Daddy and Me

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I recently saw an image on Pinterest that had 21 Questions To Ask Your Kids. I love the idea of getting an honest insight into the minds of our children, so I asked Ethan and Connor the questions about Daddy. These are their unedited answers. They laughed all the way through it:

1. What is something that Daddy always says to you?

He always calls us “Cheeky Monkeys”

2. What makes Daddy happy?

When we play nicely together!

3. What makes Daddy sad?

Oooh, when Everton lose and when we play on our computer games too much

4. How does Daddy make you laugh?

By tickling us – he’s the Tickle Monster and just by being Daddy makes us laugh

5. What was Daddy like as a child?

Probably very cheeky and very funny

6. How old is Daddy?

21….no wait 180….no he’s actually 38

7. How tall is Daddy?

2 ft… I think he’s 1 metre 65, 1 metre 47… we don’t know! (He’s 6ft)

8. What is Daddy’s favourite thing to do?

Playing with us and playing on his phone (ahem!)

9. What does Daddy do when you are not around?

He does work on his computer so he can play with us more when we are here

10. If Daddy became famous, what would it be for?

Amusing people with his singing and dancing. I think he would be good at being a comedian

11. What is Daddy really good at?

Being a Daddy. Making us laugh. He’s really good at sport

12. What is Daddy not good at?

Too many to choose from! … sometimes when we ask him things he doesn’t listen. He’s not the best at cooking the meals but he’s good at doing the BBQs

13. What does Daddy do for his job?

He’s a PE teacher

14. What’s Daddy’s favourite food?

BBQs and he really likes your homemade Lasagna

15. What makes Daddy proud?

Connor – When I do as I’m told. Ethan – I think he’s proud of me for my cricket

16. If Daddy was a cartoon character, who would it be?

Definitely the funniest one… SpongeBob, no Patrick!

17. What do you and Daddy do together?

Play sports outside

18. How are you and Daddy the same?

Connor- We both have blue eyes Ethan – We both like sport

19. How are you and Daddy different?

Connor – He’s not as strong as me! Ethan – We have different eye colour

20. How do you know Daddy loves you?

When he says “I love you to the moon and back” and that he loves us 11 out of 10

21. Where is Daddy’s favourite place to go?

The Giraffe Restaurant is his favourite place to eat. He likes going for picnics. And Goodison Park Stadium where Everton play.

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I like the idea of doing something like this yearly, to see how their answers change.

Feel free to use the questions to interview your children. It’s so lovely to have a chance to get inside their minds. I never knew that they found their Daddy so funny!

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Mixed Spice Weetabix Loaf

That sounds like a recipe, I hear you say!

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That looks like some ingredients, I hear you say!

A baking post? I hear you say!

Ok, ok, it’s not often, granted, but one rainy afternoon after preschool last week we had a go at some baking.

This cake is more of a loaf cake, more dense than a sponge cake.

We love Malt Loaf in our house. The Weetabix loaf reminded me a little of this, just not as chewy!

It’s a perfect recipe for little ones to help with. Harley loved crushing up the Weetabix and mixing all the ingredients together. It’s great for using up all of the left over Weetabix at the bottom of the cereal box.

  • 300g self-raising flour
  • 225g sugar
  • 200g dried mixed fruit
  • 2 Weetabix, crushed
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 275ml milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

It’s an easy peasy recipe with not many steps (hence why I managed it!)

Add all of the dried ingredients into a large bowl.

Pour in the milk and egg and mix well.

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Pour the mixture into a greased and lined loaf tin.

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Bake at 130oC for around 75 minutes, until it is firm to touch, golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out clean.

Once cooked, turn out of the tin onto a wire rack and remove the greaseproof paper. Leave to cool.

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Cut into slices. Enjoy.

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You could add a range of other fruit, I think I’ll add cherries next time. 

Like with malt loaf, you can enjoy  a slice of this Mixed Spice Weetabix loaf with some butter.

You can even toast it.

And of course, a slice with a cup of tea is obligatory. 

Now my little boy thinks I’m a brilliant baker, shhh, don’t tell him how easy this one is!

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12 Things I hope my children never find out

Always tell the truth.

Be honest.

A very important life lesson that I want my children to grow up, standing by.

So why is that when we become parents, that motto that we teach our children, seems a teeny bit hypocritical, well, for me anyway?!

But purely only for my child’s own good or indeed, perhaps, for my own sanity!

MY TEENY TINY MUMMY SECRETS

1. I secretly eat chocolate behind the cupboard door and then give you a banana.

2. When I count to 5, I don’t really know what I’m going to do if you make me get there.

3. We lie to your face to make you eat things. You won’t instantly run faster, if you eat your chicken; yes I’ve hidden veg in the Bolognaise and no, water hasn’t got magic superman powers the minute you drink it.

4. Sometimes I skip through your bedtime story to get to the end quicker, if we have had it for the 1000th time.

5. It’s not blackcurrant in my glass.

6. If it’s been a long day, yes it really is 7pm already and most definitely not only 6.15pm.

7. When the ice cream van plays music, it’s not because it’s sold out of ice cream.

8. If you’re eating Beans on Toast it’s because I can’t be bothered to cook.

9. The local soft play isn’t really shut.

10. The nurse is not really putting brave soldiers in your arm to keep you strong, when you have your jabs.

11. I haven’t really got eyes in the back of my head and I can’t really see everything.

12. When I say ‘be good at preschool through the week and you’ll get 2 days off’, you will get those 2 days, anyway. It’s called the weekend.

I know that when you are old enough to read and tell the time, my little white lies will be void but until then, please excuse Mummy’s little fibs. They are all for your own good, or mine!!

Do you have any little fibs that you tell your children??

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I would love to be considered for nomination in the Best Writer category for the Tots100 Mum and Dad Blog Awards

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Dear Harley ~ as you start school

My gorgeous boy, 

We have just found out that you have been offered a place at our favoured school.

School.

How are you already old enough to go to school? My precious little bundle of love that was always content from the minute we brought you home from hospital? My beautiful boy. My Harley.

These 4 years have been the best of my life. I burst with pride knowing that you are mine.

You are truly beautiful inside and out.

Grandma always says how polite you are. You are so well mannered. You even thank me every day for the food I make you. I have never asked you to do that.

You enjoy the simple things. Being outside. I struggle to keep up with you. But I always will be, right by your side.

I remember the first time you said those words, totally unprompted, “I love you, Mummy.”

I cried.

My heart couldn’t have felt more full.

And now, I feel like ‘our’ time is running out. These early years are just not long enough. By any stretch.

I don’t doubt for a minute that you are ready for school. You are excited. I know that. I know that you are looking forward to riding your scooter to school. I know how excited you are to do P.E and how you want us to go and buy your little green uniform, right now!

I don’t doubt for a minute that you will grow up even more between now and September. And then you will be 5. You will be one of the eldest so I hope you will look out for your younger peers.

You won’t know anybody to start with. This was a decision that Mummy and Daddy thought long and hard about. Whether to separate you from your preschool friends? We don’t doubt that your happy, sunny nature will allow you to make new friends very easily. We are sure your social group will grow and you will have lots of friends.

I often find my mind drifting to the future. Kissing you goodbye as I see your little legs running off to find your friends in the playground. Waiting at the school gate, watching you walk towards me with your rosy cheeks, shirt untucked and grass stains on your trousers. You carrying your little lunchbox and book bag.

So my advice and hopes for when you start school:

Always be kind ~ show your friends and even those that aren’t, the caring side that we see everyday with your brothers and sister.

Share your belongings and your time ~ like when all you want to do is play with your Lego and you put your half built spaceship to one side so that you can play ‘Row, row, row your boat’ with Lola.

Be brave ~ don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s ok to fail and make mistakes. This will only make you learn better.

Be bold ~ use your voice; speak out; ask for help; join in and take part.

Never say you’re bored ~ only boring people say they are bored. Look forward to playtime if you need to. But enjoy each day.

Just do your best ~ it will always be enough.

Dream big ~ just like I do, for you. You can achieve anything.  And I know that you will.

I love you, Harley. I’m beyond proud of you.

Love Mummy

xxx

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A Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt

Now that I’m a blogger, I often do things or visit places, that immediately make me want to blog about them, if I think my readers will be interested.

I simply had to share the egg hunt that my sister set up for us last weekend.

A glow in the dark egg hunt, no less.

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It was pretty spectacular and the kids adored it.

All you need are some plastic eggs, glow sticks, baskets and treats.

You need to make sure that you time it right as it takes a little while to prepare the eggs and of course, it needs to be dark!

Simply snap and shake a glow stick to get it glowing and twist it or wrap it around itself so that it fits inside the plastic egg. Depending on the size of the plastic eggs that you have, you could always keep the glow stick together with an elastic band.

Then place a treat inside the egg. We used small chocolate treats and marshmallows.

Make sure that the glow sticks colour coordinate with the colour of the egg.

We also had matching coloured plastic baskets so each child knew which coloured eggs they were hunting for. If you have any glow sticks left over, we threaded them through the holes in the baskets so that the baskets glowed up too.

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It was a gorgeous sight in the garden, to see the coloured eggs, glowing brightly, hidden among the plants, in the bushes, in the rockery and there was even a large bonus egg, hidden in the playhouse that they were all trying to find!

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and afterwards, the kids enjoyed wearing the glow sticks

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and we even had some sparklers

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and the grown ups enjoyed toasting marshmallows on the fire pit

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Such a brilliant idea and a lovely twist on the traditional Easter egg hunt.

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Easter Sun Fun

Happy Holidays, everyone.

For some, I hope you have had a lovely two weeks, for others, enjoy one more week of the Easter hols. For us, it’s a weird one. My 2 step sons are staying with us for a week, however Ethan is back to school on Monday but Connor still has another week off. Despite the schools only being a 10 minute drive from each other, the different school holiday dates have made it a bit tricky for us, this year. Nevertheless we have tried to cram in as much as possible, to make the time off, one to cherish.

And hasn’t this week’s weather been stunning. T-shirts, sunglasses, suncream, washing on the line, and oh how pleased my feet were to see some flipflops. It’s been truly glorious.

Here is the first week of our holiday, with just some of my favourite pictures:

We were really fortunate to be given a chalet at Pontins for a few nights. You can imagine, Harley was in his absolute element; staying away from home, staying up late at the Disco! There were so many activities for him to do. He tried skateboarding down full size ramps and up jumps, for the first time and loved it:

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He beat me at the Crazy Golf; we all went swimming (such a lovely, warm pool, perfect for Lola) and went on the Go Karts but I think Daddy secretly had the most fun!

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It was so lovely to spend some time together, just doing things for the kids. And the best bit, it didn’t cost us a penny but Harley will remember it forever. And you know what, so will I.

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We have also enjoyed the stunning weather, down the beach. We are spoilt for choice with our beautiful beaches here but as always, it confirms why we live here.

I love this photo of them together:

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and this one, mid fall!

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We also spent a lovely day at Moors Valley Country Park. It’s such a brilliant place for the whole family. The boys love doing the Adventure Trail walk, which is perfect as it encourages them to have a long walk through the forest, whilst stopping off at various play zones and wooden climbing frames. Ethan is 11 and Harley is 4, there’s not many places that we can go where all of the boys have so much fun, but this is one of them.

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We had a picnic on the wooden toadstools and yes, I too question what I was thinking letting Harley go out in white shorts!

But I do secretly love seeing grubby hands and muddy knees … it’s a sign of innocent childhood fun, in my mind.

Here’s to another week of fun, next week. Let’s hope the sun continues to shine.

I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to.

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Harley’s Garden Bucket List

We have lived in our house for 4 years now. Having done lots to it, we’ve really made it our own.

I love our home.

It’s so versatile that it’s enabled us to grow into it and to move space around as and when we have needed it.

The garage was converted into a proper room when we moved in. We made it into a playroom for a few years but we noticed that the children weren’t really using it in the winter as it is not attached to the house, so got pretty cold. So now, it houses some gym equipment and has an office area. Our conservatory is now the playroom and it’s lovely to see it in constant use. It’s wonderful to be able to shut the door and close the curtains at night to hide all of the toys. And we get to keep our lounge space free from Lego, dolls, footballs and jigsaw pieces!

But there is still one space that has been somewhat neglected; one space that gets more use than any room in the house but it’s the one space that we’ve done nothing to.

The garden.

As Spring has most definitely sprung, we thought we would grasp the opportunity to make a start on our garden makeover.

It’s early days but we’ve started by removing the wooden bar area that houses our BBQ. It meant that we could pull up some of the paving slabs to create more lawn space. Harley has thoroughly enjoyed helping to ‘smash’ up the slabs, complete with safety specs!

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Even though part of the garden is given over to our outdoor conservatory furniture, it’s really important to us that we create a family outdoor space. A space that’s used. A space that’s played in. A space that’s an extension of our home.

So I asked Harley what would be in his ideal garden:

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His somewhat humble list fortunately contains a few of the things we have already. Our waterslide comes out in the Summer and the boys love it. Having races against each other.

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Their love of football means we always have a football goal set up, ready to receive some shots.

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We have kindly been given a trampoline from a family member whose son has outgrown it. Harley will soon be copying his older step brother’s tricks so we can tick that one off the list, also:

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We are big fans of Tesco direct and a browse through their Swings, Slides and Seesaws could make the rest of Harley’s Garden Bucket List an affordable reality.

As our garden is not overly big, I would love a unit that is compact enough to hold a few different play stations. I recommend Plum Tamarin Wooden Playcentre:

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We are all for encouraging agile and active play.

I love this Little Tikes Buckingham Climb ‘n Slide Swing Set with its feature swings and climbing tower, if we had a little more space.

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And for Lola, we have bought her the Little Tikes My First Slide from Tesco. A bargain at only £23.99. It arrived in 2 days and can be folded away when not in use:

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She can’t quite manage the steps on her own yet but she can grow into it.

I know Harley’s desire for a playhouse is thanks to his cousins who have just built this one in their back garden, isn’t it gorgeous:

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So I don’t think we are too far off our kid’s dream garden. And for the parts we don’t yet have. I know just where to go.

Pop back in a few weeks time to see how our garden makeover is going.

Disclaimer: This post is written for Tesco.

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Easter Treat Bags

Every single year, we always have lots of left over chocolate, for months after Easter (unless it’s Cadburys then it doesn’t last long in our house!)

So this year I wanted to make Harley and Lola some Easter Treat Bags, to add a bit of variety. There are some lovely children’s Easter gifts in the shops at the moment and I certainly didn’t spend a fourtune. In fact a lot of the items in their Treat Bags are from Home Bargains (my favourite bargain shop of the moment!) I’m not that mean though, they will still have a chocolate egg or two in their bags!

Harley’s Easter Bag

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DVD, book, cuddly chick puppet, egg shell with marshmallows, paint your own eggcup, Happy Easter biscuit, Easter mug, chocolate eggs, mini eggs and I couldn’t resist this Jelly Bean carrot:

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Lola’s Easter Bag

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Cuddly bunny puppet, book, chocolate Smartie animals, Easter chick biscuit, Weebles, a wind up chick, chocolate egg, egg shell with marshmallows and I adore these cute little Easter dungarees:

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Nothing in the bags cost over £2 (apart from the dungarees from Matalan, £8)

My little Easter bunnies are 4 and 1 but I’ve seen lots of lovely Easter bits for slightly older children if you are looking at doing something similar.

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I can’t wait to give them to them.

Do you give your children Easter treats or do you stick to Easter Eggs?

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Bike ride with a difference

 A few days ago, Harley saw a video of some boys on their bikes, doing stunts in a skate park. When I heard the inevitable “I want to do that, Mummy” I almost laughed it off.
But there was a huge part of me that didn’t want to suppress his desire to try something new; to draw on his confidence and sheer love of being on his bike.
We have a lovely new park nearby so we took a trip down, mid-week when we knew it would be quiet.
Well, I can only say that I was in awe of his determination and self belief.
I love this action shot of his bike mid-flight.
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At only 4, I don’t quite know how he has the strength in his little legs to drive himself up the steep slopes or shift his balance to accommodate the sloped angles. Thankfully his skills, matched his confidence and he loved every minute.
The first 10 minutes or so, he was getting to grips with the hills and speed at which he needed to approach the curved sides of the park. After that, he was in his element.
And you know the funny thing… I didn’t feel any nerves or apprehension at all.
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I managed to catch a little video of him.
He’s watched it over and over and already has set his sights on new things to try, next time!
He’s such a brilliant example of how stepping outside your comfort zone, will lead to progress and creativity. I think I need to take a leaf out of his book.
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What’s in a drawing?

Regular readers will know that Harley is more of an outdoors boys, preferring to be with a football or on his bike, than with a pen or glue stick in hand, being arts and crafty.

However, I have noticed more recently that he is independently, grabbing the box of crayons and paper to do some drawings.

I love keeping his ‘scribbles’ and have enjoyed seeing the scribbles turn into recognisable drawings.

This was his latest picture.

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I simply had to share it. The round knee caps make me chuckle.

It’s so funny how the world and it’s people are interpreted by our little people.

All parents know the personality traits of their children but there is a small part of me that is fascinated by the meaning behind children’s drawings. I’m pretty sure you can’t read too much into it, but I did like these facts, when Googling it, relating to Harley’s picture:

Choosing to draw in a Yellow/Orange colour, demonstrates intelligence and a sunny nature.

A child who places a drawing of a good size, prominently on the page is considered to be well-balanced and secure.

I would love to know what the little round knee caps, seemingly not attached to the legs, says about him. And also the straight line that Harley says, shows the forehead. Hmm, Daddy has lines on his forehead, so I’m going for that one!

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