SWIMMING UNDER WATERFALLS.

We decided we wanted to go on an adventure to a waterfall, so we headed to the Pontneddfechan in Glyn-Neath, South Wales. We parked at the waterfall centre and headed onto the waterfall trail to Sgwd Gwladus fall.
It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the fall along the river on a well marked route but we had fun along the river stopping to explore and walk over fallen logs, our adventure lasted about 3 hours with a lengthly stop to swim at the fall.

Here’s how we got on..

20140531-103239.jpg

20140531-103248.jpg

20140531-103257.jpg

20140531-103307.jpg

20140531-103321.jpg

20140531-103339.jpg

20140531-103354.jpg

20140531-103404.jpg

20140531-103414.jpg

20140531-103432.jpg

20140531-103525.jpg

20140531-103546.jpg

20140531-103534.jpg
It was a lovely walk with lots more to be seen. Paths can be very muddy and slippery during and after rainfall so care should be taken.

LILO SURFING & EXTREME BUGGYING

20140528-150744.jpg

So for another day the heavens have opened and it’s rained non stop, so we decided to head out and take advantage of the weather with a lilo & an old buggy in tow…

Lilo surfing & extreme buggying were on the agenda!!

The kids were prepared to get wet and muddy, we found a steep grassy bank with an adjoining Tarmac hill away from traffic and we were off!!!

We came home with a few scrapes and bruises which were to be expected but we had a fab time..

Here’s how we got on…
We found our grassy bank and started by blowing up our lilo

20140528-150846.jpg
and then the extreme fun began….with a run up sometimes they landed on the lilo…

20140528-151011.jpgAnd other times they missed it!

20140528-151216.jpg
Even the littlest members of the group took turns..

20140528-151336.jpg

20140528-151346.jpgAnd moaned whilst dragging the lilo back up..

20140528-151513.jpgThe older kids mastered the art of landing..

20140528-151609.jpgWe then set about with an old buggy taking turns to speed down the Tarmac to a halt at the grassy bank at the bottom!

20140528-151727.jpg
And as with learning the art of landing on the lilo they also had to learn the art of remaining in the buggy until it got to the grass…. We had a few minor war wounds but a lot of fun 🙂

20140528-151911.jpg
Please be aware that this can be dangerous but what’s childhood without a few risks and a lot of pain induced belly laughs?

DUVET DAY AT THE BEACH

20140527-194039.jpg

So with the lurgy being in the house for the past few days we decided to take our sickbed to the beach! After all fresh air is the best medicine of all…

It worked a treat.

We took two storage boxes, a piece of wood, some bedding and an air bed….

With a spot of reading, some snoozing in the sea air & lashings of chicken soup everyone felt well rested and a lot better so we finished the day with a pillow fight.

20140527-194139.jpg

20140527-194149.jpgIt’s surprising what a bit of bed rest can do…before long we were feeling fighting fit again…

20140527-194249.jpg
We did some rock pooling and found some false teeth!

20140527-194338.jpg

20140527-194403.jpg

20140527-194356.jpgAnd what slumber party would not be complete without a pillow fight?
So that’s what we did…

20140527-194532.jpg

20140527-194544.jpg

20140527-194553.jpgIt was a fab day and we left with plenty of sand between our toes and in the bed 🙂

20140527-194642.jpg

DODGY TICKERS & LOVE… LIVING WITH A HEART CONDITION

20140525-194101.jpgLiving with a heart condition…

It’s not something we ever imagined would grace us & certainly not something that we could imagine living with so flippantly and accommodatingly… but we do.
Some things can’t be changed, you can choose to wrap your children in cotton wool, pander to every tear that’s shed and succumb to giving in and sitting back for the absurd reasons of ‘what ifs’ & ‘you never knows’ or you can dust them off before they’ve even fell, let them see that ‘they can’ and crack on with life.

Our aim is to crack on..

That’s not to say we’re not responsible or we lack in sympathy, it’s just a recognition that you can let life consume you and stop you in your tracks or you can grab it full on and live each day like it could be your last.

Mila,5, is our reason for living in this way.

Mila came into the world on the 28th of December 2008, nestled between Christmas & the New Year… She was a healthy & beautiful baby born in the middle of the night, by sunrise I’d spent most of her first few hours in the world staring at her and examining every piece of her, her fingers, her toes, kissing her lips on a loop and smoothing the lack of hair she had. She was perfect.

She was a content baby, covered in love by all her brothers and sisters. She slept well, ate well and wasn’t a sicky baby, she smiled at the right stage, held her head up, rolled over & sat up, all her milestones were met and celebrated…she was a completely normal baby and a joy to have.

At three months I noticed her pulse flickering in her neck like something poking rapidly from beneath her skin, it prompted me to feel her chest which in turn I felt her heart pounding very fast. Unsure if it was normal and not remembering it in our 4 other babies I rang the NHS Direct who assured me that babies hearts beat considerably fast in comparison to adults and reassured me it was nothing to worry about… So I didn’t. I’m not a doctor so my knowledge of heartbeats was zero and I took comfort in their reassurance and put it to the back of my mind.

But i noticed it happening again, twice, so I visited the GP whom after checking her over determined that she was normal and maybe I was just a little fretful as a new mother. He was right, she was fine as each time we got to the doctors her heart was beating normally and I was indeed a little fretful.

Still trying to put it to the back of my mind it happened again at nearly 6 months old, I could see her neck flickering so I decided to take her straight to the GP without making an appointment……and that’s where it all started.

I’m not even sure how we got to the hospital that day, I just remember driving her to the GP to get her checked out and the next moment being in the emergency room at the hospital with hook ups and wires and what seemed like the entire hospital watching over us. It was determined there and then in the blink of an eye that things were not right. Milas heart rate was beating at a dangerously high level of 350bpm instead of the normal 120 & she was teetering on the brink of heart failure…at just 6 months old it was likely that if her heart rate wasn’t reduced she would have a heart attack & all we could do was stand by & watch as everyone battled to correct it.
They tried various manoeuvres on her, threw her into iced water & tried several attempts at stopping her heart with Adenosine and restarting it in the hope of obtaining a normal rhythm, nothing worked, at best her heart would stop beating and restart normally for around 3 seconds before shooting back up to a life threatening level… after all avenues were exhausted & every cardiologist within the hospital was summonsed without joy we were transferred to a high dependency heart unit 30 miles away still aware that at any moment her heart could just decide to stop, give up….
Here they continued to battle to stabilise her heart with different drugs being directly fed into her body via a drip, I thought we were watching her die & ironically as life threateningly poorly as she was on the inside she remained with a smile on the outside, whilst being poked & prodded, having bloods taken and being examined, with wires and drips she still smiled, …eventually after around 6 hours of battling and drugs finally absorbing into her body her heart rate returned to an acceptable level but we spent the next week in the high dependency unit as the cardiologist tried different drug concoctions to keep her stable, during this time she remained on monitors and was drip fed drugs as her heart continued to flit in and out of the danger zone.

20140525-194126.jpgIn those few days she was diagnosed with ‘PJRT Supra Ventricular Tachycardia’….something that the doctors explained is often a common thing for babies to have and be unaware of and mostly grow out of it by the time they are a year old. We were also told that due to the aggressiveness & stubbornness of Milas heart rate and it’s difficulty to control her prognosis would be a permanent condition only correctable with surgery but until that time she would be controlled by beta blockers. To be fair it was a little hard to take in, I thought beta blockers were for old people not a 6 month old baby! But with faith in the doctors we went with the flow.
We understood that the physical structure of her heart was normal, which was good, but the electrical wiring (the pulses) would get confused and fire the wrong way causing her heart to go into overdrive. It was controllable & once big enough she could undergo surgery to try and ‘rewire’ her.

A week later having had training on how to check her heart rate and how to do different manoeuvres to try and restart her heart we were sent home. We had instructions to listen to her heart often during the day and should we establish she was beating too fast we were to monitor her and should it beat too fast for over 20 minutes we were to ring an ambulance….so we cracked on with life and in the next year we ordered ambulances like taxis! We were lucky to go a week without an ambulance or a trip to A&E to help her. It took a while to establish the right medicine mix for her and each time she grew a little her heart would kick off to let us know it needed an increase to keep it stable. We learnt to live with it and take it in our stride. She wasn’t disabled, her mind was still intact and she was physically fit, she just had a dodgy ticker and for that we were thankful and still are.

20140525-194251.jpg
She lives life completely normally & dances whenever she can…

20140525-195038.jpg
We still live life and crack on, this little lady is a strong and resilient person, she plays, she learns, and she climbs mountains faster and more enthusiastically than I ever could….

Her heart is still broken but it exudes unbelievable amounts of love every single day….
the love that she shows for life even when that life looked like it was slipping away from us has taught us how precious things are and how everything can change in the blink of an eye.

20140525-195136.jpg

20140525-195201.jpg
Every night I ask her ‘what do you want to do tomorrow Mila?’
We always live for today and know that tomorrow is not promised, but we still look forward to it because Mila does.

She has taught us to embrace a little bit of magic & make believe in the moment..

20140525-195340.jpg
Living with a heart condition is what you make of it, we don’t have bags of cotton wool here, we get by on ‘you can’s’, beta blockers & love.

MAKING LAVA LAMPS

We wanted to make a lava so collected together the things we would need…

A plastic bottle
Cooking oil
Alkazeltzers
Food colouring

20140525-095033.jpg
Add vegetable oil to fill 2 thirds of your bottle.

20140525-095139.jpg
add water and leave about an inch at the top of the bottle.

20140525-095217.jpg
Add a few drops of food colouring, wait for the colouring to break through the oil to the water
.

20140525-095435.jpg
add about a quarter of an alka seltzer tablet to the bottle and watch… (make sure you leave the lid off as pressure will build up) add more tablets as and when desired or just pop the lid on and swish back and forth for a cool effect.

20140525-095543.jpg

100+ HALF TERM BOREDOM BUSTING IDEAS

Digging in the archives I’ve selected over 100 different boredom busting ideas for the kids to try out during the school holidays… Indoors & out, sunshine or rain, here’s my choice to keep the kids entertained…
1.Make your own fairy doors..

20140524-142847-52127071.jpg2..Make a box dolls house using samples collected from B&Q… Be your own interior designer!

20140524-142953-52193922.jpg3..Make your own pine cone hedgehog pets.

20140524-143119-52279483.jpg
4..Have an indoor campout..if you haven’t got a pop up tent then build an under table den..

20140524-143223-52343988.jpg5..Make donuts for the fairies using Cheerios & icing.

20140524-143314-52394977.jpg6..Take a train ride.

20140524-143411-52451380.jpg7..Set up a marble hunt in the woods.

20140524-143455-52495007.jpg8.Make your own Tree folk.

20140524-143534-52534111.jpg9..Have a cake decorating competition, buy value cakes for approx 60p each and decorate with icing and sweets. The winner of ours got a half an hour extra bedtime pass.

20140524-143737-52657543.jpg10..Make a milk carton bird house/feeder.

20140524-143822-52702010.jpg11..Tin can lanterns. Fill an empty tin with water and freeze, once frozen carefully use a hammer and nails to make your own patterns, once finished run under warm water to release the ice and pop in a tea light. ( best suited to older children, take care of sharp edges)

20140524-144052-52852302.jpg12..make a chocolate brownie, creme fraiche and fruit pizza.

20140524-144204-52924970.jpg13.Watch trains passing.

20140524-144233-52953812.jpg14..dig for hidden money at the beach (draw a square and bury coins to be found)

20140524-144336-53016676.jpg15..play elastics.

20140524-144411-53051660.jpg16..make a Reading hammock with a long piece of fabric.

20140524-144459-53099185.jpg17..Take a boat ride.

20140524-144533-53133981.jpg18..watch planes from the end of a runway..

20140524-144703-53223056.jpg19..Design your own clothes and use your phone camera to help you try them on.

20140524-144751-53271080.jpg20..Make a fabric or rope swing.

20140524-144820-53300801.jpg21..Become an outdoor artist.

20140524-144851-53331811.jpg22..Go stream fishing with nets and jars.

20140524-144932-53372672.jpg23..Build boats with wood offcuts from a saw mill and a bag of nails.

20140524-145020-53420619.jpg24..play in puddles.

20140524-145049-53449167.jpg25..Have a wheel barrow race.

20140524-145117-53477351.jpg26..Make some toilet tube tunnels.

20140524-145150-53510777.jpg27..make a jar fairy house lantern

20140524-145224-53544384.jpg28..make a matchbox art box

20140524-145316-53596448.jpg29..make matchstick aeroplanes.

20140524-145354-53634054.jpg30..have a mini marshmallow tealight toasting session.

20140524-145455-53695959.jpg31..Have a look at some art and try recreating it.

20140524-145534-53734880.jpg32..Experiment with eggs.

20140524-145606-53766062.jpg33..make an outdoor Lego Playstation.

20140524-145640-53800436.jpg34..Make an outdoor art Playstation.

20140524-145712-53832026.jpg35..have a mud tea party.

20140524-145758-53878648.jpg36..make an Elmer elephant from a milk carton.

20140524-145844-53924841.jpg37..make a woodland tripwire course.

20140524-145919-53959344.jpg38..get the kids to wash up.

20140524-145951-53991777.jpg39..make some giant Mikado using breadsticks and melted chocolate.

20140524-150033-54033834.jpg40..make an outdoor Reading area using a bed canopy or sheet.

20140524-150139-54099484.jpg41..put on a puppet show with your own lollipop stick puppets.

20140524-150217-54137482.jpg42..sail some cork boats

20140524-150250-54170660.jpg43..make an outdoor treasure table to put things you collect whilst out.

20140524-150335-54215372.jpg44..make a milk carton watering can.

20140524-150410-54250971.jpg45..bury your own time capsule.

20140524-150443-54283555.jpg46..have a kite retrieval challenge, make some simple kites with paper and string and throw them into the trees for the kids to climb and retrieve.

20140524-150559-54359122.jpg47..make a ribbon wind sock using a plastic milk carton.

20140524-150656-54416958.jpg48..make your own junk band.

20140524-150728-54448207.jpg49..create your own Man V food tea.

20140524-150811-54491237.jpg50..decorate some paper lanterns (3pack at Poundland)

20140524-150907-54547276.jpg51..make a sheet den by hanging a broom or stick in a tree using strong and hanging a sheet over it.

20140524-151012-54612250.jpg52..make you own picnic pots using jars.

20140524-151102-54662194.jpg53..try your own flower petal art.

20140524-151135-54695073.jpg54..make some fabric fairy wings.

20140524-151233-54753584.jpg55..make a mountain out if a molehill.

20140524-151315-54795639.jpg56..discover old treasure (you can buy old coins on eBay to drop to be discovered!)

20140524-151418-54858691.jpg57..make fun shaped pizzas.

20140524-151552-54952293.jpg58..do a penny search in the grass.

20140524-151636-54996741.jpg59..make some salt art bottle using salt and chalk.

20140524-152205-55325414.jpg60..make carrier bag kites

IMG_3861.JPG61..Make breadstick sparklers

IMG_3831.JPG62..Hunt for autumn colours

IMG_3832.JPG63..make a conker abacus

IMG_3833.JPG64..carve stick toadstools

IMG_3834.JPG65..go rainy day lilo surfing

IMG_3835.JPG66..make an autumn crown

IMG_3837.JPG67..make paper doiley ballerinas

IMG_3836.JPG68..make limpet shell mushrooms

IMG_3838.JPG69..make spooky eyes from toilet roll tubes

IMG_3839.JPG70..make an autumn lantern

IMG_3840.JPG71..build an under table bear lair

IMG_3841.JPG72..make some stick stump robins

IMG_3842.JPG73..Have a picnic supper before bed

IMG_3843.JPG74..go on an alphabet hunt

IMG_3844.JPG75..make your own beach art with a rake

IMG_3845.JPG76..make an under table house den with a sheet

IMG_3846.JPG77..Have fun with an empty picture frame

IMG_3847.JPG78..go waterbutt rolling

IMG_3848.JPG79..have an upside down back to front dinner

IMG_3849.JPG80..have teddy bear porridge

IMG_3850.JPG81..make a colour wheel with leaves

IMG_3851.JPG82..make some hazelnut owls

IMG_3852.JPG83..play in the park in the dark

IMG_3853.JPG84..make a homework station

IMG_3854.JPG85..take your duvets to the cinema

IMG_3855.JPG86..create a themed bath

IMG_3856.JPG87..do some extreme stairway boating (caution needed!)

IMG_3857.JPG88..Set up a bed outside for a duvet day!

IMG_3858.JPG89..Watch finding memo from a boat

IMG_3859.JPG90..search out fireflies, secretly splash glow sticks in the trees

IMG_3860.JPG91..make a fruit pizza

IMG_3862.JPG92..make your artwork come alive with playdough

IMG_3863.JPG93..play glow in the dark swingball

IMG_3864.JPG94..have a half term budget

IMG_3865.JPG95..become housework hereos

IMG_3866.JPG96..make toilet roll poos

IMG_3867.JPG97..build a rope swing

IMG_3868.JPG98..have an autumn picnic

IMG_3869.JPG99..play shadows

IMG_3870.JPG100..search for skeleton leaves

IMG_3871.JPG101 have tea on the sofa!

IMG_3873.JPG

LOOK CLOSELY, WHAT’S THAT?

20140524-130840-47320289.jpg
A fun game to play with the kids, set them the challenge of identifying close up photos you have taken of things around the house, alternatively give them a camera or a phone with a camera and set them the task of taking their own photos for you to identify….
Here’s some that we’ve taken, see how many you can get!
(Answers at the bottom, no peeking!!)
1…

20140524-131319-47599589.jpg
2..

20140524-131339-47619259.jpg
3..

20140524-131355-47635289.jpg
4..

20140524-131413-47653930.jpg
5..

20140524-131431-47671112.jpg
6..

20140524-131448-47688482.jpg
7..

20140524-131524-47724701.jpg
8..

20140524-131547-47747774.jpg
9..

20140524-131613-47773272.jpg
10..

20140524-131632-47792390.jpg
11..

20140524-131651-47811150.jpg
12..

20140524-131716-47836064.jpg
13..

20140524-131737-47857942.jpg
14..

20140524-131841-47921890.jpg
15..

20140524-131917-47957112.jpg
16..

20140524-131948-47988975.jpg
17..

20140524-132009-48009695.jpg

Answers..
Header photo..Matches
1..Plug
2..Coin
3..USB stick
4..Baby bottle teat
5..Festival Lanyard
6..Flask
7..Mushroom
8..Keyboard
9..Fish slice
10..Cheese Grater
11..Squash bottle
12..Battery
13..Ringpull
14..Plug socket
15..Toothbrush
16..Plug pin
17..Tooth pick/Cocktail sticks

TODDLER CAR WASH

20140522-174633.jpg

We made a car wash so Noah could clean his cars and bike, we filled a bucket with warm soapy water and found a few sponges, a scrubbing brush and a cloth.

It was a very bubbly and fun activity…

Here’s how we got on..

20140522-174710.jpg

20140522-174717.jpg

20140522-174728.jpg

20140522-174741.jpg

20140522-174748.jpg

20140522-174756.jpg

20140522-174809.jpg

20140522-174819.jpg

20140522-174827.jpg

20140522-174835.jpg
Noah had a great time!!

DINOSAURS CAUSING HAVOC

20140522-131902.jpg

If you haven’t stumbled upon it already you really must check out Dinovember, I’m telling you, we all need a little bit of it in our lives, the concept is to feed the kids with a little imagination with dinosaurs, while they sleep you place the dinosaurs for them to discover when they awake, it’s a little bit of magic and a whole lot of fun…

Here’s some of the antics that our household dinosaurs have got up to!
They’re a bit pesky at times….

20140522-131541.jpg
We awoke to find they’d raided the sweetie tin…

20140522-131711.jpg

A mammoth task….with peer pressure & group influences kicking in it appears the larger dino’s have had a ball shaving off all mammoths hair, he is no longer wooly & I fear he would not survive an ice age….only time will tell.

20140522-131810.jpg

One night the Dino’s headed to the kitchen seemingly to cook up a feast & it appears that we have a good mix of both carnivores & herbivores nocturnally roaming free…

20140522-131950.jpgOur third night of Dinovember was rather fitting to the 9 year olds first attempt at shaving secretly in his bedroom & pays tribute to Movember.

20140522-132253.jpgTeenage protest…. Another night our dinosaurs were aimed at the teenagers in the house. As the protest was going on in the fridge it was hoped it would act as a prevention from it getting overly heated.

20140522-132511.jpg

It appears that last night those pesky dinosaurs got into the medical kit…. It looks like some of them may even be medically trained… Pesky creatures….

20140522-132620.jpg

One morning there were no dinosaurs. Instead we found this on the kitchen floor & an intact one within the box of eggs on the side…. It spelt trouble…..

20140522-132711.jpg

20140522-132718.jpg

To try and avoid the ice age the Dino’s headed for the oven..

20140522-132810.jpg

We had’nt seen the dinosaurs for a couple of nights but they then returned with a ravenous attitude, thankfully the rhubarb pie I bought on the reduced section at Tesco was only 10p. Still, cheeky buggers though.

20140522-132915.jpgThe kids weren’t to impressed when they awoke to discover the dinosaurs had devoured their advent calendars..

20140522-133017.jpgThey even got into the nappy changing bag much to the delight of the toddler who discovered them..

20140522-133125.jpg
We awoke one morning to discover the dinosaurs had been up to no good & taken a shine to a box of chocolates…

20140522-133212.jpg

20140522-133218.jpg

Once the dinosaurs in the house were I little bit influenced by our artistic goings on & got together to recreate their own views of our recent art attempts….those pesky dinosaurs!!

20140522-133516.jpgThose pesky dinosaurs were caught out again, and although i have to say their sun cream applying ability needs improving we’ve gotta give them credit for being sunshine sensible with a high factor!
A few days of decent sunshine & they think it’s Summer!

The dinosaur antics have been a great and magical addition to our family thanks to the inspiration from Dinovember & you can check out and join in the fun over on their fb page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1411663649067953&ref=ts&fref=ts