26 January 2015

Craft: Straw blow painting

My girls love to paint. I think painting is one of their most favourite things to do alongside colouring-in. To give them something fun to do I thought I'd try them on blowing watery paint with a straw. I remember doing this when I was a kid which I loved.

Instead of using proper paint, I found a great recipe for making thin watery paint using food colouring and cornflour. I've made a slight change to the recipe which you can find here.

Straw blow painting was a good exercise for Cherub, she's still not great at blowing out candles or bubbles, so this gave her some much needed practice.

Cherub whizzed through her paintings
Popette, an expert at blowing paint, loved mixing up new colours in the plastic cups, and testing them out on the paper.

Popette creating a masterpiece!
A thing I loved about this activity is by placing the paper onto a baking tray, not only is it great for capturing drops of paint, but it also saves a mess for me to clean up! The girls also liked picking up the tray and moving the paint around on the paper creating different patterns.

One of Cherub's paintings

Popette's beautiful masterpiece!

All you need is:

Plastic cups
Painting paper
Baking trays or plastic container with a flat base

First I cut and folded paper to fit the trays. Then I placed a teaspoon in each colour so the girls could drip paint on to their paper.

Using a straw, the girls then blew the watery paint on the paper to make different patterns. By adding more than one colour, they were able to create different colours.


Suitable age group: 2+ yrs
Estimated setup time: 10 mins (maybe get your older child to help squeeze the colouring into the water)
Messiness factor: medium

24 January 2015

Craft: How to make watery paint

If you are looking to find details on how to make watery paint using cornflour and water you've found it!

This is a great alternative to using 'real' paint which can leave stains!

All you need is:

Plastic or old cups or glasses
1/3 cup of water (per colour you decide to make)
Food colouring
1 tablespoon of cornflour (per colour you decide to make)

Pour 1/3 cup of water into a plastic cup or glass. Then add 1 tablespoon of cornflour and 6 drops of your preferred food colouring. We made four colours Red, Green, Yellow and Blue, which the girls then mixed to make other colours (ie. purple, orange and dark blue).

This recipe makes a watery type consistency, which "runs" all over the place so you only need a very little amount (I'd tried telling my girls that!) at a time.

Have fun!

20 January 2015

Popette's Frozen birthday party + 5 tips to create a Frozen party on a budget

At the beginning of the year Popette turned 6! I can't believe how quickly she's growing up. She's no longer my sweet little bubba. She's now a very bright, funny, smarty pants who answers back (not too happy about that), but also a very loving, caring, sweet little girl.

The girls striking their best "Let it go" pose!

Like most little girls, Popette is obsessed with Frozen. So when I asked her what theme she'd like for her birthday party (I don't know why I bothered asking, because I knew what the response would be) I got a "FR-OOO- ZZZ-EN" squeal back at me!

Her attendance list included all the children from her class (last year's Kindergarten class), along with friends from other Kindy classes, and a few girls she knew outside of school...a whopping 26 kids! Most of the kids were girls with a handful of boys thrown in to the mix. Rather than try and fit them all into our house (I don't know what I would have done if it rained) we booked a party at a dance studio not far from our place. While it was a little expensive, it was value for money, as the hosts played games like musical chairs, the kids did lots of dancing with a fog machine and twinkling lights going, and could dress up as a pirate or a princess/fairy dancing to Frozen songs and pirate music!

You'd never guess which one Popette chose?

Ahoy there! He he, I love her expression!

Hehe, actually she picked both!

Popette dressed up as a fairy (red skirt)

Thankfully the party was a success, and everyone had a great time! I was told by one parent that it was "the best party we've ever been to" so I was very chuffed!

Popette's Frozen cake - a chocolate swirl cake covered
in fondant and Frozen figurines

The cake on top of  my bargain Frozen tablecloth

I was very pleased with the cake. I had worked hard on it the day before, so hard I overdid it with the heat and felt unwell before the party. Thankfully after some rest, and Hubby helping me with party preparations I was fine to go to the party.

Let it go, let it go!
While this party was a little expensive with the cost of the dance studio, I thought I would give you some tips on how you can create a Frozen party on a budget.

1. Buy 3 "themed" decorations - less = more

Its amazing how much Frozen party merchandise you can buy from the shops. I could have gone to town and bought a whole lot of stuff, but as I was keeping an eye on how much I was spending I decided to spend money on only 3 Frozen decorations.

This included a pack of Frozen balloons, a bunting & the Disney Frozen scene setter that include 2 very large posters of Anna & Elsa and two smaller posters, plus a large "Happy Birthday" banner - this was my favourite item, as it was good value for under $10.

We then purchased items like napkins, dangling pom poms, a snowflake decoration and cups & bowls in Frozen colours to tie it all in with the theme.

2. Do your research before you buy

Before buying anything have a look around at the $2 discount stores, supermarkets (ie. Woollies and Coles), and departments stores such as Big W, Target and K-Mart. I found items on sale from each of these stores that fit the "Frozen" theme, and that didn't break the bank.

For instance, I found a plastic patterned tablecloth in Frozen colours for $3 at Coles. I'm sure if it was licensed and had pics of the characters plastered all over it, it would have cost a lot more, but this did the trick.

3. Don't go too crazy with the lolly bag

This was a mistake I made with Cherub's birthday. I spent a crazy amount ($50, I told you it's crazy) on crap to go in the kids lolly bags....I know how silly of me. So instead of buying every single Frozen party favor that was available, I couldn't afford to buy 26 of everything, I decided that we'd include things like a few lollies, some Frozen stickers, a pencil with a cute rubber in a blue and white chevron paper bag with a "Frozen" sticker holding it all together - the kids loved it!

Don't worry if all the kids don't get the same party favor...think of it as a lucky dip, where each child gets something different. We still had a pile of party favors leftover from Cherub's party, so I included a couple of different things (ie. yo-yos, stickers, pacer pencil & notepad, rubbers, pencil toppers etc) in each child's bag.

4. Pinterest and Google is your friend

If you are needing ideas for a themed party don't be afraid to use Google or apps like Pinterest. Pinterest became my best friend when searching for "Frozen themed party ideas" or "Frozen party food ideas". There is hundreds of Frozen party ideas on the web. I found some great free printables here, which I was able to print off and make for the table.

I searched for "Frozen" inspired party food names, which I found here.

For the invitation I first searched the shops and found some, but they were a little expensive for the amount of children we were inviting. So I decided to make my own by Googling "Blank Frozen invitations". I came across this site with a bunch of great Frozen wallpapers. The backgrounds have loads of space that allowed me to add text using a program like Photoshop.

I decided to print the invitations at Officeworks. It was a little expensive ($35 for 40 invites, we handed out 35), but it still worked out cheaper than buying proper invitations from the store.

This is the image we used for Popette's invitation 

5. Time your party well

The dance studio only offered one session (2pm - 4pm) which made it quite simple in planning the menu. What was great is that we didn't have to include hot food since we weren't having a lunchtime party.

Some of the party food

For our menu we decided on; pretzels, cheese blocks, cabanossi, crackers, popcorn, marshmallows, lollies, chips, cupcakes, these bounty balls (they are delish!), snowflake biscuits, drinks and of course the cake.


Well that's my 5 tips, if you are planning a Frozen party I wish you luck! :)

04 January 2015

Happy New Year + my guiding word

I hope you've had a great Christmas and enjoyed (or still enjoying if you are on school holidays) your break. We've had a wonderful break thus far. Today has been the first day since Boxing Day that we haven't had anything planned and spent the whole day at home. Its so nice not to have to rush off anywhere!

We've had a busy time catching up with family, friends and relatives. Yesterday was spent at Coogee beach with friends. It was a beautiful Summer's day, and the first time we have taken the girls to a wavy beach. Usually we like to go somewhere calmer, like Camp Cove. I thought the girls wouldn't enjoy it, but guess what, they thought the waves crashing on them was fun! Apart from Hubby and Popette getting sunburnt, the girls loved the beach.

We have also been busy with birthday celebrations. I enjoyed my birthday (New Years Eve) in the City with the family. After finding a parking spot (it seemed to take forever), we headed down to King Street Wharf, and found ourselves a nice seafood restaurant where we ate a lovely lunch, while enjoying the views of Darling Harbour. Then afterwards we took off to the Art Gallery (one of my fave places) to see the "Pop to Popism" exhibition. While Hubby & I enjoyed it (well most of it, there's some strange paintings) the girls were over it too quickly. We also celebrated Hubby's birthday (New Years Day) with a day trip to the Central Coast where we caught up with his family.

Tomorrow its Popette's 6th birthday! I can't believe how quickly she is growing up. It really is like they say, blink and you miss it! We are hoping to take her to see a movie and then afterwards out for some frozen yoghurt. After getting sunburnt at the beach yesterday Popette hasn't been herself today, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that she'll be feeling better tomorrow.

My guiding word for 2015

Last year I took on 3 guiding words, which was a challenge, so this year I've decided on one. Its taken me a while to decide, but the word that keeps popping up in my mind is Focus. I sometimes can get distracted so this year want to focus my thoughts back to what matters which includes;

Focus on the things that matter most {my family & friends, my hobbies & art}

Focus on my health & fitness,

Focus my energy & thoughts,

Focus on my creativity,

Focus on my attitude,

and remember to be in the present and focus on what's going on around me.

Have you got a guiding word, or New Year's resolution? 
What's your word?

I am linking up with Maxabella Loves... on her One word linky.