The List: School holiday edition

School holidays when I was a child consisted of a whole lot of reading and playing with the neighbourhood kids.  Life is so different now.  Firstly, most of our immediate neighbours were children 200 years ago, so they aren’t exactly suitable playmates for my children.  Secondly, electronic devices when I was a child consisted of vacuum cleaners and toasters, so they weren’t exactly appealing as objects of amusement.

Juggling the use of devices is an ongoing issue, and we are currently trialing a screen time token system.  Our lads don’t have their own personal device, but we do have a Wii and an iPad as well as 2 laptops which we allow them to access with our permission.  The tokens are working really well so far, as the lads are highly motivated to accumulate screen time minutes; therefore chores are done more willingly, and bedtime is no longer such a drawn out process for Middle Son.

 

However, screen time is only a minimal part of the lads day, so there is a need for other activities to fill our days.  Now with a 14 week old baby in our family (a belated post coming up about this big news!), occupying the bigger boys is a much more pressing issue!  So what does one do when they have a 7 and 8 year old who need to be entertained, but one does not have the same amount of time as in previous school holidays?  Why, you construct a list, of course! I do love lists, and grab any opportunity to pen one. So the arrival of school holidays was a fitting occasion to create a list of potential activities for the lads, so that they had a resource to go back to when the childhood profanity is spoken – “BORED!!!”

After I presented them the list, I requested that they initial any activities that sparked their interest. Here’s what happened…

list

The list has since mutated, with the addition of science experiments involving water pistols, cloud dough and aluminium foil art.  I will post updates as these are ticked off the list.

pirate

 

Advertisements

Feeling cushy

Tonight it felt good to start and finish a project in an hour. I whipped up a few cushion covers using thrift shop items: a pillow case, off-cut fabric and zips. I paid around $1 for the supplies I used.

20130624-221620.jpg

20130624-221628.jpg

20130624-221645.jpg

20130624-221651.jpg

I am thinking some napkins might be next on the list of straight line sewing projects for me.

Shadows

Image

Shadows

We have had a few sheets of black cardboard Matt bought home from school last year that are a bit damaged from being used as backdrops for displays. Tonight as we were looking through a Science experiment book from the Library, we stumbled across this and I remembered the cardboard.
It was the first ever shadow sketch experience for the lads, and we got to turn the lights out and use their Lego man torch, which of course made the whole process so much more fun! They were amazed when we cut their silhouette out. We now have beautiful, frugal, simple art in the play room.

My 1980s stencil quest

I am reminiscing tonight about the things I used to do as a child, brought on by the sheer dismay I feel whenever I go searching for gifts for children- especially my own! Asher turns 6 next week, which is altogether confronting to me. That is another blog. We won’t go there tonight.

I hate just getting run-of-the-mill gifts. Lego is a must of course, but beyond that, I really struggle. I love to foster their imagination and creativity with their gifts. I search online and go to the “different” toy stores in pursuit of the ultimate play thing! But you know what, at the end of the day, it is not about the stuff. I know this, yet I still search.

I found an article online tonight that made me smile. I came across it whilst I was hunting for a retro set of Disney stencils that I used to adore when I was a little girl. Stencilling was great fun, was it not? I don’t mean the straightforward stencils, you find these days, but the progressive ones, where you had to line things up and move the stencil along to complete your picture. I really want to get some great quality, age appropriate stencils for the lads, and struggling to find them. But I digress… back to the article!

http://www.weekendnotes.com.au/old-school-activities-for-kids/

Old school activities for kids:

Hopscotch – we love this. We play under the carport every now and then, and tonight, Asher actually asked me to make hopscotch pudding for dessert. How could I refuse? That is just too cute!!!

Four square – I lived and breathed this game as a kid! We grew up playing the neighbourhood kids most nights after school and on weekends. We were very serious and competitive, but what a ball we had! (No pun intended).

Stencils – I have said enough, but seriously, if you know the Disney stencils from the 1980s I am referring to, please let me know!!! We share a bond!!!!!

Tea parties – These don’t happen too often around here, but MasterChef sessions do. Matt’s mum made the boys a whole range of knitted foods and Ash still enjoys these on his mini wooden kitchen.

There are more listed in the link, and I will share some more of my fave old school activities soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you about your favourite childhood games/activities or the things you have reinvented with your own children!

20130427-222518.jpg20130427-222527.jpg20130427-222604.jpg20130427-222658.jpg

20130427-222533.jpg

20130427-223517.jpg

Box Fun

Today we went along to the first Big Play Box session in South Hobart. It’s a creative space for kids and caregivers to use donated, recycled materials to create. Imaginations were running wild with vehicles of all descriptions, flower beds in sand filled suitcases, submarines, spy stations, hammering nails, painting and chalk art… Endless fun!

Our boys were captivated and are now at home doing more of the same.

My heart was glad to see a crowd of kids and parents all having as much fun as one another, truly on a level playing field. Mum and Dad on hands and knees eagerly involved in their child’s project, following their child’s lead. A place where children are the masterminds, the inventors, engineers and foreman! Community concepts like this create a space that brings families together whilst reminding us that some of the greatest gifts we can ever give our children are our attention and enthusiasm for their imaginary worlds.

Play on!!

The icing on the cake, the gold coin donation each person is asked to give at registration is given to building a future for War Brides of Northern Uganda!

20130119-140851.jpg

20130119-140930.jpg

20130119-142419.jpg

20130119-142426.jpg

20130119-143016.jpg

Pinteresting!

Pinterest is fun. It gives us a view into the interesting and creative minds of people we will never meet. I have used quite a few Pinterest ideas, bit I keep pinning more than I could find the money, time or effort to create.

The idea that people spend hours pinning when they could be creating perplexes me. It’s not a win with my lads if I pin. It’s a win if I create something fun. So far the lads have had too much fun with our Pinterest projects that have made it off the board, into their world.

Mini bow and arrow

20120728-214347.jpg

Marble or Mighty Beanz racer

20120728-214458.jpg

20120728-214545.jpg
Marble Run

20120728-214657.jpg
Car track

20120728-214814.jpg
Nature box

Thrifty and Nifty

They say a change is as good as a holiday. I’m not sure about you, but it’d either have to be an insanely cool change or a really crappy holiday to make that statement ring true for many people. We have had some changes around here in the past 24 hours, and I feel like I’m on a holiday. You probably think I need to get out more… I’ve decided that changing rooms is almost as good as a renovation!

My friend Betsy visited yesterday and we were inspired to create a few entirely different spaces in our small home. Matt was outside mowing the lawns and came inside to utter chaos! We did not spend a cent, but it looks like we spent up big. What a wonderful buzz to repurpose and reimagine spaces and pieces. I think I can safely say I’m Queen of Thrift these days:

thrift·y/ˈTHriftē/ Adjective: (of a person or their behavior) Using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

A rundown of the switcheroo:

We removed a black futon that was sharing our dining space  and put it in the kids play room, which is now referred to as the “kids only lounge”.

Here’s Bets and Isaac enjoying the new space.

We then took the playroom drawers, full of train tracks, dinosaurs and all kinds of imaginative and playful things, and transferred it to the dining area. Sounds crazy? Not when you embrace the fact that kids want to be where Mum and Dad are. It gets tiring trying to motivate children to pack their toys away. This way, they have an area where they can play to their hearts content and they can reduce the laps up and down the hall to pack up.

I want to have a home in which we relish in being the playground of lovely, lively lads. 20120611-212203.jpg 20120611-212248.jpg

Living in a small house means we have to make use of every nook! This area, now a quirky, creative space used to be almost bare and a source of frustration for me. Now it has a purpose! I can’t wait to make use of this new space. This desk used to be in our bedroom, becoming a dumping ground for stuff. Now we have more space in our bedroom, and a new nook in the open plan space. 20120611-213345.jpg

We painted a bookshelf that was a bit useless to the boys (not deep enough!). This sits nicely against the desk and is a neat way to disguise creative mess. 20120611-213452.jpg

I’m happy that my dear grandparents vintage radio now has a place to be admired, and to serve as a physical reminder to me of the many mornings I heard the crackle of radio news while I ate breakfast in their kitchen as a young girl.

Thrifty sure is nifty.

A-Z of Gratitdue: B is for Bargains

I posted C is for Chairs and realised that B is for Bargains was still in my drafts. Oops!

Day two of my A-Z of Gratitude.

B is for BARGAINS. I am grateful for bargains.

I went to the op shops again today looking for the final vintage dress to cover our last dining chair.  I didn’t find the perfect dress but I did find a gorgeous vintage top for myself for just $5. I am always rapt when I find a good bargain.

It’s about 16 months since I started my “No Buy It Diet”.  I decided to have one year off buying new clothes.  I made the rules, and decided I was allowed to buy things from the thrift shop, but after a few months I realised that made it too easy.   I changed the rules meaning no clothes were to be purchased, new or second-hand. It was such great exercise, and one that fascinated many of my friends. Women have this reputation of being chronic shoppers. I am amazed at how many clothes I have that I never wear, and have come to realise how utterly ridiculous it is that we have so many clothes.  Imagine trying to explain our fashion obsession to a family living in abject poverty who have one set of clothes for everything.    I have been officially allowed to buy new clothes since December, but have only purchased one new top from an eco store and a few things from the op shops.  I have no desire to window shop anymore. I don’t go into clothing stores to try things on. Clothes shopping is something  that just doesn’t appeal to me anymore.  I still like to wear nice clothes, and I have no trouble finding fantastic quality items at the op shops. It is much more of an adventure to go to a charity store and rummage through racks of random clothes than going to a shop filled with what the masses are wearing!

Anyway, back to today’s bargains…

I bought two lace doilies…

To attempt something like this…

 

 

A-Z Gratitude: C is for Chairs

I am thankful for chairs.  Think of the times you have had to stand somewhere longing for a chair, with none to be found.  These are the times we realise how wonderful chairs are!  I bet you have been to a wedding or a funeral or a school event that meant you were standing for long enough to start to shift your weight from one leg to another.  You look at the old people and start to wish you were 80 years old and someone would offer you a seat.  Chairs are a wonderful invention.  They enable us to relax. We have many meaningful conversations while sitting on a chair.  We drink coffee in our favourite café, on a chair.They are everywhere, yet we take them for granted.  Not I!  I applaud the humble chair, and as I sit here on my favourite chair in our house, I am grateful.  Grateful for the four legs and the bright yellow cushion that supports my weight (that is none of your business).

I am so excited about chairs today because last night I completed my dining chair makeover.  Using the vintage fabrics I found at op shops – a curtain, a few skirts and dresses and a shirt (this chair has pockets!).

Here they are:

Image

Image

Image

Now go and make yourself a pot of tea, find a comfy chair and appreciate it. 🙂