Monday, 29 February 2016

A Bedtime Tale Featuring Sammy Screamer - Review

I was sent a Sammy Screamer to review, it arrived in a cute little box and caught the attention of my children instantly.




The bright yellow triangle is actually a motion alarm. I downloaded the app. free and it was soon connected to my phone. It was really simple to set up and the instructions are easy to follow. 


You can choose whether it is asleep or awake, choose the sensitivity from Easy Going, Balanced or Highly Strung and choose whether or not it bleeps when moved. You can also test it out by touching 'bleep.'
When Sally Screamer is moved it sends a little message to your phone "help I'm moving!"

Sammy Screamer is a cool little gadget that keeps an eye on things you don't want moved.

"Stick Sammy on the things you want to keep an eye on and she'll let you know if they move. Baby's buggies and strollers, doors, windows and cupboards, handbags and rucksacks, laptops or even the cookie jar!"

We found another use for Sammy and would like to tell you a little story....























Sammy is a great little gadget which comes in six colours and looks cute. She comes with a little lanyard and is also magnetic so there are loads of places you can use her. She works with ios 7 or higher and Android 4.3 or higher with bluetooth 4.0 support. Her coin cell battery is said to have a six month life and can be easily replaced. She is safe, durable and made to certified international standards.

She is the first device to come from Bleep Bleeps with a whole host more to follow.
You can buy Sammy Screamer, Sammy Screamer twins or Sammy Screamer triplets with prices starting from £29.

Bleep Bleeps will soon be introducing many more exciting devices that help you get pregnant, look after your baby and raise your child. Olivia P.Sticks and Master Bates are brilliant products that keep you in tune with your fertility and the best time to get pregnant.
I remember using a fertility monitor when I was trying to conceive some 12 years ago, then I had to record my hormones every day and then send them off to get results after six months. How technology has changed...with Olivia P. Sticks you can get your results at home. When I had mine done I found it really helpful on finding out exactly when I was ovulating.

Ultra Stan lets you hear and see your baby when you are pregnant. How I would have loved this during my pregnancies, I had a little monitor that let me listen to my baby's heartbeat and had to make do with this.

Once baby is born there is David Camera which is a fabulous room monitor which lets you see and hear your baby on your phone and know the room temperature.

Then for the little ones there is Cecil G, the location monitor bracelet so you always know where your toddler is even if the run off. There is also Lily Loco, the same thing but for older kids.

Useful at all times there is Tony Tempa, an ear thermometer that measures body temperature and keeps a record on your phone. This is one product I'll be looking out for when it arrives, (This and Cecil G, for my little 'wanderer')

If you would like to know more about the fantastic Bleep Bleep Products or purchase Sammy Screamer pop along to their website. You can pop in your e-mail to be notified of when the other products are available.

Discolsure: I was sent a Sammy Screamer for review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

My Sunday Photo - February 28th 2016























Say hello to Marty, one of my Roborovski dwarf hamsters. He's looking for the sunflower seed on my five year old Little Man's hand....you can see how titchy he is!

My other Roborovski is Doc (yes, I'm a Back to the Future fan!) but he's so fast I couldn't get a decent photo of him. Perhaps I should play around with my camera settings but to be honest I don't think I have to skill to catch him.

Both my little babies love to crawl over your hand but we daren't pick them up because they are really fast and so tiny, if we lost one we'd have a job trying to find him again. So we have to settle with them running over our hands, often at the speed of lightning. Marty will let you stroke him but to be honest, at the size of your finger there is not much to stroke!

The used to be caged together, but Doc was very violent to Marty and we had to separate them. Poor Marty was in a terrible state, when we moved him, I wasn't sure if he was going to live, but he did and he's fine now, all wounds cleared up. He's still the most friendly one and Doc, will nip you whenever he gets the chance.

They are nocturnal and often don't wake up until after I've gone to bed, but they are always awake first thing in the morning and ready to play.

So what do you think of my little baby? I'd love to hear about your pets.


OneDad3Girls

ANIMALTALES

Thursday, 25 February 2016

How Are You Feeling?

When I first got sick eight weeks ago, I was asked by friends and family on a daily basis
"How are you today, are you feeling any better?"
It was nice that people cared and I often replied something vague but positive.

"I'm not feeling as bad as I was, thanks for asking" 
Lately, not many people ask. Well, it's been eight weeks, surely I must be better by now?

When I was in hospital and told what was wrong with I googled it as soon as I could. Lying on my back with only one arm working and on my mobile which was deciding to give up on me, one week before the end of my contract.

Transverse Myelitis

Transverse meaning the direction, in this case across the spine.
Myelitis meaning the effect on the myelin which is is the coating of the spinal cord.

My nerves are damaged. 

I carried on to read that recovery could be two to eight weeks. I was horrified, how could I be like this for two weeks let alone eight.
I later learnt that recovery could be up to years, and maybe never at all. Patients fall into three categories, some recover, some recover partially, some don't recover at all.

It's rare, so rare that there really are no positive answers. I've spoken with other people with the condition in the  UK and USA. Stories are all different. Those that say they have recovered completely always have a 'but.'

"I'm completely recovered and back at work, I can drive, run and ride a bicycle...but if I get a water infection/cold/stomach bug all my TM symptoms come back."
It's scary for someone with Transverse Myelitis.

So, how am I at eight weeks post attack?

It's hard to explain. I try to think of how I've improved, or got better and I can't.
I was worse in the beginning, or at least I though I was.
If I'm truly honest, I think I've just got used to the symptoms.

I'm used to not being able to fall asleep at night. I increased my medication twice to help me sleep but it's not working again and I don't want to be dependent on drugs for sleep.

I'm used to waking up in pain. I don't lie there not wanting to get out of bed anymore, I grab my painkillers and just get on with it.

I'm used to taking forever to get dressed/shower/take care of myself. It's not got any quicker but at least I'm doing it myself.

I'm used to walking with my frame or crutches, I know I can take a few steps without them too. I can do it, but it still hurts, it still takes more concentration to move my limbs than it did before. My feet still feel strange and I can't feel the floor properly. My hips don't feel like they are part of my body and refuse to work with me.

I'm used to the pins and needles and I never thought I'd say that.

I'm used to the banding, when my skin feels like it's trying to strangle me, or like I'm wrapped in a huge snake getting tighter and tighter.

I'm used to the pain in my back, my legs, my feet. I take my painkillers but nothing seems to take it away.

Am I getting better?
No, I don't think I am, I'm just getting used to being ill.

Also, I have new symptoms. I get neuralgia in my face, sometimes so bad I'd say it was worse than a migraine.
My ankles have disappeared and been replaced with cankles and I've only ever had them before while heavily pregnant.
My skin is dry like sandpaper no matter how much I moisturise it. My legs peel like they are sunburnt.

Tomorrow I begin neuro physio therapy. I really hope that I will be able to find my body again because this one doesn't feel like me. I have big hopes because hope is all I have.

I want to be able to walk without any aids, I want to be able to go outside by myself, I want to be able to drive again.

I want to be able to have my kids sit on my lap again.

But most of all, I want to be me again.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Creating a Book of Memories


I've kept a diary for many years. I've also kept journals, pregnancy diaries and baby diaries.
I've kept them in notebooks, pre-printed books and even online. I guess you could say I like to record things.

I love that I have this selection of memories at hand. It's wonderful to look back on the things that have happened from the joyful to the mundane, from holidays to a trip to the cinema. And also the sad memories, they all have a place.

I can look back to when my older children were born and their school days and compare them to my younger children.

I can look back to times when my family were still together and my mum and nan were still around.

The complete account of my days of trying to conceive Star after a 16 year gap and secondary infertility still makes me cry when I get to the part of a positive pregnancy test.

You can keep memories in your head or you can write them down. If you write them down they are more permanent, more accurate and can be shared with others (if you wish, I do still have 'private stuff')

Earlier this week I was thinking of how fragile life can be. This year I've lost a relative and spent time in hospital with a life changing illness. I thought of all these memories of mine and how my children will perceive them.

Then I had an idea. I was going to write a new journal especially for my younger children. This one is going to be filled to the brim with all the happy memories, accounts of all we do together big or small. I want to record it all.

First up I needed a notebook, I couldn't wait to buy one so I mooched around and found this one.






I made it last year at a crafting session with some bloggers. It's actually covered with window blind material. It's not the best, but I made it myself so it's perfect for recording my happy memories.

I've started already by listing all the fun things we did last summer. Thankfully I'd already noted everything in the back of another journal. I will continue to use it, noting everything down and making it something my children will love to read when they grow up. I'll include special little messages for them along the way.

When it's all filled I may just go and get one from Paperchase, I love their notebooks.
Image courtesy of Paperchase

This lovely elephant one would be perfect.
While I was browsing I saw this one
Image courtesy of Paperchase

This would be perfect for my blogging notes...look at my blog background ;)

Well if any of my family are reading, it's Mothers Day soon, hint hint!



The Reading Residence


Monday, 22 February 2016

Sassy Kids Box Review - the Popcorn Olympics.

We were sent a Sassy Kids Box to review.
Sassy Bloom have been making wonderful gift boxes for babies and toddlers and are now extending their range to activity boxes for three to eight year olds.

I received a box for the Little Man who is five and he loved it. First of all he loved actually receiving a parcel in the post just for him, and he enjoyed opening it.

Our box focused on popcorn and contained a little packed of popping corn. The Little Man thought they were seeds at first but we put them in a pan and he was really excited watching them pop.

This short video shows the Little Man opening his Sassy Kids Box and then making the popcorn.




After making the popcorn we got ready to start our Popcorn Olympics. All the games were detailed on the leaflet in the box. We worked through each one and kept a record on the score card. The box contained a medal for the winner of the games which ended up being shared by Boo and the Little Man. I didn't think Star would join in as she is ten now and doesn't normally take part in games like this, but she came in shortly after we had started and had just as much fun as her siblings.
We played for about an hour and the kids had so much fun.
Here are the games we played;

  • Popcorn Toothpick Swap (toothpicks were included in the box)
  • Popcorn Throw
  • Popcorn Cup Drop
  • Popcorn Straw Blow (straws were included in the box)
  • Popcorn Distance Throw
  • Popcorn Cup
  • Popcorn Darts (a paper dart board was included in the box)
  • Popcorn Catch

This short video shows the highlight of the games and you can see how much fun they were having.





After the Popcorn Olympics were over the popcorn that had not been eaten and had ended up on the floor was used for a bonus craft activity outlined in the box. The activity was for one but I only had to provide another small piece of card for Boo to join in too. In the box was 1 sheet of card, a glue stick and a pair of scissors.
We cut out the sheep from the card and glued on the popcorn to make it's woolly coat.






The Little Man then completed the Extra fun Alphabet challenge which was all about food and then there was a Family Fun game to play to music.

Also in the box were colouring sheets and a little fact card which included a Good Deed challenge This was to make a craft or bake some cakes for an elderly friend, relative or neighbour. We are going to make a cake for nanny who is having a tough time at the moment.

If I am honest I was surprised at how much fun was packed into the little box. The regular price for a box is £3.99 plus postage of 99p and it's a regular delivery but you can cancel at any time. You can get your first box for just £1.99. visit www.sassykidsbox.com for more details.



Disclosure: we were sent a Sassy Kids box to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Word of the Week -Bus

This weeks word of the week is Bus.
Not a strange word, in fact I've caught many a bus in my lifetime. Long journeys, short journeys, single deckers, double deckers, even the odd open topped tour bus.



The reason I've chosen bus this week is because my experience was something new and completely different. This week I caught the bus for the first time in wheelchair.

I didn't want to do it. I couldn't explain why. Maybe it was the thought of being facing everyone else on the bus? Maybe I thought people would look at me, and perhaps even pity me! Not things I feel comfortable with.
I was concerned there wouldn't be room on the bus for my chair, that it would be full of pushchairs or old people.
I was worried about getting on and off the bus. I know they have ramps for wheelchairs, but what a lot of faffle just for me. I hate creating faffle. (Is that even a word, faffle?)

I tried to get out of it, I really did. I called everyone I knew who had a car to see if they could take us but no-one could. It was an important appointment at the hospital. Not for me, but for Star. We had been waiting many months for this appointment we couldn't miss it. I suppose Star could have gone with just her Dad, but I felt I needed to be there. I wanted to be there, I'd been waiting so long.

I picked the journey where we would only have to catch one bus. Normally, we'd pick the easier route of two (or even three) buses, but taking one bus meant a fairly long walk for Dad and Star, and Dad had to push me all the way. Just for added strain, it was pouring with rain. But I just couldn't face getting on and off more than one bus.

We got to the bus stop. The driver jumped out to put down his ramp. A lady with a pushchair immediately moved from the wheelchair space (thankfully she had another spot to go to.) We managed to get the chair into the spot without too much hassle. My nerves dissipated and the journey was not too bad. I didn't even feel sick, like I have done in cars since I came out of hospital. We made it safely to our destination and I decided it wasn't so bad after all. In fact, I agreed to taking the two bus ride home so there was less walking to do.

I'm not sure it's something I want to do often, but at least I know it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Maybe one day I will be able to drive again, I've already been looking into adapted cars for those who cannot use their legs. My Other Half is taking driving lessons again so if I don't get behind the wheel again, at least he will be able to one day.

For now, I'll take the bus!




The Reading Residence


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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

This Lent I'm Giving Up Moaning!

I don't normally 'do' Lent but I guess it's not a bad thing giving up something, particularly if it's something not good for you, or something that makes you think more about your life. So this year I'm not giving up chocolate, or coffee, or even Facebook! I'm giving up moaning. I don't think it's going to be easy, particularly when things are not so good at home at the moment. (I lost my car today, but I'm not moaning because it's not as if I can drive anymore!) We also have another funeral on Monday, a close family member, and I've had to arrange it all along with my Other Half. But, grief and mourning are not really moaning, it's a natural process which we cannot deny ourselves.

I will however, not be sweating the small stuff. I'm going to bite my tongue at minor issues that I'd normally complain about. I'm going to be nice to my family all the time (oh wow! how tough is that?)
And I'm definitely not going to be posting Facebook Status' full of gripes and woe.

No, it's positivity all the way for me, well, at least for the next forty days....and then it will be Easter, my favourite time of year (not just because of the chocolate!)


I'd like to start my positive Lent with the kid's parents evenings.
As always Star and Boo have been really good at school, always trying their best and on their best behaviour. They may not be the most intelligent in their classes but they always make me proud and their teacher's always have such good things to say about them.

I'm really proud of my Little Man though. I was worried because he has been in trouble recently for his behaviour. Thankfully, his teacher realises that he is mostly immature because he is in fact immature! He is an August baby and the youngest in the class. Most of his classmates are already a year older than him. However, despite his little mishap he is a kind, caring and helpful little boy which has his teacher wrapped around his little finger with his charming personality. Best news of all though was that he may be immature in age and behaviour, but his actual work is well above average and he is one of the top learners in the class. Well done Little Man!


“Our

Monday, 8 February 2016

Three Easy Makes for Valentines Day

We don't normally celebrate Valentines Day, we think that you should show how much you love someone every day! However, the kids are already talking about it so I thought I'd let them do some Valentines Day makes and have some fun. Any time they spend away from the screens is a bonus.

My Little Man is always saying I love you this much and stretching his hands as wide as possible, so I thought that this idea was perfect for him.


I Love You This Much Card.


First we took a piece of card and the Little Man drew around his hands. He chose corrugated card which was not ideal but it was his make so I went ahead. It was difficult to write on though.


I cut out the hands for him...again, if he had not wanted corrugated card he probably would have been able to cut them out himself.


The next step was to write 'This Much' on a strip of paper and then fold it concertina like.


Then I wrote 'I Love You on the front of one of the hands


Finally, the little mand glued the strip to the back of each hand and joined them together.


You gotta love him :)



The next project was a bit tastier!


Chocolate Sweethearts


These are really simple and tasty. Boo helped me to make them.

Ingredients:

200g white chocolate
some sprinkles
chocolate M&Ms or similar
a heart shaped chocolate mould.

Method:

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot (not boiling) water
Into the chocolate mould pour a few sprinkles and add a couple of m&m's
Pour the melted chocolate over the treats and leave to set.






















Finally we finished with some biscuits:

Strawberry Heart Biscuits.

Ingredients:

50g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
300g plain flour
1 egg
1 tsp strawberry flavouring
pink food colouring
heart shape cutter


Method: 

Mix together the butter and the sugar
Add the colouring and the strawberry flavouring
Add the flour and rub into the mixture until you have a breadcrumb texture
Add the egg and mix unitl it all comes together.
Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour
Remove from fridge and roll out into about thickness of a pound coin
Use cutter to cut out heart shapes.
Bake for about 12 minutes at 170C/gas mark 5




Why not get the kids to decorate them!



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Friday, 5 February 2016

Having Fun with a Mini Weekend Box

In the RaisieBay household we love The Weekend Box Club, we reviewed our first box here way back in 2014. You can see the fun we had for the Chinese New Year last year here.

Now, we are really excited to bring to you the all new Mini Weekend Box. After finding that many customers were finding it difficult to fit in all five activities provided in the regular Weekend Box it was decided to produce a smaller box with only two activities. It's also a smaller price at only £4.95.

Weekend Boxes are full of creative activities but still fit through your letterbox. They can be themed around topical events like Mother's Day or Easter, or exploratory topics like countries or insects. The one we received was themed on the rain forest.



Weekend boxes are always a joy to receive, addressed to your child the box is inviting and colourful. On opening you are presented with coloured envelopes which contain most of the things you need to do the activity described on the same colour card. For example, the green envelope in our box contained what we needed to do the rainforest activity on the green card. We also had a blue envelope with contained what we needed to do on the blue activity card which was to make a parrot make. All we had to provide were scissors and a plastic bottle for the rainforest.

My girls were keen to get started. Boo chose the parrot mask activity and found the instructions clear and easy to follow and got on with the activity mostly by herself. All I had to do was help her cut out the eyes and attach the elastic. I think she did a really good job and she was happy with her mask.


My older daughter, Star needed a little help with her rainforest activity. I had to cut the bottle for her, make a hole in the lid and feed the string through. She read through the instructions herself and managed to rehydrate the soil, plant the seeds and put the bottle together as instructed. She also really enjoyed the activity and is (im)patiently waiting for the seeds to grow.






































I think the Mini Weekend Box offers great value and for busy parents it allows you to do activities with your children that you wouldn't normally think of or have the time or resources for.

If you are interested in joining the Weekend Box Club then you can get your first box for free by quoting ANNE58.
Further boxes will be charged at £4.95 for the Mini Weekend Box and £7.50 for the Bumper Box (5 activites) You can pause or cancel boxes at any time.

What are you waiting for? You could be enjoying activities with your kids like this next weekend for free!

Disclosure: I was sent this Mini Weekend Box for free in return for my honest opinion. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Monday, 1 February 2016

Positively February


When you have such a rubbish start to the year as I have the beginning of a new month is always welcomed. Goodbye rubbish January, hello positive February.

That doesn't mean that things have miraculously got better overnight, it just means I'm approaching the rest of the year with a positive attitude. It's so easy to feel down about all that has happened, the loss of my partners Father, my debilitating illness and then the loss of my car, but things can't get much worse, they have to start getting better.

I'm staying positive in that I will make a really good recovery from this Tranverse Myelitis. I know it can take a long time to heal but I will get there. I've read tons of stories now and everyone seems to be different, different levels of the illness and different levels of recovery. I know that I've been trying to gauge how long it will take me to recover against other's stories, but I've now realised that it's just not possible. I will recover in my own time, but I will never stop hoping and doing all I can to get well again. I may even start a little diary so I can see the little changes which can often be missed when you're looking for big things. I'll start with the little change I felt last night when my right foot was itching.

We are still grieving which is hard because we have not yet laid my partners Dad to rest. It will be soon now though and I know from experience that although it will be a difficult day, it can also be the day that healing begins. I feel so awful for my partner and his mum, it's hard losing a loved one. I'm also finding it so difficult as he passed away while I was taking him for an appointment, and I can't forget the whole horrid experience and sitting with him for so long afterwards waiting for his family to arrive. We all have to go sometime but I hope and pray I pass away gently in my sleep, don't we all!

Then there is my car. It was a mobility car that I had for my daughter who has problems walking any distance. I've had it for 18 months from new and paid nearly £3,500 towards it. I knew that it wouldn't be mine in the end but I would get a new replacement after three years. It seemed like a good deal. However, my daughter has now lost her mobility allowance as apparently they have deemed her well again, and I have to give the car back and will be left with nothing! It doesn't seem like such a good deal now! I'm appealing the decision made about my daughter, it's obvious they have not read through my re-application and they did not contact any of the seven professionals I provided for back up. I know this because they made the decision the same day they received my 43 page form, with two extra page of hand written informations and several hospital letters. However, I've changed my mind about having a car again. At least if I spend £3,500 on a car in the future I will have something to show for it.

So, there we go, the three worst things that happened to me in January and how I'm working on them positively,

I hope my readers have had a better start to the year, and I'd like to wish you all a Happy new New Year. There is so much to  look forward to, Spring time, Easter (my favourite holiday) and lighter days!
Binky Linky
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