Sunday, 31 January 2016

Viewing the world through the eyes of our Children

As a mum of two with one who is at school I often find myself with plenty to do to keep me busy and often leaves me unable to see past our day to day needs, this means we are often rushing places like the school run and doctors appointments. Whilst Evelyn was little this wasn't really an issue she would either be in the pushchair or in the sling and I could continue at my normal pace. However now that she can walk its all she wants to do and of course I want to encourage her so things have been taking a little while longer recently.

Whilst running some of our usually errands I realised something, I had been so busy rushing along scooping Evelyn up in my arms when we had been in a rush and she was taking a little too long looking at another leaf or stone, I hadn't really thought about how the world looks through her eyes.


The simple things that I pass each day that don't seem important to me are all brand new to Evelyn, they are interesting and fun and I had been dragging her away from all these things taking away the opportunity to explore and learn!
That tree that you pass most days might be a mighty oak with a story to tell to a child who marvels at how tall the tree is and how big the branches are that stretch up to the sky. The leaves she wants to crunch in for an extra few minutes are crunchy and beautiful with all of their different colours but we just breeze through them on our way. The noises we hear, the animals we pass and the smells we all take for granted, a child wants to know, wants to explore and whats to sense and experience what these things are and who are we to stop them. After all isn't that part of life shouldn't we be encouraging them and supporting them in finding out about the world we live in and all that it offers us.

I love hearing my children's tales of their day which may often for us adults have just been an ordinary day but for a child it could have been magical and amazing. Listening to James tell me stories of his day has made me realise I need to listen more, ask more and talk less. I want to hear about the world through his eyes and perhaps we as adults can learn something about the magic of the world through the eyes of our children.


Children can often teach us things we don't even realise we are lacking, the joys in simple things like sand in our toes the smell of fresh grass and laughter for no apparent reason. They make us realise there is beauty in the most ordinary objects and they make us realise that taking time to just breathe, enjoy and laugh can make us feel like a whole new person inside and out.

I have promised myself and the kids that from now on I will try and leave a little more time for our journey so that we can appreciate the world together. I want to crunch in the leaves, marvel at the trees, stare at the swooping birds and appreciate the daisies that we see each day. Just because we see something all of the time doesn't make it any less special. I want to make our journeys adventures as each day is a new adventure for a toddler like Evelyn and hand in hand we will enjoy it together.

Have you ever thought about how the world must appear to your child?

xXx

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Evelyn at 19 Months.

Its been a little while since I have written an update on Evelyn but this last month or so she has become such a little character I just had to share a little update with you all.

(Just look at that wild hair, its seriously curly and un-tameable!) 

Evelyn is now 19 months old and certainly knows what she wants and how to get it! She is confidently walking and even trying to run which is causing a fair few bumps. Since she has started walking confidently and more often we have noticed that her left foot/ leg turn inwards slightly and this is causing her to trip over sometimes, much to Evelyn's frustration. She has a doctors appointment this week so hopefully this will shed some light on the problem.

Evelyn adores walking as I mentioned before and exploring the world around her, it means walking anywhere takes 4 x as long but it is totally worth it to see the excitement in her face at the simple things the world has to offer. She also loves swimming as it becoming quite the confident little water baby. Evelyn is happy to splash, kick her legs and thinks its hilarious going under the water and splashing back up, shouting "again again" each time you do it. She also loves books and James loves reading to Evelyn which is lovely to watch. Her favourite toys are her baby + pushchair and her Twirlywoos toys which also get pushed around in the pushchair!


Bedtimes are getting easier after we went through a very tiring stage of night wakings and feedings which we can only put down to growth and development spurts and teething but these seem to been fading out now. Nap times are very much hit and miss with Evelyn choosing to completely miss a nap one day and enjoy 90+ minutes on other days, therefore we are very much Evelyn led when it comes to naps and just take each day as it comes.


My little chatter box doesn't stop talking now a days! She is a little sponge when it comes to words and will happily attempt to repeat words you say and is just starting to put words together (yesterday in the car on the way to school she said "love you James" in her own very cute way). She certainly understands more now too, such as asking her to put her shoes on and she goes straight to her shoes and attempts to put them on.

James and Evelyn are still amazing together and their relationship only seems to grow stronger and closer as Evelyn gets older and more able to take part in games etc much to James delight. We do have a few tears at school some mornings when James has to go to school and she tries to get in to school with him, she is ever so happy when its time to go pick her brother up and always wants a hug when he appears at the school door.


I am absolutely loving her at this age at the moment and whilst the strong willed tantrums are extremely draining the pro's certainly out weight the cons. I adore watching her explore the world taking it all in at her own level and pace. Her independence is a joy to watch as is her relasionship with her brother. Each day seems to bring a new word or a new skill she has mastered and it is lovely watching her grow even if I think she is growing way to fast!

xXx

Sunday, 17 January 2016

LEGO Speed Champions set **REVIEW**

LEGO is one of those classic toys that never seems to go out of fashion and nobody seems to tire of.
I remember playing with LEGO when I was little and I am so pleased that James enjoys playing it now too as it means I get to play with LEGO again!

Since LEGO is one of James favourite toys he received several sets over Christmas including the LEGO speed champion Mclaren set, so this weekend we sat down together and got building and I have to tell you it was so much fun and really therapeutic!


The set comes complete with everything you need to build what is in the picture including tiny traffic cones, stickers and changeable wheel alloys. The LEGO comes packaged in clear bags with the wheel trim pieces in a separate bag.


As well as the bricks needed there are 2 clear instruction booklets included in the box to help you build the vehicle. This is one of the things I love about LEGO sets, the instructions that come with them. They are incredible easy to use with each step being broken down into 3 or 4 bricks at a time so they can easily be followed and nothing gets to confusing. James is 6 and with a little bit of guidance he is able to follow along with the instructions by himself.


Making the car took around 25-30 minutes, taking our time and adding the stickers as we went which I don't think is to bad. I think 30 minutes is long enough to make it a good project for a child but not so long that it loses their imagination so this makes a great set for kids to have a go at. The dimensions of the finished car are L - 14cm X W - 5cm X H - 4cm.

Here are some pictures of our finished car.




The set even comes with its very own little LEGO driver/ mechanic (the tool he is holding can be used to easily change the wheel trims on the car, the set comes with 2 different designs), as well as some racing props such as these cute cones and racing barrier!


Me and James had lots of fun building the Mclaren Speed Champions LEGO set and we think it looks great too! The instructions were clear and easy to follow clearly showing each brick to use and where to put it at each step. The sets aren't huge so a perfect little kit for anyone thinking about a kit for their child who likes to have a go at following the instructions themselves but won't take forever to build. Once built James had had lots of fun racing his car around and we have found that once built the car is actually very sturdy and holds together well.


As well as the Mclaren set we built above you can also get similar sets with Porsche and Ferrari vechicles. These sets are priced at around £13.00 each which we felt was a really fair price. You can check out the full range of Speed Champion vehicles on the LEGO website.

Do your children love LEGO? Do they have a favourite set or thing to build?

xXx

Thursday, 14 January 2016

James is starting Beavers!

Since I mentioned the idea of Beavers to James when he was around 5 he has been desperate to go. He adores being outdoors and relishes in interacting with other children so I knew Beavers would be something he would love.

I placed his name on the list last summer knowing he wouldn't be able to start until he was 6 as this is the minimum age but thinking I had got a head start by placing his name on the list. It turns out I wasn't half early enough and the waiting lists for the Beavers groups around by us are huge! After a few mishaps with waiting lists etc and thinking we were getting a place then not and James becoming rather frustrating at wanting to start we finally got given a place a few weeks ago. 

James has his first Beavers meeting tonight and insisted we headed out to buy him a uniform last weekend which I was hesitant to do as I wanted him to try it out first, however he does look very cute in his uniform! 


James arrived home from his first Beavers meeting this evening buzzing with excitement and had a beaming smile on his face. He was so excited to tell me all about it and all the people there I was extremely proud of him and how well he adapts to new situations. He told me all about the French flag and that they had been learning about where France was on the map, apparently next week they are learning about Germany! I loved seeing that joy, happiness and excitement on his little face, after all that's what we all want from our children isn't it for them to be happy. 

James can't wait for his next meeting next week and although I am excited for his part of me is feeling very nervous and anxious. I know that a camp trip or a day out with his Beavers group will be on the cards at some point and im not ready for my baby boy to be growing up and becoming a little explorer and adventurer without me!


Did you or have any of your children joined the Scouts? 

xXx

Monday, 11 January 2016

By the book isn't always the best!

As parents we often feel a lot of pressure put on us to do the "right" thing, to get everything right but when it comes to parenting and our children is there every really a "right" way? 

When I had my first baby James I tried to do everything by the book, after all that's what is portrayed by the health professionals as the right way but my gosh it was hard! 

I don't know if someone forgot to tell the health visitors and doctors but someone certainly forgot to tell these babies that they should apparently all be following the same weight curve, same height curve and be walking at the same age because they babies just don't want to play ball! I worried and stressed driving myself mad that James wasn't gaining weight at the right time or his teeth hadn't come through when the book said they would. 

I drove myself and probably James mad trying to fit in baby groups, days out, baby music classes, meeting other mums and swimming classes because this is what I thought I should have been doing. 

Then I realised what I was doing was actually stressing us both out, I was trying so hard to be the best possible parent that actually I was missing the whole point. Babies don't need 10 classes a week or constant stimulation they just need love and happiness and sometimes just like us they just want to chill out too! 

When Evelyn came along I was adamant I wasn't going to fall in to the same trap. We signed up to 1 class and that was it as it was something I was genuinely interested in. We left the rest of our time to do as we pleased we met up with friends but on our basis not a timetable. We went for random walks, we dropped in to play sessions that meant we could come and go as we pleased. Some days we just stayed in on the sofa and had cuddles and played with the toys she had at home. We have both been much more relaxed at happy with our relaxed schedule and I don't feel tired or exhausted trying to keep up an unrealistic struggle. 

So mums and dads please don't feel like you must be filling your days with baby classes and lessons, groups and walks (unless you want to of course, which is totally fine!). Just do what makes you and baby happy, don't get disheartened by what health professionals and other parents are doing. Every parent and baby are different and that's fine in fact that's great if we were all the same wouldn't it be boring!? 


If you and baby are both Happy then your doing it "right"! 

xXx

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Our favourite low cost things to do with the kids!

Nowadays everything seems to cost money and with prices creeping ever higher a day out with the kids can become very costly.

Today I am sharing some of our favourite low cost ideas to keep the kids entertained for less.


Local Parks



Visiting your local park can be a great way to get out and about and lets the kids burn off some energy in the process. Whilst kids are having fun playing at the park they are also building up their imagination with lots of creative free play and engaging with other children. It also gives them a little freedom to play and explore as they wish (of course under your watchful eye). All that climbing, sliding and running is also building up muscles they may not use when at home or school too! You may be surprised at how many little local parks you find within the local area too.


Woodland walks/ Wildlife hunting.

Why not take the kids exploring, its fun, free and easy for the whole family to get involved in. One thing we like to do it draw a tick list before we head out and see how many things we can find from our list. You could draw different insects, birds or any sort of wildlife you think you may find on your walk including, rabbits or maybe even deer depending on where you live. Give each of your child their own sheet and armed with that and a pencil head out and see what you can find, don't forget to tick them off as you find them and see how many things you and the kids can find.



Arts and Crafts

Arts and Crafts are our go to rainy day activity. Things can get a little messy especially if you plan on using glue or glitter but if you are worried about your carpet or work surface though you can buy large disposable or reusable plastic sheets cheaply to cover a large area before you start. Arts and crafts can be as cheap or expensive as you make it. Things like paper mache or loo rolls monsters can be made using items already in the home. I save loo rolls, egg boxes, pringles tubes, old newspaper, tissue paper from presents and anything I can find that I think could be reused and keep it all in a box ready for a rainy day. Above are some of the crafts we have made using household objects.


Picnics


If you think picnics are just for the summer think again. Whilst picnics in the summer are a lovely way to get outdoors and enjoy lunch in the winter we simply bring our picnic indoors! Getting the kids to help lay out a big blanket on the living room floor and then get them to help you prepare the picnic food. They will love getting involved in preparing the food and it makes lunch so much more fun! I also found having new foods to try in a relaxed fun environment such as a picnic often means kids are more willing to try new foods, especially if they see others doing it too. Picnics can be cheap and easy to make using things you have already in the cupboards.


Play Dates

Remember if your stuck in wondering what on earth to do to entertain the kids the chances are other parents and kids are feeling the same way! Why not get chatting to other parents at school and see if you can arrange a regular play date for your child with some of their friends. You can swap each week or month and that way its fair and the kids are kept occupied playing with a friend. James adore having friends over and having someone of a similar age to play his toys with and hes often kept occupied and happy for hours!

Swimming


Both James and Evelyn have been water babies since they were little babies and so swimming is something we regularly do as a family. However I think some people feel that swimming can be expensive but not if you head to a leisure centre! A family ticket is around £10 - £15 on average for a family of 4 and often leisure centre pools don't have time limits like other pools. Ok so they may not have lots of fancy slides or wave machines etc (although some may have!) but a lot of leisure centres do "big bath time" sessions where they have some foam floats and shapes, watering cans, foam rings, boards and balls etc for everyone to play with. Regular swimming is also great for building up water confidence and spending some time together as a family.

What are your favourite low cost family days out or activities?

xXx

Monday, 4 January 2016

Our current top 5 children's story books.

I had never been in to books much until I had kids, now I still don't really read for myself (I struggle to find any time) but I do adore ready to both James and Evelyn and have done so since they were tiny babies.

I love how children can get lost in a story and how it fuels and nurtures their already wild and vivid imagination. James has always loved books but since starting school and learning to read for himself books have become a real passion for him and we read together each night. When we are not reading together I often find him reading story books to his sister as she often sits and listens intently, its a real pleasure to watch. 

So I recently asked James (aged 6) to share with me his favourite 5 books at the moment from his book shelf and here are the 5 he chose -


Cinder the Bubble-Blowing Dragon

Tyrannosaurus Drip

Aliens Love Underpants

Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School

Mr Nosey and the big surprise

I adore that James loves reading as it was one of my main concerns before he started school as he was showing no signs of being able to read or wanting too! Despite my best efforts at home a few months at school and he was excelling and I haven't been able to stop him since. Its a real joy to watch him reading and really getting in to the story of a book and telling me all about it afterwards. James even reads to his sister now who adores his reading just as much as I do.


Do your children love reading? What is your childs favourite book to read at the moment? 

xXx

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Snapshot Saturday - Week 1

Since starting my blog photography is something I have grown to love more and more. I am definitely a amateur when it comes to photography but it is something I would love to improve, so when I came across a new linky called Snapshot Saturday run by the lovely Deborah over at Super Busy Mum I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.

I am hoping that by joining this linky I can improve my own photography skills as well as having a lovely set of photos to look back at by the end of the year. There are also plenty of other fabulous bloggers taking part so I will most definitely be marveling at their beautiful photography!

My very first photo in this linky is this one I took on Christmas eve (I am going to be trying to take the pictures on each Saturday for the linky in future but I only found the linky this evening so didn't get a chance today).


I love the happiness and joy captured in their faces and it was such a fun day! We went to Wookey Hole caves to visit Santa and this was during the walk through to Santa's grotto. There was music, lights and moving animals all the way through and both James and Evelyn spent ages exploring all the displays intently.

The photo was taken on my Sony W800 Cyber-shot digital camera and whilst I love the photo I really need to spend some time working out the options and settings on the camera to use it to its full potential and hopefully get a little bit of a clearer picture especially around their faces.

So that is my picture for week 1 of the Snapshop Saturday linky. If you want to take part please click on the button below.

xXx

Super Busy Mum


Friday, 1 January 2016

New Years Resolutions!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Whilst I would love to lose a little weight, get fitter and healthier and well wouldn't we all like to have a bit more money in 2016 my actual New Years resolutions for 2016 are a little different.

This year my 2016 is going to be all about FAMILY! Its time for me to put down my phone and step away from social media and my laptop a little more and create more of those precious family memories.

This year I want to be spontaneous and fun, family trips to the beach to watch the sunset, trips to the zoo, last minute weekends away and walks in the woods to explore. I am sure I am not the only one who has all these great ideas but when it comes to it we end up at the same local park wishing we had done more whilst the sun was shining. So as 2016 begins we are heading out to buy wellies and a tent and to plan more adventures.

I want my children's minds and memories to be filled with fun, adventure and experiences to remember. I want them to see me as that fun mum that makes them happy not that mum always on her phone whilst they entertain themselves. When they look back at their memories I want them to remember us as a family doing things together not them enjoying themselves whilst my face is buried in updating my Facebook about the fun we are having, that can wait but memories cant!

So that is my plan for 2016 and beyond, do you have any New Years resolutions?

I am wishing you all a happy, healthy and magical 2016 filled with everything you are hoping for.

Love to all xx