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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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!

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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.)Identifying Where Nature Can Improve Your Mental Health #30DaysWild

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.

Flowery Encouragement Notes {BostikBloggers}

Sometimes your children do something completely of their own accord that makes you sit back and think ‘Wow! I’m actually raising a decent person here!” Yesterday, Ameli did just that. I was busy simultaneously preparing for lunch, washing dishes and getting ready for our camping trip, when I walked into the living room and found Ameli folding papers. I asked her what she was doing, and she said “Making encouraging messages for people”.

Her plan was to open the window and toss them out into the wind and let people pick them up. When I pointed out that people might consider them litter, she agreed, and then decided that she’d hand them out as we were walking through town.

I thought it was incredibly sweet, and generous. She went onto Google and searched for ‘encouraging phrases’, wrote them out and decorated each ‘note’. When she ran out and wanted to make more, I thought the Bostik Bloggers ‘Flowers’ theme would work really well, so gave her the craft box, and here’s what she came up with: Flowery Encouragement Notes {BostikBloggers}Read more: Flowery Encouragement Notes {BostikBloggers}

Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Foraging with kids is always fun, and as far as I see it, always educational.

Today we went foraging for 20 Elderflower heads so that I can try to make some Elderflower champagne. I’ve meant to for years, even bought all the kit a few years ago, but I had to dig it out of the attic and give it a good wash today, as it’s never been used before. We’ll see how it goes!

But this post is about foraging, and why I take my children foraging when I know grownups who still won’t venture beyond blackberries, maybe, out of fear of picking something wrong and poisoning themselves and others.

There are two things that I believe foraging teaches children, beyond the obvious point of plant identification and learning what’s edible or not.

The first is risk management and the second is attention to detailLife Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}Read more: Life Lessons Learned From Foraging For Elderflowers {30DaysWild}

Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}

Today is the first day of the 30 Days Wild challenge, and while I’m not 100% sure what we’ll be doing every day, we are going to try to do something outdoors every day. This isn’t normally too hard for us as we’re out fairly frequently anyway, but I’m going to try to be focused with it, and throw out short little posts about it each day.

Today we visited the Garlic Farm on the Isle of Wight with friends who’ve come over for a little half term break. One of the things I love about going to the woods with the children is that there’s something freeing there for them. It’s why Aviya’s Trolls party was in the woods – they didn’t need any formal entertainers! It was the girls climbing trees at the Garlic Farm that inspired the post about Girls Who Climb Trees and also that led me to thinking about the value in climbing treesGoing On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}Read more: Going On An Adventure {#30DaysWild}

A Trolls Party On A Budget

Ameli turned five a little while back and wanted a Trolls party. There’s so much you can do with a big budget, but when you only have a tiny budget and a small party, you have to be a little creative!  Here’s a few of my favourite bits from our Trolls Party on a budget. A Trolls Party On A BudgetRead more: A Trolls Party On A Budget

How To Make A Princess Poppy Necklace

When it comes to ideas, I think I do okay, but when it comes to the actual creativity, I have to look to others and build on or adapt their ideas!  I don’t know who the originator of this Trolls bunting is as I can’t find it on the Dreamworks site, yet it’s labelled as Dreamworks, so we’ll go with that till I learn otherwise. I didn’t want it as bunting though, but as necklaces, dotted around the forest for the children to find it during a treasure hunt, so we created our own Princess Poppy Necklaces.How To Make A Princess Poppy NecklaceRead more: How To Make A Princess Poppy Necklace

Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

My girls are all about the fairies, so we have a very random collection of different fairies around the house, but when we wanted some for our fairy gardens in the allotment, I didn’t want to use any of the beautiful fairy statues in case they go walkabout fly off in the middle of the night.

Fortunately the theme for April’s Bostik Bloggers was “wings” or “flying”, so a bag of fun coloured feathers seemed a perfect way to bring some fairies into our garden.Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

For this project, each fairy will require:

  • A lollipop stick
  • A mini cupcake case
  • A pompop
  • Two feathers
  • Scissors
  • GlueMake Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

You can be as decorative with these garden fairies as you like, and could incorporate pipe cleaners for arms, but we didn’t find that necessary this time round.

Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

To start, glue the feathers half way down the lollipop stick.  Turn the stick around and add a dollop of glue where the head would go and pop a pompom in place. Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

Make a small cut in top of the cupcake case. Slide the lollipop stick through the case to two thirds down.  (You can use a glue dot to fix it in place if it is too big or loose.)

Make Your Own Garden Fairies #BostikBloggers

Leave it all to dry, then find a spot in the garden!

Introduce your fairies to their new home, and enjoy how pretty it – and simple – it is.

Why I Don’t Wish My Children Happiness

I had a fairly tumultuous early adulthood with a lot of heartache, many tears, and the extreme desolation that comes when you lose something you believed in your whole life. Sounds dramatic? It was.

Now with the insight of parenthood, I can see how hard that period of my life must have been for my parents. I remember one particular night when my dad came to the far side of the house, two floors down to wake and sit by me, and rock me back to sleep as I was bawling so loudly, in my sleep, that it woke him. I had no thought at the time for how much my pain must have hurt them.

Years later, I was going through a difficult time in a relationship, when my mom said to me, “I just want you to be happy.” I looked over at her, with the wisdom of maybe 25 years of age, and said to her “Mom, I don’t want to be happy. Happy is fleeting, happiness fades, happiness is dependent. I want to be joyful.”Why I Don't Wish My Children Happiness

My mom’s not around anymore, so I can’t ask her now what she thought of that, but she did many times after that, end our conversations with ‘I wish you joy’.

And that is what I wish for my children: joyRead more: Why I Don’t Wish My Children Happiness