Sunday, February 28, 2010

Welcome SITStas

Hello Hello Hello! C'mon in and make yourself comfy for a while. Can I get you a hot drink?

It is so great to see you here today! I am so excited to have you over! Please make yourself comfy. If your not familiar with SITS please do check it out. It is a really great community full of lovely lady bloggers. Each day they feature a blogger and today is my day to be featured (well tomorrow really... I have to post this early because of the time difference)!!

A little introduction to those who don't know me YET... My name is Emma and I'm 25. I have been married to my husband for almost 3 years and we have a 20 month old son called Ollie. He is the light of our lives. We live in cold, rainy Ireland! I am a SAHM and this blog is about what Ollie and I get up to each day, the adventures we go on... and other randomness. I also have a relatively new blog design business which I started so I could contribute financially and be able to stay at home with Ollie for as long as possible.

Please feel free to have a little look around my blog!

You can read about me and my family here.

If you would like to read a bit more about my hubby and I read our wedding story! If you want to read about the things Ollie and I get up to during the day read about our first baking adventure or Tot School. If you want to see photos of Ollie being hilarious click here and here!

I hope you have a lovely visit, like what you read and decide to come back! Thank you Tiffany and Heather!!!

Click the button below to read more/ join SITS!

Because it's a special day today, I'm offering 10% off all blog makeovers until Wednesday! Just mention that you commented on my SITS post if you place an order :)

Tot School Week 3 - Superheroes

Tot School
Ollie is 20 months old

Our theme this week was Superheroes and I think it went ok. I thought of the theme before thinking of activities and crafts, and it was really hard to think of things to do, but it worked out ok in the end.

Superhero Themed Activities

Our book for the week was Charlie's Superhero Underpants by Paul Bright and Lee Wildish.

I found some colouring pages at Coloring2000 and printed them off for him. I printed Batman and Spiderman sheets to go wtih his superhero theme.

I made some Superhero sound effect graphics in Photoshop, in different sizes and colours, as a size order activity... he was very very very unimpressed...

...and thought it would be more fun to put them on his head.

We made a Superhero mask (I printed this off Family Fun) and I let him loose with the glitter, glue, pompoms and feathers. After it was dry I encouraged him to put it on but the feather on it kept tickling him. I put it on myself instead and he found this hysterical.

Non-Themed Activites

I went to The Early Learning Centre and picked up a couple of new educational toys for Ollie. He seemed quite taken with the cotton reels. He concentrated so hard on getting the string through the hole, but needs a bit more practice. He also had a lot of fun stacking them! I'm sure we will think of lots more activities to do with the reels, like stacking by colour etc.

We also bought a button board. He LOVES this. It comes with different pictures wit holes in that you put on the board, and you have to put the right coloured buttons in. He hasn't quite got the hang of getting the correct colours, but loves popping them in anyway!

Letter and Colour of the Week

We are going to make an alphabet book. I have taken lots of ideas and jumbled them together to make my own. Each week will be a letter and a colour! This week was the letter 'A' and the colour green. I gave him only the green colouring pencils, felt tips and crayons to colour in this A. I then turned it into an alligator.

I am looking forward to next week's theme of Day and Night. See you then!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

... I think it might be time to invest in some bits and pieces for a dressing up box!

Monday, February 22, 2010

An unplanned road trip!

James and I took a road trip a few weeks ago. It took 2 1/2 hours to get there and 2 1/2 hours to get back.... and we only spent an hour and 15 minutes at our destination!! You might say crazy.... but it was just some spur of the moment fun.

Most of the pictures I took are from the car, as we didn't have time for sightseeing!

Bit of background... we used to live in Ranelagh, Dublin before we moved back up North when Ollie was 3 months old. Ranelagh was a GORGEOUS village full of fantastic restaurants and easy transport to the city centre. One of our all-time favourite places to eat in Ranelagh was a place called Tribeca. They had reasonably priced, super good food and were always busy. James favourite was Tribeca Chicken Wings with blue cheese dip and celery, whereas I always went for the brunch menu.... smoked salmon on english muffin with poached eggs and roasted potatoes.

Busy Dublin City Centre!

I used to walk the whole length of this street to get to work

The day after James' 30th Birthday night out, James woke up and announced he had a craving for chicken wings, I suggested (jokingly) we go to Dublin to get some, James said yes... I asked was he serious... and off we went!!

Our old street!

The amazing amazing food

To be honest, the drive there felt longer than it used to... but it was worth it for the food. We both had our regulars and they were perfect. An unplanned road trip is also on my list of 101 in 1001, so i can cross that off too.

The way back to Belfast

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Leftover roast chicken/ gravy/ stuffing/ potatoes/ carrot and swede mash
Tuesday: Pesto crusted salmon with mashed potatoes and peas
Wednesday: Spam fritters and potato waffles
Thursday: English muffin pizzas
Friday: Slow cooker salsa chicken served with tortillas or rice
Saturday: Takeout
Sunday: Dinner at Mother in Law's house

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I Dyed My Hair!!

I know... I look posey in this photo, but the others just looked ridiculous! It took me ages to get it right.. I dyed it and it hardly showed up at all, so my friend came over and bleached my hair and helped me dye it again but it went FAR TOO RED... it was luminous... so I went and got a darker red dye and it's perfect now :) I love it.

Tot School Week 2 - Theme Planning

Tot School

This week for Tot School, we didn't really DO Tot School! I struggled so much to think of a theme for us to do, that I spent the week thinking up themes for the next few months!!

Superheroes - Week 3 (starting 22nd February)
Day/ Night - Week 4 (starting 1st March)
Mothers/ Mother's Day - Week 5 (starting 8th March) - To tie in with Mother's Day at the end of the week
St. Patrick's Day - Week 6 (starting 15th March)
Home/ Family - Week 7 (starting 22nd March)
Easter - Week 8 (starting 29th March)
Springtime - Week 9 (starting 5th April)
Space - Week 10 (starting 12th April)
Weather - Week 11 (starting 19th April)
Holidays - Week 12 (starting 26th April) - To tie in with going on holiday at the end of the week
WEEK OFF - Week 13 (starting 3rd May)
Travel/ Transport - Week 14 (starting 10th May)
Under The Sea - Week 15 (starting 17th May)
Love - Week 16 (starting 24th May) - To tie in with James and my wedding anniversary
Birthdays - Week 17 (starting 31st May) - To tie in with his birthday on the 5th June
Bodies - Week 18 (starting 7th June)
Fathers/ Father's Day - Week 19 (starting 14th June)
Faces and Feelings - Week 20 (starting 21st June)
Dinosaurs - Week 21 (starting 28th June)

Each week we also plan to concentrate on learning a letter, a colour and a shape. I hope this list helps inspire someone else too!!

Funny picture of the week (I guess Ollie can reach the countertops now!):

Saturday, February 20, 2010

erm... Ollie has learnt to fib!!

This morning I could smell an AWFUL, very obviously poop smell... so I asked Ollie "have you done a poo-poo?" to which he replied "no-no" and shook his head. James then asked in his firm, man voice "Ollie have you pooed?"... to which Ollie nodded his head!!! WTF? Why has Ollie learnt to tell fibs to mummy, but to tell daddy the truth!? *sigh*

Recent PMMs

(Proud Mummy Moments!)

Ollie has come so far in the past few months. He has an entirelyunique little (big) personality. He is funny, kind, quite gentle and cheeky :)

Ollie can now:
  • say 15 brand new words including 'fluff' which comes out as 'fuff'. It's the cutest word in the whole world.
  • help me tidy his toys away.
  • stack so so well!! He can stack 6 small building blocks on top of the other, without knocking them over.
  • point to pretty much every single body part you ask him (head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, tongue, teeth, chin, shoulders, belly button, bum, hands, knee, willy(!), legs, feet and toes).
  • identify countless items in his words book, by pointing when you ask him "where is..."
  • brush his own teeth (I give them a scrub myself afterwards to make sure theyre properly clean).
  • nod yes and shake his head for no. It's really one of the best things he has learnt so far as we feel we an communicate a whole lot better with him.
  • identify himself as Ollie. If you ask him where Ollie is he points to himself.
  • say "thangu ta-ta" when given something. He doesn't say it all the time but is certainly using it more often.
  • use a fork.
  • tell me when he does a wee-wee or poop and nods yes if I ask him would he like his nappy changed.
  • put on his own welly boots!
  • do all the actions to "dingle dangle scarecrow" and "ring a ring a rosies".
  • sleep all night in his big boy bed.
  • count 1, 2, 3.... but has not yet perfected the words one, two and three. He does try though.
  • imitate the noise for birdy, doggy, monster, sheep, train, car and fart (I know... the last one is disgusting but hilarious!).
  • feed himself independently without making too much mess.
I'm so excited about how much he has learnt and is learning everyday! Any age that Ollie reaches I find myself saying "this is my favourite age" because he just gets more and more exciting everyday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tot School Week 1 - Valentines

Tot School
Ollie is 20 months old

This is our very first week doing Tot School and we had a lot if fun! The theme was Valentine's of course! It was so nice to have a theme for activities in the week... it felt like our days had more structure.

He had heart shaped toast one day with his baked beans and scrambled eggs. I don't have a heart cutter so I cut it myself with a knife. I spread the thinest layer of tomato ketchup on it to give it red colour but it just looks sort of orangey. He loved it though.

The books we read this week:
The Owl and The Pussycat by Edward Lear
Guess How Much I love You (Seasons Collection) by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

I made the below print-out myself using photoshop. I made 3 of them. On one of them he used his pink and red tadoodles and on the others he used coloured pentcils (though just red and pink). I talked about the colours while he did these and talked to him about hearts also. He gave one to each of his Grannys.

I let him write his Valentine's cards himself.

At Mother and Toddler Group on Wednesday, they had a craft table set up and Ollie headed straight for it. He loved making this heart and sticking all the bits of ribbon to it.

While I was out shopping I saw people giving balloons away for a small donation to charity, I couldn't resist. Ollie loves balloons so I got him 2. He played with it the whole day and because they kept floating to the ceiling, James tied them to Ollie's trains. Ollie thought it was hilarious.

This morning I put red playdoh in an egg carton in just a few of the holes and asked Ollie to put the heart shaped chocolates into the holes with red playdoh in. He was so good at it and got them exactly right! I was so surprised! It didn't take long for him to realise that they were chocolate though!

I made some coloured hearts in photoshop as well and cut them in half like broken hearts. I asked Ollie to match the colours and showed him what to do. He is very good at his jigsaws, but didn't seem to understand what he was supposed to do with these hearts. He liked the colours though.

This morning he opened up a card that was waiting for him!! How cute is it!! It is from his BFF Ivy. He has been hanging onto it all morning!

See you next week!

Love Story Part 2! The Wedding!

The plans for our wedding changed so many times before we decided on the final arrangements. Neither of us have large families or large groups of friend so we opted for a very small intimate wedding with only 35 guests. Originally we had a list of 70 guests but decided that our day would be more special if we only invited those nearest and dearest to us. Originally we had chosen a large venue in a Hotel but because we cut the list so much we were able to book a venue that we had come across originally. Our original choice was only able to hold 40 guests.

Our venue choice was Belle Isle Castle in Enniskillen. The castle has been there since the early 17th Century and is surrounded by trees and gardens and the beautiful Lough Erne. We hired it for a whole weekend, starting on the Friday and leaving early Monday morning. I thought this would be a lovely idea considering a lot of my family were flying from England and also the fact that we were now having a wedding WEEKEND rather than a wedding DAY!

So… our wedding weekend began on the Friday. Guests were arriving all afternoon and everybody took to one another very well. Everyone brought an item for the barbecue and we all tucked in and chatted. Everyone was so relaxed and pleased about having some time to unwind before the morning. I on the other hand was feeling pretty nervous. Our registrar had been to visit shortly after I had arrived, to do a rehearsal. We were all so prepared that I’m not sure why I was so nervous!

I woke up on the morning of the wedding at 6.30 after having gone to bed late and not being able to sleep with excitement. My mum and bridesmaid Dawn got up shortly after me and the three of us headed to the hairdressers in Enniskillen town so that I could get my hair put up. The hairdresser wasn’t very nice to be honest, but my hair looked lovely.

When we got back from the hairdressers my dad, (an amazing cook), made me my favourite breakfast of smoked salmon (that he caught and smoked himself) and scrambled eggs, topped off with some pink champagne. Although breakfast was delicious, I was feeling so nervous at this point that I could hardly manage to keep it down and really felt sick. The pink champagne seemed to calm my nerves just a little.
At midday, James sister Karen came to my room to do my makeup. I’m so pleased she offered to do it because she did a really good job of making me look pretty! I was so nervous by this point that I was shaking and had to keep taking big deep breaths. The wedding was due to take place at one and at 12.45 I still did not have my dress on, then my mum went to get ready! This made my nerves a million times worse, but then I remembered that I should be just a little bit late. It would make everyone that bit more excited when I entered!
At 1.00 mum arrived back to my room to help me get into my dress, and my dad came up to take some pictures (I might mention at this point that my dad did my wedding photography for me because he is a photographer by profession). Eunice, the registrar, also came to speak with me and see that I was doing ok. She told me that James was standing downstairs very calm and cool.

As I made my way down the stairs to the hall where the wedding ceremony was taking place, I could see the catering staff poking their heads out of the kitchen and the castle owner, Charles standing beside them. They all told me I looked incredible. My dad, bridesmaid and I all stood to the side of the door while Charles opened it, so that we could not yet be seen… then the music started playing…. then Dawn walked in…. eek. My part of the music came up and dad and I entered. I swear my heart must have stopped the entire time it took me to walk up the aisle (not that it took long… I raced up there!). I wish I could do that part again. It felt amazing having everyone look at me and seeing James looking at me proudly made me feel happier than ever before.
Our vows went well. Neither of us slipped up but you could tell we were both nervous by our wavering voices and slight giggles. I nearly cried but managed not to. I loved making my vows and i have never had a moment in my life feel so incredibly important. James looked AMAZINGLY hot I must admit as well. He locked eyes with me the entire time. When I gave him his ring it got stuck slightly and we giggled. When we made our vows and were presented to our guests as husband and wife everyone clapped.

The weather outside was beautiful and we were lucky to have such wonderful surroundings to take our photographs. In the cow picture below you can see 2 cows to the left getting amourous!

The reception was a lot of fun. The meal was delicious and our cake even more so. We opted for a small top tier and each additional tier was made of mini cakes. The pink ones were carrot and orange cake and the white ones were banana cake. I danced so much (our first dance was hilariously embarrassing but one of those things you have to do) and I didn’t want the night to end. I’m not sure how long the night went on but we were the first to leave and it really sounded like everyone was having an awesome time.

Now, nearly a year later, I can’t imagine us not being married. Being married to James is the most wonderful feeling and being married has made us so much closer than we were before.