Archive for the ‘kids’ Category

Kids go free on fun days out!

In kids on November 16, 2007 at 1:07 am

Theme parks, shopping malls and MacDonalds can all become rather expensive methods of entertaining the kids. And free days out are hard to find these days…

Or are they?

Kids Go Free is a great website which helps you find free (and low cost) days out and activities for the kids. You can search by town, postcode or area for attractions close to you.

This site is becoming invaluable in locating free and cheap days out for the family, especially when it comes to the school holidays! At Kids Go Free, you can find everything from local city farms to museums, walks and historical attractions near you. It also includes directories of “family-friendly” places to eat and stay.

Check it out the next time you’re looking for an inexpensive way to entertain the kids. You could even use this as a bargaining tool so the children will put up with your Christmas shopping over the next few weeks!


A near miss…

In kids, observations on July 20, 2007 at 8:26 pm

Last night, my son came in screaming moments after he’d gone out to play across the road. He’d been so preoccupied with a gift he’d just received from his aunt that he walked out into the road without looking, and…

Well, you can guess what happened.

He was so SO lucky to have come out of it with only bruises and a sore leg! The driver of the van was so concerned and stayed until he was certain my son wasn’t badly injured. I hardly remember what I did, except that I sobbed and insisted on stripping him to his underpants right in the open doorway until I knew for certain nothing was bleeding or broken.

So so lucky. And so unlike my son to cross the road without looking both ways first! I’ve installed road sense into him from the moment he could walk, so I can only believe he must have been too excited about his gift and the impending holidays.

I thank God that he is safe and well. Heaven knows what I’d have done if he’d been seriously hurt, or worse… I’m so glad that the driver had enough sense to drive through our road with caution and safe speed, since there are almost always children playing in the street. If the car had been one of the “boy racers” who speed through the road at night, I certainly wouldn’t be here writing this post now.

Thank God for small mercies, and for keeping our children safe.

First day at "Big School"!

In kids on July 17, 2007 at 8:20 pm

Today my little man spent an “induction day” at his new comprehensive school. I was so nervous for him! He still seems too young and small to be attending comprehensive!

But he dispelled all my fears when he met me in the car park at 3pm, all smiles and gossip about how much he’d enjoyed the day. He;s already made friends with some of his classmates and feels he knows his way around the maze of corridors, which is no small feat considering the size and scale of the school!

Only six weeks of holiday to go now before he’s there full time! Still, we have to get through a summer of rain before then…

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Kids summer reading challenge!

In freebies, just for fun, kids on July 10, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Last year, my son had great fun by being involved in the national reading challenge at the library; each week he read a book borrowed from the library (six in total) for which he achieved a certificate and medallion. Stickers and pencils also provided a great incentive for him to keep on reading.

So we were rather pleased to discover that a new reading challenge has been set for this summer’s school holidays: The Big Wild Read.

The challenge is environmentally themed, encouraging kids to play a bigger part in helping protect and conserve our planet by thinking about the things we do and how it affects planet Earth. They are given a folder to help record their progress, and each time they read a book they are given scratch and sniff stickers to decorate it, featuring useful information about conservation and wildlife. What’s more, they also receive “tree tokens” which will be translated into new trees thanks to the Woodland Trust’s Trees for All campaign.

Not only is this a great incentive for youngsters to be reading over the summer, but a way to help them develop an understanding of the environment, and what can be done to protect it.

The kids are all going to be taking part in this challenge this summer, and have even planned the books they’ll be reading next week when we go on holiday! I just know they’re going to be thrilled when they learn that their efforts have also helped plant new trees too!

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Free books for babies

In freebies, just for fun, kids on July 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

When my little Angel was quite young, we were given a Bookstart token for her to exchange for a pack at the library, which included some free books, a children’s library card and a lovely bag to put them all in. This has been well loved, as my daughter now adores books and is developing quite a collection (she takes after her mum!). Yet I didn’t think much more about the Bookstart scheme until recently.

After having a look at the Bookstart website, I realised that the scheme doesn’t end with that first free pack! Children are also presented with Bookstart+ packs as toddlers, and then a treasure chest when ages 3-4, both of which include free book tokens! Furthermore, there is a scheme run by libraries called “The Book Crawl”, which encourages young children to read by offering certificates and free books when each card is filled with stamps.
This is such a lovely idea to help encourage young children to develop a love of reading. I only wish I’d read about this sooner.
To find out more about the Bookstart scheme, take a look at the website or ask at your local library. I’m sure your little angels will love it as much as mine does!

Happy Birthday!

In kids on July 5, 2007 at 4:38 pm

To my little man, who’s eleven today:

Your Dad and I wish you a Happy Birthday!

We have many surprises in store for you:

Lots of cards and special presents, and a birthday cake too!

Eleven years passed, and my you have grown!

With your cheeky grin and a style all your own;

You learn and develop, doing all that you can

To prove to the world that you’re now a young man.

You’re no longer my baby, but I still hold you dear;

My love for my son can only grow with each year.

And so I wrote this verse, especially for you:

Happy Birthday, Little Man! May all your dreams come true!

Love from Mummy!

Car Boot Sale!

In house and home, just for fun, kids on June 30, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Despite the weather, we had a really great morning at a local car boot sale! It was just a small, simple one in the car park of our local community centre, but we bagged some great bargains, including this hat and coat for my little Angel:

They’re pure wool, absolutely gorgeous! And the best thing was that they were only 20p, for the set! Can you believe that?

I also found some bargain books: The Cat in the Hat (and also his return), and Sarah Waters’ Night watch in hardback for me, which were only 10p each. We went with a pocketful of change and only spend about £3 in all, though we all came back happy!

When the weather is warmer, we sometimes go to the major car boot sales out in the country, which can take hours to walk around! These sales are such a good place for bargain buys: we’ve built up a huge collection of Disney videos this way as they’re usually around 50p each (whereas new ones are upwards of £10 in the shops), and always look out for mirrors, beautiful vases, fittings and other household stuff that we can buy for next to nothing.

If you ever fancy trying a car boot sale yourself, here’s a few tips to get the most out of it:

  • Wear old shoes and trousers: car boot sales can be very muddy!
  • Have lots of loose change. When things cost 10p, you don’t want to ask for change from a £20 note! Also, it’s easier to barter when you have the right money!
  • Barter for everything! There are no fixed prices at car boot sales, and sellers almost always tell you a price higher than they will accept (even if it is already cheap!)
  • Take carrier bags, as sellers often run out!
  • Go very early if you want to find the best sales. Later in the day, such treasures will have already been snapped up!
  • Go quite late if you are looking for cheap bargains: as sellers are packing up, they are much more likely to sell you that beautiful green glass vase for 20p when their earlier asking price was £2!
  • Similarly, going on a day when the weather’s bad will help you bag the bargains, as sellers just want to get rid of their stuff and go home!

Car boot sales are great for buying kids toys too. Last year, money was a bit short so we went to the sales just before the kids birthdays and found loads of great stuff they wanted which we otherwise couldn’t afford. Clothes in every shape, size and design are found in plenty, so if you don’t mind laundering second-hand clothes, there are designer bargains galore.

If you want to find listings of car boot sales in your ares, try CarBootCalendar.com which features all major UK car boot sales, flea markets and antiques fairs. Friday Ads also have regular listings of such sales and you can narrow your search by postcode.

An alternative, If you prefer to keep your boots clean, is to visit visit ibootsale from the comfort of your own home! You can even list items for free if there are things lying about at home that you want to get rid of.

Do let me know if you’re a lover of car boot sales too by leaving your comments below. And if you’re a CBS virgin, why not go out and visit one with the kids? It’s a very cheap day out!

Living room or lounge: what’s yours?

In house and home, kids on June 21, 2007 at 12:06 pm

I have to ask this, as it’s starting to become something of an issue in our house: does your home have a “living room” (a communal area complete with a scattering of toys and kiddie stuff) or a “lounge” (mum and dad only; kids are virtually banned; the room is tidy).

We don’t have much of a choice here at home as our house has only two bedrooms: a smaller one for the boys (my son and stepson) where they keep their computer games, toys, books and all, then the “master bedroom” (I hesitate to call it such!), where Hubby Dearest and I sleep, keep our stuff, and also share with Little Angel and my step-daughter. There is no space in either room for Little Angels huge chest full of toys, her amazing collection of beloved cuddly things, her rocking horse or anything else.

This all lives in our “living room” instead.

I don’t mind this too much while Little angel is young, but Hubby dearest really hates this setup. He wants the room where our sofa lives to become the “lounge”: no kids, no toys. A place where we can relax at the end of the day and not have to thoroughly tidy up beforehand! He complains that guests must think we have a messy house because of the toys in there. I assure him that people understand: after all, we have children, and children play!

Eventually, we both agree that the bathroom will migrate to the lower portion of our bedroom, and the old one will become the (perhaps a little small) girls room. And there will live the toys, the cuddlys and all their other stuff. But for this, we have to wait: we’re still renting from the council, and until we either buy this house or persuade them to do the work for us, we have to live in this scenario.

I would really like to know how you other mums and dads organise your living space: do you have toys in the living room, or are they relegated to the bedroom? Perhaps you’re lucky enough to have a playroom, where the kids can play without fear of making a mess? Please leave your comments below. Any suggestions for creating a temporary harmony amidst these toys would be much appreciated!

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We did it! Finally, the potty comes into action!

In kids on June 20, 2007 at 11:02 am

I’m SO thrilled! My little Angel has used her potty for the first time this morning. And not just a pee-pee, but a poopy too!

We’ve been trying for weeks to get her interested (and willing) to use the potty, and until today it just hasn’t worked. She’d sit for ages on the potty while we read books, played games and such, yet as soon as she realised she needed to go, she’d scream for a nappy to be put on, and refused point blank to pee where we wanted! Wet pants didn’t work; neither did “going to the toilet with mum”.

So I was so surprised when she came to tell me there was poopy in the potty, especially as she’d taken off her own nappy and purposefully sat down!

What happened? Why did she suddenly change her mind? I really don’t know, and wish I did so I could help other mummies in the same position. After lots and lots of praise I only hope she’ll do the same next time. We’re a long way off from establishing the habit yet, I know. But what a breakthrough!


To my Little Angel on your first day of nursery

In kids, me time on June 19, 2007 at 12:31 pm

To my Little Angel,

This morning you were so excited: it’s your first day of nursery school, and you just couldn’t wait to go and play with the yellow teapot and paint Daddy a picture of a pussycat! Since we went for a brief visit last week, you haven’t stopped talking about “nursery school” to anyone who would listen: even strangers we pass in the street! You’re 28 months old now and are so grown up. A little girl, and not my little baby anymore, though you always will be in my heart.

I wanted you to pose for a photo as we went in the nursery gates, yet all you wanted to do was get inside and play. I was quite nervous for you: after all, this was the first time I’d ever left you in someone else’s’ care, except for the odd occasion when Daddy and I have been out in the evening when your Auntie would stay and read stories for you and your brother until you both fell asleep! Daddy was even more nervous than me: his little princess was venturing out into the world for the first time. No wonder he spoiled you with a new bag, clothes, lunchboxes and a huge basket of fruit to share with your friends!

When we went inside, you immediately ran over to the little play kitchen to look for the teapot you remembered from the last session. At first you ignored me when I asked for a kiss to say goodbye. Until you realised that the teapot was nowhere to be seen and needed me to find it for you! Straight away you began to make friends, handing out the plastic cups and spoons for the tea party you must have been planning all week. It was so good to watch you interact with the other children: how generous and friendly you were; all smiles and excitement, though perhaps a little shy to talk much at first.

When it came time for me to say goodbye, you didn’t want to wave or even acknowledge that I was leaving. “It’s probably a good thing” the teachers said as I made my exit with tears in my eyes. Though I didn’t want you to be upset, I really wanted to feel that you’d miss me. Since the day you were born, I’ve always been your playmate; your comfort giver, the one you go to sleep with each night. And though I know you’re growing up now, I don’t ever want that feeling of being needed to go away.

I came to collect you a few minutes before the session ended, so you wouldn’t feel left out if you saw other mummies leaving with their children first. When I entered the classroom, you didn’t notice me straight away, and I stood and watched for a few moments as you finished your doodling, concentrating so hard on where the lines went as though it meant so much to you! When you finally noticed I was there, you dropped your pen and ran right over to give me a great big lovely hug that moved me so much with your affection, especially as you sobbed slightly, having seemed to miss me so much!

“She cried a little bit when she realised you were gone,” explained the teacher. “But not much! She’s played really well with all the other children.” Exactly what I’d expected, if I’m honest. My little Angel is such a caring and affectionate little love that I can’t imagine her being aggressive, or even rude.
I’m so glad that you had a good time at nursery school. On the way home, you told me all about the games you played, the “painting-drawing”, the “dress up” and “kickey ball” in the yard.

“Do you want to go again next week?” I asked, as she sat in the back seat, eyes drooping with utter tiredness.

“Um,” she replied smiling. “I go to nursery school again!”