Sunday, April 29, 2012

Early Days...

Our little man has been with us for a few days now and already it is hard to imagine life without him. To say that I am in love with him is an understatement. :)
A rare awake moment on Day 4!
These early days are so precious and I am relishing every moment of this fleeting newborn period. Most of little Elliot's days have consisted of sleeping and feeding...with a little bit of crying in between.
I love the way newborns look like little old men when they scrunch up their faces
I am slowly getting used to surviving on less sleep and adjusting to the night feeds. Given the amount of time I was up in the night while pregnant, it doesn't seem too bad at the  moment! 
My little burrito, all wrapped up and snuggly
With a five year gap since we last had a newborn in the house, I have forgotten how fast the days fly by. It seems like there are less hours in the day than I thought! We are just taking it easy at the moment and spending lots of time at home getting settled.
Cuddles with big sister
Big sister Rosie just loves her new brother and is such a little mother to him. She loves helping me take care of him and cuddling him. Big brother Harry on the other hand, well I am sure he loves his new brother too, but we have had a few "accidental" poking incidents. It must be hard to be bumped from your position as 'baby' of the family. :)
My sleepy striped baby
There is a lot more washing (Elliot brings up his feeds quite frequently) and the house isn't as tidy as I would like it, however I am trying to learn to just let it go and go with the flow. Having a third baby, I know how fast the days, weeks, months and years go by and I want to enjoy every moment and appreciate it in ways that I perhaps didn't with my first two. So that is where we are at in these early days! :) 
Most hours of the day are spent in here...zzz

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Introducing Baby Elliot!

We are pleased to announce the early arrival of our little one...and it's a boy!
I am officially due tomorrow but Baby Elliot arrived on Sunday 15 April 2012 at 9.37pm.
He was 6lb 2oz and 50.5cm long. We are home from hospital now and it is so wonderful to have a new baby in the house again. We are in love with him already! I will write up my birth story in the next few days and in the meantime, I am basking in the deliciousness of our newest addition. :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gender Neutral Nursery: Part Two

Just a few more snapshots of the nursery to share. We decided to forgo the change table this time around and went for a space saving option instead. We have had this white chest of drawers since Harry was born (my lovely Dad painted them for me) and they are a great size for a nursery.
I found a second hand Tesori change top which fits the drawers perfectly and hopefully will provide an efficient changing area, at least for the first few months. Although there isn't as much storage as a purpose built change table, there is a small area for nappies and wipes at the end.
My favourite rocking chair.
I have "borrowed" my favourite replica Eames rocker from another part of the house and it is now at home in the nursery, finished with another chevron cushion. :)
One of my favourite items is the mobile above the change table. I made this very simply with some Wee Gallery Art Cards which I found on Trademe, and a photo mobile hanger. These are bold black and white prints and I really love them.
Wee Gallery Art Cards.
Clothes and shoes are also a great inexpensive way to decorate your nursery. I found these baby Ugg boots for 99cents from Savemart and they look like they have never been worn. I know many people don't like buying second hand items but I love searching for little bargains and it is one of my favourite hobbies. I just wish I had more time to do it!
99 Cent Baby Ugg Boots!
I picked up a couple of these wooden grey elephant wall plaques for $1 each and they also fitted with the unisex theme well. The elephant motif is very popular in children's decor and it is quite easy to find bedding and other items in this theme if you wanted to take it further.
Creating a space for baby is such a fun part of the nesting process and whether it is a corner in your bedroom or a dedicated nursery, there is so much you can do to personalise it and make it fun.
My babies are in their own room from Day 1. We had every intention of sleeping them in their bassinets in our room (which is recommended) but after one night, we realised this wouldn't work for our family. We seem to have very loud little sleepers and we wake constantly with every sniffle and movement.
The nursery is only a few metres from our room and this arrangement works for us. Only a few short days before this new baby arrives and I am trying to relax as much as I can and enjoy the last few days of being a family of four. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Gender Neutral Nursery: Part One

The room is ready for it's newest little occupant.
Well, after a final burst of energy I have finally finished pottering around in the nursery and created a new gender neutral place for the new little one to sleep. Knowing me, I will want to make changes as soon as I find out whether it is a boy or girl and for that reason, I really didn't want to spend much money at all on the room.
The birdhouses and my two home made cushions.
I looked around the house at what we had and apart from the Expedit cube storage unit and the cot, most things were either a Trademe or Op Shop find, or items we already owned from other parts of the house. The room was finished really inexpensively and I got to complete a couple of mini craft projects along the way.
Grey and white theme with a touch of pink and blue!
I love these little Charlotte and Austen pink and blue birdhouses which I found at Mary's Market a few months ago. They belong to Rosie and Harry but I have "borrowed" them from their room for the time being. You will also notice my grey chevron cushions made it into the nursery after all.
I love this Eeni Meeni Miini Moh wool blanket, a Trademe find.
I am a huge fan of Dwell Studio, a US based company selling high end linen, but needless to say, most of their range is cost prohibitive for me. When I stumbled upon a square dove patterned crib sheet set on Trademe which had never been used, I snapped it up, knowing it was the wrong size for our cot, but hoping I could use the fabric for something else.
The cot is now assembled.
As it turns out, one of the sheets fitted the cot perfectly so I have used that and out of the other sheet, I was able to make two cushions and the bunting flags you can see hanging along the wall.
Pink gingham cushion, courtesy of Rosie.
I love bunting and it is so easy to make. I didn't even bother sewing the flags, I just cut them out with a pair of pinking shears and sewed them to some plain white binding that I had cut off a new electric blanket we bought last year.
The toy box hiding in the corner...aka drinks tub from the supermarket!
The little toy box you can see peeking in the corner of the photo above is a plain white drinks tub which I found at Countdown for $10. It fits a lot, is lightweight and easy to carry to other parts of the house if need be. There is so much out there now and it is easy to find loads of great items for next to nothing. Part of the fun is in the finding!
Part Two to follow. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Recipe: Easy Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe is a family favourite which I discovered in an old issue of Little Treasures magazine. The kids are I enjoy cooking it together and it is a great, simple version of a popular dish. It is an adaptation from Simon Holst and all the usual hotness has been removed so it is great for children.
2 Tb canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
500g boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
400g can of tomato soup
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup cream or evaporated milk
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 Tb chopped fresh coriander
  1. Heat 1 Tb of the oil in a large pan, add diced onion, garlic and ginger. Cook, stiring frequently, until the onion is soft and clear but has not browned (about 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set the onion mixture aside.
  2. Add the remaining 1 Tb oil to the pan and add chicken. Cook until lightly browned, then stir in cumin, coriander, and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute longer.
  3. While the chicken cooks, put the slightly cooled onion mixture in a blender or food processor. Add the tomato soup and process until smooth.
  4. When the chicken and spice mixture is ready, pour the tomato mixture into the pan, along with the cream and water. Stir to combine and allow the mixture to boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 5-8 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
  5. Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding the salt only if required, and reheat without boiling. Serve over steamed rice, accompanied with poppadoms and naan bread (if you are feeling fancy). Enjoy! :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Nursery Progress: Driftwood Mini Hanging Wardrobe

One of the challenges of creating a gender neutral nursery has been finding the motivation to tackle some of the projects I had in mind for the room. I really enjoy hunting for bedding and special touches for a specific gender and in the absence of this knowledge, I have held off committing to anything other than plain white and grey, which I admit is rather boring.
Our driftwood hanger.
A few months ago I was browsing one of my favourite blogs, The Happy Home and came across an idea I fell in love with. The talented Belinda had created a super cute driftwood hanger to hang her new baby's clothes from and I vowed to keep an eye out for something similar on our next trip to the beach.
Fiddling with fishing line to get the height just right.
When we visted Rangitoto Island as a family after Christmas, we found a few pieces of driftwood that we popped into our backpacks and then promptly forgot about for a few months.
Voila! Driftwood hanger complete.
A couple of days ago we finally got around to this little project (the nesting instinct has now kicked in!) and my patient husband was super obliging and hung my driftwood hanger for me. Isn't it cute?
Cube storage
The best thing about this little DIY project is that it costs virtually nothing! We just used fishing line and a couple of little screw in metal eyelets in the ceiling. I wouldn't like to hang anything too heavy on it, but it is perfect for baby clothes. :)
Belinda's nursery picture that inspired me so many months ago.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

38 Week Bump Update

I have just finished what could quite possibly be the busiest ten weeks of my life and I am so grateful that I was able to continue working up to 38 weeks. This was a little longer than I had originally planned, but it just made sense to finish the school term and begin my maternity leave in the school holidays. Besides, my replacement is overseas and not back on NZ soil until next week!
I set myself lots of mini milestones along the way and as each one passed, I was able to relax a little bit more. The workload has been particularly strenuous this term and this has often meant long days...followed by long nights of more work. With the support of a super bunch of colleagues I was able to finish the term and it is hard to believe I am officially on maternity leave now!
Luckily, I love my work and have been in good health apart from being severely anaemic. I credit my iron tablets for getting me back on track and giving me the energy to keep going every day. With so many things to get through each day in my role as a wife, mum and teacher, I am sad to say that preparing all the things needed for this new little one has had to take a back seat to other priorities.
I am pleased to report that this has changed in the last two days and we now have a place for our little one to sleep! lol. I have been trying to get all the clothes and blankets washed and ready to go and it has been lovely digging out old favourites from when Rosie and Harry were babies. I had forgotten how tiny newborn clothes are.
We also picked up the cot today and the next job is to install the carseat. It is hard to believe that this little one is due in less than two weeks and if he or she wants to take their time, I am more than happy to wait. I am in no rush for this pregnancy to end! :)