Rafael turns 2

Here are the photos I took in the lead up to Rafa’s 2nd birthday and on the day. We had a lovely “Teddy’s Bears Picnic” themed party down on the oval near our house. People arrived around 2pm and were directed to follow the footprints down the path to the picnic spot. We had set up lots of picnic blankets and teddies and hung decorations from a big oak tree. I decorated his cake (2 small mud-cakes from the cheesecake shop) and had the rest of the food catered by a local company (who has just shut up shop, but is re-opening soon with a new name and new concept). We also had Tam from Crazy Kids Entertainment there painting faces, which was a huge hit and completely affordable.

Setting up the party was SO much fun, I can’t wait for next years now =)

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We asked for no gifts, but of course little Raffi was spoiled rotten anyway… Next year we might have to try put a dollar limit on gifts instead!

 

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beanie

Mid-Winter Coast Trip

We decided to have a little getaway a couple of weekends ago, and took ourselves, the toddler and the dogs off down the mountain to Malua Bay. It was bloody freezing! The dogs had a good time though ;)

wetsplishpuddles jump determinedbeanierunningmoodysnot-facesalty-sandy-coldinvestigatingbliss fatherandson

So even though it was terribly cold and wet and soggy, I’m still so grateful to the universe that I am lucky enough to have my family and the means to zip down the coast for the weekend to be with them.

 

x

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Easter 2013

Today would have also been Altarra’s 32nd birthday, if she were still with us. She would probably have 2 or 3 kids, be living in Sydney and be crafting it up every weekend. I miss her.










Thank you my families for a really lovely day, we had breakfast with JA’s side and lunch with mine, and our first Easter egg hunt with Rafa was deliciously fun and adorable =D

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Our DIY vegetable garden

I guess most gardens are probably classified as DIY, aren’t they?!

Well, I decided to build a small 1.2m sq in May of last year, to plant vegetables and fruits in time for the current summer.

Getting my handy-girl on. Manny and Bob would be proud

After a few false starts (buying treated wood at first, then correcting the choice with hard wood pails) I built the structure all by myself (proud! ps, corded electric drills work WAY better than cordless ones whose battery never charges properly) and using the giant fat Kitchen Garden Companion by Stephanie Alexander, I prepared the soil and got the bed ready.

Next birthday present please somebody

Annnnnnd 7 months later HOLY WOW! We have been rewarded with humungous zucchinis and the juiciest, best tasting tomatos ever.

A small selection of our tomatoes, at last count we had about one billion

People keep asking me what I’m doing to yield such good results, and the answer is “nothing”! So far, we’ve been lucky to avoid any caterpillars or birds or snails trying to eat anything, and all I do is give it a good water every few days if it hasn’t rained. Lucky or what?!

Thank you garden!Yummm #nofilterFirst crop!

I planned spaghetti for dinner tonight, and forgot to check if we had any zucchinis before I went to the shops, so I got one just in case. I came home, and picked these two beauties right off the vine. Makes the shop bought zucchini look pathetic really!

Store bought at the bottom, home grown at the top. I think we can officially say the vege garden is a success.

This is my crop of tomatos from today:
And tomatoes aplenty

I also made a quick bruschetta for an entree from the mini romas, on top of some store bought garlic bread, and oh. my. It was super delicious.

Best bruschetta ever

I’m definitely going to make a bigger garden for next summer!

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A beachy weekend

Last weekend we got up at O-dark-thirty to get JA to the bus station to go pick up his car from Sydney. Raf and I kept going and went down the coast, and JA eventually met us there later in the afternoon. We only had one night there with our lovely friends, but it was glorious to put our toes in the sand and duck our heads under the waves. I love the ocean.

Stretching out legs in Braidwood, aka run away from mummy as fast as I possibly can

Perfection

Gloomy but wonderful

Buddies on the beach

Ahhh

Practicing his surfing technique

Check out those curls… Don’t get to see them too often in my pics because they’re only at the back ;)

Favourite everything

Last one… Having withdrawals already *sigh*

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2012 in review.

It’s been a very emotional year.

I’ve watched my baby boy grow up so much, pass all the usual milestones and jump ahead in leaps and bounds, he’s such a clever little engineer (still yet to say a word though!). We are so lucky to have him and are amazed that we created him.

We were also devastated by the loss of JA’s dad Frank, in October. We continue to miss him every day, and all I can say is thank goodness for Rafael and his cousin Malia, putting smiles on our sad faces every day.

This is an extremely image heavy post, but it brings joy to my heart to see my little Rafa and remember all the great things we did this year.

(Images are in reverse order from December back to January)
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The baby turns one and throws a party

As promised, here are some photos from Rafael’s first Birthday Party. I LOVED doing all the decorations and setting everything up, it was so fun and I can’t wait to do it again and again every year.

Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (1) The welcome sign on the front door, I made using my Cameo cutting machine and different coloured textured scrapbook card.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (2)The photo wall as you came in the door, showing all Rafa’s monthly photos from 10 days to 12 months old.

Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (3) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (4)I bought a plastic backdrop online for about $20 and put it up over our big front window, and it made the whole living room glow blue which was really cool. I hung up some netting (also bought online) and cut out some sea creatures on the Cameo to stick onto the backdrop.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (5)I had SO much fun making the cake. I started very early (a week or so in advance) on the topper, made entirely of fondant and did all the ruffles myself (I watched lots of YouTube videos and got some advice from SIL Katie to learn how to do it). The dessert table didn’t have any real structure to it, I just plonked stuff where I thought it looked balanced and moved it around from there.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (6)The pink jellyfish “baby” pinãta looked great I must say. I made it of papiêr maché and stuck cut circles of crepe paper to the outside, and hung lots of strands of curling ribbon from the bottom.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (7)I hand-painted all the shells on the cake topper, there’s a few dodgy bits but I’m really happy with how it turned out =) The only things I didn’t make myself were the white balls (Jila Mints), the one little orange starfish and seahorse, and the cake itself (Boston Mud from the cheesecake shop).Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (8)I put together several of these table centrepieces which were so easy and fun to do, and relatively cheap if you already have some of the supplies.Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (9)I can’t get enough of fondant ruffles now! Might have to make a Christmas cake just for fun ;)Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (10)I picked up this cardboard cupcake stand from BigW for about $5, and made the cupcakes from a Betty Crocker packet mix, with added gel colouring. I made a simple cream cheese icing for them, and popped the little toppers on from The Style Emporium in Gold Creek. Super easy and really effective! Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (11) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (12)I didn’t really think about it but Katie pointed out it was probably a bit morbid to have Sushi to eat with an Under the Sea Theme =PMikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (13)I bought candy bags from Pack It In and filled them with blue and green m&m’s for the “sea” and yellow for the “sand”, to give as favours. Never mind that the dogs managed to eat 10 of them when I was in the middle of making them! Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (14) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (15)Little Heidi was a fan of the Jellyfish Pinãta, unfortunately it was a complete fail! I rigged it so the babies could grab a length of string and pull, and that would tear the bottom out of the Jellyfish and everything would come out, but the babies wouldn’t have a bar of it, they wouldn’t hold the string or tug it, so I ended up doing it for them (it would have worked great with 2 or 3 year olds I think!) and it ended in tears hahaMikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (16) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (17) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (18)The lucky boy received lots of lovely and thoughtful gifts!Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (19) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (20) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (21) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (22) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (23) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (24) Mikaela Rafa birthday decorations party cake (25)And the dogs got way too many sneaky leftovers!

It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait until next year ♥

 

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Being a part of the first Human Brochure – Day 1

A couple of months ago, I saw an ad on Facebook from Australian Capital Tourism, asking for applicants for this cool new thing called a “Human Brochure”.
human brochure canberra mikaela

WHAT’S A HUMAN BROCHURE?

We think the best way for you to learn about Canberra is through the eyes of people who have been here.

So we invited 500 humans, just like you, to come and
experience our city first hand and spread the word online
about all the great things they got up to.

That’s how the Human Brochure was created. Here you will
find real travel experiences shared by humans for humans.
They prove that when you look closely, there are loads of attractions, experiences and fun you can have here.

Whether you’re a foodie, family, adventure seeker, lover of art and culture, or all of the above, you’ll find plenty of like-minded humans on this site whose journeys you can follow. Then you’ve got all the information you need to plan your own amazing getaway in our nation’s capital.

We hope to see you soon.

A free holiday to my own City, with free accommodation, free adventure activities and free range to post on instagram, twitter, facebook, flickr and tumblr about all the awesome stuff to do in Canberra?

YES PLEASE.

So I applied, and a few weeks later received an acceptance email, woop woop! I was coming to Canberra! From Canberra.

Mikaela Human Brochure Canberra

The best sort of holiday when you have a one year old is one where you can pack an hour before needing to be somewhere. Add to that the fact that I left home, drove the baby to his grandparents house, drove to our accommodation, checked in, got changed and was ready to leave the hotel for our “Welcome Event” in one hour. Just one of the perks of living in Canberra – no long commutes, hardly any traffic, easy transportation from one end to the other, in no time at all.

@Spifffmeister wants to make stupid faces in all the photos#humanbrochure #doingitwrong

Upon arrival at the hotel (The Mantra on Northbourne Ave) we were greeted with a Welcome Pack, and a nice mini cocktail, and a parking space (for those with a car). We dumped our stuff in our (massive) room, got changed, and went downstairs to meet our group and head off to the Australian War Memorial for the Welcome Event.

Mikaela Human Brochure Canberra

So happy at the thought of canapés #humanbrochure War Memorial here we come!

Ian Hill of Australian Capital Tourism (along with others from the War Memorial) welcomed us, and explained how Canberra was designed with a vision in mind of how the people here would be living their lives in this City (the design of Canberra is by Walter Burley Griffin). I love living in Canberra and raising my child(ren) here, and I appreciate it as a City more and more as I get a bit older and wiser. And I think old Walt was spot on, so good job on that one, buddy.

We were shown inside, and whilst the other participants were tweeting up a storm about the Pool of Reflection, the WWI fighter planes, the movie we were shown directed by Peter Jackson and the stories of the men and women who sacrificed everything for our Nation… I tweeted about the food.

Mikaela Human Brochure Canberra

Mini tandoori sliders, well played #humanbrochure organisers! I’d like some more please.

Mikaela Human Brochure Canberra

Mini burger number 2 = winning #humanbrochure

Once I realised there was enourmous mountains of food being brought around, I was happy to look at the exhibits more closely, and JA and I found this little gem:
australian war memorial canberra playing cards

Which was a set of playing cards, hand drawn and made from cigarette packets.

I also really appreciated the descriptions of the medals awarded to soldiers, these being my favourites:

For matchless leadership, bravery and skill
For courage, steadiness and utter disregard of danger
For courage, coolness, skill and dogged determination
For cold-blooded bravery in saving life at the cost of his own
For courage, endurance and fearlessness beyond praise
For contempt of danger

I’ve been to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra several times with school (my old highschool is directly across the road), so I think in some way the experience has become a little bit, um, boring for me. There is lots of cool stuff to look at, and endless interesting stories to read, and our hosts who were dressed up and explained things were amazing, and the actual building itself is very beautiful. But… if you’re seeking a bit of physical adventure in Canberra, you probably won’t find it here ;) History buffs and any one interested in War, planes, old machinery, architecture or photography will really love it.

It was then time to retire to our hotels for the evening, and though some people were keen to kick on, I knew we had to be up at 6.30am for our adventure to begin, so we were tucked up snug in bed by 11pm.

Stay tuned for day 2!

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