Thursday 30 January 2014

26 Week Update

This week I am saying goodbye to my second trimester. Trimester numero tres looms ahead and I know that after the next few weeks of uncomfortableness, our baby will be here with us. Exciting!

This week:
  • Baby C is the size of a head of lettuce.
  • Baby C is having a great time using up all the space my tummy has to offer, but has been pretty chilled out the last couple of days.
  • Baby C's eyes are practicing blinking.
  • I am beginning to have some super uncomfortable days and nights where my back aches but I have a secret weapon I will be sharing with you in a day or two that gets me through.
  • I have my next series of blood tests coming up. I very much dislike getting blood taken from me so having three lots taken in three hours doesn't sound like fun. It is just routine Glucose testing but still. I plan on having some sort of delicious treat for lunch because you have to fast for 12hrs before hand!
  • Next scan day is only a couple of weeks away! Any votes on Boy or Girl?
  • Still no cravings but I am overheating to the max!
  • Dave has been treated to some powerful roundhouse kicks to the hand. I'm positive Baby C knows when Dad is there.
  • My belly button is still an innie.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (and Homemade Plum Jam!)


 My sister-in-law is gluten intolerant and I find the fact that a lot of my absolute favourite baking treats are off limits to her. So this year I am going to try and either source some great recipes or adapt my own to make gluten-free treat-eating less limited!

One of the first things I made were these Gingerbread objects. They were going to be gingerbread men but I was missing the key item - the cutter. So thanks to Holly, I made stars, flowers and birds.
Unfortunately my sis-in-law missed out on tasting these goodies so Dave and I have been munching away at them this week.

Verdict: The mix was pretty sticky and hard to work with, but the resulting biscuits still kept their shapes. They are the kind of biscuit you need to eat with a cup of tea - tasty but quite dry.
Eating them, you wouldn't know these were gluten free which overall makes them a success for me!

Here is the recipe I adapted from Hansells

1/3 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2 cups Gluten Free baking mix (or 2/3 cup each of rice, potato and tapioca flours and 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum)
- See more at:
1/3 C Golden Syrup
1/4 C butter
1/4 C Brown Sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Ginger
1 Egg
2 C Gluten Free Flour (I used mostly a pre-mix, but used cornflour and buckwheat flour to roll the dough out)

1 T butter (softened)
2 C icing sugar
Hot water to mix

  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
  • Melt together the butter and golden syrup.
  • Mix in the rest of the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured (Gluten Free flour or cornflour) surface. 
* I tried this and used way too much cornflour for no result so I rolled out the dough on a sheet of baking paper
  • When dough is around 1/2cm thick, cut out shapes with cutters and place on a lined baking tray, leaving room for spreading.
  • Bake for 12 min. They will harden as they cool.

  • To make icing:
    Mix butter and icing sugar with sufficient water to get icing to a thick piping consistency. Beat until white.
    Put icing in a piping bag with a small nozzle and decorate gingerbread as desired. Be creative!

The other baking exploit that we undertook last weekend was to begin our journey as jam-makers. We stripped our over-laden plum tree of the last of its fruit and Dave set out with the fun job of pulling the stones out of 2kg of plums.
The cooking process took longer than expected but we ended up with delicious Plum Jam! slightly tart but still sweet and sticky. We filled 4.5 jars (500g) and we have already delved into the half jar. YUM!

Our recipe was simple:

Plum Jam

2kg plums - stones removed
2kg white sugar

-Bring to the boil and reduce heat and simmer until a blob of jam dropped onto a cold plate wrinkles when you push your finger through it.
-Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal.
-Make pretty labels for the jars.
1/3 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg
2 cups Gluten Free baking mix (or 2/3 cup each of rice, potato and tapioca flours and 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum)

1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups icing sugar
few Teaspoons of water to get it to the right consistancy
Preheat oven to 180C
Melt golden syrup and butter in large bowl.
Allow to cool and add sugar, baking soda, spices, egg and all the flours.
Beat with wooden spoon until forms ball - should still be a little sticker than standard flour would be
Transfer dough onto very lightly floured board. Roll out until around 1/2 cm thick.
Cut out men.
Place on non stick tray 3 cm apart.
bake for 12 mins, until firm but not rock hard as they harden as they cool.

Mix butter with 1/2 cup of icing sugar until white. Slowly add rest of icing sugar and water until firm consistancy is reached.

Ice men once cool, store in an airtight container
- See more at:

Sunday 19 January 2014

24 Weeks Pregnant

We have been having a couple of 30 degree days lately. Those roasting NW winds make me retreat to the cool of the house with an ice block in my hand.

This week:
  •  I get to say I'm 6 months pregnant!
  • Dave can feel some huge kicks from Baby C and likes to watch my tummy move when Baby C is moving around.
  • My belly is getting in the way now, it has grown so fast that I forget it's there. I find myself underestimating the gaps I can squeeze through and having to stand an extra step away from the bench at work.
  • It should be around 4 more weeks away that I get my next scan so I can finally find out whether Baby C is a boy or girl. 
  • We have ticked off the majority of our big ticket baby purchases now, bassinet, cot, buggy and capsule/carseat. It feels good to know that the biggest stuff is out of the way. True to form we got it all second hand and Dave has already finished the bassinet makeover. 
  • Baby C has been GROWING! My poor abs are putting up a huge fight and giving me grief sometimes. I also think they make Baby C sit back quite far so my back plays up too. But it all means that Baby C is fattening up.
  • Food Faves: Still no cravings! Just a desire for fresh fruit and I have been chowing down on large amounts of grapes and nectarines. 
  • I am getting more and more clucky, we spent some time with friends and their 5 week old girl and she slept on me for a good hour and it was bliss. It's hard to imagine the transition from giant belly to snuggly newborn though. 
  • I had my first week back at work after the holidays and survived 40 hours! Long may it last!


Wednesday 15 January 2014

{DIY} Recycled Wood Fox Art

The wall above our bed has been empty since we moved in. Mostly because we needed some larger scale art, and also because I was too scared to put holes in the walls. Even though they are 'our' walls it still feels like a big deal.

When we moved in there was a bunch of skinny wooden battens shoved in the wood pile that Dave saw potential in. One nice sunny day later and we had a bunch of battens de-nailed, cut to size, arranged, re-nailed onto a frame and sanded back. This time I actually did everything except the sanding! I won't mention how frustrated I got at the hand-saw after having the luxury of power tools.

Dave and I decided on a fox image. Why do we like foxes so much? I think because I see them as a cross between a dog and a cat and they are pretty sneaky. Sounds like a pretty awesome animal to me!
We found an image we liked, made it poster sized and cut out the stencil. Well, Dave cut out the stencil.

We wanted clean lines on the edge of the fox so we decided not to use spray paint like we usually would. I traced around the stencil with pencil (rhyme) to get an outline so I could paint around it.

Once the fox was painted we gave it a rough sand, put a clear coat over top and we were done. A piece of art we created together to pretty up our bedroom.

Monday 13 January 2014

Dip-Dyed Ombré Onesies

During the last week of my holiday I had an inspiration lightning bolt hit me. If I found some plain white onesies*, I could dye them myself and iron on some custom silhouettes!

*Also known as: All-in-ones, Stretch n' grows or vests.

One shopping trip and three days of effort later and we have some very cute newborn onesies for Baby C to wear a couple of times each! (here's hoping!)

Day 1 involved the Shopping Trip. With Dave at work with the car I decided on a casual walk to the local mall. Turns out buying a pack of plain onesies isn't as easy as I thought. I found this 3 pack at The Warehouse hiding behind all of the sale items. These weren't on sale. BUT I was set on my idea so they were bought.

My next stop was Lincraft, the local fabric etc store. I hunted down the fabric dye and tried to decide on a colour. I needed a unisex color and the TEAL packet leapt out at me. A quick stop at the supermarket to buy some rubber gloves was the last item on the agenda.

Once I got home I tried to decipher the fabric dying instructions. I didn't want to waste the whole dye packet on 3 tiny items of clothing so I guessed at halving the 'recipe'. I wanted to do an ombre type dye (fading gradually from light to dark) but the result wasn't quite what I had planned. After the first total immersion I held the top of the onesie and 'bobbed' it up and down in the dye to darken the lower half. The instructions told me that the desired colour would take up to half an hour of soaking to be dark enough - but who has time for that when you have to keep dunking it in and out of the mixture? Not me apparently. Five minutes later and I was done with onesie number one.

The second and third attempts were a more 'dip-dyed' approach, leaving half the onesie white. I still tried to fade the colour but again, who has the patience to stand and wait?

I rinsed the dye out with cold water and put them through the wash to set the colour. The result was one very nice teal colour that I am happy with!

Day 2 was Design Day. I trawled the interwebs looking for some cute silhouette images and settled on three. A fox (of course), some swallows and a fantail in a frame. I printed them out and traced them onto some black fabric that I had previously bonded with an iron-on glue type thing. After some very fiddly cutting out I ironed on the images.

Day 3 was Stitching Day. The transfer paper I used needs extra help to stay bonded so I started the mammoth task of stitching around each image. I used a simple running stitch around the edge to secure it onto the onesie. This one small task took most of the day to complete.

I'm really stoked with how these came out. It was definitely a labour of love but that is part of what nesting is all about right?


Thursday 9 January 2014

New Year, New Kitchen Cupboard

This year for our holiday break we decided on a staycation. Literally. I think we stayed at home 96% of the time. But when the weather finally does co-operate and you have a million outside landscaping tasks then a staycation is perfect.

I am a regular browser of the website Freecycle. Highly recommended for those who believe that one (wo)mans junk is another (wo)mans treasure. But you gotta be in there quick and be willing to pick up whatever awesome item you spotted as quick as you can. Basically you can either post Offers or Wanted ads for whatever item. The catch is it must be free. No swaps or money exchanged. It's a great way of getting rid of junk without paying tip fees (as long as it is still useful junk) or if you can't be bothered listing on Trademe. It is also a great way of picking up goods. I see a lot of excess fruit popping up for those with overladen trees, as well as household goods and excess building materials.

Anyway, one day these holidays I spotted some gorgeous kitchen cabinets on offer and I emailed the guy quick as a whip and said I could pick them up that evening. He got back to me and off we went to load up the car. We ended up walking away with nearly a complete kitchen with wooden cabinet fronts (which we can't use right now, but it has gone into Dave's stash pile of course).

So we had ourselves set up for some kitchen renovations we hadn't really planned for but were totally do-able. (By Dave - I just got in the way mostly)

Above our kitchen bench was a wooden shelf which housed our toaster and bazillion jars and bottles of sauces and spices. It was functional but messy. We decided on cutting out half of the shelf and putting one of the cabinets up in its place. It looks so much more classy!

We couldn't quite fit the two matching cabinets we had in the kitchen so the laundry got one too!

Not bad for a days work I must admit. We didn't even have the hassle of a non-functioning kitchen for weeks on end. I even got to unpack that box of wine glasses that has been taunting me since we moved. Not that I can utilize them at the moment. Sigh.

Back to work next week, must adjust my sleeping patterns accordingly!

Friday 3 January 2014

22 Weeks Pregnant

  • This baby is GROWING! My tummy gets a little bit bigger and a little bit firmer each day that goes by and the movements I feel are getting stronger! Baby is still sitting super duper low though.
  • With the growing comes the inevitable uncomfortableness. I am learning how to sleep and sit and get up without pulling muscles. I do finally feel like I LOOK pregnant now, and can wear clothes that show off my bump a bit more. Although comfort usually wins that battle too.
  • Baby C can detect the difference between dark and light.
  • I feel Baby C kicking the most in the car and just as I start relaxing for the night.
  • Heartburn is making itself known already, and it seems that morning sickness won't leave me alone, I still chuck around once a week!
  • I feel like I should start shopping for the essentials but I can't quite bring myself to buy the unisex stuff available! We are gathering quite the pile of toys though. I also couldn't resist getting some teeny tiny tiger slippers.
  • Baby C has eyebrows and eyelashes.
  • My bellybutton is still an innie!
  • Still no food cravings, just enjoying being able to eat most things again. On the No-Go list are things that are sweet but savoury like parsnip or sweet marinades on meat.
  • I am enjoying having some time off work and being able to sleep in most mornings, I know that will go out the window in the coming months/years!