Mama's Musings

Resource Review: Art Supplies - Lyra Pencils

May 13, 2020

I learned fairly early on in parenting that poor quality art supplies just weren't worth buying.  Instead of paying 99c for a packet of pencils that broke and split and gave a mediocre result on the page, I invested in German-made Lyra pencils for our children.  These have lasted years, being topped up from time to time with a new packet or some metallics or skin tones for variety.  I used to sell Lyra pencils when I owned Spiral Garden, so was lucky to buy a stash of them at wholesale rates.  Years on, though, I don't hesitate to pay full price when it's time to restock the pencil jar, because they are awesome!  They're still available from Spiral Garden, as well as most art supply stores and even Officeworks.

We mostly use the Super Ferby range - they're thick, so they're strong.  They smell good, and they feel good in our hands.  Most of the Ferby range have only natural wood on the outer case, which is good for smalls who like to chew pencils...


Home Grown Kids: The Recycled Garden

May 09, 2020

Recycling in the garden has been increasing in popularity for more than a decade. In July 2008, Richard Reynolds and his team created a Recycled Garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The creators explained, “Everything in this garden would have been thrown away if we had not intercepted it. Reusing and rejuvenating old plants is one tactic guerrilla gardeners deploy when transforming neglected patches of public space. In this way both land and plants are given a new lease of life - sustainably and cheaply.”

In the United States, more than 600,000 tons of discarded material were recycled by landscaper and artist Richard Pocopalia for garden use. Items used in his designs include old guardrails, driftwood, broken crockery and other waste. What an achievement to reduce landfill by 600,000 tons whilst creating beautiful places!

Garden recycling is a great way to inspire interest in the environment especially with kids. Finding...


Friday Freebie! Seed to Seed

May 08, 2020

This is a fantastic, free pdf of a book designed for educators to share gardening with children.  It contains a wealth of info on planning, building, planting, maintaining, harvesting, eating and saving seeds - with relevant activity suggestions and resources.

Click on the book image to access the free download.


Resource Review: Booko

May 06, 2020

Years ago, when searching online for less-common books, I remember using a search engine, and heading to each of my favourite online booksellers to hunt down a specific title, comparing prices, postage and stock availability to save a few dollars here and there in pursuit of some must-have tome.

One day, I stumbled across Booko.  This website made it so quick to compare prices, find second-hand options, and discover new booksellers.  I could find electronic and audio versions, paperback or hardback, new or used, various editions, 

I've never bothered to create an account, or save searches or wish lists - I just head to the site and type in the title when I'm looking for something in particular, especially older or out of print non-fiction.

I hope you find Booko useful too!


Homeschool Advice

May 05, 2020

Sunday Fun Day: Homeschool Bingo

May 03, 2020

Print a copy of this and pop it on the fridge ... how long until you can mark off all the squares?


Home Grown Kids: Animals in the Garden

May 02, 2020

Animals are an exciting part of the gardening experience. We are blessed to have a garden large enough for many creatures, great and small.  We also have a number of exciting wildlife around our place to enjoy. Here are a few of our backyard residents.

There are a lot of ways to incorporate animals into your gardens and your children’s lives, though, even without the luxury of having a lot of garden space.

Worms are fascinating to observe. They munch through food scraps and create fantastic fertiliser for your plants.  Want to build a worm farm? Instructions are  readily available online. Alternatively, you can buy a complete kit with worms and all requirements from hardware stores, gardening centres and sometimes your local farmers' market.

Worm Observation Experiment
Worm Farm from Recycled Materials

Bird feeders are a second option for those with limited space. A simple bird feeder can be created using a pot plant saucer and some string or wire, and hung from a...


Friday Freebie! A Yearlong Permaculture Course

May 01, 2020

I've just come to the end of a free yearlong Permaculture course.  It was delivered to me in weekly modules containing excellent videos with Heather Jo Flores and other inspirational teachers, beautiful artwork by Kt Shepherd and SO MUCH content relevant to people living a variety of lifestyles.

This course is suitable for older students and adults, with elements of it worthwhile sharing with younger children too (like Kt's weekly drawings).


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