Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Bank Holiday Microadventure!!

Working in retail, I don't tend always get the luxury of a three day weekend, especially as one of the days I work is a Sunday.  So I decided this Bank holiday to adopt a microadventure philosophy, the general idea is that if you work 9-5 you still have 5-9 to have an adventure.  So seeing as I finished work at 430 on the sunday, and didn't have to be in work till 1.30 the next day, I thought this would be a great opportunity to make the most of the time I had rather that say "No point doing anything, I only have half a day before work!"

So I was greeted from work with Daddy saying we were having sausages on a fire pit for tea, for the make shift campfire, followed by twists and toasted marshmallows for the authentic camping experience!  Then we borrowed granny and grandads back garden as it's a bit secluded and surrounded but trees, and set up tents to camp, me and the AJ's in one, and daddy in his solo tent as because he couldn't fit in ours.

In order to be even more authentic daddy tried showing them how to light the fire with his flint from his camping equipment, shaving the wood and scraping moss and things to set alight.  After a few attempts however, daddy sneakily cheated and used a lighter!  He then showed Arthur how to cut sticks to cook the sausages on, and with a bit of supervision and help from me Arthur used a pen knife to help me cut one stick, but daddy had to finish it as our technique wasn't quite right.

Once we had our sausage were cooked twists for the first time, a camping favourite of daddy's from his childhood camping day, using a dough of flour and water coiled around a stick then cooked till it slides off then filled with jam (or marshmallows in mummies case :) )

Then it was time to go down to camp, were the kids snuggled down in their sleeping bags, got hyper, climbed in and out of the tent, listened to the birds for a few seconds, before hiding back in the tent again at the mention of possible bats.  Then the first star appeared in the sky, and the birds went quite, and we all snuggled down and eventually went to sleep at about 1030.  Luckily I packed some books and some colouring things as Arthur woke at 5, yep 5am!!!!  So I did my best to keep Arthur quietly entertained until daddy woke up at 7, then sat in peace and listened to the birds and read till Alyssa woke, whilst daddy took Arthur in to get breakfast. 

All in all we all had an excellent evening and Arthur is desperate to do this again, he even suggested the next night!  Here's to many more microadventures in the future!!

home for the night

do you think they are excited??


Toasting marshmallows

getting a bit sticky

the early morning view!!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Nest building fun!

This week in nursery the the theme is birds, so to support their learning at home I thought we could have a little nest building fun at home!  As the were a little bit poorly Wednesday (not that you would know it with their energy!!) we decided to have a stay at home pj day nice and relaxed. 

At the weekend Arthur had his birthday, and one of his presents he received was a paddling pool, so I thought this would be a great base for a nest for role play fun and relaxing/napping if they wanted.  So we covered it in old brown curtains for a more natural look, then Arthur grabbed his pillow and duvet and jumped straight in refusing to let anyone else in as it was so comfy, I then build a separate (not so good one!) for Alyssa using blankets, and they soon set about playing their own little game, making bird noises and 'flying' around looking for food. 

after this it was lunch time, and they both seemed very tired, I tried and tried to get Arthur to have a nap but to no avail, Alyssa on the other hand put up a little fight, then slept for three hours!!! So after making Arthur lie on the sofa (so he wouldn't wake Alyssa) with his duvet and watch boring mummy telly for and hour (in the hope of making him fall asleep...honest!!) I gave up on the idea of Arthur napping and sorted the nest craft for the afternoon. 

Daddy had mixed our pva glue with water for DIY purposes, which I think may have been the first hurdle in our nest creation, but we attempted to use it anyway.  Arthur had great fun layering up bits of wool and scraps of paper onto an inflated ballon, whilst he did this we talked about what birds use to make nests and how they use mud to stick the nest together, and was very excited for it to dry and to pop the balloon.

This morning Arthur woke up, and rushed to the kitchen to see how his nest was doing, desperate to pop the balloon and try and put some eggs in it.  Unfortunately when we reached the kitchen, we found the balloon had deflated over night leaving a soggy pile of wool, and a very dissapointed Arthur, so there I was at 630 in the morning, helping him use play dough as 'mud' to create a new nest, using a small bowl for support.  It was worth it though watching his face as he put some toy eggs in, and the excitement of being able to take it to nursery to show everyone.

Nice and cosy nest

Alyssa adding some eggs

Two little birds in a nest

nest building

It's getting bigger!
Almost done!

Nest take two

complete with egg!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Easter holiday round up!!

WOW!!! What a great two weeks they were, such a shame they have to end and the reality of pre-school and work have to bring us all back to reality. 

 So what have we done on our Easter stay-cation??

In the first week we baked Easter bunny rolls, which was great fun, and a chance for the AJ's to practise their scissor skills, then eat the results after with friends. We went on a woodland adventure to build a den in the woods, but instead Arthur found this awesome tree with a space for them to climb into and have their lunch in.  We made some lovely Easter cards and biscuits to give to people, and attempted to make our own chocolate Easter eggs, very hard even with a mold as the chocolate all gathered in the bottom of the molds, but still yummy!! Then in time for Good Friday we made some scrummy Hot cross buns to eat for our breakfast.

On the Saturday we managed to get up and out the door super early to enjoy a lovely wild breakfast by the river, with the rest of the hot cross buns, watching the buzzards fly over head and listening to the sound of the river bubbling away, Arthur wanted to take a picture of me with the camera and managed to take a lovely one of me!

On the big Day itself we played some traditional Easter games, like egg and spoon races, and egg rolling.  Then the main event of the Easter egg hunt to find any eggs left by the Easter bunny, he didn't come until they helped Daddy tidy their room up though!! (well we had to distract them some how whilst the eggs appeared!!)

In the second week we became archaeologists, digging in the back garden for dinosaurs, and in the process we actually found some small bits of pottery which was very cool, and made the kiddies want to dig even more to find the rest of the pieces, but we never did!
We then went on another adventure to a local place, where we enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch, before paddling (and falling in Arthur's case!!) in the river, climbing trees, and finding a lizard, just a shame it was dead.

All this plus some other adventures in between mean that our holiday was over far to soon with still so much fun to be had!! I had planned so many other things that we just never got round to doing, I need more time with them!! Oh well,  I'll just have to save it all for next time.

Scissor practice


Lunch in a tree

Easter egg making

My favourite photo of me by Arthur

Tree climbing

River paddling

Dinosaur digging

Egg and spoon assault course

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Michief and potato printing for St Patrick's day!

I decided to tell the AJ's a little about Leprechauns, and how they are little fairy type people who play trick and cause mayhem, and how if you catch one they will grant you wishes.  After this Arthur turned immediately to his daddy and said "beware of the letricals at work daddy!!" bless him. 

So we then went down to breakfast, where I sneakily put green food dye in the bottom of their porridge bowl, so when they came out of the microwave they had green porridge.  They werevery impressed that the Leprechauns had done this to them, and where excitedly talking about the Leprechaun treasure I had also mentioned.  Once breakfast was over, they found a little trail of shamrocks (the same as last years trail SHHHH!!!) leading up to the bathroom, where there was a little rainbow (picture) and some 'gold' (circles of gold glitter card!) they were so excited they wanted to take their gold to nursery and share with their friends which was very sweet.

Once they got back from nursery we quickly (50mins start to finish!! No kneading required!) made some Soda bread which we have made before succesfully, and then whilst that cooked in the oven, we did some potato printing with green paint.  I cut a couple of shapes in the potatoes but wasn't overly succesful with this, but it didn't matter as it soon turned into green finger painting, and I showed them how to paint a shamrock which they tried to copy.

Sometimes it's the simplest of things that make a day more interesting! I think I need to find a small Leprechaun toy for next year though "Elf on the shelf" style so they can spot him doing crazy things lol

Printing, painting anything goes!!

mummy's shamrock!

Arthur's attempt, almost right!

Solar inspired art!!

On Friday there will be a solar eclipse, so I thought I would do some space and solar system inspired things with the Alyssa this week. 

First of all we did some sticking, using some tin foil as a background, and various glitter glues, star stickers and bits of glittery card cut into spirals and diamond shapes.  I thought the tin would be a different texture to work with and it's very space age like! Alyssa had great fun moving my hands into positions she wanted the glue as she wasn't able to squeeze any out properly, it was a great exercise in communication, telling me when to squeeze it etc. 

Once we had completed that I thought we would do some spin art with an old salad spinner, seeing as everything spins in the solar system, so we used yellow paint for the Sun, green and blue for Earth and red for Mars (I thought white for the moon was a bit boring! lol)
I have done spin art with the kids before, but I think Alyssa was really small, so she was very amazed with the results when they came out, and we kept adding more and more paint.  She also enjoyed trying to spin the machine herself, but I would have to start it off for her as it can be quite tough.  We did three pictures in total and I am considering buying some little frames to put them up in their bedroom as they are very funky!

Spreading the glitter glue a bit!!

Our solar system

Spin spin spin!

It's like the big bang in action!! lol

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Thursday, 12 March 2015

When they are no longer babies...

Apologies in advance for this slightly soppy, emotional ramble of mine!!

This morning my youngest, my baby girl, showed me she is no longer a baby! After waking up, she asked me to go to the toilet, and her nappy was dry!!  That to me means she is ready to begin potty training properly, I was hoping to hold it off till spring for various reasons, mostly warmer weather, meaning it's easier to let her run around with less clothing, and lets face it quicker drying washing!  But I also realised this morning, that it was also to give me more time with my baby, because lets face it only babies wear nappies, when she's is in pants she's my big girl! 

It's tougher when it's your last, well planned last, as someone who likes equal things, if I had another I would have to have one more to balance it out, and I don't think Daddy would cope with that!!  Everything is the last time, the last "first day at nursery/school," the last "first shoe fitting" the last "first food taste", the last of so many firsts.  Today brought to me the realisation that, soon, I will change my last nappy, soon I will no longer have a baby! (although all children will always be babies in their mother's eyes! Even if they are 40!)

But it also means another thing, it means WE'VE SURVIVED!!!!  The sleepless nights, the constant crying, the multiple nappy changes before you even manage to finish your first cup of luke warm coffee of the day.  All of us survived with some of our sanity still in tact, although with Arthur especially there have been some close calls, tasting Taybrite, burning his hand on the hob, falling down a flight of concrete steps with him as a baby and witnessing him fly through the air!!  But they have made it through, WE have made it through.

Already the first few months are like a distant hazy memory, and soon even the potty training will be too, or the first day of school, before I know it I will be having to deal with friendship break ups/make ups,  relationship problems, exam stresses, teenage temper tantrums, and the potty training will have seemed so easy in comparison!


I don't know!! Is anyone every ready?? Does is matter if i'm ready?? If I am or not it will all still happen! Each stage will always seem the hardest at the time, until the next one right?? So I need to not worry about the future, or live in the past.  I need to just deal with NOW, and right now I need to get on with the potty training, and supporting my little girl (SOB!!!!) through this big developmental stage she is going though!!

I can get through this, WE can get through this! Wish me luck!!

Simnel cake with a difference!

Last year I made Simnel cakes with the AJ's as a gift to their granny's, and I thought at the time it would be a lovely tradition to start making one every year at this time even if it was just with Alyssa, especially as it's roots are that it was made for Mother's by their daughters for mother's day.

Now we had a small problem with the marzipan, I am not a huge fan of marzipan, so I am not willing to buy something that I won't really use again.  I know I have seen Simnel cakes made with mini eggs instead of marzipan balls, and after a little bit of research I realised that it's mainly the topping that makes a Simnel cake.  So I found a lovely simple fruit cake recipe, and made the rest up!!

We took in turns adding the ingredients, and in between telling Arthur off constantly for licking spoons, tasting ingredients etc we finally had a finished cake mix. And once we managed to spoon the mix into the cake tin, we were all allowed to have a cheeky spoon lick, I don't mind the children doing this as it is agreeably the best part of baking!!

Whilst the cake was in the oven we rolled out some scraps of ready roll icing that we had from Granny in a lovely sunny yellow colour, and once out of the oven I spread some Apricot jam on top to help the icing stick.  I was very impressed by the restraint shown by the children with the chocolate eggs, I bought 20 eggs from the pick and mix counter expecting a couple to be eaten before they made it onto the cake, but they didn't even try to eat them, so I treated them with a couple of eggs each!

We then had the difficult task of waiting till after dinner until we were allowed to eat it, and it certainly was yummy!! I will definitely make this again, but maybe add more milk as it was very crumbly, I added more than the amount stated anyway but it obviously needed a bit more.

Taking turns adding ingredients

Watching the cake in the oven



Not perfectly arranged, but awesome all the same!!