Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole

IMG_1174Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, non-fiction paperback, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1993, this edition published by Red Fox in 1995.

Dad and Mum have decided to tell their kids where babies come from. They tell the kids that sometimes dinosaurs deliver babies, or they can be grown from seeds, made from gingerbread, or they can even be found under rocks! And in this case, the kids exploded from a huge egg that Mum laid on the couch. The kids think this is hilarious. They quickly begin on a journey to set their parents straight, including lots of drawings explaining just how babies are made.

A light-hearted look at reproduction, this book is perfect for younger children from preschool up. The drawings are humorous, educational, and appropriate for the intended audience. The language is easy to understand for children, and the subject matter is treated without any of the seriousness that sometimes surrounds this often delicate topic. I think this book would be especially good for parents who are a little nervous about having “the talk” with their kids, it is a great way to lighten the mood.

Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. I think that it is the best introduction to the sensitive subject of conception and reproduction that I have come across. It is honest, frank and amusing. I particularly like the pages that show how mummies and daddies fit together, some truly awkward and hilarious positions! My kids laughed at the ridiculous stories that the Mum and Dad tell their kids, as well as at many of the drawings throughout the book. It covered the basics, and my kids were happy with the content, re-reading it several times, asking questions and discussing it. A really nice book, I am very glad I purchased Mummy Laid an Egg!

 

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Filed under Book Review, People/The Body

What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth

IMG_1168What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, non-fiction hardback, published by Seven Stories Press in 2012.

This book is bright, colourful and simple, and suitable for young children who are first becoming curious about where babies come from. It introduces sperm and eggs, and the concept that both are required to create a baby, but it is quite vague about how this actually happens. In fact the whole book is rather vague. It is one of the most abstract non-fiction books I have ever read. However, while it doesn’t present detailed information, it does provide prompts to begin the discussion of this issue in as much detail as a parent thinks is appropriate for their particular child at the time. It also provides opportunities for kids to ask questions. This book could be used to start a discussion that many parents find difficult to conquer.

I read this with my preschooler and second grader. They both thought the illustrations were a bit odd, especially the people that were coloured with blue or green or purple skin. My preschooler said a few times that people are not that colour! They were also amused that the sperm and egg had been given faces and that they perform a special dance together to form a baby. I think this book was actually too abstract for them, and they were quite distracted by the less than life-like pictures. They asked a few questions, but it didn’t develop into a deep conversation about how babies are formed, instead, it left them with a very superficial view of how life develops. We used this book as a first stepping stone onto more detailed texts.

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The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson and Heather Collins

IMG_1167The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins, paperback non-fiction, first published in 1986, this edition published in 2006 by Annick Press.

This is a simple look at our bodies, and the different parts that make them up. With basic language and clear illustrations, this is a nice book for toddlers and preschoolers. It introduces each part of the body, with some illustrated examples of each, such as pushing arms, hairy nipples and stamping feet. At the end of each page, it asks the child to locate that body part on themselves, which is a great prompt for learning body parts and for body awareness.

My preschooler liked the pictures, and had fun locating all her body parts as suggested by the book. She enjoyed perusing this book on her own too, looking at the pictures, and pointing out what the different parts of the body were doing.

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Quick Baby Brekky

IMG_0570IMG_0563A while back, I had bought some re-usable baby food pouches so we could put our own baby food into them for use when we’re out and about. They are really handy, and we can use them for yoghurt, custard and pureed fruit for the older kids too. The ones we have are called Squeeze ‘ems, but there are a number of other brands available now, and they come in a range of sizes. I bought ours at Baby Mumma, but they can often be found at modern cloth nappy and eco-ware web stores.

When we’re in a hurry to get out the door in the morning, sometimes Baby T doesn’t have a chance to have a good breakfast at home. He loves Weet-bix, so I tried making a quick breakfast in one of the re-usable pouches to take along with us.

I placed some canned peaches in first (well, these were actually in a plastic tub, but I still think of them as canned or tinned). I gave the peaches a bit of a squish through the pouch to break them up, before adding a Weet-bix biscuit, and some full cream milk. I sealed the top of the pouch and let it sit for a few minutes. This let the Weet-bix soak up the milk and become soft. Once it was all soft I shook it and squeezed it to mix the peaches with the weet-bix, and make sure there weren’t too many big lumps that wouldn’t fit out the nozzle.

Mixed up and ready to eat.

Mixed up and ready to eat.

Baby T loves this breakfast on the go. We use other soft fruit in it too, such as canned pears or apricots or fresh banana for variety. It is easy and quick, and I can give him a solid breakfast even on days when we are dashing out to school in a bit of a rush.

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Banana and Choc Spread Parcels

IMG_1051I always have some puff pastry in the freezer for when the mood hits me to bake something quick, easy and yummy! This time I found a lonely banana in the fruit bowl, and a jar of chocolate spread (we had Nutino) in the cupboard. Bananas and chocolate are pretty good together, and in puff pastry, they make an excellent desert.

Before folding the parcels.

Before folding the parcels.

I cut one puff pastry sheet into quarters. On each quarter I placed some of the chocolate spread, and a few slices of banana. Then I folded them diagonally to make triangular parcels, and used a fork to seal the edges of the pastry together. In the oven they went until golden brown.

Ready for cooking.

Ready for cooking.

These were a big hit, though the kids thought I could have put some more chocolate spread into them! Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just give them a spoon and the chocolate spread jar for desert… much less washing up :) These little parcels of deliciousness would have gone really well with some ice-cream or custard too, except we didn’t have any. I will have to be a bit more organised next time!

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Catching a Rainbow

With a glass of water and a sheet of white paper on a sunny day, we caught a rainbow!

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We held the glass above the paper in the bright sun shining in through our window. The light hits the water in the glass and bends (refraction), causing the white light to split into its component colours, forming a rainbow. We caught the rainbow on the white paper, behind and below the glass. It was a little hard to see in the bright sun, but when L placed her arm in front of the window to create a shadow on the paper where the rainbow was falling, it clarified it.

The rainbow in the shadow of L's arm.

The rainbow in the shadow of L’s arm.

When we placed the glass of water onto the paper we could see a rainbow in the bottom of the glass. The kids thought this was a wonderful and fascinating little experiment.

The bottom of the glass.

The bottom of the glass.

More rainbows in the glass.

More rainbows in the glass.

 

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Lego Stamping

L's Lego print.

Using pieces of Lego or Duplo as painting stamps is a simple and fun activity. I normally use paint on sponges for stamping activities, but since we had recently purchased some large paint pads, we used these to make our prints. L and A used both Lego and Duplo to make their artworks. L tried some stamping using both sides of the Lego.

One of the paint pads.

One of the paint pads.

Duplo on the paint pad ready for stamping.

Duplo on the paint pad ready for stamping.

L stamping.

L stamping.

A stamping her page with Duplo.

A stamping her page with Duplo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The kids enjoyed this easy activity, and made some nice prints. The only downside was trying to get the paint out of the top of the Duplo! A bottle brush did the trick in the end. Once they were clean and dry, the Lego and Duplo went back into the tubs to play with again another day.

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Hair Clips

IMG_0961Both L and A have had numerous hair clips in their short lives, bought from a range of places, and we still never seem to have enough. They get lost, hidden in drawers or used on the teddies so that when they are actually wanted for hair we can’t find them. I even made them clip keepers to store them on, yet they still go missing. I’d been thinking about trying to make my own hair clips for a while now, and this is my first effort.

I bought the supplies for making hair clips online from Think Bowtique. They have a huge range of hair accessory making supplies and ribbon, and I found everything I needed there. Most of the ribbons came from Think Bowtique, except the owl and pink flower ones, which I picked up in Big W.

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Heat set end.

Heat set end.

Starting the clip.

Starting the clip.

I used 9mm grosgrain ribbons, which I cut into lengths of about 12cm, and then heat sealed the ends in a candle flame so that they wouldn’t fray. I used hot glue to secure the ribbon to the alligator clips, first on the underside of the top, starting as close to the hinge as I could. Then I folded the ribbon onto the top of the clip,  went around the end, and finished up about mid-way down the underside of the clip. I had to work fast as the hot glue dries quickly, so a few of the ribbons weren’t quite straight. For my first try though, I’m pretty happy with how it went, and I know I will get better with practice.

The underside of a finished clip.

The underside of a finished clip.

I added some little buttons and some half-pearls to a few of the clips to see what they would look like. I was happy with the result, and L and A both really liked them. Next time, I will try some other combinations of decorations added to the basic clips.

Clips with button.

Clips with button.

Clips with half pearls.

Clips with half pearls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clip with non-stick strip.

Clip with non-stick strip.

 

 

 

 

To help the clips stay in the kids’ hair I added some little non-slip rectangles that I also bought at Think Bowtique. They were very easy to add to the inside of the clip, and really help to keep the clips in place. A has quite fine hair, and one of these clips stayed in her hair all day yesterday, even through a trip to the playground and running around the yard.

A with the first starry clip. in her hair.

A with the first starry clip. in her hair.

A very helpfully watched while I made these clips, and asked many questions, most notably “What are you doing now?”. She picked out which ribbons to use, and the buttons, and she modeled the clips for me.

Now that I see that I am capable of making basic hair clips myself, I think I will do some experimentation with different ribbons and embellishments. I think I will also make some in school colours for the kids to wear to school. There are so many possibilities, and all of them are fun!

 

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King Pig by Nick Bland

IMG_0509King Pig by Nick Bland, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

King Pig has a kingdom full of sheep that don’t seem to like him, and he doesn’t understand why. He desperately wants them to adore him, but nothing seems to work, and this is the one thing that he can’t command them to do. One night he has an idea, and he wakes up all the sheep to make him some new fancy clothes, but it doesn’t impress the sheep. What can he do to remedy the situation?

In this book we see that being powerful doesn’t automatically make one likable. It is much better to be nice and considerate of others, and being bossy all the time only leads to resentment and discontent. This is a hard lesson for King Pig to learn, and a good message for our children. My kids enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the other Nick Bland books we have. It wasn’t as funny, though we still liked the story and the illustrations are lovely. I liked the way that the sheep had their wool dyed and removed, while my kids liked it when King Pig used one of the sheep strapped to a wooden handle to clean his castle. This is a good book for preschoolers and kids in lower primary school.

 

 

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Playing Eskimos

It’s mid-winter and the weather is cold, especially at night. Unfortunately we get quite cold with lots of wind, which brings down the apparent temperature, but it doesn’t often snow :(

Last week, Big L had told off A for something or other minor, so in reaction, she told us that she was going to move onto the deck, and that’s where she would sleep. Our deck is covered, but not enclosed, so it was really cold out there, and windy. The temperature was probably hovering around freezing, but she insisted. We decided to let it play out to see what would happen next.

A pulled out an old cot mattress and blankets and set them up as a bed. At this point I insisted that she put more clothing on. L also got involved then, as they decided to play Eskimos. I helped to dress them both, with tights, track pants, two pairs of socks and slippers, singlet, long sleeve shirt, jumper and parka, as well as a beanie and mittens. A couldn’t find her mittens (she has three pairs, yet none could be found….), so she put an extra pair of socks on her hands. They were complaining that they were too hot while they were still inside, but I explained that they would need it outside.

Ready to play.

Ready to play.

They took some toys with them and headed out to the deck. Big L and I could see our breath billowing out as we helped get them set up in their bed, snuggled together and piled up with blankets. They were using a giant white bunny toy as a pillow. We pulled their hoods up over their beanies, and tucked them in. I was feeling very glad I wasn’t camping out in that cold.

Snuggled in their bed.

Snuggled in their bed.

Big L and I went back inside and waited. We could hear them talking and playing on the deck, but after about ten minutes they both came in and said they didn’t want to be Eskimos any more. They would really much rather sleep in their own beds in the warm house! They might not have lasted long, but they had fun while they were playing out there, despite the cold. They are both so imaginative, and they love pretend play.

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Filed under Investigations, Pretend Play