Sunday, February 28, 2010

A gift of an ordinary day

To all mothers of young children, please watch this. It gives some real perspective from an older mother whose little boys are now all grown up. It is lovely. (And keep some tissues handy too.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A lovely weekend

It's 8.15, the kids have been asleep for hours already, and it's been a lovely and satisfyingly tiring weekend. We spent much of today in our lovely garden with our lovely (fake) green grass, making bubbles, playing and digging up old plants to make room for new ones. Out with the dead sunflowers and corn. The coming weeks we will plant more parsley, rocket, potatoes, new sunflowers, carrots, spinach and broad beans. All this abundance turns our little burgeoning vegie patch into an instant buffet for our girls whenever we are outdoors. They resemble mice, crouching in the patch, nibbling on strawberries, carrots, green beans or mint.

We also had a visit from a gorgeous, adorable little Sharpei...a little afternoon 'trial' while we deliberate adding to our family with a canine baby. The girls are desperate for a dog, and our voice of reason (husband) is weighing up how much 'extra work' and 'things to do' we will gain. Pros - the giving and receiving of love between the girls and the lucky little pooch, the extra unconditional love my eldest daughter will enjoy, the impetus to maintain and step up an active, outdoor lifestyle. A little someone to play with and fill in afternoons after school. Cons - work work work. Walks, vets, vaccinatons, feeding, scooping the poop....but can you just see that hopeful look in Yasmin's eyes? 'Please Daddy, please can we get one?'

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ooooooh I absolutely love Etsy

Last year, through reading many American blogs, I discovered It's a website where you can buy anything that is handmade or vintage. The website is easy to use and full of so many gorgeous handcrafted or vintage things. Here are some things I've bought through Etsy.

Bedtime Bus Roll Poster
I love this. It looks great framed in a simple white frame near the kids' bathroom. Love it.

Secret Love Letter Necklace
Whenever I wear this necklace, at least one person is bound to comment on it. It's lovely and I love the aged look of the gold. My six year old wrote me a teeny tiny note to go inside.

Weather clock wall hanging
A very sweet addition to our nature table (now on hiatus). The girls love to look at and decide today if it's snowing (never).

Did I mention I am OBSESSED with melamine? We use these often for picnicking in the garden. It makes a nice change from the Barbie and princess plates.

Enjoy the shopping!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Warriors of Toorak...oops Brazil

Today we took the older girls to see Warriors of Brazil. A-mazing. Truly incredible. A showcase of Brazilian music, dance and capoiera. It was full of energy and great music and acrobatics. The girls were captivated (except when Layla complained 'it's too loud for me!') and even had a chance to join the performers on stage with other kids in the audience.

While not strictly a children's show, I do love to take Yasmin to see different performances, she is always mesmerised. I always tell her after, 'you could do that, if you trained like they did.' I have no idea where she gets it, but she is incredibly agile, flexible and confidence physically. She has restarted her classes at the National Institute of Circus Arts, and I'm hoping she will continue with it. I have also taken her to see Cirque de Soleil and Circus Oz which she loved. We have Mary Poppins and Burn the Floor booked too.

The show was followed by a serious play in the garden (time to let off some steam) and pizza delivered to our door. Love it - no cooking and dishes to clean up.

Hope your weekend was full of (mostly) fun too.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homemade play dough

A great little activity we do when we need 'something to do' is homemade playdough. It's quick, easy and allows kids to be so creative. It's also good if you have children of various ages, as toddlers love the sensory stimulation (and chance to smush something) and older kids can make their own little 'science experiments' as you'll read below.

A quick Google search will give you lots of different recipes. We've used this one several times and it's easy.

Homemade playdough
1 cup flour
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
1 TBS cream of tartar
1 TBS oil
food coloring

Heat all ingredients in a saucepan, slow to medium heat. Stir continuously. Once dough is at the consistency you want, remove from heat. Cool before using.

The girls have had great fun with this. After the playdough cooled, I gave them each some balls I quickly rolled, and then they added food colouring (available from the supermarket). The food colouring box also has a little chart with ratios and combinations needed to make aqua, orange, purple etc. This was great fun for the girls as they added drops of different colours and then mixed the colour through. We watched as the playdough changed colour, and they chose which combinations they wanted.

Then we added smells. We did this by adding various food essence, also from the supermarket. I had mint, orange, coconut and strawberry.

The last part was adding glitter. The playdough looked awesome by now and each girl had their own little stash of creations. They took turnings smelling each others. We have done this also with other kids at our place and it is a hit. The mess factor is a little high, but its a great activity.

In our photos you can see Yasmin created birthday cakes using coloured matchsticks and icy pole sticks from our art and craft supply. (We also made this for Yasmin's birthday party last year and put this in the goody bags. We wrapped the playdough ball in cellophane with some bubbles mixture.)

It's always good to keep things like this in your rainy day list. (And yes I have a list. When I have three restless children literally hanging off me I find it a little hard to concentrate!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We are on day three of school, and I feel like me again. Feeling a bit more human, a bit more free and enjoying the break from my kids which is allowing me to enjoy them more!

Grade 1 is going well, and 3 year old kinder started today. Lots of smiles, reassuring sisterly hugs and hand holding. Finally, a big hug, a shy smile to her new trusted teacher, and the first day of kinder begins.

I can slowly start to see the light at the end of this tunnel, as my youngest one will attend a small little creche for two mornings a week run by some lovely girls. And another couple of years, it will be her turn to bid farewell. But for now, I will smooch and smother her as much as I can. And try to get through those chaotic, sometimes testy afternoons with as much patience and gentleness as possible. (Sometimes, not so possible.)

Living the good life...I think

I feel like celebrating. The last day of our 8 week summer holidays. School is back tomorrow. The 'back to school treat' orange choc chip muffins are made, the tabouli is ready, the backpack is suitably updated and decorated, and now I must set my alarm for 6am.

It was a mostly fun, definitely tiring, sometimes boring school break. Eight weeks with three little ones at was difficult sometimes to find a bit of air, some peace and quiet and a chance to restore myself. Someone I admire very much and is so knowledgeable about children said to me....'at this age, their holidays are your horror. You are just tired and sometimes we don't want to be with our kids.' And it's OK.

In between, there was our inaugural camping trip (Cumberland River Holiday Park), a lovely warm holiday in Koh Samui, some fun in Singapore, some playdates, parks and swims. Lots of colouring in, playing in the garden and some art programs. And for me...a couple extra savoured glasses of wine in the evening, retreating on the weekends and swapping stories of frustration with misbehaving children with friends.

So now, having made it, it will be back to the rushed mornings, packing lunch, and getting out the door. And to all the mothers feeling the same feelings tonight....We made it!