I’ve had this post in my drafts for quite a while (since the Summer to be exact). And whilst we have entered a new season, I still very much wanted to preserve and share this moment from the Summer, and just generally remember how joyful it was for little Megsie.

Megan has loved adored animals for as long as I can remember and since understanding about careers and jobs, she has told people she wants to be a Vet (or a farmers wife with 100 babies)! When Ethan went off to preschool she would ask weekly to go to the farm, and even now her ideas for birthday treats and family outings involve zoos, Sea life or animal parks. Her life very much revolves around animals, and so of course they featured several times on our Summer bucket list,.  . And it was on the last day of the summer holidays we chose to go to the Animal Park and Bird of Prey centre at Park Rose Village, Bridlington and finally accomplished the farm goal!

Here we anticipated we’d enjoy a lovely day out together, seeing the usual farm animals, along with the added bonus of birds of prey and reptiles. What we didn’t anticipate though (and what was the real highlight), was that we would have an opportunity to get up close to the Wallaby’s and have a go at feeding them! Park Rose let visitors get hands on with feeding times and animal handling through out the day and it was such an exciting and fun thing to do with the kids.

  

We arrived about 10ish and so were right on time for feeding the wallaby’s at 11 after looking round the park! It was something Megan was absolutely keen to do and over the moon about. It was fun for us all but an especially beautiful moment to see our little animal lover sat on a log making friends with some wallaby’s! She was so patient and still… so engrossed and at ease. She didn’t squeal or flinch like some of the kids did, and she didn’t tire and just lob it at them across the pen (again like some other kids did!). Instead she looked at them longingly, and waited and waited patiently and quietly taking it all very seriously. It was then that she was able to put them at ease too and make friends with the wallaby’s (as she told us afterwards) and enjoy some extra ordinary moments feeding them.

Located just outside of Bridlington it is only 20minutes for us now, and was a very reasonable family day out at only £20 for us all to get in. It isn’t vast but it is very unique, has some great things to do, and you can come and go all day with the same ticket if you wish. They also have a Groupon on at the moment for Kids to have a hands on experience with the Birds or Meerkats … if you don’t want to pay extra then just go along as a regular visit like we did (maybe this half term?) and in the mornings you can feed the Wallaby’s, handle reptiles and watch the nutty Emu’s dance around their pen!

 Seasonal Bucket lists are a great way to involve the whole families interests in outings and activities. They are a way for kids to try new things as well as doing the things they love too. I find them an excellent way to show appreciation for that season, give us some focus, and create habits of seasonal appropriate activities for the whole family. For Autumn we hope to (and have already done) …

2017 Autumn Bucket List

Bake Ginger bread
Make an Apple Pie 

Go on a Spooky Walk 
Go to a Halloween Party (or 2)
Watch a spooky movie together
Go to a fair
Go to a Bonfire & Watch some fireworks
Write our names with Sparklers 
Make something using things from Nature 
Build a fire and snuggle round it 
Go out for Hot chocolate
See a windmill

Climb a mountain 
Go on a Bike Ride
Collect Conkers

Go to a Pumpkin Farm 
Carve Pumpkins
Go on a muddy nature walk
Eat warm Soup

What traditions do you enjoy in the Autumn?

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“Celebrating Autumn” is a new term I think I am going to introduce into our home at this time of year. It sounds softer, happier and just less grim than “celebrating Halloween”, because lets face it… what is there to celebrate with spooky central? I just feel since after our recent glamping trip this time of year is an opportunity to admire and appreciate all nature has to offer us.

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I sometimes think that I would have fitted in well around the times of period dramas. Oh how I would have loved to have celebrated harvests by singing in the fields and rejoicing for all we have whilst clothed in some mint dress. But alas it isn’t so, and I instead settle to feel a lot of glee at the schools harvest festivals as I watch the kids appreciate food and crops.

When I think of Autumn I do think of these harvest festivals we had as kids, along with walks in the crisp (or mostly soggy) leaves, exploring forests and the smell of fires and spice. I think of pumpkins on the doorstep and cosy hot chocolates on cool days and then the occasional bonus warm days where a jumper is enough. I look forward to the smell from the slow cooker as you come in from a busy day and I think of eating lots more soup and stews.

Autumn to me now has returned to be a much happier time where as Halloween really is not.

Unfortunately nowadays Autumn is very much dominated by Halloween and some of the wonderful moments of the season can be overshadowed by zombies and spooky things round every corner of almost every shop. Spooky I can handle, gruesome I cannot, and whilst I can remember with fondness a lot of my Halloween costumes and “trick or treating” with my sisters, as I mentioned last year I have suddenly gone off it and become all too much of a pessimist when it comes to Halloween. I feel it glamorises death, and so feel its too good at pricking my memories of loss and makes me uneasy.

My kids however in innocence seem to love it; with a good jump from a spooky decoration to fantasy’s of dressing as Dracula or a ghost for a party we haven’t even planned on. They love at the moment watching “spooky movies” like Hotel Transylvania and Casper and whilst I am not sure how I want it to go down in our home or how I will perceive it in future years, for now I suppose its harmless and innocent.

To me though I have made it my goal to work on focusing more on Autumn as a season as oppose to Halloween domination, and if they want to have a fun costume on the 31st of October, or spooky movie every now and then, then I guess its bearable as an extra thing and the focus thing!

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They are however very aware that pumpkins are big this time of year and have talked A LOT about a need to get them and calve faces. So this week with it being half term, and after seeing Instagram a buzz with kiddies in pumpkin patches I decided to ignore the Halloween spin and use it as an opportunity to embrace Autumn. We headed over to a fairly local patch with the kids and some friends and had so much fun choosing a pumpkin, calving it and chatting about all of the various decorations. They choose happy faces and a cat face as oppose to anything too creepy, and with painted faces and the sun shining it was a glorious autumn adventure!

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Starting this year (and hopefully for the future) to focus less on the scary and more on the season we hope to celebrate Autumn by doing the following:

Have a woodland walk and admire the changing season
Eat Seasonal Veggies
Donate food at the harvest festival
Bake something with cinnamon 
Bake a pie
Pick pumpkins and calve them 
Do a craft using things from Nature 
Try a new soup
Bake Bread
Go to a Bonfire/firework display
Have our own fire and toast marshmallows
Watch a seasonal film 
Collect conkers 
Jump in puddles
Kick/throw the fallen leaves 

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When Ethan was about 3 years old I took him to a local park on an Autumn scavenger hunt.We had lots of fun finding orange leaves, acorns, conkers and many other delights that nature brings with the changing seasons.
At the end of it, before heading to the play area, I stood him in a pile of leaves and proceeded to throw them everywhere to encourage him to see the fun that comes with playing in the crisp leaves of Autumn, a childhood Ordinary moment that he really wasn’t that bothered about and frankly quite mortified initially that I would chuck leaves over his head!!
1374897_10151759109926553_30450069_nHow times change when this week both he and Megan have spent a lot of time on several occasions to stop and play in the leaves, accompanied with squeals and giddiness. I cannot believe that Autumn will soon be gone and we will be faced with icy mornings and snowy adventures (I hope), but grateful we can make the most of these last few weeks with this lush weather. The unusual dry, mild weather we have enjoyed recently has meant that we have had lots of little trips and adventures outdoors with picnics, scooter rides and parks. It has been pretty chilled and has meant that with being out and about so much and wandering, both have taken a great interest in all of the piles of leaves lying around.
WP_20151112_15_25_16_ProInstagramCapture_ee2632bf-cf26-4bde-a9c3-c1fe142f2395Ethan refused to leave school on Wednesday because he too was excited to stand with the other boys and throw handfuls of leave at the fence and repeatedly laugh his head off as the wind snatched them and stuck them against the school fences. It was so lovely to see him being spontaneous, and embracing the last few days of Autumn joy with his school mates!
WP_20151111_15_31_59_ProAt times it has been a little frustrating, especially when we have been in a rush to get to after school classes or running late for school, but still it made me so happy to see them having fun and it really got me thinking of how sometimes as parents we try to force and create situations when they are little because we know the joy these moments will bring them. Perhaps we desperately hope that our children will see the magic in these small ordinary segments of childhood, or maybe that we want these moments to be on our time scale when we aren’t rushing onto the next thing, but I realise that when left to their own devices they will discover them for themselves and we can be spectators in the moment that just cropped up.
Be it picnics, scooter rides, parks or leaf kicking and throwing, we can appreciate with them the joys of the seasons and the ordinary moments of simple childhood pleasures!
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It seems absolutely ages ago since we last had a Saturday where we weren’t busy with stuff or too ill to embrace the day together; whilst life has just been happening, and has been good with various events, parties, family stuff and tired kids in a new school routine, I have really missed our Saturday adventures out and about just the 4 of us. So this weekend when we spotted an open day we grabbed it and decided to head out to a fairly local National trust spot (East Riddlesden Hall) and then on to an Ice cream parlour with the mother of all play barns, and it was lovely to just go back to the Ordinary Moments of life wandering, talking and exploring together.
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I did this exact same day out back in the summer with my sister in law and it was such a joyful day which was enjoyed so much by us all, that I have been waiting for the right opportunity to share it with Nathan too. Since getting our National Trust membership for Christmas last year it has opened up a whole host of cheap days out filled with learning, beauty and adventure. We have spent more time outdoors than ever before and I just love it, the kids thrive and it makes us feel we are “living the dream”!

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I absolutely love to see them intrigued by history (one of our shared passions) and to see them dressed up in olden day attire (thats just cute) and I love the play areas they have and find joy there both as an observer and participant in their adventures and games. I find it wonderful that no matter how often you return to these places, they always feel different depending on the Season and it creates so many new  scenarios for these games and play. This time we made witches brew in the mud kitchen with a few frogs and spiders for good measure!

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My favourite things to see this time round (other than my kids looking like little olden day children) was this cute little kids shed in the garden where Megs sat a while reading books on tadpoles, bees and plants…it has been such an ordinary scene since she was almost 2, to just be sat captivated by books, and this moment made me happy to see that her little passions go all over with her. It was a lovely little spot, decorated beautifully and very enticing for the kiddos!

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I loved to see Ethan’s Joy of doing his usual boyish things of pushing the boundaries, taking risks and generally being a fast mover, whilst Nath and I stroll along chatting, hand holding, legging it to assist and play, and just enjoying being parents to them both.  I realised how all of these moments; the chats, the education, the laughs and the antics make up our ordinary, and why I have missed so much these days out all together. It was such a pleasant day of the appreciation of, and embracing of the season as we walked in scenery filled with yellows, browns, reds and oranges, and then a lovely bonus to be greeted at the Ice cream parlour with an array of pumpkin displays, witchey things and general excitement and treats made us all very happy to celebrate in Autumn and be together for some fun.

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I love these days, when we have time to make memories and do our ordinary family adventures, filled with the same little quirks from us all that come together to make something beautiful. Being out together exploring in these ways really makes me realise how much I love to be outside and see the gorgeous scenery of England, it makes me feel blessed for just an ordinary little life that at times feels so full, and to share it all with my beautiful little family is wonderful!

Isn’t it lovely to embrace together the things each season brings us?

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