Friday, October 9

Pushing the limits now the kids are back at school

We are now approaching half term, boy hasn't the first few weeks at school flown by in a blur?
 It's really hard to believe the kids have been back a few weeks already, thankfully Emmy at least has settled into the new routine quickly, she may not like it as she has now lost her afternoon playtimes and the work is getting harder but there were less tears than I expected which can only be a good thing.  Now to work on getting her to do her homework and reading without a fuss will be another battle entirely!
Harry unfortunately has already had a whole week off of school due to a horrid cold and a very nasty croupy cough, Paul had to do the school runs with Emmy while Harry and I snuggled in the warm under blankets with hot chocolate and Calpol.  He had a fever for a few days and generally wasn't himself.  He still has a bit of a lingering cough but nothing to keep him off of school much to his disgust.  He is back now and crying every school morning that he doesn't want to go - this is really sad for him and for me as he does love school and has so much fun while he is there.  I'm hoping its a faze which will quickly pass as I don't like seeing him so upset.

I had so many plans set in place when the kids went back to school
  • Catch up on my backlog of work left over from taking the whole summer off after loosing my Mother-in-Law
  • Catch up with friends and have a few leisurely lunches while I was able to
  • Get the house in order room by room
  • Sort out the clothes which no longer fitted
  • Sort out the toys and get rid of baby ones and broken/old ones etc
  • Go swimming at least once a week
  • Actually watch and do my exercise DVD's
  • Push past 10,000 steps every day
As you can imagine some of that list has been looked at, some I have done and others well I may need the biggest boot up the bum ever!  I have sorted the clothes and the house room by room - although I still have the spare room left which is actually scaring me as it's a dumping ground.
It makes me really happy to see the finished rooms all clear and tidy again, albeit for a short time while the kids are at school. 
I've gotten rid of almost 15 bags of rubbish, recycling, old toys, clothes etc and these have been handed over to charity, neighbours or the bin depending on the condition.  Next up is photographing and selling the bigger and sellable bits which can be rehomed and to pop onto ebay, gumtree or facebook selling pages to help pay for some of the Christmas presents.
As you can imagine exercise hasn't been crossed off my list yet sadly, it's not that I haven't wanted to, just other things need doing first and the exercise DVD's I had gotten in preparation for this well just aren't as exciting as catching up on my soaps when I actually do manage to find so free time.  I've found the solution though! I've actually been looking into cross trainer hire, I began looking at buying one but I know what I am like - I would use religiously for a week and then it would be like my other exercise equipment, used as a clothes horse and gather dust.  My thinking behind hiring one is that if I am paying out money then I will want to get my money's worth first to see if it would just be a novelty, if I used it all the time as I hope to then I could look at buying one at a later date.
Have you ever thought about hiring instead of buying? 
I've not managed to lunches either, which surprises me as I thought it would be one of the first things I crossed off, I guess this is mainly as I don't have access to the car in the week so it's a little more difficult and also having Harry off for the week saw me cancelling the one I had booked up.
Catching up on work???  I have all intentions of doing that, it will take a while but I am beginning to make a little progress and I am saying no a lot until this is done too, although booking up two weekends away may hinder this a little but I will do my best.
Do you have lists? Have you managed to cross much off recently?

post signature

Persil: Cooking with kids

My kids both love to get messy in the kitchen, it's one of the constant things they ask to do - first thing in the morning or straight home from school "Can we do some cooking".
Usually I try to say yes, but there are obviously times when it's just not possible, say just before bed for example.  I try to involve them both whenever I can though as I find if they help to prepare and make our food they eat better and try new things.  It doesn't necessarily need to be a whole meal they prepare, they are happy to put the potatoes into the pan and to help peel the carrots etc.
Cooking with kids is fun however the aftermath not so much!
I much prefer it when we make sweet treats as although the mess is usually the same, at least I can lick the bowls and the spoons (I mean the kids can!) and have a treat after the cleaning up.
Speaking of cleaning up, Persil came to our aid - they must know just how messy the kids are!  And sent over some Persil to help tackle the aftermath of cooking with kids, it actually even encouraged Emmy to wash up, and although the floor ended up soaked, and her clothes and Harry too (I'm not sure how as he didn't even go near the sink) the dishes and bowls were clean and it also works well to clean the work surfaces after cooking too along with hot water.
Persil are currently running an on pack promotion where once registered you can enter the codes collected from special promotional pack to claim your free kids baking sets.
Codes are printed on Persil Washing Up Liquid and parents can collect points for every bottle of washing up liquid that they buy - these can be exchanged for kids cookery gifts such as aprons, hats and colourful whisks, plus other great prizes
Details can be found on the website and for every code you enter you are automatically entered into a prize draw to win £250 worth of supermarket vouchers.
You need to hurry though as the rewards are quickly running out so if you've any packs at home enter your codes while you still can.

post signature

Wednesday, October 7

A fun filled day at Chessington while potty training

Towards the end of the Summer holidays I planned a fun filled day out with my best friend, her husband and their children, along with Emmy and Harry - we decided to wait until the beginning of September when some of the local Schools had already returned, obviously the thinking was that it would be quieter at that time.
That backfired and it was really busy as it turned out to be a really sunny day - however as always we managed to have a great day.  For our day out there were 3 adults and 7 children aged from Harry who is almost 3 all the way up to teenagers.  Armed with a picnic, pushchair, a changing bag packed with HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®, wipes and Harry's My Carry Potty we were all set to go.  I had begun potty training Harry over the Summer and although this is a little slow I didn't want a day out to hinder the progress we were beginning to make.
Having different aged children meant they wanted to do and go on different rides so after the eldest 3 had a set time to meet back and a designated place to meet they went off to explore and queue for rides.
With 3 adults and 4 children left we headed for the smaller rides as there were rides they couldn't go on due to height restrictions. 
For many of the rides the older boys in our mini break off group were able to go on the rides together, meaning I could take Emmy and Harry on as they both needed an adult to ride with, or my best friend (their Godmum) could go with one of them on the ride where only 2 can ride at a time.  I won't lie: the majority of the tantrums came from Emmy - she wanted to go on all rides with me, however as a Mum to two I have to share myself equally when I can so it was only fair I spent some time with Harry too so she had to ride with Ruth.
We let the children choose which rides they wanted to go on while we were here, some had queues of around 30-40 minutes while others were longer and of course we tried to steer away from those - rides such as the carousel we could jump straight on so did a few times.
As we are potty training Harry he went wearing his HUGGIES® Pull-Ups®, this meant I didn't need to pack a few changes of clothes just the Pull-Ups®, wipes and the potty.  There were plenty of toilets around the park and whenever we took one of the other children I took Harry to try for a wee on the toilet, sometimes successful but other times not.  I changed his Pull-Ups® if they were wet and kept asking him throughout the day - just as I would when at home.
Being out and about while beginning this process can be daunting however it is impossible to remain indoors until they have cracked it 100% so days out have to be planned and providing you equip yourselves well it isn't as hard as you think it maybe.
From a personal point of view I would say don't get hung up on accidents while you are out - kids get distracted easily - just carry on as you would do at home, change them, get them to try or sit on the potty/toilet regularly and try to still have fun.
I discovered during our day out that Harry isn't keen on toilets when we are out (this maybe as he has a cushioned seat which goes onto ours at home) but if we took the potty into a cubicle he would have more success, personally I wasn't keen on just opening up the potty in the middle of the park as it helps to have some privacy (and isn't all that nice for others around to see him sitting on the potty), however if he asks as we aren't near a toilet the My Carry Potty is very handy for this as you close the lid again and carry it to the nearest toilets to empty.
Our day out was great fun - it was busy and sadly a few of the rides weren't working so it meant the other rides were busier however there were treetop adventures to be had, Penguin shows to be seen and friends to play with, so even though we didn't get on as many rides as planned we all had a great day out together and we can't wait to plan another adventure soon, although taking teenagers to a theme park has it's downside too - they forced me to go on this with them when their parents wouldn't:

I am still plotting my revenge for this one!
Disclaimer: I was compensated some of the cost of my day out as a Huggies Pull-Ups Ambassador to share my experiences of potty training while out and about with you.
post signature

Getting ready for Winter

There are many things to take into consideration when we switch over into the colder period. Especially if you have young children, you need to ensure that you and the rest of your household stay fit and healthy. One thing to do is make sure that you and your family have a full winter wardrobe ready; a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves are all important when trying to keep those cold and flu germs at bay. If you do feel like you are coming down with something, try to drink plenty of fluids and rest up until you are feeling better, as you don’t want to risk giving other people your cold – nor prolonging your own cold!

One of the most important aspects of keeping you and your family warm and healthy during winter is your heating. You want to make sure that your heating system is all in working order before winter sets in. If you do have an old gas boiler system then perhaps it is time to look to upgrade to a more eco-friendly and cheaper option such as electric radiators that give you more control over room temperatures. Such radiators are available from for example Verismart who also offers a heating calculator on their website, allowing you to calculate and account for how much your heating bill is going to be in advance.
As the cold season draws in, you may want to look to create more indoor activities for your children to keep them out of the cold. There are many different online resources for indoor activities for you and your children during winter, it is just about finding the most suitable one for you and your family. You may also want to ensure that your medicine cabinet is full of cold and flu remedies, in case you or someone in your family does come down with something, just to ensure they are back on their feet as soon as possible.

There are many ways that you and your family can prepare for winter, whether that be by just updating your wardrobes or by looking at your home heating system. Depending on your budget, there are ways that you can get yourself and the rest of your household ready for the winter season, ensuring that you and the rest of your family, keep fit and healthy. If you have any suggestions on how to prepare for winter, please let me know in the comment box below.

post signature

Ravensburger My first memory game

Now Harry is a little older I have been trying to get him interested in proper games where you have to take turns and sit down to play. 
This isn't something he has been very keen on previously as he is still young and is full of energy, and would much rather jump on the sofa, run around and cause havoc wherever possible.
Being in pre-school has taught him that you actually do have to calm down at times and sit still - this seemed a good time to try again with the Thomas the Tank Engine My First Memory Game he has been sent from Ravensburger.
He loves Thomas and happily helped to set this game up by pushing out the thick game cards from the packaging.
With the help of Emmy we laid the cards face down on the floor ready to play.
Explaining the rule to an almost 3 year old is rather tricky as he just wants to dive straight in - we decided it would be best to show him.
This is a game of pairs, you turn over 2 cards at a time and try to match the pictures.
There are 24 different pictured cards all with characters from Thomas the Tank Engine - this means there are 12 different matching pairs.
You can make this easier for younger players by only laying out 2/3 matching pairs, then once they are used to the game you can increase the difficulty.
Harry started off well however was more keen on turning then all over at the same time, snatching up the pieces and making sure no-one else had a turn.
Emmy tried playing with us too and I soon discovered she can NOT play a game without cheating, she would distract us and turn over many or just plainly cheat by turning over a couple until she found the pair.
This game is aged at children aged 2 1/2 upwards and helps to encourage:
  • Turn taking
  • Matching
  • Memory skills
  • Concentration
  • Counting
  • Colours
  • Recognition
We will continue to play this and build up his attention span and hopefully one day soon we can play without cheating, tantrums and throwing of the pieces - well I do live in hope that will happen!
If you don't a Thomas fan, this game is also available in an In the Night Garden set instead.

post signature