Sunday, 30 June 2013

A week of many theme parks...

Given Squidge's current chef-ing and Sprout's current fascination with beautiful plants, the combination of The Good Food Show and Gardeners' World Live in Birmingham seemed to be an ideal day out. Squidge was a bit disappointed that the chef demonstrations were all booked up, although he did manage to catch the tail end of some Persian cooking involving some edible flowers, but on the whole we saw some interesting things. Squidge came away with one of these garlic/ginger grater plates so we have some cooking plans for this weekend to make good use of it in a chickpea, spinach and potato jalfrezi. Sprout's favourite part of the food section was the chocolate fountain...


They both loved looking round the big horticulture tent, and chose a little plant each - an air plant for Squidge and a little cactus for Sprout. Sprout was really interested to see some beekeepers taking the bees out of a hive too...


...and they were both amazed at the concept of bonsai trees.


Back at home Squidge built some assault courses for his Lego minifgures...


...and they both bounced ecstatically on our new trampoline!


We had another trip to Gentleshaw Wildlife Centre as Squidge said he was missing Toto the capuchin monkey. We watched the chickens and rabbits for a while in their enclosure in the playground...


...chilled out on the swing...


...and Sprout asked me to time him round the assault course.


When we went into the rescue centre we were lucky to catch Toto and Bim the capuchins being fed, and Squidge was delighted as always that they like the same foods that he does - apples and bananas.


On our way out we noticed this little guy that we hadn't seen before...


...then we went and flew a Great Tit glider (that we'd picked up in the rescue centre charity shop) while we cooled down with a drink as it was baking hot outside. We chatted about birds - the long tailed tit that knocks on our window, the bluetits that have flown the nest at the kids' grandparents' house, and the wrens and great tits that are yet to do so.


And then, as per tradition, they sat and had an ice cream :)


Over at their grandparents' house, Sprout took some photos in the garden...




...Moppet tried to ride the tricycle...


...and the boys dressed up in goggles and ear defenders to clean the waterfall :)



Sprout borrowed his grandpa's binoculars to look what he could see in the tops of the trees. Shortly after this, they both managed to catch a glimpse of a fledgling wren perched on the side of the house!


Back at home Squidge found this episode of Andy's Wild Adventures about capuchins, and we played with some number balance scales that Squidge had picked out at the charity shop...


...and Sprout did some whizzing back and forth with adding lots of numbers to unbalance it and then telling Squidge what number needed to be added to which side to balance it again. Note to those who think children won't come across mathematical concepts unless they're explicitly taught them: This is algebra. Right here. In the wild. :)


We had a drive over to the Peak District for Gulliver's Kingdom, with the added bonus of the recently-opened Spy Zone. They all had so much fun here, and the boys were unbelievably excited throughout the Spy Zone experience that Gruff took them in, the guy running it was lovely and kept coming out and giving me updates on Sprout's excitement at the laser corridor and Squidge's delight at the bomb detonation :)





Gruff exercised his cycling muscles pedalling the boys one at a time around the track in the sky...


...Moppet did some colouring in while she waited for her secret agent brothers...



...I marvelled at how the whole place was essentially a collection of steep walks punctuated by rides so that parents could have a rest :D ...


... we gawked at ourselves in some wibbly mirrors...



...they dug for 'fossils'...


...and they all played in the most amazing little scaled down Western town. This is the blacksmith's...


...and the bank...


I *think* they were all worn out :) 


The next day we were lucky to be able to visit somewhere the boys have been desperate to go to for months: Legoland!



They spent a bit of time in the Hero Factory...


...Moppet and Squidge played with this big Chima figure while Sprout and his grandpa watched the 4D Clutch Powers film...


...Moppet climbed up the princess tower...



...we all went on a fairytale river cruise...




...Sprout got his Legoland driving licence...



...after queuing for about an hour and a half we went on a really cool submarine ride that actually went through huge tanks with tropical fish and sharks in them...






...while we adults flagged the kids still barrelled around the playground at top speed...


...and after much walking we were relieved to get on the hill train back up to the top.



When we got home Sprout built this Cargo Heliplane with me, and a little bit of 'help' from Moppet :)


We'd planned a trip back to the Cheshire Ice Cream Farm for a while, so we met up with friends there the next day. Sprout and Squidge were delighted at the new addition to what's there - some bumper hovercrafts. Much spinning and squealing with laughter ensued :)


They did a couple of laps on the quadbikes...



...did some digging (at a home ed group a few days later one of the parents had brought a mechanism similar to the one that diggers use to move the bucket, so that was cool)...



...played a round of minigolf...


...played in the soft play area...


...and... ice creams were eaten :)



Back at home Squidge continued his current interest in making people out of different things...


The end of the week saw the birthday party of one of their friends at a local play area, and Moppet seems to have made a sudden leap in how much she can/wants to go on.


Between running around manically and sitting and having long chats on the swing with friends, Sprout amused himself with a balancing challenge...


...Moppet zoomed round on four wheels...



...and Squidge and Moppet played a bit of of football :)



Among all these days out we did have a couple of chilled out days in, where Sprout spent time 'blinking realllly slowly' and Squidge and I had some big chats about lions and the etymology of the days of the week.
I finally found myself in possession of a blacklight and some highlighters at the same time and took the opportunity to make some glow water to play with...


Squidge and Moppet played a lot in some cardboard boxes... 


...and both boys played a lot of Monkey Go Happy.


We made some grass heads (well, chive heads really), from a pair of tights, some googly eyes, thread, soil, chive seeds, and Lego bodies. Here's hoping they succeed more than the rest of this year's seeds have done!


Squidge rediscovered our box of shells too, andd he and Moppet played with them all for a bit and we chatted about shellfish.



Squidge and I headed to the Great British Food Festival  at Shugborough in the hope of seeing some chef demos. Unfortunately the tents were a bit too big and crowded and overwhelming for him, so instead he went on a couple of fairground rides, we had a wander round the stalls, and ended with a chocolate milkshake :)


While we wandered round he picked up some leaves, pebbles, sticks and the like, and when we got home we scanned them in various formations and then he drew on the printouts. (This is indeed upside down. However I do it it still shows upside down. Gremlins.)


Squidge wanted to recreate his lovely chocolate milkshake so we popped some milk, chocolate sauce, ice and a bit of sugar in the blender, and voilĂ !


Sprout then wanted to recreate his favourite mocha frappé, so we did the same again but with frozen coffee instead of normal ice-cubes, and he declared it a success :)


Yum!




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