Friday, 23 January 2009

it took 28 days...

it took 28 days to finally entice him to have a ride.

... for Grandpa to entice him to get on the 'noisy-bike' and go for a ride. These was no hair-raising, heart-stopping rides that Dad would take us on as kids, only a very slow, reassuring ride to entice him into having another go another day...

and of course once Angus had been for a ride, Daisy couldn't resist.

Yay for Grandpa's!!

Saturday, 17 January 2009

sometimes I need to have a sleep in!

... and the only way that I have found to do that is to make a plan, well in advance. At home it's not so hard, Cam just gets out of bed when the kids do and closes our bedroom door behind him. The way that our camp is set up makes things just a little harder :: our 'bedroom' is set back in our camp, it's just a queen size bed set up beside the back of the kids caravan, with a wall on two other sides, and a mosquito net over the top... certainly no door that can be swung shut to keep cuddly children away.

kid kites

So to ensure that I got some peace for a little lie in, we came up with a master plan. Cam would get up and make the children some breakfast, get them dressed, and then take them for a walk over to the top paddock (before the snakes got on the move!) to collect some really long bracken ferns. The stems were the perfect size and structure to make kites from...

kite flying (with no wind)

When they got back from their walk, they all congregated around the dining table to make kid friendly kites out of plastic bags, then decorated them with tons of stickers... and I got my lovely sleep in!

giving her wings

The only problem, the wind had dropped over night, so the only way to get a kite to fly was to run along with it streaming out behind. Try explaining that to a two-year-old.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

we love peeking under rocks


I have been going to the same place for Summer holidays most years since I was born... so of course many of the things that I want to do with my babes are things that I used to love doing as a kid... same age, same beach. I think that the continuity is pretty awesome.


One of these things that I used to love doing was searching under the rocks for little crabs. Hours at a time could disappear, and the only thing that would put a stop to our seeking was the incoming of the tide that would hide away the magical rock shelf where we would find these little surprises. The method itself is really easy, wander through the rocks until you find one that you have enough strength to flip over, and quickly peek to see if you have found any crabs. It seems that the smaller the rock the smaller the crab, so of course we would try to flip the biggest rocks that we could in the hope of finding the bigger, more heart stopping, sized ones. Much shrieking would ensue, and the unsuspecting crab would have his rock dropped back down quick smart.

come away little one

To our credit, we didn't ever try to catch the big ones, but we would while away our time trying to find the most tiny little crab ever. Of course it was always hard to prove that you found the tiniest one, as the wind would whip them out of the palm of your hand as you tried to show them off - that was before we got smart enough to hold out an empty hand and swear that we had the smallest crab. So small it was, like, invisible. Ahhhh, good times.

outside his weight range

So this morning we trekked down the beach to share this wonderful pastime with our wee offspring, and much to my delight it was a huge hit. Especially because they had their Daddy in tow to flip over all the bigger rocks that were far outside their weight range. We found plenty of little crab, and no one lost a finger... in fact when we were ready to retire from the beach, we found that we could barely entice our children away.

drawing a crab
After :: a crab drawing by Daisy

An activity that I am sure we will spend many a summer to come enjoying.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

keeping camp

portable nature space

When we were at our camp last Easter we had a wonderful nature table set out on the top of a wooden cheese board. It actually worked brilliantly, and was easy to move out of the way as we needed to. This summer my Mum asked if we were going to put together another nature display, and of course we couldn't refuse (nor did we want to!)

cuttle-fish boats


Again, instead of dedicating a permanent place for a seasonal table, this time I used a flat wicker basket to place a few of the items that we have made, gathered or collected over the course of or holiday. So far our seasonal space includes a replica of the cuttle-fish boats that we so enjoyed sailing yesterday, some beach pebbles collected on one of our walks (and now slated for some stone-painting), a lovely watercolour painting created by Daisy while Angus was enjoying a long nap, a seed pod that should dry and split over the next few months, and some shells collected on our walk this morning.


I am sure that our collection will evolve and change over the course of the Summer holidays, but right now it's just nice to have a reminder of our little adventures brightening up our space.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Bark Boats

bark boats

We headed to the beach early this morning, the creek was our destination. With us a tub full of supplies to make 'bark boats' - different types of bark, leaves, twigs, play-dough and string.


The creek was freezing cold, but feet both big and little soon adjusted with the fun of chasing little boats as they bobbed and skittered towards to sea. Many of our early attempts sunk and it wasn't long before we were fossicking along the foreshore amongst the sand a seaweed, trying to find some more successful materials to float down our little stream.

floaty little boat

Out natural world provides, and we soon found that a little piece of cuttle-fish and a feather make the perfect floaty little boat.

breaking the dam

The activity soon reverted to one that Cam and I spent many hours enjoying in our youth - dam building. Piles of wet sand constructed in a bid to stem the flow, just long enough to create a fast flowing current for a little boat, as we break open the dam wall, then....


Whee! We're off again. Our little boats streaking towards to sea while fast little legs chase along after, faces lit with glee.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Bath Time!

When we are at home bath time is so... well, everyday, really. It's just something that we have to do, and sure it's fun, and certainly no chore, but it's really doesn't seem all that special. You know?

So it was nice to have the time to have a special bath for them, right in the middle of the day (in the middle of the table, in the middle of our camp mind you) for the sole purpose of having a scrub and washing their hair.

Such a simple activity, but oh what fun!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

The First Fishing Day

the first fishing day

The wind is howling through the trees, as the rain clouds set in. The sound of the waves smashing into shore carries on the wind... there won't be any fishing today.

A week passes by until finally the wind becomes a gentle breeze, barely a whisper in the air. The sun is shining, puddles evaporate and shoulders are warmed. The sound of the waves is a rhythmic lapping in the distance.

The men sit, talking quietly, sparely. All the while their hands busy tying rigs, attaching lures and sinkers, or changing a line. Different rods with different purposes soon to be stashed on board the boat.

Tomorrow will be the first fishing day...



As the days march on and the festive season is soon forgotten, I wanted to eek out some time to look back and reflect on the beautiful time that we enjoyed as a family at Christmas this year.

While I had many ideas that I wanted to enjoy with Angus and Daisy, so many were either too hard, too expensive, or we simply ran out of time... I want to document them so that we can spread them out over the whole of 2009, read to enjoy them for next Christmas.

Things like making Christmas cards in July, and purchasing one ostheimer nativity figure each month, making to ornaments and trim for our Christmas tree as fun kids art activities through the year, and planning and making our Advent well before the first Sunday in December.


However, even without being at all organised this year, we still found so much fun and joy in lifes simple pleasures :: baking Christmas shaped shortbread that we packaged up and included in the few custom make hampers that we had time to make, or a little bag included with the few cards given to special friends. We enjoyed a morning of making 'grumbles' (or rum balls to the uninitiated)...

Then there was the Christmas tree; the same one that Cam and I bought in the discount shop five years ago for a mere $10. The same one that was decorated so sparsely last year with only the angel on top and spent the festive season being towed around the house by an energetic 2 year old. This year, not only did we enjoy decorating it as a family, but we were delighted to discover that it stayed decorated (well mostly!). So with our tree success firmly in mind, we've decided that next year we'll be retiring our old 'plastic fantastic' tree and enjoying the scent of a real one.


And of course no festive season is complete without enjoying the day itself... ours started as any other, right up until Angus made the startling discovery that Santa had been and left all manner of wrapped presents under the tree. Of course the excitement of unwrapping with magical in itself as paints, colouring books, musical instruments, play silks, puzzles, sandpit toys, and a beautiful wooden cash register were revealed :: Cam and I felt such a surge of pride as all of the toys were played with and not one battery was required.


We then enjoyed a family lunch full of traditional Christmas fare at my parents house, followed by another Christmas tree full of thoughtful gifts, of course a bigger crowd this time, so we soon found ourselves with over-excited children and others that had tucked themselves off in corner with their most favourite gift (or two).


After a rather late bedtime on Christmas night, we then arose on Boxing Day and headed to Cam's family to enjoy another festive day, although a more intimate and low key affair awaited; the perfect pace for little children who often find the magic just a wee bit too much!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Summer Fun Bags

Summer Fun Bags

So moving house at the beginning of December turned most of my crafty Christmas plans on their ear - but there was one idea that I just had to follow through... Summer Fun Bags!

Every year, after our Christmas celebrations are done, we pack up and head to the beach for a month; and for the first week we share our holiday with my family. While we all have our separate 'camps' we are most definitely all 'in it' together.

Of course this includes our kids and their cousins. So this year I wanted to create a little Summer magic that they could all share in after the thrill and excitement of Christmas had passed... and that's how the idea of the Summer Fun Bags began.

Beach play

A simple denim bucket bag, with hong-kong seams that was the perfect size for little hands and the ideal shape to hold a sand-bucket, a shovel, a water pistol (or fly spray! as Angus calls his) and some water balloons ~ vital ingredients for enjoying the hot summer days together...

Due to the cold snap that we had in the first week, that saw me rugged up in bed each night in my flannelet pj's, with a couple of extra blankets and a hot water bottle; it just wasn't the weather for water fights...

Instead they all spent their time squashed together in our little sandpit (instead of the beach), heads together creating elaborate, imaginative games involving ice-cream shops, tending gardens and many more that I couldn't always find the time to listen in on.

Next year I am resolved to make myself an adult sized summer fun bag too, so that I too can enjoy the time building sand-castles on the beach, and fossicking around on the shore collecting little pieces of the seaside in my Summer Fun Bag.