Monday, December 12, 2011

Tis the season to be jolly…

Tuesday 13 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

So much has been happening in our house lately. I’ve completed a few projects over the past few weeks, and even managed to photograph some of them! As I write this my house smells like paint, my amazing husband has been busy painting our kitchen cupboard doors and our new kitchen benches are sitting out in the garage ready to be installed once the doors are all done. I can’t wait to see the finished result and the pressure is on, as we have my family over here for early Christmas lunch this Saturday!

First things first, Mr-almost 3 turned 3!!

(This is his cake, yes it's a Coles cake revamped LOL... it's Luigi and Guido from Cars next to their Leaning Tower of Tyres)

I made some birthday bunting too to help celebrate……

I’ve made some Christmas bunting to go above the window nook the tree sits in………

I made 6 kindy teacher presents. I love giving gifts made in jars, as there is no wrapping which means it’s environmentally savvy! Also, the fabric square, ribbon and jar can be reused (or the jar can be recycled).

Our big son graduated kindy…

And my Hubby graduated with is graduate diploma – half way to his masters degree!

I also made gingerbread for the first time I can remember. It was a simple recipe I found here

My mum came and guided me in finishing this gift for my nephew:

And somewhere in all of this we found time to go and visit my sister in law, her husband and 2 children who are visiting from England. I’ve been mindful to not be too busy as I am pregnant this Christmas and have to have some limitations. Don’t get me wrong… I’m no super Mum. I still have presents to buy. I have to go and do a truckload of grocery shopping. As I write this my kids are perched in front of
Sesame Street
. My kitchen doors are all over my house drying and last night we had takeaway. I’ve been challenged this Christmas to just enjoy the journey. Things will get done. Making memories is more important, and taking the time to do that. Some of our traditions in our house include:

-          everyone helping to set up the tree on December 1. Hubby lifts the boys up to put the star on the top.

-A more recent tradition is putting up some Christmas lights outside.

 - This year both sides of the family are doing secret santa for the adults.

-           a new ornament for each child each year to symbolise something which happened during the year. This year each boy got an ornament to remember our big road trip in March/April.

-          Seeing family and celebrating together. Both sides of the family are very understanding with the juggle.

-          Some sort of Christmas baking – this year it has been gingerbread men and fruit cake. I’m sure there will be some more to come – however my kitchen will have to be ready for that to happen.

-          And I’m there are more I’m not thinking of right now……

Merry Christmas everyone! Remember the real reason for the season is Jesus. Happy celebrating, I hope it’s a joyous time!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Simple Play ideas 3

Monday 21 November 2011

Hi there everyone!

The year is winding up, and there are appointments and committments everywhere. Our boys have started swimming lessons once a week, there are doctors appointments, dinner dates..... the list goes on. Christmas is coming, and soon it will be 2012!! Also, in the next week or so, Mr-almost-3 will be turning 3!! He has put in his order for his Luigi and Guido cake (from Cars) and wants Ham and Pineapple pizza for his birthday dinner. It's not his party year... we had a party for each sons first and second birthdays... then we paused and asked "Are we going to do this EVERY year?" We decided no.... parties on even number years. How do you work it at your house? Who do you invite to the parties? Family? Friends? Everyone?

Today's play idea is really simple. Once again it involves simple household objects: empty jars, water, food colouring and spoons.

Fill the jars up with different volumes of water, add food colouring and voila! Home made xylophone. Mr-almost 3 enjoyed clanking and clunking the spoons on the outside, and putting the spoon inside and 'stirring' the water so the spoon clinked on the side of the glass jar.

Add Mr 4 to the picture and the coloured water became a 'mixing experience' - what colour does green and yellow make? blue and red? red and yellow? etc.....

So why do this experience with your children? Here's why:
1. It's cheap and you probably have all the stuff in your house already
2. It can improve musical awareness (the pitch is affected by the volume of water, cause and effect - hit the jar, wait for the sound).
3. Mixing colour is basic science experimentation - what happens when? Encourage your child to guess and predict what may happen
4. It is water play without huge volumes of water.
5. Encourages colour knowledge - encourage your children to name the colours.
6. Basic mathematical language  - more, less, full, too much, not enough, empty. Encourage these words too!

And finally something I really want to share with you - with help and loving guidance I sewed a skirt for my neice's birthday.
An enormous thankyou to my friend Karen from k4j designs for her patience, moral support, guidance and all around sewing guru-ness and help! Here is a link to some of Karen's creations:!/k4jDesigns.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!
Dansie x

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Simple Play Ideas 2 - Playdough

Thursday 10 November 2011

Playdough. It just drums up images of my childhood and my teaching days. I remember as a young uni student learning to make playdough on one of my pracs and burning it (please don't burn it, the smell is disgusting). There are two types of playdough - cooked and uncooked. Cooked takes a little longer to make, and it lasts longer. Uncooked is a quick fix, but seems to go greasy rather quickly.

Playdough is really great for kids of all ages, and I'd have to say the right age to start your child playing with playdough is when you feel they are ready. Yes, they will eat it, and yes... it will be messy but it will be so much fun for them! Also, playdough is beneficial for fine motor development (and those muscles needed for many things including hand writing), eye hand co-ordination, imagination (who hasn't made a playdough snake?) and other cognitive development such as textural awareness, sensory development and understanding cause and effect (stab the playdough and what happens? A hole!).

Here's the recipe I use. It's from the McKenzies cream of tartar tin:
2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
food colouring
2 cups water.

Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan, stir over medium heat (don't burn it!) for about 3-5 minutes or until mixture begins to stick together. It starts to look doughy.

What I find is a good idea is to make the dough without the colouring, and then poke a hole in the dough and add tiny bits of food colouring into the whole then knead it through.

BE CAREFUL you don't turn your hands blue like I did... I was being careful and as I needed it all the blue squirted out onto my hands. Alternatively, you can add the food colouring as it's cooking, or use gloves to help you mix it through.

The yellow playdough has glitter mixed through it.

Plain dough is great, but there are variations you can add:
 - Rice (for texture)
 - Sand
 - Rolled oats
 - Cous Cous
 - Glitter
 - Vanilla essence (for a lovely smell),
 - Eucalyptus Oil (brilliant for winter)
 - Lemon essence

Possible tools you could use for playdough play:
 - Melon Baller
 - Rolling pin
 - Cookie cutters
 - Knife and fork
 - Toddler scissors for cutting the dough
 - Chop Sticks
 - Garlic press (for tiny worms!)

Be creative and use what you have!

I store my playdough in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap in an icecream container. I find it lasts quite a while this way.

Hoping you all have a great day today. It's already feeling warm here today, I think it may be over 30 degrees today. Good day for the boys to start their swimming lessons!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Simple Play Ideas 1

Friday 4 November 2011

One of my dear friends became a Mum for the first time this week (yay!). I was talking to her a little while ago about playdough. She told me I should blog a recipe and some ideas to extend playdough play. In honour of her entering Mummyhood, I've decided to do a series of 'simple play ideas.' My definition of a simple play idea involved engaging with your child using cheap, everyday household items.

The first idea I will share with you is something that Mr-almost-3 loved when I tried it with him. You will need a bucket or empty icecream container and some clothes pegs. The goal is for your child to place the pegs around the edge of the bucket. We sorted ours into colours also.

This activity is brilliant for developing fine motor skills, categorising/classifying/sorting skills and colour recognition, as well as an abundance of mathematical skills (counting, one-to-one recognition), and cognitive development which comes through process (pick up the peg, squeeze the peg, place the peg on the bucket, repeat). While undertaking this activity here are some questions/interactions to help you engage with your child
1. What colour is your peg? Where are the other pegs the same colour?
2. How many pegs are the same colour as the peg you've got?
3. Show me how you squeeze the peg....
4. Where does that peg go?
5. Tell me what other coloured pegs you can see?

I like the concentration on his face in this picture! Mr-almost-3 sat at this activity for about 20 minutes or so, and even asked for more pegs.

Here is the finished product:
(That's some impressive pegging!)

What simple activities do you like to involve your children in? I'd love to hear what and how you do it.....
Have a great day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

On the weekend we drove to Caloundra (about an hour and half drive) for the boys to go to the Wiggles concert with their uncle. They were very excited to go, and I was excited for them too. On the way up there, I realised that I had (yes, it was my fault) forgotten to pack the camera. So, there are photos but on Uncle Jon's camera. They were delighted that the Big Red Car was there, and Mr-almost-3 was very happy that Dorothy the Dinosaur was there too. Mr. 4 is walking around pretending to sleepwalk, because that's what Jeff did.

While the boys were at the Wiggles concert, Pete and I managed to sneak a date (!!)... we headed to the markets and fell in love with the most charming toy shop in Caloundra. We spent at least an hour in there browsing and looking for a present for Mr-almost-3's third birthday coming soon. I absolutely adore children's books. While I was at university (studying early childhood education) we had so many classes on literacy and I loved it. So while at the toyshop, we found a book titled 'There's a house inside my Mummy' about pregnancy. The boys love it!
Front Cover

This coming weekend Mum is coming over to do some sewing with me. Yay! I have so many half finished projects and so many to begin, so hopefully I'll be blogging about that after the weekend :)

Also, I have been feeling movement from the baby :)!! Hooray!

Hope all is good in your world!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

crazy weather

Thursday 20 October 2011

It's spring here and over the past few weeks we have had some incredible storms. One Saturday we even had two storms in one day - one to wake us up and one to send us to bed!! Here are some pictures:

This is the hail that fell last Saturday. Both our boys slept through it!! In other parts of our state the hail was close to golf-ball sized. Fortunately, not for us this time.

Today is clouding over again. I know some people think the weather is a bit of a bland topic, I find it interesting. It is something we all have in common.

Also, we have some very big news! In April 2012 we will welcome a new member to our family. We are 14 weeks pregnant :) What a blessing! We had a scan on Tuesday and the baby is very well and growing nicely. He or she was in there happily wiggling away showing us all the movements... what a delight! It hasn't been an easy journey for us to get here and I am very very thankful anf grateful.

What has the weather been doing at your place? What are you thankful for?
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Outside play and other things...

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Our eldest son, Mr. 4 loves to engage in play based activities, and he often bases these on things he has seen on TV. More often than not, its from Playschool. Yesterday, he was asking me to help him draw an Ambulance, but he wanted to sit in it. I admit, I was a bit stumped with the idea of drawing an ambulance, but then he wanted to sit in it and drive it ?! Drawing on every creative preschool teacher cell in my body we came up with this:

You mightn't be able to see but they have fabric scraps for seatbelts, attached to their chairs with a peg. The ambulance is outlined in chalk, and Mr. 4's steering wheel is the lid of the bucket that holds their toy cars.

This is the view from behind. Notice the red bucket for the 'ambulance light' and the red crosses Mr. 4 insisted I draw. He also decided that the ambulance needed doors at the back for the patients. All in all a very nice morning spent in the back yard!

My sewing funk continues some what. My Christmas stress continues, the thought of it sneaking up on us..... What I SHOULD do is get my bottom into gear and get out of said sewing funk and make some Christmas gifts. I have the ideas..... oh boy... do I have the ideas. It's just the motivation. I did find the time to finish this off though.

 The beauty is.. he's not meant to be perfect!! He is based on Hoot (from Giggle and Hoot - if you don't know, just Google it LOL).I thought I would attach it to one of the boys plain shirts. Any suggestions as to how? I would love to just iron it on if I could - would that work? Someone out there, leave a comment and help me out! (my sewing guru in still in the states by the way).....

Also, I had to share these with you. First of all, my amazing box of retro fabric (including the box!) for $10 - once again from the Recycle Mart!/TheRubbishRemovers.

Here are some of my favourites from the box:

Next is my amazing Pyrex dish which I paid a whole dollar for. I could be developing a Pyrex fetish.....

My great tin for $2. I love the flowers.

And last is one of my most delightful finds. A wooden apple. It cost $1!! (Thanks Salvos!!)

What creative things have you been up to? Let me know....
Have a great week,
Dansie :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The joy of completion !

Thursday 27th September 2011

Hi there everyone,

When I pause and think about what I've been up to the past few weeks, well, they've been busy..... but busy with what? A whole lot of.... stuff I guess.

My parents are overseas in America at the moment. I got an email yesterday saying they were headed for Zion National Park in Utah. I got on Pinterest to have a look. One word. Stunning.

Zion National Park, Utah

The Narrows - Zion National Park, Utah #bmc_nationalparks

(picutres from Pinterest)

They are on a tour and seem to have befriended everyone and invited them to come to Australia to visit. LOL... this doesn't surprise me at all! Also, in a few days its their wedding anniversary - 33 years. What an achievement, I'm so proud of them :)

I haven't been doing much sewing. I've become rather hooked on Pinterest, so the creative juices are flowing and the ideas are tumbling around in my head. However, I have also realised that I'm probably not going to have handmade Christmas presents done for my tribe of neices and nephews like I thought I would. Siiiigh. Christmas seems to creep up on me every year! What are your plans for Christmas? I know its a while away yet, but for us its a bit of a juggling and balancing act, especially because Hubby often works Christmas day. Our family does gifts for kids, and both sides of the family are doing a secret santa this year. How do things work at your family Christmas gatherings? I'd be interested to know......

I did however, manage to sew some bunting for a gift. It was my first time sewing with bias binding and I was more concerned about what the binding was doing than watching how straight my sewing was. My friend who is a fantastic sewer said to me "did you iron the binding in half?" Doh! Wish I'd thought of that... perhaps my sewing would have been a bit straighter. When I began sewing someone said to me about the one metre rule: As long as it looks good from a metre away. This rule applies to the bunting.

And finally, I have been busting to share this with you. I picked this doll house up for a mere $5 at The Recycle Mart. It was grotty and sad looking but had good bones  - isn't that the case for a lot of thrifted items?

Over about 2 months I cleaned off all the dirt and grime, unpeeled off all the contact from the floors, painstakingly stripped and sanded it down, then spray painted it and recruited Dad to fit the flooring (which really means giving him some red and white spotted scrapbooking paper and some scissors and let him make it all fit. He did a great job btw!)

Here is the finished product (although I do still need to spray paint under the eaves LOL). All of the furnishings are from The Recycle Mart also (except the doily which I mooched off Mum), and the dolls I picked up 4 of them for $12 from the Eumundi Markets. For that price I thought I couldn't have dressed/decorated/created my own dolls. I didn't want to paint the doll house super girly colours as I knew the boys would mostly be playing with it for now.

The boys and Grandad named these two Joe and Jemima. The other two are just Mummy and Daddy doll.

Speaking of the boys, we spent all of the last week or so fighting against the most stubborn conjunctivitis ever. Thankfully, it is the first time we have had it in our house. I bid it good riddance, goodbye and don't ever come again. Please.

Hope your week is going fantastically!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Friday 16 September 2011


Spring is here! The warmth of the sun, the amazing blue skies and the beautiful days! Perfect.....
Our garden is flowering everywhere. Hubby is the gardener, not me - I cannot take any credit. Today while outside with the boys I snapped some photos of how lovely our garden is looking :

Above are the first flowers from our kangaroo paw! They look so cheery by the letter box!

Above are the tiny mulberries on our tree! Yay! We've only had the tree for a few weeks...
And finally.... pics of our blueberry tree :)

Hooray for glorious spring!
Have a great day :)