Thursday, July 30, 2009

Non-Newtonian Fluid ... or Cornflour Goo to you and me.

We haven't done very much science for a while so today was a good day for a little play. I found this link for Cornflour Goo at Kids Make Stuff some time ago but I have been putting it off for fear of the mess. However, it is a nice sunny day today so I though we would try it outside.

I only made a small batch (half a cup of water, a little food colour and a bit over a cup of cornflour but we managed to have lots of fun with it any way.
It took a little while to get Junior to give it a prod but once he got his hands in there I couldn't get them out. There was lots of giggling, poking, squeezing, squelching and mucking about and a little discussion about solids and liquids. Not sure if he learnt much but we both had lots of fun. Have a look at the following You-tube clips if you want to see what the goo is like.

Buzz Boy

The dress-up box is a big hit with many of the three year olds in our playgroup and Junior has been quietly interested in its content for a few weeks now. He started out with a fireman costume and tried a couple of the fairy dresses which are a big hit with the girls but he was pretty nonplussed with it all until last week when he discovered the Buzz Lightyear costume.Now he is a changed boy. For the past two weeks he has dug this costume out from the bottom of the basket and when he puts it on a strange transformation take place. He doesn't just looks like Buzz, he takes on the character as well and rockets around the place with a new found confidence which the usually Junior doesn't always express in larger groups!
Imaginative play is such a joy to watch and this week I managed to capture a couple of photos - alas a little blurry in places because Buzz doesn't sit still for very long!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A bit more painting

Apart from the marble painting mentioned in my previous post we have also been doing a bit more painting this weekend. We tried some stencilling using paper doilies.We painted some Liquid Amber seed pods collected from the front lawn. They look a bit like Christmas decorations so it might be time for Christmas in July...
and we finished painting a treasure box we started at a friend house a couple of weeks ago.

We're all marbles here

Yesterday was a nice sunny day so I thought it was a good day for some painting on the patio. We decided to try some marble painting. I put a circle of paper and some paint in a plastic plate (paper plates would have been easier but we didn't have any) and popped some marbles in for Junior to roll around and make pretty patterns. It was also a good opportunity to talk about mixing colours.
This was a big hit with Junior - so much so that I have been unable to retrieve most of the marbles which are now a current favourite.
Out came the marble tower pieces, which entertained both Junior and Aussie Dad for quite sometime and lead to an in-depth discussion of the rules of the game of marbles. All this was very foreign to Aussie Mum who obviously doesn't appreciate the subtleties of the game - but enthralled Junior.

Quick to make and quick to bake...

This week we were a little pressed for time and a little short on ingredients so we settled on an old favourite to feed our play-date visitors - scones.
These reminded me of Zooarchaeologists post on fruit crumble, another staple in our house, because anything that you can cover in cream always goes down a treat with Junior.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A busy week

Well it has been a busy week for Aussie Mum and my boys. Bub had his first experience of day-care with two short days on Monday and Tuesday. He was way too interested in his new surroundings to do very much sleeping but apart from that he seemed quite happy and managed much better than his mum.
Wednesday was play-group and then we all popped into the Kindy Open Day where Junior is enrolled for 4 year old kindy next year. Junior could have stayed all afternoon but we were eating into Bubs nap time so we had to leave early. I also had a Mothers Group dinner in the evening. It was a lovely night out but a late night on top of 7 months of regular night time waking means I'm still trying to recover!

Thursday was playdate visitors and a trip to the park and Friday was Juniors swimming lesson and an early evening pizza at the local Italian with the neighbours. Sigh .... a nice week but sometimes it feels like my little family is growing up so fast that I need to slow down a bit. Looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spin art

A few weeks ago I read a couple of blogs that talked about salad spinner art. I have been trying to source some liquid watercolours to try this out with Junior but haven't been able to buy any locally - I will have to order some online. So today we tried some spin art with Crayola finger paints instead.
Because the paint is thick and gloopy it needs to be added fairly evenly to the centre of the paper or the paper tends to flick up and end up at one side of the spinner but apart from that it seemed to work ok. The only other problem we had is that our salad spinner is a bit stiff so Junior need some assistance with the spinning but this didn't dampen his enthusiasm.
I'm sure there could have been a physics lesson in this art project somewhere but we were having too much fun just making pretty patterns to talk science today!
If I get some liquid water colours I will try them too but this seems to be a good use for the finger paints which always just end up as a big green blob when we try and use them for their intended purpose.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Little Swimmer

Each morning this week Junior has been attending a school holiday swimming program at a local pool and this morning was his last class. Despite it being the middle of winter and a bit chilly (it is an indoor pool but still not that warm) he is a real water baby and really loves it.
The classes were in a deep water pool but with one instructor to two children he was happy and confident and proudly showed Dad and I his certificate for completing the beginners class.

Now Junior moves on to level one for term swimming in preparation for our family holiday in the sunny north of WA at the end of August. A warm two weeks in the middle of winter sounds live heaven right now and we are all looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Playing with puffy paint

I found a couple of recipes for puffy paint on Teaching My little BookWorm and the Artful Parent earlier in the week and Junior and I have been keen to try it but had to wait until I could buy a couple of squeezy bottles. We finally made it to the shops yesterday afternoon so today we had a little play.
It really is quite good fun although the thick areas take a while to dry.
We will also try a few more colours next time now we know it works ok.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Annabel inspiration

Last Saturday Junior and I went to the Library to exchange some books and, only days after reading Zooarchaeologist post on Annabel Karmel pasta, what should I find in the kids section but these two new books.
Of course I had to bring them home and try them. I have made Pizza with Junior quite a few times but we have recently fallen into the habit of spending Friday evenings at the Italian restaurant at the end of the street eating there wood-fire pizza rather than making our own.
So after looking through our new library books we decided to make pizza again.
This is one of Juniors favourite meals so he was quite happy to help out with the mixing, kneading and rolling ...
... and of course the eating.Bon appetite.

ANZACs for Playgroup

This week we made ANZAC biscuits for playgoup using the trusty old CWA (Country Women's Association) Cookbook. The CWA is like the Australian equivalent of the WI (Women's Institute) in the UK and the cookbook is full of lots of traditional baking ideas - no pretty pictures but very simple easy to follow recipes.
If you can't read this the recipe is;
1/2 cup of sugar
1 cup of coconut
1 cup of flaked oatmeal (rolled oats)
1 cup of flour
125 g melted butter
1 level teaspoon of carbonated soda
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
3 tablespoons of boiling water

Mix dry ingredients together, pour in melted butter, add syrup and soda dissolved in boiling water, and mix well. Drop in small pieces on oven slide and bake in a moderate oven for 20 mins (I used fan-forced oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 mins)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

One of those difficult decisions

One of the dilemmas many mums agonise over is when to return to paid work. I have been lucky enough to get a few months paid maternity leave with both my boys and the time is rapidly approaching when I told my boss that I would return to work a couple of days a week. Late last week my childcare centre notified me a place was coming up in the baby room for Bub if I would like to take it.

Oh the agony and the ecstasy. I love being at home with my little ones and seeing them grow and develop every day but I must say it is exhausting! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Especially as both my boys are erratic sleepers so I'm usually functioning on very little sleep which does make for a very grumpy mummy sometimes. Anyway, my point is it is hard work 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

The other part of the equation for me is that prior to having children work was something I very much enjoyed and something I still do although it has taken a much less prominent roll in my life for the last few years. Anyway, a childcare place means that very soon I will be toddling of to work a day and a half each week and leaving my little baby in someone else's care.

All the worries and concerns I had last time I made this decision are coming back again. Even though I know that my children are in fantastic hands, (I'm very happy with our day care and I'm actively involved in their management committee so I know the excellent work they do) it is still a big step to leave my baby with someone else.

To date the longest I have been away from him is two or three hours at a time and generally while he is asleep. The only other person who has cared for him is his Dad. But soon it will be his turn as well. I just hope it all goes smoothly and that I don't feel too guilty about enjoying exercising my mind on something other than parenting for a few hours each week.

We took a little visit to the baby room at day care earlier today and Bub seemed very happy, smiling at all the carers and trying desperately hard to impress them with his attempts at crawling (slowly shuffling around backwards and rocking a lot). Bub is quite an easy going boy so I suspect the transition will actually be more painful for me than for him - oh they grow up so fast. I will let you know how we get on in a few weeks.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bread dough and Play-doh

Well it's Friday already and I don't know where the week has gone. It has been a week of sunshine and rain - unfortunately more of the later than the former, so we are all going a bit stir-crazy.

We have played with the Lego, the trains, puzzles, jigsaws, cards, boggle junior, watched far too many DVD's, had the neighbours over for morning tea and in the sunny patches ridden the bike around the yard and played in the cubby. However, much to our dogs discussed, we have only maaged two trips to the park for a play.
Anyway, given that today is again more rain than sunshine it seemed like a good day for baking. I have baked a few batches of biscuits and muffins with Junior as well as the odd pizza but I should try a few more savoury things to encourage his interest in real food not just treats. So today, thanks to Jennifer for supplying a simple White Batter Bread recipe, I made my first loaf of bread.
It wasn't 100% successful - I needed a slightly bigger loaf tin and I should have buttered the tin more because I had trouble getting it out of the tin, but all in all it wasn't bad for a first attempt.
Junior certainly enjoyed it with butter and jam for lunch - perhaps it isn't that savoury after all!
We have since had a request for homemade jam and current buns too - what have I got myself into?

Junior also did a spot of cooking today - he mixed up a fresh batch of play-doh and enjoyed playing with it on the patio during a short burst of sunshine.
Now that Bub is napping the sun is out again but I don't think it will last long enough to make it to the park when he wakes up - our poor dog will be very disappointed.