Fat bum? Empty wallet? Try these cheap school holiday ideas.

DISCLAIMER: This is a Levis curve ID ad, NOT my ‘ass’.

Bracing for the chaos of school holidays, I scheduled in a bit of ‘me’ time this week. I planned a long overdue hair appointment and time afterwards for a masochistic quest for a new pair of jeans and a vaguely flattering cozzie.

With the kids dropped off, I made it to the shops just in time to dash to the loo and discover that my period had started. Profusely. Obviously, it was a bad sign. But we all know how precious and hard-won a few hours to ourselves is – NOTHING was going to stop me.

Three hours and $250 later I left the hairdresser feeling drab. Stuck in that female twilight land between young and cool and old and forgotten I looked like a nice sensible newsreader. But I persevered. It was my ‘me’ day, after all.

Searching for swimmers was no more gratifying. I’m too stretch-marked for bikinis, but about 25 years too young for one of those scary pre-shaped nanna cozzies.

Feeling my nerves fraying, I gave up on that and headed for jeans. With only an hour until pick up, I grabbed several pairs and headed for a change-room where I analysed my arse up close for the first time since I last bought jeans. It wasn’t pretty. I tried to remember if the rule is that small back pockets make your arse look fat, or if it’s big pockets will make your arse look fat and then realized that actually my arse just looked fat because it IS fat. Despairing, I chucked my own old favourite jeans back on, only to discover that they indeed ALSO MAKE MY ARSE LOOK FAT. Sigh.

I bought a scarf. Abandoning all hope I headed to the car only to discover that I’d slipped over into hour 5 and now needed to pay $25 to get my crappy old car released from this hellish torture centre known as Chatswood Chase.

On the bright side, after a terrible day of focusing on myself, I’m now more than happy to shift over to simpler places and focus on the kids for a couple of weeks. I’ve done some planning and researched a few free, fun ‘Spring’ activities to keep us busy. Which is lucky, considering in my unsatisfying vanity quest, I’ve spent all our money.

Miss F will be delighted to combine her two favourite things (pressing flowers & rock collecting) in this project to make a decoupage paperweight. Once that’s gotten boring, she can move onto making coasters for Nanna (sorry Nanna, we won’t mind if they disappear after a couple of visits).

More on the flower theme, girls of all ages will enjoy whipping up these Martha Stewart tissue pom poms.

Boys might want to skip the florals and head straight for bugs, with these cool critter craft ideas. And here’s a weird little spider to make. You need an empty soft-drink can for the last one, which you’ll have after you’ve introduced your kids to the joy of a spider you can drink. Not healthy, but hugely fun, place a small scoop of ice-cream in a really big tall glass, then pour over enough soft drink (lemonade is the least offensive, but traditionally you should use creaming soda) to get a good fizz going. Serve with a big long spoon. Your kids will not believe their luck. Ice cream AND soft drink all in one dish.

While they’re on a treat theme, why not astonish them with your awesomeness by helping them make honeycomb. Practically sunshine in your mouth, you make it by boiling up sugar and golden syrup, then popping in some bicarb. There’s a nice easy recipe for it here.

With sunshine in your mouth and sugar in your veins, it’s time for a holiday YouTube disco (with a sunshine theme of course). Go retro with Katrina & the Waves – Walking on Sunshine, Stevie Wonder – You are the sunshine of my life, The Animals – House of the rising sun, Len – Steal my sunshine or Dario G – Sunchyme (remember that video clip with all the people being animals? The kids will love it).

And if they’ve still got energy to burn, then head to the park for some running about. There are some great activities to choose from here. (I particularly like the ‘giant, wizard, elf’ game, which is a whole body version of ‘scissors, paper, rock’ that ends with chasings).

And with all that to keep you busy, you won’t have to go anywhere near a shopping centre. Praise the lord.


For more school holiday ideas, visit here (with the psychedelic marble cake) or more ‘on the cheap’ ideas here.

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