Sunday, May 31, 2009

shoes and dirt

Summer seems to have arrived during the time we were away. I dragged the remnants of my summer wardrobe from the bottom of the storage chest they hide in off season and took stock of T's summer wardrobe as well. Several additions needed to be made to both so off shopping I went on my day off. I hoped to find a pair of sandals that would fit T and that he would wear. I ended up buying a pair with a small construction vehicle on them (earth mover/ bull dozer) that also light up. He loves them. He had to wear them to bed the other night. I tried to remove them once he was asleep but no dice. I did not have similar success with the new sun hat - it is too hot apparently so today T and I had to swap hats...he wore my big straw hat and I wore his turtle/lizard/frog hat.

I've been doing more gardening this weekend. The peas sown are coming up, as are the potatoes and the radishes. I added basil plants to the tomato containers and planted a herb container as well (oregano, sage, thyme and a different type of basil). I added some zuccini and cauliflower to the vegetable plot as an experiment. I also planted some sweet peas along the fence - hopefully we get lots of flowers and the leaves will help hide the fence! The clematis D (and T) gave me is blooming well and spreading nicely.

I hope we get some success with the vegetables - I'm afraid the location of the plot is not the best and contemplated yesterday the idea of creating raised beds in the sunny part of the patio. It would be a lot of work and I need to convince D that it would be a good idea.

Friday, May 29, 2009

talking to the animals

T was so happy to see the cows in the field behind my brother's new (newish) house - as promised. And the day after we arrived, while I went shopping with C, D took T across the river to meet the cows in their field. He said the same thing to each cow - "Hello Mr Cow and how are you today."
None of the cows approached or spoke (mooed?) back so T was a bit disappointed.

We took all the boys to the Cotswold Wildlife Park - the day was cloudy and overcast when we left but sunny and hot by the time we reached the park. We looked around at the tortoises, camels (shedding coats in bizarre patterns), zebras, rhino, lions, leopard, mongoose, ostrich, emus, owls, falcons, kestrels, monkeys and then went into the walled garden where the penquins and otters and various birds live. T loved the penquins (pink ones) and wanted to climb into the enclosure.

He talked to one penquin - "hello Mr penquin. How are you today? Why don't you want to go swimming - I'm sure the water isn't too cold." After the penquins and otters, we went to the slide and the carousel, more monkeys, snakes and lizards. T even pet a python!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

cows and other animals

Well, here we are in England. I'm busy adjusting to driving on the wrong side of the road, which everyone over here says is the right side of the road (left side to be accurate!). D keeps opening my door which makes him look gallant but in reality just means he forgot which side is the passenger side (he doesn't want to drive over here).

T is having a wonderful time - he's still waiting to see English lions and penguins but that has to wait until the Cotswold Wild Animal Park. We've had sheep in Wilts and horses and ducks at the farm but T had to wait until we got to Uncle K's house for the cows. He was outside watching the cows tonight. One of the cows was drinking from the stream (sorry - the River Frome) and T was worried he would drink all the water and the ducks wouldn't have any water to swim in. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

getting ready for holiday!

Last night I got out the suitcases to start packing for our trip to England. T was enthralled by his own suitcase and ran around "packing" it. Colouring paper roll and crayons, sponge bag full of trucks and jeeps, soothers, blankets and a big pile of books. And to top it all off, a big bulldozer. Then he announced to me "all packed, mummy. Close it now". So I zipped up the case and he toddled off down the hall, pulling it behind him. It had to stay in his bedroom so he could see it in the night. I thought we would have issues at bedtime as he had packed both his blankie and soother but he wouldn't let us open the suitcase to get them out for him. He didn't end up falling asleep til just about 10pm by which time D and I were beyond exhausted!

This morning he wanted to take "his" suitcase to preschool this morning. I think he's a bit out of his comfort zone, what with getting ready to go to the farm on the airplane and getting to wear PJ's to school today and tomorrow for PJ's days.

mother's day

My boy gave me flowers for mother's day. One he made himself at preschool along with two cards (he goes all week so he's in both the T/Th class and the M/W/F class so I got two gifts!).

And it seems that he talked D into buying me a clematis. I had to dig out the non-producing kiwi vine to put the clematis into the bed (and that sucker had roots that went down for miles and wrecked one trowel!)

We had a lovely day playing in the sandbox, having tea with Auntie K but in a fit of pique over a mummy rule late in the day, I did get "I don't want to be your friend anymore" from T, twice but I got a big hug before bedtime. Ah - life with a 3 year old.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

adventures in cooking

Friday night was a cooking night at our house. I recently picked up a copy of Pretend Soup (cookbook for preschoolers) to see if I could get T more interested in food. So Friday we tried making zuccini moons. T had a great time running around in his apron and then cutting the zuccini (only a bit of help from me needed!) and then cooking them and watching D eat them! He announced after he'd made them that they were for Daddy to eat....and he didn't even try one. We'll have to try again.

T with the pile of cut zuccini.

T "reading" the recipe while the zuccini cooked.

The finished dish - yummy!

Well, after T went to bed it was my turn to try a new recipe - Ricotta gnocci -

15oz tub of light ricotta, drained for about 20 minutes

salt, pepper, sage, garlic, an egg all mixed together

flour - 1/4 cup at a time until the dough holds together (I used 1 1/4 c) - try a ball of dough in boiling water to see if it holds together. If not, add more flour.

Roll into 1" diameter logs and cut into 1" long pieces and indent with a fork.

Drop into boiling water and cook until the gnocci float to the top. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

I cheated and used jarred Arribiata sauce with added onion, mushrooms, spinach and mozarella. It was yummy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

dig, dig, diggin'

T loves to dig. Usually in the sandbox with a backhoe or an eart'mover. But we have a new place to dig. The garden. A few weeks ago I planted our seed potatoes and T "hepped" me dig the holes. Last weekend I seeded beans and peas and T "hepped" me again. Mostly what happened was that he dug up potatoes or put dirt in my shoes! I followed along after him, replanting the potatoes and seeds. Then we dug a hole in the front yard to plant a new shrub rose - it took a bit of distraction to get the hole deep enough to put the rose in. We also seeded radishes which are to be T's garden crop - he has to water them and keep an eye on them. Hopefully this will give him a love of gardening and I'm really hoping he'll be more interested in eating vegetables that we grow. I've also planted tomato plants in the hopes that we will have more of a crop than last year - shouldn't be too hard as I only got 1 cherry tomato from 3 plants. I've moved the plants to the back patio in the hopes that the sunshine will be better there.

D is surprised and pleased with my new found interest in the garden. It is all down to reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which K gave me for Christmas.

Last weekend, in addition to the planting, we all took a stab at decreasing the dandelion forest that had popped up on the side path. T calls them sunflowers!

T was also fascinated by all the bugs we uncovered. The snails, slugs, beetles and worms. He was right into getting dirty and looking for snails and worms! Just hope he displays the same enthusiasm for the radishes, potatoes, beans, tomatoes and peas we harvest (hopefully!).

Monday, May 4, 2009

out of the mouths of babes

It's been a somewhat trying week. A bit stressful at work. Busy at home. Trying to toilet train a 3 year old and trying to teach him to eat dinner. But as always, there are moments when you cannot help but laugh.

All the articles and books you read say you must teach a child about their body, using the correct terminology and not use nicknames for things. So a conversation overheard between my husband and son:

D: When you are a big boy, you go pee and poo on the toilet.
T: I wearing my underpants now. (His "Cars" underpants that we chose together at the store)
The pee pee comes down my penis and goes into my underpants.
D: Well, when the pee pee comes down, you can go to the toilet and the pee pee can go in the toilet.

T is unimpressed with everything we have tried so far - will go on the toilet when it suits him, especially when the bribes are good (ie chocolate eggs, gummy bears)

A few nights ago, T decided to wear his "Cars" underpants to bed and could not be persuaded into a diaper. We reminded him that he would have to get up and go pee in the toilet because he was wearing underpants. Of course, in the middle of the night, he woke up screaming for mummy - he was soaking wet, the bed was soaking wet and his blankie was soaking wet. I managed to change him top to bottom and he came to sleep with us. The problem was his wet blankie which he refused to give up - so D and I were trying to keep most of it out of our bed and still allow T to go to sleep with a tiny corner of it.

We're also trying to teach T to be more adventureous with food. He won't eat anything he doesn't like, not even try a bite which is very limiting (no meat, few vegetables, no potatoes, rice, pasta) so lately we've been trying bribes - if you eat some of your dinner, you can have ice cream for dessert. No dinner, no ice cream. So Saturday, he didn't eat dinner. D did so he got ice cream with chocolate sauce. T got down from the table and ran around for a bit but finally couldn't take it anymore and sidled up to D and said "you can give me a taste". He didn't get mad when we kept going over the rule but he got creative. He opened his mouth wide and said "my mouth is open, you can put the ice cream in". He did it again last night when he didn't eat his dinner (don't like it!) which prompts the same response "you didn't even try it". He didn't hover around the ice cream for as long but opened his mouth wide and brought our attention to it. D and I were laughing so hard while trying not to show it to T!