Baked Treats, Snail Homes & Coffee Cravings

Today, we had a major baking day. By major, I mean that I used every dish in the house to bake two things ๐Ÿ™‚ I spent a lot of the day washing dishes afterwards, but what’s new ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve been listening to Nina Simone a lot and spending lots of time cooking. Yesterday, I made us some bread, which is already half eaten ๐Ÿ˜€ I tried a new recipe today for what were called Fat Rascals. I found them in a magazine and they are similar to scones, filled with dried fruit, lemon and orange zest. The girls helped me to make them, and I’m always happy to having willing volunteers to grease the tray ๐Ÿ™‚ I also made some allspice biscuits again since one of my daughters really enjoyed them last time.

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After lunchtime, I took a tray with our baked treats and some tea out to the garden and we had a little tea party. It was grey but humid and it was nice to get a chance to sit outside again. I attempted to read a book, but that quickly turned into me building a den for the girls, amongst other things ๐Ÿ™‚

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The girls spotted a snail and decided to temporarily adopt it. We read about what snails like to eat and where they can live and made it it’s own little habitat in an empty chocolates tub ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls watched its movements for a long time and tried to encourage it to eat some seeds and a grape (apparently they like these.) It didn’t seem to be bothered by them and spent most of the afternoon travelling in and out of its new house. Sometimes having kids makes me become interested in things I’ve never given any thought before. I think that was the first time I googled “what fruit do snails eat?”We learned that they can’t have pools of water because they can drown and they don’t like to be in direct sunlight. Eventually I removed the tub so it could be left in peace ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I’ve been experimenting with making my own lattes with different sweeteners since running out of coffee syrup. I tried maple syrup yesterday, which didn’t seem to work well, as it made it separate. Today, I tried honey and cinnamon on top and it worked surprisingly well ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tempted to order coffee to the door, but when I checked how much it was I had second thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚ Lockdown mightn’t have broken my coffee addiction, but at least I’m finding cheaper ways to feed it now ๐Ÿ™‚

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For anyone that is interested, The Funky Thrifter book is available on Amazon now. It is a collection of blog posts from this year to give people something peaceful to flip through during these weird times ๐Ÿ™‚

Buttercups, Homemade Paint & Clay Creations

This morning, I took the girls for a walk on the Greenway. I’ve decided I prefer going for walks on gloomier days because the pathway is less crowded and the walk less stressful ๐Ÿ™‚ The girls took their time, blowing dandelion clocks, working out if we liked butter by holding buttercups to our chins and stopping to admire new additions to the rainbow displays ๐Ÿ™‚ There was a carpet of forget me nots which were hard to capture properly on camera. We talked a lot about nature and the environment. I find that my daughter seems to show more interest in her schoolwork when we do it in a practical way, rather than sitting down at the table writing.

The girls helped me with chores today and really seemed to enjoy themselves. I’m going to recruit them to help out more often because it cut my cleaning time in half ๐Ÿ™‚ One washed the dishes and the other mopped, both to a surprisingly high standard. I think it’s good to give them a chance to learn skills and have pride in their work too.

Afterwards, I made us some more tea and honey and we made some homemade paint. I’d never made it before and it was a bit of an experiment. I just mixed 3/4 cup of flour with 1 1/2 cups of almost boiled water. I whisked it a lot to try to stop lumps forming. They still did and I think next time I might try adding the water more gradually. But it still worked out ๐Ÿ™‚ It comes out like a ready brek consistency. I divided it up and the girls helped me to mix it with food colouring. They used them as finger paints. I like the way one of them is so careful she uses a different finger for each paint colour while the other grabs as much as she can and spreads it on the page ๐Ÿ™‚ I think this is another art project that is more about the process than the end result. I’m going to try letting a couple of the pictures dry overnight, but I have a feeling it’s more for the sensory experience than to have something to frame at the end ๐Ÿ™‚

My daughter has been doing the Jumping Clay tutorials on Youtube. I got her some more air drying clay and she is really focused on it, making sure she has every detail right. My younger daughter joined in today and they made cherry pies, whales and bubble birds (whatever they are!) I think she’s going to be going through a box of the clay a week, but I’m glad there is something she enjoys in school that she can still do at home ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m going to have to build an extension to contain all their creations though ๐Ÿ™‚

The weather was brighter and windy this evening, so I hung out clothes on the line. The girls built a new den, using their tuff tray as a roof, set on two chairs. They made themselves little beds and their baby a cot out of a crate ๐Ÿ™‚ Sometimes it can be ill-timed when they decide to drag everything out of the cupboards, but I’m glad they have learnt how to make games out of nothing and how to find substitutes for toys they don’t have ๐Ÿ™‚

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Simple Activities With Kids: Mint Tea and Popping Bubbles

Simple Days with Kids: Mint Tea and Bubble Popping

We have spent a lot of time indoors this week and Iโ€™ve been working to combat cabin fever. I think I need a directed activity as much as the girls do. We decided to have mint tea, using fresh mint from our garden (or what was left of it after the snails made their happy way through my greenery.)

My daughter enjoyed helping to identify which herb was mint, picking it and smelling it. She even excitedly ran to get her sister to smell it. It always makes me happy seeing them getting inspired by something simple. We put it in a teapot and let it steep while my daughter prepared the snacks: Cadburyโ€™s fingers and buns made by my talented baker-friend. My daughter loved assembling it all on a tray and bringing it to her sick sister. We put a picnic blanket on the living room floor, since she was a little too tender for a real picnic. We listened to Franรงaise Hardy and my kids showed their first interest in vinyl. (Unfortunately this means Iโ€™ll have to keep a close eye on my stylus now.)

We made extra soapy bubble solution and blew bubbles that stayed put until youโ€™d popped all of them. My kids really enjoyed the simplicity of what we did and it went down better than any more complicated activity weโ€™ve done lately.

Ways to entertain kids in the garden

Cheap Ways To Entertain Kids In The Garden

Iโ€™ve only recently acquired a garden. It is small but is saving my sanity, even in cold weather. Here are a few easy ways to keep kids occupied in your garden, even if you only have a small patch.

Make your kids their own plot

You can save a small space with soil and no plants just for your kids to dig and play in. If you donโ€™t have a flowerbed, fill a large pot with soil and get them some kidsโ€™ gardening tools/spoons/measuring cups.

Second-hand Scooters

I got my kids some second-hand scooters and a bike on Gumtree, which even included free delivery and no assembly for me (thank God.) Even in a confined space they like to have mini races and scoot in circles.

Mini Mud Kitchen

I gave my kids an old tea set they werenโ€™t using indoors and they love using water to make tea and soil from their little patch for mud pies. A kitchen isnโ€™t even required ๐Ÿ™‚

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Plant Flowers and Let Them Water Them

My kids love helping to tuck plant roots into a flowerbed. Kids like a little bit of responsibility too, especially if it involves pouring water. Let them use a watering can to care for their plants.

Teddy Bearsโ€™ Picnic

Make a picnic and have it on a rug in the garden. Get your kids to help you make sandwiches and invite โ€œguestsโ€ along (teddies.)

Child Labour

Get your kids involved in weeding your garden and brushing up leaves. They tackle it with much more enthusiasm than adults and love being helpful. Just watch they donโ€™t uproot any of your precious plants in the process ๐Ÿ™‚

Washing Line Play Tent

Hang up your sheets outside and they can double up as entertainment for your kids. Let them make a little house under them and bring toys inside. (Keep the water and mud pies at a distance though!)

Cooking with Chives

My sister and I used to spend hours doing this. If you have any herbs in your garden, let your kids use them in โ€œrecipesโ€ in a toy pot. You can be the โ€œcustomerโ€ while you drink your real tea and read your book ๐Ÿ™‚

Bug Hotel

My kids and I made one of these this week at a National Trust property. You just use an empty plastic container with open ends (or cardboard held together with string) and fill it with twigs, moss, pine cones or any natural materials you can find. Set it in a flower bed or hang it on your fence to attract bugs.

What do your kids like to do in the garden?

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