Snow!

Ok, we’re not even going to pretend otherwise, we love snow and playing in it!  

As soon as Curly and Small woke up and saw how much snow there was, they were dressed and raring to go, heading out to ‘the dip’ to sledge.

 

Up and down they went over and over, cheeks getting rosier, smiles getting bigger, and bigger, hair getting wetter as they rolled and rolled in the snow making snow angels!

  

 

When their legs got too tired to climb the slopes, it was time for snowmen building

 

 

and a much needed tow home by ‘husky dog’ Dad for hot chocolate and warm pyjamas.

 

Perfect.

 

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Brrr, we want the snow

It’s a cold, cold, cold day and we’re just waiting for the snow to come.  Last night it reached -8 in the back garden, perfect weather for making ice balls.

Ice balls are a big tradition here.  We started making them three years ago on a trip to Northumberland, where after 3 days of solid snow we had run out of every single play idea and desperately needed to entertain 3 boys!  Now every chance we get, Small blonde and I decorate the trees to ‘welcome’ the snow.

Fill an old yogurt pot with water then pop inside whatever you fancy.  Over the years, we’ve used glitter, polar animals, even a ship during Curly blonde’s Titanic obsession phase!

 Small blonde is experimenting with using lego men this winter,

while I’ve chosen seed heads and berries.  When you are happy with what you have popped inside the water, add a piece of string – about 20cms long and leave the pot outside to freeze. 

This is the really exciting part for Small blonde (and me if I’m honest!). I think it is impossible not be impressed when finally the water is frozen and we can tip the ice ball out.

All that’s left is to tie the string onto the tree and wait for the compliments!

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Splish, splash puddles

Can you remember the last time you thought you could walk on water?

  

Can you remember the sound that water makes when you swish and swoosh through it?

Can you remember how cold your toes feel as the water swirls around your wellingtons?

If not, why not?!  Pull on your wellies and go play in the rain with your child.  Jump in puddles, run around and feel the rain on your face.  Sing to the skies and you know what, it is fun.  Huge fun.  You’ll love it, your children will love it, and it’s free!

 

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Revitalised

All our jellybeans and baby beans classes started back this week across Lincolnshire, Rutland and a new class started in Northamptonshire and it was so good to be back!  Before Christmas, I’d definitely hit the ‘I can’t stand hearing that song anymore’ stage – surely I’m not the only one who can’t stand Jingle Bells? – but it is amazing what a few weeks away can do.  I spent the holidays with my boys, mooching around, tinkering with the programmes, thinking a lot about Jellybeans, yep I sat on a cold beach and finished the franchise package (squeal) and now I am just so excited about all the new music and know it is going to be an amazing year for the business.

I’m not sure who was more excited at the start of my first class of 2012, me or the jellybeans. I literally couldn’t wait to pull the jellybean out of the bag so we could start singing – of course I was also excited to be using one of the new design jellybeans,

handmade by the amazing Kate Murray (and on sale in the jellybean shop) but the squeals of happiness from small children and smiles from their adults made me realise yes, term has started and it was all fantastic from there.  Every single class all week was full to the brim (and sometimes beyond), but everyone was just so great to spend time with, every session was brilliant fun.  Adults sang loudly and proudly, babies giggled and the children responded enthusiastically to everything.   I was able to bring my guitar again now my back is healed – I thought I was the only one who had missed it, but from the reaction of the children, everyone missed it.

Yes, I’ve got my ‘mojo’ back and to celebrate I’ve been out doing the other thing I am very good at – shopping – so look out everyone, multicoloured fish are on their way,

and new ribbon bracelets and mirrors and, I could go on but I don’t want to spoil the surprises, you’ll just have to come and join us wriggling and giggling!

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Blowing away the cobwebs

As I woke up this morning, the sun was streaming through the curtains (honestly!) encouraging me in my desire to get everyone out of the house – can you believe none of us have really left the house since Christmas Eve apart from my birthday outing to Costa Coffee in the pouring rain? 

Time to unplug Curly blonde from the Kindle, Small blonde from Mooshi Monsters and Tall blonde from the Ipod.  I won’t pretend this was a popular decision, indeed we left Tall blonde behind because ‘I’ve got loads of revision to do Mum’ but flask and cake packed us hardy souls headed off to the coast.

Can you believe it, hardly anyone else was there?

 

Just hardy dog walkers and one lone surfer. 

Curly blonde immediately got a bit grumpy because I hadn’t packed the body boards or trunks but soon cheered up when he saw his cricket bat and an empty beach. 

So what did we do?  I walked and thought and picked up shells.  Small blonde ran up and down the dunes reinacting D Day landings (his latest obsession).  Curly and Mr blonde played beach cricket over and over again and it was just wonderful.

Before we went home we even ate Christmas Cake sitting in the very windy picnic area and we were happy, happy, happy.

 

 

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Baby Sing Christmas

Maybe it is because I have a birthday on December 29th but I’ll hold my hands up high and say ‘I love Christmas music’. I honestly enjoy singing the songs and like a child really don’t see why I have to wait until December to start singing my favourites!   I was therefore, very excited when I was sent an advance copy of Music For Baby’s latest CD Baby Sing Christmas and I’m delighted to be able to say it was even better than I hoped it would be.

For those of you who are not familiar with Music For Baby, it is a business created by professional musicians who want to create the ‘perfect musical soundtrack to their baby’s life’.  The range offered by the record label is growing rapidly and currently includes perfect, simple Acoustic Lullabies, Jazz Nursery Rhymes, Sing-along Songs and even Prenatal Music. 

Musically, this CD is beautifully, possibly deceptively simple.  The vast majority of tracks feature just one female vocalist and an acoustic guitar and it is this simplicity and intelligence which makes it stand out.  Too often, it would seem the mere mention of the word ‘Christmas’ encourages excess of all types. Music For Baby have wisely let the beauty of these songs shine through, a decision that this veteran of 11 years of christmas music making with toddlers frantically shaking bells to ‘Jingle Bells’ much appreciates. 

However, please do not think this is a CD that only adults will love.  It appeals on so many different levels. I have watched my youngest child relax and hum quietly along while listening to ‘Silent Night’ and I’ve listened to all three children loudly singing ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’ together while eating supper.  The subtly of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You‘ made me realise what a gorgeous song it actually is and I loved singing along with ‘Let It Snow’ and ‘Silent Night’.  I got goosebumps (and a tear in my eye) listening to ‘Away In A Manger’ while my children thoroughly enjoyed ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer‘ and ‘Winter Wonderland’

Last year, as a family we choose the Glee Christmas Album as the soundtrack to our Christmas.  This year, it has already been suggested by my eldest son that we have this ‘more subtle’ CD and I couldn’t agree more.

 

DISCLAIMER:

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Baby Sing Christmas.  All words and opinions are my own.

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Not as easy as it looks!

This week, I was joined by Rowena from Rhythm Express Music to record some songs, or should I say, tracks, for a forthcoming lullaby CD which she is putting together.  No problem, thought I, how hard can it be?  I do, after all, spend most of my time singing in public and am confident that I sound ok – apart from during the 5th class on a Thursday but that’s a another story.  I can even be found singing happily away with the jellybeans on YouTube!  It was, however, really, really, really, really hard and absolutely exhausting!

She arrived with some fantastic equipment and turned our playroom into a mobile recording studio within minutes meaning it was time to start.  I pressed my imaginary brave button and started and what a shock!  I could hear my own voice as everyone else hears it and it wasn’t sounding pretty or even tuneful!  I have known for a long time that my soprano voice is no longer with me due to a lack of practice and care on my part.  Gone are the days when I can reach the high C’s by just breathing more deeply, but in my heart of hearts, I still thought I could sing the sad Countess’ aria from the Marriage of Figaro and be note perfect with expression, just as I did in my university audition all those years ago.  One look at Rowena’s face however, confirmed the truth – I was struggling with middle C and auto tuning would not be able to save me unless I could relax and breathe.  After what felt like 9 million attempts at ‘Rock A Bye Baby’ she took pity on me and we moved onto other lullabies and songs and it did get easier, but would I want to spend all day, every day recording music?  Not on your life!  My back ached from breathing so deeply, my feet were sore from standing for 5 hours but we did manage to record 28 songs and I’m very relieved to say initial playbacks are not too bad – fancy a listen?  If all goes to plan, there will be a Rhythm Express Music Lullaby CD and 2 CDs full of Jellybeans Music songs available by the end of October.  It was all very exciting but it has left me with a dilemma to solve – do I settle for the voice I have now, or do I try and get ‘my’ voice back before I’m too old?  I suspect I know the answer because I can’t believe I’ll never get to be part of a choir singing ‘The Messiah’ again but I’m going to have to work hard!

PS  Tobias came home from school and just rocked it!  Clearly he is going to need keeping away from the X Factor when he grows up.

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