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At home with 3 Broken toes so Christmascards written and Sending Christmas messages a bit early ·.,¸¸,.·´★Merry Christmas*☆`·.,¸¸,.·**`·

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since 23/09/2002


Melissa&Doug Construction Puzzles in a Box 07/12/2016

Construction vehicles puzzle in box

Melissa&Doug Construction Puzzles in a Box Today I am reviewing a box of Melissa and Doug's construction vehicles puzzles. These are in the same series as the Melissa and Doug farm animal puzzle set that I reviewed recently, so sorry if I seem to repeat myself a bit. These are puzzles which I am familiar with at work in a special needs school. I have supervised children making many Melissa and Doug puzzles these are usually well designed and durable suitable for home or school situations. The only negative to this puzzle is that when new and after it had been knocked about a bit there were a few small splinters on the edge of the box, this was sorted with a piece of sand paper, I have found this problem with other wooden puzzles too. S do check the edges you don't want splinters in fingers. I must admit I am surprised that Melissa and Doug have not addressed this problem ~~ Age suitability. This box of farm animals is suitable for children over 3 years old. The pictures are not babyish so for the older special needs child with a love of vehicles they are age appropriate. ~~The box The wooden box is ideal for storing the puzzles in. box is divided into 4 one section for each puzzle. The box measures about 19 x 14 x6 cm. It is quite strong ours gets thrown about and dropped and is fine. . The lid is a slide on lid. The lid is ideal as a puzzle board it has raised edge so the puzzle does not fall off, the puzzle at 11.8cm by 17.4cm and 3mm thick just a tiny bit smaller than the lid. ~~Puzzles There are 4 thin wooden ...

Christmas Holidays: home or away? 06/12/2016

Christmas celerations

Christmas Holidays: home or away? I have had many Christmas's. All have been at Home or a close relative's home. The best ones for me were when I was a child at home with my parents and sister in the thatched cottage on the village green. My parents with some help from us children decorated the tree and the sitting room. My mum prepared mountains of Christmas food, having made Christmas puddings and cake several weeks before. Christmas Eve came and we would go to bed with a pillowcase put ready at the end of the bed. I would be concerned that Santa would get a burn from the fire still hot from us using it Christmas eve but I was told it would be fine the fire would be out when Santa came I would be determined not to go to sleep but keep awake to see Santa, I never did but sure I heard the bells on the sleigh one night. I was always awake early and opened all my stocking presents the chocolates the orange, the other few novelties. Santa had left another bag of pressies in the sitting room by the fireside for us to open later so the rest of the family could see our joy on opening gifts from them, Apparently auntie Franny sent her gifts to Santa as did Uncle John then Santa would deliver them. We never questioned how. We would then have a leisurely traditional fried Breakfast Mum would have been up early to put the huge turkey in the oven. Before Christmas she worked plucking, turkeys in a local farm and we got a turkey from there. After breakfast we would go to church 11oclock service I think, my Gran ...

Birdoswald Fort, Hadrian's Wall, Brampton 05/12/2016

The Fort called Birdoswald on on Hadrians wall.

Birdoswald Fort, Hadrian's Wall, Brampton Birdoswald fort When I visited Carlisle earlier this year I visited the English Heritage property Birdoswald a Roman Fort on Hadrian's wall This fort used to be called Banna, ~~Location. Birdoswald is located near Gilsland, about 16 miles/ 26k Carlisle. To get directions clearly go to We went to Carlisle in train, so without our own transport. Without our own transport it was difficult to get there as it is not on a train line or a main all the year round bus route the regular tourist bus runs regularly from Easter till October. Ok we could have walked following the wall route from Carlisle. However we did find there were a couple of buses from Carlisle to Brampton then we could catch a bus from Brampton to Birdoswald Now this took a long time to get there, but hey we were on holiday no rush. 25 minutes to get To Brampton then a wait till the next bus which took over an hour This bus only runs twice a day and takes a long route it goes the Pretty way round as we always say when a route is convoluted and not direct. We could have taken a taxi would have cost us £50.00 The bus fare fro Carlisle was about £5.00 then from Brampton it was £3.00 For info ...

Melissa&Doug Farm Puzzles in a Box 04/12/2016

Farm puzzles in box would be good Christmas gift for 3-4 yr old

Melissa&Doug Farm Puzzles in a Box Today I am reviewing a box of Melissa and Doug's Farm animals. These are puzzles which I am familiar with at work in a special needs school. We had many Melissa and Doug toys as they are very durable and well thought out. The only negative to this puzzle is that when new and after it had been knocked about a bit there were a few small splinters on the edge of the box, this was sorted with a piece of sand paper, I have found this problem with other Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles too, so do check the edges you don't want splinters in fingers. I must admit I am surprised that Melissa and Doug have not addressed this problem ~~ Age suitability This box of farm animals is suitable for children over 3 years old. ~~The box The wooden box measures about 19 x 14 x6 cm. The box is ideal for storing the puzzles in. It fits easily into a cupboard, the wooden box is quite strong ours has been dropped several times and is fine. The box is divided into 4 one section for each puzzle. The lid is a slide on lid. The lid is ideal as a puzzle board it has raised edge so the puzzle does not fall off, the puzzle at 11.8cm by 17.4cm and 3mm thick just a tiny bit smaller than the lid. ~~Puzzles The puzzles are made from wood too. There are 4 puzzles in this box each with 12 pieces. There is a cow, a pig, a horse, a hen with a chick. Each one has a small shape design on the back either a triangle, square, circle or diamond. These make it easy to sort the puzzle pieces. (Getting the children ...

Joseph Joseph Scoop Colander 02/12/2016

Scoop it up with Joseph Joseph

Joseph Joseph Scoop Colander First I shall raise my hands and admit that i do not personally Own a Joseph Joseph Scoop .however my daughter does and I have often used hers. My daughter has owned her scoop for several years now Joseph Joseph scoops are available in red, green, and blue and black. My daughter has a red one. These scoops are available in 2 sizes, large 34.2cm x 12.4cm x 5.3cm and small 10.2 x 4.4 x 29.8 cm, my daughter has both. When at home to strain vegetables I usually use a large colander, I also have a small cheap plastic draining spoon. My daughter has ME /CFS and can not lift heavy things easily I have used this scoop to remove cooked pasta and veg of many sorts from saucepans pans or microwave bowls full of boiling water and found it very good. It's ideal for use in non stick pans. This utensil has a large square sided scoop like bowl. The handle is comfortable to hold. Iit's surprising how much the scoop can hold. I can see the benefit of using a spoon/scoop like this over colander. This scoop is very durable it is made of a type of nylon (no not the type of Nylons that laddered like the Nylons mum used to wear on her legs) This scoop is heat resistant up tap 200 c it's also dishwasher safe Would I recommend? Yes, I am thinking of getting one for myself now. ~~Price Large one is £10 at £9.50 at The small one £8 at ...

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? 01/12/2016

Have I got an Avent calendar ?

Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? I am sure you all will be aware of what an Advent calendar is; briefly it is a calendar for December when you count down the days till Christmas. Advent means the coming towards an event. Advent calendars started of with a more religious meaning than they have now, but then Christmas in general was more of a totally religious event. The first printed paper Advent calendars Date back to Germany in the early 1900's. Before then I believe candles were lit, or chalk marks made on walls and doors. My brief answers to the question Advent calendars: do they still have a place in your home? is......... NO Why? Simple because the youngest members, my grandchildren now 14 and nearly 11 do not live with me .The younger one might still be interested in opening a window to get the chocolate but the older one not bothered. My husband and I have not quite got to be so senile we like to relive our childhood by opening an Advent calendar window each day till Christmas. So did Advent Calendar's ever have a place in my home? Well lets go back to my childhood I was born in 1954 .I can not clearly remember Advent calendars, I just have a hazy memory of rectangular card ones where you opened a window to see the appropriate picture underneath, No chocolate. Chocolate in Advent calendars were not available till 1958. When I became a parent in 78 saw the beginnings of the advent Calendar tradition in my home. Granny was usually the donor of her advent calendars. I experience the ...

Melissa&Doug Frolicking Horses Jigsaw Puzzle 30/11/2016

A puzzle of horses frolicking in the field by Melissa and Doug

Melissa&Doug Frolicking Horses Jigsaw Puzzle Melissa and Doug is an US company that started out with a young Melissa and Doug making toys in their parent's garage. The company has developed and they have now been making toys for over 30 years The school where I worked till recently had any of their toys and puzzles. They mostly seem well thought out and made vey durable... The Melissa & Doug Frolicking Horses Jigsaw is one which one of the classes that I worked in had, This puzzle is suitable for children over 3 years old. But I would suggest older. Melissa and Doug make simpler puzzles featuring horse too. ~Size 1.3 x 30 x 39.4 cm This puzzle has 48 interlocking pieces. ~Design The 48 pieces all fit into a wooden tray. The wooden tray does help the making of the puzzle easier to keep it together too. ~Picture The picture of 5 different coloured horses and a butterfly frolicking with some birds and a squirrel in a flowery grassy meadow under an apple tree. Unfortunately there is no corresponding picture on the tray underneath the puzzle. ~Puzzle pieces. The pieces have male female co-joining pieces. These pieces a bit sticky to put in sometimes. Of course how easy a child will find this will depend on their ability. The puzzle itself is made up of plywood, several thin layers stuck together. After the use and abuse this puzzle received at work the pieces separated a bit I think the wood could splinter and be rough. I repaired,with a wood glue. Would be better if pieces made from an individual piece of wood... ...

Melissa & Doug Latches 28/11/2016

Teaching your child to open latches and clasps

Melissa & Doug Latches This is a wooden activity board toy which we had at the special needs school where I worked till I retired recently. ~~Ages suitability 3 years old till about 5 or 6. Ok for a 2 year old with supervision. Suitable for older special needs pupils too the pictures are not tooo babyish. ~~size The size is 15.5" x 11.5" x 1.25" 2.5 lbs. This is a good size for a table top toy will fit well on a wheelchair tray. ~~ Design This Wooden Latches activity board is well designed. The picture on the board looks like a house with 2 gable ends a garage and a front door. The colours are not especially bright they are yellow green purple and blue. There are 6 Latches fitted to open windows or doors. There are white numbers from 1 to 6 inclusive on all these doors/windows * 1 Number 1 is the upstairs right end gable. This gale is purple in colour the outside picture has 2 purple shutters a window with purple spotty curtains. The top of the window has 2 metal hinges attached. At the bottom of the window is a toggle latch to open. When open the window lifts up to reveal a purple pony! The words 1 purple pony is written in the space above the pony. Let's shut this window and do the clasp up. Now to Window number 2. **2 This is a blue window with blue striped curtains, Hinges at the top of the window and a clasp where you have to push the button to release the catch. Open this window and we see two jolly blue dogs above the dogs the word 2 blue dogs. ... 26/11/2016

Recipes for Christmas cakes and goodies on this site is a website that was begun in 1995. I have visited this website in some of these years when looking for inspiration both for home and ideas for making with the children in my class at Christmas time. **- The site-** I first type in into my search bar, click and away I go. The home page tells me how many days till Christmas, 30 days today it will be Christmas day (I am witting this on the 25th of November) so it's about time I started planning what treats will cook. The layout and design of this site is good , simple, uncluttered. There are pictures of most of the cakes and cookies. The pages could perhaps be a bit brighter.. It reads very much just like a traditional cookery book. Over 570 recipes are on these pages. There is a drop down menu along the right side of the page. It is easy to navigate these pages. The categories on this drop down list includes: - bar cookies, candy and fudge, cut out cookies, decorated cookies, chocolate cookies, refrigerated cookies. No bake cookies, gifts in a jar and more recipes. Some of these recipes have been suggested by uses of the site, to post your own recipe there is a form. The recipe will then be read by the administrator and might be added. .The speed with which these ages load and change is good. Reading through these recipes I realise they include recipes from many countries, which would be handy if we were doing a Christmas in other countries topic. I notice there ...

Irwin Jack Universal Saw 25/11/2016

I cut my log's with Irvin Jack

Irwin Jack Universal Saw Last year we had a log fire installed in our hearth, we did away with the 1970's gas guzzling monstrosity that was there. We are lucky and have access to free logs. Although we had an old saw decided it needed replacing. This style of Saw called a Jack panel saw is a universal saw. God for sawing many wooden things. It is available in 3 sizes a 14 in (355.6 mm), a 20in (508) and a 22in (558). I note on the internet the sizes are usually in inches. When in a local DIY store, (think it was B&Q not sure) we purchased a 20 inch saw. ~The handle This saw has an orange handle with a black grip the black grip has the name IRWIN written in it in orange. The handle is comfortable to hold and grip it has a soft feel. Not sure exactly what it is made of but I read it is an ultra sonic welded soft-grip with elastomeric for maximum soft feel... Regardless of what the handle is made of I find it comfortable to hold grip comfortable to saw logs for quite a long time. ~ The blade The blade is made of 85mm thick steel. The blade isle lacquered blade for l anti-rust protection. There are 8 teeth per inch. This blade has a hard point (flat end) not pointed. It saws on both the push and the pull stroke. I find this blade good; it is thick enough that is does not wobble unduly and bend. Yet is flexible. I have only used this saw on logs not on panels for woodworking. I found the blades cot well, no snagging with a little m, Mary power glided through my logs and cut well. I also use a ...

Flair Melissa & Doug - Rhymes Puzzle Cards 19/11/2016

Choose the rhyming puzzle pair.

Flair Melissa & Doug - Rhymes Puzzle Cards The Melissa and Doug Rhyming puzzle cards are ones I played with alongside children at the special needs school where I worked till recently (retired about a year now) Melissa and Doug make good toys well thought out and durable suitable for school or home. We had many of their toys at work and I rate most of them high. ~Age Suitable for a 4 year old and over. ~Box These puzzle cards come in a 17cm l x 13cm w x 6.1/2 cm d cm wooden box withy a sliding lid. The puzzle can be done on the lid. I think a teaching guide comes with this set but ours is mislaid. ~Cards This puzzle has 20 cards. The cards are made out of a thick cardboard. The cards fit together in pairs. These puzzle pairs are rhyming pairs for an example a chair and a bear, hen and pen , coat and boat, cat and hat. Each pair has the words of the items written one below and one above the picture Each card gas a bright clear colourful picture of a single item on it this has a wipe clean surface. Each card has a male and a female conjoining piece. Each pairs conjoining piece is slightly different n shape and position so the wrong, mismatched pair can not be fitted together. The cards do fit together easily when you have the correct pair. ~ Educational These cards are good for all those motor skills, visual acuity, positioning, and hand eye and also good for language skills, saying the names of the items listening and hearing how the words and letters sound. These cards are good for concentration ...

Muffin Break, Carlisle 17/11/2016

A Muffin break in Carlisle

Muffin Break, Carlisle Recently we were on a break in Carlisle and wanted to stop for a cup of tea. We stopped at the Muffin Break on 5 Grapes Lane in The Lanes Shopping Centre. This is about ten minutes walk from the cathedral, 15 from the castle. About the same from our hotel. Rarely visiting cafes for a cup of tea and a bun (more often now I am retired and a lady of leisure :-)) I had not heard of Muffin break shops but looking on line I notice there are about 50 all over England. We choose to stop at this cafe because it looked clean and quite inviting we would have walked on if it looked grotty. The shop itself had a small seating area outside undercover and seating inside too. So this would be ideal if you wanted a drink and snack and had your dog with you as you could sit outside with it. However we sat inside. The inside was not cavernous but had several tables with seats. Menu and prices. Sorry I can not exactly recall how much I paid for my cup of tea and muffin. However I do recall it was under a fiver. About the price you would expect from any similar establishment. I do recall the prices while not dirt cheap were not expensive. There was a fair range of cakes and snacks on offer, sandwiches and pies to see full menu go to We went to the cake display to look at and we put our order in at the till next to the display stand, then went and sat in a window seat (I like to sit in the window and nosey outside as well as see inside too :-)) After a couple ...

Flair Melissa & Doug - Chunky Puzzle Tools 12/11/2016

Tools to inset into this Melissa Doug puzzle

Flair Melissa & Doug - Chunky Puzzle Tools Melissa & Doug Tools Wooden Chunky Puzzle Today I shall be reviewing yet another puzzle which we had at the special needs school that I retired from recently. This is the Melissa and Doug Tools wooden chunky puzzle. It is a wooden inset puzzle with 7 pieces. This puzzle measures about 25cm x 22cm it is nearly 3cm thick ~Age This puzzle suitable for a 2 year old and over. I like this puzzle as although it is simple to do the pieces are not a babyish design So it is age appropriate for an older special needs child. ~Puzzle design The puzzle inset pieces are all tools. There is a saw, a hammer, a Phillips screwdriver and a flat head screwdriver, a spanner, a tape measure, a wrench, an adjustable spanner. All these pieces are very realistic looking. The puzzle is wooden the tools are not painted but have stuck on paper tool printouts on them. The tool pieces do not have pegs on like some inset puzzles but are easy to pick up and hold, then to position in the cut out spaces. The tool pieces are thick enough so that they will stand up on thier own. ~Educational This is a good puzzle promotes motor skills. Those hand eye coordination skills , Spatial awareness, grasp and muscle control. Can be used to help language Development, learning the names of tools or the colours. Remember to praise your Child when they have completed the puzzle. I have watched many children play with this puzzle. I have seen children not just positioning the puzzle pieces but using them ...

Castlegate Coffee House, Carlisle 10/11/2016

Not just Coffee at the Castlegate Coffee house Carlisle

Castlegate Coffee House, Carlisle Castlegate Coffee House, Carlisle After we had being to Carlisle castle it was about 2 o'clock we were not absolutely starving. We had had a full breakfast at our hotel but we wanted a drink and a small nibble. So we stopped at the Castle gate coffee house This is on Castle street very near Tulle house Art gallery and museum where we had planned to go later. For map pinpointing the cafe go to This coffee shop is open from 9am till 5pm everyday except Sundays We entered the cafe and had a choice of where to sit. No outside seating area the shop is right on the pavement edge, no garden. We were the only customers. While we were tyere one other customer came in . We sat down at a table for 2 and perused the menu. While we were doing this I looked around. This is a fairly small cafe. 1 room with the counter at the back leading to the out of sight kitchen The walls very plainly painted the top a light shade of pinky maroon A few pictures hung on it. Then a dado rail and the lower section a darker pink maroon. The table cloths were almost matching colours the under cloth the lighter colour and a darker maroon red cover on top of that. The chairs wooden with a maroon red seat inset. All very simple and coordinated Salt and pepper shakers were on the table as were some wrapped straws. This cafe has not a modern look. It was very clean and Tidy ...

Creative Logic Blocks 10/11/2016

We had Logic blocks at school

Creative Logic Blocks Creative's Logic Blocks are another toy that we had at the special needs school Where I retired from last year. ~These logiblocks are suitable for a child aged 3 and over. ~ These logic blocks come in a strong recycled Card box which has a picture of these blocks on, so easy for a child to know what is in the box. ~ Inside the box are There are 64 block shapes. There are 4 shapes circle, square, triangle, rectangle. Each of these shapes comes in 2 sizes large and small. Each of these shapes also comes in thick or thin. I am sorry I do not have one here to tell you how big or small one measures but I can visualise them and think they were around 4cm. The size was good for my students to use. ~Made of These blocks are made of a strong plastic very durable. Easy to clean just need a wash in warm soapy water. ~Colours. The colours red, blue, yellow, green, nice and bright. ~~Learning These blocks can be used by children at an early stage just to practice their motor skills, to build up their muscles in their hands and arms to learn grips for picking things up. To help eye hand coordination, to help them to learn visual discrimination, to realise that the look and are different. You could just put these blocks on the table and let your child explore them. I have watched children just playing with these blocks making patterns, laying them out in a row, piling them up Start a patterning sequence off either colour or shape then let your child continue the pattern ...
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