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!

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Olympic Birthday Party

Our darling lad, Isaac is turning 7 this weekend. When you hold a screaming baby, people tell you, “It’s only a short phase. Before you know it they will be at school and playing soccer.”

How true are those words. The speed of rearing children is comparable only to Usain Bolt running the 100m sprint. Surely even HE couldn’t compete with how fast my beautiful son is growing up.

Our lads are old enough to appreciate the Olympics this time around, and Isaac thought it would be fun to have an Olympics birthday bash. We timed it so it was on the day that the games opened. The boys spent the morning watching the end of the Opening Ceremony while Matt and I did last minute preps before our guests arrived, clad in their country of choice.

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Asher donned the green and gold head band for Australia, Isaac was in the USA zone, as he is convinced he can “speak American.” Matt was all black for New Zealand, and I got on the Brazil bandwagon. All of our gear was purchased from one of our favourite op shops for a crazy bargain price.

The list of events for the day:

Cheezy Olympic Rings. All you need is some string and Cheezels. Then the competitors had to eat their cheezels as fast as they could. Yummy and fun!

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The Nerf shooting range was held under the carport due to the rain that was on and off. Some children had never used a Nerf gun and their expressions as they focused on the target was hilarious.Image

Lego Minifigure Diving was possibly the biggest hit amongst the kids. They had to drop their minifig from the top of the deck and attempt to land it in the bowl of water on the ground.

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Mighty Beanz Luge. We cut a pool noodle in half to create two racing channels. Then the beanz were let go to speed down the noodle.

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Shot Put using these cute mini marshmallow poppersmini marshmallow poppershttp://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/crafts-hobbies/make-a-mini-marshmallow-popper-00000000039219/

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Balloon volleyball using the couch as a net.

Archery using these bow and arrows

The birthday boy decided he would like hot dogs and cold rock party food. Cold Rock is an ice creamery that is insanely overpriced. It’s a big hit for kids as you choose your ice cream flavour, then your add ons. These are various chocolates and sweets that are then mushed into your icecream. We make our own at home and the boys love it. I used cupcake liners and gave each Olympian guest some ice cream or sorbet with some “add ons”.

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So another year of birthday parties for the lads is done. We do have Isaac’s cake to look forward to still, this Sunday. I shall post pics on the weekend. Happy Birthday, Isaac. You are loved.

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Happy birthday to me

I can no longer deny I am in my mid-thirties, after turning 35 yesterday.  What a joyous occasion it was when I realised at the end of the day that my sons are finally at an age where they can appreciate that it is not about THEM on MY birthday! Hip hip hooray! They didn’t fight me to open my gifts, and they didn’t scream with horror and disappointment when my gift was gorgeous bangles rather than Lego.

The cards the lads made were fun, and deserve a mention here.  Asher (4) did a drawing of mummy in a bra on the front of the card, or in his words, “boo-boo holders”.  Bear in mind, this is the child who cut out Jennifer Aniston’s legs for a kinder collage project.

Sitting in my favourite café, Ginger Brown, for 3 hours was a great way to spend the morning of my 35th.  First, brunch with my lads, but I kicked them out before a few girlfriends arrived for some coffee and cake. No one can do three hours in a café with kids, especially someone coming to terms with the downhill slide to 40.

This was my birthday sunset view from the front of our house – what a gift!

After the lads went to bed, I put  a Stan Getz cd on, lit some candles, popped the birthday champagne and ate more easter chocolate.  Happy, relaxed, low-key, simple birthday to me.

Trashy Treasures

Birthday parties – if you have kids, you know the drill. Kids get excited because they know they get to stuff their face with all the food you rarely allow them to eat and they can behave pretty much anyway they like, because seriously, who gets told off at a birthday party?! Before they leave they receive a party bag, filled with even more of those things that we don’t want them to eat – red lollies.  Thanks for that.  Zing-zing the day away.

When I go to some of these parties the gift opening ceremony makes me squirm a bit!  Have you ever looked closely at the expressions on the faces of the kids as they watch the procession of boxes passing them by?  Gift after gift being handed to the same kid, and that kid doesn’t even share! They watch longingly and try to hold their emotions together and smile.  I know what they are really thinking, and it’s not “I am so happy that Fred is getting all the things I wish I had.” These kids do well to resist their urges to tear open the wrapping and do a runner with the loot. Bless those parents who save the gift opening until the guests have gone home.

We don’t take out a second mortgage to buy gifts for such parties.

Because there are so many parties to go to at the moment we are giving trash.  The boys have a prized possession, cute little trash cans that they received from our friend filled with sweets at Christmas.  They store all kinds of treasures in them.

We have been buying these little trash cans and the boys decorate them with stickers and fill them with stamps, novelty erasers and other fun things that kids this age just love.  So far they have worked a treat, and the lads love putting this gift together for their friends.

In saying all of that, it’s my birthday next week and I don’t want a trashy treasure can unless its filled with enough money to buy an iPad.