My baby turns 4 next Saturday.  Her place at primary school was confirmed on Friday.  I’m really not sure how I feel about the whole thing though… Having produced three children in just over 3 years, it’s been an incredibly intense period of my life.  I’m definitely excited about having more time to dedicate to my business, excited about having all three in one place, one drop off, one pick up, one uniform.  On the flip side, it’s the end of an era, more so than no more bottles or nappies or pushchairs. It means letting go, suddenly you can’t protect them all the time.  For 6 hours a day they learn, grow, play in their own way, fight their own battles and deal with challenges on their own.  I’ve tried really hard not to baby the youngest, but it’s impossible! When my eldest went to school, I mourned the loss of the time we had together, felt almost resentful that for those 6 hours, 39 weeks a year, for the next 13 years she would have to be somewhere else.  But, she loved it and I loved watching the changes in her.  When my middle one went, she had turned 4 just two weeks before, it seemed so very, very young.  But, she was also so ready, she loved it and revelled in being the youngest child at school. This time, I know what to expect, we’ve been doing it for three years and it shouldn’t be such a shock to the system,  I didn’t cry when I left them at nursery for the first time, I managed to feel guilty about  not being more upset.  I think I will make up for it in September…

We’ve always had birthday parties, it’s almost become a routine (in a good way). We’re having a bouncy castle in the garden and making baskets for a chocolate hunt, for the third time, because it’s how youngest daughter thinks she should celebrate – long may it last because it’s quite an easy party to organise (as long as the weather behaves).  This will be the 16th birthday party I’ve organised and although I know how much my children love it, I get very resentful of buying plastic party bag tat that I know is destined for the bin. So, I thought we’d try something different this time.  The girls came back from a party last year organised by some fantastically creative and eco-aware parents with tiny plant pots and seeds to plant which was lovely.  My gardening skills are poor, but of course I bake… So I’ve baked some sugar cookies, bought a few boxes of writing icing and a selection of smarties and sprinkles for a cheap and simple cookie decorating kit. I also managed to find a bumper box of cookie cutters cheaply on Amazon.

It also makes a good emergency activity if the weather is pants!

Sugar cookie recipe (from Peggy Porschen)

You will need:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
400g plain flour
1tsp good quality vanilla extract (Neilsen Massey extract or bean paste is fantastic)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees c
Line 3 or 4 baking sheets with grease proof paper

Cream together the butter and sugar
Add the egg and vanilla
Add the flour and mix until it comes together into a ball of dough
Pop in a food bag or cling film and put the dough in the fridge for half an hour to firm up.
Roll out on a floured surface, about 1/2 cm thick and cut out shapes
Bake in the oven for 7-12 mins, depending on the size of the size of the biscuits,  until golden and just colouring at the edges.