Monday, 28 May 2012

Home Grown Goodness

With the return of the sunny weather we have been spending a lot of time in the garden.  It is our dream to, one day, become self sufficient in the veg department - I think we are getting close, maybe this time next year?

Last year we fought a loosing battle with aphids and this year it looks like the ants will be our biggest enemy.  I am very much torn between being organic as far as possible and sustainability.  So far we have:
4 varieties of potatoes
Broad beans
Runner beans
French beans
Onions (red and white)
Sprouting broccoli
Variety of salad leaves

Quite an impressive list when all written down I think.  Last year we tried sweetcorn but it was a massive failure - a little more reading up required me thinks!  We also have an asparagus bed on the go but will be another year before we can enjoy any.

I must say the hosepipe ban is rather annoying and I find myself really appreciating the rain!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Galt Playnest Review

Last week we were sent a Galt playnest to review. We have had one of these before, for D1 & D2 as babies and I was a huge fan back then so was delighted to be asked to review. If you have never seen one of these before it is essentially an inflatable ring covered in brightly coloured fabric that can just be taken off and popped into the washing machine, this is especially useful if you have a sicky baby like D3.

D3 has just turned 4 months old and is beginning to sit unaided for short periods of time. The playnest is absolutely great for this, as it allows him to do so in a safe environment without the fear of him falling backwards and bumping his head or, worse, falling flat on his pretty little face! It also has lots of extra room for toys and keeps them within easy reach saving those moments of frustration when a toy gets pushed just out of reach.

The weather has finally turned a corner and we have been out in the garden a fair bit. The playnest has been fantastic as a safe place to put him down while he watches us work so much so I think Galt should create a wipe clean waterproof version so we could take it out in slightly muddier conditions.

I am a member of the Mumsnet Blogging Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

What A Clever Girl

We are fortunate enough to live right next door to a local nature reserve - It is a lovely little walk round the lake and one that we do not do often enough.

At the weekend D1 learnt to ride her bike without stabilisers, and although she could ride it for 20 or so meters before coming to a very wobbly halt she just couldn't master the getting started bit.

For a change the sun shone for the best part of the day and it wasn't raining come school pick up time so we decided to go for a little stroll round the lake (I have been doing as much walking as possible over the last week and it is doing wonders in helping to shift a few excess baby pounds). The girls took their bikes (Naughty Mummy and Daddy forgot to take the helmets) and D1 mastered 'taking off' unaided. She was absolutely thrilled and we were very proud parents. It is just a shame the afternoon ended in tears after coming to a stop in a bush!


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom: Elf Games DVD Review

Today we were very lucky to receive a pre release copy of Ben & Holly's latest adventures - especially as I have 2 HUGE Ben and Holly fans. The DVD is titled the elf games and has been released in perfect time to coincide with all the hype surrounding London 2012.

TV generally isn't allowed in our house, although I am getting more relaxed these days. I much prefer DVDs instead - I think it's the control freak in me.

The thing I like best about Ben and Holly is that the characters speak using "proper" English and none of the silly noises/phrases found on other children's shows. The colours are bright and each episode has its own story line with characters that appeal to both genders and a wide age range. The DVD carries a u certification so you know that you can happily let your children watch unsupervised and without prior pre screening.

Episode 1, The elf games sees Ben training hard for the Little kingdom's version of the olympics. Holly wants to join in but flying and magic are strictly forbidden...

Other episodes on the disk include:

2. Cows

3. The Toy Robot

4. Dinner Party

5. Big Bad Barry

6. King Thistle's Birthday

7. The Wand Factory

8. Daisy and Poppy's Pet

9. The Elf Rocket

10.Picnic on the Moon

I think it is safe to say both girls enjoyed the DVD and the BigD and I enjoyed half an hours peace and quiet before bed!

For more information visit*/DVD/Ben-and-Holly-s-Little-Kingdom-Vol-4-The-Elf-Games/119QE01M7000

Disclaimer: We received a copy of the DVD for review purposes, however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Freezer Cooking

Last week the fridge freezer decided to die - really not good for my stress levels!  We had so much meat that needed using or throwing away.  There was nothing for it but to go on a major cook fest.  In one afternoon The bigD and i managed to whip up:

2 meatloaves
1 portion of meatballs,
1 bolognese
2 chilli con carnes
1 Cantonese chicken
1 sweet and sour pork 
1 steak/ale stew/pie filling
1 portion Lamb kebab meat
1 Cooked beef joint for sandwiches
1 portion of shepard's pie meat

It was some effort but we managed to save most of it and it has now all been distributed amongst friends'  freezers.  Once we are back up and running in the fridge/freezer department I am quite looking forward to 2 weeks of not having to cook, but for the moment we are living day to day, buying fresh on a daily basis.  I am looking forward to it so much I think I may just have to make it a regular thing, only with a little more forward planning next time.  I am hoping to dream up a varied two week menu, which would mean if done well I would only have to cook 2 days a month.   Just think, what could i do with all the time saved?  If I need to chop 1 onion I may as well chop up 10!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Vanity And A Self Portrait

D1 has become so vain since starting school.  It is ridiculous.  I want to burn all the hairbrushes and hide the mirrors.  This morning she got in bed with me and before we went downstairs, in fact, before we had even turned the lights on she was tweaking her hair and smoothing it all down.  It wouldn't possibly do for the coco-pops to see her hair a state!

I  decided to give her practical reason for looking in a mirror.  I gave her a mirror and asked her to draw what she saw.  
look at that tongue poking out with concentration

This is the result and I am sure you will agree it is such a great likeness!


Mirrored Writing
I must say I was very impressed with her observational skills and the detail she has picked up on - from the teddy on the front of her jim jams  to the blue of her eyes.  It took the BigD and I a while to figure out what the back-to-front writing was all about.  Well, I did tell her to draw what she saw!

I have dated this wonderful picture and I am going to ask her to repeat the exercise every few months and make a little book of them.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Homemade Toys - Soft Links

Since getting my sewing machine I have become obsessed with making things for the children.  I could easily have gone crazy but I have been determined to only make things that will truly get used so have managed to resist lots of "for-the-sake-of-it" projects.

I recently fixed/bodged the children's toy buggies - I will make replacement covers/seats when my other projects are completed but for the short term they are back in full working order.  They have been out of action for a while and once I actually put my mind to it I had them both in proper working order again in less than 10 minutes and I feel guilty that I didn't do it sooner.  

I have been working on a sleepsack for D3 although it took MUCH longer than anticipated following an accident with the iron.  I will share pics of this soon.

I spent ages browsing the internet for tutorials/inspiration and using some scraps of fabric I was given I managed to rustle up some washable teething rings for D3.  You can find the tutorial here.  I may have to work on some of my tequniques as they took so much longer to make than the carseat blanket, but as you can see they have gone down an absolute storm.
Isn't he just edible??

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