1312 posts Posts by Jayne

Gardening and DIY with Kids This Spring

When it gets to this time of year, where the weather is a bit more clement, my mind is always full of all of the DIY and garden stuff that I’d like to do and now that the kids are older and a little more able to get involved (don’t worry, I won’t let Burrito Baby hold any power tools!) I’ve been thinking about things we can do together. Luckily, my friends from the blogging world are the BEST source of inspiration, so I thought I’d share some brilliant posts with you of my favourite projects that they’ve done.

How to Make a Tardis Wardrobe

I’ve you’ve got a gaggle of mini Whovians living in your house then this guide to making a tardis wardrobe is perfect for you. Husband and I really encourage the girls to have their interests and try to indulge them as far as possible so I absolutely love the fact that Penny at Parentshaped has nurtured her daughter’s love for all things Doctor Who with her bedroom furniture.

CD Fish Bird Scarers

CD fish bird scarers

I absolutely LOVE this idea for DIY bird-scarers that Liz over at Me and My Shadow made with her daughter to protect their home garden patch. As well as upcycling and making use of old CDs, thus keeping them out of landfill, they look really pretty too. Such a great project to do with kid as you can be as creative as you like with how you decorate them.

DIY Matchbox Drawer Chest

Red Ted Art DIY matchbox drawers

Something that we ALWAYS need more of in our house is storage, so I love the idea of making ourselves some storage solutions out of other things. These cute little drawers from Red Ted Art are the perfect place to keep art supplies and school stuff, and I’ll definitely be making some of these with the girls.

Top Tips for Gardening With Children

At the risk of going a bit meta, Carolin at Mummy Alarm has put together another rundown post, sharing a whole load of other posts about gardening with kids. It’s a real wealth of information which will be useful in the months to come and I’m going to go through and read all of it with interest.

Bedroom in a Box

Dulux Bedroom in a BoxMaking design decisions can be really tricky, especially when you’re trying to stick to a theme, which is why Dulux decided to make the “Bedroom in a Box”, which Sian at Helpful Mum reviewed. She chose a jungle theme for her kids and takes us through exactly how she dealt with the makeover, as well as giving her opinion on the results.

Five Easy Foods to Grow with Kids

If you’re planning on growing veg this spring and summer with your kids, Emma at The Syders has got some excellent suggestions of what you can grow. When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than helping my grandad to pick the peas and runner beans he’d grown in the garden and I think it’s really important for kids to see where food comes from…plus, NOTHING tastes better than strawberries grown in your own garden!

Planting and Sowing

Emmy’s Mummy has got another great gardening post about how to get the kids involved with the planting and sowing stage of gardening, perfect for this time of year. They’re growing a whole variety of different fruit and veg which will be a fabulous crop once they’re all grown and ready for harvest.

Easy DIY Crepe Paper Tulips Craft Tutorial

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers (have you ever seen the black ones?!) and this tulip craft is absolutely perfect for this time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom. As Katie says, they’d be the perfect centrepiece for an Easter dinner, but I also think they’d be ideal for Mother’s Day too, especially if your Mum has allergies and can’t have real flowers.

A New Family Car for Us

It’s a sad fact that our old jalopy just isn’t going to cut the mustard for much longer. It’s 20 years old now and although it’s still working just fine, I’m not convinced it’ll go through the next MOT and there are lots of bits which seem to have just given up the ghost – the door lining is peeling off (although I DID use my new glue gun to mend it, which I was most pleased about!), the wiring has seen better days and the fumes that the exhaust blow out absolutely STINK! Our budget isn’t huge, although we might consider getting a car loan  to help us afford something a little better, but here are the things which will be the most important factors when choosing:

Safety

The main reason we have our current car is that it’s made by a manufacturer which is known to be super safe. Whenever we look at second-hand cars, we always check the safety rating and if it’s less than satisfactory then the model doesn’t make it onto our list.

Economy

As much as I’d probably have great fun driving around in some huge tank of a car, it’s really not an economically sound choice for us. We’re looking for something with a mid-sized engine, decent fuel consumption because I do a fair amount of miles, something which isn’t going to be in the higher Road Tax bracket and also a car which is cheap to fix if something goes wrong!

Size

Our current car is an estate, and while it’s been handy (like when my tumble drier broke in the middle of winter and I went and collected a replacement in the boot of the car!) to have the extra boot space, we probably don’t need it. More seats would come in handy though, so I suppose we’d consider a 7-seater, if there is such a thing as an economical 7-seater!

Comfort

One thing that can be said about our current car is that it’s pretty comfy. The seats are decent and the car feels like our little home from home. Before we had this car, we briefly had a little Fiesta which we drove to Liverpool in a few years ago and the seats were so uncomfortable that I was numb down one side by the time we got back!! I don’t expect Rolls Royce-level comfort but seats which don’t hurt my ass are pretty important.

Entertainment

I know that the girls would absolutely love a car with screens in the back of the headrests for them to watch on our journeys and we do spend a lot of time in the car so I certainly don’t begrudge them that. For me, a radio and decent speakers are super important – I’ve never liked driving in silence and I NEED to be able to listed to Pop Master on BBC Radio 2 every morning!

What family car do you have? Do you love it? Would you recommend it? Do leave me a comment below, all inspiration is more than welcome!

Thinking of Foreign Lands

Just recently, Husband and I have decided that we really need a holiday. It’s been over a decade since we’ve left the UK and the girls have never been away, so it’s definitely time to get packing! We’ve got a few ideas of where we’d like to go as a family, and I thought I’d share some of them with you:

Malta

I’ve been to Malta twice myself, before marriage and kids, and I think it’s basically the perfect short-haul destination for families. There are cities, beaches, historical relics, brilliant shops, restaurants, activities, and everything is family friendly.

Paris

Before Husband and I ever met, we actually both went to Paris at the exact same time without even knowing it, and it’s somewhere we’d both love to revisit. I think we could make a really great family break out of it, combining time in the city to see all of the sights, as well as a couple of days at Disneyland! Agoda is a great place to look for good deals on accommodation around Disneyland Paris.

Iceland

Iceland is somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit and there are SO many things I want to see there, from the Blue Lagoon to the rugged volcanic landscapes. Polar bear spotting and Northern Lights trips would be such an amazing experience for the girls and taking there somewhere which isn;t one of the ‘ordinary’ destinations really appeals.

Ibiza

I never made it to Ibiza in my clubbing days, but I’ve heard and read a lot about it as a family destination and it actually sounds perfect. There’s LOADS to do and apparently the northern side of the island is much quieter and more family-oriented. I’d still be tempted to watch sunrise at Cafe Del Mar, though 😉

Lake Garda

Another place which seems perfect for families is Lake Garda. There’s loads to do for families, like watersports and sightseeing, and there’s a real edge of luxury cool which would appeal to most grown ups. Mediterranean countries always have a real acceptance of kids in restaurants and public places too, which makes eating out as a family so much easier!

Where is your favourite place to go as a family? Do you have any destinations on your family bucket list? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear all about it.

Action Figures and Collectibles: Great DIY Ideas for Easy to Make Displays

Your collection of action figures, dolls, figurines or other collectibles is your pride and joy, so don’t hide them away. Display them in a way that shows them off and makes them look good, so that others can enjoy them as much as you do. Maybe you’ll learn to appreciate them, even more, yourself!

Homemade Wooden Display Case

It’s easier than you might think to build your own display case. You can get everything you need at your local hardware store. Simply pick up a 4’ by 2’ piece of plywood, some 1” by 2” furring strips and a box of finish nails.

Use your tallest figurine to determine the height needed for shelves. Then, cut the furring strips to the length needed for your frame and attach them with wood glue and your finish nails.

After the glue has dried, you can paint your display case if you like. You could also print out images, such as the logo for your collectibles’ brand and secure it using spray adhesive. After the paint has dried, all you have to do is enjoy your newly displayed collection.

Hand-Drawn Chalk Labels

Tired of people wanting to know about every piece in your collection and asking you endless questions? Okay, maybe not but with chalkboard paint, you can display your pieces and label them too.

Simply, purchase a can of chalkboard paint and color the back of your shelf with it. Then, you can write labels for each piece and add a bit of information about each one if you like. It’s like having your own museum display!

DIY Magnetic Display Board

For figurines that seem to float in mid-air, utilize the power of magnets. Attach a magnet to the back of a figurine using glue, mounting tape or sticky tack. Use tape or sticky tack if you want to easily be able to remove the magnets later.

Then, purchase a magnetic display board or make your own using a frame and a sheet of steel or tin. You can paint the sheet too if you so choose. Then, you can creatively position your classic figurines or retro-inspired pixel pals anywhere you like.

Creative Shelf Ideas

Got some old junk lying around? Why not turn it into a shelf?

Almost anything can be used as a shelf with a little creativity. Mount old drawers to the wall. Hang up a skateboard using L-brackets. Remove the front of a battered acoustic guitar and add some furring strips to the inside for shelves. Then attach a hook to the wall to hang it from.

Your collection is unique, so your display for them should be too. Just get a little innovative and see where your imagination takes you.

Displaying your collection can be half the fun of owning it, especially if you get a little creative with it. Your display for your figurines should be as unique as the collection itself, and it’s easier than you might think to build one yourself.

Bubble ball suit, Body bubble ball

Bubble ball suit is available in different sizes. You can wear the small bubble ball suits to play Bubble ball game, and the bigger ones can be used to roll down the hill. Bubble ball game is a game which is safe from the real soccer game. It is even more enjoyable than the soccer game. When a person wears it, then he/she will turn into a Body bubble ball. The Bubble ball suit is easy to wear, and it contains strips and handles. When a person wears it, then he/she can have a grip on it through the handles and strips. Some people assume that a person can have breathing problem while wearing bubble ball suits. Well, it is a false thing completely.
There are holes present in these bubble ball suits which are specially designed for the transfer of air. If you are a sports lover or love to spend time with your family, then you can get a couple of bubble ball suits for yourself and family members to play bubble ball game. You can also play bubble ball game at the birthday party of your friends or family or a special occasion or festival. Bubble ball game is an activity which every child or adult would enjoy.
The player can easily put his/her upper body into the plastic orb and would be easy to move his/her legs while playing soccer bubble ball game. Bubble ball suit is very light in weight so you would not face any difficulty while playing the soccer bubble ball game. www.inflatable-zone.com is one of the best online stores from where you can purchase different types of bubble ball suits. You can also give us details about what type of bubble ball suit you need, and we will surely personalize it according to your needs.

Bubble Soccer Ball – inflatable-zone.com

Baby Safety: Top Tips for Nervous New Mothers and Fathers

Your baby is precious and fragile. As soon as she is born, all you want to do is keep her safe from harm both in the home and in the car. Protecting your child from all the potential dangers of daily life can seem overwhelming. Here are some safety tips for moms to keep in mind.

Home Safety

When it comes to baby-proofing your home, there are many things you can do, including installing safety gadgets, to make every room safe for your growing infant.

In the bathroom:

Test the water: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow before bathing baby. You can also install an anti-scald device at the end of the bath faucet.

Get a grip: Place non-slip mats for when baby begins to toddle.

Lock the toilet: Install a toilet lock to prevent tiny fingers from getting crushed by the toilet lid and to prevent accidental drowning.

Get spongy: Cover the bath taps in case she slips and hurts her head.

In The Nursery

Crib safety: Your crib’s slats should be 2 3/8 inches apart or less.

No extras: remove bumpers, extra blankets, soft toys and anything that could suffocate a baby from the crib.

Seal outlets: All electrical outlets should have plastic covers.

In The Kitchen

Secure pet food: Pet kibble is a choking hazard and should never be left unattended.

Cover stove knobs: Little fingers like to twiddle knobs. Use knob covers and put a lock on the oven door.

Fire safety: Always keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Make sure it’s out of your child’s reach.

Splatter proof: Use a stove guard so your baby won’t get splashed with hot liquids when you’re cooking.

Lock cabinets: The cabinet beneath the kitchen sink is usually where cleaning products are stored. Keep a lock on this door to prevent your child reaching hazardous chemicals.

In The Living Room

Go cordless: Keep blinds safe with cord cleats or install cordless shades.

Cushion edges: Protect your child from sharp corners and edges with bumpers.

Hide breakables: Put all breakable ornaments, picture frames and vases where little fingers can’t reach them.

Secure bookshelves: toddlers like to climb, so secure bookshelves to the wall to prevent them toppling over.

Be guarded: Put a lockable guard door over the fireplace. Use baby gates if you have stairs.

Car Safety

Cars like the Chrysler Pacifica are designed with family safety in mind, but when you’re travelling with your baby, you want to take extra measures to keep her perfectly safe, which is why choosing the right car seat is important. Data reveals that up to 80 percent of baby car carriers are not installed correctly: a daunting thought, but baby carriers have become high tech these days, with many extra features including self-installation, crash protection, auto-balance, and remote controlled recliner adjustment.

You don’t have to be nervous about becoming a new mother and father. Use these simple tips and your baby will always be safe.

Bank Holiday Disasters

Today is the first day of Spring and that means that Bank Holidays are on the way! We’ve got FIVE Bank Holidays to look forward to between now and the end of August, and everyone seems so much happier when they’re getting bonus days off of school and work! The one and only downside to Bank Holidays is that this always seems to be a time that disasters happen for us, either home or health related, so I thought I’d put together a list of some handy contact numbers that you should try to keep around in case you have a Bank Holiday disaster too!

Plumber

If you’re going to get a leak, it’s BOUND to happen when most people are enjoying their day off, so keeping the number of a good emergency plumber around would be a really good idea. Drainage Services are one of the best in the South West and are experts in drainage and plumbing, but you can check yell.com if you need someone in another part of the country.

Dentist

It’s a running joke in our family that my wisdom teeth ONLY ever grow on Bank Holidays. I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve ended up at the emergency dentist on a Bank Holiday weekend, and although I’ve now had 3 of my 4 wisdom teeth removed, I always keep the emergency dentist number handy!

Mechanic/Breakdown Service

You’re getting all geared up for a day trip away somewhere fun and the car breaks down. Instead of languishing at home, thinking about all the fun you could’ve had, try calling out an emergency mechanic, or even a breakdown service if you’ve got cover for your car at home, They’re usually pretty prompt and you may even get back on the road in time to carry on with your plans.

Vet

If you’ve got pets, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a vet for them at some point and the last thing you want is for them to be ill and without care on the Bank Holiday. A few years back, Husband and I rushed Chuck to the vet and spend hundreds of pounds when he was poorly…only to find out that he basically had a bad case of wind! Pet insurance is also a VERY good idea!

Are there any emergency numbers that you keep on hand at all times? Do you find that bad luck always befalls you at the most inconvenient time? Do leave me a comment below about your Bank Holiday disasters so that I know it’s not just me these things happen to!

Gift Ideas for Father’s Day

Okay, I know that we haven’t even had Mother’s Day yet, but I’m already thinking ahead to Father’s Day so that I can be super organised about what to get for not only my own Dad, but Husband also. I thought I’d put together a little post with some ideas that you can share, just in case you’re lacking inspiration for the men in your own lives!

Fishing Gear

I know a ton of blokes who love to fish and although it’s not something I’ve ever done myself, I can see the appeal of relaxing by a lake! Husband used to fish with his Dad when he was younger and would probably love to go again (especially as we live by a huge fishery!) so getting him all the tackle he needs would be a great gift. Wet Wellies sell everything you need for carp fishing in the UK.

A Massage

Massages are a great gift for anyone and Husband gets a lot of muscle soreness because he lifts a lot of heavy weights at the gym. I’m pretty sure that he’d really love a rub down and an hour or so of peace for Father’s Day and there are loads of great offers online if you search around.

Shaving Kit

Shaving is something that is super personal for a lot of men. Husband prefers to use a proper, old-fashioned double-edges safety razor and brush to shave with, but I know that some of our other male relatives use electronic shavers. Buying your Dad or partner some really decent shaving kit is a great Father’s Day gift and it’s something they’ll get a lot of use out of for the whole year.

Photos

Last year for Father’s Day I decided to get creative and make something special for Husband. I too three photos, one each of the girls and Chuck, each holding pieces of paper with “BEST”, “DAD” and “EVER” on them and then framed them in a white box frame with three sections. The overall effect was really nice and Husband absolutely loved it.

A Day Out

I know that a lot of Dads feel like they miss out on a lot of fun with their families if they’re at work every day and a decent day out can be a nightmare at the weekend, when everyone else is trying to do the same. Ask him to book a day off of work if possible and plan a whole day of family fun for you to all enjoy together. Make some memories at the zoo, a museum or somewhere more adventurous, and it’ll be something you’ll all remember for years to come.

 

Tabletop Games: A Fun Way for Parents to Teach Children a Plethora of Skills

Kids love games of all kinds, whether outdoors or in, a sports or video games. These days, children of all ages are captivated more by the digital than the analog, leaving something to be desired for the developing brain.

According to the Association for Psychological Science, children who play with board games have an advantage when it comes to a specific set of cognitive skills like spatial reasoning. Additionally, playing games can play a major role in social development and the soft skills needed to navigate through the future.

Here’s a look at the some of the board game benefits that go beyond fun.

Cultivating Critical Thinking

Most children are naturally curious, and board games can help foster a greater sense of big picture thinking. A game with an age-appropriate level of strategic thinking offers an opportunity for kids to think outside the box.

Developing Motor Skills and More

Motor skill development from games is largely dependent on the age of the child in question. Small children or toddlers can benefit from the hand-eye coordination required to play the game. Rolling the dice and precisely moving a game piece across the board gives the littlest players a chance to develop a sense space, balance and hand-eye coordination.

Games that feature building blocks require a steady hand to keep pieces from toppling over, while games with a drawing component allows kids to think about how to represent something with a limited amount of time and tools available, and others still, have a focus on math and counting, helping with numerical development.

Other tabletop games may ask players to count quickly or solve a puzzle, all things that boost skills in the classroom, as well as out.

Enabling Social Development

From following directions to taking turns and losing with grace, board games can teach children a lot about being good citizens. For example, smaller children playing games will learn firsthand the give and take required to play games or work together with other people.

Board games also encourage children to vocalize needs and wants, whether it’s expressing a desire to win or getting that right card or position on the board, it opens up an opportunity to chat about expectations, as well as fosters a sense of understanding the instructions, or the nuances specific to trying to outsmart a competitor.

Building Confidence

As adults, we underestimate the power in feeling like we accomplished something. For children, successfully playing a game, win or lose, is an accomplishment—they may have learned a new skill, and now have knowledge that can be applied elsewhere.

If parents are playing, too, games are a great opportunity to offer praise for things like their creativity, curiosity, reading skills, etc., all things that boost confidence in a healthy way, which carries through to school and beyond.

Keep the Focus on Fun

Games don’t need to be intentionally educational to provide an enriching experience. A game designed with fun at its core still boosts brain development. Puzzles, word games and basic board games offer a wide range of opportunity for growth. Be it Monopoly or Chess, Chutes and Ladders or Candyland, anything your child chooses has benefits.

“You MUST Do This…” – Really?

There’s not enough hours in the day.

Really, when you think about it, what was the sun doing when it chose to make a day 24 (well roughly) hours long? Surely 48 would have been a better number? Or… 100. That would have been useful.

Have you ever actually stepped back and thought about all the things that we’re “meant” to do all the time? Probably not, because it might just make you burst into tears, feeling like you’re trapped at the bottom of a well from which there is no possible escape. It’s no surprise that, as a result of this general overload, mental health is something more and more people are suffering with.

If you stretch it out to consider, it’s pretty frightening – so… is it any use? If we hit all the things we’re “meant” to do, are we not just making lives stressful? And, correct if wrong, but stress is a bad thing isn’t it? Oops, did everything on the list apart from “don’t be stressed”, that’s a black mark…

So what’s actually necessary? And what that you’re “meant” to do can you actually ignore, getting around to it when you please?

Eat Healthily

Image: PixaBay

Okay, an easy start: yes, eating healthily is important. That’s not to say you can’t have the occasional day of indulgence, though. In fact, it might be healthy for your metabolism if you have treat days that can give you a jolt.

Plan Everything

Meal planning. Bullet journalling. Using apps to help with organisation. Decluttering.

Are the above useful? Well, yes. A system like the above is going to prevent you failing to renew a prescription, forgetting to buy your Frontline Plus for dogs stock, and having to write another “sorry I forgot your birthday…” card. But planning life down to the nth degree is unnecessary – there’s always got to be a bit of room for spontaneity, surely?

Exercise Three Times A Week

Recent studies have shown that it might need to be 30 minutes of activity five times a week. Or, other studies have shown, 10 minutes per day is more than sufficient.

So basically, the quantity is something that is still very much up for debate. Just try and be on your feet as often as possible and do low-impact exercise like swimming, yoga or even just taking the dog for play in the park.

Image: PixaBay

Drink Eight Glasses of Water A Day

If you’ve ever looked at this figure and thought: “eight glasses is a bit arbitrary”? You’re right to be sceptical. It is arbitrary – for one thing, there’s little definition on the volume of liquid that constitutes a “glass”. That’s your first sign this is more a vague perception than a scientific necessity.

Image: PixaBay

We do need around two litres of water per day, but we get a huge amount of it from food and other liquids. Try and stay hydrated (especially if you drink coffee or alcohol, both of which can be dehydrating), but shooting for some random “eight glasses” measure is utterly unnecessary.

Take Vitamins

Nope, just eat a decent amount of varied vegetables. There’s no proof vitamins do anything unless you have a specific deficiency and what’s more, overuse of vitamins has been linked to cancer.