About Me

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My motto: It's not the wrong way; just a different way... This blog tracks my chaotic life as a mum of six wonderful children and one gorgeous granddaughter, my addiction to knitting and all things crafty, oh, and life with The Viking...

Thursday, 31 March 2011

A Day in the chaotic life of Little Grandma, The Museum

A post by Little Grandma.

This was last weekend.

After spending the best part of Saturday with my head down the toilet, whilst leaving The Viking to hold the fort (childcare only, not housework); Sunday, I decided to take the 3 Little Uncles and Belle to a museum (Rosie's suggestion; I don't think she realises museums are full of expensive, breakable objects which don't mix well with Little Uncles).

Only four loads of washing, Saturday's entire washing up, and the usual bum-wiping, wrestling and referreeing to contend with while The Viking had a well earned lie-in (ahem!), before we could set off in the car.

We like to listen to music in the car and The Littlest Uncle's favourite at the moment is 'Nu ska vi sjunga', a compilation of Swedish songs. He sings along so beautifully, with his dear little voice and angelic expression; until someone dares to interrupt, or join in the singing, then he sounds like a tortured animal and screams and screams until I remove the cd from the player, and play it again, from the start. This doesn't go down very well with the other two Uncles I hasten to add.

Needless to say, I arrived at the museum with a bit of a headache.

Craving for coffee, but knowing that a visit to the museum cafe would be a very expensive trip to hell, we began to look round...

First at 'your history through the decades', not bad in here, plenty of things for the kids to look at and touch, then on to the natural history section. This is where I began to wish I had a few extra arms, and a spare head. Poor Little Professor (the Biggest Uncle), he was so interested in everything, and was desperately wanting to share his newly aquired knowledge with me, but I was too busy consolling the Littlest Uncle who was getting increasingly concerned about the large display of stuffed animals; and trying to keep my eye on Belle. Meanwhile, Action Man (Middle Uncle), was getting more and more daring with his little climbing stunts.

Next, we looked at the Spitfire. As I listened with interest to the Biggest Uncle regurgitating facts and figures, Belle sneaked under the barrier. I hid my face like a criminal on News at 10, climbed over the bars, and grabbed her. Hastily we moved on. By now, Action Man was no longer able to surpress his urges to climb and throw himself on the floor. At one point he was pivoted over a barrier, leaning head-first into an excavated burial chamber, complete with skeleton. I thought it was time to leave.

On the whole though, the museum visit was a success; everyone was enthusiastic and inquisitive, and there were no expensive breakages or serious injuries.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Gallery - Hair

A post by Little Grandma

The theme over at The Gallery this week is hair.

Ooo, hair, I don't know where to start... I think I'm a bit obsessed with it! I have really long hair and I don't like getting it cut. When it's getting time for a trim I get a bit panicky like i'm about to have a limb removed; so I don't get it done very often, even though I always feel better afterwards. In fact, I am told that one of the questions asked in a local quiz was, 'who has had more babies than haircuts in the last 6 years?' (!!!) The answer is me I'm afraid.

However, every year for the past 7 or 8 years, as my birthday approaches, I 'decide' to reinvent myself and get a proper haircut, rather than the usual 2cms, or the very brave 5cms...

But I always chicken out with the excuse that I have no money, or I can't get a babysitter...

This year though, I have no excuse, because my dear wonderful friend has won a competition nominating ME for a makeover at a very stylish salon/beauty place. I can have anything I want done to my hair!! It would be such a waste if I only had a puny trim.... watch this space...I will post pictures when I have been transformed

And here is one of the Little Uncles looking particularly scrummy with his long hair... ahh, I just love it

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Reversible Tunic Dress

A post by Little Grandma,

Up to now I have made several bodged attempts at designing and making a tunic style dress that is reversible, versatile enough to wear on it's own or over a top and trousers, and easy to slip on and off. I decided that the hood on Belle's Reject Dress, although quite cute and potentially a good sun protector, was a bit awkward; I've produced something that looked a bit too much like a hospital gown, I've spilt tea on my work, got tangled up in elastic, I've experimented with buttons, and attempted many different ways of constructing the garment...

 Determined to make a dress from my own design, rather than from a bought pattern, I persevered.

Today I used some fabric from my stash that was nice enough for Belle to wear if the dress was a success, but not so special that I would be upset if it ended up being turned into badly fitting doll's outfits!

This is the result. You'll have to take my word for it when I say it's reversible; I couldn't bear to whip it off her in the cold!

Anyway, the dress passed all the tests:
It survived an afternoon at the park; Belle could climb the slide in it, fall over and get up again in it, crawl about in the dirt in it, waddle after the ducks in it.....

Monday, 28 March 2011

Lesson of the day...

A post by Little Grandma,

My lesson for the day:  Do not use a cup of tea as a weight when cutting out fabric.

To make my dressmaking easier and more efficient, I have invested in a large cutting board and an Olfa rotary cutter. How 'proper' I felt when I first used my new equipment. To hold my paper patterns down whilst cutting out, I usually use a couple of tealight holders, mobile phone, bar of chocolate, anything really that is to hand.

Today, much to my regret, I used a cup of tea...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Baby You Can Drive My Car...

Oh how I wish I'd never let Elle loose in the driver's seat...

My MOT is next week, and now I have to explain why the indicators have a mind of their own, just flashing on when they feel like it and why the steering wheel is a little loose. Great, my mechanic already thinks I'm a maniac; I once bumped into a parked car because my mum waved at me (to make it worse she had the RAC man out who saw the whole sorry incident). I then went to get a quote from the garage, and on the way home to get my insurance details I had a little fight with a traffic island and then I had to go back to the garage and say, "yeah I think I might need a new wheel as well..."! I must be their best customer!

Friday, 25 March 2011

The Viking Cooks Meatballs

Please do not be mislead by this post; The Viking is not a domesticated animal. He does however, on rare occasions, treat the family to some authentic Swedish cuisine.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Yay, we won an Award!

Much to our surprise, we were given the Liebster Blogging award yesterday; many thanks to Allie at Cancer and Baby equals Chaos!

The Liebster Blog Award is for people with little blogs (less than 300 subscribers) to share blog love and spread the word.
The Rules are:

1. Post displaying the award, linking back to the person who awarded you.
2. Choose your own blog picks and let them know they're awarded.
3. Hope everyone discovers some new favourites.
4.Revel in the blog love.

These are the blogs we've chosen to award. They are all great blogs, so you should definitely check them out!

English man in Moscow
Mommy Beadzoid
The Wonderful World of Tillie
Mummy do That
Beads, Paper, Glue

Many thanks again to Allie!

Oh, and happy birthday to Harry Houdini!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Naked in Next: The Gallery- Education

The Gallery's theme for this week is Education. Since being a mum, I've learnt tons of new things; like if you don't like the food in a restaurant, you should just spit it out onto the floor, and that it's ok to steal an old lady's purse.

Yesterday, taking these lessons into consideration, I took Elle to an out of town shopping area to buy her a new doll's pram. I'd given her a drink to hold in the car and when I got to my destination, happy that Elle had been good all the way, I discovered a small lake in her car seat and Elle's clothes were dripping wet. I didn't have any spares.

So, struggling with a now screaming Elle (I'd taken her empty beaker away), I headed straight to the nearest Next, hoping they would have a sale on where I could get her some cheap leggings or something.

Unusually, Next didn't have a single sale rail, and I couldn't leave Elle soaking, so I had to treat her to a new summer dress! The lady at the till kindly agreed to me changing Elle in the shop. Bad idea. As soon as I got her down to her nappy, she was off! Tearing around the shop, Elle caused havoc, pulling down displays and ripping clothes from their hangers! Remember all of this was done in only her nappy! I got a few disapproving looks I tell you!

So that's my lesson of the day learnt; if you want a new dress, just pour a drink all over your old one! I wonder what would happen if Teenage Daughter tried this trick with Little Grandma...

Elle fell asleep as soon as we hit the road back, and look at her; I couldn't stay mad for long!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Belated Birthday Skirt...

A post by Little Grandma,

I don't know if lack of sleep is to blame for my forgetfulness; I hope it is, because at least then one day I may return to 'normal', whatever that is...

Anyway, last week, after a mildly traumatic separation at the preschool, trying to take my mind off it, I tuned into radio 2 in the car. I just caught the end of  a listener phone in or something and I heard the phrase, something like, "...it's a shame... humans can't buy additional memory.."

Eeks! That reminded me... back in half term the Littlest Uncle was invited to a birthday party. Well, typically I had left present buying till the last minute, despite having had the invitation for 3 weeks.

Anyway, on the day of the party I decided to buy a present en route. Feeling quite pleased with myself for running on time and having clean hair, I went to load the Littlest Uncle and Belle into the car. I don't know why the car decided that this was a good time to practise 'his' audition for the circus, but after being locked in, and locked out, and watching 'his' impromptu flashing light display, I decided it was probably safer to walk to the party. I left the Viking to deal with the car.

I arrived at the party, late, without present, looking like Captain Cave Man because i'd sprinted the whole way, and probably with grot on my knees from crawling about in the car. I made my apologies, the mum was lovely, and I promised to drop a present off at Preschool the following week. That was 5 weeks ago.

So, last week I remembered that i'd forgot, then I forgot again. Today I remembered again and, before I forgot, I made this for the Littlest Uncle's 4 year old friend:

 I thought a coordinating headband might be a nice touch
I just need to remember to give it to her now!

Monday, 21 March 2011

Belle's Reject Dress

This was our hooded dress design, but we've decided that some of the design elements didn't really work, so we let Belle have the 'reject'.

This is Belle in her new 'reject' dress.

The hood was a bit big...

Oh well, Belle seems pleased with it!

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Art, or Dictated Reproduction

Every Friday, we take Elle, Belle, and The Littlest Uncle to a toddler group, where they play, sing and take part in a 'creative' activity.

The creative activity looks really promising at first; tables drowned in pots of glitter, stickers, crayons and all kinds of treasures; but then, as soon as your child's creative intuition kicks in, they put down a piece of work they made earlier alongside the words 'THIS IS WHAT IT SHOULD LOOK LIKE."!

The creative activity for children then becomes more like a competition for parents; all trying to make the neatest picture that looks most like the example. Some parents even take this further by not letting their children even touch their masterpiece!

How can children learn how to be creative and to trust their own instincts if even at this young age they are being bluntly told that 'different' is WRONG?

Friday, 18 March 2011

A Sign of Things to Come...

Today, at just 14 months, Elle had a full on tantrum because she wanted to wear her pink, sparkly 'princess' shoes. Is this a sign of things to come? From now on will my carpets be forever hidden under a layer of glitter, and Elle dressed only in a montage of pink?

I suppose I should have seen it coming; she has always made a beeline for my make up and has never cried whilst I style her hair; in fact she brings her brush to me, almost begging me to make her hair pretty.

I'm not complaining; I wanted a girly girl; I'm just surprised at how early she's expressing a preference. If I'm not careful, I will have a real 'diva' on my hands!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Chocolate crispie cakes with fizzy cola bottles....

A post by Little Grandma

What am I letting myself in for?

This was my first thought when I was informed by the biggest Uncle (aka Little Professor), and middle Uncle (aka Action Man), that I had to make cakes to sell at school on Red Nose Day. The scary word here is 'sell'. This means that people are actually expected to pay money for my efforts.

Occasionally I get experimental with ingredients, with surprisingly tasty results; like the time I had to substitute butter with philadelphia (try it sometime!). Anyway, I decided there was no way my cakes could ever come near to the 'neat' mums standards, so in the name of  'getting the kids involved' , I thought it would be a good idea to let the Uncles make the cakes themselves. That way I could blame them for turning up with a batch of 'ugly cakes'.

They wanted to make chocolate rice crispie cakes, decorated with fizzy cola bottles (I know, yuk). The biggest Uncle informed me that his friend, Callum, would love this combination. It seems this boy must be a connoisseur, so I went along with it.

Anyway, The Uncles broke the chocolate into pieces, we put it in a bowl over a pan of hot water, at first it looked lovely; smooth, creamy, flowing chocolate.... I turned away, turned back..

And this had happened!

Needless to say, I won't be turning up at school with cakes for Red Nose Day!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Worse Than the Kids... The Gallery: Trees

The theme over at The Gallery this week is Trees and I think Tara loves them almost as much as me! I even have a 'favourite tree' which I visit drive past regularly.

This photo was taken last summer, much to my mum's despair, when we took Elle, Belle and the Little Uncles to play at a river. She said she had enough to worry about without me and and Teenage Daughter breaking our necks (the Little Uncles were playing 'pooh sticks' on the bridge and were getting dangerously enthusiastic)!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

A Hat A Day...

Due to the popularity of the hats we've decided to attempt to sell a few online (well once we figure out how to put a Pay pal button on here), and Little Grandma's target is to knit a hat a day, however unrealistic this may be...

Still, she's much better than me, I would be lucky if I managed to knit a hat a month; I'm so slow at knitting!

Anyway, here are some so far, what do you think?

Monday, 14 March 2011

The 3rd eye

A post by Little Grandma,

When I was a little girl, my mum (Big Grandma) told me she had an eye at the back of her head; and I believed her. She could catch me out even when her back was turned. Now I am a mum myself I also have an eye at the back of my head, although I don't always choose to use it!

Yesterday, the Little Uncles were busy sticking feathers and bits of paper to the floor  enjoying some creative free expression, when I noticed this:

Belle, aged only 13 months, has already evolved a 3rd eye!!

Those Little Uncles had better watch out!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Another post about dirt...

I'd just got home with a screaming Elle and I wondered if she would cheer up a bit if I let her play out for a minute. She did. Good I thought, now I can do the washing up.

After washing about 2 cups I realised that Elle's happy giggles had diminished into silence so I dashed to check on her knowing she must be up to some sort of mischief. This is what she was doing.

Soil was in her eyes, mouth and ears, not to mention her new coat! To top it all off, when I got her inside, she rushed straight up the stairs covering the house in the stuff.

Still, I suppose this wasn't as bad as when my mum had to deal with sick AND diarrhoea at the same time on her new rug!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

A Day in the Chaotic Life of Little Grandma

This was wednesday,

I was going to write about tuesday; beautiful weather so we went to a local park. Belle had a very close shave with a Canadian goose, and got upset because she didn't want to part with the rabbit poo i'd fished out of her mouth. Then teatime. Easy tea I thought, pancake day, good, everyone likes pancakes and it won't create much washing up. Except, I could only make one at a time, leading to the inevitable arguments and fights, too many people wanting to help, slop on the floor and walls, sugar everywhere... All this was intermitted with bum wiping, hand washing and life-saving; then The Viking came home and announced that pancakes aren't a 'proper' meal and he 'needed' some meat with his! Grr!

Anyway, in retrospect, I considered tuesday to be a comparatively calm day, after all, i'd had a lovely coffee fuelled morning with Big Grandma making spring bonnets.

Wednesday was a bit more like it:

I thought we could try out the toy library. I'd promised Rosie I'd look after Elle while she enjoyed some well deserved 'me' time, and I thought the toy library may be the 'easy' option. First I needed to get some cash. Should be simple enough... However, the Littlest uncle, who is obsessed with money at the moment, and will accept nothing other than the real thing, demanded I give him the £10 note. This is your money I said kindly, trying to fob him off with a few coppers. He screamed in reply, "That's not the right money, I want a different money!!" He continued to scream this for 8 hours 10 minutes, until I felt like my head was bleeding, plus Belle was also screaming at this point. I almost felt like giving him the blinking £10 note, and wondered if I could recommend the screaming method as a good way of  asking for a pay rise.

I then struggled my way down the hill to the toy library, stiff screaming plank under one arm, pushing the pushchair containing a red-faced snot monster with the other.

Things fairly quickly calmed down when we got there after the Littlest Uncle finally succumbed to taking off his coat and joining in the fun. Only a couple of minor incidents; Elle fell off a chair and Belle ate a crayon. Wonderful. I was refreshed, caffeine-fuelled, and ready for action, so, optimistically, I decided to take all 3 to the supermarket before home. Whenever I take both girls out I get the inevitable, "are they twins?", fair enough, they're about the same size. What I don't get is the next question i'm occasionally asked, "are you sure?" Anyway, I was ready for the potential barrage of questions, and the girls looked so cute sitting together in the trolley.

Not for long...

Babybels were on special offer, so I grabbed 3 bags. The Littlest Uncle saw this and asked if he could eat one. Still haunted by the screaming episode, I said yes. I also handed one each to the girls for something to look at. This is great, I thought, whilst chatting away to the Littlest Uncle and actually enjoying shopping with 2 babies and a toddler.

Then, Elle starting gagging on wax covered cheese and it all went downhill from there. A small audience appeared, and everything I did from that moment until I got to the checkout, I did with a handful of regurgitated cheese. The gagging upset both girls, so I handed them various grocery items to cheer them up, all of which were either thrown straight on the floor, or used to hit the other one with, then thrown on the floor. The Littlest Uncle decided he could no longer walk, "carry me", he whined. I could sense this was going to get louder and louder, and there was no way I could pick him up while I had 'the cheese' so I distracted him by showing him a selection of cakes. This resulted in me buying 4 boxes of the blinking things.

I proceeded to the checkout, no idea whether or not I'd got what I went in for. I was 4th in the queue, Belle was not happy. A man behind me attempted to pull amusing faces, I think he was trying to make Belle laugh but he absolutely terrified her! Finally, everything was bagged up, I'd spent a fortune on cakes and various battered and bitten groceries, but I could see light at the end of the tunnel...

Until a little voice chirped up, "I need a poo"...

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

One Word: Dirt, The Gallery

One word: dirt! Why is it that boys insist on doing this! You turn your back for one second and BOOM, this Little Uncle decides to pick up some dirt and throw it at his brothers! Just another day...

See everybody elses 'one word' photographs at The Gallery.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Just cut a bit off and hope for the best...

Big Grandma and Little Grandma set to work today bringing to life our Spring Bonnet design. They may have cramped working conditions and unconventional measuring methods like "about 'this' big" or "well, just cut a bit off and hope for the best", but they are very happy with the end result.

Big Grandma's thought of the day is: "Be kind to your grandma; she won't be around for much longer."

This was prompted when The Littlest Uncle wouldn't share his chocolate buttons with her, and Little Grandma's answer to that was, "I hope that doesn't apply to me, I'm only 37!"

Monday, 7 March 2011

If you go down to the woods today...

"You'd better go in disguise...."

Ok, well maybe not as Little Red Riding Hood; I wouldn't want you getting gobbled up by a wolf!

The Little Red Riding Hood poncho is our latest Elle and Belle creation. We've lined it with jersey to make it extra snug and added tassles to the hood 'just because'.

Don't forget to check out our Facebook page!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A day in the chaotic life of Little Grandma

A post by Little Grandma

This was yesterday, friday

A quiet moment, I thought...

I had spent the morning with Belle and The Littlest Uncle at a local toddler group and they'd danced, sang, done some crafty stuff (or in Belle's case, swallowed a sticker or two!), and eaten a healthy snack.

Anyway, after all that, I decided not to feel guilty about leaving them to watch Cbeebies while I got on with some sewing. Sounds easy enough, however, this is not a case of simply swanning into my well equipped sewing room that boasts views of local beauty spots. It's more a case of entering our dining room, cum sewing room, cum spareroom (when the Viking gets kicked out of bed), and I do this with somewhat nervous anticipation; did I have time to clean up the breakfast mess amidst the morning chaos of wrestling with three Little Uncles and a baby, and trying to convince Teenage Daughter that breakfast is more important than hair? Would I find over- turned bowls of half- eaten weetabix slop, raisins stuck to the walls and a carpet of crushed branflakes on the floor?

No, on this particular occasion, I had already made a half- hearted attempt to clean up before the school run; in between three poos, a handbag pilfering incident (what did Belle do with my car keys?), and a teenage eyebrow disaster. That's good. So all that I needed to do was haul out the plastic boxes filled with craft paraphernalia from under the dining room table, locate several tins of buttons from various hidden and out-of- reach locations and unearth my sewing machine that had been buried under The Viking's guitar.

Phew, all that done and the dining room looks like a small manufactoring unit and I am ready to go...

Until the phone rings.

Enroute to the phone, I notice that Belle is attempting to climb onto the windowsill and the Littlest Uncle wants to spit out a banana into my hand. I answer the phone assuming it must be the school; Belle under one arm, sloppy banana dripping through my other hand, and the voice on the other end says "Have you got a minute to take part in a survey?"!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Little Grandma's Simple Pleasures- The Gallery

The Gallery's theme at Sticky Fingers this week is 'Simple Pleasures'. This is Little Grandma's interpretation:

"The theme 'Simple Pleasures' conjures up many thoughts and images in my mind like watching the sunset with a warm cone of chips, or the satisfying crackling that can be heard when hoovering up 'Hama' beads... but my favourite indulgence at the moment is;

Sitting in my car,
Littlest Uncle and Belle sound asleep,
MY choice on the radio (NOT 'The Wiggles' on repeat!),
Large thermal mug of coffee,
A  'secret' stash of chocolate biscuits
 And a few minutes peace and quiet to get on with some knitting."

What are your simple pleasures?

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Introducing our Director of Granny Knitters...

(Drum roll)... Big Grandma!

Big Grandma has insisted I make it clear that the term 'big' is nothing to do with her size, but more to do with her age and being the great grandma!

Ever since I mentioned her workforce in 'The Ladybeard Concept', she has been (not so subtly) hinting that they should have a whole post dedicated to their work.

Along with a couple of her good friends, Big Grandma has kindly volunteered her knitting services to help build our supply by knitting hats from our 'Wrap hats' range ready for us to sew up and finish.

Big Grandma's thought of the day is:

'The more men I meet, the more I know I want to be on my own.'

By the way, she'd like to know what you think of her new 'pixie cut' she had done especially for the 'photoshoot'.