Boring Lunchboxes?

We've got easy ideas that take seconds to make!

Looking for some Summer Fun?

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Thinking about Summer?

Why not kick back and relax?

Having a Family Movie Night?

Why not take a look at what we've been reviewing and what we thought?

Don't know what to cook?

Why not take a look at what we've been eating?

Friday, 26 September 2014

Friday Night Treats

I've spoken before about how I see September as the start of the year and a time for making School related resolutions, and I've even followed up and made sure that I follow through with the promises I make to both the children, the school and myself. I'm pretty sure that making resolutions in the Autumn is engrained from years of British Schooling and I'm sure that even when the children have long left School that I'll still think about making promises (after all that is what resolutions are) in September when I buy myself a new notepad or seven.

New Notepads and sticky notes - review coming up!

The latest resolution that I've made with the children is to do with our weekly routine. 

  • Monday night we have Top Ender at Brownies, so Big Boy and I play computer games together.
  • Tuesday night we occasionally have Faith in God or we catch up on chores.
  • Wednesday night we have Family Home Evening (it's basically a study, prayer and then a few other activities that we do together session).
  • Thursday night we have Big Boy at Beavers, so Top Ender and I go for a walk and play in the park or read.
  • Friday night... well Friday night is treat night.

My first idea, was that one week we'd do something simple like go for a walk in the woods, or round one of the many lakes in Milton Keynes. The next week we might go to a local soft play or a farm or something. The next week we might have a bite to eat out or I might take the children to a bakery and let them pick a treat. The next week we might watch a movie at home with popcorn or nachos and then the next week we'd either start all over again or do something else that we've come up with.

On a Walk in the Woods

I even asked on my Facebook page for suggestions of things to do and got a lot of replies. I didn't specify that it was for a Friday treat, instead I asked "What great fun activities can you think of for children to do after School that are either free or have a low cost?"

Bug hunting at a beauty spot, if it's been rainy make it a muddy bug hunt

Board games - check out boardgamegeek website for lots you have never heard of

Making cup cakes, invest in all the ingredients sprinklings and decorations and they will last for ages x A trampoline is great, again is cost money initially but then great fun, I have all my daughters friends round who live in flats.

Yesterday I popped into my local fabric shop and found a piece of thin patterned material in their bargain bin. It's currently being used as a den, draped over a few bits of furniture in the living room. Might make it into something for dress ups when that novelty wears off (though probably just a poncho as I can't sew for toffee.
Also - save every magazine, leaflet, all sorts. Go to Poundland and stock up on junk and glue, and they can either make a collage or a model. When I was a kid my mum had a special cupboard just for "rainy day" activities where she stored things anyone else would have called junk!
Single Mother Ahoy

the local park for an hour, a long walk (making up games on route, (board games night, Cooking night let them "cook" dinner. Craft Night, Give them a pile of "rubbish" empty cereal boxes, toilet rolls, junk mail etc, a tube of pritt/stapler and challenge them to make a monster. Give them a night off, and just let them play on their own. It's ok.

library visit. Games & activities focused around favourite books.

So I'm still thinking about some great ideas for Friday night treats. What would you most like to do with your family on a Friday?
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Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Bedtime Stories

Recently I've changed our bedtime routine. Just a few small changes, but enough to make our evenings run a little smoother and hopefully encourage both Top Ender and Big Boy to a more peaceful and rejuvenating nights sleep.

Bedtime in my favourite bed linen

Part of the new routine is after they have finished watching a cartoon in bed, or reading a chapter or two of their book, or writing in their journals, or what ever it is that they want to do before I tell them to turn off their bedroom light is that now after saying their prayers with them I tell them each a story. Big Boy likes this because he knows it is putting off the inevitable actual going to sleep part of the routine but his request for stories that he'd never heard before and that I've made up each night is getting a little hard to keep up with.

So I've started to get a little more creative with my story telling. I've started telling stories that aren't technically mine. Basically, I've started telling him plot lines of various films I've seen over the years and just cleaning them up so that they're suitable for a six year old boy at bedtime.

And it's working.

Two nights ago, I told him the love story about a glittery vampire and a girl. He told me he thought it sounded like a silly story, but that he bet girls would love it.

Last night I told him the story of a robot boy who wanted to be human. He didn't really get the Alien ending, but then again I don't think anyone who has seen the film AI did either.

Tonight I told him the story of two young men who travel through time trying to learn enough to pass their History report for the sake of the future.

Tomorrow I'm thinking that I'll tell him the story of a grown man who tries to track down his one love from high school, who there is just something about.

Now, I need your help.

What other films can I edit into suitable bedtime stories for a six year old and please tell me I'm not the only one that does this! Tell me, that you've at least borrowed plot lines from a movie or two to make your own bedtime stories have that wow factor that the blockbuster movies have.
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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Appreciating The Ordinary

WARNING. Reading this post may spoil the illusion that my family and I are perfect.

I had big plans for the start of last week. Flyfour/Daddy was home as he'd been working over the weekend and as it was unusual to have him home I decided that we needed to do something to mark it. Maybe we could go out for a meal as a family, making use of an early bird special to make the most of our limited funds. Or maybe we could go to one of our favourite lakes for a walk and a picnic and ensure that we were back home early enough to send Top Ender off out on her usual After School activities.

In the end we did nothing on Monday night.

I could handle that we did nothing on the Monday as along with Top Ender going to Brownies, I had a Governors meeting and by the time it was all over and done with and I was back ensconced in my home I couldn't be bothered to go out again.

A Mocktail for me

Tuesday was going to be different though. I had spent all day Monday suggesting various ideas of things we could do to and even though he had dismissed each and every single one of them, I attempted again on the Tuesday. Come pick up time however he still hadn't found a single idea from the things I suggested interesting enough to be something we could do together that evening.

I was mildly annoyed.

Okay, I take that back, I was more than mildly annoyed I was pretty peeved at the whole thing and to put it politely I was thinking some rather detailed "poor me" things in between some slightly more  detailed and colourful "blinking husband" things. After one of my barbed comments, about how doing things at home was what I did EVERY SINGLE DAY, Flyfour/Daddy replied that it was the ordinary things like being at home after School that he missed and wanted to do.

All the air went out of me like a deflated balloon. Seriously how stupid was I?

Every single night, I get to talk to the children about School, about their friends, their lessons, funny things the Teacher said, who's fallen out with who. I get to listen to their prayers, listen to them read, help them with their spellings and times tables, listen to them practice the Violin. I get to wipe away the tears and set alarms for the amount of console time. I get to get the compliments on meals that I've cooked, puddings that I've arranged and crafts I've made for them.

When Daddy calls to say good night and good morning to the children, they give him maybe a minute of their time. All I hear is their end of the conversation and it normally goes something like;

Uh Huh.




No that's on a Wednesday!

Bye. Love you.

There is me feeling jealous of Flyfour's/Daddy's nightly restaurant trips, his walks around the Canals and Shopping Centres, his trips to the Cinema, his "freedom" to do what he wants when he wants and all he wants is the ordinary sights, smells and sounds of home.

So this week I'm making an effort to appreciate the ordinary, because ordinary doesn't mean boring or not special. Ordinary means those moments of time that one day I'd do anything to get back and because they are fleeting I'd better make damn sure I appreciate them now.

Top Ender, Big Boy and I (PippaD) enjoying a sunset

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Monday, 22 September 2014

When Daddy Got Jealous

Daddy had a couple of days off last week and this meant that instead of me hanging around the house on my own I've been busy trying to cram a million memories into a couple of days. What I didn't realise however was that Daddy was trying to get in on my act.

I know, I know. I've already admitted that Daddy makes a better me than me, but this was different. Daddy asked me where my fabric stash was. For a start, how does he know I have a fabric stash?! Then after selecting a suitable piece of fabric, he started work on a craft project, and one that seemed familiar to me...

Fabric Milkman's Wallet with Cash

He only went and made a much better milkman's wallet than the one I'd made!

Okay, so he did use my blog post in order to work out how to do it, but he also moaned that my instructions made no sense and it was a wonder that anyone ever read my blog with the number of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors (they're all there on purpose I swear).

I think it was because standing in the playground with me, made him realise how cool and hip I am.

Stop laughing.

I am cool and hip. I'm a role model don't you know!

See, what I think happened was that Daddy got jealous over how Top Ender's School friends swarmed to me. It's an unusual occurrence if I'm perfectly honest, and had only happened as Top Ender had taken one of the Milkman Wallets to School, and upon showing her School friends the magic powers that she had acquired along with this wallet they all wanted one and knew that I was the key to getting them one.

Still, Daddy's Milkman Wallet is currently sitting on the Fireplace with Big Boy's small fortune in it (he's saving up for Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, which we're guessing is out this November) and none of you must tell him that I'm quite jealous of this marvellous craft!

Oh and Daddy used the very lovely fabric glue that we were sent as part of the Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network.

A Fabric Milkman's Wallet being made using Bostik's Sew Simple

Apparently he found the glue very useful.

Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network

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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

An Evening Ramble

The children and I were back to our normal routine this week, with Thursday coming round and a return to Beavers for Big Boy. As I may have mentioned once or twice (hehehe), because of Big Boy being a Type 1 Diabetic I hang around outside of Beavers in case of an emergency. The lovely ladies that run Beavers are aware of what BB's hypo signs are etc, and it's just an extra "layer" of security for them and me. Luckily there is a lovely park outside the centre where Beavers is held, a cricket ground just opposite and a lovely lane to walk down which leads to a Canal, so Top Ender and I have plenty to do if we get bored of reading in the car, whilst we wait for BB to finish at Beavers.

This particular week, Top Ender and I decided to walk down the lane to the canal. She wore her new jacket from Muddy Puddles, which was rather handy as it was blinking cold! Luckily unlike Top Ender I have a layer of natural protection against the cold aka Fat.

Top Ender jumping around in the trees

As we were walking down the lane, we were stopping at various plants and shrubs and looking at their berries whilst Top Ender told me how they had used similar berries found on the grounds of the School earlier in the week to make Cave Man type paintings. I surprised myself by actually knowing the names of most of the plants, even doing a quick google to prove some of them! As we carried on down the lane we found a rather large supply of Blackberries and so we decided to help ourselves... after all they were for personal use and so it was all nice and legal.

A picked blackberryTop Ender picking Blackberrys

The blackberries were delicious and Top Ender may have helped herself to a few more than was strictly necessary, but I couldn't blame her. They really did taste great.

Eventually we made it down to the Canal and Top Ender went off to explore under the bridge, leaving me up top to keep an eye out for... well I'm not sure really what I was supposed to be looking out for!

Top Ender bounding up the Canal Towpath in her Muddy Puddles jacket

At this point, my natural protection was starting to not work, so we quickly took a couple of pictures of Top Ender (who was lovely and warm) and headed back to the car for me to warm up. There is a much more detailed review on Top Ender's blog, but from a Parent's point of view the jacket is warm, well made and the cut is excellent.

Top Ender sitting at the Canal in her Muddy Puddles jacket

After Beavers, one of the other Mums mentioned how much she loves Muddy Puddles clothing because it lasts well and most importantly washes well in low temperatures. We've not had to wash the jacket yet, but this bodes well for when I finally do.

We were sent the jacket to review. I'm quite jealous, I want one.
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