Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More travel activities

As I mentioned in my previous post I have been hunting for travel activities for Junior and I have come across a few good blogs including Unplug Your Kids and Vanilla Joy, who is writing a whole series of travel activity ideas.
I have been putting together a little travel activity bag for Junior which includes colouring books, crayons, pencils, activity books, stamps, stickers and paper, scissors, a hole punch, glue, jigsaw puzzles and a magnetic activity board. I will also add some play doh, a new Thomas train and toy car.
Last night I also made some lacing cards and added them to the activity bag which will hang off the back of the car seat so Junior can do lots of puzzles and craft on the move.
Hubby has also set up the laptop with an in-car power supply so we will have plenty of DVDs and talking books to get us through. Wish me luck and I will let you know which activities were the most successful at entertaining a three year old when we return.

Rainbow rice and all things nice

This week we are preparing for a very long car journey so I have been wracking my brain (and searching many blogs) for some car games and activities to keep my boys happy for many hours in the car - a very daunting task given that Junior has never been a good traveller.

Earlier this week we made some rainbow rice .
This afternoon I used it to make a find it game by putting layers of coloured rice into a clear plastic bucket with an assortment of little nic-naks for Junior to find. I have also printed a photo card of the items to fine for him to refer to.
I have also been putting together a few other activities to keep him happy and I will write a post about the soon.

National Science Week

I'm feeling a little guilty because this is National Science Week in Australia and despite me having a Science background we haven't been doing anything sciencey. So today to make amends we had a little nature walk around our backyard looking for snails, ants, spiders, slaters, bees and other creepy crawlies.
We also updated our "birds in our backyard" list which we have been keeping for a while but haven't got very far with. At the park today we also noticed a Mudlark, which we often see in our backyard, building a nest - looks like spring is on the way! We will have to take a closer look at our resident Mudlarks to see if we can find another nest under construction.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Easy cup cakes

Our most recent baking project was Easy Peasy Cupcake from the Annabel Karmel kids cookbook. They really were very easy.Just take 125g each of caster sugar, soft butter or margarine, and self raising flour, add two large eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Beat it all together until the mixture becomes slightly lighter in colour.
Spoon the mixture into a 12 hole muffin tin lined with cup cake papers and bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes. Decorate as desired and enjoy.

Doggy Holiday

Long before Junior and Bub came into our lives, Jack was our first baby. Back then he got lots of attention - walks every day, regular brushing and he was showered with pats and positive attention. Because of this he is a very well socialised and well behaved member of our family but lately he really has been missing out on his share of the attention.
I still try and give him a walk each day but this doesn't always happened and when it does it is often a trip to the local playground so Junior can play or occasionally a quick lap around the block once the kids are in bed. The kids do play with him as well although I don't think he really enjoys being used as a horse or a lounge chair. Anyway, one time we do try and make up for his lack of attention is when we go on holidays to my parent's farm or we visit hubby's folks who have a small property on the south coast.
Well we have a family holiday coming up, we are heading North to Exmouth for a little winter sun and a beach holiday but unfortunatly Jack won't be able to come with us so he is having a little doggy holiday of his own. This weekend Bub and I took him down to the farm where he will have 3 weeks of swimming in the river or dam, rolling in mud, getting in the way while my Mum is trying to do stock work and generally having a doggy good time.
I do hope he has a great time and doesn't miss us all too much. However, I know when we come back he will enjoy returning to one little luxury he does get at home - sneaking inside at night and snuggling up on the rug (or occasionally even making it onto the bed).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

More bubble painting

This morning Junior and I tried a little more bubble painting but this time using the more usual tequnique of putting detergent, water and colour (we used food colouring) in a container ...... blowing with a straw to make lots of bubbles and ...
... then placing the paper over the top. The results were quite pretty.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Musical moment

This afternoon Junior and I went into town for a WA Symphony Orchestra EChO cushion concert at the Perth Concert Hall. The concert was packed with 2-5 year olds and their parents and I'm not sure who enjoyed it the most, the adults or the kids.
Junior was a little overwhelmed by it all to start off with but soon warmed up and joined in the clapping and singing. The concert was only about 50 minutes long with a chance to play some of the instruments afterwards. This was a good length - the kids didn't get warn out and the parents didn't get too uncomfortable sitting on the floor.
Junior had a go at the French Horn and the Double Base before we caught a bus home (another favourite activity for him).A really enjoyable afternoon and definitely something to add to the calendar for next year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Love that cubby

We bought a cubby house kit for Juniors 3 birthday a few months back and what a good investment it has been. It is tucked in a corner just off our patio area so it is really squeezed in but because this is the outdoor area we use most, it seemed the best place to put it.
Even though Junior is a big independent 3 year old now he still likes to be close to his mum and dad and here he can potter around to his hearts content and entertain his friends on play-dates while hubby and I enjoy a BBQ or a cuppa outside in the fresh air.
It isn't very large inside but big enough to fit two or three little ones and it has a table and chairs and small kitchen setting so he often prepares me cups of tea or cooks brunch.
Hubby also bought an old phone from the office the other day so now he often "phones up" his friends to invite them over.
Because it's raised off the ground he can look out the window and see who is coming down the street (we are on a corner block so there are no neighbours on that side of the house to be offended by him peering over the fence). He will often call out to people he knows walking down the street and gives them a big wave.When we bought the cubby kit to build it seemed very decadent but I think both he and his little brother will get many years off fun out of it and when they out grow it Hubby plans to install a beer fridge and foxtel and use it as his own personal retreat.

Mini Banana Muffins

This weeks baking project was Mini Banana Muffins using an Annabel Karmel recipe I found in a book from our local library (I couldn't find this recipe on her web-page but there were plenty of other variations). If you would like to try it - like most muffins it is incredibly easy.


1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
55g soft light brown sugar
1 large very ripe banana
55ml sunflower oil
85g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Line 2 mini-muffin tins with 18 mini-muffin liners (I didn't have any so I just greased the tin).
2. Mix egg and sugar in a large bowl then whisk together with vanilla extract.
3. Mash the banana in a small bowl and add to mix with oil and egg.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda, salt and cinnamon into the mix (add the bran left in the sieve to the bowl too. Stir everything together until just combined.
5. Spoon into muffin cases (around 2/3 full) then bake at 180 degrees C for 12-14 minutes until risen and firm.

I must admit I did these myself because I was in a hurry and Junior only discovered what I was doing when I had finished the mix but he helped me fill the muffin tins and we popped them in the oven.
15 minutes later they were cooling on the rack ready for morning tea.
Yummy and so simple. Next time I think I will make a double batch because they disappeared in no time.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Showered with flowers

As a breastfeeding mum with a little one who doesn't sleep very well, I feel there are a few things in life that I miss out on. Sleep is the obvious one (especially at the moment when everyone in our house has a cold), but I also avoid caffeine and alcohol because these seem to lead to even more sleepless nights for both bub and I.

After 70 odd weeks of abstinence during pregnancy and breastfeeding (well ok I do sneak the odd half glass and I still have my decafe latte) I do crave the odd glass of wine or beer, and a real coffee every now and then.

Therefore I have been indulging myself in a little alternate luxury. For the past few weeks I have been buying myself a bunch of these each week at the local farmers market.
Today I had an added bonus. Junior disappeared into the garden for a few minutes and came back with a beautiful yellow bouquet of Oxalis (an indication of how weedy our garden is). Now I have two beautiful vases of flowers on the dining table.

Blown away with bubble painting

Today Junior and I tried a spot of bubble painting which I saw recently on A Bit of This and A Bit of That.
It was lots of fun but I'm very glad that I was advised to put the paper in a box because we tried it on the patio and even though there was only a very light breeze we could have ended up with colours bubble art everywhere.
Our results were as much splatter art as bubbles but it was lots of fun - any excuse to play with some bubbles.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Almost crawling

Bub is on the verge of crawling and has been for weeks. His older brother hated tummy time and didn't show any signs of crawling until he was 8 months old - then he decided to make a determined effort. Junior started rolling then rocking and within what seemed like a week he was off on all fours at a tremendous pace. He hasn't looked back.
Bub is an entirely different little fellow. He has never minded being on his tummy and started rolling front to back at around three months - although he still hasn't managed the reverse manoeuvre very well. He has been up on all fours rocking for several months and much to his frustration he has been going backward ever since.
He now has at least mastered changing direction (even if it is often going backward) and seems to move around the floor quite a lot with a combination of rocking, backwards crawling, sitting up and then changing direction so now at least he doesn't become jammed in corners or under the sofa quite so much. This has made him much happier with himself.
I took these photos on the weekend because he has finally managed to make a few proper forward crawling movements although not at any great speed yet and he often gets frustrated and lurches himself forward or tries a commando crawl type action instead.
I was thinking he would be racing around the house by the end of the week but alas a lurgy (cold / flu type bug) has taken hold and the poor little fellow is too exhausted to do more that shuffle around the carpet a little before giving up and needing a little nap.
Hopefully he will be all recovered and back to his usual happy self very soon. In the meantime I think I should finish baby proofing all those corners of the house which I had forgotten about until now.