Homemade gift wrap 19

We love giving gifts and every year we make our own homemade gift wrap.  We often use kraft paper or the big rolls of paper that you can get from Ikea.  However this time we decided to use a large roll of black paper we had and that our homemade gift wrap would be gold stars and trees potato printed on to it.

Homemade gift wrap

Alternative Christmas gifts - A year of family experiences

Alternative Christmas gifts – A year of family experiences 16

I have mentioned before that I am a great believer that experiences bring more happiness than things and this year we are going to be giving our boys a year of experiences. This will be a great alternative christmas gift for us all as a family and I have been thinking of a special way to do this.

How to Keep Newborns Happy on Car Journeys 1

Having a newborn baby means every trip needs to be planned with military precision – no more nipping out to the shops, or round to your mum’s house as each journey, no matter how small, sees you packing enough bags and bottles for a trip across the Great Plains.

maxi baby

Dulux amazing space

My Amazing Spaces 11

I love where we live and our home.  It really is a family home and I can not quite believe what started off as a stop gap eight years ago (we were going to build our own home) has become a house filled with love, laughter and memories. But I am going to admit that we have become stuck in a rut when it comes to decorating.  So when Dulux offered me three free Dulux Amazing Space consultations I jumped at it, but had not idea that we would love what they came up with and find myself convincing the husbeast to put some of the ideas in to practice.

5 Rules for cooking with kids by kids 11

How often do you let your kids loose in the kitchen?  How often do you cook with them?  I am under no illusion that cooking with kids isnt always the easy option, hell it is NEVER the easy options.  It takes longer, is messier and can often be a real challenge.  But the rewards of getting your kids cooking at an early age are amazing, firstly they can cook for you, but it is much more than that.  You are teaching them invaluable skills that will last a lifetime.

5 Rules for cooking with kids by kids

Advent acts of kindness

Advent Acts of Kindness Free Printables 49

As you have probably guessed we LOVE advent and Christmas here in The Mad House.  Last year we provided you with two sets of advent acts of kindness free printables.  One Christmas tree shaped and the other in a tag style.  This year we have a real treat for you with our advent acts of kindness free printables.

Acts of Kindness for Advent – An Alternative Advent Calendar 10

Advent is the perfect for focusing on the joy of the season, but it can also seem really commerical.  last year we started our Advent acts of kindness, an alternative advent for kids to try and refocus this time away from receiving to giving.  We do our acts of kindness in addition to our other advent activities.

reverse advent calendar

Free Christmas Colouring Pages for Adults and Teens

Free Christmas Colouring Pages for Adults and Teens 4

Does anyone else get stressed over the festive period?  I try hard not to and it has been proven that colouring for adults is great to helping us to switch off and wind down.  So here I am with some exclusive free Christmas colouring pages for adults.

What to donate to a foodbank 18

This year like last year we are working in acts of kindness for advent and one of them is to donate to a foodbank.  Donating to a foodbank is a really visual activity to do with children and it can make a massive difference to families and people in need.  However, if you are anything like me you will always wonder what to give.  So I put a shout of to one of my friends who actually knows about this.  Let me introduce you to Kate. “Do you want to actually help or do you just want to try and impress the other mums?” Ouch. That was me about two weeks more »

What to donate to a foodbank

Putting together a winter health survival pack

Putting together a winter health survival pack 8

In the past I have written about strengthening our winter defences naturally and why I think that it is important that we keep on top of looking after our bodies in the most natural way we can.  As someone who has been through a health scare I try and keep our immune systems healthy as possible as naturally as possible and really believe that taking care of myself and the boys is really important, so I will always take preventative measures when possible.

Encouraging the kids to clean with Plenty Easy clean wipes 11

Mud, glorious mud.  It is the curse of any mums out there, especially in the winter.  Maxi plays junior football every Sunday and comes home covered in mud every week.  Now that he is ten, we have made the decision that he has to help clean up.  Want to see how that turns out…..

How to get kids to clean up

Ultimate advent activities

Ultimate advent activity list 2015 17

Christmas, we love it.  But as much as I love Christmas and the build up to it, it is important to me to focus on my family and not just on the commercial aspect of just Christmas Day.  Part of the way we do this is by having advent activities that we do.  It helps me to focus on my family each day in this busy busy period of the year.   So here is our ultimate advent activity list for 2015.

Tips for keeping your home warm over winter 14

Our energy bills are the second only to our mortgage, so it pays for me to work at ways to reduce them or at least keep them in check.  But I don’t want to be the only one doing it,  I also want to encourage the kids to work at reducing the bills and educate them as to why it is important that we save energy.

Tips for keeping your home warm over winter

11 poppy crafts for remembrance day

11 more Poppy crafts for Remembrance Day 13

Last year we visited the poppy installation at the Tower of London, which really got the boys interested in Poppies and their significance.  Also Maxi has been studying the first world war in topic this term, so poppy crafts for remembrance have been at the forefront of our mind.

20 Firework crafts and treats roundup 16

With Halloween getting bigger and bigger each year, bonfire night just creeps up on me.  This year I am prepared and have a round up of some super fireworks crafts and treats to get you in the mood.  There is something wonderful about coloured art on black paper and beautiful colours against the night sky that makes fireworks so spectacular for both children and adults alike.

Firework crafts and treats roundup

Gaming terminology guide for parents

Gaming terminology guide for parents 19

What can I say, my boys are nine and ten now and they are both gaming obsessed.  They love their Xbox and also saved up this year for a Wii U.  So I have to make it my business to keep up to date on what is going on in their gaming worlds!  GAME are aware that parents can get confused about all things gaming, so they have asked Gamer Claus to help out parents this Christmas.

Pipecleaner Firework Prints 15

We love Bonfire night and fireworks and I need little excuse to get the paint out!  So we have had a go at pipe cleaner printing and making fireworks on black paper as they look so effective.  These Pipe cleaner firework prints are easy to do and look great too.


DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Poppy Craft

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Poppy Craft 11

We love making flowers here in The Mad House and at this time of the year our minds turn to the poppy and remembrance.  I love to use the time that we craft as a family to talk about things and making a poppy craft with the boys always gives me the opportunity to discuss the need for remembrance day and the this year Maxi has been studying world war one, so was really interested.  We really enjoyed making these DIY recycled plastic bottle poppy flowers.

Halloween crafts for kids 1

I really do not need any excuse to craft, but if you are looking for one it can not have escaped your attention that it is nearly Halloween.  For me it is a great reason to get making and baking with the boys and we start to decorate the Mad House with all our home made decorations from early October!  If you are looking for inspiration, then I have this super roundup for you of our Halloween crafts for kids.  These are the Halloween things that we have made over the years, so there will be something for all ages and abilities.

Halloween crafts and ideas

Tomato and courgette bruschetta – cooking with kids 10

This is one of those recipes, that isnt really a recipe as much as the fact we had grown tomatoes and yellow courgettes this h=year in our garden and wanted to use them up before we went on holiday.  So we experimented and it turned out amazingly well.