Archive for December 2014

Snow fun in the Snowglobe - Snow Joke!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

This morning we had a really fun, novel experience in a life-size Snowglobe!

The Snowglobe is at Bosworth's Garden Centre in Burton Latimer, Northants which is close to where my parents live. They had spotted the Snowglobe before Christmas and it's there until 4th January, so we decided to go today as we thought it would be quite quiet.

You step into the snowglobe and then you're free to just have fun! You're meant to have about 5 minutes in there, but we had a lot longer than that as we were the first customers of the day and the guy took a while to set the camera up!

The Snowglobe costs £10 but this includes one 8x6 photo. For an additional £2.50 you can have all the images from the shoot emailed to you. We were fortunate that as my Mum has a Reward Card for the Garden Centre, she had a voucher for a free additional photo print.

My Mum was able to take a few photos and a bit of video too, so we have some fun shots of us messing about in the fake snow. Of course, it started off quite tame but then got a tad more aggressive between Mr MoaB and I!

Little Miss A absolutely loved it. She was joining in the snow fight and aiming her handfuls of snow at me mostly!

We ended up absolutely covered in the stuff. It's quite hard to get off your clothes. We took a lot home with us and had to strip down when we got home as it got into our boots, in our tops etc! My poor Mum will be finding white bits around her house for days. We did try to hoover most of it up!

Apparently there are only 3 Snowglobes like this around the UK at the moment. I've certainly never seen this anywhere before.

It really was fantastic fun. We had a blast in there. I'm hoping they have it again next year as we'll definitely do it again! A great activity to do as our last thing of 2014!

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Funny Children's Christmas Songs

Sunday, 21 December 2014

So Mr MoaB and I thought it would be fun to have a festive sing-a-long with the family at Christmas - with a twist!

We wanted to sing funny versions of well known Christmas songs. I thought a quick Google search would throw up loads of alternative version but actually there are very few.

There are some that just aren't age appropriate as we want to teach these humorous tunes to Little Miss A's cousins who are 8 and 5.

The one I can remember singing is:

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells
Robin ran away,
The Batmobile lost its wheel,
On the Motorway! Hey!

Mr MoaB remembered a version of this one:

We three Kings of Orient are,
One in a taxi, one in a car,
One on a scooter, blowing his hooter,
Smoking a wet cigar

Another one we like is this:

While shepherds wash their socks by night,
All seated round the tub,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And gave them all a scrub

There are several similar variations for the 12 Days of Christmas called 'The 12 Fast Food Days of Christmas'. The one I like the most was found on the Jumble and Jelly blog.

On the first day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me a double bacon burger with cheese
On the second day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 2 happy meals
On the third day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 3 large fries
On the fourth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 4 egg McMuffins
On the fifth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 5 onion rings 
On the sixth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 6 chocolate milkshakes
On the seventh day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 7 pints of ketchup
On the eighth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 8 chicken drumsticks
On the ninth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 9 slices of pizza
On the tenth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 10 baked potatoes
On the eleventh day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 11 chicken kormas
On the twelfth day of Christmas my takeaway gave to me 12 Alka-Seltzer 

There's also a really great version of 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' which I came across by Sandra Boynton. 

So you now know what we'll be up to on Christmas Day. These should keep us entertained and suitably amused for a little while anyway!

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Wintery Wander in the Woods - Gruffalo's Child Trail

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Little Miss A and I have been very housebound this week as she's had conjunctivitis so we haven't been able to go to places that she's directly in contact with lots of children and we've missed out on all her playgroup Christmas parties. Boo!

With Mr MoaB working this weekend, I was keen to get out for a few hours and get some fresh air. As we were up early, Little Miss A and I set off for an early morning walk in Wendover Woods.

I decided to do the Gruffalo's Child Trail again as it's just the right sort of distance for Little Miss A to be able to walk herself and she enjoys looking out for the trail signs!

Going so early in the morning meant that we had the whole trail to ourselves! It was very chilly though so I tried to make sure that we kept up a fair pace so that we didn't get too cold.

I love watching Little Miss A's reaction to what she sees along the way and it's brilliant that she can now identify the animals and say the words herself!

It's always good to spend time at the Gruffalo sculpture. He really does have a nice spot with a great view!

Here's my original post when we did the Gruffalo's Child Trail back in October. The trail is going to be in Forestry Commission woods until February. Then it's going to change to an activity trail based on the 'Superworm' story - another book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. So I'll have to get hold of a copy of this book to start reading this to Little Miss A to introduce her to the characters.

I'm glad we got out today and it was a fun wander with Little Miss A if a tad on the chilly side! 

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Decorating a Christmas Tree - Sticky Fun - Toddler Activity

Thursday, 18 December 2014

I haven't posted about a sensory activity for a while so thought I'd share an easy festive activity that Little Miss A has enjoyed doing.

Have Small People Big Ideas to thank for the original idea.

What I used:

  • Sticky back plastic (haven't used this stuff for a while. The last time was at school when you had to cover all your books in it!)
  • Scissors
  • Green gift wrapping tape 
  • Masking tape
  • Pom-poms, buttons, parcel bows and sequins for decorations 
All you need to do is cut a rectangle of sticky back plastic and tape it sticky side out onto the window. Then using green tape/string/card, create the outline of a Christmas tree. That's it. Time to decorate!

Later on I was about to recycle some Christmas catalogues & magazines away and then struck on the idea of cutting out the pictures of decorations. These made a great addition to the tree even if most of them ended up around the border rather than on the tree itself!

The good thing about using things like buttons, pom-poms and sequins is that you can pick them off and use them again which is exactly what Little Miss A did the first time. If you use pictures cut out from magazines etc. then these stick more firmly in place and can't be removed.

The tree has been left up on the window over the last week or so and Little Miss A keeps going back to it to add bits or remove them!

This is a really easy activity to set-up so definitely one to be repeated in the future.

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Lovely Langley Park

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Back in October we visited Langley Park for the first time and then re-visited again today. This is now my favourite park. I just wish it was a bit nearer to us as we'd be there all the time!

The first thing that strikes you is how tranquil it is. It's probably busier at weekends but given that we were there during October half term on our first visit, it was very quiet. It's definitely a lot less busy than its neighbour, Black Park

There is a huge variety of different trees so it was a nice time to visit in October with the Autumnal colours and fallen leaves. What is helpful is that many of the trees have little signs on them with what they are so you can identify them. This would be a great place to go if your kids are learning about trees or to go to collect lots of different fallen leaves for a craft project.

On both occasions, Little Miss A really enjoyed the children's playground which has lots of wooden play equipment.

In October we only had time to have a wander through the Temple Gardens which was really nice. We came across these unusual mushrooms on our walk.

Today we had more time and followed the Timberland Tree Trail which took us through the Arboretum, Kings Woods and part of Temple Gardens. It was surprisingly wet and muddy in places but all the more fun for Little Miss A!

This was taken on a bridge in the Arboretum. Peek-a-boo!!

There are some great trees to play in and hide behind so we had lots of games of hide & seek. There are some really old trees with interesting features. We can't decide what animal this looks like!?!

This is a really nice park to visit. Just be aware that car parking charges apply. There's a cafe next to the car park for refreshments.

The time to go is apparently in the Spring when the rhododendrons are in flower so we'll definitely revisit again then, if not before.

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Christmas Activities at Black Park Country Park

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A week last Sunday we drove down to Black Park Country Park as they had a Christmas market and some festive kids activities.

Our first encounter on arrival was with a beautiful owl. Little Miss A was able to get up very close.

Then we took a stroll past lots of the market stalls before finding a Petting farm. This was the same as the farm at the Fun in the Park event we went to in the summer. It was £3 for us all to go in and we could feed the animals as well as handle some of the smaller ones such as the rabbits.

We then got the chance to meet Father Christmas in his Grotto. Little Miss A really doesn't understand who this fellow in a red suit is and at one point wandered off but came back in time to get her present!

The thing that Little Miss A was most keen on was the Carousel. She picked a little red car to sit in to go round. She didn't smile whilst she was on it but clearly enjoyed it as I had a real struggle to get her off! After we'd had a bite to eat, Mr MoaB gave in and let her go on a second time and she chose exactly the same car!

There was just time to go to the Lake to feed the ducks and then we headed back to the car - just in time as it started to rain again!

It's worth keeping an eye on the Bucks Country Parks Facebook page and @BCCCountryParks Twitter account for details of future events.

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Winter Wonderland at World's End Garden Centre

Monday, 15 December 2014

For the second year in a row we have taken Little Miss A to our local Wyevale Garden Centre - World's End in Wendover - to experience the Winter Wonderland.

I'm amazed at this each time. It must take a lot of planning and then a long time to install. There are elements that are similar each year but there are also some topical sections - so this year there was a 'Frozen' themed section.

Last year we had to carry Little Miss A around the Wonderland but this year it was great that she could walk herself. So she dictated what we stopped to look at!

We were fortunate that we went early in the day during the week as it meant there was just a few other people in the Wonderland. This meant we could take our time and we actually walked back on ourselves to see it all again. I can imagine nearer to Christmas and at weekends it gets pretty busy.

The Garden Centre have got it just right. You could spend a long time there as they have created a kids trail around the centre to find lots of Woodland animals. So this makes you wander around a bit more rather than just heading straight to the Winter Wonderland.

There's also a Christmas shop area along with some market stalls and a couple of children's rides (additional cost for these). 

When you need a rest and to warm up, you can choose from the garden centre's own Restaurant or an onsite Costa Coffee Shop. We chose the latter and Little Miss A tried her first Babyccino. Not sure she was that impressed but she got a great milk moustache!

It costs £2 each for the Winter Wonderland. You can also visit Santa for £8 per child (£2 for supervising adults).

I'm sure we'll be back next year as it's becoming a family tradition!

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Festive Fun in Friars Square

Sunday, 14 December 2014

This afternoon Little Miss A and I went into the town as Aylesbury Town Council were hosting another free family event - a Christmas Fair.

When we got there the event was in full swing. Little Miss A got very excited as soon as she saw the Christmas Bear so she was out of the pushchair and running up to him. Of course, then trying to get her to get close to him for a photo proved more difficult so had to resort to being in the picture as well!

Whilst we were having a wander around the various activities, there was lovely Christmasy music being song by The LuLaLas.

I tried to get Little Miss A to sit down at one of the craft tables to make a paper lantern but after a quick scribble on the paper she wanted to get down so we've brought it home to finish!

There was the chance to have another Mummy Daughter photo taken by a photographer that was doing free family shoots. The pictures will be emailed to us. Will be good to see how they come out as silly hats were involved!

Next, we had a go at the Reindeer Hoopla. Little Miss A needed quite a lot of help so a tiny bit of cheating was involved to get the hoop over the Reindeer's antlers so she'd win a small prize!

Our next encounter was with Rag and Bone - a one man music show. His horse and sleigh are fascinating as they're made out of recycled materials (as you'd expect from a Rag and Bone man!). Little Miss A was able to 'feed' the horse and for her efforts was given a balloon which she's very happy with. She enjoyed his trombone playing too.

There was lots more going on that we didn't take advantage of such as face painting, balloon modelling, a fairground ride (this was still outside) and more crafts. We also didn't get the chance to see the travelling magician or crystal ball manipulator as they were there earlier in the day. Just as we were leaving we passed by the stilt walkers - Little Miss A really wasn't sure about them and kept her distance!

Originally the event was meant to be held in Market Square but I'm really relieved that it was moved into the Friars Square Shopping Centre as it was really cold out and we definitely wouldn't have stayed as long as we did outside!

The Council had also organised a Carolfest which was taking place this evening but unfortunately this was at Little Miss A's bedtime. I would like to take her to a carol concert (I love a good sing-song) so this is definitely on the list of things to do next year.

I'm glad we got the chance to go along today for some festive fun. We really are lucky that these type of events take place so locally.

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Things To Do Before I'm 2! - An Update

Friday, 12 December 2014

As we approach the end of 2014, I thought it was time to check back on Little Miss A's 'Things To Do Before I'm 2' list to see what we've managed to tick off and what we've got just 3 months left to do!

As a reminder, here's her list of 'Things To Do Before I'm 2'!

  1. Play with giant bubbles 
  2. Have a garden tea party 
  3. Go for a picnic 
  4. Paddle in the sea 
  5. Attend an event with live music 
  6. Go camping 
  7. Fly a kite
  8. Puddle splashing 
  9. Play outside in fresh snow 
  10. Play in a pile of fallen leaves
  11. Ice sensory play
  12. Foam sensory play
  13. Meet a reindeer at Christmas 
  14. Go on a train journey 
  15. Watch England play in the World Cup 
  16. Go for a bike ride 
  17. Climb a mountain
  18. Go on a bus trip 
  19. Splash park / swim outdoors
We'd already managed to do numbers 4, 6, 15 and 18 when I originally posted her Toddler To Do List so we've done another 8 since then. So we're over half way there which isn't bad going!

1. Play with giant bubbles - when we went to the Halloween Family Fun Day in Aylesbury town centre there was the Bubble Wizard who combined magic and bubbles. So we saw some fun with very large bubbles! We also had fun in the back garden with some big bubbles as Mr MoaB found a big bubble wand in the garage (one of those random things that you find and never knew you had!).

3. Go for a picnic - we pretty much do this everytime we go anywhere as we always take our own packed lunch. The most memorable was when we visited Boscombe beach on our Last-minute getaway to the coast.

5. Attend an event with live music - Little Miss A loves music in all its various forms. As soon as you put the radio on she's bopping away and wants you to dance with her. We made the most of 2 free music events in Aylesbury over the summer: Hobble on the Cobbles and Parklife.

8. Puddle splashing - what is it with kids and puddles!? Since discovering puddles, Little Miss A now takes the opportunity to jump in every puddle she comes across! The muddier the better as this photo shows!

10. Play in a pile of fallen leaves - the best fun we had playing and running through Autumn leaves was on our Sunday Autumnal Stroll in Tring Park

13. Meet a reindeer at Christmas - I wasn't sure we were going to get this one ticked off but fortunately I found a local free event this week where there were 2 reindeer so Little Miss A got to meet Santa's reindeer!

14. Go on a train journey - Little Miss A's first train ride wasn't just your average train as we went Choo choo on a Steam Train! Since then we have been on a normal train ride when we went with Grandma to London to see the Poppies and Paddington Bear statues.

16. Go for a bike ride - I'm not a massive fan of cycling but Mr MoaB finallly persuaded me to get back on a bike and we had a Pedal Power themed day with a cycle ride around Black Park Country Park followed by a sighting of the Tour of Britain riders.

So that's a round-up of how we're getting on. Now to get planning to ensure we get the final ones done before the end of March!

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Meeting Santa's Reindeer (well 2 of them!)

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Today provided a chance for us to tick off something on Little Miss A's Things To Do Before I'm 2 list. Number 13 on the list is 'Meet a reindeer at Christmas'.

I was starting to worry that we would miss the opportunity to be able to do this item as it's a time specific one and Christmas is getting ever closer. Then I spotted that there were going to be 2 reindeer at an event organised by the Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust so off we trotted (ha, ha!) today to meet them.

Little Miss A seemed quite intrigued by them and was fascinated by their big antlers! Whilst we were there we were the only ones seeing the reindeer. Perfect!

I really love this photo as it looks like Little Miss A is in conversation with the reindeer!

The reindeer were from the Claydon Christmas Tree Farm which is about 20 minutes away from Aylesbury. There are actually 5 reindeer that you can see on the Farm (when they're not doing special appearances at other venues like today). The Farm is featured on my list of Local Places to Visit Father Christmas

Really pleased that I stumbled across this event and could take Little Miss A along. 

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