Living Fundraisers - A fresh approach to fundraising

Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama

We've been having lots of fun so far this school holiday; one of the highlights has definitely been exploring our growing kit from Living Fundraisers. 

This is such a cool concept.  A fundraising option that doesn't involve junk food or raffle tickets! Instead, one that allows some interactive, hands on learning for the kids.  As you all know, I'm a country girl at heart and I love the idea of growing our own food.  I confess - I'm not very good at it, but I LOVE the idea!  I think it's so important that kids know where their food is coming from, and also that they engage regularly in activities that get them dirty!  Getting out in the fresh air, feeling the earth beneath your feet and in between your fingers, getting up close and personal with nature - it's so grounding and so important for the souls of our little ones (as well as us of course)!

So this is us bringing to life all the little goodies in our Living Fundraisers hamper.

Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama
Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama
Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama
Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama

Each little plant pack comes with soil, seeds and fertiliser and cute little grow containers.  We planted Spring Onions, Mint, Honeydew Melon, and Petunias.

Living Fundraisers Mama Pyjama

Our pack also contained Seed-embedded Christmas Cards (made using a special paper that can be planted to grow Australian native Swan River Daisies - how cool is that?!), cute little birthday cards and Honey Sesame Peanuts (very moreish)!

I think Living Fundraisers is an awesome initiative and one that all the P&C, sports club, and community-involved parents should consider as part of their annual fundraising plan.  You can check out all the details over on their website, and MPJ followers involved in fundraising can request a FREE guide and sample kit here!

Posted on July 12, 2016 .

Egg Painting!

Egg Painting Mama Pyjama

This is a project I have been 'trying' to get around to for about 2 years!  I kid you not, I've had this canvas and 144 egg shells sitting in my office waiting for me to get my act together for that long ;).  Well, this school holidays I finally did!

I'm not going to lie...this activity is time consuming and requires some real dedication.  But in my opinion, it's well worth the effort.

You'll need to start collecting empty egg shells - pronto.  Instead of cracking your egg open in the conventional way, you'll need to change your whole approach.  Using a knife, simply knock out a small hole in the top of the egg shell and pour your egg out that way.  Give the egg shell a rinse and then store them back in the egg carton.  Keep collecting until you have lots and lots of empty egg shells!

Egg Painting Mama Pyjama

Next, you'll need to fill each egg shell with some paint.  We used a paint and water mix.  It depends on whether you're intending to keep the end painting or to just do this as a bit of fun as to the quality and amount of paint you use.  We really could have used more paint to fill the eggs up more for a more exciting splash...but I used expensive paint so had to go easy.  The eggs were probably only about a 5th full with paint.  If you are just doing it for fun, use cheap paint and fill them about half way up.

Next, cover the egg holes with tissue paper.  I used a little glue around the edge of the hole to easily stick the paper down.  You don't need to be neat, you just want to effectively cover the hole!

Egg Painting Mama Pyjama

Now you're ready to paint!  You'll need a canvas of some sort, and I'd recommend using a drop sheet.  This gets really, really messy so do it somewhere that you don't mind messing up with paint! 

Then, go crazy!  Our eggshells needed some assistance to break, so we found we had to crack them slightly before throwing.  I think this was largely due to the fact that we have very little paint inside them.  As I said, use cheap paint and use lots of it.  I'm confident that would resolve the cracking issue!  We used 96 eggs in total, and our canvas was about 6 foot.  This is still a work in progress, and I'm thinking of adding some more to it (perhaps some texture and a little more paint), but for now it'll sit proudly on our lounge room wall, reminding us of a fun family afternoon. xo

Here's our little video, I hope you enjoy it! :)  Any questions, feel free to comment below and I'd be happy to help!

Posted on July 11, 2016 .

Pick Your Own Strawberries!

A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS!  BEST DAY EVER!!

We finally got out to Bullsbrook this weekend to pick some strawberries at Ti Farm.

I highly recommend it as a good family, outdoor activity that costs very little (especially considering you get to leave with a bucket load of beautiful, fresh, juicy, red strawberries)!

I'm going to let my pictures do most of the talking on this post, but I'll include some tips along the way and details about Ti Farm that I think are helpful to know.

$10 gets you a box like this - holds 4-5kgs of fruit.  You pay an additional $2 per person up to five, then you need to buy another box.  We paid $14...then went back for a second box which they charged $8 for.  So in total it cost us $22 and we walked away with about 9kg of strawberries (and great memories)!

We got there at 1.30pm. The weather was not the best (sunny, but then showers and storm clouds) so it wasn't overly busy.  We parked along the side of the road out the front.  Not far from the entry.  BUT there are A LOT of strawberries.  They only open up a section at a time (obviously so that the strawberries have a chance to grow and meet demand).  We had to walk a fair way, and then once we reached the open gates we had to trek a significant way in until we found strawberries.  The bushes closer to the entry were stripped bare.  My boys were fine, running ahead and playing in the sand, but my warning would be - be prepared to walk.  You'll get better, bigger, juicer strawberries that way!

You can get a sense from this pic how far in we were.  We actually went even deeper, but it gives you a sense of the distance.

SO MANY STRAWBERRIES!

Are you starting to get a sense of something?  Perhaps that things can get a little ... dirty?? 

It's messy, messy business this juicy, juicy goodness!

The sand...it's...well...very dirty and very tempting for little people.  Be warned!

We brought some home with us, just because it was too much fun to leave it all there! ;)

Doesn't get much fresher than that!  Now...what to do with all these strawberries??

So there you have it - it's a great excursion for the kids.  It costs very little, and like I said, you bring so much home with you (even some sand)! 

Here are my tips:

  1. Don't wear your Sunday best.  The sand is that black, dusty sand that gets into everything - especially your nostrils.  Bring a change of clothes and a sizable pack of wet wipes if you are worried about your car interior.
  2. We were there about 1.5 hrs.  It's not a full day thing, but there's stuff near by if you want to make a day of it (as it is a long way out).  The Maze was only a few minutes away.  I'd suggest going elsewhere first and finishing up at the farm, as like I said, it gets messy and there's no way I could have taken my kids out afterwards.
  3. There are a lot of flies.  So be warned.  Not sure that aeroguard does much - so probably best just to put your patient hat on for a few hours and grin and bare it.
  4. Be prepared to walk. 
  5. Bring water - they offer a selection of mainly soft drinks for $2, but that's it.  There isn't any cafe or food or anything like that.  It's a strawberry farm - pure and simple.  There's nothing else there.  Just a couple of port-a-loos.  I packed the kids a lunchbox each.  That was handy for the long drive home.
  6. There's no shade or shelter so bring sunscreen, hat or raincoat (depending on the weather). 
  7. Bring cash (not card) - $10 for a tray and individual entry, plus $2 per additional person in group up to five.

Where is it?

Ti Farm - 263 Old West Road, Bullsbrook

Open: 9am - 4.30pm Saturdays and Sundays, but make sure you check their website before you go as sometimes they have to shut down to give the strawberries a chance to replenish.

 

Puff Paint - Bringing back the 90s one craft activity at a time!

Here's an awesome activity for the school holidays!  Re-live your 90s childhood with this DIY Puff Paint! Who else remembers meticulously applying the artwork to your t-shirt using your awesome puff paint pens and then blasting it with your hairdryer to make the paint puff up?! Ahh good times...good times. ;) Well now you can introduce your kids to the wonderful world of puff paint for a fraction of the price. 

What you will need:

  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • Food colouring  
  • A microwave
  • Cardboard
  • 5 ziplock bags  
  • Scissors

What to do: 

  1. Place flour, salt and water in a bowl and mix until combined. 
  2. Separate mixture into 5 ziplock bags (approx 2 tablespoons per bag). 
  3. Add about 5 drops of food colouring to each bag (I probably could have added more to the red one though as it was quite pale).
  4. Ziplock each bags securely, and then gently massage each bag until the colour is worked through.  Encourage your kids to massage using their fingertips towards the bottom of the bag, rather than squeezing with their whole hand.  Trust me, it's easy to pop the bag open and make a big mess. ;)
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama

5. Squeeze paint mixture into one of the bottom corners of the bag, and carefully snip the corner off.  Try to keep it the hole small so that kids can control the paint coming out easier.

Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama
Puff Paint Mama Pyjama

7. Once your design is complete, microwave in 10 sec bursts until paint is puffed up and dry.  Most of our artwork took 2 - 3, 10 sec bursts to dry.

Puff Paint Mama Pyjama

Colourful Beans - Sensory Play

When I saw this idea on Fun At Home With Kids I had to try it!  I love love love colour, so these beautiful coloured beans got my immediate attention. I will warn you though, that they can get messy - both in creation and in play!  But what's life without a little messy fun!? :)

Coloured Beans Sensory Play Mama Pyjama

What you'll need:

  • Dry beans - the paler the better.  You can get them in the soup section at the supermarket for a couple of dollars a bag.
  • Food colouring
  • Ziplock bags
  • Paper towels

What you need to do:

Make sure beans are absolutely dry before playing with them.

Make sure beans are absolutely dry before playing with them.

  • I put a cup of beans each in four zip lock bags
  • Added a 15 drops of food colouring to each bag
  • Ziplocked the bags, but making sure that there was still air trapped inside to allow the beans to move.  I actually zipped it all but closed, blew some air in and then quickly sealed all the way.
  • Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds (basically until all the beans are covered)
  • Empty each bag onto a few paper towels and allow to dry...for as long as possible.
  • Once dry we mixed them all together in a big container and the boys set to work playing.  We used a variety of different cups and containers to measure, pour, fill and play with the beans.  We counted them, we sorted them and we basically just had got old fashioned fun looking at them! 
Ensure hands are 100% dry before playing with the beans, otherwise things can get a little messy!  BUT, it's only food colouring and it does wash off your hands fairly easily anyway. ;)

Ensure hands are 100% dry before playing with the beans, otherwise things can get a little messy!  BUT, it's only food colouring and it does wash off your hands fairly easily anyway. ;)


Posted on June 8, 2015 .

Bi-Carb Art

This is a great activity to do with your kids - it's science, art, and sensory play all in one!

What you'll need:

  • Ice cube tray
  • Vinegar
  • Food Colouring
  • Dropper/Syringe (we used a panadol syringe!)
  • Bi-Carb (a few boxes!)
  • Deep Dish

What you do next:

  • Empty bi-carb into your dish
  • Fill ice cube tray with vinegar
  • Add a few drops of food colouring to each cube of vinegar
  • Fill the dropper/syringe with vinegar
  • Squirt into the bi-carb
  • The bi-carb reacts with the vinegar and fizzes up!
  • Let your kids get creative with their colours to make a fizzy, colourful piece of art!
Bi-Carb Art Mama Pyjama
Bi-Carb Art Mama Pyjama
Bi-Carb Art Mama Pyjama
At this point we decided that slime would be a fantastic idea!!

At this point we decided that slime would be a fantastic idea!!

Nothing better than getting a bit messy!!  Sensory overload!!  His hands were a little green afterwards, but that was ok because he looked "just like the Incredible Hulk"! :)

Nothing better than getting a bit messy!!  Sensory overload!!  His hands were a little green afterwards, but that was ok because he looked "just like the Incredible Hulk"! :)

Idea originally sourced from The Mother Huddle.

Posted on June 8, 2015 .

Milk Art

What do you see?

What do you see?

This is such a cool activity to do with your kids, and it's so so easy!

What You'll Need:

  • Dish or plate with a bit of an edge/rim
  • Full-cream Milk
  • Food colouring
  • Dishwashing liquid (less eco-friendly type actually works better)

What to do:

  • Fill dish with a thin layer a milk
  • Add a few drops of different coloured food colouring
  • Get ready 'cause the action is about to start! 
  • Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the centre of the food colouring
  • Sit back and enjoy the show!!  The dishwashing liquid will react with the milk and create a work of art!

 

Idea originally sourced from FlutterFlutter.

 

 

Posted on June 8, 2015 .

Autumn Leaves Art

Everyone needs a little Art Therapy in their lives!  Here's a great activity you can do with your kids this Autumn.  It involves exploring the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, using your imagination, treasure hunting, and giving your kids a great fine motor skills workout in the process!

What you'll need:

Autumn Leaves Mobile Mama Pyjama
  • Collection bucket
  • Scissors
  • Leaves
  • Laminator (and sleeves)
  • Single hole punch (or sharp knife to pierce holes)
  • Fishing line
  • Stick

Step One:

  • Get your gumboots on, grab your bucket and head outside. 
  • Start exploring, looking for as many different coloured leaves as you can.  Fill up your bucket with leaves.

Step Two:

  • Bring your leaves inside and lay them out flat.
  • Pop them in-between some big heavy books. 
  • Leave them for about 5-10 minutes (or as long as your little ones will wait)!

Step Three:

  • Get the laminator set up.
  • Take out some leaves and place them into the plastic sleeves. (The flatter the leaves are the better they will seal).
  • Proceed to laminate your leaves
Autumn Leaves Mobile Mama Pyjama
Autumn Leaves Mama Pyjama

 

Step Four:

  • Carefully cut out each of the leaves, leaving a border of a few millimetres around each to ensure they remain laminated.
  • Make sure you also leave a little extra plastic around where the stem comes out so that you have something to punch your hole through.
Autumn Leaves Mama Pyjama

Step Five:

  • Use the punch to make a hole in each leaf where the stem comes out.
  • Cut various lengths of fishing line.
  • String leaves onto fishing line, starting at the top and working your way down.  Be sure to leave enough extra string at the top of the first leave so that you can tie it to the stick.
  • Tie fishing line to your stick.
  • Hang somewhere where there's lots of sunlight.

Enjoy the magic of Autumn every time you look out your window!

Autumn Leaves Mama Pyjama
Autumn Leaves Mama Pyjama
Autumn Leaves Mama Pyjama
Posted on June 2, 2015 .

Kids Birthday Cake Ideas

In the lead up to my eldest son’s fifth birthday there has been a lot of discussion around birthday cakes.  I’ve had a lot of fun making my sons’ cakes over the last few years.  It’s been a lovely expression of love for my husband and I; staying up to the wee hours creating something that reflects what they love each year.    

Here are the cakes to date. They are a little time log of my kids and what they have enjoyed over the last four years.  I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as we enjoyed creating them! :)


Mum's Chocolate Slice

"Get in my belly!"

"Get in my belly!"

Oh how I loved this Chocolate Slice as a kid!  Mum used to make it for us as a treat.  I would have done just about anything for it...truth is I still would!

It's an old Women's Weekly recipe and it's awesome.  Super easy to make, super bad for you, but super delicious!

Slice Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ cups brown sugar
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 250g melted butter
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla

Icing Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 45g melted butter
  • 3 tbsp boiling water
Chocolate Slice Recipe Mama Pyjama

Combine all slice ingredients in a bowl, mix well and press into lined oven dish.

Cook at 180°C for about 20 mins or so.  Careful not to burn edges.  Slice will set once removed from oven.

Once cooled, combine icing ingredients in a bowl.  Mix well.  Spread over slice and top with coconut or hundreds and thousands.

Enjoy!! xo


Posted on June 2, 2015 .