Browsing Category

Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Craft ideas to try with your kids this autumn

Arts and crafts have been growing in popularity for years thanks to the increasing ease of access to materials and kits, the variety of options for crafting, and the multitude of benefits they’ve been shown to bring. It’s also a lot of fun! 

painting

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If you’re looking for some ideas of constructive activities you can do at home with your children, why not give crafting a go? There are so many different styles out there; you’re sure to find something that the whole family can enjoy, however old they are. Read on for some interesting and unique autumn-themed project ideas!

Benefits of crafting

It’s widely known that crafting can have a positive effect on our mental and physical health, and this is true for both adults and children of all ages. Here are a few of the benefits you can all hope to enjoy as you create:

  • Reduced stress and increased relaxation – similar to meditation, when you become immersed in art and creativity, your mind is better able to move away from worries and anxious thoughts
  • Improved motor skills – by working on hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity
  • Increased confidence – from both completing projects, and learning that it’s ok to experiment and make mistakes
  • Better mental agility – encouraging your brain to think in new ways and try new things helps keep it in top shape
  • Boosted creativity – the more you use your creativity, the more it will grow, and it’s a skill that is useful in all areas of our lives

If this has piqued your interest, you’ll be glad to know that it’s very easy to get started with arts and crafts. The internet is full of how-to videos and articles, and you can get all the supplies that you need online from websites like reallymaria.com

Autumnal craft ideas to try

  • Autumn leaf suncatchers: this simple craft project is ideal for younger children, and makes for a lovely and colorful addition to your window
  • Pinecone owls: these are perfect for getting your kids out in nature, and the resulting owls (or other animals) are adorable
  • Pom pom pumpkins: these fluffy pumpkins only need wool, scissors and a stick, but the result is a fabulously unique Halloween decoration
  • Paper ball bats: another great choice for Halloween, these cute bats are quick and easy to create with kids of all ages
  • Autumn leaf bookmarks: these easy-to-make creations encourage both creativity and reading – what’s not to like?
  • Back-to-school bag tags: help your kids personalize their school bags with these DIY charms, that they can customize however they like
  • Fairy leaf puppets: great for older children, these fairies are a bit more complex to make and full of enchantment
  • Autumn leaf dinosaurs: yes, there’s a lot you can do with leaves! This creation is perfect for kids who love Jurassic Park 
  • Painted acorns: this also gets the kids outside, and the result is genuinely pretty
  • Simple black cat papercraft: this is as easy to make as the name suggests, and is great for Halloween or all year round if you’re a cat lover
Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Five time-saving tips for busy mammas

notebook

Pic Credit: Pixabay

It’s widely accepted that parenting is the hardest job we’ll ever do in life – while also being the most rewarding. However, finding time to juggle all of life’s responsibilities can often feel an insurmountable challenge. Staying on top of your work, spending time with friends, socialising, visiting extended family, doing the household shop . . . they all take time and place demands on parents already busy looking after young ones. 

Finding ways to save time will help you relax more and relieve the stresses of everyday life. Here are five ways you could free up more of your day and put your time to better use.

Plan the clothing you’ll wear that week 

On a Sunday evening, take a moment to plan the outfits you’ll wear that week – everything from your shoes to your dresses and accessories. Most people aren’t at their best in the morning and you’ll likely have a hard enough time trying to get your kids awake, washed and ready – never mind trying to look after yourself. By working out what you’re going to wear that coming week, you’ll save yourself considerable time and stress each day.  

Agree a schedule and rules – and stick to them 

kettle

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Spend some time working out a household schedule and rules that work for everyone – you, your partner (if you have one) and your kids. If everyone already knows the rules, you’ll spend far less time discussing or arguing what can and can’t be done.

For example, having a fixed time for dinner lets kids know they can’t stay out late after school playing. Agreeing when your kids need to go to bed will also save you countless arguments at night. Even things like agreeing on the bathroom schedule in the mornings can save pointless quarrels (particularly with teens). As a rule, kids work better to schedules and if they already know the rules, they’re far less likely to break them. 

Order food in, once in a while

As a parent, you’re likely not keen on feeding your kids the typical junk food served by burger or pizza takeaways but there is now a huge range of pre-made, gourmet meals available which are suitable for even the most discerning of tastes. For example, vegetarian and vegan meal specialist, jikonilondon.com offers complete meals (available hot or cold) and weekly subscriptions delivered straight to your door. 

Ordering pre-prepared dishes will save you considerable time prepping food and doing the washing-up afterwards. Not only that, you’ll likely find you vary your diet more and may even find inspiration for creating your own dishes.

Keep important items in the same place

How often have you been rushing to leave only to find you’ve misplaced your house keys? Give important items like keys, mobile phones, your handbag etc a home. If you already know where things are, you’ll save yourself frantically searching each time you’re going out. Indeed, the same applies to any household items you commonly use e.g. paper, important documents or TV remotes etc.   

Learn to delegate

Most kids are inherently lazy – it’s not their fault, they have far more important things to think about like SpongeBob SquarePants. Giving your children simple household tasks will save you a lot of time doing mundane chores. If you give your kids an allowance, agree a set of jobs they need to do to earn it – e.g. setting/clearing the dinner table, helping with the washing-up or keeping their room clean. Having your kids do tasks to earn money is also a valuable life-lesson and helps prepare them for work later in life. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Checks to Complete before buying a used car

Online shopping has been a craze which does not show any signs for fading. From purchasing small items such as clothes to large objects including cars. Whether this is being advertised privately or on car sale sites such as Auto Trader or eBay.

With the increase of online car sales, there has also been an increase in cars being sold which have a hidden past. There are many steps you can take to avoid buying a car which has been damaged, stolen or still has outstanding finance. 

Easy and Simple Checks to Complete

There are many easy checks you can do yourself whilst viewing the vehicle. They are many buyer checklists available online but we will discuss the import parts to check over whilst viewing any used car.

Tyres

This is more than a simple kick to each wheel. Many years ago, this was a way to check tyre pressure or worn bearings, but these days they are better ways to go about this. When you look at the tyres, try to get down to that level on your knees. This will give you a better viewing point for the tyres. 

Check for things such as Tyre Brand and Tread. Remember the legal minimum is 1.6mm, so if they are below 3mm we would advise budgeting for some new tyres very soon. While the brand of tyre may not cause concern in most sales, if the seller has budgets on a premium sports car this may also need changing to ensure better performance. 

Check for Defects?

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Ensure you look over the vehicle bodywork during the day, and when it is not raining or the car is wet. This will ensure you get the best viewing of the car as dull light and water droplets can hide blemishes. Along with checking the bodywork for these marks, also take this time to check for kerbed alloys.

After checking the paint, don’t forget to check the glass to. Check for chips or cracks in each window. Remember anything in the drivers eyeline this could lead to a future MOT failure.

In addition to the outside, ensure you check inside. Check for any weird or overpowering smells when you first open the door. Check all over the inside from the dashboard to the car seats for any stains, tears or blemishes.

Do not expect a used car to be perfect, but some blemishes can help you during the negotiations.  

Check Panels 

After looking over the bodywork for scratches and dents, look at the gaps between the panels. These should be symmetrical and consistent through the vehicle. If you notice that one or more panel gap seems to be overly large or small this could be a sign of repaired bodywork after a car accident. Another indication is that they are colour differences in the paint between the panels. 

A great way to check if a car has been in a major accident is to conduct an online Reg Check. For under £10, these reports will conduct over 20 different history checks on the car and highlight any issues to you. These issues can range from write off details, police stolen report, outstanding finance and so much more.

Check Fluid Levels

It is always a good idea to check the fluid levels on a used car. The most popular ones include oil, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Low fluid levels could mean poor maintenance of the vehicle which could lead to issues in the future. 

Whilst checking these, look for any potential leaks under the bonnet and where the car is usually parked. Also check under the Oil cap for any white liquid. White liquid is created when coolant mixes with oil and could be a sign that a head gasket has or is failing. 

Check Electrics

Check everything. From the window controls, wing mirrors, air conditioning, radio to sunroof operations and automated seat movements. Pretty much every button you can see, try it! 

Whilst checking each light, look for any chips or cracks in the light cases, or any moisture inside the unit. 

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Top Tips for Helping Your Kids with Maths

Maths is such an important part of our kid’s education, because it is an essential life skill. Mathematics helps children to make sense of numbers, patterns and shapes and it also encourages them to think of new concepts and ideas.

Being positive about maths is hugely important. Many parents doubt their own maths skills or worry that their teaching methods will be different to current school techniques; however what many parents don’t realise is that they can teach their kids maths by simply applying it to everyday activities.  

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Read on for some great tips from an independent school in Surrey on how parents can teach their kids maths at home…

Home Learning

Help to develop your child’s maths skills by practicing together at home. This doesn’t mean text books and calculators; simply teach them how they can spot maths in everyday situations. For example, you can count money, play games or measure objects. Encouraging your child to explore maths in this way will greatly enhance their numeracy skills and help to make learning fun.

Online Learning

There are many online resources that can support your child’s maths learning, including educational apps. These are great because they can be downloaded onto a smart device, such as a phone or tablet. Many of these apps are free and often include games, which will help to make maths more fun. Download a maths learning app onto your family tablet and see who can get the best score!

Learning Tools

If your child is learning their time tables it can be helpful to display them on a poster at home. Find a large poster that clearly displays the times tables from 1 to 12 and pop it up somewhere they will see it every day. Regular revision from this poster will aid their memorisation and their understanding of multiplication.

Playing games

Finally, spend some quality family time together playing board games. Board games are another great learning tool for teaching maths because they get kids practicing without even realising. Dominos and Monopoly are both great games for practicing maths and reinforcing key STEM skills.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How Schools Can Prevent the Spread of Germs

cold

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A lot of children are now back at school for the first time in months, and it’s a worrying time for parents. Not only are there the usual worries about homework and whether your child will make friends, there’s also the additional worry about the spread of germs and bacteria.

Your child’s school should be happy to speak with you about the measures that they are taking to keep your child safe. It’s also completely reasonable to ask about the measures that you would hope to see them put in place.

Distancing

When they are in the classroom, children should be seated two meters from one another to minimize the risk of spreading disease through airborne germs. 

Distancing is important not just during class time, but during lunch and break times too. If the school isn’t big enough to facilitate distancing then institutions should be implementing staggered lunch and break times to allow a smaller number of children to be on their break at the same time.

Share carefully

A way that germs can be spread is through touching the same object. Particularly with younger children, it’s not always going to be possible for them not to be touching the same things – for example, toys and games will still need to be shared by the class, as will sports equipment. 

To account for this it’s important that the school have a policy on how often the shared equipment will be disinfected and how this process will be managed.

Handwashing

Frequent hand washing is the most effective weapon against the spread of germs. Not only does it stop your child from passing any germs that they may have onto others, it means that if they inadvertently pick up germs from a surface they are less likely to infect themselves by rubbing their eyes, nose or mouth.

hand washing

Pic Credit: Pixabay

At a minimum hand washing should take place:

  • Before eating
  • After going to the bathroom
  • When coming inside from playing outdoors
  • After sneezing or coughing

Schools should also be encouraging children to routinely wash their hands outside of these times to minimize the risk of infection.

Hand sanitizer

It’s important that hand sanitizer is made readily available to children in schools to use at times when they are unable to wash their hands.

For example, you might place hand sanitizer in a prominent place in the classroom so that children may clean their hands after handling shared items, without having to disrupt the lesson by leaving to go to the bathroom.

If possible, it’s better to use a dispenser from Touch Free Hand Sanitiser as this further minimizes the spread of germs because there is no risk of transmission through a pump or lever.

Cleaning

The rooms in the school should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected at the end of each day, paying particular attention to bathrooms and the children’s desks.

Food preparation areas should also be cleaned thoroughly after use with hot soapy water.

Some germs can actually thrive until they are wiped away, so as well as cleaning surfaces they should be dried thoroughly with paper towels.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

How to Look After Yourself as a Busy Mom

relaxing with coffee

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Being a mom is one of the most demanding jobs that there is both physically and mentally. This is particularly true during the pandemic when it has been difficult to keep kids happy and entertained while they are off school. Of course, it has also been an incredibly stressful and worrying time for all, meaning the last few months have taken their toll on many parents.

So, how can you look after yourself as a busy mom? Read on for a few ideas which will hopefully help you manage.

Get More Sleep

It is amazing the difference that regular sleep can make, but this is something that very few parents manage for one reason or another. Making sleep a priority and finding ways to improve your sleep (such as not using screens an hour before bed or going to bed earlier) can make a big difference to your physical and mental health.

Have Your Own Hobbies

While you certainly do not have as much time to yourself as you once did, it is still very important that you have your own hobbies which allow you to enjoy yourself and relax. There are many hobbies which are well-suited to parents because they do not take much time and can be done at home, such as:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Painting/drawing

Have Recovery Time

wool jumper

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Being a busy mom can take its toll when you spend all day on your feet, so it is important that you schedule time for recovery especially after full-on days. Go2 compression socks can aid with recovery by improving blood flow, reducing pain and even preventing varicose veins and blood clots. So, these can be a good investment and you can recover with your feet up as you watch TV in the evenings.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

When you spend all day keeping the kids entertained, cooking a healthy meal for the family can feel like another big chore. But a healthy diet is vital not only for your own well-being, but the entire family. Many parents find it helpful to plan their meals for the week and then cook as much as they can in one session, with Sunday often the best time to do this. This will help you to maintain a healthy diet which is important for looking after yourself and your family while also giving you one less thing to do each day.

Have People to Speak To

Every parent feels stressed from time to time, especially in the current situation. This is why it is important that you have people that you can speak to, whether this is other family members, friends or even people online. There are also many great parenting blogs and communities online which can be good places to vent, share experiences, and ask for advice.

Being a busy mom can certainly take its toll, but this post should help you to look after yourself so that you can be the best possible parent and feel energized throughout the week.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Is My Child Ready for a Phone?

Mobile phones are a great way for us to keep in touch with our family anytime and anywhere. However, when is the right time to let your child have a phone? Read on for some helpful advice from an independent day school in Abingdon

The Law

You may be surprised to learn that there is no legal age to own a mobile phone. Therefore, the right age to allow your child to have their first phone is really up to you as parents. To help you decide if your child is ready to own their first phone, ask yourself these two questions:

  • Do you trust your child to use a phone sensibly?
  • And are they mature enough to look after one?

Secondary School

It is common for parents to wait until their child starts secondary school, before they let them have a phone. At this age, children begin to make their own journeys to and from school, and socialise with friends in their spare time.

Which Phone?

social media icons

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If you are considering purchasing your child’s first phone, a basic ‘feature’ phone might be a good option. This type of phone will allow your child to call or text you, without the risk of browsing the web unsupervised. Feature phones are also a cheaper alternative to smart phones, which may lessen the worry of the phone becoming lost or damaged. Alternatively, a smart phone does offer the added advantage of GPS technology. This allows parents to track their child’s location and can even help you to locate your child’s phone if it is lost or stolen.

Phone Safety

If you decide that your child is ready to have a mobile phone, it is essential to discuss the importance of using it safely and responsibly. You should also help your child to set up their phone and add important contacts in case of an emergency. If your child will have internet access on their new phone, be sure to add any necessary parental controls and discuss online safety.

Hopefully this advice will help you to decide when your child is ready for a phone and will also help to ensure they use one safely.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Affordable Hobbies To Try With Your Kids

Doing hobbies as a family is a great way to strengthen family bonds and spend quality time together. Hobbies will also allow you to have fun new experiences, learn new skills and make lots of exciting memories. There is an endless choice of low-cost or free activities that you can do as a family. Here are some affordable hobbies to try with your kids.

Cooking

Cooking and baking as a family will teach your kids valuable skills that will benefit them in later life. It is also a fun way to spend time together and educate your kids on the importance of a healthy diet and good nutrition. You can make cooking more enjoyable by giving your kids the freedom to pick new recipes that they would like to cook. You could also try ordering a cooking subscription box from Compass Cooks. These boxes are specially designed to get kids interested in cooking by delivering a monthly food box containing exciting easy-to-follow recipes from around the world.

Gardening

Gardening will encourage your kids to get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air. It is also a good workout that will help your family get the recommended exercise and increase their overall fitness levels. Along with the physical benefits, gardening also has therapeutic properties and can be a great way to relax and unwind. According to advice on minigarden, you can encourage your kids to try gardening by planting interesting plants and flowers, giving them a dedicated plot in your backyard, and starting a family gardening journal. You can also try growing fruit and vegetables in your garden such as tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and beets. Once harvested, you can cook tasty family meals using fresh home-grown ingredients.

Hiking

hiking

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Hiking is a cheap hobby that offers fantastic health benefits. Not only is hiking an excellent source of physical exercise, but it can also boost your mental health and wellbeing. This is because exercise releases chemicals that increase feelings of happiness and reduce stress. Going for regular hikes as a family will help you stay fit and allow you to enjoy time outdoors in natural surroundings. You can look for hikes in your local area by searching for recommendations online. Make sure that you choose a route that will suit the fitness levels and abilities of your family and remember to pack plenty of water and energy-rich snacks. Another fun way to enjoy hiking is by visiting a national park. There is a good selection of national parks across the UK and you can take part in many exciting outdoor activities including hiking, kayaking or cycling. You can find nearby parks by visiting the National Parks UK website.

Final thoughts

Having new experiences doesn’t have to break the bank. Trying new hobbies is a fun pastime that has plenty of benefits including learning new skills and improving your lifestyle. There are dozens of fun and low-cost activities that you can enjoy with your family. Try doing the above hobbies with your kids to reconnect and bring your family closer.

Doing hobbies as a family is a great way to strengthen family bonds and spend quality time together. Hobbies will also allow you to have fun new experiences, learn new skills and make lots of exciting memories. There is an endless choice of low-cost or free activities that you can do as a family. Here are some affordable hobbies to try with your kids.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Why is Reading so Important for Children?

Reading offers so many benefits to children. Reading not only helps learning, but it can also be used for entertainment and relaxation. Whether your child has already developed a passion for reading or they are just starting out, here are some great reasons why parents should encourage reading at home…

Vocabulary

Regular reading of books, websites, magazines or other written materials has been proven to increase your vocabulary. When your child discovers new words, ask them to use a dictionary, or the internet to learn their meaning. This will help to enhance their vocabulary and will also benefit their writing skills.

Knowledge

kids reading

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The more you read, the more you learn! New Beacon School believes that by encouraging your child to read regularly, you can help to expand their knowledge and spark their imagination. This will not only benefit them academically, but it will also benefit their social skills too.

Writing

Reading often will help your child to learn good sentence structure and the rhythm of words. They will also learn how to write well and how to effectively tell a story. If your child has a favourite story, you could set them a challenge to re-write their own ending to it.

Relaxation

If your child struggles with anxiety or has trouble sleeping, reading could be the answer! Following a good story can help your child to forget about their worries for a while. Next time your
child feels stressed, introduce them to a new book and let their imagination take them away to
somewhere new.

How can parents encourage reading?

Parents can encourage reading by incorporating it into everyday activities. Even something as simple as asking your child to read a recipe or a menu can be great practice. It is also important to show an interest in your child’s reading and ask questions about what they are reading at school. Reading together at bedtime is a nice way to show your interest and keep up a good routine.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Four Tips for Selecting the Perfect Kitchen Splashback

The splashback in your kitchen might be there for functional reasons, but it also offers some unique design potentials. Your splashback takes a beating from oil, sauces, and various other foods and liquids daily, so it needs to be easy to clean. That said, your splashback is the perfect spot to add personality into a room in the house that is often forgotten when it comes to design. Updating your splashback is also a cost-effective way to change the look of your kitchen without needing to redo your cabinets or worktops.

Identify your budget

Before you start shopping for splashbacks, you need to decide on a budget. If you need anything custom, you can always expect to pay a premium. If you choose natural stone, glass, or stainless steel for your splashback, you will likely pay more as it the installers will need to cut it to fit your kitchen exactly. Opting for tiles is a more cost-effective option, with hundreds of different styles to choose from at TREND Transformations Bolton.

Compliment your worktop

kitchen

Pic Credit: Pixabay

You don’t want your splashback to clash with your worktop. Often most people will choose their worktop first since they are a more substantial cost, and the installation is more invasive. Worktops come in all different styles, textures, colours, and materials, including marble, laminate, granite, stainless steel, and even wood. Your splashback should pick up the colours in your worktop and accent them with complementary colours or textures. With so many different shades of tile to choose from, it won’t be hard to find an option that looks great.

Make it an art piece

When designing the interior of your house, you will typically factor in décor and artwork into the plans for your lounge, bedrooms, office, and bathroom. The kitchen is often seen as a functional space only, and not as an opportunity to be creative. While it may be full of appliances, cabinets, and food, there’s no reason you can’t bring some artistic flair into it. With minimal wall space available in kitchens, your splashback is the perfect spot for an art installation. Use funky and unique mosaic tiles to create a splashback that is a work of art and a focal point for your kitchen. You could use mirrors, cracked ceramic, glass tiles, or subway tiles to make something that is one of a kind.

Don’t forget the maintenance

One of the main deciding factors when choosing the perfect splashback is the maintenance that is involved. Many people are installing wooden splashbacks because they look rustic and exciting. That said, splashing oil, sauces, and water do not go well with wood and may cause it to rot or deteriorate because you can’t properly clean it. You want to choose a splashback that is super easy to clean with the wipe of a cloth. Traditional tide splashbacks have grout between tiles, which you need to clean often to prevent mould. That said, glass mosaic, without grout, is extremely easy to clean, as are stainless steel splashbacks.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post