Monday, August 01, 2011

Something different- dirt playdough

I love how the interwebs can lead you on a journey to discover lots of new ideas for stuff to do with kids. I am always bookmarking ideas but never actually do them but when I saw this one I thought it was time to give something a go.

I saw this link for dirt playdough on the great site Playopedia set up by Childhood 101.

You can access the link directly here and seeing we regularly play with homemade playdough I thought why not mix it up a bit and do something different from the normal food colouring. The idea is to add cocoa to give it a dirt/brown colour.

I like to make my playdough using a non-cook method from the book Small Fry, Inspiration for Cooking with Kids by Susie Cameron and Katrina Cook.

The recipe requires the combination of:

  • 1 cup salt

  • 2 cups plain flour

  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar

Mix these together then add 2 cups boiling water and 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (combined) and of course your desired colouring. In this instance though I added a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cocoa powder to give the "dirt" appearance. Now mix it all together, turn out onto a floured bench and knead it together

Overall the mix was slightly stickier than normal but some extra flour helped with this. I have to say it smells so yummy, a bit like a chocolate cake!

We used ours to make tracks with the tyres on our cars and rolled it into balls to make rocks, the next day it became ice cream for pretend ice cream cones. One week on it still smells great and I have enjoyed trying something different to the normal food colouring.

Why not give it a try the next time you make some play dough!

Do you like making playdough or do you buy it? Do you add anything to your mix to make it a bit different?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shy girl in the corner - a follow up

Last week I wrote here that I was feeling tentative towards taking Joshua along to the local playgroup. It was really nice to have friends share their experiences in meeting new people and this helped me to take the plunge today and go along.

It starts at 10am and when I drove up there was nobody there so I sat in the car for a few minutes and then a few cars arrived, at this point I almost didn't get out of the car but looked at Joshua and made myself do it.

Well, what can I say, all the other Mums were lovely and most of the kids were Joshua's age. I felt really welcome and he had a great time exploring the sand pit, cubby and the toys that were put out. Turns out that the group has only been meeting there since January so I guess a lot of the friendships were still new.

I thought that there might have been a few more activities for the kids to do like craft, painting or playdough but it didn't really matter as Joshua was having heaps of fun anyway.

So all up I hope that we can go again next week. I think that it is really important for Josh to spend time with other kids without Emily and it was enjoyable to meet some other local people. I have always wanted to feel more connected to the local community and I think that this is one way I can do that.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The shy girl in the corner?

It is hard sometimes to be critical of yourself and wonder why you act in a certain way but I think it is important to acknowledge the parts of yourself that you can improve on.

One of my major weaknesses is meeting new people. Way back when I was always the shy girl in the corner to nervous to branch out and introduce herself and start a conversation with someone, at uni and at work I have always been like that. Now as a parent I sometimes fall into the same trap.

For more than a year I have been telling myself that I should take Joshua along to the local playgroup. This would give him an opportunity to have some fun playtime with other kids when Emily is at preschool and become familiar with a different environment that is not always being with Mum. But I am holding myself back, too nervous to walk into a room of strangers and introduce myself. I know I need to do it for Joshua's benefit but I can't seem to make myself, I am just not self confident enough.

Geez, this is a pretty honest post from me but now that I have written it down I am going to work out a strategy to get on with it. Maybe next week I might just get there.

Have you ever felt nervous going to meet new people, how did you manage it?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

This place where we live

I love exploring this beautiful place where we live. Finding a new place that makes you wonder "why don't we do things like this every week" and has the kids exclaiming "wow".
The last time we explored was last year so yesterday we explored a local nature reserve, Kincumber Mountain. It was freezing and windy but we braved it anyway and the beanies actually stayed on the little heads so it must have been cold.
We took a short walk down a little track to what Ems dubbed "the bear cave", after the book We're Going on a Bear Hunt. It was only 300m one way but there were big rock overhangs, tall gnarly trees, mud, moss, old banksia men trees, massive dead tree stumps, lots of sticks for Josh to pick up and of course a cave. It was hidden and felt secluded apart from the distant hum of earth moving equipment coming across the
These are the days I want to remember
Having fun together, exploring and learning new things in the great outdoors. I have a great love for being outside that was fostered when I was younger so I hope that Ems and Josh want to choose doing things like this as they grow up.
I am resolved to do this more often, so many great places to explore here on the coast. Now off to planning our next adventure.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Today is my Dad's birthday

Today is my Dad's birthday, he is fifty eight today.

Except he isn't here to celebrate with us anymore but I like to remember it anyway and will always mention it to my sisters and Ashley when the 5th of July comes around each year.

For a long time after he died I was very sad and could hardly talk about it to anybody but now fifteen years later the words come a lot easier but there is still a tear in my eyes as I write this.

I find that it is good to remember him and reflect but not to dwell on it. Life is what it is and we can't change it, I know that my Dad is watching down on us and knows that we are okay.

(This is the last photo I have with my Dad. I was 17 at the time)

I decided recently that I wanted to record more of my memories of him, as I get older the recollections of him are fading and I don't want to forget. So I have resolved to start a journal of memories, maybe one day Emily and Joshua might like to read it.

So start of the collection, I do remember that my dad was a health nut and did not have the taste for sugar, so much so that at times when we would make a cake to celebrate a family birthday we would only put icing on half of it so that he didn't have to endure the icing that we all thought was glorious. I particularly remember doing this with a carrot cake one year. Lucky for me I didn't inherit this one and love a good bit of icing.

Happy Birthday Dad

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Little Red House is seven today

I always remember this day, it is a bit like a birthday in our family; the purchase of our first house, as in the Little Red House that is the namesake of this blog.

Seven years ago, way back then, we were young and had little idea of what we were doing. The house itself was stuck in a 70's time warp and had little work done since its construction in 1971. The retired owners spent much time inside and had no real love for the back or front yards. The house was mouldy, smelly and dirty. I didn't take many photos but I didn't need to, the memory is etched permanently into my head.

At the time the house was the best of a bad lot and we were desperate to buy something, I guess it turned out okay but not without a whole lot of hard work and money spent to renovate it. The only original internal fixtures left today are the kitchen bench and cabinets, everything else we have replaced.

Today our family fills the house with lots of laughter and fun as Ems and Josh gallivant around playing together with our dog Zorro never too far behind them. We might be starting to grow out of it but for the next few years our Little Red House will be just fine.

Happy anniversary house, I love that we are creating some great memories here and look forward to another year here and perhaps a little more scheming to improve you with a new project being sketched out at the moment but more on that another time.

And just in case you were wondering our Little Red House is in fact red, as in red brick!

How very seventies.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our backyard project; where did we end up you ask?

Seriously how fast does time go? Looking back to one of my very first posts written in August 2010 I proclaimed that Ash and I were planning a landscaping project to makeover our fairly dull backyard.

Almost one year on I thought it might be about time to record exactly where we ended up. I will be the first to admit that perhaps it didn't end up as planned but the completed work is amazing and I am in love with my backyard! I spend time every day pottering around while the kids play and dreaming up what comes next.

We didn't quite get to building the pergola and I think it would have ended up being way to imposing on our small space, the fairy garden is still coming together and of course lots of the plants are still mini sized as they await spring/summer growth but overall the garden is relaxing, fun for the kids to play in and enjoyable to share with our friends and family.

I never thought that our backyard could be a place that both the kids and I actually want to spend time in.

Here are some pictures to share the garden love with you