Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dinosaur World

Creating a world of imaginative play could not be easier.  I set the kids the task of making a Dinosaur World.  Here's what they came up with...

They started with a sandpit and set about making different landforms: A river and a volcano were deemed essential.

Then they added some plants.  At first this was bits of grass, then they started pulling up little ferns from the garden! (Which I'm not too concerned about because I'm sure they're probably weeds anyway!)  We talked a little about how plants were different when the dinosaurs lived and that the flowering plants (Angiosperms) only evolved during the Cretaceous period.  

Then we needed some dinosaurs.  I love dinosaurs and my boys have been learning a lot about them too.  

I love that the Stegosaurus is munching on some plants...

Liam even put Baryonx near the river because "where else did he get his fish?"

The Velociraptor is having a little something to eat too!

Of course, we all know the Jurassic Stegosaurus and the Cretaceous Triceratops would never have existed at the same time...but that may be a bit too much detail to be worrying about, don't you think?

And, out of interest, here is some amazing new research about some of our favourite dinosaurs that we discovered while visiting Sea World earlier in the year.  Might have to glue some feathers on our T-Rex!

Do tell...what's your favourite dinosaur?

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Indigenous Inspired Art

I'd seen the idea for painting with cotton buds on Pinterest a while ago.
So, after a recent school holiday visit to The Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery we decided to try our hands at painting using the dot technique we saw in many pieces of Indigenous art. 

I tried to copy the circles and trails in some of my favourite pieces. 
Liam wanted to make a robot face. 

 And Hamish practiced making dots. 

It was lots of fun, though three year olds struggle with the idea of one cotton bud per paint colour.  So plan on using more than you think!
What's your favourite painting technique?  Any tips for painting with kids?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Valentine's Decorations

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
It's not really done in Australia other than cards, chocolates and/or flowers for the one you love.  Maybe a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant if you're lucky. 

It's certainly not celebrated to the extent you see in American films. Or on Pinterest

But, this year, I decided to join the party and make a few decorations to share the love.
Our dining room buffet got a few hearts...
Yes, that is an All Blacks Lithograph in my dining room.  It was Hubby's birthday present last year and he loves it so much.  No, it's not staying there for ever- just until I can find somewhere else to stick it display it lovingly.

I made some easy, easy decorations.  Felt heart garlands threaded on to ribbon...

Brown paper hearts machined stitched with red thread...

And the jars!  I loved these jar lanterns when I saw them and they are so easy to make.

Jar + doily + heart + twine = gorgeous!

And they looked pretty fabulous at night too...

These gorgeous map hearts were made by my talented mum for Rohan's "Oh, the places you'll go" themed first birthday party and naming day. The colours look great in my kitchen.   I hung a bunch of them over my kitchen window, but this is the only photo that turned out...

I did a bit of a love art on the chalkboard wall as well...
So, were you lucky enough to get dinner out?  Flowers?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Super Bowl Fun

I don't really like football.  And by football I am referring to all kinds- soccer, rugby union, rugby league, Aussie rules and American grid iron! 

That's not a big secret or anything and I don't think it'd surprise many who know me.  Watching sport in general just does nothing for me.

But, I am the mother of four boys and Boys Love Football.  It's just gotta be inbuilt.  My six year old comprehends more about the rules that I can ever hope to understand.

So why did I watch the Super Bowl?  Here's the thing... If I were to "leave them to it" and only interact with my boys doing the typical mum things like cooking, role playing and craft- I'd be missing out.  Big time.  I'd be missing out on a huge part of who they are and what they do.

So, I've decided to engage with them in their passions the only way I know how - with themed snacks and decorations!

This is our third Annual Family Super Bowl Party, and it's getting bigger ever year.  This year was especially fun because, this year, we had Pinterest!  You can see my collection of ideas here.

The Super Bowl plays on a Monday morning here in Australia, so we record it, avoid all media reports all day long and watch it when everyone gets home from work and school.

So, we did a bit of food and some decorating...

 These paper chain garlands were easy (and look so cute!)...

Because the Super Bowl goes forever for a while, we planned our snacks in order to continually graze throughout the game.  Our now traditional starter - a seven layer dip - got a football-shape makeover this year.  (Please note the napkins and forks in Ravens colours.)

 Baked potato skins with sour cream.

I made traditional buffalo wings which, apparently, must be served with blue cheese dressing and celery.  I was a bit dubious about the combination but, now I'm a convert.  These were my favourite of the day.  I followed this recipe for the wings and this for the dressing (though, this recipe makes a lot of dressing!  Note the 49er themed plates.)

We also had a football themed pizza but the boys ate it up before I could take a photo!  It looked a bit like this one...
Superbowl Sunday - Homemade Football Pepperoni Pizza
via Pinterest

The helmet-watermelon-fruit salad-bowl was by far my three year old's favourite.  We had to have many, many conversations about why he couldn't actually wear it!

The chocolate coated strawberry footballs looked so much better on Pinterest!  Darwin heat and chocolate don't mix.

But they tasted good... (Rohan, Hamish and I were supporting the 49ers.  This is the closest shirt I could find!)

The brownies were made into footballs too...

Ice cold drinks included Budweiser for Matt and the cutest little bottles of soft-drink for the kids. (The usual sugar free rules clearly go out the window on special occasions!)

It was a pretty close, exciting game too- even I must admit that.  Add in a blackout and some Beyonce booty shaking and it was pretty darn enjoyable!  I still don't understand the game...  What is a 49er, anyway? Fake kicks, really? BUT- I got to spent time with my gorgeous family...Win!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Recipe: Easy Kids Fried Rice

Next time you're cooking a meal with rice, throw an extra cup or two in and freeze the leftovers.  Then, when you need a quick, easy lunch that the kids will gobble up you can whip up some...

Easy Kids Fried Rice

1. Defrost rice (I give mine a quick blast in the microwave)
2. Heat a little oil in a wok (I use grape seed oil).  Crack two eggs straight into the wok, give them a bit of a whisk and sprinkle with some salt and pepper (optional).

3. When the egg is set on the bottom flip it and give the other side a brown.  Remove.
4. Heat a bit more oil and throw in the rice.  Fry it for a bit.

5. Throw in some frozen vegetables (I've used a diced peas, corn, carrot and beans mix).  Use about half as much as you have rice.

6. Sprinkle in some soy sauce (I use a gluten-free one so baby & I can eat it too).

7.  Slice the egg and some spring onions (optional. I wasn't sure if my kids would eat them, but they didn't even question them!)

8. Mix in the egg and spring onions.

9. Enjoy!

This recipe is gluten free if you ensure your soy sauce is.
Leave out the egg to make it vegan.
You could add whatever vegetables your kids will eat, but mix it up - they might surprise you too!