Watercolours, Mini Beaches & Bubbles

Yesterday, it hit me just how much bread is consumed in our house 🙂 I had made several kinds of breads over the last week, and with my kids in the house all the time, it disappears overnight 🙂 So, I began my day with coffee and bread dough-prepping. I enjoy the slow process of making bread by hand and I find the kneading cathartic. It’s satisfying, seeing the end product that has spent most of the day rising on your kitchen counter, and the smell of bread baking makes any house more homely.

After some time in the sunshine, we watched a video about watercolours. It was as much for me as the girls 🙂 I like the idea of starting a new project – mind you, I have no idea when I’d slot it in between snack-serving, washing dishes and writing 🙂 It was a live session on Facebook and the lady showed different techniques 🙂 I enjoyed sitting at the table with the girls with all of us trying them out together. Usually I don’t sit down and paint too – I’m just the distributer and the cleaner 🙂 But it was nice to sit and play with paint with them at a leisurely pace.

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We made a sensory beach out of an old sweets tub. We didn’t have any sand, so I made some cloud dough using flour and oil. I tried adding some yellow food colouring to make it look more sand-like, but it clumped a little, so I’d suggest leaving it out 🙂 The girls enjoyed filling the beach with shells we had collected on trips to the beach ages ago. We added some plastic spoons and cups to use as buckets and spades. The girls wanted to make a rockpool too, so we filled a separate tub with water and shells. My daughter added a “boat” – a tiny twig wrapped in tape. The LOL babies were chosen as the pool paddlers 🙂 It was later converted into an ice cream shop and the sand was dispersed all over the garden, so the miniature beach is no more 🙂

When our bread was cooked, my kids descended on it like vultures 🙂 I’m at a loss as to how to keep up with the requests for snacks and keep the cupboard stocked :/

For dinner, I improvised with some leftover chicken and made a white sauce. I wrapped it in pastry to make little chicken pies. It seems to be one of the few meals my kids eat without complaint, especially when served with chips 🙂

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This morning, I filled the girls’ water table with warm, bubbly water and it kept them entertained a lot longer than usual 🙂 They were making pretend snow by throwing it around, and the good thing about bubbles is their ability to dissolve into nothing, so no clean-up was involved.

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My friend had shared a post about Easter painting with pegs and pom poms (thanks Kirsty!) so I tried it with the girls. It was really easy – we just lifted the pom poms with a peg and dipped it in poster paints. We started off with using it to print with, and the girls ended up using it as a giant paintbrush instead. I just drew a few outlines for them to print within – an Easter egg, bunny and chick.

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We spent a lot of time in the garden and my neighbour kindly gave me some honeysuckle as a lovely present 🙂

I also spent an hour cutting circles out of a cereal box to use as a building game for the girls. I just drew around an egg cup, cut the shapes out, cut four slots into each piece, and then you can slot them together to try and build mini structures. I found it quite hard to do, but they proved useful during a tired moment with the girls. It gave them something to play with they watched a Julia Donaldson story time video 🙂

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Since I’m in the mood to bake, I made some more tortillas, as I plan to use them at dinner time for chicken fajitas. We are quickly running out of flour and I’m going to have to get inventive with recipes over the next few days. One thing you can do in a moment’s boredom is to take inventory of what you already have in the house and figure out what recipes can be made out of them. You can use the supercook app if you’re running out of ideas 🙂

Now, I’m allowing TV and snack time while I get some tranquility in the garden to write, drink a homemade latte, eat orange cake and remain hopeful that the questions will relent until dinner time 🙂

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Gentler Days

I name this post gentler days because of the slower pace of life we have all been forced to take. I’m finding sticking to a schedule, albeit a looser one, is helping us to pass the days, and even enjoy the unique gifts they bring with them

Yesterday, we started the day with some exercise and outdoor time to increase the chances of my children sitting still for schoolwork 🙂 We did some of the girls’ yoga for kids and had a dance party to my  records in the living room 🙂 They played outside on their bikes for a while so I could sit at the garden table with a cup of coffee and gather my thoughts 🙂 With the onslaught of questions, it doesn’t really work, but I still try 🙂 The girls practised skipping and played with their bubble guns and I noticed that our tulips are close to coming out to cheer up our garden 🙂

My older daughter practised her spellings for the week by making the letters with play dough. It turned into a play dough session with my other daughter making me “pancakes” with various toppings 🙂 My older daughter had a reading activity about a kangaroo, so we ended up making play dough kangaroo families 🙂 I find that interspersing schoolwork with play related to it in some way increases their concentration. I like the fact my daughter made hats for the kangaroos too 🙂 We visited the national geographic website for kids and read some facts about kangaroos. I didn’t know that the baby ones are the size of a grape and that they can jump 9 metres. The girls tried to recreate that in our hallway 🙂

My friend had sent us a scavenger hunt you can complete with kids around the house. They enjoyed racing off to find the essential objects and proudly showing me what creative choices they’d come up with 🙂

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We made some more flatbreads for lunch and the girls helped me with the mixing. I think I’ve discovered my new addiction and probably won’t buy flatbreads from the shop again 🙂 I made what the girls called “snacky lunch“, where I set finger food out and they help themselves. I dug out some miniature cups I have that I’d forgotten for the girls to use. They liked having their own little tea cups and it felt like a tea party 🙂

Today, we started the day with outside time in the garden again, as well as dancing and kids’ yoga. We filled up a bird feeder to try and attract more birds to our garden. I’ve noticed a robin and some blackbirds making frequent visits the last few days, and the girls show an interest in them too.

One of my daughter’s school activities was to write a book review of her favourite book, so I adapted it to include both of them. They each chose their favourite book and we read them together. While my older daughter made a summary and answered questions about it, my younger one drew a picture of hers from the cover. They had to rate the book out of five stars so I got my younger one to draw her stars and colour them in 🙂

Afterwards, we watched a Maddie Moate recorded live show about birds. There was a quiz and a craft project for making your own bird feeder. The girls seemed genuinely interested in guessing birds by their song and spotting birds in our garden.

For lunch, I decided to try a new recipe to use up wilting lettuce we had, so I made a soup with potato, onion, garlic and lettuce in it. I blended it before the girls got a chance to look at it and was surprised they actually ate it and said they liked it. (They still don’t know there was lettuce in it.) It tasted like leek and potato soup, but a little thinner. I’m trying to grow more lettuce from the lettuce ends that were left. I’ve put them in a bowl of water to see if they grow back. I’d seen people doing that with root veg too and was interested to see if it’d work for us. I’m grateful for the fact this last week has made me more aware of food and waste and unnecessary trips to the shop. I always liked cooking from scratch and baking, but it’s made me more inventive in using everything up.

My younger daughter’s preschool had suggested some activities for home, so we decided to try one today. We made a sensory garden/farm. I used an old tub and the girls enjoyed scrunching Weetabix into it to make pretend soil. The instructions said you could use any crushed cereal or soil. We made a tin foil “pond” and then I gave the girls empty plant pots and we went on a “school trip” into the garden to collect leaves, stones, twigs and anything else the girls found for the garden.

The girls came up with their own way of decorating the garden. They put stones as rocks around the pond, leaves, twigs planted as trees, a couple of flowers, and some weeds hanging over the side as “ivy.” When they’d finished, they added toy animals to it. I think it’ll provide hours of entertainment if I can manage to dissuade my daughter from eating the Weetabix soil 🙂 There are aspects of life that are difficult at the moment, but I’m glad of the extra time it has given me with the girls and the projects we wouldn’t have had time to do otherwise.