Thursday, 26 September 2013

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny, here's what I'm reading and knitting this week!

Chouette is finally finished, and awaiting a pepping-up block before it pops off to its intended recipient. This is the biggest size, but still knitted comfortably on my "hat needle," so it's a convenient little project (when you don't have a yarn aversion!)

The red leaves I am knitting will hopefully be part of a selection I want to put together to make an autumnal display with Sausages. They're a bit cute, if you excuse the loose ends and desperate need for blocking. I have a couple of different leaf patterns, and will be looking for an acorn or similar. We've really enjoyed stomping in the leaves recently, especially on our walk with Mammar at Wandlebury Woods. This is a great day out, lots of lovely space to walk around, £2.50 parking for the day, and the odd charming resident...

Reading wise I am just coming to the end of Anchee Min's Katherine, the story of an american woman's time living in China. I can't bring the dates to mind, but it's basically an exploration of the harsh reality of post-Mao China and the naivete of the Western incomer. It's not terribly deep, but it will do me for now!

I've been chatting this week with my lovely Kangaroo Mummy friends about how we live frugally, so I thing a serious frugal post is due this week, but right now we have to go to big boy swimming lessons (Mummy sits on the side, doncha know!), so I'll be back soon to talk with you about my beloved slow cooker, and other domestic economies!


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Yarn Along with Ginny

Joining in with Ginny and her friends!

It's been a busy week in the Bungalow. Husband and Sausages have the same birthday, so that involves an annual extravaganza of cards, presents and cake, as well as visits from friends and family. I always suggest a BBQ, and Husband always overrules me. This year they both had some friends over, but sadly I am still too sicky to do a proper party tea, and they had to make do with everything bought in. Except cakes. When I was giving birth to Sausages (actually when I was pushing, since we had been assured that his premature birth could be prevented and had believed it until right at the end, when it became apparent that this wasn't going to be the case!) Husband made me promise that there would always be separate birthday cakes. Apparently sharing your birthday is one thing, but sharing your birthday cake is quite another! I seem not to have taken a photo of Sausages' cake, but here is a little peek of Husband's:

Can you guess? Yes, it's the ever-popular chocolate Guinness cake. I did the harp myself. I'm pretty chuffed. Thanks to the fabulous help of The Outlaws and my sisters the boys had a lovely day and there was plenty of food. Sausages received lots of lovely presents, including a Lightning McQueen scooter Husband picked up on Freecycle. Here he is learning to use it with Grandad:

There has finally been a bit more knitting for me! Yay! The rainbow on the left is the first thing I am knitting for the new baby (Madge), and on the right is the Explorer's Vest I started eons ago. I'd love to finish it soon for Sausages, but just taking the knitting one day at a time at the moment. The Craft-A-Day was a birthday present for Sausages from Auntie Wooodle, and contains a project for every day of the year, with weekly themes. It's a bit repetitive, but sometimes you do just need something to get you started, and all of the projects are charming.

The Handbuilt Home comes from the authors of this blog, which Husband and I have been admiring. It is full of lovely projects, and I've put in my requests! A lot of Husband's other presents were DIY related, so I have high hopes. First on my wishlist? Shelving in the boiler room/airing cupboard. Storage in the Bungalow is a nightmare! I have no idea where we will find space for a whole extra person's stuff!

This last book is what I'm seriously reading at the moment. David Attenborough is one of my favourite people ever. People I know refer to him as "my David." Sausages has started at a new preschool in a nearby town, and since the sessions are short I am so far just hanging out in that town while he is there, curling up in an armchair in a coffee shop with My David. Bliss! I'll leave you with a little treat for anyone who's ever lived with small children or been to my house; the instructions on the side of one of Sausages' jigsaws, that caught my eye while we were playing trains this morning. Have you seen it yet?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Summer of Fun Part II

Last post I mentioned some of the activities we squeezed into July of Sausages' Summer of Fun. Here are some of the things we managed for August!

Several trips to the fabulous adventure playground at Ickworth. We really make good use of our National Trust membership, making many weekend family visits, and well as Sausages and I going during the week most weeks.

Sausages has rediscovered painting, sticking and drawing this summer, after a long time of not being interested. This is a great joy to me! We have made sooo much mess, but it's great to see his creative ideas forming and his fine motor skills improving every day.

We took a train in to London to visit my brother and his partner for a weekend. Both of my sisters and my parents came along. It was very much worth taking the train rather than the car. Sausages LOVED the train, especially going through tunnels, and going down the "magic stairs" to the underground. We picnicked in the park and on the South Bank, where Sausages really enjoyed walking over the Thames, waving to the boats, and riding on a beautiful roundabout. This was a big step forward for our timid boy, who is mysteriously frightened of riding on swings, and doesn't like you to put a coin in the ride-ons outside supermarkets!

We revisited an old favourite, Blue Reef Aquarium, and treated ourselves to fish and chips on the seafront for lunch, where we watched boats sailing by. Sausages loves the aquarium, and would happily spend an entire week there, getting nose-to-nose with the rays, stroking the starfish at the rock pool experience, and running through the tunnel. Husband hates it, and is very sweet about taking us there.

We visited Uppark, another great National Trust property with fantastic grounds. This was a really family friendly day out. There were long underground tunnels, where Husband and Sausages pretended they were an octopus in the sling...

...lots of open space for running around, and games equipment provided...

...and a fine supply of different benches for our connoisseur!

We also had a fabulous day out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyards, which was a big treat from The Outlaws. The grown-ups really enjoyed the new Mary Rose museum, which I cannot say enough good things about. The amount of artifacts available is truly amazing, and the museum has been so well put together. Sausages' favourite parts were HMS Victory, where there are a lot of interactive exhibits perfect for small boys. In the picture below he is sitting at a table where the sailors would have eaten, which was laid with wooden bowls and spoons, and replica weevily biscuits. Next to the Victory there was a nice water play, with pumps and other toys. That wore him out, so the grown-ups got to enjoy another museum while he slept in the sling. That investment has truly saved our summer!

On our way home from Portsmouth we met up with some of Sausages' little friends at Wimpole. This is another great day out for small children. There is a large park to run around in, and even a farm on site, although the entrance is not covered by National Trust membership.

The boys have had a fabulous summer together. We are so lucky to have Husband home for such a chunk of time in the summer, even if it isn't the six weeks that teachers are rumoured to have! They are so lucky to have this time with no pressure to just enjoy each other's company. Here they are making mince out of the end of a leg of lamb. Men, using machines!

If you have children at home, what have you done with their summer time? The lessons I have learned from the Summer of Fun are: that a toddler carrier is absolutely indispensable where there are distances to be walked or crowds to be negotiated; and that every other day should be a rest day. Sausages has been so tired out by this summer, and has even resumed a day time nap. The sling was essential for carrying him, especially when he was tired, or needed to be held on to, because there were lots of people or breakable objects. It also helped him to be able to see things that were designed for adult audiences, and to have a conversation with us face to face when it was noisy. A buggy would have kept him separate from us in these situations, and they're so awkward! Our sling is a toddler ABC, and although Sausages is now right at the top of the weight bracket, and no longer knee-to-knee, it's very hard wearing and will probably last us until it's no longer necessary for occasional lifts. I can't carry Sausages any more, because he weighs over 20kg and my pregnant spine just can't handle it, so I'm really looking forward to getting to use this carrier when the next baby is big enough!

I hope you've all had fantastic summer breaks, even if it was just a long weekend, and are looking forward to the change in seasons to come.