A personalised Video Message from Santa for your child (and it’s free!)

Ok, I know I said I wasn’t going to lay it on thick about it being nearly Christmas, but this is absolutely AWESOME and it is the 1st of December! Yay!

A friend of mine showed me this site. She’d done the message’s for her boys and they were in awe of it. To be honest, so was I because it’s just brilliant.

Santa says your child’s name, remembers key events in the past year and even has photo’s to prove he knows what’s happened!

If you have children above the age of 2.5 years old then you will love this site. Actually, even if you don’t have children over 2.5 years old, check it out anyway! You could always send a Santa message to your significant other ūüėČ

Santa’s Message: http://www.portablenorthpole.tv/home

The Marshmallow Test – The Secrets of Self-Control in Children

I’ve been reading a number of Parenting Books in an effort to try to be a good parent. Not sure if it’s working, but I’ve read a lot of really interesting stuff. Enclosed is a link about the “marshmallow test” which I read about in “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Although this book was written by an American author¬†his findings are still very interesting. The book was written over 40 years ago so much has been written about this test since.

The concept of the Marshmallow Test¬†is that you place a marshmallow in front of a 4 year old for 15 minutes. The tester tells the child that if they can wait 15 minutes before eating the marshmallow¬†they will be allowed two marshmallow’s, rather than just the one in front of them. Those children that were able to resist grabbing the marshmallow placed in front of them had better life outcomes.

This is the best link I could find which explains self control in children and links to the concept of the Marshmallow Test: http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/06/the-secrets-of-self-control-the-marshmallow-test-40-years-later/

There has been a lot of research around this if you are interested in discovering more.¬†I would recommend reading “Emotional Intelligence”. It is pretty heavy going though and one of the downsides is that the¬†author doesn’t describe what you can do to help your child improve their self control (although I haven’t finished the book yet!). This is something I am researching and plan to do a future post on.

I thought this was fascinating and that some of you might be interested. Let me know your thoughts.

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Christmas!!!! (Food, Presents & Pampering)

Are you suddenly realising that it’s only 4 weeks to Christmas? Yup, me too. I’ve managed to book the Christmas food delivery slot today, but because I’d left it quite late (when did the 19th of November become late for Christmas bookings???) I didn’t get any of the slots I wanted. Ho hum.

I’m only just starting to think about Christmas Presents (children seem to speed up time because normally I’m way more organised than this!) but I think this year that I’m going to try to buy local as much as possible. The list below are some ideas of local places where you can get fantastic hand crafted presents. I’ve also included a few ideas that might help your Christmas go a little bit more smoothly.

Let me know if you have any other suggestions to share.

Christmas Presents

Butterflies and Cupcakes

A lovely family business that do some beautiful items. They operate from Tadley but can deliver depending on how close you live to Tadley.

The best items they do are:

  • Name Hangings that are priced at ¬£1.50 per letter
  • Name Plaques (up to 6 letters or more depending in name) at ¬£8.50 and includes an animal character E.g. giraffe, tiger, etc.
  • Christmas Stockings are ¬£12.50 but take a while so last orders for them are the second week in December

Little Rosies Tea Shop (Elm Tree Garden Centre on the way to Tadley) has a shop attached to it with some really nice present ideas.

Basingstoke Discovery Centre ‚ÄúOur Shop‚ÄĚ, town centre. Lots of original items including snow globes and wooden Christmas Tree Decorations.

Alison’s Wonderland, Viables Craft Centre. The shop is attached to the Parlour tea rooms so you can browse with a cuppa in hand. Alison is lovely and very friendly.

Ma Humbug’s, Viables craft centre. Quaint old school sweet shop who will make up sweet boxes for you. Yummy!

Pots2Paint, Viables craft centre. If you are looking for that unique present for the Grandparents then this place will be perfect for you. Check out their website for more details (click on their name and it should take you straight through).

Childhood’s Dream, Winchester. I know I keep raving about this little shop (see the NHM facebook page), but I love it! Lots of wooden, old school toys that retain their value so if your children look after them, you can sell them on easily when they grow out/become bored with them.

Local Mummy Businesses – A list of local Mum businesses in the area that make gifts that would be perfect for Christmas.

Christmas Food

Vegetable/Fruit Boxes

We use Able and Cole box delivery close to Christmas because they deliver right to your door, regardless of the weather conditions which is so worth the £1 delivery charge. They also do a Baby and Toddler box of Veg and Fruit. It can be quite pricey but at least you know you are getting good vegetables, etc. As well as fruit and veg they also deliver diverse things like mince pies, Ella’s baby food and organic cleaning products. They deliver right up to December 23rd. Riverford also deliver boxes to the area.

Local Farm Shops

There are lots of farm shops in and around Basingstoke. Check out the Farm Shop page on NorthHantsMum to find one near you.

Christmas Pampering

If you are already exhausted with the drama of ‚ÄúChristmas with Children‚ÄĚ check out the Mobile Beautician Page or Mobile Hairdressers Page on NorthHantsMum. These wonderful ladies will travel to your house and pamper you in your home. Some of them are even being kind enough to offer you a discount if you mention NorthHantsMum!

Hope this has given you some inspiration. I will post up a few more posts about Christmas, but I’m sure you are being bombarded about it from everywhere else so I’ll try not to lay it on too thick.

Good Luck!

NorthHantsMum

Ballet/Dance classes for 2 year olds (Nov 2011)

Baby & Toddler Dance classes in North Hampshire

Vicky asked the question on NorthHants Mum on Facebook: can anyone recommend ballet/dance classes for 2yr olds?

I’m not able to recommend any specific classes but I’ve done some research about what is available at the moment. Details are below. If you have any recommendations, please don’t hesitate to add them. Vicky – thanks for your question, hope this is what you were looking for.

Dance Classes

Bopping Babies

Toddle-time disco fun, dance and play session for 0-5’s.

Active Life Centre

Modern Dance: The Modern Dance class involves learning dance moves to current popular music. Mondays 14.00 ‚Äď 14.45hrs. Cost: ¬£40.00 for 10 weeks

Ballet Classes

Basingstoke Academy of Dancing

One of the more professional dance schools in Basingstoke.  They hold Mother and Toddler Classes Р18 mnths Р3yrs, Monday morning 9.30am to 10.30am

J.L.D. School of Dancing

They say: Being easily accessed from anywhere in Basingstoke & Deane, J.L.D. School of Dancing has 50 scheduled classes per week and offers dancing lessons for boys and girls from 2 ‚Äď 18 years of age. Dance classes for children aged 2 ‚Äď 5 years are lively and fun, exploring music, movement and mime.

M&M Academy of Arts

They have a boogie babies class on Saturday morning: Pre-school Dance Classes, 45 minutes, Fun and stimulating class for 3 & 4 Years olds. These classes introduce basic ballet, tap and modern/jazz movements incorporating mime and stories.

Centre Stage Ballet

Centre Stage Ballet 3-4 years 4.30-5pm. Ballet 4-5 years 5-5.30pm. Ballet & Tap 5-9 years 5.30-6.15pm

Thursdays at Sherfield Park Community Centre.

Active Life Centre

Ballet (3-4 years): Working from the Royal Acadamy of Dance syllabus, this class involves dancing to classical and contemporary music whilst incorporating ballet steps, miming and free dance. The children have fun working to develop

Lynden School of Dance

I couldn’t find the timetable online for this dance school but I know they do Ka Motion classes at Basingstoke Sports Centre for little people and I’m sure they will have classes for under four’s. To find details you can contact them through their website.

Loose Moose РHook

Loose Moose Theatre Arts is an exciting, vibrant and creative theatre arts school offering a range of programmes for toddlers to teens to adults.

Chandelle Stage School

I don’t have any further details about this apart from that it’s based in the Sycamore centre in Winklebury.

Stage School’s

There is also a stage school in Basingstoke:

http://www.basingstokestageschool.co.uk/

Please add a comment if you know of more dance classes for toddlers in or near Basingstoke. Thanks!

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What is Elimination Communication for babies?

I’d never heard about Elimination Communication before someone added a comment to this site. They were running a blog which documented their experience of E.C. I suddenly discovered a whole new area that I’d never even really considered. Now I get how Indians used to be able to carry their little one’s in Papooses for such a long time! lol.

It was a fascinating subject and I was surprised I’d never heard of it before. Although, when you think about who runs most of our media and the advertising we see it’s not surprising that EC isn’t more widely known off, as nobody in Business¬†benefits from it. The Nappy companies don’t make any money if you don’t use nappies, the nappy cream companies don’t make any money. So I guess the concept of EC isn’t more widely known because there aren’t huge companies behind the advertising trying to drive the knowledge.

I would have loved the opportunity to try this out with my little one, but by the time I found out about it I was back to work and it wasn’t really feasible. However, I’m thinking that now the weather is warmer (Summer? What summer?) and we can spend more time outside, where nappies aren’t always a requirement, I might do a bit more research into this and see if we can try it out. I’ve also been spurred on by reading a blog where the Mum potty trained her little one at 15 months old. I didn’t even know that was a possibility! In fact, the whole potty training experience scares me as it just seems to be a bit of a drama. I am wondering though if I’m putting myself under more pressure because I’ve also read plenty more posts about how seasoned Mum’s (Mum’s with 3+ children) recommend waiting until your little one is really ready.

 

Further Reading

http://eliminationcommunication.wordpress.com/

http://ecomamasays.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/ecnatural-infant-hygiene/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elimination_communication

Play Dough Recipes

Stretchy Dough 

  • 3lb self-raising flour
  • approx. 1 and a quarter pints of water

Mix together until dough is formed. Knead well.

Makes an elastic dough that the children will enjoy pulling and stretching.

Will not keep for any length of time though.

http://childmindinghelp.co.uk/freeresources/PSE/stretchydough.html

Giltter Play Dough

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • Food coloring gel
  • Glitter

Mix all ingredients with the exception of the glitter in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture forms a ball (sounds cryptic, but you will know when it happens). Remove from heat, but dough ball in a large bowl. Add the glitter and knead until smooth and uniform. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

http://nanasfablife.blogspot.com/2011/07/lily-and-chloes-fabulous-life-glitter.html

Microwave Play Dough

Don’t want to cook your playdough on the stove? Use a microwave!

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • Food coloring

Mix all of the ingredients, except for the food color. Microwave it for about one minute and stir. Cook for about 30 more seconds. Keep repeating until the playdough is dough-ish. Knead the playdough and place the food coloring in. Its that simple!

http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/microwave-playdough-recipe/

Cooked Play Dough

  • 2 cups of plain flour
  • 1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of coloured water
  • 1 cup of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium size or large pan. Cook slowly on medium-high and stir it until the playdough thickens. Keeps best in the fridge in plastic containers.
Takes less than 10 minutes.

http://www.playdoughrecipe.com/cooked-playdough-recipe/

Modelling Dough

There are many types of modelling dough that you can buy, but it is just as easy (and much cheaper) to make your  own.  Use food colourings for different colours and you can make it seasonal by adding glitter near Christmas (or to make fairy dough), smooth pebbles in summer etc just use your imagination!

Essential Oils
Used sparingly these make great additions to modelling dough  Рa few drops of lavender can have a calming effect (and is antibacterial) and eucalyptus has a great menthol smell which is great for winter (not suitable for use around asthma sufferers).

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup cream of tartar

Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or bag.  Keep in the fridge.

Uncooked modelling dough

  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • food coloring
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour

Put everything except the flour and cornflour into a bowl.  Gradually add these until you have the consistency of bread dough.  Store in an air tight container or bag in the fridge.

Salt dough

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup flour plus additional flour

Mix all ingredient together in a saucepan over a low heat.  Remove when rubbery.  Once cooled knead with flour to make it workable.  This is a great dough for making Christmas decorations and models out of.  Once made pop them on grease proof paper or a tray on a radiator (or in airing cupboard or bottom shelf of a rayburn) so that they dry very slowly. Once dryed they can be painted.

Fairy dough – just add glitter (great when you are getting festive too)

http://www.netmums.com/activities/arts-and-crafts/modelling-dough

Lily Pad’s Play Dough

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 tsp cream tartar
  • Food colouring
  • To make smelly play dough, simply add an
  • essence (vanilla or peppermint).

Mix together ingredients in a sauce pan
Heat for a few minutes on the hob, stirringcontinuously
Remove from heat when the consistency is a doughy texture
Leave to cool before use

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/lily_pads_-_play_dough_download.pdf

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Frugal Ideas: Clothing

NCT Nearly New Sales

Autumn and Spring are the best times to find an NCT nearly new sale. There are many in the area and if you are an NCT member you will be allowed entry into the sale before other consumers. Be warned though, they are a bit of a bun fight.

Table Top Sales in your area

The best way to find out about local table top sales are to look in the Gazette, The Observor (local papers) or read your local community leaflet or magazine. If you live near a Community Hall you can also keep a look out for posters advertising any local sales

Freegle

Freegle not only allows you to offer your items for good, but it also allows you to request items. If you place a post with ‚ÄúWanted‚ÄĚ at the beginning an email will be sent out to the community and anyone who has your items available for offer will be able to email you directly.

Cheapcycle

This is along the same lines as Freegle but all items are priced for under £50.

Gumtree

Very similar to Cheapcycle but also includes bigger ticket items

Store Sales

If you sign up to many of the larger chain stores they will often email you dates of sales and discount codes.
Festival Place has the following places selling baby and children clothes (please let me know if I’ve missed any!):

Mama’s and Papa’s
Pumpkin Patch
Next
M&S
Boots
H&M
Monsoon
New Look
Primark

Supermarket Sales

Many of the big supermarket chains have great clothing ranges that are very reasonably priced. Sainsburys and Asda seem to do baby clothes that are bigger in sizes and therefore last longer.

Little Pickles Markets

These tend to be in South Hampshire and the closest event is in Winchester.

Baby and Children Markets

There is a franchise who operates in Tadley and across Basingstoke. Keep an eye on the website for future events.

Are there any other frugal clothing ideas for babies and children that you can think of?

Musical Shakers

Miss NHM and I made a shaker at a baby PEEP class that we visited out in Kingsclere when Miss NHM was 7 months old.

We still have her shaker now, at 3 1/2 years old and she still plays with it!

What you will need

  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†1 plastic cup
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Dried rice or lentils
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Paper
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Sellotape
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Pens, stickers or paints to decorate

Steps to making a shaker

  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Fill your chosen container with lentils or rice
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Cover the top of the cup with paper and secure with sellotape
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Decorate the shaker using a range¬† of pens and paints or other¬† decorative material

Tips for staying safe …

  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Young children must be supervised at all times.
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Do not allow your child to ingest the rice or lentils (risk of choking)
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Do not use ceramic cups

Working together

  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Enhance your child‚Äôs communication by asking what they are doing with each stage
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Ask your child about the colours and shapes they are using to decorate their shaker.
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Introduce your child to basic beats and rhythms. You might like to use familiar words from nursery rhymes to start with.
  • ¬∑ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Use an empty kitchen roll as an alternative to a plastic cup

A guide to learning and development outcomes for your child

By doing this activity with me you will help me to develop my fine motor skills and grasping movements.  This activity will also help to develop my hand eye coordination.  This is called my physical development.

When you make a shaker with me you will help me to learn about sounds, beats and rhythms, colours and shapes.  You will also be helping me with my conversation skills.  This is called my intellectual development.

We can talk about colours and sounds together.  You will be helping me with my range of vocabulary and speech and language development.  Help me to learn words such as shake, rattle, swish, count.

Making a shaker will give me lots of enjoyment and a sense of achievement.

When you praise and encourage me, you will help to raise my self-esteem and build my confidence.  This is good for my emotional development.

By enjoying this activity with siblings, I will learn how to learn to share and take turns which will help me with my social development.

The sound that the shaker makes will help by helping me to understand different sounds.  Colours will stimulate my vision and the essences will introduce me to a range of new scents which will help my sensory development.

Child Safe Zones at Festival Place

Basingstoke Festival Place operates as a Child Safe Zone:

Around the country, shopping centres, beaches, visitor attractions and other family venues are becoming Child Safe Zones…

If you have children its very likely you have experienced that dreaded moment when you turn around and your child is out of sight… the Child Safe Zones scheme can help.

If you lose your child in a Child Safe Zone, simply ring the number clearly displayed on the Child Safe Zones stickers or posters for direct contact with the local security team ‚Äď getting help with your search quickly. This simple, effective service works for everyone and is free.

You do not need to register with FamilySafePlus+ and you do not have to buy any Child Safe Accessories. Just call the number displayed.

Virtually every venue in the UK has a missing child procedure. The Child Safe Zone Scheme simply brings all these systems under one nationally recognised identity – helping venues and parents to keep children safe and found.

This scheme is can prove equally valuable for older children and vulnerable adults, where personal safety is an issue.

Free Wristbands

All Child Safe Zones offer free wristbands allowing children to carry their parent or guardian’s contact mobile number safely. Look out for the dispensers as you enter the Zone, and help Child Safe Zones to reunite your child with you quickly, if they lose sight of you.

Resource: http://www.childsafezones.co.uk/childsafe-zones.html#

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Library Membership

Visit your local library or complete the Online Registration Form to join

  • If you live, work or study in Hampshire you can become a member – it’s free to join. You’re never too young – even babies can join!
  • If you have difficulty using the library we have specialist services which can help you.
  • ¬†A wide selection of books, films, games and music for you to borrow. Try something new – libraries run courses and workshops from arts and crafts to employment preparation.
  • ¬†Free internet and IT in every library and Discovery Centre. WiFi is available in several libraries so you can use your own devices too.
  • Access library resources from home – you can download ebooks and audiobooks and use our online reference collection.

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