Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Halloween Craft Linky

Well I finally got my wifi sorted so here I am doing my first ever linky, better late then never! Myself and the girls have been having great fun doing some Halloween arts and crafts in the last week and we want you to share yours, be they old or new, with us. This is what we made.

Ella was my main helper for the prep work as Abigail was in school. We got some black and white paint, blue card and dug into the recycling box for loo roll holders and egg boxes. I set Ella up with the blue card and gave her a sponge to dip into the paint to make little ghosts.

We then put them aside to dry and she continued on with the sponge and covered some loo rolls in white paint.

We put these aside to dry and got on with the prep for our bats and spiders. All we needed was black paint, a bit of water, loo rolls and egg cartons.

All of these were painted black and put aside to dry.

The next day when everything was dry both of the girls sat up at the table to put everything together. You will need googly eyes, pritt stick and pipe cleaners for the next bit.

I had painted a spooky Halloween scene first, the girls cut around Ella's ghosts and stuck some googly eyes on them before sticking them onto the spooky scene.

Next they stuck googly eyes onto the white loo rolls and drew little screaming o's to make their ghosts.

The egg cartons were cut out and I punched holes in them for the girls to thread the pipe cleaners through for legs. More googly eyes and we had a creepy spider.

Finally we cut bat wing shapes out of some card we painted black, you could use black card if you have it. We stuck these onto the black loo rolls with googly eyes to make the bats. You could also paint little fangs and add some ears if you had the chance.

So they were our simple Halloween crafts I would love if you could share yours and please read other peoples, leave a comment and use the hashtag #batcraftcrazy so they will know were you are visiting from. I will share all posts on my Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and I will let the girls pick one or two for us to try out. They don't just have to be arty I would love to see some creative baking or spooky experiments too. Please get involved and have fun.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Gruffalo: Games

"A Mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.." You know how the story goes. The Gruffalo is a favourite book in our house and we also loved the movie adaption so I was delighted when asked to review the new Gruffalo: Games mobile app.

"The app was launched by Oscar-nominated entertainment company, Magic Light Pictures, and is based on the much-loved picture book, The Gruffalo, written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The Gruffalo: Games follows in the footsteps of the highly successful Room on the Broom app which was launched by Magic Light Pictures in October 2013."

There are 6 games in the app, I had my main helper on hand, Ella, and she loved it. The graphics are so bright and colourful, the familiar Gruffalo music is also there. The app is aimed at 3-7 year olds and features 6 games which feature the Gruffalo and other popular characters from the book, including Mouse, Owl, Fox and Snake.

(Screenshot from my iPad of the game menu)

- 3 in a Row is like X's and O's with a Gruffalo twist. The child plays with mouse chips against the Gruffalo to get 3 in a Row. Ella liked this as it was easy for her to figure out. The first to 5 wins, wins the game.

- Nut Catch was really fun, nuts, pinecones, bugs rain down and you have to guide the mouse to catch the nuts but watch out if he catches anything else he gets a bump on the head and sits down. The amount of nuts you get is your score so each time you have to try and better your score. Ella thought it was funny when the mouse got a bump as little stars would pop up around his head.

- Jigsaw has a number of different jigsaws to try, each time to you complete one you unlock another one.

- Snap was Ella's favourite, you play against the Gruffalo and it made her giggle trying to get the snap before his big claw came down. The first to 5 wins is the winner.

- Marching Bugs had little bugs march across the screen carrying leaves with a picture on them, you had to complete the sequence by putting in the last leaf. Ella found this one a bit trickier but still enjoyed it.

- Match Me is a matching game that gets a little bit harder the more you get right which made it a good challenge. You have a time limit to match up all the pieces, I had fun with this one myself I must say.

The app is available to download in the App Store 
I was very pleased with this app, Ella really loved playing it and I would definitely look at getting more apps in this range. I would highly recommended it, the game play is easy for kids to manage but still challenges them. It's fun and beautifully designed and gets a big thumbs up from us.

(Disclosure : I received a download code for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and I am not paid to give them.)

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I'll do it myself!

"I'll do it myself!!" is a phrase often muttered in utter frustration by my 4 year old and I'm beginning to think I know where she got it from..

In my last post I said I was going to get the place rearranged so that the girls would have more space for getting creative. Well Owen said he would help me move the furniture on Friday but yesterday the wifi was down (horrifying I know) and the table was just looking at me! I thought it couldn't be that hard to get the table from the sitting room to the kitchen so I'll just do it myself. However I didn't realise just how heavy the table was and I definitely didn't consider the width of the table compared to the doorway and so this happened...

Yep I got stuck! I spent about a half an hour pulling and lifting and turning, everything to try and get the legs around the door frame. I gave up and rang Owen to find out how he moved it the last time, but he couldn't remember and couldn't stop laughing and said he'd sort it out later. But again impatience and pure stubbornness kicked in and I went at it for another half an hour.

Clearly none of what I was doing was working so I thought if I moved the bookcase I could get the door open a bit wider. Now as much as I try to keep the house clean it was obvious how much I ignore the bookcase in the corner, there was a layer of dust on it. I got the Hoover out and lucky I did because when I moved the case away from the wall a nest of dust spiders, you know the ones with tiny bodies and really long legs, all jumped out at the one time. Up the Hoover they went..

I got the bookcase out of the way and the door wide open and what happened?? The table just glided right through!! Why didn't I think to do that first.. But at least I got it sorted, stubbornness wins again lol

Do you get impatient when it comes to getting stuff done?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Art supplies

I woke up to a beautiful freezing cold but bright and sunny morning today. I was so happy to pull my boots out of the wardrobe and put a woolly jumper on. My head was buzzing with ideas as I made my way out the door. After I dropped the girls off to school I met a friend for coffee, sorted out some bills and headed for the art shop. The girls are always busy colouring and stickering and making up their own crafts but it's been a while since I set them up with supplies and really let them go for it.

With Halloween and Christmas on the way it's a great time of year to get creative. I picked up some coloured card, new paint brushes, pritt stick and googley eyes. Black and white paint, crayons and some cool holographic paper. The big plus for them is I've decided it's time to move on from the plastic safety scissors that don't cut anything and got them both proper little scissors.

I'm going to move my kitchen table out of the sitting room and back into the kitchen so that they will have more space and freedom to just go a little nuts. And plus at this time of year the sun fills up the kitchen making it warm and bright so it's a nice place to sit in.

I'm going to get the place sorted so that on Saturday we can have a craft day. The empty loo rolls will be saved up and any other bits and bobs that we can find and I must dig through the art box and see what I can salvage!

Have you any Halloween crafts that you like to make? I wonder is it time to do my first linky and get some Halloween craft links going, what do you think?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Netflix Stream Team

I mentioned before that I have become a member of the Netflix Stream Team. This is something I am very happy and excited to be a part of as I'm very enthusiastic about watching new shows and movies. I used to work in a movie shop called The Orange Shop back when I was still in school and the bonus of that was I got to watch a lot of movies new and old. Then when I first moved to Wicklow I was living above Xtra vision and I didn't have any tv channels so regularly took advantage of their movie deals and quickly built up a collection. Towards the end of Abigail's pregnancy I took to renting box sets too. So when the opportunity came to be a part of the team I went for it.

I should probably note that I'm not being paid for the posts that I will be doing but I did receive a years subscription to Netflix and an Apple TV. All of my opinions and recommendations are my own. I would like to take this opportunity also to ask that if you have any programmes or movies of interest (children or adult) that you would like me to talk about please get in touch.

So when the Apple TV arrived I actually missed it as I was down the town when the postman arrived and had to wait until the next day to collect it. As soon as I got it home I set it up, it was very easy to do. Netflix was already on it and we got stuck in. The girls were quick to find something they wanted to watch. Ruby Gloom, Mia and me, Bo on the Go and Yo Gabba Gabba are the favourites at the moment. The girls also enjoyed The Magic Roundabout this one was good for quiet downtime.

After some long days at school a movie and some popcorn where called for so we watched Teachers Pet and Freebirds. The girls enjoyed both of these, I enjoyed Freebirds myself.

There is no end to the amount available for everyone to watch. Myself and Owen have watched The Hobbit and a few other movies and I've dipped into Orange is the New Black which is brilliant. I've also decided to relive my teenage years and have started watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer from the beginning. I love the continuous play feature and the fact that there are no ads at all!!

I hope to keep you up to date with what we are watching and what Netflix has to offer each month. If you follow me on Facebook and Twitter you will be able to keep up to date with news on upcoming releases such as the Popples which will make their debut in 2015.

Have you any recommendations as to what we should watch?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Hello October

Today is the 1st of October and already September feels like a long forgotten memory that passed by in a haze of madness rushing from one place to the other. All notions of being super organised have long been thrown out of the window and we are back into the old familiar morning panic were we jump out of bed at the last minute and rush around the house like blue arsed flies trying to get out of the door on time.

The weather has started to change and we got caught out in the rain yesterday leaving us feeling under prepared and slightly miserable. We were cheered up by glimpses of sun through the trees this morning and although the air is still a bit warm and humid the sea breeze is cool and gives you a chill. So on went the tights and the new coats and it won't be long before they are joined by the hats, scarves and gloves.

love this time of year, the colours, the smell in the air as people start to light their fires. We have so far managed to get away without putting the heating on but it won't be for long. The damp is creeping in, as are the big spiders, and there are only so many jumpers you can put on before you can no longer move. 

All the talk of Halloween is in the air and whispers excited whispers of Christmas.

October makes me think of long walks through the trees wearing our wellies and wooly jumpers. Coming in from the cool air after jumping in piles of leaves with rosy cheeks and cold fingers having a hot chocolate and a snuggle under a blanket to warm us up. The dark evenings mean more time for stories and movie time. Hot baths to thaw out cold toes and snuggly fleecy pajamas and fluffy socks.

What do you like about this time of year?

Monday, 29 September 2014

The Devil's Glen

It's been a while since we went on a family wander through the woods so yesterday we took the girls up to the Devil's Glen in Ashford. We went up late in the afternoon as we were enjoying a lazy Sunday. We didn't drive all the way in but parked outside and set off on foot straight away. What a sight, the trees were all huge!!

There were other families up ahead of us but we heard some noises behind us. At first we couldn't see anyone and then a little squirrel popped out from behind a tree and scampered through the leaves. We went to have a closer look but he took off up into the leafy canopy and made his way over head. Every now and then the leaves above would scatter and even though we couldn't see them we knew there were more squirrels up above.

We had never been to this wood before so we didn't know how far or how long the walk would take but we set off following the trail and hoped for the best! We lost sight of the other families as there were plenty of directions to choose from. We quickly got sidetracked by a giant wooden sculpture. There were lots of different ones dotted about the place but this was the only one we came across.

We continued up the little trail that led on from there, taking our time and enjoying the wander. We came across a bench that had writing on it. On closer inspection we saw that it was a piece of old Irish poetry translated by Seamus Heaney.

"Why I love Derry:
 It is calm it is clear
 Rustle of white robed angels
 At every corner."

We found more of these benches the further we went along. The girls liked this one that had steps leading up to it so you could sit and look out over the tops of the trees.

After a rest we took off again to look for the little yellow arrows that would show us the way. The girls took the lead and enjoyed picking up pinecones and spikey horse chestnuts.

On we went finding more benches so we knew we had to be going the right way. Which way that was though we still weren't sure.

At one point it started to rain and I began to wonder if we should just turn back. But looking back the path looked just the same.

So on we went through the deep dark woods, as it started to get a bit darker in under the cover of the trees. The story of the Gruffalo came to mind and I secretly hoped to myself that there was nothing lurking in the dark corners!

Eventually we emerged out onto a path and discovered we had just been on the Seamus Heaney walk which was what all the benches were for.

Hurray we said we must be near the car by now.. Nope we still had a long walk back! At least we were out on a road and no longer feeling our way through the woods. We saw horses through the trees on the way back and looking further out through the trees we got a great glimpse of rolling hills of green.

As we got closer to the car the trees bowed over the road like a big leafy archway, Ella said it was like a big tunnel.

Finally after an hour and a half of walking we made it back to the car. Once home the girls were showered and we had a big fry before bed. We all slept great!! It's amazing what fresh air can do to you. This morning the girls excitedly headed off to school with the things they found in the woods to show to their teachers and classmates.

They are already looking forward to our next family adventure..