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ACTIVITY: Make a Letter-Sound Book
A is for apple, B is for bear, C is for…Craft this funky picture book to help your little pre-schooler to practice identifying the sounds that letters make!
In pre-school, children are constantly practising the different sounds that letters make. Give Dora a run for her money by inviting your child to become an explorer in search of objects that begin with the letters in his/her name. Take some snap shots of different objects, and compile a personalised picture book that your child can use over and over again to practice their letters and the sounds they make!
So this day a year ago I said yes to My wonderful other half Andy. I have already posted a blog post on how the engagement took place, which you can read here. He did a brilliant job and put so much thought and effort into organising everything and to ensure that I would be totally surprised. Which I was! Initially we were straight into planning. We had decided that we would like a wedding abroad, in Lake Garda, Italy. So we both did a tone of research of the general area and fell in love with two spots. Back then we would have assumed that we would have been well into the planning stage, if not close to the big day a year on. But unfortunately life and different things got in the way. We had booked a trip to Lake Garda for February 2017 in order to go and look at some venues, and ultimately to come home with a set wedding date. But unfortunately, due to a mix of the extremely bad weather in the area we were flying to at the time and family illnesses, it never happened. So we decided to put the wedding on the back burner until everyone is recovered from illness and that remains the situation at present. We are hoping to be married within the next two years, but who knows…it could be another 10 years before anything happens! Or we could just go and elope, which I am slightly tempted to do!! But either way, it’ll definitely happen. I’ll keep you updated!
Until the next blog,
The Irish Mammy xx
Eczema has been in our lives since Ruby was about three or four months old. It started as a little patch on her belly. Being the over reactive mother that I am, I had her straight up to the GP thinking it was something serious like meningitis or something! Felt a bit silly when I was told that it was (thankfully) nothing more than eczema. At that time, it was relatively small and it didn’t seem to be bothering her. So my GP just said to use lots of moisturising cream on it. So I did. But having never suffered from eczema myself or not knowing anyone who did, I didn’t realise that the type of creams that you used and many other factors could effect this condition further. So I went on using a well known baby brand both on her skin and in the bath (of which the public health nurse later told me can irritate eczema prone skin), gave her a bath pretty much every night, continued to use the same washing powder etc and my poor little ladies eczema just kept spreading. The main spots were now her legs (the back of her legs, under her bum, knee creases, ankles) and on her arms in the creases of her wrists and elbows, she only got it on her face the odd time. I was back and forth to my GP and I was prescribed a topical steroid cream for Ruby and a cream and bath product called Oilatum Junior. I used the steroid cream only when her skin would flare up, but I didn’t see this as a long term solution and I didn’t want to have to use it at all if possible. I also used the Oilatum products religiously, but on Ruby’s skin, I found that it had little effect.
So I started reading up on all things eczema. I looked at online in forums and websites, asked for advice, read numerous leaflets and booklets on eczema and I came to the realisation that the treatment of eczema and its triggers differ from person to person. I tried numerous types of creams and emollients, all of which others swore buy. So I gave them all a go. They worked really well for a short time and then the effects just weren’t quit as good as they had been when I first started using them. I tried Silcocks Base (both in the bath* and lathered on her skin), I still find this really good when she has flare ups if I apply really think layers of it. I’ve also tried Epaderm Ointment and although this seemed to be really moisturising, I found that it only sat on top of her skin. Every time I’d pick her up she’d nearly slip out of my hands! I tried Aqueous Cream once or twice, more as a moisturiser than in the bath, not realising that when used as a moisturiser this cream can actually make eczema worse….Oops!
So for months and months I stuck with Silcocks Base, both as a cream and bath product and used the steroid cream only if she had a flare up. In that time I became familiar with some of the triggers and kept an eye out for anything that seemed to trigger Ruby’s flare ups. Some of the common triggers for eczema can include:
- Changes in humidity
- Synthetic Clothing
- Temperature changes
- House dust mites
Not all of the triggers above effected Ruby, and they will effect everyone differently. For Ruby, a change in our detergent and omitting the use of fabric conditioner when washing her clothes (I wash all of her clothes separately to ours too) had a positive effect; and I had already stopped using soap of any kind in her baths. The heat and sweating have an awful effect on her eczema and she always flares up in the summer (I have to be careful with the type of sun cream I use too). Some people have reported an improvement in the summer months and I have been told that the sun* can be good for it, but unfortunately this isn’t the case for Ruby. I also came across some information stating that too many baths, or baths that are too hot will effect the skin. So Ruby gets a quick bath at least three times a week…more if she’s ended up in a puddle of mud or in something else as equally dirty; and I keep her bath water luke warm. This seems to have helped.
Even though I have always sworn by Silcocks base (and still do), I was still eager to try other products that came with the promise to clear up eczema. When purchasing some steroid cream from the pharmacy, the pharmacist recommended that I try the Elave sensitive products. So I brought home the Elave sensitive body wash and shampoo. Up until this point I had just used warm water to wash Ruby’s hair. These products where brilliant for her, no flare ups at all and she could finally have some bubbles in her bath! So I have been using these products for the bath up until a month or two ago. Cream wise I was still mainly using Silcocks, but I was giving MooGoo’s Irritable Skin Balm ago, this cream initially worked miracles. It completely cleared all of the redness on the back of her legs. I was then recommended to follow up with the same brands follow up cream, Soothing MSM cream, which is supposed to keep the eczema at bay. I didn’t find this cream as good and it definitely didn’t keep the eczema at bay for long. So I kept using the Irritable Skin Balm, which was working well. One of the days I decided to use the MSM cream again. The minute I put it on Ruby’s legs she started roaring crying. Her legs went raw red looking. So I whipped her up to the bath and washed off the cream. Needless to say have haven’t used the MSM cream again. I didn’t really go back to the Irritble Cream again either. So I returned to my good old reliable Silcocks Base.
At the moment I am using Child’s Farm products. The sensitive baby range – the baby shampoo, baby bubble bath and the baby moisturiser. I use the hair detangler spray which is suitable for sensitive and eczema prone skin. It smells of grapefruit and tea tree. I just spray a small amount into Ruby’s hair so that there is a nice smell as the shampoo is fragrance fee. So far, all of these products are working wonders. Her skin has completely cleared up. The fact that the products are MUCH cheaper than the other products I had been using is a plus. I will add though, that around the same time I started using these products, I had also tried a range of different nappy brands to see if they might have been irritating her skin. We’ve since settled on a new brand, so this could also be the reason for the clear up in her skin. But the Child’s Farm products definitely are’t irritating her skin.
I have found the Irish Skin Foundation website and there booklets to be of huge help. For further information on treatment and the different types of eczema head over to their site www.irishskin.ie. Here are some of their tips for managing eczema:
- Establish a daily skin routine and try to stick to it.
- Don’t stop moisturising your skin when it is clear.
- Teach your child how to apply their emollients correctly from a young age.
- Avoid soap.
- Shampoos should be clear, pH neural and fragrance free.
- Baths/showers should be lukewarm and not too long.
- Keep your moisturisers with you at all times.
- When it flares, treat it at the first sign of symptoms.
- Use topical steroids for eczema flare ups as recommended by your GP, keep track of how much you are using.
- Always keep fingernails short.
- If skin becomes wet, weepy, red and very itchy, think infection and seek medical advice.
- Wear cotton clothing where possible.
- These are are only a few tips. To read the full list head over to www.irishskin.ie
I hope this blog post was in some way helpful to anyone whose little ones are suffering from eczema. I had to do a lot of trial and error in order to fins out what worked woth Ruby, as you will probably have to do too. But at last you have a starting point with what products to try and which products to avoid.
Until the next blog.
The Irish Mammy xx
*When using emollient creams in the bath, they need to be diluted first. I used to do this by dissolving 1-2 tablespoons of the emollient into a cup/jug of warm water, stirring for a few minutes before adding it to the bath.
*Always ensure that your child wears the appropriate sun protection and covers up well in the sun.
** I have not been paid to talk about these products. All views are my own.
So this post is way over due! As in nearly a year over due, oops! So after four years together (five now) my other half finally popped the big question. To say I was surprised was an understatement. I know a lot of ladies will say “I had no idea”, but really they might have had a little inkling that something was in the works. I genuinely hadn’t a clue. So, in order to tell our engagement story, I need to roll back a few years and explain how myself and Andy met. It will all make sense shortly!
So in May/June of 2012, I was involved in a show called Showboat out in Dunlavin with a lovely family run performance group called Glad Productions. They were putting on a production in the fabulous setting of their farm (Deering Farm) as part of the Dunlavin Arts Festival. I was playing the part of Ellie and we were having an awful time trying to find someone to play the part opposite mine. A character named Frank. Eventually, they found someone to do the part for them (as a favour), as this person wasn’t really into stage acting or singing, their thing was improv and stand up comedy. I can remember the first time I saw him, my first thoughts weren’t as you might think they should have been. I was sitting out side the rehearsal hall in my car waiting to go into rehearsals (I was early as usual), when I saw this guy (from behind) wearing a pristine white tracksuit top and navy tracksuit bottoms sauntering in to the hall. I remember thinking, “who is that guy (not in a good way), ugh I bet he’s the guy they got to play opposite me!”. Bare in mind I was only looking at the back of his head and totally making bad assumptions. So when I went into the hall after him, it turned out that yes, he was playing the part opposite me, and that he was very handsome and hilarious. Who new then that I had just met the love of my life! Or that in the show when his showboat character of Frank proposed to my Character Ellie, that it would be happening for real just over four years from then!
So skipping forward four years to the engagement. About a week before the the big question was asked, I had gotten a phone call from a fabulous lady named Mary who was the MD (musical director) of the the show myself and Andy did, she also owned the Deering farm with her husband. She contacted me to see if I would be interested in helping her MD a show that they were thinking of putting on that year. So I jumped at the chance to gain some more experience in this area of work. I was so excited to have been asked. So she asked me to come over to the farm/house to chat about how we would approach things that weekend. So the day arrived, October 22nd 2016, I told Andy I was heading off and that I’d be home in an hour or two. So when I got there, myself, Mary and her husband chatted away for the first hour just catching up etc. And she eventually got to the part about the MD position (after she got a text….I now know it was from Andy). She said she was thinking of putting it on in the barn (they have a beautiful stone barn on their grounds). I thought this was a great idea and was agreeing with her taking notes like a idiot, none the wiser as to what was really going on. So she brought me down to see the barn. I was still none the wiser at this stage, why would I be, this lady could act!!
When we got into the barn, you think the penny would have dropped by then. The whole place was decorated with lace, flowers, candles, rose petals etc. I remember thinking, “jeez this would be a nice spot for a wedding”, but no clue that I was about to be proposed to. Mary started going on about how they had set it up for a wedding and they were thinking of providing that for people…all lies!! And then out of no where I hear a guitar start to play and out pops Andy, dressed in a tux playing the guitar and singing the song “I want to grow old with you”, from the Wedding Singer. Needless to say I turned around to look at Mary, who was gone like lightening out the door. I didn’t know what to do or say, I was shaking and in total shock. So when Andy was finished the song (he did a really good job at singing it!), he sat me down and asked me to marry him. In a much nicer why than that, but that is something I’d like to keep between the two of us. As soon as the question was asked and excepted, Mary and her husband were back in and joined us in celebrating with some champagne. She put on one hell of a show. She was so kind to help Andy out with all the planning and to allow him to propose in the barn in the first place. It was the perfect place to propose as it was where the show Showboat was performed.
On the way home, I actually remember asking Andy, “so I guess there is no MD job!”. Ha, I was actually a bit up set that there was no MD job!! Anyway, we phoned my parents and told them to meet us at home. But when I got home, Andy’s mam had decorated the house and gotten a lovely big engagement cake and we all had champagne, I was a great night and I think it took about a week to actually sink in. We are in no rush with the actual wedding itself and are planning on having it maybe in a year or two. But whenever we do decide on a date, I am looking forward to getting into wedding mode!
Until the next blog,
The Irish Mammy x
I am a little late with this blog post, but I am delighted to have been nominated for the The Blogger Recognition Award by the fabulous Rachael at The Impending Joys of Motherhood Blog and the lovely Faiza at On Women Mind Blog. I am so delighted that you both took the time to read my blog, let alone recognise it with an award. So a massive and deeply heart felt thank you to you both.
You might be wondering what I have been awarded with. But rather than a physical item like a plaque of some sorts, the Blogger Recognition Award is about appreciating someone else for their time, efforts and the hard work that they have put into their blog. It not only helps to share their work a little farther afield, but it also gives them a little encouragement to keep doing what they are doing. It has definitely given me a little boost. I blog because I love to do write, in any way shape or form and my blog allows me to do that. So to be recognised for that is always a good thing and it is always nice to help others along the way. This is what this award does. Remember, it costs nothing to be nice! While I am at it, I would like to thank anyone who takes, or has taken the time to read my blog. I am only a little fish in a very big and talented sea of parenting bloggers, so I really appreciate any readership that I get. So thank you for reading and following my blog!
Why I started Orla the Irish Mammy
I started my blog in December 2016 after nearly a year ( if I’m honest) of being afraid to start it! I wanted to start it while I was on maternity leave with Ruby, but I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough to say, or that people wouldn’t want to hear what I had to say! In the end I just decided one day to give over and just so it! The blog and my social media sites are places where I write about how I am trying to juggle work life, toddler life, student life (I’m currently completing a Montessori course), weight loss and the planning of my wedding!
Advice for new bloggers
- Just go for it! If you want to start a blog, do it. Whats the worst than can happen? Yes, it may not be successful, but you need to decide is that what your blog is about? What are the reasons you are doing it for? And if it doesn’t work out, you can either learn from your mistakes and try again, or not, and that’s ok too. But at least you gave it ago. I spent nearly a year humming and hawing over it. I wish I had started it sooner, I love it. It is a great release and keeps my mind ticking over!
- Decide what it is you want to blog about, but make sure that it is something that you are passionate about, as that is what will keep you going!
Nominees for “Blogger Recognition Award”:
I have nominated 15 bloggers listed below. Why not grab a cuppa and check out their blogs and please don’t forget to share this post!
14- My Face or Yours
15- Mums Make Up Bag
If you’ve been nominated, your next steps are:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog
- Write a post to show your award
- Give a brief story of how your blog started
- Give pieces of advice to new bloggers
- Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
- Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.
Until the next blog,
Orla the Irish Mammy x
I am delighted to have been added to the long-list for the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland in their parenting blog category. Even if I don’t make it on to the other lists this year, I am so happy to have my little blog recognised in some way. Blogging is something that I absolutely love, I feel like its become an obsession for me. I am constantly thinking about what to blog about next. I have found it especially hard to get to blog as much as I would like the last month or two due to the Montessori course I am completing – I recently wrote a post about how difficult I am finding the whole mammy/partner/student/study/work life balance! I keep feeling that if I can find the time to blog (like now!), that I should be using that time to study. Role on February 2018 when my course finishes! But I am working hard to find a balance until then. So here’s hoping that I make it to the shortlist! But if not the long-list will be good enough for me – for this year anyway!
Until the next blog,
The Irish Mammy xx
These little guys not only taste great, but they are nut & refined sugar free, meaning they are suitable for the kiddies school lunch boxes. They are just gorgeous and a big hit in our house – even Ruby loves them. The problem is trying to just stick with eating one!! I got the recipe from Childhood 101 & changed it up a little.
30g dedicated coconut
2 tbsp cocoa powder + extra for decoration
1 tsp vanilla essence
3-5 tbsp orange juice
Rind of one large orange
Blend everything together in a blender and roll into balls. I got 17 in total, but next time I think I’ll make them a little bit smaller as they are very heavy and rich. Then roll in remaining cocoa powder and pop into the fridge.
Ruby is at that stage where she wants to be up doing what everyone else is doing or being carried around all the time. If its not that, she wants you to be down beside her 24/7 playing. I had heard about toddler learning towers, which toddlers can use to access the kitchen counter top or table in order to take part in baking activities etc. It’s safe too, as you don’t have to worry about your little one falling off, but obviously you shouldn’t leave them unattended whilst they are on it.
I looked into buying one but the prices were too high! So I took to Pinterest and came across a link to a fabulous website called www.happygreyluckly.com. It was here that I came across her brilliant IKEA hack for a toddler learning tower using the IKEA BEKVAM step stool. Now, I am by no means a DIY goddess, I’ve never even used an electric drill (which you really should used for this project), so unfortunately, I cannot take the credit for putting the learning tower together. It was my other half Andy who did all of the DIY work, after I sent him the website link and asked (very nicely), if he would put it together for Ruby. I think he did a wonderful job!! The only part I had in this was painting it afterwards and taking some pictures! So we headed off to IKEA and picked up our own BEKVAM step stool and followed the step by step instructions on the site.
Here are some before and after pictures:
But if you would like to make your own one then had over to www.happygreylucky.com.
If you decide to make your own, I would love if you could send me your pictures and let me know how you got on. Happy DIY-ing!
Until the next blog,
The Irish Mammy xx
So I have been a little bit lacking in the blogging department as of late. I assure you, I have a good reason. Life is getting in the way! Way back in December I mentioned that I was planning on starting a Montessori course. It’s a long distance course which I thought would be much easier (and handier) to do than a taught course. Wow, was I wrong! The long distance part of the course is handy, as I don’t have to travel anywhere for classes. Although, as I am beginning to realise now, I probably need to attend classes in order to get some study done as I am finding any reason not to study currently!
I am horribly behind in my assignments (thankfully I have 12 months to complete all of them), but I have a ton to do, so I really need to get myself in gear (what I really need is a big kick up the bum!). Thankfully, I have just finished my work experience placement. I started at the beginning of March and finished at the end of June. I can confirm that this has definitely cemented my thoughts in the area of early years education. I really enjoy it and wish I had decided to make this career change years ago. I also would have had more time then.
My biggest problem right now is time management. Trying to fit in teaching, house work, caring for Ruby, life in general, blogging and study/assignment writing and research! Don’t get me started on trying to fit in exercise! I had tried to do study while Ruby was having her daytime nap, which would be fine if I had no other work to do. You see, it is during this time that I normally get most of the house work or dinner started. Things that I find very difficult to complete with Ruby awake. She’s at that stage where she wants me to be playing with her constantly or up in my arms. I’ve also tried to do some reading while she plays beside me, but she’ll have none of it. So it’s the choice of getting some course work done and letting the house fall down around me, or finding another time to study. This is another reason why my blog posts have been lacking. I feel guilty writing a post because I feel if I can find the time to blog, I should be using that time to study! I then had every intention to study once Ruby was put down for the night. But to be honest, by the time 8pm arrives I am absolutely exhausted. To be honest, I just like to have my own head space and watch something other than Peppa Pig once Ruby is asleep. That being said, I have also been known to stay up till the early hours watching Netflix, which isn’t doing me any favours. I am my own worst enemy.
I am also aware, that there are other parents out there with full time jobs, who are busier than me, with more than one child, who are completing degrees etc (and probably succeeding more than I am, in the study side of things). My hat goes off to you all. I don’t know how you do it. I had a little melt down about it when things got a little stressful. You are all superwomen/supermen….please share your secrets!! As I write this I am sitting here internally screaming at myself to go and study. But unfortunately, my time is up. I had a short window, but Ruby is now back from the shop with her dad and I must get the dinner started! I’ve no doubt that I’ll get everything finished, but as usual it will probably be a last minute, world-wind of stress, left down to the last second of my course deadlines. Pray for me!
Until the next blog (I’ll try to not leave so long this time)
The Irish Mammy x