October 2015’s picks

Where did September go?  My free time seemed to disappear to decision making, de-cluttering and reviewing the local playgroup accounts (which took longer than I anticipated)!  Still managed to fit in quite a bit of reading and creating, which was nice.

Please let me know what you would like to see more of/ continue with the list format or do more in depth posts (e.g. expanded book reviews/ how we do craft and limit the mess etc.)

To read

  • Girl on a Train – good easy read – thriller of the suburban variety.
  • An old novel but very compelling reading in an odd way – Geek Love.
  • Happier at Home – I want to read this one again (and make notes).  Lots of great quotes and ideas to make your space yours.  Makes me want to read her first book as well.
  • One to make you think or rethink – The 4-hour work week.  I liked some aspects: building in mini retirements/ adventures into life rather than slogging through a job just to retire and not enjoy the time/money then; challenging yourself to approach those who inspire you; and being stricter with yourself and your time.   But didn’t like: the implied heightened value placed on his time as opposed to those used for outsourcing; or the deception suggested to demonstrate that you are more productive working from home.  But as this is a 2011 edition some of the suggestions of how to ‘test’ your ideas seem a bit dated.
  • Interesting article on the Diderot Effect.

To listen to

  • Enjoying The World Tonight from BBC Radio 4 – more in depth analysis of some topics
  • Meet David Sedaris – very funny well told tales.  Limited time available though.
  • One from Mr S, Gray’s Donation made me think about all the different ways in which a donor’s cells and organs can be used – I hadn’t appreciated the variety before listening to this.
  • Chat 10 Looks 3 – two Australian journalists talk cooking, books, TV, films etc. and anything else they find interesting.  Marvel at their ability to recall linkages and details!

Toddler activities

These have worked well:

  • Using a deep plastic tray (9-litre, 3inch high – looks like a cat litter one) for messy activities.   Placed on our toddler height, oilcloth covered table with a small towel underneath to catch the worst of the mess.  Current favourites (normally get 15mins of play which is huge!) are:
    • Cloud dough – nice when it is made with scented baby oil.
    • Dyed Rice pouring and sorting.
    • Practicing pouring water from a jug, then dyeing it with food colouring and talking about colour mixing (caution hands can pick up dye).
    • Shaving foam in containers and mixing in hard corn kernels and bottle top lids.
    • Making foam in a blender with dishwashing liquid, water and food colouring for scooping, pouring etc.
    • Glue and glitter on paper, then rolling playdough around in the excess glitter to add some sparkle and reduce the mess factor!
  • Having special time with Daddy playing with ‘little bricks’ also known as LEGO!  Including making outline shapes (e.g. numbers) and then filling them in.
  • Repeating the fire safety messages from our playgroup visit – “Get down low and go go go”, “Stop drop and roll” and “000”.  When was the last time you checked and hoovered your smoke alarm?
  • Filling a bedtime box with PJs nappies etc. during the day so it is ready to go after bathtime.
  • Creating small world play situations inspired by this lovely website.

I experimented with a mind map of how I think about ideas for play.  Hope it inspires you/ saves some time.

Parenting reads:

To eat

  • I learnt how to pickle by watching a demo from the lovely Cornersmith at an Eco festival.  Email me if you want very detailed notes.
  • Very easy mini quiches – take sheet of frozen puff pastry, thaw slightly, cut into 9 squares, cover 9 holes in 12-hole cake pan holes with a square each, put in oven for 5 min, with a spoon gently press softened pastry into the holes, cook again until slightly crisp, fill with egg/milk mixture and some cheese and 1/2 a cherry tom, bake until set!
  • Want to make this Indian gelato – oranges, cardamon and pistachios, YUM!

To organise

  • Currently photographing birth and birthday cards to turn into photobooks and save on space.

To craft

  • I had a great time teaching our friends’ two older girls (10 and 8) how to use the sewing machine this month.  In an evening we managed to make one bunny and one mermaid’s tail (I made up the pattern) plus a few practice mini cushions.  Mr S. helped too.
  • Other completed projects include another whale, quilt, more bunnies and a fold-away felt world (with vinyl pocket for storing pieces).

In Sydney

  • Cant’t wait for the Noodle Night Noodle Markets – October 8 – October 25, 2015.
  • Good summary from TimeOut of the spring highlights.
  • The Fanny Durack outdoor swimming pool is open again for summer!  Great for toddlers with water jets and a small fenced pool plus new sunshades!

Until next time…