Finally for those of us here in the UK the temperatures seem to be increasing and Jack Frost is packing his bags and leaving us to get excited and to start enjoying my favourite season SPRING! Yippee!
I love the fact it is lighter in the evenings, I love the flowers that slowly start waking up the world reminding us that life is in fact being filmed in techni colour not black and white. I LOVE being able to get the kids OUTSIDE AT LAST for longer than 10 minutes before someone starts moaning that they are cold too. So without further a do, I thought you might like to read some of my ideas to get your family Springing into Springtime.
OK so, if its not raining, there are no excuses now – out we go! The girls have certainly cottoned on to this and are scooter obsessed; taking every available 10 minutes to tear up and down our little parking lot in front of our house. Its lovely to see them so keen to be outside breathing some fresh air. Freya and I went to the park this morning and it felt like it had been a long time since we hung out there with her little friends. So, whether its the park, the parking lot (!), the garden, Beach, Zoo or woods – whatever space you have near you, get into it and enjoy it!
What is it about the few rays of sunshine coming back into the world that make you want to get a bit more organised and have a good clean up after a winter of closed doors and windows? I love throwing open the doors and getting some fresh air inside and although I can’t say I have the same enthusiasm for cleaning it is good to get a few of the boring jobs over and done with! We have been trying to have a good tidy up and sort through of the toys which the girls have been (un)helpful with but I also thought it would be good to get them to realise that they too can help with the cleaning of the house every now and then…. I am not about to employ them BUT every now and then, it is fun and actually helpful to get the girls involved with some real life cleaning. We got to scrubbing down the front of our house which was hilarious, Bea is quite a whizz with the hoover and not too bad at cleaning the windows and both the girls sort of sweep in the right direction… do you get your kids to do any chores?
Go on a nature walk
Continuing with my theme of fresh air – if you want to do more than just play outside why not make up a little nature walk or scavenger hunt for your kids? Bea is learning all about Farms and in turn a bit about growing and springtime at school at the moment and loves to spot trees with blossom on them on our drive to and from school so this weekend I thought we might go on a little nature trail round the little lanes near our house. First to spot (not pick!) a snowdrop, a daffodil, some blossom, a baby animal, someone doing some gardening, a fairy tree hole… you get the idea! Makes a normal walk seem a bit more exciting! If I have the chance I might plant some little bits and bobs in the hedgerows for them to find along they way too – a few surprise chocolate eggs always keep them more interested!
I love to get the kids involved in my garden. Now we don’t have a very big garden at all, but we made a little veg patch and its amazing how much you can produce in a tiny space.
We grew potatoes (the famous Jersey Royal New Potato!) Runner Beans, Spinach, Lettuce, Courgettes and some slightly unsuccessful Cherry Tomatoes last year and we have a blueberry plant and strawberry plants on the side of the girls wendy house! I like to use every bit of space I have.
The girls really enjoyed digging over the soil (and finding and measuring worms) popping in the little plants (I buy the seedlings ready to plant rather than growing from seed, lazy I know but for me it seems more successful and I don’t end up with hundreds of plants with nowhere to grow them!) and of course learning to water them a little every day if we havent had any rain.
I LOVE that they have an idea that their food they eat actually grows and doesn’t magically get cling wrapped and find its way to their fridge. I have such fond memories of hiding in my grandmothers Pea plants stealing sweet little fresh garden peas out of their pods with my sister, I really want my girls to understand that food is fun even before its got to their plates. There is rarely a ripe Blueberry or strawberry that makes it into the house before being eaten so I think they get the message the little thieves!
If you don’t have any space at all, try a window box or some pots. Potatoes are really easy and quite satisfying to grow in a pot – even if you only get a couple of servings out of your efforts, its amazing to see your kids pulling up the plants and scrubbing their very own potatoes to cook for dinner. Salads are also super easy to grow but perhaps not as exciting for kids to eat at the end of their efforts – thats why we grow Spinach, its easy and the kids love it in this creamy pasta sauce! Strawberries are also super to grow in a pot by your front door or a hanging basket and of course, they have deliciously tempting results. Just make sure they are ripe before they get picked! If you are limited even more in time and space, I thought this looked like a fab idea from Martha Stewart – what a neat way to recycle your egg shells and get the kids growing cress for their next egg sandwiches!
Visit a Farm
Do you have any town farms or farms that have petting corners near you? We have a great little smallholding that has opened its doors to the public here in Jersey. Warren Farm at Noirmont Point is a real farm (which is the bit I like the most!) and they don’t have a petting corner or anything but they happily let you look around and see their Pigs, Sheep, Chickens and they have some Jersey Cows too. Now its Springtime I am really hoping to take the girls up there to see if there are any babies about. Its lovely just to do something a bit different with the girls every now and then and they love to see the animals. Thanks to many visits to their farming uncle in the UK the girls also know what most of the animals ‘jobs’ are ‘mummy, cows make milk and pigs make bacon don’t they’ …. well, at least Bea knows half the story!
Feed some ducks
We have a farm near our house and Freya and I love to visit the chicken coop to throw in our bread crusts while Bea is at school (with the farmers permission of course). As we walked round today to see the new chicks that have appeared, I realised how much I used to take Bea to feed the ducks and Freya hasn’t had the chance to do that much – the time short second child doesn’t get many spare moments in her schedule to do the simple things! So, we are going to hunt down some ducklings tomorrow on our way home from the school run… watch out Ducks!
Paint some blossom
With Bea loving her blossom, I loved this idea I saw on Pinterest – it looks pretty easy so I think we might have a try making a blossom tree, I will let you know how it goes. I also think this ‘make your own’ blossom tree is rather lovely, and could make a great table centre piece…
Bake some bunnies!
As the shops are filling up with Easter goodies, I spied some gorgeous cookie cutters in Waitrose last week that we have been putting to good use to make Beas classmates a treat. Both the girls really enjoy cooking and once we have settled in and sorted out who is wearing which apron and standing on which chair they actually share really well taking it in turns to mix and roll. I am afraid the cookies ended up being taken to school and eaten before I got a chance to take a picture of them iced but they were yummy! We used a vanilla cookie recipe from Annie Riggs Decorating cakes and cookies book – it was just right, not too sweet and the girls had great fun making them.
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
1 egg beaten
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
450g of plain flour sifted
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and creamy, add the beaten egg and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour and mix well. Bring into a dough and chill for 2 hours (or overnight which was fine for us!) Roll out the dough and cut your cookies. The recipe recommends that you then re-chill the shapes but I hadn’t read that bit and they were just fine! Bake at 180degrees Centigrade for approx 12 minutes or until golden colour. Cool before icing!
Make some Chicks
I helped out with an art day at Beas school and they made some delightful paper plate animals. You could turn your house into Old Mac Donalds farm with the amount of amazing animals you can make with a plate – I love these Chicks from Simple as That. I am pretty sure we will be having a go at some of the many daffodil crafts that I have found too when the Easter holidays come around. Take a look at my ‘spring’ Pinterest board for my favourites.
Love your mums
In the UK its Mothers Day coming up at the weekend. I wonder if our partners have remembered?! I always host my whole family for lunch instead of giving my mum a bigger gift, I give her the day off! Its lovely to repay her for all the amazing family meals she has prepared and still does make for our ever increasing clan. I saw a great card from RubyWren designs at Notonthehighstreet.com that I might have to copy for her this year too… it simply added up the number of days my mum has been my mum…
Mum, today, you have been my mum for 13, 118 days – Thank you for being my friend and teaching me just how this wonderful job of ‘mum’ is done!
Get some Spring into your steps and into your kids and enjoy the sunshine when it comes!
Mum on the Rock x