Create Your Own Name Masterpiece

children's name wall masterpieceThere was a bit of a space on our 6 year old’s bookshelf so we decided we may as well fill it. We had a hunt around to decide what masterpiece to create and what special materials we could use to do it. We happened upon our fabric basket and the solution to our empty space problem solution popped right out.

We skipped off to the Thursday town market and bought 3 8×6 photo frames. Then came home and got out our scissors, blue tack and fabric basket.

About an hour later, hey presto, where there once was a gap is now a pretty, patterned name masterpiece.

Fancy a go? Here’s our guide:

  1. Choose which fabrics to use for each background and each fabric letter. If you don’t have a fabric basket, you can usually get off cuts from a material shop or market – or take a look in charity shops for old curtains or flowery dresses. As an alternative, you could Continue reading
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Our Make Your Own Dreamcatcher, Nature Style

While at a local family festival last month we were lucky enough to be able to create our own nature dreamcatcher. Our 6 year old loves all things fairy and mystical so it was a fantastic craft session for her.

For those in the dark (so to speak), a dreamcatcher is hung above your bed to keep out bad dreams. Good dreams are flowing and clear so can easily find their way through the dreamcatcher to find their dreamer. Bad dreams are confused and confusing so get tangled in the web and are kept from turning a happy dreamer into a dreamer of nightmares. Who wouldn’t want one of those?

Fancy giving it a try?

We had some expert assistance from one of the lovely volunteers at the festival but with a little demonstration we were able to quickly get the hang of it. We’re sure you could make one yourself.

Firstly, go off on a little woodland walk somewhere near you to collect some treasures to decorate your dreamcatcher. Then you just need to Continue reading

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Winter Warming Tomato Soup

If like us you’ve been busy growing your own over the summer and have bumper haul of tomatoes (or even if you haven’t and you go out and buy some), we thought we’d share our favourite tomato soup receipe with you, perfect for the colder Autumn months and we think it tastes better than the tinned version!

  • 3 lb ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Puree
  • 2 pinches dried mixed herbs or fresh if available
  • 3/4 pint Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • Knob of Butter/Margarine Continue reading
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Back to Enid Blyton Innocence…Almost!

Our 6 year old is well and truly into the fantastic story books I used to love as a little girl – Enid Blyton, Dick King Smith, Naughty Little Sister. I absolutely love to share the stories with her but it is giving her all sorts of ideas of fun things to do 1950s, 60s and 70s style. It’s hard to reason with a 6 year old that times have changed which is why I’m posting about our latest outing.

The latest favourite is the Sophie stories by Dick King Smith. Our little girl has decided, just like Sophie, that she wants to be a farmer when she grows up and has, just like Sophie, started saving for a farm. I love that these stories teach her about the value of money and how you have to save and work hard for things you really want.

However, saving for a farm means the piggy bank (or several piggy banks) will need a penny or 10 adding quite often. Next step, money making ideas.

Now the down side of these innocent stories is the freedom of 1950s children. Most of the money making schemes involve 6 year olds who go off into town or off on the bus or knocking on strangers doors. Trying to explain that things don’t work quite the same way anymore is not the easiest.

The solution? Our 6 year old was desperate to sell cakes. She was desperate to sell them on the street and she was desperate to sell them to strangers. We had many discussions about selling them to family but that simply Continue reading

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Jam Rock Cakes – A Children’s Baking Special

jam rock cakes for childrenSince I was very little I have partaken in jam rock cake making with my lovely Nanny. They are my favourite cake and my “little” brother (age 28!) still has rock cakes made for him by our Nanny. If I’m honest, I’m a little jealous that I have to make my own, often inferior, version. What is it with a Nanny’s fingers that make things taste so much better?

Anyway, I thought I’d share my Nanny’s recipe. I know she didn’t invent it but unfortunately I have no idea where she got the original from so I can’t reference it, therefore I’ll give my lovely Nanny all the credit!!

It’s such a simple bake that it’s great for children’s little fingers to bake too.

Ingredients:

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Our Top 5 for Autumn Fun

The nights are getting darker and at Dylan and Grace we’re considering putting the heating on so Autumn must be well and truly here.  But there’s still fun to be had and below we’ve listed our top 5 things to do in Autumn.

1)   Blackberrying – Who knew crawling around in prickly bushes could be so much fun, plus there’s the added bonus of a blackberry crumble at the end of your hard work.

2)   Conker Fights – crack open those horse-chestnuts and get your conkers ready for the annual autumn cocker fights.  There’s also an old wives tale that if you put them in the corner of your house it keeps the spiders away! Continue reading

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Family Festival Fun – Take Home Ideas

pond dipping for childrenThe sun was shining last weekend and we were lucky enough to have a Family Festival being hosted just a few miles from us at Hill End, Oxford. There was a lot of open space for children to stretch their legs and lots of exciting things to do to stretch their imaginations.

We had a lot of fun so I thought I’d share some of things we did that you can do at home and when out and about:

  • Create a mud kitchen – a lot of fun (and mess) was had in the mud kitchen. To recreate at home (well, we recommend in the garden!!) simply get a bowl or bucket, fill it with some mud (we suggest supervised mud collecting if you’ve just planted your spring bulbs!) add a little water, then simply let the fun begin. If you can add some spoons and smaller bowls or plates to the mix, all the better. Just don’t expect a clean child to walk back through the back door when they’re done!
  • Junk modelling – Weave Recycle had a stand at the event with lots of discarded materials from business and industry. Children were able to use their imaginations to create all sorts of models, structures and games. It’s easy to recreate this at home, simply go through your recycling box and pull out different Continue reading
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Fun Feast for your 5 a day!

children's cooking funIt can sometimes be a bit of a chore hitting that 5 fruit and veg portions a day. Luckily the Dylan and Grace children can happily munch through a fruit bowl in one sitting – sometimes to the point of suggesting they eat a biscuit instead! However, it’s always good to encourage tasting new fruit to both widen their tastes and give some extra vitamin variation to their 5 a day. And it’s always great to add fun to any daily task!

We decided to add a bit of fun to our 5 a day by creating a 5 a day feast – actually it probably turned out about 7 a day! It was great fun to do and helped the Dylan and Grace children practice their knife skills. Our 5 year old very proudly used a sharp knife (extremely supervised!!) which added to her enjoyment immensely.

We did use a wide variation of fruit but you could just as easily have the same fun with an apple, a banana and an orange. We also added a bit of extra Continue reading

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Olympic Torch Excitement

On Monday the Olympic Torch reached day 52 of its travels around the uk and visited our little village.  There was much excitement as all the residents lined the streets with flags and whistles, children had their face painted and the local pubs got involved with bouncy castles, BBQs and music to keep us going whilst we waiting.  There was a wonderful atmosphere as the village came together to cheer on the torch bearer and to see the handover of the torch to the next runner.  Here at Dylan and Grace we’re very much full of Olympic spirit, so check back soon for some fun and sporty ideas for the your Olympic launch party!  In the meantime, here are some interesting facts about the torch.

  •  8000 circles perforate the torch design representing each of the 8000 torch bearers
  • The triangular shape of the torch symbolises a series of “three’s” the Olympic values of respect, excellence and friendship; the three words that make up the Olympic motto – faster, higher, stronger and the UK hosting the Olympics for the 3rd time.
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5, 4, 3, 2, 1…lift off – space is great

As you may know we’re big space fans at Dylan and Grace, so when Mister Maker did a spaceship minute make there was much excitement at the prospect of making our own version.

We had some leftover jubilee union jack plates and bowls and decided a union jack bottomed spaceship would be pretty special! We covered our spaceships in tin foil for a special space effect but you could decorate then however you fancy.

Once created there was a lot of fun had flying the spaceships around, spinning the wool to have spaceships that spin all by themselves and pretending to be aliens.

How we made our spaceship: Continue reading

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