Our busy half term week

Ooh where has the summer gone? It seems to have been raining forever. OK so it has only been raining for 2 days out of 7 but the sheer quantity of rain makes it seem much longer! Despite the rain though we have managed to have a good, fun, busy week for half term.

It’s been a bit of an odd week this week with hubs recovering from his operation and the wet weather and half term meaning we have spent more time at home than normal. On a normal bank holiday weekend we would have been out somewhere fun for at least one of the days, but not this time. While the kids and I popped out a bit we mainly stayed home and enjoyed visits from lovely friends and family. In fact the word for the weekend could have been lego, as Daddy and Monkey did loads of lego together and got lots of other family and friends involved with the lego fun too.PhotoGrid_1464893886427

We did get out once over the weekend, round the corner to hubs’ parents for Granddaddy’s birthday which was a very lovely family occasion.PhotoGrid_1464890254945

We had the odd bit of sun on Monday which allowed me to mow the lawns and have a little fun outside but then the rain really set in on Tuesday. LM went out with my parents for rhyme time while Monkey and I did some star wars baking, then in the afternoon we had some really lovely snuggle time watching films. It was so lovely and chilled and to be honest I am surprised both kids sat still and snuggled for as long as they did as they normally are desperate to be on the move!PhotoGrid_1464893323297

We had some indoor play making playdoh Monsters too and we did get out and about later that afternoon for some puddle splashing of course. I just hate staying in all day as it drives me stir crazy.PhotoGrid_1464893677564

Much as I love the extra time I am able to spend with Monkey over half term… I do find him exhausting. He is a lovely boy but honestly he never stops talking and just wants attention all of the time. Balancing the needs of him and his sister together can be seriously hard work. One salvation is that my parents have Monkey for a few hours every Wednesday, so even when his pre-school is on half term I have one day where things are just a bit more chilled with LM and I and of course she has a nap so I get a little bit of peace. Unfortunately on the recent half term, my step dad woke up terribly poorly on the Wednesday so Monkey couldn’t go round for the day.

My Mum suggested a trip to a local garden centre that morning instead so we headed there for tea and cake, and Hubs even came too. Garden centres can be a saviour for parents of little ones these days as they are not only for buying plants. Most of ours have other things to do and fab cafes for a sweet treat. So on that wet Wednesday morning we ended up playing crazy golf in the rain with Nanny while hubs watched and then the kids always adore seeing theanimals and fish so that kept them happy for a while at least!PhotoGrid_1464877032054

That afternoon we once again got out for some puddle splashing and then the kids and I had some really really lovely playtimes together.

Thursday I was so hoping that the rain would hold off, and thankfully it did so we headed to our local country park to meet with some lovely mummy friends and all the kiddies for some fun. It was windy and chilly but we had so much fun. The pictures say it all I think really but ooh I was shattered when we got home that afternoon!PhotoGrid_1464876581002

Its funny as I have said it was a busy week but actually in many ways it hasn’t been as we have been home a lot. I think it just feels massively busy to me because with hubs recovering from his op I have barely stopped all week. Hubs is getting better by the day and so feeling much less frustrated thankfully. He is also starting to be able to help around the house a bit too. Nothing crazy, he won’t be kneeling or carrying LM downstairs or pushing a hoover round just yet, but he has made breakfast and helped clean the kitchen which is at least a huge help after trying to do everything by myself for the past week!

Thanks to everyone for all the lovely kind comments on my post last week, I wish I had time to reply to comments as it really meant a lot to have all of your support as always xx

A wildflower meadow in the suburbs

We live in the suburbs. A very leafy open suburb built in the early 80s mind you which is a lot less crammed in than some modern developments, but is a suburb nonetheless. I’ve always liked the idea of living somewhere more rural but I am a pretty practical person, and well I like my conveniences close by. Also as a teenager my best friends lived on a village with limited bus services and it was a complete pain for them to ever get anywhere without lifts from parents and I don’t want that for our kids. May seem like a daft reason to some I know! I do love the peace of the countryside but like to think we have the best of both worlds where we live as there is lots of open space to run and play but we are also close enough to everywhere we want to be able to ‘pop’ to.

Why am I banging on about this? Well, randomly amongst our little suburban area is a touch of the countryside. A little meadow filled with wild flowers that changes with the seasons. I have no idea why it is there and hasn’t ever been built on but I love it. It is actually surrounded on all sides by housing estates and a dual carriageway… But through so many layers of trees that while you are there you can almost forget that you aren’t in the countryside.WP_20160524_16_16_10_Pro

I took the kids there the other day and enjoyed watching them run free, chase bubbles in the wind, hide in the grass and generally just enjoy themselves. With the blue skies and sea yellow buttercups it was a beautiful summery afternoon.field 1

As you can see, the kids absolutely loved it, monkey especially loved exploring and letting his imagination run free as he did so. And I loved watching, and taking hundreds of photos of course!field 2

There is no greater purpose to this post than that really. Just a lovely afternoon in the sun with my kiddies.

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Preparations are under way

This last week since we came home from our lovely holiday has been all about preparations. Mainly, preparations for a little party as our gorgeous Monkey turns 4 this weekend! I will write a more specific post about our gorgeous boy but for now I can’t believe I have been a mummy for 4 years! This weekend we are celebrating. After a lot of uhhming and ahing about what we should do, we decided on a fairly simple and small party at the local community centre with some of his closest friends. We are having a pirate theme as he loves pirates and we have some really simple activities planned that I hope go well. I have spent a good chunk of this week getting ready for said party. I have party bags and favours and sweets and I need to wrap up a pass the parcel game.WP_20160519_13_47_40_Pro

Even LM has gotten involved in the preparations today by “helping” me bake Monkey’s birthday cake. By this I mean she had a great time getting in a good old mess with flour and sugar while I baked as she isn’t really much of a help at the moment.lM baking

There is still quite a bit to sort even for our “simple, low-key” party so I am glad we didn’t try and plan anything more extravagant. Monkey is so looking forward to his party though, which is why we are doing one, and I really hope he enjoys it and it all goes off without a hitch.

WP_20160519_13_51_39_ProThere have been other preparations also underway this week. A while ago Hubs dislocated his knee, and after an MRI scan and hospital visits we discovered it was due to some torn cartilage which would need an operation to repair. We didn’t know when this would happen but suddenly received a call this week with a cancellation meaning he would have his operation next Thursday! It is good to get it out of the way but we have had to cancel and rearrange a few things and have been getting ready for that really. Reading up on the procedure and what the recovery will mean etc. Hopefully it on’t be too bad as it is pretty minor surgery really, but I am nervous as to how it will go and how much less he will be able to do with the kids for a bit. Only time will tell I guess!

Anyway back to the party prep for me. How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Chocolate Easter Nests

I remember making chocolate easter nests year after year as a child and it is a tradition we have carried on with Monkey, and will with LM as she gets older. It is such a great fun, quick, and easy make that kids of any age can join in with.

Easter Nests fun for all ages

Monkey did it first 2 years ago at about 10 mths old, then last year at just under 2 and again this year. He still needs quite a bit of help but I imagine he will less and less help as he gets older.

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Random Playtime – 24 mths old

Our little Monkey is growing up and now has a lot more imaginative play, and a lot more independant play. This leads to him having a lot fun with mummy largely acting as a bystander.

Some of the things he chooses to play with are particularly amusing. I’ve blogged before about how random household objects can be fascinating for babies/toddlers but I am going to show you two recent play times which demonstrate this perfectly!

Gym Ball

Because of my SPD we have my gym ball down in the lounge a lot of the time at the moment, because it is good to sit on and do pelvic tilts etc. It is also a LOT of fun for Monkey to play on, and hilarious for me to watch.

He can’t get on it himself but he loves carrying it around the room (though it is about as big as he is)..

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And then launching himself onto the ball

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and laughing his head off when he then flies off it again!

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Very funny afternoon spent watching that!

Playing with my scarf

I got a lovely new scarf for my birthday and I had been a naughty mummy and left it in the lounge after I had taken it off. Therefore it was obviously fair game at play time. Monkey loves playing with blankets and hiding under them so it wasn’t a huge surprise when he decided to have a play with the scarf, but it was pretty funny!

He very much enjoyed hiding underneath it..

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And then there was lots of giggles looking at himself in my phone while he wrapped it around his head.

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He did look very pretty in it bless him!

You’ve gotta love the random things that amuse toddlers and the simple fun they can have with very little in the way of toys or parental involvement!

Do your kids ever turn random objects into fun playthings?

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Our Brave Little Monkey!

Part 2 of the bad bank holiday weekend story!

After coming home from hospital Saturday night, thankfully hubby and I managed to get a decent night’s sleep. Sunday afternoon we had planned to have Monkey’s 2nd birthday party. As what I had been so poorly with didn’t appear to be contagious and, though I was very tired, I was feeling a lot better so we decided to go ahead as planned. We did have chats with some of the family and Monkey’s Great Grandpa decided not to risk it in case he did get poorly, but everyone else wanted to come along and celebrate the little man’s birthday, and I certainly didn’t want my being ill to put a stop to the fun!

Everything was fine throughout the day and hubby’s bro came round to give us a hand with jobs and entertaining Monkey as I was still not a lot of use to man or beast! We popped to the shops to buy a birthday cake as we hadn’t been able to make one, and Monkey desperately wanted the Peppa Pig cake and insisted on carrying it all round the shops, back to the car, and in the car on the way home! Miraculously it survived! (Sadly I didn’t get a pic of this – a clear sign I was not well and wasn’t thinking clearly lol!)

Monkey had his nap and then the family started arriving and Monkey woke around 4, which was when we had planned to start everything. It all started off really well and Monkey was thoroughly enjoying opening his presents and having his family round.

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Then, about half an hour in, things went pear shaped :(

Monkey threw up everywhere, the poor thing, and we were immediately concerned but tried to be optimistic. “He’s just over-excited” was said numerous times, albeit with frowns and doubting looks! He opened a few more presents and then threw up again, and again. There was no escaping it now, Monkey had caught whatever bug I had. Our wonderful lovely family were so great at helping tidy things away and even clearing up the puke while hubs and I looked after our little man, but we made it clear, particularly to older and more vulnerable members that they should get outta there as soon as they wanted as we really didn’t want anyone else to catch it!

What followed was our little man being really poorly and throwing up a lot over the course of the evening, but you know what? He was such a darling. He coped so well with it all and we were so proud of him as he just acted so maturely for a just turned 2 year old.

He basically wanted to be in bed, on his own. When he was throwing up or crying, of course we were there, to cuddle, clean up, change sheets and clothes, rub his back and soothe him as much as possible. But basically as soon as he had finished, and often before we had finished cleaning floors etc, he would snuggle down in bed and wave goodbye,as if to say “It’s ok Mum & Dad I want to sleep now.” One time I lingered briefly in the doorway after he’d waved me away, because honestly I didn’t want to leave my poorly boy alone. I wanted to hold him and let him sleep on me. But he lifted his head, frowned and waved at me again, like “seriously, leave me alone, mum.” Honestly he melted my heart.

Another time hubby and I were knelt at the side of his bed and he was looking up at us with his gorgeous puppy dog eyes and Daddy said “Are you ok Monkey?” Monkey shrugged his shoulders, held his hands out to either side, and said in his gorgeous way one of the few phrases he knows “I don’t know.” Then he snuggled back down and again when we hadn’t left immediately, lifted his hand and waved us away.

Sadly a few hours later hubby also succumbed to the bug and was terribly, terribly poorly. My worst point of the night was soothing a poorly little man upstairs, with puke in my ear and hair, and all down my back, while listening to hubby throwing up downstairs. Really not a very good point of the weekend, and honestly with still not feeling 100% myself, being surrounded by all that vomit was not very fun.

We survived however, as you do, with numerous loads of laundry.Thankfully ages ago we bought a spare version of Monkey’s favourite blanket and managed to keep the two blankets in rotation between wash cycles. We only have one doggy bear unfortunately (Monkey’s favourite comforter, so named because we have no idea if it is supposed to be a dog or bear!) as it was a gift and we have never been able to find it to buy a spare. Thankfully he survived the night with some damp cloths and got a good wash in the morning! If anyone has seen this dog/bear/comforter toy anywhere, please let me know so we can buy an emergency replacement for the future!

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Monkey slept through from around 11pm (thank goodness) and hubby managed to sleep from about 2.30am. Around 6 am I heard Monkey knocking around and so went to give him a little water. Again, as soon as he had his drink, he gave me a wave and snuggled back down again to get some more sleep, and slept in til around 9am (VERY late for him).

Amazingly he was full of beans yesterday (Monday), and had far more energy than hubby or I, so he managed to open his remaining presents and have a good play, though a lot of Peppa Pig was watched!

Opening presents in his jammies

Opening presents in his jammies

Poorly boys watching TV

Poorly boys watching TV

Unfortunately though he had a poorly tummy Monday night and was not himself Tuesday morning. He threw up again and then slept a large portion of the day away, though he did later perk up (in between naps) and have a good play and a munch on some dry crackers. He was much happier after a second long nap in the afternoon and ate some soup for tea, so fingers crossed he really is through the worst this time! Hubby is also doing a lot better today thankfully though he and I are both still pretty exhausted from the whole weekend! As I type though i can hear lots of post bath time fun and singing of row, row the boat so I am confident both my boys are on the mend, if a little skinnier than a few days ago!

We are just amazed by how well Monkey coped throughout the whole thing. Obviously he cried a lot and was very upset when he was being sick etc. and obviously we would have been there to cuddle, rock and soothe all through the night if he had wanted or needed us. But he didn’t. He wanted his bed and his favourite things, and to be alone. Even today (Tuesday), he has made it clear when he wanted to go back to bed and just be on his own and it has felt so strange being without him through the day. But, I guess when you scale it up to adulthood, it’s what we want to do. To just rest and be on your own. To have a bit of a moan and receive some comfort, but then go and get some more sleep again.

So it may seem like a strange post to link up to Small Steps, Amazing Achievements, and Loud & Proud, but we are so so proud of him and can’t believe how quickly our little monkey is growing up!

N.B. We still have the Peppa Pig cake, it never made it out of the box – so as soon as the illness is well and truly gone our brave little monkey will get a lovely treat!

Oh, and thankfully, at the time of writing, none of our family have caught the nasty bug so fingers crossed none of them will either!

Ethans Escapades

Not My Year Off

Monkey is 2!! A Mini Milestones Special :)

Yep, today my cutie pie little boy turns 2! Happy Birthday Monkey!

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This is a little bit of a celebration of him at this point in his development – a bit of a special edition of his Mini Milestones, and mainly a way for us to look back in years to come I think!

Physical Development

Monkey is standing tall at 3’2″ which according to the percentile chart thingy (first time in ages I’ve even looked at it) he is above the 99.6th percentile line for height and means he could be a whopping 6’4″ as an adult! With a Daddy at 6’2″ we are not surprised he is tall, but he does feel crazily tall! We will see whether his growth slows down but he is nearly as tall as some of his 3 year old friends at the moment!

He may be advanced in height, but he still can’t jump. I think this is still quite normal (?) at this age and he just doesn’t seem to get it, bless him, it is funny seeing him try though!

He is getting more coordinated now and can walk up the stairs with one hand on the hand rail and one hand holding mummy or daddy on the other side. He will be going up a class at tumbletots after half term, which is very exciting, and a bit nerve wracking for mummy as it is a bit more structured I think!

His dance moves are coming on too, and now he does the dance moves to lots of songs (not just wind the bobbin) and actually joins in with other people doing the moves, rather than just staring at them then later doing the moves on his own to the music in his head!

He is learning to climb in and out of the bath himself (using his stepstool) and is gradually learning how to get clothes on and off. He is trying to master pulling his trousers up at the mo, though he struggles to get them over his bum! We need to encourage this more really rather than just doing it for him, which is less time consuming and easier for us, but doesn’t help him learn the life skill!

It’s also worth saying that Monkey loves running – particularly on the grass, and he looks like Phoebe in Friends – where her arms and legs are flying everywhere? It’s so cute and he loves it so much, so we do too :).

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Oh and he finally likes ride-ons and is figuring out how to make them move. He hated them, anything cars, trucks, bikes, anything for such a long time, then when he did like them, he could only work out how to go backward! He can now go forward and is getting better all the time, so yay! Definitely a sign his coordination is improving!

Speech & Cognitive Development

We are getting there with his speech, slowly but surely. “I don’t know” is still his favourite phrase, along with the word ‘no’ of course! Oh Wow and Oh dear are other favourites. He tries to say lots of other words but doesn’t really manage yet. But he can now roar like a lion and make monkey noises, which are very fitting ;). He also chatters away to himself, and sings nonsensical songs and counts with lovely noises instead of words. So we are getting there and I know he’ll be a right little chatterbox eventually! He understands so much and can point out lots of things in his books (he very much enjoys doing this!)

His imaginative play is really coming along, which I have to admit, I love! For ages he has loved playing on the telephone..

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and feeding his toys

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and playing with his cars. But it has taken a bit of a leap in that he now ‘walks’ his toys around. Postman Pat and Teddy are now often to be seen walking up and down chairs and the sofa. His favourite thing at the moment is giving mummy teddy to cuddle, then rushing in to get in on the cuddle action too :) It’s dead cute!

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There’s a lot more understanding too. Not just with language but with reasoning. he now loves wearing his sunglasses outside as he seems to finally understand that they help stop the sun getting in his eyes.

He also is suddenly ok with Daddy washing his hair! After, well, basically his whole life so far, of hating having his hair washed, he now finally understands that if he looks up and tips his head back, the water doesn’t go in his eyes! That is literally a recent development this week, but a very, very, welcome one!!

Social Skills

After being knocked over by a big kid at the park weeks ago, Monkey has been quite wary of other kids, especially at play parks. It’s amazing how such a little thing can have such a big effect. He is getting a bit better now but he’s still wary, particularly of kids he doesn’t know, but even if his friends climb up behind him on a climbing frame, he panics and pretty much throws himself off it into my arms, not good. In contrast though, aside from being scared of kids coming up behind him, he has been playing really nicely with his friends. He is a lot happier playing side by side, and he LOVES holding hands with his friends and even gives kisses and cuddles when it’s time to go home.

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Sleep

Always a good sleeper (as long as it is in a bed) Monkey still sleeps for a good 12 hours at night and 2-3 hours for his nap during the day, even know he’s in his bog boy bed! He doesn’t have a duvet and doesn’t like anything covering him while he sleeps. He has grown out of all his sleepy bags which he would tolerate and while he’s happy with the duvet being on the bed, so far he doesn’t like it covering him while he sleeps. We will see how we get on with that in colder weather! Still no pillows yet, but he likes sleeping on his blankie and to be well surrounded by his favourite things!

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Food

We have been doing a bit better again with food lately after a bit of a fussy stage and mummy and daddy needing to reestablish the rules. He is staying at the table more and actually ate meatballs and pasta in a tomato sauce for the first time that I can remember! So that was pretty amazing! He’s not perfect though, there are still some meals he won’t eat and we have to be careful how much, if any, snack he has in the afternoons or there’s no chance he’ll eat his dinner.

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Discipline

On the whole Monkey is pretty good. He’s a toddler so he has his moments but as long as we are firm with him he will usually do as we ask. The occasional temper tantrum is him running off to hit a door or something, then he starts giggling. I’m not sure if he’s laughing at himself or pulling an ‘aren’t I cute?’ act because he knows we love his giggles. Either way it defuses his temper, though not mine! Most of the temper tantrums are still food/tiredness/poorliness related and so end in tears. Anything else – over wanting something he is not allowed, is usually very short lived so far. We’ll see whether the terrible twos hit us soon!!

We are trying to teach Monkey about tidying up one set of toys before getting out another. I.e. putting away all the duplo before getting all of the brio out too. Sometimes he is very good with this, other times he does not want to help at all and stubbornly refuses. If I persist though we do usually get there in the end, after a few mini tantrums about it!!

Current Loves

Monkey currently LOVES:

Playing in the sand (and anything that is a bit messy, really!!)

Playing with Play-doh

Anything Red & Yellow

Dancing

Watching Peppa Pig – she may even be replacing Postman Pat in his affections!!

His current fave books are “Each Peach pear Plum” and “The Rhyming Rabbit” but there are lots and lots of books that mummy and daddy now know off by heart!

I’m going to stop there, though I feel I could go on for ages in these posts with all the little things he does. It’s amazing when you stop and think about how much they can do, that they couldn’t quite do before!

I can’t believe that our little Monkey is 2 already! He is growing up so quickly all of a sudden! He got a birthday card at Tumbletots yesterday and I must admit I almost cried! Soppy Mumma! I blame the pregnancy hormones! We had a mini party with his friends on friday (pics will be up in a couple of days) and the family are all round at the weekend, which will be lovely :)

 

Ethans Escapades
3 Children and It

Messy Play with Shaving Foam & Cornflour

Ages ago I saw that Karen at Let Kids be Kids had a fab idea for making indoor snow using shaving foam and the wonder that is cornflour. We’ve not really used shaving foam yet in our messy play so immediately pinned it and decided to have a go too. I even bought the shaving foam and bits ready, but you know things get busy sometimes, and it just never happened. I also knew it had to be at a time when I was fully committed to Monkey getting really messy, and to dealing with the clean up afterwards! Possible one of the reasons for not attempting it.

One rainy day recently I mentally geared myself up to do it with him…. then we got an invite out with a friend and her little one, and as I like to have company and get out as much as possible, we jumped at the idea. But having geared myself up for the messy play I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t going to happen.

I have been trying to give Monkey an activity to do every afternoon after his nap at the moment, as we were finding he was sat in front of the TV snacking and then not wanting to eat his dinner, whereas if I keep him occupied he forgets about snacking and can then hold on until teatime/ The problem is that at my current point in this pregnancy I am absolutely shattered in the  late afternoon, around 5 pm ish, and sometimes have dizzy spells, so it can  be a bit tricky keeping him occupied when I am at my lowest ebb.

But that afternoon I went it for it. We came down after a few stories in his bedroom after his nap, and decided to get stuck in. I decided the kitchen was probably the safest bet for this activity, with the foam element, as at least we were near a sink and various towels etc! I’d also asked daddy to get the baby bath out of the loft as I thought that is a good size as a tub for him to lean in and get stuck in with.

We started off with foam, which Monkey really liked the feel of (I just used a value brand for cheapness).

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We then added a load of cornflour. I was a bit vague on quantities so just added more and more gradually, talking about how it felt each time. (Me doing the talking, Monkey isn’t at that stage yet – when I sked him how it felt I got his current favourite answer to everything of “I don’t know!”)

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It is a great combination but I think I ended up going too far with the cornflour, as it ended up more like sand with the consistency of cloud dough rather than snow, not that there was a problem with that! He was loving it  and at this point it all got tipped out of the bath and onto the tuff spot and covering himself in it! I used a can of shaving foam and nearly a whole box of cornflour, whereas maybe if you stopped at half 0r 3/4 of a box it would be better.

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This was also the point daddy came home and joined in the fun. We wanted to show daddy the fun with the shower foam too so we got out another can and sprayed some more foam.

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Then we decided to add some liquid food colouring – we tend to use the gel stuff for baking these days so it was really going to waste otherwise.

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Then daddy was making Monkey giggle by dropping big lumps of foam from really high up and making it ‘splat!’ in the bowl. Lots of good fun.

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So it didn’t exactly go quite to plan, but we really had a lot of fun – especially Monkey, though Daddy was happy he got to join in when he came home too :)

Mini Creations