We’ve been thinking of buying Gabriel “normal” Lego (here’s already 3,5 years old and he has tried to built Lego this sommer and was quite interested by it) but there’s actually a lot one can do with Lego Duplo! Here are some ideas of animals one can very easily built. We used round stickers for the eyes. There’s another advantage to keep building with Duplo: they are safe for babies, which means both brothers can play together!
We have brought a souvenir for our friends from our last holidays in Bretagne, the local “caramel au beurre salé”, a caramel sauce with salted butter. I must say I really like this sweet treat, to spread on the bread or to eat a spoon of it (just one!)… The jars of caramel looked really sad, with their golden cover, so we decided to personalized them a bit. For each of the jars we made a tag with Bretagne’s flag on one side and a personalized message saying we’ve thought about our friends when we were out there on the other one (we used Inkscape to make them with Jenna Sue and fzm Embossed Label fonts to write). We cut both sides of the tag with a scalloped circle puncher, glued them together and made a hole with a hole puncher. We used a black and white dotted fabric for the cover which we cut in a circle and held with a white elastic band. To cover the elastic band we used a thin black ribbon which we passed through the tag hole.
It wasn’t a lot of work and we really like the personalized result!
This has also inspired us to look for a good caramel recipe (we like a quite viscous consistency and the one we had was too liquid). Here’s a recipe we have tested and like a lot, for a small glas of caramel (to make a bigger volume simply multiply the ingredients, but be aware that bigger amounts are harder to make, it’s preferable to make it several times…):
- 180 g of sugar
- 100 mL of cream
- 80 g of butter
- pinch of salt (if you used salted butter, you’ll probably not need the salt)
Start by making the caramel by slowly melting the sugar (no water needed, just make it really slowly). Once you have the caramel done (more or less brown, depending on your taste), slowly add the cream you have previously made warm (if you add it directly from the fridge it will strongly boil!). Add the pinch of salt. Once all the cream is well mixed with the caramel take it out of the heat and pour it into a bowl. Now add the butter in pieces and mix well until you obtain a homogeneous mixture. Pour it into a jar and let it cool. Enjoy!
This year we decided to have easy going holidays together with the family in Portugal and in France. We met the French side of the family in Bretagne and were lucky to enjoy for one week the beautiful landscape of the Morbihan Golf.
We have gathered a lot of shells of different sorts and decided to make a sorting game out of them. We have selected 5 different sizes of the same sort of shell or conchs. The goal of the game is to sort them concerning their type but also their size, from the biggest to the smallest one. Gabriel has enjoyed the game and will be able to play it as many times as he wants because we have brought it home as souvenir! We made an origami Japanese box and cut a shell shape that we glued on its top. You can find the instructions to make one here. Use an A4 sheet and start by cutting a square. To make the bottom part of the box cut around 0,7 cm of each side of the square, to make it a bit smaller than the top part.
We love the idea of a souvenir-game and we try to make something similar in our future destinations!
Every Saturday we come back from the market carrying several kilograms of fruit! And how inspiring they are…
We have made a new paper garland inspired by them. To do so, we cut shapes of cherries, slice of ananas, strawberries, blackberries and slices of melon on a bright color paper with white dots. We displayed the different fruits on the floor before actually glueing them together and on the string with tape to make sure they look nice and symmetric. We also made a chain paper garland (each element is made with 2×10 cm paper stripes) with the same paper to hang on the branches we have on the living room buffet to go along with the fruit garland.
Nice decoration to eat nice summer fruits!!
P.S.: We bought the paper 4 years ago for our wedding decoration (picture bellow). Still using it!
The small wooden houses were a Christmas gift. They are made of thin MDF and came in a kit to be assembled. We really liked them but didn’t really know what to do with them. We finally decided to use them to decorate Gabriel’s bedroom. To customize them, we have chosen green, blue and yellow decopatch paper we had bought a long time ago. Wit the help of Gabriel, we started by painting the background of the houses in white because the decopatch paper being so thin it becomes sort of transparent and would be less white once glued on the wood. We then carefully glued the paper with a suitable glue (vernis colle, in French) and let it dry. Finally we assembled the different parts of the houses glueing them with wood glue.
How cute are they?
Emotions have been a topic which interests Gabriel a lot lately: “Mum, are you still mad with daddy?”, “I don’t want to talk you with, I’m sad”, “I will sit there to calm down…”, “Mum, are you sad? Just a little because you’re not crying”… We decided to make him two emotion dice to help him express his feelings. A first one represents the 6 primary emotions which are sadness, happiness, disgust, surprise, anger and fear. The second represents 6 animals: cat, dog, pig, monkey, elephant and rabbit. The goal of the game is to enact the drawn animal feeling the drawn emotion: “What does a sad monkey do?”, “What does a disgusted elephant sound like?”, “Can you make a surprised rabbit?… Two simple wooden dice and a marker have already gave us great laughing moments!
Yesterday we went to the birthday party of Leo, a 3 year old friend of Gabriel. We offered him a counting mat: the goal is to load the truck with the number of objects shown on the door of the truck. We used a clipart we found on the internet (here) which we personalised with his picture. We put a thin metal plate beneath the truck’s door and laminated the mat using a nice paper on the back of it. We bought magnetic numbers to be attached to the truck’s door (where we put the metal plate) and added different objects he can use to count: beans, buttons and bottle caps. Of course the possibilities are infinite, all different objects from everyday’s life like Lego bricks can be used. We hope Leo will learn how to count in a fun way! Gabriel has already asked us to make him a counting mat that we’ll share with you soon.
Living abroad, we both feel the need to offer our children as much contact with our languages as we can. For that reason, and because we love reading to our children, they have a lot of books! One of them is “Guess how much I love you” from Sam McBratney, which we own in the French version (you can buy the EN version, the FR version “Devine combien je t’aime”, the DE version ” Weißt du eigentlich, wie lieb ich dich hab?” at Amazon or the PT version “Adivinha quanto eu gosto de ti” at Wook). The book tells the story of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare who ask each other “Guess how much I love you?”. The two answer using always larger measures to quantify how much they love each other: “as high as I can reach”, “as high as I can hop”, ending up with “right up to the moon and back”. Gabriel likes this book quite a lot and it has inspired us to make love declarations specially at night when we go to bed. “I love you up to my bed” (Gabriel sleeps in a bunkbed). And it has inspired me to make him a drawing using the gorgeous free printable papers from Mel McCarthy’s and personalising it with Gabriel’s picture which he really appreciates!
I created a 3D effect by glueing the rocket and some stars on the glass with a 3D effect glue (you can make the same simply by putting something that creates a small distance between the surface of the glass and the paper, like a piece of cardboard).
Since a few weeks know, André has been enjoying the mobile we have made some years ago for Gabriel. Because at such early age babies can mostly see basic shapes, we made different shapes out of scraps of colourful fabrics: two layers with padding in between them which we sewed with a zigzag stitch around and with different patterns in their interior.
We used some wire which we had covered with straps of the same fabrics of the shapes for the mobile structure, giving it a coil shape. We hang the shapes as well the mobile itself with some fishing line. We bought the support of the mobile at Amazon and used the mechanism of an old mobile we didn’t like so much (you can also buy a new one at Amazon).
Gabriel has been having some difficulty to wash his hands. So after he came back from washing his hands we found ourselves systematically smelling them to check if he had actually used soap to wash them. To help him remember the different steps of washing hands we took pictures of him doing it: 1st we get the hands wet, 2nd we rub them with soap, 3rd we rub the hands until they foam, 4th we wash the foam out, 5th we dry them… We printed a card with the different steps which we then laminated and put up above the sink. Gabriel really likes it because he knows it’s his hands and has been washing his hands much better! Last see for how long…