Monday, 30 September 2013

Family fun at the fair

"Step back in time with the spellbinding Carter's steam fair" promised the posters. As we arrived at the usually quiet green, it was clear that we were about to do just that; we were met by an array of colourful, shiny vintage vehicles, trucks, cars, trailers, caravans, all superbly preserved and fabulous. 

Then, there was the smell: a smell that conjures up memories of fun times -candyfloss, popcorn and roasting nuts. The rides and stalls were a wonderful mix of classic oldies such as bumper cars and watzers, vintage thrill rides and kids carousels, all blasting out music of a bygone era.

The girls had a fantastic time, Princess went on a couple of rides, was overjoyed to win a prize by catching a rubber duck on a hook, and had an icecream from a fantastic vintage ice cream van, but her absolute favourite thing of all was the helter skelter. She went on 3 times, once with daddy and twice with me, and it was just like I remember from being a child. Carrying our mat to the top of the spiral stairs, the wooden slide with ridges in, and sliding down faster and faster till we landed on a mat on the grass. I can see why she loved it.

And although Grapie was too small to go on the rides, she had a great time soaking in the atmosphere, dancing to the music, people watching, and she loved looking at the carousel horses. We will just have to come back next year when she is big enough to go on, but this year, she was pretty pleased to win a prize too!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Alphabet catch and match

We have been playing lots of letter games recently to help Princess with her letter recognition in a fun way, without her even realising she is learning.

We recently bought some kids chopsticks for Princess after she showed an interest in our adult chopsticks, and they were perfect for this game. They are also great for developing strength in hand muscles, which she will need when she learns to write.

I put some rice into a box, along with some alphabet beads, one of each letter. I printed her off an alphabet scavenger hunt list, in lower case as the beads were upper case. The game is to catch a letter bead and match it to the letter on the sheet.

This requires her to match the upper and lower case letters, and also involves a fair amount of fine motor skills as the beads are small and fiddly. Princess enjoyed playing this game, although it didn't hold her attention for the whole alphabet. When she was finished, I put the rice and beads into an empty jam jar for next time.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Mr Potato Head- Felt travel game

We are huge Toy Story fans in our house. We love the films, and we also have lots of the toys. And as much as we love Woody, Buzz and Jessie, the toy that is the most fun to play with has to be Mr Potato head!  So as we are going on holiday in a few weeks, I thought I would have a go at making a game we could bring with us for the plane, and Mr Potato head (and Mrs of course) was the perfect choice.

I started with the potato shapes out of brown felt, and once they were cut out ,I started drawing the features on paper before cutting them out of the felt. The picture above shows the features I started with from copying the actual toys. Then I had some fun by giving them different accessories, moustaches, and expressions.

These are my favourites, I was going for Mr Angry Eyes, like in the film as Princess find this hilarious in the outtakes, but he just looks a bit melancholy. And I love this moustache!

Here is the complete set, I put some bright green felt in for a background, and used a baby wipes container to keep them in (a dvd case would also work well).  It's a lot of fun to play (I quite like having a turn too) and a big hit with Princess! The felt pieces stick to each other really well, and I think it will easily and quietly pass a bit of time on the plane and beyond!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Surviving a sick day- when mummy needs a sickie too

The change in weather has hit us! That, along with back to school germs, has meant that we are all full of cold at the moment. It's not fun to have poorly children at the best of times. Runny noses, sleepless nights, grouchy, clingy children are hard work especially when they are both ill at the same time. But we've been dealing with it.

But this morning, I woke up with the sort of cold that in my pre-children days would have had me phoning in sick, not even needing to put on a sick voice. Duvet days are just not an option with 2 little livewires in tow, especially when those little livewires are both ill too. What's a mummy to do?

Well, here are my top tips for surviving a sick day.

  • Insist on a nap - Princess gave up her naptime a while ago but I made it clear today that if she was staying home from preschool then she had to have a nap. We all had a lie down together on my big bead and eventually they were both asleep. Ok, so I didn't really get a sleep, but just lying down with no one needing anything was just what the doctor ordered!

  • Relax the rules- There were several rules relaxed today, mainly to do with screentime. Princess was allowed to play children's apps on my Kindle today for longer than usually allowed, as long as she stayed in bed, while I got Grapie dressed and ready. Also as a very special treat she was allowed to eat her lunch on the sofa with Cbeebies on (this never happens in our house, I always insist on eating at the table).

  • Have some treats- Mainly edible treats, today's favourite was pirate biscuits! Even Grapie had a bit!

  • Printables- Easy, almost instant fun! Activity Village is a fab website for all sorts of printables. We also printed some pictures of pirates, stuck them to lollipop sticks to make puppets, and Princess did us a puppet show

  • Movies- Disney was just made for sick days, snuggle up on the sofa, enjoy and they might even fall asleep (mine didn't).
Hopfully this will get you through to bedtime without too many tears, we survived our sick day, and hopefully everyone will feel better tomorrow.

Friday, 13 September 2013

What happened to my newborn baby? Happy Birthday G

Things have been a bit quiet on the blog this week, and that is because we have been busy with Grapie's first birthday celebrations. She has had a lovely time, had lots of presents and a fun party, but her birthday has left me with mixed feelings about her growing up.

There are so many thinvs about Grapie that are still so baby-like. Her size for a start; she has always been a tiny baby, she still wears 3-6 month clothes, so she still looks more baby-like than many one year olds. Then there is her clingyness, it's still the end of the world if she's parted from me for any time at all.

Then there is her partiality to her milk. I know I'm not the only mother to breastfeed her baby past one but I never really had any plans to breastfeed a toddler. Princess was ready to stop at one but Grapie shows no signs of giving up, and as it's currently the only way of getting her back to sleep at night time I will be carrying on feeding her out of laziness and exhaustion for the forseeable future.

But there are so many ways that Grapie is no longer a baby but is fast on the road to toddlerdom.  She can almost walk, well, she has taken a few steps on a few occasions but has decided that knee shuffling is the way forward.

And her talking is coming on really well she can say "all gone" in a very cute voice, and does monkey noises whenever I call her a cheeky monkey! She can point things out in a book (playing this game is her absolute favourite at the moment, she gets the book out herself and 'asks' to read it!)

There are definitely things I am looking forward to about her growing up. Getting a good nights sleep is definitely top of that list, as I know that one day it will happen! (Another bonus is that people have stopped asking how she sleeps as mostly they assume a 1 year old does sleep by now!)

But there are so many things that I will miss about her babyness, especially as chances are Grapie will be my last baby. The helplessness, the sweet milky breath, the teeny tiny clothes, the complete and utter dependence, that milk drunk, open mouthed sleep, all cuddled up in my arms. I could go on but I will only make myself broody!

I am so proud of the tiny, determined, funny little girl my little baby is growing into, so I will try to avoid to much looking forward or back, but I will be embracing this new special stage in my Grapie's life. And Princess is very glad that her baby sister is becoming her playmate and her friend!