Halloween harrows

Well to be honest Halloween downunder is not really a thing. Except in the shops or private Halloween parties sometimes. But I’m not one to miss the chance to celebrate something.  So Miss Bee dressed up as Ariel the littlest mermaid I’ve seen.  Then we made a small Halloween display ready for trick or treating guests.  

We had black clothes, owls and a candle. 

The cauldron had sugar sand and feathers with wooden rods and insects. Plus a few spoons for digging out the treasure. 

It’s hard to explain to a two year old that other children will explore the sensory play then take those Freddo frogs home! 

We had double our trick or treat crowd from last year.  We had (((1))) little boy with his mum. 

Oh well,  Miss Bee enjoyed finding s frog and dressing up.  The solo guest seemed pleasantly surprised to scavenge through for his treat.  If I’d known he was it I’d have said take a few. 
I consider this a tiny run up to what should be an epic Christmas celebration this year. 

Organising mumma owl and baby owl.

It was gorgeous hearing her say “twick or teet. Happy Hayloween”. You can decide if harrow refers to the painful disappointment of a single treatee or to the digging up of said treat.

Quality over quantity 

I was chatting with a lovely mum I know and we were lamenting the guilt effect Pinterest has with it’s millions of ideas to do with your toddler. 

But you know what?  As an early childhood teacher I think it’s a false sense of education to think that offering many experiences tops the simplicity of having one experience many times.  

It is time to explore and revisit that promotes deep thinking,  exploration, building skills and experimentation. Sure offer some new things but don’t forget the value of reoffering an old favourite like playdough again and again.  Change the materials presented with it,  or don’t.  Add a pot,  add some sticks,  maybe add water.  But please,  don’t be tricked into thinking that more experiences make for a better education. 

Less is more.  

Girls can’t climb that

The words of a older boy around 4 directed to Miss Bee. She looked at him,  then climbed to the very top of a high climbing net… Then back down again. 

Astounded he said “How did she do that?”

Hmm… I said to the boy “I guess girls can climb,  she just climbed.”

Amusing to watch him attempt the same equipment without success despite his boy status and age his confidence and ability proved less than a 2 year old girl. 

Toddler Tip #5

If you find yourself standing bleary eyed at the backdoor at 11pm with an energetic 2 year old explaining (perhaps not as patiently as you envisaged pre children) that “NO, now is not a good time to ‘play ow-side’ …”….you are going to need coffee tomorrow. Lots of coffee. Buckets of the stuff.

Big Girl room: the ‘reveal’


All the walls except the aqua one you see in this picture are white. Colour all comes from accessories. I love that it looks fun and appealing without looking like a circus. Her bedside open shelf unit holds a range of toys she can play with in the morning. Tea sets, dollies, stuffed toys and a Dr kit all stored in white baskets of various sizes. Note the beloved Pooh bear “removable” stickers are now on the melamine unit was they “removed” heaps of paint from the wall in her old room.  Best $10 I ever spent wrecking the paint? Anyway, needless to say they are not going on the newly painted walls. The other removable flower ones I have will go up, they aren’t sticky at all and have not removed any paint. But I read somewhere to wait 6 weeks before putting on freshly painted walls. They are in the old room for now.


The unit has her favourite music box, the light up butterfly (which makes stars on the ceiling at night), her birth cubby, a cat I made her from felt and artificial flowers in bright happy colours. She is free to play with any of those items. The side of the unit has some laminated images of Australian wild flowers and birds.


There is a subtle underlying recurring motif of stars. The white LED string stars wrap around her Beatrix Potter prints (2 are originals!) and the handmade felt stars adorn the cord up the wall to her baby monitor camera.

This is a collage I made myself using scrapbooking papers. Where it says “Miss Bee” I have attached 3D letters in white against the white wall. The paper plate is one she made herself. My original plan was to buy white curtains and a white blockout roller blind for the window. But Miss Bee wanted to get into her new room quickly. Instead we put up a double curtain track with some curtains we already had. Initially I didn’t think I’d like a patterned curtain, but now they are up I really like the pretty floral as it gives a shabby chic edge to the room. The inner curtain is a half height one with a very thick triple pass blockout lining. Perfect for keeping the room dark during daylight. Also keeps the cold out and heat out moderating the temperature. The half curtain is a soft yellow with a nursery print- but not a pattern that matched with my overall idea for the space. It hides behind the floral as a functional backup as the floral while pretty is only lined with a single pass thermal lining.


The wall shelving keeps treasures out of reach… but fear not the basket of books on the floor is amply filled and rotated. The “Dream Big Little One” picture pulls the aqua over and lights up. I have put all her toys in the pink storage cubes and she is free to access them. I was mindful to put heavier items low and the top two have linen. I had originally planned on putting the unit next to the window where the collage is and I may yet move it. But for now it is handy storage for us near the room light switch. The top shelf is not finished as yet. I made the pink wooden tissue box cover with Miss Bee- adding cut out images from a pretty gift wrap paper we had. I had to resist the urge to place the unit in the middle as it would leave an area too small for much use. But I may yet move it…


The small piece of wall between the door and the cupboard has a light up aqua heart, her name in a laser cut wood (painted in the same pink as the tissue box), an aqua and white doll house shelf (which was meant to be on the wall but it is often used a house for the Pooh bear figures so I have left it where she can reach it). There are 4 crystal look wall hooks for light items such as hats or dress ups. I have put some pretty flowers and an initial on her cupboard door knobs as accents.

I am pleased with how the room turned out.

Parenting strategies I’ve been trying

​Feeling like my strategies with Miss Bee  are paying off. I’ve been using techniques from a book we were given a couple of years ago at school. One of the approaches I’ve been using is around the concept of Mindset and feedback. Rather than only describing what I see I also acknowledge her efforts rather than simply commenting. Sometimes it’s a quick comment “look at that big Lego tower!  You tried again until you made it the way you wanted”.

I’ve also been trying to emphasise “yet”. If she struggles with something advanced I will tell her you can’t do that yet,  but I let’s do it together.  One day you’ll be able to do it all by yourself.  If she can’t do something she wants I’ll encourage by saying try again. Now I hear her self talk saying “try again”.

Getting a toddler to listen to what you’re saying when they’re dealing with big emotions can be challenging. I’ve been trying to engage cooperation by using a combination of ideas in the book.  I acknowledge her feelings,  try to engage cooperation is difficult as some of the ideas are better suited to older children-for example she’s not exactly up to reading a note. But I do think strategies like giving information (briefly) or describing what I see work well on this age.  We can’t get in the car to go the park when you run off to play in the yard. I find binary choice works well with toddlers as they like choice. If choosing for example clothing I’ll offer two choices “would you like to wear your red top or blue top?”. 

I will try to state my expectations prior to entering a potentially challenging situation and restate during. “When we go outside to get in the car I want you to go straight to the gate”.  If she tries to run off I’ll remind by saying “gate now”. 

If she follows my direction I state what I see “I see Miss Bee listened. You’re at the gate ready to go to the park”.

Anyway… Toodler needs attention so this is part 1!

Pink perfection


_mg_1100Well, the roses look perfect… not so sure about my ability to capture them.

The trouble with having a toddler is that something as romantic as a still life photo has to be taken in a timeframe more akin to a paparazzi moment or sports photography. Quick and perhaps dirty?

Anyway, this is my brief moment to be creative with some gorgeous blooms from my hubby.

Lamington balls

I make various little ball morsels to pack for Miss Bee. She gets about 2 a week. I freeze them to keep them fresh and take one out the night before eating.

The star of the show is usually dried fruits, often dates. I generally don’t use a recipe as I make it up based on what I have.  Today I made up a slightly less healthy version as it contained cake but nevertheless mostly healthy and definitely tasty.

Today’s efforts produced a very yummy ball.  I had lamington as my base idea when I started.  Luckily I had some frozen plain cake cut into square pieces in my freezer.

Here’s the recipe:

Into a blender/food processor put:

6 prunes

8 dates

2/3 cup approx plain cake (GF would work) If you didn’t have cake you could try a weetbix or 4 plain sweet biscuits

1/4 cup desicated coconut

2 T almond meal (be generous) if you’re wanting Nut Free omit the almond meal

2 T rolled oats (omit if GF)

2 T cocoa

Blitz into a fine meal

Now add aporox 1/4 cup maple syrup

2 t vanilla

Blitz until it’s sticky enough to form a ball adding more maple syrup (or water if you prefer)

Roll into bite sized balls and roll around in coconut. Mine made 21 balls.

For an adult’s only version add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee for a Mocha energy ball with a caffeine hit.

Nom nom nom.

Sushi bottle paint squeeze fine motor activity

As we enjoyed some sushi the other day I kept looking at those cute little fish bottles.  They were so tiny,  you squeeze them. My early childhood brain started thinking about how to reuse them with Miss Bee. Those itty bitty tiny lids are way too small. They are not suitable near a toddler.  But supervised the fish are great as they only hold a small quantity of liquid which controls the mess factor.  Well unless you use food colours. Which I did. I had tiny containers of the two colours she chose then refilled a she explored.

We started with a heavy watercolour paper and some oil pastels.  Who can resist the opportunity to do a wash?  She chose her own colours. Pink, Red and blue.  But only wanted to draw with the red and pink. 

I then introduced and modelled how to use the food colouring paint. 

I added a brush as the water pooled. It was taste tested too. She delighted in squeezing.

Here she is saying “squeeze…squeeze… Squeeze”. I love how saying squeeze maker her nose wrinkle up. 

The idea was a success except now she is trying to work out how to get the paint stains off her skin. 

If you’re not into mess this would work with clear water as experimenting.