Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Different Ways To Spend Time As A Family

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Disclosure - This is a collaborative post 

It's no secret that families are important. They provide support and love, and they are a source of comfort during difficult times. However, sometimes families can drift apart due to busy schedules or lack of communication. We have always tried to spend as much time as a family of four as we can which can sometimes be difficult with the boys having an eleven year age gap. Over the years I've come up with ways that we can do things together that we can all enjoy. 

family standing on a bridge

Make Time For Family Dinners
In today's hectic world, it can be challenging to find time to sit down for a meal together as a family. However, making time for regular family dinners is a great way to catch up with one another and share what we have being doing that day. We have something on every night after school but I would say we eat together more than we don't but if you can't manage to have dinner together every night, aim for once or twice a week. And if cooking is not your thing, then order takeaways from your favourite restaurant.

Play Games Together
You all know we do love a good board games night. Games are a fun way to spend time together as a family and now little J is older we can play games that last that little bit longer. Whether you opt for classic board games, video games, or outdoor games, playing together is a great way to have some quality time together. Of course, you can try classic family games, including Monopoly, Scrabble, and Pictionary. But, if you have younger children, try playing some simple games that they can enjoy too, such as Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. And if you want to get active, consider playing tag, hide-and-seek, or Frisbee in the park.

three males at a shooting gallery

Plan A Family Holiday
Take some time to plan a special family holiday that everyone will enjoy. This can be anything from a weekend camping trip to a two-week vacation abroad. You can also consider multi-activity holidays. This is where you spend time together doing different activities such as hiking, biking, and kayaking. This is a great way to bond and create lasting memories together.

Improve Your Family Communication
If you want to get closer to your family, it's important to ccommunicate effectively. This means taking the time to listen to one another and express yourselves clearly. Family members should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with one another. If you're not used to communicating openly, start sharing something small daily. For example, you can tell your family about your day at work or school, or you can ask them about their day.

Have A Family Movie Night
Grab some popcorn and snuggle up together for a family movie night. You can either rent or buy movies that everyone will enjoy. This is a great way to unwind and spend some quality time together. We love creating home cinema nights and now that the nights are getting darker it's definitely the right season for cosy nights in.

boy looking at a rabbit on a farm

Take A Family Trip To The Zoo or Museum 
Visiting the zoo or museum is a great way to spend a day together as a family. You can learn about different animals or cultures, and you'll get to spend some time walking around and taking in the sights. This is also an excellent opportunity to take some fun family photos.

These are just a few ideas - there are many other ways that families can get closer to one another. But, most importantly, take the time to connect with one another and enjoy each other's company. With a little effort, you can create lasting memories and a strong family bond that will last for years to come. 

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Our Goals For 2022

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Happy New Year! I like to start every new year with a fresh and positive outlook and 2022 will be no different. I know there is lots of uncertainty still in the air (almost two years on...) but we just have to make the most out of the situation and try our best to stay positive and that's what I am planning to do this year. I'm going to focus on all the things we can do rather than the things we can't. Every year I make the same resolutions as the year before, eat healthier, exercise more etc etc but this year whilst those resolutions will be in the back of my mind I am going to focus on small achievable  (hopefully) goals for us to accomplish this year.

man and boy in a maze

1. Explore The UK
I've had it in my head for some time now that I would love to visit some of the top UK landmarks. I think when I last checked there were over 60 so I think that might be a bit too ambitious but I would love to visit maybe half of them before the year is through. 

As a family I think we are very adventurous but we always visit the same places when we head for weekends away or days out. I really want to try and step out of our comfort zone and explore more of the UK because it is beautiful. 

2. Enjoy Screen Free Time
We spend a lot of time on our screens and although I know it will be impossible to cut out screen time all together I would love to limit the time we spend looking at devices. I know I am not the only one who can waste a lot of time scrolling through social media randomly clicking on useless articles and photos. I could have been doing something more productive with that time and that's my aim for 2022. Limit the screen time and enjoy doing other things that doesn't involve a device. 

3. Walk 365 Miles At Home
During lockdown whilst doing PE with Joe I also found Walk At Home on You Tube. There are lots of videos from Leslie Sansone where you walk at home. Each video is broken down in to very simple steps to help you walk miles from the comfort of your own home. I absolutely loved doing the videos and was walking up to 3 miles a day. Life then got in the way as things got back to normal and I stopped doing the videos. I want to start up my walking again and my goal is to walk at least 1 mile per day.

4. Say Yes
One of my goals for 2021 was to say yes more and I am going to continue in 2022. It's so easy to say no to a drink after work with colleagues, a meal out with friends or a late night trip to the cinema. I felt like I was always saying no for various reasons when in fact I was just being lazy. I think because we had spent so much time at home in our own bubble I found it a huge effort. I smashed this goal in 2021 and I know I will in 2022 too. 

view of a plane's wing from the window

5. Leave The Country
Our Disneyland Paris trip was postponed last year so we are rebooked for Summer. That is the only overseas travel we have planned so far and I really really hope we get to go. If travel is up and running again in the Summer months I would love to go away for a much needed two week beach holiday but it won't be something we book till nearer the time. 

6. Plan A 21st
Big J will be 21 next year and I am really hoping we can make it as special as possible seeing as he spent his 18th in Lockdown. He's not really a party, centre of attention type of person so I'm thinking it may be a breakaway with us and maybe one with his friends. He loves America so I would love to take him over to the USA to watch a basketball game and no doubt lots of shopping!

7. Continue To Be Happy and Healthy
The past two years have been so worrying watching so many people get really ill and some die. It's also affected a lot of peoples mental health and jobs. I really hope we can continue to be healthy as well as happy throughout this year and be able to deal with whatever 2022 throws at us.

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April 2021 | Looking Back

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April was a busy one for us. It was nice to have the boys off school so we could enjoy half term and some adventures together. Like most of the months this year, April just flew by and I actually cannot believe we are in May already. We did have a lovely month  and I have really enjoyed looking back at our April. 

boy lying on the grass

National Trust
Once again we tried to make the most of our National Trust passes this month. Sometimes it can be hard to plan in advance as you have to book up to a week in advance. The tickets for the week ahead go on sale early Friday morning.  So far we have been lucky and have visited every time we have booked and the weather has always been kind to us. 

boy completing an easter egg hunt

boy completing an easter egg hunt

Easter egg treat

First we headed to Speke Hall. There was an Easter Egg Trail around the estate for the children to enjoy. It was lots of fun and little J enjoyed following the arrows, solving the clues and getting a chocolate treat at the end.

boy on grass

boy on grass

meeting percy the park keeper

Tatton Park was also on our visit list for this month. Here we enjoyed a different type of trail. Percy the Park Keeper has created a secret path to follow to help find his friends and gather all the tools he needs for a big spring clean up. We really enjoyed this trail in Tatton Park Gardens and got to meet Percy at the end. 

Quarry Bank Mill

Quarry Bank Mill

Quarry Bank Mill

Next we visited Quarry bank Mill where little J enjoyed another Easter Egg Trail. We’ve never visited Quarry Bank Mill before so had no idea what to expect. We all enjoyed lovely views of the gardens, the mill and then headed on one of the walks. 

I am so pleased that we bought our National Trust memberships last year. It’s really helped us get up and go over the past few months and enjoy some lovely properties, gardens and walks.

Spending Time With Family and Friends
This month we managed to squeeze in some time with our family and friends within the lockdown restrictions.

boys in the woods

We took little J and his friend to another National Trust favourite of ours, Formby Red Squirrel Reserve. They spent the day building dens, swinging from a tree swing, rolling down sand-hills, enjoying a picnic and even finding some animal bones. It was lovely to see them play together and catch up on all the things they’ve missed out on over the past few months.

boys playing

We also had the chance to head to the park for a lovely afternoon with family. Watching Little J and his cousins play together made us all so happy as they have missed out on so much time together over the past few months.

boy on a trampoline

Another family day out was to the Ice Cream Farm in Cheshire. This was definitely our favourite day out this month. It's been a very long time since we visited the Ice Cream Farm so we were pleasantly surprised how much it has changed with lots more to see and do. They boys spent their day climbing, bouncing, crawling and digging for jewels. We finished off the day with an ice cream.

broken finger

Another Injury
Unfortunately there was another injury this month.  Last month was big J hurting his ankle and ending up on crutches, this month little J broke his little finger. It happened while he was playing for his football team. As he is the goalie he has to make lots of difficult saves and sometimes gets trampled on. We’re not quite sure which one caused the break, maybe it was a mixture of the two. 

boy with a bandaged arm

We hesitated at first about taking him to A&E and thought about strapping his little finger together to the next with a bit of cotton wool and tape. We are so glad we took him because his little finger was broken. He ended up with a full cast up to his elbow. This is a new procedure for broken fingers at our local hospital and hopefully it means that he will be on the mend sooner. The bad news was it did mean that his goalie duties were passed on to somebody else and he had to watch his team from the sidelines.

Looking forward to a fun May with lots planned.

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March 2021 | Looking Back

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We are now officially in the second quarter of the year and we can start to look forward to warmer days and lighter evenings. March was the beginning of back to some kind of normal with the children returning to school and also the rule of six coming back in to play again. Little J was happy to be back at school and has settled back in to his routine without any trouble at all. 

Boy sat on the grass
Weekend Walks
The highlights of our months recently always involve our walks. They are what we look forward to the most at the moment and have carried us through the past year. 

boys overlooking the sea

the waterfront
boy pretending to pull anchor

I really do hope that we that we continue to explore our local woods, enjoy walking along the waterfront  and just appreciate the simple things.

boy eating an ice cream

Days out don't have to cost much and you don't have to travel for miles either. We have found so many beautiful places local to us that either are free or a small entrance / parking charge. Our days out have usually consisted of a home made packed lunch and a trip to the ice cream van at the end of the day. Travel time and cost have been minimal but they have been some of the best days out we have ever had. 

Boy under the duvet

a swollen foot

Illness and Injuries
Disaster struck mid month when little J got tonsillitis and big J tore his ligaments playing basketball. Firstly little J getting ill before his birthday is nothing new. He has been ill on most of birthdays so far with tonsillitis, vomiting and chicken pox. Luckily a course of antibiotics and a few home days off school he was okay for his actually birthday. 

Big J's plans for the month changed when he was playing basketball in the garden, fell and tore his ligament in his foot. He was in a lot of pain even after doing the recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) so John took him to A&E and it was confirmed he had injured it. He has had a cast on it and also using crutches. He has had one lot of physio so far and some exercises to do at home. Hopefully he will be on the mend soon.

Boy holding up an 8 sign

2nd Lockdown Birthday
Despite this being his second lockdown birthday and no party planned little J was so excited for his special day. Up until the day before he didn't have any ideas of what he wanted for his birthday except for a box of fidget toys and surprises. He woke very early at just before 6am and loved every minute of his day. He loved all his presents including AirPods off his brother, a bike off us and his much wanted fidget toys. We had a small lunch and birthday cake, headed to grandparents to collect even more presents  and all day he received messages, cards and visits from his friends. his favourite surprise of all was his Pizza Hut dinner. He has wanted Pizza Hut for so long and he had no idea we were collecting an order for him. He was very surprised. 

Disney home items
In Other News

Little J's football has returned so that means lots of training sessions and matches each week. I've put my family organiser back on the fridge to keep track of everything. 

John and I are still making our way through the Marvel Movies and Series. We are absolutely loving Agents of Shield at the moment and are just about to finish season two. 

Next month we are looking forward to spending more time in the garden and outdoors with family and friends, haircuts, trips to the beer gardens and non essential shops opening. 

What are you looking forward to in April?

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February 2021 | Looking Back

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I had this post scheduled for the end of February but unfortunately it never published and I have only just realised. However it's better late than never so here is what we got up to in February 2021.

Boys looking at Dunham Massey Estate

Although February was a short month it felt so long and by the middle we were all ready for that half term break. The excitement of being off school and doing work at home has definitely fizzled out and I think we are all ready for some normality. 

looking through a telescope

dad and son walking along a beach
Weekend Walks
Just the same as other months we really do look forward to our local weekend walks. It really gives us a reason to get up and dressed at the weekend rather than lazing about in our Pj's - although that is fun sometimes too.

boy looking out to the lake

boy climbing up a tree
Towards the end of last year we bought National Trust memberships so I am really looking forward to the restrictions lifting so we can visit some new places further afield. 

afternoon tea

Loungefly Rapunzel Bag

Valentine's Day
John planned and prepared a lovely afternoon tea for us all to enjoy for Valentines Day. It was such a lovely treat and although we don't really celebrate it he bought me a gorgeous Disney Loungefly Bag which I have wanted for so long. I was very happy. 

boy decorating his pancake

Pancake Day
During half term it was Pancake Day and the boys really enjoyed flipping pancakes and filling them with delicious treats. I offered them Nutella, jam, sweets and M&M's. They tried the lot. 

boy playing with a fidget toy

Little J was a little down for a few days. I think he had just had enough with being at home stuck with just us but he really cheered up when a package of treats arrived for him and big J. It was a lovely surprise from his Grandma and Grandad. 

Movie snacks

boys sat watching a film

Cinema Night
As another treat John and I planned a night at the Odeon cinema at home for the boys. We downloaded the Odeon at Home free resources which really made the night extra special. We had slush, coke, nachos and cheese, hotdogs, pick'n'mix and popcorn. It was a fun night and little J keeps pestering for us to do it again so he definitely enjoyed it. 

In Other News
drawing of winnie the pooh taggy

winnie the pooh taggy

Little J has become attached more than ever to his Winnie The Pooh taggy over the past year. Taggy has always been little J's favourite teddy but they are just inseparable at the moment which worries me as he will be returning to school soon. I drew him a picture of taggy (what taggy used to look like 8 years ago) and he has stuck it on his bedroom door. 

John and I have decided to watch the Marvel Movies and series again. We have already watched Captain America The First Avenger and then the Agent Carter Series 1 & 2. We've still got a long way to go but I am really looking forward to seeing them again. 

We have been thinking about our travel plans for 2021 and although we are still unsure about what we can and can't do I am hoping we will have something booked by next month. 

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Create A Movie Night At Home

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We have spent the last year trying to come up with different ways to keep busy while staying at home. It's hard to make things exciting when really all you want to do is go out for a meal, go to the cinema or just get out of the house. Last week I stumbled across Odeon At Home and I thought it would be perfect way to entertain the kids during half term.


Odeon At Home has everything you need to prepare your home into an  Odeon experience. To get started we downloaded the PDF of the at home kit and created our Odeon at Home.

First pretend to work at the Odeon by popping on your name badge and also your favourite film. My favourite film changes all the time so I would struggle to fit just one on there.

Create the viewing screen by labelling your TV/Projector with Screen 1 and write the name of the movie you are going to watch next to Showing.

Odeon at home ticket

Then you need to create the tickets. The PDF includes 4 ticket stubs but if you need more you can just print out another sheet. 

Once we created the viewing area it was time to sort out snacks. Usually at the cinema you would have a choice of hotdog, nachos, popcorn, pick and mix and drinks. We had lots of fun creating the Food and Drinks section of our cinema. 

First we started with the drinks. Little J got a slush puppy machine for Christmas and John has just mastered how to make the perfect slush so this was definitely on the menu. We ordered some Coca Cola Cups from amazon which were perfect not to big or small, they were 400ml. 

Hotdogs on baguettes and nachos were easy enough to make and again we ordered the trays and hot dog holders from Amazon. The nachos were lightly salted Doritos and I had read lots of reviews saying the Riccos Nacho Cheese Sauce is just like the cinema. You can buy it in Costco however we ordered it from Amazon. The sauce did not disappoint. 

Part of the print off is make your own popcorn boxes. These were actually really easy to buy and there was no need to use cardboard, paper worked just fine. 

I popped a few tubs of pick and mix on the table with spoons so the boys could pick their own or add to their popcorn. 

Boy sitting on the sofa

Last but not least it was time to watch the movie, but before that we enjoyed an introduction from Odeon and then a selection of trailers from upcoming movies. This is available via a link which you can type in direct on your TV if it has access to the internet. This really made us feel like we were at the cinema and it was quite emotional listening to the voiceover that we have heard so many times in the past at our local Odeon. It made us all realise just how much we have missed going to the cinema. 

The movie night was a success and with the added extras it really did feel like we were at the cinema.

Unfortunately our giveaway is no closed. 

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Competition closes on Sunday 14th March 2021

Entrants must have a valid UK address. 

Bulk, third party or any other entries using automated software will be disqualified. 

All entrants and entries are checked and verified. 

1 lucky winner will be chosen at random by the Gleam application. 

Playdays and Runways will contact the lucky winners within 7 days of the competition closing. 

The winners will be emailed to the email address given at the time of entering. 

The winners must respond within 28 days, if no response a new winner will be chosen. 

This prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative 

The Prize : £20 amazon voucher to spend on sweets and treats for a movie night in. 

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Half Term At Home | Living Arrows 8/52 (2021)

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We were so ready for half term when it finally arrived. You know the kids are ready for a break when they can't be bothered with school work anymore, they are tired and whiney and if I am honest I felt the same. It had been a term of ups, downs and lots of juggling between home school and working but we got there in the end. Like most we had no plans at all and we planned on spending most of our time at home other than our walks, but it was nice not to have to worry about zooms and work for a week.

boy making pancakes

I am so glad we remembered pancake Tuesday. We do usually forget and then have to rush out to the shops to pick up some pancakes and toppings but I had already ordered them on the shopping so was very prepared. 

I gave the boys a choice of jam, Nutella, sugar, M&M's and Haribo. Little J decided to pile everything (except jam) on to his pancake and enjoyed every single bite. Big J also enjoyed his pancakes and was definitely the best flipper of the pancakes. 

Stepping Stones

We managed to head out for a few walks in-between wet and windy days as it is important to get out and about especially with little J as he has lots of energy to burn off.

Boy eating ice cream

One of little J's favourite things when we head out for a walk is to find an ice cream man or somewhere he can get an ice cream. He was so pleased when we visited a new park last week and there was an ice cream parlour. He always chooses bubblegum flavour if its there and he was pleased when it was. 

Odeon at Home ticket

brothers watching a movie

We finished off half term with a trip to the movies. This was in the living room but we made it extra special using the free resources from Odeon At Home. The boys had an amazing night with lots of cinema food, drinks and snacks and a very funny movie. 

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