homemade rock pools

We’ve been at Grandmas this week and so today I had a nice long sleep In the morning. By the the time I came downstairs Grandma and the boys had recreated the rock pools that we had been crawling around yesterday.
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This one is obviously not a rock pool, but actually the beach with the sea!

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They were made using a paper plate, some glue, sand and glitter, and a huge dose of imagination.

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cardboard aquarium

What to do when the boys want to make something and we have run out of space to make any large cardboard creations, so we looked in the book (365 Things to Make and Do – Parragon Books) and settled on a cardboard aquarium.

This is a very straight-forward project.
1. Start with a shoe box and cut a rectangle on the front and back so that you can see all the way through.
2. Paint the box blue and add some stickers
3. Stick coloured tissue paper inside to resemble sand and water.
4. Stick some tissue paper to look like seaweed.
5. Draw some fish and colour them both side and then cut them out.
6. Stick the fish to some thread and attach to the roof of the box.


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chocolate wrapper kites

Grandma was here last week and promised the boys a treat one day. Almost every time that we go to the supermarket the boys ask for a box of Roses, like we had at Christmas, so their wish came true. My youngest couldn’t quite remember the name of the chocolates and so kept asking for dahlias!

To make full use of the chocolates and to keep the boys entertained, Grandma made a nice picture of some kites with them.

chocolate-wrapper-kites

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not just another valentines post

Valentines is not the worst of ‘holidays’, although it is incredibly crass at its most commercial level, and it is difficult not to be cynical. For some holidays their origins or purpose are largely irrelevant, but they do however bring attention back to the things that are important in life.

Since we returned back to the UK last year my wife has had to work, as I have not been in a position to do so. This means that she’s out of the house more than twelve hours a day and some days doesn’t get to see the boys at all.

We certainly can’t complain. There are many families where both parents work the same amount of hours or more, or where neither parent is in a position to work, but for us, especially my wife, this time away from the family is hard.

So having made a bit of a hash of the various gifts over the last twelve months (ten year anniversary, birthday, Christmas) that I had given to my wife, I needed to make sure that whatever I did this time was a hit. As I now have the time to do something a little more personal, I pressganged the boys into action and we did some cooking and crafts.

heart-cookiesI had tried to amend my cookie recipe to replace chocolate with some dried cranberries, but they came out a big gooey mess, so had to revert back to chocolate!

valentines-cardMy wife is a professional graphic designer and so sets the bar high, especially with print and design. I accept the fact that I am technically inept and lack the necessary skills to pull off most if my ideas, but it is testament to persistence, cardboard, parcel tape and paint, what can actual be achieved.

printing-blocksNot to be out-done by dad, the boys made some cards at nursery.

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stained glass windows to brighten up the day

With the weather taking a turn for the worse, we decided to brighten up the day with some coloured stained glass windows made from tissue paper and card.

This is probably the easiest thing to do in the world to brighten up a room and the mood. As my boys are so young I ended up doing most of the work, but they were entertained for the whole time.

I pretty much free-styled the whole way through this, which you’d never guess, but for a more finished product you may want to sketch out a pattern on the card in advance.cardboard-stained- glass-stencilcoloured-tissue-paperSelect your preferred colour scheme, and stick away. If you have a specific pattern, make sure to turn the stencil over so that it will look right when you put it on the window. I used a Pritt Stick to stick the paper to the card to try and avoid any mess, and have a little bit of control as to where the glue ended up. Being very preoccupied with ensuring the knife was kept out of the hands of the boys, I took my eye off the ball with the glue, and its amazing how much mess a Pritt Stick can actually make!

sticking-paper-for-stained-glasspaper-stained-glass-windows

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painting with magic maize (or wotsits by numbers)

My boys are at the age where they want to make or do things, but quickly lose interest if it’s not done immediately. When we make something or paint pictures I usually have to get prepared everything in advance so that we are good to go.

We were recently given as a birthday present a set of Magic Maize (ELC), which are multi-coloured Wotsits (Cheetos) – looking cylinders which are used to make pictures by applying a little water and sticking them onto paper or card.

magic-maizeWith almost no preparation required, they were an instant hit. For me the best thing, other than being able to make some cool pictures, is that they are virtually mess free.

Step one: add a little colour to the picture using crayons.
magic maize2Step two: moisten the maize.
magic maize3Step three: lightly press the maize onto the card or paper.
magic maize4Step four: stand back and appreciate your creation!
magic-maizeThe pack came with several images to use, but we are going to make some ourselves, which at the request of the boys will be a rainbow, a rocket, and for some reason, an ambulance.

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dinosaur days – cardboard dinosaur models

Having battled the rain and wind, we made it into London and visited the Natural History Museum yesterday, the boys were keen to keep the memories alive, and wanted to make some dinosaur models.

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Cardboard-3D-dinosaurCardboard dinosaursOnce we had drawn out the body and legs onto cardboard, we carefully cut our the shape and slotted the pieces together to make the 3D dinosaurs.

With all of the scissor work now done by me, it was time to hand over the project to the boys to apply the paint and add some detail.

Painting-cardboard-dinosaursStick on a couple of eyes onto each dinosaur and we are good to go.

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dinosaur8Painted-dinosaurs

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muppets birthday party

For our sons fourth birthday we had a Muppets themed birthday party with cakes, pinata, and party bags. My wife even made a Kermit hat, like Walter in the movie, which for once he even wore during the party.

Having made several pinata’s for other birthday parties, we had to make a Kermit pinata for a Muppets party.

pinata-stage1

pinata-kermitHaving never made a chocolate cake, I made a test cake (without the icing) last Monday, I knew that the recipe was edible. After a few tutorials on youtube on how to ice cakes, I was off and managed to make a Kermit the Frog and a Miss Piggy.

H-cakesMy wife made the party bags with a selection of chocolates, toy bugs, glow sticks, and lollies. Itemised stickers were placed on all bags.

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