Let Kids Be Kids 8/10/13

Let Kids Be KidsThis is a linky about letting kids be kids.

In this modern world we live, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and the fast pace of life. These days, children often have to grow up too quickly and I believe frequently miss out on just being children. We need to let our children get back to basics and have genuine childhood fun.

This last week we have been busy baking daddy a rocket birthday cake and going on autumn walks to make some great crafts with our nature findings.

I have also been busy thinking about ‘let kids be kids’ and I have come to the conclusion that it needs a new home. I feel it doesn’t really fit well under the twinlife theme, so I have bought the domain name ‘letkidsbekids’ and am now in the process of setting up a new site specifically for ‘let kids be kids’. I will let you all know when I have finally managed to get it up and running. I hope you will all join me there too. In the mean time, letkidsbekids linky will continue here.

Thank you to everyone who linked up last week, as always, we had some great posts. We had a bit of beach fun with rolling down sand dunes via Family Fever. There was some fun messy play over at Nommonster with flour and fairies and an amazing scarecrow weekend with a day in this dads life.

There’s not may rules, just link up your posts, old or new, about genuine childhood fun (of any age). It may be fun outdoors, jumping in puddles, nature hunts, riding bikes or making mud pies. Or it may be fun indoors with arts and crafts, making dens, cooking, messy play or reading. Or how about visiting a farm or fun at a fete. Or a discussion about kids growing up too fast, etc.

Whatever basic fun you have been having or discussing, link up and share your ideas, visit others to get inspiration, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

This linky will open every Tuesday for 6 days, so there’s plenty of time to add your posts.

Please spread the word and grab my badge from my sidebar if possible.

If you tweet me your link (@karenattwinlife), I will happily retweet.



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A rocket cake for daddy

Rocket birthday cakeIt was Twinlife daddy’s birthday last week, so I thought we should make him a cake. Now, being a stay at home mum, I have to get my entertainment from somewhere, so what better place, than from spending time creating a cake master piece with my twins (BB unfortunately was at school).

I didn’t want to make any old ordinary cake (that would just be too boring!). We had to do something better. So I thought, how about a rocket? Daddy, loves rockets! Who said novelty cakes are only for children?

Anyone with twins, or more than one little person in the house, knows how tricky it can be cooking with multiple little children, so I must admit, we haven’t done much lately. But, I thought I would have a try again, now they are getting older.

Pinky and Boo stood on their chairs at the worktop with me. I had to take a photo of them in their aprons, looking so proud to be helping mummy make daddy a birthday cake!

Cooks in their aprons

They both greased the tin, which they found very amusing and helped weigh out all the ingredients on the scales, then poured it all into the mixer. They broke an egg in each (for the first time, and it wasn’t as disastrous as I thought it would be!). Yes, I know we should be mixing by hand, but the mixer makes such lovely quick cakes! They enjoyed turning the mixer on and off as needed before helping pour the mixture out into the prepared tin.

cake mixing

We used a loaf tin, to make the basic shape and baked it in the oven.

Once baked and cooled, I cut the two corners off the top and put them at the bottom to make the side boosters (or whatever you call them?).

Rocket cake basic shape

I cut it in half, filled it with butter icing and then covered it all with a thin layer. I then added a layer of shop bought ready to roll icing on top (yes, I know it’s cheating, but we can’t all be good at everything).

Once this was done, it looked quite rocket like. I then used writing icing tubes to decorate some details and write happy birthday.

Rocket birthday cake

Twinlife Daddy loved his birthday cake and Pinky and Boo loved helping. Unfortunately, they told daddy the day before his birthday about his cake! Why can’t children keep a secret?? But, I have to say, it was a very nice cake!

P.s I have just realised what the shape of the unfinished rocket looks like….before you say it!!

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An autumn collection

One of my favourite things to do in Autumn, is going for walks. I love getting out and about in the fresh air, looking at all the beautiful colours and collecting all the things nature has to offer, to see what we can make.

Last weekend, the weather was not looking promising so we popped out quickly while it was dry. There was no time to go anywhere special, but I don’t think you always need to, there is still lots to offer walking round the streets and local park.

The children took a bag each to see what they could collect. We hunted for leaves, admiring the range of beautiful colours. They had fun trying to find all the different shapes and colours. We also spotted some mushrooms growing in the grass by the side of the road.

Autumn collecting leaves

We walked to the park, where they had a few minutes to climb and swing, which was great, as we haven’t been to the park for ages.

Autumn collecting climbing in the park

On the way back we collected lots (&lots!) of acorns, some sticks and berries.

Autumn collecting findings

BB wanted to find out what was inside an acorn, so I promised we would cut one open when we got home.

We had a lovely walk together. It is really nice how a quick walk, nowhere special can be just as much fun as going on a big planned day out.

Back at home, this is what we did with our findings…..

Acorn and leaf people and leaf rubbingAutumn is such a great time of year for fresh walks, looking at nature and doing lots of art and craft.

ClarinasContemplations

 

Posted in crafts, fun | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Memories Gro

When you have twins, your whole working/career plans often have to go out the window. Here’s a good friend of mine’s story of how she has developed her business at home, with three young children, by turning your babies first clothes into lovely little keepsake dollies……

From Working Woman to Mum(preneur) of three in 2.5yrs

Memories geo dollies

In 2010 I was expecting my first baby. When I went on maternity leave from my position at the local council, as Marketing & Tourism Manager, just before Easter I couldn’t have imagined what the next two and half years would hold. When my eldest daughter was 13 months old I discovered I was pregnant again and when I went for my first scan, 12 weeks later, a surprise was in store. “Can you see what I can see?” asked the sonographer. “Well yes,” I thought, “but I am not going to say, in case you think I am an idiot!” But it turned out I was right, we were expecting twins!

We went down the corridor to the phlebotomy lab to have my blood tests and sat in the waiting room in shock. “Well, you’re definitely not going to back to work now, are you?” said my husband. We both knew that I was actually quite pleased about this. I had always wanted to be a stay at home mum.

But of course it wasn’t that simple. The plan had been for me to childmind when baby number two arrived, and I was qualified and approved already. That would keep a little bit of money coming in, in addition to my husband’s wage. But, and it was a big but, I was only allowed by OFSTED to look after three children under five years old at anyone time and now that quota was going to be filled by our own children!

Our twin girls were born in January 2012 and for many months my time was, unsurprisingly, taken up just by looking after the girls. As time went on however, I wanted to explore ways of making a little bit of money, but also wanting to use the skills I have. I have always been very creative and being able to make things is part of what I do for much needed relaxation.

Someone suggested to me that I should think about making keepsakes from children’s clothes. Looking around there were several people making animals from babygros but no one making Dollies. So I made some girl Dollies from my girls’ first clothes. Someone asked me if I would make Boy Dollies too, so I made up a pattern for dungarees. Boy Dollies have been just as popular, in fact this summer I had a run of about 7 boy Dolly orders with no girls in between.

I love what I do and I never tire of it, or of the customer’s reaction. One lady said she was moved to tears when her little girl’s Dolly arrived. Even though I am using the same pattern each time, each Dolly is different and I enjoy working out how I am going to use the garments I have been sent.

I also make keyrings or handbag charms embroidered with the child’s name and I have recently started making memory canvases which are formed from cut out shapes from the clothes to make a beautiful collage. I have ideas for other products which I hope to test and launch soon.

I work at lunchtimes, when the twins are having their nap and my eldest is having her quiet TV time, and also in the evenings. The girls having a good routine is what really enables me to do this. I have a work diary that I fill in as orders are paid for. It helps me plan and tell customers when to expect their orders. I blank out weekend evenings, time to do things for my girls or try new products and occasional weekends off. I think it’s important I have a bit of balance, but it also gives me a little bit of leeway should I slip due to sickness (me or the children!) or whatever.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Memories Gro, whether I will continue to make Dollies once my girls are all at school. For the time being I am finding it very satisfying to be able to be creative, make a little money and be there for my children.

I would be delighted to offer followers of Twinlife Online 10% when they order two or more Dollies. Find out more at www.facebook.com/memoriesgro

Memories Gro logo

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Let Kids Be Kids 1/10/13

Let Kids Be Kids Linky

This is a linky about letting kids be kids.

In this modern world we live, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and the fast pace of life. These days, children often have to grow up too quickly and I believe frequently miss out on just being children. We need to let our children get back to basics and have genuine childhood fun.

This week we have been busy trying to get into some autumn crafts and activities. We’ve been out collecting leaves and other autumn finds as well as doing some gardening with little ones helping cut back the lavender bush. It’s all good basic fun.

There were lots of great posts linked up again last week, thank you to everyone who joined in, I hope you join us again this week. My three favourites from last week were:

A great dinosaur sensory box via Nommonster, looks like lots of fun whilst experiencing nature for little ones.

There was a great fish race over at Time to craft, I have got to try this.

Or how about some tree climbing at Family friendly west yorkshire great example of basic childhood fun.

There’s not may rules, just link up your posts, old or new, about genuine childhood fun (of any age). It may be fun outdoors, jumping in puddles, nature hunts, riding bikes or making mud pies. Or it may be fun indoors with arts and crafts, making dens, cooking, messy play or reading. Or how about visiting a farm or fun at a fete. Or a discussion about kids growing up too fast, etc.

Whatever basic fun you have been having or discussing, link up and share your ideas, visit others to get inspiration, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

This linky will open every Tuesday for 6 days, so there’s plenty of time to add your posts.

Please spread the word and grab my badge from my sidebar if possible.

If you tweet me your link (karenattwinlife), I will happily retweet.



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Posted in Let Kids Be Kids | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Letter fun

Little children learn through play. Now my twins are in their last year before starting school, I thought I should try introducing them a bit more to letters. I want to make it fun, and hope they just pick things up through repetition and hands on exploration.

This is what we are playing……

Giant alphabet jigsaw puzzle

We worked together to complete a giant floor alphabet puzzle, singing the alphabet song as we did it. We had fun discussing the letters and trying to work out what each letter sounds like.

Musical letters

We played a game of musical letters. Basically, musical bumps, but with letters.

I wrote out several letters on different coloured paper and spread them over the floor. We danced around to music and when the music stopped I called out a letter which they had to find and sit on.

It was great fun, they got exercise, music, dancing and letter learning all at the same time! They laughed and giggled excitedly the whole time. It is well worth a play if you get the chance.

Musical letters game

Sorry about the blurry photos, but the children were having so much fun dancing around I couldn’t get a non blurry picture!

Gel writing

Learning to write can be difficult, so it is good to give children opportunities for different ways of practicing writing, where they can get hands on with textures etc and where it doesn’t always feel like they are sitting down with pen and paper.

I got a plastic sealable bag and put some hair gel (very cheap from any supermarket) in it. Sealed the bag and voila…..the children can play around and explore with making letter shapes.

Letter fun gel writingMy children all had fun with these games and explorations. I will be using these again, as they will need lots of repetition before they start recognising letters. But the key is to make it fun and they will love it!

Posted in preschool | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Little kids can help

Little kids can help, children cutting back a lavender bushI love to create activities for my children and join in with their games and crafts. However, every parent still has chores to do, houses to clean, laundry to get done and gardens to keep. It can be tough trying to manage little children, at the same time as keeping up with the housework (no matter how much or little of it you do).

My tip for managing this, is to let the children help.  If you are cleaning, give them a duster or baby wipe to clean with you. If you are vacuuming, give them a brush to help sweep with you. I know they won’t actually be any real help, but it keeps them busy. Put on some music and dance around whilst cleaning. The children will love it and it won’t seem like such a chore.

There was one very memorable time I gave all 3 of my children a baby wipe and they cleaned down all my kitchen cupboards! It was great, they actually did quite a good job and they loved it so much, I had to persuade them to stop in the end.

Last weekend was another great example of this. We needed to get out in the garden to cut back some bushes and generally tidy up a bit for the autumn/winter, especially as we have been having a bit of a garden makeover this year. It is not completely finished yet, but we are getting there. So I needed to figure out how the children could help whilst we did this.

Firstly, I gave them each a pair of their child scissors. They helped me cut back, the very over grown lavender bush. Now, I can’t tell you, just how much my children enjoyed this activity. It was so much fun. They carefully cut off lots of lavender, into their tubs that I gave them, so we could keep it to do some crafts with. However, when my back was turned, they all put their lavender in the recycling bin!! This means unfortunately, we can’t follow-up with any lavender crafts now, but never mind, they had enough fun just cutting it.

My little ones love using scissors and this activity brought a whole new dimension to the use of scissors and was a great way to practice scissor skills.

Secondly, they helped me gather up all the mess and leaves from the floor to put in the recycling bin, before helping me sweep up.

little kids helping out in the garden

There can be lots of fun for little ones, just helping mummy and daddy. They love to copy what we do and ‘help’. We had a great afternoon in the garden, getting it sorted at the same time as having fun and working together as a family.

Posted in fun, parenting | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Autumn tree art

Autumnal tree art picturesYesterday, we started on our autumn activities list and did some autumn tree/leaf art.

We painted a very simple, basic tree and then got some leaf stamps, mixed up some browns, oranges, red, yellow and green paint and started stamping leaves on our trees.

autumnal tree art

It was great fun and very simple. It also started teaching the girls about mixing colours to make different ones. By the end of it, they were able to guess some of the colours they needed to mix up to make various others.

ClarinasContemplations

Posted in crafts, fun | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Let Kids Be Kids 24/9/13

 

Let Kids Be Kids

This is a linky about letting kids be kids.

In this modern world we live, it is so easy to get caught up in technology and the fast pace of life. These days, children often have to grow up too quickly and I believe frequently miss out on just being children. We need to let our children get back to basics and have genuine childhood fun.

This week we have been busy making stick puppets and having fun using our imagination with lots of story telling. We have also been out in the garden pruning together getting it ready for the winter (I will be writing about that shortly).

Last weeks linky saw another lot of great posts with lots of ideas and inspiration. I always find it difficult to choose three favourites, as they are all so good, but here goes….

There is a great autumn bucket list over at We’re going on an adventure so much so, it inspired me to write my own autumn activity list.

I loved the poem over at Distressed Housewife very funny and so true! Go have a read.

Over at Sarahs wacky world there was a cub camp. I had to include this, as it brought back so many childhood memories for me from my guiding days.

There’s not may rules, just link up your posts, old or new, about genuine childhood fun (of any age). It may be fun outdoors, jumping in puddles, nature hunts, riding bikes or making mud pies. Or it may be fun indoors with arts and crafts, making dens, cooking, messy play or reading. Or how about visiting a farm or fun at a fete. Or a discussion about kids growing up too fast, etc.

Whatever basic fun you have been having or discussing, link up and share your ideas, visit others to get inspiration, but most importantly, HAVE FUN!

This linky will open every Tuesday for 6 days, so there’s plenty of time to add your posts.

Please spread the word and grab my badge from my sidebar if possible.

If you tweet me your link (karenattwinlife), I will happily retweet.


Posted in Let Kids Be Kids | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

7 Tips for coping with school as a parent

Tips for coping with school as a parentYou prepare your child for school and plan everything well, but nothing prepares you as a parent for the challenge ahead.

When my son started school last year, he settled in very quickly without any problems. Myself on the other hand however, it was a different story. I found the school run very difficult with two toddlers in tow. I found it incredibly difficult to keep up with all the letters and information sent home and I found it hard to keep up with all the reading and homework he had to do.

Over the last year I have been learning how best to manage this new situation, that is going to be my life for the next thirteen years at least. I thought I would share with you what I have learnt, which has helped me.

Here are my top tips for coping with school as a parent….

  1.  Get up and ready before the children – I find if I get up an hour before the children (at 6am), I can have a shower, wake up slowly and get dressed at my own leisurely pace, without having to worry about what the children are up to and then I am totally prepared to help get them ready at 7am and to cope with all they throw at me. This works brilliantly for me, though I know some people may struggle with this if their children are very early risers.
  2. Be prepared – Try, if you can, to prepare packed lunches the night before, I know its hard (and I do frequently fail with this one, but when I do manage it, life in the morning is so much easier). Lay clothes out the night before, the worst thing is when you realise in the morning there are no clean shirts! If you lay it out the night before, the morning panic is reduced. It is also a good idea that the school bag is packed the night before, again saving panic in the morning.
  3. Keep on top of homework/reading - I found all the reading and homework quite difficult to keep on top of at first, I would advise, to find a routine that works for you and stick to it. For us, we now read the book at bedtime, he reads us a story, then we read him a story.
  4. Respond to letters straight away - It felt like we were bombarded with letters home, information about this and information about that at first. I felt like I didn’t know if I was coming or going. The best thing to do, is to reply to any letters home straight away other wise it will get forgotten or lost, and then believe me, you get confused!
  5. Create a filing system for school things - You need a good diary or calendar where you can keep track of all the new events for each child (especially with the lead up to christmas, there will be events til they are coming out of your ears!). File letters etc in an organised way.
  6. Talk to other parents – There are times when you may not be sure whats happening (especially if you have a son like mine, who doesn’t tell you anything), it is good to speak to other parents, this can be a great source of information. My son’s school actually have a Facebook page where parents can ask questions, discuss things etc, its great.
  7. Routine - Try to develop a good routine and stick to it. I love routine, it works really well for us, as I find the children all know what is expected of them. I also give them a bit of a reward if they are all ready in time, they get to watch peppa pig on milkshake. I can time everything to that, then they put coats and shoes on whilst watching it and as soon as it finishes, it’s time to walk out the door.

These are my personal top tips for surviving the school years, though I know they won’t be watching peppa pig for much longer.  Not everyone will like all of them, we all work differently, but if you are struggling like I was at first, maybe give some of them a try, you never know, it may transform things for you?

One thing I will say though is, it does get easier.

Do you have any other tips to help new school parents cope? It would be great to share some other tips.

Posted in parenting, school | Tagged , , , | 22 Comments