Friday, May 31, 2013

A freezing Autumn Arvo.

What to do, on freezing cold afternoons, when little ones are clearly bored of being stuck at home?
The park, of course!
From our new house, this little playground is just two minutes down the road. It's next to a duck pond (which makes for great entertainment in itself!) and surrounded in great big grassy spaces (perfect for running around or kicking a ball!).
The playground itself is fairly standard  - two swings, a creaky old bridge, a slide, a fire mans pole.. and a plastic tunnel full of swear words. Haha. My kids actually call this 'swearword tunnel'.
We had a lovely time collecting pretty leaves, swinging in the swings and enjoying the fresh air - must remember to make the most of this free entertainment more often!
(Might need to rug up even more next time though, brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Is it just me or is it ridiculously cold this week?)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ideas For Dads!

Ideas For Dads’ is a website for modern fathers. It is a resource for busy dads to make the most of their time with their children. Each episode features an easy, affordable and enjoyable idea for men to try with their children. Each week a new idea will be described, with easy-to-follow instructions, suggestions on expanding the ideas and discussion about this weeks activity.'

Soooo, my husband is not just good looking, kind, funny, and generally lovely - he is also a brilliant Dad.
My children adore the way he parents, and I do too. I love how different it is to my way of parenting, how it compliments my style so wonderfully.

Abraham is passionate about fathering. And he has decided to share his passion (and creativity) with the wider world. Yay!  I'm so excited about this, for you, and also for our family. These weekly posts will give us the perfect excuse to spend dedicated time doing activities with our boys (and Mollie will take part as she grows, of course) and will also, hopefully, inspire other families to do the same.

I'm hoping that you'll all head over and have a nosey - subscribe to the blog, and follow along for the journey. Tell the menfolk in your lives, share it on your FB page/put it in your school newsletter/shout it from the rooftops.
This project is only just starting out, but I have a feeling it is going to grow into a wonderful resource that has a great impact on the lives on many kids (and on their Dads/granddads/uncles etc, let's not kid ourselves that positive play and time together only benefits the children!)

Weekly Mades (and a chance to win stuff!)

I had planned to write this post and be all 'Hey, pop over to Felt and check out these cool hoodies I just listed..' but, they didn't stay listed long enough to even begin writing this post!
I have been completely blown away by the response to these little jumpers - they sold in just 15 minutes, and I have so many orders that the waiting times are up to 3 weeks! Whaaaaaa?!
Luckily, I love love making them, and have quite a bit of sweatshirting fabric up my sleeve. 
Busy, busy, busy!

I also made a few pairs of shorts and pants - custom orders for lovely people. I especially love those bear pants and the sweet little indians on the red shorts! So cute and fun. Can you tell I am absolutely LOVING my work at the moment? Holy moley, so blessed to be able to make money from my hobby.

As a sort of 'Thanks', I'm hosting a wee giveaway for my customers over on my FB page.
For the chance to win one of two $35 vouchers (enough for a kids hoodie, or pants, or two brooches, or a bag etc..) all you have to do it send me (via email or FB) a photo of you or your child with/in an item of Croutons gear.
I ADORE seeing where my handmade goods end up - and, hopefully, you adore the idea of adding another piece to your collection - Win win, baby.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Themed Dinner #4: Mexico!

Our themed night this week had a little Mexican flavour.

After a week of chicken pox, and a day trip to Rotorua, we were pretty knackered come Friday evening. None of the grand plans I had really panned out, and we ended up with a very 'lax version of the dinner I was intending to dish up. As usual, there were no complaints : )
Oh, except for me not making Mexican hot chocolate.. might need to do that another night..

This theme was, by far, the easiest to find a soundtrack for. Turns out a large portion of Abraham's record collection is made up of suitable albums. We also listened to the soundtrack for The Mexican while we prepared dinner. Brilliant.

We sipped on virgin mojitos, glasses rimmed in sugar. I made flour tortillas ala Talia Christine (pretty much the handiest recipe I've ever found) and filled them with burrito chicken and salad. Abraham whipped up some churros for afters (in balls.. must find a pastry bag!) they were ahhhhhmazing. I'll see if I can find his recipe for you.

The table decorations were thrown together in a few minutes - a book about Our Lady Of Guadalupe, a cactus, an old blanket from Abraham's Nana, corn chips in a basket and a sombrero we picked up at the Salvation Army for $1.
(If I'd been more organised we would have also had a pinata, and crepe paper flowers hanging above the table. But the rule remains in place: if anything is stressing out the person organising it, then it gets left out - these are meant to be fun nights!)

Next week we'll have our most challenging theme so far - can't wait! Any guesses what it might be?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mollie's Chair: Thirteen Months (Polka dot edition)

13 Months

As you can see, the chicken pox are still lingering with my littlest one. Slowly all drying up, but still very much all over her - she is polka dotted!

This month Mol has taken it upon herself to start walking! Crawling is still her main mode of transport, but she's definitely taking steps in the right direction (heh). She delights in walking around pushing a pram/lawnmower or holding onto the hand of a proud brother. There have been quite a few unassisted steps taken, too, slowly, stopping inbetween to clap for herself!
Sleeping has gone downhill slightly, eating is brilliant, talking is coming along nicely, still just the two teeth.
No complaints here : )

I had to really work to get a photo with a smile yesterday. The poor lass really is still under the weather.
Those spots on her right eyelid are so horrible - it's even more puffy and red, in the flesh.
I was getting concerned, when even her Tiny Eyes doll didn't get a smile! Luckily, she then decided throwing the doll on the ground and yelling 'Uh-oh!' was pretty hilarious.

It didn't take long for Mol to decide the photoshoot was all over. She slid down off the chair, and went on her way. Such a big girl now!

(Also, she FINALLY fits the vest I made way back when I first found out I was pregnant! Wish I could find time to make a few more - it really is my favourite knitting pattern, ever.)

Foxy Giveaway!

This giveaway is aaaaaammaaaaziiiing.
That fox dress is to.die.for.
I'm one of those people that very rarely wins things, despite entering all the giveaways. Maybe you would like to enter, and just donate me the fox dress?
What's that? Okay? Oh, you're the greatest!

Either way, this giveaway is happening over on Stella's super-dooper blog. Head on over : )

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

(Say hello to) My little exercise friends...

See this? Yeah, it's a cross trainer. MY cross trainer!
Sooo, I bought a cross trainer (off TM) in the weekend. A touch extreme, yes, but I feel that extreme measures are called for sometimes. My scales and my mood/general wellbeing are telling me that shits gettin' real - something needs to be done!
I have been getting out walking 2-3 times a week, but not nearly as often as I'd like. There always seems to be a boy-child home sick, dinner to be made, rain pelting down, walking clothes in the wash etc. Always an excuse to be had! See that cross trainer? I can use it in my undies, on a pouring wet day, with both boys watching from the couch, if I have to. Not many excuses I can make for that one!

Inspired by Pip, Abraham and I are doing the 'C25K' programme on it. Figured it would be good to have a programme to stick to, for motivation. Abraham is kindly playing along, for moral support. He's a good man.
I'm on Week 1, Day 2 of the programme and I can tell you, I'm so pleased I've been walking - if I went, literally, from the couch to this.. I think I would have died. Phew! Sweaty much! Knackered much? But I LOVE it.

I have also purchased a journal from the clever Emma at Emmamakes, to keep track of what I'm eating. I'm not cutting out whole food groups etc, but I'm trying to make portions smaller, avoid eating so much sugar (especially baking!) and up my fruit and veg. Simple but, hopefully, effective.

My final purchase, the most expensive, is a new pair of trainers.
I've had my last pair around 4 years, and my toes poke through at the end and sides - not such a good look. They're a pricey thing to replace though! And it's a hassle to spend time at the store having your feet assessed and shoes fitted properly.
(So thankful to be able to do this without kids. Love you, Abraham!)
I was lucky enough to have Mum go halvsies with me on these, so I could afford to get the comfiest ones I tried. Way more enthused about exercise when my feet are cosy!

So yes, it really is ON!

What about you guys? What's your exercise routine?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Chicken Pops!

The 'chicken pops' have taken over at the Larsen home.
Aesop had shingles the week before last (poor guy! Horrible!) and it appears the two littlies have contracted the pox from that.
It's one of those things, really. You don't want your kid to feel terrible, and be covered in itch, but it's a bit of a blessing that they then won't get them again later in life (when it is much more dangerous). Aesop had a mild dose when he was 2 or 3, and it appears Otto is also getting a very mild dose.
Mollie, on the other hand, is pretty well covered. These photos were taken yesterday morning and, since taking them, the spots have travelled allll over her wee scalp, down her neck, on her belly.. heck, she even has one on her eyelid and one in her ear! Nasty little dots!
Thank goodness for calamine lotion, huh?

Needless to say, we are taking things easy this week.
There will be far more screen time than we generally allow, there will be a lot of smooching and cuddling, lots of breastfeeding, lots of stories read... if it weren't for the high temps, nasty coughs and snotty noses, it would be quite blissful!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Weeks Work.

I'm not going to lie, this is not actual not a weeks work. I just like the title!
I intended to post each week with the things that I had made that week, but I didn't factor in custom orders that wouldn't be able to be shown until they were received and things that I am waiting to chuck on Felt etc.
So, instead, heres a smattering of things I've made in the past two weeks.

These two hoodies were made for a sweet boy named Echo. His Mum and Dad are super wonderful, very supportive and have helped me with lots of businessy things lately. I know that they love to dress their kids in Croutons gear, and I'm so appreciative. I had heaps for fun putting together these jumpers for them, and for Echo.
(I was also stoked to receive a few custom orders when I popped these photo on Facebook. I'll be at Spotlight next week buying all sorts of cool fabrics to create the applique hoodies with - choice!)

I made these pants as a custom order for a lovely lady with twin boys. She loves colour as much as I do, and pretty much let me have free reign ( my fave!). The mail lady delivered them to her today - and she informs me the boys put them on straight away. Love it!

I made two pairs of these cowboy shorts. I've popped them in the Felt store.

It's lucky I also make Otto some Starwars shorts, otherwise he was about to insist he needed to keep the cowboy ones!
This fabric was given to me, in curtain form, by my best friend from primary school. These were her curtains when she was a little 'un. She tells me they were terrifying curtains for a little person - but I'm so thankful she (well, her parents) hung onto them! It's on of those fabrics I struggle to cut into. I like to only use tiny bits at a time. My kids have many Starwars patches and pockets in their futures. Haha.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Themed Dinner #3 - Fast Food!

Our third theme for this month was 'Fast Food'.

My boys are big McDonalds fans. Aren't all kids?
I have no idea what the attraction is - well, I have an idea.. but I, personally, can't stand the stuff. The food tastes like nothing, and I always still feel hungry after eating something so... fake.
Aesop inhales a quarter-pounder, a shake and fries, and Abraham is a big fan, while Otto enjoys the thought of it far more than the actual food - he rarely even eats half of a happy meal (and then asks for different food!). I guess the toy might be the winning point for him.
Seemed a great plan to see if we could recreate a (slightly healthier and much tastier) Maccas meal.

   Since fast food is mostly of the takeaway variety (for us, anyway.. our kids have never 'eaten in', I don't think!) I didn't feel like we needed to do much in the way of decorating. I popped a red table cloth on the table, popped all of our 'American' style sauces (mustard, mayo, ketchup and bbq sauce) in the centre, chucked on a Beastie Boys album (with a take out menu on the front..) and voila!

The food speaks for itself, really.
Abraham whipped up some boxes for our fries and chicken nuggets (if I did this again I would make chicken tenders myself, rather than serve ones from a bag!) and I used a few sewn, recycled book, bags I had around the studio to put everything in (stamped with an 'L' for Larsen Burger, naturally! Heh). I wrapped the burgers in greaseproof paper, and we used the leftover cups and straws from Pop Roc Parties for our soy choc shakes.
My burger had a touch of greenery, but the boys had Quarter-pounder knock-offs. Meat, plastic cheese, onions, pickles, sauces.. all on a sesame seed bun. It got the seal of approval, too. Phew.

Mollie discovered a new love for chicken nuggets and Aesop inhaled the meal as if it were the real McCoy. Otto, well, he wasn't anymore enthused than he usually it. Guess it's just not his type of food (he is more of an antipasto type guy. I kid you not!), fair play.

 The biggest hit, of course, was the toy.
You didn't think I could make homemade Happy Meals without a toy, did you?
I hmmed and uhhed about what sort of toy to put in. I wanted something quality, that would not just get played with one day and then forgotten about, or broken. I also didn't want to spend more than $5. A difficult combination.
The choice was obvious in the end, though - Lego minifigures.
I was lucky enough to find them half price at Kmart, making them just $3 each.
(We even got 4 we didn't already have! Always a bonus!)

LOVING these nights. Already so excited for next weeks. Pretty sure we will be doing it all again next month. Are you tempted to join us?