Category Archives: Holidays

More Kids’ Activity Packs

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Yesterday I showed you some of the activity packs I created for my two boys (see here). Today, I promised to reveal some of the other ones….

Colour Spelling. Match the paddle pop colour word to the correct coloured sleeve.

There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity Packs

Threading. Using large coloured buttons, pipe cleaners and thread. A great activity to get the little fingers working and to practice colour recognition.

There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity Packs

And my boys’ favourite – Fly Swat. I teamed a frog-shaped fly swat with collections of fly covered sight words, numbers and animal pictures. We have come up with lots of ways to play this game. My youngest has used the animal cards and as I called out the animal sounds, he hit the corresponding animal picture.  Last night, my eldest had me call out a number and he tried to hit it as fast as he could. There Was a Crooked House - Kids' Activity PacksSo there are 6 activity pack ideas for you.  Believe it or not, I have created more Easter themed ones which I will blog about soon. Can you believe it is that time of year again!?

Have a great day.

Simple St Patrick’s Day Artwork

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Last week I showed you a picture of the canvas print I picked up in the clearance section of a local discount store.St Patrick's Day Art and CraftThe plan was to transform it into a simple St Patrick’s Day artwork with the kiddies.

After surfing the internet for a bit of inspiration, we came up with this….

The kids got right into the task with Master O helping to paint the letters and trace the shamrock. St Patrick's Day Art and Craft

Initially, the plan was to just paint the shamrock, but on drying we found that the paint was cracking. Not wanting to persist painting to have the same problem happen again, we chose to cover the shamrock in buttons. Master C loved picking out the green buttons from my button collection – I couldn’t have dreamt up a better fine motor skills activity!St Patrick's Day Art and CraftSo this piece is now out on show and we are planning on some St Patrick’s Day treats for tomorrow.  We have made some hideous green cupcakes for morning tea and have planned a leprechaun treasure hunt with a horde of gold covered chocolate coins. It should be a bit of fun.

Happy St Patrick’s Day.

 

Free Printable Children’s Activities

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A while back I showed you a few educational and fun activity packs I made up for my boy’s to play with.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

They have been such a hit, I thought I would trawl the net for some more ideas.  I hit the jackpot when I came across these three sites with amazing children’s prinatables, lots of them free.

They were so amazing, the printer went into overdrive.  The laminator was fired up and I stayed up late making a lot of fun activity that the kids LOVE.

So what sort of activities did I find? Here are just a few…..

The cutest puppets and song sets. These are 5 Little Ducks and 5 Green and Speckled Frogs .

Kid's Printables

Kid's Printables

Colour Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Shadow Match Games.

Kid's Printables

Sequencing Games.

Kid's Printables

Threading and shoe tying help.

Kid's Printables

And lots of shape, reading and writing skills games.

I now have about 20 activity packs all made up.  I have got into the habit of grabbing one or two of them before I leave the house with the boys. They keep the boys well entertained while waiting for the doctor or for the meal to arrive at the cafe. A lifesaver in many ways!

Stop by the following amazing sites to print out your own activities…..

Picklebums, Busy Little Bugs, The Measured Mom.

Great Festive Cookie Recipe

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The other day I headed to the shops in an effort to finish all of my Christmas shopping.  The whole expedition went wonderfully.  I was focused, determined and fuelled by coffee. Well maybe I wasn’t 100% focused, because this little unplanned, but severely cute item, jumped into my trolley.Christmas Cookies

I mean with all the festive cooking that goes on around here, how could I not have a cute Christmas mug and snack plate?

One little festive treat I whipped up to enjoy on my new plate is this super easy and tasty cookie.

The recipe is not new. Last year I posted about the Cookie Jars that I gave to friends and neighbours. You can read about them here.

Christmas Gifts in a Jar

We so enjoyed these, I have baked them several times throughout the year.  But, now that the green and red m&ms are back, I had to make these cookies – Christmas style.

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients**

  • 1  1/3 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup christmas m&ms
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius (160 deg celsius – fan forced)
  • Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine
  • Add egg, butter and vanilla and mix until the ingredients come together
  • Roll heaped tablespoons into balls and place on a lined cookie tray
  • Bake 10-12 minutes

**These measurements are Australia metric. 1 cup = 250 mls, 1 tsp = 5 mls

Christmas cookies

Now it is time to sit back and enjoy one of these while my boys sleep off an active morning at the park. Yum!

 

 

Star Biscuit Christmas Tree

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I don’t know about you, but the Christmas invitations are coming in thick and fast.  While they are lots of fun, it can be hard to think of food that is special, and a little bit different, to take along and share. For one party this week, the boys and I made this Star Biscuit (Cookie) Christmas Tree. The whole thing didn’t take that long to make – with my little short cuts – was lots of fun and looked really effective.

My secret to making this whole project easy was using pre-made gingerbread biscuit dough.  I bought mine from the freezer section of Ikea.

Star Biscuit Christmas Tree

Another short cut was using this Christmas Tree Kit that I picked up for a few dollars a few years back at Kmart.

Star Biscuit Christmas Tree

The kit comes with different sized star cookie cutters and the little wooden stand to place the biscuits on.  This made the whole thing easy to do, but of course it is not essential should you wish to give this a go yourself.  You could print different sized stars on cardboard and use these as a template to cut the dough.  Then just stack the biscuit on top of one another, using some icing to keep things from toppling.

We found the Ikea dough to be easy to roll and cut.  It baked with little spreading – perfect for our project.  We rolled the dough extra thin so the biscuits would be crisp and we weren’t disappointed. They were delicious! It was lucky we even ended up with enough left over after taste testing to even make a Christmas tree! Star Biscuit Christmas Tree

After stacking the biscuits on the stand there was some debate about how best to decorate the tree.  We could have used icing or just a simple dusting of icing sugar, but my 5-year-old was adamant that a drizzle of melted white chocolate and some sprinkles was the way to go.Star Biscuit Christmas Tree

So in no time the tree was decorated and ready to take to the party.  It looked like it took a lot of effort but it was quick and easy. Any fiddly bits of the project were overshadowed by the fun we had when making it.

This will no doubt make an appearance again, but only after a trip back to Ikea to stock up on the delicious gingerbread dough!

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

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In the hope of avoiding  the shopping centre crush at Christmas time, I have well and truly begun my Christmas shopping.

In years past, my present buying had been a bit haphazard. This year I was determined to be organised by writing a list of gift ideas and items purchased, as well as keeping my receipts in one place.

I decided I needed a pocket book in which to keep this information. Instead of going out to buy one, I made one using left over craft paper from last Christmas.

The whole thing was really simple and quick to make.

I didn’t have any double-sided paper left, so I stuck some coordinated prints together to make three,  30 x 30 cm double-sided pieces of paper. If you wanted to do this,  you could use paper or light card and alter the size and number of  sheets to suit the size pocket book you need.

I folded the base of each sheet to make a little pocket.DIY Christmas Pocket Book

 

I held down and secured the sides of the pockets with a glue tape.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I folded each sheet of paper in half, using a ruler to get the folds crisp.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I stacked the pockets on top of each other and used the sewing machine to bind them together along the fold line.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

This configuration of folded sheets gave me a good number of pockets to place receipts or vouchers and some blank pages on which to write my Christmas present ideas.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

I have divided each spread up for the different individuals or groups/families I buy gifts for.

DIY Christmas Pocket Book

The front cover was screaming out for a little prettiness so my youngest helped me glue some buttons in a wreath shape on the front.DIY Christmas Pocket Book

This little book now lives in my handbag. I am never without my ideas list at the shops and my receipts can be stowed safely inside straight away.

How do you keep your Christmas buying organised?

 

Back to School: Easy Freezer ‘Baking’

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In our part of the world, kids return to school this week for the last term of the year.  In an effort to cut down on lunch preparations, I always do a bit of a cook up of treats for my husband and the boys’ lunch boxes.

I picked out four recipes I could freeze and doubled two of them.  These should last me a while!

I made Banana and Choc Chip Muffins (recipe here), Muesli Slice (see my post here), Lemon Slice (recipe here) and Homemade LCM bars (see Thermomix recipe here, regular recipe here.

Back To School: Easy Freezer 'Baking'

Lemon Slice, Banana and Choc Chip Muffins, Muesli Slice

Back To School: Easy Freezer 'Baking'

Homemade LCMs

What made this task so easy was the last three recipes were no-bake. So, in just under an hour, I had made enough treats to see me through to at least half  term.

I did have a few eager taste testers around to nibble on any piece that looked like it wasn’t going to be packed away.  The consensus was that everything was super yummy.

Do you do a big bake up for lunch boxes? I would love to hear what are your favourites to make.

 

 

 

Homework / School Paperwork Drop Zone

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As Kindergarten approaches last term and primary school starts next year for my eldest, we know our relatively ‘carefree’ parenting days are over.  Around the corner looms homework, permission slips and assignments, just to name a few.

At the moment, most of the paperwork that comes into the home from school is managed at the fridge – with magnets, or worse, is kept in the car glovebox!  It is beginning to look messy and things are being forgotten.  Increasingly the tasks sent home require some action from my son and I wanted these pieces to be more accessible to him.

So I set out to create a drop zone for all this ‘stuff’. I decided the best place to keep this was on the back of his bedroom door. That way it wasn’t taking up precious space in our living areas and it was accessible for my son.

Here is what the completed zone looks like.

Homework / School Paperwork Drop Zone

The zone is made up of …..

  • My After School Routine printable,  downloaded from Living Locurto.  We have had it pinned around the house for over a year now, so it makes sense for it to be placed in this zone now
  • A magnetic white board calendar (Quartet). Perfect for recording all those easily forgotten datesHomework / School Paperwork Drop Zone
  • Different sized plastic organisers (Ikea Pluggis).  These provide spots for holding pens for signing paperwork, writing on the calendar and Sharpies for labeling items heading to school.  Small containers for holding bits and bobs like ID cards and badges. Finally, a file to hold items like signed permission slips that need to be returned to school    Homewoork / School Paperwork Drop Zone
  • Plastic file holders (Martha Stewart Large Vertical Plastic Pocket) . One to hold general school paperwork like newsletters and tuckshop menus, the other for classroom paperwork like homework.Homewoork / School Paperwork Drop Zone

I have started to transfer the paperwork from my various ‘filing’ areas into this zone – a useful project as I found out that I am meant to be a fundraiser this weekend!  I am looking forward to testing its full usefulness beginning next week.

Kids Craft & Fun: Fishing Game

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After a little holiday at the beach last week, where we caught a lot of fish, the boys were itching to go fishing again.

Kids' Craft: Fishing Game

Kids' Craft: Fishing Game

Stuck in the house, I had to resort to some crafty, fishing fun.

I had on hand some cardboard fish cutouts.  I let the boys go wild with these, some glue and a whole heap of paper confetti.

Kids' Craft: Fishing Game

Kids' Craft: Fishing Game

Kids' Craft: Fishing Game

Once they were sufficiently decorated and dried we went about making our artwork into a fishing game.

I attached a large paper clip to the mouth of each of the fish.  I then fashioned a fishing line out of some string and a large magnetic clip.  I chose this magnetic clip over any other magnet because it was large and heavy, making it easier for the kids to wield and ‘fish’ with successfully.  This was also the safer option of all the magnets I had around the house – I didn’t want to use one that was small enough to be swallowed by the kids or our dog.

Crafty Fishing Fun

Crafty Fishing Fun

The kids love playing this game.  It kept them entertained for ages!

Crafty Fishing Fun

Crafty Fishing Fun

Beyond the Nappy / Diaper Bag: The Kids’ Bag

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I gave away the whole nappy bag caper quite some time ago.  I hated that thing. It was undoubtably premature, my youngest isn’t yet two and is still in nappies. It has led to some very embarrassing and annoying events like my son doing a number two, five minutes into a play date and I didn’t have a spare nappy or packet of baby wipes.  Or the time I picked up the kid’s spoon I hadn’t yet cleaned and placed it, complete with yoghurt blob, into my handbag and on top of  my favourite designer purse.

So it was these school holidays that I decided I needed to get my act together.  I assembled my outing must haves and placed them in a kid’s backpack.

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Backpack

 

Take a look what I put inside……

  • Nappy wallet.  This one has a built-in changemat and holds our nappies, wipes, scented bags, hand sanitiser and nappy cream

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

  • Eating out Pack.  I picked up this three sectioned pencil case on clearance at Target.  It holds my children’s cutlery, plastic straws, disposable bibs and hand sanitiser.  I often throw the stray sachets of sugar, sauce and salt in here too. You never know when they might come in handy.  The cutlery set I love to use when out is  Fuel Primary Snap Flatware. It niftily snaps together for easy and compact transport.

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

  • Kiddapotomus Tiny Diner Placemat. I love this thing! I have always hated the idea of my kids eating at restaurant and food court tables.  I don’t think they are particularly clean and kids always drop their food.  This is the solution.  It is a suction-capped placemat for kids.  It is wide enough that their hands and food won’t touch the table. It has a nifty little channel to catch any spills which doubles as a holder for the mat when it is rolled up.

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

  • Enjo Little Laundry Pack. Another love of mine! This little pack will remove any spill on your clothes while you are out. It comes in a nifty little pouch with a travel sized fabric fibre and miracle cloth. A true lifesaver and means I don’t have to carry a change of clothes around in this bag.  For those too-big-to-ignore clothing problems, I keep a change of clothes in the car kit.

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

  • Kids’ ID bracelets. I pop these on the kids whenever we go somewhere with big crowds. It has my mobile number on it just in case they become lost.  You can pick these up from lots of places on the net.Beyond the Nappy Bag: Packing for Kids
  • The Mommy Hook. A great little invention that helps keep all your bags together in one place.  I often use mine to attach the kids’ backpack to the shopping cart or pram

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

  • Baby wipes. What would we do without baby wipes?!

Beyond the Nappy Bag: Kids' Pack

The only thing I don’t carry in here that I would ordinarily pack in a bag such as this is sunscreen and insect repellant.  As we live in a super sunny part of the world, I have found it easier to keep large pump packs of sunscreen and insect repellant in the boot of our car and use it before or after we arrive at our destination.

So hopefully, now that I have all these items corralled into one handy backpack, I can avoid those unfortunate and embarrassing parenting events.  Time will tell ;)