It can be expensive to keep children entertained on weekends or in the school holidays, especially when you have more than one child, but one of my favourite things is to take my girls to the local library. They each have their own card and can use the library machines to take out and return their books.
My two girls (nearly 7 & nearly 3) particularly love going to the library. Even at a young age when they can't read it's a great idea to introduce them to books as even the colours and pictures will help their development. It also helps children to learn to look after things. Local libraries also hold free story telling sessions and often have colouring sheets and crayons and other free activities.
If you do take any books out I would suggest that you have a specific place for keeping them at home. We have so many books that we could easily get them mixed up so library books have their own shelf. This saves on panic when they're due back!
Borrowing a variety of books will not only help improve their reading level but will bring hours of enjoyment and could inspire them to write their own stories. One word of warning though...if they really like a book you could be reading it over and over and over again! "We're going on a bear hunt...." (arghhhh!) Happy reading :)
I went to see a friend today who I haven't spent any real time with in a long time. So long that her son is now 6 months old and today was the first time I had properly met him and sat down to play. Why I hadn't gone to see them in such a long time I really couldn't say. Especially as they only live down the road (really quite inexcusable!) Now thinking about it I can only conclude that I kept putting off what I wanted to do because I always felt that I had other things that HAD to be done. Being a parent, and from my perspective particularly a mum, means that no matter what you want to do...you come last. Working to bring in money for mortgage/rent & bills, housework, food (& other essentials) shopping, managing money, dealing with any medical or health issues...the list is endless when you have a family to support.
What was great about today is that we got to have a proper talk and, as it turns out, we had both been feeling the same insecurities and having the sames doubts and fears. Even just spending that couple of hours talking really helped me, especially to understand that no matter how alone you feel there is someone else who is probably feeling the same. All it takes is that bit of extra courage to say what is on your mind rather than burying it all inside and driving yourself to distraction until one day you blow up! My advice...spend time with your friends to have a cuppa and a natter, it's amazing how it can help 😀
1. They are rarely happy doing the same thing for more than 2 minutes. Have lots of different things ready to play with or do. If you don't have many toys give them the leaflets that come through the door, finished toilet roll tubes and cardboard boxes...They're not fussy and have great imaginations!
2. You will no longer need to set your alarm clock on your phone. Toddlers are great at getting you up and are so thoughtful that they'll get you up 2 hours before you need to! (To make sure you're not late of course!!)
3. They will always want to do their own thing...until you have something to do yourself. Then they want to do what you are doing or mess around on the floor exactly where you want to be. Playing at mum's feet when she's cooking tea, holding on to dad's legs when he's trying to hoover, or wanting your complete undivided attention when you're helping their sibling with their homework.
4. Every time they leave the park they have a tantrum so big and so loud that people think they're being kidnapped! They turn into a solid lump as soon as you want to put them into the pushchair and it takes bribery and tickling to get them in. All this whilst their muddy boots are being kicked against your jeans and they think it's funny to poke sticks and dandelions in your hair.
5. The toddler ALWAYS WINS!!!
Good morning all!
Just wanted to share a website with you that I think is really useful to know about...
It doesn't just have recipes and ideas for kids activities but has a shopping section that is regularly updated with money off coupons that you can either print or use on your online shopping order. There are even free samples to try on occasion.
I saw an article on a lady who uses coupons regularly and she recently got her shopping for £40 when it should have been £120! There are plenty of websites with coupons available plus in newspapers and magazines. There are so many cashback websites and apps that spending just a little time signing up could save you loads in the long run.
If you see any good ones be sure to share it all with us here.
If you're like me and you do your sums and check your bank balance before making any purchases then you'll always be on the lookout for great deals and savings. Most of the big supermarkets now do home delivery and if it's your first time then there are big savings to be made. Google your favourite supermarket and their introductory grocery offers.
Spending less doesn't mean you have to scrimp on quality. I love a good rummage through charity shops and on many occassions I've picked up nearly new high street brands and if I'm really lucky there might be a designer gem hidden in the midst! If you want to keep up to date with where the best savings can be found sign up to the Money Saving Expert website. They cover everything from grocery & clothes shopping to savings on household bills & credit cards. Happy saving everyone!
Someone shared a link with me this morning about boycotting SATS on May 3rd by keeping children at home. My little girl is in year 2 and she is doing the KS1 SATS this year. All I can remember from both parents evenings this year is her teacher talking to me about the 'tests' and how they are 'even harder' this year. Now I fully agree that children should be monitored to see how well they are doing in their English & Maths...sorry Literacy & Numeracy...but not tested so formally that both the children and the teachers are consumed by them and become stressed and unhappy. I have recently been helping my husband look for a new job and never have I seen so many job adverts for teachers. I can only guess that teachers are either suffering from so much stress that they're off sick or that they're now so disillusioned from teaching that they don't go back.
Primary school used to be fun, learning through creativity and celebrating everyone's individuality. Now it seems like the government are using schools as a big political experiment, sucking all the enjoyment out of learning and turning children into robots! I had never considered home schooling until recently but if the government continues along this road of destruction with my child's education, I'll have no hesitation in pulling her out of formal school and teaching her myself!
I added a new picture of myself onto Facebook last night and now, at 9.30am this morning (Sat 2nd April), it has 39 likes! 39! That's more likes than I get for most things...even cute pictures of my girls...although after years of cute pictures of my girls I can forgive people for not bothering to click like anymore (I do post quite a lot!) I think the reason so many people liked my photo is because I've made quite a dramatic change with my hairstyle and therefore look very different. I was born a dark brunette and for many years have changed my hair from one dark colour to the next.
The last couple of years has been tough, suffering with an undiagnosed medical condition and going through numerous procedures and diagnostic tests to try and find out what it is that causes me so much pain. I have finally found a doctor who seems to think they know what might be the problem and that in itself has given me a big confidence boost and has helped to alleviate some of my stress and anxiety. I had put off having my hair done because of having an operation at the beginning of March. To be honest I'm glad I waited otherwise I wouldn't have made such a change and it probably wouldn't have impacted on how I felt so much! Coco Chanel famously said "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life!" (Although technically it wasn't me who cut my hair, it was Andrea at The Hair Branch in Airedale, West Yorkshire, & what a great job she did!)
It may only be a hair cut but strangely enough it has made me feel a lot better. A small change has made a big difference! "Things don't have to change the world to be important", Steve Jobs. Happy Saturday everyone!
I have to say that every time that Masterchef is on the tv I get the urge to cook more from scratch and try out new recipes. And to be honest, that is becoming a more frequent thing as Masterchef is nearly always on whether it is the English version in all it's different formats or my other favourites Australia & USA. Unfortunately I am not the most knowledgeable of cooks and don't know what a lot of the ingredients are that they use on these shows. It took me ages to find out exactly what gnocchi was! What I did work out was that meals don't need to be fancy to be delicious and therefore they don't need to break the bank! Below are a few examples of my meals so far. Picture 1 is a chicken, sweet potato & spinach curry with naan bread. Next we have a meatball rigatoni pasta bake with mushrooms and melted cheese. Thirdly, a beef and mushroom pie (with cheat jus rol pastry!) Again another jus rol delight...bake in the oven pain au raisins (very yummy!) Lastly our take on home made pizza (again using jus rol pastry...I should be on their payroll!) Ham & cheese; great for warming up cold tummies at lunchtime.