October Half Term Ideas

October Half Term Ideas

The beginning of October has gone and my children only have 8 more days at school before it’s half term!! How did that happen? I am now racking my brains for ideas how to keep the Pickles entertained. So thought I would share my October Half Term Ideas with you all.

It will be nice to have a week and a half again with no routine. No 6 am wake ups to get my eldest 2 to the bus stop by 7.30am.

Now I need to decide what we are going to do with the days that the pickles are off school. Well, my bank balance is still recovering from the summer holiday. Plus having to buy school uniform, shoes and bus passes, for the kids return to work last month. Also with the festivities only 11 weeks away (Sorry, if like me you are trying to ignore this!) I will be watching the pennies to go towards Christmas surprises.

Luckily we have National Trust Membership and lots of NT properties close to home. If the weather is fine we can go and explore some of the houses and gardens at local NT properties. One of our favourite NT properties is Stourhead, it always looks lovely in the autumn so definitely worth a trip. 

Not a National Trust member then I’m sure you will have a nearby park or woods. Where you will still go and have some autumn fun. If the leaves are dry the Pickles can collect a bag full of leaves and twigs as they make lovely pictures, this will give us an indoor activity if we have a wet day.  Although I am not a fan of walking in the rain I will have to brace myself if it’s  rainy as we all of wellies, raincoats and the 2 littlest Pickles both have rain trousers thanks to Dry Kids.

Now that the Pickles are a bit older on a fine day we will go the park with some bats and balls to have a game of rounders or cricket, although we don’t stick to the rules or are too strict on scoring as this prevents battles. It’s just so that they can all run around to let off steam and wear them out.

We have a subscription to Now TV  so love to have a film marathon, with buckets full of popcorn. Nothing like a lovely lazy film afternoon to relax and recharge our batteries.

When I was little we used to have indoor picnics on autumn afternoons. If you cook with your Pickles then this could fill a lot of the day as you could make cakes, sausage rolls, cheese straws etc with them and then have these at the picnic. Cooking isn’t my thing so I will get the picnic bits at the supermarket or just raid the fridge and do with what we have at home. 

I think am going to try an Indoor Treasure Hunt if it’s the weather isn’t on our side this Half Term. Now my children’s rooms are always untidy. It seems that as soon as I finish tidying it and walk downstairs the toys and books throw themselves on the floor!! So I am going to make a list, for each Pickle. For example, they can find a Barbie with clothes on, a red car. They will have to collect 10 things each and get a prize for doing it nothing massive. But before they get their prize they will have put their items away in the right place 1st.

My last saving grace for a wet half term is our local scrapstore. The pickles can go and have a rummage, picking up all sorts of bits for crafting, including big sheets of paper to stick the bits onto. At our local one, we can fill a bag full of goodies for a minimal fee. Coming home with enough to keep the Pickles amused for ages. There are now Scrapstores all over the UK, so I’m sure there is one local to you.

Well, I hope these ideas will help you have a great half term. I have now reminded myself of all the great things we can do and am actually looking forward to having the Pickles at home again.

Written by Jessamine aka Mummy Pickle, you can follow our families half term adventures over in Instagram

 

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family decluttering tips

10 Family Decluttering Tips

Life can be hectic with your Little Pickles, work and other commitments. Sometimes the house can get a little neglected and before you know it chaos has struck. So we thought we would share 10 family decluttering tips.

  1. Get the Little Pickles involved. – Sometimes the kids can be very helpful. So take time with them to go through toys and clothes they have grown out of. Once sorted you can put away for younger siblings, pass on to friends and family or ready to sell. They can also help put the things they want to keep away too.
  2. Schedule Times to do it and keep to it – The weeks can whizz by and before you know it there is more and more clutter builds. So pull out your diary and set some days or a couple of hours aside to have a clear out.
  3. Assign a home for everything – Most of us are guilty of having a pile or two of things that have no designated home. Change that make sure every item you own has somewhere to live. Then when you are tidying it will be put away instead of moving from one place to the next.
  4. Break it down into small steps – When you think about all the jobs that need doing it can seem pretty daunting. So make a list and break jobs down into small more achievable steps. It’s always great to tick lots of small jobs off than waiting ages to tick off a huge task.
  5. Nothing on the floor – A clear floor a clear mind, a room can instantly look much tidier if the floor is clear. So once the kids have finished playing encourage them to tidy up. Clear those shoes from in the hallway, pick up that used mug or plate.
  6. Have an in-tray and out-tray – As your pickles grow the forms seem to be never ending. Whether it is school trip letters, clubs enrollment forms or that tax credits return. Pop them into the in-tray and then you know where they all are. Once they have been completed pop in the out-tray ready to be returned or posted. When your pickles are older it can be their responsibility to empty letters out of their school book bags themselves.
  7. Make a list of target areas – you might have a problem area in your house. I know ours is our hallway, as it is so easy to walk in the door and dump shoes coats. Or create a pile of things to go up on the stairs. If you have an area that bugs you make it a priority to clear it once and for all and lay down the rules to keep it clutter-free.
  8. Clean up after meals – it is so easy to have your tea then feel full and want to just chill on the sofa. When you get up to go to bed there’s nothing worse than seeing the dishwasher still needs packing. If you clear up straight a meal then it may make you feel better.
  9. As your Little Pickle grows out of clothes and toys sort them – there are a huge number of parents that tell us they put everything their children have grown out of into the loft or garage without sorting. Sort things ready to sell as you go, then once you book a table it is a case of turning up on the day, unload your boxes and make some money.
  10. Make all the beds every morning – this one is self-explanatory and simple, but can make a huge difference. It’s much nicer to climb into a made bed every night. Even a toddler can kind of straighten their bed up every morning.

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childcare choices

Childcare Choices

Coffee and cake, nice long walks with your baby, the maternity clothes are back in the loft and you’re now getting at least 3 hours of solid sleep a night. That can only mean one thing, time to think about returning to work.

Maybe you‘re a dad who has been able to enjoy some extended paternity leave with your little one too, whatever the case,  have you had time to consider childcare options?

If you are planning to go back to work and need an idea of what’s available, take a look at the brief list of childcare choices below.

Day nurseries

  • full day care setting
  • all year round
  • cater for children from 3 months- 5yrs.

Pros:

A child gets to socialise and interact with other children.

Learn social skills such as sharing, turn taking.

Picky eaters are more likely to eat when other kids are eating the same thing.

A Wider variety of toys to play with.

Cons:

Knowing that your child might have more fun without you.

If your child is unsettled at first, it’s the most horrible feeling leaving them crying and walking away.

Illness! Both a pro and a con! Kids are more likely to pick up childhood illnesses at a day care setting than if they were at home. But it gets it out of the way early so they don’t have much time off when they go to school.

 

Pre-schools

  • sessional day care
  • times vary from 9am-12pm/ 3pm, generally on a term time basis
  • cater for children aged 3-5yrs.

Pros:

Shorter sessions

Linked to local school or nearby

Cons:

Term time only

The shorter sessions may not fit in with your work hours.

 

Childminder

  • Home based setting.
  • full day care, all year round.
  • ages 3mths-5yrs.
  • the option of school drop off and pick up for an older sibling.

Pros:

Children get to interact with older and younger kids in the same group setting.

More opportunity to do day trips and have quiet sessions when needed.

A Smaller group of children.

Home environment.

Cons:

If the childminder is ill / on holiday, they may not have a backup childminder available to help.

 

Nanny

Looks after your child(ren) in your home on the hours you agree to.

Pros:

Maybe more flexible with hours if you do shift work or are running late.

Help around the house with nursery duties

Could be cheaper than other childcare settings if you have more than one child.

Cons:

If the nanny is sick, parents will have to find alternative childcare at short notice.

Lots of 1:1 time can make the child more needy and which could take the time to adjust to independent play.

 

Au-pair

Lives in your home and helps with childcare and general household duties.

Pros:

A lot cheaper than other childcare settings

May have a second language to teach the children

Cons:

Not usually qualified in childcare

There could be a language barrier

 

Grandparents

We love grandparents! They are such valued people who can enjoy quality time with their grandkids, (including bending the rules and spoiling the kids), while you’re at work. Perhaps a little overnight stay here and there too.

Pros:

You know exactly who is caring for your kiddies and have unconditional love for them.

May be able to be flexible on days

Usually free – just the odd bunch of flowers or treat to show appreciation.

Cons:

May not stick to the rules which can lead to your child playing one off against the other!

There is funding available to help with some childcare options and depending on your circumstances.

Low-income households may be eligible for 15 hours of childcare for their 2-year-olds, take a look here for more info.

Check out the 30 hours free childcare info to see if your family are entitled to it.

You may find that your company are considerate regarding your childcare arrangements and offer flexible working.

Keep an eye out for our future blogs where we will be looking more in depth at each setting.

Written by Gemma our Dorset Organiser

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what's in your hospital bag?

What’s in your Hospital Bag?

Have you got your hospital bag packed?

With my first child, I remember being so organised and having my hospital bag packed weeks before she was due to arrive. My dates were actually a week different to the scan dates so I wanted to pack a little earlier than necessary. As it happened, I was induced after being 4 days late due to my hind waters breaking!

I had so much in my bag, literally everything you could imagine!

What I found second time round was it was better to pack 2 bags, one for when I was in labour and one for when baby was born, which I left in the boot of the car, just in case I needed to stay in.

After 2 children and chatting with lots of mummy friends it seems that most of them did the same.

As a helping hand, I thought it would be useful to compile a list of useful items for each bag.

Labour Bag

  • Toiletries – flannel, shower gel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hair bobbles, brush shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lip balm
  • Make-up – you may want just a little bit of powder and gloss for a new born family pic.
  • Face wipes to keep you cool
  • Thin, dark dressing gown and slippers / flip flops (maternity units are so hot!)
  • Nighties – perhaps cotton and if you want to breastfeed, have some that unbutton down the front
  • Nursing bra and breast pads
  • Nipple cream – if you choose to breastfeed and the latch isn’t right it will be painful!
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfy knickers – several pairs
  • Maternity pads
  • Mobile phone and charger
  • Hospital notes and birth plan
  • Tens machine (some Children’s Centres hire them out for a small fee).
  • Comfy joggers and a vest / t shirt
  • Newborn nappies, cotton wool, little pot for warm water during nappy changing.
  • Vests and babygros for baby
  • Muslins / bibs
  • You may also want to take your birth ball, in case the hospital ones are in use
  • IPod to help you stay relaxed.
  • Magazines – some labours are quick while others can take a bit longer.
  • Snacks for you and your birthing partner.
  • Coins for the car park meter

It’s worthwhile getting your birth partner to pack a bag with a few essential items for them too, including a full charged camera!

If you plan to go in the birthing pool and want to keep a bit of dignity, it might be worth popping a loose vest top in your bag that you can throw away after.

But believe me, when you’re in labour, keeping your dignity is the last on your mind and you will have forgotten all about it when your bundle of joy is in your arms!

New baby bag

The bag that I kept in the car just had a few extra bits, I just sent the labour bag home for washing, keeping some of the bits with me, and replaced it with the new baby bag.

  • More nappies
  • Clean nightie and underwear
  • More vests and babygros
  • Scratch mitts
  • Going home outfit for you and baby.
  • Blanket for baby.
  • Newborn teddy / soft toy

It’s also essential to have your baby car seat if you’re going home by car too, that can be brought into the hospital just as you’re about to leave.

I must say, it was only second time round that I did this, first time round it was, take everything, just in case!!

Both my labours were very different, with my daughter I had to stay in for a few days, (I won’t bore you with the details), and with my son we were in and out within 11hrs!

Just concentrate on your breathing and before you know it, you’ll be a proud mummy!

Written by Gemma one of our Dorset organisers

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changing bag

What’s in your Changing Bag?

What’s in your changing bag?

When I first became a mum I knew that the size of my handbag would have to change.  Gone were the days of the small bag with just enough space to put your purse, keys, lippy and mobile phone in.

My very first nappy changing bag, (I only had 2!), was grey and boring but very practical and had so many pockets inside and out! I could practically fit my whole house in it!

The contents of the bag went a little like this…

Changing mat – a handy little foldaway mat that can be used anywhere, including the boot of your car!

Nappies – I always carried way too many, and being a reusable nappy kinda mum, the size of the bag was a big deal! I did have the odd spare disposable nappy too, you just never know when you’re gonna get caught out.

Wet wipes – with my first little pickle, they were the washable type, but my second child they were disposable ones. They just have so many uses; mucky hands, sticky fingers, bumps and bruises and a quick fix to clear up the odd bit of sick!

Hand Sanitiser always came in handy for freshening up after a nappy change, but I have been known to squirt some on the table in a coffee shop ready for snack time too!

Nappy bags were handy not only for the dirty nappies but for keeping the mucky clothes contained.

Spare Clothes – from vests to babygros, cute girly outfits to boy’s comfy trousers. Depending on the age and stage of my kiddies, there would even have been a spare pair of shoes for those potty training accidents!

Breast pads – I exclusively breastfed so the last thing I wanted was a leakage, especially when my daughter was newborn, the feeding was all over the place and milk was on tap.  Breast pads have other uses though, I once used it as a plaster when I was on a long walk and had the worst blister on my heel you can ever imagine!

Muslin squares – handy for feeding, using as a bib, over the shoulder burps and even as a sunshade.

Suncream and sun hats in the summer, and gloves and a beanie for the winter.

Calpol sachets and teething gel / powder – handy to slip safely in the bag.  If it wasn’t my bubba that needed them, they were always handy to help out a friend.

changing bag

As my family grew from child to children,

additional bits were added to my bag, which was upgraded to a more sophisticated style.

Snacks and sippy cups for my toddler.

Crayons and a pad, books and small toys – for those times when you just want to finish the coffee you treated yourself to, while it’s still warm!

Tissues for runny noses or teething dribbles.

Money – lots of change was always a must. Popping to the shops for supplies and getting the buggy out of the car, all set up for baby and toddler, was always a mission.  To then find you don’t have any change for the car park must be any mum’s nightmare. I was caught out on numerous occasions stood at the parking meter when I remembered that I hadn’t replenished my coin purse!

As well as the essentials there would be a small space, somewhere in the bag, for my bits

Purse – a must when having a coffee and cake catch up with another mummy friend.

Mobile phone – full of hundreds of baby snap shots.

Lip gloss

Powder brush to help cover up those dark circles

Sunglasses –  nothing worse than going for a walk with the sun in your eyes.

Chewing gum / mints – did I ever rush out the door without brushing my teeth?! I don’t think so!

So this is mine, what’s in your changing bag?

Written by Gemma our Poole and Ferndown Organiser

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