Good bye 2013

This is it, the final day of 2013 is upon us.  For many it’s a time to reflect on what has been, and think about what we want to achieve in the coming year.  Personally I have been thinking about these things for the past couple of months, and have started implementing strategies to help me achieve my goals in the new year.

I am pleased to say good bye to 2013, not because it has been a terrible year, it has been an important year of personal growth for me. Sitting here typing away, while all of my boys are asleep (daddy included) I feel content.  I am in awe of the special little family my husband and I have created – with a lot of help from some incredibly talented and lovely Doctors!  I am content with my life right now.  Yes, there are challenges which lay ahead of us, and goals we are working towards, but right now sitting here having my second cup of coffee for the day (hey I’m allowed, it’s 5.15am!) and watching the sky lighten as a new day unfolds, I am content with my life.

It has been both the good and not so good experiences this year which have shaped me, and this morning I’d like to share some of my highlights of this year…..

* Sharing the pregnancy journey with my sister – albeit for a short time!

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* Welcoming another precious little boy into our family

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* Watching Liam master new skills…. and work on others!

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* Having the privilege of spending the final weeks of my sister’s pregnancy with her, and meeting her precious little man shortly after his birth

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* Finally taking the plunge and starting my blog! It’s also been a wonderful excuse to justify all of my baking!

Vanilla cupcakes

* Getting out and about with my boys

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* Being a Wife, Mum, Sister, Daughter…..

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* And being me…

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Finally, below is one of my first blog posts – remembering my Nan on what would have been her 106th birthday.  It was my early experiences sitting in her kitchen all those years ago, that ignited my passion for baking and cooking.

Happy Birthday Nan

My new 'Nana Bowl' and one of her recipe books

Thank you for all of your support over the past few months and I wish you all a happy and safe new year and all the best for a wonderful 2014 xx

Linking up today with Essentially Jess for the final #IBOT of the year

22,000 photos and my first Giveaway!

In this age of smartphones and tablets, the urge to capture EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of our lives can be overwhelming.  Taking photos of everything from what we had for breakfast, places we visit and capturing our children’s first smiles are now the norm – I know I’m certainly guilty of it!  This compulsion has led to me having over 22,000 photos saved to our computer, as well as 4500 + photos on my phone!

It has gotten to the point, where I now regularly receive an error message that I am unable to take further photos/install apps etc as my memory is full.  Now I am sensible, and I do upload my photos into IPhoto and ICloud often.  But I still can’t delete the photos off my phone – who knows when I will want to sit and browse through the precious memories of the past few years.

Going back 15 years ago to when I was in high school, we never had digital cameras.  In fact it was a big deal if we owned our own camera rather than just using our parents.  Photos were carefully staged and considered (maybe not so much if a few drinks were involved) before being taken, and we would then wait the week or so to have our prints developed – as let’s face it when we were being paid $5 an hour for our afterschool jobs, you would only part with minimum cash.

I have been incredibly slack the past few years when it comes to printing out our photos.  I made a half hearted attempt to create a baby album for Liam, and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t even started one for Aiden.  We’ve had newborn photos taken for both of the boys, and whilst a few of the pictures are on display, there are a huge amount of photos still hidden away on our computer.

When the opportunity to review a Photobook by PhotoBox came up, I thought it would be a great chance to use the newborn photos of both the boys.

Initially I tried to cull the amount of photos I was using down to 20 or so for each of the boys, but after looking through all the different layout options I decided to go ahead and use ALL of their photos (around 85 between them). Just sitting down looking through all the photos we had was wonderful, and reinforced the need to have more on display and in albums.

I chose the classic design, and kept my book simple and didn’t add captions to the pages as I wanted the photos to really standout.  The photo books come with 26 pages, but you do have the opportunity to add more pages if you wish.  You can also choose the option for the site to arrange your pictures, however being the control freak that I am, I instead chose to individually design and arrange each page.  I was easily able to include all 85 photos within the 26 pages, and found it really easy to select different layouts for each page, and modify/move the photos around as I went.  I also really liked the feature which displayed only the photos you had left to add as you went along… this was especially helpful if you are like me and have developed a memory like a sieve since having kids.

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My book arrived really quickly, just five business days after I ordered it, which in the lead up to Christmas I was really impressed with.  I waited until the boys were in bed before I sat down with a coffee (of course) and looked through my book.  I was really impressed with how it turned out. The finish is fantastic, and the photos look amazing – even the black and white shots looked perfect.  I was tempted to gift it to the boys’ Nan as a Christmas gift, but instead I’m keeping it all for myself and it now lives on the coffee table where I can (and have been) looking at it all of the time.

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This has now given me the motivation I needed to sit down and start the MAMMOTH job of sorting through our photos, and ordering a few more photo books to display our memories.  Also with Christmas coming up, it’s the perfect opportunity to create a book with the no doubt hundreds of photos we will take over the festive period.

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Now I’m giving one lucky person the chance to win a Photobox A4 Personalised Photobook valued at $49.95! To enter, please leave a comment answering this question: How long has it been since you last printed photos to put into an album, and what photos would you use for your photo book?

Check out Photobox Australia on Facebook for some awesome photography, great tips, and to stay up to date with their latest products and offers.  Whilst you are on Facebook, why not like my page too!

Terms & Conditions
1. This competition is open from now until Tuesday 24th of December 5pm Australian EST
2. The winner will be announced on this blog, Facebook and Twitter and will be contacted via email . Please supply a valid email address. You will have 5 days to respond, otherwise the prize will be redrawn.
3. The prize is not transferable, changeable or redeemable for cash
4. The prize will not be replaced in the event that it is stolen, lost or damaged in transit
5. Createbakemake accepts no responsibility for prizes sent on behalf of Photobox.
6. This competition is open to Australian Residents only.
7. This giveaway is not associated, sponsored, endorsed or administered by Facebook.
8. This giveaway is based on a game of skill and the most creative response will be selected as the winner.

Disclosure 

I received this product for the specific purpose of providing an honest review. No financial compensation was received and all opinions are my own

Stepping out from behind the camera

Recently I was asked for a photo of myself with the boys.  Like many Mums, I’m normally the one behind the camera and while I take a few ‘selfless’ of us all, there are very few ‘proper’ photos of us all together.  I’m also not a huge fan of having my photo taken at the moment, however I realise the importance of having pictures of myself and the boys together while they are young.

Looking through the small (and to be honest, very dodgy) collection of photos of the three of us, it reminded me that I need to make a much bigger effort to have photos taken with both of the boys

I’m now going to be really brave and post some of these stunning photos – this is going to be my inspiration to make sure I get more ‘proper’ photos of the three of us together.

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Do you have many photos with your children?  Feel free to share your pics on my Facebook page

Linking up with The Multitasking Mummy for Mummy Mondays

The best part of baking

Apart from the finished product, one of the best things about baking is eating the leftover mixture.  When we were kids, my sister and I would always argue who was going to lick the bowl/beaters and who got more than the other (actually we still do!)  Looking through the photos I took yesterday when we made Raspberry Spiked Brownies – I think we will have to start having the same argument with Liam!  Needless to say, he wasn’t very hungry at dinner time!

 

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The week that was….

We’ve been back in Victoria for a week now… and STILL NO BABY!!  I shouldn’t complain, Tiff was only 36 weeks yesterday, so hopefully bub stays put for another week or so.

A beautiful bump x

A beautiful bump x

 

The boys have been fantastic, Liam in particular is having a ball with so many new things to look at and do.  He is fascinated watching the cars and trucks driving past Nan’s house.  He also loves saying ‘truck’ and ‘beep beep’. It would be nice if he pronounces the ‘T’ a bit clearer, as it can be confused with another word…..  He is also loving spending time with his Nanas and Poppy and also his Aunty and Uncle.  We are all missing Daddy, Liam loves talking to him on the phone.

Liam LOVES watching the trucks

Liam LOVES watching the trucks

Story time with Nan

Story time with Nan

 

Aiden is also having lots of special cuddles – he has been going through a growth spurt the past week and we are now officially in 000s!!!

Special time with Nan

Special time with Nan

 

The weather hasn’t been too bad.  It’s certainly much cooler than back home, but we’ve at least had a few days of sunshine.

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The highlight of the week was our lunch today to celebrate the upcoming arrival of Tiff’s new bub.  Living interstate we often miss out on a lot of family events, so it’s really special when we can be involved too.

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How has your week been?

Why I needed another camera….

After our Father’s Day lunch last weekend, we just happened to go into JB Hi Fi for a browse and then just happened to check out the instant camera I had been looking at for awhile.  Whilst the boys were distracted looking at the TVs, I made the executive decision that we did NEED a Fujifilm Instant Mini 8 camera and made the purchase…. and I LOVE it!

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My new toy!

I am now the owner of an older model canon, a Nikon DSLR, a video camera, as well as the good old Iphone 5.   The way I look at it is that I have a camera for every occassion.

Yes the film for the instant cameras is a bit pricey – $30 for 20 shots.  However I’m not going to use it for everyday snapping.  I’m hanging out to use it when my new niece/nephew arrives in a few weeks time, in the meantime I just had to take a few shots to work it out and I’m very happy with how they have turned out.

What have you bought that you just had to have but probably didn’t really need?

Love these shots!

Love these shots!

August Reflection

Wow, another month has flown by (just saying that makes me feel really old!)…. This morning I sat down to reflect on what has happened over the past four weeks, overall we’ve had a pretty good month!

  • We’re LOVING this warmer weather! It’s been much easier to get motivated to go out for a morning walk and we are spending a lot more time outside.  It’s also a reminder that summer is not far away and I have been trying to exercise more (the Michelle Bridges DVDs nearly KILL me) so I don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe of summer clothes.
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  • I survived being a ‘single mum’ for a week when Scott was interstate looking after his Dad.  Interestingly things ran a lot smoother and we were all calmer whilst he was away…….
  • Aiden is now three months old, is almost 4kg (we are soooo close) and is waking only 1-2 times during the night.  What we thought was reflux, turned out to be Influenza B.. Luckily we have avoided any hospital stays (touch wood).
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  • Liam has developed an attitude over the past few weeks, and is very keen on seeing how much he can get away with. His new tricks include climbing up onto the kitchen bench and turning on the taps in the sink, throwing dirt at Saxon and doing the vacuuming.

    Yes, he is still in his Pjs and eating tiny teddies on the couch...

    Yes, he is still in his Pjs and eating tiny teddies on the couch…

  • The boys had a great visit with their cousins from Darwin. They loved visiting SeaWorld & Movieworld and we are getting our money’s worth from our annual passes.  It was chaotic at time with four boys under 3, but good chaos!
  • I have been doing a menu plan for the last three weeks, and have been doing just one grocery shop a week. I do nearly have a heart attack at the cost, however when I looked at what we spend throughout the week otherwise, we are ahead.  We are both eating much better too – thanks Michelle Bridges!
  • Yesterday I officially completed a whole month of the FatMumSlim photo a day challenge!  To top it off, my photo from day 29 ‘lucky’ was picked as one of the ‘fab four’ from the entries on Instagram.  Who is joining me this month?
Day 29 - Lucky

‘Fab Four’ Photo Day 29 – Lucky

  • I started this blog!  After thinking about doing it for such a long time, I finally took the plunge.  It’s been a great excuse to do some more baking, although I need some more volunteers to give my treats too as poor Scott has been taking it all to work.

How was your month?