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Mud is good!

And then there were four!… With the welcome arrival of our second daughter River, life is beginning to settle into being a little family of four. She is currently cuddled on my lap as I type this one handed 🙂

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It has taken me far too long to write this post as it has been sitting in my draft box. These photos were taken on a venture into the woods near our house for some family fun time outdoors. This was River’s first time in the woods near our home and will start to become a regular thing now as we try to gather as much dead wood as we can while the nights stay bright and before the winter comes back.

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I don’t know what it is about Mud that draws children to it like a moth to a flame but even Ayla who like most girls loves dressing up in big frills and prancing around with fairy wings and dancing like a ballerina still loves to get muddy!

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The mud here is almost pure clay, so Daddy and Ayla had a go at molding it into little bowls to bring back home with them.

Can’t tell you how blessed I feel to have this place on our doorstep, the birds seem louder in here and its fun spotting different tracks in the mud. There can be muntjac deer, pheasants and the odd doggy paw prints or hoof prints which are all fun to spot on our walk and tell a story to the life of the place and the animals passing through.

We even brought the mud home with us and with a little lesson from Daddy the two of them had a go at forming little clay bowls with muddy fingers, which was pretty successful. We left them overnight to dry and then had a go at baking them in the oven which has left hard enough that we can probably have a go at painting them.

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If they hold well enough we might even consider making a few more as plant pots for the garden by hardening them properly in a kiln. Talking of plant pots Ayla and I planted a few sunflower seeds a while ago which have shot up nicely and I am excited to see what flowers we might get this summer.

Hope you are all well, wherever you might be xxx

 

 

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Spring is here at last!

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There is nothing quite like the spring sunshine after the winter and the promise of a new season ahead. Easter is well and truly on its way which is always a special time of year and reminds us of how blessed we really are.

When the dark clouds lift and you feel the warmth of the sun once again it seems that everything touched by its rays speak of new life and good things to come…. Summer!

 

This is a particularly special Spring for us as a family as we are awaiting the arrival of the latest addition to our nest. I am 39 weeks pregnant and although I appreciate what my body has been doing to grow this little person inside my belly I am pretty exhausted now and very ready for birth to come and pregnancy to finish.

My hospital bag is packed, which I was reluctant to put too much in as last time I remember not using much of it, however I have still managed to fill a bag, probably again with too much stuff!

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Shilo has been soaking up some rays through the kitchen window and I can honestly say these sunny mornings lift my spirits. We haven’t been to visit the lambs this year as it is not recommended for pregnant mothers, however we are hoping to welcome some chickens into our coop later this year, so watch this space!!

We dont often need an excuse for a good walk but now the baby is ready to arrive we thought some walking might coax my body into labour and with a sunny but cool afternoon yesterday we took a trek up to the top of the valley and Josh my other half tried out his new/second hand lense for his camera.

I love watching Ayla in the outdoors, there is so much joy and freedom, we are truly blessed to live where we do.

I hope the sun has shown its face where ever you are and with the promise of Summer on its way there is such expectation in the air, I am really excited to see what lies ahead and for some fun outside.

Looking forward to getting the garden sorted, there is lots to be done, we are hoping to build a shed, do up Ayla’s wendy house, put the poly tunnel up and plant some fresh fruit and veg.

So watch this space! … I will also be looking out for some elderflowers again this year from our tree and perhaps have a go at making some elderflower champagne for the grown ups 🙂 as well as the cordial!

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Hopefully next blog there will be four of us to photograph!

In the meantime if you get a chance to escape into the sunshine and walk somewhere you feel free, try putting your worries aside and escape for a moment! We could all learn a thing or too from children they really have a great out look on the world.

 

Mark 10:14

Jesus said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.”

Back in time, February fun! (Worcestershire County Museum)

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Me and Ayla went on a little explore today as it is half term and our usual groups are not running this week. I decided to head toward Hartlebury and perhaps visit the common when I stumbled across this County Museum advertising half term activities, and Im really glad we did!

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We were looking forward to something fun especially as the baby’s due date is getting nearer, I am taking this opportunity to have some quality Mummy daughter time before we have our hands full with our new little arrival!

The lady greeted us at the desk and as Ayla is under 5 her addmission was free, Adult price is only £5 and I paid £2 for Ayla to do all three of the craft activities which were being run throughout the Museum.

I was in heaven as they had a fantastic display of Gypsy Bow Top wagons and exhibits of horses in harness!

I really hope to one day own my own bow top, they are just so beautiful they really are captivating and they look so cosy inside!

We even found a Blacksmiths forge which Ayla was confused why her Daddy wasn’t actually forging there. I did try to explain it was like Daddy’s forge but not actually his … her little voice calling out ‘Where is Daddy?’ as she peered in!

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Inside the museum we were invited to take part in a trail to find the ‘frogs’ which were numbered and hiding around the exhibits which really helped to add an element of excitement. Ayla enjoyed finding them and pointing them out to me!

This was one of the clues we found in the Victorian class room. Ayla particularly liked this room and it reminded me of myself as I was always fascinated finding out what life had been like for children years ago.

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She took her time in Victorian school quite seriously and insisted that I be the teacher 🙂

This museum is perfect for little ones as the exhibits are so interactive, they have really thought about children attending and made the history of it all come alive for them. Ayla could listen to different peoples accounts of farming from local people recalling the past. She told me at one stage she thought it might be ‘Mary Poppins speaking to her’ which of course she thought was brilliant! There was dressing up to be done, buttons to press, mini electric trains to watch, old fashioned toys to have a go with, coin rubbing and more!

I loved watching her run around the carriage circle and pretend to be stuck in the stocks 🙂

The cafe was great too, simple hearty food at value for money and good service, I really recommend this place as a visit for all the family to enjoy!

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The craft activites were really well thought out and each one had a set person to explain and help you make each one. Ayla was also given a certificate for completing her trail and entered into a prize draw at the end to win some more goodies.

Would definitely recommend!

…..Now all I need to do is figure out how I can get my hands on one of these gorgeous

bow tops! 🙂

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Happy February Fun Everyone!

You can visit the County Museum Information site at :

https://www.worcestershire.gov.uk/museums/info/3/county_museum

Felt Christmas decorations

These are so simple and really effective for decking the halls this Christmas!

Step 1: Choosing your template simply draw around it onto your chosen felt and carefully cut out two the same.

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Step 2: Decorate your shapes with sequins, glitter, more felt, ribbon etc whatever you like and whatever feels festive! Choose your design, then glue or sew into position.

Step 3: Place both sides together with the decorated sides on the outside and using wool or embroidery thread stitch the two together.

I have used a blanket stitch which is really easy even if you have never done it before. Simply push the needle through both pieces and make sure the length of thread is passed over the needle before pulling tight.

If that makes no sense then a detailed description of how to do a blanket stitch can be found at: http://www.wikihow.com/Sew-Blanket-Stitch

Step 4: Make sure you leave a loop at the top so you can hang your decoration and then choose where you want it to go on your tree!

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My little girl had lots of fun decorating the felt shapes with glue and glitter which I later sewed together when they were dry.

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You can even have a go using some cookie cutters to draw around to get some more interesting shapes.

Hope you have all been having fun putting your trees up and making your homes feel festive. These homemade decorations are always special to have especially the ones we have made together and I am so pleased with how they have turned out and how easy they were to achieve.

Happy decorating! 🙂

 

Christmas Baking!

As it is officially Advent and December is now here, who can resist the chance to make some festive biscuits and get in the mood for all things Christmassy!

We have been house sitting/dog sitting my parents place and my Mum keeps a well stocked larder cupboard which makes baking easy and spontaneous as I am quite sure she has everything you could possibly need for a recipie.

Our first attempt was…burned!

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I also decided to try the ‘black treacle’ instead of golden syrup and I think even if I hadnt burned them they were not quite the flavour I was expecting. This recipie contained no egg, butter, flour, dark brown sugar, black treacle, bicarbante of soda, ginger and cinnamon.

So for our second attempt the following day, I decided not to use the black treacle and try the soft ‘lighter’ brown sugar. Apparently the lighter shade of brown simply reflects the amount of mollases they have added darker = more, lighter = less.

For the second attempt I used:

350g plain flour (although I had to use self raising)

100g butter

75g golden syrup

200g soft brown sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

tiny pinch of salt

1 egg beaten

There are a number of recipies for christmas biscuits online, I simply took from the ones available and customised the recipies to the ingredients we had and the flavours we like.

I love to get Ayla involved in every part, she enjoyed measuring and weighing the ingredients.

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Mixing the sugar and the butter was tough at first so we popped it in the microwave for a few seconds just to soften it up a bit.

Ayla is often more interested in eating the mixture than adding to it!

She absolutely loves the feel of the flour on her hands and quite happlily play with it for ages, which often results in flour everywhere!! 🙂

Once we had mixed all the ingredients together the dough was left to chill for a few minutes before we began rolling it out.

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Ayla took this shot of me rolling the dough, as it is hard to take a picture and use a rolling pin at the same time!

We then used a Christmas tree cutter for our biscuit shapes, which we got free with a cbeebies magazine last year!

We placed them onto well greased baking trays, although we placed them too close together so could have done with using an extra baking tray. (The finger prints were Ayla’s ‘little touch’)

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We managed to get well over 30 biscuits out of this recipie and whilst I popped them in the oven (at 170 degrees) I kept watch over them this time so as not to burn them.

I like my biscuits slightly chewy too so didnt want them to be in too long.

While they were baking, I had just enough time to clear up the mess!

We left them cooling on the side whilst we went for a muddy, blustery afternoon walk with Watson the dog!

Again I raided my Mums cupboards to find something to decorate the biscuits and there was quite a selection. I have to say though that decorating is…. interesting with a three year old!

Needless to say we only decorated a few and a certain little person managed spoon icing, sugar strands and edible glitter into her little mouth whenever she thought I wasn’t looking!

The baking started the magical feeling of Christmas, filling the house with warm spice and all things nice!

Now to put the tree up 🙂

Happy Advent Everyone xxx

Recipe box trial!

Hello Fresh!

My mother in law dropped round a trial recipe pack for us on Friday. I have looked at these online before but never ordered one so it was great to get the chance to check it out.

Recipe boxes are delivered fresh to your door with exactly the right amount of ingredients to cook up the recipe card inside. This means less waste, more cost effective and can liven up your kitchen meal times with healthy tasty meals for either vegetarian or meat eaters.

The recipe we were given to try was a –

Superfood  Mexican Jumble with Feta and Jalapeno

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… and it tasted delicious! 🙂

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The ingredients were all beautifully fresh and to a high standard many of which were organic. This recipe included – Hazelnuts, Quinoa, Vegetable stock pot, Couscous, Coriander, Jalapeño chilli, Red pepper, Pumpkin seeds, Feta cheese, Organic sweetcorn, Cumin and Lime 🙂

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Approximate timing 30 min

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The recipe card was easy to follow and quick enough to rustle up last minute.

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And here was the finished product…

20150523_174710So much flavour, deliciously satisfying and more than enough for two people… We even had a little left over for lunch the next day!

If you want anymore information about Hello fresh you can check out their website at – http://www.hellofresh.co.uk

Hope you have all had a good bank holiday weekend! We have been renovating the Wendy house so will keep you posted on the progress 🙂

Good night all x

Deck the Halls!

I love Christmas, not just the perfect excuse to have port in the cupboard and a mince-pie moment everyday .. at least once, but all the pieces of December that make the run up to Christmas so exciting. The decorating, the tree and all the festive colours and lights everywhere is so beautiful. Seeing it all again through my little girls eyes this year has made it extra special. I really wanted to involve her in the decorating and try to make the living room feel magical.

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I don’t like doing my Christmas shopping before it feels like Christmas is nearly upon us, but for some reason I find it perfectly acceptable to buy Christmas decorations out of season, especially when they are amazingly reduced and just had to come home with me! I also plucked some clippings from our garden and a few pine cones from our walks in the woods, things that would help make the place ‘feel festive’.

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Of course I always love a bit of homemade-crafty-fun, especially with my little one, so what better way to get in the festive spirit than decide to make some snow flakes.

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I let Ayla paint and decorate some doilies whilst I tried to do the paper / folding / cutting snowflakes that I remember so well making when I was at school, unfortunately I had completely forgotten how to do it and after several attempts they began to resemble something of a snowflake.

I used the cuttings and berries/pine cones I had to decorate the twig hearts that I picked up from hobby craft in the summer for only £1 🙂 I also made paper chains to adorn the living room… I really like how the paper has the print on one side and the brown paper showing on the underside, (again only £1 a roll from Lidl).

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I even attempted to dry my own orange circles to use as decorations. Basically you slice them and then leave them in the oven on the lowest setting for ages, until they are completely dried out.

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Disastrously I forgot to mention to my other half that Christmas decorations were ‘drying’ in the oven and he pre heated the oven to cook something, which resulted in dried out, very burnt oranges and I didn’t attempt anymore. Oranges will be strictly eaten this season… not dried and hung, (never mind there is always next year).

Another oven ‘faux pas’ was exploding chestnuts in it! This was because we forgot to cut them or ‘someone did’ 🙂 this resulted in me actually deciding to clean the oven, something I never do and don’t intend to do for a very long time!

… And yes the mask was necessary!

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Love having the fireplace to decorate and with the television out of the way, the TV stand made for the perfect place for the Christmas tree.

This year the tree is sitting in the window which I always think is nice to be able to see the light inside shining out. Maybe one year we shall invest in some lights to hang in the willow tree outside.

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Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and lets not forget the greatest light this season…

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Jesus the light of the world! 🙂

John 3:16