Shadow Puppets, Blossom Bouquets & Sunflower Seeds

This week we made some plate-sized wholemeal pancakes and had some fresh fruit (and strong coffee for me. Afterwards, we read together in the living room. The girls had put the recliners up for themselves and spent time poring over art books about colour and craft projects for kids. We went onto the library website to look at their free ebooks and magazines. They have lots of children’s books available online if you sign into your account. You can set one up if you don’t already have one using the long number on your library card.

Afterwards, the girls insisted on wearing similar outfits to me (God help them :)) We went on our morning walk and they requested another trip to the cherry blossom. We have now assigned names to our walks and they always want to do the blossom walk 🙂 They gathered flowers and petals to make mini bouquets and put them in water as table displays for dinner time when we got home. I have a feeling they might be interested in flower arranging in the future 🙂

The girls’ Toucan craft boxes arrived in the post, so we did their shadow puppet theatre projects. They had to make puppets on lolly sticks and paint the stage curtains, adding greaseproof paper as a cover for the puppets to produce shadows on. We set them up in the living room. Since I don’t buy practical items like torches, we improvised with lamps and the girls did a very shortlived puppet show 🙂

My neighbour gave the girls some wildflower beebombs. The girls loved raking the soil and scattering them, and I’m hopeful we’ll keep them alive and that our garden will be filled with beautiful wildflowers soon 🙂

Since it was such a nice evening, I made hotdogs on the barbecue and we ate outside. The girls made sure to put one of their flower displays on the outdoor table 🙂 Eating in the sunshine definitely makes me feel freer at the moment. You could almost imagine you’re on holiday 🙂

I decided to do a bit of a clear-out in our kitchen. I love the fact that when you clear out drawers and cupboards, you discover things you had forgotten you had. The girls found some sticker books and a felt board to play with, and I discovered a stash of wax melts and candles I didn’t know I had! I lit the Causeway Coast wax melt and it is the most relaxing scent I have ever breathed 🙂 I find sorting cupboards out really cathartic. It’s good to get rid of some clutter and feel like everything is somewhat orderly for a few days. (Until I start lazily throwing things into cupboards without looking again :))

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We had a couple of kids’ cupcake kits, so we made some chocolate Aladdin ones and some muddy puddle Peppa ones to keep everyone happy 🙂 I always used to think the cupcake kits were pointless because they contain so little mix and it’s almost as easy to just make them from scratch, but I’ve realised they allow kids to skip ahead to the parts of baking they enjoy, ie the icing, decorating and spoon-licking.

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I rearranged the girls’ room a little and I put some decorative kids’ pegs on jewellery wire to make a little washing line for their artwork. I think my daughter thought it was for their dolls’ clothes 🙂 I also found my crepe spreader that my mum got me from France, so I’ll have to make some crepes soon 🙂

We found a new street with blossom aplenty 🙂 The girls have named it the “dead end” walk, for obvious reasons. But it seems to have the best supply of intact blossom flowers. The girls brought a bag to collect some in and made some more little floral posies. I’ll probably be finding wilted flowers all over the house for ages, but it keeps the girls happy 🙂

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When we got home, my daughter had to practise writing her spellings in flour, so after she had finished, my younger daughter converted it into a beach for her LOL dolls 🙂 It kept her busy while we got some schoolwork done 🙂

My friend kindly left a surprise on our doorstep: a gardening kit for the girls. Today, we planted the sunflowers and butterfly seeds. The girls loved having their own plant projects 🙂 I’ve never grown sunflowers before, but they are my favourite flowers, so I’ll be happy when they appear 🙂

As if we didn’t have enough baked treats in the house already, I made my daughter’s favourite coconut cake today. It’s a recipe I found in Dining on a Dime Cook Book and it never fails. It produces two cakes, and I always think it will be a challenge to use it all up, but it always quickly disappears 🙂

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We made a little bird feeder from the girls’ Toucan boxes. You just had to glue layers of lolly sticks to make a little box, with a stick for the bird to perch on. Pipe cleaners were added as handles and we put it on the hedges outside. I’m hoping it attracts more birds to the garden. Our robin hasn’t visited in a few days as I haven’t put out more of his peanut butter food yet, so I might have to make some tomorrow for him 🙂

 

 

 

 

An Unplanned Easter

It seems that Easter has become as commercial as every other seasonal celebration, and apart from Easter eggs, I was, apparently, ill-prepared for it. But sometimes I prefer to leave things until the last minute to see what ideas I come up with on the spot. I put Easter eggs in the girls’ bedroom when they were asleep last night and then printed off a simple rhyming egg hunt 🙂 I was low on chocolate, so I used the last of our mini eggs for the hunt, finishing with a surprise Easter egg each in the fridge at the end. They really enjoyed the egg hunt and I found that the fact it was to the point held their attention better than more elaborate ones I’ve tried with them. I didn’t have anything resembling an Easter basket, so I printed off some Easter egg and bunny colouring sheets and put them in a box for the girls to open with craft supplies and some sweets.

After the girls had eaten far too much chocolate, I tried to calm things down with some hard-boiled egg painting. They painted patterns on their eggs and we used them as part of our Easter table display. I might make some sort of pretend hill in our garden for them to roll them down tomorrow 🙂

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I noticed our robin visitor had eaten all of the bird food we made him, so we made some really simple bird feeders. We just used toilet roll tubes, spread peanut butter on them and rolled them in a baking tray filled with bird seed to coat them. You don’t even need string to hang them up; you can just hook them onto a branch 🙂 I saw the robin eating some of them today and I was glad the fact they were refashioned out of a holder for toilet roll didn’t make them unappetising to him 🙂

I have started trying to make some sourdough starter. I looked up how to make it in a quiet moment last night and was surprised how few ingredients it requires – just lots of patience and attentiveness. I started one with wholewheat flour and water as an experiment, so I will try to remember to feed it tonight 🙂

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The girls were worn out after crafting and playing in the garden, so they sat down to colour their Easter colouring sheets and listened to the Little Baby Bum Easter album (my younger daughter’s music of choice.)

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We also started to put together a memory box for the girls. They decorated an old shoe box with sequins and wrote their names on the outside of it. They are going to add pictures of their favourite memories to it, as well as little souvenirs of our time spent together. One toy has been added to the box, but I’m wondering if it will permanently reside there or if it will be missed by tomorrow.

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Our day was busy with lots of short-lived craft projects, so I allowed earlier TV time than usual and we all got a chance to sit down and gather our thoughts (I’m talking about me.)

I decided to make a celebratory Easter dinner, since my girls love any excuse for a party. I laid the table with wine glasses, napkins and candles. I put oranges on the girls’ glasses to make their water a bit more exciting 🙂 I made roasted chicken with homemade stuffing, roast potatoes and honey sweet potato/carrot. For dessert, I made apple crumble and custard. The girls refused to eat my stuffing and apple crumble, but at least they expressed appreciation for my table decorating skills and the pin the tail on the bunny game I produced at the end 🙂

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Sunshine Smoothies, Feeding Robins and Cardboard Pets

We started the day yesterday with sunshine smoothies, and the sun joined us in the background. One thing that has helped with the self isolation is the accompaniment of the sun 🙂 Even if you can only enjoy it in your garden, or with the light bouncing off the windows, or warming a room, it is more cheerful than looking out at a grey day 🙂 The girls are obsessed with smoothies, and they’re a good way to get vitamins into their systems without complaints 🙂 I just used some frozen mango and papaya we had in the freezer but you could use pineapple too, and combined it with orange juice and honey in the blender.

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We absorbed some of the sun in the garden and I brought my coffee and reading material outside 🙂 Even though it is a challenge to make it through a sentence on paper without interruption, I’m enjoying using the little table and chairs in our back garden. It is positioned next to some plants that are budding and it’s a restful spot to sit in. I’m looking forward to sitting out there when the kids are in bed and the nights are a bit longer. But for now, I’m grateful to have somewhere to enjoy my coffee surrounded by nature, even if we are confined to a smallish yard 🙂

I planted some hyacinth bulbs a while ago and I was surprised to see they are flowering and looking healthy so far 🙂 I decided to make some bird food to attract the birds back to our garden. I checked online to make sure we weren’t giving them anything they couldn’t eat. Every time I have made bird feed like this, the birds devour it in a couple of days. Meanwhile, they seem to be neglecting the seeds in the proper bird feeder next to it 🙂 I found this online for anyone that wants to try making some.

The girls helped me to make it. We combined oats, rice krispies, raisins, peanut butter, a little oil and some grapes. I read somewhere that birds love grapes, and couldn’t imagine them eating them, but they do 🙂 Today, we noticed a robin had been spending a lot of time in our garden and was eating it 🙂 I always wonder how birds find out there is new food in a garden. Are they always watching to see? Do they tell each other?

After making our bird seed, we stuck our egg carton daffodils together 🙂 The girls were much less interested in assembling them than they were in painting them yellow 🙂

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We made some chocolate rice krispie buns, and the girls enjoyed taking charge of making them and eating them 🙂

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Afterwards, I opened one of the Toucan Boxes we got. It had a bunny racecar to make, but as always my mechanical skills let me down 🙂 We managed to make the bunny and today we improvised and made a car out of an empty teabox. The pack also contained an Easter bunting kit and a bunny hairband kit. Both crafts were much easier and we completed them. The pack contained white crayons and watercolours for magic painting, which the girls enjoyed doing. There was also a magazine for kids with suggested projects and sticker activities in it.

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After the kids were in bed last night, I tried making my first homemade tortillas. I find cooking really soothing, particularly when no one is howling at my feet 🙂 It was therapeutic making the dough. It doesn’t contain any yeast, so you don’t have to worry about kneading, etc. I was happy with how they turned out. They were a bit misshapen but tasted fresher than ones I would have bought in the shop.

This morning, I decided to put our Easter tree up 🙂 I love the way it brightens up the kitchen. I was surprised it still had some life left in it, as we’ve had it for a few years now. The girls were happy to see it make a reappearance.

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My daughter had been given a task by her school, to make a junk model pet. She decided on a parrot and I helped her assemble and tape it together. She added feathers and made a beak shape out of a pipe cleaner. We strung it up with balloon ribbon and it is currently suspended from our kitchen door handle, blessing us with its beauty 😀

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My other daughter decided to make a five-eyed hamster out of an egg carton. I’m glad I’ve saved up so many cardboard boxes now. At times, my craft hoarding can be a nuisance, but during this period of staying at home, it has become a gift 🙂 Our kitchen table permanently looks like this at the moment, but I just try to remember that saying about excusing the mess because the kids are busy making memories 🙂

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