Chicken Fajita Wraps – Cooking with kids

I regularly cook with my boys.  Not always sweet things, but dinners too and one of our family favorites is this simple recipe for chicken fajita wraps. chicken fajita wraps (more…)
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Back to School 2015

I cannot believe that my boys go back to school today. The school holidays have flown past; my boys will be going into year five and six and in the next few weeks we have to go and look around senior schools for Maxi! boys back to school (more…)
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What to do in Blackpool when you are ten

Both of my boys love Blackpool and all the attractions, but as they are getting older so are their tastes.  So what is their to enjoy in Blackpool when you are ten. What to do in Blackpool when you are ten (more…)
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When everyone stares

"I am warning you, if you hit out at your brother again, then I will take you home"
THE SOLE PURPOSE OF A CHILDS MIDDLE (2) (more…)
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Their first day at school

My boys go back to school this week and will be going into year six and year five.  I know that waving them off at the door (they no longer want me to walk to school with them) will be a bittersweet moment for me and also for lots of other parents. Maxi's first day of school (more…)
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Do you have “Mum” guilt?

Do you have mum guilt?  No not that constant feeling that you could be a better mum (I think that is something that we all suffer from, nope this is a different type of Mum guilt! losing the mum guilt (more…)
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Paper plate weaving

We are big fans of yarn crafts and weaving here.  I have tried and failed at knitting and crochet in the past, so love crafts that are achievable for everyone and this paper plate weaving is a super craft. Paper plate sunflower (more…)
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Top five products for traveling with a baby

Travelling with a baby can seem like a mammoth task.  I remember travelling with Maxi and Mini when they were babies.  I always over packed.   So what are the top five products that you need when you are travelling with a baby. top 5 travel products for babies (more…)
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I am a supermum

I am supermum, I wear my pants on the outside of my trousers. (more…)
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Helping our children overcome anxiety

I was an anxious child. Not through my whole childhood, just part of it.  For me anxieties were linked to my quest for perfectionism and the need to be able to control everything.  I was lucky and my parents got help for my issues and never belittled them. Helping children with anxiety (more…)
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Audiobooks are NOT cheating

Although I agree that nothing can replace the wonder of reading aloud to your children.  I have been a fan of audiobooks since my boys were small. Audio books are not cheating (more…)
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Rhubarb Brulee Cheesecake – cooking with kids

I look cooking with my boys.  When they were small I was determined that I would provide them with life skills and cooking was one that was key.  I grew up cooking by my Mum's side and I wanted the same for the boys.  This Rhubarb Brulee Cheesecake is a twist on a classic New York cheese cake is a real crowd pleaser. Cheesecake slice square (more…)
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Cardboard Tube Village

I love making things with stuff we might throw away.  We have been collecting cardboard tubes or loo rolls for ages to make this super cute cardboard tube village. cardboard tube houses (more…)
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Staying overnight at the Zoo

We love experiences.  I adore making memories with my family, things that we can talk about over the years to come and this fabulous overnight stay at Whipsnade is certainly one of those fab experiences. overnight (more…)
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Cook on stick Damper Bread

Bread on a stick, yes bread on a stick that you can cook over a fire or on the BBQ.  Damper bread is an Australian food and has been a huge hit here.  It is super simple to make and tastes ace. damper bread (more…)
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What to look for in a pair of school shoes

School shoes are often the bane of parents lives.  I know that I have had my ups and downs with them over the years.  I want to share with you what to look for in a pair of boys school shoes. what makes a great school shoe (more…)
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Homemade burgers – cooking with kids

BBQ's are something that we love here in The Mad House.  In fact we have them as often as the weather allows over the summer and all the men of the house love burgers.  We have recently started making our own homemade burgers as they are super simple to make and you know what does into them Homemade BBQ burgers (more…)
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Is it ever OK to use a credit card?

Credit cards. Do you have one?  Do you use it?  Is it ever good financial management to use a credit card? Is it OK to use a credit card (more…)
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Balloon Hovercraft

I love crafts and activities that really bring things to life and this super simple balloon hovercraft does just that.  I love that you can transform a balloon and a CD in to a hovercraft. balloon hovercraft (more…)
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Minion Stones – a fab Minion Craft

We are still on the Minion craze here in the Mad House and anyone that know me and the boys will attest to the fact that we always have sticks and stones at the doorway, so we decided to decorate some stones as Minions. We are totally loving Minion crafts at the moment. Minion stones - this super cute Minion craft is simple to do with children. Have fun with the Minions and this kids craft using rocks or stones. (more…)
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How to make school shoes last longer

School shoes, we often joke that we need to take out another mortgage to buy them! However, we know that we want what is best for our children and yes that can often mean that they are an investment purchase. My boys are hard on shoes. Mini can ruin a pair of shoes in no time whatsoever, so over the years I have learned how to make school shoes last and I am going to share my tips with you. the secret to keeping school shoes looking good (more…)
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DIY Marble Maze

Welcome back.  Don't you just love the way that children never just see a cardboard box, they see a castle, a spaceship of even in this case a maze.  With a sprinkle of imagination there is no limit to what everyday things can become. DIY marble maze (more…)
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Cup Weaving Tutorial

We are going through a real phase of yarn craft at the moment.  It is a great way of improving fine motor skills and using up scraps of wool.  Cup weaving is a great fun craft and perfect for using paper cups. cup weaving (more…)
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5 great ways to lower your energy bills and save money

How would you spend an extra £228 per year? Money towards lowering your mortgage, a bit more spending money on your next holiday, or even a little more savings in the bank for a rainy day? £228, that’s how much you could save on your energy bills, if not more by simply lowering your energy bills. 5 great ways to lower your energy bills and save money (more…)
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How your eyesight changes in pregnancy

It is amazing how being pregnant can affect you and your body in so many ways.  During both my pregnancies my eyesight changed. eyesight changes in pregnancy (more…)
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Super Sensory Book Tour – DIY Puffy Paint

I am delighted to be sharing with you an introduction to Nurturestore's new book Super Sensory Invitations to Play.  I have known Cathy pretty much since I started blogging and she is a fabulous educator, creative mama and also a real inspiration. We are sharing with you today just one of the 52 activities in the book - DIY Puffy Paint DIY Puffy Paint (more…)
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Join the Home Tester Club and review products free

One of the things I love about being a blogger is being able to review and experience new products.  I always give an honest review and hope that the reviews I provide are helpful to other people thinking of making a purchase. free products (more…)
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Easy Pistachio Ice cream – cooking with kids

Who doesn't love ice cream? We do in The Mad House and my favourite flavour is Pistachio and with this weeks cooking with kids ingredient being N for nuts we decided to have a go at no churn easy pistachio ice cream and wow, we were very impressed. no churn pistachio ice cream 1 (more…)
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DIY Ice Pack – Sadness from Inside Out

If your children are anything like mine, they are always getting into scrapes and have many a bump and bruise.  So having an ice pack is essential.  I was inspired by Inside out to create this DIY ice pack with a sadness design. DIY Icepack (more…)
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Free Mummy and Me Colouring Pages. Colouring pages for adults and kids

One of the things that I love about the adult colouring craze is that it really helps me relax, but more than that I love that it is something that we can do as a family. So I am delighted to be able to share with you my first free mummy and me colouring pages.   Mummy and me colouring pages (more…)
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Make going to the supermarket educational

The summer is the perfect time to have an ed-venture.  An ed-venture I hear you say, Jen it is time to use your spell check, they are adventures! Make going to the supermarket educational (more…)
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Shoebox table football/foosball table

My boys are football (soccer) mad.  They would play morning noon and night it they got the chance, but the British summer time doesn't always play weather wise.  So I made this shoebox table football/foosball table game for the boys to play.  We do have a larger one, but it is in our friend's garage as we just don't have the space in the house! shoebox table football (more…)
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Pixar’s Inside Out stress balls

Have you seen Disney Pixar's Inside Out.  If not you HAVE to go and see it.  We loved it.  It was a huge hit with us all in The Mad House and I have NOT been paid to say that! As soon as I saw it I could see so many crafts and activities to link to it.  I love that it explores emotions and it inspired me to make these Inside Out stress balls. inside out stress balls (more…)
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What to have in a Mums travel first aid kit

So summer is upon us and it means lots of trips to the beach, park, woodlands and moors.  For me it means making sure I have all that I might need including a first aid kit in my bag.  I have learnt over the years that it pays to be prepared! So I am bringing you this post in conjunction with The British Red Cross. first aid kit (more…)
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How to shop the summer sales for kids

We are back this month with our picks from the Melijoe summer sale.  I love a great sale shop and get most of the boys clothes in the sale, so I am going to share my summer sale shopping tips and the boys picks ho to shop the sales (more…)
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Share your kids goal celebrations #CelebrateBetter

Do your kids love sports?  Both my boys are sports mad.  Football, cricket, tennis and athletics, they love them all.  We are so lucky that I do not have to encourage my children to enjoy sport.  It is part of their everyday, especially during the summer. #CelebrateBetter (more…)
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Free travel printables perfect for train journeys

We are big fan of travel printables.  Especially as I have one child that gets travel sick if on electronics too long whilst travelling.  We also love letting the train take the strain when we are travelling too. free travel printables (more…)
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Simple Kids Birthday Cake

We were challenged by Stork to bake a simple kids birthday cake devised by Ruth from The Pink Whisk.  Well it was perfect timing as my best friends youngest was about to turn four. birthday cake. (more…)
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Maths and Art Collide = Parabolic curves

Both my boys are maths geeks.  They have loved numbers and maths since they were small and are great with mental maths. They have also always loved art and crafts, but the older they get (they are nine and ten) they do less art and I want to encourage them.  This is where maths and art collide - parabolics. parabolic curves square (more…)
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Yarn wrapped sticks

Sticks, when is a stick not a stick? Well a stick can be and often is everything in this house.  You can find a pile of sticks at the front door as my boys pick up sticks wherever we go and this "treasure" is part of childhood and I love it!  But I also love doing something with these sticks and we decided to practice some fine motor skills and make some yarn wrapped sticks. tarns wrapped sticks (more…)
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Mini Pizza Bites – cooking with kids

My boys are bottomless.  They are both really active kids and eat pretty healthily most of the time and these mini pizza bites are a delicious after school snack or lunchbox treat. mini pizza bites (more…)
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Free Dreamworks Home colouring pages

This year has been a really great year for family movies, what with Minions, Paddington and now Dreamworks Home. Both my boys adored Home when they saw it at the cinema with MadDad and are delighted that DreamWorks Animation’s HOME is out now on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD.  As a mum I love it when movies are released with some great activity and colouring pages and we have some fab free Dreamworks Home colouring pages to share with you. home activity and colouring sheets (more…)
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How to make a toy surfboard or windsurf board

Don't you just love how children see the world differently to us adults.  This summer activity was inspired by my childrens love of water and by a walk on the beach watching the surfers with them. This is a great activity where you can make a mini surfboard with your child and their sprinkle of imagination will provide them with hours of fun. Even better they are made with something you would normally throw out.  Read on to find out how to make a toy surfboard or windsurf board that floats! windsurf board square (more…)
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Get the Best Value School Uniform

Now is the time to get your kids school uniform for next year. Over the years my boys have tried and tested pretty much all the school uniform out there and one has always come out best value time and time again.   So read on if you want to find out how and where to get the best value school uniform for your kids... value school uniform (more…)
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How to make God’s Eyes/Ojo de Dios

When you are a child, you see everything differently. A stick isn't just a stick - it’s a wand, it’s a pair of skis, it’s a light saber.  So we are using our sprinkles of imagination to turn sticks in to God's Eyes and if you house is anything like The Mad House then you will have a lot of sticks by the door! how to make Ojo de Dios God's eyes (more…)
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Getting kids to sleep – the holy grail of parenting

Even before children are born they are affecting your sleep patterns.  Did you get a good night's sleep in your third trimester? After both my boys were born all I wanted to do was sleep for a week.  Little did I know that sleep is for the weak and that lack of sleep theirs and mine was something that I was going to learn to live with for years to come. getting kids of all ages to sleep (more…)
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Win fab personalised bedding sets

Today I have a great competition to share with you thanks to Tobias Baker.   You could win one of three whole makeover sets, which includes butterflies personalised duvet set in single or double, butterflies lined curtains in either of the 2 sizes, matching quilted bed runner and boudoir cushion and square filled cushion.

New Personalized Duvet Sets & New Curtain Making Service (more…)

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Bircher Muesli, the original overnight oats

It is official, I am hooked.  After an amazing trip to the Mornflake factory and seeing oats go from seed to bowl. I decided to try making bircher muesli and we all love them. They are the perfect simple breakfast for summer days and the origional overnight oats. overnight oats (more…)
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A Minions Milkshake – Kids in the kitchen

We are currently enjoying Minion madness here in the mad house after watching The Minions last week.  We all love the minions, we have done since we first saw Despicable Me.  If you know anything about Minions then you know that our lovable sidekicks love bananas, so they are a big part of our Minions Milkshake. minions milkshake (more…)
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Is your child a spender or saver?

Do you worry about your children being money savvy?  I am going to admit that I do.  I have one child that is currently a spender and one that is a saver and I really want to drum money management in to both of them. Are you raising a spender or a saver (more…)
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A weekend Unplugged with Forest Holidays

With two boys aged nine and ten unplugging can be an issue sometimes. Not the time spent unplugged but the high tech tantrums when I tell them that it is time to turn off! We call it reluctance to transition in The Mad House.  We recently had an unplugged weekend at Sherwood Pines (Nottinghamshire) with Forest Holidays and it was a huge success. a weekend unplugged (more…)
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Madeira Cake – Cooking with kids

Hello everyone.  We are up to L with our A-Z of cooking with kids ingredients and this week it is Lemons.  Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, but for kids it can be something of an acquired taste.  This simple, and delicious Madeira Cake using lemon zest to give a hint of lemon flavor and it is a great cake to cook with kids as it is pretty fool proof. madeira cake square (more…)
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10 Tips for encouraging family mealtimes

Do you eat together as a family?  We do, but I am not polishing my halo.  I am well aware of just how hard it can be to keep everyone happy and at the table at mealtimes.  I have had a fair few battles behind me, but decided that family mealtimes were worth the challenge. family meal time (more…)
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How to improve your credit rating

Wow Sunday already and time to be fabulously frugal again.  This week I want to talk about ways to improve your credit rating in collaboration with TSB Bank.  Not a sexy topic, but one that most people will need at some point. How to improve your credit score (more…)
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How do you control and monitor Internet usage?

Screen time, is it a big issue in your home?  I try to prevent it being one in ours by having strict rules that we stick to, but it doesn't stop me being concerned with that the boys can or might see on the internet.  I have a free printable screen rules download for you. ScreenTime square (more…)
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Gender difference in kids – A mum to boys opinion

As a mum of two boys it sometimes feels like I am parenting aliens. My best friend has four boys aged between three and eleven.  So my main experience is with boys they are different to how was as a child and they are different to the girls I know (I have two nieces). Young brother and sister holding each other on white background (more…)
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Lolly stick harmonica or a popsicle stick harmonica

I am back with Fab to bring you our next instalment in the sprinkles of imagination campaign, where we are producing great projects that help turn everyday objects into something that your children can use for imaginative play.  Fab has sent us lots of lolly sticks to make into fun and creative designs, so we decided to have a go at making a lolly stick harmonica or a popsicle stick harmonica (depended on where in the world you are reading from)! These were so simple to make, but we have had hours experimenting with what sounds we can make and the boys with all their friends have made a band! make a lolly stick harmonica (more…)
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Why you should be planning for back to school now

I know, I know, school hasn't even finished yet in most of the UK and I am talking about planning for going back to school.  But trust me on this one, you really need to be planning for going back to school now. back to school planning (more…)
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Free Minions Colouring Book Printable and Minion craft roundup

We are minions mad here.  We have loved the cheeky adorable minions since the first time we encountered them! Today we have a fab free minions colouring book printable to share with you.  perfect for after you have seen The Minions Movie!  We also have a fab round up of Minion crafts and activities to share. 20 minions kids crafts and activities square (more…)
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5 Ways to Keep Your Children’s Minds Active Over the Summer

There’s no denying that over the long summer holidays children lose the momentum they’ve had for learning over the previous year at school. Key concepts might be forgotten and they could simply get out of the habit of applying their brain on a regular basis. It is beneficial to your children to keep their brains active over the summer holidays, especially if they are returning to exams, a particularly challenging year or even starting a new school. Summer learning (more…)
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Monster Big Nosed Bookmarks

Mini is an avid reader. He devours books in no time and also reads before bed, so we decided to have a go at making some of our own bookmarks. We have seen the corner monster bookmarks everywhere and we wanted to try something different, so we decided to make Monster Big Nosed Bookmarks, inspired by the "Wot no" Kilroy drawings I used to doodle as a youth! Big nose monster bookmarks (more…)
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Please vote for me

I am honored to be a finalist in this years MAD Blog Awards for the best craft blog of 2015.  For those of you that don't know The Mad Blog Awards recognise excellence in the Mum and Dad blogging arena. please vote (more…)
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Kids Fruit Smoothie – cooking with kids

Welcome back to our A-Z of Ingredients cooking with kids series.  This week we are at K is for Kiwi and we have made or that should be Mini has made some delicious fruit smoothies. kids friut smoothie square (more…)
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A Picture of Health – Pet food and exercise tips for a healthy dog

It is hard to believe that Alvin has been part of The Mad House for over two years now.  It is hard to imagine our lives without him.  He brings us much joy and completes us.  We are a family of give.  So much so that we actually look for holidays and breaks that we can take him along with us. Alvin (more…)
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How to make a Football piñata or Soccer ball piñata

I have never made a piñata before, but when I saw the football piñata on Here comes the girls, I knew that I had to make one for Mini's birthday party.  However when a dear friend thought that I planned letting my boys lose on a piñata with a stick she panicked!  However, it was never my intention to let them beat it with a stick, but to kick it like a real football. Make your own football soccer ball piñata (more…)
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Summer bored jar activities

Summer holidays is nearly upon us, which means updating our summer bored jar activities.  We have had a bored jar for the last four years and it has become something of a tradition in the Mad House, but the boys are getting bigger, so in addition to a bored jar, I have got a fab printable too ultimate summer activities image square (more…)
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Top comics for ten year old boys

I love reading and I am so pleased to have been able to pass that love of reading on to my boys.  Mini has always been a ferocious reader, but Maxi was a reluctant reader up until the last year or so.  One of the things to remember as a parent is that reading doesn't always have to equal books and comics are a great way to encourage readers.  So here are our current top comics for ten year old boys. top comics square (more…)
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Great beach hacks for families

We live 5 minutes from the beach and growing up by the beach was a real highlight of my childhood.  However, I married a man that hates the sand!  One of my favorite ways to spend the summer is at the beach with the boys and these great beach hacks will make a day at the beach a dream. beach hacks square (more…)
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How to make a Smash book (scrapbook) for kids – a step by step guide

The summer is a great time to encourage your kids to scrapbook.  Each year we record the holidays and our adventures in our own summer scrapbook.  The new craze is smash booking.  So here is how to smash book with kids. How to make a smashbook (more…)
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Free Summer Planner and Share your top family meal and win

It certainly feels like we are on the home stretch of school before the summer holidays now.  My boys only have five weeks of school left and I am excited about planning for the summer.  Earlier in the week I share with you how we customised a recipe book so that we can keep a record of all the family meals we cook and today I have a fab free summer planning calendar for you and a super competition. Free summer holiday planner (more…)
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Jam tarts, cooking with kids

Welcome back to our a-z of ingredients cooking with kids series.  We are already at J is for...... Jam tarts. jam tarts (more…)
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Free Summer Planner and how keep the kids entertained over summer

We love summer, have you guessed yet.  I adore spending the six weeks of the summer with my boys.  I am lucky in that I can juggle my work and spend a lot of time with them.  I also feel the strain sometimes at keeping the kids entertained over summer. summer planner square (more…)
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More great free colouring pages for adults

It seems that so many people love adult pages and I am not alone in my love of them.  I recently took a flight for business and rather than reading I sat colouring in for the journey, lost in my own little world.  The flight attendants said they are seeing more and more people colouring on planes. more free colouring pages for adults (more…)
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Fab Father’s Day Cards

There is nothing better than receiving a kids made card and Father's Day is no exception.  I love getting creative with the MiniMads and coming up with ideas for this years card for MadDad.  The boys love their father and there is something about watching the Husbeast with his boys that makes me go weak at the knees. fathers day cards (more…)
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Free Printable Father’s Day cards

I understand that not everyone wants to do arts and crafts with the kids, but I believe that we all have a creative gene somewhere and that creativity is a muscle and the more we use it, the bigger it gets!  Father's Day is a great time to get a little crafty with the kids and to make it simpler for you I have teamed up with SnapFish to bring you a free printable Father's Day card for you, in fact I have two for you to choose from. free printable fathers day cards (more…)
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Create a family cookbook with the kids

We love cooking in The Mad House.  I really enjoy teaching the boys new recipes and sharing with them recipes that have been passed down through the family.  I want to make sure that I leave them with a legacy of lots of delicious family recipes.  I was delighted when Newcastle Building Society set us a ‘Customise Your Life’ challenge of customising your cookbooks with your top 10 family recipes as it spurred me on. family recipe book (more…)
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Free Father’s Day Printable and exclusive 10% discount

I think that the significance of Father's day and Mother's Day only come to us once we are parents.  I know that on Mother's Day there is nothing better than getting a homemade card of little something from my boys.   So with the help of the boys and Braun I have put together a free Father's Day printable. free fathers day printable square (more…)
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How to make Glove Monsters

In our hall we have a basket which is filled with hats and other things depending on the season and this week I took all the winter hats, gloves and scarfs and swapped them for the summer caps and hats and I was left with two odd gloves, that were missing their mates.  So I decided to upcycle them and make some glove monsters.  And yes, I know that it is June and I am only putting away the winter stuff, but it has been a really odd Spring in the UK this year and we have had hail in May! glove monsters (more…)
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Classic kedgeree with green asparagus – Cooking with kids and Marley Spoon

One of the great things about getting your kids in the kitchen is the wonderful flavours and recipes it opens up to them.  I find that both my boys are much more adventurous if they have helped cook the food and this is one of the main reasons I love cooking with kids. Classic kedgeree with green asparagus square (more…)
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50 Outdoor adventures and activities for kids

Do you have adventurous kids? I do, in fact they are far braver than me.  Nothing seems to scare my lads and there is nothing they enjoy more than an outdoor adventure.  But the trick to getting your kids outdoors is to turn outdoor activities into outdoor adventures! 50 Must do outdoor activities (more…)
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How to make a LEGO Minifigure parachute

Do your kids love LEGO?  Mine do, and this fab LEGO minifigure parachute is simple to make and so much fun to play with both inside and outside. minifigure parachute (more…)
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Make a lolly or popsicle stick catapult

This is a super simple science and craft activity to do with the kids.  We always have lot of lolly sticks (popsicle sticks) left to use, so we decided to have a go at making a lolly stick catapult.  These were so simple to make, but we have had hours of fun seeing who can get mini marshmallows into a target! lolly stick catapult square (more…)
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A months trial of The Maths Factor for kids for £1

Both of my boys love mathematics.  They enjoy the challenge that they get from doing maths questions and learning their times tables. They both have since starting school and fort Maxi even before he started school.  When we were offered a free trial of The Maths Factor, a site set up by Carol Vordeman I jumped at it especially since the new curriculum means that maths has just got harder! Maths factor square (more…)
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110 Summer acts of kindness for kids

Often we focus on having fun over the summer and making it a great time for us and the kids.  I want to make this summer great for everyone and encourage the kids to do random acts of kindness through the summer, like we did at Christmas. 100 summer acts of kindness for kids (more…)
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Top tips for choosing beach clothes for kids

We are back this month with our beach picks from the fab Melijoe.com website. We live right by a beach, well 2 minutes drive away and my boys both love spending time on the beach both in the summer and the winter.   The Mini Mads have had a good browse of the website and here are their choices. The boys are ten and nearly nine and have distinct personalities, so see if you can tell who picked which sets! Top tips for choosing beach clothes (more…)
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10 Great games and activities for kids to encourage play in the garden

Do you have a garden or a yard?  We have a back garden, which eight years ago was just mud and stones as this house was a new build when we moved in to it.  We really love having a garden, we grow plants in it, eat in it over the summer and it is a fab place for the boys to play (mostly football at the moment). garden games swuare (more…)
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5 simple ways to save money

One of the things that I have learned is that it always pays to not impulse buy.  Planning any purchases ensures that I always save money.  I am going to share with you my top five simple ways to save money. money saving square (more…)
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Teaching children about safety without scaring them

My boys are getting to the age where I am becoming happy to leave one of them at home for five minutes when I drop the other off somewhere or have to run a quick errand. Teaching children about safety without scaring them   (more…)
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A tour of The Mad House – Living with kids

Every wednesday morning after the boys have gone to school, I grab a pot of tea and log online and take a look at Design Mom's living with kids post from the previous night.  It is a regular treat for me, like getting a new magazine.  I love looking at peoples homes round the world and how people uniquely live with kids.  I know that my photo's will never be good enough to feature on Design Mom, but as we were recently featured on At home with Hillary's I thought I would share a glimpse in to our home with two boys aged 10 and 8! living with kids 1 (more…)
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Cooking with kids – budgeting, buying and cooking

Welcome back to our A-Z ingredients cooking with kids series.  We are currently at H is for honey.  As an added challenge this week, we were asked to produce a three course dinner for four on a budget of £20 by Ffrees.  So I passed this over to Maxi who is ten and he certainly rose to the challenge in budgeting, buying and cooking us a fantastic Sunday dinner. [caption id="attachment_13706" align="alignnone" width="600"]Sample text background notebook on wooden table Sample text background notebook on wooden table[/caption] (more…)
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15 Stunning suncatchers for kids to make

I have a long term love of suncatchers.  I adore the way they catch the light and brighten up windows.  It doesn't have to be ultra sunshiney, hey even brighten up dark dismal windows too.  The boys also love making them and gifting them to people too, so they are a win win make here! Suncatcher Square (more…)
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100 Indoor activities for rainy days

Some days it is either too hot for outdoor activities or just plain raining and you just don't fancy playing out in the rain.  So here are some fab, fun and screen free indoor activities to keep the kids occupied. Child playing at home indoors with a teepee tent   (more…)
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More road trip travel printables

I have been thinking about half term and a weekend trip that we are taking.  I know that lots of kids have tablets and electronics to keep them occupied in the car, but I like to mix things up a little and the boys loved the first set of road trip travel printables, so I have created another set this time in conjunction with webuyanycar.com. free road trip printables (more…)
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How to make a Rainbow Windsock

We love making crafts that we can use in our learning and this fab rainbow windsock is a brilliant make that is great for learning about the weather and the wind.  RAINBOW WINDSOCK SQUARE (more…)
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5 Tips to get the kids involved in cleaning

Do your kids help with the cleaning?  I hate cleaning up, but love a tidy house! So it is important to me that the boys know what is expected of them and one of those things to to be involved in cleaning.  So yes my kids do the housework and no they do not moan about it all the time! Do your kids do the housework (more…)
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Pampers celebrates #everybaby

On the same day that the nation celebrates one special birth, Pampers partners with award winning director to celebrate #everybaby Phoenix   (more…)
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What would you spend a unexpected £100 on?

Earlier this week TSB asked me what I would spend £100 on.  I have thought long and hard on this and also asked the boys too. money square (more…)
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Road trip travel printables and a Ford C-MAX review

Do you like travelling in the car with the kids?  I have learned to love our family travel time and have realised that it is actually getting easier. free car journey printables square (more…)
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Tandoori chicken tray bake – Cooking with kids

We have been trialing the BacoFoil Non stick for the last month and this post from cooking with kids in brought to you on conjuction with them.  We have used it to line our trays when making out M&M Cookies and also for this delicious Tandoori chicken tray bake Tandoori chicken tray bake 1 (more…)
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Summer Clothes for boys

We are back this month with our summer picks from the fab Melijoe.com website. The Mini Mads have had a good browse of the website and here are their choices. The boys are ten and nearly nine and have distinct personalities, so see if you can tell who picked which sets! Summer picks (more…)
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Frozen Fruity Yoghurt Bites – Cooking with kids

We are at G with our cooking with kids a-z of ingredients and that means grape - grapes and cooking, well I was flummoxed!  Well that is until I remember seeing these fab Frozen Fruity Yoghurt Bites over at Eats Amazing.  So our Frozen Fruity Yoghurt Bites are made with grapes. Frozen Fruity Yoghurt Bites 4 (more…)
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Help design a baby bag

Way back in the dark ages when I became pregnant I remember being excited about getting a baby bag and then the reality set in.  I would be carrying this damn bag around for what turned out to be nearly three years until my darling children got out of nappies. design a baby bag (more…)
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Ten Fabulous Free Meal Planning Printables

Once a week we sit down as a family and talk about what we loved about that week's menu and what we want the following week.  It has started to become a real family affair as both the boys are now preparing and cooking at least one meal a week.  I am a sucker when it comes to stationery, so I have gathered together some fabulous free meal planning printables to share with you. menu plans printables square (more…)
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Basil and tomato baked eggs – cooking with kids

I love weekends and having the extra time to make a delicious breakfast and this fab basil and tomato baked eggs dish from Crumbs is certainly one for a lazy weekend breakfast or brunch and perfect for slightly older kids to make. baked eggs square title (more…)
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Encouraging kids to garden

We have been lucky enough to have a small garden for the last eight years and we love to make the most of it, but growing our own vegetables and using it as a wonderful place to eat and play. kids gardening (more…)
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Sportpax review and giveaway

Both of my boys are sports mad, especially football.  I am lucky that it takes no encouragement on my part to get them outside in t he fresh air playing and with the lighter nights they are outside playing football or cricket with their friends until they are called in. They both either scoot or walk to and from school and if they are taking the scooter then they really need a backpack for their school things (books, pencil case, PE kit etc) and this is where these fab Sportpax come in.  Sportpax are backpacks with iconic, fun designs in the shape of sports balls. Sportpax bags are tough, resilient and spacious – perfect for cramming in bits for school. sportspax (more…)
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Free colouring pages for adults

I adore colouring in. Finally someone has acknowledged that colouring in is great for adults as well as children and I no longer have to use the kids colouring books.  We love family colouring and have had some great evenings colouring in on a super piece of fabric I got from Ikea with fabric pens and now we can all do colouring in as a fab relaxing screen free activity. free colouring pages (more…)
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Oreo dirt desserts or chocolate mint puddings

This shop and recipe for Oreo dirt desserts or chocolate mint puddings has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias We have been busy planting in the garden and to celebrate this I decided to make some Oreo dirt desserts or chocolate mint puddings.  We have made dirt desserts with jelly worms in the past (I was first introduced to them in California) and this time I want to make them a little more adult. Oreo dirt desserts or chocolate mint puddings (more…)
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Teacher appreciation gift ideas

Do your kids give their teachers a gift at the end of the year to say thank you for teaching them?  My boys have always made something as a token of their appreciation to their teachers.  At Christmas we are renowned for our thumbprint robin or reindeer mugs, so we like to shake it up a bit each year depending on the sex of their teachers. kid made teacher app (more…)
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M&M Cookies – Cooking with kids

We are at F is for Flour in our A- Z of ingredients cooking with kids series.  We could have made many things, but with the Easter holidays and spring in the air we decided to make some simple M&M cookies.  My SIL had just got back from Florida so we had a wonderful selection of spring coloured M&Ms to use and these cookies are perfect for making with kids. M&M Cookies (more…)
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Hacks for leftover food

We have been making the most of a fabulous week of weather here in the North Yorkshire for the second week of the school Easter holidays (hence the lack of posting this week)! Holidays for us mean lots of family activities and lots of cooking and eating together.   With two boys aged ten and nearly nine I have to make my food stretch and with these hacks for leftover food you will never throw any food away again! food-hacks (more…)
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Rocking Kids Series on Netflix according to an 9 year old

We have had Netflix since just before Christmas and have been trying it out as a family before letting you know what is rocking our worlds.  So here you have the first in our series, rocking kids series on Netflix according to a nine year old. kids TV on netflix (more…)
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10 Free Spring activities

We are half way through the Easter holidays here in the Mad House and we are trying to be as frugal as possible, so that we can save up for a shad for the garden.  So we are doing as much no cost spring activities as we can. Free spring activities (more…)
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Insomnia cures for Mums

It comes as no surprise to me and yes I see the irony that this post is being written at 2.21am in the morning as I have always suffered with insomnia, but my sleeping pattern or ability to sleep got much worse when I became a mum and my insomnia became "mumsomnia". dealing with insomnia as a mum (more…)
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Maxi turns ten

Can you believe that Maxi turned ten last month. Ten, double digits, how on earth did that happen so fast? Getting Maxi was a challenge in itself and in some ways it seems so long ago and in other ways it only seems like yesterday. maxi (more…)
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Eggy Bread – cooking with kids

The aim of our cooking with kids series is to encourage the boys to try new foods, but also to build on basic cooking skills and provide them with a repertoire of usable recipes.  Eggy bread is one of those simple recipes that I know they will return to a lot (they have already made it for breakfast three days on the trot). eggy bread (more…)
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Coffee filter stained glass earth

We decided to celebrate Earth Day this year by making coffee filter stained glass earths.  We actually cheated and used some round paper towels we had been sent as we didn't have any coffee filters, but you get the same result. Coffee filter stained glass earth (more…)
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle decorated eggs

Do your kids decorate eggs for easter?  It is one of the things the boys love and they have egg decorating competitions at school, cubs and also the Easter Party we attend annually. We are one of those families that believe in the kids decorating their own eggs, so I sit on my hands and provide encouragement only!  These Teenage Mutant Ninja decorated eggs won Maxi the cubs competition this year and even better they are simple and all his own work! teenage mutant ninja turtle decorated eggs (more…)
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Simple paper plate nests

I have been looking after my friends three year old and we have been having so much fun with some easy, but satisfying craft projects.  One of which is this super simple paper plate nests for our pompom chicks.  Once we made these he had so much fun playing with both the nests and chicks. PAPER PLATE NESTS SQUARE (more…)
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Easter Bonnet Ideas

Part of our Spring tradition is making an Easter Bonnet for the Kids Easter Party.  I used to be one of those parents that wanted it all to be perfect and symmetrical, but over the years I have learnt to sit on my hands and let the boys take over.   In my humble opinion my boys Easter Bonnets might not look perfect, but they are kid made. easter bonnets (more…)
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15 Spring outdoor activities for kids

Oh I adore Spring.  The lighter nights, the warmer days and the promise of things to come.  We are a pretty active family and the boys take the opportunity of lighter night to play outside.  In fact they don't come home until we go find them and can often be found playing football under the light of a street lamp.   But for those of you with kids that are reluctant to leave the warms and familiarity of the screen for outside play here are some  great spring activities. 15 outdoor spring activities (more…)
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20 Easter egg decorating ideas for kids

We are so looking forward to the Easter holidays at the Mad House and one of our traditions is to decorate eggs.  Not only as it is fun to do, but also for a competition at my brothers club and the cubs too.  We never do anything overly elaborate, but we really enjoy it. 20 egg decorating ideas for kids (more…)
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Paper plate hand print chick

Spring is my favorite season and yellow my favorite colour, so this Paper plate hand print chick really makes my heart sing.  It is a simple craft, but is a fun way to include your child's hand print in to crafting.  Chicks are a perfect signifier for spring or Easter and if you are a chick fan then you might like my easy chick cards or pompom chicks. We didn't have any yellow paper plates so we decided to paint our white plates yellow, which added in another step, but we love painting and remember it doesn't have to be perfect.  this is your child's craft, so let them take the lead depending on the age they are.  If you are not a fan of paint you could use crayon, pens or even oil pastels to colour in your plate.  The beauty of this paper plate chick craft is that it is made from items that you are likely to already have in your craft box. chick square (more…)
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Munch Bunch twitter party on 25 March @8.30pm

The Easter holidays are nearly upon us and Spring has sprung, it’s the perfect time for a Nature Trail!  We are big fans of encouraging you to get out and about no matter what the weather, but the lighter nights and warmer days make it so much easier for everyone. munch bunch 1 To help encourage you get outside and take your kids on nature trails, TV presenter and mum of two, Angellica Bell is sharing her tips on getting down with nature and helping children learn where food comes from in a Twitter party on Wednesday March 25th, 8.30pm. (more…)
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Homemade Pizza Recipe – Cooking with kids

We have been making homemade pizza's as a family since the boys were small.  It has become a tradition in the Mad House that Saturday night is pizza night and over the years we have perfected our homemade pizza recipe and now it is perfect and great for cooking with kids. cooking with kids pizza dough   (more…)
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Paddington Bear crafts, activities & free printables

Have you seen the Paddington Bear movie? We loved it in the Mad House   It was the perfect family feel good movie and even the husbeast enjoyed it and we will be happy to purchase it on DVD or Blue Ray when it comes out on 23rd March.  It was one of the best family movies we have seen in ages. So to celebrate the release of the movie I wanted to share with you some fabulous PB crafts and activities and also some fab free printables too. paddington square (more…)
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Pompom tailed bunny garland

How cute is this bunny garland! I have not hidden my love of pom poms from you and Easter is the perfect time to use pom poms in your crafts.  This pompom tailed bunny garland is adorable and so simple to make.  If you don't fancy making pompoms for it, then make it smaller and use cotton wool balls for the fluffy tails! pompom tailed bunny bunting (more…)
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15 Frugal decorating ideas for Easter – #fabulouslyfrugal 14/03/15

I love Easter.  It really is a wonderful time of the year.  A time of renewal, a time for rejoicing and also new beginnings.  I love to decorate our home with the changes of seasons and Easter is no exception. I also love how our decorations are building up and being added to over the years.  Most of them are homemade and hold lots of memories and none of them were expensive.  My top tip is to buy them after Easter is over in the sales and put them away for next year, just remember where you have stored them! 15 frugal decorating ideas (more…)
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My Mum shaped hole

The more I mother, the more I respect and appreciate my own mother.  The more I mother, the more I want to tell her just how much my opinion of her has changed. But the gap she has left in my life is more than that.  I want to ask questions. Was I really as bad as Mini at getting to and staying asleep.  Is Maxi as precocious as I was? mum (more…)
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Chocolate cornflake nests – cooking with kids

This shop and recipe for chocolate Cornflake nests has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias Sometimes when you are trying to encourage your kids into the kitchen you just need a simple recipe that is fun to make and chocolate cornflake nests fit that bill and are super fun for kids of all ages to make as there is no baking or oven involved. cornflake nests (more…)
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Cinnamon Apple Fries

Back in 2013 we visited LEGOLAND Florida twice, yes twice and one of the highlights for me was the Granny Smith apple fries, which are delicious cinnamon apple fries. I have tried to bake these fries and also attempted to cook them in the air fryer, but trust me you need to actually fry these in vegetable oil to get the crisp coating.  The secret is to cook a few at a time in a really hot oil, that way the outside crisps and prevents the inside absorbing oil. Cinnamon apple fries (more…)
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How to make button bracelets, a beautiful homemade gift

Is there anything better than receiving a homemade gift made with love?  This beautiful button bracelet would be the perfect Mothers Day gift or tween craft.  I would be delighted to be the recipient of this gorgeous unique piece of jewellery which was made by Utterly Scrummy Food for Family's daughter. Button Bracelet_2

How to make a Button Bracelet

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Spring clothes for boys

Oh how do I adore the lighter nights and warmer days  It makes going outside so much more fun.  I am currently working with Melijoe, a fab website filled with wonderful kids clothes and here are the MiniMad's picks for spring clothes for boys. spring picks for boys (more…)
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How to make picture tile coasters

Picture tile coasters make great gifts for Mums or Grandparents and are so easy and fun to make. They also make great frugal teachers gifts.  We picked up our tiles from the discount section of the DIY superstore as the box was broken and it was £1 for 10 four inch tiles and we have been using images from our fab FujiFIlm Pop Books. picture tile coasters (more…)
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30 Frugal Mother’s Day Gifts – #FabulouslyFrugal 07/03

There is only a week until Mother's Day in the UK and there really isn't the need to spend a lot.  In fact most mothers would just be delighted with a handmade card and a lie in, trust me on that one! However, if you do want to spoil your mum on a budget then you have come to the right place. 30 DIY MOthers day git ideas (more…)
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Family recipes and free printable recipe card

There is something special about picking up a recipe book or a handwritten recipe that is marked with fingerprints, oil splatters and the holds in it all the history of the times that meal has been cooked for loved ones. mum and autnie chri My mum didn't have a recipe book, she cooked from memory, she even baked from memory.  She was an excellent cook and other than a few notes in an old Mrs Beeton's Cookery book from 1959 and a Bero Book with notes in and a few pages torn out of magazines.  Then she died so suddenly a lot of her fabulous recipes died with her.   (more…)
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Celebrate International Women’s Day with a fab giveaway

In honour of International Women’s Day this Sunday 8 March two great Belgian brands are offering six lucky Mum in the Mad House readers the chance to win some amazing prizes. celebrating womans day (more…)
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How to make simple paper roses and beautiful roses for Mothers Day

I love Mother's Day.  Yes it might be overly commercial, but it is a wonderful reminder for us all that Mothers are amazing.  Plus with two little boys in the house that love giving and making cards and gifts it is the perfect opportunity for them to express their creativity. simple paper roses square As much as I adore homemade flowers such as our beautiful cake case daffodils, nothing beats roses. (more…)
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Do you have a Ninja dog?

Can you believe that is is nearly two years since we brought Alvin in to our family.  He turns two on April 18th and we can not imagine life without him.  After being a cat family we have tuned in to a dog family and are really looking forward to watching Crufts this year! al and maxi We have also had a great deal of fun the last few days watching these fab "Ninja Dogs" who will get you if you disrespect the chocolate in Balsen Pick Up Biscuits! We have a sneak peek of the advert for you below........ (more…)
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Real kids bedrooms designed by regular Mums’

There are loads of inspirational kids bedrooms on Pinterest, but a big part of me knows that my two boys will never have a bedroom like that.  Not down to the fact that I don't have the imagination, but down to costs, size, time and the fact that they just would not keep it clean (well Mini wouldn't). Don't be disparaged by all the beauty that there is, here are some real kids bedrooms designed by regular mums' like you and me. real kids rooms (more…)
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The best Carrot cake in the world – c is for carrot

Yes I know it is a big things to say, but this really is the best carrot cake in the whole wide world.  We have tried others and nothing comes close and other people have made out best carrot cake in the world and agree with us. We do to even peel the carrots, just wash them and top and tail them.  This is a beautifully moist cake that is delicious and if you have kids that refuse carrots this will really turn them round. This recipe is great for making with kids as you do it all the mixing by hand. cooking with kids carrot cake  

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Pies, Cooking with kids

Hoorah! Its British Pie Week! We love pies in The Mad House, both savory and sweets ones and they are perfect for using with leftovers and also for cooking with kids.  So in celebration I have a cooking with kids pie special.  For the purpose of this round up, I am also including tarts and quiches which have a pastry bottom!  For those reader in the UK I have teamed up with pie makers Higgidy to celebrate British Pie Week, so do read to the end to see our fab giveaway. pies cooking with kids (more…)
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101 Low cost activities for Spring Bored Jar

I can almost taste it, Spring is in the air and that means a whole new bored jar and a whole new list of low cost or no cost activities for Spring for kids and families.  Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction, some inspiration to encourage our kids away from technology and that is what this fantastic list is. Not sure what a bored jar is, well here I tell you how to make your own bored jar. Our Spring Bored Jar has all the below activities in and a bunch of chores too.  I hope that the added chores encourage the children to think twice before dipping in their hand and using the term "I'm bored"! bored jar square spring (more…)
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15 Frugal Sensory Tub ideas – Low Cost or No Cost

Sensory tubs really are a delight for all the senses.  You dont have to fill them with expensive materials or items and often you can repurpose things to make a fantastic thrifty Sensory tub.  So I want to inspire you with these fab frugal sensory tub ideas. You really do not have to go out and buy expensive materials, you just need to take a different look at what you already have in your home and go from there. Fabulously Frugal sensory Bins (more…)
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Cake case daffodils

I love real flowers, I really do, but there is nothing that makes me smile more than than the handmade ones that grace my desk which have over time been made by my boys.  They are often so simple to make, but they last forever and these cake case daffodils are so simple to make, but look amazing.  Even better this is a mess free craft. cake case daffodils 6 (more…)
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Tips for getting through the monotony of parenting

Being a parent can be a slog.  I am not going to lie there are times when I find mothering a monotony.  Now do not get me wrong, I adore my children and have come to know that I was born to be a parent, but heck there have been days and even months when I have wanted to tear my hair out over thinking about cooking yet another meal or wiping another bottom (thankfully baby days and toddler days are long gone). Escaping the monotony of motherhood Kids thrive on routine, well at least mine do.  They like to know what we are having for dinner, what time is lunch and Maxi likes to be in charge of making sure the timetable is strictly adhered to (a sergeant major in the making that one)! So how do we make sure we escape the monotony of motherhood? (more…)
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10 Recycled playsets – #Fabulously Frugal 22 February

I love making the most of what we have and that is what Fabulously Frugal is all about for me this week.  Making the most of things that we already have in the home and recycling or upcycling them to make playsets. 10 Recycled playsets square (more…)
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Homemade flowers for kids to make

Spring is on it's way in the UK and I for one am looking forward to spring flowers, but you can have flowers all year round and they mean so much when they are fantastic kid made flowers.  So We have a round up of homemade flowers for kids to make. Homemade flowers for kids to make These homemade flowers are perfect to give for Mother's Day or to bring some Spring colour in your life. (more…)
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35 Spring Lamb and Sheep crafts

My husband's family are farmers.  Dairy Farmers, but the start of Spring is always heralded by the arrival of Spring Lambs.  2015 marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Sheep too.  So I have 35 Spring Lamb and Sheep crafts to share with you. We have a super selection of sheep and lamb crafts to marks the beginning of Spring, so lets get crafting.  There are some for kids, some for adults and some for you to do as a family (my favorites).  I love sheep crafts a lot and if you have any that I haven't featured then please do add them to the linky at the bottom to be included in the next round up. 35 Sheep spring lamb crafts

35 Spring Lamb and Sheep craft

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B is for.. Banana Muffins – Cooking with kids

So here is part 2 of our fab new series the A-Z of cooking with kids.  You can find A is for Apple Muffins here.  Today is B is for Banana Muffins.  My kids have been know to allow bananas to turn so that they can make these as they are their favorite muffins in the whole wild world. These are simple to make, delicious, moreish and perfect for freezing. simple banana and choc chip muffins (more…)
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How to launch a business as a Mum

One of the hardest things about being a mum is balancing work, home and parenting. Now just balancing it, but dealing with the guilt that comes with it, no matter what you do.   Before Maxi was born I was determined I would go back to work full time we even paid for the months nursery, but then he was born and had a health scare and I changed my mind.  We moved 300 miles to make sure that I could be a stay at home mum for the first years of my boys lives, but I understand that isn't possible for everyone. How to launch your own business as a mum (more…)
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Homemade Gifts – #FabulouslyFrugal 15 Feb 2015

Who does love a homemade gift.  They are much more thoughtful that a purchased one.  I love the thought and love that goes into them, plus they are often less expensive too.  We have some amazing links to last weeks Fabulously Frugal, so please do keep them coming.  I know that these gifts would make a wonderful Mothers Day present.

homemade gifts

Homemade Gifts

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Vegetable & Salsa Verde Scone Pizza – Kids in the Kitchen

I am a huge advocate of encouraging kids in the kitchen and my boys cook with me at least once a week.  Sometimes getting kids to eat new foods and choose a healthy option can be a battle, but I find with my boys that they are much more likely to eat things that they have actually cooked. We have homemade pizza approximately once a week and this version made with whole grains is a new version to us, but looks and sounds delicious, but more than that it is perfect for cooking with kids. Vegetable & Salsa Verde Scone Pizza 2

Vegetable & Salsa Verde Scone Pizza Recipe

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Encouraging kids to save

Natwest Fairer Savings have asked me to share with you #MySaverStory past, present and future.  The truth is I have never really been a saver, well not until my health scare.  Before that I pretty much winged though life.  Both the husbeast and I were in great jobs and we were off the mindset that credit was fine and we would be OK.  Ha, ha, ha well we were wrong! Life stepped in and it was a big fat wet fish in the face and we got in a pickle that we are still working our way out of five years later! Encouraging your kids to save (more…)
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MWorld, A new way of learning

Our children are growing up and learning in an environment so different to when I was at school.  Online technology is a given.  Video content is available at the click of a button.  I remember the school only having one TV on wheels and often my class would come to my parents house to watch a TV program! For the last month or so we have been reviewing the MWorld app and I can safely say that the boys have loved it and both MadDad and me think it is a fantastic way of reinforcing learning without kids even thinking they are learning.   Tecnology

What is MWorld?

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10 Ways to raise active kids

I understand the importance of raising active kids.  I have talked about the benefits of team sports for kids previously.  Having sporty kids is a real blessing and I am always encouraging them to be active. 10 Ways to get your kids Active

10 Ways to raise active kids

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Free valentines printables

With Valentines Day nearly upon us, free Valentine’s Day Printables are a fantastic way to celebrate the day and keep the kids busy too. Today I have 5 child friendly Valentines Day printable sets to share with you including gift tags, valentines cards to colour, cake toppers, labels and gift tags. free valentine printables square

Free Valentines Printables

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Recycled Art Projects – Fabulously Frugal

My kids love recycled art projects, they are a great way of using up our household recycling and repurposing it into something amazing and it seems like we are not the only ones.  At last weeks Fabulously Frugal Linky we had some amazing recycled art projects and activities linked up.

Recycled Art Projects

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40 Amazing pancake toppings

We love pancakes in the Mad House, they rock our world and as far as we are concerned they are not just for pancake day.  But with it coming on February 17th we wanted to share with you some amazing pancake toppings. 40 amazing pancake toppings

40 Amazing pancake toppings

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Using an Editorial Calendar – CoSchedule review

Can you believe I have been blogging for seven years and only just made the move to using an Editorial Calendar, specifically CoSchedule.  I have been using it for 3 months now and wouldn't be without it, so thought the time had come to share with you my thoughts on using CoSchedule  as an editorial calendar. Up until now I have been using a paper system, which works well, but I decided to integrate CoSchedule in my normal day to day routine and it has been great and saved me time and my sanity which is great. Save time blogging coshedule review

Using an Editorial Calendar - CoSchedule review

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A is for Apple Muffins, cooking with Kids

We are going to be sharing with you our A-Z of cooking with kids over the next year and we are starting today with A is for..... Apple Muffins.  These easy apple muffins are simple to make with kids and are perfect for freezing and using in lunch boxes. Easy apple and cinnamon muffins  

How to make Easy Apple Muffins

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How to make a Pompom sheep

We love pom poms.  They are fantastic for using up scraps of yarn and making them is great fine motor skills for the boys.  With 2015 being the Chinese year of the Sheep and the new Shaun the sheep movie die out anytime, we decided to try our hands at making pompom sheep. How to make a pompom sheep (more…)
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Encouraging learning at home for older children

Both of my boys are at an age where they have a real thirst for knowledge and there are times when they want to continue that learning at home.  We were recently sent some Letts "Wild About" learning books. This got me thinking about when it is appropriate to use workbooks at home and how best to integrate them in to our home.  I am big on learning through play and this is something that we have always concentrated on, however with my boys getting older (they are currently nine and eight) they are also reaching the point that they want to start working on some other ways. Encouraging learning at home with older kids

Encouraging learning at home with older children

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How to make Valentines surprise crackers

We love crackers in The Mad House and our homemade crackers  and New Years wish crackers  such a hit, we decided to make some valentines surprise crackers for the ones we love. Valentines surprise crackers

How to make Valentines surprise crackers

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Heart shaped paper chains – 5 minute craft

Sometimes you need a simple craft that will only take five minutes or so and heart shape paper chains are one of those crafts.  It is mess free, simple and perfect for kids of all ages. How to make heart shaped paper chains

How to make Heart shaped paper chains

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Salt dough jewellery

We love salt dough.  It is a brilliant art and craft material and we love creating with it.  It is not just a kids craft material and to demonstrate that we wanted to share with you our heart shaped salt dough jewellery which is the perfect craft for preschoolers through to teens. We used our go to salt dough recipe and the salt dough jewellery was made with half the recipe. Salt dough jewellery

How to make Salt Dough Jewellery

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How to make heart shaped sugar cubes

One of the highlights of my days as the boys get older is afternoon tea.  Once they get home from school we sit down to after school snacks and a pot of tea.  I don't take sugar, however, the MIL always sugared the boys tea and they love adding a sugar lump, so we have mad fun making our own heart shaped sugar cubes. painted heart shaped sugar cubes Even better I love the fact that we have my mum's sugar tongs and bowl and it makes it such an experience. heart shaped sugar cubes

How to make heart shaped sugar cubes

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5 Things Pregnant Mothers Should Include in Their New Year’s Resolutions

If you're expecting a baby during the first few months of the New Year, you'll need to negotiate all the excitement and temptation of the New Year celebrations. But rather than look upon this as a challenge, you could view it as an opportunity to make some lifestyle choices for a healthier pregnancy. These New Year's resolutions should leave you feeling healthier and more optimistic about the year ahead - and about the arrival of your baby. five resolutions for pregnant women (more…)
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Homemade Washi Tape Heart cards for Valentine’s Day

I have a real thing for washi tape as a kids craft material.  It is easy to tear (even for little hands) and looks great.  These homemade washi tape heart cards are perfect for valentines day and look great too. washi tape valentines cards

How to make washi tape heart cards

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Salt dough valentine candle holders

Our solstice tealight holders were so much fun to make and we loved using them, that we decided to make some salt dough heart shaped candle holders for valentines day.  This recipe for salt dough will make about 10 candle holders. Salt Dough heart candle holders These are so much fun to make and  were so simple that the boys made them by themselves with only help lifting in and out of the oven. (more…)
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Free kids coding lessons

Coding is now on the school curriculum, my boys really enjoy coding at school and when we were offered the chance to  try out a free kids coding lesson with Barclays code playground we jumped at it. Barclays Code Playground session at the Piccadilly branch Within two hours (one for Maxi) both of the boys had created a game with the help of the Digital Eagles.  The boys attended a 2 hour session with the Digital Eagles along with a group of around 10 other kids of varying ages and they had a blast. (more…)
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How to make a family fingerprint relief heart art canvas

We love making pieces of art that we can display seasonally in The Mad House.  Last year we made a family fingerprint heart canvas and I have been thinking about making a family fingerprint relief heart art canvas since then.  We finally got round to making it and it was so much fun to make and perfect for displaying in our home. [caption id="attachment_11302" align="alignnone" width="600"]family fingerprint relief heart art canvas family fingerprint relief heart art canvas[/caption]  

How to make a family fingerprint relief heart art canvas

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Weetabuddies – it is OK to play with your food!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, yet one in six kids in the UK do not eat breakfast.  I have two very different kids in this house, Maxi will not leave the house without breakfast and Mini would skip it given the chance.  So we jumped at the chance to become representatives for Weetabix and help promote their Weetabuddies campaign and have a go at creating our own Weetabuddy. Weetabix have created the ‘Weetabuddies’ to encourage families to get creative at breakfast whilst having a healthy start to the day. 10891588_10152734370568101_6559429063517595713_n So what is a Weetabuddy?  They are a range of characters to make breakfast a little more fun! You can meet all the characters here on the Weetabuddy site.

Make your own Weetabuddy

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Fingerprint heart ornaments

adorably simple fingerprint heart ornaments made using baking soda clay. They are really easy and inexpensive to make and make great keepsakes or gifts.  We are using our as part of our valentines cards. Fingerprint heart ornaments red

How to make your own fingerprint heart ornaments

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Getting organised in the New Year with Journl and our Merlin Annual Pass

One of my intentions for 2015 is to be organised, but to also have less clutter in my life.  Now the boys are older, I no longer have to carry around a large bag with lots of paraphernalia, so I have gone back to a small bag and some days no bag at all and the only things that I carry around with me are my purse and my phone. So for the last couple of months I have been using an app called Journl to help me be more organised.  Since becoming a mum I went back to using a paper diary and notebook, but I realised that it made sense to try an electronic organiser again as I ALWAY have my phone with me. four passes for York Dungeon (more…)
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Homemade thank you cards for kids to make

I believe very strongly that children should be taught the importance of thank you cards, not just to keep up the tradition, but as a lesson in thankfulness and taking some time and effort to sit and think about the person who gave them the gift.  I find one of the best ways to do this is making homemade thank you cards with the boys and using the time to talk about why we are grateful for gifts we are given. We pulled this collection of homemade thank you cards together for everyone who would like some inspiration for cards that kids can actually make themselves. Homemade thank you cards for kids to make (more…)
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How to make a Family fingerprint heart art canvas

I am a sucker for making art as a family and love things that we can display seasonally, just take a look at our family art christmas tree to see what I mean.  This family fingerprint heart art canvas is so simple to make and is perfect for making together as a family. fingerprint heart art canvass

How to make a fingerprint heart canvas

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Chaos cleaning for busy Mums

Housework, cleaning and organisation, hate it or love it, the one constant is that it has to be done and seen as I can not afford a cleaner it mostly falls down to me.  In the past we have gone from control freaky clean, to total mess depending on my mental state!  Now we are somewhere in between.  The house is not always clean and tidy, but it is lived in and can be tidied in a flash. Want to know my secret? Today I am going to let you in to my tips for what I call a chaos clean.  You know the manic clean that you have to do when someone is coming to visit (and no, not shoving it all under the bed and in the cabinets)! chaos cleaning tips for busy mums

How to Chaos Clean your home

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Fingerprint Monster thank you cards

Do your kids send thank you cards?  The MiniMad's send thank you cards their have made every year.  Last year it was thumbprint Robin thank you cards, this year it is fingerprint monster thank you cards. Monster fingerprint cards We love giving fingerprint monster cards as they encourage people to get creative and add their own monsters to the blank fingerprints.  Plus these are easy to make, if you have smaller children they can just do the fingerprinting and you can add the rest.

How to make fingerprint monster thankyou cards

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The benefits of team sports for kids

Maxi is a junior football player and he has been with his football team from when he started playing as an under 7. He has been training since he was four years old. We are so lucky that his team mates are a great and they are a wonderful team, but being in a team is a great experience for him and he has learned a lot.

The benefits of team sport for kids

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Christmas 2015

Part of the reason I blog is to record the moments, to be able to look back on them and to cherish every single moment. This Christmas has been a quiet one for The Mad House, but wonderful and very family centric. The older I get the more I realise that the joy I experience is really bound to the boys having fun and my family unit and dear friends that I hold dear. Christmas Collage 2015 (more…)
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New Years Resolutions and Intentions for Families

This week we have been concentrating on our thoughts, dreams, feelings and goals by planning our resolutions and intentions for the New Year.   This is a great activity for all the family. 2015 Resolutions

New Year Resolutions for Kids

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New years wish crackers

My boys adore crackers and our homemade crackers were such a hit, we decided to make a variation for new Year, so here you have our new years wish crackers. Instead of jokes, these crackers each contain a wish we would like to come true in the coming year. We also filled them with festive confetti and of course a paper hat, We customised our hats with 2015. New years wish crackers

Make your own New Year's Wish Crackers

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New Year paper plate countdown clock

Do you celebrate the New Year with your children? As my boys are getting older they are starting to be involved in our New Years celebration and I thought that a paper plate countdown clock would be great fun to make and use. New year countdown clock What you need: (more…)
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Christmas, it is all about the presence not the presents

The older I get the more I realise that Christmas is not all about what you give or get, but about being there with your family. This was compounded with a health scare and even more when my mum died at Christmas four years ago.  So now MadDad and I focus on our presence rather than the presents. Growing up my dad always told us the following rules and this is something we have tried to instill in our children. something I want (more…)
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Cornflour dough tealight holders for Solstice

We live in Northern England and during this time of year it is dark and we love to light up our home with candles and decided to make some cornflour dough tealight holders for Solstice.  Maxi decided to make them in the shape of the sun to celebrate the shortest day and welcome the lengthening of the hours of sun we would receive. cornflour dough tealight holders We used our white clay recipe, which is really easy to make, so much so that Maxi made it himself and once the dough had cooled down we used cookie cutters to shape our tealight holders. (more…)
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White clay dough. Corn Flour dough, a fab alternative to salt dough

We have made corn flour dough before, but using salt, however, I was keen to find a different recipe with more of a smooth texture that was a bit more malleable for the boys to use. We have tried Nurturestore's 2 ingredient white dough  and love it, but we also tried the following white clay recipe and the boys decided that this is their favorite go to salt dough replacement. white clay ornaments

How to make white clay:

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Be inspired to cook with your kids and win an eBay voucher

I hope that my previous post about crafting with your kids this Christmas inspired you to get creative with your kids.  Now for part two! So what else I am inspired by at this time of year, well if you are a regular reader then it will come as no surprise to you that it is getting kids in to the kitchen and creating with them, baking making and having fun. Creativity is part of my make up.  It runs through my veins and has since I had the boys.  One of the biggest things I want my kids to remember is having fun making things.  I also want to to have mad skills in the kitchen!  I want them to be able to whip up meals, cakes and treats and feel comfortable in the kitchen.  I actually think I am doing pretty well with this, both of the boys are pretty adept at making and icing cakes and can cook a meal with minimum supervision which isn't to shoddy at eight and nine. gingerbread house making (more…)
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Holidays are coming – Give a little happiness

Holidays are coming, holidays are coming, holidays are coming, its always the real thing............... You know when the Coke advert comes on that Christmas is on it's way and now even the Coke lorry tours the country.  We have never seen it, but Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family has. This year however, I have to say that I adore Coca Cola's new advert, has made a big impact in The Mad House.  The mini mads are forever to be found singing "let's make someone happy".  Have you seen it? (more…)
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Robin Thumbprint Mugs

Every year we make fingerprint mugs for the teachers for Christmas.  In the past we have made Reindeer mugs and flower mugs, pigs, caterpillars and bees.  This year we decided to do Robin's like last years Robin cards.  These Robin thumbprint mugs are so simple to make and really effective for kids of all ages. dishwasher safe robin thumbprint mugs  

How to make Robin Thumbprint Mugs

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Great gifts for Bloggers

Bloggers we are a fickle bunch and we seem to have a gift list as long as your arms, well the ones I ask do, so here is our great gifts for bloggers list curated by Mum in the Mad House. great gift ideas for bloggers (more…)
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Great gifts for Dad’s

Men can be difficult to buy for, so I thought I would share with you some of the things that Husbeast has had and loved.  Some of these recommendations are of things we have received to review, some of them, things that we have bought and he has loved. So here are the Mad House's guide to great gifts for Dads. great gifts for dads Tools (more…)
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Great gifts for Mums

When I was younger I would have got really upset at receiving something for the house as a present, but no it thrills me to get something that I want! I also have found that the older I have got the more expensive my tastes have become!  Below are The Mad House's guide to great gifts for Mums.

Great gift ideas for Mums

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Putting together a Christmas Eve Hamper and other Christmas Eve Tradition

One of our Mad House traditions carried over from my own childhood is new night wear on Christmas Eve so that we always look smart in the photo's on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is a magical time, full of excitement and awe and we have a Christmas Eve party each year with my best Friend and her four boys, so it is a wonderful time in The Mad House. How to put together a christmas eve hamper For the last five years or so the boys have been given a mini hamper on Christmas Eve Morning for things to see them throughout the day. (more…)
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How to make cake case Christmas trees

Christmas is a great time for encouraging kids to get creative and a great way to do this is to present them with an #invitation to create.  These Christmas trees decorated with cak cases are so easy to make and can be adapted for kids of all ages. cupcake case christmas tree

How to make Cake case Christmas trees

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One pot wonder – Beef and ale with crispy dumplings

We are big fans of winter cooking and one of the best things about the cold weather is the change to come home to a fab home cooked meal and one of our family favorites is Beef and ale with crispy dumplings.  It is something that both MadDad and I remember fondly from our childhood and thankfully the boys both love it too. Beef and Ale with crispy dumplings

How to make Beef and ale with crispy Dumplings

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Making the most of the magic

One of the highlights of having children is getting to re-live the excitement of Christmas. That magic and mystery that gets lost somewhere around the dawn of our teenage years is suddenly back and it’s so much fun to experience it again, this time as a parent. It feels imperative to make the most of it while it lasts, as with all the fleeting joys of childhood. What would Christmas be without the wonder of it all? With so many fond memories of our own Christmases back in the days of innocence when we believed in Father Christmas and his team of loyal elves working away in the North Pole, there’s a real sense of responsibility when it comes to this truly unique time of year. Here are some ways to make sure you’re maximising the magic for your little ones: father christmas and the boys (more…)
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Movies, Festive Popcorn and Festive Popcorn boxes -#Spon

One of our favorite family tradition is all snuggling up together and enjoying a family film and to celebrate this we are working with Sky Movies this Christmas and sharing their personalised Sky Movies #MovieMe Christmas Cards, along with our festive sugar and spice seasoning and free popcorn box printables. 1979602_10205282938095980_5103857014439106760_n (more…)
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Animal Safe Magic Reindeer food and free printable labels

Reindeer food is one of our Christmas Eve traditions and we love to make it as much as the boys love sprinkling it outside for the reindeer.    We have great fun each year making it for family and friends and this year I am excited to share with you 7 great free printable labels for you designed by The Purple Pumpkin Blog using the same designs as our Advent Acts of Kindness. Animal Safe magic reindeer food recipe   Traditionally it is just oats and glitter, but, we live in a pretty rural area and we stopped putting glitter in our reindeer food a few years back.  Now we use other things to make it pretty and light the way!

How to make animal safe magic reindeer food

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Coping with Eczema as a family

Both my boys have suffered with Eczema throughout their lives.  This is something that we have had to manage as a family and they go through phases when it is worse than normal, but thankfully we mostly have it under control as a family.  Yes I say as a family, as looking after their eczema is a family affair and has affected the whole household. love my smalls When Maxi was a baby we went though lots of product and sought out lots of advise to try and understand his eczema and learn what worked for him and us.  Now at nine his eczema is pretty much under control and as long as we catch his flair ups early we manage it pretty well.

Tips for controlling eczema

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Christmas Memories Book and Christmas reflections printable

Can you remember what you got for Christmas last year or the year before?  I know that I can't.  In fact as I get older these things seem more and more important to me, so this year I am going to create a Christmas memories book for us to use. Sort of like a scrapbook where we can record our memories of the festive season.  Experiences and people that made it special. I always promise that I will do scrapbooks, but I never seen to have the time, so I am happy for this to be quick and simple and I am going to pop it in a bag in the advent box so it comes down from storage first and goes way last. Christmas memroes book

Create a Christmas memories book

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5 fantastic Kid made gifts

Is there anything better than receiving a homemade card....... yes, a homemade gift and I love receiving gift a child has made.  Over the years the boys have made lots of gifts, in fact it is something that we have become know for.  We make the Grandparents and family gifts and also their teachers get a kid made gift at Christmas too.

5 kid made gifts that you would like to receive!

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Tree decorations inspired by The Fir Tree

We love making decorations as a family for our Christmas tree and this year we are joining in again with 10 days of kid made ornaments and this year they are inspired by a book.  So ours are tree decorations inspired by The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson. kio made tree ornaments inspired by the fir tree Each year we buy new christmas books for our Advent basket.  This year I bought a book for me.  It is a beautifully illustrated edition of The Fir Tree by Hans Christian Anderson. (more…)
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Make your own Christmas Crackers

One of our family traditions is homemade christmas crackers.  Since as long as I can remember we had small cracker presents on the dining table usually made by my mum.  They were precious things that were small and once I got older we each took a turn year on year to make the crackers and full them with cracker presents. When Wrap.me sent me a couple of sheets of their amazing personalised instagram wrapping paper I knew just what I wanted to make with them....... Christmas Crackers. Make your own crackers

How to make Christmas Crackers

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Make an Advent Candle or wreath

We love advent and one of the ways we celebrate is to have an advent wreath or ring that we light each sunday to help celebrate the lead up to Christmas.  The first Sunday of advent for 2014 in November 30th.  Me and the boys have spend the last few days making this years advent ring, even though it is more of a plinth! People light one candle on the first Sunday of Advent, two on the second Sunday, three on the third Sunday and all four on the fourth Sunday. Some people then continue to light all four candles during the Christmas period. advent candles Traditionally an advent ring has three purple and one pink candle, but we decided this year to go for something simple. Materials (more…)
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Our ultimate advent activity list 2014

Our ultimate advent activity list was such a success last year, so we have updated it for this year and it now has 75 activities on it. advent activity list 2014 (more…)
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Santa Hat Christmas Cards – 5 minute craft

We are all about the Christmas cards at the moment and today I want to share with you a really simple Santa Hat Christmas card that is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to make.  It is also the perfect 5 minute craft. santa hats christmas cards

How to make Santa Hat Christmas Cards

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Our #PaypalMoments on The Polar Express UK

We are working with PayPal this Christmas on their Magical Christmas Moment #PayPalMoments campaign.  It is an ace competition where they are giving people the chance to win some great prizes (find out more on the PayPal Facebook Page). They challenged me to shop for Christmas using PayPal and then share with you our Magical Moments that we created with the time we saved. Well here is the first.

The Polar Express UK

The MiniMad's are eight and nine and WANT to still believe in Father Christmas.  They both often have questions about if he is real, but are unsure, so when we were offered a trip on The Polar Express UK at Weardale I jumped at the chance to keep the magic in this Christmas as all you have to do is believe. believe (more…)
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9 Ways to encourage your kids to do chores

Do your kids do chores?  The boys have been doing chores or helping round the house since they could walk.  It used to be simple, they followed me round and did them, but as they have got older, it sometimes is a battle.  So what are age chores do your kids do you get them to do them? Ways to encourage your kids to do chores

How to encourage your kids to do chores.

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After school snack ideas

My boys seem to have hollow legs they are always eating.  They both have school lunch and then we eat together as a family at six pm each evening during the week.  So I need to find them an after school snack that satisfies their hunger, but doesn't overfill them. They also have Judo, cubs and football, so it is all about balancing their needs and wants, which isn't easy when you are 8 and 9! healthy after school snack inspiration

Healthy after school snack ideas

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Easy Ribbon Christmas for kids to make

There is nothing nicer than receiving a homemade Christmas card and these simple ribbon Christmas cards are so easy for you to make with kids of all ages. simple ribbon christmas cards (more…)
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Ways to use your free advent acts of kindness printables

So you saw my recent post with the 50 advent acts of kindness with the two free printable sets designed by the lovely Purple Pumpkin blog. Well I wanted to share with you ways to display them or use them. 50 advent acts of kindness We tried to make it easy for you all by offering them in two different sizes (A4 and US letter size) in addition to two designs christmas trees and also gift tags.

Kindness Jars

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Easy kid made Christmas cards

simple washi christmas cards I am a big fan of empowering my boys to make their own art and to interpret it their own way and this is why these easy washi tape christmas cards are ideal for children to make. (more…)
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Electra Skateboard review and giveaway

For the last month or so the boys have been getting active on a couple of Elektra Skateboards (£12.99) and an Elektra Pogo Stick (£19.99). I am a great believer in encouraging kids to be active and get outside when they can and they both scoot or bike to school, so I have known that it wouldn't be long before they wanted to try out skateboards.  So when the opportunity arose to review them I said yes, knowing that it would make me the cool mum! We do have rules and I was pleased to review the matching helmets(£14.99). Mini on skateboard (more…)
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Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 8/9

Even though we have read to or with the boys most nights since they were born, Maxi has been a reluctant reader for as long as we can remember.  However, Mini was a very early reader and has devoured books since he could read his first word. Engaging books for reluctant readers aged 9 It has been really hard to find books that engaged Maxi, he was always a competent reader, but just didn't want to read for fun.  I have to admit that it baffled me.  What was I doing differently with Mini and how could I apply it with Maxi? (more…)
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An Alternative Advent Calendar – Acts of Kindness by kids

Advent, we love it.  It is a BIG thing here in The Mad House.  We use advent as a way to celebrate the build up to Christmas and to take the commercialism out of it.   The MiniMads have not yet had a chocolate advent calendar, although I might bend to their wishes this year!  We have an activity advent calendar instead and this year we are having an alternative advent calendar, where we are going to do an act of kindness each day 50 advent acts of kindness Kindness can cost nothing and I want to raise the MiniMads to always be kinder than they need to be and feel that focusing on acts of kindness during Advent it will be a great learning experience and also spread some joy. Our kindness mission statement:
  • Spread the word - encourage other people to join in and become happiness heroes
  • Have fun and enjoy making other people happy
  • To be kinder than you need to be
Last year we loved Anna from The Imagination Trees Kindness Elves and this would be a great list to use for that.  Alternately you could pick which works for you and add it to an advent calender or pop them all in a jar (like we do with our Bored Jar) and pick one out each day. (more…)
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Be inspired to craft with the kids and eBbay voucher giveaway

eBay asked me what Inspired me at this time of the year?  Well I didn't have to think all that long to know that it was doing art and crafts with the kids.  The fact the evenings are darker, so they are not out playing gives us the opportunity to get creative together. Plus I love this time of year for all the inspiration to craft and make together. We love to make homemade gifts, cards, art and food.  It is part of who we are and I feel that it is important for boys to be exposed to creativity, which is why we have a six pm limit on screen time.  One of our traditions is to make christmas cards for friends and family and we tend to start them pretty early.  You can see some that we have made in previous years and they don't have to be hard to make, but the boys love making them and gifting them.  people have come to expect a homemade card. christmas crafting So being and creating with kids is a huge inspiration for me.  I want to inspire you, in fact I hope that Mum in The Mad House inspires you to do things with your kids. (more…)
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Encouraging you and your kids to walk to school #shareyouradventure

Since Easter my boys have been walking to school on their own.  They scoot, bike, walk or run regardless of the weather, but I know that this isn't always the case for all children. mini on way back from school (more…)
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Autumn and Winter picnic food

As a family we love picnics and just because the weather is cooler in Autumn and Winter it doesn't mean that picnicking has to stop.  No indeed for us it just means that we move to more warming food and sometimes we have them inside on a rug and sometimes we have them sat in the boot of the car! In fact having an Autumn picnic is in our Autumn Bored Jar!  We also carry a pop up tent in the back of the car and it is great for picnicking in when it is windy. We keep the food simple warming and filing.  We have a couple of flasks that we use for food.  A wide necked soup flask and a food flask.  Soup is our favorite cold weather picnic food.

Five Autumn and Winter Picnic Soups

Soups which work well for us on a picnic are ones that are blended smooth and that we can drink from a cup, but also dunk in some crusty bread or have with a cheese sandwich. Autumn picnic soups Tomato Soup by Daisies and Pie (more…)
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So where those Startrite shoes made for scooting?

You may remember we have been working with Startrite on seeing how their boys school shoes hold up.  Well they have been wearing them for eight weeks now and I thought I would share with you how they have been wearing. I am going to preface this by saying that the boys last pair of shoes didn't last six weeks and they scoot, walk or bike to school.  They play football with them on the MUGA (astroturf) at break time, so I didn't hold out much hope for ANY shoes. So this is how the boys shoes looked at week two. Startrite shoes week two And this is how they look after eight weeks of constant wear. (more…)
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Pinwheel Poppies – A Remembrance, Armistice or Veteran’s day activity

Both my boys take part in the annual remembrance parade as Cubs and this year it is the 100 anniversary of the start of World War One.  This has really captured the boys imagination, so we made Poppy Pinwheels. Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or Veteran's Day as it is sometimes called is November 11th. How to make pinwheel Poppies Materials:
  1. Red paper
  2. Brass Paper Fasteners
  3. Black Sharpie
  4. Green Paper straws
  5. Hole punch 1/8 inch

How to make a pinwheel poppy

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The Small Stuff – October Edition

Wow what an October it was.  The mildest one I can remember and we had a great time even through all the sickness that plagued us during the month, however, as always the small stuff is what made it a month to remember. OCTOBER SMALL STUFF We started our month with an epic trip to London with Superbreak, in fact it was the best family weekend we have ever had in London.  We saw the poppies at the Tower, saw the amazing Matilda, visited the Art of Brick and stuffed ourselves silly! (more…)
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Keeping your kids teeth healthy this Halloween

Halloween is becoming more and more popular and my boys are at the age where they love trick or treating and lo9ve eating all the sweets and tweets they get. However, there is a negative side to all these sugary foods and drinks that they get and it is important for me to help them keep decay at bay. Bupa are also aware of this and a recent survey by them revealed that nearly half of mums (46%) are worried that their child might be addicted to sugar. the story of the little tooth This research also found that 50% of mums have used the story of the Tooth Fairy to encourage their kids to brush their teeth. Of these, nearly half of mums tell kids the Tooth Fairy won’t accept rotten teeth to encourage them to clean their teeth, and 35% say the Tooth Fairy will know when you’ve eaten too many sweets. So with this in mind they have produced a fab video that you can personalise for your child from The Tooth Fairy.  You can see Mini's here.

My number one tip for cleaning kids teeth

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Melted wax poppy craft, a remembrance day activity

Here’s an easy poppy craft, which is a great Remembrance Day activity for children. We have made a display of poppies and a paper plate poppy wreath, but you can use the same technique to make a poppy brooch by added a pin on the rear or a display of poppies for your home, church or school.  The mini mad's will be taking the poppies to my mum's grave in remembrance of her. These poppies were inspired by the fab wax paper flowers at Homegrown Friends. Melted crayon wax poppies

How to make melted wax poppies with Kids (more…)

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Cardboard Tube Firework Art

We love loo roll and cardboard tube crafts so after our Salt Art Firework we decided to try some cardboard tube firework art. cardboard tube firework prints Materials: (more…)
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10 Kid friendly apple recipes – Cooking with kids

We live in a new build house, well I say new build, it was when we moved in eight years ago.  One of the first things we did to our garden was plant an apple tree.  We have watched that tree grow each year hoping for apples and finally this year we got more than the three we have previously had from it. The boys have been desperate to pick the apples for over a month and we have had to hold them back.  Eventually they had a fun afternoon picking all the apples they could and eating a fair few too.  MadDad had to hoist them up to pick them from the top of the tree. harvesting our own apples (more…)
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Salt Art Fireworks

I have seen salt art on a lot of blogs and have really wanted to try it with the boys. With Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night on the horizon it was the perfect time to try some salt art fireworks. Salt Firework Art Materials
  1. Glue - PVA, Elmers or school glue
  2. Table salt
  3. Watercolour paints
  4. Droppers
  5. Black Paper

How to make Salt Firework Art

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3 Brilliant Tablets for Tweens and Teens

As much as I advocate for screen free time we are quite a technological family and I do allow my boys time on screens and they both adore technology, but totally agree with Sunshine and Hurricanes that technology is a privilege not a right.   Over the last few months the MiniMads' have been reviewing tablets and we want to share with you our top 3 tablets for tweens and teens. top three tablets fro tweens

But I also believe that my boys should have access to tablets and technology and we have been putting them to the test over the last couple of months and I want to share with you our top three tablets for Kids.

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Scratch Paper Fireworks and Make your own Scratch Paper

Do you remember making your own scratch paper when you were younger?  Well I certainly do and it is great fun to make with your kids and perfect for Firework pictures too. Whilst we were making the fireworks we talked about how dangerous they are close up, but how colourful and beautiful they are. I love how the boys made a completely different picture from the same starting point. scratch art fireworks

How to make your own scratch paper

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Jam Jar or Mason Jar Halloween Lanterns

With the darker nights and the clocks due to go back, we love brightening up The Mad House and one way we do that is with Jam Jar/Mason Jar Lanterns or tealight holder. These Halloween lanterns are really easy to make Look great too, so I have teamed up with Betta Living to show you how you can reuse any old jars that you have. Jam Jar or Mason Jar Halloween Lanterns

What you need to make Jam Jar or Mason Jar Halloween Lanterns

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Orlando with eight and nine year olds (not Disney)

Can you believe that it is nearly a year since we all went on holiday to Orlando.  We spent 2.5 weeks in Florida with my Brother, Sister in Law and Niece and I just realised that I never actually shared anything about our holiday! Orlando with eight and nine year olds (not Disney) We had an amazing time and the boys loved every minute of it.  So what apart from Disney did we do! (more…)
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The perfect family weekend in London with 8 and 9 year olds

As a family we love London and we love visiting, however, as we reside in the frozen North of England it is a long journey and sometimes weekends can be stressful and hectic.  Not anymore as thanks to Superbreak we had the perfect family weekend in London and I want to share with you what made it so special.

Make it for all the family

What made this weekend so perfect (even with Mini feeling under the weather) was there was something for everyone in the family.  We talked about what we all wanted from the weekend before we started planning and discovered that we all wanted to do different things.  Mini wanted to see a show, I wanted some culture, Maxi wanted ice cream at Fortnum and Mason and MadDad wanted a five Guys! We also knew that we wanted to have fun and some not rush from one things to the next, but we also wanted to make the most of it as we live so far away.  So this was our itinerary Friday after school We traveled to London on the train.  I made sure that I packed a picnic for the train and remarkably the boys both fell asleep on the train, which is unheard of! To make life easy we traveled with the bare minimum, in fact we took a couple of rucksacks and that was all. Mini on the train Saturday (more…)
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The power of printing without a computer – Canon Pixma MG7150 Review

We use a lot of technology in the Mad House and one thing that we have been trying to do more lately is less reliance on screens, so having the ability to print activities, colouring pages and papercrafts without even turning on the computer or tablet is amazing. The power of printing without a computer  - Canon Pixma MG7150 Review For the last three months we have been using the Canon Pixma MG7150  for our printing requirements and one of the benefits of this printer is its LED screen and ability to print directly from the printer using a series of child friendly menus without even turning on the PC.  The amazing thing is that this piece of technology has actually reduced the boys reliance on screens. (more…)
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Kid friendly slow cooker recipes and a giveaway

We are now over two weeks in to #Crocktober and we have been making the most of our slow cooker crockpot.  As a busy mum I love my slow cooker and it is perfect for family meals. Kid friendly slow cooker recipes

Slow cooker jacket potatoes

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Paper plate Autumn/Fall leaf wreaths

An autumn paper plate leaf wreath is the perfect fall activity or craft to make with your kids whatever their age.  Paper plates remain one of my favorite ways to make wreaths with kids due to their affordability, but also their flexibility. Autumn fall paper plate leaf wreath  

What you will need to make your paper plate wreaths

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Autumn/fall leaf suncatcher

The Autumn sun is a lot lower in the sky and now is the perfect time to make some wonderful Autumn/Fall leaf sun catchers. The boys and I have such fun making these suncatcher and they are really effective and look beautiful when the sun shines through them singing the colours on to walls. Autumn cuncatcher Materials
  1. Cardstock - we used black
  2. leaf template
  3. Coloured Cellophane (this is one of the reasons we save sweet wrappers)
  4. glue
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15 Tips for washing your kids hair

We have all been there.  The screams and tears over hair washing and that was just me not the boys!  Well I am here to let you know that it gets better and now at eight and nine my boys can wash their hair on their own and we no longer have any issues so here is what worked with us to make washing kids hair much easier. 15 Tips for making toddler hair washing less stressful

15 Tips for making toddler hair washing less stressful

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Autumn/Fall watercolour resist leaf garland

Inspired by Fun at Home with Kids fall watercolour resist leaves we decided to get our new glue gun out and make an Autumn/Fall watercolour resist leaf garland. We were sent two glue guns (one low melt, which is perfect for crafts and younger children and one high melt from Glue Guns Direct).  We decided to try the coloured glue to make the outlines. watercolour leaves   Materials required:
  • Card
  • Glue gun
  • Watercolour paint brushes
  • Cord
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Walk to school month with Kia – tips for making mornings less stressful for all the family.

October in Walk to School month and I am joining in with Kia in trying to encourage you to get walking to school. I am lucky with the fact that the boys school is within walking distance and now that they are eight and nine they walk or scoot to school on their own, so mornings are so much less stressful for me.  My biggest tip is to remove all the obstacles from the morning that make life hard. Steps to feeling confident with your kids walking to school on their own

Tips for making mornings less stressful for all the family

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Get a Birds Eye View and Win a Samsung Smart Camera

In conjunction with  Birds Eye I have a Samsung WB350F Smart Camera (White, 16.3MP, Optical Image Stabilisation, 3 inch LCD) to giveaway to celebrate the modern British mealtime and their Birds Eye View exhibition.

Birds Eye View Birds Eye have been on a quest to document the modern British mealtime with photographer Martin Parr. To help them understand mealtimes today, Martin's been visiting households across the country, from people who entered a competition to have Martin visit and photograph their meal times, delving into our nation’s food habits along the way. The tour concluded with Martin's findings and the best images from this competition being presented at A Birds Eye View’ exhibition in London earlier this week. (more…)
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October is now Crocktober – share your favorite slow cooker recipes

I am a huge fan of my slow cooker or crockpot as they are known in the US and Autumn is the perfect time for getting it out and using it.  I love that I can  prepare everything, put it in and then forget about it until dinner time. I love that I can pop all the ingredients in for a soup and when we return from Junior football on a cold Sunday there is a meal ready and waiting. One of the things that I do every time we have a roast chicken is to make stock with the carcass, some veg and leave it in the slow cooker overnight.  It makes the best chicken stock and what's more the chicken falls off the bones and there is enough to make chicken soup with. chicken soupy stew In fact my chicken soupy stew is one of the most asked for meals from the boys and it was passed down from my mum.  It is a filling, delicious and wholesome meal which I top with dumplings for my bottomless boys. (more…)
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September Small Stuff

September if a month of bittersweet for me.  I love the going back to school feeling, but miss my boys after a long summer together.  It has also been filled with lots of small stuff that has filled my heart with joy. September collage We started the month with a family trip to Lightwater Valley just before school started.  The weather was glorious and the park was pretty quiet, which meant lots of rides were enjoyed. (more…)
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Do you limit screen time at home?

Screen time and the boys is something I battle with.  It isn't such an issue in the summer and good weather when their first choice would be to be outside playing with their friends.  But as the nights draw in, then they do reach for the screen more often than not.  They are not TV fanatics and we do not have it on in the background, but they do love their Ipods and Xbox. It is all about finding a balance that suits us as a family. At the moment, we have strict limits on screen time at home which are no screens at all (except for TV as a family) after 6pm, no screens at the dinner table and one hour limit a day otherwise agreed.  We also have a #signoffsaturday or a #saignoffsunday where we have a day at the weekend which is technology free. limiting screen time

Why I chose to limit screen time

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Win an Arctic Home gift pack with Coca-Cola and WWF

To help celebrate the launch of the Arctic Home campaign, Mum in the Mad House has teamed up with Coca-Cola and WWF to offer three lucky readers the chance to win an exclusive Arctic Home gift pack, which includes a beautiful fleece blanket, stylish white hooded jumper and much more! coke (more…)
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What do you look for in a school shoe?

School shoes.  I have to admit that I find hunting for school shoes with the boys a chore and it isn't because they never like what there is to offer, but down to the fact that they wear them out in no time at all. Last year Mini's second pair of shoes lasted six weeks, yes six weeks before they had a hole in them.  I have tried expensive shoes, less expensive shoes and everything in between my, but we are lucky to get more than 12 weeks out of a pair of shoes.  My boys only wear them for school so 8pm to 3pm, 5 days a week. When you ask the boys what they want in a shoe, they are not that fussy.  Yes they are swayed by toys and freebies, but they have a Mummy who isn't! How to choose a great pair of school shoes (more…)
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Win up to £500 in Amazon vouchers in our “Messy Kids” Bloggers’ Competition

We all know how mischievously messy kids can be, so why not share your experiences in your latest blog post and win some extra cash? messy kids
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The ultimate Autumn/Fall family activity list

I am a huge fan of bored jar's, not just for the boys, but for me too.  I sometimes need a quick activity that isnt screen based.   Unsure of how to make a bored jarm then take a look at how to make a bored jar. Fall autumn bored jar and activity list (more…)
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Autumn/Fall leaves sticking activity for preschoolers

Preschoolers love gluing and sticking and this Autumn leaves and tree sticking craft is a great craft for preschoolers and is a simple and pretty much mess free activity.  By preparing all the items you need before you can leave it as a great invitation to play.

Fall leaves activity

  Autumn Fall leaves sticking activity Preparation (more…)
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It’s Back To School Time

It’s time to get organised and make sure you get the new school year off to as good a start as possible. The return back to school after the fun-filled weeks of the summer holiday can be a struggle for the whole family, but with careful planning and emotional awareness the transition can be smooth for everyone. Think about buying everything you need now and start preparing for the year ahead. 2014 Buying New Kit (more…)
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Ways to spend more time with the kids during school term time

I love the school holidays.  I love spending time with my little darlings (are you getting the sarcasm here?), no really I do love spending time with Mini and Maxi, they are actually becoming great company and are fun to be with and I miss them once school starts again.  So I try to make sure I spend quality time with them once the school term starts. Ways to spend more time with the kids during school term time Do not overschedule kids (more…)
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What was your favorite childhood toy?

John Lewis are running a campaign about childhood toys and this week are talking all about model trains and to celebrate this asked me to share with you my memories of my favorite childhood toy. My childhood is filled with the toy I had and the one I really wanted, but never got! My most loved toy would have had to be my multistory Sindy House. It was something that I never thought I would own.  I remember the joy at coming down on Christmas morning to find it under a candy striped sheet. I spent so many hours playing with it and all the accessories that my mum and dad got for me.  I knew that it was preloved, but that didn't matter.  It was the only thing I had out on my christmas list and I was overjoyed that Father Christmas has brought me what I wanted. SINDY HOUSE ONE The one that got away.  The year after I asked for a Petite Typewriter, it was the toy of the year.  All I wanted was a typewriter and some secretary glasses.

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Oh but it wasn't to be, there was no typewriter for me.  I learned a hard lesson that year as I sat sulking that I didn't get everything I wanted.  My Dad was very upset with me and he had every right to be, I was acting like a spoilt brat.  He said that Father Christmas did get my letter, but he didn't always say yes. The toy that has survived since my childhood though and is still played with my the boys is mine and my brothers LEGO.  It is mixed in with all the new pieces and you can not tell the 1970's stuff from the 2014 stuff.  It is a true ageless classic toy. So what was the toy of your childhood? This is a sponsored post which has been written in association with John Lewis Insurance 3.
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My experience with Hyperemesis Gravidarum

I have issues getting pregnant, staying pregnant and being pregnant.   When I was expecting Maxi people actually thought I had a terminal illness.  I was in fact suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  For me this meant that I vomited pretty much constantly and when I wasn't vomiting I felt nauseous. My experience with Hyperemesis (more…)
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Blackpool for kids, by kids

Did you see that we went to Blackpool as a family over the summer holidays? We had THE BEST time.  Blackpool has really changed since I went there last 20 years ago.   Blackpool is certainly back! blackpools back Blackpool certainly is a wonderful place for families to visit and they have just brought out their 'The Kids Resort Guide', an interactive guide, written by Blackpool's biggest critics... the kids.  It shows Blackpool's top attractions through the eyes of a child. (more…)
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Helping your kids cope with the first week of school

Going back to school takes some acclimatisation.  Not only for you as a parent but for your children too.  I know that I need to cut them some slack and make sure that we are all a little gentler on each other. It is understandable that after six weeks off school with much more freedom and less routine that they are going to find the return to school a challenge, but the fact is that whilst they are at school they are good and make sure that they do their best, it is at home that it all starts to unravel! back to school acclimatisation

5 Tips for helping your kids to acclimatise to back to school

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Technology Free family time – 10 screen free family activities #screenfree

Technology, it pervades all parts of our life at the moment and I am not saying that is a bad thing, but I feel that we all need some freedom from it and some quality family time.  Kids need quality time with you, yes you and for that I mean me in the picture! We have implemented a screen free day each weekend and have screen free family time at 6pm, but this wasn't easy to implement.  It took time, it took planning and it takes constant input from me.  I am not going to pretend that it is easy, so I am going to be sharing some screen free activities and ideas for family time together. Technology Free family time  10 screen free family activities #screenfree (more…)
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Cooking with Kids – Vegetable stuffed omelette

I am passionate about teaching my boys life skills and for me a big part of that is cooking.  I aim to give them the skills in the kitchen to read recipes, prepare food and cook and bake meals from scratch.  At eight and nine, they are pretty handy already and vegetable stuffed omelette is a great recipe for kids as they are do it all themselves. vegetable stuffed omelette (more…)
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Bittersweet

its a trap (more…)
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Would you put a tracking app on a loved ones phone?

At eight and nine, my boys do not have mobile phones.  I want to hold off on them getting them for as long as possible.  But if they had mobile phones would I put a tracking app on them and use it as a parenting tool?  I have to admit my first reaction is hell yes!

What got me thinking about this, well Folr, is a location-tracking application which offers real-time information on the whereabouts of the device it is installed on from kids, elderly parents (with consent of course) or anyone who agrees to be tracked, quickly and easily.

Would you put a tracking app on a loved ones phone (more…)

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Back to School 2014

Eek, the boys are back to school today.  The days are long, but the years are quick, never a truer statement for me.  I can not believe that they are going in to Y4 and Y5 this year. Maxi 2014 (more…)
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August 2014 Small Stuff

August, it has been a funny month for me.  Thankful that the boys were off school, but hard due to health issues.  If I didn't have the small stuff then I think I would have spend most of it in tears! august small stuff (more…)
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How to allow individualism when your kids wear school uniform

The school that the boys goes to have a school uniform policy and they are pretty strict with it.  Grey or black trousers, red or white shirts or polo shirts and a red jumper or cardigan.  They have to wear black shoes and PE kit is red shirts and a white T Shirt. I am a fan of school uniform for the following reasons:
  • Uniforms cost less overall
  • There is no worrying about what to wear each morning
  • Children are easily identified as belonging to that school
  • Encourages discipline
  • Uniforms can be recycled and passed down.
But I also feel that a uniform can detract from a kids unique identity,  So I do let the boys choose their own coats (within reason), school bags and their own trainers. Encourage Individualism (more…)
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Asda saves the day with Click and Collect

Off days, we all have them. Well I think we all have them. I have had an off couple of weeks. The last couple of weeks of the school holidays have been something of a challenge for me. I contracted a virus which for some reason affected by joints and left me pretty much unable to walk. I am getting better slowly, but have walking sticks and a lot of pain. collection point Now you can imagine this has been hard on all of us. I am really lucky that my boys are eight and nine and pretty capable kids. They have lots of friends that live nearby and have had a couple of weeks playing on their bikes, playing football and street cricket and enjoying their summer off school. They are able to make their own sandwiches and get their own breakfast, but shopping is well too much for them and MadDad just cannot take any time off until next week, plus I am a control freak when it comes to my menu planning and food shopping and knowing him I would send him with a list and he would come back with half of it missing and loads of treats instead. (more…)
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Wonderful Wooden Spoon Characters

Wonderful Wooden Spoon Characters (more…)
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Tips for preparing for going back to school after the holidays

For me and the boys the hardest part of going back to school is reestablishing a good bedtime routine and time after the more relaxed days and nights of the holidays, however, I find that with some planning and preparation I can ease the transition back to school with the ideas below.  This makes going back to school so much easier for the kids and therefore, me. Tips for preparing for going back to school after the holidays (more…)
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A weeks school lunch Bento Box ideas

Just because my kids eat school dinners doesn't mean that they don't need a packed lunch occasionally and I have been a fan of Grace at Easts Amazing for a long time.  Her lunches looks fantastic and really aspirational, however, as you can see from the fab post from Grace below they are easily achievable with some planning using what you have in your home. Allow me to introduce myself – I’m Grace, mum of two boys, and I usually blog over at Eats Amazing, where I share ideas and inspiration for presenting healthy children’s food in new and exciting ways. I’m probably most well-known for the creative bento-style lunches that I make daily for my older son, and that is why I am here today. Jen very kindly asked me to share a week’s worth of my packed lunches with you, and I was very happy to oblige back to school bento lunches (more…)
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The benefits for your child from eating school meals

I am a huge believer in school meals.  My boys have both had school lunches since they started school and I firmly believe that there are huge benefits for kids from eating school dinners.

Free school meals for infant aged children in England

  As from this September all infant aged children in England (reception, year 1 and year 2) are entitled to free school lunches.  For me this would be a saving of over £900 (although my boys are older).  This was piloted in Durham and was a big success.  Children in the pilot areas quickly moved ahead of their peers elsewhere, by almost a term.  Hungry children can’t concentrate and it helped solved the problem of  feeding pupils who are “not quite poor enough”. These children come from low-income families who don't quite qualify for free school meals, but can't afford to pay for them – or to put together a good packed lunch.  Want to know more about the free school meals then do check out the Department for Education  and the Children's Food Trust. To help publicise this the Department of Education are asking people to share their #SchoolMealMemories.  I have to admit that I have pretty decent school meal memories and the boys school dinners are ace. SCHOOL DINNERS facebook (more…)
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#CapriSunSchool Twitter Party – Friday 29th August 2014, 1-2pm

CB-Twitter-Party-Post-Disclosure-June2014-TM Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about your back to school lunchbox ideas.  On Friday 29th August at 1pm BST, please join us for the#CapriSunSchool Twitter Party where we'll be discussing juice drinks and how they can be incorporated into your back to school routine and healthy lunchboxes, and giving you a chance to win prizes! #CapriSunSchool-Twitter-Party08_29 (more…)
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Loo Roll Balloon Rocket

Rocket Bingo are hosting a competition where you have to make a Loo Roll Rocket to be in with a chance to win an iPod 7th Generation. Now loo rolls are something that I have a lot of in our junk modeling box otherwise known as the recycling bin and as it isn't bin day till next week, we thought we would spend the afternoon making our own loo roll rocket.  But my boys do love to challenge me and they insisted that our rocket actually move! Don't worry your rockets don't have to work the competition, in fact you can find out all the details of the competition here

How to make a loo roll rocket that flies 

  making a loo roll rocket that works (more…)
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Encouraging learning at home

I have blogged previously that we are not big fans of homework here in the mad house, however, I am aware that it is going to become a necessary evil for my boys in the years to come and we have made the decision that from this year (year 5, aged 9/10) we are going to encourage Maxi to learn at home and do any allocated homework. 10 ways to encourage learning (more…)
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Back to school lunchbox jokes

My boys love jokes and now as they are getting older their jokes are actually laugh out loud funny most of the time.  We have pulled together some of our favorite back to school jokes.  Perfect for popping in school bags  and into lunch boxes. 25 Back to school Jokes (more…)
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First day of school photo ideas

How to you record your kids first day of school.  Since mine have been small I have taken a picture of them all decked out in their uniform with a list of their likes.  I love capturing all that first day excitement with my boys and it is a great way to see how much they have changed year on year.   So I have put together a great roundup of ways to record that first day at school. first day of school- (more…)
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#Mums4Tommys Twitter Party – Tuesday 26th August 2014, 1-2pm

CB-Twitter-Party-Post-Disclosure-June2014-TM Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to co-host a party about taking care of your baby’s skin as well as their clothes.  On Tuesday 26th August at 1pm BST, please join us for the #Mums4Tommys Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing how laundry detergent and fabric softener is an important choice for your baby, and giving you a chance to win prizes! #Mums4Tommys-Twitter-Party-8-26 (more…)
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Teaching kids independance – First time at the pool alone

Both my boys have been going to the swimming pool since they were 4 weeks old.  Teaching the boys water confidence and eventually to swim was really important to me and today witnessed a first for me letting the boys going swimming on their own. Teaching kids independance - First time at the pool alone (more…)
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Back to school link up 2014

Along with Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family I am hosting a back to school link up for the next three weeks. We would love for you to join in with us and link up any back to school posts you may have over the coming weeks. At the end of the series we will be sharing with you are favorite posts and also pinning them to our back to school and all things school pinterest boards. We have a great selection of posts over the coming weeks to help you in the build up to the first day of school. If you do join in we would love for you to grab our badge and if you are sharing your post on twitter, Google + or Facebook then use the #backtoschool hashtag do we can share it too. So do come and join us by sharing any posts you have about returning to school, preparing to school or back to school crafts.  
THe Mad House
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Decorating shoes with fabric pens. A perfect tween craft

I love crafting and art.  I would do something everyday of I got the chance.  This week we managed to grab a full day with Frugal Family and after spending the morning at the Skate Park we had a crafty afternoon decorating plain white pumps with fabric pens.  This is the perfect craft for tweens and teens. customising shoes (more…)
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How to have THE BEST family days out

Family days out can be expensive, but they are also fun too and one thing I have learned is that experiences bring much more fun and many more memories than things.  So I try and make sure that our family days out are as well planned as possible and to make them as inexpensive as possible. How to have THE BEST family days out (more…)
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Recording our holiday memories – scrapbooking with kids

How do you record your holiday memories? My boys are very fortunate, blogging has brought us so many fabulous experiences as a family and I want to make sure that we are thankful for them and also record them so we can look back at our experiences and adventures. OUR HOLIDAY SCRAPBOOK (more…)
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Ribby Hall Holiday Village

During 0ur recent weekend at Blackpool we stayed at Ribby Hall Holiday Village which is ten minutes outside of Blackpool and is amazing.  For us it was much better than staying on a B&B or a hotel as we had the freedom to come and go as we likes, plus coupled with fab onsite activities  and leisure pool it has something to suit every family. Accommodation Ribby Hall accommodation (more…)
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Ombre Shoe Lace – How to

We have been busy having a crafty summer and as the boys are getting older I have moved on to different craft activities and we have been customising clothes and shoes with our friends from Frugal Family. how to make ombre shoe laces (more…)
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The parents ultimate guide to scooters

Kids scooters come in all shapes and sizes and also all sorts of prices for £10 to a couple of hundred.  It can be hard to break through all the jargon and find the right scooter for your child and even harder to understand why one scooter is OK for going to and from school on, but no good for the local skate park. My boys have both pretty much worked their way through what seems like hundred of scooters and I have discovered that there isn't a one size fits all solution and even now we have six scooters in the garage and I often feel as though I could open up my own shop. parents ultimate guide to scooters (more…)
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Where to eat Amazing food in Blackpool

My boys march on their stomach.  They are at that age where they are bottomless and food is an important part of their day.  They get ratty when they are hungry (we call it hangry) and also have adverse reactions to certain foods. where to eat in blackpool (more…)
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What to do in Blackpool when you are eight and nine

It is nearly 20 years since I have been to Blackpool and wow things have certainly changed for the better.  We recently spent a weekend in the wonderful seaside resort and it blew our minds and the boys had THE BEST time. blackpools back (more…)
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How to make family movie night more fun

We love going to the cinema as a family and are often visitors at our local Cineworld, however, we can not always spare the time (or the budget) for a night out at the movies, so we have started to recreate the feeling at home. how to make family movie night more fun (more…)
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Things to do at Sand Le Mere when you are 9

We are fans of spending family time together and have come to love holidays where we can take all the family including Alvin the dog. At Half term we went to Sand le Mere on the Yorkshire coast, 2 hours away from our home on the Yorkshire coast (Hey Yorkshire is big and we live in North Yorkshire and Sand le Mere is in East Yorkshire). Now I am going to preface this post with the fact that it was WET, very wet, it rained every day bar one when we were there and then Mini got tonsillitis, but inspite of all that we had a lovely time and I can safely say Sand le Mere got the thumbs up from us. We stayed in a two bedroom caravan and it was great.  Perfect for all of us with a double bedroom and loo for us and a twin room for the boys.  We took Alvin's crate and bed and he was a very happy pup. Things to do (more…)
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Top tips for a great day at Thorpe Park when you are nine and win £250

My boys know no fear, they are mini thrill seekers and love visiting theme parks, but being eight and nine, means that they are not tall enough to go on a lot of the rides, but they really enjoyed Thorpe Park and could happily spend a couple of days at a time there! Thorpe park facebook (more…)
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July’s Small Stuff

I think I say this every month, but wow July flew past.  The days can be long, but the month is short! July small stuff (more…)
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5 ways to teach kids to be smart with money

According to a recent survey by Scottish Friendly UK disposable incomes on the rise, which can only be a good things after such a period of recession. (You can find Scottish Friendly on twitter) We were listening to the news on the radio whilst in the car at the weekend, when Mini asked "what is a recession?" This got me thinking that money really has a terminology and language of all it own and it is my responsibility as a parent to teach this to the boys and to make sure that they are money smart, but how do you do that? 5 ways to teach kids to be smart with money (more…)
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Stepping outside my comfort zone and Dr Beckmann competition

A while ago I was asked to be in a video by Dr Beckmann about their stain removers and their colour  and dirt collector sheets. Me in a video!  Initially I was going to decline, but I use the products and actually for once decided to step outside my comfort zone and say yes. jen filming (more…)
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The *BEST* School Trousers we have tried…. ever

I do not say this lightly, but I think I have found the holy grail of school uniform.  The BEST school trousers ever. The best school tousers (more…)
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Encouraging independence in kids over the summer

My boys are eight and nine and this is our third summer of the Bored Jar and also the third summer that I have given them more freedom over the summer to. Now I am going to admit that it isn't always plain sailing and that the boys have pushed boundaries in the past, but we all thrive from trusting each other. Encouraging independence in kids over the summer (more…)
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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #4 – The start of the summer holidays

NewPinterestinglarge392 Friday marked the last day of term for the minimas and I have been busy preparing for our summer.  We are pretty freerange over the summer and I am a big believer in not over scheduling the boys or myself. But I find that the cleaning definitely takes a back seat, so I have been looking for cleaning hacks that can make our lives easier and get the boys involved more. (more…)
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Ultimate summer activities lists and bored Jar lists

We have been using an I'm Bored Jar for the last two years now and I wouldn't be without one.  With the summer holidays coming now is the perfect time to put together yours. 1526852_973740922645525_4036886087409995392_n

Make a Bored Jar

  You can really use any jar or container that you have in the house.  I used a kilner jar that we had in the kitchen and cut out a some paper to make a label and also a tag to make it all pretty! Ultimate summer activities lists and bored Jar lists (more…)
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T20 Blast – A real fun day out

Both the minimads are sporty boys and love playing and watching sport. I am one of those odd women that loves Cricket. I remember going to watch the local team play with my Grandad (the cricket club was at the end of our road) and I loved sitting next to him and watching and learning. Top tips for getting the best out of T20 Blast with kids (more…)
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Fab home made ice lollies and popsicles for kids – Kids in the Kitchen

Fab home made ice lollies and popsicles for kids We have a rule in The Mad House, which is that we do not partake in the ice cream van, this means that I have a freezer drawer full of ice lollies and we love making homemade ice lollies or popsicles.  I never throw away nearly out of date juice or smoothies as they make fab lollies, Just like Kate at Crafts on Sea. (more…)
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Win a Febreze #DriveHappy Road Trip Kit

According to a recent survey commissioned by Febreze, a bad smell tops Brits’ list of turn offs when getting into someone’s car. I know that I hate a smelly car, but with two boys and a dog it can be hard to make sure my car smells clean when there is football kit in the boots and a dog on the backseat! Febreze wants to make sure summer family road trips run as smoothly (and as freshly) as possible. To do this, Febreze has created a #drivehappy Kit.

#DriveHappy Road Trip Kit (more…)

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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #3

I have had a couple of weeks off Pinterestinly as real life has been getting rather busy! So what have I been pinning this week.  Well it is the boys last week at school, so I have been pulling together some activities for the summer break   floating ball catapuly  filn nightsummer (more…)
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Leather lace-on shoe mustaches

I am a converse girl, have been since school and just because I am the wrong side of forty doesn't mean that I am going to stop wearing them! lace on leather mustache for soes (more…)
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How to make a Capri-sun pencil case

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. We are busy "dumping the junk" in The Mad House.  We have noticed that when the boys grab junk food that we suffer the consequences in their behaviour.  We needed to find a drink that I could freeze and pop in lunch boxes over the summer for football camp, so wanted to give Capri-sun a go. Capri sun pencil case (more…)
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Paddington Bear takes over Warburtons

warbeartons If you are anything like me you will try to get the good stuff in your kids any way you can.  One way I do this is by buying half & half bread.  The boys do not even realise that I am giving them anything different! (more…)
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Looking after your eyes and your family’s eyes

  Looking after your eyes and your familiy's eyes MadDad wore glasses from being a toddler, I started wearing glasses at 20, so there was a high chance that our children would need to wear glasses too.  We took them both for their first eye test at a year old and Maxi was fine, but Mini needed specs as he is really long sighted. (more…)
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“The Day That” giveaway worth £130

Win a unique baby gift – a framed photograph of the dawn your child was born Roomshot14 (more…)
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Dalby Forest and Go Ape Junior with Vimto Squeezy

I have mini thrill seekers for children as you may know if you are a regular reader.  They are pretty active and love a challenge, so when Vimto Squeezy suggested they give Go Ape Junior a try at Dalby Forest they were up for the challenge. The minimads visit Dalby (more…)
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Kids in the kitchen – Eating what you grow

Ever since MadDad put raised beds in our garden after my Mastectomy six years ago we have always grown a small amount of vegetables, salads and fruits at home.   I know from experience that kids are more likely to try to eat things that they have grown and nurtured.  It worked for me in my Granddads allotment and for MadDad as a farmers son. eating what they grow kids in the kitchen (more…)
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June’s #SmallStuff

June has truly flown by and I can not believe that in less than three weeks the boys break up from school for the summer holidays. So what has rocked my world this June? junes small stuff (more…)
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Teacher Appreciation Gifts, Wine and Chocolate

Do you gift to your kids teachers?  I do and have done since the boys went to preschool.  I want to thank the teachers for a fab job they do looking after my children.  I trust them to look after my most precious things (my children) and this is a BIG thing for me. wine and chocolate teacher gifts (more…)
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Why I want to be an organ donor

A serious post from me today.  National Transplant Week runs from 7 to 13 July 2014 and this is what I want to talk to you about.   Please don't skim over this as it is so important to talk about being an organ donor and I am going to explain to you why it is important and how talking about it can make a unbelievable difference to someones life. I want to be an organ donor (more…)
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Healthy (ish) chocolate pots – cooking with kids

Healthyish chocolate pots We were challenged by Philadelphia to create something that could be had at lunchtime, took little preparation and less than five minutes to make.  So Mini and I put our heads together and decided to have a go at making a healthy ish chocolate pot. (more…)
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Mothers of boys I need your help

This parenting lark is hard work.  Just when I think I am doing well, something comes along that gets me questioning what we are doing or how we are doing it. femanist boys As a woman I find the fact that I am the mother to two boys something of a challenge and a huge responsibility.  Now before I continue I just want to say this is not about whether or not it is harder to parent boys or girls. (more…)
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A Mum’s Guide to Minecraft

My house is filled with Minecraft and Loom bands!  I thought that Minecraft might be a flash in the pan, however, it hasn't proven to be.  Both the boys and their friends love it.  So I extracted my boys and their friends away from the screen for a while and together we have made this Mum's Guide to Minecraft. minecraft a mums guide (more…)
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Seven Great Kids Outdoor Painting Activities

Now I know that now everyone is as relaxed as I am when it comes to kids painting and the mess it can create.  But the summer is a great time to try and lower your worry factor and get painting outdoors. The key to being more relaxed is preparation, so get a big bowl of soapy water and a towel ready for cleanups.  I have even been known to take the hosepipe to the boys to clean them up or bath them in the paddling pool. We are big fans of the large rolls of paper that you can get from Ikea. Great Kids Outdoor Painting Activities (more…)
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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #2

Mini turns eight on Tuesday and is having a football/soccer party for his birthday, so I have been busy pinning lots of ideas for the party this week. world cup activitiesfootball soccer ball pinatasoccer football cakesatchelsbored printableloom band projects (more…)
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Child Safety Week

Next week is child safety week.  What is that you ask, well it is an annual campaign run by The Child Accident Prevention Trust who are the UK leading charity in this field.  This year is focussing battling morning mayhem. saftey heros (more…)
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Silhouettes made easy using the Cricut Explore

I have always loved the silhouettes you see of people and they have always intimidated me.  But I decided that I needed to get over my fear and figure out how to make a silhouette much easier to make and bam I decided to have a go at making them on my Cricut Explore The fact that is was coming up to my MIL's birthday really spurred me on to give silhouette making a go. Silhouettes made easy using the Cricut Explore 1 (more…)
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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #1

NewPinterestinglarge600 Hello guys, I love Pinterest and use it far too much and pin  lots and lots of things.  So I decided to start a new series sharing the pins that I have really loved over the past week. Mum in the Mad House Pinterest I am more than happy to make this a weekly pinning party if there is enough interest, just leave me a comment below and I will change the post. (more…)
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FIFA World Cup Crafts and Activities for Kids

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

I have two football mad little boys and also a football mad husband, so with the spirit of a family night in, I decided that I better join in the fun and get involved with the FIFA World Cup family fun.  We have a family game night once a week and decided to use the #BigMatchPlanner as an opportunity do lots of FIFA World Cup Crafts and Activities with the boys. coca cola in tesco (more…)
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Dad Rocks Paperweight

It doesn't get much simpler than this Dad Rocks paperweight for fathers day.  As you know if you are a regular reader I feel that homemade gifts are the way to go for gifts that are meaningful. dad rocks paperweights   Materials:
  • Rocks or stones - we found these on our local beach
  • White pen - ours is a Uni Marker White
How to make:
  1. We put our stones in the dishwasher to make sure they are super clean.
  2. Then add your text.
See I told you it was simple! dad rocks father day gift   For other fathers day crafts and ideas take a look at my Fathers Day Pinterest Board Follow Jen Walshaw's board Fathers Day on Pinterest.
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What does Daddy want for Fathers Day?

This was the question I put to the MiniMads this weekend.  I asked them what would MadDad's #FathersDayDreams be. #fathersDayDreams (more…)
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#BigMatchPlanner Twitter Party, 10th of June, 2014 at 1pm

Do you love a good Twitter Party?  You know we do and we’re excited to host a party about how to prepare for the big match with Coke from Tesco!  On Tuesday the 10th of June at 1pm BST, please join us for the #BigMatchPlanner Twitter Party where we’ll be discussing your fun FIFA World Cup plans and giving you a chance to win prizes! #BigMatchPlanner-Twitter-Party-6-10 (more…)
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Win a break at Center Parcs

We fell in love with Center Parcs when we visited Whinfell earlier in the year.  It was a perfect family holiday and had something for everyone in the family. Center Parcs are currently giving people the opportunity to win a break a the Center Parcs Village of their choice with the #wincpbreak competition which they are running on twitter and the Center Parcs facebook page. (more…)
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My Kitchen Shelves #Shelfie

I love my kitchen.  It is eight years old and starting to show it's age now.  I am sure that the quality of kitchens they put in new houses is not very good at all, but the one thing it lacks is storage and display space.  So last year MadDad bought me these fab shelves from Ikea. shelfie (more…)
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Why process art is important for kids

Sometimes it is really easy for us to fix a finished idea in our head when crafting and creating with our kids, especially in this Pinterest age.  I can be be guilty of this too and it was one of the reasons that I stopped doing tutorials when the boys were younger as their idea of the finished product was often not the same as mine. Why process art is important for kids (more…)
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Fathers Day Ideas

Before I was a mother I never understood the meaning of mother's day, well that isnt quite true it was before my boys started making me things.  Yes Mothers Day and Fathers Day might be cheesy, but it is wonderful too.  The joy of getting something homemade from your children is irreplaceable oh and the lie in is brilliant too. homemade Dad Mug perfect for fathers day (more…)
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The Small Stuff – May

May has been a long month, or so it seems to me. It has been filled with two Bank Holidays the first which was full of sunshine, gardening and laughter, the other rain, but also so much joy and laughter too.  It has also been a month filled with #SmallStuff

This month we took the puppy on holiday to Sand le Mere with us.  It is wonderful to be able to take your dog on a holiday as we found out.  it makes for lots of family walks and talks along the way.  It means that you look out for family and gof friendly places and trust me there are out there.

We have had lots of board games and book reading.  I started and finished a couple of books including The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North, which I loved, The Wolf in Winter by John Connolly, Oh Charlie Parker how I have missed you and also Eleanor & Park.  There is something about YA Fiction that I love.  The boys have been engrossed in Stew, a magazine for curious kids and it even got Maxi reading, which is a great thing (review and competition to win a subscription to come). May small stuff (more…)
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Mini’s favorite way to spend a sunny day outside is …….

We have been talking a lot this week about our favorite way to spend the day together as a family.  This is Mini's (aged 7) and is also an entry  to the MAD Blog Awards Kid Blog of the Year, in collaboration with Vita Coco Kids naturally fruit-flavoured coconut water.
My favorite way to spend a sunny day outside is with my friends.  I am lucky to be best friends with three brothers who live on the same road as us and we play together a lot. We all like to go to Theme Park's together.  They are much more fun of you have a group of friends with you to laugh and stop you being scared.   We all went to FlamingoLand at Easter and it was lots of fun.  It is a theme park and a zoo and has the world's steepest roller coaster made from steel in a zoo there called the Mumbo Jumbo and I went on it (the zoo bit is very important apparently)! I like that there are lots of animals too, including my favorite animals Tigers. In March three Sumatran tiger babies (called cubs) were born and they will be soon allowed in to the main enclosure. I want to go back and see them. I hope I can adopt one and give it a name too. I put together this comic on Mummy's Ipad to show you how much fun we had. I also like playing football, cricket and walking the day too. I like to do things I haven't done before like archery.  We are going to see the T20 cricket tomorrow and I am excited.  I wish my friends could come too, but they are on holiday in Malta where it is always sunny, but they don't grow coconut's there.  I also like having ice cream on a sunny day, my favorite flavour is mint choc chip.
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Let’s talk tea

I am a simple soul I think.  I do not crave expensive diamonds or flash cars.  Instead I have things in my life that make me happy there and then.  I have learned over the years that the small stuff is what keeps me ticking over. I was recently invited to Twinings and this really made my heart sing.  Anyone who knows me will understand why.  I love tea.  I am a tea monster, but I am something of an old fashioned tea drinker as I still use loose leaf tea (my granddad did and so did my parents). Then something rather serendipitous happened and Sage asked to review their Tea Maker by Heston. Oh be still my beating heart, great quality loose leaf tea from twinings and The Sage Tea Maker.

So let's talk tea................

Tea (more…)
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Our Perfect Family Day Out

This week is half term in the UK and typically this has meant rain, rain and more rain.  Which to start with wasn't too bad.  We have been spending our week at Sand Le Mere Holiday Village, but eventually even the rain got to us, well more specifically me and Mini and I developed a chest infection and Mini tonsillitis.  You could tell that Mini wasnt well as he didnt even want to go swimming in the fantastic swimming pool. The mads meet woody and jessie (more…)
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Father Day Mugs

homemade Dad Mug perfect for fathers day We love giving homemade personalised gifts here in The Mad House and we have been busy pinning personalised and monogrammed mugs for ages.  Mini decided that these would make a great Fathers Day mug for MadDad (don't panic Father's day isn't till the 15th June this year).  These are so simple to make and if you do not have a Cricut Explore then do not despair as you could either use letter stickers or even print some out on your printer and cut them out. (more…)
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Traveling with kids – Must have gadgets and technology

We do a fair amount of travelling, last year alone I made three transatlantic trips, 2 with kids, 1 european trip and numerous UK trips, some of which took ALL day!  So I know a little about what technology and gadgets ease the load and make travelling  and being on holiday with kids a lot easier. Our top gadgets and tech for traveling with kids (more…)
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A weekend in the garden

I married a farmer's son, so it was inevitable that we were going to grow stuff in the garden and not just flowers.  This became even more important to us when we had children.  We wanted to show them where their food came from and to encourage them to grow their own.  This year we are growing shallots, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, peas, runner beans, broad beans, cabbages, cauliflowers, salad leaves, radish, spring onions, tomatoes, strawberries (in hanging baskets) and an array of herbs (dill, basil, cress, flat parsley, chives, mint, sage and fennel). Center Parcs challenged us to share with you a day in our garden for this months Tots100 Center Parcs Outdoor Challenge. So this weekend I gave my phone and camera to the boys and here is a weekend in our garden.  It helped that this weekend was a perfect one weather wise with lots of sun. Garden Collage (more…)
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My go to spring sandwich

I adore advocardo's.  They seem to be one of those things that people either love or hate.  Me I love them, but I find it really hard to predict when they are just right to eat.   So when we were challenged to make our perfect sandwich with Primula by the Tots100 to To celebrate National Sandwich Week I decided to crack open the avocado.  Kids primula (more…)
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A spring collection with the Cricut Explore

I thought I would start off with a really simple craft on the Cricut Explore .  Some table decorations for a spring themed tea party. I wanted to get the hang of using the new design space software and use the free images and do something simple with the boys. Spring cake cases and straws (more…)
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Karcher K 4 Compact Home Pressure Washer Review

Firstly I am going to admit that we already had a Karcher pressure washer, which was passed down to us via the in laws when they upgraded.  This machine is around 9 years old, so I know that Karcher Pressure washers are designed to last. The Mad House Karcher K 4 Compact Home Pressure Washer Review (more…)
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Making Magic with Innocent Kids

We were challenged by Innocent kids to reproduce a magic trick from the back of their Kids Juices packets as part of their magic circle.  There are seven #innocentmagic tricks and seven of the Innocent gangs favourite bloggers have been chosen to perform. We were sent a sample of Innocent's new juice flavour tropical, which both the boys loved.  Mini isnt a fan of orange juices, but really likes the tropical flavour, which is a blend apples, oranges, pineapple, mango and passionfruit and even better it has no bits, so no funny faces!  I love that these are the perfect size for lunch boxes and I will be putting them in when the boys go to football training during the holidays (they have school dinners normally). They also count as one of the boys five a day (which is great if you struggle to get fruit and veg in to your kids). mini magic (more…)
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The Bloggers guide to encouraging and nurturing a love of reading

I am a book lover, I always have been and it is one of the things that I have always wanted to foster in my children.  We have books everywhere in The Mad House.  You can not go into a room without there being books. a love of reading (more…)
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Things to do in York and Leeds with Kids

We love living where we do in the NE of England and York is only an hour away from us and Leeds an hour and a half.  However, if you live further afield take a look at Hotel Direct Things to do in York and Leeds with Kids (more…)
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#My Happy Place

We all have one.  A happy place, somewhere that we feel safe and content.  Somewhere that leaves us feeling at peace.  I have a couple.  One is my "Crudy" (craft room/study) and the other is on the beach. So I want to share #myhappyplace my happy place (more…)
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Encouraging picky eaters – kids in the kitchen

I am blessed to have kids that eat pretty much everything I put in front of them most of the time.  However, we still have times when they are under the whether or just being kids when they refuse food. I find that a great way of getting them and me out of a funk it to bring them in to the kitchen and make things together.  However, when that fails this is a failsafe way to encourage picky eaters! My top tip for picky eaters (more…)
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My Small Stuff – April

April showers, make may flowers.  I hope this is the case.  April in The Mad House was filled full of the joys of an Easter holiday which meant a visit to the Chill Factore and also a brilliant day out with friends at FlamingoLand (review to follow). Aprils small stuff (more…)
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Blogs are like children, you don’t have favorites, they are all unique!

I am something of a blogging OAP and I saw a post where bloggers where sharing their favorite bloggers and I thought I would join in.  But the thing is blogs are like children, it is wrong to have favorites.  So I am going to share with you some blogs that rock my world at this moment in time! blogs are like children (more…)
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Why did the pup chew My Hotter shoes?

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser Alvin claimed my hotter shoes (more…)
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Lets talk about Free Range parenting.

My boys are nearly 8 and just turned 9 and  last summer I championed #Freerange parenting.  I tried to give them freedom to explore, play and investigate independently. Are you a free range parent (more…)
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My two weeks with the Cricut Explore – An interim review and thoughts

The Cricut Explore was released in the UK today and I have been lucky enough to have had one to play with for the last two weeks, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts from this first two weeks with this revolutionary machine. First off I am going to admit that it has been Easter Holidays here and my number one priority is my boys, so it remained unboxed for three days and has only been played with in small chunks oe with them with me. Secondly, I am going to admit that cutting is my kryptonite.  I hate cutting things, I do not have mad cutting skills and I love my Cricut Mini. Lastly, this was a gift from Cricut, however, my views are always my own, honest (to a fault) and that I have an ongoing relationship with Cricut and am going to be providing them and you with some projects.

The Unboxing Experience

  I have admitted that the Cricut Explore remained in its box for three days before I had a 20 minute chunk of time to devote to it.  I thought it would take me this long to set it up.  I was wrong.  It took 7 minutes to get the machine out of the box to pluged in and working and that was with a 7 year old helping. unboxing the cricut explore (more…)
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The MiniMads review Crisp Ultima 125 Scooter – Gold/Satin Black

Crisp Ultima 125 Scooter - Gold Satin Black One of the things that I encourage my boys to be is active and as you may know I am working at reducing their reliance on electronics.  This is much easier now the weather is better as they choose to be outside with their friends. SkateHut.co.uk sent us a Crisp Ultima 125 Scooter - Gold/Satin Black for the boys to try out and it has been a huge hit. They liked:
  • It has larger wheels than other stunt scooters so goes faster making it suitable for skate parks and speed stunts.
  • It is really sturdy, so perfect for learning on
  • It is smoother due to the larger wheels, making it ride over cracks better
  • large deck makes it easier to catch in the air
Overall:  Stunt scooters are an investment, so it makes sense to to really check out and research your purchase.  This scooter is £189, so it is a real investment piece.  You can not go to our local skate park if you do not have a suitable board and they have to have fixed handles. This scooter has caused oohs and ahhs with all the children in the street and seems to be a really big hit. Skate Hut is a really good site as they do video's for all their kit, which gives parents a real insight into what they are purchasing. 3.  
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Weekends With The Kids: Ideas Of What You Can Do To Fill The Time

Those two days after Friday can feel like a huge chasm, when you have kids to entertain. It’s easy to get stuck into the same routine and lose all inspirational ideas. Here are a few new ideas to help with bonding between yourself and your children. Make the most of the time that you have! pet rocks (more…)
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The Mad House visits Chill Factore

The Mad House visits the Chill Factore (more…)
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Washi Tape Easter Cards

Whilst we were busy with the washi tape we decided to have a go at making some easter cards.  Again we used our Cricut Mini, but it was super simple and the MiniMads' were certainly in charge.  Not only did they chose the tape combination, but they picked the images and words too! Washi Tape Easter Cards (more…)
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Washi Tape Easter Garland

We are big fans of washi tape in The Mad House.  We use it all the time for homemade cards and even for covering eggs.  So it was the natural choice to make a washi tape easter garland out of it. Washi tape easter garland (more…)
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How to display kids artwork

I am a huge fan of art, craft and drawing (as you possibly know if you read my blog regularly) and when John Lewis Insurance asked me to share my favourite drawing of what matters most to my children  it was a hard, hard job as I love pretty much everything they produce for different reasons. I love the act of making art and nurturing children's drawings and one of the wisest things that I was told is to never ask what a drawing is, but to ask
"Tell me more about your drawing"
So I took this opportunity to go through my boys artwork and let me tell you there are loads of pictures of the things they draw, but not that much in the house as we gift a lot and also recycle it.  I only keep certain piece, but photograph the rest.

Displaying Kids artwork in your home

displaying kids artwork (more…)
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Low Spend or No Spend Bored Jar Activities – The Spring Edition

We have a "Bored Jar" and every so often I update it and as the Easter holidays and Spring are upon us I thought I would update it with a Spring theme.  So here are my Low Spend or No Spend Easter Holiday  and spring Activities Ultimate Spring Bored Jar Activity list (more…)
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Half Price tickets to Chessington and Sealife with Walkers

Just in time for the Easter Holidays Walkers are offering half price tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort and the 12 SEA LIFE aquariums and sanctuaries across the UK.

hoops (more…)

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500 Words

Maxi was asked to  write an entry in to Chris Evan's and BBC Radio Two's 500 words competition for children as homework and typically for my lad decided he wanted to do it last minute (I don't encourage homework). 500 words (more…)
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Easter Egg Craft ideas – Something for the weekend

Whoop, my boys finnish school on Friday and are off until 22nd April, so we have plenty of time to do lots of Easter crafts and have lots of family fun time together. This week I am going to concentrate on Easter Egg Craft Ideas.  We love decorating our Easter Tree  with eggs and the boys also decorate eggs for school and for an Easter Party we attend each year. eggcellent ideas for egg decorating this easter (more…)
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Felted wool easter egg chicks

We were sent a fantastic selection of craft items for the Tots100 Bostik Craft Club.  You can buy similar kits to this from online suppliers such as Craft Merrily and Yellow Moon. Felted roving wool easter egg chicks (more…)
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Weekends With The Kids: Ideas Of What You Can Do To Fill The Time

Those two days after Friday can feel like a huge chasm, when you have kids to entertain. It’s easy to get stuck into the same routine and lose all inspirational ideas. Here are a few new ideas to help with bonding between yourself and your children. Make the most of the time that you have! pet rocks (more…)
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March’s Small Stuff

#Small Stuff I loved the small stuff meme that went round last year and I have decided that I am going to do a monthly round up of my small stuff.  The things that have made me happy, made me smile and made my day over this month. March is a mega month of small stuff for me. march Collage (more…)
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Mothering Sunday

This year is the first year that I feel comfortable celebrating Mothers Day without a mother.  It is over three years since Mum died and yes I still miss her, but I no longer pine for her company like I used to. My new normal is actually becoming normal.  Now that is a sentence I never thought I would write! Maxi's christening (more…)
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Family board games we are currently playing

We love board games and have a regular family games night every week in The Mad House.  We are rather over-competitive when it comes to games and have a cupboard full of games to choose from.  The MiniMads are currently 9 and nearly 8 and so when Two Little Fleas asked me to post about family games night I jumped at the chance. board games for Multi aged families (more…)
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Homemade Mothers Day Cards for kids to make

There is nothing nicer than a homemade card, especially one made by your kids.  I am a huge fan of homemade mother's day cards made by my boys and I have pictures of all the ones they have made during the years. So with Mothering Sunday this Sunday, I thought I would share with you some quick and easy Mothers Day cards that can be made by children which are perfect for Mum's or Grandma's this weekend. i-love-you-becausee280a6-flower-mama-papa_-bubba_ (more…)
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Over 50 Family Fun activities for under a Fiver

I was challenged by Wilson Field to come up with a post all about as much family fun on a fiver as I could.  I was really shocked that my toothpaste nearly cost £5 this week when I went shopping, which really got me thinking about how much family fun can you have for a fiver. Over 50 Family Fun activities for under a Fiver Outdoor Ideas rain catcher
  1. Go on a family bike ride
  2. Visit a local landmark that you have always said you would like the Angel of the North
  3. Geocaching
  4. Go on a nature hunt
  5. Go on a beach walk and collect stones - use your £5 for ice cream at the end
  6. Go feed the ducks
  7. Take a free FA skills course with Tesco
  8. Go to the local park
  9. Visit the library and get treats on the way home
  10. Learn how to skim stones
  11. Make a rain catcher
  12. Visit local free attractions such as museums, art galleries and airshows
At home coke floats
  1. Have a movie night, with popcorn.
  2. Have a family colouring in night
  3. Set up a family science experiments
  4. Play drinks bottle skittles
  5. Make dream catchers
  6. Make button biscuits 
  7. Do some apple printing
  8. Bake a cake and have a tea party
  9. Have a family jigsaw night
  10. Make comic strips
  11. Make potato print wrapping paper
  12. Make a homemade book 
  13. Make paper plate clocks
  14. Plant some seeds and tend the garden
  15. Make a volcano 
  16. Make some shape sticks 
  17. Make some jam jar candle holders
  18. Have a family LEGO Evening
  19. Make some scratch paper
  20. Make tissue paper flowers
  21. Spend some time making a scrap book
  22. Eat some crisps and then shrink the crisp packets
  23. Embroider
  24. Get the paints out
  25. Make cupcakes
  26. Play pictionery
  27. Have a family games night
  28. Make an unbirthday cake
  29. Make some chic cards
  30. Make washi tape cards
  31. Have a spy day and leave some secret messages
  32. Decoupage something
  33. Make fingerprint cards
  34. Do some spring crafts
  35. Make coke floats
  36. Paint some plant pots 
  37. Make daffodil pinwheels
  38. Have a spa evening with homemade spa products
  39. Make banana bread 
Something for the weekend activities stone art, crafts and activities
  1. Post it note crafts and activities
  2. Stone crafts and activities
  3. Family drawing activities 
  4. Bird Activities
  5. Outdoor activities
  6. Pom Pom activities and crafts
  7. Heart crafts and activities
      50 familiy activities under £503.
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Alton Towers Review