Friday, September 30, 2011

This Week...

Sorry for my unintentional week off blogging. On Tuesday I had my 37 week obstetrician appointment and unfortunately bub was still in the breech position. This meant that on Wednesday I spent some time at hospital as my doctor attempted to turn the baby. I was given an injection in my belly to temporarily soften my uterus (which unfortunately had side effects of making me feel light headed, shaky and caused my heart to beat fast) but these were all bareable and gradually wore off. After less than a minute of prodding around, just as I was psyching myself up to block out any discomfort, my obstetrician announced, 'there, done!' and bub had been repositioned head down. I barely felt a thing. Hopefully now he/she will stay in this new position and hold off making an appearance until a bit closer to my due date.

I've been taking things very easy lately and have purposely made no plans. I just take each day as it comes, am staying fairly close to home and besides an odd errand here or there, I mainly potter around the house. My to-do list each day has been dramatically pared back to three things - one household chore, one small organising task (as in tidy ONE drawer) and one bit of something I want to do such as crafting or decorating. The rest of my time is spent enjoying Grace's company. Yesterday we baked a batch of biscuits together, today we're planning on doing some painting.

One creative project I have had time to do this week was to make a pillowcase for Grace to go with her quilt. It is made with two types of strawberry fabric and some vintage ribbon I'd bought off Etsy a while back and still had in my sewing box. Grace loves it and calls it her 'strawberry pillow'. Her bedroom makeover is almost complete and I can't wait to share it with you all. The little blue gingham suitcase above which I'd ordered online from Little YoYo Styles arrived in the post earlier in the week and is also a new addition to Grace's room.

Hope you've all had a great week and have a lovely weekend planned...

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Little Giveaway...

As promised in my Pink Ribbon Day Party post, today I have a little giveaway up for offer. I have decided to give away the string of bunting I made to a reader/follower of Homely One who has a use for it. I realise that its colours and patterns may not be everyone's cup of tea but if there is anyone who has a place to hang it up or would like to put it aside for a party of their own, please leave a comment below and I will draw the winner next Friday afternoon (Perth time). My only conditions are that anyone who enters must already be a follower.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pink Ribbon Day Party

Each year for the past few years, I’ve held a fundraiser to raise money for Pink Ribbon Day and breast cancer research. Pink Ribbon Day usually falls in October, but with my due date being the 18th of October, I decided to hold one in September instead. I tried to be sensible however, keeping my guest list small and sticking to a small number of dishes (two of which I had others make, one of which I bought).

My lovely friend Lyndell managed to take some photos for me so I could focus on being a good hostess, so here are some details from the party…

For the food, as I shared with you all in my Party Planning Tips post a while back, I tried to balance my sweet and savoury dishes which included

- Finger sandwiches (chicken, chives & aioli and cheese & cucumber)
- Chicken and mango balls
- Homemade sausage rolls
- Fresh fruit
- Scones with jam and cream
- Lemon and pistachio slice
- Mini raspberry melting moments
- Mini chocolate mousses

This would have been the perfect amount of food for the 14 guests who were coming. With all the extra plates people rocked up with (despite my saying to ‘just bring yourself’) we had plenty.

For the main table, a piece of floral fabric left over from Grace’s quilt made a table runner and fit in well with the Cath Kidston napkins I showed you a sneak peek of in Monday’s post. All my dishes were served on white or glass platters. With the same scanned pattern I used on my invites, I made some little signs on Microsoft Publisher to label each platter. Above the table, I hung a string of fabric bunting which I quickly whipped up using scraps of material. You can see it in the background of the shot below where Grace is ‘riding’ Asha and in the invite shot above.

As for flowers, I used two jars of snapdragons on the main table along with two floating red camelias from our garden. On the drinks table and smaller tables around which guests were seated, jars of pink ranunculi made a pretty show.

As gifts for each guest, I ordered some more of those pretty bags I used at my Teatime Treats Cooking Club from Etsy store Jade L’il Craft and filled each with packets of seeds (some were flower seeds, some were vegetable seeds depending on the guest). A little label and some washi tape to seal the back finished them off nicely and I displayed them in a little fabric covered box.

To raise money for breast cancer research, I held a little raffle. The prize was a geranium plant and was won by one of my aunties who has the most beautiful cottage garden which I thought was quite appropriate.

Overall, it was an enjoyable morning (after the chaos of last minute setting up and food preparation) and the weather held off for us so we could enjoy the sunshine outside. Thank you to my guests who brought along a plate, to my Mum and best friends who helped me set up, prepare food and clean up afterwards and especially to Lyndell for taking these gorgeous photos for me and letting me share them with you all here on my blog.

Be sure to check back on Friday for my party related giveaway…

All photos © Lyndell (except the dodgy invite shot which I took)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Around Our Place

To start off this week, I thought I'd share a few random photos of what's been going on around here lately...

On Saturday, I held my annual fundraising party to raise money for Pink Ribbon Day (I'll share some photos later in the week). As usual, I had heaps of fun with all the planning and decorating, although I have to admit I had a 'what am I doing hosting an event at 36 weeks' moment on Friday afternoon. Despite rain last week, the sun came out and I was able to have my morning tea outdoors as I'd hoped. Above is a little sampler of things I used to style the table. For readers who are new to my blog, you can see my post on last year's event here.

I have finally made a start on packing my hospital bag. I still have a few things to wash before adding them to my bag as well as a few things to buy and a few things that can't be thrown in until the last minute. I found the pretty checklist above on The Coterie Blog although I've since added a whole stack of other items to it.

This book and magazine are currently sitting on my bedside table. I borrowed the book from the library last week as we had already decided on first names for bub but were yet to choose middle names. This is still a work in progress. The girl option is decided but as for boys' names, I find it really hard being a teacher as lots of names immediately conjure up images of naughty boys I've had in my class. As for the magazine, I'm hoping to spend some time relaxing this week flicking through it's pages.

My 'jobs to complete before 36 weeks' has taken a bit longer to work through than I'd anticipated, especially as most of last week was spent organising Saturday's party. I couldn't sleep last night and found myself lying in bed thinking 'what if I went into labour early, would I be ready?' So, I got out my torch and notepad and pen and jotted down the things I felt HAVE to be done before bub arrives. Thanks to trying out online shopping last week with Coles, I have already crossed 'stock up on groceries' off my list. I was happy with using this service and will definitely be using it again in the future. I didn't buy any fresh produce though, just packaged stuff, but it meant that all Grace and I had to do was pop to the butcher, bakery and fruit and vegetable shop, all of which could be done with me pushing Grace in the stroller. My pantry is now nice and organised and its top shelf is filled with spares of things we use often.

And finally, a package I had been waiting for arrived in the mail today with the cute little curio box above. I had been searching for one for Grace's room for a while now and found the above one on Etsy. Thankfully it arrived safely and is now ready for me to spray paint white and transform into something similar to the one in the picture below. I've already chiselled out a few trinkets that were still glued inside the boxes, now I just need to work out how to remove the remaining spots of glue before prettying it up.

Image source unknown sorry
Update: Photo by Tracy Nors via Ohdeedoh (via BabySpace)

So this week, I'll be pottering around the house, working through my 'to do list' and enjoying simple daily pleasures and moments with Grace. I also have a few little giveaways planned for the near future, so be sure to pop back soon...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cooking Club: Favourite Dishes

Saturday night just gone was our latest Cooking Club. This time our theme was 'Favourite Things To Cook' and we had a range of delicious food to try.

To set the table, I stuck to white and an aqua blue. Some graph paper material I had bought a while back off Etsy made the perfect table runner and went well with some placemats I already had. My centrepiece was a fern which usually lives in our laundry and on either side, I had two little juice bottles which I'd covered with paper and ribbon to hold some simple flowers from our garden.

My spot prize this month was a butterfly cookie cutter, a ready made 'hot chocolate spoon', a bar of stainless steel soap (for removing cooking odours from your hands) and some recipe cards (which I printed off and made up after finding them available on The Pretty Blog).

Our menu this time consisted of the following...

• Chicken Breasts with Sage Butter & Prosciutto
• Spinach Salad
• Red Prawn and Mango Curry
• Homemade Pizza (of Little Caeser’s fame)
• Chocolate Mousse
• Caramel Dumplings
• Chocolate Mudhoney Pizza
• Lemon and Pistachio Slice

Our next catch-up won't be until mid November, after bub has arrived and I've settled into life with a newborn. At this stage, we're going to do a Pot Luck theme again as it was good to have a range of dishes to make up our night's menu.

For those who are interested, here's the Nigella Lawson curry recipe which I'm hoping to make tomorrow night for tea...

Red Prawn and Mango Curry

Serves 2-4

1 x 15ml tbs wok oil
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1½ x 15ml tbs red Thai curry paste
200ml coconut milk
250ml chicken stock (made from concentrate)
2 tsp fish sauce
1 x 350g pkt butternut and sweet potato cubes
200g king prawns
1 tsp lime juice
150g mango cubes, diced
3-4 x 15ml tbs chopped fresh coriander

Heat the wok oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and fry the sliced spring onion for a minute, then add the curry paste. Whisk in the coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to the boil. Tip in the butternut squash and sweet potato cubes and simmer, partially covered for about 15 minutes or until tender. Drain the prawns under running water to remove excess ice and tumble them into the pan. Let the sauce come back to the boil. When it does, add the lime juice and diced mango and cook for another minute or so until the prawns are cooked through. Sprinkle with the chopped coriander as you serve over plain rice or wide rice noodles, or even both.

NB. If you don't have access to the ready-peeled cubed pumpkin and potato, this recipe suggests alternating them for some drained chickpeas and some pineapple.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bump Update: 35 Weeks

Image source unknown sorry

My conversation with Grace this morning gives you an idea of how much my belly has grown lately...

Grace: "Where's your belly button gone Mummy?"
Me: "It disappeared"
Grace: "The baby take (took) your belly button... maybe when the baby gets bigger it give it back"

That's right, my belly button has finally popped. Apart from that, I'm still pretty much all baby with a little compact basketball bump, although I definitely stick out further than the gorgeous silouette above. I'll try and take another bump photo soon.

Last Wednesday I had to go for an extra ultrasound as my obstetrician thought that my belly wwas measuring small for dates. Thankfully, my placenta is working fine and there is plenty of fluid around the baby who was moving very actively and was only slightly under the average weight for this stage of my pregnancy. Unfortunately though, bub has done a major flip around in the past two weeks and is now in the breech position. I'm hoping he/she will move but until my appointment next week, all I can do is wait and see.

I'm starting to feel more uncomfortable as the weeks go on and sleep on some nights is becoming progressively harder. I am definitely finding myself slowing down more too and am giving myself until the end of the week to get all the essentials I want done. Anything I achieve after then will be a bonus. I have yet to organise my hospital bag but I have been putting aside some special gifts I have bought for Grace for when she visits me in hospital which I'll be sure to pack.

So fingers crossed bub goes back to being head down this week, otherwise he/she could be here a bit sooner than I'd anticipated and the birth I'd pictured might not quite eventuate. But I guess at the end of the day, I just have to trust my obstetrician and as long as bub arrives safely, that's all that really matters.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happiness Is Found In Little Things

The title of this post is borrowed from my childhood Hollie Hobbie mug which I took on a picnic with Grace earlier in the week and it sums up my week (post trolley incident) perfectly. After a few mishaps, the latter part of the week was free from plans so Grace and I have been enjoying time together outdoors in the sunshine.

Yesterday we packed our rug, thermos and morning tea and had a picnic at a park together. We enjoyed our goodies, fed the ducks and played on the swings. Grace's comment of "Mummy, I so like having picnics" has made this outing something I hope to do more often.

Today we headed to the river with our beach towel and bucket. Although the water was choppy, Grace loved running up and down along the sand collecting shells in her bucket and I soaked up the sunshine as I enjoyed a milkshake and watched her.

Another thing that has made me happy this week includes my slightly cleaner house. My Mum came over on her day off to help me clean and organise our place as I had gotten myself into a bit of a rut and had the 'where do I start' dilema. Mum was fantastic. She got stuck into things, had me feeling motivated and left my place looking much tidier than before. Now I just have to keep it that way.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Grocery Shopping Disaster

Photo by Graham Yelton

Last week, I was thinking about how I should try online grocery shopping and do a big bulk buy up pre-baby. I've been finding my usual grocery shopping task has become too hard as trying to lift Grace into the seat at the front of the trolley as well as pushing and unloading heavy bags with my belly has become very difficult. An incident this morning confirmed this.

It started out as a good outing. Grace was happy in the trolley and I scooted up and down the aisles as quickly as possible. Heading back to the car however, the sloped paving plus my heavy load suddenly made the trolley impossible to steer and it began veering towards the kerb. With visions of Grace toppling out, I tried with all my might to re-correct it, also wary of not straining my belly in the process, but it was no good. I crashed into a car on the verge, the trolley ended up on it's side against it and I hurt my shin in the process.

No one came to help me.

So I came home, unloaded my shopping and sat down with a cuppa to watch Grace playing happily and to try and calm my nerves. I'm still getting belly kicks so it looks like all is okay in that regard which is all that matters really. Fingers crossed it won't cost too much to fix the dent in the other man's car.

So after all that, I'm definitely going to look at my grocery shopping system a bit closer. I figure if I can do an online shop once a fortnight or so for packaged/canned stuff, then I'll be able to get away with a quick visit to the green grocer, bakery and butcher each week.

How do you do your shopping? Do you do a weekly or fortnightly shop and have you tried online grocery shopping?