Thursday, 8 December 2011

Technical hitch.

Back up and running as soon as we can upload pictures again.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day Six!

Today we discovered that yesterday's shoe was filled with chocolate coins, crayons and sitting on top of a notebook for drawing in.

The perspicacious reader will note there are no photos accompanying this entry. The reason for this is simple, and I issue a challenge - please do attempt to feed a child a stack of chocolate and then take a non-blurry picture of them in full-on sugar rush.

Saint Nikolaus filled her shoe because she was a good girl. To show me what a good girl she was, she shared some of her chocolate with me. Later on she refused to share her broccoli with me and ate it all up.

We're doing something right with this kid. She's pretty cool.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Advent Calendar: Day Five!

We had a busy day today. We fled the builders in our house (at 6am, of all the ungodly hours) for a flight that was delayed in the boarding lounge, then in the queue on the stand, then in the air at our destination. We sang Elmo's Song for two hours in order to keep the tired toddler from Epic Meltdown. And here we are at her grandparents' house.

Today's activity is a fairly simple one, considering all the excitement. We're subscribing to the central European tradition of St Nikolaus putting nice stuff into the boots of children who are good through the year. We left the shoe under the tree.

Has she been good enough this year? We shall see.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Advent Calendar! Day Four

Fairly mundane activity today, but one we're trying to instil in her while she's still little enough to think this is fun.

All our glass, plastic and metal is now safely recycled, and my small girl thinks that putting our old stuff into the giant containers where they're collected and taken away to make brand new stuff is the coolest thing there is.

We're doing this today because the builders are coming tomorrow to take our old vintage kitchen away and replace it with a shiny new one. So the toddler and I are fleeing the building site and visiting her grandparents while her long-suffering father takes care of the builders and eats exclusively from the microwave and the takeaway till the new kitchen appears.

We're looking forward to the trip, but not the bit where we don't see Papa for a week.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Advent Calendar! Day Three

We are delighted to report that nobody has that horrible bug any more and so we got into today with great gusto. First, we had to tackle the charity donation we didn't manage yesterday. After some thought, we decided that the toys would be best dropped off at a charity shop for children's items and so off we went.

It was a long walk to the train.

but we saw a very interesting building site. A builder even waved at us.

Fascinating. Right?

I think these trousers might be on their last wearing.

We made it to the charity shop and gave the very nice lady our bag, then we stopped for lunch and came home for a long nap (toddler) and a lot of organising/tidying/covert Christmas organisation (mama). And once the toddler was up, we were onto today's activity: making cakes. The problem with that was that our kitchen is due to be ripped out on Monday so most of our supplies were boxed or otherwise hard to reach. No problem, instead of the planned fudge we made savoury muffins. The recipe comes from a very lovely friend of mine and here it is:

8oz self raising flour
2 oz almost melted butter
2 eggs
150ml milk

Throw it all in a bowl, mix until just combined, add grated or cubed cheese/courgette/carrot/ham/whatever else you have in and put into muffin cases and bake at about 170(F) for 15-20 mins. We added several handfuls of leftover grated cheese, I wanted to add some bacon but couldn't find the small frying pan and didn't want to wash the big one just to make it dirty again.

If my toddler was a bit older, I could have got her to do that bit. Word to the wise.

This is our mix. I can't embed the video of the toddler singing her mixing song for some reason. 

This is my Most Awesome Muffin Pan, oiled and floured.

And the finished product. Cheesy Animal Muffins!

The elephant was the toddler's favourite. She ate him as soon as she could nibble his tusks without wincing from the heat.

I think this lion is my favourite.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Advent Calendar! Day Two

Ironic, really, that today's activity is "Donate a gift to a charity," because my toddler donated a wonderful gift to me yesterday.

It was a generous stockpile of bacteria, meaning that she and I are both somewhat out of sorts and probably not safe for the trek across the city that I'd planned. We have this bag of toys:

and we're currently a bit of a biohazard risk (TMI? you have no idea) so I made an executive decision to send Papa out to see if any of the local shops are accepting donations. If that doesn't work, well then we'll be looking for online opportunities during the day.

Anyone with suggestions please feel free to let us know. From a safe distance.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Advent Calendar! Day One

In this year's advent calendar each pocket contains an activity as well as a tiny chocolate bear. Today, we opened it up to find quite a low-key activity to kick things off.

1: Watch a special Christmas video.

The special video was a Portable North Pole special, a free personalised video from Santa. The toddler's mind was blown - Santa knew her name, knew of her potty-related struggles and even had a photo of her!

You can see our video here.

And how did she react to it?

With chocolate-smeared mouth wide open in astonishment, giving way to slight trepidation as the elves checked which list she was on.

She loved it so much my screen is covered in chocolatey fingerprints. I'd call that a win, sort of.

What will happen tomorrow? I don't know... or do I?

Saturday, 9 July 2011

We know. We're sorry.

It's the middle of July and we've not updated since the end of our challenge.

We will, though. We have lots of lovely photos to show you as soon as we find the time!

We also have another couple of challenges planned, but we'll tell you about those another time.

Secretive? Yes, we are. We have a secret, you see.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Day Thirty: Photo Scavenger Hunt

Phew! My feet hurt. Today we joined in a photo scavenger hunt around the city, a team of six and a toddler all hell-bent on winning the trophy and the glory. Three teams to beat ...

Here;s our list ... we were doing fairly well from early on.

We stopped for a rendez-vous and a drink and the toddler went off to chat with some football fans.

And we stopped off at home to collect a few bonus photos. Like this one: Female in Heels. It's all going well...

... and then it wasn't.

Another one off the list: a team member playing on a swing.

And an elephant.

This was our very liberal interpretation of New Orleans.

And this the aftermath. The toddler didn't make it to the judging because she was so tired, but we won! We will be champions until the next time, when perhaps we will be champions again.

And with that, our thirty days is over. It has been a whole lot of fun and I think we'll continue the frequent outings - probably not to the same degree though; my feet are very sore and some days it's nice to hole up at home and not go outside. But I've learned a lot about a lot of stuff this month and would like the learning to continue.

So we'll keep blogging and if you want to keep checking in please do. Thank you for sharing our adventure.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Day Twenty-Nine: Wedding Party

There was a wedding today. You might have heard about it. The toddler and I were invited to a friend's house for a lovely party at a friend's house, so we were up bright and early putting on our party clothes and baking cookies. On arriving at the local train station we needed to grab a taxi to the house so we informed the driver where we needed. It's a small road off a small road off a smallish road and the driver wasn't sure where we were going - but the array of Union Jacks outside gave him a fairly broad hint and we arrived unscathed.

Amusing herself stealing from older boys.

And hogging the screen, the little monster.

This is as close as she's ever likely to get to Prince William. Although, funny story, her pushchair was given to us by a lovely friend who was at university with William and Kate and met him several times and her once. Two degrees of separation from the royal posterior to the toddler's.

She sat watching much more nicely with the boys than with boring Mama.

Why aren't you taking MY picture?

 And enjoying the aftermath wrangling a clothesline around the garden. Small pleasures.

What a lovely afternoon! We wish the happy couple all the very best and hope it is a long and happy marriage. Cynicism aside, it's a hell of a position to be in and much as I loved her dress I didn't envy Kate Catherine one bit.

It seems impossible to talk about the Royal Wedding without a mention of the toddler's great-grandmother, who passed away when Toddler was still Foetus. She was a fervent royalist and would have loved this whole event, and while I don't share her political leanings I was proud to join the party today (in my red, white and blue shoes) and was thinking of her the whole time.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Day Twenty-Eight: Kindermuseum

Today was a weather-dependent sort of day again. It was a bit undecided in the morning so we went with the mostly-indoor option, the Kinder und Jugendmuseum. They have a smallish space with one exhibit at a time; the current one is all about transport options and since the toddler loves CARs so much that she shouts the word whenever she sees one we figured it was a winning strategy. And so it was:

Trying to find our house on a giant aerial map of the city - that's a magnifying glass she's not looking into.

Dress up clothes from the packing trunk next to Sir Edmund Hillary's reconstructed suitcase. Something's missing, though...

The shawl, that's it.

Newton's cradle kept her amused for a while.

But nothing held her interest like being pushed around on a wheely chair.

She loved driving the car despite several small boys' attempts to oust her. Sadly she hated the mechanic trolley to lie on and go look underneath.

Upstairs there was a large train set that had many kids and one determined Papa working flat out to try to assemble a fully operational track.

Helping ... they managed it eventually and when we left had started bickering over a branch line to nowhere.

This was on the way home, it's a wind up puppet troupe on a trolley. Wonderful fun.

I'm very, very excited about tomorrow. And Saturday. And Sunday.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Day Twenty-Seven: Lollihop

With the return of the prodigal Papa, the sky, or at least the local transport network, was our limit. We decided that since the weather was threatening we'd skip the outdoor option in favour of indoor soft play. It was a sensible decision in the end since the weather stopped threatening and started being outright obnoxious. Still, we were safely indoors amid primary colours and primary-age chaos.

It started fairly tame in the under-3s pen.


Inflatable slides amused her - but they're still quite small.

So off she went in search of larger things.

My toddler on a climbing wall with a three-point hold and a hand on her back purely for effect. I can't explain how proud I was.

Then we explored the trampoline (you need to turn your head or your screen sideways. Sorry.)


She stayed on the train for about 9 repetitions, which makes about 45 circles.

And I only managed to convince her to leave the train by bribing her with the police car (four repetitions).

Then some extremely healthy chicken nuggets and chips.

Back to the toddlers' pen.

Up and down and up and down and up and down....

I was worn out.

There was time for a go on the roller slide and then another 370 goes on the train and then we headed home. On the way we discovered that our train wasn't running so we had to get a replacement bus. The toddler fell asleep on the bus and we spent a couple of hours walking her around a shopping centre rather than another load into her pushchair/unload at the other end. It was extremely self-sacrificing of us.

Still not sure what tomorrow will bring. We are however looking forward to Friday and Saturday. A lot.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Day Twenty-Six: Tourist Trails

We've not wanted to stray too far from the hospital for the past week and we were starting to run out of things to do locally, so today we did some tourist attractions around the centre of town.

We started out at Marienplatz, arriving just in time to see the Glockenspiel. Here it is in full swing:

Impressive, right? Apparently it's been voted one of the most overrated tourist attractions in Europe.

She agrees, although the sheer number of people who gather multiple times a day to watch it do its interminable, out of tune thing boggles the mind.

We made an emergency stop for the toddler's Nan to buy some clothes. She is pathologically incapable of walking past a C&A. It must be an age thing.

And then a refreshing stop for a drink and some lunch.

And a stop at the Frauenkirche to admire their beautifully carved door and the gravestones stuck into the walls. Fascinating stuff.

So exciting in fact that this was the end result. Zzzz.

Hopefully something more resembling normal service will resume tomorrow, we're hoping to have Papa home soon or at least know what's going on a bit more. We have a fair number of days out we planned and didn't get to because of Papa's unscheduled illness so no doubt those will continue after the 30 days are up. Probably not every day though - I have scheduled the 1st of May at home. In my jammies. Possibly eating nothing but cookies.