Childcare And The Working Parent

I recently asked a question on a Facebook group about babysitters, and whether people use them at all. The responses were a very mixed bag with everything from ‘yes, all the time’ to ‘no, never’.

As a working parent, and more specifically a work-from-home parent, I often find myself with a different need: someone to be at home with the children, while I’m there, but working. It can be really hard to get in the ‘flow’ of work when you’re constantly interrupted for a glass of water, or because someone looked at someone else for a second longer than was acceptable! Having someone who can keep the kids busy, do art and craft with them, and generally just fill my role for a few hours a day or week, makes a huge difference.

childcare and the working parent

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Results Are In! Grow Your Own Potatoes Project

This year we’ve once again participated in the Potatoes for Schools – Grow Your Own Potatoes project, whereby they send you potatoes and instructions, and you have to grow your own. As part of the project you’re supposed to keep an eye on your potatoes, soil them up from time to time, and generally follow their progress.  We measured them intermittently, and made sure it was slug free and so on, but we did fail miserably at the seed potato – the one you’re supposed to plant in such a way that you can actually see the root system. I know we planted it in a jar, I just have no idea what became of the jar! We did, however, do the same with a pumpkin seed and a sunflower, and were able to watch their root systems stretch towards water. It was all very interesting. But back to the potatoes…

Grow Your Own Potatoes ProjectRead more: Results Are In! Grow Your Own Potatoes Project

“Word Has It!” Game Review

Another game review today as I’ve been really slack in getting these games online, even though we’ve been playing them for weeks! Today’s game is super for anyone who loves word building games – the game is Word Has Itby University Games, and it’s best suited to those who can actually read.

The idea of Word Has It is to build the longest word you can within the given time limit, the given starting letter and the given category. So to start, you choose a category card – say ‘something that grows’ – then you spin the spinner and get a letter – say “F” – then hit the timer and you have a few seconds to come up with a word, find the letters and stack them to create a word. The winner is the person who has the longest word in the given time.Read more: “Word Has It!” Game Review

“Yeti In My Spaghetti” Game Review

I realised a while ago that while toys are all fine and well, games are a really good way to get the kids to play together and sometimes, having actual rules to play by is a bonus too, as there’s less bickering when the rules of play are actually written down (by someone else, not me!) So one of the games the kids have been playing a lot lately is Yeti In My Spaghetti from University Games.

Yeti In My Spaghetti is a modernised version of pick-up-sticks, basically, and you follow more or less the same rules, with the main difference being that you now have a Yeti that you need to keep out of the bowl.

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Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is a growing health condition in the United States and the  rest of the Western the world, and in many cases it is something that could be prevented.  Because of this, it’s a good idea to understand the different types of diabetes, and what causes them.

Type 1 diabetes is generally associated with young adults and children.  This type of diabetes cannot be prevented and is usually caused by genetics.  It only accounts for 5% of all diabetes cases and can be treated with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is most common in adults.  This type of diabetes is preventable, usually being caused by obesity and food choices. Treatment for type 2 diabetes involves implementing a diet and exercise routine.  Sometimes insulin is prescribed as well.

Finally, gestational diabetes is experienced by pregnant women.  Again, this is treated with a combination of diet, exercise and insulin.  Recent studies have found it to be preventable.

Find out more about diabetes from the infographic below.Read more: Understanding the Different Types of Diabetes

“Eye Found It” Game Review

Sunday is National Unplugging Day and one of the ways to go gadget free as a family is to stack up a bunch of board games and spend the day lazing about playing as a family. One of the games we’ve been loving recently is a Ravensburger game called I Found It. 

Eye Found It is a fantastic game!Read more: “Eye Found It” Game Review

Camping Toys and Games For Any Weather

On Monday morning I woke up, looked out the window, and decided we were going to spend the week camping in a field rather than cooped up in the house, so that was precisely what we did! Of course, in a climate like the UK, the weather can be changeable, so we packed a variety of wet weather, cold weather, and warm weather toys and activities to take along.

As compared to a foreign holiday where we want to see and explore as much as possible, camping out on practically our doorsteps means we can leave the cares of home life – laundry, cleaning  etc – behind, and just chill out without having to be anywhere or do anything.

While we didn’t have all of the below toys and games with us, but they are easy to find in a store such as The Works, and we think they are toys and games that will be great camping in wet or sunny weather:

Camping Toys and Games For Any WeatherRead more: Camping Toys and Games For Any Weather

Water & Bead Play With The BABY Born Interactive Bath Tub {Review}

We’ve had three camping trips, visitors, sickness and all sorts over the last couple of months, and while it’s been fun (and not) one of the things that’s suffered a fair bit has been any sort of ‘blog schedule, and with it, some of the things I’ve been promising to write about – like the BABYBorn Interactive Bath Tub my girls received months ago now!BabyBorn Interactive Bath TubRead more: Water & Bead Play With The BABY Born Interactive Bath Tub {Review}

Create A DIY Space Light With #BostikBloggers

We were very excited this month when we received our #BostikBloggers box and found it full of space themed goodies. There’s something wonderfully imaginative about space, mesmerising even, and we were excited to make something a little different, so we made a night light, and I must admit I’m very happy with how it turned out!

#BostikBloggers Space LightRead more: Create A DIY Space Light With #BostikBloggers

Identifying Where Nature Can Improve Your Mental Health #30DaysWild

Well, the best laid plans, and all that! I’d intended to post every day for 30 days, sharing our #30dayswild journey, but yeah, life happens, doesn’t it. Never mind, new goal: post when  I can! So far so good!

Last year the girls and I spent some time on Feelings And Emotions, learning about different emotions, what they feel like, how they make us act and so on. It was a very good series of activities, and they still refer back to it.  I decided for one of last week’s #30dayswild activities to go back to one of those activities, a printout of leading questions I designed to make the girls identify how being in specific places makes them feel. (Find that activity and printout here.)Nature Can Improve Mental Health

As they change and grow, I think it’s useful to revisit some activities because it shows them and me how much they have developed on the inside too.

The questions on this sheet of paper are leading questions, about how we feel in different places:

“On the beach, with the waves at my feet, my toes in the sand, I feel…. ”

“In the forest, with the trees overhead, and the birds chirping, I feel…”

and then there are questions about a shopping centre and their own bedroom.

(Words on the actual page vary a bit, but you get the idea.

Using these questions on the printed sheet gave us the opportunity for some quiet reflection. In the forest, for example, we closed our eyes, described what we could feel on our skins, smell in the air, taste on the air, hear… and the same on the beach.

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I was pleased to find that Ameli’s questions have grown from ‘makes me want ice cream’ to something along the lines of “On the beach I feel refreshed and happy. Its a good place to come when I’m feeling blue”. Similarly, her response to the forest was “In the forest I feel at home.”

I think it’s really valuable to be able to identify how specific places feel, so that they can use their environment to help manage their emotions.

I know I’m feeling really irritable and ‘scratchy’ at the moment, so we’ve decided to camp at a local campsite this week. I know that waking under canvas for a few days will improve the way I feel. I hope that my children can identify where nature contributes to their general mental health too.