Thursday, 30 August 2012

Book Week!

Even without spending a whole lot of time or money on outfits for my kids to wear to the Book Week Parade this year, I thought they were probably our best outfits!

Refusing to even consider my son's 'amazing idea' and 'request' for a Skylanders outfit, I went through my daughter's bookshelf one day (with a plan to soon tidy it all up), hoping that something would jump out at me which we would have an outfit for already...

And then... Roald Dahl jumped out at me! (not literally, of course, that would be ridiculous)!

Matilda! Tamara loves Matilda, and going through her wardrobe I found a white shirt and a blue dress- fabulous! School shoes will do the job, and all I needed to buy was some red ribbon to go in her hair.

Total cost: $2.00


Ben then had the idea of going as Matilda's brother, but I was sure I could find something else just as good (and perhaps a more obvious character)       .                                          

We chose Grandpa Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Ben could wear his pyjamas, dressing gown and slippers... We already had a walking stick (I have no idea why), and all I needed to buy was a hat and some grey wool for Grandpa's 'hair'.

Total cost: $6.50

By working out what outfits my kids would be wearing for this year's Book Week Parade, it became obvious that Ben can now dramatically master an 'old man', and well, I already knew that Tamara can master a 'sweet and innocent little girl'.
I wonder what last-minute-outfits-made-from-random-scraps-because-I-forgot-and-ran-low-on-cash the kids will be wearing next year... I'm sure it will almost certainly involve pyjamas ;)

Monday, 27 August 2012

I'm back! And it's a beautiful day!

After being MIA due to studying for an exam, and what seems like forever since writing a blog post, I am back! My exam is now over, and my brain is (slowly) regaining some form of knowledge other than what I've been cramming into it for the last 2 months, and especially the last 2 weeks...

My husband will tell you that when I study for an exam, nothing else matters... Poor guy had to cook most nights with whatever he could find in the cupboard, the quality of my kids' homework declined, and we were living out of a washing basket (or the piles of clothes I constantly moved onto the floor)... Oops... And this morning as my kids were getting ready for school, it was almost like dominoes that there was no bread, no fruit, and nothing in the 'recess basket'... At least there was enough milk for cereal and coffee!

But now... Now I feel an immense sense of motivation to change all of that!! Well, maybe after I shake this darn flu that I picked up while I was studying...

But now I'm freeeee! *imagine me singing that*

Today, there's a month's worth of socks to finally roll up, a house to finally vacuum and mop, and bed sheets to finally wash (maybe that's why I'm sick?), and grocery shopping to be done... Hmm... Perhaps I will rest tomorrow...

Before I get to all those fabulous house-wife tasks, I thought I'd share with you some moments that have made me chuckle recently.

Ben: "Hey mum, did you know that Grandpa's car can have six CDs in at one time?"
Me: *Not quite looking up from my study book* "Cool."
Ben: "Yeah, I think I'm gonna save up for a car like that."
Me: "You know, Ben, that your iPod touch can hold like 20 CDs..."
Ben: "What? How do you fit that many CDs into something smaller than my hand?"
Me: "Oh dear... Ask dad."

Tamara: "Hey mum, do you remember when you were changing Jono's nappy in our old house, and he did a poo before you put a new nappy on him?"
Me: "What?"
Tamara: *giggling* "Yeah, and you were like 'ohh Jono'"
Me: "Why do you remember stuff like that?"
Tamara: "Because I'm young and my memory is better than yours"

Me: "Jonathan, come and have your medicine"
Jono: *covering his mouth* "No. Noo. Is gusting." (translation - "it's disgusting")
Me: "It will make you better."
Ben: "Yeah Jono. It takes like lemonade!"
Jono: "Beeennn... I said Nooo!"

Most people dread Mondays, but today is a beautiful day, and I am so pleased that it is Monday! Spring is certainly in the air, and without the stress of study and an exam on my shoulders now, I am sensing Spring will involve some major de-cluttering...

Simple is good. Monday is good. Life is good. God is good :)

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Charts, stickers, charts...

So apparently, experts say that kids love and need a routine! ... Though we generally had a 'routine' in the morning (on school days) anyway, since moving to our new house, I thought I should make some posters to be a visual aid for my children to help them get ready in the mornings and to know what they needed to do in the afternoons. It was more of a check list style, asking questions about their progress of getting ready :)

When my kids first started school, we had a different kind of visual chart to help them, but the order went something like: get up, make bed, get dressed, have breakfast, brush teeth, pack bag... And for a mother of messy eaters, I quickly found it necessary to change that order so the kids got themselves dressed after eating breakfast!

Downside of the afternoon poster - when my children came home from school on the very first day they were put up, they expected cookies and milkshakes! So, the updated version now includes fruit. Sometimes, I will even make cupcakes for them as a surprise :)

I have these hanging up in our hallway, and many who have come into my home comment on the idea of having them for kids to know what they need to do.

Right next to these posters are a list of chores for Ben and Tamara to complete Monday to Thursday to receive money for their Dollarmite bank books on Friday. These have worked really, really well, and while we were working out which chores to add, I concluded in my head that they needed to be chores that make my life easier! ... And they needed to be chores than can be done daily... Which disappointed Ben, as he wanted mowing the lawn and watering the garden (not that we really have one) on his list...

This is my 'chores for money' poster:

KEY, along with the time of day its to be done:

= Open the blinds

= Feed the dog

 = Unpack the dishwasher

= Pick up dog poo

= Feed the dog

= Set the table

Ben and Tamara have responded so well to these posters, and more often than not they don't need to be reminded. And, as usual with things that work really well, I ask myself the question 'Why, oh why didn't I start doing this a long time ago?'

When Jonathan is a bit older, I will squeeze him into the chore chart, somehow, too. I don't think it will cause him too much grief, though, as he is already fairly keen to pick up dog poo... Which, at the moment, causes me grief, as he doesn't use a nappy bag! *sigh* :)

Monday, 6 August 2012

Melted crayon art...

So this all started when I stumbled upon this blog/artwork one day... Melted crayons! Who would have thought. This artist had used green, brown, and yellow crayons to appear like stems and grass, and added flowers to make it look amazing! ... Well, I didn't want to copy the exact thing, so thought about how I could do it differently...

To prepare for such an artwork, I needed crayons... Sam's Warehouse sold them in 64 packs for less than $2! Fantastic!

I came home and decided I'd sort them into 'cold colours' and 'warm colours' :) And, since I already had some spare canvases, I chose a little square one, and lined up the 'warm' crayons in a row, in order (well what I thought the order was) of colour warmth.

Since it was a little canvas, I needed to trim the ends of the crayons so there would be enough room for them to melt properly. And because I like everything neat and tidy, I had to remove the wrappings, because they weren't all the same colour!

After I had glued them onto the canvas (with PVA glue), I trimmed the bottoms again, so that they were all in a straight line, as it appeared that when I trimmed them at first, I wasn't as exact as I thought (or the crayons were all different sizes?). But, that was fine. I used a big knife to slowly carve the rest until they were as even as I could get them :)

Then I set up the canvas upside down in the comfort of my bathroom (the hair dryer lives in there, and I didn't want Jonathan investigating what I was doing just yet!) ... I plugged it in and started heating the crayons! ... It didn't take long before they started to drip. Yay :)

Soon enough, the crayons were dripping right down the canvas, some joining and merging colours, some just dribbling by themselves... But because it was only a small square canvas, I needed to stop sooner than I really wanted! This was FUN!

There appeared, though, to be ONE stubborn crayon that just didn't want to drip :( In the space of a small amount of time I'd decided that I wasn't going to also be stubborn! ... When the rest of the melted crayon had dried, I trimmed off excess melted crayon that either dripped too far, or dripped over the side or top - which really was the bottom :)

Things I would do differently if I were to do this again (which I just might, using my 'cool' coloured crayons):
- Have the hair dryer on low heat & low blow, instead of high heat & low blow
- Maybe, actually, use a heater instead?
- I also wonder if using better quality crayons (like maybe $4 ones) would make a difference with what the dried melted versions look like... Hmm!

Anyway... Time to decorate!! You thought that was it, didn't you? :)

In my mind, I had imagined this with a wooden border or some twine tied around the crayons... So I searched in my linen closet (of course) for something that I could use for a possible border... To which I found nothing really, so I decided to leave that part for now and continue. So I got the twine, and wrapped it around and around the middle of the crayons. Yay! :)

After showing this to a friend, I was told it looked a bit like fire! Hmm... Better hang it quickly to give the illusion of warmth through Winter ;)

Thursday, 2 August 2012

No. More. Pokémon. After. This. Post.

A few blog posts ago, I shared the creative moments and bright ideas I'd had for my son's Pokémon Party. His actual birthday was on a school day the following week, and he was still uber keen for me to make some Pokémon cupcakes for his classmates- and his sister, and her classmates, and every single teacher in the school, of course- to share (I limited it to much much less than that)... But, instead of the Poké Ball cupcakes again, I decided to get out Ben's Pokémon Official Guide and work out a few Pokémon's that I'd actually be able to make... And so I present the cupcakes I made for Ben to take to school on his actual birthday (and I've added what the cupcake characters were meant to look like):

"Poliwhirl" - Blue icing, one Nestle White Chocolate Melt, chocolate frosting for the swirl and eyes, and white chocolate 'Bits' for the eyes.

"Mew" - Pink (well, it was supposed to be) icing, one pink marshmallow halved, and different coloured frostings for the tail (yep, that's what it is), eyes, ears, and belly button (in the Official Guide there's something there!)

And, "Pikachu" - Yellow icing, different coloured frostings, and a red snake cut up for the cheeks (if I was more organised, I'd have used red Smarties)

In working out how to get them to school, I had found another use for bottle lids! I own (and used it for this occasion) one of those 24 carry cupcake tray holder things (I wasn't going to use it initially because I hadn't used muffin cases, I'd used smaller patty cases, so the cupcakes that I put into the baking tray were tricky to get out)... So I used the bottle lids to provide that little bit of a boost so they could be picked up easily! Horray for last minute planning and hundreds of bottle lids!

I think that I deserve some next level "mum points" after this, and I will use those points to avoid hearing any reference to Pokémon for at least a year. Or a week. Or even an hour would be nice :)