Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sports Day

One of the up sides of going to a small school means that on sports day you'll be sure to receive a ribbon of some sort. Which is lucky for us. We are participators and cheerers and love dressing up and team spirit but we are kinda mediocre at most things.

But that is OK!

A few action snap shots makes everyone feel better. Getting a few seconds and thirds (even if there are only 4 competitors ;) makes for jubilation. A reminder of trying our best no matter what is good too. And if in the end you get no ribbons its ok because you have a blue face and blue hair and you had fun.

Three of us had husky voices for a few days from all the yelling and cheering.

Lucky sports day only comes once a year.

We aren't a big sporty family {we more enjoy doing things slowly/ non competitional for fun - swimming, bike riding, walking, etc} but as evidenced on sports day some children are just so natural and good at sports and some not at all. So being in the middle is probably a fine place to be.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Winter Wonderland Faux Snow Party

Miss G has been in love with snow for a few years now.

Even though she has never seen snow.

A snow party is what she wanted for her 6th Birthday

{which is funny because the last 3 years of her  she always asked for a beach or swimming party -- which is a tad hard in winter}

Ironically last year for her carnival party in the park it was FREEZING! Wind blowing things everywhere and guests so cold I think I ran home for blankets.

And then the year we opt for a SNOW party complete with mittens and scarves?

IT'S HOT! It was almost like a summers day! Gah!

Anyway on to the details of the party {warning its long!}

I found so many ideas on the internet and came up with a few of my own. It was hard to limit myself! I think this may be my new favourite theme. I suggest you do one too! It is so easy and fun.


I think I orginally found this idea many years ago at Betz White. As we have a lack of real snow in Australia I was trying to think outside the box for similar looking fakeness! I thought our foamerators would be fun and provide white goodness.

To make a foamerator all you need is empty water bottles, an old towel and rubber bands. Basically you slice off the bottom of a bottle. Cut a square of towelling and attach it to the bottom with a rubber band. Then you dip your bottle in a bowl full of water and detergent mixed.

Then the fun begins. Take a big breath and BLOW into your bottle and a big snake of bubbles will come from the bottle. Very fun. Remind kids to NEVER breathe in with the bottle to your mouth {you will get detergent taste in your mouth} only blow out.  After 10 mins or so kids will be tired from all the blowing.

Ice Dig

I found this idea also many years ago via Crafty Crow . Originally we used it as a summer activity to keep cool. For this activity you just freeze a bunch of small toys/beads/whatever in a container of water. Then you allow the children to dig out the treasures using tools. We used forks this time.


Originally I started out making winter props - igloo, snowman, snowflakes, penguins etc. I was painting them on large packing cardboard with the intent to have photos beside them. When The Mr procurred a LARGE TV box from work I thought this would work as a 'insert your head' photobooth. One side of the box had a snowman, the other side a penguin.  As I've lost my artistic ability over the years to achieve this I used our trusty projector. Find a picture you like, project it onto cardboard and trace around the edges. I then painted the image {we have been gifted left over house paint, and acrylics over the years. I'm still using them for every project!} Using a stanley knife cut a circle large enough for kids head to fit in.

Spiders/Icecream Floats

All Miss G asked for in a snow party was that there be 'Spider Drinks'. I thought that a wonderful idea that suited the theme {orginally I was opting for a hot chocolate bar with all the fixings} White Fluffy Goodness in pretty cups. Just like Snow. These cups became the take home gift of the party instead of lolly bags.

Dry Ice

This one is all thanks to The Mr. I wasn't intending to have this but of course it was a hit! Miss G mentioned 'what about that white smoke stuff Daddy had at his party'? There is a place very close to our house that sells dry ice. A bag of the pebbles cost $17. Well worth it and we still have some left.
Place dry ice in warm water. Make sure an adult does it and do not allow children to touch the ice. Lots of squeals and ooohhh and ahhhh's with dry ice in the house!

Snow Globes

There are many ways to make snowglobes (baby food jars etc) but I wanted the easiest way for a party full of little kids. Purchase a tray of water bottles. Give each child a bottle. Ask them to take a drink from it to lower the water. Then lay out an arrangement of beads, trinkets, glitter etc - anything that will fit through the top of the bottle. {lots of glitter is a must}. When finished, place lid back on and secure with tape {so no little siblings will think it is good to drink}. Now shake and you have a pretty snowglobe. Also can double as a take home gift. All the children loved their snowglobe.

Snowflake Facepainting

I'll credit this idea to the lady from a Gecko's animal party I went to. After an hour of animal handling she asked who wanted their faces painted. I thought what a brave lady, how will she do all these faces in a few minutes? Turns out she just used a lizard stamp and stamped it onto the kids! Brilliant! EASY idea!

So I was very happy when I lucked upon a foam snowflake stamp in the clearance section of spotlight for $3. My 9 year old was the facepainter of the party. She did a GREAT JOB! We just used regular nontoxic acrylic paint in a tube. We applied the paint to the stamp with a small paint brush and just stamped it on to each child's cheek or arms. She then applied some shimmer dust over it. This was simple, easy, quick and looked really effective I thought.

Fake Snow

I purchased some of this fake snow from a party shop for $5. Two sachets {$10} were enough to fill a big plastic container. It kinda feels like a type of gelatin. Kids got very excited about this and ended up throwing it everywhere and 'skating' on it as it was very slippery all over my outside tiles. I suggest laying down the ground rules of just playing or building with it if you don't want a snow fight :)


I made 5 batches of playdough and left it white {no food colouring} and simply added glitter to the dough. This activity was to make  a snowman. I left a bag of googly eyes out to keep it simple {just dough, googly eyes and sticks for arms} the abundance of eyes meant we had lots of alien looking snowmen!


As you all know it isn't a party of ours if there isn't a pinata! This pinata was one of my most simple yet and cost virtually nothing to make. I used a cereal box as the body to hold the lollies and trinkets. I 'paper mache d' junk mail all around the box to make it sturdier. I then painted it white {same house paint used to make the photo props} I then cut out two big snowflakes from white cardboard and simply stuck them to the front of the box. I always lay down serious ground rules with pinata's. I state I've been doing pinata's for about 5 years {about 15 pinata's so far} and I've NEVER had an injury and that aint gonna change! We mark a line where the children must stand behind {measure with the stick you are using and swing it in all directions - then make the children stand back further than that} and remind them they are not to run for the goodies until the person has stopped swinging!


I made a double layer vanilla cake with white icing and used fondant to create a snowflake for the top {I printed a snowflake off the internet and placed it on top of the icing and cut around it} It was a pretty quick and easy process. This was my first time using fondant so it didn't turn out as great as I envisioned. But the birthday girl saw it and said "Oh mum ... that is FANTASTIC!" so I suppose that is all that matters.

The day before the party I remembered about Chocolate Ripple Cake and thought that is the perfect kind of cake for a snow party. Wish I thought of that before I made the other cake! Ripple cake takes all of 5 mins to prepare and is so easy! So I made 2 of those also. The layered cookies and the whipped cream swell overnight to miraculously turn into CAKE!

I also thought oreo pops with white chocolate could be 'Snowball Pops' so I made a batch of them too. {2 packets crushed oreos, 1 package cream cheese - mix. Roll into balls and dip in chocolate ~ easy recipe}


Paper Doilies are your best friend! On the walls, under the plastic table cloth, to eat food on. To hang like snowflakes. I used White lanterns {borrowed from a friend} and purchased Snowflake decorations from a party shop. I made scarves for each child by cutting up a $5 polar fleece blanket {gave me 12 scarves} and mittens for party favours. Icicles and igloo made out of cardboard boxes {taken from neighbours recycle bin} Photobooth made from a TV box.

Extra Ideas I didn't use but are still great:

I have loads of branches in a pile in my back yard. Paint branches white and use to decorate
Fill plastic pool/container with shaved ice
Ice fishing
'Freeze' music game
Igloo Cake
Party Bags in stocking shape
Decorate a Felt Mitten
Hommus Dip in snowman shape (olives for eyes and carrot nose)

And that was our Winter Wonderland Faux Snow Party! Phew!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Party Fatigue Prevention

Most simple yet my most favourite cake I've made
photo credit: Zanabelle Photography

As I gear up for another birthday party (make it two) parties are on my mind.

Sometimes I cringe putting up our parties.

And think no one will want to know these ideas, see our sad  homemade parties.

But then I feel it's my duty.

My duty to show:

A realistic, simple, themed birthday party that cost around $100

While looking for ideas for the cat party I came across a beautiful cat themed idea

I used said ideas, but immediately thought:

Those kids are models, there is NO actual party going on, who has white carpet, white walls, white couch and lets a party anywhere near it,  with beautiful sunshine lighting - the lighting is fake! The entire house matches the party - is that even possible?

So while I love the internets and the wonderful idea's I don't enjoy some of the depression that may come along when your party looks, sounds, ends up NOTHING like pictures on party design blogs.

Hence my willingness to share.

Real life. Real parties.

Back to the cat party - I walked home 10 kids from school.
They were extremely hyper BEFORE we even got home and ate sugared foods.

Yeah nothing like those beautiful kids and homes photo inspirations.

Here are a few of the parties we've done over the last few years:

Cat Party
Pool Party
Sci Fi Party
Carnival Party
Magic Party
Beach Theme Party
Spots, Dots, Polka Dots Party
Afternoon Tea Party
Easy Beach Cake
Birthday Traditions Ideas

My tips for birthday parties:

A theme helps me keep it all together.
A list starting 3 weeks out.
I buy decorations, ingredients in small amounts in my weekly shopping to spread the cost.
2 weeks out I start making props {photobooths, decorations etc}
1 week out start on pinata.
3 days out I bake the cake and freeze it uniced.
2 days out check I've done everything. {finish up unfished decorations etc}
1 day out prepare food, clean house, hang decorations.
Day of party - Ice cake and clean.
A written out schedule of the party - doing what when so you don't forget anything.

Now this might seem like a lot and overwhelming but it really helps to have no party stress. After the kids are in bed I'll paint a backdrop, or sew some paper decorations etc. Each day I'm only spending a small amount of time working on something. No long nights, no rush. Slow and steady.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Lower Lights

Remember this post?  Let it shine {yes go read it now..}

Back now?

Well I was so excited when The Lower Lights contacted me a few weeks back.

They were googling researching blogs to find anyone who had blogged about them or mentioned them.

They came across the above piece I wrote.

They were happy and offered to send me their NEW ALBUM  - Out just last week!

'The Lower Lights - A Hymn Revival Volume 2'

Oh my I was so excited!

I've been playing the music and its making me think olden days, revivalist, folky thoughts.

Oh my I wanna have a hoe down!!

It's also making me sad that I can't play any instruments.

I wanna pick up a banjo, or a violin or something.

and have a jam with family and friends.

Well I can always do the knee clapping. There's plenty of that in this album.

Happy Clappy Christian Music.



Go here to listen and if you download you get 6 bonus tracks!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Six years

The sixth birthday.

It feels such a special one? First year in school might be the reason.

Or maybe six just means you aren't a little kid anymore.

You've migrated up to kid!

Miss 6 has been excited for months.

A snow party is planned in her honour for the weekend {she LOVES snow anything!}

Last night before bed she whispered

I'm going to have candles in the morning right? Not the ones on cake... the OTHER ones??

OH did that make my heart soar. I love that my girls LOVE their birthday traditions.

They wake up to their presents set out on the table with the candle ring alight with the number of candles of their age. Those who choose, wear the birthday crown {sometimes they choose not to}, and they have a number Tshirt waiting for them to wear for the day. They choose what breakfast they want {usually doughnuts or pancakes} and recieve about 3 presents and a birthday letter outlining achievements, favourite things, happenings in the year.

This all means the day started nice and early!

Pancakes with strawberries for breakfast, Icecream cake and chocolate milk to share at school and an order for lasagne and icecream and jelly sundaes for dinner.

I'm happy to oblige.

Happy Birthday to my cheeky smile, twinkle in the eye, always on the go Girl.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Scarf Challenge

I've promised myself I am not going to be cold this year. {even with no heating}

So far its worked

Now we are entering the coldest part of year though, we shall see. IT was cold this morning!

Eating warm foods and making sure I'm plenty layered and a positive outlook - enjoy the cool.

After my post mentioning scarf styles I set myself a goal to try a few of them and wear a scarf often (usually every couple of days)

We rode our bikes to and from school every day last term so the scarf was often necessary in the cool morning ride but discarded later in the heat of the day.

So here is my scarf challenge:

It was fun.

I do love a good scarf. I was especially happy {can you tell lol} in that middle photo with the cream scarf. I was walking in the rain without an umbrella pushing a pram. A scarf also makes a good rain hat. Or the one where I said I look like the Queen. That was in the cold watching the sunrise last month. Brrrrr a scarf makes a good head warmer. But most of all I like how warm I feel when my neck is covered but with the flexibility to remove it. Like the day I found my daughter shivering on the concrete at school parade. The scarf is so big she wrapped herself and a friend with it. Or the time my legs were cold and I could lay it across my lap. So functional in so many ways!

Here's to the cold. And scarves.

Monday, July 2, 2012

This Morning

last week rugged up

This morning was cool.

My littlest had woken as cold as a popsicle at 5am and came and burrowed into our bed.
Once warm and snug drifted straight back to sleep.

Tv is allowed mornings on holidays. Big kids rushed off to sit piled amongst blankets.

I awoke properly at 7:30 {ahhhh bliss} to a big child sneaking my iphone from off my bedside table.

I looked over to the sleeping angel. It's not often we get to see our little ones so still and peaceful.

Her eyelids almost translucent. Her button nose. Her perfect cupid lips. Her creamy skin.

All surrounded by blankets.

I studied her face, she had a hand stretched above her head and her fingers twitched intermittedly.

Eyelids flutter, fingers stretching she was coming out of her slumber.

She awoke, eyes ablaze almost immediately, slightly wondering. She realised where she was and basically flipped over to Daddy. She cradled his face brushed his lips with her fingers.

A few mins later and her words were

'I have your Ipad Daddy?'

And we were in full on swing to the day.

I believe it was a gift.
In those few minutes she looked like a baby. Her hair back so her round face exposed.

Instead of using the quiet to check my phone, messages, facebook, read my phone was gone.

It was too cold to get out of bed. I've read all the books beside my bed.

Instead I had 20 mins to gaze at a sleeping babe.

I briefly thought I wish my phone was here so I could take a picture.

But it was because there was no phone I got to see such a treasure.

I will have to remember by these words alone.
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