Saturday 25 October 2014

Fun Things to do With Toddlers - Autumn scents Playdough

Playdough is always fun, adding colour livens it up and adding a scent adds a further sensory element. I decided to create an Autumn themed playdough invitation to play by adding some spices to the playdough and teaming them with some leaf shaped cutters and some pine cones, feathers, twigs and conkers to press into the dough.

I fragranced the dough with ground cinnamon, all spice, ginger and coco powder.  I just kneaded the spices into the dough. It smelt amazing (especially the chocolate)

I didn't need to add any colour to the chocolate scented one because the brown of the coco also added colour.

I bought some leaf shaped cutters from Amazon, I am hoping to get lots of use out of them by using them to make biscuits and with clay.

Fathers from Hobbycraft 9I bought these years ago when I was at uni, not sure how ethical they are or if I would buy them now)

Pine cones gathered from one of our many walks.

Boris stuck twigs into the playdough to begin with, he needed quite a bit of encouragement initially, I am not sure he knew what to do, maybe he was a little overwhelmed by all the different bits and didn't know where to begin. 

 To start with he used to cutters with the playdough balls, but I demonstrated rolling out the dough and using the cutters that way and he imitated me.

 I stuck some of the cut out shapes to the balls of remaining clay which Boris seemed to enjoy, he also stuck some of the cutout shapes on.  He then had a good time mashing it all up into a big doughy mess.

This is the playdough recipe I used:
  • 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • Up to 1.5 cups boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right)
  • Poster paint for colour.
  • Several teaspoons of spices till desired amount of fragrance is achieved, some scents require more spice than others.
I am hoping to do a few more Autumn themes activities as the season goes on.  Are you doing any seasonal activities?  Add a link in the comments. 

Monday 13 October 2014

Mindbomb Monday

In the 1970's the founders of Greenpeace came up with the idea of using electronic media to communicate revolutionary ideas, they came up with the tactic "mindbomb" whereby they would use simple images, delivered by the media, that would "explode in people's minds" and create a new understanding of the world.
On some Mondays I hope to share an image that might be considered a "mindbomb" that could get people thinking throughout the week ahead.  I won't include any words with the image as I hope the image alone will speak for itself.  Sometimes I will use images found online, other times it will be my own photographs and they will reflect something that has spoken to me from the past week.  It might be shocking, inspiring, confrontational or uplifting.
If you would like to join in please share your "mindbomb" in a comment.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Faith Story

I am about to share with you a story about an experience that happened to me several years ago.  God gave me a picture of something he said would happen.  When it seemed like the thing wasn't going to happen I cried out to God and said to Him that if the picture came true then I would tell people about it, not as a bargaining tool, but as a way of thanksgiving and to glorify Him. It happened, so here I am telling you!  

There have been many occasions over the last few years where I have thought I didn't really need to share the story, that it was no longer relevant, that God had forgotten about it, but surprise surprise, God doesn't forget and he has been nagging on at me ever since.  SI shared the story in church this morning and now I am sharing it with you:

In September 2010 my husband and I began trying for a baby, sometime after we began trying I was sitting in my parents living room, on their sofa and suddenly received an image of me sitting in the same place, but looking about 7 months pregnant, it was Christmas I felt like the image was from God because it was so vivid and real feeling. 

After about 6 months of trying for a baby nothing was happening, and I also wasn't having any periods, so went to the doctors and was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, meaning I wasn't ovulating so couldn't get pregnant.  I began a course of treatment, but nothing seemed to be happening, about 2 months later I saw the doctor again and asked how long I should expect to wait before it started working, he said several months, so I felt I was in for the long haul, I had moments of despair when I thought I was never going to have a baby and started looking into adoption, around this time I also read a Bible verse that spoke to me, it was from 2 Samuel 7:11-12 and read:
The Lord declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you : When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom.

This Bible verse and reminding myself of the image of myself pregnant,( although I didn’t know if that was the near future, or many years down the line),reassured me that one day I would be pregnant. 

Throughout this time, my church home group were in on what was going on and I received a lot of prayer from them, I remember one day particularly stood in the super market car park after a church session and two of the girls placed their hands on me and prayed for me.  About 6 weeks later I found out I was pregnant, about 6 weeks pregnant! I hadn't had a period for 5 months.  I was of course absolutely thrilled and felt so thankful to God that I was pregnant and he had been faithful to the image he sent me.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, the day before I was due to have my 12 week scan I had a massive bleed, I thought I was losing my baby.  I couldn't believe it, I cried out to God, I was devastated, we called the doctor but he said I wasn't having a miscarriage because I wasn't in pain, but that didn't mean I wasn't going to have one, and that it could take 3 weeks.  God amazingly gave me the strength to accept that I might be losing the baby, and to be able to give my situation to him totally, I didn't feel like I had been let down, or that the image wasn't from God, I felt like maybe it wasn't this pregnancy, maybe it wasn't this baby, but that God was faithful and I would one day have a baby, I just prayed that if I was going to lose it, then please let it be quick.  I felt a real and strange sense of peace although was obviously still very upset.  It wasn't my own ability to be faithful in God that made me able to feel like this, God gave me the faith I needed.
Thankfully a scan at the hospital confirmed that the baby was still there and I was so happy and thankful to God.   I had two further bleeds after this one, but God gave me the strength to continue to be faithful to him and to trust in him. 

Sometime later I sat on my parents sofa, 7 months pregnant, living the image God had given me.

So what I learnt from this experience is that there is no amount of effort that you can put in to get the confidence and faith you need in God, it is God that gives you the faith and strength you need to trust Him.