Thursday 21 June 2012

Christmas shopping style for kids? Lay by time friday finds

Ok so here we have just been delivered the lay by for Christmas sale catalogues, they very cleverly co-inside with school holidays. I have done a lay by almost every year for my children, it works great because you don't have to store the presents! it works great because it makes you budget yur Christmas. It is difficult though to gauge what your children are going to be interested in by Christmas when its only June. I do think too that some of the toys in these catalogues are very gimmicky and so very branded that whilst i love pouring over the catalogues and deciding what would suite my kids i cringe at how blatant brands are shoved down our children's throats. I also think there is a danger when making up your lay by to get carried away and buy more than you need, i have been guilty of this in the past i think.

I can understand the parents that leave it till the last minuet, they would perhaps not overbuy as who wants to spend much time shopping near Christmas its manic. They would have a much clearer idea of their child's desires and what been written down on their Christmas list. But for me its not thinkable because i really really hate crowds, i tend to be an over thinker and like to take ages thinking and planning presents and did i mention i hate crowds.

The slow squirrelling away of gifts, i do this as well as lay by. I not only do this for my kids but for all the family, i am one of those really mad people who start buying for Christmas now. Why ? because i like buying presents and i like finding the right gift for the right person. But mostly i do it because its the only way i can budget for all the people i want to buy for. So because i squirrel away i have a Christmas birthday list on my phone of possible presents for all the family. This keeps me focused so i don't go mental and buy everything i see that they would all like otherwise my Nice's would end up with truck loads of stuff ( i get my girly shopping fix via them).

So this year whats on my list for my 2 ? i am trying to make sustainable play choices - not in the green eco sense of sustainable (that's always a bonus when toys are eco) but sustainable as in the play has somewhere to go, toys that are open ended. I have sometimes  fallen into the trap in previous year in buying things that perhaps don't leave enough room for their imaginations to take over. Instead the play has been short and mimicking tv and the toy is abandoned not long after Christmas. I more often got it right than wrong but this year i am actively searching out the pro-imagination toys.

big stores with lay by for Christmas here are target, big w, kmart, myer and you can compare their catalogues online to make the choice of which mega store to choose.

I made my lay by yesterday, they are getting
sandpit excavators (one each)
robotic fish? i have no idea what they will be like but Christmas time is hot here so water play is a given.
some board games operation and connect 4 because i thought they were good for development

it was a very small lay by compared to previous years but i will be supplementing it with some of these
toy castle + knights and fantasy characters by papo ( mini zoo shop )


toy catapult on etsy

Wooden Catapult Toy - Kids Wood Toys - Natural Handmade Toys for Kids, Boy and Girls.
Some felt food like this (i may make some of this sort of thing if i find time) or shop on etsy
Felt Play Food - Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs

to go with the above i will hunt around the op shops for pots and pans and fun kitcheny stuff, we were given a great little kitchen by a friend and i might give it a bit of a boost with some paint.

I'm also going to get some hula hoops and caution caps.

i love these kind of toys, beautiful stacking so many possibilities for staging play invitations ;)
again on etsy
Wooden Toy Rainbow Stacker- Imagination Kids- Waldorf

stocking filler ideas...
I will make a stack of little bean bags for each boy
some animal figurines
little wind up toys
and last year i found some nice stocking fillers and puzzles here, my wooden toys
Balloon Powered Wooden Putt Putt Boat
Well i hope whatever style of Christmas shopping you do for your kids, that this post helped you to think a bit about what your going to do this year. Whatever you feel about Christmas its lovely to spoil our kids with wonderful toys
love sassy

Wednesday 20 June 2012

hair styling toilet roll people - Thinking Cap Thursday

I drew a few faces onto some toilet rolls, dressed them in very fashionable paper outfits secured at the back with a bit of tape. Then put some shredded tissue paper i had in for hair, but wool, cotton wool or normal shredded paper would work great too.

 Flynn laughed at their hair and proceeded to play hair stylist for ages with them, was very dramatic people cried when the lost their hair and happy danced when they got new hair. He laughed and laughed at their silly crazy hair i don't think i will let him at my hair any time soon, but i was really impressed with how much he enjoyed this simple and cheap activity.

It was nice to see him playing out a social situation where people would complement each others hair, and try to help others when they had lost their hair. To extend this play you could add some scissors so they could cut and style, maybe some hair clips and elastic bands. I love finding uses for toilet rolls and i also like that this feels very much like something they would do on the tv show playschool.

love sassy

The invitation to play -Only human on humpday

My blogger friend, Pauline,  from The lessons learnt journal wrote in one of her guest posts on quirky momma that she had issued an  " the invitation to play" and the phrase rang so true with me and I'm sure with all the parents reading.

That's all we can hope to do when setting an activity is invite them to play, you can not force them and you can not get cross at them when they don't attend your play event.
Like issuing a party invite, you set some things up, hold your breath and hope that at least one person will accept your invitation and the more join in the more of a party it is. Sometimes it takes seconds for them to accept your play invitation, sometimes minuets, hours even and sometimes they just don't feel like parting with those things they are far too busy with their own agendas.

 I love it when they discover your invitations and its met with "wow" and "is this for me?" and an excited little wiggly bouncy jig at the delightful play possibilities ticking over in their minds.

It is frustrating and disparaging when they are met with "nah" and "can i watch TV instead" but i am slowly learning that this isn't personal and its not necessarily the end of the idea, perhaps if they have some food and a drink and a think about your invitation to play they will gravitate to it later when they are in the right frame of mind.

Sometimes the time of day is critical to the play invitation being accepted or not, mornings are always best for new play concepts where as i find late afternoon they prefer the tried and tested play invitations of play dough and water play. I also think my mood dictates weather some things work or not, if I'm tired its not a brilliant idea to encourage play that needs a bit of grown up help, however if I'm bright and sleep nourished its fine.

Its wonderful to read blogs and talk to other parents to get ideas for play invitations, you sometimes discover just the right thing to encourage your children and that is magical for you and the kids. Happy busy kids = happy busy parents, and when it all goes right and they are completely involved in their game i know those are the moments i will treasure all my days.
So some of the play invitations i have issued lately....

DH moved the quad bike to he could do some tinkering in his shed, It was an unintentional invitation to Eli but a great one he spent a good 20 0r 30 mins sitting pretending he was going somewhere.

I arranged the duplo into coloured groups, major reaction from 4 yr old! "wow mum, i really like what you have done here." he requested this set up again today.
few shaped drawn on the black board, Eli loves to attack the board with chalk and dust out.
Perfect weather here for an outside fort

a lego city for Flynn's ninja's, who like to go for brekkie at cafes before they take on the evil guys :)
trains for Eli
play dough shapes for both, with glitter shakers and googly eyes. Flynn found me in the kitchen cutting out the shapes and jumped up on a chair to help. So busted organising a play surprise

Coloured rice, a new activity for my boys, they both really liked much so it is now spread all over my yard. That is fine with me they had a wonderful time transporting it all over the place and scooping, stirring.

I bet you offer lots of invitations to play at your place, may you be blessed with accepted invitations.
love sassy

Monday 11 June 2012

block revamp - treasure

This is so incredibly fun and easy and bring new interest to a forgotten toy.

 I gratified our wooden building blocks.

I bought a couple of permanent pens, an opaque white one, a black, a fine gold and silver. The metallic and opaque pens are expensive however i new that i would use them on other projects so that's ok. 2 pens would be more than enough to alter the look of your blocks and inject some style or even make them educational.

You can write letters, or sound combinations on them and use them as a learning tool. You can draw animals, people, aliens, cars whatever characters you want so your kids can role play a story. And you can just do patterns to make building towers more fun.
Older kids may want to join in too. Have fun go wild and graffiti your blocks too.
Sorry about the picture quality these were taken on my phone.

love sassy

Saturday 9 June 2012

The Tube - thinking cap

I wish I could take the credit for the extremely simple but oh so effective play idea, but i saw it at a friends house ages and ages ago and today i did it for Eli (this is right up his ally at almost 2).

You take 1 tub of little cars and a tube add a slope, like a little step and you have tunnel speeding.

 I have no idea what the tube was used for but the boys grandad gave it to us and its fantastic nice and heavy so they don't have the urge to move it around a lot. You could look for one at the local newspaper, often they sell the end of the ream of paper for a couple of buck that would have a nice tube in it, a postal tube would probable work just fine, in fact you could have a couple gaffa taped together so the kids could race their cars. Failing that a bit of pvc pipe would work great too.

so much fun

dog getting in on action

plane too big (interesting to watch him work that out)

big brother getting in on fun
have fun love sassy

Thursday 7 June 2012

only human on humpday - screen free

Ok i mad a crazy split decision this week when my mr 4 was begging me for more tv, after having a very generous amount already that had only finish 15 mins earlier. No more screens for a week! madness i thought to myself, i felt sure i would crumble on this. I explained to Flynn the deal no computer and no tv for a week and i told him why. My hope is that he will play better, settle into a game, any kind of play and stick with it for more than a few minuets. Normally he drifts back in my direction with the hope that my resolve will have weekend and i will put computer in his hands.  I hope he stops the begging and pestering for tv all the time. I hope he realises that his mind is more interesting than any screen. I hope i can stay strong and entertain them both enough. I hope that they don't fight constantly.

So I'm 2 days into this and i am sticking to my guns. I have to say so far so good! I'm impressed with the amount of playing mr 4 is doing, and mr almost 2 hasn't noticed anything different yet. to my great surprise making dinner has actually been easier ? i hate making dinner because my old house is configured so you have no idea whats going on in the rest of the house. So last to evenings i have had one kid in the sink playing with water and the other at the table colouring in, when they get over it they swap, brilliant. So the key to screen free seems to be keeping them busy, an added bonus one very tired little Eli makes nap and bedtime a bit easier. I have been filling the coffee table with toys at night so at daybreak they are happy to play.

Eli is a major rev head

I love my garden

Spiderman swims with patty pans

So what did we get up to today? bob the builders crew were working some blocks at breakfast. Swimming classes, sidewalk painting after that, lego, more lego, Eli and i popped to the shops to get some pots for my garden, meanwhile Flynn was still in lego mode with grandma. Lunch and some cars driving at the same time, more little car driving down the ramps on the parking station. Eli snoozing and Flynn migrated back to lego (poor grandma is legoed out). Some bike riding, some play quad bike riding, jumping on the tramp, gardening, lego for something different, story books, get the idea, busy!

this is how parking stations look after Eli 000 emergency

makeshift secret pathway out of bessa bricks and 1/2 bricks.
 boys are loving this path, cats too. Also sidewalk paint in bowls.

Eli likes drawing and tattooing himself (wonder if that will manifest in permanent ink in later years?)

there have been moments where Flynn has asked for tv, only one tantrum so far and that was on the first night. I have started telling him when he asks for it or telling me its boring without it, that he should think about what he'd like to play with next and we will see if we can make it happen. That seems to make him happy, so I'm happy two.

Will let you know how it all pans out love sassy.

treasures - crumble-dough

I love play dough and i make it for my kids a lot. I am not always the best at remembering to pack it up so it gets left on the back patio and it goes yuck, hard and like little gritty stones with one large blobby stone in the middle usually. Today was one such day and when i went to get rid of it i stopped and thought hang on, its like gravel.

I broke it up even more into tiny gritty bits, it was a bit like when your rubbing butter into flour when making scones. I put it all onto an old backing tray with a bit of an edge, any kind of shallow container tub would be great.  I had made the perfect environment for little digger machinery! boys very pleased with result sat in back yard happily constructing and demolition-ing.

he sctually has jocks on in this shot!
This child is always misplacing his shorts.

Never again will i discard the old tired hard play dough i shall instead celebrate the beginning of crumble-dough.
love sassy

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Squirmy - only human on humpday

Hi, long time no chat, i have missed you all but life is chaotic and i am not always able to write. I'm not always creative, I'm not always being thoughtful with my children's play sometimes I'm just extremely ordinary I'm sure you can all sympathise. Anyway hubby has a new job so yay! stability thy art my sanity.

So a few weeks ago i worked out i had a bit of a problem....i can't believe I'm sharing this but i have learnt a lot from the experience and as such I'm passing this story onto you all in the hope that other mums will A. feel sorry for me and B. feel ok if it happens to them and theirs. So I'm watching TV, in the evening as you do, i become very conscious of my bum, it feels, not itchy but squirmy?!!! and it didn't seem to stop.....think think think.....Oh MY &^%* WHAT no it can't be, maybe it could be? have i got worms?

gummy worms
these kinda worms are so much better

So what do i do next? my sister noni asks me on the phone when I'm relaying the story,
"did you go into a dark room with a mirror and a torch"
"you betcha i did" I'm laughing when I'm telling her because by then I'm worm free and can see the funny side.
not only that but my hubby catches me doing this and asks what the hell I'm doing, and can he help, i tell him to leave me alone and as i still can't tell weather i have worms or not i jump into the shower completely grossed out by myself. It gets worse and if your of a squeamish nature now is the time to skip ahead. So how did i work out for sure i had worms, whilst in the shower i decide i need to know one way or the other, so i investigate with my finger and yep i pulled out a worm. I freaked out big time, i screamed, and then hyperventilated for a while and then i began to really sob. I felt so dirty and revolting, i felt like id been kicked when i was down. Id been having a bit of a tough time emotionally and financially and to top it off my body just been playing hoast to a yucky parasite. And what a crappy mum i felt like as if i had it my children probably had them too, and how could i not have noticed.

Worming medicine is surprisingly easy to take, one tablet of chocolaty goodness and look out squirmy suckers your days are numbered.You must worm everyone in your family as the little blighters are highly contagious. I then became a poo inspector, inspecting every ones poos for signs of worm evictions. (except hubbys he is perfectly capable of inspecting his own). So Flynn and i were the only wormy houses, thank goodness and within 2 days we were cleansed. I suspect that we got them because Flynn's hygiene is not perfect and the first year in an school kindy daycare whatever is going to be health wise the year from hell. Apparently according to one pharmacist every one out in the big bad world should worm themselves at least once a year, just in case.

When i got over my self loathing i did some research, worms are extremely common, they can pass from person to person very easily and their eggs are amazingly tough even surviving in swimming pools! Remember that mums taking tots to swimming lessons. You can pick up worm eggs from toilet seats as well. You can not get worms from your animals a common misconception, they have different kids of worms. So if you get worms or your kids get worms, don't feel guilty these little creatures have perfected how to breed.

What to do, go to your chemist get some medicine then get your washing machine cranking. Everything bedding wise will need to be washed with a hot cycle and underwear pj too. I threw a bit of disinfectant into my softener as well for good measure. Vacuum your bedroom carpets clean your toilet, and shower. Shower don't bath for a few nights afterwards to make sure the eggs have been flushed away. And you can re take the tablets in a week or two if you think re-contamination may have occurred.

ok that's my squirmy story I'm sorry to share it but i think in the long run its better that every one is reminded that these little guys are around and they are horrible and yucky but it doesn't make you dirty, just unlucky. So im working on my sons hygiene practises and i hope your happy lovely nurse sister of mine who thought this story was amusing. Who was also proud of me for investigating my problem and encouraged me to write this tale.

love sassy

Saturday 5 May 2012

shopping game - thinking cap

The shopping game is one that flynn LOVES, infact he was begging and begging for me to spend some time playing this game with him today. We have played it alot this week, and i really like this game too, its a really good game to learn maths but also i think its teaching him the value of money, and an important lesson that money can only go so far and its also teaching him that somethings are really expensive and others are really affordable. Hopefully he will keep this game in mind next time were in te shops :)
so how do you play, very simple cut out lots of things from the junk mail, i like to pick somethings he will recongise from our weekly food shopping, other things like toys that he likes, clothes, tools and some really random things like a tent or car motor oil :) I then folded a few bits of alfoil to make some coins. We take it in turns to be the shop keeper and the customer, when the shop keeper has gained all the coins we ushally swap. We say what were looking for, "something for dinner" "something fun" "things to help me look after the dog/baby/cat" and the shopkeep points out a few things, we negotiate prices, coins are counted. Sometimes deals are made as flynn is very generous and likes to give things away for free, i advise him to do 2 for 1 deals or his shop will go bust.

Often i will leave the price on the cut out item so we can talk about how expensive or cheap  things really are, and this will be fantastic when hes a little older and i can get him to calculate the cost of the real items. We have played this in the past with a shopping list game by orchard toys, however Flynn seems to like this home made game as money is exchanged and he has more choice in what he can buy.  All in all i think its a great game and its lots of fun and the best part is he doesn't realise how much hes learning!

below is what he bought on his first round today, lots of fun things :)

Tuesday 1 May 2012

straws n sand - treasures

I have let my kids have far too much screen time of late and a lot of the play lately has been Lego or kitten play or acting out painful smurf stories. Yesterday i dug over the sand pit and today i decided the needed to play outside again, so i took out some straws and pipe cleaners and plonked them in the sandpit. we planted trees and traffic lights made some roads, we bent some and made tunnels. Then i made some pretend birthday cakes these were very popular with both boys. I particularly like shoving the yellow leaves into the top of the straws for flames. And finally we made a castle and a big furry incy wincy spider and sang the song over and over again while Flynn acted it out with the pipe cleaner spider. So thanks to some straws and pipecleaners1 hour spend breathing in fresh air and using our imaginations, hooray!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

when it all gets to much..... write a blog post?

when it's all too much...i withdraw, if your wondering where I'm at I'm in hiding, looking for jobs snapping at my kids, bluing with my hubby and weeping. Yeah life is not a party all the time, i know that oh do i know that at the moment. Its nothing monumental that has made me so sad, cranky and irritable. Its a distinct lack of money, its the lack of time to myself, its the lack of progress on the reno, it's those pesky people who want us to pay our bills, it's those frustrating people who won't pay our invoices. Its the lack of jobs available with flexible work hours, it's the stupid forms I'm filling out for jobs. Its the massive amounts of tax we pay! Its the horrid business of being a grown up that is dragging me down, crushing my spirit and making me not 'fun' anymore.

So when it's like this for me and its like this at the moment and it happens to coincide with a visit from auntie flow look out because I'm a crazy lady who might just bite your head off, pop a pen in your eye, or flop onto your shoulder in a mass of hysterical crying. OMG lady time you suck, and while I'm at it i hate all the ways we refer to our period. Rags, that time of the month (like I'm changing into a wear wolf or something), menstruation, period and little friend, i can tell you its no friend of mine.Ughh  and i hate that I'm the meanest to the people i love best and i can't seem to stop myself what is with that? Perhaps i should be locked up in a cage until the moon has changed?

I had a wonderful visit with a friend today and amongst all of the conversation she asked me a few things and i got to thinking that its all about my expectations. I know that in a day or two this hormonal creature will dissipate and i will be perky-ish again, but its also about focusing on what i want in life. And yes id like some new underwear that's not got holes in it or stretched elastic, but some of the things i really want i already have. I was reminded to that i should spend some time in the spaces that make me feel content and my garden is one of those places. Its a part of this renovation that is well underway, its a space I've carved out from scratch. My children like to play in this space, my cats like to hide in my garden sun baking and soaking up the serenity. So tomorrow thats what i intend to do act a little bit like my cat Zephyr and spend a bit of time in my garden im going to sit and sip my morning coffee, keep one eye on my kids as they munch there brekkie zombie like in front of abc kids and I'm going to watch the rain or if I'm really lucky the rain will clear up tonight and i can take in the sun.

I hope you all have a serenity moment tomorrow too where your breaths are deep and calm and contentment descends upon you. I hope you all have at least one friend like mine who loves you enough to listen. good night love sassy

Eli hiding in the garden, thats going to be me tomorrow

Monday 9 April 2012

mini garland mobile - treasure

We were given this cool mobile maker from my sil and this week i came up with a fun colourful easy way to use it! Eli has moved bedroom, and the room he is in now is a lot bigger, and its got a lot more space, white space. I had some left over felt from other projects and i had this idea to make a boat mobile for him for ages, i finally got around to it and with the bigger white room it looks great.
I cut lots of little basic boat shapes out of the felt and then chain stitched three together at a time, i alternated the direction of the sail to make them balanced. Then i clipped them onto this do it yourself mobile. Colourful! Mobiles are really good for children's eye development and i think even a big 1 and a 1/2 year old enjoys drifting off to sleep looking at the pretty boats slowly spinning above his head.


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