Sunday, 27 October 2013

Sam's Birthday Week

 My boy is 3. THREE. Insanity. You may recognise this cake. He had the same last year. We didn't have cake candles then either, but it was sparklers then, not tealights. Bad mummy!


 That face though. So happy to have blown out candles that they could have been anything with a flame.
 He is still all about the nee naws and choo choos. ONLY MORE. Especially the trains. We got him this Thomas 'take n play' set, and mum (who came up the night before and stayed for the birthday) got him a couple of trains to go with it. Ethan chose some chuggington trains, and he was good to go. For literally days. And that's only so far.
 Today was family dinner at the Brown's house, and therefore 'proper' birthday cake was required, which was good, because atleast half of the Peppa Pig cake went in the bin. Quite frankly, it was disgusting, and tasted faintly of plastic.
 Thomas cake was requested, and I made my idiot-proof and delicious Milk Chocolate Cake. It always works and is moist and delicious, without going soggy. Proof: I made this one at 8pm after a hugely busy day and an iffy night with Henry. I put the ingredients in in a different order, because I was tired and couldn't remember what I did last time. I baked it at a different temperature by accident. I had not quite enough cocoa and added a bit of hot chocolate powder to make it up. 
It was perfect. I'm going to rename it the magic cake, because I literally cannot mess it up. substitutions, whatever. It's unstoppable in it's quest for chocolatey satisfaction.
 I slightly messed up my proportions with the decorations which is not unusual for me - Ethan had a race track cake 2 years ago and I managed to make the track only wide enough for one car - but I think I am getting better! And yes, that's a tiny Tardis. I had a little blue left, and what else :) Ethan thought it was great, and Sam liked it enough that as soon as he'd blown out the candles (proper ones this time, thanks to Grandma) He grabbed it off and ate it. He didn't even have any of the cake itself, just that and a tree! I also - typically - couldn't find any of his Thomas toys, so it had to be a James Cake instead.
He then had a few more presents, another Thomas that lights up and moves, and a wooden train whistle (which may disappear now and then) from Grandma and Grandad, a colouring and sticker book, and a CD and book of nursery rhymes which we've already had on and he's danced to, from Aunty Joanne and Uncle David, and this from Aunty Stella and Uncle Carl...
 I've just noticed Henry's demon eyes in the background!
It's a bull shaped space hopper! The advantage being it has four feet, rather than a round bottom, nice and stable. He's been bouncing around on it for about half an hour (about as long as you can do anything when you're newly three and have eaten a large chuck of icing) before being forced to dismount and get ready for bed.

We had a visit from the Dummy Fairy too this week. It went well... until bedtime. He didn't want his new glowy nightlight, he didn't want the fairy to take his dummies to make new ones for little babies, apparently the babies don't want his dummies. There were a few wakings that night. However he only asked once or twice the next night, and not since, so hurrah!

Three years. He still loves ears for comfort, especially now he has Henry's. He still has trouble keeping his covers on, not only himself, but his entire bed. He still curls his little body up and sometimes sticks his bum in the air in that classic sleeping baby pose. And yet he's also so grown up. He sings. He loves numbers and counting, and is starting nursery school after Christmas. NURSERY SCHOOL you guys.
 It's flown by since he was a little dot, the littlest of my three, none of whom were particularly small. He came speeding into the world with his little crop of dark hair and hasn't stopped since. We spent a few hours in hospital (a 3am birth will do that) and then phoned around to let everyone know at about 6:30 before beating a hasty retreat from the postnatal ward. We took him back to Grandma and Grandad's house to meet his big brother who adored him.
He still does, most of the time. They are wonderful playmates and well matched verbal sparring partners, though thankfully mostly the former. There's the same gap between them as between Sam and Henry, and Sam has that same adoration for Henry, it's lovely to see, the circle of brotherhood continuing. 

Happy birthday mad boy. We love your crazy dancing and mad debating skills, even if they do usually just come down to simply insisting you are right until we give up. Don't change too much my darling.

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Diver in a bottle

Ethan asked to do some science today, so I pulled out an old favourite of mine.

video
 This is supremely easy, and easy to play with, so great for little hands. Bonus - it doesn't make a mess.
You only need 4 components, a bic (or very similar) pen lid, blu tack or similar, a clear plastic bottle and the water to fill it.
Use a tiny blob of blu tack to clog the hole at the top of the pen lid, and a slightly larger blob to weight the tail. This will be your diver.
Fill the bottle to the brim. We used a 2 litre bottle as it's easier to see and the diver has further to go up and down, but I guess it would be fine in a smaller one. Test your diver's weight. Keep adding blu tack until it floats like this -
 You want it to just float, with just the tip poking out. Too much weight and it'll sink to the bottom and you've got to start over, though I suppose you could test this part in a cup. Probably should have thought of that while doing it! Screw on the lid, wipe up the overflow, and your done!

Squeeze the bottle, and he dives. Let go, and he comes back up. Simple! If you hold it just right, you can even make him stop at any point.


 Yes, the diver is red in this photo and the video. I didn't take progress shots while doing it and couldn't be bothered to fish him out afterwards. And the boys wouldn't have relinquished him had I tried.


How does it work? The science is actually really simple too, in case you were wondering. Squeezing the bottle forces water up into the diver, compressing the air. This increases the density of the diver, and he sinks. When you release it, the reverse happens, the air re-expands, the diver is to all intents and purposes lighter (technically, less dense) and he floats. I love science!

Instant hit! It's quick, mess free, and they can help do it without causing a stress. The only downside, if you can call it that, is that if they get too excited and knock it over or shake it, the air bubble comes out and you have to get it all out and start over. However it's so fast to do that it's no big deal.

For Science!


Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!
Squeezing the bottle causes the diver to sink because the increased pressure forces water up into the diver, compressing the air at the top of the eyedropper. This increases the mass, and density, of the diver causing it to sink. Releasing the squeeze decreases the pressure on the air at the top of the eyedropper, and the water is forced back out of the diver. - See more at: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/eye-dropper-cartesian-diver#sthash.FXg7Q158.dpuf

queezing the bottle causes the diver to sink because the increased pressure forces water up into the diver, compressing the air at the top of the eyedropper. This increases the mass, and density, of the diver causing it to sink. Releasing the squeeze decreases the pressure on the air at the top of the eyedropper, and the water is forced back out of the diver. - See more at: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/eye-dropper-cartesian-diver#sthash.b3Uo4Pyf.dpuf
Squeezing the bottle causes the diver to sink because the increased pressure forces water up into the diver, compressing the air at the top of the eyedropper. This increases the mass, and density, of the diver causing it to sink. Releasing the squeeze decreases the pressure on the air at the top of the eyedropper, and the water is forced back out of the diver. - See more at: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/lab/experiments/eye-dropper-cartesian-diver#sthash.FXg7Q158.dpuf

Monday, 14 October 2013

Dad's Birthday

This weekend was my Dad's birthday, so we went down to Reading to spend some time there. Oh I miss Reading. It was my home town for so long that it still feels like it is.

 We had some present opening, and then all went to Coral Reef - super retro childhood memory-inducing fun! It's a swimming pool, with rapids and slides and jacuzzis. We had a whale of a time (no pun intended!) and it was Henry's first swim. He adored it, and stayed in for over an hour, when mum got out with him and Rich and I got to play with the biggies. They both went down the water slide, Ethan 3 times, despite being scared. Sam had a lot of fun sitting by the tipping bucket and watching it dump a load of water on people, which he thought was hilarious.
 Ethan got on well with his arm bands, with a third one used as a float. Handy really, as he and I got separated in the rapids :S It was horrible, really awful. He got out of the 'current' for want of a better word, and I didn't. There was another parent there who saw and tried to help me out, but I ended up just asking him to watch Ethan while I swam round (panicking the whole way) as I couldn't swim back. When I got round, he was gone, and the man said he'd floated just around the corner... which he hadn't. In my head, he had already drowned. Luckily, he's made of sterner stuff than me, and had spotted Auntie Jess and was trying to swim towards her. Meanwhile, Rich had found me and we were both panicking when I spotted him and Jess got to him just as he was starting to get a bit upset. He is fine about it, not bothered at all. I feel sick when I think about it, and wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's done now though, and over. 

 After swimming we had party food picked by dad with the kids in mind, on muppets plates and cups, and had this surprise Kermit cake made by mum and Jess. Please excuse the pyjama clad legs. 

Sunday brought church and a chance to see friends, albeit fairly briefly for most, as the rest of my little clan are all for leaving immediately. Delicious dinner with more desserts and it was time to pack up and head off again, but not before Sam found Grampa's ear. He's got a bit of a thing for ears, especially when he's tired.

Then came the long trek home, which wasn't too bad actually, and we are back to the routine of Ethan at school, Sam begging to be allowed to go to school, and Henry just being a great big gorgeous sausage.
Life is good :)

Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!