Wednesday, 30 April 2014

How to get your kids to do household chores

Children these days would rather spend most of their time online on social networks or playing videogames that helping their parents to clean the house. Fortunately for you, there are a couple of things that you can do to actually make your kids do their share of chores, so see below for some tried and tested ways to get the kids to help out around the house.

Make them feel that they are helping save Mother Nature

At a young age, children need to know the importance of helping the environment. This includes washing the dishes with a dishwasher that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly.
Explain to your young ones that such a straightforward task can go a very long way when it comes to preventing greenhouse emissions, water wastage, fossil fuel depletion, and so much more!

Use another term besides “chore”

The term “chore” has always had a negative connotation attached to it. For this reason, try to use a different and more engaging term instead. You can use something like “family contributions” or “family work time” to describe the household tasks that you assign to them since this will make them feel that they are doing something important for the entire family.

Schedule at least one “family chore day” per week

Kids would most likely want to do their share of household tasks if the whole family is doing it as well. If you tell your kids to clean their rooms while you are not doing anything yourself, they might feel like they are getting singled out.
Now, if the entire family is engaged in doing various tasks around the house, then it would make your young ones feel that they are actually contributing to the welfare of the household.

Assign different tasks

Kids will become bored if they are told to do the same chore over and over again. With this in mind, it would be best to come up with different or revolving tasks that they can engage in by using a chore chart.
You can do this as often as you want; whether daily, weekly, or monthly. You can revolve tasks such as sweeping the floor, cleaning the yard, washing the dishes, and so much more!

Discuss the schedule with children and agree how often the routines will change so they’ll know what to expect.

No matter what we do, kids will always be kids and it’s a lot easier for them to just play and have fun. However, you get them help with everyday household tasks if you push the right buttons and say the right words. So why not give it a go?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Free Tennis weekends 2014

The MiniMad's are mad on sport, all sport and Mini took part in his first tennis tournament with school a few weeks ago and had a real blast.

I took this video as he was doing skills before the games.  We are really lucky that the boys love sport and their school encourages their participation.

I will be making sure that I book the boys on the free sessions from the LTA.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced four ‘Great British Tennis Weekends’ which will take place from May to July 2014. The weekends will see hundreds of parks and clubs up and down the country offer completely free opportunities to play the game as tennis fever grips the nation  in the lead up to Wimbledon.

The dates for the weekends are:

·         Saturday 17th – Sunday 18th May
·         Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd June
·         Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th June
·         Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th July

For more information on Great British Tennis Weekends 2014, please visit:

This is not a sponsored post

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Growing your own vegetables with kids

We have been growing our own vegetables with the boys for the last six years.  In fact this Easter weekend MadDad had to replace some of the boards on the raised beds he made over six years ago.

We have a standard back garden, but we have made room in it to have three raised beds and two oak barrels.  We also have various pots and planters which we grow in too.

I am going to share with you our secrets, hints and tips over the coming months.

What we are growing this year:

Bed one - New potatoes (planted this weekend)
Bed two - Carrots, beans (to be planted)
Bed three - cauliflowers and cabbage (to be planted)
oak barrels - peas (to be planted)
planters - lettuce and shallots (planted) tomatoes (to be planted)
Hanging baskets - Strawberries (to be planted)

MadDad is also going to build a new bed and relocate the compost basket.

Do you grow with your kids?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Tips for the family budget

Families often find it difficult to maintain healthy spending habits with the multiple needs and costs that are necessary within the household. Between car payments to health insurance, there are several expenses that can make it difficult to thrive or avoid living paycheck to paycheck. For those wanting to follow a family budget, there are several tips available to ensure that you remain organized and prevent overspending each month.

Visit Price-Comparison Websites
Several different price-comparison websites have begun to increase in popularity for a convenient way of shopping around online and finding the best deal. Whether looking for a new carseat or trying to find a designer handbag, the websites work in your favor by doing the homework and providing the most inexpensive websites to purchase the goods with both tax and shipping factored in.

Pay with Cash
Multiple studies have proven that using credit or debit cards often leads to spending at least 9 percent more. Without having the money physically in your hand, it can be easy to exceed your budget when it comes to paying for groceries, household products, clothes, or fuel. Prevent splurging by keeping cash on hand at all times for everyday purchases. You can also use separate envelopes for each expense to hold cash that can be used. Once the cash runs out, it's impossible to spend more, making for an easy way to stay within a budget.

Use an Automated Saving Service
Automated saving services are essential to growing savings accounts and meeting goals by providing accountability throughout the process. The service works to automatically transfer the funds from a checking account on specific dates, making it easy to save without giving it as second thought. The service can also show progress and reminders with the goals. This will work to efficiently build an emergency fund or save for a down payment on a house. It will not only increase your chances of meeting specific goals, but will also prevent using the money toward other unnecessary purchases.


Refinancing your auto loans or credit cards can potentially save hundreds of dollars annually for lower interest rates. In today's economy, interest rates continue to decline for a great way to save more while repaying debt. It will not only work to reduce your monthly payment, but will free up more money in your budget that can be used for a savings account or future college fund. Several lenders offer deals where the debt can be transferred at no cost, making it easy to obtain better rates.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Ten fast ways to save on your energy costs and one way to heat your home more efficiently

After our mortgage and council tax our home heating and fuel costs are the next largest outgoing.  So it makes sense to me to try and reduce this spend as much as I can.    

In the UK over 1.6 million children live in fuel poverty ( where families spend more than 10% of their income on fuel).  When you are spending this much of your income or any amount of your income on heating your home it pays to think smart and Evohome is the smarter way to control your home heating.

Evohome works by splitting your home into zones and giving you the control over each of those zones.  For example if you work from home and have a home office you could have that as one zone and only heat that during the day rather than your whole house.

This video explains it really well:


As a work from home mum it would make real sense for me to zone my home in to Kitchen, living areas, boys rooms, my bedroom and my office.  The boys goes to bed at 8pm so their rooms would only need heating for an hour between 7.30 and 8.30 and again in the morning, where as we go to our room later so it would make sense not to heat that till later.

I love the idea of just heating area's when you are in them.  We tend to congregate together rather than use different areas, so I love that we could be more efficient in heating our home.

Even better we could control our heating remotely - how clever is that! 

Want to find out more, then visit the Evohome website and take a look at the system planning tool, which will give you an indication of what Evohome kit you will need for your particular home and requirements.

We have been working at ways of reducing our bills at home by implementing the following:

  1. Using a slow cooker
  2. Only boiling as much water as we need in the kettle
  3. Using low wattage and LED bulbs
  4. Wearing slippers and dressing gowns
  5. Lining our curtains
  6. Hanging curtains at external doors
  7. Using draft excluders
  8. Not leaving lights on
  9. Not leaving electrical equipment on standby
  10. Not leaving chargers plugged in

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Make The Most Of Your Time With Your Kids: How To Organise Your Schedule

As soon as you have kids, it might feel like you never have five minutes to yourself; especially if you’re a working, single parent. You have to juggle your day job with childcare, school, clubs, activities, cleaning, cooking, and general upkeep of the kids. And all that’s before you get to have a social life of your own. Is there a way that you can organise your schedule better, to make the most of your time with your kids? Let’s find out.


Talk to your kids and assess what’s important to everyone. Do you need a few hours on Friday night to hang out with your friends (to maintain your sanity)? Does your youngest passionately love her piano lessons? Keep what matters, but cut-down on time-consuming excesses, such as multiple clubs after school and trips into town.

Discuss this with your children, before you make any decisions. Explain that you’re trying to free up your schedule, so you can spend some time together as a family, and that you can’t do that if your weekend is spent running around various lessons and extra-curricular activities.

Limit TV Time

This may cause a riot, depending on what your kids like to do best. Rather than turning the TV off altogether, we’d recommend coming up with family activities and tasks that have to be completed before free rein of the TV. If it’s possible in your family, leave the TV off, except on one or two days during the week. Try to be more active with your kids, rather than sitting on the sofa all day.

Make It About The Family

Do you go jogging? Take the kids with you on their bikes. When cooking, assign each child a task. This will teach them useful skills, as well as speed up dinner. Think about everyday tasks that can be improved and shortened with some quality family time. Drag your kids away from their computers, if you have to.

Go Out!

Make memories! Staying at home can be fun, after a long week at work, but getting out to exciting venues, such as Knowsley Safari Park, or your nearest adventure centre, can bring you closer together as a family. Don’t forget to take your camera with you!

Family Night

Every week, assign a day to family night. Let each member of the family take it in turns to decide what you do during this evening, whether it’s watching a movie or playing a board game. Jump into your PJs and chill out together!

Make Goals

Decide what you want to aim for as a family and do your best to reach those goals. Do you want to be better readers? Have a week where every day, 30 minutes is assigned to poring over a book. Common goals make you stronger! It’s easy to reach your target when you have the support of your whole family. 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Blackpool for Kids: What’s Brilliant?

It can be hard to keep the kids happy and occupied during the school holidays, but the promise of a trip out for the day or an overnight stay can certainly help to smooth over any arguments, tantrums or cries of ‘I’m bored’. Dangle the promise of a trip to Blackpool in front of your brood and you might just find that behaviour in the weeks before dramatically improves!

Give them an added incentive by pointing out these brilliant things that are going on your Blackpool ‘to do’ list:

Nickelodeon Land

If your kids love Nickelodeon then they’ll be in their element in the all new Nick Land at the Pleasure Beach. Designed for younger thrill-seekers, you’ll find rides to suit all ages, themed on the best Nick and Nick Jr shows. The kids will also get to see their favourite characters including the cast of Spongebob, Dora and Diego, The Rugrats and The Backyardigans.

The Pleasure Beach

The Pleasure Beach itself is brilliant for all ages, with big thrill rides like The Big One, Revolution and The Grand National sitting alongside more child-friendly rides including the new Wallace and Gromit rollercoaster and water ride Valhalla. Of course, you’ll also find some of your own childhood faves like the Alice in Wonderland ride and The Flying Machines.

Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower is a brilliant ‘everything under one roof’ attraction that really comes into its own when the weather’s not that great. Take the kids right up to the top of the tower for amazing views from the Blackpool Tower Eye, watch them giggle their socks of at the Tower Circus or let them run wild at the Jungle Jims soft play centre.

SeaLife/Madame Tussauds

These two promenade attractions are both fantastic fun, as well as being educational too! Spot the world famous personalities in the Madame Tussauds waxworks or see the sharks and the octopi in the SeaLife centre – the choice is yours!

Hit the Pier

Blackpool has three brilliant piers, each with its own charms. Central Pier has a fantastic ferris wheel for looking out right across Blackpool, South Pier is the home of Adrenalin Zone and the North Pier theatre is the place to see some fantastic family friendly shows.

The Sandcastle

If you’re battling wet weather during your visit then the Sandcastle Waterpark is a super place to spend a day. With no less than 18 rides, flumes, chutes and fun attractions there’s plenty of splashing good fun for everyone. And yes, if you visited as a child, the pirate ship is still there!

Amusement Arcades

It wouldn’t be a trip to the seaside without a go on the amusement arcades and Blackpool’s Golden Mile has many to choose from. One of the best for kids however is Coral Island, a pirate themed arcade which sits just opposite Blackpool Tower.

While that’s quite a list, the good news is that breaks in Blackpool don’t have to cost a fortune, as there are three Travelodge hotels in Blackpool with family rooms that sleep up to four people. Let the kids choose two or three things to do from the list above and you have all the makings of a brilliant Blackpool break to bribe them with!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Free face paints from Snazaroo

This offer is only valid until midnight tonight so get in there!
Fill out the form and get a free sample and some money off vouchers.  So go on, do it whilst you can.  

Friday, 11 April 2014

Rugs in children’s rooms and play areas can be so much more than simply ‘looking pretty’

Rugs are a versatile addition to any room; they add warmth and character in any cases, with many opting for rugs as an addition that will add a much needed slash of colour.

We are all used to seeing rugs in hall ways, or in front of fires adding a cosy element to a room. Technology and manufacturing techniques have come on leaps and bounds meaning that many people can now have rugs in any room of the house!
The purchase of some rugs need careful consideration especially when looking to add rugs in certain areas where we require them to do more than one functions. Rugs for children’s bedrooms and play areas is one such place. Seen for many years as a tripping hazard, many people are once again recognising the brilliance of a rug for children but as with all aspects of interior design, there are pros and cons to using rugs.


There are so many stylish rugs to choose from that it can seem an impossible choice! There are patterns galore and rugs awash with colour but you will also find that, to a certain extent, the choice is split in three – rugs aimed at boys and those rugs aimed at girls but there are also ‘neutral’ rugs, ones.
There are shaped rugs, obviously aimed at boys such as a space rocket, tractors and more, heavily based in navy and reds, these rugs can be every little person’s dream.
For girls, there are also ‘obvious’ choices aimed at them from delightful pink castles to unicorns and flowers. Depending on your themes of course, these gender aimed rug might not fit the bill.
Don’t worry, there are many ‘neutral’ choices that will fit any colour scheme and interior design of you do not subscribe to the gender split. Brightly coloured stars or dotty rugs, along with other patterns are available and offer a whole host of colours to mix and match with your child’s bedroom or play area.

Sleeping rugs

Nurseries and other educational establishments with young children encourage them to sleep during the day to recharge their batteries for play and learning. Sleeping mats that can be hygienically wiped clean are normally used but at home, with less children to coax to sleep and rest your own sleeping rug is a great way of encouraging an impromptu nap.
Children often play on the floor and a sleeping rug can be used as a way of encouraging quiet play. Available in a range of colours and patterns, they are also fully washable – depending on the size, it can be flung in the washing machine and dried on the line for peace of mind when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. Choosing natural fibres that are usually hypo-allergenic and softer to the touch, as well as warmer feeling too, is a great choice.

Educational rugs

We all remember the play mats from many years ago, with roads and tracks as part of the design, perfect for children to indulge in make believe play with to cars, lorries and tractors. The range is expanding all the time, with urban and country scenes, as well as others such as race tracks. Brilliant for adding an extra layer of warmth and texture to a room, some people also chose to lift the rug and use it as part of play, whilst others leave the rug down permanently in the room.

Using rugs to encourage certain aspects of play is something you can do at home too:

Many patterns and graphics of rugs can help children recognise common shapes from an early age but not just the circles, squares and triangles. Children start to learn language and numbers through the repetition of these shapes. Take a look at rugs that have the alphabet and numbers in primary colours, the bright reds, yellows and blues etc. that make them easy to see and spot.

Activity rugs are a great way of encouraging children to play imaginatively but also together. Maps with roads are great, but there are zoos, farms and jungle scenes that all encourage the creative and imaginative play that make children social characters.

And finally, children’s rugs can challenge them too! There are many rugs that include puzzles and other adventures and games for children to try. What about hopscotch or a permanent ‘noughts and crosses’ grid? Or what about whizzing around the world with play on a world map, all in a rug or maybe looking at the time and how to read a clock?

Need inspiration? There are hundreds of ideas on the web but to get you started why not take a look at some of these different ideas about styles and how to use rugs to the best effect in your children’s bedroom or play area?

Teaching your children to play is something that can be fun with a range of children’s rugs!

Children’s rugs can be anything for adding warmth and texture to a room, or adding a splash of colour or they can be a source of hours of endless play and learning. So many rugs, so much choice – find a great range at will you choose? 

This article was written by Chris from The Rug Retailer

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter at Cineworld

We love movies, but a trip to the cinema can be out of our price range,  Cineworld realise this and this easter they are screening the ever popular Movies For Juniors offering every morning from 10am. This holidays films include Mr Peabody & Sherman & Walking With Dinosaurs and tickets are £1.50 for kids and their folks (£1.35 when booked online with mycineworld).

New releases  Rio 2 and Muppets Most Wanted will be showing throughout the Easter Holidays to keep the little ones entertained and customers get 10% off when they book online with mycineworld.

Date night at the Cinema for only £10

They also  have a great new offer running which is perfect when (if) Mums and Dads ever get a night off! Every Thursday they off a Take 2 film where they bring back a  recent hit that people may have missed. This week’s film is American Hustle. For this amazing deal you get 2 x tickets for £10 with a free reg popcorn and 2 x small drinks- massive savings on a night out!

I am off to take the boys to see the Muppets this Friday.! 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Aldi's Dishwasher and Laundry Tablets

Did you know that Aldi’s dishwasher and laundry tablets have just won best buys in tests by consumer watchdog Which?

I have to admit that I am a weekly Aldi shopper and use Aldi's dishwasher tablets, but I love the fact that they are endorsed by Which.  The Aldi Magnum all in one is £3.99 for 40 tablets which makes it 10p a wash and I can vouch than in our hotpoint dishwasher they do a really good job.

I had never used the Aldi Almat washing gel caps before this, but they managed the boys muddy clothes really well, but more than that they didn't irritate Maxi's eczema prone skin.    The liquid sachets are £2.99 for 20 washes, around 15p per wash and come in non bio, bio and colour.

What are your top buys from Aldi? 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Rainbow Looms - We love them

Have you heard about the new craze of Rainbow Looms.  I had heard about it on some of the US blogs that I read and decided to buy one for my niece birthday which is coming up.

However, Maxi came home from school a couple of weeks ago with a bracket he had made on his friends loom at golden time at school, so I decided to surprise him with the loom and we have been making ever since.

So those not in the know Rainbow looms are small looms that you thread with small colourful elastic bands to make bracelets, rings, necklaces and pretty much anything  and everything else.

You do not need to have a loom and you can use your fingers to make the simplest bracelets, which is how Maxi started.

We started with the kit below, which came with 600 latex free rubber bands, a loom, a hook  and mini loom and clips.  The instructions were simple to follow too.

We then topped up with the following kit, which comes with a loom, hook, over 3600 bands and lots of other accessories.  This means that both boys have a loom and we can use the second loom as an extension to the first to make our patterns longer and wider!


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

A Super Hero Decorated Egg for Easter

We adore easter and both my boys love decorating Easter eggs,  This is one that MIni Made with very little parental input. 


Hard Boiled egg
Craft foam
Green Paper

How to:

Mini cut out the F and the arm shaped from the craft foam - he drew the shapes he wanted on to it first.
He then cut some felt to make the outfit stuck it to the egg.
He cut green paper to a mask shape and glued it on to the egg and then stuck the foam F and arms on to the egg.

What you can not see is the egg has a foal cale at the back too!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...