Sunday, February 20, 2011

{School Mum In Training} Lessons Learned So Far

Well, this year our family eased into 'school life' with Joshua (4.5 years) has started prep school two days a week. It is a wonderful way to get used to the world of big school for mother and child alike.

1. Always have a sharpie and a labeller handy!
2. Make lunchboxes fun as well as healthy. I have made very good friends with my cookie cutters and often cut sandwhiches and cheese slices into different shapes. He loves finding the surprises at lunch time.
3. For the first few weeks, talk through the lunch box with them and make sure they know what youve given them for morning tea and lunch. It helps them keep their day somewhat predictable and have something to look forward to.
4. There is A LOT of paper work that comes home each week. So I have made a folder that sits in my kitchen with sections for newsletters, general school info, awards, notes, term dates and office phone numbers etc.... This has been wonderful and makes it easy to know what's happening and organise what comes home.
5. Keep morning routine simple and predictable. Our morning goes breakfast, uniform, make bed and brush teeth.

But on thing has made these (potentially crazy) mornings very easy.For his first morning at prep I made a yoghurt parfait the night before and it was a hit on more than one level.

Firstly I layered a clear glass with:
2 spoonfuls of yoghurt
2 spoonfuls of strawberry fruit puree
2 spoonfuls of berries fresh or frozen
2 spoonfuls of yoghurt

Then out it into the fridge that night. At breakfast time take out of fridge and top with a sprinkling of meuseli or crushed cereal for a crunchy texture. This is a great way to use up the 'dregs' in the bottom of the cereal packets too! You can also chop some banana or other fruit on top. That's the beauty of this thing, personalise it to tastes and what you have on hand.

Cheap, easy, quick and healthy!!!

Lauren x

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

{Mr Magorium and My Bow Tie Boy}

I just love watching children play and imagine and it's so sad that we loose this as we get older. Recently we had family movie night and watched Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium whichh captivated our 4 year old beyond belief. He loved watching the craziness of the toys and the outfits (Eddie's hats and Mr Magoriums suits in particular).
This may have influenced him to put together his outfit for church last Sunday which I am kicking myself I didn't get a picture of. He chose to wear (no matter how I hinted otherwise) thongs, jean shorts his white button up and collared shirt and black bow-tie from his Aunty and Uncles wedding last October. ALL TOGETHER! So gorgeous. So, I found some fabric in my stash that Mr Magorium would swoon over and fashioned a Bow Tie for my boy. I had no idea how to start so I looked at his wedding one and just kinda guessed (helpful i know ;)

The basic idea of supplies was:
*2x large rectangles (mine measured approx 16cm x 13.5cm)
*2x small rectangles (mine measured approx 8.5cm x 11cm)
[NOTE: I would also have cut fusable interfacing if I had the right thickness on would have made finished product much sturdier]
*1x long piece of the same fabric about 7.5cm x 15.5cm to create the tube around the center of the bow tie (in hindsight this made almost enough for two so length could be much shorter even about half)
*1x length of thick sturdy elastic with enough length to fit around neck of your child

Method (without interfacing):
1. Place the same size rectangles right sides together and sew around with 1/4" seam leaving a few cms on the boarder to turn inside out.
2. Repeat with other rectangles.

3. Turn them out and top stich around the edge to finish nicely
4. Using your long piece, fold in half length ways right side together. Sew a 1/4" seam along the edge making sure to backstitch along both ends (this helps give seam strength when turning out on itself.

5. Place the small rectangle on top of the large one and center it. Run a little stitch a few times back and forwards in the middle to secure them together.

6. With the 'tubed center piece' place it around both rectangles to 'mask' the finish product and measure how much you need.

7. Sew it into a loop and cut off excess and turn inside out so seam is on inside (you'll have to take care making sure your seams match as closley as possible here for a good finish)
8. Tightly roll rectangles together and feed through the 'tubed centre piece' and then 'fluff out' (for lack of a better term) to reveal the desired look.
9. Using your measured elastic, thread through the tube and then stitch over the ends followed by a reverse stitch (I did this twice as I wanted to make sure it was sturdy).

10. Move the seam on the elastic so it's under the center piece to make the look more finished.

TADA!!! Told you it was easy. When I handed it to him he just loved it, but chose a fabric off the shelf and said "now Mum we need a bag to keep it in because this a very special bow tie". So with his chosen fabric I knocked up a quick carry bag for him to keep his tie in. Maybe he is catching the sewing bug like I have - hahaha!

This is such an easy project and you only need basic sewing skills. I just love the look of this I might just do one for me as a headband with some fabric a little more girly *ideas flooding head as I type* lol ;)

Lauren x

{Valentines Day Celebrations} My turn to organise it this year :)

Well, this year it was my turn to organise the surprise for "love day" as we call it in our house. Usually my husband organises a grand gesture, but I absolutley wanted a turn and loved spending the day (and then some) getting surprises ready for him! So here is what I came up with:
1. I decorated the house with handmade paper heart garlands - Love it!

2. This made the 'resturant area' just divine looking. Deceptive enough to make us forget we were home with kids asleep upstairs!

3. A Menu of Individual Garlic and Rosemary Lamb Racks with Rost Vegetables with a Chocolate Mousse and Shared Fruit Platter.

{Chocolate Mousse}

300g good-quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
1 tbs good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
400ml thickened cream, plus extra whipped cream to serve

1. Place the chocolate in a double boiler and stir until melted. Remove bowl from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Don't leave it for too long as it will harden and you will have hardened chocolate bits into your mousse. If you want to add a flavour to choc (coffee, liqueurs, essences etc...). I added a touch of brandy syrup I had in the pantry
2. Place eggs and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric beaters for 5 minutes, or until mixture is pale, thick and doubled in volume. Fold in cooled chocolate and cocoa powder until combined.
3. In a separate bowl, whip cream until thickened (don't over-beat). It is quite a rich recipe, if you want to tame it down a little, just whip 600ml of cream instead. Use a large spoon to carefully fold the cream into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep the mixture as light as possible.
4. Spoon intoserving glasses and chill in fridge for at least 1 hour. Remove from fridge 15 minutes before serving, then top with either extra whipped cream, grated chocolate and/ or fresh berries.

4. The Gift : Handwritten Book "All the Ways I Love You".
For a few weeks I compiled a list of the top reasons why I love my man. The top 20 quickly became the top 50, which quickly became the top 100. By the time I finished writing them all in the book, it was 102 handwritten reasons why I love him presented in a fabric envelope with a message on the front.

This experience should be a MUST do for married couples. To many times I hear people nag, complain and 'plateau' in the way they feel about their spouse. Showing the one you love that you love all the many things that make them, them is a very valuable thing. So I would love to hear if you attempt this for next years love day, your anniversary or just because.

Some examples of what I wrote (will only share a select few)
9. You show a work ethic that is God honouring and is a great example for our boys.
11. You love me having 'me' time.
18. YOU show our boys how to traet a woman with respect and dignity each day by how you treat their mother
31. You are an incredible steward of everything God hads given you.
46. I love how you can explain very complex concepts to people like me lol
50. I love your entrapreneurial spirit
54. I love how you have always planned for our future together
63. I love how you arrange 'acts of kindness' for people in our world when they need a hand
70. I love how you are always a voice of reason
81. I love how you genuinely marvel in the wonders of God's universe
98. I love how you just look at me sometimes - with no words.

Lauren x

Friday, February 11, 2011

{Feburary Lime Light : Meet POLLINI DESIGNS}

Pollini Designs isn't exactly a new addition to my blog, because I have told you about her before.
That is because I love her gorgeous jewellery and many little boxes under my Christmas tree last year contained her treasures for me to give away (hard not to keep them for myself).
Now I first fell in love with her products at the first Hide and Seek market and have bought many things from her since. So it is with MUCH excitement I introduce you to Polly from Pollini Designs. Here is the interview with her and the details of her delicious GIVEAWAY to HomemadeBy Lauren Readers! So make yoruself a cuppa and find out about the person behind the design ;)

Lauren x

{Giving Fabric Scraps a Second Life}

A couple of nights ago, I waa in a crafty mood (as I often am). This time however, I didn't feel like retreating to my desk and sewing machine or other crafty goods. I felt like sitting on the couch next to my man and doing something like hand stitching. I bought my sewing box down and some fabric scraps and before I knew it i had created a red felt backed fabric flower. I ended up making several and I turned teh first one into a ring which I LOVE. YOU can buy jewellery findings at your local craft store or from online craft supplies stores such as Craftumi.

Then, because I wanted one to wear out (but red wasn't the right colour) I made myself a black one too. This one is a little more dressy because its got more fabric on it and has a layer of black tulle (which I had left over from a headband I made last year) on the bottom which adds a really cool emement which I love.

What a cool way to use up some fabric scraps and add a awesome accessory to yoru wardrobe (what girl doesn't love some cool handmade accessories).

1. Your cutting doesn't have to be exact, the look is quite rustic and it doesn't need to be perfect. It actually looks better with a few little imperfections.
2. Choose a good glue. I used a combination of hot glue and "gem glue".
3. Once flower is glued to the ring base, cut a seperate felt circle that has a slit in the middle. Pop it over the under-side of the ring sliding the slit over the ring and glue it on. It makes it look more finished and hides any imperfections and threaded knots on the bottom.

Lauren x

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

{Yummy & Healthy Lunchbox Treats}

My 4 year old started prep school last week (a pre-school style program on the primary school campus). It is just a wonderful idea as it prepares and eases the students (and the parents) into school life. So because of this preparing lunchboxes are now a part of my week. I love finding treats that are healthy yet delicious for snacks at home, but things that are transportable and will cope in the heat and being tossed around in a school bag are now on my agenda.

Here are two recipes that I found in my recent Super Food Ideas magazine that were tried and tested today and both of my boys asked for seconds and thirds :) The best thing is these recipes are very simailar in ingredients so they are easy to make together.

Museli & Fruit Slice

1/2 cup chopped dried apple
1/2 cup sultanas

1/2 cup dried cranberries (gosh i love these)

1/2 cup self rasing flour

1/2 cup wholemeal self rasing flour
1/4 cup of brown sugar

1 cup nut free museli (if taking to school, you can't have nuts these days anywhere!)
1 cup reduced fat plain greek style yoghurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup of olive oil (i used rice bran oil i had on hand)

1. Preheat oven to 180' fan forced and spray oil spray in tin and line it with baking paper.

2. Place apple, sultanans, cranberries, flours, sugar and 2/3 cup museli in a bowl. Stir to combine.
3. Whisk yoghurt, egg and oil together in another bowl.
4. Fold through the fruit mixture until just combined.
5. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining museli on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Stand in pan for 5 minutes and then turn it onto a wire rack to cool. Cut into rectangles to serve.

Chewy Raisin and Oat Biscuits

1 cup raisins
1 cup cornflakes
3/4 cup of rolled oats

1/2 cup of self-raising flour

1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 olive oil (again, i used rice bran oil)

1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 180' fan forced and line a tray with baking paper

2. Comine raisins, cornflakes, oats, flours and sugar in a bowl.

3. Whisk oil, egg and 1/4 cup of cold water together in another bowl and stir into the raisin mixture.
4. Using floured hands, roll into balls and place a few cm apart. Flatten slightly and bake for 12-14 mins or until golden. Cool on tray.

Monday, February 7, 2011

{Super Kid!}

I had a birthday for a three year old boy recently and what better gift than a SUPER cool personalised cape to match the thriving imagination! The gift was not only a hit by the birthday boy, but my son (mr. 4) is putting in orders for his own "Super Cape". His favourite part was the star fabric on the under side and he frequently makes sure I "don't forget to buy star material mum" hahahaha!

Think I will have to get sewing, my son is putting orders on the table faster than I can sew :)

Lauren x

Thursday, February 3, 2011

{Hoot Hoot - House Guest Alert}

Today I had my brother over and we were just chatting and laughing as we often do. We were joking around about something and before we knew it, we were mocking up a pattern and a design to create someone very special. Before we knew it, there it he was. He still doesn't have a name, but he has a home for sure. And hasn't he made himself at home very quickly ;)

But there is one slight problem, my 4 year old informed me that he was lonley and needed friends.....I think I might need to spend some more time creating some new little friends for our new housemate (he needs a name too....hmmmmm).

Lauren x

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

{Kikay Designs Studio Here I Come}

I am completley giddy and beyond excited for this saturday. I will set this up for you (briefly). I have loved going to Hide & Seek markets in Sydney since they started in late 2010. I love finding out who the 'new faces' are too. I was very excited to meet Kikay Designs and it was the Kiss Lock Clutch that I fell in love with:

Then I won a gorgeous handbag in a facebook auction that was my first Kikay Bag experience. I just loved looking at the incredible workmanship that was inbuilt into this handmade bag.

When I got wind that there were going to be a workshop held in the Kikay Designs private Sydney studio, I jumped at the chance!

So, this saturday morning, I will jump in the car and travel into the studio with my machine in hand and get the chance to learn tips and tricks from the master herself! As I am somewhat new to the sewing world, this will be an incredible experience and will definitley share how it went :)

If you want to find out more check out Facebook and their Online Shop

Lauren x


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