What age is a good age to go trick or treating?

What age is a good age to go trick or treating?

Something I always see every year at my door is children too young and teenagers knocking on my door. Now I don’t mind trick or treaters I quite enjoy coming and seeing their outfits but one thing I don’t like is when children are to young or too old.

I personally wouldn’t take Elijah out at 2 in a thin costume knocking on doors for candy. First of all Elijah doesn’t understand he isn’t allowed to eat the candy immediately and will have a tantrum on someone’s door step. Secondly he’ll try and walk into someone’s house which makes me very uncomfortable. If you’re taking a older child trick or treating and your kid is going with them I don’t see as much a problem as they learn from that. But young children do not need candy in their diets so why take them to collect candy? I think I’ll wait till Elijahs 4 to take him when he can understand what is going on and understand he’s not to go in strangers houses or eat the candy immediately. A few of my friends are taking their children at 2 or younger and I think that’s great if they think there children will enjoy it. I’m not judging parenting here so if you want to take your few month old child that can’t stand to get you some candy then do so! However you may have a few people that do think why does a baby need candy or why is this toddler screaming on my step or trying to come in my house. If I was to take Elijah trick or treating it would be to family members house only which we might do tonight as he’d be able to experience getting candy for dressing up with people he’s comfortable around.

On the other side of things I think there are always children to old to be trick or treating I stopped at 12/13 which I thinks the perfect age to stop. I’ve had kids that look 16/17 on my door and I’ve told them to go away. I think parents need to say to their kids do you not think you’re a little bit old to be dressing up to get candy? This also intimidated me a bit when I have rude teenagers in a gang at my door and no doubt scares elderly people worrying they’ll be robbed or hurt if they don’t give in to whatever they want or have their house egged. It still annoys me a lot of shops won’t sell eggs near Halloween as kids buy them to egg houses.

So take your kids whatever age you want but just think are they going to enjoy it or are you going to enjoy it more?

My baby is almost 2!

My baby is almost 2!

In two weeks my little guy will be a whole two years old. The time has gone so fast I haven’t took a second to pause and appreciate each and every moment we’ve had together so far. I find myself looking back at photos and sobbing because he’s grown so quickly and there’s nothing I can do to stop that.

He is becoming such a bright, loving boy and I am so proud of who he is growing into. They say toddlers are hard work and it’s not a lie although we’ve had our many ups together the tantrums can be a very big down and distract us sometimes from enjoying what is the now. I am always excited for birthdays and a excuse to shower Elijah with gifts and love and show him how much he means to every single person in his life. Here’s too the last few weeks being one and making lots of memories before we become yet another year older and I might have to stop referring to you as my baby soon. Soon we will have potty training and an even bigger attitude but I can’t wait to just enjoy you being my little boy just that little bit longer. I am privileged to be your mummy and always will be. Every time you say my name my heart beats that little but faster and my ice cold heart melts.

Am I a good parent?

Am I a good parent?

Something all parents question is if they are a good parent. If you’re a parent who doesn’t question that then that’s great for you and I aspire to have your confidence. But as one of those who find myself questioning my parenting I’m starting to think maybe that’s a good thing? Maybe I’m doing it right because I’m questioning myself and not just thinking that’s it I’m great!

I know in my heart I am a good parent. I am always there to teach elijah right from wrong. When he is upset I am always here and listening making him feel okay again. I spend a lot of time teaching him everything I know and trying my best to educate him in anyway I can. I shower him with love and try to learn from how I was raised to be better. I know that he loves me and he is never without anything he needs or sad.

But why do we question ourselves? I guess it’s human nature to second guess everything. Sometimes we have times we are exhausted and don’t have the energy to play 24/7 or sometimes we put on the tv for five minutes peace. Sometimes we feel like we’re being bad parents because we won’t let them live of chocolate and tiny human gets mad. The guilt starts at pregnancy for some parents. Am I talking to the bump enough? Is the mother eating enough and what she’s eating is it right?

It’s something that will never go away, when your child is an adult you’ll still worry if you see them enough or have done enough for them. Just remember that even when you feel you’re not a good parent to sit there and think is your child happy? Because a happy childhood is all that matters and I can guarantee your acing parenthood day by day. It’s a big bad world out there but you are a hero for making it through each and everyday.

Taking steps to be healthier.

Taking steps to be healthier.

When I look in the mirror I always feel fat. I look online at clothes I think are gorgeous then talk myself out of buying them because I doubt that they’d look right on my body type. I eat my feelings when I’m sad and I never want to munch on a carrot stick it’s always chocolate. I have developed a seriously unhealthy relationship with food.

Since having a child I think I’ve let myself go that bit more. I struggle to eat normally at normal times. I have things that are quick and instant for me to eat which can be eaten on the go or in under five minutes. I would never give Elijah what I eat in a day everyday so why would I put that food into myself? If I say to my family do it buy him chocolate why am I then eating a sharing bag a night?

My exercise routine is non existent. I did go through a stage of running and I loved it but since it’s become colder and darker it’s more of a struggle to want to run in the dark around the countryside alone. My only excercise now is chasing Elijah round soft play or pushing his buggy round all day (a workout in itself I know).

My mental health has deteriorated and I find myself falling back into my safety net of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter mindlessly scrolling for hours to distract myself of the reality of real life. I find myself doing anything I can to stop myself feeling and end up distracting myself with the most stupid of things and making too many plans exhausting myself with all the social interaction.

So what am I doing about it? Well I’ve just put some weight on again. And I feel horrid about it. I worked so hard to go down clothes sizes and I’ve just let myself slip back again. I will not allow myself to continue to be unhappy with my body. I have developed reflux recently and after working in endoscopy for 3 years I know I need to get myself better before I damage myself. So today I joined slimming world (I know how overrated) and I’ve done a online shop and ordered nothing that is junk food. The family meals I cook will be slimming world but the boys will have bigger versions with more fatty products. I am meal planning everything I eat down to my breakfast to get into a routine and also changing it up everyday. I’m going to get back into couch to 5k and do my home workout dvd and YouTube videos. I am also going to take a detox of my personal social media. I will still be blogging as I find it therapeutic and I will use my Instagram for my blog as I only follow lovely bloggers and friends so I feel no need for competition or to judge myself or others which is something f I hate that I do. I will be avoiding the news as the comments and headlines upset me. I will take my time getting back into cooking which something I’ve always loved and cooking healthy meals will be a positive change. I’ll start reading and getting back into my personal care routing as being in a bad spot has seriously affected how I look and feel about myself.

So here’s to change whether I stick to it or not. But let’s hope I stick to it and become a healthier, happier me. Because after all we should feel happy in ourselves because we are all slaying life just by simply fighting to live another day.

We had a Halloween party!

We had a Halloween party!

As per my previous post on how I brought lots of cheep decorations for a little kids party we finally had the party last night and it went great!

We brought some food on Thursday and prepared the food overnight on Friday night and Saturday morning. I spent Friday night making spooky cupcakes and brownies and the morning making bits and bobs for the guests like hot dogs, sandwiches and more. We blew up a lot of balloons and Elijah helped (blew his hand) and threw them around the room. Elijah and I set up the tables and he brang me the decorations to put up it was quite nice working as a team.

The place looked quite nice and we just put some music in the background. We all dressed in fancy dress and had a blast doing it. Elijah loves his dinosaur outfit and will no doubt wear again. We didn’t do any games as the party was for toddlers and the oldest children where happy playing too. We just got all the toys out and the kids had a blast and let everyone help themselves to the buffet. The kids all had fun and played nicely and then we cleaned toys away and played with balloons. The children took balloons and candy home and had a fun time. It was nice as we had 9 children come so wasn’t too many people and wasn’t to hectic either!

By the end of the night when everything was cleaned away, we felt so loved to have such lovely friends. We where so greatful for all who also cooked and brought food for us all to share and had made such a effort to make them Halloween themed too! It went down a treat and a nice little party for all his friends and our friends too! We will do this again another year but for now just to relax and prepare for Elijah and his little friends birthday in a few weeks time.

Do we want another pet?

Sometimes the idea of another pet really tempts me. After all we now own our own house and require no permission to get any sort of animal we’d like now. But do we want a pet now?

We’ve had two pets together since living together and although we’ve loved both of them we had to give one away. Milo our African Pygmy hedgehog was rehomed to a new home after being so hard to look after with a newborn. Check out my previous post on my hedgehog for more info why. So with that being said we aren’t really looking for something that doesn’t give us love and affection and is hard work. We had a Chinese dwarf hamster named pebbles optimus prime Hazelwood and he survived 4 long years! Pebbles was such a loving little guy and we didn’t mind cleaning him out as he would sit on us as we cleaned him out and loved being held and wasn’t really hard work to look after. One day I may get Elijah a hamster if he decides that’s what he wants.

I used to have a dog and my family all have dogs and I miss having something to cuddle with on the sofa. There’s nothing like the companionship of a dog. Going for walks with Elijah and the dog would be lovely and Elijah having a little friend to get into trouble with is just lovely. I loved being a child growing up with dogs and chasing them around and looking after them too. James has never had a dog but absolutely adores dogs.

I think when Elijah is in school we will get a dog. Because dogs take a lot of work and I don’t want Elijah climbing all over them upsetting them at such a young age and would like to be able to train it and have the time. I want Elijah to understand animals and how to respect them. I want to have a pet when we’re ready and not make the decision on a whim. When we’re ready we’ll do it but for now our family of three is complete.

Looking for a free activity for young children this half term?

Looking for a free activity for young children this half term?

I have never met a child who doesn’t enjoy activity sheets, be it colouring, painting or learning to spell. A important resource for all children of all ages, worksheets are so helpful to teach while engaging and learning with your children. Young children will love colouring and looking at pictures. Whereas older children enjoy more sophisticated activity sheets like word searches, spelling and maths sheets. We love orchard toys puzzles and games and always find them both fun and educational. Looking on their website for more toys ideas for Christmas i noticed they have a things to do section. Under this section there are lots of craft ideas such as using household products to make a rocket and even tasty recipes. There is also a out and about section with ideas on things you can use for arts and crafts too. You can print your very own activity sheets and print them for your children to do. There is lots and lots for all ages and interests and only will cost you your ink and paper. So go check them out. This is not a ad i just love this little freebie and all caregivers should be able to save money when they can!

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Days out with the family. Miniature railway and brunch

Following a lovely day pumpkin picking we where ten minutes away from a garden centre (poplar nurseries) we love visiting as it has a miniature railway! We decided to go grab some lunch and browse the shops in the garden centre.

We went for lunch where we shared a pasta, chips and garlic bread. Elijah wanted a scone so a scone and some of our dinner he had! I had the most beautiful hot chocolate. As always it was really tasty and filled us right up! The railways station is just outside and is very cute they have steam trains too! They’re perfect size for children and under 4s travel free. The adults and older children are a pound a go or ten pounds for a pass of ten which we brought last time and still have turns! They have statues and flowers to look out for as you go around which Elijah loved!

Afterwards we stopped in the Christmas sections and looked at the lights and ornaments and it was so beautiful it made me feel warm inside! We found a door sign and bauble with Elijahs name on the first thing I have found with his name on in a shop ever! So we of course had to buy it. They have lovely food, cakes, chocolates, toys and home bits and we always buy something nice whenever we go.

We always live going to this little garden centre as it’s a day out when you get food. The foods always super delicious and out the door busy but if you reserve a table you’ll get a very nice meal! The train conductors are fun and lovely to everyone and they try their best to make it more exciting for the children! They play their whistles and shout all aboard and make the kids wave as they go! The outfits and the decoration of the area is lovely too very old fashioned and cute. You don’t have to pay entry either only for things you buy and each turn on the train so a good day out overall and it’s so big you can be there for hours.

Pumpkin picking at foxes farm

Pumpkin picking at foxes farm

Every year for the last 5 years we have gone pumpkin picking together, for the last four we have been to foxes farm in colchester. A short journey from our home we love going every year. We have taken other family members and friends and this year we went just three of us. Every year we get lots of photos and its been lovely as i have a photo of Elijah in my tummy, at almost a year and now.We will continue this tradition every year now as i think its a great activity to do and something to look back on every year.

The perfect family friendly autumnal activity for all ages which happens to be really cheep aswell. How it works is you park in their massive field and then walk to the pumpkin patch. The staff are really nice and helpful and every year they have more and more things to do. This year they had food carts and they haven’t had that before so you can even grab a drink and something to eat while your walking around or finishing off . There are plenty of places to take lovely family photos together such as on hay bales or photo set ups and next to signs. There are so many things to do for little ones. Little slides, climbing on hay bales, corn maze and obviously picking the pumpkins.

There are pumpkins as far as the eye can see their are all sorts of pumpkins there are small ones, big ones, different coloured ones. It’s lovely knowing you get to pick your own pumpkin and take it home. You know where its come from and you took it home yourself. Its a fun activity for yourself and your family. It may be a bit more expensive then a shop but they don’t charge you to attend only for the pumpkins. We brought 5 miniature pumpkins and one medium one and it only came to a tenner. We loved getting muddy and getting stuck in the mud. We have been in the rain before and the sun and overall it is always a lovely day come rain or shine.

Elijah loved being free to run around and choose some pumpkins. Once he got the hang of it he was filling the wheelbarrow and loving it. He enjoyed the puddle jumping to and squelching in the mud. When we took him to the minature pumpkins he was perfect size for this and loved grabbing them and holding them. When he got to the pumpkin patch of the bigger ones he would not stop till he found the right one when he found it he shouted “its too heavy” and asked for “help”. He tried to lift himself and fell back on a pumpkin and smashed it with his bum! He was very happy when we put it in the wheelbarrow. He enjoyed sitting in the wheelbarrow and guarding his pumpkins.

Its easy to pay and i think you can even pay by card now but i would check before you go on their website. Dogs are not allowed so humans only properly to stop risk of dog poo and dogs eating the pumpkins.We will be using the miniature pumpkins to decorate the house for Halloween and the bigger one we will carve closer to Halloween as a fun activity! I’m thinking about using the insides for once and baking something with it!

Below are some photos i took on my phone and on our camera. Enjoy!

Learning resources for toddlers.

Learning resources for toddlers.

Trying to expand your toddlers mind and teach them skills at the same time can be difficult, but there are resources out there you can use to help. Here are a few items i have used and found effective in teaching my son that might help other parents and toddlers stuck in a rut. If anyone else has anything they can recommend do please get in touch with a comment or check out my instagram @lifewiththehazelwoods and send me a dm there.

First up flash cards. I cannot rate flashcards enough because they are such a brilliant tool for learning. Remember revising for tests and you made flash cards? Well they work the same for toddlers. They’re brightly coloured and have pictures. They have the word under so you can teach your toddler the word for the photo which eventually they will learn with daily practice. Everyday we’ve used these since a little before his first birthday. Hes learnt a lot of animal names, foods, objects,weather and more. He can now basically say a whole pack of words now which makes us insanely proud. We have several packs which i have brought which Elijah loves doing you can get themed or basic first words, we have some ones that show counting objects for when hes older as well.

Puzzles are great too. We have quite a few types. We have some which are wooden boards where you take the shapes away and put them back in which are quite easy to do but teaches shape sorting. We also have vehicle, animal and letter ones to teach him words too. We have words to words to object animals. We have wooden puzzles also where we match the body parts. Puzzles are so good for making your child learn more, gain more skills and also strengthens their muscles using their motor skills. It also helps their memory including muscle memory.

Lacing beads. This teaches your child about colours and shapes. This also teaches how to thread through beads into the lace and counting as you do it. Teaches hand eye coordination and muscle memory again. This is also one of the things they access where children are too to see how they’re able to use their joints.

Arts and crafts products.Colouring books and crayons, Jumbo and thin crayons can be great for the wrists and finger development. We use it to teach colours and patterns and try to get him to copy us when we do shapes. We love painting and exploring patterns and objects and how we use things to paint. We do themed painting and use objects we find such as toys, objects from the outside or pasta. We love doing stickers which Elijah loves them and sticking them on the paper or on things.

Word books, i cannot stress how important reading is to children. They are sponges from when they are born. We have read to elijah since he was in my tummy and we make a effort to read atleast 4 books a day together. Word books with pictures and words are really good because they teach them the word for things. Elijah was so proud of himself when hes learn all the words in a book and would bring them to show us all day long.

Play dough. Teaching your child textures, making things and just using their hands and objects are a great tool to use. They come with good play sets too so as they get older you can make them explore more play. Like a dentist set, beach set, food making set. Playing together is lovely too.

Bricks, counting and balance all come into this. They have fun building towers and learning balance. You can also use them to count.

Magnetic fish teaches hand eye communication and team work.

Food is probably the best one! Teaching them too cook is such a fun experience and lots of messy play! Put food colouring in cooked spaghetti and let them go wild! Bake cakes and shape cookies! Colour pasta shells and rice for necklaces and arts and crafts activities!

The possibility’s are endless, just enjoy learning and having fun together!