Fruity Sprinkles

Midi and Mini were out of bed and eating breakfast before Killer-Dirty-Stopout-Cat got back home this morning (0700hrs). I appear to have broken Maxi from last night’s cycle ride, though: I had to wake her up at 0830hrs. I can’t remember the last time she slept past 0600hrs, regardless of the time she’s eventually fallen asleep. Midi’s throat is no better. So with 1, possibly 2 minxes ill, I checked the met forecast and suggested places to visit.

strawberry punnet“I absolutely do not ever want to visit a boring old stone circle”, kiboshed Maxi. Oh. That’s 10 planned outdoor trips put on hold till next week, then… I checked the weather: gorgeous. Checked the fridge: empty. Time to go pick some stobbies (strawberries) then!

I like going to PYO fruit farms. Well, I like going to them when the memory stobby pickersof the last visit has faded. In my head I imagine the minxes patiently selecting Grade 1 ripe, delicious, perfect fruit, then gently plucking it and carefully nestling it in a punnet, to be eaten daintily later. The reality is me furiously trying to keep 6 clompy feet in between fruit bushes (as opposed to *on* fruit bushes) and 30 little fingers desperately grabbing at anything remotely red-coloured, whether it’s a fleck of red on unripe green, or a smear of red amongst hairy, mouldy white. *Usually* said unsuitable fruits are jammed under normal fruit, to lurk there until after they’ve been paid for, or occasionally shoved into defiant little mouths, despite me indoctrinating them that this is stealing.

stobsI keep going back because if you go at the end of the season when the fruits are scarcer and it takes longer to pick, then you get an hour’s outdoor activity that engrosses them, and a (paid for!) healthy fruit snack at the end, for less than most soft play centres and the like.

Today, it worked a treat! I didn’t see the minxes eat a single stobby, and they mostly picked brilliant fruits. Even if they were a weird mix of apple- and currant-sized…

gooseberryAfter filling a punnet each, we walked to the other side of the farm to find and pick gooseberries. Despite directions, we struggled to find them. Well, I can recognise lots of fruit bushes from a distance, but gooseberry…? And we were all a bit mislead when we reached the red gooseberries first. Yep – red. Gooseberries. Who knew?! We merrily set about picking a large handful for The Boss. It took me a fair while to realise that I have no idea at all whether a gooseberry is ripe or not. Hmmm. We’ll see if he complains…

Midi really started to flag (sore throat still), so we walked back to the car. Well, we *were*, till she spotted the go karts and zip wire, and raced off to have a play. Maxi played happily with her, and Mini raced around the 2 storey fort with me.

Don't get a job designing garden furniture, darling

Don’t get a job designing garden furniture, darling

After half an hour of racing and climbing and sliding and zipping and trampolining, the haar rolled in from the coast, so we set off for home. Nice and sunny here! Maxi made herself a strange seat in the garden and read in the shade. Despite being Calpolled to the eyeballs, Midi decided to be extremely obstinate and awkward. I’d just had a great time (!) shoving a week’s summer shop into our little fridge, so found it a doddle winkling my 6 yo out of her tv seat and shoving her out the door to the library. Where she suddenly turned into a whirling dervish.

sprinklerI wonder if the change in mien had anything to do with me promising to unearth the sprinkler…? It was such a hot day and our front lawn was yellow. Living in Scotland, there’s no hosepipe ban here, so I let the kids jump around the sprinkler on the front lawn as I moved it all over the place. There were very few rules: Don’t Get Mummy Wet (never broken – they know the fun will instantly end), and Don’t Sit on the Water Jets (broken every 10 seconds).

I meant to cook up a tasty, nutritious dinner, but let the girls scream their heads off for 45 minutes instead. When The Boss got home and could help keep an eye on them, we bunged pizza in the oven, corn-on-the-cob in the microwave, got the kids to shell peas (hey, that counts as a craft activity! 10 bonus points!) and ate outside. Picnic dinner was followed by cherry and yogurt pudding, then being allowed to play in the garden till 2030hrs because they were playing together so kindly and quietly.

But don’t go thinking that the day ended on that note of sisterly bliss: 10 minutes ago Maxi was threatening to kill herself because Midi wouldn’t return the library book that she wanted to read. One thing this household is never short of is hysteria.

Wester Hardmuir

Burning off a teeny, tiny bit of energy

16 August 2012

The day before (15th) the minxes had their first play-date of the entire summer holidays. They enjoyed it, I enjoyed catching up with S, but I didn’t understand why she was so apologetic about not meeting up in the preceding 7 weeks; I think it’s great that we’ve all been too busy having fun with our own families to meet up! I’m dreading the day next week when Maxi Minx is joined at school by Midi, and wish the summer holidays were longer.

They were as delicious as you can imagine with clotted cream and freshly baked scones

As well as promising to have play dates, at the beginning of the summer holidays I’d also promised the girls that we’d go strawberry-picking. Last year we spent a lot of June at Wester Hardmuir fruit farm, near Nairn, picking the most juicy, aromatic strawberries I’ve ever tasted. This year, the season didn’t really seem to get going until very recently. When I looked back in my blog to see when we were picking ‘stobs’ (Mini’s word for strawberries), I realised that this past year I’m no longer an L-plated stay-at-home-mum. Last year I wouldn’t have dared go to Wester Hardmuir with just 2 adults amongst 5 boisterous kids, but this year I thought nothing of it. Maybe because I had a plan: set off after breakfast, give the minxes a big, treat snack, let the little blighters tire themselves out at the playground and on the trampolines, then, when they were on their last legs, let them go and pick fruit, before driving home for lunch. Easy! Sorted! (And it worked – only Mini nibbled a few ‘stobbies’, and all 3 snored in the car on the way home for lunch. Mission accomplished!)

Spot the Ball

In fact we had 3 adults for 5 children, as the minxes’ friends Nana came too, so it was easy. Midi Minx flexed her ‘caring big sister’ muscles as she babied Mini on the slide in the Wester Hardmuir playground. Mini wanted to follow Midi everywhere but was too frightened to go down the big, steep, black pipe by herself. So Midi sat at the top, persuaded her little sister to sit in front of her, then hugged her tight as they slid down together. It was so touching! They really adore each other. I’m dreading Midi going to school, but splitting up that partnership is going to be a bit traumatic for them, too.

Boing!

baby blowing trampoline

Blown away by Mini Minx

Today wasn’t raining (hooray!) so we decided to get outdoors.

As The Boss has never got to Wester Hardmuir yet, we went there to see if we could pick nice vegetables. Yes, it’s more expensive than the supermarket, but as I said before, the extra pays for entertaining the kids.

All 3 girls enjoyed picking strawberries from hanging baskets this time. Maxi and Midi Minx even managed to (mostly) pick ripe, red ones. It was Mini who insisted on grabbing or sitting on the greyest, mankiest ones… I stuck her back in the big Peruvian Pan-Piper sling (my beautiful Girasol No. 26) and shamelessly fed her strawberry after strawberry. What the hell – none of the girls had eaten any last time or this time.

In a bid to tire out the little blighters, we let them loose on the playpark again. This time, with The Boss here, I could have a go on the trampolines, too. What a hoot! Who needs a gym?! The girls’ favourite game was to lie down and let me bounce them in the air. It definitely made a huge impression on Midi, who declared how much she loved me for hours afterwards.

We treated ourselves to Eating Lunch Out (McKenzie & Cruikshanks), but with The Boss barely able to hold his eyes open, he took a snoozing Mini home and I ran the other 2 ragged at the local swing-park. They’re all dozing now.

trampoline

Trampoline or hover-plate?

Casting a Flying Spell