Alone Time

We’ve always been so good at doing things together as a family, but with three kids, one a particularly active toddler, it’s easy to lose that focus on the older child – especially if they’re as calm and well behaved as Leon. And lately it seems he’s been craving a little alone time with his mama and pappa.

On Saturday mornings it seems to be an ideal time right now. Maya has her ‘nature school’, and Alfie always has a play-date with Ted. So lately Leon has had time with us grown ups. Just for a couple of hours – and we all love it.

He’s been cycling and fishing with Pappa, and on little shopping trips and to eat lunch out. And this week it was my turn!

After a trip to the local toy shop to spend his pocket money (marbles – the latest craze), lunch out, and then a delicious ice cream at the local ice cream parlour, it was off to play mini golf. It may not have been the best weather, with outbursts of rain, but it didn’t spoil our fun!

It really made me realise how important alone time is with your kids – for everyone!

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Beautiful Blossoms

Maya has always been interested in flowers, and lately we’ve been noticing lots of tree blossoms in our garden…

....on the apple tree...

... and on the cherry tree...

We had some left over pop-corn from the night before, and I remembered seeing it used as blossom in art work. We tried this together, but then went on to make another blossom picture, directed by Maya…

Being completely Maya’s own idea, I just love the second picture – the detail of the tree and it’s blossoms, and as I watched her, she actually mixed brown and red pens to make parts of the wood on the tree darker (such as right at the bottom of the trunk and the ends of the branches). When I asked her why she had chosen to do this, she just said “because if you look closely, some parts of the tree are a very different colour from the rest”. I also like the way she used two types of paper, and cut and glued them together, to make the sky and the grass, instead of just drawing it…

Children’s art work is just wonderful isn’t it?

Homemade Petal Fairies

Maya and I made some lovely little fairies using florist’s wire, material petals from a craft shop, small plastic beads, and bigger wooden beads….

Here is our first fairy. It’s fair to say that her arms are a little long, but basically, by cutting the florist’s wire into two pieces, one shorter for the arms, and the other longer, with the longer one looped over the top for the body and the head shape. Then you simply wind the ‘arms ‘around the longer wire on the ‘neck’, with the loop at the top for the head, and the two ‘legs’ sticking out downwards.

The next step is to slide a small plastic bead up the two ‘legs’ (the bottom of the longer wire), and then slide up a few petals for skirts, sliding up one more plastic bead and gluing it into place, to stop the ‘skirts’ from sliding down. The ‘arms’ should make a knot where they are wound around the ‘ body ‘ to stop the skirts from going right over the head!

The third step is to squeeze the loop at the top together, and thread and glue on the wooden bead for the head. Then to add facial features and hair with pen, and glue petals on the head for a hat.

Here is our second fairy. We threaded and glued a small petal over the head onto the body shape to made a top here…

The baby was made just by drawing facial features on a wooden bead, gluing a petal on the head, and gluing a larger petal around a piece of cotton wool for the body. She is lying in half a walnut shell, and has another petal glued over her for a blanket…

We’re hoping to make many more!

School Space Exhibition

Today Leon’s school had an open house and this year they have been working on the theme of ‘The Earth’, which of course has included lots of work on ‘space’…

As you can see, the children and the teachers had worked very hard to make some really imaginative rockets and models, and we were also able to visit the ‘space cafe’ where the kids had made their own biscuits and cakes – renamed meteorites of course!

Dandelion Day

Yesterday we had a lovely morning with dandelions!

We showed Alfie how to blow the seeds of an older dandelion away…

And we read this wonderful book about how seeds blow away and ‘re plant’ themselves…

And then we gathered lots and lots of dandelion heads into our lunch bag…

And came home to make dandelion sorbet!

1) Snip off petals not too close to bottom so you have 2 cups full.

2) Heat 5 cups water, half a cup of honey and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan.

3) When boiling, stir in petals, cover and simmer for an hour.

4) Sieve through muslin into container and stir in 3 tablespoons of honey.

5) Put in freezer, and stir every so often.

We made this yesterday, and are saving it to eat tonight – it looks delicious – and the suggestion is to serve each small dish with a dandelion on top!

Tea For Two

Alfie and Maya had a great time taking tea today…

We had some old tea bags, and a packet of old tea leaves, and together with some cups and jugs, small sieves, filter paper, funnels and warm water, they got to work!

We used to do this kind of activity a LOT in California when Leon was younger, and Maya but a wee thing – and they just loved it…

Maya was most interested in investigating the tea bags...

...trying out the tools...

... and mixing the mess!

While Alfie was happiest pouring himself cup after cup of water, using a tiny tea set.

"Delicious" he exclaimed after every cup!

Snail Tales

Having previously expressed what wonderful summer days we were having, today it poured and poured with rain!

What a better day then, to observe some snails…

Having observed them closely, and observed them eating, I remembered a little activity I saw at Filth Wizardry – ‘snail painting’!

Perhaps it’s not exactly PC, but just a tiny amount of food colouring in water, and dipping the snails in them just slightly, made for a long (and very slow) observation…

Alfie just loved this activity – actually just really loved the snails – so much that he even held one…

…. and got quite upset when we let them free!

Brilliant Building!

I will never have enough good things to say about the ‘Klutz’ building cards – here Maya and little Leon (who seems to have been adopted by us lately!) are having lots of fun creating castles.

Maya is incorporating the cards into a more simple ‘Klutz’ put-together cardboard castle, and Leon is making his castle from scratch with the cards…

This is really a wonderfully creative toy, and enjoyed by kids of many different ages (perhaps 5 and up), and adults too!

Babes In The Wood

It’s funny to think that just over a month ago our gardens were still covered in snow, and our lakes were still partly frozen. Sweden is always slightly behind when it comes to seasons, but this year it seems that spring had barely sprung, when summer arrived!

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful picnic ….

Maya and Alfie disappeared into the woods...

.. to pick beautiful flowers...

As they got further away I felt so proud of the way Maya took care of her little brother...

They continued into a little meadow - can you guess what they are looking at?

Mr and Mrs Mallard - they came to say hello!

Maya was fascinated by the shape of these ferns. She surprised me by telling me that they were called 'orm bunka'!

Here were some really big ones!

And there was even time for a little paddling!

How Can This Be Wrong?

Although I am lucky enough to be at home with my kids, I don’t get much time alone with my littlest one, and the time that I do get is truly treasured. I love 2. It is an age of discovery, curiosity, love and fear. An age when everything is new and exciting.

The other day a neighbour asked me when I was going to put Alfie into preschool. She expressed concern that he needed more of a social life and might get bored at home with the new baby. Yet he visits playgroups, parks, swimming pools, museums and farms, and he has a small number of good friends, many acquaintances, and two wonderful siblings whom he plays with daily.

Today I watched him laugh with joy when I pushed him on the swing, and helped him overcome his fear of going down the slide. Together we observed and talked about a bee pollinating a flower, and heard the ‘plop’ sound as we dropped stone after stone into a drain. Then we shared his first ice lolly of the summer, and read books on the front doorstep in the sun.

And all the time I know that these moments are special and short lived….

And so I wonder  – is he really suffering?