Tweens and Social Media

I originally thought my daughter was a bit odd, she isn’t interested in social media AT ALL.  I mean nothing, she doesn’t want a Facebook account, not interested in Instagram, mention Twitter and she’s out of the room.

To be honest she’s not even that interested in Facetime or iMessage. In her eyes they are a necessary evil she needs on her iPad, so she can message me for more food when she’s in another room or to talk to her grandparents. But mostly for me to get her food!. I had a quick look and my nieces and nephew’s also don’t really seem to use Facebook that much and neither do my cousin’s kids – all of whom range between 11 and 23.

They, it seems are not alone. I was reading a report this week that tweens and early teens are now rejecting some ‘traditional’ social media like Facebook and are now using apps like Snapchat because they (in theory) have more security and anonymity.

The other shift is for private accounts or accounts with false names to protect their privacy.  I think that’s an excellent idea, I’d have hated all my young adult mistakes scattered across the internet forever more – my 25th Birthday especially should never, ever, see the light of day!

It’s great they are thinking into the future, because once it’s out there, it’s out there. Interestingly L banned me from putting her name on here when she was about six because she didn’t want to be ‘Googleable’.

Now she’s 12 all she has a gaming name that is a made up name so she’s untraceable and unknown to those at school.  Maybe the message taught at school and at home to stay safe on the internet is really getting through?

How do your kids use social media are they heavy users or are they not into it?  Do they use it differently to you?  I would love to hear!.

 

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Bye Bye Baby Books

The time has finally come to finally part with Miss L’s baby books.  Much loved and chewed titles like ‘That’s not my Kitty’, adventures of the Tweenies and Angelina Ballerina were just sitting there taking up space and getting more dusty.  It only feels like moments ago I was reading them to a baby in a cot and a toddler on my knee.

But their time has past and she is now onto Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. So tearfully I boxed them up last night (under Miss L’s supervision) into a pile for ‘her future babies’ to be put into the loft; and a pile for one of her little friends and her even littler sister so they can now enjoy them. I’m very proud of my girl for being so generous and choosing books, she especially thought her small friends would enjoy.

Even though I know it was time to put them away, I’ll miss them… it was like the final part of her babyhood being put away.  And I found it much, much harder than I thought I would.

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{Guest Post} Frugal and Fun – Plant Pots

Today I’ve got a guest post from my friends who are starting up a new blog Frugal and Fun which I thought some of you might like? This seemed like a great idea for a project in the summer holidays so over to the gang!

Hi everyone, it is Jen from The Mad House, A Thrifty Mum and Frugal and Fun
Materials

Terracotta Plants Pots
Emulsion paint (we got some tester pots, as we only have cream in the house)
White acrylics paint
Pencil with eraser in the end.
Varnish
Plants

Method

Paint each of the plant pots and allow to dry, some may need a second coat, but this is pretty fast work.

We chose to just pop white acrylic as spots all over the pots, this way the boys could do it themselves and they really enjoyed it. By using the end of a pencil with an eraser on it was pretty simple. Now if we had more time I would have let the boys decorate each pot as they.

Again leave to dry, then cover with a layer of varnish.

We made sure that we painted the top of the inside of the pots too.

Then we added a primula in to each, et voila. Oh and it cost all of 30p for the pots, 59p each for the plants and a little paint and time.

Like this craft?  Then my not register to follow us on Frugal and Fun.  We are going to be releasing an e-book full of frugal ideas to keep you and your children happy over the summer holidays.

Do you love or loath the summer holidays?

I am in the love camp, but I do remember the time when my boys were both smaller that I dreaded them and the thought of six weeks (or more) straight with them sent me in to a tailspin.

This year you need worry no more, as we have an e-book on the way out which will show you frugal and fun ways to get through the summer holiday.

It begins with a week of preparation activities to help you get ready for the weeks ahead. The e-book will contain a recipe, an indoor activity and an outdoor activity each day within themed weeks. These activities are suitable for 3-10 years olds.

Themes include:

    • The Olympics
    • The Great Outdoors
    • Around the World
    • Heroes and Heroines
    • Home Sweet Home
    • Colours

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Kids Room – All Change!

The merry go round of motherhood is kicking off again, Miss L is about to turn 9 (where did my baby go?) and is getting all grown up. This of course means the room I thought was pretty sorted four years ago now has to accomodate a new range of activities – why did no one tell me!

Now we are having sleepovers, tons of homework, endless school paperwork, playing musical instruments, using the computer for everything, larger clothes that really don’t fit into those baby drawers anymore and to cap it off she would rather like a TV for her ninth birthday in 2 weeks.  Luckily we don’t have anything to connect to the TV aerial wise, so I’m just going to connect up and old DVD player so she can only watch DVD’s on it.

The bigger problem is the homework, she’s currently doing it on her bed whilst leaning on a book.  Stationery seems to be all over the place and more often than not something is missing.  Sharpies and Scissors spring to mind, we must have 20 Sharpies and 10 pairs of scissors, can I ever find them…..no!   So it’s really not ideal and needs resolving.

I have no idea where I’m going to put it all though. She has two power sockets in her room, and they are in the most awkward places either side of the room – thanks’s 1930’s people!  So I need to get creative and move her room around again….*palmface*

Rather than physically move all her furniture around  – because that isn’t going to make me massively popular with Paul. I’ve decided to do it virtually on a floor plan.  Pottery Barn Kids in the US have a very handy room planner site here. Obviously I don’t have Pottery Barn funiture – more’s the pity! But a single bed, wardrobe, drawers etc are all pretty standard sizes so it’s not too hard to imagine what you have and plot it.

This isn’t exact there is an old fireplace next to the cupboard which juts out a bit, and the cupboard is built into the wall next to it.  The cupboard is only a foot or so deep, so not big enough for clothes storage but I could maybe make into a cupboard desk, with storage for school work and computers?  At the moment it’s not terribly accessible because of the wardrobe and the toy chest next to it. Which is another reason to shift it all round.

So these are my options:

So I’ve ditched the unused toy chest to get some more space, and moved the bed in front of the window.  But I’m not a massive fan of this one as it means the head of the bed will be in front of the radiator and the TV won’t have any power near it – but this is the easiest by far!

I think this is my favourite, the TV would have power,  she could get to the desk in the cupboard, the chair is in the window for reading and Cello playing but I don’t know if I could get the guest z-bed in there for a sleepover?

This is the one that involves the most work, including some work on the ceiling where it’s cracked above the bed and moving all the cubbies and bookshelves.  We’d easily be able to get the guest z-bed in there for sleepovers, but it’d make getting into the cupboard desk harder.

So I think I’m going to run Layout Two with Miss L and see how she feels about it?  But that was much easier than moving furniture around the room for hours 🙂

 

 

 

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Weekend Adventures

We’ve had a good if a bit odd weekend. We had alarms going off down the road in the middle of the night due to the rain, which kept us up for ages!.

However the highlight for me was getting Miss L to eat something other than blessed jacket potato and cheese for a main meal.  With Karen Pine’s advice ringing in my ears, to introduce new things in a fun way we decided to take Miss L to Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in Cambridge.  Miss L loves Jamie Oliver and records his cookery shows, so I thought it might be fun for her to go to one of his resturants.  It sounds far fancier than it is, the prices are very much like Pizza Express/Prezzo, which I was surprised at, but aimed at the right market.

The restaurant is child friendly, and they are made very welcome. There was colouring, unlimited cordial, which I may have drunk a lot of as it was lush and how cool is this?  The kids menu was on a view finder!

There were pictures of the food and a number on each one so the children could easily choose.  Miss L chose a pasta dish and salad, Paul and I looked at each other and where we normally would have said ‘Are you sure?’, ‘Will you eat it?’ we said nothing and choose ours. We were both nervous as she’s ordered so much food over the years that she’s barely touched, but we ignored it as Karen suggested.

Here’s the inside of the restaurant and my yummy bruschetta, which frankly was a meal in itself:

The starters came quickly, the bruchetta above and Paul had a selection of Italian breads with olive oil and balsalmic vinegar dip. You know what, Miss L asked to try both and then promptly ate most of Paul’s bread and about half of one of my bruschetta’s!  She really enjoyed all the new tastes and asked lots of questions about where the food came from and what was in it. Then when the main courses came, she was really excited and a whole bowl of pasta – which hasn’t happened in about a year without an argument.   Taking Karen’s advice we didn’t praise, just let her get on with it and she also had a nibble on the salad too.

You can image how delighted we were!  She was so enthusiastic and wanted to cook some Italian food at home for Sunday lunch the next day. She thought about it and the next day had an idea for a recipe. Luckily I always have a ton of Italian staples in the cupboard so we could make it without much hassle.

So she made a pasta sauce from tin of tomato’s, tomato paste, 1 red onion, 2 slices of bacon, 2 cloves of garlic, basil,  olive oil served with pasta.  A green salad with mozzerella and added some shop bought Italian bread with an olive oil/balsalmic dip. All her idea with a bit of chopping onion and turning on the hob help from me, other than that she did it all.

I’m so proud of her, she had such great ideas and carried them out so well.  I’ve realised that she’s not a baby anymore and shoving food infront of her with no input from her has been causing all the problems we’ve been having with food refusal and control issues.  So from now on I’m going to make sure she has an input and can help me more with preparation, which she’s really looking forward to.  So thanks to Karen Pine and Jamie Oliver to getting us here and making us all think differently about food in our house.

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{Book Review} How to Afford Time Off with Your Baby: 101 Ways to Ease the Financial Strain

Becky Goddard-Hill (@babybudgeting) is one of my Twitter friends and she kindly sent me a copy of her book to review.  Becky also runs a howtoaffordtimeoffwithyourbaby.com which has some wonderful family budgeting ideas.

I wish I’d had this book when I was pregnant or even trying to get pregnant.  To say that I was clueless about having a baby and the impact it would have on our lives financially is a complete understatement.  We’d spent nearly two years trying to get pregnant, so when I did instantly on our honeymoon it was somewhat of a welcome surprise!

The first time it was apparent that maybe we weren’t prepared was when I was 6 months pregnant and I was looking around the nursery that my office overlooked. There I was oooing and ahhhing over the lovely baby room as I was determined to go back to work 6 months after the baby arrived. Then I asked how much it was a month, thinking somewhere about £350 would be reasonable.  I was stunned when the lady came back with £860 plus nappies & formula – our mortgage at the time was only £600!.  I was earning £1200 and my work was a daily 60 mile round trip, so my petrol was about £300 a month plus my lunch and other little expenses meant I’d be working for nothing.  So we decided I’d be a Stay at Home Mum, and care for our baby for a couple of years – all well and good until hubby was made redundant when Miss L was 6 weeks old.  Suddenly our savings were far too small, because we’d both always had well paid jobs it had never occurred to us that we might not have money coming in at all.  It was a steep learning curve but a good life lesson, since then we have made sure we have 3-6 months of salary in the bank and tried to keep the credit cards down.

But How to Afford Time Off with Your Baby goes much further than the obvious that we’ve adopted.  It’s a great resource for adjusting to the drop in family income you have when a baby comes along.  Becky has covered everything from working out your maternity allowances, a guide to the various benefits, what you really need to buy for a baby, when to buy food cheaply in the supermarkets (I will now be shopping after 9pm!)  how to easily save without thinking about it (cancelling a direct debit? – just move the money straight into a saving account instead!).  The chapters I could have really done with are the ones on getting out and about with your baby on a budget. I’d never heard of mother and baby groups and had no idea they existed. Frankly they would have saved my sanity when Miss L was little,  I ‘d go for weeks without seeing anyone to talk to.  I was too scared to spend any money on going out other than to the park and to do the week’s shopping.  There’s also an excellent chapter about making money as a Stay at Home parent, and one about how to afford nursery and pre-school care which can help massively if you are trying to start your own business and work from home.

I think this is a great resource for parents to be and I’ll be buying a copy for my friends who are thinking about starting families and some of the ones who have already!

I have 2 copies to give away to Violet Posy readers, leave me a comment before 10th January to enter and I’ll do a random number generator to decide the winners – Good Luck!.

**Comments now closed**

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Keeping small children occupied on planes

Our holiday is speeding towards us and it’s suddenly occurred to me that we have a 10 hour flight with a 6 year old and I’m a little underprepared!  We’ve flown twice before with Miss L and both times were ok, as long as we have plenty to do.  This year I’m updating our plane pack as she’s a little older now.

She has a pink back pack with wheels, so she can pull it herself which is very important when you’ve got lots of bags and a small child.  It also gives her a sense of responsibility for her own things and she also feels like she’s helping.  The most important thing I’ve found so far to take with us is a Nintendo DS.  She can play her games to her hearts content, the SD cards the games come on are tiny and you can pick them up second-hand cheaply from computer game stores or online stores.  This year I’ve gotten a Club Penguin game and she’s still obsessed by the Build a Bear one I got her for the plane last year.

Next up books, don’t take loads of bulky ones, they weigh a ton and you’re never going to read them all.  So I’ve bought a 3 paperback books in one ‘Horrid Henry’, it’s light and there’s 12 stories in it.

As for colouring I buy some cheap colouring books from poundstores, which also have word searches and crosswords in and a pack of crayons.  A blank notebook so they can have a holiday ‘diary’ also is a good idea, Miss L loves to draw where we are and what we’ve done.

One word of warning, I’ve found that felt tips leak all over the luggage when excited little ones forget to put lids back on, and pencils break.  Also you can’t take pencil sharpeners on planes with you anymore so crayons win hands down. Of course there is also a bad of Haribo hidden in her bag somewhere for take off and landing as for some reason she’s never figured out sweet sucking, but chewing Haribo is apparently ok 🙂

What’s your travelling tip with toddlers and small children?

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Sports Day

Yesterday we had Miss L’s Sports Day, I cannot believe that Year 1 is drawing to a close and she only has another year at her school before moving to ‘big school’.  It’s gone by in a heartbeat.

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I love that her school has a proper sports day with running races (Miss L got a 2nd & 4th)  an egg and spoon races and the super sweet sibling race which seems to get bigger every year.  I forget how tiny the nursery children are when they are standing next to their strapping older brothers and sisters.  I get broody everytime!

As you can see we had amazing weather and after all the races the children had strawberries and cream followed by rolling down a massive hill, I don’t think any of them were sick they were too busy with rolling and tree climbing.

It really was one of those wonderful perfect summer childhood days

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When it’s time to stop writing about your child

You may have noticed that Violet Posy has been a little Miss L free of late and here’s why.  You know when they’re little and you forget that they can talk and the odd swear word pops out and next time your toddler drops something you hear a baby voice saying ‘Oh Shit!’.  Well I forgot she can read,  yes I know stupid of me. My daughter has a reading age of eight but it just didn’t occur to me that she could read my Facebook update.

We’d had one of those days where she’d been a mini teenager, refused to do any of her homework, made a massive mess and had done her best to wind me up all day.  So come evening I was frustrated beyond belief and at the end of my tether so I’d put on my Facebook update something along the lines of ‘Does anyone want an annoying child?’.

She read it

She cried

A LOT

and told me I’d humiliated her.

I felt totally awful. Like many other Mum’s I don’t think when I pop something in Facebook,  Twitter or on here. She’s my child and I write about her.  It never occurred to me that she’s her own person and might not want the world to know about something cute/embarrassing she’s done.  So from now on if I have something I want to write on the blog about her;  I ask if it’s ok and if it’s not I don’t. I also try not to put anything on Facebook or Twitter about her either.  She’s her own person now and not my baby anymore so I have afford her that respect.

So here’ s my public apology – Miss L I’m so very sorry and Mummy loves you very much xx

 

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RIP Santa

Today was one of those days when I realised my girl is no longer a baby and that she’s a very observant 6 year old. Admittedly I thought I had at least one more Christmas to go.  Here’s what happened this morning over a pair of socks

Miss L ‘Mummy is Santa real or is it Mummy’s and Daddy’s wrapping presents and leaving them in a stocking?’

Me: ‘What do you think sweetie’

Miss L ‘ I think he’s not real and it’s you, did you wrap up my presents with the ‘Ho ho ho’ ribbon?  It was very nice of you’

Me: ‘Ummm yes it is me, who told you?’

Miss L: ‘ No one, I knew it!  I kept seeing him everywhere and you can’t be in more than one place at a time’

Me: ::Speechless::

Miss L: ‘So there’s no such thing as flying Reindeer then either?’

Me: ‘Umm No’

Then she looked all smug like it’d had been bothering her for months and I made her promise not to tell any other children under punishment of death.  All I need is irate parents on my chasing me for ruining their children’s lives.  I of course am traumatised that all my bargaining tools for her good behaviour are gone and she’s strangely fine and happy that it was all made up.

But we’ve not discussed the Toothfairy yet…..

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Don’t you love being a Mum?

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I’ve been tagged by the lovely Susanna over at A Modern Mother

To explain to those that have no idea what I’m talking about it’s like a game of “tag” — another blogger makes you “it” and you need to tag someone else. This one is about the five reasons why you love motherhood, so here goes.

1.  Morning cuddles.

Every morning without fail there is a small person snuggled up next to me when I wake.

2. Notes and love letters.

My girl can now write and leaves me messages and notes tell me how much she loves me blu tacked around the house.  When she’s in trouble I get a card or apology note.  Usually mis-spelt but the sentiment shines through.

3.  Kindness.  Whenever I shout at the dog for barking I get

‘Betty is a living thing too, mummy.  She’s just asking for food/chews/sausage rolls’

4.  Questioning everything

She asks more questions than anyone I’ve ever met.  I can give her an answer or go to Google and then she’ll come up with something else and they are always intelligent.  My favourite so far is ‘How do you weigh a mountain?’

5.  My favourite phrase ever when I get cross

‘But Mummy, you can’t live without cuddles and love’

and you know what, she’s right!  Instantly she’s forgiven 😉

I’m a bit rubbish at tagging so if you’d like to join in I’d love to read your replies.  Let me know if you’ve joined in x

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Easter Holiday Children’s Entertainment Ideas

Easter Holidays are nearly here again!   It’s one of our favourite school holidays and it’s so nice to get out and about after being inside throughout the winter

Here are our favourite things to do at Easter.

1. Visit Farms and meet the newborn animals. We are lucky in that we have both Church Farm and Wimpole Hall near us, but if you Google you are likely to find a farm or urban farm near you.  Children love to see the baby animals and it’s a great time to show them where animals come from and how they live.

2. Making Easter Cards.  Simple easy and you can pretty much make them out of any scraps of paper/cotton wool/colouring/paints lying around the house  – good for a rainy afternoon.

3. Easter Bonnets – Yes I know we’re in the 21st Century but little girls still love to make paper hats with paper flowers on them.

4. An Easter Display/Nature Table – go for a long walk and collect leaves or flowers (not bluebells it’s illegal despite there being literally thousands in my garden!) stones, anything that captures your child’s imagination.  Then when you get home they can make a nature table display or a picture.  We tend to put them into a hurricane glass and then put them on the sideboard as a display.

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5. Easter Egg Hunt.  We do ours at my Mum’s every year, she decorates the whole garden with bunting and coloured eggs hanging from trees.  We then have to follow the clues to the easter eggs funding little prizes along the way.  The whole family love it and it’s lovely seeing her face while she’s searching.

6. Planting Vegetables and Flowers in the garden.  Kids love to play in the dirt and then later in the summer get to eat the fruits of their labour.  Strawberry hanging baskets are a big favourite in our household.

I can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the sunshine with my girl.

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Toothfairy came..

tooth-pola

It feels like 5 minutes ago since these came in!  Tooth number two was close behind falling out the next day.

Did you know that apparently according to Miss L the Toothfairy is very generous it’s £1 for one tooth, £2 for the second etc – LOL!

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