Monthly Archives: October 2013

Dirt Desserts 8

I first saw these on my trip to LA to learn about Epc and I just knew the boys would love them.  Plus they are simple to make and take no time to set, so are perfect for children top make themselves. Ingredients Angel Delight of other instant chocolate mousse Milk Chocolate biscuits (oreo’s would be perfect) but we used double choc chip cookies Jelly worms Method: Make the mouse as instructed on the packet and pour in to glass or plastic containers. Crush the biscuits in a bag with a rolling pin (The amount depends on the depth you want) Add your snakes on top. All in all this took […]

After school fun – Shape Sticks 6

I am going to be bringing you a new regular feature here at The Mad House, After School Fun (thanks to the Evil Overlord for making me a snazzy badge!).  During the summer my boys who are seven and eight tend to play out after school.  There is lots of cricket, football (soccer) and bike riding, but with the clock change coming and winter on its way more and more they need indoor activities to keep them occupied after school and to stop them fighting and to try and keep them away from the dreaded screens that they love so much! They need things that can hold their attention, but do […]

Discover the savage world 29

We have so many books in the Mad House that we had to buy a new book case for Mini’s bedroom last week.  Not that I am complaining.  I love that he is a book worm and I really wish that Maxi would have the same relationship with books that iIni does. Both the boys really love “fact” books and they are great for encouraging boys, who can often be reluctant readers.  We are fans of Miles Kelly Publishers and have received and bought books from them before and they sent is the new Discovery Channel Discover the Savage World book to review and also set us a couple of challenges […]

Learning by example 1

I have blogged before about the fact that Mini’s teeth are showing their first signs of decay and how we are now on

the Dentist’s quarterly visit list. We have been making a concerted effort to improve the boys brushing and both the boys use a sonic toothbrush, just like both MadDad and I do now.

However, one of the things that has made the biggest difference for us is introducing disclosing tablets on a Sunday evening. These are small purple tablets that the boys chew and they dye the plaque on their teeth a purple colour, which gives the boys a visible image for them to concentrate on. You can even get ones that show both new and old areas of plaque. The light areas show new and the dark areas olds. They cost around £2.30 for a pack of 20, which I think are great value and well worth adding to any cleaning routine.

The only big improvement is knowing how long to brush for, this is due to the fact that both their toothbrushes have a build in timer like the colgate proclinical electric toothbrush, means that they know to spend thirty seconds concentrating on each quarter of their mouth.

Benefits of using an electric toothbrush for children

According to clinical studies chil;dren remove 41% more plaque with an electric toothbrush than with a standard brush.
Electric toothbrushes help children use appropriate force when brushing.
They help with the length of brushing, as they often have built in pacing technology.
They help familiarise children with movement and noise in their mouth, so help when visiting the dentist
Longevity, you can replace the head rather than the whole toothbrush
They are fun to use and anything that helps to take the pressure out of teeth brushing is a bonus in my home!
Ultimately for me, the fact that an electric toothbrush will do a better job of cleaning my childrens teeth means that I am all for them. I have lots of other tips and tricks to encourage tooth brushing in children.

If only all plane journeys were so easy!

Do you remember hearing about KLM putting on a screening of Disney’s Planes on for a group of children? Just take a look at this video if you haven’t already seen it. As you all must know by now we are off to Florida on the holiday of a lifetime with our children in just under a month and I want to share my top tips for making flights as easy as possible for children. Arrive early.  Make sure you allow lots of time.  A less stressed parents means less stressed children and also means that you will all be more relaxed. Pack well. Give each child their own hand luggage […]

How to Document A Year in the Life of Your Child with Photography

Any mum will know that you spend a large part of your time taking photographs of your child.  They grow so fast and their baby days are fleeting so it’s no wonder that we want to get so many snaps.  But, just how many ways are there to document a year in the life of your child?  Turns out there are a lot and they are getting more and more creative. Photographing Pregnancy Whilst some mum’s may not consider pregnancy to be the pinnacle of their beauty, when you look back on it you realise just how special a time it really is.  In reality it is a time that should […]

After school fun – Lets be a spy and how to leave a secret message 4

So on to the Spy Gear kit we were sent. The biggest hits were the Stealth com walkie talkies as they didn’t need to use their hands. They loved these and have been played with a lot. They go in to their bedroom and communicate. Mini caught me out with the Micro Agent Motion Alarm as he put it in his bedroom, so when I went in it set the alarm off. He is very protective of his room and all his books and hates people going in it, including Maxi’s friends when they visit, so this was one of his favorite items.

The Night Goggles have come in to their own now the nights are getting darker and Mini can even use them over his prescription goggles. The Spike Mic Launcher did not survive Alvin and was an early casualty of #MadPup! Both boys like the Field Agent Spy Watch, but found it difficult to put on themselves.

Overall the Spy Gear stuff is great and I can see us getting a lot of play out of it.

Apple printing and apple eating! 8

Today is apple day and we are celebrating it in the mad house, by apple printing and eating delicious apple pie and the last two apples from our tree.  When we moved in to our new build home 7 years ago one of the first things we did was plant an apple tree and a pear in the garden.  We have watched over the years as those trees have grown and developed just like our children and watched the joy on the boys faces when the apple bears fruit (the pear never has, yet………).

A space party for an out of this world parents evening 1

It was parents evening at the school this week.  Safe to say we walked out of the school with the biggest grins on our faces.  Mini’s conference was exceptional and he is coming on in leaps and bounds and his English work is fab (probably down to all the reading he does).  Maxi is too steaming ahead, but we are going to have to have a conversation about effort as at the moment he is applying minimum effort to get the desired outcome (Hey I guess that is a typical eight year old boys thing).

Perfect presents for the man in your life and a giveaway 341

I adore my husband.  I have spent nearly  half of my life with him and I hope to grow old with him by my side.  As the years have past I have learned lots about him and also lots about my gift buying for him.  Never buy him clothes.  I buy what I would like him to wear rather than what he really likes to wear!  Times have changed and when we were younger and have duel incomes he really wanted for nothing.  If he saw something he liked then he would buy it for himself, but now we have little spare cash and he actually has a wish list again, […]

As easy as 1, 2, 3 … how to teach your kids about money (and why)

Today’s world is a scary one where finances are concerned. As parents, you don’t need a news report to tell you that the cost of living is increasing or that energy prices have risen once again. The bills on your counter have already told you. The latest reports from the world of news tell us that two in five would have to borrow to pay off an unexpected £200 bill due to poor savings figures and it’s hardly surprising given the state of things at present. The problem is that money management isn’t a strong point for everyone and some of us simply lack the knowledge to know what to do […]

A home made dream catcher made my Mini 7

Not only did two years classrooms flood, but the library and ICT area also flooded. The dining hall has been turned in to a storage area and the school has been unable to serve warm meals. All this uncertainty has resulted in a very anxious Mini. This partly shows by him being filled with bravado and the other side with issues sleeping.

So in addition to working on stopping him being a reluctant sleeper and doing things to prevent nightmares, we also made a dream catcher together. When I say we, what I mean is I held the tape and chatted to him whist he made his own dream catcher.

We used, some wood from a plant in the garden with tape to make into a circle (ish) and then mini used rope to tie round it. He then strung some pretty beads on to string and attached them.

Whilst he concentrated on making the dreamcatcher we talked about their history and all the things that have been worrying him.

Why not have a BBQ for Halloween or Bonfire Night

I know what we will be doing this Bonfire night.  We will be spending it with family as they put on their own annual fireworks show.  It is something we look forward to every year and it would be the perfect time to have a winter BBQ and the people at Country Valley Foods have some brilliant  meat hampers at the moment. There is nothing better than some lovely warm food whilst watching fireworks and it makes for a great evening for everyone.  I particularly like the Meat Hampers from Country Valley and think they are really great value.  Even better for me they are a local company and have sites not far from […]

Stoptober – there is still time to stop

My mum was a smoker.  She died suddenly on Christmas Eve in 2010 from nonsymptomatic pneumonia which was ultimately down to her smoking. I used to smoke.  I stopped the moment I found out I was pregnant with Maxi and I only have ever smoked 1 cigarette in over 9 years from the moment that I found out I was expecting. However, both my mother in law and father in law smoke. I NEVER WANT MY CHILDREN TO SMOKE.  But whilst they are young I do not want them exposed to other peoples second hand smoke.  Secondhand smoke is made up of a mixture of gases and particles and contains over 4,500 chemicals […]

How to make a sourdough starter 4

Inspired by the Hairy Bikers, Mini has decided that he wants to make sourdough bread, which means that we need to make a starter. So We have started the process and at the moment we are on day two and MAria (as Mini named her) is currently sat in the airing cupboard.

Mini never does things by half so we received sourdough starters on line and he decided to use one from the BBC (as they often use this site for recipes at school).

He also decided he need to keep on top of what day it was so used our new A4 flexible magnetic chalkboard from First 4 Magnets, which was only £3.49 (they send it to us free) and stuck it on the fridge so he could see it and tick off after he had done what needed to be done each day.
We would love for you to join us in learning how to make sourdough bread, like Helen at The Crazy Kitchen has. If you do, please let us know by leaving a comment and you can follow our progress over on The Mad House facebook page or Instagram.

Cooking with Kids – Cadbury Pebble Cookies 2

Cooking and baking is something I do a lot with the boys.  I cooked with my mum growing up and a lot of the skills I have are all down to her.  Cooking and baking is great for children as it teaches them lots and lots of new skills including measuring and weighing (you can even add conversion in), time measurement and management.  Plus I am a great believer in home made and home cooked.

Hands on Maths for Maxi (year 4 or 8 year old) – Shapes 1

axi is currently working on shapes at school in maths and this week brought home an Islamic pattern sheet and he had to identify a number of polygons on it and colour them all in different colours. Maxi is 8 years old and in Year 4 at school (key stage 2).


For someone like me that finds this type of mathematics really hard it is nigh on impossible to look at that page and see anything other than triangles.

Thankfully First 4 Magnets had sent us a magnetic tangram this week. We were sent the yellow one and it retails at £1.99.

Complete square measures 125mm x 125mm
Seven separate magnetic shapes
Made from high-quality die cut foam on a flexible magnetic backing
These challenging and addictive puzzles are based on the ancient Chinese tangram puzzle. Each puzzle is made from premium foam with a flexible magnetic backing providing a secure grip to a steel surface like your fridge. Each puzzle is die cut and supplied as a square so you can easily break the individual shapes apart to create new shapes. A tangram contains a small square, two small isosceles triangles, a medium-sized isosceles triangle, two large isosceles triangles, and a parallelogram. An isosceles triangle has two equal angles and two equal sides. A parallelogram is a four-sided figure with each side parallel to the opposite side.

When I received it I put it on the fridge and everyone in the house has played with it, including Maxi’s friends who have come to visit. I decided to set some challenges for the boys to follow some patterns using the tangram and it was great fun for everyone.

On the suggestion of Cathy from Nurturestore this weekend will be spent turning a sleeper offcut in to a geoboard.