Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

It's Ivy's first Halloween!  And Ethan's 4th, which is equally as exciting, as he's really getting into it this year.  We've got big plans for today, Ethan's off to nursery dressed in his skeleton tshirt this morning (I decided not to send him in his full costume, he'll be more comfortable this way) and Ivy will be wearing her 'Mummy' tshirt to her baby class. 


Then this afternoon we'll get dressed up in their proper costumes, Ethan is going as Superman and Ivy is Snow White, and we're off to a birthday / Halloween party and trick or treating with all of their friends.  I can't wait!  What's everyone else doing for Halloween?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Halloween Play Date

We went on a lovely Halloween play date yesterday!  Such a fun way to get ready for the big day tomorrow!  Ethan and Ivy didn't wear their official Halloween costumes (am I the only one who has to have several costumes for the kiddies, so that they save their best costume for trick or treating?) So Ethan was dressed as a fire fighter and Ivy wore an adorable little pumpkin dress.  There were Halloween decorations and Halloween treats, even yummy Halloween cupcakes!



We also made these great Candy Corn Masks that one of the other Moms brought, she got the printables from Dana Made It, which has loads of other great ideas.  We love bringing a bit of our North American over the top love of all things Halloween to the UK, so it was fun to meet up with other American families who feel the same.  Bring on the candy corn!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween Costume Paper Dolls

In preparation for Halloween we have been making paper dolls for each member of our family wearing Halloween costumes!  Ethan is dressing up as Superman for Halloween, Ivy as Snow White and for the dolls we decided to dress up Mommy as a witch and Daddy as a ghost.


I found these great people cut outs that I used, but you could just as easily cut out some simple people shapes from thick card.  The first step was for Ethan to draw each of our faces on the paper dolls.  He hasn't yet reached the stage where he's drawing recognisable pictures, so I was really surprised at his efforts of drawing eyes, nose and a mouth on each person with great care and detail.


Next we cut out the costumes for each person.  I asked Ethan to help me to measure and draw out his costume, then Ivy's and mine.  After watching me do those 3, he was ready to cut out Daddy's ghost costume himself.  He is still learning to use scissors, but was able to cut a straight line along the bottom, and then cut off 2 pieces at the top better than I've ever seen him cut before.  I think that he definitely does better with a specific purpose.


Then we stuck on each of our costumes, and the dolls were ready to play with!  Ethan enjoyed lining them up and having them all hold hands.  Then we did some pretend play, having different people take turns going trick or treating, saying "trick or treat" and "thank you" to the person answering the door, and happily going from house to house.


I'm hoping that by going through the process of what will happen on Halloween night through pretend play, Ethan will be prepared for what we will be doing and what to expect from trick or treating.

Packing for a UK Holiday

We love to travel as a family!  There are so many fantastic places to go and things to see, and we just want to share all of that with our children.  Ethan has been on quite a few trips, but I'll be honest with you, Ivy hasn't really yet.  I think that once you have two children it all becomes a bit more overwhelming, there is just so much to bring!  Thinking about trying to get all of the necessities into the luggage that you're allowed to bring with you on a flight can be very worrying.  So with Ivy we've been on a few trips within the UK, and we have another one coming up in a few weeks.  So when holidaycottages.co.uk asked us about travelling in the UK and the advantages of being able to pack up the car with everything we want, it was easy to think of what we can not bare to leave behind. 


The simple answer is, toys!  On a plane trip we're so limited and have to choose just a few toys for the kids to play with on the plane, then we're not left with enough space to bring other toys to play with in the hotel.  When we got on a trip in the UK and drive to our holiday destination, we can fill up loads of bags and every nook and cranny of the car with toys.  I don't have to worry about taking away electronic toys while taking off or landing, Ethan can play with whatever he wants for the whole journey.  I don't have to worry about not being able to take one of their current favourite toys on our next trip because it's too big, we just get to bring as much as we can fit in the car!


This is my entry post into the holidaycottages.co.uk UK holiday must haves competition.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Pumpkin Carving

Those lovely pumpkins that we picked needed carving, and of course we want the kids to be involved as much as possible.  So Ivy and Ethan both got to help to clean out the pumpkins.  Ethan was right in there, scooping out the gunk and the seeds, and Ivy just loved squishing that lovely pumpkin goop between her fingers!  She was trying to eat it though, so we had to keep a close eye on her.



Then it was time to carve, Ethan and I did just a basic pumpkin face.  We talked about what shapes we wanted for the eyes, the nose and the teeth.  Ethan decided on triangle shaped eyes, a heart shaped nose and pointy teeth.  I drew the first eye, then he tried to copy the shape for the second.  For the nose and mouth we held the marker together to draw them.


We then poked holes along the lines, and I cut through the holes to make the shapes.  Ethan's next job was to push the shapes out and reveal the next feature of the pumpkin.  While I was doing the cutting I had also given him a pack of little stickers to decorate the pumpkin and keep him busy.  


Our pumpkin turned out really lovely, and I'm so impressed at how much Ethan was able to help out with carving this year.  Maybe next year he'll get to do a pumpkin all by himself!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Pumpkin Picking

We've been on our annual trip to the pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin (or two!)  I love that this is now a firm family tradition, we went when Ethan was just a few weeks old, when he was one, when he was two and now at three.  Of course it was Ivy's first time pumpkin picking, and that made it even more special for both of them!



Ethan was just running around the whole time, it was almost impossible to get any photos of him, he was just a blur!  It's a good thing that he was wearing his wellies, as it was so muddy between the rows of pumpkins and he was just going straight through without even looking where he was going.  He just loves the outdoors so much, and he was so excited to find the perfect pumpkin.  Ivy was just interested in all of the new things to see, and she got a bit of finger walking practise in, as it was so muddy she didn't get to do much crawling, and she is getting a lot more steady on her feet.  I did manage to find a less muddy spot to sit them down to get some nice photos, and they both explored all of the little plants and pumpkins around them, it really is great to get them both discovering new things and having so much fun outside.  Now it's time to carve those pumpkins!

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Halloween Storytime Sounds App - Review

If there are two things that Ethan loves, they are stories and playing with my iPhone!  So we were excited when we were approached by Mumsnet to try out the Storytime Sounds app from Not on the High Street.  



It has 6 different story themes to choose from, including pirates, fairy tales, lost world, space, monsters and their newest one, Halloween!  The basic idea is to sit together and tell a lovely story, using the app to make sounds to go along with it.  It's great for developing imagination and learning about the elements of a story.  They've even got a suggested story to start you off, called The Little Witch Who Couldn't Be Scary.

The first thing that we did is to just play with the app.  I handed Ethan my phone and let him go though all of the different themes, experimenting with the sounds that he could make.  Then I read the Little Witch story to him (you might want to print it out or open it up on a different device so that you don't have to close the app) and pointed to the symbols for the different sounds for him to press.  He loved being able to add his sounds to the story, and even added a few extras for effect!  Next came the fun part, coming up with our own story!  We had a haunted house with all sorts of different spooky characters that we encountered.  It was a fun challenge to use as many of the sounds that we could in our story (and of course Ethan loved pressing the sounds over and over again!)



* This is a review post, we downloaded the app for free (it is free to everyone) and have entered this post into a competition to win a voucher from Not on the High Street, but the opinions in this post are our own *


Something a little different for Our Sunday Storybook this week, what have you been reading?