Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cheap and Cheerful First Birthday Arvo Tea.

In celebration of our new little one-year-old, we had a wee afternoon tea with some family and friends.
We wanted to keep the budget, and the fuss, down on this one (seeing as this birthday is one where Mol didn't really know what was going on..) and just spend some time with people we love.

I decorated with bunting (already had it), hanging lanterns ($2 shop), beautiful flowers (Ruby Dunes) and lots and lots of pompoms ($2 shop). I kept the food simple, too. We had the must-have kiwi party foods (red sausages, kiwi dip with crackers/carrot/celery and animal biscuits), mini spring rolls, spinach and feta rolls and little lemon curd tarts.

Generally, at our parties, people bring things along and we end up with LOTS of food. We opted for an afternoon tea, and told people they really didn't need to bring anything - and it was the perfect amount of snacks. It wasn't a big meal, afterall! Must remind myself of this next time.

We mentioned in the invites that Mollie really didn't need much in the way of gifts. She truly is a third child - toys coming out her ears and still she would rather play with a plastic ladle/empty margarine container/the rocks in the garden. Such an easily pleased child.
Mol did receive a few presents, though, and they were lovely. I especially loved the wooden Mary-Lou doll and the boys were stoked that Nana bought her some 'girl Lego' for later!

The cake was a bit of a flop. There's always something that doesn't go to plan, huh?
I had planned a two layer chocolate and vanilla cake, with white icing and the string of bunting from the baby shower. What we ended up with was just one thin layer of choc cake, with chocolate icing. The bunting was there though.. and it tasted good. That's the main thing.

It was so nice not to put on a big stressful production - it made our day far more pleasant and Mollie was the first of our kids who actually managed a sleep on her party day, because there was not a huge amount of tension in the air. Really must remind myself of this. Cheap and cheerful parties might be slightly less 'pin-worthy' but they really are a lot more fun (and tiny people really aren't paying attention to whether the plastic cups match the table cloth...)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Mollie's Chair - 12 Months.

12 Months
Last Sunday, our Mollie celebrated one year of being earthside.
One year! 12 whole months!
I must confess that the milestone was quite bittersweet for me. I felt so full of love and so grateful for the year we have had, but there were a fair few tears shed as I iced the cake. My last baby is one already!? The very last 1 year old birthday party for our little family. My days of nursing a babe in arms are numbered! So hard to be over the moon about these things.
It has been a wonderful year, and Mollie is an absolute treasure. (Especially now that she sleeps. Heh.)
 We all feel very blessed to have her in our lives, and are so stoked that she chose us as a family. And so, so pleased that we didn't stop at two (even if it means somedays are very trying!).

This past month Mollie has become really vocal - burbling along with the rest of us, and practising high pitched squeals, loud shouts and words like 'Wow!'. She is especially vocal in the evenings if she is awake later than her brothers. Relishing the chance to be the only small person talking!

Sleep is brilliant. Eating is brilliant. My Mollie-pop is brilliant. Happy birthday, sweet girl.
That is all x

Oh, and here are a few photos of the kids together - a rare occasion that I can get more than one of them looking semi-normal at one time...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Foxy birthday suit!

Our little friend, who celebrated her 1st birthday this past weekend, has a Mama that is fond of foxes. She's a big fan.
So, when Deb kindly sent me a stunning piece of fabric covered in foxes, I knew that I would end up making something for Maggie (or, rather, for her Mum Katie to put her in!).
While I was planning out the wee birthday suit (not that kind of birthday suit... rather a birthday outfit..), I realised that actually Mollie might just need one, too.
Mollie and Maggie live in different towns - so it's not so nerdy, right? Not too matchy-matchy? I must confess I do secretly want to see them both together in their foxy get-ups though...

I thought of making a dress, but these crawling little ladies are not so fussed on dresses - they get in the way. So I settled on peasant style smocks and handy dandy, super comfy, leggings. Lovely. The leggings are a touch big so hoping the knee patches might actually be on the knee in a month or so. Heh.

I'm quite sure that Katie and Maggie liked the outfit, and even Mollie gave it the a-okay. Win!
Happy birthday, Mags!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Tiny Little Bloggers Conference.

I'm sure you've all heard - there was a 'bloggers conference' in the weekend. What you didn't hear was that there was actually TWO meet-ups of cool NZ bloggers.
One group had 60+ people, fancy dinners, workshops, craft fairs, name tags etc.
The other had just two bloggers, but also 8 kids, 2 husbands, delicious lunch, and lovely chit-chit. Just as cool, right?

Us Larsens were in Hamilton last weekend, for Mol's BFF's 1st birthday party, so Dee and I decided we'd have our own wee meet-up. We've hung out before, so things weren't awkward and there were no major nerves as we drove up the drive, just excitement. I didn't panic about what to wear, and (I hope) Dee didn't panic and spend all morning tidying her house (though it was lovely and tidy..)

Dee is pretty much the hostess with the mostess. She plays by 'country rules' and not only is her home incredibly welcoming, but she puts on a wonderful spread. We had home baked rolls (I might need that recipe, actually!), a massive big chocolate cake, a pie that looked like something straight out a Jamie Oliver cookbook.. the woman is amazing!

It was so neat to see our kids hanging out together - I barely saw Otto (hence the lack of photos) and Aesop had the time of his life shooting wooden guns and demolishing the old treehouse. (Perhaps he IS an outdoorsy child afterall?) Mollie and, the very delicious, Sawyer played alongside each other nicely and the menfolk chatted about music and jobs, and other things that menfolk chat about. Dee loaded me up with fabric, fruit from the garden and vintage utensils (goodie bags at this conference, too! Well, for me..).
It was a truly pleasant afternoon.

I left the Rolston home feeling so inspired, and so thankful for our friendship.
It's weird this old blogging business - it has allowed me to form strong friendships with so many wonderful ladies around the country, friendships that are real and true (often more so than those I have in 'real life'!) and offer so much support and comfort to me. I know, gush, but seriously - I love me some blogging ladies. I might even attend the 'real' conference next time.. we'll see!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Croutons Schtuff.

A few wee bits and pieces going on with Croutons at the moment:

1. I'm having an End-Of-Summer sale on the kids clothing.
It will take place over on my FB page at 8pm (NZ time) on Monday evening (15th April). There are shorts, skirts, a few tees and dresses. Everything is marked down under $30 - with most things under $20! Bargain.
I'm looking forward to making some space for new things.

2. I'm giving away a flower brooch!
It will be drawn at the same time the sale starts, and is open to entries from anywhere in the world.
All you need to do to enter, is head over to my Facebook page and comment on the competition picture.A further entry can be yours if you hit 'share' and spread the love.
I'm ever-so-close to reaching 600 'likers'. I reckon I might give away a bag when I hit that magic number... fun!

3. I have re-opened my Felt shop. I've loaded on a few flower brooches, and a few upcycled embroidery rosettes. I hope to add to the shop regularly now that I am, slowly, starting to sew again. I'm quite excited about it.
(Also, how stunning is my lovely model, Fiona? Gorgeous!)

Curvy Style Friday.

My lovely friend, Stella, has started something beautiful. (Actually, as most of you know, everything Stella does is beautiful..) Stella has started 'Curvy Style Friday', an extension of Wardrobe Wednesday where she not only wears super cute clothes, but celebrates her curves at the same time! Sa-weet!

Soo.. my photos are not half as fabulous as Stellas, but I certainly have a shapely body to flaunt - so here I am!

I haven't been having a great relationship with my curves lately. Or with anything, much. I'm in a funk!
I've been struggling to lose some weight since having Mol and I seem to be fighting a losing battle.. a kilo off here.. two on here.. and I'm still the same weight I was two weeks after giving birth. Bummer.
I'm hoping that, along with upping the exercise and cutting back on the food, taking the odd outfit picture might help bring my self esteem (and mood) back up again.
Also hoping the three handfuls of supplements a day will help to restore some health to my body. Healthy body + happy mind = ideal. We'll this space!

Flats - The Warehouse
Skirt- Salvation Army
Belt - Kmart
Singlet - Glassons (online)
Cardi - Salvation Army

A funny aside; When I walked out wearing this outfit the other day, Otto looked at me a bit funny.
'What is that on your lips, Mum?'
'Lipgloss! Does it look nice?'
'Ummm, not really. It looks pretty weird. Does it hurt?'

Safe to say I don't wear make up very often! Hah!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sleep and bribery.

When I say that Otto has had a hard time settling into our new place, I mean HARD.
He struggled with the idea of moving home - asking constantly whether we would be taking this toy or the other, saying he would miss our house and that he didn't want to leave his favourite neighbours. Fair enough really, he was born in the old house (literally!) and has never known anything else.
He started having bigger, more intense tantrums which involved lots of hitting, throwing, yelling (any 'bad' words he knew were involved' and lots and lots of 'NOOOO') and screaming.

This was not helped by the fact that long before we moved, Otto's beloved homecarer stopped doing homecare. We hmmed and uhhed about putting Otto into preschool, or in with another homecarer. But, we wanted to hold out for kindergarten (which had a waiting list of a few months), so Otto was home full-time with Mollie and I.

Safe to say he was bored out of his brain, and all muddled up with his new surroundings and all the change around him. The poor guy has been miserable, and completely out of sorts. (I did enough consider taking him to be assessed for depression.. )

I have been at my wits end for weeks, having tried everything I could think of and everything the internet could suggest. I threatened, I begged, I cried, I reasoned, I comforted, I even gave the odd smack or two. NOTHING. Absolutely nothing helped. We got the stage, in the past week or two, where every single night resulted in a gigantic whopping paddy. The behaviour during the day was not much better.

Then I realised, the one thing we had not tried - was chart-driven bribery. Not the finest parenting practise, probably, but it bloomin' well works. (Five days in and counting.. touch wood!)
Each night that Otto goes to bed without a big fuss, he receives a sticker. After two stickers he gets to choose a reward from the box (small things like lollipops, Lego figures, activities etc). This number will go up in a week or so, to three.. then four.. etc.

Between this, and the lad beginning kindy, our house is beginning to find a small amount of order again. There is a smile on his dial a lot more often (he IS three and a half though, that attitude is still there! haha!) and all three children are managing to get to bed much earlier, with much less effort on our part. There are less tears being shed (and cider being drunk!) by a certain grown-up, too.

Well worth the extra sugar and plastic toys!

Are you a stickers/rewards family, too? Or do you have a different system?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Mollie's Chair - 11 months (a catch up..)

11 Months

ss Mollie celebrated 11 months last month. ELEVEN!
Do you know what that means? My tiny one will be 12 months old this month. Holy schmoley. Not so tiny anymore!

Mols is making leaps and bounds in her development at the moment. She is sleeping well (touch wood), eating like a champ, moving around the place at a great rate and starting to build a wee vocab.
(So far we have: Brubba (brother), nyum, ta, seeya, hello and bath.)
My favourite is the way she now says 'Mwah!' and leans in for a kiss. My heart melts everytime. Also ridiculously cute is how she pretends to eat the plastic fruit in the toy kitchen - loudly saying 'nyum nyum!' and making biting noises.
She's such a sweetie.

As much as I wish she would just stay little, I must confess that I am looking forward to her toddling around - for purely selfish reasons, it's very hard to crawl in a sweet little vintage dress.. heh. I'm sure it will happen all too soon!

(Oh, that wispy, downy little head! I love it so.)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Corners of my (new) home.

Why, hello!
Fancy seeing you here! It's so nice to bump into you again.

We've been in our new home a few weeks now and are almost all settled in. Phoneline dramas are sorted, nearly all of the important boxes are unpacked, a few things have made their way onto the walls.. it's gradually beginning to look like home.

It's hard moving into a new space, especially after an extended time in the previous one. I spent four years looking at my belongings in our (beloved) rental, and they all seemed to fit so nicely. It was a slightly bigger space, and had so many lovely, retro, features that worked so well with our things (built-in china cabinet, wooden pelmets, 70's patterned carpets.. oh I miss these!). Our new place, as it is, lacks the character of the old one.

Don't get me wrong, it's a GREAT house. It has plenty of ticks in boxes. I'm just saying, it is very much a blank canvas in terms of style.
The walls are basic colours, the carpet is pretty non-descript, there are very little 'quirks'.
That will work in our favour, in the long run, but it's going to take a wee while for us to find the time and the money to really put our thumbprint on the place.

We are constantly coming up with ideas, and making lists of little things we want to do (once the essential, boring, jobs are done.. window frames painted, roof cleaned and painted..). It's both ridiculously exciting, and crazy scary at the same time! So grown up! I had planned to save money for more tattoos this year but, instead, I'll probably spend that money on redecorating my (pink?!) kitchen!

The kids are settling in, slowly. It has been a bit of a process, for Otto especially. We've had plenty of tears, and plenty of VERY long days and nights. That boy really doesn't do big changes well. Poor guy. Luckily he has started kindy, finally, this week and is not stuck at home with Mol and I full-time. It is making a huge difference to his attitude, and mine.

Phew, we had a real whirlwind of a month in March - and I'm looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine now. Part of that routine will mean spending a little more time in this part of the world, and also returning to the sewing machine. I'm very excited about both!