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Friday, 19 December 2014

Ugh, I'm sick

I hate getting sick, but it seems at this time of year and with children bringing home all sorts of germs from School it's inevitable that they'll get sick and then of course me as chief nursemaid will get sick too. I thought that this last time I'd been lucky. Daddy had looked after a poorly Big Boy whilst Top Ender and I had been running around doing things we'd agreed to that weekend. However as the week went on and Big Boy continued to be sick and Top Ender came down with it too, I knew my luck was going to change.

And it did in a rather violent fashion.

So now I'm poorly and I'm not really a very good patient, especially when it's so close to Christmas and I have so much to do.

Well, actually I don't have anything to do. I'm unusually organised this year. I've wrapped all the gifts to our family, I've wrapped all the gifts Santa asked me to help with for the children's stockings. I've made my shopping list for all the food I need to buy, so even if I can't get out to get it, Daddy knows exactly what it is that we need and from what shop.

At least, I suppose there are Christmas movies on 24/7 to keep me amused and it's fun trying to guess what is being delivered downstairs, as Daddy has banned me from going downstairs as he doesn't want to catch what I have!

Still, a day of bed rest is probably a very good thing.

Christmas lights that I can see from my bed

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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

December Sickbed Crafting With Bostik

With Big Boy and Top Ender both being off school this week due to illness (BB will be going back to School tomorrow he's fine even if his blood sugars are all over the place!) it would have been easy to resort to letting them both just sit in bed, watch cartoons and play on their tablets. And to be fair, both the children did a fair bit of that because when you feel as lousy as they did/do it's just about as much as you can manage to not fall asleep mid sentence. However, I'm a mean and evil Mum. The sort that doesn't care if you're off School sick and still makes you practice your times tables, spellings and handwriting and so when they were feeling a little better (late afternoon) I got them doing some Mummy home school.

Big Boy had been learning about symmetry at School before he was ill, so I set him up with a bunch of paper circles and got him designing baubles and snowflakes.

Symmetry homework - design a snowflake

We're going to attach all his snowflake designs to some invisible thread I have and hang them from the ceiling of his bedroom for a wintery design. He's rather pleased with the idea and his designs and I'm happy that he's still doing something educational.

For Top Ender though, I needed something a little more out of the box, or rather in the box as it turns out. At School Top's been learning about expressing herself through Art and so I gave her this months Bostik Craft Box and let her have at it.

Out of all the things she created I can only show you this brilliant Santa Hat, as the rest are going to be given as Christmas gifts!

Home Made Santa Hat

Top Ender used the glue dots that Bostik make (and we now LOVE because they are seriously good for everything) up one side of a cardboard cone. Then very carefully she lined a sheet of red felt up against the lower edge of the cone and wrapped it round to cover the cone. She tucked the excess felt inside the cone as I hadn't given her any scissors, but I think it helped keep it all neat.

Inside of a Santa Hat decoration

She added more glue dots up one side of the felt to keep it all together and I think she did quite a good job.

The next step involved a bit of trial and error. Top Ender had originally wanted to glue balls of cotton wool to the bottom, but she decided it didn't give her the clean look she was looking for and so instead found a skein of white thread and after drawing a circle of glue around the bottom edge, wrapped the thread round and round and round and round and round. She thought that this looked a little more neat, but also gave the hat the traditional Santa look.

The next step was to create a pompom for the top of the hat.

She did this herself, by wrapping the thread around her fingers and tying the centre in a knot (you know how to make pompoms I'm sure) and by this point I found her some scissors to cut the threads to shape it in to a pompom. Tops found it easier to attach a white pipe cleaner to the pompom and curled it round the cone in the felt at the top of the hat so that it wouldn't stick up or out too far.

Santa Hat Pompom on a pipe cleaner

And then she presented it to me, for my made over Christmas bedroom!

Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network Badge

All the crafts were sent to us as part of the Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network.
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Monday, 15 December 2014

The Cold Truth And Why I'm Always Coughing At Christmas #Sponsored Post

In childhood pictures of me at Christmas time, I was the quintessential ruddy cheeked smiley child. With my blond hair and almost permanent grin, I was just like those little cherubs you see hanging around the manger of the Baby Jesus. What you didn't see, just out of shot is the bottles of cough medicine and baby paracetamol and various other items that my Parents, Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles would buy for me in order to get me through the day. For every year, without fail I was ill at Christmas. Somehow, the children have skipped most of my cold at Christmas genes, well Top Ender does have a cough and BB is currently laying on the sofa feeling incredibly sorry for himself...

Big Boy asleep and poorly on the sofa

According to decongestant experts Olbas and some research they and others have done today, Monday 15th December is the most cold ridden day of the year.

Great.

Apparently, the amount of stress, the amount of social events and the bitter weather in the run up to Christmas factor into why this is and Dr Sarah Jarvis believes that with everyone focusing on getting ready for the big day that they forget to take care of themselves and lack of sunshine also has something to do with it. Dr Jarvis also said

“At this time of year, we’re not only huddled inside at home, but we’re also coming into more contact with crowds as Christmas shopping fever gears up. Add to that a combination of cold weather and central heating, and it’s not surprising that mid-
December is peak sneeze period!”

 I knew online shopping was a good idea.

The good news for me is that you can't catch a cold because you go out in cold weather with wet hair, almost all coughs and colds are caused by viruses, which when you breathe in and means boom you're infected.

As I've found out this past weekend, Children are great at spreading germs. It seems every child BB knows at School is off today with a rather unpleasant bug (and is why I'm very worried BB and I might be heading off to hospital any moment). Unfortunately for Daddy, he'll be the one most likely to catch this bug from BB as he was the one being sick nurse, whilst Top Ender and I went to do our Nativity with the children from Church at a near by Old Folks Home, and went to Church on Sunday (I was teaching, so I kinda had to go!).

Then again, BB is still not feeling good and I still might catch it. Luckily for me being ill the week before Christmas won't change anything, other than I might miss Top Ender's Carol Concert as almost everything else is done... but that's not the case for a lot of others, as over the holiday period a lot of people have really hectic schedules meaning that they can't veg out on the sofa, or in bed to take time for their bodies to get better.

Nikki Kerrigan, a spokesperson for Olbas explained:

“What we’ve seen is a clear peak just before Christmas when people are suffering the most from colds and it’s no surprise that most people feel worse on a Monday. It’s possibly the worst timing of the year! At a time when you want to be fighting fit, dealing with a cold can put a dampener on the long awaited Christmas holidays. Olbas makes it easy to treat cold symptoms so that you can enjoy the festive season with family and friends.” 

So this year whilst a cold might already be upon you, or you might know you're going to be coming down with one then there are a range of Olbas products to help you and the family and here are some tips from Dr Sarah Jarvis on keeping colds at bay and some ideas on how to help if you're already ill!

• Stick to your side of the bed You’re much more likely to catch a cold by spending hours in close contact with a sufferer. They may want to be cuddled all night if they’re feeling sorry for themselves, but it’s a sure recipe to leave you bunged up too.

• Once you’re sneezing, it may be too late Colds are probably at their most contagious during the incubation period – the two days or so between being exposed to the virus and getting symptoms. Once you’re sneezing, it’s about symptom relief rather prevention.

• Being congested is no laughing matter 1 in 3 of us find congestion the worst part of having a cold. Aromatic oils containing eucalyptus or menthol can relieve stuffiness in the nose and let you breathe easy.

• You need propping up – literally! Coughing is often worse at night – when you lie down, mucus drips onto your soft palate, stimulating your cough reflex. Make yourself a nest of pillows to avoid being up all night coughing.

• There are some benefits in getting older! Kids get up to a dozen colds a year – in adults, it’s about 2-4 a year and in older age it may be only one, because your immune system has come across most of the viruses responsible and can fight them off. However, older people are more vulnerable to complications such as serious chest infections which is why it’s important to fight a cold head on with over the counter remedies, hot baths and rest!

Infographic about colds from Olbas

This is a sponsored post, but trust me my medicine cabinet is full of Olbas remedies as they are natural and I find them to be a great help.
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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Why Santa Only Brings Little Things

Many years ago, when Top Ender was small, Daddy and I had a chat about Santa. We decided between us that Santa wasn't going to be responsible for the main gifts in our home. In our home, there would of course be gifts from Santa, but the main gifts, the ones that cost a lot of money? They'd come from us. Upstairs gifts, from Santa, downstairs gifts from us.

Top Ender and Big Boy at Christmas

We knew that Top Ender's friends wouldn't have the same rules in their home, so we casually dropped into conversation with Top Ender about how Santa asked us to pay for half the presents he gave to us. Top Ender accepted this, she was small and it didn't seem unreasonable to her, especially as I'm pretty sure we also explained that this was something he or his Chief Elf spoke about to all parents who were in certain tax brackets.

A couple of years later, Top Ender accidentally found some stocking gifts I'd carefully selected for her. I knew that she wouldn't believe me if I told her that they were for someone else, she'd realise come Christmas Day so I decided to inform Top Ender, that occasionally, as well as sending money we could also send small trinkets for Santa to include in stockings... again Top Ender accepted this.

So in our house, Santa doesn't bring the big ticket items. He doesn't bring Bikes, or TV's or Computers. He brings little things like, tissues, sweets, notepads, pens, pencils, stickers, and necklaces and occasionally things that enhance computer games.

And why am I telling you this?

I'm telling you this because maybe this will be a good idea for you to bring into your home, a way to get out of those tricky issues when the children see a little something that they shouldn't, or when they ask for something that there is just no way you can afford, but they don't understand why Santa can't afford it, or make it as we are often told he does in stories. And maybe it'll help you be the hero this Christmas.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family at Christmas

What sort of gifts does Santa bring to your home?
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Saturday, 13 December 2014

Computer Games For Christmas

It's no secret that here at A Mother's Ramblings, we love a computer game. Be it on the Wii, the Wii U, the Playstation (3, because I'm not made of money) or the Xbox (360 because again I'm not made of money!) or even on the PC if it's something that interests us then we save up for it. In fact BB currently has £60 saved in anticipation of a game coming out soon that he'll want. He isn't sure what it will be, but he knows that if he saves he'll be ready.

There were two games on the early drafts of the children's Christmas lists this year. Top Ender was very interested in The Sims 4 (It seems a love of The Sims is passed down genetically) and Big Boy was after Skylands Trap Team, for any platform.

Big Boy was making sure that he would get the game, as well as requesting it from Santa he was also saving up to buy Trap Team. As luck would have it we were invited to a launch party, along with some celebs (one of them was Danny Dyer and boy was my sister jealous. I told her that he kissed me, but in reality he just gave me one of those nod of the head "Wassup" type gestures as he backed away from me.) and game reviewers and the like and was given a copy of the game. Big Boy mentioned something about this blog being the best thing to ever happen to this family and then started playing Trap Team and filming himself doing so for his Youtube channel, so I had to be quiet.

Skylanders Trap Team

The game is actually pretty much the talk of the playground at School. Almost every child I've spoken to (both male and female) has either asked Santa or their parents for the game or an older brother or sister has.

Playdates for Big Boy since he got the game have consisted of children coming round, making nice with me for a few minutes and then plonking themselves down with Big Boy for a half hour of Skylands Trap Team before moving on to other activities... like drawing characters that he'd like to be in the next Skylanders game!

Normally whilst Big Boy and his friends are downstairs, Top Ender escapes the chaos and hides away in her bedroom, where she plays The Sims 4.

The Sims 4

If you haven't heard of The Sims before, it's basically how I think God must look at us sometimes. It's a simulation game, where the player (God) encourages a Sim (Human) to do various things. Like go to the toilet, study, work out etc. Occasionally you can mess with a Sim by cancelling it's action, and it drives them nuts. Like when you go into a room and can't remember why you went in there.

when you go into a room and can't remember why you went in there

Anyway. Top Ender has spent HOURS playing this game, and as it is installed on the PC in her bedroom, I can't play it (which is the greater injustice here) without having to stand on her bed. And that's just annoying.

Tops has not stopped going on about how great the game is either. Which is even more annoying. In fact I'm starting to wish I hadn't let her get a review copy and just put my fingers in my ears when she asked if she was allowed to spend her money on it!

So. If you're looking for games this Christmas that would suit someone you know, I and the children would 100% recommend The Sims 4 and Skylanders Trap Team, just make sure if you give it to them after you've done all the family things you wanted to do, as you might not get a word out of them after they've opened the game!

I found Skylands Trap Team from £36 online.

I found The Sims 4 from £24 online (it's normally around the £40 mark).

We were sent the games to review.
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