You know the old saying "buy a kid an expensive toy and they'll play with the box." Well, I thought I would skip the expense and the heartbreak of watching my child make eyes at the box and forego the toy by making the toy out of a box to start with. That and we had a perfectly good box hanging about just begging to be made into something else.

My little guy has shown a real interest in the oven of late and in an effort to move him away from the hot plates and not stifle his creativity I whipped up a little oven and hot plate for him. The whole thing took about 15 minutes (tops) to put together and he couldn't wait to "get cooking".

Just in case you wanted to have a go yourself I will give the low down on how I made mine.

I taped the top of the box closed and flipped it over and it became the bottom. The new top of the box was then covered over with a few sheets of white paper glued to the box. To create an even surface to glue down the hot plates. The "hot plates" were then made by cutting out a few different size circles from black paper I had hanging around (but if you had paper plates you could glue those down and it would be even easier).

The dials were added using a couple of flat sparkly beads but you could easily use buttons if you didn't have any beady type things. I then put three cuts into the front side to create the oven, leaving the fourth side joined so that he could open and close the oven door. I put two holes in the door and a length of string with a big button, so that he could easily open and shut the oven door. To finish off, I put a spare cooling rack in the oven to act like the base of the oven and gave him a muffin tin and some patty papers to put in, a pot and a mixing spoon. He loved it and has now been encouraging us to eat his pretend cakes and muffins all week.

Cheep, easy and lots of fun. Ticked all the boxes. Awesome.

Let me know if you have a go making your own box toy. I'd love to see some pics.


So here's the thing. It's hard to be all glamour at Christmas time with a two year old because it's really just a fight to keep him from kicking the tree baubles around the house every time I turn my back. So in an effort to keep him entertained and do something a little crafty (and by little, I mean not too much effort or expense on my part) I did a little searching on Pinterest and came across this nifty little crafty idea to keep the kids entertained. I first came across this idea on Sol and Rachel Do a Blog but there are heaps of different versions on Pinterest and now here is mine!

This felt Christmas Tree can be decorated over and over by the kids (felt sticks to felt - so there is no mess) and packed up and brought back out the following year.

I headed down to Spotlight for the materials and all up it cost about $11.  I purchased 1 metre of green felt for the tree and five squares of different coloured felt for the materials.

Here are my tips for making the experience as pain free as possible.

Fold the tree green felt in half. Pin the two sides together and draw your tree design on one side and then cut through both sides at the same time following the lines you have just drawn. If you try and draw the whole tree onto felt to cut out you will never be able to get it symmetrical on both sides!!

Draw templates for your Christmas decorations like the bows, balls and candy canes onto paper once and then reuse the templates by sticky taping them onto the felt and then cutting them out. You can cut through the tape and carefully peal it off the felt when your decorations are cut out.

I outlined a glass onto paper to create my template for the balls. But you could use a range of different circles like  a roll of tape or egg cups to create different size balls, which means the kids can overlay them on top of each other or put them up separately.

I stuck my tree to the wall using bluetac and the felt "sticks" to itself - so you can hang the decorations again and again and again.
How could you not LOVE this idea!? Look at that happy little face!

I am going to be taking a bloggy break from my usual posting schedule over the school holiday period so that I can spend some time with and on my ferals... I mean children and the rest of my family. I will be doing more the occassional post rather than my usual schedule of posts over this time.

As I will probably be knee deep in kiddy activity stuff up until Christmas and beyond- I would like to take a moment to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas period and a safe and healthy start to 2013. See you in the New Year.

Merry Christmas,

Starts off nicely enough. Focused and playing with colour.
I don't ever remember a time when my mother put down a load of washing or pushed the house cleaning aside to sit down and play a game with me because she felt guilty that we weren't doing enough activities together. Not that I have a bad mother, that's just the way it worked then. Your mother said "get out from under my feet and go outside and play" and you did. So why is it that mother's today suffer from this guilt? You feel bad if you don't get down to their level and play enough. You feel bad if your kid isn't signed up to enough activities because he might be missing out, or worse falling behind. You feel bad that you are not interacting enough with them. Perhaps you should be making flash cards or homemade playdough or cities from old shoe boxes! I personally blame those overly organised people who make everything look effortless and look like they are always doing worthwhile, fun, yet organised stuff with their kids, including making flash cards. I wonder if there's a class to become one .....

Anyhoo, in an effort to do more with the kiddies (as opposed to just cleaning up after them) I set up some paints, a small canvas and a paint smock for my 2 year old. I thought I was thoroughly prepared. Great idea you'd think..... not so, but at least he enjoyed it. So I guess we reached our objective even if the National Art Gallery is not beating a trail to my door any time soon.

Wow, how did that get there?!
I missed a spot, I'll just fix that up there.
So there are other things to use than the brush and this is what happens.
The take away lesson I got from that was that I should only give him one colour at a time. Too many colours were just too much to handle at once - and clearly all colours are supposed to be mixed into one disgusting colourless mess if that's what you are given.

Just so you know, I also had a paint shirt on - just in case messy little hands started to get a bit too touchy feely and it did take quite some time to clean up after. So, not only did I take time away from cleaning up to participate in the activity but it also created more work.... but that's how it goes with kids. That's how they roll.... 

So, what sorts of activities are you participating in with your little people and how have you fared with yours?

The finished "work of art"
I also wanted to let you know that Mother Load has now joined Facebook so come and say hi!! On reading an article about social media overload recently, it got me thinking about  my blog challenge and what I would like to achieve with my blog, so I have decided to make a few changes from blogging everyday to blogging every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and on special occassions.  I want Mother Load to continue to be fun and fresh and I don't ever want to get to a point where I am repeating myself and it's not fun for me (or you!). I will also be around on facebook every other day, posting away.

Have a wonderful Weekend and see you on Monday!!


Hey there Groovy Chicks,

I hope that you have had a great week.... and if not it's almost the weekend, so perhaps next week can be a do-over. I know as a stay at home mum that not having a regular "working" day or even working week can mean that days often blend into each other. I know myself I have forgotten what day it was a number of times this week. So I have put together a few lovely things to inspire, motivate or perhaps just make you smile.

Lunch Box Inspirations and Pretty Tasty Things

Timbuktu Magazine
Picture from design-dautore.com
I don't know that I have the time or energy to actually make either of these "dishes" but I
thought they were great anyway. Lunch box inspiration never goes astray. If you
have a go yourself I would LOVE to see it! And that cake looked so beautiful -
what can I say.... I love a good cake.

Crafty Stuff to do with the Kids

from www.smallhandsbigart.com
I really love this idea. Very simple but lots of fun!! There are a few options for making these. You could have some dress up fun first (each child needs four different outfits - so you have a picture for each side) or you could just use magazine pictures. Either way it would be fun. You can get the kids involved in the cutting and gluing and then the actual fun of mixing and matching the bodies. I know kids love doing stuff which is all about them, so having pictures of your kids to do this with would only add to the entertainment value. Instructions are at http://smallhandsbigart.com/blog/featured-article/mix-match-dolls/  if you want to see how they did it and learn from their mistakes. Awesome idea!

The winner of ........ I wish I was there right now.

Italy in the summer picture from design-dautore.com
I included this picture because it has been so very cold in Melbourne lately and I really wanted to be there in the warm... and it looked so very beautiful.

Websites to Check Out

OK, lastly I know I have already brought up www.picmonkey.com before but if you have not had a little play with it already you are really missing out. So I have decided to include (with her permission, of course!) a before and after example from someone I have converted to a lover of picmonkey. No, I am not on commission... I just love what you can do with it!!
Before picmonkey
After picmonkey.
I told you it was impressive!!
Anyhoo, I am hoping you have enjoyed today's joylights. These really are a few of the things that have brought me some joy this week or just amused me.  

Have a wonderful weekend.



PS Sending a big warm fuzzy hug and I hope you feel better real soon to my BFF Daniela, who is not doing so well this week.
Perhaps it's just me, (please say it's not) but do you ever get that feeling as a stay at home mum, that you've just hung your millionth load of washing and yet funnily enough it does not feel like grounds to celebrate - it feels like groundhog day?
Just like all the other banal everyday activities you have become "owner" of, even though you don't remember putting your hand up to take them on because you knew how fulfilled it could make you feel. I know, I know, someone has to do it. Its just that growing up and wondering what I wanted to be - "doer of monotonous, repetitive, unpaid, uncelebrated tasks" did not come top of my list. But again, perhaps it's just me.

Leaving dreams of greatness on the floor, let me now move on to share one of todays highlights with you. It all started this past weekend as it was very cold and wet, I decided to take on a few crafty type activities with the kids - one of these being the making of birdseed cakes. In an effort to bring more nature into our yard, we followed the instructions from a lovely little blog http://themagiconions.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/darling-little-birdseed-cakes.html - (just in case your inspired and would like to make your own) and I have to say the kids loved creating them. It wasn't very expensive or messy (we did it outside undercover), so it was really a successful activity all round. These little cakes have been outside, hanging precariously from the smallest, most difficult branch for a bird to access - but that's what you get when you leave a 9 year old in charge of the hanging of the cakes.....

Well, today it continues to be cold and wet and off we went to swimming lessons with my two year old. Although these lessons appear to be a real highlight for him - I can't say I am loving having to get in (especially in this current weather) and I really look forward to the day when he can get in on his own and I can look on admiringly whilst sipping my chai latte from the sidelines.

Anyhoo, we got home from said swimming lessons and the tree was full of little birds enjoying our birdseed cakes. Both my 2 year old and myself were thrilled. I was thrilled that we had succeeded to indeed bring more nature into the yard and he was thrilled that there were little birds dancing outside his window, so I have posted a photo of this, so that you may also share in our days highlight and because the picture was so cute.

Wow, check me out!! 2nd post in 2 days - I am now 363 days closer to my
goal.... well alright perhaps I am getting a little ahead of myself seeing that
it is so early in my personal challenge. (The Challenge - to blog every day for
a year) But, you have to start somewhere... every journey starts with the first
step and all that.

Enjoy your days highlight,