Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween On A Budget - The Gallery - Frightful

I am always on the look out for a good deal and ways to save money, so the first thing that came to mind when I thought about Halloween, was what I could make myself. Having ran out of nearly everything crafty I decided to round up some household things and see what I could do.

This is Boo! He was made with an old sheet, a balloon and some string, and some markers or paints to create the face.

Start out with an olds sheet and very roughly draw a large circle made from zig zag patterns. Dont worry about being neat. Next cut out the design, be as rough as you like as it all adds to the jagged effect when hung. Next blow up a balloon, and cutting a small hole in the centre of the sheet, pull the balloon tie through and "voila" . Design your own face and then hang him up with some string. Very easy and very inexpensive.

We also made a hanging ghost face decoration, using pretty much the same method, but with a bin bag, then popped a spooky mask onto the balloon.

And then there's Dead Dolly, Not for the younger ones or the squeamish, but looks fantastic when the light is dimmed. Piece of cake to make. Took some old clothes, stuffed them with rolled up newspaper balls, taped on a balloon head and them finished off with a rope noose. Add a hat/shoes/socks or what ever you like at the end and don't forget to draw on a face.

Last but not least was my 10 second table cloth. Cut open an old pillowcase so its laid out flat, then get the kids to have fun with some fake blood. As you can see Aalliyah made scratch marks, drips, splats and even a hand print!

Have fun this Halloween and remember to stay save in whatever you do!

I am linking this post up with "The Gallery" this week as the word is frightful!
Head over to Sticky Fingers to view more entries.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Learning Resources Hot Dots Hands On Review

Learning Resources offer a fantastic range of learning aids and toys, with their main customer base being teachers and other workers in the education field. They manufacture a varied range of items which have been specifically developed to aid in children's learning and development.

As a parent I think it is extremely important that my child learns through play, so when we were given the opportunity to review something from Learning Resources Hot Dots range, I was delighted.

We were askled to review a Hot Dots pen and set of accompanying flash cards which were the Hot Dots Junior - Numbers and Counting set.

The pen is very easy to use. Easy to hold onto - even for little hands, and with only 2 buttons, not overly complicated for children to operate. One button switches the sound on and off while the other alternates between sound effects and sound effects with voice (For when you get an answer right or wrong)

The cards are brightly illustrated and feature a question and a multiple choice answer selection. Each answer has a corresponding dot next to it, which when you place the pens nib and push down onto it will let you know if you have got the correct answer or not. To do this it will either light up green or red and will actually speak and tell you if you right with phrases such as "Err No!" and "Good Job!" They come in a handy little box making them easy to carry around and perfect to take with you anywhere.

This innovative new idea, is a fantastic way of letting children check there own answers and with so many different card sets available, which cater for a range of different ages and levels, the fun never has to end.

Take a look at the following video which shows how easy the set is to handle, use and understand.

As I mentioned before there are a wide range of card sets available which covers topics such as Spelling, Vocabulary, Numbers, Counting, Telling the time, Mathematics and more. Click on the link below to be taken to the Learning Resources site, where you can view the full range of Hot Dots Accessories.

Fancy winning a Hot Dots pen and set of Hot Dots Junior cards? Head over to their Facebook competition now by clicking the link below, but hurry as the closing date is Friday 16th November. Good Luck :-)

Overall I was really impressed with the pen and cards. They are a fantastic learning aid for children at all levels and I would definitely recommend them to teachers and parents alike.

Please note: I was not paid for this review and it is all of my own honest opinion.

Silent Sunday

Thursday, 25 October 2012

My Reasons To Be Cheerful :-) #RTBC

Well I've had a long horrid flu (Yuk) More bills than you can imagine these past two weeks and EVERYTHING running out in EVERY cupboard, total nightmare! But yet I still have reasons to be cheery (Believe it or not lol)

OK, You knew it was coming.. The gushing, overly proud paragraph about how well my daughter is doing at school? Well yes , I am in fact over the moon with Aalliyahs parents evening, she is working above her targets and if I give her a little shove this year she is possible of a level 6 in her SATS next year. I did think.. "Hang on a minute, SATS go to level 5" But my concerns were quickly cut short as the teacher informed me they have added a higher level this year. So I am very happy with my little brain box.

My second reason to be cheery this week is my weigh in at Weight Watchers. The scales tipped in my favor yet again and I lost another 3.5 lb this week. I have so far lost 18 lbs in 5 weeks, and 5% of my total body weight, so I'm a very happy lady! The weight loss has definitely given me a bit of a confidence boost especially when people comment on my slimming waist line ;)

My final reason to be cheerful this week is that I got my hair done!! Yes I know, bit of a lame one, but I haven't had a processional cut in good few years now! Always doing the old D.I.Y snip! To go along with the new style, I also coloured it too (Dark Violet) See..the weight loss is bringing a whole new side of me to light!

Feel free to comment below, and if you like what you read, then please subscribe/join. I look forward to reading all your Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

The Gallery - Books! ..(Glorious Books)

I think there is nothing more important than reading for a child, get rid of every learning aid and toy you have, but as long as you have a book, there is no reason why your child can't learn from it. Reading, pronunciation  spelling.. All comes from picking up a book. I used to read to Aalliyah when she was a matter of weeks old! 

Aalliyah is a massive bookworm. She always has her nose deep into the pages of a book whenever she has some spare time. She reads every night before bed, when she comes home from school (as part of her homework) and all the spare minutes in between.

She took part in a summer reading challenge at our local library and has since fallen in love with the place. We visit every weekend and she gets lost in the rows upon rows of books. She normally comes out with around 10 books.. Enough to see her through the week, but if she enjoys a particular book there is no doubt she could read it in one sitting.

One of her favourite authors is Roald Dahl , so there is no surprise what costume I made her for world book day?!

"Ooompa Loompa Doopadee Dooo.. I've Got Another Puzzle For You"

As for me? I prefer the darker side of the library ;-)

Have used ebook reading apps before but there is something magical about getting books out at the library, the crinkle of the pages and the smell of the print! 

This weeks Gallery theme is Books.. Head over to Sticky Fingers and check out some other entries :-)

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

TV Time.. How Much Is Too Much?

Most children are introduced to television at a young age. I remember when my own daughter watched her first bit of television and watching her nearly burst with excitement as she watched the colourful things bopping around on screen and listened to the music. She would often sit in her bouncy chair after breakfast and watch something (Fimbles , If my memory serves me right) But did this make me a bad parent? Did that hour of television make me a lazy parent? Regardless of what the other hours in the day were filled up with?

There have been endless studies into the link between how much time a child spends watching TV and their weight. Personally I think this is ridiculous. Children of overweight parents are more likely to be overweight and children that do not participate in games/sports/outdoor play are more likely to be overweight but the fact is that nine times out of ten the parents and the lifestyle they choose for their child will determine weather or not your child will be a healthy weight. Not how much time is spent watching TV.

You will always find contradictions in what ever research you come across. My daughter is 9 years old, and in very good shape athletically as well as having a good and balanced diet. She still enjoys her not so good sweet things (in moderation) and YES! she does watch television. In the mornings , after getting up, having breakfast etc there is no time for television, which is good as we would end up being late! Even I tend not to watch as I always end up sucked in to some story on daybreak and end up running late. But when she comes home from school, she normally spends the first hour, getting changed, doing homework etc then I will let her have a few hours of television (Providing her homework/reading is complete). During this time she will no doubt have dinner. I live in a ground floor flat so Its not a case of laziness having dinner infront of the TV, but I have no dining room and no where to eat other than our small coffee table that we sit at and eat. Yes the TV is still on at this time, but more or less not being watched and we still enjoy conversation over dinner abot her day at school and so on.

Aalliyah has watched TV from a very young age. She has also (past year) began using the internet a lot more. She does research for projects and homework, but also spends a lot of time on various websites, such as Cbbc, Mathletics etc. I have yet to find her on a game which had no learning value! She is doing fantastically at school, with high levels in Maths and English. Again yet more information which contradicts most of the research you will find online.

Overall I would say Aalliyah watches TV on average 2 hours a day, more at weekends, if we are not out somewhere and she will play a DVD at night when she goes to bed. The DVD is never watched past 5 mins and she is asleep. But these are all choices that I make for her as her parent, I feel they are right for us as a family, and If I felt they were affecting her behaviour or abilities in anyway, I would change her routine.

Every single parent is different, and I guess there is no right or wrong answer to the worldwide debate of TV time.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Quorn Tikka Masala With Bulgar Wheat (WW Friendly)

A delicious meal and very Weight Watcher friendly at only 9 pro points total meal value.

Using the Weight Watcher Tikka Masala Sauce.

This is what I call a "bung it in" recipe. So if you are not hot on a certain ingredient you can replace with something else and put in whatever you fancy.

Start by gently frying off some mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.

When they start to turn golden brown add in your frozen Quorn Chicken 
pieces. (100g = 3 pro points)

Gently fry off until chicken pieces are cooked through.

Next pour in your Weight Watchers Tikka sauce (Half a jar = 3 pro points)

Gently stir ensuring all chicken pieces are covered, turn down heat and allow to heat through until you are ready to serve.

Preparing the bulgar wheat...

To cook bulgar wheat you use 5.5 parts water to 1 part bulgar wheat.

Start by measuring out your bulgar wheat. (60g Dry = 3 prop points)

Place your water in a pan (with stock if required) and bring to boil.

When boiling put the wheat into the water, cover and turn down, letting it simmer for approx 15 minutes, or until all the water has absorbed.

When ready leave pan to stand for 10 minutes, gently fluff up with a fork and serve.

Add some vegetables on the side to complete your meal and remember if you are a "Weight Watcher" fill your plate with your zero heroes.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Saturday Is Caption Day #SatCap

What is it with children and cardboard boxes? I could have the most amazing thing ever inside but my daughter still eyes up the box and the bubble wrap. I guess her crafty side takes over as I have always taught her to reuse things if she can. (As I experienced with my beautiful toilet tube binoculars she made me)

Anyway hear is my Sat Cap entry this week. Have fun captioning :-)

Why not head over to Mammasaurus and check out the other Sat Cap entries for this week :-)

Friday, 19 October 2012

My Second Super Seven!

Well it's official! I have now lost over a stone (Biggest grin ever) My total weight loss for the past 4 weeks is 14.5 lbs. I am over the moon as I never imagined I would have such a good loss. If I am honest I was rather sceptical about Weight Watchers, and really did not expect to lose any weight. I have loved getting proved wrong!

Onwards and upwards! Here's to another loss next week!

Fancy shedding a few pounds yourself? I cannot recommend Weight Watchers highly enough. If you follow the plan than you will get the results you want..

Head on over to there site now and take advantage of there £1 joining offer (That's both online and weekly meetings)

Weight Watchers

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Gallery - Old

Another day and another grey hair! I have actually bypassed grey and gone straight to white! I suppose it is in keeping with Halloween coming up, but white hairs springing up when I am just 27 reminds me of the fact I am getting OLD. But I am sure no one would really appreciate a picture of my pale strands, so I quickly put it to the back of my mind (As I wrote "Remember to buy hair dye" on my notice board!)

Nothing says old quite like your treasured photographs. I have barely any photographs from when I was young, which is why I probably over compensate and take so many of Aalliyah. I want her to have endless memories of her childhood that she can treasure forever.

So here is my photograph for this week. One of the only pictures I have of both me and my sister as children. I'm not keen on the hair do (Thanks Mum) but I do love the photo. I looked up to my big sister then and I continue to do so everyday. With all I have been through , I would be lost without her.

Why not head over to Sticky Fingers and check out some other Gallery entries. This weeks theme is "Old".


Monday, 15 October 2012

Overdue Catch Up..

Well it has been a while since my last blog post. Sorry about that. Things just kept on taking priority and always had no time left at the end of the day to blog... But I'm back now :-)

In one of my earlier posts, you will remember I had been to my initial meeting at Weight Watchers. My 4th weigh in is on Thursday! Time sure does fly doesn't it?

Here is a quick breakdown of my weight loss:

Week one: 6lb Weight loss
Week two: 3.5lb Weight loss (Silver 7 Awarded)
Week Three: 2.5lb Weight loss

I am just two small pounds away from a one stone weight loss and over the moon! I never thought I would have so much success with weight watchers, and I am hoping after my initial stone weight loss, I will continue to lose a little each time gradually getting closer to my ideal weight and size :-)

I have found myself eating so much healthier since being on weight watchers. My portion sizes are smaller, and I am trying so many new foods. I have become a massive fan of couscous, something which I rarely ate before and I also have a new found love of Quorn sausages. I am yet to try any other products from the Quorn range, but I am hoping they will be just as tasty.

I haven't had as much exercise as I would have liked to these past few weeks, plus with it being so cold and rainy, totally lack motivation to go out in it! Will be popping into town in the week, so will pick up an exercise DVD. At least I can physical with the heating on, warm and dry :-)

Would love to hear any recommendations on a good DVD to try if anyone has any?

I will keep you all informed on the weight loss.. Until the next weigh in.. Ta Ta for now :-)

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Saturday Caption Day #SatCap

I am so in love with this picture! Pippin looking "Oh so beautiful" ...

Have fun captioning :-)

Head on over to Mammasaurus and caption some more photos :-)