Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Kandinsky Inspired Elmer the Elephant Craft

Elmer the elephant is well loved in our house and has featured in our crafting over the years. This Kandinsky inspired Elmer the elephant craft is my favourite by far. I absolutely love how bright and colourful they have turned out. 

This weekend was Elmer DayElmer Day is all about celebrating our differences and it is a good opportunity to chat with children. At Lego Club we made Lego Elmers and at home we made our own Kandinsky inspired Elmer the elephant craft. Even Barney made one got involved and made one. 
The craft itself is pretty simple and uses Sebs favourite of PVA glue and Alexs favourite... paints! That boy loves getting messy! I have seen similar Elmers on pinterest using layered paper but I perfer mixing up our materials and I think it works. 

I cut plenty of squares of coloured craft paper for the boys to use to make a collage on a blank piece of A4 paper. Usually i let the boys cut but I really wanted squares! The amount of PVA used was insane! These got very sticky!Once they were finished sticking the boys chose a few paints and used chunky paintbrushes to make circles on each square. This was really fun as they discussed which colours would look good on top of the different coloured squares. I showed them images of Kandinskys Squares with Concentric Circles to help them along. We have looked at this painting before when layering paper circles to make flower cards for Mothers Day.

The glue and paints took a while to dry even in the sunshine. Once they had dried out I cut out the Elmer shape using a template printed from Twinkl. You could cut freehand but i am terrible at that. We then added a colourful googly eye (my favourite craft supply) with a little PVA and we have ourselves some lovely Elmers. These gorgeous elephants are going on display in the playroom. 

If you love Elmer too, why not take a look at our hunt for him last year at the herd of Sheffield.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Our weekly Meal Plan #22

Happy Bank Holiday Monday! I hope everyone has been enjoying the sunshine we have been having in the UK, sadly today it is forcast to rain... all day. We were so lucky to have the good weather when we went glamping last week. I am hoping for more of the same later on  this week too. I am never quite sure what to cook when the weather is hot so I am definitely going to be looking for some new ideas for the coming months.

Monday Mild Chilli and jackets

Tuesday Italian chicken and rice

Wednesday Cottage Pie

Thursday Omlettes and beans

Friday Beef meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta

Saturday Chicken and Mozzarella Ravioli with garlic bread

Sunday Homemade cheesy vegetable fingers with sweet potato mash

An InLinkz Link-up

What do you cook in warmer weather? 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Family Fun Glamping at Humble Bee Farm

I've been wanting to try glamping for a while. So when I saw an offer come up on Groupon I booked a 2 night stay in a bell tent glamping at Humble Bee Farm. You might have seen my excitement on social media!

We arrived on Monday afternoon and were eager to see our tent Poppy Fields. The boys were straight in before I even had the chance to get good photos of the inside but I was impressed. The tent is large and furnished well. The details make it for me, the pretty bunting and bedding, floral fairy lights and even the cutlery with heart imprints on the handles. There are even hot water bottles should you need them! It is all very pretty and I am the kind of girl who loves that. There is also a book with everyhing you need to know. Outside the tent is a decked area with fire pit.

To the side of the tent is a covered area with picnic table, barbecue, gas hob, kettle,cool box, cookware and utensils. Everything we needed was already there for us.  We paid for wood for the fire pit and that was delivered to our tent ready for us to use.

During our stay we had the most perfect weather showing off the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside at it's finest. We spent our time cooking sausages, toasting marshmallows, making real hot chocolate and drinking it in front of the fire pit, greeting the farm animals, playing games and enjoying the views. I even managed a few chapters of my book. The boys enjoyed the small play area with it's perfect set up of swings for my three. We all slept well and it was so soothing waking up to the sounds of birdsong.

Humble Bee Farm is lovely, the facilities clean and and the bell tent absolutely spotless. We all wanted to stay longer. We had such an amazing time and are already talking about paying another visit. I think it would make a romantic getaway for two.

Monday, 22 May 2017

General Election 2017 #NotThe33

You might have noticed that we are hurtling towards a General Election. On the 8th of June the polling stations be will open from 7am until 10pm for you to vote. However at the last general election in 2015 a whopping 33.9% of people did not turn out to vote.  That is a huge number.

It is common to think that your vote doesn't count, that it won't make a difference if you don't go. But when you realise that athe the recent local elections a seat in South Blyth had to be decided by drawing straws because of a tie you can see that every vote really does matter. Even spoilt ballots count towards the turnout percentage, and they are a way of showing that you care but have no faith in the candidates standing. I have been told that comments written on the spoilt ballots are often read by the candidates too.

I have had the chance to vote in a few elections now and I have always made sure I use my vote. Over the years my situation has changed from student, to single working woman to a mother. Along with that my priorities for a government have changed too.
I do try to keep my eye on what is happening politically but will admit to feeling a bit underwhelmed by politics at the moment. I did briefly think 'here we go again' when Theresa May announced there was to be a general election. It has after all only been two years once the last one plus we had the Brexit vote last year. But I will be there on polling day, I take the boys along with me (children are very welcome) and tell them exactly what is happening. I vote because I really believe that every vote does make a difference. I don't want to be in the 33%. I want my children to grow up knowing that they do have  a voice and they should use it.

Today is the last chance to register to vote in the General Election. If you haven't registered you can head over and do so before 11.59pm.

If you want to find out a bit more about the different parties and what they stand for head over to the Election 2017 section on BBC News site for the latest updates.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #21

Happy Monday Meal Planners. We are having a slightly different week this week as we are going glamping! I got a fab deal on Groupon last week and so we are heading off to stay in a bell tent. I have been planning toasted marshmallows and real hot chocolates to keep us warm and praying that the boys will actually sleep!

This week's plan is pretty easy stuff. I have picked up a few bargains recently on the reduced shelves including a pack of chicken sausages for just 50p!

Monday away
Tuesday away
Wednesday Filled pasta
Thursday Beef, cheese and onion burgers, wedges and salad
Friday Macaroni cheese with bacon bits and some kind of veg
Saturday Salmon fishcakes, sweet potato mash and peas
Sunday Spicy chicken sausage and tomato pasta

What is on your meal plan this week?

Our weekly meal plan for family of five

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pepperoni Pizza Swirls

Pizza is high up on my boys favourite foods. These tasty Pepperoni Pizza Swirls are a perfect lunchtime alternative to sandwiches. They are quick and easy to make. In fact the boys did the majority of the work for me. They can be eaten warm or stored in an airtight container and eaten cold.

  • Ready made Puff pastry sheet 
  • Tomato Puree 
  • Mixed herbs/Pizza Seasoning 
  • Mozzarella, grated
  • Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Pepperoni slices, quartered 
Lay out the sheet of puff pastry and spread over the tomato puree. Sprinkle of over the herbs and then add nearly all of your cheeses and pepperoni. Roll the puff pastry gently into a swirl. Make sure the swirl is quite tight. Then cut the swirl into slices around an inch wide. lay on a baking tray and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.  Cook for around 10 minutes at 180°. Allow to cool.

These Pepperoni Pizza Swirls are super easy  to your favourite type of pizza. I am planning ham and sweetcorn and a cheesy pesto verion too. Yum! 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Home Education in March and April 2017

Well I am a bit rubbish and have left until the end of May to write up our home education update for March and April. Oops! This post is going to be a very brief outline as two months is a lot of cover (and remember).

March was a busy month for us. We started with our trip to London which was just fantastic, the boys are so keen to go back again and to explore more of the city. Alex asks me pretty much every day. We have promised a trip next year.  The science museum was enjoyed by us all.  When we came home early Sebastian wrote a little about our visit on his ipad. I definitely want to use them for more typing as we have the keyboard to attach to them.

Other places we have visited over the last couple of months include Skipton, Cannon Hall Farm, Temple Newsom Farm, a couple of new parks as well as old favourites, we have spent a sunny day at the beach,  climbed trees, been to a castle, revisited the Room on the Broom trail, been Gruffalo Spotting, learnt about light and sound at Wonderlab and more. When i read it back we have been really busy!

We have been to our local Lego club plus to the one further out which is more of a structured session. We attended the monthly Lego build. We also have a new local weekly Home Ed group which is great.

We looked at the Easter story and learnt about spring at the farm. We planted potatoes, strawberries, peppers, sunflowers, herbs and some flowers and have been tending to them and watching them grow. We have had sensory fun with waterbeads and rainbow rice. We have made biscuits and homemade pizzas and Easter crispy cakes. We even turned the bath into a floating and sinking experiment and I introduced making predictions noting them down and then writing down what actually happens.

There has been a contination of interest in multiplication from Seb, i printed some challenges from Twinkl to go along with a workbook we completed. Money has also been a hot topic, Seb has really clicked with it and can add up several items at a time and work out change. He is reading avidly still, this month has included The Animals of Farthing Wood and Magical Stories for 6 year olds.

Alex is now really interested in numbers and letters. He recognises his letters and can match the capital and small letters. He can read his name, spell it and can write it.  He is enjoying counting and knows the meaning of the numbers. I have seen a huge leap in his development recently and it has shown me that children will come to things when they are ready, we need to trust them. At Easter the school places for next September were given out and of course we didn't apply for Alex. It is another milestone for us I guess.

Thats all for this month, hopefully next month I will post in a more timely manner! 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Sparking Creativity With VeeMcDee Packs by Post

The boys really enjoy it when we get chance to sit and craft. So when VeeMcDee gave us the chance to try one of their Packs by Post I jumped at the chance.

VeeMcDee is run by Vanessa McDermott a mum of two with an extensive background in art. The idea of Packs by Post is to spark ideas and grow creative confidence in children aged 3+. Each month you will receive a colourful pack of craft materials through the post. There are no instructions, no right or wrong way to use the materials just lots of fun to be had. You can subscribe for 1, 3, 6 or 12 months.

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

The pack comes well packaged and fits through the letterbox and inside are lots of lovely craft supplies. We received A4 coloured paper, patterned paper, tissue paper circles in varying colour and sizes, twine, felt, coloured bubble wrap, tape and much more. I added some pva glue and scissors and let the boys create. It is so important to give children the opportunity to be creative without a set outcome. It really allows them to use their imagination. For me this one of the huge benefits of packs by post, it is about the process and they can use the materials how they see fit. As a mum it was nice to have a ready made craft session, no prep needed. 

It was lovely to sit at the table with a cup of tea and watch the boys enjoy a craft session. I love Sebs garden with flowers, a pond and even a washing line. At 6 he now plans what he wants his art work to look like and is confident in how to achieve it. Alex takes a more relaxed attitude, his colourful creation is a mixture of everything.

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

VeeMcDee craft packs by post

For more information about Packs by Post and to subscribe head over to Lets Subscribe.  Currently if you sign up for 3, 6 or 12 month subscription you will also receive a free starter pack. 

**We received the product for the purpose of this post,  all opinions are my own**

Monday, 15 May 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan #20

Happy Monday Meal Planners! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend and saw at least some sunshine.

Weekly meal plan, family of five meal plan

I have found that we have got into a bit of a food rut recently and having the same meals over and over and I am a bit bored of it. So this week we are trying a couple of new dishes and a couple of old favourites that we haven't had in ages. Phil is working Friday and Saturday night this week so I let the boys pick what they fancied, not the healthiest choices but they love getting involved. I am also planning on a little baking this week, I think some jammy biscuits would go down well.

Monday Leftover bolognese in stand and stuff tortillas

Tuesday Chicken and halloumi fajitas with sweet potato wedges

Wednesday Mince beef and potato casserole 

Thursday Pulled Chicken with sweet potato mash

Friday Hot Dogs and Corn on the cob

Saturday Fish Finger Sandwiches

Sunday Lasagne and garlic bread

Friday, 12 May 2017

Hemsworth Water Park and Playworld in Pontefract

Over the last couple of days we have been blessed with beautiful weather. We decided to make the most of it and headed to Hemsworth Water Park and Playworld in Pontefract. Neither Phil nor I have been to this park before, to be honest I didn't know much about it before visiting. However we had an absolutely lovely day and Seb declared that he had been on the best slide ever so it is a definite winner!

We soon realised that Hemsworth Water Park and Playworld is a bit of a hidden gem. There is plenty of parking which is £3 for the day. The water park is made up of two large lakes. The largest has sandy beach areas to enjoy. There are also lots of grassy areas to run, play and have a picnic. We had bought buckets and spades with us so the boys had a good play on the beach are before we had a walk round. They were able to paddle in the lake altbough swimming is not allowed. On our walk we found that there is a path giving access to a large and lovely playground (not part of the water park). We headed in here for our picnic, the boys could play and Barney could explore safely in a fenced in area.

Hemsworth water park

Hemsworth water park

Baby at Hemsworth water park

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Playworld is an outdoor adventure playground located just across from the lakes. There is a charge of £3 per child(under 2's and adults go free). Inside is a huge tower slide which Seb decreed the best slide ever! Along with the slide is a zip wire and various other play equipment to challenge older children. On the other side is a sandy area for younger children with more play equipment. There is also a jumping pillow which we all had great fun on. This is such a great area, it is really well maintained and supervised. All three boys really enjoyed themselves.

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Hemsworth water park and Playworld

Before heading home we popped into the Lakeside cafe for an ice lolly. As well as a cafe it also has a small soft play area inside. There is also a seperate beach shop (it was closed when we visited) and toilet facilities at the water park and pedalos to hire in school holidays and on weekends.

Hemsworth Water Park and Playworld is the perfect place to spend a sunny day. We will definitely be back over the coming months and years.

Why not take a look at some of our other family days out in Yorkshire?

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