Thursday, 30 April 2015

Rainbow Rice is Ever So Nice!

We made some rainbow rice! Doesn't it look pretty? This is a really easy, straight-forward activity that engages sight, touch, and sound, plus it only costs a few pennies. I'm going to give a step-by-step with pictures to show you how to make your own edible rainbow rice.

This is all I used, some vinegar from the cupboard, some gel food colouring also from the cupboard, and a pack of value rice. Some people use liquid food colouring, some people use gel, there isn't a massive difference although liquid will make a slightly stronger colour. Vinegar acts as a thinner for the gel, and also helps the colour stick to the uncooked rice. Brown rice also works, but the colour will be a little duller (but it's super handy to use up the brown rice that has been lurking at the back of the cupboard for ever.)

I poured a good quantity of rice into a sandwich bag, I didn't measure, just estimated roughly on how much rice I'd like. Then I added the entire tube of food colouring as I wanted a nice vibrant colour. Then a few drops of vinegar were added, and then the mixing began. I rolled the bag between my hands, jiggled it, bounced it, you name it, I got that baby mixed. I lined a tray with cling film and poured each bag out onto it in a thin layer, then I left them to dry for 24 hours, being sure to mix them about every now and then.
picture from
Pretty! These colours weren't exactly what I had in mind, but I liked them just the same. I mixed a couple of the gels to get the lovely darker blue colour, something to bear in mind if you want to save some money on buying lots of different colours. Don't forget your colour mixing!

For ease of clean-up, I used the PVC mat that we got from Dunelm, and a cutlery tray from Ikea to keep the colours separate (for now!). I placed the tray inside our paddling pool, and let Indy have at it!
I placed a selection of child-sized utensils inside the pool (utensils from Ikea) and gave Indy minimal direction. I gave him a few ideas, such as scooping the rice with a pot, but let him explore the texture and the sounds himself. After he finished, I poured all the rice into a jar ready for next time. As the rice is still uncooked it lasts indefinitely, but I will replace it when it's past its best and has been played with several times. Instead of throwing the coloured rice away, I'll make a treasure bottle with it (a future blog post to come). If you try rainbow rice, be sure to show me a picture!

Monday, 27 April 2015

You would never guess it but...

I have a high needs toddler. Everyone who meets Indy comments on how happy, chatty, and smiley he is. When Indy is around other people he is happy to wander around, talk to people, play by himself, you name it. However, you be a fly on the wall when it's just me and the boy, and it's a completely different story.

Indy is my shadow. Indy clings onto me, onto my leg, onto my chest, onto my head. "Mama, mama, mama, please, mama, mama" is repeated, constantly. He still breastfeeds like a newborn, asking every  half hour, pulling on my top and smacking on my chest. I've started saying no, and we successfully night-weaned him using the Dr Jay Gordon method. I play with him, I reassure him, he gets lots of cuddles and kisses and 'I love yous' and is a very content little boy, he just seems to turn into a completely different child when it's just him and myself.

This is partly the reason why I started this blog. I wanted to show myself and others that I was interacting with him lots, and that we were playing together and his needs were being filled. In a way I feel guilty that he acts like this, Daddy has walked downstairs from work and seen how different Indy acts towards me and he has been shocked. I suffer from anxiety that leaves me fairly housebound, so going to baby and toddler groups has been difficult. I'm persuading myself to try a couple in the next few weeks, to partly relieve some of the pressure off me, and to let Indy be around other people. I know nobody there will believe me when I say I have a high needs toddler, watching my confident little boy strut around independently, making friends and playing, but I'm sure someone else there will know exactly what it's like.

A Catch-Up. Grab a cuppa.

It's been a while! Things have been pretty manic over here, the count down to the wedding is ON. (It's a week today for anyone interested...)

My technology post has been so far the most popular I've done, and I'm happy with that. It seems a lot of parents look for reassurance online, so if I've offered that then I'm proud. I hope to keep up the on-topic posts and give people a glimpse into the way we parent. If there's anything you'd like me to touch upon, feel free to let me know.

Indy and I recently visited a local commune with my friend Emily. Emily knows the gardener there so we were treated to a tour around where they live. It's a beautiful place, and a lovely community feel, but I don't think I'd be able to live in a commune. I love my creature comforts and I think they'd probably frown upon me bring my xbox. Indy was right at home, running around barefoot and playing all the instruments they had. I love the idea of everyone having their own role within the community, and living to help each other out. I think that's missing a lot within today's society, people look after themselves before one another. I'd love to stay somewhere like this for a week or so, and reset my body clock.

Back home, Indy decided he wanted to have a go at babywearing. We've done this before with a silk play scarf, but he was pretty determined to have a go with our Boba. Something tells me I'm going to have to have a go at making him his own (baby-safe) buckles!

Later today, in between my makeup trial and a package collection, we'll be playing with some rainbow rice. I'll have a step-by-step instruction post so you can join in with the multi-coloured fun too :)

Monday, 20 April 2015

Why We're Not Banning Technology

Technology. Toddlers with iPads and phones and gadgets and millions of things running on batteries. It's a touchy subject in a lot of gentle parenting groups, and a topic I try to stay away from. Why? Because we let Indy play with technology.

Let me explain why. We are a technological world. It is all around us. From electronic billboards, to televisions, to LeapPads, it is something you CANNOT avoid. Children are using tablets in school, teachers are writing on interactive whiteboards, museums are installing electronic tour guides. Some people try to avoid it as much as possible and stay with toys made out of natural materials and a plastic ban. Some people embrace the tech, and some people call this lazy. I can see both side of the arguments, completely and totally. We try to buy wooden toys where we can, we prefer the more tactile nature and the fact they're built to last. We encourage Indy to play outside and to experience things for real as opposed to via a screen. Indy can also unlock both mummy and daddy's phones, choose his favourite game, and complete a few levels.

Parents don't have to choose, parents can provide both. We are living in a technological age, and it is present in most working environments. I believe that using technology is now a life skill, and if you aren't proficient in Word and Excel when you apply for a job, you are at a disadvantage. Why not teach this skills when they're young, do it in a fun way, and give your child life skills? When Indy uses technology, we don't use it as a 'babysitter', we interact with him and use it as family time.

Some people will disagree with us, others will nod their heads and feel slightly less guilty (I hope.) I think children and technology shouldn't be a taboo anymore, and shouldn't be seen as lazy. I think it should be accepted, encouraged, and even enjoyed. We are a gaming family, and want to help other parents make the right choices when it comes to technology, hence our other project PixlBandits; a youtube and blog where we discuss retro games, and provide parents guides to popular games.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cervixes, smears, and LLETZ, oh my!

I'm writing this post in bed, which is totally unlike me so I'll explain why. Today I had a LLETZ procedure, following two abnormal smears and an unsatisfactory biopsy. As I lived in England until I was pregnant, I wasn't offered a smear until after Indy was born. I was nervous about going for a smear but knew it was important, so I booked it and went. The smear itself isn't painful, it's mildly uncomfortable, but it's nothing to worry about.

The biopsy was done in hospital, it took 5 minutes and was more of a pinch than pain. Again, nothing to get worked up about and it heals quickly.

Today's LLETZ was a little different. I'm not going to lie, it is a little more painful and uncomfortable but is so so worth it. I did what I always do and made really awkward jokes all the way through (think things like #biopsy and surgery selfies and you'll see where my weirdo brain went).

Now I have to wait a few weeks for my results. I'm in bed as I'm in some discomfort, Indy has croup so he's super clingy and wants to climb all over me, so the decision was made to banish me upstairs so I can try to make myself comfortable. I'm expecting some blood loss over the next few weeks so my CSP is in action again. But yeah, go for a smear. I can't emphasise it enough.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015


Yesterday, me and my mum (Indy's nanna) went out to do some lovely sunny bank holiday shopping, mostly for wedding things. We went to Dunelm to get some fabric for table cloths, and my mum spotted this awesome PVC!

So naturally we bought a metre of it to use as a messy play mat. I had itchy fingers, so had to try it out this morning with the Gelli-Baff I've been hoarding since I found it in Pound World.

This is all you need to make this wonderfully gloopy stuff;  a nice big bowl, a litre of warm water, and the two packets in the box.

It tells you to add a little at a time as it all of a sudden thickens, and you have to keep stirring. It's a lot like jelly mix (hence Gelli...)

Luuuvly. Looks like a slush puppy. Then the fun begins!

Indy decided this wasn't enough goop and muck for one day, so wanted the Play Sand involved as well. Lots of 'wow' noises and squelching occured! He scooped and plopped and whisked.

All finished off with a great big cheesy grin, and a nap on the sofa :) A successful morning's play I think. Next time, I think I'll go for the green or the blue, and hide things in there like shells, toy animals, and foam letters.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Weekend

So, I thought today was going to be a complete write-off. Indy's sleep was shockingly awful last night, he wakes up the second you attempt to extract yourself from his grasp, so one of us normally ends up sleeping in his bed all crumpled up with a cricked neck. He was waking pretty much every hour, and then had a lovely wakeful period of about 2 hours where all he wanted to do was bounce or have boob. Or bounce whilst on boob - never enjoyable.

I was pleasantly surprised when we all woke up for the day at almost 11, and then proceeded to have an accidentally productive day. You know the type, nothing in particular planned but all of a sudden you've fixed the drawer, mopped the bathroom, and hoovered the cat or something. Today I moved the furniture round in Indy's room, started tidying our laundry roo-- I mean bedroom, cooked a roast dinner, did some gardening, and finally got around to the packing paper nest.

We used a huge cardboard box, packing paper and bubble wrap, and hid little toy ducks (chicks as it's Easter) inside. I showed Indy where some were, and let him do the rest. Play lasted for 10-15 minutes and then turned into him running around shouting 'quack quack'. He liked looking through all the paper, scrunching it and rubbing it on his face. The noises were a combination of rustling paper and bubble wrap, both of which he enjoyed.

Gardening was great fun, spurred on by collecting a free compost bin!

Here it is, all up and running at the back of our garden. We decided to finally plant some vegetable seeds we'd bought from a pound shop last year, and included Indy as much as possible. He ran his fingers through the mud, felt and inspected the seeds, and even helped with watering and patting. Surprisingly, he didn't try eating any mud, I think he's possibly learnt from the last bajillion or so times he's tried it.

No, he's not wearing trousers. He decided against them for most of today. He also helped Daddy with weeding and tending to our very overgrown herb garden. This was an excellent sensory adventure, the feel of the earth and of the different types of plants, the smell of the herbs mingled in with damp soil, the taste of the herbs. I would definitely recommend having a herb garden to enjoy with your smalls, or a potted herb if you don't have access to a garden. There's so much to learn from gardening and cultivating your own food, it is a properly multi-sensory activity and is really enjoyable.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Daddy is sometimes a genius...

...don't tell him I said that. He's been off this week for my birthday, and he's come up with some properly good ideas for play. First up! Indy has been showing some real interest for percussion, only encouraged by us receiving a Rock Band drum kit off my brother. Whilst we're not quite at full drum set just yet for him, a shoe-box drum kit sates his drum lust for now.

Daddy stuck  some brown packing paper on a shoe-box (I think we have a packing paper problem. Say that quickly 3 times) and some scrunched up survival blanket. Both make really different sounds, and the box itself makes a lovely noise. Survival blankets are crazy versatile, as shown in my next picture-

I finally got round to making Indy a busy board! It's not got all the latches and catches of others I've seen, but the day was thoroughly miserable and I had the crafting itch, so I made do with things I found around the house. A cut up sponge, a door catch, some artificial grass, a jar lid, a bag clip, a hair bobble, a silk scarf, and some of the infamous survival blanket. I ordered my survival blanket off eBay for pennies, it's absolutely ginormous and has been used for loads of different activities. Peepo, in his little tent, on the ceiling, so many possibilities from something so cheap and easily obtained.

Tomorrow will be Easter-themed activities, chick hunting (little yellow toy ducks in a huge cardboard box with shredded brown packing paper as the 'nest') and an Easter garden with different types of artificial grass, toy bunnies and more.