Teacher Appreciation Gifts, Wine and Chocolate

Do you gift to your kids teachers?  I do and have done since the boys went to preschool.  I want to thank the teachers for a fab job they do looking after my children.  I trust them to look after my most precious things (my children) and this is a BIG thing for me. wine and chocolate teacher gifts Up until this year the boys have crafted teachers gifts.  I think that it is important that they are a part of giving and thanking their teachers.  However, this year they have been a little reticent, so I decided to give what I would like to receive, wine and chocolate. However, me being me, I felt the need to jazz them up a bit. Teacher appreciation gifts So here are my chocolate and wine labels, cause it must be hard coping with my boys! chocolate gifts   So a lot of chocolate is needed!  I printed the chocolate labels on a full sheet of paper and using a template I hade made from a clear pocket positioned them.  I used double sided tape to secure them, but a glue stick or standard take would be fine too.Chocolate wrapper I also used standard paper rather than printer paper and was really impressed at the quality of my new Canon PIXMA MG7150. I made a selection of labels in different colours, so just click on the image below to make it larger and then right click and the image to your computer before printing.  I put four labels on one sheet or A4 for the wine and one label per sheet or A4 for the chocolate.

Chocolate bar wrappers for  Teacher

  choc bar choc bar blue chocolate purple

Wine labels for Teacher

  yellow wine small wine purple small wine blue small reasons teachers drink Feel free to print them and use them if you wish.  Disclosure, the Canon Pixma MG7140 is a sample for review purposes
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Why I want to be an organ donor

A serious post from me today.  National Transplant Week runs from 7 to 13 July 2014 and this is what I want to talk to you about.   Please don't skim over this as it is so important to talk about being an organ donor and I am going to explain to you why it is important and how talking about it can make a unbelievable difference to someones life. I want to be an organ donor A - Amazing I along with a group of bloggers are all going to tell you why we think it is important to be a donor, we are going to spell it out for you and my letter is A. Firstly donating an organ is an amazing thing for anyone to do.  It isn't an easy decision and has an impact on the people you leave behind, but you are giving an amazing gift to another person. Do not be Ambiguous • Only 45% of families will agree to donation if decisions aren’t known • This rises to 95% when the decision to be an organ donor is known So you have to talk about organ donation with your family and friends.  Let them know what your decision is and why.  Make is clear and do not be ambiguous.

Why organ donation is important to me:

  organ donation  Advancement  I have touched upon my condition and dance with cancer in the past.  The fact that I have a genetic spelling  mistake and may have passed this on to my boys is hard to deal with, but it is not something that dominates our lives.  We choose not to let it, but it does mean that as a family we have all discussed death and that I have seen more than my fair share of family die. I know that if in my death I could help another person I would in a heartbeat.  I know that it is though peoples generosity and also scientists and doctors thirst for knowledge and desire to find cures that my childrens lives and outcome may be different to mine. So for me it is about Advancement.

What I want you to take away from this blog post

Please don't just read this post and nod to yourself.  I am asking you to make an action, to go away and tell your family and friends that you want to be an organ donor.  Talk to your partner, your parents and your children, ask what their wishes are and make it clear. If you haven't signed the Organ Donation Register, then please go to the National Transplant Week website  and sign up. Now you know what I want to be an organ donor I would love for you to pop over to Aim Above Limits and see why Katie is an organ donor.
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Healthy (ish) chocolate pots – cooking with kids

Healthyish chocolate pots We were challenged by Philadelphia to create something that could be had at lunchtime, took little preparation and less than five minutes to make.  So Mini and I put our heads together and decided to have a go at making a healthy ish chocolate pot. Sometimes there are days when nothing but chocolate will do, so this is our way of getting a hit of chocolate, that is satisfying and filling at the same time. My biggest tip would be to make sure your avocado is ripe.
5.0 from 2 reviews
Healthy (ish) chocolate pots - cooking with kids
  • Pot of Philadelphia
  • An Avocado
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Date syrup to taste
  • Crushed or chopped hazelnuts
  1. Blend the cream cheese, avocado, cocoa powder and vanilla extract to a smooth consistency.
  2. Add date syrup to taste - Mini likes it sweet!
  3. Top with crushed hazelnuts
healthy chocolate pots This is a really simple recipe and really easy for children to make.  Mini loves using the blender and it doesn't work if the lid isn't on correctly, so I know that he is using it safely. Mini took his role in this make very seriously nad decided that he had to style the shoot in the garden and then take the pictures and then eat the chocolate pots!  He did share one with Maxi though. Mini styling 3.
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Mothers of boys I need your help

This parenting lark is hard work.  Just when I think I am doing well, something comes along that gets me questioning what we are doing or how we are doing it. femanist boys As a woman I find the fact that I am the mother to two boys something of a challenge and a huge responsibility.  Now before I continue I just want to say this is not about whether or not it is harder to parent boys or girls. I want my boys to treat women as equals and that will be completely down to the way that we as parents bring them up.  I know that I need to stop just focusing on getting through the day and week with them and start to think about the future and how to mould them in to the men I hope that they will be. Feminism starts with Men. I am a firm believer that feminism is as much down to men as it is women,  That men have a responsibility to feminism as much as women do. So feminism starts with me raising feminists, but how do I do that? This is what I don't have answers too. I know that when one of the boys is crying that terms such as "crying like a girl" should not be used.  That words have so much power.  That we should not use the phrase battered women (the woman didn't have any power over the abuse), no, it was the man was the abuser, so let's get rid of that term and put the onus and the man. I hope that me and MadDad are good role models and examples for the boys.  We both believe that women and men are equal and we have an equal relationship.  I demonstrate that women can do most things as well as men and some things much better. I show them how to cook and clean, I get them involved. When they were smaller we didn't have boys boys and girls toys.  We had a toy kitchen in our kitchen and encouraged the boys to play with dolls and buggies.  In fact they were just copying their daddy's actions.  They loved pink.  We didn't reinforce sexual stereotypes. Then they started school.  Wow, that was a change, soon pink was for girls, blue for boys.  Crying was for sissies and more. My boys do not need to "Man up". I need to work not just raising boys, but gowing men.  I know that they are like dogs, they need exercise, good food and lots of praise, but what else do they need? So mothers of boys I need your help.  How do I do this, what advice can you give me?
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A Mum’s Guide to Minecraft

My house is filled with Minecraft and Loom bands!  I thought that Minecraft might be a flash in the pan, however, it hasn't proven to be.  Both the boys and their friends love it.  So I extracted my boys and their friends away from the screen for a while and together we have made this Mum's Guide to Minecraft. minecraft a mums guide

What is minecraft?

  It is an online sensation game designed by Notch (a.k.a. Markus Persson) founder of Mojang, the company that developed Minecraft. The game is available on a variety of platforms (iPad, iPhone, Mac, PC although my boys play it on Xbox 360). To put it very simply minecraft is like LEGO online, but without any blocks to get under your feet! In Minecraft you play Steve and you build your world out of blocks.  Steve's world can be a dangerous place, especially at night. That's when the baddies come out. But, he also can encounter them at anytime underground. Animals roam the land, some friendly. Some can be tamed or even ridden. Neighboring villagers keep to themselves but are willing to make trades. To survive, you must build yourself a shelter and begin to gather food. Everything around you can become a resource. Hacking at trees gets you wood, digging up the ground gets you stone, etc. Gathering plants or killing animals will give you food and other resources. You can then use those resources to make building materials. With time and some effort, you can also craft objects by combining resources in a furnace or at a craft table. There are lot of recipes for making weapons, armor, food, etc. My boys use this Crafting Guide.

The Different Modes of Play in Minecraft

  • Creative Mode - In this mode, you can create your world, explore and enjoy building without the threat of zombies arriving. A player doesn't need to be concerned about survival, finding food or building shelter.
  • Survival Mode - this is the game mode in Minecraft (where most players play, including the boys and their friends). The focus is survival and the player needs to build shelter, find food, fight enemies and collect resources that will help them survive long term. This mode can be played as a single or multi-player.
  • Hardcore Mode -  Similar to Survival mode, but more difficult.  The main difference is that you have only one life, and your entire world will be deleted when you die.
  • Adventure Mode - This also adds a layer of difficulty to Survival mode. The main difference is that you cannot break blocks unless you have the right tool.

Glossary of Minecraft terms for the Savvy Mum

  Mods - They are things that change the game, add ons that change elements or add new elements to a minecraft world. Skins - it changes the way things look Mob - Can be hostile, docile, neutral or allied.  Hostile mobs are in very simple terms a baddie such as a creeper, zombie, skeleton, spider, Enderman and wither skelton. The Ender Dragon - The hardest Mob and you have to destroy it at the End past the Nether The Nether - is a world that has blazes, zombie pigmen, glowstone fire and the ender temple. The End - a planet that you can dig through and it is the other way you can die on creative mode. Butter - is gold and you make things with it Emerald - is the hardest thing to mine, you make things with it.

Minecraft goes offline

minecraft action figures

The Minecraft action figures as they were left on my fireplace!

The boys were sent Diamond Steve Action Figure (£7.99) and Minecraft Core Animal Mob (£19.99) to test and THEY LOVE THEM and you know what, so do I.  It encourages small world play, they can build minecraft worlds with their lego bricks and play with the action figures, which is great. At £7.99 and £19.99 it bring them in to pocket money saving range and also the perfect price for birthday gifts. Diamond Steve is 7cm tall and fully articulated.  He comes with diamond armour and a sword. Now for the minecraft speak Diamond armour is the most durable with an 8.33 defence point per diamond and can be repaired. Now for the animals, I love the animals.  Again they are fully articulated and you get a  Cow, Chicken, Pig, Sheep, Tamed Wolf, Ocelot. For ages 6 years and over.
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Seven Great Kids Outdoor Painting Activities

Now I know that now everyone is as relaxed as I am when it comes to kids painting and the mess it can create.  But the summer is a great time to try and lower your worry factor and get painting outdoors. The key to being more relaxed is preparation, so get a big bowl of soapy water and a towel ready for cleanups.  I have even been known to take the hosepipe to the boys to clean them up or bath them in the paddling pool. We are big fans of the large rolls of paper that you can get from Ikea. Great Kids Outdoor Painting Activities
  1. Painting doesn't always have to do done with a paintbrush and by using carpet squares you are introducing  new textures to your child.
  2. I love the idea of painting with water pistols.  it would be fab to cover the fence with paper and it would be great fun too.
  3. If you want to contain the mess to a specific area, they way not try ball painting in the paddling pool.  This is on our to do list for the summer holidays.
  4. We love sidewalk or pavement paint.  it is so easy to make your own and is just so much fun and a different take on just using chalk
  5. How about using bouncing balls to paint with.  This is another activity on our summer to do list.  It is a great skill to pick up wet and slippy bouncing balls.
  6. My boys love to feel paint between their toes and we often make footprint wrapping paper.
  7. When you are feeling a little more adventurous, then give this fantastic Ice cube painting with insects ago.  It is is wonderful activity that would be perfect for a warm summer day.
  hop for hope

I am happy to be participating in HOP FOR HOPE,  which is a blog hop dedicated to Savannah Hope who is the new daughter of  Heather from Crayon Box Chronicles.  Savannah Hope was diagnosed in utero with life-threatening birth defect of the diaphragm, congenital diaphragmatic hernia.  You can read more of Savannah Hope’s journey here.

You can also connect with Heather & Savannah Hope here:

Facebook - Donation Page - Blog

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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #2

Mini turns eight on Tuesday and is having a football/soccer party for his birthday, so I have been busy pinning lots of ideas for the party this week. world cup activitiesfootball soccer ball pinatasoccer football cakesatchelsbored printableloom band projects   Not following me, then feel free to: Visit Jen Walshaw's profile on Pinterest. Also why not join in.  What have you been pinning this week:
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Child Safety Week

Next week is child safety week.  What is that you ask, well it is an annual campaign run by The Child Accident Prevention Trust who are the UK leading charity in this field.  This year is focussing battling morning mayhem. saftey heros I am working with Betta Living to help publicise this as it is a subject close to my heart, especially after an incident we had last week.  Let me tell you about it.

Mornings in The Mad House

  I am not a morning person, seriously I walk round in a haze until I have had two cups of tea and a shower. Mini takes after me and we are often prodding him 5 minutes before we have to leave the house as he will get dressed and go back to bed!  Maxi, however, is an early riser, often up before even MadDad gets up at 6am for work. The boys are becoming pretty self sufficient when it comes to mornings now, they mostly get their breakfasts and have even started to use the toaster.  Well I am growing men! Last week, we had some waffles left over from the weekend and Mini popped them in the toaster whilst I was upstairs in the shower.  The first I knew that anything was wrong was the smoke alarm going off and Mini running to tell me that there had been a fire in the toaster, but Maxi had dealt with it. The waffles had not gone in the toaster straight and had been unable to pop up automatically as they got stuck and being full of sugar they set fire. Thankfully we have a fire blanket in the kitchen and Maxi had use that and turned off the toaster.  I rushed out of the shower to find that he had even opened all the windows and the back door. Amazingly Maxi had covered how to deal with kitchen hazards at Cubs a couple of weeks previous, but it could have been much worse.

What Can you Do?

  Take a look at your morning routine and figure out the hazards that you can reduce. The Child Safety Week website has some great resources.

The Child Accident Prevention Trust have two competitions running for Child Safety Week:

Post brought to you in conjunction with betta living

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Silhouettes made easy using the Cricut Explore

I have always loved the silhouettes you see of people and they have always intimidated me.  But I decided that I needed to get over my fear and figure out how to make a silhouette much easier to make and bam I decided to have a go at making them on my Cricut Explore. The fact that is was coming up to my MIL's birthday really spurred me on to give silhouette making a go. Silhouettes made easy using the Cricut Explore 1

How to turn a photo into a silhouette using picmonkey

  Firstly I took pictures of the boys in profile against a light coloured wall. Then in picmonkey using the posterise setting I transformed it, using two colours and 100% detail. Mini had a shadow due to his hair, so using the clone tool I erased it out and  pow I had a pretty decent silhouette. mini silhouette how to

Uploading an image to the Cricut Design Space

  siloutte 1 Go to design room and start a new projects.  Then click on the upload on the left hand side and then we want basic upload for the silhouette. siloutte 2 Before you upload the image you get a page showing you the steps for uploading, just click on to "continue to step one". siloutte 3 You need to then click on browse at the lest and pick the image you want to upload, which will appear in the box. siloutte 4 Click on simple image and then continue to step two siloutte 5 You image will them appear larger on the screen in a square with the sides hatched out.  This is the area that is going to be empty. As our image is high contrast, we are able to just use the  select & delete wad on the areas we want to disappear siloutte 6 Once we only have the part of the image on screen we want, then it is time to continue to step 3 which is saving the image siloutte 7 This is where you give your image a name and tags (especially if you are going to upload lots of images). insert image Then you get to tick the image you want on your design space to work on and insert image siloutte 8 Then the silhouette is in your design space to edit the size if you want to.  I bought my frames from Dotcomgiftshop and they were under £6 each as I wanted a traditional style to go with my MIL's home. The card was matt black from Viking Direct and is 240 gsm heavy cardstock. Silhouettes made easy using the Cricut Explore The beauty of the new Cricut Explore is it does a fantastic job of cutting all the minutiae making the silhouettes look so fantastic. We love these so much, that I made another set for our home and as I had already imported the images to Design Space it took all of five minutes to load the paper and print them off. 3.
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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #1

NewPinterestinglarge600 Hello guys, I love Pinterest and use it far too much and pin  lots and lots of things.  So I decided to start a new series sharing the pins that I have really loved over the past week. Mum in the Mad House Pinterest I am more than happy to make this a weekly pinning party if there is enough interest, just leave me a comment below and I will change the post. 486952396958442954869523969584844848695239695809272236319377212370534869523969584941248695239695833003 As you can probably see from this weeks pins I am looking to reorganise our tiny hall as after eight years in our home the hooks have fallen down! We are also obsessed with the World Cup and Fathers Day and I am busy planning for the summer holidays.  What have you pinned recently?
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