6 Gifts Mothers Definitely Do Not Want on Mother’s Day + Cath Kidston Giveaway

Mother’s Day is a special time of year where we celebrate everything that our mothers have done for us over the years.  From changing your nappy to helping you put money into your children’s savings account and, these days, listening to all your worries and woes, your mum has been there for you through it all, so she deserves something special to remind her just how important she is. We suggest you read this list and avoid these items at all costs or you can expect to have one disappointed mum on your hands this Mother’s Day.

cath giveaway

‘#No.1 Mum’ Mug Firstly, how many mugs does your mum actually need? You already bought her that colour-changing one for her birthday and she still hasn’t used that mug with a picture of your face on it that you got her for Christmas. Secondly your mum’s only going to get upset when she bumps into someone at work with the same mug and realises that she is not the sole owner of the title ‘Number 1 Mum.’ Socks This is a present that should be reserved for Father’s Day only and even then it’s a pretty lame gift. That fake smile you’re dad put on is going to look even more unbelievable when your mum tries it out.  And for heaven’s sake if you do opt for this gift, take note from above and don’t buy a pair that declares your mum as the ‘Best Mum in the World.’ It’s not OK on socks either. Anti-Ageing Cream Yes your mum has been talking about how she’s run out of her anti-ageing cream or she’s been going on about that new product she saw on the TV that claims to take 10 years off your face. No, that wasn’t a hint. Any gift that suggests your mother isn’t the youthful, beautiful young mum she once was is asking for the silent treatment or possibly even tears. This also applies to hair dye to get rid of those pesky grey hairs, cellulite cream, weightwatcher membership, gym membership … A Tattoo Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day  like a tattoo of your mother’s face slapped across your arm or the picture of a heart with the word ‘Mum’ scrawled across it plastered on your chest. It’ll really help you bag that special someone and help you out with next year’s Mother’s Day gift of a grandchild for sure. Bath Stuff This can actually be quite a nice present. Your mum can have some much needed ‘me’ time whilst she relaxes in the bath making use of your present.  Where you most likely sourced this present from however is probably what makes this present one of the worst.  It’s pretty likely that your mum remembers seeing you unwrap the present that your auntie gave you just a few months ago at Christmas and probably feels a little cheated now it seems to have made its way into her collection of Mother’s Day presents. A Book on Parenting If it’s her first Mother’s Day as a parent, she’s probably going to appreciate all the help she can get. On her 10th Mother’s Day as a mum she’s probably not. cath giveaway

Cath Kidston Giveaway – What is on your wish-list this Mother’s Day?

To stand a chance to win this lovely Cath Kidston Sewing Kit with the twin travel pack tell us what your most desirable Mother’s Day present is. Whether the kids bring you breakfast in bed, make you a card, give you a weekend away (with the collaboration of Daddy’s credit card) or they promise you they will to go to bed on-time, we want to hear what you are wishing for this Mother’s Day! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Exploring sense of smell and taste

smell and taste When I was pregnant I seemed to have such a heightened sense of smell and have passed that on to Minimad. Maxi has been under the weather lately and noticed that when his nose was blocked foods didn't taste the same or as strong, so I thought we would explore this. Firstly we had a look online and discovered this great page at the Childrens University of Manchester all about taste and your nose.  The boys had great fun exploring the web site and told me all about it, so we decided to put the theory into practice with some food and drink . We decided to test, orange juice, apple juice, blackcurrant juice, sugar water, salt water, dilute soy sauce, lemon juice and lime juice.  The boys took turns to test one another, blindfolding each other and giving them a taste whilst they held their own noses. drinks The boys also made a chart so they could write down what each of them through the tastes where and after we sat down and looked at the results and they made their conclusions. Maxi noted that he could still taste more of the food by just holding his nose than when it was bunged up, so I tried to explain that the mucus that caused his congestion was at the back of his nose and throat too blocking the smell more. taste collage We learned about the  five main tastes which are bitter, sweet, sour, salty, and savoury or ‘umami’ and they matched the food they often eat in to the different taste groups. We also discussed the facts on the infographic we received below from www.otrivine.co.uk.  Can you imagine growing 2 meters of nose hair! Otrivine Did You Nose It Infographic v3 3.  
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Fingerprint heart valentines cards

fingerprint heart cards I have to say that as a couple MadDad and I have never really been in to celebrating Valentines Day.  Mainly due to the fact that it is our wedding anniversary in March and we tend to celebrate that much more than Valentines, however, since having the boys things have changed. It seems that they really want us to celebrate valentines, they have made fingerprint love heart cards for their dad and also made heart bookmarks which they are giving out to their teachers tomorrow.

Simple Fingerprint Heart Cards

fingerprint hearts It doesn't really get much simpler than this and I think we originally saw this over at Thinly Spread a couple of years ago.  You take a forefinger and angle your fingerprint then add a second one to make a heart shape. Chris' are much neater than ours, but then my boys are only 8 and 7 and refused any help! To make it simpler for younger children you can add the paint to a sponge rather than a paper plate like we did, in fact the sponge method is better for all ages, but the boys wanted to mix their own colours.
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Something for the weekend – The pompom edition

pompom I loooove pompoms and so do the boys.  we find making them something of an addiction especially with these Pom-Pom makers.  It really is super simple and something that my boys can do all on their own and is a great way of using up scraps of wool.  We find making them really therapeutic and something that we tend to make them on an evening when we are all sat around chatting together.  These makers are really simple for children to use, just take a look at the video below of Thinly Spread's Bonus Boy aged five making a pompom.

How to make a Pompom

  Cardboard strip method - Maggie at Red Ted Art shows you how to make a pompom using just a strip of card and wool in her blog post about making pompom bunnies. Cardboard donut method - Miss LIzzie at Me and my shadow shows how simple and effective this method is with her pompom wreath. Crayon box chronicles shows us how to make pompoms using folks  - This is so easy for tiny pompoms.   You can even make them from two cardboard rolls.

Crafts with Pompoms

  pompom chcks Materials
    • Yarn
    • Pom Pom Maker
    • Felt – yellow for the chicks
    • Glue – we used the glue gun, but also fabric glue
    • Small beads for eyes
  1. Make a largeish pompom in yellow wool for the chick’s body
  2. In yellow felt cut out two shapes for the chicks wings and one for the chicks tail feathers.  Also cut a small triangle for the chicks beak - in future ones I will make this orange to stand out more.
  3. Stick the wings and tail to the pom pom using a glue gun.
  4. Stick the eyes and beak on using fabric glue
pompom bunnies You can also make pompom bunnies or pompom monsters.  There are lots of animals you can craft with pompoms, including hedgehogs, spiders, robins or sheep!   Why not make a bunch of white pompoms and then you have no melt indoor snowballs.

Activities with Pompoms

  racing pompoms I know my boys would love to race pompom balls, see more of this great activity at frugal fun 4 boys.  You could turn them in to angry birds and use them to knock down cups or use them for a colour sorting activity.  You can even use pompoms for maths activities or literacy exercises. pompom crafts Make sure you are following our facebook pageGoogle + page or on Pinterest for lots more pompom crafts and activities over the coming week.
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Are you supporting Sport Relief – Dial for Davina Day

I guess we are all aware of the Team Honk relay race in the blogger community, but were you aware that Davina McCall  is attempting to run, swim and cycle over 500 miles from Edinburgh to London, entirely under her own steam?  Do you know that she cycled 90 miles today? I have to say I wasn't until I saw her pulled out of the water at windermere after attempting to swim in the frigid waters.    Davina's challenge is all about girl power.  She is going to to go through hell and back in order to raise money for Sport Relief.  You can keep up to date with her challenge  on the Beyond Breaking Point Website and there is also up to date photos, videos and facts on the website. header_desktop Tomorrow (13th February) is "Dial for Davina" day, where BT willdonate 1p to Sport Relief for every call made from a BT home phone line, BT business line as well as every call made from a BT payphone. Davina is also the voice of BT’s Speaking Clock until the 23rd March,  and if you call the speaking clock from a BT landline BT will donate 10p to Sport Relief.

What else can you do to support Davina?

  Send Davina a supportive tweet using the hashtag #Davina.  She is 47 years old and this is an amazing challenge and not one I would even contemplate doing. Any tweets will appear on her wall of support. Sponsor Davina as she goes Beyond Breaking Point. Sponsor Davina at sportrelief.com/Davina All the ups and downs of Davina’s challenge will be captured for a BBC documentary, to be broadcast in the run up to Sport Relief Weekend, which is taking place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March. 3.  
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Kids in the kitchen. My top tips for baking with boys!

I say boys, but really these tips are great for baking with any child.  My children have been helping me in the kitchen from when they could sit in a high chair.  I tried to involve them from a young age, even if it was just giving them some pastry to play with.  I wanted them to feel comfortable in the kitchen and be involved in preparing their food. Baking is a great exercise for children, it involves lots of different skills such as reading recipes, measuring and weighing ingredients, following instructions, motor skills (mixing), measuring time and also is a great way to connect them with the food that they eat. Mini Baking

Tips for cooking with younger children

  1. Write out the recipe in simple words and laminate it.  Even if they can not read it is great to show them the recipe.
  2. Get out the ingredients first
  3. Put everything at their level.  We used to work at the kitchen table as it was the perfect height for them.
  4. Get child sized implements
  5. An apron that fits them is great too.
  6. Be prepared for mess, but hey you can clean it up!
  7. Simple recipes are best, try one only a few ingredients first
maxi cooking

Tips for cooking with six plus children

  1. Let them chose the recipe and check if you have all the necessary ingredients.  If you are out of any then they can write a shopping list and go shopping with you for them
  2. Encourage them to read the recipe and do the weighing and measuring themselves.  We found that having electronic scales that also can be used for weighing liquid were ace when they were younger.
  3. Be prepared for the finished product not to look like you think it should. This is their project not yours.
  4. My boys have a step that they use so that the kitchen counters are a good level for them, but still mix on the kitchen table.
  5. Encourage them to clean up their mess.
  6. There is nothing wrong with packet mixes.

Great recipes for kids

  Shortbread, oat and raisin cookies, gingerbread, three ingredient cookies, rice crispy cakes, Spelt banana bread, banana muffins and pebble cookies. What is your favorite recipe for cooking with kids?  If you have blogged it then please do join in and add it to the linky below.
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How to make a paper plate clock

Whether you are teaching your children to tell the time or just want a great craft activity, a paper plate clock is an excellent way to get talking about time as you make one.  Both my boys have watches and use them too.  The Watch Hut has some great childrens watches that are perfect for telling the time. paper plate clock What you need:
    1. Paper Plates
    2. Split Pins which are sometimes called Paper Fasteners
    3. Pen's or crayons
    4. Card
    5. Paper numbers (for younger children)
    6. Scissors
How to make 
  1. Cut out the hands from contrasting card, making one longer than the other for the minute hand.
  2. Place the numbers round the clock, this is easier if you to the 12, 3, 6 and 9 first.
  3. Make a small whole in the center of the plate for the hands and use the split pin to secure
Variations - You can use two paper plates like we did to make lift up flats and put the minutes underneath.  Alternatively you can add them to the outer rim of the paper plate and colour the minutes past one colour and the minutes too another colour. clocks Free clock printable from Mini Eco.  If you don't even feel like making your own clock, then you can print off one of Kate's free printable here. 3.
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Something for the weekend – Winter Olympics Edition

olympic crafts and activities We are so excited in the Mad House that the Olympics are upon us again.  I love the winter olympics and it is a little known fact that Mini was named after a scottish skier!  So this week's something for the weekend is dedicated to Olympics.

Make your own Olympic Torch

For inspiration we took a look at the previous torches and discussed what a relay race is.  We also looked at the torch being used for this winter Olympics Olympic touch make your own  What you'll need:
  • 1 sheet of white construction paper
  • Clear tape
  • Red, yellow, and orange tissue paper, 12" x 12" square of each colour
  • White craft glue
 How to make it:
  1. Roll the construction paper into a cone shape, tape closed.
  2. Layer the tissue paper squares, red on the bottom, then orange, and yellow on top.
  3. Gather from the centre of the squares and hold in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.
  4. Put some white craft glue into the sides of the opening of the cone.
  5. Place the tissue paper into the cone and let the glue dry completely.
Variation: For older children why not make it look more authentic, by covering the torch with bubble wrap to represent the holes and paint with gold paint.  I also love this torch painting by J Daniel4's Mom

 Other Olympic activities

olpympic-medal-chart We had great fun making our own medal chart.  This was a super opportunity to discuss why Countries often have different spellings to how we know them and to look at their flags and where they are in an atlas or on the globe.  I adore this flags of the world bunting by No time for flashcards. Below are some other great activities for older (6 plus) children:
    • Be a reporter at your favorite event at the Olympic games.  Try to encourage descriptive words and ask lots of questions, which should encourage this.  Including What is the sport about?  How is it played?  What is the weather like? What is the atmosphere like? What is the score? Who wins and how do they do it?
    • Pretend you have won a gold medal at the Olympics.  How would you feel?  Try writing a speech that you would give after winning a medal.
    • Write a biography of your favorite Olympian.  Use the internet to find out information and write about your favorite Olympian.  How old are they?  What sport do they do? You could even draw a picture of them.
    • Design a poster for your favorite Olympic sport.
    • Junk model your own ski slope
Olympic Activities for Preschool and toddlers Picture1 The Olympic pictograms above would be perfect to print off and make a matching game with.  They are really beautiful.

Great Books about the Olympics

Make sure you are following our facebook pageGoogle + page or on Pinterest for lots of Winter Olympic crafts and activities over the coming weeks.
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Something for the half-term holidays – let your kids become an Animal Champion!

February half-term is just around the corner, which means a number of parents are frantically searching for a various action-packed activities suited to the entire family.  Giving parents the perfect option to keep the kids entertained while teaching them vital life lessons, the RSPCA is launching their Animal Champion campaign – the perfect antidote the humdrum nature of half-term. rug A lesson worth learning Those who have pets at home will already know how important it is to care for animals. Aside from showing them love and affection, caring for an animal comes with plenty of responsibility and requires owners to ensure the safety and health of their pet. Animals need consistent exercise, must be fed throughout the day and groomed on a regular basis. It can be hard work having a pet but the love received in return is certainly worth the effort and this is what the RSPCA wants to reinforce. Animal Champion Logo Become an RSPCA Animal Champion Not all animals are fortune enough to have a happy home and that is one of the reasons for the RSPCA Animal Champion scheme. The animal charity hopes to encourage children to become a champion to teach them a number of important lessons when it comes to caring for animals and provide parents with an easy way to keep them occupied over the holidays. What’s involved? To sign up, parents will need to apply for an RSPCA Animal Champion toolkit. You can sign up for this online and it costs just £15 to do so. Inside the kit, you’ll find a challenge checklist poster, a number of video updates and a choice of several challenges. Prior to beginning these challenges, it’s important to sit down with the kids and help them choose five of their favourite ones. These challenges can be completed both inside and outside and involve the likes of baking cakes, becoming a detective for the day and organising an animal themed sleepover. There’s even one fundraising challenge to embark on for those who want to help raise money for this worthy animal charity. Rewards for all Children who complete five challenges will receive their very own special award and certificate, which of course should take pride of place on their bedroom wall. Aside from being presented with a certificate that proves they’re a fully-fledged Animal Champion, this fun-filled scheme is a great way to teach your children the differences between right and wrong when it comes to properly caring for animals. This training will hopefully encourage them to teach their friends and family similar morals in the future; spreading the word about animal care far and wide. Visit the RSPCA website for more information on the work of this great charity and for details on how to help your kids become an Animal Champion. The Animal Champion scheme is open to children between the ages of 6 and 12 years and costs £15 per pack/child. The closing date for applications is February 12. 18.            
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The ultimate guide to crafting with stones

If you children are anything like mine then they will always return form an outing with some sort of treasure.  We are lucky to live five minutes from a beach and I have to check the boys pockets each time we come home as they always have stones in them. crafting with stones Stones or beach pebbles are so tactile and make a great crafting and activity material and I am going to be using them for this week's something for the weekend, so do come back on Friday to see what we have been doing with the ones they collected this weekend. One of our most favorite things to do with stones is to add them to our memory jar.

Memory Stones

memory stones Memory stones are so simple to make, but are perfect for using to encourage crafting and also to help instill memories in children.  We make them each summer to record what we have done and the boys adore making them. All you need are some pens, sharpies are great for this and some stones, oh and a jar to put them in. We like to place them in a clear jar so we can look at them and watch as they increase over the summer.

Story Stones

unknown-2 When I saw this great activity over at Happy Hooligans I knew I had to include it.  You do not need any artistic ability just some pictures and glue.  Jackie explains how she did it, so go and take a look.

Stone Pets

pet stones The boys made these stone pets way back in 2009 when they were only 4 and 3!  They have really stood the test of time and are so simple to make. Materials:
  1. Stones
  2. Acrylic paint
  3. Paintbrushes
  4. Googly eyes
  5. Glue
  1. Paint the stones with acrylic paint and allow to dry.
  2. Use different colour paint to add your decorations
  3. Glue on eyes
If we make these again, I will varnish them with a clear polyurethane varnish so we can put them in the garden. craft-materials-blog-hop  This post is part of Cratulate's guide to 50 craft materials.  
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