Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The night before school.

So I sit here the night before you start school for the first time Mr Magoo. You are excited and happy and looking forward to the new adventure with your best friend. I am so glad about that. I am a mixture of emotions. Excited too but anxious, worried, apprehensive and sad. Sad that it is the biggest step yet of you growing up and not being my baby boy anymore and anxious that you will start to lose your innocence now that you're going to have more outside influences than you've had before. These things can be flipped to be positive too of course and I am sure I will see that more clearly soon. Tonight though it feels more sad for me as you are my first born off to school. I watched you sleep tonight, sucking your thumb and cuddling Flat Ted and looking too little to be starting school.
I have treasured these last 4 years with you and love being able to be home with you and not miss anything. You have got on well at nursery and I know you will be great at school. You have already shown disappointment that you have to come home early tomorrow and Thursday and I take that as a massive positive because it shows just how happy you are to go. I just keep everything crossed that this enthusiasm continues and that you love primary school like you should do. I have so many happy memories from my primary schools and I am still friends with quite a few of those I was there with. I hope the same for you. Hopefully you won't feel too pressured and you will enjoy learning regardless of what levels you are at. I guess that's the part I am most anxious about, the pressure that I know all teachers are under. I just hope that the new curriculum changes are enjoyable for you and that school doesn't feel like a pressure cooker for you. We shall see. So whilst I triple check your uniform for names and creases and set it all out for the morning along with working out what time to get up. I will pop in to watch you sleep again and hope your dreams come true. xxx

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sometimes the best things in life are free or 50p!

Well firstly, sorry for being AWOL for a little while! It has been rather busy here with Mr Y having to use the laptop most nights to prepare his best man's speech added on to that the manic month of June! We have our wedding anniversary and then Mrs Magee and Mr Magoo's birthdays ten days apart. So we are in a bit of a birthday blur at the moment. Last night I was busy trying to recreate a sugar paste Peter Rabbit and tonight will be spent making Mr McGregor's boots and various vegetables to top the cake that will be made tomorrow night! Tomorrow being Mrs Magee's big day and the grand old age of 2! Anyway on to the blog post. So recently we have done quite a few days/mornings/afternoons out which have been free or a very low price. This has been fabulous seeing as June is an expensive month for us! So last week a lovely friend (thank you Mrs M!) made us aware of the fact that Weston Park was opening it's doors for 50p entry to celebrate being open for 50 years. So Mrs Magee and I spent a great day there with our friends including our Gifts from the Pirates chums.
The adventure playground was fab and I know Mr Magoo would be in his element, so we are going to visit this Sunday as a treat with the inlaws too. Mrs Magee is fairly game for anything so enjoyed getting mucky and climbing the frames and sliding down some high adrenaline slides (I am saying high adrenaline as I nearly fell off the side!).
The grounds are beautiful and we enjoyed having a wander around and a spot of lunch. We are going back again to make use of the 50p entry (Tuesdays in June) next week and the week after! I am also probably going to invest in a season ticket as compared to some local attractions it is quite reasonable and under 4's are free anyway.
We have also enjoyed one of our local parks, it is such a great space and normally quite quiet too, apart from the tractors, but they are a welcome addition! Mr Magoo can safely go round and round the little track on his scooter and be seen at all times whilst I watch Mrs Magee on the other equipment. This is great as everyone is a winner. Yesterday the weather was great and we could relax there with Grandma so much so that we are going back again for a little birthday picnic!
Lastly in this post we visited Lilleshall Abbey again due to a recommendation by a friend (thank you Mrs W!), it is a stunning place, especially in the sunshine. Mrs Magee and I met up with some of our Mummy friends and their children and we enjoyed exploring the ruins and eating a picnic. I will let the photos do the talking! Bye for now, I am off for a date with some wellington boots!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Jurassic Park and Indoor Sandcastles!

Bookmarking and 'liking' pages on the internet and Facebook which have fun recipes and ideas on is a common occurrence. Actually remembering them and trying them out is less frequent! I have made home made playdough before and it was great, I only made half the quantity and it was loads and it lasted well past the 3 months it said and was probably more like 2 years! The colour had faded somewhat though! So one rainy day I decided to make a new batch so Magoo could play with it alongside his new dinosaurs. I used this recipe (I love the Imagination Tree website, so many fabulous ideas). I added green food dye as we felt it was the best suited colour and we got to work. Magee and Magoo loved playing with it, especially Magoo though, he really got in to it and was content for ages. Magee lasted a little while and then enjoyed chucking hers on the floor!
Another recipe I had wanted to try was Cloud Dough so we gave this a whirl too as it looked super easy. It was! So we had lots of fun experimenting with it and making sandcastles and using cake and jelly moulds. Then obviously they had to be destroyed by a dinosaur!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Fun at the Pop Up Festival of Stories.

Yesterday we went along to the Pop Up Festival of Stories at Enginuity and the Museum of Iron in Coalbrookdale. We had seen it advertised and it looked like it could be fun and it was free, so win win! The weather wasn't quite as balmy as promised but it stayed fine so all was well. We went along close to the start of the festival thinking we would be there a couple of hours tops, we ended up there for about 4 hours in the end, so that in itself shows how much fun we had! The festival was set up inside and outside of the museums and the different areas were set up to reflect the book that was being read/advertised. There were quite a few authors there with their books all set to inspire and engage the young and slightly older people of Shropshire! We all had fun playing the different instruments in Ken Wilson-Max's pop up jungle area and having a go with some that we had never seen before.
There was also a big piece of card set up in a jungle theme with paint and circular sponges to help create a bright collaborative picture with everyone. We moved on to a really large room full of displays and art and craft stations overflowing with goodies to get creative with. There were people there to help inspire you if you were a bit stuck and of course the books themselves created a lot of food for thought of what you could design. You could take your finished piece home or add it to the displays. There were authors reading their books at different points and some great drama work from TADLOP theatre group. We moved on from our craft activity to have a look outside but stopped via a giant piece of art on the floor that everyone could join in with. It was set up by an author and illustrator called James Mayhew. Magee and Magoo loved adding to it and I was admiring the illustration of the character called Katie.
There were a few stalls to look at in the courtyard area which were interesting and then we were enticed in to the next area by it's twinkly fairy lights. Inside it had a lovely feel about it. The story was called Kite Spirit and there were lots of beautiful paper kites hung up with poems on them. Magee and Magoo loved the cosy material tent and looking at the props on display. Over at the Museum of Iron there were food outlets and the obligatory ice cream van! We settled for pizza from The Really Good Pizza Co we had to wait a while but it was yummy, so worth it! The last part we went to was Julia Golding's Young Knights and Dangerous Dragons where Magee and Magoo got to decorate a shield, they loved this and enjoyed playing Knights with them afterwards.
The festival is popping up in Essex and Camden too so do go along if you can as it was great fun and very inspiring, follow them on facebook to keep updated. I have certainly been looking up the authors since and I am sure I will be reading quite a few of their books at some point.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Firm Favourite

Having a small house and being mindful of the environment, we try not to go overboard with toys. We love wooden toys as they last a long time and can withstand knocks and bumps, they are tactile and look great too. We also love the fact they can be reused/recycled and that another family can enjoy them once we are finished with them. It is great to know that they come from an ethically sound source in the first place. I will talk in a separate post about the different ones we have maybe but I just wanted to do a quick one today about the firm favourite in our house, that is the wooden railway. Mr Magoo loves trains and we kicked off his train set with a basic Ikea figure of eight to see whether he would like it. He did, so there started his collection! We have various wooden Thomas the Tank trains with Gordon being the flavour of the month at the moment. We are lucky enough to have a great second hand toy stall at our local market and we got a big bag of track and accessories for £20 which went down well as a 3rd birthday present.
Most of our accessories such as the station, bridges, tunnel etc are all from Bigjigs we love them as they are such great quality are bright and colourful too. I also love the environmental and ethical responsibilities that they take seriously. It is great to buy from a company that cares about where their products are sourced. It is nice to see Mrs Magee actually playing with the trains now as well rather than just bashing them around or pushing her brother's ones off the track! So it looks set to be popular with her too and it will be lovely to see them continue to make up stories and adventures together as they get older. Definitely a set we will continue adding to and will be enjoyed for years to come.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Wheely good fun!

When choosing a first bike for Mr Magoo we were set on getting a balance bike as we loved the idea of getting used to no stabilisers from the start. Then it was just the matter of deciding on exactly which one, what a minefield! There are so many makes out there. At first we thought a wooden one would be great due to our love of wooden toys but once we had investigated lots of makes and read a lot of reviews we settled on a Strider bike from learning early.
We loved the fact it was light and looked cool. Plus seeing as it is good quality we hoped to be able to use it for any future children too. Mr Magoo had it for an early Christmas present when he was just over 2 and he had a good go at it at first but it was a bit hit and miss. He wasn't really a huge fan of it and when he saw a friend with a mini microscooter then that became his dream machine! The lucky boy got one last Christmas when he was 3 1/2 and loved it immediately. We tried out Mrs Magee with the bike and she was a natural from the start.
So it all worked out well in the end! A few months on and they are both getting on really well with their new wheels. It was lovely to see them riding around together and Magee trying to keep up with her big bro!
Magoo has mastered the brake on the back now and really gets up some speed at times which leaves me with my heart in my mouth! Daddy has even put one on his Christmas list now so he can join in the fun!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Imagine, imagine, imagine!

Having a good imagination is so great and really opens the door to whole new worlds. I go through fits and starts about worrying about the amount of TV the littles watch. It isn't on all day but neither is it limited to an hour a day. You feel bad when you hear about people that have banned the TV altogether but then not so bad when others have it on all day. Like most things in life I think you should do stuff in moderation and not feel guilty! For me the TV is great to keep them occupied whilst I need to start dinner or do something where they can't join in or help as there just isn't the room. I also put my hands up to using it sometimes to give me some peace for ten minutes so I can do something I want to do or just need some time out! We will sit and watch things together too and we'll talk about what's going on or join in with the counting/letters etc if it is something like Numtums or Alphablocks etc. Magoo is at the age now where he likes certain films and it has been really nice to sit and watch Toy Story or Cars with him and see how much he gets in to them. It certainly doesn't curtail his imagination afterwards either as he doesn't just reenact parts of the film he plays his own games with the different characters. Magee has an active imagination too and loves 'cooking' you things or playing cafes/shops with Magoo.
They made me laugh today as they went in to the yard and Magoo picked up part of his hotwheels track and asked me what pizza I would like! Magee copied and they were soon taking my orders and 'cooking' me up different pizzas with all sorts of elaborate toppings! The only pieces of equipment they had were the 'pizza peels' (a cricket stump and the track) and the 'ovens' (garden chairs), the rest was all made up! We had lots of different toppings including standard pizza express flavours with some added extras like cat crisps, strawberries and chocolate. Yes that was cat crisps! I determined that these were not made from cats or cat food but were cat shaped! Thank goodness!

Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Gorgeous Gorge.

So Magee has been poorly this week with Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, we have had it before so knew the score more or less and that you just wait it out and have to get on with it basically and you aren't told to stay away from others! She was so, so grumpy last weekend, which is very out of sorts for her as she is usually very happy. We weren't sure what was up really but she was sleeping badly and was in with me whilst Mr Y was in with Magoo. Could it be her tummy? Could it be her teeth (her amber necklace had broken so was that related?)? The spots outed themselves anyway and a trip to the docs just to check confirmed HFM. We needed to get out of the house as they were both a bit fed up and the weather was beautiful. So I had already packed my well worn Ironbridge Gorge Museums Passport in anticipation that they would want to go out. We have used it so many times and I have had a passport for the last 2 years as it is fabulous value for money seeing as the children are still free until they are 5. So I will definitely be renewing in April! Anyway, we headed to Coalport China Museum and had a great time as we hadn't visited that particular museum before. They are set up well for children and we followed a trail around looking for animals to tick off on our clipboard. It is still very much a whistle stop tour as they don't want to hang around looking at stuff for long and are always eager to see what is in the next room! We found all of the animals though, apart from a pesky rat that was hiding in the dark where we missed it! Magee and Magoo enjoyed pretending to have tea and Magoo liked rebuilding the kilns and other buildings on the map in the children's area. The kilns were amazing and a little spooky! The sounds of the 'workers' made us all jump in the second kiln! We finished by walking along the canal to see the ducks, have a look at the Hay Incline and walk over the bridge over the river Severn. We also found the Tar Tunnel which we'll visit in the summer.
Tuesday saw us visit Jackfield Tile Museum after picking Magoo up from nursery. I knew he would be tired but he was keen to go somewhere new. So we called in and had a good look around. So many beautiful tiles and it was interesting seeing the recreated tube station, complete with train noises!!! That really confused Magoo, he was sure there was a train around the corner! Even after I thought I had explained that it was just sound effects and not real he still asked me 5 minutes later if the train would be around the corner!! Wednesday we met up with Magoo's best friend and had a play in the park and then went on to Enginuity. This is the museum we visit most often and is our rainy day fixture! They love it there as it is so hands on and as they get older they begin to understand more about what they actually see there. The favourite sections are the water part (goes without saying really!, the recycling sorting machine, the bead tipping truck, the penny squashing machine and the soft play area. It's a great museum as it isn't too big and normally I've found that you don't notice the school groups too much although it was the busiest I had ever seen it on this visit! We also love Blists Hill Victorian Town but didn't visit it this week. I'll have to do another blog post just on that one I think!! Magoo and I ended our week by popping in to Ironbridge for a milkshake and hot chocolate, just the two of us as that is a rarity really. We called in to Truffles and were impressed with our choices and Magoo loved the extra goodies he got with his drink! Magee was having fun at my parents' and Magoo was in need of some time with just me as he'd been feeling a bit left out I think with Magee being under the weather and being very needy! So we had a lovely time and will definitely be doing that more often. We stopped off at Queenies for some delicious cupcakes to take home and enjoyed tucking in to them after dinner! We are so lucky to have Ironbridge so close and it offers so much to do. I must remember to take lots of photos next time and put them on here!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Just another brick in the wall!

So following on from my previous post about using our back yard more than out front garden I thought I would write this quick post. We have used the outdoor chalks on numerous occasions but the novelty seems to wear off pretty fast. The other day though it lasted a bit longer and with Magee only deciding to eat the chalks at the very end! They both really enjoyed themselves and I think Magoo's colourful bricks look great. Although you can't really tell from the photo!!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sunny days and daisy chains.

We always try and make the most of getting outside when we can. Our garden isn't great as it is at the front of the house and very public and often used as a litter tray by the local cats, nice!!! So we use our little back yard most of the time. We are lucky to have some great open spaces on our doorstep though and our regular walks for some much needed space to run around are only a few minutes walk away. Monday's jaunt took us up to the cemetery, sounds morbid but it is beautiful! I love the trees, flowers and birds up there. It is obviously a peaceful place but never fails to make you thankful for what you have. It is great for the children to run around on the paths and spot the wildlife. A moment I loved that made me thought 'I have to blog about this so I remember it' was when Mr Magoo was going off up the little paths closely followed by Mrs Magee and she fell over but got up instantly and seemed fine. Anyway, I was watching from a distance and saw him crouching down in front of her for a while and wondered what he was up to. I thought he may have been brushing down her dusty knees or something after her falling over. I went closer to see what was going on and as I got closer I could see that he had been busy concentrating hard on placing a daisy in to each of her button holes on her coat! It made my heart melt! A moment to treasure.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

New intentions.

Inspired by my yoga class on Saturday I have started off this blog. It has been an idea for a while but with a new moon and new month bringing new intentions I thought I had better seize the day and kickstart it! Thanks to Gifts from the pirates for boosting my confidence to give it a whirl too. So a short first post but another to come soon, watch this space ............