Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Super Great Outdoors!

We have managed to resume some sort of normaility again after our period of incarceration. But little J has still not been 100%. So we made an executive decision to just stay close to home, but explore what was on our doorstep, in our bid to embrace mother nature and all she has to offer.

The week started with a little ramble behind our house, with a trip to the farm and the footpath that leads up to the top road. What usually takes me about 10 mins to walk took our little posse about an hour to amble up. And what an amazing hour that was. We had muddy puddle splashing, dry stone walling, cattle grid negotiating, cow chasing/spotting, tractor spotting, ruin climbing, trailer leaping, stone collecting, nettle stomping, plane watching........ the list goes on and on and on.

I realised something as we were going on our little adventure, watching J and his friend N, and that is how much of a priviledge it really is to watch the world through the eyes of a toddler. I spent the whole hour just watching them play together shrieking and playing, taking in all of thier surroundings with amazement and wonder. Hearing J shout "House, build, house", as they were dry stone walling was really something else and watching his little face light up with pride as he managed to stack 3 rocks on top of each other as N kept passing up more and more rocks was possibly one of those moments that will be etched on my memory for the rest of my days.

On Friday we went to Blackpool Zoo, which was brilliant. Our band of merry mummies and toddlers arrived in a state of harrassment and frenzy. Trying to round up four very independant toddlers and a five month old, whilst battling with buggies, reins, backpacks and issuing "time-outs" for the heavyweight battles that were commencing (due to being tied down in thier car seats for an hour and then being asked to go in a buggy, whilst Mummy paid to get in) had managed to wear everyone down. But after a frought hour of trying to channel our inner peace and not shouting the same three names over and over again ( to the point where passers by knew the names of the three monkeys in question) we all started to calm down and enjoy the surroundings and the animals. We had a really lovely afternoon watching the sealions whilst eating ice cream, playing in the trees and on the playground.  Absolutely brilliant. Fabulously finished off with pizza and fish fingers with our dear friends. Can it get any better??

J really responds well to being outside, where he can run about with some freedom and independance. He always seems to come on leaps and bounds when he is allowed to spend most of his time outdoors. I too am becoming a bit of an outdoorsy kinda gal. Not bad for someone who's idea of embracing the great outdoors involved a credit card and an afternoon shopping in Manchester! Oh how children change us for the better!

I think sometimes I spend my time fretting about what activities to do with J, what books to read to help him develope, what songs to sing, which toys to play with, so much so that I forget, that its the simpler things that bring him the most enjoyment and pleasure. So I can really say thanks to Mother Nature, for helping me to focus and realise that the outdoors really are GREAT!!!!!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Cabin Fever

So we have spent the last two weeks holed up at home due to J having had an almighty array of illnesses, poor sausage. Also not great for all involved.

To say that I have been pulling my hair out trying to come up with interesting and fun things to do to take his mind of things, would be an understatement. I think that we have managed to do everything from counting through to making spoon people, all in the name of entertainment. I can honestly say, that I would have given Mr Maker a run for his money (we really have watched too much tv as well!)!! I have recylced as much stuff as humanly possible, in the form of egg boxes and containers in a bid to turn them into everything from dumper trucks to rockets. However,  I have also manged to spend a small fortune in Tesco, and the surrounding shops, finding art and craft items to use. It has turned into a bit of an obsession now though! Lets hope that Si is understanding when the credit card bill arrives!! Aarrgghh!!!

We have even managed to cook our way through most of our cook books, ones borrowed from the library and even ones bought from Amazon this week (which resulted in a few days where I stalked the postman. Not good!!). The freezer has never looked so full, mainly as a result of us all not eating anything, J being off his food and it being impossible for one adult and a 23mth old  to eat 8 cakes, 9 batches of biscuits and 3 pies in just under 2 weeks.

I really need to take the bull by the horns. Especially as cabin fever is beginning to set in. It has got that bad that when we ventured out for half an hour today to head into town, poor J was that excited to go out in the car he ran round screaming his usuall "Car, shoes, brrmm." over and over again, whilst laughing and and shaking with excitement. So a plan is needed as we need to spend some quality time outdoors. But what to do? I am going to have to come up with something a bit different than the park as he has a mass of energy that needs to be burned off and I don't think that a slide will cut it!

 I have come across an amazing blog called "Looking for Dragons", which has some fabulous ideas, including making ice cream in a bag out doors with nothing but ice, salt, 2 resealable bags, chocolate milk, sugar and some shaking. Sounds brilliant and more importantly, cheap (Lets just hope that the weather inproves.)! I cannot wait to see what we can come up with.  I cannot wait either to come up with some other random things to do. So let's pack up our brollies and wellington boots and see what sunny Lancashire has to offer!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Monkey Bread It's the Future!!

So after our foray into the animal themed lunch for the zoo, I really really struggled to come up with many original ideas to make the picnic jazzy. Then as I mentioned I found the recipe for Monkey Bread. I did make an attempt to make a salad "animal ish" by calling it vine salad, but even I feel that was a little tentative!

I decided that anything involving a toffee sauce and cinnamon would be worth a try, even under a guise of animal themed food. It was devine. Baby J and Si both polished off about a third of it in under ten minutes. I'd like to say that it was Si who ate the most, but I would be lying!! Not bad for a 22mth old! It was also quite amusing to see them both prowling round the table shouting "Cake!" whilst waiting for it to cool down from the oven. Brilliant. It was even worth the washing up and the 2 hrs it took me to clean the toffee sauce off the milk pan! The cake took a lot of prep, which J helped with and loved, what with waiting for the dough to rise and segment up and rise again, but was really really worth it!!

The Zoo was brilliant, but was most definitely a wash out, in truest sense of the word, owing maily to the downpour that caught us out whilst we were on the playground, not made any better by the fact that I was whizzing down the slide after J when the rain came, which left me with a very damp pair of jeans and a very questionable damp patch! I did draw quite a few odd looks. J managed to become aquainted with a rather giant tortoise shell and fell in love with the Orangutans and Otters.

The fab day was finished off with a rather long nap in the car on the way back, both Daddy and Baby J were wiped out, and a rather large piece of cake or two!!  Honestly Monkey Bread is the future!!!!