Thursday, 29 January 2015

Brainboost box

We were very lucky to be sent a brainboost box. If you haven't heard about them then I will just explain a little about what it is. Brainboost is a monthly subscription box aimed at children between 2-12 years old, founded by Dr.Maryhan Baker. Maryhan came up with play based learning programme to help with children's development in, behaviour, confidence and wellbeing. The box is £20 a month but the price is cheaper is you choose one of the subscription choices, of which you can cancel at any time. They also offer a refund if you are not happy with the box. The box contains five games each game aims to improve each one of the following areas, cognitive ability, emotional intelligence, communication, physical skills and creativity. So lets take a look at what we got.

I was so impressed when I opened the box I thought it might of had a few cut out and stick type of activities, I was wrong the items that come in the box for the games are fantastic. We had two musical instruments which for us was a tambourine and a castanet, 15 couloured cotton reels with two shoe laces, paper plates, lollipop sticks, coloured pencils, fish to colour, magnets, animal figures and a wooden sheep called harry. 

   This is Harry, the game is called where is Harry hiding? The card explains how to play the game and the how to engage with the child when playing the game. The card also shows you which skills it develops, for this game the following skills are improved:
 Develops an awareness of the spatial relationship between objects.                                                                             Develops turn-taking skills, attention and concentration

This was a great game and Jared really enjoyed it, on the reverse of the card it shows modifications that can be made to the game. 

With the musical instruments we play a game a bit similar to musical statues but you are making the music. I let Jared pick which instrument he wanted, to my surprise he picked the castanet. I showed him how to use the castanet and he was a pro in no time.  

The next game we played was a threading game. We used the shoelaces and the cotton reels for this game. I thought Jared would struggle with this one as we have never done any threading activities with him and as he isn't yet at nursery I thought he wouldn't know how to do it. I got everything out and explain what we were going to do, as I tied a knot in one end of each of the laces he placed the cotton reels in piles of colour. Jared choose his shoelace and then picked up a coloured cotton reel, now on the instruction card it tells you what to say to your child about what we are about to do and explain what you are doing to show them how to do it. I got through the first sentence and he had that reel on and was putting on another. I was so impressed. 

  Please excuse the stains on my floor.        

We had two other games one was a sorting task which used the cotton reels and the animals and the other was about emotions where we used the paper plates to draw faces relating the emotion we were talking about. As I have mentioned each game does have modification ideas on the back of the card but you could also add your own modification to the game. 

As well as the five games you get the project card ours was "Let's go fishing". For this we coloured in fish and cut them out. We also got to make our fishing rods we tied the string to the pole and stuck a magnet on the end, we then placed a paper clip onto the noses of each fish. This game has now been played by everyone who comes to our house Jared loves it and tells as many as he can about this game. During this game I would ask him just to catch certain coloured fish which proved a bit tricky as there pond was little so the over lapped but he did this very well. We also both caught fish then I got him to count how many fish he had and how many I had then asked him to tell me who had more.


I love this subscription box, I know it is a bit on the more expensive side when it comes to subscription boxes, but I believe it is well worth the money. The quality in the items you get are fantastic and I know Jared has really enjoyed playing all the games plus he will always have these games to play. I love that the box is fun but is teaching him so much rather then just paying for a box of make a do type item and the cards you get tell you which skills are being used and improved. On the website the box is half price for your first try. 

Disclaimer:This product was sent to me for free to try out but that has in noway influenced my opinions on this product.  

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Herd Tracker

Have you ever wanted to go on a safari? I love the idea of going as I'm a huge animal lover and it would be amazing. A part from the lack of money I have to afford to go on one I always wonder if I do go will I even get to see anything. For the past few weeks I have been checking to see where a herd of Wildebeest have been and what they have been doing, all with the use of herd tracker. So with herd tracker you can track the migration of the herd by using the web-app which is set out a bit like twitter and with the use of google maps. The where abouts of the herd is updated weekly and you can read about their journey on the live feed page which has every update on. The feed also includes pictures and videos which helps for the people like me who can't yet afford a safari trip. The herd is tracked by several sources which include pilots who fly over the Serengeti, could you get a better job! 

The website is really easy to navigate and works perfectly on my laptop, mobile and tablet. I love that the information we are given is wrote by the people who work and live there and not just by someone who is watching a satellite following the movement. As I mentioned above there are pictures and videos which are posted alongside the updates which I loved going through, I would like to point out that although they track Wildebeest the updates do mention Zebras, wild dogs, lions and many more that you would expect to be roaming the Serengeti. 

Another great feature of the website is that they have a section that shows you last minute prices to accommodation near to the herd. I spent a while looking through and falling in love with certain places that I could happily live in for the rest of my life. Under each place it tells you in KM how far away the herd are this is too maximise your chances to see some great and amazing wild animals. 

If you are in two minds of where to go away this year just have a look at this website follow the herd and check out the accommodation page, this can help you plan your perfect safari maybe it will be for your honeymoon or just a little holiday but this will certainly assist you if a safari is on your list of holiday options.   

Monday, 19 January 2015

Our trip to A&E

While most people on a Saturday night were out having fun or settling down to have a date night with their partner. We were getting ready to go to A&E with Jared. We had had dinner and a bath and it was time for Jared to go to bed, I was all snugly in my PJs waiting for Big Brother to start. Just then Jared said to Daddy "googly eye in my nose" Daddy let out a little curse and had a peak. Yep there it was a googly eye well and truly wedged up his nostril. We didn't run to A&E right away we knew it would most likely be busy on a Saturday evening so we tried to find something to pull it out ourselves and just our luck we couldn't find tweezers anywhere!
We got to A&E at 9:25 and luckily it wasn't too busy Jared kept trying to shove his finger up his nose and sneezing but that eye just wouldn't come out. After waiting an hour and a bit we were called through. I was still giggling that he had a googly eye up his nose. Now I'm not a doctor but I thought it would be pretty simple just grab a pair of them long tweezer scissors that they have and pull it out but no. Doctor number one clearly wasn't used to working with children he didn't really try and engage with him just tried to shove a light up his nose which resulting in Jared screaming and trying to kick him. He asked me to blow into Jareds mouth to try push the eye out four attempts and no luck so off he went. Doctor number two he was better with children and even complimented on how well Jared talks and communicates for his age, he had a look up his nose could see the eye and went off to get something to pull it out. We sat in a room waiting for Doctor number two to come back here are a few snaps I thought I would take as a memento excuse the chocolate face. 


    As you can tell we got bored of waiting. After a good 40 mins Doctor number three arrived with tools. She was fabulous she dealt with a very tired and fed up two year old brilliantly. She had a head torch hat on which she promised Jared could try on after he she could have a look at his ouchy, he complied the eye was pulled out. Finally at quarter to midnight we could go home. Jared being Jared made a grand exit telling the Doctor and nurses he would "see you next time" then telling them about his googly eye again and that he likes diggers. I should add that before all this happened Liam noticed the googly eyes on the felt mice we had made and told me about when he was little he shoved one in his ear and spent a few hours in A&E, like father like son, the saying has never been more fitting.

Have you ever had to go to hospital after your child thought shoving a small object into one of their orifices would be a good idea? If you have tell us your story in the comments below.  

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Toucan box

A little box slipped through our letterbox, as normal Jared went running for the post. The little box had pictures and patterns all over it. It was our Toucan box which we had order only a week before. If you haven't heard of Toucan box it is a subscription box but aimed at children and doing crafts. Your first box is free if you use a promo code which you can get on facebook, which is how I came across them. After the first box it cost from £3.95 a fortnight but you can choose a plan that suits you best. So time to open the box and see what crafty thing we were going to make. 

The box contains everything you need to make the craft that they send you. The only thing that wasn't included was scissors. The instructions were really easy for me to follow, now my son is only two so this was a bit tricky for him. There were three pieces of felt so I let Jared pick which colour he wanted the body of the mouse to be and which colour for the ears. I then used the templates that come with the kit to cut out the shapes, and make the body and ears of the mouse.

We had the basic parts of the mouse the next part was to stick on the googly eyes a sequin nose and make the tail. This is where Jared could help he stuck on the eyes and picked which sequin he wanted for the nose and chose the colours for the tail. 

We had enough materials to make three mice. Which we then used to make a story with after Jared had named them. The three mice are now called Green, Digger and House. To make these mice it doesn't take long we spent about half an hour on making them but then we played with them after for about an hour telling stories and singing 'three blind mice'. I would suggest using some glue to stick on the eyes as the sticky pads that are provided to fall off and I have been popping eyes on all day since. The good thing about this is that we always have the template and the instruction so we can make these in the future or he can make them at his Nanna's. 

Monday, 12 January 2015

Lets go to...

We like to take Jared to many different places on our days off. Lately though it seems like we need to save for a month just to be able to go and have some family fun. This year we decided that we wanted to do more with our son rather then just a walk or a trip to the park. I know he loves going to feed the ducks and spending twenty minuets on the slide, but as a family me and Liam found that we weren't really doing anything fun as a family. Now don't get me wrong seeing Jared run about and laughing is great but we want to do things where we all laugh and have fun. 

Our first thought was to go bowling, we have one bowling alley close to us which is in Xscape. So I had a look to see how much it would cost us, £25 for one game of bowling. Am I being tight? or is that a little too much for two adults and a toddler? I was thinking more along the lines of £15 then we could grab some food before heading home. I just can't justify £25 for bowling if maybe that was for two games that wouldn't be a problem but for one game!! So we looked at the mini golf we knew Jared would find it hard to hit the ball but we thought it could be fun nearly £40, we passed and just decided to stay in and paint. 

I'm now on a hunt for cheap family fun days out. We all like different things so it's finding something that we will all enjoy. We want to take our digger mad child back to diggerland but again it is very expensive for what it is for us to go it would cost just under £60. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older but days out just seem to cost too much. I never went to loads of places as a child but swimming and bowling were the cheap days out which now doesn't seem to be the case. I spend hours looking online for deals and cheap days out for what we can do. In the next coming weeks I'm hoping to get together a list of cheap fun days out they will be for around the Yorkshire area so if you live in Yorkshire pop back have a look and if you have been to any the places then let me know your thoughts. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Toddlers don't sleep

I'm pretty sure that my toddler doesn't know what sleep is!! Maybe there is some midnight group somewhere full of sleep deprived parents, if your a member tell me where I sign up. I'm currently going into the fourth month of sleep deprivation surviving on coffee, thank god I got a Tassimo for Christmas or else I would struggle to even pour a cup. I'm well aware I'm not the first parent to be in this situation and as much as I would like to be the last I know I will not be. My son is very bright maybe this is why he can't sleep I don't know but daddy and me have tried everything we can find on the internet to try and get a good nights sleep. Here is what we have tried and not succeeded with so far.

Cut out naps 
We honestly thought this would be the solution quick and easy to do. Well we were very wrong on this one it made him over tired on a night. Also come dinner time he didn't want to eat anything he would cry and scream and get all worked up resulting finally going to sleep at 10 then waking up during the night for a drink of milk. So naps stayed but we have limited them to shorter naps.

No sweets after 5
What with Halloween then Christmas this was hard to do but we did it we ignored the tantrums and hid as many sweets and biscuits as we could. He doesn't eat a lot of sweets or chocolate but after his dinner we would let him have some chocolate and a biscuit and maybe a sweet or two. It made sense that all the sugar he had consumed would affect him going to sleep so it was one yoghurt or a jelly after dinner and nothing else. This also hasn't solved our problem although we do stick to the a yoghurt or a jelly after dinner.

Bath, brush, bed 
Although he has always had a routine of some kind we tried the whole bath then brush your teeth then off to bed to rest your sleepy head. I read that this should last no longer then two hours and that after your little angel was tucked into bed they would drift off into a lovely sleep. So we gave him a bath brushed his teeth and tucked him in. What is that silence?! No it is him kicking and screaming and trying to climb over the stair gate. This is when I tried the next bit of advice.

Gradually leave
So I have tucked him in he has his teddy, cushion, blanket and milk plus a digger and a car which he apparently can't sleep without. I give him a kiss and say good night this is when he starts to cry and get out of bed so I tuck him back in and sit there in his room and gradually move towards his door. Now this did work eventually but it took two hours for him to fall sleep I ignored his every request to go downstairs. Now it was half 10 and time for my bed which was short lived as he woke up at 3 then 4 then again at 5 where I shoved him in our bed as I could hardly keep my eyes open. 

What do you mean you don't read to your child at night. Ok so we never used to do it and this was because during the day when we played we would also read about 100 books. My son gets very excited when reading a book he looks at all the pictures and points out letters. We use reading to make him learn and not bore him to sleep. But we tried it anyway three stories later he was asleep it looked like we were onto a winner with this one. Night 4 and 6 stories later he was still wide awake talking about diggers, no diggers were present in the stories but he added them.

Sleep where ever 
This tip isn't exactly what the experts will tell you to do but we saw and thought you know what lets just try it. He always asks to sleep in mummies bed so mummies bed it was, when he is asleep the transfer happens and he is back into his own room. Of course he still wakes during the night but this means me and daddy can spend an hour together before going to bed. 

So this post is more of a plea for help then advice for any other heavy eyed parents searching for a good nights sleep. Our next step is to by him a bigger bed it's all we can think of now nothing else works for us. I just hope the new bed brings something even if it means daddy gets a bed rather then the sofa after being evicted from his bed by wide awake club.