Can we keep her, pleeeease?

Last Thursday, I drove up to the house and there in the garden was a pretty little smoky grey kitten with a beautiful thick tail.  Unsurprisingly, I’m an animal lover although we don’t have a pet yet.  I don’t think I could handle a dog right now, what with my 3 little foxes and sadly, daddy fox developed an allergy to cats when our first little fox appeared.

Anyway, there it was, bravely coming up to say hello as I got out of the car.  This little thing was so bold and friendly that I stopped quite a while to pet it before opening my front door.  However, as soon as I stepped into the house, it rushed in past my feet and waited for me to follow it!  Then I remembered seeing this kitten the day before in our back garden – the little foxes had spotted it and always call me when they see an animal in the garden.  It rubbed itself briskly around my calves and I decided to try giving it some ham, it was clearly a very hungry little thing indeed.  I gave it 4 slices before making my own lunch of poached egg on toasted soda bread.  As I put the fork to my mouth, the kitten jumped onto the table and tried to paw my toast from the plate, so I broke some off for it and it scoffed the lot.

I called my sister, she has a cat and knows how much I’d love one… we were meeting later as usual – Thursday is swim afternoon for the cousins - and she agreed to bring me a few pouches of kitty food.
After I’d picked them up from school, I told the little one’s about my visitor and we all agreed that we hoped the kitten would be waiting for us when we got back from the pool.  I also told them that I thought it was a she because it had a plum coloured collar, studded with pearls and diamante.  They decided that if she came back, we would call her Pearl.

After the swim, we picked up youngest fox, Tom, from nursery and told him about the visitor.  They were all getting quite excited by his point but as we got out of the car, there was no sign of the kitten.  It was raining so we went inside and I started getting dinner ready.

 After dinner and bath, I was putting Tom fox to bed when Eve fox shouted up that she could hear something outside – we opened the front door and there she was, our little guest, Pearl.  The little foxes were beside themselves with excitement and Pearl seemed very pleased to see them too for some reason.  They took turns to give her some food while I explained to them that as she obviously belonged to somebody who would be missing her terribly, we wouldn’t be able keep her.  What we should do, I told them, is make some posters to let people know that we had found a kitten.
The next morning they got up and rushed down to feed her.  She had spent the night on a fleece blanket on our armchair and had used my sports bag as her personal en suite toilet…  Hmmm…  (Should I also say that we found a kitten poop on one of daddy fox's dirty shirts?  Well, we were not prepared and therefore had no litter tray!)  They got down to making posters straight away and I called the local vet to see if anybody had reported a kitten missing, to no avail I might add.

All in all, before school, they made about 15 posters and Eve also made lots of little square leaflets to put through front doors.  I didn’t tell them what to write but gave them my mobile phone number, which they put onto every poster.
I was really impressed by their work, the wording was so, so sweet.  While they drew and wrote they were saying how much they wished that they could keep her.  They knew I couldn’t make them any promises though, and they completely understood why.
As we drove to school, oldest fox, Jackson, said that he wished she wasn’t there when he got home from school.  When I asked him why, he said that that way, he would know that she was back with her ‘real person’ and that that person and Pearl would both be happy.

Pearl wasn’t there when I got back from the morning school run – nor was she back after school pick up.  We haven’t seen her since but Jackson feels sure that his wish came true and this thought makes us all happy.  We enjoyed having her as our guest and think that she enjoyed her stay with us.

Something good may have come out of this for my little foxes though.  Daddy fox has agreed that perhaps a kitten would be a good thing for them and that he might just have to get used to living with one.  The other Mrs Fox, Nina, has the same allergy but with lived with (my old) cats for years way back in the day, and her allergy diminished – he is willing to give it a try.  Christmas morning might be extra special this year…


Getting ready for Halloween

Halloween crafts, apple printing

I lived in the US for a number of years, San Francisco to be exact, and Halloween is a big thing there.  I discovered that I love dressing up and parading around the streets with the other happy halloween revellers.  My favourite outfits were the dead bride that involved wearing a long, long black wig and another year when I wore a 1960‘s vintage Balenciaga lime green suit and painted myself bright orange.  I was a pumpkin.  A very HIP pumpkin!

But enough about me, obviously these days Halloween is all about the kids.  Well except that it was at a halloween party that I began my plans for Mrs Fox’s.  My friend Vicky and I had got the children together to carve pumpkins and have a little halloweeny fun and started talking about how we wanted to be the kind of mums who threw wonderful parties for our kids.  That we could organise, and make things, and create great memories for our children.  Vicky had an aunt, or friend of her mothers, who threw great kid’s parties.  I can do that I thought...
Children's Halloween Fun

But enough about Mrs Fox, this year it really is all about the kids.  As Halloween falls in our school’s half-term this year Una and Louis are having a party.  I have some games in mind, more on that later.  I’m thinking about making sweetie cones for the party favours and Una has decided she wants to make Halloween flags for her friends.  We're having spooky food and we are going to make the costumes next week.  Today we created the invitations.

I like to get the kids involved in making things for their parties.  It gives them a sense of ownership and it gives us a craft project for the weekend.  Una is 6 and Louis only 3 so we needed a craft that both could do.  So printing with apples fit the bill rather well I thought. 
Halloween apple printing kids crafts

children's halloween invitations

With gloopy orange paint the children have printed orangey-red apple circles and then painted on pumpkin stalks and leaves and spooky black facial features.  I’ve printed the party details in a suitably gothic font and then stuck the pumpkins onto the card.  I’m really pleased with the result.  

We managed to fit this around a visit from Grandad and Grandma Wendy and whilst all our printing dried it adorned the kitchen making me think that some Halloween bunting also needs to be made.  So, look out more crafty halloween posts.
children's pictures for halloween

And I will certainly be getting in touch with Mibo for some of their fantastic origami Halloween creatures.  At Mrs Fox's we love their beautifully designed paper animals and will be stocking the Christmas creatures this festive season.  
Mibo's Team Halloween
And don't forget, in our previous weeks blog we give you more ideas for Halloween crafts.  Look below...

Spiders and ghosts... whoooooooo!

halloween craft egg box spiders
Egg box spiders for Halloween...

Last year was the first year my eldest wee fox went out Trick or Treating and he was almost as excited by the anticipation as he gets at Christmas.  I think his school friends had told him about the huge quantity of sweets he was sure to come home with.  This must have been where he'd caught any excitement as I certainly hadn't made anything of the event.  The date is my dad's birthday and so that is what I celebrate at the end of October.  My one nod to the occasion last year though, had been having them get messy making big black hairy legged spiders to hang in the porch and we have made these again this year.
I modified the 'design' such as it is, to make it easier for them this year, and to make it take a little more time consuming.  After all, if they're going to make a mess, they may as well justify it by taking longer to produce the end result.

Here is what you need to make your Halloween spiders;
halloween crafts egg box spiders
  • an egg carton 
  • some glue
  • some black paint
  • an old newspaper and 
  • some black pipe cleaners 
  • - maybe some googly eyes.
Last year we only had coloured pipe cleaners which we painted black.  I think the colour coming through from underneath the paint actually looked quite good so black isn't a must and why can't your spider have purple or orange legs?  Also, if you don't have googly eyes, you can simply cut out some little paper circles and draw some pupils on, you can make them any colour you want.  Maybe orange or red eyes would look spooky.  This year we used red and yellow felt and oldest Fox decided to make some fangs too, out of the yellow felt.  Youngest fox decided that his spider would wear a hat and so stuck another egg carton cup on to the top of his spider.  We also painted our spiders over with gold and silver glitter glue once the black paint had dried to make them glisten.

  1. cut out the cups from the egg cartons
  2. screw up some balls of newspaper to roughly the size if a golfball
  3. poke 8 holes around sides of the cups, I used a bradawl but a biro would work just fine
  4. push a pipe cleaner cut to your chosen length through each hole or in one side and out through the opposite hole.  
  5. glue the bottom of a ball of screwed up newspaper and squash it into the well of the cups
  6. paint the newspaper ball and the egg cup black
  7. stick googly/felt/paper eyes onto the front
If you want to hang them, you can thread a needle and push it through the egg cup and newspaper ball leaving a length with which to tie.  

halloween crafts tissue ghosts
Tissue ghosts, whoooooooooooo!

If you make some spiders and fancy adding to your home made Halloween decorations, how about getting your little one's to make some ghosts.  They are incredibly simple to make and are mess free.
All you need for these are;
  • tissue paper
  • a pen (or paint)
  • some white cotton 
I won't do steps as this is as easy as eating a chocolate croissant while sipping a nice mug of hot, but not too hot, coffee.

Screw up a small ball of tissue paper or newspaper - to the size of a golfball and pop it into the middle of a sheet of kitchen roll.  Wrap the sheet over the ball letting the corners hang loose.  Tie the cotton, not too tightly, around under the ball to hold it all in place leaving a length with which to hang it.  Draw on a mouth and some eyes and you have a ghost.

** You can, if doing this without kids, use a needle and thread and sew the thread through the middle of the kitchen roll sheet (so that it comes out of the ghosts head) making it easier to hang them straight.
*** If you want to make ghosts that you can use year after year, you can also use squares of white fabric rather than kitchen roll.


Cardboard Challenge - Caine's Arcade

We saw this amazing Youtube clip thanks to one of the other Britmum bloggers.  It’s about a boy called Caine, who lives in LA and created an incredible cardboard amusement arcade in the front of his father’s hardware store.  Cardboard is one of my favourite materials for creating with the kids; it’s readily available and so easy to use.  

When I showed my children the Caine’s Arcade short film, they sat watching it silent, unmoving, engrossed.  At the end of the film Una turned and said "he’s a genius!”  Today is the day for Caine’s Cardboard Challenge.  So, we at Mrs Fox’s have each set our little foxes loose armed with tape, scissors and cardboard and this is what they made:

Daddy Fox was in charge of cardboard creativity today in our house.  Louis wanted to make a car.  I think he had a little help.  He is very pleased with his creation.  He’s been putting his torch and some little people from his wooden bus inside it and taking them on imaginary journeys.

Una wanted to make a house.  She took the whole thing very seriously and I think what she got from looking at Caine’s arcade was to think about how her creation would work.  The interior of her project is as important as the exterior.  She has lots of ideas about how the house will function.  And she is still working on it this evening, with further plans for a roof garden.

And from the other Mrs Fox:

I’m clear on the fact that this is not the most original idea in the world but upon asking our little lady what she would most like to construct out of cardboard, without hesitation, she said, ‘A castle.’  So there we had it with not a moment spared working that one out.
My oldest boy had been persuaded by a friend to join him for a tennis lesson and so we had to leave the cardboard ‘Messi The Greatest Footballer’ on the drawing board but number 3 happily piped up that he would like to make a dinosaur.  He is very much discovering his creativity recently and it was a joy watching him working out how to make an apple juice carton into one of his favourite creatures.
Eve wanted to jot down a few ideas before starting on the build and quickly found the pieces she’d need amongst my cardboard collection.  I rarely throw any substantial cardboard out to recycle as my 3 are often occupied through making something out of it, so we had a nice selection to choose from.
They are also all major Art Attack fans although at 3, 5 and 6, they’re possibly a little too young to get on with any projects unaided.  This doesn’t stop them scouring the internet for old episodes and I really don’t mind this.  They are clearly endlessly creatively inspired by Neil Buchannan and this is only a good thing.  All three of them spark with ideas when given the chance to create anything.

So, Eve chose a few simple and obvious pieces for her castle; a rectangle box and a long tube from some old wrapping paper.  With a little help from me, we cut the long tube into four smaller tubes for the turrets and having made some simple plans, off she went.  She began by cutting snips along the top box flaps, taking out alternate flaps to make the castle walls ‘go up an down like on real castles’.  Then she applied glue to a box corner and then held one cut tube firm before applying the obligatory sticky tape.  Mr Buchannan seems to love sticky tape and my children love him so everything they make has to use enormous lengths of the stuff whether it’s required or not.  Then she did the same thing to each corner and before I knew it, had me making paper cones while she peeled off strips of the beloved sticky tape to hold it tight.  Having applied glue to the top of the tubes, she gently placed a cone on top of each and ‘made it nice and straight.’
The pieces cut out from the tops of the castle were then stuck all over the outer walls for windows and she coloured in some cris-crosses on a piece of paper and cut it out into an arch shape for the portculis.

In the meantime, I had been discussing with Tom how he expected his dinosaur to look and with my help (he is only 3) we made a hole in the back of the juice carton and he happily pushed his wrapping paper tube into it as the dino’s tail.  He then cut a toothpaste box in half using my big kitchen scissors and asked me to ‘blob him some glue’ so that he could stick it on the opposite end to the tail for it’s head.  All we needed now were some legs and he said that he wanted to use the rest of the toothpaste box so I cut it into four and together we stuck them on the bottom, using the flaps as feet.
Seeing some of Eve’s cardboard cut out squares left on the table, he decided to give his dinosaur a pattern and stuck them to it’s sides – again using sticky tape.

For any of you who also have to watch endless runs of Art Attack, tomorrow they want to cover their works with kitchen roll and PVA, or ‘pervia’ as Tom calls it.  ‘Then they will be solid and ready to paint’…

So there you go, a castle and a dinosaur made out of cardboard, a small amount of paper and lots of sticky tape.

And here is some more kid's creativity with cardboard.
Back to Top