I am on my Way to The Mads, well I will be on Monday


On Monday we will be on our way to Butlins at Bognor Regis for the finals of TheMads 2010, where I am a finalist in the Best Family Fun Blog.


Name: Jen

Blog: www.muminthemadhouse.com

Twitter: @mum_themadhouse

What am I going to be wearing? Clothes, yes, shallow I know, but I have no idea!

I would really like to say thank you to everyone that voted for me and we are all really looking forward to going to Butlins, as we have never, ever been before (and one of Maxi's classmates told him it was better than Disney)!


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The Winds of Change

Change, that words sweeps a world of emotion over me at this time. It makes me feel a little scared, a little worried, a little apprehensive for what will be, for you see my world is turning and changing.  My whole family is experiencing the winds of change.

I have lost my youngest companion, my wonderful Mini to school this week and it is a huge change in my life.

My balance is off, my sense of direction skewed and I am not sure which way I should be facing.

For you see, my child, my wonderful confident, happy child has embraced this change in his life with open arms and gone running in to the unknown to breathe in all he can.  To learn new skills, make new friends, experience new things, to learn to be still in life and to also use the life lessons I have spend the last four years instilling in him.  He makes me proud, proud that he is confident enough in himself to feel the joy of newness.
Maxi too is being stellar about the change from Reception to Year one, which is some ways is harder than the transition Mini is going through from preschool to reception.  Maxi now has a timetable, regular break times and regular lessons throughout the week.  He has more responsibilities within the class structure too.  He is relishing the changes and is enjoying being back at school. 

But for me it is harder, I put on a brave face, a happy front and will not allow them to see my feelings or to pick up on my anxieties, for these are mine not their to be concerned about.

So what of me, well I am trying to put my best foot forward and look at this change as an opportunity.  A beginning, yes the beginning of the new me.  I am still looking for part time paid work (writing, PA, sewing, anything for some extra money), but in the interim I will be going in to school twice a week and baking with the 90 reception class children.  3 children at a time, so hopefully I will have baked with them all by Christmas. 

I am going to be making biscuits with them and some of these children will have never baked before.  Many of them will think that biscuits come from a packet.  We live in Teesside, which is where the BBC predict the public spending cuts to hit hardest.


This post was inspired by this weeks writing workshop over at Sleep is for the week and more speicfically by the work that Sian, Mummy-Tips Josie, Sleep is for the Weak and Eva, Nixdminx  are doing on behalf of Save the Children

Every year almost 9 million children under the age of five die, most of them from preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria.

At the end of September Nick Clegg will be at the UN Summit in New York. Ten years ago world leaders set targets, called Millennium Development Goals , to reduce poverty, hunger and disease.  So please sign  the petition to get Nick Clegg to push for commitment to the targets at the UN Summit.  Lets make change happen for the people less fortunate than us.



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My Top Tips for Starting School

I feel like an expert, now I have survived the first four days of both the boys going to school, so I am compiling my top tips for starting school, so I can remember them for next year (oh and look back on them after the each half term break)!


School clothes

I have the boys school clothes hung in their wardrobes in sets and they get them out the night before along with a pair of underpants and socks.  I also get my own clothes out the night before. 

School shoes

I am a big fan of the spray on protector and then we use good old leather polish.  The boys help me clean their shoes every Friday, yes it can be messy but a lot of fun too.

School Bag and Coat

We have hangers at child's eye level and I make the children hang up their coats when the come in from school.  We also have a set place for their book bags too.

Dinner Money

Many schools will accept dinner money, weekly, monthly or on a term by term basis.   I pay monthly, that way I don't have to worry about change every Monday morning.  The same with snack money.

Dates

I swear by my Organised Mum Family Calender, which runs from September until the following December and I love using the stickers that come with it.   I make sure I record the whole school years dates on it as soon as I get them.  I also record class mates birthdays etc the week before they take place so that I get cards and presents sorted.

Exercise, fresh air and sustenance is important after school
I always find that the boys behave pretty well at school (I know I am not sure who they swap them with), but they do need to let off steam afterwards, so I make sure that weather permitting we go home via the park and that I also pack drinks and a snack as the boys are always hungry (but then they are boys).  If it is raining that I will take their wellies and we can puddle jump on the way home.

Sleep, Sleep and More Sleep

I am a sticker for going to bed a decent hour, not only do the boys need their sleep, but I need my down time too.  I had to wake Mini this morning at 7.30, he had been asleep more than 12 hours!

Breakfast

There are studies that have proved that a good breakfast is key to learning.  I have to say I thought I had it covered, as Maxi is a porridge every morning boy, but Mini is another matter, getting him to eat anything is a challenge on a morning!

Don't expect too much after school for the first two weeks.

It is hard to transition back to going to school, so don't expect your children to do much after school for the first couple of weeks.  Be patient and know that they will be tired and ratty.

I would love to hear your top tips for surviving back to school after the holidays.


PS Sorry for the poor picture, Mini stood on my camera!

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Ambling at Amble


Amble is a real gem, a small fishing village on the Northumberland coast, with a brill rocky area, which is great for playing, rock pooling and jumping on and a small secluded beach too.

We had the whole beach and rock area to ourselves and enjoyed a pleasant morning.  I had a great time taking photo's of the rocks, the wonderful amazing patterns that the sea makes on them.  Next time I will be taking paper and crayons to take rubbings of the rocks.



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Our Art Corner in the Kitchen

We have decorated the kitchen this week and I have also rearranged the art corner, with the introduction of the boys small table in to the kitchen are and the addition of some great storage from Ikea for the pens etc.


We have painted the kitchen Willow (a soft soothing green) after MadDad decided that the green I had chosen was too green!


The table is from Ikea and I painted the top with blue chalk board paint ages ago and the boys love to use chalk on it.  


It works really well, as it means the boys can come in to the kitchen and do art or puzzles etc whilst I cook dinner and it is also a great area for showing off their artwork.  It is my favourite place in the whole house.  The whole art corner upgrade was inspired by The Happy Home.

How do you display your children's artwork?



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I survived their first day at school


We were all prepared the clothes were names, ironed and set out last night.


Mini was beyond excited this morning, he has wanted to go to school since Maxi started last year. 


I took these images this morning and have kept myself busy today, MadDad and I are painting the kitchen (he didnt like the colour I chose and I took my upset out on him and then we went and exchanged the paint) and I have taken mum to her COPD appointment at the hospital too.

I really missed having Mini around this morning, most acutely around I0.30am at cup of tea and chat time.  But I also missed our quiet reading time and snuggles too.  However, I was glad to collect him and find that he hadn't missed me at all and he had a brilliant first day at school.


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Bamburgh


Just perfect, made even better by meeting with Crystal Jigsaw and Amy.  Mini has declared his love for Amy to anyone that will listen and is running off with her to some far away place.



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On Monday – A letter to MiniMad

You are so excited, on Monday you start the first of what will be many years at school.  It is not a big step for you as Preschool is in the same building and you have walked the register down to reception and had a lunch with the bigger children too.

You are looking forward to getting your uniform on with Maxi and taking those first steps to adulthood, but I am not yet prepared.  I am following your lead and making sure that I am excited with you and we are busy talking about your friends, your wonderful teacher (who was Maxi's last year) and school lunches.




I have written your name in your uniform and you have been wearing your school shoes for a few hours inside each day to make sure they are comfortable and you are raring to go.  To make a start on the journey that is life.  It seems such a small step for you.

But for me it is immense, for the fist time in four years, I am entrusting you to someone who will spend more waking hours in the day with you that I do, that will have more influence over you than me and Daddy will.  We know you will be safe, well looked after and secure.  Your teacher is a star, one in a million, but it doesn't stop the worries running through my head.

Not only that, but it is the start of a lifetime of pressure to conform, of people highlighting your differences and trying to fit you in to a round hole.  

Me and Daddy have discussed many times what we wish for you.  I want you to be happy, that you take life with two hands and smile in the face of adversity.  I want you to grow up knowing right from wrong, with a good moral compass and the strength to act when you see things happening that are not acceptable in life.

I want you to be able to feel comfortable in your own skin and know that I love your uniqueness and I will endeavor to instill you with the confidence to continue to be the man that you are growing into. Don't worry about your differences, embrace them, I do.
So go on Monday with that big smile on your cheeky face and the song in your heart and sing my baby, but most of all dance to the beat of your own drum.



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Mini Me Puppets – An Idea by Nuturestore

My friend Cathy from Nuturestore has done a wonderful guest post for me all about making Mini Me puppets, which is fantastic.   Nuturestore is a fantastic blog with a wealth of ideas of things to do with children, so please pop over and say hello (she doesn't bite honest).






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The Gallery – One Day in August 2010


Not the best picture in the world, but this was taken on MadDad's phone on Sunday evening after a week of sickness in TheMadHouse.

The reason I chose this is it is in stark contrast to the the images that Josie, Sian and Eva (working with Save the Children) who travelled to to Bangladesh on this Sunday will see.

9 million children under 5 die from illness like my family suffered from last week, just look a this post about the children in Addin Hospital .


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