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 Below is his story, which we filled 30 minutes before the closing date and I printed off the certificate for him and thought nothing more of it. Was it all a dream? “Take Alvin for a walk” shouted Mum, “Do I really have too?” I responded as I was sat watching my favourite TV show and didn’t really want to go out in the cold, wet weather.  “He is your dog and your responsibility” mum said.  “I am the only one that takes that dog out and feeds him” Mum complained, so reluctantly I had to say yes. “OK Mum I will take him out” I replied and put on my coat, scarf and gloves before putting on Alvin’s lead and harness and the dreaded poo bags. Next I opened the door and set out on our walk around the block.  It has been such a wet winter there was puddles everywhere and just as I went over the road I tripped in to a puddle and suddenly I felt as though I was falling. Finally I came to a stop and hit the ground and I could see a harness and lead strapped on to me and “where the dog I thought”.  Immediately I was dragged forward by a big dark figure.  I could not resist, I tried really hard to get to my feet and find Alvin.  I was frantic as I didn’t want him to run off and get hurt.  The pulling was so hard that I had no option but to follow it. Eventually we came to a stop. A massive door opened and I walked in.  Everything looked like it was bigger than normal; in fact it looked as though I had shrunk! I found it really hard to get up the stairs and no one would listen to me.  They just kept patting me on the head and saying “good boy” It was really infuriating. So I decided to go and have a lie down on my bed, but it was huge and took all of my energy to get on to it.  When it was dinner time, I tried to get on to my seat at the table, but instead I was taken to the kitchen and I saw dog food.  It was then I realised I had four paws, white fluffy body, a big white fluffy tail, a wet nose and flappy ears. I HAD TURNED INTO A DOG! That explained my urge to chew on my mum’s shoes and run around the back garden with my younger brother chasing me. Later when it was bedtime I could hear my mum shouting to mu younger brother to get in to his pyjamas and to brush his teeth.  I stayed curled up on the bottom of my bed, as it took so much energy to get here. I dreamed of sticks, balls and chicken treats and was running though the field after my brother in my dream. I was awoken by something licking my face.  It was all wet and there was a white fluffy puppy on top of my chest. Was it all just a dream?  Well you can imagine my delight when we received the following email:
Congratulations! Was it all a dream? by Maxi is through to the next stage of 500 WORDS! We received over 118,000 entries and this story has been picked - with just 3,500 others - to go to the Scottish Book Trust for the second round of judging. Well done and good luck! We will be back in touch, in early May, to let you know if Was it all a dream? has been shortlisted for our Final 50. Best wishes The 500 WORDS Team The Chris Evans Breakfast Show BBC Radio 2
Not only is that fantastic, but Maxi returned home from school with the news that he won his school competition with his entry. maxi 500 words   Here he is showing me and Alvin (his inspiration) his prizes.  Yes I was a proud Mum.
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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
  1. Melted crayon eggs from Blog me Mom
  2. Tissue paper eggs by Mum Pies and Fireflies
  3. Button Egg by The Boy and Me
  4. Texture eggs by Tw0-daloo
  5. Stained wood easter eggs by Club Chica Circle
  6. Art Easter eggs from Buggy and Buddy
  7. Washi tape eggs by Me!
  8. Felted wool Easter Chick eggs by me too
  9. Thumb Print Eggs by A Sprouting Acorn
  10. Paper Mache decorated eggs by A Thrifty Mum
Make sure you are following our facebook pageGoogle + page or on Pinterest for lots more Easter crafts, cards and activities over the coming week. sftw
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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 We decided to make some felted wool easter egg chicks. Materials
  1. Polystyrene eggs
  2. Roving wool
  3. Feathers
  4. googly eyes
  5. craft foam or felt (we used orange felt)
  6. Blu Tack Glu Dots
felted wool easter chicks how to Method felting the eggs is a really therapeutic thing to do, but do be careful of the felting tools and little fingers as they are very sharp.  We had great fun making sure the polystyrene was covered with the yellow wool we chose, we did this by wrapping the wool round the egg and punching in into the egg. Cut the felt or foam into shapes for the beaks and feet. We then used the glu dots to adhere the beak, feet and feathers.  They are perfect for this as they are already tacky and stick immediately. The googly eyes stuck directly on to the wool. bostic
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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 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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