Autumn/Fall watercolour resist leaf garland

Inspired by Fun at Home with Kids fall watercolour resist leaves we decided to get our new glue gun out and make an Autumn/Fall watercolour resist leaf garland. We were sent two glue guns (one low melt, which is perfect for crafts and younger children and one high melt from Glue Guns Direct).  We decided to try the coloured glue to make the outlines. watercolour leaves   Materials required:
  • Card
  • Glue gun
  • Watercolour paint brushes
  • Cord
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Walk to school month with Kia – tips for making mornings less stressful for all the family.

October in Walk to School month and I am joining in with Kia in trying to encourage you to get walking to school. I am lucky with the fact that the boys school is within walking distance and now that they are eight and nine they walk or scoot to school on their own, so mornings are so much less stressful for me.  My biggest tip is to remove all the obstacles from the morning that make life hard. Steps to feeling confident with your kids walking to school on their own

Tips for making mornings less stressful for all the family

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Get a Birds Eye View and Win a Samsung Smart Camera

In conjunction with  Birds Eye I have a Samsung WB350F Smart Camera (White, 16.3MP, Optical Image Stabilisation, 3 inch LCD) to giveaway to celebrate the modern British mealtime and their Birds Eye View exhibition.

Birds Eye View Birds Eye have been on a quest to document the modern British mealtime with photographer Martin Parr. To help them understand mealtimes today, Martin's been visiting households across the country, from people who entered a competition to have Martin visit and photograph their meal times, delving into our nation’s food habits along the way. The tour concluded with Martin's findings and the best images from this competition being presented at A Birds Eye View’ exhibition in London earlier this week. (more…)
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October is now Crocktober – share your favorite slow cooker recipes

I am a huge fan of my slow cooker or crockpot as they are known in the US and Autumn is the perfect time for getting it out and using it.  I love that I can  prepare everything, put it in and then forget about it until dinner time. I love that I can pop all the ingredients in for a soup and when we return from Junior football on a cold Sunday there is a meal ready and waiting. One of the things that I do every time we have a roast chicken is to make stock with the carcass, some veg and leave it in the slow cooker overnight.  It makes the best chicken stock and what's more the chicken falls off the bones and there is enough to make chicken soup with. chicken soupy stew In fact my chicken soupy stew is one of the most asked for meals from the boys and it was passed down from my mum.  It is a filling, delicious and wholesome meal which I top with dumplings for my bottomless boys. (more…)
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September Small Stuff

September if a month of bittersweet for me.  I love the going back to school feeling, but miss my boys after a long summer together.  It has also been filled with lots of small stuff that has filled my heart with joy. September collage We started the month with a family trip to Lightwater Valley just before school started.  The weather was glorious and the park was pretty quiet, which meant lots of rides were enjoyed. (more…)
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Do you limit screen time at home?

Screen time and the boys is something I battle with.  It isn't such an issue in the summer and good weather when their first choice would be to be outside playing with their friends.  But as the nights draw in, then they do reach for the screen more often than not.  They are not TV fantastics and we do not have it on in the background, but they do love their Ipods and Xbox. It is all about finding a balance that suits us as a family. At the moment, we have strict limits on screen time at home which are no screens at all (except for TV as a family) after 6pm, no screens at the dinner table and one hour limit a day otherwise agreed.  We also have a #signoffsaturday or a #saignoffsunday where we have a day at the weekend which is technology free. limiting screen time

Why I chose to limit screen time

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Win an Arctic Home gift pack with Coca-Cola and WWF

To help celebrate the launch of the Arctic Home campaign, Mum in the Mad House has teamed up with Coca-Cola and WWF to offer three lucky readers the chance to win an exclusive Arctic Home gift pack, which includes a beautiful fleece blanket, stylish white hooded jumper and much more! coke Arctic Home is a partnership between Coca-Cola and WWF working to protect the home of the polar bear by raising awareness and funds, so polar bear mums continue to have a safe place to give birth and raise their cubs. On Saturday 6th September, hundreds of WWF supporters from across the UK joined forces to create an incredible piece of live art to raise awareness of the desperate plight facing polar bears in the Arctic, you can see the great picture featured above! Image01 (Low-Res) Arctic Home is now calling for people to visit www.arctichome.co.uk to learn more about the struggle faced by polar bear families, share their support and make a donation. This year across Europe Coca-Cola will match all donations made to the campaign up to up to €1million.

To be in with a chance of winning an Arctic Home gift pack, simply answer this question:

Where do polar bears live? A: Africa B: Arctic Terms & Conditions
  • Closing date is until Friday 3rd October 2014
  • Three readers will win 1x Arctic Home gift pack which includes 1x polar bear fleece blanket, 1x polar bear soft toy and 1x white hooded jumper in small, medium or large (subject to availability)
  • Prizes will be distributed to the winners within a week of the close of the competition
  • Only one entry per person
  • No cash alternative will be offered
  • The decision is independently supervised and the winner will be drawn from all correctly answered entries and informed via email or phone
  • The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
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What do you look for in a school shoe?

School shoes.  I have to admit that I find hunting for school shoes with the boys a chore and it isn't because they never like what there is to offer, but down to the fact that they wear them out in no time at all. Last year Mini's second pair of shoes lasted six weeks, yes six weeks before they had a hole in them.  I have tried expensive shoes, less expensive shoes and everything in between my, but we are lucky to get more than 12 weeks out of a pair of shoes.  My boys only wear them for school so 8pm to 3pm, 5 days a week. When you ask the boys what they want in a shoe, they are not that fussy.  Yes they are swayed by toys and freebies, but they have a Mummy who isn't! How to choose a great pair of school shoes At eight and nine they have size three feet, so are well on the way to adult size shoes, but they need something much more robust.  Something that can cope with scootering and biking to school, something that can cope with football on the MUGA (multi use games area) at lunchtime and recover from them not seeing a puddle and getting wet! So what do I look for in a decent pair of school shoes?
  1. When they have velcro fastening I want that to be secure and for the stitching to stay secure
  2. I want scuff proof bumpers
  3. I want flexible soles, but with good grip
  4. Nothing inside the shoe, I don't want my kids to be encouraged to take them on and off
We were contacted by Start-rite at the beginning of the summer to be part of their blogger team of six families putting their shoes to the test.Startrite shoes week two I was interviewed by Start-rite and discussed with them what we looked for in a show and what I knew about shoe fitting and then send a foot measurer and asked to measure by boys feet so they could send what they thoughts was a suitable pair for each of them. We measured the boys feet and found them to be 3F and 3H.  Mini has always had wide feet with a high instep. I also made sure that I had measured them correctly by getting MadDad to do it to and then the boys pinched the measurer and have been using it to play with! Last weeks the boys shoes arrived.  Rino Warrior  for Mini and Reflector for Maxi.  Using their video we checked the fit and the boys wore the shoes indoors for an hour or so a day to make sure that they were worn in before school. I think that we take pretty good care of our school shoes. I clean them once a week with proper old fashioned polish and you can find my top tips for looking after leather shoes here. Over the coming weeks and months we will be working with Start-rite, sharing with them how the shoes are wearing, sending them images of the soles and the rest of the shoes, so that they can see how they are holding up to life on the feet of two energetic boys. So, what do you look for in a school shoe?
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Win up to £500 in Amazon vouchers in our “Messy Kids” Bloggers’ Competition

We all know how mischievously messy kids can be, so why not share your experiences in your latest blog post and win some extra cash? messy kids
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The ultimate Autumn/Fall family activity list

I am a huge fan of bored jar's, not just for the boys, but for me too.  I sometimes need a quick activity that isnt screen based.   Unsure of how to make a bored jarm then take a look at how to make a bored jar. Fall autumn bored jar and activity list
  1. Go apple picking
  2. Make leaf cards
  3. Jump in a pile of leaves
  4. Make some autumn art 
  5. G0 on an acorn hunt
  6. Make a leaf picture frame
  7. Play this free scarecrow game
  8. Collect colorful fall leaves
  9. Coffee filter leaves 
  10. Make autumn leaf fairies 
  11. Collect seeds from plants in the garden
  12. Make a pom pom apple tree 
  13. Plant bulbs in your garden for next spring
  14. Make an Autumn sensory bin
  15. Make a pine cone bird feeder
  16. Make leaf prints
  17. Make pumpkin playdough
  18. Saltdough leaf bowls
  19. Handprint owl newspaper art
  20. Family art project - make a seasonal banner 
  21. Borrow a book from the library
  22. Create an Autumn poem
  23. Go on a walk at dusk with a torch
  24. Make fruit leather
  25. Make leaf skeletons 
  26. Go looking for spider webs 
  27. Go on a leaf hunt
  28. Make a nature table with your Autumn finds
  29. Make a tree with an old jigsaw
  30. Autumn Preschool science
  31. Cut leaves from felt and make a garland 
  32. Bake an apple pie
  33. Nature Crowns
  34. Count leaves
  35. Carve your own pumpkin
  36. Make wooden waldorf inspire nature blocks 
  37. Make a puppet theatre
  38. Play acorn hopscotch
  39. Make a paper leaf garland
  40. Make a tissue paper leaf
  41. Make Autumn suncatchers
  42. Make dragonfly cards with sycamore seeds
  43. Go on a bat watch at dusk
  44. Make toffee apples 
  45. Set up a scavenger hunt
  46. Collect sycamore seeds and throw them in the air (they fly like helicopters)
  47. Fall saltdough ornaments 
  48. Make apple crumble
  49. Grab an umbrella and go singing in the rain
  50. Make clay and twig hedgehogs 
  51. Re-watch your favorite scary movie on Halloween
  52. Free leaf printables
  53. Make some leaf relief art 
  54. Prune the garden plants, learn about how this helps them to grow back stronger in the spring
  55. Build a hedgehog house
  56. Make jam jar lanterns covered in leaves
  57. Print off some free play dough mats 
  58. Make conker spiders 
  59. Throw a Halloween party
  60. Make a leaf mobile 
  61. Breath in the cool, crisp air
  62. Make leaf lanterns with empty cheese cartons 
  63. Make jam
  64. Learn to knit
  65. Make a winter tree lantern 
  66. Make an autumn wreath for your door
  67. Make a bug hotel
  68. Listen to the sound of leaves crunching under your feet
  69. Find the tree that matches the leaf
  70. Make an autumn tree
  71. Collect conkers and have a match
  72. Make a halloween indoor obstacle course 
  73. Watch geese flying south for the winter
  74. Make autumn playdough
  75. Collect pinecones and display them in a glass bowl
  76. Collect twigs and try twig weaving with spare wool 
  77. Make hot chocolate
  78. Draw or paint some autumn still life 
  79. Attend harvest  festival
  80. Make a tissue paper pumpkin 
  81. Make apple crisps (chips for US folk)
  82. Beachnut hedgehogs 
  83. Put you wellies on and splash in some muddy puddles
  84. Make Halloween shadow puppets 
  85. Remember what you’re thankful for
  86. Go on an Autumn Nature walk
  87. Take pictures of all the different colours you can find in a woodland
  88. Make leaf rubbings
  89. Build a scarecrow
  90. Make a pinecone owl
  91. Go stargazing
  92. Make a leaf collage 
  93. Have an autumn picnic
  94. Make a paper turkey 
  95. Turn orange balloons in to pumpkins 
  96. Look for a full moon
  97. Make Dutch apple cake
  98. Go trick or treating
  99. Make a autumn nature mobile
  100. Try apple bobbing
  101. Make a leaf window display
  102. Make apple prints
  103. Enjoy some Autumn science projects 
  104. Make a leaf man
  105. Make corn on the cob prints
  106. Make pompom pumpkins 
  107. Make a conker bat 
  108. Make leaf owls
  109. Make apple sauce
  110. Printing with Acorns
  111. Make and fly a kite
  112. Make a windsock
  113. Edible sparkers 
  114. Make pine cone firelighters
  115. Make some poppyseed bats 
  116. Make woodland animals
  117. Make a crayon lantern
  118. Make jam tarts
  119. Make pine cone skittles 
  120. Make some leaf identification cards 
  121. Dry orange slices
  122. Roast pumpkin seeds
  123. Make Halloween salt dough
  124. Leaf Drawing and Doodling
  125. Paint pumpkins
  126. Paper plate owls 
  127. Play Autumn/Fall Eye Spy
  128. Make an autumn leaf crown
  129. Make paper lanterns
  130. Make Halloween cakes and biscuits
  131. Make some pumpkin pie paint
  132. Make a ghost paper chain
  133. Preserve leaves with glycerine
  134. Make popcorn
  135. Print this fab autumn nature treasure hunt
  136. Decorate an umbrella
  137. Make a raincatcher
  138. Build an indoor fort
  139. Go on a number nature hunt
  140. Talk about what makes you thankful
  141. Go leaf counting
  142. Collect acorns
  143. Donate old woolens and coats to a charity
  144. Help clear leaves from the lawn
  145. Make a fall wreath
  146. Make hairy hot dogs
  147. Make a harvest cake
  148. Customise a Tshirt for halloween
  149. Make pancakes
  150. Make a leaf mandella
autumnfall bored jar   If you like this then you can find lots more Autumn/Fall crafts on my Pinterest board Follow Jen Walshaw's board Autumn and Fall crafts and activities on Pinterest.
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