Friday, April 27, 2012

Easy Peasy Meals & Giveaway Winners

Lately, we've been tweaking our night time routine a bit in order to get Sophie down earlier, to make bath time quicker and to give Paul and I some quiet adult time before we turn in for the evening.  Our new routine leaves us with two options - we eat at the earlier time of six or wait until around seven thirty.  Whichever way we go means I need either a meal I can prepare earlier in the day and simply heat up or a meal I can whip up in under twenty minutes.

So, I've been flicking through my recipe books, trying to find ideas which fit these categories.  Tonight we're having Fettuccine Carbonara - a recipe which with a tiny bit or preparation can literally be cooked in the time it takes the pasta to boil and for which I usually have most ingredients.  Here is the recipe I use, adapted from several different ones over the years...

Fettuccine Carbonara 

(Serves 2)
200g pasta (I never measure this, I just grab the amount of pasta I see fit for two serves)
3 rashers bacon (shortcut bacon)
1 egg yolk (at room temperature)
1 egg (at room temperature)
¼ cup cream (single pouring cream)
⅓ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove crushed)
125g chopped button mushrooms (optional)
parsley (handful finely chopped)
salt (a generous pinch) and freshly ground pepper

Cook fettuccine in a large pot of boiling salted water.  Meanwhile, fry bacon, garlic and mushrooms with a drop of olive oil.  Whisk egg, egg yolk, cream, ¾ of the parmesan, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  When cooked, drain pasta quickly and return to pot. Over very low heat, add bacon, parsley and egg mixture.  Toss through quickly to heat. Remove as soon as the sauce begins thickening and serve immediately with remaining parmesan and cracked pepper.

I'd love to hear which meals you would suggest for either the 'make it earlier' or 'whip up in twenty minutes' category if you'd like to leave a comment and share your ideas below.

Also, I finally got around to drawing my giveaway today.  Thank you to everyone who entered.  The winners are:

A cross-stitch pattern from Sewing Seed... Jane of Planet Baby
The cute mushroom mobile from The Quirky Bird... Michelle of Jarrah Jungle
My patchwork squares of pretty fabric... Bron of Maxabella Loves 
A clothbound version of The Secret Garden...  Megan of Silver Threads Of Happiness  

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend ahead.  I'm off to the '3 in 1 Market' at the Claremont Showgrounds tomorrow morning.  Hopefully I'll have some nice finds to share with you all on Monday...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grace's Fairy Obsession

Grace is currently going through a ‘let’s wear dress-ups at every possible moment during the day’ phase.  She wakes and is straight into her fairy costume.  Throughout the day, she colours in, plays in the garden with Asha and has tea parties with her toys all whilst wearing her fairy outfit. 

Thankfully, she accepts that her costume doesn’t leave the house. 

Last night, I snuck in to check on Grace before I headed to bed and there she was under the covers in nothing but knickers and her fairy dress, with a crown perched on her head and a wand clutched tightly in her hand.  This is the second night we've found her like this.  Thankfully she was in a deep sleep and I managed to change her back into her warm pyjamas without her waking,

Later, when I went to feed Sophie in the early hours of the morning, I decided to poke my head back in to Grace’s room to check she hadn’t kicked her covers off and could not believe she had once again done an ‘outfit change’!

I guess there’s only a certain stage in a little girl’s life where she can get away with dressing as a fairy all day long, so for now I’ll let her be.  However, I think the dress up basket will be staying in the family room tonight…

Friday, April 20, 2012

The ‘Magical’ Six Month Mark

I’m feeling a tad sad today. You see tomorrow is the six month mark for Sophie which means, tomorrow she’ll be moving from the bassinet in our bedroom to the cot in her nursery. Paul calls this milestone the ‘magical six month mark’ as I like to have our babies sleep in our room up until this point, which means Paul is often also woken around three or four in the morning when Sophie wants a feed.

So tomorrow, she’ll be in her nursery. I’m just hoping she doesn't disturb Grace who is in the bedroom next door. If all goes well, I’ve decided I’ll try doing a ‘dream feed’ around ten o’clock which will hopefully take her through until the morning. I used to do this with Grace but this time around, I’ve found I’m too tired to stay up late and have preferred to go to bed early and just get up in the wee hours of the morning to give her a quick feed.

However, six months is also an exciting time. It means Sophie sitting up by herself. It means crawling will be just around the corner. It means her first words. So as sad as I am, I’m also excited about all the lovely times I know are ahead. Perhaps the phrase ‘magical six month mark’ is quite fitting after all...

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway here if you haven’t already done so. Entries close next Wednesday…

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Giveaway Time!

As promised, it’s giveaway time! Following on from my post last week about Grace’s new ‘big girl bedroom’, today I have a few prizes I’d like to offer you all as a thank you for supporting my blog… to thank loyal readers and commenters, new followers whose faces are always welcome and friends who take the time to read what I write.

My first giveaway is a PDF cross stitch pattern of your choice from Sewing Seed. In Grace’s room, I shared a photo of the owl cross stitch I made her. As a prize, you may choose ANY design you like. To enter, pop on over to Sewing Seed and leave a comment here letting me know which cross stitch pattern is your favourite that you’d like to win.

Second up is a chance to win a mushroom mobile like the red and white one hanging in Grace’s room. This mobile is sewn by Lecia of  The Quirky Bird, a Made It shop I discovered by chance one day and a store I was happy to find out was Perth based. To enter, just leave a comment below telling me where you would put this cute mobile in your own home or who you would give it to should you win.

When I made Grace’s patchwork quilt, I kept aside several squares of some of the fabrics I had collected to be used as a giveaway. The squares are four inch and there are several of each design. While there aren’t enough for a full sized quilt, there are plenty for a smaller project. If you have a use for these and would like a chance to win, just leave a comment below letting me know which project you’d like to use them for.

My final prize is a copy of a Penguin clothbound classics children’s novel – either ‘Anne Of Green Gables’ or ‘The Secret Garden’ - like the ones I bought for Grace which sit on her shelf. While my above giveaways are open to anyone, this particular prize is a special one as it is only open to those who are ALREADY followers of Homely One or who have ALREADY left a comment on my any of my blog posts in the past. I have put a condition on this prize as I wanted to thank someone who is genuinely supportive of my blog. If you would like a chance to win one of these books, just leave a comment to let me know which one you would prefer.

So that’s my little round up of giveaways. You can enter to win as many of these prizes as you’d like, just be sure to leave a separate comment for each giveaway and if you don’t have a blog yourself, leave an email address so that I can contact you. For a bonus entry, mention my giveaway on your blog or link to it in your side bar and leave a comment here letting me know you have done so. I will use a random draw to select the winners of this giveaway on Wednesday 25th April (5pm Perth time) and announce the winners in a post shortly after.

Thanks for supporting Homely One and good luck!

On the topic of giveaways, be sure to pay a visit to the lovely Nellie of McCarthy Designs who is also hosting a giveaway for a chance to win a $100 voucher for her newly opened online store, McCarthy Designs & Occasions...

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Night Out And An Anniversary

Today is our seventh wedding anniversary, seven years of being blessed by having such a wonderful husband.  When I think back to our wedding day, I think about how young we both were back then and about how much has happened since...  about how we've grown as individuals and as a couple and how I am so thankful to have had someone as supportive as Paul by by my side through the good and bad times we have both faced.  I am so happy we get to share this life of ours together.  

We don't have any special plans tonight but hopefully in a few weeks, we can go out to a nice restaurant together and celebrate.  Normally Monday is our hectic night when Paul heads to the gym and I battle with the full-on 'tea, bath, bed routine' myself.  However, tonight he's going to stay home and help out with the girls and we'll get takeaway - a perfect present in my eyes.  I'm going to make us a yummy dessert as a special treat. 

On Saturday night however, Paul and I did go out.  We had our first night out without the girls since last September, back before Sophie was born.  It was my '30th Birthday Package' Paul had organised for me.  We started with an early dinner at The Olive Tree and then headed to the Burswood Theatre where Paul had bought tickets to Mary Poppins.  The thing I appreciated most about this gift of Paul's was that he didn't mind taking me to see a show which was something he wasn't all that keen to see himself.  However, we both loved the show.  Our seats were so good - three rows from the front- I could see every expression on every actor's face!  It was an amazing production - great actors, wonderful music and fantastic sets and props.  We left humming songs all the way home in the car.

Anyway, I'm off to prepare a chocolate self-saucing pudding... see you back here Wednesday for a few little giveaways I have planned.  Thanks also for all your kind comments on my post about Grace's bedroom - I appreciated each and every one of them!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grace’s Bedroom: Nursery To ‘Big Girl’s Room’ Makeover

I am so excited to finally be able to share Grace’s bedroom makeover with you all today.  It’s been a long time coming, pretty much since she went from her cot to a bed (remember the ‘big girl bed disaster’?) but I wanted to wait until most things were complete rather than show you bits and pieces along the way… although, I think this will be a room I’ll find myself always adding to.  For those who are new to my blog, you can see Grace’s old nursery here so you can picture how it’s changed.  The bedrooms in our house are all pretty small so my focus was on keeping things as spacious as possible.  Nothing I’ve used is overly expensive as I’ve made a lot of things myself or used items we already owned.  So… here’s Gracie girl’s special space…

The first thing you see when you enter the room is Grace’s bed.  She is happy in her low ensemble set up and I’m happy at how easy it is to make each day being on castors.  For her bedding, I’ve used a simple Indira bedspread from Ikea and the patchwork quilt I made her sits on top of that.  I also made the coordinating pillowcase which is at the top of the bed and she has a few others that she alternates between.  The small pillow is actually an embroidered vintage tea towel I bought off Etsy seller Granny Hanna’s Cottage and repurposed.  The wrought iron bedhead is a recent find on Gumtree.


A few weeks back, Paul returned home from his brother’s house with a cute little wooden cupboard that he was getting rid of.  It once belonged to my father-in-law so Paul rescued it with the intention of using it in his shed.  When I spotted it in his car however, I knew it would be perfect for Grace’s room.  I had been hunting for a cute little ‘something’ to use as a bedside table for Grace for some time and this find was perfect. I just freshened it up with some primer and a few coats of pale blue paint.  The lamp on top is from Kmart - I just glued some ribbon from my stash along the bottom. 

The artwork displayed above Grace’s bed includes an owl cross stitch I made (I bought the pattern off Etsy from Sewing Seed), a vintage children’s book illustration from My Sunshine Vintage which I framed and a gorgeous alphabet print from One Little Dicky Bird which is such a lovely piece of art for a nursery (it's also available with a pink background).  The ‘Grace’ letters were a gift when she was born.  Hanging from the ceiling above Grace’s bed is the paper doily mobile I made her a few weeks back. 

The previous Ikea Hemnes drawers in Grace’s room have been moved into Sophie’s nursery for use as a change table and have been replaced by the chest of drawers above.  They’re slightly less deep and give more floor space.   I kept the bird decals from Grace’s nursery as I didn’t want to completely alter her room.  They’re from Elephannie on Etsy.  I’ve also displayed a few bits and pieces underneath like a cute blue and white gingham suitcase which stores hair elastics and clips, a framed photo, a wooden box which I painted and covered with some cute scrapbooking paper, Grace's Toy Story figurines and a tissue-box which I covered using the a few tutorials I found via Janette.  

The window nook is Grace’s play corner.  The wooden kitchen in the corner was a combined birthday and Christmas present and has been one of the best things we’ve bought for Grace.  “Mummy, can you sit and play ovens please?” is a common phrase heard around here and she is often found having tea parties with her stuffed toys when she wakes in the morning.  Her play food is kept in a little wicker basket next to it.  Also in the corner is the curio display box I transformed for her (see the before shot here).  Grace displays all her trinkets here.  I love seeing what she classifies as ‘treasure’ (there is currently a purple sequin in the top right compartment).  Shells, feathers, buttons and small toys all have a place to be on show now.  The white Moroccan leather pouffe with pink embroidery I already posted about a while back when I ordered it online from Kuati.  Grace uses it as a little seat.  Next to her chest of drawers, a cane laundry basket stores all of Grace’s dress-up clothes for easy access.

Under the window sill we strung a line of baker’s twine and I made some little butterfly pegs (using mini-pegs from Kikki K I already had lying around and some butterflies which were off some old hair elastics).  This is where Grace displays her artwork.  The floating shelf above the play kitchen displays the vintage style ’classics’ novels I bought for her, some baby toys, a little framed quote (I spray painted a cute frame from The Reject Shop), a brass swan she has taken a liking to (bought from an antique store in Latrobe on our travels around Tasmania) and a pot of wooden tulips which were in my own bedroom as a little girl. You’ll notice the new roller blind in Grace’s room too.  I’m still debating whether some soft sheer curtains on either side of the blind would soften things up a bit and block out that little bit of light that creeps through on either side.   

Hanging beside her wardrobe is a cute little mushroom mobile I bought off Made It seller The Quirky Bird.  My sister brought back the cute bee hook from a trip to Venice.  On the door handle is the wooden bird previously from Grace’s nursery which is now a pretty shade of blue.

And that’s pretty much all there is to Grace’s room. It’s simply decorated, uncluttered, light, bright and pretty. Best of all, Grace enjoys spending time in there which in my book means ‘a successful decorating job’.

Pop back this time next week for a several giveaways I have planned related to Grace’s bedroom makeover…

Monday, April 9, 2012

Girls’ Bedrooms Inspiration

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you've all had a lovely Easter break with your families and not eaten too many Easter eggs!  Anyway, onto this week...

On Wednesday, I will be FINALLY sharing some photos of Grace’s 'big girl room', something I’ve been promising you all for ages now. However, before I do, I thought I’d share a few images that inspired this little makeover to give you an idea of the vision I have had this whole time. Since the rest of our house has a casual/gender neutral vibe, I wanted Grace’s room to be girly and pretty with lots of handmade touches… On my list was…

…a patchwork quilt, sewn by me – I’ve always loved this gorgeous one above made by Kelly McCaleb with its myriad of patterns and colours and a simple design…

…a vintage style bed…or more recently, an antique bed head…

…a place to display the many trinkets and treasures little girls collect…

...a mix of ‘old’ and ‘new’

I’ve come across some great posts recently on decorating children’s bedrooms which you should read if you are about to embark on such a project. Steph’s article on ‘10 Stylish Children’s Bedroom Ideas’ gives some great tips as does ’10 “Somethings” Every Child’s Room Should Have’ over at Apartment Therapy. I discovered both of these after having completed Grace’s room but am happy to see that I’ve pretty much covered these tips anyway.

Pop back Wednesday to see some photos of Grace’s room…

Sources of image above:
#2 House To Home - photographer not specified
#3 Tracy Nors shown on Ohdeedoh

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Paul's Birthday

Today is my husband Paul’s birthday. Being a work day, we got up bright and early to give him his gifts which included a card Grace made for him and a ‘birthday bag’ she had decorated containing his gifts.  Inside the card, we included a little interview which I found on Bianca’s blog. It was a great way for Grace to put into words her thoughts on her Daddy.

Tonight we are going out for an early meal and will then come home to sing ‘happy birthday’ and enjoy a piece of the chocolate cake Grace and I made earlier in the day.  It's got lashings of chocolate buttercream on top and has been carefully sprinkled with hundreds and thousands by my little helper. 

We've also been working on some Easter gifts today.  Grace has been colouring in Easter eggs (the free printable you can see below is available from Style Me Gorgeous) and we packaged up the rocky road we made yesterday with some cute bunny bag toppers which you can download from Skip To My Lou.

All that's left to do now is wait for the Easter bunny to arrive!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Wrong Side Of The Bed

I think I’ve woken up on the wrong side of the bed today. I feel unmotivated and snappy. Having a broken night’s sleep probably has something to do with that I guess. Sophie was very wakeful last night and I don’t really know why… Teething? An upset belly due to her starting on some solids? Sleep cycles changing? It's only half-way through the day and I've already tripped over one of Grace's dress-up costumes and landed flat on my back, hopped into my car after grabbing a few items from the supermarket only to discover I'd rudely left my empty trolley at the check-out and had to re-settle Sophie during her naps more times than I care to count.

Our weekend was a good one though. Grace and I went and bought Paul’s birthday present, we pottered around the house (I managed to put up some cute wall decals in Sophie’s nursery) and yesterday morning, the four of us spent an hour wandering around a local fair. Grace loved the baby animals (she was a little too affectionate with the animals though, trying to pick them up or bear hug the poor things!!) and I bought a cute dress for Sophie which I’ll keep aside for her first birthday or Christmas (it was from Lalaland Design who sells at the Fremantle Markets and has an Etsy store). However, not a lot else on my to-do list seemed to get crossed off.

Today, we’re having one of those days where we don’t venture too far from home – tidying up (why does our house always look so messy after the weekend?), doing washing and just taking each hour as it comes. Grace and I have just made a new batch of play dough which is keeping her busy so while she’s happy sculpting ‘frogs and lily pads’, I’m off to calm down Sophie who I can hear protesting from her cot and then to hopefully make a dent in my chores for today.

Hope you all have a lovely start to the week…