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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

Will Heavy Snow on Trees Cause Damage?

Winter is the perfect setting for cozying up in a warm blanket to watch movies and drink hot chocolate. Snow gives a magical tinge to the freezing cold weather and provides the backdrop for beautiful Instagram-worthy pictures. However, this comes at a price, and as the snow gets more intense, severe side effects start to appear.  From frostbite to slippery roads, heavy snow can escalate into dangerous situations very quickly.  Your landscape also bears the brunt of heavy snow on trees. If the snow is sparse, it will melt away harmlessly from your trees, but as you might have observed, heavy snow often comes with the tell-tale cracking sound indicative of the damage it is inflicting on your plants.

Effects of Heavy Snow on Trees:

Wet snow causes more injury to trees than dry snow as the former is heavier. These are the common risks associated with heavy snow on trees, depending on the quantity snow and the shape of the tree:

  • Bending: Accumulation of heavy snow on trees causes the delicate branches to bend. In some cases, the excess weight can make the entire tree bend. Young or small plants are most susceptible to this type of damage. As trees become brittle in winter, bending puts the tree in a bad position.

  • Breaking: Breaking occurs when either the branches or the stem of a tree shatter due to the weight of snow. Hanging branches or half-broken trees can create unsafe conditions for people and property.  Besides potentially derailing the entire top structure of trees, which can take months to recover from, these breaks expose the tree to various pathogens that can affect the overall health of the tree.

  • Splitting: If a tree is placed directly under a roof or any structure which can cause a large quantity of snow to fall in one concentrated portion, the tree can split from the shock and pressure of the sudden weight. This, again, causes infection risks for the tree.
  • Falling or Uprooting: This is the most extreme case of winter damage that can occur in trees. When a tree stays inflexible against the huge barrage of snow that winter brings, it will eventually either fall or get uprooted. If a large, weak tree, it might be best to have it removed by an experienced professional before the harsh winter weather hits.

Snow Damage by Tree Type:

The amount of damage that a tree can bear depends on the type of tree. Like everything in nature, trees have adapted to defend against this kind of extreme weather.  Most deciduous trees typically have broad leaves, making them susceptible to collect large quantities of snow. Losing their leaves in anticipation of winter is a kind of defense mechanism that protects them from severe snow damage. 

Coniferous evergreens, like spruce or pine, collect more snow than deciduous trees due to the presence of leaves, but the flexible structure enables them to simply bend with the weight of snow and shrug it all off. If not for their flexibility, the snow collected on the leaves would cause the tree significant damage. Yet, when faced with severe winds and snow, many conifers with narrow canopies tend to lose their crowns. It is imperative that these trees get pruned correctly to encourage proper recovery.  Apart from tree type, the tree’s structure also affects the amount of damage it can bear. For instance, trees with branches angled at 90-degrees from the stem function better than those with steeper branches.

Protecting Against Heavy Snow Damage on Trees:


Although heavy snow has the potential to cause significant damage to your trees, there are a few things you can do to defend against it.  Freshly fallen heavy snow can simply be brushed away with a hand, a soft broom, or by very gently shaking the branches. Avoid the urge to aggressively shake the tree as winter makes branches brittle and your action could make the situation worse.   If the snow has transformed into ice on your tree, it should be left alone to melt naturally. De-icing salts can introduce harmful toxins into the plant affecting its overall health, so this should be avoided. Also, no heat source should be brought near your plant in an to attempt to speed up the melting process – it will do more harm than good. 

Try to avoid planting trees that are not compatible with the weather of your region. Some trees like the Arborvitae are notoriously bad at withstanding winter damage; if you must plant these, protect them from damage by placing them away from a sloping roof or any structure that could abruptly deposit a large amount of snow on them.  If any part of your tree does break and doesn’t pose any danger to its environment or to its own health, you can wait until the end of winter to prune it. At that point, the tree is still dormant, but the weather will get warm enough to avoid further damage. Otherwise, it should be pruned immediately.

While caring for your trees, always make sure you are safe as well and not doing any dangerous stunts like climbing an icy tree or sawing above your head. And, if your unsure of what steps to take or needs assistance, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced arborist to assist you.   Although heavy snow can have many adverse effects on trees, it also has certain benefits. One of the factors affecting a tree’s health in winter is the sudden fluctuation in temperatures accompanied by this weather. This causes the entire structure of the tree, from top to root. to become weak and brittle. When snowfall occurs, it creates a protective layer of snow around the tree.

And, as snow is a bad conductor of heat, this layer insulates the tree and its roots from these temperature fluctuations and helps regulate its temperature. And, after it melts, it gives the tree moisture needed for nourishment. So, snow is not always bad for trees.   Reach out to professional arborists to keep your trees prepared for the harsh winters. Be prepared for winter damage with Mr. Tree!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Top Tips for a Healthier Family Lifestyle

In today’s society, it seems as if we are constantly being given warnings about the dangers of ill health, obesity and a lack of exercise. There are countless schemes and often conflicting health guidance out there, designed to help every member of the family stay healthier – from grandparents right down to the family pet!

While this can understandably be a bit overwhelming, the importance of keeping fit and healthy should not be overlooked. Here are some top tips and advice to help you and your family lead a healthier lifestyle all year round!

Lead by Example

Many young children like to copy others, which is why you are one of the most important role models in your child’s life. Lead by example and do your best to instil healthy habits from a young age – this way, your children are more likely to continue them as they grow older. Make healthy food choices and regular exercise just a usual part of family life; a norm rather than an exception.

Mix Up Mealtimes

Of course, healthy eating is not a new concept. However, fad diets or extremes should be avoided as they can lead to unhealthy habits and a negative relationship with food – not to mention the fact that more often than not, they don’t even work! Instead, you should look to encourage a healthy, balanced diet for each member of your family. Start the day right with a healthy breakfast before work or school, swap out unhealthy snacks for fruit and healthier options, and maybe even let the kids help choose what you will eat as a family! You might end up with some strange food combinations or unusual recipes to start with, but it’s a great way to get everyone involved with cooking and you may even discover something new.

Make Time for Yourself

If you are a busy working parent or are simply struggling to find time to set aside for yourself after childcare, chores and everything else that needs to be done, this could be a sign that you are setting yourself up for burnout. Stress can be caused by a wide variety of different factors, and if you don’t allow yourself downtime where you can relax, the chances are that it will only get worse. Allow yourself the opportunity to do what you want to do – whether it is visiting friends, going to see a film or literally just collapsing on the sofa with some snacks, a drink, and the TV remote!

Make Exercise Fun

If your children would rather sit inside playing their favourite video game than engaging in active play, perhaps it’s time to bring the fun back to outdoor play! Exciting playground structures and designs can stimulate your child’s imagination and encourage their social skills and creativity. Look at this site if you need some inspiration for your child’s playground! Whether you invest in a climbing frame for your back garden, take your children to the local play park or encourage them to use the play equipment at school, this can be a great way to keep exercise fun!

Keeping Pets Healthy

Last but certainly not least, your pets are important members of the family too and their health should definitely not be overlooked! Regular exercise is essential for all pets – whether it is giving your hamster the run of a room in their hamster ball or heading out for a long, relaxing walk in the countryside with your dog. Similarly, you need to ensure that you are feeding your pet the correct type and amount of food to keep those tails wagging!

Are you ready to lead your family towards a healthier lifestyle? Get started today and you’ll be reaping the benefits in next to no time at all!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Party Ideas for Winter Kid’s Birthday

Summer children have it easy, the warmer days and brighter evenings provide plenty of opportunities to get outside and run around, letting off the pent-up energy that only seems to increase in capacity when children gather together. Children born in the winter face a couple more restrictions when it comes to organising a party, especially considering the cost of hall and venue hire when trying to entertain a larger number of classmates. While it can be frustrating, it just means winter children get to be more creative with their party ideas and can offer something different to just going to the nearest park or open field to play outside games.

Festive Treat Decorating

A party idea that has the kids creating their own snacks, buy or make a collection of gingerbread men, or if you are feeling really motivated, a couple of gingerbread house kits, that the children can build and decorate together with sweets, icing, chocolate shapes, sprinkles, etc. There are plenty of edible decorations available in the cake aisle of your local big-name supermarkets and around the festive period, you can find plenty of pretty patterns and shapes including snowflakes, snowmen and holly leafs to name a few.

Prepare the room by investing in a cost-effective large plastic sheet or tarpaulin that can be placed on the floor to protect against dropped treats and squished sweets, especially necessary if you have carpet!

Indoor Winter Sports

Got room to spare? Host your own winter games indoors, away from the cold. You can set up several “courses” including an area for measuring the furthest hop, skip and jump, somewhere to hold a short footrace or if speed is a concern, the slow footrace! Who can go the slowest without stopping? Further winter games could include an obstacle course, balloon race and best animal impression.

Creativity and imagination are your only restriction when hosting your own indoor winter games and there isn’t much investment needed, although you can always grab some medals as a “prize” for the party guests. Get your child involved in coming up with the games together and if you get stuck, there is plenty of inspiration available online.

Cops and Robbers Party

Depending on the age of your child, a themed party is sure to go down a treat and cops and robbers can be particularly fun for kids. Have the kids come in costume, police or robber or simply hand out some masks and a sheriff’s badge which all can be handmade relatively cheaply and quickly.

Party games can include a “laser course” made using string hung horizontally across a corridor that the kids must get through without touching the string and “setting off the alarms”. You can also set up a target practice zone using soft nerf guns or cheap “sucker” guns which fire soft ended sucker darts and often include a plastic target. Don’t forget to get the kid’s mug shots before they go home!

Lego Party

Lego is always going to be a popular pastime and toy for growing children as it encourages their creativity and imagination and helps them create entire make-believe worlds around them. As such, a Lego party will always go down a treat for boys and girls and even the party food can be made Lego themed, with brick-shaped cupcakes and pizza squares.

Lego sets can be picked up inexpensively via online stores and you can introduce party games such as hide the brick, fastest to build a specific design, highest tower, guess the number of bricks in a jar and build the best Lego vehicle to launch down a homemade ramp.

Winter doesn’t always bring rain and if you have an all-weather garden with artificial grass or a covered trellis, you can put together some activities that the children can take part in outdoors to give them more room to enjoy themselves. Just remember to request outdoor suitable clothing on the invitation to stop them getting cold!

Note: This is a collaborative post 

Mamma Musings

Free time? What’s that? Your guide to putting your feet up

With Christmas coming and with hordes of relatives descending on your home at any moment, you might find yourself at a bit of a loose end. With many family members simply not allowing you to lift a finger and letting them do all the hard work…A girl can dream right?

But seriously, with plenty more adults around, who are willing to lend a hand, you might find yourself with a bit of free time. So, what should you do with it? It may have been so long since you’ve had any you have no idea. But don’t worry – read on for a little inspiration of how you can spend your free time. Or you could just dream about it instead…?

Treat your face

With the kids seemingly under control and you’ve managed to become unstuck from the oven you might even be able to take a little time and put some makeup on. You could slip on some anti-aging eye cream (to get you through the Festive Season) or play around with some new eye shadows or even sit with a face mask on for ten minutes. Just enjoy being able to hear your own inner thoughts!

Reading

Yeah it might be a little obvious. But sometimes we forget how good it feels to pick up a book and get pulled straight back into a story. Whether it’s a fantasy novel, an old childhood favourite or a celebrity tell-tale book. There’s nothing wrong with disappearing for a couple of hours and diving head first into a book.

Go for a walk

Who says you have to stay cooped up indoors? You could really make a break for it and go for a walk around your favourite beauty spot, or even just around the block for some fresh air. Getting in a little cardio before you tackle that box of chocolates this evening will help you not feel as guilty.

Sleep

None of us are getting enough sleep, and the festive season can be both physically and mentally draining. So, if you get the chance try grabbing an extra forty winks and catching up on some much needed rest. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Rearrange your photos

If you have sleeves of photographs that are looking for homes, or you just haven’t gotten around to putting them into your albums yet, then why not do it now? You can even date them all and place them in chronological order. Looking back at the memories you’ve made over the year will certainly make you smile.

Listen

Why not try listening to a new audiobook? Or even a podcast on a subject your passionate about? Or how about a comedy set from your favourite comedian or just some of your favourite tunes that make you feel happy. You could even try listening to the nice, peaceful silence!

Have a bubble bath

You’re probably going to get some new smellies for Christmas anyway, so empty that whole bottle into the tub and have a nice long soak. You deserve it.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

What a week in The Mamma Fairy house

What a week……

Well drum roll please, my little blog, my one person operation, my crazy random rambling has only gone and won Bronze at the Irish Blog Awards. I actually cannot believe it.  I was a finalist the last two years but this year I was up there with the top 3, the best in the business.  Indulge me!! I’m absolutely over the moon.

I’ve always said its not about winning and it really isn’t but there is a small part of me that is just so excited that somebody somewhere thinks what I do is good. There is no fancy marketing, no staff and to be honest im quite bad at social media. Its about the writing, its my creative outlet so to be recognised is so exciting.

Happy, so so happy.

 

Other news

In other news….second drum roll!! I need a caveat at the start of this one. ***If you know my kids please don’t say anything to them about what im about to say next.***

In three weeks time we are off to Lapland. No matter how excited the kids are, they will never be as excited as me!! I know they are going to go wild when they hear it. I wont be telling them until a day or two before hand for my own sanity.

pom pom socks

Pom Pom Socks: Credit: https://www.condorbarcelona.uk/en/with-pompoms-warm

The last few days have been spent pouring over Facebook Groups and discussion boards to digest all of the information about dressing for the cold weather for us and the kids.  Don’t laugh but one of the items that is discussed at length re Lapland is having good socks.  So if you looked at my search history all you will see is searches for different types of socks! While searching I stumbled across the fabulous  Condor UK online shop.

 

If their  knee socks were good enough for Prince George, the are good enough for my crazy pair.  I could spend hours browsing, there is so much choice.  I don’t have girls myself but my little nieces will be getting a pair of the pom pom sock as part of their Christmas present. So so cute.

Another must have item over the base layers are fleeces or cardigan. Just look at the toddler boys cardigans online here. I want them all! There is something so adorable about cardigans on toddlers. My own mother always said that to me about them for my own boys and I really do agree with her.

You will see lots of posts over the next while on our trip and the preparations. For us it really is the trip of a lifetime.

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control.

 

Mamma Musings

My journey to a new smile

There are loads of phrases we see and hear when it comes to our smiles….”our smiles are the windows to our soul” or “smile and the world smiles with you” or my personal favourite “smile..its the prettiest thing you can wear“.

But you see for me for many and I mean many years I thought that this wasn’t the  case. I never smiled in photos, actually I deliberately avoided photos on nights out at events etc. On the rare occasion I did end up in a photo, I preferred to hide in the back and certainly never smiled showing my teeth. I always promised myself I would do something about it. They weren’t terrible. I just wasn’t happy with them and it didn’t matter what my friends and family said that was my opinion and that was that.

Last year I hit 35, a bit of a milestone in my own head and thought you know what.. im going to do this. So I began a treatment programme which used clear aligners. 

Thus beginning a journey I wanted to take for some time.  This is all done online, you take impressions of your teeth and they get sent off and a couple of weeks later your clear braces land in the door.  So so simple and efficient. However in advance its important to have consultation with a dentist, do shop around as you may even be able to obtain a free dental consultation. 

Following completion of the programme which took all in all about 8 months, I could not believe the different, each aligner change brought subtle but noticeable changes but it was only at the end when I saw the before and after pictures I realised just how far my teeth had come. But it wasn’t just my teeth. I lecture and I found my thoughts on my teeth really impacted on my confidence. I hid behind the podium, behind my hands or pages. Always aware and to be honest probably overly consumed by it. Now, its an entirely different story, I don’t mind getting into photos. I smile!! I actually truly smile.

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Mamma Musings

Four Cost Effective Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Wellbeing

canoeing

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Being healthy and feeling good is something everyone wants in life but what many might not realize until they try to achieve this themselves, is that self-care and maintaining a lifestyle focused around their health, can actually become rather costly. From gym memberships to expensive solutions, to everyday problems, the industry around making money from honest, hard-working people, such as yourself, who are just trying to make positive changes in their lifestyle, is huge and growing still. However, taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be such a high cost affair as there are lots of ways you can make changes in your life to improve its quality without breaking the bank. In this article, you will find out some of the easy ways you can start making the positive changes you want to see in your life whilst also keeping your purse strings tight.

Learning easy ways of eating healthy while on a budget

One of the best ways you can save money while making positive changes to your lifestyle is by finding cheap and easy ideas for healthy food. A great way to start this is by doing meal planning which will mean you never buy anything unnecessary when you do the big food shop every week. This also has the added boost of being environmentally friendly as it means you will have much less food waste.

Getting the essentials of your life sorted

While it may not be the first thing you think of when talking about wellbeing in your life, but sorting out the practical essentials you need to make the day to day running of things go a bit more smoothly will have the positive effect of reducing stress and giving you peace of mind so you are able to get on with your life without any extra hassle or worry. A good place to start with this is by sorting out something needed like your car insurance and a way of making sure you are keeping the costs down in by reading a Metromile Insurance Claim review to give you insight into how to get the best coverage without having to spend too much money.

Keeping things tidy

Another way of keeping your stress levels down is by keeping things tidy, particularly if you work at a desk often. You can buy desk organizers at most stationary shops but they tend to be very expensive so, instead, why not look up how to make your own desk organizer so you can save money and have a DIY project on the go.

Making the most of the great outdoors

Gym memberships can be vastly overpriced, and many people don’t even use them regularly enough to make the most of the money they are spending on them. One cost-effective way around this is to trade in your membership card and make the most of exercising where its free. Why not go for a run in your local park or do some morning yoga practice in your back garden before work each day. This is a great alternative because you get to do it somewhere you feel comfortable.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 37/53 – the simple things

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gibran

Probably around this time last year I joined Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie – known as Living Arrows where each week you share a photo from the week which celebrates childhood. I don’t know exactly why but this link up speaks to me! I love what it stands for and love the quote above that gave Donna the inspiration to start this.

I am aiming to link up each week but life sometimes get in the way. I missed last week but im back this week.  My photo this week is of my dad and my youngest son. Im not sure what it is about this photo but something in it touches a nerve and makes my heart swell with pride.

This pair have an unbreakable bond. Its such a beautiful relationship and I feel both are luck to have each other in their lives.  We spent a morning exploring the Botanic Gardens in Dublin.  No devices, no playground, nothing snazzy just simple fun exploring the gardens.  Sometimes we get consumed but having to do “something” visits to playgrounds, play centres, shows etc.

Sometimes paring it all back it just as effective and just as enjoyable. I had the most beautiful relationship with my granda and I love seeing the bond between this pair growing every day.

 

 

 

 

Living Arrows
Mamma Musings

The rise of messy play

It is known that children have always enjoyed getting messy — from splashing in puddles to playing games in the mud, youngsters love getting their hands dirty! Often, we let children discover these new environments themselves. However, messy play can be beneficial for babies and toddlers too, in fact it can help with their cognitive development in many ways. Together with Infinite Playgrounds, designers of wooden playgrounds and advocates of sensory play, we take a closer look at messy play and how it can be implemented in schools and nurseries.

What is it?

kids painting

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Messy play is all about allowing children to experience and explore objects that they aren’t always exposed to. It involves playing with anything that gets messy! This could be sand, water, chalk, paint or playdough. There are now many playgroups set up with messy play as the focus as the benefits have become widely recognised.

Often when parents play with their children, it is structured play with a target in mind — for example, pressing buttons to make the toy light up or make a sound. Messy play is different, as it is unstructured and allows the child to use their own imagination and explore new materials without any end goal.

This sort of play can support physical development too. As children create shapes with the materials, they are using their arms and they might push things around with their feet.

What are the benefits?

There are many benefits for children when they engage with messy play.   For children with special educational needs or disabilities, messy play is a good way for them to

messy play

Pic Credit: Pixabay

 interact with other children by communicating in different ways. They may be slower at reading or speaking but can join in with messy play. It can encourage children to develop the ability of creating signs and starting to write as well. By drawing pictures and shapes in the materials such as sand, they begin to discover their hands as writing tools and experiment with what they can do. This practice also allows them to build up their finger and arm muscles, which can be useful when children begin to pick up a pen.

Unstructured play in general allows toddlers and children to explore their imagination and practise concentration. As they come up with their own games or focus on moving the materials around, they learn more about how their bodies work and their spatial awareness improves.  Playing with the materials also allows the child to practice their fine motor skills and develop their hand-eye coordination. This goes on to improve their abilities in sports and involvement in games in the future.  Research has proven that toddlers are quicker to learn about solid objects due to their unchanging size and shape. Exposing children to soft materials allows them to learn more about non-solid materials and broaden their knowledge. It also allows them to compare and understand textures. For example, two things may look the same from afar but when they interact with them and touch them, they can understand the difference.

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Mamma Musings

Living Arrows 35/53 – back to school

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth – Kahlil Gibran

Probably around this time last year I joined Donna from What the Redhead Said linkie – known as Living Arrows where each week you share a photo from the week which celebrates childhood. I don’t know exactly why but this link up speaks to me! I love what it stands for and love the quote above that gave Donna the inspiration to start this. For the week that’s in it this weeks photo is of my oldest as he prepares to return to school this week. I always feel like this week is a bit bitter sweet, yes to getting back to normality and a set routine but no to missing so much time with my pair.

For me this photo sums up a lot about him, while you cant see his face you can see the concentration in his gesture. He is so like me in many ways. He likes to be prepared.  He loves PJ Masks and being surrounded by his favourites is sure to help instil some superpowers of his own in him.

Its such new territory for them and hopefully familiarity and self belief will help them be brave on their new journey just like his favourite superhero CatBoy.  He likes to call me Owlette, which im hoping is become his mamma has her own superpowers to help him in any and every way she can.

Good luck to everybody starting or returning to school this week, in the words of Oprah – “education is the key to unlocking the world, a passport to freedom

 

Living Arrows