Easter Eggstravaganza

Spring time flowers and bunnies on my windowsill
Daffodils are a must have at home to make if feel like spring. Love that you can pick up a bunch for less than a pound to brighten up a windowsill

We love to celebrate in our family… any excuse for a gathering and we will all get together and start planning the food. Easter is quickly becoming as commercial as Christmas, and I don’t see this as a bad thing. We aren’t religious as a family but having been bought up in a multi cultural city I think it’s important to acknowledge all cultures, (we have also enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year, Diwali and Pride recently) – an easy way to learn about others is to join in with festivities and it’s also an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family.

This bank holiday weekend we have done so much I’m going to have to split this up in to several blog posts – we kicked things off with a trip to a local children’s farm “Hatton Country World” on Good Friday – a glorious day spent meeting lots of baby animals, and running around in the sunshine.

On Saturday we went to a not so festively themed “Ice Age” walk at the Botanical Gardens for some quality time with Nanny. This is another beautiful local attraction we have been visiting as a family since I was a child and it was lovely to see Arlo running around outdoors and marvelling at all the new sights.

On Sunday I hosted the egg hunt to end all egg hunts, with four children aged 1-6 years I knew we had to try and make it fun (and fair) for them all. I also wanted to make them earn their treats, and focus more on fun and festivities than the sweets and chocolate.

A welcome to my Easter egg hunt - the first clue card attached to my floral wreath
This beautiful wreath was from Hobbycraft, and with a little bit of home made bunting, and some garden signs the kids knew they were in for a treat walking up the pathway! Welcome to my Easter egg hunt!

I purchased a fabulous little set of clue cards from an Instagram store A little bit vintage and the simple rhyming clues led the kids to locations all around the house.

The first card was a welcome and I attached this to my front door wreath, and with personalised egg hunt bags left in the front garden, and the clue led them to “the place you leave your shoes” and here they each had a little parcel to open (bunny ears, tails and bow ties). I made these bags for the kids - a simple little personalised design featuring their names and bunnies in Easter colours

I made these little bags for the kids to take along on their journey to gather up all of their treats. A simple little design with their names and a bunny in Easter colours

The clues then them to “the place you cook” – of course Logan the eldest ran straight to the kitchen….. however we predicted this would happen and so actually the treats were hidden inside the play kitchen, and Logan quickly realised he had to pay attention, taking on the role of “clue reader” like a pro!

The first challenge to complete for the Easter bunny was to decorate some real chocolate Easter Eggs. Surprisingly the kids all completed this task with their chocolate eggs intact, keen to earn the next clue card.

 “Head to where you brush your teeth” – the kids all rushed upstairs to the bathroom, and of course I had to include one messy play activity so I had pre filled the kitchen sink with shaving foam…. they had to dig in, fetch all of the eggs and count them correctly for their next clue, which led them downstairs to the dining room table.

Here they all had to paint a wooden bird box, and again they all rolled their sleeves up to get stuck in, really focusing on the activity before proudly placing their finished items in the garden to dry and getting the next clue, which led them to “where you fetch the mail” We thought it was time to get some treats out now and so the kids all got a jellybean filled carrot shape along with a brand new nature trail clipboard and the next clue which sent them to under the sofa to find some bubble wands (a firm family favourite) and a clue card which told them to head outside. We stopped for a refreshment break before getting back to work for the Easter Bunny….. and the next challenge was to plant some sunflower seeds.

They did this task really well together, all getting stuck in and helping share the tools and fill each other’s plant pots with soil and so they earn their next clue pretty quickly – which led them to my bookshelf with a basket filled with strange items…They went back outside and here it was revealed that they were to use the items in the basket to make cress hair for potato heads. This one delighted Lincoln because I bought curly cress to match his hair.

With our bird boxes, plant pots and potato heads all proudly on display after a couple hours of activity we felt like they really had earned their rewards… and so the final clue led them all charging upstairs to find the “good stuff”

They all received a personalised “champion egg hunter” top and more chocolate than they could carry – you’d think that this would spoilt their appetites, but not this family – with the hot weather we decided to break with tradition, cancel the formal roast and set up a buffet style array of food.

We then went back to the garden to enjoy the sunshine with some ice excavation, the older boys enjoyed a good old fashioned water balloon fight, Arlo splashed around in his tuff tray and Paloma bought her play doh outside to make the most of the sunshine.

The egg hunt champions 2019!

Weaning – Preparation

This is going to be a long one….. probably best to do this in a few stages!

So you’re probably approaching the six months mark and now you’ve settled into a routine, it’s almost time to turn everything up side down (quite literally).

I would always advocate the guidelines which at this point in time state that it’s best to wait until your baby is six months old. It’s also really important to look for “the signs” – things which show your baby is physically ready to begin weaning.

In the meantime I decided that I wanted to fully embrace baby led weaning. I read as much as I possibly could and bought/ borrowed quite a few books. I also signed up to all of the different baby brand websites for free resources. The Ella’s kitchen Pack was amazing.

I decided to attend the weaning course with some of my NCT group which was a very balanced session, informative without being pushy.

I also attended a free first aid course at my local children’s centre – this was really beneficial as one of the primary concerns with BLW is the risk of choking – so being prepared for any kind of emergency is always useful.

I started purchasing things from my amazon wish list – and also digging out items I’d bought at the baby show whilst pregnant. Looking back I really wish I hadn’t spent quite so much money on these items – so I’m going to share a list of what I had, and be honest about how necessary it all was.

1. Get a diary – note down what you try and at what time. Record skin reactions and any side effects which appear in nappies. For the first week you will memorise every single spoonful, but eventually the novelty wears off and you can get a contact rash from satsuma’s or the after effects of mango in a nappy and spend a while trying to figure it all out.

2. The high chair.

This is very important advice – don’t waste money!!

Whilst it’s lovely to have something which looks nice, looking back I really wish I had bought one of the basic ones from Asda, Aldi or IKEA instead of my Cosatto thing. Very quickly I discarded the straps and the soft insert because cleaning them was a nightmare. Quite often I took the whole thing outside to wash with a hosepipe because I couldn’t get into the nooks and crannies to get rid of mush. It was also quite a heavy bit of kit and I had to buy a second portable thing to take out and about.

As a side note if you’re almost ready for weaning then spend some quality time with the high chair – do messy play and sit your baby in the high chair during meal times so they know it’s a fun place to be. If they’re used to it by six months you’ll be off to a flying start.

3. Utensils

I’ll be honest – I bought about six different brands of baby spoons, Annabelle Karmel ice cube trays, a steamer/blender, a stick blender, plastic bowls, portable Tupperware, sticky plates, bamboo portion plates and all sorts. One phrase springs to mind “all the gear and no idea” – I don’t know why I bothered with the blending stuff but maybe I needed a back up in case BLW didn’t go to plan?

Quite honestly I tried everything once and most of it got shoved to the back of the kitchen cupboard. The things we used the most were the little munchkin spoons and bowls – they had lids so were used as Tupperware for out and about. My tactic was to always give Arlo a spoon to hold – even when I was feeding him, we’d swap spoons and he would happily bang and tap and get mush in his eyes and ears and up my walls – all part of the learning process.

4. Beakers

As soon as you start offering food, also offer water. Again, I bought quite a few different beakers to try out and never stuck to anything specific – this worked well for us because Arlo hasn’t ever been particularly fussy about colours or styles of beakers. The Nuby 360 took a while to figure out, but became a firm favourite until he got a bottle with straw.

Once you’ve got these basics you’re pretty much all set to begin. You can get different floor mats, or maybe a tarpaulin, and there’s a huge variety of bibs around too. Our strategy was to conduct meal times stripped down to the nappy – after quickly realising Arlo was a messy baby, to save ourselves an extra load of laundry we decided to start our weaning adventure at 5pm every day for our evening meal – and then swiftly follow this up with bath time.

6. Don’t forget the toothbrush

You can pick up a little one for less than a pound at home bargains. I gave Arlo his to gum at bath time when we began weaning and he would use it as a teething aid. Setting the association between bath time and brushing teeth early on worked well for us. I can’t quite remember when we introduced toothpaste but it wasn’t straight away.

So now hopefully you’re all set with the equipment and you just need to decide which foods to try first.

We went with banana – I think it was a success. I was quite alarmed when he decided to shove the whole piece into his mouth but tried not to react, I think I managed to keep the same tone, stopped myself from getting up or stopping and just let him lead the way.