23 November 2012

Two things

I have discovered, through trial and error (well, mostly just error) that for the health and safety of my family and myself, there are two things I cannot do without in the mornings.

Item One:
File:Dark roasted espresso blend coffee beans 1.jpg

and Item Two:

Take away Item One - as I discovered this morning, quite noticeably - and I am Grumpy Snappy Mummy. Silly really. Perhaps this morning it was my extra need for a caffeine dose after having a very broken night's sleep.

Take away Item Two and I am again Grumpy Snappy Mummy, but in a more fundamental way. Going to the Source of Life at the start of a day that is always so filled with life is the only way for me to have a good day. These preschool days are so intense that I actually can't do it alone. I know this because I've tried. Can I save you the heartache of days where you shout at your beloved children and just tell you to make time for God in your day?

It seems so simple, doesn't it? Trust me, I know it's not always, but I also know now that NOTHING is more important - for me, for my husband, for my children, for my soul - than making this quiet time happen. It might be that the first and most fervent prayer I offer in the morning is, 'Lord, please help me to get out of bed,' but that's a great start. Recognising that it ain't gonna get done without Him!

My mornings lately have been a bit shoddy and lacking. What do you say we do this together? I'll encourage you and you encourage me. It's worth it. Promise.

21 November 2012

The best thing

Guys, I am so blessed.

This stay at home Mum-ing gig is the toughest, most intense and long-lasting thing I've ever done - doing! - but my goodness is it amazing! It's too easy to focus on what's been going wrong lately, so today I'm sharing what's been going right - because there actually is a lot!

It had been a long, dark winter full of sniffles, struggles, snot and general stuck-inside-ness, so now that the sun's back (most of the time!) we've got our groove back. And it's SO GOOD!

What a blessing it is to be able to be here for our kids, to know them and watch them grow, to see what makes them tick, what they enjoy, where they need help, to teach them about the Lord who loved us first so that we can love Him too. What a blessing it is to have really, really great friends who are doing the same. We've been having some fabulous times lately.

Picnics with friends after Ladies Bible Study on a Wednesday.

Trips in the "big blue car" with Papa to look at diggers and holes at the end of the driveway.

Fun friends play mornings.

Silly faces.

Soccer on the back lawn.

Being a Mum (or a Dad! But I know less about that...) is certainly challenging. But the rewards will always far outweigh the hard times. FAR outweigh. I really am truly blessed more than I could ever have imagined for myself.

19 November 2012

Handmade Christmas

This year I'm trying to get Christmas presents organised a little earlier than usual. ('Usual' being the week before Christmas.)

Pots of money has never been something that could describe our back pockets, particularly as we begin to contemplate sending our first child off to a private Christian school next year!

I'm looking forward to giving our kids handmade presents this year. I know what they like to play with (funny that, as I'm their mother!), and I've chosen something that I know (really hope!) they'll get lots of enjoyment out of. They are still young enough and lovely enough that even only one present is a big treat!

Anyway, they won't only be getting one present - that's what grandparents and aunties are for! Elliot has been adamant that he would like a 'croncrete mixer', rubbish truck and 'hydwaulic crane' - none of which I can make! So a phone call from me in Toyworld to a grandparent was all we needed to make that happen! I'm excited for Elliot. Rosie will be getting some more 'baby animals' (Littlest Pet Shop toys) from her Aunty Sarah.

I have decided to make a Car Caddy for Elliot (tutorial from Homemade by Jill).

And a family of hippos (her most favourite animal ever!) for Rosie, using this pattern.
игрушка бегемот мастер-класс

Did I mention that I'm pretty excited?!

The only thing is, I can't think what to do for Tristan! What do you get for a just-over-1-year-old-third-child? I don't want more stuff, really, and he's too little for any particular obsession with anything - including his brother's Hot Wheels wall track, which he LOVES! Any ideas?

Christmas in our house isn't actually about presents anyway. Not totally. We give presents to each other in memory of the greatest gift we ourselves have received: a Saviour, born to us that Christmas morn so long ago. It is important to us that what our children know about Christmas is not "presents!" but that "Baby Jesus was born in a stable."

In light of that, we intend to do a Jesse Tree this year. Rather than a chocolate a day (which would be nice!) a Jesse Tree is an advent celebration that walks your children through the story of the Bible, day by day.

I found a wonderful version of one online here, by Ann Voscamp at www.aholyexperience.com

A quote:
"Then this is what you need: you need a Jesse Tree. A tree with roots deep intothe past, that finger right out through the stories of the Old Testament, back to the very beginning, and with branches that stretch so high and wide you can see the whole grand panorama of God’s story from the very first blink of the first star over Eden to the blinding light over Bethlehem."

Ann's words are beautiful, and I think it's going to be wonderful to do this together this year. I think I'll print out two of each decoration though - Little Mister and Miss both like to be the ones who get to do the important jobs, like hanging things on trees!

I did say I'm excited, didn't I?

14 November 2012

I'm Freeeeeeeeeeeee!

Those were my first thoughts as I headed out of our driveway and onto the road. Freeeeeeeeeeeeeedom! Not from my house or children (or husband!) because I love them dearly, but just so free! Not enclosed or buckled in, space around me, wind in my face.

Because I was on my bike. Yes, my bike!

My bike and I have decided to get reacquainted. Well, my bike didn't have much say in it really. It got rudely extricated from its cosy resting place in our garage, hosed off and carted off to the bike shop for a long overdue service. Poor thing. But it's back and better than ever! (Must do something about those squeaky brakes though... Husband informs me it'll wear out. That's good, right?)

It's been time for a long time to do something about this shape I'm in. Yes, round is a shape. Just not one I want to be. Svelte. Hourglass. Curvaceous. Those are shapes I want to be.

This Christmas will see us as the brand new owners of a bike trailer (to tow two of the kiddies) so that I can begin to integrate cycling for exercise into my week. I'm pretty excited! I'm using the time between now and January (when Rosie starts at Montessori) to get back into the habit of riding.

In fact, I've just come back from the best ride yet! It's my third ride so far, and the longest one - yay! Previously, I'd just been doing a couple of blocks and coming home again. But who am I kidding? God has given me a strong, healthy body! Sure, it's not at a great fitness level right now, but if I don't push it, it never will be! So I rode further today - to Montessori and back.

What made it the best was having music. REALLY LOUD! I probably looked - and sounded! - like an idiot, ha ha! Too bad, it was awesome! Riding down the road, blaring Michael Jackson's Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough in my ears, I think I looked like this:
Nasimiyu on her bicycle in front of the Music Box in the Bywater

But I probably looked like this:

source and source

Yep, I think there were definitely a few chuckles from drivers passing me by as they saw me lip syncing at the top of my voice (is that possible?) and bobbing my head from side to side. There might even have been some rhythmic swerving...

But you know what? I'm excited for tomorrow when I'll do it again!

12 November 2012

[DIY] Hanging Candle Lanterns

Hello friends!

I've had this little tutorial up my sleeve for a while now, just waiting for the right opportunity. Last week, two of my very bestest friends came over for the evening and I roped them in to taking the photos for me, since it's very hard to take photos of your own two hands!

With summer coming up (for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, anyway!), I've been thinking of ways I'd like to 'dress up' our deck to be a bit festive and lovely for when all those BBQ's in the sun and warm evening chats begin!

So I, with the help of Paula and Tracy (candle-put-er-in-er extroidinaire) - present to you:

Let's get started.

You will need:
clean glass jars. (So, mine were not dirty, but clean wasn't quite the right word either.. I hope you'll overlook that little detail!)
bendable wire. ($2 Shop)
tea light candles.($2 Shop)
small needle-nose pliers (Not pictured here, pilfered from Husband's tool kit.)
small wire cutters (Not pictured here, also pilfered from same source. Jewellery pliers work well too, both as a cutter and needle-nosed pliers.)

That's it!

(My jars are old baby food jars, and are 5cm in diameter. Any sized jar would work, just adjust your wire length accordingly.)

First up: Cut 2 pieces of wire, 28cm long (or the length to want your handle to be). Hold them together and make a bend 3cm in from each end. You'll end up with a rainbow shape, with flicks.

Then, cut 1 piece of wire, 40cm long (longer if your jar neck is wider than 5cm), and make a small bend 3cm in from one end. This is the piece that will wrap around the neck of the jar.

Take a hold of your handle piece and your jar neck piece and place them together at the 3cm bends. Wrap the wire of the jar neck piece UP the handle piece.

Before the wire starts to dig into your finger (learnt from experience!), cut of the end with your wire cutters...

...Then use your needle-nose pliers (or jewellery pliers) to bend the sharp end in close.

The next part is fiddly. Holding the two ends of your handle wires in place with one hand, use the other to wrap the jar neck piece TWICE around the neck of your jar, meeting at the same side of the handle already wired on. (This is important!) Be sure that the as-yet-unwired side of the handle goes UNDER the jar neck wire.

Pull it as tight as you can, then wrap the leftover wire up around the handle piece.

Remember, it is the same side as you wired before. Trim excess and bend in the sharp end as above.

I don't have a photo of this part, but now take the 3cm bottom of the handle (you can see it sticking out in the photo above) and wrap it up and around itself.

Now wrap the other side of the handle up and around too.

Trim and bend the sharp end in close.

Lastly, drop your candle in the top - get it the right way up! - and you're done!

Light your candle, and you're ready to go.

I've made a bunch and I'm going to hang them with a wee nail onto the pergola that covers our deck.

Do the instructions make sense? Please leave me a comment if anything is unclear and I'll do my best to help you figure it out!

Keep your eyes peeled for a DIY outdoor bunting tutorial coming up.

Next step? Wait for some long, sunny evenings (dry ones, not rainy like today), crank up the BBQ and invite some people over!

PS: Don't forget to enter my giveaway - it closes tomorrow! UPDATE: Giveaway now closed.