Thursday, 24 July 2014

ON MY MIND | Remembering my Grandfather.

She was 5 years old. Like any other school day, her father drove her to school. "Remember to come pick me up okay Daddy. And don't be late," she told him.

Her father then drove the family car to their local mechanic, leaving a handwritten letter on the dash for his wife. Her father told the mechanic to phone his wife and ask her to pick up the car.

His wife was pregnant with their second child. The letter from the little girl's father said he was leaving and to not try to find him as he would not be coming home. The little girl's mother and grandparents went to pick her up from school. "Where's Daddy?" she asked. "He's run away. We don't know where he has gone," her mother told her as she fought back tears of her own. 

The little girl went home that afternoon and looked at the last gift from father. A pen holder that was still sitting on her small table. She looked around the house confused about what had just happened -- unaware their lives were about to change.

My Grandfather and I.

That little girl was me. I remember this story on the 3rd anniversary of my Grandfather's passing. I did not have a father growing up. Not in the traditional sense. I had my Grandfather. He was a father and Grandfather in one, and today I missed him very much.

Grandad used to walk me home to their house after pre-school. He would carry my boxy green port, and often have to pick me up as well whenever I saw a dog come close (i.e. 10 metres away lol). 

We would often play card games such as Snap. And I'm certain he knew I had rigged the game by organising the cards so I would win. Everytime. 

And Grandad would watch my favourite tv show, Monkey Magic with me after dinner. And then Grandma would treat me to Arnott's Gingernut biscuits, Scotch Fingers or Monte Carlos before bed. 

Grandad taught me how to make my bed. How to iron my school uniform. How to polish my school shoes. How to fold my clothes so that were perfectly neat. And how to cook a curry, fried rice and omelette -- Chinese style. 

On our school holidays, Grandma and Grandad took my brother and I on the council bus to McDonald's where Grandad always ordered the Fillet-O-Fish -- no cheese, and no gherkin. And afterwards we would buy half a dozen cream buns, cream donuts and finger buns to take home. 

My childhood memories are mostly of my Grandparents because as a single parent, my mother worked long hours to support my brother and I. 

We were a very close family. My world was shattered when my Grandmother fell terminally ill. I was 21 by then.

I moved into their home so I could be there to support Grandad as he cared for Grandma, and so I could spend as much time as possible with my Grandmother. Her and I had a very close bond and I loved her as I did my own mother. 

Grandad had been so strong throughout her entire illness. But on the morning of Grandma's funeral, he broke down and wept for his wife whom he had be married to for 56 years. 

Who I am today has been greatly influenced by these two beautiful people who raised me to know what it means to be loved. I am so very lucky.   

Today I went with my mum and family to the buddhist temple and burnt incense in memory of Grandad. And for Grandma. Miss them both very much.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

PROJECT LIFE | Finishing August 2013 PL pages

It has been such a long time since I have worked on my Project Life pages. August 2013 has been on my to-do list for almost 3 months! I shared some of August here and here.

I have managed to get some other little creative projects done in that time, such as the baby photo shoot from which I produced a mini album and photo movie here.

But mostly, over the past few months, I have been re-evaluating my priorities and my want to spend more time with my family and less time in front of my computer and phone. 

There is less than a week left of the school holidays and it has gone so quickly! As it always does. 

I have made an extra effort to be more present with the boys this mid-year break, and not look at the holidays as my time to "catch up" on my Project Life. The holidays is my time to really enjoy and connect with my babies who are growing up way too fast.

I have accepted that crafting is an after-hours gig, to be enjoyed after the little ones are asleep. 

Anyway, I've had some late nights (an old habit i'm still trying to kick) and I have now completed a 2-page spread and a 1-pager for August 2013. I only have one more page to finish the month off!

Here's a look at the pages.

Patterned Paper from Amy Tangerine's Plus One (The Stamp Spot)



Kellie Stamps: Magical stamp set

Here's a close up of the stamp I used from Kellie Stamps' Magical set. I love this quote.

The boys had the chickenpox for most of August so it was nice to see them out and about and a lot less spotty towards the end of the month. Here's the page I did about their weekend adventures.

Thanks for stopping by, and I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

"Perhaps parents would enjoy their children more 
if they stopped to realize that the film of childhood 

can never be run through for a second showing." 
-- Evelyn Nown.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

SIMPLIFY | Are you ready to Ban Busy?

I started this blog a few years ago as vehicle to share my craft projects. 

This blog has since evolved into a personal blog where in addition to sharing my craft projects, I also share my thoughts on life, living, mothering and the random recipe from my kitchen.

I have not posted a craft project for a few weeks. I have not had any craft time. In between work, family, and life, I found myself overwhelmed by my growing to-do list(s). Both physical and mental lists. 

I have made the decision to do less. And to take on less.

I was inspired by the Abundant Mama blog. My heart filled with happiness and excitement that I found a treasure trove of practical tips and information about everything I have been thinking about. 

On the Abundant Mama blog, you learn ways to be a "peaceful mum, raising peaceful, thriving children."

By learning how to be a better me, I can become a calmer and more present mother. That to me is more important than anything right now. 

I immediately subscribed to receive newsletters and could not wait to learn more. 

It was in the newsletters I discovered the BAN BUSY Movement. Wow. This  resonated with me like you wouldn't believe! 

"The Abundant Mama Project is gearing up to slow down. We're going to ban busy. Savour slow. And start a challenge to be present, peaceful and playful in a slow, intentional way." ~ from The Abundant Mama blog 

It has become the norm to be crazy busy, frantic, hectic, and going at super speeds to get everything done. This old way of existing hasn't worked for me. It's time to make changes. 

This article here was the one that made think, "I must learn more from this amazing lady!". If you have young children, this post is a must-read. It's written beautifully and with truth and insight. 

I'm taking on the Ban Busy mini challenge. How about you? Ready to savour slow?

Saturday, 14 June 2014

IN MY KITCHEN | Low Allergy banana pikelets

The boys and I do not have gluten, dairy or egg in our diets, but we can still have yummy treats. Banana pikelets being one of them.

I make these pikelets when we have over ripe bananas and nothing for breakfast. (usually the day before food shopping day)

This recipe I have adapted from a normal pikelet recipe and replaced the egg with bananas.  

- two very ripe medium sized bananas
- 2 level cups of brown rice flour
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
- rice milk
- pinch of pure vanilla powder  
- a couple of tablespoons of honey 
- dollop of coconut oil for mixture
- coconut oil for cooking

STEP 1: Sift dry ingredients and set aside.

STEP 2: In a separate mixing bowl, mash bananas with a masher or a fork.

STEP 3: Add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to mashed bananas.

STEP 4: Melt a dollop of coconut oil in the fry pan (if the oil is solid...depends on the weather) and add to wet mixure


STEP 5: Add 1/3 of dry ingredients to banana mixture and alternate with rice milk. I do not have a specific measurement for the rice milk because depending on the size and ripeness of the bananas, I adjust quantity of rice milk accordingly. It is a matter of testing it out and seeing what you like.

The photo below shows the consistency I like (it's a bit hard to describe...). You can add more milk if you prefer a lighter pikelet, or use less milk if you prefer a denser pikelet.

STEP 6: Melt some coconut oil in a fry pan on a medium heat and spoon mixture into fry pan. Once the edges look cooked (browning and drying out), use a spatular to gently lift the pikelet to avoid it sticking too much when it comes time to flip. Flip when you see bubbles (as with normal pikelets).

STEP 6: Serve with butter (if you can have dairy) or dairy free butter, and your choice of toppings. ie. syrup, jam, peanut butter, honey. Peanut butter AND jam is a yummy combo. ENJOY!