Homemade fingerpaints

May 31, 2012 § 6 Comments

Today we made homemade fingerpaints. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while, ever since I saw how easy it looked. The main ingredient is cornflour (cornstarch) which is so cheap and easily available that I don’t think I’m going to go back to shop-bought fingerpaints! I found the recipe originally here.

homemade fingerpaints tutorial how-to

Ingredients (enough to make about 12fl.oz):
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
2 cups water

Mix everything together in a small saucepan, and heat gently until it thickens into a gelatinous gloop.

homemade fingerpaints howto

Pour into pots and leave to cool. (Notice the celery heart waiting to be used as a stamper!)

homemade fingerpaints

When it’s cool, tip each portion out into a bowl and give it a good mix before adding food colouring.

homemade fingerpaints

homemade fingerpaints

I used about 1/2 tsp liquid food colouring for the red and yellow, and probably about 1/4 tsp for the blue – I might make the blue stronger though! Here are my paints ready to use.

homemade fingerpaints

I thought I’d road-test them before letting Messy Boy loose with them so got my celery heart stamping to make some wrapping paper…

homemade fingerpaints celery flower printing

And then got out a big sheet of wallpaper lining paper to let Messy Boy come and get messy! My fingers are still stained red from painting the balloon… but it’s only food colouring, it’ll come out ;o)

homemade fingerpaints painting

For some reason he was really reluctant to get his hands messy this time, so I used the kitchen paper tube rolling pin a lot more than he did.

homemade fingerpaints painting kitchen paper tube rolling pin

But, he did enjoy using a kitchen paper tube as a heart stamper, and the celery heart as a flower stamper!

homemade fingerpaints painting kitchen paper tube heart stamper

I think our finished picture is quite pretty. Definitely calling out for me to do some drawing on once it’s dry!

homemade fingerpaints painting


Pavement Paint

May 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

We made pavement paint (sidewalk paint) on Monday. It was so easy! I can’t believe I’ve not done it before. We had about an hour and a half before Messy Boy was due to go to school, so we made up the paints and took them outside. Boy had a BLAST. He loved them! We painted the bench at the end of the day to use up the rest of the paints, but I ended up having to send Messy Dad out for more cornflour so I could make more paint to finish the bench!

Pavement Paint Recipe

Per colour you will need:
4 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
2 tbsp water
about 6-8 drops food colouring

Mix it all up, take it outside with brushes, and get painting! As it’s just flour and water it will wash away really easily ready for your next outdoor painting session.

sidewalk paint, pavement paint, homemade

pavement paints, sidewalk paints

sidewalk paints, pavement paints, homemade

The Way Things Could Be….

May 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

We spent the weekend on an impromptu visit to family. All our family live a good 4.5hr drive away, 250 miles or so.

It was wonderful. Apart from all the lovely time we spent together, it made me think that this is kind of the way life should be. Living with extended family. Honestly, I’m not sure that the Me that I was eleven and a half years ago could have done it, living with the in-laws, but the Me that I was back then was a lot prouder than I am these days. I feel like I’ve come a long way since then, grown up a lot, learnt to accept help, had a lot of sharp edges chipped and ground off!

But Gran did all the cooking, she washed all Messy Baby’s nappies and bibs and muslins without asking, looked after us all. Grandad entertained Messy Boy LOTS, I’m sure he could sleep all week after that if they weren’t so busy this week! Messy Dad was able to relax, we even got to spend some wonderful time together wandering aimlessly around a market, just chatting.

The thing is, because I wasn’t having to think about washing or shopping or cooking or cleaning I could look after Baby. Which as a mum to a not-quite-six-month-old is what I should be doing!

I can’t help thinking, as I write this in between getting all my timings wrong juggling making a pie (buying pies is out of the question at the moment with finances stretched), cooking potatoes and pasta, making a cheese sauce, and checking on Baby every few minutes because he wants a Mama cuddle even though he’s playing with Daddy and Boy, that I’m stretching myself too thin sometimes. Boy should be learning to Cook alongside his Grandparents. Dad should be released to Play with his Boy, and be teaching him about Making and Fixing.

I’m no supermum.

If I’m trying to be Cook, Cleaner, Mender, Carer, Teacher to Boy, and Forager, all at the same time, my being Mama and Provider of Cuddles and Milk and Closeness to Baby is going to suffer.

I guess that’s partly why my house is in such a state – notwithstanding the constant building work as we renovate, it rarely gets vacuumed or dusted. I keep on top of the dishes and laundry out of necessity! And I guess that’s why the poem “Song for a Fifth Child” resonates so much with me.

I was meant to post this a week ago and have had one of the busiest weeks in ages and barely had any time to sit and write let alone do any housework so blogging was put on the back burner – but yesterday, at one of the regular toddler groups we go to, this whole idea of extended family living, or village living, just caught me again. There are a lot of mums there with young babies and older children, and it’s lovely to see the staff at the group – older mums whose children are grown up, generally – being grandmothers to the children, while the mums are occupied with the babies. It was just a moment of hope, of seeing how things could be.

I guess I’m going to be praying a lot more for reconciliation in families and communities. For the older generation to be able, allowed, and freed to teach the younger; for a respect that goes both ways, for a hunger to understand, to learn, to grow. For wisdom to be shared, and accepted; and for the courage to ask questions and not blindly accept!

Life could be better. We mustn’t just assume that we “deserve” better without contributing ourselves, but with investment into relationships and becoming teachable we can start preparing the groundwork for a better future.

More Messy Feet

May 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we did more painting but I put too much blue on the canvas and it turned out quite brown – today I think I went a bit overboard on the red! Still, Messy Boy and I had a lot of fun 🙂 The bathroom was SOAKING when I went up to investigate later on after we’d cleaned him up: he called me upstairs to show me something, which turned out to be a newly discovered skill of making the water squirt for a huge distance by putting his hands right up underneath the tap. Credit to him, he did his best to mop the worst of it up!!!

Paint squirted onto our canvas ready to go – that’s my contribution!

Beautiful beautiful painty feet!

Gosh I love that he loves doing this 🙂 And I love that he’s so wiling to pose for me as well!


May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

I’ve been such a Martha today. I’ve just done stuff all day. I think the only time I really actually stopped was when Messy Baby wanted time out and a snoozy boob.

Oh how grateful I am for those snoozy boob times!

In the Bible, it tells of when Jesus goes to visit friends one time. There were sisters living there: Mary, and Martha. Martha got everything ready, prepared and served refreshments, just worked her socks off to look after her guests. Mary, by contrast, sat and listened to Jesus. Martha complained, saying that it wasn’t fair that she was doing all the work, and couldn’t Jesus at least tell Mary to come and help? But Jesus said that Mary had made the right choice, to sit and listen.

There’s another little poem doing the rounds at the moment. It’s a beautiful poem called “Song for a Fifth Child” and finishes with the lines,

“So quiet down cobwebs. Dust go to sleep,
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.”

I guess I needed reminding of these today, as I cleaned and washed up and sorted and tidied.

My babies aren’t keeping. They’re growing and growing.

I don’t think, when Jesus spoke to Martha and said that Mary had chosen well, that he was telling her off. There is always work needs doing. What I think he was saying is that there are more important things in life than just doing, doing, doing. We can work all we can, but if we neglect relationships, it’s all pretty meaningless.

There’s another bit in the bible that says just that.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I don’t have love, I am nothing.

And it applies just as much to our relationships with our children as it does to church outreach projects – far more important than all the doing, is the reaching out, the building and nurturing of healthy, loving relationships.

Everything else will follow.

Image is original artwork and (c) 2012 the messy mama / jeni entwistle. If you link to this image please be courteous and provide a backlink to this blog piece. Thankyou!

If you would like a limited edition signed print of this artwork or a pack of postcards featuring the full poem on the reverse please get in touch via the facebook page!

Song for a Fifth Child
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton (1958)

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo.

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

Messy Baby’s Baby-Led-Weaning Adventure – playtime!

May 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Messy Baby has been interested in everything I am holding for a few weeks now. He grabs for my drinks. He tries to steal my breakfast. I can’t eat with him on my lap because he tries to swipe everything off my plate onto the floor – his grabbing action hasn’t been too hot. Until now… He’s not yet six months old though, so I’m not massively fussed about food.

He’s had a couple of sticks of pepper, and some sticks of toast, in efforts to stop him attacking my plate. I’ve not really been ready for the mess to be honest! Having done BLW with Messy Boy I’m a lot more aware of the mess it creates. I’m not going into this blind!! No longer can I say I’m doing it because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered with purees or spoon feeding. It makes a LOT of mess. I have no idea how much he’s actually going to eat. It could take months for him to eat anything. (He could then do a Messy Boy and decide a couple of years down the line that he will only eat pasta with cheese sauce, ham, and cereal. After all that tasting and exploring! Sigh…)

But, that’s the point.

Everything that goes into his mouth, is to be by his choice. My part of the bargain is to provide him with lots of different stuff to try. To make sure that as far as possible it’s nutritionally balanced, doesn’t have much salt in, and avoids danger foods like honey. HIS part of the bargain, is to have a go. If he can pick it up and get it to his mouth, he can try it! And I’ll be doing a LOT more washing and cleaning now…

Today, we did homemade chips. They were good. REALLY good. Messy Dad rocks. I love his homemade chips. Messy Baby sat in his bumbo on the table next to me, picking up his chunky keys and having a good old chomp on them. Messy Dad and I had soup, Messy Boy had chips. We were pretending to be at a cafe! Messy Baby was getting bored with his keys so we picked out a chip and offered it to him…

I’m pretty sure chips aren’t really the best first foods… but it was what we were eating. And it was grabbable! Baby LOVED it. He squished it on the way to his mouth. He squashed it. That made him stop and look at it.

Messy Boy, by comparison, had chopped up pear as his first food. He certainly didn’t attack it like Messy Baby attacked his chip. He chased his pear around the tray with his mouth instead!!

Messy Boy, March 2008. First tastes: pear!

He got quite a lot in his mouth, to be fair – but, as with everything else he’s tried so far the actual swallowing part is still not happening. Doesn’t put him off though, he just kept dropping it out, and having another go!

Squish, squish, squash…

But he’s picking it up well! Oh my goodness look at that teeshirt… to be fair it wasn’t exactly clean before he sat down, it had a fair old bit of drool on it anyway…

And getting it to his mouth. That’s the idea, kid!

Those hands….

And that teeshirt. Bibs at mealtimes from now on.

There’s determination for you!

What next? What do we do once the food is actually in the mouth?


He’s pretty sure it’s not just supposed to stay there. But he’s still learning which way it’s supposed to go next… i.e. not back out the way it came. But I’m sure he’ll get there!

Listen Earnestly

May 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
~ Catherine M Wallace

I do love this quote. Really love it. If we pay attention to our children when they talk to us, they will learn that it’s ok to tell us stuff, that we are interested in them. If we show respect in our actions and body language they will not close up. If we listen to the little stuff, perhaps they will not feel the need to tell it to us a million times or more!

I want my children to know that I am interested in them. I need to remember to not be so busy during the day, to include them in my activities. Sometimes I do need to do some work but unless I’m actually on the phone or the butter is burning whatever I’m doing can wait until I’ve read that story three times (and the next two stories), had that cuddle, changed that nappy, played with the cars.

And then there’s just a little less stress floating around because I’ve reaffirmed that connection with my children, rather than pushing them aside, telling them to wait.

What are your children telling you today?

Messy Boy is telling me we’re on the moon. And we need star cakes. Good job I made some – eventually, after decyphering his crying because I was putting chocolate into the cake mix instead of making him a hot chocolate :-/

Messy Baby woke me up this morning telling me he needed a nappy change. He doesn’t cry about it. Just chatters noisily and won’t latch back onto his boob until I realise that normal methods of sending him back to sleep (i.e. that boob) aren’t working…. As soon as he was sorted out, we settled back to sleep and poor Messy Dad left for work with the rest of his little family still snoring! Doesn’t happen very often but I guess we all needed that lie-in this morning!

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