Activities, DIY, review

Make a Letter-Sound Book

Below is an activity guest post from the lovely Jessica from www.education.com. Their website is full of brilliant and inventive learning resources for reading games which include matching words to pictures, stories, the alphabet, to name a few. There are so many to choose from and they are all so colourful and fun to do! They also have other learning resources such as lesson plans, workbooks/sheets, games etc. I find that the reading/letter games are perfect for mammies (or teachers) to work on at home with their little ones. But there are options for a variety of ages groups and abilities. The activity below is aimed towards younger children. I haven’t tried it yet with Ruby, but I definitely will be as it is right up my ally. I love to do activities like this with Ruby. I will also be a useful one to add to my Montessori class resources!
Enjoy! x

ACTIVITY: Make a Letter-Sound Book

What You Need:

  • Several sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ card stock paper
  • Colored markers
  • Glue stick
  • Small (1×4″) address labels
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn
  • Camera

What You Do:

  1. Lay a piece of card horizontally, and invite your child to write his first name in big block letters across the top. Then glue a photo of your child underneath and let him finish the effect with any border decorations.
  2. Pull out the card stock, one piece for each letter in his name. Have your child write one letter, nice and big, at the top right hand of each page.
  3. Now you’re ready to explore! Take a camera for a trip around the neighbourhood, the local park, or the zoo and encourage your child to point out any object that begins with a letter in his name. Take shots of a school for “s”, a tree for “t”, an car for “c”, a bird for “b”, etc. What you find depends on where you do your exploring. Who knows? You might find something silly, unusual, or exotic! Aim for at least two pictures for each letter page.
  4. Print the photos, and then help your child sort them by what letter they begin with.
  5. Trim and glue each picture down on the appropriate page. For example, if your child’s name has a “d” in it, paste the picture you snapped of the dog onto the “d” page.
  6. Write the name of each object next to the picture. If your child can do this writing, that’s great! But don’t push it; it’s also fine for him to dictate to you. Be sure to read out loud each letter as you write it down.
  7. Assemble the pages in order. Use the hole punch to poke a few holes on the left edge of the pages, and tie them together with yarn. You’ll end up with a gorgeous piece of work that’s personalised just for your child! Read it together to practice his letters and sounds.
Fun Days Out

Kildare Farm Foods and Open Farm

18056808_1324547560945794_992039144092068706_nThis weekend we headed off to Kildare Farm  Foods – open farm and shop, situated out in Rathmuck, Co. Kildare. This is a third Generation Family Farm where visitors can see a wide variety of animals in a natural and relaxed setting and entry to the open farm is Free. There is so much here for children of all ages to do. There is of course, the open farm, where children can feed the animals with animal feed that costs of €1. But there is also a train ride called the Adventure Railroad, costing just €2.50 per passenger. The train brings you on a tour of the farm where you can see all of the animals and you will also be brought along to the Old Wild West, the Indian Creek and then to the Old Gold Mine Shaft. You are then brought back to present time where you will surface from the City Underground seeing the Magical Forest as you go (watch out for the Dragon!). There is also an option to play Indoor Golf. It plays 18 holes with an Indian Creek and Old Wild West theme. Prices: Children: €5 each, Adults €7 each, 4 Ball Deal €20 for any 4 players.

 

Once you have finished with all of the activities, you can treat yourself to a lovely tea/coffee and something nice from their cafe. We tried everything but the crazy golf, as Ruby is too little to play. But she had a fantastic time seeing all of the animals and afterwards we had a lovely lunch. We were lucky on this particular day that all of the animals were out. The piglets in particular, which are not always there. Some of the animals on the farm include Wallabies, Mara, Pigs, Goats, Ponies, Deer & Sheep; with a variety of Birds including Ostrich, Black Swans, Ducks, Geese, Chickens, Guinea Foul, Peahen and Peacock.

Before we went home, we had a quick look around the shop. We buy most of our meat from here in bulk as it is such fantastic value. As well as fresh meats, you can also purchase fresh vegetables, frozen foods, desserts, confectionery, pantry supplies, baked goods, jams and sauces. There is also a small toy section.

Overall this is a fantastic family day out for fantastic value, with something for all of the family. They open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 3pm and are closed Sunday and Bank Holidays. They also cater for school tours and birthday parties. For more information head over to http://www.kildarefarmfoods.com/index.html. 

 

Beauty, review

BB – eautiful Skin

Unlike my post on my favourite mattifying foundations, I am not going to rate these in a first, second or third category. There are two out of the three that I like and use for different reasons and one that I didn’t like at all. On days where I don’t feel like applying a lot of make up or if I just want to give my skin a break from heaving make up, but still need to make my skin look less than deathly pale, I like to use BB creams. I find that they are nice and light with just enough coverage. I tend to use these types of creams  when I am having a good skin day. I have tried three different brands: GARNIER, L’ORÉAL and PS from Penny’s. The two that I really like are the Garniers BB cream – original in light and L’Oréal’s Nude Magique BB cream. And I really disliked the PS by Penny’s Workout Knockout BB cream and concealer.

Garnier – Skin Naturals BB cream

I really like to use this on the days where I still need some coverage without layering on the foundation. I have very oily skin so I need to keep this powered throughout the day – which is kind of annoying. But I love how it feels on my skin and it has a really nice smell. It describes itself as an all in one miracle skin perfecter. The formula has mineral pigments which help to create sheer coverage, blurred imperfections and softened lines. It hydrates your skin and has SPF 15. I love when make up has SPFs in them. It also creates a luminous look to the skin and leaves your skin feeling smoother and softer.

L’Oreal Paris – Nude Magique BB Cream

I like to use this on days when my skin is really clear and needs little to no coverage. I use the light skin tone shade which is dark enough for my skin to add a little bit of warmth. What I really love about this cream is that when first squeezed out of the tube, it looks white and as you apply it to your face it adjusts to your skin colour creating a perfect bare skin look. This happens when the smart pigment capsules in the feather light hydrator transform into foundation on application. It says that it mimics the texture and glow of bare skin and I think that it really does achieve this. It has 24 hour hydration and SPF 20. It is a five in one delivering flawless coverage (not sure this claim is very true – flawless if you’ve very little imperfections to cover in the first place maybe), even skin texture, fresh dewy glow, 24 hour hydration and SPF 20.

PS by Penny’s – Workout Knockout BB cream

I have to say, I really didn’t like this at all. I found it really greasy on my skin and it just melted off my skin pretty much as soon as I used it.  I didn’t like the consistency of it either. It has added vitamin E, which is good and a little concealer hidden at the top of the lid with a tiny flip up mirror – the mirror was the only thing that I liked about it. I went with the light shade but it was a bit too orange in colour for me.

Fun Days Out

Big Toddle’s Little Breakfast

Kieran Harnett
The expert panel: Jenna Russell, Sarah Keogh, Alison Canavan, Sybil Mulcahy.

On 26th April I attended the Big Toddle’s Little Breakfast event to launch Barnardos Big Toddle Box for 2017. The Big Toddle for Barnardos is the biggest fundraiser for the under fives in Ireland and has raised over 3.3 million in support of Barnardos Early Years services. The Early Years services ensures that some of the youngest children they work with are best prepared for the transition to ‘Big school’ and get the best possible start in life. This May and June will see up to 50,000 toddlers nationwide lace up their boots and take up the challenge to Toddle a half mile sponsored walk to help children their own age. It’s all about children helping children, and little feet making a BIG difference.

img_0316-2The launch took place in the Dean Hotel in Dublin, who kindly laid out a lovely light Breakfast with tea and coffee. There was a panel there on the day who discussed a variety of parenting topics for toddlers, including sleep and routines, childcare, expected verses actual behaviour, child development and milestones, parent well-being, being a working parent and more. The panel was made up of Alison Canavan – health and wellness coach, Jenna Russell – Barnardos Early Years, Sarah Keogh – Toddlebox Dietitian and Sybil Mulcahy – Editor of Evoke.ie and TV presenter.

Some of the books from the goodie bag

I have to say, it was a really enjoyable morning and I enjoyed listening to the panel about all of their suggestions, and hearing about their own parenting views and experiences. We also received a fabulous goodie bag which contained the Toddlebox fundraising pack, and some booklets, which will be really useful for the Montessori course that I am currently completing. We also received some Elave skincare product samples, sweeties and a beautiful room spray by Purcell & Woodcock.  There was also a HUGE chocolate bunny from Benoit Lorge Chocolatiers in County Kerry, which was given out to the person who had the most entertaining tweet about the event….which was me!! I never win anything so I really wasn’t expecting to win it! It was so big that it was nearly half the size of me….I got some funny looks walking back to the car with it!!

 

The fundraising pack includes all of the Big Toddle essentials including stickers, masks, and hats for all the children and a fun colouring competition (where you will be in with a chance to win a fab prize from www.gardenplay.ie). There is also an easy to read information booklet, a media pack to help promote your event, and other materials for the group leader. If you would like to know more about how to get your hands on their fundraising pack head over to their website www.barnardos.ie/bigtoddle.

 

review

My Top Three Matte Foundations

I am always on the hunt for a good foundation that has both good coverage and staying power – but most importantly, it must keep my skin shine free! I have super shiny/oily skin and for a long time I have found it difficult to get my hands on a good foundation. I have come across some ok-ish ones in the past. But for those that have good coverage, they don’t prevent shine or else the foundation does the opposite and looks too caked on my face. However, I have since come across some really good foundations that are up to the job of mattifying my oily skin. I have recently been tooing and frowing between three foundations – two L’Oreal products and one Catrice foundation. All three are excellent. I do have a favourite though.

Here are my thoughts on all three.

1. L’Oreal Paris – Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation

Out of the three foundations this is my number one. I love it and it does exactly what’s it’s supposed to. It has high coverage, and a lightweight feel without a cakey look which is perfect for me. With any foundation that I use, I normally need to set it with power afterwards – which feels like too much make up on my skin. I don’t like this look or how it feels for every day wear. Within twenty minutes or so I am back at it with the power again and usually by the end of the day my makeup has melted off my face with a super shiny look….unfortunately not the dewy look we’d all like. However, I find that with this foundation I don’t need to set my make up with any powder and it stays that way for the day. At the same time, it doesn’t make my skin dry out either.  My shade is number 11 Vanilla which I think is the lightest shade. There never seems to be a lighter shade available. This shade Is fine, I’ve quite pale skin but I can just about get away with it as it adds a little bit of warmth to my skin. But it would be nice if I could get it in one shade lighter.  I am on my second tube and I intend to keep using it. I just hope it’s not discontinued at any stage!

2. L’Oreal Paris – Infallible Total Cover Foundation

This comes in at second place. I like it a lot and if the first one is ever discontinued I happily use this in its place.  To me it seems to be pretty much the same as the Infallible 24H-Matte. They both have high coverage with a matte finish and lightweight feel. However, the first one seems to be aimed at shine control in particular, while this one is aimed at covering imperfections, redness, marks and dark spots. It is definitely long lasting but I feel the other L’Oreal one last just that little bit longer. A definite plus for this one though, is that it is available in a lighter shade – I’ve been using number 10 porcelain which is a perfect colour for my skin. If I could only find the Infallible 24H-Matte in this shade I’d be set!!

3. Catrice Cosmetics – HD Liquid Coverage Foundation

In third place is the HD Liquid Coverage by Catrice Cosmetics. Although in last place, it is still a really good foundation. It’s has a lightweight feel, is non-oily and is definitely mattifying. It claims to last up to 24 hours and it has excellent coverage, but my shiny skin still makes an entrance where it doesn’t in the first two foundations. Again, if I ran out of my favourite I’d have no problem using this, but I know I’d need to top it up with power at some stage. Again, the colour is more suited to my skin than the first foundation and I love that it has a dropper application lid which stops you from using too much product.

Even though I have my favourite, all three foundations pretty much do what they are suppose to. I’d use any three of these over many other top foundations currently on the shelves. But what suits another’s might not suit someone else, so your best bet is to try a few different ones like I did and find what works best for your skin.

Uncategorized

My Hyper-Mobile Child

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So it turns out that Ruby has hyper-mobility. This is something that I had never heard of until Ruby was diagnosed with it and yet, I found out that it’s something that I also have, although not to the same extent as Ruby. Someone who suffers from hyper-mobility is basically really flexible, there are differing degrees of it…Ruby is super flexible, like rubber. If you go to pick her up under her arms she’ll basically slide out of your hands if you’re not aware that she has it. I first noticed that something was up with her joints when she was about four or five months old. I noticed that when she was held up in someones arms, that her arms would bend right back behind her, same with her legs when changing her nappies. Considering her birth story, I of course jumped to all sorts of conclusions as to what could be causing this. So when she was called for her six month check up I mentioned it to the health nurse who took a quick look at her. She checked her joints and confirmed that she had hyper-mobility. She explained that it meant that Ruby’s joints were more flexible than what is deemed normal and that it is normally hereditary. So with that she checked both myself and my mother (who came to the appointment with me). She said that we both had it. My mam had it only slightly in her arms and elbows and I had it in my arms, elbows, lower back and hips. And like Ruby I was always really flexible as a child. So the nurse said that Ruby would need to attend physio to assess how much she would be affected by hyper-mobility. Initially I thought that it just meant that she would be really flexible. I had visions off sending her off to be an amazing gymnast or something. But apparently there are a whole host of other problems that can occur because of this condition, depending on its severity. Some of the other problems that can sometimes occur are as follows:

  • Late learning to sit, sit with a very rounded back or W-sit.
  • Skip crawling and bottom shuffle instead.
  • Walk later than normal.
  • Hate tummy time.
  • Avoid activities that are new or require effort and may have sensory issues.
  • Develop coordination and attention problems as they get older.
  • Develop digestive system problems.
  • More prone to develop dyspraxia as a result of low muscle tone.
  • More vulnerable to injury.
  • Suffer from extreme tiredness.
  • Have limbs that appear to be floppy and weak.
  • Pain in the knees, fingers, hips, elbows and lower back.
  • Joints can dislocate easily.
  • Hyperelastic (very stretchy) skin that bruises easily.
  • If there is a more widespread effect on the body, it can usually involve conditions or syndromes like Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

textgram_1492461824So far Ruby doesn’t seem to be affected by too many of the above symptoms, but we will have to watch her for a lot of the other symptoms as she gets older. It’s important to remember that people who have this may never have any other symptoms besides being really flexible. Hopefully this will be the same for Ruby. I didn’t even know I had it and I don’t think it has effected me in any ill way that has effected my quality of life. Looking back now, perhaps the digestive problems I have and being tired all the time have something to do with my own level of hyper-mobility, but at this stage of my life I am not going to go looking into it!  As for Ruby, she was a bit late on her gross motor skills – she was late to roll, sit, crawl and walk. But she was, and still is ahead in her fine motor skills, language and communication skills. She didn’t start crawling until a week before her first birthday and she didn’t walk until she was 18 months. But at that stage we were doing work with her at home that was given to us by the physiotherapist in order to help strengthen her muscles. So if we weren’t doing that, it could have been a lot later. She 100% hated tummy time – although, this is something that I think most babies hate. The only way we could get her to do it was on my bed.  We will have to keep a close eye on her – apparently hyper-mobile children can plateau at any stage in their development. She definitely has low muscle tone as a result – her muscles feel like jelly if you touch them and if you wave her arms around they go really floppy. But at the same time, she is a strong as an Ox and always has been.

textgram_1492461970Thankfully at her last physio check up everything was spot on. I have to bring her back when she is two, by which time the physio said she should be climbing the stairs without my assistance, jumping and kicking a ball. She said if she is able to do all of these things, and as long as nothing else pops up in the mean time, that she would be happy to discharge her, which is fantastic news. So hopefully everything will balance out. I am sure I will document it here should anything else develop. I just wanted to share this as I don’t think it is something that people are aware of – I mean, I suffer from it and didn’t even know about it! Please feel free to contact me if your little ones have hyper-mobility. I would love to hear other peoples views and experiences on the topic.

*Update* October 2017

So Ruby just had her check up for her hypermobilty. For this check up the physio wanted Ruby to be able to kick a ball, climb the stairs with little to no help, run and to jump. She was able to do three out of the four requirements. She can’t really jump yet but she is trying very hard. The physio was pleased with this as she is only gone 26 months and is still a little young to jump properly. The muscles in her legs have strengthened and her hypermobilty has lessoned in this area. However she is still hypermobile in her feet and ankles, which can make her trip a lot so I have to ensure she is wearing shoes with the correct foot support and her hands and wrists are very mobile. But thankfully the physio was so happy with her progress that she has discharged her from the service. She has asked me to watch out for anything out of the ordinary and if the tripping increases to come back. But overall we are all delighted with her progress!!

Until the next blog.

Orla the Irish Mammy xx

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