Category Archives: kids

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!

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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!

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Moments like these

We haven’t really done much to write about over the last two days. Yesterday we went to Twins Club in the morning and played in the garden all afternoon. Today we spent the morning playing inside at home and this afternoon we went to Caterpillar Tales house. There has been lots of playing, reading, some computer time, some TV.

But two things have happened that really stand out, really made me stop, take a step back and think.

The first one was yesterday. We were getting the kids inside for dinner and Ben strolled in and headed upstairs with Gordon for a shower, He had been playing in the mud and had obviously been having a great time!

Muddy BenI saw him as he walked in. He was so happy (although in the photo he has his “stop taking pictures of me now” face!)

And this what childhood is all about isn’t it? Playing outside and getting dirty. Some days, a patch of mud is enough.

The second moment came this morning, I was outside feeding the rabbits and I looked over towards the flower bed.

The rose that I got from my Nana’s garden after she passed away has flowered.

Nana's RoseWe only planted it in May so weren’t expecting it to flower at all this year.

It wasn’t in bud when my mum dug it from Nana’s garden, so we didn’t know what colour flowers it had. I saw it this morning and it is the same colour as the roses we placed on the coffin at the funeral. My Nana’s favourite red rose.

Thank you Nana. I miss you x

Two days. Two moments I won’t forget.

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A picnic and fruit picking

Yesterday we spent a lovely day at Claremont Landscape Gardens and Garsons PYO Farm.

We started off at Claremont, arriving at lunch time and enjoying a delicious picnic in the shade by the lake.

Once everyone had eaten we set off round the lake to discover and explore. The kids and Gordon walked up the hill, all the way to the top, and ran back down again! Then we headed over to the woodland, explored a ditch, hunted for grasshoppers and found a cherry tree with some delicious cherries growing on it that Gordon and Ben enjoying tasting!Claremont 1As were walked round the grassy area and woodland we counted butterflies and recorded our results with the Big Butterfly Count. We saw lots of Ringlets and Small Whites and a Gatekeeper.

We continued round the lake, watching the fish jump out of the water to catch flies and the dragonflies zipping around. At one point we stopped to watch a dragonfly flying around the edge of the water and Jasmine noticed a Southern Hawker Dragonfly laying eggs in the bank right below where we were standing! We watched  it for quite a long time, having never been that close to a dragonfly before we were all amazed by how big it was!Southern Hawker DragonflyWe walked round the lake and back to the car park, and then drove the 5 minutes to Garsons Farm.

We have only been to Garsons once so far this year, for the asparagus picking, so there was lots we wanted to get today! We started with gooseberries and raspberries then went to the redcurrant field. Next was carrots, peas, mange tout and finally cucumber.Garsons PYOWhile the kids do enjoy picking the fruit and vegetables, they also enjoy taste testing what they can! I don’t mind them eating a few, however I try and make sure most of what they pick goes into the punnets!

It was so late by the time we’d finished at the farm that we decided to eat out at Pizza Hut, the kids favourite! After dinner of pizza and ice cream we went home, well past the kids normal bedtime but well worth the late night as we’d had such a lovely day.

Once all 3 kids were tucked up and asleep, Gordon and I started the long process of removing the redcurrants from the stems, ready for me to make jam today.

And that is where I must go now, The fruit was stewed and the juice strained over night. Now to begin my first jam of the year.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Sports Day in the Park

This time of year is the traditional time for kids to take part in Sports Day. This afternoon we went to the park with our home education group and had our own races, including Egg & Spoon, running and an obstacle race involving water pistols!

We met later than normal to try and take advantage of the cooler weather so we all took a picnic and enjoyed the whole late afternoon/early evening at the park.Sports Day 1After some races we sat down and enjoyed our picnic tea, before a couple more races and a game of Rounders.sports day 2The kids all did really well today and joined in with all the races, and even had a go at Rounders. It was really nice to see them joining in, listening, taking turns and enjoying the organised activities. It makes me realise how much they have changed in this last year and how their confidence is building every day. They had their moments of course – Thomas ran off with the hula-hoop batting circle during rounders and Jasmine didn’t join in with the first running race as she hadn’t listened properly to how it was being done (we did it in ages) – but generally they were really good and we didn’t even have any tantrums about not winning (although I think the “taking part sweets” may have had a role to play in that!)

All in all it was a very sucessful Sports Day and a really lovely afternoon spent with friends.

We ended the day with some giant bubbles!sports day 3We were having such a good time we didn’t leave the park until 7.30pm – the time my kids are normally heading off to bed! Sadly the combination of heat, excitement and tiredness meant that Ben was sick in the car on the way home. My poor little one was very good though and didn’t complain once bless him. By the time I had cleaned the car and car seat and showered Ben, it was so late Jasmine actually asked to go to bed! 

We are trialling a new Dance class tomorrow morning so I really hope that, after the success of today, Thomas and Jasmine aren’t too tired to join in..

watch this space!

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A hot couple of days

Wow, hasn’t it been hot!

I apologise now for the brief nature of this post. It is late and I am tired. I have spent the evening playing with my new phone and not blogging! Now it is midnight and I need to write about the last 2 days.. so, quick summary.

Yesterday we went to twins club and celebrated Twins, Triplets and More week with a teddy bears picnic and cake decorating.Twins club

Today, Thomas and Jasmine went to Forest School and Ben and I went to Richmond Park. We went on a butterfly hunt today but it was just too hot, especially for Ben and he really struggled. We did see some Peacock caterpillars and a couple of ladybird larvae, and lots of butterflies. They seemed to be enjoying the hot sun much more than we were! I also spotted the green woodpecker again but still didn’t manage to get a photograph.Richmond ParkAnd so my evening spent downloading apps onto my phone isn’t a complete waste, you can now find me on instagram! Click here to follow me:


I am also on facebook here

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Becoming a Friday Tradition

Friday afternoon is Forest School time for Jasmine and Thomas. Forest School is in Ham Common Woods so Ben and I go to Richmond Park while we are twin-less. Sometimes we go into Pembroke Lodge and enjoy a drink and a cake, but most of the time we go exploring.

Two weeks ago we found a huge rabbit warren under an oak tree and now Ben asks to go and see the rabbits every week!

Today was extra special for Ben because Gordon came with us as well, and Ben does love his daddy! He was super excited to show daddy where the rabbits live and where we sit and watch them!Rabbits 2Once we’d eaten snacks, watched the rabbits and fed a crow we started walking back up the hill. Ben wanted to do some bug hunting under logs so we walked from tree stump to log, carefully lifting them up to see what we could find.Bug huntingWe only found red ants, woodlice, an earwig and a couple of ground beetles today. But while Ben and Gordon were busy studying red ants I saw a flash of colour dart into some long grass. I didn’t get a very good look at it but was sure it was a bird and my first thought was a woodpecker or maybe a jay. As I watched I saw it move again so we decided to walk towards it and see if we could get a better look, but as we approached nothing moved so I started to think whatever it was had gone whilst I blinked! But then we saw it fly up and away into a tree. A green woodpecker! I was very excited! We watched it for a while with the binoculars but it was so well camouflaged in the tree it was difficult to spot when it moved.

It was almost time to go back to the car to collect Jasmine and Thomas but there was just one thing left to see. I had mentioned to Gordon, only an hour earlier, how I had never seen deer in the part of the park we were in. Well, of course that meant that today we saw three, sitting really close to the steps we walk down! Typical!Deer

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In Photographs

We have had a really quiet day today and don’t seem to have done much. I mean, we’ve been busy all day, but just with”stuff”.

I took Ben to toddler group this morning and Gordon cleaned the rabbit hutch with a little help from Thomas and Jasmine, the kids played in the garden, Gordon and I sorted some stuff out, we played with the rabbits.

So because I can’t think of much to say here are some photographs I took.25th June Collage 1 25th June Collage 2 25th June Collage 3

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The Craziest Costume

The title of today’s post is because of this:Dressing up

So, who is your winner of the craziest costume? Personally, I think Jasmine is the clear winner, Halloween bat costume, reindeer hat and googly eye glasses.. yep, definitely crazy!

Once they’d done a spot of dressing up, Thomas got one of the Wipe Clean activity books out and asked for the pen. The other two soon joined in and we all spent some time sitting together writing and drawing.Wipe Clean BooksI love these books as they have loads of fun activities for the kids to do and can be used time and time again. The most used books are the Usborne dot-to-dot and mazes books, but we also have a few Priddy books and they all got used today. Ben particularly liked the Priddy Books “Things that go” with all its diggers and cars! He did some really great counting and pattern recognition.

After lunch we needed to go into town to do some shopping. I wanted to nip into WHSmiths quickly to get a magazine and while I did get it, we also got these because of course we need more Lego!Lego activity booksAfter dinner this evening the kids built their figures and we read the story from Thomas’ book – Big City Life.Lego FiguresThe two other important things for me to remember about today are the silkworms shed skin (they are huge now so I’m hoping it won’t be too long until they pupate) and Thomas went in the rabbit run and was really sensible amd stroked both rabbits.

All in all, a rather good day!


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A hard day

Today has been hard. It has been one of those days where nothing seems to have gone right. Each individual thing by itself wouldn’t have been too bad but when they all combined I found myself struggling.

This morning I felt a migraine starting. For years I have suffered on and off with headaches and while I don’t get them very often any more, when I do they can be terrible. So I took some Migraleve and sat down for a few minutes while the kids played upstairs.

I thought they were playing with the Lego and I could hear noise so I didn’t go and check on them as usually noise indicates playing and it is silence you have to worry about! After about half an hour I went to tell them I was starting lunch and was completely shocked at what I found. Every single book from the shelves was on the floor, along with Lego, cars and every other toy that lives in the bedroom. Now, I don’t mind a bit of mess and am quite used to several boxes of toys being emptied out and strewn around the house, but the fact that they had thrown all the books on the floor as well really did disappoint and upset me. I was actually lost for words and it took me a few seconds to take it all in!

Initially I told the kids that they would have to tidy it up after Forest School but when I had got them all downstairs and gone back to have a proper look I got so cross that I took every book and toy that was on the floor and removed it from the room. I then told the kids that they wouldn’t be getting any of their things back for at least 2 days and then they had to earn it back with good behaviour and good listening. I have no idea how to actually implement this and, to be honest, we have nowhere to store the books while they are earning them back so really I imagine they’ll be back in the kids room much sooner than I would like! But hopefully even two or three days with no bedtime story will get the message across.

I think they realised how cross and upset I was because when it was time to get ready for Forest School they managed it in record time, with no nagging and repeated instructions from me at all! The journey there was quite quiet too, which was much needed and did help me calm down a little.

Whilst Thomas and Jasmine were at Forest School, Ben and I went to Richmond Park as usual. Ben wanted to go and see the rabbits again so we bought a cake from the refreshment stand and went to find the big tree and watch the rabbits with our snack. It was lovely and was the best part of the day by far.

After picking Thomas and Jasmine up from Forest School we drove home and again the car was really quiet, so I was hopeful for an improvement in the day once we got home.

Things always happen in 3’s though don’t they!

Earlier in the day I had sent a payment for an activity day we had booked in to and confirmed it had been sent. Unfortunately it seems the payment needed to be seen in the receiving bank account today and my bank doesn’t send payments quick enough, so despite me confirming I had sent the money, when we got back home I had a message to say our places had been given to someone else because I may not in fact have sent the money. First I got cross because I had indeed sent the money, but when I thought about it rationally and remembered that actually some people might not be so honest, I was just really disappointed because we had been so looking forward to taking part.

On a normal day I probably wouldn’t have let the disappointment get to me quite so much but today this was the final straw.

So when Thomas growled at me during dinner because I asked for him to sit down and eat with his fork not his fingers, I shouted. And when he moaned later on because he couldn’t find his pyjamas, I shouted. And when Ben got into a paddy because he couldn’t find the right toy to take to bed, I shouted.

I am only human and sometimes I have quite simply had enough. Today, at the end of a hard day, at the end of a hard week, I had had enough.

But then something lovely happened. I posted on facebook, asking for advice on a certain child’s behaviour and some lovely people replied.

And another lovely friend made another wonderful offer on twitter.

And friends and family sent me messages asking if I was OK, and reminded me that sometimes it is OK to have a bad day.

Because tomorrow is a new day. And tomorrow will be better.

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