Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lego and nostrils don't mix

I think the title of this post gives away what happened today!

This morning I was on the phone (ironically, to the doctor) when Lola came running over to my desk, clearly distressed with tears running down her face and a finger shoved firmly up one nostril. There was obviously something wrong with her nose but it was only when I pulled her finger out that she told me what the problem was: there was a piece of Lego stuck in there.

Upon close inspection with a torch I could just see it. There it was, shoved right up the top of her nostril: a teeny, tiny round piece of Lego. It was too far up for me to reach with anything and none of Lola's attempts at blowing it out helped. In fact, each time I asked her to blow her nose she took a deep breath in through her nose instead, potentially lodging it further up.

With no way to dislodge the piece of Lego we called her pediatrician and headed straight to the clinic. Poor Lola was absolutely terrified of just what her doctor might do to get the Lego out. Would he cut her nose to get it out? Would he suck it out with a vacuum cleaner? She was pretty upset the whole walking to the clinic but had calmed down by the time we arrived. She was a brave girl and sat very still while her doctor inspected her nose. 

Lola waits patiently for the doctor to inspect her nose

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Happy Australia Day 2014

It's Australia Day today and what better excuse for a picnic with some of our favourite Australian foods.

The girls and I spent yesterday baking sausage rolls, Anzac biscuits, cheese and vegemite scrolls and attempting (unsuccessfully) to make lamingtons. There were plenty of other family favourites I would've loved to have also made such as pavlova, jelly slices and vanilla slices, but we already spent the whole day baking as it was. Plus I'm not really allowed to eat any of those things!

Today we headed to one of our favourite parks in Berkeley and had a little picnic with our home made Australian goodies. I picked up a few Bundaberg ginger beers on the way to round out our lunch with an Australian beverage - maybe not the best thing for me considering the high sugar content. Oh well, it's only Australia Day once a year!

Our little Australian picnic

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Calling All Party Animals...

The holidays may be over but in our house the preparations for upcoming celebrations are getting into full swing again... Australia Day this weekend, Valentine's Day less than a month away and, most importantly, Ava's birthday coming up in a few weeks.

Each year Ava's birthday sneaks up on me. I mean, obviously I know when my daughter's birthday is, but each year I think I'm going to have a nice break between the Christmas season and preparing for Ava's birthday when in actual fact it all just merges into one big mass of crafts and party planning! I always fall into the trap of thinking I've got a two month buffer between the two (Christmas in December, Ava's birthday in February) but really there's only one full month in between, and it's always a busy one.

This year for Ava's birthday (the scarily big sounding 7) we're going for a reptile theme. She originally had her heart set on celebrating with friends at the new American Girl store in Palo Alto (possibly the complete opposite to a reptile party!) but after pet sitting her class gecko over the Winter break she's got reptile fever!

A reptile party is certainly going to be fun, especially with the special visit that I've lined up from some scaly friends from East Bay Vivarium, however I still wanted to keep it a little cute. Not super girly, mind you, just a touch of cuteness when it comes to the cake, party bags and invites.

So just how does one make reptiles cute? Well, it's a birthday party right? What could be cuter than colourful party hats? Tiny little party hats on tiny little lizards, tortoises, crocodiles and frogs. Cute and fun - perfect!

I rounded up a selection of Schleich reptile and amphibian figurines and made little party hats and ribbon-tied parcels for them. From scaly and scary to instant cute!

Party hats make everything cute

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Aboriginal Dot Art Activity

Australia Day (January 26th) is fast approaching so what better time to share an Australian themed craft that I shared with Ava's class at school recently.

Back in December Ava's first grade class at school were learning about culture, customs and their family history. Each child made a little book about where their family comes from and any cultural activities or holidays that they celebrate. Ava's teacher invited parents to come in and share an activity, story or food from their culture. Ava was really keen for me to come in and teach the class a little about Australian culture.

Back when Ava was in Kindergarten I organised for her class to make artwork inspired by Aboriginal dot paintings. The activity had been such a hit with the kids that I figured it would be the perfect way to bring a little Australian culture into Ava's classroom again. So, armed with bags of art supplies, Australian books and a few Australian goodies to try, I headed into the classroom to get creative with the kids.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

More Claymation Fun

Last weekend we headed into the city for an afternoon of animation fun at Children's Creativity Museum. You may remember the animations we made on our last visit. You can see them here.

Even though the girls and I had been to Children's Creativity Museum several times Kim hadn't been before and Ava was super keen to show him just how to create a claymation movie.

Ava and Kim worked together to make Ava's movie about a person chasing a giant ice cream cone. It all started out fairly well and then for some reason Ava decided that the ice cream cone should vomit on the person! What?! Six year old humour, I guess.

Ava's ice cream cone and person - made with a little help from Kim

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Our house guest Gecky

Over the last two weeks the girls have been on Winter break from school and preschool.
During this time Ava had a little friend from school come and stay with us. No, it wasn't one of her classmates, it was her class pet. Gecky the gecko (super original name!) has been staying with us for the past two weeks and the girls have absolutely loved having a little animal friend to play with and look after. Sure, we have fish (and snails) in an aquarium, but you can't really cuddle a fish. Or make a Lego house for it!

Here's a look at the last fortnight with Gecky...

Ava enjoyed holding Gecky as much as possible. Lola was a little scared of her to begin with but once she got over her fear (which happened within a day or two) she was keen to try and hold her too. Of course, being a three year old, Lola was a little grabby and not as gentle as Ava so we had to be very careful when she held Gecky.

Our first day with Gecky

Friday, 3 January 2014

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose

New Year's Eve just happens to be Kim's birthday and this year the girls really wanted to take him somewhere to celebrate. After vetoing Ava's idea of a last minute camping trip (no time to organise a campsite plus it's quite cold at night) we decided to head down to San Jose to visit the Winchester Mystery House, a place we'd been keen to visit for a while.

The Winchester Mystery House is a four storey Victorian mansion of some 160 rooms which was the home of Sarah Winchester, the widowed heir of the Winchester rifle company. It was built between 1884 and 1922 with construction never ceasing during this time.

Winchester Mystery House

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Christmas Handprints

Ok, so this one is a little delayed. Let's just call it inspiration for next Christmas!

One of the recurring activities in our advent calendar this year was making Christmas crafts. One of the first crafts that we made back in early December was Christmas themed hand prints.

As you've probably noticed, we're quite fond of making hand print creations. We've made hand print flags for 4th of July and turkeys, pilgrims and native Americans for Thanksgiving. This time around we made Santa and his reindeer.

Here's a look at how we made them...

For Santa, I painted the base of the girls hands and their thumbs red for Santa's hat. I painted their fingers white for his beard and added a little more white on the sides on their hands and along the edge of the red. This left a section in the middle of their palms which I painted a flesh colour for Santa's face.

Ava's Santa hand ready to print
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