Thursday, 2 October 2014

{Autumn Bucket List} Things to do with Conkers!

Autumn is here and that means one thing. No, not massive spiders. Though, that too... (& if you've seen one and not shared a picture of it on social media then that makes me love you a little bit - we don't all need to see them, it was big, we'll take your word for it... *Stern look directed at the rest of you*).


Not only are they brilliant fun to play the very originally named "Conkers" with, they are also said to keep those bloody great beastly spiders away (I don't know how true that is but frankly I'll try anything to keep them out).

Have your kids been collecting them this Autumn?

As part of our Autumn Bucket List activities we collected some conkers from the horse chestnut tree in a local orchard after their community apple picking afternoon. We arrived too late to take part in the apple picking (though they did very well without us as you can see) but H & E had great fun playing in the trees with their cousin T, gathering conkers and making up their own games using branches & sticks... You know, like in the olden days!

So - after you have collected all of these conkers, what exactly are you meant to do with them?

Daisies & Pie suggests using conkers as a spider deterrent, and shares several other natural ideas for keeping those unwelcome Autumnal visitors at bay.

At Red Ted Art there is a very helpful tutorial about how to play with conkers, complete with video and a list of materials for what you will need to play the game.

My Mummy's Pennies has shared five fun things to do with conkers, including using them for sensory and maths play (clever!), and making your own Halloween or Christmas decorations.

Or you can simply make a pretty seasonal decoration with them, like I have. Rattan balls with conkers and fir cones in a wooden bowl make a great decoration for the sideboard or table.

What have you done with yours?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Encouraging Creativity #theGallery

With the children so heavily involved in their schooling and extra-curricular activities it can often feel like I never have time to just let them 'be', so whenever we do find that precious time to just relax at home, I am keen to encourage them to express themselves in whatever way they would like.

H & E are very creative little beings and they love to make and do. Since they were little (all 5 of them) we have made cakes, and cooked, and baked, and spent time decorating cakes and biscuits and gingerbread houses, and I have loved letting them get involved with it. The gingerbread houses in particular never look all that pretty but they have such fun decorating them so who cares! It is so important to just let them do their own thing.

E is very artistic so we bought her a huge tub and filled it with art supplies for her birthday, she loves to sit at the table while I'm making dinner and let her creativity flow. I have pictures and things she has made stuck all over my walls and doors and I love seeing how proud she is of her work. H often sits and joins her in painting pictures or making collages, it's lovely to watch them bonding over a piece of their artwork, and making things together.

Too soon they will be engrossed in technology (much like A, J & L sadly are these days) so I am making the most of their desire to be creative, and play with something that doesn't have a screen!

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

{Autumn Bucket List} Forage

I remember from my own childhood, afternoons spent with my older sisters clambering through hedges and the fields behind our house (the very same ones as in the picture below) gathering blackberries for mum and nan to make into puddings for us. We'd also go & pick apples off our great aunt's tree in her back garden, & enjoy great big bowls of hot crumble with custard.

There's something about foraging and finding your own food from nature that is just quite lovely. I know that we can easily go to the supermarket and pick up a punnet of berries or even a ready-made crumble, but I really want to try and encourage the kids to get out and find what is already there around them. I obviously don't want them scrumping from other peoples gardens of course, but the blackberry bushes in the hedgerows are teeming with berries at this time of year, & what a waste it would be not to use them.

The Mister and I took E along the road to pick blackberries on Sunday afternoon since it was such a lovely warm day, and she had a great time filling up our tub with the juiciest berries should could find (and reach). They're just starting to go over now, but we still managed a good haul. E was very proud of her hard work.

We brought them home and gave them a good wash, and have now stored them in the freezer as we're going to be off apple picking soon, so we can use it all to make our very own crumble. Our next door neighbours have offered us the pick of the apples from their tree again this year, so H & E are very much looking forward to a bit of tree climbing! Have you been fruit picking for your Autumn bucket list?

Super Busy Mum 

Monday, 29 September 2014

Meal Plan Monday 290914

Mon 29th Sept - Sausages, mash & baked beans

Tues 30th Sept - Macaroni cheese with bacon, & steamed broccoli

Thurs 2nd Oct - Steak & chips with veg

Fri 3rd Oct - Cottage pie

Sat 4th Oct - Enchiladas

Sun 5th Oct - Roast

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post
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