Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa - The Christmas week



The final days of the Christmas Advent calendar were taken up by Christmas baking and preparations for a family Christmas lunch.

Julia (Miss Four) enjoyed some more Christmas cooking this week and a few simple crafts. We made lemon shortbread stars (recipe from Huggies), choc-coconut Christmas balls and mini chocolate puddings. An easy craft was lolly baubles (from Spotlight), we made Christmas crackers (inspired by All Things Kids) and Julia helped with wrapping the presents by making colourful handmade gift tags.

Christmas Day with the family was wonderful - my brother and his family travelled to Canberra from Sydney and Julia had such a lovely time with her cousins. My Mum made the best pavlova ever and the cheesecake was awesome too :)
I would like to share a few Christmas quotes from Miss Four:
  • Listening to Christmas music - "Mum, is this song Away in the Danger?"
  • Talking about the people in the nativity scene - "I know a song about Mary - Mary had a Little Lamb".
  • Singing Jingle Bells - "Bells on cod-tails ring".
  • "Mum, do you think that Wee Willie Winkie could be a helper for Santa? He could tell Santa when all the kids are in bed."
 Getting ready for the new year now!

Santa
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa - Christmas Advent Calendar (Week 3)



Incredibly the enthusiasm for the Christmas Advent calendar hasn't waned although the chocolates are mostly being left for me to eat - it seems that when you are four years old there is such a thing as too much chocolate!

Julia (Miss Four) has been having lots of fun with some easy crafts and more Christmas cooking this week. She did some ornament decorating - a Santa plaster ornament and some wooden frame ornaments (all from Spotlight). I think Santa looks like he's been down one too many chimneys! Then she had some friends over to play so we made some more Christmas angels.

Christmas cooking included marshmallow puddings which we wrapped up for gifts, shortbread, gingerbread shapes and some more Vanilla Kipferl.
Now we're on the home stretch for Christmas!

Santa
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa - Christmas Advent Calendar (Week 2)



The Christmas Advent calendar is still in motion - Santa's elves haven't yet forgotten to load up the stocking each night and I have somehow managed to fit in a Christmas activity each day.

Julia (Miss Four) has been bouncing out of bed to find her activity card and chocolate each morning and this week we have done some craft and some Christmas cooking.

We started the week making a Christmas bauble, then some decorations for the tree using Crayola Model Magic (it's really wonderful - not messy and it airdries). We decorated some boxes to be used for gifts, and made some decorations from beads and bells.
Some Christmas cooking finished the week - traditional Austrian Vanilla Kipferl and my favourite White Christmas - with marshmallows, mini M&Ms and chopped up jelly snakes. I'm not sure how much of this will make it to Christmas!

I wonder what the elves will have in store for us next week?

Santa
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Santa - Christmas Advent Calendar (Days 1-5)



We are having fun with a Christmas Advent calendar this year using a long row of little stockings I got from Avon last year.

One of Santa's elves brings a surprise each night and leaves it in the stocking - a chocolate (which must be eaten after breakfast!) and a card with a Christmas activity printed on it. Julia (Miss Four) can't wait to check the stockings each morning and counts on them to work out how many sleeps until Christmas Day.

So far we have made a Christmas wreath and Christmas Angels (both of these ideas were from Rhyme Timea Christmas Tree Sticker Poster and Santa door hanger (crafts from Spotlight) and some stained glass pictures (images from Kaboose).

After my mega shopping trip to Spotlight I have heaps of craft materials, and I love browsing through cooking mags for new recipes, so there's lots more craft and cooking activities to come!

Santa
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Ballerina Princess - beautiful handmade clothes ♥



Every princess needs an extensive wardrobe full of exquisite ballgowns. Julia (Miss Four) may not be a princess, but in her wardrobe you will find so many beautiful handmade dresses and skirts made by talented ladies I have met on Facebook.

I would really like to share with you some gorgeous outfits made by these very clever ladies. It has been such beautiful, sunshiny weather in Canberra that I thought it was time for some photos. Julia had so much fun dressing up in her new clothes!

This gorgeous skirt was made by Bev at Butterfly Mama Creations. Bev uses beautiful flowing fabrics and matches the vintage lace perfectly. The top is Pumpkin Patch, the boots are by Ouch from Charlipop Kids.
This is a stunning "paint splatter" dress made by Lee-Anne at Hannah Banannas Designs. She also made the fabulous hat which really finishes the outfit. Lee-Anne uses bold colour combinations in her creations which I absolutely adore.
This beautiful Christmas baubles dress was made by Kate at Indigo Magenta. I love Kate's use of stunning fabrics and contrasting trim details. I am really hoping for a warm Christmas this year!
Finally, this sweet dress was made by Lisa at Oh Baby! Handmade Fashion and Accessories. I love the use of the two Christmas tree materials in this dress, but it was hard to choose from the wide range of fabrics Lisa has available!

All these ladies sew from the heart. I have more to show you later...

Ballerina Princess
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Little Mermaid - the mermaid party!



The mermaid birthday party was a huge success! The party girls made mermaid crowns and played pass the parcel, treasure hunt and musical chairs.
We ate fairy (mermaid) bread, chicken sausage rolls, little frankfurts, and pizza. We also had the most wonderful mini cupcakes (with mermaid toppers), mermaid biscuits and marshmallow slice from Lil Treats. And to finish off, a fabulous treasure chest birthday cake!
Julia (now Miss four) was thrilled with her balloons and streamers, and loved the party bags that everyone received, along with a balloon to take home. Here is the birthday girl in her gorgeous party dress from Machiko:
I really have to thank some wonderful Facebook friends who helped me with my birthday party planning and preparation:
Liz at The Spotty Napkin - a great collection of themed party items.
Christine at Lil Treats - divine cupcakes, beautiful biscuits and extremely moreish mashmallow slice.

Melinda at Machiko - funky clothes for kids.
Debra at Beads2Bracelets2U - lots of beads - necklaces and bracelets for the party bags.
Kylie at Funhouse Amusements - toys and things for kids - perfect for treasure hunt prizes!

Little Mermaid
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

20 Questions



I saw this on Nessa Knits blog and thought it was such a great idea that I wanted to play too!

1. Sweet or Savoury? Sweet, especially pavlova and cheesecake. And chocolate :)
2. Dresses or Jeans? Definitely jeans, they go with everything don't they?
3. House or Apartment? I love my house. It's got everything I ever wanted and it's my home.
4. Shop Online or Offline? Online all the way - especially Facebook shopping!
5. DVDs or Downloads? DVDs. Hubby has a huge collection.
6. Cocktails or Juice? Juice.
7. Chocolate or Strawberry? Chocolate milkshakes but strawberry icecream.
8. Laptop or PC? PC.
9. Magazines or Newspapers? Magazines - mainly cooking mags, I like to try new recipes.
10. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook.
11. CDs or MP3s? CDs. But I like to convert my CDs to MP3s to play in the car.
12. Kids or Pets? One kid, no pets.
13. Macaroon or Cupcakes? Cupcakes, especially butterfly cakes with whipped cream.
14. Walk or Run? Walk - or drive.
15. Breakfast in Bed or Breakfast Out? Breakfast out means bacon and eggs with everything - yum! I don't like breakfast in bed - it's too hard to eat without spilling or crumbing everywhere.
16. Market or Supermarket? Supermarket. I like the convenience of buying everything in the one place.
17. Sourdough or Grainy? Grainy, makes a nice change from plain white bread.
18. Heels or Flats? Flats. I can't remember the last time I wore heels.
19. Late nights or Not? Late nights, especially when I have a lot of books to make!
20. Coffee or Tea? Tea - especially if I don't have to make it.

Now you know a little more about me... please let me know if you are playing too as I'd love to read your responses!

Personalised Children's Books
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Santa - He's back!



Christmas is getting closer - we saw Santa yesterday!

He arrived at the shopping centre amid a flourish of elves, angels and a walking present. The kids were overjoyed to see him, and Julia (Miss nealy 4) was no exception. The angels sang, the elves danced and the present was opened by a happy clown. Santa's merry "ho-ho-ho" was heard by one and all.

There really is something magical about Santa. Something that most of us wouldn't be without at Christmas.

Last year when I took Julia to see Santa, she was really keen. She had decided what present to ask from him and was more than happy to have her photo taken with a bearded stranger. She was delighted with the balloon and chocolate that Santa gave her and gave him a huge hug when she left. All was well; I sighed with relief. But then, a small voice came from below, "Mummy, why didn't Santa give me my present?" Oops, I may have neglected to tell her something before her visit...

Santa
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Garfield - Eat & Sleep



I'm not really a cat person, but I do like Garfield. His philosophy on life is very simple. Eat and sleep. I could do that too, except with a family to look after there are so many things to do in between eating and sleeping.

Here are some simple quotes from this famous cat:-

"Love me, feed me, never leave me".

My husband likes this one - he says it should replace all those marriage vows. It does seem to simplify things so how can I disagree?

"I'm not messy. I'm organizationally challenged!"

This quote is mine, it's such a good excuse for being on Facebook all day and not picking the toys up off the floor.

"I'm not over-weight, I'm under-tall."

And there is the excuse I've been looking for to have that extra slice of cheesecake.

Garfield
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Little Mermaid - Party Planning



Mermaids are such pretty, fanciful creatures, aren't they? When I asked Julia (Miss nearly-four) what sort of birthday party she wanted this year, I was quite pleased when she said that a mermaid party would be just fine. With balloons and streamers of course. Oh, and fairy bread and pass-the-parcel please. She tells me that it just wouldn't be a birthday party without all those things.

So now I am planning a mermaid party. I have looked in the shops for all things mermaid, and - wouldn't you know it? - Ariel is out, Tinkerbell is in. Fortunately there are plenty of ideas on the internet - although some are quite over the top! So in the spirit of keeping things simple, I am planning green and blue streamers and balloons, but I draw the line at turning my lounge room into an underwater grotto.

All the things on Julia's birthday list - balloons, streamers, fairy bread and pass-the-parcel - are the party things I remember from my childhood. These are lovely, simple things that she will enjoy at her party. It doesn't seem too difficult to please a 4 year old. But next year could be another story altogether...

By the way, I have purchased just about all of my party needs online at The Spotty Napkin. They have a great collection of themed party items, at very reasonable prices and with wonderful, fast service. Thanks Liz!

Little Mermaid
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Mickey Mouse - Favourite Disney Characters



I love Mickey Mouse. From his big, black, round ears to his skinny little tail, I just love Mickey Mouse.

There are lots of great Disney characters like Donald Duck, Bambi and Dumbo (just to name a few), but some wonderful new characters too. The Toy Story characters are very popular of course. Julia (Miss nearly 4) just adores Buzz Lightyear, but she can also tell you the names of almost every character in Toy Story 3. And she's only seen it once!

The Disney Fairies and Princesses are popular characters too. Julia's favourite is Cinderella because "she is so beautiful and she has beautiful clothes and at the end she gets married".

Whilst there are so many new characters to love, the original Mickey Mouse is always a favourite. Created in 1928, he is now one of the most recognisable cartoon characters in the world.

To celebrate 900 Facebook "likers" for Jelly Bean Books, it's time for a giveaway competition!

A limited edition personalised book - Mickey Mouse - is up for grabs. For a chance to win this fantastic personalised book, all you have to do is tell me who is your favourite Disney character, and why!

Details and entry are on my website, just follow this link and god luck!

Giveaway Competition
To be drawn 9pm Sunday 31st October 2010
Enter now at Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Three Little Pigs - Simplicity



Three is such a wonderful age. Julia (Miss nearly-four) is such a joy - she is inquisitive, can speak her own mind, can make decisions, and can take me on such wonderful rides on the waves of her imagination. She wants to learn, and absorbs everything she sees and hears with a beautiful clarity of recollection. And every day brings new joys and new discoveries.

The suggestion of a trip to Gran's house is met with shouts of joy. Imaginary friends are always coming over to our house to play. Shops and dress ups are favourite games. Cutting and glueing are favourite crafts. It seems so simple, and yet the simple things are usually enjoyed the most.

She is starting to assert her independence too. Julia's favourite lunch is "make-your-own-lunch" which is usually a sandwich or rollup, but it's always the best when she makes it herself. And her favourite dinner - any dinner where she gets to put the tomato sauce on by herself.

I will miss my three-year-old Julia when she turns four, but I am very much looking forward to the next stage - what will the next year bring?

Three Little Pigs
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Circus Star - Clowns & Magic



Roll up, roll up...

Did you go to the circus when you were a kid? I remember going with my grandparents when I was six. There are three things that I recall from my circus trip - a huge tent, colourful circus ponies and fairy floss.

From an adult perspective, a circus tent is a rather large structure. From a kid's view, a circus tent looks massive! The circus ponies I remember were white with brightly coloured feathers sticking up tall from their heads, and ladies in shiny costumes rode standing on their backs. And the fairy floss was pink, came on a stick, and was a really special treat.

We took Julia (Miss three-and-a-half) to the circus not so long ago. It had everything - lions, monkeys, ponies, trapeze, acrobats, clowns - so much to see! Julia thought it was wonderful, but the clowns are what she remembers best about the day. They had a car which wouldn't do as it was told, and Julia laughed and laughed at the clown's antics. She reminded me of it just last week: "Hey Mum, remember that clown car that kept throwing the suitcase off the roof? And the doors kept opening by themselves?"

The circus is such a magical world!

Circus Star
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Mother Goose - Favourite Nursery Rhymes



I love nursery rhymes. They are like a little story in a song. If I had to choose one, my favourite traditional nursery rhyme would be "Hey Diddle Diddle" because I love the notion of the dish running away with the spoon. It seems such a daring thing to do!

I used to sing all four verses of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" for Julia every night when she was a baby as part of our bedtime routine. To me, the extra verses add a little more meaning to such a simple song:

Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark
He could not see which way to go
If you did not twinkle so
Twinkle twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

I didn't realise how many nursery rhymes I knew until Julia came along! Along with the usual favourites like "Polly Put the Kettle On", "Sing a Song of Sixpence" and "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary", I have learned some new favourites like "Mrs Mason's Basin" and "Mary at the Cottage Door". They all have simple tunes and easy to remember words. And if I forget the words sometimes, Julia always reminds me.

Julia's favourite nursery rhyme is Baa Baa Black Sheep. I asked her why and she said it was because it didn't take very long to sing!

Do you have a favourite nursery rhyme?

Mother Goose
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Spider-Man - Just for Boys?



There's something wonderful about a super hero that captivates an audience. It could be the super powers they possess, or the mystery surrounding their identity. Perhaps it's the costumes and masks they wear, or the gadgets they use.

Julia (Miss three-and-a-half) likes the gadgets. She tells me that Batman is better than Spider-Man because he has batamarangs that he can throw to get the bad guys. I tried to tell her that Spider-Man has webbing that he can shoot, but she wasn't having any part of it. "Mum, Spider-Man is for boys", she stated.

I think that super heroes emulate real life, showing us that we're all special in some way. Some of us show our super powers on the outside, and some on the inside. Some are loud, showy powers, and some are less obvious but still very powerful. Everyone has their own special talent that should be nurtured and proudly displayed, just like our favourite super heroes.

Oh, and Spider-Man is not just for boys!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

To celebrate 600 Facebook "likers" it's time for a giveaway competition. Unfortunately FB rules state that I can't run a competition on my FB page, so it will be run here.

A limited edition giant sized personalised book - Spider-Man - is up for grabs.

This is an 18 page 31cm x 23cm personalised children's book featuring the child's name, age, friends and more throughout the story. And what a great story - Dr. Octopus is on a rampage and it seems that no-one can stop him. It's up to your child to help Spider-Man defeat this dangerous villain and save the day. You won't find this book on my website - it's a limited edition. Postage within Australia only.

For a chance to win this fantastic personalised book, all you have to do is tell me who is your favourite fictional super hero, and why!

Please post a comment below this blog post in 25 words or less. I will announce the winner on my FB page on Sunday 3rd October at 9.00pm (NSW).

Personalised Children's Books
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Teddy Bear Land - The Travels of Lollipop



I like to collect teddy bears and stuffed toys, especially when I travel. They remind me of places I have visited and the amazing sights I have seen. I have a bear dressed as a doorman from Harrods in London, a little monk bear from Arbroath Abbey, and a bagpipe playing bear from Edinburgh. I have an Evzone doll from Greece and two floppy dolls in lederhosen from Austria.

But the teddy bear that I love the best belongs to my daughter. Julia's teddy bear is called Lollipop. He is a fluffy pink and yellow beanie bear that was given to her by Santa for her first Christmas. Lollipop is the bear favoured above all others who gets to sleep with Julia every night.

Some time ago, Lollipop disappeared for about 6 months. We searched the house, but he was gone. I assumed that he had been placed lovingly into the kitchen rubbish bin by little hands, and whisked away to places unknown. But one morning he returned. There he was, being cuddled by Julia as though nothing had happened. Julia wasn't quite talking at that stage, and Lollipop has never said a word about it, so the travels of Lollipop remain a mystery.

Maybe he visited Teddy Bear Land!

Teddy Bear Land
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.


Monday, September 13, 2010

When I Grow Up - Hopes & Dreams


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, but my Mum tells me I wanted to be a ballerina long before that.

Julia (Miss 3-and-a-half) wants to be a princess and a builder. A sort of a Princess Bob I guess. She wants to build houses while she is waiting for her Prince Charming. She dresses up in beautiful flowing dresses and pretty shoes, together with a hardhat and toolbelt. We play Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella (I get to play the role of the Prince). Then she "fixes" my furniture.

I never did become a prima ballerina (actually I never did ballet at all), nor did I teach kindergarten, but I hope I'm giving Julia some valuable lessons in life. I keep telling her she can do anything. Hopes and dreams are wonderful things aren't they?

When I Grow Up
Deluxe Personalised Children's Book
$21.50 each with free shipping for delivery within Australia only.
Available now from Jelly Bean Books.