Free plans: Little Helper Tower

Today's project comes courtesy of my gorgeous and talented friend Vanessa (and her handy helper, Rowan), who is a lot more Martha than she gives herself credit for...
Look what my handy hubby whipped up for me on the weekend (paint job by yours truly). 
It's a "Little Helper" aka a "Fun Pod". These retail for upwards of $300 - well beyond our budget, so I found some plans and Mark made one for me for a fraction of the cost. What is it then? It's a safe structure for kids to stand on while working at high benches like in the kitchen. 
MUCH safer than the stool we've been using! 
As if it wasn't good enough already, it folds people! It becomes all thin and Kate Moss-ish so you can slide it away beside the fridge... behind the door... wherever you like really! Loving. 
Pretty good isn't she? And there's lots more where that came from let me tell you! I'm twisting her skinny right arm to do more posts for you all. Get the plans for this one here.

How I feel today...

Pea Popsicles

I didn't quite believe my friend when she told me about this idea she'd seen over at OhDeeDoh
but gave it a go knowing how much my boys like to eat frozen peas frozen... 
I couldn't quite believe the reception this healthy treat got! 

I got them involved in the process of making them and nearly fell off my bar stool when Hugh asked if he could have his pea iceblock for dessert! Take a look at the scoff-fest! Huge success! And super easy! Give it a whirl and tell me how you go!

Ideas I'm loving this week...

Go out on a limb and make your own drawer handles...

Create a magical sleeping space with twinkling fairy lights and sheer curtains...

Get to work on a family tree. This one is on Etsy - pretty huh?

A chocolate and strawberry...

Chocolate walls and ceilings wouldn't be my first choice, but I have to admit there's a certain warmth to this room that's really nice for a little girl... And some of the detail ideas are definitely worth stealing.

How adorable are the jewellery keepers? 


Maybe I've been living with boys for too long? But I think this is the best spot I've ever seen for one of those frilly pink dresses...

And finally, an enviable reading nook...

Make it: Hop to it!

How good? And so so so so easy to make one of your own! 
Great to keep on hand for rainy days (like the ones they're predicting for this weekend...). 

Helpful tip: If you're using your fabric hopscotch on floorboards, polished concrete or similar, you'll need to add some non slip backing to your mat. Try drawing lines of silicone on the back of your fabric. It's cheap and works well - just allow it to dry completely before using...

A new home for my jewels...

Definitely making this...

The Big Reveal: The Boys Bedroom

After an enormous amount of deliberation, research and mind-changing, the boys bedroom - I'm pleased to say - is done! Done, done, done. Have a look - tell me what you think...
Originally, we were going to go with bunks that could be split in two, but after one or two horror stories about face plants and broken noses (thanks Nat), we decided to go with twin singles (at least for now). I found these in a massive floor stock clearance at Sleep City and painted them in Ship Chandler by The Society Inc which is a lovely charcoal grey blackboard paint that gives a gorgeous velvet-like ultra-matt finish which I'm completely in love with. We haven't mentioned to the boys that their beds are blackboards - I think I might lose it if they start drawing on them... The red wall hooks need to be repainted to go with the grey theme but we're nearly there and I was itching to show you how it all looks.
I moved the Noosh Gigi Alphabet from it's old home (below) to a random scatter design above the picture rail as inspired by the way Lilly & Lolly have it displayed in their new store which you can see here. I think it looks a bit more sophisticated like this and works well with the "big boy beds".
I've strung star shaped LED fairly lights around their bedheads (below) which are their new night lights and I switch them off before I go to bed. The lighthouse is a lamp I picked up at Rozelle secondhand market for $20. The boys love it. And the bedding, my husband chose. He found it in a sale and came home with it knowing I was going with grey as the colour scheme. Completely out of character but really nice - he must have been excited about the room makeover which came as a complete surprise to me...
So, what do you think? 

My easy sausage rolls with hidden vegies - shhh!

The recipe for these TASTY sausage rolls is one I devised myself when my karate kid started to go off his vegies at that difficult 2-3year old bracket... It's a family favourite and you'll always find a batch in my freezer for weekday lunches, parties and weekend dinners (I know, but sometimes we get home late and these are a great healthy whip up - and the fact that I know they're packed with vegies makes me feel better about it...)
Tasty Sausage Rolls

500g lean beef mince
1 carrot finely grated (the finer the better)
1 zucchini finely grated
1 onion finely grated
1 egg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
pinch salt and pepper
1 pack (6 sheets) supermarket frozen puff pastry

1. Mix all your ingredients together in a bowl - I find you really need to get your hands dirty for this one to get everything really well mixed and get those vegies hidden.
2. Lay out your sheets of puff pastry and using a sharp knife cut them in half to create 2 rectangle shapes from each sheet. Best done while pastry is still a little frozen.
3. Roll small handful of meat mixture between your hands to make a sausage shape about the thickness of a thin sausage and lay your sausage shape along the long side edge of a cut sheet. (It's a good idea to do this for all the mixture and pastry before you start rolling to make sure you don't end up with leftovers of either).
4. Brush pastry edges with a small amount of milk to make the edges stick together once rolled and carefully roll up the meat filled pastry to make one long sausage shape.
5. Repeat this process until you've used up all of your meat mixture and pastry and then cut through the rolls at intervals to create party sized sausage rolls or regular sized ones. 
6. Finally brush your rolls with milk to help them go golden and bake in a moderate oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden.

As I mentioned, I freeze these quite successfully as long as they are separated with freezer sheets.

Twice the style

I love the storage drawers in this raised twin bed design. And wouldn't it make a great stage with the matresses stacked and pushed to the back? The more theatrical sibs could spend rainy days constructing scenes and putting on small productions for the family... who knows, they might even be the next Matt Damon and Ben Affleck! I do let my imagination carry me away sometimes don't I?

Op-Shop Inspiration: Game On!

Today's post comes from my gorgeous friend Felicity Loughrey. Mum to 2 cute-as-buttons boys, Felicity writes for Vogue, interviews major handsome-as-hell celebrities like Matt Damon for GQ, and, being the wonder-mum she is, also blogs at Lustaday.

There’s something about rainy coast holidays. What to do? Board games! We found these beauties while on vacation. That vampire game is fabulous. Really fun.

And who can go past Battleships. Look at that kid’s hair; he looks like Christopher Atkin’s younger brother who never made it to Blue Lagoon. The price: only two clams.

I don’t really enjoy Snakes and Ladders – it feels too much like life. But my boys love it.

Ikea hack: Display storage for the kiddos

Looks great doesn't it? Try the Ikea Prant box. They are raw ply so easy to paint and only $14.99 each -you could knock one of these display walls together yourself for well under $100 including the paint! All you need is a handy hubby or some basic drill skills... 

The wonker-style bookstore

Have you ever seen anything like it? This is Kid's Republic, a bookstore in Beijing. Yes, it was specially created for kids, and wow! How incredible! "mummy, can we go to the bookstore" must be the most popular phrase in the chinese children's vocabulary!
Fully equipped with giant screens and a rainbow palette it's a feast for the young senses and is the product of a new trend in China toward picture book storytelling for children. Apparently, in an effort to adopt all things American, the Chinese have (finally) adopted the idea that a story for a child might be more inviting with bright images... Makes you a little bit more grateful for the small things doesn't it?

Make it: FREE Easter decorations

This is not only the cutest easter decoration I've seen - it's FREE! Follow the easy step by step...

Step 1: Choose a selection of paint chips in your favourite hues from your local hardware store. (I find kids make great partners in crime for this one - you can't keep them away from the paint chips!)

Step 2: Using a template trace out an egg shape on the back of each chip. Cut out and punch two holes in the top of each egg.

Step 3: Thread twine through your punched holes (an invisible thread would work great for this). I really like the way the colours vignette across the garland, but a random placement would work just as well - that bit's up to you!

Step 4: This is the hard bit - now you need to choose a spot to hang it up.

Pump up the colour!

Here's two nurseries that aren't shy about colour!

Party theme of the week: Retro Ice-creamery

Just gorgeous. It's this kind of thing that makes me pine for a girl.

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