Friday, 23 September 2016

All your little things.

A little snippet about our little lad lately...

My whirlwind of a dude is almost 2 years 8 months old at the end of this month and it seems to have come around so fast. I guess thats always the way when you have a new baby coming into the family but it really is overwhelming for me at times. I'm not sure if it's because he's my only boy but he seems to have grown the fastest and changed the most in the less amount of time. It really is so bittersweet and Something I find hard to come to terms with since being a Mama. That something is change. I love to see them grow, be healthy, happy and learn about the world, being themselves, but it all seems to be going to rapidly, onto next stages, chapters before I've managed to soak up the current one. My little boy is currently obsessed with teenage mutant ninja turtles, and will sit with his little figure collection and play so contentedly, he will then include the huge rubber dinosaurs Grampy got them all too and will just be in his own little magical world! He's such a split personality at times and I love him so much for it, one minute he's the calmest and most chilled out person, then he goes into complete 100mph chatterbox mode (this is usually from 6am) then had the power struggles or moments where he resembles a tiger going bonkers. This is usually triggered but the usual toy dispute, being tired (he gave up naps way before his 2nd birthday), or hungry (it's such a challenge to get him to enjoy food most days, usually dinner time, he's a snacker that's for sure!) The tales of being two ay?

Something I have always loved as a Mama is when they walk right up to me, chuffed as anything with a bundle of hand picked flowers, dirt, leaves, 'treasures', you name it. Little things that they see as absolutely precious and they're giving it to me, someone they love lots. It makes my heart all warm & fuzzy and it never grows old. I look at these photos of my little lad a few weeks ago over the Summer holidays and I remember it so clearly. He shouted after me, handed me these daisies from our lawn and said " I like you Mum" in his sweet little chatty voice, counting them as he lay them into my palm. The look on his face is just so sweet. I just love it when I can really see how pleased he is to have handed something over that he found all by himself.

 These are the little things I never want to forget in my journey of Motherhood, My bigger girls still do this as well and I will welcome it for as long as they do. 

Simple acts of affection such as handing out little flowers from child to mama.
Those lovely long lashes, that little nose with little freckles appearing, that double fringe cowlick that has a mind of its own, this thoughtful gesture of a daisy - My beautiful little boy.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Splash! Water play ideas for little ones.

Something that's always been a hit with our little ones is to create time in which they can play with explore different opportunities with water and more recently using a water table.

We were recently lucky to have been sent a cool water table from the people at Little Tikes. We set it up at their Grampy's house and he said it was very easy to set up, we then filled it up with bubbles and warm water, then adding more using his water butt. It's at a great height for little ones, Phoenix is two and a half and suits his height great, Yve's and Halle were joining in just as much as they could either stand or sit and it will be perfect for when √Člodie is standing too no doubt.

This table comes with different activities including a ball launder, and ferris wheel, a pouring towerand more. It also enables them to each have a section to play with or to help each other like Yves was with Phoenix when using the ball launcher. The bright colours of the table are pleasing on the eye too, something else you can incorporate into the play with toddlers by naming and familiarising with the different colours.

When you look on the Little Tikes website, you'll see that theres a whole variety of slightly different themed water tables to choose from. This one is the 'Spinning seas', suitable from age 2 years+ and retails at £49.99.

Water tray ideas:

Create perfumes or magical potions adding leaves, bubbles, stones, petals, and even mud pies or brownies. The girls absolutely love this one, they usually add lots of mint and lavender from the plant area too which makes it smell half decent!

A vehicle washing station: Phoenix really enjoyed washing and splashing all of his vehicle collection, creating a little car wash on a smaller scale.

Baby bath station - The older girls loved doing this, we did make sure we didn't use the babies that were made from fabric though as they take ages to dry even in the best of heat!

Using utensils, measuring jugs to mix, splash and pour.

Adding food colouring to reveal "magical mermaid pools". We love this one, dunking the barbies into deep green water and bubbles was lots of fun!

Dinosaur splash! Little Phoenix is a little dinosaur (and ninja turtle) obsessed and he absolutely loves dunking them into the water, making them 'swim', and having a wash.

Play water fights! - Endless fun here!

I could think of so many more, and have seen some great inspiration about online, but heres a few we've tried and loved. Here's some images of the Little Tikes water tray from the other week when Yve's & Phoenix were enjoying the combination of water play and burying dinosaurs in the sand (with the help of water to make better castles too of course!)
This expression on her face cracks me up. It was captured mid-point of where she was very carefully transporting water into the sand tray where she could make better sand castles. the motion was so funny!
Someone loves the bikes this day instead ;)

This post was meant to go up over the summer but due to being poorly, it's set me back but even though you'd think its more relevant to Spring & Summer months its also lots of fun during the Autumn and even winter. Splashing and creating mud pies with toy friends never grows old it seems!

*Disclosure - We were sent the Little Tikes water table for the purpose of a review, all thoughts and images are my own.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Our Siblings in September 2016

September came around in a flash right? 

This month marks the time that our biggest girl starts year one, and our second big girl starts foundation. TWO of our four littles in primary school and I'm honestly in sheer denial. Its also the month our littlest lady turns five months old, and our little boy is continuing to dazzle us with his conversation and understanding of things at the tender age of two and a half. I could talk for ages about the whole starting school situation but that's another post waiting, floating around in my brain until I can find the words to describe!

This month so far, the four of them have been playing a lot more as a whole unit as littlest lady has been getting more and more active (watching them in her walker waiting for toys to hand, or rolling around on her play mat - with them included!). 

As the end of the summer holidays approached we did have moments of bickering but that's only natural when age/personalities clash and just siblings in general right? The one thing that's always been consistent though is how they will always make up, and also how much they're loving on their baby sister. They are all so caring towards her and love to know she is happy, they love to lay beside her on the play mat, bring her toys, sing or talk to her and of course the big hugs, especially at bed time. Phoenix does this thing lately where he wipes her mouth with her bib if she's dribbling, makes sure she's got toys to hold and snuggles his face into hers, eskimo kisses and says "just one kiss Mummy?" with his one little finger pointing up gesturing just that. I never doubted he would be a wonderful big brother, but as theres a slightly bigger age gap between them than the big girls I wondered if it would be different some how, but it isn't, he is just as loving and aware of her being here and that we need to be gentle around her head, her little hands and about putting things near her mouth. He does his own thing a lot more but always comes back to see her at the play mat, he just loves to know she's okay.

The bigger girls have taken comfort in both going to school now, I think Yve's is loving the 'biggest sister' element showing Halle the ropes etc. I look at them both walking into school & I can't believe come this far already, it really does tug at my heart strings a lot, everyday. 

It's a funny thing that they're all so close in age, but there's still the age differences in between, Phoenix loves to join in with the big girls, but can sometimes get frustrated when he can't do it as fast, or understand the board games they play. Then √Člodie is getting much more active now but is still obviously limited as she is only small. We often say "the big girls", "the bigger three", "the little two", "the baby" in conversation and then wonder how these labels go hand in hand as they're all so close but also so far apart.

I look at the four of them and i'm in amazement and still shock that I made them all, I carried them all and birthed them all. All of them in less than 6 years, so for those days when I feel like i'm failing at everything at least I can have this to remember everyday. They light up my life with such richness and I couldn't be any prouder of them if I tried.


Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Eating out with Kids, including our thoughts of Thaikhun.

When it comes to eating out as a family it can go either way, hit or miss. It's completely pot luck half the time but also admitting that we'll more than likely eat our food semi-warm is the only consolation. Sometimes though, the kids actually enjoy the food as much as us adults do. I believe that if they're truly hungry, and find the food/situation fun then this can sometimes help contribute to having a wonderful family meal. 

The six of us were recently invited to sample a complimentary meal & to try out the new kids menu at our local Thaikhun restaurant. I accepted the invite right away as from experience from when Mr T & I were invited to the VIP opening launch early last year & the food is undeniably delicious. I won't lie though, sitting down for a meal on a rare date night is the polar opposite to when you're sitting down with your four littles. They are generally good when we eat out but kids will be kids and sometimes boredom sets in while waiting, or when the conversation has ran its course/ attention span and its then the start of the "I need a wee" at any given second x3 saga.
So on arrival we were shown to our seat downstairs, we were offered help right away with leading our littles to our table, one member of staff even carried our little boy down the big steps for us to which he looked a little bewildered about! Once sat down we ordered the drinks we desired, and took a browse at our menus. The kids menu has had a recent change with that its in collaboration with Nat Geo Kids which includes a funky design, cool facts and some handy colouring crayons too.
When deciding our meals we were given our drinks, plus a couple of extra ones to try out too. The wait wasn't too long, we were showing the children the vibrant decor above them which included a canoe boat hanging, along with other canoe boats made into seating around the restaurant as well.
Thai beer & colouring in by Halle and Daddy.
To the right of our table near the walk way, Yves noticed that there was a Thai alphabet sheet which she loved looking at. Her & halle then starting singing the alphabet! Meanwhile, Phoenix was smiling at the kitchen staff behind us with his cheeky grin (and trying to climb over the seat at times!).
Sharing of drinks & distractions (to stop him climbing over the seat into the kitchen!)
Once the starters arrived we started getting stuck in, I had the Gai satay - delicious marinated chicken with peanut sauce, one of my favourites of thai food (the first photo in this post), Mr T had the tempura prawns, and we also had a try of the tofu wraps.
The children's menu came with a nice healthy alternative of carrot and cucumber sticks which Yves loved as these are two of her favourite things to snack on, the other two weren't convinced even though they tried but they are more fruit lovers as opposed to salady things.
 There mains were delicious, we got them all the grilled chicken option, the girls teamed theirs with noodles, Phoenix had the jasmine rice. It also included steamed broccoli & a choice of sauce. They all went for the BBQ, very tasty! Like any children, we have our fair share of ups & downs with their eating habit, one day they love something and the next they're on food strike or will only eat things that are yellow for example. We've especially found it even trickier with our little boy as he is more of a picky eater who will usually have a good breakfast, snack throughout the day, but 80% of the time goes on 'dinner strike' so for him to enjoy this was a lovely sight.

 The childrens menu also comes with the choice of water, milk or juice and even an ice-lolly for pudding. We thought this was overall a great value for money for the quality of the food. 
For our mains, Ty enjoyed the Geang Phed, A red thai curry for a change as opposed to his usual green curry, he said it was really flavoursome and the ingredients such as the pineapple and cherry tomato chunks complimented it well plus its a healthier option, win win.
I was going to have the chicken massaman but I always have this when eating thai food so I also went for something slightly different in flavour and texture. I went for the Khao Mun Gai Tod, this was fried chicken (reminded me of katsu chicken texture) with coconut rice, salad and a sweet chilli dip. I enjoyed the meal but wish it had more of a main meal sauce to it as opposed to the dipping sauce as the chicken was a bit dry without it. I continued to use my satay peanut sauce from my starter which complimented it well, but overall the food was lovely!
Ty opted for no pudding, but there was no way I was going without one! The desert menu looked really appealing to me and I was sat deciding for a fair few minutes! I was tied between my usual sticky toffee pudding (I 90% have this anywhere we go) that came with Thai whisky ice-cream or a 'Thai bounty' - a chocolate fondant with coconut ice-cream. I went for something different as was definitely glad I chose something new - it was delicious! It even came with a bit of spray cream & warm chocolate sauce drizzled on top too. 
I couldn't leave without sampling one of their hot chocolates too, and it came in this quirky dented looking mug which I loved!

Throughout our evening there, the staff were very kind, friendly and helpful ensuring we were enjoying our food and sparing a couple of minutes to chat to our littles. They even gave us a couple of additional tasters while there too which were also delicious. I love the authentic feel you get when in the restaurant, true to its Thai heritage, the restaurant is buzzing with vibrance, music and even mini singing performances from the staff if someone tells them its their birthday, the kids found this hilarious! The decor is stunning, colourful and eye-catching, something I imagine Thailand is like in the flesh, as told from my Dad who has visited there before. As mentioned above, I have written more about the Thaikhun background before so if you fancy a read just follow the link or visit their website.
On the way home, a spot of cheeky behaviour and faces ;)

I didn't take as many photos of us as I would've liked but in between the toilet dashes, the attempting to climb over the edge of the seat by Master P, we just wanted to try our best to enjoy our meal, our second meal out as a family of six as I think we did pretty well to be honest. We went home with full tummies, funny memories and at least a few pictures of this mouth watering food!
Thank you so much to Thaikhun for our invite, we'll definitely be back!

*Disclosure, We were kindly asked to have a complimentary meal at our local Thaikhun restaurant for the purpose of this review, however all honest thoughts and images are my own.
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