Baking with a toddler for Valentine’s Day

Something pretty amazing happened in our house last week. Wait for it… I did some baking! With the toddler! Twice!

Baking with a toddlerFor me this is pretty much reaching the pinnacle of domestic achievement. I am one of those people who loves the idea of baking but the reality is that I’m not a very confident, or patient, cook so it rarely happens. And throwing a toddler into the mix (not literally, that would be cruel!) when trying to create anything edible is a whole new ball game. But I did it and, amazingly, it was a success. Enjoyable even. I could almost high-five myself as I type!

Ok so our first culinary creation, made last Monday, did use a packet mix and was one we’d done once before but it was a great confidence builder – for me not the toddler! Peppa Pig Muddy Puddle Cup Cakes went down well with Little Miss the first time we made them and the ready-to-go dry mix does make everything so much quicker. It’s an ideal option when time is a bit tight and I would definitely recommend them, especially if you’re new to the joys of baking with a two-year-old. Mine is now starting to learn the art of waiting for food to cook but the first time we made them she kept asking ‘are they ready yet’ from the moment I tore open the box! Start simple I say.

Having emerged from that baking session unscathed I wanted us to make something a bit special for Daddy for Valentine’s Day. My husband is a whizz in the kitchen and pretty much does all of the ‘proper’ cooking for us. I’m great at sticking things in the oven, reheating stuff or putting on a pan of pasta or veg but that’s largely where my talents end. So me doing baking for him is something that shows a bit of thought and effort on my part. I hope.

And what says ‘I love and appreciate you’ better than a batch of handmade gingerbread hearts, lovingly made and decorated with a toddler who may have licked the icing on several of them and coughed over the rest?!

On a serious note though, I do want Little Miss to learn how to prepare food properly. I want her to enjoy being in the kitchen and to grow up feeling more confident than I have about cooking. And I want us to have fun together. Our two little baking sessions have been as much about me learning as they have her. I want to get better at this sort of thing and set a positive example. I have happy memories of making fairy cakes with my own mother.

So we made gingerbread. Little Miss enjoyed helping to weigh all the ingredients out with me. She loved smelling the ginger and cinnamon and stirring things in. I refused her request to ‘do the egg’. I’m not ready for that! And she did keep spilling the mixture everywhere and I kept sweeping it back into the bowl only to have to do it again seconds later. But she was happy, engaged and entertained for a good hour or so.

I’m pretty sure her wandering fingers interfered with our electronic scales at some point though because let’s just say that when I came to start rolling out the dough we had a few ‘issues’. The old me would have panicked, chucked the lot in the bin in a huff and gone to the shops but now I couldn’t let me little girl down by giving up. So I took a deep breath, took a punt on rectifying it and hoped for the best. I had no idea quite how what we put in the oven was going to turn out but, as luck would have it, it emerged perfectly edible. Tasty even.  Another lesson learned.

While our biscuits were cooking, it was lovely to watch Little Miss playing with the leftover dough. She was very protective of it and divided it up into little pieces, talking to herself about making cake for her dolly. So cute!

We then made up some pink icing and got all the sprinkles out of the cupboard for some serious decorating. And voila!

Gingerbread hearts

And I was brave enough to do all this on Friday 13th!

Mini Creations

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Categories: Toddler activities | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Caught in the act!

The Boy is becoming something of a changing mat nuisance. I’m constantly having to try and devise ways to distract him long enough to keep him (a) on his back and on the mat (b) keep his wandering hands at bay.The scene below unfolded in the seconds it took to put a dirty nappy in the bin. I let my guard down and forgot to put the lid back on the changing supplies box. On my return he’d flipped himself off the mat (shoved to one side in disdain) and was making his excited ‘I’ve-got-something-I-shouldn’t-have’ noise while waving a Pampers in the air and stuffing another one in his mouth! He can’t crawl quite yet. I am proper afraid of what he will be able to do/eat/destroy once he’s really on the move!

Nappies everywhere

brummymummyof2
Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories | 2 Comments

Not his six-month birthday!

I had been meaning to post a six-month update on our Little Mister but as his half-birthday was on New Year’s Day it didn’t happen. So I thought I’d save it for his seven-month birthday a few days ago.

I can’t quite believe our happy little man is already seven months old! He’s changed such a lot in the last few weeks. Given his size – 9.5lb at birth – he was never going to stay a teeny tiny newborn for very long. Now, at more than 21lb, he seems to get stronger every day and he’s desperate to be on the move!

Seven months collage

He’s not quite crawling yet. He certainly has the upper body strength – and we’ve already caught him reaching up pretty high while balanced on one elbow – but he hasn’t worked out what to do with his legs. Once he does, we’re in for trouble! He has already discovered the low down drawers in our living room.

His cheeky character continues to develop. He loves being on the floor, exploring, playing and trying to get his hands (and invariably mouth) on his sister’s toys. Little Miss is fairly tolerant but we are now hearing regular disgruntled shouts of “no, he’s ruining it!”. Plenty more of that to come I’m sure. He’s certainly not the most polite guest when it comes to her pretend picnics! Smash and grab pretty much sums up his style.

He’s now finding his voice much more as well and loudly objects to being removed from the scene of his more prohibited explorations. And if his sister snatches something away from him he will screw up his little face and do a full-on cry in protest. His angry face is actually very cute!

Also on the vocal side is his growl. This can be the funniest or most annoying noise depending on the time of day. He’ll growl when he’s excited or really enjoying himself. He also growls himself to sleep. And he also growls to resettle himself if he stirs in the middle of the night. While I suppose it’s preferable to inconsolable crying, it would have been nice if he could have discovered a different self-soothing technique – it’s like trying to sleep next to a baby lion sometimes. Usually his eyes aren’t even open. Mine, obviously, are though. Grrrrr!

Of course, all is forgiven when first thing in the morning he looks up at me all smiles, flapping his arms in delight. He is now starting to hold his arms up towards me to be picked up, which is so lovely.

He also now sits very well and is generally pretty steady on his own. One of my highlights from the last month has been how he is able to join in so well at the music group we go to on Mondays. He absolutely adores the parachute play and very happily sits on his own next to me and Little Miss and helps shake it (combined with trying to eat it, of course!). And his sister’s reaction to his new abilities is lovely too. She is delighted he is joining in with her.

We started weaning just after Christmas and, as you might guess for a boy his size, he’s taken very well to solid food. We’re probably more confident too this time around and he’s definitely progressed to three good meals a day much quicker than his sister did. She’s never been a bad eater but her first spoonfuls of baby rice were spat straight back out whereas he finished a small bowl on his first sitting!

It’s lovely that we are now able to sit together at the table for family meals and Little Miss likes to feed him the odd spoonful. She also loves to feed her beloved dolly in the highchair she got for Christmas. In fact, so much of her play at the moment seems to be inspired by what her baby brother is doing.

And despite the odd grumble, Little Miss is genuinely affectionate with him. She always likes to cuddle him before bed, often holds his hand and today at lunch I came back to find the pair of them at the table giggling at one another. So sweet and long may it last!

Super Busy Mum
Categories: Baby days, Mummy memories | Tags: | 5 Comments

Remember this day… a note to myself

This morning I awoke at 5am (I blame that last mug of tea just before bed!). Both children were still sleeping soundly. The night had been unbroken. I’d even managed to be in bed before 11pm. But then my brain started whirring and I couldn’t get back to sleep. Panic set in. My plan for a better night’s sleep was being ruined. Precious minutes of rest were ebbing away. Today would be unbearable. I may as well give up before I even start, I thought.

But I didn’t give up. Today I fought back against my lately negative mindset. And despite a bit less sleep – actually not that much less given the earlier night – today has been a success. And before I forget this and slip back into bad habits, I want to make sure I remember this day.

So here’s a reminder…

Remember this day

When you assume, before the sun’s even risen, that the day ahead will be a disaster, remember this day.

When you think you’re going to be far too tired to face the day ahead, remember this day.

When you’re laying awake in bed worrying that you won’t be good enough for them, remember this day.

When you fear you won’t be able to stay smiling and cope with the seemingly endless cycle of dirty nappies (a ridiculous five poos today!) and toddler toilet trips. And those little accidents (baby boy gave himself a good soaking mid-change today!), remember this day.

When your timings fly out of the window because of the above but yet everyone survived things running a bit late, remember this day.

Remember how you just got on with it, trying not to over analyse things or panic when they didn’t go entirely to plan. Remember how much easier life felt in this mindset.

When you convince yourself it would be easier to just stay at home rather than face the stress and hassle of getting two little ones out, remember this day.

Remember how good it felt to walk out in the crisp, clear sunshine. Remember how much better the fresh air made you feel and how much healthier it was for all three of you to be outside. And you knew then that, despite the struggles, you were doing your very best for your little family. Remember how calming it was to get out of the house, away from the clutter and chores.

When you choose to prioritise non-essential household admin over having fun with your toddler, remember this day. Remember getting her little pink scooter out for the first time in months and enjoying playing outside with her on it while her baby brother slept. Remember your first-born basking in the unbroken attention of her mummy, who she now has to share with a sibling.Remember her happy little face and gleeful shouts. Remember how laughing and being a bit silly made you feel re-energised and upbeat.

When you next dread that said toddler is getting ever closer to dropping her afternoon nap and you fear you won’t cope when she does, remember this day. Remember how not making her have a nap today did not cause a nervous breakdown. Remember how you trusted your true instincts on this and how everyone had a nicer afternoon as a result.

When you tell yourself that you can’t possibly juggle meeting the needs and demands of a toddler and baby at the same time as preparing an evening meal, remember this day.

And, most importantly, when you’ve forgotten to take a step back and look on in pride at the two little people you have created and nurtured, remember this day. Remember how special and brilliant they are. Take a good helping of credit for this. Stop beating yourself up and enjoy life. Enjoy them, always.

Remember that things are very rarely – if ever – as bad as you think they might be. Remember this day. You are doing fine. And tomorrow you can do it all over again.

Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/digitalart

I’m linking this post up with Word of the Week on The Reading Residence, my word being Remember.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Categories: Mind matters, Motherhood | Tags: , , , , | 21 Comments

What we read in December…

So, drum roll please, here we finally are with my last, somewhat belated, 300 Picture Books Challenge post! We managed it in the end. Just! After a somewhat cockily swift start our 2014 reading, our variety greatly reduced once a second baby came into the household mix. That said just because the books weren’t new ones didn’t mean the old ones weren’t being read again. And again. And… you get the picture. There are some individual titles that I feel must have been read at least 300 times on their own over the course of the year!

300 Picture Books Challenge we did it

But back to the new books we read at the end of last year. December’s reading had a lovely festive feel. I put away the Christmas themed books we’d got the previous year and we acquired a few more, including some fab charity shop bargains, to add to the seasonal stash this year. The library also came up trumps on this score.

Of the non-Christmassy books, Maisy Dresses Up was the firm favourite. The Maisy books, by Lucy Cousins, have been very popular with Little Miss all year and this one was no different, requested before every nap and bedtime until she could pretty much recite the whole thing back to us!

I especially enjoyed What Small Rabbit Heard by Sheryl Webster and Tim Warnes. Anyone who has a toddler with selective hearing should find the storyline amusing. An initially reluctant Small Rabbit is taken out for a walk on a windy day, getting into ever increasing mischief as he repeatedly ‘mishears’ the instructions given to him by Big Rabbit. It’s great fun (although you can’t help but feel for poor old Big Rabbit!).

Of course, Christmas Day brought with it a whole new haul of new books. Peppa Pig was a dominant theme and there was also a nice helping of Julia Donaldson (Zog, The Highway Rat and The Rhyming Rabbit), which pleased me no end. Little Mister also got a few new touchy-feely books of his own. So plenty of new material to start the new year with. And the pretty picture below shows our festive-themed favourites.

Festive favourite books

I’ve loved taking part in the 300 Picture Books Challenge and I’m so glad we managed to keep it up – dare I say proud without sounding ever so slightly smug?! It definitely spurred me into taking Little Miss to the library as much as I could, which is never a bad thing, and I’m sure all those books have helped boost her ever-expanding vocabulary.

Reading remains one of her favourite things and I’m now trying to encourage Little Mister’s interest in books. So far he seems much less inclined to sit still than his sister was so to hold his attention my best bet is anything tactile or interactive like the That’s Not My… books and those with finger puppets. And as with everything else, he does like to put books in his mouth! He’s a work in progress!

You can see all the books we read over the year on our Pinterest board and I’m sure there will be lots more book-related posts to come this year.

Thank you, as ever, for reading!

Categories: Baby bookworm | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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