Saturday 9 November 2013

45/52 - mud kitchens + cardboard box trains


Lily in her happy place - the outdoor 'mud kitchen'. 

The kids spend most of their time out here these days - enjoying the beautiful weather, and free to create, imagine, play - and make plenty of mess, of course! 

It's a simple set up - not pretty, but functional: a second hand play-kitchen given a new lease of life, a second hand table, and a hodge-podge collection of old kitchen utensils, containers and sand pit toys. They cook with dirt, sand, water, grass, petals, sticks, leaves and whatever else they come across (let's just say it's not a vegetarian kitchen). 

It's good, messy, creative, outdoorsy, unstructured fun. The stuff of childhood.

Chances are if you visit our home, they will beg you to come outside, sit on the garden bench and dine at their restaurant. The prices are erratic (anywhere from 20 cents to 'forty hundred dollars') but the service is meticulously attentive, and the food (though somewhat gritty) is made with dollops of love.


He worked out how to snap his fingers. 

He was so determined to learn, and practised and practised till he got that all-important 'click'. 

Now all his staff (me?!) can be prompt in their attentions, haha ;)


The curls are coming.... 

Project 52: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

More highlights from the week that was...

Mixing up a pie. She has worked out a 'recipe' in which she mixes up a sloppy batter, puts it in the sunshine to dry out/harden/cook, so she can then slice it up. A culinary mud-kitchen master :)

Just needs a couple minutes in the microwave ;)

Somebody mastered the pincer grip. A world of tiny foods now opens up :) Sultanas, frozen peas, puffed corn, etc

Making slice with my little 'taste tester' :)

We were so lucky to have Finn and Harper come for a sleepover! High excitement indeed. Just look at this four!
They are such dear friends. Lily requested home-made pizzas eaten outside for their special dinner, and the alfresco
dinner was enjoyed by all. I was chuckling as they casually chit-chatted away!

Little friends sharing a little food and a lot of laughter.

These two girls snuggled into the guest bed with their array of bed buddies and requested the curtain left open so they
'could enjoy the beautiful sunset'. Sleepover pros, they quietly giggled and chatted together for a couple
hours before drifting off to sleep. Precious little friends!

Another day, another 'box creation'. She comes home from school, sees a few boxes laying around and her creative
brain and hands go into over drive. This is the result - a train with a bracelet front light (because I cruelly didn't let her use Daddy's precious head lamp), doily wheels and a copious amount of blue electrical tape (which is the very best tape). All in a day's work!

Miles got added to the caboose - perfection.

'Being a little brother is so cool, look at all the fun stuff I get to join in on!'

Hanging with friends. He was so fascinated by this strange adventure!

A train full of blessings. It went to another level when Daddy used the broom to push them all around the house!! 

We stole this fun and simple idea from clever Amber - tape some clear contact paper on the window and let the kid's have fun sticking stuff up! I gave them a pile of paper and fabric scraps and an Ikea catalogue and let them go to town. Eli started out with trying to stick the entire catalogue up there!! :) but he soon got the gist of things and they spent a happy half hour cutting and sticking. 

Oh, if you are wondering, all the blue painters tape is because we are in the middle of stripping back, sanding, and
repainting that window frame. Um.... the project was started a year ago so maybe it will get finished in another year?!


And then there were four....
Good bye gummy smile, hello little chompy grin :)

'Watch 'dis, Mummy' He undoes his sandwich and takes a bite of
cheese, a bite of lettuce, a bite of ham and a lick of chutney - then chews them all up
together. I don't bother explaining that the whole point of a
sandwich is having all the ingredients together in one convenient package.
He just makes his own wonderful way in this world ;)

After school exhaustion! Bless x


  1. it's so great to have an outdoor kitchen!!! i find your idea excellent!

  2. So much goodness all packed into one week! I'm a little exhausted after viewing all the pictures ;)
    I love the kid's outdoor mud pie kitchen. They both look so purposeful in their play (clever Lily, working out how to make the pies sliceable ;) ) and of coarse playing with mud and found objects is fun (and doesn't cost mum and dad anything! double yay!)
    Eli's portrait for the week is a cracker. Love his little face popping out the side of the frame. Cute and clever!
    and Miles with his curl, just like his big brother as a baby :)

    Those sleepover shots are adorable. The first one would be my favourite. Isn't it lovely that they are all such firm friends? So comfortable in each other's company too :) Thank you again for having them over :)

    So glad you tried the contact paper craft out. So much fun and super easy for a busy mama to put together :)

    1. thanks amber! that first shot of our 4 is my fave too... just so many happy expressions, so interactive :) they are so happy together.

  3. Gorgeous!!!!

    All kids need to play in the dirt! And eat a few bugs too, LOL.

    My DD just learned how to click her fingers too, haha, she is so proud. Next on the list is whistling.

    I love the shots on the seat of the four friends together, perfect.

    1. thanks! yes, good ol' dirt - so good for the immune system and all the senses :) plus - free and easy! worth the mess it creates :)

  4. Love the outside kitchen. Need to create one of these me thinks! Love the idea with the contact paper on the windows too! You're so clever. Clearly where lily gets her creative train prowess from! What a simple joy to be able to click for Eli and don't get me started on how cute miles is with all those teeth!!!!

    1. heehee thanks - though many of these ideas are inspired, tweaked or blatantly pinched from clever friends, pinterest, etc :) the train though - well, lily is the genius behind that one, kids are so original :)

  5. These kids know how to have fun. Love the 4 of them on the garden bench, so lovely. Good on Eli for persevering with the finger clicking, not easy to do. Love the train and the clear contact. What a super idea. Brings back memories of being in the "restaurant". Hoping to do it all again soon! Love Marg.

    1. yessss the kids are ready and waiting to serve you in the restaurant again soon!

  6. Wow, big week! Love Miles's weekly shot, baby curls are the cutest! It is lovely to see your crew hanging out with Amber's crew, they look like they have such a blast together, great photos of them all together! Lily's train is super awesome and the photo with Miles in the caboose made me smile!

    1. aw thanks Rachel! yes our 4 kiddos loooove hanging out so much :) it was a big week and yet it was just average house stuff too - i am thankful for this project/blog which encourages me to photograph/memories so many of these little daily things we would otherwise quickly forget!

  7. You have such creative, happy kids! I really enjoyed looking through your blog. Those curls are to die for! I love the cheesy smile from the art table. I bet you really enjoyed that mud pie. :-)

    1. thanks Leann :) they are very creative, i just stand back in awe most of the time :) haha yes mud pie is delish ;)


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