Giving up shouting for Lent

We have talked a lot in The Mad House about what Lent is and what it means and last year we discussed the fact that Lent is about repentance, this year I am looking at reinforcing that message with them.

I tried giving up shouting last year, but wasn't too successful, so I am going to give it another go again this year, in fact we are all going to try and keep the volume turned down.


One other thing we are going to do is use the time to give to people less fortunate than us.  I want the boys to have an understanding of Charity and Red Nose Day does help this.  So after reading on Angela's Blog Tracing Rainbows, about her doing a giveaway each week, we have decided that we are all going to give something to the charity shop each week.  The boys are already discussing which ones to give away.

SO what are you doing over Lent?

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In my heart and in my house

One of the hardest things for me about clearing out mums house if that I have had the urge to keep everything.  Even the things that I used to think were tat and rubbish.  My heart associates all these things with my mum.

Finally we are getting to the end of the long journey of clearing the house of over 35 years of detritus and my niece will be moving in to continue the tradition of the house being a family home.

She will be keeping a lot of the furniture and other stuff, so we haven't had to deal with clearing everything, but it has been an experience I am not looking forward to repeating any time soon.

I have brought home with me something that really pull on theheartstring, but other people may find odd.  I made pizza bases using my mums rolling pin this week and we will be using mums flour sifter when we next bake.  Yes I have brought some ornements and put them in the unit I also brought from her house, but it is the everyday things that mean the most, the ones that I can user and think of all the times that she used them, baking for her family with love, as I continue to do with the boys.

On the edge of our heath now sits a companion set made by my dad for my mum and I look at it and remember the day he brought it home for their wedding anniversary and on the other side sits the black man that I used to feed as a child and my boys also did the same at mums.  One day I hope if I am lucky enough to have grandchildren they can do the same.

So when you think of your mum, what springs to mind?
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No need for the Sunday papers

I hope you have had a good week.  This last week was out first back at school after the half term and I have really missed my boys, but I have also needed the quiet time, as I have had tonsillitis too.   We have been getting back in to routine and Mini was wonderful at swimming this week, picking up his stage 2 and 5 meters badges.  He enjoys it so much more since we got him some prescription goggles. Sit down and let me introduce you to some fantastic blogs.

Picture of me and my brother hanging on the wall, I just can not bring myself to take down

This week has also been quite a challenge for me personally.  We are nearing the end of clearing out mums house and instead of getting easier it just seems harder each time I visit.  I would keep it all if I could, but I just don't have the storage, so this time I came hoe with a wind chime for each of the boys bedrooms, both immediately noticed them and said they were Grandma's door chimes.

The mail keeps arriving, even though I have notified them of Mums death

There seems to have been a distinct change in the weather and Spring is nearly upon us.  Becky at Baby Budgeting has a fab ebook out (well if her others are anything to go by) for under fives, 50 ideas for a sensational spring on a budget, all for only £1.50.

Merry has a really insightful post in to home educating and enterprise at her blog Patch of Puddles.  If university the aim for everyone nowadays?

The amazing CJ from Crystal Jigsaw has a post all about supporting bloggers and anonymous comments, as someone who has only recently received my first off the wall comment, I read this with great interest.

QWERTY Mum's baby turned 20 this week, in a moving and often harrowing post she walks about her experience giving birth to her beautiful daughter Ivy.

Jude at Artful adventures has a great post about supplying art work for your child's wall.  I love Judes Blog, it brings me so much inspiration.

So please pop along and read these posts and let tthem know I sent you and do leave me any must reads you ahve this week in the comments section.
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Encouraging boy’s to write

My boys are like chalk and cheese, as I have said before.  Maxi was writing by age three, whereas, Mini really doesn't enjoy mark making or writing.  He is a perfectionist and gets upset that it doesn't look like he thinks it is supposed to, this isn't helping in mu opinion with the school teaching cursive handwriting from Reception.

Up to now this hasn't been an issue for him, but it is really starting to get him down and also to hold him back.  Why you ask?  Well he knows all his letters and sounds and is a great phonic reader, but he is so reticent about writing that the school refuse to move him up for lessons, so he is disruptive.

So I have dug out my arsenal to encourage him to start drawing and mark making.  I am not concerned in myself, as I know that boys fine motor skills develop later than girls and that he will get there, but I don't like the fact that he feels bad about his writing.

So here are my top tips

Make it fun, it doesn't have to be pen on paper, we have been using cream on a tray and writing him name with his fingers.  You can do the same with sand, shaving cream, gloop (cornflour and water) or seeds.

Take a stick and make large marks in the sand or mud.  Mini loves drawing faces and then jumping all over them on the beach.


Colouring in and doodling.  Mini loves to colour, but he doesn't have a great attention span, so I try and make sure that he enjoys the subject or that it is linked to a creative activity.  It also doesn't have to be just with pens, crayons and pencils.  Try using chalks or pavement paints or even water on walls.


Both boys love secret messages and you can do this using wax relief with a candle or white crayon or with a special notebook.  The boys have a Phineas and Ferb secret notebook and pen and they love it, they love sending secret messages to each other.


Then there are the electronic method, this is an image Mini drew of me for The Me meme at Sticky Fingers, I was tagged by the wonderful Rosie Scribble.  Sally has a Dell Inspiron One to review and both the boys really enjoyed it, but it was such fun watching Mini use it to write and colour.   Also out this week is a tablet for the Wii called uDraw which I would love to use with the Mini as he, like most boys loves anything electronic. If anyone has any other tips I would love to hear from them.
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Proud, you bet I am

I read somewhere and for the life of me I can not remember where something about parents who's children eat everything shouldn't be smug.  Why?  Why can I let people know about the crap sides of my life, but not the good things?

I am a proud mum and yes I am somewhat smug, my children are good eaters.  Is it down to me, yes it probably is.  I am happy to say that out loud.  My boys eat mostly everything I put in front of them nowadays, yes the do have foods they don't like, but they are both happy to try new foods and are not in the slightest picky eaters.

How did this happen?  Firstly let me tell you that I was hung up on food and the boys, one of my issues was that I was a bad mother, when the truth be told, I am a good enough mother and that is all that matters.  I can say this now and believe it, that is what having weekly CBT counselling does for you.  Up until Maxi was 2 year old, he had never had anything processed or not home made from scratch!  Now I am a lot more relaxed about food, but I am oh so proud of the way they both eat and what they eat.

I was invited to meet with Nutella for breakfast over half term with a  number of bloggers and met with a dietitian and other people to discuss children's eating habits and I came away confident that I am teaching my boys good food lessons that will take them through life.  Kate from the Five F's has done a great post on Nutella.

As their mother I am their biggest influence and so it is down to me, to set a good example to them and how I do this is by eating breakfast and dinner with them most days.  We eat dinner as a family 6 out of 7 nights during the week.  This isn't easy, but we have made sacrifices to enable that we do the things that are important to us and having both grown up eating with our families this one was key for both of us.

So I have decided that I am going to go against the flow and say I am proud of me for the fact my boys are great eaters.  Will it always be like this, I doubt it, but one thing I do know, is that if it isn't I will work at  improving it.

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We are too LOUD

My boys are LOUD. Which means that I have to shout to be herd over their noise.   I didnt realise this until we stayed with friends this last week and it really brought it home to me just how much noise me and the boys make. So the fact that I woke up with no voice on Sunday morning, well I took that as an intervention from the universe.  It is time for The Mad House, to become quieter.  For us to regulate our volumes. Wish me luck!
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No need for the Sunday papers

Sunday has come around again.  This week everyday has felt like a Sunday due to the fact that it has been half term in The Mad House.  We have enjoyed the  ability to just relax and go and visit far away friends.  I do hope you have had a great half term to.  Boohoo to Mondays.

The Alexander Residence posted about people criticising her parenting this week.  This is one of my bug bears, please don't judge until you have walked in someones shoes.

A moving post from Being a Mummy, about taking the road less traveled and a journey that no mum would  be on by choice.  My heart goes out to to this beautiful family and I know that they will travel this path with dignity and courage.

Northern Mummy is depressed, but in her own way.  Why?  Well the children have not been blog fodder this half term.

Flea is sick. Having a poorly child isn't easy for anyone, but much less fun for a single parent.  But Sally still manages tp smile about life and blog with humour.

I hope everyone has a great day and if you have seen a super post this week, then please do leave me the link in the comments.

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My Philips Airfryer and National Chip Week

Yes it is national chip week in the UK this week and I love chips.  Not very modern I know, but I have to say that there are a real comfort food for me, as my Dad made the best chips in the whole wide world.

We don't have chips very often in The Mad House, partly as we don't own a fryer and partly as we were spoilt as my mum had a Tefal Actifry so they were always a treat that we saved for visiting her.

When I had lunch with the chaps from Philips at Christmas they introduced me to their new Airfryer and then I was lucky enough to receive one a couple of weeks ago.  Now there are some great reviews of the actifry at the moment in the Mummy Blogging world, but I have to say that although I loved the chips it made, it isn't a fast or speedy way to make them.  So I was intrigued that the Airfryer made chips from potatoes in 20 minutes, when it is nearer 40 for the Actifry.

Well I have to say I am super impressed with the Philips Airfryer, we had lovely chips in 20 minutes and you just had to shake it one half way through cooking.  I have also used it to cook oven chips, fishfingers, roast potatoes, roast parsnips and even roast vegetables.  I would never have been able to cook roast veg in  the actifry as it would have been turned to mush with the paddle.

I love that it is healthy cooking with much less oil required and also that you can adjust the temperature, which means you can cook a large range of things in it.  You can even cook chocolate brownies in it, not that I have tried yet.

The only pros I have come up with are the price and the size.  £199 is expensive, but it will replace our oven for a lot of cooking and size wise it is comparable to a deep fat fryer in its footprint, although it is higher.

So we will be eating chips for national chip week and I really am starting to love my Philips Airfryer.

Review from Free Sample

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No Need for the Sunday papers

Is it Sunday already?  I sometimes wonder where the week goes and I am sure we could all do with a few extra hours in each day to spend some time on ourselves.  It is half term week this coming week for us, so we have plans to not really have plans and to spend some time cuddling and just relaxing as a family, but we do need to fit in a trip to the hairdressers and also the show shop.  What are you plans for this coming week?

So grab a coffee, tea or whatever is your poison and let me introduce you to some great  mummy blogger posts I have read from this past week.

With the half term in mind I loved Ellen from In a Bun Dance's post about letting our children walk on the wild side.  I am a great believer in getting children out and enjoying the fresh air.

Ghostwritermummy tackles the competitive mums that always seem to be at events and children after school activities these days.

Dawn from Knees up mother brown asks us all to give blood in her post, which is a plea close to my heart (as I have regular transfusions).  She gave birth to her little boy Oscar this week, six weeks early and a blood transfusion saved her life.  So please, if you can give blood.

Savymumof 4 is feeling invisible this week, at the school gate, at home and in the virtual world of the Internet.  I have to say that this post really resonated with me, as there are times when no one in my life is listening, when I really need them to.

Nickie at Typcast bemoans the lack of words in blog posts these days, I actually agree with her and have raised this on the Blogger.Ed forum in the past.  I do not want to see 100 pictures 3 times a week, I want to read interesting, inspiring and thought provoking posts, or alternatively I love reading about family life, it gives me a good old dose of virtual curtain twitching!

So have you seen any really great posts this week, please do leave a comment and let me know and I leave you with some flowers to brighten up this gray day.


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If only we could be together, but we can't, therefore, all I have are things and memories.....


I am trying to hold it all together at the moment without you.

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