Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Hopes and Wishes for 2015

This is the week of the new years resolutions. My personal opinion of the new years resolution is that every year many people decide what they want to change about themselves or their lives and for the first few weeks of the year they attempt to do them. However after a few weeks they give up, soon forgetting all about them. Now I'm not saying that everyone does this. Some do stick to it and succeed.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014

What's inside D's Christmas Eve box

Last year the American tradition of Christmas Eve boxes hit the UK in a huge way. With thousands of children getting one for the first time. Family and friends where doing this for their children, however I felt D was too young to actually benefit from a box as he was only 9 months old. I do love the tradition and the magic surrounding it.
Thursday, 18 December 2014

Beginning Christmas Traditions

Well, Christmas is sneaking up on us all again. With only 7 sleeps until the Santa arrives I wanted to talk about Christmas Traditions.

When you are a child you think that every child in the world gets Christmas like you. However as you grow up you discover that every family has a unique Christmas that is moulded by traditions, family and even by the way in which Santa brings your toys.
Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review - V-tech Alphabet Ride-on Train

This review is on a toy I have been very undecided with for a few months now.

For D's first birthday he got the V-tech ride on train. He was very excited about it and I remember it was out of the box minutes after it was unwrapped.

This may have had more to do with Granda's excitement than D's but still it was a hit right away it played song's and things popped out one end after you put them in.

The V-tech ride on says it promotes letter learning, hand coordination, walking, riding (look up).

This is one of the few things that really got D walking, it was just the right weight for him to find his balance and was easy to turn around to go the other way. Even after learning to walk D used the train to run around our house faster and faster as he learnt to run.

The V-Tech train is a ride on with a difference. It comes with letter blocks that can be inserted into the train in two ways;
The first way is to put the blocks in a slot at the top of the train and push it down so that it shoots out the back of the train section and into the 'cargo' section  which is under the seat. D did hate this at the start as he couldn't get the blocks in the slot the right way. He still persevered and after about two months of daily fits of annoyance he got one block in, to which he celebrated by clapping for himself! It did still take a few weeks before it went in every time but we got there. This aspect is now of no interest to D, I honestly don't know why but it has been 3 months since he Played with the train in this way.

The second is to insert the blocks into the rectangle shaped holders on the side of the train section. When you insert the blocks it tells you the phonic and a word beginning with the letter. This is where our problems started and still lay. The blocks each have a unique pattern on the bottom which pushes in little spikes to recognize the letter. The blocks have to be in exactly the right way or it won't recognize the block, D cannot do this. This aspect of the v-tech train is a massive let down for me as we had been looking forward to learning phonics using the train and it's blocks. But at 21 months D still has struggles recognizing the right way to put the block in and how to push it properly into the space and activate the response.

Another feature I wanted to talk about was the ride on aspect of the train. This is a rarely used part in our house, D actually puts other toys in it to take them to a different room. D can use the ride-on part (the seat) alone, but only alone. He has tried on numerous occasions to play with the ride-on train as a whole but he cannot get it to move, when he puts his feet down to move forward he catches the 4 wheels of the two sections (back 2 wheels of the train and the front two of the seat) which are surprisingly close together when both parts are joined. D got extremely frustrated at this and now doesn't even try to use it this way anymore, he even has a Fit if I try to attach them for him.

Although the train does have wonderful music, sound and all round audio it uses, I do feel that the uniqueness that was created by the versatile uses of tge train have been let down in the fact that over a period of 9 months D hasn't been able to use two of the key factors of the toy. The Train does have an age range of 12 - 36 months. This means that in theory D shouldn't be able to do certain elements of the train yet. Although I we do love using the train to pretend to be a train driver and listening to it's music and sounds. I was hoping we could use it to aid with learning letters and phonics. This so far has just proven to be extremely frustrating for D and ends in the train being pushed over and D sitting himself on the bottom stair until he has calmed down.

All things considered, I do like The alphabet train by v-tech but I do at the same time think that there is a gap in the age range provided where it becomes very difficult to engage D and means that it hasn't been played with in the last month or so. I do however hope D starts to use the train again sometime soon.

I apologize that there are no pictures of D using the toy I really tried to get some but he kept freaking out when I tried to encourage him to play with it. I do have one or two but they are on my camera and my sister has her laptop.

All thoughts and opinions are my own. I would love to know if you have an experience with the V-tech alphabet train, leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing about your experience!
Thursday, 4 December 2014

Let's Get Baking - Chocolate Strawberry Creame's

This week we are making Chocolate Strawberry Creame's.  We where supposed to make Chocolate Pepper mint Creame's but I thought we had pepper mint flavouring, so when we went shopping I didn't get any! Oops a daisy!

( yes I do have a habit of doing 1 thing wrong every time! ) These hold special memories for me as I remember making them with my Mum, Sisters and Brother a good few years ago now near Christmas.

I want to make these a Christmas tradition with D. We will make everyone a little bag up to give to them with their Christmas presents and they can eat them in the few days before Christmas. (We usually give everyone their presents during the week of my Birthday so mid December time).We will be making pepper mint ones too, probably next week when I remember to get pepper mint flavouring!

To make this recipe for either  strawberry or pepper mint Creame's you will need;
A few drops of either peppermint or strawberry flavouring/ extract
120-135ml (8-9 tablespoons) Condensed milk
450g icing sugar
Chocolate (a pretty good amount we used about 200-300 grams)
Cookie cutters (we used small Christmas ones)

Before I tell you the recipe I want to tell you that this recipe made 150 of them. If you don't want to make this many then either half the recipe or use medium sized cutters.

Now the first thing we did was add the condensed milk to the bowl and using a sieve we added the icing sugar about 1/4 at a time. This meant that we didn't get covered in it when stirring it. D loved watching the icing sugar fall into the bowl from the sieve. It looked a bit like snow! Now we mixed (a lot) until the mixture was like dough. Yes another recipe that's like playing with play doh!

D decided not to listen to me anymore!

Once the mixture was like dough we added in our food colouring and flavouring. This part is pretty messy and best done in the bowl as you don't want food colouring to stain anything! D loved adding food colouring and watching it change colour as we where kneading the dough to mix the colour. You will need to use more icing sugar here as the dough becomes very sticky with the colouring.

Once the dough is all one colour that your happy with. We can roll it out to about 0.5 inches thick using icing sugar as flour to make sure it doesn't stick. Now it was time to use the cookie cutter. I really think this was D's favourite part. He loved pushing the cutter in. At this point D was getting frustrated by the fact he had to wait for me to roll it out again to make more. So daddy took him into the living room while I finish cutting. Once the shapes where cut we put them on baking paper to dry. All in all it took me about an hour to cut them all (good thing I will only do it once a year!) Now they need to be left to dry for about 4-5 hours. Ours are on sandwich bags as I couldn't find the baking paper so either works! Haha

Once they are all dry you can melt your chocolate. I did this part alone as D was asleep due to me leaving it to late to start them. Once I had melted the chocolate I started to dip them in one by one. (yep I'm being serious) But they kept breaking which I think it was because they where so small. So after about 40 of them where dipped I just used a spoon and drizzled the chocolate over them all. I also just added chocolate on top of some at the end to use it up. Now you let them dry again.

Once dry I bagged them up into bags of 10 and popped in the fridge over night. Then put them in the cupboard ready to be given out. These keep for about a 3 weeks so that's why we made them last. Now they are just waiting to be given out.

This was a great recipe to make and lots of fun! But next time it will only be half as we don't need so many considering I'm making peppermint ones too. But this year we will just have extra.

The recipe is from a book called baking for girls (my mum got it when we where in our early teens) although we didn't follow it exactly I just wanted to let you know I did not just think it up. I can no longer tell who wrote the book though as the front cover name has rubbed away with use during baking and someone ripped out a few pages over the years.

I hope you enjoyed reading along and I really do hope some of you try this! D loved them he has now eat two bags and always goes to get some. Only two at a time though.
Oh and here's all the extra photos too.

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

D at... 21 Months

Another month has flew in and D is now 21 months. He is growing up so fast now and we are learning new things almost every day.

We are now at that point in D's life where going everywhere in the pram is no longer tantrum free, D loves to walk.

This is sometimes a problem when we are in a hurry and D wants to walk, however we do let him walk for as long as he wants when we can. It's usually about an hour of walking before tiredness sets in so we can get some places completely without the pram.

This month we have carried on learning about getting dressed. Last month D learnt to use zips, I have quite regularly found D has unzipped his coat when we are out. Which he finds hilarious.  I walked into the living room after a bath 2 weeks ago to D sitting on the floor putting his trainers on! He can now put on all of his shoes with the exception of his lace up trainers. I must say they are mostly on the wrong feet. When told this he takes them off, puts them in front of the right foot and the process begins again on the right feet this time. D's favourite shoes to put on are his wellies! He is regularly found running round the kitchen with his wellie boots and Jammie's on. Amazingly we have never seen the wellies on the wrong feet! Which I think is a massive achievement.

He has also now started to learn to put his own trousers on. He can put both feet into one leg each (not always the right one) and pull them up at the front,  we haven't yet got them over his nappy at the back but It only takes him to move a few steps before he comes for help. I think we might be getting to the potty training stage soon.

D has also been developing his vocabulary (oh big words! Haha). This month most things he says are very clear and easily understood. He has also learnt to say;
Bye (instead of waving at the phone)
Night night
Why (this now means everything us replied with why)
Oh (which follows the many whys)

Lastly D has learnt to recognise some colours! It has taken a while now but he knows what colour blue, white and black are. We discovered this by hanging up the washing! Yes really, D loves to help us clean and tidy. But most of all he loves to give you hangers when hanging clothes up. Daddy asked D fir a blue one and he got a blue one! So I asked for all the other colours and every time D got it right! I must say it was a very proud moment for us as we have all been learning about colours for months now.

All in all I think D is learning quite well for his age and still seems to be doing it so fast! Can they not stay small forever?

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