If you are reading this…..
My blog has now moved over to
See you over there!!!
If you are reading this…..
My blog has now moved over to
See you over there!!!
This week I had intended for us to do lots of dinosaur activities, to link in with Dino week on CBeebies. It didn’t quite go to plan. We’ve had a really busy and fun week going out and about so never got round to doing some of the activities I had planned. We read lots of dinosaur books though and watched a great programme on Netflix called ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’ which Harrison loved!
We have done a few bits though, so I’ve put them all together to snow you!
Our first dinosaur activity started off on Sunday night where I found myself putting dinosaurs in my freezer! I found a few different shaped containers, half filled them with water and popped in a toy dinosaur, and managed to squeeze them in the freezer.
Obviously, when we took them out on Monday afternoon, the dinosaurs had frozen into the water.
I then popped them into our big plastic tray that we use for messy/water play, and gave the kids a few tools – plastic knives, toy hammers and screwdrivers and sticks. Immediately Harrison told me that the dinosaurs were ‘stuck’ and started using the hammer to try and get it out. It was lovely watching them trying to get the dinosaurs out using the tools.
However, it was a LOT harder than I had anticipated. The ice started melting and we talked about it melting (Harrison immediately compared it to ice cream!) and becoming water, which they thought was magical. Harrison realised by dropping the ice from a height he could break some of the ice but I had to discourage this as shards of ice started flying everywhere – unless we were all wearing goggles (which they probably would have loved and it would have added an extra role play element to the activity!) It wasn’t very safe. It was a good discussion point as we talked about being sharp and Harrison straight away recalled an incident before Christmas where he saw me cut my finger with scissors. I was starting to think we would never get the dinosaurs out without leaving them to melt, when I thought about how we try to melt ice….I filled up a spray bottle with warm salt water. The kids loved squirting the ice with the water and watching it melt really quickly. This was also great for fine motor control as they had to squeeze the trigger on the bottle. This was a brilliant activity for introducing some scientific concepts.
Then we did my favourite…handprints!! I’d found a lovely little dinosaur poem on Pinterest (there was no link so can’t credit it) which I thought would look really nice with the kids handprints.
On the corner of a4 sheets of paper (the kids chose their colours) we did a handprint, which I then added a head to the thumb bit and a tail to the other side, and popped on legs using felt tips. I then copied out the poem.
We’ve used the poem a couple of times this week to get them moving about when we haven’t been able to get outside.
Our last activity was by far the messiest and ended up with the kids in the bath. Graham drew some dinosaurs on coloured paper (he’s much better at drawing than me!) and I let them loose with a tray of yellow, brown and green paint. They enjoyed mixing the colours up to make ‘mud’, and then using their fingers and paint dabbers to blob paint onto the dinosaurs.
Once they had dried, we stuck them onto paper, and I used their dinosaur names and characteristics from their dino money jars.
Obviously if you are more creative with words than I am you could write your own dinosaur characteristics!
**the winner of the ‘Let’s Potty’ competition was Kim Campbell**
I was nominated by Becky from The Laughing Owls for ‘The Versatile Blogger Award’ – thank you! My blog is fairly specific, mainly concentrating on arts and crafts for kids, but I’m starting to open up and write about other things! This is a good way to get to know me as a person 🙂
The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:
1) in your post say thank you to the blogger that nominated you
2) write 7 facts about yourself and nominate 7 other bloggers
3) use the versatile blogger award badge on your post
Here you are then – seven facts about me!!
1) I am terrified of crabs. For a very long time I couldn’t paddle in the sea, go to the Sea Life Centre – I even had a panic attack after seeing a dead one on a seafood stall on a Paris market stall! It is getting slightly better since I forced myself to hold a crab, albeit for a second, at the Sea Life Centre, but I still hate the horrible things
2) I was a primary school teacher. I’ve always wanted to reach since I was at nursery school myself and played schools with dolls but have given my job up to bring my kids up. Will I go back? Who knows?!
3). I am a
little bit completely obsessed with Dirty Dancing. I have watched the film well over 100 times, know the script pretty much off the top of my head and know evey song. My lovely boyfriend took me to watch the musical at Aldwych Theatre a few years ago and it was amazing!
4)I am completely addicted to coffee. I do not function without a cup of coffee or three in the mornings! I worked at Starbucks on a Saturday whilst I was at uni, and I think that triggered the caffeine addiction. I struggle to walk past a Costa (so much nicer than Starbucks!) without sneaking in for a skinny extra shot vanilla latte!
5) I love shoes and handbags. When we moved into this house I was really strict with myself and had a declutter. I sold and gave away about half of my bags and shoes, so now I’m down to about thirty pairs of shoes and about fifteen handbags. I love pretty sparkly high heels but being 5ft 10 and spending my days at home with two toddlers I tend to live in my treasured Uggs and Converse!
6) I’m immensely proud of the fact that I’m still breastfeeding Alex, who is sixteen months. Harrison didn’t want to know but Alex is a little boob monster! Some days, like today, where he has fed every ten seconds (or felt like it anyway!) I wish he would start weaning but o know that’s probably a while off still, and its doing him (and me) the world of good.
7) I get bored of my hair really easily. In the last few years it has been red, brunette and blonde (currently blonde) and very short, very long and various lengths in between (currently chin length). I’m never happy with it – when it’s long I want it cut and when it’s short I want it long.
So yep, there’s seven facts about me! I now nominate the following bloggers:
We have a cupboard over flowing with craft and art materials, and its now overflowing into a chest of drawers in the spare room. The cupboard in my dresser hides away all our junk materials. I thought it might be a nice idea to share a list of the things we have and collect to hopefully give you some ideas!!
This is our cupboard with all the stuff we use regularly. I try and organise it and keep it neat but with so much stuff it’s impossible! Lots of the little bits are kept in jars so I can straight away what is in there. The baby wipe box is full of felt scraps and tissue paper, and the red box holds bags of bits that haven’t been opened yet.
Paper and Card
As you can imagine, we use rather a lot of paper! We have several packs of it in the house – bog standard white printer paper, brightly coloured paper, pastel coloured paper and sugar paper. We also have packs of tissue paper*, gummed paper, card of all colours and thicknesses, sparkly card, and some beautiful textured paper. I also have been known to nick wallpaper samples and squirrel them away! We also have a roll (somewhere!) of cheap white lining paper, which is great for ‘big art’.
We tend to mostly use normal poster paint (you know, like the stuff you use at school?). I can definitely recommend getting the paint from Tescos…think its about 99p a bottle but comes in lots of colours, and the colours are really bright and vivid. The bottles look quite small but last ages – we have just finished the bottles of red, green, blue and yellow we bought for Harrison’s first Christmas…and we use it all the time!
We have got watercolours and I’m sure as the kids get older we,I’ll use the more, especially as they tend to be less messy!
We usually have three types of glue in our cupboard. We have glue sticks, roller glue and PVA glue*. Glue sticks and roller glue are the best for sticking paper, PVA is stronger and also good for paper mache and using as a varnish. I also have a low heat glue gun which I don’t obviously let the kids use but is handy for sticking on both that tend to fall off with normal glue (those pesky googly eyes!)
Bits and Pieces
Foam stickers and shapes
Bows and ribbon*
Brads (funky patterned and shaped split pins)
These are all commercially produced craft kits that are great to make for presents or if we are lacking in ideas:
Tissue paper kits
Flower pot kit*
Kitchen roll tubes
Interesting shaped boxes and tubs
On top of this we have lots of tools – different types of scissors, punches, rulers, paper tearers, stencils….reading this I now realise just how much stuff we have!
What’s your number one craft or art material?
Items marked with a * are products and materials I was sent free of charge from Baker Ross for review purposes.
The first guest post on the blog…so I will hand you over to Sarah, from One Mummy and her double buggy – a mum to two kids almost identical in age to Harrison and Alex!
‘Park Life – rediscovering our local park
So half-term is upon us and when you are Mum to 2 under 3s this presents a challenge. All of your usual hang-outs are rammed and the other kids are much bigger so unless you don’t mind your babies getting trampled you need to find a new activity. Whilst I am a massive fan of our local park, I must confess, with the weather the way it has been I have been avoiding it over recent months and favouring more inside activities. Still with The Terrorists climbing the walls and a play date due with a good friend and her own Terrorist we decided it was time to re-find our ‘park life’!
My local park is Wandsworth Common. It is a 5 minute walk (or 20 minutes if The Bear is walking!) so we packed up our things, bundled on our warm waterproofs and wellies and off we went.
First port of call were the paths around the edge where the Toddler Terrorists spent a fabulous 30 minutes re-discovering their love for their scooters (which have been much neglected over recent months). As Bollie is still bum-shuffling we kept her entertained with The Bears’ ‘bucketful of dinosaurs’ (which absolutely had to come with us as Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs is currently our top book)which she put in and out of the bucket and threw to passing dogs!
Next stop was the playground which was, oddly, quiet. With a pair of waterproof trousers (the pair that Bollie is wearing are fleece lined and from Jo Jo Maman Bebe) Bollie gets to join in here and is thrilled with the swing and slide. I have to say I sometimes forget how much young kids love the simple things (and how immune they are the cold and dirt)!
We then take our buckets and spend the next 30 minutes collecting ‘treasures’ (i.e. any item on the floor which takes our fancy!). This is an eclectic list including (a baby pine cone, some rotting leaves, a sticker which another child seems to have discarded and what looks like an eraser! I have promised myself we will use these this weekend for an art project so they are now sat by my front door waiting for my moment of divine inspiration!
We are starting to flag so we head to the ducks where we get rid of all of our stale pitta bread and ‘shoo shoo’ the mean goose who is big on stealing it all before the other ducks get a look in!
Final stop is the café for a baby chino and a brownie treat before we head home, playing hide and seek between the trees and jumping in every muddy puddle we can find (Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for!) on our way.
Suffice to say both Terrorists slept like the dead and I earned myself 2 quiet hours to do chores (mainly washing all of the muddy clothes we created!).
‘Park’, I salute you, you’re free, you provide endless fun (or in our case about 3.5 hours) whatever the weather and I promise I won’t neglect to visit you for so long again!
This blog was written by Sarah of onemummyandherdoublebuggy.com
Sarah is Mum to ‘The Bear’ (a hectic, and sometimes adorable, 2.5 year old boy) and ‘Bollie’ (a feisty, and sometimes gorgeous, 16 month old girl).
Living in South West London, and on the path to becoming a mumtrepreneur, Sarah is a typical Mum juggling work ( in her case the start up and running of 2 businesses Bouncy Jam (the sole UK distributor for Yumbox-UK.co.uk) and cheekyelephant.co.uk) with the demands of being “Mummy” to ‘The Terrorists’!
Sarah started blogging in Oct 2013 when she started out on her mumtrepreneur journey. It was her way of venting / sharing the ups and downs of her journey (and saving her husband ‘Long Suffering Husband’ (LSH) a few rants). If you wish to read this blog you will find it at entrepreneurmum.wordpress.com.
Finding the process of blogging oddly cathartic (and very addictive!) Sarah started OneMummyandherDoubleBuggy.com in response to several requests (via social media and good friends) for details of some of her favourite, kid friendly, places to go and things to do in and around London
I only started my blog back in November 2013, so it’s only three months old and by no means established yet! However, for a new blog I don’t think it’s doing too badly! I get a decent number of views and visitors and I’m regularly being approached by companies to review for them and write for them.
Recently, I have had one or two friends ask me about blogging and setting one up, so now I’ve got to grips with the basics, I thought I might try and give some advice and tips from a newbie perspective!
Blogging takes a fair amount of time, so make sure you have plenty of it. It’s not the actual blog writing that is time consuming, but the photo editing, the promoting on social networks, the networking with other bloggers, tweeting, reading blogs and commenting.
2) A hosting site
You could jump straight in deep end, buy yourself a domain, and go self hosted. This means your blog is entirely your own – consider it as having a mortgage rather than renting, which is what a free blogging site is. The benefits of being self hosted is that you have complete control over what it looks like, what you install on there, adverts etc. The downside is you have to pay for it, and if something goes wrong it’s up to you to sort out. I would personally recommend using a free site to start with, as you may well find blogging isn’t for you but you’ve spent the money! I have aimed for my 6 month blog birthday as my target to go self hosted.
The two main free host sites are wordpress and blogger. I can’t comment on what blogger is like as I use wordpress. It’s simple to use, even for a technophobe like me, and you can download an app for apple or android devices.
3) What you will blog about
Have an idea of what you will blog about. Anything and everything goes when it comes to blogging, from crafts, parenting, lifestyle, food, fashion, beauty, technology….just make sure it’s relevant to you, and it is something you would enjoy writing about. If it doesn’t interest you, you’re going to struggle to wrote anything half decent and you’ll run out of steam very quickly. Try and plan a few posts in advance. I know roughly what I’m going to be blogging about for that week or so, and everywhere I go I take a notebook and pen in case inspiration strikes! My ideas have a habit of popping into my head just after lying down to sleep – and the odd one has happened in the middle of the night so I keep a notebook by my bed. I also have a few posts lined up for when I don’t have any ideas and I just hit publish!
4) Be a blogger and not a blagger
If you’re doing it to make money or blag freebies, don’t bother! Sounds blunt but that’s not what blogging is about, and it doesn’t work! I get sent plenty of gorgeous freebies (which aren’t technically free, they’re
payment for my time!), but they really are just a nice perk. I blog because I enjoy writing and sharing ideas.
Saying that, there is no harm in asking for or keeping an eye out for reviews. I’ve sent the odd cheeky email and had a few things sent out – but these were things that I genuinely use and refer to a lot in my blog and would probably feature organically anyway. I’ve turned down plenty of products which personally I would have loved (things for my cat!) but would have being completely irrelevant to my blog. Watch out for hash tags on Twitter such as #prrequest or #pbloggers (parent bloggers). Also, wrote about products you already own or love. My first review was about a set of kids books we adore (‘That’s Not My…Review’) We weren’t sent them, we already had them. I emailed the company the review which they loved, especially as I had done it off my own back, and sent me a lovely craft book to review (100 Christmas Things to Make and Do review) I’m now on their PR list!
6) Get on the social networks
Bloggers love Twitter. It’s a great place to promote your blog, ask for advice and network with other bloggers and companies.
I’m on all the main social networks: Twitter,
Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Pinterest
Interact and talk to other bloggers. I try and read and comment on five or so blogs a day – and quite often they will return the favour! Here’s a few of my favourite parenting and lifestyle bloggers:
8) Blogging Communities
Join them! As a parenting kind of blog, I’m registered with:
9) Link up!
Join in with linkies. This is where you link your post up to a hosts blog usually around a theme but there are some generic ones. It’s generally considered good manners to visit and comment on a few other blogs that have linked up. It is a good way to network with other bloggers, get a few more visitors and give you inspiration! They usually start on the same day each week and are open for a few days to add your post.
Some of the linkies I participate in are:
Binky Linky (for new bloggers)
Pocolo (to get some comments and love for any post you have written that week)
Country Kids (about being outdoors with kids)
Messy Play for Matilda Mae (messy play ideas)
Blow Your Own Blog Horn
(promoting your blog)
Check several times for spelling and grammar before you hit publish. We are all human and yes the odd mistake slips through the net (I noticed and corrected one tonight in a post I wrote in December!) but there is nothing worse than reading a post peppered with mistakes. I’ve read several blogs with no capital letters or all stops – needless to say I didn’t visit them again!
So there you have it. There’s more to learn about – guest posting, disclosures, media packs, follow and nofollow links (pretty important to read up on if you do any paid reviews or sponsored posts). But never be afraid to ask for help. Twitter is an amazing resource to get help from other bloggers, and there’s lots online – tots 100 has lots of tutorials.
When Canvas Design offered me the chance to review some products for them, I jumped on the chance. Like most parents, I love having photos of my two little people on the wall but I hate photo frames that often take the focus away from the photo. That’s why I love canvases.
I love these canvases that I was sent – they’re now pride of place on our living room wall!
All I had to do was send my chose photo to them. It took me ages to decide which one to send. I on!y sent the original one and they emailed straight away to say if I wanted a big canvas the photo would need to be better quality as they do tend to distort when enlarged. Unfortunately all of my photos are of similar quality (iPhone, then uploaded again from Facebook) so I decided to have three smaller ones instead. The canvases have turned out brilliantly, no noticeable distortion and feel sturdy and good quality.
The prices are really reasonable and on their website they offer a price match guarantee! Their customer service was fantastic -they emailed me straight away about my photo quality. I ordered on Tuesday night and they arrived Friday afternoon by courier. You get a text message on the morning to give you a time frame in which it will be delivered, which is useful! A hanging kit is also supplied with the canvas so you don’t have to faff about it buying bits to put them up.
Canvas Design have given me the amazing opportunity to give one of their canvases, worth up to £59.99, to a reader, with a photo of their choice. Sizes range from a cute little 6×6″ to a huge 40×40″! You need to enter using the rafflecopter link below – I do check all entries so make sure you do the mandatory ones! Even if you don’t win, you can still order one of their canvases at a 15% discount by entering ‘BLOG15’ at the checkout. Delivery is also free which is even better!!
Visit their website here.
Please note ALL entries will be checked and verifies before the winner is draqn
I’ve never been very good at doing physical stuff. In the days when I was young and children were far off in the distance, I was a pretty fast runner (long legs gave me an advantage). I was also pretty good at netball (being tall helped!), but apart from that…well, lets just say I kick a football in one direction and it goes the other way.
Harrison is already showing signs of being a little boy who loves doing anything physical – jumping, running, having a kick about in the garden and throwing balls,which I’m really pleased about., and I’m sure Alex will be the same. However, I have no idea how to teach him or help him develop these further. How can I teach him how to throw and catch when I can barely do it myself? That’s where Cool Skillz is going to give me a hand!
Cool Skillz is a multi skills physical activity club run by qualified coaches. The club works with children aged three and up to develop agility, balance and coordination through fun games and activities. It doesn’t focus on one particular sport, it aims to teach children those all important gross motor skills, as well as social skills such as following rules, listening and team work. Lewis, the founder of Cool Skillz, has sent me some great ideas and activities to do with Harrison and Alex at home or in the garden (if it ever stops raining!). These activities can be found on the Cool Skillz Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz .
Lewis is running a special fun day this weekend (Saturday 22nd February)at Warstock Community Centre in Birmingham. It starts at 10am for the little people and is £2 per person. It’s a chance to show some of the great activities the club does, so if you’re local I would definitely recommend popping along – much better than Saturday Soft Play hell! There all be plenty of fun physical games and challenges, including my personal favourite – the parachute!!
For further information about the fun day or to book a place or to find out more about what Cool Skillz has to offer, contact Lewis on 07794912079.
You can also head over to their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/coolskillz and check out some of the ideas you could try at home.
You can also follow on Twitter @coolskillzclub
Go along and have fun!
This is an advertorial post for which I received a small payment.
A slightly brighter day today – in fact we managed to play out in the garden for half an hour this morning, and had to shut the living room curtain as the sun was blinding us all for a while!
Today we were putting the finishing touches to things we started earlier this week, so most of it was done by me. The kids played with their toy kitchen a lot today, with their Melissa and Doug pizza set, their paper mache pizza and making me ‘cakes’ from playdough. Harrison is getting to the age now where he really enjoys role play and pretending. A plastic seat is all he needs to become a train driver, a little bag and he’s off to play with his market so keep an eye out for future posts about role play!
On Tuesday when we made our Valentines Biscuits, we also made our salt dough. For those of you who have never made it before, it’s really easy and can be used to make all sorts of things.
You will need:
1 cup salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
It doesn’t matter how big the cup is as long as you stick to this ratio.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until it forms a firm dough.
Harrison and Alex then had great fun rolling it out using their little rolling pins, and using heart shaped playdough/cookie cutters cut out heart shapes.
We then poked a little hole through them with one of our playdough tools, but a pencil or a straw would do the trick. I didn’t get a photo of the hearts at this point as my camera battery died, but we then placed them into a silicone baking tray. These can be left to air dry but takes several days. We popped ours in the bottom of the oven whilst our biscuits cooked, and then left them in the oven at a low temperature for a couple of hours. By this point it was too late to do any thing with them so they have been left until today.
We got out shades of red and pink paint and painted one side of them and left to dry. It dried fairly quickly as the dough absorbs the paint but does soften them just a little. We then turned them over and painted the other side.
Once they dried we threaded string through the holes we had made and hung them on the wall. When our ‘love’ week has finished these will make lovely little gifts!
On Monday, after painting their cardboard hearts for sewing (see what we did here), the kids painted their hands, something that they do every time the paint comes out! Whilst they played pizza shops today, I turned them into these:
This came from various ideas and pictures I’d saw on Pinterest and Facebook.
It was really easy to make – on red and pink card I drew a big heart with a black felt tipped pen. I stuck the handprint in the middle of the heart. With older kids it would look better with the handprint stamped directly onto the paper, but with toddlers it usually takes at least two attempt to get a decent print so is easier to do it on a separate sheet! I then handwrote the little poem, which is one I saw on Facebook but adapted the wording slightly.
Here’s the poem enlarged – excuse my rubbish handwriting!!
A lovely little present for someone on Valentines Day!
Another beautiful day….or not! I don’t like moaning too much about the weather as living in central Birmingham we are fairly protected, especially compared to these poor people in Somerset and other areas that are pretty much underwater!
Anyway, we turned the radio on to try and block the sound of the wind and rain, cranked the heating up and made some lovely Valentines cards. We had been sent a box of craft goodies by Baker Ross, which was perfect timing for the Valentines cards I had planned.
I had originally planned to make some pop out Valentines cards, but in the box from Baker Ross was a pack of pre-cut pop up heart cards,very similar to the ones we were going to make! For a pack of 8 cards it costs £2.56 on their website, so not badly priced!
Of course, I cheated and used these instead of making them, but if you want to have a go at making your own, here is what we were going to do:
1) Fold a piece of card in half
2) Draw a heart in the middle. Make sure the crease of the card goes through the middle of the heart.
3) Cut the heart out, leaving a small piece each side of the card intact
4) Make sure there is a crease in the middle of the heart.
The ones that I was sent came in a choice of red, white and pink.
We used a selection of the embellishments we were sent, as well as some of the materials I had already put in our Valentines Craft Box.
Felt tip pens*
I put the embellishments in a serving tray and let them choose whatever they wanted and decorate however they liked. The items from Baker Ross were great as they were all self adhesive – usually with similar items we use a glue stick and they drop off, so I end up using glue guns but these had little sticky pads on the back. I wasn’t a massive fan of the little bows though, as they weren’t stuck together, so one gentle pull and they come undone. I really liked the felt rose stickers !
The kids really enjoyed decorating their cards and they looked really cute. I joined in and made a Valentines Card for their daddy – I’m clearly not as artistic as my kids!
When we had finished making these ( the other four cards have been out away for next year!) Harrison asked to do some more sewing, so I quickly made a heart with holes in to sew, which after the initial knot he did pretty well independently, and I sat with Alex to make a hanging heart.
I cut out a heart shape from red card and then cut out the centre. Using the bits and pieces left over from the cards he decorated it. I noticed doing this that his fine motor skills are really coming along. He’s coming up to sixteen months old – he took the lid off the rather small glue stick, managed to put glue on the back of quite small buttons and shapes and press them onto the heart without much help, which I don’t think is bad going for his age! His pen grip is almost spot on as well, which is amazing.
We used lots of textures whilst doing this – soft foam, hard and smooth buttons, fluffy feathers which is perfect for a young toddler, especially Alex who loves using his thumb to explore texture.
We looped some red wool around the heart and hung it on the wall. Hopefully we will add some more hanging hearts the week!
* denotes products that we were sent free of charge from Baker Ross for review purposes, and are available to buy on their website. All thoughts and opinions are my own.