What If She Was A Boy?

I’ve never really made any comment on the gender stereotyping argument that rages on the Internet.

I be truthful I’ve never really given it much thought. Little Splodge has a whole range of toys from dolls, to blocks, to cars.

It’s only now that we’re expecting Beanie Baby that I’m beginning to wonder if we’re treating Little Splodge differently than we would if she was a boy.

For the last few weeks I’ve been wondering about the best way to help Little Splodge realise that there is a new baby coming and what that is going to mean. On multiple occasions I’ve caught myself online looking at doll prams, doll cots even a doll high chair to get for when Beanie Baby arrives so that Little Splodge can look after her baby while I take care of Beanie Baby.

Would I be creating what is essentially a doll’s nursery if Little Splodge was a boy or am I unintentionally trying to make Little Splodge into a girly girl?

Freestyle Painting

paint-pot-banner

We had some glorious weather over the Bank Holiday, despite the weather forecast promising us the usual washout, so we let Little Splodge out into the garden armed with a selection of messy play materials.

Out of pure curiosity, on my part, the play was in no way directed and she was allowed to play as she saw fit.

To begin with she was very reserved and she restricted her painting to the paper

painting on paper

The play did, as I suspected it would, get progressively messier and the paint quickly progressed from being paper based to being on paper, in the tuff spot, on her skin and on her clothes (luckily the clothes she was wearing are generally reserved for messy play as they are already stained from previous paint encounters.)

paint gets progressively messy

Little Splodge also took her glitter shakers outside and decided to use these to decorate her pictures.

She does have a tendency to get a little carried away with glitter and it ends up everywhere. This was no different and a number of her multicoloured paint pictures quickly turned into single colour glitter pictures.

blue glitter picture

Allowing Little Splodge to have undirected messy play allowed me to get an idea of where her concentration level is and what her abilities are in terms of making her own choices as well as skills such as mark making and hand eye co-ordination.

As it turns out Little Splodge is pretty good at controlling her brush and mark making until her concentration slipped about 20 minutes into the play when she started to grab the paint with her hands and splat it everywhere.

We will definitely be allowing Little Splodge to have more free style messy play in the future if only to act as a marker for her abilities and progression.

Messy Play Materials Used In This Activity

Tuff Spot
Paint
Glitter
Sponge brushes
Bristle brushes
Paper

Plum Crumble

finished crumble ready for over header banner

My aunt has a plum tree in her garden and that tree is heavy with fruit.

In the space of about 5 minutes we filled a shopping bag with ripe, delicious fruit and are now officially over run with plums in our house.

Little Splodge is doing her best to eat them all as quickly as possible … she actually ate 6 of them at breakfast yesterday … but we thought we should do something with them other than eat them straight out of the bag.

So we made plum crumble.

Crumble is incredibly simple to make so, once again, we let Little Splodge get her hands in and help with the making … as well as the eating,

Ingredients

Crumble

100g Plain Flour

75g Butter/Margarine

75g Sugar (we just used ordinary granulated)

75g Rolled Oats

Filling

Plums – skinned and stones removed (we used somewhere between 25-30)

A small handful of sugar

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180*c / Gas Mark 4

2)Place plums into a oven proof crumble dish

3) Add sugar to the plums and give them a quick mix. Set aside.

4) Put the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl

5) Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs

6) Stir in the oats and sugar

7) Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the plums in an even layer

8) Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top for extra crunchiness

9) Bake for about 30-40 minutes

As we were using plums fresh from the tree we had to skin the plums and take the stones out before we could do anything else. Luckily, Little Splodge decided to take a nap so we had plenty of time to do this while she slept. As much as I enjoy involving Little Splodge in the baking I didn’t really want her involved in anything that involves boiling water and sharp knives … she is only a baby after all.

Once the plums were ready we pre weighed all of the ingredients and put them into separate bowls so that Little Splodge could add the ingredients as well as mixing them. I’d already put the plums into the baking dish as they were still hot from being skinned and pitted.

crumble ingredients

Little Splodge really enjoyed being able to add the ingredients to the bowl and then mixing them herself.

She really enjoyed combining the butter and flour to make the breadcrumbs although this took much longer than it normally would as she had a bit of a tendency to squeeze the ingredients together and formed quite large doughy bits that then needed breaking up again before we could add the other ingredients.

We used adding the ingredients as a chance to use some texture words and talked about the ingredients being soft, smooth, sticky, and rough while we added them. As Little Splodge has a natural inquisitiveness and likes to get her hands in the bowl at any opportunity this proved to be the best time to talk about texture and the way things feel.

mixing crumble ingredients

Once she had mixed all of the crumble ingredients together it was time to put the crumble together.

Once again, Little Splodge took the chance to feel the mixture as much as possible and loved sprinkling it over the plums.

sprinkling crumble topping onto the plums

The topping did need a little bit of tidying up when she had finished because none of the corners had any topping and the middle had a small mountain of delicious oat goodness.

Finally, the crumble was ready for the oven,

finished crumble ready for the oven

I can promise you that it turned out wonderfully and tasted even better.

Unfortunately there are no pictures of the crumble once it came out of the oven as it smelled too good and within seconds of coming out of the oven it was in bowls, smothered in custard and being eaten by a Little Splodge who was very impressed that she got to stay up later then usual especially to have pudding.

Peanut M&M Cookies

baked cookies

Today we did more baking. The difference is that this time we indulged our sweet tooth and made peanut m&m cookies.

(I know what you’re thinking; peanuts are no good for toddlers. This isn’t Little Splodge’s first encounter with peanuts and she is pretty good at chewing her food before she swallows so we weren’t too worried about her having the peanut m&ms.)

The recipe for the cookies is pretty basic as cookie recipes go.

Ingredients

300g Plain Flour

250g Butter

140g Caster Sugar

1 Egg Yolk

2tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180*c (Gas Mark 4)

2) Mix butter and caster sugar in a large bowl

3) Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat to combine

4) Sift the flour into the bowl and mix well (you might need to use your hands to bring the dough together)

Having learned from our last baking experience Little Splodge was naked apart from her nappy for this batch of cookies. As always she enjoyed the mixing and ended up just a little covered in the flour … as did the table, the floor and my skirt.

mixing ingredients

Once we got the dough together it was time to make the cookies. Luckily, this time the dough didn’t require any rolling out so it was one less thing that could possibly go wrong with the cookies.

They did however, need rolling into balls which proved to be a little beyond Little Splodge’s concentration range so that turned out to be a mommy job.

She was more than happy to help pat the dough balls down a little once they were on the tray and put the m&ms in the middle of the cookies.

unbaked_cookies_3

Just check out those toddler finger prints. They definitely made for some interesting patterns in the finished cookies

unbaked_cookie_closeup_orange

Overall, baking is proving to be Little Splodge’s favourite form of inside messy play. Mainly because she enjoys eating the finished product when they come out of the oven.

If you want step by step instructions from our very own Little Splodge then this video is for you.

 

 

Aliens Love Underpants

aliens love underpants cover

Aliens Love Underpants is another one of our library finds.

I’d heard of the book before but knew absolutely nothing about it so when we found it in the kids story box we borrowed it without much expectation.

This book has a wonderful rhyme throughout the text, the pictures are wonderfully bright and often hilarious.

Also the general idea of aliens visiting Earth purely to steal our pants is much more amusing than it initially sounds.

It was daddy who got to read this story to Little Splodge and she was more that happy to help to read the book taking every possible opportunity to get involved and spent most of the story pointing at all the different things on the pages while daddy tried his best to read the story around her hands.

reading with daddy

Although I suspect that her daddy and I enjoyed the actual story a little more than she did (I even had an out loud giggle at a couple of points) Little Splodge definitely enjoyed the pictures in this book and was perfectly happy to sit and look at the book by herself for a little while.

independent_reading

Even though we’ve only read it the once so far I suspect we’re onto a potential favourite with this book and I’m planning to buy a copy for us to keep as soon as possible.

 

Cheesy Biscuits

Having entered the ‘if I see food I have to have it’ stage of pregnancy the time has come to progress from three meals a day to three meals plus copious numbers of snacks. Little Splodge is also a great believer in snacks and regularly has two snacks a day between meals.

So, when I saw this recipe it just had to be made. Not only is it very wallet friendly it is also very easy to make which made it perfect for involving Little Splodge.

Ingredients

  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 200g Butter
  • 200g Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees / gas mark 6
  • Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl
  • Stir to combine
  • Bring together with hands to form a dough
  • Roll out to approx 0.5cm thick
  • Cut out biscuits
  • Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
  • Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown
  • Leave to cool for a few minutes
  • Eat

This is not the first food she has had a hand in helping to make so I already knew that she enjoys giving things a good mix but I wasn’t sure how she’d react to rolling and cutting. (The majority of her playdough play results in manic squishing and attempting to eat it.)

Knowing that with the ‘help’ of a toddler this was going to take much longer than I would normally we set up a mini kitchen in the living room using Splodge’s art table as a work top and off she went.

I helped her get all of the ingredients into the bowl and she stirred them around for a while before I stepped in and helped bring it together to form a dough.

little splodge mixing ingredients

Next Little Splodge had a go at rolling out the dough with various degrees of success.

Once she’d finished poking and beating the dough with the rolling pin we finally got to cut out the shapes.

rolling out the dough

Our cookie cutter collection is small to say the least so the majority of the shapes are Christmas themed and the round ones were created by a glass that was helpfully sitting in the kitchen cupboard.

cut out shapes

Then it is simply a case of popping them in the oven for about 10 minutes. We baked the larger ones for 12 minutes just to be sure.

Don’t they look delicious?

cooling biscuits

Then came the final test for the biscuits. Would Little Splodge like them?

tasting the biscuits

That looks like a yes to me.

Credit where credit is due this recipe came from the lovely Kim over at The Triplet Diaries. My theory is if it’s good enough for triplet boys it’s good enough for our Little Splodge.

Like Free Books?

Little Splodge loves books and at the tender age of 17 months has over a hundred books on her shelf. But, no matter how many books we seem to have we’re always running out of books to read that we haven’t already read and reread.

So, to keep up with Little Splodge’s love of stories, and in the interest of being thrifty, we’re big fans of our local library here. It is literally round the corner from our house which makes it very easy to get to … even for tiny toddler feet.

Despite popular belief libraries aren’t the draconian halls of silence we’re led to believe and our little library even holds a baby and toddler group where the littles are encouraged to take part in simple arts and craft activities related to a story they just heard.

Sadly, since I’ve been back at work we haven’t been able to get to the group but we still make great use of all the free books to help Little Splodge learn to read and to provide us with a wide range of bedtime stories.

This is this week’s haul of books. At first glance the majority seem somewhat advanced for a one year old but having read two of them at bed time last night they’re proving to be excellent for story time.

20130817-124642.jpg