Thursday, 30 October 2014

Pumpkin Carving

We have carved pumpkins ever since J was 1 year  old, and I still remember now, getting her dressed up and posing with that pumpkin. Now the girls are old enough they join in too, even S helped carve the pumpkin out last year with the scoop at 21 months. This year, they helped even more. They chose the pumpkins themselves at the farm from the field. And they are very big pumpkins, I think they are our biggest yet!


J chose Daddy to help her, and S was stuck with me. They each picked their own designs with thanks to google images. J picked a tricky my little pony design, whilst S kept switching between owl and spider.... we ended up with spider, and a nice simple one at that. Daddy managed to find a free template, so got busy cutting it out, whereas I couldn't find one, so would have to go free-style.
 
Then it was cutting it open and scooping all the "gunk out". J is a true girly girl, and refused to put her hand in to start with, where as S was straight in there up to her arm pit... chalk and cheese my girls, even though they want to be the same as each other.
 
 
When J saw all of us with our arms inside the pumpkin, and that it wasn't that bad, she decided she did want to help after all, and slowly got stuck in...
 

Once it was all scooped out, S made sure it was all fit for carving...

 
I had to draw it on first, and get S's seal of approval... and thankfully it was given....
 
 
Whilst daddy stuck his template on... he realised he would have to free hand some of it too, as the gaps between were to thin for the thick large pumpkin... I got to work carving... we have found through experience, it is worth paying 50p-£1 for the cheap carving kits, they look like they wont do anything, but better then any knife and spoon any day!
 

After the first piece was cut away, S was intrigued... I gave her the piece to explore, her first thoughts were yummy....
 
Before both girls decided to "carve" into the pieces... next year they will be carving their very own I think... and mummy and daddy will have our own too!

 
S's one was done in almost no time at all, compared to a tinker bell one we did last year... then we were waiting for Daddy who decided to call a friend half way through....  which meant S didn't get to see the final pumpkin until morning...  But she did see hers all lit up first... she loved it, even gave it a good night kiss....awww...
 
 
Then we waited on Daddy to finish....
 
 
And again.... J loved it..... SO here are our 2014 Halloween pumpkins..... starring Incy wincey spider and My Little pony, I don't think they will be scaring away any ghouls this year, but they are super cute, and what is more important, the girls chose them themselves and love them.....
 
note to self: For black photo turn Dave's heat lamp off!
Happy Halloween!
 
 
 
Binky Linky

Halloween @ National Forest Adventure Farm

On Tuesday we went to National Forest Adventure Farm. It is about an hours drive from us, and we didn't really know what to expect. The girls were full of excitement, as we allowed them to wear their Halloween costumes, and told them they could pick their very own pumpkins. They were actually well behaved for the drive there... yeay! 
 
When we arrived, we found the car park to be a lot busier then we were expecting, and had to park at the far end, which meant we walked past the play area on the opposite side of the fence, and the girls excitement grew even more.
Red riding hood and the friendly witch.
On entering we got the timetable of events, and put their names down for scare school and broomstick flying, well.... it is Halloween. Then it was time for lunch... yes we did arrive latter then anticipated. We quickly found a bench as there was plenty around, and under cover from the autumn winds, and were allowed to eat our own picnic... Great!!
After lunch it was then time to explore the farm, we headed for the animal barn first, so the girls could get to pet the animals, and to suss out whether to buy some animal feed for them. We decided against the feed, as the animals in the barns didn't seem interested as they already had so much. They were able to pet 'Ruby' the guinne pig, and the rabbit, and found out pigs are actually VERY smelly. S soon lost interest here as the barriers on the pens were so high she couldn't see in easily.
 
 
After the animal barn, we followed the path around to the scarecrow maze... in the summer they grabbed the Guinness book of world records for the most scarecrows in one place, and WOW there was a lot.... S was a little nervous to start with, but once she realised they weren't real, she was running around the maze looking for the mummy's hidden inside. We found all 16, and had fun looking at all the different scarecrows... we even found a Disney princess one dressed up as Belle.
 
 
We then found the way to the paddocks to the other animals, so went to explore.... these animals wanted the feed, but we were too far from the entrance to quickly run back and get some. A very kind lady let the girls have a handful of hers to feed the sheep. Thank you.
 

We then found one of Santa's helpers, and it was a nice reminder for the girls that although its Halloween now, Santa is always looking to see if they will be on the naughty or nice list. He was so close, the girls could see all the detail of his antlers, and they are actually hairy. When he realised we didn't have any feed though, he soon went further back.


The girls then ran down the hill past the goats and Alpacas, we weren't sure why, then it suddenly clicked, they were chasing the tractor.... we could here shouting from it as it was doing its journey, and it was enticing the girls.... that would be our net port of call.... unfortunately S then fell over as she was running down hill in wellies and FAST... a few tears, and cuddles later, we were back on track...

 
Whilst waiting for the tractor, Daddy was encouraging the girls to go on the electric go carts. I think Daddy wanted a go more, as the girls weren't pestering for it, it was £1 per car, and the guy on a food stall, happily broke a note for change.  Once J realised she had to keep her foot on the peddle, they were off....
 
 
The tractor ride was then ready for the next ride, so we hopped on. We got told there was scarecrows dotted around the course, and if we found one, we had to shout out scarecrow.... this kept the girls happy, and WOW... they can scream... and shout.... but provided lots of giggles.
 

 
After the tractor ride, we started to head over to the pumpkin patch, and came across the barrel ride, we got a free voucher for a ride each on entrance, and any extra goes is £1. The queue for this took longer then expected, but with only 8 barrels that is expected.  But the girls enjoyed it.
 

 
We then ran out of time to pick our pumpkin, as it was time for scare school.... This was great fun for the girlies, and ran by the werewolf and ghost..
 
 
They learnt how to do a pumpkin face....
 
 
Along with a zombie walk....
 
 
...and scary noises, and creeping up on people to go BOO.... J is still practising this now. S soon lost interest as she was getting tired, and found a nice cow to snuggle up with....
 
 
After scare school, it was the broomstick flying class, where they are taught how to fly it correctly, how the rev it up, and how to steer. J was mesmerised...
 

but S just wanted to sweep, or do it the opposite way...

 
After the lessons at the Halloween themed school, it was time to head to the pumpkin patch. Our local pick your own farm had sold out, so we were a little worried at the quality that would be left. But we didn't have to worry. The patch wasn't as full as it was at the start of the week, and we had to walk further back to get a good size one, but there was still plenty to choose from... phew! S found a little area with good size pumpkins, whilst daddy and J went off looking for others.... so much choice...

We finally got their attention and they came back over and made a decision. J wanted the biggest one! S wanted a round one...



The note at the start of the patch, was we had to carry it back, there was no help, which was a shame as we had seen wheel barrows being used throughout the day...  J couldn't even lift hers, so that was Daddy's job... I was relieved we had 2 adults for 2 children, as I would have struggled otherwise.

 
The weather was starting to change at this point, as the clouds got darker and a breeze picked up, so we gave the girls 5 minutes in the play area... they chose the giant pillows over the bouncy castle and sandpits, we could have easily spent an afternoon in this area alone...
 

 
The giant pillows were like trampolines, but different as they do look like pillows, and are curved...  which provided lots of giggles.... the wind picked up some more, so it was time to leave.... Just as we got back to the car with a very tired S and 2 HUGE pumpkins, it started to rain... couldn't have had better timing if we tried....
 
It was a great afternoon out, and if I had done my research, we would have been there earlier so we could have spent the day there. We will be going again, and I have my eye on the Christmas event they have planned, so watch this space! I would recommend this place to anyone with young children.
 
Entrance to the farm is £9.75 per person over 2, on high peak dates, this includes all activities (apart from electric go karts) and the pumpkins. Which I think is Fantastic value for money.
 
 
 
We were given free entrance, for an honest review. All pictures, words and opinions are my own.
What's Happened? What's Happening?

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Gruffalo Childs Trail at Delamere

After the stressful day on Saturday, a restless night due to drunken texts, and a teething S, I decided Sunday had to be a better day. Daddy wasn't sure what time he would be in, nor what state he would be in as he was cautiously watching over the stag all night to make sure he wouldn't choke on his own vomit after passing out! I decided to head out and do what we had planned for Monday... The Gruffalo Childs trail at Delamere
Its a 45 minute drive from where we live, so was hoping the little drive would give time for S to nap. She managed about 5 minutes, I think. J was happily singing along to Frozen tunes at the top of her voice, so was in high spirits. Yeay, it was going to be a good day! We were parked in the over flow car park, so had to walk to the main area first, where the girls came across a HUGE tree stump, and just insisted on posing!


When we arrived at the main area, we looked in on the Gruffalo trail pack for £2, I had read on another blog it isn't worth the money, so I double checked, and reluctantly the man held it up for me to see it was just a colouring sheet and a few activities, which im presuming are the ones on the boards around the trail anyway... that saved me £4! As I wouldn't have been able to get just one between the two... We were then on our way... it was clearly sign posted, an got the girls in the spirit of a good walk...
  
  
The board was a home to dozens of lady birds, and of course the girls had to stop and have a closer look... by this point I was glad I got more then an hours parking, as we hadn't even started the trail, and already was distracted.
 
 
 I eventually managed to persuade J to put the ladybird down so we could start the walk, puddle jumping in every puddle we could find, and squelching in every piece of mud we could find too..
 
 
We queued up to see the first board.... it sure was busy on this little walk today...  and the girls soon found the mouse in the picture,

 
...but was soon distracted by the first letter swinging in the tree, im guessing one of the activities on the sheet was to collect these letter to spell a word, so I took a mental note! J tried throwing a stick at it, and I had to firmly and quickly tell her to stop, due to the crowds of people everywhere...

 
We popped over a bridge, where S is still using the Purr, which you can listen to here... and came across the den building area.... there was dens everywhere, where you can help build more, or build your own, we were cheeky and found an empty one, and got the Gruffalo child's book out to read what animal we will be finding next... along with a little snack....


When we got walking again, S wanted to collect sticks again, but think she grabbed more then she could handle on this one, as it didn't get very far...
 
 
...and decided to settle for a large branch of pine cones.... which J happily sat and counted in the middle of the busy path... oh well, at least she was practising her math on half term....

 
The next boards activity was to make pictures like the caves picture in the book using sticks and leaves, and they happily went along....
 
 
 When we turned a corner it then opened up in a large path, with big bushy trees, I just love these scenes, and this is one of my favourite photos of the day, shame S wasn't in the shot too...
 
 
In woods like this, its hard to pass and not want to play hide and seek, so we had a quick game or two.... of course I was still peeking to make sure no random ran off with either of them, but that's my cautious mind on overdrive... but I needn't have worried with S's hiding spots...

 
I tried to explain to her, to find larger tree's so next time she did, but didn't quite make it round the other side before "hiding".

 
After a few games, we decided to have a leaf storm, there is nothing better in autumn then to have a eaf fight, or create a leaf storm, and this is J's favourite thing at this time of year, I just adore her natural smile in this, rather then the posed awkward smiles that seem to get snapped more and more....
 
 
On another turn, we saw another queue of about 10 families... what had we stumbled across?? Yes... we finally found the Gruffalo... so we had to queue for our snap too...  S was more interested in the statue then the picture, and reluctantly turned around for a snap. We waited a while for the queue to go down so the girls could get a better look, and was intrigued by the wart...


It was then the walk back to the main area, double tracking on part of the trail we already crossed, J asked if she could do some proper puddle splashing as we were now on our way back, and I agreed...  

 
At the end of the trail, I promised the girls a bbq sausage bap which I saw advertised when we walked through as I hadn't bought a packed lunch. Unfortunately they had sold out, so after a mini meltdown from BOTH girls, we started to queue for the main café.... 15 minutes it took to get to the front... and then we got charged even more then the outside BBQ would have charged us for...
 
I was not impressed... the girls wont touch a side salad, and they didn't want posh plates, they would have been happy with a napkin wrapped around it...  but it meant we was fed, and it was nice!