Pinterest Ice Marbles #EpicFail

I bet you have all seen those beautiful pictures of ice marbles on Pinterest.  Well during the recent cold snap and snow in the UK I decided it was the perfect time to give them a try. ice So I filled up my balloons with food coloring and water and let them out to freeze and guess what........................... ice marbles #EPICFAIL epicfail
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What we are reading ……………..

I think that a reading list is a perfect snapshot of where we all are in life, so have decided to do a regular (ish) post on what books are gracing our bedside tables, coffee table, hands and kindles.  We are pretty avid readers, well all apart from Maxi, who is still a reluctant although very capable reader. what we are reading  

Maxi's floor by his bed

Mini - Six
  • The Guinness Book of Records 2013
  • The Phoenix Comic
  • Mr Stink - David Walliams
  • Gorgeous George and The Giant Geriatric Generator - Stuart Reid
  • The Wimpy Kid Do it yourself book
  • Q & A a day for Kids
Maxi - Seven
  • Q & A  a day for Kids
  • Anorak magazine 
  • Horrid Henry and the Mummy's Curse - Francesa Simon
  • Gorgeous Gorge and the Zigzag Zit-faced Zombies - Stuart Reid
  • Brain builder books - Charles Phillips
  • Junior Brain Bending Workout - Top That Books
  • Bin Weevils The Official Guide
Me - A Lady never discusses her age! 
  • Little Stitches - Aneela Hoey
  • Quilting step by step - Maggi Gordon
  • Happier at Home - Gretchen Rubin
  • The Gentle art of stitching - Jane Brocket
  • Good Food Editor's Choice Book Set (great value at £9.99 for 10)
  • Code - Kathy Reichs
  • The kitchen Diaries II - Nigel Slater
I would love to know what you  and yours are reading currently
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Eureka Children’s Museum

This weekend we went to visit Eureka.  It’s the National Children’s Museum in Halifax, West Yorkshire. We were given the tickets by Money Supermarket Vouchers in conjunction with the Tots100 before Christmas and had intended to visit over the festive period, but flu and colds put paid to that and then the snow cam and today was the first day we could venture further than our village school! Eureaka Firstly you have to pay to park your car, there is a pay and display car park just outside and it is £3 for 4 hours, £6 for 12 hours or £10 for 24 hours.  I would much prefer that the cost of parking be including in the ticket price. The cost to enter is £9.95 entrance price for adults and children over three and £3.45 price for under threes, however, this is an annual pass cost.  So once you have paid you can return as often as you wish for the next year. The museum is split in to the following galleries (or spaces) Living and working together, Me and My Body (currently closed for a £2.9 million refurbishment and opening Sprig this year), SoundSpace, Sound Garden, Desert Discovery, Our Global Garden, Wonder Walk and Outside at Eureka! Mini the postman The Museum is pitched at children aged to 11 and has some superb spaces specifically designed for under fives.  It is an idea place to take younger children to explore, play and basically have a ball.  It was opened in 1982 and is starting to show it's age, but my boys who are six and seven had a blast. Mini adored Sound Space and Sound Garden, whilst Maxi really loved the Living and Working Together gallery. We had lunch in the cafe and were really impressed with the quality of the food, which went a long way to explain why it was a busy as it was.  The food is locally sourced and the vegetation option I had of butternut and haloumi pie was delicious and not your standard vegetarian fare.  Prices were pretty standard for a cafe at a children's meal costs £5.50 for three courses. Maxi with water We all really enjoyed Eureka for very different reasons.  Firstly I have boys who love to run, be loud and have fun.  Eureka prides itself on being accessible for all, running is not frowned upon, noise is not frowned upon.  It is not a silent and whispery type of place.  Secondly, it is all about play.  I love play and think that it is often not encouraged enough in children.  Eureka always them to play, it gives them the freedom to pretend, to explore and to play.  Thirdly, it is a museum for children, so any adults that are there know this and understand this.  We are all in the same boat.  Finally, we all had so much fun that the boys didn't want to leave and want to go back again next week.
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Admitting we need some help

Gosh this parenting lark is hard work.  Every time we think we have got it cracked something comes along to start us wondering what on earth we are doing wrong. mini1 I have mentioned before that Mini's emotions bubble very close to the surface.  The bad ones and the good.  This means that he is quick to express his happiness and cuddles are never far away, however, conversely it means that he could blow at anytime.  It is horrible.  I have been feeling as though I am walking on egg shell for the last month or so.  Him not sleeping makes things a hundred times worse. Over the weekend things came to a real head and I just lost it.  I can not keep on parenting like this.  Wondering what is going to set him off.  There is no rhyme or reason to what sets him off, often it can be something as silly as he forgot what we were having for dinner or that he is losing a game. The thing if when Mini is angry, it is a horrible thing to see.  He lashes out, physically and verbally.  It is never his fault, always someone else's and trying to get him to calm down is beyond us at this time.  He keeps himself together most of the time at school, but can be disruptive when he is bored.  it is at home we seem to get the brunt of it and as I am the primary care giver, I see the most of it.  From the minute he wakes up, we are often at loggerheads.  He doesn't want to go to school.  He doesn't want to have breakfast, the list goes on and on. The scariest thing is I am becoming scared of my six year old.  When he hits it hurts, he scratches, he bites and he destroys things.  He has lifted and thrown the kitchen table before.   We have talked about rules.  That it is OK to be angry, but not OK to hurt people or things and that it is good to talk, but once he is on fire we really struggle. Gosh this post is so hard to write.  I do not want to label him and we take great care not to call him a naughty boy and just say that what he is doing is wrong. We are at the end of our tether and do not know where to look for help or advice. I am so conflicted, I adore him and he is a joy to be with most of the time, but there is always that nagging worry at the back of my mind.  MadDad is not excluded and Mini has shown his dark side at football practice too.  Maxi gets it if he is winning in a game or he is playing with something that Mini wants. I can not go on living as we have for the last month.  Last year was much better, which is why I think it is linked to his need for sleep.  
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Blogging etiquette – Is there such a thing?

Head in book (I did ask if it was OK to use this here) posted on twitter that it felt a bit naff, so I asked her why, as I often leave a comment on a blog letting people know how much I enjoyed a lost or that they had a fab blog. naff It got me thinking, is there such a thing as blogging etiquette? For me the first rule of blogging is there are no rules to blogging.  It is not often that I put on my blogging police uniform (I have been known to in the past), but I try not to let my favorite pastime have rules and regulations.  So I tried to think back to all those years ago when I started blogging and realised that I wasn't on twitter or had a network of people to ask if things were naff or not.  There wasn't such a defined community back then, it was pretty much in it's infancy. I commented on any blog that I enjoyed and I kept commenting.  I still often do, even if it is just a loved that post or I have nothing to add, but love your blog.  But...... there is so much less commenting going on than when I started blogging.  People seem to engage in different ways. So my top tip for anyone blogging today, would be not to worry about what others think.  The brilliance of internet land is that no one is going to find you and laugh you in to a corner for doing the wrong thing because there is no wrong thing and there are no corners! Other tips would be:
  •  Always link to any post that has inspired you to write one - I often read something in the beginning and it spurred me on to a blog post.
  • Comment, comment and comment some more
  • Make it easy for people to contact you - have an email address on your blog
  • You tweet - have your twitter address in an easy to see location
  • Comment some more, find the persons twitter id, blog facebook page or even instagram account and comment on those.  Having a blog for me is all about engagement.   You can find my facebook page at and I am also on instagram at www.instragram,com/muminthemadhouse
  • Find your community - I adore reading the Fresh Five for new to me blogs to read on the Tots 100.
  • I also loved this great post by Tips for a blogging Novice from Jolly Jilly
  • When I blog I also remind myself that what I write is around forever and my boys might read it one day!
  • Do not blog or comment in anger (even I need to be reminded of this) and love the poster below.


What would be your top tip or do you think there is such a thing as blogging etiquette in 2013.  
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Things to do with children in York whilst shopping

I love York.  I want to live there.  I take every and any opportunity to visit York and this find us choosing York as a shopping venue over lots of more local towns.  The boys love York too, however, shoppping not so much!  So we have developed ways to break up the day without spending all day shopping or all day playing!  However if you want a city break in York, why not take a look at hotels in York .  It is a great place to spend a long weekend. Our favorite places for a short visit whilst in York are: The Jorvic Viking Centre  You get an annual pass for The Jorvic Viking  Centre for just £27 for a family of four and the centre is really central so perfect to spend an hour inside.  The boys adore it.  It isn't large, but it is packed full of viking life, including a ride and the smell! We find something new every time we visit and it is a firm family favorite to break up the day. york Yorkshire Museum Gardens - Free We always park in the long stay car park at Mary Gate, so take a trip though the Museum Gardens to get too and from the car.  We also often take sandwiches and enjoy a picnic lunch in the gardens.  The ten-acre botanical Museum Gardens, stretch from the River Ouse up to the back of York Art Galley.  The gardens were planted in the 1830s and you can download a guide if you are visiting to find your way round.  The boys love squirrel spotting and it also gives them some space to run off some energy. York Observatory - Free The observatory is open Thursdays and Saturdays, 11.30am - 2.30pm and is the oldest working observatory in Yorkshire.  It was built in 1832 and 1833 and its 4in refractor telescope was built by York man Thomas Cooke in 1850. The National Railway Museum - Free I have blogged many times about our love the the NRM and it is a great place to spend an hour with the children and unwind. 18
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How to ‘Downscale’ Your Groceries Bill

British families have been hit hard by the rising cost of groceries, with food prices reported to have risen by 32 per cent since 2007 (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). Households are understandably struggling to find the extra on their grocery bill, with the average coming to over £4000 per year. shopping However, there are ways to easily slash your groceries bill, bring down the total at the till and struggle no more. See if you can apply any of the following suggestions to your weekly shop, and ‘downscale’ you’re shopping bill. Price Promise Some supermarkets offer a price promise, which means that your shopping basket is guaranteed to cost less than at any other supermarket. When you buy your groceries online at you can take advantage of the ASDA Price Guarantee, which means that you’ll save at least ten per cent on your shopping bill, compared to Tesco, Morrison’s, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. If this isn’t the case then ASDA will give you the difference, meaning that you just can’t lose. It’s easy to use the ASDA Price Guarantee online – all you need is a receipt. And as the calculator is powered by independent website, you’ll have peace of mind. ‘Downscaling’ One way of instantly making savings in the supermarket is to ‘downscale’ your brand choices. For example, if you usually buy the most popular branded products ie Heinz Baked Beans, you would simple ‘drop down’ a level and try the Premium supermarket brand instead. Likewise, if you usually buy premium supermarket brands, you can downscale to regular supermarket brands, and then to the basics range. Downscaling your shopping basket has to include an element of trial and error, while you discover which items you are happy to downscale on and which you simply can’t compromise on. However, simply downscaling on some items can save a considerable amount on your groceries bill. Meal Planning Planning your meals is one way to ensure that you don’t overspend on food that will end up getting wasted. With the average family estimated to waste around £500 of food per year, simply ensuring that you buy only what you need could save you around £50 a month! Buying your groceries online makes it easier to stick to a shopping list, as it eliminates the temptations presented when walking around the supermarket. It’s also easy to search for the specific items on your list, making your shopping experience quick and easy. If you usually cook the same meals each week, the ‘Favourites’ function means that you could have your shopping checked out online in mere minutes – saving that other precious family commodity – time.   With a little thought there are ways to easily trim the grocery bill, making increases in food prices far less painful. Choose a supermarket such as ASDA that prides itself in offering great value across all of its ranges – and puts its money where its mouth is with the ASDA Price Guarantee!   18.  
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Win an ‘I Love Chocolate Hamper’ from Thorntons!


  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 thorntons 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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Joy, it is a conscious choice

Many people are posting about New Years resolutions and I keep seeing updates on facebook and G+ about dry January and diets.  So I wanted to do a quick update on my Winter Manifesto and also my word of the year Joy.  I posted last year about the fact that I was choosing Joy.  I was making a conscious decision to focus on the good stuff and make the bad stuff less relevant in my life. 68468856804351899_ctbhzYm8_c It is all about choice and it is my choice.  Way back when a very wise person taught me that we always have a choice.  Yes there are things in life that we can not change, these are the things that it is not worth expending energy on.  It is like worrying about a plane crashing, no matter how much you flap your arms you will not be able to effect it.  However, you can change the way you think about it.  You can make the choice not to worry about it.  It doesn't take the worry away, but it does give you power over it.  So this year I am actively choosing Joy. However, I am also making this year more joyous by choosing to learn more.  I have started a craft course and am making Mini a quilt.  I have had the fabric for over six months, but had a mental block on cutting it.  I booked the lessons (2 hours every Tuesday) and asked for some help and in two weeks I have cut the fabric, stitched the top and sandwiched it all together ready to quilt.  I made this happen. I have also enrolled on a Collect the Moments e course from Capturing Childhood, which was recommended to me by my friend Kelly. Whilst talking about resolutions, goals and aims for 2013, I’d like to point out the Hillarys Facebook competition, yes Hillarys are the people who have a vast vertical blinds range available.  I’d like to point out the Hillarys Facebook competition, yes that is the people who have a vast vertical blinds range available.  They are currently running a New Year, New You competition on Facebook.  The competition offers a chance to win a different prize every week for the next four weeks, and began with a Wii with Wii Fit Plus to get fit this new year.  This week is a chance to win a £100 spa voucher, Week 3 is a chance to try something new with Zorbing, and in Week 4 the prize is a Merlin annual pass for a family of four.
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The Crap Crafter Challenge #crapcrafter

There are lots of people out there that think they can not craft.  That want to make and create, both on their own and with their children and Ella at PurpleMum has asked for help, as she feels that she can not craft with her children.  So I was more than happy and between us we have decided to start the Crap Crafter Challenge #crapcrafter. Each month I am going to send a little package of things to Ella and do a post of activities that she can do on her own and with her children.  Ella will then do a post letting us see how she got on.  We will have a linky on each of the posts for anyone that wants to join in and will be using the hast tag crapcrafter crap crafter copy This month we are focusing on Valentines and heart crafts.  Nice and easy things that can be done when you are short of time. Top Tips
  • Buy a cheap plastic table cloth to make clean up easier.
  • If you have a fear of glitter then get to Poundland and get some glitter glue, they do them in pots so you can plain them on rather than just shake the glitter over glue.
  • Remember when you are crafting with children do not have a need for perfection, let them do there own thing and have their own outcome.
  • Paper plates are great for using as paint palate
  • Have a bowl of soapy water near or the sink full and doors open to it to make clean up easier.
Heart lolly flowers   IMG_4235 Heart Book Marks   hearts Button Hearts   2011-02-02_9708   Jam Jar Valentine candle holders   DSC_5434 I have lots of other simple and easy valentine crafts pinned on my Valentine Pinterest Board So whether you are a good crafter or someone who is a reluctant crafter, we would love for you to join in and see your valentine crafts. If you are going to join in then please grab the #crapcrafter button
<div align="center"><a href="" title="#Crapcrafter"><img src="" alt="#Crapcrafter" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
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