Thursday, 18 September 2014

Dad's in Charge

Welcome to my very first time hosting Loud 'n' Proud, the link up says a sad goodbye to Judith but I hope you will all help me assist the original linky co-hosts in making this a really fun weekly link up to share all of those proud moments.

So last week you may have noticed the holiday spam filling your IG, twitter and Facebook feeds and for that I am #sorry #notsorry. I spent a wonderful few days with 11 fab bloggers (and a baby!) and the lovely Emilia from Mark Warner Holidays seeing what the gorgeous Greek island of Rhodes has to offer after winning a place on the trip, and an amazing time we had indeed. More to come on that later, but what I'm proud of this week is what was happening at home in my absence...

I left my very capable Mister in charge of the running of the home, and managing of our kids. I've mentioned before that I am happy to go on child-free breaks, and have no qualms about leaving the children with their father or grandparents who love them, and take care of them just as well as I do. As Dreaming of a Craft Room said on my previous post on the subject, "I used to love it when my parents left my brother and I for a sleepover at Granny's, it was an adventure for us and a break for my parents. Going away without your kids is a great idea", and those are my thoughts exactly.

I set off on Tuesday morning and the Mister got on with both roles instead of just his own. He did the school runs, the cooking, the cleaning, the washing, all of the running around to the kids after-school clubs and activities (with a little help from A, too), managed the electrician visit around all of that, and coped with an unfortunate incident on the Friday, as well as going to work. I came home on Saturday to a (mostly) tidy house, and happy children. He even picked me up from the airport! I had every faith in his ability to manage it all - if anything, he's probably more capable than me in all honesty!

People joke about leaving Dads in charge (myself included) but I think they're not given the credit they're owed. The Mister is a brilliant Dad and the kids & I are so lucky to have him. He's exhausted now, but don't feel too sorry for him, he's had plenty of days away this year and is off on another golf day next month...

Mama Owl

Monday, 15 September 2014

Meal Plan Monday 150914

Mon 15th Sept - Chicken & chips

Tues 16th Sept - Toad in the hole

Weds 17th Sept - Mac & cheese with broccoli

Thurs 18th Sept - Brinner

Fri 19th Sept - Home-made chicken curry

Sat 20th Sept - Ploughman's

Sun 21st Sept - Roast pork

I've joined in with Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky with this post

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Summer Reading Success

As such an avid reader, it has always been important to me to try and instil a love of reading in my children. I have enjoyed some success - A has shelves overflowing with books and spent much of her early childhood with her nose firmly in between the pages of her latest read, and H & E seem to share her passion for books too. H is building up quite a collection of titles such as Flat Stanley, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Percy Jackson, and E has her own little book shelf full of her favourites, like The Gruffalo!

Unfortunately, I've not had quite the same level of victory with my older boys. They will read on occasion but mostly they're just not really that interested, which is a shame but I gave it a good go. They have enjoyed some books - like the Skulduggery Pleasant, and Beast Quest series - but on the whole they just prefer doing other things. I think 3/5 isn't too bad going!

The library runs an annual Summer Reading Challenge and is designed to try and keep children aged 4-11 interested in reading during the long school holiday and prevent a 'dip' in their progress, and this year we decided to take part. The theme was Mythical Maze, and the kids are encouraged to read 6 books through the Summer. They can be picture books, audio books, fact books, anything at all as long as they're borrowed from the library.

H chose mostly fact books about cars, trucks, and motorcycles. He enjoyed reading about the world's fastest cars, and about the history of of motor vehicles and learning how engines work. E selected story books that we read together, she particularly enjoyed "I'm not cute!" and "A Rumpus in the Night". Half way through the challenge, they were rewarded with Mythical Maze wrist bands and for each book they read, they received stickers to collect and add to their maps. At the end of the challenge, they finally received their certificates and gold medals which they are both very proud of - and rightly so, too!

It has made me realise that I have completely under-utilised our local library, which is a shame. I plan to rectify that and continue our weekly trips there, because both of them really enjoyed the reading challenge and with the way things are currently I do worry about the "use it or lose it" factor and you never know what vital public service the government will cut next.

I really do think that the Mythical Maze challenge encouraged H & E to keep up their reading during the Summer holidays, and helped to prepare them for heading back to school for a new year, and of course a new start for E! So bring on the Summer Reading Challenge for 2015 - we're ready!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Learning Through Play

Learning Resources UK have a huge range of award-winning educational toys, games, and learning aids. Whatever your need, there will almost certainly be something there for you. From my point of view as an autism parent, I was delighted to see a section for special educational needs, including social & emotional skills, motor skills, and sensory awareness.

L has always had trouble with fine motor skills, using cutlery and holding pens & pencils for example, and the Helping Hands Fine Motor Tool Set is a great kit for helping him practice. E enjoyed using the tools too, I gave her some bowls and a tub of buttons and let her choose which of the 4 tools she wanted to use to sort the buttons by colour. The kit is priced at £7.14 and in my opinion will be invaluable for strengthening these important skills.

You can even sneak in a learning opportunity during your evening routine - the Smart Splash® Sail Away Shapes™ are a set of eight linking toy boats with detachable, uniquely shaped masts that fit together with their corresponding colour and are a great way of teaching colour and shape matching, as well as hand-eye coordination & fine motor skills when linking them together. Priced at £19.80 and suitable for ages 2-6, the Sail Away Shapes are the perfect toy for making learning, and bath time, fun.

To view their extensive range of educational games, toys, and learning aids, check out the Learning Resources UK website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news, offers, and information on their products.

We received complimentary educational toys for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.
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