22 August 2014

easing back to school; routines and rhythms

 photo IMG_7832_zps2f46a979.jpg

Johnny's back at work and we have a bit of time before the girls are back.
The summer is slowly slipping away and I'm glad we made the most of the opportunities to be free from time restraints and allow the girls to just be;
be giggly
be loud
be energetic
be chilled out 
be free.
Those slow, lazy mornings were savoured and enjoyed. 
In spite of that though, part of me is always glad to get back into some rhythms again; maybe because we live our lives by the clock a lot of the time, the summer is the absolute opposite; a life without structure.

This week I'm planning to ease the girls into some rhythms to make the transition back to school a little easier.
I read this and loved the idea of a content rich home...I've always been a bit of a home bird and I want my girls to love where they are; for it to be a place where they feel free to be creative, learn about life and explore new ideas.

So here's what my plan for the next week is:

book rich:

a basket full of books || a quiet time of reading every day after they're washed and ready for the day.

audio cds ||  we're hitting the library this afternoon and as well as some books for their basket we're going to get some cds for their down time

novels  ||  because it's so light these nights and they're playing out til a bit later, reading to them has been squeezed into a short story or out altogether...we're going to get back into our wee night time snuggles and stories

mind rich:

i have set out a few things from their last years work that I want to go over before they go back into school...we've done bits and pieces of mental maths and spellings here and there over the last couple of months but we're going to sit down and have a regular wee space to do this each day before school starts back up

after lunch we're going to have a bit of down time, to do something quietly and alone...i don't mind what that is or where it is but just a break from everyone else!

body rich:

get outside as much as possible...whether that's with their friends outside or a walk or cycle as our wee family; a bit of fresh air before the classroom walls contain.

Little rhythms, each not too long and lots a part of their summer months anyway (just not in a set structure or a directed activity) so nothing very new, but more a time to ease back into the normal rhythms of school term and to help them settle a little more easily to structure and daily routine.

I'll let you know how we get on!!

20 August 2014

a hunt. recipes. and a blackberry cobbler.

 photo blackberry9_zps56bfec07.jpg

A day out on Monday turned into a bit of a blackberry hunt.
It's funny how sometimes, when you venture off the beaten track, it becomes the best part of the adventure; Johnny sneaked through some bushes and it brought us out at the most beautiful old wall laden with berries.
With their little bags filling up with black, shiny berries, we decided to call it a day and headed home with thoughts of what we could bake.

 photo Blackberry7_zps41dff09e.jpg
 photo Blackberry6_zpscfef3448.jpg photo Blackberry5_zps4c92ee47.jpg

{  blackberry cobbler  }

I had remembered seeing this recipe post for blackberry cobbler by Mary Beth from Annapolis & Co on Casey Leigh and thought it would make the perfect dessert...and it was sooo good. And so easy. A definite winner all round...go check it out.

 photo blackberryclose_zps97751cde.jpg
 photo IMG_8001_zpsbce0e682.jpg

There are plenty of berries still to ripen and so plenty of chances to bake some more and try out some of these other recipes...

 - the good old blackberry pie

and if these don't inspire you check out this post from the Huffington Post for loads of summery sweet blackberry recipes.

Any others you like to make??

19 August 2014

33 / 52

 photo IMG_7892_zps5d56df51.jpg photo IMG_7799_zps3edb612c.jpg photo mad1_zps9f4d251f.jpg

Abi:  Blowing dandelion clocks

Annabelle:  A glance up from her dvd!

Madeleine: On the move


Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows

17 August 2014

diy. headband.

 photo Maddieheadband_zpsd46ed9bd.jpg

I have 3 girls so hair accessories are an endless pursuit...sewing them has become a way of life!!

I have loved making this one...if you follow along with me then you'll know I've made some other headbands and hair wraps here, here and here. (Maddie is my big headband lover!!) This is a great wee one though as it stays on really well and is very straight forward to sew. I would say this size is suitable from age 2-5.

 photo IMG_7729_zpsb83f9b65.jpg

Here's how:

// You'll need some fabric, elastic (I used 1/2 inch) and a cutter or scissors.
// I cut 2 of each shape I wanted (I was wanting to make quite a wide band) and a rectangular piece for the elastic back.
*My main pieces were 16 inch, rectangular fabric 8 inch and elastic 5 inch*

 photo IMG_7744_zps46c46d8b.jpg

// Place each of the fabric pieces right sides together and sew along the lengths, leaving each end open.

 photo IMG_7747_zps16cf1c5f.jpg

// Turn them right side round and press. They should look like this.

 photo IMG_7748_zps3e6db7e0.jpg

// Slide your elastic inside the rectangular fabric and place one end of each of the fabric and elastic together.
// Sew.

 photo IMG_7749_zpsd2dbc4d7.jpg

// Gather the fabric so the other end of the fabric and elastic matches together and sew this end. It should give this ruche effect as shown in the photo above.

 photo IMG_7760_zps5a3c4b2a.jpg

// Your 2 pieces should now look like this.

 photo Headband1_zps70057df4.jpg

// Fold the ends of your main headband piece inwards and press.
// Slide the end of your rectangular fabric inside the folded edge and sew (as above).
// Repeat for the other end.

That's it...you're done! Go try it on!
See who I'm linking up with here.

And just because I couldn't resist some of these which hit the cutting room floor...

 photo headbandCollage1_zpsbc14325b.jpg

10 August 2014

six reasons to go camping with kids.

 photo IMG_0171_zps7d867de4.jpg

We love to take our girls camping.
Not the wild, beside the lake, near the bears kind of camping (that will come I'm sure!) but campsite camping.
We travel from Ireland to France with a car laden for 3-4 weeks in the summer. We have gotten into the habit of visiting new campsites each year as it allows us to visit new areas and explore new villages in different regions of France. 
The campsites vary from basic to all-singing but we generally end up somewhere in the middle. A quiet, family friendly site with a swimming pool for the kids to escape the heat and a big pitch are our main prerequisites.

I've written before about why we love it but while we were away we talked about the specifics of why we thought it was great for our girls.
As parents, we have made a conscious decision to give our children increasing freedom and independence as they grow. Trying to be aware of the importance of free play and a break from adult direction and instruction. 
When camping all these things come more easily and the outdoor living encourages so many of these ideals.

||  freedom/adventure  ||

This is the big thing we love. The girls are completely free in the campsites; able to roam and explore within known boundaries.  They cycle to the parks and activities and run to the shop, purses swinging in their hands. Playing with children from different cultures and often with different languages; a completely different life from at home.  
Adventure and a feeling of freedom...hard to top.

||  gather  ||

One of my favourite things when we're camping is the amount of time we get to spend together. Family time. Whether it be exploring the villages, eating together, playing cards or simply doing dishes we spend a lot of time chilling out in each other's company...quietly or noisily, it's all good!

||  imagination  ||

Johnny and I remarked on the games our girls invented when we were away. A lack of toys brought with it a burst of imagination.  And the girls played these games for hours on end, engrossed and engaged.  We found it so refreshing and gorgeous to watch.

||  independence  ||

As they grow, our girls are getting more confident, more independent...as they should. Sometimes that little pull away hurts (for me!!) more than it excites but it is an inevitable part of their wee lives. While away I am always struck by this independence and their desire for it.  As they spend a large amount of time in our little family unit, it is also very clear of their need for adventure with their sisters, friends or simply on their own. Camping allows this in such a safe and relaxed environment.

||  lack of luxuries  ||

I struggle with this one but I know how invaluable it is for kids to experience.  Everything from going to collect water, cleaning your teeth or doing the dishes requires a little bit of extra effort.
We can try to explain how privileged they are or what life is like for less fortunate children around the world but a few weeks in a tent with basic standards of living gives them a glimpse of how many in the world live. It opens a whole world of conversation.

||  exercise  ||

Our girls get so much exercise when they're away.  Probably in part due to a warmer climate meaning they are outside for most of the day. They spent so much time on their bikes or simply running about. 
So healthy.

 photo IMG_0398_zps03c3c81e.jpg photo JampM_zpsf349c8de.jpg

5 August 2014

31 / 52

 photo Maddie_zpsbe305501.jpg photo Abicartwheel_zps495a64e4.jpg photo Annie_zpsf3fa05f0.jpg

After what has seemed like days of rain we took advantage of a lovely morning and headed to the park for a bit of fresh air. Scooting, boomerang throwing and lots of cartwheels was exactly what we needed!

Maddie: Loved throwing the boomerang

Abi: Spends most of her time upside down at the minute as she's trying to perfect her cartwheels!

Annie: No fuss...just smiles her way through. Loved the air.

Linking up with Jodi and Living Arrows xx

4 August 2014

diy. photoboards.

 photo Photoboard4_zps37186133.jpg

We are big fans of photoboards in our house! It is such a great way to display a few photos and get a snapshot of a memory, holiday or event.
Our first one we did was when Abi was a baby...a sequence of her yawning. And we have done a few since, mainly of holidays.
Our Australia one hangs in our kitchen and France from a couple of years ago stand in the girls bedroom.
They are such conversation starters and remind the girls of little memories which otherwise would probably have been long forgotten.

A glimpse.
A snapshot.
All in one board.

It is such a simple process:
Choose your photos.
Cut a light bit of board to size.
Use a PVA glue to stick on your photos making sure there are no creases or wrinkles.
(Optional...paint the edge of the board)
Hang or lean in your room.

We love that you get to display photos that would otherwise lie amongst many others at the bottom of a box or on the hard drive of a computer.
It's always good to reminisce!

 photo Photo_zpsfa6cf904.jpg photo Photoboard2_zps7098c61a.jpg photo Photoboard3_zpsf7992460.jpg