Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Children and chores. Child labour, teaching responsibility or completely the norm for them to help out at home?

I am the first to admit that I don't delegate jobs/chores around the house as much as I should. Which impacts on me as I end up doing most of the housework including tidying children's rooms. Sometimes I think should I be making them do chores, should they have the responsibility of helping out in the house and having their own jobs to do?

With seven people in the house I can't keep up with it all and I really think the children should have their own chores and jobs to do around the house. The youngest is 3 and the oldest is 18 and all are quite capable of keeping their rooms tidy and having a job or two to do around the house, except they don't. 

With the amount of clothes washing, dish washing, cooking, cleaning and tidying up that the Thing's leave behind them it inevitably looks like a storm blew through our house and left a trail of devastation behind it! 

The OH and the children sometimes comment on the untidiness of some parts of the house and I think if they just helped out the house would be tidier than it is. It's just taken us two weeks of nagging to get Thing 2 to start tidying her room and yet she didn't finish it. Last time it needed tidying I did it, it was spotless. I always say that if it's spotless then it should be easy to keep clean so I'm not sure why they make it a mess again. 

I'm not asking them to do everything around the house but I do think they each need their own job and to be responsible for the mess that they make. So how do you go about delegating chores? Keeping bedrooms tidy, tidying up after themselves plus one other job such as loading the dishwasher, folding clothes, emptying bins etc....? Or is keeping bedrooms tidy enough? 

I am really struggling to instill any kind of responsibility and discipline into the children and wondered whether delegating jobs would help with this, making them realise how much work goes in to keeping the house tidy because they won't help out and what I do for them.

I certainly think the older ones should have started this years ago, I've been too soft on them and just tidied after them and done everything for them. 



A few years ago now but this was Thing 1's room before and after I had cleaned it for him. 


 

The front room is generally kept as tidy as I can, toys do make their way into the room but are soon decamped back to bedrooms! (Apart from the messy shelves at the side of the fireplace, my fault!)



 The OH thinks that as the older ones don't do anything then I shouldn't make the younger ones do anything but if I don't get them started and into a routine of helping out they will end up with the attitude of the older ones! 

Basically I am drowning in jobs and get no help. I need a jobs rota in place asap and I need all hands on deck. This is everyone's house and we should all be able to chip in to keep it tidy and clean. Getting the older ones to help out may be harder than getting the younger ones on board. 





The new dining room has currently stayed as tidy as it is in these pictures but again that's through me tidying it and not anyone else.


A few days ago my 12 year old was bargaining with me over her friend coming for a sleepover. After I had said No she was saying that if I let her friend stay over she would load the dishwasher for me, something she should be doing anyway. Maybe if they helped out I would be a bit more inclined to let them have a friend to stay over as a treat, not for that to be used as a bargaining tool by my daughter!! 



Bedrooms stay tidy thanks to Mum, not to the children that occupy them! 


So the second week of the Easter school holidays will include a family meeting, a chores list and probably some arguing and defiance from a few children. I am hoping I can stand my ground and stay strong if I have any protests on my hands! 

I'm kind of outnumbered and am expecting a kiddy picket line outside the front door! 

Do you delegate jobs in your house? Should we expect the children to help out? What jobs do your children do at what age? 







Monday, 28 March 2016

Our dining room makeover is finally (almost) complete. An update of the final results of our monochrome interior home improvements.


Our dining room monochrome makeover is finally (almost!) complete

Finally we have finished, well almost. Bar a few finishing touches, a couple more shelves and accessories and we are done. Our dining room makeover is done. From my first thoughts back in January which I shared here; Dining room revamp, where we started, to now it seems to have taken ages but we have made sure we have done it as well as we could! From laying new flooring, to finding some damp in one of the walls we have certainly hit a few snags along the way. 

Then as recently as this Easter weekend I decided we needed to remove the horrible hatch that was between the dining room and the kitchen. An easier job than I thought until it came to replastering the wall! I left the OH to it and went shopping, lol! 





Bye Bye kitchen hatch! I was so glad to see this go. 



Our new pendant light from BHS



Prints from Ingrid Design and Over & Over. Thing 4 and 5 trying out the table and keeping an eye on the biscuits! 




Ikea Mosslanda shelf holds the new personalised prints from A Piece Of.... and Heather Alstead design. Also the lovely monochrome nesting dolls from Psikhouvanjou. Yay! tray from Buddy & Bear, Stokke Tripp Trapp in black and bespoke monochrome biscuits made by Honeywell Bakes.



An Ikea Kallax unit holds the PC, some more prints and A Little Lovely Company lightbox





More pictures of the finished look. The gorgeous biscuits were made to order by the lovely ladies at Honeywell Bakes and they looked fab on the table. 


I absolutely love the end result. I did wonder at one point if it would need a bit of colour adding into the mix but I love it just the way it is. There are still a few shelves to go up and a few more accessories to buy and I also need some placemats for the table when I find some that I like. 

We had afternoon tea in the new dining room today and I got to show it to my relatives and they all loved it, now just to revamp the rest of the house! 




Home Etc

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

EE launch their new Wembley Stadium 'Light the Arch' web application. Designed for 7-11 year olds to learn the basic principles of coding, light up the iconic arch & create a video online.

EE launch their new 'Light the Arch' web application to learn the basic principles of coding and light up the iconic Wembley Arch.


On Monday Thing 3 and I were lucky enough to be invited to Wembley Stadium to preview the EE Light the Arch web application and light up the iconic Wembley Arch. 

The new EE web application is designed with children aged 7-11 in mind to learn the basic principles of coding. It is available for all to use and to try out here at www.ee.co.uk/light-the-arch.


The web application is endorsed by the educational technology charity Apps for Good and it is based on the technology used to light the arch at major stadium events. 


Apps for Good – who are supporting the new online tool and ensuring it gets into the hands of educators across the UK – are an education technology charity working to transform education to help young entrepreneurs thrive in a tech driven future. The Light the Arch initiative supports EE’s wider commitment to battle digital exclusion and get more young people into technology and coding. EE has pledged to get at least 100,000 people using the web app before the end of the year.





The online tool offers a choice of 60 colours and eight configurable base patterns to play with such as clap, sweep, twinkle and rainbow, giving kids an almost infinite number of possibilities for their light show. For each design, users will have the option to change the length & speed of each pattern and choose their moment to light up the arch including ‘Goal Scored’, ‘Red Card’ and ‘Welcome to Wembley’. It is simple to use and the perfect activity for parents and teachers to do with kids to encourage an interest in coding.
It is available to use in the classroom and at home and everyone who creates a design online will receive a video of their light show to share with family and friends. 

To encourage children to use the app at launch, a selection of the design submissions will be chosen at random and programmed to appear live on the arch when the final whistle blows on the England vs Netherlands game on Tuesday 29th March. Further opportunities will be announced later on in the year for more users to have their light show appear live on the arch. All designs submitted before midnight on Sunday 27th March will have a chance to be selected to appear at the England vs Netherlands game* at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.

The app is very easy to use and has various different lighting effects to choose from. These can then be altered by colour, length of time light effect appears and other options too. You can choose lots of different light effects or just a few for a longer amount of time and you can choose to change certain aspects of your light show once you've watched the video too. 

Thing 3 loved creating her own light show on the Wembley Stadium arch. We loved the rainbow effect and then chose lots of different strobe effect lights in various shades of blues, pinks and yellows. We then stood outside after a stadium tour and watched the light shows on the iconic Wembley Arch. Such an exciting evening and the lights were wonderful to see lighting up the night sky and will look amazing at Wembley Stadium events. 



Apps for Good co-CEO Debbie Forster said: “Light the Arch is a brilliant coding tool for this age group of children. The web app is not only fun but also a fantastic learning tool, and it not only introduces children to coding but allows children to be able to see their coding knowledge translate to a real life scenario, and what better experience than lighting the famous Wembley arch.”

Head over to www.ee.co.uk/light-the-arch to create your own light show to Light the Arch at Wembley Stadium and to share with family and friends. 



         

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a tablet as a token of thanks for this post.


Monday, 14 March 2016

REVIEW POST; Our thoughts on the Lin and Leo Cardinal changing bag. A smaller changing bag ideal for quick trips out, small yet stylish. Ideal for trips out with a baby or toddler.

LIN AND LEO CARDINAL BABY CHANGING BAG REVIEW


We were recently sent a gorgeous Lin and Leo Cardinal changing bag to review. In a stylish grey with a lovely handbag look about it. Ideal for a quick trip out or as an emergency 'grab and go' change bag, it is a lovely size and not overly big. 

Sometimes changing bags can seem huge and you constantly feel like you are carrying around everything except the kitchen sink with you. If you are just nipping out quickly it's nice to have a smallish bag with just enough essentials to grab and go for a couple of hours out visiting friends or grabbing a quick coffee. 

With an adjustable shoulder strap for across body or shoulder carrying there is enough room in the Cardinal changing bag for nappies, wipes, dummies, nappy cream, change mat, bottle/juice cup and Mummy's keys and purse. 

Even as they start growing up the changing mat is removable and I could fit in some spare clothes for those potty training days. 



Packed for a quick trip out with a toddler. Spare clothes, wipes, juice cup, keys, dummies and purse.

The Lin and Leo has a buckle style fastening to the front and inside you will find 4 pockets (2 large and 2 small) and a very generously sized changing mat which folds and velcro fastens inside the change bag. 


The printed interior of the bag with the generously sized change mat shown folded and unfolded. 



The large handle meant I could hang it across the handle on the pushchair and it was easily accessible if I needed anything, although would easily fit into a pushchair basket underneath the pushchair too. 


Shown hanging on the back of our pushchair.


The bag opens lovely and wide so you can easily access and see what you have in your bag and makes it easy to take things out as and when you need them. The smaller pockets where ideal for dummies, keys, nappy cream etc... and the larger pockets easily fit nappies and wipes in. 







Packed for a trip out with baby. Wipes and nappies in the large pocket at the back of the bag. Also shown is a Kindle inside the bag by Mummy's purse, ideal for a quiet read with a coffee if baby is napping! 

Inside the bag is a lovely printed wipeable lining which is great to keep the bag clean easily. The exterior is made from polyurethane and the interior is polyester. 

The bag measures (height) 24cm x  (width) 30cm x (Depth) 7cm and weighs just 625g.


When carrying a changing bag I don't like to carry a handbag too as us Mummy's only have one pair of hands and can't carry everything so there always needs to be room to fit my purse, phone and keys in too. This was easy in the Cardinal bag along with babies essentials too and it meant I could just grab and go knowing we had everything Mummy and Baby needed for a quick trip out. I love the look of the bag, the grey is smart and it doesn't look like a change bag at all until you open it and see everything inside. 

The Cardinal is great. It is a lovely, small, stylish bag ideal for quick trips out but still enough room to take everything you need for baby or toddler. 

The Lin and Leo Cardinal bag can be found at www.linandleo.com and retails at £60. It can also be bought in black and magenta colours too. 

Disclaimer; We were sent the Lin and Leo Cardinal bag for the purpose of this review. All comments and thoughts are our own. 













Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Our review of Time Tokens, the simple and fun solution to managing children’s screen-time. Visual aids to help children focus on other things other than screen time. A set including time tokens, a timer, a golden ticket and more.



STOP SCREEN-TIME OVERLOAD
MUM OF 2 INVENTS A NEW PARENTING TOOL WHICH INSPIRES CHILDREN TO LIMIT THEIR SCREEN-TIME
-         Teaches children about healthy limits for time on computers, mobiles, tablets    and TV.  
  Children love being empowered to manage their own screen-time. 
 Avoids arguments, teaches new skills and is so easy to use.
 Golden Ticket encourages weekly family time
 Friendly 'Frazzle' characters inspire fun thINGs away from the screen.
We were recently sent some Time Tokens to review and I have to say they are a fabulous product. 
Invented by a Mum  who was unable to find a product to help end the battles and guilt of keeping track of how much screen-time her son was using she invented Time Tokens - a solution that worked for both her and her son with incredible results.



 Time Tokens is packaged in a fun orange wallet with 7 hours of Time Tokens vouchers, a Golden Ticket, orange timer with clip and magnet, a parent-child Promise Contract, simple short instructions and lots of fun and inspiration from a gang of friends called The Frazzles.
We were sent a set of Time Tokens for Thing 3 and 4, aged 6 and 9 years. Thing 3 aged 9 was excited to receive hers. She does spend quite a bit of time on her PC, Kindle and iPod and so I thought Time Tokens would be perfect to try out and she agreed. As soon as they arrived we read through the instructions and the Promise Contract together and she had a good look at all of the different values of each Time Token. 

There are 7 hours of Time Tokens vouchers split between different time values from 5 minutes up to 1 hour. Each Time Token also features a different Frazzle character on the reverse with a list of ING things that like to do to give you ideas of activities that you would like to do after screen time. 
Thing 3 started straight away. She handed me over a 1 hour token and we set the timer on the table where she was sat. She even finished her session with 18 minutes to spare! Usually she wouldn't take any notice of how much time she was spending on the PC but this really helped. She kept checking the timer so she could see how much time she had left and having only used her 1 hour token she thought she would pause the timer and have a few minutes spare for later on, she could have used her whole hour and used another token if she had wanted to. 
It's also great for number work if they want to use a certain amount of time or use Time Tokens as it's encouraging them to add up and find the correct amounts to make a specific time frame that they want too so it works on values of tokens and how they can be used wisely throughout the week. 
Thing 4 took a little more time to explain everything to and understand it all. He spends a lot of time playing his games on the Playstation so again it meant that we could control his time on there and gave him a visual aid to help too. He needed a little more help with his Time Tokens but the timer worked really well as again it gave him something to look at as he played so he knew when his time would be up. So much easier than just saying to him 'You've got half an hour' which really didn't mean anything to him at all but when he can see half an hour counting down on his timer and then letting him know when his time is up is great. 
It's easy for me as a parent to say 'Only half an hour' then go off and do something or see to one of the other children and you've completely lost track of time too! 
We have met a bit of defiance from them both as the first week went on. As there tokens slowly dwindled there was a bit of panic from Thing 3 as to whether she would get to the end of the week with enough Time Tokens to get her there but this meant she would learn to manage them better for the next week. 

Both of them loved having the Golden Ticket which meant once they had followed the rules and used their Time Tokens correctly that they earned a treat.  
Children can also be rewarded every week with a special GOLDEN TICKET which allows them to choose aING activity to do with friends or family. Maybe making dinner together, bike riding, playing a family board game - the possibilities are endless! 
I have to say that our first week ended in success. Both children were very much more aware of the time that they were spending on screen time and maybe we did have a bit of a grump when the timer went off but overall they shut down screen time with no problems. It is certainly a huge learning curve for the children and for us as parents and they do like to then go and find something else to do and having their Golden Ticket to exchange for something to do at the end of the week. I am hoping that Time Tokens just become part of our everyday as the weeks progress, I am expecting a few more hiccups over the next few weeks but overall they are a BIG thumbs up from all of us here at the Staying Sane house! 
Time Tokens can be found at www.timetokens.com at a price of £14.95 for a single set, £25.95 for two sets and £38.95 for three sets. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Delicious and healthy organic baby foods from Kiddie Cubes, find them in the frozen aisles at Asda, Waitrose and more

Bounce Into The New Season With Spring Greens
Delicious and Healthy (Super) Foods For Your Baby from Kiddie Cubes
Something wonderful is beginning as you take your first steps into the wonderful world of weaning with your little one. Kiddie Cubes know that this can be quite an anxious time as you search the internet for helpful hints and tips, it sometimes feels like there’s limited fresh produce available to use. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 
 Spring is a perfect month to get your baby into their greens which are just coming in to season, such as staple favourites such as carrots, broccoli and peas.  At Kiddie Cubes, some of their most popular meals – eaten all year round – contain these fantastic foods, and as they blend to a fine smooth consistency, they are perfect for Stage 1 weaning as well as Stage 2.  Kiddie Cubes meals are just like the best homemade; containing no ‘nasties’, only 100% organic and natural ingredients.
 The cook-and-freeze process used by Kiddie Cubes keeps vital vitamins and minerals ‘locked in’ making it an easy, tasty and wholesome way to wean your baby onto solids. From freezer to table, a meal can be ready in just 90 seconds.
 Try some of their best sellers – packed with yummy flavours to have your baby bouncing this Spring. 

STAGE 1

Eat Your Greens Spinach, Broccoli, Courgette, Peas.

Your little one will be as strong as Popeye after eating this strengthening mix of tasty greens, rich in vitamins and minerals to help them grow.

STAGE 2

Veggies and Lovely Lentils Lentils, Butternut, Swede, Parsnip, Celery
An easy and tasty introduction to protein, with slight texture, but still only tasting of a nutritious selection of vegetables.

Priced at £3.49, the stage one pouches, have all the benefits of freshly homemade and nutritionally balanced food with the convenience of frozen cube portions. These pouches are low in natural sugars and absolutely no added sugar - so it’s as close as you can get to home-produced.   

Approved by The Organic Food Federation, there are 13 products in the Kiddie Cubes range covering two stages of weaning. All products available to purchase nationwide from Ocado, selected Waitrose and Asda stores, Waitrose.com, Asda.com and cookfood.net and Cook Stores, and with such eye catching packaging you can’t miss them in the freezer aisle.
The Kiddie Cubes range includes
STAGE 1
Eat Your Greens – Spinach, Broccoli, Courgette, Pea
Really Rooty Veg – Sweet Potato, Carrot, Swede
Purely Apple and Pear Puree
Purely Mango and Apple Puree
Purely Peach and Pear Puree
Purely Apple, Blueberry and Apricot Puree
STAGE 2
Veggies and Lovely Lentils - Lentils, Butternut, Swede, Parsnip, Celery
Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese – Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cheese, Milk
Hearty Chicken and Veg Hotpot – Chicken, Celery, Carrot, Broccoli
Very Veggie Lamb Casserole - Lamb, Parsnip, Sweet potato, Sweet corn
Creamy Leafy Fisherman’s Pie – Salmon, Cod, potato, pea, spinach, milk

BREAKFASTS (STAGE 2)
Creamy Porridge
Go Bananas Porridge





Tuesday, 1 March 2016

An update on our monochrome dining room makeover. Hitting a problem, slow and steady wins the race and planning Easter tea gives us a deadline to work towards!

Dining room makeover Part 2!

Back at the end of January I wrote about our impending dining room makeover seen here; Dining room makeover Part 1 Home improvements and in particular the home decor is definitely on the top of my 'to do' list over the coming months and the dining room was the first place to get a face lift! 

A month ago when I wrote that blog post I thought we would be all done and dusted by now, how wrong was I! 

We hit a snag when we discovered damp in the wall between the dining room and the kitchen, stemming from a very leaky sink that hadn't been looked at properly. This meant we had to see to that problem before continuing with our revamp. 

We also bought what we thought was a decent brand of paint. We were going white on the walls, although with five children we may regret that decision! The dining rooms previous colour was a very light blue so we didn't see an issue with covering this up. However after 3 coats of paint we still hadn't reached a point where we were happy with it. This resulted in a trip to B and Q to buy a tin of a One Coat sheen effect paint which left us with a good finish on the walls, finally. 

Next up was the flooring. This wasn't on the list to change but we discovered that the flooring near the damp wall was also damp underneath and it needed to be taken up. My parents very kindly bought us our new flooring as a belated Christmas present and I am so glad we did change the floor. The new flooring is lovely, much nicer than the last flooring we had down and a much better quality too.  



The new flooring


Due to the quality of the flooring we wanted to make sure we fitted it properly so up came the old skirting boards. Hubby did a fab job with the floor and then it was another trip to B and Q for new skirting boards. Having spent the last week lovingly priming and glossing the skirting board that the hubby had cut ready, we then had to wait agggeeesss for the gloss to dry. 

So we are now at the point where the walls are painted, the flooring is down and the new skirting is cut, painted and ready to be fixed. There is some work to be done to fix parts of the walls where we took the old skirting boards off and then hopefully that is all finished. 

The past month has given me time to window shop in the internet though and I have found some fab accessories to go in our new room. As well as the items featured in the previous post and pictured below I have also found some great items from some fab brands that I have stumbled across whilst researching for new accessories. 

I have had a change of mind over chair colours and I am still yet to decide on what curtains to buy but I have a full shopping list that is ready to go as soon soon as everything else is finished. 


Lots of accessories I have spied recently on my internet window shopping sprees! Items from a Lovely Little Company, PlayForever, Stokke, LuckyBoySunday and more

There's no rush however I did invite my parents, my nan and my aunt round for Easter tea in a few weeks. No pressure!! 

Hopefully within the next few weeks I can update on a final look and a fully revamped dining room. Fingers crossed! 


Bugaboo and Diesel bring you the NEW for 2016 Diesel Rock collaboration for the Bugaboo Bee. The third and final collection from the three year Bugaboo and Diesel collaboration

NEW Bugaboo by Diesel Rock collection



Bugaboo are excited to launch the third and final collection in their three year collaboration with Diesel. After Military and Denim comes the third part of the Diesel DNA, Rock, and presents and unexpected and daring design which is sure to not go unnoticed. 


This Bugaboo by Diesel special edition comes as a complete Bee3 pushchair, a Bee3 carrycot tailored fabric set for the Bugaboo Bee3 and a Bugaboo by Diesel footmuff. 

Featuring a wax-canted fabric, leather look and rock inspired studs, the Bugaboo by Diesel Rock collection is edgy yet stylish giving you the rebellious spirit to carry on living your life on the fly. 

The military inspired Bugaboo Cameleon3 by Diesel and matching accessories from the first collection as well as the denim dress Bugaboo Buffalo, Bugaboo Donkey tailored fabric set and matching bag from the second collection will remain available in store until December 2016. 











Bugaboo by Diesel Rock Collection  

The special edition all-around black pushchair, complete with a leather-look handlebar and numerous decorative studs, is a true rocker. The Bugaboo by Diesel Rock Collection is the perfect pushchair for rock-loving parents who want to stand out in the crowd.  
  
The Bugaboo Bee³ by Diesel comes in a black anodized chassis, Diesel wheel caps, grey/silver coloured (functional) buttons and many rock-inspired details. The backrest tattoo, for example, boasts Diesel’s famous slogan “Only the Brave” and has been laser-cut into the top layer of the plastic. Additionally, the carrycot Tailored Fabric Set for the Bugaboo Bee³ and the Footmuff feature rock-inspired patches. The Footmuff is the perfect way to add a rebellious touch to any Bugaboo pushchair. 



The Other Nightclub 
  
  In true Bugaboo by Diesel style, we step into the world of fashionable parenting and explore those almost unbearable moments that parents face with a smile. While you used to spend your ‘rocker days’ at nightclubs and rooftop parties, your kids now host the party. Welcome to the other nightclub, the one that starts when you want to sleep but your kids keep you up all night. While they might run the show these days, it doesn’t mean you have to take that leather jacket off: long live rock ‘n’ roll! 
  
  
 RRP for the new Bugaboo Diesel Rock collection are as follows;  

Bugaboo Bee³ by Diesel Rock is £689 
Bugaboo Bee³ by Diesel Bassinet Tailored Fabric Set is £125 
Bugaboo by Diesel Footmuff is £129