Don’t you love it when an annoying situation turns out to lead you into something really good? I was running on time for a nurse’s appointment on Monday – on time, but no margin for error, and two children in tow. My plan to park in the 30-minute free spot did not work out as no spaces were free. I had no change for the parking metre in the main car park. You *can* pay by mobile phone, but the system takes for ever to work through. Oh no!
So Snow White and I sprinted to the nearest place that sold ANYTHING so we could get change, pay for a ticket and display it and still make it to the surgery on time (I feel so rude when I’m late for appointments!), pushing Bluebird in the buggy as he chanted “quiiiick, quiiiick!” The nearest place turned out to be a stall selling flowers – we got a whole bucket for £3, as that’s the way they do them. Of course, these flowers are old and tired and start dropping petals even as the guy wraps them up. I start thinking how absolutely annoying it is that I have not only had to buy something I didn’t want, but that it’s poor quality and of no use to me.
But then I realised that I could look on it as an opportunity. If I cut the stems down a bit and put the flowers out in Snow White’s mud kitchen, she could play florist. After all, how often does she get the chance to play with real flowers (rather than daisies and dandelions!) and it not matter what becomes of them? Our garden is a bit of a work in progress and flowers are never so abundant that I encourage picking.
So a few pots and bottles, a bucket of water, her little scissors, and she was away! As for Bluebird, just supply him with some water in the garden and he’s happy as can be – and so am I as long as I remember his waterproof dungarees and wellies!
Posted in ideas | Tagged Bluebird, flowers, garden, play ideas, Snow White | Leave a Comment »
This afternoon I set up a dinosaur small world for the children to explore and play with. This is a shallow Ikea Trofast drawer with a thin layer of fine beach gravel, some larger beach stones and shells, trees and shrubs and drinking vessels from our Playmobil 123 collection (absolutely BRILLIANT investment last Christmas!) and miniature plastic dinosaur figures.
Snow White and Bluebird dived in straight away and started investigating. I have had their small play table and chairs in the kitchen for a couple of weeks now, in an attempt to set them up with an activity while I prepare dinner, rather than leaving them in front of the TV. This aspiration is only sporadically attained. I hate when blogs make out that life is perfect. I have had x-hundred afternoons with my children and today is the only one so far involving dino-small-world-play.
It’s worth remembering that my idea of a perfect set-up was not up to requirements. Straight off I had to fetch a duplicate water barrel and trough, because each child needed their own. And of course they were used for scooping gravel rather than pretending to give the dinosaurs drinks. Sensory play trumps animating figures every time for Bluebird at 18 months, and is also still important for Snow White at 4 years.
Bluebird trotted away after a few minutes to fetch vehicles. They were most definitely not going to be left out of the fun.
Each child brought their own approaches to the table. Bluebird liked to see how gravel lodged in the indented surface of this tree when he rained it down from on high,
while Snow White searched for the pieces of sea-glass in the gravel, and collected her treasure.
Snow White was very interested in making a little home for a few selected dinosaurs and giving them games to play and a place to sleep. This “fat dinosaur” had a go with one of Bluebird’s vehicles. She is very tolerant of the way he derails her games and was fully prepared to live with a large truck inhabiting half the small world.
Of course, within fifteen minutes it had got too tempting for Bluebird to do anything but throw gravel. This is the floor while things were still calm and controlled (I can just sweep it back in, as long as I remember to sweep beforehand too, don’t want any crumbs in there!) it got MUCH worse! Handfuls of gravel being flung far and wide meant play time was over for Bluebird although Snow White continued playing a while on her own, on the other side of the stair gate!
Although we’re moving into an age where Bluebird is less inclined to eat things, he does love to explore trajectory, so I have to think things through quite carefully. Obviously this activity is not great for a confined indoor space at present and I won’t be getting it out in this exact format for a while. It does take an effort for me to plan things like this, and then the activity is done with so quickly it can be discouraging. I feel it’s worth it for the joy it brings them, but it’s not an every day occurrence!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Bluebird, dinosaurs, play ideas, sensory play, small world, Snow White | Leave a Comment »
Quite a few months ago I saw something (on Pinterest I expect!) that made me want to try carving my own rubber stamps. I ordered a cheap little kit and put it with the Mummy-only craft materials (these are becoming rarer and rarer as Snow White wants to try everything!). On Saturday I was struck with the urge to make custom wrapping paper for my friend’s present. Naturally. As the present was already late! Never mind, it was only a paperback, so not a large sheet to manufacture! I wanted it to have pussy willow stems in pale turquoise. So I had a go at making stamps to print the paper with, while J was out for a short time with the children.
It’s not a great photo, with winter light levels, but you can sort of see how it turned out. I was pleased anyway! I hope my friend likes her book, it was The Beginning of Spring by Penelope Fitzgerald (love this review!), and it reminds me of my friend because it’s set in Russia and we once studied Russian together at school!
Posted in look what I made | Tagged books, craft, stamping | Leave a Comment »
It is a truth universally acknowledged that children are more interested in the packaging than what’s inside.
Following Snow White’s recent excitment about “playing schools” and letters, sounds, reading and writing in general, I ordered something to use in our “school”. Children being what they are, she was ill today when it arrived and not interested (never mind, she will be once she’s better!). However, she immediately claimed the sheet of bubble wrap to pop, and Bluebird dived straight into the box of paper shred! He started by pulling out handfuls, and then spent a long time walking up and down in it, getting the feel of it and spreading it gradually further and further around the house. I don’t mind, it’s long strip shred, so very quick to grab and put back in the box! He then fetched his Scuttlebug trike and investigated what it felt like to ride over the shred. Then a long time was spent getting off the trike, putting a handful of shred on the seat, carefully sitting down again and finding the shred had slipped off… repeat with the patience of a toddler! Even Snow White disentangled her blanket long enough to sit in the box!
So “Real Life Wednesday” around here looks rather papery and pyjama-y
(I’m ill too, can’t get a button working, but pop in to see Kate at Picklebums, you’ll love it over there!)
Posted in people | Tagged Bluebird, Real Life Wednesday, Snow White | Leave a Comment »
I have lots of long-term plans for the garden, which often impede me in my short-term plans, but I had a little eureka moment recently! I had been Pinning lots of mud kitchen ideas on the one hand, and on the other lamenting the monstrous brick barbecue area smack in the middle of the garden. Well, duh, why not turn the problem into an opportunity, at least for the time being!
The barbecue area already has some shelves, and we removed the rotten cupboard doors and balanced an old stone sink on top, which fills up with rain water for washing up and making sauces.
An apple tree was given the chop after its third summer of inedible fruit, and I cut up some branches for ‘loose parts’ (sausages according to Snow White). Some ‘tree cookies’ from the trunk would have been great, but I wasn’t up to the sawing!
With a bucket of earth (chocolate cake mix), plus sundry snail shells (chocolate curls), flowers and seeds (spices), there has been lots of happy cookery in the last few days!
I’ll be keeping an eye out for old saucepans and cake tins etc to add into the mix.
An added bonus of this construction is the height, meaning Snow White needs a step to reach, and Bluebird can’t reach much of it unsupervised! Bluebird did his first proper walking on Monday, at a year and three weeks, and is generally the most adorable little boy you could imagine. Snow White cried at bedtime, because “I don’t want Bluebird to grow up, he is such a sweet baby!”
Posted in look what I made | Tagged Bluebird, garden, play ideas, Snow White | Leave a Comment »
Snow White and I spotted some caterpillars on a teasel plant behind our house. After a little searching I identified the beasties. Not moth or butterfly caterpillars, but sawfly larvae. Abia sericea to be precise. In British literature it just mentions that they eat devils’ bit scabious, but when I googled the name with teasel I discovered that they have been investigated as a potential biological control for the plant in North America, where it is an invasive species. I love discovering these things!
Snow White is studying minibeasts this term at pre-school, so it came in handy to meet this little guy! Sawfly larvae can often be spotted by the way they rear up when disturbed, as I am now well accustomed to after my gooseberry was completely defoliated this summer!
Well, this post is by way of easing myself back into the mind-frame that I can blog still! Life is very full with two little ones, although mostly wonderful, but I would like to get back to recording bits and pieces on the blog. No promises though!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged nature | Leave a Comment »
While I have very quickly acclimatised to having a dishwasher, there are still a few things I like to wash by hand.
Posted in people, Silly! | Tagged Bluebird | Leave a Comment »