No-Sew Snowman Costume for Kids

Make this no-sew child’s snowman costume for Christmas or Halloween. It’s so simple to make and looks completely adorable!

DIY no sew kids snowman costume

Last week, Charlie’s school had a “come dressed as something Christmassy” day. There’s always so much going on at this time of year so I *might* have left things to the last minute (nothing new there, ahem!). With just 24 hours to make a costume, I needed something that was quick, simple and low-cost. This no-sew snowman costume is what I came up with. Charlie absolutely loved it, so I consider that a success!

Childs no sew snowman costume

A note for my northern hemisphere readers – we live in Australia. Christmas means long hot summers for us. That’s why I made this snowman costume from a short sleeved t-shirt and a flimsy piece of fabric for the scarf. I didn’t want Charlie fainting from heat exhaustion while he was at school! He wanted to be dressed up as a happy snowman, not a melted one! If you live in a part of the world where you enjoy snowy winters in December, then this would work just as well by substituting with a long sleeve t-shirt or pullover, and a proper woolen scarf. Just use what you have and have fun with it!

How to make a childs snowman costume

How to make a now-sew snowman costume for kids

Supplies for the shirt:

White t-shirt

black felt (just enough to make three black buttons, you won’t need much at all)

Vlisofix (iron-on bonding paper from craft and fabric stores)

Scissors

Pencil

Iron

Supplies for the hat:

Black cardboard

Red ribbon (or colour of your choice)

Green cardboard (optional, to make holly leaves)

Red pom poms (optional, to make berries)

Glue or glue gun

Scissors

 

How to make a DIY snowman costume for kids

To make the shirt

  1. Iron the vlisofix to the felt. Vlisofix is simly a heat activated bonding paper that is used to bond two layers of fabric together. It is available from craft and fabric stores)
  2. Trace three circles onto the vlisofix. I used a small glass as my template. It just happened to be the perfect size.
  3. Cut the circles out.
  4. Peel off the vlisofix. You will now have three circles with one side that is covered in the vlisofix residue. This will bond to the t-shirt when you iron it.
  5. Position the black felt circles on your t-shirt, vlisofix side down, and iron them to fuse them to your shirt. That’s it! Done!
  6. For the scarf, we used a strip of red chiffon – it was thin and cool, which we needed for our hot weather. You could also use a woolen scarf.

 

DIY Kids top hat how to

To make the snowman’s top hat

  1. Measure the circumference of the wearer’s head.
  2. Cut a rectangle from your cardboard. The dimensions will vary according the wearer’s head. Charlie is seven. For him, I cut a strip of cardboard that was 70cm (27.5 inches) wide x 20cm (7.5 inches) high. You basically want to measure the circumference of the wearer’s head and then add an inch or so for overlap.
  3. Draw two circles on your remaining cardboard, each circle should be the same size as the circumference of the wearer’s head.
  4. Now draw a second circle around the outside of each of those circles – this time about 8cms (3 inches) wider than the first. See the pictures below.
  5. Cut out each of the large circles.
  6. Take the long rectangle piece, and roll it into a cylinder to form the main part of the hat. Secure with glue and/or tape.

How to make a top hat 2

7. On one of your circles, draw lines radiating from the inner circle to the outer edge of the cardboard, so it looks like a sun. It’s a bit hard to see in the picture above, but hopefully you can make it out.

8. Now cut away every second “wedge” so it looks like the middle picture above.

9. Fold the wedges up. This will be inserted into the top of the hat and become the “lid” of the hat.

How to make a top hat 3

10. Take your second circle of cardboard. From the centre, draw lines radiating out to the edge of the inner circle. See the first photo above. It will look like a pizza or a pie.

11. Cut along each of the lines you have drawn and fold the “wedges” upwards, as show in the middle photo above. This will be the lower “rim” part of the hat.

12. Insert each of these circles into the hat cylinder that you made earlier and secure with tape and/or glue.

13. Wrap some ribbon around the hat and secure with glue.

14. Cut holly leaf shapes from green paper or cardboard, secure with glue. Add some red pom poms for berries and you are done!

How to make a snowman hat

To complete our snowman costume, we added a toy witch’s broom which we had left over from Halloween. You could make one of these very easily with a dowel or broom handle, and then tying on some raffia. Charlie wore some black trousers and the snowman costume was complete! So fun! It was a big hit with Charlie and his classmates. Dress up day at school is always exciting!

If you enjoyed this post, then don’t miss our other fun Christmas crafts and ideas!

Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees

Cupcake Liner Christmas Garland

Reindeer Candy Canes

Free Christmas Printables to Download

DIY Christmas Crackers

Looking for more simple play ideas? We’d love for you to join us on Facebook , Pinterest or Twitter where you will find lots of fun activities for kids to play, learn, create and explore.

Reindeer Candy Canes

Make these adorable Reindeer Candy Canes for friends and family and watch the smiles that follow! These are cute, simple and very cheap to make!

Reindeer candy canes

These Reindeer Candy Canes are completely adorable! They make the perfect gift for friends, family, playgroups or class mates at school. They also look totally cute hanging on the Christmas tree. Best of all, they are quick and simple to make! Perfect!

Reindeer candy canes how to

We made 40 (yes 40!) of these for Charlie’s classmates and teachers last week. I needed something that was quick and stress-free to make and these were so simple that Charlie was able help out. We had a great time making them together. Charlie was so excited to take them to school and when he handed them out, they were an instant hit with everyone!

Reindeer candy canes supplies

HOW TO MAKE REINDEER CANDY CANES

Supplies:

  • Candy Canes
  • glue
  • brown wool, thread or string
  • small red pom poms
  • googly eyes
  • scissors
  • sewing needle with a large eye, like a darning needle (optional)

Candy Cane Reindeer how to

Step by step how to make reindeer candy canes:

  1. Position two candy canes side by side so that the curve of the canes point outwards in opposite directions.
  2. Wrap brown thread (I used tapestry wool but any type of brown wool, embroidery thread or string will work just fine) around the two canes to make a reindeer “face”. I wrapped mine to about an inch wide.
  3. To secure the thread at the back, once I had finished wrapping the wool I threaded it into a darning needle and threaded it through the wraps to secure it. This meant I didn’t have to tie any knots, and the overall look was smooth and neat.
  4. Glue on two googly eyes and one pom pom “nose” and that’s it!

how to make reindeer candy canes

If you love these Reindeer Candy Canes then don’t miss our other fun Christmas crafts and ideas!

Cupcake Liner Christmas Trees

Cupcake Liner Christmas Garland

Free Christmas Printables to Download

DIY Christmas Crackers

No-sew Snowman Costume

Looking for more simple play ideas? We’d love for you to join us on Facebook , Pinterest or Twitter where you will find lots of fun activities for kids to play, learn, create and explore.

50 of the Best Jokes for Kids

50 of the BEST Jokes for kids

If your kids are anything like mine, then they LOVE jokes – the sillier the better. Charlie loves making up his own nonsense riddles and knock knock jokes and when he learns a new one, you can guarantee we will be hearing it about 500 times a day! I love surprising him with a new joke on the drive home from school or at dinner time to add some extra giggles to our night. I’ve compiled a list of 50 hilarious jokes for kids – some of these are Charlie’s favourites, along with some absolute gems passed along to me by other Mums at Charlie’s school and some fellow blogging buddies of mine. Enjoy!

What’s your child’s favourite joke? Share in the comments below and lets spread the laughs!

50 Hilarious Jokes for Kids

1. Where do sheep go to get their hair cut?

To the baa-baa shop!

2. What is a pirate’s favourite letter?

Aaarrr!

3. Why are leopards so bad at playing hide and seek?

Because they’re always spotted!

4. Why did the boy take a ladder to school?

Because he though it was a HIGH school!

5. What time do you go to the dentist?

At tooth-hurty!

6. Why did the banana go to the doctor?

Because he wasn’t peeling very well!

7. What kind of button can you not undo?

A belly button!

8. What kind of keys can’t open locks?

Monkeys! (or donkeys or turkeys!)

9. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Juno.

Juno who?

Juno how to open this door? It’s stuck!

10. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Scott.

Scott who?

Scott nothing to do with you!

11. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Apple.

Apple who?

Apple.

Apple who??

Apple.

Apple who??

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad I didn’t say apple?

12. What type of jam can’t be eaten?

A traffic jam!

13. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Ivana.

Ivana who?

Ivana come in, please open the door!

14. Why can’t you trust atoms?

They make up everything!

15. What kind of witch do you find at the beach?

A SANDwich!

16. What keeps rock stars cool?

Their fans!

17. What has two hands but no arms?

A clock!

18. Where do cows like to go on the weekend?

To the MOOvies!

19. What do cows like to listen to on their headphones?

MOOsic of course!

20. Why did the scarecrow win an award?

Because he was the best in his field!

21. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Doris

Doris who?

Doris locked! Please let me in!

22. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Interrupting cow.

Interrupting co….

MOO!!!

23. What do you call a sleeping bull?

A bull dozer!

24. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Ken.

Ken who?

Ken I come in? It’s raining out here!

25. What time is it when an elephant sits on your fence?

Time to get a new one!

26. What type of dog can tell the time?

A watch dog!

27. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Boo.

Boo who?

Oh, don’t cry! It’s only a knock, knock joke!

28. What do you call an alligator wearing a vest?

An inVESTigator!

29. What kind of nut has no shell?

A doughnut!

30. What do elephants have that no other animals have?

Baby elephants!

31. Why are fish so smart?

Because they live in schools!

32. What is the biggest kind of ant?

An elephANT!

33. What gets wetter the more it dries?

A towel!

34. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Pizza.

Pizza who?

Pizza really great guy!

35. Who absolutely loves cocoa?

A coconut, of course!

36. Why did the burglar take a bath?

Because he wanted to make a clean getaway!

37. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Little old lady.

Little old lady who?

Hey, I didn’t know you could yodel!

38. What do you call a baby insect?

A baby buggy!

39. Knock, knock

Who’s there?

Lettuce.

Lettuce who?

Lettuce in, it’s freezing out here!

40. What kind of beans don’t grown in the garden?

Jelly beans!

41. What do pigs use to write a letter?

A pigPEN!

42. What runs but cannot walk?

A river!

43. What piece of wood is like a king?

A ruler!

44. What kind of fish is famous?

A STAR fish!

45. How did the ocean say goodbye?

It waved!

46. What type of phone can’t be used to call a friend?

A xylophone!

47. What has teeth but does not bite?

A zipper!

48. What do you do with a space man?

You park in it, man!

49. What do you call a dinosaur with only one eye?

A Do-you-think-he-saw-us!

50. Why was the teacher cross eyed?

Because he couldn’t control his pupils!

A big shout out and thank you to Debs at Learn with Play at Home, Kate at  and Danya at Go Science Girls for contributing to this list! Be sure to check out Go Science Girls for even more hilarious jokes for kids!

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5 Simple Ways to Increase Your Energy Today!

 

tips to increase energy

This post is sponsored by NESCAFÉ.

Starting University this year, after so many years away, was a slight shock to my system! It certainly added a whole new level of stress and exhaustion to my already busy days. I think we can all relate! The good news is there are some really simple changes we can make to our daily routines that will give us an instant energy boost. I’ve compiled a list of my five favourite ways to increase my energy and get me through to the end of the day still smiling. These ideas aren’t anything extraordinary. All it takes is a decision to make some deliberate and mindful changes and before you know it, you’ll be bouncing through your day.

how to increase energy

1. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP.

Let’s start with the most obvious one – sleep. Ah, the elusive eight hours we’re always being told we need. OK, so eight hours a night may be neither possible or necessary, but try going to bed at the same time each time, make it a routine, and most importantly switch off the smart phone! The blue light from our phones actually affects the melatonin levels in our brain. What does that mean? Well, your brain thinks it’s still daytime and your whole circadian rhythm is thrown out. Leaving you feeling exhausted when you wake up. Switch it off and see just how much better you feel in the morning.

 

how to improve your energy

2. EAT A DECENT BREAKFAST

In my case, it was simply “eat breakfast” decent or otherwise! I was always running late in the mornings (and feeling groggy from those hours on my phone in bed the night before) and there was just never time for breakfast. Well, there’s really no excuse. Without a good breakfast we have no chance of any kind of sustained energy throughout the day.

coffee sachets

3. A CUP OF JO…

My love of coffee is no secret.  I think my loyalty to the precious cup of Jo could rival even that of Lorelai Gilmore.

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Buying several cups of coffee at Uni each week though, was becoming a bit of a burden on this struggling student’s hip pocket. It was also pretty much impossible for meto say no when the lovely young waiter, with his gleaming “I-know-you-want-chocolate-cake” smile, would say “Anything else today?” So when I was invited to try the new NESCAFÉ Café Menu range, it was pretty much perfect. My hips are thanking me for switching to this range!

froth

There are an amazing fifteen flavours in the range. I have two firm favourites – Cappuccino Strong and Vanilla. The Cappuccino Strong is my secret weapon which gives me my morning spark.The Vanilla is my special delicious frothy break treat. It is a chance for me to relax, unwind and recharge for the rest of the day.

This is café style coffee to go. I just pop a sachet in my handbag and that’s it. Frothy, creamy, smooth perfect coffee. It’s kind of magic how they do it, really.

And do you want to know the best bit? You can try out the NESCAFÉ CAFÉ MENU for FREE! Hello! Simply visit: Nescafe.com.au/sampling to claim your free sample and get a little 3pm pick-up of your own. Get on it!

how to get more energy

 

4. GET MOVING

You know the old adage “You have to spend money to make money”? Well, the same thing could be said for our energy levels. You have to expend energy to make energy. Adding just ten minutes of exercise a day to your routine will have an enormous impact on your overall energy and stamina. Sure, not everyone has the time to make it to the gym, but there are simple things you can do to get moving. Try parking a block away from work and walk the rest of the way. Take the stairs not the escalator. There are even apps that provide 7 minute a day workouts. We can all find 7 minutes somewhere in our day.

ways to increase energy

 

5. Take some time to recharge.

Whether it’s singing along to your favourite song at the top of your lungs, reading your favourite magazine, meditating or practising yoga, relaxation looks different for all of us. Whatever it is that works for you, find a few minutes each day to do whatever it is that makes your heart sing. If it lifts your spirit and makes you smile, then do more of it. Taking time out for yourself is not selfish, it’s essential.

So there you have it. My top five tips for increasing your energy throughout the day. What’s your favourite energy booster? Let’s share some ideas in the comments!

 

Managing our Family's Screen Time

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.

Kids screen time

I read recently that my generation (ie the gen-x’s and gen-y’s who are now parents in their 30s and 40s) will be the last living generation to have lived in a world both with and without technology. Our children will never have the same perspective that we do when it comes to living life “on the grid”. Children these days seem to be born hardwired with an innate knowledge of how to use a smart phone or tablet. They enter a world where endless information is available at their fingertips and entertainment is never more than a click away. For them, this is normal. It’s just the way things are and the world has always been that way. No wonder then, when we express dismay at the amount of time they spend staring at a screen, they don’t understand our concern. We are the last living generation to know what it was like to live in both worlds, the pre and post internet age. This unique perspective is a very powerful tool, one that simultaneously grants us a huge advantage and a great responsibility to pass on this balanced perspective to our children as they take the reigns of this technology fueled world.

OurPact-6

I need to explain that I LOVE the internet. While it is not without its dangers and pitfalls, it has changed our lives for good. I love the way that Facebook, smartphones and tablets have impacted our lives. I met my best friend online (through blogging). We live in different hemispheres yet we chat every single day and are so close we’re like sisters. Having studied at university before the internet was even invented (oh my gosh, that makes me feel positively ancient!) and again now with so much of my studies being conducted off-campus and online, I know that information exchange, research and access to education is vastly improved thanks to the internet. When it comes to Charlie, who is now almost seven, I am certain that by being careful with the selection of apps that I allowed him to use, his homeschooling was enhanced. He was learning through play.

We hear so much about the negative side of technology use but what it all boils down to is balance. Balance and responsibility. Screen time is like chocolate cake – totally fabulous but only in moderation. I’ve written a few times now about our attempts to achieve this balance both for myself and for Charlie. It’s not always easy though, particularly in the mornings when Charlie wakes up at stupid-o-clock (any time before sunrise is stupid-o-clock to me!) I find it difficult to monitor his screen usage.  So when I was invited to try out OurPact and write a review for them, I was very keen to see what it was all about.

OurPact-1

OurPact is an app designed to guide families in monitoring their screen time but it is so much more than that. I have been using it for a couple of weeks now and it has been a such a simple app to use and it offers so much flexibility. And my favorite feature? OurPact looks at the whole family, the big picture in screen usage, so rather than it being me dictating what will happen, Charlie has been involved in the process and is learning responsibility and accountability through technology. Rather than a top-down approach, we are planning his screen use together and he’s learning so much from that experience. OurPact suits my parenting style perfectly.

This isn’t your usual web-monitoring app. Every family is different and the screen time that suits our lifestyle may not be the same as your family’s needs. I was really impressed to learn that the OurPact team spent hundreds of hours with child professionals while researching and developing their app. They also consulted parents to see what we really needed when it comes to family time and screen use and the result is an app that lets families adjust the app to suit their individual needs and lifestyle. Charlie loves it (which is half the battle right?) and he has even been using the household chores feature which has really helped him learn time management skills.

So what exactly can you do with the OurPact app?

Firstly it is SO easy to use and changing the settings is so quick. A click and a scroll and I’m done. There are so many features, but these are the ones I’ve been loving so far:

I can schedule Internet and App use according to Charlie’s daily routine, and can change it for the weekdays or weekend.

I can set the number of hours Charlie spends on the Internet and within Apps.

I can block Internet and Apps with a touch of a button.

I can allow website and App access, whenever I feel Charlie needs more time, such as when he’s doing his homework.

I can block any apps as I see fit, which has been very useful for sites like YouTube which he loves and although there is a lot of great and useful things on there, he easily falls into the trap of watching endless videos of other people playing minecraft. What is it with kids watching other people playing video games on Youtube? So many other mums have told me their kids do the same thing.

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As if all that wasn’t enough, based on child research OurPact recommends the best Internet and App blocking schedules for Charlie’s specific age. The app can also tailor appropriate guidelines and tips specifically for each member of our family. All of these amazing features and it’s totally free to download. Amazing, right? If you’d like to learn more pop over to the OurPact website, or to download the app. Right now there is an app for iPhones but the Android app is being released very soon. You can sign up for news on the Android version at the OurPact website.

Let me know what you think of it when you’ve given it a try. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

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Let’s share in the comments. How is screen time managed at your place? Are you concerned with the amount of screen time your family has each day?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OurPact.

Flash Giveaway – The Sydney Royal Easter Show

I’m officially back! After a very long break I’m excited to let you all know that One Perfect Day has resumed regular programming! Thank you everyone for your messages and emails asking where I’ve been and whether all is well. It has been so wonderful and I’ve definitely been feeling the love! I will be writing some posts about my adventures from the past few months but basically I was unwell for most of last year. I intended to take a four week break in January last year but in the end I needed almost the entire year. This year I returned to University to study Speech Pathology so once again my poor blog was put on the back burner while I found my feet and established a workable routine (time-management posts are in the works *cough* just as soon as I figure out this juggling act *cough* )

I’ve missed everyone and am so happy to be back, so how better to celebrate than with a flash giveaway?

ride 1

IT’S SHOW TIME!

The Sydney Royal Easter Show is on right now and it runs until April 8th. The show has been one of my favourite events of the year for as long as I can remember. As a child it was always such an adventure, not just the show itself but the entire day. We lived a long way from what was then the showgrounds, but is now Foxtel Studios. (Showing my age now!) Travelling on a train to get there and seeing the city was always so exciting. There was always so much to see – things you’d never see anywhere else except for once a year at the show. The exhaustion I would feel on the train ride home, my belly full of fairy floss and my arms laden with show bags was always worth it. One of my favourite memories is dressing up in my super-cool Wonder Woman outfit that came with one of my show bags – complete with bullet proof wrist bands and the gold lasso of truth. I was fighting crime and catching crooks for months! 😉

These days I’m a “mature” parent and I no longer go to the show for me, but for Michael. Oh ok, fine. I still go for me! Michael and I will be heading there next week and we both cannot wait. There’s a tonne of fab things to see and do this year. A visit to the farmyard nursery is always on our must-do list and I think this year we’ll try to swing by the Dairy Farmer’s milking barn. This year you can even wash a chook! Seriously! Michael has recently developed a fascination with all things bees so the Bee-Zeebo bee keeping demonstrations will also be on our agenda. I think the showstoppers of the day will be Dinosaur Ice World, the kids’ circus workshops and the meet-and-greets with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Transformers. Details of these and other kids entertainment can be found here.

A full schedule of activities and events is available at the official Sydney Royal Easter Show website.

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WIN! WIN! WIN!

It sounds like an amazing year for the Show this year doesn’t it? I have one family pass to give away to a lucky One Perfect Day reader. This pass is very flexible and can be used for up to four people in any combination. So you could use it for two adults and two kids, OR four adults, OR four kids, OR one adult and three kids etc PLUS public transport is INCLUDED. Yay!

Check out the details below for how to enter. Oh, and if you’re looking for some last minute Easter ideas, click on the pictures below to see our some of most popular Easter crafts and activities.

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HOW TO ENTER

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment below, telling me your favourite thing about The Royal Easter Show. Is it the animals? The Ferris Wheel? The showbags? That’s it. Simple! Entries close at 9pm TUESDAY March 31, 2015 AEST.

Terms and Conditions:

Entry is open to Australian residents only
Entries close at at 9pm onMarch 31, 2015 AEST.
Winners will be contacted by email and their names will be added to this post
Winners must reply to the email within 1 business day or new winners will be selected

GOOD LUCK!

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Looking for more Easter activities and crafts? Here are a few of our other fun Easter posts.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for more simple play ideas? We’d love for you to join us onFacebook , Pinterest or Twitter where you will find lots of fun activities for kids to play, learn, create and explore.

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Pretend Play Bakery – Play and Learn with Play Doh GIVEAWAY

play doh giveaway

We are huge fans of pretend play – Little Guy loves it because it’s FUN and I love it because it offers endless learning opportunities. I’ve written before about the importance of play, and for me, pretend play is at the top of the list. Pretend play is how kids make sense of the world around them – it is a way for them to practise life skills, and emulate what they observe the grown ups in their life doing every day. Pretend play allows children to foster their imaginations, as well as helping them to develop skills in creativity, problem solving, speech and language, numeracy and  fine and gross motor skills. As if that wasn’t enough already, pretend play is one of the best ways for children to develop their emotional and social skills.

importance of pretend play

Two of Little Guy’s favourite ways to play is to create with Play-Doh, or to pretend to be a Chef in his pretend restaurant. So when we were invited to try out the new Hasbro Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain, I knew right away that it would be a huge hit with him.

Play-doh cake mountain

I was really impressed with just how much Play-Doh actually comes with this kit. FIVE tubs of gorgeous colours. There are three tubs of regular Play-Doh – perfect for moulding into cakes and biscuits. There are also two tubs of something I’ve never seen before Play-Doh Plus. It’s extra soft and silky – just perfect for squeezing through the specialextruder that comes with the kit and making twirly curly frosting for your Play-Doh cakes.

create with the Play-Doh cake mountain

As soon as we opened the box, Little Guy was right into the multitude of accessories that come with the Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain. There’s a huge array of cake moulds, candles, cake-pop handles, a patterned roller, an extruder for the soft Play-Doh Plus, not to mention the fab cake tower itself. Right away Little Guy was “baking” an array of yummy desserts!

fine motor play with play-doh

He had loads of fun “frosting” his cakes with the Play-Doh Plus using the extruder – great for fine motor skills as well!

Pretend play Play-Doh Cake Mountain

This was a great way to encourage Little Guy’s creativity, as he mixed colours of Play-Doh together to make some “interesting” flavours of cake pops.

making cake pops

Play-Doh cake pops

fun Play-Doh play

This set comes with so many different moulds. Aren’t these the cutest croissants you’ve ever seen? This pretend play provided some great opportunities to expand our language skills as we talked about colours, shapes and types of baked goods.

Play-Doh cakes

When he was satisfied that he had enough baked goods to stock his pretend bakery, he set to work creating signs and price tags for all of the goodies that he was going to sell. The cake pops were a bargain at $100 each!

Play-Doh bakery

Little Guy was able to practise his writing skills and some basic maths skills as well. So many learning opportunities and he was having fun the entire time!

Dramatic play with Play-Doh

So what’s our verdict on the Hasbro Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain?

We LOVE it! I think the Hasbro Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain represents amazing value for money. In an age when you can pay mega bucks for a piece of plastic that does not do very much, the Play-Doh Cake Mountain is in a low price range, comes with loads of accessories and enough Play-Doh to keep the kids creating for a very long time. It offers so much scope for fun, imagination, creativity and learning. As for Little Guy, he has played with it every day since it arrived and keeps coming up with new creations and ideas. So it’s a big thumbs up from both of us.

Win a Play-Doh cake mountain

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED AND CONGRATULATIONS TO THE THREE WINNERS

KIM, CHANTELLE AND AMIE.

Thanks to the lovely people at Kidspot and Hasbro, I have THREE Hasbro Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain sets to give away! Three lucky One Perfect Day readers will each win one Hasbro Play-Doh Cake Tower.

To enter, all you need to do is visit the Hasbro website, then pop back here and tell me which is your favourite Hasbro toy in their amazing Play-Doh range and why. Simple! Entries close at 10pm on September 23, 2014 AEST.

Terms and Conditions:
Entry is open to Australian residents only
Entries open at 11pm on September 16, 2014 AEST and close at at 10pm on September 23, 2014 AEST.
Winners will be contacted by email and their names will be added to this post
Winners must reply to the email within 2 business days or new winners will be selected

GOOD LUCK!

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This post is sponsored by Kidspot. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

Choosing the Right Car for Our Family

Choosing the family car

For the past few weeks, Mark and I have been looking into buying a second family car – something small and economical that Mark can drive to work without costing a bomb in fuel, and something that I could easily zip up to the shops in or do the school pick up. When it comes to buying cars, I’m usually only interested in two things – how smoothly it drives and how good the visibility is, particularly when reversing. Engine size, torque, fuel economy, braking systems – none of it has ever meant anything to me. Now though, I’ve decided that I should be much more involved in our decision over which car is right for us.

buying a car

It was information overload at first – there are just so many small cars on the market. I decided the simplest way to go about it was to figure out exactly what we needed, and then I could devise a checklist of requirements. This has worked brilliantly and has really helped us to narrow down our choices and compare different models. Here’s what we as a family are looking for in a small car:

1. Value for money and fuel economy

2. Safety

3. Space and storage

4. Special features that will add comfort and convenience while driving

Now, that’s a lot to ask of a small car, which is why we are still looking. I wasn’t sure we’d find something that ticked all the boxes, until I was asked to test drive a Mitsubishi Mirage sedan for a week and provide a review. What perfect timing? Our current family car is a Mitsubishi Outlander and I LOVE driving that car. Really really love it. I had never cared much about cars or driving until we had the Outlander. It’s a smooth and almost effortless drive. So I thought testing out the Mirage would be a great idea.

choosing a car 2

So how did it shape up and did it meet our list of requirements? It sure did! When I pulled out of the dealers after collecting the car, the first thing I noticed was how much power it had for a small car. It was that same effortless feeling that I have when I drive the (much larger) Outlander. Despite all this power, the Mirage offers best in class fuel economy with 4.9l/100km – this is perfect for the long commute that Mark takes to work.

Safety features are a huge deal to me, especially now that we have Little Guy, but I never really thought that small cars were very safe. The Mirage, however, offers:

  • 6 SRS airbags: Side airbags for thorax protection, Curtain airbags that drop down from the ceiling and protect the occupants from side collision and driver & front passenger for head on collisions.
  • Brake assist. A system that monitors the swiftness of a driver’s brake pedal application and applies additional braking force if it determines that a panic stop is occurring.
  • Active stability & traction control. This basically means that the car automatically recognises if you under-steer and over-steer around corners. It applies brakes to the appropriate wheels to keep you steady. Pretty cool, huh?
  • Reinforced body construction, which strengthens the entire body and improves collision protection.
  • ABS . Anti-lock braking system which stops you from skidding all over the road when you brake suddenly and on slippery roads.

Really, they had me at “6 SRS airbags” but all the other features mean that I felt very confident driving around with Little Guy in the back seat.

storage

So how was it on storage? We need a large boot. Kids = lots of stuff. I honestly wasn’t expecting the boot on a small car to hold all that much but just look at how much I packed in there. There’s Little Guy’s bike, two soccer balls, a bag of beach toys, a small esky for our picnic food, and two huge bags filled with towels and all the other bits and pieces we took along to the beach that day. And there’s STILL  a tonne of room in there. That’s a great big tick for storage then!

how to choose a family car

So the last box on our list is comfort and any other special extras that might make our drive that much more pleasant. These are nice to haves and things we could compromise on, but with the Mirage we didn’t need to compromise on anything. There are features in our much larger Outlander that I absolutely love but which I thought we would definitely need to forgo with a smaller car. Not so with the Mirage. It’s basically a mini-Outlander. Just like our Outlander, the Mirage had rain sensing windscreen wipers (they speed up automatically as the rain gets heavier), dusk sensing headlamps, Bluetooth® phone connectivity with audio streaming and voice control, audio and phone controls on the steering wheel so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road or wait for a traffic light to change settings, and a USB input ( an absolute MUST for me as I always need to charge my phone in the car).

So after a week of driving  the Mirage and pretty much falling in love with it, it ticked all our boxes. It really is designed for families looking for affordability and value for money without compromising on standard features, latest technology, safety and space.  For more information visit the Mirage Sedan Showroom     

This is a sponsored post for Mitsubishi Motors. As always, all views expressed are entirely my own and this post is written by me, in my own words.

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What Do You See? Creative Thinking Challenge for Kids

ideas 9

Have you heard about Origin Energy’s amazing littleBigIdeas competition?  We all know kids are just bubbling with brilliant ideas – they have a very special way of looking at the world. To them, anything is possible. Thanks to Origin Energy, that creative thinking and enthusiasm is being recognised with their littleBigIdeas competition.  Kids in grades three to eight are invited to come up with a big (or little) idea and they could win the trip of a lifetime to the USA where they will visit the Cape Kennedy Space Centre, Epcot Theme Park at Walt Disney World Florida, the Orlando Science Centre and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Incredible, right? Scroll to the end of this post for more info or head over to the littleBigIdeas website right now. Be quick though – entries close NEXT FRIDAY September 5. Hop to it!  

ideas 1

When I mentioned the Little Big Ideas competition to Little Guy, he was SO keen to enter. However he is a smidge younger than the entry age, so I thought I’d set him a little challenge at home with our rainbow stacking toy – try and come up with a new way to play with it each day for a week. I was happily surprised by how much he got into it. This pic above was his “picture” of a sunrise (the red and orange arcs) over the waves (the blue arcs) with a surfer (the indigo arcs).

ideas 2

There were imaginative scenes and small worlds, made up games and story telling.

ideas 3

Other toys were brought into the mix and the more he played the more ideas seemed to pour out of him.

ideas 4a

This happy face made me smile!

ideas 5

Eventually his ideas turned to some gross motor fun including a miniature golf course down our hallway (with a cricket bat for a golf club, naturally).

ideas 6

Then our rainbow became an obstacle course.

ideas 7

Little Guy is really excited with learning sight words, and so he spent an afternoon forming words.

ideas 8He really loved this challenge and I loved watching him get excited about something other than the iPad for a while. Win win!

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Do you have an inventive thinker in your home? Then get those creative ideas flowing and enter the Little Big Ideas competition. There are no limits on how little or big your idea is. It could be a new invention, a smart way to save energy or a clever idea that helps people or makes their lives easier. Describe your littleBIGidea in 200 words or less. If you want, you can also create a 1 minute video or drawing to help get your idea across.

What a fabulous way to get kids excited about being creative and thinking outside the box. Remember, entries close on September 5, 2o14 so head on over to the LittleBigIdeas website right now. Good Luck!

Warm Chocolate Soup and a Comfy Cosy Giveaway

I served these fabulous bowls of pure chocolate indulgence at a dinner with friends a couple of weeks ago. My dear friend Miss K pleaded with me to blog the recipe and who am I to deny anyone some sweet chocolate bliss? So, here it is, my warm chocolate soup recipe. Be sure to check the end of the post as well for a warm cosy giveaway!
Chocolate soup recipe

Many years ago, I watched a television program about Swedish food. I think that show may well have been the catalyst for my current obsession with all things Scandinavian. One scene in particular has always stuck in my mind. The host visited a cafe which served all manner of heavenly chocolate concoctions, but the one that made my jaw drop, was chocolate soup. I’ll say that again, just to help it sink in. Chocolate Soup! Willy Wonka himself could not have dreamed up such a treat. My world was changed forever.

Rich chocolate soup

Spot the blogger in the spoon 😉

It wasn’t until I began searching for a recipe for this manna from Heaven that I learned that Chocolate Soup is in fact a thing. A big thing. There are countless recipes out there. The ones I looked at though, all seemed very heavy and rich. I decided that if I was going to indulge in a bowl full of chocolate, then I wanted to keep it fairly pure, not over worked with too many ingredients.

Ingredients for chocolate soup

So I pulled together some good quality ingredients that pair well with chocolate – vanilla, cinnamon, cream, milk and sugar. This is a classic family of flavours, and it would be hard to go wrong here, but it still took me a few trial runs to find the right balance.

Dark chocolate soup dessert

Always use the best quality chocolate that you can. I love using Whittaker’s 70% dark Ghana. It’s the only chocolate that I’ve found with an upmarket taste for a down market price, and it’s readily available at my local supermarket so I don’t need to visit a specialty store to buy it. It’s seriously good stuff. Get on it.

vanilla bean

I like to use a vanilla bean when I’m making something as special as chocolate soup but really, vanilla essence is perfectly fine if that’s what you have in the pantry.

how to make chocolate soup

One thing I wouldn’t skimp on for this recipe, is the cinnamon sticks. Dropping a cinnamon stick into the mixture will infuse the soup with a delicate flavour and it will make all the difference to the end result. Ground cinnamon would be just too strong. You want the cinnamon to whisper sweet nothings in your mouth, not scream at you. If you don’t have any cinnamon sticks, then just omit the cinnamon altogether.

Dark chocolate

We tend to enjoy our chocolate soup pure and simple (see my full recipe at the end of the post) but for a twist you could try steeping a chilli in the soup while cooking and remove it before serving. Now that would warm you up on a cold winter’s night! Even a few drops of peppermint essence could be fun.

Chocolate soup how to

easy chocolate soup

warm chocolate soup

happy chocolate face

I hope you enjoy this chocolate soup recipe and may your dessert end with happy chocolatey smiles!

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My chocolate soup is one of our favourite ways to warm up on a cold winter’s evening – and we’ve had many of those lately. (Cold evenings, not bowls of chocolate soup!) What could be more wonderful than cuddling under a warm throw rug, slurping chocolate soup and reading a good book?

Sunbeam heated blanket

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR THREE WINNERS:
Jess – Memoirs of a Childhood
Melissa – Honeybee Books
Lorna

An email is one its way to our winners. Congratulations once again and thank you to everyone who entered.

The throw that Little Guy is snuggled under looks pretty comfy, doesn’t it? You want to know a secret? It’s not just any old throw. It’s an ELECTRIC throw! Oh yes it is!

The lovely people at Origin Energy sent us a gorgeous Sunbeam Heated Throw and it is AH-mazing. I feel the cold badly – I wear jumpers in the height of Summer  – so I have pretty much lived under this thing for the past few weeks. Really, they had me at “heated” but as if that wasn’t enough, this baby features:

* 9 different heat settings
* super fast heat up (it’s warm as toast in 10 minutes flat)
* the plushest, softest fabric you’ve ever laid your hands on
* it’s machine washable AND you can tumble dry it (seriously!)

So you want to get your hands on one of these babies, don’t you? Well thanks to Origin Energy and Sunbeam, I have THREE to give away, worth $79.95 each.

To enter, simply leave a comment below telling me your favourite warming winter dessert. Easy right? Good luck!

Terms and conditions:
Entry is open to Australian residents only
Chance plays no part in this competition
Entries open at 10.30pm EST on August 24, 2014 and close at 10.15pm on Friday August 29, 2014
Winners will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours or new winners will be selected

Now, I’ve kept you waiting long enough. Here’s the recipe for my extra special, warm and delicious, Chocolate Soup!

CHOCOLATE SOUP
Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time: 10 minutes Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS
250 gm good quality dark (70%) chocolate
300 ml pouring cream
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla pod
marshmallows and extra chocolate (greated) for garnish (optional)

TO MAKE
Add the milk, cream and cinnamon stick to a heavy based saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the milk mixture. Stirring constantly, bring to a simmer over a low heat.

Add the chocolate and stir until melted and mixed through. Continue stirring over a low heat until the soup thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and pour into serving bowls. Garnish with grated chocolate and marshmallows.

Tip: If your soup is too thin, add a little cornflour. If it is too thick, add more milk. You may also like to adjust the quantity of sugar according to your own taste. Enjoy!