Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fun in a DIY Teepee

We have loads of toys in our garden (ok, lots of them are from the pound shop, but still loads!) But still they want more, more, more! Every time they look at the Early Learning centre catalogue they spot about 20 things they fancy. But apart from not having an endless money supply, I don't want them growing up spoilt and always needing 'things' to make them happy.

So this weekend, inspired by here come the girls, we made this teepee and it was pretty easy to make. Start with 4 beanpoles and push them into the ground in a sqare shape. How far apart you put them will depend on how big you want your teepee to be.

Then tie the tops together with some string or ribbon if you happen to have some (we didn't so garden twine it was).

Next comes the walls. We used a blanket, which gave the teepee a cozy private feel, but sheet would work well too, and that is what we will be trying next. Wrap the blanket or sheet around the poles and use pegs to hold it in place. Depending on how you peg it and the size of your sheet you could have flaps for a door or leave one side open, or what we have which is half a door leaving a crawl-in entrance.

And that is it, hours of teepee fun created in about 5 minutes and without buying anything new! Perfect for hiding in, curling up with a pile of books, peekaboo or just having some quiet time. And when the girls are not using it, the cat has taken to hiding in it too! 

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A day out at Longleat Safari park

We went to Longleat Safari park last week and had a fantastic day out. We started our day at Postman Pat world, the girls both love Postman Pat (as do I!) so there was no way we were going to be able to start anywhere else and they both loved it. In fact, it was the only thing out of the whole day that we went back to a second time! 

The girls loved pressing the buttons and seeing their favourite characters come to life, and also loved posting letters through the letter boxes of the Greendale houses (top tip, ask at the shop for some letters to post, we only discovered this after seeing someone else get some!)
Next it was to the animal part of the park, where we got up close and personal with some of the animals. We stoked a lizard, touched a stingray and Princess fed some fish to a penguin.

After lunch we took a spin on the teacups ride (Grapie's first time on a ride!)

Then onto the main event, the safari park. This was fantastic and was well worth visiting the park for in itself. I had been to longleat once before as a child and I remember the monkeys being brilliant but only seeing the lions and tigers at a distance. But this time we got amazingly close to the big cats, who were all awake and prowling around.

And the monkeys were as brilliant as ever, jumping on the car, much to Princess's delight (and Grapie's horror!) One of them even did a big poo on my windscreen, which was obviously hilarious. Ans even better, my car survived the ordeal too! Great fun!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

A surprise new table for the girls

We had a surprise knock on the door today, it was our neighbour with a set of children's table and chairs. His grandchildren had outgrown them, so he offered them to my girls, who jumped at them. They now have a new favourite thing! They are very cute, with pencils for legs (and to be honest, I had the exact same ones on my Amazon wish list).

I found a little spot for them under the stairs and the girls got straight to work painting (the mess in the background is our overflowing craft box!) Princess has asked if they can eat their dinner at the new table tomorrow!

I'm going to set Princess up with a box of writing practice sheets so she can sit at her new table and practice her letters (hopefully this will encourage her to practice!) I was planning on doing this anyway, and it's funny how a spontaneous knock on the door has provided the perfect place to do it.

I think a thank you card is called for!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A walk in the woods

The sun was shining and Grapie and I went for a little walk in the woods the other day. Well, not the woods exactly but a little copse close to our house. We were on our way back from dropping princess off at preschool, and Grapie was in a good mood (she's usually ready for her nap when we get back, thanks to getting up sooooooo early!)

We are very lucky to have a lovely green area so close to our house but it's been so boggy recently that it's been impossible to go in with the buggy. It's dried out a bit now so I took the opportunity to show Grapie some nature.

She loved being free to explore and touch things. We talked about how things felt and Grapie learnt lots of new words, like rough and hard, and it was lovely to have some quality one on one time with her, as often, even though she is with me all the time, we spend our time rushing from one thing to the next before it's time to pick Princess up again! 

It was short and sweet and simple but we had a really lovely time!

Monday, 24 March 2014

Fun in the sun

The rain has finally stopped and the sun made an appearance this weekend. It was the perfect time to get out in the garden and reclaim our outsise space after the winter. To be honest, we have hardly ventured out in the garden for months, our grass was so muddy and boggy and slippery that it was easier to go to the park for our outside time.

But this weekend the sun was shining, the birds were singing and we started getting the garden ready for play. We cleared the trampoline of leaves and puddles, so the girls could have a good jump. Princess had forgotten how much she loved the trampoline, she jumps on her bed every day but after going on the trampoline, she said to me later, "mummy, my bed isn't very bouncy, is it?"

We cut the grass so it can start to dry up quicker, and cleaned out the sandpit, ready for some fresh sand. This year, I would love to get a water table for the girls to play with out there. Also this summer I want to build some raised beds to plant vegetables in, so we can grass over our abandoned vegetable patch that has become one big raspberry bush! 

Its amazing what a difference a bit of bright weather makes, let's hope the rain holds off for a little bit longer so we can have some more fun! 

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Word of the week, outdoors

My word of the week is:


We have been making the most of the better weather this week and have been spending time in the garden, getting it cleared up and ready to use properly again, cutting the grass, cleaning the trampoline and enjoying playing outside. We also discovered the unloved, unused trike in the garden and after cleaning it up, Grapie has claimed it for her own. Her new favourite word is "bike" and she loves her new form of transport!

The Reading Residence

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Monster spray

Princess has stopped sleeping well at night. She says she is scared of monsters. At the moment she is waking up scared around twice a night, on top of the several times a night that Grapie is up, so basically I will give anything a go to get a better night's sleep.

I came across the idea of monster spray on Pintrest, the idea is that Princess will spray her room before bed to prevent any monsters getting in. I'm slightly torn on this idea as part of me feels that this might be agreeing with her that monsters actually do exist. But on the other hand telling her that monsters aren't real isn't working, so if this gives her the confidence to feel comfortable at night then, in the words of Postman Pat, mission accomplished!

It was really simple to make. I used an empty spray bottle, filled it with water, and added a tiny drop of pink food colouring to make it slightly pink tinted. I also added about 10 drops of lavender essential oil, in the hope that it might also be relaxing. A good shake and it was ready.

I found a fantastic printable label over at Easypeasygrandma, she has also made some really cute bedtime monsters. Once that was stuck on, I put it in a box and told Princess that the postman had delivered it!

She carefully sprayed her room before bed tonight, we did the door, window and the ceiling (apparently this is were the monsters are!) So hopefully this will keep the monsters away tonight.