25 February 2016

Little 2 makes chocolate muesli bars

We love a bit of baking in this house and make lots of yummy tasty things to eat but recently we haven't made that much. Now that Little 3 is taking decent naps in the morning I have been planning to get the ingredients out again and get baking again with the girls. This one is one of my favourites that my mum used to make, it is tasty and yummy and so so easy to do. 

It is much the same as making chocolate rice crispy cakes just instead of rice crispies you use muesli. The ingredients are chocolate, golden syrup and muesli, simple.

My assistant this time was Little 2, as Little 1 was at school, she happily helped to bash, smash and generally beat up the bar of chocolate ready for melting. I bought a large 300g block this time around and it made around 16 squares of chocolate muesli.

Little 2 helped me to put the chocolate into a pan and with a huge amount of supervision she stirred the chocolate until it had melted, to that we added a generous tablespoon of golden syrup and turned out the heat before the chocolate caught on the bottom of the pan.

Then it is time to add the muesli a little at a time until the chocolate is used and the muesli is all coated. You can use whatever you like best, I tend to buy the one with lots of fruit in and one without nuts as they aggravate Little 1's eczema. It is best to use a decent muesli and not a cheapy one with lots of fine dust as  it won't work as well.

Pop it into a tin or tray lined with greaseproof paper as this makes removing it much easier or you could just use cake cases and refrigerate until set. After a hour or two turn it out onto a chopping board and chop into squares.

Then comes the best bit, the licking of the spoon, mmmmm.

Yummy tasty squares of crunchy muesli all held together by sticky chocolate, needless to say it only lasted a few days on our house!!

19 February 2016

Getting to know our garden birds with Wilko

As I was growing up we had a big garden with fruit trees outside the back doors, we had a bird table and a feeder, I used to watch the birds while we had dinner and I knew some of the most common British garden birds. Fast forward 20 years and my children did not know the birds in our garden other than the odd robin I pointed out to them and I can no longer remember what the difference is between the Green tit or the Great tit, both of which we have regularly visiting our garden!

Recently we were asked to be 'Wilko Wild Bird bloggers' and Wilko kindly sent us a special pack to help us attract wild birds to our garden. It contained a nesting box, wooden bird table, cage seed feeder and wild bird food. I was quite excited at the thought of getting the girls interested in the birds in our garden.

A damp Saturday afternoon we set the girls to work while Little 3 was napping, Little 2 helped me fill the bird feeder meticulously pouring in the seed so that she didn't spill any.

She then helped me to hang it on a hook we had in the garden. The garden admittedly needs a lot of work after the wet and windy winter we have had but the feeder looked good and even when it was swinging in the wind and blowing a gale it didn't scatter it's seed, it was strong and sturdy. The birds found it quickly and the following day I watched Green, Great and Blue tits feeding and a Robin too while I was washing up. I wasn't quick enough to take a picture though.

Daddy helped the Little ones to build the bird table. Initially we thought it looked a little lightweight for a bird table but as it was built, following the included instructions easily dictated by Little 1, it became clear that this was not the case at all and we had ourselves a sturdy little bird table perfect for the children to tend to the birds.

Little 2 loved the fact that, having just turned 4 years old, she could reach the top and put the seed and bread out after brushing off the old left over bits herself. I liked the fact that the bird table is child sized and easily accessible too.

The bird table was claimed by the Little ones as their own and placed next to the play house. It needed to be tied or wedged somewhere otherwise it would have fallen foul to the recent windy weather so we placed the children's pots around it to hold it fast. The girls have already planned what flowers they would like to plant in their pots when the warmer weather appears and I think it will look rather pretty when they have done this (and we have blitzed the garden too).

It wasn't long before the feathered friends in our garden increased and the Little ones were looking out the window seeing what they could spot, we have dug out the old bird book and had fun trying to identify them. We are planning to make some bird cakes too and we are currently saving our yoghurt pots for that.

Daddy has fixed the bird house to the wall above the kitchen window where we have a climbing rose that will provide plenty of shelter for the birds as well as plenty of little bugs for them to feast on. it would be lovely if birds would nest there this spring I would love to see the chicks fledging.

It has been good fun getting the girls involved in attracting more birds to our garden and they have shown quite and interest. Little 1 spotted some Starlings on the way to the shop the other day and pointed them out, I am not sure that she would have done that before.

N.B We received a complimentary Wilko wild bird blogger pack in return for this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own honest thoughts.

17 February 2016

Making play chocolates.. mmmm

Feeling a bit creative this past weekend and with Little 3 napping, we set to work on one of the girls crafty sets we had bought them for Christmas called Jumping clay. 

Little 1 had a chocolate box and Little 2 a biscuit kit. We had bought them back in the summer when we had seen them being demonstrated in a shop. The material used is kind of  like playdough but very soft and stringy with a foam like texture. It is easy to mould and stick.

Each set came with several different colours, a tool, little display box and comprehensive instructions to make the kit but you could make whatever you wanted really.

There was plenty of moulding, squidging and rolling going on, I was helping little 1 and Daddy was helping Little 2. We got rather carried away having fun together and I didn't take any photos of the making process but this is what we made.

Little 2's biscuits

Little 1's chocolates
There was quite a bit left over and the girls made a cat, a mermaid and a dinosaur too. 

Jumping clay is great as after a couple of days it hardens so that you can play with it, it goes all light and bouncy like a hardish foam, the leftovers made great bouncy balls. The girls have been playing with their biscuits and chocolates lots in their play kitchen this week.

N.B We bought these kits for the girls for Christmas, this was not a sponsored post.

9 February 2016

Little 3 has a language explosion

Litte 3 is not yet 11 months old but he is like a sponge at the moment soaking up all the words and language we can throw at him. These past few days I have been watching him and really taking notice of his facial expressions and what he is saying (or is trying to say) to me and I realised he is pretty darn clever. Well I know that already there are no flies on this little lad but I didn't realise what some of his babble meant and now I have worked it out.

Little 3 has been jabbering on for months now and babbling away just like any other baby, he began with the baba and dada's way back and in the last 6 weeks or so he has had a tremendous language explosion. It probably helps that I am always talking to him, describing what I am doing and just generally talking to him all the time. I really do not stop talking but otherwise when it is just the two of us home and the girls are at school/preschool it would be pretty quiet in our house! I sing to him too, nursery rhymes mainly and we read books to all the Little ones during the day as well as at bedtime. 

It is really important to talk, sing and read to babies and young children, it really helps their language development even if it is just normal day to day chit chat is does make a difference. When little 2 started playgroup at 2 years 7 months the staff commented on her broad vocabulary and the way she used words in the correct context. With two elder sisters at home and Little 1 not letting anyone get a word in edgeways when she is home (she is just like me!) it was only a matter of time before Little 3 started trying to get his voice heard.

A few months back he started saying 'dada dad ad' and usually he says this to Daddy, it has evolved into 'dad-ad' mostly now, it is lovely when Daddy comes in from work, Little 3 lights up and shouts 'dad-ad' at the top of his voice.

'Hi-ya' has been a first word for all of the Little ones (yes Terry, you started that one!) with Little 3 saying it around the 9 month mark.

Around a month ago we had 'ta' for the first time intermittently at first but now Little 3 says it when he wants something, for example he will hold out a toy and say 'ta' for me to hold out my hand for it, or if she sees food he'll sit there going 'ta ta ta' which can get quite loud if you don't give it to him right away.

He can say 'cat' although it sounds like 'dat', he loves our cats and likes to watch them as well as stroke their fur, we have to be careful as he still likes to grab at them and we are trying to teach him to be nice to them and make sure he understands you have to be gentle with animals.

I was talking to Daddy the other day about the fact that he still hasn't said 'mum', we had a few mmmmmum's way back and the odd mmmum when he is crying but he simply does not say it. However I have noticed he is constantly saying bab babab and commented to Daddy that he always says that when he is crying in between the dad-ad's. We were trying to get Little 3 to say mum by pointing at him and saying his name, then 'Daddy' at Daddy and then 'Mum' when pointing at me. He thought it was hilarious and pointed at Daddy and said 'Dad', then at me and said 'bab'. Suddenly I cottoned on that I am bab! it makes sense now. I have no idea why he calls me this it is nothing like my name and we do not refer to anyone or anything as bab, but now I understand, when he is standing at the gate shouting 'bab' at the top of his voice, it is me that he wants and that means he really does want me after all.

Today he spouted 2 new words and I thought just how fast he is changing at the moment. First he said 'uh-oh', the cheeky little fellow was throwing things out of the laundry basket that I had just folded saying it and smiling from ear to ear, he would lift something out and hold it at arm's length watching me and say 'uh-oh' as he let it fall to the ground.

Then later on as I was reading to him he said 'wassat', I didn't understand at first and took it to be babble but I was reading a story with animals in where each animal makes their noise. I was pointing to the animals on the page and saying 'the cat said meow' etc and he pointed to the cat and said 'dat' then to a dog and said 'wassat', I suddenly understood that he meant 'what's that' so I repeated 'what's that' and told him and a huge grin broke out on his face, that was it then everything in that book and everything I was getting out the shopping bag as we were unpacking the groceries later was 'wassat?'

I am quite in awe of his language skills considering his age, his understanding is good too, he knows quite a lot of words especially food related ones! If you ask him 'where is' someone or something he usually looks at what you are asking and will often bring it to me too.

At nearly 11 months my boy can say:

Dad, Hiya, Ta, cat (dat), sock (gock), fish (ish), uh-oh, wassat (what's that?), and refers to me as bab!

7 February 2016

A perfect personalised Valentine's gift with Snapfish

Next weekend will be Valentine's day, are you struggling to find the perfect gift for your other half or looking for something a little more personal this year. If so why don't you take a look at Snapfish.co.uk. You are bound to find something from their range of photo gifts for that special person in your life. They have all sorts ranging from photo books and canvases to something a little more fun and different, cushion or phone case anyone?

As well as being Valentine's day on the 14th, it will also be our 7th wedding anniversary on the 13th so I needed an extra special gift for Daddy. Ever since we built our extension 4 years ago we have been eyeing up a large spot on the wall behind the television for a special family picture. With Little 3 having completed our family, we had a photoshoot last Christmas and with a photograph in mind I popped over to see what I could get for him to fill the space.

I loved the idea of the acrylic photo panels, they looked contemporary, bright and striking and seemed to be just what I was looking for as a focal point of the room. I ordered a large 24 x 16 inch which featured our photo nicely. 

10mm thick acrylic 

The panel arrived in a few days and I was really pleased with it, the picture really doesn't do it justice, and I know Daddy will be too. I can not wait to give it to him and get it up on the wall. Thanks Snapfish.

Hurry though, if you want to receive your photo gifts in time for Valentine's day you must order by February 9th 2016.

In return for this post we received £40 credit to spend at Snapfish on photo gifts, however all opinions are our own honest thoughts.

5 February 2016

Little 2 turns four years old

Yesterday my Little 2 turned four years old, when asked what she wanted to do for her birthday her answer was simple, her favourite soft play and a party tea. So thats what we did.  

Presents at breakfast before Little 1 went to school.

Little 3 was a bit perplexed as to the change to the usual morning routine and all the wrapping paper to scrunch, rip and chew! But he did enjoy romping around the soft play.

Nanny bought Little 2 a new party dress, a gorgeous mint green and silver sequin creation complete with cardigan, sparkly tights and ballet pumps. Little 2 adored it and wore it from the moment we got home, she was twirling and posing and loved being a birthday princess.

After a party tea with the grandparents and a brief break for little 1 to attend her school Valentines disco, we wished her a happy birthday and all enjoyed a slice of cake.

Happy Birthday my Cheeky, Clever, Independant, Helpful, Beautiful little girl.

At four years old Little 2 likes:

Dressing up (especially princess dresses and Elsa)
Being helpful
Hair clips and bows and bracelets
Disney films
Reading stories
and Spaghetti bolognaise!

2 February 2016

Mess free painting for Little 3

I was thinking the other day that I do not do enough creative things with Little 3 and that I should start introducing him to proper good old messy play and textures and things. He is still at the stage where everything will go straight in his mouth and there will be a whole lot of mess to clear up through his exploration so I got thinking about what I could do with him that was relatively mess free for the times when I need him entertained but can not go the whole hog and get all the messy stuff out.

Little 2 was doing some drawing and wanted to make a card for a friend with my help to do some dots to trace, I had also promised her I'd help her to draw a rainbow teddy bear picture! Little 3 was tired as he had had a very short nap, he'd discarded the snack I'd given him and was not in the mood for playing, by crying and clinging to my leg, I had to think of a distraction so I could help Little 2.

I remembered a plastic bag I had received something in and had a brainwave, mess free painting. It ticked all the boxes. A bit of fun with paint, learning about liquids, colours etc and his picture would be handy as I would use it to make a birthday card for Little 2 from him. Brilliant.

I fished out the bag, the perfect size for an a4 piece of card and sellotaped it all around the edges to the table, slipped in the card and carefully squirted some paint into the bag before sealing it up.

Then I let him loose, he mainly just smacked his hands down on the table squashing the paint about a bit before poking it a little with his fingers and then looking at his hands.

Little 2 forgot about her picture for a minute and wanted to have a go too. She enjoyed patting and pushing the paint in the bag around with her fingers, mixing it up.

I think I will do this activity with her again using primary colours so we can talk about colour mixing and if we use more paint she will be able to write in the paint too which she started to do this time but there wasn't quite enough of it. Little 2 ended up getting more out of the activity than her brother who quickly tired and just wanted cuddles but he did enjoy himself albeit briefly.

tired and photobombed but still cute!

I have been thinking of other ways to reuse that plastic bag, I think would be a great idea to use some cheapy hair gel or something similar and add sequins and glitter to move around and squish or how about a bag full of cereal to crush. It would certainly keep him busy while I was helping his sister.