Guest Blogger Jody www.stayathomemums.com.au

Fun Activities to do with the Kids

Tired of hearing ‘I’m bored Mum’, well here are just a few suggestions of fun and inexpensive things to do with the kids, especially on school holidays:

1. Kids MasterChef

Keep meals simple – something such as pizza is perfect. This works especially well if the kids have a few friends over. Have a competition as to who makes the best pizza – you can be the judge. Making dough from scratch is fun (and tiring!!) and very inexpensive. Plus an added bonus – you don’t have to cook dinner!

2. Visit a Park

Ohh yeah – you’ve heard that one before. But not just any park – get out the UBD or on the internet and find a park that you haven’t been to before. Many of the new Council playgrounds are marvelous. There is water play, flying foxes, all sorts of do-be-watchits and thing-a-majigs! A lot of them are fun for parents too!

3. Visit a Country Market

If your in a big city – travel to the countryside to see what it can offer. There are many beautiful markets around that offer fantastic local foods, wines (for you – not the kids), craft etc. Have fun exploring new and exciting places. If your in Queensland, Eumundi is an excellent market!

4. Art at Home

Collect all your old egg cartons, cereal boxes, old socks, plastic containers, rice etc – anything you can find around the house (that Mum says is OK). Have a craft day – put an old shower curtain on your dining room table, get out the clag and have fun creating!

5. Go Swimming

Well this one is for Summer – check out your local pool. It’s cheap to get in – all kids love swimming and there is always a nice shady spot for Mum to sit and read whilst Dad watches the kids!

6. Take a Train Ride

There are still a couple of old steam trains around the trap. The Mary Valley Rattler in Gympie goes to Imbil twice a week and isn’t that expensive. Make a day of it and take the whole family – even grab Nanna!

7. Back Yard Olympics

Grab out your old yoga mat or some foam mattresses to use as a landing pad. Pillows or bean bags make good substitutes. Then get out all the hula hoops, skipping ropes, trampoline, ping pong table – whatever you have in the yard or house – and make it a competition – parents you can join in too! You could do events such as long jump, back yard sprint, gymnastics, dance – anything. Gets the kids active and out of the house!

8. Go to the Movies – at Home

Rent your favourite kids movie, make some popcorn, dim the lights and enjoy the cinema at home!

9. Get out the Board Games

They are always loads of fun and can keep kids amused for hours….

10. Kids Adventure

Let the kids pick somewhere on the map (say within 50km) that you haven’t been before – and make a day of it. Take a picnic lunch and explore your surroundings. You never know what you might find!

Check out more kids activities at www.stayathomemum.net.au

Mama Chat – The 1st Birthday.

There is something so very special about 1st birthdays.  I have found even more so for my second child.

We have had a rough 12 months with Miss C.  She seemed to catch every cold and infection within a 20km radius and as you would know with little ones a typical 4 day cold can go on for weeks!  And weeks.

As a result we have had many sleepless nights try to soothe her to sleep assuring her that although he feels like she is choking on phlegm everything is going to be okay.  We have had mad dashers to the hospital with high temperatures and difficulty breathing and seen naturopaths and specialists.  We even have the whole collection of the antibiotic promotional teddy bears from our local pharmacy!

So when July rolled around this year we wanted to make her birthday really special.

As the director of www.whatson4kidsparties.com.au I am constantly looking at the amazing possibilities these days for children birthday parties.  Parents across Australia are enjoying been able to express their creative side through their childrens parties, which means they are so much fun for young and old.  This doesn’t mean having to spend heaps of money either.  Our new Kids parties’ blogger, Shelley from Brisbane, will be giving more ideas in her blog  on how to keep parties to a budget and can be found here.

Given miss C’s birthday falls in winter I decided to do a Winter theme which worked in nicely with the play on words “winter One-derland”.  I made the invitations out of ice blue card and painted a snowflake with shimmer for detail.

To create the winter look I found a template online for snow flakes and cut out hundreds to scatter on the window.  I had glued glitter on them as well but you couldn’t actually see it in the daylight.  This would make a great craft activity with your littlies and required very little cutting http://www.papersnowflakes.com/templates.htm.

I also found some 3D shaped snowflakes and organised some helium balloons in soft pink, ice blue and a gorgeous snowflake design.  Sara at Pom Pom princess http://www.pompomprincess.com.au/ sent me these gorgeous pompoms, which really completed the look and they will look great in my daughter’s bedroom when the party is over.  They come flat packed, beautifully packaged and you fluff them yourself which is really easy.  I can’t help think are these the new balloons?

So on the food side of things and this is where I have to thank my mum. We had a lunch and my mum made majority of the food, which included homegrown pumpkin soup, home made sausage rolls, zucchini slice and cob loaf dips.  On the sweeter side of things we made coconut ice, chocolate fondue with fruit, cupcakes with white frosting, meringues, tea cups biscuits, and donna hay’s choc brownies – Yum!

Then of course there was a cake.

I usually love making my children’s cakes but this year I had to make the decision that in order for me to be ‘sane’ for the birthday party I had best out source this one and I am glad that I did.  I used the services of Eileen from Cake Fanatic a local cake decorator to me who can be found in the directory here who made a gorgeous penguin (Pingu inspired) cake complete with an igloo, pond and penguin on skates.   The cake was the most delicious butter cake with cream filling and a pink swirl for effect. It was so yummy that every one had a piece because it looked so good though they were all stuffed from the party food!

Naturally the day you plan a winter birthday party you end up with a sunny day!  This was great for the kids though to get outside and burn off some sugar-induced energy by kicking balls around.  My husband also kept them entertained for a about 10 minutes by making ‘snow’.

We finished off outside by making hot chocolate from Lindt choc flakes and marshmallows and putting them in polystyrene cups (from Reject shop) which the kids loved drinking from, prevented spills and potential burns to little ones.

Bubbles are also a hit with children off all ages and these wands are fun and cheap from Big W $1 each.

Overall it was a huge success and not stressful which can easily happen with children’s birthday parties.  I contribute this to some outsourcing.  Not having to make the cake the week before hand made a notable difference, though I did miss playing with fondant…

Next year!

Happy Birthday Miss C.

Elise