Homemade Easter Cards

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This year, I thought it would be lovely for Jemima to create some Easter cards to send to her relatives. As she is not yet two years old, I wanted to create cards she could decorate by herself. The instructions for each of the three designs are written below, so please feel free to try them out with your toddler. All are simple to set up and quick to make.

1. Potato Print Easter Eggs

Cut two potatoes in half. Turn them over and carve little handles to make them easier for your toddler to pick up and hold.

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Create different designs for each ‘egg’. To make the lines thicker, I first cut them with a knife, then went over them with the point of a potato peeler.

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Once you have made your potato Easter egg designs, pour four different colours of paint onto paper plates, one for each different design. Fold a piece of A4 white card in half and let your toddler print the egg designs onto the card.

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2. Tissue Paper Collage Easter Egg

This card is super simple to create. Begin by folding a piece of A4 paper in half and then draw an oval shape along the fold.

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Cut it out and then unfold the paper to reveal your egg shape. We made two of these.

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Next, tear various colours of tissue paper into little pieces and put into a paper bowl.

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Allow your toddler to cover the egg shape in glue and then stick the multicolour tissue paper onto the egg.

Fold an A4 piece of white card in half and stick your Easter egg collage onto the front.

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3. Baby Chick Easter Card

This card is very quick to make. Begin by folding a piece of yellow card in half. Take a large glass or a bowl and draw around it, ensuring that part of it overlaps the fold.

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Cut out around the shape to create a circular card.

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If your toddler is old enough (mine isn’t!) give them a pair of toddler scissors and allow them to make small cuts around the outside of the card to give the illusion of feathers. You may wish to do this step yourself.

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Finally, your toddler can stick goggly eyes and an orange beak in the middle of the yellow circle. Alternatively, these could be drawn or painted. We used an orange piece of sticky foam for the beak.

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Jemima managed to make these cards while her three-week-old brother was peacefully napping!

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We hope you enjoy making these designs and would love to hear how you got on. Wishing you all a happy and restful Easter!

Run Jump Scrap!

My Experience of Hypnobirthing

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My Experience of Hypnobirthing

The birth of my eldest daughter, Jemima, was fairly traumatic so as the birth of my son drew nearer, I began to feel increasingly anxious. Last time, I had felt frightened and unprepared for the pain as my labour progressed; this time, I wanted to feel as calm and relaxed as possible.

Several friends recommended hypnobirthing to me. The more I found out about it, the more interested I became and, with just two weeks until my due date, my husband and I booked onto an intensive course with Emma Harwood-Jones. She taught us breathing techniques for each stage of labour: calm breathing, surge (contraction) breathing & birth breathing. She also did a fear release hypnosis on me to dispel any fears I had about giving birth and to help me feel relaxed about the labour. I read the book Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan and also listened to the recommended hypnobirthing tracks every night. A key part of hypnobirthing is the use of positive affirmations and language: ‘pain’ or ‘hurt’ are not referred to and contractions are known as ‘surges ‘.

In the run up to the labour, I definitely felt a lot more relaxed than before and found myself feeling positive about, and even looking forward to, the whole experience of labour and birth.

My due date was 18th February but our little boy did not want to come out! I tried all sorts of natural induction techniques (reflexology, acupuncture and spicy food to name a few) but nothing worked and, on 1st March, I went into hospital to be induced.

The birth was extremely quick in the end; less than 6 hours from start to finish. Once the surges started, I remembered to do the surge breathing, which helped me to cope, especially as they got more intense. My husband was fantastic and kept reminding me of the various techniques we had learned. We walked all around the hospital in order to speed up the labour. After about 4 hours, my surges were coming every minute and a half, lasting for 30-40 seconds. My husband was keen for me to be examined as they were so close together, but I didn’t think they were lasting long enough for me to be too far along. However, we were taken to the birth centre and I was given the good news that I was already 8cm dilated. I wanted to try gas & air at this point, but found that it did not help me at all. The surges started to get very powerful and intense, and I have to say that I was definitely aware of the pain! My waters broke and baby Joshua was born 30 minutes later. I did not have much chance to use the birth breathing techniques as, by that stage, everyone was shouting at me to push!

Overall, I would recommend hypnobirthing to anyone feeling at all anxious about giving birth. It instilled in me a sense of calmness about the birth and I am sure that it helped me to relax as the labour progressed. I think that the breathing element of hypnobirthing really helped me to cope with the surges, particularly in the earlier stages of labour and I am delighted that I was able to experience a drug free and uncomplicated natural birth.

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What is Hypnobirthing?

Our hypnobirthing instructor, Emma Harwood-Jones, has kindly provided the concluding paragraphs of this blog. She explains what hypnobirthing is and a little about the crucial role of the birth partner, and I am delighted to quote her:

Hypnobirthing is a way of giving birth which involves using breathing, visualisation and relaxation techniques to relax the body and mind during labour and birth. Hypnobirthing prepares women for birth through the daily practice of guided relaxations and birth affirmations (positive statements about birth designed to replace any negative thoughts about birth held at a subconscious level). The relaxations and birth affirmations are also listened to during labour and birth to assist in relaxation. Hypnobirthing uses fear release therapy before the birth, to release any fears or anxieties about birth at a subconscious level so that women can approach their birthing day feeling positive and at ease, enabling them to fully relax on the day. Hypnobirthing is based on the understanding that fear, stress and anxiety leads to the release of stress hormones which causes oxygenated blood to divert away from the uterus (where it is needed most for birth) to the arms and legs, in the body’s fight or flight response. It also creates tension in the uterine muscles which causes pain as the outer layer of muscle pulls up against a taut inner layer of muscle. This also reduces the effectiveness of the muscles to open the cervix, thereby prolonging labour. The stress hormones block out the body’s natural tranquilliser, endorphins, making the contractions (surges) much harder to manage. With hypnobirthing techniques, women are able to relax the body, particularly the uterine muscles, allowing them to work effectively together to open the cervix, and enabling the body to release the hormones it needs (in particular, endorphins and oxytocin) for an easier birthing experience.

Hypnobirthing gives birth partners an important role to play, supporting mum with light touch massage, relaxation prompts, words of encouragement and a calm manner, all of which assist in keeping mum relaxed, thereby helping with the release of oxytocin and endorphins. The birth companion also ensures the environment is kept quiet with the relaxation music playing and lights dimly lit. He acts as an advocate for the birth plan, communicating with the midwives and he makes sure mum is snacking and drinking water regularly to keep up her energy levels.

For information on available face-to-face or online hypnobirthing courses please visit, www.togetherbirthing.com.

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
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ethannevelyn
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

 

Toddler Art and Craft Activities for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day is an important event in our house, as it was the occasion of my first date with my husband. This year, I decided to create some toddler-friendly Valentine’s Day art and craft activities for Jemima. All of these would make fantastic homemade Valentine’s Day cards.

1. Tissue Paper Heart

First, cut a heart shape out of A4 paper or card. The easiest way to do this is to fold the paper in half, draw half a heart and then cut it out.

This ensures that both sides of the heart are even. Next, tear some red and pink tissue paper into small pieces and put into a paper bowl.

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You may wish to cut each piece of tissue paper into a heart shape, but we found torn up bits worked well. Finally, hand your toddler the paper heart, the Pritt Stick and the bowl and watch as they have lots of fun sticking the tissue paper onto the heart.

Jemima loves using glue so she thoroughly enjoyed this activity.

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You could stick this heart onto a piece of A4 card folded in half to create a beautiful handmade Valentine’s Day card, or you could keep it as it is.

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2. Foil Painted Heart

For this activity, give your child a piece of foil about the size of a piece of A4 paper and allow them to paint it with pink and red paints.

When it is dry, cut out a heart shape using the method described for the Tissue Paper Heart activity.

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Carefully stick it onto a piece of A4 card folded in half to create a pretty and original Valentine’s card.

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3. Painted Letters

Give your toddler a piece of A4 paper, some pink and red paint, paint brushes, stamps and any other painting utensils you have, and allow them to create their own special piece of artwork.

Jemima loved doing this so much that she covered about 5 sheets of A4 paper.

However, she did get quite messy in the process!

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When the paintings are dry, choose one and cut out the letters ‘LOVE’ (or another appropriate word) from your child’s painting. Finally, stick the letters onto a piece of A4 card folded in half to create a personalised Valentine’s Day card for a loved one.

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Alternatively, you could get your toddler to paint straight onto a folded up piece of card. This was my favourite of Jemima’s paintings and we have kept it to pin up as we thought it was so lovely:

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4. Love Heart Cookie Cutter Printing

This is a simple and fun activity for your toddler. You will need heart-shaped cookie cutters.

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If you do not have these you could always cut some potatoes into heart shapes to print onto the page. Pour pink and red paint onto paper plates, then your toddler can dip the cookie cutters into the paint and print onto the page.

Here is Jemima’s finished print:

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We hope you all have a Happy Valentine’s Day this year, however you may be celebrating. Please let me know how you got on if you made any of these for your nearest and dearest.

Mummuddlingthrough
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Amazon Baby Box Review

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So the final countdown has begun! 10 days and counting…! My due date is 18th February and preparations are almost complete.

I was very excited to discover an offer for expectant parents run by Amazon. My husband and I use Amazon all the time and we have Prime membership, which brings all sorts of benefits, not least same or next day delivery.

The Amazon Baby Box seems too good to be true: a completely free gift box for Amazon Prime members worth over £45. All you have to do is create a baby wish list on Amazon and then order your box. You do not have to spend any money to do this.

We ordered ours yesterday and it arrived today in a beautiful gift box, tied with a yellow ribbon:

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Upon opening the box, we were greeted with an array of exciting-looking baby products:

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There was a booklet which explained about each product and contained some discount vouchers. It also included a new baby checklist and a ‘how big is your bump’ chart:

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Our gift box contained the following products:

1. A MAM Anti-Colic Self-Sterilising Bottle:

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In the product information it says that this allows the baby to switch easily between breast and bottle. The booklet contains two customer reviews which support this claim.

2. A SwaddleDesign Muslin Swaddle:

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I did not swaddle Jemima and had not planned to swaddle my son either, but the reviews for this product look excellent so I may well give it a try.

3. A set of two Angelcare Travel Nappy Bag Refills:

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These fit the Angelcare On-The-Go Travel Nappy Bag Dispenser. We did think it a little odd that you cannot buy this dispenser on Amazon and it was not included in the gift box. We already have the Angelcare Nappy Disposal System and would recommend this as a cheap and efficient way to dispose of dirty nappies.

4. A Lamaze Giggle Bunny Ball:

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We are huge fans of Lamaze toys and are sure that this one will be no exception. It is a little ball that can be gripped easily by tiny fingers. Once turned on, the ball ‘giggles’ when moved. I have a feeling this toy will not only be a hit with our son, but also with his big sister!

5. A Winnie the Pooh Teething Rattle:

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I have a friend who also ordered the Amazon Baby Box and received a Winnie the Pooh Protect’n’Play I-Case instead of the teething rattle.

6. Organix Organic Baby Rice:

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Although weaning feels an age away, I am sure the next 6 months will fly by, so it’s good to have this product all ready for when the time comes.

7. Medela PureLan Nipple Cream:

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This is a handy size to pop into your hospital bag.

8. Weleda Baby Derma White Mallow Nappy Cream:

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We have not tried this particular nappy cream before but I have heard good things about the brand so I am looking forward to trying it out.

Overall, we are delighted with our Amazon Baby Box. It was a particularly timely find and we are sure that all the different products will be put to good use. Everything within the box is unisex – suitable for a boy or a girl. Thank you, Amazon Prime, for such a fantastic offer!

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Mummuddlingthrough
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Let It Snow!

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Jemima and I were so excited to wake up on Sunday morning to a good covering of snow on the ground. My husband and I couldn’t wait to show Jemima the snow out of her bedroom window and she was enthralled to see it.

After breakfast we wrapped up warm and headed out into the garden. At first, Jemima was a little hesitant, as the snow practically came up to her knees. However, she was soon very excited by it and couldn’t wait to explore the snow-covered garden.

Together we all built a snowman, using Jemima’s bucket to scoop up the snow and pile it high to create the body of the snowman.

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We used a carrot for the snowman’s nose, stones for his eyes and raisins for his buttons.

Jemima loved scooping the snow into her bucket using her spade. She also enjoyed dragging her plastic rake through the snow.

However, her favourite moment of the morning was when we got the sledge out of the shed and pulled her round the garden on it.

Overall, Jemima loved her first experience of playing in the snow. We would love to hear how your little ones enjoyed the snow and we hope you had lots of fun!

My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
Life Unexpected

Simple Snow Art Activities For Toddlers

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Everyone keeps telling me that we should expect snow in the next few weeks. There was some snow last year but I doubt Jemima would remember it: she was about 7 months old and only experienced it whilst being pushed around in her pushchair, wrapped up warmly. This time I am sure that she would love running around and making snowballs! I decided to create some simple activities based around the idea of snow and snowflakes.

Being 35 weeks pregnant and looking after an active 20 month old toddler is not easy: I get very tired and do not have as much energy as usual to plan elaborate activities. With this in mind, the activities I planned required very little in the way of preparation or adult input. Jemima loved doing them all and it was nice for me to see her enjoying some creative time

1. Pipe Cleaner Snowflakes

To set up this activity, take 3-4 pipe cleaners, fold them in half and then twist to secure in place. Fan the ends out into a star shape.

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Pour paint onto a paper plate. We used black and blue pieces of sugar paper. I prepared two pipe cleaner snowflakes and gave Jemima both white and glittery silver paint.

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She thoroughly enjoyed this activity and the snowflakes showed up beautifully on the coloured paper.


2. Cotton Wool Snowflakes

This was a fun and simple activity, which was well suited to Jemima’s skill level. First, I put some PVA glue in a pot and gave her a paintbrush. Jemima painted the glue on the paper where she wanted to put her snowflakes, and then stuck the cotton wool on top of the glue to create snow!

We used blue paper to create the illusion of the sky; however, darker blue would have also worked well and allowed the white to stand out.

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3. Snow Blizzard

For this activity, I gave Jemima two circular foam paintbrushes and three circular prints, each with a different design.

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She had lots of fun dipping the various utensils in white and sparkly silver paint and creating her very own snow blizzard.

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imageJemima ended up filling several sheets of A4 paper with her efforts; if we were doing this activity again it would be good to use a larger sheet of paper.

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If you do not have foam brushes or prints, you could easily create your own utensils – you could use cotton wool dipped in paint and/or potato prints with little designs on.

 

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4. Snow sensory bottle

This was very easy to assemble. Pour equal quantities of water and vegetable/sunflower/rapeseed oil into a bottle. Add some silver glitter and your toddler has their very own snow globe!

Jemima enjoyed playing with this and shaking it up so the glitter moved around in the bottle.

 

5. The perfect music to accompany our activities is Elgar’s The Snow, Op. 26 No. 1:

http://youtu.be/PyPXfRX2krg

This is a beautiful song and a lovely way to introduce your child to the music of Elgar. The text is as follows:
O snow, which sinks so light,
Brown earth is hid from sight
O soul, be thou as white as snow,
O snow, which falls so slow,
Dear earth quite warm below;
O heart, so keep thy glow
Beneath the snow.

O snow, in thy soft grave
Sad flow’rs the winter brave;
O heart, so sooth and save, as does the snow.
The snow must melt, must go,
Fast, fast as water flow.
Not thus, my soul, O sow
Thy gifts to fade like snow.

O snow, thou’rt white no more,
Thy sparkling too, is o’er;
O soul, be as before,
Was bright the snow.
Then as the snow all pure,
O heart be, but endure;
Through all the years full sure,
Not as the snow.

Jemima loved creating snowflakes in these simple ways. We are both hoping for some snow in the coming weeks so that she can experience it in real life! We hope you have fun trying out these activities and would love to hear how you got on.

Mummuddlingthrough

title=”Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday”>Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Create Your Own Reindeers

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Reindeers are a fun and exciting Christmas decoration for your children to make.

You will need:

One toilet roll tube per reindeer
White card
Pencil
Sellotape
Scissors
Brown paint
Black marker pen

Begin by marking out in pencil where you want the 4 feet to go at the bottom of your toilet roll tube. Once you have done that, cut out an arch shape between the feet. Use this arch shape as a template to cut out the other legs.

Cut approximately the top third off the toilet roll, keeping a longer neck for your reindeer.

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Draw an oval shape for the reindeer’s head onto your piece of white card. Draw two fairly large ear shapes about a third of the way down. Eventually you will want to fold the head along the ears in order to attach the antlers so bear this in mind when drawing your head. If you are making more than one reindeer, then use the first head shape as a template.

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Paint the toilet roll tube and head with brown paint. Leave to dry.

To make the antlers, fold the piece of white card as below:

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Draw half an antler shape along the fold.

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Cut it out, then unfold the card to reveal the complete antler. Use this as a template for the second antler.

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Add the eyes and nose using a black marker pen.

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Fold the head shape along the line of the ears and cut two small slits for the antlers.

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Slot the antlers into the slits and sellotape in place.

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Using the sellotape, stick the head onto the reindeer’s neck.

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Jemima and I had a lot of fun making our reindeers and they make fantastic festive decorations. If we were making them again, I would use a lighter brown paint, as then the eyes and mouth would show up better. We hope you enjoy making these with your children. You could put them up around the house, or make a small hole in them, add a pretty ribbon and hang them on your Christmas tree.



Trash 2 Treasure