Sunday, December 16, 2012

christmas trees

Gosh its been ages since Ive been in here.... with having a massive few weekends, preschool ending and nearly the end of school, orientation for someone whos going to school next year ( but we arent talking about that) and someone else that starts preschool! ( but we arent talking about that either!), massive amounts of work editing photo shoots and then to top it off, a broken computer.... Ive not had a chance to do ANYTHING!

But we have still been crafting sometimes, and Ive a couple of cool things to show still... I have no idea what will happen next year so I cant promise Ill be in here forever but it seems strange to think I may ned up stopping it. Its been such a huge chunk of our lives, its almost all of Amahlis life, and its been wonderful to connect with others who've gone out and done lots of the craft Ive shown!

Something cool we did the other day when I had 5 seconds to do an activity was to make christmas trees. Originally it was going to be to make some christmas cards but it does take a little while to do so we jut made one each :)

I gave each of them a slightly different method, to match skill level and ability. For Amahli, I drew three triangles for her to cut out, arrange in size order and then glue to make a tree. She loves to cut paper but needed a bit of encouragement to actually cut the triangle and not do too much free form.

Jared had strips to cut up, then had to arrange in size order, then glue. His took a bit longer but Im finding that hes really enjoying spending time instead of racing through things... must be a sign bes ready for school ( NOOOOOO!!!)

They both were really proud of the efforts and result of this cute little christmas craft :)

what are you making these days ???

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

fun and games

Through the last few months Jared and I have steadily been working our way through and awesome "learn your letters"style book. To start with, he totally didnt get it and I worked really hard to not get frustrated with him. Then all of a sudden, it began to click. Everywhere we went, he was identifying them, from signs in shops, to squealing on the highway for me to pull over cos he'd spotted a "t", to finding them just about everywhere and being so excited by that.

Today I played a game with them that encouraged that letter recognition but also secretly rewarded him for being able to learn so many so quickly :)

"Dont eat Pete!" is a game Ive seen all over the web and I may have even blogged about it before but I couldnt find my original board for it. So a quick google image search found me one and I printed it off to start playing.

The original version has nine people in squares. The way to play is each square has an M & M ( or smartie or whatever) on it. One person goes out of the room, the others quietly decide which person is called Pete. First person comes back into the room and has to try and guess which one is Pete. If they guess wrong, they get to eat the chocolate from the square they picked. They guess until they find him :)

both kids couldnt quite believe I was playing with chocolate but were also very keen.
After a few rounds, I changed it and quickly drew a new board with 9 letters. The same rules applied and I sent Jared out of the room.
He grinned when he came back and saw the new board and then happily and correctly, tried to find Pete.

Looking for a cute quick fun game to play?

This one is perfect :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

balloon popping fun

I was struggling to find something cool to do on a monday morning but to my absolute surprise, Jared came up with something all on his own ( with help from playschool).

Apparently on playschool they had done an activity that involved paint in balloons being popped over paper to make cool patterns. Jared was veyr keen to give it a go and there was no way I was going to disagree with my little paint a phobic child!!

And so we started :)

I got 4 balloons and filled them a little bit with of paint ( probably more than I should have but Meh!) and then tied them up.

We had to work out how to attach them so they would hang and Jared thought that using a chair would be the way to go, tying the balloons with wool and a slight distance apart.

We placed paper underneath to catch the gently falling art as it hit the ground. I gave him a sharp skewer and stood back to take photos ( turns out it wasnt far back enough... I ended up covered too)

And this is what happened.

It sprayed everywhere. Oh, everywhere EXCEPT the paper underneath it ;)

His first comment was "I need a shower, NOW"but I encouraged him  to finish the other balloons before we did that so he tentatively popped the other three.

So wish Id had a white background to shoot with but you get the idea of how it went down.. or up as the case was.

So much fun, I dont think Ive laughed that much in ages, his face was priceless but it was a good fun activity that Id happily do again :)

Going to try it with mini balloons next time and less paint!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MEGA hama beads

Hama beads ( you know the ones you put on a plastic frame and then melt together?) have always been popular in our house. Jumeirah has created MANY pieces using them and has spent hours meticulously working out patterns... sometimes disaster strikes ( in many forms) which causes the said masterpieces to bump off their designated spot and tears flow. But still, they are one of the most popular toys in our place :)

Having raved about them, they are also the worlds biggest pain in the butt. Jared just cant stay there long enough, his fingers arent quite as nimble and he cant work as fast and then gets frustrated and leaves a half finished project. He then doesnt want you to pack it away but he also doesnt want to finish it. And poor Miss 4 just cant get a grip on those tiny beads... until now :)

A wonderful friend of mine sent my kids a package last week that contained all sorts of awesome stuff.... hama beads, sun exposure paper ( cant wait to use that!!) and a set of what looked like giant hama beads!!

Amahli squealed and begged me to start straight away! And so we did. But soon she realised she didnt need me.. she was completely able to do it herself!

these are the comparisons between small normal hama beads and big ones

The set comes with a plastic frame, a book of instructions and the beads. We worked out that you line up the frame with a picture and then just copy it. SO much easier! And because the beads are larger, it doesnt take them anywhere near as long a time to do it ( each piece Amahli created took less than 10 minutes) Jared saw how much fun she was having and wanted to do one too. So once Id ironed one of hers he was able to line up the frame and complete one too :)

It also seems that they are sturdier once ironed too as the beads are larger.. we still had tails fall off and a leg from the cats they made but I think that was more due to "seeing how far they bend"rather than poor design and ironing skills ;)

I will definitely be buying a few more sets of these. I havent been able to find replacement beads as yet so if youve seen them let me know!

The brand is called Klutz,  I had to google to find them but there are a few places you can get them from.

Such a great christmas idea for littler fingers :) Ill show you all our awesome pieces tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

get in your kids photos

I  totally wont be surprised if theres no one still in here with me... Im finding it harder and harder to get in here to write even though I have heaps more to share... I hope that from time to time you stumble back ;)

Today, my beautiful littlest Miss turned 4. I know. Its crazy.
This is one of the first photos I took of her on this blog...

This is what she looks like today :) Three years out of 4 of this babes life Ive blogged for! She'll have a great momento if and when I ever get to print it!

Today she turned 4 and with promises of a great day ( plus a sister at home with a sore ear) we started. First to a weekly music lesson, something weve gone to for nearly 7 years.
Then a walk through a new part of town ( well its actually a historical cemetery but Ive never been in it before!) thats absolutely beautiful.
I told both girls I wanted to take some new photos. Now, I may get paid to be a photographer for other families, and I think Im pretty good at it! but my own children?? NEVER WORKS. But I was determined today to get some anyway :)

So we walked and talked and looked out for bats and I shot and dawdled and listened to conversations between two amazing sisters.

And we were done and ready to leave. I had a quick scroll  through the photos, relatively happy with what I had. Then stopped, and realised, yet again, Im in none of them.

I created a video for Amahlis birthday of her life from 0-4. 140 photos I used to make the video and Im in 2 of them.
I know I struggle with how I look currently, but Im working on it. But in the meantime, my kids are growing up without visual proof to look back on that I was ever there ( except behind the camera).

So I passed the camera to Jumeirah, gave her a quick lesson on how to line our heads up, giving some space around us, and watched her shoot.

And whilst I dont love the photo of me ( only a touch of editing, I promise!) I love it of US.

And Im going to work on getting a whole lot more :)

Get in your kids photos, today. Who knows what life has in store, but it would be a terrible shame to look back and not be in  those memories.....

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Sorry guys... am having a short Hiatus. Im up to my eyeballs in editing and still cant hold my camera up after shooting the Iron man for 11 straight hours last weekend... next week, I promise!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

holders for card games

We have had the strangest run of crazy weather here lately... saturday it was a scorcher at nearly 41 degrees, then dropped to 19 the day after!! Its playing havoc with my lungs and the kids noses but at least its been cooler the last few days.. I dread the heat of summer....

Yesterday after school I got so busy with cleaning that by the time I got to bed I couldnt recall one full conversation I had with any of the kids. Not that they really minded, they seem to all dissapear as soon as we get home and dont surface until daddy gets home (hmm) but its not a feeling I like. So this arvo I stopped them before they all took off and asked if they wanted to learn a new game. I had bought a card game called Phase 10 which I thought Jumeirah would enjoy but that Amahli could sort of play along too. Its basically a game with 10 phases ( funnily enough!) with things like a set of 4 and a run of 4, a run of 8, 4 yellows and 3 greens, etc, pretty easy to pick up but makes you think too. Both girls loved the concept, but struggled to hold 10 cards in their hands. Id start by fanning it out for them but pretty quickly one had hand cramps and the other couldnt see any of the cards she was working with.

Id seen a few ideas a couple of weeks back on a good friend of mine who wrote for another blog ( yes its all twisty) here, where that clever mum had made card holders for her cherubs to use whilst playing card games so I thought we could give it a go too.

Cutting an egg carton in half, I cut a slit in each section to slot a card into. I had to work quick because I didnt want to lose them, so it wasnt as pretty or fancy as it could have been and it didnt quite look right either, but it worked and they loved it!

I love other bloggers who make my life easier :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

breaking your own rules

umm maaaa!! how does a whole week go by without me seeing it fly?? crazy.

Life has gotten itself all busy on me again and work is piling up and somehow, I havent blogged for a week. Which feels weird but its not to say we havent had a great week :)

Heres a sneak peek at whats taken over my world/house/sanity....


Whilst I was casually browsing the shops the other day with the two little people, minding my own business and NOT spending money, hubbin crept up on me. He was browsing too (hmm it doesnt stop there unfortunately) and had "something to show"me..... I should have run then but  I followed. To the nerf gun section of target.

And suddenly the two boys in my life are BEGGING for one.... "they are on special! Ive never had one!! We wont shoot anyones faces!!" And so the mother in my sighs and takes two nerf guns to purchase and to put away for Christmas ( a third nerf gun had already been secretly purchased and had been put away months ago for Jared but todays were "better and easier "so Id been told).

And so we go home. Not long after, papa bear arrives home from work and I head to the shower..... and come out to a full blown cardboard massacre and not one, not two but ALL THREE nerf guns assembled to the delight of the now 4 children I seem to have in front of me.....

I walked away, feeling very "mum" like. Who am I to spoil the fun??

I wrote my story on facebook, to which I recieved a bunch of "thats so cool!!"comments and one that really stuck in my head.....
                               "its family bonding! go with it!"

And I realise that sometimes its ok to do something completely out of the norm, why cant we just be in that moment and break our own rules???

And so the family nerf battle began :) No miniture figure was safe, even the dog took cover.
The kids ( and the big kid) all had a ball. Kids bedtime curfew was stretched from 7pm to 9pm ( another rule to break... although I paid for it this morning)

And all three little kids are still talking about it....

do you ever break free of the "mum" in you and break your own rules??

Thursday, October 11, 2012

letters letters everywhere!!!

Had to help one of the locals cross the road today... as you do in Port Macquarie ;)

This week has been a really awesome week for letter hunting!! Its also been interesting to see the world of letters from someone who cant quite get them completely yet... I never realised how confusing it cna be with different fonts, symbols used as letters, capitals, lowercase and everything in between!! But Jared has been loving it, finally he is beginning to see a greater connection with letters.

I just need him not to yelp in excitement when Im driving ;)

These were the favourites from the last few days... and an example of how confusing it all is!!

Running writing, bold writing and a word in capitals all in the one sign!
This was the first sign where he squealed he could see an "S!"
Trouble is the letter T is written as a bottle opener which makes it difficult to recognise.
Lots of fun letters to recognise here :)
Thought I might print some of these signs out and make him a book where he can practise reading letters that arent as easy as a printout from me. Will be something that he can do whilst we are reading at night or on his own.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Letter games

Sadly, the school holidays are over and we begin the downhill slide to the end of the year!! This term is FULL of scary new concepts for me... Jared begins school orientation this week ( YIKES!), Jumeirah will sit an exam to see if she is eligible for a position in an extension class next year, Amahli is about to turn 4... so many big things!!

Jared and I have been doing lots of letter activities lately. Ive been a bit worried that he really wasnt recognising any letters correctly and wanted to help him out a bit for next year. ( yes yes I know thats what school is for... but I want to give him the best start that I can so why not do a bit now??)
I bought a book which he happily calls "homework" and last week we worked with just 4 letters; B,M,T,S. We talked about them, what starts with them, what they sound like.

I did it with everything. And slowly but surely, he began to get it right more often than not. And today, he was so excited that he squealed at me to "STOP THE CAR!" because he found a T in a road sign :) I gotta admit, I was pretty excited too. I am an avid reader and love words so to see it finally click for him and for him to realise that the letters work together, was an exciting development.

So Im blogging this week on some letter activities that you can do at home with your own cherubs!
Amahli has been keen on letters for sometime so shes doing it too.

Todays activity was to create the letters out of playdough.
Its not only a great activity in letter recognition, but also playdough is wonderful for strengthening core finger muscles that will be used to hold a pen or pencil very soon!

I drew the letters onto a piece of paper ( had I time I would have laminated them first before he used them but he was at the table and ready to go so I wasnt going to wait!)


He really enjoyed this  today which was such a change from normal. I think the fact that it is starting to make sense to him makes it more fun :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Big Sister box ( or big brother box)

School holidays are as usual flying by... we have spent so much time at the beach I think salt water is coming from our ears in a permanent flow, snad will NEVER be out of our hair, but we are happy and full of beautiful Vitamin D!!

Just recently, one of my littlest friends became a big sister for the first time. As per the norm, I went and bough at gorgeous pressie for the new little boy, a gift for mum and something small for dad. But when it came to thinking about my little friend I wanted to give her something too. Its hard to become a big sibling, to not be the only child anymore. Its even harder to watch mum spend ages feeding this noisy new thing seemingly ALL THE TIME, even more so when you are not quite 2. So I have made something especially for her to do whilst mum is busy feeding that requires little to no help from mum at all, but that is fun, engaging, and also not expensive but also can be added to.

My First Big Sister Pack
(as yet i dont have a box to put it in but you  get the idea)

These are the things in it!

An all about me book. At 2 shes going to LOVE this. All the photos are of her :)
It was easy to make ( relatively, I cant sew and ideas get stuck in my head dont always quite turn out how I plan... but this is using printable fabric so that bit was easy)

A simple puzzle

pretend play plates, knives and forks for a play tea party

pompoms and a set of barrels to sort with ( great for imaginary play  too!) ( second container)

handmade cupcakes to go with the tea party ( easy to make!)

Set of stickers ( in first photo)

I can add things to this as she gets older, pens and paper is good and easy but as shes still quite young I dont want mum having to get up to help her, kinda defeats the point!

So if you have a little friend going through the "new baby"stage at home, why not create a pack for them! I know they will love it but mum will too!!

Monday, September 24, 2012

school holiday fun

YES!!!! School holidays are the BEST :)

And this morning I was pumped, ready and totally organised... see how long that lasts ;)

I had someone comment to me recently that my blog made them feel inadequate and rather like a bad mum because of all the things I do with my kids. Ive had this before, but the answer is the same.

I have found through my nearly 8 years of being a mum that when I am organised and know what Im doing as far as crafty things and generally spending time with my kids, it WORKS. As soon as I busy myself in my own world, or couldnt be bothered or am just generally off the planet as far as having a plan, it all falls to pieces on me and I end up wishing the day was over and wondering if my kids will hate me for it.
Its one of those things for me, when we've been productive and had a good day, I rate myself a "good mum".  We all do it. Dont even pretend you dont ;)
So my blog is to help you get to that place of calm productive awesomeness like me :) Sometimes you'll do it and give yourself a pat on the back. Sometimes you wont, cos sometimes I dont either. And thats ok.

So I decided to post about the things we are doing in the holidays on a daily basis, so you can see how its done, how easy it can be, and how cheap you can make it. Holidays dont have to be a time to spend all day everyday at the shops or spending money. Fun things to do can be found everywhere!!

So today, with my negative bank account, meant that we were doing things that were either free or paid me. Considering there isnt much to do with three kids  that I can paid for, we opted for a free day :)

Simple dolls furniture set up without  the dolls house!

Lego for Jared (Although the girls did get into for awhile)

Painting for the artists ( another Kandinksy creation from Jumeirah)

Pretend play with icecream. ( pom poms and $2 shop icecream cups)

Afternoon at the beach

Cost: FREE!

I have also written a list of jobs that I want to achieve in the holidays and worked it out to do one per day. I have tried to get it all done in the one day, but I end up having a crap day cos the kids have had no time and often the job never gets done anyway!

Todays job: clean up and sort out top drawer.