Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easter Countdown Calendar

Inspired by this idea found via pinterest

Yesterday my mind just couldn't rest until I had made this easter countdown.

I had all necessary items except little magnets. A quick trip to the shop fixed that!

It's a very simple idea but I think will work well.


These plastic eggs are quite large{around 8cm tall}. The only size that Woolworths was selling. Which is perfect because I hope to squeeze four treats into each egg! Countdown calendars can be tricky for big families! {I wonder what people with LOTS of kids do?}

Basically hot glue gun a magnet onto the back of each egg.

Add numbers, stickers, decorate each egg.
{I looked for easter stickers and found none. Last year I saw lots!?! - so ours are plain}

Attach to your fridge and you have an instant Easter Countdown!

Fill with daily activities, scriptures and treats!

It seems my glue peeled off easily from the plastic eggs that were filled too heavily. So I covered the magnets with tape as well to ensure the eggs didn't come apart/fall off the fridge.

We've changed the direction of ours so it starts at 7 so when each egg is used you know how many days are left to easter - We changed our christmas countdown last year.. made it easier to tell there was 15 days to go etc...

some ideas:

Palm Sunday activities
{we get palm leaves from our neighbour and wave them around and make palm crosses}
Dye Eggs
Make Easter Cards for Grandparents and family and friends
Make Chocolate Easter Nests
Make Hot Cross Buns
Do a Passover Dinner
Egg Hunt
Watch Easter Movie

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter Grass

Our Easter grass is done and grown. I think we even have time to grow a little more. Personally I want to try this one

How to grow Wheat Grass

I purchased my wheat grains from a health food store. Cost me all of 30 cents! You can grow wheat grass on paper towel without dirt if you wish! Here is how we did ours.

Place a thin layer of dirt in a dish/container. You can line it with plastic wrap if you wish esp if you are growing it in a cardboard container. Place wheat berries all over the dirt. You can bury them, we did a little of both, some under the dirt some above.

Water every day! I placed a water bottle mister/sprayer next to the dirt. The girls were to spray it three times a day {It got sprayed a lot more than that! Just too hard to resist for little girls!}

The wheat will sprout within one day! I swear that stuff grows while your back is turned. I really felt like it was an alien thing growing growing. It was almost creeping me out! {can you tell we don't do living things often?} One day it grew one centimeter within a couple of hours! We didnt keep exact measurements but if you keep a ruler near by the children could measure it as it grows.

To extend the life of the wheat grass trim it regularly.

Here is how ours grew in only ONE WEEK.

I had someone ask me: What the heck is easter grass and what do you do with it and why?

If you need some justification in you life {I often do} here are some reasons:

:: watching seeds grow gives room to talk about new life.
For christians Easter is the ultimate time to talk about life, death and life after death.

:: Even though it is not spring here for many people it is.
After a cold winter some lovely greenery in the home is welcome.
I also told my children that chicks, bunnies and plants are used at Easter as it was spring when The first Easter occurred, even though it is not here.

:: Easter Bunny believers will love leaving it out as a fresh snack for their visiting bunny

:: I've seen people use it in easter baskets instead of the plastic/paper fake grass
It's alot cheaper and is natural and will compost.

:: Makes great table centre pieces

:: Wheat grass takes about a week or so to grow.
Children can anticipate the coming of easter while looking after their grass.

:: All my school age children have been following lifecycles at school this term. They have grown grass heads, alfalfa sprouts, tadpoles. Another example at home is always good and they wanted to take it to school to show how much faster it grew than the school ones!

Enjoy creating different scenes with your Easter Grass! Ever evolving.

*note do not leave inclosed for long periods of time. I left my cake stand dome over the grass for a couple of days and spider web like mould started to grow. Wheat grass likes air! Wheat grass will be perfectly fine if covered for a few hours though if using for table decoration.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Easter Tree

Our Easter Tree is up.

It's not the most beautiful or perfect but each egg and picture of Christ was hung by the girls {I'm sure I might even it out over time or add more ;) I love it when the girls say things like, Easter is like Christmas. We have a tree!

This year we have two trees. The other one is housing the 30 tags for the Living Christ Easter Countdown . Previous years we have used the branches to hold things we've coloured for family home evening from the life of Christ. Some years it just holds eggs and bunnies. Whatever you choose to put up the kids will love.

I've done a tutorial previously found here. But it is so easy. This year I didn't even bother painting the branches from our yard. I liked it au natural. When we trim our hedges, trees etc we leave it in a pile in the back yard to dry out.  This gives us stacks of branches to use throughout the year for decorating and fire! When I'm done I'll throw them back. Place branches in a vase or something to keep them anchored and decorate.

Its always fun unboxing things that have been put away for a year. My easter wreath is missing though (I think I threw it away, it had lasted through two easters and was a bit sad looking) so another thing on my easter to do list. Our wheat grass spouted in one day. Today (day three) there is definately visible little green fuzzy roots. Though I wish I saw THIS! before we planted. What a fun idea to do with Easter Grass with a spiritual message!

Lots of easter things going on here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sometimes I feel sorry for him

Sometimes I feel sorry for him.

Not often. But Sometimes

Especially when I find these pictures around the house.

They make me do an eyebrow raise, huh?

Is that what our life 'really' looks like?


Even though he's outnumbered I think our house is pretty fun. Our girls are sort of tom boys and enjoy computers and many of the interests of The MR. So life isnt THAT BAD for him.

But it still makes me do a double take everytime I find a family drawing by the girls.

OH my dear Mr... You are a rare man!!

*wondering if I've had an extra child? - my sister lives here and gets included in lots of pictures.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cornflour BiCarb Soda Dough Ornaments

There are just so many beautiful white ornaments around lately.

LOVE LOVE the look, not the price tag.

Even homemade with air drying clay can be too expensive especially if you want to make a lot. Those tiny slabs of moulding clay for $5 each won't get me many.

I've used salt dough before - especially if it is the kids using the dough it's a good cheap alternative.
found here and here

But it still looks a little too homemade- ish

I came across this dough recipe that uses cornflour and bicarb soda and I think the end result is a little more professional looking. The dough seems to be a little more white clay- ish. It will cost about $5 for the ingredients and will give you 50 or so ornaments.

Cornflour Bi-Carb Dough (this will make alot. I did a half recipe and got 20 ornaments)
2 c. baking soda
1 c. cornstarch (cornflour)
1 1/4 c. cold water

Mix soda and cornstarch together, in a saucepan, blending well. Add the cold water and mix well until mixture is smooth. Cook on medium heat for 2-4 mins until it has consistency of moist mashed potatoes. Stir constantly. Spoon out on a plate. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to cool. Knead dough and roll out on waxed paper. Cut out designs with a cookie cutter or shape by hand. Let dry until hard, 1 or 2 days. Paint ornaments with Tempra or water colors. Dry well and coat with clear shellac or clear nail polish. Hangers may be mounted on back with glue, or pressed into dough before it dries
I don't have the patience to wait days for it to dry so I dried mine in the oven on very low heat for 1-2 hours. (be careful though - I know have some brown ornaments - lucky I can just paint over it)
For these I used cookie cutters. Roll out dough, cut out shapes.  Using rubber stamps, stamp in any letters or pattern you want. Doilies can even be pushed into the dough to give a dainty look.
I used an alphabet rubber stamp set a friend gave me {I am so blessed to know so many wonderful people who give me stuff! That and I have a lot of ex pat friends who move alot who gift me their craft supplies because they can't move it all! I don't think I have had to purchase any craft things in years! I am truly blessed!}
I can't wait to make more. I'm thinking people's initials for present tags, personalized gifts, cute sayings stamped into everything.
I'm going to make more and experiment with painting them. Something nice and sparklely.
Show me if you make some too!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Preparations :: Easter

tutorial on how to make these coming! So easy and cute!

It's 30 days till Easter! {well its 28 now... I'm late in posting!}

We started off with this 30 day countdown which uses excerpts from The Living Christ

Last month I was saying to a friend how I need a calendar that runs before things happen. Like reminders two weeks or more before a birthday, before valentines, Pancake Tuesday, Easter ... all the holidays that you need to prepare for well before the day actually hits.

Easter confuses me with its changing dates. Especially when it is at the beginning of April because in March I think I have plenty of time, turn the calendar page and BAM Easter is in 5 days! I've been doing fairly well this year in being prepared but I'm thinking a calendar with those little printed reminders... before the day would be awesome. One day I'll be organised I swear.

So to help myself and maybe you if you wish I'm writing down easter preparations here


:: Suprise Eggs
I started this week on my {Surprise Eggs}  I find I can collect more eggshells the earlier I start. Each year the girls seem to need more and more (12 is no longer sufficient!) The hardest bit is remembering NOT to crack eggs in half when cooking. I use a sharp knife and slice the top off the egg. Empty the egg into your cooking, then wash the eggshell out. I store them in an open egg carton so they can dry out. I found some gorgeous surprise eggs over at O Happy Day . Filled with Gold glitter or birdseed or cereal so the mess can be left behind in a park without worry. Great idea! My kids really enjoy this easter activity. One of our favourite Easter Traditions.

:: Easter Tree
Decorate with eggs, religious things, whatever you wish really. I made names of Christ birds to hang on ours this year using this dough recipe

:: 30 Day Living Christ Countdown


:: Easter Countdown Calendars
Easter Week Activity Countdown
12 day treat or activity Easter Countdown

::Growing Easter Wheat Grass
Pretty Wheat Grass Tutorial at Ecoki
Our previous wheat grass

Egg Pinata
Chicken Pinata
Easter Basket Pinata


Palm Sunday - we read the story and act it out with real palm leaves and make palm crosses
Passover - celebrate on the real date or the thursday before easter as Christ did
Hot Cross Buns - We've made these Easter Friday for the last few years
Soft Pretzels - we make these around the day Christ prayed in Gethsemene
Dying/Decorating Eggs - A must and fav with the kids.
Easter Candle Ring - we love candlelight and quiet thoughts and a devotional if I can sneek it in

 "Without Easter we would have no Christmas" - this was our starting quote with the children. They had to think really hard why it was so! If Jesus had not given his life so we can have eternal life he would have been just another special but ordinary person. Because of Easter and his ultimate gift we want to celebrate his birth.

Easter seems to be a much more solemn holiday than christmas. I hope that I don't cheapen that, but my goal is to try and put as much if not more effort into Easter than I do at Christmas. It's such a special holiday {and a lot less commercial -if you ignore the cocolate eggs everywhere} that there seems to be a lot less stress associated with this holiday. I'm hoping to use that to my advantage to give the girls lots to ponder on at this time of year. { no end of years parties, no presents for others to buy, no work/christmas parties - therefore ideally I should have lots more time and focus for Easter}

Enjoy! I hope my efforts will result in a greater love of Easter and Christ for my children

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Growing. me and her.

6:30 am birthday morning. Very excited over an unexepected drawing tablet for the computer

I've never really had any problems having a bunch of young kids.
I know kids, surrounded by others with kids and it just seems normal to have a gaggle of little children.

But as my eldest just turned 11 things are dawning on me.

I felt fine having kids under 10. I'm a young mum and I have kids.

11 just seems so old! I feel like I am entirely too young to have any children over 10 years of age.

I associate with so many people with little children. I'm at the school for hours daily amongst children. It just seems like teens are so far away for me (even though bizarrely I work with the teen girls at church - so I should have SOME idea!) I never had much of a problem sending my kids off to school (there were always a bunch more at home) I was more excited about that stage of life. They still seemed to be kids and that was a part of kid life.

But it seems like everything changed over night (not really, she's still acting the same)
but it was just really bought to my attention like BAM!

She received money for her birthday from her great grandma. Immediately she wanted me to take her to Toyworld to spend it. Funny thing is we strolled the isles for ages and she came up empty handed. She found maybe one thing she wanted but didn't want to spend all of her money on this very small item. I stood there realising that she has perhaps realised she is no longer a child. Last year she found plenty of toys to spend her money on. This year she found none.

She is in that tricky place of no longer a child yet still not teen or woman. She is not really into makeup or clothes or music quite yet. It left her thinking hard about what would she actually spend her money on. I could only come up with two options. I said 'lets leave here and head to the bookshop and smiggle. You like reading and drawing I say, maybe you'll find something there?'

I avoid the shops on Saturdays, and the centre we were in was really busy. She got briefly separated from me in my the crowd. I said 'here hold my hand and we'll walk fast through this crowd.'

I'm used to small hands.
Tiny hands of my two and five year olds in my hand.
Keeping them safe and allowing the older girls to walk on their own.

I grabbed that 11 year old hand and felt shock. {instantly to my heart}

Her hand was as big as mine.

It felt so weird and out of place. It took a bit of manoevering for us to get comfortable.

Even she felt weird.

Growing. It happens.

To the child and the parent.

And we cannot stop it but must continue on, following the ride.

Albeit, running from behind to catch up! My child is gone and I'm scrambling, refinding her.

But luckily and hopefully its just a better version each time.

And maybe we'll even hold hands a bit more often.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meow...A Cat Party

Miss K decided on a Cat Theme for her birthday. I wasn't sure if she was a little too old for this, but she insisted. I thought it was sweet that a turning 11 girl is still young at heart. Much preferable than the alternative. It was also a good theme as she was able to help and make alot of it with me.

The cat theme came about by her year long obsession with these booksWarrior Cats!! . Many of the kids are reading them. If you like reading, animals and adventure I'm sure your kid will love these books. We even watch the warrior cats YouTube videos. and online games. And love to pretend play 'cats'

One of the main cats is orange so that became my theme.

Cat Plates, Cat drinks, Cat Themed number birthday shirt, Pin the tail on the Cat Game, Cat Pinata.

I purchased a letter stamping kit and made each of the girls a Cat Tag Collar. These are made by hammering the letters onto washers. Using a nikko to make it black and wiping the washer before the nikko dries will leave the inside of the letters dark enough to read. We attached them onto some lace ribbon for instant cat collars.

Decorate a Cupcake. Each girl recieved a cupcake with the idea to make a cat cake. Licorice, sour straps, mini m&m's, freckles and tic tacs were used. The large birthday cake was made in similar fashion. I will say it was one of the easiest and quickest birthday cakes I've made. I'll be sure to stick with that style in the future.

We made cat masks using pipe cleaners and pom poms and pens and cat tails by stuffing newspaper into knee hi stockings and tieing them around their waist with elastic

Mouse hunt game using fillable plastic easter eggs. Good time of year to have this idea as plastic eggs are plentiful at the moment. Basically draw a mouse face with nikko onto one end of the egg. Hot glue gun some little felt triangles for ears and a piece of string for a tail. Fill with treats and hide around the yard for the 'cats' to find. The girls were really into this game and insisted on finding the mice on all fours and picking them up in their mouths! I made 24 but the children would have loved more and to keep looking.

All in all the girls enjoyed the party and most of them (bar one child) were interested in sitting and doing crafts. They were all eager to 'just play cats please?' worrying that their parents would be there to pick them up all too soon leaving no time for Warrior Cats!

I collected these ideas from varying places. Credits go to:
 maya made
 maya made #2
Whimsy Love

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