Category Archives: Family

all to do with parenting, relationships, and the general ups and downs of life with kids

Drawing

This is a little picture that Seren drew yesterday. I have been watching her develop her little tadpoles and smiley face techniques for a while now. She was always so proud of whatever she achieved on her own. For the last while Seren has been obsessed with colouring in large sheets of paper in a series of different colours and has abstained from caricatures. However, yesterday,  while I had my back turned, I could hear her chatting to herself while she was drawing. She seemed extremely involved and her sister, Olwyn, watched on curiously.  When I looked down at what Seren had drawn, this little person looked up at me. 20120214-215009.jpg

 I was told “this is Grossmami (a.k.a. Seren’s grandmother, who is Swiss). She is standing in a tunnel, where she is sheltering from the rain. The sun is coming out and a rainbow has appeared”.

I don’t think anything beats (for me anyway) watching a child grow and develop his/her ability to communicate and express him/herself,  be it through dance, drawing, painting, talking, singing, writing etc. A child’s imagination is a beauty to behold.

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Filed under art, Family

Sock puppets

I got the bright idea into my head the other day to make sock puppets with the kids. Considering that today was a rainy day, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to make them. Besides, I knew there was a special reason for keeping those odd socks.

The kids were very excited and intrigued when I told them that I had a button box. They loved sifting through the various types of buttons and choosing which ones to use as eyes and noses for their puppet. I roped Peter into making a puppet too. The table was littered with buttons, thread, felt and other bits and bobs.

After much finger pricking, and misplaced buttons, my little fellah, Mr Snufflepig, came to life.

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I had great fun playing with him and the girls. They were totally convinced that Mr Snufflepig was real and carried out conversations with him and gave him kisses and cuddles. It makes me appreciate what a genius Jim Henson was.

In the meantime, Peter was still sitting at the table, tongue stuck out in concentration, creating his little protege,
Mr Ruffdog

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I did make the children laugh but I will never be as good as Kevin Clash, what a legend!

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Sabbatical

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After many months of writer’s block, I have decided to re-enter into the realm of WordPress. Glad to be back :)

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February 2, 2012 · 11:43 am

Onions, anyone!

On a  recent trip to my father’s allotment, I came across these kings of the vegetable patch.

On guard!

I could not get over how beautiful these onions were. They stood tall and proud.

Here are some drying in the sun.

Hanging onions

This spectacular display attracted much attention from other allotment goers!

Drying onions

 Seemingly not satisfied enough with the huge amount of white onions, my father had also sown red onions, which he harvested when I was there.

Fresh red onions from the ground.

 Once my father picked the red onions, he set about putting them into storage, in his purpose-built shed. The smell coming out of the shed was overwhelming!

Storing red onions

There were enough onions to feed an army! I am expecting a lot of French onion soup to be served up to us on our upcoming visits in the autumn!

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Filed under Family, food, Garden

Drip drip drop…

little April showers. This Bambi classic is a new favourite with the children. I love watching their reaction to the sounds in this song. Olwyn goes about the house singing “drip drip drop” to herself.

One evening, I enjoyed going out into the garden and taking photographs of the rain drops on the plants and flowers.

The children loved splashing in the muddy puddles :)

splish splash

Now – Rain, rain go away and come again another day!

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Dad’s delights

We went to visit my father last weekend. We always leave stuffed to the gills due to the good food consumed. A great effort is always made to make sure we eat well. This weekend was no exception. My husband, Peter, likes to raid the cheese drawer in the fridge. I should explain that since my father is Swiss, he is a keen cheese lover (as is Peter). Peter was not disappointed when he stumbled upon a stinky, creamy, gooey gorgonzola. This cheese was so runny. The smell was so strong that it could singe nose hairs and although a cheese lover can appreciate that a strong-smelling cheese is indicative of a good flavour, this cheese’s smell was maybe a bit too intense. It did not deter us from putting lashings of it on a french stick. Butter was not required due to the cheese’s creaminess. It tasted divine. So smooth and salty.

My other favourite thing I had to eat was a starter salad. The previous day my dad took us to the Milk Market Limerick. It was a great experience with many sights and smells of fruit, vegetables, fish, baked goods, meats, cheeses, coffee etc. Of course, when we first walked in we were met by a magnificent fruit stall. The figs looked sumptuous so Peter bought enough to feed an army. We rambled through the stalls tasting here and there. I especially liked the food stall selling dried salamis and cured meats. My dad bought a creamy goat’s cheese and a mixed berry tart. That had us sorted! So the next day, we had this starter.

It consisted of fresh salad from the garden topped with grated kohl rabi (also from the garden), a halved fig, a sprinkling of crumbled goat’s cheese. I picked some red currants to add a bit of colour. A nice Dijon vinaigrette was drizzled over the plate and served.

For main course we had fresh lemon sole which we bought at the market, served with new potatoes from the garden and my dad’s homemade tartar sauce. The fish was tossed in flour and fried in the pan for a few minutes.

Despite all the glorious food I had consumed, I made sure I had enough space left for that berry tart staring at me from the counter!

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Filed under Family, food

Art attack!

Sometimes it feels as though there is a permanent art bonanza taking place in our home. The shelves are cluttered with paints, crayons, indoor chalk, outdoor chalk, paper, crêpe paper, colouring books, glue, markers, stickers etc. You get the picture! Paintings and drawings are proudly displayed on the dining room walls. Patio stones are coloured in vibrant colours with chalk. Our weekend mornings usually consists of fresh pots of coffee and doodling.

The kids have a serious addiction to all things involving arts and crafts. They didn’t get it from the side of the road either. Art is in the family. Their grandmothers are artists. I grew up surrounded by canvases, oils, gouache paints, charcoals, pencils, erasers, paper. All these things bear memories for me – the smell of freshly pared pencil shavings, the shape and feel of my mother’s special erasure, the rubbery sensation of dried oil paints on pallets, piled high on wobbly tables, the somewhat pleasant smell of turpentine. I loved going into my mother’s studio and snooping through the old photographs, catalogues and notebooks. Sometimes I left feeling overwhelmed as I did not always understand the personal topics of her work at my young age. Most of the time I left feeling like  I had gotten to know more about her. When I was a teenager, my mother started an art school, which became very successful. There was a flow of people through the house day and night. Her studio was expanded and a dark room was built. I loved the quiet intimate darkness in there and loved watching my mother dipping and dunking negatives. I can still remember the smells of the chemicals. There was also this massive old school printing press. That was a hit with everyone. Classes were held for children and I thought I had the coolest mum. Sometimes I even sat as a model for her drawing classes. I think I grew to love classical music from this because it was always played in the background.

My mother is building a new studio at her home in the countryside and in a way I am jealous that my girls will be able to explore this. Hopefully they will have as many memories of their grandmother, as I do of my mother. Although my children do not get to visit my mother’s studio as often as I did as a child, I think it is important to help them develop an appreciation and love for art. Kids love getting messy and exploring with colours and textures. It’s a great way to learn. Most of all, I love watching them develop new techniques.

Olwyn is now learning how to draw circles. She holds the pencil for dear life and scribbles, scribbles, scribbles. Markers are a no go with her as she has a tendency to suck the ink out of them! She points at all the paintings on the wall saying “Seren do that” or “Olwyn do that”. Other times she likes to make her own impromptu teething ring!

Seren, who is three and a half,  loves drawing happy faces, dogs, lions and balloons. She sits happily at the table until every inch of paper is coloured in. It’s great to see her concentration and how seriously she takes it.

Give them some stickers, glue and child friendly scissors and there is beautiful silence for ten minutes. Other times we all sit around, chat and paint faces, which is always a good giggle.

Painting is always a hit. I like to give them different utensils to use on the paint for texture but inevitably the fingers usually win out. This day usually leads to a good soaking in the bathtub.

We often visit the National Art Gallery with the children. They are still a bit too young to parade them through the entire gallery, but there is an excellent space for children to draw pictures. Here we all sit happily for an hour, the girls scribbling to their hearts’ content. Daddy usually has a cat nap because it is so warm from the sun light flooding in. In another year Seren will be able to take part in the art classes that are held here. It teaches young children how to read the paintings in the gallery.

I am an academic at heart, not having tapped into the artist in me when younger, and our home is crammed with books and words. My children love books but I want to pass on to them some of my experiences I had with art as a child. Although I don’t have a studio, I can try to keep painting and drawing alive, and nurture in them a love for all things creative.

Do you encourage your children to be creative? Is it important for you to have art in your children’s lives?

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Filed under Family, Motherhood