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.
Awards

Blogger Recognition Award!

Blogger recognition award

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

  1. 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!
  2. 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!

1- Jennifer Hughes Reviews

2- Dotty diamond

3- Eat Play Love

4- 2 Nerds And A Baby

5- Thoughts Tots And Tea

6- Mum of a Premature Baby

7- Its Just a Phase

8- Shinners and the Brood

9- West Cork Fit

10- The style preacher

11- Lurganista

12- Pretty on a Penny

13- Insonspiration

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

Parenting

2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland – Long List

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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

Recipes

Chocolate Orange Energy Balls

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.

IMG_20170608_141429_159Ingredients:

200g dates

30g dedicated coconut

60g oats

2 tbsp cocoa powder + extra for decoration

1 tsp vanilla essence

3-5 tbsp orange juice

Rind of one large orange

 

Method:
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.

Enjoy x

Parenting

Not Enough Hours in the Day

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.

free time meme

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.

All-These-Moms-Are-On-Pinterest - Copy

 

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

Pictures accessed through Google images and  taken from http://www.funnybeing.com/50-incredible-mom-memes/ and  https://thinkbiblicallyblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/not-a-super/
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

From Fi to You – Organic Kids Clothes 

Picture taken From Fi to You Instagram page

This Christmas (2016) Ruby was given the most beautiful set of pyjamas from a friend of ours. The pj’s were handmade by our friends sister who has an etsy shop named From fi to you (Fiona Murphy) – she makes organic kids clothes. She is Irish and currently based in Norway. To be honest when I first saw them I thought that the pyjama set was a tracksuit – they are too nice to be pj’s! Ruby has only just grown into them. The material is absolutely gorgeous – a navy blue with little reindeer heads on them. The material itself is really soft and stretchy, so they move well with Ruby’s movements. I wasn’t sure how they would hold up in the wash and I was worried that they might shrink, but after wash number one they have held up well. Just make sure to wash them on low at 30 degrees to help preserve the colour.  She also has an Instagram and Facebook page. Here you can see fabric samples and different projects that Fiona is working on. I am seriously thinking of purchasing some items from her online shop. I would love to get some jumpers for Ruby – the fabrics that  she uses are fabulous. One thing is clear – this is one talented lady.

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Picture taken From Fi to You Instagram page