The adventures of Jack Jack

The adventures of a first time Mummy and my son Jack.

Starting nursery

We were quite quiet last week and heres why…..

As first time parents every new experience for Jack is also new to Daddy and I.

Having survived the newborn, weaning, crawling and walking stages and being right at the start of the terrible two’s and potty training we had a few hurdles behind us but this week presented a new one.

As we are on a low income Jack is eligible to 15 hours of free nursery care a week, which I decided to divide into three 5 hour days.

I spent the weekend before researching what I needed to pack, what to expect on his first morning and healthy lunch ideas.

Monday night I was determined that the next morning would go without a hitch, bag packed (with 2 changes of clothes for captain pee, several nappies and wipes), coat and shoes out ready and a lovely healthy lunch made and ready to go.

10704960_10204346651044753_912451544_nedited

Bag packed, lunch down and this was the face I got when I asked if he was excited about going to nursery :)

I wanted to give J the best lunch possible for his first day, a day full of emotion and new experiences. I tried to stick to the main food groups, protein, fruit/veg, carb and dairy, so for J’s first lunch I made a pasta salad of Mattessons smoked sausage, tinned tomatoes, onion, courgette, butternut squash and pasta. I also added a few Ella’s kitchen multigrain snacks, grapes, a box of raisins and huggy bear biccies. I was very impressed by how much of it he ate as he usually picks at his food and some days refuses to eat anything but fruit.

We had taken Jack on two taster sessions and he got stuck in and couldn’t care if we were there or not, unfortunately on Tuesday morning he wasn’t so enthusiastic. Everything was going well until we walked through the nursery doors, then the tears started first from J and then me.  Once in the toddler room we tried everything to distract him from “Wow dinosaurs” to staff setting out a colouring activity (his favourite) but as soon as I tried to leave he would cling to my leg like a koala. After about 15 minutes one of the staff took a handful of children out in the garden and as J tagged along Daddy and I were able to slip away, or so I thought. As we closed the door to the toddler room I could hear him hot tailing it from the other end of the nursery and hammering on the door screaming “Mummy!”

It took everything I had to sign him in and leave instead of tearing down the door that stood between me and my hysterical child. It took me a while to settle myself once we were back home and the usual toddler chatter and laughter was replaced by silence. Still at least I got a lot of housework done that morning, with no one under my feet.

10600517_10204346966252633_7892624245221711562_nedited

J ready for nursery that morning

As 2pm came round I found myself practically skipping with joy as we climbed in the car ready to collect him. For all his messes, tantrums and refusal to behave some days he is my world and in some ways a rock for my confidence and focus so when he is not around I feel it more than his father.

When we arrived at the door to collect him we were given a run down by the staff about his day and it sounded like a busy one, playing in the garden, dancing to nursery rhymes, playing shop and drawing pictures. He had eaten all of his lunch except for his huggy bear biscuits which he polished off on the journey home.

While we were talking another staff member had gone to collect J from the garden and we could see her point us out to him through the french windows. Once J had caught sight of Daddy and I he excitedly banged on the window then charged down the ramp from the raised garden into the nursery and shouting “Mummy!!!” at the top of his voice, ran into my arms and gave me the biggest hug. For the second time that day I was in tears but this time at the cuteness my boy had just shown.

14216_10204354876730390_7101393786311267836_nedited

I was very surprised that Jack refused an afternoon nap once we were home, he doesn’t usually have them but it had been a tiring day. He did however fall asleep at 6pm and when I woke him up for his dinner he said he didn’t want it and went back to sleep until 5am the next morning!

Unsurprisingly he was full of energy and pretty hungry by then so up we got two hours earlier than planned for his second day of nursery. The night before I had packed him a lunchbox full of yummy things such as a dairylea dunkers orange, crackers and a plum mighty four pouch. Jack isnt a big fan of bread so I had bought him some sandwich thins hoping he would prefer them and I even let him choose that days filling, cherry jam he asked sweetly. I cut it into bite size pieces and decorated it with little cucumber stars trying to make it look as appetizing possible but unfortunately when we picked him up he had eaten everything but.

Dropping him off that morning was a little easier but he did take a little coaxing to get stuck in with an activity, giving us time to leave. No tears or hysterics that morning which was a plus and reassured me that I was doing the right thing.

As we arrived to pick him up once again he charged across the room once he saw me and presented me with a picture he had made, his first without my help. It is now in pride of place on his art wall, as silly as it sounds I am very proud of that picture because he made it all by himself by joining in with the other children.

984215_10204354880010472_7300031616384483513_nJack didn’t want to leave and ended up being carried out mid tantrum by Daddy, can’t get him in can’t get him out!

That afternoon Jack had his first afternoon nap in a long time, even if it did take a bit of wriggly toddler wrestling to get him down.

10419939_10204355436944395_8406984698348681035_nedited

Jack woke up on Thursday morning coughing and sneezing and was hard work that morning, point blank refusing breakfast and having to be held down just to brush his teeth. Dropping him off felt like we were back to square one, because he felt under the weather he just wanted Mummy cuddles but he wasn’t poorly enough to keep home.

30 minutes in and I was still crouched on the floor trying to be overly enthusiastic about the toy trains as Jack sobbed into my shoulder. One of the staff suggested going into the garden, remembering how much J liked the bubbles they were blowing on Tuesday. He soon got stuck in chasing the bubbles and Daddy and I slipped out the back gate and I tried to ignore the hysterics of my screaming child as we walked back round the sign him in.

Thursday's lunch

Thursday’s lunch

Again once it was time to go home Jack didn’t want to leave but was just as clingy with me as he had been that morning, a sure sign he was feeling a bit poorly. Foreseeing this I had bought him a new colouring book earlier in the day which distracted him long enough to get him in the car.

Phew, I hope this week is slightly easier.

Have your little ones started school or nursery recently?

Silent Sunday 14/09/2014

10600517_10204346966252633_7892624245221711562_nedited

SONY DSC Silent-Sunday

Making memories at RAF Coningsby

Jack, Daddy and I are big fans of The Battle of Britain aircraft (Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster bombers) and are lucky enough to live just down the road from RAF Coningsby  where the Battle of Britain memorial flight is based.

375699_391380657583620_620372134_n

This year is very special in the RAF world as the only two flying Lancaster bombers are flying together for the 1st time in over 60 years. A Canadian Lanc called ‘Vera’ has joined our Lanc called ‘Thumper’ for the 2Lancs tour, flying at displays and events around the country .

There is another Lancaster at East Kirkby called  ‘Just Jane’, which unfortunately does not have its airworthy certificate but does taxi along the runway. Through The Battle of Britain memorial flight facebook page I learnt that ‘Vera’ and ‘Thumper’ were flying over ‘Just Jane’ while she taxied along the runway and that it would only happen on two different days (2nd and 7th of September), a once in a lifetime sight.

Daddy and I decided that with Jacks nursery taster session on the morning of the 3rd it would be better to aim for Sunday 7th of September, and it was lucky that we did as the fly over on the 2nd was cancelled while ‘Vera’ had an engine replaced.

It wasn’t until that cancellation that I learnt the events were ticket only to see all 3 Lancs and both events were sold out, however the two airworthy Lancasters would be returning to base at RAF Coningsby shortly after and they have a viewing car park that allows you to watch aircraft take off and land. As a bonus RAF Coningsby is slightly closer than East Kirkby, a plus when you get travel sick and have a restless 2 year old in the car.

When Sunday afternoon came round the three of us packed a few snacks for the journey and my Ipad and camera (to take as many pictures as possible) and set off for the 40 minute journey. When we got there the car park was overflowing and people were parking on the embankment along the side of the road, luckily we found a space and once parked got a good spot at the fence.

Jack not really knowing what we were waiting for started to get restless and this is where the snacks came in handy. Munching away happily he stood by my side while Daddy, I and everyone around us scanned the skies and tried to listen for the sound of eight roaring Merlin engines over the noise of the passing traffic.

10592697_10204335465845130_3762247568475377178_nedited

A man standing next to me nudged my arm and pointed at a hangar across the airfield, telling me

“there they are”

Now I have 20/20 vision but do have trouble picking out details on light backgrounds such as the bright blue sky that day. I couldn’t see a thing and was getting more and more frustrated as the excited muttering around me grew and even Daddy said

“I can see them, their over there”

Where!!! I can’t see them.

It was at that point we heard the faint growl of the engines and even Jack piped up

“Airpane!!”

Ah right THERE they are, I see them now.

I took tight hold of the reins I had on Jack, knowing full well he would try to charge off in the direction of the aircraft and selected the camera option on my shiny new Ipad while Daddy was on camera duty.

We couldnt have picked a better spot at the fence as they flew a lap of the base, right over our heads!

With Jack mesmerised by the sight while Daddy and I frantically took as many pictures as we could, hoping they wouldn’t be blurry.DSCN056610416608_10204335592648300_6535720476400245575_n10612720_10204335592608299_5487290964862894593_nDSCN0577

 

Within a few minutes both ‘Vera’ and ‘Thumper’ had landed and J lost interest again, until Daddy put him on his shoulders for a better view.

10458039_10204335582488046_5179825194970001406_nedited 10404284_10204335577447920_7031798593653482659_nedited

That afternoons excitement caught up with J on the journey home as he nodded off, Brewer the bear in hand of course.

10636023_10204376585993108_2039961964265274853_nedited

I am very privileged to have seen the once in a lifetime sight of the last two flying Lancasters and Jack has been telling me about it ever since.DSCN0588

Have you experienced a once in a lifetime sight?

th_Country_Kids_badge_transparent

 

Silent Sunday 07/09/14

DSCN0588SONY DSC Silent-Sunday

Toddler crafts

Craft activities are a brilliant way for toddlers to have fun and learn at the same time. There are so many ways you can combined the two, how about a colour in world map or learning to cook.

With his cousins birthday earlier this week Jack and I spent last weekend making a picture for him.

Jack loves crafting and viking direct very kindly sent us a box full of goodies, some of which we used on the picture.

10599255_10204250835209417_3478180904702379589_nedited

I let Jack have free access to paper, colouring books and crayons but have never let him use felt tips before for fear of stains on his clothes and drawings all over the house. The ‘color peps’  felt tips are water soluble so easily wash out of clothes and off hands and with broad nibs, they are perfect for little ones.

We also used UHU glue stick and googly eyes to make a monster, made by my little monster. I am impressed by the range of crafting items for low prices at Viking direct, especially as I always thought they were only an office supplier.

10544240_10204250835369421_3662284012012834209_oedited

Such a simple activity that kept Jack busy for over an hour, ripping tissue paper, gluing and sticking and colouring in.

10615615_10204250835289419_3475690271280265576_nedited7347_10204250836569451_4414061768760609476_nedited

Earlier in the week we did a similar activity by making an underwater scene using black sugar paper, paint and lots of foil, tissue paper and fish shapes.

This time however I wasn’t so trusting of the poster paint and striped J down to his nappy.

DSCN0556edited

Little crafts like these help improve hand eye coordination and allow self expression and we all know the meltdowns when your little one can’t express what they are thinking or feeling.

DSCN0560

We also made gingerbread biscuits (which you can read here) which allowed Jack to start learning about weights and quantities. He helped me mix the ingredients, roll out and cut the biscuits and decorate them once they had been cooked.

Because he made them himself J also has a sense of pride that he wouldn’t have got had I made the biscuits for him.

10646611_10204293927766704_652581839534781825_nedited

There are lots of sites out there with craft ideas, a few that I use are:

The Imagination tree (for our homemade sensory play dough, sensory bottles, salt dough hand prints, cloud dough and homemade paint).

intheplayroom (for our role play makes and junk modelling)

Red Ted Art (for our loom band makes, model making and character makes).

What crafts do your little ones enjoy?

 

Disclaimer: I was sent these products in return for a link to Viking direct, all opinions and photos are my own.

Gingerbread biscuits

Today Jack and I made gingerbread biscuits (and conquered his fear of messy hands, bonus).
Unfortunately our kitchen is tiny so I had to commander Jacks play table in the living room so that he could help. The recipe is nice and simple, perfect for making with your 2 year old.

Ingredients:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • I used greaseproof paper as a surface for Jack to roll out the dough because we were using the kitchen surface, you probably won’t need it.

 Gingerbread ingredients

"I'm ready Mummy"

“I’m ready Mummy”

Combine the flour, ginger and soda and rub in the butter.

1496659_10204293918806480_5958666417903670596_nedited

Add the sugar and stir in the syrup and egg to make a firm dough.

10653429_10204293920646526_2030902627349234727_nedited

Roll out to about 5mm thick and cut into desired shape.

15684_10204293922686577_4883135854889325298_nedited10659442_10204293922526573_4884851500173496065_nedited

 

Place onto a greased baking tray (spaced out as they spread during cooking) and pop in the fridge for 15 minutes to help the dough firm up and keep its shape.

10639454_10204293922606575_8535812994800065531_n

Bake in a preheated oven (190c) for 10 to 15 minutes.

Leave to firm for a few minutes before putting on a wire rack to cool.

I then had the difficult task of trying not to snaffle any of the lovely warm biscuits while setting everything up for Jack to decorate them.

We used red, blue and white icing and star sprinkles as well as 100’s and 1000’s (oh the mess!)

My little chef

My little chef

10579967_10204293926526673_3870392746398306366_nedited10603590_10204293926366669_7319954926187648088_nedited10616145_10204293927686702_8772223408101157707_nedited

10250157_10204293926406670_4543718898088482246_n

Daddy decorated a biscuit too

 

Then for the taste test.

10646611_10204293927766704_652581839534781825_nedited10426241_10204293931446796_1523847912443904944_nedited

Jack certainly enjoyed the biscuits he had made and decorated, if only he helped with the clear up :)

Have you made any tasty treats with your little ones?

recipe-of-the-weekkidsinkitchenlinky

Silent Sunday 31/08/14

DSCN0561edited

 

SONY DSC Silent-Sunday

Silent Sunday 24/08/14

10589987_10204188626654242_885186405_nedited

 

SONY DSC Silent-Sunday

Blogging tips and tricks

tips n tricks

 

While I am by no means a successful or well known blogger, I have been on the scene for just over 2 years. In that time I have picked up tips and information that has proved invaluable. Its time to pass on that knowledge.

 

writing

Writing

  • Take your time – Blogging is not a race, its not about who review’s an item first or how many you can ‘knock out’ in a day. Pounder and muse over your writing and let it flow naturally.

 

  • Check and recheck – Reading over your work helps to spot mistakes and helps plant the idea of the next paragraph. I find it useful to write a post then step away for a moment. When I reread it after a short break I often find parts that need wording differently or think of more to add.

 

  • Stick to the topic – If you are writing a review, stick to that product. Outline the pro’s and con’s and your own opinion. A little extra info can sometimes add a personal touch but don’t run away with it and go off on a tangent.

 

  • Listen to your writing – I use google translate to check my posts by sound rather than sight alone. Listening to it rather than just reading reveals a lot more than you’d think.

 

  • Review your own items – Reviewing products you have bought yourself, as well as those given to you for that specific purpose, adds weight to your blog and shows companies you are not simply ‘in it for the freebies’ (although they are a bonus).

 

 

design

 

Design

  • K.I.S.S – “Keep it simple stupid”. A difficult to navigate blog is likely to put readers off, regardless of the content. Use menus and tags to group reviews, giveaways and posts together.

 

  • Giveaways – Make it clear in the title what it is and make sure you have all the details in your terms and conditions. What is the prize, how many, where (UK, Worldwide ect), start and end dates, how long participants have to reply to your email before it is withdrawn, what they need to do to enter and if any are optional and if you will be announcing the winner on social media. Rafflecopter and gleam make it a lot easier for your readers to enter, with all comments, links and entries in one place.

 

  • Create a warm welcome – Visitors will be drawn to your blog for the personal touch just as much a they are for the content. A good ‘about me’ page and widget lets readers (and PR’s) get to know you better and feel as if they are checking up on the adventures of a friend. It also allows you the opportunity to have a little fun, you can use pictures or fun facts to describe yourself and the reason for your blog. On mine I included a comical ‘likes and dislikes’ for both myself and Jack.

 

shout

 

Make yourself known

Blogging relies on virtual word of mouth, you could write a brilliant post only for no one to read it.

  • Social media – as much as a distraction and nuisance they can be, facebook, twitter, google + and the countless other social media sites can give you a wider audience to share your posts with. Many bloggers set up their own facebook page and post regular links to their latest post. There are also blogger groups on facebook, such as UK bloggers and blogsrus where you can pick up tips, ask questions and spot review opportunities.

 

  • Schedule - Facebook pages give you the option to schedule a link or status but I personally use Buffer. This site allows you to link your blog to every social media page you use and schedule links for all of them. Blogs themselves have the option to schedule, handy if you can’t sleep and no one will see the post if you publish it. Scheduling also means you can spend one day a week blogging yet have posts publishing all week, keeping your traffic steady.

 

  • Communicate - Interact with your readers. End posts with, “What would you do differently?” or “What are your views?”. Entice your readers to connect with you. Joining in with linkys is also a fab way of becoming friendly with fellow bloggers. A full list of linky’s can be found on the blogsrus facebook group here.

 

  • Actively seek out work – if like me you use your blog as a little more than a diary, then you need to search for the guest posts and reviews. Twitter is a good media to use with its hashtags such as #bloggerstoreview and #bloggerswanted, facebook blogging groups are also useful to watch as opportunities are sometimes posted or screenshots from other sites added.

 

  • Use networks - There are tons and tons of blogger networks out there ready to support you, offer tips and blogging opps and help push your blog to a wider audience. As a parenting blogger here are a few I use: Mumsnet, Netmums, Britmums, Tots100 and Bzzagent.

 

  • Make it clear – use a PR/contact me page to explain the reason for your blog, if you are looking to earn or work with brands and how they can contact you. An email address will suffice, you dont know whos reading your blog!

 

  • Don’t let yourself be pushed around – if you agree to reviewing a product or writing a post to an agreed set of guidelines, both sides need to stick to it. If a brand or PR company are messing you around or changing things at the last minute, you can refuse or pull the post. When it comes to sponsored posts (posts where you are paid to write about a certain product or topic) the rules are very similar, but you do need to add a disclaimer at the bottom of you post stating it was sponsored and you do need to inform the taxman of your earnings. Products sent to review are classed as tools for the job. They only become taxed if you sell them.

 

useful tips

 

Useful tips

  • Watermark – watermarking pictures can help avoid them being used elsewhere, as they will have your blog name or copyright on the image. This can be done on photoshops online editor by clicking tools, Photoshop express editor then upload a picture. You can then crop and edit it as you like and add a watermark by clicking on decorate and then text. You don’t have to use pictures but they help draw your readers in and break up walls of text.

 

  • Ranking – We all hate leaderboards but they are a necessity in the blogging world. When working with companies, especially on sponsored posts, they will more than likely ask for your PR or page rank. This can be found easily by entering your blogs url at checkpagerank.net (you can also find other rankings that are useful but not as important as page rank) but there are many other sites you can use to check page and other ranks.

 

  • Be passionate - Remember how boring it was writing essays about the book you were reading in English or how to solve algebra while you were at school? You don’t want your blog to be the same or you’ll soon lose interest. My main interest is my son Jack and what we get up to, so thats what I write about.

 

  • Keep notes – I keep a notebook with me at all times to jot down ideas or reminders. Too many times my early morning call of nature has been joined by an idea, only to be forgotten when its time to get up. Organisation is also key, all those information sheets and contact info has to be stored somewhere.

 

I hope my tips are helpful and not too overwhelming. Feel free to bookmark this page and use it as a checklist or reminder while working on your blog or contact me if you need help.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

 

Silent Sunday 17/8/14

10609542_801746903189197_8451136006899073684_nedited

 

SONY DSC Silent-Sunday

Post Navigation

Wandering Iris

Road trips to out of the way places.

Kendall F. Person, thepublicblogger

where writing is a performance art and every post is a show

A Rear Facing Family

Did you know it's 500% SAFER to rear-face your child?

annotated audrey art

Art gives me energy. Coffee is for the moments in between creations.

serenagilbert

A great WordPress.com site

Water Gypsy Blog

A Diary Of Our Adventures On The Water

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Ray Ferrer - Emotion on Canvas

** OFFICIAL Site of Artist Ray Ferrer **

Internationally Unrelated

Just international stuff

Mummy Wife Woman

With a Bit Of Wonder Woman Thrown in For Good Measure

tea & paper

nest for simplicity and creativity

dobetteralways

Welcome to the Monkey House

Çanakkale Şehitlik Turu

Çanakkale Şehitlik Turu, Çanakkale Turu

Çanakkale Hakkında Herşey

A fine WordPress.com site

HarsH ReaLiTy

My goal with this blog is to offend everyone in the world at least once with my words… so no one has a reason to have a heightened sense of themselves. We are all ignorant, we are all found wanting, we are all bad people sometimes.

tracynixon1975blog

The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!

Umeandthekids

Family Lifestyle and Parenting Blog

The adventures of Jack Jack

The adventures of a first time Mummy and my son Jack.

Going through life one book at a time.

Over 40 and a Mum to One

Me and my Monkey son enjoying life and having fun:)

Mummy Alarm

- when motherhood comes by surprise

the-gingerbread-house.co.uk

A London based crafts and lifestyle blog since 2005

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 890 other followers