|FUN|collecting pinecones

OK so today's activity was thwarted by a broken oven (all will become apparent soon!)  Let's just consider this post as part 1 shall we??
We spent some time out in the garden today collecting pine cones to make into decorations for our new Christmas tree.
We're fortunate enough to have a small pine in the garden and so out we went and collected up the ones which had fallen, this is a great activity whether you have a tree in your garden or not!

Our intention was to dry these in the oven and then do a craft with them, but as this couldn't happen we'll leave this post here and give you another when the oven is fixed!
Thanks for reading, Lx
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

|#bringbackpaper|papery peep November

Wow!  Getting involved in #bringbackpaper and #paperypeep has reignited my passion for everything paper, from stationery to scrapbooking and card making and penpals to swaps I'm actually getting to the stage where quite honestly I could do a #bringbackpaper round-up weekly not monthly!  I'm so grateful to Jocelyn, not only for #bringbackpaper but for passing on the #m2abtravellingnotebook and inspiring me to start my #kidsstickerswap.

It's been a super busy one so I'm sure I'm going to miss something but let's get stuck in...

I've been putting together some penpal packs this month, some are for christmas so I don't want to reveal those quite yet, but this was one I made for a friend you can read the full post and see more pictures here.

As I mentioned I received the #m2abtravellignotebook, I absolutely loved filling in some pages and trying to think of creative ways to add information.  This resulted in T asking if he could write in it and when I said no, asking for his own (he even referred to it as 'travelling notebook' Ha ha)  so it's been sent to Cupcakemumma who kindly said her daughter would like it, then it's off to Jocelyn's Boo,  followed by Redpeffers children. I'm absolutely thrilled that T will receive it back with pages filled in by others, and whilst he can't read, I'm sure he will love seeing what the other children have done.

T's Christmas cards from nursery arrived, they are really cute (now I know that they are an angel!)  Pleased I ordered these again.

And... my business cards have arrived, really quick service, I'd highly recommend Minted the quality and service really are second to none.  Look out in the coming week for a review of my minted goodies.

Our latest sticker swap has been a great success so far, with lots of happy faces on our facebook group, if you are interested in joining a future #kidsstickerswap take a look at our facebook group and have a look at what everyone received.
I'm sure I could write a million more things but that's all for now, I hope that everyone has had a lovely paperfilled month too! Lx

The Reading Residence


My word for the week this week is 'christmas' I'm sure most people are caught up in the same thing at the moment, but literally we've been met with christmas at every turn this week and it's not even December... yet!

At work the lobby christmas tree is up
The lights in MK are up too, and I must say they look beautiful along Midsummer Boulevard
We went to see the christmas decorations at the garden centre last week
I've done lots of christmas shopping
We are off to see the lights switched on in Newport Pagnell tomorrow
We've booked our christmas lunch at work this week
We're in the midst of planning our Christmas meal
And we've nearly finished Christmas shopping 
Oh yes and I had my first baileys tonight!!!

Time to really enjoy the festivities!

The Reading Residence

|CREATE|lolly stick christmas tree decorations

Each year, I plan to make a gift from T for our immediate family, we also make one for ourselves, eventually I'm hoping to have a small tree full so I can bring that out when he's off in the big wide world (sob!) and completely embarrassed by them!

Last year we made these cute little lolly stick Christmas trees.

I actually coloured in our lolly sticks but you could either by ready coloured or have your child colour them if they would keep interested enough to do them (T wouldn't - he still wouldn't!)

I didn't buy any items specifically for this project, I just raided my own craft cupboard and pulled out things I thought we could use, some stickers, some gems, glitter glue, ribbon and some tiny tags which I stamped with a Christmas image and added the year and 'Handmade by Thomas' on them.

I started by gluing the lolly sticks together to form a triangle, I used a hot glue gun for this but any strong glue will suffice.

Then I handed over to T to decorate the trees using the goodies in front of him, he loved squeezing on the glitter glue and sticking on the stickers.

Once T had finished, I applied some 'Merry Christmas' ribbon and the gift tag.

Do you make Christmas decorations with your small ones?  I'd love to see what you've been up to, share the link in the comments :)

Me add three

|CREATE|christmas washi tape votive

I know, I know, another jam jar candle holder thingy, I do like to re-use old jam jars and make them into cute little candle 'votives'.

This is another super simple one using some christmas washi, a little bit of bakers twine and a wooden christmas tree (optional).  Perfect for Tweens or teens to make for grandparents or teachers!

As you can see this would make a really cute and simple christmas gift or just make some for around your own home or on your christmas table,

If you like this, you may like my photo candle votive and my glow in the dark dotty votive.

Make a few now for secret santa gifts or unexpected visitors. 

Binky Linky

Mami 2 Five

Monkey and Mouse

|FUN|storytelling box

OK admission time... Story telling just isn't my forte!  I'm rubbish at it, I feel a complete plonker doing voices and skip through pages as quickly as I can.
It was great when T was a little younger and his stories were short and based on pictures but truth be told, I need help!
As much as I love reading myself, reading out loud is something I find really difficult, so T and I have been practising a lot lately.
First we downloaded the storytime app Becky recommended over at 3princessesand1dude we have been having lots of fun with this, T loves the interaction and I'm trying to encourage him to tell the stories as well as have stories told to him, he's enjoying telling his tales, although they generally are an adaptation of the one you've just finished telling!
The second tool in our story telling arsenal is our new 'storytelling box' this is just an old tin which we've filled with odds and sods which can be used for telling stories, such as:-
1. a spider
2. a pirate paperclip
3. a bugs bunny
4. bear yo-yo country cards
5. some of our flags from our flag matching activity
6. a rugby ball
7. a clown (a sticker on laminated card)
8. a snowman
9. a robot
10. a gold coin
There are about 25 items in our current box.  We've not had a chance to tell too many stories at the moment, but so far we've had a pirate who played rugby on the beach with a robot and bugs bunny who stole all my carrots from the kitchen!
This has been quite a hit for T, this morning he even asked to tell stories from the box instead of watch TV!
I think this activity will teach us both lots about creating our own stories and speaking out loud and in the process help each of us develop our storytelling abilities.
After the excitement of Christmas and new year is over, I plan to get back to our monthly themes and I plan to base our story telling box on that theme, although I'll ask T to add a few bits and bobs too!
This is my entry for #toddlerapprovedtuesday, I'm hosting this week.  Check out what my co-host has this week over at 3princessesand1dude


|#toddlerapprovedtuesday|week 8

Thanks again for your support last week for our new linky #toddlerapprovedtuesday hosted by Becky at 3princessesand1dude, we loved seeing all your toddler approved posts there were some really fantastic posts again and thanks to anyone reading who joined in by using the hashtag on twitter or instagram, please do join in again this week.
We would absolutely love it if you would join us, linking will open every Tuesday through to Thursdays and give us a good few days to see what your little ones have approved! We will share your posts on Twitter (make sure you follow me (@larabeeuk and Becky @3princess_1dude) and every week we will each pick our fave two for a #ToddlerAprrovedTuesday Showcase!


1. Link 1 post per week, Remember to paste the #ToddlerApprovedTuesday badge on each post you would like to link up (code above, paste it into the HTML option of your blogging platform).
2. Pop by and comment on two or three other posts...Its nice to share the love!
3. OPTIONAL: Share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #ToddlerApprovedTuesday) on your social media, Becky and I will retweet all your posts via Twitter (make sure you mention us in your tweets @3princess_1dude/@larabeeuk) and also share on our #ToddlerApprovedTuesday Pinterest board.  Even if you don't have a blog, please do join in by using the hashtag for your toddler approved tweets & Instagram posts, they will still be counted for the showcase!

The Badge


My showcase
I loved the egg carton snake from letthembesmall really cute, I've been working on some ideas for egg cartons, when T was younger he would have really loved to make this.  I think he might now to so we might just have to try our own version!

I've been thinking about getting T an Aquadoodle mat for the past 3 years!  It was always something on the list, yet I never got one.  Well I think this year might be the year, thanks for this review from Mummyof2

Oh and did you happen to see Becky's 'do you want to build a snowman' blocks, they are totally awesome, I really need to buy some blocks, Becky's had some great ideas recently of what to do with them!

|FUN|salcey forest tree top trail

We love to get out in the fresh air at the weekend, it's something which is cheap for us to do as a family, we always have fun and it gets us outdoors in the fresh air!

A few weekends ago we headed out for brunch at our favourite family restaurant followed by a nice long woodland walk.

Salcey Forest is right in the middle of where we live and where The Hubs is from, so it's somewhere we've both been visiting for many years.

Parking is £1 an hour or £3 for the whole day, it's a lovely place to take dogs, in fact, it was the first place I took my beloved dog Taz when he was first allowed out for a walk so it holds wonderful memories for me.

The tree top way is 15 meters above the ground and there's a 'crows nest' at the top which takes you to 20 meters, high enough to over look the entire forest and over all the trees.  I can't make it up to the crows nest as I don't really have a head for heights, but T and The Hubs went up.  Dogs are welcome on the tree top trail and it's also pushchair and wheelchair friendly.  It's a lovely place to visit, especially on a sunny autumn morning.

It was a particularly beautiful morning as we headed out, this was the first time that we didn't take a pushchair for T, to be honest I can't even remember the last time we used it!

Part way round he did need a bit of help, so he went up onto Daddy's shoulders.

Of course we managed to find some muddy puddles for the gruffalo child to jump in.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Monkey and Mouse



Wow I feel as though I'm bursting!

Bursting with ideas for the blog.
Bursting with ideas for the business.
Bursting with ideas for projects.
Bursting with actives for T.
Bursting with ideas for Christmas.
The house is Bursting with 'stuff' for all of the above ;)

Really need to start implementing some of these before they don't get done!

Oh yes and The Hubs Burst a tyre this week (grrrrr!)

|CREATE|pipe cleaner and pony bead candy canes

This was a really simple activity which I found on Pinterest, I used it to help T with his colours as he was struggling at the time, to recognise the colour red.

I started with putting some beads and pipe cleaners in bowls.

I then asked T to choose a red one (he had a bowl of red ones and a bowl of white) he threaded on the beads which was great for his fine motor skills.

This activity is great for tots and it's lovely for them to hang the finished decorations onto the Christmas tree, imagine how proud they feel!

And I'll throw in a little picture of T from last year, doesn't really look any different, but boy has he grown up!

I hope you are enjoying the run-up to Christmas and have started to buy/make your Christmas gifts. Lx

|CREATE|happy mail parcel #1

A close friend recently contacted me and asked if it would be ok for us to stop giving gifts for birthdays and Christmas as we generally just gift each other vouchers which seems a little pointless. She stressed that she'd still like to send cards, but maybe make a bit more effort with cards like making them or getting a really special one. 

I suggested that we could send surprise happy mail packages instead which she loved the idea of. She then suggested posting a post card with a joke or funny photo on every now and then too. 

So our little happy mail group was formed! 

I've put together my first package for her and for under £1 it's gone off first class, I can't wait until she receives it. 

In the yellow spotty bag, there are gems and some vintage buttons (my friend is a button collector).

The package contains some pages from smash books, and #projectlife cards. Bound together with bakers twine and some more buttons. 

I added a tiny little note from Cath Kidston and a wooden butterfly.

I really wanted to present it all in a glassine envelope so you peek at the things inside, I added some heart confetti too.

And finally, I added a sticker initial to the butterfly and taped it with the card to the front of the package.

I loved how it turned out and I'm sure she's going to be thrilled to bits.  I'd definitely appreciate this much more than a gift voucher.

|CREATE|cars glitter slime

I recently put out a cry for help on Instagram and asked my followers for advice on giving gifts to T's friends at birthday parties.

One of my lovely followers commented that I should make something and so my quest for a boy friendly slime began.

I've been experimenting with slime for a few weeks now, I've made about 6 batches, but only 3 have really turned out OK.  So far I've only made glitter slime, that's fine for small boys - right??? ;) the glue I use is from Sainsbury's.  I'll be starting to practice non-glitter slime soon, so that might be a different recipe.

I think I've almost perfected it now, here's the recipe I use after a few failed attempts.

1 120g bottle glitter glue
120g cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp borax

First empty the glitter glue into a bowl, fill the glue bottle up with cold water and give it a good shake to get as much out as possible,

Dissolve the borax in the boiling water.

Tip the borax mixture into the glue mixture and stir.

I then add things to make it a bit more exciting.

To this slime I added some cars table confetti, as they were all plastic they are fine with the glue.  Watch out for paper ones though!

I like to add a little something extra as a surprise, in this case I added a tiny Lightning McQueen charm and some toy wheels.

This is my entry for #toddlerapprovedtuesday Becky at 3princessesand1dude is hosting this week, pop over to link up.