Free: 2011 Calendar Printable

Not many things in this world of ours are free and stylish. Agreed? Well I've done some digging and I've found one. It's a 2011 calendar. It's printable. And it's FREE! Click here for your own piece of Mod design style...
Via Babble

Clever pram hooks

Here's one of those "I wish I'd thought of that" ideas... Meet the BuggupSo simple. So clever. These hooks make life with a pram so much easier when it comes to storage. I tend to keep both of ours in the car unless we need the space to move something huge. But when it's not in the car, it's sure to be under my feet or close behind me sprawled across the hallway.
  Sadly, not available in Australia (don't you hate that?). But if you have a mate in the states they're available from Giggles Stores nationally (in the US) for a mere $30US! 

Quick tip: Serve up a smile

Here's a fun way to serve lunch - I usually find that small serves of raw salad veges get scoffed without question when they come alongside more enjoyable snacks like corn chips and cubes of cheese. Tricky but it works! Try it out and see....

Want this! Indoor fun

It's been raining here all day. I've been blog browsing and the boys have been bored. Here's four fabulous ideas I wish I had in my house today...

Resolution radar

We're well and truly into a new year now and it's time to make good on the resolutions we (perhaps drunkenly) made on friday night with that glass of bubbles in our hands. I know mine were all not only achievable but necessary, and it seems the delightfull Miss Maddie from Lil Magoolie is on the same page as me. She's whipped up these lovely printables to keep in view all year round so we can stay on track. I suspect Maddie has a connection to my brain somehow because she's so often on the money with what I need or think, and this time is no exception. I need to do every single thing on this poster and it's now hanging in my kitchen so I can get it all stamped into my head all year long... Click here for your own download - it even comes in two pretty colour palettes for you to choose from!

Crafty cats

Thick paper/card
Double sided tape

1. To make the body I cut a strip 5 cm wide and 21cm long (the width of A4 paper). Then I drew a line 7.5cm in from each end. I drew a half circle on the outside of each side (these will be the arms/paws). Next, I folded along each line and cut the rounded part of each half circle (leaving the flat side attached). I used small scissors, but a stanley knife would be easier. I also cut two slots where there head would later be attached.

2. To make the head I cut a strip 5 cm wide and 25cm long and folded it in 3. I drew the face shape on the middle piece and cut along the outline (though all 3 pieces). Then I unfolded it and trimmed off the two little half ears at the back.

3. I also cut out a pair of paws with tabs at the top for joining to the body.

4. Next I painted the paws, head and body and left them to dry. Then drew on the features with a marker.

5. I assembled the little kitty using double sided tape by sticking the overlapping ends of each strip together at the back and sticking the foot tabs inside the body with the feet/paws peeking out at the bottom. Then I cut two slots to put the head in place on the body. Voila!

Via The Light Garden

Nursery colour inspiration

This nursery was recently featured by the lovely Maddie over at Lil Magoolie and it stopped me in my tracks. Maybe it was the colour palette?

Party theme of the week: Cars

With Christmas and NYE now in our rearview mirrors, this Noosh household moves focus forward to the upcoming birthday of little N who'll be two in a little over a month, and, while all these parties I've been showing you are a little OTT I know, the designer in me wants needs to create an extravaganza to celebrate. There's a few ideas being thrown around but we haven't decided on anything yet... What do you think? Is the kids party thing getting out of hand? What's the most decadent soiree you've been to? This Disney Cars theme party looks great. The black and white checkerboard idea is so strong it makes the whole overall look really impressive - and the Rust-Eze logo on all the drinks and favours really ties the whole thing together.

Rainbow obsessed

Okay, so it has come time to admit to you, if not to myself, that H's fascination obsession with all things rainbow has definitely rubbed off on me. I find myself making a sharp intake of breath every time I spot anything in rainbow brights... Prepare yourself for visual overload. To follow are some brilliant decorating ideas, fabulous craft projects and impressive food presentations.


Make it: Sweetest NYE dip ever

I don't have a sweet tooth - every tooth in my mouth is sweet. So this Cookie Dough dip is right up my alley. Michelle over at Brown Eyed Baker sure has some hits in her repertoire...

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip 
(adapted from Recipezaar)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips

1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the brown sugar dissolves. (You can also do this in the microwave but watch it closely. The butter/sugar mixture will boil over fast. Stir every 30 seconds or so.)
2. Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla extract and set aside to cool.
3. Beat the cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar for 1 minute.
4. Slowly beat in the cooled butter mixture and beat again for another minute.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Pour into a serving bowl and refrigerate.
7. Garnish with additional chips, if you choose.

Serve with wafers.

**Note: after refrigerating the dip it will be pretty solid and un-dippable so make sure to remove it from the refrigerator about 15-30 minutes before you plan on serving it, so it has time to soften up.

Before & After: Sideboards

While this doesn't really fit into the realm of feeding/entertaining or decorating for kids, it was way too good to not share with you. I know how much I love a before and after, and these are sooooooo inspiring! 

...and after! Amazing huh? Here's some more...

Get thyself to eBay now for your own DIY find!

Don't you just love a stripe?

Bold stripes are a sophisticated and timeless way to brighten up any kids space. Here's 4 applications that I think work really well. 

I would never have thought of doing it but don't those striped floorboards work a treat? 
How good are those stripey drawers? 

And we all know how I feel about a monochromatic colour scheme...
This is cool. I'd like some of these carpet tiles now please...

BOREDOM BUSTER #3: Top 7 -mostly FREE!

In Sydney: Kids in the Park 2010/11 
Kids in the Park is massive fun for kids of all ages – whatever their passion! Check out the amazing range of FREE activities on offer at Sydney Olympic Park these Summer holidays! 
*Australia Day celebrations
*BMX and Mountain X
*Brickpit Ringwalk
*Clue Trail
*Crack the Code
*Disc Golf
*Movies by the Boulevard
*Sports Star and Dancing Star
*The Amazing Chase
*Medibank International Kids Day
With over 50 activities to choose from at this year's Kids in the Park Summer holiday program, be sure to check out the other listings for more info: SPORTY activities, ADVENTURE kids, PLAYFUL kids, CREATIVE kids
Date:18 Dec 2010 - 30 Jan 2011
Location:Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, NSW
Ages:All Ages / Family

In Melbourne: The Enchanted Party Fairy workshops for kids at ACMI
For little princes and princesses!
Princess Lilac and Princess Blossom take children on an enchanted adventure to undo a mischievous spell that's been cast over the garden. Activities on this spellbinding trail include craft, games, dancing and magic bubbles to help undo the spell. Each workshop runs for 45 minutes. Suitable for children aged 4-10 years.
Date: 21 Nov 2010 - 14 Jan 2011
Time:11am & 1pm
Location: ACMI, The Cube, Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC 
Ages:All Ages / Family
Cost: FREE - please register for your preferred session on the day
Event Info: (03) 8663 2583 Suitable for children aged 4-10 years 

In Sydney: Medibank International Sydney - Kids Day
The Medibank International Sydney 2011 promises to be one of the best tennis experiences in the nation. The eyes of the tennis world will turn to Sydney Olympic Park from 9-15 January as Serena Williams, Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils, Samantha Stosur and many more serve up world class tennis action ahead of the Australian Open.  And Monday 10 Jan is Kids Day, where all children 16 years and under get access into the grounds and all the exciting activities on-site for free!
Date: 10 Jan 2011 - 10 Jan 2011
Time: From 10amLocation:Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre, Sydney, NSW 
Ages: All Ages / Family
Cost: U16s entry is FREE - Adults $9.90 Ground Pass
Event Info: Exciting on-site activities for under 16s and their families!

At home: Make an Erupting Volcano experiment
What You Need: Flour, salt, cooking oil, water, large bowl, plastic bottle, baking pan, red food colouring, liquid detergent, baking soda, vinegar, water
Activity: Mix 6 cups of flour, 2 cups of salt, 4 tablespoons of cooking oil and 2 cups of water in a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together with your hands until the mixture is firm. Stand the bottle in the centre of the pan. Mould the salt dough around the bottle in a cone shape (like a volcano) but leave the bottle top uncovered. Fill the bottle almost to the top with warm water. Add a few drops of food colouring. Squeeze 6 drops of detergent into the bottle. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Slowly pour vinegar into the bottle. Your volcano will fizz and spurt red lava! Why? Mixing baking soda and vinegar makes a chemical reaction. 

Sydney & Melbourne: (Not free - but kind of amazing!)
Roar & Snore at the Zoo
Taronga Zoo's unique accommodation experience, Roar & Snore, has been re-launched. 
Roar ‘n’ Snore guests wine, dine and sleep where the elephants once walked, in the Historic Elephant Exhibit. After dinner in the Elephant House, guests explore the mystery of the Zoo after dark. Hear, smell, and see nocturnal creatures and share the passion, knowledge and stories of your camp hosts. 
After supper, retire to your safari tent for a restful night’s sleep. Wake in the morning to the calls of gibbons and birds and enjoy breakfast before a chance to meet the keepers and experience up-close animal encounters and life behind-the-scenes.
Cost includes snacks and nibbles, buffet dinner, dessert, tea and coffee, buffet breakfast. Twilight tour, behind the scene tours and fantastic photo opportunities. The chance to preview this unforgettable experience is truly once in a lifetime opportunity.
Vicitoria's Melbourne Zoo runs a Roar & Snore Event over the same period. Ticket prices are the same - See the web links below for details...
Date:1 Sep 2010 - 31 May 2011
Time:6:15pm - 9am
Location:Taronga Zoo, Sydney, NSW & Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne VIC
Ages:All Ages / Family
Cost:$195 Adults 
$145 Children (5–12 years)

Honourable mentions...
Sydney's Powerhouse Museum is always good for inexpensive, educational fun. At the moment they're running Tinytoreum - a collection based exhibition featuring Australian artists and authors. Have a look here for more details.
The Peats Ridge Childrens Festival - it started today and runs until New Years Day - jam packed with fun activities and performances for kids as well as their mums and dads. Have a look here for more details.

Make it: NYE Crackers

If you've got as many leftover christmas sweets lying around the house as we do, you're going to love this idea...
Step 1. Take your leftover choccies, lollipops and sweets
Step 2. Gather a collection of empty cardboard toilet rolls (you know, the centre bits)
Step 3. Add some shiny wrapping paper (there should be no shortage of this at the moment...)
Step 4. And finally, some confetti or shredded paper (but confetti works better)
Step 5. Fill each roll with confetti and sweets.
Step 6. Wrap each tube like a bon bon and tie with ribbon!
Voila! Crack away!

Make it: NYE Fondue

What could be more fun than a fondue to see in the new year? Even Martha says its the thing to do... But there'll be no double dipping!
Chocolate Fondue
(serves 4)
300ml thickened cream
1/4 cup Cointreau liqueur
300g dark chocolate, finely chopped
fresh fruit, such as strawberries, orange segments, banana, raspberries and kiwifruit, to serve
250g packet marshmallows

1. Heat cream in a saucepan over medium heat until almost boiling. Stir in Cointreau.
2. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour hot cream mixture over chocolate. Stir with a metal spoon until melted and smooth. Pour into a warm bowl or small ceramic fondue.
3. Serve chocolate fondue with fruit and marshmallows.

Swiss cheese fondue
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (serves 8)
1 garlic clove
60ml (1/4 cup) brandy
1 1/2 tbs cornflour
375ml (1 1/2 cups) fruity white wine, such as riesling
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
750g Australian Gold Swiss Cheese, coarsely grated

1.25kg Baby Coliban (Chat) potatoes, halved (see note)
200g thin salami slices
200g thin prosciutto slices
1 x 350g jar Always Fresh Baby Cucumbers (Cornichons)

1. To prepare the accompaniments, cook the potato in a saucepan of salted boiling water for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Transfer to a warm serving bowl. Arrange the salami and prosciutto on a serving platter. Place the cornichons in a bowl.
2. Cut the garlic clove in half. Rub the cut surface of the garlic over the base and side of a fondue pot.
3. Place the brandy and cornflour in a bowl, and stir until smooth. Combine the wine and lemon juice in a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Add the cornflour mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add a large handful of cheese. Use a wooden spoon to stir constantly until the cheese melts. Repeat with the remaining cheese, in large handfuls, stirring constantly after each addition, until the cheese melts and the mixture is combined.
5. Heat the fondue pot over a low flame. Transfer cheese fondue to the pot. Serve with the accompaniments and walnut bread.

You can prepare this recipe to the end of step 1 up to 30 minutes ahead. Continue from step 2, 15 minutes before serving. The fondue will still be a little lumpy at the end of step 4. This is normal and doesn't affect the flavour.
Recipe Via Good Taste Image via Martha Stewart

Party theme of the week: Build a cupcake bar

Any kind of bar at a kids party sounds like a winner to me (just kidding...), and this Build a Cupcake Bar idea is no exception. Amber from Enjoy Cupcakes put this together for a shower but the idea is a great one that can be applied to any party. In fact we were planning to do a similar them for H's 4th birthday with a Junior Masterchef twist but Rainbows won out in the end... (but I'll definitely keep it up my sleeve for future reference).

And have a look at Enjoy Cupcakes even cuter campervan! This is how they bring the party to you! In a restored vintage caravan. Could Amber be any more clever?

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