Project Tree House – Stage 1

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For my entire childhood I have wanted a Tree House, somewhere to call home. My Dad, who is very capable of building one, didn’t commit as he is the type to obsess over safety – anyone who knows my Dad is probably laughing right now! The thoughts of young children climbing ladders and being up high with ropes would have given my Dad many years of sleepless nights. Instead, when I was young, I used my Dad’s shed as my place to get away. This actually worked out well for me, as the lessons learnt about carpentry and nail driving, screwing and salvaging were useful when I decided to build my daughter a Tree House.

The reason why I have called this post ‘Project Tree House’ and have put it into stages is to make it more achievable to you. It is, and always will be an ongoing project, and will evolve with the child and when I have spare time to work on it.

I first thought about buying a complete swing set and tree house combo. This thought didn’t last long, as the prices are extortionate and the lure of constructing a tree house out of left overs, making it with all the love in the world appealed more. So what I did was, go on the internet and learned about what was available and the different models out there. I had a vision in my head about what I wanted to do for Eabha, it was a deconstructed Pirate ship with a flag pole, the tree house being the ships bridge, and a sandpit underneath to bury the treasure!

It doesn’t always have to be the pirate ship as there are some clever idea’s I have up my sleeve to make this area any child’s dream. I love to tap into a child’s imagination so my sewing machine will be involved, creating an area that can be a pink girly castle or a stage to perform. I will give you all the info with pictures once I have the time and the finished product. But, above all, I want to get parents actively hand making things instead of shop buying you get a whole different level of satisfaction and your children will light up like Christmas!

So stage 1 for my tree house was:

  1. Mark out (use twine and sticks to see scale) the section of your garden you want to give over to a child’s play area. You will need to take off the top soil and depending on the size purchase bark mulch in bulk which will act as the cushion to break any falls.
  2. Track down a pallet or two for constructing the tree house. I used the pallet in which our sandstone patio paving came in. It could be a good thing to call into a landscaping yard to see what they can give you. It is amazing how friendly people are when you ask nicely!
  3. Buy 4 fencing posts and you will need some cement to make these secure.
  4. Visit your local chandlery (shop that sells sailing and boat stuff) for some rope and bolts and hooks to make the flag pole and the barrier for the entrance.
  5. Any flag will work on the flag pole you may have to sew some hooks. What my Dad did was, took the cotton handle of one of those really high quality bags, made two loops and sewed on a loop at each end of the flag. Then you can attach it to the rope of the mast. I will do a separate blog on this as it needs to be explained better.

Here is a picture of the initial stage of the tree house:

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Yay, I made the ‘Short List’…

the blog awards shortlist

I am delighted and thrilled to have my blog make it onto the Blog Awards Ireland 2013 – Short List.

It is a lot of work maintaining a blog, similar to a small child, without the mess, but with the constant love and attention a small child needs to grow and flourish! Not only has my blog made it through in the Eco/Green category but also I have been nominated in the Lifestyle and Outdoors category! Yay, I just feel a little validated that yes people do like to read what I write. There was a time (during school) when I would just black out with the pressure of a class room, it was all too much and things just really didn’t make sense. I would have rather spent my time in my Dad’s shed building things and caring for all my animals. But, I got there in my own time and from my own struggles I have learned so much about the way children learn and why they are SOOO important in changing the future of our planet. This is why I am gunning for my dream of becoming a really great children’s author, specialising in teaching about the subjects that I feel I have a really deep and personal understanding – The Earth, Environment, Nature and Animals. I know I can have an effect on the parents that read the books too, it’s two for the price of one!

Looking forward to seeing what the future holds and if I make it to the ‘Final List’ – Oh the excitement…

Dealing with Marketing what Parents can do!!

toypackaging

This is an interesting topic as we all know children want everything and as parents we want to provide for our children. Sometimes heart-strings are pulled when we feel our decision to say NO, might have a negative effect on our children. Well listen up parents, it is so OK to say NO, because I recently did some digging for a project I am working on and I found some interesting reading – we are just pawns in the consumer driven world we find ourselves. And if you have children, then they too are used as ammunition to weaken our defenses and our purse strings…with the end goal of purchasing the product!

There is a marketing term called Pester Power! Now come on, we have all experienced the temper tantrums in the super market. The annoying way shops place very exciting and expensive toys, right under our children’s noses!! But this is all part of a military run plan and the executives at the top, know exactly what buttons to push.

“We’re relying on the kid to pester the mom to buy the product, rather than going straight to the mom.”
Barbara A. Martino, Advertising Executive

Click on this link to find a two page read that will save you time, money and of course the embarrassing temper tantrums.  HERE

Marketers plant the seeds of brand recognition in very young children, in the hopes that the seeds will grow into lifetime relationships. According to the Center for a New American Dream, babies as young as six months of age can form mental images of corporate logos and mascots. Brand loyalties can be established as early as age two, and by the time children head off to school most can recognize hundreds of brand logos.

While fast food, toy and clothing companies have been cultivating brand recognition in children for years, adult-oriented businesses such as banks and automakers are now getting in on the act.

It’s time to act and learn before the Christmas (don’t say the word, summer is not over) advertising/marketing assault begins. Stand firm parents, and note it will not be the cause of any negative implications for your darling children – you will be doing them a favour and saving them money when they have a family as they too will say NO to marketing and buying too many toys.

My Childcare Option – works for us, and is excellent.

parkacademy

If you are living in Ireland you will be aware of the recent really bad press surrounding full-time crèche facilities. I was away when the Prime Time Investigates programme was aired on national TV, thank God I didn’t get to watch it, probably would have had nightmares. But, the reason why I am writing this blog is to highlight the positives and the totally personal choice around every families childcare options and the some times, tear your hair out juggling act that is “family life”.

I come from a stay at home mum of five situation, so full-time childcare was alien to me! My husband was in full-time childcare and had a positive attitude towards it – I must say, I didn’t. I actually couldn’t have thought of anything worse for my child, who was 1year 7months, when I made the decision to go to work part-time and had to find a child care option that worked for us all.

So, I got down to serious business and begun the task of finding my daughter a really good crèche – and that I did. The Park Academy Childcare was our choice because it turned out we knew some one working there and our visit to the crèche totally put my mind at ease. The staff are all so friendly and love children – an obvious trait for someone working with children, or you would think this obvious, but as we found out some facilities don’t hold this trait as paramount! But, it is the extra effort of the entire organisation, from the top down that really make this place special. Eabha is in part-time care so she really has the best of both worlds, the educational aspect of the crèche is superb and her social skills benefited greatly.

Another reason my I like The Park Academy so much is they get the children outside as much as possible – Wellington’s at the ready, with a big emphasis on messy play. They also recently opened a Nature kindergarten on the grounds of Killruddery House – which just so happens to be our most favourite place in the world! Outside cooking, nature trials, and just taking the woodland in is what it is all about – I hope to do another blog on the new Nature kindergarten soon to let you know more, they also do summer camps here so it might interest you.

Eabha is finishing up in The Park Academy soon and I will be said to say good-bye, but such is life, but I know when I need a full or part-time crèche again I will be back with bells on to The Park Academy! I just wish they had a facility for tired parents – suited to our needs entirely, I could do with a bit of messy play and a trip in the party bus 🙂

(Please note this is not an advert for The Park Academy, it is my view entirely. Childcare is a personal and important decision for parents and families and I do not wish to advise anyone on what is best for them or their children.)

 

Happy Father’s Day all about the LOVE not the STUFF!

Happy Fathers Day to all the dad’s, granddad’s, step dad’s, godfathers, and any other father figures out there. Tomorrow is a day that you all have to take a break and get some recognition for your endeavours.

It really is lovely to get some love especially when you have children, if they are old enough to do something nice all on their own it makes it even more special. Just remember it is about the LOVE not the stuff to buy. You just have to look around the shops to see the crap that is manufactured just to make money and has no real use.

88% of men surveyed said that the best present for Fathers Day would be a holiday from the kids….sorry kids!! Dad in our house got a free pass today to play golf and watch a rugby match which he was delighted with. I also bought a shaving soap and brush that will tie in with My Waste Free Home – thinking ahead but I like nothing more than practical, needed presents. He will also get a lie in tomorrow on Fathers Day – breakfast in bed will be served with this really lovely, simple, heartwarming list of things about Dad through the eyes of our three year old. Eabha’s crèche The Park Academy were doing these with the kids on Friday and the simplicity and honesty was better than any gift.

Try it out if you have young children and want a simple loving gift that Dad’s heart-strings everywhere will be pulled 🙂

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Breast Feeding happens in other mammal species too – unlike us they can deal with it in public!

Mammals are characterised by feeding their offspring with their own milk produced my special mammary glands. In female humans these glands are our BOOBS, BREASTS, BOSOMS, what ever you want to call them. Human ladies have them and they are particularly useful for those who choose to feed their babies with them.

SO AS A FEMALE HUMAN:

  • We are part of the Mammal species which are classified by having the function of producing milk
  • Look at these cute pictures of other Mammals doing a great job fulfilling something they were born to do

mare&foal

dog&puppies

cow&calf

I am sure you had no problems looking at the pictures of other mammals feeding their young above as it is “normal”. So why when some humans choose to breast feed, some people would rather jump out of the moving bus that you are all sitting in rather than catch a glimpse of you feed your baby? Is this picture not “Normal”???

mirandakerr breastfeeding

Look at how stunning Miranda Kerr is feeding her new-born and read all about her breastfeeding experience Here.

Please note: I am a mother who know’s just how tricky the whole experience can be. Sometimes desires to breast-feed cannot be fulfilled. I only ever advocate that a relaxed, healthy and happy mum is more beneficial to her baby, regardless of what method of feeding she chooses. But I also advocate that if breast is chosen then it should be welcomed and respected the same as bottles etc. There are enough things to have to worry about and deal with as a mother, more particularly a new mother, than some one making you feel uncomfortable or ashamed of your desire to breast-feed or not too.