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.

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

Abandoning Bedtimes – Am I Mad?

For the past month or so, bedtime has been particularly fractious. Sometimes I couldn’t even get to the bottom of the stairs before having to go back up and put one of the children back to bed. Normally they’re pretty good – in fact some people have been quite envious of how easily my children would go up.

Lately it’s been a different story. Their 7pm bedtime is a farce now because none of them would stop fighting me until at least 9pm, sometimes later.

Sound familiar?

I spent so much time longing for the days when I could put my children to bed and hear hardly a peep from them. A chance to rest, regroup and be Lauren.

I decided to throw caution to the wind and almost completely abandon bedtime.

There are only two rules: in your rooms by 8pm and no gadgets upstairs.

They still have a story or a lullaby if they want.  When it’s time for me to go downstairs I say “have fun playing, Mummy and Daddy love you!”

Sometimes I get called up to tuck them in but generally they put themselves to bed of their own accord when they are tired. This is almost always by 9:30pm and never after 10.

The result? A more relaxed evening.  Happier parents and happier children.

What’s your bedtime routine like? Would you abandon bedtimes?

The Worry Trumpet

The humble cardboard tube can be many things to a child. Telescope. Totem pole. Destroyer of nightmares.

After months of nightmares and several meetings with a psychologist I felt I was clutching at straws. Rhian was waking every single night and nothing seemed to soothe her. All the cuddles and dreamcatchers in the world couldn’t stop them – Rhian had even assembled her own nightmare trap! Her psychologist suggested that Rhian could feel better if she knew she didn’t have to keep her worries to herself. Maybe she could blow her worries away, through a trumpet or something. Images of the BFG blowing dreams through his trumpet burst into my mind. Rhian loves the BFG. I was sure it would work!

That evening as I tucked a very reluctant Rhian into bed I produced an empty kitchen roll tube and handed it to her. This will help keep your dreams away, I told her. Blow your bad dreams out like the BFG blows dreams through his trumpet. Rhian was very skeptical and raised an eyebrow in the way usually restricted to the Mummy Glare Of Doom.

“That won’t work. That’s a toilet roll tube.”

“Yes it will, of course kitchen roll tubes can be imbued with magical properties! Look, I’ll show you.”

I walked over to the bedroom door, opened it slightly and blew through the tube until there was no air left in my lungs, then closed the door behind me.

“Wow, I feel so much better now! Come and have a go, Rhian!”

She blew her worries out of her bedroom and went quietly to bed without a fuss. The next morning I woke with my alarm and glanced to Martin’s side of the bed and smiled. It was empty.

She hasn’t had a single nightmare since.

Activity Advent Calendar – Things To Do With Kids At Christmas.

It’s that time of year again and after searching for an advent calendar that wasn’t filled with that yucky Kinnerton stuff but still had Hello Kitty (impossible, I tell you) I decided that the kids didn’t really need chocolate every day just because it’s December. It’s much more fun to spend some time doing something with your parents than eating chocolate, surely? These ideas are just for reference really, but if you’re feeling really creative why not write these down on paper and use them in homemade advent calendars like this baby sock one from Martha Stewart?

  1. Watch a Christmas film.
  2. Make/write Christmas cards.
  3. Make baubles for your tree.
  4. Put the Christmas tree up.
  5. Write letters to Santa.
  6. Make tealight holders.
  7. Make reindeer food.
  8. Bake Christmas tree cupcakes.
  9. Go to see a pantomime.
  10. Read Christmas stories.
  11. Make mini Christmas trees.
  12. Put the lights up and have your very own “switch on”.
  13. Make a huge Christmas picture.
  14. Write some Christmas carol parodies.
  15. Go to a Christmas fair.
  16. Go Christmas carolling or do it “remotely” by calling relatives and close friends to serenade them.
  17. Make your own wall decorations.
  18. Have an indoor snowball fight with cotton wool balls!
  19. Make natural Christmas decorations.
  20. Make a wreath.
  21. Bake some cookies for Father Christmas.
  22. Make some Christmas photos to print.
  23. Make hand print snowflakes.
  24. Do “no mess” paint printing.
  25. Sing Christmas songs.
  26. Make paper chains.

Did you buy an advent calendar  for your children? Did you make your own? What activities do you like to do with your families at Christmas?