Friday, October 7, 2011

10 things

Well the end of the school holidays has come all to quickly for me - a lovely week in the mountains and lovely one at home with swimming lessons everyday at the local pool after our birthday long weekend. I deliberately didn't organise much else in the week and that proved a good move - not only because my biggest girl came down with a fever and was quite lethargic and just wanted to mooch around, but also because of the time it afforded the other girls to just play. To rediscover toys they haven't touched for a while. To rediscover playing - really playing - together. To get bored and find new things to make and do. To still be in our pyjama's at midday!

I was looking at a few other blogs this evening and one suggested making a list of 10  good things - and so I thought I'd give it a go - so here are my 10 good things that I'm thankful for today:

1. The sound of little girls singing while they paint
2. A tired one saying 'I think I just want to go to bed now'
3. Little arms clasped around tight my neck
4. Reading books to girls on a rug in the afternoon spring sun
5. Finally seeing some flowers on my sweet peas
6. Eating snow peas and coriander from the vegie garden
7. Successfully striking some daisies from my mum's garden - first time ever!!
8. Dinner eaten without complaint
9. Everyone sleeping until after 7am and playing (reasonably) quietly when they did wake up
10. Watching 3 girls enjoying swimming lessons with no. 4 waving to them.

What are you thankful for today?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!
1 Peter 1:3

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Teepees and Rainbows

Well I've survived another birthday! All 4 down for the year!

My little Miss No. 3 Madeline turned 4 the other day, and I think she had a great day.  I just love the unashamed joy little ones show when they are the centre of attention in a large group of people on their birthdays - with cakes in front of them, presents being handed over and free access to party food.

I was pretty excited myself as I looked forward to Maddie's birthday, as some time ago I made her a play tent that I just couldn't wait to give her - following the pattern in this gorgeous book:

Growing Up Sew Liberated

I did alter the pattern a bit and make it a whole lot taller - which I think works better and means that it can easily fit 2 or 3 kids inside - or even 3 plus a little Lucy sized bubba! Important when there are lots of little people around here! I also just made it out of calico (the thickest one I could find) rather than canvas, as it was heaps cheaper. I was worried it might look a bit poxy, but was really happy with the end result.

Anyway, here's my version, and I must say I'm a bit in love with it!

I think Maddie was pretty pleased with it too - and all the girls have been playing in it, both indoors and out.

We had a little party with some friends at the park to celebrate the occasion, and although it sprinkled while we were setting up, it ended up a lovely morning. I did a repeat performance on the best birthday cake I've come across - we did it for Jasmine's birthday last year, but I thought it was so great it deserved another look in and Madeline was keen. It is actually really easy - just a whole lot of packet cakes, food colouring, icing and M&M's! It looks pretty good before it's cut, but the best part is the reaction when you cut that first slice and pull out the rainbow inside! Give it a go - it's fantastic and really very easy.

I found it here - I just did a butter cream icing so mine was a bit more yellow than the one they did. I did find another one (a more grown up version) that suggested adding flavours to each colour - like blueberry, orange, lemon etc. but I thought that was a bit too sophisticated for a 4 year old's cake. Anyway, it was a real crowd pleaser and although Madeline later told her Grandma "I didn't like my birthday cake"  I know she loved the singing and the blowing and the theatre of cutting the cake and showing everyone what was inside. Like her big sister Jasmine she's not a real fan of actually eating the cake, so I wasn't too offended by her comment!

Happy Birthday cheeky Maddie!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The beautiful Blue Mountains

It's been a while since posting - not much creative happening lately, just getting by!! We've just enjoyed a lovely, albeit cold and wet, week at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains with some special special friends. We had quite a few wet days, but thankfully the place we were staying in was huge, and, more importantly, centrally heated! So, even though we were indoors a bit more than I had hoped, the kids still had loads of room to race about, and friends to play with so they were pretty happy.
We did manage to find some great wet weather things to do in the mountains - like visiting the Selwood Science and Puzzle shop at Hazelbrook with rooms of hands on games to play and experiments to have a go on;

a play centre at Katoomba which seems to be advertised nowhere except in the Yellow Pages;

and my crowning glory was finding out about a free Reptile Show at Scenic World. Everyone was very taken with getting to see and touch lizards, snakes and even a crocodile - it was surprisingly squooshy!

Steve the Reptile Man was just great with the kids - even pulled out his guitar for a few songs in the show and was excellent at engaging the kids and making sure everyone had a good look and touch of the animals. Emma was pretty excited to get to hold the crocodile in front of the whole crowd in the show - the rest of us got a quick cuddle after the show.

We did get out for a walk one day at Perry's Lookdown, and were keen to spot beautiful flowers growing in the bush. 

On the one really sunny day we had we made the trip to the Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens which I was strangely obsessed with, having never been there before. We did an adventure quest with the kids which took us around the gardens and made the excursion a real winner for the kids. They started out asking where the play equipment was, but once we got going following the clues and seeing new things they got right into it. I think they thought the best part was rolling down hills and filling their lunch boxes with gravel from a path - go figure!

We had a quick but very windy visit to the 3 Sisters in between rain showers on our last day - and Lucy discovered it's fun to play with Mum's hair while in the backpack! It looks quite sunny and nice in this picture, but it was blowing a gale, and even hailed later that afternoon! Between Nicola and I we were managing 7 children, and I think a few tourists had a little giggle as we tried to take photo's of each other with our kids. I think we did alright in the end!

A big hit amongst the kids was the enormous box of blocks that our friends brought - many towers were built and knocked down and it was great to have a seemingly neverending supply of blocks.

All in all a fun week despite being a bit less active than I hoped. I was all keen for some more bushwalking with the kids, and had even researched appropriate walks on Oh well, next time. 

Tomorrow is my No. 3 girl's birthday, and I'm looking forward to sharing some more fun stuff that I've done for her, so until then.....