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Stop Chasing The Cat

cat“Stop Chasing The Cat” is something I’ve been saying more and more lately. The Boy has never been bothered by the cat till recently and now there seems to be a rivalry forming.

Our Cat is named “Jeff” because ….. well …… he just is. I know when the Boy is about to start a Cat Recon mission as he will announce “where’s Fluffy gone” in a rather scary voice. Imagine Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” and your half way there.

The Stalking

Then the stalking begins which in itself is hilarious. A 3 yo concentrating on tiptoeing is fantastic, so much effort put into the tiptoeing that the navigation is a second thought. This leads to walking into walls or into wrong rooms. Now i know i could intervene and help my first born child but where’s the fun in that, i see it as a little revenge for the Peppa Pig Marathon i was subjected to 6 months ago.

The Chase

When he finds Jeff the chase is on. The Boy goes from a 3yo that has been walking less time than i have owned most of my t-shirts to a veteran free runner. I may have to send him to Gymnastics Classes soon to get him ready for the 2024 Olympics in Paris. I have to admit that I have on occasion added extra obstacle in his way to see it slows him down but it has little or no effect on his hunt.

I’m not sure whether it is totally all the Boys fault, Jeff is sometimes the instigator of the chase. He will sit on the Boys bed and make sure he knows it. He’ll also wait at the top of the stairs and scratch the carpet to get the Boys attention.

Let me know if your little ones have taken up this sport in the comments below.

3 Little Buttons
Posted by Dan, 1 comment

Toddler Wrangling Training Kit

toddlerwrangingSo you now have a Toddler, that once tiny baby who only slept, ate and pooed now talks, runs and dismantles. You knew it was coming but you had no clue the importance the skill of Toddler Wrangling would become.

I wish I had a kit to train me in the art of Toddler Wrangling but the problem is that you only realise you need it when it is too late.

Below is a list of items that are essential in training you in the Art of Toddler Wrangling.

Mini Pack of Lego

Like fire walking training for parents. Even if you never buy your kids Lego somehow a rogue Lego Agent will infiltrate your home and lay in wait for the opportunity to strike. This will be when your barefoot and seeking past your sleeping child.

Electronic Toy Noise on Repeat

This is to help you deal with the constant playing of the once cute talking book which will be used by your toddler as a weapon. The same button will be pressed and your toddler will not break eye contact till you break, so be prepared.

A Kettlebell

Use this to run up and down the stairs with it to prepare you for the joy of potty training. Simple run up and down the stairs 100 times a day and your set for the easiest part of the potty training saga.

A Goat

I know your thinking why a goat? Well, you’ll need this to eat half your meals and to turn your house over on a daily, as your toddler will do this for the next 15 years minimum. This has the added extra of smelling like a teenager to help prepare you for later on, so a two for one really.

Pack of Raisins

This like the Lego has a way of finding a path into your car whether you buy any or not. Take the raisins and spread them liberally around the back seat of your car. Also make sure you get them right down the back of the seat to ensure the next owner of the car has the joy of finding one in 15 years time. It’s like being an Archaeologist but with no pay or knowledge of history.

Unfortunately this kit is not available on Amazon or Ebay. This due to the fact that this is the ramblings of a stay at home dad with minimum sleep, heavy toddler workout sessions and the fact that I have been used as a climbing frame for the last hour.

Let me know in the comments if you have other items to add to the kit.

 

 

3 Little Buttons
Mudpie Fridays
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4 Easy Plants for Kids to Grow

PlantforkidsAs it was National Gardening Week last week I’d thought I’d do a quick list of the 4 easy plants me and the boy planted out in my last post.

Cress

Cress is not only the easiest plant to grow but can be done indoor, so no excuses that the weather is not right. It will grow as long as it is kept moist. We got an old baking tray and put in a couple of pieces of kitchen roll in the bottom. We then wet the kitchen roll and sprinkled the seeds evenly across the tray. Take the tray and put it near a window. Within a couple of days you will see the seeds sprouting. When the Cress is about 5cm cut and enjoy.

Mint

Mint is great for kids to plant out as it’s just as easy as the Cress. Simple sprinkle the seeds on top of some soil and then water, now that’s easy. Do this in a pot as it can spread very quickly. It’s fantastic to get the kids to pick to some to add to your new potatoes, or a Mojito if the day has been testing.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes look great in the garden and I think are the poster child of gardening. Plant the seeds in soil and put in a greenhouse or cover with a plastic bag to keep the moisture in to get them started. Water regularly and keep in a sunny spot to have some fantastic homegrown tomatoes all summer.

Peas/ Beans

Beans and Peas need a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil. Give them something to climb up and you’ll have a wall of flowers just before they turn into beans. Try reading “Jack in the Beanstalk” to the kids before planting out and you’ll have the most well tended plants in the street.

In case this has made you want to get into the garden with the kids here’s a few links to get you started.

Royal Horticultural Society

VegGrow

My Random Musings
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Planting vegetables with a Toddler

PlantingVegI’ve been meaning to get in the garden and plant out the vegetables for over a month but have not had the chance or the motivation. There was a break in the weather and couldn’t think of any more excuses to put off doing it and to get me and the toddler out in the Sun. Also i found out it was National Gardening Week and the list of things to do inspired me.

Last year was one of those hallmark moments, with the boy then 2 years old it was a lovely sunny day and planting was a joy. What a differences a year makes.

Within 3 seconds of being outside he had managed to cover his top in compost, I’m still not completely sure how ether as the compost I bought was still sealed.

 

As he was now so dirty I thought I’d set him to work, I handed him a trowel and pointed him in the direction off a planter. He weeded and turned over the whole thing in minutes and I hate to say it but he did a better job than I would have done. This may be his superpower, not that it has many other applications in a crime fighting capacity but if your garden needs turning over and weeding he’s your man.

I thought that job was going to buy me time to plant the vegetable seeds so I had to change tactics. I invented some garden games to get the job done and get the boy to do most for the work.

Mud shot-putting

First was “Mud shot-putting”, I put a plastic sheet out with all the pots I needed filling and we through mud until all the pots are full. I must admit I’m not sure who had more fun with this.

Poke and Plant

“Poke and Plant” was a little boring but we both struggled though. We both would poke a hole in the soil and drop in a seed. To make it fun we raced to see who could finish first, I’d like to say I let him win but no he lost badly and with that another life lesson was done.

Make it rain

“Make it rain” was great fun, with watering cans in hand we soaked everything. When i say everything I mean the whole garden was soaked, even the dog was in the firing line till he made a tactical retreat to the Kitchen.

This was certainly a more difficult than last year but was a lot more fun. I’m got to make more of an effort to be in the garden more this year. I love seeing my boy picking Vegetables we have grown together and sitting down to eat them even more.

 

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Stop the Swearing ?

StoptheSwearingMy boy is 3yo and is like a sponge when it comes to new words especially when swearing. I’d like to say I never swear in front of him but that would be a lie.

For my whole adult life I’ve had the freedom to use swear words whenever i see fit, now I’ve got a little persons standing next to me, watching and learning how to interact with others in the world, I feel I owe him to be more mindful of it.

At the moment he has only heard the odd “F*#k” when I’ve stubbed a toe or when a car pulls out in front of me just a little bit closer than I’d like. In these situations i can get better at catching the word before it leaves my mouth or replacing it with another classic dad replacement word like “Fudge” but that leads me on to my next issue.

 

If I’m replacing the swear word I’m still swearing just incorrectly. I’m still venting anger with words but now I’m using the wrong ones.

At some point in his life he is going to learn these words as we all have and if he gets into an argument at school and uses “Fudge off” as a comeback, I’m sure and appropriate nickname will be assigned.

I think the only option is to not worry to much about it and just make sure when he does pick them up that he not only uses them correctly and at the appropriate times.

But if you find yourself on the wrong end of a Lego brick below is some of our house favourites :

  • Fudge
  • Balls
  • Fluff it

Let me know how you deal with this issue in the comments or if you have any favourite replacement words.

 

Posted by Dan, 2 comments

The Toys are Multiplying

ToysI’ve come to the conclusion that my son’s Toys are Multiplying, it’s the only explanation. I know i have bought him some but there is so many. A lot of these have been gifts from family and friends, but when we are playing he will appear with a toy i have no idea where it has come from. I mean i should know what toys my 3yo son has.

 

 

 

 

 

So i have some theories listed below:

He has a Job

My first theory is that my 3yo has a part-time job that he has failed to tell me about. This is understandable as if he has an income i would charge him rent. It would have to be cash in hand work and he would have to spend that money on toys on the way home as i can’t find any cash stashed in his room.

He is a Master Thief

The second theory is that he is a Master Thief. This may seem far fetched (unlike the first theory) but he has got quite good at climbing recently and his ability to hide evidence of the chocolate bar he was not meant to have are amazing. After searching his room have not yet found a black and white stripy top or a bag with “Swag” written on it.

The Toys are Multiplying

The most likely conclusion is that my son has nothing to do with the amount of toys in the house and that another force is at work. The Toys must be multiplying on there own, it is the only logical explanation, i mean how else can you have a 12inch Spider-Man and a 3inch Spider-Man in the same house unless some magic has occurred.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions why there are so many toys in the house before i have to build an extension or move to accommodate them all.

 

#BloggerClubUK

Posted by Dan, 6 comments

Dad’s Simple and Easy Bread Maker Recipe

BreadSome baker purests say that using a Bread Maker is cheating, well try making bread by hand when a toddler is finding ever-inventive ways to interrupt you.

Having bread dough stuck to your hands and then hearing “daddy look at me” as he climbs onto the dining table with a make-shift cape on. This doesn’t make the bread making experience enjoyable or quick.

 

 

So if I can cheat and still have good fresh bread I will. The smell of baking bread is amazing and gets you extra credit with the wife. Getting everything into the Bread Maker should only take a few minutes, so start a well timed game of hide and seek should give you enough time to get it in.

The Recipe

Dry Yeast  – 1 1/4 tsp

Strong White Flour – 500g

Sugar – 1 1/2 tsp

Rapeseed oil – 2 tbsp

Salt  – 1 1/4 tsp

Milk  – 350ml

  1. Put all the dry ingredients in first.
  2. Then put in the not so dry ingredients in.
  3. Select the Standard “White Loaf” setting on the Bread Maker.
  4. When it beeps at you turn it out onto a wire tray to cool.

If you do somehow mess it up you can always get the kids to throw it out on the lawn for the birds. This will not only entertain them long enough for you to get another batch of bread in but also gets rid of the evidence.

For Dough

I use the same recipe for making Dough, just select the “Dough” setting instead and after shaping it to the desired shape (Rolls, Knots etc), cover with oiled cling film and put somewhere warm for 20 mins to rise to double it’s size.

After they’ve risen, brush with either milk, beaten egg or a little oil and put in a preheated oven at 220 degrees / Gas mark 7 10 – 15 mins or until golden brown.

Hope you enjoy the bread.

Posted by Dan, 2 comments

Car Journey with a Toddler

Car KitTravelling with a Toddler whether it is a short run to the local shop or a long journey to see family can be a roller-coaster ride. Whether you want to admit it or not you have little to no control of how the journey will go.

The Pre-journey checks

This is where pre-children your routine would have been something like “have I got keys, wallet and phone.” Nice and easy.
Now with children it has become so much more complexed. It now resembles preparing for an expedition. First off is the ever important check of is the boy still wearing the clothes he has been placed in 3 seconds ago, the answer is usual no. I have a record of having to put on his shoes and socks on 5 times in 10 mins. His t-shirt will inevitably become ” a bit scratchy” meaning he’s remembered that his top has a tag in it and this will now become the end of the world to him.
Next is the ever expanding list of items to take that have become the ” just in case items”. Having to take spare clothes, pants, wipes, toys, snacks, drinks, kitchen sink etc. It like having a bug out bag but without anything that’s useful in an emergency situation for an adult.

The Loading

The loading or car wrestling as it should be known has the power to turn your day from joyous to hellish in mere seconds.
If my little octopus decides to be cooperative with all arms and legs going into the seat I know the day will be a good one. But if he decides that today is going far to well he will release his octopus powers and grab onto everything he can reach to stop touching that seat.
Even if you finally get them into the seat they use the favourite toddler move I know every parent has seen. I believe this move is in some kind of secret manual that all babies get after being born. It is the dreaded “Plank”, back straight and no chance of bending. Usually the “Plank” is deployed when it is raining to increase the effectiveness.

The Journey

Great now we have all our supplies and human resources in the vehicle, ready …… wait for it ……. yep the boy now needs a wee despite he has just been. Now you get to repeat the loading process.
After all this your on the road, then list of demands start. Constant flow of toys and snacks are past back and forth, some even make it to his mouth. If your lucky sleep will follow, if not then you will probably give in and pass them a phone or tablet to watch.
When you get to you destination and as you lift out your child, you will be given a hug as payment which will wash away the stress, ready for next time.
Still I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Posted by Dan, 1 comment

5 basic things you can keep in the freezer

freezerI thought I’d share with you, 5 basic things you can keep in the freezer. With these in the freezer, you will always have the beginnings to start a meal or in a pinch, make a simple meal from scratch.

Most of you savvy people will probably have some of these in your freezer already, but some of these you may had never considered to put in the freezer for future use.

Lets get to the list.

1 – Bread – we always have bread in the freezer. It can be put in the toaster straight from the freezer for toast or just leave out on a plate to defrost for a sandwich. Also, it doesn’t need to be a whole loaf. If you have half a loaf that isn’t going to get used due to a weekend away, just throw it in the freezer and it will keep for 3 months.

2 – Milk – if you have milk in your morning coffee, there is nothing worse than opening the fridge to find no milk or worse off milk. It can set your whole day off on the wrong foot. Milk can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Just take it out and thaw it in the fridge before use.

3 – Butter – goes well with the bread, but is also great to keep on hand for baking. Salted butter lasts longest at 12 months and unsalted around 6 months. Also mix in some garlic and roll up in parchment paper to make a sausage shape and have some garlic butter for your steak.

4 – Eggs – I know it seems like an odd thing to freeze but it is really handy to have in the freezer. Crack the eggs into freezer bags or sealable container and will keep in the freezer for 6+ months. Defrost and use , great for an omelette.

5 – Wine – no i don’t mean bottles of wine and yes i know that once a bottle is open there are rarely any leftovers. On the off chance that there is, you can put it into an ice cube tray and into the freezer for future use in stews and sauces.

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Potty Training the boy

Potty trainingPotty training the boy is one of the milestones of his life, but it is not a fun experience for Dad.

As all you parents will know, anything that can cut down on the mountain of nappies you can get through with a non-potty user is a blessing.

My son was not keen on the potty for a long time, to the point of kicking off the moment he saw you reaching for it. We tried so many things to get him to used it.

Daddy dodging

Asking him every 10 minutes was one thing we tried, but soon he realised that if he said ‘no’, then daddy would leave him alone to get on with his important international baby business.
Not long after this he started to tell us when he needed to go, but with no interest in actually going to the potty to do it. The adult equivalent is having a beer can that you know should go in the recycling, but the normal bin is closer.

Bribery fail

Next up was good old bribery. This was the only thing that seemed to work. First we used chocolate, but soon realised that this was not the best idea; a toddler full of chocolate is not the best mindset for teaching. So as the dutiful father, I disposed of said chocolate to avoid any future issues (the things a dad has to do for the family).

Bribery Success

After the failure of the chocolate bribery, we switched to stickers. This worked like a dream. We got him to pick the stickers out at the supermarket, he told everyone that walked past that they were his stickers, just in case they tried to steal them I guess. This was cute for the first 10 times, but after a 30-minute shop round Tesco, it was beginning to become more like a toddler torture technique. So I used the only item (that is helpfully provided by Tesco for free) to combat the constant onslaught, the magic free fruit.

Back at home armed with the stickers and a potty, he was soon on the way to being potty trained. With a sticker being rewarded for each successful visit, the wall was soon plastered with his badges of honour.

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