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 Rock City What better way to weigh down your picnic blanket than by using the tools nature has given us: massive rocks? Instead of using plain boulders, get out your paintbrushes and be creative, why not make some pet rocks. Garden 2009 Grow Plants The garden isn’t going to sort itself out. An extra pair of hands can be useful, and you’re teaching your kids some great horticultural skills for the future. They might be more likely to eat their vegetables, if they’ve grown them at home. Mini running round Play A Sport Whether it’s badminton in the back yard or football at your local park, get out and have fun! Watch The Stars Kids love an excuse to stay up late. Grab a hot chocolate and go star-gazing – it’s certainly worth getting a telescope, so your kids can learn more about the universe. Treasure Hunt Who doesn’t love a good treasure hunt? Think up age-appropriate clues and set up a long foray into the wilderness that will keep them occupied all day (just make sure the prizes are worth it). maxi cooking Cook Together If you can have fun, eat something tasty, and teach your kids a new skill, why wouldn’t you? Choose a simple and creative recipe that everyone can join in with, take a look at my top tips for getting kids in the kitchen. Go On A Day Out Do you feel like it’s time to get out of the house? There are lots of great venues throughout the UK, whether you choose to visit an art gallery or a wildlife park, such as Knowsley Safari Park. 3.
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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 Maxi turned nine.  I find it hard to believe that I am the mother of a nine year old and I adore celebrating birthdays to here's to my marvelous, maddening but much loved Maxi. Me and MadDad celebrated out nineteenth wedding anniversary.  I love him more now than the day that we said I do, which I never thought was possible. Both the boys were presented with headteachers awards for Mathematics and problem solving. Pictionary and Boggle both rocked my month too, especially when played with four fab friends that filled my online world and also my offline world with laughter, smiles and support when needed. Family.  There is nothing that means more to me in this world than my family.  I was lucky enough to spend an exciting long weekend at Center Parcs with the boys and also spend some time celebrating the life of a dear uncle with my cousins and aunts and uncles. Mothers Day.  I love being a mother and I love that my world was shaped and defined by strong women.  Here to my amazing SIL and all the other mothers out there. Thanks to my boys for homemade gifts and cards and for breakfast in bed. Tea always features heavily in my day, it is an affordable luxury that I would not be without and Twinings really made my day when they invited me to take tea with them and meet their Master Taster and the current Mr Twining (but more on this to come). Daffodils and tulips.  I adore spring flowers and it has been wonderful to see the daffodils blooming in the garden and to have the occasional bunch of spring in my home. Lighter nights and dryer days - The fact that the boys can get outside and play makes my heart sing.  We are back to scootering, street cricket and tennis and I love that they can play outside with their friends after school. Spring Sundays - there is something so joyous about sundays in spring, the sound of children playing, the smell of freshly cut grass , cars being washed on the drives, junior football games, muddy football boots, family dog walks, washing drying on the line, countryfile and roast beef with yorkshire puddings. What used to be my most hated day growing up has turned in to my favorite.  
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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  

This was one of my Mum's happiest days (Maxi and my Niece's christening) - She beamed all day 

The thing is I love Mothers Day, for a long time I never thought I would be a mother and now I am it is something that I adore and hate in equal measure.  I find it the hardest job in the world, it is either really hard or really great.  There is no happy medium in my parenting, no matter how much I wish there was. Mothers Day is a reminder that many, many women have managed to do this job successfully before me and to also express thanks and gratitude for the women that have shaped me and my family. We made a Mothers Day card for my mother in law and we might not always see eye to eye but she did a pretty good job raising MadDad! I never appreciated my mum until I was a mother and I see her in me more and more each passing day and whereas in the past this would have made me shudder and panic, I realised a couple of weeks ago at a family funeral that there were worse people to turn in to. mothers day cards  

Mothers day cards 2014

I had this epiphany whilst sat round the table with most of my cousins as we reminisced about our fantastic childhood which we spent together.  We are all parents and grandparents now and pretty much are all turning or have turned in to our parents. So Happy Mothers Day to everyone.
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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. our favorite board games Sleeping Queens We read about this on Iota's blog and we love it.  It is a simple card game, but is so much fun.   It is one of those games that doesn't drive the adult insane when playing with the children.  It is also compact so takes no storage and is great for travelling.  We played this a lot on our recent trip to Center Parcs. SET The object of SET is to identify "sets" of three cards. Each card is unique in its four features; color - red, green or purple, symbol - diamond, squiggle or oval, shading - solid, striped or open, and number.  I can confirm that age is no advantage with this game and the boys manage to beat me pretty much every time we play it! Boggle Now we have a really old school Boggle set (which me and MadDad used to play over 20 years ago).  Now the boys are at an age where it has really come in to its own.  In fact Mini can often win with his amazing number of three letter words that he gets. Monopoly We have recently graduated from Junior Monopoly to the regular game and yes it can be a LONG game (which we tend to play over a number of evenings), but the boys are getting much better at the whole strategy of buying and paying rents etc. Bananagrams We actually prefer Bananagrams to Scrabble at the moment as a family, perhaps due to the fact that it is faster, more compact and we play in teams with one adult and a child.  It is also great to play as a solo player and again is super compact so doesnt take up much space and is great for taking away with you. What are your favorite family board games?
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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_   I adore this I love you because flower....... by Mama papa bubba.  Hands on as we grow also has some fantastic flower Mothers Day cards. watercolorcards1 Or for younger children this watercolour card is so simple but effective tulip card We had great fun making origami tulips which the boys added to cards and painted with watercolours. fingerprint mothers day card I am also a huge fan of fingerprint cards, they are so easy to make and are super effective.  Why not use handprints to make mothers day cards like The Chirping Moms. sign language mothers day card How cool is this I Love You sign language card by Busy Kids Happy Moms. Make sure you are following our facebook pageGoogle + page or on Pinterest for lots more Mother’s Day cards and activities. Oh and whilst I am discussing mother's day I owe a great big thank you to Pebble Grey and Virtual Bathrooms for the wonderful pampering gifts they sent me to celebrate mother's day. sftw
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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
3.
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Alton Towers Review and #Sunfession competition to win £250

The minimads took their first trip to Alton towers this Saturday.  My boys are mini thrill seekers and adore rides of any sort and were a little disappointed  that most of the big name rides were for children over 1.4 meters.  Of the ten thrill rides the boys were not big enough for eight of them, however they still managed to go on at least 15 rides and had a great day.  If you have younger children you need to bear in mind that creepiest land doesn't open till May. Alton Towers Collage

Alton Towers Review by Mini Mad and Maxi Mad

Parking is £6 and is quite a hike from the park entrance.  Food was nice and wide ranging with something for everyone including hot dogs, burgers, kebabs, wraps, noodles, chicken, BBQ and lots for vegetarians.  Prices weren't over the top with a burger meal costing under £7.  The donuts were especially nice. Skyride is a cable car with two stops and it goes much quicker Than you think it is from watching and the boys enjoyed the views of the gardens from above. The queues were not to bad, but the queue time were underestimated.  On thirteen the estimated time for 70 minutes but it actually took over 2 hours.  Mini said it wasn't worth waiting all that time for, but half the time would have been ok. We loved Sonic Spinball best, it is a twisting roller coaster with cars if four people 2 facing each way and as it goes round the corners it spins. The haunted house was scary according because on the TV there was zombies. Shark bite Reef by sealife is an on site aquarium which is a mini sealift centre which has a range from sharks, rays and shrimps.  Everyone really enjoyed it and it was a great break from the cold weather and from the rides. We had prepaid tickets so avoided the queue at the ticket kiosks, but the prepaid ticket entrance didn't have any park maps available.
To see what Frugal Family thought of Alton towers take a look at their review. The Sun + are offering you the chance to get your hands on two tickets for Alton Towers by signing up to The Sun + for a £1 month’s trial of their subscription and then a subsequent month at under £8.67 so a saving of £80.   To support the #Sunfession campaign, I also have £250 to give away to you lovely blog readers to spend at Alton Towers. All you need to do is log in to Twitter or Instagram account and retell a hilarious awful thing you have done to your kids.  Don’t forget to include #Sunfession  and #mumthemadhouse. Hit tweet or post, and then visit the Sun site to see your #Sunfession appear. My #Sunfession is that the boys think the ice cream van only plays a tune when it has run out of ice cream, just like my dad told me DO NOT JUST TWEET THE RAFFLECOPTER ENTRY, WE NEED YOUR SUNFESSION a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Nine

When Maxi was born my mother in law told me that he would bring me more joy then she could put into words.  I laughed at her, thinking what did she know.  Well it turns out for once she was actually right! nine That smile, those eyes and oh hair that it oh so soft and falls in curls on the pillows.  How can I have made something so delectable, funny, clever, petulant, handsome, sporty and equally infuriating. football Eight was a year filled with football, minecraft, fifa, street cricket, florida, a new puppy, walking to and from school, cubs, friends, scooting, jumpers for goalposts, cross country trials and new found freedoms. bithday boy I hope that nine is filled with excitement, new experiences, love and happiness.
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Homemade Kid friendly mothers day gifts and cards – Something for the weekend

Mothers day gift ideas

Painting Plant Pots

I am always on the look out for homemade gifts that we can make as a family and this is one of those.  Really easy to make, inexpensive, but oh so effective.  In fact this is the perfect Spring project and makes a great Mothers Day or Easter Gift. homemade plant posts Materials: Terracotta Plants Pots Emulsion paint (we got some tester pots, as we only have cream in the house) White acrylic paint Pencil with eraser in the end. Varnish Plants painting plant posts collage
Method
  1. Paint each of the plant pots and allow to dry, some may need a second coat, but this is pretty fast work.
  2. We chose to just pop white acrylic as spots all over the pots, this way the boys could do it themselves and they really enjoyed it. By using the end of a pencil with an eraser on it was pretty simple.
  3. Again leave to dry, then cover with a layer of varnish.
  4. We made sure that we painted the top of the inside of the pots too.
  5. Then we added a primula in to each, et voila. A simple, easy and very effective Mothers day gift. Oh and it cost all of 30p for the pots, 59p each for the plants and a little paint and time.
If painting pots isn't up your street, but you are still looking for an idea for mothers day then how about having a look round the local Charity shops for bowls or cups and saucers and placing some bulbs in them. 

Kid Made Flowers for Mother's Day

Kid made flowers
I am a big lover of flowers and kid made ones are even better.  We made Pinwheel Daffodils here and I adore these pipe cleaner Daffodils from the Zing Zing Tree.  How about making post-it note tulips or tissue paper flowers.  You could even make fabric covered plant pots for your flowers.   I adore these handprint flowers from Handprint and Footprint Art.
Powerful Mothering shows us how to make flowers from paper cake cases or how about edible daffodils from Kids Chaos,  and come back over the weekend for a how to on pipecleaner tulips.

Great Kid Made Gifts

Mum's deserve all the pampering they can get so spa products are fantastic.  Red Ted Art shows us how to make bath bombs or you could make a lovely body scrub or bath soak.
Coasters would be a great idea and you could use kids art to personalise them.
Salt dough plant picks from Vanilla Mom would go down really well with me!
Make sure you are following our facebook pageGoogle + page or on Pinterest for lots more Mother's Day cards and activities over the coming week.
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Center Parcs, I think I love you!

Center Parcs It can be hard to find a weekend break that fit's all family needs, in fact it can be pretty impossible, especially when you have two overactive boys aged seven and eight, a husband that works very hard all week and thinks weekends are for relaxing and me, who just doesn't want to cook and wants a little me time. Well, I think that we might just have found the holy grail.  Enter Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest.  We had never been to Center Parcs before and we had a blast.  It was great fun and there was something for all of us. We drove to Center Parcs on Friday afternoon and spent the weekend there and just look at what we managed to cram in. My boys are pretty sporty and have no fear so we had an active weekend and they conquered the climbing wall. They even managed the aerial challenge, which I have to admit that I bottled.  Oh yes, I got one foot on the tyres and froze!  Thankfully I can say the staff are amazing and they had me back on solid ground before the boys could laugh at me! We really did have a super weekend.  We made a rule to be screen free and you know what we managed it with no issues what so ever.  We swam, cycled, zip wired, walked, looked for red squirrels, rock climbed, abseiled, rope climbed, played football, played pool, ate delicious food, played board games, sat in front of a log fire and much much more. I have so much more to say, but don't want this post to overwhelm you, so I will be posting more over the next couple of weeks. If you would like to be a Center Parcs family blogger like me, then why not enter the latest competition over at Tots100. CenterParcs Family Blog Club Disclosure: We are Center Parcs family bloggers
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