Our family Easter Traditions

With Easter approaching, and my three kiddiewinks constantly asking what exciting things are we doing… It got me thinking about Easter traditions. As a child, my mum decorated the house for Easter and I loved it, it was a really special time and the excitement when we arrived home from school to bunnies, eggs and chicks everywhere, has stayed with me. But, do I do this for my kiddie winks? Sadly not, it is money we just don’t need to spend at the minute. Plus, as my hubby grew up in a house without Easter decorations, he doesn’t see the point (I will keep working on this though…). So it got me thinking how could we make our own Easter traditions? 

 

Easter Films

As a family we love films, and at Christmas we have particular favourites, but there is no Easter films as such, so my eldest and I have been trying to decide what makes a good Easter film. Animals are essential, as Easter is filled with animals… So here is the short list we came up with for films to watch at Easter…

  • Babe- filled with farm animals and super cute and cuddly
  • Watership down– cue lots of cute fluffy rabbits (if you can face the emotional turmoil for this one)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- chocolate filled, need I say more.
  • Charlotte’s Web- just delightfu
  • Who framed Roger Rabbit- blimey I used to love this film
  • White chicks- * please note this was just for fun as white chicks is clearly not suitable for a young family

Hubby just wishes we had a brand new panasonic viera 4D Tv to watch them on, but I am always the ogre saying no! He really wishes we had the money to keep up to date with the latest gadgets and gizmos, I on the other hand, couldn’t really care less, as long as we have a TV I am happy. Although these do look pretty cool…

Easter Crafts

My kiddiewinks love craft, and I love doing them with them! However, as my hubby will vouch for me, I am not so keen on the clearing up and putting away, and glitter pots etc are often out long after they have been used. But it’s Easter so thats as much an excuse as any right… This year we are decorating eggs, but I am not faffing with the piercing and boiling nonsense, no way, I have purchased a pack of polystyrene eggs from tesco- genius idea

Easter Baking

This year (and pretty much every other year), we end up making Crispy cakes or cornflake cakes, with mini eggs and a token yellow chick. The kiddiewinks love making them, although littlest one ends flicking it on the floor. 

   
Bunny Hop

Our local town does a bunny hop around the shops, children find mystery letters and pick up chocolate treats along the way- fabulous fun!

All in all we will have a fabulous Easter, alongside going to church, we will have the family Easter hunt in the garden! Kiddiewinks are going to be crazy with excitement, I am just hoping the clock change means they won’t be up too early!

Disclaimer- this is a collaborative post

 

 

 

 

Save our Swimming Clubs

 

Did you know that Cheshire East and other local authorities are trying to create a monopoly on the delivery of swimming lessons?

Did you know Everybody leisure wants to gain all the kiddiewinks  currently learning through the ASA Learn to Swim’ swimming schemes through swimming club, and transfer them to the ‘Everybody Leisure’ books.

This can’t and shouldn’t happen! Particularly because these changes are not proposed for the good of our kiddiewinks; instead these changes are proposed in order to maximise the capacity for income.

 Everybody leisure, are insisting all younger members, still working through the ASA schemes, are transferred onto their books, taking away the element of choice for young swimmers and their families.

Swimming clubs are so much more than just swimming lessons. Kiddiewinks matter! Kiddiewink’s swimming progression and enjoyment matter! Kiddiewinks gain experience of competitive swimming and become part of a social community. Offering them not only skills of swimming, but increasing confidence, self-esteem, friendship and self belief.

As a child, I swam with Knutsford Vikings, and have many find memories of point score galas and championships, as well as swimming for my town, and enjoying the social aspect it also offered. My keen interest in swimming was solely down to being part of a vibrant swimming club community, and if this had not been available to me at a young age, I very much doubt I would have progressed in the way I did.image

My own Kiddiewinks, both joined ‘Everybody Leisure’ at the age of three, and my experience of their programmes is not a positive one. The leisure centre offered no flexibility within their schemes, and seemed unable to differentiate for individual needs within the swimming stages. What is more, there was never any consistency, regular staffing changes and skills, meant progression for my Kiddiewink’s was minimal and they began to dread swimming lessons. Staff were unaware of individual strengths and weaknesses due to the staffing changes and some seemed to lack flexibility of approach according to needs of the group. There is something wrong with a system, where a four year old, who can get a dive stick from the bottom of the pool, is jumping in a circle in the pool, wearing three armbands on each arm and  blowing bubbles, I kid you not, this was a regular occurrences. That said, some of the teachers were excellent and it is not poor teaching that is my issue.Complaints were rarely dealt with, phone also and emails ignored. Everything and everyone seemed confused all the time. Am I the only one with this negative experience of everybody leisure? Sadly, not! many parents are unhappy with the standard of lessons they were being offered with ‘Everybody  Leisure’; I regularly hear parents moaning about the lack of progression and continuity. Holiday swimming lessons were a particular bone of contention. Why are parents expected to pay the same price for swimming lessons, which are of even more substandard quality? Staff holidays and absences, meant stages are often put together meaning, once again,no progression and continuity. Staff often didn’t know the children at all and  Everybody Leisure introduced these fancy learning portals, what a fantastic idea, one that should avoid teacher’s not ‘knowing’ their students. Well, it would be a good idea if all staff actually updated them. We went 8 months with no updates at all!

All in all, the idea and concept of parents and families having the choice taken away from them is disgusting, especially as it is not to help our kiddiewinks, only financial profit. I for one will not be taking it lying down. My kiddiewinks will not be joining ‘Everybody Leisure’ books, not tomorrow, next week or ever!  It would be cheaper and more beneficial to teach them myself, failing that I would rather pay a bit more for private lessons (these would still offer better value for money than everybody leisure).

Please save our swimming clubs and give our Kiddiewinks the choice and opportunity to join a swimming club community, and enjoying being part of a team. Letting kiddiewinks experience competitive swimming at a young age, fostering their love of self improvement, and health,  may mean swimming clubs are training the young Olympic swimmers of the future.

SAVE OUR SWIMMING CLUBS!

Just for fun, click here to see a video of my little swimmer at 4.5- the same little man who was being made to wear three armbands and was bored rigid!

Please join the Twitter stream at @knutsvikings and feel free to lobby councillors, and  anyone else you think could make a difference.

10 reasons to love Jodrell Bank

This half term we decided it was about time the kiddiewinks got to visit Jodrell Bank, home of the Lovell telescope, which they enjoy looking at out of the landing window.  Living only 5 minutes down the road, it seemed wrong that the kiddiewinks were yet to visit.

We had a great day… Here are our top ten reasons to visit.

1) the Lovell telescope is humungous! Littlest Kiddiewink wowed lots and little man kept stating how it was bigger than he expected

2) whispering telescopes- the kids loved the fact they could give each other rude messages without being anywhere near each other. “You’re a smelly pants” was the favourite

3) gardens to explore as burn off that excess energy

4) a mini play park

5) learn more about our solar system- the kids loved the touch screens, granted not much was read, but they enjoyed messing.

6) not too big- very little chance of losing the kiddiewinks (whether that is a plus it negative, you decide)

7)two cafés- a takeaway one and an eat in (with an outside area). We didn’t sample to food, queues were big and we are skint. I would have bought them a drink and snack but the takeaway  cafe was cash only (I was not popular with the kiddiewinks)

8) lots of chance to get outdoors in the fresh air

9) staff that seem to genuinely enjoy working there, and are happy to help

10) Not to pricey- it cost £16.80 for the four of us, would have been a bit dear if hubby had been able to come

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All in all, a great day out, we will definitely be visiting again, but this time with daddy too.

 

School run in pyjamas. Yes or No?

With it hitting the papers this week, about a school telling parents, pyjamas were not appropriate, and to get dressed, I thought hard about what my opinion actually was. Do I do the school run in my pyjamas? Do I heck. Do I judge people in their pyjamas? Well, I have to admit, I do a little bit! For me, it’s all about priorities, and if you can’t get ready with the kids round your ankles,making demands, them get up before the children do! It takes a few minutes to throw clothes on! 

I also understand however, that some people have a lot of shit to deal with, depression and illnesses affecting mobility, muscles etc and that can make it extra tricky, and yes I would rather see them taking children to school wearing pyjamas, than them keep them off or make them late. But, having said this, even then surely friends or family an help with the school run, if you are suffering so much you can’t get dressed!

While I Am on the subject of pyjamas…I regularly see people in shops in pyjamas too! Just, why? Why, oh why? Can you imagine your mum taking you shopping in her pyjamas years ago, the answer is probably not! It just didn’t happen,  and I am sure people of that generation had their own shit to deal with, but wouldn’t dream of leaving their house in their pyjamas. Pyjamas are night clothes, end of! It is only over the last few years I have witnessed it, is it a generation thing?

Who knows but I think the world has gone mad! Get dressed people,get dressed and set our children a positive example! For those with real and genuine health issues, I don’t mean you but the rest of you, sort it out! 

 

Patching is pants

Kiddiewink 2 has been supposed to patch since July, just an hour a day. Although this is nothing, compared to the 8 hour we used to have to do, little man has still posed a lot of resistance! In the end we agreed to try a few hours at school, to avoid the trauma at home! It works! He is still not keen, but the interest and fuss from the teachers and other kids has really helped! He takes a selection in so he can choose, he has even been wearing it for 2 hours so we don’t have to do it at the weekend. We had his most recent check up on Friday- we were all hoping the patching could be stopped again, but Sadly that is not to be. He didn’t perform as well, as at his last test (however he was a bit giddy and silly but the time they tested the left eye). Anyway, the upshot is, he needs it at least 2 hours a day, including weekends- little man is not a happy bunny, he says he hate it.

 http://youtu.be/nIOBC50X01Y

Saturday, I managed to get it on him eventually, although I did pin him down (oops), but once it’s on, he is okay. Sunday, was much the same with a few extra tears and shouts thrown in for good measure. But the second weekend he seems to have accepted it and choices when he would like to wear it, last Sunday he out it off all day, so in the end he was stuck wearing it to a birthday party “but mummy I won’t look good, I don’t want to wear it, I won’t look cool anymore”, he wore it though and once there, it didn’t bother him.

 Bribery is working! We have a patch chart on the fridge and when it is full, he has chosen the reward of taking his family to Splash landings waterpark at Alton Towers. This has the added incentive of the whole family encouraging him; he is water mad and it seems to be doing the trick.. Also, some brand new patch designs from Swedan has helped, if only we can get them here. All this is working for now….

21 Reasons Rats Rock

21 Reasons Rats Rock

  1. Rats are super cute, we particularly like ‘Dumbo’ rats, and the babies are far cuter than we ever imagined.
  2. rats are super clever– the kiddiewinks can’t wait to train them to do tricks, they have spent a good hour making an obstacle course out of Lego.
  3. rats are super friendly if handled regularly in the first few weeks of life, these six week olds were super cuddly when we got them
  4. rats come in so many differs colours, and markings; I could have been tempted by lots
  5. Rats are said to be as ‘companionable‘ as dogs
  6. rats need human interaction- this is a huge reason to love them, they thrive on attention and interaction, with humans and other rats
  7. Rats are one of the cleanest pets you could own. They self groom constantly and can even be litter trained.
  8. Rats don’t shed fur, so if running on clothes, carpets and sofas there is no need to clear up hair and fur from anything!
  9. Rats eat anything, they aren’t picky at all.
  10. Rats don’t smell, they clean themselves regularly and are as clean as they can. Very little mess out of the cage ( so far, so good, but it is early days
  11. Rats bond and learn to really love and respond to their owners; just prepare your kiddiewinks for the fact that they will usually live for 2-3 years only! Focus on making its short life amazing.
  12. Rats can learn to live with other pets in the home… (Sometimes). Just hope our two cats end up loving them, so far so good, they have shown no interest in the rat scent whatsoever!
  13. rats respond to their name– Chase does it already,according to the eldest kiddiewink, apparently he is a natural!
  14. Rats love being on shoulders– this is a big reason to love them according to kiddiewink 2
  15. Rats have personalities– already one is cheeky, one cuddly and one confidently chilled

Post hijacked by eldest two kiddiewinks, they are now giving me their reasons and want me to type them for the post.

16. They curl up and cuddle on your arms.

17. They cheer us up when we cry

18. They tickle us when they are on our neck and shoulder

19.They are soft and cuddly

20. They can do tricks and we can make stuff for them to go on

21.The happier they are, the longer they will live

Rats really are the perfect family pet!

 

 

 

20 signs Christmas is Coming

On the twentieth day of advent my kiddiewinks brought to me…

20 signs Christmas is coming

19 people to buy for

Temperature and Tonsilitis

  1. nativity cribs- I love cribs, yet annoyingly we still don’t have one. There are so many different ones, a lot of places we have been have material or wool ones. The church, in the village where we recently moved, has a travelling crib and we were lucky enough to get it for a few nights before it traveled to the next family.image
  2. school nativities- these mere mentioned previously, but they definitely are the start of Christmas for some people
  3. Panics over christmas cards-I always plan to be organised but it never happens! I buy them early, I sometimes write them early, but I never post the, early, resulting in paying 1st class, not sending or dropping off on Christmas morning. Every year, I find a few cards from previous years, that I never posted, we can tell by the number of kiddiewinks which are included.
  4. Christmas trees twinkling
  5. holly berriesimage
  6. robins in the garden- we have lots of bird feeders in the a garden and have seen lots of birds in the last few weeks, including robins.image
  7. houses a glow- some amazing lights on houses these days. A house near us decorates theirs for charity- it is awesome!image
  8. food, food and more food.
  9. chocolate-
  10. drinks- surprisingly our local Aldi hasn’t run out of prosecco yet, apparently they were sent a monster Christmas delivery to cope with our town’s consumption
  11. friends and family- chance to hopefully get some time of work together; to socialise or chill.
  12. presents- this goes without saying,image
  13. Christmas parties  and get together (usually for the kiddiewinks, not us)
  14. It is acceptable to snuggle on the sofa, watching films, in the afternoon
  15. Bank account is dwindling ( or well and truly empty)
  16. Colds and coughs are everywhere
  17. newspapers, websites, facebook all speculate about a white Christmas.
  18. glitter, glitter everywhere, it is bloody everywhere! From Christmas cards, to crafts, to baubles, to glittery tinsel. The carpets and floors always look sparkly and messy!
  19. christingle services- these are lovely and the song ‘Sing Christingle’ is always stuck in my head long after the event
  20. christmas songs are everywhere- namely the radio and my son, who cannot stop singing them. He loves them all.