"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
-Charlotte Mason

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Snow.......And Lots Of It!!!!!

I thought it's about time that I uploaded some photos of the snow we've had recently, we've had alot and it's absolutely freezing right now and very icy, tonight it's about -8, alhamdulillaah we're indoors nice and cosy!

Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Thanks for stopping by!! :)

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Toddlers Property Laws....

A friend sent me this today and myself and even the kids found it quite hilarious, so I thought I'd share........

  1. If I like it, it's mine
  2. If it's in my hand, it's mine
  3. If it looks like mine, it is mine
  4. If I saw it first, it's mine
  5. If your playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine
  6. If it is mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way
  7. If it's broken, it's YOURS!
Totally sums up a Toddler, Don't you think?!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Hotspot No More - Before And After Pics

Following on from my previous post on Fly Lady, this afternoon's next step was to choose a hotspot (a spot where alot of things get dumped and builds up quickly) and set the timer for 2 minutes, and, well put it out!

The kids helped me with this, quite happily and when the timer went off even though it was a small job, I felt I'd accomplished something huge, right now my desk is still clean except for a tissue that one of the kids has left, oh and my camera which presently is connected to the PC.

I was a bit sceptical about posting any photos on here, but I thought 'hey why not!' it's all part of the process and I'm going to use my blog to track that insha Allaah (God Willing). But being the inconsistent person I am I may slip now and then, I'm hoping I wont but if I do I'll just have to jump back in and take off from where I was.

OK so here goes, the before and after pics!!

I'd like to point out that not all that mess in the first photo is mine ! I do have 4 messy kids!!

Would love to hear if anyone else is also using Fly Lady's routines and how far you've got.

Re-Starting Fly Lady

Well I've recently re-started fly lady's routine and am feeling very optimistic, I have tried a few times before, but have soon fallen by the sideline. I'm hoping this time can be different. My sink is shiny, for the last few days I've got dressed to the shoes, some days would be spent in my pyjamas, how depressing is that?!

Today I noticed my ten year old daughter got dressed fairly quickly after waking up, she seemed to be following me with the 'not getting dressed thing' but I thought to myself it's so true, they learn by example, how can I keep telling her to get dressed when I'm there still in my pj's in the middle of the afternoon.

Today I'm going to tackle my hotspots, seems like there's so many! but bit by bit our home will start coming together and hopefully start staying like it.

Here is a picture of my sink, as you can see it's not the best of photos though.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

12 Awesome Tips To Be A Great Mum

Just another post I came across on Zenhabits.net, a really good read and great tips for us mums!

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Vered of MomGrind.

I’m a mom.

I am also a woman, a wife, a daughter, and a friend.

Recently I started blogging. As it turns out, I am a writer too.

I am wearing many hats and doing so is not always easy. I was grateful to discover this article by Leo, where he shares useful tips on how to be a great dad. When I read Leo’s article, I was curious: do these tips apply to moms? Can I incorporate his advice into my own life?

Obviously, a great mom loves her kids, takes care of their basic physical and emotional needs, and spends quality time with them. But what are the subtler, less obvious ways to become a great mom?

1. Stay true to yourself. You don’t have to give up your own passions and interests once you become a mom. It’s important that you find time for what YOU love to do. Reading, writing, exercising – make these a priority and find a way to incorporate those into your routine. Easier said than done, I know, but you should at least aim to keep doing what you love, even if you don’t get to do it as often as before. If you take care of your own needs, you will be happier and will function better as a mom.

2. Don’t be a martyr. The kids didn’t ask for it, they don’t need it, and they certainly don’t need to pay the price that comes with being mothered by a martyr. Need some time alone? Let the kids watch TV for an hour and go read a book. Feel like you haven’t had adult interaction in ages? Leave them with Dad for the evening and make plans to have dinner with a friend. Getting to the point where you are utterly exhausted is not good for you or for your kids.

3. Don’t try to be perfect. This is true for life in general, and is a major personal goal of mine, regardless of motherhood. Striving for perfection is always a bad idea, because life is messy and unpredictable and full of surprises. Trying to create perfection, or to maintain complete control, is simply impossible and should never be your goal. Once you become a mom, life is messier and crazier than ever before, so it’s more important than ever to let go of that perfectionism. You need to accept that the house will sometimes be untidy, that once in a while dinner will be takeout, and that the kids will sometimes have to entertain themselves while you recharge and regroup.

4. Ditch the guilt. Guilt seems to be one of the most common side effects of motherhood. A friend once told me that she feels guilt every single day. I too am often guilty of feeling guilty. But I am working on it: guilt is unhelpful and a terrible waste of time and energy. Once you make a decision, whether a major one like staying at home vs. going back to work, or a small one like allowing the kids to play a computer game while you have some time for yourself, try to avoid second-guessing yourself. You are doing the best that you can. No one is perfect, and you are not expected to be a perfect mom or to never make mistakes. As long as you love them and provide their basic needs, your kids will turn out fine. Really.

5. Be Patient. Raising kids is hard work. Kids are noisy, messy and incredibly demanding. Yes, you will lose your patience once in a while. I do. But for the most part, try to take a deep breath and see them for the small, helpless people that they are. I am not a patient person by nature, but motherhood has taught me to be more patient than I ever thought I could possibly be.

6. Listen to your children. REALLY listen. This is a tough one for me, but I keep trying. We tend to assume that we know more than our kids do, which is true to some extent of course, so we don’t really bother to listen. In addition, we often act as problem-solvers, dishing immediate advice, when all they need is for us to listen to them. A couple of months ago, my 8 years old told me about problems she was having with friends at school. I immediately offered a solution, and it was obvious she was disappointed. She wasn’t looking for a solution. She simply wanted me to listen.

7. Be their mom, not their friend. Set limits. In a way, it was easy for previous generations. Parents were parents. Kids were kids. Families were patriarchal. Everyone listened and obeyed to the father. Now, families are democratic. We negotiate, talk things over, and listen to each other. We make important decisions together. This is great, but kids still need us to be their parents and set clear limits. We should listen to them and respect them – but we are not their peers. When I was a pre-teen, I used to snap at my mom, “I’m not going to be your friend anymore!” She would look at me calmly and respond, “Well, you are NOT my friend. You are my daughter”. It used to drive me crazy, but she was right. Our job is to be our kids’ mothers – not their friends.

8. Teach them simplicity. You will do them a big – a HUGE – favor, if you teach them at a young age to avoid associating happiness with the accumulation of material possessions. The younger they are, the more likely they are to listen to you, so start early. My kids are 6 and 8, and I often feel that now is the time to instill my values in them, before they are teens (or pre-teens) and peer pressure takes over. When it’s time to declutter, I allow my daughters to be part of the process, and we talk about how we don’t need all that STUFF. We never go shopping as a fun outing. They know that shopping is a necessary evil, something that you do when you really NEED something. Instead of buying books, we borrow books at the library. We reuse as much as we can. Together, we take pride in living in a clean, airy, uncluttered home.

9. Don’t push them too hard. I was raised as an overachiever, and I can testify from my own experience that overachieving does NOT lead to happiness. I do want my kids to be successful. I want them to reach their full potential and to be financially secure. But I am trying not to push them too hard and to maintain a relatively relaxed approach to success at school and to after-school enrichment activities.

10. Teach them self-esteem. I am borrowing this one from Leo’s list, because it is so important. In fact, I agree with Leo that high self-esteem is the single most important gift that a parent can give their kids. A person with a high self-esteem values herself and will not get into, or stay in, an abusive relationship. A person with high self-esteem is more likely to be happy and to reach her full potential. How do you teach your kids self-esteem? Exactly the way Leo said: by showing them that you value them, by spending time with them, and by talking with them and listening to them.

11. Teach them to be self-reliant. Another one that I struggle with every day. It’s very tempting to help your children in a way that robs them of the opportunity to help themselves. At every developmental stage your child reaches, she can do things by herself. If you do them for her, you are not really helping her, but rather holding her back. Gently teach her independence and let her do what she can do, and what is appropriate for her to do, by herself. The sense of accomplishment that comes with being independent is immensely important for a child. I once read in Penelope Leach’s book something that left a huge impression on me: good parents work themselves out of the picture – slowly. As much as I like to feel needed, I try to let my kids be as independent and self-sufficient as they possibly can. Ever so slowly, I am working myself out of the picture.

12. Laugh and have fun! When you’re a mom, it’s easy to become so absorbed in the logistics of taking care of your kids – what Leo refers to as the “mom stuff” – that you forget to relax and have fun. But kids are fun. They give you a wonderful opportunity to be a child all over again, and to do things that you never thought you would do as an adult (jumping in puddles is so much fun!) and see the world through their innocent, curious eyes. Haven’t noticed interesting insects and colorful butterflies in several years? You are going to start noticing them again once you have kids.

So, are the lists any different? They’re different in some way, and similar in others. While both emphasize being good to your kids and to yourself, my list places more emphasis on the “be good to yourself” part. I think that the biggest mistake dads make is that they become so absorbed in their careers that they do not spend enough time with their families. The biggest mistake moms make, in my opinion, is that they become so absorbed in their families that they do not spend enough time on their own passions. Leo’s list helps dads find their balance. My list, hopefully, helps moms find theirs.

Whether you’re a parent or not, how many hats are YOU wearing? Do you have any tips for doing it all and keeping your sanity? Do you ever feel guilty because you are not giving 100% to any single aspect of your life?

Read more from Vered at her blog, MomGrind (or subscribe to her feed).

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Poor Bird!

This evening our cat Madinah killed a bird and brought it home as a gift, Thanks Madinah! When we spotted him in the kitchen, he was tossing it up in the air, feathers were all over the floor, wasn't a pretty sight. This is not the first time our cat's brought us a present home, we've had a couple of birds and mice, and now we've got the cat flap in this house it's easier for him to bring things home.

Not long back, Madinah brought home a mouse which he was playing with, but the mouse got away and ran into a hole in the utility room, it lived here for a bit, but now it seems to have gone, well I'm hoping it has!


This has got to be one of the most adorable and funny videos on You Tube, you can't help but laugh along with it, guaranteed to cheer you up if your feeling a bit down.

Just nattering

Well, lately I've been getting quite a few late nights, no suprise to some! There's been a few projects I've been working on online, will tell you about those some other time! This has resulted in late mornings, kids arriving to school late, house in a mess, right now I really think I need some fly lady in my life!

I have the book Sink Reflections, I've subscribed to the list, and have literally over a thousand unopened emails in one of my accounts, I get started, with the shiny sink, laced up shoes, getting dressed in the morning, but then before I know it I'm back to stage 1, why is it so difficult for me to get past the getting dressed in the morning step?

I saw a blog earlier called 'chronicles of an inconsistent mother' I thought that would have been the most perfect name for my blog! why didn't I think of that, lol, or another good one could be 'chronicles of an inconsistent blogger' I wonder if that's available, hhmmm!

Monday, 13 December 2010

7 Secrets To Raising Happy Children

I wanted to share a post by Sean Platt for Zen habits.net, who have given permission for the blog content to be used.

Nature and nurture are in a never ending battle to claim the disposition of our children. While it’s true that the apple rarely tumbles too far from the tree, it is also true that there are a multitude of things we as parents can do to safeguard the childhoods of our children, limit their exposure to the more damaging elements the world will see fit to introduce in time, and do our best to raise a healthy and happy child.

We might not be able to help the variety of our branches, but we are the ones who control the nutrients in their soil and the sunlight in their sky.

In addition to the obvious things such as making sure your child is consuming the right nutrients, staying hydrated, and getting the quantity of sleep and exercise a growing body needs, here are 7 secrets that can help you raise a happy child.

1. Let your child know you are excited to see them when they enter the room. Let them see the light dance inside your eyes when their gaze drifts into yours. Be mindful of their presence by showing them your smile and greeting them warmly. Say their name out loud. Not only do children love to hear the sound of their name, they also long to feel validation from their loved ones. Think about it from an adult perspective – wouldn’t you love it if the face of the person you loved most lit like a holiday parade every time you entered the room? Your child loves you the most, imagine the returns after a childhood filled with such affection.

2. Teach your child it’s okay to be bored. As parents, it’s often our instinct to entertain our children each and every waking hour. When we don’t possess the time or energy, it is all too easy to allow the glowing blue babysitter in the living room to do the heavy lifting. But when we rely on television, or any other form of autopilot attention, we succeed only in limiting our child’s development. Children have vivid imaginations that flourish upon nurturing. But without the opportunity to coax their creativity, it will only whither on the vine. Allow your child idle minutes to develop their creativity with hands-on activities to stimulate their thought. A few sheets of paper and a box of crayons can keep a well rounded child busy for far longer than an episode of Dora.

3. Limit your child’s media. Related, but not limited to number two. Limiting your child’s exposure to media isn’t only a positive move for promoting their creativity, it is an excellent method to broaden their attention span while grooming their ability to stay calm. Your child will have plenty of exposure to more than you want soon enough. During those precious years when you are the designer of their decisions, you must make sure they are learning to live a life independent from the over-exposure that is often too easy to rely on. Yes it is difficult, but we owe it to the next generation to search for the right road rather than the easy one.

4. Let your child know they are more important than work by giving them eye contact and attention. Your child doesn’t just need you around, they need you present. Play with your child, interact with them, find out what is important to them by asking questions and listening to their answers. Your child deserves at least a little bit of you each and every day, at least a few minutes where you are not considering your email or allowing your thoughts to wander over what’s been left sitting on your desk. Letting your child know they are important is like giving them an insulin shot of happy.

5. Let your child make a few of the rules. You don’t have to make them the boss to let them feel empowered. Often, power struggles with our children are the direct result of them feeling a loss of control. You can easily curb these instances by allowing your child to feel like they are part of making up some of the protocol. By at least appearing to give your child some of the control, you are helping them understand household law inside and out. This will lead directly to a willingness to follow.

6. Teach your child – don’t assume it’s all happening outside the house. Home schooling is every parent’s job. Whether your child attends public or private school, or receives all their schooling at home, it is essential to the world’s best future that parents are the ones to fill in the blanks. There are plenty of skills not taught in school that play a massive role in determining who your children will grow up to be. Children are not raised in tupperware, and when they finally leave us to enter the world far away from our watchful eyes, they must have the sharpened tools that will help them be the best that they can be.

7. Model appropriate behavior. In my opinion, this is the most important item on the list. Children do as they see, not as they’re told. If you want your child to be mindful of others, you must be mindful of others yourself. If you want your child to by happy, you must smile without hesitation. There is no one more influential to your child than you. At least for now.

Raising a happy child is hard work, but it is something that can and must be done. Once you focus on the needs of your child and ensure you are doing all you can to meet them, your efforts will be rewarded. You will have a healthy and happy child, fortunate to have been raised in a family where childhood wasn’t permitted to simply fade away.

Sean Platt is a diligent dad and creative blogger who also tweets.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Memories Of My Childhood.....The Good And The Bad

1. The day I decided the front garden needed a makeover, I found a tub of white paint and decorated the concrete floor. My step-Dad was not a very happy man that day!

2. The day I was wheeling my bike up the slope in the garden, and fell off it and knocked my head on the corner of the house, I was in need of stitches, but the nurse had a hard time trying to catch me, in the end I got my way and had butterfly stitches instead :D

3. My younger brother being born, he looked just like a little monkey! But sooo cute.

4. Stealing an egg from a bird's nest behind our school, and taking it home, wrapping it up and placing it somewhere nice and warm in hope that it may hatch, somewhere like the radiator!! Yes.....it did actually hatch one day while I was in school, that day my mum was NOT very happy!!!

5. Having a bath with one of my cousins, I noticed a big brown thing floating in the water, boy, did I scream the place down and couldn't get out of there quick enough! lol. My mum and Aunty found it hilarious!

6. The day my brother Andrew came home from the Gulf War, he'd been gone for ages, and we had a massive banner up in the street welcoming him home. We were so happy to have him back safe.

7. The day of the fancy dress party.....I went dressed as an arab, with black shades and a yashmak on my head! lolol. Thanks to big bruv who brought it back from the Gulf.

8. Sledging down the grassy slopes by the railway track, such fun!

9. Having a game of Tennis in the street, with one of the boys I fancied, I was so over the moon when he said '3 love' !!

10. Getting knocked over by a car in the lane behind our house, I broke my collar bone, and made the lovely white sheets on the hospital bed a lovely grey colour :D

11. The day my mum got married to my step-Dad, she looked lovely, and was so happy :)

12. Getting punched in the stomach by a very nasty boy who lived not far from us, my stepdad sorted him out!

13. going to the Beach in the summertime, with all my cousins, we'd have so much fun in the sea, then spend time trying to remember where our parents were sat, often with towels over their heads to protect themselves from the seagull's droppings, lol.

14. Days when the pop man would stop outside our house, and would have loads of chocolate bars by the front seat, was such a treat back then, as the only shop in the village was the post office and seemed to hardly ever be open.

15. Chip butties from the chip van

16. Books from the library van, don't see them often anymore.

17. Staying in Cornwall with my stepdad and younger brother Marc, in a caravan outside Uncle Derek's house, in the morning my stepdad had the most awful hang over, from drinking Cider! the noises from the bathroom were disgusting!!

18. Again in Cornwall at the beach, me, Marc and our cousin Ryan went looking for rock pools, and my stepdad went back to the beach for something, when he came back, the tide was in and we were trapped, the waves were crashing against the rocks, I had a tantrum and threw my towel into the water, lol, I was terrified! My stepdad finally rescued us, but that was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life!

19. Up one night being very sick, laying on the sofa, my mum giving me schweppes tonic water to drink(have never liked that drink since that night) and telling me to breathe in and out slowly. She was watching Inspector Morse on the TV eating a pack of crisps, and me heaving every time a food advert came on. That night stands out in my mind alot.

20. Spending holidays with my Dad in Glynneath, getting very spoilt, and having a great time with my cousins.

Time to write a blog post.

I have finally made myself sit down and actually write something on my blog, yes....I know it's been a while since I posted last, and I apologise. Since moving alot of things have changed around here, my two girls who you could say I was homeschooling part-time, as they used to go to school in the afternoon back in Birmingham, are now in school full time!

At the time we felt it was best for them to go to school, as our homeschooling routine was taking time to get started again, and we didn't want them falling any more behind. So the two girls and my son who was in school in Birmingham all attend the same school, and I just have my youngest son at home now who is almost 3 insha Allaah (God Willing).

Recently my daughter Tay. who is 7 said she wanted to stay at home and be homeschooled again, she has asked this a few times, and I'm in two minds whether to actually bring her out or not, I do worry that after a few weeks or months when the appeal maybe wears off, that she will start missing school again, I just want them all to be settled for now, we've done alot of moving over the years, the kids have changed schools a few times, and now they're a bit older it's more important that they feel settled.

I feel very passionate about homeschooling, and in my ideal world, I would be homeschooling all my children and be doing a very good job at it, insha Allaah, but things aren't always red and rosy. I do intend to bring my eldest daughter out of school when she reaches high school age insha Allaah, she's just turned 10, I think that will be a challenge, as she loves school, and having the chance to see all her friends, down here in Cardiff, there are a couple of sisters who homeschool but their children are alot younger than her.

Actually one of the main things which pushed me to put my eldest daughter into school, was one morning she was actually crying as she could hear all the school children going to school, that made me feel really sad for her. Back in Birmingham, my friends who were homeschooling had daughters around the same age as her, so she didn't feel she was the only one at home, and she would enjoy seeing them, it is different here.

For now I want to concentrate on my youngest son insha Allaah, and possibly my daughter Tay. if I do decide to take her out of school. Masha'Allaah he can count up to 10 and a bit higher, and we do some informal learning together, for example matching things together, pointing out colours, reading etc.... Insha Allaah will keep you updated.

Now that I'm not homeschooling the girls, I have wondered what I can do with my blog, Insha Allaah I will still post up things I may have done with my youngest son, although like I said that's mainly informal learning right now, but also I wanted this to be a place, to record our daily happenings, somewhat like a family journal, the other day, myself and the kids were looking through the blog at old posts and pictures, and it was so nice reading about things we had done, but had forgotten about, and I also came across a photo of my youngest son, which was probably taken when he was about 1, so I thought that would be nice for them insha Allaah. But I'll try not to bore anyone who may be reading......I am still very passionate about homeschooling, I miss it alot, but we'll see what happens.

Ok.....well that's it from me for now, sorry for babbling too much, I will try to write more regularly from now on.