Sunday, February 12, 2017

Space Party

Hurrah!  The baby slept some last night!  I feel *almost* like a regular person today, and in celebration of that fact I'm posting some stuff!  

Garland's birthday fell right in the centre of the most whirlwind time.  New baby, summer holidays, all the friends and family... Just... all the things.  A few weeks ahead of his party, Zan quietly suggested that while Garland had agreed to a beach party (coz, summer), he was secretly still hankering after a space party.  I was feeling all the post-baby-don't-leave-the-other-kids-out feels, so I felt I had to pull something out and make this party happen. 

I'm not gonna lie, I did love the challenge.  I immediately started making some party printables, ordered some cute stuff from Pop Roc Parties, and dug out all the spacey things I could find.  We stuck mainly to traditional party food - cocktail sausages, popcorn, fruit kebabs etc, and I made up astronaut packs with Mars bars, Crunchees and Milky Way bars for fun.  We had soda water and milk, galaxy jellies, mini donuts (UFO's), mini pavlovas (Moon Cakes) and scroggin (least popular by a mile).  I decorated some cookies to look like the galaxy and I was and am, total smug about how cute they turned out.  

I had initially planned a moon cake, but saw this Boston bun in the supermarket and was like, um, perfect!  So I made a Mars cake instead, and that was pretty fun. We had these candles from Pop Roc Parties, and I added this Space Shuttle from Toyco as a cake topper.  

Pin the Martian game

Party Favours, tutorial to come

I used black cloth as a back drop and decorated with this oversized moon I used in the classroom a few years ago (it looks like they've changed the design a little).  I also hung a bunch of cute starry balloons from Pop Roc Parties, and of course these space printables.  I do wish I'd printed out two lots and double-sided them.  It was pretty hard to get these pics.

I had the MOST fun making ID badges for all the kiddos, and I'll include the template when I post all the printables for you.  

We played Pin the Martian on Jupiter ('cause turns out Mars was too small for our party numbers...) and Pass the Parcel.  But the total absolute hundred percent highlight was when my brother-in-law dressed up as a froggy alien, and chased them around the lawn while they pelted him with water balloons.  It was everyone's favourite bit.  Hilaire.

I'll be back with printables and a simple tutorial soon.  Peace out x

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Kids DIY :: Nail Varnish Geodes

We needed an easy DIY craft activity for Eleanor's Gemstone party, and I came up with this simple and silly project.  The idea was for them to create their own geodes, and use up my old nail polish at the same time.  We flagged the activity in the end, since the kids were so busy playing already (and as they say, don't try to make a happy kid happy).  I had fun trialling the idea though, and decided to share it anyway.

Along with old nail polish (the gluggy stuff seemed to work best and dried fastest), I threw some glitter on too.  They make cute paper weights, or garden decorations (and the polish won't wash off in the rain), and there's little mess to be cleaned up afterwards.  Having said that, lay down newspaper, or better yet, work on these outdoors - because nail polish.

Geodes or no, nail polish is a fun medium to use for little projects like this.  I'm thinking we may end up making some more of these today, since it's sunny out and everyone's on holiday. x

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Matauri Bay - Northland

One of our 2017 goals is to explore our local region a little more.  Crazy that we live this close to so many pretty places, yet we never visit them...

We popped in so quickly to Matauri Bay, and can see why it's such a popular holiday destination for campers.  White sand and crystal waters.  We'll be back, for sure.

After Matauri Bay we headed up to Mangonui, driving through Kaeo.  I didn't take any photos, but it was the cutest looking little town.  Drive slowly if you're passing through, or better yet, have a pit stop there.

Book Review :: Hooray for Birds! - Lucy Cousins

Hooray for Birds! - Lucy Cousins

"In an exuberant display of color, Lucy Cousins invites little ones to imagine themselves as brilliant birds."

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Free Printable :: Weekly Planner

Click on the image to download :-)

Happy Wednesday!  Here's a little beginning-of-term freebie I put together for y'all (and me).  I always start out with all the best intentions to stay super organised.  Who knows if this will stick.  I haven't purchased a diary this year - until they design a planner that holds only the months of January and February, it's all a bit pointless.  Anyway, we do need to keep track of things somehow.  For instance, I completely forgot a super important medical appointment, just last week, eeep!  

Book Review :: The Cruelty by Scott Bergstrom

The Cruelty - Scott Bergstrom

"A groundbreaking YA thriller following a diplomat's daughter from New York to Europe's criminal underworld in search of her kidnapped father."

I was so grabbed by the premise of this book.  Thriller/whodunnits are definitely a guilty pleasure for me.  It's like the sequel to Taken which I'll also admit to enjoying (and I realise there actually are sequels to Taken, but like, this one sounds better).

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Gemstone Party Printables

Using a drawing tablet hasn't ceased to be fun for me, and I hope to use it even more this year. My skill level is elementary so there will always be flaws aplenty, but I loooove this part of party planning.  It's one little creative job that I can still complete while breastfeeding, yuss!  

For Eleanor's Gemstone Party I made up printable invites, wrapping paper, bunting, food labels and a cake topper.  On a real note, I rarely send out birthday invites.  I think it's really nice to do so and they are sweet keepsakes, but I'm just not that organised.  The invites I made up for this party ended up simply being a creative project to share with y'all, since I never sent them out in time.

Ahead of this party I ordered a roll of gold vinyl from Vinyl Home, and it was super easy to work with. The smallest amount is very effective and I'll for sure be using it for future projects. Beforehand I was nervous that once placed, the vinyl would be stuck for good.  I became super conscious of placing it perfectly, however found it to be quite movable in the end.  It sometimes did lift a little of the paper/ink, so care is required, but I didn't have to be too precious.  Yuss.  I prefer to craft lazily so that suited me juuuuuust fine.

For the next invite I played around with glitter and jewels.  I'm guessing this second version would be the most fun for a child to receive, though I prefer the look of the first ^.  Glitter will always be a favourite.  I think I've already explained the magpie thing... 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gemstone Party Food

I'm currently in full-swing planning mode for Garland's Space party, and have no clue what food we'll be serving.  We had a last minute theme change (back to Plan A), which makes things easier in a bunch of ways, but I still haven't come up with a menu yet.  Planning the table spread can be the most fun, an opportunity to be full-scale silly and inventive, but I'm really drawing blanks. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review :: The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

"Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything."

It's been a little while since I read some YA Contemporary and I was so ready for this.  The Light Fantastic promised a rich narrative with some punch, so I didn't waste any time starting.  I'm gonna bullet point this one because it's that kinda book.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gemstone Party

Eleanor's Gemstone party was an unashamed sugar-fest, making me both the most popular and the least popular, depending who you asked.  Just as we did for her 6th birthday, we invited two of her besties over for dessert and indulged in all the treats.  No child complained.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Glittery Party Favour Bags

Waaaay back in October we held a Gemstone theme party for Eleanor's 7th.  It was super fun to plan for, all the glitter and gems in the world!  I decided to gift the kiddos some gemstone soaps - tutorial found here.  Definitely the most labour-intensive element of the party planning.  Also the most fun, once I got the hang of it.  I purchased some simple cotton bags from Pop Roc Parties to hold the soaps, but couldn't just leave them plain.  So.  Glitter.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review :: Dog on a Digger by Kate Prendergast

Dog on a Digger - By Kate Prendergast

"Dog is helping his master on the building site when his tiny dog friend goes missing. Plucky Dog takes charge and cleverly brings the digger to the rescue."

And our ongoing love for text-less picture books is rewarded with another gem.  Just look at the illustrations!  Just loooooook!  So pretty....

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just Now

December!  You are melting away like mid summer butter.  Our days have been blurry-edged.  Messes and napping and feeding and visits.  We've hidden inside, and occasionally ventured out (more than we probably needed too, but it's that season).  We've been so lovestruck that Christmassy traditions have fallen by the wayside and no one has minded.  We've had some bummer days, but looking back these past four weeks still seem perfect.  Our guy is here, and he's perfect.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review :: Penguin Problems - Jory John and Lane Smith

Penguin Problems - Written by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith

"Little Penguin has problems: his beak is cold; there s snow everywhere; the water smells salty; he waddles; he looks the same as everybody else. No it s not easy being a Penguin!"

Clever and cute, Penguin Problems is also super relevant.  It's the children's book equivalent to #firstworldproblems, with little penguin guy complaining about literally everything.  He's the modern day equivalent of Eeyore, but somebody is about to set him straight!  Because Penguin Dude, life is so good!

Book Review :: The Hamster Book by Silvia Borando

The Hamster Book - Silvia Borando

"If you have always wanted a pet, but your parents have never let you ... this is the book for you. Because, inside the pages of this book, your new hamster awaits. Isn’t she cute?" 

What an adorable little book this is!  I think interactive books are so much fun (Help, The Wolf is Coming is another fave), and The Hampster Book is especially cute.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book Review :: My Lady Jane

"A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger - and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that's the least of Jane's problems. She's about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong."

I was super eager to read/review this book following a recommendation by this bookish gal (who has never yet led me astray).  It exceeded my expectations!  I saved it up, and I savoured it.  In fact, I was so dreading finishing, that I put off doing so for several weeks.  I wanted, needed to know what would happen but I couldn't bear seeing so few pages left, didn't want that empty #bookfinished feeling to arrive (at least until I had adequate back up).  I considered whether starting over again right away would help, but this book was such a delightful (and I rarely use that word) surprise, I need time and distance before my first reread, that it may delightfully surprise me all over again.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review :: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoë Marriott

Barefoot on the Wind - by Zoë Marriott

"A feminist reworking of Beauty and the Beast from a talented fantasy writer."

Well, you had me at that byline.  Fairytale retellings are fun (see also - Jane Austen retellings *hearteyes*), and there's always room for a feminist spin, imho.  I also looked forward to reading a Beauty and the Beast retelling, not being familiar with the story at all (I know, what can I say?!), so I was pretty much 'come at me with this book!'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review :: Pandora by Victoria Turnbull

Pandora - Written and illustrated by Victoria Turnbull

"A great picture story book with an environmental message.  This is a stunning fable of hope and regeneration from critically acclaimed artist Victoria Turnbull."

Pandora is a beautiful, sad and ultimately hopeful story.  The title character lives alone, surrounded by broken things with which she builds her little life.  When an injured bird appears, Pandora finally has a friend, and a purpose.  Eventually the bird leaves, but the gifts of seeds and hope left behind, transform Pandora's grey world into one that is beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Steiner School Fair

The Michael Park School Fair was a big deal when we were kids and I knew our guys would have such a great time there. We've been trying to make it there for a few years now, but the timing has never worked.  All good, because it felt perfect taking them this year.  The ideal way to round off our first year of Waldorf (inspired) homeschooling, and put aside some specially focused time with them before the bubba arrives.