Thursday 28 April 2011

Chick up-date - they are growing so fast!

Hi everyone, I thought you may like an update on how the gorgeous little chicks are getting on, wow they grow so quickly.  They are now nearly 4 weeks old and we have 8 out of the original 9 that hatched (the poor little one that was having problems had to be put out of its misery :-().

They stayed in their brooder for the first 3 weeks to keep them warm at night and to check they were all happy and healthy. Here is a piccy of them all crashed out under their heat lamp, they used to all run around cheeping, eating and drinking and then all crash out 10 mins later.

We then started popping them outside for a little while in the day to scratch about in the grass.

I find it amazing that without a Mummy hen as a teacher they still know what to do e.g. scratching around, having mud baths etc - instinct is an amazing thing.

Inspired by Myrtle and Eunice (pop over there for a fab felt chick tutorial and a giggle) here is a piccy of the chicks doing a little dance:

Doing to do-si-do...

And a little Flamenco ...

Put your beak in, your beak out and shake it all about ...

And I am sure they were listening to Groove Armada here , I see you baby, shakin that ass lol.

This is them another week older as they look today - wow they look grown up but are still as cuddly :-)

The kids and their mates have been loving cuddling these cute little chicks and I think the chicks love it too :-)

Saturday 23 April 2011


Sorry, this is just a quick bloggy post - life is a bit manic with school hols and both Mr Sweetpea and I working over the bank holidays but I will be back soon :-)

Just a quick note to say that I am having a giveaway over at my blogshop as a thanks to all my loyal followers.  Pop over here and see how to enter:

I hope you are all having a fantastic Easter break.

Take care

Saturday 16 April 2011

Pinata Tutorial - How to make your own Pinata

A few weeks back I decided to make a Pinata for my little girls birthday.  I thought I would write a little tutorial as it was fun to make and a hell of a lot cheaper than buying it from a shop :-)  Be warned though, you will need to do this a few days before the party (rather than 1 day before like I did lol)  to let it dry thoroughly.

So, what will you need?

Newspaper, ripped up in quite large strips.
A balloon.
A small bowl to hold the Pinata as you make it.
A large bowl to make up in the glue in.
Tissue paper to decorate.
Some string.

Make up the paste that will hold the newspaper together, for this you just need 2 cups of water and 1 cup of flour.  Mix it up until there aren't any lumps.

Blow up the balloon and then pop it into the bowl for support.  Start dipping the newspaper stips into the paste mixture and then layer it on the balloon until it is all covered but leave a hole  large enough to put sweets in, this is where the balloon is tied (this should be sitting in the bowl).  As you can see from the above photo this is quite messy so make sure you either do it outside or on a surface that is easily cleaned or thrown away.

Make about 3 layers and if possible make the top a few layers thicker (the top of the Pinata so the area that is nearer the bowl as when you take it out of the bowl that will be the top of your Pinata).

When it is completely dry make two holes near the entrance, thread some string through this .  Now cut up some tissue paper and decorate the Pianta however you wish, we used strips of tissue paper in various colours.  I glued this on with PVA glue but double sided sticky tape would work too.

Now fill the Pinata with sweets or treats and some cut up tissue paper to add to the effect when it explodes :-)

Hang it up and have fun!   

Remember it is best that the children do this one at a time to lower the injury risk, we used a wooden spoon to smack ours :-)  Here is a good video link for more info on how to make one - click here.

Friday 15 April 2011

Little Quakers visit from America..

Here in the Sweetpea household we were recently contacted by the lovely Blueberries in the Fields as she had a duck called Quakers visiting her.  She went on to explain that Quakers really wanted to explore the world a little more before returning home to America so could he come and stay at ours for a while, well of course we said yes :-)

A couple of weeks later we heard a teeny tiny ratter tat tatter on the door, on opening it we saw a tired Mr Quakers and his very large suitcase :-)  We invited him in and helped him un-pack his little suitcase (which contained mainly scraps of bread and a spare little neck tie), offered him and cup of tea (very English of us lol) and then showed him around our home.  We knew that where he lived he had friend chickens so we introduced him to our newly hatched chicks, he felt far less home sick after that ...

After a good nights sleep little Sweetpea insisted on showing him around Ely, Mr Quakers was so excited!  Of course the first stop was outside the magnificent Ely Cathedral, Mr Quakers was in ore of the size of it.

He really wanted to fly up to the top but he was too little and only managed to get half way .....

Little Sweetpea suggested that maybe they should go through the door like everyone else ... even the doors to the Cathedral were gigantic (you can just see Mr Quakers to the right of the door little Sweetpea is standing at) !

Mr Quackers let out a big quack of shock at how pretty the inside was ...

He had a little rest on a statue half way round ... luckily the statue didn't seem to mind and was happy to hold him.

As they left the Cathedral Mr Quakers was very excited to see some fellow ducks hanging around a really old cannon, he just had to show off his balancing skills by sitting on top of it (he is the little yellow speck at the front of the cannon).   Little Sweetpea chatted to his new friends telling them all about his adventures.

We then walked back past all the lovely old buildings in Ely on the way back to a backery .... it was surely snack time after all that adventuring ....

Of course Mr Quackers had to check out all the old doors to see where they went before we got to the backery.

We all sat outside the Cathedral enjoying some cakes in the sunshine ... hhhmmm what's in your cake bag Mr Quakers ??

Yum those cakes were scrummy !  On the way home little Sweetpea explained that we were going to go to the garden centre to find a new tree for the allotment, Mr Quakers certainly loved the ride in the plant trolley.

Then it was time to go off to the allotment to plant the tree.  Mr Quakers thought it would be fun to play a little game of hide and seek so whilst little Sweetpea ran around looking for him he hood and waited for her to find him ...

We certainly have enjoyed having an American duck here to stay and I hope Mr Quakers enjoyed his time here too.  He has to return back to America now to be with his owner Ethan whose Mummy has this blog, he will tell him everything he saw in Canada and then England.  What a brave young duck to travel all that way on his own :-)  xxx

The gorgeous Monique also sent some goodies for the Sweetpeas with Mr Quakers, all these and some sweets (which seemed to disappear before I could photograph them) - you are such a sweetheart Monique. xxx

Little Sweetpea has been loving the lavender bag, in fact I now have to rub all the Sweetpeas pillows with it every night as they love it so much!

Pop over to Blueberries in the Fields Etsy shop to see the most gorgeous Muffinpie dolls, we have several living here who we love dearly.

More blogging about the chicks and how they have grown in the next few days :-)

Friday 8 April 2011

Cute, cute and more cuteness!

 Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last blog post, I do hope we get some proper sleep here soon :-)  Harmony and Rosie, I am afraid our African Grey hasn't returned home, thanks very much for asking. x

This week has been a rather cheery week in the Sweetpea household which has mainly been due to the arrival of some gorgeous new arrivals.  Last Friday night we all went to bed excited knowing that some of the chicks were trying to hatch from their eggs :-)  When we awoke little Sweetpea ran into our bedroom exclaiming that two Sarah's (the name she picked for her chick) had hatched and that they were playing hide and seek!

Little and Eldest Sweetpea watching the chicks hatch (middle Sweetpea was at Nanny's house)

Chick hatching and another chick flashing her little cute bot bot (the big fluff ball in the image) :-)

When they have just hatched they look rather sorry for themselves until the warm air in the incubator fluffs them up a bit and their energy returns.  They can take up to 24 hours to hatch.

This is Sarah playing hide and seek :-)  They were then popped into a brooder with a heat lamp, some fresh water and some chick crumbs to build them up.

The Sweetpeas kept watching them all day and middle Sweetpea was so excited when she returned home from Nanny's house.

At just a few days old they are growing little wing feathers and start to lose their little egg tooth on the end of their beak, they use this to chip their way out of the egg (you can just see this little ones egg tooth as the white dot on the tip of her/his beak).

They have been enjoying lots of cuddles and have melted our hearts - they are such cuties!  We had 9 hatch from 14 eggs,  I am not sure 1 little chick will make it as we had to help it hatch and it isn't growing, it just wants cuddling all the time poor dot.

I will leave you with one of our cute little chicks modelling for you :-) xxx

Saturday 2 April 2011

Birthday, swaps and life in general :-)

Well it has been a bit of a manic week here in the Sweetpea household with yet another birthday!  Our family birthdays all seem to have clumped together with March having my birthday, my Mums exactly 1 week later and then my daughters exactly a week after my Mums :-)

The week started off wonderfully with me having Sunday off work due to the clocks going forward.  I love going to work but having the day off gave me the opportunity to go to a car boot with my mate Bear's Footprints.  By the time I got out of bed at about 10am (9am old time) she has already texted an hour earlier to see if I wanted to go - mad woman :-)  I will show you my treasure on a later blog.

Monday however it went downhill a little when I got some sort of bug which made me feel very tired and sick indeed.  I managed to lay down for about 1 hour before the school pick up but that was it so I have been battling it all week really.  For the rest of the week I ached all down my legs - so much so that I wondered if I had done a marathon in my sleep.   Not great timing as I had to prepare to the party queen's birthday party.

She wanted a monkey cake originally but thankfully she saw a chocolate one in a shop so requested one of those instead.  So I started baking and made her a chocolate one with cream and jam filling - scrum.  We decided little mini eggs and chocolate curls would set it off nicely.  The curls were made by popping a chocy bar in the microwave for a few seconds and then using a potatoe peeler to peel little bits off the chocolate.

We prepared the dining room with decorations and her party food .... (this photo is to prove to Bear's Footprints that sometimes my house can be tidy lol - she popped over the other day to find buttons and felt all over the table!).

Middle Sweetpea usually has an Easter egg hunt for her birthday but as the weather forecast wasn't too good I set about making her a Pinata.  Not sure why I did this when feeling ill but it didn't work out too badly - you can see it in the top photo.  I will have to post a tutorial of how to do this for you all soon as it was quite easy.

Middle Sweetpea thought it made a fantastic hat after it fell down - she looked like Jamiroquai :-)

The girls had a fantastic time and played happily together.  After the Pinata and food they decorated cupcakes and had fun creating wonderful colourful art on them.  Instead of party bags which I am trying to move away from for eco reasons I made up their decorated cupcakes in tissue paper bags to take home.

My gorgeous little middle Sweetpea is now a whole 9 years old!  I still remember the day I had her, she took twice as long as her brother to arrive, so much so I insisted my waters were broken as I was getting bored of waiting for her (it was only 8 hours but felt a lot longer :-)).  I remember at one point in labour sitting on a bouncy ball to try and help ease the pain when having a contraction but then I got really angry with the ball and I kicked this large ball across the room, it then ricocheted off the walls and Mr Sweetpea and I had to miss it lol!   I also electrocuted myself on the tense machine - that made me forget about another contraction lol.   She arrived exactly on her due date and appeared at around 2 pm, when I took her to look out of the window the next morning little baby bunnies were hoping around on the grass.

She was quite a vocal little one from the moment she arrived - I remember wanting a bath whilst in hospital and I couldn't fit her cot in the bathroom so I popped her in the nursery next to a couple of other babies, she was fed and changed but she having a little moan.  I lay in the bath listening to her calling me and when I returned after a super speedy bath she was still there but the other babies had been taken out to somewhere more quiet :-)

Oh how I love my headstrong, full on, no fear Sweetpea.  She is so caring and thoughtful and will become a wonderful adult I am sure.


I recently took part in my first ever organised swap which was the Spring Swap.  I was paired with the lovely Kathy from Postcards from the PP who sent me the most fantastic parcel!  Just take a look at the gorgeous packages below wrapped in ribbon and tissue paper - she thoroughly spoilt me.

And just look at the goodies inside:

There were candles, ribbons, a cute owl, a wonderful chicken tea towel, some gorgeous napkins and cards and some lovely flower seeds.  There was also a cute sheep cancer research badge and some card crafing items.

This is what I sent Kathy, now I wish I had sent more than the 5 items listed on the swap - you live and learn!

A hand made lavendar pillow with beaded lavendar cross stitch.

An egg masher, I have one of these and it makes me smile each time I use it :-)  Some chocy eggs - you can never have too much chocy.

I little notebook with a gorgeous bird print on it and some ribbons and buttons.

Here is the inside of that cute pad, it keeps shut with a magnet and then opens to reveal more gorgeous bird drawings....

Lack of Sleep

Mr SweetpeaSweetpea still won't sleep through a night.  We had a weeks worth of sleep the other week but she is back to her old tricks :-(  I even had to go in her bed one night this week for poor middle Sweetpeas sake.

I must confess I am now thinking of asking for outside help as I think I am now reaching my sleep deprivation limits after just over 3 1/2 years of broken sleep.  It doesn't help that Mr Sweetpea was on earlies this week, that seems to tip me over the edge a bit.    I just want me back, the old me with a bit of confidence and a lot more energy :-(   I popped out to the pub with friends the other night and had to really physic myself up for it, I felt quite sick with worry about going but I got there and had a fab time.  I know that this is due to lack of sleep and when I do get normal amounts of sleep I do have to battle the shy inner me a bit but not to that extent :-(  Here's to more sleep!