30.5.10

AT MY HOUSE...

Mondays are usually our home/catch up days.
Apart from mopping a muddy floor and drying LOTS
of washing after a wet weekend (oh the joys....)
we'll be cooking up a wintery meal of thick vegie soup and
some apple & rhubarb crumble for dinner tonight with friends.

In my opinion the BEST crumble contains the following ingredients....

rolled oats, melted butter, brown sugar,
plain flour and shredded coconut & shaved almonds

I love a good fruit crumble when the weather gets a little cooler.

Amusing my kids at the moment is our dress up box. They like to put on different outfits while dancing to Justine Clarke's Let's Dress Up.
Op shops are by far the best spot to find gorgeous sparkly bags, shawls, scarves, necklaces & high heels - not to mention lacy lingerie (always great for a bride). Our kids are also lucky enough to receive a handmade dress up from Granny every year for their birthday.

Dress ups have always been big in our house, just as they were when I was growing up. Actually... we still sometimes get out our old dress up box at Granny's house - which contains many vintage outfits that once belonged to Mum and some lovely wigs belonging to our Nana - just for fun. Kids and adults all get in on the action. Makes a dinner party just that little more interesting if you put a funny wig, hat or pigs nose at each persons place at the table.....

MATHILDA HAD BUTTONS


Had a really fun day helping out my sister Lou from Buttons by Lou Lou at Mathilda's Market at the Malvern Town Hall today. I love being involved in the whole market scene, without having the stress of having my own stall.

photo of Holly & I at the stall at Mathilda's today

My favorite part of the day was being able to have a browse around the other stalls - without children tagging along! (They had a fun day at the zoo - thanks Daddy!) There was some gorgeous stuff there today - such clever and creative people out there!
I allowed myself one little purchase for myself - a funky little red crocheted flower brooch from Kids with Crayons. Had a great little chat with Michelle about being thankful (in hindsight) for the skills our mothers taught us when we were young. There were so many gorgeous crocheted items at so many stalls today - I need to get my Mum to re-teach me how to crochet!

29.5.10

THE WAITING PLACE


My favourite part of one of my favourite Dr Seuss books... If you havn't read the whole book - I do recommend. Such an uplifting book.

You can get so confused that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place

... for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting around for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

Dr Seuss 'Oh, the Places You'll Go'


28.5.10

KIDS CRAFT IDEAS


Thought I would let you know about a fantastic website for kids craft ideas....

Kids Craft Weekly has long been a 'go-to' for me whenever I need some inspiration for doing something crafty with the kids. Kids Craft Weekly sends a regular newsletter (not weekly......) with craft ideas following a particular theme and is especially good for younger kids.

They also organise a great christmas card swap at the end of the year and your child can receive handmade cards from all over the world.

To be completely honest, I did a lot more of these things with my oldest child (when I only had one child) as we were moving around every 6 months with my husbands work and didn't bring many toys with us, I was constantly looking for ways to entertain my then 2-4 year old. Every now and then I feel guilty and will do something crafty with my younger 2, but it seems so much more of an effort with a 1 and 2 year old.....who are both into throwing things everywhere and creating mess wherever they go! I must admit I have left that for playgroup and some of the other weekly activities that we do out and about, because quite frankly I can't even keep up with the usual housework without adding handfuls of pasta on the floor, glue on the table and paint in the hair.


These are some recent snapshots of when we have just gone ahead done it anyway....... because doing crafty stuff was probably one of my favourite things as a child and I do want my kids to experience that too. I do want to be one of those Mum's who doesn't mind a bit of mess in the name of kids having fun...... I do....... This blogging thing is actually inspiring me to do so much more of it. Thank you to all of you who blog about the great crafty stuff you do with your kids.


27.5.10

IT'S MORE COMMON THAN YOU'D THINK


Every fortnight on a Thursday some lovely women from our church run a group called MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) where the kids get looked after in creche and the Mums get to have a coffee, listen to someone talk on a different topic each week, then do a little crafty activity. It's a lovely supportive group of Mum's and the topics are always relevant.

Today's topic was post natal depression. I don't think anyone in the group had not been affected in some way, whether themselves or someone close to them. Some great discussion and emotional sharing was had and it just made me realise, again, that this topic is just not talked about enough! It can be a little shameful and maybe just too hard to talk about, but it affects as many as 1 in 7 women! Those are pretty big statistics.

PANDA - Post & Ante Natal Depression Association - has some great resources, along with a 24 hour helpline. I've just had a little look through and there is some great info for those who think they may be suffering from PND as well as info for those who suspect someone they know is showing signs.

Apparently it is also very common for men to have PND. It makes sense.

The best thing that we can do is to just listen, as motherhood (or fatherhood) is so different for everyone and quite frankly, it is the most difficult/draining/challenging thing that I have ever done! I sometimes wonder whether there have been times in my experience as a mother that have gone undiagnosed as PND....

PANDA website.

25.5.10

ALPHABET PARTY

I have wanted to do a party "inspiration board" for ages! A friend is hosting an ALPHABET PARTY for her 4 year old daughter in a couple of weeks time and was asking advice on printable pdf's (my current favourite party idea!), so I thought I'd give it a shot!

Since I did the board, this alphabet party has arrived on kara's blog, I have seen this gorgeous alphabet bunting from Giggleberry and an easy to make alphabet fishing game too. My favourite one of all would have to be this gorgeous school themed baby shower from one charming party which has some adorable vintage ideas you could use for an alphabet party! It even comes with some free printables!

1. JFlairGood's alphabet cookie cutters for biscuits or party favors or cupcakes 2. fromsoul's ABC party paper cups 3. Myrecipes.com alphabet cookies 4. gaddie & tood alphabet party pack 5. MiChiMaLAND's felt letters 6. SouthHouseBoutique's bottle bags 7. onecharmingparty.com artist party with chalk boards & alphabet crayons 8-10 Pretty Little Studio vintage alphabet bunting & flashcards 11. 1StressLESSTeacher ABC wands 12. lauraslefthook alphabet crochet pattern pdf's 13. paperb's packs of kawaii alphabet tissues! 14. kawaii goodies Japanese fabric with german boys & alphabet 15. This&ThatFromJapan's alphabet ribbon/tape 16. The City Cradle alphabet invitation & free printable download 17. goldylocks alphabet printable alphabet circles pdf 18. Let's Explore alphabet crayons for party favors or activity 19. RunningBugFarm's alphabet beads for bracelets for party favors or party activity 20. Canadian Family french toast alphabet sandwiches 21. HelenRawlinson's handprinted alphabet fabric 22. incywincytogs cross stitch letter buttons 23-24. Pretty Little Studio vintage alphabet bunting & flashcards

Addition - Absolutely gorgeous Free Printable Alphabet Bunting here and more alphabet ideas here.  Alphabet craft ideas here.  


Another Addition - free printable alphabet with adorable pics to match here.


Would love to know if you have tried an alphabet party or have any ideas?


24.5.10

AT MY HOUSE...



Recovering at my house today, after a big day at the market yesterday. Unpacking the car from yesterday and dealing with the large pile of dirty clothes, dishes, etc. etc. that did not get done over the weekend. A couple of days off the washing and it just seems overwhelming!

We had a wonderful day yesterday at a gorgeous little community market at the back of a friends house. 10 stall holders, soup, tea & sausages available for a gold coin donation with all money raised for the day going to a charity. This was the second one they had organised and they did a wonderful job! Really well attended by so many wonderful friends - thanks for your support!

Lou & I had stalls next to each other and it was a fun day! I don't normally sell stuff at markets, this was a one off, but I really loved it! Such a great, relaxed, community vibe and I really enjoyed being a part of it.

myself and Lou behind our stalls.
You might recognise the soups, alfalfa kits, aloe vera & lemons as well as fresh herbs & eggs from our garden, handmade cards, homemade muesli, bundles of material scraps & my dress-up magnetic dolls.

My 6 year old helper, who had picked all the lemons, and convinced me to let her have the profit from them!

Why not play along with Lou & let us know what is happening at your house today?

21.5.10

FRIENDS WHO MAKE THINGS

Getting ready for this small market on Sunday. A group of friends. Each with small card tables full of winter goodness.

We have made these, these & these, along with jars of homemade muesli. We've been saving our eggs and tomorrow we'll collect lemons & bunches of herbs from the garden. I have also been working on some cute little dress-up doll magnets and they'll be for sale too!

As I really don't have any regular time away from my kids - a husband who works crazy hours & no regular child care - I decided that the only way that I could do this (in reality the only way I can do anything!) is to involve them, so I chose things that were very easy in that regard. It has had to become a bit of parenting philosophy - very frustrating at times & things can take a little longer, but hopefully good for them in the end, particularly as their Mum still gets to feel like she gets to do at least some of the creative things that she likes to do. I know that many of you are Mum's who like to express a bit of creativeness - how do you do it? involve your kids? wait till they are asleep/at school/at Grandma's?


20.5.10

MY CREATIVE SPACE


In case you were wondering what these seed packets were for......


I have been making some DIY Alfalfa Sprout Kits to sell at a little market on the weekend. We have been making them for years. So very, very easy to do. You can make your own with a jar, a rubber band & a stocking if you are interested. I have used tulle as I think it works better. You can buy seeds from your local health food store or nursery. 1 tablespoon of seeds makes about 1/2 a cup of sprouts. My kids call them "worms" & they'll only eat them when we've made them ourselves.


INSTRUCTIONS
1. Put alfalfa seeds into the jar and cover them with 1-2cm of cool water.
2. Cover the top of the jar with the tulle and secure with rubber band.
3. Allow seeds to soak overnight, then drain off the water.
For the next few days, rinse the seeds in the morning and evening by covering the seeds with some water, swishing the seeds around, and draining them. Store the jar away from direct sunlight.
Repeat until sprouts are ready to eat. Usually 4-6 days depending on season. Your sprouts should last at least 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

more creativeness over here at Kirsty's.

19.5.10

"WINTER WARMER" Soup-in-a-jar



‘WINTER WARMER’

Soup-in-a-jar

Instructions:

1. In a large saucepan, add contents of jar to 5-6 cups of boiling water.

2. Bring to boil, then with lid on, simmer gently for 45 mins or until ingredients are soft.

3. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.

Will make 2 hearty serves. Enjoy!

P.S. I like to fry a little bacon in the saucepan beforehand and add grated carrot & corn kernels or shredded chicken.

Be as creative as you like!


Recipe:

Place into jar, in layers, the following ingredients in order:

1 teaspoon dried parsely

1 teaspoon dried onion flakes

2 teaspoons Massell vegetable stock powder

1/4 cup yellow split peas

1/4 cup green split peas

1/4 cup pearl barley

1/4 cup red lentils

1/4 cup soup pasta


These make great little gifts and they are very easy for kids to do too.

For more soup recipes, head on over to Maggie & Sparrow.

17.5.10

THEY CALL ME MELLOW YELLOW


Hello Owl's 'My Place & Yours' theme this week is YELLOW.

In an effort to keep the kids occupied tonight while I cooked dinner I sent them off on a 'mission' to find as many yellow things as they could around the house and put them on the table. This is a small corner of what they came up with...


I could not post about the colour yellow without including our current favourite friend Tomy!


Interestingly enough, our dinner tonight was also bright yellow and no, it did not involve lemons.

(I'll send a 'yellow' prize to anyone who can guess what our yellow dinner was - don't forget to leave an email address if you don't have a blog).

Our bath for this evening might just have to be a yellow one too.....

AT MY HOUSE...

Granny's vintage measuring cup

the tyre swing & sandpit behind

grape vine on back verandah

the large shed

the wood for the fire

Today we are having a lovely (last minute decision) day at Granny's house in the country. A lovely hours drive from our house in Melbourne and the sun is shining. We are enjoying the beautiful red leaves on the grape vine on the verandah, the tyre swing on the big tree out the back, the sandpit shaped like a boat, the lovely native garden, baking a banana cake and some country air.

If you are looking to buy a house in the country, just a little over an hours drive from Melbourne, can I recommend
Granny's house? It is a fantastic four bedroom home (built in 1905, but beautifully renovated) and our kids just love it. We will miss it very much. However, we are very much looking forward to Granny moving closer to us! Just as soon as she can sell.....

What are you doing
at your house today?

15.5.10

NATURE BOX

It is the perfect time of year to go on nature walks in Australia. Collecting whatever bits and pieces of nature you find along the way.

But, what do you do with the collection once you've got it all home?

We sometimes try sticking it to paper for some creative art pieces or to plaster of paris like this.

We have a bit of a beachside nature collection thing going on our bathroom shelf.

This photo is of my daughter exploring her Granny's 'Nature Box' which has developed over my life time. It even includes a dried frill-necked lizard and a sheep skull!

Yesterday we started our own 'nature box' containing a few insect wings and some seed pods. Although it doesn't hold anything quite as creative as Granny's 'nature box', we will certainly be on the lookout!

Soulemama & Sarah have nature tables.
Lou uses it for artwork. Granny writes letters on it.

How do you bring a bit of nature in to your house?

14.5.10

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE


Instead of throwing our boxes into the recycling bin, we have a "making box" (that's what my Mum called it).

These photos were taken a few years ago when we lived in Alice Springs (where they had no curbside recycling service!) and this little three year old was VERY into creating with boxes! Mainly because at the time we were moving every 6 months with my husbands work and did not bring many toys with us, so the toy library and the "making box" were very popular! The current favourite with my 2 year old is making box cars and then drawing chalk roads on the paving out the back.


In case you cannot tell, in the photo above there is a computer screen, keyboard, mouse, printer and pen pot. We actually got the idea after visiting the 'School of the Air' and this had been one of the projects the kids had done as part of their school work!

Not quite sure what the ettiquette is in storing this kind of art work, maybe Lou will have some ideas.

I know that I've seen some blog posts of people doing similar things with their 'recycling' - I just can't remember where...... I'd love to see some of your photos and I'd be happy to add a link to your blog, so that we can all see!

Additions:
* educational background to box construction on excusememrc
* fun addition to box vehicle construction - thanks Amy from giggleberry!

13.5.10

MY CREATIVE SPACE

My creative space today involved a bit of time in the garden. As I gaze out my kitchen window to my vegie patch I do often think of it as a work of art. Well, a work in progress anyway, as I really have no idea what I am doing, but I am enjoying the learning process. It is also a creative space that can easily involve the kids.

Today it was time to re-pot Mummy Aloe Vera's little babies. She is a prolific breeder. This plant was originally given to me by a friend and I gave some of it's babies to my sister about 7 years ago, so when my plant died (after my toddler continuously pulled it out of it's pot) the cycle continued. I am going to sell these babies at a little market stall I am having in a couple of weeks time.

Aloe is such a versatile plant. I use it to put on mozzie bites and sunburn (even though it is pretty smelly!). I did have a hippy friend once who used it for shaving his beard.... For other uses of aloe vera see here. They are so easy to look after as they rarely need watering and grow well in a pot or in the garden.

If you are interested in taking part in a little competition for encouraging kids in the garden, then head on over to the inadvertant farmer (thanks Zippy, Zippy). If I had more time I would definitely be doing this - so many reasons why it is so good to get kids outdoors and into the garden!

More creativeness going on at Kirsty's.

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