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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Rock Pooling In Devon

The boys are really lucky that their Nanny (my mum) lives down in North Davon. We don't get down to visit as often as we'd like and nearly always end up with bad weather! So while we were down visiting last week the forecast wasn't amazing (but it turned out nice grrrr!) so rather than a day on the beach we decided to take the nets down to the rock pools at Westward Ho! I used to love going with my mum & nan as a child, we even used to cook the prawns we caught! I could never do that now! The nets we use live at my mums house with a collection of buckets etc that were mine as a kid.

I was worried about the boys falling on the rocks, so had them wear their trainers & trousers to cover their knees, even though both got soaked! Neither fell on the rocks, however Joseph (4.5) being the clumsy tall child that he is managed to fall over on the concrete slip way while I was getting their lunch out of the bag! He badly grazed all down the left side of his face, but it has healed well thank goodness.

The prawns & sea life that live in the rock pools are very quick & I don't think that the boys caught anything themselves but were more than happy 'fishing' and looking at what Mum & I had caught.

We managed about 10 prawns (varying sizes), lots of winkles (snails), a baby crab & a small fish (possibly a stickleback?). They lived in a seaweed & shell filled bucket whilst we had lunch then we returned them to a similar pool to which we had caught them.

If you go rock pooling please make sure you check the tides & keep an eye on it, getting cut off can be very dangerous. Also please check all your shells no longer have their owners as we accidentally managed to bring home 2 live winkles amongst our shells which Mum took home the next day on the bus after we had gone home. Thanks Mum :-)

x Jo x

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Tea Party Week @ Messy Play

For our 4th week of messy fun I decided to go for a tea party theme, mainly so we could do some cupcake decorating! So that's what we did, I bought 3 dozen ready made cupcakes from the supermarket (didn't want to be poisoning any kids) & lots of sprinkles & sweets to decorate. In the hour we used almost a box of icing sugar & I spent most of the session mixing icing. The kids decorated all the cakes & then moved on to the pack of biscuits I brought as back up :-) It was a really busy session, & I didn't get chance to take any pics of the set up & not many during the session.

I dyed the pasta left from animal week, using the same method I use   a little bit of food colouring & some surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol for those in the us) in a zip lock bag. Mix it around to cover the pasta & add more colouring if required. I've previously had poor results using the natural colouring vs regular, as i was out of green I thought I would give the gel colouring a go. It did give better coverage however left a slightly sticky residue on the pasta. 

I supplied lengths of string so that the kids could make necklaces to wear to the 'party'. I also made some 'needles' with some pipe cleaner for the younger ones to make the threading easier.

For the sticking craft I printed out a cupcake picture & decorated using fabric, paper & foam scraps, lolly pop sticks & sequins. I had some ready coloured lolly sticks, but wanted to make sure i had enough so i tried a colouring them using food colouring at the same time as the pasta, it worked but not very well. I then used a chunky marker to colour them in this was quite quick & gave a better result. A great way to recycle all those lolly sticks you've been saving all summer.

My example cupcake (I'm having great fun doing my own pictures)

In the sensory box we had red jelly & custard.... this started out nice & thick but ended up all thin & watery as the kids mixed it.

In one of our pools we had out our tea set, with our coloured rice to use as pretend tea.

In the other pool I put a whole bag of asda value cornflakes, they had lots of fun crunching & scooping.

Daniel (3) requested that we had pink paint at messy play, so as it was tea party week, i mixed some up using our red & white paint. It ended up a peachy pink, I also mixed a purple which ended up darker than I would have liked. As well as the brushes I also cut an old car sponge out in to sort of cupcake shapes.

A fab week again with a long clean up, but worth it as all the kids love it. Especially my boys who wouldn't get to experience this otherwise. It really is different experience from doing these activity's at home.

x Jo x

P.S. The next theme is The Hungry Caterpillar

Monday, 26 August 2013

Mighty Lights - Review

The nice people at Walkers sent us some new crisps to try head of the new school year. 
These Mighty Lights come in three flavours, lightly salted, roast chicken & cheese and onion.
  • 30% less fat*
  • No artificial colours or preservatives
  • No MSG
  • Made from real potatoes
  • A source of fibre
  • Suitable for vegetarians

When the arrived we decided to give them a taste test. I put some of each flavour in a bowl for the boys to taste & guess which flavour they were. They both guessed right except for lightly salted which was guessed as 'crisp' flavour! When asked which was their favourite Joseph(4.5) decided straight away that it was the roast chicken, with Daniel(3) torn between the other two & eventually choosing cheese & onion. 

So they had the remaining crisps with their lunch that day. I was very naughty & decided to test some roast chicken mighty lights in a crisp sandwich, it was lush!

They contain 30% less fat than standard crisps & are therefore lower in calories, coming in at 114 kcal per 25g bag. I've mentioned before that I have lost weight following the slimming world plan & now I'm at target I have relaxed a little (ok a lot) but I still like to know the syn value of things so I know how naughty I'm being! These Mighty Lights come it at 5.5 syns, which is higher than baked crisps/snacks, but lower than standard crisps or other ridged crisps. They also taste (and crunch) as good as other ridged crisps.

Daddy has tried the lightly salted flavour & has confirmed them to be 'real crisps' (not those diet things) but would have loved a salt & vinegar flavour. I also had to test some of the lightly salted flavour with my favourite low syn salsa dip (1/2 syn per tablespoon) the ridges worked really well with the dip as did the flavour. I also like that the small bag stops me eating to much & putting the salsa away for another day!

Being lower in fat & calories Mighty Lights are the perfect treat for kids' lunchboxes. I still can't believe that its less than 2 weeks until Joseph starts school and I'm going to be back making lunch boxes, where has this summer gone? At lest with these & the Walkers Hoops & Crosses I'm sorted in the crisp department!

  All the flavours are suitable for vegetarians, and are available in shops nationwide. They come with a suggested selling price of £1.59 per 6 bag multi-pack, however as I write they are on offer in Tesco & Asda at £1 a pack.
For more info take a look at the website

x Jo x

* 30% less fat than standard potato crisps on average

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post however all opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dinosaur Week @ Messy Play

This was the week that Daniel (3) and lots of the other kids had been looking forward to. On the craft table we decorated card T-Rex's & Diplodocus' using natural things inc lentils, pasta & egg shell. Some of which had been left over from our paper plate turtle craft. Daniel was a little upset when I hadn't made a Triceratops as this is his favourite dinosaur!

One of our pools was filled with spaghetti that I had dyed green & red using food colouring & some oil so it didn't stick together. We used our rakes & spaghetti spoon in this pool & had lots of fun, its a very strange texture, almost like worms!

Joseph (4.5) with spaghetti hair!

In our other pool we had it set up much like in our 1st messy play session, making our dinosaurs a small world with card squares, plastic mountains & trees.

In one of our sensory box's we had some more of our coloured rice, with various scoops & tubes. Rice is always popular & usually ends up everywhere!

For the other box I froze some of our smaller dinosaurs in water (with food colouring) in silicone cupcake cases, along with regular ice. It took quite a while for the dinosaurs to melt out of the ice so we added some warm water towards the end of the session to help melt them.

We used green paper on the floor for painting, with some dinosaurs (and kids) to make footprints!
The finished work of art
We also had some play dough out to make dinosaur footprints in.

Lots of great messy creative fun, everyone is looking forward to the next weeks theme - Tea Party!

x Jo x

P.s. we are still working on our letters of the week however the letter J is turning in to the letter of the summer, even tho the boys aren't at pre-school we are out so much we haven't had much time :-)

Monday, 19 August 2013

Edible Boats

Every summer as part of a local raft race they run an edible boat regatta, with prizes for the best designed boats & also the boats that float the best.  We had a good think about what food items we could use to make our boats & decided to use 1/2 a pineapple for Josephs & 1/2 a melon for Daniels. 

I do confess to giving lots of help making these but i was most impressed by Josephs suggestion of using spaghetti to attach the decorations. I was assuming that wooden skewers & tooth picks would be banned however a winning boat contained them! I also debated weather the melon/pineapple skin would be allowed as not eaten but I'm sure it wouldn't kill you!

For our decoration we used toast cut out using cookie cutters, rice cakes, crackers & writing icing.

The boys were really chuffed with their boats & get a medal just for entering (thank goodness we made 2 boats). The really exciting bit was when everyone put their boats on the lake to see how well they sailed (floated). Ours did very well and lasted at least 10 mins, when I lost sight of them.

It was a great day out & we will be entering again in the future.

x Jo x

this post is an entry in the Centre Parcs August challenge with Tots 100

Friday, 9 August 2013

My (Big) Babies Hair Cut...

Well I knew the day was coming, that Joseph (4.5) would say 'Mummy I want my hair cut short like Daddy's'. Just not quite so soon! On (long over due) hair cut day, Joseph decided that he didn't want the snippers (scissors) he wanted it all clipped like Daddy. Yes I cut both the boys & Daddies hair partly due to cost, partly because it's easier. So here it is his new hair do....

It has taken me quite a few days to be able to look at him properly. He has had longish hair for nearly 3 years, mainly cos i put off cutting it for as long as possible, then couldn't bare to cut it real short! He looks both older & younger all at the same time as he now looks more like his baby pictures. It's defiantly more practical, dries quicker & no more bed head! It will be much easier when he starts school next month.

Age 11 months, aww so cute!
x Jo x

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Arctic Week @ Messy Play

 So as well as our Penguin Craft we had lots more fun with an arctic theme at last weeks group messy play session. It was also a lot busier than the previous week (animal theme) due to a poor forecast & a bit of word of mouth.

Homemade bubble wrap stampers (Idea from Crafts For Boys)

Double water tray - Marshmallows in water & Ice in Blue water
This was very popular!
Bubble wrap (taped down) with fabric underneath to make an arctic small world
Glittery snow-like playdough, recipe here

Shreded paper snow!
Shaving foam snow! Joseph was covered in this at one point I so wish I took a pic:-(
Arctic colouring lots of printable on pintrest
Daniel enjoying the clean up area.

 Really looking forward to next week now ..... DINOSAURS!

x Jo x