My dear, loving husband had the sheer audacity to go skiing in Canada for the February half term calling it a 'work trip' (he's a maths teacher and apparently the school kids on the trip needed supervision). As a mum of two little people, I did what any other mother would do, I packed up and headed to my parents.
As a child who was shipped off to her grandparents for at least a week every summer holidays I have many fond memories of going to the park, baking and colouring with my grandma. I hoped that we could all make the same memories and it's safe to say I think we did. So let's dive in.
We arrived and had a classic - McDonald's! Guaranteed to keep any child happy, especially my 3.5-year-old and 5-year-old. In case you were interested, I had a double cheeseburger. Yum.
If you've read my previous blogs this next trip won't be a surprise; we all went for a walk down to the local coffee shop and had hot chocolates! The kids spent their pocket money that Glammie (glamourous grandma) had generously given them and then we headed for the park. Currently the kids and I are fans of Pokémon Go and so we walked whilst collecting Pokémon along the way. Plus explaining Pokémon Go to my parents was hilarious.
In the afternoon I had a nap and it was glorious.
We went with Grampy for a walk to another local park and the kids played Poohsticks on a bridge over a small brook. If you are unfamiliar with this game, it's a game of chance with quite the competitive edge. Each champion chooses a distinctive stick and then holds it over the edge of the bridge (make sure you are on the side which has the water flowing under the bridge) and then on the count of '3…2…1…GO!' everyone drops their stick into the water and rushes to the other side of the bridge to see which stick appears first. The first stick to appear is the winner. You inevitably will begin to argue over whether that is in fact your stick or your competitors but that is the fun! Repeat for as many rounds as needed to heal your now ruined friendships.
We also went to see the geese and ducks across at the big pond who attempted to follow us in the hope of some food. Sadly, we had no food and had to run away.
My daughter absolutely loves helping with anything and everything and so unstacking and stacking the dishwasher became one of her favourite games of the week. Parenting win!
We then made vanilla cupcakes decorated with pink icing and sprinkles.
We then had ANOTHER McDonalds because of course we did. I have small children, please don't judge me.
We discovered my youngest has a secret talent for doing jigsaw puzzles. By the end of the half term, she was completing them at such a speed, I was considering petitioning for completing jigsaws as an Olympic sport.
The BEST day of the year! Forget Christmas, it was pancake day. Pancakes for every meal is truly the best. We had American pancakes with strawberries and chocolate for breakfast and lemon and sugar crepes for tea. I don't know why we don't have more than one pancake day a year. It is truly wonderful. The kids loved seeing the pancakes being flipped and helping to stir the batter. As a family we've been having pancake Saturdays and as a side note having pancakes has really improved their spreading and chopping skills due to the toppings. That's a cheeky little parenting tip for you!
In the afternoon we went to yet another park (I really could have named this blog, the tour of play parks!) and met up with some of my children's friends. There was one of those suspended seesaws that spins around on an axis. The downside to this was it only had 2 seats and there were 5 children desperate for a turn, so it became a lesson in turn taking and patience. Thanks to the previous day's baking, we got to enjoy the fruits of our labour in the form of a half time cupcake snack.
We did traditional half term visit to Clarks and check the kids shoe sizes in the hope they haven't grown and can still wear the shoes we bought them 3 months ago. Kids shoes are expensive! Then their Auntie surprised them, and we all went for a kids eat free lunch at Sainsburys.
The fun did not stop there because after lunch we went to visit the bunnies and guinea pigs at Pets at Home. Who needs to pay for a zoo when you can go and see the hamsters for free?!
In the afternoon we decorated some fairy doors with some of my late grandma's old costume jewellery which look magical and sparkly in the sun. They've brought a sense of whimsy to the garden and a lovely subtle tribute to my grandmother.
After the kids were in bed, the grown-ups had a well-deserved fish and chips for dinner!
It was time to make some chocolate cupcakes with green icing and this time and to go on what Glammie dubbed an 'I Spy' walk. This involved asking the kids to choose some things they could try to spot whilst they were out walking e.g. a blue car, a goose, a tree etc. Then you go for the walk and cheer like absolute nutters when you see one of these things. Quite the wild day out.
Friday was home time and ready to get back to normality, make sure all the kid's uniforms are washed and the homework is done ready for Daddy to return from Canada so I can finally have a lie in. Ha!
This week reminded me of all these things I used to do at my grandparents on those weeks away in the summer, making crafts with my grandma, bird watching and picking blackberries for a pie. It showed me it's never about the expensive trips or fancy dinners but instead the memories we all make whilst spending time together. I hope that my children don't remember this half term as 'the one where Daddy was away' but instead 'the one where we made loads of memories with Glammie and Grampy'.