has nappy and change table items as it is next to the change table in the girl's room - I'll also share the girl's room soon!

At our old place we had nothing in our coffee table drawers, as we bought them just recently and didn't have anything to put in them.

Now we use the 2 drawers for small toy storage using these $2 Kmart pantry containers as dividers. We have cars, animals, small books and Duplo in these ones. At the side is a felt car mat.

In the other side we have random toys, wooden dolls, and small items in containers such as a wooden balancing game from Kmart, a small tea-set, a little bears playground in the old Coon container (this was mine as a child, hence the 20-year old container!), build-a-snowman kit, dominoes and Peppa Pig matching cards. At the side is a wooden fishing game and a Quiet Book.

We also have toys in the black boxes to the left of the couch in the living area.

These have all the 'baby-friendly' toys, so that we can easily grab a toy for Miss O who is 6-months old and putting EVERYTHING in her mouth!

We also have our kids book collection in the living area as well.

I've culled so much since moving, and it feels great!

We have as well (click on each to read each blog):

- a craft box (and playdough tub)

Unpacking the new house - Living Room

Our Living and Dining Room is complete! I'll let the photos do most of the talking:

Looking from the Kitchen:

Looking back towards the Kitchen, towards the entry/linen cupboard:

We used to have this grey futon in our Sunroom at the old house. We won't be keeping it here forever, but we have enjoyed being able to lay on a 3-seater, and so we will purchase a 3-seater in the future to match our 2-seaters.

Looking back towards the Kitchen:

Our desk space in the living room:

It's a nice, bright and open living space, and while it's not massive, I can imagine it will be quite cosy in Winter with the wood fire! It also leads straight out onto a covered deck, which is perfect for eating and playing outside!

Unpacking the new house - Entry & Linen cupboard

The entry and linen cupboard are complete!

We have used the hall table from our old place, as well as one of the girls Kmart hat trees. The white boxes under the hall table are for shoes.

This is our entry looking towards the front door. The shoe rack was originally in my built-in cupboard at our old house. The doorway to the left goes into the Master bedroom.

Looking from the front door, you can see into the living area where the fireplace is. I can't wait to have a real fire in Winter!

Our linen cupboard is all unpacked!

I've labelled what we have in our linen cupboard. I also store a spare set of single bed sheets (and 2 pairs of single flannelette sheets), and a spare set of cot sheets in the girls room, and a spare set of Queen bed sheets in our room. Brendan and I only have 2 towels each in a set, as I wash these fairly regularly, and I have the same for the girls. I have really culled our linen cupboard over the years, and it feels good not to have an overflowing linen cupboard!

Unpacking the new house - Guest Room

The Guest Room is the next space to be unpacked!

We had to sell the double bed that was in our guest room at our old place as the 3rd room is quite small and more like a sleepout. I had a timber single bed in storage (from when I was in Newcastle for Uni) and so it will work well in here for guests. I have kept the same Queen sized quilt.

The room has a great built-in cupboard, which is perfect for extra storage.

In the left hand cupboard I have, top to bottom, left to right:
 - party items & vases
- cushions
- My Winter jackets (I had lots of hanging space at our old house, and not much here, and even after culling 3 massive bags of clothes, I still can't fit everything into the Master bedroom built-in!)
- Our wedding sentimental items box
- Stationery on the next two shelves
- wrapping paper
- Craft tubs: ribbons, paints, playdough and our busy box (and our big wedding album)
 - laptop case, new chopping boards & a foam roller

In the right hand side I have, from top to bottom:  
- the old curtains that we took down and are storing so that we can put them back up if and when we move from the rental, plus our Christmas tub from Kmart and some photo albums
- more photo albums
- Brendan's books
- Some of Brendan's cycling & music gear (tools etc.) plus our photobooks
- My books
- Brendan's school resources are in the bottom 2 drawers

I love that the room is fully organised, and ready for guests! Hopefully it stays neat and tidy!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easter Fun!

Easter was the theme for craft and baking this month!

At Playgroup she decorated an egg shape and a bunny -

At daycare she decorated a bunny -

At the library she made an easter basket out of a paper plate that she had decorated -

At home we made 'ice cube watercolours' to do some painting. They are so easy! Just fill an ice cube tray with water, then add 1-3 drops of food colouring to each cube, depending on how strong you want the colours to be. Add a popsicle stick to each (I broke mine in half) and then freeze overnight.

The watercolours glide easily, and look great! Miss M painted some patterned easter eggs on paper. Make sure you do this activity outside or have some newspaper underneath, as food colouring can stain.

Our completed artworks!

We also tried some peg pom pom painting. Take a peg and add a pom pom, and then dip the pom pom end into paints, and use like a dabber.

More finished artworks!

We also did some good old fashioned colouring in!

My good friend and I got together one afternoon and did some craft, baking and playdough activities with our kids. We made cute little toilet roll bunnies out of toilet rolls, coloured paper, googly eyes, a pipe cleaner and a pom pom for his tail.

We also made these super cute and incredibly easy bird nests for our easter eggs. Using a normal chocolate spider recipe (a block of cooking chocolate or 2 packets of chocolate melts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a packet of Chang's fried noodles - melt the chocolate and add the peanut butter & noodles, then put in the fridge or freezer until set) we created our nests and then placed our easter eggs in them once they had set. So delicious and fun to make!

I had purchased some cookie stamps from Coles this year for only $4, and for a change from making cookies, we used them with playdough! The kids had lots of fun!