Sunday, 30 September 2012


80 calories each
Imagine my delight when we came across Rocky Mountain Mega Marshmallows, and tootsie rolls as well, in our local supermarket the other day, and we were just about to go camping as well.

One of the most common questions I get ask when people find out I'm American is, What are s'mores. S'mores are considered something of a myth in the UK and I can see why. S'mores are regularly mentioned on television shows but rarely actually seen, if they are seen their appearance can vary from something resembling a gloppy brown sandwich to a marshmallow in a hotdog bun, one guy I spoke to reckoned it was a pie. The only consistent fact that the British can decipher without actually looking it up, and be honest why would they, is that it got roasted marshmallows in it. But we Americans seem to love the stuff as we're suggesting making them whenever we see or even discuss the possibility of an open flame.

I've come to accept that the answer to that question brings about both puzzlement and disappointment. The British have a very different approach of desserts than Americans, where Americans go for flavour  richness and generally sweetness, the British go more for texture, much richness and sweetness are generally not well received. So when I explain how one goes about making a s'more the response I typically get is, "so it's really sweet then?"

Due to a long series of poor preparation we found ourselves roasting our marshmallows over our gas hob in the kitchen. We spread nutella over a couple of graham crackers, though digestive biscuits would have done just fine, and then smashed the marshmallow between them. 

Just like my mama makes.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The classics

We put on DVDs for Jack when we travel. Whenever we're going camping to otherwise travelling For longer than around 90 minutes we have Jack pick a selection of DVDs to keep him entertained. The last few trips haven't seen much change in the DVD selection. There have been two DVDs in particular that have been travelling with us for a while now. One is a greatest of Roadrunner and the other is a greatest of looney tunes. Jack has watched them many times and always laughs himself silly throughout. 

Every now and then we get wrapped up in conversations about the shows, mostly around its plausibility. He seems a little puzzled about how all of these creatures can do all of these things in the show but their real life counterparts can't. Roadrunners aren't really that fast, a coyote couldn't really survive... that. Tasmanian devils are real, and mean, but they don't turn into whirlwinds.
I tell him about my favourites and why I loved them, and still love those cartoons, and Jack pretends to listen though I'm not sure he really understands why it is I love Foghorn Leghorn so much, he's always rooting for the chickenhawk.

So as he watches in the back I listen in the front and we both enjoy the old classic cartoon together.

Looney Tunes is still running on some of Jack's channels, some of the old ones, but more of the new ones. The new ones play more like a sitcom than the random zany episodes that they used to be. Jack and I watch it when it's on because it is funny, all of the personalities are there, they're just placed in a more real world scenario. For Jack to see the old versions of the characters he knows is important to me, I think something had been lost in the rediculous censorship laws of today. I'm just happy that he enjoys the old cartoons as much as I did, that little piece of cultural history lives on.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Time spent wishing

Walking up to the Eccleshall Festival Jack saw a dandelion perfect for scattering. He hurriedly grabbed it and set to blowing the seeds around the field. After he was finished he resumed trudging along behind us toward the entrance.

I didn't make a wish.
Why not?
Because they don't ever come true. Wishes don't come true.
Sometimes wishes come true.
No they don't. I did really make a wish and it's not come true.
Well you have to give it some time.
I'll tell you what I wished for, a teddy. I'm always wishing for teddies when I'm wishing for things.
We'll a teddy isn't just going to appear in your hands is it. And you have lots of teddies, you're getting new teddies all the time, so surely those teddies must be from the wishes.
No, we buyed them.
Well sometimes wishes come true in you being given an opportunity. Instead of an out right magical occurrence.

He wasn't having it, this wish he had just made would never come true. And opportunistic results apparently didn't count. No, wished for teddies needed to be the result of some cosmic chance, otherwise you were just plain cheating.

Practically as soon as we got into the festival grounds we came across a hook a duck game. Jack hooked a duck and was the presented with a choice of prizes, once of which was a tiny little teddy. I nudged Jack and said "See, sometimes wishes do come true." Jack accepted the teddy graciously and carted it around the festival with us. I was happy with having restored Jack's hope in wishing, and Jack was happy with his tiny teddy. Apparently the universe wasn't entirely satisfied.

As we were leaving the festival we were approached by a small group of people sporting a huge teddy. Guess the teddy's name and you win it. We settled on a name and put in our pound. A couple hours later we got a phone call saying we'd won the teddy, and a cushion that it came on, and a big chocolate olympic style medal, and a big bar of chocolate...

I think the universe is sending the wrong message to my son.

Meet Donut

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Back to school

It's been a very busy summer.

Camping has again been the theme of the summer. We camped with friends at Clarach Bay for a week, we camped at Longleat for four days, and in Essex for four days for Jack's cousin Thomas's birthday.

a crab we caught at Clarach Bay, poor thing had no pincers.
Clarach Bay was good. It's a sea side campsite down in Wales where there's beaches and rock pools and little amusements for kids. Aberystwyth is just a few minutes drive where we went for a wander. We also stopped by a little town called Borth where their annual carnival was on. The weather was unpredictable, but generally good and there were three other families with us. All in all it's one of the best camping trips we've been on.

wild seals at Cardigan Bay
A week or so later we headed down to Longleat for a four day stay. Longleat Safari and Adventure park was great. We got a two day pass and we still didn't manage to do everything on offer.

We went to a gymnastics birthday party in Essex. Now and strange a theme for a birthday party as it may sound it was actually a lot of fun. Basically they took all the kids into a fully equipped gym and let them loose. They had trampolines and balance beams and rings and poles and everything. But with all that around the best part of it turned out to be the chips. Big yellow foam block in a pit designed to catch those who fall off the rings an such. Most of the fun of the party was jumping in an out of them, and throwing others in.

Now summer is over and Jack and I are both headed back to school. Jack is moving into year 1 and I'm moving on to the top-up BSc award.
Jack was apprehensive about going back to school. He didn't think that there was going to be any fun in his new class. He's met his teacher and seen the classroom and despite that, and our constant reassurance, Jack is convinced that his days of having fun at school are over. There's no Mobilo, his favourite building set,  in Year 1, there's no Star of the Day, there's no fun to be had anywhere. On a much more unconscious level Jack is also concerned about the change in routine. He keeps a little itinerary in his head and anything that disrupts it is feared and avoided at all costs. The lack of information about the new classes minute by minute activities really stresses him out.
Often just broaching the subject would be enough to being tears to Jack's eyes and tension to his body. After all moving to year 1 means that he's growing up. Growing up means change, and Jack doesn't like change.

I'm less apprehensive. Through the use of my internet researching school and knowledge of the inner workings of the university's online reporting tool I've managed to have a look at some of my upcoming modules and it looks bleak. Each module is harder than the last, and my optional modules are worse. I'm sure it's not going to be as bad as it looks and I'm looking forward to it.

Here's a bunch of photos.

Jack got to hold a snake.

His new teddy bat

this bird was moving full at speed and straight at me.

Jack and I got to hold and emperor scorpion

Alton Towers' gardens. Jack wanted me to take a picture.

I'd never seen an ant eater before.

This lemur walked right up to us.

very noisy sea lions.

Ready for school

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lost Toof

So there we were at Alton towers discussing the difficulty of eating apples with a loose tooth then I noticed something. I had Jack open his mouth and I confirmed my suspicion, Jack's loose tooth had a tide line, a little etch in the tooth where it used to be attached to the gum, I gave it a wiggle and it came right out.

Jack was horrified.
You took it out!
It came out.

His eyes welled up.
I knew it was going to come out.

Jack was upset for a number of reasons. Firstly his tongue doesn't seem to be able to leave the gap alone, and every time his tongue feels the gap it scares him.

He didn't want to lose it on the go

He misses the tooth

The tooth is lonely

He doesn't want to give it to the tooth fairy

It was his favourite

Lastly loosing his teeth is another sure sign that he's getting older and Jack is still convinced that one day he will wake up 30 and not be able to have fun anymore. This is just one step. Closer to that day

I bought him an ice cream that helped.