SCHOOL HOLIDAY ARSENAL

School holidays bring with them a more flexible pace of life without the school run and other various regular activities. On the other hand, there is less time to blog and one needs to find more ways to keep kids occupied.

Apart from a trip to the zoo, a day at the snow and a weekend away at a friend’s beachhouse, these holidays I’m trying for one activity out of the house each day (to save the ‘climbing the walls syndrome’) whether it be a playdate with friends, a trip to the library or a trip to the airport to say goodbye to Granny, and the rest of the time at home. I find my kids are so busy during the term that they yearn for unstructured time at home and so does their Mum! Personally I’m a fan of letting kids just play and find their own fun. My kids are quite good at doing that, but I like to have “distractions” in my arsenal if the need arises.

The internet is full of gems if you know where to look …

- Of course you’ll find quite a few simple, yet super cool, ideas and links to other great sites right here on Frog Goose & Bear.

- Here is a fantastic list of ‘boredom busters’ over at MiniEco.

- We have been enjoying the brilliant ‘Action Packs‘ from WhipUp. They are well worth the $5 in my opinion. The idea is that kids, aged 7 and up, can do it independently with little supervision or younger kids can do it with some help. I am a huge fan! The Chai tea concoctions in the photos above are straight from the “Sew & Tea” edition.

- Goose has become a little obsessed with this season’s masterchef and she has been allowed to stay up later during the holidays to watch. When I gave her this fun ‘easiest ever choc chip slice’ recipe – she told me to step out of the kitchen as she was doing it all on her own, which she did! A new era has begun.

What are your school holiday tips?


AT MY HOUSE… {stopping to smell the snails}

At my house I often find myself having tea parties and stopping to look at the small things when I should be doing a whole lot of other much more important things…..

… or should I?

I have a china tea set that was mine when I was a little girl. I have been saving it, still in it’s polystyrene packaging, for my children to be old enough to be extra careful with it. This weekend, while completely overhauling the children’s bedrooms with new bunk beds and the rearranging and finding of homes for a multitude of things, I took these down from the high shelf and as I did so, a plate dropped and smashed. After all these years of keeping it on a high shelf, away from the little ones, it was me, the extra careful adult, who broke it. I think there may just be a simple lesson in that…

I am constantly reminded of the things in my life that I really should be grateful for and to stop worrying about those unimportant things that I convince myself are important.

What lessons are you learning at your house?

KIDS FUN: PINK GOOP

I am such a sucker for punishment sometimes, but there is something in me that truly believes that childhood is all about being allowed to get messy (within reason of course).

So today I thought we’d try a bit of goop to pass the time. It was sunny outside, the ingredients were handy and the mess stayed outside.

It feels VERY cool.
Kind of hard to explain – you’ve got to give it a go!
When the mixture is squeezed it becomes a hard lump then melts and then becomes hard again.

To make your own: just add 2 cups of cornflour to 1/2 cup of water.

I added more water at the beginning and then a little more later as it dried up after a while. We added food coloring too. I thought green would have been ideal, making it both the colour & consistency of slime, but I was outvoted.

We also had a bit of fun with a pink balloon, a pink straw, a bit of string and some duct tape – thanks Sarah.
You don’t tie the balloon up. You just let go and see it flying like a rocket to the other end of the string.
I thought I’d link in with kasiabear’s kiddy art and of course the ever favorite At My House with Lou.
What’s going on at your house?
Got any more cool ideas of things that I can amuse my kids with these school holidays?

EASY PEASY DINNER WINNERS #15

CHICKEN BASIL & LEMON PASTA

250g short pasta
2 small chicken breasts
200ml creme fraiche or mascarpone
1/3 cup shredded basil, plus extra leaves to serve
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
finely grated rind & juice of 1 lemon
200g of one or mixture of broccoli, peas or green beans, trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces & blanched.

1. Cook pasta in large saucepan. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, poach the chicken fillets in a medium saucepan of simmering water for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through. Drain & set aside.
3. In a small bowl, combine the creme fraiche, shredded basil, parmesan and lemon rind & juice. Season to taste.
4. Combine the pasta, sliced chicken, vegetables & basil sauce in a large bowl and toss to combine. Sprinkle with extra basil to serve.
If the almost 2 year old steals more than a few frozen peas during the preparation, all the better.

but if the 3 year old decides to take some funny photos with his Mum pretending to eat straight from the extra large bowl Mum has decided to place ALL of the pasta in so that everyone can serve themselves…….

beware of the ensuing small tantrum because he thinks the giant bowl of pasta is all for himself and the throwing of his own small plastic bowl of pasta all over the floor.
(why do my meals always involve so much mess!)

We compromised with a bigger than usual adult sized bowl on a special table mat designed by his little sister (who of course then needed her own special big adult sized bowl too)…. oh the joys. *

Now it’s your turn!
Share your easy peasy dinner winner down below!
I know you’ve got them – if you forgot to take a photo, just take one of the ingredients, the cookbook or find one on the web. Not sure how many more weeks of recipes I have in me… so now is your time!



* I must add that I am one who likes to stand my ground when necessary, but in this instance it really was not worth it – “Choose your battles” is my common mantra – there are far too many other bigger battles that I fight throughout the rest of the day and the size of the pasta bowl was certainly not going to be one of them! Not today when we were all sick and not feeling our best.

AT MY HOUSE…

At my house we have a house full of sickies. Well, myself and the youngest two. The Dad’s been so busy at work he hasn’t had time to catch it and Goose has gone to Granny’s for a few days, so those that remain are doing the absolute bare minimum!

The dolls clothes that Grandma lovingly sewed many years ago for their big sister have been discovered with much excitement and have been the hit for the day.

So good to see them actually in use – Goose was not much of a doll girl.

When things are handmade, you know the effort and love put into making them and it makes you appreciate the items so much more.

One of my favorite toys of the kids is this vintage dolls pram. It belonged to my husband when he was a boy….. he came from a family of all boys….. no gender stereotyping there!
The only thing I ever heard of them using it for though was for giving each other rides up and down the hall way ….

Play along over at Lou’s this week
& don’t forget to take a photo of those easy peasy dinners and play along here tomorrow….


P.S. If only they were old enough to put the clothes on and off all by themselves!! In your experience, does the age of doll playing ever coincide with the ability to actually dress them themselves or are they generally over it by that age?

BRAIN FUZZ

I think of witty, intelligent and profound blog posts all day,
mostly on motherhood
(that’s where it’s at for me at the moment)
but at the moment I just feel my mind is absolute mush and when I get to the evening and sit down to the computer, these thoughts just fly out of my head.

I felt a little better when I read this post and reminded myself that sleep deprivation does play a very strong part in this. Not sure if I remember the last time I had a full night’s sleep…..

Sleep……hmmmm…..
zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

With a husband doing over a hundred hours a week at the moment with not one whole day off in 6 weeks (including weekends) and the same for the next two weeks, I have been feeling the pinch……He’s not the only one in need of a day off…..

Some days I feel like I’m drowning and other days I feel like I am managing to keep that chin above the water.

While I am trying to defuzz my brain, I enjoy reading others blogs, like Maxabella, and Loose Change and many, many more who manage to put coherent thoughts together (even with small children) in quite profound ways and help me get my own nuerons back in action.


AT MY HOUSE…

At my house this weekend, we had the much anticipated

There are many more photos & details here.

But, to indulge myself just one more time…
here are some photos of the little Frog, Goose & Bear family enjoying the day…

And of course, none of this would have been possible without the inspiration and sheer hard work of Granny – thanks Mum!

This is the first year that we invited friends for a party for Bear. It was just family for the first two years and so this time, along with the family, we invited four of his little friends too. Of course those friends brought their families along too (they were only 3 years old after all) which just made it all the more fun! I once read somewhere that you should invite one friend per age the child is turning. What do you think of that?

At my house today we are obviously doing quite a bit of packing up!

Play along at Lou’s At My House this week!


P.S. Thanks Lou for being photographer on the day – really appreciate!

A FARM PARTY REVEALED

On Saturday our little Bear turned 3 years old. Although he is now adamant that he does not want to be 3 and still wants to be 2 thank you very much!

The party went fantastically well.
Here are a few (well, more than a few) photos of the day….
Please excuse while I completely over indulge…..

Some food pics….
Flowers (which I think are canola?) were sneakily picked growing along the side of the road!

The cake…

The decorations…

The fun extras…

The entertainment…
My Dad (whose own farm started Bear’s love of all things farm) organised an amazingly generous gift of a real live animal farm in our front yard! I’m not normally someone who likes to pay people for children’s entertainment – in fact I’m a little against it, but, why look a gift horse in the mouth (excuse the pun!) when the kids will absolutely love it!! It just made the party!

It also meant that apart from a little game of pin the tail on the cow, the application of some ‘farm animal’ tattoos and the blowing of some bubbles, I didn’t have to organise any other activities!

Huge thanks to my talented sister Clare for creating the cow and applying lots of tattoos (among many other things on the day!)

To top it all off, there was even a very special Daddy & daughter fiddle duet!
A new song her violin teacher had taught her just 3 days prior had quite the ‘hoedown’ feel, so Goose & her Dad gave us all a fantastic little toe-tapping concert, along with a solo of ‘Happy Birthday’.  Brought tears to her proud Dad’s eyes :)

Most important thing of all was that the little (now “big”) birthday boy had fun!

And of course, for this ‘party Mum’, so did I!


For more FGB parties, you might like to check out our parties page.



P.S. For those who are interested, the cake inspiration came from here…
P.P.S. For more farm party prep. ideas see here.

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