Tag Archives: free

Save Your Pennies This Half Term

28 Sep

Can you believe it? The next school half term is already upon us!

Its my experience that half term can lead to expense, the type we parents just cannot afford. This post offers some inexpensive ideas designed to help you keep the kids happy this coming Half Term.

Firstly, be creative! Creativity cost nothing, yet it comes in endless supply. Think up some fun and engaging activities for inside the home. Get the children making Halloween decorations then together decorate the house in your spooky creations. You can bake cupcakes, even the none baking parent can pick up a packet of cheap cake mix at their local supermarket. There are endless things you can do to keep the kids happy without leaving the house. Board games and craft projects are just a handful.

If the thought of staying indoors drives you mad, head to your local park to collect acorns, pine cones and conkers. All can be found on the ground this time of the year and each will provide hours of crafty fun. Why not keep yourself and the kids active with a game of football or for those with dogs, take a nice stroll along the green chain walk. Bike & scooter rides in the woods have always been a favourite with my children.

Always check your local papers for events taking place in your local area. Most Local authorities lay on free or cheap family activities during school breaks.

Those living in the city can visit one of the many city farms. These are usually really inexpensive and in many cases completely free to visit. They also offer numerous activities specially programmed for the holidays.

Lastly, entertain the kids and have a good old sort out at the same time? Get the kids sorting out all the things they no longer need, clothes, toys etc… With the Incentive that they can sell the items at a local bootfair. My kids love doing bootfairs, especially when selling their own things as they get to earn some money. Most bootfairs run all year round and only charge a small fee to sell. So, not only are you entertaining the kids in an inexpensive way, but you may also earn a little cash too… Bonus!

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Tinyme comes to London

18 Oct

As many know I’m a member of Blog-match the site that specialises in matching brands with bloggers. a few weeks back I was very lucky to be invited to a fabulous event, an introduction to the world of Tinyme.

Yay, I’m going out… That’s right I don’t get out much!

So, before I get down to the serious business of giving you  the low-down on these guys, I must first tell you about the awesome meal they laid on at the swanky courthouse hotel London.

All my hard earn willpower flew out the sodding window like it had never ever existed! Diet, What’s that then? Now the main, that was actually quite well balanced in terms of calories but my goodness the pudding, well that was another story altogether… Beautiful but so deadly on the hips.

Well, enough of that! Not only am I making myself slightly hungry but I’m starting to sound like an M&S ad here. On a more serious note I should state that I wasn’t only here to scoff my face and meet lovely fellow bloggers such as Romanian mum, Mumsarus and the Macies world, I was also here to discover the world of Tinyme.

Tinyme, an Australian company which was founded by  three fathers who happen to have 13 children under the age of nine combined are a company specialising in a comprehensive range of affordable yet premium quality personalised products for kids. The brand is doing great in the big land of 0Z and as a result they are considering brunching out even further and eventually creating a second base, here in the UK… “Bring on boys!” It’s all getting very exciting for these three Daddies  

  On hearing that Blog-Match were organising an event with a company that specialise in personalised products, I became a tad excitable. Seriously people do you understand how hard It is for me to get personalised products for my children?

As you all know ‘Little man’ is a nick name (at least I hope you do). This isn’t just for the purpose of this blog! His Asperger’s syndrome means he finds it hard to separate the two (that’s adults and children) often thinking anything I do he can do too! I’ve always referred to him within all my writing as the Little man as at times this is exactly what he is… a Little man!

 

Little man is in fact ‘Giovanni’ as a first born son he took the name from his father who took it from his father and  so forth, I think you get the picture! Now, unless we are shopping in the beautiful Italian sunshine then we are not likely to find many personalised products here in the UK unless like Tinyme they are made to order.

I’ll be honest now, when it comes to stationary I’m a bit of a stationary freak. I have more diaries than I possibly will ever need in one year, I just love address books (despite the modern technology that can be found in the shape of my iphone and Macbook air) and far to many pens and note books with randomly scribbled words spread across each and every page. These guys had some lovely stationary. There was one product in particular that I cast my beady eye over, a beautifully designed dairy that came in a number of designs and sizes and could also be personalised to display the names of different members of the family. (Subtle Christmas hint directed at any family members having a nosey at me blog *wink, wink*) 

The founders of Tinyme were dead friendly guys who displayed lots of enthusiasm for their products. They had bucket loads of passion which I’m guessing to be the key ingredient to their success on the other side of the world and that growing here in the UK. Only two of the three founders of Tinyme were actually in London on the night of the event, but both done an awesome job promoting some extremely well designed items such as their name labels, bags, stationary, wall decor alongside a whole host of other amazing products that could be personalised to state pretty much anything you wanted.

The designs were some of the best I’ve seen on name labels, the bright colours used make them easy to read, plus the gloss coating gives them extra protection against scratches or that of wearing and fading text. They are even able to sustain different temperatures making them dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. 

 Name labels are always of interest to me, “God how sad am I?” But when your child can be irritated by clothing labels these are a godsend. The use of iron on labels allow me to cut out clothing labels instead of writing names in permeant maker then watching your child itch like a cat with fleas. The iron on type lay flat, you therefore have no seams, thread, scratchy material to contend with, the child isn’t even aware of their presents, making them a “must buy” for a child with sensory processing difficulties (tactile defensive being one of the worst). 

Another great product I loved was the wall stickers that looked great displayed in the venue on the evening of the event and came in an array of designs, catering for a whole spectrum of ages and taste. The stickers are easy to apply and work on most services. These can also be re-applied and more than once, so a change of bedroom or even house means the stickers can come too 🙂 

The guys have created a fabulous geeky site that allows you to pick a product, personalise it then at the click of a button an image preview is generated allowing you can see exactly how your item will look (meaning there will be no nasty surprises) Not happy, you can change the design & wording only placing your order once it’s just how you want it.

  If all this isn’t enough already the site also have a range of free printables on offer. Just download, print and use! This is a freebie and a good one at that!


Download and print anything from the 19 dedicated pages of awesome printable that you are even welcome to personalise. Here you will find cupcake toppers, animal mask, bookmarks and much more!

So, if you fancy a look (which is completely up to you) Click HERE!

Want name labels? A little birdie tells me there is a very special offer going on over on the Tinyme site, 50% off name labels and the offer of 150 mixed labels for the silly price of £23.99 with the choice of 100 different designs and colours. 

Like Tinyme on Facebook for the latest news and awesome competitions

HERE

(plus look out for their pending launch off personalised Christmas cards coming soon)

Win the all new Tom and Jerry DVD

13 Sep

 Here I go again, banging on about children’s DVDs and then happily giving them away via a competition, I’m so god darn predictable!

 Last week it was ‘Humf’ and this weeks it’s a bit of  Tom and Jerry, a classic animated duo I fondly remember from my own childhood.

 However, this isn’t just any Tom and Jerry film, Oh no… it’s Tom and Jerry  and the Wizard of Oz.

 This time it was myself and all three of my little monsters who dim the lights and popped the popcorn in the microwave!

 Tom and Jerry and the Wizard of Oz is an all new animated retelling of the classic tale, available on DVD from 19th September 2011. Brought to you by Warner Home Video, this DVD features all your favourite characters including Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Wizard and many more. Packed full of your favourite classic songs, this DVD will take you on a wonderful journey with Tom and Jerry as they soar over the rainbow and travel down the yellow brick road! DVD has a very reasonable £4.99 and is availably nationwide on the 19th September 2011

 Our thoughts

 Well, without sounding childish, I absolutely love it! Two out the three children see it through to the end, (little Harley crashed out mid way through). Little man and Alice enjoyed it and just as much as the original from what I could gather! 

I always shed a tear when hearing the song, ‘Over the Rainbow’ as it was my Grandmothers song, her favourite in fact. She loved it so much it was played at her funeral to bid her a final goodbye. I heard Alice-Sara, my daughter belting it out in her bedroom (sadly in a somewhat out of tune fashion). Thos was some hours after having watched the DVD, which is a clear indication she likes it too. 

Other great features to this film were, it wasn’t overly animated, it still had that old  classic Tom and Jerry feel to it! Only thing I found quite odd, was Dorothy and the fairy godmothers, strange appearance, a tad frightening! (OK,frightening is a bit of an exaggeration! I’ve just never seen animated characters quite like them before, that’s all)!

Nonetheless & regardless of the above, It was simply a great film, providing awesome family viewing, that my children have now watched another two or three times.

 So, with the big release date of the 19th September getting ever so close, its time for another fabulous competition to celebrate! 

 So if you want to Win a, “Tom and Jerry Wizard of OZ” DVD, then here’s how…

 Leave me a comment telling me why you would like to get your mitts on one of these beauties.

 Important! Be sure to leave an email address twitter ID or even Facebook link in order for me to contact you if you’re the lucky winner.

 For an additional entry follow the blog via Networkblogs (link in sidebar) please let me know you have taken such an action by leaving a separate comment from that above. This is important as such action will validate an entry allowing me to enter you more than once.

 Lastly for the third and final chance to win, here is your last optional entry! Simply tweet, “I want to win a copy of Tom and Jerry on DVD via @clairelouise82 (adding the URL to this giveaway) Again it’s important to return & notify me that you’ve tweeted the above. Please remember to do so in a separate comment from those above. (this will validate the extra entry)

 So, that’s a lovely three chances to win! Don’t you just love me !!!

What have you got to lose?

Good luck.

All those entering must have a UK postal address, product will not be delivered outside the UK. Competition will close on the 22nd September at mid-night and drawn at random the following day. Those who have not left the correct contact details, if any, will likely lose their prize so please remember your contact details, whether, email/twitter ID or Facebook. Winners have 48hrs to claim before a re-draw is considered, so those who do not check emails very often should do so on the 23st of  September.

Creative minds, pupils with autism use ICT to create Art.

9 Sep

There are so many things I love about blogging, hearing good news alongside inspiring stories of success from my readers, has to be the ultimate highlight to blogging.

Last week, I got my kicks of happiness, when I received an email from reader and teacher, ‘Joanne’

Joanne contacted me and asked if I was happy to upload some art work to the, ‘Autism & Art’ Page, here on the blog.  The art was created by pupils with Autism and Severe Learning Difficulties who attend a unit for children with autism and SEN (special educational needs) that forms part of the mainstream school, “Evergreen”  Most of the children at the unit are non-verbal but are very expressive when it comes to art. The  children’s artwork has been created on computer with the use of free art software packages, which Joanne has been kind enough to share (this can be found later on in this post).

Of course, I informed Joanne that it would be an honour to feature the children’s fabulous artwork on the blogs Art page, however, while chatting with Joanne, I felt inspired to write a post to show the world how talented these budding little artist are!

Yes, they really are some talented lot, and it’s not just me, Joanne or the rest of the staff at Evergreen Primary school, who think so!

The pupils were nominated for the Northern grid awards (ICT In Education Awards) where their work has been widely showcased and celebrated as a result.

The Northern Grid Awards recognise and celebrate the excellent practice happening in North East Schools. The pupils at Evergreen, were actually Highly Commended in the “Surprise me” category. This was for an activity that was actually formed to support literacy for the KS1 class. The presentation began as a teacher made resources to present the story, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’ to pupils. The pupils were then involved with developing the presentation into their own, ‘Bear Hunt’ story through their interaction with the story props and resources. Seriously guys, check it out on the site hosting the awards, the teachers and parents of these pupils must be beaming with pride!

Joanne is a lady who is very passionate about her work and she has a great fondness for those she teaches. She told me that, “Most of the children are non-verbal but can actually teach me a thing or two!” It’s refreshing to see teachers and teaching assistants, so passionate about what they do, I really love that, it’s something so simple but for a mother of a child on the spectrum, it’s something you are truly grateful to find.

Joanne’s role with the children is to create creative & sensory friendly learning experiences and her success shines through within the children’s beautiful, yet talented work. She talked about the way the children use computers to create and learn and like myself and many other parents, she really understood the importance of using ICT as a resource for children with autism, both in education and within their everyday lives.

It’s my belief  that children and adults on the spectrum, have an amazing way about them when given a computer. A child that is branded a menace due to their refusal to participate in written work can then excel if put in-front of a computer. When I went to view Little man’s work at a past parents evening, at his old mainstream school, they didn’t have a single exercise book to show me! The only work they had to display was all done with the use of a PC. Little man has fine motor skills difficulties and like many children on the spectrum his handwriting took the force of this. Little man is extremely aware off these difficulties and the fact he is often considered less able within certain areas of his learning (despite his intelligence). He is overly proud and he would rather not engage at all if it meant that by doing so, It would only portray him as some kind of “failure”. Its my opinion that every child with autism as-well as those children with other communication difficulties, should be able to express themselves with the use of ICT, by way of having regular access to a computer. Now, I’m not stating we should give up, stop encouraging them to engage with written work, not at all! I’m just stating that expression is important especially for non-verbal children like those whom Joanne teaches.

 Here’s the wonderful creations of art, that will feature on the Autism and Art page.

Spiderman, By: Thomas Age: 9 

Mr Men, By: Liam Age: 6 

Thomas the tank engine By: Ethan Age: 5

Worms By: Jacob Age: 4 

Wow, I think they are simply wonderful!

 Joanne was kind enough to share the resources that herself and the teaching team regularly use with the children in the unit. All resources are ICT packages that are used to create  different types of art. What is so awesome about these resources, are… amazingly all are “FREE!” meaning you can use these with your child at home.

Tux paint: A great piece of free computer software for kids.

Sumo paint: A free piece of software introduced to Joanne by one of her pupils. Sumo paint has a complicated yet detailed set of features. Greater colour and texture options, fine detailing, filters, layers, and effects. Here you will be presented with endless possibilities.

Nga Kids: Interactive art you can make online. The National Gallery Of Art’s great range of resources enables you to create your own classic masterpieces.

Art pad: An online canvas with basic tools, its appeal to it’s users is that you can re-play you’re painting to watch your creation take shape; you can also email a finished painting.

Cbeebies: Cbeebies have a fantastic selection of activities with characters that appeal to Joanne’s pupils’ interests. Programmes such as Mr maker and Get Squiggling, have magic paint-box activities.

Help kidz learn: Free online games from the guys at inclusive technology with its own creative section.

Create Comics: Create your own comic strip Joanna’s pupils like Garfield, DR Who and Marvel comics.

Audactiy: a piece of kit that can be used to record voices, sound effects, music etc… and can also be used in developing resources. (Free downloads)

Having obtained these from Joanne, I discovered there was only one or two I have used before (Cbeebies, Help Kidz Learn). So, I tried the rest with both Little man and Alice.

Little man enjoys art on a much greater scale when It’s created with the use of a computer. He loved Sumo Paint and has used it for the last three days.

Alice is very creative and like me she has a passion for Art. Though she loves the more practical aspects of art, she also had great fun with this.

I love the comic strips and find the software an invaluable tool for children with autism. These comics can be used to build social stories together which your child. The Comic strips you make, can also be used to help a child with autism to communicate perspectives, feelings and more. All this while remaining fun and creative.

 A massive thank you to Joanne and her wonderful pupils at Evergreen Primary school’s unit for children with autism. Check out the Class website by Clicking HERE  (please note… there is also a special members only section for parents of the pupils whom attend the unit).

Disclaimer: Please note that the above images are the property of Evergreen Primary school and should not be copied without the permission of its owner. The images are subject to copyrite and all terms apply. 

If you are interested in the story or want to find out more, then please leave your details, and I’ll be sure that Joanne gets them.

Thanks Claire-Louise

HALF TERM.

13 Feb

My god it’s that time again! It’s half term and us mummy’s and daddy’s will have to get our heads on and start thinking  what to do in the way of keeping them little monsters entertained. Half term comes around so fast’ it only seems like yesterday they were on Christmas break. My two seem to become so bored it’s then that we have problems as they always argue. Little man wants Alice to play seems to be a good thing as this used to never happen he would prefer to play alone. But and yes this is a big but! When they do play together it’s all on Giovanni’s terms. This is annoying for Alice as he tells her what she has to say,do and act in the game. It always seems to head towards Alice having to go on a bus or a train which as you can expect after playing this game 1000 times it becomes some what boring. The refusing in wanting to play seems to be what gets to G most causing him to often hit his sister

So unless i find something that’s going to keep them both on a high  i’m in  trouble. So here’s my plan! Butlins! A three or four day holiday at butlins. Me the children and they dad went a few years back and they seemed to really enjoy it even through at the time they were both sick and vomiting everywhere we went. So after speaking to hubby we have decided to check some prices out on the net and arrange a trip some time in the week:)

So if we can get Butlins for a good price then that’s us sorted for a few days of the half term. Februaryis never a great time for money as everybody knows:( Just having had Christmas and Alice’s birthday doesn’t help. There are some fantastic sites that let you know all the top events that are taking place in your area. I have often searched Google for free events for kids taking place in the half term. There seems to be alot of play groups that offering trips to the zoo, coast and other places. Sadly these never seem to be a option for us as G doesn’t like the idea of attending events and groups like those on offer. Alice seems to follow her brother on this on.

If anybody knows of some great places and ways to entertain the children this half term then why not share them with other parents that are a little stuck this half term.

Will let you all know if we go on our trip. And will post some pictures:)

Monday finds (week 1)

19 Jan

This is week one of my project Monday finds. All my finds are based on or around Aspergers and ASD. They are all finds I have come across though the week. ENJOY:)

Aspergers web wing
Join the aspergers web ring or any other ring that interest you. You can join in forum chats, create your own profile, submit your blog to the ring directory or create your own ring. Do all this at http://webring.com

Meetup.com
There are many meetup groups you can join. Chat online and attend meet ups in your area once a month. Visit
http://aspergers.meetup.com

Get a free DVD
The website for the treatment centre in America are offering free DVD’S just fill out a short form. Visit
http://www.autismtreatmentcentre.org

One for the UK
Read about the Dore programme and how they can help with many developmental disorders. Visit
www.dore.co.uk/dvd.aspx or www.dore.co.uk

Great read.
If you love great reads then read this!
All cats have Aspergers
It’s a playful look at Aspergers
Get it at Amazon for $9.99 visit www.amazon.com

Any problems with these links then you will be able to find them all in my sidebar:)

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