Saturday, 28 September 2013

365 Project - Week 39

265 - Making the most of summer with a day at the pool

266 -  Playing 'restaurants' with the boys and Leo decides that 'The Hungry Caterpillar' book will be our menu, luckily we didn't end up with a stomach ache ;)

267 - We nearly had rain!   I was all prepared, cleared the balconies and took the cushions in and watched it coming down in nearby Kapparis but it didn't reach us.  Still waiting for the first rain in about 6 months.

268 - Leo discovers Lego - it was a big hit even though a it too fiddly for him!

269 - Louka discovered 'Charlie and the Numbers' on Baby Tv and was captivated by it just like Leo used to be.   It was a real flashback to hear the song again!

270 - You can spend hours trying to get Leo to sleep in his cot, but lay him on our bed and he's asleep in seconds - typical!

271 - Saturday night = boys night

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Zinio Digital Magazines - Giveaway

As far back as I can remember I've been a fan of magazines, starting with 'Twinkle' which I believe came out on a Wednesday - I used to go to the shop with my Mum and she would get her magazine too and we'd go home and read them together with a treat to eat as well,

In my school days it was 'Just 17', closely followed by 'More' magazine which we used to all fight over at school to read with the funny problem pages and 'position of the fortnight'

When I lived on my own every time I went shopping I would buy a cake and 'Heat' magazine and when I worked in the worlds most boring office we survived by swapping issues of every celebrity / woman's mag going!

I also loved the slighty more geeky 'Web user' and 'Computer Active'

Big fat glossy mags were reserved for holidays and plane journeys as an extra special treat.

And my favourite bit of planning my wedding was the tons of back issue Wedding Mags I used to buy from the local market stall.

My magazine habit came to an abrupt end however when I left the UK and discovered how much imported magazines are on a small island in the Med!

No-one I know buys them here, instead we enjoy reading issues given to us by visitors and wondering who the hell all these people are they are talking about. 

But now with the wonders of technology of course we can read everything online - has over 5500 magazines available to read on any device. 

With Zinio you can browse and purchase subscriptions or single issues instantly to read whenever and wherever you like on your computer or mobile device. 

The Explore section lets you read, even without a subscription thousands of articles and share them with friends. 

Zinio have kindly offered me a free magazine subscription as well as 9 subscriptions to give away to my readers. 

Winners can...
  • Choose any title offered on Zinio -- *subscription length depends on which title you choose (they're all different – in the description of a particular title at you'll find how many issues comes in the subscription)
  • Live anywhere in the world
To be in with a chance of winning a subscription of your choice please complete the Rafflecopter form below,   winners must provide me with their full name, email address and title of their magazine choice.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 22 September 2013

365 Project - week 38

258 - Leo and I are a good team when it comes to building tracks these days!

259 - The obligatory back to school photo, albeit a week late as he was not so happy on the first day!

260 - Clouds!!  There was rain on Tuesday, although not where we were!  My facebook news feed was full of excitement as everyone awaited the first rain which didn't end up coming. It was lovely to have a cool day.

261 - Back to normal on Wednesday with a gorgeous sunrise and temperatures in the high 30s

262 - How can that be a comfortable way to sleep!

263 - Leo's first trip to a funfair, he loved it!  His favourite ride was the rollercoaster  but my favourite photo was taken on the carousel while he patted his horse affectionately.

264 - We had a lovely morning at a local garden centre who were holding a kids fun day. The boys potted their own plants and afterwards sat and did some drawing, Loukas first drawing - luckily I took a photo as I forgot to bring the drawing home!  He looks so grown up here, sitting at the table!

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Discovering green fingers

In my ongoing mission to find interesting (inexpensive) places to go I'm always really pleased to hear of a local child friendly event. Today  Garden Plus in Deryneia, a local garden centre was holding a Kids Fun Day so we went along to have a look.

It was a free event designed to encourage a love of gardening for children, and all the children got to plant their own flower or herb to take home.

My Mum, being the green fingered one of the two of us and a regular visitor of the garden centre got stuck straight in with Leo as he chose to plant a flower. He needed encouragement to get his hands in the earth but enjoyed 'making' a plant. He then helped his brother to do one too!

There was a lovely shaded area with free drinks, biscuits and a yummy cake and a bouncy castle for the kids to play on. 

Inside was a table set up with colouring pencils and paper, Leo and his friend drew rollercoasters (inspired by their trip to the funfair last night) and Louka did his first drawing sitting at the table like such a big boy!

There was also a stall set up by Banbao, a type of toy brick very similar to Lego. I'd never heard of them before but they seem to be quite a reasonably priced equivalent. They cleverly had a table set up for the kids to play and Leo and his friend spent a long time playing happily with the bricks building a bus and a farm, they even ignored the bouncy castle to do so! Looks like the start of a Christmas list has been formed!

Leo was pleased with his plant but disappointed that it had not yet flowered when he collected it at the end - it seems that gardening might be a good way to teach him patience!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Radical Reward Charts - Review

I've always loved the idea of reward charts even before having children, I don't remember having one myself - I guess because I was such a model child (Sits back and waits for my Mum to comment!)

We used one with Leo when he was potty training which worked brilliantly but since then despite probably needing to I'd never got round to it. Over the summer I used a homemade chart which worked well but has been put away for a while since it lost impact but I missed having something to help me (and Leo) work towards something. 

When I was offered a chart from Radical Reward Charts to review I jumped at the chance to get back into it when school started again thinking I would probably be needing a bit of help getting him back into a routine.   

Radical Reward Charts have six charts to choose from, colourful and interesting and with the added option of being able to personalise them with a photo of your child.

Being unsure as to how Leo would take to going back to school I decided to wait until his first day to use the chart, Radical Reward Charts come with advice on how to use them including getting them started with early rewards.  I decided to reward every 5 places, moving him up if he gets ready for school nicely without me losing my mind!

In theory, this means he 'should' be getting a reward each weekend, which will be simple treats like a trip to the park or staying up late to play with Daddy, working up to a day out when he reaches No. 20.

There are 6 designs - Wacky Wildlife, Reedy River, Gruesome Graveyard, 'Orrible Ocean, Grungy Garden and Creepy Crawlies.

Leo was interested when I showed him the charts we'd been sent but I don't think they really appealed to him, as he was not as excited as I'd have imagined. I'd like to see more of a range of designs, especially more of a 'girlie' option. (and personally I couldn't use 'Orrible ocean due to my dislike of things not being written properly!)

Radical Reward charts are £14 which includes a laminated photo of your child if you wish to supply one. They are 30cm wide and 84cm tall so they have a bit more impact than the A4 homemade charts I've used in the past!   I think they are a little expensive for what they are, but if you get a well behaved child as a result then it's money well spent, and of course the charts can be used again and again.

Radical Reward Charts are available to buy on Amazon, or via their website. 

I received two charts for the purpose of this review.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Back to School in Cyprus

After the long summer holiday - (I still can't get over how long they have here, even though I've decided that I like it!) last week was back to school for the children of Cyprus. Most of the Mum's I know here had at least one child changing schools this year as our 4 year olds join the 'Prodimodiki' (pre- primary) class.

It's all very confusing for us non-Greek speaking expat Mums but we slowly seem to be figuring it out. After much confusion I think I've established that Leo will do two years of Prodimodiki, this first one being optional and next years being compulsory as preparation or proper primary school. 

It turns out that I could have left Leo in the same class as last year (although without the friends he'd made) which I didn't realise until they rang me in the first week of September to tell me the starting date.   I was briefly confused as the what to do even more so as they needed to know straight away but the lady very helpful and had asked the opinion of his old teacher who said he was 'very clever and had no problem with the language' so they advised moving him up with the 5 year olds  - A very proud moment for me!

Obviously I didn't tell Leo about the option of staying with his old teacher who he loved having decided that it would be best for him to move and be at the same level as his friends, instead I told him that the school had rang and said he was able to go to the big class as he was big enough and had been very clever learning his Greek and that I was very proud of him. 

I then had a phone call from his new teacher introducing herself and telling me which classroom he was to be in, a nice touch I thought - even though it would be nice to know the back to school date a little more than a week in advance!

Although Leo was not changing school so had less upheaval than my friends children I was still very nervous as to how he would get on, especially as over the last few days of the holidays he became very clingy and upset saying he wanted to stay with me all the time. 

After a big chat with Aaron (he always seems to do better with the 'chats'  - he listens to him more!) Leo promised to go to school even if he didn't want to and he would go with no crying.  Aaron explained about his job and how people have to sometimes do things they don't want to. 

Back to school welcome

I think I was more nervous than Leo was last Monday as we approached the school, I wondered if he would go in nicely or if he might refuse to get out of the car and scream and cry (he did that once last year and it took me 15 minutes and a phone call to Daddy to talk him round, either that or I'd have had to drag him in or give up and go home!)  Being in the 'big class' he now goes in a different entrance and I thought that may have even set him off but I drove to school laughing and joking and we got to the door with no dramas!

When we reached the classroom there were several kids already sitting down in a circle, none I recognised but that doesn't mean much!  The teacher welcomed Leo and asked the class to say 'Kalimera' to him, and that was it - off he went into the circle with a smile and a skipity jump, I even had to call him back to say goodbye!

At lunch time he came out just as happy saying he had enjoyed the 'beginning, middle AND end' and had played in the playground twice. He didn't remember what else had happened except he had been told to eat all his fruit and he didn't want to so he 'sneaked it back into his bag when the teacher wasn't looking'.

So, back to school - so far so good!  He wasn't too impressed about having to go EVERY day but I'm sure he'll get used to that again, at least he's always home at 1pm so he still has plenty of time for playing, swimming or whatever. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Playing with ice and hunting for buried Pirate treasure

After a successful time playing with ice recently Leo has often asked to do it again so I thought I'd combine his new love of 'Jake and the Never land pirates' with it to make it a bit different.

Luckily here in Cyprus our milk bottle tops are yellow and I have a collection of them just for times like this  (see, I knew I'd want them for something!) having used them as pirate treasure once before.  This time I froze them along with a selection of Leo's most 'piratey' toys so he could 'hunt for his gold doubloons' like they do in the program.

Unlike last time where he was fascinated by the ice and asked tons of questions about it, ( how can it be water? how long did it take to make ice? when will it be water? Can I eat it? Why is it melting?  and so on!)  this time he dived straight into playing with it pretending to be Jake, and insisting Louka and I took  our usual roles as Izzie and Cubby.

I must say I am loving the ice play, it's the perfect non messy but interesting play for the boys, cheap, easy, minimal effort, and it cools them down, what more could you ask for!
Its great for Louka too as everything goes in his mouth at the moment meaning many things that I could do with Leo become a nightmare with the pair of them!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

365 project - Week 37

251 - Last day of the long summer holiday and we spent the afternoon at a friends 1st birthday party. Leo had a fab time with his friend Oliver and won a HUGE amount of sweets that we still haven't finished a week later!

252 - First day back at school, I didn't get a photo of Leo before school as I was worried he was going to get in a bad mood about it. As it turned out he has a brilliant morning and loved 'the beginning, middle and the end'

253 - Cake!

254 -  A lovely brotherly moment, the next photo I took was Louka trying to pull Leo's ear off but it was sweet while it lasted!

255 - A rare girls night out in Agia Napa for a birthday surprise for a lovely friend of mine.   It was a great night and she had no idea it was going to happen.

256 - Grabbed a bargain rubber ring for 60 cents for Louka, although it was meant for the pool he took rather a liking to it and has been carrying it around ever since.

257 - Another night out in Agia Napa for more birthday celebrations (same friend, just the kids and Dad's got to join us this time!)  Had a lovely, if not hectic evening in Wild West Restaurant and I was having fun wandering around the play area trying to get lots of photos of the kids using Aaron's posh camera

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Sunday, 8 September 2013

365 project - week 36

Day 244 - Celebrating September with a trip to the park, turns out it was still a bit too hot!

Day 245 - A trip to an amusement park for the boys.

Day 246 - Louka is always trying to grab books of the shelf which drives me nuts but I was quite amused to see him get this one and open it, maybe he's trying to find out what to do!

Day 247 - My Dad and I took Leo on his first boat trip (not counting a narrowboat holiday he was too young to remember)  He loved it, and said it was an 'Awesome ride' but he was a bit sad that we didn't let him jump of the boat when we stopped for a while - maybe next year!

Day 248 - Climbing again!   Every time you turn around he is trying to climb on or into something!

Day 249 - Leo was busy looking for his lost sweet when I spotted Louka standing in the hall trying to look all innocent!

Day 250 - Peekaboo
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 6 September 2013

Summer days, drifting away

I've been feeling a little envious of all the lovely things people in the UK have been getting up to during the summer holidays, which seems absolutely ridiculous given that once I'd have spent every waking moment wishing I could be by a pool, who'd have thought I'd ever want anything more than that!

I was worried about the summer, it seemed like I was the only one of my group of friends whose child was off for the nearly three months as the others were still in private nursery which only closes for one week in August. I may have moaned a little about this too - sorry to anyone who knows me!

Before the summer holidays I decided to get organised and I created a kind of summer bucket list and called it 'Summer Dreams' the idea was to give us (well, me as I didn't tell Leo about it knowing he would want to do it all at once!) something to look forward to and some sort of plan to what seemed like endless weeks of scorching temperatures.

In the end I pretty much abandoned the list, or at least the plans of blogging about it all!   My goal became to survive the holidays and have us all in one piece at the end - if we had fun along the way that was going to be even better!

We actually only managed 8 things off the list of 24 and I blogged  only a couple of those which is a bit rubbish but when it came to it I either just wimped out of dealing with the two boys in the heat with buggy, toddling baby, and often over tired and over hot 4 year old  or just didn't have the money to do some things I'd have liked.

Of course there were many other things we did, from playing with ice, pool and park trips with friends, a walk round the harbour, Sunday night boys night with Daddy, 'bubble discos'  Loukas birthday,  days out with my parents and lots and lots of playing on the wii.

But, you know what - it's not been a bad 3 months in total, there has been plenty of tears and tantrums and a whole lot of staying at home but when I told Leo it was almost time to go back to school he looked sad and said 'But I want to stay at home, it's fun at home'  so it can't have been all bad!

In some ways I feel I've wasted the summer, but I'm looking forward to a drop in temperature soon (please?!) and then we are making up for it - just need to break it to Aaron who may be looking forward to getting reacquainted with the sofa during winter!

Anyway, who says summer stops here?   School may be starting but it ends at 1pm every day and we still have two months of sun so I'm not packing away our beach stuff yet!

mummy mishaps

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