Wordless Wednesday of the Instagram Variety

Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I'm a big fan of Instagram, so today, I'm doing a Wordless Wednesday, with some of my favourite recent Instagram pictures! You can find me on Instagram I'm @yellowdandy

Three guesses who the pictures are mainly of.
P.S how awesome are these tea stamps? I have a big addiction to tea! (I'm a 6 cuppa day kinda girl, low caffeine though)

A Weekend Away

Monday, May 28, 2012
I'm just recovering from a lovely but exhausting long weekend away. I am learning very quickly that when you have kids holidays are not as relaxing as they used to be, oh how I took relaxing for granted when I was childless. Its different, but I still loved it, I feel need another weekend just to recover. Plus the little man has more teeth coming through so he didn't really feel like sleeping really well. I can't complain he was really so happy during the days.

We went to the South West (Dunsborough, Yallingup, Margaret River) with some friends, one of my favorite places, my perfect place to escape for a weekend and just chill out. The pictures are similar to our January camping pictures, because it was the same area. 

Somehow we spent both Saturday and Sunday at different Brewery's (Cheeky Monkey & Eagle Bay, the men's influence for sure), but I love the family friendly atmosphere and we were able to just hang out. I made sure I went to the bakery and got my cream doughnut, and yes it was amazing. 

I took a few pictures along the way, but someone never managed to get my good camera out. You can kind of get an idea how beautiful the South West of Western Australia is. I wish I had a fire like that in our house, it just makes everything seem so cosy and warm. It was chilly because it is Autumn,  so we could't swim, but it didn't matter, so many other things to do, like eat lots of good cheese, chocolate, bakery goods and bbqs! 

 Karen xx

Why I ditched the Baby Books

Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Have you ever read a book and thought, wow, thats me to a tee. This author knows everything about me, my wants and needs and how I operate. How I'm feeling, how to make me feel better, if Im hungry or tired (do you know where I'm going with this?), or if I have a tummy ache, or just need a cuddle from my Mum?

I haven't.

So why did I ever think that a book or multiple books were going to be able to tell me these things about my baby? Who is also an individual with personality and feelings. I'm not an expert, I'm just a Mum and a pretty new one at that. I'm not claiming to have all the answers, all I know is what I've experienced. I'm a Mum that ditched the baby books and I try just to go with my God given instincts as a Mother. Most days are good, some days are cry, scream, pull my hair out days, but that comes with the territory I suppose.

I followed a 'eat,play,sleep' routine from a few weeks in, it wasn't based on times, just the main goal was trying not to feed my baby to sleep, although of course sometimes I broke that rule too. Although I wanted to help him learn to fall asleep on his own, which any parent knows is one of the hardest tasks of all. I thought as a new Mum I was supposed to have a 'schedule' based on the time on a clock. I learnt very quickly, that this didn't work for us, it was too stressful, so I ditched it, and went with the flow. The only thing that remained the same on a daily basis was the bedtime routine, and that didnt always go to plan (still doesn't always). By seven months a more regular eating and napping routine emerged organically, meaning, I just tried to follow my baby's cues as much as I could. When he started eating regular solids I started feeding him around the same time everyday, and now at nine months it is fairly predictable. But, what I have learnt is that things change rapidly, a month ago he was napping 3 times a day for about 45mins to an hour each, now he does two naps of about 1 hour 45 mins each. How could I predict that, or schedule it out. He seems to change every week.

I've read books that say 'wake the baby at 7am each morning' pfffft my baby rarely will sleep until 7, he wakes sometime between 5am and 6.30am. if by some miracle he slept past 7, there is no way in hell that I am forfeiting a sleep in. Funnily I wrote this last night, and he slept past 7 this morning. I figure if he's asleep, he needs the rest. I go by the old saying, never wake a sleeping baby. It has to be around for a reason right?

So what's the point of this post? I'm asking myself the same thing right now.

It hasn't been easy, I'm pretty sure it was never supposed to be. Many days, especially the early ones have been soooo difficult. Sometimes it's easy to read all the books and then feel guilty and frustrated because it's not working the way they promised. Some families thrive on schedules, some don't, I didn't. As I'm sure you've figured out by now and this isn't a shocking new discovery: We're all different.

My point I guess is that by being true to myself, and listening to my Mummy instincts and trying not to get hung up on the masses of information out there has helped me in my journey as a Mum. Instead I try just get hung up on that little person who I am so blessed to have in my care. It works for us. I think this is what my Mum was trying to tell me from day one, but she didn't want to impose and tell me what to do.

What works for you?

Karen xx

Curing Olives: This is how we did it

Monday, May 21, 2012
After having Olive trees for the last couple of years, we finally decided to try our hand at curing our own olives.

This is what we did, and it seems to be successful, the olives are a little more bitter than the ones you would buy at the store, but still they are pretty good.

It does take a long time, and is a fair amount of work, for us it was just about seeing if we could do it, and trying it out. I always feel a sense of achievement when we make/ grow our own food!

We put the olives in a container with fresh water, and changed the water everyday for 10 days. (tip: fill zip lock bags with water to place on top of the olives so none of them are floating only half in the water, they should be completely immersed)

We found out part way through the process that we should have poked some small holes in the olives so the water and brine can seep into the olive. So before you soak the olives use a fork or similar to poke each individual olive.

We then made a brine solution 1 part Salt, 10 parts Water. The brine should be dumped out and replaced with a fresh solution once a week for 4 weeks.

After this we tasted them and woah they were salty, so we soaked them overnight in just water, which seemed to help a lot.

Finally, we made a weak brine solution (about 1/3 of the salt that was in the previous brine solution) to soak the olives in. We then added about 1cm of olive oil on top of the olives and brine, this is to seal the olives so the air cannot make it through to the water.

We've had it in this for about a week, and they are ready to go. Yum.

Ahh, edible plants, they are my favorite kind. We have olives across the road at the park, I'm tempted to go and pick them as well.

I would love to know if you end up trying this, and how your olives turn out. If you have any questions, I'll try to help!

Karen xx

How Awesome is this Fabric!

Saturday, May 19, 2012
How awesome is this fabric!!

Right? I love it.

One of my friends from Mothers group and I went halfies on the international shipping, and put in an order.

I am still yet to do any real embroidery projects since the babe arrived, but at least I have this lovely fabric waiting for me when I finally feel motivated and inspired. Or maybe until I'm not so worn out by the end of the day, although that will probably be never.

Three of them are the brand Monaluna and the bicycle one is the brand Birch. We ordered it from Cedar House Fabrics. It was about $16 a yard ( wayyyyy cheaper than Spotlights crappy fabric selection, and it is organic!) shipping was $11, which is pretty good for international. www.cedarhousefabrics.com

Just if I actually finally taught myself how to sew, then I could make soo many lovely things.

I hope you have a lovely Saturday or Friday night, depending on where you are in the world!!

Karen xx 

The way I read blogs...now

Friday, May 18, 2012
It wasn't until recently that I actually decided to start following and keeping up with others blogs via Google Reader. I'm not really sure what I was doing before, but it definitely was not an effective way of following my favourite blogs, too time consuming and I was missing a lot of good posts. I wanted to share because I know when you are new to reading blogs you may not know that there is a super simple and easy way to connect and have all the blogs you read in a nice easy to get to place. I use Google Reader because it is the easiest for me, because I already have a google account, so it makes sense. But there are other readers out there too.

If you see a little symbol like this below, it is the RSS feed,  click on it and that is the easiest way to add new blogs to your blog reader! So simple!

I recently downloaded the 'Flipboard' app for my iPad and added my Google reader feed to it, and oh my, it is amazing. Its so easy because you can put your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Reader and whatever the heck else you want in one place. It is also really good if you have an iPhone, just a bit smaller obviously.

Until recently as well I was a 'silent' reader. I would enjoy a post and quickly move on. I guess I didn't know what to write and didn't want to come across as in genuine or someone who was just commenting to get more publicity for my own blog. Now I have become a commenting machine, when I enjoy something, I let the writing know, because I know how important encouragement is when you are blogging. I know how awesome it is when you get feedback and comments from your readers. Instead of writing to the big vast unknown you start to get an idea of the people who enjoy your blog, and that is so awesome. I don't get a lot of comments, but I know through my Google Analytics that there are a bunch of 'silent' readers like me out there. So, not begging, just inviting you to connect! I love to hear back, and I have just (finally) set it up so I can actually Reply to individual comments, hurrah!

So the boy is having a lovely long nap, so I am going to sign off, make a cuppa tea and sit down in front of the heater with my iPad and get into some good quality reading!

Karen xx

I like to Run Amuk

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
If you haven't been down to South Freo for a while you may be interested to know there is a new sausage place, caught your interest?

It's called Run Amuk and they make amazing gourmet Bratwurst hotdogs. We visited twice in one week because we couldn't stop thinking about how good they were. It is just down on South Tce about 100 or so metres from the South Beach roundabout. Its a fun little place with Where's Wally (Waldo for the Americans like Joel)  pages laminated to the tables and drum stools for chairs. They don't just make the average run of the mill hot dogs, they are good quality locally made sausages so your supporting WA farming. They have come up with a great variety of toppings that I wouldn't have even thought of before, I have tried the Stumbles and Minx and both a delicious, but Minx would rate as my favourite. I may never try any different ones, I am one of those people who finds the one they like and is too scared to try anything else in fear of wasting the experience. They even have a vegetarian option for those who desire. 
Check out www.runamuk.com.au for more details. 

Maybe we will see you there sometime! If you live nearby it is well worth a visit!!

Karen xx

Taking an infant to a footy game

Monday, May 14, 2012
Has anyone else tried taking an infant to a AFL (Aussie Rules Football) game before? I have a feeling it is not that common. Mostly because I didn't see any other babies at the game, and I received a few 'you're brave' type comments from other patrons. I admit it was a bit of a risk, and we weren't sure how it was all going to turn out. We were prepared for the worst, and it wasn't actually bad at all, in fact it was really fun, admittedly I didn't actually watch much of the game, but it was still a fun day out.

For Christmas Joel decided he wanted a Fremantle Dockers Membership, but of course that meant me getting one also, and then of course getting one for the little man. Some of the earlier games in the season were too late in the evening and one time we were all ready to go and then the kid refused to take a nap, so there was no way I was taking a no nap baby to the game so Joel took other people along to the games Finally, the stars aligned and we were all able to go.

Because parking near Patersons Stadium is difficult, we had an extra challenge of a train ride in and back, and just to make it more fun you can't take prams into the stadium. This is ok with us because I love my Ergo baby carrier, but it just meant one of us would be holding Ez the whole time. The stadium is actually not set up very well for infants or toddlers. I was nicely surprised to find a change table in the disabled toilet close to our seats, but unfortunately they do not have a parents room. So what do you do if you want/need to breastfeed your baby? I could have tried in our seats, but it would be impossible with an overly distracted baby. So what choices did I have left? Not many, I ended up heading to the disabled toilet in hope that they had a chair or something. No such luck, good thing I can stand and feed, not the best option, and can I just say, ugh, breastfeeding in a disabled toilet is not nice, but it did the job. It was pretty disappointing that they don't have any facilities, but why am I really surprised. At least they had a change table, but I would not be opposed to changing him right in the hallway if they didn't, just to make a point.

In the first quarter the cheering of the crowd gave the little man such a fright, he started crying every time people yelled out or the crowd cheered. Gradually he got used to it and just tucked his head into me and I covered his ears and one point I think he may have fallen asleep. It isn't very often I get cuddles anymore, my baby boy doesn't sit still enough to give cuddles, so selfishly I was really enjoying him being a little scared because I got so many lovely cuddles.

The train home was the most challenging. So many people pushing and trying to get on an already full train. Lucky for us Joel was able to grab hold of a railing and plant his feet to protect us, he then yelled out for everyone to stop pushing because their was a baby on board. From then on, everyone was very helpful, after a couple of stops someone even offered us the 'priority' seat.

One thing at a time

Friday, May 11, 2012

      I have a list in my head that is about as long as my arm for all the things we need to get done in this old cottage of ours. Sometimes I walk around just overwhelmed by the amount of work (and money) that it will take to get things the way I want them. Sometimes Pinterest doesn't help at all, it just makes me frustrated and jealous of these amazing places with perfect styling and makes me worry that I will never get this place to a place that I am happy with. Over four years ago we bought a fixer-upper. As first home owners we had dreams of renovating our new home with vision of what we wanted, we were so excited. Reality set in pretty much after painting the entire house. Four years later there is still soooo much to do (the kitchen still isn't finished) and there's not enough time in the week to do it, and not enough money in the bank to complete it all anyway.

When I feel like this, and start to get a little over it, there are a few things that I like to remind myself of :

1. Focus on one thing at a time: Looking at everything can be overwhelming so just bite off a small achievable chunk to complete. Even accomplishing one small thing (ie. this weekend I reorganized our hall closet) will make me feel like I am achieving something and moving forward. So picking one project or one room and focus on that until it is finished, is good thing to do.

2. Life isn't about having everything perfect, our house looks Lived in, I mean really lived in. And that's ok with me most of the time, because it means we have more time to enjoy each other and time to play with our amazing little boy. We could spend every day cleaning, gardening, reorganizing and renovating but we would miss some really amazing family moments. I know what I want my priority to be, that means some things don't get done, and I can live with that.

3. I can't have everything I want, but that is not going to hinder my happiness. Being content with what I have, and enjoying where we are at is important to me. We may not have the most amazing house with all the luxuries, but we are very lucky with what we do have. I am so grateful that I can be a stay at home Mum, but with that decision we need to make sacrifices, I need to remember that it is worth it. We are so blessed with what we have, and so much better off than so many who don't even have enough food to eat on a daily basis. So instead of focusing on what we want, sometimes I know it is important for me to take time and be grateful for what we have.

Anyone else have some great tips on what works for you.
Have a great day.
Love Karen!!

Women's Weekly Children's Birthday Cake Book

Friday, May 4, 2012
Last week my Mum gave me the original version of the Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake Book. If you were a child in Australia in the 80's and 90's then there is a pretty good chance that this book was a big part of your childhood, and like me, you had some of these cakes for your childhood birthdays. They were pretty awesome back then! My Mum hunted it down at an Op Shop or garage sale or something, but  I know they recently re-released the book, if you wanted to get your hands on a copy.

A few months ago my brother and I went to watch a comedy show called Josh Earl vs The Australian Women's Weekly Birthday Cake book. It was hilarious, Josh Earl pointed out some pretty humorous  things about the book that I hadn't even noticed before, probably because I was a child and only cared about marshmallows and rabbit shaped cakes. 

Like, how the picture of the guitar cake pre cutting and icing  looks like someone giving you the finger!

And how two of the ingredients in the cricket pitch cake are red nail polish and white toothpaste.
And what the heck is with this cake? Chips for lips and popcorn for hair. This is one of the worst looking  cakes, did anyone ever get this cake for their birthday??

I only have a photos of a few of the cakes from the book that my Mum made us kids, I know there were many, many more. Mine was the swimming pool cake, don't ask me why the water was supposed to be green. I am debating whether I am going to try my hand at making one of these cakes for Ezra's 1st Birthday, or if I'll cop out and get one made. 

Does this book bring back a flood of good memories for you too? Or maybe some not so good memories?  What cake did you get from the book? Or which one did you really want, but was maybe a little difficult for your Mum (or Dad) to make?