So yeah, I knitted another elephant

Yet again I have neglected my blog – the culprit a birthday present for a friend and he turned out pretty well. I’m getting the hang of sewing up (although I am going to teach myself how to knit in the round to see if it’s less hassle than all those seams!) and the recipient of the colourful elephant, despite being a very talented crafty person themselves, struggled to spot where all the seams were so they were either being very kind or my mattress stitch is working.

The best thing about this particular elephant is that his adventures have continued ever since he was presented (a week late but it takes time to craft great gifts).

So – clearly he’s a bit cheeky as he’s been playing the piano when left alone in the house, trying on his owners shoes and trying to sneak out of the house. He does have his lovely side – entertaining his owners baby, bringing her coffee after a rough night and reading stories. He was a bit poorly but perked up after some calpol and cuddles.

It’s been fun receiving the texts showing his latest antics – nothing like giving a gift that is truly appreciated!

Slightly more regular programming (plus loads of knitting as this gradually morphs into a craft blog) shall be returning. I have a Christmas nappy to show off (but it is not yet December so not proper to do so currently) and Lex is about to turn 7! He’s had a great party – need to record what we did for that too, Star Wars meets trains is not a usual theme…

 

Eli at 14 months

A bit late this time but month 14 for Eli was a long tiring month for me. Sleep was hard to come by but I still had a lovely sunny boy during the day.

So, what is Eli like at 14 months?

  • Weight: Not sure, he’ll probably only get weighed again at 15 months.
  • Clothing Size: 9-12 months and 12-18 months, some of the 9-12 trousers are a little short.
  • Teeth: 2 bottom central incisors, 2 top central incisors and 2 top lateral incisors – 6 altogether.
  • Mobility: walking all the time – definitely a toddler.
  • Communication: lots of ‘der’ (there) and his first word for something ‘di-a’ (digger), definitely able to get his point across even if he doesn’t really use many words.
  • Sleep: lots of lost evenings having to go and settle the boy but at least that tooth finally came through. Sleep was horrendous for a bit but does seem to (please!) be a bit better now on the whole.
  • Playing: ring stackers are still a firm favourite as are musical toys that he can dance along to.
  • Eating: happy to try most foods but will spit them out if not liked. He does seem to dislike pasta – not sure that will be sustainable in this house though!
  • Personality: still just a gorgeous, gentle soul – love him!
Not a great recap as it’s a couple of weeks late but it was a very tiring month…

 

I got more fluff

I did make it to the Baby Show in the end and had a great time flitting around buying nappies and other baby bits.

I added 5 more nappies to my Close Parent Pop-In stash, a Bumgenius Freetime nappy (in the gorgeous Albert print) and a new gPant (Gallant). The Close Parent goodie bag (free!) was amazing and I also bought a car seat protector from them in my favourite monkey print. I didn’t buy any Tots Bots in the end, I decided I’ve got enough Easyfits even if the new prints are cute. I think I might have enough nappies now (although I have subsequently bought a new gPant – the gJoy a Christmas print, I am a sucker for Christmas nappies!).

Prolonged absence due to knitting

To the right is the reason I haven’t been posting much (other than Instagram pictures on my twitter stream) recently.

He’s been great fun to knit but has taken up a lot of time. I’m straight on to knitting another one now as a pressie for a friend’s birthday. The colours will be a bit less traditional for hers though. I have a slight preference for variegated (multi-colour) yarn so that’s what I’ll be using, hope she likes it!

Got to get more fluff

The thing about cloth nappies is that there is always a new nappy or a new print to tempt me. Aside from the wishlist I already have (for nappies I haven’t tried yet) there’s been a few nappy prints released recently (of nappies that I already love) that I would very much like to add to my stash.

Firstly there is the new gPant from gNappies – the Gallant Stripe. It’s part of their autumn collection and looks gorgeous. If I do go to the Baby Show I’m definitely making the gNappy stand one of the first places I visit. Gurple (a purple gPant) and Genius Blue (a dark blue gPant) would also be a nice addition to the collection. gNappies hold their value really well (especially the limited edition prints) – maybe if I convince myself that I’ll be able to sell them on afterwards I can ignore the cost? There’s also the gStyle gUniversity set – blue and grey striped gPant and matching t-shirt – too much choice, too little money!

Tots Bots have also brought out a few new prints. I quite like Pooper Hero – the name makes me giggle and I think it would look pretty cute on Eli. Their new Bum Voyage nappy prints – New York and Paris added to the existing London print are also very tempting. London is my favourite Tots Bots print – it would be nice to have the set.

The Pooper Hero also has a t-shirt to go with it (a bit like the gNappy gStyle sets) but I feel a bit meh about that. The ‘Spread a little nappiness’ t-shirt I do really like though. Again – lots of choice and a lack of cash but some may eventually make their way into our stash.

It’s now a bit of a decision as to whether I keep buying nappies from my wishlist (i.e. types of nappies I don’t already own) or go for a couple of new prints in nappies I already love…

All about Tilly at 5

Tilly is now 5! She had a lovely birthday dinner with us and her grandparents and is really happy with her new Hello Kitty bedroom. I had her answer the same questions I asked at the beginning of the year and here’s the result:

  1. What is your favourite colour? pink
  2. What is your favourite toy? Hello Kitty
  3. What is your favourite fruit? apple
  4. What is your favourite TV show? Fred the show (what she was watching at the time)
  5. What is your favourite thing to eat for lunch? Ham sandwiches with mayonnaise
  6. What is your favourite outfit? A hello kitty top
  7. What is your favourite game? Crocodile snap (she played this with Nana only about 10 minutes before so I think it was the first thing that came into her head)
  8. What is your favourite snack? chocolate
  9. What is your favourite animal? zebra
  10. What is your favourite song? Big red combine harvester (they sang this at the Harvest Festival at school)
  11. What is your favourite book? All about princesses
  12. Who is your best friend? Molly
  13. What is your favourite cereal? Multigrain hoops
  14. What is your favourite thing to do outside? Put my wellies on and jump in puddles
  15. What is your favourite drink? milk
  16. What is your favourite holiday? Africa
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? piggy
  18. What is your favourite thing to eat for breakfast? Multigrain hoops
  19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? pasta
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A doctor
  21. What is your favourite pet? dog

 

Getting crafty

It’s been a busy time in our household. Tilly is now 5 years old and her birthday present was a new bedroom. This involved (and continues to) moving a lot of stuff out of the spare bedroom (now Tilly’s room) and finding a new home for it. I’m looking forward to when we’re finally finished!

In the midst of all of this I have started a knitting course. It is run by a friend of mine and is billed as a starting to knit course. I’ve been able to knit since childhood (one of the few things that my paternal grandmother gifted me was teaching me how to knit) but I’ve never really knitted well or anything particularly complicated. Initially I was hoping to learn enough to knit a jumper for Eli because I’ve had the yarn for over 7 years! and I really need to knit it now or I’ll be sad that I didn’t manage it for any of my kids.

Of course once Tilly got wind of my attempt to knit something for Eli she was desperate for me to knit something for her. I know the jumper is going to take me ages so I thought I’d try to knit something quickly for Tilly first.

That’s why I chose the teddy bear pattern – it didn’t look like too many stitches… Of course it involved a lot of increasing and reducing stitches (including one which, when I looked it up to find out what it was, was listed as the most difficult stitch to master) but I did it! It’s turned out bear shaped and the kids love it (was a bit concerned I wouldn’t be able to get it away from Eli to give to Tilly). Now I need some more practise making things up (my sewing is a bit dubious) but the book of knitted animal patterns that will arrive soon should help with that – Lex has already requested an elephant…

Nappy trial – Tots Bots Flexitot v2

Why did I want to trial this nappy?

I used the original version with Tilly – I really wanted to see how the nappies had evolved and whether some of the issues I had with the previous version had been resolved by the redesign.

Which options did I choose?

We trialled the size 2 nappy.

Where was it bought from?

I bought the nappy from Kittykins – I’ve used them many times in the past and delivery was free.

First impressions

I love brand new bamboo nappies – they’re so soft and lovely. It came with an additional bamboo booster which was nice as in theory it could be used as a night-time nappy. Of course bamboo does mean a longer drying time so a bit of a wait between the initial wash and first use.

First trial

I popped him in the nappy in the morning paired with a Flexiwrap. The nappy itself is lovely and soft and flexible and Eli seemed quite comfortable. It’s much like the Easyfit with regard to bulkiness but the wrap on top does add a little more.

After a month

I definitely prefer this version of the Flexitot to the version we used with Tilly – much hardier bamboo (although not using vinegar in the wash has probably helped this time, the last lot rotted a lot but I didn’t know any better) and quicker drying with the fold out core.

Final analysis

I still like the Flexitot but much prefer (especially with the way Eli complains about nappy changes) all in one nappies to two parters. The Flexitot does have quite a few strengths if you’re looking for a two-part nappy:

  • not too bulky (especially with the Flexiwrap);
  • if necessary it could be boosted for night use;
  • quick drying;
  • poppers to adjust the rise (another bonus over the previous version);
  • good containment.

Would I buy more?

Probably not but only because I do prefer the all in one nappies I have – I really appreciate only having one set of tabs/poppers to do up whilst Eli writhes and screams!

Dear ancestors your naming choices were hit and miss

I have become trying to build a my family tree on the Ancestry website and it’s sucked me in somewhat. It’s a two-week free membership so that’s probably how long my interest will last but it’s been quite entertaining so far.

I started with a basic tree that my Nana drew for my Mum (most first and last names plus year of birth for a few generations) and using that I’ve already managed to go back one or two more generations in a few places as well. I’ve also been working with a basic tree that R’s Gran drew for him from memory and that’s been a lot harder simply by virtue of his family originating in Scotland and lots of common names but very few dates.

So, if I were able to give my ancestors (and R’s) a bit of advice to help me (because of course it’s all about me…) find and catalogue them it would definitely include:

  • use middle names, the more the better – this especially applies when you are naming your child something like ‘Ann Brown’, she won’t be the only one! Unusual middle names are great too – ‘Christmas’ as one of two middle names certainly narrows the field;
  • have loads of children who themselves have lots of children, this will ensure lots of people looking for information on the same ancestors so more chance of finding something out;
  • don’t live in Scotland – so much harder to find people in the records, or maybe it’s just that R’s relatives didn’t follow either step above…
  • why not give your children the name you plan to call them as a first name rather than a middle name (my Mum’s only just found out through me that her aunt was known by her middle name and had a first name she’s not even sure her cousins know about as did her husband!);
  • living in the same place for generations is helpful – calling that place by three different names in the census returns is a little more confusing.

So I’ve got back to the 1700s in some cases but still no famous or royal relatives – I suppose somebody has to have a bog standard family tree.

Yummy fruity muffins

Eli’s not the easiest baby to have around when you’re trying to cook or bake something – he’s quite annoyed at not being able to see what is going on and then tries to grab everything if you’re cuddling him. So if I want to make anything it really needs to be quick and easy and that’s why I love these muffins. They satiate my need to bake but unlike cakes don’t need to be iced so a few steps and 30ish minutes and I’m eating yummy food. The base recipe I use is by John Burton Race and I found it in a kids cookbook called ‘Star Cooks’ that Lex was given as a gift some years ago.

So far I’ve made a variety of flavours and they’ve all been yummy – blueberry, blueberry and raspberry; raspberry and white choc chip; apricot; peach and choc chip; cranberry, white choc chip and poppy-seed; cranberry and white choc chip; and blueberry and banana. The only problem with making them is I then end up eating them all within a few days…

Equipment

  • 12 hole muffin tray
  • silicon or paper muffin cups or a little bit of butter for greasing the muffin tray
  • 2 mixing bowls
  • measuring jug
  • whisk
  • mixing spoon
  • scales
  • measuring spoons

Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 250g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp custard powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 150g – 200g chopped fruit (fresh, frozen or dried)/nuts/seeds/choc chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 185ml sunflower oil
  • 185ml milk

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C.
  2. Place the muffin cups in the tray or lightly grease the tray if not using muffin cups (I use a set of silicon muffin cups because I can’t really be bothered with the effort of greasing or the waste of paper).
  3. Whisk the milk, oil and eggs together.
  4. In another bowl place the remaining ingredients.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until all the flour is incorporated (can take a little bit of elbow grease).
  6. Portion the batter into the muffin cups – the muffins don’t rise excessively so don’t worry if they are quite full.
  7. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 20-35 minutes until the muffins are golden and springy when touched.
  8. Once cooked remove the muffins from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes and then place on a wire cooling rack (I take mine out of the silicon cups at this point).
  9. Eat at least one muffin warm from the oven.