Save the Stag Beetle

Today, we were lucky enough to find a female Stag Beetle in our garden! Living in a very Urban environment, with a small, nature unfriendly garden, this was a very exciting discovery for us. The kids at first thought it was a Stink Beetle, which do have some similarities, but generally are much much smaller. So it was great for us to look at it and discuss.. as well as discuss that the Stag Beetle is endangered here in the UK and that we must do everything to protect it. (See our video below, too cute!).

Female Stag Beetle - exploring nature and wildlife with kids

Mike Strick recently posted THIS on Facebook and I shared it with my children and my friends (please visit this link and share with your friends and family):

Every year in early summer, the stag beetles emerge to find mates. They have spent the first five to seven years of their life underground as larvae and now have just a few short weeks to live as adults.

Every year I’m shocked by how many people fail to recognise these icons of British wildlife, and am saddened by how many beetles end their lives crushed underfoot. Stag beetles have been around virtually unchanged for millions of years, and are not equipped to survive in an urban environment. Their numbers have declined drastically over the past few decades and the species is seriously endangered.

If you see one on a pavement, please move it out of harm’s way. Despite being large (the male can be up to three inches long), they are placid and harmless provided you don’t stick a finger between the male’s large ‘antlers’, which can inflict quite a strong pinch. Pick them up gently with finger and thumb on either side of the thorax (the middle part of the body, behind the head) and move them into a garden or similar.

Please keep an eye open for them. In flight in the early evening they are phenomenal, flying in an upright and rather ungainly style, making a noise like a small fighter plane. They tend to make a pretty uncontrolled landing, often ending up on pavements, which is where you’re most likely to see them and where they need your help to get to safety. The recent high winds are probably giving them trouble, meaning that they could end up in particularly tricky situations.

If you have children, it would be a big help if you could make sure they know about stag beetles too. Kids probably come across them more frequently than their parents. If they know what they are and what to do, the beetles are more likely to survive the encounter!

These are spectacular animals. We really have nothing else like them. It would be a shame if we lost them forever.

And then… we were lucky enough to discover……

Easy Yoghurt Pot Muffins – Baking with Kids

The kids love to bake.. and I do let them have a go (and totally mess up our kitchen.. hehehe – but really, the mess is brief and totally worth it in terms of the life skills that they gain from this). Today my kids share with you our Yoghurt Pot Muffin recipe, that is super quick and easy to make. It is a staple in our house that you can easily vary to suit “what you have in”.

Easy Yoghurt Pot Muffin Recipe - fun and easy cupcakes to bake with kids

Easy Yoghut Pot Muffins – Ingredients

  • 1 Yoghurt pot (any flavour approx 125g)
  • 3 pots of plain flour
  • 1 pot of sugar
  • 2/3 pot of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • OPTIONAL – (frozen) berries, choc chips, nuts… whatever takes your fancy!

Bake at 180C until golden.

Now watch the video and see how my kids make these!

Easy Yoghurt Pot Muffins

Happy Birthday Play Dough Activity

Today is all about BIRTHDAYS! Have you got a little one with a Birthday coming up? Are you looking for something fun, but simple and BIRTHDAY RELATED To do? There are lots of Happy Birthday Activities out there.. but one that we love best is a simple Happy Birthday Play Dough activity – you can make your own play dough quickly and easily.. use your child’s birthday cake candles (or buy a special set to play with), add some “sprinkles” and you are off… lots of playdough birthday cake fun!Happy Birthday Play Dough Activity - is someone having a Birthday in your house Set up this easy peasy play dough activity in no time and let the kids have fun fun fun.

 

To make our playdough, we use:

  • plain flour
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • cream of tartar
  • boiling water
  • Food colouring of choice

Get full instructions for making your “No cook” playdough over at The Imagination Tree.

Check out our little video about Play Dough Birthday Cakes more here!

Arundel Castle – A Wonderful Day Out with Kids!

Personally, I love the school holidays. I know that for many people, the holidays are not the easiest of times – especially when there are work commitments and many mid week ours to fill. Luckily, my work is flexible enough, that school holidays are an opportunity for us to DO STUFF. YAY! Especially the things were we can go a little bit further afield. Living near London, we have access to lots of fabulous activities IN LONDON, but sometimes it is nice to go further afield. Today, we were invited along to Arundel Castle – to experience the castle, the gardens and their Summer events – this Bank Holiday – the Castle Siege! The first of a fantastic range of events bringing HISTORY TO LIFE.

Arundel Castle 1

As we walked the encampments, we were entertained by the piper, we got learn about ferrets and potions, try on some replica armour and see first hand what the weapons of the 15th Century looked like. The children, got to see, touch and lift tools. They saw cooking over open fires, and people at their handicrafts.

Arundel Castle - a wonderful day out

The highlight and most memorable part the knights in action – “It is 1475 and Edward IV is King of England. Once again tensions have arisen between England and France. Seeing an opportunity a French force has crossed the channel, seized the Kings Ordinance (artillery) and surrounded the castle at Arundel.” Complete with cannons, archers and knights in full body armour.

It was exciting and spectacular and I know will stay with the kids for weeks to come.

Arundel Castle - the beautiful gardens

Personally, I was enchanted by the flower gardens. They were unexpected (we didn’t know too much about Arundel Castle before going) and opened in front of us like a secret garden. Beautiful blooms, quirky details and lots of space to run. Simply beautiful.

Afterwards, we spent some time exploring the castle (the library is stunning) and finally admitted defeat – after 3 hours at the castle, we were ready to go home (the kids are still young), but could EASILY have stayed twice as long.

Simply wonderful.

We thank Arundel Castle for inviting us along today and showing us what they have on offer.  There are so many more events on over the Summer months, that we really want to go back again (and again).

 

Click to Subscribe to our YouTube Channel today

Disclaimer – we received a complimentary Family Gold Ticket to the castle.

She is a Tom Boy, He is a Sissy. Why is that ok?!

Sissy vs tom boy - why is it ok for a girl to like boy things, but not ok for a boy to like girl things

Boy Girl Twins via Deposit Photo

The Tom Boy

We have a little girl in our school that LOVES to climb trees, chase the boys and play pirates. Everyone says how fun she is, what a great little Tom Boy. They indulge in her love for Spiderman and her want of cars.

The Sissy

We also have a little boy at our school who LOVES to dress up as Elsa, adores his baby doll and loves playing with the girls. He doesn’t like fighting the boys much. The other boys call him a sissy. They tell him he can’t use the boys’ toilets as he is a GIRL.

I ask you, why is that social acceptable behavior? Why is it ok (if not grand) for a girl to act in (supposedly) boy ish ways – to love trucks, and mud and fights? To prefer pirates over princesses and mermaids? Why is it NOT ok for a boy, to act in a girl ish way?

Where did these 4yrs old boys get the notion that it is wrong for another 4yrs old boy to have other interests? How does a 4 year old boy even know that “other boys” don’t dress up or play with dolls or have tea parties? How does a 4 year old boy even notice this difference, and worse still act on it in a negative way?

It appears that we live in a society, though outwardly equal, in that it is ok for a GIRL TO ASPIRE TO BE A MAN, but it is NOT OK for a BOY TO ASPIRE TO BE A GIRL. Why is our society still implying that the male gender is something better? Why do boys have to stay boys? And why is a kind, caring and nurturing boy not something to aspire to?

Who says that “girl ish things” are for girls only? Don’t father’s change the baby’s nappies these days? Don’t fathers help their children get dressed? Don’t fathers also go and do the shopping and cook the family meals? In my house they do. And in many of my friends’ houses they do.

I am saddened and dismayed about this.. and it is something that I hope to teach my children differently. We can all do anything we want. We can all do supposedly boy ish things and we can all do supposedly girl ish things. There is no “one activity” for one gender and another for another. They both enjoy both equally.

Yes,  there is a gender division as a rule.. Boys GENERALLY prefer cars and girls GENERALLY prefer dolls. But the thing to remember, is that when on or the other wants to do something that is GENERALLY speaking different, we let them and support them and accept the fact that we are different.

We live in a modern, tolerant society. My children’s school is brilliant at supporting different cultures, skin tones and social backgrounds. They are great at teaching understanding of disabilities. I really hope that they are able to embrace this difference too.

This boy in our school –

He is a child.

A child who is kind.

A child who is curious.

A child that likes to play.

A child that likes to imagine.

A child that likes to have fun.

A child that likes to learn.

He is a well behaved child.

He is a gorgeous child.

A child that eats and sleeps like every other child.

He is a child growing up.

Don’t take his childhood away, by making him feel bad about being (just a little bit) different.

Different is good. Different should be supported. Different is what makes the world exciting, unique and a wonderful place.