What does "living the simple dream" mean to me?

I always hear people from our generation saying "Ahh, living the dream" when they are doing somthing our of the ordinary - for example: sipping cocktails in a spa of a fancy resort or perhaps they post "living the dream" as the caption beneath a photo of them moving into their new $500,000+ mansion-esque home they have just mortgaged their life away for. At first I was confused by how simple my ambitions were. All I wanted was to live in a caravan and be able to spend as much time enjoying the outdoors with my husband and son, without my husband having to be at work all the time. So for me, this became my simple dream. I find myself having those "Ahh living the dream" moments when I am sitting in a natural hot spring with my husband and son, drinking a beer, ten feet away from a crocodile infested river. Now mine, my husbands and my sons life is all about chasing our simple dream.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Budget friendly Christmas Craft for kids

I try to do an art or craft project with my son (Zac) every day, sometimes they are as simple as drawing with pencils/painting and other days we make collages with things like leaves or different items from our craft kit. I absolutely love craft (probably more so than my son) but not the “adult kinds” like scrapbooking etc. because I am far too messy to make anything that is actually presentable or even remotely artistic. Craft is a brilliant activity to do with your children, even just once a week or whenever you have time. It allows them to explore their imagination, learn new skills and ideas, develop their fine motor skills and it also gives them valuable quality time with you.
For Zacs birthday I made him a “craft box” I simply bought small bits and pieces (mainly from cheap shops like “Crazy Clarks”) like paints, feathers, sequins, glue, texta’s, paddle pop sticks, googly eyes and anything else I could find. It didn’t cost much and it’s a great gift for family and friends to “build on” for your child’s birthdays and Christmas. We have built his “craft box” up over the last year and a half and it now takes up an entire 55 litre plastic container (and gives us hours of enjoyment). But you don’t have to have a lot of craft supplies to be able to make amazing creations.

We ended up finding these nifty little cases for quite cheap at Super Cheap Auto so we bought two of them to house the “collage items”. These cases make the items far easier for Zac to look over and make his own choice about what he would like to work with. They are a great way to organise your child’s craft supplies.
Today we decided on some “Christmas craft”, we decided to make our own Christmas decorations. I googled recipes for dough that could be cooked (and solidified) then painted and it came back with this recipe:

2 cups flour
2 tablespoons oil
4 tablespoons cream of tarter
1 cup of water

We threw it all in together (adding extra flour or water when needed) mixed it up, rolled it out and then ‘went to town’ with our cookie cutters! Once Zac had cut out all the shapes he wanted, we poked holes in them (for the ribbon) and put them on a baking tray in the oven set to 180 degrees until they were brown/solid.

We then painted them all with beautiful colours and decorated them with glitter and sequins in the Christmas colours, then added the ribbon. Try to excuse the white "glue marks" all over them as I took this photo before they had dried completely. We are going to send these out with Zacs framed Santa photo to Zac’s grandparents and aunts and uncles. They are a simple, cheap gift that you could give out straight from your child! My sons  only three but I am sure that your older children could do alot more intricate designs and you could always seal them with a quick spray of clear coat to make them last for a long time.

The decorations pictured above are some we made a few weeks ago, they are simple and very budget friendly. All we did was paint pictures using mostly Christmas colours, let the paintings dry then cut out Christmas ornament shapes. We then glued glitter and sequins on and used a sparkly pipe cleaner to hang them. You could use chopped up bits of paper from magazines/packaging etc to decorate them and leftover ribbon to hang them.

Another budget friendly craft project we did recently was this nature collage. We “made a day” out of this one by spending part of the day walking through gardens and bushlands near a local park, collecting leaves, gumnuts and dirt. We then went home and cut out the backboard from the side of a Froot Loops box, we covered the cardboard with PVA glue and Zac stuck all the different nature items onto the page (while we talked about where they came from and what they were).
Another of our budget friendly craft projects involves a lot of cardboard boxes. I collect EVERY cardboard box (all shapes and sizes) from any grocery items, tissues, toilet rolls, egg cartons, gifts etc. then once we have a big collection we will spend one day assembling (with masking tape) robots, cars and anything else we think of. The next day we will paint them all. Then on the third day when they are all dry my son will spend the majority of an entire day playing with them. That’s three days worth of exciting activities for the cost of a little conscious recycling!
Children can learn so much from simple craft projects and there are so many different ways to enjoy these activities with your child. There is a craft activity for every budget!

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea - our boys love art n craft! I love that you could make them, paint them and then put them on the tree :)