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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