Craft tutorial – Egg box Christmas trees

We’ve been doing quite a few Christmas crafts this month – mainly stolen from Pinterest I will admit – but this one I just thought up when I bought some eggs in a green box. Egg box Christmas trees! (Obviously with a plain egg box they would need painting too). It does involve a little adult help for cutting the cones from the egg box and possibly putting the glue on them, but the sticking allows children to be creative with their trees and makes a very simple enjoyable activity. This is suitable for pre-schoolers and toddlers, as even Noah managed to sit through the whole craft and enjoy himself! They are a lovely decoration to put in a keepsake box, use for future Christmases, or give as gifts to family members or visitors.


Materials needed

  • an egg box
  • PVA glue
  • sequins
  • glitter paper
  • pom poms
Method
  • Cut out cones from egg box and paint green if needed.
  • Dot glue about randomly on cones.
  • Stick on decorations.

24 Advent Activity Ideas For Toddlers & Pre-Schoolers

The 1st of December is upon us, which means the Christmas countdown has officially begun! The boys have chocolate advent calendars from relatives, and you may remember we received this wooden advent calendar from Hobbycraft to review last year. I was a bit last minute with it then, but this time I have compiled a list of activities which I have put inside so we will have some Christmas fun-filled days in the lead up to the big day – some of them may even involve Buddy the Elf again 😉
I’ve been scouring the web for activities and here are the ones I have decided we are going to be doing – the boys still have such short attention spans that most of them are quite simple and easy, yet lots of fun!
Make Christmas cards
North Pole breakfast
Delivery of letters from Santa
Christmas colouring pages
Drive around looking at Christmas lights
Christmas jumper day
Attend a Christmas party
Watch a Christmas movie with popcorn
Choose Christmas books from library
Help decorate the Christmas tree

Are You a Boy or are You a Girl? | Book review

Many of my friends and most likely some of my readers will know that I completely believe in gender neutrality. That is, I am completely okay with my boys doing things such as wanting to try on my shoes, or play with what are considered girl’s toys. They have a doll they regularly play with and dress up, for example, and I have photos of them wearing my shoes! All it is down to, is imagination. Just because boys do these things, or girls want to do want are considered boy things (like play football) doesn’t mean they will grow up being attracted to the same gender – not that I have a problem with that either! But it seems that is where the problem lies and in a modern society it shouldn’t be so.


I think anything that promotes gender neutrality is a great thing and Are You a Boy or are You a Girl? does just that. Written by Sarah Savage and illustrated by Fox Fisher, it tells a mini story of ‘Tiny’, who we don’t know the gender of. Throughout the book Tiny does activities sterotypical to either gender such as playing football (boys) and dressing up (girls). Tiny gets picked on, but also makes new friends who really don’t care. I like that Tiny’s gender is asked about but never revealed in the book, as it lets the reader decide yourself. Even after reading it multiple times, I am still undecided. J thought Tiny was a boy though, obviously just like him as he does all of these things too and I personally have never taught him any different.

It is a great book for parents & education providers to read with children if they are at a stage of being told by others that they can’t do such a thing, or if they are confused why boys do ‘girl’ things and vice versa. It has great illustrations and isn’t complex to read, prompting discussions between adult & child.

Age – preschool to 7 years

Our rating – 4.5/5

Disclosure
I was sent a copy of this book free of charge to review. All thoughts and opinions are honest & my own.

Little man N at 1 year 8 months old

It’s been so long since I’ve posted an update for N – 3 months in fact! What with my impromptu blog break, then trying to catch up, then having to take another impromptu break when we moved and were without Internet… But hopefully I am finally getting back on track now!
So N hasn’t been officially weighed for a long time but both boys like getting on the scales at home when I do, and it seems N is just over 2 stone heavy – only a stone lighter than his brother, yikes! He is a proper gannet though, but I think his weight has leveled out a lot since he has been on the move.
Speaking of which, he follows his brother absolutely everywhere and he is a proper little stunt man, even braver than J in fact! He is always getting bumps & bruises as he can’t tell danger quite the same as J yet. He really does look up to J though and wants to be just like him with everything, including the toilet!
He is quite the monkey and is obsessed with hitting the tv – I forgot how annoying that stage was! He is still into everything else too – everywhere he shouldn’t be. He is becoming a proper little helper though and helps to fetch wood for the boiler, cleans up (after he’s made a huge mess!), helps with the shopping… Sometimes it can be more hindrance than help though!

He is a really quick learner and has started putting his shoes on by himself, getting himself dressed (or at least attempting to), eating with cutlery, and he has learned so many new words recently and follows instructions really well – when he wants to, anyway! He had his very first hair cut a few weeks ago. I hated getting rid of his curls, but I know they will grow back quickly as J still has some.
Current favourites
Food – Banana
Drink – Weak squash
Toys – Hobby horse
Books – Octopus Socktopus
TV – Mr Tumble
New words
Diddle (willy!)
Purple
Bot bot (milk)
Bin
Minion
Bum
Bin
Stick (bread stick)

Potty training and growing up with Thomas | Giveaway (CLOSED)

Regular readers of the blog will know that J started potty training early last year and since then we have been up & down like a yo-yo, going totally off track at points too and right back to the beginning with him wearing nappies full time. Though deep down it was frustrating for me, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t force it as he obviously wasn’t ready and I know from other people that it could have set him back even more rather than encourage it.
Still, it’s taken a long time and we have introduced Thomas & Friends previously with a Railroad Rewards Potty. This did spur him on a little with him learning that doing his ‘business’ on the potty reaped rewards, but over the last couple of months we have almost cracked it completely – we can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel! 
The beginning of our journey was quite stressful as he tried to get the hang of it, but after introducing a Thomas & Friends My Thomas Potty book (though we used it for the toilet instead) and Thomas & Friends Well Done Thomas, Activity Book (both published by Egmont), he was determined to get all of his stickers each day and he has been managing with almost no accidents! I think the fact that there are pictures of real children in the potty book really encouraged him, as did the reward chart and activities.
I think just like situations in Thomas & Friends, potty & toilet training involves lots of team work and using these books it can be made fun for the child rather than stressful! With gentle reminders and lots of praise – you could include the poo & wee song in this, or even make up your own song to the Thomas & Friends theme tune! – it can be encouraging rather than stressful for both parties.
This experience with Thomas & Friends has even made me more positive that when it comes around to the time for N to start potty training, it will be a much smoother ride and J can also give him encouragement. After all, I’ve also learned from this journey, and that’s what Thomas & Friends is all about!
If you feel like your child may need some gentle encouragement from Thomas & Friends, I am able to offer you the opportunity to win a set of these books – just complete the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Terms & conditions
Open to UK residents 18 & over.
Entries must be received by 11.59 pm on 29/10/2015.
The winner will be drawn randomly via Rafflecopter/random.org when the giveaway has ended and will be sent an email informing them they have won.
The winner has 24 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn.
I will send the winner’s details on and the prize will be sent directly from the PR.


*PR collaboration