Showing posts from July, 2014

60 Free (or almost free) Things To Do In The Summer Holidays For Teenagers

I had a comment on my 100 Free Things To Do In The Summer Holidays, that suggested that my original list wouldn't work for children over ten. Whilst this may be true for some of the ideas on the list and for some families, there were plenty of ideas on the list that would work for teenagers, some that if you tweaked slightly would work and of course some that some older children would roll their eyes at but secretly love doing again.

However, I knew that a new list was needed and so here is my list for those teenagers who still hang around the house. Let me know in the comments if there is anything you would add!

1. Visit a Museum, there are plenty of exhibits to suit various interests.
2.  Pop to the library and pick a book the librarian suggests.
3. Write a Book or a Story (Yes I know this is almost school work!)
4. Look up the answers to the questions nobody knows the answer to.
5. Make a head start on next years reading for School. Who knows maybe you'll enjoy it!
6. Resea…

A Water Gun Fight

Over the weekend, when we were at a Goodbye Neighbours/ Birthday party the children acquired two new water pistols. I have no idea how the children managed to restrain themselves from filling them up at the party (the children spent most of the two parties in a fabulous paddling pool with an attached slide!) and shooting at various guests but somehow they did.

Eventually the children could wait no more, and so after suggesting that Big Boy remove his insulin pump for the duration of the water fight the children ran to the garden intending to soak one another.

It was a glorious water fight, and it only paused when I asked if I could get a few pictures without being soaked myself.

This is Big Boy's menacing face, I sure wouldn't want to meet that in a dark alley!
The great thing about water fights in the summer is that you dry off so quickly that it really doesn't matter how wet you end up, not does it matter if your sister is a crack shot and you just get lucky at close ran…

Painting Suncatchers

Today it seems like we've been on School Summer Holidays for months already. I think that after the weekend of family fun with both Daddy and I, a party to say goodbye to some neighbours and friends and having the Missionaries round for dinner took it out of us. Top Ender was the first to suggest that we have a PJ day, but I explained that it wasn't possible as we had some chores to do outside of the house but that we could have a lazy day and mostly hang out at home instead of one of the many activities I had earmarked for this week. I did insist however that once we were all dressed and had done a couple of chores (we had to pop to a couple of shops) that we had to do something fun as a family, but that I would make it as easy and painless as possible. The children knew that if they didn't agree that I could make them miserable and so agreed quite readily. We carried out our chores and when we returned home we took our places at the Garden Table to paint some Suncatchers…

The Salad Bar - Parragon Book #Review

If there is one thing I know how to make, it's a salad.

They aren't hard are they? You get some green leafy stuff (lettuce generally) and if you've cheated you open the packet and drop it in a bowl, and rearrange the bits of carrot or other healthy vegetable type things to make it look less like you opened a bag and dropped it in a bowl. Of course, there are times when you want something a little more personalised and for me that involves cutting up lettuce and other green leafy stuff and adding chopped carrots, slices of mushrooms, raisins, radishes, cucumber... you name it from the first few aisles of the Supermarket and I've put it in a salad at one point of another.

For me the problem comes when I want to be a bit more fancy. What am I supposed to serve as a posh salad when I have friends round or I'm taking something to a potluck dinner or a munch and mingle and that's where this book The Salad Bar has come in useful... well and also as healthy bedtime rea…

Little Cracker Drinks #Review

One thing that my children have got used to is finding new drinks in their Lunchboxes. I love to be able to give them different flavours, rather than always going for the same traditional drinks and this coming year you're going to see some great lunchbox ideas on this blog, so make sure you come back when we're back to School this September!
Big Boy had been asked if he'd like to try some new juice drinks recently launched by Cracker Drinks and whilst I said yes on his behalf I knew that Top Ender and myself would also be slurping on them this Summer. 

When Big Boy first saw the drinks, the first thing he noticed was that each 200ml carton would give you 1 of your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. He was quite excited about this and was trying to work out if he had a juice and some fruit in his lunchbox and a fruit snack earlier in the day what he could also eat to get him up to his daily total. I thought that this was so cute and just proves that children really do pay at…

A Meaningful Birthday Gift- HELP! #SponsoredPost

It's my MIL's birthday this week, I shan't embarrass her by saying how old she is but lets just say it's a significant birthday. So what kind of gift could we get her to mark the occasion? Well, I did what all normal people do, after I had a good think and came up empty handed I called my Mum and asked her for suggestions. The first thing my Mum suggested was a jewellery, something we could have engraved with something meaningful or lovely, you know like the below;

And so I thought about it a bit more.

Fruit Picking At The Farm

One of the things that was on my bucket list to do this Summer was to take the children to a local Pick Your Own Farm. As this past week has mainly been spent by the children equally divided between our house and Neighbour Mums house, I thought it would be nice to ask Neighbour Mums boys if they wanted to come with us. It's bitter sweet that the four of them are getting on so well at the moment as with Neighbour Mum and family moving in the next few weeks it's almost like we are trying to cram in as many memories as possible before they are too far away for the children to be running down the road barefooted into each others homes.


We arrived at the Farm and after a quick divvy up of the fruit baskets amongst our party of five we headed off to the fields to collect as much as we could manage. We had a hoot.

The children, despite all chattering amongst themselves, were suddenly becoming very competitive with each child wanting to pick the most, or see who could find the…

Bedtime Stories

Top Ender didn't want to go to bed. I can't really blame her, all afternoon she and Big Boy had played at the Neighbour Boys house and then all evening the two boys and my children had played at ours. It took around twenty minutes to get the four children into their respective houses and several promises that they could sleep over one night soon. Just not tonight. My children had eventually followed my advice and got into their pyjamas, but Top Ender had decided to try just a little bit harder to stay up a little longer and came to find me in the garden, where I was tidying up from the meal we'd had with the Neighbour Boys.

"Goodnight House!" she said. "Goodnight Kitchen and Goodnight Door. Goodnight Garden and Goodnight Trees" all followed soon after.

"Top Ender, this isn't the book Goodnight Moon. Get to bed please!

Then Big Boy appeared and they sat in the garden chairs smiling at me and I knew. I knew then that they had won, I couldn't …

The Indoor Outdoor British Weatherproof Beach #Review

After we had been to paint our Moneyboxes at Frosts Garden Centre earlier this week, we had booked in two places at the Beach, for Top Ender and Big Boy. We were excited, normally we pop to the beach in Middleton Hall in Milton Keynes Shopping Centre, but this was a beach that was outside, but was still British Weatherproof and not two hours away like the "real" nearest outdoor beach is.

We walked through the garden centre, past the toys (okay so we stopped for a bit) and through the lovely new look restaurant and made our way out to the garden. I didn't think to take a picture of the garden but it was beautiful, and the raised borders were full of edible plants (I recognised Rhubarb) and ones that were ever so pretty. And just behind them was the beach.

The beach was covered over, but in a way that still made it seem like it was outdoors, with floating cotton wool clouds and bunting and seagulls hanging from the ceiling.

Top Ender and Big Boy wasted no time in taking off…

Visiting Teachers and Relief Society

I'm so aware that half the time things that I mention are alien to people who don't follow the same faith as me so today I'm explaining something that seems so normal to me but probably sounds a bit weird to you. Then again seeing as you are already here on my blog, you probably know I'm a bit weird and like it! ;-)
One of the great things about belonging to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is that there is this programme called Relief Society for women over 18 years old. I read a description once that really made me laugh because it is true;

I love being part of this community, the women are like me. I don't mean that it's full of a bunch of crazy women (although some of them make me look sane) or women who have a really stupid sense of humour, just that we share the same beliefs and unsurprisingly this gives us a bond that you might not get with another group of women. 
Another part of being a member of Relief Society, is that you get a pair o…

Summer Activities at Frosts Garden Centre #Review

One of my favourite places to go during the holidays with the children is Frosts Garden Centre. Our local branch is in Woburn Sands, a short distance away from our home in Milton Keynes and every holiday it has some fab activities on for the children to enjoy.

We were asked if we'd like to pop down to experience the new Beach first hand and also to try our hand at painting our own money boxes, of course we said yes and after taking Dotty (my Mum's cat) to the vets and having some lunch with my Mum, we popped off to the Garden Centre.

We knew where to go for the Paint Your Own Moneybox session, as we guessed it would be in the Party room where we had painted Bird Boxes earlier this year. We were enthusiastically greeted, directed down the fun and colourfully decorated corridor, where we met an enthusiastic helper who was so much fun.

Top Ender had decided to paint a pig and Big Boy a dinosaur and whilst they happily sat side by side painting they were given some chocolate and …

Top Ender's Own Unique Style

I was never really into clothes, make up and different hair styles. Top Ender however is different. She is into clothes and make up and different hair styles and for the most part I respect that and her choices. I let her wear what she wants within reason, I let her accessorise and do her hair in styles that are questionable to say the least!

For the last few months, actually almost an entire year, Top Ender has been after me to let her dye her hair. Each time that Top Ender has asked me I've said No. I've had a millions reasons. You're only nine (well ten now), you can't have your hair like that for School, you can't really have pink hair unless you're a cartoon character.

I've tried to reason with her and come up with a compromise that suits us both. You can have your hair cut into a different style, you can have tips in the Summer, you can  have it coloured with food colouring. We'll get clip in coloured extensions.

Until last night.

Yesterday I gave…

Let's Start Summer

Today is the last day of the current School year for Top Ender and Big Boy and I decided I really wanted to celebrate and do something special. So the children came home to a sign on the door. Just a simple sign that I printed off on my new printer (I'll talk about it in a post in a couple of days, but I got it free so just declaring that now) and stuck to the front door.

One of my neighbours was just popping up to the school along with her children who left the School last year. They are sweet children, but they did think that my front door was a little weird... mainly because I've forgotten to tell you about something I did to the front door. You see there wasn't just a sign.

There were streamers too.

The children loved it and after we managed to unlock the door without destroying the streamers, they ran into the house.

Okay so kind of walked... The good news is that Summer has started, so lets get busy doing nothing!