31 March 2014

A walk down the canal

It was another sunny glorious warm spring day, Daddy was working hard, and we wanted to get out. Nanny wasn't at work so we headed off to the canal not far down the road for a bit of duck feeding and some fresh air. It was lovely walking along, the sun was glistening on the water and it was warm enough not to need coats, the girls were happy, wandering along spotting things and making us giggle.

We fed the ducks...

Watched the boats...

Posed for pictures...

and popped into the Canal Trust shop to do some brass rubbings of ducks and colour in a few pictures...

Then there was definitely time to go into the cafe for chocolate milkshake for the girls, who drank it so fast I barely had time to take a picture! Mummy had a hot chocolate with marshmallows and Nanny had coffee. Then it was back home in time for tea with two worn out little girls.

30 March 2014

So many cards- Mother's day

I am a very lucky Mummy today on Mother's day as I have received so many lovely home made things from my girls. Little 1 must have been really busy at preschool this week as when she came home before the weekend she brought me 3 Mother's Day cards and a little parcel wrapped in purple tissue paper and a bow as well as a little scroll.

Sticking is her favourite thing to do, I had 2 cards with sticking bits on and inside someone had helped her to write 'Happy Mother's Day' and her name. Her writing was really good, it was lovely to open the cards and see she had written in them herself this year.

The third card was a picture of all our family, Mummy Daddy, little 1 and Little 2 and our cat on the back!
Proper little pictures of people, her first family picture. These will definitely be going in the memory box.

Inside the little scroll was a picture of our family and a poem she had written saying...

I Love my Mummy because......
"Because I like her.
She plays with me.
Mummy cooks pasta."

And in the parcel was a tile with her handprint on it and a poem on the back.

The girls also made a card with Daddy yesterday when Mummy nipped upstairs for 5 minutes peace (to blog).

(L) Little 2's card and (R) Little 1's card
They also bought me a flower kit of my favourite flowers and a yummy huge packet of Mini eggs (my favourite chocolates). I also had a little hanging decoration Little 1 made at toddler group with pink hearts on it.

So many lovely home made things from my scrummy girls, I really am one lucky Mummy today. And what is even better, we are all going over to Nanny's for a roast dinner so I don't have to do any cooking today. Happy Mother's Day to all the Mummys out there.

29 March 2014

Brit Mums Live - Sponsorship Plea

Hands up if you would absolutely love to go to Brit Mums Live this year (*waves both hands in the air* "Me Me Me")

About Me
My name is Sarah, I'm 30 and I write a blog called Loving Life With Little Ones (www.lovinglifewithlittleones.blogspot.com). It is all about me, my husband and my girls aged 2 and 4 (mainly about the girls). You can read about the crafty things we do, the games we play and the fun we have out and about as well as my take on parenting and all the ups and downs being a parent entails, we've recently dealt with bullying and moving to a big girl bed for starters. 

I started my blog in January 2014 and although it is new it is going from strength to strength (this week I have broken my page view high 3 times!!). I am completely hooked on a world of writing posts, taking pictures of my beautiful girls, widgets, linkys and sharing on twitter. I can't remember what I did with my time before that (Ironing, judging by the size of my ironing pile!)

I have heard of the most fantastic blogging event on the blogging calendar, Brit Mums Live and I would really like to go, but I would like a little help getting there.

What is Brit Mums Live?
Brit Mums Live! is the UK's biggest, two day social media conference and blogger event of the year devoted entirely to a parenting audience and run by the UK's largest parent blogging network of more than 4k influential and engaged bloggers. It is held in Central London on Friday June 20th and Saturday June 21st 2014. It is where parenting and lifestyle bloggers and social influencers meet to share ideas, create relationships and network with brands and bloggers learn how to improve their skills to make their blog better.

What can we do for each other?
I am looking to create a blogger/brand relationship to help me get to the event. You would need to be relevant to me and my family as well as my blog. In return for some help with the cost of attending the event I can offer you brand promotion through myself at the event, my blog and it's contents.

You can help me by providing a contribution towards my costs in attending the event: conference ticket £95, train ticket £72 Gloucester-London (current price if booked in advance) and hotel accommodation (around £110 at current availability).

In exchange I am willing to:

  1. Be the 'blogger on the ground' at the event, I can wear a branded t-shirt or badge at the event and declare that you are my sponsor.
  2. Have your logo/website printed on the back of my business cards (provided there is time to do so before the event).
  3. Write a blog post declaring you as my sponsor, including a link to your website.
  4. If relevant, display your badge with link or advert in my side bar for a period of 12 months.
  5. I will review your products/services and write blog posts about them or host a competition if you wish.
  6. Depending on your products my children can wear/use them in pictures on some of my non Brit Mums posts, if you wish.
  7. Include a reference/link to you in all my posts about Brit Mums Live 2014.
  8. Include your hashtag/name in my Brit Mums tweets before, during and after the event.

I am open to discussion of the terms and will consider any other requests.

All posts written on my blog are promoted across Twitter, Facebook and my blogging networks several times for a period after they are written.

So why sponsor me?
My blog is on it's way up, I am gaining new followers each week (daily in the case of Twitter), my stats are going up and I am building lasting relationships with others in the blogging community. I join in with some of the popular linkys and blog hops e.g Country Kids, PoCoLo and Share with me where my readership is growing. I am finding more ways of promoting my blog and this will only continue throughout 2014.

I think Brit Mums Live would be a fantastic opportunity for me to develop my skills and take my blog forward, we would both benefit from me gaining better writing skills and learning more on the ins and outs of blogging and blog promotion getting you more publicity as I mention you throughout the next 12 months.

If you are interested in sponsoring me please contact me through my Contact Me page, email lovinglifewithlittleones@talktalk.net or DM me on Twitter @lifelittleones 

It would be great to hear from you.

Sarah x

27 March 2014

A little bit of Psychology

Little 2 has until recently been a really good eater eating anything she was given, she ate more than Little 1 most days. In the last couple of weeks she has eaten less and less, not being fussy, she will still eat pretty much everything put in front of her, just really small amounts. She has also started to play with her food, rubbing it over her face or squashing it between her fingers, I know this is normal toddler behaviour it was just something she didn't do before.

I am not worried about her at all, she is growing, happy and sleeping well, she has probably become disinterested in food which we all do sometimes or just not going through any growth or development stage at the moment therefore not needing the calories. 

At lunchtime I thought I would make a bit of a game to see if I could get her to eat more than a few mouthfuls of lunch, we had been playing with her dolls and I invited her to have her dolly to lunch with us. I made a little sandwich for both of them and put some raisins in the dolls bowl, I also let her have mummy's crisps which she doesn't usually have.

She ate more lunch than she has in days, each bit of food was fed to the doll and then into her mouth, there was still a bit left over when she had declared that she had finished and she didn't want any pudding, but I was pleased she had enjoyed her lunch and had some fun doing so. 

26 March 2014

Domain name change

Just a quick note to all my followers and readers to say that I have decided to take the plunge and purchase my own domain name. I have also decided for the time being there is no need to go self hosted (this means buying my own bit of web space and running from that rather than through someone else for you non bloggers out there) and will be continuing on using the blogger platform for the foreseeable future.

In the next few days my site will move to www.lovinglifewithlittleones.com. You should still be able to access me from the old address for a while too (hopefully).

There will be a period of a few days where you may not be able to access the site while the change over takes place and all the servers update so bear with me and pop back soon to see what we have been up to.

I am hoping to have a new blog design soon as I have noticed there are a few others popping up using the same blogger template but I need to save my pennies first and persuade Daddy that is is a good investment and would make a really great Mother's Day gift (hint hint!).

Hope to see you all back here soon... 

25 March 2014

Counting pennies

The girls, like any other young child, like having pennies to put in their money boxes. We keep all our 1p, 2p and 5p coins to give to them and they love running to their bedrooms to put them into their money box when mummy gets some change.

Today I thought we probably had enough to bank so we brought their money boxes downstairs to count them. We played a little with the pennies too.

The girls enjoyed opening them and shaking out all the coins, we sorted them into piles, talked about each coin, their size and their value, counting and doing a little maths along the way. Little 1 was very interested in this and rather confused that a 5p was so small yet worth more. She doesn't have any concept of value yet but is beginning to show a little interest, asking lots of questions about what she could buy with what she had saved.

Little 2 was more interested in posting the coins back into her money box and spent ages filling and emptying hers, great for her co-ordination and dexterity.

Little 1 wanted to make some pictures with the coins, we made lines, her name and then she suggested a house, mummy made the door and path and she did the roof and chimney. 

Then we counted the coins and bagged them up, the girls take them to the bank with us and pay them in their accounts so they are learning about saving too. A small activity to take up half and hour, a mini creation and a bit of learning along the way.

24 March 2014

Reading Eggs programme - review

I have mentioned previously that the Little Ones love reading and telling stories and that Little 1, who is 4 and doesn't start school until September, has currently developed a massive interest in letters, learning to write and early reading. When the lovely people behind the Reading Eggs programme offered us the chance to write a review on Reading Eggs we obviously jumped at the chance and I have to say that from what we have seen so far we think it is brilliant.

Reading Eggs is an online programe developed by educationalists focusing on the core reading curriculum to teach children phonics, sight words and skills and strategies essential for reading success. The Reading Eggs programme is aimed at 3-7 year olds and includes 100's of spelling and literacy lessons, comprehension and grammar lessons and so much more. 

There is also a further programme, Reading Eggspress for 7-13 year olds taking the lessons further and encouraging children to earn rewards and further their skills as well as 1000's of e-books and a lot more.

The company also have another programme Mathseeds for children aged 3-6, using the same techniques to teach number skills.
We headed over to www.readingeggs.co.uk and signed up which couldn't have been simpler, you just register your child and an email address. The site offers you a free 2 week trial without asking you for any card details which I think is great (read on for an extended trial offer), subscription for 6 months costs £29.95 and a year costs just £39.95, siblings are offered a 50% rate and I think it is well worth it.

There is the chance to take a reading test at the start to see where it would be appropriate for your child to start but we started right at the beginning for Little 1.

The site immediately struck me as bright, friendly and cheerful and grabbed Little 1's attention straight away, she couldn't wait to get stuck in. The idea is your child works their way along a map completing lessons introducing phonics, word blending and simple words initially, unlocking characters and earning golden eggs to spend in the fun section creating your own avatars among other things. 

Subsequent lessons build on and reiterate previous lessons and you can't jump ahead so your child doesn't get overwhelmed or confused. As you work your way through, new maps and areas are unlocked and provide further opportunities for fun and games not just learning letters and words.

Sam the Ant

Lessons are catchy, entertaining and fun. Lead by Sam the ant your child is asked to do several things relating to the phonic or word sound they are learning such as finding the correct sound, which word starts with that sound, drawing the letter, making a word book or hoping frogs onto the correct lettered leaf. Lessons are varied with different games and graphics used so that they don't become boring. Each lesson takes us around 20 minutes to complete.

As well as the lessons there is loads more to do on this site, the playroom is Little 1's favourite place to go after a lesson or two, here there are simple games like puzzles, drawing, making ice cream, dressing characters, far to many to mention but each as captivating as the next, I literally have to drag her off the computer to get her to stop. There is a library of e-books and nursery rhymes to explore and the further you get through the lessons more is unlocked, we haven't had the time to thoroughly explore more than a few yet but we certainly will.

The Playroom

Little 1 has been using the Reading Eggs programme for 2 weeks now and can't get enough of it, she asks daily if she can go on my computer to play the letters thingy (!). We will do a lesson or two together and then she'll have fun in the playroom for a while until I say she has had enough, which is usually met with a big fat 'NO'. 

Before Reading Eggs Little 1 knew most of the letters of the alphabet and their phonics as well as recognising a few familiar words from me teaching her at home and a bit through pre-school. Now in this short time she can read a few simple sentences and read a host of 3 letter words as well as developing the skill to attempt to sound out words. She has also developed computer skills like using the mouse through the use of this programme as she did not use the computer before. 

I have to say we are big fans of the Reading Eggs programme and will definitely be signing up to continue with the programme, as long as Little 1 remains interested and willing, once our free trial has ended.

Reggie and some of the Reading Eggs characters

The kind people at Reading Eggs have given me a code to let all you lovely readers experience an extended free trial like I did. This code UKB26RET will give you 4 weeks free trial instead of the usual 2 week that all new registrations receive. Just pop it in the promo code box once you have registered and your trial will be extended.

Reading Eggs have also recently launched The Eggsperts – their fun new series of interactive appisodes for the iPad! Suitable for ages 3-7, The Eggsperts appisodes combine the best elements of high quality TV style animation with the interactive features of the iPad that children love. The appisodes are a wonderful new way to inspire young children to watch, interact and play while learning essential phonemic awareness skills. Each appisode features:
•             A stunning full length 3D animated episode of The Eggsperts.
•             3 fun interactive educational games that build knowledge of letters and sounds.
•             A karaoke sing-along to an animated The Eggsperts song.
For a glimpse of The Eggsperts, check out the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INvmmFQgEX0.

N.B I was offered an extended free trial of the Reading Eggs programme and asked to write a review if I wanted to, I was under no obligation to do so. All views and opinions are my own honest thoughts.


23 March 2014

When I grow up.....

I had a funny little conversation with Little 1 the other day. On the way to the supermarket she was merrily skipping and prancing along beside me, as I was pushing Little 2 in the pushchair, when she sudenly stopped and said...

'When I grow up I want to be a Tooth Fairy'

As I smiled to myself and we continued walking, my first thoughts were to the financial implications of her decision and I said ' That is a lovely thought, you would make a great fairy, but you won't have much money as Tooth Fairies give it all away to the children'. I probably shouldn't have been so negative after all it is not a likely profession she will take up!

But then she replied with, 'I think they have lots of money, that's why they give it all away'.

So there you go, that is a classic example of my positive thinking, generous, fairy loving 4 year old and I love her so...

My Gorgeous Little Fairies
I asked Little 2 later on what she wanted to be when she grew up, not really expecting her to understand the question or grasp the concept at 25months old and she said...

'I not grow up, I stay little.'

That suits me just fine if she stays my baby for a little while longer, they are growing up far to fast for my liking anyway. I do wonder what they will do when they are all grown up. Little 1 would make a great teacher. Little 2 really loves planes at the moment, I really have no idea about her!

21 March 2014

Little 1 plays-teddy preschool

Little 1 has always had an interest in lines and number, when she was younger she used to line up blocks, cars and happy land people as well as all sorts of other things, she often creates little games with her toys and today she was playing preschools with her toys all lined up.

She had laid them all out on the floor and was counting them, singing songs, telling them to stop talking and generally being the teacher, then they all went to sleep and had a story. This game went on for ages and we weren't allowed to step over or move anything. Luckily Little 2 was playing in the corner not interested in what her big sister was doing otherwise I'm sure there would have been a bit of a spat between them as Little 1 had Little 2's comforter in the line up.

She was so happy and involved in her game, she asked me to take some pictures and was happy to pose for them today, she really is a funny little thing! The last picture was circle time before they all went home and were carefully placed in the toy basket.

I wonder what she will be playing tomorrow?

19 March 2014

Sunny Saturday park fun

Last Saturday, while Daddy was busy making lots of dust and mess in the downstairs bathroom channelling out the floor to fit a new shower base, Nanny offered to take the girls and I out for a bit of fresh air (I don't drive). We went to a nearby park with a duck pond, museum, and play area and had some fun. 

The Park is well known for squirrels and in past visits they have come right up to us and eaten the bread we had brought for the ducks, this time we took some nuts left over from Christmas and scattered them around in the trees. I think the Little Ones were a bit loud for them as they didn't venture out of the trees while we waited, but we could see them nearby.

As we meandered down towards the lake the girls stopped to collect some 'treasures', They took great delight in finding and filling the nut bag with daisies, pine cones, leaves and twigs which all had to be brought home and laid out on a tray to explore (and then secretly disposed of a day or two later when they had forgotten about them!).

We nipped into the museum nearby which was free and had a quick coffee and chocolate cookie before heading off to the duck pond. It was a beautiful day and there were so many families around that the ducks had had too much bread, there was lots floating around and they just weren't interested in ours so we left it for the squirrels under the trees.

We went for a stroll around the pond. There was a spring which, with all the wet weather we had been having, was overflowing down the path and had created a little stream. The Little Ones had a splash and a stomp in the mud and then walked up the hill following the water to see where it had come from.

There was some walking in the leaves and leaf throwing, but my camera wasn't quick enough to capture it!! and some walking along logs too.

On the way back up to the car we walked up a hill and stopped off at the park. Little 2 made us laugh when she stopped half way up the hill, crouched down with her hands on her knees and said 'I can't walk with my legs on!!' She must have had tired legs as she had walked all the way so far, which was quite a long way for her little legs.

The park was busy and windy, the girls had a go on everything as we crept closer to the car, the sun was going in and it was quite chilly when we left. We arrived home just as Daddy was clearing up his mess which was good timing. We all had a lovely outing.