Category Archives: Randomness

Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.

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Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.

I don’t know why, but I always seem to find myself at these gardens in autumn or winter. Annoying really as I would love to see them in full spring bloom.  None the less, the gardens have a pretty impressive display of succulents, cacti and other odd specimens that are impressive all year round.

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So if you are wanting to get out of the house for a few hours, pack up the picnic blanket and head down to the Mount Coot-tha Botanical gardens. Open 8am to 5pm daily, with an onsite cafe to grab a bite to eat if you don’t feel like packing your own lunch.

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Pockets.

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Pockets.

The outcry surrounding women’s clothing and the lack of pockets is nothing new. It’s been a problem recognised by just about anyone that wants to carry like anything since forever. When I was younger I’d console myself with the idea that it was a money saving sacrifice. I can sew, pockets would be an absolute time-consuming bitch to add to clothing. Sounds reasonable?  I’m all for a bargain and certainly couldn’t afford any designer labels to prove my theory. So, it was a justified sacrifice to affordable fashion I could live with. Then I had a baby boy.

 

Little kids clothes with pockets

Baby Levis Image Courtesy of Levi.com

 

Not being a fan of pastels and ‘soft’ baby fashion, he owned a pair of 000 jeans before he was even born.  Yep, jeans with not one, not two, but FIVE functioning pockets.  I guess newborns have a lot of things they need to carry, pacifiers, breath mints and all of their mother’s hopes of ever fitting back into their pre-pregnancy wardrobe or jumping on a trampoline again without their insides falling out.  Big human clothes in miniature versions are super cute though, right? We can deal with the fact that our babies have more on-the-go storage options than us mothers for the sake of fashion?  Lucky these milk-engorged breasts allow me to store my mobile phone AND a dummy in my cleavage. Sadly, when I whip the credit card out of those sweaty babies due to both arms being full of said pocketed up baby and other seemingly important stuff, the shopkeepers are less than impressed…

 

 

The lack of pockets sparks some pretty entertaining debate.  My very favourite conspiracy theory is that handbag companies pay designers to leave us with nothing more than ‘fake’ pockets to force us to buy handbags. It’s a pretty solid theory when you think about it, and I do have a decent handbag collection, so it’s probably working for them. I doubt these designers have seen how excited we really get when we do find pockets, especially in a dress. Ohhh a dress with pockets.  That is the stuff dreams are made of.

She’s just found a pocket on her dress and it’s made her day! Image courtesy of Kobomo

But do you know who else appreciates a good pockets? Dogs.  Why else would my dogs new winter coat have pockets, functioning pockets?

That’s right, much to my pleasant surprise this winter I could purchase fully lined, semi-weatherproof, hooded with fake fur lining, dog coats for the grand total of $9. What a bargain.  I mean the price alone was cause for celebration, but then I discovered not only that you could clip back the faux fur hoody, but it has a FUNCTIONING POCKET! That’s right, my dog no longer has to worry about where he will carry his emergency tampons, paracetamol, house keys or phone because he has an actual usable pocket on his back. Never mind that he has no opposable thumbs to get that shit out of his pocket nor the ability to reach his front leg around to that part of his back, but he can if he wants to! Yep, this is the world we are living in. Where dogs have pockets and women don’t. What the actual fucking fuck?

 

A fake pocket for aesthetic reasons I can appreciate, but a real pocket on a dog coat all for $9?  Meanwhile women around the world are replacing phone screens every few months because they are constantly dropping everything they are forced to carry in their hands!

Even he thinks it’s ridiculous.

Freaking 4s, aka; walking talking contraception.

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Freaking 4s, aka; walking talking contraception.

It has been a really long day… week, month actually.  I feel like I have 99 problems and most of them are Mr 4.

I have always said 4 is the worst age, everyone talks about ‘terrible twos’, *coughbullshitcough*.  2 is a delightful rainbow filled walk in the park on the perfect spring day. It is just a cute, smiles and cuddles filled warm up run for 3 and then the ultimate evil that each child becomes, known as Freaking 4s.

Ironically this is also the 4th time I have been through this – saved the best ’til last too.  So it’s not a case of a FTM shocked at this new unknown stage.  I know there is another side – and on days like today, that and the cold bottle of wine waiting in the fridge are about the only thing that keep me going.

Everyone has a favourite and a least favourite stage and while I am yet to suffer as a parent of a teen, I will stand by 4 being THE worst age.  (opinion subject to change in 5 years :p)

Newborns are hard work, all that crying and not knowing what is wrong, the lack of sleep, the post pregnancy hormone crash, but the hardest part is really adjusting your life and accepting that you will never sleep again.  Once you get through that, they’re just divine.  I’d honestly take 3 week old colicky triplets with poor latch over one 4 year old.

Then there is that awkward, not new born, but not mobile stage.  Yeah, that has it’s down side, especially on your back. Like wrangling a hungry octopus out of water.  Oh and introduction to solids, novelty wears off that after your first!  But they sleep a bit more (with any luck) and they give lovely cuddles and the cutest toofless grins.

Toddlers, who doesn’t love a toddler?  Baby proof your house and they’re just a walking babbling bundle of fun?  Easy to entertain, no backchat, inquisitive, full of new milestone, every day brings a new surprise.

Aaand then we head to 2.  You’ve still got the cute toddler thing, just with a side serve or attitude and cheek.  They still have day naps if you’re lucky and toddler talk alone makes it worth it.  “Quick mumma, da gwasspopper needs da ambwance to take him to da hopitable! The baby days diary gets a work out recording all that cute.

Three, helloooo big kid.  Suddenly we have style, we have taste, we have empathy and compassion. We have worked out what we do and don’t want, even if that is chicken nuggets and not vegetables.  We are ‘into’ things, we carry around little collections or things we find and sometimes leave them in our pockets for mummy to find – after she’s done the washing. Language is developing at a rapid rate, you can play games with them, teach them, you think you’ve just got this parenting thing mastered and your child will be the next president with all that new found independence and the way they are picking up everything you put down…

Until suddenly – 4.  Oh emm geee.  There is attitude, there is defiance, there is button pushing and testing beyond limits.  There is too many times when you want to lock yourself in a room and cry.  WHERE IS MY TIME OUT!  The arguments, the back chat, the tantrums   – hang on, didn’t we grow out of them 18 months ago?  What the eff just happened to my perfect child? You start looking at them from different angles wondering if maybe there was a mix up at the hospital and would it be too late to get your money back?

But you deal, you hold back the tears, you keep calm, pick up your shattered parenting confidence and carry on. Because this is the year that really matters.  This is the time to sort out your child before they go out into the big bad world to become part of the ‘system’.  This is your last chance to make them the wonderful little human you want them to be.  And thankfully, speaking from experience, it does get easier from here.  For a few years at least 🙂

In the meantime, we have wine, we have the comfort of knowing we are not alone and that at the end of each day, they eventually go to sleep.

4

A duck walked up to a lemonade stand…

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and he said to the man, running the stand ‘hey, have you got any grapes?’

Not sure if it was inspired by this or too many episodes of The Simpsons, but Mr 9 wanted to start a lemonade stand.  Only a few problems with this; we don’t have a supply of lemons, we don’t know how to make lemonade and we don’t have enough foot traffic outside our house to make it worth our while… But I didn’t want to quash his ambition altogether.  So what can a small boy do to make some money? The answer was staring me down – literally.  Breed fish.

I grew up with aquariums, my father also a fish hobbyist. There’s never been a time in my life that I have not had at least one tank (if not several) running. My kids already have many of the basic fish keeping skills having always had tanks around them too, so this seems like a good hobby to get them into.  We are just sticking with live bearers at this stage, as they are the easiest as far as I am concerned.  If they stay enthusiastic we can move on to more complicated fish later.

While it may not be a proper business for him as such, as I wont make him responsible for over head costs (food, electricity etc) the project offers lots more.  Its about life, death, birth, cleaning and maintaining something, responsibility and science, with water testing, how temperature is relevant to breeding etc.  So while they might only make a few dollars from it, the over all life experience will be much more beneficial, and they’ll have no idea they’re even learning. 🙂

This is only the 3rd week of monitoring and taking extra special care of the fish to promote breeding and we already have over 30 babies.  Now to keep them alive until they are fully grown!

Egg Carton Daffodils – School Holidays Craft

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School holidays!  Woot! First cab off the rank, these simple little daffodils made from egg cartons.

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All you need is an egg carton, paint, pipe cleaners or skewers, glue.  I used split pins to attach the centres to the petals, but you could just glue them too.  One carton makes 5 flowers.

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Cut the centres first, as shown above.  Then cut out 5 of the cups to make neat little flowers.  Daffodils technically have more than 4 petals, but I just worked with 4  as the egg cups have a squarish shape and it was easier to cut that way.

Paint the middle sections inside and out.  We used orange, but you could use any colour you like.  Then paint the outers a lighter colour.

Once dry, I poked some holes through the centre of each piece and using pliers inserted a gold split pin (my fingers wouldn’t fit in there, so had to use pliers).

For the stems, pipe cleaners would have been easier, but I decided to use some skewers wrapped in green raffia.  It gave them a more natural texture.  I secured the raffia at each end with some sticky tape.

Then it was simply a case of attaching the stems to the flowers.  I used hot glue for this.

 

Wax and Water Colour Painting.

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The motivation and creativity has been lacking majorly around here lately due to a heavy work load, but I set myself a challenge to blog at least once a month when I started this. So as June rapidly drawers to an end, here it is!  Most people probably remember doing this at school, magic painting, hidden pictures, secret messages, all the same thing under different names.
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All you need is some plain white candles, paper and water colour paints. We used the really cheap kids water pallet ones.  Rather than just doing some random paintings or drawings, I figured we’d turn them into something at the end.  So we printed out some sea animal colouring pages, stuck them to card and got decorating.

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You really can’t see where you have been with the wax, but I encourage the kids to try to create patterns or shapes as best they could.  Once they were finished with the candles, they went over each shape with some water colour paint.  As you wash over the whole picture, the paint will not attach to the areas covered in wax, leaving you with an interesting effect.

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Once dry, I cut out the shapes.  Ms5 helped put holes in them with the punch and we strung them up on a mobile frame with some streamers to make an under water mobile.

In hind sight we should have painted both sides of the shapes, but Ms5 is more than happy with it.  She’s trying to convince me to put a screw in the ceiling near the fish tank so we can hang it there.  lol.

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DIY Hidden Object Game

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DIY Hidden Object Game

I saw one of these in a game shop last Christmas, I thought it was very cool but not “I’m happy to spend $40 on this” cool.  It just looked far too easy to make myself.  Turns out I was right. You could make these in any shape or size, and fill them with just about anything.  We had all these things in the house already, so it was fairly inexpensive.

 

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There is several methods for colouring rice on the net, but I was looking for quick and simple.  The blue and red we made with just food colouring and a dash of water, mixed well then laid flat to dry.  The yellow we used vinegar in place of the water (some recipes asked for rubbing alcohol but we don’t have any of that).  The yellow dried about 3 times faster than the other 2, so that is the way to go.  Instead of placing the trays in the sun, I just put them in the oven at 50C with the door open.  The red took about an hour to fully dry (it took the longest).  I did stir it around occasionally to prevent any sticking and distribute the wetter rice.

Mixing the colour and spreading out to dry.

While that way drying we hunted around the house for appropriate goodies to put inside.  We came up with 20 items.  The amount of items you want to use will depend on your container size.  I think we could have easily used twice as many, but it was still a good ratio.  The items varied in weight and texture.

It would have been easier to mix all the rice colours together prior to filling the container, but the kids enjoyed layering the different colours with a few objects between, then shaking to mix at the end.

The container we used was an old straw holder. You can buy them full of straws at the grocery store for around $4.  It did have a hole in the top, but this actually came in handy as a place to insert a ribbon and attach the key to what is inside.

I took a photo of all 20 items, shrunk it, then printed and covered in clear contact.  Attached to the ribbon on top.  If you were to just use a clear water bottle or similar, you could just tie something to the neck of the bottle.

The key

The key

Once everything was put in and we were happy with the level of rice, I taped it up nice and tight.  And that’s it.  Some of the lighter items are easy to find and often pop up to the top, but theres several things we have not managed to find again, like the smily badge and dinosaur!

The kids really enjoyed this project and were able to be involved every step of the way.  It was a bit messy, but over all a success.