Is everything the same or changed?


So apart from my last post, which was the long overdue post to its predecessor, the blogging world hasn’t heard from me in over a year and a half. So has anything changed? Of course.

Bambi is now seven and Cinderella is four, and she will be starting school after this summer. What hasn’t changed is how much I love them, no wait, that’s incorrect. When I learn something new about them it makes me love them even more, and makes me proud to be their aunt, so a year and a half later I love them far more than I did.

2016 was a crazy year for me, well everyone really. My heart broke with a death of a pet, but it was shattered watching the kids go through it. The pet was their nine year old dog, that my brother and sister-in-law had since he was about 10 weeks old. From the maths you’ll realise that means the kids grew up with him. Their dog was there watching over them, playing with them and in a world that changes, having him be there as a constant loving being. To relive it just now describing why and how he died would be too much for me, maybe some other time I’ll blog about it, but it’s been about 8 months, and I still see their grief every time I see them. I know grief doesn’t have a set time to go away, but watching them be torn apart by their dog’s death is heart wrenching. 

In 2016 my health also took a downturn, and as that is a long story to explain what health issues I have I’ll have to address them in another post. I just thought I’d mention it in this long list of changes in my life. 

Without going into too many details, I also, last year, became a volunteer contributor for a newsletter for a charity. I have loved doing this, and can’t wait to keep doing more contributions. The reason I won’t go into many details is my real name is used on the contributions, and for various reasons I chose when setting up this blog to use a pseudonym. To say a lot about the volunteering may lead to putting two and two together, so I hope you understand why I’m not sharing too much.

I guess the major change would be what happened for me in 2015. It happened about 2 months after my last post mentioned above, so although I had been delayed writing my blog entry that I finally posted last week, this just pushed it into impossible to do at this time. So what happened? Excitingly for me I got a home. I had lived with my parents and my dog, but had been looking for my own place. I finally got one, it’s a flat (for those more familiar with American terminology – apartment – though is it technically an apartment if it’s just two floors of homes?). My one bedroom flat is rented from the local authority. Max isn’t one hundred percent thrilled, as people come through “his” main door. If the main door bangs shut, not only do I hear it, but I then have to hear his disapproving bark. I love my dog, but sometimes I wish he had a mute button lol.

I think that’s all the major in my life in the last year and a half, sorry that it’s only a brief review of them. With all them changes though, it means I’ll have to update my About Me page. I hope to be able to do that and post about my health issues soon. If my regular readers are on my blog, they may notice that I have updated the blog slightly. Rather than the image of a field there is now a pen and paper, in the hopes it might inspire me to write more.

For my previous readers, how have you been? For any new readers, glad you have stopped by. Feel free to leave comments and to ask questions.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Learning Logs

Bambi’s class now, like the older children’s classes in his school, does learning log homework and has been since the start of this year. If you’re like me you may well be saying “What is a learning log?” and “Is it a good idea for homework?”.

In short the answer to the latter is yes and no. I’m guessing for those who came across this post, while trying to find out what their child’s homework is all about and if it is a good technique for teachers to use, my answer of yes and no is maybe a teensy bit annoying. Sorry. I will however explain to the best of my knowledge about this homework technique and why it is good and bad, though to be honest it is mainly good.

Rather than assign a task and specify the ins and outs of how it is to be complete with a one-size-fits-all attitude, learning logs allow individuality and to accommodate different learning styles, abilities and levels. For example, one consistent feature of Bambi’s learning log homework is English. The teacher has a print-out of some of the common words they have been learning to spell and write that week or phonetic sounds, and encourages the children to learn them at home, and make at least one copy of each of the words or some words that contain the phonetic sound. Now they could simply write them out in their black pencil and have ‘done’ their homework, but the teacher also lists some other ideas they could do and encourages the parents and children to also come up with ideas and then use them in the learning log. For the example of the English common words, she suggests things like writing the words in coloured pencils, maybe a different colour for each word, or use cut-outs from magazines etc to spell the words (note: every time I read that when doing Bambi’s homework with him, I can’t help but have the mental image of mini hostages showing their ransom notes to their teacher). Bambi has been struggling a bit with writing the words as his hands get very tired and he lacks some co-ordination/ fine motor skills (thankfully this was picked up early when he started school and he was taken out of class, along with a few others who were struggling, a couple of times a week for some work on their fine motor skills). With Bambi struggling to write and seeing the way he was beginning to resent homework I came up with some creative ways for him to do homework. I suggest something to Bambi and if he wants to do fine, if not it’s okay, after all this is his learning log and he can do as little to meet the requirements that week or as much as he wants. (That is one of the good and bad things about learning logs – doing a little or a lot. If a child does the best he can but it is just a little that’s great but if he does a little to just meet the requirements of the task but has the capability to do more but just can’t be bothered then that’s where the bad part of this style of homework comes in.)

Some ideas I have came up with for Bambi’s learning log were, using fridge magnets to spell out some words that had the sounds he was working on that week, for example we came up with the word photo for the ‘ph’ sound. I let him set up the magnets on the fridge, I took a photo of the words he made on my iPad then went and printed it off and included it in his learning log for that week. Another idea was when he was asked to make sentences with the common words, he just put all the words he had that week in a one big list. He couldn’t grasp the concept of making a sentence out of those words. I recalled that before going to school Bambi used his imagination. A lot. Bambi could tell such convincing stories others would believe they were real. Once he told his ‘nursery ladies’ (the staff at the nursery/pre-school he went to and where Cinderella still goes) mummy and daddy took Cinderella and me out in the car. (Note: some parts I can’t quite remember but am doing my best to retell this story) We were driving really fast and the car fell down into a river. The car went under water and mummy and daddy had to get out the car and they struggled to get the door open to get out me and Cinderella. I was scared but mummy and daddy got us out the car (Note: he had the staff all really worried and fussing over him by this time and they were even more concerned as Cinderella was only about 4 months old at the time but he made them realise in the next line that this story was just that, a story) and then the sharks came and tried to eat us. Yeah the sharks was his downfall in his convincing story. Anyway I reminded Bambi how much I loved his stories and asked if he could make one up, but he had to include at least one of the words from his homework list. He readily agreed and it became a bit of a feature of his learning log for a while. I’d remind him which words he could use, then recorded him telling a story on my iPad, I’d spend about 5 minutes playing then pausing then writing what he had said until I got the whole story down on paper, sometimes he’d write one of the sentences he had made other times I ended up copying the whole story myself into his learning log, while he went and watched TV because he was finished homework. Still I was happy I’d helped my nephew to overcome a challenge in his homework, even if I was doing quite a bit of it for him. On a side note, I also love the quality time we spend together doing his homework and it results in our bond deepening.

So all the above was just for a small section of English homework, but hopefully you can see how the principle is applied to various topics and age groups. I think in a world were we now know more about learning difficulties and how people can having different learning styles, such as some people are verbal learners (they learn from what they hear and read so a teacher at the front of the class talking about the subject would help them learn), others are visual learners (give them graphs and pictures etc and they will learn) and there is a few more type of learners and some might learn in a combination of styles. My point though was with what we now know I think learning logs are a good idea as it allows the child to do homework in a way that is going to be best for him/her. Learning logs also allow for creativity and if it is fun they are more likely to remember what they are being taught. I often think I didn’t take much in of school as it was often a teacher at front of class discussing something, and as willing as I was to particpate (I loved putting my hand up trying to answer questions even if I got it wrong), what I’d been taught wouldn’t stick around for long in my mind, why? Because I wasn’t much of a verbal learner. If I’d had learning log homework when I was in school I’d probably have remembered more as I would have be able to tackle the homework and school work in a way that was fun and that fitted in with my learning style. In summary if your kid is getting learning log homework I think it will be good for them as it is flexible and easy to adapt for your child’s needs and learning style. 

For the first time I’m more positive, because if Bambi (and Cinderella once she starts school) gets learning log homework for the majority of their school life then learning will be fun for them and they are bound to remember more of what they learned. I think teachers have found the point where learning and fun meet.

  

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

I hope if you came across this post as you were trying to understand learning log homework that I’ve helped explain it a bit for you. If not feel free to ask questions and I’ll do my best to answer, but I’m not any teacher etc to explain it properly it would be based upon what I’ve read and researched and my experiences with helping my nephew do his homework. Feel free to leave a comment.

P.s. I’m happy I’m finally publishing this post as I started it back on 21st of January, but in some ways I’m glad I hadn’t finished it until now as when I first started it Bambi had only had a few learning log tasks. Whereas now he’s had well over 10, I have had more experiences of learning log homework to be able to share to help explain learning logs. If you want to find out more about me read more posts here.

Changes

Well my app shows the last post I did was in July!
Sorry.

I had started another post after the doggie rice pudding but never got round to finishing it. No point in making you endure a half thought, as I can barely mind where it was headed. If I do, I might at some point finish it.

I think it didn’t get to the completion stage for numerous reasons. One being I’m still working on my cupboard. Well just the finishing touches really and trying to squeeze everything in there.

Two my dear little Bambi turned 5, which means in Scotland he had to start formal education in August. Not that we haven’t been teaching him from day 1. I use every opportunity I can to impart something new to him each time I see him and I try to teach Cinderella too. My sister-in-law works 4 days a week and my brother has his own business and he has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism (hence why my mum and I are heavily involved in my nephew and niece’s lives). Therefore they chose to send him to a local “state” school. The emotions and the dynamics of our relationship therefore have changed. I’m getting use to him no longer being a baby or toddler and he is getting use to having to put education first, and our facilitating that, then he gets to play. Monday this week was very poignant for me as I got to help him, after a little snack and play to unwind, do homework. I did my best not to well up as once again I came face-to-face with the change in our relationship. Right up until the day he started school I was allowed to call him “my baby boy” but I was promptly told after his first day of school “I’m your school boy now”. I was glad my sister-in-law brought him to see us after his first day and I got photos of him. I’ll always treasure them. Look at me I sound like he’s an adult and just left home…and he ain’t even my kid lol! So with all this going on I haven’t had time or the heart to focus on my blog.

Adult helping a child with homework, just like I did for Bambi.

Adult helping a child with homework, just like I did for Bambi. Image courtesy of DavidCastilloDominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
 

Third reason you haven’t heard from me – my illness has been up and down. I’ve decided I will write about it at some point to help those out there who face similar issues. Just not right now as there is not enough time.

Fourthly I’ve been pondering a thought that has plagued me for sometime, in some ways making me regret the decision to redo my cupboard but it really did need done either way as for the foreseeable future I’m still living with my parents. The decision was in conjunction with my health. I need a place of my own set up to accommodate my illness and although my mum is fabulous when it comes to my illness, in fact accommodating all her kids and their issues they may have, I need a permanent arrangement which of course will be made clear when I finally post on my health issues. So I’ve been taking steps to find my own place.

Finally, and related to the previous two points is I’ve been looking at and started trying recipes for a concept known as Once A Month Meals.I had never heard of it myself to so in case you haven’t heard of it either I’ll give you a basic overview of the concept in a second. I came across this idea when I’d begun looking for recipes that could be easily made and frozen in batches. For example, for years I’ve made macaroni cheese and always made enough to have one portion be frozen for use on another time. I only had to defrost it and then put in the oven to heat it up and give it a lovely golden brown bubbling top. I was looking for those kind of recipes but stumbled upon this Once A Month Meals concept. The basic idea behind it is do all your preparation at same time, freeze “prepped” meals (many do it so they’ll have enough prepped meals for every night of a month hence the name), defrost prepped meals overnight and then put in slow cooker in morning for hassle free meals. It makes getting a nutritious homemade meal easier, as just taking a little longer than your usual preparation time for a meal means you have lots of nights worth of meals prepared and ready to cook. For me it will be great with my health and living alone, as I will have meals ready to cook on days I’m not up to cooking. Also have you ever found a recipe calls for some ingredient that will perish fast but that no other meals you will be making in the foreseeable future calls for that ingredient? It’s happened to me a lot and inevitably it ends up being thrown out. Living alone will mean I won’t be able to afford to do that as much, let alone what it does to the environment. With the Once A Month Meals concept I don’t have to worry as I’d be able to make a few batches of that prepped meal to able to reduce the amount I’d have to throw out. We all look for ways to save our money and this is a pretty good one. I hope to post some of the recipes I’ve tried soon, so far I’ve only tried two but intend to try more.

So to my readers who are still out there a big thank you. Hopefully you won’t haven’t to wait to long to hear from me again. If you want to comment go ahead.

A trip to Ikea with kids

For my regular readers you may remember my post about my ambitious plans to redo my cupboard in my bedroom. I also mentioned how I planned to go with my mum and my little darling nephew and niece to Ikea to get various items like shelves and rails to accomplish this. I promised to give feedback on how my plans went so here it goes (I may go back and forth in present and past tense, but just the fact I lived to tell the tale should qualify me a break in proper English grammar). I have also included a few graphics as it is a long post, which I don’t normally do and I hope to do a bit more often, as having something visual can help to break up the long read. So here goes my epic tale:

We got to Ikea a little wet from the rain, as well it’s Scotland, but no harm done we are used to it. Cinderella is potty training at the moment (she initiated the training herself asking for “peepee” whilst trying to get her nappy off and running to the toilet so my brother and sister-in-law knew it was time to start her training). So where was I in this narrative account of a day at Ikea with under 5’s? Oh yeah so we had arrived a little wet, when Cinderella was doing some of her tell-tale signs that she may need to potty after us just navigating our way into Ikea through revolving doors. (On a side note, I’ve never notice before but do all Ikea’s have revolving front doors or is it just our nearest one that does?). My mum took her and she went potty and Bambi and I congratulated her, got in the lift and arrived at the restaurant.

I don’t think I’ve ever gave much thought to that word but it does seem to imply you go there to relax and rest, well in that case crazyaurant seems to fit better. We navigated our way to the hot food counter Bambi and Cinderella got a kids plate each of sausages and hash browns. I got a bacon roll and my mum a set 6 item breakfast. Then came to picking up cups and mugs for my mum and I to have a hot drink each. Got one, put on tray. Cinderella breaks free from holding my hand, run after Cinderella. Get Cinderella back, go to my mum who is at the till. Mum: “Have you got your Ikea card?”. I then rummage through my enormous bag (think about one and a half long side of a A4 size for height and the width about A4 long side and depth about average persons thumb, maybe two thumbs actually), for my Ikea Family Card as I get a free hot drink. My mum says there will be milk for Cinderella and two hot drinks and the guy looks at tray for only one cup/mug for hot drinks. Me: “Sorry I forgot” ( I can’t remember exact words but it would have been that or similar). Go back and try to wrestle and “excuse me” my way back to cups/mugs spot to get another, when a kind customer who seen the chaos just smiled and handed me one as he was next to the cups/mugs. Back to my mum and the kids for more chat about something or other, I think it was Bambi saying how he needs to help me get things at Ikea so my cupboard will be better. The till man by this point gave a nodding look as if to say I get it now, I’m surprised you even made it to Ikea this early, so how you managed to get one cup/mug on the tray is astounding. I say to Bambi and Cinderella as granny pays that we will find a seat, so off we go and I get Bambi and Cinderella sat at a table.

Granny becomes a real favourite as she arrives with the tray of food, and for me I loved her arrival as I could get to go get my drink now. No wait Cinderella is having milk, take her cup to milk dispenser get it filled, take it back to happy kids, then go back to get knives and forks. Now I get to take the cups/mugs for granny and I to get drinks – granny wants tea. Where is the tea button on this machine?!?! Finally find that it is tea bags and there is hot water button. Now to my coffee, as I watched it pour into my cup I think I could have opened my mouth and stuck it under the nozzle. I was weary and we hadn’t been in store for more than 20 minutes. Annoyed at how little space for milk there was I tilted a bit out of mug, went to milk dispenser and poured in milk. Sat down added sugar stirred and sipped. It was quite a rich coffee, not normally something I like but I sure appreciated it at that moment.

My caffeine life-line to survive a trip to Ikea with under 5's.

My caffeine life-line to survive a trip to Ikea with under 5’s.

We all ate our breakfast, Cinderella had only ate some (she was hungry when she woke up so her mum had to give her something) and therefore as we waited for Bambi to finish, I sipped my caffeine life-saver and Cinderella got a bit impatient. My mum spotted a mini play area in the crazyaurant and took her there. When Bambi was finished he joined them and I cleared the table. After a while of play my mum said she’d go get a trolley and take Cinderella. Bambi gets upset and wants to go to, therefore aunt is left holding bags and jackets and well everything. Kids and granny come back with a trolley and a mini trolley. Oh dear someone is going to get “run over” or we are going to have a huge bill in repairs to Ikea for damaged goods.I let out the breath I hadn’t realized I had held onto from seeing the mini trolley, and the fearful thoughts about damage and told myself they are kids, it is going to be fun, for them at least.

I then get those mini Ikea pencils and give them one and pull out from my bag a shopping list each for Bambi and Cinderella and show them how to use them (me: “See those big boxes over there that have cushions in them(or whatever it was), look out for them boxes around Ikea and if they have in them any of the pictures on your shopping list let me know and there is extra paper if you want to draw pictures”). And off we go around Ikea.

Maybe I should have designed their list a little more like this?

Maybe I should have designed their list a little more like this?

We come across one of the items on their list, pretty quickly on a shelving full of products. Me: “hmm*points to shelving* I wonder if on this shelf there is anything on Bambi and Cinderella’s list?” Bambi excitedly: “Oh yes”. Bambi walks over and picks it up and puts it in his trolley and Cinderella watches from her strapped in position in the big trolley. Me: “That’s good. Well done Bambi for finding it. Now you tick it off.” Bambi gets out his list from his trolley and looks down at the paper with his pencil and hesitates. Me: “Bambi do you know how to do ticks?” Bambi: “No” before he gets upset about not being able to do ticks Me: “Do you want aunt to show you how to do them?” I then get him to hold pencil and I guide it in the shape of a tick. He is then happy he can do ticks and so am I. Cinderella is happy to just scribble on her list and joins in the fun.

I then keep checking my list as we weave our way around Ikea as I know my list has everything on it and with two kids it could be easy to miss something on the big list as I’m too busy helping them with their list. We come across the sofa area and Cinderella no longer likes being in the trolley, why? Bambi is trying out the kids Poang chair and now she wants to try it out too. We therefore “park” the trolleys out the way of other customers and get Cinderella out of her restraints. Is she happy now that she is getting to try out the chair just like big brother did? No. Now she sits back demands her “paper” and uses this time to begin her artwork. This girl loves drawing and if we hadn’t insisted on going she would have sat there all day drawing.

Cinderella gets up and starts pushing Bambi’s trolley. Cue a meltdown from Bambi, which is quickly averted by pointing out a piece of furniture and me saying “Can Cinderella push it to there? Then we will put her back in the trolley and you can push it again.”. Bambi nods in agreement, if only Cinderella knew she only had the trolley for a bit. Come to said piece of furniture Me: “Right Cinderella it’s Bambi’s turn again.”. Cinderella: *shakes finger* “No,No ” as granny and I wrestle her back into trolley. Granny: “You will get another turn later. It is Bambi’s turn”. She accepts granny telling her it Bambi’s turn.

I ask Bambi again to look out for things on his list and he happily pushes his trolley looking for things. After a while we let Cinderella have another turn and she is much happier this time going back into trolley now she realises she will get turns to push the trolley. Bambi is also happy as he knows it’s not a long turn she gets.

Spotting another little boy who has his damage basket on wheels, I get Bambi to stick to one side so there will be no crash and cries. Bambi comments about on the little boy having a trolley too, saying something like “he has a trolley just like me”. Me: “Yes that little boy is pushing his trolley too” (again might not be exact words). Little boy to his mum: “I’m not a little boy!”. I find myself trying not to laugh as I apologise for calling a little boy well a little boy. Kids sure are funny and a lot of work.

After more weaving throughout a maze we reach the boisterous madhouse AKA the children’s area. And, chaos. Bambi and Cinderella see it as playtime and run wild, just like the rest of the kids. We let them have a bit of fun, more structured though. Playing with the demo toys of things like wooden kitchens and trains. We then get one more thing on my list before heading downstairs via the lift to the Market Hall.

Staff of Ikea take note, consider installing some traffic signals like these lights or...

Staff of Ikea take note, consider installing some traffic signals like these lights or…

or like these give way signs, to avoid customers colliding with other customers or your shelves.

… like these give way signs, to avoid customers colliding with other customers or your shelves. (Just a joke it would be impractical to install lights or signs in a shop).

Arriving in the Market Hall was like, well try to imagine arriving in a street in London (in a busy area like Knightsbridge) that had no traffic lights, no pedestrian crossings and no road signs. It was chaotic. I found somewhere that was not crowded and directed Bambi down there. Granny went with Cinderella to get her own mini trolley to stop her asking for “turn” all the time. She had been good with Bambi’s so she had earned the right to have one to herself. So off we all go, again somehow we end up at a spot that forgot to get the memo to install traffic lights so I suggest diving into one of the rows, plus I had seen an item similar to something on my list so figured my item might be about there. Big mistake, my item was not there and remember how I had fought to get rid of the thoughts about the damage on wheels, well they quickly resurfaced. We had entered the area that had tonnes of drinking glasses. I had to direct my trolley, help Bambi to make sure he didn’t add to my bill by causing smashes and granny directed Cinderella. We soon got out of that part and I sighed relief and noticeably relaxed, well just a little as two kids having free rein over a metal object with wheels in a shop still made me nervous wreck.

We soon discovered more things I was after such as the bygel rail, and some things to hang from it for organising. Bambi and I walked over to the shelves with them and left granny with Cinderella and the trolleys. I was happy with Bambi carrying the small bygel rail to granny to put in the trolley as he only had a short distance and he is fairly reliable when it comes to carry things if he has a destination to go to. Cinderella then wanted to come and join us to carry things and I had a mini heart attack as she used this as an excuse to run around the store. Firstly I was worried for her safety in the sense of being in a crowded store and someone may use that to snatch her. Secondly she was headed back to perilous glass filled shelves and I had images of the lot coming off the shelves as she ran into them and the crowd including her being hurt by shattering glass. Thirdly I was worried as my bank balance wouldn’t cover the damage. Grabbing her before damage could be done I returned her to granny and we put her back in the big trolley and strapped her in explaining that she was allowed to come to me to help but as she had run away she was getting put back into the trolley. Being a typical two-year old, she understood why she was put back in the trolley but it didn’t make her any happier about it.

Bambi and I continued to consult our shopping lists adding to the trolley as we discovered the items. Most things on the kids list fitted in his trolley which made him happy. I arrived where the fabrics were and found out you get to cut the cloth yourself (well I had always seen the rolls of fabric just never used them before). Bambi and I looked for the one I wanted then I got to work unravelling the fabric to the right size, cutting the fabric and then finding a member of staff to price it. I must admit I didn’t cut exactly a straight line as I knew we still had more to get and we had been in Ikea for ages as it was, so did a quick but as straight a cut as I could manage. Plus I had fears of a child (well not Cinderella as she was in trolley, but Bambi or some random child) wandering up behind me whilst I wasn’t looking and accidentally hurting them with the sharp scissors.

This is more of a ribbon than fabric but you get the idea.

This is more of a ribbon than fabric but you get the idea.

Since Cinderella had been good we allowed her out again, and she was good, but only for a couple of minutes did she push her trolley. Cinderella abandoned her trolley and I ended up chasing her through bathroom products as granny watched Bambi and the trolleys. This time we agreed she was not getting back out the trolley until we at least got through the checkout.

If you are still reading well done to you for sticking with this epic tale, but I warn you we still have a bit to go in relating this trip to Ikea with kids. With Cinderella secured we made our way round looking out for items, and we then came to the end of the Market Hall which was where the storage boxes were. I found the ones I was looking for and granny decided to buy Bambi a yellow cardboard storage box (his favourite colour) and Cinderella a pink cardboard storage box (she often chooses this colour and we believe it to be her favourite). As I tried to get my boxes secured on the tray below the trolley I managed to give myself a deep paper cut, so into my bottomless bag I rummaged until I found my packet of tissues to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately it did nothing for the classic stingy feeling you get in a paper cut. I don’t know why I do it, and in fact why a lot of people do it, but somehow shaking my hand up and down did nothing to relieve the sting in my finger either.

Then we entered the self-service area of Ikea. Bambi got to practice his number recognition by looking at the list, calling out the numbers and looking out for them and he did so well once he knew where the numbers were (the aisle numbers up high and the location on the shelves). I tried to hold onto my tissue to prevent bleeding from the paper cut and lift the light items of the shelf for Bambi to carry, like a shelf bracket, to the trolley and I carried the heavier items like the actual shelves. Cinderella did not like that Bambi had the ability to walk about but she didn’t. We would have loved to have her walk (to give more space in the trolley and to push along her little trolley that we had to push because she was now in trolley) but sadly we couldn’t trust her not to run away.

Eventually I had found everything I could on my list so we headed to the checkout. I began piling up the products on the conveyor belt and once it was “full”, I would use those moments to dig around my bag for my bank cards and re-find my Ikea Family Card and then sort what was left to be put on the conveyor belt. Once the person in front of me left the checkout, I gave Bambi my Ikea Family Card to give to the member of staff, who scanned it and gave it back to Bambi to give to me. Granny then took the kids down to the other end to get all the items and once I had the last item out, I let the member of staff scan the products on the tray underneath the trolley that would have been too awkward to put on the conveyor belt. I pushed the trolley down to the other end and helped my mum load up the trolley, until the last item got scanned, then went back to the member of staff to pay. We were not too fussed about how we put the things back in the trolley, as long as nothing broke in there as we had already planned to go to the wrapping station (I think that was what it was called, if not it was very similar). The wrapping station is a place where scissors, rope and brown paper are provided free of charge to pack fragile items. As I wrapped up some glass items I had purchased, Bambi and Cinderella went with granny to the toilet (which was literally right beside the wrapping station, in fact on the opposite side of the wall the wrapping station was up against was the toilet).

Bambi came out first and he was fascinated by this station. I let him “wrap” up some things (non-breakable items) to keep him busy as I sorted out the trolley. I was putting smaller items and the breakables into some of the storage boxes I had purchased for ease of carrying and to make sure the breakable items didn’t move around too much. The fabric I had bought came in quite handy for wrapping around them. Cinderella and granny soon joined us as I was finishing up sorting, so we all headed outside once I was done.

I put the two kids trolleys out of the way as Bambi and I sat waiting for granny and Cinderella to bring the car round to the loading area. Granny and I put the kids in the car as we loaded up the car. By then it was lunchtime and I was desperate for a drink as the coffee effects were wearing off. So we all headed back inside to the bistro at the checkouts. I checked what I wanted from the menu, and told my mum. We checked what the kids wanted then my mum ordered.

As soon as we got the paper cups I took them to the self-service to get us all our drinks, then took the kids to the seating area. Unfortunately at the bistro the only seats with a table are of the bar stool type, the only other seats were of the garden bench style but no table so I opted for the bar stool type to give the kids a place to put their drinks and food. As their granny was waiting for the food I had the task of lifting the kids up onto the stools and pushing them into the table.

Bambi preferred just the sausage whereas Cinderella preferred the bun. Kids.

Bambi preferred just the sausage whereas Cinderella preferred the bun. Kids.

I enjoyed my vegetarian hotdog and lingonberry juice, and the kids enjoyed their hotdog and lingonberry juice. Granny had a hotdog and cola. Anyone with kids will understand what I’m about to say, waiting for the eternity for them to eat and drink after I was finished(I hadn’t even been eating that fast) was getting a bit much, especially as I knew I wanted to buy some Ikea food to take home. With granny watching the kids I wandered off to the shop and got cartons of the lingonberry juice(I love that stuff but can only ever find it in Ikea) and some other Ikea foods. I was in a bit of a queue at the food checkout and had taken a few minutes locating the various items in the shop, yet when I got back to the kids and my mum, Bambi and Cinderella were still eating.

With both of the kids loving the lingonberry juice granny decided to go buy them the jar of lingonberry syrup, which you dilute at home to make the lingonberry juice, for them to be able take back to their own house for their mummy and daddy to make for them. Granny got back and they were still eating.

We waited until they finished their hotdogs then granny put the rubbish in the bin and we headed back to the car with their drinks to finish whilst we drove back home. Having secured Bambi and Cinderella in their car seats we headed back home. We hadn’t drove far when we noticed Cinderella freely moving her arms about, as she had got her arms out of the restraints. We pulled in as soon as it was safe to do so and I got out and re-strapped her in the restraints. We were soon on the motorway to head back and were not on the motorway long when Cinderella fell asleep. All the while Bambi talked away telling us things, pointing out animals and structures along the motorway and asking a thousand questions as he is naturally very curious. Bambi will repeat a question until he gets an answer, and if he is not entirely satisfied with the answer will ask more questions until he feels a satisfactory answer has been given. That can make a car journey feel so much longer than it is, but we were soon home.

With Cinderella asleep, Bambi and I went inside to set up the couch for her to nap on and calm Max down as he was so excited that we were home. Granny brought Cinderella inside and we got her settled on the couch. Bambi was wanting the Ikea purchases set up then and there but we explained to him that we would need granddad to help me put up the shelves etc. We did however use the time Cinderella was asleep to carry some things upstairs to my room. Bambi was delighted to help me carry up small products, as once again I explained where everything would be going in the cupboard.

So here we are about two months later, as I went to Ikea on Monday the 12th of May. As I look back on that trip, I’m happy to have wrecked my nerves that day, as I got what I needed but most importantly the kids were safe, happy and had a great time creating memories and learning various skills as we went around the store.

Top Tips just coming...

Top Tips just coming…

Again looking back I can see the shopping list idea worked very well for Bambi, whereas Cinderella was more happy with the blank paper to scribble on. With this in mind, what would be my top tips be for planning a trip to Ikea with kids?:

 

  1. Don’t go shopping to Ikea with kids, but if you insist then follow these other tips:
  2. If it is a lot you are planning to get, schedule in breaks at the restaurant and bistro. Kids tend to be happier when fed.
  3. Bring things to keep the kids amused, like I had blank paper for them to scribble on and let them play in the children’s Ikea section with the demo toys.
  4. Get them involved in the process. If you know some of what you plan to get, let them know what products to look out for. If it is their room you are decorating, or getting furniture for, let them try the furniture out and help decide. One it will keep them busy while you decide and two they are more likely to want to use the product you have just bought if they feel they have contributed to the decision to purchase it.
  5. If you really need to go to Ikea but don’t want your kids around your feet interrupting your thoughts (I’m not judging, I understand), consider using the Creche facilities. I know our nearest store has one, and am sure most if not all have Creche facilities.
  6. If you haven’t already get a Ikea Family Card, as you get discounts on your purchases and often in the restaurant and bistro too (see tip 2, as some savings in the restaurant could come in handy, plus as I mentioned away back at the start of my epic tale with the Ikea Family Card I got a free cup of  a caffeine life-saver  coffee.)

 

Have any of my readers tried lists for kids before for big shops like Ikea? Do you use lists for your kids on grocery shops? Has my tale inspired you to try the lists or have my woes put you off even taking the kids anywhere near a store like Ikea? Any ideas in my tips you wish to try out?  I look forward to reading your comments.  

Images for this post all come from pixabay.

Planning an Ikea trip with kids

***This post contains a link to a product but I do not receive any payment or reward for this link, it is just to demonstrate a point of products having multiple uses.***

Well tomorrow my mum and I are taking Bambi and Cinderella to Ikea. I have so many projects on the go, all of the time. For example I’m still working on some things for this blog such as a 3D shapes pack for pre-schoolers and homemade cleaner recipes, various craft projects that I’m working on, in fact I’m sure I have projects for projects for projects going on. I’m always looking for new projects to take on. My latest addition to the spinning plates of projects: my built-in cupboard/closet in my bedroom.

This project is why I’m going to Ikea. My cupboard firstly hasn’t been touched decorating wise in over a decade. Yes you read right. My bedroom has been re-decorated in that time, but not thy cupboard. It has one shelf about 2/3rd’s of the way up the longest wall with a rail below it. This was great at first, but now when Bambi and Cinderella come to visit and I notice something that will intrigue them, or something I want to keep as a surprise for them, or just generally something I don’t want them touching/playing with gets flung in there. Currently I have a box of trains and train track pieces in there covering my shoes, so every time I go to get a pair of shoes I have to wrestle the box out the cupboard retrieve the shoes then wrestle the box back in there.

I’m fed up with this and the mess in there, so for a few weeks I’ve been using my Pinterest account to search and pin many things, but especially inspiration for redecorating this cupboard. It amazes me how people take an item and can use them in different ways, for example the Bekvam spice rack I’ve seen used as a spice rack, but also a place to store other jar types like nail polish and drinking glasses, also seen it holding books so it becomes a mini bookshelf. I’ve seen this spice rack in bathrooms turned upside down to provide a shelf and towel rail. You can gather a lot of ideas.

Most of the things I want I’ll be able to get from Ikea, such as the spice rack, hooks, more rails, some shelves and so on. I can’t wait for tomorrow and neither can the kids.

So to the planning the trip with them. I had told Bambi about my plans to update cupboard and he got very excited as I pointed to various places in the cupboard and told him what I plan to put in there. I asked him if he and Cinderella would want to go with granny and I to Ikea and help me get the things. Of course in an excited voice he said yes, and I already knowing the answer checked to see if he would help me find everything and put it in trolley. Again a happy and excited yes came from his little mouth.

I’ve been using the facility on Ikea’s website to create a shopping list then print it out. I now have a list of things I need from there, and the products that you collect in the self-service area all have their aisle and location on the printout. I foresaw ahead trying to show Bambi and Cinderella the tiny picture that accompanies each item on the printout and a fight erupting over who gets to hold it and poor aunt going home with only half the things she wanted.

Solution: preparation. I checked the list for the items you don’t get in self-service, i.e. the ones in baskets etc throughout the store. I went onto Ikea’s website again, looked up some of the items that would be safe for the kids to look out for (things like storage boxes and the spice rack which wouldn’t break if the kids picked them up), saved the images of the items and made a “shopping list” with the pictures. At the bottom of the list I include the aisle numbers of the items to get in self-service for Bambi to look out for and to help Cinderella start recognising numbers. Again foreseeing a fight I printed out a copy each added a few blank sheets of paper behind it and stapled them together. When we get there I’ll give them one of those Ikea free pencils each to tick of the items and if they get bored looking they can use the extra blank sheets to draw on.

We will be going for breakfast there too as it’s fairly cheap, and I can get a coffee so that by the time we are halfway through the store I can get an energy boost am sure I’ll be needing. I wonder if anywhere does a sanity shot? I’m sure I’ll need that too. Lol. In fact I think I need it now. What was I thinking planning a trip shopping with under 5’s? I think I’m thinking of the fact I get to spend time with my nephew and niece and I love them to bits and want to create memories with them, knowing they’ll remember these moments.

Well I’m going to finish getting things ready for tomorrow as I know the kids will be eager to go as soon as they arrive (my sister-in-law was on phone earlier saying when Bambi woke up the first thing he said “mummy don’t give me breakfast as I’m having breakfast at Ikea” and his mum had to explain it is tomorrow he goes to Ikea). If the shopping list idea is a success I’ll let you know.

What things have you done to create memories with the kids in your life? How do you handle shopping trips with kids? If you haven’t done something similar to my shopping list, has this post given you inspiration to try something like it? Have you used an Ikea product in ways they weren’t designed for like the spice rack as a bookshelf or as a shelf with a towel rail? Hope to hear from you, my readers, so leave a comment if you wish.

Shapes for Pre-schoolers!

I mentioned in this post that I planned to bring out a printable pack for pre-schoolers on shapes. I plan to also bring out one on 3-D shapes to, so check back for it.

This pack contains a few things including shapes that have dotted lines along the edge for kiddies to cut out, to colour by shapes (with thick lines to help them colour in the lines), to a Who Am I? Quiz. I hope you have fun, and remember even if how you plan to use it doesn’t go right, as long as the kids are having fun I am sure they will learn something.

Bambi had fun cutting out the shapes then finding the correct one to match the examples. Cinderella gave up using her plastic scissors to cut out shapes and just ripped the paper to get out the shape, but later came to me for a bit of help to cut the shapes after watching her big brother have help from me to cut his shapes.

Let me know how you get on with this pack. I hope as I said to do a 3-D shapes pack but also other packs on different things for preschoolers such as some animals. If I do bring out more, would you return to my blog for more packs? Let me know if you would return for more packs.

I plan to hopefully upgrade my WordPress account someday, (meaning the URL of my blog would change) so if you would want more packs I’d recommend if you’re a WordPress user to follow my blog, and then you’ll be able to easily find my blog. If you are not a WordPress user you can follow my blog with emails- you will get an email every time I post a new blog- just click the little icon on the right hand side of the page that is for following by email. That way even if I do upgrade you will still get easy access to my blog and the packs I offer.

Leave your comments below and thanks for taking the time to download.

ShapesJPEG

Above is the front page of the pack, for all of the printable pack:

Click here to download

Challenge: One Picture, One Thousand Words Week 4

To find out about the challenge click here.

labrador-167715_1280

Before starting the challenge this week I thought I’d share why I chose this picture and story. Bambi’s other granny and granddad got a Collie puppy this week and Bambi excitedly told me all about it. Cinderella was apparently less enthusiastic than her big brother at meeting the puppy – she was drawing on paper on the floor when the puppy decided to walk on to her picture and sit down, so she wasn’t amused. In honour then of my nephew and niece I’m writing about the breed of dog that Bambi and Cinderella have at their home – a Labrador. Now to the challenge:

After reassuring her child it was okay, she put the blindfold over his eyes and tied it tight enough not to fall off but not so tight she’d injure him. She then checked his car seatbelt was securely fastened, as his anticipation over the impending surprise grew. Safety checks were then done quietly on her daughter’s car seat so as not to wake her up from her nap. With her husband locking up, she got in the front passenger seat of their car and waited for him to arrive to drive to the destination they had been planning to go to.

With each minute that passed along the journey the boy’s excitement made his words turn into squeaks, with his mum having to remind him to talk in a low voice so his sister wouldn’t wake up. In the boy’s mind an eternity passed on this journey, so he kept asking if they were there yet, to which his parents replied nearly. The car stopped and the question was raised again but his parents explained that the traffic lights had just gone red so they would have to wait for it to be green to go again. Forever in this excited boy’s mind passed by as he awaited his surprise, and once again the car stopped but to his delight the answer he had been waiting for was given. They had arrived.

A car door was opened and shut, then he heard his door open and felt his mum lean over him to undo his seatbelt. He reached up and behind his head to untie the blindfold but his mum gently took his hands and told him to wait until she had got him out the car and walked him to the surprise and then she’d take it off for him. Meanwhile he heard his dad getting out of his seat and going to undo the straps of the carseat his little sister as stealthily as he could. After having accidentally woke their son up once when he was a baby and seeing how his wife responded, he always now took care to keep a sleeping baby asleep.

Taking a firm grip of her sons hand she led him out the car and walked slowly with him up a path and then he heard a doorbell ring. A lady’s voiced welcomed them to her home and then his mum guided him down a myriad of corridors. A door was opened and they all went into this room and his mum told him to kneel down and she would take off his blindfold. With his eyes blinking to adjust to the light he saw a metal playpen full of puppies. Unable to utter a word he looked back at his parents with a huge smile and awe struck expression. His dad placed the car seat gently on the floor, and came down beside his son on the floor and told him he was allowed to chose one to take home. Still unable to utter a word he stuttered out “Really?” to which both parents replied “Yes”. The lady asked him if he would like to get in the playpen to chose, so his dad lifted him over the playpen frame so he could crouch down among the little puppies that now engulfed him. There was 2 chocolate ones and 4 golden ones, but after initial curiosity wore off the puppies wandered off.

Only one golden puppy remained in his lap and curled up and started to shut it’s eyes to go to sleep. The lady then reminded him that he can chose any puppy he wants but it seemed as if that puppy wants him. He looked up at where the others had gone to and then down at the one in his lap and thought out loud “If this puppy won’t leave me, then I won’t leave it”. The young boy then looked up at his parents smiling at him, and his mum asked him what he wanted to call the puppy. His reply was very insightful for a young boy “How can I name my puppy if I don’t know if it is a puppy boy or a puppy girl?”. All eyes turned expectantly to the lady who informed them it was a puppy girl. Looking back down at his puppy he said “Bella. I think Bella is a good name”, he then looked to his parents to see approving nods.
A week later they all returned to collect the puppy, and the young boy was filled with happiness watching his puppy grow and would often sit on the grass with Bella on a sunny day cuddled up together enjoying each other’s company.

Children can be cruel.

Today Bambi and Cinderella were here for a couple of hours. A couple of days ago I had created a very personalised handwriting practice sheet for Bambi, from the website handwritingpractice.net with sentences about his various likes. For example having the sentences “Yellow is my favourite colour. I love my family. I like cars and trains”. He had only completed one sentence and started the second when he put his head on the table and said “I can’t do it”. My mum and I tried to encourage him to continue but he walked away into the hallway.

I went after him and asked him what was wrong to which he told me people laugh at him. I picked him up carried him back to the living room and asked him to tell me who laughed at him. Bambi said everyone, and knowing that this wasn’t true asked him further “Tell me someone who has laughed you”. Bambi mentioned a name of another child who is in his nursery class who has picked on him before. I asked did (well let’s call the child O) O laugh at you because you can’t do letters well and after his confirming this my mum and I consoled him explaining that not everyone is good at everything, reinforcing his strengths of things like Lego construction and ability to use computers/tablets etc. We also reminded him that what O did was not nice and kind and we shouldn’t laugh at others when they can’t do things. I also comforted him by telling him that for a long time I couldn’t do letters.
In fact to this day my handwriting can be appalling, you be better off trying to decipher a doctor’s signature. Although I didn’t tell him as we tried to highlight that the more you do something you will get better and didn’t want to discourage him by the fact my handwriting hasn’t improved much.

My question is was O being cruel by laughing by nature? Or has he learned this behaviour by people close to him being cruel over his failings? I think it is horrible to see children this young behaving in this manner. In fact anyone being cruel like this is horrible, but where did O learn it from? As annoyed as I am for his upsetting my nephew, I am also concerned for him. What if he is growing up in a cruel environment? What kind of adult will he become? As adults we have to be very careful with how we behave around children, as they will imitate us. It is our responsibility to teach children. What are your actions teaching the children around you? To be cruel or kind?