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Fabric, hooks and lots of yarn!

The sun is shining, the temperatures are above freezing, almost tropical… I have no doctors appointments of any kind today, yesterday I had a checkup at the OBGYN, my little man is head down, which explains all the pressure and many, many trips to the bathroom! It is time to catch up on the laundry and get my sewing machine out… Those burp cloths won’t finish themselves!

Burp cloths made and laundered, I moved onto my crochet edge blanket… I am absolutely in love with this blanket, I used a very soft shirting fabric, measured to 31″x36″, hemmed with a 1/4″ double turned in hem, sewn and then it’s ready to get out the yarn… Yay my favorite part! I used a tapestry needle and a no 2 cotton yarn, it was time to blanket stitch around the edges of each of the four sides of the blanket making sure each corner had one diagonal stitch also…

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After all blanket stitches were complete, it was time to add the shelled crochet edge… The finished result is a very cute not too feminine soft and cozy baby blanket… Perfect for a Spring newborn baby!

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I think my body is changing, my hormones are raging, the tears keep flowing and I am so incredibly uncomfortable, pregnancy should be 8 months, this last month is just not the best… So despite not being very organised, and not being actually ready for a newborn baby, my body and head is saying it is more than ready to have it’s little inhabitant out and get it back to me again! At my OBGYN appointment this past week, I had no signs of labor and hopefully next week I should have the date set up for my c-section, 3 weeks Sunday and counting… Carrying 8 children plays havoc on your body and that is why this little boy will definitely be our last child!

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Handmade Baby Boy!

Life in our house is busy as usual, but I have had to take a step or two back and learn to let others help me out… Not easy for this busy Mom of 7, but I’m learning… My glucose levels have returned to normal, gestational diabetes scare over… Yay, but my iron levels are dangerously low, 60% depleted, so this explains how bad I’ve been feeling! the extreme tiredness, the shortness of breath and the occasional palpitations! This week I start hour long infusions of iron, hopefully this will make me feel so much better, I’ve been adding lots of iron rich food to my diet but I have to give in this time and take the IV, but if I had the choice I would just try the diet for a while longer!

As I am kind of on an in forced rest, my body won’t let me do too much, I get totally exhausted and very breathless easily, I’ve been concentrating on making baby items not only for this little boy who seems to be causing me so many problems at the moment, but later on for my Etsy shop Florrie’s Attic! I love, love, love babies in hats, boys hats are a little more difficult to find something different, so I’m working on ideas for cute baby boy hats! I’m also working on a fabric baby blanket with a crochet edge, at the moment I am using boy colors but the options are endless and I am totally in love with this new thin, spring blanket!

I have found a couple of links to handmade burp cloths and crib sheets, so this is definitely something I would like to try, JoAnn’s is a destination this week for supplies! Here are the links…
Hand made burp cloths
Handmade crib sheets

We are starting our little girl and boy room this week, well I say we, what I actually mean is I am organizing the colors and Paul is starting the manual labor! I have finally decided on a colors and I am very excited… We went to Sherwin Williams yesterday for paint samples, so I am hoping that the colors will be perfect! I love mismatched shabby chic style and I think this room will be perfect for a little girl and tiny boy to share… this is my inspiration!

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On a final note for today, Martin Luther King Day, of course I always have to talk about food… Although I am not actually cooking at the moment, I am in charge of the menu and tonight we have cheesy spinach baked penne I have been using gluten free brown rice pasta from TJ’s, I also like the fact that this recipe uses lots of iron rich spinach, combined with lower fat cheese options like cottage cheese, now I’m not sure my family will love this, but I love cottage cheese, we are going to have this with my favorite baby kale salad from Costco and some kind of protein, not sure what that will be yet, as I need to go to the grocery store, but I’m thinking mine will be baked tofu!

Links I have found for free crochet baby patterns…
Baby girl hat crochet pattern
Triple crochet cocoon and hat pattern
A guide to properly sized crochet hats… a must when you are making hats!
A super chunky baby cocoon
Newborn to 3 months crochet beanie

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Slow cooker delight!

My new, all singing, all dancing slow cooker… Is something I’ve thought about buying for many many months since I saw it in Target $150, and now with a special offer last week in Costco $99 with $20 instant rebate, now it’s still cheaper than Target at $120, I finally bit the bullet and updated my much loved crock pot! This new slow cooker is by Ninja, it not only slow cooks, it can sear, stovetop cook, bake and roast, it is slightly smaller than my crock pot,but in my opinion looks more state of the art… Last night I broke open the box and gave it a try, I am a huge lover of risotto, so this was the perfect starter meal to try, I managed to heat the oil, sauté the rice and then cook the risotto without slowly stirring and constantly adding the stock, I placed cooked chicken in the pot to warm through and roasted vegetables in the oven to add later… Voila roasted vegetable and chicken risotto, warming and delicious! The recipe book is huge and has a section for one pot cooking, one of the recipes is a quick and easy lasagne, one of my family’s favorite dinners… This one is on the menu for tonight’s dinner, everything is placed into the pot, switch it on and let it cook… My kind of cooking!

It’s cold and snowing again here, so I plan on a day indoors again, I have knitting to complete, cushions to sew covers for and laundry to do, but first a coconut bundt cake to bake, I recently bought a huge bag of coconut from Costco, a bargain at $3.97, so I am frequently on the look out for recipes using coconut and this one looks delicious!

On the subject of delicious another food recipe I think I will add to my Christmas list this year, baked cranberry and pistachio Brie, now if I wasn’t 26 weeks pregnant I would dive into this delicious looking cheese, but unfortunately this year I will have to bake this for my family and watch as they tuck in and know that next year I will be enjoying this myself!

Finally on the subject of food, I made a delicious cream cheese apple bread on Saturday, well worth a try, delicious and puddingy, it was so yummy served with custard and topped with whipped cream!

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Follow me on Pinterest for more yummy recipe ideas and much more!

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A quiet life… At last!

Life has been kind of quiet recently… Thankfully! I have been concentrating on learning to not spend money, all of my life I have been reckless with money and it’s just not a good thing, so right now I’m learning how to spend our money wisely… What that means for me is a lot more days at home not cruising the aisles in Target… Ha, ha! I have been completing projects that needed doing like hats for Florrie’s Attic, replacing all my cushion covers and a lot more home baking and cooking, which really gives me a sense of achievement when I feed my family wisely! My life is usually so busy and hectic I have really enjoyed some down time to get on with things I’ve wanted to do for a while!

After months of morning sickness we are finally back on track for a healthier diet, Mabel is very happy about this… I have been kind of menu planning, but not strictly, I have ideas of what our menu will be for the week and then I shop the basics and plan each day as I go. My favorite place for recipes at the moment is the whole foods app on my iPad, everything tends to be healthy and is easy to adapt to ingredients you have in. I am trying to bake sweet treats every day to help fill the gap with so many hungry children…

What we ate yesterday…

For breakfast Florrie and I had cereal, after that I prepared the pioneer woman’s pizza dough recipe, I had run out of olive oil so I substituted it with melted coconut oil, I wasn’t sure how it would work but I preferred it. I also put pumpkin chili in the crockpot, now this is a favorite of mine, but not such a favorite for my children, so the pizza was for them, I am loving homemade pizza at the moment, so easy and very tasty! My children are all so very fussy so I am now making very basic pizzas, last night was cheese and a chicken pizza, then I make up a salad and top mine with it, so good, last night I chopped some cherry tomatoes and shredded some baby spinach leaves, to that I added a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and salt and pepper, so yummy on the pizza! Finally I made some pumpkin oatmeal muffins, now I told my children they were apple as they think they do not like pumpkin, instead of sour cream I did add apple sauce, so I was not lying and they loved them, see they do like pumpkin, they just don’t know it!

Pumpkin chili in the crock pot

1 pack of ground turkey ( I used Costco fresh meat)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of pumpkin purée ( I used Trader Joes organic)
1 sliced red bell pepper (I used 1/2 packet of Trader Joes frozen bell pepper slices)
1/2 pack of frozen artichoke hearts (I used trader joes)
2 cloves of finely chopped garlic
2 tablespoons of chili flakes
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 can of drained black beans (or any beans you have to hand)
1 cup of red lentils 1 1/2 cups of water
1/4 cup of flour
2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves

Lightly brown the ground turkey with the oil and then add to the crock pot, then add the can of tomatoes, the pumpkin purée, the pepper, artichokes, garlic, chili flakes, cumin, paprika, red lentils and water, mix thoroughly and cook on low for 5 hours. After 5 hours whisk in the flour to thicken, and then add the beans and spinach, mix again and let this cook for another hour… Serve and enjoy with the topping of your choice… I like grated cheddar cheese, slices of avocado and sour cream!

Pumpkin oatmeal muffins

1/2 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup fat free milk
(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin pan.
In your mixer whisk together egg, apple sauce, milk, butter, pumpkin, brown sugar, then add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and oatmeal and gently fold into egg mixture until just combined. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins and bake for 22 to 25 minutes. I then decided to melt 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon of coconut oils and then drizzled it over the muffins!

Both of these recipes are adapted from the Wholefoods app… Very healthy and extremely tasty!

With the clocks going back last weekend and the evenings getting darker so much earlier, my evenings seem so much longer… How does that work, more hours in one day, more time to knit or crochet… Florrie’s Attic has some new things arriving very soon!

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Sharing a room…

After the announcement of our new little boy this week my focus has been on decorating a mixed gender bedroom for two tiny people… Some people do not agree with the idea that a boy and girl should share a bedroom at all, but others like myself do not see a problem with it all… Well there is one problem… How do I decorate a room for a little girly girl and a tiny new blue bundle of joy? My first thoughts when decorating a room for my Florrie was pink, pink and flowery, but this is not going to work when I add a little boy to the room, so after some research, Google, Pinterest and whatever else I could find I am very keen on a gender neutral off white room, with off white slatted wooden blinds from Ikea, oh how I love these blinds then off white ruffle drapes/ curtains… The perfect palette for one little girl and an added baby boy.

I love, love, love flowers, I am a huge Cath Kidston fan, I love Cabbages and Roses and I absolutely adore the English shabby chic country garden look… With this in mind, Florrie my very girly pink girl is having a very feminine flower pink, Blue and green bedding, pottery barn style, they actually have pink cabbage rose bedding, so perfect. Then at the other end I am going to take the blue and green from Florrie’s bedding and create a classic baby boy area. I am not a fan of the generic boys apparel, bed linen or really anything boyish really, so having a baby boy is a challenge, I really don’t like clothes with animals, cars and trucks all over them, I dislike the primary colors on boys and I really dislike baby boys in jeans, khakis and sweat pants… So as you can see having a baby boy is a big challenge for me to be different in all aspects of baby boys… I am loving Etsy, the baby boy items are so different, cute little long johns, onesies, baby legs and crochet hats, my creative juices are ebbing and flowing with boy ideas.

At each end above my two baby beds I am going to create their names using the wooden letters from Michaels and AC Moore, an idea from Pinterest is to cover each letter with different scrap booking paper giving it a very Anthropologie style, again another absolute favorite of mine! I am going to put a canopy over Florrie’s new toddler bed and then everything else I will just see how it goes from there… this is my plan, I think keeping it neutral will also help with selling our house next spring so hopefully we can move onto a new town and new lives… It is time, so fingers crossed our house will sell quickly as we have other places to be eventually and new friends to meet!

Now all I need is the paint, a paint brush, a trip to ikea and my Mum… Why my Mum I hear you say, well she is a whiz on the sewing machine and I have bed linen I need making and perhaps a few other items to make this room look perfect!

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Project runway…

I am going to mumble on today about a few of my favorite new foods we have tried recently… The first and my most favorite is a new salad mix from Costco, I am totally in love with this one, but unfortunately I have not been able to get it now for 2 weeks… Boo hoo! It is a super food salad made up of kale, shredded brussel sprouts and other great green leafy veggies, you add to that dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a poppy seed dressing… I am telling you, it is out of this world delicious!

Another first try for us is the puffed and lightly sweetened rice rolls from Trader Joes, OMG, so good for a light low calorie snack, especially when you are craving something sweet! They are the right amount of sweet and fill an empty hole in your tummy with only 45 calories per roll… Delicious and good for you!

A favorite in our house, especially with Mabel is quinoa, this has now replaced her love of cous, cous! Quinoa is a fabulous healthy grain that is so versatile and delicious mixed with salads and endless other dishes, last night I paired it with a warm chicken curry salad… Super healthy!

On the subject of new favorites, but on a slightly different subject… Cooking, I am loving making warm summer salads at the moment… with our BBQ not working at the moment, we are still deciding which direction to go with this one… An overhaul and service or a brand spanking new one? Anyway warm summer salads have been a food direction I have come to love, especially with this new salad mix made up of my hardy green leafy vegetables and raw sugar snap peas, add to that whatever you choose, beans, pulses, healthy grains then I have been topping the whole thing with the warm casserole I have made, last night it was chicken curry, the sauce acts as a warm dressing for the hardy raw salad and tossed together is delicious, slightly strange I know, but it really does work well!

Changing the subject now… Crafting has become a big addiction in my life, I have sewn a tepee playhouse for my Florrie’s 2nd Birthday, crocheted three sun hats and knitted a cocoon blanket in the last month. My ongoing project is a granny square blanket and now my new sewing project is an outdoor seat cushion for my old wicker sofa for the new deck area… I am loving discovering how much I love to create handmade things for the people I love in my life! Happy crafting!

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Steak for dinner…

Who would have known I could of made five of my children so very happy with one average size piece of steak for dinner last night… Well that’s what happened and I will tell you about it… I finally managed to perfect medium rare steak last night, I’m so happy, it wasn’t completely uncooked in the middle it was perfect, all I needed to do was use my meat thermometer, hidden away in my cupboards, next my Mum made the perfect pizza dough and a pizza was created to each persons specifications, then when it was cooked it was topped with African smoked, lightly charred medium rare steak slices, sorry for the long description but I’m just so happy to get my steak perfectly cooked, my thermometer will be used all the time now. Once the pizza’s were cooking I searched around for something warming to accompany them with, the weather is sooooo bitterly cold soup is always a good winter warmer, I had two potatoes, and a bag of frozen leeks… Lightbulb time… A firm English favorite in our house, good old leek and potato soup was quickly thrown together in my rice steamer… Voila the perfect dinner for my children, I have never had so many compliments on food before from them… I completely forgot I was in my own house!

We are busily trying to reorganize and decorate upstairs in our house… We started with Mabel’s room, after weeks and weeks, dollars and dollars spent on paint samples she finally came to a decision on the color, Paul has done a fabulous job painting her room, he is such a perfectionist, we will soon be on the finishing touches, the fun part, we have the curtains ready but she wants white wooden slatted blinds and new cream furniture, a long chest of drawers and a dressing table from Ikea! Next room for a makeover is Blu’s drab green room, my Dad has been priming the walls and Paul has started on the perfect grey paint. My Mum is in the process of making gray roman blinds to go with the gray check curtains I already have, all this is going to go with a new dark wood full size bed and tv cabinet and a vintage look British flag bedding set from restoration hardware! If anyone knows anyone who would like to buy a high twin bed with a desk underneath and a red Ikea sofa, let me know as we are selling both from Blu’s room! Finally it’s onto Florrie’s room, I think it will be a very pale pink, again my Mum is going to repurpose Mabel’s old pink gingham curtains into roman blinds and then I will add white ruffled drapes to go with them!

It is extremely cold here, the temperatures are way down in the minuses, so most of the winter I have forgotten to wear my gloves and just worn thick cardigans instead of a coat, but yesterday the chill in the air actually hurt your skin, so I did not forget to put on my gloves and my coat came out of retirement… It looks like we are in for a few more days of this freezing weather and maybe another snow storm on Friday, so I’m off to buy groceries today, stock up my cupboards so that I can stay in, keep warm and at least I know we will be able to eat too… there are so many winter illnesses going around too, I’m thinking of hibernating until this winter is over! Stay warm and keep healthy!

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