Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Colour and Light

You know what?  I'm loving Colour Month.  We managed to pack quite a bit of colour into today, and all of it fun.

First, a little glance backwards at last night's activity - invented by Daddy (okay, well, probably not invented by Daddy, but certainly suggested by Daddy and agreed to by the rest of us).  Balloon rockets!  We have long-since introduced our balloon-obsessed child to the fun of blowing up balloons and letting them go so they fly crazily around the room.  But last night, Daddy came up with the idea of taping the balloon to a piece of straw, which we then threaded through with some string tied between two chairs.  The aim was to force the balloon to rocket along the string as the air came out the opening:

 Our balloon rocket tended to fly around the string in wild circles - which admittedly was just as much fun, or possibly more, than having it go straight.  Perhaps next time, we will make the string shorter - or weight down the underside of the balloon.  Either way, it was a fun pre-bedtime activity!

Today started with our usual inspection of the vegie patch.  We have broccoli!

 And peas!

 Niamh made short work of some pea stalks and freshly-pulled carrots for breakfast:

Then, she decided to tackle a little Montessori-inspired tonging job I made for her a while ago.  I hadn't really intended for her to also sort the different items out into separate bowls (I just thought it would be more fun to have some different things to practice picking up with the tongs), but she did anyway:

You can see in this picture that she has already separated out the little purple pompoms from the buttons and beads.  Here's another, showing her progress (she had switched to using her fingers at this point, which is fine, too, because the small size of the beads etc require her to practice her pincer grip):

A bit later (though you'll notice still in our PJs, cough, cough), Mama got her act together enough to make some of that most thrilling of childhood play-stuffs - play dough!!  I should have thought of it earlier, but I admit it had fallen off the radar because Niamh is a bit...well, let's just say "thingy" about having dirt on her hands.  (I can't say "neat freak" because I have only to look at her play area to know otherwise.  And also, she is MY child, so neatness is not her in her genes.  But she definitely likes clean hands!)  Anyway, I was reminded this morning of the joys of play dough by another wise mother, so I thought today might as well be the day.  The recipe, by the way, can be found HERE.  It has a really soft consistency once you start working with it, and I will definitely be using it again.  I made half the quantity, and added the colouring at the end, once I had divided the dough into four.  It made for a nice, marbled effect in the dough, until you worked the colours through by squishing it.

So, how did my non-sticky-hands-loving daughter like her play dough?  I'll let these photos speak for themselves.  Making play-dough biscuits:

Squish it up!
Making a rainbow serpent (you can see it in front of her):

Using a child-sized rolling pin to make some pancakes:

All in all, I think we spent nearly 3 hours just playing with play-dough.  How old must I have been the last time I did that, I wonder?  And more importantly, why haven't I done it sooner?!  It was so much fun.  And you know the best part - that lovely, nostalgic play-dough smell!  Boy, did it take me back.  It's amazing how powerful the sense of smell is when it comes to triggering memories.  I so hope Niamh made some happy, happy memories today.

A bit later, it was time to bake.  I had been promising Niamh for a few days that we would make more cupcakes, after she enjoyed helping me with the last batch so much.  So I asked her, "What kind of cupcakes would you like to make?"  Silly Mama.  I thought she'd say, "Chocolate."  Or heck, even, "Plain."  No.  My child says, "Purple cupcakes."

Hmm.  As it turned out, she only wanted the outside to be purple.  The insides had to be yellow.  (Hello vanilla!)  But they had to have sprinkles.  And crunchy balls (aka cashous).  Hello Colour Month!

I didn't have enough hands to take photos of her cracking the eggs, helping me chop up the butter or pour out the sugar.  I definitely didn't have hands free to take photos of her doing the old patented, "one for you, one for me" routine with Fionn the dog and the spoon she was supposed to be using to get the batter into the patty pans.

Here's how they turned out (not purple enough, really - I'm a bit disappointed):

And here's how my kitchen turned out:
In case you are wondering - as one friend put it this afternoon - whether or not I have the patience of a saint...no, I do not.  I'm afraid I drew the line at the icing stage when she refused to stop shoving fistfuls of sprinkles and cashous into her mouth, and then back ONTO the cupcakes, and evicted her from my kitchen.  She didn't care.  She had already consumed enough cashous to fuel a small country, and was away to burn it all off.

Luckily Daddy was home soon after, and the prospect of an early birthday package gave her some focus. We have been desperate for a table for her play area for some time now, so it was a nice surprise when Farmor's present arrived at the door.  Here she is, helping Daddy put it together:

Using an allen key:

And using the table for the first time!:

Thank you, Farmor.

Phew.  What a day.  And as all perfect days should, it ended, not with darkness, but with light:

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