25 May 2012

Household happiness - top ten tips for the husband.

It has been almost two weeks since the husband has been on gardening leave and I must say the garden looks great. The house, however, is a different issue. This is where he needs some guidance. So, as suggested by the husband himself, I am writing him a list.

  1. Washing up: fairy liquid + washing up sponge + hot water + dirty dishes + hands in sink = washing up. Basic maths really.
  2. Dishes and pans etc not only need to be washed up they also need to be dried and moved from the draining board back to the cupboard.
  3. When the laundry bag is overflowing it generally means it is time to put a wash on.
  4. When the washing machine has finished it will stop sounding like an aeroplane is taking off in the kitchen. This is a useful sign to inform you that the washing needs to moved from said machine onto either the washing line or airer, depending on the weather.
  5. The dry washing does not fold, iron or put itself away. Someone needs to do this at some point so we can wear those clothes again.
  6. If you walk into a room and trip over a pile of general crap this is a sign that some picking up needs to done.
  7. The floors will get dusty and messy, particularly if you continue to walk through the house in your outdoor shoes. There is a great invention under the stairs called a vacuum cleaner, or, for a little area of mess, there is a brush and dustpan. The vacuum has a plug and will require an electrical socket. The brush and dustpan requires you to get down on your knees and do a bit of manual labour. Think of the calories you will be burning off.
  8. The bathroom needs a damn good going over every week. For this you will need to open the cupboard on the wall to locate the cleaning products. These work by squeezing the trigger and aiming at the sink, bath, shower and taps. Squirting cleaner into the toilet and leaving it will not do the job. The brush in the pot on the floor is not a piece of modern art, it is in fact for scrubbing crap - quite literally - from the toilet pan.
  9. A packed lunch for the children should not need any explaining.
  10. To stop me getting 'angry' with you my top tip would be to not disappear to the pub garden when I have been to work, picked up A, done the school run, broken up the squabbles, sorted tea, bathed the children and put them to bed.
Maybe I'm being unreasonable. I don't know. What I do know is I am finding it hard balancing work and everything else. Actually, no, that's wrong. I can easily go to work then come home and sort out the house and children. I would just appreciate some help.



x x x


16 May 2012

#ISpy.......a big fat horrible R

I haven't joined in with Mum of One's #ISpy for a while but thought I could get a few things off my chest with this week's letter that is....R.

The big fat R that has been hanging over us for months has finally happened...

Ha ha - yes it is very stressful...for the wife.


It has been lingering in our lives for the last few months.

We have had many a conversation about the pros and cons of taking it versus the husband continuing to work away from home.

I have had sleepless nights worrying about what could happen if the husband never finds work. Again. Ever.

I sometimes think he is crazy to walk away from a very well paid job in these times of economic uncertainties.

I worry about the possibility of having to be a working mum and the sole earner in a years time if it all goes tits up.

I worry about the husband's ability to cut it as a SAHD.

I worry about the mortgage, the car loans, the life insurance costs.....

But it had to be done. For the sake of the husband's health, our marriage and the children - who were seriously missing him - it was the choice to make. Things were too complicated to just up sticks and relocate. So we had to face the big fat R and bravely take everything it may throw at us.

I am sure I will be spying more Rs in the coming months in our house: resentment and rage possibly? But for now I'm heading over to Mum of One's linky to see what else has been spied this week.


x x x


13 May 2012

Cake & Prosecco

What a week it has been. The Bank Holiday Monday coincided with Alban's 4th birthday and a new tradition was started in our house...

Cake for breakfast?

Don't mind if I do!

I also think I may get cake out for breakfast on other special days. I really should have done this this morning for my first Twitter house guest, the super lovely @NotSoSlummy. She made the trip from London to come and help me find a dress for Brit Mums Live. Luckily the metropolis of Bristol is only a quick train ride away, we needed to make this journey as Melksham doesn't really have that many shops for decent shopping. Awaiting us there was Bristol's answer to Gok Wan in the rather more attractive form of @motherventing. Now these two had been prewarned about the difficulties that could lay ahead trying to find me a dress but MoVo looked me up and down - she may have squeezed my waist but I will let that go as I may have squeezed her derrière - and knew exactly what would suit. Two shops down and we were done - dress found. Those two saved us hours, which gave us more time....

.....to start drinking!

Bubbles in Harvey Nicks?

Don't mind if I do!

So, thank you ladies for all your help and a lovely day, and thank you Not-At-All-Slummy for putting up with my bonkers children this morning!

x x x


6 May 2012

#pinaddicts challenge no. 4 - Fabric Storage Boxes


I cannot believe it is month 4 of the #pinaddicts challenge already and May sees the lovely But Why Mummy, Why?  hosting the linky.

The #pinaddicts challenge works as follows:
Pin to your #pinaddicts board on Pinterest.
Choose something to make for the challenge.
In your post put the original image with original links.
Post your fantastic effort at recreating.
Link up and go and check out the other #pinaddicts!
#pinaddicts challenge no.4 - Fabric Storage Box
This month I was influenced by the following pin to make some small storage boxes and tidy up my shelves.
Pinned Image
The above link has a detailed tutorial.
But here's how I did mine!

I am now planning to make a cuboid shaped box for keys and work lanyards to be chucked into by the front door.

What do you think?

x x x


Yesterday saw my little house bursting at the seams with eight children and seven adults.
They had come to have some party fun to celebrate Alban's fourth birthday - tomorrow is the big day.

There was cake!

Happy party day little man!

x x x


2 May 2012

Phonics and a four year old boy.

Or, if we are going to be phonetic, maybe that should be Fonics and a for yeer oald boiy. Seriously, how confusing is it to teach children to read and write our beloved English language?

Alban is my, nearly, four year old boy in question and he is off to school in September. Oh Alban, Alban, Alban, where has the time gone?

He's off to school this year??!!??

I know I shouldn't compare him but he is the complete opposite of Edith when it comes to picking up a pen or showing an interest in learning to read. Edith was writing her name and other letters by now but Alban just isn't interested. He's a boy though, and, I'm not panicking about it. Honest. I've taught enough children to know they are all very different. Sometimes it is just a case of finding their interest and what makes them tick. Dangle my smartphone or iPad in front of Alban and he's like a donkey following a carrot on a stick, he is transfixed. I've got it, I thought, all I need is an app that he can play with that has letters to trace, sounds to listen to and, in time, words to read. Being a teacher I have always wanted my children to learn and have opportunities to develop new skills so I began scouring through apps to find something educational for Alban that would encourage him to get involved. It wasn't as easy as I thought.

These are some of the features of the apps that I found:
American accents - no offence to any of my American readers, I love your accent, but I want him to hear a clear English accent for learning his sounds.
Annoying fonts e.g. Comic Sans - I CANNOT stand that font and it is not how children are taught to write so why do so many apps insist on using it?
Incorrect use of phonics - an app I downloaded sounded out s-m-a-l-l for small!?! Not really a good demonstration of how to blend sounds.

Maybe I am just too picky about it but I want it to be correct. There is no point trying to help a child learn if you are going to allow them to access something that is educationally incorrect. I had just about given up hope when I came across a tweet about a new app that has recently been developed by read write phonics. I have been asked to take a look at the app to see what I think.

Firstly, the good news - it ticks off all of my mumbles above in that it is voiced by a clear English accent, it uses Sassoon Primary as a font - my favourite teacher font - and they use words that can be phonetically sounded out. The 44 sounds (phonemes) - there are more sounds than the 26 letters of the alphabet, for example 'ck' 'sh' and 'ai' are all sounds  - are pronounced correctly: "mmm" not "emm" for the letter 'm' and "sss" not "ess" for the letter 's' being two examples.

The app is very user friendly with the opening screen giving you the option to read sounds, write letters and use the phonics to blend.

  • The read section splits the phonemes into 5 groups depending on how they sound, for example p, b, t, d, ck, k, c, g, qu and x are classed as 'explosive' sounds. Each sound is clearly stated then shown within a simple word.

  • The write section demonstrates how each letter of the alphabet is written then allows the child to practise. If they form the letter incorrectly the app lets the child know in a friendly way, "You nearly got a star, keep trying", rather than just skipping to the next one and letting their mistake go unnoticed.

  • The phonics section shows words that can be read phonetically and the app says the word clearly. Each sound can be tapped out and swiped to hear: "p" "e" "n" "pen".
All in all this app is a good start to introduce a preschooler to phonics or to reinforce the learning of phonics through the Reception year at school and into Key Stage One, where sounds are still consolidated.

The app is available to purchase for Android phones at £1.49 here at Google Play and is coming to iTunes soon for use with an iPhone.

More information can be found at the following links:
web: http://www.readwritephonics.co.uk
Twitter: @readwritephonic

I would love to hear your comments on your experiences of phonics with your preschoolers and young children?
Have you seen different attitudes to learning from boys and girls? Do you use apps? Have you found them to be a useful tool?

Disclaimer - readwritephonics sent me the app at no cost to myself for review purposes.
The review is my own words and thoughts on the product.
© 76 sunflowers

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