Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Butterfly Blackberry Cakes

My mum picked us some blackberries from the back of her garden.  I already picked quite a few a couple of weeks ago.  They are really early, the other places we pick them are not so ripe yet, but we keep checking!  Although we've kind of had 'summer holidays' we have done a bit of informal butterfly work following on from the Big Butterfly Count and I picked up a butterfly cake mould yesterday so today we used it and the blackberries.

We just added the blackberries to an ordinary sponge cake recipe and then we did one cake in the mould and made fairy cakes with the rest.  We made the filling with whipped cream, about a tablespoon or so of pureed and sieved blackberries and a tablespoon of sugar.  This is an old whisk from my childhood.  The boys really like using it so I'm glad I rescued it!

I always leave some cakes without icing/cream as James and Charlie are much more likely to eat them plain - we let them choose.  Charlie ate 4 cakes!! They were very nice!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rainbow Mop Painting

I've been wanting to post this for ages but we lost the lead to the phone the photos were taken with! It was found this morning so here we go......

I stumbled across this activity here whilst we were learning about rainbows and just had to try it out with James and Charlie.

I bought a cheap sponge mop and poured paint into a tray in stripes. We just dipped it in and pushed it along lining paper.

They both gave it a really good go once they realised what we were doing.

Then I encouraged feet to go in the paint and walk along the paper. Even Dad tried this!

It all got a bit messy......

I think we all really enjoyed this one!

Car Safety

We have just got new car harnesses for James and Charlie which I fitted yesterday. It got me thinking about the different things we've tried in order that we can travel in the car without worrying about boys jumping out of their seats! We used the Britax Special Needs car seats for a while and whilst they were very comfortable and fitted well, the boys were still taking the shoulder straps down (even though they have an extra clasp - they are really intended for children with physical disabilities I think) so at that point we moved onto Crelling Harnesses. They work well for us on the whole and can be used with booster seats for smaller children but they do need to be worn with the ordinary seat belt which has presented us with a few issues. It's supposed to go on top but for the first few years we had to put it on underneath because the boys would just pull it all around and tie it in knots!! They don't do that so much now so we can use them as advised. We did try out some others but as they had Velcro as their main fixative the boys would have undone them in no time.

So we are using the next size up Crelling harness which seems ok so far. I'd like to get to a point where they are not needed and I don't actually think that's far off.....but only with another adult in the car. We have to be safe driving around and I don't think I would be happy driving on my own without them as the boys behaviour can be unpredictable so although they may at first look restrictive, I think they actually give us more freedom and flexibility as a family than going without them would as I am still able to take the boys in the car on my own.

The other thing we use are these stickers....

...I'm not big on Autism Awareness, it sometimes seems to be doing more harm than good and quite honestly, it makes me feel really uncomfortable. On the other hand because the boys are at the more severe end of the spectrum, I'm never really in the position of having to explain that they have a disability like some families so perhaps I might feel different if their autism presented less noticeably.

Anyway I find the wording of these stickers very useful, should we ever be in an emergency situation.  

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Little Vegetable Garden

My mum has very kindly let us use an area of her garden to grow some vegetables with the children.  We have 2 of these troughs to work with and got one put together and started off this week.  I think we are going to need to purchase a new electric screwdriver to do the other one as ours keeps conking out and I ended up with blisters on my hands from using the manual one!

Yesterday we went over to fill it with compost, plant the cabbages that I had started off a while back and to sow a few seeds.  I'm not sure how we'll get on now as we had the idea a bit late in the year but we'll just see what happens and make better plans for next year!

I am also going to have to go and take some better pictures as my mum has a lovely garden and these pictures don't do it justice at all!

Friday, 5 August 2011

Lavender Play Dough

I've been planning this for a while and finally got around to making it this week.  I made purple play dough to which I added lavender oil before cooking.  Once cooked, I split it into 2, left one half plain and added some dried lavender to the other half to add more aroma and texture. 

It was a great idea in theory, a nice calming and relaxing play at the table.....unfortunately I forgot to add the cream of tartar so we ended up with an immensely sticky mess - not so relaxing!!!

 I'm going to make some more though as I do think it's a great way to use essential oils with the boys.