0

A belated Easter roundup!

Hello hello!

Aren’t you just loving this weather at the moment? For those of you not living in the U.K.- this week we have had snow! A day where I left at 14°c and by the time I came home two hours later it was 2°c! And next week it’s hitting 18°c – wtf!

So the kids are back to school this week after the Easter holidays and we managed to have a really nice time. Personally I think I totally over did things as I’m now totally exhausted but I felt so guilty for not taking them anywhere last holiday when Jax was born – yes he is 2 months old! 😱 I need to figure out how to slow down time…

 

 

As you can see he is now smiling and I’m loving the little coos he has started, we have a right little chat some times.

The Easter holidays bought bowling and Power Rangers, plenty of time in soft play and seeing friends and family. We didn’t really do any crafts though this year, although Rabbit would probably have a go, I’ve completely lost Roo to the Xbox and the dreaded Minecraft. Don’t get me wrong he is strictly limited to time on it but once he’s on, the sky could turn green and he wouldn’t notice! We also bought the hilarious game where you have to wear mouth retractors to say funny phrases (there is a name but it escapes me at the side of the pool during swimming lessons!)

We have had a busy few weeks and I am a little glad for the rest now they’re back in the swing of it. I just need to get my end of year assignment written and then I can have a bit of ‘time off’ (what ever that is). I’m secretly dreading the six weeks holidays though this year, as I will be off on maternity leave with all three kids at home, I used to enjoy escaping to work a couple of days a week, but hopefully we can have more family days now I’m not sharing the week with hubby. Fun times to come!

 



Advertisements
2

Easter crafting fun! – Spring animal vases

Apologies I am a bit delayed in publishing this post, my final review of Pinterest Easter crafts. This one was interesting, in that we really enjoyed the result but it didn’t turn out how we planned it.

This challenge was to have a go at re-creating the spring animal vases found on Pinterest originally added by Parenting Healthy Babies.

IMG_7411

I chose these as I thought they were really cute and looked pretty simple for children under 7. Unfortunately, yet again, my 6 year old son decided he’d sit this one out (at Christmas all he wanted to do were craft projects!). So my little girly and I sat down for another enjoyable make session.

Now in hindsight I should have probably tried to find out exactly how this was achieved, but I didn’t and probably lead to the numerous bumps in the road ahead. The night before I decided I would paint the jars (saved and washed from dinners the week before) with white acrylic paint. I figured the wishy washy poster paint I had to use probably wouldn’t cover well so the acrylic could act as a primer, hence why the jars below are white…

FullSizeRender

…however it didn’t quite go to plan.

We started by adding a coat of the coloured paint, which was your bog standard ready mix kids paint, probably not a great choice but I liked the colours. As soon as we added it onto the acrylic however, the base coat started to almost melt off. I then proceeded to literally wash it off under warm water so we could start again.

Lesson number 1 – Ready mixed paint and acrylic paint do not get on!

So back to square one we added a coat of the coloured paint on it’s own. Again, looking back this turned out not bad and from a distance you couldn’t really see the brush marks. I ended up rushing the drying process with a hair dryer. Anyhow I then thought maybe we should do another coat, but I stupidly thought as they’d been dried we could do it straight away. I think we should have waited for it to cool a bit. As soon as we started on the second coat (same paint) the first coat started to come off with the brush strokes and meld with the top coat creating a really messy coat of paint :(.

Lesson number 2 – Don’t bother doing a second coat especially if the first didn’t actually look that bad.

At this point I had given up, I was not going to be doing it all again so in the end we just dried it off with the hair dryer again and came back to it after dinner.

Now I don’t know how this person did the faces on the jars but I figured Sharpie’s are good for everything, right? No think again.

Lesson number 3 – Sharpie’s do not write on poster paint that is painted on glass!

Instead the Sharpie proceeded to pull off the paint we had applied and made it look awful. So we paused for a moment and I decided to delve into my cupboard of goodies. I came out with felt. Ok so it wasn’t going to look anything like the thing we were trying to re-create but at this point I think the enjoyment factor was fading slightly. My daughter decided to do a bunny and I did a chick, I stuck tulip type flowers on the third (they seemed spring-like!). This method wasn’t too bad actually once we had the pieces we glued them on with PVA, obviously I helped her out with this. Typically the easiest bit of this craft at this point was tying the string around the top.

Ok, so the picture had tulips, I could only manage daffodils, but I do love how they make the house feel brighter. We added the flowers and a week later they are still going.

I think in the end we were happy with the result, and we have had a few family members say how cute they are but being the perfectionist I am it is frustrating I couldn’t copy the others.

I think we would give this challenge 8/10 just because we needed to use more suitable products, but that’s what happens when you go all Maverick with craft materials….

FullSizeRender (6)

So this concludes our Easter crafting challenge. I’ve really enjoyed having a focus to our daily activities and Pinterest is a fantastic resource for occupying bored kids!

If you want to check out my other activities this holiday you can find them here, here, and here.

Happy springtime peeps!

img_7418

1

Easter crafting fun! – Yummy treats

OK so you could definitely argue that Easter time is full of yummy treats, but this holiday has been about trying out Pinterest crafts and when these popped up (excuse the pun!) I couldn’t wait to try them out.

This craft challenge is more of a culinary one admittedly, and it comes in the form of marshmallows + rice krispies + chocolate, which equals amazingness!

FullSizeRender (4)

I have never tried to make these before but I loved Rice Krispie Squares as a child so they caught my attention. Luckily my best friend Jen was over so I dragged her into the mess with me – haha!

The recipe was really simple and can be found here, however as you can see I made a make shift lolly stick holder from an inverted egg box and so only wanting to do about 12 I decided to halve the ingredient amounts.

 

It’s just simply melt the marshmallows and butter, mix in the krispies, mould it, let them set a bit, add sticks, let them set a bit more and then decorate. We chose white and milk chocolate and added sprinkles and crushed Oreo biscuits.

Key things we found from testing this recipe were,

  • Mould quickly! As soon as it’s off the heat get moving the longer it sits the stiffer it gets.
  • Don’t have non stick spray? No problem, just use a piece of grease proof paper and fold it over and mould into a shape with your hands on the other side, that way you keep clean hands and it doesn’t stick to the paper!
  • Lolly sticks don’t stick 😦 I don’t know if it was the weight of the decoration but even though the sticks felt secure when we added them when it came to decorating some were spinning round and by the eating some were even poking out of top or falling off altogether! Next time we are going to try dipping them in melted chocolate before sticking them in hopefully it will then set around it.
  • Crush any biscuits to a powder, I think some of our pieces were still a bit big so they were dropping off before the chocolate set.

Overall we really enjoyed this challenge and we all definitely enjoyed taste testing them! For me they were a bit too sweet but that’s what happens when you are on a diet 😦

This challenge gets a 10 out of 10 for taste but we felt the assembly method needs some practice.

Enjoy!

img_7418

1

Easter crafting fun! – The woollen butterflies

Yesterday’s Easter Pinterest crafting challenge was to re-create the lovely woven butterflies by The Craft Train.

Butterfly 1

I was inspired to try this craft with my daughter as she randomly came home with lots of lolly sticks in her school bag the other week, and I thought this was quite a cute way of using them.

I have plenty of wool from crocheting and so I let her choose her favourite colours and we got started. As she’s only 4 I decided to try and do one and let her copy me as we go, but I found I needed to help her a bit so I found myself falling behind. It looks fiddly to weave in and out, but she soon got the rhythm and found it quite easy. If anything it was harder for her to hold the butterfly sticks in the other hand while she was doing it.

After we had tied off the last of the wool we added the pipe cleaners (only had metallic ones left from Christmas!) and then my daughter remembered she had some beads left from a necklace kit (I was going to leave them off). It was a bit tough for her to add these so I assisted.

She was really happy with the finished result and couldn’t wait to show her brother. I think it was a good challenge, however I found it hard to keep the wool loose enough to be able to keep the ‘X’ wide enough, ours ended up quite tight which squashed the shape of the wings.

I think overall we would give this activity 6/10.

Here’s how we got on (Sorry the pictures are so bright the sun was out for a change!)…

 

Butterfly 5

 

Why not check out the last challenge we did? You can find it here

 

Looking forward to our next one tomorrow, probably my favourite so far!

 

IMG_4828

 

 

 

 

1

Easter crafting fun! – The Wreath

This time of year always provides a few difficulties when it comes to keeping the children occupied. 2016 has proved no different for the UK, with storm Katie passing through, indoor ideas seem to be the best way to go.

This year I decided to scout out Pinterest and see what I could manage with two children under the age of 7 and a limited budget for supplies. Once I’d built up the beginnings of a Easter crafting board we chose the first project to recreate.

Easy Paper Easter Wreath

The first craft project this Easter was completed by my daughter. The original wreath, below, can be found here.

wreath

We didn’t have any coloured paper but we did have some brown card stock so I thought they would work well for eggs and my daughter could decorate them.

We reused a pizza box for the base of the wreath and decorations came in the form of sequins, tissue paper, sticker spots and recycled sweetie wrappers. I cut all the eggs out and she decorated them before we assembled it using double sided sticky tape.

I found that this was a good activity for my four and a half year old, where as the 6 year old got bored quickly (but this could just be boys!). Although there were about 11 eggs to decorate she quite happily sat there until they were all done. With drying and assembly time, I wouldn’t say this was a quick craft, but that is good if you want it to take up a couple of hours in an afternoon.

We would give this craft 10 out of 10! It was fairly easy to do and looked great.

IMG_7364

 

FullSizeRender (2)

More crafty Easter challenges to come…

IMG_4828

2

SSSSeriously good fun this Easter

Well that’s it, with the Easter holidays now over we can finally get back to the excitement of clock watching and ironing uniform. We have almost done too much this Easter – I am now both broke and worn out! But today I wanted to share with you what turned out to be a brilliant activity this holiday.

Not so long ago my mum and dad bought a 3D Snakes and Ladders game for my son to play when he visited. This was a big hit and he played it on every visit without fail.

On the run up to the school holidays I like to plan out everything we are going to do. As you have probably experienced if you have children of your own, this can be hard. Trying to find things suitable for all ages, not too expensive or substantial enough to fill a whole afternoon can be a task, but that’s when I came up with the idea to make a Snakes and Ladders game of our own.

I bought all I needed from Hobbycraft and for this activity we used:

  • 1 A1 piece of white card
  • A ruler
  • Safety scissors
  • A pen, pencil and crayons
  • Green card and sticky spots for the snakes
  • Corrugated card for the ladders
  • PVA glue
  • Silk Clay™ for the die and counters

As you can see from the last item on the list we used clay to build our own counters. I thought this would add another creative task for the children and would allow them to personalise their game, but you don’t have to go this far, you could use little toys, Infinity™ figures, or anything else that takes your fancy. Using Silk Clay™ was good fun as it came in really bright colours – you could even get metallic in a slightly different type- saving the need to paint normal air drying clay later. It was fairly easily to use, however we found once two colours came together it was really hard to detach them again, so I would make sure you put pieces in the right place if the look is important to you. There was enough in the 5 pots we had to make 4 counters and a die with a little bit left over. With this clay it does say it can take 2-24 hours to dry, however we found ours took a good two days really to become usable – luckily my son had thought ahead and asked to make them a couple of days before we made the board and so they were pretty much ready for when we wanted to play.

IMG_5106

All finished! Love that Riley chose to make a whale with a green mohican

All finished! Love that Riley chose to make a whale with a green mohican

When it came to making the board I helped by drawing out the squares and we all helped to colour the board in. We chose to alternate 4 colours but you could do any colours or themes you wanted. I then let my son fill in the numbers. He really enjoyed this part as he’s been learning to write numbers at school and is always writing them in his little note book. I drew out the snake shapes and with child friendly scissors the children both attempted to cut them out. I had to help my 3 year old, but my son did really well. I then gave them some sticky dots to decorate the snakes with. This was easy and mess free, but you could colour or even paint them if you wanted to. Finally we used corrugated card for the ladders. We chose to do three different sizes and this worked well to stagger how many levels you could jump when you landed on them. It wasn’t long before everything was ready to stick down and then we could play!

IMG_5139

Sticker fun

Sticker fun

IMG_5141

This took a while

This took a while

In his element

In his element

This activity was a great success for me, as both children had their parts to play and with so many elements to it, it not only kept them occupied for 2 and a half hours, but they also hardly argued at all – well not until it came to one of them winning over the other!

With supervision this was a great activity for my 5 year old, in fact he hardly needed any help from me. The only thing I feel didn’t work was the type of clay we used. Although the colours and process of shaping it was fun, it never fully solidified like traditional clay and it expanded slightly losing some of the definition. I think I would try normal clay next time and see how this turned out.

in action :)

in action 🙂

Overall I would say this was good fun and easily filled an afternoon, it’s great for when the weather is bad outside and it is suitable for children of 4 and up I would say. We now play this every time my parents visit us meaning great fun all around – although I’m still yet to win!

IMG_4828

0

Easter Trip Review: London’s Natural History Museum

For the first time I braved the idea of taking my little monsters to London on a day trip whilst visiting my aunty in Essex. Now a lot of people I know have wondered if it was too soon, with how young they are, but as my eldest had learnt about the dinosaurs at school I was keen for him to explore the dinosaur gallery at the Natural History Museum although I think I was more excited than him

We left the station in Leigh, which is about 45 minutes from the city, and the first info gem I found was that it was cheaper for me to pay for my 5 year old as well  than to just pay for myself! – how backwards?  With my son at that age and not travelling on trains that often I was unsure of the age when you have to start shelling out for them too (free transport for under 5’s is a great thing!). When I asked the girl in the booth she told me to buy him a ticket as it worked out cheaper and it did. Apparently I would have paid close to £24 for an adult railcard – which gets you all the tubes as well as the return train journey- but with my son’s ticket together with mine, it cost only £15.40 for me and just £1 for Riley. What a great start!

Before leaving the house I had had a quick look on the website for the Natural History Museum to see if we had to pay extra for the dinosaur exhibit – no it was free – even better! However, it warned that in the school holidays it got busy so you can pre book a time slot. I did this just in case!

On arrival at South Kensington tube station we found the museum was not far at all and well sign posted. Outside the museum there was an alarmingly large queue of people trailing down the road waiting to get in. It does warn you of this on the website, which was good as I wasn’t as panicked as I would have been if I hadn’t read that. Be reassured though, that it moves pretty quickly and we reached the door in no time. They do have sellers on the street offering guides for adults and children, if you have children of 7+ the children’s guide looked really good and costs £5, which I felt was a fair price – it looked quite thick.

When you get inside you will see people everywhere and I didn’t realise until we were inside just how big the place is. I won’t bore you with a virtual tour but here are a few points to be aware of:

  • Go to the toilets when you arrive – the museum is not only a maze, making finding the loo in a hurry difficult, but they also get busy so having to queue with a desperate child is not good!
  • As you go into the main entrance you will see a long escalator which ascends through the centre of a very large Earth sculpture. Again the queue was really big – I’d advise coming back to this at the end. We did this around half 2 as our last point and the queue had completely gone 🙂
Through the center of the Earth

Through the center of the Earth

  • Look out for staff wearing purple tops they are all over the place but are good to ask for directions if you are like us and don’t have a map.
  • Get a map. I don’t know where they are but we saw some people with one later on. Or…
  • Try the NHM app. It has a map included and supposidly can navigate you around to the exhibit you want to see, though it didn’t seem to work when I tried it.
  • We arrived around 12 and so decided to go and eat first. There are a couple of Cafe’s dotted around if you want a sandwich. We decided to have a meal and there was a restaurant located in the green zone. This was not easy to find! Altogether the queue moved quickly and staff were polite. I had a few issues though as the food took ages to arrive – OK so it’s fresh but it is hard with two young children who are hungry to have to sit for 40 minutes before they can eat. We then found that the grown up meals were almost cold and Riley’s pizza  really wasn’t worth £4.50. I would advise eating before you visit, trying the cafe instead or taking your own lunch – there are plenty of benches around the museum. The museum itself might be free but we spent well over £35 just on food and drinks!
  • Definitely book the dinosaur gallery before you arrive via the website. When we reached the exhibit the queue was massive but we went straight to the front as it was our time to look round! In hindsight I am especially happy I did this as it turns out my son wasn’t that bothered after all and for the quality of the exhibition, at their age, I probably wouldn’t have been happy to queue for that long to get in. Also be aware with very young children, there is a large animatronic of a T Rex at the end, which could be quite frightening for little ones.

As we had the little ones with us we didn’t really look around much. Our aim was the dinosaurs, which would have been more exciting for them if they were 7 or 8 I think. There is also a lot of walking so we didn’t want to stay all day as they were getting tired.

Overall I would say for older children it must be magical to be around such a vault of knowledge, and the architecture is beautiful – especially the huge Diplodocus in the main hall! For accessibility, it is extremely busy so keep young children on reins at all times and it isn’t the easiest place to navigate but this might not be a problem if you just want to wander about. I would give the Natural History Museum 7/10 and I think I will definitely come back in a few years when the children are older.

Stegosaurus Rawwwrrr!

Stegosaurus Rawwwrrr!

 

IMG_4828