Gingerbread Man Books

Sooo with us being in FULL Christmas Baking mode…. we are making all sorts from Vanilla Kipferl to Gingerbread Men. We ALSO love to read lots of Christmas books at this time of year (we have a number of “Christmas books” list for you to check out – one set here, and another set here, with our favourite Christmas Movies here)… but today’s topic of excitement, are these GINGERBREAD MAN BOOKS. Who knew that there were SO MANY different ones. Lots of fun reading to keep you busy through December. Simply Wonderful.

I have popped them all into one handy (affiliate) “list”, as well as included some quirky Gingerbread men products for you to take a peak at, just click on the links below for full info.

gingerbread man books

Check out the full book list here for US Readers

Check out the full book list here for UK Readers

Posted in Book of the Week, Books, Christmas | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Thoughts & Tips on Potty Training

Another flashback to my early parenting days, when I had JUST finished potty training my first child:

Now is time to sum up the weeks of potty training!!! Needless to say, I am NOT an expert… this is just my twopence worth. For (some) expert advice:

http://www.supernanny.co.uk/Advice/-/Health-and-Development/-/0-to-4-years.aspx

I think it is very important, that YOU are just as ready for potty training as the little one. Ultimately, YOU have to see it through. Just don’t leave it too late (see this bit of research: http://www.madeformums.com/toddler/ideal-age-for-potty-training-discovered/4731.html – too old and you will face new issues. Red Ted, btw is 23 months)

So… how was it? It was a slow start to potty training, things didn’t really start “happening” until after Christmas and then again after Daddy went back to work.

Lesson 1: Xmas may have been a bad time as there were lots of people around and far too exciting – so our expectations should have been set lower (doing it again, I probably would have still started at Xmas, as I had the support around me that I (!) needed, just expectations would have been different

Lesson 2: With both Daddy and me “watching” Red Ted, we both assumed the other was doing so and therefore missed toilet cues – I think it may be better if just one of you takes charge

Lesson 3: Daddy (bless him) finds it hard(er) to hide his pooh disgust –work really really hard to praise IMMEDIATELY after a successful potty event and to hide any yukky feelings

Top tips:

Tip 1: Go for it, drop the nappy completely. None of this – “I will just put one for the supermarket run” – so far (!) we have had NO accidents in the pram or car, just make sure you go on the potty before any outing and upon arrival at friends and family’s

Tip 2: Vary rewards for pees (there are so many pees, that a reward may get boring, eg we migrated from popcorn to stickers and will have to think of something new)

Tip 3: show the reward (i.e. Red Ted really “Got it” when he could see the cookie for a Nr 2) – I felt sorry for him, when he raced to the potty to get a Nr 2 out and couldn’t, so rewarded his efforts with a piece of cookie… though don’t fall for this manoeuvre more than once

Tip 4: reward instantly (even if it means a soggy biscuit in the bath or a delayed bedtime as biscuit is consumed)

Tip 5: take them with you, when YOU go to the loo (Red Ted likes to go on the “big” toilet, because he sees us go)

Tip 6: don’t stress or worry if it all takes a little longer, by all accounts several weeks is perfectly normal

Tip 7: stop worrying about “whether THEY are ready for it”, as yourself whether “you are ready for it” – I think it is VERY hard to ascertain that “exact” moment in which they are perfect for training – easy to start too early, but just as easy to miss it and start too late…

Tip 8: get a travel potty that combines as a toilet seat – Red  Ted loves going on the “big” toilet (see earlier posts re Potettes)

Tip 9: when the going gets tough keep going!! some books recommend a potty break, but I reckon it will cause more confusion as to what is expected of them… keep going, even if there seems to be no end in sight… it will come!!! (we briefly toyed with the idea of, did we do it to early, and then suddenly it was working!!)

I guess that it is from a non expert!

I should prob review this again in 3 months and then again 12 months… I am sure that there will be accidents and frustrating moments to come. But so far – almost 6 accident free days! Woo hoo.

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Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Time to share some more baking goodies.. this time we have scrumptilious Chocolate Chip Muffins.. who doesn’t love all that chocolate?!?!

Choc Muffins –  the below are plenty for 12 muffins:

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

  • 180g self raising flour
  • 1.5 tsps baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 100g chocolate chips (I chopped up a bar of chocolate!)

Wet ingredients:

  • 180ml milk
  • 60ml vegetable oil
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract

Handy Hint

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6 and fill a 12 bun muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Weigh out the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Pour all the liquid ingredients into a large jug or bowl.
  3. Mix both together – DO NOT OVER MIX – it will be a lumpy but runny batter. Spoon into the muffin cases.
  4. Sprinkle more chocolate chips on top and then cook for 20 mins or until risen and springy.

Try using other ingredients such as blueberries, cherries, raspberries as a variation. Dust with icing sugar for a perfect finish.

Posted in Baking, Chocolate, Muffins & Tarts, recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A visit to Build-A-Bear

A couple of weeks I ago, I first mentioned that we were planning a trip to Build-A-Bear. The kids have been SO EXCITED about going ever since I told them and they  have been counting down the sleeps to the BIG DAY. And the wait and the count down was totally worth it. The kids loved it.

The staff were super friendly. Fabulous with kids. So so so patient and made it a truly lovely experience.

I both kids – my just turned 5yrs old  girl and almost 7yrs old son. Well, what was so lovely about the experience? The whole thing – just how it is all set up, how well trained the staff are and how cute the process… here is the process:

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1st You choose an “empty bear”. There were loads to choose from and this can almost be the hardest part of the process!. The lady who was looking after us was terribly nice and let them take as much time as they wanted/ needed to.

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They also currently have a lovely Spots of Fun Pup at the moment, which helps raise much needed cash for Children in Need until the end of the year! LOVE the seasonal toys they have too, like this Rudolph!

Changing of minds was fine and finally they both settled on their chosen toys (Elsa Bear and Camo bear!).

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Then you get to test all the buttons to decide what “sound effects” your bear is going to make. The children started to warm up a little and to loose some of their shyness. Lucky for me, the kids picked a rendition of Let it Go.. and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… hahaha. I will never hear the end of it!

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Having been introduced to the amazing “filling machine”, they got to fill their cuddly toys… giving them a good test cuddle to see if they were full enough! Then add some more stuffing.

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Then comes the REALLY cute bit – you each take a heart and you wake it up. Rubbing. Kissing. Blowing… and then you stuff in it your teddy to wake it up!DSC_1553

There are also some optional “scents” if you want your bear to smell of strawberries or gingerbread!

You then get to take them to the “bath station” for a blow dry and comb!

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Next they get dressed and get to choose an outfit, hats and shoes. Else got a funky onesie and bunny slippers, Camo Bear got a football outfit.. oh how my kids are predictable!!!

And THEN we got a  certificate and they got have a go at playing on the computers!!!

Thank you Build-A-Bear for a truly lovely day out.

Wonderful bears. Wonderful staff. Wonderful experience!

Disclaimer – we were invited along to visit the Build a Bear workshop free of charge!

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Sponsored Video – Toca Ink

If you are not familiar with the fabulous little apps that are Toca Boca… it is time you took a peak! The Toca Boca apps, are playful, arty and above all fun apps all the way from Sweden. I love apps that are not just fun for the kids to play with, but that are also visually appealing – the design and graphics make all the difference in my eyes. But I digress, today isn’t about their quirky little apps, but it is about the newly launched Toca Ink. Toca Ink a temporary playful and fun kids’ tattoos, based on the fabulous Toca Boca characters.

Now I don’t know how you feel about Kids’ Tattoos, but my kids LOVE THEM. I have mixed feelings about them.. but as they are temporary, I can’t see the harm. Especially , since the designs now available are artistically light years ahead from the temporary tattoos of my childhood (no longer do you “just” get the old Spiderman or snake tattoo), now, with companies like Toca Ink, you can get fabulous, colourful and playful designs that appeal to both boys and girls. I know that this set of Toca Ink tattoos will have my little girl’s imagination run wild. Don’t think of them as temporary tattoos – think of them as a portable story prompts. What will the character do next? Why are Walter’s Wheels on Fire? What is Larry the Lion up to with his hair?



Whether you know the Toca Boca Apps or not (and if you don’t time you checked them out at the Apple Store, you will love these cute little designs)!

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