Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Five years of blogging!

Yesterday marked the fifth anniversary of my blog. I started blogging to keep family and friends in touch with the Podlings and to serve as a record of our life. When I started the blog, I had a toddler and a baby and we lived in Cornwall. Five years later and we have moved North to Staffordshire and now have two school-aged children and a toddler. I stand in wonder at how fast the time has flown by and I wish at times that I could slow it all down so I could savour each moment.

I have enjoyed blogging immensely and it has served me well as there are many things I have written about here that I would otherwise have forgotten. The pleasure of blogging is nothing compared to the pleasure of going back and re-reading old posts. I hope that one day the Podlings will look back on this record of their childhood with pleasure and might take a moment to be thankful that their mother took the time to record things that she knew they wouldn't remember themselves.

I thought it might be nice to invite my readers to 'de-lurk' in honour of my fifth anniversary. If you read my blog and are not too shy I'd love you to say 'Hello!' in the comments. I love to get comments, so it would be nice to get a few on this special anniversary.

Here's to another five years of blogging!

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Felt cake slice

You can have your cake, but unfortunately you can't eat it!

We gave Emma a lovely tin tea set for Christmas as she loved to play with Lily's and Lily could run hot and cold as to whether she would let Emma use it. Emma adores play food, so I wanted to make her some felt goodies to keep with the tea set in the pretty little case it came in. I made all the Podlings Christmas cookies out of felt, but I wanted something extra to go with the tea set so I made this little slice of cake. It has Broiderie Anglaise 'cream', pink ric rac 'jam' and a ribbon rose on top and I sewed it all by hand. Emma's tea set is pale blue with tiny pink roses on it, so it looks very sweet together.

I had planned to make a couple of extra things, but time, as ever, got the better of me and I wasn't able to get more than this one slice of cake done in time for Christmas. I plan to make some more tasty felt tea things for the Podlings soon though. I have all the supplies, I just need to get on with it. Working with felt is so much fun!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Our Valentine's Day tea

 The dining room table all set for our Valentine's tea. Heart-shaped sandwiches, homemade cakes, fresh fruit and lots of pink and roses. The little tea pot is filled with orange juice. Emma called it a 'juice pot' when I poured her drink up.

 The cake was made and decorated in a bit of a hurry, but it tasted delicious. A heart-shaped Victoria sponge sandwiched with raspberry jam and buttercream, topped with white chocolate (coloured pink) and decorated in a hurry!

 I couldn't resist these pretty paper napkins when I saw them in Sainsbury's last week. I knew they would be perfect for our Valentine's tea.

 The Podlings had great fun decorating the fairy cakes. We had to make note of which ones Emma decorated as her approach seemed to be to ice a cake, decorate it, eat the icing and then decorate it some more!

 Tea time!

Emma strikes a pose

Tom looking sweet. After tea he looked rather more 'full of sweets' in that he was clearly on a bit of a sugar high!

Valentine's Day

As ever, we had a fun Valentine's Day. I have gone for a red colour scheme for the last two Valentine's Days, so I wanted to have a pink theme this year just for a change. The night before Valentine's Day I set the breakfast table with pink plates and a centrepiece that included pink crystal flowers and scattered Love Hearts. I wrapped pink tulle around the light fitting and put a few pink bits and pieces on my tea table in the corner of the dining room. We had heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast and spent the afternoon baking and decorating lovely goodies for our Valentine's tea. We saved the Valentine's cake until Mark got home from work, so the Podlings were able to enjoy a special treat of cake with their supper. After the Podlings went to bed, Mark and I enjoyed a quiet three course meal together. A lovely day spent with the people I love...that's what Valentine's Day is all about.

 The dining room table, set the night before.

 Each Podling had a packet of Love Hearts and a chocolate lollipop on their plate

Emma was understandably thrilled to be allowed sweets before breakfast!

 Emma enjoying her lollipop

 I made heart-shaped Scotch pancakes for breakfast.

 We used my silicone moulds to make heart-shaped fairy cakes for tea.

 Sweets for my sweet. I made chocolate covered strawberries and decorated two special fairy cakes for my lovely husband. We have enjoyed 12 Valentine's Days together, though we were not a couple for the first one. We simply spent a lovely evening with a few friends. The following year it was just the two of us and it has been ever since, though we have since added three children to the  fun side of the day.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

An icy surprise

With the recent cold snap turning the snowfall into a treacherous ice rink, the Podlings had been stuck inside for over a week. They couldn't have outdoor play at school as the playground was too icy and it was the same story at home. It really wasn't that safe to go out for a walk (though the roads were clear so you were okay if you were driving). Suffice to say that after that long with no outdoor exercise the Podlings were getting cabin fever and were, shall we say, not models of good behaviour! When the ice finally started to melt we took the opportunity to take them for a walk in a local park so they could burn off some energy.

We had a nice walk around the pond and then we took them to play in the park for a while before the light levels starting dropping and we decided to head back to the car. We had a really lovely afternoon right up until the point that Tom fell in the pond!

Tom and Lily had run ahead of us whilst Mark and I walked slightly behind with Emma. They were out of sight for less than a minute, during which time Tom decided to try to walk on the icy pond and the ice gave way beneath him. Yes folks, that's how quickly a pleasant afternoon could turn to tragedy. Thankfully we were right behind them! Mark was there immediately to fish him out and the water only came up to Tom's waist in any case. The poor boy was utterly drenched and obviously very cold and shaken up from his icy dip. We stripped him off as soon has we got back to the car and wrapped him in blankets and kept him wrapped up when we got him home. Some warm milk and a hot meal later and he was feeling much better and none the worse for his dunking. The poor boy isn't too keen on going back to the park in a hurry though!

Tom standing in the slightly dilapidated bandstand before his impromptu dunking.
Lily loves death slides!
.Emma chilling out in the big swing. The play park was renovated last year and it is really good fun for the children now.

A longlived gentleman

I'm a little behind with the blog. This is the snowman we made the Sunday before last. He is worthy of note as he is the longest living snowman we have ever had. We didn't have any more snow after that Sunday, but the weather was so cold for the following week that most of the snow was still on the ground the following Sunday. Mr Snowman was still going strong over a week after we built him, after which the novelty clearly wore off as the Podlings decided it would be great fun to kick him apart and stomp him into the ground (his head had already fallen off by this point). Lovely creatures, children!

Emma was tickled pink by the snowman and kept pointing out his features: "Cawot nose! 'tone eyes! 'tone mouse!"  ("carrot nose, stone eyes, stone mouth" for those of you who don't read toddler)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Celebrating Greatness

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens, who is, and ever shall be, my favourite author.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Fun in the snow

It started snowing at lunchtime today and since it was coming down thick and fast there was soon enough to go out and play in. Emma didn't eat a bite of her lunch after she saw the snow. She kept coming up to me excitedly saying 'Snow! Snow! I want to play!". She wasn't happy until we put her wellies on!

After the first session in the snow, we all came in to warm up and I headed to the kitchen to indulge in some baking. Something about the snow makes me want to bake delicious comfort food. Lily and Emma helped me to make some rock cakes and then I made up a batch of shortbread in my fabulous snowflake pan.

We put on our snow gear once again and took the sledges round the side of the house for some fun. Tom and Lily had a great time sledding down the hill, but Emma just wanted to pull her sledge up and down the hill. There wasn't much light left when we came back inside to warm up with milk, hot chocolate and home-baked goodies. We had a lovely day and hopefully the snow will hang around long enough for us to go out and build a snowman tomorrow.

 Making snow angels

 I suspect my daffodils wish they had never peaked their heads above ground!

 I love my snowflake shortbread pan. It was a Christmas gift from Mark's parents a couple of years ago and I love to use it when it is snowing.

 Homemade rock buns...delicious!

 Mark having a go on the sledge.

 Tom really enjoyed the sledging.

 I asked Emma if she wanted to ride in the sledge, to which she replied "No, can't sit. I walking!". She was quite emphatic!

 Our neighbourhood at dusk. That's our front garden immediately to the left on the lane. Very convenient for sledging!

 A very cold Lily trying to get warm!

I enjoyed my post-snow homemade shortbread with a mug of hot chocolate...perfection!