Twinkle Twinkle Little Star First Birthday Party

 

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I can’t really believe it, but this little boy just turned one.  He woke up on the morning of his party with a cold, but soldiered on all day.  His party was at our place, and with 70 guests expected, it had to be outside because our house is tiny!  With showers predicted, we put a massive tarp up at the end of our covered entertaining area and had the patio heater going.  Thankfully the weather was kind to us – chilly but with gorgeous blue skies.  The theme was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and we went nuts with the star shaped decorations and food.

I printed Jake’s milestone photos and pegged them along a string.  The cards I use in the photos are illustrated by Beci Orpin, I got them from here.

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On the menu: slices (made by my sister), vegemite and cheese sandwich bites (for the babies), fairy bread stars, jelly oranges, sandwiches, lollies, chips, milky ways, cupcakes, a fruit platter (made by hubby’s mum), vegies and dips, star biscuits, little boys, sausage rolls (made by hubby’s stepmum), quiches (made by my mum) and the cake pops.  There wasn’t much left over!

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The star toothpicks and straws for the truffle pops were from Lark.

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That’s the baby jail we created for the little babies. I bought an extra playpen off a facebook mum’s group selling site for $7 which we clicked together with our existing playpen to make a mega baby jail.  There are 3 foam exercise mats as a base with a huge picnic rug on top.  It was great to have the babies safe and happy in there!  The bigger kids played in/around/on the cubby and slide for the entire party. Jake loves that slide!  I made the bunting from scraps leftover from the hot air balloon mobile I made for Jake’s nursery.

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He spent the majority of the party wandering around the backyard with his walker (a $5 op shop bargain!) – needless to say he slept really well that night!

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The party officially went from 1-3pm.  Jake usually naps at 2:30 so we did the cake right around then. The cake is a white chocolate and honeycomb cake (recipe here) with white chocolate buttercream (recipe from here).  The first time I made the cake as a trial, the white chocolate ganache split, so I gave up on it.  I used the buttercream instead, tinted with blue food colouring (although it turned out pale green probably due to the white chocolate and/or the butter?!) and used a petal icing technique (tutorial here).  The icing was time consuming but pretty simple, and great if you’re not very neat at icing (like me!).  The stars coming out of the cake were made from glitter paper, the smaller ones cut with a star punch, the bigger one traced from a cookie cutter I used to make the fairy bread into star shapes.  They’re simply hot glued onto a skewer.  You can just see one of the star garlands in the background of the photo, made from the same glitter paper and stitched together on my sewing machine (which I should really clean the glitter out of!!).
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Jake had one of the cupcakes and demolished it.  It was like watching the cookie monster eat a cookie!

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Immediately after this photo he cracked it, so off to bed he went!  The party kicked on long enough that people were still around at 4:30 when Jake woke up from his nap.  This meant we could open his presents in front of the remaining guests – my goodness he was incredibly spoiled.  What a lucky baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oreo Cheesecake Truffle Pops

The birthday party preparation has begun!

Today I’ve made some Oreo Cheesecake Truffle Pops.  I’ve only made (more like attempted to make) cake pops once and completely stuffed them up – my cake to icing ratio was all wrong and freezing the lollipop sticks into them just didn’t work.  I vowed never to go back there as they were just too fiddly for me.

Oreo Cheesecake Truffle Pops are a thousand times easier – you get 36 Oreos and crush them. Then mix in one block of cream cheese (softened) with your hands, roll them into balls, freeze them for 10 minutes before sticking half a pretty straw or lollypop stick into them and covering them with melted chocolate (I used about two bags of Choc Melts).  I got the recipe from here.  I whacked 30 on sticks as pops with star sprinkles on top for J’s party, and left the remaining 14 as truffles with blue and pink sprinkles for a friends baby shower.

I used the rainbow coloured rice (that Jake didn’t really want to play with!) in a bowl to prop up my pops while the choc coating dried.  I would not recommend making these while your baby carries on like a pork chop!

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I’m glad they turned out alright despite the pork chop :p

 

Bush Camping with a Baby

A couple of weeks ago we had lovely weekend away.  We went camping in the bush, the kind of camping where you have no facilities at all.

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Beautiful views on the way there, at a popular hang gliding launch site just out of Strath Creek.

 

That might be a bit of a scary prospect to some people but it truly is nice to kick back around the campfire and soak in the serenity!

And it’s truly not that scary because we bring everything with us.  We don’t camp lightly, no no.  It’s not like you’re hiking in with your gear on your back.  We have cars! We take everything: the kitchen sink, the toilet, the hot water service, mattresses, pillows, etc.

It was undecided if Jake and I were attending or not right up until 11am on Friday morning – we had to go back to the doctors to get clearance that he was recovered from Hand Foot and Mouth, mostly for my peace of mind that we wouldn’t pass it on to any of the other kids attending the camp!  Luckily we got the go ahead and I then had 2 hours to get packed, that would be a record for me!

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The Camper Trailer (there’s a blue bear in there!)

This weekend saw the inaugural use (after a failing first attempt!) of our new (to us) Camper Trailer.  It was so lovely to have heaps of room in the tent, a mattress for us, a verandah out the front with our little kitchenette (with water pump).  The camper trailer tent is made of heavy canvas and is much darker inside, which meant Jake slept soundly for his day naps. Thank goodness! The old tent was much brighter inside and he struggled to sleep during the day.

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Having a blast crawling around – lots of washing for mum when we got home!

The weather was just gorgeous for May in Victoria, sunny and not too cold!  We were in a lovely little clearing that had mostly grass and bracken underfoot so J-bear crawled around to his hearts content and had an absolute blast.  We went with a bunch of mates and their kiddywinks and dogs so there was constant entertainment.

A friend did all the catering, which included delicacies such as fried kabana wrapped in haloumi, roo stew, camp 0ven self-saucing butterscotch pudding, bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast, toasted marshmallows and jaffles for lunch.  We certainly did not go hungry!

It is so very nice to catch a little moment to yourself when you’re out in the bush to properly look at your surroundings and think about how beautiful it all is.

You can find my camping with a baby packing list on this page.

Would you take a baby camping?

 

 

Creating the Future

 

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I’ve written myself a bucket list of sorts. Mostly because I’m nearly 30 and as such am taking stock of my life thus far.

Here are thirty things I would like to accomplish, not by the time that I’m thirty, just in my lifetime!

In no particular order other than when they popped into my head.

1. Be a tourist in my own city

2. Travel Europe with my husband

3. Buy a new (to us) house

4. Have a walk-in-robe

5. Go on a holiday to Port Elliot, SA

6. This one is a secret one that I can’t tell you ;)

7. Own a very good camera and learn how to use it properly by doing some kind of photography course

8. Visit the Spa Dreaming Centre at Peninsula Hot Springs

9. Complete a photo-a-day challenge for 365 days

10. Swim with dolphins

11. Go in a hot air balloon

12. Take three months off to go on a camping adventure in Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

13. Visit Merimbula

14. Live in the country

15. Tour the Western side of Tasmania, including Cradle Mountain

16. Go to the Barossa Valley

17. Create photo books from my photos

18. Learn how to edit video clips together to make a movie

19. Knit or crochet a blanket

20. Make a Softie for Mirabel

21. Get into gardening – persistently!

22. Own a business

23. Complete a cake decorating course

24. Go zorbing

25. See a Cirque du Soleil show

26. Attend a high tea at one of the swish hotels in the city

27. Visit the Melbourne Aquarium

28. Take the hubby back to the beach where we had our proper first date over 10 years ago!

29. Tour the North Island of New Zealand

30. Own a piece of art

 

Did you hear the story about Kailiegh’s bucket list? A tragic and yet uplifting story – read about it here.

The image above was found here.

PS. I have finally imported all my old blog posts from Blogger (from as far back as 2010).  Some links in posts from pre 2014 may not work, I’ll hopefully fix it all up soon!

 

Good Stuff

* The new digital radio station: Double J.  I have it playing through the telly most of the day and they play some gooood stuff!  It’s nice to have music on instead of the TV – I get more stuff done and I swear Jake was becoming addicted, and I thought I heard somewhere that kids under one probably shouldn’t watch telly? 

* Game of Thrones. I am really late to party on A Song of Ice and Fire. I only recently started reading the books.  I loved the first one, but threatened to give up on the whole shebang after snoring my way through the second (the books are BIG too!).  A friend recommended I keep going and I’m glad I did, the third book was awesome.  The fourth was a bit dismal and now I am the 9th in the hold queue at my library for A Dance with Dragons.  That’s the last published one, and there’s meant to be two more in the series.

* Game of Thrones Interactive Map and Wiki.  There are so many clues and repetitions throughout the books that I find it hard to keep up!  Thankfully for all the visual learners out there there is an interactive map which can show the journey of each of the main characters.  The Wiki comes in handy when the author randomly chucks in a name that you swear you’ve read before but can’t remember when, or for looking up things like “what the actual f is a kraken?” (spoiler alert, it’s a big squid).

* Cafe’s that have play areas for kids.  We made the trek to Mount Evelyn to visit Baby Let’s Cruz for a lovely lunch and a play.  Kid wrangling meant I didn’t take any photos, bugger it, but Jake had a ball playing while we ate our lunch!

* Getting ready for a first birthday party!  It’s a little bit exciting, the theme is loosely Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the inspiration came from here:

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This photo came straight from Shannanigans: Twinkle Twinkle Little Party.

I have a secret pin board on Pinterest that is full of star themed party inspiration.  It’s been fun scouring the local $2 shops for party supplies and making up menus: hello fairy bread and jelly oranges!  Here’s the invitation:

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Of course I’ve blanked out the details.  We bought it online from Tambo Creations on Etsy.  It’s so easy to buy a digital download and then print it off at your local photo place, don’t you think?

* The Cubby House is in!  Ground screws and posts and ladders and all of that fun stuff. The slide is already a winner with the little man.  We won’t have time to paint it up all pretty before the party but I am sure the bigger kids playing in it won’t care.

* Leftover steamed veggies mushed up with cheese and mixed in with pasta.  Do other mums and dads out there just end up eating the same thing as their kiddo for lunch?  I was surprised how yum it was though!  I just used pumpkin, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli leftover from last night’s tea.

* Catching up with friends you haven’t seen in years.  How good are little tackers at being an excuse to catch up with long lost mates?! Warm and fuzzy making.

Yay! What good stuff have you been up to lately?

Recipe – Cornflake Cookies

It was my Nanna’s 96th Birthday last week. My mum flew over to Adelaide to celebrate with her, which involved lots and lots of cups of tea and nice things to eat, as it should!

To celebrate I made cornflake cookies, something that quintessentially reminds me of my Nanna!  She usually made them with sultanas.  I strongly dislike sultanas in things, so she would make them with choc chips especially for my brother and sister and I when we would come to stay.

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They are soft but also crunchy from the cornflakes and exceptionally easy to make! Nanna’s recipe has no written instructions other than the ingredients and cooking for 10 minutes – it’s that simple!

Ingredients:

4 oz (115g) butter
4 oz (115g) sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1 egg
1 dessertspoon golden syrup
3 oz (85g) choc chips
2 cups of cornflakes

Method:
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.
Cream butter and sugar, then add the flour and stir.
Stir in the egg and golden syrup, then the choc chips.
Finally gently mix in the cornflakes.
Drop dessertspoons of mixture rolled roughly into a ball onto the tray.
Cook for 10 minutes or until golden.

I love hand-me-down recipes. They’re a little slice of history really! With old terms such as “moderate” and “slow” oven rather than a degree temperature, having converting ounces to grams, the frugal-ness of the ingredients.

Happy birthday Nanna! xox