Bond with your children and create happy memories of staying home with the family.

Hello everyone! Welcome back – I want to shout out to our new readers all the way from US, UAE and India – it’s time like this in a global crisis we really realise how alike we all are!

This week has been very busy with the increase in online sessions for our children with their school and the continuation with our online lessons for our students. We haven’t had a lot of down time as a family so we didn’t really do anything as arty as these guys right here; Making heart window decorations (but I have put it on my list for posting in our neighbourhood FB.) Also you gotta love Banksy -always on point 😊

During the week I was reading popular blog posts and read about lots of parents helping their kids make crafts and i’m sure we’ve seen the Dads on facebook turning their houses into full blown restaurants and drive thru’s. Now if I know my audience, I know that most of us are too busy to do all these fancy things so we’ve come up with some more easy ideas to have fun at home -ENJOY 🌞

So the restaurant idea was the easiest because all it involved was changing our venue for eating, the plan originally was to eat outside but by the time the food was ready it was dark so we changed to a meal in the living room, we placed cushions around the coffee table and with a ramadan lantern and a couple of candles managed to create a Moroccan theme. We managed to eat our food happily and the hardest part was bringing plates two meters further into the living room. They enjoyed it so much i’m doing it again for them right now so they can eat their lunch while I write!

So what have we done this week?? Well, it all started when my daughter came into the kitchen one morning to tell me the toilet was smoking – and lo and behold he was – cue the prank wars 😷😎

He really was smoking!

So when you’re bored of learning all the dances off of TikTok look for pranks

  1. Put a jacket on backwards (hood is on your face) open the fridge door and pretend to be getting something, the other person will come up to the door and take your hood off -Scare them!
  2. Boo! is a tradition in this house as i’m sure in everyone’s houses – you’ve just got to creep up to someone and scare them – it continues for a long time though because everyone wants to get their ‘revenge!’ hence our 10+ year long game.
  3. At dinner last night they started a game so M tells A an object and Z can guess it. He always gets it right! the trick is to mention different objects in the room, is it the table? is it the water cooler? is it the kettle? is it my jacket? One of the objects has to be black then the real object will be the one you mention after that!
  4. Another fun one is to tell someone they have string in their ear and hold one hand just outside their other ear – tell them to pull the string and you (lightly) slap them!
  5. Take a glass of water and ask someone what sound a cat makes? and continue with different animals until you ask them what sound a Whale makes and then spit out the water (more points if you’re brave enough to spray on them!)
  6. Tell someone if they can copy everything you do; you’ll give them some money. Do some random things – pick up a book, write with a pen, then take a gulp of water but keep it in your mouth, they should swallow theirs but you spit it back out into the cup!
  7. My favourite was when they pretended to vacuum the 5 yo into the vacuum cleaner because he was being naughty and the 3 yo -his mortal enemy(!) was upset and tried to save him!!

Make sure you talk to the younger ones about expectations and not to get overly offended or maybe even keep your more sensitive kids out of it. Once you’ve had enough of pranking each other try some of these “Never have I ever” questions for a bit of down time.

Parenting tip of the day: Whilst searching for ideas i came across “Who’s most likely to ….” and I’m gonna be honest and say I don’t care for that idea too much with the negative connotations but it could be used in a positive way. Children tend to believe what we tell them so if we say they’re the most likely to end up in prison, chances are they might well be; conversely if you tell them they’re the most likely to become a heart surgeon they might well be.

I’ve tried to stay offline this week as much as possible apart from their actual lessons but if you’re interested in online activities that you can set them up with while you continue working on the side? Go to Quizziz an online quiz website with thousands of ready made quizzes which will ensure your children can stay on top of or even learn some general knowledge whilst having fun. (Watch this video for help getting started.)

Hope some of these ideas inspired you and give you a chance to have some social time with your offspring and inject a bit of fun into the mundane aspects of isolation. Please do let me know how it goes and if you have more ideas do share!

How to keep your hair on during COVID-19 …DAY 30…

Hello!! Hope you’re all well, this post was motivated by reading all these posts and memes on social media about lots of families being stuck together and the thousands of parents who are finding this time hard. Especially working parents, we have to somehow to double the work expected normally because we’re under pressure to prove that we are actually working from home and do all the things at home without the usual help from people we outsource our chores to. We don’t even own a lawnmower so I was thinking of going out there with a pair of scissors today is what I’m talking about! My husband putting hand sanitiser on my son’s foot when he cut it, is another fun thing that happened today. We also played hide and seek and had to keep pretending not to find the 3 year old when she stuck her head under the sofa and I’m happy to announce- in an amazing turn of events our mish mash parenting style has somehow made the teenagers get around to not only cleaning their rooms but helped their brothers clean their room too!

IT IS HARD!! It’s not easy at all!! but you can do a few things to make it easier on yourselves by following three easy rules.

  1. Get ready. This means get ready in two ways -plan and prepare. Each day wake up and have a shower, get dressed, comb hair, brush teeth, – follow your daily routine. This puts you and the fam in the right mood for the day.
  2. Plan to have activities ready for the kids, my own kids are 3,5,10,13,16 which means that I have a little help with the little ones from the older ones but those of you that don’t, try to think of activities they can do with minimum supervision. The sensory boxes I spoke about last week are perfect for this. As is simple colouring, dot to dot, or an interactive toy. The 10 and 13 year olds have online lessons from their school, so we make sure the iPads are charged and ready for their day to save the whole “that was my charger” argument!
  3. Just as you would do in a normal day make sure the food is planned and the snacks are available -yes that might mean a bit of cutting up some fruits/veggies or buying some extra treats – this is a unique situation cut yourself and the kiddos some slack. If a biscuit will keep them busy for the few mins you need to send an email – do it. #Guiltfree

I really believe that organisation and planning are key to running a peaceful house but honestly we do still have times when everyone is just tired of being cooped up together especially with the new -no exercise rules. PE with Joe has been a life saver for us in this regard. As has story-time from Space and similar channels like National Geographic. Personally I don’t mind a bit of screen time each day and lets face it its literally a necessity now if we have other things to do but we should be mindful of how long they’re spending on screens.

I’ve found some really amazing websites online which allow the kids to have some downtime whilst also learning something (and their narrative voices aren’t as irritating as some of the kiddie YT channels,) one of these is NASA.gov -real pictures and videos taken in space provides prompts for some good, interesting conversations. Curiosity Stream has really piqued my interest and we will be getting the subscription as soon as I have a few mins.

Another point to note is to find something that you enjoy and do that as well, a good book, a long soak in the bath, doing your hair or nails will all give you a break and a chance to recover so you can be the best version of you. For me I like to keep busy so although my daughters started watching yet another Turkish drama (each episode is 2.5 hours long!) I try to stay outside and I began refurbishing a garden swing that we inherited when we moved to this house. I hope to share pictures soon and I also hope that my daughters will be so amazed that they might start learning to sew!! ( I can dream! can’t I?)

We’ve actually had a few moments of inspiration this most notably when we made KFC for dinner and also when my son logged into my husbands Google account on his PlayStation and we enjoyed an impromptu look through pictures from the summer holidays last year. We’re planning an online party with their cousins tomorrow as it’s the weekend here and I’m going to text my mum and sister to make some popcorn and poppadoms for a snack and we planned to cook a roast that we can enjoy in 4 corners of the world together.

Hope this post has inspired you to be a more creative and see the benefits in embracing this change for the betterment of the family. I am in no way, shape or form a perfect parent, I just wanted to share some ideas that have made life easier for me in the hope that someone out there will benefit. Take care, until we meet again. I’ll leave you with some images we’d all like to see in the house.

More fun, free ideas for your kiddos

So what’s been happening folks? Been anywhere nice lately? (sorry bad joke!)

It’s getting a bit tedious trying to keep the children occupied at home but we’ve (un)luckily been busy with their schoolwork most of the week. My high schoolers are on zoom meetings now some of the time as well as my husband and I teaching pretty much all day. So a fun activity has been to send the littles off on a little hunt around the house… it keeps them occupied and the game can literally carry on for ages. I was on a facebook group where this lists were shared so i’m sharing them here too! Thanks to Amber Kothe and Yesette Terrazas.

Another game to play is to hide a smallish object or teddy bear in the room and get them to hunt for it, as they get closer you say hotter and as they get further away you say colder. They’ll start practicing their english as well, they’ll start saying boiling hot or freezing cold, it gets more fun as they get more practice and more creative at hiding the toy!

Once we got into the idea lots of old car games came rushing back to the memory – ‘Name, Animal, Place, Thing, Total’ took us on many trips to London from Lancashire and back again when my siblings and I were kids! Just take a pen and paper for each player and draw a table with 5 columns; one player has to say the alphabet under his breath and someone else stops him, whatever letter he’s on you all write a name, place, animal or thing with that letter. Then you mark it, if you answer is unique you get 10 points and if someone else has it then you only get 5. You can change place to country or city if you prefer and do football teams instead of ‘thing.’

Both this game and I-spy has to be played phonetically so the 5year old can join in but it’s also good practice for him to learn the difference between the two sounds ‘g’ makes. Simon Says and copy cat also take some time to play and the old family favourite ‘Oh the hokey cokey!’

I hope this helps you, please let us know how you get on in the comments, take care and stay home – stay safe!!

Self-care and relaxation and planning half-school with the kids…

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past week and I’m hearing that many of my fellow teachers have too. I’m sure that most of us enjoy the weekends by going out, socialising with other people, visiting fun places and having wide open beaches and parks to enjoy especially in the current beautiful spell of weather we’re having. Myself, I enjoy going for treatments at the salon it gives me an hour or so to myself in the generally quiet atmosphere of the salon while being pampered in some way; mani, pedi, blow dry, massage being in my top 4 choices so we decided to have a spa day at home today.

So for a simulated Thai massage I lay down on the floor and got my 3 and 5 year olds to jump up and down on my back. It was rejuvenating to say the least and it entertained them for a few mins too. Next it was time for a hair treatment so my eldest dyed my hair (and her clothes and the dining table!) I know I joke but it was lovely looking in the mirror after washing it and feeling a thousand times better. When it was being straightened and dried I honestly felt the worries of the week wash away. Next it was time for a foot soak and they treated me to a bath bomb for some extra fizz and texture. Even if I don’t manage to do my nails tomorrow I’m gonna call it a win and I’ve saved a lot of money into the bargain. so give it a go – mama (or papa or carer!) spa day by the kids.

Person Getting Massage on Samsung One UI 1.5

As I mentioned last week we decided to cook together during quarantine and I noticed a difference today- I wasn’t giving instructions so much anymore, their instincts are kicking in; everyone contributed and we enjoyed a lovely home cooked dinner. They were missing their Friday night takeaway so I decided to make some home made fried chicken – it went down a treat. It got me thinking maybe this is a thing- can I find recipes for fast food online? and I found some!! Pizza Hut, KFC, Macdonalds, in this way I managed to meal plan for the next 3 days and who knows maybe they’ll prefer the home cooked versions, I’ll post pics as we make them.

I’ve seen a lot of schedules online and I’ve chose one each for the little kids and one for the middle child and I decided that we’re gonna do a 10am-9pm routine. It will allow them to enjoy a lie in, in the morning or play quietly; which will give me time to prep for my own teaching and also print out and check their lessons for the day. I will have a physical folder for each child and online version and we will build them during the next few weeks. The later start will mean that I will get some extra time with them in the evening when I’ve finished my own work and give us time to cook or do some other hands-on activity in the evening as well.

I hope that our ideas and schedules have given you the idea that homeschooling is actually way more fun than completing online lessons set by the teachers of your child, and that you can really start to be creative and enjoy the process rather than fret about assessment and achievement. Love Learning will be starting online schooling soon so subscribe to our site for updates and more activities straight to your inbox.

My 5yo gave me the cutest of random hugs yesterday because I sat with him and his little sister and made a ‘hot wheels’ track for their cars, and I have to say all the hard work and time spent planning and researching is worth it for these few special moments with our precious sprouts. We also had a lot of fun playing ‘jack in the box’ with a amazon box that I didn’t use for the model, then we made a tunnel too! I’ll leave you with a pic of the race track to show you that it doesn’t have to be Pinterest worthy for your kids to have fun!

Take care – see you next time- stay home stay safe!

5 TIPS FOR TEENAGERS’ MENTAL HEALTH DURING LOCKDOWN.

I’m writing this post at 1am probably because I drank too much coffee today trying to stay awake and do a zillion things at once. Long story short – I was teaching online during a thunderstorm outside and had to ensure all my own kids were actively engaged too. We did it -just about!

I wanted to write this post as a reminder we are only human and not to expect too much of ourselves during this time. In particular I want to focus on our teenaged children, and how all this change and upheaval has affected their mental health. Two months ago they’d only heard of one kind of Corona and now here it is affecting their daily life and I don’t know what your teenagers are like but I did manage to get some quotes from a few I know and it surprised me a little bit how deeply they think about these things. I honestly thought they’d be happy to have no school for a few weeks in fact I asked my friend’s nephew for his opinion for my blog today and his mum told us he was asleep and glad there was no college for a few weeks! Although some of the other teenagers are very worried and stressed about this whole new situation that’s come about affecting our ‘normal’ daily lives,

I don’t mind if I get the virus myself but I am worried about infecting my baby sister as she has a heart condition so she’s really vulnerable.

M, 14, Bolton, UK

I am probably one of the few people actively avoiding corona updates because of the stress and fear and anxiety it induces in me instead I am trying to focus on the positives. One of my friends pointed out our WhatsApp group was filled with articles and corona news ever since we first heard that the schools were closing so we’ve purposely tried to talk about other things as much as possible.

Anyway the motivation for this post was to support those who may be feeling blue after hearing all this news. For a normal healthy person the anxiety levels are rising due to the uncertainty of the last few weeks so spare a thought for this who suffer from anxiety and worry on a daily basis.

My advice is to deal with such issues spiritually, whatever your religious inclination normally is, call on your Lord to guide you, protect you and keep you safe. Keep the information limited and focus on things you can do and enjoy the free time you have to pursue your hobbies or catch up on your chores and spring clean like one of my sisters’ has decided to do.

I’m sad that I’ll miss my prom and I might have to wait another year to go to college.

R, 16, Devon, UK

I want to point out that our teenagers may be feeling extra worried and they have every right to be because they’re living though something their parents (and grandparents) are facing for the first time in their lives so they are bound to feel some sort of anxiety. I think we need to just focus on them and reassure them that this will pass and it’s a temporary phase. Although that’s easier said than done.

I feel like Corona has made everyone step back and think that this World is temporary.

M, 15, Dubai, UAE
  • Model a calm persona outwardly – the last thing your children need is to hear your worries and hourly news updates. Try to limit their exposure to the news and internet free time.
  • Try to maintain some sense of normality, allow them to socialise be it online or over the phone. Ensure that they keep to some sort of a schedule (I obviously need help on this point)
  • Listen to them and validate their fears without constant empty reassurances. Allow them to express their worry and instead of saying “Oh don’t worry about it,” or “It’ll be alright – you’ll see!” try rephrasing and telling them you understand they’re scared and you will be there for them. This is a way of you telling them their is something to be scared of and its normal to feel that way but we will work through it together rather than ignoring the problem altogether.
  • Answer their questions matter of factly empathise with them but try not to emote for them, some teenagers may literally feel like it’s the end of the world and you may need to convince them its not. Even with their proms being cancelled, their exams uncertain, their future plans changing. This is a good opportunity to teach our children resilience and enjoying the journey of life rather than focusing only on each destination along the way.
  • Practice relaxation strategies and guide them towards meditation and Yoga as a way of calming the mind. Again this is a good opportunity to practice mindfulness and limit their exposure to passive TV watching or listening to the same tracks on end. Show them the life outside electronics can be fulfilling too.

Resources and references for this blog and links that can help:

Article Relaxation tips Building resilience Validate their feelings

Title image from

A non-stop day… COVID-19 DAY 19!

It started normally but then spiralled into non-stop issues, I was helping one then the other then another one needed me – I was going a little bit crazy to be honest. Then I remembered the plan – oh YES ‘The Plan!’

The plan was hubby was going to take the little two out for a walk so I could work on whatever the others needed to do… unfortunately the plan did not work, ‘need to find a shoe, ‘ ‘need to change a nappy,’ ‘oh their t-shirt has a stain.’ I honestly thought this day is gonna be the end of me. Then I remembered its ok, deep breaths “we can do this.” I rolled my sleeves up and directed everyone to a particular job – in just 10mins the house was visibly tidier and my mind relaxed. The little ones went for a walk around the block; The electronics were locked up (in the safe!) and we started again.

Back to basics

We then spent a lovely afternoon playing cards (Maths) and hangman (spelling) with charades and ‘notes and crosses’ for a bit of variety.

During the week I was making dinner and accidentally put too much salt in I knew instinctively that I need to make a dough ball and chuck it in but I still double checked with my dad; when he confirmed I realised that I learnt how to cook by watching my elders cook; and I picked up some good tips along the way so I decided I’ll make more of an effort to include the kiddos in cooking

So the plan today was to prepare a roast chicken dinner together, Z cut a salad like a pro and the older girls took care of the oven jobs. We’d marinated the chicken the night before so we just did the sides and some garlic bread and we were ready to roll. As if to confirm my thinking was right Z asked me to teach him how I cut lettuce (I tell them to use a chopping board but I do it freehand myself!) I think the kids enjoyed their food because they had a hand in choosing what to cooking and then preparing it together. It’s definitely going to be a positive I take from COVID-19 that’s for sure.

Just as we were finishing dinner and wondering what to do next? as if by magic my brother sent me a lovely resource that I will share now with you from the lovely SCOUTS organisation. CLICK HERE!

We look forward to trying some of these ideas tomorrow. I’d love to hear what you’re all getting up to and how the children are responding to more attention and time from their parents. Today I really felt I could make a difference if I stayed home. C’est la vie – we always want what we don’t have and then when we get it think the grass is greener on the other side. Such is the human!

We can do this 💪🏻💪🏻

I’m now feeling the pressure of trying to work from home and make sure my kids are learning and don’t feel neglected at the same time, so this is a motivation post.

I feel like a daily walk is imperative to keep me sane and we play games on the walk to keep it interesting- walking around the same neighbourhood day after day is getting a little bit repetitive to be honest. So we play traffic lights, copy cat, Simon says or ‘I’ spy to distract the little ones especially. The older ones have enjoyed having time to go out on their bikes and just get some fresh air in their lungs without the usual pressures of the daily grind.

For the older ones I read over this list of ‘family friendly – would you rather’ questions shared by a fellow blogger head over there to check out her other ideas to entertain the kids – because for this post on my blog- I’m focusing on YOU.

I’m not used to working from home and I needed to think of ways you can switch from work mode to home mode without the benefit of a commute to unwind and get into mummy mode. I am enjoying the fact that I am available for the little ones during my breaks but I had to find a quiet place in the house to work from that also has a good wifi signal so I’ve ended up switching from my daughters bedroom or the kitchen whilst the kids are still asleep upstairs.

Young blonde woman meditating in the park

For my first tip on relaxation -Coffee is my life line – we bought a Nespresso machine (Click here for UK link) a few years ago and I enjoy a good cup of Latte in the mornings to really get me into work mode. Not to mention save you money and times when you do have a commute!

For my second tip – I’m sure most of you have noticed this blog has finally woken up after lying dormant for two years, which brings me to the next point, I have found sharing ideas and resources online brings me a peace of mind that I never thought it would, knowing that parents out there are being helped with my advice and tips; its a lovely feeling and your comments and messages are really motivating me to write more. so I would advise you all to find yourself a little hobby even if it’s just writing in a journal to just unwind and relax after a super busy day. A friend of mine spends time knitting and has started to teach her daughters, I can’t wait to see what they make and I think I’m going to spend more time on arts and crafts on the weekends.

For my third tip I just want to say try to ‘live in the moment’ I often notice things during the day that I want to include in my blog but I don’t end up taking pictures of just because I know picking up the camera will ruin the moment. For example this morning little H picked up the book M read to her last night ‘Milly Molly Mandy’ and was pretending to read it herself including the funny accent for “Muv’ver” and “Far’ver.” My 5 yo was making his own animations from one of the apps I recommended in an earlier post -Toontastic; He had a lot of fun making funny voices and it started the older kids off into drama land too.

For my fourth reminder I’d like to say embrace the outdoors even a few minutes of sunshine a day can do wonders for your mental health and well being. If like me most of your work is now through a computer don’t underestimate the power of a good stretch – Youtube is full of videos of how to stretch and maybe even begin Yoga or Tai Chi to really harmonise your mind, Body and Soul.

And finally I want to say don’t worry whether you’re doing it right or not; everyone has different circumstances and we learn from our experiences – all of us are in this together and we will survive. Take a break each day when all the kids are in bed to think and reflect and maybe even prep some activities for the next day so the little ones aren’t always in control – sometimes you are!

Hope you enjoyed this post it didn’t have a lot of tips for the kids but I hope it made you put yourself first and really be mindful of the time that you need so that you can accomplish everything you set out to do everyday and more…

Cooking with the kids – no mummy blog is complete without some kitchen FUN!

The last couple of days we’ve been busy in the kitchen as well as doing our normal schoolwork and household chores.. (pictures to come- in true mum style its after midnight and my phone is dead- no battery  🤭)

I love cooking and try to pass the love on to my kids right now most of them love cooking and I find it interesting how my eldest enjoys cooking mains, the next one enjoys making desserts and i’m sure my eldest son can chop a salad for England! Its amazing seeing how their personalities slot in so well together. So without further ado here’s a few of the desserts we’ve made in the last week please do try them and comment on how can you make them even better -for example we’ve tried Rice Krispies with melted marshmallows on top too  👌 👌🏼  

Rice krispie treats

I’m sure everyone’s made Rice Krispie treats many many times so here’s a reminder for some of you and a yummy recipe for those of you who haven’t yet come across this tasty treat…

  1. Melt the chocolate
  2. Coat the Rice Krispies
  3. Spoon into cake cases
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30mins
  5. Enjoy!
Nothing looks yummier than a bowl of melted chocolate

BAnoFFEE

We also made some yummy Banoffee – shout out to my friends Sadaf and Mishal who introduced me to this slice of heaven on Earth. Also a good way to use up overripe bananas without making banana bread (-you’re welcome!)

  1. Smash up digestive biscuits, mix with some melted butter
  2. Open a can of ready made Nestle caramel and warm it up slightly in the microwave
  3. cut up some bananas
  4. Place a layer of biscuits at the bottom, a layer of bananas and then a layer of caramel
  5. Refrigerate for at least 15-20 mins
  6. Add a layer of whipped cream just before you serve it – Enjoy!

Apple CRUMBLE

  1. Crumble together approx 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  2. Peel and chop 4 medium sized apples (granny smith or pink lady are really good for this)
  3. Melt some butter in a pan and add the apples
  4. Then place the apples at the bottom of a baking dish
  5. Cover with the Crumble mixture (from step one)
  6. Bake for 40mins on 180 Celsius
  7. Enjoy with a side of ice cream or custard whichever you prefer

Eat only ONE COLOUR of FOOD ALL DAY #CHALLENGE

Write 3-5 different colours on pieces of paper and then pick one colour each, You have to only eat food of your chosen colour for 24hours…

inspired by the current YouTube challenge

It was not easy!!

We chose the colours at night and then ate breakfast according to our colours jam on toast; orange; cereal and scrambled egg on toast (Yellow was the best colour here!)

We then headed to the supermarket

It was fun choosing all the food and deciding what each other was allowed M was very flexible with us (So we would be flexible with her later she said!) S and A enjoyed grabbing a lot of chocolate as they got Brown and granddad managed to pick up pears and avocado for his greens. We got home all excited and made our lunches.

Orange – Noodles and a fried egg

After lunch Red decided that he wanted to make watermelon juice; Green and Pink got to have some too; but after that Orange (me) decided I had to have coffee so we slowly started to get ‘out’ – most of us failed when the chocolate came out for Brown!! so eventually the next morning Brown was crowned the winner… Play it with your kids and let us know how it went in the comments