Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Country Fair

We had a lovely weekend catching up with friends, the weather was lovely and it was the county fair, so a fab day out too.

L was fascinated by all the creepy crawlies especially the cockroaches and giant millipedes.

Had fun sewing L some quick and easy trousers with the remains of some fabric I had stashed away, pattern is Simplicity 1624. She loves them, so now on a look out for some more fabric in my search tonight I came across these harem pants pattern, loving the pocket details.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Birds and Nature Walk

We have been very lucky over the last few weeks to see a couple of birds nest, one was an old one than had fallen out of the tree and the other was one was found by a neighbour in their hedge. It was fantastic to see a robins nest up close, it is amazing how they put it all together and shape it, do google robin's nest to see what I mean. They were interested to see the different ways they had been constructed, one was mainly sticks and the other was a mixture of moss and grass intricately woven together. This brought up lots of questions about the different types of nest that bird's build. We have enjoyed reading A Nest is Noisy which is beautifully illustrated book with lots of different nest and not just birds nests. I had also saved an article on bird's nests from a National Geographic magazine for the children to look at.

 On our walks we had been collecting bits and pieces and talking about how birds might use some of them to build a nest with. We then used a paper plate and they used these different pieces, plus some hay, moss and string to make a nest, they cut out a couple of pictures of birds we had seen in the garden to go with their nests. L wanted eggs in her nest, so she tried to roll up some tissue paper to make eggs, this caused lots of giggling as it wasn't as easy as she thought it would be.

On yesterdays walk we came home a different way and L found lots of different types of grasses, she was fascinated by all the different types. So we collected a few different pieces to show her friends and also to try and work out what they are all called.

Other books we have read
and we watched this clip on a chick hatching 


Snack ideas is something I see regularly asked on different parenting and childminding forums, so I thought I would share some of our ideas here.


Fruit and seeded flapjack

Homemade breadsticks

Ants on a log, which the children think is really funny but love to eat, basically celery, filled with sunflower seed spread (our favourite), humous, peanut butter, cream cheese, depending on children's preference's and allergies.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Life Cycles

The children are showing a real interest in the different creepy crawlies they are finding in the garden, so I have put together some ideas to go with their interest and to extend their knowledge. have added in some plant/flower ideas too as we will be doing a lot of that too.

I have put together a basket of stories and fact books based on the above theme. The children really enjoy seeing what new books are out, they are all kept on the book shelf normally but having a selection put out based on their interests, really works well for us.

Next door cut their hedge this morning and we had some of the pieces, along with tree prunings etc from the weekend, I put them on our tuff spot and suggested to L she try and make a nest for her owl, which she did. She then decided the nest needed some eggs, so of she went and came back with two tennis balls for eggs and made a bed for the owl, with leaves as a blanket.

We had a lovely afternoon, some of it spent in the park and then a walk around the woods, L is wanting to know all the names of the flowers we are now finding, so we took some photos with the hope that I might be able to identify them when we got home, as I hadn't taken the field guide with me.

L has decided that an owl and an elf princess live in this tree trunk, as the hole looks like a doorway, I was told we won't see them today as they were busy having breakfast.

Caterpillars and Flowers

We have had a busy but lovely weekend, O had his 18th birthday do, it's interesting catering for multiple allergies but managed a lovely spread that was, nut, legume, soy, dairy, egg, sesame, banana and melon free. The lemon and blueberry muffins from this book Allergy Proof Recipes For Kids are amazing and make a fantastic plain cake too, think I will use this one from now on, instead of the war time one I had been using, as it keeps so well and isn't crumbly.

We have also managed to spend time gardening and up the allotment, pruned back our fake cherry tree, ended up only doing half a job as I discovered loads of caterpillars on it. L and co really enjoyed watching them yesterday morning, she has been out every day to check on them. Really looking forward to watching them grow and hoping they make their pupas there, it will be wonderful for the children to see, especially as I am planning on doing a theme on life cycles.

Yesterday morning we had a walk to our allotment, mainly to collect some flowers, as one of my little ones had brought their flower press. We looked at the apple blossom and

the blueberries have lots of flowers too, hoping that means lots of fruit later in the year.

L was really pleased to find more ladybirds, when we got home I decided to order the ladybird kit from Insect Lore as it will be great for them to see them go from eggs through adult ladybirds.

We collected flowers on our way home and in our garden to add to the ones we picked at the allotment. We also have a flower press so L was able to press some flowers to keep here.

Now they have to patiently wait a for a couple of weeks for the flowers to dry. L has asked several times if they are ready yet.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Reducing and Sewing

Those that know me well, know that over the past few years I have been changing the way I  work, the toys we have etc, well I am still sorting and reorganising the house but it is all finally coming together. It is not always easy to get rid of things which is why it has taken so much time, along with getting sidetracked with the garden and various craft projects. Sometimes I have just boxed things up and put them in the loft and waited to see if we really need them, observing what and how the children play. It's that difficult thing of never knowing what children or what ages I might end up looking after, so trying to reduce the toys feels more complicated than if I was just doing it for my own children. Anyway the sitting room is looking really good and it is working so well with my own children and minded children. We have reduced the toys a lot, so the cupboards only have a couple of toys to a shelf but it means they can easily find what they want and put it back. They have also at times taken every thing off a couple of shelves then used the shelves to make dolls houses with. Really noticing that they are being more creative and playing better now we have less out, rather than quickly flitting from toy to toy. So here are some pictures of our room, ok normally the floor doesn't look this clear.

The bottom of the white bookshelf cupboard, we have some jigsaws, our story basket, geo shape puzzles, bean bags and lots of books.

The other cupboard, has our block tray, bag of tree blocks and baskets of animals. Then I have been lucky enough to be able to slide 2 baskets under the unit, one has our musical instruments in it and the other is baby toys.

The other end of our sitting room, the cupboard has all our crayon, pencils, paper etc as well as more jigsaws and games, still need to sort through this cupboard.

One of the major things I did a few years ago was reducing our dressing up clothes, I still have a small box but it is normally upstairs and only comes out from time to time. I now have a basket of silk squares, scarves and coloured muslin squares

They have sparked so much creative thinking as to what and how they are going to use them for. 
They have been used for 
  • Cloaks
  • Baby doll slings
  • Wrapped to make dresses/skirts
  • Bedding for dolls
  • Yellow square to make a sandpit
  • Blue square to make a paddle pool
  • Butterfly wings
  • Fairy wings
  • Hair
  • Scarves
 to name a few and I have used them to create many story scenes. I have found that the children are more creative than they were with a box of dressing up clothes and they love trying to make new things with them. Don't get me wrong I do love dressing up clothes but if you haven't a lots of space you have to make a decision on what works best for you and your home/setting.

On a creative note I have enjoyed some sewing, I have only just come across the Ottobre design magazine, wondering how I have never come across them before and loving the patterns, the one that caught my eye was this one.

M and I went shopping and she helped to pick out this fabric and buttons.

Just love the delicate pleating.

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