Easter Bunting

Easter BuntingThis Easter Sunday we spent some time in the morning making Easter bunting to decorate the house for lunch.

To make your own Easter bunting you will need:

1) Easter eggs printed on thick card stock – draw or download your own

2) Coloured pencils, crayons and textas

3) Small paper hole punch (or a needle or similar)

4) Scissors

5) Brown twine

Step 1) Colour in the eggs. We coloured in a total of 32 eggs.

Easter BuntingStep 2) Use scissors to cut out the eggs.

Easter BuntingStep 3) Decide the order you would like to have your eggs placed on the twine, using contrasting colours and patterns.Easter BuntingStep 4) Punch two small holes in the top of each egg.Easter BuntingStep 5) Thread each egg with twine.Easter BuntingStep 6) Attach your Easter bunting to the wall with masking tape.Easter BuntingHappy Easter x

Easter Art

Easter Art This Easter it’s been pouring with rain, so we have kept busy with some indoor activities. This morning we did some Easter art with cut up vegetables. Halved carrots dipped in yellow paint make some rather adorable Easter chicks. When the paint is dry, use some texta markers to add beaks, eyes and legs.Easter ArtHalved potatoes are the perfect shape for Easter eggs. Draw on some decorative effects when the paint has dried.

Easter ArtIt’s much more fun than paint brushes!Easter Art

Blogging Boy

It’s in the way that they take photographs.


DIY Golden Rough

DIY Golden RoughDo you remember growing up with those chocolate, coconut treats called Golden Roughs? They still sell them at the shop today. If you loved them growing up, then you’ll love this lovely home-made version. It tastes similar but is all natural and without all the nasties. It’s not suitable for lunch boxes as home-made chocolate tends to melt easily, but it makes a nice, guilt-free chocolate fix when you need it.

IngredientsIngredients1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup of almond butter or paste

1/4 cup of honey (or maple syrup)

1/4 cup of cocoa (or cacao powder)

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Pinch of salt


Melt all the ingredients in a small pan over a low heat.

Pour a small amount of mixture into the bottom of a 12-cup muffin tray.

Freeze for 1-hour until set.

Store in the freezer.

Enjoy with tea.DIY Golden Rough

We all know kids do weird stuff. I try not to sweat it, just photograph it.

We had one of those blissful rare mornings last week when the kids played happily and unsupervised on a completely made up activity for over an hour. Let’s call it the game where you Use Masking Tape to Stick all your Stuffed Animals by their Tails/Heads to Different Surfaces in a House. There’s got to be a catchy name for that.

We’re big fans of sticky things in our house, but our favourite is masking tape. You can write on it, it’s easy to tear off, easy to apply, easy to remove and doesn’t leave a residue on polyester fur! Surely if there was a tape made for children, this is it.

This falls in the weird archives….but it’s gold.

Buy some masking tape today.

Kids and Masking Tape

I love to scan

I love to scanThere are many tools I use in my creative endeavors, but perhaps the most overlooked, yet indispensable, is my scanner. This simple, inexpensive machine allows me to scan old photographs at high resolution, create digital copies of my children’s artwork and bring new digital life to those amazing thrift shop fabric finds. These past few months I’ve become seriously addicted to scanning, and now officially declare it my number one creative tool of choice. There’s a world of possibility out there. My new motto is: If it’s flat, it can be scanned.

If you’re after scanning inspiration, please check out my latest Slideshare offering under my alter ego Make Great below.

Go forth and scan.

Family KnitsIn this age of consumerism, surely nothing says love more than matching hand-knitted woollen vests.Matching Yellow KnitsMake a public statement of your love this year by crafting his n’ her outfits from Women’s Weekly Family Knits (1971).

Matching Red VestsCan’t knit? Not a problem.

How about preparing a romantic meal for two from Women’s Weekly’s Cooking for Couples (1982).Cooking for CouplesPerhaps you could start the meal with an avocado entree garnished with capsicum and black olives.Avocado with Herb DressingTry a trout main, featured alluringly alongside a fern in a wicker basket in an early 80s example of food styling.Trout with CapersFinish your romantic tête-à-tête with a refreshing icy mint dessert. Don’t forget to add that essential ingredient, green food colouring.Minted IceWishing you a happy Valentine’s Day this weekend, however you choose to celebrate it.

Meet Scarlett

Meet ScarlettIf I were having this conversation with you in person I would say ‘Do you want to hear the long story or the short story?’ If you requested the short story I would say: “We received a giant burrowing cockroach as a gift and named her Scarlett.”

If you would like to hear the long story, then please read on:

My brother (a great animal lover) colluded with my husband (also a great animal lover) to obtain consent to give my son (another great animal lover) a native giant burrowing cockroach as a Christmas gift. Myself (a little ‘meh’ when it comes to animals) hastened to put a very quick and resounding stop to any talk involving cockroaches.

After much negotiation, my brother acquired the cockroach on the compromise that the roach would live with him and my son could visit it whenever we visited our family interstate. Consequently the little brown critter was placed into a plastic travel tank complete with dirt and gum leaves, wrapped in undignified Santa paper and presented to my son on Christmas day. My son took one look at the roach, his eyes filled with love and he announced to all his cousins that her name was Scarlett. From that point on the matter was pretty much settled. For the duration of our interstate holiday Scarlett sat in her little tank in the kitchen and we had time to get to know one another. She would burrow her head into the dirt and lazily surface for pieces of vegetable and gum leaves as the need arose. She didn’t move much, or do anything really, so I nic-named her pudding. When the time came to leave there was no doubt our new pet was coming with us…on our 1,400km road trip back to Sydney. The absurdity of the situation dawned on me a few times during the trip as Scarlett + tank would join us in cafes and roadhouses, but she really was such an agreeable travel companion that I couldn’t complain.

When we arrived home, we acquired a much larger glass tank and created a more suitable habitat for her. Scarlett spends most of her days sitting like a little pudding buried snugly into the dirt, surfacing only to eat, drink and be patted and poked by admiring children. Did you know that if you google ‘Giant Burrowing Cockroach’ you will come up with websites that describe these creatures as the ‘perfect pet’. I’m almost half-inclined to agree.

How to create an ideal habitat for a giant burrowing cockroach


1. Get a large glass tank and fill with a mixture of sand and peat moss. We purchased sand from an aquarium store and peat moss from our local hardware store.

Step22. Add some paperbark for shelter and privacy.

Step33. Sprinkle liberally with a variety of small dry leaves.

Step44. Add some larger brown gum leaves.

Step55. Squirt the tank with a fine mist of water to provide good moisture coverage. You can see the size of the water droplets on the leaves here.

Step66. Provide a very small, shallow dish of water. These critters nibble on dry gum leaves but also love small pieces of sweet potato and cucumber.

Now you’re free to sit back and enjoy the show. Unfortunately they spend most of their time completely buried. Amen to the world’s most low maintenance pet.

Watching Scarlett

And who says girls like playing with Barbie dolls.

Posing with Scarlett


Road Trips with Kids

Surviving Road Trips with KidsBack in the day we did a lot of road trips across this beautiful, big continent. Australia is a large place and our Corolla has seen a lot of it. When the babies arrived, we started flying for most of our trips and experienced all the ups and downs associated with that! This past Christmas we agreed that the kids, aged 3 and 5, were the right age to undertake their first big car trip from Sydney to Adelaide and return. That’s approximately 3,000 kms there and back or 28 hours driving in total. We spent some time planning the trip, took our time and had a really enjoyable experience. Road trips are not for everyone, but if you’re considering a big journey with little kids I would love to offer these 10 tips:

1) Pack plenty of snacks

Pack SnacksMy children seem to be perpetually grazing. Pack a variety of healthy (and some not so healthy) snacks in advance. Have the esky accessible and distribute these as the need arises. With a little planning there’s no need to rely on petrol stations and roadhouses for your food fix.

2) Prepare meals in advance

Planning MealsOn the road we usually have lunch at a cafe and prepare the evening meals in advance. Pre-cook your meals at home, freeze them and then let them slowly defrost in the car esky on the way to your destination. This way I know that we’ll have at least one decent healthy meal a day and it also helps to maintain your regular night-time routine. Good meals to freeze are those that are sauce based eg bolognaise, curry etc. You can take the dry rice or pasta with you to cook fresh on the stove top, but most of the grunt work has already been done.

3) Stay in Caravan Parks

Caravan Park FunFor the same price as a motel, you can stay in a fully self-contained two bedroom cabin…usually with a playground and swimming pool at your doorstep. Unlike a motel room, you can put the children to bed early in their own bedroom and still enjoy your own time in the living area. We’ve stayed at many Big 4 Caravan Parks over the past five years (if only they offered loyalty cards!) and they’re renowned for being child-friendly. I can’t recommend them enough.

4) Prepare car activities

Car ActivitiesPrepare activities to be introduced at strategic points on the journey. These days there are so many little art/craft activities you can by at dollar stores which include all the items you need such as stickers/pencils/paper/glitter/glue etc. Buy some little portable clipboards that double as lap desks and make an event of it. Activities include colouring in, drawing, join the dots, mazes, crafts etc.

5) Create your own Spot It game

Spot It GameBefore your trip give some thought to they types of things you are likely to see out the car window such as road signs, animals, wind farms, trucks, roadworks, traffic lights etc. Put these images into an activity sheet that the children can mark off when they see them. My children loved this Spot It activity more than any other activity on the trip. They completed their two sheets on the first half day of driving and next time I will create a series of Spot It activity sheets for each leg of the journey.

6) Keep a travel diary

Travel DiariesGive the children a small scrapbook each so that they can keep a travel diary. Things you include in a travel diary are photographs, thoughts about the trip, drawings of things seen throughout the day, spellings of town names, the craft activities done on the trip etc. At the end of each day, the children can ‘complete’ pages of the diary. Interview them and record their responses.

Here’s what my son saw from his car window on day one:Travel Diary DrawingsThis is what my daughter saw from her car window:

Travel Diary Drawings

7) Travel music and car audio books

MusicPlay music that is fun to listen to, it doesn’t have to be children’s music, it can be Beatles, Abba etc. The sky’s the limit. Sing along and teach the children the lyrics or let the music be a backdrop to watching the world go by. I also discovered that Target stock a whole selection of 10-15 minute children’s audio books. Pop in a CD and the children can follow the storyline in the book and turn the pages when they hear a chime.

8) Create a map for the journey

Sydney to Adelaide MapInvolve your kids with a map of the journey. Maps give children a sense of where they’re going and they can circle or mark off towns that they pass through. Scan a map from your road atlas or download a good online map and put it in a child friendly format. Even if your children can’t read, maps are valuable in helping them appreciate geography and a sense of time and distance covered.

9) Bring an iPad stocked with kids’ programs

Shaun the SheepThis is not necessary but it’s a great tool when everyone needs an hour or two of down time on the road. Load up some good kids movies or programs beforehand. A favourite program in our house is Shaun the Sheep. It’s funny and suitable for all ages.

10) Plan each travel day

Plan It

Let’s face it…spontaneity with small children is overrated. Plan where you will be stopping in advance, research the playgrounds in the towns where you will stop. Prepare some running / stretching games to do on the grass to get them moving in the breaks. The last thing you want the kids to do is sit down during a entire rest stop.

Inside the car we structure the travel day with a mix of activities like this:

  • Looking out the window and watching the world
  • Craft Activities
  • Sleep
  • Snacks
  • Movie on the iPad
  • Music / singalong

In closing…

Happy New Year from Outback NSWI want to say how much fun it was to do this big journey with my children. We live in a great big world with so much to see and do and traversing it by car created some amazing memories and experiences that we would not have had in airports or on an airplane. On the way back home we went off road a little a stayed in a cattle station in the middle of the Hay Plains and saw so many wonderful things such as emus running along next to our car and a sunset to die for. It’s often not practical to travel like this on a regular basis, but it makes something pretty extraordinary out of the ordinary if you do.


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