Friday, 28 October 2011

Top Trump your friends and family

Last weekend marked the start of our bittersweet countdown to leaving life on the river. Our new Devonshire home is almost in the bag and the realisation of what we're about to do and all that we're leaving is finally beginning to kick in.

One of the many upsides however is that any departure warrants a party or ten. First up was last weekend's dinner for twenty of our closest friends. Given the relative intimate quarters that our houseboat offers, this required considerable moving of furniture and hiding of kids toys.

The theme for the evening was to dress for the ballroom of the Titanic. There were some fairly creative interpretations including my beloved dressed as a mermaid. Never one to miss an opportunity to show off his feminine charms

One of the games we played was a round of Titanic Top Trumps which involved guests drawing the person who sat to their left and marking them on a set criteria. We went for Manners, Conversation, Attire and their Ability to run a brothel (what else).

The game was a winner and provided some very amusing drawings as well as a spot of after dinner entertainment for those who played a round of Titanic Top Trumps with the finished cards.

The cards also made brilliant place names and I reckon it would be a fantastic game to play at a wedding. Let me know if you use it as would love to hear how it went down.

Pumpkin carving alternative for kids

I love these junk drawer pumpkins by the rather brilliant Family Chic blog. Given the napalm like combination of little children and sharp knives, these make a far safer alternative.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Halloween games - Toilet paper mummies

This year, we're hosting a Halloween party for the children on the island where we live. It's become a bit of a tradition and gives the kids a chance to get in the mood with some spooky games and a Halloween themed tea before heading out for some island trick or treating.

This year one of the games that we're going to be playing is Toilet Paper Mummies. It's a really simple, if slightly messy activity that was a big hit when we played it at Camp Bestival - see pic.

To give it a go get the kids into teams of two or more. Give each of the teams a toilet roll and get them to nominate who is the Mummie and who are the Wrappers. On the word 'Go' the kids have 60 seconds to mummify their Mummy by wrapping them in toilet paper. The team with the best wrapped Mummy at the end of the 60 seconds wins.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Looking for some Halloween pumpkin inspiration?

Then head to This brilliant site has been put together by one highly enthusiastic pumpkin carver, and should provide you with a few ideas for doing something a little bit different. We're holding a pumpkin carving competition for the kids on the island, will let

Halloween crafts - easy pipe cleaner spider

I love these easy pipe cleaner spiders that I found on the 'Homemade by Jill' blog. We've got a load of kids from the island coming over for a Halloween party next week and am planning to give them a go. ideal pre dinner entertainment before we head out for our island Trick or Treat.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Halloween Crafts - Wooden Spoon Witch Puppet

Another easy-peasy wooden spoon Halloween kids make and do activity. This one's great as a Halloween house decoration or to add a finishing touch to a costume.

What do we need?
A wooden spoon, green paint, black paper or felt, orange wool, some twigs, white circle stickers or tipex, a stapler, glue and a black felt tip pen.

How do we make it?
  • First of all paint the wooden spoon green and leave this somewhere to dry.
  • Next take your orange wool and get the kids to cut a whole load of strands at the same length and then divide these into three. A grown-up then needs to take one of the bundles in the middle and staple it to the front of the wooden spoon (making sure the spoon's dry before you do). The grown-up then needs to staple the other two to the back so they hang down like hair.
  • Next make the witch's cloak by cutting out a large square of black felt or paper, wrapping it around the wooden spoon like a cloak and then stapling it into place. To ensure it doesn't fall off, you can also tie a piece of wool around the neck of the spoon to hold it in place once it's wrapped firmly around the spoon.
  • Cut out another square of black felt or paper and curl this into a hat shape, glue or staple it together and then fix it on the witch's head.
  • You then add the features using your sticky white circles for eyes or tip-exing them in place before drawing in the pupils. You can then either draw on the mouth or cut out and stick on a mouth shape using the black paper or felt. The nose can then be drawn on with the black pen or you could stick on some green painted paper (though this is a bit fiddly).
  • Finally make the broom by snapping up some thin twig pieces and tying these onto a longer thicker twig using a piece of wool. Finally get a grown-up to staple the broom onto the cloak.
  • Finished.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Halloween Crafts - Wooden Spoon Bat

This weekend my cousin, her husband and their delightful but mildly hyperactive children came to stay. In anticipation of the continuation of the blissful Indian summer we've had here in England we'd planned all sorts of boating shenanigan fun. A little ambitious perhaps given the last time they visited we had to fish the youngest out of the river when he leapt in after the dog. Sadly, as we might have predicted, that short burst of sunny bliss we all enjoyed last weekend was essentially British summer for 2011. As an alternative and in attempt to contain the both of them long enough for their exhausted parents to get half an hour peace with a beer on the balcony I decided to get them stuck into some early Halloween make and do.

If you fancy giving this Wooden Spoon Bat a go, then it really is super easy to do. It makes a winning finishing touch to a fancy dress outfit and is also ideal to provide some entertainment over a rainy autumnal weekend.

What you need
A wooden spoon, black paper, a pencil or pen that shows up on black paper, black paint and a brush, white paper, scissors, glue, a drawing pin and red & black felt tips.

How to make it
  • First of all get the child to paint their wooden spoon and put this to the side to dry.
  • Next on the black paper draw out the outline of the wings and the ears for the child to cut out. Then draw out the eyes and the bat's teeth
  • Once the spoon is dry, get the child to stick the eyes, ears and teeth on and felt tip in the eyeballs and blood. Finally use the drawing pin to pin the bats wings into the back of the spoon.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Make a super quick garden tent for the kids

We've had a bit of a damp squib of a summer here in Britain. Each time I attempt to head out into the great outdoors with wholesome ambitions to do something fun with the kids, we get rained back inside. As we've had a brief glimpse of an Indian summer, I thought I'd share a simple way to get your kids set up with a super quick garden den.

To give it a go, simply tie a length of rope at shoulder height and then hang an old large double duvet over the top with an equal amount hanging over both sides. Next stretch out both sides to create a tent like shape and weigh both sides down to keep them in place. Finally, arm the kids with blankets and other house making paraphernalia and leave them to enjoy.