Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Dress-up Fun

Halloween is in large part about dressing up for the Podlings. They were allowed to pick their costumes based on my 'spooky, not scary' parameter. The Podlings are big fans of the Wizard of Oz, so Lily wanted to be Glinda, the good witch "but in a black dress." Emma wanted to be variously a baby witch or a naughty witch, depending on her mood. Tom wanted to be a skeleton. On my suggesting that that might come under the 'scary' umbrella, he coolly pointed out that he is studying anatomy at school "So I don't think skeletons are scary." Okay, I can't really argue with that one! I tried to discourage the wearing of the mask and he made a rather cute little skeleton. He certainly has the build for it, bless him!

Lily's favourite part of her costume was her cloak. She was sat reading books on the sofa at bedtime in her pink spotty pyjamas and a black cloak! A girl and her cloak are not easily parted!

Tom only consented to one photo in his costume (he's very busy you know!) and unfortunately it turned out a little blurry. He's a cute little skeleton though, isn't he?


Hallowe'en E'en

The Podlings were very excited about Halloween this year. It's hard for them not to be when every time you enter a shop you are bombarded with Halloween themed costumes, treats and decorations. I'm not a fan of Halloween, but I like to make the day fun for them, so they don't feel like they are missing out on something all their friends enjoy. I try to have a few rules about it. I like to keep the nasties out of it as much as possible and I tell the Podlings that we can have spooky, but not scary at Halloween. Anything related to the Devil is absolutely out of the question. I won't glorify Satan, even in fun.

At the moment, the Podlings are quite happy with the way we spend Halloween. I fear I may have more battles as they get older, particularly as I won't allow them to go trick or treating, but for now they really enjoy how we spend Halloween. It is basically a day of family fun and treats for the Podlings and they seem to enjoy it a great deal.

The night before Halloween I decorated downstairs with a few balloons and hung their costumes around. I filled their treat baskets with goodies and filled our lounge book basket with some Halloween themed books. The Podlings were incredibly excited to discover all it the following morning with a delight that was entirely disproportionate to amount of time I put in to it. I love to see them so excited!


The 99p broomsticks waiting by the bookcase were a huge hit.

I filled the lounge book basket with appropriate Halloween reading material.

Because the Podlings do not go trick or treating, I give each of them their own treat basket to wake up to on Halloween morning. They are filled with Halloween themed sweets and chocolates and a glow in the dark wand and they also each received a Halloween sticker activity book.

Tom's Mr Tickle toy pretended to be a pumpkin for the duration of Halloween and looked rather funny presiding over the dining room from the radiator.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Mark's Birthday

Mark's birthday follows hot on the heels of Tom's birthday, so Monday saw the girls and me baking another birthday cake. Although Lily and Emma both helped to make the cake, Lily decorated it on her own. I put the icing on for her and then let her have at my cake decorations. She had fun!

I let Tom and Lily stay up until Mark got home from work and we sang Happy Birthday and watched him open his presents. After the Podlings were all in bed Mark and I had a quiet evening with a take away. Mark was in the middle of a tight work deadline on his birthday, so he wasn't really able to fully relax and enjoy it. We hope to be able to give him an official birthday (like the Queen!) soon as the Podlings were most put out at the lack of a party tea! He did get a nice cake though!

Lily decorating her Daddy's birthday cake

Mark's birthday cake, lovingly made and decorated by the ladies in his life! A Victoria sponge, sandwiched with buttercream and my homemade strawberry jam. It was delicious! 

Friday, 26 October 2012

Love and Marriage

On Sunday we had the pleasure of attending the wedding of Rob and Tracy at the Park House Hotel in Shifnel. Mark and Rob used to work together and we were honoured to have been asked to share their day with them. The Podlings were on their best behaviour and had a wonderful time. A particular hit was the children's entertainer they laid on during the speeches, which we thought was a fabulous idea. We got to enjoy the speeches and the Podlings got to not enjoy the speeches! They had a splendid time playing party games and collected lots of little prizes and were altogether in good spirits when we went to fetch them. We were, it is fair to say, rather less thrilled to discover each of our children proudly sporting a temporary tattoo. Mark and I think they are ghastly and won't let the children have them. For one thing, they don't scrub off and the children had school the next day! Lily was particularly thrilled with hers (a glittery fairy on her forearm) as she has been after one for a long time. Oh well, what's done is done! I shall be glad when they finally wash off though! 

Unfortunately we had to leave shortly after the Disco started as the Podlings had school and playgroup the next morning.  Lily had really only just got into the full swing of her dancing and burst into tears when it was time to leave. Lily and Emma fell asleep in the car on the way home and it was three sleepy little Podlings that I had to drag out of bed on Monday morning. We all had a wonderful time though and it was lovely to see Rob and Tracy so happy.

The Happy Couple

Tom looking dapper in his three piece suit. Now if I could just find some way of keeping his shirt tucked in...

Lily looking adorable as usual

Lily wanted to take a photo of me. It's a little out of focus, but she is getting quite good at taking pictures with my camera now.

The Podlings loved playing by this fountain while we were waiting for the photography to come to an end. I was rather afraid one of them would end up in it, but thankfully nobody did!

Emma looking adorable in one of her pretty Sarah Louise dresses. I love having little girls to dress up!

The photos did go on for a while and Emma started to flag a bit. She started asking incessantly for milk (which she still calls 'mucky' even though she knows the proper word) and didn't pick up until we acquired her a glass. It certainly re-energised her though as she was soon back in full fettle.

As wedding presents go, Tracy's to Rob was rather impressive. Unbeknownst to him, she had had a recording made of herself singing Shania Twain's 'When you kiss me' and had it played for their first dance. Rob had no idea he was listening to his new wife singing until she told him!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Greenway Bank Country Park

We had a lot to do on Saturday, but we still managed to squeeze in a late afternoon walk in Greenway Bank Country Park. We had a lovely walk in the woods and enjoyed the thick carpet of autumn leaves, though it soon became evident that we should have worn our wellies! Emma found a little frog scrambling along in the mud, which the Podlings all watched with delight.

After the walk we let the Podlings play in the playground for a while before heading home via the chip shop to get some fish and chips for tea.

Tom loved this stick and wanted to bring it home. Unfortunately, they have some problems with tree disease in the country park, so you are not allowed to bring anything away with you to help prevent further spread of the disease. He asked me to take a photo of the stick so he could remember it.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Tom's 8th Birthday Party

I made ladybird decorations to hang above the dining room table. I had several ladybirds and I also made some with bees on. I strung the circles together in vertical rows of two and three and they spun happily above the table throughout the party and for a few days afterwards!

Tom wanted a mini beasts birthday party and I focused mainly on ladybirds and bees because he collects them. In addition to the cake and fairy cakes, I also made a red jelly and scattered chocolate buttons on the top to make it look like a ladybird and Lily arranged the strawberries and blackberries to look like a ladybird. We had all the Podlings' favourite party foods, though it was all I could do to make Tom and his friends sit still long enough to eat anything! They were having far too much fun to require anything so mundane as food!

I enjoyed the delights of having a child actually be really helpful whilst getting the party ready. Lily wanted to help me get the food together, so I gave her a few simple jobs to do. Often I will invent kitchen jobs for the children to do, or slow everything down so they can help me, but for the first time I had one of my children take a job completely off my hands and I was so proud of Lily for helping out so willingly. She is growing up! I hope she never loses her willingness to be helpful.

Tom clearly enjoyed his party and had the pleasure of enjoying a school packed lunch the following day composed mainly of leftover party food!

The birthday cake was a variation on our traditional family Smartie cake. Victoria sponge covered in thick milk chocolate, with Smarties to decorate...a tradition started by my Nan many moons ago and still kept alive sporadically throughout the family. The imaginative amongst you may notice my attempt to make the Smarties round the edge of the cake look like caterpillars. Three green Smarties for the body, a red one for the head and strawberry laces cut to size for antennae. The little bee and ladybird sugar decorations were a hit!

Party decorations were provided by Tom's extensive ladybird collection!

It took a distressing amount of food colouring to get the icing the shade of green I wanted! The ladybird icing discs were purchased online.

Two of Tom's toys presiding over the drinks table

Party time!

Blowing out the candles, Emma's favourite part of the proceedings. We always have to relight the candles to let her blow them out too!.

Tom's 8th Birthday

A few blurry photos of Tom opening his gifts on the morning of his birthday. We got up extra early so that he had time to open them before school. He had many lovely gifts, but his favourites were the stuffed bees and ladybirds he had hoped for. For a little boy who was never interested in cuddly toys, he has really taken to them in the last year or so. Ever since he brought his favourite toy (a ladybird called Be Mine) back from the school autumn fayre last year he has been keen to collect more. Other favourite presents included the child's camera from us and the toy keyboard from his Nanna and Grandad.

A big hit was the 'Ghost Hunt' game given to him by my sister and brother-in-law. You have to play it in the dark and the toy projects images of ghosts randomly about the room. You then have to shoot them with the gun, which registers how many ghosts you get. Poor Jacob (Tom's friend) was most upset that he didn't get a chance to play it on Tom's birthday, but the party ended before it got dark enough. The Podlings love it and we have promised Tom's two best friends that they can come in to play one evening once the clocks go back and it gets darker earlier. Thank you to Elaine and Gareth for that one...they picked a winner once again!

Tom had a really lovely birthday. His Nanna and Grandad were able to join us for the afternoon and his two best friends came to play after school and stayed for a party tea. Mark was able to get home from work early so he could join us for the tea and birthday cake. A few games of 'Ghost Hunt' and some Looney Toons cartoons before bedtime really finished the day off for Tom and he went to bed a very happy little boy.

Tom's favourite present, the 'Bee Baby' as he calls him.

Opening presents with Looney Toons cartoons in the background. Tom's idea of heaven!

Tom opening his 'main' present from us, a child's camera.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Tom is Eight

Getting to know Daddy at one day old.

Tom turned eight today. Eight years ago, at 8 O'Clock in the evening I became a mother when this sweet little boy came into our lives. He was such a tiny baby and I can't believe how fast he is growing into a 'big boy'. He has such a delightful approach to life and marches to the beat of his own drum. I sincerely hope he always will.

Happy 8th Birthday Tom!

You are one in a million and we love you very much!

Eight today!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot