30 September 2013

Travelling mercies...this is how we're gonna roll...

OK so Friday is now only 4 sleeps away. I'm not stressing.....much as much as I probably could be.

Things have been packed although the bags aren't quite ready to close yet. But the task of putting things in the suitcases over the weekend got me thinking about my hopes for this trip and the prayers I am praying, and will be praying as we go:

A greater measure of patience
Travelling with kids is bound to test the patience of a saint. Add potential delays, no sleep, funny time zones and jet lag into the mix and you're almost guaranteed there's going to be at least one meltdown at some point. But hopefully it won't be me......Lord give me a greater measure of patience....don't let tiredness and little frustrations along the way overwhelm me.

The funny side
There's bound to be something that goes a bit tits up. Whether it's an important item that doesn't make it into the bag, a missed flight connection, a major food spillage on the aeroplane or something that leaks in the bag, there's definitely room for potential mini disasters along the way. Rather than letting it stress us out to the max, instead.....Lord let me find a way to see the humour in the situation and find a way to lighten the moment and just laugh!

Keep us healthy
How many times have you gone on holiday after an insanely busy period and your body has just physically crashed big-time the minute you finally exhale? Too many times. The last 2 times we went to the UK in 2006 and 2008, Mark literally got off the plane and spent the next 24 hours hugging the toilet with tummy bugs. So we'll be praying against that happening again for a start! We will be keeping up with our vitamin C at the minimum and have our hand sanitiser at the ready, but more than that we'll be praying....Lord give us health and vitality each and every day.

Embrace the adventure
This trip is a major undertaking for us - it's our first long-haul trip in six years and our first long-haul trip for the four of us. And while we all thrive on our daily routines in normal life, this is an opportunity to throw out the rule book (well to a certain extent!) and just go with the flow a bit more.....Lord let us embrace this opportunity and remember that we are creating family memories that will last a lifetime. 
So these are my hopes and dreams for these upcoming weeks.

And when you undertake something new or big in your life do you stop and actively consider your hopes and concerns, acknowledging any difficulties you might face along the way and allowing your heart to soar with the awesome possibilities that lie before you?

I really believe that by bringing these to the fore, the opportunity to carpe diem is truly enhanced because we are actively engaging in the moment rather than just allowing life to happen to us.

27 September 2013

Things I'm Loving: Spring, Perseverance, Amazing Mornings and Dinosaur-tastic

I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful for..no matter how simple it is.

I can NOT get enough of spring this year. Maybe it's because I know we're going to miss a whole month that I've been determined to pack in as much spring action as I can before we go. Or maybe it's because we had such a mild winter that spring feels like it really has arrived early this year. Either way I'm not complaining...I'm just soaking it up!

This time of year
I have also been blown away these past few weeks with the number of amazing sunrises - almost every morning they are gasp-worthy. I must make a mental note for next year that September is definitely where it's at for capturing the glory of the morning as she rises.

Not resting on their laurels
I love how Whittakers don't sit around assuming they've captured the whole chocolate market with their existing flavours. Recently, they brought out L&P white chocolate and although opinion was quite divided I really liked it. So I was intrigued to see a new milk strawberry version come out.

And tasted just like you'd hope it would - if that makes any sense?!

All about the dinosaurs
Noah's class have just finished doing a whole classroom module on dinosaurs. The kids have loved it - they've brought in dinosaur books, made dinosaur crafts and even made up their own names for dinosaurs - Noah created Pentastyracomegalotrachelosaurus - meaning five spiked huge neck lizard. I love it.

Just outside the classroom they've also got a breakout space set up with a whole lot of dinosaurs that the kids have brought in as well as a making a life-sized stegosaurus dress-up. So cool.

Even without this additional classroom learning, Noah absolutely adores dinosaurs. We play the Guess which Dinosaur I'm thinking of? game a lot. He always kicks my butt, I feel pretty useless as he knows the names of so many obscure dinosaurs, and would you believe it he even discovered by doing some research on the Natural History Museum kids dinosaur site that there's a dinosaur called Noasaurus. True story, here's a picture to prove it.

So after that discovery, we decided we'd all better have some dinosaur names: mine is Megalosaurus, Mylo's is Microraptor and Mark's is Marshosaurus. All real-life dinosaurs, really!

Coldplay does Hunger Games
I'm waiting excitedly to see the 2nd Hunger Games film Catching Fire when it comes out in a couple of months. And so I was rapt to see that Coldplay have composed the main song for the movie.

So that cake I did last weekend, oh boy it was a doozy. I very nearly gave up on it several times during the course of making it. Once we'd cut it into thirds, I soon discovered I wasn't going to have enough of the big pieces to make the little square bit that sits out to the right hand side....gah! So I had to stack a whole bunch of off-cuts on top of each other to try and make one. Which made for no easy feat trying to ice this part of the cake with lots of random crumbly bits falling off the minute my knife got near it.

And don't get me started on the rolled icing - which I might point out that I'd never used before. The first time I had the grey road all rolled out and ready to go on the cake it totally stuck to the board I'd been using as I tried to lift it so I had to start all over again.

So this simple cake that looked so easy in the book took about 3 hours to decorate as well as the time it took Mark to cook it. But I'm glad I persevered despite the obstacles as I think in the end it looked like we'd pulled it off!

How about you? Have you ever embarked on a cake making exercise that looked like it would be a piece of cake (ha ha - mind the pun!) but turned out to be a total mission?! I'm keen to hear your experiences.

Here's how you can join in this week:

Link up below with your blog post telling us what you're loving, and grab the Things I'm Loving button below for your post too. Don't forget to share the love by visiting all the other lovelies who have joined in - the linky is open till same time next week!

25 September 2013

The City I Love: through the pages of a book

Once in a while, I have a moment. Where I feel like I've stepped straight out of reality and into the pages of a children's picture book. The world becomes glossier, larger than life and a veritable feast for the eyes. Every colour and shade is deeper somehow, scents are stronger, and the whole world is brighter and more alive than ever.

It would have been so easy to miss this moment. Back at home there was a long to-do list waiting for me with a birthday party on the weekend and this big trip just around the corner. But on the other hand, this moment was just what I needed. A stolen hour, away from the 'I must.....' 

I'm sure anyone will tell you that their home city is beautiful in the late afternoon spring sunshine. But Wellington is unusual. There is such an abundance of native foliage around the city that where we are graced with cherry blossom, kowhai and magnolia blossoms they stand out as a shining beacon amongst all the forest green native bush hues. If you manage to get close enough the mingling scent of white and pink magnolia become a heady rush for the senses, while tulips bathed in sun-flare appear purer than the whitest snow.

It was a wonderful world to escape into, where every page turned brought more wonder and awe. It was only an hour, just enough to restore a little soulfood in a busy week. 

24 September 2013

Get your Ninja Bake on!

Last year a whole bunch of enthusiastic Ninja's ladies baked for Sistas up and down the country. 170 baked goodies were dropped off by 77 bakers aka ninjas. That's 170 lives made brighter by the kindness of total strangers. It was UH-MAZING to be a part of something so.....good. You can read my story here.

And this year is gonna be even bigger AND better.

There's already over 100 bakers registered.  I'm not going to be able to bake anything this year since I'll be out of the country....waaaaaaaaaaaaah! But I've managed to convince 2 other friends to bake so I figure we're actually up one on the odds right? I also have 2 lovely ladies I'm going to nominate who I know could really do with some Sisterhood loving right now.

Check out Sophie's Sisterhood post to find out all the details - I love the video she made to promote this year's Ninja Bake - so I'm sharing it here too.

If you haven't registered yet...you only have until tomorrow - so what are you waiting for?! Get those ninja fingers clicking here.

Let the joy of knowing you will be bringing a beautiful smile to a lovely lady out there be all the encouragement you need to get involved this year!

23 September 2013

Ready Racers.....Go! {A birthday party with Stuck on You}

Knowing Mylo's fourth birthday was only 2 weeks to go before our big overseas trip, I was racking my brains to figure out how we could pull off a really fun, themed party without a huge amount of effort on our part, not having either the time or energy to go all out like we did for the big Olympic Party six weeks ago.

That's where the themed party product range from Stuck on You totally came to my rescue.

And as we were hosting the party at a local indoor under-5's play area called Tinytown which just happens to have lots of ride-on cars, it was appropriate that we chose a red racing monkey theme for all our party gear.

Stuck on You Birthday party invitation

We were able to personalise and colour co-ordinate our invitations, address labels, party dots, straw flags, cupcake toppers, and drink labels all along the lines of our racing theme.

Stuck on You address labels

Stuck on You party plate stickers

Stuck on you Straw flags

Stuck on You drink labels

There were also personalised place cards for our little racers and a giant wall sticker to put up pride of place in case anyone could possibly forget whose birthday we were celebrating.

Stuck on You giant party label

Stuck on you Racing cupcake toppers

Stuck on You racing party favours

And for us it was then a complete relief and a real joy to just let the kids run as wild as 3 and 4 year olds love to do for most of the party, only reining them in when it was time for a quick bite to eat. 

We did have an organised game to play but in the melee of getting everything prepared at the venue I misplaced the bananas for Pin the Banana on the Monkey so the only shots I got were at home afterwards when Mylo asked to play it once I'd relocated the bananas. He's already asked to take it to daycare and play it with his friends again though!

And the cake to go perfectly with our racing theme? Why none other than a race car track in the shape of a four. Result. Although the making of the cake nearly did me over in the process. Hardest cake ever. But I persevered with it for 3 hours and (I think!) managed to still pull it off in the end.

4 shaped birthday cake with road theme

Number 4 shaped birthday cake with roads

Little Mr Just turned Four was also ridiculous pleased to have his very own personalised cup to take home in memory of the big day.

Stuck on You personalised party cup

Both hubby and I remarked afterwards how easy and fun this party was to prepare by our usual party standards - if you ignore the high maintenance cake that is!

Special thanks goes to Stuck on You for the opportunity to review their party range for the big day - it made our party look and feel race-worthy all the way to the finish line!

Disclaimer: I received various party products from Stuck on You in exchange for this review. I was not compensated in any other way and all content and opinions expressed within this post are my own.


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