Monday, June 30, 2014

The Great Outdoors!

Time for another great theme with Poppins Book Nook- this month we have been exploring The Great Outdoors.

Since it is winter here in New Zealand, I envisioned playing in the snow, making snowmen and maybe even going skiing. However, Mother Nature had other ideas and so far our June has been nice and sunny! I still focused on our winter outdoors theme though, as I came across a beautifully illustrated book called Snowman. This book kept both Lucas and Adam entertained with short sentences, funny ideas and beautiful pictures.

The first idea we got from this book was from the sentence "I'd paint the dottiest snow paintings". We looked at the illustration next to this sentence, and discussed what a snow painting would look like. Lucas saw that there were white dots over a navy painting, and so we set to work creating our own dotty snow painting. We also used cotton balls instead of a paint brush to create a "fluffier" look. Things got messy but the boys enjoyed themselves.

The next thing we did was have a snack- snowmen on a stick! Lucas concentrated on threading marshmallows on a skewer, and also made a pattern of pink,white, pink, white. Then he was able to eat his very own snowman on a stick. This was great as he got to practise fine motor and pattern skills, and he was happy to get a treat at the end of it.

The next snack we had was a bit healthier- snowmen bananas with pretzel arms, craisin buttons, a carrot nose and a sprinkle of coconut for snow.

Since we couldn't get it to snow outside, we made our own snow in a bag. I simply put some shaving foam in a ziploc bag and the boys loved squishing it and making patterns in the bag.

We also had fun experimenting with ice. I froze some plastic monkeys in a container overnight, then let the boys get to work melting the block of ice with warm water and a syringe. This kept Lucas entertained for a good hour!

Even Adam enjoyed watching the monkeys escape, and touching the ice to see that it was cold.

I always love activities that keen both boys entertained and working together.

The last activity we did was to make glue snowmen. I saw this activity over at 123 Homeschool 4 Me and thought it was a great idea.

We made the snowmen out of craft glue and decorated them with stickers, snowflake die cuts and pipe cleaners.

Even Adam made a snowman, although he enjoyed making lines in the glue with a pipe cleaner more than anything!

Then we put them on a baking tray to dry. Originally I did put them in the oven as suggested, but the fumes started to get to me so I thought that air drying would be a safer option.

We had so much fun exploring snow and learning about snowmen! I would love to see how you are inspired by The Great Outdoors this month, so please feel free to link up with us.

Clip art by Melon Headz.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014.

Lucas was excited to make finger puppets this week.

Adam got some lipstick from Nana!

Joining in here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Supermum to the Rescue!

Every Mum I know is a real-life superhero. Dealing with kids is no easy feat. I know I have some super powers *shhh, don't let my husband know* to make my day as safe as possible. 

Agility: Being nimble comes in handy for dodging the Duplo Maze!

Anti- Gravity: Here in Christchurch, safety is paramount when it comes to securing heavy furniture so it does not topple over. Forget climbing toddlers, an earthquake could turn nasty if you bookshelves and cabinets are not secured. Falling objects are hard for even a superhero to dodge!

Armour: Protective cases for heads, knees and feet are a must when doing activities such as bike riding, skateboarding or playing sports. Luckily, I have everything on hand to protect my boys.

Camouflage: Keeping items hidden that are dangerous in the hands of child. Think hot drinks, power sockets, pain relief and sharp objects. Baby gates are a great blanket camouflage options, as well as socket plugs and cabinet locks. Hot drinks need to be kept up high, and it is always a good idea to let kids have a kitchen drawer of their own so that they can still feel like they are helping in the kitchen without being able to get their hands on some of the more dangerous utensils.

Endurance: is the capability of sustaining prolonged stressful effort, usually associated with coffee consumption in mothers. *please see camouflage for how to keep superpower-coffee out of children's reach.*

Supersonic senses: The power of having heightened listening and vision skills thanks to a baby monitor, like this one at Dropcam. Now I know when my boys are up to mischief when they should be sleeping! 

Healing: The power to heal rapidly is one that my boys really appreciate when they hurt themselves. I can't prevent some of the scrapes and bruises they get, but I can help them to feel better as soon as possible. My healing accessories are kept out of their reach, but always on hand in case of a scraped knee, fever or cough.

Possession: confiscating dangerous items such as balloons and small toys. I know first hand how scary a chocking baby or toddler can be. Please don't underestimate what a baby can cram into their mouth. Balloons may look innocent, but when they pop, the small pieces are very dangerous if inhaled. Luckily, in our case the balloon passed through, but things could have been a lot worse. *I will spare you the photos of balloon poop!*

Stealth: trying to check on a sleeping child without waking them up. Luckily, Dropcam have come up with the perfect solution so that you can see and hear your baby without the dreaded door squeak or noise activated toy ruining your 8pm plans.

I would love to know what superpowers you have- share your best tips in the comments below!

This post is in conjunction with Dropcam- a company that offers affordable home security cameras that stream live right to your phone or computer so you can keep an eye on your little ones.  Dropcam offers free live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing that makes it easy to stay connected with places, people and pets, no matter where you are.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adam's ABC Book

My youngest is about to turn two, and so I have made him a personalised ABC book for his birthday. This will be a great way for him to reinforce his value within the family, as well as teach him the alphabet!

I printed my album through MyStory- a great printing company that ships to Australia and New Zealand.

Here are some of my favourite pages!

If you want more inspiration, check out Lucas' ABC album.

Linking up with Show and Tell.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday #15

I love a curry, and I love pumpkin. I would like to share with you today a recipe I made for dinner a few weeks ago that combines all of my favourite winter comfort foods.

Roast Pumpkin and Cashew Chicken Curry
Serves 2 adults and 2 children

1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
1/2 crown pumpkin
400g chicken breasts
200ml coconut milk
2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon minced coriander
10 grinds fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed (optional)
cooked rice, to serve

Soak the cashew nuts for at least one hour in boiling water then drain.

Chop the pumpkin into wedges and season liberally with salt and pepper. Spray with oil and bake in an oven at 180 degrees C for 30-45 minutes until the pumpkin is golden and cooked through.

While the pumpkin is cooking, prepare your rice. I always use a rice cooker but the usual method you use for cooking rice is fine.

Once the pumpkin has roasted, leave to cool and then mash with a fork.

Chop the chicken breast into strips. Place in a frypan with some more oil spray and brown. Add the
pumpkin mash and coconut milk.

Place the soaked cashews, coriander, curry, flaxseed, salt and black pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times to break down the cashews then drizzle the oil in and pulse until smooth. The flaxseed is optional- I pulse it into the curry mix for some added fibre. Mix into the pan with the coconut milk, chicken and pumpkin, and add 1/4 cup hot water. This curry mix is delicious with anything by the way!

Leave this mix to boil for 5 minutes, then serve over rice.

You seriously have to try this- the coriander and pumpkin go together so well, and the flavours are divine. Perfect comfort food on a cold winter's evening. My husband even said this was the top dish I have ever made!

Linking up with Wake Up Wednesdays.

Wake Up Wednesdays

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pinterest Resolutions June-December 2014

Onto my next set of Pinterest resolutions! I try to choose specific things each six months to focus on, to work through my huge amount of Pins! You can read about my previous Pinterest Resolutions here, here, here and here.

My son's 2nd birthday is coming up, and he wants a cow cake. I am hoping to recreate something like this.

I need to get better blogging pictures, and so I really want to make a Light Box.

I still struggle with cleaning my house- some days I get a lot done and then other days my house looks like a bombsite. I hope that a cleaning routine might inspire me to get on top of things.

I really need to organise my medicine cabinet, and this idea is brilliant!

I might be crazy, but people have been encouraging me to do half marathon after my recent 10k. If I do go ahead, then I will be following this plan.

Something for the boys- this Snowman Unit will be fun to do when the cooler weather turns to snow.

Last year I hosted a small Cookie Exchange, and this year I want it to be even better. I am sure this guide will be able to help me.

Finally, I want to do the 30 day Mom Challenge to show myself that I can be a good mum. These are baby steps, totally achievable and do not require any fancy items. I believe that praise and attention go a long way in my household, and it will be interesting to see how this challenge goes!

If you would like more ideas, you can follow me on Pinterest.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


A portrait of my children, once a week, in 2014

The pull of the playground is always strong with these boys.

Lucas on the swings.

Adam's first time on a "big boy" swing.

Joining in here.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pinterest Resolutions Update II

The time has come to assess how well I did with my Pinterest Resolutions. Here I will recap the projects I wanted to achieve in the past six months, and whether or not they worked out for me.

Spring Clean My House:
This happened for about two weeks- then I discovered something very true.

My next idea was to make Fridge Mats. Unfortunately, when I went to the link it wasn't working anymore but I have since found it on her new blog so I have updated the link for you. Here  is my version of this craft.

I definitely Prepared For Christmas- gosh that seems like a long time ago! Soon I will have to do this all over again as I found it so helpful.

I made my own Personalised Casserole Dishes for Christmas gifts based on this post and they were very well received.

I made my own Lego Jelly for Lucas' LEGO City party and it was an absolute hit!

I have joined a Kid's Virtual Book Club and we have had lots of fun exploring books and coming up with activities. You can check out our previous posts for ideas based on Mem Fox, Denise Fleming, Marcus Pfister, Laura Numeroff, Paul Galdone and Bill Martin Jr. We will continue to keep doing this, as it is so good for the boys and I also have fun planning the activities.

I started to organise my ribbon storage but found I really needed something with a lid, so I have ended up buying this organiser instead.

Knock My Husband's Socks Off- this was a fantastic seven day challenge and I really recommend it. We connected a lot during the week and my husband seemed a lot happier. We even managed to get a date night in!

Make A Command Centre- Full details of this will be on my blog soon, but I am super happy with the end result!

Finally, I vowed to Be Present in my Child's Day. I would like to think I have achieved this! A lot of these have been fun to do, and my youngest loves to play horsey ride. Lucas has also learnt to do some chores because of this list, and our team counting has reached 100! I recommend checking out this list for lots of fabulous ideas. My husband has also been working on this without even knowing!

Please come back on Monday, when I will be sharing my next set of Pinterest Resolutions.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rugby Rules

This post is in conjunction with Fanatics, a leading online retailer of officially licenced sports merchandise, who are looking for the Future Fanatics and supporting sports teams. My son is definitely a Future Fanatic of rugby! Certain other members of my family are huge fans of rugby, and our whole community gets behind our team.

Here in New Zealand, rugby is a big thing, Our national sport, we pride ourselves on having a great sports team and there is always a packed house when the All Blacks are playing. Every little boy dreams of being a rugby player, and the rugby players themselves are very well recognised celebrities, endorsing everything from breakfast cereal to heat pumps.

Our local team is the Canterbury Crusaders, and they played England on Tuesday here in Christchurch.

The front page of the paper was even dedicated to the game, and Lucas was very excited to see the newspaper on Tuesday.

The Crusaders are usually the team we support as we live in Christchurch, but if the Otago Highlanders are playing we will back them too as both me and my husband come from down south. There is always a bit of trouble if the Crusaders are playing the Highlanders! 

This game was very highly anticipated, and Lucas was very excited on Tuesday as we talked about the game all day. He knows how big of a fan his Granddad is, and we definitely have the "Rugby Bug" from him thanks to numerous rugby balls in the house.

We had family members at the actual game, but cold weather meant that we were happy to stay indoors.

Lucas was suitably attired to cheer on the Crusaders! 

And the game begins...


Oh dear, not the result we were hoping for but a very nailbiting game nevertheless. We look forward to the next game on the 28th June against the Hurricanes.
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