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Wordless Wednesday – The Blue Wash

Washing day - boys clothes

Doing the laundry for my three super boys and linking up to Wordless Wednesday for the first time


How to Host a Star Wars Birthday Party

My older boys are both Star Wars mad. When they first started watching Episodes IV, V or V my middle son would start to cry as soon as he saw the end credits. It has a lot to do with them opening up a box of my husband’s circa 1980 Star Wars toys and paraphernalia a few months ago.

When their birthdays rolled around this year, a Star Wars-themed birthday party was the obvious choice.

Star Wars Costumes

We went a little crazy and ordered some outfits online from the US. They have loads of sites dedicated to Halloween costumes, so it was just a matter of finding the right outfits at the right price. Our boys love the original Star Wars movies, so Princess Leia was the obvious choice for me. My husband splashed out on a Stormtrooper costume and our boys choose to be Darth Vadar and a mini-me Stormtrooper.

Star Wars dress-ups


  • The kids and I made some ‘intergalactic’ mobiles a few days before the party: I cut out star, moon and planet shapes from empty cereal boxes and the boys covered them with aluminum foil. We also hung up some silver balloons.Star Wars party decorations

I made these signs and placed them around our house:

"Yoda Poster"

I placed some Star Wars figurines in amongst the party food and used my husband’s 30 year old A.T.A.T. as a centre piece. I also bought a Star Wars party tablecloth online

"Star Wars party food"

 Food and Drink

  • The kids all had Star Wars cups with their ‘Star Wars’ names written on them:"Star Wars party cups"
  • The drink of the day was ‘Yoda Soda’: I printed a picture of Yoda and wrapped it around a Lime-flavoured Soft drink bottle soft drink with a downloaded picture of Yoda over the regular label: "Yoda Soda"

Alongside your usual party food we also had:

  • Chewbacca brownies
  • Milky Ways (of course)
  • Star-shaped Rice Bubble treats

 The Stormtrooper Cake

When my brother found out we were having a Star Wars party he bravely volunteered to make the cake. It’s a nice tradition that’s evolved that we take turns making the cake for our nieces and nephews. Taking inspiration from a Stormtrooper figurine, he created this Stormtrooper cake which my boys thought was just awesome (I must say, I was very impressed too!)

Stormtrooper cutting the cake"Stormtrooper Birthday Cake"

Star Wars games

We had a mix of kids aged from one to 12 years old so we planned a mix of birthday party games:

  • Asteroid Hunt: Before the kids arrived, I wrapped up little popping candy packets in aluminum foil and hid the ‘asteroids’ all over the backyard. We played this game early on as a great icebreaker. The kids run around like crazy gathering up their asteroids then all came together in a huddle to count their asteroids and to watch each other explode the little pop rocks in their mouths
  •  Jedi Training: Each child was given their own ‘light sabre’ for the day. They were actually just foam swords I found at Big W for $2.99 but the kids loved fighting my husband with them, and it was much safer than having 10 kids running wild wielding replica light sabres which is not much fun… You can make your own light sabres by cutting a “Pool Noodle” in half and wrapping tape around the bottom as a handle.  It was also fun to have the younger kids popping bubbles from a bubble machine with their light sabres, and trying to keep balloons up in the air with them.
  • Face Painting: I made up a few pots of face paint and bravely let the kids paint each other’s faces. All the kids loved this…. "DIY Face Painting"
  •  Sneaky Stormtrooper: While the kids were outside playing, I hid the Stormtrooper cake and set up some written clues I’d written the night before.  I called all the kids inside and told them that the Stormtrooper had stolen the birthday cake but had left a clue.  This was the best activity of the day. The big kids read the clues out to the littlest ones, then they’d all go racing off to find the next clue. Some of my brilliant clue-writing included:
    • I’ll give you a clue if you’re quiet as a mouse, go take a look inside the cubby house
    • It’s a clue you want, a clue that you seek, Go to the water tank and take a peek.

The last clue led them back to the kitchen where the cake was ready with candles lit.

Towards the end of the party the kids watched “The Empire Strikes Back” and I kept my hand on the remote to fast forward the scary bits. My boys loved it so much they want to do it again next year. Which is just as well – I spent a small fortune on their Star Wars costumes!

What sort of themes have you had for your kids’ birthday parties lately?

4 things to do on ANZAC Day with your family

"Anzac Day - Lest We Forget"

For me, ANZAC Day is one of the most special days of the year. It is a true National day accompanied by intense feelings of both pride and sadness. I have been lucky enough to travel to Gallipoli twice to attend the ANZAC Day dawn services and hope to return when my kids are old enough to appreciate it. Having said that there is still a lot you can do locally and in the Sutherland Shire to commemorate the day.

Attend a Dawn Service

There is nothing more moving than listening to the hauntingly beautiful Last Post as dawn breaks. The emotion in the air as the fallen are remembered is palpable.

Soldier - ANZAC Day dawn service

The main Sydney Dawn Service is held at The Cenotaph in Martin Place with proceedings kicking off at 4:15am. City Rail has some special services to get you there.

Living in the Sutherland Shire I would need to catch a train at around 2:30am which is just not an option with three young kids. The Local RSL clubs all have their own services. Here’s a few to choose from:

  • Bundeena RSL: 6:00am at the War Memorial, behind the RSL Club
  • Caringbah RSL: 4:30m at the War Memorial, cnr Kingsway and Port Hacking Road
  • Cronulla RSL: 5:30am Monro Park, cnr Cronulla Street and Laycock Ave
  • Engadine RSL: 5:30am Engadine Town Square, Old Princes Highway
  • Miranda RSL: 5:40am at the War Memorial, Seymour Shaw Park (end of Central Road)
  • Sutherand: 5:30am Peace Park, Eton Street
  • Woronora River RSL: 6:00am 118 Prince Edward Park Road

Make ANZAC Biscuits

"ANZAC Biscuits"

Here’s a simple recipe for chewy ANZAC biscuits that the kids can help out with (my almost 3-year-old enjoyed mixing all the dry ingredients in together). It makes around 20 biscuits:


  • DRY MIX: 1 cup plain flour; 1 cup rolled oats; 1 cup desiccated coconut; 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • WET MIX: 125 grams butter; 2 tablespoons golden syrup; 2 tablespoons water plus 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  3. Combine all dry mix ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Stir butter, golden syrup and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted.
  5. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
  6. Pour the ‘wet’ butter mixture into the ‘dry’ mix and stir until combined.
  7. Roll level tablespoons of the mix into balls and place on the trays.
  8. Press each with a fork to flatten slightly.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown for a soft chewy biscuit. Leave in a bit longer for a crunchier biscuit.
  10. Leave on the trays to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Play 2-Up

In a lovely quirk of gaming law, 2-Up can only legally be played in public in NSW on ANZAC Day (except in Broken Hill, Kalgoorlie and casinos). Pubs and clubs aren’t always the best venues for kids, so why not set up your own backyard game of 2-up instead?

My simple rules for playing 2-up with young kids:

Two Up

  • Use matching coins (20 cent pieces work well)
  • Set the coins on something flat – a mini cricket bat, a ruler or even the palm of your hand – with one coin showing heads facing up, the other with tails.
  • One player (the ‘Spinner’) tosses the coins into the air… Come in Spinner!
  • The aim of the game is for the Spinner to spin as many pairs of “HEADS” as possible
  • When two “TAILS” show up, it’s someone else’s turn

To keep it interesting, all the players can bet on possible combinations of how the coins might fall: both heads, both tails or odds. M&Ms, sultanas or even an ANZAC biscuit make a great small reward for those that get it right!

ANZAC Day Craft Idea – Paper Poppies

"ANZAC Day Printables" have created a lovely range of free ANZAC Day Printables which are both meaningful and  educational.  There are instructions for making paper poppies and a paper wreath as well as an explanation of the ANZAC story for the kids. Download your own copy of the printables here: ANZAC Day printables

What are your plans for ANZAC Day this year?

New Beginnings

"New beginnings"

Its been two years since I first started tweeting and Facebooking on behalf of a major global brand, and about 18 months since I launched the branded blog.

Today I am starting all over again, on behalf of myself. And it’s liberating!

Unfettered by brand values and guidelines I can write about anything I like without having to be conscious of representing a brand. Without needing to be aware of what I am writing in every tweet, every status update, every comment, every post.

I put a lot of heart and soul into the project, but at the end of the day my words weren’t really my own.

I don’t have a logo, my blog readership will be virtually zero (hi mum!) and so far I have one Facebook fan. It’s a little bit lonely over there, but much less of a time suck than the 20,000 fans I have been managing on the branded page!

I won’t have a team of developers, designers, SEO experts or world-class freelance bloggers at my disposal and WordPress is a totally foreign place for me. But everything I write, everything I post will be my own, and that’s something really special.

I have decided to focus my writing on the one thing I know best: how to burn off the energy of my three full-on, high energy boys, right now all under the age of 5. But let’s see how it all evolves, you never know where the day may take you.

Its a new beginning for me. And I’m excited.

But I have to ask: If you were starting all over again *today*, what’s the one thing you would do differently?