Creating a tailored reward chart

Reward chart finished article!

For a while now I’ve been thinking about the best way to encourage my kids to move to the next level with their behaviour and the way they think and act. To be fair to them (particularly JJ who is obviously no longer a threenager), they are generally good boys and can be sweet, loving and thoughtful. However we do have plenty of meltdowns – often when tiredness or hunger kick in, but there are certain issues which do come up time and again and it can be really hard to negotiate with a small child when they decide to be stubborn!

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The evolution of a blogger

scrabble blog

I know it doesn’t happen the same way for everyone – I am part of several Facebook groups and I regularly read people coming to the forum as newbies – I mean up and running from scratch for about a month – saying “I am currently getting 1000 page views per month, have 500 followers on Twitter – how do I build my following?” to which the rest of us go “bloody hell, I’ve been up and running for two years and I don’t have a flipping clue how you’ve managed that – can you give *me* some tips?!”.

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How to teach your kids the value of money

Piggy bank - spider pig finished 2A few weeks ago I was beginning to feel like the proverbial ‘money tree’ – I guess this is something every parent goes through from a pretty early point in their kids’ lives when they begin to demand this that and the other everywhere you go. It used to be a biscuit from the bakery counter in Sainsbogs but JJ has upped the game lately and now he’ll expect me to buy him the most expensive toy we happen to walk past at any given time.

At the same time his behaviour has gone a bit haywire – I’m still trying to figure out whether this is a normal developmental ‘thing’ for a six year old – I get plenty of hits on a quick Google search – or whether this is something very specific to him and our family situation. At any rate the two problems (monetary/material demands and behaviour in general) have collided and, after a heart to heart with my mum, she offered to begin giving him and his little brother an ‘allowance’ of £1 a week – *on condition* that she received a good report on his recent behaviour. The idea is that he will be able to put his own money towards saving for things he really wants rather than expecting us to pay for everything and if he is badly behaved then he may be forced to experience the consequences of ‘negative equity’.

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The truth about… Inspiration


I have really struggled lately with coming up with blog ideas – even just an idea for this post has not been particularly fruitful. So, I’m resorting to a post format that I’ve read before many times – the ‘banish writer’s block by writing about your writer’s block’ post. Other people might just decide to put their writing on the back burner until a good idea strikes but, as the custodian of a living linky I not only feel the need to publish at least this one new article a week, but I want and need to keep exercising my brain in this way. Columnists who are paid to produce a weekly piece can’t just drop a week or two (although paid columnists probably have a bit more thinking space than I do!).

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Love the Little Things 28.11.14

READ Tesco magazine I picked up a free copy of the Tesco magazine/gift guide when I was in there on Tuesday and had a little flick through. I always love this kind of thing as it helps to give me some pressie ideas and get me in the festive mood. I’m really into my home-made gifts this year too so I was interested in the section on home cooked treats – I’m particularly taken with the gingerbread popcorn… WATCHED

 I caught up with a bit of Strictly that I’d missed the week before and my new favourite is definitely Simon Webbe (of boy band Blue). I know I’m likely to be either preaching to the converted, or falling on the deaf ears of people with no interest in this genre, and maybe it just wouldn’t be the same to watch one dance out of context, but I highly recommend you look up Simon’s Argentine tango from week 8 – there is generally one dance in each series (mind you I don’t watch every year) which I love so much it sends chills down my spine and I have to put on repeat and this was definitely it for me. I’m also still keeping up with The Missing, The Apprentice and The Fall – it’s a great time of year for TV! HEARD After watching that Argentine tango I was reminded how great the Moulin Rouge soundtrack is – I love that version of Roxanne! I love David Bowie’s Nature Boy and Ewan McGregor’s version of Your Song is better than the original for me. I’m also anticipating hearing some lovely carols with the kids as I discovered this children’s book with a CD containing all the most well known songs. WORE It has very much been an Ugg boot (Bearpaw in my case) kind of week as the termperatures have plummeted. Scarves and gloves have been retrieved from dark corners. I also decided to go for green sparkly nails this week (I’ll be looking for some red sparkly in the shops so I can try out an alternate red/green look for Christmas 🙂 ) and have discovered that my new hair cut allows me to rock the ‘tousled’ look which works so well as I don’t have the time to style my hair much with kids demands to see to or fights to referee! (I barely manage to get my eye liner on in a straight line most days!) MADE I excelled myself this week with two Christmas Mason jar projects under my belt – both of which turned out to be exceedingly quick and easy. The first: my home-made snow globe, the components being: jar, glue, glitter, baby oil and a little figurine and snowy tree I bought from the local garden centre. The second, and this one I’m not sure whether I should be publishing, as they will be gifts (I’ll just assume that any intended recipients will appreciate the back story!) is a few jars of brandied cherries. I think I might have to keep one of these… 🙂 AND LASTLY… After my recent panic about not being ready for Christmas, I am beginning to feel a little bit more together now! I had a chance to make some decisions about what home-made gifts I would concentrate on and buy some supplies, and I have an idea about one or two Christmas outings for the boys. I have even hooked out their advent calendar and bought some choccies to put in the pockets. We saw Santa arrive (at the local garden centre) on a monster truck on Saturday with our friends (and treated ourselves to cake, coffee and fruit shoots afterwards – I had the most divine vintage rose cake (note to self, photograph everything! Blogging fail!! ). Happy Weekend Little Loves!


My Sunday Photo 26.10.14

An autumnal offering

I was inspired to create this little autumnal friendship gift by the lovely Emma over at Life at the Little Wood who made a very similar little jar of autumnal beauty recently. I think it turned out rather well. It includes a bought rose, fabric oak leaf as a decorative touch and the prettiest seasonal offerings from my garden.

Linking up to My Sunday Photo over at One Dad Three Girls


Having a vocation

old typewriter

I recently read this post by Sara over at Mum turned Mom. She discusses her difficulties with pronouncing to the world that she is a ‘writer’. I understand. I haven’t thought much about how I label myself in recent years, preferring to just live out each day and fulfil each role necessary (you know the score: care-giver, cook, cleaner, employee, nurse, driver, decision maker, party planner, and on, and on…) but nowadays I manage to squeeze in ‘blogger’ and ‘reader’ and ‘commentator’ too.

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The big fifth pirate party!

Pirate party spread

So it’s finally happened  – the event that I dreamt up and began planning months ago is over – and my little boy is suddenly a big five-year-old schoolboy!

This is the fourth party I’ve thrown since having children (JJ had a second birthday party and EJ has had a 1st and a second) and with each experience I am learning how to be better and make it more impressive and at the same time stress-free. I spoke about the idea of a ‘kids party life hack‘ when I was preparing for EJ’s big circus party back in July, but even then I hadn’t got it quite right, giving myself the most massive headache of preparing 23 clown cake pops (and me, a complete cake pop virgin!). This time round I opted for marshmallow pops – just as impressive to look at but soooo much easier to make (assuming you have the right tools for the job)! Here’s a shot of my little army:

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Word of the week: Arrrrrgghhhh!

(Said in a Pirate stylee!). Or the word of the week could equally be ‘big’ or ‘school’ or transition as Wednesday was JJ’s first day of Reception class at his new infant school and he loved it!

First day at school!

This has also been a week of ramped up preparations for his *fifth birthday* party which is all happening tomorrow! He asked for a pirate party but his strongest and most insistent desire was that there be a bouncy castle with a slide! I’ve managed to source one with a pirate theme so that should make one little ‘big’ boy very happy!

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Creativity in the garden

Lion ball toss

This week I wanted to design and craft a game for EJ’s upcoming circus-themed birthday party. As I’ve mentioned before I had already ruled out pass the parcel as an option – a lot of faff for about 15 minutes of paper shredding as far as I can see! I looked around for some other options to keep the kids busy and I wondered about some sort of ‘beanbag toss’ game. I noted that we had an old discarded cardboard box just about the right size and quickly decided that an open-mouthed lion would be perfect.

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