Festive Pine Cones

In a bizarre fit of insanity I thought it would be a good idea to take the girls hunting for pine cones so we could decorate them. I am not very craftsy. I cannot be bothered with the clear up or the mess, so I surprised myself when the suggestion passed my lips… Of course there was no going back on it by this point!

There aren’t any pine trees that close to our house so I figured I would pair it up with an afternoons walk in the woods which always goes down well with the girls. Our local woodland is made up mostly of pine trees so the floor was completely littered with cones. The girls had a bag each to fill with pine cones and they loved picking the best ones they could find.

It had been raining for the couple of days before our little hunt so the cones were completely soaked (plus it is a popular dog walking area so I dread to think what else was on some of them). Once back home I washed them as thoroughly as I could and then put them on foil lined baking trays ready for the oven. I baked them for what seemed like hours (it was probably only an hour) at 150oC. Slowly but surely they dried out and opened up nicely.

I set the table up ready for decorating them… Note to self: Do not buy ‘The Sun’ newspaper for crafts. It might be cheap but it is full of scantily clad women… Strategic positioning of each page got a little tedious!

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We painted each with some glue and then rolled them in glitter. It was actually a lot of fun. I then remembered I had some metallic spray paint left over from a little decorating project earlier in the year. I saved some cones for myself and then sprayed them bronze. These actually worked really well and are my favourite ones.

Despite my initial reservations I am really pleased with how they turned out.

The Pramshed
3 Little Buttons

Pumpkin Patch Visit

We have never been to a pumpkin patch before.  It wasn’t something I ever thought the girls would enjoy.  Now Pinky is older and she has been getting excited about halloween because they have been doing loads of preparation for it at nursery, I thought it might be time to go.

What fun we had!  The girls were excited from the moment we got out of the car.  Pinky was off!

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‘Look Mummy!’ ‘Lets go this way!’

I couldn’t stop them, they were picking up pumpkins left right and center.  They loved the witch statue, the witches hats, even the spiders in the webs.

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Eventually we found a little pumpkin that Pinky could carry and we went and bought that one to take home.  She held her chosen pumpkin all the way home as if her life depended on it.

If we have time, we will go back again this year, if not we will definitely be back next halloween.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Single Mum Speaks

KidloLand App: Review

We are a hugely technology orientated family. I don’t worry as much as others do about the amount of ‘screen time’ the girls have and although they can often be found sitting colouring with pen and paper they also do it on an iPad. It is hard to avoid the fact that their generation are being born into a world that relies heavily on technology. Instead of shying away from it we are embracing it. So when we were asked to review the KidloLand app I was over the moon.

I have tried various free educational apps in the past but their content has been limited and the girls quickly get bored. KidloLand is very different. Initial impressions were good, it is very colourful and simple to navigate, even Perky who is currently 20 months old could scroll through the menus and select what she wanted.

The app is aimed at ages 0-5 and there are so many options for all ages groups within that. The nursery rhymes and lullabies a a firm favourite for both Pinky and Perky.

Pinky enjoys doing all the puzzles and after minimal instruction from me she was completing them all by herself. Before I knew it half an hour had past and I hadn’t heard a peep from her. The activities can be repeated as many times as the girls like.

The phonics is a brilliant section for all of us. I know that Pinky gets taught phonics at preschool but it something that I’ve never fully understood. With this app I can listen along and help her if she needs it. This also means Perky is being exposed to phonics earlier than Pinky was so hopefully it will help her speech and pronunciation.

We are all thoroughly enjoying the KidloLand app. The graphics are brilliant and colourful. Various figures and objects move when touched in all the song and lullaby sections (Pinky and Perky found this particularly amusing when they discovered a mouse that pops out of a bowl of popcorn during ‘hickory dickory dock’). It keeps the girls occupied for a very long time and so far they have been happy to share the iPad and play together. It is very educational covering phonics, reading, numbers, days of the week, months of the year and much more.

Pinky has been developing her hand eye coordination with this app and has had to use her own logic working out to match colours and shapes to complete puzzles.

We haven’t even scratched the surface of all the content and the girls are hooked! I don’t think the girls will ever exhaust the content so they get bored with it.  There is so much to learn and do.

When I got the iPad out earlier, whilst Perky was having a nap, Pinkys face lit up with excitement. It was a choice between playing on the KidloLand app or watching Paw Patrol…. she chose the app!

Says it all really….

This Giveaway has now ended.

The app is available on:

IOS  Android and Google Play Store

Disclaimer: We were offered a 6 month free subscription in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Cuddle Fairy
Diary of An Imperfect Mum
Dear Bear and Beany
The Pramshed

A Walk in the Woods

Having established this morning that Pinky didn’t want to do anything specific today (until Perky can talk she is subject to her sisters choices) I announced we needed to walk the dog at some point.  Pinky very excitedly shouted she would like to walk Peggy in the forrest.  We don’t actually have a forrest its just some woodland, this is Surrey after all, overcrowded suburbs with a bit of greenbelt left.  If I’m honest I wasn’t expecting this suggestion and couldn’t entirely be bothered to pack up the car to achieve something I could do by just walking around the neighbourhood, but I relented and thought I should just get on with it and I am really glad I did.

To set the scene of our normal dog walks, whether they are in the local neighbourhood or further a field, it is mayhem.  I don’t enjoy doing it with the girls in tow and neither does the dog.  Pinky insists on holding my hand whilst we walk which leaves me one hand to control a pushchair and a dog with the other.  This becomes even harder when we encounter other people as Peggy loves to say hello to the world and his wife as obviously everyone is out solely to see her!  This then becomes even harder if we encounter another dog because obviously all other dogs are out with the simple task of attacking the girls and Peggy must protect them at all costs!  I know this because on the rare occasion I do get to walk her on my own she is incredibly placid.

Today was different.  The sun was shining and as we were far from all roads Peggy was allowed off the lead.  Pinky was chatting away to me about what we are going to do over the coming bank holiday weekend (go up to London to see the Queen’s house) when we passed a couple with their dog. Now normally I try not to stop and chat for the reasons stated above…. crazy protective dog, hands more full than I can cope with.  But their dog totally ignored us and Peggy so things were a little calmer, plus they petted Peggy which she lapped up.  They asked Pinky if the stick she had found was a magic wand because this forrest was a magic forrest…. They told her if she looked closely she might even get to see some fairies.  Pinky isn’t good with strangers and doesn’t tend to interact with unfamiliar people, but this couple were totally unfazed and carried on talking gently to her before we all went our separate ways.

They absolutely made her day.  Her face completely lit up after they left and she wouldn’t stop talking about where the fairies might live and how, if we listen, we might hear some magic spells.

Sometimes in the daily grind of motherhood I forget to find the magic in the everyday so it was lovely that these two strangers, who we are never likely to see again, could have put just a little bit of magic into my daughters day.

Thank you strangers. You made a three year old very happy.