birthday · craft · decorations · LuLu

Crafting for LuLu’s 2nd birthday party with Spotlight.

This post is brought to you by Nuffnang & Spotlight. 
“To be creative is to let little pieces of your heart go & place them into each project you make.” – Pat Bravo 

September is here!!! September as mentioned in my last post is almost Christmas time, but we aren’t here to talk about Christmas in this blog post… Never fear though, I will be waving that festive freak flag of mine shortly… Just you wait. 
But now, back to it being September.
A few years ago the start of September use to mark the start of birthday month for me – YAY. A month long celebration of writing off every purchase as a birthday gift for yours truly. But now since being over 25, the joy & excitement of showering myself in treats & small gifts for a month and celebrating turning older is gone. Now I am much to busy to dedicate a month to myself anymore #mumlife. Instead now my birthday month is now birthday party planning month for my favourite little person who is a much, much more important person than me, to me. LuLu turns 2 next month & I am not necessarily ready for it, to be honest it has kind of crept up on me!
So anyway, for the past few days I’ve had my party planning hat on and being having quiet a few crafternoons. 
Spotlight was kind enough to send me a wonderful parcel overflowing with some wonderful products that I could use for LuLu’s 2nd birthday party decorations. All these products are by American Crafts and from the DIY Shop collection. I really like these products, they are wonderful bases for any craft or decoration. I was actually torn on if I should use them for LuLu’s party decorations or some Christmas crafts. I figured her birthday was just around the corner so I better get a start on that first. But I have saved some for Christmas craft which I will bring you in November. 
Onto LuLu’s party, last year I kept her theme under wraps – I like going for the surprise effect for my guest when they see invitations and decorations. But for the sake of this post, I am going to give everyone a sneak peek and also reveal her theme. I like themes, I think they are necessary.

I’ve decided to go with a “Tea for 2” theme where her little friends are invited to bring along their favourite dolly/bear or favourite toy. I did have a few other ideas floating around, but that is the one that stuck with me the most. As for colours, it will be similar to her party last year with pinks, brown paper, floral, gold & silver glitters. A bit of a shabby chic/vintage tea party. This years party will be a lot smaller than her 1st, but I still like to make an effort with decorations & food. I rarely can find the exact decorations I want & if I do they are normally very over priced, which is why I prefer to make them. I swear by the time LuLu’s party was over last year the staff in at Spotlight knew who I was and what I was buying everything for, after all the trips I made in there picking up more supplies! And it’s great that my Spotlight VIP card can often get me discounts! (You can sign up for one too, my Mum made me sign up for one years ago – so handy & I highly recommend it!) 
Let’s talk craft… These are the wonderful products I was sent by Spotlight, I love how they are so versatile and can be used for any celebration or theme. They are great quality as well, which I find very important. Spotlight is a trusted company in Australia, everyone knows they are the place you head to when you need fabric & craft supplies! They also stock a wonderful range of homewares. 

To decorate each item I just used products that I had in my craft room left over from LuLu’s last birthday party. 
The first thing I decided to do was use the gift tags as invitations and they fit into the envelopes perfectly. I decorated one side of them and I plan to type up the party details just on my computer & print it off on some pink paper and attach to the other side = invites done! 
Last year we had her invites designed & professionally printed, they were amazing & so stunning, but they also cost a lot of money. This year, I decided to make my own in attempt to save some money. They still are lovely, unique & a little bit nicer than the standard note pad invites from the news agency but they also won’t break the bank!
I think they are very sweet and kind of look like tea bags, perfect for our theme!

To get the sparkly 2 effect I used a craft glue to make the shape of the number and then tipped glitter over it. So easy and it looks very impressive. Each tag is handwritten which is why they aren’t identical or “pinterest perfect” but they are real & I think doing something yourself shows love & effort. 
For the envelopes, similar to last year I just address them with a nice white pen with fake calligraphy. I know I am not perfect at it, but its better than last year and I think it’s sweet putting in the extra effort to try & do some fancy hand writing. 
A tip for doing fake calligraphy (not that I am an expert) is to thicken all your downwards strokes. I just try to write in a nice cursive style and then thicken those strokes & that’s the result.

Next I decided to make some bunting for a party decoration. Firstly I typed out what I need on my computer in the size I wanted but reversed the letters. After printing I cut out each letter and glued it on to the back of the sparkly cardboard & cut out each letter. I glued each to a separate bunting flag and edged it with craft glue and topped with glitter.

I will string this up at her party with some lovely ribbon. I love how sturdy this bunting is. I can also reuse this at future parties by just changing the number. Last year I did hessian bunting, which is lovely but is a nightmare to work with and to cut & paint. It is also VERY messy! This was very easy and I think looks a lot neater as each flag is perfectly cut & shaped (& there is NO mess!)
The chalk board tags are so versatile and sweet. I can use these in so many places. They would be perfect for tags on each food plate, but I already have little wooden chalkboards from last year for that, so I decided to use them for other little signs. Like for the bird cage that all LuLu’s cards will go in. I used just white ink as I find it shows up the best and also because it is a plain colour that  can be reused for any future party or theme!

They are just a few of the party decorations I have whipped up in the past few afternoons while LuLu napped. Her party isn’t until the middle of next month, but when you think about it – it really isn’t that far away!
I hoped some of these simple party decoration ideas gave you some inspiration for your next party or event. I know some people think so much effort for a party is silly & over the top, but I absolutely love throwing parties for my family, especially my LuLu. 
Spotlight has such a wonderful range of craft supplies so you can have lots of fun crafternoons and if you want customise and create your own unique party decorations. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and then your options are endless. They have lots of fun project ideas on the Spotlight website as well as their recent catalogues and you can now buy online! 
Please check out Spotlight on Facebook & Instagram.
Also if you aren’t following ModernWifeLife31 on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – make sure you do as I update regularly on there with what I am up to!
Have a lovely day & #GetCreative! 

activities · diy · LuLu · toddler

3 fun & easy activities to keep your toddler busy!

Hello!
Today I am back with a “Toddler Tip Thursday.”
Do you ever have those moments when you are preoccupied with something fairly important but your little love wants all your attention? 
Normally LuLu wants me to play with her when I am trying to do some cooking or I am mopping, any other time I normally just stop what I am doing and play with her, but sometimes you cannot leave what you are doing. So, how do I get around this problem?
Besides praying for patience, I try to find activities for her to do while I am busy, I try to avoid just turning the TV on as she isn’t overly interested in it and I prefer for her to be playing than watching television.
Sometimes I will simply ask for her help, by help I mean asking for her to look for spoons in the kitchen utensil drawer (she is allowed to play in that drawer) or we bring out her pretend food, I tie an apron around her and she pretends to cook as well.

LuLu loves to pretend the whisk is a bubba and my jar opening thing from Tupperware is a blanket, she wraps the “bubba” and sshhs it to sleep! 
Giant bowls, a spoon and some plastic food (from KMart) & this activity is always a simple winner! She loves wearing an apron when I wear one & LuLu will often bring me an apron because she wants us to “bake”. 


Other times I set up a simple activity or craft, one that takes only a moment to throw together and is simple enough she can do it without constant supervision. 
I have 3 of those activities to share with you today. 

  • Contact Paper collage;

This is exactly what it sounds like. 
You take some contact paper, cut a section off, tape it to the table/window/floor/any flat surface sticky side up, give your child a box of shapes/scrap paper/craft supplies = simple craft that will keep them entertained for awhile. 
(A tip for sticking it down, slowly peel back one edge at a time and tape down)

This activity is suitable from young toddlers right up to young primary school age. Just adjust the supplies, an older child could actually cut out there own images from a magazine or make a picture from craft supplies. If you did this on a window with cellophane it can create a stained glass look & is a whole different craft!
LuLu liked sticking the bits of cut up wrapping paper & felt shapes down and then pulling them off and also experimenting with the stickiness by pushing and pulling her hands on the contact. 

Sticky hands! 
LuLu’s master piece. 

  • Recycled Chute for Pom Poms; 

This activity does require that you keep a few cardboard rolls from the paper towel or toilet paper, but that’s the hardest part. 

Basic supplies, a large bowl (ice cream container would be fine), cardboard tubes, masking tape & pom poms ($1-$2 from the cheap shop!)

It is as simple as taping some tubes to a flat vertical surface (wall or a side of a bench), placing a bowl or bucket underneath and giving your toddler some pom poms.

A super basic, but fun activity. 

Pom poms work the best instead of small balls, as the balls could bounce and become lost. But a word of warning, if you have cats putting a bowl of pom poms in your house is asking for trouble – trust me I know. This activity stayed up in our house for about a week because LuLu really enjoyed it, but my cat enjoyed diving into the bowl of pom poms and scattering them all over the house. 
Once again, a young toddler will enjoy this activity, but it can be adjusted for an older child. You could give a box of cardboard rolls & masking tape to an older child and ask them to make their own chute set up.

  • Flower/pipe cleaner sieve threading;

This is a Montessori style activity. It works on hand & eye co-ordination and their fine motor skills and takes next to no prep time to organise.
Grab a sieve (or basket with holes, whatever it is make sure the holes are a decent size) and a handful or pipe cleaners, drinking straws or some fake flowers – activity prep done.

I got these cheap fake flowers from IKEA last time I was there. I just grabbed them as a supply to keep in the craft box as they can be used for a few different activities and crafts!

Show your toddler how to thread the stems of the flowers/pipe cleaners into the holes & then leave them be. 
(Flowers actually work the best or even straws, because they are firmer, pipe cleaners can be a little hard for younger toddlers to thread as they bend so easily, but as they get older it’s easier for them to problem solve & work around that issue) 

LuLu enjoyed this activity when she was around 18 months and still enjoys it now at almost 22 months.

These activities are quiet & simple. Perfect if you need to make an important phone call or cook in the kitchen when it isn’t appropriate for your child to “help”. When I am cooking dinner I don’t like LuLu being in there as it’s normally a mix of a fry pan, boiling water & possibly the oven going. If I am baking I am more likely to let her help, but dinner is the time I like her playing on her own. 
I hope these activities have inspired you and help you distract your little love if you have something important to tackle when they just can’t seem to happily go play on their own!
If you have any suggestions for other activities I would love to know, please comment below or leave me a Facebook comment! 
Have a lovely week.

food · LuLu · recipe · toddler

Homemade Baby & Toddler Food.

Hello!
Let’s talk about baby & toddler food. 
This blog post has been very requested. But just as a disclaimer I want to stress I am no expert in child nutrition, I just am a Mumma that believes homemade is the best & I am passionate about making nutritious, wholesome and delicious meals for my daughter.
I’ve always made LuLu’s meals, she has never had a meal out of a jar or a pouch, simply because if I wouldn’t eat it, why should I expect her to eat it.
Now you may think why on earth would I bother making homemade baby food, but the benefits of making my own baby food is huge for me;

  • I know how, where & when it was made.
  • I know exactly what is in the food, no fillers or preservatives that are commonly found in most baby food that are sold in the supermarkets. 
  • I know all the ingredients are fresh & healthy.
  • I can change recipes to suit my daughter and her tastes.
  • It is cost effective.
  • It makes me feel good & satisfied knowing I am feeding my daughter the best I can.

First food ideas;
Now it’s up to you personally when you start feeding your baby purees or what to start with. LuLu was almost 5 months when we started giving her solids. We did start with farex for just a few days, but moved on to vegetable & fruit purees fairly quickly. 
When beginning with fruit & vegetables we started off with individual purees, I would make a few servings and freeze them in ice cube trays or in the heinz freezer trays and then when I needed them I would pop them out & microwave them (or you can reheat on the stove). Just standard first foods, pumpkin, sweet potato, apple, pear etc. This was before I had my Thermomix so I would just use a stick blender to make it smooth after steaming the food, but I always left a few small soft lumps so she got use to texture & lumps. As she got use to 2 different foods, well then I would combine those 2. 
When preparing fruits for your baby some fruit needs to be steamed (pears, apples etc) and some fruits that are softer (berries, melon, banana etc) you just add in and blend without needing to steam.

Making meals;After she was introduced to a variety of fruits & vegetables through purees I got to start thinking about meal ideas where I could combine a lot of veggies & some protein & also some pasta or rice. 

  • Breakfast;

For her breakfast/morning tea type meals, I would pre-make a combo of fruit that I could add to her baby cereal. I would freeze them and just pop it out when I needed one. These also work great to be mixed in with plain yoghurt. We would either do a berry mix or peaches, papaya & apple. I would always add at least one banana to each mix as I found the banana made the mix more creamy. I would make these in batches. You basically use whatever combinations you think taste great. (Frozen berries can help make this more convenient, but after the frozen berry issue in Australia I would highly recommend only using fresh!)

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This mix is pear, apple & blueberry.

 

Dinners; 

The first meat she started with was chicken & I poached that then stick blended. Chicken mince is also another way of incorporating meat into meals, but I do find it can cause the texture of the puree to almost be a bit grainy once it’s been blended. So instead I preferred poaching chicken breasts. 

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 Tuna & salmon are 2 other meats she loves – after making her first tuna dish for her I thought for sure she may not like it as it smelt strongly of fish – but she loved it! I ended up eventually making a cheesey tuna pasta bake meal which became a strong favourite for her. Occasionally I would add in kale or spinach just to change it up. But tuna was always a fail proof meal for LuLu.  We introduced beef to LuLu around 7-8 months and she loves all sorts of meat now! When making a lot of the meals to freeze I would either pop a piece of sliced cheese or sprinkle some grated cheese over the top of each little portion & when I reheated the meal the cheese would melt and it would add extra cheesiness. 

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Baby Bolognese with risoni. I found risoni was a great pasta for babies, it was small enough they didn’t have to chew it but big enough to give them a different texture. 
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How I store all the meals, in ziplock bags that are labelled. 

Where to find recipes & inspiration;

We used all of those recipes. I really love the pick & mix ones, you can literally add in whatever you like or have on hand. And you can use them from the point where your baby is ready to eat mixtures of food right up to when they are toddlers if you wish. You just adjust the consistency of it. I use to blend all of these meals to a slightly lumpy soft texture but obviously the older the baby the less blending needed. I also use to freeze these meals. To start off with I used the Heinz baby food trays, they are perfect portion sizes. As LuLu got older I used a clean muffin tray & would let the food set over night & then I would pop the little meals out and put them in a tupperware container in the freezer. The muffin trays were perfect portion sizes, I still use them if I happen to make her a bunch of little meals. (Sometimes it’s easy to have a few prepared meals stocked up in the freezer for easy lunches or dinners).  

  • Another great source for recipes for babies & toddlers are the free little books that are often given to you in sample bags or handed out at the nurses clinic or pharmacy. The recipes in those they can either be used just as they are or you can just use them as inspiration and alter them to suit your taste.

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  • Talking amongst friends is really great, you find out what recipes are great & what ones aren’t so awesome (but keep in mind everyones tastes & children are different). I was fortunate enough to have a friend that also made most of her daughters meals as well, so we would share ideas & recipes. 
  • The internet is also overflowing with wonderful recipes for children! Two of my favourite websites are;
    One Handed Cooks
    Louise Fulton-Keats
    But by searching for yourself you will find sites that are your style & what you like. 
  • If you have a Thermomix there are endless ideas online for recipes for kids as well as the wonderful book “Cooking for your baby & toddler” by Louise Fulton-Keats, I own this book and love it. I’ve made a lot of meals out of it! (She also has a version of this recipe book available that doesn’t require a Thermomix and also on her website she has some wonderful recipes listed!) 
  • Pinterest is a treasure trove of wonderful ideas, I have a board full of baby & toddler food ideas, you can find it HERE. 

Toddler meals;

Breakfast;

For the past few months the breakfast LuLu has been enjoying is a healthy porridge mix I made, it has LSA, quinoa & chia seeds sprinkled through it. Occasionally I throw a few different types of nuts into the Thermomix and blitz them and stir that through the mixture as well. I like the fact she is getting a little bit of nuts into her diet everyday. Some days though she only wants a banana and some toast. We just roll through the stages and adapt & change her meals as it suits her.

I think being adaptable is vitally important in parenting, well in our parenting style anyway. Babies & toddlers change daily so being able to be in a mindset where you have to accept sometimes they will love what you give them – whether it be food or activities & some days they will hate it. I always have back up meals in the freezer in case LuLu doesn’t like what I serve her and if worst comes to worst normally she will happily eat a banana or some avocado. 

Lunch;

I do struggle sometimes with lunch ideas for her as she isn’t a fan of sandwiches at all, so each day is something new. For a super easy go to lunch I have a supply of healthy pasta sauce I’ve made in the freezer and that over some pasta with cheese & a side of avocado is normally always a winner. She loves avocado! This is the pasta sauce recipe I use, HERE.  

In my freezer I also have a good little supply of homemade sausage rolls that are loaded with veggies & also some healthy mac & cheese. She isn’t a huge fan of the mac & cheese sometimes, but other times she loves it! I find these meals super convenient lunches or for quick dinners when it is just LuLu & I at home when Trent is on night shift. 

Other good lunch ideas are zucchini slice, healthy muffins, scrambled or boiled eggs, leftovers from dinner the night before & sometimes if we are having a treat day we just pop some potato gems in the oven and share a few ‘tatos’! 

Dinner;

LuLu is now 20 months, for the past several months she has eaten what we eat for dinner. I just make a toddler sized serving for her. Sometimes I have to alter her meal slightly. For example; if we were to have cajun chicken which is a spicy type of chicken we BBQ I will just BBQ a plain section of chicken for her, but she eats the same salad as us. 

LuLu’s mini pizza with a side of vegetables covered in the healthy pasta sauce. (I also use that sauce as the pizza sauce on her pizzas) 

 

For a few more dinner ideas; LuLu enjoys scrambled eggs, homemade pizza, risotto, roasts, steak, pumpkin soup, fried rice, chicken alfredo, crispy chicken & sausages (I buy our sausages from our local butcher that have less preservatives than supermarket ones). But mainly whatever I eat, she eats. That also applies for our venison that we hunt. LuLu enjoys her bambi burgers & steaks.

Dessert; If we do dessert it is a healthy greek yoghurt. She has occasionally eaten those yoghurts in the pouches but they are a rare treat if we are out shopping. They are loaded full of sugar & preservatives so normally I steer clear of them and pack some yoghurt in a Tupperware container and keep it in her freezer lunch bag and she has that instead. I did make some custard the other night for the first time & she enjoyed a few spoonfuls of that!

Snacks; With snacks I try to regularly bake a healthy treat and keep that on hand, whether it be banana bread or healthy muffins or cupcakes. Trent eats them as well for work so it’s good for all of us.
A few of the recipes we’ve used & loved for treats are;

 

 

 

Banana bread.

She also loves the little packs of sultanas & also dried apricots. We try to keep her snacks healthy, mainly fruit and a healthy baked treat occasionally. We do also sometimes let her eat the baby muesli bars but I personally am not a huge fan of them. But sometimes when we are out that’s all I’ve got on hand. I am currently on the look out for a recipe to try and make my own, so if I find a good one I will be sure to share it! Afternoon tea is always a little fruit salad that she enjoys after her nap while watching Play School. I change the fruit to what is in season, at the moment grapes, blueberries, strawberries & mandarins are the fruit of choice.  

Drinks; In the way of drinks she only has water & milk (cows milk & breast milk, up until recently. I just weaned her a few days after she turned 20 months). She does occasionally have a healthy smoothie if my Mum or I make one, but that’s it. Shortly I will start letting her have some homemade juices, but flavoured milks & store bought juices are just loaded with garbage and offer no nutritional benefit so I see no sense in giving them to LuLu.
That ultimately is my theory when feeding my daughter, if it is pointless garbage I am not going to feed it to her. I want everything I am feeding LuLu to be good & nutritious. I am not going to introduce to lollies & chocolate “just because”, of course in time she is going to realise that sweets exist and then we can enjoy them in moderation, but while I control what she eats I want it to all be good & healthy. Clearly some of the foods she eats have sugar, everything has sugar – fruits have natural sugars. But she doesn’t need to consume excess sugar in my opinion – nor does she need to fill her body with fillers, dyes & preservatives. Now that she is nearing 2, I am relaxing a tiny bit with what she eats, under 1 I feel I was very strict about her diet. Even up until recently I was very cautious on what she eats, but now I am more open to letting her have the odd biscuit or chip if I am snacking on one.
Feeding LuLu good and nutritious food is something I am very passionate about and I enjoy sharing my knowledge (not claiming to be an expert) with other Mummas. I am not judgemental to parents who use store bought baby food, everyones lives are different & maybe you just don’t have the time to cook baby food. I do have the time though & that’s why I think for myself using store bought food for her first foods was totally unacceptable, for me. I had no excuse not to make it. So from her first foods it was just a gradual procession into making all her meals & I am so glad I have. It is very satisfying to me to know exactly what my daughter is eating and when & how it was made. 
It has also made me adjust what Trent & I eat, now that LuLu eats what we eat for dinner, I am more conscious on making sure our meals include a decent serving of vegetables and we are eating healthily. 
A basic change I made to most of our “meat & 3 veg” meals is swapping mash potato for mashed sweet potato. Sweet potato is delicious & flavourful and is also packed full of good stuff. We eat it most nights if we are having a steak, sausages, chicken etc. Of course we still enjoy a good regular mash potato on some nights, but sweet potato mash is a favourite now in our household. 
LuLu is a normally great little eater, sometimes she is a bit fussy or picky but I think a lot of that is too do with her teeth & also working out what she likes & doesn’t like. She is currently cutting molars so she’s a bit picky with what she wants to eat, so when she is a bit irritable I just offer lots of food and let her pick & choose.
Our most recent obstacle with eating with LuLu was she was very restless in her highchair, so we have packed the highchair away and now she eats all her meals at a little table we bought from Ikea. The change was instant, in her highchair she would have a few bites – get frustrated and restless and not eat until we got her out. But the first meal she had at her new little setting – she ate perfectly. So at 20 months she transitioned from highchair to her own dining chair/table set up & for us it works perfectly.


I am aware that the way I feed my daughter may not work for everyone & some find it ridiculous. But it works for us, I am more than happy to put in the extra effort to feed her wholesome & nutritious meals that are good for her. 
My goal in writing this is to give other parents some ideas on meal recipes for their kids & maybe inspire 1 other parent to make their baby’s meals themselves instead of buying them at the store. I think we are responsible for our children’s nutrition and while we can I think we should introduce them to as much healthy food as possible and use this time to make sure they eat very well. Today I was looking back to find photos of different meals I’ve made LuLu since she started solids and wow the change in her appearance and also her development is astounding – this is another huge reason why I am so glad I make all her meals myself, they are developing constantly at this stage in their lives, they grow & change every single day, they are learning so much & their bodies are growing – giving them good food as fuel is incredibly vital.

So I hope you took something away from this post, I hope it possibly made you also feel passionate about feeding your child the best you can & everyones best is different. I have the time & means to dedicate myself to LuLu – that is a choice we made & one I am so proud of. 
If you have any questions or comments for this post please leave them in the comment section or contact me on any of my social media listed below! I post a lot of what I cook during the week on my social media, so if you want any ideas please make sure you follow me!

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healthy pasta sauce, homemade nut butter, healthy cakes, beef ragu, fish cakes.

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2015 · activities · how to · LuLu · recipe · toddler

Mess free, inside friendly toddler activity. {HOW TO}

So Winter is here which means more days inside & less messy (fun) activities outside. During the Summer LuLu loved painting outside and it was so easy & simple, we would paint & eat fruit then hose off & then jump in the pool. Well, yesterday was rainy & very cold & I don’t see us having days where we can have lots of messy fun outside for another month or so – I’ve been testing out craft activities that can be done inside – so without the mess, so no need for a hose off. So I’ve been Pinteresting away searching for fun ideas.
This is one idea I found, I also did my own spin on it as well. I like this craft because the mess is contained – it looks messy & is fun – but there is no mess!

Ok, to start off with you need a few basic supplies & most people would have these laying around especially if you do craft with your kids…

  • Large ziplock bag (27cmx33cm)
  • A4 piece of paper
  • 2 (or more) different colours of paint
  • Masking tape
Yep, that’s it. 
Now I did this 2 different ways as I saw it done both ways online. 
The first time we did it I didn’t slip the paper in, so it was just bag & paint and I stupidly added glitter. If you want to add glitter make sure it is super super fine – dust like glitter. The glitter I used was a bit sharp and ended up piercing the bag towards the end. I like having the piece of paper in there. But if you wanted to tape the bag to a window/glass surface I would leave the paper out so the light could shine through better. 
The steps for both simple;
  1. Get ziplock bag, if you are using a piece of paper – slip it in.
  2. Squirt paint in puddles on one side.
  3. Seal bag.
  4. Tape to flat surface.
  5. Have fun!
2 different ways – LuLu enjoyed both!
Also just an additional note you will also want to make sure your child’s nails have been trimmed, sharp little nails could pierce the bag and result in paint leaking. 
LuLu really enjoyed this, she loved squishing the paint around and we drew patterns and talked about the red & blue colour and how when they mixed together they turned purple. 
This craft is super basic & clean up is as simple as untaping the bag and tossing it away. 
Towards the end LuLu enjoyed scribbling over the bag with a blunt crayon – it created lines & patterns. She loves to draw so she enjoyed this after the novelty of the activity wore off. 

My own version of this craft that I decided to try is more of a colour sensory bag. Basically I made a basic goopy glue type substance and added in a bunch of fun craft pieces (pom poms, felt shapes etc).
For this craft you’ll need;
  • Boiling water
  • Cornflour
  • Jug or bowl
  • Whisk
  • Ziplock bag (22cmx22cm)
  • Craft decorations or anything you wish to add into the bag – I made sure what I was adding in I didn’t care about and could be just thrown away at the end.
  • Masking tape. 
I picked up all these items for just a few dollars from the cheap shop. I like keeping odd craft materials on hand as I never know what we might be up to! 
Now the steps for this one are just a little more time consuming, but still super basic & it is even something you can whip up while your little love naps or watches a short TV show. (Now I apologise for the fact I have not recorded actual measurements, I kind of just kept adding water/cornflour until I got the correct consistency & amount) 
  1. Add cornflour to your jug/bowl. I was using a Pyrex jug & I just tipped in the cornflour to about just under the 100ml line. (Once again sorry I didn’t measure it correctly) 
  2. Add in boiling water & whisk away.
  3. Whisk & add water until you reach a fairly smooth, whitish goopy substance.
  4. I found about 350ml was a good amount for a 22cmx22cm bag.
  5. Pop jug into fridge for about 5-10 minutes just to cool the mixture slightly.
  6. Once cooled pour into bag, taking care as the goopy liquid may still be hot. 
  7. Add in fun craft items. 
  8. Tape to a flat surface.
  9. Have fun!
What you add in your bag is totally up to you! Whatever you have is fine.
With this activity LuLu once again had a lot of fun, she liked pushing the little balls around & discovering the felt shapes under the glue. It was a spur of the moment decision to colour in the masking tape border (which is why it isn’t very neat!) and then we started organising the craft items in colour coded groups next to the colour on the border. Once they were in the groups & in the right area I would ask LuLu where certain colours were, she is getting very good at identifying colours. 
But that is the way a lot of our craft activities go – we start off we the basic idea and then just go with whatever happens & change it/add to it what suits us. 
Discovering all the fun things hidden in the squishy liquid!
Craft activity turned colour lesson! 
To change up this activity you could add in food dye at step 2-3 for a colourful liquid. But only add a small amount as you don’t want it to become too opaque. Even some glitter at step 7 (I did this). This is the same mixture I use when making homemade paint. You can really add in anything to the bag but I really must stress to make sure it has no pointy/sharp edges as it will pierce the bag.
Also this bag stayed taped to the play table for almost a week and almost every morning she would pop out to the sunroom playroom to have a play with it & push all the stuff around. 

Both of these activities are great for toddlers, LuLu really enjoyed them. They are fun but at the same time if you sit down & do the craft with them you can discuss colours & textures, so it is also educational & also a sensory activity. But if you just let your little love do it themselves it is still fun & can be a great activity for them to do while you are making dinner or doing some work!
Like I said, I am a huge fan of this activity for the cooler months. Painting inside when it is cold is difficult, but by doing this LuLu still gets to have fun with her paints & colours but the mess is contained & clean up is very simple. 

What activities do you in the cooler months? I would love to hear your suggestions. 
The weather was absolutely dreadful here yesterday, cold & rainy – not that I am complaining I actually like days like that. But keeping an active toddler who wants to play outside all the time entertained inside is challenging sometimes, so I hope this simple & clean idea gave you some inspiration! 
My garden yesterday. Very cold & wet.
Thanks for reading! 

2015 · activities · diy · easter · how to · LuLu · play · toddler

Easter Activities for your little loves!

Ok… was anyone else aware that Easter is like this weekend???? 
Wow – that came up fast – like it’s April – April! I was just saying I can’t believe it is March and now it is April!!!
I am not even joking I forgot about Easter, like I knew it was coming – I had my decorations done, but I totally didn’t realise it was so close! I just had to do some quick Easter shopping on Monday with Mum for my brothers & their lovely girlfriends! 
Luckily I have had LuLu’s gift done for awhile and we are putting the finishing touches on her big special gift we have made her! (She doesn’t get chocolate for Easter – so she gets gifts) I can’t wait to show you all after Easter what we made her!! 
Anyway today I come to you with some cute activities to do with kids over the Easter weekend.
The weather here in Toowoomba is looking fairly miserable (I am not complaining, I love the cold & drizzly days!) some of these are perfect indoor activities! Others I didn’t get a chance to do yet, because of the weather! 


Foam shapes on the a window/glass… 

Cut out a large foam egg out of a big sheet of coloured foam (this is harder than it looks, drawing a free hand oval is a nightmare, especially on foam lol) I just used an exacto knife to cut out the shape & I got my foam sheets from Spotlight for a few dollars. I also picked up some smaller Easter themed foam shapes from there too. To make the foam stick to the glass, just lightly wet them. LuLu loves pulling them down and putting them back on and moving them around. For more kindy aged kids, letting them put stickers or glue craft supplies to an egg shape you’ve cut out could also be fun. But for LuLu’s age she is just happy with the foam shapes. You can even cut out smaller shapes for them to decorate the egg with me. All you need is water!

Colouring in books & stickers…
This idea is nothing ground breaking, LuLu loves her colouring books, crayons & stickers. I like giving her themed stuff for holidays and we talk about what the picture is of and what colours she is using. I picked up an Easter colouring book for just a few dollars from Woolworths and the stickers are from our local cheap store. 


Wooden bunnies…
I did buy these the other day (Kaisercraft) in hopes of spending today painting and decorating them with LuLu today, but like I said it’s not painting weather today. It’s very cold and damp. But with these bunnies I was just going to give them a white undercoat and then let LuLu paint them with whatever colours she likes. If the weather fines up before Easter & we get the time we will be doing this activity! (I will post photos on my instagram; @Modernwifelife31 if we do!) 


Making Easter cards…
This is another activity I was meant to do today and take photos of it but it isn’t happening because paint, cold weather and toddlers are not a fun mix! But the idea is to create a bunny shape with her little hand and write “Somebunny loves you” (lots of ideas on Pinterest!) 


Reading Easter books…
Last year LuLu got a lot of Easter books as gifts and she is getting more this year, we’ve been reading a lot of Easter stories lately and also talking about the true reason for the season!


I hope these ideas have inspired you to have some fun this coming weekend or just given you an idea on how to entertain your little one even just for 20 minutes so you can enjoy a cup of tea and an Easter Egg in peace! 

Hope you are all having a beautiful week!

2015 · activities · diy · how to · LuLu · recipe · toddler

Colourful Sensory play for toddlers… D.I.Y simple recipe!

Hello!
I come to you today with another boredom busting idea for toddlers. 
I always am searching for new and fun ideas to keep LuLu entertained because when Trent is working it’s just her & I at home, she doesn’t go to daycare – I am solely responsible for helping her learn & keeping her entertained during the days at this stage in her life, I came across this idea on good ol’ Pinterest – because lets be honest here, everyone gets their ideas of this amazing website.
(If you aren’t following me already click HERE to see my page!) 
Anyway onto the idea to keep your little one entertained…
Coloured spaghetti.
This is more of a sensory play activity but also can help in teaching colours and using utensils.
Now making it is super simple and really you just need some time to do it. 
I used a cheap packet of Homebrand spaghetti (less than $2 I believe!) & a few drops of some food dye I had in the cupboard.

  1. Cook it as you do pasta…
  2. Once cooked, drain/wash it & let it cool.
  3. Divide the spaghetti into separate zip-lock bags or if you don’t have any bags, just use separate bowls.
  4. Add a few drops of food colouring to the bags and gently massage to evenly disperse the colour.
  5. Once all pasta has been coloured, I left it for an hour or so just to really soak in.
  6. Before giving it to LuLu to play with I rinsed off any excess food dye.
We just mixed 3 colours together in a giant bowl & I gave her a pasta spoon and some containers to scoop it into. As she picked up the noodles I told her what colour they were. This activity can be played inside if it is too hot or cold outside, I just laid down an old towel to protect my floor. Ideally though this would be fun outside, perhaps before some water play!
(I found the pasta lasts in the fridge for just over a week, but by 2 weeks I would be tossing it out – if it’s been in the fridge for a few days I would just re-rinse it under cool water to help separate the noodles in case they’ve become a bit sticky) 

How do you keep your little one entertained? 
Let me know what you do to help your little one learn & have fun?
For more ideas please click HERE. 
Enjoy!

2015 · activities · LuLu · play · toddler

3 fun & simple boredom busting toddler activities!

“A child’s creativity is only limited by their parents’ willingness to clean up after them.” – Robert John Meehan. 

Hello!

I thought I would drop in and do a quick post about some activities for toddlers. 
Yesterday my girl was a bit off and needed a bit of distracting and fun (I think her darn teeth are being awful!) 
She normally is great at independent play and will sit in her play room while I do my jobs around the home, but yesterday that all went out the window, I was pulling out all the stops for entertainment as none of our regular games seemed to please her, but that’s alright everyone has off days! 
So I went overboard on the fun activities & I thought I would share these ideas with you all, because honestly sometimes it’s hard thinking of new things to do! 
None of these are ground breaking games but LuLu really enjoyed them and they help pass the time well.

  • Our first idea was to build an inside cubby/fort. Super simple, everyone knows how to do this. Grab your dining chairs & throw a sheet over them (I used a fitted sheet so it stays on better & we used a double size), we threw in a bunch of pillows and a blanket and hung out. We chatted to bubbas, sang songs and read books! (This morning we woke up & Mishka decided to make it a cat bed!)
    • Secondly, we headed outside to do some hand washing and bubba bathing! I filled up a giant Tupperware bowl with water and some dish soap (for bubbles) and gave LuLu a stack of wash clothes and doll cloths and let her do some laundry and she also bathed her water safe baby doll. Then we headed inside where she hung out all the laundry on a makeshift clothesline. (I used an over the door clothes hanger, I just propped it up in the window sill – worked perfectly!) 
    • For our last activity while LuLu had her afternoon nap, I cut up some fruit for her afternoon snack and I also whipped up some super simple homemade paint (recipe can be found HERE). So when she woke up she could have a snack and then do some painting! I had my paint in the fridge for awhile so it went a bit thick but LuLu loved squeezing it in between her hands & making a mess!! (Great sensory play!)
    So I hope these ideas give you some inspiration,  I encourage you to get outside and play. I spend everyday with LuLu, so we are always looking for new games & activities to play, so if you have any suggestions please leave them below in a comment, Facebook me or Tweet me! I would love to hear what you do with your little one!
    Have a fun day!!


    “Play is our brain’s favourite way of learning.” – Diane Ackerman
    2015 · LuLu · recipe · toddler

    Easy Homemade Baby Safe Paint Recipe.

    “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up” Pablo Picasso

    Hello!
    I hope you are all having a beautiful Sunday, ours has been splendid & very colourful!
    This morning after doing our jobs & LuLu having her morning nap we baked some healthy muffins & then after lunch I whipped up a batch of homemade paints and we had some very fun sensory & art play! After that to clean up & cool down we jumped in the pool for a nice swim! And then my parents stopped by for a visit! 
    What a busy but lovely day so far!
    My darling girl is currently having her afternoon nap & I am having a bit of a rest but I thought I would quickly hop on and share this super simple paint recipe with you. I made it with a basic ingredient in my pantry and it turned out very well. I am still searching for other paint recipes to experiment with, but this one was fairly impressive with how simple it was to make!
    Ingredients;

    • Cornflour
    • Boiling Water
    • Food Dye
    Method;
    1. Boil kettle.
    2. Scoop cornflour into a heat safe bowl (I used about 4 tablespoons, sorry I forgot to measure exactly) & slowly pour boiling water over the cornflour.
    3. Whisk immediately.
    4. Keep whisking until there are very few or no lumps left and you have reached your desired consistency. If it is too thick for your liking add more water & if too runny add more cornflour. (I kept our mixture fairly thick as it was more for sensory play & finger painting)
    5. Once you are happy with your white mixture scoop into containers or paint tray, (I bought a cheap muffin tin for this activity and it worked perfectly!) 
    6. Add a few drops of food dye to each bowl/container/whatever and mix.
    7. Pop into fridge for a few minutes to chill mixture if you want to use it straight away. This may also thicken your mixture slightly. 

    If you want to make a bulk lot of this it will last about 2 weeks stored in the fridge. 

    I am on the look out for some paint brushes that are toddler friendly, the only ones I had for LuLu to use today were my old ones from high school art class! 
    This recipe was super easy and took no time at all to throw together and LuLu had an absolute ball painting the paper and herself. We did this activity outside in the shade. We then shared some water melon and a cold drink of water. 
    I think this is the perfect Summer activity and I encourage you to try this with your little one. If you do I would love to see your photos, send them to me on Facebook, or tag me in them on IG or tweet me! 🙂 Also let me know if you have a great DIY paint recipe, I would love to try it out!!

    Well, I just heard my little dear wake up & I just realised it’s time for her fruit snack and Daddy will be home very shortly! Better go do the quick race around the house and tidy up a bit! 🙂
    Talk soon!

    Live colourfully!