Sunday, 30 December 2012

Card Collection 2013

 A lot of my friends like Owls and they seem to be on trend at the moment.

I foresee a lot of 'boy' cards being required this year and MJ was able to help me with these.

I love Russian Dolls so being inspired by them I thought I could make a cute card.

This year I made a little collection of cards in January in the hope it would help me be more efficient throughout the year. It really worked and I drastically reduced the number of last minute scrambles to make a card or nip to the card shop. So yesterday I spent most of the day while crafting with MJ, watching a film, waiting for M to serve dinner making the new years range of cards. I made 10 of each as I didn't make quite enough for this year!

Friday, 28 December 2012

London with little ones #5 Museum of Childhood

Inspired by one of Lj's favourite bedtime stories, 'Maisy goes to the Museum' we went to the Museum of Childhood, London today. I knew it was a good place for kids but I hadn't remembered it to be as great as it was today. Perhaps my children are at the right stages to enjoy it.

We caught the train to Liverpool Street and the No. 8 bus from Bishopsgate to Bethnal Green. Now that MJ is 5 he can no longer travel for free and I did question whether it was worth making the trip when I was purchasing our ticket. Knowing I had a packed lunch in my bag and the entry to the museum is free we bought our ticket and boarded the train.

 This photo was not taken the weather was grey and wet!

After a quick coffee and snack (actually we ate most of our lunch!) we got down to some serious play.

 Lj spent a long time on this touch screen computer, selecting toys and watching how they work. Clearly it was intuitive as I didn't have to help her at all.

MJ spent a long time watching the Hornby trains moving round the large track.

There were so many interactive things for the children to play with. Dressing up as a fireman and playing on the fire engine, dressing up as a Victorian Cook and making dinner in the kitchen, sensory play, a puppet theatre, dolls houses of all shapes and sizes, Duplo, they even got socks and boots off for a play in the sand pit accompanied by the sound of waves lapping on a beach!

We took part in the special activities based on the story 'The Nutcracker'. Listening to the story being told and making our own Nutcracker!

We listened and MJ danced to 'Jingle Bell Rock'!

 MJ and I played a game of Snake and Ladders.

The favourite toy of the day was the Rocking Horses...worth queueing twice for!

We easily spent 5 fun filled hrs playing...I think a record stay for us at a museum.

Tonight before bedtime we listened again to the story of the 'Nutcracker' and to Tchaikovsky's, 'Nutcracker Suite' which interestingly MJ recognised from our Children's Classics CD.

Tomorrow, I hope we have time and energy to make some puppets and MJ has already said he will build the theatre!

 Finally a few tips if you decide to visit...

:: Buggies can be left in the foyer (we left coats too) will be one of many.
:: If you have a packed lunch you can take it downstairs in the Clore Room, where there is also drinking water available.
:: Check out 'what's on' when you arrive and ask if there are activities suited to the age of your child. We followed the 'Retro trail' and there are Montessori back packs available.
:: The cafe food looks lovely...I had a tasty Latte for £2.35
:: For sunny days, there is a green park next door if the kids need anymore of a run around!

 A tired Lj on the return leg of our journey...she fell asleep shortly after this photo was taken!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Another Year almost past

January- MJ and Lj on their car
February- Enjoying the snow by the lake

March- M and I in Berlin

April- Boat building in the back garden

May- Harvesting rhubarb at the allotment

June- Moving house

July- Scandinavian Cruise

August- MJ cycles free of stabilisers

September- Lj loves face painting
October- Friends forever at Hatfield forest

November- York, Railway Museum

December- Making our first gingerbread house

Handmade Christmas #3

Inspired by a cake decorating demonstration I attended a few weeks ago I decided to keep my first homemade Christmas cake simple. I used pre rolled marzipan and a block of royal icing.

The day before we left for our Christmas with family, the kids and I made our first ever Gingerbread house. Initially MJ wanted us to build the Colosseum!!! but after a bit of convincing we decided that our first structure should be a basic house. We based it on a Rachel Allen recipe and it took us all afternoon!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

London with Little Ones #4

Today we took some timeout from the Christmas madness and visited the British Museum, London. We were part of a group lead by one of the men from church, who guided us round many artifacts, explaining them from a biblical perspective. M and I took turns listening to our guide and entertaining the kids.

Coffee break:: MJ and Lj admiring Sir Norman Fosters glass roof.

I got the kids pack and headed for the History of China section. MJ and Lj are drawing dragons inspired by the Chinese pottery.

Here they try to copy Liu Hai standing on a three-legged toad!

After lunch at a little pancake cafe opposite the museum we got some fresh air and a 'run around' space in the Bloomsbury Park, just south east of the museum.

We were disappointed that the children's library in the Museum was not open today...we had a lot of fun in there the last time we visited!

Tip:: It is a good time of year to visit the British Museum when it is not so packed with people...especially when you have two little ones to keep an eye on!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Handmade Christmas #2

While MJ has been rehearsing and performing as a Toy Soldier in his school play, Lj and I continue the homemade Christmas at home.

:: Christmas pudding hats for my friends in Ireland
:: An adult sized elf hat for M's work Christmas dinner (picture to be taken tonight...Insitu...I hope!)

Initially MJ requested the colosseum to be made out of Gingerbread for Christmas but he was persuaded that for our first try we stick with a house! Lj and I have been trying out some recipes and a lot of tasting!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Handmade Christmas #1

I'm having so much fun making my Christmas presents this year. Now that our craft stalls are finished I can concentrate on my own gift giving.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sharpie Christmas Plate

It was the only plate I could find to try out my new Sharpie pens. Apparently if you decorate a plain ceramic plate or mug using a Sharpie, bake it in the oven at 180oC for 30mins it fixs and becomes permanent. Seems to good to be true so my Christmas plate is baking as I type! I will let you know how it gets on!

I am going to be on a charity shop hunt as I buy up every white mug or plate I can find to scribble on!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Our first craft table

Finally I have taken the plunge and alongside three of my crafty friends have had a table of our handmade crafts at two local toddler groups. The success has been mixed but I have sold a few things and am surprised at how much I enjoyed the mornings. Lj (and today my niece) were little stars, happy to go off and play while I set up shop. Not surprisingly at the toddler groups I am selling the kiddy things, like hairbands, hair clip tidies, hats and aprons.

My next venture may be to set up a facebook page! Watch out for 'Lilyjean- Quirky & Handmade'!