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

Teamwork!

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!

AM I READY????

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

Rolling..

Rolling...

Not perfectly arranged, but awesome all the same!!



Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Almost 1/2 a dozen rose cupcakes!

At Christmas I made some turkish delight for great nanny as a present, which involved the use of rose water, something that has since been sat in the cupboard abandoned since.  So after a brief scout on the internet I found that you can use it to make rose water cupcakes!! So I thought Alyssa and I could make 1/2 a dozen rose cupcakes and give one to granny and one to nanny as little mother's day gifts, and obviously a couple for Alyssa's mummy and the rest of the family!!

So Alyssa put on her favourite new apron, and we set to work.  After cheating a little bit and practically melting the butter in the microwave,  I let Alyssa cream together the butter and sugar pretty much all by herself before we added the rest of the ingredients.  A word of warning rose water smells beautiful, but tastes absolutely awful, I am so glad I tried it before letting Alyssa try it!! It has a very strong chemical, ethanol kind of taste when it's on it's own, but tastes wonderfully floral in cakes, turkish delight etc. 

I did change the recipe slightly using a little bit of milk instead of cream cheese when making the butter cream, but the result came out good anyway and that is all that matters.  Once everything was ready we practiced some counting putting the cupcake cases in the bun tin, before letting Alyssa spoon the mixture in.  The only problem was that the recipe was halved to make 12, but a few cheeky tastes here and there, meant we had 11 and a bit!

Once they were all baked and cooled we decorated a couple and added some pretty sprinkles, they were very yummy, but in future I would be tempted to use chocolate butter cream or maybe put chocolate chips inside for a more turkish delight taste, the children were not overly keen, and daddy thought it was too floral, so I think some chocolate would balance it out, but definitely a nice idea for mother's day, or even valentine's day instead of the usual idea of 1/2 a dozen roses!!



mixing!

counting!


bowl licking

Yum!


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Journey sticks!

After a busy morning playing in a giant cardboard box, whilst I baked some goodies for lunches in the kitchen, I decided a little walk was in order, to make the most of the beautiful weather.  Spring is definitely on it's way by the looks of the blue skies and warm sun today, and it was wonderful getting out to enjoy it!

We went to a local trail and I thought we would stop of at the centre there to see what they offered, and they suggested we make journey sticks, which is one of their activity ideas and supplied us with some strands of lovely coloured wool to make them with.  so off we went on our journey through the woods, our first task was finding our sticks, which they both found basically at the entrance!

All we had to do now was find things to tie to them, twigs, leaves, feathers, even just the wool itself to remind us of what we saw/heard on our journey.  Within minutes Arthur got very excited about having found a very tiny feather on the floor, so on that went on his stick, then Alyssa wanted something too, so looking around and seeing no more feathers of any leaves, suddenly I noticed the warm of the sun shining through the trees onto the exact spot we were standing.  I told Alyssa that I would tie the yellow wool around the stick to remind us about the warmth of the sun on our faces, which she loved as she loves the colour yellow.  We then found a leaf for them both, and listened to the sounds of birds in the trees as we walked, before noticing a couple of red berries on the ground by a holly tree, so we tied red wool and a holly leaf to the stick.  Just after we started to notice the sound of water flowing, so we looked through the forest and in the distance we could see as small river and and a little waterfall, so we set off to try and find it.  We were very dissapointed  that the path that would lead to the water had a 'no entry' sign on it, but on the plus side Arthur has started to learn and recognise this sign as it was on a number of paths.

Our walk ended up being a little longer than anticipated, mainly due to Arthur decided to follow the path instead of turning around and going back!!  Our adventure took us to a little stone building, that they explored and led us to accidently  find a Geocache whilst I took advantage of a photo opportunity.  So we looked inside, and we left a little note to be found in future by others that find it, before carrying on in search of Gruffalo's and various other things.  Alyssa was tired by now as we had been walking for about an hour, so was hoisted onto my bag for the journey back, as our sticks were finished, Arthur to was begining to get a little antsy and grumbly, but kept walking all the same.  Then we passed a fiel full of inquisitive cows on on side and sheep on the other which brightened the pair up again for the last stretch back.

Once we got back Arthur insisted on giving the journey sticks to the lady in the centre, unfortunately she wasn't there, but some one else took them on her behalf.  I was a bit of a shame as I would have liked to have brought them home and sat and talked about what all the wools represented and things we saw, so I will definitely be doing this again, it really helped the children slow down and notice more and talk about what they saw more, rather than just racing off at full speed, it reminded me of my favourite poem Leisure.

These sticks will do!!

I found a feather!!

The lovely warm sun on our faces

can you spot the waterfall?

How about now?

The AJ's on their adventure

This means no entry mummy!

Adding a note to the Geocache

MOOOOOOO!