Posted in Parenting

Making an easy dinosaur costume

Book week was coming up…I started getting excited…I have a huge appreciation for children’s books, so book week is always a fun week at school for me.  An exciting part of book week is that children often have a book character dress up day which is always a lot of fun!  I started thinking of all the things Levi may want to be…James and the giant peach, charlie and the chocolate factory or any Julia Donaldson character from her amazing books.

One afternoon I asked Levi “What book character would you like to dress up as…you can be any character from your favourite book” “Ummm mum I’d really like to be a dinosaur from my Stomp book!”  Oh man, I thought how are we going to do that without spending lots of money and time?  A dinosaur?  Really? There are so many fun ideas out there!  If I bought a dinosaur onesie it would be likely that he would wear it for an hour, get too hot and take it off never to be worn again.  I wasn’t keen on wasting money on something like that so had a think…

At the beginning of the year I made some dinosaur tales for the boys which I could use and add to, so away on pinterest I went!  Now Im telling you I am in no way good at sewing so these tutorials I found are great for beginners and the boys loved them!  The dinosaur tails are great as they are easy to wear and can be taken off when they are sick of being dressed up without the hassle of a whole costume change!  The boys love them so have defintely been worth the effort.  Here is the website I used to make the tails, definitely worth a try!  Click here

Next I found a site where you can easily make dinosaur hoodies in next to no time and  at a low cost so this was perfect for me!  I found $9 hoodies and packets of felt from The Warehouse and away I went to get sewing!  I always make two of everything these days for the boys, one each, this eliminates a few fights and then they can play together.  These were a lot easier to make than the tails and took a lot less time.  This is the tutorial I used click here.

So in one afternoon I had sewed two dinosaur hoodies ready for the book character parade. I’d love to say that they were faultless but there are a lot of mistakes in my sewing so don’t look too closely!  My most precious moment was when I heard Levi telling his teacher that he loved his costume and that his mum made it.  It made me melt and felt immensly proud that he appreciated my effort.Ps.  They are currently running around the garden roaring with their costumes on and fighting with their tails ūüėā


Posted in Parenting

The Threenager 

Wow and just like that the adorable, cutesy cannot-do-wrong two year old is gone…and he’s not even 3 yet!!! 
 I remember this well with Levi and now it’s dawning on me that we are going back into the war zone with Louis. For some reason my boys seem to totally skip terrible twos and become threenagers!!! 
You know you have a threenager when:

  1. You can feel like putting yourself in time out…that feeling that you cannot be without them seems to dim slightly and you can consider having some time away…is this why we start funding 20 free hours in NZ Childcare centres from 3 years? ūüėā
  2. There is no way in hell there is any compromise…before you could gently coax or ‘ahem’ manipulate them into thinking wearing their gumboots on was a good idea, now it’s an all out brawl! They end up wearing the gumboots but on the wrong feet because they fight for them to be on the wrong feet all the while you feel the grey hairs beginning to sprout on your head. 
  3. Easy tasks are huge tasks…putting a lid on their drink bottle HAS to be done by them, in their time, their way. Half an hour later after a fit of rage, screams and water everywhere the lid is on the bottle!! 
  4. You think you have them pegged in the eating department, you feel you know what they like and what they don’t. Nope it’s like their taste buds change daily and they almost enjoy not liking any food anymore! 
  5. They don’t want to walk anymore…What used to be a fierce independence of walking unchartered territory has now given way to sore legs, tiredness and laziness. You vow not to carry them anymore since they are so heavy but as they scream along behind you in public and attract sympathetic stares from onlookers you reluctantly pick them up and continue walking. They won…again. 
  6. Bedtime is a mission!!!!!! They used to love naps and going to bed, now there is every excuse in the world to not go to bed and will get up numerous times! But they are so exhausted they NEED the sleep, you NEED them to sleep and they will fight to the bitter end! 
  7. You love them unconditionally and they know it. They know that it makes you immensely happy when they tidy up so just as you are about to loose your cool they begin tidying up their toys without being asked! So you scoop them up for a cuddle to thank them for being so amazing, then they tell you not to help as they are tidying THEIR way! 

So it’s time to devise a new plan for our threenager, what boundaries that will not be crossed and what we will let slide. For picking your battles with a threenager is the only way to stay sane as a parent ūüėČ

Posted in Education, Parenting

Easy magnetic words

This is a cheap and easy activity for your child that helps them to identify letters, read, spell and write words.  So easy I have made an extra for a giveaway that I will share with you tomorrow!

I made this activity for $12!  It can be re-used throughout their schooling with their spelling words and is an easy way to make a mundane homework activity fun!  Of course if you already have a baking tray and the alphabet letters it can be absolutely free!

I laminated the word card so it can be reused but you could just as easy write your child’s words on paper and stick it on the tray.

You need:

1 cookie baking tray (Kmart had cheap ones!)

Magnetic alphabet tiles (I found they were cheapest at The Warehouse)

Washi tape or vivid to draw a line on the tray

Method:

  1. Stick washi tape on the tray to make a line for your child to make words on. You could just as easy draw a vivid line on the tray if you did not have tape.
  2. Write the word your child is focusing on paper and stick at the top of the tray.
  3. To start with you can have the letters they need to make the word jumbled on the line, this makes it easier for them to order the letters when learning the word.
  4. The next stage would be to put the letters jumbled at the bottom of the tray.
  5. When they are very confident you can put a group of letters under the line, some won’t be in the word so they have to identify what they need and order them on the line.




This activity can also be adapted to learn their names with younger children.  Why not give this a try I would love to hear how you go!

 

Posted in Parenting

Life as I know it…

If someone was to ask me to sum up my life right now with one word I couldn’t.  Like a traffic jam of holidaymakers returning home, there are too many words to describe this full and eye opening life.

So for now I will share my top seven words instead…

Loud…We are THAT family, the one that turns up at the family events with a roar and a hiss.  I watch as our boys run into houses with confidence…and also noise.  I am kidding myself as I say before an event “right lets just try act normal and no fighting” because most of the time within 10 minutes it’s my two who are scrapping over a toy or shouting out ‘bumhole’ on a silent glow worms cave visit.  I watch people as their eyes widen and then try peel themselves off the wall after our exit.  

Exciting…there are always things to look forward to, given they are small things like on Saturday we are going to make a volcano out of sand or let’s go collect pinecones but they are exciting nevertheless.  Excitement is contagious, but excitement from children is a epidemic!  Watching their delight in what they are doing and/or seeing is priceless.

Chaotic…you only have to call me to get the full force of this crazy life as like bees to honey the whole family is drawn to me while I am on the phone.  A million questions being asked at once, a fight to stop, and tears to wipe away as a superhero toy won’t stand up like he is supposed to.  Throughout this trying to get the balance right of keeping the housework manageable, everyone fed, quality time together and my work up to date.

Fun…our lives are filled with fun, my boys are busy yes but so much fun.  There is nothing better than being silly, running around with the kids and laughing till we fall on the floor. Totally exhausting at times but I doubt I will remember that over all the fun memories we create as a family.

Sick…my medical kit is growing daily, I feel I can diagnose a problem because of the fortnightly visits to the doctors that never cease.  I have been around the alternative remedies route as many recommend…chiropractic, vitamins, whole foods, specialists and our house is warm and dry.  I have come to the conclusion it is in fact…that they are children and they get sick it’s just the way it is!  ALWAYS have enough supplies to deal with the symptoms to prevent yourself going crazy! 

Loved…The best feeling of all.  We have the most amazing group of family and friends who genuinely love us for who we are.  I couldn’t survive without my friends, who are honest and supportive.  We share the ups and downs and encourage one another, we have playdates with our unwell children because we have cabin fever.  Us mums escape our houses for late night Kmart missions to redeem our sanity. 

Complete…there is nowhere I would rather be, no one I would rather do life with than my husband and boys.  They are my world, my crazy, my love, my everything.

 

 

Posted in Education, Environmentally friendly, Parenting

Our wonderful worm farm

I know, I know it sounds gross right? ¬†But its not as bad as you think! ¬†After moving to our new house I ¬†looking for a way to get rid of our fruit and vegetable scraps without going down the compost route (they can attract rats..i hate rats!) and a practical way to help teach the boys about caring for our environment. ¬†After lots of research we decided on a worm farm, it wouldn’t take up too much space or my time and the worms create worm tea/wee that benefits the garden!

We have had a worm farm over a year now and have found it is so useful in our household.  It is very low maintenance and there is no need to touch the worms at all.  It was also very cheap to buy ($15) so it was a great investment for our first worm farm and you can build on it if you want more worms!

I have found that the kids are right into it, helping out feeding the worms, covering them over and collecting the worm tea/wee to use in our garden and to sell for pocket money!   It is a great learning experience for them in the way that they are learning how to look after our environment by using our food waste rather than throwing everything away.

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Our wonky carrots and in the background amazing pansy garden thanks to the worm farm.

Have I mentioned it is AMAZING in the garden?  Our summer fruit and vegetables have been abundant.  The worm wee/tea collects in the bottom of the worm farm, the worms turn the food scraps into a solid amendment called vermicastings, also known as worm casting or worm wee which speeds up the plant growth and reduced the effect of plant diseases and pests.  Although I have learnt I do need to water it down as it can be so strong on new seedlings!

Our watermelon and tomatoes from the garden.

Today Levi made some labels for the worm tea/wee to sell for some pocket money which was a fun activity to do together. ¬†He decided on the wording…although I did talk to him about not labelling it Levi’s worm wee…doesn’t have the right message hehe!

Levi’s labels on the worm tea, “Levi is 5, Look worm wee” ¬†I love the addition of the black barcode!

So if you ever get a chance or are interested I definitely recommend getting a worm farm at your place.  There are so many websites with information and lots of gardening centres and hardware stores that are willing to help.

Posted in Parenting

The best FREE winter school holiday activities! 

Get exploring

Being that its winter in New Zealand and the kids have been stuck inside a lot lately because of the rain, its a great idea to get outdoors!  If its nice enough go and find a great walk to go on together.  I totally recommend the tunnels at Northhead in Auckland this was such an adventure!  I took three boys to explore these tunnels the last holidays and we had so much fun!  Make sure you take a torch for in the tunnels and a cardboard box if you want to slide down the hills!

Exploring the outdoors is so much fun and so good for you too!

Games day

Get out your board games and have a games day! ¬†Kids love this time spent together, it’s great for turn taking too.

Camp inside


Its not ideal at the moment to pitch a tent outdoors but if your house will allow create a sleepover camping experience inside!  Push all the furniture aside and pitch your tent!  Create a fire to toast marshmallows over or toast them on your fire if you have one!

My boys absolutely loved this and didn’t want to take the tent down!! I didn’t even have to put the fly of the tent on as they were inside…bonus!! Louis would have his day naps in there and both boys spent the night in theirs.

Beach scavenger hunts


Too many people stop going to the beach in winter but there is still so much to do!  We go rock pool exploring, climbing trees, hunting for treasure, collecting shells and drawing in the sand.  Some times we throw in a long jump competition in for a laugh!  I have even found a few scavenger hunt checklists for rock pools, will add the link below.

My kids love using this!   Rock pool spotter checklist

Beating boredom with boxes


At our local supermarket they give you boxes instead of bags for groceries.  The kids think this is awesome as they get to use these boxes when they get home for creating cars, castles and robots.  Ask your children to work together to create a rocket to send to space!  Give them what they need and watch them work together.

Pet store



Visit your local pet store or animal shelter. ¬†My boys love to do this! ¬†It’s simple, it’s free and they ask the lovely people who work there lots of questions about the animals! ¬†In the holidays they often have colouring competitions and face painting which is a bonus!

Movie day

Hire a movie (or borrow one) and create an indoor cinema!  You can also get your children to create invitations to invite their friends to their home cinema!

Feed the fish

At Gulf Harbour our local marina you can feed the snapper, kingfish and even sting rays!  Please take into consideration what the fish you are feeding actually eat.  Eg at this marina they reccomend you feed them pilchards and lots of places no not reccomend feeding them bread.

Create your own olympics

The olympics is just around the corner why not get together with some other mums and think of an even each that you could put together to make your own olympics?! How much fun would that be!

Library visit

The library also runs holiday activities so get along and see what they are doing!  This is great if you have a large local library like we do as in the winter sometimes the kids are just dying to get out of the house.  Take a set of books home to read and enjoy together.

 

Check out your local area for school holiday activities, often the mall or hardware store will have craft activities that your children can do for free!  Next week we are going to a shopping mall to create aquariums to float Dory and Nemo inside!  I would love to see how you are spending the holidays with your family and yes for the many followers overseas who are enjoying summer I am totally jealous!!

Posted in Parenting

The best present for a 5 year old! 

Creative presents are a great idea for kids. These types of presents promote creative thinking, an inquiring mind, fine motor skills, cooperation, and family time!

This year we wanted to get a present for Levi that he could use.  He is so creative and is always thinking of what he can make by recycling what we already have.  He loves to create weird and wacky pieces of art that always seem to have a function. 

As Levis birthday is in winter it was a good idea to get something he can do during the wetter months stuck inside.  

We decided to create Levi’s toolbox!  

A box with all sorts of things so Levi geared with his imagination could create whatever he wanted.  Especially as he wouldn’t have everyday access to tools like he did at kindy,since now he’s at school. 

We included:


A kids set of tools – a screwdriver, nails, a hammer, a saw, a ruler, tape measure, a hard hat, tool belt & gloves 

A glue gun – cold glue guns are great

Small wood pieces 

Craft items – glitter, paint, pipe cleaners, stickers, plastic eyes, paint brushes 

Ice block sticks 

A 60l bin to hold all his things 
Slap on a sign and your away!  

It’s a good idea to talk to your child about what they can do on their own and what tools and activities need adult supervision. 

Levi has already created a few master pieces and what’s a bonus is he creates these in the shed with his dad.  Great father son time in the man cave…while I put my feet up and have a cuppa (but in reality will probably be folding washing ūüėÜ)