Real Parties: tips & tricks from everyday Mums 3


Welcome back to the Real Parties series here on Frog, Goose and Bear where we’ll be taking the ‘daunting’ out of DIY parties by interviewing fellow everyday Mums for their party planning tips and tricks.  Today I am interviewing Simone from Great Fun 4 Kids Simone has 3 kids aged eleven, nine and six, so she’s put on more than a few parties in her time!  She hails from NZ and will always be the number one party Queen in my book.  Simone is super generous with sharing every aspect of how she puts together her fantastically fun parties over on her blog and her tips that she has shared with us today are absolute gold my friends, pure party-prepping gold.

Simone – Great Fun 4 Kids

How far in advance do you start planning a party?

My kids almost always start thinking about/dreaming of their next year’s party while we are still sweeping up from this year’s but I have a rule that they can’t start talking about their party until the person’s party before theirs has been (they are all spaced out four months apart). Usually they have a pretty good idea what they want well before that though, so I take note of it, and start up a Pinterest Board to collect ideas once they are pretty clear on their chosen theme – which could be six-nine months ahead! The choice of the theme almost always comes from them, sometimes with a gentle nudge from me or suggestions from their siblings. Once the theme is decided, I can grab any on-theme bargains when I see them, so gradually start collecting things, thereby spreading the cost and the workload.

parties at greatfun4kids

What are your top 5 party planning tips?

1.  Plan Ahead – if you know what theme you are having well in advance you can pick up bargains and collect useful items, thereby spreading the cost and reducing the stress

2.  Make a Pinterest Board for each party you are planning. Collect ideas there; you probably won’t use 90% of them but you will start creating the look and feel of what you’re aiming for; this helps clarify the “vision” for the party. Get the birthday child involved in the planning of their party. Get them to sit with you while you search for ides online; ask them what THEY want (for food, for games) and get them to help with the preparation wherever possible.

3.  Have a DIY mentality and keep it simple. There’s no need to hire professional face painters and entertainers, instead drag in funny family members, other parents, older siblings and kindhearted friends to help run the party on the day. Keep the games simple and adapt old favourites to the theme.

4.  Have a written plan. Create a word doc where you list everything you need to do, get, buy and make. Have another list for the menu, one for the decorations, one for the games. In the final week before the party break down everything you need to do into each day leading up to the party. Tick things off once they’re done, then relax until the next day. And have a rain plan!

5.  Use the party inspiration you find online but don’t be daunted by it! Realise that many of the parties you see on Pinterest etc are created by professionals for photography shoots with models, not by mums on limited budgets for actual real-live children. Don’t be discouraged; find ideas that are do-able, and have been created and used successfully by other mums and remember that what really matters is celebrating your child and creating a moment for them to have fun with their friends.


Out of all of the parties you’ve planned, which one was your favourite and why?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite! I think if I had to pick just one, it would be my youngest son’s fourth birthday Peter Pan Party. I love Peter Pan (not the animated Disney version, the original story) and so we had tremendous fun turning our backyard into Neverland. Every member of our family dressed up as a character from the story; the games were old favourites adapted to fit the theme and it didn’t just look amazing was really really fun. Magical, in fact.

peter pan party costumesWhere do you draw your party inspiration from?

I love finding ideas on the internet, Pinterest etc, and reading blogs (like Emma’s) by other party mums, but most of my inspiration for party ideas comes from what my kids are into at the time, and then I try to adapt that to make a fun, original theme.

collage 1What is the next party that you are planning at your house?

Our next party will be my daughter’s 10th birthday Slumber Party. I’ve set myself a challenge this year to create all my parties for under a hundred dollars each, total. The décor will be using vintage sheets and blankets, patchwork fabrics and things that make you think of bedding (with a few stars maybe thrown in); we’ll be making pizzas, having a dessert bar, toasting marshmallows round the fire then snuggling up to watch movies. Sounds so simple but just wait, it will be fab. After that My son’s twelfth birthday will be The Hunger Games, where I’m planning to make a giant cardboard cornucopia filled with water bombs, water guns etc, give them all a “life” wristband and then let them battle it out. Should be loads of fun for that age!

fun kids party on a budgetThanks so much for being a part of this series Simone!  You really are the Queen of Parties!

Simone’s blog, Great Fun 4 Kids is full of amazing party ideas.  She’s such a generous soul and has made it very easy for you by collating all of her party posts on to the one party loving page where you’ll find pics of all her kids parties as well as how-to’s and tutorials and even free party printables.   You must check out her ‘not-so-plain’ party on a budget challenge that she has set for herself this year.  As well as her blog, you can find Simone on instagramfacebookpinterest and twitter.


Every fortnight on a Friday morning here at Frog Goose and Bear, I’ll be asking a different party loving Mum the same five questions and sharing their party pics.  In between that I’ll be sharing photos and details from parties that I’ve been involved in recently. If you’d like to share your party tips & tricks and be interviewed as part of this series, I’d love to hear from you too!

I also know that lots of you have some awesome DIY party ideas yourselves so, as a way of continuing to inspire each other, we’ve started posting DIY party pics on instagram under the hashtag #diypartyfun.  You are welcome to tag new or old party pics on instagram or to post pics to my facebook wall and if you are not on either of those platforms and you’d still like to be involved, you can email me your diy party pics if you like.  Every Monday morning, here on the blog, I’ll be posting my favourite pics that you have all shared!





Chocolate Grissini Wands

choc grissini wandsMy two sisters and I all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other and when I was growing up birthday time was my favourite time of year! My mother always involved us in all aspects of party prep. We’d choose a theme, design the decor, decorate party hats, set up our favourite games and help with the cooking.

For me, all of these things helped build the magic and excitement of the big day.  I have continued this much loved tradition with my own three children, although thankfully their birthdays are more evenly spread throughout the year!

One of the easiest ways to involve kids in the preparation for their birthday parties is in the kitchen.  Something that is a staple at all of our birthday parties, always a hit and easy for kids to make are chocolate grissini wands.

Chocolate grissini wands

You will need
  • Small grissini bread sticks
  • Chocolate melts
  • Sprinkles
  • Spoon
  • Bowls
  • Mug or glass
How to

1. Melt the chocolate by putting it into a bowl in the microwave and heating for 30 second increments until melted.  Alternatively, you could use a double saucepan on the stove top to melt your chocolate.

2. Wait a few minutes so that the chocolate is not too runny and then spoon the chocolate over the top third of the grissini stick, twisting as you go so that the chocolate spreads as evenly as possible.

3.  Over a bowl, sprinkle the sprinkles over the chocolate.

4.  Pop your choc covered grissini stick into a mug or glass until the chocolate hardens.

Tip: If the chocolate starts to drip down the grissini stick at this stage, then your chocolate is too warm and you need to wait a few minutes for the chocolate to cool down a little before continuing.

You might like to measure the length of your mug so that the chocolate doesn’t stick to the mug as it dries.  You can do this by simply holding the grissini stick up against the mug, like my 6 year old son is doing in the pic below.


and then keeping your finger there as you put the melted chocolate onto the grissini stick making sure that the chocolate always stays above that line.


5. Once the chocolate has set, place your chocolate grissini wands in an airtight container until party time.  They’ll last for weeks so you can make them well in advance which is always a winner!


It might get a little messy and they may not look absolutely perfect, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because they’ll still taste delicious. Besides, you just can’t beat that look of pride and satisfaction on your kids’ faces from having made something all by themselves!

Believe me, if you start them young, they’ll be running their own parties in no time!

How much do you involve your children in party prep?  

Do you have any tried and true recipes to share that are great to do with kids?



A version of this post first appeared on in August 2013

Real Parties: Tips & Tricks from everyday Mums 2


Welcome back to the Real Parties series here on Frog, Goose and Bear where we’ll be taking the ‘daunting’ out of DIY parties by interviewing fellow everyday Mums for their party planning tips and tricks.  Today I am interviewing one of my all time favourite bloggers, Bron who blogs over at Maxabella Loves.  Bron has 3 cute kids aged 5, 8 & 10.  I first came across Bron about four years ago when we both started blogging and immediately warmed to her honest and humorous look at life and more importantly I knew I’d found a kindred spirit and like minded soul who shared my love of going just a little OTT for parties!  

Bron – Maxabella Loves

How far in advance do you start planning a party?

I’d like to say “months in advance”, because that’s how long I should start planning, but generally it’s just a week or two. I do set the theme about 6 weeks ahead so we can make the invitations and I half-heartedly pin a few things around this time, but otherwise I’m motivated by the deadline! For example, my son has a “Minecraft” party on in 1 ½ weeks and I’ve done absolutely nothing so far.

Maxabella loves parties

What are your top 5 party planning tips?

1. Divide the party into food, games and decorations and keep a list for each.

2. Keep a ‘running schedule’ of party day – both for set up and the actual party – so you know what’s coming up next and approximately how long activities will take.

3. Select party food that you can make as far in advance as possible.

4. Remember, the activities are the most important thing – the kids are happy with a cheezel and a balloon. Oh, and a cake. You’ve gotta have a cake.

5. If you’re feeling daunted, focus on just ‘one big thing’. Every party needs something with total ‘wow’ factor and the rest can be so-so. 

maxabella loves parties

Out of all of the parties you’ve planned, which one was your favourite and why?

Lottie’s carnival party.  It was THE MOST FUN on the day and we loved making all the decorations and food. Adding a special party dress for Lottie made her feel so special. Let’s face it, Carnival is an awesome theme. 

(NB: the pics in this post are from this party)

maxabella loves parties

Where do you draw your party inspiration from?

Mostly my head, but Pinterest coming along has been very helpful! I have a ‘general’ party board, but also about 10 others from various parties I’ve done over the past couple of years.

Maxabella loves parties

What is the next party that you are planning at your house?

As above, Max’s Minecraft party. It’s going to kill me (which is why I am procrastinating).

Thanks for having me, Em! x

maxabella loves parties

Thanks so much for being a part of this series Bron!

You might be pleased to know that Bron managed to pull off an awesome minecraft party for Max.  Here are the pics & details.  You’ll note while you are there that it is probably the best minecraft themed birthday party that you have ever seen!  

Bron has lots of other great party tips on her blog.  You can find all of the wonderful parties that she has put on for her own kids here and her full of great ideas - ‘Party on Down’ series here.  Bron is currently doing a series sharing other people’s parties if you’d like to check it out or share your own!  As well as her blog, you can also find Bron on facebook, twitter & pinterest.


Every fortnight on a Friday morning here at Frog Goose and Bear, I’ll be asking a different party loving Mum the same five questions and sharing their party pics.  In between that I’ll be sharing photos and details from parties that I’ve been involved in recently. If you’d like to share your party tips & tricks and be interviewed as part of this series, I’d love to hear from you too!

I also know that lots of you out there have some awesome diy party ideas yourselves so, as a way of continuing to inspire each other, we’ve started posting DIY party pics on instagram under the hashtag #diypartyfun.  You are welcome to re-tag older party pics on instagram or to post pics to my facebook wall and if you are not on either of those platforms and you’d still like to be involved, you can email me your diy party pics if you like.  Every Monday morning, here on the blog, I’ll be posting my favourite pics that you (my lovely readers) have shared!


P.S. Did you notice that I have moved.  My new blog address is now  If you get regular updates from a feedreader such as bloglovin or feedly, you might like to go and update those now so that you don’t miss any posts!  Or of course, if you’ve never done so, you are most welcome to join up and start following now!!

A Possum Magic Birthday Party

possum magic book

Last month, deep in the Australian Bush, we had a little Possum Magic themed birthday party! Every Easter we go camping with my two sisters, their partners and children and my Mum.  We go to the same camping spot every year.  No amenities and no one else for miles (apart from the affectionately known “bogans” that set up camp with their loud music,  generator, dirt bikes and dogs every year about 1 km down the road and who get kicked out by the rangers every year).  You can see pics of previous Easter camping creativity here.

australian bush

While we were camping my niece, nephew and husband all celebrated a birthday, so inspired by our location as well as Jackie from My Little Bookcase (thanks Jackie!!!), I organised a little joint birthday party based on a favourite Australian children’s book Possum Magic by Mem Fox.  My family all rolled their eyes of course, knowing that I just couldn’t help myself where birthdays were involved.

We read the book and played pass the parcel with questions from the book.

reading possum magic
possum magic party
pass the parcel
pass parcelpass the parcel
pass the parcel
A chocolate koala for the winner!
We went hunting for minties in the bush …
… and had a competition (with filthy ‘camping fingernails’) to see who could tear the longest wrapper.
mintie wrapper
We ate pumpkin scones and vegemite sandwiches as a pre-dinner snack.
We ate a dinner of Steak and Salad from Sydney and Mornay from Melbourne.

dinner prep

After dinner was finished darkness had fallen and we ate a dessert of mini pavlovas, lamingtons and pumpkin scones.  A candle in each.  One for each of the birthday peeps.  If you know the book, you’ll know the significance of these particular Aussie foods.
At our birthday parties when my sisters and I were children, we would decorate brown paper bags every year in a very simple way and write the party guests name on them.  We would hang the paper bags on the back of the guests chairs and throughout the party they would collect lollies and prizes from the games and by the end of the party would have a full goodie bag to take home.
We did the same for this party but added a few goodies as well: some Australian animal activity sheets, a balloon, bubbles, Australian animal shaped cookies and a gumleaf bookmark with their name on it.  To make the gumleaf bookmark I wrote the children’s names on the gumleaves with permanent marker and then laminated them.
Possum Magic
Have you had a party themed on a book?  Have you had a party in the bush?
You can see the camping party I did for my husband when his birthday fell on Easter a few years ago – here.

P.S.  This is one of the first posts with my new blog address -  If you have previously followed this blog using a feed reader such as bloglovin, feedly, etc. you will need to adjust your records so you don’t miss any new posts!

Real Parties: Tips & Tricks from everyday Mums 1

Welcome to the first in the Frog Goose and Bear Real Parties series where we’ll be taking the ‘daunting’ out of at-home parties by interviewing fellow everyday Mums for their party planning tips and tricks.  The first cab off the rank is my friend Jane who lives in Hungary (how cool is that?!) and blogs at Mama Pea Pod.  Jane is Mum to two girls aged 4 and almost 7.  I have been following Jane’s blog for years and she’s a creative, party loving Mum who always inspires!

Jane – Mama Pea Pod

How far in advance do you start planning a party?

This will sound crazy, but I usually start thinking about them at least 6 months in advance! That’s because it is difficult for us to get many party supplies here in Hungary, so I have to order items through Amazon and often have to have them delivered to a friend or family member (since Amazon is usually not able to send them here), and then wait until they visit and bring them to us. This takes months of planning ahead to be sure I’ll have them in time for birthdays. Then I keep an eye out for anything I spot around town that might fit our theme and pick things up when I see them, and start collecting cool theme ideas on Pinterest. (Right now my nearly 7 year old has not made a final decision on the theme for her birthday coming up in 2 months and it’s really stressing me out because I need to place my orders now!)


What are your top 5 party planning tips?

1. Lists! I keep a notebook just for party planning and have a separate page each to plan for food/drink, games/activities, guest list/invitations, goody bags, decorations, shopping list, things to make, thank you notes, etc. so as not to forget anything.

2. Classic party games are always fun and we always include at least a couple – pass the parcel, musical statues, egg-and-spoon races, etc.

3. If you have prizes, make sure everyone wins one by the end of the party, especially for little kids. I always gauge a party’s success by the amount of tears shed – no tears = a successful party!

4. Plan some unstructured play time (preferably outside – even better if you can hold the entire party outdoors!) into the schedule as well as the organised games. For younger children (up to 4-5 years of age), play ‘stations’ set up that kids can wander freely among are better than organised games.

5. Send kids home with a fun goody bag – if they leave happy, they remember the party as a great time!


Out of all of the parties you’ve planned, which one was your favourite and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard to choose! Our Mermaid Party (for my daughter’s 5th birthday) was lots of fun and laughs, and we had great fun with the games in particular! Our most recent party, a Dinosaur Party (for my other daughter’s 4th birthday), was really easy to prepare and run and the kids loved it. And one of our earliest parties, a Rainbow Party (for my elder daughter’s 3rd birthday), was so fun to plan and so pretty because it was so colourful!


Where do you draw your party inspiration from?

I collect pins on my Parties board on Pinterest throughout the year on various themes that look fun. My favourite party blog, of course, is FGB! But really my kids pick their themes from their own imaginations and then I use those as my inspiration source, creating or seeking out food and activities, etc. that fit with that theme and that I know they’ll appreciate. So really my kids are my main inspiration.


What is the next party that you are planning at your house?

Well, it’s looking like it will be some kind of science fairy party – whatever that might be! – for my daughter’s 7th in June. She likes to challenge my creativity, I think!

Thanks so much for being a part of this series Jane!

You can find more pictures of Jane’s parties here on her blog. She also ran a wonderful series on her blog entitledABC’s of Kids Party Ideas which showcased lots of different party themes from DIY party bloggers all over the world which you might be interested in if you are having trouble coming up with a theme.  Another thing that Jane does that I think is just gorgeous is that she interviews her kids each year on their birthday to capture what their thoughts on life at each age. As well as her blog, you can also find Jane on facebook, twitter pinterestinstagram .


Every fortnight on a Friday morning I’ll be asking a different party loving Mum the same five questions and sharing their party pics.  In the alternate weeks I’ll be sharing photos and details from parties that I’ve been involved in recently. If you’d like to share your party tips & tricks and be interviewed as part of this series, I’d love to hear from you too!

I also know that lots of you out there have some awesome diy party ideas yourselves so, as a way of continuing to inspire each other, we’ve started posting DIY party pics on facebook and instagram under the hashtag #diypartyfun.  You are welcome to re-tag older party pics on instagram or to post pics to my facebook wall and if you are not on either of those platforms and you’d still like to be involved, you can email me your diy party pics if you like.  Every Monday morning, here on the blog, I’ll be posting my favourite pics that you (my lovely readers) have shared!


A new series: Real Parties from everyday Mums

It may not come as a surprise to you that I love parties.

There are so many perfectly styled and super expensive parties out there in blog land and they do look fantastic, but sometimes they can feel very intimidating and ‘out-of-one’s league’.  Some of them are not even real parties, but staged photo shoots.  My personal passion is to encourage and inspire fellow parents and share how an awesome ‘at-home’ party is totally manageable.  Obviously we don’t all have the time, interest or space to have our own DIY parties at home (and that’s totally fine!) To be honest, we all know that all our kids need is to feel loved and special on their birthday and they certainly don’t need a party every year, but for those who are keen, and maybe feeling a little overwhelmed, read on…

I’m starting a new party series here on the blog, where I’ll be interviewing some fellow everyday party loving Mums who have hosted some awesome parties!  They’ll be sharing their tips and tricks to help take the scariness out of hosting your own party and perhaps be a bit of a resource as well. I’ll be sharing these interviews with you every fortnight on a Friday morning here on the blog. I hope you enjoy the series! There are some fantastic interviewees lined up – you’re going to love it!

A party in it’s entirety can look very overwhelming but, if you look closely, often each individual thing is actually quite manageable and with a few tips and tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be hosting awesome parties in no time!

I’ve been involved in quite a few parties recently that I haven’t had a chance to share with you here on the blog so, over the next little while, I’ll be sharing them with you over the coming weeks as well.

I’m getting closer and closer to my dream of being a party planner and as a way of dipping my toes in, I have started helping friends out with their parties on a more professional basis. I can’t tell you how exciting this has been for me.  I still feel like I’m learning and growing in this area, but I do know that it’s nice to follow one’s passion and to be doing something that you love.

Kidspot recently asked me to write a post on DIY parties and the brief was to share 21 shortcuts, tips and ideas to save busy Mums time, money and stress, so while you are waiting for the first interview next week, you can read all of my tips and tricks over here on Kidspot.

If you’ve got photos of a party that you’ve hosted or you’ve got some tips you’d like to share and would like to be interviewed, do feel free to send me an email.  I’d love to hear from you!

Also, for a bit of fun, for those who are on instagram, I thought it might be fun to create a hashtag to collate all of the photos of our real and awesome diy parties, putting them all in the one spot so that we can inspire each other. I’ll check them out each week and post my faves on my own instagram feed (and possibly on the blog). I was thinking #diypartyfun as it hasn’t been taken yet. What do you think?  I’ve tagged a few of my pics on instragram to get the ball rolling.

Do you have a party coming up in your house?  What are your plans so far?

The photos in this post are from Frog’s ‘Fancy Nancy’ themed birthday party.


21 Simple gifts to make for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday (11th May) here in Australia.  I’ve compiled a quick list for you of fun and simple handmade gift ideas that you can whip up with the kids for Mother’s Day gifts. These are all things that we have made over the last few years and quite a few of them would be great made in bulk for Mother’s Day stalls as well.
For those of us who are a little time poor, but still love to dabble in a bit of creative DIY, these are all the kinds of gifts that you can grab the supplies for during the week (if you don’t already have them on hand) and then whip up on Saturday ready for Mother’s Day on Sunday.  Seriously.
Just click on the link in the heading and it’ll take you to a step by step tutorial for each one, or at least a link to one.  Enjoy!
1. Terrariums in jars
We made the ones in the pic below for teacher gifts at Christmas time.  You can find cool jars of all sizes at op shops & discount stores.

2. Bath salts

Any colour or scent will do and these babies don’t take long at all!

3. Soup-in-a-jar

Great gift for a new Mum who could do with a meal.  I find it difficult enough getting a meal on my own table, let alone making one for someone else, but this tutorial shares how to get the kids involved in this one, making it totally manageable.

4. Chocolates
We made the chocolate below by simply melting dark chocolate, pouring it onto some baking paper on a cookie tray and sprinkling with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.  When it had set we broke it into pieces.  The link above leads to a tutorial for making your own chocolates using a mould.  Moulds in various shapes and sizes can be found at Spotlight, Riot art, online or your local cake supply store.

5. Cookies-in-a-jar
These jars were made as party favours for Goose’s baking party earlier this year and we’ve used them for party favours at a farm party and for Christmas presents and new Mum presents.  Click on the link above to find a link to the recipe that we used.  These are great to make in bulk and just have in the cupboard for emergencies too!

6. Decoupaged tissue box or letter
My girls made these out of paper serviettes and glue.  Click on the link for the full tutorial.

7. Wool wrapped jars
Sometimes the most inexpensive gifts can be the best!  You’ll see more, along with a simple how-to, if you follow the link.

8. Clay herb labels
Imprinting leaves and stamps into oven baked clay and you’ve got some herb labels that will last forever out in the garden.

9. Clay necklaces
Same as the herb labels, these are made by imprinting leaves onto clay, then attached to a necklace or a brooch back.  For more clay jewellery ideas, clay beads are so much easier to make than you’d realise!

10. Laminated bookmarks
Made with whatever paper scraps you have lying around, they would also look cute with kids drawings or pressed flowers.

11. Masala Chai tea sachets
We used seed packet sized envelopes from Officeworks and popped enough chai ingredients for one into the bag.  Make a cute label and you’re done.  Click on link above for recipe.

12. Make your own Hot Chocolate-in-a-jar.
Perfect for this time of year as the weather starts to get colder.

13. Sew your own teatowel.

Cut a rectangle from linen/cotton blend fabric and give it a hem. I added a small piece of twill tape on mine to make a little fancier ;).  I’d love to find some plain linen/cotton fabric and get the kids to paint or draw with fabric paint or fabric markers.

14. Sew a Bag Bag
You know those things you put your spare plastic bags in from the supermarket.
For those times when you forget your green bag again!

You’ll find a great bag-bag tutorial here.

15. Decorate a Shopping Bag
In counteraction to the last suggestion, for those mothers who do actually remember their bags at the supermarket a little more regularly, decorating a calico shopping bag is something we love to do.  Whether it is apple printingfabric paint or no-sew applique. We buy our bags from here.

16. Sew a Wheat Bag

The nights are getting colder here in Melbourne and our wheat bags are coming out every night.  Just a minute & a half in the microwave and the bed is nice and toasty.  There are some gorgeous corduroy fabrics around which are lovely and soft.  There is a tutorial here if you’d like to give these a try.  Perfect project for a beginner sewer.

17. Fabric Covered Gift Cards
Here is a tutorial for how to make your own fabric covered cards. I often give these away in a nice tin for the recipient to use whenever a card is required.

18. Fabric Covered Coat hangers
I made these babies for my Mum last year.  If you like my scruffy & tattered look, I followed this tutorial, however one step up from coathangers, impeccably made & not frayed or tattered in the slightest, my friend Jane from Planet Joy makes beautiful made to order Liberty fabric wrapped wire words.  (Sometimes it’s easier to buy handmade than to make yourself, right?)

19. No-sew Upcycled Tshirt Scarf

20. Vintage Button Earrings
Just glue some earring backs on the back of some vintage buttons (or small toys or clay beads) and you have some pretty funky earrings. Details of earring back suppliers in the post.

21. Homemade bath bombs

BONUS:  I just remembered these from a few years ago and they definitely need a revisit!

22. Homemade Bubble bath and Chocolate Body Scrub

If you have any question whatsoever about any of these crafts, you know that you can always just ask, right?  I’m pretty good at replying and always happy to help.

Does your school or kinder have a Mother’s Day stall?  Do they ask you to donate?  My kids are each at new schools this year, so I am interested to see whether the tackiest of tacky gifts will be the same!  Not that I don’t cherish each and every gift that I receive of course! ;)

Make your own “Winter Warmer” Soup-in-a-Jar

Mother’s Day is next weekend and today is a blistering cold day here in Melbourne town which makes it the perfect day to get the kids onto making you (or Grandma) a mother’s day gift.  Here is an idea for a quick and easy gift that is especially useful on days like today.  You might even like to make an extra one and have it for dinner tonight.

I don’t know about you, but for me winter brings with it the desire for plenty of nice big bowls of warm and hearty soup.  Unfortunately winter also brings with it a little lethargy and can’t be bothered cooking-ness as well.  I’d much rather be rugged up in front of the fire on days like today, but unfortunately for me the children must still be fed.  I have discovered the perfect solution … let me share with you my recipe for ‘winter warmer’ soup in a jar… easy enough for the kids to make all on their own!



1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
2 tsp. vegetable stock powder
1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/4 cup green split peas
1/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup soup pasta/risoni

You’ll also need

300ml jar with lid
1 teaspoon measure
1 quarter cup measure
8 bowls to hold ingredients


1. Set up ingredients in bowls along the table in order of the list above.  No need to measure out at this stage, just pour more than you need into each bowl.  This was Frog’s favourite part.

2. Make labels and place in front of the corresponding bowls, so that your child knows what amount of each ingredient to put into the jar.  Two x 1 teaspoon labels, one x 2 teaspoon label and 5 x quarter cup labels.

3. Get your child to one by one, place the ingredients into the jar, in order of the list above, creating layers as they go. The layers give a fun effect, but if this is just too tricky for your child, put them all into the jar and let them create their own effect – as long as it’s the right amount, it’ll still taste the same!

While they’re there, they might as well keep going and fill more jars!  It won’t matter if the jar is larger than 300ml, any jar will do.

4. Pop the lid on carefully so as not to disturb the layers.  Not that it really matters as it is fun to shake and it still looks pretty all mixed together.

5.  Make a label for your jar with instructions, so that you (or your gift recipient) knows what to do when it’s time to cook the soup.  Glue the label straight onto the jar, or attach it with string or ribbon.  If you’d like the labels that I used, just email me and I’ll send you the printables, otherwise the instructions are as follows:

1. In a large saucepan, add contents of jar to 6-8 cups of boiling water.
2. Bring to boil and, with lid on, simmer gently for 45 mins or until ingredients are soft.
3. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
4. Makes 4 hearty serves.  Enjoy!
P.S. You could get creative by adding fried bacon, shredded chicken or grated carrot into the mix!

6. When you’re done you can always let your child use the leftovers to create some soup art with some white glue, paint brush & a piece of card… It could keep them occupied for at least another 15 minutes!

This ‘Winter warmer’ soup-in-a-jar makes a great gift or to have in the pantry for those days that you really can’t be bothered preparing a meal!

So, there you go. You got to put your feet up in front of the fire and your preschooler has just made dinner for the next 2 Sundays as well as a gift for your friend whose just had a baby.  So helpful … although it may be a little messy! Perhaps you could let them loose with the vacuum cleaner afterwards – mine seem to love that!


If you’d like to give these a go and use the gorgeous printable labels that my clever friend Jess designed for me then just email me and I’ll send it right to you.

You can find some more simple handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas here.  All perfect for the last minute (that’s how we like to roll here!)

Stay tuned for even more on Tuesday morning here on the blog. Keep warm my friends!

* This tutorial was originally published on Kidspot in June 2013.

How to make your own bath salts

As Mother’s Day is approaching here in Australia (Sun 11th May) I thought I’d share a post that I wrote for Kidspot this time last year – how to make your own bath salts.  It is a quick and easy Mother’s Day gift that is simple enough for the youngest of children to make for their Mum’s, Grandma’s or special women in their lives …

Last year my daughter purchased me some bath salts as a gift for Mother’s Day.  When I used them all up in one go in a long and relaxing bath all on my own, she was disappointed that I hadn’t saved any bath salts for her!  After refraining from having a little discussion on the art of gift giving and the concept of Mother’s Day, I told her that she could always make some for herself.  If you’d like to make some too, here is what we did.

You will need:

Epsom salt
Food colouring
Essential oil
Mixing bowl

1. Pour the Epsom salt into the mixing bowl.  Any amount will do.  My kids were fascinated by the salt that looked like snow and they couldn’t resist running their fingers through it.

2. Add a drop or two of food dye to the salt and stir with a spoon to integrate the colour.  Any colour will do – we chose purple to match our lavender essential oil.

3. Add a few drops of essential oil.  We chose lavender as it was all that we had in the cupboard and it is known for it’s soothing & calming qualities.  Nikki mentions some of the benefits of particular essential oils in this article.

4.  Mix the salt, colour and scent around with your spoon until they are all combined

We couldn’t resist having a good smell or two – it smelled divine!

 5.  Why not make some more using a different colour?  With my girls, pink and purple are always the colour of choice!

6.  Pop it into a jar for storage, or pretty it up as a gift.  We thought that it would be fun to layer the two colours and package them up as gifts.  Don’t you just love five year old’s handwriting?

7. Now go and run the bath and relax with a soothing lavender scented soak in the tub – you deserve it!

What is your favourite way to relax?  Do you ever make time for a bath?


You might like to try making some bath bombs to go with it as it uses some of the same ingredients and is also fun and simple to make with kids.

You can find some more gifts to make in jars in this post and some more Mother’s Day gifts for you to make in this post. xo


21 Fun & Simple Crafts for Easter

Easter has finally arrived and I hope you are enjoying a nice relaxing day with your family.  We’ll be returning sometime today from our annual Easter camping holiday.  

Over the last two months we’ve had quite the Easter fest here on Frog Goose and Bear with an abundance of Easter crafts, recipes and activities.  I love a bit of holiday creativity.  Thank you so much to all of the gorgeous people who shared their crafts with us by writing a guest post – it was muchly appreciated – you guys are awesome!

If you’d like to check them all out just click on the drawing of the Easter eggs at the bottom of the post or to go to each individual craft, you can click on each image to be taken to the individual tutorial.

Jar Bunny {guest post}
Easter Egg Garland {guest post}

Pom Pom Carrots {guest post}
Bunny Gift Bags {guest post}

Easter Bunny Mask {guest post}
Floral Easter Crown {guest post}
That’s the end of the Easter Craft Series of 2014.

There’s still time to get some Easter crafting in (or to pin it for next year)!
If that isn’t quite enough for you, you can always check out my Easter pinterest board for a trillion other awesome Easter things to do.

What are you up to today?  
How do you celebrate Easter?  I’d love to know.

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