Sensory #10 pipe cleaner motor skills

This activity is a classic and I’m only really posting about it because I think it’s a ‘game’ that all little people should be exposed to.

For this you will need:

  • A colander (I borrowed my neighbours)
  • A pack of colourful pipe cleaners

Then as the picture demonstrates below you simply push the pipe cleaners through the holes, I usually demo first and then ask J to help Mummy (he probably thinks I’m a seriously useless adult?)

 For older little peeps I recommend encouraging them to weave the pipe cleaners in and out – for us it was more about getting them in the holes (hence I borrowed a neighbours colander as mine has holes that are narrow and long; the maker obviously hasn’t taken sensory play into consideration 😉

Like all my plans for play, J likes to jepodise them and the pipe cleaners quickly became snakes that a T-Rex named ‘Rexie’ who was in the area of play came along and ate (see below)

 The colander then became a place for the ‘snakes’ to hide and frankly any motor skills development went out of the window.
So, if you are brave enough to give it a try (eye balls do sometimes get in the way) I’d recommend it, I’ve also done it with cooling racks in the past which are fab for older monsters as weaving can really get creative.

Best of luck and lock up all Prehistoric creatures.

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My heart is complete because you are inside

 OK, lets get some perspective. Its 23:34 and I should be fast asleep. I’m not a night owl, insomniac or worried / stressed. I couldn’t settle without getting these words out and so if its slightly off the wall forgive me.

On September 29th 2015 my daughter should be 6 years old. For most Mums this means making 35 party bags, (probably Frozen themed) collecting or making the cake, booking the perfect venue and organising a day that only a parent could put the effort into for 100 dry curled sandwiches that nobody actually ever eats.

Except I wont have to do this and I haven’t ever. Several days after our little bubble was born. It popped. She passed away in my arms.

You see Gracie Alice Rose was too precious for this earth. She could only spend a few days and hours with us, and that was all we had.

I don’t need you to feel sorry for me, she was one of the BEST experiences I have ever had. I mean that to. The why’s and the hows are irrelevant at this moment in time, that was all put to rest.

What I want to share is something that Gracie gave me that was way more incredible. As my first born, she made me a Mummy. The power of that word will always haunt me – in a good way. We may of left the hospital with an empty baby car seat but she made me feel complete and she still continues to do so today.

I take her everywhere with me and in my heart she stays, protected from the negativity of this world,  she made me wake up to life.

She made me see how bloody amazing my Mr Fridge was, that he was a keeper, my soul mate and mine. He protected me and shielded me where he could, he opened sympathy cards when my heart ached too much, even though his heart was broken too. He ran errands, and in hospital he did everything I needed him to do, including sleeping on the floor so that I wasn’t alone in my little clinical room. He did that for me, he did that for our baby…our family.

Our friends and family stepped up the love, support and united in ways that my written word can never do justice. It showed cracks in those who weren’t true and it made me realise how blessed we were. My amazing Mum was honest and truthful, she always has the answers – for this there were none. I overflowed with questions, why me? why our baby? why Gracie? As we sat on the edge of my bed she looked into my eyes and said she didn’t know. I respected that and I still do now.

Gracie inspired many to raise funds, run marathons (nutters) and do good for Great Ormond street. That’s not bad for a 2 day old baby right?

She inspired me to make the most of what life has to offer and through my experience of losing her I learnt how grief can catch you in moments you would never expect, the classic moment that I will always remember was several months after she had left us and I was buttering toast, I exploded in tears and still don’t fully understand why. I often tap into this when I work with pupils who are in similar situations. You cant teach life and you cant learn it from a book in the same way as the ‘University of life’.

We don’t celebrate any of her anniversaries. We do have traditions that we follow, like at Christmas we have a star that we place on her stone. I chose not to ‘regularly’ go to her grave and never have. Instead, she is in our village cemetery and we can walk past and pop in on a dog walk, or take J there via the park. She’s part of our life in this bumbling quaint village that we live in and I like that.

…the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that when it comes to death – there is no right answer. There is usually a ‘right for you’ but it doesn’t always show up immediately and that’s OK too. The other thing Gracie taught me was that nobody can take away your memories. In several short hours we made a thousand. That’s where she remains, in my heart x

Sweet dreams Gracie and thank you for giving so much in so little time.

You are something magical

 Every time I look at my son, he is magical. The way he manipulates me, engages me, goes off and faces new challenges and doesn’t need me – he fills my heart with joy and he has developed a magical talent for making me absolutely furious and then with literally a blink of his blue eyes reminds me how scrummy he is.

However, this post isn’t about him…it’s about you.

When I look in the mirror I love what I see. Jennifer Anistons reflection would be preferred and sure I recognise my imperfections but ultimately I love me.

I’m worthy of the best and I desire to be better…

How do you feel about you? Most people can see others negative and positive qualities but magnify only their own negatives.

In my class we play a game –

Everyone writes their own name at the top of the paper, they fold it and then everyone in the circle takes a turn at writing something positive about that person. All the comments are hidden by fanning the paper as you go to conceal the answers…at the end the person who’s name is at the top opens it up and reads the positive comments – this is great for positive reinforcement and self love.

Amazing motovational speaker and founder of Hay House, Louise Hay is a huge fan of ‘mirror work’ there are many variations but in essence you look in the mirror and affirm that you love your self, that you are worth it…and so on. When you rub against negativity you work on those areas. I’m not sure you go the full ‘mirror mirror on the wall’ but I wonder how many people avoid just looking at there own reflection. Growing up I had a friend who had no mirrors in her house, not one.

Do you look at women in the media and see yourself as insignificant? Do you make jokes at your expense before other can, perhaps to hide your insecurities?

Today remember that you are amazing, you have achieved so much already and hold so much potential – remember you are magical and deserve to be told this and believe this. Loving yourself isn’t arrogant its essential.

Sensory #9 Farm Stickers

Today I am sharing a sensory activity that also enhances motor skills, is cost effective and is perfect for rainy days, which if you are UK based is literally everyday at the moment.

All you need are these fab little farm stickers that I purchased from my local Tesco store and we went for a ‘field’ like green piece of card. (see below)

IMG_2737  The stickers are fab and we still have nearly a whole bag left over for future works of art. They were under a pound, around the ninety pence mark and well worth it – they are sturdy, of good quality and there was a huge range of animals and farm furniture in the bag (sadly no tractors for any parents who have wheel obsessed monsters) I chose to put the stickers in two bowls – one with the stickers in and one for the peeled off backs to go in.

This is where J developed his own activity and spent a good fifteen minutes pouring the stickers from bowl to bowl. As Mummy tension grew (and lets face it I wanted to play with the stickers) I left him to it and used it as an excuse to pop the kettle on.

  Just when I thought we were going to become sticker buddies – he refused to peel the stickers off of the backs, and actually became distressed if I attempted to touch them. Instead, J played with them more like figures than stickers…in actually took me 48 hours to convince him that peeling the backs off was the best way forward.

Below is his first attempt and I must apologise for any layout technicalities with the pigs (blush). He also free styled with some crayon action – creating snacks for the ‘amin-als’ and after a quick interrogation the double lines (near the top of the page) are not as I thought ‘a fence’ but instead ‘a door for the doggy to go in the garden’. I feel stupid for even questioning such an obvious modern art phenomenon.  I’m sure you could do all sorts of lovely activities with these and they would really work well in conjunction with a farm yard book or narrative task, or as we have since done, perfect for sorting activities.

For now, we will continue to work on ‘how to use a sticker’ and Mummy will try to control every aspect of play. Thanks for popping by.

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You can’t act like a flip flop..

 Quote by Anon – may be in my top five quotes of all time.
So after my love of Disney – shoes come a very fast second…well more a 1.5 from Disney.

I remember the first shoes I ever loved; they were my Mums heels, a classic Fuscha pink number that she wore to a wedding and although they never fitted me, I loved to pop them on and tottle around the house.

This quote resonates with me because flip flops are sloppy, reserved for the beach and ‘back door shoes’ but heels, oh they are for dancing, prancing, they physically lift you, improve posture (not so great for the knees) and Cinderella’s slipper shows a sparkly heel that can change your life.

If you were a shoe what would you be? A sporty trainer, a thick soled walking boot or a high brand designer number that is both limited and appreciated by those that understand heels…

Are you a budget buy sneaker or a limited edition trainer with a whizzy bubble under heel to improve efficiency and performance.

Perhaps more importantly is what you actually enjoy wearing, how you want to be seen and where you see yourself heading, don’t get me wrong we all have our slouchy slipper days and our fair share of welly weekends surrounded by puddles of misery…the other great thing about shoes is maybe wellies are your happy footwear ‘sole mate’ (my little boy lights up when his Thomas the Tank wellies come out to play), perhaps that actual shoe is irrelevant and actually it’s more important that you act how you wish to be treated.

So aim high, be a limited edition, appreciated and bring joy to those that walk with you on your journey.

Set some goals and then demolish them 

 Quote by Anon.
I’m a really good goal setter, what I’m not so good at is sticking out goals out for long periods of time, or I get so excited I want to do them in unattainable time limits.

Being a teacher i’ve recently returned for a new academic year and this is the time I set new goals, of course I always set the classic ‘I will mark books more efficiently’ and ‘I will organise the planning of lessons more efficiently’ and then inevitably life gets in the way…

Recently, I have committed to reading the top 100 books, of course I’ve already read some of them – but I’d like to reread them and I’ve decided to pop a little review inside each one. At the moment I’ve begun with number 1: To kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. I have read it before but not for a long time. So why have I set myself this challenge? Because if I’m honest I’m not very eloquent or particularly ‘wordy’ and id like to improve my diction. (I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going via Twitter @whatmyfridgesay)

Next up is a challenge I set my New year 7s – write down a list of five achievements you have already done. Then add one that you succeeded in today.

The list is individual to you – maybe it was a success to get out of bed this morning or despite the traffic get to work on time. May be (like half of my class) you are part of a team that can win certificates / medals or competitions. It really doesn’t matter how big or small they are, or that anyone else noticed – what matters is that you are demolishing goals and proud to look at the list. Warning: this technique for self motivation is highly addictive and you may end up keeping a regular journal on them or find lists in places you never thought they would be.

Give it a go…set your goals and then demolish them! 😉 let me know your current goals below

Sensory #8

Today’s learning experience comes from the advice of fellow bloggers. I recently reached out to my Mummy crew and asked a question…

Although I know it’s a normal learning stage at 2 1/2 years J loves to recite his numbers – but rarely in order…any tips for helping him to sequence?

Clare from Clare’s little tots came back with a gem of an idea (a kind of paper version of numbers through the hall) and it really captured my imagination. Unlike most halls ours is large and square rather than long and narrow, whilst I put my brain into ‘Mummy Mind mode’ we took a break to our local park, as I looked down on the floor I realised the work had been done for me.

This snake (below) is ace for sequencing and so many lovely games!   The photo above shows J and his cars…(who in there right mind would ever leave the house without a car / digger in each hand?) on a classic hop scotch, however we recently played a lovely game where I asked him to put the car on the ‘number 3’ etc and it seemed to help him with number recognition.

So, I guess this blog is about realising that sometimes the work has already been done and we need to utilise it. Next time you and your monster crew are at the park take a moment to look at the floor- you may be inspired! Don’t be put off by the weather either, I find the floor activities are even more enjoyable with the slides / swings are wet…plus a puddle adds an entirely new dimension to play, and it’s generally quieter.

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I never met a meal I didn’t like


Quote by the amazing Miss Piggy

Following on from a blog I posted back in July called Priorities the team at  Schwartz got in touch and sent me a gorgeous bundle of goodies – slow cooker style!

 Regular readers will know that as a full time working Mummy – my slow cooker is how I get some evening time. By the time my heels totter through the front door, I put my little man to bed…I’m done for the day, the slow cooker allows me much needed couple time, pamper time and ‘not preparing dinner time’

So lifting the lid of the slow cooker to a wholesome cooked meal is divine.

There are 2 other things I love and particularly using the Schwartz slow cooker sachets…

1). Using the sachet makes it even quicker to throw in the ingredients and go. I do this twice a week before work and when I walk through the the door – particularly on an Autumnal evening, it reminds me of being a little girl home from School to Mums home cooking…my house smells better than pop corn at the cinema! Even better I remember that it’s me that cooked it! For those of you that have never used the sachets before, the ingredients are all listed on the back – you just chop it up, wack it in and leave the slow cooker on low and walk away…get home from work 6 hours later ‘ta-da’ dinner is ready.

2). My other love is that the slow cooker sachets are all under a £1 and all seem to work as well with if not better on cheap cuts of meat, like chicken thighs / drumsticks, so not only is it amazing for time management, my purse and bank manager love them too. When I recently cooked the Beef and Ale Stew I some how made enough for the entire road, so in the freezer it went – cutting costs further 🙂

 Above is the chicken Provençal recipe before I left for work: pop in the chicken thighs, a red and yellow pepper…mix the Schwartz sachet into a tin or chopped tomatoes, a squeeze of Tommy purée and wack into the slow cooker, leave on low…
 Hello dinner! We had ours with wholemeal rice, broccoli and peas (I have an obsession about peas) some of the sachets, like the chicken curry have potatoes already in it, so you don’t even need to boil a pan of water for your carbs, winner.

I promise you this is generally something I would feed to guests, in fact my best friend recently stayed and we went out for a days adventures (to the beach) and returned home to the scents of slow cooker delight. This meant I never had to disappear to the depths of my kitchen.

Whatmyfridgesays gives the team at Schwartz 10/10 and I can’t wait to try the pulled pork next weekend, so thank you to them and I hope it inspires you to eat healthy, tasty and at little cost with loads of flavour.

*PR collaboration

Things I’m loving #1

When I saw this Linky, I knew it was for me.

So with Autumn drawing in, here are 3 things I’m loving right now. (This is not PR related but totally from the Fridge soul)

1. Chamomile Tea. Whether it’s the middle of a heat wave or I’m frozen from head to toe – chamomile Tea is a must for bed time and I have a favourite. Pukka Tea, ‘Night time’ comes in a lovely blue box and is a combination of oat flower, lavender and lime flowers, valerian and chamomile…I love tea and this is a go to / have to have kind of cuppa. You can pick it up in health food stores, supermarkets and online.

2. Superman

 Its not just me that loves this, after J fell head over heels for Superman (the real one, the late great Christopher Reeve) my amazing and talented Mummy created this beauty using crochet. It’s so personal and I love to watch Js delight as he snuggles him at night…or flies him over the sofa at speed!

3. Seaside UK style

  Of course we would all prefer a tropical tan but how gorgeous is this photo (#nofilter) and I must say I am partial to an Autumnal walk along the coast to blow away the cobwebs and refocus the mind.

Make sure you are wrapped up warm as an English beach is perfect to reenergise and focus, plus you can always find a pebble or six million to throw into the sea.

What are you loving in September?

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Sensory #7 messy stuff 

I have a love for play-doh; it’s the smell, the texture and all the wonderful memories that float back into my mind – it’s was the 80s so squishing play-doh through plastic heads and playing hairdressers was all the rage. I can even remember where my Mum kept the play-doh and all of the paraphernalia that went with it, so when my friend sent me the pictures below of her son using one of my sensory ideas (and making it blooming better may I add, by adding the backdrop) I was rather touched, plus how cute is this kids hair!


 If you missed the play dough monsters take a look at Sensory #3 and give it a go, since J and I originally did it, we’ve probably played with pasta and dough a hundred times.

I’m learning that blogging opens up a new world of friendships and links 🙂 and I’m liking that a lot. Blogging has given me a doorway to not only express myself and my thoughts, but in return created invisible doorways to friendships and new like minded people – so thank you for being part of the journey.

Now the messy stuff.

I gave J the following ingredients:

  • A tray
  • A little jug of water
  • Several large tablespoons of corn flour
  • Wooden spoon
  • A spoonful of rice
  • Some food colouring

(Oh and a tea towel for the tables protection)

I then stood back…and to my surprise he got stuck in.

In terms of a craft / we were left with a sticky watery mess, not really to be desired? In terms of a sensory delight, it was magical!

 The rice gave the mixture which J described as ‘crunch’, he obviously added the water zealously and therefore it was a thin consistency, surprisingly it also all stayed in the tray (Mummy bonus) and with me sat next to him he told me he was cooking and the dialogue was really lovely.

 Sadly I didn’t take any pictures from when he added food colouring but the swirls were pretty awesome.

With older monsters you could defiantly write letters, numbers or words and then ‘mix them out’ but for us little monsters mixing and getting our hands in the concoction was enough.

I do love the magic of cornflour. After my first love, play-doh ohhhh and sequins!

Do you have any cornflour sensory ideas? If so, please share!

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