Posted in Baking, Camping, Children, Children's Parties, Chocolate, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Camping themed 5th party

Camping was not my theme of choice for this year, but Little Miss K wanted camping and I liked the theme so camping it was.  I initially wanted a Book Worm party.

Quite a few of my friends said I was insane to go with Camping…Maybe insane was not quite the word they used, but mad was mentioned more than once, as was tempting fate. Our family record with camping is not a good one. We have been camping 4 times since Kaylin was born and 4 times we have ended up either at the doctors or casualty or both.

I decided actual camping and a camping theme party were vastly different and went with it anyway.

Here are the photos.  (I am quite proud of how it turned out)

The Birthday Girl and Door Stop
The Birthday Girl and Door Stop

She was very excited that I made them both out of icing and that they were both on the cake….

The Party Table - Camping
The Party Table – Camping
Camp Kaylin - Camping themed Cake
Camp Kaylin – Camping themed Cake
Mix your own Trail Mix
Mix your own Trail Mix
The party pack Backpacks (each guest was given a little torch inside)
The party pack Backpacks


The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each
The backpack party packs, there was little torch inside each


I made these little backpacks using a little paper bag and some ribbon.  It was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be.  Just make sure you find the paper bags with the flat base.

Campfire Flames aka NikNaks
Campfire Flames aka NikNaks

This is a disposable braai – but the grid was unnecessary as were the legs – so you could just use an aluminum roasting dish.

Wraps or Bedding Rolls
Wraps or Bedding Rolls


Bear Poop......
Bear Poop…… (chocolate, need I say more)

So this is what I did differently this year, than any of the other years.

Firstly – the biggest I did not have it at home.  Oh bliss – why did I ever do them at home before.

Secondly – I paid a little extra for the decor.  I looked through their themes, and then chose the closed to the theme I wanted. This is actually the venue’s fairy theme but I told them I did not want any fairy stuff just the woodland look.  I then made everything else to suit – red and green.

Thirdly – all the baked good are box mixes. I love making the little figures for the cakes, but dont actually like baking.  I find it stressful.  This was a lot easier.  Next time I might even just buy a pre-made cake and decorate it.

And then that is about it – once it is over you just pack up and go….

I have also realised that my daughter is nearly as bad as I am when it comes to planning birthdays in advance. She has already told me what themes she would like for the next 3.

Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Children's Parties, Crafts, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting

Airlines and Teddy Bears – a 4th Birthday party

And just like that she was 4!

I know parents say this all the time but wow. Time really does fly.

When we first started discussing themes for her 4th party, Little OL was very into aeroplanes so I began the planning early.  Unfortunately she saw the photos of her 2nd birthday party (teddy bears picnic) and said she wanted teddy bears again.  As I had already organised some of the stuff (and really wanted to do aeroplanes) we compromised.  I put teddy bears in the aeroplanes…. It worked quite well.

So, the theme of her party was and Airline theme (with teddy bears as the pilots)  Here are a few photos

I created the invitation using a template  I found HERE.  I also made the cover, but forgot to take a photo of that.  I created the logo on Inkscape, using an image from HERE

Boarding Pass Invitation

I think just Goggled and checked Pinterest for the rest of the ideas. Here is the link to my Pinterest Board.


Baggage Claim
Baggage Claim

I really wanted those old fashioned brown cardboard school suitcases that we used to have and thought I might find some when the “back to school” stuff was out, but no joy.  In the end I found this little lunch boxes and fortunately in the colours I wanted so I bought them.  (Pick n Pay)


Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds
Cupcakes with marshmallow clouds

The cupcakes were a disaster, but thank fully with the icing and the best out of 5 batches I managed to get enough.


Cake with Teddy Pilot
Cake with Teddy Pilot

The cake went a lot better – I used my favourite cake recipe, the Rainbow cake from the Whisk Kid, but only used shades of pink this time (once again, I forgot to take a photo of the inside).


Aeroplane Cookies
Aeroplane Cookies

I also made teddy bear biscuits to go alongside the planes, but Little OL ate them before the party……

Delicious Aeroplane food....
Delicious Aeroplane food….


For the adults Mr OL made some awesome sandwiches.  We did Chicken or Beef , poor  Mr OL kept asking if he couldn’t do some salami or ham etc and I insisted it had to be Chicken or Beef…. LOL.  I did do a few vegetarians ones though.

I made a few different signs and added in a few extra elements, like globes, Captain’s hat etc and all in all I am very happy with how the party turned out but, there are a few things I have decided.  From now on we will not be having the party at home. As the kids get older they need more entertainment (and space) and I will also be outsourcing some stuff.  I will not be making cupcakes etc next year.  I probably won’t bake the cake either, although I might make the topper (I enjoy that part)


Posted in Baby OL, Children, Family, Food, Ordinarylife, Parenting, Trail Running, Women

Things kids say!

Summer is coming and this year I might have a bit more time to do the beach thing.   With that in mind I have decided to cut down on the junk food – I am not going to say I want to be bikini ready as I very rarely do bikini’s but I would not mind getting back into the same shape as I was December last year (Click for bikini photos from then).  Also with the Dryland Traverse coming up on 5 weeks being a couple of kilograms lighter might make quite a difference!

So, I was about to tell Mr OL my plan and I started with…..“I stood on the scale this morning”

Little OL, who was close by and overheard, piped up “Mommy did you cry?”

I nearly did, with laughter, after that comment!



It took me a couple of seconds to realise that she thought I had hurt my foot by standing on something.

Posted in Art, Baby OL, Baking, Children, Children's Parties, Family, My Art Work, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting

A party planning compromise

So my brainwashing plans are not working so well……
It is 4 (and a half) months to go before Little OL turns 4 and she has decided that she no long wants an airplane party! Hmph…… That is itself is not too much of a problem. I am adaptable (kind off) but she wants a Teddy Bear party!!! She’s had a Teddy Bear party! Her second Birthday Party was a Teddy Bear’s Picnic party.



I guess I should be flattered – she liked it so much she wants it again! But somehow I suspect it is less to do with her remembering her party and more to do with the fact that Door Stop (her teddy bear) never leaves her side.


In the background is a work in progress painting of Little OL and Door Stop, from a photo taken just before she turned 2.

So it looks like we are going to compromise, a Teddy Bear in Airplane Party it is going to be (for now at least).  Very cute idea actually. I have started pinning stuff.

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Gardening, Ordinarylife

Cookies for Spring

I made cookies this weekend.

I found these gorgeous gardenging themed cookie cutters at Plastics Warehouse and have been dying to use them.  (I can’t resist cookie cutters – although I don’t actually like to eat biscuits……) Spring seemed like the perfect time, I just added a couple of flowers.

Spring Cookies
Spring Cookies


What do you think?

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude, Art, Baby OL, Baking, Children, Family, Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Medal Displays, Medal Hangers, My Art Work, My New Business, Ordinarylife, Paintings, Parenting, Running, Sketches, Trail Running, Training

Happy 5 year Blog Anniversary!

I have had this blog for 5 years – wow time has flown.  Before I started here I had an iBlog account for a short while as well.

Over the years my blog has changed quite bit.  It has gone from being mostly about Ironman training to a real mix up of stuff, Ordinary Life stuff!  I have had a baby, I have started baking and icing cookies, I have shown you all some of my paintings and sketches, I have started a new business – SA Medal Hangers.  And very importantly I have made some great friends!

Thank you all so much for joining me on this journey, I am thoroughly enjoying it!

Here is the link to my first post – published on the 1st September 2008

Posted in Art, Food, Knysna, My sketchbook, Ordinarylife, Running

My weekend

My weekend away was fantastic and exactly what I needed.

I ate

I chilled,

I ate some more

I went shopping at a farmers market (for food)  If you are ever in the Garden Route on a Saturday morning head to the Wild Oats Farmer’s Market outside Sedgefield!  LOVE IT!

I ate even more

And I even drew a little while everyone else was running.


It was quite weird to sit and draw in a really crowded area.  I have not done this in a while and at first was a bit nervous but soon blocked out all the people around me and just concentrated.  At one point a man behind me did call over his kids to come and have a look but I was too scared to turn around and speak to them, so I just pretended I hear nothing……..  They where very respectful and quiet and I am not sure how long they were there.  Once I concentrate on something I do tend to block out the world.  This I really needed to concentrate on as the people kept moving…….



I might never run the Knysna Marathon again, this was so much fun… (just kidding)  I did miss the fact that I was not running.

Posted in Baking, Cookies, Food, Ordinarylife

Iced Sugar Biscuits – a few tips

For Little OL’s party I also made some iced rainbow sugar biscuits. Cupcake Mummy suggested a do a tutorial, but I won’t.  I don’t have the time or patience to take photos of the process and there are already tutorials on the internet that explain it very well – that is how I learnt.  Also, I don’t feel like I have enough experience to “teach” somebody else how to do this, I am also just starting out and learing as I go.

Here is a link to a blog that has very good tutorials and tips.  I use her as my “go to” most of the time – Sweetopia

EDITED – I don’t know how I forgot to add this link – her tutorials are also fantastic!  The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

I will however give some pointers that I have picked up that make it easier for me.  My first one is that I don’t use piping bags; I have found that ziplock freezer bags work the best for me. They are cheaper, I always have them in the house, and because they close at the top my hands don’t get covered in icing, which no matter how I tried to fold the other bags always seemed to happen.  If I am doing delicate work or the outline then I will use a nozzle if not, if I am just doing the flood work (middle part) then I will just cut a tiny bit of the corner off and use it like that.  If you don’t have the nozzles (or enough nozzles) you could just be very careful and cut a very small bit off the corner. I have done that and it has worked.  Then, don’t over fill your bags; it is much easier to work with smaller amounts in the bag and just refill.

Zip bags
Zip bags

If I am working with a few colours I will keep the nozzles face down resting on a damp cloth (I just use paper towel.  Don’t let it get too wet or it will affect the icing in the nozzle, but by having it just damp the icing doesn’t harden while you are using a different colour.

Damp kitchen towel
Damp kitchen towel

The other things that I keep nearby are a damp kitchen towel, to wipe the ends of the nozzles when necessary and a few toothpicks.  If you get a bubble in the icing prick it while still very wet and it won’t leave a small hole.

a damp cloth at hand
a damp cloth at hand

I have tried making Royal Icing using an egg substitute and with real eggs.  The taste was pretty much the same, however I find that the egg substitute clogs the nozzle more than real eggs. This is a real pain in the butt so now I use real eggs (for these biscuits I used THIS recipe – the one at the bottom of the post using eggs).  In America they use meringue powder, but I have not find it here. The egg substitute I used was Actiwhite and I found it at the Baking Tin in PE.

Rainbow colours
Rainbow colours

On all the tutorials they talk about the 10 second rule, what they mean is that if you drag a knife through the Royal Icing it should take 10 seconds for icing to be smooth again. For delicate work I use more like a 15 to 20 second rule.  For the flood work 10 secs or a bit less if fine.  Sometimes for basic shapes, like squares or circle I will use 10 seconds for both and the pipe the outline and fill it all at the same time. This way you do not see the outline line, but it still seems to hold its shape.

I have a couple of books that I use and I always use the biscuit recipe from The Biscuiteers book but mostly if I need advice or help, I Google it.  All my answers seem to be there.

Good luck and if you have any great pointers or tips to make my life easier when icing biscuits, please feel free to share!

I found an example of rainbow biscuits HERE and a tutorial.  I used that to make Little OL’s birthday biscuits.  I am really happy with the way they turned out, but I wish I had double checked it before I started.  I had forgotten that she iced all her biscuits white before putting on the colours.  But oh well.  I like them anyway.

Rainbow Biscuits
Rainbow Biscuits
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
A hand cut biscuit, using a template I made.
Posted in Baby OL, Baking, Children, Cookies, Family, Food, Ordinarylife

3rd Birthday Party – Rainbow theme

Here are a couple (ok, a few more than a couple) of photo’s from Little OL’s 3rd Birthday party.

I have known what theme i wanted for her 3rd birthday for over a year.  In fact ever since I saw THIS and post by Sweetapolita.  Oh wow! I wanted to make that cake.  This from a girl who at time had NEVER made a cake from scratch.  As I knew what theme I wanted I have been preparing for a while, gathering ideas and odds and ends.  I bought the candles about 8 months ago, I knew if I left them I would never find them when I really wanted them.

Rainblow Balloon Banner
Rainblow Balloon Banner

Yes, I blew up all the balloons – phew there were a few light headed moments…..

The Colouring in station
The Colouring in station

I figured that not all the kids would want to play in the splash pool or slip ‘n slide so gave them something else to do – I also was worried that if it rained they would be very bored.  I sprayed masonite clip boards with a glitter varnish and put each kids name on them. The kids then got to take the boards home with them.  I also designed and printed off a whole lot of rainbow themed colouring in pages.

Party Boxes
Party Boxes

I made these boxes using my Silhoutte Cameo.  They were the first things I have made with it and it was much easier than I was expecting. The machine has been intimidating me….

Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Jelly
Rainbow Cake Push Pops
Rainbow Cake Push Pops

I made these the same why that I did the cake.  Easy but pretty time consuming.

THE CAKE - a rainbow suprise
THE CAKE – a rainbow suprise
It was very popular.....
It was very popular…..
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool
The Birthday Girl enjoy the splash pool