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Blog : Little Lilypad Co

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The Little Lilypad Blog is mostly written by a mum to two beautiful ( and very entertaining) daughters. It is sometimes written by the Man on the Pad or my gorgeous sister in law as part of our baby blog and occasionally we accept guest posts. There is frequently talk of shoes (we love fashion), chocolate (who doesn't love chocolate) and baby swimming (we love this too). It is hopefully helpful, sometimes funny and always honest.

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    Trying to get my daughter to do her homework is a little bit like pulling teeth but in this high-tech age, children have a completely different experience of learning and education from when we we young. Gone are the endless nights of scribbling, crossing out and rewriting, and hours of spent researching in the library. These days, with the birth of laptops and tablets, homework is a completely different animal. At the click of a button any question can be answered. With websites designed specifically for children, they can read and interact almost independently. Sites like Advent gives some good advice on how computers can help children with their homework. 

    Homework

    It seems like it was only a few years ago, you had to actually visit a shop to purchase a computer; these days, with so many review sites to rely on, we have become more confident in our knowledge. When it comes to purchasing technology, sites like www.ebay.co.uk give such a wide selection both in terms of budget and specification, we need never be bothered by those pesky sales people again!

    In fact I have just ordered the girls some new dvd players from eBay this afternoon, without moving from my computer  (I really do love the internet). The problem for me is that I get lost on there and go clicking through looking for all sorts of other ideas and deals (maybe this is where my daughter gets her "easily distracted" temperament from). In all seriousness though, there are so many different devices to choose from, I am never entirely sure which one is best for the girls.

    Tablets

    Tablets are great for portable working, they are easy and fun to use. They are internet-enabled and work in a similar way to smartphones. Educational apps can be purchased and parental controls can be set – more easily on some than others. They are excellent for reading and researching and you can purchase apps and audio books that read aloud. These are brilliant for children who are dyslexic or for younger age groups. However, although you can download Word, it would be reasonably difficult to type up a project on a tablet and it's memory and storage space is limited. They are also easy to break or scratch so protective casing is an absolute must ..... especially if you have a boistrous 2 year old around. (says the voice of experience).

    Desktop

    If, like me, you would like your child fixed in one place, then a desktop computer is the best option. They have huge storage/memory capacity and by the fact that they can't be moved means they are very hard to break. A desktop PC is a good idea if you want a computer to be shared by other members of the family. For me, it also gives me the ability to check what she is doing, I know that sounds a little "Big Brother" but eith so many "pop ups" and cyber bullying, keeping her safe online is as important as road safety these days.

    Laptops

    Laptops bridge the gap between the tablet and desktop, having the best of both worlds. Portable yet sturdy, they have a better amount of storage (around 500GB compared with 64GB on the larger tablets). The keypads are as good as a desktop so typing up work is a doddle, and the mouse track pads definitely make it easier to edit photographs. There are so many to consider though, so to get an idea of the laptop(s) that may suit you, consider by reading the Which guide. Mini-laptops are also available, which can be particularly useful if your child needs to take it to school or off to a friend’s house to study. 

    Each device has it pros and cons according to who is using it and of course what it is going to be used for. What’s best for one family may not suit another.  Tablets are generally the cheapest option; however, for longevity, you may find the laptop the best investment.

    Typically every member of our family wants something different but if we get this right, the girls will have absolutely no reason not to do their homework! *looks hopeful*

    What do you prefer?

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    My eldest daughter is a sleep walker. It took me a long time to actually realise that she was sleep walking and not just getting up in the night and gibbering nonesense. 

    I am a very matter of fact kind of mom but sleepwalking, despite being quite a common problem, still unnerves me a little. I was amazed to learn that up to 30% of children will sleepwalk at some point. Although the behaviour is more common in children, the number of adults affected is higher than previously thought (I suspect my other half would like the opportunity to sleep deeply enough to even contemplate sleep walking.)

    Sleep is a big topic in our house, whether it be the lack of it or my snoring or the sleepwalking children, sleep should be about resting your head on the pillow and hopefully waking up in the same place 8 hours or so later shouldn't it? Not in our house! We have had:

    • Running down the stairs

    • Wandering around on the landing

    • Random conversations about putting bread in the bath

    • Finding her sleeping curled up at the end of our bed

    • Opening doors in the middle of the night

    Most of the time she has her eyes open, which was a little disturbing to start with but now I am used to it. Having researched it, the NHS website says that the most common triggers are:

    • sleep deprivation

    • fatigue (extreme tiredness)

    • stress and anxiety

    • fever 

    • drinking too much alcohol

    • taking recreational drugs 

    • certain types of medication

    • being startled by a sudden noise or touch and waking from deep sleep, or waking from deep sleep to go to the toilet 

    I can assure you that the 8yo has not been in the drinks cabinet and has no access to recreational drugs but I do notice she sleepwalks more when she is especially tired.

    So how do you deal with a sleep walking child?

    Sleepwalking

    I was always told never to wake a person who sleep walks ( I remember my best friend when we were younger, getting up in the middle of the night and standing on the alarm sensor, waking everyone else up .... except her!). I have learnt that trying to have a conversation is pointless and trying to decipher what she is saying is even more futile, so I just take her by the hand and lead her back to bed.

    I have always worried that sleep walking was as a result of her feeling unsettled but after reading so much about it, I find that it usually happens when they are in a deep sleep, so whilst she is waking everyone else up with her antics, at least she is in a deep asleep.

    Hopefully she will grow out of it as she gets older, although they do say it can run in the family so maybe one day her own children will do the same and she will know how perplexing it is.

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    Where do you call home?

    Is it a childhood home?

    Is it a town you have lived in?

    Is it the house where you reside?

    Or is it something else?

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    Sometimes for me, it is the smell of the perfume that my mom used to wear or seeing a bend in the road that tells me I am "nearly" home. It is a receipe for my Nan's special Apple Pie or watching the Sound of Music on a rainy day.

     Apple Pie

    Home isn't always about bricks and mortar, home is where you feel most comfortable, most contented and most at ease. I gave birth to my youngest daughter on our sofa, there is no certainly no greater feeling of being at ease than being able to give birth in your own home,(although many of our guests frequently ask when we are going to get a new sofa).

    So is home a place, a person, a thing or somewhere to go? Is it material or spiritual? Or…is it all of the above?

    I think honestly, home will always be going wherever my family is. I call that home. I associate HOME with love, warmth and comfort. It has nothing to do with a physical house or structure. It’s all about the love and warmth I get when I’m there. *insert warm fuzzy feeling*

    Home is where memories are made.

    What about you? Where do you call home?

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    It seems like everyone we know is going away for Easter, whether they are jetting off for sunner climates (although the weather here is gorgeous at the moment), or going on a road trip for the Easter weekend (*shudders* at the thought of motorway traffic) and it has got me thinking.

    Aeroplane

    We ALWAYS go away at Easter with the girls godparents but this year we haven't planned anything. Life (and saving for a wedding) has kind of stopped the frivolous spending but that little travelling bug is niggling at me and I *may* have been looking at a cheeky little city break for us.

    Easter isn't all about fluffy chicks and chocolate eggs and whilst many people may choose to wait until Halloween to be spooked and chilled to the bone; others will prefer to get their fill of all things bloodcurdling and gruesome sooner. For those of us who love a little gore and tales of horrible histories, York would be a perfect destination for a city break. Its rich history provides plenty of stories that don’t have happy endings, and the city has used its chequered past to its advantage, providing plenty of ghoulish attractions and sights for visitors to enjoy whilst staying in the city.

    There are lots of places to stay but for us, grabbing a great deal at a local Travelodge, gives us the chance to enjoy more of what York has to offer you. From ghost walks and dungeons to historic sites in which you can almost sense the ectoplasm, it looks like we could be in for a frightening treat.

    York Dungeon

    It may be an incredibly popular attraction, largely because it’s part of the Merlin Group (alongside Alton Towers and the like), but York Dungeon is still definitely worth a visit. While weekend visits may mean battling with the masses to see the various attractions within its walls, kids of all ages (and grownups too) will love the level of macabre and gore that it offers, while also helping you to delve deeper into the history of York, no matter how grizzly it is.

    Castle Dungeon

    York Castle Museum

    Now I have confessed before that I love a good castle and with plenty of bloodcurdling exhibitions that may appeal to my more grizzly nature, the York Castle museum looks like it should be on our to do list. Apparently we should make sure that we give ourselves enough time to explore Kirkgate, a recreated Victorian Street in the heart of the museum, and stop by the jail area for a look at what medieval criminals would have had to have put up with.

    Barley Hall

    This medieval house was only discovered during the 1980s and has been renovated to reflect how it would have been back in the 15th century. Character actors add to the experience, while visitors can immerse themselves in the history by stepping back in time themselves. It looks like the little ones will love it too because of the Horrible Histories exhibition, meaning it’s a great way to keep them occupied and enthralled during your visit to the city.

    Micklegate Bar Museum

    This looks fabulous and as there’s also a dressing up area, complete with helmets, cloaks and armour – it is ideal perfect for keeping the little ones entertained while also providing some great photo opportunities. (which is great for me as I am never far from a snapshot!)

    I am told that we should also stop by Dick Turpin’s grave if we are going to York. The infamous highwayman is buried in St. George’s Churchyard after being executed in the 18th century, while the birthplace of Guy Fawkes, famous for the Gunpowder Plot, is also in York. For the other half, there’s a pub – The Guy Fawkes Inn – standing on the site, which is perfect for a quick bevvie mid-sightseeing!

    I never chose history as one of my options, which always puzzles me as I love finding and exploring historical buildings, which means that with York's rich history, it may just be the perfect break for me!

    Do you have any suggestions where else we could go this Easter to inspire my love of castles and history?

     



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