Sunday 30 December 2012

"Sculpture is the art of the intelligence."

If your a regular reader then you will know that me and the boys like to immortalize our friends and family in Lego. This time round Mrs M got involved as well. Sam has been a close friend of Mrs M's since they were at college. Sam and her partner Jamie are a lovely pair, it's a shame we don't get to see them very often as they live in London.

Sam was back in Shropshire just before Christmas for a few days so it gave us the chance for a brief catch up. As we knew she was coming round Seth decided he wanted to make the figures for a Christmas present so we all sat down and went through the Mini figure box.

Sam was delighted at them and said that she would put hers on her desk at work, which Seth loved. I think me and Seth are planning another build at some point for these guys so stay tuned.

Hope you've had a fun Christmas Sam, Jamie and all our readers and have a great New year.

"A tree skirt, a tree skirt. A tree skirt on the Christmas tree"

The boys have had some great things from Santa this year, clearly they must have been very good. It's great having new things to play with and handy when trying to keep the boys entertained over the Christmas holiday. Both boys have their favourites and Opeie was very excited when he opened a few of his presents. Santa brought him some Yo Gabba Gabba Mega Bloks sets and they have been the most played with toy so far.

Were huge Gabba fans in our house, its such a great programme and is so much better than many of the other children's TV shows. Ive had problems finding toys from the show for Opeie as they are all released in the US so i was really happy that Santa had been so thoughtful. Mrs M loves playing with these which is great as she does everything she can to avoid Lego play.

The boombox plays songs and on Christmas morning Opeie sat for about an hour and a half pressing the same button over and over while dancing. The dancing was very cute but the continuous Gabba noise started to annoy us after 20mins but as long as the boys are happy then that's all that matters.

There are a few other sets that you can get and were missing Toodee so I'm going to have to get on tracking them down over the next month or so ready for Opeie's birthday. I'm not usually a fan of Mega Bloks but these are great and i love playing with them with Opeie. Their a great first step for getting him into the world of Lego that he's not really going to be able to get away from.

"How often has the Christmas tree, Afforded me the greatest glee!"

It was a Christmas build up of craft this year which we have all loved. Weve also made a few Lego gifts too which has been lots of fun. This year our friend Chris has really helped Mrs M out with some work related things. So to say an early thank you i decided to make Chris and Michelle a decoration for their tree. After making the one for our tree a few months back this one ended up being a lot easier as i had the first one to work from.

I had no idea what colour scheme their tree was so i decided to make the decoration using as many different colours as i could find. Chris and Michelle put their tree up a week or so in to December and opened the present the morning after.

Chis messaged me soon after to say he loved it and that it had taken pride of place on their tree. It's not the sort of gift everyone would appreciate but i knew these guys would. I'd like to see if i can get hold of transparent pieces next year as i think that would make a more delicate looking decoration. I'm sure i will start looking into that on the build up to next Christmas.

Chris being the gent that he is, kindly took a few pictures of the decoration for me to use on the post, it looked great on the tree. I think i left the post a bit late to write though as they have now taken their tree down. But at least when then get it out again next year they can think about us.

Friday 28 December 2012

Christmas Craft for children Silky Soft Dough Decorations

Hello! It's Mrs M here.... I know Christmas day has been and gone, but in our house it's Christmas until New Years Day...  a week before Christmas we had a 'craft week' and this is one of the things we made.

 One of my oldest and favourite Christmas memories from my childhood is one that involves crafting.... I remember my Mom’s sister  coming over with some Partner’s bags, pulling out some gold and silver sheets of card, and us sitting around my Mom’s kitchen table making Angel’s by rolling the card into cones and sticking a ball on the top to form a head.

Since then I’ve always made things at Christmas, stockings for my family, advent calanders, photo albums, decorations, baubles, cushions with embroidered messages, giraffes as gifts and nativity outfits.

I was reading online about different doughs you can make, having made salt dough when Seth was little but hating the texture ( it's so rough and grainy) and so  I thought I’d share the ones we made on Sunday. ( Apparently the recipe is abit hit and miss, and I have realised that I put too much cornflour on the board I rolled it on and it’s made them alittle bit crumbly. So note to yourself, don’t use too much! 

Opeie absolutely loved making these, and he’s really been getting into the ceramics spirit lately with his Play doh antics and this was even more exciting because it was really silky smooth and soft. 

1 ) English people aren't used to using 'cups' when measuring, but i litterally grabbed a cup from the side and used it to measure out:

1/2 cup corn flour
1 cup bakingpowder
3/4 cup tepid /room temp water
To Make the Clay:
 2) Put a ring on the stove on low heat.
Using a cup measure out the dry ingredients and put in a sauce pan, and mix together, then add the water and it will look alittle odd, and kind of fizzy. keep stirring until your mix isn't sticking to the pan too much... ( I ended up adding a couple of drops of extra water as my mixture was alittle thick)
3) When it's able to stick together in a ball take off the heat (it looks abit like dough)

4) transfer to a dry clean bowl. And 5) Cover with a damp cloth until it cools down
6) When it's cooled put on a flat surface covered in alittle cornflour and knead and stretch it out like you would making bread, until it's not sticky, add alittle cornflour if you need to, but be aware it goes crumbly if you add too much when it dries. ( - It will still be ok if this happens though!) 

--It will keep fine in the fridge for a couple of weeks if you don't want to use it straight away. Leave it  to get to room temperature before you use it however --
 With a dry rolling pin roll out the dough and use cutters to cut shapes out of the dough. Get a straw and poke through where you want the ribbon to go through and hang and get your little ones to blow the clay out of the end of the straw for fun!

Place on baking paper on a oven tray if baking, if not make sure you Turn them every day or so to stop the sides curing/ splitting....  ( I think I would do this next time rather than oven baking to see what it's like in comparison)
Preheat oven to 160 if fan assisted/ 175 is not.Turn them half way through, they need to cook for approx 30 mins.

When cool and dry put ribbon through the centre of the hole, and either leave white, coat in PVA glue and add glitter for a shiny look or paint for a colourful christmassy feel.

It's a really fun, easy, fool proof way to make Christmas decorations you'll treasure forever....

We are also going to do some with Opeie and Seth's hand prints at some stage or possibly footprints if Opeie will let us!

Next time , as i said i'd leave them to air dry as they went crisp in the oven due to me adding too much cornflour on the board.

New updates to the blog, Site translation and facebook messaging...

Hope your all having a great time over this festive period. This is just a very quick post to thank all of my readers for taking an interest in what myself, Mrs M and the boys get up to. Weve noticed a huge boom in our international readers so ive added a translator for the site to make things a bit easier for you which can be found in the top right corner of the page. If you have any issues with it please let me know

Also Mrs M has added a Facebook comment box at the end of each post making it easier for people to comment so please stop by and say hi while your her. Don't forget to 'Like' the Facebook page too.

We hope all of you have a fantastic new year what ever you have planned and we look forward to hearing from you in 2013.

"Feeling poorly... nothing some family fun can't sort out"

I think that yesterday was the most ill I've felt in a long time and it was really getting me down. When you haven't got many responsibilities you can just shut yourself off from the rest of the world and get over your illness. When you have children though things are completely different. I slept on the sofa again the previous night to give Mrs M and Opeie a break from my coughing and sneezing.

At 6am Mrs M brought Opeie in to me after having a rough night with no sleep too. This usually is my favourite time of the morning getting to spend some 'boy time' with Opeie, but this morning I was no good to anyone and that's the thing i hate about being ill the most, not being 100% for the boys. Thankfully it doesn't happen very often, poor Opeie was in a playful mood and I could barely move. I did manage to build a Batcave though that Santa had brought yesterday which I thought was good going considering the state of me.

Mrs M as usual has been an angel, looking after me, making sure I'm Ok and bringing in medicine when it was due which has been nice. We had planned to go to see Mrs M's folks on the evening and as the hours went by i realised that i wasn't going to be well enough to go. So i dropped Mrs M and the boys round and headed home. I know a lot of people like having a bit of time to themselves but on the rare occasion that this happens i really don't like it. Me and Mrs M do everything together and I'm always with the boys so being away from them just seems wrong.

I'd only been home about 15 minutes when Mrs M phoned and said that everyone said it wasn't the same without me and she wanted me to come and join them. It seems that Mrs M feels the same as me So i jumped in the car and headed back to see them all and I'm really glad i did. When i got there karaoke was just getting started, it was a night for singing grandads and Seth was clutching the microphone for dear life.

We all had a mini sing song and it was lovely to see everyone with smiles on there faces. Some more than others, Nanny Roo was having the time of her life... which was very lovely to see because Nanny Roo has had a very difficult few months and has been very brave indeed......

I'm glad i decided to go back as it was a lot of fun and was nice to see family that we don't see that often...

It all got a bit competitive with Mrs M's family later in the night when they switched on the 'Who want's to be a millionaire' game. Seth saw it as his chance though to whisk auntie Lottie away from the crowd to play his Lego game that we got for Christmas off our friends Chris and Michelle...

The food was fantastic and the company was very entertaining as always, i feel really lucky that these lovely people are part of my life. It was a lovely unwind to Christmas day.

Christmas has been great so far this year (apart from feeling ill of course) and as Mrs M so rightly pointed out yesterday, Christmas isn't over till new years so weve got a few days left yet to enjoy the festivities and hopefully ill get a break and shake of this nasty cold.

( Hello It's Mrs M, I'd just like to say I'm so glad Pauly came to the party, as Christmas is for spending time with the ones you love most, and I sure love him! )

Wednesday 26 December 2012

"This used to be a funhouse but now it's full of evil clowns. It's time to start the countdown."

For those of you that were not tracking my daily updates on the Facebook page during the 25 days up to today then i thought i would write a quick post with all the Batman figures i had collected for Seth's advent this year. He didn't seem as excited as i had expected in the first few days but as the days went by he got more and more into it. I had loads of fun tracking down figures from carboots, charity shops and ebay and although it took me most of the year to collect them it was well worth the wait.

I'd have loved an advent like this when i was younger, maybe with He-man figures though. Opeie has been loving all the new figures and has been happily running around the house pretending to be either Batman or Superman. I love that the boys are so into their super hero's. I know it wont always be this way and I'm dreading them getting into football or something like that as ill be completely out of my comfort zone, but ill just have to adapt.

I on the other hand will never get fed up with action figures, it's something i have loved since i was a child and have never grown out of it. Even when the boys are all grown up i think ill still be collecting something. The toys that the boys have now will all go into storage for future generations of our toy obsessed family.

I'm not sure i would make an action figure advent again though, i think next year its going to be something completely different which I'm sure i will come up with very soon.

It's boxing day now and due to the opening of the presents yesterday and so much going on the boys forgot to open their advent. I'm assuming they will remember today but you guys can have a sneak peek at day 25 and know how the story ends before the boys do.

I'm sure the end of the story will be loved as after a good battle the boys like to make their figures kiss each other. That's the way it should be.