Halloween Creations, Sociable Swans & Colourful Walks

This week, the girls and I have been spending a lot of time outdoors and doing crafts πŸ™‚ With most indoor places eliminated, we’re braving the weather more and were lucky to get a few sunny days πŸ™‚

We went to Montalto for the first time with my parents. We ended up getting membership because we liked it so much. I always miss the farm at this time of the year when it closes with the exception of prepaid events, so it seemed like the right time to discover somewhere new and the girls loved the playground. It had a big adventure playground and lovely grounds with so many bright colours. You can walk right up to the edge of the lake and stand face to face with the swans πŸ™‚ There was a witch’s house on the lake walk. It is locked but has a chair and pots, etc to look at through the window. There is a pretend cat on the roof and my daughter loved knocking the door with the heavy knocker. She was convinced someone was hiding inside and seemed determined to stay until the witch let her in. We had a huge picnic there. My mum brought one like my granny used to make – it’s like a three course meal in a picnic bag πŸ˜€ The girls loved having party food outdoors and got a babyccino with a giant marshmallow from the cafe after our walk. We found lots of conkers around the horse chestnut tree and the girls filled their pockets with them. We added a bowl of them to our little Autumn table display. My mum and my daughter also found part of an oak tree branch with an acorn attached and brought it with them πŸ™‚ The girls love foraging for things. We loved it there so much, we went back a second time and collected more conkers and pine cones and spent most of the day in the playground πŸ™‚ It was so peaceful I actually managed to have some coffee and read while the girls played πŸ™‚

I’ve been in the mood to cook autumnal dishes and made some pumpkin, cinnamon and brown sugar soup. It sounds like a strange mixture but is really warming and easy to make. I just cut the pumpkin in half, sprinkle the ingredients on top and bake it in the oven, then blend it with stock.
I tried a recipe last month for granola in β€œFeed your Family for Β£20 a week.” It made a huge amount of granola and I never thought we would eat it all but we did and the kids asked me to make more πŸ™‚

I got a pack of felt from the pound shop to use over the Halloween holidays. I hadn’t quite decided what to use it for but hoped an idea would come to me, so I ended up cutting out little Halloween characters. I stitched them together and filled them with cut up old socks as stuffing. The girls liked helping me to pull the thread through and see the finished product. They’re very unprofessional but just an extra wee thing for them to play with over half-term πŸ™‚ I finished the pumpkin and bat but need to get a move on with the others before Halloween is over πŸ™‚

We also made some ghosts. The idea came from my friend Lina at https://www.amistykindofblue.com/blog She is a talented artist and is sharing craft projects for kids over the holidays. She does workshops with children too and my kids love her πŸ™‚ (Check our her shop on the site too!)

I hadn’t really thought to use the pointy parts of an egg carton for crafts before but it was so easy to make ghost shapes out of them by just tearing them off. We just painted them white and added faces with black paint as instructed πŸ™‚

Afterwards we were inspired to create other Halloween decorations out of the remaining egg cartons. We used the egg holder parts to make mini pumpkins and just cut off an extra part and glued it on for the stalk. When the glue had dried we painted them orange and green. Finally, we used the carton to make little trick or treat buckets. We made handles by cutting off the curved tops of the egg boxes, around the part that holds the eggs. The girls painted them and when they had dried they filled them with small sweets and then proceeded to eat them πŸ™‚ Our Halloween table display has expanded to the point there won’t be room left to eat soon πŸ™‚

We also paid another visit to Mount Stewart on a spectacularly sunny day πŸ™‚ The light made all the colours of the plants so much more vivid and I had to stop along the way to try to capture them πŸ™‚ We made a first attempt at geocaching. I actually managed the navigation part and we made it to the spot where the box was supposedly located. But uncovering it involved wading through nettles and brambles and I was wearing tights so we didn’t make it that far πŸ˜€ I had a feeling we were staring right at it but it was just buried in a mass of prickly plants πŸ™‚ We stopped in the courtyard for some coffee/ice-cream. The girls were taking their coats off to eat their ice-cream while I was bundling up to drink warm coffee πŸ˜€

We spent hours just walking around and looking at everything. There were a lot of pauses along the way for tree climbing and leaf collecting and the girls loved finding their way to the Mary Mary Quite Contrary garden πŸ™‚ Our walk ended with them climbing into the pond there though πŸ™‚

I have lots more Halloween themed ideas for this week that I will hopefully compile in another post soon πŸ™‚

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