Create Your Own Summer Holiday Survival Guide

With just one week left until the summer holidays, I am panicking at the thought of almost 7 weeks of attempting to stop the children from climbing up the walls with boredom.

While I was thinking of what to do, something hit me. Introducing the Summer Holiday Survival Guide! Use it to write down all your summer holiday ideas in an easy-to-read way. Then all your ideas are in your very own “book” for the whole family to look at!

How To Create Your Own Survival Guide

  1. Download and print our template: Our Family Survival Guide
  2. Fill it in with the whole family!
Some tips to bear in mind when filling it in:
  • Know what’s local. In the run-up to the holidays lots of schools give out leaflets advertising local events and playschemes. Your local authority/county council will have information of event and leisure activities. Some shopping centres hold small events – try looking them up to see what they’ve got on. Ask around too – you’ll be surprised at what’s available right on your doorstep.
  • Decide what activities you are willing to do at home. Be realistic. If you can’t stand the thought of scraping cookie dough off the ceiling, then don’t promise them baking. If you enjoy painting with the children, get that on your list!
  • Swap a few playdates. Have a friend’s children over for an afternoon and see if your friend will do the same for you the next week. When your children are out, make sure you use that time to relax and recharge your batteries.
  • Set a budget. This is important – it’s so easy to spend until your drop if you don’t have a budget. Set rules to help you accommodate this – decide what you’ll cut back and where you’ll take it easy.
  • Get the kids physically active! Riding bicycle, or get them riding their scooter, best kids scooter has good advice on this.
  • Get the kids involved. There’s no point planning it all by yourself – you need to find out what they’re interests are. Asking for their help will make them feel important too!

Making School Uniform Labels

Today I did what I’d managed to put off for the whole of the last school year: I labelled Goldilocks’ clothes.

I decided against writing on the labels. What could I do with them next year, if they were still wearable? I wouldn’t be able to donate them – they’d have someone else’s name written on them.

I remembered my promise on the Bucket List to find ways of recycling the clothes I couldn’t give to charity shops. Like Goldilocks’ greying, stained and worn polo shirt.

Armed with a permanent marker, Goldilocks’ new school clothes, an old polo shirt and a small pair of scissors I got to work.

I decided to use the collar for the labels as it had a pretty edge, so the first thing I did was cut it off and remove the buttons for safekeeping (pictured).

Then came the labelling part. I wrote her name followed by her teacher’s name, leaving a small gap between sets and cutting through those gaps.

Then came the sewing. I don’t actually know how to sew  (although it’s on the bucket list) and don’t have a machine, so I used a very crude cross stitch, which worked fine!

So there we have it: sewn in labels that even a complete novice can do. As I already had everything I needed, they didn’t cost me a penny.

A New Home

After sitting in front of yet another person (a homelessness officer this time) and bitterly cursing the unfairness of it all, I got the news I had been waiting for:

“We have a place for you, but…”

Oh please, please not more “but”s! I need someone to give me a “yes” here!

“…I’m afraid a 2 bedroom flat is all we have available. Would you be prepared to take it?”

Afraid? Afraid?! I was over the moon! When I arrived at the flat to get the keys I was even more pleased. The place is massive!

Of course it’s not without its faults – there are a few bits that need repairing and it is completely unfurnished. I had to pay the previous tenants debts before being able to put money in the gas meter but at least we haven’t ended up on the streets.

The children love it so far. Mattresses on the floor haven’t lost their novelty yet, nor has the lack of toys.

While they are sleeping soundly I am applying for housing online and organising myself for the following day.

When will this stop feeling like a holiday to them?

Alarming Organisation

There are many reasons why I’m addicted to my smartphone but lately I’ve been making use of a feature I’ve been ignoring for years.

At the moment I have 9 alarms set on my phone. There are alarms reminding me to take the boys to/from playgroup, give/take medicine, tidy the living room… basically an alarm for anything I forget to do. (That is almost everything then!)

Some tips for helping the alarm system to work:

  • Don’t just set loads and hope for the best. If you set ones you don’t need you’ll just get into the habit of ignoring your phone.
  • Set different alarm tones for different things. Again, variety is what you need.
  • Get to know what feature you can use. There is almost no need to download an extra app as long as you experiment.
  • If you can, set alarms for the days you’ll need them. For example, the boys go to playgroup on the same 2 days every week. I don’t need alarms for the other 5 days.

What do you do to keep yourself organised?

Halloween Activity: Pumpkin Faces

I remember as a child drawing faces on the pumpkin before carefully cutting it out. It was one of the best bits of Halloween really: a chance to get my hands dirty doing something that I wouldn’t normally be allowed to do. Unfortunately it’s not an option for us this year. The boys are definitely too young and while Rhian would probably relish the chance to use something sharp and dangerous, I just don’t think she would be careful enough.

While browsing Twinkl for spooky activities I came across these small editable pumpkins. They were perfect for drawing faces on and there wasn’t a knife in sight!

I accidentally printed off a surplus (read: over 40 pumpkins) but we still did them all. Rhian led the others by example: as soon as they realised she was drawing faces they drew faces of their own. Shane managed to draw some eyes which I though was pretty clever!

Once they were done I put them up all over the house with some sticky tack. If you do this activity remember to keep the tack to glossy paint or other smooth surfaces. Don’t do them directly on the wall!

Knackered Housewife x

New Year New Me – March Promises

Well, what can I say? February was a load of poo, to put it politely.  I’m trying to figure out how my resolutions would work in my current situation.

So how did I do last month? Not very well since I am now living in a 2 bed flat for the homeless. I can hardly even remember what they are!

Lose weight – Try not to use food as a crutch in the coming months.
Save money – More important than ever. Spend as little as possible to make sure that when I actually get a house I will be able to furnish it.
Learn to drive – On hold for now.
Be more organised – I suppose it’s easier to do once you’ve lost almost everything – should I be able to “lol” at this?
Do up the house – Try and source some beds, sofas etc. The kids might enjoy mattresses on the floor, but I don’t.

I would add a linky widget or some images but I’m using my phone for the foreseeable future so I can’t.

I appreciate every message of support – honestly it’s keeping me going!

Thank you.

Knackered Housewife x

Top Tips for Charity Shopping

There are many reasons (read excuses) people don’t go to charity shops. They may be worried about the quality of the items or think that they wouldn’t stock what they are looking for. These days charity shops actually have a big variety of quality stock. Most is donated but many shops also sell brand new stuff.

I think it’s always worth visiting charity shops on a regular basis. A lot of the clothes I come home with still have labels from the original shop on it. Even if they aren’t brand new they are always good quality – I’ve never seen anything in a charity shop that looked dirty or overworn.

Then there’s the ethical side of it – items that have been used time and time again have a lower carbon footprint. Buying from a charity shop helps to raise vital funds for whatever cause that particular shop supports.

Well, there’s why you should go to charity shops. Here’s how to get the most out of shopping for good:

  • Go to an area where there are several shops near to each other and visit them all on the same day. Make a morning out of it!
  • Take along  a list of things you’re looking for (like a Christmas Gift Cheat Sheet) to help you stay focussed.
  • Make sure you have plenty of cash with you as lots of charity shops still don’t accept cards.
  • Go to posh areas for qood quality stuff with the same price tag (@kateonthinice)
  • Be friendly and regular – they may keep stuff back for you if funds are tight (@kateonthinice)
  • Keep an eye out for valuable stuff with a view to selling on (@kateonthinice)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask what they have in the back room if you’re looking for something in particular (@kateonthinice)

Many thanks to the wonderful Kate On Thin Ice for giving me lots of extra tips. I am clearly more of a novice than I thought

He Stole My Heart

When Caden woke up crying I knew it wasn’t just the cold sore on his lip.

I hadn’t told him we were leaving and yet he knew. He cried when Martin left for work. He cried some more at bedtime. He cried after his brother went to sleep.

No, he didn’t want to sleep in his bed. No he didn’t want to sleep in my bed. No, no, NO!

I got him into my bed and cut my finger on a chipped mirror while fumbling in the dark.

“Did Daddy do that?”

Children don’t forget.

I put on a plaster and got into bed again. I checked my emails, knowing he would be distracted by it. It worked.

I looked at him in the glow of my phone’s backlight, his features highlighted perfectly. He took my breath away.

“You are such a beautiful little boy, Caden.”

He smiled and shook his head.

“OK, you’re a beautiful big boy.”

He shook his head once more and said:

“No, you are.”

And with that, he went to sleep.