Its Puzzle Time!

Throughout my childhood I cannot recollect memories of completing many puzzles although I would love for them to be part of my Sons’ upbringing.
Luckily for me my Sons have indeed already taken to puzzle building like ducks to water. Bizarrely enough it was my little one at the tender age of 2 years that became the puzzle whizz of the family. I was stunned and amazed at the concentration, speed and accuracy of his work, it was and still is incredible and extremely fascinating to watch (even more so if he doesn’t know you are there). My eldest boy is really good at puzzles too although I have noticed he prefers to observe and assist from the sideline. It is ever so cute to watch my boys figuring them out together! Love em!




the boys figuring out their new Cars puzzle…together 🙂

Puzzles are a great concentration task for kids and an awesome way to build children’s problem solving skills and determination. If parents, siblings, all the family or friends can successfully use puzzles to play together then this is a great way for them to learn about sharing and to gain patience as well as building on important social and communication skills.



puzzles around the house

The charity shops are packed with puzzles for about £1 each and a lot of them are new where it appears they are not in trend anymore, seemingly puzzles aren’t as hip or cool as the PS125 or Daddy’s tablet.

We have loads of puzzles, so many in fact that I need to go find some reclaimable wood and put up son shelves just so they have a home, totally running out of puzzle space!

this is one of many places we keep puzzles, a few puzzles are around the house and a lot of books are in piles below hence the slumping collection on the shelves. The boys love books and puzzles, they are in nearly every room!


In my eyes, my children (age 3 & 4) are too young and impressionable to be playing computer games or getting neck ache over a tablet. When they do watch a film a few days out of the week they get addicted to the motion picture, asking for it again and they were bought a mini pad but they soon became obsessive, didn’t listen to Mum about posture, went slightly numb and started giving me attitude about putting it down. Urm no thank you! It did get taken away and has been forgotten about. I noticed with puzzles and other games such as Moondough or imaginative scenery play they are ‘awake’ and are learning so much more by expanding their minds, not forgetting to mention how freely their necks can move!

Once your child has taken to puzzles they are a great way for the child to entertain themselves whilst you are busy, washing up, cooking or sorting the clothes etc. Kids can also do a puzzle anywhere with enough surface area! My boys and I love puzzles and we hope you do too, if not then hopefully you will try them out with your little ones today. You may just be amazed 🙂

Cooking with Children

Teaching children how to prepare and cut vegetables is one of the most important and beneficial life skills you can teach them as it a task they will need to do for the rest of their lives. I was gifted the idea of getting children to wash vegetables a while back and they loved using the brush, this time I felt ready to introduce the knife!

Getting children involved in the preparation of food is a great way for them to gain culinary skills and it also helps them understand the process behind seed to mouth gifting them valuable knowledge about the produce.

It is not always easy to amuse my children when it comes to getting dinner prepared, being a single parent leaving the boys to keep themselves busy at this time of the afternoon can be somewhat of a challenge. I was once given the advice that “the tv is a great babysitter” although I don’t really want them in front of the tv and especially not that time of night. I want their minds to settle down and if they have become bored of their toys or just don’t want to do the normal activities what better way to get them active than by helping prepare the food they are (hopefully) about to eat?!

My children are still quite young so many home economics activities are still too hazardous although I am testing the waters more often now my youngest has passed the age of 3 years.
It was quite daunting the first time I had them near the stove for our Homemade Chocolate Cooking Lesson, at the time the little one didn’t really show much interest and my big boy Easy had the most fun ever getting to clean out the glass dish! This was one of the simplest methods of cooking when introducing a child to a stove as all that was required was stirring a mixture with a spoon (and being very careful of the flames!). They obviously thought it was super cool managing a wild element and making chocolate in such an awesome way!

This time the teaching was slightly more daunting as they were both using a moderately sharp knife to cut vegetables. They have to Lear sometime, right? Let us start them off young.

I asked my boys if they wanted to help cut the Cauliflower for our creamy rice dish and happily they did. We set up a chopping board and I selected a relatively appropriate knife for them, we pulled up a chair and I showed them what to do. They absolutely loved it and surprisingly it was my Little Al who had the mist pleasure in it, it was so adorable to see him cutting the veg and very cute seeing him pile it into his own little bowl.

It was absolutely lovely to watch my Son in this way, I am glad I kept my good friends’ advice in my head as it was a blissful experience to participate in. Ok so there was Cauliflower flying in all directions and the trimmings didn’t all end up in the designated pile, it was a welcomed mess and I think my baby one did very well!

I will definitely be encouraging them to get involved every single meal time that it is appropriate and one day hopefully they will show me a thing or two 😉 There’s nothing more attractive than a man who knows how to cook a healthy meal 🙂

Depending on your knowledge of the vegetables you are using will determine what the children learn from this activity. Even if you just teach them the name of the vegetable or teach them the simple process of harvesting the veg and cooking it they are still learning something. If you know more extensive details then feed it into your child, it is quite surprising what their memories can hold and it is fascinating hearing what interested them most the next time they speak of it back to you.

I Thank God for my beautiful children and their passion for learning 🙂

A Day Out At Alice Holt Forest

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My friend and I took a rainy trip to Alice Holt Forest. Loaded with two boys each and after a rather bumpy start to the day we set off on our nature adventure! All the way there the weather held out and then as soon as we parked up down came the rain! Being the warrior eco Mums that we are, my friend and I were still determined to have a great day out with the kids.
The beauty of Alice Holt is it is perfect rain or shine, the trails are interesting, the length of the walks are just about right for everyone and not forgetting to mention it is free!
Situated in Hampshire it is a national forestry commission that has gone fun crazy! With an abundance of activities, there is also a range of wide open spaces for gatherings and a café for convenience food and beverages, there are trails for walking and also cycle trails for the keen rider, bring your own bike or borrow one of the parks. There is the Go Ape adventure trail using harnesses and ropes to cross zip lines on high above ground trails for the older children and adults.

WP_20130720_028[1]There is beauty in nature to observe the whole way around the forest with many picnic areas and every so often along the walks there is an activity for the children to explore.

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Nature focused, Alice Holt gives parents the opportunity to teach their children about nature and the relation we have with it as well as the impact we have on it.
Along the habitat trail there are sign posted activities for the children, magical bridges to cross and waterfalls to amaze all, there are many things to play on and exciting things climb. Climbing to the top of the great towers enables the children to get a birds eye view over where they are exploring, this is a great way to get a different perspective on forest life and the kids love it.

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Growing up in that part of the country, Alice Holt was only a few miles away and I frequently visited there for an adventurous day out with family and friends. Upon moving to another place in the country the joys available there became distant in my mind until my friend from the home-education community suggested we should take a trip over as the usual group we attend each week had been cancelled. I was more than happy to accept her offer and I am so glad I did. Alice Holt is enclosed with forest as far as the eye can see so the little ones can roam free getting to know about woodland areas. There is also a large park a short while after entering the park with a huge pirate ship drawing the attention of the children which is a blast for the young ones to discover and they will want to spend all day there so be sure to tell them of the wonderful things that the trails hold.
All the boys had a wonderful time and loved all the climbing, getting wet and muddy exploring the forest! At the time of our visit Alice Holt had a Gruffalo trail with activities along the way and it is still there now so if you love the Gruffalo be sure to check it out.
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I highly recommend this day out to all. It is great fun for all the family. 
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Little ‘A’ had a box – Children’s Activity

This is such a simple game that so much can be learned from.
It is great for children, they love to have their own box.

This time we did a basic box with the letters of the boys names, next time I think we will make an activity out of painting the boxes first as they could look much more appealing and personalised, also I feel this would help the child realise the box belongs to them on a more personal level.

The aim of the game is to associate the letter on the box with finding items around the house with names that begin with the same letter. We chose the letters from our names, you could do the same or you could start at A and change the letter on the box for all 26 letters or go one step further and have 26 boxes to fill!

Give your child a box and decide which letter to use. Take an adventure around the house or out and about and find what begins with your letter, spell the word and explain in detail about the item then fill your box with those things.

This helps the child learn the names of objects and what they are as well as realising the same letter can start different words. The child learns by seeking and finding, discovering and gathering.

A much loved game that can be played again and again.

Riverford’s Big Worm Dig at Upper Norton Farm October 2014








We were over joyed to discover that Riverford had an area for the big worm dig at the Upper Norton Farm Pumpkin Day.
As part of a science project to learn more about our soil and the worms among it Riverford set up the ‘big worm dig’ with the intention of getting everyone digging! We intended to help and get stuck in and that’s just what we did! After our efforts at home did not go exactly to plan, being totally mind blown by the variation of Worms that were possible to find and the minor differences between them we were relieved to discover we could still get involved with the help of an expert at our local Riverford farm! Yay!




I just adore the vision of children getting close to nature and covered in earth whilst discovering what our planet really is. Mud washes off! The amount of fun that can be had from just playing in the dirt is amazing. Mud can become anything to a child, stack it up to be a castle or a tower, dig a hole to fill, make people figures or even bury treasure under it! Quite simply mud is life, we eat what grows from the mud of earth then we reproduce and grow using nutrients from the earth, the earth is where our bodies rest and breakdown into when we pass, our body becomes the mud which feeds another, the cycle is continuous making mud life and a huge part of it!
Earth worms breathe through their skin whilst they protect our soil preventing soil erosion. They intake organic matter from all around them, they consume it and excrete it incorporating it into the soil allowing the plants roots to better absorb nutrients and grow more successfully.
There are 4 ecological groups of earth worms and they are: the composters, the litter dwellers, the soil eaters and the deep burrowers. To find out more and to get involved visit Riverford online or visit your local farm.

Once we had decided a time to take part in the big dig, we made our way over to the designated digging area. It was welcoming to see so many families taking part and was a true joy to watch all the little children getting covered in mud looking for earthworms.
There was a slight shortage of shovels as there was so much interest although it wasn’t long before we were handed some to use. The boys had a shovel each and both also had a pot to place the discovered worms into.

It was lovely seeing the boys dig and although they found it quite tough they still enjoyed tossing mud everywhere and greeting the Worms we did find.
The children were very sharing in this task and both Aunty Nat and I actually got a go at digging! Mummy’s knees were nice and muddy by the time we were done, it was totally worth it, I think Easton and I found 7 worms and luckily the ‘Worm Man’ was on hand to help us identify them. Unfortunately the majority of the worms were too small even for him to identify. Alas we had one chunky one that was identified most confidently as a black-headed worm! Woo hoo we had found and named one worm even if it were only that one!
It was a beautiful day and it hadn’t rained much the night before so the ground was slightly dry to have an abundance of wriggling worms. We gave it a good go and when the kids had enough we gave back the shovels, thanked the man for his help, washed up and set off for the ferret racing!

I know the worm dig is in the name of science but I would love to thank the promoters at Riverford for bringing such a new fun activity into my family as this can be enjoyed throughout the whole year after a good dose of rain! The kids can get physical digging and can understand the importance of taking care of the earth and being kind the the creatures in it.

Mud, mud, mud, I love mud, I always say, the more mud a child has on him the more fun he has had!

Bring on the mud bombs?

Pumpkin Day at Riverford Organic Farm – Sutton Scotney

Amazing! I just loved to see the amount of people interested in organic produce last month. Its awesome! Whether they are regular buyers or just curious to the farm day out at Riverford, seeing that many people that care about what they consume was truly comforting.
It was eye opening for me to see where most of our weekly budget goes and the kids just adored the animals and variety if squash all around. After admiring the first glimpses of the farm site and browsing the stalls we walked outside where they were doing carpenrary, it was inspiring to see that it was a hit with the older children and I hope one year upon returning my boys will be at the level they can fully appreciate it and have a go for themselves. Passing many adorable and magical looking squash we stopped and the boys got to see an Owl up close that opened his beautiful wings and really showed off his cheeky personality. Next to him were some sleepy ferrets looking so snug and cozy and alongside them were more ferrets awake and ready to race! We took a stroll down to check out the worm dig with intentions to later return and along the path were the most delicious silky lettuces I have ever tasted…so good to see where they grow!
After checking out the whole place and working out what was where we showed the boys the beautiful Horses that help humans by pulling a wagon cart. I had promised the children animals and taking a trip in the cart seemed a perfect way to show them how humans and animals work together as well as enjoying a bumpy ride. They really enjoyed being on the wagon and adored the little dog that was on board with the driver. The horses were so graceful and did indeed look grand standing next to the boys.
It was lovely for the boys to stand next to and observe the size of a real tractor and amazing for us all to see the sheer size of the enormous combine harvesters.
We admired the face painting and did plan to get some done but it was so busy and we could think of much more things to do than que up for over 30 minutes so we opted out and indulged in some amazing chocolate and courgette (dairy and gluten free) brownies, wow, they were good! We really wanted to try the worm dig so we headed back outside to spend some time helping discover different breeds of worms! The kids loved having a dig with the shovels and even let Mummy have a go and in total we found about 7 worms and one was large enough to identify as a dark tipped worm.
We stayed for a while, got covered in mud, cleaned up and just as we reached the top of the field thee ferrets were getting ready to rave. Awaken from there sleepiness four ferrets, Taz, Tiz, Ivy and Fern were lined up waiting to go out. A couple were showed around nd the boys got to stroke them and say hello. We placed a bet on the green caged ferret called Fern and although she didn’t win it was a cute experience for the kids and roaring fun for the lively parents.

 After the race we considered the pumpkin carving and it was rather busy and the boys were slightly restless so we purchased a large pumpkin and headed back inside. We had another wander around and it was packed full of people in the warehouse, happy vibes! My friend really enjoyed the cheese stall and purchased some goat’s cheese and I admired the ‘give a pet a holiday’ team and found out how I can get involved. There were so many beautiful veggies everywhere and some absolutely stunningly crafted items for sale.

We decided we would go over to the lady carving wooden pencils and my friend said she would love to buy some for the boys so her and my eldest joined the que there. It was my turn to buy the next refreshments, my youngest boy and I headed off to get some cake and upon reaching my friend I remembered the stall selling hot Apple juice which we had earlier tried and I had previously thought if the mulled wine is anything like the Apple then it is a must. Upon reaching the stall it dawned on me how much of a good idea it would be to actually get some so we did and it was amazing, so delicious, mouthwatering and tasting, so comforting and warm. Just what a busy woman needs after a mission with 2 young boys! For the pencils the lady scorched the names required into hand carved pencils, they were very beautiful and a great idea! We gave thanks, admired the beautiful abundance of produce and organic people and made our way back outside.

 

It was indeed a packed event with thousands of people who attended and the queues reflected this.

 

I buy weekly from Riverford and will continue to do so until I have my own patch.

Thanks to everyone for a wonderful day out. We will definitely be back next year!

Glow in the dark sticky tape sculptures

Turn your childs favourite toy into a glow in the dark wonder! What a fantastic and festive idea! Although these are great for Halloween they are also super ghosts for anytime of year!

To make your very own sculpture you will need:

* A toy, a figurine around the size of an action man works perfectly
* At least one roll of sticky tape
* Clingfilm
* Scissors or a sharp knife
* Glow sticks

How to create:

* Take your toy and wrap a few layers of cling film around it, covering the entire toy.
* Wrap sticky tape around the toy until it becomes a solid casing (you will need a lot of tape for this). Do as many layers as you can.
* Take the scissors or knife and gently slice a strip down the back of the toy, being careful not to damage the toy, slide out the toy
* Insert the glow sticks and tape up the incision

In the dark they will illuminate and appear as little ghosts in the shape and form of whatever figurine or toy you chose!
Hang them around the house or garden to give a spooky feel to any enviroment.
When the glow stick has faded simply cut them out and re-insert when required.

Have fun!