Friday, July 31, 2015

Rainbow / Colour Party

With a 9 and 6 year old - its been easy to recycle and turn upsidedown decorations ;)
Miss N asked for rainbows and bright colours and a piñata and pass the parcel.
{after changing her mind on a lalaloopsy party .. phew!}

I love a good theme so fleshed it out a bit, to help me with games and craft ideas.

The big colourful birthday party details.


On arrival we had bubble blowing, drawing with chalk on concrete while waiting all guests to arrive

Rock Painting:

I purchased a 15kg bag of river rocks from Bunnings.
Everything else was left over from the Art Party

Hot dog Rock by Miss G
Love older kids who take charge of party activities.
Miss G gave everyone Rainbows, icecreams, cherries, suns. $6 Face Crayons from Riot.

Spray Bottle Painting:
The Kids LOVED this activity. It was hard for everyone to wait their turn as I only had 4 waterbottles for 15 kids. I filled a waterspray bottle with a big squirt of acrylic paint and half filled with water. I bought a cheap white double bed sheet and hung it over the fence for them to spray. It's so addictive to spray colour out! I wanted to not share too! Will do this activity again!


Our first store bought piñata. I didn't have time to make one. The week he was in our house Miss N fell in love with him and didn't want to break him at first. But that didn't last. There may have been screams of smash him smash him. Kids love piñata's in my experience. The anticipation is palatable.
I have to buy a replacement for a room decoration. We got used to the little fella :)


Balloon Stands:

A lovely friend lent me these concrete and pvc pipe stands. Very handy and versatile!
For balloon towers blow up balloons and tie together in bunches of four (tie two balloons together, then tie two pairs together - no string just the balloon ends) then you just push each bunch onto and around the pipe. Keep adding bunches until pipe is covered. Easy to dismantle. Every kid wanted to take balloons home, so each got a bunch.

Rainbow Cake:

I'm no baker so I have to steer my kids to easy made cakes when perusing the internets :) This was a quick easy cake made from one round cake - my favourite types! I love it when a cake works.
Pinterest Food ideas :

Wafers dipped in chocolate dipped in 100's and 1000's. Easy and colourful. We also served marshmallows with choc and an M&M on top. Potato Chips and Freddo frogs and nuggets.
Miss N's favourite food.

 And I let the Birthday Shirts Here out early to wear for her colourful birthday.
Yay! And all my parties are done for the year!
I can't believe I said no parties this year. Kids really do love it. A bit of a stress but worth it.  I only wish we could invited all our friends and family. I'm thinking I'm going to have to start having school friends, family, church friends multiple parties!! The past couple years my kids have had school friends/class by default but I've been so sad that we didn't have everyone else. Next Time!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Traditions and Rituals for Families

Perhaps it's because I'm lazy.

{True Story.}

Or maybe there really is something to be said for Family Traditions and Rituals.


I've found I'm much more motivated when there is a reason or tradition.

Because you can't mess with tradition.

Lately I've lost my zest for most things {what!? you can tell!? I'm never here}

I never update this blog, or do anything worth blogging

Between work, Relief Society President, hours of kids homework I just don't have desire.

This week I had another realisation about traditions. For years now I've been wanting to celebrate Christmas in July. Just because. It's silly and no reason, but why not? Of course we had about 5 things to do on the 25 of July so I thought it won't happen.. AGAIN. Anyway I woke up Friday the 24th and thought just do it. Just do it tonight anyway with whatever you've got.

And you know what? There was a pep in my step. I lovingly decorated that table with whatever Christmas decorations weren't up in the roof. We hung a star light. I made a roast dinner with trimmings and dessert. We played Christmas music. A child played Christmas songs on the  piano.

I put in effort.

Lately I'm not in the mood for cooking, or preparing or crafting or doing much at all.

The thought entered my mind that I really like traditions. And reasons.

Having a timeline, an expected due date, a deadline. Without, I do nothing.

As an adult with not many {important} deadlines I think family life can really slip by.

When was our last proper fancy homemade dinner? {Easter?}
When was our last extended family get together {Easter?}
When was the last time we celebrated something {Miss G's Birthday}
What was the last thing we created together?
When was the last time we ALL sat and talked together? {Family Home Evening}
When was the last time we went on a random spontaneous outing?{School Holidays}
When was the last time we put thought and love into decorating? {Christmas in July}
When was the last time we watched the Sunrise?{Last Year}
When was the last time we watched the Sunset? {Winter Solstice}
When was my last date with the MR? {our birthdays 7 months ago?}
When was the last time we celebrated anything?

I've realised most of these things happen for our family around traditions and holidays.

Now not all traditions are good. Some traditions bring stress and hard work. It HAS to be this way because .... Just BECAUSE... it's tradition. Now I'm all for only doing what works and getting rid of stuff that doesn't. But maybe, just maybe I need that tiny bit of stress.
That tiny bit of EXPECTATION....

I really feel that tiny bit of expectation is important for me.

Life has been a little overwhelming, a bit busy, a bit in the doldrums, a bit repetitive - which will always make one lose desire {who isn't over cooking, cleaning, washing, homework?}

But give me a reason, a tradition, a ritual.

And it makes it a little easier for me to have a fulfilling life.

Might be time for me to add some more traditions to our life.

What are your favourite family Traditions?

Simple Family traditions that we use

Attending Church weekly
Monday Night Family Night
Friday/Saturday Movie Night
Watching the Sunrise once a year {used to be on Queen's Birthday or Easter}
Celebrating Birthdays with as many large candles as your age, birthday letter and crown, choosing your own breakfast and sticking candles in it
Birthday Shirts
Celebrating Winter Solstice with a fire and watching sunset
Photographing the Eating of the first mangoes of the season
Back to School Dinner
Easter Monday at the Dam
Visiting the place we got engaged each year and having a picnic with the kids
Going to the Ekka
Making Advent Calendars
Measuring Day {the same day each month we measure the girls and make a excel spreadsheet}
Its measuring day, its measuring day can be heard sung out on those days by the girls
Climbing on the Roof with Daddy
Grandparents Christmas Dinner
Sewing Christmas pillowcases and a million other Christmas Traditions

Friday, June 26, 2015

Art Party

So this year was the year I said no one was having a birthday party and could choose a fun place to go as a family instead. First child obeyed but well as the ideas got crazier and wilder, and then - how about I bring this friend or that friend or two, or as well as the family outing - we will do this too, add in visits to restaurants, but what about the pool party, can I do both? , but we've had a party (of some sort) every year, the begging and cajoling got too complicated so I caved and said it will be easier (and cheaper) for everyone to  have a party! You can have a party! And You can have a party....

So here we are...

Miss G is an art and craft freak so I thought an art party would be a good idea.
There are so many ideas out there, and she had a few ideas of her own, but we went easy.

I bought 10 kids an art book, letter of their name and mini easel.
We painted and decorated, opened presents, ate, decorated a paper bag to put it all in. Done.

The cake was so easy and I was happy with how it turned out.
Pretty, quick and easy. My favourite combination!
I didn't forsee the fight over who got to eat the slices with the colour blobs though. Kids!!

The finished products.

I had lots of ideas for fancy foods but when the birthday girl said she wanted calippo iceblocks and chips and drinks I thought I'm insane for trying to talk her out of it.
She wants calippo's? Give em I say. Sooo easy!! 
I gave up on fancy food and attempting pinterest perfect parties a while ago.
I did throw in some nuggets cause I felt bad.

We painted this sign from an idea on pinterest though.
Wasn't as good as the pinned one but effective nonetheless.
Helping me set up.

Friday afternoon parties are becoming my favourite.
I find Saturday parties harder to clean for and organise with everyone home 'helping' or messing.
They seem to take ALL day and the party always goes overtime (which is ok, but still)
Friday parties from 3:30 till 5:30pm everyone is always gone by 6 latest and its done.
Kids spend the preparty time hyper at school and not at home underfoot.
I set this party up Thursday night as I had work Friday.
Anyway it seemed a lot easy than a Saturday party. And that's my party tip.
I feel silly sharing our parties sometimes as they are pretty simple but I like real parties with realistic price tags (I have about $100 - 150  budget per party) and even though I love and get many of my ideas from party blogs most are done in a studio and are ideas to share online, not at real parties.

and an art party is the perfect place to wear your arty number birthday shirt.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Winter Solstice 2015

As per tradition ~ a little Solstice celebration.
This time we had hot chocolates in hand to watch the sunset.
Sadly the sun was hidden by the city. Then the clouds cleared.
We saw the Moon, Venus and Jupiter all in line.
We came home to marshmallows and fire.
Happy Longest Night of the year.


Its pretty crazy that its mid winter and we were doing this on Saturday and a few even swam.

Previous Solstice Celebrations Here: 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fabric Marker {Number Birthday Shirts}

I saw this idea this week for a Personalised Letter Shirt and thought perfect for our birthday shirts.

Which is lucky as I was just thinking this week I need to get onto that.

There are birthdays coming up!

And how lucky that we could use the same stencil. We have a 9 and 6 year old!

Buy a plain white Tshirt.

Print out a number

Use a Stanley knife to cut out the number.

Stick Stencil onto shirt

Use fabric markers to decorate

I didn't have any contact but laying a piece over the hole and then cutting the number out leaving a small border so it will stick onto your shirt would be perfect. I used sticky tape to create a little sticky border to help it stick on the tshirt, as I knew the kids wouldn't be able to keep the stencil on the shirt without moving. We also used double sided tape to stick down the circle in the middle of the 9/6

We placed a piece of cardboard between the layers of the shirt so it didn't bleed through and to give a hard surface to draw on.

Using Fabric markers (our local store was sold out of felt markers, so we had to use fabric crayons) draw lines all over the stencil. Our tshirt stretched a bit - catching on the crayons. I helped by keeping the tshirt firm in place.

When you lift off the stencil you should have a lovely number left behind.

When I said I wanted to photograph them the girls went and styled themselves like this:

Previous Birthday Shirt Ideas:


Paint Stencilled Birthday Shirt

Letters {ONE} Birthday Shirt

Felt and Fabric Birthday Shirt

Ribbon Birthday Shirt

Reverse Applique Birthday Shirt

Zig Zag Stitched Birthday Shirt 

Spotty Reverse Applique

2 Birthday Shirt

Recycled Corderoy Pants 5 Birthday Shirt

Felt and Fabric double layer 10 Birthday Shirt

Felt Cat and Reverse Applique 11 Birthday Shirt

Felt Snowflake and Stitched #6 Birthday Shirt

Bleached Out Number Shirt

Sunday, May 24, 2015

FHE Lesson {Be spiritually Full}

Opening Song: Teach Me to Walk in the Light #177

Opening Prayer: child


As soon as I heard this object lesson in the General Womens Conference I knew we would do it as a FHE lesson. Filling our Homes with Light and Truth by Cheryl A Esplin :  {Preread }

The concept of being filled with light and truth became particularly important to me.
Many years ago I attended a meeting where members of the Young Women general board taught about creating spiritually strong families and homes.
To visually demonstrate this, a Young Women leader held up two soda cans.
In one hand she held a can that was empty and in the other hand a can that was unopened and full of soda. First, she squeezed the empty can; it began to bend and then collapsed under the pressure.
Next, with her other hand, she squeezed the unopened can. It held firm. It didn’t bend or collapse like the empty can—because it was filled.
We likened this demonstration to our individual lives and to our homes and families. When filled with the Spirit and with gospel truth, we have the power to withstand the outside forces of the world that surround and push against us. However, if we are not filled spiritually, we don’t have the inner strength to resist the outside pressures and can collapse when forces push against us.

Satan knows that in order for us and our families to withstand the pressures of the world, we must be filled with light and gospel truth. So he does everything in his power to dilute, distort, and destroy the truth of the gospel and to keep us separated from that truth.
 Have two soda/softdrink cans prepared. One full, one empty.
{I knew my kids, so we drank the drink at dinner, so each kid had an empty can}
Ask a child to come forward and squeeze an empty can
Then get them to squeeze a unopened full can.
We led a family discussion around these two cans:
What is the difference between the two cans?
Why is one easier to squash?
How can we be like these cans?

even though they look the same from a distance -
one can is strong and cannot be bent or changed or damaged.
the other can is empty and therefore weaker and can be changed by outward forces.
Like these cans we need to fill our lives with important things that make us strong
- strong spiritually, physically and emotionally

How do we become strong like the full can?
What things can you/our family do to make sure we are filled?

{prayer, scripture reading, being kind to our family, spending time together, going to church, eating healthy, learning, etc}
What are some examples of outside pressures that could collapse us if we are not spiritually filled?
{peer pressure, stress from school or work, people being mean etc}

Remember it is important to be filled from the inside and not just a empty can.

Closing Song: Seek the Lord Early #108

Closing Prayer: Child

Treat: Spiders! Ice cream floats with your soda.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

FHE Lesson {Mothers}

Mothers Day is coming up and I think we can all do with a little reminder to love our mothers more.
Opening Song: Mother Dear #206

Opening Prayer: Mommy

Lesson: Daddy

Scripture:And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it. (Alma 56:48)

Have your family take turns sharing favourite memories about their mother or grandmother.
What do you love most about your mum?
If you have them, look at photos of the women in your family.

Why do we have mothers? 
Why are mothers so special? 
Did Jesus have a mother? (Show gospel Art picture kit picture 242) 
How did he treat his mother?
How can you (child) show your mother you love her? 

What special day is happening in one week?
Go through ideas or plans on how you plan to celebrate.

How can we act like it is Mothers Day all year round?

Write/draw on a heart shape something child/husband will do for mother this coming week.
Share the poem My Mothers Hands from May 2010 Friend Magazine. 
Cut out handprint shapes and write on things/service the children can do to be like mothers hands

Closing Song:  The Dearest Names #208

Closing Prayer: Mommy

Mum's favourite dessert

Music: “Dearest Mother, I Love You” (Children’s Songbook, 206)
Music: “I Often Go Walking” (Children’s Songbook, 202)
Music: “Love Is Spoken Here” (Children’s Songbook, 190)
Music: “Mother Dear” (Children’s Songbook, 206)
Music: “Mother, Tell Me the Story” (Children’s Songbook, 204)
Music: “Mother, I Love You” (Children’s Songbook, 207)
Music: “Quickly I’ll Obey” (Children’s Songbook, 197)
Music: “The Dearest Names” (Children’s Songbook, 208)

Mothers in The Scriptures May 2008 Friend Magazine
Mothers in the Scriptures

There are many mothers mentioned in the scriptures. Can you match their descriptions with their names and the names of their sons? If you need help, turn to the scripture references provided

1. The Lord told my husband in a dream that Jerusalem would be destroyed. My sons went back to Jerusalem to obtain the brass plates. (See 1 Nephi 1:18; 2:5; 3–4.) {Sariah Mother of Nephi} 

2. I promised the Lord that if I had a son, he would serve the Lord. My son grew up in the temple and became a prophet. (See 1 Samuel 1:9–11, 20, 27–28.) {Hannah Mother of Samuel} 

3. I did not have any children until I was very old. My son baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. (See Luke 1:57–60; Matthew 3:13–17.) {Elisabeth Mother of John the Baptist} 

4. I was called “blessed” by an angel of the Lord. My son became the Savior of the world. (See Luke 1:27–28, 31–32.) {Mary Mother of Jesus} 

5. My husband, Abraham, was commanded by the Lord to sacrifice my son. (See Genesis 21:3; 22:1–18.) {Sarah Mother of Issac} 

6. I saved my baby son from the pharaoh by putting him in a basket in the river. He later led the Israelites to the promised land. (See Exodus 2:1–9;3:1–10; 6:20.) {Jochebed Mother of Moses}

Sunday, April 26, 2015

FHE Lesson {100 Years of Family Home Evening}

A recent Family Home Evening  ~ Palm Sunday Lesson

This week marks 100 years of Family Home Evening!
such an inspired program and needed more than ever!

As a person who feels like they've done ALOT of FHE Lessons know that:
Everyone struggles with FHE at one time or another. 
Sometimes we need a spark, to restart or change some things about how FHE is run.

This week isn't a lesson but some ideas of things we've done over the years to help us with FHE.

Please feel free to leave your suggestions in comments below!

So Here are some tips I've used over the years to lengthen out FHE to more than a few minutes.

:: Journal Writing
Use the first few minutes of FHE to write in journals. (I did this more when I had little children) The girls would draw a picture of anything that happened in the last week in their journals. Then I would write the words above for them. I found this helped me as I was now keeping atleast a weekly update of what they were getting up to.

:: Scripture Hero/Story
I was helping in Primary and they were holding up a picture of Adam and Eve and asking who it was. I was shocked when neither my 3 or 6 year old answered! They KNOW THAT!. But then I thought about it, and realized we had moved beyond holding up pictures and sharing the bible stories as our older kids grew and moved into more subject orientated FHE. Having 14 years-5 years old in the family we have to make sure we cover both younger and older learners. 

Each week the younger children will hold up a picture from the gospel art kit and tell us about it, ask us questions on who is this? What is this story?

:: 60 Seconds
When our kids were little they could not even sit still to hear the lesson! We instigated a 60 seconds of silence with a timer. They had to sit still and not talk. It took a while before they could even do this!! A few times we would say we have to restart! Overtime they got used to it and looked forward to it - as a parent I found pure silence to be very relaxing and good way to start FHE

We have a fairly large whiteboard that we use often. Whiteboard can be used for pictionary, drawing out the lessons, games, for the little ones to scribble on while we focus on the older ones, or for older children to be scribes {give them something to do}

::Song App
We have the Childrens Songbook App for our Ipad. It has most of the childrens songs with the words and a bouncy ball when to sing the words. It also has several photos to go with the songs. When we sing we use the app and our younger child slides the pictures for us while we sing. It makes it fun and they want to sing for a long time! The lovely MR uses cable between the Ipad and TV so we get it on the big screen!

Monday Night is our Fancy Dinner Night. I try to cook a better dinner on Mondays, with sides and with dessert. We set the table with a table cloth and try to make it look nice. We start our FHE before Dinner. We open with prayer and sing Love at Home while all holding hands around the table. This is the opening of FHE for us. Once dishes are cleared we go straight into FHE. It helps extend the length and idea of FHE to our kids and they know that Monday night is family night from about 5:30pm-7pm

{I'm sad to say that after about 2+ years of doing this it has fallen by the wayside the last year. Just last week, my 8 year old leant across, reached for my hand and said 'we havent sung Love at Home ,holding hands in ages! I miss it! (of course during a busy, stressful night when it was the last thing I wanted to do!! kids really do know the right thing!) so reinstating this might be my goal for FHE!}

::Articles of Faith
We printed and laminated each Article of Faith on a separate piece of paper. The girls take turns choosing an article of faith to hold up, read out, make us guess

We have a shy girl or two so we take time having turns at practicing our testimonies.

:: Now we have two young women we are including Personal Progress goals and what they are working on

:: Here are 2 years worth of Lessons by me


Here's another short lesson I previously wrote about how to plan FHE better in 2013.
Its always a good time to ask your kids what they want more of!
I thought it would fit in with the goal planning night.

We put forth the question to our girls - 
What can we all do to make Family Home Evening better this year?
What things would you like to do?

 These are the answers they came up with:

:: Chocolate for the treat

:: An "I love You because..." spot (one person each week and we will list things we love about them)

:: Bring back 60 second silence (to get our kids to be quiet and get ready for FHE and to practice reverence we use to time to see how long they could be completely quiet for)

:: Take Turns at teaching the lesson

:: Outings for FHE once every two months

:: A hug at the beginning and end of FHE

:: Recite/learn more scriptures

:: More games

:: Continue with our 'fancy dinner' night meals before FHE 
{we set the table with tablecloth and full settings and fancy cups on Monday night and try to have a good quality meal. Interesting side note the kids are more acceptable to higher quality (read vegetables) meals on these nights because I say this is what you would get in a restaurant ;)

:: Act out stories of different prophets in the Book of Mormon and scriptures

:: Always sing Popcorn and Snowman

Most of these we thought up by our kids. I was very surprised at a few of them. Even though this is a completely SIMPLE idea for a FHE I thought I would share it because our girls came up with some lovely ideas I wouldn't have thought of myself, or knew that they wanted.

Wishing you all the best with successful Family Home Evenings.

What suggestions would you share for Family Home Evening?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Camping {Sharp Park Riverbend}

Once again I wasn't organised with where to camp on the holidays {are we ever?}
So after a shout out for suggestions of places to go we haven't been....
{I'm of the belief there are too many places to see in a lifetime to revisit the same areas repeatedly}

Sharp Park Riverbend Bush Camping Canungra was where we ended up.
Since I've reviewed all the other places we've camped, why not this one too.

This campground ticked off most of our required camping essentials.

Easy access - park is right on a main road.
1 hour from Brisbane
Camp Fires Allowed/ Metal tins provided
Was no mosquitoes or bugs {during our visit anyway}
Quiet Family Camping Ground
Toilets in close proximity
BBQ's available

Only Downside was - No Showers

We ended up by chance with the most choice spot of the whole camp. The campground is on two sides of a creek and we ended up on the smaller side next to the Day Stay Area. If you are to visit I recommend campsites 1-4. They are right on the river and you can be lazy parents and sit in your camp chair and watch your kids in the river playing like we did (well we dont have toddlers anymore so its getting easier.)

^^ View from our Tent Site

 ^^ View from our Tent Site

^^Local Wildlife. Friendly Ducks and Geese and other birds were the only animals we saw

^^Kookaburra by Kalani


^^Building Rock Cairns - very relaxing activity with the girls. I loved it!

^^They are all old enough to build the tent! Yay!

 ^^ Home Sweet Home

 ^^Campfire a must.

^^Misty Mornings

^^Roisens Lookout. We saw two people paraglide off and come back and land. It was awesome

^^Always drawing, even by torchlight

Past Camping Reviews:

Neurum creek
Flanagans Reserve
Elanda Point

Somerset Park

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