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      Jan 19, 2018

Category: Blog

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
Toy Review : Create a Geode
Toy Review : Create a Geode

Science toys are hugely popular at the moment. I am not particularly ‘sciency’ but my eight-year-old daughter loves experimenting and making concoctions! When she saw this Ultimate Science Kit come into stock, she knew she wanted one, so she asked her uncle to buy it for her birthday, which he willingly obliged.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what a Geode was, so I had to look it up and I discovered they are ‘hollow rocks with sparkly crystals inside’.

Toy Review Create a Geode Science Kit

This science kit isn’t expensive (it costs €12.99) and in my opinion, you get what you pay for when it comes to this kit. I found the instructions very hard to follow and I ended up having to check out some YouTube videos to get some idea of what exactly we were to do. This kit is marketed for children aged 8+ but I would say that children under 12 years old would need a good bit of help with it. On the positive side, my daughter LOVED making it and adores the end result, which looks just like the picture on the box, only it’s not purple, it’s pink.

In case, you are reading this because you are struggling with the instructions, I’ll save you visiting YouTube and I’ll tell you what we did.

  1. Add cold water gradually to the plaster powder until it is quite thick. Pour it into the plastic egg-shaped mould, making sure you cover as much edge as possible.
  2. Sprinkle some of the Potassium Aluminum power on the top flat part of the egg and leave aside overnight for the plaster to dry completely.
  3. The instructions say to stir in 117ml of potassium aluminum into 473ml of water. I found this very confusing as generally I just measure liquids in ml and the potassium aluminum is powder. I emptied the remaining potassium aluminum into the measuring jug and it came to the level of 55ml (which is approx half of what I am told to measure in the instructions?!) and I added this to 235ml of very hot water.
  4. Stir until this is completely dissolved
  5. Again, the instructions are a bit confusing at this point as they say ‘pour an equal amount of water and 20-30 drops of food colouring into a jar’ I get the feeling the manufacturer just copied instructions of any geode making kit into these instructions. If I’d watered down the food colouring, which is provided anymore, the geode would have been very pale pink. I just added all the food colouring provided to the potassium aluminum and water. On a side note, this kit only comes with the possibility of making a purple/pink geode, but I reckon that if you wanted one in a different colour, you could just use regular food colouring that you have at home.Toy Review Create a Geode Science Kit
  6. Let this mix sit for 30 minutes to cool
  7. Remove your dried plaster from the egg mould and gently lower it into the solution.
  8. Don’t touch it for a minimum of 12 hours. The longer you leave it, the bigger the crystals!Toy Review Create a Geode Science Kit

Apart from the instructions being confusing, the kit had everything that was needed in it and my daughter loves the fact that she now has a pair of science safety goggles, which appear to be good quality.

She really enjoyed watching her crystals grow through our glass jar. If you want your plaster to be as indisturbed as possible for 12 hours, I’d recommend doing it in a clear jar, so your children can watch what is changing, without having to lift the plaster in and out multiple times. We only had the patience to wait 12 hours – I wonder if much more would have grown if it had been left in the solution for longer.

Toy Review Create a Geode Science Kit

All in all, we succeeded in making our very own geode. If you wish to buy a kit for yourself, click here.I hope yours turns out as good as ours!!

Suzie

Top 10 Stocking Fillers
Top 10 Stocking Fillers

This is the time of year when my cheaper range of toys flies out. I call these my pocket money toys or my stocking fillers. Here are my top 10 best selling stocking fillers for 2017….

  1. Flying Gliders – these are cheap and cheerful at just €1 each.Stocking Fillers
  2. Kaleidoscopes – I stock these in pink/red, yellow and blue and they cost €3.50 eachstocking fillers
  3. Putty Peeps – Despite this being a bit more expensive than other pocket money toys, I can’t keep enough of this in my shop. They cost €7 each and I stock them in 6 different coloursstocking fillers
  4. Whoopee Cushions – Bring back the old-fashioned fun! Whoopee cushions cost only €2.50 and you can get so much laughter from just one.stocking fillers
  5. Toothbrush Timers – these 3-minute egg timers come attached to little wooden characters and there is space behind them to keep your toothbrush. They cost €4.99 each.stocking fillers
  6. Finger Monsters – these quirky little characters have lots of wobble in them. Pull their arms and they stretch out. They are simple but lots of fun and they cost only €1.50 each.stocking fillers
  7. Fairy Gliders – although not quite as popular as the Flying Gliders, the Fairy variety is also very popular and cost €1 each too.stocking fillers
  8. Googly Eye Pens – new to my 2017 range of toys are these GoGoPo pens. They cost €2 eachstocking fillers
  9. Spy Pen with Invisible Ink and UV Light These are very clever pens that write invisible messages. Then turn on the UV light that is built into the lid and your message appears!stocking fillers
  10. Temporary Tattoos – I also sell a lot of the Jewellery tattoos but the yellow pack slightly outsells the pink pack. They cost €5 for the pack.stocking fillers

Click on ‘Pocket Money Toys‘ to see my full range. I have 151 toys in this category so if the above doesn’t interest you, I’m sure you’ll find one or two that do!. Don’t forget that if you order more than €15 worth, nationwide delivery is only €2.

Happy Shopping,

xx Suzie

Top 10 Play Food and Kitchen Accessories for a Play Kitchen
Top 10 Play Food and Kitchen Accessories for a Play Kitchen

It’s the time of year when lots of little boys and girls are given play kitchens, but a kitchen is never complete without some kitchenware and food, of which my online shop has a large selection. Here are some of my favourites. If you are buying your little one a kitchen this year, maybe you could hint to aunts, uncles, God-parents and grandparents that your little one would like some items that would go well with their kitchen.

Under €6

Wooden lollipops play kitchen food

A six pack of wooden lollipops from Goki

or

play food wooden food chocolates

A 3-pack of imitation wooden chocolates

Under €20

Wooden play food  le toy van icepops

A 6-pack of wooden Ice-pops from Le Toy Van

Le Toy Van Dotty Kettle

A gorgeous wooden kettle from Le Toy Van

Wooden Birthday Cake

Wooden Birthday Cake and Cake Slice from Le Toy Van

Under €25

felt food

33 pieces of Felt Food for making sandwiches from Melissa and Doug

Cutting wooden vegetables

Cutting wooden food from Melissa and Doug

Play Pizza

Play Pizza and Pizza Cutter from Melissa and Doug Toys

Under €30

Wooden muffins cupcakes

6 Wooden Cupcakes on a Stand

Wooden tea set

Wooden Tea Set

Wooden Coffee Machine

Wooden Coffee Machine

I hope this helps to fill your new play kitchen with fun accessories and food. Click on this link to see my full range of kitchen accessories and food and don’t forget my cheap delivery rate – spend more than €15 and delivery is only €2 anywhere in Ireland.

Happy Shopping,

xx Suzie

8 Arts and Craft Activities for Girls
8 Arts and Craft Activities for Girls

Back in May, I wrote a blog ‘8 Art and Craft Activities for Boys’, so I thought I should follow it up with a similar one for girls. Most arts and crafts suit both boys and girls, however, often the packaging is marketed for either boys or girls. I have 2 daughters who love arts and crafts, so I have a feeling I’ll find it much harder to widdle it down to 8, but here goes….

  1. Make your own Recycled Paper Beads Kit – €17

This kit makes a gorgeous birthday or Christmas present for girls aged 6 years and older. It includes a twisting contraption which you screw onto the top of a drinks bottle (not included), lots of colourful paper and glue. Making these beads is simple and fun and when you run out of the paper that is supplied, you can recycle other paper you have around the house like magazines. Once you have made enough beads, you can start making and gifting jewellery. It’s the perfect introduction to jewellery making.

Paper beads arts and craft activities for girls

  1. Design Your Own T-Shirt Transfer Kit – €6

This is a simple idea which kids of all ages can enjoy. The kit comes with a blank iron-on transfer and special crayons that work on it. It’s a good idea to get your child to draw their design on a blank piece of paper before drawing on the transfer, as once it’s done it can’t be erased. Adult supervision or help is needed when it comes to ironing it onto your t-shirt. The T-shirt isn’t included.

Arts and craft activities for girls

  1. Djeco’s Origami Small Boxes – €6.99

This Kit will teach your child how to fold the paper so that it can make 3 different boxes. In the kit, there are 24 pieces of pretty paper to get started on and over 100 stickers to decorate them with. This origami craft is designed for children aged 7 -13 years.

origami arts and craft activities for girls

  1. A Weaving Loom – €17.50

I stock 4 different types of crafts that involve wool – knitting, crochet, French knitting and this one, which is my favourite and I think probably the easiest one to master. These are great kits that teach your child a new skill and will keep them busy for hours. The Weaving Loom is recommended for children aged 8+

weaving loom arts and craft activities for girls

  1. Spiro Art Pad and Accessories – €9.99

This is a lovely book that has half drawn pictures in it and spiro art wheels and stencils that can be used on each page to finish off the pictures. Once the pictures are finished, the designs can be coloured in and once the book is finished the spiro art plastic stencils and wheels can be used on other paper.

Spiro arts and craft activities for girls

  1. Paint your own Russian Dolls – €11.50

This kit comes with 5 wooden dolls of various sizes that fit into each other. You also get a set of paints and a paintbrush. You need to draw your design on the doll and then paint it in so it suits older children as they can be more detailed with their designs. Alternatively, do it as a family activity where you all have one doll or among on a group of friends. Then remind them how they fit together in life.

arts and craft activities for girls

  1. Shrinkles – Princess Fairytale – €12

This cool little craft involves colouring in pre-designed pictures or drawing your own. Then cutting/popping them out, placing them in a pre-heated oven (with an adult’s help) and watching them shrink so that they become much smaller, thicker and harder plastic. The kit includes accessories so you can make your new plastic items into jewellery, counters and much more. These are suitable for children once they have pencil control (approx. 4 years and over)

arts and crafts for girls

  1. Mould and Paint Cupcakes – €12.50

This activity box comes with plaster of paris powder, cupcake moulds, paint, a paint brush, and accessories to make the finished items into magnets, badges and more. Adult supervision is needed as your child makes up the plaster and fills the moulds with it. Once dry, they can paint them and make them into badges or magnets.

arts and crafts activities for girls

I hope this has helped you as you dry to decide what arts and crafts activities your little girl would like the most. If none of these jump out at you, you can see my full range of art and craft activities and kits on my website or you can check out my blog on Melissa and Doug’s Mess-Free Glitter in case that might interest you.

Xx Suzie

14 Toys for 3-Year-Old Boys that cost less than €15
14 Toys for 3-Year-Old Boys that cost less than €15

Earlier this week, I received a facebook message from a mum who was looking for some present suggestions for her three and a half year old son. She is looking to spend between €10 and €15. Every little person is different and I don’t know this little boy. I don’t know whether he can sit still for 10 minutes or if he’d struggle with that. I don’t know if he prefers active play over craft time or whether he loves both equally. So, here are some suggestions that should cover quite a few of the different types of pre-school boys (hopefully!)

For a boy who likes throwing things!:

It’s hard for little boys not to throw things around the house, especially when the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor play. The Hot Potato Game (€14.99) is a soft potato that plays music and when the music stops you pass it to someone else. It’s soft so suitable for indoor play and great for developing motor skills.

Toys for 3 year old boys

For a boy who loves storytelling and imagination:

I’d recommend the Three Little Pigs Shadow Puppet Set (€14.50) Teach your child the story and then allow them to retell it using the shadow puppets and the wind-up flashlight.

The Three Little Pigs Shadow Puppets Puppet Show Torch

For a boy who loves trains:

This beautifully made wooden train from Plan Toys is amazing value at just €12.99. It fits on any wooden train tracks.

Plan Toys - Plan City Modern Train

For a boy who likes dressing up and make-believe:

I have two fancy dress costumes that would fit a boy this age. The first is the Melissa and Doug Race Car Driver which is currently less than half price (now €14.99) but is missing the steering wheel. The second is a Knight’s Costume, which is also reduced (to €14.99)

Toys for 3 year old boys

Toys for 3 year old boys

For a boy who likes ‘science’ and wonder:

This Junior Magnet Set (€9.20) will have him looking for metal all over your house and garden. I think these kinds of boys would also love Glow in the Dark Stars (€7.99) for their bedroom

Junior Magnet Set

Toys for 3 year old boys

For a boy that likes jigsaws:

Disney Cars box of 9 Jigsaws (currently reduced to €14.99). Some of these jigsaws are quite difficult, so I’d only choose this if he really loved jigsaws, otherwise, I’d recommend it for children aged 4.5 years to 6 years). Otherwise, I’d suggest this lovely Pirate Jigsaw from Djeco (also €14.99)

Toys for 3 year old boys

Toys for 3 year old boys

For an outdoor type of boy:

A Pocket Kite (€7) and A Jar of Marbles (€8.50)

 

Toys for 3 year old boys

Toys for 3 year old boysFor a boy who likes Arts and Crafts:

I’d recommend the Disney Planes 2 in 1 Sand Art Set (€10.99). Supervision and help will be needed to work on this with your three year old. I’d also recommend the Dinosaur Sticker Mosaics (€10.50) or the Decorate A Wooden Pirate Chest Craft (€9.99)

Toys for 3 year old boys

Toys for 3 year old boys

Toys for 3 year old boys

Great, I hope my customer can find something from these suggestions that her little boy will love. Obviously, these toys would be great for little girls too, but I’ve focused on little boys since that was the question I was given. Click on this link to see my full range of toys that suit children approx 3-5 years old as maybe you’ll find something else that suits your child better or perhaps you would prefer buy 3- 5 smaller toys from my pocket money range to fit your budget.

Have fun!

xx Suzie

Gift Ideas for 4 Year Old Girls that are Easy to Post and Cost about €10
Gift Ideas for 4 Year Old Girls that are Easy to Post and Cost about €10

Hi Suzie

I need to buy two gifts for relatives in England, which cost about €10 each. They need to be lightweight for posting. I have chosen the Spiro Art for the 9-year-old girl but I’d love some suggestions for the 4-year-old girl.

Thanks,  K

I received this message on Instagram last week after posting up the picture of Spiro Art. Here’s what I replied:

“I have lots of nice toys and crafts, that are lightweight and within this budget, so here are some suggestions to choose from

  1. Melissa and Doug Mess Free Glitter Stickers (€7.50) and the GoGoPo Microphone Eraser and Sharpener (€2)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €102. Melissa and Doug Decorate Your Own Bracelets (€7.75) and GoGoPo Lipstick Erasers (€2)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €10

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €103. Melissa and Doug Water Wow Makeup and Manicures (€7.75) If she’s not a very ‘girlie girl, I stock these with different designs that are more gender neutral) and a Fling-it Paper Sword (€2)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €10

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €104. Melissa and Doug Fairy Tale Scratch Art Pad (€7.75) and GoGoPo Candy Highlighter Pens (€2)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €10

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €105. The Disney Fairies 2 in 1 Sand Art Set ((€10.99)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €106. Djeco Paper Dolls with reusable dress-up stickers (€9.25)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €107. Octaland 4D+ Augmented Reality Occupation Flash Cards (€10)

8. Djeco Mosaic Crafts (€10.25)

Toys for four year olds that cost less than €10

Don’t forget that if you order more than €15 worth from me, delivery is only €2 anywhere in Ireland. All these items are lightweight and would be easy to post. Thanks for your inquiry.

xx Suzie”