Monday, 29 April 2013

A book review - Survival of the Ginnest (with brief musings on internet friends)

book, survival of the ginnest, toddler, parenting
Survival of the Ginnest ©
I shall be honest from the outset - I know Aimee Horton of Pass the Gin. She is an internet friend. Those of you who don't have internet friends may think that internet friends are not real or that it's a little sad and pathetic to have them but you are very, very wrong. Internet friends quite often know things about you that real life friends don't and you don't have to worry about them popping 'round for a cup of tea before you have managed to make some attempt at tidying up. (Not that my real-life friends would worry too much about the state of my house but I might.) So there you go, she's an internet friend and I offered to review her book but I hereby promise that, having been honest about my relationship with her, I will also be honest about the book.

Also, in the same week as I offered to review this, I was awaiting my copy of Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by the very amusing Amber Dusick from I say this to show you that my standards are high for humorous, irreverent, honest parenting blogs and books. Amber makes me actually laugh out loud quite regularly as well as nodding along and inspiring my infographic posts.

Survival of the Ginnest is written entirely in Facebook status updates. This makes it very readable by a) those of us who like Twitter and Facebook and b) those of us with jobs/small children/too little time. I chuckled out loud to myself several times and silently many more while reading this on a rather dreary wintery day in spring. I think that alone should be enough to make you want to spend a small bit of your hard-earned cash on it but I shall continue. I love Aimee's affectionately grumpy nicknames for her children and I like how she writes "pooh" not "poo" - I feel it expresses the disgustingness rather well.  I thought that I would tire of the status update format but, in fact, it just kept me reading as there is always time to read just one more sentence, right? I will warn you that you are likely to end up craving alcohol or pizza or Haribo or possibly all three as you read. In fact, I had to interrupt my reading to go in seek of Haribo and was rather sad to have to make do with Maynards Sour Cherry Blasters. So yes, go out there and follow Aimee on Twitter but also, go and get her electronic book 'cause you won't regret it. You can buy it here - .

Monday, 22 April 2013

A twinkly tortoise

Sometimes, when Z1 is watching television, she gets jiggly and fidgety. My first guess is usually that she needs to go to the toilet but, in fact, it is more frequently an urge to go and make or draw something that she has just had an idea for but can't quite pull herself away from the screen to get the materials for.

glitter glue, glitter, craft, tortoise, art
Glitter glue tortoise
glitter glue, tortoise, art, kid's art, children's art, glitter
Destroyed glitter glue tortoise
On Saturday, she turned to me in the middle of Gnomeo and Juliet (the weather had changed from early summer back to winter and I was damned if I was going back outside after having dragged the three of us off to ballet in the morning) and she asked told me to draw a tortoise with glitter glue. Just like that - no warning or preamble or context. I think I rose to the challenge. Sadly, she ruined it. The carefully executed tortoiseshell has been destroyed.

She then went on to draw this. Despite appearances, she assures me it is not a clown.

drawing, glitter glue, children's art, kid's art
Not a glitter glue clown

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Waiting for Spring, too busy to make stuff

Sparkly pipe cleaner chain
and standing on one leg*
It seems that waiting for Spring to arrive has been taking up a lot of our time and not leaving much time for crafts organised by me. That is not to say that Z1 has not been busy - there have been more pipe cleaner creations (of course) such as this sparkly wonder on the right.

She also made a rather magnificent Play Doh lobster creature which, sadly, was tidied up before I got to take a photo. Small pieces of variously coloured pieces of him may still be on my kitchen floor, though. Damn flaky dry Play Doh.

There have been plastic jewels carefully stuck to bits of cardboard, tiaras from birthday present kits in an array of materials, templates of tiaras traced onto paper and carefully cut out for a teddy, a money box made from a shoe box, a string tied to a box to be a home for a cat and  many more. It would appear she doesn't really need me at all. However, this is not to say that there will not be more force-marched organised crafts to come.

* her serious face is because she is staring at a spot on the wall to help her keep her balance in this one-legged pose.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

A small swarm of beetles

Sketch, beetle, craft
Beetle blueprint
 In part inspired by the marvellous Jo and her Woodcraft Folk group, the birthday party beetle craft was born. On the left, you can see my expert blueprints. The key idea in the plan was the paper fastener, allowing the beetles to open and close their wings.

As I began to plan the party, I envisioned a short talk about beetles complete with a poster to show the variety of beetles that can be found and their general coolness. I even added that poster to my ebay watch list, so excited was I.
beetles, bugs, paper plates, craft, kindergarden craft, pipe cleaners
Small swarm of beetles

However, I talked myself down from the beetle poster and concentrated on getting coloured paper plates, pipe cleaners, paper fasteners, googly eyes, stickers and a hole punch. It's just as well, really, as things at the party didn't quite go to plan. I showed them the prototype (guess which one in the photo on the right was mine) and offered help. Predictably enough, but not anticipated by me, the boys preferred to run around bashing balloons while the girls sat down to make beetles. I was a little over-stretched as the girls needed help with the hole punch but I like our little swarm of beetles.  It would have been larger but, delightfully, a couple of the girls took theirs home. Z1 was mostly happy to have our stash of pipe cleaners replenished.