Thursday, January 23, 2014

Some recent sewing...

I've been busy, busy, busy, sewing lately.  I'm really happy with my latest creations.  Here's some pictures...

This twirl skirt with built in shorts (perfect for Esme who is always on the move!) from Tie Dye Diva


A reversible cross over dress for Esme.  I used this pattern but changed it around a bit to include buttons at the shoulder.  

Appliqued tops for both Gideon and Esme.  I also made two pairs of Big Butt pants for Gideon - one with an owl theme and the other the very hungry catepillar - the same as the ones from this post.  Gideon is almost too big for the big butt pants now which is a bit sad! 

I couldn't not include some pictures of the kids showing off their new clothes!  I love that they are always so excited about the things I make for them!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


Meet our Scoby! I know, it doesn't look very attractive does it?! But it's actually very healthy.  Scoby stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast and it is used to make Kombucha which is a fermented product.  We have been brewing our own Kombucha for a couple of months now.  We haven't always been consistent with it but this year we are planning to put a bit more effort in and experiment with some different flavours as well. 

I quite like the taste of it and happily drink a small amount of it each day.  The kids seems to like it in small doses as well, which is a bonus.  It tastes kind of like fizzy apple cidar with a bit of a vinegar-y kick (I think I really only like it because of that - I'm one of those strange people who love vinegar!)  Chris is not so keen on it at the moment! 

It is very easy to do.  We were given our 'Mother' (original Scoby) by a friend and have gone from there.  We generally leave it a few weeks to ferment to get it to the right 'flavour' and then start a fresh batch.  A fresh batch simply means brewing up a litre of tea with 1/3 cup sugar, leaving it to cool then taking the 'baby' scoby that has formed on the top of the old scoby with a cup of the liquid and adding it the new tea.  Easy! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 - the year that was!

I'm rather a little late writing my summary of last year (although I'm sure if you look back at the blog you will notice a similar trend in previous years!)  2013 was a very busy year for us.  I knew it would be but I didn't expect it to be quite as bad as it was.  I feel like I never had a moment free!  It has been an amazing year though.  We have had some unexpected surprises along the way that have us excited about the future. 

Jacob started Class 1 this year.  He started at a different campus this year and we were all a little worried about how he'd settle in.  But it's all happened so smoothly.  He has the most amazing teacher.  She is gentle, kind and compassionate.  She understands the kids she teaches so well and knows exactly what they need.  She has made the transition to the new campus so easy for Jacob.  We feel truly blessed that she will be Jacob's teacher for the next 5 years.  When you see Jacob alongside his peers these days you would never guess that he has Autism.  He made some incredible changes in 2013 (again, largely due to his teacher).  You may see a boy who is a bit reluctant to join in new activities or who doesn't always join in on group games in the playground but really that is not so different from some other kids.  He has his special friends in his class and is happy to play with them.  We still get the meltdowns at home but I think that's just the way things go with Jacob.  Hopefully, as he gets older we will be able to teach him appropriate ways to deal with these. 

Esme had her last year of Kinder this year.  For the first time in 4 years we will not have a child at Kinder in 2014 which feels a little strange!  She has loved Kinder this year.  She is the real little social butterfly.  She loves to play with all the other kids at Kinder and has made some beautiful friends, all of whom will continue on to school with her next year which is great!  She loves to play with all the boys too, getting involved in all their rough and tumble games and getting as dirty as possible.  She's very much looking forward to going to school. 

Gideon has grown and changed so much in the past year.  He is a real little boy now.  He loves to chase after the two big kids and terrorise them (he's getting his own back now for the many times they annoyed him!)  I've enjoyed having some one on one time with him this year when Esme has been at Kinder and Jacob has been at school.  He seems to be growing up far more quickly than the other two did which makes me a little sad.

I continued working one day a week in 2013 and have enjoyed my little bit of time away from the kids.  I will continue working one day a week next year as well, with a class that is mostly the same (which is a good thing as I've really enjoyed teaching the class I currently have). One day or work a week is perfect for me at the moment and I have no intention of increasing my hours anytime soon.  I am no longer the group leader of my local ABA group.  It's given me a bit of extra time and space and I have been able to manage going back on helpline once a month.  I enjoyed completing some craft projects although did not have as much time as I would have liked to this year (perhaps in 2014?!)

The most exciting thing that happened in 2013 was to do with Chris' chocolate business - FunKey Chocolates.   He started off the year making chocolates on a small scale - mainly for family and friends.  We thought it would all be too hard to get our kitchen approved by the Council to use for chocolate production.  He looked into hiring out commercial kitchens but that proved too expensive and too hard to do.  Towards the end of the year though we decided to just get someone out and see what we would need to do to our kitchen to get it up to 'standards'.  Imagine our surprise when the health inspector told us that our kitchen had passed and that Chris was able to trade!  He has since done two markets (one our school market day and one a big market in Upwey) and done quite well.  Easter this year looks like it's going to be a busy time in our household.  While it's been a lot of hard work especially given that Chris still has a full-time job and is making chocolates in the evenings/weekends, I'm glad that he has found something he loves to do.  We're both very excited about the future of the business. 

Happy New Year!  I hope that 2014 brings everyone great happiness!  

Friday, January 3, 2014

The new cubby!

Well, here it is!  The new cubby house is finally up.  The kids are loving their new space.  Yesterday they were dressed and out the door to play it in well before 8am!  The cubby house was a Christmas present from Santa (actually a second hand cubby house we bought on ebay).  We cleaned it and stained it (still a work in progress) and it has come up great.  There's still a few things we want to do on the inside but the kids are enjoying playing in it in the meantime.  I got a little wooden oven and sink to go in there as well (also from ebay) which the kids love.  Now to figure out what I can take out of the house and store in the cubby instead!! 

Holes dug and posts go in (not an easy job to dig holes here!)
The floor goes on. 
Eating lunch in their new cubby house!

One of the best Christmas presents yet I think! A huge thank you to our family who helped us put it up!

Homemade Washing Powder

We've been making our own washing powder for well over a year now (and it's probably been about that long since I've been meaning to blog about it too!)  Anyway, I am finally getting around to posting the recipe.  It works really well.  Sometimes I find that the soap in it doesn't dissolve entirely but that is because we generally wash in cold water.   The original recipe calls for borax but I prefer to use bicarb. All our family has very sensitive skin usually due to the extra 'perfumes' and added nasties in commercial washing powders so this homemade powder works really well for us.

Homemade Washing Powder

2 cups grated Velvet soap (2 bars)
1 cup lectric soda
1/2 cup bicarb

Grate soap finely in Thermomix (about 30 seconds on speed 8).  Add in lectric soda and bicarb and buzz in Thermomix until evenly combined.  Use one scoop per load (I use a scoop that is roughly 25gms) 

One batch of washing powder lasts me a month.  I do at least one load of washing a day.  At roughly $3 per batch it works out as a much cheaper option than most commercial washing powders! 
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