Tuesday, August 20, 2013

how to go on holidays without your kids!

Late last year, my sister and I began talking about going on a holiday. For a week. Without our gangs…. The thought alone seemed something so far away… Ive never had more than one night away from my kids, Ive not been on a holiday like we were planning in over ten years. But thoughts turned to plans, plans were booked, flights confirmed, and all of a sudden I was about to go on a holiday!!!!!

Oh heck… how will my kids cope? How will I make it easier for them so that this doesn’t rock their world too much? I knew that daddy would be fine, but I wanted to do something to help the kids to not just survive but actually enjoy that time apart.

So I wracked my brains trying to come up with ways to make this adventure fun for all of us J

I started by talking to them about it. We talked about where I was going, what I would be doing and the things that they would be doing whilst I was away. We worked out how things would work and the things they would be doing. It made it easier that we talked a fair bit about it!

Before I left though, I made a daily pack for them to find in the house. For each day I was away, I wrote them a short letter and left them a small surprise to find. These surprises included a high bounce ball each, a sticker pack, a notebook and pens, just some small things I knew theyd love. I also made them a movie kit for the Friday night that included a new movie, popcorn, and chocolate ( and beer for daddy). I knew that the daily things would be some way to have contact everyday with me.

We also set up skype so that each day we had a short chat about their day… I really enjoyed this moment in my holiday days, just knowing they were ok was enough for me to still enjoy my holiday without worrying about them.

The last thing I had done to help out with the school runs was to set up all the morning tea packs so all they had to do was to grab the bag with their name and the day on it and pack it themselves!

They loved this idea and helped me pick lots of snacks and Amahli loved being allowed to sort out into bags the different snacks for each kid. It meant that they were almost looking forward to each days snacks ;)

I found that whilst I missed them, I knew they had things to keep them going. If you get the chance to go away, grab that opportunity with both hands! I definitely will be doing it again, but I will also definitely be setting these simple ideas in place to make the break less painful J

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

honouring daddy

We are on school holidays here :) Something I absolutely love, having us together, no school, no timeline, just freedom and no plans :)

Yesterday, I took the kids to the movies. As the movie started, Amahli turned to me with a sad face and said "Why isn't daddy here?" I quickly explained that he was at work and couldn't be here... nad it occurred to me that in the eyes of my kids, daddy is always "at work". He works hard, and sometimes long hours, and often all weekends. I wanted to help them realise that daddy couldn't always come on our adventures, but that he was working hard for a reason. And that reason was them.

And so I talked on the way home that daddy works hard to help us as a family. So we can do things like go on holidays, buy clothes and food, go out for dinner... all the fun things we like to do. It isn't something he enjoys ALL the time but he does it for us as a family. I wanted to encourage a night where we honour daddy and all he does for us :)

And so it began.

We talked menus, daddys favourite food, drew pictures, made cards, set the table, bought flowers.
They totally got into it and the more we set up and planned, the more ideas they had and the more they wanted to do cool things to say thanks.

Jared got out his favourite post work trackies and tshirt and a pair of socks ( slippers went missing somehow). Amahli helped set the table and helped me shop for the ingredients to make homemade pizzas. Jumeirah made an awesome card with "for a man who works hard" card and picked the flowers. It was a total team effort.

When he finally got home from work, Jumeirah explained why the house was set up and looking fancy. I think he was pretty chuffed, I hope he realised how much we appreciate all he does :)

I totally encourage you to do this for someone in your own life that works to make life easier. It doesn't take much, but it can totally make someones day :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lemonade scones

Argh! I know! its been waay too long!!

Im sorry. I really dont have much of an excuse except life is just. so.busy!

But with school holidays now only a week away for us here, I thought Id get some of the cool things we've been doing lately up so you will have some great things to do!

A few weeks ago, someone somewhere posted something ( I know, Im really helpful with that bit) about Lemonade Scones. Ppft, really?? How would that work?? But with Amahli begging me to cook something, I googled and found a recipe and thought Id give it a go :)

Oh. My. These simple little bites of not alot are absolutely AMAZING.

And heres how you make em ;)


1 cup of Lemonade ( dont think it matters what type)

1 cup of cream

3 cups Self Raising Flour

milk to brush top

How to:

Now, the recipe for me said heat the oven to 220 degrees, but for my fan forced oven it was WAY too hot. Mine is now set to about 170c ( about the same for a cake or slice) and thats perfect.

put flour in a bowl, add cream and lemonade. Stir till only just combined ( dont over stir)


Tip out that sweet smelling lump of gloop onto a floured board and combine. ( this helped with my playdough withdrawals today.... so therapeutic!)

Once all combined, you can roll it out till its semi flat. mine looks fairly "rustic" but I dont care.
You can then cut out circles with a cutter ( although my cutter is in the playdough so I just cut mine into rectangles)  or shape how you like.

Then, brush each scone with milk ( and seeing as I had no brush either due to painting I just used my fingers and milk. I told you they were rustic) and place on a lined baking tray.

Pop into the oven for about 10-15 minutes and prepare to be amazed.......


Slather with jam, butter and cream and youre welcome :)

Or better still... find a neighbouring park and take a picnic!!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

a gift for a friend

Lately Ive struggled with writing for this little blog of mine... not because Im out of ideas or haven't done anything cool with my kids lately, I just get to the end of the day and Im exhausted... and I guess after writing for three years I feel a bit like Im at the end of an amazing journey :)

But then, we do something REALLY cool, or someone mentions that I should blog about it, or someone comments I haven't written in awhile, and then Im sitting here writing again :)


Yesterday one of the most wonderful people Ive had the chance to have in my life had a birthday yesterday.. actually she got engaged as well so it was  a pretty epic day all round!
But before I knew she was getting engaged, I wanted to make something for her that would let her know how loved she was :)

I bought 6 old milk bottle jars from a local home wares shop. Im absolutely in love with it, even though Ive never really been into things like that before... maybe Im getting old ;)

After buying the jars, Amahli and I bought packets of Skittles, white roses and food colouring.

Once we were home, we separated the colours and filled the front jars with layers of colour.
Then we put the ends of the roses in cups with food colouring in the bottom. I wanted to split the stems so Id be able to put them in a couple of different colours but they were thin stemmed so each rose was only going to be one colour.
We used, red, blue and green.

Leave them sit over night and the next day.....


Gorgeous colours, bright and happy. Such a perfect gift for a friend, or a hospital beside, or a welcome home, or a a new baby gift.. possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

how to make the best of a monday :)


How did that happen?? One minute I have a million plans for the two week school holidays and suddenly we are back at school!!
We had a great school holidays.. huge appologies to those who were waiting for posts for things to do...

Anyway, we are back on the school/preschool/madness horse and Im struggling to find balance again... or is it still?
Anyway, Monday dawned yesterday and I knew I had to make it work for me.
Amahli hits me every Monday morning with "what adventure can we have today Mum?" and  I have struggled to find cool stuff for her to do. Through the holidays though, it hit me that we are nearly half way through the year and she is off to school next year so its time to spend some time together!

I had a tonne of washing ( no, seriously. I had 99% of everybody cupboard contents on the floor of the laundry.....not a fun sight) to  fold, and also a delivery to do plus she wanted something fun AND a bike ride so I had my work cut out for me......

But we pulled it off :)

Starting with my delivery, it just happened to be on the North Shore which involved a car ferry trip across the water. My kids love this thing! So that was my first double tick, something fun as well as something I HAD to do.
Next stop was the Koala hospital, something shes been asking me to do for ages. We are so lucky to have this great place to visit, lots of koalas to see and a really beautiful spot to visit. for some reason I was joined by a friendly unicorn for most of this visit... ;)

On arriving home I had the unpleasant job of folding. I HATE this job with such passion. It takes forever, its so boring and relatively pointless and so time consuming. Today I was not going to let it beat me. Dragging all the loads out side to the front lawn on a big blanket, I also grabbed Amahlis bike and helmet. She looked at me with such surprise at being allowed to ride on the road and happily rode around for nearly two hours whilst I folded clothes... soaking in Vitamin D, watching a happy girl, the folding didn't seem nearly so bad :)
After finishing, we put all folded piles inside, grabbed the dog and headed for a walk :)

A really well balanced, fun day :) It just takes some extra thinking to make it work, but its so worth it.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

cool paint activity

We are on school holidays and I LOVE IT!
We've been busy here, we have some friends from Sydney and so we've been to the beach, strawberry picking and hanging out :)

Ive also got some plans for crafty things over the holidays but we haven't had a chance to really do much yet! So this is something I did with Amahli last week.

I realised late last week that I hadn't been doing as much with Amahli for a whole heap of reasons... been really busy, lots of things on, preschool excursions, STUFF! But we were home for a day last week and she was "bored" and I realised I hadn't been actually sitting with her and doing anything for awhile. So I grabbed the pastels and began a crafty arty activity I did moons ago with Jumeirah that I knew she'd love.

Colour all over the page with pastels, all colours, all over. Make sure there is no white paper showing.

Paint over the coloured page with black paint.
Using a stick ( end of a pencil, skewer, matchstick, paddlepop stick, fork) and draw in the black paint.
Colours start coming through! its really pretty, you can make fireworks, whatever! If you aren't happy with your drawing, just paint over with black paint and start again :)

Amahli did lots of swirls. For her it wasn't about the end picture, it was pure enjoyment and seeing the colours appear :)

Its a simple idea but can be done with such a broad age group.
Why not give it a go!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

more pre writing ideas

Get right into the pre writing tasks for Amahli at the moment and shes loving it :)

It takes me a bit more to prepare it and to get my brain into the right gear but its good for her and its fun, plus its really getting her ready for reading and writing, as well as recognising words and their forms.

Todays cool idea Ive seen and done before with Jumeirah but realised I hadnt done it with this little miss.
All it requires is their name on a piece of paper ( you can write it to save time but mine is printed and laminated so I can use it for other things) and some playdough ( again, you can buy a tub of the gunk or you can make your own awesome stuff)

Get the child to have a look at the letters of their name on the paper. Ask them to make each letter out of dough. They may need a hand to get started, maybe to make the first log to shape, but once they start, it takes off :)
You can give them other words of they want to do more, talk to them about the letters they are forming, let them hear you say the name of the letter and then what it sounds like. This activity is also really good for strengthening muscles in the fingers, so needed for pencil holding and control.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

happy easter!! easter hat :)

Happy Easter!

I had some requests to show the final product of Jareds Easter Hat parade hat :)

He had such fun making it, he helped with the design, luckily it was fairly simple and easy to make, I was still tired from making the superheroes costumes!!

So we went with a simple cardboard base as grass and have some painted eggs hiding in the grass. Was easy to make, and he got right into painting the eggs... with some foil, green cardboard and paint we were done in less than half an hour :) Now thats my kind of easter hat ;)

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Recently I have had a run of making costumes for my kids... from spiders for the Nursery Rhyme parade for Jared, to now making easter hat parade costumes.. I kinda enjoy it, the challenge, the pressure and finally, the result :)

The most recent was a party they had all been invited to.. a Superhero party. Jared was set on being spiderman with a costume he had been given ( YES! thats ONE less!!), Amahli decided she was going to be Foxy Rainbow Girl ( I dont know either... shes creative, that one!) and after some encouragement from daddy ( who made awesome suggestions but then couldnt find the costume thus leaving me to make it...hmmm) Jumeirah decided to be Supergirl. Sure I totally have time to whip that up for you!! not... *sigh*. But I knew she would love it, so I had to at least give it a go :)

Im not going to tell you that this was a piece of cake... or that I didnt swear at least 100  times at it... or that it took me an entire day to make ( stupid stupid ideas!!) but by the afternoon, just before school pickup, I had a costume laid out on her bed :)

And this is how she rocked it :)

And only with a day to spare! Until I realised....

STUPID MUMMY GOT THE DATE OF THE PARTY WRONG.  I was a week out. So I had a week more to curse the outfit... but it meant that I also had three superheroes dressed a week too early... so I did what any sensible photo lovin mum would do...  I shot them ;)

Jared was SO keen to pose for me for the first time ever. I had a vision in my head ( does that ever work though really?) and took a whole heap of shots of him... didnt quite come out how I would have liked but here is his superhero shot post processing... he loves it :) Going to enlarge it to put on his wall.

The girls shots arent done yet.

But the whole process made me realise that as a mum, I push myself hard for them. I dont think I would have done this for me, but they were worth the effort.

What crazy things have done for your kids? or if you dont have kids, what have you done for someone else you wouldnt have done for YOU?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

prewriting fun

a quieter little Miss yesterday... think she is a bit run down and feeling a little tired from the constant daily grind that has become our busy life... poor thing. Now she knows how I feel ;)

So today we drew, and painted and read books and did a spot of cleaning....
And then I had the request for "homework". Since Jared started school, homework has been a BIg thing in our house. HE LOVES IT! Crazy, I know, considering I had to bribe him to do anything with me but at school hes thriving and loves to be doing all right things, homework being one of them.

So I created Amahli some homework after finding some cool things on Pinterest ( gosh, how boring would my nights be without it!) and she got to work.

The idea behind these flashcards is for the child to copy the pattern or shape on each card and draw it in a box.  I drew her page up into 9 squares so she had a pattern for each square.

You make a pile of the cards, flip one over and try to copy it.
We had some trouble to start with, she instantly said with every one "oh I cant do that!" but with encouragement, she was able to complete them all and went on to fill another two whole pages of symbols and patterns.

Once she has mastered this a bit more, I will change some of the patterns for letters and numbers.

I found it here on pinterest :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

indoor fun

Yet again, two weeks in a row, we have been hit with yet more flooding in our region.
Not quite as severe as the week before, but enough to again cut off parts of Port and cause wide spread damage.
Im not sure how the beaches will ever be the same..... this photo is our version of snow... dirty flying foam!

And so again, we were stuck inside for a weekend. I did take them to the beach for a quick walk but after finding a cow ( or sheep, we arent quite sure) washed up on the beach and  torn in two, we decided to head home.

Now, mostly I am fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda mum. But sometimes I do things REALLY awesomely. Like at christmas and birthdays, I hide half of the booty so that when its crap weather or school holidays or anything like that, we have stuff to do! Its usually all the crafty stuff, and no one has ever really noticed.
But today, when the ferals were reaching their peak, I pulled out the coolest idea ( from jareds birthday two years ago!!)

Make your own jet fighter planes. 4 pack!

And so planes were made and flung around the house for a good hour. ( I hid for part of it but came out a couple of times so as not to get left out ; ))

And then the plan changed to go fly them in the rain! Sure! Go get wet!! And so they did :)

Such fun.... lasted most of the worst of the rainy day, burnt off stored energy, and saved me from the dreaded "Im BORED!"

what are your tricks for rainy days??

Friday, March 1, 2013


Recently, my home town has been subjected to rain. Not a little bit of rain,  not a fair bit of rain, BUT LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS.
So mcu hso, we were declared a national disaster at one point and flooding was extensive and severe.
We were blessed to not be too badly affected, ( manageable flooding, mostly the backyard thankfully)
but our beaches and local  town did not fare as well.

I took the kids to the beach one day last weekend when we had hit day 6 of constant driving rain and this is the sight that we saw.

Huge waves, swollen murky dirty and dangerous seas, and FOAM. It looks cool, its kinda not. Its filthy dirty and very unpredictable.

But we went close enough for long enough to see what it was like.
On the way home, I was listening absentmindedly to the radio and it was giving over and over messages of warnings, dangers, flooding, and even two deaths and I quickly shut the radio off.

Jumeirah, from the back of the car, piped up that she wanted to know more. Instinctively I said no, not wanting her to know of the tragedys of life lost, homes ruined, people trapped and stuck, businesses suffering. But then I realised this was a perfect opportunity TO talk about it.
To talk about how to stay safe in this kind of situation. How we could help someone else. What the community will do now. How in the future, if it happens again, what our own plan as a family would be to stay safe and together.

Normally we shy our kids away from things like this. But in talking about it in the time that it was happening, I felt I equipped them more than frightened them. That I gave us all plans on how to stay safe, something they may need someday.

We drove past the beaches for days, noting the signs, the flags, and how they were still crossed over ( sign of a closed beach) and I showed them why it was totally unsafe to be in the water. Jared began to be my reporter on how the water was going down, that the streets were still full of branches and debris, but that shops were again open.

It was a great time of learning that I hope I dont have to do again soon ( the floods I mean, not the learning)

So take the time, right now, to teach, show and impart what you know so your kids can be safe. Dont hide them from all the disasters of the world. Help them to understand and so they in turn know what to do and how to help :)

Im sure Im making better little humans for it :) xx

Monday, February 18, 2013

little things


2013 is BIG. And hard. And CRAZY.

I have been completely turned on my head. Jumeirah is now in 3rd class ( which Im kinda sorta ok with), Jared has now begun Kindergarten ( which he is TOTALLY blissed out with and I am trying hard to be ok with ) and Amahli is now at preschool two days a week ( which is where I fall apart juts a bit more).

I have two days to myself and its something I dont like.... yet. I walk around feeling very lonely, cleaning the house which makes me feel so housewifey and I HATE that feeling, wondering how each of my cherubs are doing and who's looking out for them. Its an unerving feeling, to not know if they are ok.
But Im getting there :)

At the beginning of the year I kind of decided  that I would no longer blog, seeing as I only have a child at home for two days ( one other day is swimming/library/ run around like a crazy person day)
and it didnt seem worth it.
But today, we were at  home and she asked me " Mum when will it be my turn to do something fun and crafty?" and I realised that whilst Ive had two days so far with just her and me, we havent been all that productive and more shoppy which  I also hate. ( one 4 year old and just and hour in the shops can be REALLY expensive!!!!)
So I got some things sorted for her and realised that it was probably time to let her have some more moments by herself on this little blog of mine before I finally finish it when I lose her to school too ( its ok, I have a year to prepare for that one :) )

And so we had a great day, and I photographed it. Admittedly, its all on the iphone, its quick and easy and less invasive, and its also nothing overly new. But it wasnt until I was reading over some old posts that I realised I have so much in here that shes never  done and so its time I actually used some of these activities for myself!!

and so this is today :)

And this is all the things I gave this gorgeous kid in doing these activities.....

1. Threading. Its a piece of plastic canvas ( find it at spotlight or other crafty shops) and a blunt big needle and thread. Encourages hand/ eye coordination, patience, creativity. Theres no end to this, its an open ended fun thing to do.

2. walking the dog. Encourages looking after something other that herself ( a BIG skill to learn) healthy living, and exploring our world. It also works of directions ( we do heaps of left/ right turns) road safety, and builds muscles.

3. Hanging out her own washing. One of her most favourite things to do as she can do it completely without my help. Im blessed to have two clotheslines and both lay flat on the wall so she can pretty much hang a full load out! We work together, I do my line she does hers. Its awesome for learning a life skill, hand eye co ordination, conversation and helping someone else.

4.walking in the rain. I love to walk in the rain. Lots of parents I know dont let their kids do it but hte world is SO different if you step outside like this.... we talked about what happens to puddles and creeks when it rains ( fills up more, makes beautiful sounds, makes patterns in the puddles) and the sounds you can hear when it rains... water running down the road, the steam hissing from hotter parts of the road, the LOUD crickets and frogs who love the rain. We talked about how the colours are brighter and how leaves collect water for the birds... I love walking with kids in the rain :)

So Im back, sort of, I think. I hope to be able to still share some things to do with your kids and I hope you are still inspired to go try something new.

Id love to hear about it if you do!!

Friday, January 4, 2013

icecream/cake shop: sand play

For Christmas this year I made something for Amahli I knew she'd love.

We are often at the beach. The two bigs are ALWAYS in the water but littlest Miss likes to sand play too. I wanted to make her a beach set a little different from just the usual bucket and spade and so I started looking around for something different...

I came across some cheap icecream scoops in Spotlight and it kinda took off from there!

The kit contained : ( sorry I havent taken a photo of it un-sandy yet!)

three icecream scoops

one waffle cone

3 other style cones

and about 16 little patty pans... ( some flexible plastic from Go lo)

All three absolutely LOVE it. And late yesterday arvo when it was gloomy and overcast and no one wanted to swim, all of them sat together for over an hour creating a gourmet cake and icecream shop :)

not an overly expensive kit, but something so different we had half the kids at the beach wanting to play!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

3d drawings

Today I had a serious flush of mum goodness ( thinks its because all the cleaning was done yesterday!!! for the moment...) and all three wanted to do "Something!". I had found all over Pinterest a idea Ive wanted to try for awhile.. 3D hand drawings.

Simple enough idea, but something that looked cool as well.

Jared was happy to watch and pick colours, Amahli wanted to practise writing her name, so it was just me and Jumeirah.

Start by tracing your hand and wrist in pencil.
from one side to  the other, draw straight lines on the paper. If you come to part of your wrist or hand, draw an arc or rainbow as we called it.

continue up the hand. you then can add more colours into it.
Here is a better vision of an explanation on Pinterest ;)

Turned out pretty good!! We both did two each, finding that some textas were too thin to make it stand out properly, but a fun arty idea to do with an older child... or yourself :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

happy new year!!!

Happy New Year! my goodness didnt 2012 just race by?? Normally at the end of every year I think "Ive really seen enough of that year"this time around I feel like Ive barely written 2012 at all and now its gone!!

2013 is a year of big changes for me... none of which Im thrilled about as yet.

My eldest is now about the enter primary school.
My middle is about to start KINDERGARTEN ( Yikes)
And my baby is about to start preschool!! This I thought maybe Id wait awhile ( every body in my family  goes to preschool only the year before they go to school) but I CANT BECAUSE APPARENTLY SHES GOING TO SCHOOL NEXT YEAR!! help!!

So this year I will have two days with about 4 hours each to myself. And I have no idea what to do....

So Im trying to sit calmly, wait, and be patient. Cos this year is already faster than the last one...

As for this little blog... I dont know what I will do with it. Im currently in the process of sorting to be able to print it so Ill have it forever. I know  there wont be as many posts because I only have one child and I have her only 3 days a week and two of those days we are going to be out! But for now, Ill show you some things we do over the school holidays :)

simple today...

I made the cutest little tent for Amahli for Christmas after not being about to find her something "plastic" and not wanting to spend heaps on something that wouldnt get played with and today I set it up for them in her room :)

Id so spend hours in here... if only they would stop finding me ;)

Tent idea came from here.  I changed it a little bit and also added velcro along the bottom to hold the fabric in place. Think the whole thing cost me less that $20 and about an hour to make.

Simple easy fun :)