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      Apr 20, 2018
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Category: Blog

Make your own Slime
Make your own Slime

Oh, how I hate slime! But what I hate more is my kids regular attempts at making their own slime from my flour, sugar, food colouring and other ingredients. It ends up so messy and is slimy for about 2 hours before it dries out all over my kitchen. I also invested in contact solution, pva glue and other chemicals in an effort to keep them out of my baking supplies but this ‘slime’ never turned slimy! Last year I stocked these ‘make your own slime kits‘ and my girls and I did it together. It was fun to do and worked perfectly. I stopped stocking it because I grew to hate slime and I didn’t want to inflict it on others!! I am now learning that whether I like it or not, we have to endure it and this is the one type I can endure the easiest!

As far as making slime is concerned, this is as mess-free as it can possibly get. The kit contains 2 bottles (a base and a reactor). Simply measure out the required amount of each, stir for a minute and you have made your own slime. You can choose to use all the chemicals in one go and have a large amount of slime or to hold back and make small quantities several times.

As these are chemicals, adult supervision is required.

So, despite hating the stuff, I’ll continue to stock it until this horrible craze is over, in an effort to spare your baking ingredients (and mine!)

xx Suzie

PS. If you want to try out this DIY slime kit, you can purchase it here 

 

9 Travel Toys for Preschool Aged Children
9 Travel Toys for Preschool Aged Children

A good customer sent me this message last week and I thought I’d reply here so that more people can benefit.

We have a couple of breaks away planned in May, & must get some travel toys for L. What would you recommend? The gifts in a tin? Or have you other good travel toys as well?

If you are going somewhere that has a pool, can I recommend you pick up a few fun water toys? These squirty bath toys are cheap and cheerful but lots of fun.

 

Travel toys for preschool children

Melissa and Doug have a range of travel activities called ‘On the Go’. Most are aimed at school-aged children, however, the Water Wow is great for children approximately 3 years and over. It comes will a brush that you fill with water and then they brush over the pictures in the pad and the colour changes from white to different colours. There are two great things about these pads. The first is that after a few minutes,  it returns to a black and white picture and so it can be ‘painted’ over and over again. The second is that it’s light and the brush doesn’t leak, so it’s mess-free and it’s easy to slip into your bag and produce when you want a peaceful cup of tea in a coffee shop with your other half! I stock several different ones of these, so if you have more than one child, you can get different ones for each of them!

Travel toys for preschool children

The Djeco Duo two-piece puzzles come in sturdy boxes with a carry handle, so they are easy to bring with you where ever you go. Again, I’ve several different designs in these puzzles.

Travel toys for preschool children

If you’re child likes order and putting things where they are supposed to go. Then, I think she’d really enjoy the Edu’stick Shapes from Djeco. The pack contains 30 cards and 194 stickers to stick onto them.

Travel toys for preschool children

You can’t go wrong with a colouring book or drawing pad and some crayons. These Djeco double ended crayons are thick enough that they are hard to break and they are chunky enough for small hands to hold and use.

Travel toys for preschool children

Here’s hoping you get great weather while you are away. These pocket kites are really light and don’t take up much space. Pre-school aged children may find it hard to get the kite up in the air (but that won’t stop them from trying!) and it’s a great family activity to do on a beach.

Travel toys for preschool children

If you don’t mind giving your child your phone or tablet while you are away, then I’m happy to recommend these 4D+ alphabet flashcards.  You can use them without a device to learn letters and sounds but if you put the free app on your device, then your child can watch the characters move and turn into 3D.

Travel toys for preschool children

Just in case you have a rainy afternoon and you’ve already spent the morning at the swimming pool or the soft play area, then I’d recommend a family game. This little box contains 4 games which young children, with guidance from an adult, should be able to pick up and play.

Travel toys for preschool children

Finally, these Gift in a Tin sets makes wonderful travel toys for pre-school children. The ones I’d recommend the most for this age group are the zoo one, the farm one and the train one.

Travel toys for preschool children

As you can see, all these toys that I have recommended cost less than €15 and even having one or two new toys for holidays will add some delight to your child’s trip and hopefully give you some time ‘off’ and some quality time as a family.

Have a great trip,

xx Suzie

Toy Review – Teddy in a Tin
Toy Review – Teddy in a Tin

Last January, my 6-year-old was eager to spend some of her Christmas money, so I brought her into Dundrum to choose some clothes and one toy. She chose a Teddy in a Tin craft set and I was so impressed with the toy, that I later added the Gift in a Tin range to my stock.

The teddy she chose was ‘Cuddly Bear’. I wasn’t able to stock this one, as it was part of last year’s range but I stock one very similar called ‘Travel Bear‘. Some of the accessories are different and the Travel Bear is a darker shade of beige but apart from these small differences, they are very similar.

Here’s what came in the tin

Teddy in a Tin Contents

The instructions were really clear with photos to illustrate the description of what needed to be done. My six-year-old, who isn’t a great reader yet, was able to follow the photos to make her teddy and accessories.

Teddy in a Tin Instructions

It was easy for her to stuff the teddy through a small hole in his spine, which she then sewed closed.

Stuffing the Teddy in a Tin

All the areas that need to be sewn have pre-punched holes, so it’s easy for the child to do it, using the plastic needle from the kit.

sewing the Teddy in a tin

The craft took about 45 minutes to complete which included stuffing the teddy and sewing him up, writing a birth certificate and making a bag, a pillow and a heart for him.

Three months later and this teddy (and the tin) accompany my daughter to bed most nights. It’s a lovely craft set with a quality toy to enjoy after the craft is completed. I couldn’t recommend it more!

Click here for my full range of Gifts in A Tin. They are amazing value at just €13.95 each and they make lovely presents.

xx Suzie

Magnetic Putty Peeps is Safe for Children
Magnetic Putty Peeps is Safe for Children

Recently there has been a lot of media coverage over some magnetic putty that was purchased on Amazon and which had dangerous levels of arsenic in it. This press coverage has damaged the reputation of all magnetic putty brands. I am happy to say that Putty Peeps is an Irish brand of putty and it has been tested and certified for safety for sale in the EU (including Ireland). Here is the press release that they issued last week.Magnetic Putty Peeps is safe for Children

Let this be a lesson to us all to consider shopping local instead of looking abroad for a cheaper, but untested, alternative.

Rest assured, Putty Peeps is safe for children to play with.

Here’s a link to buy magnetic Putty Peeps.

Suzie

4 Birthday Present Ideas for 6 Year Old Girls
4 Birthday Present Ideas for 6 Year Old Girls

I only have two girls, so I know what kinds of toys girls up to the age of 8 generally like, but when it comes to buying birthday presents for boys, I really struggle. I know a lot of the time, boys and girls enjoy the same toys but often they don’t. My friend has two boys and she has the same problem – only she doesn’t know what 6-year-old girls really like. Her son is going to a girl’s birthday party this weekend and she texted me for some ideas.

Since I was replying by text and I felt she didn’t want to have to choose from 10 items, I ruled it down to 4 things for her.

  1. Millie Mouse Sewing KitGift in a Tin : Crafty Creatures - Millie MouseThis little tin contains a mouse shaped body, stuffing, a plastic needle, thread and instructions. My six year old was given one of these at Christmas time (it was a teddy one) and she was able for it and really enjoyed it. The holes are pre-punched, so it’s not hard to sew up and once you have sewn it, you have a lovely teddy/mouse that can sleep in the tin. These little kits are great value at just €13.95
  2. Fab Lab Glitter TattoosBirthday presents for 6 year olds six year old girlsBy the time your child has turned 6, they are probably getting slightly bored of the regular temporary tattoo where you dampen the back of the tattoo, hold in place and count to 30 to see it transfer from the paper to your skin. (However, they probably wouldn’t turn it down either). These glitter tattoos are the next level up. There’s 27 sticky stencils that you stick onto your skin. Then, you paint glue that’s safe for the skin onto the stencil area and sprinkle the glitter (the kit comes with 4 different colours) over. Peel the stencil off and you have a really pretty glitter tattoo. These kits cost €12.99
  3. Mess-Free Glitter Foam Stickers    Birthday presents for six year old girlsIn some schools the whole class gets invited to every child in the classrooms birthday parties. This can be super expensive if you have to buy 29 birthday presents during one year (never mind having to take your turn in hosting a birthday party for 30 children!) These mess-free glitter stickers are priced really well at €7.49 and they really are mess free. You peel off the top layer of the sticker to reveal a sticky surface. Then you place the glitter paper on top, rub it to transfer the glitter from the paper onto the sticker surface. You can use multiple coloured glitter sheets on each sticker and you have stickers to decorate books, walls, cards etc with at the end.
  4. A Lottie Doll   Birthday present ideas for girlsIf the girl likes dolls you can’t go wrong with a Lottie Doll. These dolls come from Irish company Arklu and are top quality and fun to play with. They cost from €19.99.

I could go on with loads of more suggestions, but these currently would be my top 4. If you don’t find something here, check out the full range of toys for 6-year-olds on my website.

Now, if anyone would like to write a blog with ideas for 6-year-old boys, I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Shopping,

Suzie

PS. If the child is slightly younger, here’s a link for a blog I wrote last year with gift ideas for a five-year-old.

 

Wooden Puzzles for Young Children
Wooden Puzzles for Young Children

I got an Instagram message last week asking what wooden puzzles I had in stock. Since I spent time writing a reply, I thought I’d post it here too, as maybe other people will benefit this way with quick links to the puzzles.

Hi S,
Thanks for your Instagram message enquiring about wooden puzzles. Sorry, it’s taken me so long to reply. I’m waiting on a shipment from Melissa and Doug. I’ve at least 3 new wooden puzzles in the order (although I believe at least one of these wasn’t in stock and is on back order).

What I have in stock at the moment are:

The Melissa and Doug Alphabet Peg Puzzle. I also have a number one of these in stock with larger pieces as there are only 9 numbers on it. These are really good value at only €7.50 each

The Hape – Zoo Puzzle. These have extra large pegs for small hands to manage

Wooden peg puzzle

The Le Toy Van 3 piece puzzles. These aren’t on a board but they fit into each other and can be played with flat or standing up. I have a bear one  and a bird one 

wooden puzzles

I love the Small Foot Design Puzzles for young children. I stock two of them but I only have the Parrot one in stock. I have placed an order for the Owl one so hopefully, I’ll have it back in stock by the end of next week.

Wooden Puzzle

This wooden magnetic fishing puzzle is a bit different from most puzzles as it has no pegs to lift the pieces out. Instead, each piece has a magnet and it comes with a magnetic fishing rod. It’s still great for fine motor skills as your child needs to still be able to figure out where each piece goes back to and use their hands to do it.

Wooden Puzzles puzzle

These Djeco Cube Puzzles are really popular. There are 4 cubes but depending on what way you put them, you can make 6 different pictures.

Wooden Puzzle

The Le Toy Van Cheery Sundae Puzzle is suitable for children from 12 months upwards.

wooden puzzle

The Le Toy Van Sensory Puzzle is new to my range of wooden puzzles. It has four pieces but each have a different sensory function.

wooden puzzle

These wooden animals from Djeco are 3 piece puzzles that can be interchanged to make crazy looking animals. They are also magnets.

Wooden Puzzles

Finally, this world map wooden jigsaw puzzle is suitable for children aged 3+.

Wooden jigsaw puzzle

Thanks again for your enquiry.

Kind Regards,
Suzie

www.toysandgames.ie

Putty Peeps in Carpet HELP!!!
Putty Peeps in Carpet HELP!!!

I received this e-mail yesterday….

Hi, 
My daughter got putty for Christmas and loves it. Unfortunately, a pot has been found today overturned on our carpet. How can I best remove this without damaging the carpet? 
Regards, R

I replied to say I wasn’t sure and then my customer replied with …

Hi Suzie,
Thank you for your reply. 
After I contacted you I googled it and the most common post was to use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
I got this and used cotton pads which I soaked in the alcohol and then rubbed gently and it came out successfully. 
There is no damage to the carpet so all is well. I’d say you could recommend this to other users. 
Thanks again,
R

I am sure she is not the first person to have this problem and she won’t be the last, so I thought I’d post it here to help anyone who faces the same problem in the future! Thanks R for sharing your solution.

Now you can enjoy your putty in peace!

Suzie

3 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Family Life
3 New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Family Life

Happy New Year! I hope 2018 is a great one for all of you.

As with the beginning of every year, I have lots of hopes and resolutions. I thought I’d share some that have worked for me in the past, that have made family life even better, and some that I’m going to try out this coming year.

  1. Happy Mum = Happy Children

I’m no child psychologist so maybe I’m wrong with this theory, but in our family, it’s true. The happier I am, the more content and at peace are my children. They become less demanding of me and I enjoy spending time with them again. That’s why, at the beginning of the year, I need to make sure I build things into my daily and weekly schedule that make me feel happy. Whether it’s finding time to hang out with friends, taking time to exercise, having quiet time to read and journal – whatever. If I don’t prioritise this my life will feel a bit more chaotic and family life will follow in that stream.

2. Less Screen Time

This applies equally to me as to my children. I try to do all my work while my children are at school but my laptop is always on our kitchen counter and it’s very tempting to check e-mails and reply in the afternoons. I need to move out of this habit. My business doesn’t pay me yet to work around the clock and it’s not what I desire, so I need to remind myself of this and remind myself that this time is for my children. I want to model this so that in 10 years time when I have 2 teenagers, they know it’s unacceptable to have their faces in their phones or computers all the time and that communicating with people face to face is more important than online.

3. Set family traditions

I’m very aware that my kids are only young once and in a few short years, they won’t want to be spending the same amount of time with our family. I feel that if I set family traditions now, they may end up being times that they will value as they grow older. Some of the family traditions that we’ve started is a Family Games Night on a Friday Night, where we take it in turns to choose a board game to play together, having pancakes together on Saturday mornings and having a movie night together on Saturday evenings. What family traditions do you have in your family?

When I have too many resolutions, I give up easier as they are harder to maintain, so these three will do me for 2018! Have you set any resolutions for your lifestyle and family this year? I’d love to hear them.

Have a wonderful new year,

xx Suzie

Tips for Single Parents Coping with Christmas
Tips for Single Parents Coping with Christmas

Today’s blog is written by Daniel Sherwin. Daniel is a single dad raising two children. At DadSolo.com, he aims to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.

Christmas Tips for Single Parents

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 23 percent of children under 18 years old live with a single mother, and four percent reside with a single father.

Trying to juggle the “hustle and bustle” of the Christmas season along with working full-time and caring for a family is difficult for most people. For single parents, it can be particularly stressful and exhausting.  In addition, children may be suffering from loss or the effects of divorce.  Christmas can be a reminder to all of who is missing at the dinner table.

Psychology Today cites the stressors below that single mothers (and fathers) face this time of year and offers tips for coping:

  • Sleep deprivation – Whether it’s taking on side jobs to afford Christmas gift-giving or trying to keep up with children’s activities and other parenting challenges, single parents often do not get enough sleep. Take the time to get enough rest by letting the housework go every now and then. You may also want to consider setting a nap time for yourself.
  • Loneliness – No matter how you got to be a single parent, it can be lonely. Decorating the tree, answering questions about Santa, sending Christmas cards, and even attending Christmas work events can serve as reminders of your situation.   Fight feelings of isolation by starting new traditions with other single-parent families such as hosting potluck dinners or other social activities.
  • Financial Issues – After divorce or the loss of a partner, single parents often face financial struggles. While you may still want to give your children expensive presents, sometimes it’s just not possible.  Be honest with your children about money in a way that they will understand.  Answer their questions and remind them that you love them.  Rather than feeling guilty about the situation, it can be helpful to think of low-cost or no-cost Christmas activities like baking cookies or taking a drive to look at holiday lights.  Avoid racking up debt to buy your children the latest gadgets or toys.
  • Ongoing conflict with an ex – Divorce and separation are very difficult under normal conditions. Christmas traditions and expectations can exacerbate the situation.  Find ways to focus on your children rather than fighting with each other.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Single Parents

According to the National Institute for Mental Health, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that typically starts in late autumn or early winter and goes away during the spring and summer.  While these types of depressive episodes can occur in the summer, they are rare compared with winter incidents of SAD. Like most forms of depression, the disorder is more common among women. Signs of SAD may include difficulty sleeping or oversleeping, feelings of hopelessness, low energy, carbohydrate cravings, and weight gain.

Just when you need an extra dose of energy and instead feel depleted, dealing with Christmas and SAD can be incredibly challenging. Add in the stresses that come with being a single parent, and the situation can become unmanageable.

Experts at the Mayo Clinic agree that light therapy boxes that mirror outdoor light can provide relief for those struggling with SAD.  For some, this therapy along with antidepressants and psychotherapy may be the best course of treatment.  It’s best to talk with your doctor about using a lightbox and additional resources.

Keep Things Simple and Enjoy the Season

With all of the hype around Christmas from retailers, Pinterest, and DIY sites, voices from all sorts of places are happy to tell you what you “should” do with your children.  Leave assembly of the five-story Barbie dream house to another family and participate in activities you and your children enjoy.  For example, if you and your crew love to be outdoors, take your kids to a Christmas tree farm, or if you like crafts, come up with projects your children can take on under your supervision.  Maybe they can make small gifts for their grandparents and their teachers.

Think about the Christmas traditions that were most important to you as a child.  Do you even remember any of the gifts you received?  Instead, you probably think of the people in your life and the traditions that made the season so special.  Think about those things as you manage Christmas as a single parent.  Those are the things your children will remember, too

6 Delivery Questions
6 Delivery Questions

At this time of year, lots of people message me with delivery questions, so I thought I’d publish the most common questions and answers…

  1. Will I have my order by Christmas? You can only order stock from me that I have in my storeroom. If you place your order with me before noon Monday to Thursday, you should receive it the next day. If it’s placed on Friday to Sunday, it should be delivered the following Tuesday. I use GLS for delivery and I find them brilliant. Most orders are delivered within 24 hours of being dispatched from me.
  2. Do you deliver to addresses abroad? Generally not. However, if you message me with the item you are looking for, I can get you a price for sending it with An Post. These orders aren’t tracked and delivery is by weight, so if your order is wooden, it probably isn’t worth it. You may have to pay me extra money as it will cost me more to post.
  3. My order hasn’t arrived. Where is it? All the orders I dispatch have a tracking code. I generally don’t send these to the customer, unless they are requested. However, if your order hasn’t arrived within 5 working days, then contact me and I will give you your tracking code and you can track it on www.gls.ie. Most of the time when this happens, a neighbour has signed for your package and has forgotten to pass it on to you. The person who has signed for it will be named on your tracking page on the GLS website. If you don’t recognise the name, you can contact GLS and they will help you find your order. Since I opened my shop over 3 years ago, only one parcel has gone completely missing. Others have been temporarily lost but always located, so try not to worry too much, the chances of you getting your lost items are extremely high.
  4. Can you send my order in an unmarked box? Yes, no problem. It’s always worth asking in the comments box to make double sure. I am environmentally conscious, so where possible, I re-use boxes that have come to me with toys and other boxes that have been delivered to my husband’s business. If it’s a box that has been delivered to me with toys and it has recognisable brands or toy names on it, I’ll black these out so little eyes won’t know what’s inside!
  5. When is the last day to order in time for Christmas? The answer to this question is ‘the sooner the better’. Coming close to Christmas, I’ll be receiving less stock into my shop so quite a few of my lines will get sold out. If you see what you want, don’t delay in buying it, if you can. It’s very hard to put a date as to when it will be too risky to buy if you want it for Christmas. I’m not a risk taker, so I wouldn’t buy after Wednesday 20th December 2017 if you want it on time for Christmas.
  6. Will you be open over the Christmas holidays? My shop is always open but orders placed after the 20th December will not be dispatched until Tuesday 2nd January 2018