Thursday, 18 September 2014

Painting with nature

Yesterday whilst walking through a park to meet Nana, we stopped and collected lots of conkers that had fallen on the ground, so today I decided to use these along with some fir and pine cones, and create a little sensory box for Alyssa.  We took them with us to a local craft cafe that we go to occasionally, which was a little bit calmer than usual for me with just the one, but I still was unable to sit down for longer than five minutes as Alyssa is potty training, and found the toilets fascinating compared to her potty, especially when I flushed it.  I very rarely get to do any of my own crafts at these cafe events, as I am usually wit the children, but I do find just being by creative people can be very inspirational.  The venue had lots of Autumnal things on display, beautiful browns and golds, from bunting to wreaths created from Autumn leaves, and whilst playing with Alyssa and the sensory box, the cafe members started to discuss painting with the fir cones and things which I thought was a great idea.

I found it wonderful watching Alyssa play with the conkers, counting them "1,2,3,4,8" which was amazing to me, as having to always fight for attention with her brother always talking over her, or saying "mummy mummy" all the time, I had never previously realised she could count at all!! I feel like such a bad mum sometimes that she hasn't had as much attention as Arthur had as a first born, but then moments like these tell me she is doing just fine as she is.  Her favourite game was definitely turning it all out then putting it back in the tub again, occasionally counting as she did.

Once we got home I got out some brown, yellow and orange paints, and thinking of marble painting, decided to let Alyssa roll a conker through paint to great a painting.  She didn't quite understand tipping the tub, and did try a few times to just pick the conker up and paint with it instead, but she seemed to enjoy the noise that it made when she did shake it.  Next we tried painting with the fir cone, by rolling the cone in paint then rolling along somer paper, and also a bit of leaf printing with some leaves we found on the way home, the effect was pretty hit and miss but I think she enjoyed getting her hands covered in paint, it seemed such a shame to stop her to have dinner!!



Conker painting

Fir cone rolling

Pretty patterns keep appearing 

Leaf printing

RAAAA! Paint, handprints, smoosh MEEEEESSSSS!!

Mixed texture, leaf hand and fir cone

Conker rolling/painting

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Roald Dahl Day 2014!

Today is Roald Dahl day,  and also this year is the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate factory, so what better way to celebrate than with CHOCOLATE!!! 

I invited a friend over for each of the AJ's and we had a chocolate themed day, we started with some homemade sparkly play dough to make our own lollys and chocolates with, which was lovely to see the different things they made, including Sully from Monsters Inc and the way they used the lollipop sticks, bun cases and empty chocolate boxes I supplied to use the dough differently.  I also enjoyed watching Alyssa mimic licking a lolly making a slurping sound, copying my actions I did once I made one, it didn't stop her from actually eating some of it though.

Then we headed to the kitchen, where I had some sweets laid out and we melted some chocolate, once melted we poured onto greaseproof paper on lollipop sticks, and let the children go wild sweet decorating (and eating!) before putting in the fridge to set.   

Next was the chocolate fountain, which the other Mummy and I enjoyed more than the children.  They did eat the odd bit of chocolate covered fruit or marshmallow, but mainly, especially Alyssa, they stuck to the fruit on it's own, which meant more for the adults!

"Lollipop, Lollipop oh lolly lolly lolly..."

Ball pool gobstoppers ( sign lasted 5 seconds!!)

Sparkly play dough

Making chocolates

Finished Lollys

MMMMMMM Heaven....


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Mermaid Monday!

It's been a while, i'm sorry!  We did enjoy a lovely two week camping trip in early August, which we survived...just!  Apart from that we have mainly been just enjoying being out in the sunshine, and all the usual things that go with it, walks, picnics, gardening, outdoor games, nothing really 'blogable' but all hopefully memorable still to the ones who matter most. 

Now we have hit September, and Arthur is off to preschool more often, meaning I literally only see him on a Wednesday and a Saturday, but it does mean that Alyssa and I guess some much needed bonding time on a Monday and Thursday morning before I go to work. 

After recently having an interest in Mermaids from a cartoon film we watched, I decided to make this Monday a Mermaid Monday.  I started by giving her some blue and green paint to experiment with, whilst I painted a peg doll to look like a mermaid, I then let her have a go at creating her own peg mermaid.  I used the painting we had both been doing to create a background in an old sweet tin, before covering in blue and green rice and shells to create a sea coloured sensory play area for the peg mermaids.

Alyssa really enjoyed scooping the rice up with a shell, and of course tipping the rice out of the tub and putting it back in the tub again.  She also practiced a bit of imaginative play by making the mermaids swim and say "hello."  Then I told her it was time to pick Arthur up, and she jumped up holding both mermaids saying "Argur mermay" so we took them with us so she could give one to him.  Arthur really seemed to like his present and then enjoyed playing in the rice with Alyssa which was lovely to see, and it was also nice to see he wasn't upset or jealous that we had done things without him! I am looking forward to many a Monday with Alyssa finding out a bit more about what her likes and dislikes are, rather than her copying Arthur all the time.

How many different painting techniques can I use??

Alyssa's Mermaid

Mermaid sensory play

Obviously having some fun!

Sharing nicely with her big brother!

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Monday, 7 July 2014

Dinosaurs and caterpillars

Today was one of those mornings where everything seemed to go well!  Arthur had spent yesterday with Daddy watching dinosaur movies as he was very tired from a busy day of swimming and taking part in a local carnival the day before.  So he was very keen to play with dinosaurs, so I got the old washing up bowl, filled it with a bit of mud and the toy dinosaurs and a couple of weeds to act as trees etc, and left them to play in the garden whilst I pottered around digging weeds.

Alyssa soon got bored and decided to try and help me for a little bit, before running in to get the chalks and drawing on our recycled slate chalk boards.  I have been thinking of setting up a grab and go garden box to keep by the back door filled with garden fun such as bubbles and chalk, as well as this I also have some old baking trays and spoons already in the garden for 'mud kitchen' style play.  Which Arthur ended up using with his dinosaurs and a bun tray to make cakes and eat them.

Soon it was snack time, with fresh peas in the garden, the AJ's found them hard to resist with cries of more please over and over until we had run out of ready ones.  Then, whilst looking at our other vegetables growing, including the lovely orange/yellow flowers of our courgette plants, Alyssa made a small noise and when I looked she was holding a green caterpillar in her hands.  I managed to save it from her, as she was very enthusiastic with it, and wanted to keep holding it, and let Arthur have a quick hold, before popping it in a jar with some leaves and putting it in a safe place, hoping for a chrysalis to appear as we 'grow' our own butterfly.  Apparently, according to Grandad,  it's a cabbage white caterpillar, we did have a white butterfly hovering around our vegetable patch, I wonder if that was its mummy.

Dinosaur small world

Cooking with dinosaurs

Fun with chalk

Time for peas!

Arthur holds a caterpillar

Cosy in his new home


Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Frontroom Festival!!!

So it's festival season here, with Glastonbury just finished, and highlights all over the television, so I decided to give the AJ's a mini taste of festival fun. I put the pop up play tents into the front room, and Arthur's camping chair, put the highlights on the telly, and set up our little bubble machine.  I dressed the AJ's in some festival style clothes, mainly shorts, t-shirts and wellies, adding some funky flower lays and some face paints from the dress up box, and then let the music and bubbles flow.

It was great fun chasing the bubbles around and watching Arthur practice his dance moves and awesome air guitar to the music, they also both enjoyed waving hello and goodbye and going back and forth to the tent.  Soon though the bubbles ran dry, the music ended and Alyssa grew tired.  Whilst she was napping in bed I let Arthur outside to experience the other thing festivals are famous for, especially Glastonbury....MUD!!!

We don't really have a proper mud patch for him to play in, so I used some oil cloth, sprayed it with water and put some mud on it, then let Arthur go wild, stamping, squelching squerching.  Whilst using some of these words he sudeenly said "we're going on a bear hunt!" It's amazing how literature can just creep in anywhere.  Once he had finished playing, he decided he wanted to clean the mat, which he thoroughly enjoyed as well as soaking mummy at the same time!  Good job it was a freezing cold day.

Playing with the tents!

Festival outfit!

Dancing in the bubbles!!

Getting stuck in!

A bit muddy!

Cleaning up!

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Thursday, 26 June 2014

'Arthur' the Scarecrow!

Every year the village holds a Scarecrow competition, and weird and wonderful creations pop up all over the village, so this year I decided we would take part for the first time with the help of the  AJ's.
They are usually open to any idea, but to celebrate the Centenary of the First World War this year they are asking for a scarecrow along that theme. 

I decided the easiest thing to do is create a small scarecrow, so I thought the idea of an evacuee would be a good one, esp as I happened to have some small brown clothes and a suitcase easy to hand.  So once they returned from nursery, we started recycling all the shredded paper that we keep for the fire, and stuffing it into carrier bags for waterproofing, before stuffing these inside the clothes.  Alyssa wasn't really interested in helping, but was interested in throwing the paper all over the room!!  We then turned a small old t-shirt of Alyssa's inside out, and used some fabric pens to draw a face, before using some brown wool on the top to create hair. 

Arthur loved 'Arthur' and kept trying to make him dance and play with him, and talking to him, and was very excited to see him put up outside.  I used two bits of wood to create a cross shape and attached ' this to him before hammering it into the ground, then it was time for Arthur to see him all finished and in place, and he was very happy, now to see what the other villagers come up with!

Stuffed body!

Preparing more stuffing!

"He's got legs" (Rubbish ZZ top ref sorry!)

Trying on 'Arthur's' hair

The two Arthur's

Final adustments waterproofed and added!

Wish us luck in the competition!!!! :D

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Carnival fever for Brazil!

With the world cup being in Brazil, I thought it would be fun to bring a bit of Carnival fun to the AJ's.  So I decided that we would have a bit of fun painting and creating fun masks using egg boxes, and then host our own teddy version of Rio carnival complete with some samba and salsa music to dance to.

As the weather is beautifully sunny at the moment, I decided to take advantage of it and paint outside, you also get the added bonus of topping up your vitamin D and having painting that dries super quick!

So I set up some paper and some paints representing the colours of the Brazillian flag, and let them run riot, litterally, at one point they were running over the paper to create footprints!!! Then I let them loose with the egg cartons pre-cut and some glitter!

After that I quickly set up all the teddies, and brought out some beads and outfits to make our carnival, although by this time Alyssa was quite tired and wanted lots of cuddles and Arthur just enjoyed listening to the music and running around doing whatever he wanted.  He did enjoy playing with the masks that were made though!

Painting in the sun!

Decorating the Carnival mask

Drying nicely in the sun!

Brazilian inspired art!

All ready to party!

Teddy Rio Carnival ready!

Getting in the festival spirit!

Looking good!

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