Summer Holidays Ideas Jar

It’s been a while I know…and I’m only really posting to share what I think is a great idea to prepare yourself for the summer holidays and the unbearable notion that you have children to entertain 24/7. 

Trying to think of things to do is a nightmare and generally a plathora of tantrums, sulking or Kevin and Perry style attitude ensues in this house when I don’t have things planned – it’s time to act like kids; and I don’t mean 2016 kids I mean like 1980’s kids, which basically means playing and having fun.

So I came up with the Ideas jar – the children (and I),over the past few weeks, have been writing ideas of what we want to do in the holidays, on a piece of paper, screwing them up and putting it into the jar. The idea being that each day the kids will take it in turns to pick out a piece of paper and do whatever is on it (obviously this could end up being weather or money permitting!)

The rules are to have only one or two ideas a week that cost money (and preferable not much!) so it may need to be managed a bit. 

We’ve been trying to think of as many free things as possible; camping in the garden, making cookies, picnic in the park, home cinema day etc. I can’t wait to get started but we need more ideas so I’m after some help! 

Please help us to not watch Telly all day or play on the PlayStation – join our Act Like Kids Campaign for the holidays and share your thoughts! 

How do you deal with whiny children?

Image result for whiny children

I have just read something on facebook which I need to share, having endured a major whining session with Boo this morning.

At the moment Bear and Boo have a reward chart with various tasks on, Bear is doing very well, especially with his getting ready in the mornings. Boo however, not so much. Every time they do one of the tasks on the chart they draw a little monster in the allocated space, 10 monsters = small treat. So Bear got a monster this morning, Boo saw him drawing it on, she ran to the toilet and tried to force out a poo; she gets a monster for going to the toilet on her own and obviously thought this was more do-able than getting ready?!

Anyway cut a long story short she couldn’t do one and started whining ‘I want a monster, it’s not fair’ I tried to explain that she too would get one for just getting ready, more whining ‘I don’t want to get ready I want to do a poo’. I walked away so she whined some more. Bear rolled his eyes at me, whilst brushing his teeth – good boy.

10 minutes later and she’s still on the toilet! … And still whining. I hate the whining, it feels like my ears are bleeding. I always try to explain that I can’t understand her when she uses that voice or that it hurts my ears, whining is not going to get her what she wants etc. so, it felt like fate when I stumbled across a post on Facebook from Idealist Mum about ways to deal with it (check out the link for other top tips). I particularly like number 6 though (which I have cut and pasted below)…. so I’ve decided, we are going to decorate a glass together, her very own ‘whine glass’, then I’ll explain to her that when she whinges or moans about anything she needs to put it in the glass and empty it down the toilet – I know this will amuse her! I have high hopes! Oh, and I will definitely be buying the book ‘Monsters Eat Whiny Children’ (if only that were true!) Number 6 quote below;

Be playful. Here’s a foolproof magic trick to stop whining that’s worked for us when we’re out running errands. Or you could try reading this book to your kids.


Debbie Granick of St. Louis uses a “whine” cup, or bowl or bucket or whatever’s at hand. “Whenever one of them starts, I say, ‘Here, go pour out your whine and bring me your regular voice.’ It gets a smile, or at least that ‘Oh, Mom’ look, and then they’ll usually change their tone.” She then thanks her child for using a “pleasant” voice. Or whisper your answer back. “You may have to whisper it several times, but your child will have to be quiet to hear you, and a lot of times he’ll mimic your tone of voice,” says Karen Shaffer, a mom of three in Highland, California.

Failing this; my other plan – for every whine she has I will drink a glass of it, by bedtime I’ll be so drunk I won’t care! 😉

Kids Ruin Your Life…..


…Of course this statement is completely untrue, they don’t ruin your life at all, the gorgeous little treasures they are, BUT they do ruin your brain.

I never wanted children when I was younger until my Sister had them. My Dad even told me I’d be a rubbish Mum! Thanks Dad! He was right though, back then I didn’t even like kids; we were standing in a queue once at Thorpe Park and a little girl was in front of us, hiding coyly behind her Mum and giggling, my Sister and Cousin were looking at her smiling and saying how cute she was, she just irritated me; I had no time to be nice to children, I wanted to get on the ride (although come to think of it couldn’t have been that exciting if a 2 year old was queuing to get on???).

Anyway, now, I have turned into a proper Mum, I used to be really cool. I know I did. I can’t remember when exactly but I was definitely one of the coolest people in the world.

I was listening to the radio today having a little bit of sing-along me time (Uptown Funk), feeling cool again, when who should come on the radio but Grampy Rabbit! In my head I was willing myself to visualise Prince Vultan but I couldnt. Now, those of you with similar aged children to me, will know what I’m talking about…… obviously it was Brian Blessed, who was always known to me as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon, always; nothing would ever make me think of him as anything else….’Gordon’s ALIVE’ – that’s what used to pop into my head every time I saw or heard him, and a very fond childhood memory of watching the film with my Dad on a Sunday afternoon! Now all that pops into my head is ‘I got up this morning…..the sea was still there… was the skyyyyyy….the sea the sky, the sea the sky…..’ urgh….see what I mean, soooooo uncool.

So the legend that once was Prince Vultan has broadened his acting career and been engulfed in a world of childrens character voices. Not only is he Grampy Rabbit from Peppa Pig, but once your children grow out of that, he then becomes Mr Enormomonster in Henry Hugglemonster. Worst thing for us parents is, some of these programmes are actually quite good, especially Peppa and Ben and Holly. I find my inner child gets excited about new episodes, it’s the snippet of adult humour in them; God I so love the Desert Island episode when Grandpa Pig suggests they save the chocolate bar only to turn around and see that Grampy Rabbit has scoffed the lot and Grampy Rabbit making marks in the sand for every time he thinks about cheese – that would totally be me! Ahhh you’ve gotta love a bit of Peppa. Again, not sure this is doing my cool status much good.

I find myself quite often singing songs from all sorts of kids programmes, Sofia the First, how annoying are the songs in that, but so unbelievably catchy that I sing them all the time, I think I’m singing them in my head but then I get to a crescendo and I can’t help but blurt something out…’s happened at work before. What’s that song you’re singing? er….er…..I try to scramble around in my tiny cartoon infested brain trying to find a cool song and all I can come up with is the theme tune to Doc McStuffins! Doc McStuffins for Gods sake! What is wrong with me? I don’t even LIKE the programme! She irritates the hell out of me! Either that or, in my desperation to find a proper song, I blurt out something lame that I’ve heard on the kids playlist like Gangnam Style.

I have come to a couple of conclusions whilst writing this:

1. I need to get a life

2. er….there really isn’t a 2.

So, I’ve taken an executive decision – I need to stop actually watching these programmes, until that happens I will not be cool, like, ever again. I’ll start tomorrow, I’ve recorded a new episode of Peppa.

Do try this at home – Pinterest Eureka! moment

If you read my blog you will be aware of my addiction to Pinterest, it’s not necessarily a good thing, especially when looking for crafty things to do with the children, you are basically setting yourself up to be bitterly disappointed and feel like a complete failure. The pictures and instructions always look amazing and easy to follow, we’ve mostly had fun trying them, but my expectations are always waaaaay too high and although I think we’ve done well and proudly puff out my chest when showing off photos,  I get a reality check when people laugh heartily at our efforts. Luckily, we laugh too.

Evidence below….

Banana Penguins!

How it should be done

banana penguins

Erm… it was done!


Not quite the same, but we had fun trying, they’re slippy little suckers.


Da da da…..we’ve found a good ‘un! NEVER I hear you Pinterest pessimists cry, oh but it’s true.

Apple Volcanoes!

I was looking after a friends little boy and I thought what can I do with them all that’s a bit different, I umm’d and ahh’d about looking on Pinterest after my first disaster with the iced toys incident (see Pinterest disaster post) when I found this and thought that’s a typical boys-y thing, they’ll love it!

apple volcano

I was all set; I’d given all three of them the equipment to get started and told them what they needed to do, I stepped back and watched with trepidation, chocolate at the ready to ply them with if it all went wrong, tissues on the table for the tears that would surely come after another Pinterest epic fail and a steady supply of apples, baking soda and vinegar to keep trying if necessary. BUT….none of it was needed coz  it only bloody worked!

Such an easy activity to do with things that are generally in the cupboard, granted, it doesn’t last long, but it’s worth it.

  • core an apple
  • stuff the apple full of baking soda
  • pour vinegar into the baking soda…simples.

You can add food colouring to the vinegar for extra effect, which is what they’ve done in the picture above.  The kids were so excited, their little faces were a picture. Little tip: Stock up on baking soda, they will want to do it more than once!

My faith in Pinterest activities has been restored….until next time!

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff


Its another ‘YAY!’ On the Bear and Boo chart – Beef Stroganoff is a massive leading contender with a 9/10 from The Bear and a whopping 10/10 from Boo! Such a simple homemade quick and easy recipe too, took me half hour with prep!

Recipe – serves 4
Beef (I used frying steak for ease and quickness but any cut will work)
Mushrooms, sliced
Onion, sliced and diced
Sour cream, as much as you want really but I used a 300ml tub (I like it creamy)
Tomato purée, 1 tbsp
Garlic, 2 cloves
Beef stock, 450ml
French or Dijon mustard, 2 tsp

Whizz up the mustard, stock and tomato purée in a blender.
Fry the garlic and onion off until the onion is soft then add the beef and mushrooms to the pan. Once beef is brown add the liquid and simmer until reduced by half (if you find this reduces too much you can add more water). Add the sour cream and warm through. Job done! Simples!

I did this with basmati rice as long grain takes too long to cook! I don’t like meals that take forever. Quick easy meals for working mums are the way forward.