Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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Each year I like to do something for the teachers at the end of Christmas term and summer term. Having just been to a local Christmas fair (coming up for Country Kids this Saturday) was inspired by the pretty homemade gifts from candles to chocolate brownies but less than taken with the price tickets! It gave me enough to ponder on and inspiration hit whilst rummaging in our top store with all the Coombe Mill business spare items. Amongst the odd glasses and bowls I found a set of little prawn cocktail dishes. They must have been lurking for years and were never going to be the latest must have on our property inventory list but would make the perfect start for my Christmas presents to the teachers this year. I dug out a simple fudge recipe, amended it to my liking and with the help of cling film and floristry ribbon my very own Christmas gift came to life.
The test batch of fudge didn’t stay around long and the children were very excited to make the real ones ready to give their teachers. It is wonderfully simple and quick to do so I thought I’d share it here for my “How to Make” series.
To Make the Fudge
You will need:
350g Granulated sugar
100g Soft brown sugar
1/4 pint of full fat milk
397g tin of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 tablespoon brandy (optional)
Place all the ingredients except the brandy in a non stick pan.
Heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring gently.
Increase the heat till the mixture starts to boil and boil gently for about 15 minutes stirring continuously till the colour turns darker and the mix thickens. You can test a little blob on a spoon so set if if sets.
Remove from the heat and beat in the saucepan for a few minutes to ensure the mix is smooth and slightly cooled.
Stir in the brandy and pour into a 7 – 8 inch tin and place in the fridge to set overnight.
Cut the fudge into squares.
If you like the way I have presented the fudge for the teachers, here’s how I did it. It’s nice and simple and uses things you’ll probably have lying around the house.
To do the Presentation
What you’ll need:
Sturdy glass dishes or glasses
Good quality cling film
Arrange the fudge squares in the dish.
Place the dish on a large square of cling film.
Draw up the edges.
Secure in a knot with coloured strands of ribbon.
Use the edge of some scissors to curl the strips to give the finished effect.
A few fun alternatives to try.
Try hunting round a charity shop for the set of dishes or even using china tea cups.
You can flavour the fudge anyway you choose. Try adding melted chocolate in place of brandy, or using baileys or vanilla essence instead.
Coconut ice, peppermint creams or marzipan cubes in chocolate would work well too.
The Coombe Mill bonfire party is planned for the 9th November this year. It is usually the first Sunday following the 5th. Most of our guests this week were heading home before our big event; however some of them joined us for the local village bonfire party at St Tudy. This event has a true village feel to it with proceeds from the summer carnival and voluntary contributions entering the playing field paying for the evening. There is a huge bonfire which takes days to build, as we know only too well and stalls selling drinks and pasties all to be enjoyed before the fireworks themselves. The public are fenced off from the bonfire and firework lighting to keep things safe for everyone, though stopping mine from creeping ever closer is always a challenge. In between the fun the children play on the swings and slides and run around with their friends.
For our craft hour I thought we would reflect on bonfire night, the fireworks we had seen and dangers that lurked and have a little fun crafting under the firework theme.
We created a list of practical tips for children at bonfire parties which Clio proudly read out to everyone.
After the serious side of our little safety talk it was down to business. We collected some sticks and an assortment of colourful autumn leaves from the fairy garden and brought them back to the house.
We used our leaves to create a bonfire and firework collage on the back of our fire safety tips and held everything in place with a glue stick and then cling film which also gave it structure.
Then we drew some fireworks with wax crayons and painted a diluted black paint over the top. The water based paint wiped off the wax crayon but soaked into the paper to create a night sky for our fireworks.
My favourite activity was making sparklers. I cut lengths of florist ribbon which the children stapled around their sticks and frayed the ends out to make our very own hand held multicoloured sparklers.
By the time we finished our crafts the sky outside my house was dark so we took our colourful sparklers into the fairy garden and waved them in and out of torch light to recreate the magic of Bonfire night and entertain the fairies. The children thought this was really fun and it left the parents smiling and not worrying they were going to hurt themselves as they waved them vigorously around and around. You can see just how effective they were in the video clip at the end of sequence below.
Joining in with Country Kids
Please come and join me on the linky with your outdoor fun this week. Whether you have been to a bonfire party yourself, enjoyed sparkers in the garden or been out for some fresh air in the park I’d love to read about it. Country Kids is all about encouraging us to leave the sofa and the screens and get mind and body moving and exploring in the great outdoors, no matter what the weather brings! Please grab the badge or link back here and remember to check out some of the other posts, it might just inspire your next adventure.
Country Kids is around in these communities, I’d love you to join me there:
Pin on the Pinterest Board Just ask for an invite to pin and include Country Kids on your pins for me to stop by on your boards too (no need for a hash tag in Pinterest)
Every Friday afternoon we run an activity craft hour on the farm for the children staying here with us on holiday. The fun from these sessions I often share on my Saturday Country Kids linky in-between our own family adventures, but as these sessions build I am creating a post focusing simply on instructions to make the ideas we use. You can find more crafts in the series under the Farm Crafts Category. This week’s craft is inspired from a pin that our Apprentice Amber’s sister showed to us on our Pinterest that we’ve turned into some sensory fun.
Sensory Leaf Art
What You’ll Need
Sensory leaf activity printable
Herbs from the garden
Kitchen roll (optional)
Edit the sensory sheet to fit the fresh herbs and plants you have available and print off the amount of copies you need
Gather a leaf per person for all the herbs and plants you have on your sheet
Get the kids to lay out the leaves in the correct circles
Fold the paper over on the line.
4a If you are using a blackberry as we did a sheet of kitchen roll will help the inevitable splat from the squished blackberry running out of the paper and onto your work surface.
Roll the rolling pin over the sheet pressing down firmly
Unfold the activity sheet
Smell the different smells from the herbs as well as the different patterns and colours the leaves made.
Some of the younger guests had difficulty using the rolling pin so used a rock to hit the paper or placed it on the floor and jumped on it and then rubbed the leaves on the paper to get a stronger smell.
A few fun additions you could try:-
You could try using a hammer instead of a rolling pin if the children have better motor control
You could have multiple sheets with different herbs and plants on
You could combine it with some paint to make different leaf patterns.
The photo above is taken from our activity hour on the farm where we used this sensory craft as part of our fun and learning that week.
Click on the picture below to download or print out a sensory sheet for yourself!
If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not follow our How to Make Pinterest board with all the Coombe Mill craft tutorials.
Did you know the Coombe Mill website also has a full program of educational resources aimed at children from early years through to key stage 2 which are prefect for supporting the natural learning on holiday here.
Every Friday afternoon we run an activity craft hour on the farm for the children staying here with us on holiday. The fun from these sessions I often share on my Saturday Country Kids linky in-between our own family adventures, but as these sessions build I am creating a post focusing simply on instructions to make the ideas we use. You can find more crafts in the series under the Farm Crafts Category. Farmer Kym had the idea for this craft following a festival she went to earlier in the year.
What you’ll need
Long strands of ivy
Flower heads with a bit of stem (to make them easier to attach).
Gather about 3 or 4 long strands of ivy together.
Measure the head of whoever’s headdress it is and create a circle in the ivy.
Feed the long ends through the the centre of the loop and back down.
keep twisting the ends of the ivy in and around the ivy circle until a small amount is left.
Tuck the ends of the ivy into the circle to stop them from being in the way.
Weave the stems from the flowers into the ivy circle and decorate into your perfect fairy crown.
A few fun additions you could try out:-
Turn gathering what you need into a scavenger hunt
Florist ribbon can be added for extra colour and twirl
Organise some imaginative fairy role play that with your crown.
If you couldn’t find the ivy you needed for the Fairy Crowns you could always give these a go, great way to stay natural and also recycle
What you’ll need:-
Old cereal boxes or cardboard
Design the outline of the crown on the cardboard and cut out the design.
Measure the crown around the child’s head and mark it to show where they can decorate (so that none of their designs are covered up)
Have the child decorate the crown by attaching their flowers, leaves, ribbon, and feathers.
Staple the cardboard in a ring to make it into the crown.
A few fun additions you could try out:-
If you had more time than us you could use PVA instead of staples.
If you don’t have time for PVA but don’t like the idea of staples you could always used sticky tape.
Let the kids decide how they want the band of their crown to look.
Give them colouring pens/pencils and let them colour in as well as attach natural items.
Native American Headdress
On a miserable wet day when the outdoors is less appealing why not give these a go using all recycled materials.
What you’ll need:-
Old postcards, thick magazines or old cereal box’s cut into ovals about the length of a feather.
Fold down the newspaper down so that it’s a band about 2 inches thick.
Measure around the head of whoever’s having the headdress
Staple the strip at that measurement
Fold the oval shaped card in half and cut triangle chunks out of it
Unfold for a paper feather.
Staple to the headdress as and how you like.
Repeat until the headdress is complete
A few fun additions you could try out:-
Again, PVA could be used instead of staples
If you only have plain card to use for the feather they could always be coloured in with pens and pencils.
You could make different shapes with the folded over card for different designs
Try cutting along the folded edge to make different patterns inside the headdress.
For more crafting tutorials do please check out my ‘How to make’ Pinterest board
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.