24 Nov 2014

MONDAY MUNCHIES - Lemon Blueberry Loaf

LEMON BLUEBERRY LOAF




Easy and delicious, this loaf cake is on high rotation around here. Sunday is baking day, and when I have made this loaf, it has not even made it to the lunch boxes on a Monday morning.......

It's that good !

INGREDIENTS

*175 grams of butter
*125 grams of caster sugar
*3 medium sized eggs
*100 grams Greek yogurt
*200 grams Self raising flour
*juice of 1 lemon
*2 tablespoons of lemon curd {you can use homemade or store bought}
*1 punnet of blueberries


Preheat oven to 160C and grease a loaf tin well
Cream butter and sugar, whisk in the eggs one by one then stir in the flour and the lemon juice and the yogurt making sure it is mixed well.

Pour a layer of cake into the cake tin and dollop some the lemon curd and slightly swirl to mix {I used a skewer to do this}
Add some blueberries to the mix and then pour the rest of the cake batter into the tin and top with the remaining blueberries.

Bake for an hour or until the cake is set and golden.

Let the cake cool and enjoy

Or jump in and devour the cake while it is still warm !

beck xx


19 Nov 2014

TODAY JUST KEPT ON GIVING !

My day ended exactly the same way that it started....crap.
From the moment I opened my eyes this morning, I just knew that I was in for a doozy.

They say don't cry over spilled milk.

But when it's wine....




I will scream bloody murder, stamp my feet, and have a tantrum that would rival any two year old.

And that is how my crap day ended.

More crap.

beck xx


TEENS 1 - MUM 0

I had peanut butter on toast this morning, my go to breakfast when I'm feeling crap. There is just something comforting in all that goo.

I failed as a parent. It's not the first time believe me, and it most certainly wont be the last, but this morning the chips were down and there was an overall  feeling of gloom that settled in and made me look at myself as even more of a failure then usual at this parenting teens gig.
This morning I gave in to my teens and let them stay home from school. The fight was just more than I could deal with. I just didn't have the strength for the fight.

I tried, and when I still couldn't get them to budge, I let it all get the better of me.



Teens 1 Mum 0

They know they won, I can tell by the gleam in their eyes, that knowing smirk. They knew that today was the day to pick a fight.  It seems they could sense my strength of character before I had even finished my first coffee of the day.

Teens are cluey little buggers, they know just when you are on the verge of going down in a screaming heap and they strike, like a snake hiding in the bush that you come across unawares.

As I sit here venting, and downing my third cup of coffee so not good  it's like they are mocking me, cheering and gloating "we won" they're not of course, well not out loud anyway.



They will want to tread carefully today, because I will be taking notes, I will regain my strength, and that is when this mother will turn the tables and strike back !

beck xx








4 Nov 2014

2014 PROUD MUMMA MOMENT




Last night was the 29th Annual Awards Night for our boys High School. It is a night that showcases performances, lots of boring speeches, the 2014 highest academic achievements and the announcement of next years School Captains.

This year our family celebrated the achievements of our youngest son, who this year has been awarded an academic award for his high standard of work and commitment to his studies in 2014.


This is our baby youngest teen, and at 14 years of age and currently studying year 9, he looks so grown up. Why does time go so fast ? I am a huge sook when I see my boys all dressed up looking so handsome and smart.


Before the ceremony began at the Entertainment Center, parents of course wanted photos of the three best mates together. Of course this is the only photo that we were allowed to take #crazyteens !


It was another proud mumma moment when he was called onto the stage. But I held back the tears. It was a miracle, but I did actually make it through the night without a tear in my eye lol





And the award my baby teen was given for his high standard of achievements across all of his subjects for 2014.
All our boys have been high achievers at whatever they pursue, and as parents we couldn't be happier or more proud.

Congratulations Benjamin
Love Mum
x


Being a very proud Mumma and sharing my teens achievements for 2014 with the fabulous Jess on this weeks IBOT

beck xx

3 Nov 2014

SUCK IT UP PRINCESS





In between making beds, gulping coffee, packing school lunches and putting a load of washing on this morning. It suddenly occurred to me that I had YET again let the mundane tasks of life take over. I had been neglecting the small things that make my life a joy. A walk on the beach, extra time for my family, crafting and of course my blog. I sat on the floor debating this for a while when it occurred to me that no one was forcing me to neglect these things, nobody was making me put every morsel of my being into doing what I perceive to be "the best stay at home mum" I can be. It's completely and utterly my own stubbornness and drive that have led me to be obsessed with keeping a "perfect" home.

Nobody cares if you have a mess on your kitchen bench, that the floor needs sweeping or that you have a basket of ironing screaming at you from the corner of the room.

Nobody cares if you go out for a coffee without making the bed, or taking a walk on the beach before tending to the washing.

Nobody cares but YOU !
All the pressure of being an "awesome" stay at home Mum comes from our own desire to conform and be what society claims we should be.
Cooking, cleaning, home making machines.




I know what my roll as a stay at home mum is, and I will continue to gulp coffee and make beds, to wash and fold and sweep the floor, to cook and clean and to be the best parent and wife that I can be, but I also need to spend more time doing things that make me, me and give me the space to breathe. Taking more walks on the beach, to craft more and to finally sort out some schedule and rhythm to blogging
I don't want my life to be all out about work and the everyday norm. I want to live a life of experiences that bring joy to myself and to my family.

I am going to be a dare devil in the morning, I am going to go for a long walk on the beach before I make the beds, before I do a load of washing and before I empty the dishwasher. And guess what ! You can bet that it will all still be here waiting for me when I get back.

Its all just a matter of sucking it up and choosing how I want to spend my days, prioritising and forgetting all about what is "expected" and doing things my way :)

beck xx







30 Sep 2014

Fabulous Since 1974

Want to know a secret ?

I'm freakin excited that I have turned 40. I never dreamed that I could possibly feel this way, after all when I turned 30 I thought that life as I knew it was over.

Thank goodness I was wrong !

For the past 48 hours, every time I whispered to myself "I'm 40" I've felt like an excited teenager full of wild expectations.

I hope that's not wrong ..........

For the past 10 years. I've spent countless hours wishing I was thinner, prettier, smarter, a better person in general. I've put myself down, torn myself up, and cried rivers thinking that I had lost the best parts of myself. I forgot that I to was/am important.
After 21 years of trying and sometimes failing to be the best mother and wife that I could possibly be.  I'm realising that it's time to give myself a little more priority along with my family. To nourish my being and stop being a negative nelly.

I am a wife, I am a mother, I am a daughter, I am a sister, I am a friend and I am fabulous !!!






I hope ............

Last night after falling into bed exhausted and deliriously happy, I realised that yes I may be over weight, I'll never be beautiful, and although the past eighteen months have been an emotional roller coaster, I no longer want to waste anymore precious time. I am going to wash away any of these left over feelings of anxiety and hopelessness.
It's time to be the me that has been in hiding, to throw all caution to the wind and be the best fabulous me possible.

I am excited to see what the next decade of life has in store for me. I am determined to make this the best adventure in my life so far.




Linking up with Essentially Jess for another fabulous week of IBOT
beck xx

16 Sep 2014

Rosemary & Garlic Bread

The other day I had a craving for crusty homemade bread. I wanted to fill my home with the glorious smell, and my belly with what should be a forbidden food [well for me anyway]  My first attempt many years ago was not what you would call a success, my loaf more resembled a blackened rock that would most likely break your foot if you dropped it !

Since then I have manged to work on and improve my bread making skills.

Easy, rustic and delicious. These freshly baked baguettes are the perfect accompaniment to a comforting homemade meal.




Rosemary & Garlic Bread

2 cups warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tsp of dry yeast
5 cups flour
8 cloves garlic roughly chopped
1/3 cup rosemary chopped
4 tsp sea salt
flour for dusting
garlic salt

Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the warm water and let stand for 3 min. Whisk in the oil.

Combine the flour, chopped garlic, rosemary and salt into a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and stir. On a lightly floured surface, turn out the dough and knead for 10 min until smooth and still lightly sticky.
Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.

Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and press gently to deflate. Roll dough into a square and form into your desired loaf shape or into baguettes.
Place loaf/loaves onto a baking sheet and dust with flour. Cover with a tea towel and let rise again till doubled in size.

Cut 3 slits into the top of the dough and sprinkle with the garlic salt. In an oven preheated to 250 deg bake the bread for about 20 min.
Lower the oven temp to 180 deg and bake for another 20 - 30 min or until bread is lovely and golden.



Happy baking and enjoy :)

Linking up with the lovely Jess for another week of IBOT






9 Sep 2014

We Are So Blessed

I did good when I married, I chose a keeper. I chose a man that has become one of the only people that I can lean on and trust. He has my whole heart, my never ending love.
My keeper is also a wonderful roll model to our sons, a fantastic Dad and our boys are truly blessed to have him.

There are so many different things that need to come together as a whole to make a Dad. As the saying goes.....

'Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad.'

A Dad needs to be a Protector. He needs to do everything in his power to keep his family safe. Physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A Dad needs to be a Teacher. To share his knowledge and principles, to help his family grow and develop.

A Dad needs to be a Disciplinarian. He guides his children to learn proper boundaries and to learn about consequences.

A Dad needs to be a Friend. To show kindness, compassion and interest in his children's lives.

A Dad needs to show Love and Respect. To share the work load of raising his children with his partner and live life faithfully.


Becoming a Dad is a journey of small steps, it is not always an easy road to travel nor does it always go to plan, but with love, patience and commitment the rewards can be truly amazing.


Watching my "men" interact and celebrate Fathers Day on Sunday, gave me a huge amount of pride. The bond between father and sons was a sight to behold and made my heart burst with joy.

I couldn't wish for a better father for my children, I am blessed to be able to share this journey of parenthood with him.

So thank you Dan for being you, for the love you share with us and the road that you have guided our sons to travel. You are an amazing father and each and every day I thank my lucky stars that you came into my life....
My Men x


Linking up with Essentially Jess for this weeks IBOT

beck xx









2 Sep 2014

DIY - EASY PEASY DRINK COASTERS

While I may have been absent in the blogoshere of late, I have not been idle and have many projects to share with you.

 With the warmer weather right on our doorsteps, lazy days by the pool, and outdoor entertaining is right around the corner. Its time to put away our Winter warmers and pull out everything that screams Summer fun !

Whether in my choice of clothing or in my home decor, I love colour. And Spring/Summer is the perfect time to inject more into everyday life.

One of the many craft projects I have been working on, is a set of bright Summery drink coasters. With only a few craft supplies needed, they are a simple and effective way to bring a shot of colour to your table.




                                           

                                           

I used a cork base, and picked up a set of 6 for around $2 at Spotlight
Your choice of craft/scrapbook paper
A good quality craft glue and sealer 


Start by cutting circles in the paper to fit your choice of base, and carefully glue together, wiping any residual glue from the edges. While they are drying, pick any accents that you wish to use. I used a combination of lace, ribbon, glitter and small size scrap booking tags.

When the glue has dried, decorate the coasters as you wish to make them pop and come to life.

I then left the coasters for a few days to ensure that all the glue had completely dried, so that the embellishments I used would not move and smudge at all whilst applying the hard setting sealant.

When they are completely dry, using a paint brush coat the coasters in your choice of sealant and allow to dry for the recommended time.
You can use any sealant/lacquer that you choose but the one that I use on quite a regular basis is Mod Podge, and once you own Mod Podge the possibilities are endless.

Once the sealant has dried 'TA DA' you have yourself a set of gorgeous drink coasters to use when entertaining this Spring/Summer.


Happy crafting :)

Happily linking up with the gorgeous Jess for #IBOT

beck xx

1 Sep 2014

My Leave Pass Is Up !

Finally, Spring is here. A season of new life, of breaking out, moving forward and the perfect time to make changes. It's also my favourite time of the year which makes it the perfect time to bring this little ole blog out of hibernation. To shake of my bloggy blues and return with a new bounce in my step.
It is time to kick up my heels, enjoy the new season, and find a whole lot more to babble on about. Spring is certainly the time for new plans and projects both inside and out and I am looking forward to sharing my adventures with you all.



For the 'new season' of Crafty the idea is to shake things up a little [hopefully].
I hope to share a lot more of my craft with you, our recent home renovations, and more of our familly recipes. Try them if you dare :)
I will still be keeping you all up to date with our daily family antics, because lets be honest, there is never a dull moment around here.

When I started blogging, I had every intention to be upbeat, friendly and interesting. But to me, when I look back at some of my later posts, I feel as though I fell of that wagon and Crafty was heading in a direction that I was no longer happy with. Just glancing at my laptop made my heart feel heavy, and the very thought of sitting down to write gave me the heebie geebies !

So I took a break.
Quite a long break.
And it worked :) I am now looking forward to a brand new season, a brand new outlook for my blog and life in general. Looking forward and leaving the past in the past. Exactly where it should be !



I hope that you will join me on this new journey and give me a kick up the backside if I start to fall into old patterns again.

So without further ado, welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay.

beck xx





17 Jul 2014

Family First - Thankful Thursday

Sometimes a break from every day routine is the best medicine. It might just be the thing that is needed so that you can come back with a BANG, refreshed and ready to get yourself back into gear.

My recent absence from the blogging community was not exactly by choice. It just seemed to happened.

Over the past two years since Crafty was created, I have had times when I was unable to write for whatever reason and I suffered badly from 'bloggers guilt' feeling as though I was letting people down. I felt that I was breaking a commitment that I had made not only to myself, but to the blogging community as a whole.
Let's be honest, I am not at all good at this 'blogging gig' but I love to write, it gives me the chance to share things that I may otherwise keep to myself. It allows me to dig deep within, or be frivolous by choice. It gives me a sense of purpose.

This time however when life took over and blogging was the furthest thing from my mind, something happened that made me remember the reason I started blogging in the first place. It was for me ! Nobody else, just me. You could say I had a light bulb moment.

So as the days turned into weeks and then months, I realised that the guilt I had once felt was nowhere to be found.
I was doing exactly what was needed at the time.....

I was putting all my love, time and energy into my family and our home. For the first time I had no guilt about neglecting my blog and pouring all my attention into what is the most important thing in my life.....

So today I want to thank YOU for being patient with me, for not abandoning me and giving me the time that I needed to breathe new energy into my life, and giving me the time that was needed to put my family first.





Linking up with the lovely Sarah for this weeks Thankful Thursday.










                           

1 May 2014

I Am Thankful For

Having the whole stretch of beach to myself this morning was absolute bliss. The gentle breeze, soft sand and the smell of the ocean was just what I needed to clear my cluttered mind. It's not often I take the time to stop and enjoy the beauty of where I live.

Today being Thankful Thursday I took the opportunity to round up in my mind all that I am currently thankful for in my life.

I am thankful for;
Cups of tea in the morning,
The smell of freshly baked bread
Sunshine to fill my days, & candles to light my night
The calming sounds of the ocean,
The wind blowing through my hair
Raindrops on the roof,
And rainbows after a storm

I am thankful for;
Cupcakes & chocolate
And the comfort of home
Laughter & campfires,
And time spent alone

I am thankful for;
Dreams & good health,
Getting lost in a book
The challengers of life
And hearts filled with love

But the one thing that I am truly thankful for and will be forever more
Is the love and acceptance of my beautiful family, for without them I would have nothing to be thankful for at all.

beck
xx

Linking up with Rhiannon for Thankful Thursday this 1st day of May xx




23 Apr 2014

Mediterranean Prawns

Feeding the family can be a headache. Keeping every ones taste buds happy is far from smooth sailing, but the one thing that I can always rely on to bring a smile to the faces of my teens is pasta.

Recently I was lucky enough to be sent some wonderful samples from Barilla and since I received the generous package right before Easter, I decided to take advantage and use their delicious products to whip up a yummy dish for Good Friday. 

Living where we do, there is always an abundance of fresh seafood available and our family favourite is Prawns. So it was the perfect chance to combine the families two favourite foods and please them all at once.... WINNING !


MEDITERRANEAN PRAWNS

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 Cloves crushed garlic
1 medium onion finely chopped 
2 teaspoons of dried or fresh oregano
1 teaspoon of chili flakes
1 cup Val Verde diced Italian tomatoes 
1 jar Barilla Mediterranean Vegetable pasta sauce
Barilla whole grain spaghetti
Green prawns

In a large pot of boiling water cook the pasta to packet directions

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan, add the garlic and onion and cook until onion is soft
Add the oregano and chili and cool for a further 2 minutes

Combine the tomatoes and the Barilla pasta sauce and add to the pan, bringing sauce to a simmer
Add the prawns making sure that the sauce does not boil.

Once the prawns are cooked through, drain the pasta and add to the sauce


A healthy, delicious meal that thankfully satisfied each tummy in our family, giving the Easter Weekend a fabulous start.

Thank you ever so much Barilla 

beck xx

This was not a sponsored post


11 Apr 2014

Locusts Or Teens ?

Sometimes I think I am housing locusts instead of teens. It seems that I spend more and more of my time taking up residency in the isles of Woolworths and stuck in the kitchen trying to feed my hungry plague that buzz around the pantry like bugs drawn to bright light.
Now with the school holidays upon us keeping a full fridge has become a time consuming chore.

 A plague of locusts wreak havoc, they swarm, devastate crops and cause major agriculture damage - causing famine and starvation.

Just like the locust, teens swarm kitchens in droves stripping a fridge of its contents in seconds being just as devastating to the family pocket as the locusts are to the farmers and their crops.

How much are you really forking out to feed your locusts teens these holidays ? Let me guess, just like me you have actually no idea of the hole they are creating in your wallet !
I know that my teen boys and their friends can clean out my fridge and pantry just as fast as a swarm of ravenous locusts can clear out a farmers entire crop, leaving a devastating trail of crumbs and dirty plates behind them......

My locusts teens are growing boys, but I am sure that the amount of food they put away on an average day is growing faster then they are.
I admit that I had better control over my boys eating habits when they were younger, when there seemed to be more structure. It seems the more they grow, the harder it is for me to keep up with their growing appetites, they never seem to be full ! Maybe I need a built in buffet to satisfy my teens growling stomachs.

The thought that keeps circulating in my mind is, if the boys keep eating the way that they do, we just may need to refinance our home.....they are literally eating machines !

Thank goodness that when school goes back their eating habits will return to what I consider relatively "normal" however that still requires a huge effort on my part to keep the fridge and pantry well stocked.

Keeping an eye on my hungry hoard of locusts teens and happily linking up to FYBF with the gorgeous Grace who has all of this to look forward to....

Happy Friday
beck xx






7 Apr 2014

Honored To Help / Asbestos Awareness Week

Last week I was especially honored to be contacted by Heather Von St. James an inspiring woman who asked me if I would like to help raise awareness through my blog for Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos. After reading her email, and doing a little research I jumped at the chance to help her out.

In November 2005, just three and a half months after the birth of her first and only child. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Heather was exposed to asbestos through her fathers work jacket and the second hand exposure as a young child was enough to make her sick many years later. She was given only 15 months to live, but with treatment and surgery to remove her left lung, Heather is a survivor.

Unfortunately, around 3,000 people are diagnosed each year with this ferocious disease.
On average, they are given 10 months to live.
That's 300 days.
7,200 hours.

Since 2003 here in Australia it is illegal to import, store, supply, sell. install, use or re-use asbestos. However in the US it is still not a banned substance, with around thirty million pounds being used each year.

This week, April 1st - 7th has been Asbestos Awareness Week  I was delighted to have been asked by Heather to be a voice and take a part in sharing the awareness.
In honor of Asbestos Awareness Week the Von St. James Family has created a webpage dedicated to raising awareness of this deadly disease. I am happy to share their webpage HERE on my blog to help educate and raise awareness of this preventable disease.

Thank you so much Heather for this honor, and I wish you and your family all the best for the future.






1 Apr 2014

So, Here We Are

No matter where you may roam
or how much distance is between us,
you will always have a part of my heart.
We have walked life's journey 
 hand in hand for the past twenty years
and now its time for you to go out and explore on your own.
Good luck on your new adventure my boy
Know that I love you 
and that I will always be here
xxxx



When you were born almost 21 years ago, my life changed in so many ways, and there were a lot of lessons to be learned. The most important lesson, the true meaning of unconditional love.  I have wanted to hold you close and protect you from the moment you were born, and to this day that has not changed.

I have so many memories imprinted on my heart and on my mind. Happy memories that makes my heart ache with love.

I am bursting with pride with all that you have accomplished, and the future that lies before you. You have a world full of possibilities, grasp each one with both hands and explore. The world is your oyster.

So, here we are. 
Its been a week since you left the nest. A long week. You have spent the week in transition, leaving the comfort of your well known home and discovering a new and foreign atmosphere. A culture shock to the system you might say.

Me, I have at times wondered around the house aimlessly, standing in your empty bedroom wondering where the years have gone, why I had to let you go. 

Snip snip snip, I can feel the cord being cut every time your name is mentioned. I miss you.

A couple of times now when preparing to serve dinner, I have set six places. I act as though its funny when your Dad or brothers comment, but deep inside I feel silly and a little empty. This will pass, I know. But for now its hard. 
You have depended on me for everything up until now, and I am finding it difficult to imagine that from now on you will lean on me less and less. 

How do you prepare yourself for the time when your children start to move on ? 
I have no answers to this question. It is something that I had never even considered, and now that it has begun I am frightened that the years will pass all to quickly and all my chicks will be gone. That my purpose in life will end and I will have nothing left to throw myself into. My children have been my whole world, I am afraid I will be lost with out them.

So as you start to find your way around your new life, I will try to soldier on without you by my side, I will jump for joy when you phone me, and enjoy every visit that we have. My eyes will eventually stop filling up when someone mentions your name and I will eventually come to terms with the fact that although you have moved on and out of your childhood home, I will forever be your mum and you my son. Our hearts locked forever in time.

Linking up for another IBOT with the wonderful Jess








21 Mar 2014

Letting Go

My heart is swimming in a river of emotion at the moment. My first born is preparing to leave the nest, next week to be exact. I have known for a while that it was coming, but even so, nothing can really prepare you for the day that your first born comes to you and says Mum, I'm moving out.

As I am writing, there is loud music coming from my sons room, this has always been a source of comfort to me. Depending on the type of music he is listening to, I can usually predict the kind of mood he is in. Call it mothers intuition......

I keep telling myself that this is what I have been preparing him throughout his life for, to be independent, to have a life full of happiness and adventure. That the last thing I wanted was for any of my kids to be sitting on my couch at age thirty watching the news with a TV dinner on their laps.
Right now I feel that maybe a few more weeks or months to get more use to the idea would be good, but somehow in reality I don't think that would help.

I am going to miss him like crazy.

I have so many memories held in my heart. We have walked this life together for twenty years, hand in hand. Where has the time gone ? To be truthful, I really don't know. It seems only yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time vowing to love, cherish and support you for as long as life would allow.

Things will certainly feel strange around here when you move next week, even though you are not moving very far away, there will still be a certain emptiness in our family that will take some getting use to.

Your three brothers are currently scheming and planning a room take over. Your younger two brothers are excited that for the first time ever, they will have rooms of their own, but deep down I know just how much they are all going to miss you. For their entire lives you have been there, just down the hall from them, a big brother that they all adore and trust with their whole hearts.  They sure are going to feel your absence. Don't be surprised if they bombard you with texts and calls for the first few weeks :)

It has been hard watching you pack up your belongings, but I have faith that you will succeed out on your own. You are a responsible, hard working young man and we are so very proud of all that you have accomplished.
Just remember we are always here for you.......



Linking up with the gorgeous Grace for FYBF
Have a fabulous weekend everyone !





19 Mar 2014

A Sucker For Succulents

I love gardens, plants, and pretty flowers. But I have this habit of not being able to successfully keep them indoors for very long without killing them.
Indoor plants bring love and warmth to a home, on and off over the years I have potted a few and tried to bring that warmth into my own home, but alas it was a lot of work for nothing.
I am death to all house plants, the green leaf grim reaper !

That is until recently.

It seems that I have finally found a plant that will work for me, a plant that I am sure I will be able to keep alive without much fuss.

The succulent

Succulents are some of the most rewarding plants for indoors, or so I'm told anyway. They are tough, a good requirement if they are to survive me. Beautiful, and interesting. And can grow just about anywhere.

So I am giving it a whirl and adding warmth to my home with a few simple lets not get carried away  indoor succulent terrariums. They were very easy to make, and since I already had a few glass containers that were perfect in size, quite cheap to make as well.

For starters, you will need to get some potting mix suitable for succulents and cacti. Small rocks or pebbles. A bag of sphagnum moss. And your choice of container to display your succulents in. And of course some succulents.



Here's how I out together my simple, yet charming displays

Place a 2 inch layer of gravel, stones or pebbles on the bottom of the container
this provides drainage

Next place a layer of cactus mix soil

Remove chosen plants form their pots shaking excess soil from the roots
place plant in soil in the position you have chosen

Top with a layer of sphagnum moss or sand





Care tips 
Place your terrarium so that it gets direct sunlight
for at least five hours a day

Water the terrarium every two weeks

After watering there should not be more than 2 inches of water visible 
in the gravel at the bottom

Fertilize in Summer only

Hopefully if I follow these direction and not forget the plants completely I will have thriving succulents that will last much longer than that of my past poor indoor plants {may they RIP} and I will be able to chalk up another success for myself .......

Here's hoping 
beck xx





18 Mar 2014

Hair today, Gone tomorrow


 WORLD'S GREATEST SHAVE......

Thousands of people showed just how big and brave they can be recently, when they joined in and shaved or coloured their hair for charity.
Over the four days between March 13-16 many took part in the event to raise much needed funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
The World's Greatest Shave has raised millions of dollars over the years to help researchers find a cure for this terrible disease that affects so many.

This year the foundations goal was to raise $20,500,000
So far the count has reached a staggering $10,802,300 making them 53% of the way there.
With the funds still rolling in, it looks like the foundation will be smiling brightly with the efforts of many for yet another year.

This year, my son took part in the shave with some of his mates at work. As yet their final amount raised is still unknown (money is still to be collected and counted) but no matter how much was accumulated by these lads the point is they took part and helped contribute, showing that not all teens are self centred with unfavourable behaviour. More praise and encouragement needs to be given to our teens, there is so much focus on the negative, and not enough on the positive.



The support the boys received from their place of work and from their families and friends was incredible.
I am one very proud Mum.
All the organisation was done by the boys themselves, the only thing the parents took part in was helping out with the sausage sizzle.

The hardest part of course was getting my boy to stop and 'pose' for the before shot......I'm guessing that he knew that this blog post was to be written !


There was a lot of support in store. Many stopped work or shopping to watch and cheered them all on with loud clapping, whistling and cheering.

It was a whole lot of fun for a very good course.



There is still time to take part and help raise much needed funds. Thank you so much to everyone who has participated so far.....

I know that I am bias
After all, I am his mum
But my son, he looks handsome both with and without hair :)

beck xx
this was not a sponsored post, just a proud mum praising her son 

Linking up with the ever fabulous Jess for IBOT



17 Mar 2014

DIY Cushion Love

Who doesn't love cushions ?
I think a couch covered in beautiful, stylish cushions brings colour and warmth to your home. But I must confess..........Up until now my lounge has been pretty naked !
I have had cushions over the years, but my boys have always used them as flying sauces, or as a tool for bashing each other (this still occurs) but I have had enough of seeing my couch in all its naked glory, its time to brighten the place up a bit.

I decided instead of spending hours searching for the 'right' cushions at the store, that I would pull the crafty card and make my own. This is still a work progress but today I am sharing how I made my 'quilted strip cushion', from start to finish

I already had quite a lot of 'scrap' material  I'm a fabric hoarder I like to have fabric on hand just in case I get the 'crafty itch'


What you need 

              * Different coloured/patterned material
                 I chose six different materials, but you could use however many you like 

              * A piece of calico to back your fabric strips in the size of your choosing
                 The size I chose for my cushion 42cm x 42cm
         
               *Backing fabric of your choosing to form the back of your cushion

How to create

Cut your chosen fabric into strips about 4cm wide and about 3cm longer in length than your backing fabric. Make sure you cut enough strips to cover the entire backing fabric.





Fold the strips in half and iron each strip to form a sharp crease. Once done, lay your strips out on the bench, and decide the order that you wish your colours to form.

Take the first strip and sew onto the calico, repeating with each strip, overlapping them to form the quilted pattern. Shown below :



Pin the quilted piece and chosen backing fabric together right sides facing each other and sew three of the sides together sewing in a zipper on the fourth side, then turn the fabric out so that you can see the finished product.

Stuff your cushion and TA DA !
You have made yourself a Quilted strip cushion :)




Happy sewing
beck xx




4 Mar 2014

Just Breathe

At one stage in my life, there were many events and outings that occupied my time and kept me very busy, entertained, and enjoying life.

I thrived being out with others, letting my hair down, so to speak and spending time being me and not 'just a mum'. Not that there is anything wrong with that, after all for the past twenty almost twenty one years that has been ME and the road I chose and what I always dreamt of being. I enjoy being a'mum' more than anything, it has fulfilled all my expectations and more.

But lets face it, we all need to let loose and spend quality time with our partners and friends. To feel alive and refreshed.........

That used to be me !

Now, at this stage in my life going out has become a rare occasion.
Sad but true.....
Life has taken over, I have let it. I have let myself disappear. I no longer sparkle. I am lost.

Now when the invites come. I panic. I need to know exactly who is attending and what will be happening.
Questions attack my inner thoughts.
Will I fit in ?
Will anyone talk to me ?
Will anyone notice that I am there ?
Will I embarrass my husband ?
And on and on it goes like a merry go round in my head.

Right now I am scared out of my mind. An event is coming up [this weekend in fact] for my husbands work. A weekend away to the beautiful Daydream Island. I should be excited, I should be smiling from ear to ear. An entire weekend away from the norm. A weekend in paradise......but the thought of it is making me feel very uneasy. I'm heading very much out of my comfort zone.

My reality is, I feel as though I don't fit in with anyone that will be attending. I feel awkward and very nervy. I am embarrassed at my recent weight gain due to health issues and medication that I am taking.
I no longer feel 'normal' I no longer feel like me, and I don't know how to bounce back.....

The closer the time comes, the more teary I feel. I hate feeling this way and wish that I could just shake it off.
I am mad at myself, what do I really have to be worried about ? I should be thankful and happy.
And I am thankful, I really am. As for being happy......I am going to have to work on it so that I don't loose myself forever. My husband deserves his wife back, my kids still need their mother and I need to enjoy life again, like I use to. I know that it is all in my head, I just need to learn to deal with my anxiety, learn to throw it away and not dwell on it, I will learn to find a way to focus on shining and bringing back the old me !!!

I just have to find a way to begin, I need to stop, gather my thoughts and just breathe.



Linking up with the lovely Jess for another week of IBOT





28 Feb 2014

A New Fur Baby

We have recently adopted.......

Last week we welcomed a brand new little girl to our family. She is darling and a perfect fit. She can be boisterous and sometimes quite shy. And she has a very sweet nature. We have all fallen head over heels in love with her, and she has been lapping up all the attention.

We named her name Mya, which when searching Google (gotta love Google) means "great ; Mother". 
Mya has settled in well and is getting along just fine with her new family. I think we picked rather well.

Mya is our brand new, fur baby !



We rescued Mya from our local pound, chose her to be a new family member and a friend for our other gorgeous pooch Shadow. 
They are a match made in heaven and so far have given us hours of laughter. Its like watching an episode of Wrestle Mania !



We are now a family of six humans, two fur babies and eight feathered friends, we do not intend to be adding anymore to this rather large family of ours, but you never know, as we have a lot of love to share !

Linking up with the gorgeous Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday :)



27 Feb 2014

Thankful Thursday-My First Attempt !

It's been a long time coming, and finally here I am. Joining in with the beautiful Rhianna for Thankful Thursday 

Today I am thankful that I have been blessed with an amazing husband that has been a wonderful support during my recent health issues. He has been there for me both emotionally and physically. Without him I don't know where I would be, he has been a tremendous help and I love him.
Hopefully tomorrow I will receive some good news from the Doctor and he can finally sort me out so that I am not such a burden on my family.

I am thankful for my four wonderful sons.
Each day I wake up feeling so blessed to be their mum. I am thankful that they are healthy and happy and that even though they are all totally different, I am thankful that they get on well (most of the time) it brings me so much joy to see them laughing and enjoying each others company.

I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads and food on our table each day. As a family we have so much to be thankful for. Love, respect, and each other.

I am thankful that Summer is almost over........
This Summer in North QLD has been long, and the end seemed so far away. I am always thankful for the sun, but I have felt the intense heat more than ever this season and will be very thankful for a cooler change.

And last but not least, this week I am thankful for everyone who takes the time to stop by Craftypjmum to say hi and read the babble that I publish.....
I am amazed and VERY thankful to those of you that continue to re-visit. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

beck xx

Happily linking up with the gorgeous Rhianna for Thankful Thursday

11 Feb 2014

Mind Your Manners

Are manners becoming a thing of the past ?

Good basic manners should never go out of style. They are a sign of respect and good old fashion etiquette. Saying please and thank you, and apologizing when you are in the wrong, are something that we should all adhere to.

Teaching teens good manners is an important part of teaching them how to get along in today's society. My opinion is, that teaching our kids manners is not something that we should just leave to our schools. It is our duty as parents, to make sure our children are taught both good manners and good behaviour.

It may seem funny to some, seeing the words 'teens and manners' in the same sentence, but never fear, everyone is capable of having and using good manners, and teens are no exception to the rule. It is a matter of principal and weather or not you want a relationship with your teen that is respectful both ways.

Teaching my sons good manners is something that I started at a very young age, and is something that I still teach remind them of on a daily basis. I think nothing of giving my boys a gentle nudge in the right direction when it comes to the use of manners. I don't care where we are at the time, out in public or in our own home. The lack of manners in my sons is not something that I tolerate.

Teaching teens manners is not rocket science. You can get them to use their manners the same way you would get them to do other things. Be clear with your expectations, be firm and fair. You need to set by example, other wise how do expect your teen to follow your required guidelines ? Rewarding the use of good manners is also as important as pointing out their use of bad ones. Nobody wants to be criticised all the time, we all at one time or another look for encouragement and praise.

Your teen needs to be reminded that they should treat others the same as they wish to be treated !
Teach your kids to be respectful, honest and courteous, no matter whose path they may cross. They will not always get the same respect in return, and this can be deflating and frustrating, but at least they can smile and be proud of themselves for showing respect and the practice of good manners.



A list of basic manners that I require of my teens, and believe should be taught to all are -

* Saying please, thank you and excuse me
* Apologising when in the wrong
* Do not interrupt when someone else is speaking
* Asking permission when they want something 
* Keeping hands to themselves
* Covering their mouths when coughing/nose when sneezing
* Using appropriate table manners -
   Chew with your mouth closed
   No elbows on the table
   Asking to leave the table when finished their meal

I am not naive. I live in the real world and know that my teens do not always mind their manners, they can easily be forgotten in the heat of the moment no matter who we are. 
I know my teens are far from perfect, they are normal, typical teens.....but I am proud to say that I have done my best to instill good manners in my four sons and hope that it is something that they will continue to use throughout their lives.

Do you think that manners are becoming a thing of the past ?
Do you think that manners should be left to the schools to instill in our children ?

I look forward to your feed back.

beck xx

Happily linking up with Jess for another week of IBOT 



5 Feb 2014

Hidden Passion

Everyone has something in life that they are passionate about, that drives them, that defines who they are. That consumes their very soul.

Obviously my family are my number one passion, they are responsible for making me who I am, and continue to surround me in the riches of life. Those who know me, are well aware that my family is my whole being, they keep my heart beating, they consume my entire world and without them I would be an empty shell.

As much as we are all passionate about the obvious, deep down I am sure that there is more to all of us then meets the eye. A deep passion that we may keep to ourselves, hidden away from our everyday lives. A passion that when we are alone and behind closed doors helps fulfill our inner being.

My love of poetry is not something that I often share. It is a hidden passion that I keep just for me, It brings me comfort when I am down, it helps cheer me up, it makes me laugh. It can fill the deepest hole, and fill me with the deepest love and respect.

Poetry is my hidden passion
A passion I don't even think my family are aware of.
A passion that is part of me and makes me, me !

The very first poem I remember learning was T.S Eliot's 'The Old Gumbie Cat' I was in year six and we were to perform/recite this poem on our school assembly.
I thought it was magical, and parts of it has stuck with me right through to my adult life........

I have a Gumbie Cat in mind, her name 
is Jennyanydots;
Her coat is of the tabby kind, with tiger stripes and leopard spots.
All day she sits upon the stair or on the steps or on the mat;
She sits and sits and sits and sits-and that's what makes a Gumbie Cat.

This was my introduction to poetry and from that moment on my love for T.S Eliot poems has grown right along with me.

Poetry is reading between the lines, its personal, a connection. Its the joy of interpreting, a feeling, a deep passion within....

What it means to one could be entirely different to another. 

And that is the heart of a poem.

What is your hidden passion ?




beck xx

3 Feb 2014

40 Bags In 40 Days : Challenge

Now that school has returned, and 2014 looks to be a very busy year. It's time that I reacquaint myself with the dreaded routine that seems to fly out the window over Summer.

During the past week, our home has had a good old scrub, just like the teens the night before school resumed. But I'm feeling the need to do more. I am feeling cluttered and overwhelmed. My space does not feel like my own at the moment, and it is driving me crazy enough said

Decluttering is something that I am not afraid of, and is something that I do on a regular basis. I hate having things around that no longer have a use or that I have fallen out of love with. I am sure that I have given Hubby more than one mild heart attack over the years as he is what I like to call a Hoarder ! He denies this of course and watches over his shed like a scarecrow watches over a field corn.........

So the other day while I was playing around on Pinterest. {Okay we have discussed my obsession with this before, and I'm sorry but I just cant control this habit} I came across a pin that is well, a declutter challenge.....40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS ! Right away I decided that this was for me. I immediately pinned the challenge and I cant wait to begin.

I have tweaked the challenge a bit to fit my home and family, but all in all it is still very similar to the original.

So here is my 'tweaked' challenge. I will update you as I go, and maybe you would like to join in too. Don't be afraid, you would be surprised at how much stuff you actually do have shoved at the back of your wardrobe, and what really is in your junk draw ? Under the kids beds ? and what lies beneath that couch ?

BECK'S 40 BAGS IN 40 DAYS !

1.  Laundry cupboards and draws                          
2.  Utensil draw in kitchen                                    
3.  Junk draw in kitchen                                        
4.  Pantry                                                          
5.  Pantry                                                            
6.  Under the kitchen sink
7.  Refrigerater/s
8.  microwave cupboard
9.  Office desk
10. Magazine holders
11. Main bedroom closet
12. Two older kids closets
13. Two youngest kids closets
14. Bedroom draws
15. Family room cabinet
16. Kids junk box in family room
17. CD towers
18. TV unit
19. Loungeroom baskets
20. Makeup draw
21. Jewelry box
22. Main bathroom
23. 2nd bathroom
24. Shoes
25. Linen cupboard
26. Craft boxes
27. Kitchen cupboards
28. Cookbooks
29. Garage
30. Garage
31. Car
32. Shoes in garage
33. Under main bed
34. Under kids beds
35. Back patio
36. Bookcase
37. Blogging / computer bag
38. Freezer
39. Gardens
40. {Bar} cupboard in pantry

I am seriously going to give this challenge a go, start the New Year off in a fresh way before the painting of the house begins : )

Let me know if you decide to join in, and how you go.

Beck xx


         








20 Jan 2014

14th Birthday Party Fun

I'm still having trouble believing that my baby turned fourteen last Monday, it doesn't seem that long ago when we welcomed our youngest into our family.


Being born in January means that he has not had the chance to have many birthday parties that include his friends. Most of the time they are away on holiday or we are, so most years we have celebrated his birthday as a family only.
He has never missed out on the 'party' atmosphere, but lets face it, having your friends around to celebrate with you is the ultimate 'awesomeness' when you are a kid.
This year however the stars aligned and everyone was home. Finally a birthday party was on the agenda that included his closest and dearest friends.

Yippee !

A sleep over, swimming and movie night was what Mr 14 requested, and so on Saturday, Mr 14 waited excitedly and impatiently for his tribe of friends to arrive.
Excited, noisy and full of laughter. It was party time.





They began to arrive at two thirty, Mr 14's excitement was contagious. It was wonderful to see him so happy.
The first stop was swimming. They played games and swam for ages, ending up with pink noses despite sun cream being applied (thank goodness for aloe vera)

Swimming makes you hungry and so food was served......and for the short time that they were feeding their faces was the quietest that they were all night ! Finally for a short while, my ears had a rest : )
After a few board games and some rowdy playstaion fun it was time for cake, for what is a birthday without one ?
So while everyone was within cooee of each other I rounded up the crew and led them in a rowdy rendition of Happy Birthday....




Mr 14 was slightly embarrassed to say the least, and it was caught quite well on camera as the photo above shows. His friends were enjoying themselves immensely and on the quiet side, so was Mum : )





They are a great group of kids, polite and full of fun, the kind of kids you want your child to make as they take on their first year of High School. It certainly makes you more relaxed as a Mum knowing that your child has chosen well and joined a great 'group' of kids to 'hang' with.

Not much sleep was had on Saturday night, but when you are a kid pulling an 'all nighter 'is half the fun !
I'm so glad that my boy finally had a birthday shared with both family and friends, memories were made and fun was had....
Now lets hope that he doesn't have to wait to long till the next one.

Happy birthday possum xx


14 Jan 2014

MONDAY MUNCHIES

CURRIED RICE SALAD

Looking for a tasty side to spice up your evening meals ? This spicy rice salad looks as good as it tastes, and was one of three recipes that won me a fridge in a competition run by the ever popular Super Food Ideas magazine (read about that here)

This Curried rice salad is a family favorite, and is my choice of dish to bring to gatherings when you are asked to bring a plate.

I hope that if you give it a whirl, you will enjoy it to !





Ingredients :

2 cups of cooked long grain rice, chilled
1 apple peeled, cored, chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup flat-leafed parsley, chopped


Dressing :

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 garlic clove crushed


Method :

Combine chilled rice, apple, red onion, raisins and flat-leafed parsley well.

Put all dressing ingredients together into a blender or manual shaker and mix well.
Pour dressing mixture into the rice mix and gently stir to combine.

Salad will keep fresh in a tightly sealed container for 3 days.....

Enjoy
beck xx

Sharing this recipe with Jess and all of Crafty's readers on today's IBOT : )

13 Jan 2014

Happy Birthday My Possum

On Friday the 13th 2000, we welcomed our fourth son into the world, Benjamin James.
 He was small, healthy and compared to his brothers very quiet. 
Ben was welcomed into our family with much love and excitement,
 which thankfully he took all in his stride.........



Ben, your laughter is infectious making those all around you happy. 
Each day you bring such joy to my life,
You are my world, you are a delight,
My heart bursts with joy to introduce you as my son, my youngest, my pride and joy.




Your brothers dote on you,
They are your fierce protectors, but also the first to call you a pest !
Brotherly love......
It melts my heart and it drives me crazy



You are a determined child.
Strong willed, independent and feisty !
You know what you want, and you fight to get it.
Some days there is no use arguing with you over trivial things.
You will go far in life, of this I am sure.




I have been so very lucky as a Mum,
From the first moment that I have held all my sons,
We have shared a close bond that continues today.

Ben you were, and still are a wonderful addition to our family
The moment you were born our family was complete.
We treasure you, adore you, love you unconditionally. You are a huge part of our world.
Without you I can not even begin to imagine what life would be like.




So Ben as you celebrate your birthday today,
Remember how much you are loved.
Enjoy every minute that life offers you and never take anything for granted.
You have given me so much in life to be thankful for.
Each day that I look into those big brown eyes I thank God that he gave you to me.
You will forever be my possum and your Dad's shadow
No matter how big you grow......

Happy birthday Benny
Love always Mum
xxx

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