Christmas Crafts with a pre-schooler

Tuesday mornings is Mummy & Monkey time while LM is out with my parents at rhyme time, and it is often a time when the messy play or crafts come out as it means she can’t interfere or eat things she shouldn’t! It is also lovely one on one time with my Monkey. Last week we started our Christmas crafting and had a really lovely time.

I never know what crafts to aim for, I see some gorgeous things on pinterest etc. but I know a lot of the work involved would be done by me, so I tend to stick to simple things I know he can achieve and that he enjoys. So we spend a lot of time just finger painting or car painting haha! I decided on quite a simple actiity to start with that I knew he would enjoy. Making a Christmas tree picture. I cut out the triangles but I asked Monkey to snip at the bottom to be the branches and leaves. I thought this would be a good way to practice his scissor skills and I was dead impressed with the little snips he made. They were very deliberate and neat.PhotoGrid_1449505487227

Then it was a case of gluing and sticking see pretty bits on, something Monkey loves and does really well. We also stuck some cotton wool on for snow.

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Monkey then asked to get the metallic pens out and I confess to thinking this would ruin the picture but he actually did well. I drew some tinsel and he drew some sparkly baubles and stars bless him.PhotoGrid_1449505933980 This didn’t take long so Monkey and I then had a quick look on pinterest together and he said he wanted a go at some pictures we saw of cotton bud painting,  so that was our next activity. I drew somestar shapes and then because he wanted to do it together we dotted and filled them in together. Again I was impressed that he stayed in the lines for the most part. Love seeing his development and he is growing up so much all the time these days!PhotoGrid_1449506057259

He then said he would like to do the same type of picture of a snowman and Christmas tree. So I drew the shapes for these (though I loved Monkey’s addition of a hat for the snowman!!)PhotoGrid_1449506278528 He did well at this though got a bit fixated on the black paint and wanted everything to be black. After a bit of encouragement (and yes a little involvement from me, but not much) we finished the picture then when he wanted to do another picture I let his imagination run a bit more and then even more with the next one!

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Bit of of a devolution but who cares he was having lots of fun! I loved the arms he did on snowman no.2 and apparently the bottom one is also a snowman and the dots are his arms :).

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Monkey Says at 3 1/2

Our little boy is growing up so much all the time and his language skills are growing with him. Pretty incredible when I think he was a little delayed and had no speech at age 2! He now gives everything a good go and even copied “echocardiogram” from Get Well Soon on Cbeebies the other day! He also comes out with some real gems at times too. Some that make me cringe and others that make me laugh out loud. So here are some of the Monkey’s top sayings recently.20151126_091318

“That’s my favourite.” Everything is his favourite. From people to food to things. The Dr is his favourite. His dinner is his favourite. Even his poo has been his favourite (I’m not kidding sadly). It’s actually very endearing when he says “I love Daddy, he’s my favourite” and when he calls LM “my favourite sister.” He also has a couple of children at playgroup who are his favourite too and it is so lovely to hear he is building relationships with other children.

Another endearing one is when he strokes his Daddy’s arm and says “You’ll be OK.” Generally absolutely nothing had happened and Daddy is perfectly happy…. but it is very cute nonetheless!

Less cute is when he copies us and shouts at LM to stop or yells at her that she is naughty. Nothing makes you think about the words coming out of your mouth more than hearing those words come out of a 3yr old’s mouth! That also includes him copying “oh for god’s sake” (we are trying to turn this into for goodness sake) and worst of all copying Daddy when he described a relative as “big fat …” I was less than impressed with that one and thank goodness he hasn’t said it to the person!!

He really likes making up random words at the moment too. Some are quite amusing, “binky banky” for example, some strangely accurate as when he described a car park as danky when yes, actually it was a bit dank. You can probably get there is a theme here and yes he did go through a stage of proclaiming everything was “winky wanky” which I was less than enamoured with! Thankfully we have persuaded him that is a bit of a silly thing to say!!20151120_132740

His imagination is wonderful now, and when he is playing cars or doing car painting he is very often using one to chase another, saying “I’m coming to get you” followed by the other car saying “aaaaaaaaahhh” hehe. You may have seen recently that he loves dressing up as a super hero and he really is so cute – running around saying he is “coming to the rescue!” and once he has rescued something (for example he did a great job of rescuing a welly the other day haha) it is “mission accomrished” with two thumbs up, so a bit of a superhero/postman pat SDS combination!

Mission Accomrished!

Mission Accomrished!

He is really inquisitive about the world around him, asking “where do trees come from?” and “what are planes made of?” He wants to know everything and he loves spotting things, the moon being the most recurrent especially at this time of year. We can be in the car and he will suddenly be yelling “look Daddy look it’s the moon!!” and of course we have to reply (as with whenever he tells us anything) or he will just keep repeating it tirelessly until he gets the answer he is looking for! He also thinks every conversation is aimed at him and answers any question he hears, not just those directed at him. So I can be talking to LM or Daddy or someone else and he will answer. He adores Show Me Show Me on the tv (one of my fave progs for the kids) and always answers when Chris and Pui ask questions. The other day he ran over and said “Chris asked me if I like shopping and I told him I did” and was so proud of himself.

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A cut? Or Jam???

We love the way he tries to find the language to describe something. For example he had a bit of a sore throat on the weekend and when he had some of Daddy’s warm tea he proclaimed “That was lovely! That made my throat feel not all gone” so cute. Other examples are “I’m getting all filled (full)” “that’s a bit splatty” (paint). During a snuggle on the sofa he decided I have “a lovely cosy bottom” and once when I was getting dressed “that’s a lovely nippley boobie.”  Errr, ok, thanks Monkey haha.

After falling tooth-first onto my forhead at the weekend giving me a lovely cut, lump and bruise, Monkey looked at me and said “you’re all cut. It looks a bit like Jam.” Well yes, I suppose it does, a bit!

Now for the funnies. We were watching Toy Story 2 the other day and when the man came to mend Woody’s arm, Monkey decided the needle and thread was a hooker. “Look he’s get a hooker. He loves hookers. I love hookers too, they’re my favourite!” I really wasn’t that sure what to say to that to be honest hehe. Then at lunch one day he randomly piped up “Mummy and Daddy do you like licking each other?” errrrrrr not sure what to say or where that came from.

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my cheeky Monkey :)

Finally, this morning he was on the receiving end of a few stern words from Daddy about the fact that he had done a wee in his pants (he seems to have regressed a little lately which is annoying with more incidents than usual) and he was being really good and listening, and then he suddenly announced “But cats don’t like bananas.” I have to admit I laughed out loud in the next room, I mean where did that come from? Funny Monkey!

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Glittery Firework Picture

I have really been struggling to do any arts and crafts with Monkey lately. Now LM is on the move she wants to be involved with everything we are doing and I struggle to come up with activities that both a 1 yr old and a 3 1/2 yr old can enjoy (if you have any, please share them!). She only naps once a day now too and I am generally shattered by that point so not much crafting happens then. We do do things occasionally but I rarely blog about them now and I try not to feel too guilty as Monkey is doing plenty at preschool (he now does 1 full day plus 2 mornings a week) but have really been wanting to do something new and fun with him. Tuesday mornings my parents take LM to a rhyme time group and that has become Mummy & Monkey time so today we have been making a glittery firework picture.20151103_095247

Monkey has never seen real fireworks, and has only seen them on cartoons so to start with we watched a youtube clip of a fireworks display and talked about how noisy they are. I also explained about bonfires briefly so we decided to make a picture of a big fire with fireworks around. Monkey helped me tear and cut some red, orange and yellow tissue paper which we then glued to the paper to make the bonfire.bonfire

Then came the really messy bit. Glitter doesn’t come out in our house too often because it gets everywhere… but you can’t have fireworks without a bit of sparkle now can you? I showed monkey how to glue some lines and shapes on the paper and he chose the colour glitter to use. He loved pouring the glitter on and then tipping it off to reveal the picture underneath, gasping and proclaiming it was “magic!”fireworks 1

I tried to keep the mess to a minimum and tip the remaining glitter back into each container but there’s only so much you can do with glitter really. For the most part Monkey wanted me to do the gluing for some reason, but I actually preferred his shapes as they were more random so I really encouraged him to do the gluing. Because he enjoyed it so much we made a couple of other pictures just with fireworks on and I really loved his firework shapes.fireworks 2

 

 

20151103_101528Monkey loved touching the glitter and wiped it all over his face, saying “look, I’m all lovely and sparkly now!” haha love him.

So there we have it, a very simple fireworks picture. I’ve always loved fireworks and adored making pictures like this when I was a kid so look forward to making many more with Monkey and LM as they grow.

#ToddlerApprovedTuesdayMamavsteacher

Toys from House of Fraser

I have been fortunate enough in the past to review some gorgeous children’s clothes from House of Fraser. When they got in touch recently and asked if we would like to reveiw something from their wonderful selection of children’s toys, well I couldnt say no could I?

I really enjoyed browsing checking out the huge variety of toys and games they have to offer but couldn’t resist when I came across this awesome remote control Fireman Sam fire engine. I just knew Monkey would love it, and I wasn’t wrong.

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As soon as he saw it he was so so excited and couldn’t wait to try it out. Watching the absolute glee on his face as he chased it round and round the room turning the steering wheel was absolutely priceless. As you can tell I struggled to get a non blurry photo as both he and the fire engine were moving so fast at all times but it was so fun to see him so happy!

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I have to admit it is probably the noisiest toy we own, and even on its “mute” mode it has the ability to shout “Great Fires of London” at the touch of a button! But it is worth it to see him so happy. He tells everyone he meets about his new fire engine toy and every time he sees it I swear it is like the first time again”oh wow my fire engine!!” So cute.

It really is such a great fun toy, definitely one to bear in mind for Christmas, and just one of so many available from House of Fraser

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Playparks

When I looked at photos taken over the last week, my word of the week was obvious, playparks. We seem to have spent a lot of time at various playparks this week and it is lovely to look back at so many pictures of smiling children. It is also nice to have a happy word of the week agan last week after feeling everything was so relentless last week.

Last friday we met up with my best Mummy friends and all 8 of our children and it was so so much fun. We had a great time together and the kids had a great time together too. The weather is lovely and warm but not too hot and it was an afternoon full of smiles.

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Saturday I had some time off with a good friend of mine in Cambridge which I so so needed and enjoyed so that was a day without playparks.

Sunday our little loonies needed to get out of the house by 9am so we headed to a nearby playpark as a family to get out of the house and let the kids burn off some steam! We had a lovely time all together and was much nicer to see the kids smiles rather than getting wound up with them bouncing off the walls at home.

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Monkey loved going down the slide with Daddy & LM and tried just aboout every seating combination possible!

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Monday I did visit a playpark on my morning walk with my neighbour (again around 9am) but didn’t take any photos.

Tuesday I met up with one of my Mmmy friends again at our local country park for some fun at not 1, but 2 different playparks! Yet more photos of smily happy kids having fun playing together, and mucking about ‘saving’ each other on the field too!

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We have needed tog et out of the house quite a lot this week as the builders are back and our new room (which was the garage) is nearly finished, and the utility and new garage are taking shape too! I will share a post more about that another day but oh the dust and the noise this week! We had a few days off from Playpark visits though as the rain set in on Tuesday afternoon and it was very, very wet… Lots of splashing in puddles instead :)

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Then this morning with the sun out again (albeit a bit chillier) it was time for another 9am playpark visit!

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How has your week been?

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Life Unexpected

Fun with a cardboard box

It never fails to amaze me that with kids, most of the time, simple things are the best. Last week I got a new toy – a lovely big food processor. This meant Monkey als got a new toy – a lovely big cardboard box. He had so much fun in there and just made me laugh so many times throughout the day.

To start with it was a den – I love his cheeky face poking out

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Then I laughed out loud to see his feet poking out the top when it was a bed

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It was a bus for a while

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Then he had so much fun making it a den again this time with just a blanket over the top and playing peepo.20150819_175559

Especially when the box then fell over with him inside!20150819_175659

Then LM had to get in on the action – she wasn’t quite as sure about being covered with the blanket

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Then it became a climbing frame (it was getting a bit squished by this point)

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And finall a great hiding place (can you see his fingers on the top? The only clue I had to where he was lol!)

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Kids and cardboard boxes eh?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Loving our Garden

I have never been much of a gardener, and in all honesty have been pretty uninterested in becoming a gardener. That is, until we renovated our garden. Suddenly I really enjoy it! I don’t like weeding and I still don’t really know what I am doing but I do enjoy choosing plants and seeing them grow. Luckily hubs knows a bit more about gardening than I do so it is very much a joint effort.

Renovating our back garden was such a good decision as we spend a lot of time out there and it really is looking so lovely out there now. We just bought some beautiful new plants to inject some more colour and texture. We like to try and mix up things that flower at different times of year and are different colours to keep a nice bit of variety. (You can see the before and afters of the renovation here.)

garden aug 2015

Monkey loves the garden and he loves gardening too. He is great at watering the garden, with the hose or a watering can and he just loves to dig. We do have to stop him digging up plants as he can be a bit overenthusisastic sometimes! He loves helping though and is always happy to push bits around in his wheelbarrow too, little love!

Monkey Gardening

I’m also really proud of him as lately he has gotten so inquisitive with bugs and beasties that we find when gardening. He so so loved finding some wiggly worms when we were digging at the weekend.  just love seeing how happy he is to touch and explore them. He has picked up woodlice, ants, ladybirds and all sorts too.Monkey and worm

I’m proud of myself too as I hate all these things and don’t like touching them but I try really hard not to share my fear with him. I really don’t want him to learn to be scared of things because they scare me, if that makes sense.

We really enjoy all of our time outside together and hope we can continue to for many years, and get LM involved too when we are less concerned about her eating mud and worms :).

Do you like gardening with your kids?

My word of the week is gardening.

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Paper Plate Lion Face

Monkey is a bit in love with The Lion king at the moment and actually that may be a bit of an understatement. He watched it so many times on holiday (usually on car journeys) that he is now parroting whole scenes at us.

“I stuffed, I ate like a pig – you are a pig” and “Look! Stamede! in the norge!” (Stampede in the gorge) His favourite is Scar (should we be worried?)”oh come on uncle scarf” “oh no no no no” “oh you are a naughty boy” and of course, he likes to roar, a lot! Another really funny phrase he has picked up on is where Timoon says a bug tastes like a pecan. He now randomly tells us his food tastes like “peacorn” lol. Not sure what that is supposed to taste like!

I do love The Lion King and we did encourage him to watch it (who doesn’t like singing along with Hakuna Matata??) but there is a limit to how many times I can watch it. What I did feel we could do instead though was make some Paper Plate Lions. I’ve never made any paper plate animals before and thought this was a good place to start, and capitalise on his current love of lions. (I know from previous loves that they never last long – in fact I think he may already be moving on to Monsters Inc!)

WP_20150713_005The paper plates we were using were pretty shiny, so I mixed some PVA glue in with the paint and thought that would help it stick. Sadly it didn’t and I assume I didn’t get the quantities right? I have never tried to paint on plasticky surfaces before and think I would try it with more glue next time! Anyway because that really wasn’t working I thought we should paint the back of one of the paper plates too – which worked much better.

While the paint was drying a little Monkey helped me cut some strips of orange card out for the main – he adores practising with his scissors and it is good for him to learn how to do it properly. We did have some that ended up being interesting shapes – but I have long ago learned that my perfectionist self has no real place with toddler/pre-school crafts! I then curled the strips of card a little with the scissors (think curling ribbon) which I think worked quite well.

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I did try and stick some strips onto the plasticky plates too but they really refused to stick – but on the papery side it worked much better.

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We had to leave them for a day to dry. I debated cutting out holes for eyes to make it a mask but Monkey said no when I suggested it. I asked if he wanted to draw eyes but he asked to stick some on. As we had run out of googly eyes I said I would draw them – at which point Monkey insisted I draw grumpy eyes and a grumpy face – not a smily face! (I said he likes Scar the best!!). He helped glue those on, made sure I made some ears, and drew on some cheeks (:)) and ouila! One Paper Plate Lion :)

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Monkey adores it and loves running around making it roar at everyone! Just great fun :)

Do your kids like being lions? Do they come out with any funny phrases from films/tv?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
Kidz ActivitiesLittle Hearts, Big Love
Mamavsteacher

Our Dorset Holiday

You may have seen that we have just had a very lovely holiday in Dorset. We have been house sitting for just over a week for some friends of ours who live in a very cute, quaint little country cottage. It is picture postcard pretty but also a little run down with cracks in walls and damp ceilings and TONNES of spiders!

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It is also in the most gorgeous setting, on a farm in the middle of the countryside. The farmer’s (massive) house is nearby along with a few holiday cottages they rent out but otherwise it is just surrounded by fields, trees and rolling hills.

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Being on a farm there are lots of animals around too, cows, horses, sheep, dogs, a”barn cat” who is a mouser that lives in the barn. She’s also about 1010 yrs old, very gentle and so good with the kiddies! The little ones have loved stroking her and even when LM has gotten a little over excited and pulled her fur (eek) she has barely flinched! Lovely pussy cat.

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We had the real extremes of weather, from blazing sun to torrential rain and we obviously had some highs and lows. Some highs of the trip include gorgeously sunny days out to the coast and on steam railways to castles (posts about those to follow) and actually a wonderful day at Stonehenge which was in parts disastrous but also lucky and just good fun, despite being a very wet day! More of that to come in another post.

We did have some lows too, including the most disastrous trip to the beach ever. I was on my own with the kids while hubs got his head down to do some work and as the forecast was for sun headed to the beach. It rained a little on the way but hoped we were headed to blue sky. I had researched and found what I thought was a sandy beach not too far away. Then we arrived and saw this mountain of stones at the edge of a completely stony beach.

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Walked around a little and could find no sandy beach so at the lowest point I could find proceeded to make a few trips up and down the hill of stones to get me, 3 bags, buggy, both kids and a wind shield onto the beach. Only to be faced with an evem steeper decline on the other side of the hill towards the sea.

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LM decided she didn’t like the noise of the sea so I didn’t want to get any closer, though it was blimmin windy at the top of the hill! I started to set up the wind shield,and the heavens (which had been darkening but I had been ignoring in my task of just getting up the hill) opened. So we ended up huddled behind the windshield, both LM and Monkey crying because they were cold and wet,trying to eat a picnic. Then the rain stopped, a few more trips back down the hill later, more screaming from the kiddies,and I packed them back in the car. Disaster!! Talk about best laid plans!! My feet hurt so much after all the running up and down the stones barefoot (my flip flops made it even worse so had to go with bare feet) and that was by far the low point of the week.

Some of the best bits though were seeing my kiddies having a whale of a time on the playpark on the farm (which had an awesome boat swing that I want to get for our swing at home) and just in running around the cottage garden.

 

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Oh and watching Monkey jumping in muddy puddles on the very wet days!

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Lots of happy times and though hubs was working a lot of the time we also got a lot of time together as a family which has been very lovely. By the end I both didn’t want to leave and get back to normality, but was also looking forward to getting home and our creature comforts, family and friends.

And then the fun began...

Best of Worst

Dancing Monkey, age 3

Earlier in the year Monkey and his Auntie Ericha went to see a couple of shows at our local theatre, one being the Northern Ballet’s “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” As he enjoyed it so much, for his 3rd birthday Auntie Ericha bought Monkey vouchers for some dancing classes. At the moment Daddy goes with him and it is safe to say that Monkey loves it. He is forever doing “good toes, naughty toes” (good toes being pointed and naughty toes not) which I remember doing at ballet as a little girl! He is also dancing round the hosue a lot more since starting the classes and I thought I would share an example of his amazing dancing with you.

Shot in portrait on my phone but you get the idea… I love how he does different dances according to the tempo of the music! Watch this space, he’ll soon be on the stage ;)

Do your kids love to dance?

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