Saturday, 30 March 2013


Nathaniel had a chocolate crispie nest from the kindergarten easter stall and was most taken by the fact that you could consume that much chocolate and still call it a snack, so he was keen that we should recreate the confection at home. Our first attempt was not successful, due mainly to using the "just melt chocolate method" using Lidl milk chocolate. A grey nest is not appetising!

Attempt two used the standard chocolate crispie recipe and was much better.

Dorothea had a good go at helping, but quickly demonstrated where her interests lay:

She was, however, a bit better at looking after the mini eggs and moved them all backwards and forwards between cake cases, only eating 4 or 5 as she went!

Nathaniel was very dilligent and did the whole thing, measuring and stirring and decanting, himself. He even managed not to lick the spoon until the end. He's got so big and sensible!

(at times......)

Friday, 29 March 2013

Up and Down

The sun peered out for a brief few minutes and so we took off to the woods with the scooty bike. The story telling trees seemed a good place to play and we suddenly realised that Thea hadn't been to them since she could walk.

First she explored around them while Nathaniel investigated the mountain biking qualities of his scooty bike.

Then they climbed. Well, Nathaniel climbed. Thea did a cracking job, but most of the "steps" were far too high for her to lift her leg onto, especially when wearing michelin-man-esque down-filled trousers and snow boots. She tried just leaning forwards and crawling with her knees, but it didn't really work, so she utilised one of her new commands - "Up, up", and found that me lifting her over the largest roots was much easier.

Then, onto whizzing down slopes. Fun for everyone. Nathaniel found precipitic roots to career off, and Thea stomped determinedly up steep slopes and then "ran" down the other side shouting "Weeeeee!"

Everyone was happy.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Ha ha! Like that could possibly be the case. It looks like we are on track for a white Easter!

This is the kindergarten egg hunt. In the snow.

It was still fun though.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Today we are mostly....

....demonstrating climbing skills

Climbing up to the work surface and helping ourselves to tasty things to eat (crackers from the tin, dates from the tub, cake decorations that had been "hidden" up here to stop them from being taken out of the low cupboard). When these are all taken away, open the spice rack and help yourself to jars of herbs and take big swigs from them.

......building kennels

Being a cheetah is so last week. Instead, be a dog and build a kennel with different rooms. Use every blanket in the house as well as our newly constructed building frames.

Obviously these aren't ours....

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Nathaniel still likes jigsaws

Most successful purchase of the month? A puzzle of a map of the US cut along state boundaries. One whole english pound from our local charity shop. Hours and hours and hours of fun as well as interesting conversation. ("Why does Oklahoma have a pan handle?"; "I have absolutely no idea!")

Tuesday, 12 March 2013


When we last went to Canada, we had very low expectations for eating and drinking. We were expecting the bread to be sugary and inedible and the beer to be cold and fizzy and bland. But then we discovered artisan bakeries and the world of micro breweries and craft beers. Chris took great pleasure in buying different bottles of crazily strong local beers and we tasted so many of them I can't remember half of their names. We visited a couple of brewery bars where there was a tasting menu and discovered all sorts of extremely palatable beers.

So when the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale started to become available in the UK we were pretty pleased. It wasn't the most exciting of the west coast beers that we had tried, but it was rather nice, and not at all lager-y. Then the other week I noticed that a local pub (I imagine it has a trendier name for itself - a tap maybe. Something that indicates that it stocks a colossal number of proper beers), was hosting a Sierra Nevada tasting evening. So for Ian's birthday outing, we went.

Mmmmmmm, beers. (Ian didn't pull this face all evening.) They were very tasty. 10 different beers from the brewery ranging from a light, open fermented Kellerweis to the crazily thick and birch syrupy Life and Limb (10%!).

Most entertaining were the beer camp beers - beers formulated at a week-long beer festival where the brewery invite the best to come and invent recipes together. It turns out, unsurprisingly, that I am still not the biggest stout drinker, but that a red ale will always be the way forward. Hooray for Imperial Red Ale (and not forgetting the wonderful, albeit much closer to home, Red Cuillin).

Monday, 11 March 2013

Things I wish we had photos of #356

Our costumes for James' Bond-themed PVR party: SPECTRE henchmen, complete with logoed boilersuits and homemade AK47s!

Saturday, 2 March 2013


Jim and Vicki have bought a car, and it was a sunny day, and everyone needed a change of scenery, so we pottered up to Rievaulx to bimble and have some lunch in Helmsley.

Nathaniel and Vicki were in charge of book reading and identifying drains and ancient toilets;

After the first 45 mins we didn't learn much about the monks, but mainly galavanted over the place. Nathaniel looked for interesting places to climb;

And Thea charged around the place. This is one of the rare occasions she bothered to hold someone's hand.

Mostly she just did her own thing, which was amusing when her own thing was systematically swimming on each and every column base along the cloister;

but less so when it was trying to climb down spiral staircases unaided. (No photo for obvious reasons!)

And if there was any doubt that these two were related, check out the crazy tongues:

Friday, 1 March 2013

Creepy Crawlies

I hate Creepy Crawlies - it's a hanger of soft play fun with a soundtrack to match with a rule about food from home and a cafe full of grot. It is a good way to over-stimulate, exhaust and generally mess with your kids. So, typically, they love it. Nathaniel's friend Robin was keen to go again, so this morning, four adults and seven kids took it on, starting very early to beat the crowds.

Its actually great fun, and if it was just us, I'd love it. Its the noise and the other kids and the food and music that gets to me. Thea was obsessed with the giant slides - she loved coming down them, but prefered to walk up them and I spent most of the morning removing her from the bottom and explaining the in a wonderfully pointless way that it was ridiculously dangerous and she was going to get squashed.

Nathaniel and Dylan and Noah and Robin romped around the "rack" which I call the "cage" and threw themselves off stuff onto the crash mats and Nathaniel stood at the top of slides and refused to come down. Thea was pretty excited by the cage, but was a little small for most of it. Mostly she lay down and dragged herself along to a soundtrack of "brmmmm". Interestly, despite the fact that it is a total maze, and Nathaniel's biggest fear is getting lost and unable to get out, it didn't matter where I put here down - she was always able to walk out (and back to the bottom of the slides), by the shortest route. I think she's got my sense of direction.

The ball pool was their favourite place to be together, though pelting balls at each other made them as bad as the other hideous kids who I love meeting there.

In one area there is hard standing with some weird wheeled items (loved by Nathaniel and D, N and R) and rockers. Thea loved the rockers and spent a good 20 minutes just climbing on and off and rocking violently to the extent that other parents rushed over to check she wasn't about to be catapulted over the front. By this time I took this video she was starting to space out and just rocking as she watched the big boys:

They all enjoyed the caterpillar tube - good for crawling through, and running around being a caterpillar.

It didn't worry Thea a bit when she was "eaten" by Noah during her rocking:

Now Thea is asleep in the car, and Nathaniel, having been sent up for a 40 minute quiet time about an hour ago, is lying on his bed reading. Definitely over stimulated!