Saturday, October 23, 2010

Echidna stitching

I really wanted to make something... crafty and nice for Echidna Day. Something that wouldn't matter if it was around after Echidna Day was finished for another year.

I decided to do another stitching project in a hoop. I found this colouring page of an echidna and decreased the size I wanted. I traced it onto calico with a water soluble pen (aren't they a dandy tool to have?).

Echidna Stitching hoop

I have been trying to think up a focus for Echidna Day for a long time. After an email from a crafty friend of mine I settled upon it being a day of counting our blessings. My friend sent me a paper project she had about a month of thanksgiving. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia but I really wanted to adapt the idea of it to Echidna Day. This was perfect.

Echidna Stitch

We have so many blessings to be thankful for. It is important to remember them when things get too overwhelming. In the grand scheme of things - Life is good.

Amelia on the Big Red Plane

This week has been a tough one. Amelia had to have a routine broncoscopy and there were complications during the procedure. We are so thankful that the medical team were able to clear her airways again and she stabilised. The day after, you would not even know anything had happened. She was happy and playing like she always does.

We are so glad that God bought such a special little person into our lives. We have been blessed with three beautiful daughters. We have a lot of blessings to count.

Echidna crafts

When I googled echidna crafts, there really wasn't much to pick from. Apparently, echidna's don't inspire crafts. That's okay. We will have to come up with a few of our own. For next year, I might broaden my search to include hedgehogs - which of course and not at all the same animal but with a few tweeks things could be adapted for our purposes :-)

Anyway, here is a paper plate echidna that Amelia and I made last week. It is a paper plate cut in half and then stapled together. We painted it brown and made a pointy nose from an egg carton and the spines from fringed paper. Amelia decided it needed a googly eye and also decided it needed a tail. Echidna's do not have long tails like this, but she thought it looked good so we went with that :-)
Paper plate Echidna craft

Another paper plate craft now. Esther came up with this one all by herself. She made a paper cone nose and stuck paper spines all around. Amelia wanted one too so Esther made the paper cone for her and she worked on the rest herself. I think maybe a little brown paint would've made a bit of difference. They look a little... creepy. But they are very proud of what they made and that they did it all by themselves. It was a late in the day - should be going to bed not crafting craft.

Totally kid made echidna masks

I made some paper cut outs of echidna's too, (which I don't have a photo of because for some reason it won't load up). I had the girls draw on them what they were thankful for and we strung them up on the wall at the end of the dining table. I will take them down and put them into my scrapbooks (at some stage) and we can see what the girls were thankful for this year. It would be a good way to record each year what we are thankful for.

Stick around for my echidna stitiching project...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Knitting at the War Memorial

Knitting at the War Memorial

I asked Tim to take this picture. This lady was waiting for the next changing of the guard ceremony to begin. I thought it was kind of funny to be knitting at this time, in this place and had to get a photo. She actually packed up her knitting and moved while the ceremony was on and then when it was finished, she perched herself back there again. I hope you don't mind me getting your picture, lady. You are part of our War Memorial memories now.

The day echidna came...

Here is a video of when the echidna came.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Echidna cupcakes

Echidna cupcake

Well, we made them. The cupcakes turned out pretty cool. I thought that I would get the kids to help make maybe one or two and I would do the rest (in peace and quiet) but the girls had other ideas. They made quite a few each. After a few deep breath's, I realised that really this is what I want Echidna Day to be all about. Spending time with our kids and being thankful that we can. So I let go of trying to achieve the perfectly piped echidna's I was imagining and we just went with it. Considering their ages, the girls are all pretty handy with a piping bag.

Esther and her echidna cupcakes

Ellamay with her echidna cupcakes

Amelia decorating cupcakes

Just in case you are interested, here is the recipe for the cupcakes. I am sure they are pure fat but wow are they yummy!

Chocolate cupcakes

8 tablespoons soft margarine
100g (3 1/2 oz) caster sugar
225g (8 oz) self-raising flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
25g (1 oz) plain chocolate, melted

Put 12 paper baking cases in a muffin tin, or put 12 double layer paper cases on a baking sheet.
Put margarine, sugar, flour, eggs and cocoa in a large bowl and, using an electric hand whisk, beat together until just smooth. Beat in the melted chocolate. Spoon the batter into the paper cases.
Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven, 180 C/350 F, for 15 minutes, or until springy to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
(Recipe from this book)

Amelia enjoying a cupcake

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Echidna Day cakes

Amelia with the 1st Echidna Day cake

I have wanted to celebrate Echidna Day and make it into something special since the first anniversary came around. The first time we celebrated it in 2008, was marked with a cake. Amelia was only just one in this photo. She already knew cake was yummy! :-)

Echidna Cake

It is just a plain and easy chocolate cake with chocolate icing. The spines are made out of malt stick biscuits. The idea for this came from an ice cream cake featured in this book.

Echidna Cake

This is the cake I made to celebrate Echidna Day last year. It was mud cake with white ganache. The echidna on top was made from fondant icing. The long nose was dipped in chocolate and the spines are made from chocolate ganache. It is sitting on a chunk of mud cake that I trimmed off the cake to make it flat.

Echidna on cake

This year we are aiming for echidna cupcakes. That should be fun. We will be working on these soon. I also have some other things to do to make the day special. A day of thanks. Stay tuned. :-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Echidna Day

James the Echidna
James the Echidna

On Saturday, we are going to celebrate our 3rd Echidna Day. It is our homemade celebration day to remember all the good stuff and a day to count our blessings. Here is the story.

The 16th October 2007 was a breezy spring day. Tim went off to work and I was home with Esther and Ellamay (three and a half at the time) and Amelia (five weeks old). I was talking to my mum on the phone about what the kids were up to and no doubt about how much sleep we were all getting. I looked out the kitchen window just in time to see an echidna come from the fence across the yard. I couldn't believe it! I told Mum and said I'd better go. I took Esther and Ellamay and we crept outside to investigate. (I should point out that yes we live in a rural area but it isn't common to have an echidna wander into our yard!)

We found it under the bush by the back door. It was so exciting. I had never seen an echidna before. And of course the girls thought it was amazing. It buried its head under the leaf litter and didn't move. We stayed back and watched. I rang wildlife rescue and they said they only move echidnas if they are in trouble. The echidna would leave when it was ready.

So we watched. The girls pretended to take photos with their shoe 'cameras'. Amelia slept through all the excitement. We came back inside to have our lunch with the promise of more echidna watching after. By the time lunch was over, the echidna was gone. We spent the rest of the day on a grand adventure in the back yard trying to find the echidna. Ellamay named it James "like on Top Gear" (one of Tim's favourite TV shows!)

On October 17th, again Tim went to work. After everyone was organised and Amelia was asleep again, we went out and checked for James. I had to come back inside when the phone rang. It was the doctor. "We have some results back from Amelia's heel prick test. I'm afraid it's not good news. She has Cystic Fibrosis."

Our world turned upside down with one phone call. The weeks after are a blur of medical appointments and grief. My mum suggested that perhaps God had sent that echidna the day before the news so that we would have something happy to think about during all the overwhelming worry and uncertainty.

So we choose to focus on Echidna Day. To get through a difficult anniversary.

This Echidna Day I am counting my blessings. I am so thankful for our little family. I am thankful we have made it through another year of joy and trials. We are blessed in so many ways.
Ellamay, Amelia and Esther
This photo was taken a few days before Echidna Day.

I have a few Echidna Day activities to share. Come on back and see what we have been making. :-) Have a great day and I hope you will join with us and count your blessings too.

Changing the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider

While we were at the War Memorial in Canberra, they had the changing of the guard ceremony. It was amazing to watch. The kids were mesmerised by the marching. They changed every 15 minutes and we stayed and watched it 3 different times. Tim took these amazing photos.
Guarding the Unknown Solider

Changing the guards at the War Memorial

War Memorial Ceremony

Change over ceremony

Tricky change over moves

On Guard

I think this was my favourite part of the War Memorial. Apparently, the reason for the ceremony was the anniversary of the Battle of Britain. I am so glad we saw it.

Amelia's 3rd birthday

Amelia and birthday present

Amelia's 3rd birthday was last month. She was really excited to be turning 3 and is just at the age where she really remembers and enjoys getting all the presents. (Don't you love the bed hair?)

Ladybug cake face

As I showed yesterday, I made Amelia a lady bug cake. Here is where the inspiration came from. A cheap wind-up toy we have.

Amelia and her ladybug cake

Amelia got all shy when we sang happy birthday to her. So cute.

Amelia with her new instruments

Amelia got lots of cool presents and as you can see, wasn't sure what to play with first.

3 little bugs

I made the three girls their own buggie headbands (find the tutorial and other cool bug party ideas here). I was hoping to do more bug type stuff for Amelia's birthday but it just got too busy. :-( Not that it matters. She had lots of fun anyway.

Amelia and her buggy headband

Our cute 3 year old bug. You are our super brave girl!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Amelia's cake

Ladybug cake

Amelia turned 3 in September. She had asked for all kinds of different bug shaped birthday cakes. One favourite was a catapillar cake. Another was a butterfly cake. In the end, there just wasn't enough time to be quite so creative. I love how this lady bug cake turned out. More about Amelia's birthday tomorrow.

Working on travel journals

The girls at the cabin

Here are the kids in our cabin in Canberra working on their journals. I made up packs of all kinds of making things - stickers, textas, glue sticks, coloured paper, patterned tape and paper shapes so that could record our trip in their own way. Whenever we went anywhere we collected brochures and postcards so they could stick them into their books. They worked on them every night before bed and had them in the car to work on while we were driving long distances.

I have printed out lots of photos for them now to stick in as well. They love to show people all about their trip and the fun we had together.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A stitchy visitor...

James is coming

I am nearly finished him. I will share soon.

(LOOK! Something crafty!)  :-D

Miniature world at Cockington Green Gardens

I have wanted to go to Cockington Green Gardens since I was in Grade 6. That is... hmm... maybe 20 years ago. (!) When we went to Canberra, I finally got to see what it was like.

Mini Soccer

Amelia and I at Mini Soccer field

Boat with some leaks

Man falling from the roof

Miniature workshop

There was so much to see. The kids loved running around discovering things and Tim and I took turns taking pictures. I had the big lens on my camera and an old couple actually stood back out of my way so I could take a picture. They said "She's a professional." I laughed. They didn't realise that I was shooting on full auto and getting some pretty average pictures.

We walked around quicker than I would've liked. The kids were to excited to see what was around the next corner so we had to keep up. The only reason I wanted to go slower was to take photos and I probably took enough of them anyway. :-)

We saw a submarine

HMAS Otway Submarine

On our way to Canberra, we stopped at Holbrook. It is quite a way away from any ocean and looked kind of strange and exciting to find a submarine in town. We had planned to stop in Holbrook for a look but I had no idea how big this submarine would be. After such a long drive, it was a great spot to stretch the legs too.

Ellamay, Amelia and Esther

Quick march submarine

Amelia on Submarine

Ellamay on Submarine

Tim and the girls at submarine

I am so glad we saw this. I had really hoped to see out of the ordinary kinds of things on our trip. I think a submarine in a small country town probably covers that.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Making cupcakes with Amelia

I am playing catch up with all my posts at the moment so forgive me for being all over the place. This one is actually from before Amelia's birthday last month. We were getting ready for birthday cake making. I will post some picture of that soon too. Along with some crafty stuff. I have thrown myself into making things again after a break because of winter illnesses, school holidays, a road trip to Canberra and a husband with pnuemonia (I know I haven't mentioned that, but Tim had pnuemonia just when we got home from our trip!). And as is my style, I have started 50 projects (give or take) and haven't got much to show for it yet. Photo taking of a couple of things tomorrow.

Photo's tomorrow too because it is going to be the 10/10/10. Fairly good reason for a photo wouldn't you say? If I am really clever I will take it at 10:10am as well. That would be good wouldn't it?

Amelia and mix

So last month, Amelia and I made some cupcakes. Usually I get the kids to help put the ingredients into the mixing bowl and help with the mixing. Sometimes I let Esther and Ellamay scoop the mixture into the patty pans (if I am feeling patient that day). I usually give Amelia a beater to lick so I can finish off the cupcakes. This time though, she asked if she could help.

Amelia helping with cupcakes

She did such a great job! I guess she is growing up.

Amelia with a cupcake mix grin

I love this photo with the little bit of mixture near her mouth. Cute.

Finished cupcakes

I have to go and search the hard drive now to find Amelia's birthday photos. Our photo's on the hard drive are so organised at the moment that I am having trouble finding them. :-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Wandering the War Memorial

Tim and I discussed a lot about whether or not to go to the War Memorial in Canberra while we were there. It was one of the main reasons Tim wanted to go. He is very interested in the history of the different wars that Australia has been involved in. I was concerned about having the kids there. As it turned out, it wasn't so bad. Tim wanted to see everything so he took the camera. I took the kids. All they really wanted was to see all the medals. I did have to try to explain a few curly questions though. How do you explain why there is war to a couple of 6 year old's and a 3 year old?

The Girls and I at the War Memorial

We had our photo taken in front of this war time wedding dress because it was the only feminine thing around. The girls thought it was beautiful. It had lovely lace detail on it. Below is a letter from a war widow talking about how she had only been married for 11 months when her husband had died. What heart aches must these people have known in those days? And the heart aches that people are still going through today because of the different conflicts going on around the world. I live a blessed life and am thankful for these brave people.

Wedding display at War Memorial

Walking around the War Museum

We all tried to stay together but the kids were holding things up too much so I sent Tim off by himself with the camera and we just wandered around by ourselves. The kids went around finding all the medals and deciding which ones they thought were the nicest.

Amelia at the War Museum

We went through the part of the museum with the most recent conflicts displayed but the girls were all pretty tired by that time so we stopped to look at the art works in the gallery while we waited for Tim. The kids found a big comfy padded bench and pulled their shoes off and we sat and watched a documentary about the artists and their inspirations for the pieces they had painted.

Girls in front of Night Vision inspired art

I am sure they must have looked a sight... and probably I did too. Tired Mummy with 3 tired girls waiting for Daddy. Don't you love in this picture how Esther still doesn't have her shoes on! Funny. This art work is by  Jon Cattapan and is called Night Patrols. The art was amazing.