An Extraordinary Adventure

When I created my Vision Board at the start of the year, I encouraged my children to make one as well. My daughter placed at the very top of hers, ‘an extraordinary adventure’.

We are not yet sure what that means but it involves travelling and outdoorsy stuff from what I’ve gleaned so far. To date we’ve only got as far as Chessington and going on a roller coaster. 

Today they have been driving me up the wall in the house so I chased them out to the garden with a ball my son won at a fair yesterday.

After about ten minutes, my daughter runs back into the house because she saw a fly.

Really?????? She’s not going to get very far is she if flies stop her from having fun. *deadpan face*  So much for an extraordinary adventure *side eye*.

I chased her back outside of course. No fly is going to get in the way of my peace.

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Limit Screen Time

Like a lot of families we have the following items in our household:

  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • TV
  • Laptop
  • Computer
  • Nintendo DS
  • Nintendo Wii

I’m not against them but really too much of them is detrimental. They are time wasters and brain mushers! Of course I refer only to when my children use them not us adults.

We also have all the following items in our household too:

  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Scrap paper and craft items
  • Monopoly
  • Scrabble
  • Science experiment sets
  • Electronic sets
  • Books!!!!!!

Guess which one my children always go for first? The screens! It’s quite shocking because these were children who only nine months ago were devouring book after book. Now these screens are competing for their time so of course we have developed a few new rules in our home, We just make them up as we go along 😉

  1. No devices first thing in the morning.
  2. After a couple of hours turn them off.
  3. Some days are no screen days.
  4. You must read a book.
  5. Go to bed if you are not happy with rules 1-4

What I find amazing when we enforce these rules is there are always frowns, sulks and moans. However when they see that that rule 5 above is an option then the creative juices kick in. Suddenly they are writing stories about make believe lands, drawing skateboards and making craft items, they are reading, dancing, running about and telling each other stories. And whilst they are doing these, there are no tears – only pure joy. So if they are so happy doing this, why are these screens more attracted?

Eight Easy Steps to a Home-made Jigsaw Puzzle

I’ve spent the last couple of days working from home as my son is unwell. On one of the days, when he was about to pass out from boredom, I set him the task of creating his own jigsaw puzzle.

Mad I hear you say? Well I wanted to set him a challenge he had never had before – that would keep him out of my hair for while.

Secondly, we are both jigsaw puzzle addicts so I was curious about whether we could get one done without using Google, craft books or anything other than some good old-fashioned common sense.

So here’s our first attempt.

Supplies

  1. Card – cereal carton will do just fine
  2. Large scissors (to cut out the outer border)
  3. Small scissors or cuticle scissors. (to cut out jigsaw pieces)
  4. Glue
  5. Pencil and Colouring pencils
  6. Eraser

Steps to Creating the Puzzle

  • Step 1: Draw a picture of your choice.
  • Step 2 Divide the picture into equal sized blocks. We chose quarters -it was easier to do.
  • Step 3: Attempt to create plug-in shapes and vary the directions. If you draw the blocks first then you can add the plug-in bits after in the middle of the inner grid-lines. Just rub out any unwanted lines. (I hope I’m explaining this clearly – never done this before LOL)

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  • Step 4: Colour in the picture
  • Step 5: Glue the picture to some thin card. The carton of a cereal box will do. Let the glue dry up overnight (safer to make sure it’s dry but I guess a couple of hours could work as well)
  • Step 6:Cut out the outer border of the jigsaw

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  • Step 7: Delicately, cut out the individual shapes. This is where you might lose the plot.

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  • Step 8: If pieces are upturned, place them in a heavy book like an encyclopaedia (does anyone have those these days?) or the Guinness book of records for a few hours to flatten them out and then your jigsaw puzzle is ready. Ta Dah!

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Something to do over the school holidays perhaps.

Non-Speaking Part

Those are two words that no parent wants to see when parts are being given out for the Christmas Play.

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You want to see Mary, Joseph, a Wise man or woman, King or even the donkey – but a non-speaking part? No!

This is what happens when children do not listen to parents. I told my daughter to sing out loud during music lesson so the teacher would hear her voice and select her for a choice part. I even said she should break into song and dance, ‘Let it Go’ would work just fine. But nooooooooooo she had to be miss-know-it-all and even dare to suggest that I was being silly. And now we have it! A NON-SPEAKING PART.

I suppose I am still expected to go along and clap like she had the part of Mary. Such is life!

So Many Clubs, So Little Time

My children only go to two after-school clubs – swimming and piano lessons. They used to go to an art club but we don’t have limitless resources eh! I wish they could attend a couple more, but we’ll have to wait and see.

However, It’s not just about the money, how about the time? I know a child that has violin, swimming, horse-riding, kung-fu, ballet, drama and dance. Another one has minecraft, diving, rugby, football, gardening and cricket A lot of children have a club a day. That’s almost £400-500 each term just on clubs. Eek! I think it must be their parents’ way of tiring them out so when they get home, they drop like lead on the bed. 🙂

Although I know I do not have the capacity to do daily clubs, I sometimes wonder if I am stifling their development in some way by not giving them the opportunity to explore different activities.Who knows? You can only do your best right?

Diary of a Guilty Mum

I think we all suffer from guilty mum syndrome from time to time. Actually it should be guilty parent syndrome as I think some men suffer from this ailment too although not as prevalent as with women. It might be not being able to do the school run, coming home after they are in bed or missing sports day. Sometimes it sucks being a working mum.

By now, you must have guessed I love hanging out with my children. They do my head in with their slowness to comply and doing-the-wrong-thing-at-the-wrong-time-isms but I love it all the same. Every time they are on holiday, I feel guilty that I work and can’t spend more time with them particularly when we haven’t planned a holiday. This Easter holidays, my plan is to work a three day week and spend a four day long weekend with them. I was very excited to book my time off. I just could not wait! Last week was our first run at this and we are all spent. Here’s the reason why?

Thursday 2nd of April
1400 After a lazy morning, drove to City centre
1430 Park at daddy’s college and walk to city centre
1440 Arrive at library and borrow films and books
1515 Leave the library and get some ice-cream
1535 Walk to Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) just to look around
1555 Not enough time before the museum closed so we’ll return another day
1600 Get the car and drive to Jesus Green (local park)
1625 Arrive at park, kids get scooters and play in the playground
1730 Leave park
1800 Sort out dinner and collapse in heap

Friday 3rd of April
0800 Get ready for Cambridge Literary Festival
0915 Get on bus to City Centre
0930 Get off at Midsummer Common and walk to Bridge Street
1000 Bump into friends and pick up tickets from Cambridge Union
1015 Arrive at Trinity College for Kipper’s 25th birthday
1030 Sit up front whilst 7yo dissociates himself with 5yo and sits at the back
1100 Spy on 7yo sitting at the back joining in the fun
1130 Walk to Michaelhouse café; it’s full so walked to Waterstones Café with friends
1230 Say bye to friends after brunch and walk to Kings Parade to run a quick errand
1245 Then we walked to Kings street to visit Afternoon Tease for cake
1400 Convinced kids to go back to MAA to see the Fiji Chiefs and Governors exhibition
1500 Children filled the A-Z of anthropology worksheet; had a blast
1605 Caught the bus back home
1645 Got home, had dinner and collapsed in a greater heap

Saturday 4th of April
0800 Lazy morning and then did some chores
1245 Daddy drops us off at the Botanical Gardens and returns to essay writing – all work and no fun for daddy at the moment 😦
1255 We start Easter Trail at the Botanical Gardens and need to discover fIve flowers to discover; proved once again that women can indeed read maps. 😉
1355 After lots of messing about and general fun, we finish trail
1400 End up in Garden Café to refresh ourselves and enjoy the sunny day
1500 Make our way back to the main gate
1545 Picked up by daddy
1605 Children start to wane a little; I bet they wished I’d never taken the time off LOL
1700 Fortuitously pick up Cambridge Edition magazine and discover the Jungle Book is playing tomorrow; book tickets pronto

Sunday 5th of April
0800 Woke up late, just enough time to get ready for church
0955 Arrive in time to discover gladly that I’m not on coffee rota as I had thought
1115 Service over – Passion Sunday was amazing; more layers unpeeled about the sacrifice that Christ made, lots to think about
1130 Home and had a quick lunch and planned a couple of activities for next week
1345 Intended to set off for Cambridge Junction
1400 Eventually set off for Cambridge Junction. I will spare the child that caused this and not mention any names. Tres stressed at this point
1420 Park the car and walk quickly to the venue; faster than their aching legs could carry them as we had to pick up tickets from the box office
1425 Join the queue and by misadventure we miss probably the best seats in the room. Never mind, we got seats at the top which perhaps had a better vantage point. Children not happy with me but I manage to convince them that they were not that bad
1430 Quirky version of Jungle Book starts; not the version the kids know so causes a bit of confusion for them initially but they soon get used to it.
1525 Show ends and the narrator takes questions and invites us to find out more about how show was created; the most fascinating bit for me
1600 Bump into some other friends but there was no way we were going to hang out, tres tired
1630 Drive home and prepared dinner; we are all well and truly knackered
1700 Apologise to children for packing in too much activity into four days and promise a lighter next week. NOT!!!! 🙂

Maybe this should have been Diary of a Mad Mum. 🙂

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Playdate, Bubbles And Cake

My sisters and I always had friends over for playdates when we were younger only they weren’t called playdates then.  I remember pretending to smoke by rolling up paper filled with talcum powder; emptying a bucket of water and detergent on the floor so we could ‘skate on ice’; jumping off scaffolding next door pretending to be acrobats and so much more.  By the look of things my children’s lives are quite sedate. 🙂 

They have a friend over and thankfully there’s no rain today so they are out playing football. Oops I spoke too soon. I’ve just seen Wonder Boy charging at his friend with a rake.  They must be playing knights then.  Not so sedate after all.

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We’ve brought out our bubble machine which kids never fail to like.

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And there’s cake for later.

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And I got flowers.

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Now it’s time for popcorn and Winter Olympics. No rest for the wicked. 😉
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