Surprise Roses, Moving Pictures & Gourmet Gardening

Yesterday, I took the kids to Mount Stewart. I decided to uncover some parts of it we don’t tend to visit. There was a part filled with beautiful trees and I loved this one because it contained the colour of every Autumn leaf πŸ™‚

The girls found a branch that looked like a broom, so they pretended to fly on a broomstick together for ages πŸ™‚ They had a sword fight with dried out leaves from a palm tree and tried to bring a ridiculously long stick home with us πŸ™‚

We found a quiet bench under a tree to have our picnic on. I had read somewhere online about putting frankfurters in a flask of boiled water for picnics. When you take the lid off, they are heated and I just brought hot dog buns and ketchup. It’s such an easy picnic food and the girls said it was the best lunch ever πŸ™‚

Afterwards we went for a walk around the lake. The kids love all the little islands and stepping stones along the way and we stopped to see the swans and ducks. They had little chalk boards with suggestions of things to do along the way, like catching a falling leaf and rolling down a hill. I find things like this break up a walk and make it much more likely that my kids will walk further without complaint πŸ™‚

My daughter has got really interested in spotting unusual mushrooms. She found one that was like a fairytale toadstool, minus the polka dots πŸ™‚ They also love finding a huge fallen tree and using it as a balance beam. I’m always amazed at how long it keeps them happy for πŸ™‚

I’ve been to Mount Stewart a million times, but I never realised there was a rose garden. We accidentally stumbled upon it and a lot of the flowers were still in bloom. My daughter said the peach was her favourite colour and I can see why πŸ™‚

After we finished our walk around the lake, we stopped at the coffee van for ice cream and coffee. Even though it was cold, I liked sitting in front of the fancy house having our treats. It felt like a little outdoor tea party. My daughter insists it isn’t too cold for ice-cream and enjoyed hers with her fluffy hood up πŸ™‚

I got the girls a book of press-out paper dolls. It looked like there was a paper explosion in our living room but I love seeing them doing mindful activities like that πŸ™‚ It contained several dolls and outfits from every era so there wasn’t too much squabbling over them πŸ™‚

The kids got Halloween-themed Toucan boxes this month. Today, we made praxinoscopes. I had never heard of them before but basically, they make moving pictures using mirrors and slides. The pack also contained some draw-your-own slides and the girls enjoyed copying pictures of flying owls onto them. The process of drawing a range of similar images made me think they’d enjoy making a cartoon strip or a motion picture flip book with a little notebook too.

I made some shortcrust pastry today for a homemade chicken pie. I find making pastry really easy and therapeutic. I’d like to attempt puff pastry too but it sounds like a lot of work with all the butter layers πŸ™‚ As always, serving food came before remembering to take pictures πŸ™‚

It brightened up in the afternoon, so we spent some time in the garden. The girls made some meals out of soil, stones and petals in our old barbecue. We watched Mrs Doubtfire yesterday and my daughter wanted to recreate the edible flower-adorned plates in the film πŸ™‚ I had some Lady Grey tea and sat in the sunshine. I noticed that a presumed-dead tomato plant had produced tomatoes. I don’t know why everything I plant from seed seems to flower off-season πŸ™‚ There are some nasturtiums I planted from seed in Lockdown that are brightening up the garden now too. The girls pinched my gardening gloves for their outdoor cooking experiments πŸ™‚ After the initial panic of the schools closing again, I think I could quickly get used to this slower pace of life πŸ™‚

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