Friday, 21 November 2014

Children in Need

It was Children in Need last week and Zoe has loved seeing "Teddy!" all around so I thought we could do some activities involving him. I found some great printables just by googling Children in need, including this cute bear mask on the Scholastic website. Zoe has fun making spots using stamp pads, whilst Aidan chose to colour his. 

Cutting the mask out also provided him with some good fine motor skills too.

Zoe also gave her fine motor skills a work out with these pretty pom poms! 

Aidan stayed up until quite late watching the programmes and some of the videos about the poorly Children reduced him to tears. It may seem harsh to have let him watch upsetting things like this but it I think it was good for him to appreciate that he is lucky, despite his own medical problems (he was recently diagnosed with Hirschsprungs disease)  there are children much worse than him.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Bonfire Night - Remember, Remember the 5th of November!

Happy Bonfire Night!

Today Zo and I have been looking at Fireworks and Bonfire Night based activities.

I printed off some Bonfire night related pictures from Here and we set about colouring them in, as we coloured I told Zo the colour of crayon she was using so she could get used to the words.
Then I gave her a piece of black card and some beautiful, sparkly firework stickers that I got from Baker Ross, at first I didn't remove the backing so she could move them around freely and create as she wanted to, this was also great movement for her little Fingers. After a while I began peeling the labels for her so she could actually stick them and make a permanent picture

We watched a video of the London New Year Fireworks on Youtube and later tonight we will go to an organised Firework display as a Family.

For Older Children there are some great resources over at Activity Village

I hope your Bonfire night goes with a BANG and you all stay safe

Playing with Purpose

Little Zoe is now 2 (when did that happen right?) so I have started to explore "Playing with Purpose" with her. It's not deep thinking or Learning, it's not sitting down for hours teaching her, it's just giving her play a little more thought. For example: Giving play a theme, Halloween, Easter, Bonfire night, this makes the play relevant to the world around her or thinking of Textures, crunchy, soft, noisy, shiny.

I did similar with my oldest child Aidan, you can see lot's of posts on what I did with him if you scroll back through the blog or by clicking on the Label "Learning the Alphabet" to the right of screen (just one example here)  and I REALLY, REALLY think it helped him as now he is at School he is doing Fantastically. His Teachers have all said he has a love of learning and is keen to try things, his reading is excellent and he is reading at a level well above his keystage, as a Mum this of course thrills me.
 I am planning on updating this blog as often as I can with the different play ideas I come up with for Little Zo. The ideas won't be difficult, excessively time consuming or expensive, after all I am just an ordinary Mum, but hopefully it might help set her on the road to a life of Leaning as well as give others ideas for playing with their little ones.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mexican for 5.5 for just over a fiver!

We had Friends round for tea last night and I cooked them Mexican, on a budget of course!

I got 2 packs of Value Tortilla chips (92p) which I grated some cheese (50p) onto and then grilled, once the cheese had gone melted and gooey I put some reduced Sour cream (30p) and some Salsa I had from Approved Foods (33p) on the top and voila we had a nice starter of Nachos.

For main course we had Chilli which I made in the slow cooker with 1 pack of Aldi mince (£2.00), 1 tin of Kidney Beans (30p), 1 onion (8p!) and a chilli mix (38p). Served with some Value Rice (40p)

Meal for 4 Adults, 5 year old and a toddler = £5.21

Friday, 21 February 2014

Saving for your Sanity!

It's been Half Term here this week and Aidan has been off school, that means only one thing amusement or mischief. Aidan definitely needs to be kept occupied or mayhem and much shouting from me ensues, the trouble is this half term fell  a week before both of our paydays, yikes! Luckily for us we had a few tricks up our sleeve to enable us some great Family days out at no cost.

Thanks to the Tesco Clubcard Boost scheme we managed to visit Woburn Safari Park for FREE! I had been saving up all my Tesco Clubcard points and gathering extras where possible as I knew they would really come in handy for trips and days out. For £18 in Clubcard Points we received entry for 3 of us (under 3s are free anyway) a saving of almost £54! We took a packed Lunch and avoided the gift shop so the only cost to us was about quarter of a Tank of Petrol. We had a brilliant Family day out for next to nothing. Now I know that I had to spend in Tesco to get the Clubcard points in the first place but I have only purchased items I would have purchased anyway, eg the week food shop so I do class the things I exchange the points for as being free after all I could have spent the same money at another Supermarket and received nothing in return.

Enjoying seeing the Zebra's from the comfort of the car!

 A second trip we managed to achieve for no on day out of pocket expenses was a trip to the cinema to see The Lego Movie. Aidan like most 5 year olds LOVES his Lego so as a treat for getting a great report at Parents Evening we promised him he could go and see the movie. Now the Movies is not a cheap place to go (at least £15 for 1 adult & 1 child to go) so again we thought "Yikes!" we promised this trip now how are we going to pay for it? Luckily I had purchased a £20 cinema gift card as a present over a year ago and never actually gave it to the recipient so I packed them off on their way with some store bought sweets, popcorn and juice and they had a fantastic time.

Here we have a School Summer Holiday of 6 weeks, usually starting at the end of July, so that means 6 weeks of entertainment will be needed! That's approximately 20 weeks away from now which sounds like forever but I guarantee will pass by quicker than a blink so my plan (and suggestion for any of you good people reading!) is to start now by saving Loyalty Card points, buy a giftcard a week for the cinema or the indoor play place, pop money into a savings pot.

Your Children and your Sanity will thank you!!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Man down!

I was taken out of action completely last week with full blown Flu, I didn't even get  out of bed for 2 solid days.
 "Oh no!" I thought, "the man is going to have to take care of the house!".  But do you know what? He did GREAT thanks to the planner I have mentioned in previous posts. Each day he ticked off his little list, he even managed to dress both children, including our sweet little girl (lets face it, Dads get little girls outfits very wrong sometimes!), with ease as I had decluttered and organised their closets only last weekend as per the plan! 
Normally I would spend a week trying to catch up after being ill but now there's nothing extra to take on!

Friday, 10 January 2014

11 days into 2014 and so far I am feeling much more accomplished and on top of things.

Whilst having a bit of an internet surf I discovered a fantastic site called The Confident Mom which is full of great ideas and tips to help you to be "a calm, cool, confident Family Manager". 

I downloaded her FREE Weekly Household planner and I am so, so glad I did! It is absolutely fantastic. 2 versions are available, a blank one for you to fill in your own schedule or one pre-filled with Daily tasks.

I am a  "tell me what to do" sort of person with these things so downloaded the pre-filled version and have been completing each task daily. So far in 2 weeks I have managed to do lots of little jobs I had been putting off, for example our Kitchen drawers were a nightmare, stuff was everywhere and nothing could be found. Wednesdays task this week was to Organise 3 Kitchen Drawers, perfect! As I had read ahead on the planner I actually did 1 drawer at a time rather than all in one go, this meant I only needed to set a side a few minutes rather than a huge chunk of time, job done!

Amongst other daily tasks here is a list of what I have achieved in 2 weeks using the planner and doing a few tasks each day:

2 cars washed
Coat Cupboard tidied and organised
Disinfected Hair brushes
Organised 3 Kitchen Drawers
Meal Planned weekly
Flipped all mattresses
Finished Thank you notes
Packed away Christmas decorations
Cleaned out freezer
Uploaded and organised Christmas photos
Cleaned Toaster
Cleaned Microwave
Organised pantry shelf
Dusted and hoovered living area x2
Dusted and hoovered Bedrooms x2
Cleaned cooker hood
Cleaned refridgerator shelves
Cleaned Bathroom x 4
Changed all beds x2

Now I don't know about you but I know for a FACT I would not have achieved half of that without this planner.So far I cannot recommend it enough and I actually think I can stick to this schedule as it takes such a little amount of time each day.

And just a reminder the planner is FREE!!

It can be downloaded here