26 February 2014

Making oat and raisin biscuits

The Little ones have been busy baking again, this time we made yummy scrummy oat and raisin cookies, they are really simple and easy to make. You need:

100g butter (we used Stork) plus a little extra for greasing
125g Caster sugar
1 egg
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
175g porridge oats
125g raisins
2 tbsp sesame seeds (Optional, we didn't put any in)

Little 1 helped me to weigh out the ingredients, she is learning her bigger numbers at the moment and is starting to recognise 50 and 100. She began making the biscuits by creaming the butter and sugar until it was fluffy, then beat the egg and added it into the mix.

Next we added in the flour and baking powder, mixing gently. Little 2 who had also been helping me with the weighing and being a great help putting the packets away in the cupboard wanted to do some mixing so she mixed the oats and raisins while Little 1 waited patiently for her next ingredients. 

Once the oats and raisins were added (and sesame seeds if you are using them) they are ready to go in the oven, just put a dessert spoon sized blob on a tray, spaced well apart as they spread out when cooking. We also find making sure they are squished together well stops them from breaking apart after they are cooked. Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes depending on their size at 180C/350F/ Gas 4.

They should come out looking like this, they break apart easily when they are hot so leaving them a few minutes to cool before getting them off the tray helps to keep them whole.

We doubled the recipe to make sure we had lots to share, the Little ones had friends over to play the following day and they thought the biscuits were very nice, Granny and Grampy popped by as well and tasted our efforts declaring them very good too. These are one of the Little ones favourite home made biscuits. A simple easy yummy recipe and quite wholesome as well so it gets the thumbs up from Mummy too.

24 February 2014

Very muddy puddles

The Little ones love to spend their time wearing wellies and rainsuits and running through, walking in and jumping around in puddles. There are quite a few good big puddles around near our home and when the weather is wet they like nothing better than to jump in them on the way back from pre-school or the shops.
On a recent walk (See my post - Fun on the family walking trail) we came across some really muddy puddles on our way back to the car and let the girls spend ages jumping in them, they got thoroughly muddy and judging by the squeals of delight and the big smiles on their faces, it was just what we needed to do to cheer us all up after the horrid weather we have been having.

It was the first time Little 2 had been allowed to be completely free in mud, she loved the squelching sound her boots made in the mud and despite my reservations she managed not to fall on her bottom in the puddle!!

Little 1 was really happy and excited to be allowed to do the biggest jumps she could in the deepest muddiest puddle, I love the pictures below of the splash she made and one of her mid jump!

Big smiles and muddy faces at the end of a great fun afternoon, I wonder how deep the next set of muddly puddles will be....

22 February 2014

Homemade marble run fun

'This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 February challenge. If I'm chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Forest.'

The little ones have been playing with our marble run this week, it has sat out for several days, being modified often and played with repeatedly. I have been forbidden to dismantle it and have even had to hoover around it!

For the Center Parcs February challenge, to try to win a break at Center Parcs with Tots 100 and Center Parcs, we had to make a homemade game and after reading Center Parcs' Games Guru Lisa Brown's top tips for homemade games we were inspired by the tip below:

  • Screw up some old newspaper and stick it together to make a ball. Decorate it, grab some empty toilet roll holders and make your own indoor ten pin bowling alley.

We thought what could we do with the newspapers, toilet rolls and cardboard boxes filling our recycling bin? How about making our own home made marble run, that would be a lot of fun. So here is what we did....

The Little ones got busy choosing the bits they wanted to use, rolling tubes of newspaper and painting all the pieces in bright colours, they really like painting. Little 1 looked very busy and was concentrating hard, Little 2 was engrossed in what she was doing making some funny faces as she painted the awkward bits. Then things got a little messy....

Little 2 started painting her hands first and rubbing them all over the box she was painting then her face, Little 1 thought it looked fun and started to join in too painting her hands orange. They were having sooo much fun, it seemed a shame to stop them and clean up but Little 2 definately needed a wash!

When all the pieces were dry it was time to start building. Little 1, with some help from Daddy holding the pieces, was in charge of the sticky tape and got busy slotting and sticking all the bits together, all four of us joined in the building and had some good old family fun together deciding which bit to put where and checking that no marbles were going to get stuck on their journey down...

And finally it was finished, there were 2 routes for the marbles to go down, the girls loved having a choice of where to put them. The finished marble run was so long it needed a bit of support from the sofa and the girls needed so stand on a chair to reach to put the marbles in, 'Wowee' said Little 2! 'This is so much fun' said Little 1.

The girls loved putting the marbles in, and running down to the bottom to fetch them back again and again. We played with our marble run until it was way past the girls bedtime as they didn't want to stop. Little 1 asked 'Can we do it again tomorrow?' when she was on her way up to bed.

Here is a little video of our marble run in action...

We had good fun making our marble run and we will definitely be doing it again sometime soon, now what else we can do with our recycling?

21 February 2014

Bedtime- afraid of the dark

Depending on which parent is running bedtime in our house it is either a calm, quiet affair with stories and chats (Mummy) or loud squealing, running around, tickling and laughing with a story thrown in (Daddy) but either way the girls follow the same routine we have had since they were tiny.

Around 6pm we either get pyjamas on and have a play for a bit or go up for a bath, half 6 the girls are ready to have milk and stories. We let them both choose a story and all sit together on the sofa to listen. 7pm or just before, it is time for teeth, last wee and into bed. The girls both have a Tomy musical lightshow which they have on as we leave their rooms.

A little while ago we had trouble with Little 2 not going off to sleep by herself, she would just cry and cry when put in her cot and would only settle if she was rocked to sleep for a few minutes, if she was left alone she would get really distressed. This followed a period where she had been quite poorly with a chest infection and chicken pox and we had cuddled her at night. She was waking in the night too and needing a cuddle which would often take an hour and only mummy would do.

We tried a few things half heartedly but she just got really distraught, which was totally unlike her as she is normally so laid back and happy, which upset everyone and meant the girls were tired as they were not getting to sleep until late and I was tired as i was up most nights. In the end we just carried on cuddling her off to sleep as it would only take 5 minutes and everyone was calm and happy. I said I would never do this and until this point both girls had self settled, it needed to change but I didn't have the heart or will power to let her cry.

Then one night a couple of months after it all started Little 2 said 'I no like it dark'. It was a breakthrough, she had had a big speech jump and was able to tell me she was afraid of the dark, I had no idea. We bought a little blue nightlight for the corner of her room, put her into bed and left the room with the door ajar, she went straight to sleep by herself and in a few days was sleeping through again and we didn't look back . I had never heard of a 1 and a half year old being afraid of the dark but she was.

Now bedtime is back to normal again. Once in bed, we rarely hear from Little 2 as she just drops off, Little 1 sometimes makes a few curtain calls for a drink, another wee or more music but she doesn't get out of bed and goes to sleep after a short while. The girls are sleeping through, and although I am getting more sleep I am still permanently shattered!!

19 February 2014

Fun on the family walking trail

This last Sunday the sun (what, did I say sun) came out, it wasn't raining or freezing cold so we made the most of it and got out. We took the girls to a National Trust place near us that has a family trail with things to play on along the way. The girls thought it was brilliant. We haven't been out on a proper forest family walk for ages and it was great to see Little 2 out roaming free in the mud as last year she was always in the pushchair.

There was lots to do, walking the plank....

Leading the way with Daddy...

Playing in the Den......

Banging sticks on the musical logs....

Little 2 was fearless on the rope swing ( Daddy held onto her tight) and really loved it...


And lots of muddy puddles.... (I had too many lovely pictures of puddle jumping so have made them into another post- Puddle jumping)

Smiling happy children all the way around, loving the mud splashed face in this picture...

I couldn't believe how far they walked, they were brilliant. Back at the car we stripped off the muddy waterproofs/wellies and cracked open the flasks of coffee and hot chocolate we had brought and tucked into buttery hot cross buns courtesy of Nanny. We had a lovely afternoon and will definately be doing this again very soon.

18 February 2014

My gorgeous girlie

I've noticed that a lot of my posts are about Little 2 or both girls at the moment and there isn't much about just Little 1, this is not deliberate. There seems to be more to write about with Little 2 currently with potty training and her birthday and Little 1 is at pre-school several days a week so I take less pictures of her on her own, I'm sure when she starts school in September it will be the other way around.  

Little 1 really has a great character and has me giggling every day, she is pretty happy go lucky most of the time although has been testing the boundries lately! I took these pictures of her when she was chilling on her innotab after coming home from a princess birthday party.

She really is a pretty little girl (although I am rather biased), the tight curls and ringlets she had as a toddler are beginning to drop out now and her hair is going wavy and wild, she wants to grow it for when she starts school so it will not be long before she is all grown up with long hair and looking back as she waves me off at the school gates. Sob sob...

But for now she is still my little girl and I am still in charge, although she may think otherwise, and I am going to enjoy it as long as I can because she is growing up too fast. I love you Little 1.

16 February 2014

Decorating gingerbread men

Today was another one of those days where it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain so we couldn't go out (Daddy takes the car to work so we are on foot all week). I had dragged the girls to Tesco the day before and as they were really good, I had secretly picked up a packet of those decorate yourself Gingerbread men with sweets and icing. Little 1's friend came to play this morning and after they had tired of dressing up and playing preschool's, I pulled out the gingerbread men and they got stuck in decorating.

Little 2 had a little help from Mummy!
Such a simple activity and it didn't cost much either, I added a few extra smarties and had some writing icing left over from Little 2's cake decorating so there was plenty to go around and a few left to eat too. 

They looked great and best of all there was one left for Mummy to eat too, it was very yummy. A cheap, fun, tasty activity that kept the girls quiet for 20 minutes, we love baking and decorating tasty things in this house. 

13 February 2014

Monster birthday cards

We like to make home made cards in this house, for any occasion. The girls like to make them and those special enough to receive them love them too. A card made by us almost always involves painting, sticking and/or stamping, sticky fingers and lots of fun.

This time the cards were intended for the girls Granny (Daddy's mum) who's birthday it is tomorrow. Little 1 wanted to do sticking. Usually we have all sorts of sticking bits in pink and girly colours, flowers, pom poms and sequins too but today we seemed to be running low on these but had lots of lolly sticks, pipe cleaners and feathers so I came up with the idea of making monster birthday cards. 

We started out decorating the insides of the cards (as it is easier to do before all the bits are stuck on the front). The girls used some stamps they had from Father Christmas to make lots of pretty patterns and wrote inside.

We then got busy being creative using lots and lots of pva glue. Lolly sticks became bodies, pipe cleaners were arms and legs, feathers for heads and the final touch, the googly eyes. 

Getting crafty with the girls usually ends when Little 2 begins to ingest the materials, having run out of bits to stick or room on the page for glue, she can not usually resist a lick of the paintbrush or a finger in the glue pot heading for her lips! Little 1 usually continues on for a while using up the paint or glue on odd bits of paper, today she stuck the left over feathers on the 'microwave' (an empty cracker box) she brought home from pre-school. 

So without further ado here they are, Little 1's creation is on the left, Little 2's on the right. I'm sure Granny will love them.