Friday, 30 August 2013

School Reunions - how far have we all come?

This weekend I will be making a trip down memory lane as I visit my hometown for a school reunion. It has been half a lifetime since I left school, and although my life has changed in many ways in those years, the idea of a reunion prompts all sorts of questions about what I have achieved since school ended all those years ago.

Although I didn't have a firm career path in mind when I left school, I did have very clear ideas about what sucess looked liked. I have never been very materialistic, and success was never defined for me in terms of flashy cars and designer clothes, but if you had asked my 16 year old self whether a 32 year old stay at home mum of 2 was successful, I would probably have said NO.

But that is exactly what I am now. But the thing is, my definition of success has changed a lot over the years, depending on what stage my life was at and what I was doing at the time. I have been to university, travelled the world (well some of it anyway!), achieved (some) success in my career, given up that career to do a job I loved then finally given up my job to raise my daughters. At the time, each.of these things felt like a sucess.

So how will I answer all those questions from longlost schoolmates about what I am doing now?

Well, I am happy and healthy, as are my two amazing spirited daughters. I think that I am doing a pretty good job and hopefully I will feel confident enough in this to answer the barrage of questions about my life. Hopefully.  And will I be able to resist the urge to judge the success of others. Well, hopefully, because if there is one thing I have learned since leaving school, it's that there is no one definition of success. Success means different things to different people, depending on their lives, as long as they are happy. So no matter what paths our lives have taken, we have all come a long way since school.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Recycled toilet roll craft - the princess and the monster

Princess fancied making something, but I didn't have anything up my sleeve and was feeling a bit uninspired. So I just got out the craft box and let her get on with some impromptu making, the result was the princess and the monster ( there was also a prince but he had to be abandoned due to overenthusiastic use of glue).

Princess started by painting the toilet rolls (she asked me to draw on a face for the princess). Then she added the googly eyes which is her favourite bit and I'm actually slightly surprised that she stopped at two eyes each!
(By the way, she is dressed as Minnie Mouse doing this activity, luckily not too many mishaps).Next came the pipe cleaners, for arms and a crown for the princess. Then some pom pom earings and onto the second best part after googly eyes- glitter!  Both glitter and glitter glue was used in abundance to add that essential sparle required for a princess craft project. Lastly, she glued on some 'clothes' from scraps of paper cut from catalogues (this was my suggestion in an attempt to soak up some of the glue). 

So there we have it, an almost entirely child produced craft , which took on its own personality and was happily played with afterwards (once the glue had finally dried).

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Sleep- Why are we so quick to judge?

Neither of my children are what you would call good sleepers. Princess is 3.5 and still only sleeps through about half the time and is an early riser. And Grapie, well, there are no words to describe what a bad sleeper she is. But she had silent reflux, which still seems to be causing her problems.

But I have had to stop talking to people about Grapie's sleep or lack of it as the reactions it gets are driving me mad. And as I am extremely sleep deprived I do not have much patience left.

There is the knowing, judgemental look I get from. other mums that says, 'you must be doing it all wrong, my child sleeps fine, so I did it right'. Grrrrrr!

Then there are those who are not so subtle and dont just stick to a judgemental look but proceed to tell me that it is all my fault cos I don't just let her cry it out. (My mother in law is in this category). Without getting into a rant about controlled crying, she has a medical condition, she is in pain when she wakes, would anyone really just leave her to cry? Really? Well you might change your mind if you saw her at night, writhing around in pain. And if you would, well its my turn to judge you.

Then there are well meaning friends, who sympathetically reply (usually after the judgemental look, albeit fleeting) 'I don't know how you can function, I'm terrible without sleep'. Ok, so it's meant as a compliment, but really, what else could I do? Refuse to do anything for my children, lie in a heap on the floor watching daytime tv and say "sorry kids, no breakfast today, mummy's too tired".

If I'm honest there are days that we don't leave the house cos I'm to scared of crashing the car, and lots of days I'm too tired to string an intelligent sentance together. But on the days we do make an effort to meet friends, I am making a massive effort to simultaneously a/ not fall asleep while I listen to you, b/ think of a reply more interesting than I'm sooo tired', c/ make sure my kids don't come to too much harm while I'm holding a conversation and d/ remember I've got kids.

So please, next time you speak to someone who is having sleep troubles with their little ones, try not to judge them, or the choices they make, and definitely don't brag about how well your baby sleeps as they will be trying really hard to hold it together, and are doing really well to be out in public.  And they may well just cry.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Grapie's first steps

It's been an exciting few days in the P and G household- Grapie has just taken her first steps! I wouldn't quite describe her as a walker yet, but she may well be there by the time she has her birthday in 2 weeks time!

Grapie has always been an active little mite, she rolled over at 8 weeks, crawled at 6 months and has been standing up and cruising for about 3 months now so I was worried that she would be a very early walker, but luckily for me, she hasn't had much interest in walking, until this weekend, that is.

It started with some standing with intent while she was looking at her books, then she just did 3 little steps towards me. And she's had a few more attempts today.

So at this rate we may be taking a post birthday trip to the shoeshop, although, as she's only a titch she will have to grow a bit first! But she has started along the road to toddlerdom, and its a bit soon for my liking. She is growing up so fast and I wish I could keep her babyness for a bit longer.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Elfwatch week 2

Sunshine the elf has had a fairly quiet week this week, mainly due to the fact that Grapie is teething and keeping everyone awake at night, so she has been too tired to come up with anything very inventive and mischievous to do!

She has had a few cheeky moments though, much to princesses delight. One morning we came downstairs to find that Sunshine was living up to her name, and was doing a spot of sunbathing on the living room floor. She was wearing Grapie's swim nappy, princess' swim towel and sunglasses (suncream too, even elves need to be safe in the sun)

She also rode daddy's new bike into the house and was found sitting in it in the living room, and one night she spent the night in Grapie's cot

One night Sunshine crepr into Princess' room and spent the night getting out all the books from the bookshelves and read them all in Princesses reading corner. Princess found this very funny and said in an exasperated tone,"I guess I'll have to put all these away then"(not sure where she can have heard that tone before)

A fairly quiet week for a cheeky elf, but Princess has loved it all the same, and I hear Sunshine has some big plans for next week!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Quick no cook play dough-A lifesaver!

So, we were having a bit of a grumpy day, everyone was tired due to Grapie's nocturnal antics. Everything I suggested was met with a sulky NO, until I suggested play doh. That got a great response.

Until we got it out and discovered it had gone all yucky. Mini tantrum. No problem, we will make some, hooray! Look up recipie and get out ingredients to discover weare missing one. Cream of Tatar. Not sure what it does and have only ever used it in play dough, but it must have sat in the cupboard long enough to get thrown out. Cue another tantrum and an emergency search on Pintrest for an alternative. Luckily Squidoo had one. So this is what we did.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup hot water
food colouring

Mix the salt and the flour in a bowl. Mix the food colouring with the hot water so the colour disperses better.

Put the liquid into the bowl and mix with a spoon.

Once it is all mixed well, take it out and give it a good knead. Ours was a bit sticky at this point, think my measuring of the water was a bit out, but in my defence I did have a second helper, Grapie, who I was wearing in a sling trying to grab everything! Anyway, we just put some extra flour down on the mat and princess kneaded it for me. Apparently this is good for developing her hand muscles in preparation for writing.
That is it, job done. No cooking needed, a couple of minutes to make and I had a happy girl. Well 2 happy girls, Grapie had fallen asleep in the sling so was happy too! 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Growing Avocados

Avocados. Grapie loves them, princess won't try them, and I must be the only adult in the world to hate them. But the big seed inside is pretty cool and this week, princess decided she would like to plant one.

I had a funny feeling that there might be a specific way to do this, and thanks to the magic of pintrest we discovered that I was right. So this is what we did.

I gave the seed a good wash, to get rid of any flesh clinging to it.

We took 4 cocktail sticks and poked one in each side to look like a cross, about halfway down.

Fill a glass with water and put the seed in, flatter side down, to balance on the cocktail sticks.

Put the glass on a windowsill and wait. I would probably recommend having a few activities lined up while you wait as it might take a month to start growing! Top up the water regularly. Apparently the shell will crack open and the roots will grow downwards into the water, then shoots will grow upwards. Once both of these have happened it is time to plant it in earth. Watch this space, we will let you know how our little seed get on.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Princess' new reading nook

Princess has started to want her own sapce, away from her sister, for some quiet time. She started to hide in her wardrobe. So I decided it might be time to update her bedroom a little bit and give her a reading nook, somewhere she can sit in semi-privacy and look at her books.

Princess loved the idea and helped me pick out a canopy to order. It's pink with sequins and fits perfectly in her reading corner.  Our magic elf put it up for her while we were out and filled it with cushions to make it snuggly and enticing.

I also really wanted a bookcase in which the books face forwards, like they have in libraries, as I think this will encourage her to pick out books more. We found one from Vertbaudet, ours was the last seasons version with a cut out heart that perfectly marches her bed. Princess took great pride in filling it with her books herself, putting her favourite books in the best spots!

She loves sitting in her canopy to look at her books, she often wants me to go in with her to read to her, and sometimes Grapie is even allowed in with her too.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Elfwatch week 1

We have a guest for the summer. She is an elf from Santa's workshop, on her summer holidays. This is what she has been up to during her first week.

She has been very generous this week and has brought Princess lots of little presents in, all with an alphabet theme to help Princess with her summer challenge of learning the letters in her name. She left some sensory glitter letters for princess to trace, set up lots of ways of writing letters using different materials and senses, and an ice cream creamletter matching game.

She also took Daddy's car out for a drive (she was found in the drivers seat), she got out all Grapie's toys one night, then had a sleep in Grapie's baby sling. She went for a sleepover at Grandma's house with Princess and stayed up late looking at baby pictures of Princess, as she wanted to get to know her.

She used balloons (and magic) to float up to the celing and today she set up a reading nook in Princesses room while we were all out at a playgroup.

Having a summer elf has been a big hit so far, princess looks forward to finding Sunshine the elf every morning and I love seeing the look of amazement on Princess's face, as well as the complete complete belief in the magic of the elf.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Ice Cream Letter Matching

We have been playing lots of letter games this week, and I came across this really cute letter matching ice cream game that littlepageturners had made. It was perfect for playing during the summer holidays even if it's not quite as tasty as the real thing!

I drew the shapes freehand and cut out a template to draw around then cut out the shapes. It honestly didn't take as long as it looks, i started out planning just to make the letters in Princesses name but I did the whole alphabet in the end. I cut them out double thickness on different coloured card for the ice cream scoops.

Then I just wrote the letters on, uppercase on the cones and lower case on the scoops. Princess thought they were amazing, especially as our summer elf had made them magically appear!