Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And some more play dough fun - Aussie style!!

This sweet e-mail came from Elise of Inspiration Surrounds, Creativity Abounds:

     I am sorry that I didn’t quite make your deadline for your Joyful Mama’s Play Dough Day. Sometimes our best laid plans have a way of coming undone at the last minute - I think three young children are the masters of ensuring this happens
    I wanted to let you know that you certainly did inspire us to get creative with play dough and this morning we made a fanciful billabong (very Aussie) scene. I just wrote a blog post about it!

Now, with my own children being one half Australian, we just had to check this out!!

Here are Elise's sweet little crew busily working on their billabong and the creatures that inhabit it!

Some snakes, very fancy birds and other critters in the 'crystal clear pool'!

You can click here to see the rest of their fun photo's and be sure to browse the rest of Elise's blog, too - this lady is super-creative and I guarantee you'll leave inspired!

Someone else who has been having play doughy fun is Deb Chitwood of Living Montessori Now - enjoy!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A perfectly play-doughy weekend!

I think I could probably write a song to the tune of The Twelve days of Christmas to tell about everything we've done with our home-made play dough the past few days. I honestly never expected Sweetpea to have SO much fun from a few cups of flour and some salt! She's had shop-bought play dough since she was about 18 months old and played with it regularly, but she can't get enough of the home-made variety. I will never buy dough again!

 So, here's how we celebrated Play Dough Day Weekend!!

 On the first morning Sweetpea worked on some wildly creative sculptures using the red cinnamon-secented and glitter dough we used for our cupcakes and apples last week.

Yep, she's still in her jammies and that mop of hair had not seen the right side of a hair brush yet!!

Excellent fine-motor practice!

The one on the right looks like a Rastafarian alien, don't you think?!

The next day I made a fresh batch of blue, to add to our red and yellow.  The blue was still warm and before we started playing *seriously*, she just enjoyed kneading a little of the blue, and then a little of the cold red, delighted by the difference in temperatures!

We have read and read and re-read the book Mouse Paint the past few weeks and Play Dough Day was the perfect opportunity for some practical colour mixing!

We followed the story as we played.

Mixing blue and yellow to make green - very good excercise for little fingers!

Our lovely colour wheel!

We placed  the balls of dough in a large circle...

...and went hunting for toys and things from the garden that matched each colour. She insisted on the pink grapes being with the green pile because she says real grapes are green. Clever girl!

Then we abandoned the piles and just had soooo much fun making all kinds of things with our dough! Sweetpea created a large collection of doughy sausages which she arranged in patterns on our cutting board....

...while I had some fun of my own!

It was just a matter of time before she discovered the lovely effects she could create by mxing the colours, and we had a grand time making beautiful rainbow dough!

By the end of play on day one, it looked like this. I left the dough in an ice cream container on the kitchen counter, and was requested to take it out before breakfast every morning this weekend!

By Sunday afternoon most of it looked like this....

A pudgy little baby finger poking holes in the dough while sitting on Mama's lap! And trying out the rolling pin, too!

And then this afternoon I received a comment from Anna over at The Imagination Tree, telling about the fun they've been having making play dough ITALY, nonetheless!!! They are there on holiday and you just have to go see the beautiful pictures she took of her eldest and the amazing nature-pizzas they've created!

Isn't she gorgeous??!! And that pizza looks super-yummy!

Wishing you a blessed week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Joyful Mama's Play Dough Day Breakfast Table, and some inspiration!

Hello everyone and ....

In case you missed the post from earlier this week, here's what I am on about:

Last Saturday, 18 September 2010, was National Play Dough Day in  the USA. I only discovered this fact a day later. Being a huge play dough fan, this was a great disappointment...but since I am not in the US, and since we don't have a Play Dough Regulatory Board here in South Africa, I decided to take matters in my own hands and declared today JOYFUL MAMA'S PLAY DOUGH DAY!! And all that means is that I would love for you all to join us as we have some play dough fun today. It would be super if you'd let me know how you celebrated - you can either blog about it and leave a comment with a link to your post, or if you are not a blogger, simply take pictures of what you got up to, and email it to me. All submissions must please reach me no later than Saturday, 25 September, and be sure to check in on Monday to see what everyone else got up to!


To kick off the celebrations, my dear ones woke up to a Happy Play Dough Day breakfast:

We've been reading  - and loving  - Mouse Paint recently, so that was the inspiration for the table decor!! Later today we will be mixing play dough, Mouse Paint style, to practice colour mixing!

And here is a little treat for you - a collection of some of my favourite play dough ideas from around the blogosphere!

Looking forward to seeing what YOU came up with!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Play Dough Apples

We had so much fun making playdough cupcakes with our scented dough, that Sweetpea asked me bright and early this moring to get it out again. Today we made some apples, as inspired by My Montessori Journey! Sweetpea loved it and re-made them several times!

We started with cinnamon-scented, red play dough, tiny twigs and silk leaves.

Add a stem...

 Then a leaf..

And an apple a day keeps the play time blues away!

So cheery!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh, to play with dough!

My bloggy friend Se7en published a fabulous September calendar last week - a tremendously entertaining list of things to celebrate this month! For example, did you know that 18 September was National Play Dough Day in the USA?! What fun!! Especially since we have been having such a great time with play dough ourselves this past week - you can read about it here and here.

SO...since the 18th has now come and gone, and since we are not in the States, and since there is to my knowledge no governing body of Play Dough Affairs here in SA, I decided to take it on myself to declare this coming Thursday 

Joyful Mama's Play Dough Day!

(And for any US readers and everyone else who did not get to celebrate, you are so very, very welcome to join us here!) If you would like to celebrate the hours of deliciously creative play there is to be had from the humble ball of play dough, why don't you join in too?! Here's what to do:

  1. On Thursday, 23 September 2010, treat your little ones to a fresh batch of play dough - you can make your own, or use the ready-made variety from the toy shop. (Try my favourite recipe by clicking here!)
  2. Have fun!! There are SOOOO many ways to create with dough.
  3. Take lots of photos!
  4. If you are a blogger, blog about the fun you had, and leave a link to your post (not your homepage) in the comments section at the bottom of this post by Saturday, 25 September 2010.
  5. If you do not have a blog, e-mail me your pictures and a paragraph or two about what you got up to and how your little ones enjoyed it! (I realise that most of my South African subscribers do not blog - yet!! Hope this encourages you to be part of the party! All e-mail submissions must please reach me no later than Saturday, 25 September 2010, at 20h00)
  6. Remember to pop in on Monday, 27 September, for a look at all the wonderful ways in which other families celebrated with a ball of dough!

Oh, boy! # 2

There was persistent, desperate crying eminating from the bathroom...this is what we found:

He used his sister's step stool to try and get to the toothpaste that was in a cup on the rim of the sink...

A smile of relief when help fnally arrived!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Playdough cupcakes

The Joyful Household has been struck down with the flu for a second time this winter - I mean, can you *handle* it!!?? I hardly ever get sick, and now I'm in for round number TWO!! Oi. The little ones seem to have caught the somewhat milder version, though, for which I'm grateful - I can handle my own misery, but it breaks my heart when my smoochies suffer.

Anyway, on to more pleasant things: We mustered up all the energy we could and decided to make some lovely home-made play dough today. I LOVE this recipe by Laura from My Montessori Journey  - it is one of those 'can't fail' numbers that has earned itself  an honorary place in my recipe file!

I had seen the inspiration for this little bit of  play time fun on The Imagination Tree last week, and I just knew Sweetpea would enjoy it. To add to the whole 'baking' experience, I scented the playdough: The yellow smells like vanilla, and half of the red dough is scented with cinnamon - Delicious, Darling!! The other half was peppered with silver glitter, and oh boy, did little miss Sweetpea enjoy that!

In my *very biased* opinion those chubby little-girl fingers are even sweeter than the cupcake they are decorating!

Mama joined in and got alittle carried away...I adore play dough - such a forgiving medium, you know!

Sweetpea adored that mini layer cake  - she decorated it after I had formed the two layers and circle of frosting, and then walked around with it for the rest of the morning, sniffing and..yes, until I said we had to clean up for lunch. She nearly cried when we had to dissemble the cupcakes and I insisted she threw away the bit that was licked! And on that note, here is a nice little tip on play dough hygiene I also picked up from Laura at My Montessori Journey: Before your bambinos dive in for some play dough fun, teach them to always clean their hands with a waterless hand sanitizer first. This is an especially good idea for play groups and pre-schools, but we use it here at home, too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moral Intelligence

I have written here before about my friend Nicky and her beautiful little boy, Sam, who has Rubenstein-Taybi Syndrome. Nicky published a post about moral intelligence on her blog over the weekend, that really touched me tremendously and had me sit down and ask myself some hard questions about teaching my children about empathy, respect and compassion. Please visit Nicky's blog to read the article - you can click here and it will take you straight to the post.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Hansel and Gretel method! (Part 2) - strewing their paths with EXPERIENCES


The world is so full of a number of things,
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings!
~ Robert Louis Stevenson ~

In my previous post, I quoted Susan Dodd as she defined strewing.  But in her definition she also included another way in which parents can draw their children into new learning experiences, which I'd like to share with you here. She said:

 "...But there's another element which isn't physically "strewing" but involves instead taking the children out and about with the idea of their seeing (hearing, tasting, smelling, touching) things they might not have come upon otherwise and that you can't lay casually about the house.

Sometimes it's just as simple as driving another route to the same old place, or going to a different grocery store than usual. Other successful outings of note which I consider in the same category as strewing (though not the same action), include

*construction sites
* any public doing like racing remote control things in a parking lot or vacant lot—just passing by
   is sometimes sufficient without even stopping
* concerts
* fleamarkets
* garage sales
* new stores just opened
* old stores in danger of closing (take them in before it's gone)
* prairie dog towns
* vacant lots with wood we can pick up for firewood

And with ALL those things, we get time together, shared experiences and conversation...."

The best 'field trips' are free and happen on the spur of the moment, and these are the ones that usually makes the biggest impression on my little ones. I think it is because these are the kind of experiences which deal with real life, everyday-in-action. Just this past week we've had some super little trips, mostly impromptu and never intended as 'educational' at first, but they turned out delightfully engaging nonetheless:

Some municipal workers were felling trees just up the road from us. We were kissing the Dad goodbye when I heard the unmistakeable sound of chain saws, and since mama's on a mission (more about that in a later post) which requires some nice logs, I quickly bundled the bambinos into the car and off we went in search of the scene of the crime. The children were fascinated by the whole business: the saw, the branches falling, the way one man was hoisted into the tree by the others using a thick hemp rope...even the orange road cones which were placed on the sidewalk piqued their curiosity!

On the same day we visited a new co-operative store which opened at a small shopping centre in our neighbourhood, and spent a very interesting half an hour exploring everything from gigantic gumboots, to secateurs, to paint swatches and birdseed. Oh, the questions a little girl can ask when the world is so full of such wonderful things!!

On Saturday afternoon we took a quick trip to a friend's farm just outside of town to pick up more logs (are you curious yet?? ) and saw a lamb with a broken back leg in a cast (this became a topic of great concern and interest for the next 48 hours!), triplet lambs, and two pouncing puppies. We had to stop to chase some sheep out of the way, and had a ton of fun crawling and climbing over a pile of  logs and tree stumps - great gross motor excercise and sensory stimulation galore!

And they are building a new road just down the road from us, and just from passing by there every few days, my daughter has already learnt the difference between a grader and  an excavator, and is seeing for herself how a road is built! We stop in the parking area of the shopping centre across the way, and wave to the construcion guys, and chat about how much further they are a long than when we came past here last time.

We all have access to these rich 'learning grounds.' It is just a question of whether we will stop, take the time to explore and answer the myriad of questions that will inevitably be pouring out of little minds when presented with such utterly interesting opportunities! What experiences are waiting in a 5km radius from your house to be explored by inquiring young minds??

Here are some very simple ideas for interesting places to visit with your little ones:
  • The Post Office - you can even write a letter to a grandparent or friend and let your child buy a stamp and mail it!
  • Your local library. I will never cease to be amazed at how few mothers take their children along to go take out books!
  • A local nursery or garden centre - oh, the wealth of things to explore: big bags of potting soil stacked high, smooth pebbles, garden tools... Don't just head for the kiddies play area and then leave when they are all played out. Look at and discuss and let them touch different kinds of plants: succulents, mosses, vegetable seedlings, shrubs.  
  • A train station!
  • A butchery / bakery / florist - with everything available pre-packaged and ready to go in the almost generic environment of supermarkets, specialist shops are a real treat!
  • A church bazaar / school fete / community fair / farmer's market - pay attention to the posters on the lampposts, you will be amazed at the array of interesting things happening in your area!
  • Cat and dog shows, or you can even just stop to watch when you see a doggy training class in progress.
  • Or how about just talking to them about what is happening at the petrol statoin while you are there for a fill-up?!
  • My children LOVE going through the car wash!
There is wonder and beauty and breathtakingly interesting things all around us - it is our priviledge as parents to open these doors to knowlegde to our children!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Hansel and Gretel method! (Part 1)

 In an earlier post from this week I mentioned the idea of strewing as a way I use to expose my children to new and interesting things, and I thought it well worth another mention, since it is such an effective way of broadening your little ones' horisons, and for getting them interested in things they would otherwise have shown no interest in!

   Point in case: a client of mine stopped by last week to pick up some educational toys she had ordered for one of her children. We stood chatting a bit about educational toys and how to get children interested, and I shared with her my ideas about strewing, i.e. leaving things out for the child to discover on his own. I advised her to not make a big deal about the 'brand new educational toy that mommy has just bought for you to practice your pen grip'...but instead to not even tell the child about it at all. Instead, I suggested that she took the peg board set out the following day, and place just the peg board and some pegs out on a tray  where the child would easily see it. If he was curious enough, he would explore it on his own - the best way to learn!! Then, I said, it would be a good idea to put it away for a few days. Next time she takes it down, she should once again put it out on a tray, but this time, add two or three of the pattern cards that came with the set, again just leaving it out there for the child to explore when he is ready. I received an e-mail for her today to tell me how well it has worked!

  A lady by the name of Sandra Dodd is the author of the first article I ever read about strewing. I loved the idea of unforced, child-lead learning that it presented. Someone asked her to define strewing, and I share this snippet from her website, on "Strewing their paths":

What I was referring to was leaving things around and changing them out.

Some of our most successful items have been toys or objects for playing with (sometimes not purely a toy) like
pattern blocks
castle blocks
magnets (or some new magnet toy where something swings or moves)
a prism
odd little crafts things with some tactile element people will just HAVE to pick up and mess with (fuzzy, furry, slippery, gummy...)
printouts of good cartoons or little articles or humor lists (generally taped inside the bathroom or left on the counter there, or on the dining table)
new foods, snacky stuff, in a bowl, out
interesting rocks, rinsed, in a bowl, on the table

     It is important, though, to interject here and emphasise that this does not imply one has to cram every imaginable surface chock-a-block with activities or things for your child to 'discover'. In fact, a more minimalistic, but dynamic, approach seems much more effective. For example, many children have heaps of toys that are kept in a large bin or toybox in either their bedroom or the living room. And when the child is bored and disinterested, her parents cannot understand why: she has all these hordes of wonderful toys!! Ah, but how absolutely devoid of any opportunity for discovery and imagination is such a set-up. It does not appeal at all to a child's natural curiosity; it does not invite him to discover, to investigate; it leaves no room for wonder or amazement. It is just a heap of toys - the same, day in and day out. Remember the old saying, familiarity breeds contempt? Well...if it applies to people, most of whom are at least somewhat different from one moment to the next, how much more would that be true of inanimate objects?

   I think the true value of strewing is dependent on three factors: keeping in touch, keeping it 'fresh', and minimising distraction. Here are some suggestions to attain this:

1. Keeping in touch: know your child's current interests
Jelly fish are a big hit around here these days, as are anything relating to penguins and birthday parties, and Sweetpea LOVES cutting things with her small scissors! ArrowBoy is big into containers with lids and throwing small objects into larger containers, as well as opening and closing drawers. I try to flow with their interests, drawing them in deeper with well-chosen books and activities. (I love being 'available' to my family in this way - isn't it just such a priviledge to observe so closely the passions and pleasures as your child discovers the world? And then to be right there to 'open the door' a little bit more, showing them some new and breathtaking wonders!)

I try to keep a balance between fuelling current interests and introducing new ideas. Today was a particulaly blustery day, for example, and the perfect opportunity to start wondering out loud about the wind and where it comes from!

2. Keeping it 'fresh' : Rotate your child's toys and other interesting materials 

   - I use labelled plastic bins (5 liter ice cream containers I bought from the plastics shop for about R8 apiece). I used inexpensive labels to label them according to the days of the week. Sweetpea's Monday bin has a set of natural wooden blocks, small wooden dolls and two cars, while on a Monday ArrowBoy gets to play with his hammer and ball set, his Sort and Play bucket, and a simple knob puzzle.

   -  I also have a printed sheet on the inside of their closets where I have listed, according to the days of the week, which other toys and games to bring out that are too big to fit in the ice cream containers.

   - Now, again, I don't just dump all of this on the living room carpet first thing in the morning. Some of the activities are placed out on trays for Sweetpea to 'discover' during the day. I may put a peg board and some pegs in a tray on the kitchen counter, and leave out two or three books on sea life on the little table in her bedroom, maybe together with a few small platic fish and other sea creatures she is bound to find on the pages of those books.

   - When they tire of whatever it is they are plaing with, I can always quietly pack that toy away and go to my list inside the closet to check what else they haven't played with for a while, and set that out.

   - Remember that the fact that they haven't seen a cetain toy for a while, does not automatically guarantee they'll be interested in it today. Our children are individulas, just like you and I, who may just not be in the mood for the pegboard today. That's OK. If you have chosen well, there will be more than enough alternatives for them to choose from elsewhere in their playing  and learning environment.

3. Minimising distractions: Less is more

I am by no means the world's most organised person. On the contrary. But I also know that I function much better, feel much calmer and more contented, and are able to focus more joyfully on things I am busy with, if my environment is uncluttered and 'quiet'. The same applies to my children.

We live in a small house, and if the living room floor becomes too cluttered with toys, my children's playtime becomes marked with irritation. If the house is tidy, though,  and there is one kind of toy on the carpet (this can be a single toy, or a collection like a playmat and cars, a few small wooden dolls to ride on them, and even an empty box or two that serves as a house!), a skill toy on the kitchen counter, a few books on a night stand and a 'changing station' for baby dolls set up in the bedroom, my daughter can freely move about the house and find something to pique her interest in almost every room!

I am aware that as you are reading this, you may feel that what I am talking about involves a lot of work. On the contrary: It took me about two mornings to organise our toys into daily containers and  draw up the closet door list, and since then I seldom struggle with bored children and having to rack my brain to come up with something to keep them busy with. It also does not take away spontaneity - in fact, 'strewing their paths' with good quality toys, books, and things to explore, opens up many, many doors for spontaneous learning - for all of us!

In closing, may I encourage you with a quote from Rose Kennedy:

"I looked on Child-rearing not only as a work of love and duty, but as a profession that demanded the best I could bring to it"

When it gets really quiet and you just know...

Those are pieces of watercolour paint from my paintbox he's chewing. Non-toxic, thank goodness, but I'm quite curious as to how the next nappy is going to look...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tripping over milestones

        Have you ever found yourself at the well-baby clinic for a baby's check-up, and while the nursing sister is busy filling out your child's chart, your eye catches the large poster on the wall, listing the developmental milestones children should have reached at various ages? It doesn't matter how big the writing is that says that those are just guidelines - all of us in that situation will do a quick mental check to see how our little ones 'measure up' ...and woe to you if your 18 month old can only stack 2 blocks instead of the required 4....or even worse - you never even knew he was supposed to be stacking blocks in the first place and now he's almost two already and oh my, how will this affect his future academic performance...and if you didn't know about the stacking, what else is there that you don't know???

    A while ago my friend Nicky published a post about how she just about worked herself into an anxiety attack after watching a TV program about the developmental milestones of one year olds. Nicky's youngest son, Sam, has a condition called Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome, more of which you can read about on her blog, which is aptly named I AM SAM...THE CONQUEROR! Anyway, here is a snippet of what Nicky wrote that day:

       "I am not sure if it was watching that documentary or something else completely but over the past few days I have found myself frantically trying to help Sam "catch-up" to where he should be developmentally...and it is EXHAUSTING! Now, let's first understand that Sam is nowhere near being neglected or ignored, he is 95% of the time either on my arm, in his pouch, on my lap or attached by some other means and I talk to him constantly, we sing...we dance...we play and I've been fairly satisfied that he is getting a considerable amount of stimulation - but all of a sudden it hasn't felt like enough, to the point where I started timing the periods in between interacting with him, for example, I put him him down so that I can attend to something quite basic, like brushing my teeth, (I have an OCD thing about has to be done for a precise amount of time, in a particular way, a particular order, etc) but then I start thinking like "Okay, he's been in his cot now for like 3 minutes - is it okay for him to have no stimulation/interaction for three minutes?" and then almost every morning I land up standing next to his cot, spluttering some-or-other kiddies song through mouthfuls of toothpaste. Another example - I take Sam for a walk in his pram most afternoons. We only walk for about 30 mins and he usually kips for most of that time, but yesterday afternoon he didn't fall asleep AT ALL and I kept looking into the pram and he just appeared to be staring into space and I started worrying about how long it would be okay for him to just lie there and found myself hurrying the walk up, just to get home and onto something else. And that's basically the essence of how our days are being spent....okay, we've sang songs now for twenty minutes, time to press buttons on Noah's Ark to hear the different animal sounds...okay, time now to walk around the house and point out different objects and say their's like running an endless race."

     Can you relate? I could, and I am certain that there a many mothers out there, especially first-time moms, who know exactly what we are talking about.

     I have not yet completely overcome this ridiculous tendency to want to stimulate my children all the time, but I have definitely relaxed a lot more about it. What has helped me a lot is, first, the idea of 'strewing', i.e. leaving things out for my children to discover on their own time, at at their own pace, and secondly, being OK with it if they are not interested or adept yet. The idea of 'natural', unforced learning really appeals to me, and motivates me to create a rich, yet comfortable environment for my children to spend their days in.

 More importantly, though, is that I think we underestimate the tremendous influence our mere presence during the busy hours of every day has on our children. Here is how I commented on Nicky's concerns about Sam:

   "Think about it: you spoke to Sam today, casually pointing things out to him or describing what you were doing. You were 'bathing' him in language, all the while 'teaching' his brain complex things like grammar and syntax and rhyme! He hears the changes in intonation as your emotions change - I can hear mommy is happy now, or oh, now she is upset with the dog! Carrying him on your hip from bedroom to living room in the normal course of the day, everyday, you are helping him make sense of his spatial environment (a mathematical skill!) You stimulate his senses by having him in the sling while you cook: he smells and tastes the food, he hears all the kitchen sounds and feels the sway of your body, and what a visual feast is there to be had in the beautiful colours of food! And about that walk in the stroller: you know, my *normal* one year old also just usually lays there. But even if he seems totally oblivious, his inner-ear, the part that helps with balance, is registering changes in road surface: now we are on gravel, now on grass. And besides, what can be more educationally valuable than quietly taking time to just stare at God's beautiful blue heaven!"

     Of course I am not saying we shouldn't also challenge our children, and I feel very strongly about being intentional in providing them with a rich but well-balanced learning environment, but we should also not underestimate the learning that takes place, without us knowing it, in the course of a *regular* day when we are not intentionally trying to teach them.

      I read an article a while ago that encouraged moms to make a "have done" list at the end of each day, as opposed to a "to-do" list at the start of it. I think if we all go write down everything we DID do with our little ones today, we will amazed at the learning opportunities we have created for them just by having them with  us. Yes, by all means, let us read and learn and empower ourselves with knowledge about how to help our children become the best they can be. But NEVER because we want to keep up with a chart on a clinic wall, or with someone else's child. NEVER because we think our children's performance will reflect well on our parenting skills. NEVER at the expense of childhood joy and freedom and unconditional love and acceptance. Let's not trip over milestones. If they become a distraction on your journey to the point where all you can see is the next milestone, it may be time to take the scenic route: the fun, beautiful one that slowly winds its way through lovely scenery.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Celebrating SPRING DAY Joyful Mama Style!

At around 17h30 yesterday afternoon I was busily preparing a hearty potato soup for supper. We had just returned from our afternoon walk-around-the-block and let me tell you, it was nippy, to say the least! As I was stirring the soup and dreamily thinking how I am looking forward to summer, it hit me that TODAY - Wednesday 1 September - IS SPRING DAY!!

I had listened to the weather forecast earlier and already knew that today was going to be even more miserable than yesterday, but oh, just the thought of Spring Day was so delicious that I knew I just had to do something to celebrate! The last time I had made a really special Celebration Breakfast for my dear ones, was on Resurrection Sunday in April  (you can click here to see how we celebrated that day, Joyful Mama style). That was in autumn, and now that winter is *theoretically if not visibly * on it's way out, it was high time I treated the Joyful Household to a merry little breakfast once again.

The thing was just that it was about an hour before supper, and by the time bathtime and bedtime was over, the shops would be closed. So I very casually asked The Dad if he minded watching the bambinos while I just dash off to the shop quickly. He agreed and I quietly and mysteriously slipped out to see what I could come up with in about 20 minutes!!

To make a long story short, here is what my family woke up to this morning:

Don't you just love love love that tissue paper pom-pom?! I whipped it up in about half an hour, thanks to instructions I found here. Will definitely be making more of these for future celebrations!

I bought the pretty vinyl table cloth from the plastics shop about 5 minutes before closing time!! I got two meters, so it is long enough to use on the picnic bench outside in summer, too!

Breakfast was our usual oats porridge, jazzed up with a kiwi and strawberry flower!

A little feathered friend was perched on the sugar bowl...

...and the children each got a special Spring Day drinking cup for their juice!

It was a hit!

Smiles all around!


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