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.