Monday, 15 December 2014

Making a gift for Christmas

MadDad doesn't always have a lot of spare time.  He works really hard and also spends time with the boys, but this year inspired by Worx he spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday making the boys a pair of stilts.



He was sent a selection of power tools and then went out and bought some wood and rope and had some real fun for a couple of hours.

He was so impressed with the tools, that he went out and bought the drill himself and then a mini circular saw for his Dad for Christmas (Hope you are not reading this FIL)!

The MiniMads were delighted with their stilts (of sorts) and even took them round their friends, who now want MadDad to make them some!

Although MadDad is a mild mannered accountant by day he really enjoys tinkering when he isn't under pressure and these tools really made it a pleasure for him.

Why not have a look at making something yourself, there are some great how to videos.




 Disclosure: We were sent  a drill drivermini circular saw and sonicrafter to make the boys some stilts, we bought the materials and drill ourselves. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Our recipe for the perfect family holiday

Holidays, they are so different now we have kids to what they were like before we had kids! But as the boys are getting older I know that we would love to put a Mark Warner holiday to the test, especially as my boys are so active. 

Ingredients

One hard-working office professional Dad
One ever working Mum
One early rising sports man nine year old over achiever
One night-owl book loving eight year old

Method

Often we hope for a one pot cooking method where we could just throw all the ingredients and their clothing in to a plane and come out the other end perfectly cooked, but actually finding a holiday that suits us all is hard.

MadDad - hates sitting by a pool with a book, which I LOVE!
Maxi would spend all day every day either in or around water and is ultra competitive, even getting in your swimming costume first is a "thing"
Mini finds switching off at the end of the evening hard, but he likes to try to keep up with his brother.
Me - Well I like not having to do all the cooking, cleaning, organising and everything else that I am responsible for at home.  

EXPERIENCES BRING MORE HAPPINESS THAN THINGS

Since becoming a family we have all learned that we get longer lasting happiness by experiencing new things as a family and spending quality time together.  We love to challenge each other and have fun.  The boys are adventurous eaters and prefer to eat off the adult menu than go anywhere near a chicken nugget!


Just look at our before and after analysis

Before Children              With Children
LocationSouth AfricaHenley on Thames
TransportAirplaneCar with car seats and sick bags
LuggageA case and small bagA car stuffed full to the gills
AccommodationHotelTent
BreakfastLeisurely and taken at hotelCooked on a BBQ at 7am
Must havesGood books and sun creamBaby wipes, games, sun cream and clean loos
LunchPeople watching in a cafĂ©Sandwiches or MacDonald’s
DinnerCandlelit evening meal with husband accompanied with wineCooked on a camping stove and washed in a communal sink accompanied with lots of wine for the adults
Typical mealSeafood with sublime winesSausages and Beans
RelaxationSpa treatment or swimming in the poolWhat!
ShoppingMarkets and local delicatessensWith children, no way just the supermarket
Most eventful happeningBring photographed with baby white Bengal tigersThe children actually sleeping though the night
Best part of the holidayBeing bought diamond earrings by MadDadThe open air and relaxed time with the family
Worst part of the holidayBeing seasick on the boat to Robben islandChild being sick all over car seat
Best day tripA visit to the wine reagionA visit to Legoland

Friday, 12 December 2014

Be rewarded whilst shopping online

I want to talk to you today about a new way to be rewarded whilst shopping online with PaidShop.com. I touched on PaidShop.com on my How to have a Thrifty Christmas post, but it deserves a post in its own right.



What is PaidShop? 

PaidShop.com isn't just a cashback site, it is much more than that.  The website features flash sales, allows you to check the latest sale items with all major UK retailers and search for voucher codes for favourite shops. 

So you can use PaidShop.com to search for voucher codes to save you money on your purchase, but you can ALSO get cashback on your purchase. 

Paidshop.com actually rewards you on a number of levels:

  1. Cashback on your purchases (you get 100% of the commission)
  2. Voucher codes saving you money on your purchases
  3. Price comparison tool to help you chose the best value option
  4. Flash Sales
  5. Rewarded for life for introductions and referrals – for every friend that joins up, you earn 5% of their cash back without even lifting a finger. PaidShop.com is unique in this as it has no expiry date which means you’ll keep earning additional cash back as long as you and your friends continue using the site

It seems too good to be true, but the fact is PaidShop.com is free, so you can try PaidShop.com out for nothing and see if it works for you.

One thing I try to do is make my money work smarter and PaidShop.com is one of those ways.  It adds very little time on to a shopping experience and if there is any way I can save money, coupled by being rewarded by making essential purchases that I would buy regardless, well that is a good thing to me. 


What ways do you make your money work smarter? 


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Do you have a mad clean before Christmas


There is something about Christmas coming that makes me want to clean up the house.  It might be all the twinkly lights, but I think that it really is something to do with people coming to visit that shames me in to it! 

Incase you get that cleaning bug too then why not take a look at my posts on cleaning your oven without chemicals, cleaning your washing machine and cleaning your tumble dryer



Thanks to Ecomovers for the fab infographic 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Flash-Price - Sign up and get a FREE Hack T Shirt with an RRP of £29.99 (whilst stocks last)

One of my bugbears as a parent is clothing.  I want my boys to be boys, not minimen and also I don't want them to dress in the same things that other people do.  I also NEED their clothes to last. 
We have tried supermarket clothes and other than uniform I am going to admit that I don't really rate any of it.  In fact we tend to shop in the sales for premium clothing, but that often lasts through both the boys and then my BF's three younger boys.  I love seeing her three year old in clothes that have been worn by five (yes FIVE other boys) and they still look ace.
So, when I was informed about a new site selling premium children’s clothes at bargain prices, I was really interested.
Flash-Price are the new kids on the block and they are in their infancy, currently 9only stocking boys and men, but there are plans to stock a lot more in the future.
So to get people interested and keep them informed if you sign up for the Flash/Price Newsletter there is free Hack T Shirt with an RRP of £29.99 (whilst stocks last) as an incentive. 
Another fab offer they have at the moment is buy a pair of Urban Logik boots and get a free Beck and Hersey backpack (RRP £19.99).
Becky from Family Budgeting as reviewed the Urban Logik boots and Beck and Hersey backpack and they seen to be great value and for me value is everything.
There is also free postage in the UK for the rest of the year

Monday, 1 December 2014

Snow Dough recipe to help Frazer Bear

The boys were challenged by House of Fraser to find the perfect ending for their Frazer Bear's story.  The original nide was that they would draw the end, but alas my boys are eight and nine and had other ideas!



So this is their ending to this story and I can assure you, no bears were harmed! 

Frazer Bear put Baby Bear in the fridge................................................


He then decided to put Baby Bear in the Freezer as the fridge only was 5 degrees and not cold enough to make snow


So Frazer Bear decided to make his own snow to show Baby Bear.........


It was so much like snow you could even make snow balls with it.............



So if you want to make some snow, we decided to share the ingredients with you.  You can even make it cold by putting in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Recipe to make your own Snow Dough

  • 2 cups corn flour 
  • 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup baby oil

This is so simple to do.  The boys added the ingredients in a large bowl and mixed them together and then tickled them (like rubing in flour and butter).  The snow is ready when it is crumbly but also crunches together in your hands like real snow and your can make snowballs with it.
Note: If you are making this for a child that will pop it in their mouth then exchange the baby oil for a light coloured food oil such as grapeseed oil.
The boys have been playing with our Snow Dough for the last week and have really loved it.  It is an amazing texture and Mini decided to build an igloo and that it was Hoth
It would make an amazing base for a Frozen World for playing in and you could even add iridescent glitter. 
I am sure that this dough will keep for at least a month or so when made with Baby oil, so we will be using any of the remains to make Father Christmas footprints in on Christmas Eve.
Disclosure: House of Fraser  sent the boys some toys for Christmas in exchange for this blog post.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Lets keep warm this winter

Can you believe that ti is winter - I can not.  It is so mild out there at the moment, but it will come the colder days and frozen nights.   So I have decided to take part in the Duette Blind competition as my home could seriously do with some new blinds.

One the the things that I do as soon as it starts to get dark is close all the blinds and curtains in the house to keep the cold out and make sure we keep the warm in.

Follow Jen Walshaw's board Keeping warm this winter on Pinterest.

I have put together a Pinterest board with ways that are not only great for keeping a home warm this winter, but also look gorgeous too.

A big one for us as a family is to make sure that we are appropriately dressed at home, for me this means PJ's, dressing gowns and slouchy socks and slippers. If the boys are walking round in less than that and I have the heating on then it means we have too warm a house!

My other easy to implement tips are:

Line your curtains - if you are not handy with a sewing machine then use fleece blankets - look at how Elaine at mortgage free in three manages with fleece and shower curtain rings - totally ingenious.

Flannel bedding (or brushed cotton) I adore the feel of brushed cotton and so do the boys, so in addition to winter weight duvets we also have flannelette sheets and duvet covers for all the beds.

Hot water bottles - these are ace for making the bed warm and cosy to get in to.  If you are worried about little ones and hot water bottles then use heat packs filled with lavender, cherry stones or wheat.

Wear vests and make your kids wear them.  Layers are key for keeping warm.



 More tips for preparing your home for winter.
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