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Keeping the children amused was easily achievable about twenty or thirty years ago, as they were happy to be out all day in the fresh air, climbing trees, and running about.

Happily content with their lot, there were no distractions such as the internet, the Wii, or ds consoles.

Okay, there was the Nintendo Gameboy if you were a kid in the infancy of the nineties, but they were brand new and not commonplace like they are now.

The two small people of this house are like chalk and cheese. The 10 year old is happy to be out as much as possible, and could kick a ball about all day.

The 6 year old does like playing out, but left to his own devices would quite happily sit in front of his DS console for hours or watch dvds.

 

Which is all well and good, but a bit of balance is needed in there too and some fresh air and exercise thrown into the mix.

It doesn’t help that the longer children seem to spend on their game consoles, the grumpier they get when they have to come off. Or they’ll answer you with monosyllabic grunts as they’re too busy trying to make Mario race around a track in his car, or Sonic jump for golden rings or something.

So, ‘screen time’ in this house has been limited to half hour bursts with running about doing outside activities in between.

A hark back to the simpler times of no consoles may be a step too far, but it makes sense to restrict their usage.

Do you limit screen time or let them go on as much as they like?

Or notice a change in behaviour after they’ve been on a while?

 

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There’s nothing like a good tradition to make for happy memories, and Easter is a great time to get out there and create some of your own for your kids to remember in future years.

When I was little, I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my younger brother with a hard boiled egg and a packet of felt tips, and having great fun colouring them in and decorating them.

We then entered them into the village ‘egg rolling’ competition.

This comprised of a big ramp that you all put your egg atop, and on the count of three you let go of your egg and cheered it down to the bottom. The one that rolled the furthest won a prize.

This is where smart and simple eggs ruled. I remember laughing one year as some that thought they were all clever with their fancy schmancy decorated eggs covered in feathers or with an outfit on to be dressed up like Humpty Dumpty or whatever would come unstuck halfway down the ramp/slide and grind to a pathetic halt at the bottom.

Whereas the streamlined felt tip ones decorated by the children (yeah, not the parents!)  hared on down to the finish line and rolled above and beyond.

Victory!

We all got a Smarties Easter egg for taking part though. (It was always a Smarties Easter egg.)

The husband remembers a summer fete he once went to where you had to throw and catch an egg to each other with the aim not being to drop and smash it.

I think that could be another Easter tradition in the making.

As for the small people of this house, the egg decorating goes on in the form of decorating them for school in Juniors.

The 10 year old had fun decorating this egg with gold paint, ribbon and gems.

decorated egg

 

I always do an Easter egg hunt too, and hide eggs around the house and outside for them to find, with clues to find them.

What Easter traditions do you have? I’d love to hear them.

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I’m not one of those ‘crafty’ types that make perfect flowers out of toilet rolls, so my heart did a little plunge yesterday when I realised next week is the egg decorating and Easter bonnet competition at school.

I aspire to be crafty. I look at all the pretty things on Pinterest, then realise if I was to actually make anything on there, it’d be more at home on a Pinterest fail board where people point and laugh.

Yes, yes I know it’s the kids who are supposed to do it, not the parents. I’m one of those who buys all the materials for them and then lets them go mad sticking little fluffy chicks and stickers on their crowns.

That’s what it’s all about right?!

Then you get to school and see little Johnny and half of the school with him parading around with what, quite frankly have had more than a little adult input.

(If they were done by the kids, I’ll eat one of those flower toilet rolls I was talking about.)

You just know Alpha Mum has been up half the night supergluing her fingers together and getting in a tizz just so they have the best hat EVER.

The hats. I can cope with. Just about.

It’s when they get to Juniors that it all gets ridiculous. Not content with doing hats any more (what’s wrong with hats for goodness sake?!) they have to create an egg scene.

So now the game has been upped and you have to think of something witty like the Eggs Factor (X Factor, geddit) and make little egg judges and have a panel of the little blighters.

Last year, the 10 year old did The Grand Old Duke of Yolk and his 10,000 chicks marching up the hill. He did it all himself, too.  (OK, there weren’t quite ten thousand chicks. That would have made for making a big assed hill.)

duke of yolk

 

No idea what he’s doing this year, but I suppose he’d better get cracking.

No doubt the Alpha Mummies have been making theirs since February….

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I’m not the brightest spark first thing in the morning before I’ve had a cup bucket full of tea, so the kids took advantage this morning seeing as it’s April Fool’s Day and I’m an easy target.

On getting out of bed, the 10 year old came down the stairs  saying:

 

“The ladder on my bunk bed feels wobbly.”

 

To which I replied, “Right, not to worry, I’ll get your dad to look at it when he gets home from work.”

 

“APRIL FOOLS!”  laughed the pesky child.

Got. Well and truly.

 

As for the six year old, I heard a shout from the living room.

“Mummy, mummy there’s a spider in here!”

So when I went in to chase it away I found this on the settee:

 

spider april fool

 

“APRIL FOOLS!”

Gah.

I’ll have to get my thinking head on to get the little so and so’s back next year.

If I have enough cups of tea before then and now, I should come up with something….

 

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If you’re of a certain age, you’ll feel a rush of nostalgia when you hear that David Walliams is apparently bringing back the “Charlie Says” information cartoon for kids.

If you’re a child of the 90′s reading this (you should still be in nappies never mind reading this as I refuse to believe I’m that old) then you won’t have a clue what or who the heck Charlie is.

Charlie, the big ginger cat and the little boy owner educated the kids of the 70′s and 80′s with a cartoon information film informing of the dangers of everyday life.

So basically a few vids to scare the crap out of kids so they’d never scale an electric fence or play on railway lines again.

They were great.

Well, it must have worked.

How else would we all still remember classic lines such as this:

little boy – “Charlie says, always tell your mummy if you go off somewhere!”

Charlie – “EEOWOWOWOW!”

Exactly Charlie. Well said.

 

 

 

 

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The sun’s been shining this week, and so we headed off to Bolton Abbey for a run about in the sun.

bolton abbey river

 

There were plenty of hills to roll down to keep them amused and active,and this pretty lake.

We could also admire the beauty of some of the main buildings as well.

bolton abbey

Here’s to many more sunny days out.

Have you been anywhere nice now the sun’s made a comeback?

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After a soggy and miserable winter, it’s been lovely to see the return of that big, burning ball of fire in the sky this week.

You know, that orange thing that emits heat.

The sun, that’s it. It’s been so long since it’s made an appearance that I forgot its name.

So here’s 5 ways to tell that the summer days are tantalisingly close:

 

1)       Pretty yellow daffodils raise their heads and dance in the breeze.

spring daffodils

 

2) We can go for walks along the seafront wearing just a t-shirt and still be warm. If we’d have tried this a couple of weeks ago we’d have slowly turned purple and keeled over from hypothermia.

waters edge filey

 

3) The sun streams through the window when you open the curtains in the morning, and brightens everything up with its warm beam.

Until you notice that the sun shining on the glass is showing up every little fingerprint on there and some little blighters who will remain nameless have written the word “POO” on the window pane.

“It wasn’t me mummy!”

Hmm. Okkkay then. :-)

4) You feel the urge to kick off your winter boots that your feet have been hiding festering in all winter and put some pretty flip flops or sandals on. Until you put your feet into them and shriek at the Hobbit look they’ve acquired during the Boot Months and quickly shove them away again.

5) At the temperature creeping above the freezing mark you wonder if you can feasibly get away with having a barbecue yet.

Until you remember that the British weather is likely to lull you into a false sense of security by pretending to be warm to start off with and then starting monsoon season five minutes later and dumping heavy rain over your coals then laughing at you.

 

Bring on the warm days….

 

 

 

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filey brigg

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If you wanted to find me as a child, all you had to do was look in the nearest corner and I’d be more than likely sat in it with my nose buried in a book.

I had loads of favourites, from Enid to Blyton, to Roald Dahl, to Judy Blume.

Which is why, when on having kids of my own, I suddenly had an excuse to re-buy all my favourites from my childhood. Not for me, you understand.

For the KIDS.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar were added to the already bulging bookcase, among others.

It’s easy to introduce the classics when the children are small, and to incorporate them into the bedtime routine so that they become firm favourites of theirs as well.

What about when they become older though, and decide to choose their own books? It’s not so easy then.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to encourage a bit of Enid Blyton adventure to my boys.

OK, they’ll probably deem Malory Towers too ‘girly’, that’s fair enough. I know they won’t harbour secret dreams of sitting round the swimming pool at midnight with a load of mouldy old girls eating sardines out of the tin and swigging ginger beer.

You’d think they’d be receptive to a bit of the Famous Five though. Kids going off camping and having adventures by themselves for the entire week?

Gunmen following them, ruffians chasing them etc.

It’s exciting, isn’t it?!

Nope. They didn’t get further than the first page because they read the words “Dick” and Fanny” for names and started rolling around the floor in hysterics.

Give. Me. STRENGTH.

With the eldest though, he’s started reading David Walliam’s books and the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

He absolutely loves them and asks for more.

So, do you know what I have realised? It doesn’t matter what they’re into bookwise, as long as they’re actually READING.

I’d rather he was reading his own books and building his own memories than not reading at all.

Bring on the books.

 

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It’s getting nearer to Easter, so today we decided to make some Easter themed cupcakes with Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck.

Yes, I know it’s not Easter for more than a month yet as it’s in late April this year, but as it’s the first of March today a certain ‘spring has sprung’ vibe descended.

Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and her other creation, Jemima Puddleduck brings a certain countryside, nature feel to the start of spring and make pretty cupcakes. :-)

So today, we’ve been baking.

We got the cupcake cases all ready:

peter rabbit cases

 

and weighed out our ingredients.

4oz self raising flour

4oz caster sugar

4oz margarine

2 eggs

which we then whizzed up in a bowl until light and fluffy and all ingredients were combined.

Then we placed them in the oven, gas mark 4, or 180 celcius if using an electric oven, and waited approx 20 – 25 minutes.

When they came out, we iced them and stuck our little toppers on…..

peter rabbit toppers

 

so this is what the end result looked like!

peter rabbit buns

 

Wonder how long they’ll last….

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