1) The Free Preschool Year
In Ireland, every child is entitled to a free preschool year. Daycares and creches (a playschool or nursery) are plentiful as many families have both parents working full-time, and nearly all of these offer a preschool option. We've found a great one near us where Ash goes every day for three hours (except for today, because he's a sickie with a bad cold and yellow snot problem). I love the idea that every child in Ireland can go to preschool absolutely free, encouraging friendships, group-play and creative learning.
2) Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
We used this recipe from Money Saving Mom for Ella's "birthday cake" this year, but we turned them into cupcakes by topping them with store bought (gasp!) cream cheese frosting. People, this is the very best our world has to offer. The recipe makes loads, kids and adults alike left full and happy, and we still have one loaf of bread in the freezer to enjoy.
We've been lucky enough to find the rumoured, mythical pumpkin. They're not as ubiquitous here as they are in the States and for a few weeks our life mirrors Linus' hunt for the Great Pumpkin. Today our front stoop boasts three beautiful globes of orange and I'm sure our neighbours think we're mad (crazy), but I don't care. They'll thank me when I come round with some roasted seeds.
4) Girl Day in Dublin
For Ella's birthday, she gave me the very best present of all. We spent a picture perfect Autumn day in Dublin City and had a blast. An exhausting, sugary blast. There was coffee and crepes and bookshop and playground and holding hands and, of course, skipping. Ella doesn't walk, people; she skips, runs and/or jumps hopscotch on crowded sidewalks. She is equal parts carefree and treacherous. And there may or may not have been lip gloss.
5) Date night!
It hasn't technically happened (6 hours and counting!) but tonight Matt and I are getting out of the house for a little one-on-one time. I've been inspired by all the date night posts lately, and as Matt's taken on more work responsibilities and I've taken on more Irish homework responsibilities (sigh) we need a couple of hours with nothing but books and coffees between us. Honorable mention goes to the honorary uncle who loves power rangers as much as our kids do and doesn't mind an evening of mind-numbing "ninja" action.
On Fridays I try to write about my favourite things, even and especially on the long, tough weeks. Now back to the sick little guy on the sofa. What's been your favourite thing this week?