Focussing on Happy #1 “break”

I’ve been joining in with Jocelyn’s word of the week linky for a long time and I love using it as a way to sum up my week, though sometimes I struggle to choose one word that fits the whole week as a lot can happen in a week! Sometimes it is easy to focus on the negatives and for example this week I nearly chose overwhelmed or struggling or hectic… But when I look back at pictures from the week what I actually see is smiles and happiness. That doesn’t mean I haven’t felt overwhelmed at times but it pays to remember that the whole week hasn’t been negative.

I’ve seen many other bloggers joining in with the Happy Days linky and sharing what has made them happy that week and have loved the idea of that too so I decided I want to join in. From now on I will be combining the two. I will still pick a word that best sums up the week but I will also try and focus on the positives and what has made me happy.

So while I have still been struggling with the extra things that need doing while hubs is recovering from his op and have felt overwhelmed at times, to the point where my blog has had to go on the backburner… Overall it has been a happy week and my word of the week is “break” here is why.

Saturday I had a much needed break catching up with some friends in London for a birthday. Lots of fun and laughter, mooching round Camden which I haven’t done in years, drinking shots at 5pm and a very tipsy and bizarre first experience at mecca bingo! Very amusing and definitely a break from normality. Massive thanks to my little bro and sister in law for helping hubs with bath and bedtime so that I was able to go as I really needed it.PhotoGrid_1465473766517

Sunday dawned and it was a lovely sunny day so we popped over to my mama’s for the morning and it was lovely to feel warm and have a break from the chilly wet weather recently.PhotoGrid_1465474099322

In another break from normality we abandoned the meal plan that evening (I didn’t fancy cooking a casserole in the heat) and instead invited some friends over for a little bbq which was really really lovely and so much fun.PhotoGrid_1465473884817

Monday being the end of half term means Monkey being back at pre-school… Which as much as I love being with him… Means I also get a bit of a break from him and a bit of peace when LM naps in the afternoon, which I so need.

I’ve run out of “break” analogies now so here is a few other things that have made me happy this week.

Hubs getting better and able to move more and more. We have been on some lovely short walks round the block with the kids or just with LM, helping him exercise. He has started driving short journeys again and can help me a bit more. He even did some hoovering!PhotoGrid_1465476204731

Watching LM explore the world around her as at the moment she is fascinated by everything.PhotoGrid_1465475938930

Making a go jetters jet pack with Monkey during Mummy and Monkey time on Tuesday. Even more I have enjoyed seeing how much he loves it and how he wants to wear it all the time. Cutie.PhotoGrid_1465474282255

Doing some painting in the garden with LM and her covering me in paint too. Cheeky girl haha.PhotoGrid_1465476835042

I’ve also had a bit of a break from blogging this week which means I have managed to get quite a few things done instead. I’ve planted a load of plants and sunflowers my stepdad and father in law kindly gave us, defrosted and cleaned out a freezer and deep cleaned the bathroom. So the house may still look tip but it hasn’t been a terrible week. Plus I feel a bit rejuvenated about blogging again which usually happens after a little break. How has your week been?

The Reading ResidenceWhat Katy SaidCountry Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallLife UnexpectedMummascribbles

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

Creative Challenge – January – Painting

After seeing some wonderfully creative things mummies do with their little ones who are Monkey’s age or thereabouts, I sometimes feel I don’t give him enough of an opportunity to explore his creative side. I think I’m still a bit stuck in the ‘oh but he’s too young for that’ frame of mind, when I shouldn’t be.

We’ve been drawing with crayons, chalks and bathy crayons for ages – mainly because they are so easy to tidy up. But things like paint and glue give me the shivers at the thought of all the mess. But I need to get past this because if I can, then we should have a lot of fun together and it will of course help him learn and develop.

So I have decided to explore new things with him, and to do this I need to be a bit more creative with our activities. So I am challenging myself to be more creative with him as part of my new Creative Challenge series.

I am also going to link this up with the lovely ‘Mini Creations‘ Link Up hosted by Grace and Lucas at Kid GL loves. I have been reading and getting ideas from this link up for a while but not posted anything, because, well, scribbles are only so interesting. Then the very clever Jocelyn at The Reading Residence came up with the idea of doing her little ones’ mini creations on a Monthly basis and I immediately realised what a genius idea this was (thank you Jocelyn!).

So here it is, Month 1 in this new Creative Challenge series, and this month, Monkey has been doing a lot painting.

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Painting with a brush, and his fingers.

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It sometimes gives me heart palpitations when I look at his black paint covered hands…especially when he starts to move said hands towards the white woodwork! aaaah :)

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But he loves it and we have some amazing art to show for it:

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Want to be more creative with your little one? Is it time to get over your fears of messy play? Why not join the Creative Challenge? Grab my badge and on Wednesday 26th February I will be hosting a new linky to see how you have got on!

Creative Challenge

Mini Creations

Baking with a toddler – messy but brilliant! – 19 months

For quite a while now I have been thinking about doing some baking or cooking with Monkey but honestly have been too scared by the thought of him being in the kitchen around sharp knives, hot ovens, you get the idea. I may have mentioned once or twice that Monkey is a Fussy Eater, and in my extensive reading about ways to help with that I have read that getting them involved in the kitchen is a good way to go. For example, Supernanny’s Little Chef Technique, but, at risk of repeating myself, knives, hot ovens… aaaagh.

WP_20140115_15_50_45_ProThen one day I was getting dinner ready and he was so unhappy at me being in the kitchen that I let him come in with me. He played on the floor to start with with some cake tins and spoons, then he got interested in the sweet potato I was peeling, so I sat him on the step stool so he could see the worktop and he helped me put the chopped sweet potato into the steamer and the peelings in the bin. Simple things of course but it gave me confidence to try baking or something.

One afternoon after a short nap, I decided to go for it, put his lovely pinny on, and we made a very simple Victoria sponge cake. Unfortunately I am a bit of a control freak and didn’t want him to ruin the cake – no matter how much I told myself it didn’t matter how it turned out, I just couldn’t do it! So he helped me grease the tins etc. then I set him up with a mini bowl and all the ingredients (apart from the raw eggs) and he absolutely loved it.

 

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I let him stir the ingredients for the cake too and he loved licking the spoon and bowl once the cake was in the oven.

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He had so much fun and then helped me with the washing up.

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He’s been dying to do it again and keeps pulling the step stool up to the worktop. It went so well the first time that I thought we should do it again, this time with some yummy biscuits. I’d made them once before and you can see the recipe here.

Again I’m afraid I got a bit freaked when he was grabbing the ingredients as I measured them in so again he got a little bowl of his own, which he loved so I don’t feel too guilty about it! He helped me stir it all up though and again he loved eating the mixture off the spoon.

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The greatest thing about this baking experience was how much he enjoyed it!

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He carried on playing way after the cookies were in the oven. I love these pics as he looks like a proper little chef!

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He was still playing at the worktop once the cookies were baked and I had washed everything up and even cleaned up around him!He had a brief play at the sink then wanted to get back to ‘his’ square of worktop where he was then happy playing with bowls and spoons… and then had a hilarious moment where he realised he could see his reflection in the food processor. So cute as he was pulling lots of funny faces! haha

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It was so much fun and I think the first time ever that we have spent an hour and half on an activity! So I have now overcome my fear of having him in the kitchen (not completely of course, a healthy dose of fear for his safety is permanent I think) and am looking forward to making lots more things with him in the future. Whether it helps his fussy eating, only time will tell.

Oh and the baking resulted in this yummy cake

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And these yummy biscuits

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Do you like baking with your toddler?  What do you like to bake with them?

Ethans Escapades

 

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Playing with Velcro Hair Rollers – 19 months old

I found this idea via the Kid’s Activities Blog last week on LalyMom and thought it was genius!

I too have wavy/curly hair and have tried in the past to tame it with velcro rollers and well, failed miserably! haha So in a drawer under my bed my velcro rollers have been gathering dust…. until now!

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It turns out there is a lot you can do with them and we have barely touched the surface.

They are great for sorting by size, stacking, posting things through, sticking to each other and other things.

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Monkey liked putting them on his fingers and wiggling them around,

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You can use them to build, as they stick together, though Monkey just wanted to knock said buildings down so I didn’t manage a photo haha.

We spent ages playing with straws with them too, posting them through was great fun!

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Just another reminder that you don’t have to spend loads of money on toys to entertain the kiddies and they are great for those fine motor controls!



Sensory play with spaghetti – 19 months old

WP_20140107_13_08_05_ProAs you may have read, we are having problems at the moment with Monkey’s fussy eating, and one of the things he refuses to even touch, let alone eat, is pasta. He loved it when he was younger but now won’t go near it and I think he doesn’t like the texture. It doesn’t matter if it’s plain or in a sauce, we’ve tried adult pasta, baby pasta, spaghetti, star and moon shaped pasta but nothing tempts him. I’ve seen people using spaghetti as sensory play and it got me thinking. We play with dry spaghetti but have never tried cooked and I wonder if I can get him happy playing with spaghetti, maybe he will be more tempted by it at the dinner table?

After hearing about a Tuff Spot from mumturnedmom, I bought one, as I am hoping it helps me be braver with messy play in the hopes it will contain the mess! Anyway I was eager to try it out so one day when Nanny was here I decided to give it a go. My Mum thought I was bonkers, you could see it on her face from the moment I suggested it! Ha ha she really thought it was a daft idea!

 

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But nonetheless we had a go and I think judging by Monkey’s face here that he thought I was bonkers too at first!! hehe But he soon got into it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

He is such a little scientist and he really studies things, the spaghetti being no different. He had lots of fun with it, moving it around, treading on it, pulling it, all sorts so I am really pleased.

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Whether it will help him want to eat it I have no idea but it was a good playtime anyway. He like hiding it in the tuff spot box too!

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Family photo Friday – the giggles

Mama H at Thursdays Child, Friday’s Thoughts has started a lovely linky called Family photo Friday which I think is a really lovely idea. The idea is to share a family photo from the week just gone so that by the end of the year you can chart the growth and changes. I think that is a fab idea as we take so many photos and it’s lovely to see how much they change.

So here is my photo from this week!

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It was taken after tea on Saturday night and we were playing cars across the dining table. Monkey was loving it so much and really had the giggles and I just think this is such a gorgeous piccy of him and his daddy having fun together. Don’t you just love the sound of toddler giggles? Best sound ever in my opinion!

Thanks Mama H for starting this lovely linky and thanks to Jocelyn at The Reading Residence for introducing me to it! I look forward to watching the little ones grow in these photos.

 

Painting with a paintbrush! 19 months old

Over the  Christmas break, whilst out having some lunch with some friends, Monkey picked up a chip and dipped it in some ketchup (not to eat of course, don’t be silly ;)) and had great fun using it to ‘paint’ with. We haven’t done finger painting for a while because he’s generally not a fan of having things on his hands (nothing to do with the mess it makes hehe ;)) and I didn’t think he was anywhere near ready for a paintbrush, but seeing him with the ketchup and chip gave me other ideas.

WP_20140103_11_31_14_ProSo I found some non toxic paints that are supposedly washable. I could have made the home-made paints again but to be honest I was feeling lazy and I’m not 100% keen on the consistency. It’s quite jelly like and well who am I kidding, I’ve just been feeling lazy! So I bought some non-toxic paints.

Anyway so we got monkey to wear one of his old coverall bibs, which he was ok with once it was on. We gave up the fight over bibs at mealtimes a loooong time ago so it is a teeny bit snug on him! The paints say they are washable but I don’t really trust them! He sat at his little table in the conservatory (definitely my preferred place for messy play) and he loved it.

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We didn’t get him any water to rinse off the brush between colours, which maybe we should have done, but then I have a feeling it may just have ended up being a very very watery painting! The result of not doing it though is that all the paints are now a bit of a mix of colours, but hey ho, it’s only him that’s using them and so who cares.

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I tried to get him to do some hand prints when he inevitably got it on his hands, but he mainly just wiped it down his front – so thank goodness for the bib!

Daddy was around too to help with the clean up, which definitely helped! Will need to see how I manage the clean up on my own haha. The only problem with messiness in the conservatory is that we are a long way from a tap or basin, so I will need to be organised with a bowl of soapy water next time, to avoid any paint escaping into the rest of the house!

MumturnedMom introduced me to the idea of a ‘tuff spot‘ which looks genius to me and so one is on order! I am looking forward to trying out messy play in that when it arrived!

How do you contain the mess?