Helping you survive “back-to-school”

Can you believe that January is at an end?!
The year is flying by…Christmas and New Years celebrations feel like a lifetime ago, and I don’t know about you, but I for one am scrambling to be back-to-school-ready .
School bag, book bag, swim bag, stationery list, uniform, shoes, socks, lunchbox, drink bottle, nametapes – the reasons I’m awake at 3.15am on a Saturday morning.

 

billabong-atomBoys seem to destroy things, really quickly.
A brand new uniform was painted on, cut into, and drawn on with Vivid within the first month…and the amount of shoes we go through in a year is ridiculous! BUT we’ve had a win – of all the school bags we’ve been through, the one that’s come out on top is the Billabong Atom backpack which we found on Surfstitch.
It’s the perfect size for all the primary school gear, not too big for a child to wear, it’s affordable, and it’s heading into it’s second year of school. I’m yet to find a book bag and swim bag that I love that also lasts at least the school year – so hit me with your recommendations! Continue reading “Helping you survive “back-to-school””

Summer = strawberries, smoothies and squeezy pops

Hurray!! It fiiiiinally feels like summer!!

One of our favourite things about summer is strawberry-picking, and our favourite place to go is Garelja Bros Strawberry Gardens. The aroma of juicy sweet strawberries surrounds you the minute you hop out of the car, and there’s no entry fee! Just pay $6 per kilo of strawberries that you pick!

Continue reading “Summer = strawberries, smoothies and squeezy pops”

Potted party food

Sharing some super easy (and budget-friendly) party ideas, like the ones on the menu at Mika’s Fairy Garden Party. Check out the easy potted chocolate cupcakes recipe that even allergy kids can eat!

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Cherry tomato + cucumber “TULIPS”

TULIPS
Cut a cucumber into 1cm thick rounds, then cut the rounds into half-circles.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out the soft seeds.
Cut a cross into the tops of cherry tomatoes (about halfway down).
Optional: stuff with cream cheese.
Thread cucumber ‘leaves’ onto the skewers, followed by the cherry tomato ‘flower’.

Cut an apple in half and place in the bottom of the terracotta pot. Stick the skewers into the apple, starting from the middle and working your way out.

 

 

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Strawberry + mini marshmallow “TOADSTOOLS”

TOADSTOOLS
Cut the tops off strawberries.
Thread onto skewers with mini-marshmallows.

Cut an apple in half and place in the bottom of the terracotta pot. Stick the skewers into the apple, starting from the middle and working your way out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fruity Fairy Wands

FRUITY FAIRY WANDS
Cut watermelon into 1.5cm thick slices.
Punch out star shapes with a cookie cutter.
Thread onto skewers along with grapes.

Cut an apple in half and place in the bottom of the terracotta pot. Stick the skewers into the apple, starting from the middle and working your way out.

Cute teacher gift, on a budget

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For those of us with kids at school, we are probably all done for the year now, but I wanted to share with you our very last minute (done in 15mins) and very low-cost (we actually already had everything at home so it didn’t cost us anything) teacher’s end-of-year gift.

You will need:
1x terracotta pot (this one is 12cm, from Bunnings, cost $1.25)
1x vivid
1x plant
soil to suit the plant you’ve chosen
accessories (optional)
child to do the work (you’ll probably need to do the ‘ruler’ part)

Step 1: Draw on the ‘ruler’
You can wing this, but I used some masking tape to stick on a tape measure so that I could easily and quickly mark the inch measures. Remove the tape measure and add the numbers (or get your child to number it)

Step 2: Hand over the pot to your child and have them write “thank you for helping me grow” on the side, and their name on the bottom of the pot

Step 3: Fill the pot with soil and your chosen plant. We can’t keep anything alive at hour place, except weeds (yes, I have managed to kill air plants and a cactus) so we used a succulent cutting from our neighbour’s garden, upon her recommendation that it will require very little attention or effort to keep alive. We put a base layer of small stones (found in the garden) topped with some potting mix (which we had in the back shed).

Step 4: Make it pretty (optional). We used a toadstool decoration which we had left over from Mika’s Fairy Garden Party)

That’s it! SUPER easy and really cost effective, especially if you have lots of teachers to gift to! Best thing is that it’s really quick (a win for us hot mess mums who cram everything into the night before the last day), and it’s so cute with your child’s handwriting on it.

 

DONE before DECEMBER!

I didn’t think I would, but I DID!
With time to spare even!

You can find all the details on this restoration project here.
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I’ve learned a lot about myself through my last 2 mini-renovation projects…that I am 10x more impatient than I realised, and that it’s impossible to hide reno projects from the kids (I’m also pretty certain that buying another renovation-home was a bad idea…) but we’re in love! I can’t wait for Mika to officially “unwrap” it on Christmas Day (hopefully with all the furniture done). I’ve spent a lot of time playing with it already, and now I’m trying to decide on the colours for the furniture…

 

So close, yet so far…

Sometimes it feels like you’re getting nowhere…I’ve been sanding, and painting, and painting, and then painting some more…

It wasn’t until it took everything outside to check the paint coverage in natural light, that I realised just how well it’s all coming together!

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BEFORE
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GETTING THERE!!

 

AND really, I need to cut myself some slack – I’d also been finishing off the last few details on the Kmart Kitchen hack:

 

The subway tile splashback is even better in real life! You can find all the details on this makeover here.

Now all we have to do is try and wait until Christmas morning to open up all the wooden kitchen accessories coming from Le Toy Van and Hape.
Hurry up Christmas! I want to play with all the toys!!

 

“Why is there dirt in the fridge?!”

Mika turned 2 recently, and we threw her a Fairy Garden Party at home.
Having had to cater to all sorts of allergies/intolerances in everyday life, I thought it would be a good idea to make something fun that would cover all the guests by being entirely “allergy-free”. One of the items on the themed menu were these gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and egg-free chocolate cupcakes baked into mini terracotta pots from Mitre10, topped with chocolate soil and finished with sprigs of mint from our garden.

When your ‘chocolate soil’ is too real
I’d made a batch ahead of time and left them in the fridge to keep them fresh (before garnishing) and got growled for putting dirt in the fridge. On the day of the party, people didn’t realise you could eat them! One of the dad’s commented that he thought the were just an impressive display of a New World Little Garden collection.

Eventually, when word got out, they got demolished!
It’s a super easy recipe (and you can use normal flour or almond meal if you don’t require gluten/nut free ingredients). For the chocolate soil, I baked leftover batter in a loaf pan and crumbled the cooled dry mixture on top of a simple chocolate glaze (icing sugar/cocoa/water). We served these on a tray with wooden teaspoons from Pop Roc Parties that we’d written “dig in” on with vivid.

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Check out my Gallery or find me on Pinterest for more recipes, kids party ideas and inspiration for easy party food that caters to allergies. Would love to see your parties!

Labour of Love

Recently, I have taken over the man-cave (aka garage, not to be confused with car-storage, which is NOT what garages are used for in NZ) now that the birthday parties are out of the way (see Mika’s Fairy Garden Party and Lyon’s Where the Wild Things Are Party).

Admittedly, I always have a million projects on the go, but right now, my two favourite things to lose sleep over are the wooden kitchen makeover (almost complete, a late birthday present for Mika) and a vintage dollhouse (meant to be for Mika for Christmas, but I’m only about 10% of the way through sanding back the original paint work…..)

The Kmart Kitchen Hack project is almost finished! Just waiting on my subway tile backsplash to arrive (see my project page for details on how-to and where I sourced everything I used)

 

The Dollhouse Restoration is a new work in progress (all I have is the “before” images…but think beautiful old villas as seen in Devonport/Herne Bay) I’m currently on about 10% through just the sanding back of the original paintwork – wish me luck! May need a Christmas miracle to get this done! Watch this space x

 

At home, with the Foxes…

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The Foxes at Takapuna Beach

Who are the Foxes?
This is a long-overdue introduction!
I’m Jenni, stay-at-home-mum to 2, and wifey to Mr Fox.
We live on the beautiful North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand.
These are my ramblings on life, and the things I love.

Is the grass really greener?
I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and all I have to say is: everything comes with a price.

Continue reading “At home, with the Foxes…”