Toddler Sunrise Painting – 21 months

I first saw this idea from Lucy at Baked Potato Mummy. Her little Potato isn’t much older than Monkey and I am always inspired by (and a little in awe of) the arts and crafts they get up to. The idea is that you fold a piece of card in half and your little one paints it oranges and reds for the sky. Then on a separate piece of folded card, they paint the bluey sea. Then when it is all dry you match the pieces together and have a lovely sunset picture!

It looks like such a simple way to have an actual picture at the end so I thought it was perfect for this week’s Creative Challenge.

I’d bought some new paints recently so I splodged some onto some paper plates as I figured that was the easiest way of doing it. For the sea part of the picture I chose purple, blue and green. For the sky I went for orange and yellow. (They didn’t have any red in stock the day I went to buy the paint).

A while ago, at the start of the Creative Challenge I had bought some sponge-brushes which I thought would be good for this so out they came.  Monkey got stuck in – we started with the orangy/yellow sky. WP_20140228_10_20_52_Pro WP_20140228_10_21_53_Pro WP_20140228_10_22_46_Pro WP_20140228_10_26_13_Pro

Then, when he had had enough, we had a clean and then did the sea.

WP_20140228_10_44_22_Pro WP_20140228_10_45_43_Pro WP_20140228_10_46_11_Pro WP_20140228_10_45_11_Pro Monkey had loads of fun and we ended up with this masterpiece!



Hurrah, a successful creative challenge!! 🙂 We’re getting better at containing the mess when it comes to painting. I have discovered that the key is preparation, having a bowl of soapy water, cloth and tea towels on standby – along with a large amount of baby wipes to quickly clean up any splashes!

Do you like being creative with your kids? Or are you good at being creative cooking on a budget? Join in with the Creative Challenge and link up with me

Creative Challenge
Mini Creations

Reflection #ThePrompt

The Prompt from the lovely Sara at MumTurnedMom this week is “Reflection.”

As always, I wasn’t sure which angle to take. I had some provoking ideas – “Is your child a reflection of you and your parenting?” or “Is blogging a reflection of real life?” But honestly it’s been a busy old week and I really haven’t had the energy to tackle a deep or potentially controversial topic.

So as Monkey and I are sat on the sofa, at the start of a day where I have nothing planned, and we are both happy and calm, I am reflecting on how much things have changed. How much he has grown and how much I have grown as his mummy.

I make no secret of the fact that I found the first year of his life a struggle. Coming to terms with this new role of ‘mother.’ Coming to terms with no longer working, of trying to adapt to fit this new life as  a SAHM. It’s why I started this blog.

If you’d asked me a year ago what my top tip would be to surviving, it would have been to get out of the house every day. For a large chunk of Monkey’s life – particularly since he became more alert and needed entertaining – I have had our weeks planned out. An average week would look like this:

Every morning, a work with my neighbour from 9-10ish. Then

Monday: See my parents
Tuesday: Tumbletots
Wednesday: Music class/Play date
Thursday: Storytime at the library/Play date
Friday: See Hubby’s parents.

Every morning and early afternoon was filled and if we did have a day with nothing, I would have to plan an activity – more for myself I know, because I struggled to spontaneously think about what to do to entertain him. I had to have a plan to keep myself sane. Days without a plan, or when plans got cancelled, were invariably the bad days. The days where I struggled, where I guess I panicked at the thought of having to entertain Monkey by myself all day. Where I started the day on the wrong foot and instead of being optimistic, I expected the day to be difficult, so of course, in a self fulfilling prophecy, it was difficult.

Things have changed now. Monkey has grown up. In may ways he is easier to entertain now. He has a longer attention span so isn’t distracted every 2 minutes (now it’s about 10 minutes ;)). He is getting more independent, and will find what he wants to play with sometimes. He can think for himself and though he obviously still wants a lot of my attention and interaction, and I am happy to give it, there are times when he doesn’t want or need me so much. I love watching these changes in him. It’s a bit scary to see my little man growing up and moving ever so slightly away from me… but for the most part I am just so proud watching him grow up.

I’m proud of myself too. The thought of a day with no plans doesn’t fill me with the same trepidation it once did. I don’t start the day miserable at the prospect. I know that he will be fairly happy pottering about in the house for part of the day. I know that a bit of telly won’t do him any harm (though he gets bored of the TV easily so it’s never on for long). If the weather is fine we will go for a run down a hill, or just on a walk around the local area, picking up sticks or knocking on trees.

If the weather is less good I will get out the paints, or cloud dough, or we could do some baking, and the time will pass. If we do go a bit stir crazy we can pop to a local shopping centre for a wander, or pull on the waterproofs and wellies and got for a splash about in the rain.

I used to obsess over weather forecasts to see what it meant for our day. Now I look out the window very so often.

I am a planner by nature so for the most parts our weeks are stilled planned, though there are definitely more gaps now. On a day with no plan, I try and form a vague plan in the morning, but it changes as the day goes by depending on how we feel and Monkey’s mood. I don’t cling to my plans like a liferaft.

Before Christmas I mentioned that we are thinking about baby number 2, and it is very much on our minds at the moment. The thought of going back to baby days does scare me slightly, because I struggled last time. I know it will be different this time, as I have done it once, and I have Monkey. But I know it won’t be easy so I am sure I will be needing my plans again if we are lucky enough to get pregnant again!

I’m also linking up with Mother Wife Me, Mama -and more and City Girl at Heart for All About You.

#AllAboutYou Link & Pin Party Mama and More


Listening to Music in the car

Monkey loves music. has done since he was tiny. You can see him singing to music in his head sometimes as he dances along to ‘wind the bobbin up’ or ‘twinkle twinkle’ doing all the hand movements!

He has quite particular tastes though and is happy to let me know when he doesn’t like the music that is on in the car or something – generally by lots of whining. Heaven forbid if we have the radio on and I don’t realise that a song has finished and there’s talking on instead, he gets very stroppy!

But what I love his the way he reacts to a song he likes coming on the radio. They are very rarely songs he has heard before, and they do vary, but he likes music with a strong beat, particularly a good rock song. As a lover of rock music it makes me dead happy and proud, when a heavy guitar rift comes on the radio and I hear my little boy behind me clapping and shouting ‘yeeeeeaaaaahhh’ haha. So daft but I love it, so that’s my ordinary moment this week!

Not the best pic I’m afraid, hubby was driving on this day  and monkey was moving a lot, but, you get the idea 🙂




A Big Bus Adventure to the Library

Monkey loves buses. He seriously LOVES buses. We have loads of toy buses and he gets massively excited whenever he sees a bus. It could be a real bus – which he will shout and point and clap and wave to – or a bus in a book or on the TV, which again he will shout and point and clap and wave to. Bless him it is very cute.

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We don’t go on buses very often mainly because in our area to get anywhere by bus takes at least 3 times as long and is way more expensive than going by car. He has been on buses before – but not since our holiday in the summer. I have been meaning to take him on a bus for a while but we are generally pretty busy and I’ve just not got round to it.

On a no-plans Thursday however I decided it was time for our Big Bus Adventure. I didn’t want to take him too far and the local library is on the bus route, and I vaguely remembered they do a story time on Thursday Mornings so I thought it would be nice to combine the two. The library is actually about 2-3 mins away in the car, maybe 5 mins by bus (plus all the waiting time either end) but it cost us £2.40 to get there and back. At adult walking speed it only takes about 15 mins to walk… so you can see why we don’t get the bus very often!!

But it was a treat for Monkey and he was very excited when the bus came to the stop, and gave a big clap as it came up.

PicMonkey Collage this one

He sat very seriously all the way there and I was explaining that it stops to let people on/off etc.


The library wasn’t open when we got there  so even though it was freezing cold we had a little play outside first.

PicMonkey Collage 2

We had a lovely time at the library – he goes with Nanny and Grandpops to a rhyme time session most weeks but it was the first time we had been to Story Time, and they read one of his favourite Spot books which was lovely and he really enjoyed it. We had a look at some of the many lovely books they have there, but bless him he just kept getting excited to see some of the books we have at home. No matter how I tried to get him interested in other books he was obsessed by Dear Zoo and Dear Santa! Bless him! I did manage to tear him away from his faves though and we checked out a couple of other books on his library card to bring home with us.

PicMonkey Collage 3

There was more excitement for the bus journey home and it takes a slightly longer loop home so we got a few more pics of him enjoying the ride! 🙂

PicMonkey Collage 4

And that was the end of our big bus adventure, bye bye bus! 🙂



The Reading Residence

Cute Crochet Owl

I’ve really been enjoying doing the crochet, I like being able to sit and work away at it in the evenings after Monkey has gone to sleep, while hubby and I watch some trash telly. I also do the odd bit during the day while he naps so housework has definitely been suffering! Oh well! 🙂

But, well, I am an impatient soul and doing the rows backwards and forwards, while very therapeutic, wasn’t really cutting it for me. I mentioned in my last crochet blog that I had found the fabulous site of Bunny Mummy. Now she really is very good at crochet and makes some gorgeous things, one of which being this adorable cute owl, and I couldn’t wait to give it a try! As I am a complete beginner I was very confused by some of the stitches and sought help from my lovely mother in law, but after a bit of explanation from her I was off!

It didn’t start out brilliantly as somehow the first circle I made was completely wonky. I started again and this time it wasn’t wonky but by the time I got to the third round, somewhere along the way I had miscounted and it was a bit skew-wiff and the wrong size.


Not to be put off I duly started again and woohoo this time I had a correct circle! I carried on, fluffed my way through the new stitches and somehow managed to make something that resembled the pattern I was following. I continued the next night and managed to finish the bodies and eyes, but realised I didn’t have a needle nearly large enough for yarn so had to put it aside. Lovely mother in law is also making an owl and as she is much better at crochet than me she managed to finish hers already! Anyway she lent me a needle(bodkin?) and some wadding for me to put it all together.

The next day we had a lovely visitor in the form of my friend Monika all the way from Switzerland so instead of crocheting the evening was spent eating good food, drinking lovely wine and generally catching up. Although then we had a rough night as Monkey is really not sleeping well at the moment and hubby got a poorly tummy in the middle of the night – end result a very tired little family. Luckily Monika managed to sleep through much of it and wasn’t too disturbed, or I would have felt truly awful!

Monika headed home the next morning, via London to do some shopping, and we had a lovely visit to monkey’s grandparents and I got to see the lovely finished owl! Sadly I didn’t take a picture but will try to snap one over the weekend. After seeing Granny’s lovely owl I was chomping at the bit to finish mine so during Monkey’s afternoon nap the housework was once again cast aside so I could finish my little owly, and here’s the end result! Such a cutey!



Not perfect by any means, in fact full of mistakes, but well, you can see what it is supposed to be and that’s good enough for me on my first try! Going to make a couple more I think, see if I can perfect it 🙂

Homemade Finger Paints – 9 months

During the process of deciding whether to be a stay at home mum we went to look at a very lovely nursery, and while it was supposed to help me feel confident about going back to work, all it really did was make me think that I should be trying to do more things with Monkey.

I want to get creative with some of the things I do with him so again I turned to my trusty friend Google and started looking at other blogs with ideas for things to do. I particularly wanted to know more about finger painting and find a recipe I could make at home easily that would be ok if Monkey ate it. He puts EVERYTHING in his mouth so being edible was a key feature for me. I found the lovely blog of Rainy Day Mum and her recipe for finger paints, which can be found here.

Now as Monkey is only 9 months old I know that he would be unlikely to actually paint anything but I thought it could be a sensory experience for him, and if food or water spills on his highchair try he loves swirling around so I thought the same could possibly happen with paints.

To make it a bit more fun I decided to invite a friend over with her little girl who is nearly 2 – I thought then that if Monkey hates it at least someone will enjoy my efforts! I also had a day where I had to stay home to wait for a delivery of a lovely new dresser for the dining room so thought it would be the perfect opportunity. Hubby and I tidied up the conservatory (which has mainly been used as a junk room since we moved in 10 months ago) heated it up and designated it a messy play area, with a really old rug on the floor and an old table.

I made the paints with the following ingredients:

1 cup Corn Flour (Corn Starch)
1 cup Cold Water
3 cups Boiling Water
Liquid Food Colouring.

Mixing the corn flour with cold water first then gradually adding and mixing the boiling water before putting the mix into a pan to heat gently. (More details here) It starts off almost milky in consistency then as it heats up gets quite gelatinous until it is thick and gloopy. As per Rainy Day Mum’s instructions I then emptied it into some baby food jars and mixed the colours. you really don’t need a lot of food colouring to get bright colours (although as you can see the green food colouring I used was a bit of a swamp green!)


I did this a few days before the painting and I’m not sure if I made a mistake in making it (which is why I have no given detailed instructions – don’t want anyone else to get it wrong and repeat any of my mistakes) but it was very solid, I guess like the consistency of jelly after a few days in the jar…. maybe it just needed some more vigorous stirring but who knows. With two little ones chomping at the bit we just wanted to get them started, and it still kinda worked!


Monkey basically looked at the paints and prodded them slightly with a very cute but disgusted impression, then began begging to be let out of his highchair. My friends little girl didn’t want to use them as finger paints but was very happy to paint with them using the brush I was trying to stir the paints with. We decided to try monkey with a brush to see if that would help him, but that just went into his mouth and I thought as that was definitely not edible, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea after all.



So monkey came out of his chair and after a bit of a cuddle (he is still very clingy at the mo) he was quite happy sat on the floor playing with some paper – basically just waving it around in the air. Simple things eh? My friend’s little girl however had a whale of a time and produced some wonderful artwork :).


Although the paints were not the consistency I thought they would be it was definitely worth a try and not a total wash out – will definitely try again when he is a little bit older. For now I’ll just let him swirl water and food around on his tray.. and occasionally give him a piece of paper to wave around!