Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Laura's 13th Birthday Party



On Saturday we celebrated

Laura's 13th Birthday

with six of her friends here for a party.

We kept it simple

and it was a good afternoon.


Laura's friends know her well.

From six friends there were 

five new stuffed toys, 

two of them pillow pets.

Also a lovely kimono and a plasma ball 

(you can see some of them above).


Afternoon tea included

a chocolate fountain.

We found these cute elephant mugs

at Kmart

and filled them with goodies for 

smothering with chocolate

(savoiardis, strawberries, apple, marshmallow).

The girls each took their mug home

at the end of the party.

Laura asked for a malteser cake.


Activities included

Pass the Parcel

Treasure Hunt

Writing Games

(Two Truths and a Lie
and
How Well Do You Know Laura?)

And beading necklaces.


Now that the girls are getting older I found 

I could leave them to it sometimes

so went and had a quiet moment in my craft room

while they started up a long game of Murder Winks.

A good time.

* * *

Emily's party in 3 weeks promises to be 

a more complicated affair,

with up to 16 girls

for a sit-down 

Mad Hatter's Tea Party!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stretching



Lately I feel like I've been stretching.

Stretching my brain to do new things

to fit more into each day

and to manage it all.

It wasn't really intentional, 

it just happened.
. . .


I've been forcing myself to

be creative and come up with cards 

for my Stampin' Up! classes each week.

Along with this creativity

comes lots of logistical planning,

providing boundaries

that can be either helpful

or frustrating.
. . .


For my businesses

(Stampin' Up! and piano teaching)

I bought a dotcom and set up a website.

More learning and stretching.
. . .


At bible study we are reading this book

which is making me think about

the history and reality of feminism;

marriage, headship, submission and church.

I've also been listening to podcasts

which "coincidentally" 

are on the same topic.

Lots of challenges to think about.

Do I need to change??
. . .

Last week I wrote a song.

Based on John 1:1-14

which we are studying in church.

Yes, the first song I've really ever written.

And on Sunday we sang it in church!

A whole lot of stretching there.

Firstly working on the melody and lyrics ...

Recorded myself singing and playing

to send it out to the other musos

so we could play it.

(And I'm no great singer!)

Reminding myself how to use

archaic notation program

and getting it on paper in a hurry.

Then a lot of stretching on the emotional side

as it was all quite embarrassing

and I felt self-conscious,

although I've played piano at church for years.
. . .


Planning parties, costumes, outfits 

and other day-to-day stuff for the girls.
. . .


Making onigiri for the first time

and trying to come up with 

foods for my fussy eaters

(one liked it and one didn't!)
. . . 


Using technology to

become more organised 

in many areas of my life.

Realising that technology

plays a big part in our family life.

(Photo shows us after Sunday lunch,

all engrossed the logo quiz app, 

my ipad and ipod at my place)

. . .



Two new piano students,

one an absolute beginner

and the other quite advanced 

and about to do an exam.

I've been revisiting piano technique,

perhaps changing the way I

play and teach
. . .

I've started learning

two trios,

one Beethoven and one Mozart,

to play with Steve and a cellist friend.

Plenty of stretching for the old

brain (and fingers) there.
. . .


Plans for the future

and remembering the past, too, 

inspired by a lovely lady's eulogy recently.
. . .


Lots of stretching.

Slowly but surely enlarging my

outlook, my understanding 

and my capabilities.

Hard work, 

but good.
. . .


Have you been stretching too?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almost Grown Up


Emily headed out last night 

on a very grown-up function


- a cruise on Sydney Harbour 

with her new (senior high school) youth group.


The theme was

"formal with a touch of military"

so this khaki dress was perfect.

Her first pair of heels

and first pair of new earrings

and a necklace we made

completed the outfit.

I watched her walk bravely alone

through the crowds of older kids in dresses and tuxedos

to find the one or two girls she knew.

A hard thing to do

when you have only been to 

youth group once!

Proud of you, Em.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Mad Hatter & Stripy Girl go in a Walkathon



On Thursday

Laura celebrated her 13th birthday,

and the girls' school held a 

Wacky Walkathon.


The girls figured out their own costumes,

Emily was the Mad Hatter

and Laura bright and colourful 

with stripes and balloons to match a friend.


I found Emily a hat in a $2 shop after halloween,

we found her jacket in an op shop

and she attached spools of thread, 

pins, label, frills, the works.

Love that she can do this herself!

Of course the costumes 

had to be modified be suitable

for walking 8km for the walkathon,

hence the shorts and volleys.


And here's my birthday girl.

Love my teenage girls!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One year ago


One year ago today,

builders started cutting into our roof.

I took this photo after they left for the day.

And eventually, 

over the next four months

our home went from this


to this


Here's a whirlwind reminder

of those days.

















Somehow we lived 

through it all,

and even hosted Emily's birthday party,

we remembered today

(when she asked about this year's party)

I look back through my blog now

and realise that life went on during those times.

Laura graduated from primary school,

concerts were attended,

Christmas cards were made.

I carried on with my elimination diet,

cooking everything from scratch.

Somehow.

But, it was worth it all.

We have space to breathe,

space for each girl


and space for my craft equipment

with another quiet spot to retreat to.



There's still lots to do,

the fence is only half-painted

and the garden is a mess.

It's been quite a year.

But at this end, it's been a good one.

The chaos of the building 

was forgotten on about the

11th March,

the day after we moved the 

furniture into the upstairs.

It's true,

you really do forget about it afterwards.

Just can't believe a year has passed

since it all began ....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Still Sweet


It's rough that I have to 

slowly work my way through


Gluten-free Cupcakes

and Melting Moments.

. . . 

But someone has to do it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Good busy


Life at the moment is good busy.

Laura's birthday is on Thursday,

so on Saturday we celebrated with family here.

26 people, and among them lots of other 

birthdays to catch up on, too.

I think we sang "Happy Birthday" about 6 or 7 times,

most of them with multiple people named!


Laura requested a marble cake,

which I decorated with rainbow sprinkles,

piped chocolate buttercream

and smarties.


Steve photographed the cake while I frantically 

worked on last-minute cooking and cleaning, 


 including (with Laura's help) assembling



gluten-free Melting Moments

Yum!


Fortunately all our visitors were

politely at least 10 minutes late,

so we even had time to look up and smile at the camera.


Can you believe my baby is almost 13?


And here she is later in the afternoon,

enjoying some of her gifts -

fluro coral sunglasses, 

a lion handpuppet

and a very gorgeous and beloved rug

crocheted by an aunt.

We had a wonderful time

all together, it's rare that 

every single member 

of our extended family

can be all together.

And of course the afternoon tea table

was groaning with plates of 

sweet and delicious food

(thankfully not all cooked by me).

Lovely to see the nieces and nephews 

growing up, too.

Good times.

* * *

And in other busy-but-good-ness ....

I have been requested lately 

to source various items,

including (but not limited to):

pink, black, white or silver schoolgirl dress

chains

pink hairspray

fishnet gloves

(for a punk schoolgirl themed dance at school)

Mad Hatter's hat 

(for Emily's birthday party soon)

many and various 

birthday presents

(some of which can't be named yet)

craft activity and lollies 

(for Laura's party with friends)

leis and flowers for hair

(for ballet concert)

food for parties and a goodbye present

(a friend of Laura's moved to another state)

formal/military style dress

(Emily is going on a formal harbour cruise

with her youth group)

.... and I haven't even started to think 

about Christmas presents yet!

But I like shopping,

and the challenge of finding 

the perfect item at the right price.

So it's all good.

Right?

* * *

How busy is your November??