Category: Grandparent stuff

time for a bit of mud …

time for a bit of mud …

It’s not everyday that you make something for your Grandsons 2nd birthday with the express plan that it gets covered in mud – but that’s just what I have ended up doing.

A month or two back my daughter asked me if I could make Harry a ‘mud kitchen’ for his second birthday, I said I would if it was all possible (and of course within my limited skill set), a short while after a picture of a ‘mud kitchen’ was sent to me and I duly accepted the commission in line with my Grandparents job description – which essentially boils down to being able to fix or make anything in the world!

I think the essence of the mud kitchen idea is the clear recognition that it’s pretty good fun to get dirty, in the park, in the garden or wherever and there really is life and fun t be had away from an over reliance on technology, and spending too much time in front of a screen.

A mud kitchen ticks a few boxes, creativity, imagination, interest and … well just getting muddy, dirty and having a bit of fun – quite apart from what ever it does or might do to help build up a healthy immune system.

It turned out not to be difficult at all, some wood, a couple of bowls, some garden shed/fence type paint and a bit of blue gloss paint that I had in the shed – along with a few hours effort in the shed.

Once done my wife and I sourced a few hooks, some kitchen implements and it’s pretty much job done.

Harry isn’t two until next week and given that he has no access to social media I think I’m safe in posting this in advance of his birthday, so we will have a short wait to see just what he makes of it,

I’m hoping that much more than mud pies will be produced – perhaps a range of products that might include: pies, pasties, cakes, sausages – maybe even garnished with grass. Of course it may be that he wants to diversify and turn out a range of garden scented after shaves, balms, perfumes and other delightful offerings.

In any event I hope that Harry along with his his brother Daniel and his sister Emma end up filthy and covered in mud!

 

 

 

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refresh the bench …

refresh the bench …

Almost three years ago my daughters neighbours gave her an old garden bench for the children. The bench was passed onto me for a bit of restoration work and you can read about that here.

The passage of time meant that almost three years on it was time for a refresh and a couple of months back the bench ended up in my garden shed waiting to be done.

With Spring around the corner I set to it the other week and yesterday the bench was returned, good to go for anther couple of years … although the pig is a little more pink than last time round!

down to the woods …

down to the woods …

Daniel, Emma and I made an early start yesterday morning to wander down to the woods, we ended up walking the best part of three and a half miles which was more than enough for the pair of them.

Whilst we off doing that Pat took Harry for a wander as well and then later and after lunch we ‘painted’ a few hard boiled eggs, which stretched my creativity to breaking point.

Daniel insisted on bringing along a whistle … to warn us when we were being chased by wolves … which seemed to be most of the time.

In addition to escaping from wolves we checked under the small bridges for Trolls, ran from Crocodiles (who swim in the River Tame of all places) and generally were on our guard for all sorts of threats from the wildlife. When I decided to up the game and suggested we might have to watch out for Lions, Daniel put in me in my place by telling me they were only in the grasslands and not here!

Only one of us slipped, cut their hand, and bruised their knee and went tumbling back down the muddy hill (mountain) that we had clambered up and it wasn’t Daniel or Emma!

All in all we had a fine walk

The egg painting was basic but fun …

local museum visit …

local museum visit …

Yesterday we nipped down to the Museum of Science & Industry (MoSI) in central Manchester.

Although we have been to the museum a few times before, it’s always worth a visit, the prompt for yesterdays trip was the temporary display of the Soyuz capsule that Major Tim Peake returned to earth in, on the 18 June 2016 following his six months in the International Space Station.

In addition to the capsule the emergency space suit that he wore was also on display.

Although there isn’t a great deal to the actual Soysuz capsule display and related bits and pieces, it is worth seeing in my opinion. I was struck by just how small it was – and even though the whole event was well documented on television and there are hours of footage available on the web, there’s nothing quite like seeing something for real to get an appreciation of it.  There’s a video guide to the capsule at this link

After seeing the capsule we made our way across to the permanent displays in the  Power Hall and wandered around looking at the various engines,  ranging from those that were powered by water and steam to some of the huge railway locomotives on display that were made in Manchester and that were used in Pakistan and South Africa.

Of course with the age of the children then the time we spent and the level at which we looked at things was appropriate to them, but if you’re there as an adult it would be easy to while away a good half day.

After the Power Hall we wandered across the road to the Air & Space Hall, stopped for a bite to eat, before visiting the hands on Experiment section and then finally finsihing off with a drink in the cafe/bistro.

All in all another decent visit – although there was plenty more to see that we didn’t get round to and that will wait for another time.

 

 

 

 

 

if you go down to the woods …

if you go down to the woods …

I had a fine time yesterday when I set off with two of my grandchildren for an amble down the woods – grandchild number three remained at home with my wife, he’s just a little young too join in the sort of walk we had.

There’s seldom a time when we see them that they don’t surprise us and yesterday was no exception – before we had even set off both Daniel and Emma were chanting their 2 and 3 Times Tables to me – I’ve long since forgotten at about what age children learn these things but I hadn’t expected it from a five and three year old. To be fair they topped that whilst we were out walking when they started singing some song about the Romans with mention of Carthage – after they had finished and I had complimented them, Daniel told me in a quite matter of fact sort of way “It’s Geography Grandad”

081117 Woods (3)I had a single £1 coin in my pocket and when we stopped off at a local newsagents I had optimistically thought that we might get three chocolate Freddo’s – alas they had decided that it would be a good idea to get one Milky Bar and one Freddo which they could then both share. The two bars accounted for £0.95p of my single £1 … I was grateful for them both allowing me a small bite of their chocolate bars.

After that it was a pretty much routine walk through the woods down near the River Tame with imaginary worlds to explore and ‘mountains’ to scramble up – and on one occasion, for the three of us to tumble down, it could have been worse and we really shouldn’t have gone up it, thankfully we hadn’t been seen by anyone or I’m sure I would have been branded irresponsible.

We found names for almost everything we came across: slippy bridge, Roman Ruins, white water corner, big mountain, red rock mountain etc … and to be honest I’m not sure who enjoyed it the most!

Lunch was a simple affair – a jam sandwich for Daniel and a cheese sandwich for Emma, I got some of the crusts from Emma’s bread (or bones as we call them).

All in all we walked 3.5 miles, had a good time, got dirty and didn’t go near a television, DVD or Ipad – sometimes the best things really are free.

Although Harry had been left at home – he didn’t look as though he had missed out – and as well as nipping to the shops with my wife, he had generally had the run of the house as well as the endless fascination that a small boy gets from a washing machine.

One last thing – as we walked home we passed the primary school where my children used to go many years ago, I pointed it out to the children and explained that was where their Mummy used to go – they were genuinely surprised and asked me why did she go to school, as children who are being Home Educated I suppose I should have anticipated the next question – “did you teach her Grandad?” … er no, “why not Grandad”, er I don’t think I would really have been good enough to do that,  a look at her Blog will amply illustrate that she really does excel in ways that I never could

 

pumpkin time …

pumpkin time …

Yesterday was that time of the year when another established routine in our house takes place – the annual pumpkin activity with the children.

The only change in the routine this year was the addition of small pumpkin so that Harry could join in with Emma and Daniel – which he did with enthusiasm.

It’s actually a pretty basic process, the children draw their design (strongly encouraged by me for them not to do anything other than simple – due to my limitations with a knife) – I then attempt to carve out the design  and the children scoop out the innards.

Thankfully I had design control over Harry’s, and whilst Emma’s was a pretty traditional design it just left Daniel to offer the challenge by the inclusion of four eyes in his pumpkin design, it could have been worse as his first drawing had 10 eyes!

The other bonus of the day was that I had received a package earlier that arrived in two large boxes … or cars as the children informed me, so a bit of fun was had in those – which included me ‘driving’ them around the kitchen.

After that the morning was rounded off with some decorating of cakes for Halloween, I was a little dissapointed that the children were allowed to take them all home!

 

 

time passes so quickly …

time passes so quickly …

A little over five years ago I was at Manchester Airport about to board a flight to Amsterdam with my son to watch Manchester City play Ajax in the Champions League, with just a few minutes to go before boarding I got a ‘phone call to tell me the news that my daughter Sarah had given birth to her first child – a boy.

Step forward five years and my wife and I were calling to a local community hall to deliver the Paw Patrol birthday cake that my wife had made for Daniel’s 5th birthday.

As well as a bunch of his friends being there, his younger sister Emma and younger brother Harry were also there.

It wasn’t a family party as such, already he’s ‘too old’ for that, so after delivering the cake we didn’t stay too long so as not to outstay our welcome, but we did call back later to help with the cleaning and tidying of the community hall.

It was excellent to see that the children played traditional games and activities (including pass the parcel and biscuit decorating and even better to see that none of them had their heads buried in mobile phones or iPads.

Later in the week – 1,825 days after arriving and on Daniels birthday we met up for breakfast before they called back to our home for some present opening.

timeWe’re fortunate to have frequent and regular contact with our grandchildren, but it doesn’t half focus your mind on the passage of time and we can hardly believe how quickly the days have passed.

Five years ago we didn’t have any grandchildren and now we have three – along with birthday parties and the inevitable cake making being firmly established as part of our family routine.