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Friday, 29 November 2013

Christmas activities to do with the kids

It has certainly started to get a lot colder now and with limited sunlight to enjoy, embracing a number of outdoor activities is quite simply out of the question.

However, this often means you’ll have an abundance of restless kids on your hands, which means having a few great indoor activities up your sleeves is essential. Here are some of our top Christmas favourites.

A redecoration project

One task that can be completed throughout the winter season is redecorating your younger children’s bedrooms. Thankfully this is something they enjoy being involved in so you won’t have trouble persuading them to get their hands dirty! 

From choosing the colour scheme to re-arranging their toys, there are a number of great decorating tips and bedroom ideas to take inspiration from. 

This is also a good opportunity to get rid of the old in order to make way for the new. With Christmas approaching at a rapid speed, they’re guaranteed to receive even more toys from friends and family so take this chance to clear out excess clutter as much as possible.

Simple fun

There are a number of games you can play in the household, many of which require very little effort. Hide and seek is a favourite of many and whilst it wiles away the hours, it never becomes tiresome to your children. 

Other options include gathering the board games that have been stored in the attic all summer and spending a few hours teaching the children how to play. After a while you may even find they’re happy to continue the game on their own. 

Christmas baking

When the holidays hit, you’ll find that you have the little ones on your hands a lot longer than usual. Creating a number of baking projects is a great way to entertain the children and one that keeps them in the warmth of the home. 

From Christmas cakes to mince pies, there are a number of fun recipes to choose from. It is however important to ensure their safety. Stocking up on plastic utensils prior to the event is a great way to do this.

Getting back outside

If your children are raring to go outside, it may be wise to invest in a few garden ideas. From outdoor heaters to obstacle courses, there are a number of options to choose from and of course when it snows creating the best possible snowman they can is a must.

This is a guest post supplied by SuperSavvyMe

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Green Earth Wok by Ozeri

I love stirfries but have always struggled with woks in the past, and have found that unless you stir continuously, you end up with a burnt oniony mass in the bottom of your pan.

So, having found the Green Earth frying pan fantastic, I was really excited to receive this Green Earth wok to review.

Like the frying pan, this wok has a smooth ceramic non-stick coating (100% PTFE and PFOA Free) - and it is COMPLETELY NON-STICK!  As my husband said 'food literally hovers above the pan.'  

You only need to use a teeny weeny amount of oil, and it is a joy to wash up - no scraping for hours with a scourer.  And it comes in that fabulous funky green colour!

In addition to being completely eco-friendly and ultra-safe, the Green Earth Wok's natural ceramic coating is far more durable and scratch-resistant than other non-stick surfaces. 

I absolutely love this wok and would totally recommend it, if like me, you have always struggled in the past.  Perfect for all those turkey stirfries post Christmas!

The wok has been reduced from £49.96 to £36.96 on Amazon - go and check it out!

Personalised Advent Calendars from Snapajack

I have to admit that I can't bear most of the advent calendars on sale these days - particularly the ones my children choose - Betty always goes for a Disney Princess one, and Dolly always goes for Peppa Pig.  Both contain cheap chocolate, and they are pretty ugly to look at.  But they make my girls happy, so I go with it.

But Snapajack's personalised calendars might just have recused me from Cinderella and Snowwhite's sickly sweet faces grinning at me from the windowsill throughout the whole of December.

www.Snapajack.com offers a wide range of advent calendars that are completely customisable with personal messages, text and photographs, and most importantly they have a delicious, continental chocolate behind each door!

There are 15 different advent calendar designs to choose from and each cost £12.97, which I think is very reasonable indeed.

Snapajack also offers 100s of other customised gifts, from playing cards, mobile phone covers, to party packs - do go and check out their fab website!

Snapajack say: 'When you order from www.snapajack.com your advent calendar will be produced with care and with the support of world-class technology and print expertise and dispatched within five working days.'

This is a sponsored post

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Scribbles on walls, ink stains on wood: how to cover up the mess if your little one runs into mischief

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to keep an eye on your children 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This means you’re bound to come across a few problems every now and again. 

The minute your little bundle of joy starts walking, you need to have eyes in the back of your head if you want to prevent any mischief. Most parents will be able to recall at least a few times that their children have caused mischief in the home. 

Some problems are more common than others and below you’ll find just some of them.

Problem #1: Wall scribbles

Wall scribbles can cause a wave of panic in your mind. You go out of the room, come back in and find bright coloured marks all over the walls. You automatically panic. After all, how are you going to get rid of the marks? 

The good news is if it’s crayon you can iron it out. Simply place an old t-shirt folded up, over the stain. Iron over it on a medium heat and this should remove the stain. There are also some specially designed pads you can buy that wipe off any scribbles and marks.

Problem #2: Ink on wood

If the marks have been left on wooden furniture or on your nice solid timber sliding doors, don’t panic. Use half a cup of water and add baking soda to it until it resembles a paste. Rub the paste over the stain with your fingers. Use a damp cloth to wipe off the paste and you should notice the ink comes off with it.

Problem #3: Removing paint from the carpet

Another really worrying problem is if you’ve let your little cherubs paint and they’ve accidentally got it on the carpets. Scrape as much as you possibly can from the carpet before using a towel to wipe it up. Water based paints will need water to dissolve them. If the paint is oil based you’ll also need to use a little turpentine to get rid of it.

Problem #4: Smartphone and tablet problems

You go out of the room, come back in and find your little one has accidentally sent texts to all of your contacts. Or they have dropped your tablet onto the floor and cracked the screen. You can prevent these problems by making use of parental controls, investing in a good protective screen, and more simply, keeping them out of reach from your child. 

This is a guest post supplied by The Sash Window Workshop

Friday, 15 November 2013

What can elderly and children learn from one another?

The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is a unique and special one. There is just enough connecting them yet, at the same time, keeping them healthily separate to make contact fulfilling, pleasurable and surprising for both.

Whereas the relationship between parents and children is loving but inevitably fraught with the stresses of life both inside and outside the home, the ties between grandparents and grandkids are relaxed enough to focus on fun, education and enjoyment for both parties.

New eyes

It is difficult not to get jaded with life as the years go by. Sometimes you feel as though you have seen and heard it all before and that there is nothing new left to experience.

Children have the amazing ability to help their elders see the world with fresh eyes and delight with their quirky and uninhibited perspective on life.

It could be the way a child approaches a project, the little things they notice when out and about or simply all of those funny questions they ask which make you think twice.

Whatever it is that is so delightful about spending time in the company of children, it enables a grandparent or other elderly friend or relative to get in touch with their own sense of wonder with the world. 

Past times 

On the side of children, regular contact with their elders can introduce views of the world which they would never otherwise access.

As elders reminisce about their own childhoods, it can open up a view of another time and place which can be enriching to a child’s imagination.

They can also enjoy one another’s company without the immediate pressures and power struggles that are felt between children and their parents!

Keep the spirit up

Most grandparents welcome a visit from their grandchildren. However, ageing often means a drop in energy levels. Just being in the company of a chatty, energetic child can be tiring.

Maintaining energy levels is important. Home devices can make life easier on this front for an ageing resident.

For example, a stair lift takes out the utterly draining task of negotiating the stairs several times a day without compromising the enjoyment of one’s home.

These fixtures are designed for both internal and external use. Indoors, they help in maintaining independence while an outdoor stair lift means there is no restriction on getting out to the shops or to friends. One can be installed for a whole length of stairs or along a few steps which lead to the garden.

It is all about flexibility, independence and being able to accommodate a visit from young people with ease.

Care and responsibility

There is another way in which the elderly and children can offer something to one another.

Older kids can be put in charge of looking after an ageing relative who may need assistance from time to time in simple day-to-day tasks.
This way, the child gets the chance to learn responsibility to others.

This is a guest post supplied by Stannah

Monday, 11 November 2013

Why should you teach children to make their own bed?

Many parents will ask ‘what age is it appropriate to teach children to make their own bed?’ At the age of five, most children will be able to take this task on board; they have both the mental ability to remember the step-by-step guide and the physical ability to complete the task at hand.

Where to start?

You should begin by allowing them to observe the bed making process. After a while they may even wish to help from their own accord. Start by pulling the top sheet, duvet and blanket to the head of the bed, you can then show your child how to tuck in each corner.

Once your child has practiced with you on several occasions, begin renouncing your help. Allow them to complete the last step of the bed making process unaided and then the last two steps and so on until they are fully confident with the whole task.

Growing up

As your child grows, he or she may start to help you change the bed linen. This is another task in itself and as such, your child must be educated from start to finish. Begin by showing them how to pull the fitted sheet from the bed, and also, how to replace it with a new sheet. 

Your child will need to know where to put the soiled sheet and where to find a fresh sheet – you may have a linen cupboard or basket in a certain room in the house so make sure this is accessible to your children. Allowing your child to choose the bed linen themselves is a great way to encourage them to make their own beds. You may have several coloured sheets or bed covers featuring their favourite characters.

You may like to put up a calendar detailing when each ‘linen’ day occurs. You could even issue stars, which will be attached to a board every time your child completes this task.

Why is it important?

It is important for children to learn of various household tasks as they will not be able to rely on you forever. They can then put these tasks into action when they stay at friends or relatives homes too – ensuring that they leave rooms clean and tidy during their stay.

At home, a well made bed will instantly make a child’s room look tidier – helping to encourage them to look after their rooms and giving you a home you can be proud of.

This is a guest post, supplied by Feather and Black