Author Archives: 3kidsandagluestick

See you on the other side…

Well, I have finally done it.. I have moved!

This will be my last blog post on this site and I am moving to my very own website

Please come and see me over there! (but please excuse any teething problems!)

If you are subscribed here please re-subscribe to the new site. If you like me here, please like me over there.

See you on the other side.


Exploring RHS Garden Wisley

We had a really fantastic day exploring RHS Wisley today.

We have been to Wisley a few times before and hold membership but we have tended to stick around the main garden part and the glasshouse. Today as the gardens were very busy we ventured further and discovered so much more!

We arrived at lunch time and enjoyed our picnic on one of the lawns before walking towards the lake. We saw some very cute ducklings and some huge fish! Just past the lake we stopped by a Buddleia so I could take some photographs while Gordon and the kids had a few wheelbarrow races and played Hide and Seek.

Wildlife at Wisley

Playing with DaddyAfter I had secured several butterfly shots and the kids had exhausted all the hiding places they could find we carried on walking and followed the signs towards the bird hide and Pinetum. We have not been to this part of the gardens before so there was lots for the kids to explore. We found pine cones of all shapes and sizes and some interesting trees to play under. At the end of the Pinetum we found the Heather gardens, which we beautiful and full of bees and butterflies. The beds were arranged with small paths between them and the kids loved running through these “mazes” and finding different ways in and out.

Wisley GardensAfter running through the Heather we reached the bird hide (but didn’t see any birds) and explored the bug garden. We saw more bees and butterflies before starting the walk back to the cafe as we were all in need of ice cream!

On the way back we walked next to the river. We spotted a rabbit hole, collected yet more pine cones, found some bird feathers we need to identify tomorrow, ate blackberries and saw some impressive mushrooms.

Wisley Gardens 2By the time we reached the cafe we were all quite worn out! But ice cream gave the kids a bit more energy and so the final place we went today was the play area, where they climbed, balanced and scrambled while Gordon and I sat down for a bit!

Wisley Gardens 3We had a lovely day at Wisley today. Every time we go I am reminded what a beautiful place it is with so much to do for everyone. We’ll definitely be going back soon.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tagged , , ,

Project 365 – A Photo a Day in 2013

Project 365 for 12th – 18th August

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


Saturday Snippets 17th August 2013

I haven’t blogged for 3 days now. Mostly, this is because I have been busy with a new project that I am determined to get finished before the end of the month – all will be revealed soon – but it is also because we haven’t really done much this week. On Tuesday I wrote about enjoying some down time, and this has continued throughout the rest of the week.

Despite not doing much, there are things I would like to share so I am joining in with Jax from Making it Up and Hannah from Caterpillar Tales, and here are my Saturday Snippets

{Enjoying} watching the kids play together. Their imaginative play has been fantastic and it has been lovely, funny and quite cute listening to the stories they tell and the ideas they come up with!

(Reading} the final chapters of The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. The kids have really enjoyed this story and we can’t wait to start the next book.

{Learning} about identifying moths and caterpillars, and identifying things that look like caterpillars but are actually not caterpillars!

{Watching} lots of episodes of Deadly 60 and Fierce Earth

{Eating} too much junk this week. I need to find some motivation to stop.

{Feeling} proud when Thomas and Jasmine both drew pictures and wrote labels on what they had drawn

{Making} new placemats for the kids

{Remembering} a fellow twin mummy and her baby girl as they begin a tough journey.

{snapshots} Thomas has done some great drawing and writing over the last few days and his pencil control and grip is really improving. Jasmine has built some impressive Duplo models and has also enjoyed drawing lots of pictures. Ben has learnt how to bounce on a space hopper and has played almost non stop with a large Mac truck (from the Disney Cars film) that has been broken for a long long time and was finally fixed this week.


Strawberry Jam Recipe

We went fruit picking again on Monday and picked, amongst other things, over 2kg of strawberries! We have eaten some and today I used the remaining berries to make strawberry jam.

Makes approx 6 x 454g jars of jam:


1.8kg strawberries
approx 8 tsp lemon juice
1.8kg sugar

Wash the strawberries if necessary and drain well. Hull and remove any soft spots, bruises and blemishes,

Place in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with the lemon juice and heat for 10 minutes until the fruit is soft. Using the back of a spoon crush some of the fruit to release the pectin. I crush most of the berries as my kids like a smooth jam, however you can crush as few as one-third.

Add the sugar to the pan and stir over a low heat until it has dissolved completely. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Continue to boil rapidly for about 15 minutes. Do not stir as this will reduce the temperature of the jam. Check to see if the setting point has been reached*

Once a set has been reached skim off any froth that has risen to the surface.

Remove the pan from the heat and leave to stand for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir to distribute any larger pieces of fruit. Pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Store for up to a year in a cool dark place.

Strawberry Jam

*There are a few ways to test for a set. You can use a thermometer to check the temperature, Setting point is reached at 105ºC. Alternatively you can do a “wrinkle test”. Spoon a little jam onto a chilled plate (I place a small plate in the freezer as I start cooking). Leave it to cool for 2 minutes, then push the jam with your finger. If the top wrinkles the jam is set. If it wrinkles only a little or not at all continue boiling the jam for a little longer (2-5 minutes) and test again.

Tagged ,

Down Time

We have been really busy lately. What with days out, family parties, friends parties, and the lovely weather calling for us to be outdoors it seems like an age since we spent the day at home doing nothing.

Over the weekend I was delivering leaflets for a friends business and Gordon and the kids came along to help. We were out for 2 hours at a time and the kids loved “being the postman” but it was hard work.

Yesterday we spent the whole day at Garsons Farm with friends, We took a picnic and had a really great time picking raspberries, strawberries and carrots, but by the end of the day we were all shattered.

So today was a day for some down time. Today we stayed at home.

This morning Jasmine and Thomas played with their Lego. They were playing really nicely upstairs so I spent some time with Ben, who wanted to do colouring and dot-to-dots.

Dot-to-dots with Ben

After a while he wanted to join in the Lego game so I went upstairs as well to put some laundry away (and try and keep the peace – why is it that 2 children play really nicely together but add a third and the arguments start!)

After lunch all three continued to play together so I got on with some web/admin stuff. They seemed to be playing something to do with Star Wars as it definitely involved Lightsabers but also seemed to need several empty toy boxes, so toys were tipped out, and chairs were moved into the middle of the room. I ignored the mess being created as they were so happy playing their game!

just playing

After a while they went to play upstairs and I could hear a lot of running around and things being moved but today I didn’t want to stop them. Today they needed to be able to play at home.

They started playing Hide and Seek. They hid in wardrobes, under duvets, under beds, behind me, under the dining table, behind the sofa and in corners. It was great watching them and I admit I did give them a few ideas of new hiding places!

But then I noticed the signs. If I didn’t stop them and begin the long tidy up session it would never get done. They were all getting tired and silly-ness would soon overtake fun. With 3 young kids, once they get like that it is very hard to stop it. So before it got out of control we started putting things away. Thomas and Jasmine made a good start but after a while they needed encouragement so I turned it into a race of sorts. I got a bag that I was going to put toys in to give away and they had to beat me and put the toys away before I got to them! It actually worked really well as I picked the tricky to put away toys – you know the ones that only fit in their box one way and one way only – and I couldn’t work out how they went! Seriously, I can never remember and these toys drive me mad! I really would love to give them away!

Once downstairs was tidy the kids watched some TV while I cooked dinner. They watched Deadly 60, possibly their favourite programme! All three love it and we have several (and more) episodes on the Sky planner for them to choose from.

After dinner I asked Ben to help me get the washing in from the line outside and Jasmine and Thomas went to tidy their bedroom. I had been to have a quick look upstairs so was fully expecting them to require some help with the tidying. When I first went to check on the progress I found them playing with Lego! But after a nudge in the right direction they eventually did a really good job.

Hopefully our day at home today has helped recharge the kids a little. They got a good long play with their toys and at then end of the day everything was tidied away and the house actually looks quite nice and not like a toy factory explosion!

We’re all ready to start again tomorrow!

Tagged , , ,

Project 365 – A Photo a Day in 2013

Project 365 for 5th – 11th August

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


We’re Giving Nature a Home

Do you have an outdoor space? Have you thought about the wildlife that calls your space home?

I have been browsing the RSPB website and reading about the campaign to Give Nature a Home. I was shocked to learn that out of the 6,000 British species assessed recently, more than one in 10 are under threat of disappearing from our shores altogether.

But we can help. We can make sure our outdoor space is wildlife friendly and we can create homes for all sorts of birds and bugs. We can let the grass grow a little longer, we can plant wildflowers and hedges, we can make a pond or build a bug house, feed the birds or put up a nest box.

Over the last two years, as I have become more and more interested in wildlife and the world of minibeasts (thanks to my bug loving children) we have worked hard to make our garden a haven for birds and bugs alike. We have buried a bucket for beetles, we have dug out a small pond, we have made a nest box, and the plants we chose for the borders this year were picked to be butterfly and bee friendly.

We regularly enjoy watching some of the creatures that call our garden home and this year we are really seeing the benefit of our efforts.

We have a large apple tree at the bottom of the garden and hang several bird feeders in the tree and have a ground feeding tray for the larger birds. We regularly see Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Blackbirds, Magpies and Robins and have occasional visits from Woodpeckers, Starlings, Jays and Goldfinches.

Every day we see butterflies and bees enjoying the flowers and long grass. The Speckled Wood butterflies and both Small and Large Whites are very common visitors and we have lots of caterpillars. Yesterday I saw a Blue Butterfly in the garden for the first time, I think a Holly Blue.

The pond is thriving. We have several tadpoles left but are also now enjoying watching the frogs.

The kids frequently go bug hunting and find worms, woodlice, beetles, spiders, centipedes and for the first time this year we have grasshoppers.

Garden WildlifeCan you give nature a home? The RSPB Website had some great ideas to help you get started and you’ll soon be enjoying the wildlife that moves in!


Tagged , , , , , ,

Let’s Go Fly a Kite

A lot of people I know have written “bucket lists” for the summer holidays – a list of things to do and places to go. Now while we aren’t really on any summer holiday I still thought it would be nice to get a few ideas of things the kids would like to do over the next few weeks and really try to do these things.

Both Jasmine and Thomas have mentioned things recently that they would like to do; Jasmine wanted to make soup and we managed that last week, Thomas has asked to make bread and hopefully we will do that this week. Thomas has also asked to go swimming and Jasmine wanted to go kite flying.

Today we ticked kite flying off the list.

We went to Epsom Downs, somewhere we haven’t been before. It was a lovely warm day, not as hot as it has been recently. The sky was really beautiful.

Kite flying 1

We found somewhere to base ourselves, under a big oak tree so we had some shade. Unfortunately we seem to have picked a very still day to go kite flying! There was hardly any breeze at all. Luckily Gordon had packed a frisbee and a football as well as the kites, so the kids burnt off some energy and happily played with these for a while until we felt some wind.

kite flying 2As soon as we felt the breeze we got the kites ready. The kids have two kites each, a pocket kite and a Brookite single line fun kite. Gordon had also taken two of his kites to try and fly.

We got the Brookites out first and Jasmine and Thomas both flew theirs. It takes quite a lot of work getting the kites in the air when there isn’t much wind so we only managed two at a time today. I tried to get one of the pocket kites up for Ben but it wasn’t quite windy enough to manage on my own.

kite flying 3After another short break for football and frisbee the wind picked up again and this time Ben flew the pocket kite and Jasmine flew her Brookite butterfly again. The wind came in fits and starts and it was hard work to keep the kites in the air. When they were up they flew beautifully, but they didn’t stay up for long. It gave me and the kids a good amount of exercise though, running up and down the hill trying to get them flying!

kite flying 4After a good stint of wind we decided it was time to pack the kids kites away and get Gordon’s out. He only flew his smallest one, but it is still quite big and impressive to watch.

kite flying 5

We spent all afternoon out and had a really lovely time. We can’t wait to go back on a slightly windier day!

Tagged , , , , ,

Another visit to the Ecology Centre

Yesterday afternoon we went back to Sutton Ecology Centre for a wander around while it was a little quieter. We had such a lovely time on Saturday at the BioBlitz event that the kids were keen to go again and knew just where they wanted to look and what they wanted to find.

When we arrived they spent a bit of time playing in the teepee frame and jumping from log to log before we walked towards the meadow, stopping at the log circle to hunt for toads and newts.Ecology Centre 1We found lots of toads, both small and large but only one small newt. Thomas looked under one of the carpet tiles and found a rather large slow worm, which we were all pleased with as we didn’t see any the day before.

We walked through the meadow and saw lots of butterflies, did some minibeast hunting in the woodland, and then walked over to the pond and the kids enjoyed peering in and trying to catch things with their hands!ecology centre 2Jasmine wanted to find more grasshoppers – her latest favourite animal! – so she went off to the long grass and the boys enjoyed a run around the gardens. While the kids were occupying themselves I managed to get a couple of nice photos of a Gatekeeper butterfly.ecology centre 3As we were getting ready to leave, our friends from Caterpillar Tales arrived! They had brought nets with them so the kids enjoyed a bit of pond dipping before it was time for us to walk home. I say walk, but Thomas and Jasmine somehow managed to run almost all the way home with me struggling to keep up with them! (I had taken a buggy for Ben, knowing he wouldn’t manage the walk there and back.) I don’t know where they get their energy from, but sometimes I wish they could pass some over to me!

Tagged , , , , , ,