Tuesday, August 28, 2012

fathers day fun!!

In my part of the world, this weekend is Fathers Day.

My kids love to do things for both of us at random times, but fathers day is one of those special times to really celebrate "daddy".

This year, I searched for a while to find the perfect gift we could make for not only my three cherubs but the 55 dads that belong to our church too! ( yikes. yup Im mad. I know). I teach an awesome bunch of kids from ages 3-7 and they are always up for a bit of craftiness for something special.

I wanted to find something that would encourage dads to spend time with their kids, to create a pressie that would be fun and easy for them to do together.

After scouring Pinterest, I found a cool idea from the website Bakerella, called Cowboy cookies in a jar. The idea looked fantastic and once Id showed my three little chefs they were totally sold on the idea.
With a little bit of tweaking to the recipe amounts to work for us here in Oz, I was ready to try out a batch.

We went shopping and got all the ingredients, set them up on the table, and we were ready to start.
All three were totally involved in making the jar, layering the ingredients, and then were VERY incouraging that we tried to make them STRAIGHT AWAY!

So we did :)

They looked so good!

The house smelt amazing and thankfully, when we pulled them out of the oven, they were round and delicious.

I put them on a plate, told the kids I was grabbing the mail ( to read with a nice new bikkie) and NOT to touch the cookies for a few minutes.... and then once I got back to the kitchen......


Looks like they were a winner ;)

This was the finished product, ready for daddy for Fathers Day!!

Labels were printed from Bakerella.

Production time with a friend :)
And heres a small sample of the rest of the ones we did for some wonderful dads

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

money money money

limited photos as my internet is cactus :(
There has been alot of interest lately in money. All three kids seem a bit obsessed, not neccessarily about having money or spending it, but the whole concept of it, how it feels, where you can find it, what it looks like.

All have been begging me for a chore chart so they can get "paid" ( its coming I promise!) but for now, they are happy with the jobs I give them and finding coins in daddys jeans pocket and down the back of the lounge....

When Jared lost a tooth last week it was incredibly exciting that the tooth fairy didnt just leave one coin, she left a WHOLE HEAP! Actually she left one of each kind!! And so today, we decided to have a closer look at this money.

I had designed a simple homework sheet for Jared that asked him to shade over the coins onto paper.
Using a piece of charcoal, he was able to see the design of the coins coming through on the paper.

He had to shade a certain amount of each coin, and so he also had to work out which coin was which by the number on it ( indicating the amount of the coin).

He seemed to really enjoy working out which one was 20c, 50c and so on, and even though he had some trouble in the shading part, he was able to complete it pretty well!

We also talked about the animals on our coins, the people on the back of the coins, how the spin on the table, and what you could buy if you had money.

Was a funny little conversation :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

simple drawing

Its happened again. AGAIN. Sickness. Oozy gross noses. Coughs. Yuck. And its me. AGAIN.
Think I may crawl into bed and wait until Spring arrives.....

Whilst I could feel this cold coming over me again this weekend, I sat and did some simple stuff with my lovely littlest who informs me that she grew last night even when I told her not to. Shes well pleased that a) shes growing and b) that she can defy me even when she doesnt have to try ;)

So we sat, us two, and drew the afternoon away....
I am bit amazed at how her drawings are increasing in their detail, even in the last few weeks! Eyes, ears and hair are all starting to become regular features, and mostly I can tell exactly what shes drawn before she tells me.

But this little drawing was just something I had to share.
You can tell alot about a child by their drawings.. things that they are thinking about, things that are bothering them, how they feel... their drawings are an amazing view into a small part of their brains. I have done a fair bit of study into this in the last 20 yrs of teaching and then being a mum, and this picture that Amahli drew is a classic example of how she sees the world and more importantly, herself.

In my little 3 yr olds mind, she is The Boss. The Leader. First and Last. and the most important.
She has the most detail in herself, ( I didnt prompt her but she was quick to tell me that the centre character is herself), shes right in the middle, shes the biggest, and shes used the most colours in drawing herself. She has managed to come out of her self centredness enough to start to draw Jared ( on the left) and our dog, China ( the brown drawing) and Jumeirah is really small near the rainbow.

The funniest part of this drawing is the small character under Jumeirah which is poor Daddy, who in Amahlis eyes, is still covered in chicken pox. ( Hes not quite that bad now thankfully, but it obviously had a big impact in her head).

Watch your childs drawings. They can show all sorts of things.....I remember giving Jumeirah some paper and pencils at 6 yrs old and asking her to draw when she couldnt find the words to talk to me and it came out that she was not happy and getting hurt at school.
It can really help a child who cant find the language to show how the feel in drawings.

 Keep them, well some of them.
If nothing else, they can be brilliant pay back at 21st's :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

best playdough recipe EVER

( internet issues have caused me to me to be missing without action for the last week... sorry!!) Recently I have come to love watching my kids play in the afternoon....
I noticed yesterday the girls set up together with their afternoon tea and drinks, chairs close together, chatting about their respective days.

I have had to pretty much hide because conversation ceases when I am around but its been pretty funny to listen to...

yesterdays convo went like this:

Amahli: " So how was your day?"

Jumeirah: " Pretty good. I had fun but didnt like mums sandwich."

Amahli: (sigh) " me either! I went to the beach."

Jumeirah: " We should go there on the weekend! I read my book today."

Amahli: " yeah me too. I had a sleep and it was good."

It cracks me up cos its like listening to two strange versions of myself. But what I really loved was that they were mimicking conversations I have with them everyday. Ones that I sometimes get frustrated with cos Im busy and trying to get dinner/washing/vacuuming done, but ones I had nevertheless.I let them talk, they let me talk. Its an equal conversation.
I loved that this is a time that they remember, and one they use in play or at least in this quiet time together. So be careful what language and time you show your kids... cos no doubt they are watching you :)

Today though, I discovered something so amazing even I was shocked. The best ever playdough recipe.
Now, it might not seem that amazing, but when youve been making it solidly for about 20 years, finding a recipe that you fall in love with IS a big deal.
I hate playdough normally, I have some weird thing going on with things that dry out on your hands ( I hate that feeling) and most playdough feels salty and leaves it crusty on your hands so I cant normally touch it.

But I was cruising the webisphere and found one with a few different ingredients and thought Id give it a try.

Ingredients and instructions are:

  • 1 Cup Plain Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Salt
  • 3 tsp of vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of Oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Food Coluoring
  • Method
    1. Mix the dry ingredients in a saucepan
    2. Whisk in the water over low heat
    3. Mix in the vinegar
    4. Pour in the oil
    5. Continue to mix over low heat until it forms a playdough texture
    6. Split up the dough, and knead in the food color (when it’s cool enough to touch)

    we made ours brown because it was to become "dirt" to plant flowers in :)

    yes I know it looks like a big dog poo but seriously its awesome :)

    I loved the smell of it ( I love vinegar) and the feel of it was amazing. I was even caught up in playing with it!!!

    So if you are after a better playdough give this one a try!! I even would make a batch if I didnt have kids... playdough can be very therapeutic after a long weekend at work... SERIOUSLY! try it!!

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Homework: blues to smiles

    Homework is the bain of my existence. Ok, so thats a tad dramatic, but seriously, I HATE it, and I hate having to be the " mum" and tell Jumeirah to do it everyday. I kinda dont agree with it, after spending all day at school the last thing she should be doing is more work, but it has to be done and so I have to work it into her afternoon. And everyday its a stress and drama as I have to pull her away from play with her two best buddies whilst they get to continue play.


    I decided to make a change in our little afternoon routine that would be great for all of us.

    When we get home, I sent all three outside to play, with a plate of afternoon tea. They played for a full hour, Jumeirah was a bit surprised that I didnt call her for homework, but she wasnt about to argue with me to do it :)

    At 4.30, I called all of them in for a bath, and whilst they were in there washing the floors and walls for me (*sigh*) I set up a homework table for ALL of them.
    Its no secret that Im worried about Jared and school next year but I dont want to spend his days harping on about learning so I figured a set time for him would also work well.
    And Amahli begs me for her "homework" every afternoon so I knew she'd be sweet.

    Once out of the bath, calm, clean and relaxed, all three came to the table to find homework books to do. Jumeirah got started straight away, and surprisingly, worked quickly and efficiently to complete her homework.
    For Amahli I had set up a simple cutting activity that she could work on herself, complete with glue sticks, so she was happy as a pig in mud. She also had a colouring in page and for the first time, she sat and completed it with such detail I was so surprised. ( I know lots of teachers dont like colouring in pages but they can really be a good thing. They allow practise of working within a space, colour choice, patience, and being able to complete a task... all things they need for school.)

    For Jared, I had created a few pages for him to work through, two a day, one maths styled and the other letter/drawing style.

    I just created these as word docs and they were fairly simple ( if you want copies of these let me know and Ill try to work out how to get them on here so you can print them off for yourselves).
    Todays pages were a simple addition sheet which he loved and used bugs to complete, the other was based on  a drawing which took some coaxing but he was able to complete it.
    All three sat quietly and completed these "homework" sheets, chatting occasionally to each other, but each was well engrossed in their own work.

    It was a real brady bunch moment for me... sitting amongst my kids whilst they worked happily and I loved that they were so keen. Who knows how long this will last for but the plan is that three days a week we try this system and see how it goes!

    How do you do homework?? Does it work?

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    Kid journals

    I went to a scrapbooking night a few weeks ago and met a lovely lady who was finishing a journal.
    She had joined along in a Big Picture Class and did an online course in journalling and I have to say, I was WELL impressed. So much detail, such interesting topics to write about. Time limits, photography, all about herself.. all rolled into a beautiful memory of herself.

    I was instantly hooked and began researching.... STOP. I have to finish this wedding first.... but once its done, I am so doing this!
    Would you like to join me??

    In my thinkings and musings I talked to Jumeirah about it and she quickly became keen too. So I had a look at some ideas and found something perfect for her that she can start now.
    If you sign up you can gain access to free courses and one was called " All about me". Its a mini book of sorts but instead I took some of the questions and pointers and will help her create a full size scrap book.

    So we set aside some time today and talked about what we were going to do.... one question per week, 15-20 minutes to write, eithe a photo or a drawing, she can then type if she chooses to, and then we will get together with another of her friends whos also keen to do this and spend some time creating each page together. Sounds like so much fun!! And so I gave her the first question.

    It was:

    List 20 memories.

    She began and I sat and watched her go through her life and try to remember important things that happened to her.... I tried not to help and found after about 5 minutes she was lost in her world and I walked away just a short distance to give her some space.

    Once she had written for about 20 minutes I checked to see how she was going.... she had gotten a bit mind blank so I allowed her to leave it and come back later on, but all through the day she kept remembering things she wanted to write down.

    This is her list:

    20 Memories

    1 I remember the first day I got Thomas. It was for my 7th birthday.

    2 I remember when I burnt my finger on the glue gun because I touched it.

    3 I remember when Barney was chasing me and I got a big scratch because I fell over.

    4 I remember when I went to Alice’s party and Maddison Simpson smacked her head at the bottom of the pool.

    5 I remember when I got my ears pierced at the chemist and it also hurt.

    6 I remember when I was performing in Jazz and I was cold so I had a dressing gown.

    7 I remember when I went to the dinosaur  show with Mum, Dad, Andrew, Nanna, Grandad, Amahli and Jared  and I was scared .

    8 I remember when I was performing for dance group but I was sick but performed well.

    9 I remember when I got a bee sting in my foot and I had to put cold ice on it while I was watching Marine Life.

    10 I remember when I went to Sydney to see the Easter Show with Ma, Pa, and my family and I fell asleep in the bus.

    11 I remember when I got my piano for Christmas and it had 99 sounds and it was AWESOME.

    12 I remember when the preschool kids went to try out Tacking Point Public School and we got to help them.

    13 I remember when it was Anzac Day and I had a lot of anzac biscuits and Dad got a new canoe.

    14 I remember when I went to the porpoise pool with Chelsea and my family and saw two bottlenose dolphins named bucky and zip.

     15 I remember when I went to go to the doctor to get my needles on my arm and I went “ ouch “ but it did not hurt at all.

    16 I remember when Mum said “If you don’t cry for a week at school you can go to Jumbos” and that’s what I did. I used to cry in kindy because                    bullied me.

    17 I remember when on Monday after school Mum told me that Thomas was lost so I cried all afternoon until Mum found Thomas 3 days later!

    I was amazed at what she remembers.. and she was really proud of herself for doing it. We talked about chatted all the rest of the day about things on her list, how they made her feel, how she had changed as she grew up.
    And at this point I was SO SO excited that she would have something like this to look back on in 5, 10 even 20 years and hopefully stir some of those memories.

    Other skills this great little activity encouraged was writing skills, typing skills ( she wanted to do this bit by herself and shes getting pretty quick!), spelling, memory recall and patience.

    I seriously recommend having a look at the big picture class website, to get inspired to do one yourself or even get your kids to do one!

    I know its something I am really looking foward to doing for ME. :)

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    foxy masks and a dose of the dreaded mumma guilt

    Last week, I had another of "those days". Even super mums get them ;)

    ( HA! sometimes Im so far from a Super Mum its ridiculous)

    From morning till night, all Amahli wanted was a fox face in face paint. And all day I told her "soon". She didnt really hound me too much, just reminded me kindly ( if not a little constantly) that I said I would do it....
    So the day flew on. School run. Preschool run. Home. Two loads of washing. Out on the line. Take off last weeks load from the line ( yikes, please tell me Im not the only one). Amahli lunch. Clean up. Vacuum. Preschool run. School run. Home. Afternoonteahomeworkdinnercleanupbathteethstorybed.

    "Mum, how about now for my face paint?" and its 7.30pm and bed time. I felt terrible.
    One little dissapointed, unfoxy face. I that mumma guilt hits my like a tonne of bricks.

    I dont have long before this little cherub will go off to preschool, and then school. I have Jared in school next year. And all I really want to do is BE with them. More thoroughly, completely. But life sometimes gets in the way, things still need to be done, cleaning and house stuff doesnt do itself ( *sigh* how I wish it would).

    And although I try not to let it get me down, today it did.

    But, instead of letting it drag me down for a night of sleeplessness and stupid thoughts, I decided to make amends to my little foxy girl.

    I made masks :)

    I had felt and an idea and so  pulled out the dying sewing machine and hoped that it would last justa bit longer.

    I couldnt find a pattern I liked so I found a picture I thought I could work with and created my own little pattern.

    I made two very cute little masks, knowing that my big foxy girl would also LOVE this creation. My kids are big on pretend play and I knew these would be well played with.

    They didnt take long, but I poured my heart into making them and they were ready to leave out for my girls to find in the morning.

    I heard the squeal before I saw their beautiful little faces.

    We all have moments of feeling like we dont do enough for our kids. Its hard to get it right all the time, and its hard not to dwell on what we do wrong instead of what we do right. And often, as mums, we are so much harder on ourselves than what anyone else would be.

    Time to dust ourselves off, stop stabbing ourselves for the moments we could/shoulda done better, and just keep going :)