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DIY Building a vegetable garden with your kids

DIY building a vegetable garden with your kidsBuilding your own vegetable garden is a rewarding and enjoyable experience, you can save money and have fresh vegetables in the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to have a garden either, if you’re living in an apartment or don’t have a garden, then there are supplies available in hardware stores with which you can grow a garden patch in your own kitchen window!

In any case, however and wherever you chose to start your vegetable patch you will find that the flavour and texture of your own home grown plant will exceed the products you find in grocery stores.

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to share the experience with your kids? Growing a vegetable patch with them is an excellent way to bond and teach them some new and reliable life skills which they can use again in the future. It can be a fun and relaxing experience which can offer you and your kids some time outdoors and in the sun.

It’s not difficult to grow your own vegetables and anyone can do it, it’s much easier than you think. If the process is carefully planned then you and your family can enjoy the fruits of your labour – literally! You don’t have to spend hours and hours tending to most vegetable plants unlike certain exotic flowers, and if the whole patch is planned correctly if you are working in a large space then it certainly doesn’t need to be an eyesore either. You can incorporate flowers and other plants also to make your patch beautifully landscaped and still remain productive in your space.

The first thing to do is to decide which vegetables you would like to grow, and then start off small! Don’t overdo it as unfortunately many amateur gardeners will plant too much of what they need, and may end up wasting food or generally feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work and upkeep. So pre-plan with your children just how much you think your family may consume, this is also an excellent way to teach them about how certain plants can keep providing throughout the season. Meaning that plants such as tomatoes and peppers will carry on growing throughout the season so you will need less plants of these vegetables, whereas carrots and corn will only grow once, meaning you may want more of these.

Remember that its always quality over quantity, if you can highly maintain a small patch you will reap more produce than you would from a poorly maintained larger patch. So that means you can even grow in containers, which is the perfect solution for those who want their patch to be in a balcony perhaps as opposed to a garden.

Having a healthy vegetable patch requires three key factors; plenty of sun, abundant amounts of water and healthy nutrient-full soil. So before you start, choose a good location which can offer all three of these, keep in mind it is much easier to have your vegetable garden close to home or a water source so there is less hassle when it comes to watering. Be sure that your soil is full of organic matter so that your vegetables can use the best nutrients – you’ll certainly be able to taste the difference!

You can learn a lot and teach your children so much from growing their own vegetables, there is an added sense of responsibility as well if you set a schedule for your child for the days that they need to water the plants. As plants are live organisms they need tending to and protection, we can teach our kids about predators and disease too, there is a lot of science and nature that will naturally be addressed as you walk through your garden with your child.

Although kids may turn their noses up at the idea of growing plants as it may sound boring, but by seeing their parents tend to their growing plants will be sure to excite them and have them on board in no time. However you’ll find younger children will love the idea of getting dirty in soil and planting their own seeds.

Growing your own vegetable garden with your kids is also a great excuse to get your kids to eat their vegetables too! They’ll be sure to find them much more enjoyable when they know they have grown them themselves. Not only this, but by growing a garden with your child is also a fun way to get them interested in cooking their own food. These are healthy lifelong habits and skills you can teach your children from an early age that they will thank you for when they are older and can also pass onto their children one day. Your child will remember the quality time spent with their dad and it can be something special between just the two of you.

Although not much time is required in growing your own vegetable patch, a healthy amount of time weekly can be spent between parent and child with this gardening habit. Then once you’re both confident enough, you can move onto other gardening and landscaping projects together with more difficult plants and fruits. Not only can you increase your communication together but also you will give your child a whole new sense of appreciation for nature itself.

So don’t hesitate too much, even if you don’t have naturally green fingers it’s not a hard skill to master. Learn with your child and neither of you will forget the time spent together in the sun whilst you planted and then later harvested your fresh home grown produce.

Watching The Footy: What to do when the boys come around

boys watching the footyThe boys are coming over. What results is a football frenzy that may, or may not involve drinking, eating and possibly a little bit of raucous behaviour. When your team loses it could spoil the day but if you follow these tips, regardless of the results, you’ll always be a winner.



You want something that’s easy to prepare so you’re not distracted from the business of watching the game. Rev up the BBQ and you can knock out some delicious and easily prepared food that will satisfy everyone. If you’re going for steaks and chops, make sure they’re in the marinade on the morning of the game. Overnight is even better. Throw them on the BBQ and away you go.


Chips (hot and cold), dips, something healthy and something not so healthy. Know your friends and their dietary choices – you don’t want to exclude Keith the Vegan by laying on a meat-feast and forgetting to include some vegetables. Cover all your bases by supplying a wide range of snacks but remember that it might be a good idea to stagger the snack distribution; you don’t want everyone filling up before those chops and steaks come off the barbeque.


Yes, beer and footy-watching go together like steak and chips but it may be the case that not all of your friends want to throw down booze and shout at the television. Maybe they’d like to shout at the television while drinking an orange juice or a non-alcoholic cocktail? Never pressure anyone to drink and always respect their choices. But for those who do want a beer, wine or rum and coke, be sure to keep the esky filled with ice and selections. Maybe suggest a pre-match kitty so everyone contributes?

Location of the TV

outdoor lunch watching the footyIt’s no good having the barbeque outside and the television inside. How will you catch all the action if there’s a wall between you and the game? Hearing your mates screaming in excitement is no match for actually seeing what’s going on, so either move the TV to a spot that’s visible from the barbeque or move the barbeque to a spot where you can see the TV – even if it means bringing the barbeque inside the house. That’s a joke. Don’t do it.

Sore losers and bad winners

Everyone knows the terrible pain of watching a favourite team lose and most people know the exhilarating joy of watching their team come out victorious. No one likes a sore loser and no one likes a graceless winner. Rubbing your team’s victory in the face of a loser is not good form and will often result in the breaking down of a friendship. As winner, offer condolences such as Well played, old chap. Better luck next time. And extend your hand in a gesture of solidarity and love of the game. Or just yell Sucker and run away.

What pre-footy rituals do you have? How do you like to watch the action? Share your answers in the comment box below.

Simple DIY tasks to keep your bike on the road

bicycle ridesLet’s be real; maintenance is such an ugly word. Whether it be the lawnmower, gutters, chainsaw or pool, each weekend is consumed by something that needs to be maintained. While there are no shortcuts if you want things to be in perfect working order, there are simpler ways of making sure you don’t spend your leisurely weekend couped up in the shed. One apparatus you can apply these tips to is your trusty bicycle. Contrary to popular belief, you’re bike doesn’t demand hours of tinkering nor an expensive trip to the specialist every other week. By giving your two-wheeler a measly ten minutes of TLC every week, you’ll be saving yourself from trying to find a few hours (let’s face it: half a day) every couple of months. Assuming you are a regular rider, this simple DIY guide will encourage a long-lasting bicycle without extended downtime at the shop.

Washing Your Bike

You’re car gets the special treatment every month, clearing it of leaves, bird droppings and that coffee you accidently left on the roof. So why wouldn’t you do the same for your bike? Unlike a car, cleaning your bike doesn’t take nearly as long, and with the right tools, you can head back to that midday lifetime repeat in no time. While you can invest in a bike cleaning brush and a chain scrubber, a toothbrush works just as well to get into those hard-to-reach places. Strapped with a bottle of degreasing solvent, a hose and a rag, your bike should be as good as new in only a few minutes.

Lubricating Your Bike

In the world of bicycle maintenance, lubricant is your best friend. If you’re unsure of which sections need attention, a good rule of thumb is: If it moves, you need to lube it. Lubricant is a magical sticky potion that prevents your two-wheeler from becoming a victim of excessive wear, stiffening and rust. While lube is great, overdoing it will do as much damage as leaving it alone. If you’ve gotten too enthusiastic with the lubricant, wipe it away before it dries.

Assessing Your Tyres

Checking your tyres before you hit the road while decrease the likelihood of being stuck walking your bike roadside while a million cars zoom past. Before you jump on the seat and take off into the sunset check the surface tread and sidewall of the tyre ensuring there are no cuts, bulges or debris lodged in the rubber. If you do find any glass or nails piercing the rubber, you will need to replace the tube. Any specialty parts can be found at places like 99 Bikes, click here to view their range.

Evaluating Your Brakes

Newsflash: it’s not a good thing if you are dragging your feet along the ground to stop your bike. It’s an issue commonly ignored by the average rider that can be easily assessed and fixed. To do this, simply hop on your bike and give the levers a good squeeze to ensure it comes to a halt with stretching or fraying the brake cables. Then take a look at the brake pads. Are they hitting the rims evenly?  Any unevenness means you will need to replace them.

Avid riders, do you have any simple maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below.

How to set up the perfect play room for your kids

a perfect playroomKids love to play, and building and decorating your children’s playroom can be just as exciting for you as it is for your children. Regardless of the size of the room you’re building, you should zone the room off for certain activities. Creating a room that’s functional and fun is also exciting and fulfilling; involve the little ones in big decision, small decision and decoration, from the frustrating world of kids furniture to swirling, bright colour charts.

Cultivate Creativity
A child’s playroom is meant to inspire creativity and learning. As such, this should be the room where your children feel the most inspired. Include a creativity corner, so that your children can grab some crayons and markers, a notepad or crafts. To add a little flare, you can display creative scraps and classroom art masterminded by your children, as well as family pictures and inspirational quotes with a special meaning to your family.

Create Floor Space for Play
Kids need room to play, so floor space has to be a consideration in your plans. If you’re having an issue with floor space, use the walls for storage. Shelving can easily store books, small toys and other miscellaneous items from the playroom.

Incorporate a Learning Zone
The learning zone is one of the most important areas of a playroom. One of the most effective set-ups for the learning zone is chairs, a table and a chalk board. This set-up affords your children the ability to learn and role play as teachers and students. You can add books, notepads and other items as you see fit.

Include a Reading Nook
Although you are creating a playroom, a reading nook will enhance your children’s experience as well. It’s alright to allow a little TV, but reading should be the cornerstone of your child’s development.

Storage Unit
There is bound to be lots of toys and miscellaneous items in you children’s playroom. Since toys come in many shapes and sizes, you can store the majority of the toys in the room by using benches with buckets inside of them. If you have enough room, you can use an entertainment center for storage.

A Cosy Place to Sit
While it’s alright to have one big couch, try to include some small chairs and floor poofs. They make great mobile seats and allow your kids to explore the room in comfort.

Overall, think about the functionality of the space; what could it be with a little TLC and a liberal injection of imagination? As a safety aside, be sure to pick a flooring option that’s safe for kids and that can be easily cleaned. You can get away with absolutely anything (as long as it reflect the personality or personalities of your children), think about small details, subtle flourishes and space saving solutions to get the most out of your playroom investment. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Tips for working more effectively at home

dadsonline self storageWorking from home has its ups and downs like any other job. In some ways it can appear leisurely and luxurious. Those working nine until five office jobs crave the informality of working from home. And in many ways it is all they think it is. But there are downsides to working from home as well. It can be hard to motivate yourself to work, or to get work done as effectively as you would if you were in an office. Here are five tips for working more effectively from home.

Set a Schedule

It seems so simple and bland, but it truly does work. If you don’t have a schedule, the chances are that you will waste more time than you spend working. He trick is to treat it like any other job. Sit down at your desk at nine and work until you deserve a break. Don’t mess around just because there’s nobody there to supervise you. It will only end up meaning more work for you in the long run.

Set Goals

If you’re jittery or have a low attention span, it’s a good idea to set yourself goals to motivate you to get things done. Tell yourself that you won’t have another coffee until you finish writing up that report, or that you won’t have break until a certain amount of work has been completed. Once you get into the habit of setting your own goals and meeting them, working effectively will come easier.   

Listen to Music

The right music can make a huge difference to your motivation. Try listening to some of your favourite tunes while you work. But make sure that you choose the right music. Different styles will be more effective for different kinds of work.

Use Diaries and Calendars

One of the best ways to keep track of your work and making sure that you are getting things done is to keep a calendar or diary. Write down everything that needs to be done, and when it needs to be done by. A good technique is to write it into your diary a week earlier than it needs to be done. This may help you to get things done quicker and more effectively.

Don’t get Distracted

Becoming distracted is one of the hardest things about working from home. It’s so easy to quickly check your emails or social media accounts and get carried away for hours on end. A good idea is to make sure you don’t have anything running in the background. Log out of Facebook until your work is well and truly done.

It’s important to treat working from home the same way you would any other job. If you take it lightly and don’t put in the effort, the chances are that you won’t get the results you could have. Be harsh and disciplined on yourself. Set goals and keep them.

Design ideas for your child’s bedroom

amart kids bedroomChildren only have one or two main concerns: how to mess up their room and how to build a fort out of their bedding. Most parents have general ideas on how they want to decorate their children’s rooms, however they don’t often think of the impracticality of their designs.  


Add A Splash Of Colour

Children love colourful rooms, as it can help settle their moods and inspire creativity. By painting the walls a nice bright colour, or even just a soothing pale yellow or lavender feature wall, you can make your child’s room more relaxing and inviting. You may consider creating a wallpaper pattern for a feature wall, which can be easily applied without any trouble.

Install Kid-Friendly Carpet

Even though you may worry that carpet stains while vinyl doesn’t, a soft, comfy floor is a perfect way to get your kids lazing about for hours reading or playing games. There are all sorts of carpet cleaner you can buy that will easily remove stains without any problems, and there are many stain protectors that will never wear off. If your child has a vinyl floorboard, soft rugs are a great way to create a comfy play area.

Hang Your Child’s Paintings

Paintings are a great way to add some colour and creativity to your child’s bedroom walls. Simply fill some photo frames with your child’s own drawings, or look for some paintings of animals, or mythological creatures that your children like. You can also string a wire across the wall and hang your child’s painting or sketch like clothes on a washing line, making it easier to chop and change each time your child draws something new.


A great idea is to accessorise your child’s room like you would an outfit. Just like a sparkly new dress needs a dazzling handbag, a newly painted child’s room needs a beaded door hanging, new fringe lampshades, or even a few posters from the ABC shop. Accessorising your child’s room is an easy way to reflect their personality, and the best part is that you can constantly change it as your child grows older. 

Create Storage Cabinets

Most children have untidy rooms because they have too many toys and not enough storage space. To maximise ample space in your child’s bedroom, why not buy a toy box, a wall storage cabinet, or even place the toys in a plastic container that can easily slide under the bed. This way you can create more space in the room and stow away the toys in an easy and practical manner.

Designing your child’s room can be a fun experience that will open up an exciting, clean play area for your children. Give your child a treat, redesign your child’s bedroom into a colourful den of fun today!


Making a Home Sweet Home

Home sweet homeOne of the down sides of separation is that children often think their real home is at there mothers and the dads home is a place they just visit.  This does not have to be reality, in fact it is not hard to make your home a “home sweet home”.  I didn’t want my child to feel that so I made sure  they had their own bedroom and personal items and attempted to make there life as normal as it possibly could be.

Even if the bedroom is vacant 80% of the time, it is still important to set up a home that they feel is theirs when they are with you.

It is critical that they feel they have another home they can relate to and it’s equally comfortable, homely and catered for as their mothers.

Ways this can be done…

Making a project of decorating the bedroom together can be fun and will create a sense of ownership. When setting up your home, have pictures of them, school certificates and proud drawings on the fridge or around the house. My daughter keeps a photo of her mum in a frame on her chest of drawers. She often sleeps with it under her pillow. If that makes her feel more comfortable, then I am all for it.

pantry for kidsThe pantry should be stocked with their favourite foods for snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bathroom should have their favourite shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, body wash, brushes and combs. The bedroom should have items that are important to them like sporting equipment i.e. basketball.
dreamboard projectA dream-board is also a good idea to hang on the bedroom wall and pin photos, posters and memories to it. I made one from material I purchased from Bunnings, I used a chipboard backing and cork floor tiles. It was approx 1m x 1m and the cost was about $50 all up.

I have also found that buying books and games they like and keeping them on the shelf in their bedroom also gives a sense of belonging.

Creating that special space sends a good message to them such as:

  • This is their home too
  • They are top of mind
  • Life is still normal-ish
  • It is a comfortable space
  • They have their “things” not just a toothbrush
  • Reduces the amount of items they need to bring with them
  • You can have a fun time at dads too
  • No one can say you don’t try

Good luck with creating the special space for your children. Remember a Dads home is a great home… let us know how you go?


Tips for Helping Your Kids Decorate Their Room

Tips for Helping Your Kids Decorate Their RoomWhen it’s time to redecorate a kid’s room the most important thing to keep in mind is their tastes. Let your kids lead too demonstrate that their ideas have value, make the experience more fun, teach decorating skills and increase their appreciation of the final product. That doesn’t mean you can’t guide them, don’t over rule every decision they make.

Establish a Budget
There’s a budget for everything. Depending on your kids’ age, turn this project into a learning experience by telling them upfront what they’re able to spend and helping them learn how to spend the funds and still create a space that fits their ideas. This is a valuable skill that will serve them the rest of their lives. And they won’t even realize they’re learning something.

Choose a Theme
Choosing a theme can be very easy or very hard. If two or more kids are sharing a room, it can be especially difficulty to negotiate what the room is going to look like and who gets a say about what. Bunkers can make it a easier, effectively giving each child his or her own space. You could also break up the room by splitting it in half, letting them each decorate two walls or having a neutral space or colour on two walls and giving them one wall each to decorate. Or you could force them to come to an agreement.

Themes vary depending on your kids and their interests. If they’re having trouble coming up with ideas, suggest some of your own, or if they want too many things, suggest ways to narrow it. Possible themes include:

  • Sports
  • Princesses
  • Superheroes
  • Ships
  • Jungle Animals
  • Dinosaurs
  • Butterflies

Give the Theme Life
Based on the budget you’ve established, help them come up with ways that they can make their theme stand out in the room.

For instance, discuss what to do with the walls. Will you use paint? Wallpaper? Wall decals? Pictures and posters? What about the bed? Can you incorporate the theme into the bedspread? Into the pillows or sheets? What about the bed frame? Could you turn loft beds into a 2-deck ship or a tree house, with a nook for sleeping above and a place to do homework below?

For a lower budget, pictures can enhance a wall that’s painted in a favourite colour. Allow the kids to choose the colour and encourage them to have help with painting.

Keep it Functional
A solid theme doesn’t matter if there isn’t room for their things. Spruce up their old furniture with spray paint, find new pieces or visit a second hand store. Beds with storage space beneath them are also a good choice. Arrange the closet so it’s organized and holds more. Listen to their suggestions and try to incorporate them.

Helping kids decorate their bedroom doesn’t have to be difficult. It simply takes a bit of ingenuity and some creative ideas.

Bunnings Craft Kits

bunnings craft kit boysDid you know that Bunnings have a whole range of kids craft kits for both girls and boys.  There is everything from race cars  to pots and saucers.  The kits  contain everything you will need to complete the project:


  • Glue
  • Pre-cut wood
  • Ceramic
  • Paint pots
  • Brush
  • Stickers and rhinestones

They are a great idea, I have used them on those weekend afternoons and school holidays when we just want to relax at home and have something interesting for the kids to do. They cost between $15 – $20. Drop into your nearest Bunnings and check them out, the kids love them!