> The Beesley Buzz: February 2013

Sometimes there is a really bad day...

We saw it today. As ugly as it can get. A meltdown lasting hours. The plan for the day changed from schoolwork to survival. I looked forward to the evening for my escape. To get on here. To get it out my system.

We had similar on Monday but not quite so difficult. An evening of reading some my fave blogs and realising that it is all 'normal' (well normal for a family with a child with ASD) helped put it all in perspective and I went to bed feeling much better.

On Monday, I didn't even feel the need to blog. It was enough to know there were people out there who understood.

But today, I was all prepared to tell all - to explain all my feelings, to second guess all J's feelings and try to get to the bottom of why it happened, to write a transcript of the text conversation that D had with Daddy whilst all this was going on explaining that he had never seen J like this.

But I want to try something different. I guess deep down I always wanted this blog to be a positive diary showing all the special things the kids have been able to do. I wanted to show all the wonderful things about having a child with Aspergers. I wanted to show how, far from being a limitation, J has some fantastic qualities and abilities that we wouldn't change for the world. I wanted to show that, although in reality J's needs do influence and shape our lives to a huge extent, that it is still possible to do everything and more that any other family can do. I didn't want the ASD to define J. I wanted this blog to be about us as a family. A family whose eldest son also just happens to have Aspergers.

To pretend the bad days don't happen would be a lie. But I want to end the day on a high. So instead of just blogging about all the 'stuff' from today, I am going to blog about everything I love about J.

It reminds me of when he was a baby and toddler (way before any hint of diagnosis) - I just thought I had got myself a 'difficult' baby. One that didn't sleep much (he still doesn't) and one that was into everything (far more than most). At the end of each (exhausting) day, I would have to creep into his room and just look at him sleeping and all the anger and frustration would melt away and I would feel so full of love for him.

So what I love about J is:
  • How he gives his brother the squeeziest of hugs (especially if they have been apart for a couple of hours).
  • How he adores his baby sister so much that it is beyond anything we could have ever imagined.
  • How he has never been cross or angry at his little sister and even mid-meltdown he never takes things out on her.
  • How brilliant he is at maths! (it is beyond understanding how any child of mine can be SO good at maths).
  • How he is such a perfectionist (I pray it won't limit him as the flip side is a huge fear of failure or getting it wrong).
  • How he won't take no for an answer - I can see him making some major breakthrough in science or something. When the rest of the world gives up and says it can't be done, he will be the one to prove that it can be because he just won't take no for an answer.
  • How he can talk to anyone and everyone about Moshi Monsters and yet struggles to say a simple hello to anyone.
  • How his obsessions have led him to have his dream come true.
  • How good he is at games (board games, and computer games!) and whatever I do I can never win against him.
  • How he can play chess and draughts and I cannot.
  • How he calls me back into his room at bedtime for one last goodnight hug.
  • How amazing he is at reading and spelling (and even writing stories when he is in the mood for it) - his love of books is just incredible, regularly choosing 20 or so from the library and then reading them all in a matter of days.
  • How much he loves jokes  and how unlike some people with Aspergers, I think he 'gets' the meaning of sayings but likes the fact that they have a funny literal meaning so he will sometimes make a joke of it (like 'keep an eye on it' - he will actually put his eye on something - but I'm pretty sure he does it as a joke and does understand what is meant by it).

He is an amazing little lad (and his brother is amazing too! and of course his little sister). We love him. We adore him. We don't always know how to do what's right for him, but we are trying to do our best.


MY FAMILY by Daniel

Updated: August 2013 to join in with 3 children and It's oldies but goodies FAMILY theme

First off, my brother. Very VERY annoying! He even once dangled Blue bear over the BIN! (Now Blue bear is my Most Fave cudily. i'll tell you about him now ok? Now Blue bear is my other Bro. I Love him so so so so so so so so so so so so so so much. HE IS MY PRETEKTER!!!! Onto my mum. She is nice but don't make her angry or shell go MAD!!!

Now my dad. he's nice. I like it best when he looks after trinity (But call trinity trin ok??) and trin. She is the cutest baby I've ever seen! And i just love the way she smiles!!


Daniel, aged 6, wrote the above as a 'newspaper' article for his free choice piece of school work at homeschool today. You can read more about his beloved Blue Bear here, and about how much the boys adore Trinity here ahttp://thebeesleybuzz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/baby-number-three-we-all-love-trinity.htmlnd how they think she is a superhero here.

Anyway, Dan's piece of writing made me smile (especially what he really thinks about me!) so I am linking it up to Actually Mummy's Wot So Funee bloghop as I've not really felt up to joining in with blog hops very much over the past few weeks.

Wot So Funee?


Me and my look-a-like

T at 9 months exactly

Me at 9 months exactly

We were sorting through some old photos from the loft the other day and I was amazed to see the resemblence between me at 9 months old, and Trinity at 9 months old!

My mum actually had a birthday party for me EVERY MONTH (!!!) until I was a year old and from the number of candles I can spot on the cake, it looks like this photo was from my 9 month birthday party. Compare that to the photo above of Trinity at exactly 9 months - I can't get over the similarity.

It was also bizarre seeing photos of my brother whose eyes looked remarkably similar to Daniels whereas until now I always imagined him to look more similar to Josh.


Teeth, teeth and more teeth!

The Bug-a-loop teether from Nuby.

As quickly as Daniel seems to be losing his teeth, Trinity seems to be getting hers through. She now has two bottom teeth (since she was about 6 months old) and then all of a sudden 4 appeared at the top.

So there has been no better time to introduce her to some of the fabulous teething toys that Nuby have sent us to try.

First up, the bug-a-loop teether. This was one of the first we introduced to T because, being loop shaped, it is just so easy for her little hands to hold onto. It has been a great one to take out and about with us too.

She loves the bright colours and the four bigger 'beads' are rubbery and textured making them perfect for her to chew on to help ease some of the discomfort from teething.

Flopper Teether toy by Nuby, known in this household as 'Monkey Face'.
Another current favourite toy of hers is the Nuby Monkey 'Flopper teether' toy that has affectionately become known in our household as 'monkey face'. Monkey Face is made of some lovely textured fabrics and has floppy arms/legs with teething pieces at the end of them. These teething pieces feel more 'hollow' but that makes them softer and so they have still proved popular as they seem to be easy for T to chew on.

T enjoying Monkey Face.

As she has become more interested in looking at books in recent weeks, we thought she would enjoy looking at (and chewing on) the Nuby 'Squeak and crinkle Flip n fun teether book'. This book is designed in a horse-style shape and is made of some lovely textured fabrics. It lives up to it's 'Squeak and crinkle' name with crinkly pages and a squeaker in the horse's face. The 'story' is in the form of a simple rhyme featuring various animal characters. Two of the pages have rubbery teething parts dangling from them. whilst the other two pages have more crinkly fabric pieces.
The Nuby Squeak and Crinkly flip n fun teether book.
This is a lovely concept as it introduces babies to books at such an early age (we used to read a bedtime story with J from when he was just a few weeks old and I'm sure that has contributed to his love of books now) and it is also a great toy that doubles up as a teether.

The only slight downsides to the book are that it is wipe clean rather than fully washable and at one point in the rhyme it says the word "thru" and I just have a thing about proper spelling in books for children.

All of these items would make great gifts for babies and are far more useful and practical than just buying an ordinary toy.


Joshua's Jokes - The Pirate edition

 Remember Joshua's huge list of jokes - well here is the next installment. This next batch of Josh's favourite jokes seem to be pirate / sea themed (well mostly).

What do pirates do when they can't sleep?
Count ships.

What is a pirates favourite bedtime story?
Sleeping booty!

Why don't cows get exact answers in Maths?
They are always rounding up!

What do sponges play at their birthday parties?
Musical Squares

What do you get when you cross a squid and a dog?
An octo-pooch!

What's salty and feels good on a sunburn?
The Pacific lotion.

What kind of ocean bird can't fly, can't swim and can't catch fish?
A pelican't!

What's the difference between a ghost and a cannon?
One likes to boo and one likes to boom!

What did the big cannon say at the celebration?
Business is booming!

What's a pirate's favourite state?

What's a pirate's favourite sport?

Why did the bug crawl up the pirate's sword?
It wanted to get to the point!

Which pirate loves to eat?

The next part of the huge list of Joshua's favourite jokes seems to move onto the topic of rodents and other miscelleaneous stuff so I think we will end there for today.


Tots 100 Center Parcs February Challenge: Our perfect petit pancakes!

Once again Tots 100 and Center Parcs have teamed up to bring a fun family challenge for us to get involved in and for the month of February, what could be more fun than making pancakes together!
Even baby Trinity wanted to join in the fun!
Ok so Trinity may be a little young to make these pancakes just yet, but 6 year old Daniel can actually pretty much make these pancakes all by himself. The secret to these pancakes is that there is no tricky flipping involved and because they are smaller than the usual pancake day pancakes, they can be turned easily in the pan - they also seem to turn out perfectly everytime, hence we call them "Our perfect petit pancakes". The other added bonus is that you can usually make 4 or 5 at once using a large frying pan so they can all be prepared in one go. That way, the whole family can tuck in together rather than waiting for ages (or the kids getting stuck in whilst mum or dad is still stuck by the stove cooking the rest).
The other thing we all love about our special pancake recipe is that it is an all-year-round recipe and not just for pancake day. They taste fabulous as a dessert with some simple home-made berry ice cream like Daniel made when he got through to the Kent Cooks final. It is great fun adding the berries to the pancake and you can use whatever berries you like. For example, in the summer months we often use some chopped strawberries or raspberries and then in Autumn, blackberries are just perfect in this recipe. Throughout the winter you can just pop in a few berries from the freezer.
You can add in your favourite berries! This one has blueberries in it.
So here's the recipe:
Small handful Blueberries
100g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tbsp Sugar
100ml Milk
15g Butter
1 Egg

and here's how to make them:
1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, egg.
2. Add in some melted butter (approximately half).
3. Heat the remainder of the butter in a frying pan.
4. Pour in the mixture, which will be quite thick, to make some small pancakes. Do not spread the mixture round the pan.
5. Gently drop in 4 - 5 blueberries into each pancake.
6. Once the pancakes have firmed-up, gently turn them over to cook the other side.
et voila! Perfect pancakes all year round.

And we promise that next year you will be able to help Trin...

So do you have a unique or special pancake recipe of your own. If you are a blogger, find out how to join in here.
To see our previous Tots 100 Center Parcs challenges, please click on the links below:

That's my Hero!

Tots100 and Moneysupermarket.com have challenged bloggers' children to draw a picture of who their hero is and here is our blog post about who my kids have picked as their hero.

The dictionary definition of a hero is "a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities", well my boys have totally turned this definition on its head because not only have they picked a female as their hero, but a rather teeny tiny one at that. But based on the qualities that she brings out in them, I would say that the dictionary has got it all wrong and my kids have got it right. Surely a true hero is someone who brings out courage and noble qualities in us and inspires us to do our best and be all that we can be.

Introducing....Trinity...the 10 month old hero:

Picture of baby Trinity drawn by Joshua, aged 8.

Picture of baby Trinity drawn by Daniel, aged 6.

Daniel has written "Trinity is my hero because she is soooooo-ooooooooooo-oooooooooo-oooooooooo-ooooooooo-ooo cute and I love her soooo-ooooooo-ooooo much!"

And it is true - both boys do absolutely adore her. We named her Trinity because she was our third child and she represents completeness. Not only does she make our family complete but she just brings out the very best in both Joshua and Daniel.

Because of Joshua's difficulties and his brain being wired differently from other children, he can be prone to intense emotions and outbursts and yet one smile from Trinity can just melt away all that anger and proves beyond any doubt just how capable he is of showing love and care towards her.

She brings out the best in her two big brothers.

They both love spending time with her. She entertains them, makes them laugh, gives them oodles of smiles and learns new tricks from them like clapping.

For someone so little and so young, she does an amazing job in her secret role of Superhero!
'CuteBaby' - our ten month old super hero!

This post is an entry into the Tots100 MoneySupermarket That’s My Hero competition

Look who's ten months!

Our precious little T is ten months now (and a few days!) and we wanted to share some of the milestones she has just hit.

Proper crawling is a difficult thing to master - especially on hard laminate floors! But T mastered it this week, up on her hands and knees and off. But she is still a bit sneaky and goes for the commando crawl more often.

T mastered clapping for the first time this week. Before now, she has grabbed her own hands and shaken them up and down instead, but she is very pleased with her new skill and keeps showing it off!

T has shunned us holding her bottle of water for her now, and instead grabs it... and shakes it when we're not looking.

As you can see, T is 'into' everything!

T loves crawling under chairs, as you can see from her smile. But she does have a particular skill of getting stuck and needing some help to get out! You'll often find her crawling under the dining table in search of left-over food she dropped earlier; she also seems to love the taste of dust and seeks it out on her travels! We also love her habit of 'bib fishing' where she fishes around in her bib pocket for bits of food she's dropped.

T now has 6 teeth - yes... 6! The top four sneaked through in the past couple of weeks.

Like her brothers, T already has a love of books. Unlike her brothers, she is also a real thumb-sucker! When we put her to bed at night, she likes nothing more than to pull a cuddly toy over her eyes and suck her thumb.

She still 'sings' when she's tired (she always has done, but now her singing is rather louder).

She is confident sitting up alone and has even pulled herself up to standing on a couple of occassions while holding on to furniture.

We're linking this up with Mummy From The Heart's Reasons to be cheerful, which is being hosted by Seasider In The City this week.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart



I’ve not been here before and I don’t know what to do.

I know nothing I could write or say could do her justice. But I remember in time of grief, that I wanted people to say something rather than nothing. Here is our something, as inadequate as it is.

I’m not a tweeter. I rarely go onto twitter apart from the odd occasion. But for some reason on Sunday I found myself on twitter and spotted the most heartbreaking of tweets. The unimaginable, the unthinkable, the unbearable had happened. Dear Matilta Mae, the 9 month old daughter of Jennie and David @Edspire, had passed away in her sleep. 

No illness, no warning, just shock and heartbreak. 

I don’t know the family personally. I don’t even ‘know’ them via blogging but only in the sense that I used to read about Matilda Mae on the blog and see her beautiful face on facebook. I distinctly remember the Mamascarf model competition when Jennie had asked for people to vote for Matilda and I remember those stunning eyes. I remember commenting on facebook about her gorgeous eyes. 

And when I heard that most tragic news, all I kept seeing in my mind were those special eyes, those magical eyes, those precious eyes. 

The shock was immense. How could something like this happen? How can life be so cruel? For the first time ever, I went to bed with my phone by my side as if somehow that would help Matilda’s family know I was there. I was listening to their tweets. But I didn’t sleep. I sobbed and I sobbed. I knew that what I was feeling was not even a grain of sand in comparison to what they were going through – but my heart ached for them so so much.

I couldn’t make sense of it. How can anyone make sense of it. Some things just can’t be made sense of. I know many many others felt heartbroken too. Anything playing on my mind, I normally turn to the blog and write, but it was not my place to write anything. Yet I couldn’t carry on as if nothing had happened. Apart from a scheduled post, I have found it hard to blog again. I spoke to a couple of my friends. They told me to stop reading about it. I can’t. They didn’t get it. They didn’t understand how through a blog, you get to see inside people’s lives more than you do with the people you meet day to day.

I am writing this, but still don’t know what to say, I still have no words. I usually have a rough plan of what I am going to write before I start a blog post, but today I am still lost. I don’t know how to handle the feelings from the blogging world which are real. I used to think of it as ‘blog life’ and ‘real life’ but it is real. The feelings are real. The pain is real. The confusion is real. I haven’t been in this place before and I don’t know what to do. So I am writing and I ask for forgiveness if I write anything ‘wrong’ that causes hurt.  

I remember Jennie’s tweet saying “If you have just half a thought of doing something with your little one, do it today!” And I keep remembering it.

We changed our plans for homeschool that day and all went out to the park. I took photos. In Matilda’s memory, I wanted to make memories with my own children and I was going to treasure every second and never take them for granted.

The next day, the tears didn’t stop. The boys kept asking why I was crying and I had to tell them. I felt so confused because I could not and still cannot understand how this beautiful baby girl who I had never met had brought out the most intense emotions I had ever felt. 

Daniel said “I know what will help” and he rushed upstairs and brought me an artificial diamond he has and gave it to me, hugged me and said ‘I love you mama’. When I kissed Joshua goodnight, he pleaded, ‘no more crying tomorrow mummy’.

I wish my tears could make theirs less. I want to carry on life and make it more special than ever before by enjoying and embracing every second, but at the same time, I know that there is a family out there in such pain right now that I feel guilty when I am enjoying time with my children. 

I have remembered Jennie’s words each day and we have done something special each day. I took Trinity to toddler group for her first time on Wednesday whilst the boys had a lovely outing to a farm with daddy. On Thursday we went as a whole family to visit the fire station whereas ordinarily it would have just been one of us just taking the boys whilst the other caught up on chores. Today, I took a moment to read T’s favourite book with her after her nap instead of rushing on into the day.
I don’t have the right words to say. No-one can make their pain any less.

All I can promise is that I will remember. I will remember how strongly we are feeling their loss. I realise that I have no ‘right’ to grieve with such intensity but I cannot help it. The tears just keep flowing and I cannot stop them. We will not cease talking about her because she is no longer here. Our lives have been impacted because of her. My children will have a mum who appreciates them and will never take them for granted again because of Matilda Mae. My children will have a mum who will treasure every second of every day because of Matilda Mae.

Matilda Mae will be forever remembered. Matilda Mae will forever shine in our lives and in the lives of so many thousands of people.


Dating Dress Diary: Your Valentines Day Look with Coast

Coast have challenged bloggers to reveal all about their biggest fashion faux-pas when dressing totally inappropriately for the occasion and then to create a perfect outfit for Valentines day with items from Coast (where I don’t think you could go wrong at all!)

It was New years eve, 31st December 1999. THE biggest night in our lifetimes. The eve of the new millennium. We had been invited to a friends house for a party to see the new year in. Knowing that day to day, I usually lived in something comfy like jeans or tracksuit, our friend had even phoned a few days before to let me know specifically that ‘all the girls were going to make a real effort and dress up for the occasion’.

Of course I had planned to wear something special. I wasn’t just going to turn up in my faded jeans, but what exactly should I wear having been given a specific instruction to make a real effort to dress up. So rather than play it safe with a little black dress, or any dress in fact, I decided to find my most shiny shimmery outfit to really see the new year in in style.

Out came my totally backless sequinned gold top which to look at would probably dazzle your eyes more than looking directly at the sun. Teamed up with a shimmery silky pair of tight trousers and a sparkly handbag I was all set.

We arrived. Said our hellos but as I took off my big winter coat, there were several gasps. I was dressed totally OTT with everyone else dressed rather more ‘conservatively’ wearing a pretty blouse or their smartest pair of trousers and I stuck out like a sore thumb with my backless, VERY glittery sequined top.

Now fast forward 4 years to a heavily pregnant me. (At 5 stone over my normal weight there was no need to worry about wearing backless tops or tight trousers now). A friend phones and suggests I pop over one evening for a coffee with a couple of other friends. A chance for a chat and to take my mind off this last stage of pregnancy.

I had less than a couple of weeks of pregnancy left to go and I just felt huge (I was huge). I was tired. I was fed up. I was about to call and say that I just didn’t feel up to it when another friend stops by and offers me a lift. So there was no backing out. I just went in the clothes I was dressed in. By that stage nothing much fitted so it was a big pair of maternity tracksuit trousers (definitely designed more for comfort than style) and an equally unflattering huge white T-shirt. My shoes didn’t even fit me properly by that point so I just wore a slip on pair of old sandals.

I waddled into my friend’s house. Made my way through to her conservatory to be greeted by around two dozen people all shouting ‘surprise – this is your baby shower party’. It took a moment for it to all sink in. Everyone was there for me. The room had been beautifully decorated with balloons and streamers for a party and there I was – the guest of honour – stood in the frumpiest clothes and the messiest hair and no make-up. Thankfully good friends don’t judge you for how you look and despite being totally inappropriately dressed for the occasion, I had such an amazing time and was given so many lovely gifts for baby’s arrival.

I suppose what I have learned from these experiences is to try to get it right for the occasion. So this would be my ideal Valentine’s day look from Coast:

The Allure Short Dress is just so elegant and not too over-the-top. It is just subtly glamorous and as well as wearing it for a Valentine’s day date, it would also be perfect for my brother-in-laws wedding later in the year to avoid that last minute ‘I have nothing to wear to a wedding’ scenario.

I have chosen black accessories for an evening date which could be switched to cream or gold accessories for the wedding later in the year. That way it would feel like a totally different outfit perfect for the wedding, without having to buy a separate dress. So this black ruffle bag is perfect for storing a little lip gloss and eye liner in to keep me looking my best all through the evening.

The Candy Cluster Earrings and the Candy Cluster Necklace just look amazing. They look like they would reflect the light and shimmer and dazzle slightly, again without looking too OTT.

I have chosen black Tess shoes for my Valentine’s evening out but again this dress would complement many of the other shoes available at Coast like the neutral tone Georgia shoe.

Finish off with a gold Jaquard wrap to keep you cosy on your way home from a perfect evening for which you will have been perfectly dressed for!

I suppose what I have learned from these experiences is to try to get it right for the occasion. So this would be my ideal Valentine’s day look from Coast:

First time at toddler group!

I've been struggling. Since the tragic news at the weekend I spent most of the past couple of days crying. I felt guilty, I had no 'right' to cry - it was not my loss. I have felt confused and lost. I almost didn't want to come back to my blog as there are no words to say that will help. I'm sure that in time there will be a fitting tribute from the whole of the blogging community but for now I just needed to get back to write something positive here for fear of not wanting to blog again.

It is a strange thing really how you feel a link with bloggers that is sometimes illogically and unexplainably strong. I can't understand it fully and I know that people who don't read blogs don't seem to understand it. But when you have had a glimpse into someones life through a blog, it is hard to shut off, to put it out of your mind, to not let it affect you. I want to write more but I can't just yet. It has taken until today to reduce the stream of tears to a point that I can see the screen to type.

So in terms of moving onto something positive for now, I want to tell you about my day at Toddler group with Trinity. I always planned that we would have occasions to do something special, just me and her but I knew it would be harder to do because of the boys being homeschooled. Until now, I hadn't made an effort because I thought she would be too young to really appreciate it, enjoy it or remember it at all.

Today, as daddy had a day off work , we took our opportunity. Whilst Daddy took the boys to a home-ed session to see Ferrets and other animals at a local farming college, me and T grabbed the opportunity to go to one of my favourite toddler groups.

We got such a lovely warm welcome as there were still people attending who used to attend a couple of years ago when we were last there (their children were almost ready for school now compared to being so young before).

T loved seeing all the toys that were different to her own. I could see in her face how much she was enjoying it. She also loved the singing session at the end.

When we used to go along to this particular toddler group, there was a little girl who had introduced a new thing to do at the end of the 'Little bunnies sleeping' song, where instead of hopping, they would run around and squeal and scream. This seemed to become a tradition and they have been doing it ever since even though that little girl has long left the toddler group and has been at school for a good few years.

I whispered to the lady next to me and asked whether they still end the session with 'Little Bunnies sleeping' and she told me that last week they had all screamed so much that the song had to be banned! I found it so funny. This week, they had set up the chairs especially to create a barrier to prevent the children from doing the crazy running around bit and the leader had words with the kids to remind them to promise to be sensible - and I'm pleased to say they did all manage it.


Foodish pictures

My entry to Appliances Online Craft Kids competition, with The Mummy Blogger. To find out more, see this page.

Hi, it's Josh and Dan here. We've hijacked the blog again to bring you a craft project you might like to do. Mummy was going to call this project 'colour by lentils' because it is a bit like colour by numbers but you fill in each part of your picture with things like dried lentils, rice, mung beans, tea and stuff like that. But Daniel started calling it 'Foodish pictures' as that is a better name for it (and everyone knows how much Daniel loves food!) so we are going to show you how to make your own 'Foodish pictures'.
Mum hates crafts that need special equipement as it means we have to plan it and go to the shop to buy all the things we need and then we usually need lots of help because it ends up being tricky, so these foodish pictures are perfect because you can just find everything you need at home.
To make the foodish picture you need:
some pieces of card (cut up cereal boxes will do)
a pencil
some gloopy glue
any dried pulses you can find (if you use lots of different colours it will make you picture look great and you can also use things like tea and lavender like we did so your picture will smell nice as well as look nice and feel nice). We also used mung beans, pearl barley, rice, green lentils, red lentils, pasta, and cous-cous.
If you like you can also make a potato print 'frame' for your picture like we did. To do this you will need:
potatoes (small ones work best as they are easier for children to hold)

some card (again an old cereal box cut up is perfect)
some paint
some shallow plastic vegetable trays or yogurt lids to squirt your paint onto.
We had some 'greening' potatoes - perfect to use so they don't go to waste.
Pulses, pasta, tea, lavender, rice and cous-cous
On a piece of card, you can either draw a picure or a pattern and then fill it in by gluing the foods on as you go or you can start by making a key like this:
And then numbering the different parts of your picture to make a colour by numbers style activity. When our baby sister gets a bit older we could do this activity with her to help her learn numbers. 
Gluing on the pulses
While our foodish pictures dried, we did our potato print frames. You can just print a border around the outside of your piece of card but we were having so much fun doing it that we printed all over. 

Mum had cut the potatoes into different shapes like triangles, hexagons, semi-circles, squares, hearts and rectangles and we used lots of different colour paints too. So for younger children, this could be done to learn colours and shapes too!
Then you need to wait until the paint is dry and your foodish picture is dry. This is what we did while we waited.
Then simply stick your foodish picture onto your potato print frame and it makes a really great picture.