Sponsored Video – Great snacks for kids #StandUpForGoodSnacks

Sometimes my children ask for snacks all day long, which can be quite tricky to manage. I try to make sure they leave a good gap between meals, as my 4 year old in particular would snack all day and not eat at mealtime if she could. There is also the cost factor, healthy snacks can be expensive especially when you need to give out three every time so I need something quite filling.

Bananas, carrots and apples are always good, but my kids don’t always want fruit and no matter how much I buy in my weekly shop it all seems to disappear within a couple of days, especially with three lunch boxes to fill. I know a packet of biscuits is cheap and would cover a lot of snack times, but it always feels so wrong to give biscuits out as anything other than a special treat. I want to be feeding my children wholesome, nutritious food where I can, although I know this isn’t always possible and we do have our fair share of treats.When my children were younger we used a lot of Ella’s Kitchen snacks, in fact we still use them now. I love that they are generally multigrain or contain spelt or oats as well as other fun slightly unusual flavours, such fennel, great for keeping little tummies times satisfied for longer. They often come in smaller handy sized packs too, which are great for taking out and about.

What are your children’s favourite snacks? Do you buy snacks in or make your own?

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In search of The Gruffalo

The Forestry Commission Gruffalo trail has been on my to do list all Summer, we half completed it when in the Forest of Dean back in May, but didn’t reach the end as the kids were too exhausted. However, today we finally found The Gruffalo at Alice Holt and he was definitely worth the wait.

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We did the long route at Alice Holt, which took us about 3 hours, mostly because there was just so much for the kids to explore. I’m sure you could walk it continuously much, much faster, but we had a fantastic afternoon balancing on logs, making dens and hunting for owl, fox, snake and mouse. The trail was really well done, with Owl’s tree being a big highlight with our little climbers. [Read more...]

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My little superstar

I’m incredibly proud of all my children, but today I’m especially proud of this little boy. He is funny, thoughtful and kind, but rarely shows emotion. However, this morning when I handed him his VERY  special Kid Blog of the Year trophy I watched with delight as he beamed from ear to ear, one of those rare grins that hang around for a while then keep coming back throughout the day.

kid blog of the year

Z has loved LEGO since he was given his first DUPLO set when he was 1, and quickly became a very able builder, which is why we started recording his models on a LEGO blog. Recently hes become a big fan of Junior Bake Off and so we’ve blogged his baking too. I love that one day he’ll be able to look back and remember all the things he created. He really enjoys taking the photos of his models, choosing the best one and helping me upload them to his blog, it’s also a really great way for us to sneak a little one on one time together in peace. I’m so happy for my little blogger. [Read more...]

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My favourite time of year

Autumn is my favourite time of year, I’m not a fan of hot, hot sun, so when Summer starts fade I find myself wanting to get out exploring even more than usual. I love the feeling of crunchy leaves underfoot, walks in jumpers and scarves while it’s still not cold enough for a winter coat and snuggling together with a hot chocolate under tree.

We often find ourselves in the woods or at a National Trust site on the weekends, and have loved working our way through the 50 things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4.

The girls have spent much of summer making bigger and bigger daisy chains.

Daisy chain

Z is generally found up a tree if one is in sight. [Read more...]

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After school treats from Bonne Maman

The start of the new school year has brought me two rather exhausted little girls, who are most definitely in need of a little cheering up after school. Bonne Maman kindly sent us some of their delicious buttery sponge cake madeleines, traditional french galettes and fun decorating materials, which brought a big smile to the girls faces. After all who doesn’t love a can of icing and sprinkles?

Bonne Maman

All three of my children were in their element decorating the cute little cakes, which would be also be perfect for school lunches as they come individually wrapped. We tried slicing them in half and making a little cake sandwich and just decorating the top. I’d recommend the sandwich version especially with the sprinkles in the middle. [Read more...]

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On being a Middle

When my third child was born, everyone said my middle child was born to be a middle, she was loud, confident and precocious, the kind of child who instantly looks comfortable wherever they are. Despite these reassurances I felt a huge sense of responsibility towards her, determind that she wouldn’t ever feel like the stereotypical middle child.  As it turns out, it’s harder than you’d think to give the same amount of time to three children. For example, Z, my eldest had me all to himself for 18 months, and my littlest has had me to herself during school hours for a whole year, S has always had to share. When Z started school there was only him we had to read with, we could focus all our school energy and time on just one child. For two years, we had just one school child to focus on, only one to teach to read.

When S started school, of course we read everyday, we practised letters, we did our best, but reading with two every night is not as easy as one, we found ourselves rushing, spending less time reading slowly to make sure she understood. Part of it is a personality difference, Z was always keen to learn, easy to teach. S is bright, I am in no doubt about that, but she is not as enthusiastic as her big brother and often can’t be bothered. H started school last week, and again without realising we’ve found ourselves spending more time on her as she now needs the most help.

Then it’s the smaller things, every year the Dads get to spend a day in school with their children. Little S will never get a day with her Dad there just with her, as she will always have a sibling in her school at the same time.

There are of course many benefits to being a Middle child. She can follow in her brother’s footsteps, he is the one who has to be brave first, the one who has to start new schools for the first time when neither he nor I have a clue what’s going on. By the time she gets there we all know how things work, we know it’s ok, fun even, and that there’s nothing to be worried about.  Yet I still think I could be doing a better job, that I should be making up for the one on one time she hasn’t had.

 

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[Read more...]

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Thorpe Park for little ones

We recently spent a great day at Thorpe Park with my 7, 5 and 3 year old. Initially I was a bit concerned that there wouldn’t be enough to keep everyone happy, but as it turned out there was more than enough.   Before we went I made a list of all the suitable rides, the website has a handy tool where you can search for rides by their height restriction, which meant we wasted less time wondering where to go when we first entered the park.

Everyone loved The Flying Fish, Mr Monkey’s Banana ride, Rhumba Rapids and the Carousel, while my slightly taller little boy was a big fab of Storm Surge. We didn’t manage to see Angry Birds 4D, but so many people walking around told us how utterly amazing it was. Definitely one for our list next time.

thope Park with little ones

The park is easy to walk around with little ones and there are lots of places to get refreshments or have a quick sit down.

Neptune’s Beach and Wet Wet Wet is a great area for even the youngest children to splash around and cool off in the Summer sun. My children spent ages building sandcastles, racing down the water slides and splashing in the large shallow pool area. [Read more...]

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Being clean and confident

My tiny little 4 year started school today, as an August baby she will no doubt be one of the youngest in the class, almost a whole year younger than her big sister when she started school. I’m not worried about her keeping up with the rest of the class academically, she’s very switched on and can definitely hold her own with older children, I’m worried about the little things. How will she carry a lunch tray without spilling? Will she wash her hands after the toilet? Will she manage to wipe her bottom properly? We all know children aren’t often as thorough at bum wiping as we’d like, and that germs spread like wildfire at school, with that in mind I’ve tried very hard over the last few weeks to teach both my girls good hygiene, and so jumped at the chance to join the Five Step Andrew® Clean Routine Challenge.

Andrex Clean Routine

[Read more...]

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Making the most of every second

This morning has marked the end of my time having a preschooler in the house. Little H who only tuned 4 last week is now at school. As I’m writing this she’s probably running round the playground, painting or dressing up with her friends. I’ve surprised myself by not feeling sad. When Z started school three years ago I was utterly heartbroken, leaving my little boy with strangers was incredibly difficult for me, but now I know and love the school and staff, and deep down I know H is more than ready. Despite being so young she has grown up quickly being the youngest of three and her confidence in her own abilities is quite astonishing.

I feel like I made the most of the pre-school years, and there is very little I would change. I’m actually now looking forward to getting my work down in the daytime and being able to chill out more with the kids after school. It’ll be lovely to really enjoy that time, rather than being on catch up ALL the time.

It’s been 7 and I half years since I was home alone for more than nursery hours, it seems like forever and at the same time has gone so quickly. I’ll miss the noise, constant requests for food and cuddles, but equally I’ll be making the most of the peace and embracing every fun filled, noisy second when they’re all home again.

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[Read more...]

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New Shoes for School

School shoes are a big expense, especially for three and when you also need wellies and plimsoles it soon adds up to an astronomical amount. Bearing that in mind, I’m always very careful when I buy shoes for the kids. I like to make sure they fit properly and have a fair bit of growing room.

When Start-Rite asked if we wanted to try measuring our feet at home and ordering shoes online I was a little apprehensive, but also intrigued to see whether we could get it right.

Start-Rite sent us a gauge which you can buy online for £7.99 or you can print a free paper gauge. Measuring with the gauge was easy and there are clear instructions online.

Our shoes arrived promptly, much to the excitement of the kids. Z chose these cool football themed shoes, which came with a free football keyring and have an adjustable strap, padded ankle, lightweight rubber sole and scuff resistant toe bumper. Z is very active at school so I’m sure will put his shoes through very rigorous testing, I’m definitely interested to see if the toe bumper stays scuff free.

My fears about the sizing proved to be unnecessary, Z’s fit perfectly.

start-rite

[Read more...]

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