Archive for June 2017

Me & Mine - June 2017

Friday, 30 June 2017

Joining up with the Me and Mine Family Portrait Project with these photos of our family for June.


A picture in a more unusual setting! We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool on our Center Parcs holiday this month. I was worried about dropping my phone so we only took a couple of pictures but my nephew managed to capture this one.



These selfies were taken on the last day of our holiday. Of course, Little Miss A was making faces!

June Highs:
  • - The absolute highlight of this month was our holiday to Center Parcs Sherwood. We were so fortunate that the amazing Willow Foundation charity organised this for us as my Breast Cancer Care Nurse had nominated us. We had such a brilliant time and it was so nice to spend some quality family time away. 
  • - I took the kids to the Helsby Fun Day. There was a whole variety of activities and Little Miss A got to try a climbing wall, rugby and tennis. She also liked the bouncy castle and fun fair rides. Mr MoaB had a stall there with his work so it was nice to be able to see him too!  
  • - Little Miss A got her first gym badge at her new gymnastics class - Gym Stars with Total Gymnastics. This came at the end of her first term with them and she's really enjoying it and starting to make some new friends. 
  • - The kids and I met up for lunch with one of my best friends and her little boy. She lives in Brighton but luckily for us her family are up North and it means so much that she finds time on her visits to see us too!
  • - The preparations for Little Miss A starting school in September have started. I took her school uniform shopping this month. She looked so cute in the pinafore dress! I also went along to the Parents Information Evening. I love the school she's going to and am so excited for her! 
  • - For Father's Day this month we were lucky enough to enjoy a lunch out at a local pub as I won a competition. It was nice to be able to treat Mr MoaB for being such a great Daddy!
  • - The kids and I enjoyed a book themed day out at the Manchester Children's Book Festival. There was so much to do and see. A great day out.  
  • - Little Miss A started swimming lessons. She hasn't been to lessons for quite a while but we were reminded how much she loves being in the water whilst on our holiday as we were swimming every day. Fortuitously the leisure centre called and said that there were spaces available as I'd put her name down when we first moved. Hopefully she'll now learn to use her arms properly!
  • - Sunny days in the garden! Has been great fun getting out in the garden and there's been lots of water play. Shame the month has ended with damp, wet weather but here's hoping summer comes back soon!

June Lows:
  • - Sadly our family dog passed away this month. Sassy was my parents dog and then we looked after her for 5 months at the end of last year. My niece took over her care as it was difficult for us after our move and with my cancer treatment. She was such a good, lovely dog and will be greatly missed.
  • - Baby R had is 1 year immunisations. Fortunately he didn't suffer too badly afterwards. 
  • - Two sessions of cancer treatment for me this month. It's becoming the norm now as it's every 3 weeks. So far so good with very minimal side effects. I actually feel really good at the moment and people keep commenting saying so, which is nice. 

The Me + Mine Project - Dear Beautiful

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Manchester Children's Book Festival 2017

Sunday, 25 June 2017

We love books in our house and we have so many children's books so when I saw that there was a Children's Book Festival taking place in Manchester this weekend, I knew it would be a great thing for us to go to.

After driving in ever decreasing circles trying to find the right university and car park in Manchester, we arrived at the Festival and got a programme to work out a plan. The fun day was spread across different Zones at the Manchester Metropolitan University. One of the nice volunteers took us over to the Family Arts Network Zone where the activities were taking place that were aimed more at Little Miss A's age group.

The room was filled with arts and craft activities for all sorts of things so Little Miss A got involved with a couple. Then we decided to go to a reading of 'Masha & The Bear'. It's not a story I am familiar with but it was a really lovely reading of this old Russian folk story as there were musicians playing authentic Russian instruments - balalaikas and domras.

From here we visited a few more stalls including meeting 'Little Worm'. Little Miss A made a plasticine worm to add to the collection.



We then headed outside for a wander and were just in time to join in an Elephant hunt for Maharajah the Elephant from the book by Jane Kerr - The Elephant Thief. Characters brought this hunt to life and it was really fun. When asked for her favourite thing, Little Miss A says 'the elephant hunt'. We were successful in finding Maharajah who was beautifully made and decorated.



On the hunt we had passed some inflatables so Little Miss A really wanted to go on these. There were also lots of games scattered around and Baby R really enjoyed the Connect 4 rings! We paused for a few of our sandwiches and then I treated Little Miss A to an ice-cream (our only expense for the whole day as all the activities were free!).

We also managed to catch Peppa Pig who was making appearances throughout the day. Little Miss A loves meeting characters and Peppa was no exception!




It was then time to head back to the Family Arts Network Zone to go on another hunt, this time for a bear. A series of rooms had been set up as the different scenes from 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. It was good fun.

Our last activity was to make designer football with the National Football Museum. Who knew you could make a ball with a balloon, a nappy sack, string and lots of paper!!

At this point I was absolutely shattered so it was time to go home. Luckily Little Miss A was happy to go. Baby R fell asleep before we even left the car park!

There were lots of workshops and book readings that we didn't go to. Plus a whole Zone we didn't do at all as it was aimed at older children and teens. However, we packed as much as I could manage in as it was just me on my own with the kids.

Some of the events were ticketed with tickets bookable before the day. The tickets were free so I think people just booked them and then didn't show up as we managed get in without tickets. The reading of Masha & The Bear was supposedly a sell-out from pre-booked tickets but the room was practically empty which was such a shame for the musicians.

This was a really fantastic family fun day. Mr MoaB couldn't believe that it was all free when I described what we'd been up to. I'm definitely putting next year's date (24th March) in my diary!

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Father's Day 2017

A quick post to record this year's Father's Day. It's an emotional time of year and we don't go in for big over the top celebrations anyway.

We only had the morning with Mr MoaB as he was working in the afternoon. When asked what he would like for Father's Day, he said a 'Lie in' and a 'Full English Fry-up' so that's what he got.

There were a few handmade gifts and cards for him. The nursery staff had done some fab crafts with Baby R including a really lovely canvas. I didn't think Little Miss A had done any at pre-school because we were on holiday the week before, but this week she came home with some crafts for him.



The big surprise for Mr MoaB was a photo taken by a professional photographer of his two kids with a special sign. It saved me having to try to get a picture of them this year!



In the week leading up to Father's Day, we read a few Daddy books (I've included affiliate links if you’d like to purchase them):
I Love My Dad - Anna Walker
What Does Daddy Do? - Rachel Bright
I Love My Daddy - Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd
I Love You, Too - Michael Foreman

As an extra bonus I won a Father's Day competition on Facebook for a meal voucher at a local pub. We went this week on Mr MoaB's day off and had a really lovely family lunch, Mr MoaB was really chuffed!





Mr MoaB is a fantastic Daddy to our kids. He works really hard to ensure we're well provided for and can always be relied upon to be a great climbing frame, ninja warrior or whatever the kids want him to be! So a massive Thank you to him for raising these kids with me.

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My Sunday Photo 25-06-2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


Little Miss A and her Daddy were eating limes and this is her 'sour face'! Just so cute!

I'd won a meal voucher for a local pub in a Father's Day competition so we enjoyed a family lunch out this week as a belated Father's Day treat for Mr MoaB as he was actually working that day.

OneDad3Girls

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Happy 1st Birthday Baby R!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Baby R turned one last month but his birthday plans didn't quite go to plan!

As with the post about Little Miss A's 4th Birthday, I'm late writing this but it's important to me to have a record for the kids to read in the future, so I'm writing it now.

I love the photos that I took each month of him. They really do chart the amazing changes he's been through from dinky dot to little man.


Baby R's birthday fell on a nursery day so off he went with a cake to share with his little friends. His first taste of chocolate cake and from the picture they sent me, he definitely enjoyed it! When I picked him up from nursery, they mentioned they'd spotted a couple of spots on him. Chicken pox had been doing the rounds of the nursery and Little Miss A had it a few weeks before. We thought maybe Baby R missed it, but these spots looked very suspicious. He actually only got a few more spots so not a full bout. I think it means he'll probably get it again in the future!


We had a big family party planned on the Saturday with all of Mr MoaB's family. I'd done loads of party preparations for the theme of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and had bought tonnes of food for everyone. However, we couldn't risk infecting any of the relatives with chicken pox so we unfortunately had to cancel the whole thing. I was really upset at the time, but there was nothing we could do.

So all we could do was have the party anyway, just with the 4 of us. Baby R really didn't mind. We had an awful lot of food to eat! In the end, Mr MoaB took a load of food to his work for his staff. I was so chuffed with all the party decorations I had put together and our dining room looked really good. You can read more about Baby R's Hungry Caterpillar Party in this post. There was a mad dash to the supermarket to get a Birthday cake as Baby R's Great Aunt was making one for his party. I was just relieved the supermarket had a caterpillar one to fit our theme!





Baby R chose his Birthday weekend to start walking! He'd taken a few tentative steps before then he just walked across the room and now there is no stopping him! It's such a milestone. He was just a week behind his sister in the walking stakes as she started a week before her 1st Birthday. Well done Little Boy!

Baby R is such fantastic addition to our family. It's hard to remember a time when he wasn't part of it. He hasn't had it easy as we've been through a lot of really tough times over the last year. Through it all he can always be relied upon to provide a big smile and cheer us up. We're so proud of him and how he's developing so well.



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Siblings - June 2017

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Joining up with The Siblings Project with these photos of Little Miss A and Baby R. 



This first picture was taken by a professional photographer (Tabatha Johnson Photography) at a Messy Play Event we went to. I had the forethought to take some spare clothes with us! I'm amazed that she managed to get these two both looking at the camera AND smiling!


I also had this picture taken with a special sign for Daddy for Father's Day. He was so chuffed with it.


They are starting to play a lot more together. I think now that Baby R is on his feet and walking, he's more fun for Little Miss A! This is proved by this picture. After riding the car together, Little Miss A was pushing Baby R around and there was lots of giggling going on.


This photo was taken at the Geronimo Festival I took the kids to. I braved taking both kids on my own and although exhausting, it was a really fab day with so much to do. I loved seeing Little Miss A and Baby R drumming together. They both love playing music and dancing around to music with each other.


This last picture was taken this week on our holiday to Center Parcs. The kids were in the bike trailer we'd hired for the week. They both enjoyed being transported around by Daddy. Baby R looked so cute in his new helmet. They were both so good all week and we all had a really fantastic time. It was so lovely having time away as a family. We are so lucky to have this cheeky pair in our family.

The Siblings Project - Dear Beautiful

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My Sunday Photo 18-06-2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


It was a difficult decision to pick one photo this week as we've been away in Center Parcs so there have been lots of highlights. We have had a fab time, spending some much needed quality family time together. This photo was taken on day one of the holiday when we picked up the bikes we'd hired. Luckily the smiles continued all week and the kids loved getting into the trailer each day for our adventures.

OneDad3Girls

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My Sunday Photo 11-06-2017

Sunday, 11 June 2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


Another proud Mum moment. Little Miss A got her first badge at her new gym class. She loved her gym classes where we used to live so I was keen to get her enrolled again when we moved. From day one she just walked in to the class with bags of confidence and she's getting on so well and starting to make friends which is so nice for her.

OneDad3Girls

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My Sunday Photo 04-06-2017

Sunday, 4 June 2017

This is my favourite picture of this week for #MySundayPhoto.


I continue to be blown away by our little girl's confidence and 'have-a-go' attitude. She might not have reached the top but for her first attempt at a climbing wall, she did so well! She really will try anything and makes us so proud. It was taken at a local fun day yesterday with lots of activities to try including this one.

OneDad3Girls

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Hosting A Very Hungry Caterpillar Party

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Some ideas for hosting a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed Birthday Party.

I had always planned to have a Hungry Caterpillar party for Little Miss A so had bought some partyware in a supermarket and put it away. When I was sorting out stuff for her Charlie & Lola party, I found all this stuff unused so thought it would be perfect for Baby R's 1st Birthday.

Decorations
I really enjoyed making decorations for Little Miss A's party so wanted to include a few handmade things for Baby R too. I already had a butterfly banner and the paper plates, table cover and napkins.

In a charity shop a while ago I found the Very Hungry Caterpillar card game for £1 and used these as the basis for a handmade banner. I printed off the letters for a message and stuck these on to the backs of the cards which had a natural 'frame'.

Every month I have taken photos of Baby R and I wanted to include these as it is really quite incredible how much babies change over that first year. I incorporated these into the theme by sticking each photo on to a green circle of card and then adding a caterpillar head. It was bigger than I was expecting but looked brilliant!



For a themed sponsored walk a few weeks before, Little Miss A and I had made two Caterpillar headbands and these could come out again to be used for the party. They're so simple to make. Just a ring of red card and then eyes (yellow and green card) and purple card for the antennae. I would suggest reinforcing the antennae with a lollipop stick or thicker card so they stand up more.

Lastly I made a banner for Baby R's highchair using the leftover card from his photo banner. He kept pulling these off so they didn't last too long, but they looked good for the photos!

Food & drink
As it was just a family party rather than a purely kids party, I didn't do a lot of caterpillar themed food. There are so many ideas on Pinterest that I could have gone quite mad! However, I did do a fruit platter just for a bit of fun and used some more of the cards from the card game pack.



I created some caterpillar straws too. I found a print-out and stuck them on green stripy bendy straws which I already had. The other food I put in lots of brightly coloured containers which just looked so bright and inviting.

Baby R's Great Aunt was making a caterpillar cake for us. Unfortunately we didn't get to enjoy it as we couldn't travel up North to have the big family party we'd originally planned. Instead there was a last-minute dash to the supermarket to pick up one of their caterpillar cakes! Baby R didn't mind, he enjoyed stuffing his face with chocolate cake!

Party games
In an activity book set I had, I found a big Very Hungry Caterpillar poster. We stuck this to the wall and played pin the nose on the caterpillar. Little Miss A loved spinning each of us round and we got pretty close most times!

If it was a kids party, then it would be great to pre-cut all the pieces for the Caterpillar headbands and for each child to make one of these to wear during the party.

Though we didn't play it, another themed game could be 'feed the caterpillar'. Make a big cut-out caterpillar head with a large mouth opening. Then use bean bags to toss into the mouth.

Party bags
We didn't really need party bags as there were only a couple of kids (including Little Miss A) going to be at the original party however I loved the idea of creating some butterfly snack bags. So very easy to do (although they did require more sweets than I imagined!). They just use small plastic snack bags, wind a pipe cleaner around and into twirls for the antennae, then a peg for the body. I think they look so colourful.


Free Downloads
I spent a lot of time trawling the internet for pictures to use etc. Here's some of the resources I used:
Very Hungry Caterpillar Straw Template from Gourmet Mom On The Go
Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st Birthday Printables from Bella Printables
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Resources from Penguin Books

So this is some ideas on how to have a Very Hungry Caterpillar party, on a budget of course! Would love to know if you host a Hungry Caterpillar themed party and what you get up to.


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All the Fun of Turning Four

Friday, 2 June 2017

At the end of March Little Miss A turned 4! As my blog is a record for the kids to read in the future, I wanted to put this post together, albeit a bit late!

It really has been such an incredible 4 years since this beautiful girl entered our lives. I'm so very proud of the person she is becoming and she amazes me every single day.


It's quite a significant year as it means she's now old enough to go to school. I remember thinking when she was born that school days were such a long way off but all of a sudden, we've applied and got our first choice of school for her and she starts in September.

In the build up to the big day, we read lots of 'Birthday' books so she was super excited for the day to arrive. I was surprised by how many themed books i was able to ind in the library. I've put a list of the book titles at the bottom of this post in case you're looking for a Birthday book.

Before we relocated we did a big cull of the garden toys as they were all bulky and we didn't want to move them all. However, the house we're renting has a big garden so we decided to buy Little Miss A a play house for her main present. We thought it would be something that both kids could play in. I'd love to get a traditional wooden playhouse but knowing that we're going to be moving again when we buy a house up here, we went with a Little Tikes house and then we'll hopefully upgrade in the future.

She had no idea about this present so I did a trail of balloons all the way from her bedroom, down the stairs and to the back door. Then when we opened the back door, she saw her present! I'd put more balloons and a birthday banner on the house. It's safe to say it was a hit!


Her birthday actually fell on a pre-school day so we packed her off for the day with a cake to share with her friends. It gave me the chance to do the food shopping for her party and then we picked the kids up early to head up North to Mr MoaB's sister's house where we were hosting the birthday party.

Little Miss A was kept busy by her cousins while food was frantically heated and decorations hastily put up. When Little Miss A chose Charlie & Lola as the theme, I must admit my heart sank a little. No chance of just going in to the shops and buying themed partyware. I had to get creative and I'm so chuffed with how the handmade decorations turned out. You can read all about what I did for her Charlie & Lola themed party in this post. She's still got the large pictures of the characters adorning her bedroom walls.


We have Little Miss A's Great Aunt to thank for her birthday cake - a Paw Patrol cake. She didn't know the theme that Little Miss A had requested. Little Miss A was chuffed when it was bought out.

Lots of Mr MoaB's family were at the party. The big omission was his Mum who was in hospital. It's such a shame that she missed it. Mr MoaB went to visit her in hospital that evening and took her some birthday cake and showed her all the photos.

In the build-up to her Birthday Little Miss A kept talking about a party where she could invite her friends. It was really hard trying to explain to her that we weren't having a big party. I did feel really bad for her but having just moved to the area, we just don't know enough children to invite along. She has friends at her nursery but we don't know the parents to invite.

I'm determined that next year she'll have the party she wants as we can invite all her school friends. Hopefully she might go for a slightly easier theme!

As usual the day had been so busy that we hadn't got any photos of us with Little Miss A so there was just time for a quick selfie with my birthday girl before she went to bed.



Here's the list of Birthday themed books that I managed to find and we enjoyed reading each night as Little Miss A's big day approached (I've included affiliate links if you’d like to purchase them):
How Many sleeps till my Birthday? - Mark Sperring and Sebastien Braun
Snappy Birthday - Mark Sperring and Laura Ellen Anderson
Happy Birthday in Dragon Wood - Timothy Knapman and Gwen Millward
Poggle and the Birthday Present - Michael Evans
Happy Birthday Hugless Douglas - David Melling
Boa's Bad Birthday - Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
Happy Birthday Peppa
Sarah and Duck have a Quiet Birthday - Sarah Gomes Harris

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