Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams

Did a bit of swapsies on days last week but that’s okay. Today is Tori’s fifth birthday (how on earth is she five already?!) so it is going to be a buffet style birthday tea with my parents – Party Rings at the ready!!

Monday: Party Tea Buffet (I have mostly cheated and bought things… the cake took up all my time and energy!)

Tuesday: Out for birthday tea take two!

Wednesday: Spaghetti Bolognese

Thursday: Pasta and cheese with peas and sweetcorn

Friday: Toad in the Hole

Saturday: Make Your Own Pizza with garlic bread

Sunday: Freezer Food

I'm linking up with Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday linky


199julWith next week being the last of term, we spent today making Thank You presents for Tori’s teacher and assistant.

200julI have been a bit adventurous with the plan for Tori’s fifth birthday cake and so despite her birthday not being until Monday the first two layers got baked (and frozen) today.

201julIt was the Pre-School end of year play today – they did a mini version of Sleeping Beauty and then some of them took it in turns to stand up and sing songs by themselves. Artie went first and sang Old MacDonald, much to the surprise of his teachers as he’s usually quite shy when it comes to circle time activities.

202julTori took Splash with her to school today for a Teddy Bear’s Picnic and came out sporting her own teddy ears!

203julToday marked the end of Tori’s year in Reception class. I can’t believe it’s over already – where has the time gone?

204julFirst day of the Summer Holidays and we started out with a really easy but good fun craft session making scratch art dinosaur magnets.


Today we spent the afternoon at my nephew Riley’s 2nd Birthday Party. It was good fun and the kids had a whale of a time :)

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my dread of the Summer Holidays and my plans to make a Summer Jar. Well the day is finally here once Tori is home from school this afternoon, the Summer Holidays begin – time to put the Summer Jar into action!

What went into our Summer Jar in the end? Well there’s a mixture of crafty things I have bought kits for and other ideas that I have picked up from around the place. I know a few people have been hunting for ideas too so I thought I’d write out a list of all the things we have written on bits of paper in our jar.

There are two types – one off activities that get removed from the jar once they have been done (usually the craft kits) and other activities that can be dropped back in and reused another day.

First up, The Repeatables (I have put these on paper that is coloured on one side so they are easy to recognise once unfolded but look the same when folded up. We could have just used different coloured paper or pens)

  • Play with your Fuzzy Felts kits
  • Go to the park (We have several parks within walking distance – I am going to try and go to a different one each time)
  • Play Happy Finger Families (Available at Mothercare and previously ELC but I think it has been discontinued)
  • Go for a walk/scoot/skate/bike ride
  • Build five Duplo cars
  • Play with chalks outside
  • Go to English Folkfan’s (We are lucky to live close by to Caius’s mum and she has a very exciting garden ;) )
  • Dress up!
  • Play the Very Hungry Caterpillar Game (Available on Amazon)
  • Read a story together
  • Read independently for 15 minutes
  • Play Picture Dominoes
  • Make No-Bake Cookies (Recipe from
  • Play with your colouring/activity books
  • Play Snap
  • Go on a treasure hunt outside (Find: a leaf, a flower, a stone, a stick, a woodlouse, a seed)
  • Have a picnic (Indoor or out, real or pretend. Everybody help make the food and set up.)
  • Play Build A Beetle
  • Potato/Vegetable Printing/ Painting with cars
  • Go on an indoor treasure hunt (Find: 5 red things, 5 blue things, a yellow crayon, a train, 2 cars, something round, something square, 3 pink things)
  • Play with the Story Cubes (I have three sets of Rory’s Story Cubes, the kids love them. You can buy them from Amazon.)
  • Draw a picture of our house
  • Make pizzas
  • Play with all the Cars toys
  • Make a train track
  • Watch a film you’ve never seen before
  • Water the plants
  • Tidy the front room floor
  • Tidy your bedroom
  • Draw a hopscotch grid and play with it
  • Blow Bubbles
  • Water play
  • Watch TV for 20 minutes
  • Make an obstacle course in the garden
  • Have a bath!
  • Dance to some music
  • Tidy and sweep the back yard
  • Tidy up the shoes and coats

And secondly, The One-Offs (I will say where I got these from, with links where appropriate – the Wilkinsons kits were all on a 3 for 2 offer)

I will add things to the jar if the kids get any more activity sets or come up with new ideas – I think we should be plenty busy over Summer now and we can carry on using the jar afterwards for weekends and other holidays. I picked up a bargain Hallowe’en Craft Pack from a sale on the Yellow Moon website too – I’m definitely going to keep an eye on their webiste to pick bits up through the year!

I hope this helps if you are making a bored/Summer jar of your own or are just looking for activity ideas – if you have any suggestions for things I can add please let me know!!

(NB. I have not been asked to write this post and have not been sponsored in any way – I have purchased all the mentioned craft kits myself and am just sharing ideas for others to share)

Tori has loved her first year of school and utterly adores her class teacher. With this in mind I wanted to come up with a thank you present that was a bit different and would reflect how much fun Tori has had and also how much she has learned.

I also wanted it to be something that Tori had some kind of input in – I don’t know if her teachers drink or have any food allergies so that wrote off wine and chocolate or biscuits and anyway, they seem a bit easy and impersonal.

Which meant it had to be something crafty – my nemesis! Then I remembered something I had seen ages ago (probably on Pinterest) involving plain white crockery and Sharpies. Simple, relatively quick and something Tori and I could manage without disaster ;)

First up Tori and I headed to Wilkinsons where she picked out some plain white heart-shaped side plates which cost just £2 each.

We then headed home and I dug out my collection of coloured Sharpies and Tori set to work personalising the plates for her teacher and teaching assistant.

DSCF1038 plates3I quickly added a note on the back to remind them not to put their plates through the dishwasher – I don’t know whether the ink would survive or not but better safe than sorry!


That done I popped both plates into the oven (180°C) for half an hour to ‘bake’ the pen on.


Now I think I possibly left them in slightly too long as the colours got a bit washed out but it wasn’t terrible.


All it took then was a bit of ribbon and hey presto! Tori has presents to give to her teachers to say thank you and it was cheap, quick and painless to do. Perfect – I just hope they like them!


Aside from the fact that I managed to forget to plug the slow cooker in one night and had to do a quick swapsie of days when I went to serve up and realised it was all still raw (duh), last week went well.

This week I am trying to use up things from the freezer so my meals are planned around the bits and bobs I have found in there.

Monday: Sausage pasta bake

Tuesday: Cottage Pie

Wednesday: Pork & apple with mash and veg

Thursday: Chicken & bacon pie with chips and veg

Friday: Pasta and meatballs

Saturday: Toasties

Sunday: We are taking the Smalls out for the day today so will probably either eat out or have a takeaway – it’s Tori’s birthday tomorrow so I want something low stress!!

I'm linking up with Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday linky

I’m linking up with Mrs M’s Meal Planning Monday linky


192julIt was the Fordhall Farm Summer Fair today and a stunning day for it – this is the kids having snack time in the shade of the shiny new tractors!

193julFor reasons best known to herself, Tori decided she was a dinosaur at dinner time…

194julTonight I made my own salmon fishcakes – to try and entice the Smalls, I made theirs fish shaped. It failed. They just got mushed, pushed around and ignored :(

195julArthur insisted on going on the big swings today. He is getting far too grown up for his own good.

196julStill on the theme of Small people looking big – Tori had her hair cut today and when it was wet and straight instead of her usual crazy curls she looked oddly grown up. Can’t believe she is five next week!

197julJust putting Arthur on the washing line for a bit… as you do ;)

198julI had to take the cover off my camera to get the memory card out and Arthur then spent five minutes working out how to put it together again…

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

We are struggling a bit with Tori.

She has us at the end of our tethers and it’s not making for a particularly fun time for anybody but we aren’t sure what to do about it.

She is turning five at the end of the month and I’m wondering if it’s just an age thing but even so some pointers would be well received, or even jut a bit of ‘we’ve been there’ reassurance.

She just doesn’t listen. She ignores simple instructions even though she heard them and understood. It’s not every now and then, it’s all the time.

‘Tori, please stand there.’

*Tori sits on the floor.*

‘Did I say sit?’


‘So why did you sit?’

I don’t know.’

That’s just one example from the last couple of days and it’s like that with EVERYTHING. She knows what she has been asked to do but just doesn’t do it, or does something else entirely and claims she misunderstood.

It takes telling her five times to get dressed in the morning – usually after she turns up ten minutes later wearing nothing but one sock saying she’s forgotten what she was doing and so had been playing.

Is it just an almost-five-year-old’s total lack of concentration? Is she simply testing her boundaries and our limits? (She is really testing our limits.) Do you think she needs her ears or eyes testing? Is she going to grow out of it in a few weeks and we just need to ride it out? Will it be like this forever because I don’t know if I can do this forever.

I’m fed up of her being in trouble and I’m fed up of being fed up with her.

I’m also sick of repeating myself over and over and over again.

And I’m sick of worrying when I turn around after asking her to wait whilst I cross the road with Arthur and turning round to find her gone because she has wandered off with her friend’s Mum. (She took herself to school but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t worried or cross about it – she might know her friend/’s mum but I don’t.)

And she’s gone past ‘a bit bossy’ now and into just plain rude and nasty. No amount of talking to her or telling her off seems to work – she still yells ‘no’ at everyone when they don’t do what she wants and is all ‘you do this’, ‘say this’, ‘you can’t do that’ and ‘go over there.’ She forgets her please and thank yous and demands whatever she wants from people. She is sarcastic and obnoxious and bratty and all the things we have tried to make sure she isn’t.

She also seems to have had a relapse in regards to going to the toilet. After no accidents for a few months we are now getting her home from school in a pair of borrowed pants, clutching a carrier bag containing her own soiled pants, at least twice a week. She does it at school, at home and out and about having previously been really good about asking to go to the toilet. It feels like a massive step backwards all of a sudden.

Is she just being a girl? Will it pass?

I love her but she’s doing my nut in at the moment. Caius’s too.

Please help us.




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