Saturday, August 24, 2013

Keeping the family Erin Condren Style

As a working mum with 3 school aged children, staying (or should I say trying to stay) organised is very important. Like all schools, I am continually being bombarded with notes home about assignments that are due, fundraising events, meetings etc etc etc. and after years of having various methods of trying to keep it all on track, I think I have finally come up with a system that works for me...for now! 

Over the years I have had family calendars, tried entering everything onto my iPhone with reminders, bought countless apps but the one item that seems to have worked the best has been my Erin Condren Life Planner. I purchased one last year for the 2013 calendar year, and I have to say, I do not think a week has gone by without me writing in it. Not only are they beautiful (which I think is half the reason I use it so much...because it's pretty) but the layout works really well for me. 

Monthly layout
Weekly Layout

As I love my 2013 planner so much, I was so excited when Erin launched the 2013-14 planners, and as I am already receiving cake orders for 2014 I thought I would purchase the 18 month and start using my new planner. Shipping from the US is expensive costing $39.95, so rather than just buying a planner, I went all out and bought a FUNctional family chore chart, note pads and the Oh what a week planner...and here is my review on the products, and how I make them work for my family.

I am loving the weekly schedule pad! It is like a desk pad, that each week I write out our families appointments, assignments that are due etc then I rip off the page, and bluetac it onto the wall in the kitchen, which I have tried to set up as much of a command centre as I can in such a small space. 

Below the weekly schedule is the FUNctional Family system where the boys chores are written and the spare note pad is for shopping lists and other notes. The boys work well from this, and get great reward from ticking off their allocated task. I purchased the additional reward cards, and while I haven't really got them working as well as they could, I am sure we will get into a bit of a groove soon.

So here is how I make all 3 products work together....My Life Planner is the starting point, all of my appointments are written in the monthly section first, then at the beginning of the week I transfer the appointments into the weekly section. I sit with my planner and transfer the necessary items onto the Oh what a weekly schedule, and with our schedule in mind I plan out the boys chores for the week. So if I know we are out on Tuesday, I won't give them any jobs to do that day. I also leave the set the table, and dishwasher days empty, and just ask whoever is available to do these jobs when needed - then I write their initial in so they get credit for the job.

Unfortunately, I was missing my little bookmark, thankfully I can just use the one from last year. 
I also want to recognise how awesome they are...instead of just receiving my order, I  received 2 weekly schedule pads, and 2 lots of personalised stickers with little notes saying "Ooops, our goof is your gift" so I can forgive a missing bookmark!

The notebook adhered to the inside back cover.
I also have to say, after having the 12 month planner, and opting for the 18 month this time, I am not a huge fan of the 18 month planner, it is just that little bit too bulky for my liking, so as I didn't receive my planner until August I will continue using my old one until the end of the month, and I have torn out the July and August months just to reduce the bulk a little. I have also ripped half of the note pages off the note pad so that is less bulky at the back, and these are on my desk at home so they didn't go to waste, and next year I will just stick to 12 months.

Our Family Command Centre (note the weekly menu planner on the pantry door)

I love ALL of Erin's products and how fun and colourful they are! I am such a huge fan and I can definitely see why she has such a cult following. In a world that is driven by technology (and I have to admit, I am a huge tech fan), it is fantastic to see a company that can make the old fashioned paper planner fun and popular again.

Here is a link for you to receive a $10 credit toward your erin condren order! $10 CREDIT

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Babushka Doll Cake

I created this cake for a client's Babushka themed baby shower. She knew she was expecting a boy, and gave me the beautiful colour pallet of pale teal, blue, yellow and latte. The cake was carved from chocolate mud cake before being crumb coated in chocolate ganache and covered in fondant.
To cover the cake, I firstly added the latte colour around the base of the doll and trimmed the top to the shape required (slightly sloping up at the front). I then added the teal head colour, and again trimmed it to fit perfectly against the latte bottom. Then it was just a matter of adding the belly colours, face and the final details. I quilted the belly and added little blossoms, then hand painted the white daisies over the head.

Upon delivering this little cake, I discovered that the client had actually gone into early labour and already had the beautiful baby boy that day, so the shower had to be cancelled :-( Thankfully Mum and Bub were both well (even though he was 4 weeks early), and they now plan on freezing the cake and using it for his Christening.

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Summer Citrus Party

Although it wasn't a "milestone" birthday for some strange reason I decided earlier in the year that I wanted to have a birthday party this year. I don't know what was wrong with me, I had already thrown 3 parties for each of my boys, and was completely booked out with cakes but nevertheless the seed was planted in the back of my mind.
As it turns out it was wonderful, and a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends...and new :-)
Now my birthday falls a week into December, so I wanted the style of the party to reflect the gorgeous summer weather. I wanted it to be colourful, fresh, and I decided on a Summer Citrus Party!

I have to admit, I don't think I have ever loved Pinterest quite so much as in the past month, and it was a lifesaver for my party planning. As I mentioned earier, I was crazy busy with cake orders, so this left very little time to organise the party. It was all down to the 2 weeks prior. This is where Pinterest came into it's own, in the 3 or so months leading up to the party, I would pin various ideas and concepts onto my board while enjoying a little down time after the kids went to bed at night, then these were all called upon in those final 2 weeks, when I finally had a chance to leave my kitchen and hit the stores!

My husband came up with the idea to use Chep Pallets as the tables, which I loved, however I needed something to make them a little more feminine, so I decided to add pink to the citrus colour pallet of yellow, orange and green. I found some beautiful pink table cloths from Spotlight which featured the citrus colours, and also the same blue as the chep pallets...they were PERFECT!
I also bought some dance satin in the pink, blue, green, yellow and orange colours which was ripped into strips and tied onto some cord and used as the backdrop to the cake/dessert table.
I also found some nice tall cylinder vases from one of the cheap $2 shops which were filled with lemons & oranges. My final decorative touch was the addition of the gorgeous flowers. I bought a few little jars and bottles which were used as the vases, and filled with various roses, lisianthus and green trick dianthus (had to google these). To be honest, I had nothing to do with the flower choices, I have a friend of a friend who is a florist, and I sent her my pinterest images of what style I was after, and the colour pallet, and the rest was left up to her! 

Now the cake.....I chose this design as I LOVE the whole ombre thing that is everywhere at the moment, and I thought it was just a gorgeous, simple and elegant design. The roses were the exact same colour as my dress too :-)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rainbow Ruffle Cake

Rainbow Ruffle Cake by Coco Jo Cakes
Rainbow Ruffle Cake, a photo by Coco Jo Cakes on Flickr.
A 6 layer rainbow vanilla butter cake which mimicked the rainbow ruffles on the outside. This is such a fun theme for a birthday party, and I was so excited when my sister told me she had chosen it for her daughter's 7th birthday. I have seen this cake done several times before...especially in the pastel tones, but I have to say, I like the bright primary colours so much more!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lego Storage

While on the Lego theme...I thought I would share our lego storage system. I got the idea from my favourite (non cake) blog iheart organizing and have basically done the same thing, but used a different IKEA cabinet. 

Firstly, I sorted the lego into the various colours: Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, White, Grey, Black, Brown & Orange. This way I could decide how big the containers had to be. The Trojan wall unit had the best sized containers for our lego collection.

We also have a container for People (and their things, like shovels, suitcases etc), wheels, instruction books, and a "half made" container, for all of the work in progress.

It is working like a treat, and my 6 year old is finding it really easy to find the pieces he needs during construction, and more importantly...maintain!

Happy building :-D

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lego Party


This year my youngest boy started Prep, so we decided to throw him his first birthday party (not just family) and as with most little preppies he doesn't have a close group of friends, and is just friends with everyone, even the we invited the whole class.

He has always enjoyed playing lego duple, but this year has really discovered lego and spends hours playing and when I asked him what theme he wanted for his party, it was a straight out LEGO!!!

I purchased some polka dot material from Spotlight for the table cloth and backdrop, and made up a poster using a free downloaded font called Lego Thick.


Big W have also recently started stocking a great range of Lego themed stationary, so I purchased two of their desk caddies and used these to hold the Lego Brick Biscuits, Marshmallow heads and stacked them on top of clear IKEA bathroom containers filled with m&m's to hold the lollypops.
I used the larger IKEA container to hold the most popular treat on the table, the lego brick cake pops. There is a fantastic tutorial on how to make these here

I also made some rainbow cake push pops and stored these in coloured crates I picked up at Bunnings.

Other food included rainbow Jelly cups, fruit skewers, cheese & cocktail onions platter, (all colour coded) and cherios.

Each child was also given their own water bottle.


We hired a jumping castle - as the thought of entertaining 24 children for 2 hours was extremely frightening, but my eldest son and niece ran a few games to keep the kiddies busy.

This was a lego relay race, the children were divided into 4 teams and were all given a piece of duplo lego which they had to hold under their chin, run up to the bucket (also purchased from Bunnings), drop it in then return and tag their team mate. This was a lot of fun!

NOTE: See Jack's shirt....Big W also stock a few Lego clothes :-D

Then we played a game of lego toss, each child received 4 duplo blocks, their score was added up, and the child with the highest score at the end received a of course!

There was also pin in the missing brick, and how many lego in the jar.


I made this giant Lego minifigure cake, the feet was a dummy 8" square, the body and head were chocolate mud cake, and the arms were rice crispy treats.

The kids thought it was great pulling off his head....hmmmm?

In their loot bags, each child received their own little colouring book, some lego minifigure crayons (another tutorial here), lego brick rubber, a pack of stickers, lollypop and bag of 
fairy floss.

I have to acknowledge a few fellow bloggers that gave me so much inspiration:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Army Camouflage Party


This year we made the brave (or perhaps silly) decision to throw each of the boys a birthday party. The first off the rank is our middle boy who is turning 9, and has a keen interest in the military, so the theme was a bit of a no brainer. Some of you may have seen my post for his birthday last year where I made him an army tent cake, although it was just a small cake as it was only for our family.

For party planning, I spent a day googling and found some amazing parties from fellow bloggers, which provided so much inspiration. I then googled a little more for the supplies, and found a couple of great online stores which provided me with everything I needed to throw the "greatest party of all time" (according to my son!)

For the invitations I created a camouflage themed postcard style invitation on Purple Trail which I printed at home. I then used this design to make the food labels too.

For the decorations I purchased 2 metres of camouflage material from Spotlight, and my wonderful husband made a timber frame which we stapled the fabric to before screwing it onto our old timber outdoor table. 

For the food, I made some two tone green and brown jelly (lime and cola), and we had a great time giving them all fantastic military names:

  • caramel shrapnel (caramel demitasse sticks) 
  • camo coloured lolly pops, 
  • platoon party pies and sabotage sausage rolls
  • marble cupcakes (green, vanilla and chocolate),
  • caramel cracker bombs (caramel popcorn)
  • chocolate bombs (maltesers)
  • liquorice bullets
  • missile mixed lollies
  • ration honey soy chips
The decorations were all things I found around the house, I had some bamboo toy boxes which we turned upside down to serve as the cake and cupcake stands, some little tin buckets to hold some of the food (I lined these with aluminium foil because we have been using them to hold our colouring pencils) and the lids of some green and black Ikea boxes.

I did purchase some ammunition boxes from our local Army disposal store for decoration, but these will go on display in the birthday boy's bedroom now!

The children all received their own ID tag, water bottle and binoculars along with their little goodie box (filled with a couple of chocolates, toy army man, tank and a couple of tattoos.

Then the cake...well this was a bit of a last minute design which to be completely honest was very much about EASY, EASY, EASY!! (I already had 2 wedding cakes, a 50th birthday, and an engagement cakes ordered for that day) I had a friend offer to come over and help, and without her I would have been up until after midnight so I am eternally grateful.

For entertainment we hired the local Laser Skirmish company who host backyard parties. He was absolutely amazing and the children had so much fun; he kept them completely was fantastic. It was a little pricey, but as everything else was really reasonable we were able to splash out - and it was so worth the cost.


Thank you for reading,


Invitations - Purple Trail
Backdrop - Spotlight
Cake - Coco Jo
Laser Skirmish - Laser skirmish CQ