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Showing posts from March, 2012

Gardening with Children and a giveaway

Do you garden with your children?  We do, even though we have a pretty small garden.  MadDad built three raised beds when we first moved in and it has been one of the best things he ever did. My boys get very excited when they get to eat something we have grown and it is just wonderful watching them and seeing the anticipation on their face.  One of the things that really bothers me about gardening with them in a small space is that we never use up all our seeds. What is great is at the moment until the end  of April, every box of Innocent kids’ smoothies or fruit tubes will come with its very own pack of easy to grow seeds. There are six different varieties to collect including carrots, tomatoes, cress, basil, violets and sunflowers. The ingenious thing is you just pop out the card and the seeds are integrated in to the card.  This week has been the perfect sunny week for planting and me and the boys have had so much fun getting things started.  If you are looking for more

Home Made Easter Cards

There is nothing nicer than receiving a home made card any time of the year and I think that it is perfect when the card can be made by your child.  So I am going to show you three very simple Easter cards that are suitable for children from toddler up over. The first is super easy for tiny tots.  The chicks body is made by potato printing with yellow paint.  Just cut the potato in half.  Then a small triangle of card for the beak and a feather for the tail.  A simple dot for the eye. The next is perfect for a child that has moved on to scissors.  A bird shape is cut out of yellow paper and stuck to the card,  Apply googly eyes, an orange beak, feathers and draw on some legs and you have a lovely card. Most children adore gluing and sticking, so this is a really easy card.  Simply cut out a curve on the card or get your child to and take some feathers, googly eyes and foam triangles and you have the perfect chic.

March Thrifty Carnival

Spring has well and truly sprung this week.  With sun around most parts of the UK. Family Firstly I bring you Climbing Rainbows, which is a beautiful blog about having fun with children and has fantastic ideas which are not expensive or like this Mimi beast hunt , which costs nothing.  A great inspirational blog. Another great blog packed full of ideas for fun with children is Nurturestore and Cathy has a great post on homemade play dough , which is filled with tips and ideas. If you are stuck for Spring Inspiration as a family, then head over to A Mothers Ramblings and follow her 10 things to do in Spring as a family . Victoria from It's a Small World After All tells us about how she managed a nine month trip with her family .  She also has a new Blog called words and pictures . Garden I love pallets, you can do so much with them, but this fantastic pallet planter from A Randomnest had me wanting to go out and steel them off the industrial estate! Food

Value rather than price

One of the things as a mum on a budget that I really struggle with is buying the best for my boys.  I have to thing in terms of value rather than just cost.  I have learnt over the years that sometimes buying cheep means that I have to replace things more often and end up spending a lot more than I would have if I just got the more expensive item in the first place. It has often been a hard lesson, do you go with cost and how do you work out is something is value for money.  One of the ways I try and do this is to work out a cost per use or a cost per hour of use.  Sometimes though my heart just over rules my head.  i would prefer to drink less tea than drink cheap tea.  I also would often rather wait to save up and but the thing I really want.  There is something about the anticipation of getting exactly what you want and being happy to wait for it. Bedding is one of those things. I have learnt over the years not to scrimp on bedding.  I make sure I buy the bes

My Spring Financial Manifesto

On my other site   The Mad House I do a seasonal manifesto and I also did a financial winter manifesto this year, so wanted to let you know how I have been getting on. I have actually done pretty well.  Meal planning is still going strong, as is the cooking.  On the reducing kitchen waste, well I have been reviewing a product called Kitchen Canny and I am really impressed.  Decluttering started at a fast pace, but has petered off, so I  need to get back on with that.  The garden is going great guns and we bought a small greenhouse to help with the seeds. Now on to my plans for Spring Get those seeds planted and potato sets in my raised beds and greenhouse Go to the park after school and take snacks for the boys, so that we do not buy treats at the shop Walk more places rather than take the car (I am more inclined to so this when the weather is good) Make Easter cards and presents rather than buy any Instead of buying cut flowers, buy small pots of bulbs, so that

Call for posts for March Thrifty Blog Carnival

Each month across many blogs the subject of making money, saving money, living frugally and being thrifty are shared. It’s a sign of the times and a more careful and caring generation of individuals that we protect our resources, recycle, upcycle and make do. Becky (from Baby Budgeting and  Family Budgeting ),Cass (from a  frugal family ) and I (I also blog at Frugaliscious Food and The Mad House ) thought it would be a great idea to pull these brilliant posts together so we could all learn from and share with each other our thrifty ways. So each month we are going to hold a Thrifty Blog Carnival and we woudl love you to take part, All you need to do is send in a post (on making or saving money, thriftiness, upcyling. recycling or living frugally) you have written in the past month (it can already have been published on your blog.)  Please send the link for march to me  by Tuesday 27 March December 6 pm for the carnival on 29 March at  A Thr

What do you do with your old DVD's and Games?

Do you have a house full of DVD's and Video Games that are no longer watched or played with? My boys are outgrowing their collection of The Wiggles, Thomas and Fireman Sam and I have been looking for things to do with them and try and make some money for them without the hassle of taking them to a car boot sale or the hated eBay (which I find doesn't give me a good return). When I came across selling DVDs with musicMagpie. allows you to turn your old CDs, DVDs and Games into cash instantly. Just enter the barcodes of your CDs, DVDs or Games and they tell you how much they are worth. You can even download an app, so you can just scan in the barcodes on your phone. You do not even have to pay for postage as they have a Freepost service. When you complete your order you can download and print the Freepost labels or if you do not have a printer they will mail them direct to you. All you have to do then, is attach these to your box and drop it o

Free tea with Twinings and win a tea cup candle

I am something of a tea monster, I adore tea.  I also like trying out new teas, but often find out the hard way that they smell nicer than they taste and then have a box of tea that sits in the cupboard until I put it in the compost bin. Currently if you go to  Twinings Facebook  page, you can choose to receive 2 free tea samples. You can also find lots of tea inspired facts and information on the website and even better lots of competitions too.  Twinings are currently encouraging people to take 10 minutes to relax, refresh and recharge with a nice cup of tea.  You can also  buy tea online from Twinings, I especially keen to try Twinings Royal Wedding Blend Tea .  There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.  ~Bernard-Paul Heroux   I also have an unhealthy love for tea cups and make my own tea cup candles and would like to give one away.  So if you fancy winning one of my teacup candles.  Just leave me a comment letting me know

Getting and keeping my laminate floors clean - Part Two

I mentioned in part one , how I use the Morphy Richards Supervac to keep my ground floor clear of dust and debris.  Now we need to move on to getting it and keeping it clean.  Over the years I must have purchased every type of mop or cleaner and finally I have found what works for me.   I used to use a mop that was discontinued and I cried a thousand tears, but thanks to the local people who look after the PR for Vileda , I have finally found the perfect system for me.  The Vileda 1.2 Spray Mop and Vileda Ultramax Bucket and Wringer .   The Vileda 1.2 Spray Mop has controlled water release making it ideal for wooden, laminate, marble and vinyl floor  and the Vileda UltraMax bucket and wringer is designed specifically for flat mops. Unique hollow handle can be filled with cleaning solution and then sprayed directly onto the floor Microfibre pad removes greasy stains, dust and marks Pivoted handle designed for cleaning under furniture Push buttons for easier opening and cl

Top ten things to do before you are ten

I am a great believer in my children playing outside.  In them having a level of freedom that I had when I was growing up.  I have blogged about it on my other blog The Mad House  previously.  We relocated back to the North East of England to allow them to have the freedom that only being outside can bring. Bear Grylls and Persil small & mighty have teamed to release his   ' Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten ' guide, the aim is  to inspire families to shake off the constraints of modern life and get outdoors. Bear Grylls’ Top Ten Things To Do Before You’re Ten Perfect the perfect hill roll Become a hide-and-seek champion Go sledging- on sand Build a den- indoors or out Build a rope swing Nurse that sting Try and count the stars Make a mud pie Make a compass Pick your own pudding I have to say that thankfully my  boys have  actually done nine out of ten of the list, which really made me smi

Getting and keeping my laminate floors clean - Part One

When we moved in to our house we decided to put in the best quality laminate floors we could afford for the whole of the ground floor.  We chose this for the main reason that we had children and didn't want carpet. All I could think of was toilet training, spillages, food and mud.  It has taken me a good couple of years to find the perfect routine for keeping my ground floor clean and dust free. Firstly let me introduce you to the Morphy Richards  Supervac, 2-in-1 Cordless Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner , or the Supervac as I call it. I have been using this in my house for over six months and it is in use each day and every day and it is blooming fantastic.  Initially I thought it was a little expensive at £119.99, however, it is worth its weight in gold. The supervac is a bag-less, cordless hand held vacuum. You can use it as an upright cordless vacuum on all floor types or as a handheld.  It has a small charging station which holds the crevice tools. You can charge

Local Shops for Local People

In my previous post I gave you some ways to reduce your food shopping week by week  and I wanted to expand on buying locally and explain how it can be less expensive and better value. Seasonal fruit and veg are much less expensive at my local Greengrocer, plus they get to know you and offer you better deals, for example they know that we make banana bread so give me cheap bananas that are turning.The local market works out even cheaper. Eat the seasons tells you what foods are currently in season I am very lucky to live by the sea and can often buy inexpensive fish direct from the fishermen on their boats, which they [park on the esplanade.  But I have also learned to really value my local fishmonger.  His fish tends to be less expensive than the supermarket, plus his knowledge is fantastic and he can often offer me a cheaper fillet that is comparable.  We are now eating fish twice a week on average thanks to be part of the Fish is the Dish campaign. Buying local als

Top tips for cheapest broadband deals

Calculating your usage for everything from fuel to electricity means that you can find ways and means to lowering monthly bills. And, when it comes to getting the cheapest deal for your internet people are desperate to shave money off. With digital platforms becoming such a big part of our lives, there are always going to be reasons that we need the internet. Whether it’s internet shopping or expert articles about industry, it’s all right there at our fingertips. So, how exactly, do we go about getting the best broadband deals from an economical point of view? Check your usage If you use less data usage than you are allowed or have a quicker connection than you really need, you could well be quids in by going back to market. With the market being hugely competitive, there are so many deals you can choose from, but do you need 75 gigabytes of usage or a 40 megabit per second connection? Probably not. Consider a broadband speed test to see if you are getting enough power, or