Ice Excavating with Monkey, age 4

Like many children his age, Monkey is constantly on the go and really interested in the world around him. The questions are endless and I am always trying to find new fun things to do with him, that he will be interested in. After seeing some programme about fossils on the tv I decided to have a go at an activity that has been on my to do list for ages, ice excavating!

It’s a dead simple activity and while I think most people excavate dinosaur toys out of the ice, we don’t actually have any so I just found some other rubbery toys that I thought would survive freezing, and a few jewels and set to work. In a big tupperware I popped a few toys in a bit of water and froze it for a few hours. Once that layer had frozen I added more water and more toys and then left the whole thing in the freezer overnight ready for Mummy & Monkey time.

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The next day Monkey and I set to work. We set up in the tuff spot inside as the weather outside wasn’t great, popped the ice block into a big roasting tin and set to work trying to melt the ice and free the toys using some jugs of water, a couple of teaspoons and some table salt.PhotoGrid_1468231854163

As you can see Monkey absolutely loved every minute. There was so much to talk about too which was great for his vocabulary.PhotoGrid_1468232031232

Definitely a lot of fun and will repeat it over the holidays if we have a warm day I think as then the ice will melt even faster! As it was this kept us going for about an hour and there was still ice left afterwards.

Have you tried ice excavating before?

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Little Miss at 20 months

So our little lady is 20 months old. How do I describe her? She is feisty, demanding, bossy, caring, fun, loving, cheeky, and seriously cute as well as infuriating haha. She is also learning so so much all of the time and it is wonderful to watch her growing from a baby into a little girl.20160619_105035

She really has made a sudden leap in the last couple of months, and though we still don’t have many words, her communication has really stepped up. She pays so much attention when we talk to her and understands so much of what we say, often following directions. Her babbling is almost constant and she makes some seriously lovely noises.

She also does have more noises approximating words, sentences and phrases. “i wan dat” is one, though it often comes out as i-on-da with arms thrust at whatever it is she wants haha. I’m also sure that one day when I asked where her ball was she said something resembling “oer dare” and then “igetit” but it is difficult to be sure. We aren’t worried by the lack of actual words. Her brother didn’t speak at all beyond babbling until he was 2, and now he never shuts up haha. And like I say she understands so much and communicates her needs very well. In fact she is so so bossy. And because she is pretty darn adorable she gets her own way from people a lot… Hmm.

The downside to the lack of words is the frustration that we don’t understand her. And frustration when we don’t do what she wants. Ooh she does get frustrated and very much makes her feelings known. Screaming her head off and holding her breath til she is blue in the face. Lying on the floor screaming, sitting on the floor screaming. Oh the tantrums are really really starting, especially when I don’t give in to her bossyness, and we never had it as bad with Monkey. It is so embarrassing at times but I also try not to worry too much.

She can also be the loveliest loveliest girl. She always wants to be helpful and always brings us all our shoes when we want to go out (and when we don’t want to…), she loves washing her big brother in the bath and is so proud of herself when we ask her to give someone something and she does it. She loves feeding her dolls and toys and us haha and is always trying to give people food and drink! She strokes pictures of animals and says aaah and adores her teddies and cuddly things. She loved seeing our friends’ Guinea pig recently and gave them some carrot to eat! She also hates when people are upset and if we can hear a child crying she will get really concerned and say “oh no!” she really hates when her brother is upset too. She loves a good cuddle too and there’s nothing I like more than having her snuggle on my lap.PhotoGrid_1467045986712

She runs just about everywhere and has the cutest bouncy run. As much energy must go into bouncing up and down as moving forward but she looks so adorable when she runs off. She is seriously fast when she wants to be though!

She is intrigued by everything in the world and routinely stops to explore a blade of grass, leaves and was so excited to watch and follow a bumble bee a few days ago, giggling away everytime it flew from one flower to another. In general she just loves being outdoors and if you follow my instagram feed you will know how much she loves puddles and bubbles and climbing. PhotoGrid_1467050215991

She adores being in the bath and is such a water baby. She loves playing and splashing about with her brother but also adores lying down and having a swim. Sometimes in a bubbly bath we can only see her head which is a bit bizarre but she seriously adores it and it’s just lovely seeing her happy in there.PhotoGrid_1467046353251

She is learning so much all the time and getting more dextrous. We have been working on fine motor controls and generally having a lot more involved play she loves sorting things and just exploring in general. Her latest loves are painting, and play doh! She would play playdoh all day long if she had her way. Thank goodness she also enjoys watching peppa pig and paw patrol as that usually distracts her when I am at the end of my play doh tether haha.PhotoGrid_1467053235157

She is desperate to be a big girl and loves drinking from an open cup and using her fork and spoon which is lovely to see. Though she still uses her hands most of the time!PhotoGrid_1467045614881

She still loves her food and though she can be fussy at times with new things on the whole she is great. Favourites include curries, especially with chickpeas in, baked beans, tortelloni in tomato sauce, my homemade soups and strawberries!

She loves books and stories and is constantly bringing books for me to read her, or sitting flicking through pages and lifting flaps on her own. She is getting interested in some more grown up books too and currently loves “What the ladybird heard” and enjoyed her brother’s current favourite “the pirate who lived next door. ”

She is a complete and utter loon at times. She loves spinning around and throwing herself on the floor. It baffles me but is another sign of how full of fun she is. She so loves to laugh and to make others laugh too. We adore our girl so much and it is a privilege to be her mummy, even if she does drive me crazy at times. She is cute as a button and I love, love, love watching her grow and learn.PhotoGrid_1467056019675

 

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Seeing the world through her eyes

One of the things I love most about being a mum, and a Stay at Home mum especially, is being able to watch the kids grow and learn right in front of my eyes. With Monkey at the moment this is so tangible as his vocabulary is coming along so well, and he is learning to read and write. With Little Miss it is a little more subtle but she is learning so much every day about the world around her… And I love to see to see the world through her eyes as to her everything is new, and everything is fascinating.

She wants to stop and investigate every twig, bush, flower, puddle, feather, anything really. It is so cute, but does mean that it takes a long time to get anywhere!PhotoGrid_1462108592132

Especially as even when she has decided she has looked at something enough and walks away, she very often has to pop back for another look… Just to make sure haha. Definitely time consuming! Here’s a little clip to show you what I mean.

She’s also discovered more about herself lately. She loves investigating her tummy button and finds it hilarious, and wonderful, to see herself in the mirror. She’s so cute doing this and it’s lovely to see her kiss herself, give herself a high five and laugh at seeing her reflection.PhotoGrid_1462115581071

She’s also discovering her hands more and was so sweet on a walk a few days ago discovering that she could hide her hands in her sleeve and then find them again.

One last clip of her to show where I tried to show her a sticky plant.. And, well you will see her reaction.

She cracks me up.

Don’t you just love seeing the world through their eyes?

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Learning to draw at 15mths and 3 3/4

My word of the week this week has to be drawing, as both kiddies are making leaps and bounds with their drawing abilities at the moment.

LM has well and truly discovered drawing now and would love to be doing it all day every day at the moment. I have held back from letting her have crayons for a while (for fear of her eating them) and she has amazed me with the magna doodle things. Then lately we got a couple of crayons out and she was in her element.PhotoGrid_1454505406334

She does pop them in her mouth from time to time but is gradually learning not to I think. She loves it though and often takes herself off to the little table in the conservatory and sits swinging her legs. She has fallen a couple of times bless her but she just wants to get right back up.

She doesn’t distinguish that much between paper and table though and I have to control my feelings about this and remind myself that it doesn’t matter if she draws on this table. I am still trying to keep the crayons contained though as I really don’t want find her drawing on a wall or sofa one day! So it was lovely at the weekend when we got out in the garden with the pavement chalks as I could really leave her to do as she pleased. Again it ended up in her mouth once or twice but only very briefly and on the whole she was absolutely loving drawing on the pavement.PhotoGrid_1454505585883

Monkey was loving it too and it was lovely seeing them do it together.

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His drawing is coming on leaps and bounds lately too. There is still a lot scribbling going on but they are usually something, at least in his mind, and are often roads. I was dead impressed a few days ago though when I was doodling while they were drawing and drew a tree with some grass by a river… And Monkey copied me! He did so well and it was lovely to see him create an actual picture of something.

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He’s also coming on really well with his writing. He has been writing his name for some time now but it has definitely improved and then the other day he wanted to draw numbers so he was again copying what I did, and did such a brilliant job! I was so proud of him! (excuse the bag of clothes in the background ready to go to the chairty shop!) Of course some aren’t perfect but who cares, what a brilliant effort, such a clever Monkey :).20160202_091315So as you can see there has been a lot of drawing going on in our house. Do your kids love to draw?

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Life UnexpectedNot My Year Off

Herby the Hedgehog

Meet Herby the Hedgehog.

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Herby is a real family friend of ours. He was hubs’ toy when he was little (he can’t remember not having him) and he is now firm friends with both Monkey and LM.

When Monkey was little I invented the following little ditty:

My name is Herby and I like to dance,
I like to dance and tickle my friend Monkey,
Dance, dance, dance
and tickle my friend Monkey

I make Herby dance for the dancing bits then of course he goes in for a tickle at the tickle bits. Monkey always loved this and we had so much fun with Herby when he was a baby. Sadly I don’t have many photos of Monkey with Herby, I wasn’t a blogger back then and clearly didn’t document every second of our lives the way I do now ;) but here is a little snap.

Monkey and Herby

Now it is LM’s turn and the ditty has returned, and has all the fun. I love this little video of some of the fun I have been having with Herby and LM recently. She adores him! (Oh and yes that is Monkey singing the bob the Builder theme tune in the background bless him!)

Obviously any hand puppet would work in the same way but in our house it is all about Herby. I love watching the anticipation,the confusion when he goes away and the glee when he comes back.

I have mentioned (more than once, I know) that I find baby days so hard and that I prefer it when they are older. Sometimes it is hard to put my finger on why but here it is. Watching them learn is so much fun, as everything is a learning experience. You get to see the world through their eyes and enjoy it with them.

We really are entering the fun times with LM now and these little moments amongst the hard work really make me smile, and make it all worthwhile.

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Tuff Spot Play with Lentils

After the recent success of the Tuff Spot play with water, I was keen to see what other easy activity I could come up with for Monkey that didn’t involve much prep but would keep him entertained. Ages ago a post from Loving Life with Little Ones reminded me how much fun could be had with lentils and I had wanted to get some out for Monkey to play with for a while.

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Letter learning blanket

My Mum, aka Nanny, is a very clever crafter and loves making quilts. We have so many fabulous quilts in our house, and they are all gorgoeus and so handy for various situations. Her most recent one has to be one of my favourites though. Because this one is a fab quilt for Monkey that as well as being a gorgeous quilt, it also doubles as a fun game! A game that will also help Monkey start to learn his letters.

Nanny has made this gorgeous letter learning blanket with pictures to accompany each letter.

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She has also made a set of matching bean bags with each letter on.

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Monkey adores this blanket and loves playing the letter game. He regularly brings the blanket or a bag of bean bag letters out to me as a clear sign he wants to play the letter game.

He’s actually pretty good at it too, of course he doesn’t always get every letter right (hardly surprising at only  2 1/2) but he does really well. You could easily make a smaller paper version of this game and I actually think it is a great way to just have fun with letters and help with the recognition of shapes with the sound.

So how does it work? 

Well, we lay the blanket out on the floor and tip all of the beanbags out on the sofa.

I then give him the letter beanbags one by one, sounding out the letter and at the moment I also say the word related to the picture on the blanket. I heard somewhere that it helps if you sound letters out as with the phonetic alpabet as it helps when they go to school and are learning to read, so we do that (or as near to it as I can remember!)

For example I give him the D beanbag and say “can you find Duh for Dog” and he runs off to the blanket usually repeating “duh for dog” finds the picture and the letter and then puts the beanbag down. He is very good at putting the beanbag letter on top of the letter on the blanket (rather than just in the square) and more often than not, the right way round. So I am quite impressed with him.

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He is a lucky Monkey having such a talented Nanny and he loves this game! Plus hopefully it is helping him to learn his letters, he is such a sponge and really loves to learn so it is great for him.

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