When you think of Thorpe Park you often think that it is the place for older children, but I want to assure you that my boys who are seven and eight had a blast at Thorpe Park and are desperate to go back. So here are our top rides for seven and eight year olds at Thorpe Park. Mini, who is seven is just over 125 and Maxi who is eight is 135cm. Both are looking forward to the day when they are over 140cm and can ride everything in the park!(more…)
Each year since the boys started school we have made something for the boys teachers and Teaching Assistants to say thank you for all the hard work they put in to teaching them. I do not spend a lo, but we do put a lot of thought and effort in to what we make.
This year we decided on personalised notebooks.
The notebooks were from the pound shop and the stamps we already have, but you can pick up similar from ebay, just search for 70 piece Alphabet/Number/Symbol Stamping Kit, they are about £10 and brilliant for all sorts of things.
We used washi tape or stick on stamps to hide the smudge marks!
We also bought the two main teachers a brill stamp set from Skull and Cross Buns on Etsy.
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We tried lots of different flavours of Coke including vanilla, cherry and plain and couldn't decide which was a winner on a unanimous basis! Maxi and I love vanilla, MadDad plain and MIni Cherry. But we all agreed they were a real treat and something different to make the family games night special.
Now for the games. Rather than play one long game as we were all hot and concentration was not the best we decided to focus on shorter games that we could play against each other. We started with a family favorite Connect Four. We take Connect Four very seriously and the games tend to take quite a while and I have to say that I never win!
Then we moved on to LEGO games. We love all the LEGO Games we have as they are so much fun, easy to play and perfect for all ages. We played Robo Champ and Kokoriko this time. Before we knew it two hours were over and it was time for the boys bed. We had an amazing time and agreed that we need to do this on a weekly basis as it was so much fun and we want to work our way though all the board games we have. We had a super night and you can see all our #screenfree family games night photos on G+
What are your favorite board games to play as a family?
I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric.
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/" title="The Mad House" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/free-range-summer.jpg" alt="The Mad House" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/" title="The Mad House" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.muminthemadhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/free-range-summer.jpg" alt="The Mad House" style="border:none;" /></a></div>It is also one of the reasons that I want my children to have a free range summer and as natural a childhood as possible.
Pyjamas without labels that rub, scratch or irritate - tick Pyjama tops that are cool enough to wear as T shirts - tick Pajamas that capture children's imagination and move away from high street character driven ones - tick Pyjamas that have facts on them - tickThis and more is the goals and aims of Pyjama Pajama, a new company who are looking for Kickstarter investment at the moment. As a mum of two boys who spend more time in their PJ's than any other of their clothes and also the mum of one boy with eczema, who has a high sensitivity to labels, I know that this is a wonderful idea. What is a Kickstarter Project? Kickstarter is a pioneering way to fund creative projects. Itr is a really simple, but effective model, where you can pledge a certain amount of funding, in this case from £1. It is a way you can back an idea or business that you feel is going to be something that you are interesting in. It isn't all about big numbers, it is all about hitting a funding target and providing back to a project. With kickstarter it is all or nothing. If the funding amount is not met by the deadline then they do not receive any money. To date 44% of kickstarter projects have reached their funding goals. What do you get in return? For a £15 pledge you get a free pair of Pyjama Pajamas For £25 you get two pairs of PJ's For £60 you get 5 pairs of PJ's To see the full range of incentives, then take a look at the Pyjama Pajama kickstarter information. I have pledged £25 and am hoping that this project gets all the funding it needs as they will become my boys Christmas Elves PJ's! Disclosure: I am being sent a couple of extra pairs of PJ's if this goes ahead - so get investing!
I think I am a dog person after all.
Last week was Food Safety Week 2013, run by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and this year they focused on ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning at home. Here are some simple tips to help keep you and your family safe.
Happy birthday dearest boy. I see your Grandad in you everyday and my only regret in life is that my parents are not here to see the men my boys are growing into and share in our lives. Today we are going to celebrate with jaffa cake, rainbow cake, good friends and family.
- You give the best cuddles in the whole wide world, they are all encompassing and frequent. One of my favorite times of the day is that cuddle in my bed before we get up and face the day ahead. Oftren we each say five more minutes.
- You have no pause button. You do everything at full speed.
- You are extremely sensitive, although you often hide it under your bravado. You care about what other people think and say.
- You have my temper! It is like looking into a mirror. I know this is something you are working hard to control, but baby it is going to be a challenge. I know, I have been there, however, it is part of your personality. We talk about being able to learn to read and write, so learning to control your temper will be something you can do too. We are already starting to see results and benefits from your hard work and you are becoming calmer everyday.
- Your family mean everything to you. You love us all with a passion.
- You are a reader. You love fact books and sleep with your Guinness Book of Records and 2013 Football fact book. Every morning I remove at least 4 books from your bed.
- You put your clothes on back to front. When we tell you, you just shrug and say it is "your thing"!
The boys first ever trip to Butlins Sept 2010With Cushelle and Butlins, you could do just that. They have teamed up to give away three UK breaks, for families to try out the brand new Wave Hotel at the Bognor Regis Butlins resort. The lucky winners can check in two adults and two children, for a super exciting vacation at Butlins. Those with older children, between the ages of 8 and 14, will be especially excited by the new Wave Hotel, as everything about it has been carefully designed to appeal to hard to please teens and pre-teens. The designers have gone with a cool and quirky underwater theme, complete with submarine style rooms, and the tech geeks at Butlins have gone all out to integrate the latest gadgets and gizmos to appeal to tech savvy kids. The piece de resistance is the Games Port, where families can challenge each other to interactive modern games. The hotel also boasts a kindle and iPod library for guests, free Wi-Fi and a Soho Coffee Co Café. In the bright, funky designed rooms you’ll find iPod docks, freeview, and individual DVD players for each bed – saving on squabbles over what to watch! Outside of the hotel (if you can drag the kids away!), the Bognor resort has also been treated to a brand new fairground, where you can ride your favourites for free! There’s also a fantastic new Discovery Studio hosting live shows themed on science, animals and magic – perfect for inquisitive kids! It’s got to be worth a quick click to enter – all you have to do is enter a Cushelle barcode online. And even if you’re not a winner, Cushelle will give you £20 off your Butlins break of choice, making a family holiday that little bit more affordable.
My teacher deserves a years supply of tea as he is the BEST teacher in the world, plus he supports Middlesbrough Football Club and they have been relegated.Maxi thinks this teacher deserves a years supply of tea:
My teacher has beautiful hair and helps me learn and puts in lots of effort.I am also a firm believer in saying thank you to teachers for all the hard work they put in teacher my children throughout the year. We do not spend a lot of money on teachers gifts, but we do make something for them at Christmas and at the end of the year. We have made Apple Fabric Bags and cards, lavender bags from fabric the children had coloured, finger printed mugs and tea cup candles in the past. We try to give something that the boys have had a hand in making and that expresses our thankfulness. Both the boys love school and I am grateful that they are well looked after.
They have also been kind enough to offer my readers the chance to win a Chewits hamper worth £25 bursting with Chewit goodies.The prize will include: Chewie Gum Box which consists of 12 packs of Gum Chew Tin - Consists of eight stick packs in a silver encased tin Chewits Mug and Key Ring a Rafflecopter giveaway
I have to say we only told the MiniMads of our trip last night and they were jumping around with excitement If you have been I would love to know your top tips and be prepared to see lots of pictures and tweets marked #ThorpeParkMums over this weekend! Oh and if you are interested here is a current events page for Thorpe Park. I also thought it would be great to collect all the posts for #ThorpeParkMums in one place, so have opened a linky. Please feel free to add yours
The frugals at Thorpe ParkWhen I heard that Jen and the boys were off to Thorpe park this weekend, I was so pleased for them as we had a lovely weekend there a few weeks ago. We planned our trip carefully as we wanted to get the most out of the weekend and I had loads to tell Jen about what she needed to do when she got there. Being a typical blogger, Jen told me to write her a post about what she should be planning for so here you go.... Before you go, make sure you're getting the best deal possible as there's lots of offers out there at the minute – Friij, Coke and using your Tesco vouchers are the main ones that I know of at the minute. Getting there is really easy which is always a bonus when travelling with children! I know that Jen is driving down from the North East but we went by train which meant we arrived at Staines train station. There's a bus that runs about regularly between the train station and Thorpe Park which costs £3.50 per adult return or £2.50 per child return. If you'd prefer though, you can get a taxi which is £2.50 each way (minimum of four passengers). When you get to the park and you're through the gates there's a brilliant locker room downstairs in the dome where you can store your belongings in a large locker for £1.00. I had an empty carrier in my handbag so I literally took out everything that wasn't essential for the day, popped it in the carrier and left it in the locker. There's nothing worse than wandering around with a heavy bag! If you've bought the fast track passes (which are excellent) make sure you know the time slots that you need to be at each of the rides and plan your visit around that because some of them are quite far away from each other. One thing to be aware of are the height restrictions in place at Thorpe park as the minimum height restriction for the larger rides is 1.4m – very sensible decision to me looking at the scare factor of the rides but very unfair in the eyes of an eight year old who is just under the height and had to watch as his dad and sister went on some of the rides without him. I think the height restriction is higher here than in some parks we've been to but the rides are in a different class to the ones we've seen before. There's plenty for all ages to go on though so don't worry if your children are under that height – it really is just the larger rides they won't be able to go on. We saved a fortune buying two refillable drinks for £6 which we shared between us and carried round all day getting them filled from time to time. We also took a picnic to eat which would have been great as there were lots of places we could have sat except we ate it on the train on the way! Oh, another thing. You get very, very wet on the water rides so it's worth having a few pound coins so you can use the dryer things that they have near each ride. I would usually say that things like this are a waste of money but they were great and stopped any whinges about being wet. If you're staying at the Crash Pad, make sure you book a table for tea – we forgot to and the only bookings left when we arrived at 7pm to eat were for 9pm. Luckily the coffee shop sold some rather delicious carrot cake so we weren't that gutted that we had to wait ;-) Also, make sure you take advantage of the early entry into the park if you are staying at the Crash Pad – the staff are great and literally start the ride as soon as you get strapped in so you can take full advantage of the 20 minutes or so before the park officially opens. The App is great too – it tells you what the current queuing times for each ride are so don't forget to download that before you go. I can't think of anything else but I'm sure Jen will have lots more to tell you when she gets back. Have fun x x
The boys really enjoyed being allowed to stick the post-it notes to the wall and I felt safe in the knowledge knowing that they would not mark the paintwork or stick permanently.
We used Super Sticky fully adhesive Post-it notes which are in fab vibrant colours. 3M have just launched Post-It Notes Colour Cubes which have many more bright and lovely colours. Why not check out Post-It UK Facebook Page for more information on the new range of Post-It Notes and see other peoples pictures too.
"I love you" I say "I love you too" Maxi replys "I love you to the moon and back" I say "I love you three million, twenty two thousand and ninety eight miles" Maxi respondsThen I move on to Mini's room.......................
"I love you" I say "I love you more" he responds "I love you MORE" I reply "I love you the MOST" he says with such conviction it makes my heart acheNot possible I think to myself, not possible.
- Two hands, one for each of my children. I still take joy in the fact that at eight and nearly seven the boys want to hold my hands when we go places.
- Two hands, to hold on tight to the man of my dreams
- Two hands that love to get dirty with bread, paint, glue and glitter (not all at the same time mind you)
- Two hands, one to hold the book and one to turn the pages as I read the bedtime story
- Two hands that love to gently stroke my children as they sleep.
- Two hands that tippy tap away on the keyboard letting the words flow from brain to blog
- Two hands that hold the camera capturing the moments to make the memories
- But mostly my two hands to help, they help my children learn to make their own way in the world
To celebrate its 20th birthday, Carex has launched a nationwide competition to reward 20 busy pairs of hands around the UK!The Carex Live Life Hands On Awards celebrate all the wonderful things that we do with our hands. Carex wants people to share a day in the life of their hands, showcasing the real life moments that hands unlock, every single day. Entries can be a couple of sentences, a short written diary, some photos or even video footage. The competition is open to everyone and Carex will pick 20 of the most compelling entries to each win £500 worth of Red Letter Day vouchers, plus a year’s supply of Carex hand wash. To enter The Carex Live Life Hands On Awards visit the Carex Website
What equipment do I need? Now that you can get Geocaching apps on your mobile phone, such as Geocaching by Groundspeak Inc for the Iphone and CacheSense for android you do not need to have a dedicated GPS device. As with any walk it is recommended that you have good shoes or boots and dress appropriately, but as you can see it is a very low outlay activity. What is a cache? A cache is the treasure and a cache always contains a logbook or logsheet for you to log your find. One of the guiding principles of geocaching is "take something, leave something." A geocache hider places a number of goodies in a container when a new cache is first started. As people find the cache, they exchange goodies that catch their eye with trade items they've brought with them on the search. The rule of geocaching is that if you take something from the cache, you must replace it with something of equal or greater value Have you been on a geocache with your children?
The boys with the Frugals!My two boys are fifteen months apart and going to these activities often kept one of them occupied whilst I could concentrate on the other or even better kept them both busy for five minutes peace. I was never one to have friends at the groups, but I did used to enjoy getting out of the house and away from the monotony of the early years of parenting. When other parents, inevitably the ones with school age children would tell me they looked forward to the holidays I would inwardly wonder if they were mad! However, I couldn't feel any different now they are both older and in school full time. I long for the holidays. For the lack of routine and the ability to relax and slow down. I love the fact that there is no rush in the mornings to get ready and get to school. That we can be a little more relaxed about bedtimes and really enjoy each others company. I love the thought of not having a week of activities planned and being able to just go with the flow. If we fancy fish and chips at the beach there is nothing stopping us. Want to try a different park? Yep lets just jump in the car! We all love getting so engrossed in an activity that the hours role by and we have no where we HAVE to be. In fact the longer the holiday the better. One week is too short, it takes a week for the boys to decompress and stop fighting with each other. The second week is much better, they learn to make there own fun. To cooperate with each other. They start to get into the groove of playing out with friends and making their own games. But what do you think? Are you a school holiday lover or hater?
My mum and my niece on her christeningThis week I have been acutely aware of missing my mum. There has been a mum shaped hole in my days. This is my third Mothers Day without her and although she was not one for the soppy sentiments in Mothers Day cards, it still makes me aware of her absence. But more than my pain and the pain of my children, I hate the fact that my wonderful sister in law now has to go though Mothers Day without her mum. Her wonderful mum died on Friday night. I hate that I am welcoming her in to a club that I do not want to be part of. That I can not take away her pain and also that I know how much heartache she is going through. I read this post by Becky and so want to echo the sentiment. Family is not something, family is everything. To all the motherless on Mothers day
I was playing football in the playground and scored a goal. I went to get the ball from the back of the net when someone shouted my name. I turned round to see the scout from Middlesbrough Football club. He asked me to go and have trials to play for their junior team. I went home and told my mum and dad and we all went in the car to Riverside Park and I got to go in the changing rooms and change in to my football kit. I walked on to the pitch and my family all cheered as a played football with other children. They really liked my tricks and skills. So they asked me to become part of the team.He told me the story was about his journey to becoming a football player! Further information of the competition can be found on the Al Fresco Kidz blog.
2013, the year of "Choosing Joy", but also the year of learning. This is the year that I start to take time out for me and put these grey cells in my brain in to some use. Where I try to see if an old dog can learn new tricks!
I am doing this in a couple of ways, firstly I am trying to improve my photography by taking a Capturing Childhood course. I have started on the Collect the Moments e-course. It is challenging me to think differently and I am learning lots of new things about my six year old camera. I have even ordered a remote control so I can "be in the picture" more often. The Kats' are helpful, insightful and full of useful information and I am really enjoying the community feel of the course, plus the ability to take things at my own pace. Plus I got a positive comment on the photo's I take on the blog last week for the first time ever and I was beaming.
I am also looking forward to a day course on learning to use my camera better that I am going on with Cass from The Dairy of a Frugal Family.
Secondly I am taking regular lessons in handicrafts. I have book on to a two hourly weekly lesson on a Tuesday morning and over the last four weeks I have nearly completed a quilt for Mini. I have cut the fabric (cutting I have discovered is my kryptonite), sewed the quilt top, basted it, quilted it and made the binding for it and today I am learning how to put that binding on it. It is wonderful to see something I have made come together and to have the support of a tutor that is there to support me when I need it.
I have also taken a couple of day courses, one on making a stacked coin quilt and one on making a zipped bag. Neither projects are finished yet, but they are well on the way to getting completed. There is such joy in learning a new skill and being able to do so with like minded people is even better. Yes I am the youngest in all the lessons by a generation (two in some cases), bit boy do these ladies have tales to tell and it is great to see them making the most of their free time.
I have also set two on making 2013 the year that I keep up with the cleaning and clutter within the house, as a tidyish house means that for some reason my brain is much less cluttered or that it at least has more room to concentrate on the things that matter and not stress or fret over the state of the house. This month on A Thrifty Mum I am getting in to the habit of a cleaning routine and continuing on my declutter, which I started in January.
Maxi's floor by his bedMini - Six
What would be your top tip or do you think there is such a thing as blogging etiquette in 2013.
We’ve teamed up with the friendly people at Thorntons to giveaway a delicious ‘I Love Chocolate Hamper’! Thorntons sell yummy personalised chocolates, toffees, fudges and also some delicious looking hampers like this one we’re about to giveaway. Everyday there is a reason to make someone smile, whether it's to say 'I Love you' or just to say 'thinking of you', why not lift and brighten up someone's day by buying them a box of chocolates from Thorntons to create those smiles To enter answer the question below via the rafflecopter mechanism: Who opened Thorntons’ very first shop 100 years ago? a) Harry Steven Thornton b) Joseph William Thornton c) Andrew Thomas Thornton a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Post cycle drinkSo the boys got new bikes for Christmas. Mountain bikes with gears and mud guards and MadDad got a bike carrier for the car. We live in a beautiful part of the world, but with hills each side of the house, there is no way that I am capable (yet) of riding very far from the house, so the bike carrier was essential. Our plan is to use our family discovery pass for Dalby Forrest and get cycling followed by a BBQ. Our discovery pass was gifted to us by the Forestry Commission and would be an annual cost of £42, which is super value as Dalby is peppered with bike paths suitable for all levels. Plus Dalby is a fantastic place to explore, play and just relax. It is somewhere that we love to visit as a family, as you can BBQ in designated areas and is just a wonderful relaxing place. By taking the boys to Dalby I can ride as far as I can and then return and cook us all a treat. I am hoping that by doing something together, it keeps is all together and helps me get fitter. I plan to update you on our progress each quarter and hopefiully we will all see some benefit from getting out and about together as a family.
Does your school let you film the Nativity? Ours does, but this year neither of the boys have done a nativity, however, this morning there is a service at the local church and Maxi has a solo singing part of we three kings.
Panasonic sent me this fab guide to filming a nativity, so I decided to share it with you. I will be enjoying the singing in the church and coming back to a warm mince pie. I do hope this helps you.Panasonic V700 camcorder – means a wide aperture and more light. 4) Get the sound right - Trying to record little voices from across a large echoing hall may well be your toughest challenge. If they are using a speaker system, position yourself near enough the speakers so the camera can record the sound. Alternatively, look out for camcorders with a “zoom mic” function – this feature focuses the sound recording in the direction you are facing, so you hear more of the play, and less of the chatting in the audience around you. 5) Keep it steady - Finally, whatever you film, remember to keep movements smooth, and the zooms slow. It will be much easier on the eye when you watch it back. Consider using a tripod – even just a cheap mini tripod – so you can leave the camcorder to do its thing and enjoy the play rather than spending the entire time staring at a small screen!
We had a great time making it and started with the largest hands at the bottom and then did each line with smaller ones. Even the star at the top is the boys fingers. Once the tree was dry we added a fingerprint garland and I used brown paint to add the date as the trunk of the tree.
- Make seasonal potpori
- Fill a jar with them for a table center peice
- use them to decoprate wrapped presents
- Make bunting by adding to popcorn and cranberry strings (great for outdoor trees)
- Thread through florists wire to make a wreath
- Use to decorate napkin rings
Perfect for children of any age. My boys love watching it spring itsr way down the stairs! Size 75mm
Notebooks by Jennie Maizels £3.99We are huge fans of Jennie in the Mad House. Mini is a big fan of her London range and her notebooks are fab. Great quality and super designs, plus free postage in the UK. Speed Racer Sets - !1.49 Yellow Moon Hexbug Warriors £7.99
Wappy Dog is a game for the Nintendo DS and it has been a huge hit with Mini. Our Wappy Dog is called Ninja, which is a much better name, as I keep calling it yappy dog! So what is it. Well it is an interactive game with its own character dog. You feed it, pet, it, look after it, but you also play games with it. For a family without a dog it is great as it doesn't cost anything once bought and it doesn't need feeding with real food or taking for walks in the dark weather! Mini specifically loves playing rock, paper, scissors and fruit catch with his Wappy Dog.
Angry birds are taking over the world or so it seems. This is the perfect game for maxi, who has loved it. It is such a simple concept but captures his imagination and he just loves it as will many children of his age. Oh and Maddad has been know to play on it when he is in bed! It has Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio, it didn't take long for Maxi and MadDad to be hooked on the straightforward yet satisfying game lay that defines Angry Birds. There are 19 episodes, each with an exclusive new level that will keep you interested and ready for more.
What is it about boys and torches? These have been a MASSIVE hit in The Mad House. They are ingenious and for two Star Wars and LEGO mad boys these are great presents. They have been left on a lot and we are still on our original set of batteries after 4 weeks, but you do have to buy your own as they do not come with them. Darth Vader's light saber is removable and also lights up perfect for role play with evil Jedi teddies!Microscooter MX Trixx Stunt Scooter (£119.99) This has been a HUGE hit in The Mad House. Both the boys have started to want to go to the skate park with Master Frugal and any mum will know that you have to have a skate scooter for that (I didn't)! This scooter is awesome (Some of the other children where overheard chatting about it my Cass from A Frugal Family). We are lovers of all things Microscooter in the Mad House. As far as prices go for stunt scooters this is a real bargain and is "mint" according to the boys and all of their friends. LeapPad 2 (around £70) We reviewed the LeapPad 1 back in 2011 and were really impressed with it and Leapfrog have really listened to customers with the new version. At seven Maxi is a little advanced for it, but Mini loved it. He adored the camera function and was pleased that it had both a front and rear camera. As a parent I have to say that we love Leapfrog for the educational aspect and the fact that you can track your children's progress online. You can also get education apps online for the LeapPad2. It also has video recorders, 4GB of memory, a faster processor and a library of 150+ game cartridges and downloadable apps. Sports Stars Pitch and Play set (£20) Maxi and Mini have both loved this play set and we have had hours of fun challenging each other with our own cup competitions. It is great as it packs up relatively small and is easy to play. Mini has had hours of fun just role playing with the characters and I have proven that I can beat both the boys at football! This is a great gift for any football made boy or girl and a really great value gift.
On the Wish List
This year the boys have also asked for the following for Christmas:
Skylander Giants for Wii
New Bikes (20 inch as both of them has grown so much)
Jaffa Cakes - Mini!
Disclosure: I have been paid to tell you about this competition
NaBloPoMo - what do those innocent looking letters mean?NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo, is a month long writing exercise intended to occur annually in November. The first NaBloPoMo occurred in November of 2006, and was the brainchild of an American blogger. It was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which also happens every November. Now I have no issue with NaNoWriMo which was founded in 1999 by authors in the San Francisco Bay Area who wanted to motivate themselves into producing more written work. This challenge requires authors to produce a 50,000 word novel within one month. But writing a blog, is not writing a novel. I have to say for me blogging is about quality not quantity and I often find myself just bypassing blogs that I normally enjoy on a regular basis during the month of November. A large part of me feels that if you do not have something to say on every other day of the year what makes November special? It is a dark, dank and often dismal month in the UK and I look forward to reading blogs filled with all sorts of inspirational writing, making, baking and tales of everyday life. Please don't get me started on writing prompts. Who need a daily prompt of what to write about? Get a journal people and spare the readers. Oh and yes, before anyone says it is a free world and I don;t have to read if I don't want to, well I know that and I won't be.
Photo credit DairyleaStop the clocks, for now is the perfect time. A time I want to capture and put in a bottle. There is nothing out of the ordinary about now. The boys are not being perfectly behaved. The sun isn't shining. The rain isn't falling. The house isnt particularly clean. There is a pile of clothes than need ironing that is two weeks high. There are books and magazines unread. I am many a stone heavier than I wish to be. However, there is fresh bedding on the beds. The sound of boys playing outside, they are playing football against the garage door. "GOAL" There is food in the slow cooker. A husband on his way home. Veg growing in the riased beds and seedlings sprouting in the plastic greenhouse. Cut flowers in vases. Radio 2 is playing Roy Orbison in the background. Stop the clocks, for now is the perfect time.
As you can see from above, they have worn them on numerous occasions and they are brilliant. We received some colourful denims in blue, which both the boys have worn. They have an adjustable waist and look great rolled up on Mini or full length on Maxi. Mini is seen wearing a block stripe top , what I like about this is it washes and dries really well without pulling out of shape and it made from the softest cotton. Maxi is seen in the PO.P stripe top, which is currently in the sale at £11. This is made from organic cotton and Maxi loves it. It has become his go to top. He has issues with sensitivity and this top does not itch, scratch or rub in any way. We were so impressed with the clothes that I have even ordered some more in the mid season sale, which just shows that the boys love them.
"There is no one way to be the perfect Mother, but there are millions of ways to be a good one!" - Jill Churchill "Being Happy doesn't mean everything's perfect, It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections" - Gerard WaySo on those days when I am screaming like a fishwife at my boys or wondering how to find the words to tell them about challenges that life may throw at them, I hope that I can remember that it is OK to be an imperfect parent in an imperfect world and give myself a break, for this parenting lark is the hardest, unceasing, but most rewarding job I have ever done or will ever do. I have also vowed to be in the picture more, this was something that I did a lot more after my mastectomy. So I will be passing the camera to other people more often and instead of being the one behind it taking the pictures, I will be the one in THAT picture with my family.
You won't know that you did with yourself before they came along There is nothing quite like being a mother You will have so much respect for your mother once you are one They grow up so fast
We heard them all and so many more, but we didn't listen. We had waiting many a long year to have a child. We both longed for children, but had convinced ourselves and each other that we were fine as a couple and that we couldn't keep on trying and failing at being parents. Then one day we had a little boy and then 15 months later another new born. Those first years past by in a blur of nappies, exhaustion, feeding and joy, inescapable joy. I can not put into words how lucky we are to have two amazing, unique and challenging children.
Those children, that each night before bed we both go and watch sleep, just as we did from the first day we brought each of them home. It is part of our nighttime routine. MadDad goes to one door and I the other, then we pass on the landing as we swap. Then we move on to our room safe that we have breathed in a special piece of our family to infuse our sleep with. I like to use the excuse that I want to make sure they are tucked in and their lights are off and books off the bed, but in truth I want to just watch them and breathe in their smell.“This blog post has been written as an entry into the Tots100 competition in association with Boots Mother and Baby“
Both my boys have just been for their regular six monthly check up's at the dentists and I was devastated to discover that MIni is showing some signs of decay on one of his milk teeth. This means that we have been moved to three monthly check ups and also that I need to be more vigilant with their brushing.
Thankfully this has coincided with Aquafresh introducing the Aquafresh Club and producing a video about making brush time more pleasurable and easier.
They also have twenty top tips for encouraging brushing:
The video comes on the back of research that Aquafresh conducted of 1,500 mums of children aged 2-12 that reveals that more than one million under-fives in the UK have at least two fillings, as mums struggle to get kids to brush their teeth. Other findings from the research are:
• One in six (17 per cent) mums say their child has at least 3 fillings
• 13 per cent of mums have children who have at least one filling by the time they start school (aged 3)
• Almost one in four (24 per cent) mums say their children only brush their teeth once a day and one in fifty say they don’t brush at all
• The research showed that almost half (47 per cent) of kids under 12 have been told they have dental decay, one of the most preventable diseases in the UK
• Over half of mothers (53 per cent) admit to finding getting their kids to brush their teeth stressful – potentially leading to arguments in over 2.5 million families
• One in fifty mums even admitted that their kids never brush their teeth.
Picture Credit The Mad Blog Awards
Merry, pictured in the centre of the above picture was dressed by M&S and looked amazing, so when I was asked to blog about M&S dresses I was more than happy too, knowing just how wonderful the perfect dress could make someone feel.
secrets of a well mended wardrobe, which is great and after reading Miss Thrifty this week ordered Sew and Save and can not wait to read it more and teach the boys the art of looking after their clothes and making them last longer. I will be back with a full review once I have had time to look through it a little more.
- Layer shorts and short skits over leggings and tights
- Ads a long sleeved T-, vest or thermal top shirt and tights under dresses
- Encourage children to wear vests, either long, short or capped sleeves
- Add a plain long sleeved t shirt under a short sleeved one
- Zalando is the fresh style retailer and they have some great long sleeved vests that you can use under t-shirts to give that duel layer look
- Wear leggings under trousers when the weather gets cold
- Make sure any roll up trousers are warn unrolled
- When my boys were small I used to add long sleeved all in ones (the ones with poppers) under their tops
- Buy your children thermals to wear under the PJ's or clothes. You can get some really pretty girls ones and my boys are happy to wear sports underwear like footballers do!
- Buy thermal or boot socks, wellies can be very cold
- Take a walk in the woods with the boys at least once a week
- Get out my SAD Lamp, the nights drawing in means I need to make sure I get sufficient sun
- Pop blankets on the ends of each bed
- Make up a bottle of room spray(water and essential oils) I use this to dampen the air as central heating dries it out
- Make Mini's quilt. I have the fabric, but I still can not bring myself to actually cut the fabric!
- Buy some new socks
- Start baking again (I am getting an oven to review), which means this can start again!
- draw the curtains at dusk to keep the heat in and the cold out.
- Try and make a Christmas gift a week
- Find a course I want to go on for me
- Learn to crochet
- Go to the Park after school
- Make the most of the weekends and try and do something family oriented on a Saturday, as Sundays are taken over with football
- Put hot water bottles in the beds before we get in to them
- Buy new slipper
- Plant some spring bulbs and some bulbs in cups for Christmas presents
The boys went back to school this morning. Part of me feels as though you have ripped off a body part and that I am walking round with some part of me missing. I feel like this after every holiday. I always have so much fun with my children when they are off school. They are good company and we enjoy being a family and hope that long may it last and that they choose to spend time with me and their dad.
I often wish that we had more children. I know that my family doesn't feel as though it is complete, but I also know that these two amazing boys are the only children I am going to be blessed with. However, things could have been so different.
I am not one for dwelling on the past and the might have, could have or would have been, but times like this make me all melancholy and I remember the possibilities that never were and the children that were never born. It sweeps over me unexpectedly. Then to top it all off, I have just read a moving post by Muddling along mummy and it resonated within my soul.
You see, long before Maxi was born we experienced the horror of losing twins at 20 weeks pregnancy, a molar pregnancy and also the loss of a child at 16 weeks. We decided that we could cope with the fear, uncertainty and pain that came with children and just lived our lives to the full and then to our surprise many years later Maxi came along, followed fifteen months later by Mini. We were overjoyed and then I fell pregnant again when Mini was 3 months old, but this time we were not successful and at 13 weeks lost another possible child. This loss was devastating, I had been touched by the joy that was my children, I understood the potential in the life I had lost.
Then our life took a massive turn and we made the hard decision to have my ovaries removed, so that I could reduce the risk of contracting cancer. I signed the death warrant on any future children.
But I have learned over the years, that it is better to be here to look after and be with the two wonderful children I have than take a risk. I do not think I would be strong enough to go through the pain and heartache again.
So today I am thinking about the children that are not destined to be with me, but I am going to pick myself up, brush myself off and collect the two I have from school with a smile on my face, drinks in my pocket and then take them to the park to celebrate the end of the first day back at school.Tots100 Saying Goodbye heart prints carnival
We have found in the past that the larger and more trendy Clarks often employ people who have not got children of their own, so although they are qualified fitters, we have had to return on a number of times, especially with Mini and his wide, high feet. Both boys have come away with different style shoes, but with a protective rubber bumper at the front. My only gripe would be please stop making Jack Nano shoes. I do not want to purchase these for my children and I do not want to have to experience pester power over them. Thankfully the Manager understood this and they were not the best fit for my children, so they were not in the running. So thank you to Karen who fitted the boys, you made this the most pain free shoe shopping experience yet and thanks to Clarks for a £40 voucher towards the cost of the boys shoes.
- We booked our appointment online. No getting a ticket and waiting inline. Not for us, we jumped any queue with our pre-booked appointment - Whoop.
- We had an experienced fitting lady (she was the manager) and all the other staff were more mature and handled the boys perfectly.
- The plimsolls Mini needed were out of stock, but will be delivered FREE to my home address on Friday.
- Plimsolls in a range of width fittings and in half sizes, which is perfect for us as both boys are half sizes.
- Buy generic sweaters and find a local embroiderer who will put the school badge on them. Our village one charges £4 for a badge.
- Buy earlier as you can as lots of the shops have offers on.
- Don't buy shorts. Turn any trouser which are too small or have damaged knees in to shorts by cutting them and wonderwebing hems.
- Buy an elastic belt to help keep trousers up.
- Clothes Plasters are a great way of making trousers last longer.
- Buy short sleeved shirts. Schools are warm places and there is no need for long sleeves
- Do not shy away from buying online as you can always return to the local store if they are not the right size.
- Name the clothes not just on the label as sometimes people will just cut them out.
I often look at my children with awe and wonder. I made them. They were born from love, where hard come by. They fascinate me and fill me with joy and despair, sometimes within minutes of each other. Parenting is the hardest job I have ever done. It is very rarely one you are congratulated on and one that lots of other people are keen to tell you when you are not doing it right in their opinion.
This summer holidays it has often just been the boys and me, as MadDad has been very busy at work and also on an intensive FA coaching course. So we have made the most of our time together visiting blogging friends, going on adventures, including Chester Zoo and The Deep (review to follow - it is amazing).
There has also been firsts too. Our first visit to the Skate park with Frugal Family and the boys first visit to the high street on their own. It has been a veritable feast of emotions for all of us. I love my time with them. I love that they are fun to be with and that they enjoy spending time with me as much as I do with them. Long may it continue.
My boys love sport, they love watching, they adore competition and they like exhilaration of winning. There is nothing wrong with that in my eyes. Both of the boys have been brought up to understand that if you give 100% and then lose, then that is great. Winning is fantastic, but it is all about the effort you put in and about having fun.
Both of the boys are so inspired by the Olympics. I am swept up on the wave with them. We have medal charts and memory stones. We are busy making a scrap book. They play out with the other children and instead of being a famous footballer, they are Mo Farrar or Sir Chris Hoy. They are inspired and the Olympics have introduced them to some bloody fantastic role models. I know that the Paraolympics will do more of the same in spades.
Mini is currently sleeping with his Guinness Book of Records and wants one for the Olympics, so when I was offered a set of 3 Multimedia iBooks (books for iPads) from The Amazing People Club about The Olympics and London, Amazing Olympians Volume 1, Amazing Olympians Volume 2 and Amazing People of London I was delighted.
I also have a set of three books to give away to a reader of Mum in the Mad House.
To enter this fantastic competition and continue that Olympic magic with your children, please complete the Rafflecopter form below:a Rafflecopter giveaway
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
A Universal Picture © 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.To celebrate the release of The Lorax, in cinemas now, Mum in the Madhouse is giving one lucky person the chance to win a HP Deskjet printer! Fill in the Rafflecopter Entry Form to be in with a chance of winning this great prize. a Rafflecopter giveaway For more information on The Lorax visit: http://www.facebook.com/theloraxuk For more information on HP visit: www.hp.com/uk/recycle/supplies
We are great lovers of Dinosaurs and this year Chester Zoo have a new exhibition featuring 19 amazing life-like robotic replicas of the creatures that roamed the earth 200 million years ago, including the giant Brachiosaurus, the iconic Stegosaurus and the infamous Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Dinosaurs bite back allows yout to roam round the fantastic exhibition at your own pace and there are superb Presenter-saurus (staff) who make the experience even better. Even better is that entry is included in your zoo admission price (£53 for a family ticket). We attended with Cara from Freckles Family, who's youngest son Hugo is obsessed with all things dinosaur and it was so much fun and he kept us all informed as to what dinosaur we were looking at and weather it was a herbivore or not.
Helen from Have a Lovely Time was also there with her two daughters and it goes to show how life like the dinosaurs were as her youngest daughter did scream at them on occasion.
We spent the whole day at Chester Zoo this week and had a brilliant time, even a bit of rain didn't spoil the day. Having not been before, I was really surprised at just how much we all enjoyed our zoo experience. I know that zoos are not always everyone's cup of tea, but they do play an important part in conservation nowadays and this was something we discussed as a family.
Both the boys would go back tomorrow if they could and loved every minute of it.
The dinosaurs are included in the price of your normal zoo ticket. You can win a year’s pass to the zoo by entering the competition here. I advise getting their early as no matter how much time you have, you never get round to seeing it all.
Disclosure: We were provided with our day out courtesy of the zoo and also received a junior animal adoption kit too.
Other prompts for this week include:
I hope you have as much fun as we are over the course of the Olympics and would love to know what activities you are doing.
- 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.
I am something of a pushy mum when it comes to sun cream and therefore love these wet suits from Simply Swim. We have had full neoprene shorty wet suits for the boys in the past and they are hard to put on and the boys would whinge at wearing them, but they are great for staying warmer and more covers in the north sea and sun.
These wet suits are different in that they have the neoprene, but also have Lycra inserts, making them really easy for the boys to put on themselves and they both love them.
I was starting to despair that we would have no sun this summer to be able to review these for you. but finally the sun has come out and so have our supersoakers!
These shorty wet suits are £18.50 each and will see them throughout the summer. The service we received was suburb as the first ones they sent were the wrong ones, so we received a paid return label and the replacements by return. They are much less restrictive that the full neoprene ones, so your children will be more comfortable in them and I like how they cover more of them up than just trunks or swim shorts. Yes they will keep them warm in the sea (not as warm as traditional wet suits), but they are also easy to rinse out.
They certainly didn't slow them down with the supersoakers. Now I must get a water pistol for myself!
We wote the event and date on one side and then they boys drew an image to represent the time on the other. This is Maxi's airplane. We used Glotto Metallic Pens, which we received from YellowMoon. They are brilliant on the stones and really stand out. We are keeping our stones in a kilner jar, one for each of the boys and I hope to have two full jars at the end of the holidays, so I can varnish them and place them in the garden.
- A variety of writing papers, including note books, lined paper, their own letterhead and comic strips
- Post cards
- Address labels
- Pens and pencils
- An alphabet chart for younger learners
With the Olympics coming, we are very exciting in The Mad House. Both my boys love sport and we are going to be glue to the TV. We are also using it to learn lots about other counties that are taking part. P&G asked me to share how I am helping my boys achieve their dreams. This really got me thinking. When you ask my boys what there dreams are, at six and seven, they are very short term. Neither of them knows what they want to be when they grow up and I am keen not to impose my thoughts and dreams on to them. The one thing I want for my children is to be happy and healthy.
But then it came to me. Both my boys are very academic and sporty and excel in these areas. However, Maxi is a pretty sensitive young man and although he is more than happy to get up and speak in front of an audience, he finds dressing up and expressing himself challenging. This year he was asked if he would like to be part of a drama group(for shy children and children who would benefit from being pushed a little) and even though it was way out of his comfort zone, he accepted and did an hour after school every week leading up to a show this week.
Both MadDad and My sister in law took the time off to come and see the show we me. We didn't know a lot about it as Maxi had kept us in the dark, all we knew was it was Joseph and His Technicolor Dream-coat and that he had a solo in it. What can I say, my boy astounded me and left his Daddy speechless. He was amazing., He stepped out of his comfort zone and put his whole heart in to his performance. He smiled through the play. He sang with gusto and his solo brought a tear to my eye. But the best thing about it was that he enjoyed the whole experiance.
I also realised that both MadDad and I want our children to enjoy life without too many pressures and when MadDad found out that the Under 7's football team was oversubscribed which meant that Mini might not get to play, he volunteered to manage and coach another team. This means a lot of sacrifice for my husband. He has to go on an intensive coaching course and also leave work early every week and commit to games on a weekend. However, this means an additional eight 6 and 7 year olds get to play football each week. Now he just has to find sponsorship for the football kits! But we both believe that having a father that is present in the boys life is very important.
Finally the one thing I hope that I am and will instill in my children is that no matter what they do, weather it comes easy or hard to them, that they always give 100% effort.
I watched this video of Chris Hoy's Mum, Carol and you know what, I so understand how she feels. My son might not have won a gold medal with his performance, but it was a personal challenge for him and he overcame his own hurdles to do it and I was and am so proud.
Disclosure: I was send a goody bag by P&G which included a video camera (which I used to record Maxi)
You can print off the bored jar list of over 80 activities and use them yourself. Some of the activities might not be possible due to the weather, but we have a summer planner so it is OK for them to pick a day and add tape it to it so that we do it on that specific day. This is a small glimps in to Frugal and Fun, surviving the school holidays the thrifty way. The e book, which I have produced with Cass from Frugal Family and Becky from Baby Budgeting is filled with ideas for frugal and fun ideas to make sure you get the most out of this year’s Summer Holidays without having to spend a fortune. The book contains over 150 pages of ideas and activities to help you make sure that this year’s Summer Holidays are frugal and fun. There’s a planning week filled with things for you to do in advance of the holidays to get yourself prepared and the rest of the ideas are split into different themed weeks, with each week having five indoor activities, five outdoor activities and five recipes for you to cook with you children.
- Go for a bike ride
- read a book for 30 minutes
- Vacuum the stairs
- Make fairy cakes
What did you do this weekend?
- Early morning fun with cushions and pillows
- Going up the cliff on the funicular
- Jack Daniels and Flat Frank (helping with the toothache)
- A fab buy from the Love of Vintage fair
- Fish, chips and tartar sauce on the seafront.
- A day by the shore
- Ice creams (not for me, see earlier note about toothache)
- Tea and cake
- A jumping praying mantis