Playdough!

The easiest playdough ever!

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I love essential oils and I love working with children and families… Check out my new blog post on OrganiClaire.

Liking and sharing is caring! Alex xxx

The Essential Oil Epidemic

Something to help your body, mind and spirit

Join HERE 🙂

I’m not a judgemental person but I’m not saying I’m not entirely stereotypical at times, and then I give my head a wobble and try to re-educate myself on a regular basis.

OK. So I’m not completely oblivious to the fact that essential oils have been around for some time now. And they are not just for hippies. In fact there are millions of people who use essential oils as a part of their daily routines, to get them in the mood for the day and whatever they have to tackle. There’s even a movement of teenagers using essential oils. Our children’s (and their children’s) future means a lot to us right? We need to make this change because harsh chemicals are distroying our planet!

I met Valerie at my local farm shop. It was an open house event and there were lots of local producers and business owners in the farmers house. Each had a table set up with their produce and were offering samples. There was a large variety of products. It was November so there were a lot of Christmas gifts and items.

The room smelled amazing. And there standing next to the source was Valerie, the essential oils lady with her diffuser going and her lovely display of little coloured bottles. We chatted about the different oils and I smelled them all. I chose an oil to buy. It was my favourite. It was Purification. We ordered it together on the website and it was delivered to me 2 days later.

I didn’t have a diffuser at home but I had an oil burner so I added water and lit a candle underneath. My whole house smelled amazing from 2 drops of this oil!

Valerie sent me the cutest little wooden snowflake inside a Christmas card. I added a drop of my essential oil to the wood and put it in my car. Now my car smelled amazing too!

In January I was invited to some training at Valerie’s house. I took Olivia. It wasn’t a house of a hippy. It was a house of a mother with 2 gorgeous sons. A really modern house, with cool decor and features. A house of a hardworking young family.

It was clear Valerie was using these products in her own home to rid her house of cancer causing chemicals. She told us all about her sisters battle with cancer and how the oils had helped her. She told us about how she uses them with her children and about using them safely.

She showed us how to use our essential oil, what you can mix it with, how each of the oils complimented our life in different ways.

She told us about the company Young Living and their processes. They really seem to be the best of the best producers out there, with farms all over the world harvesting all the different plants to make these special oils.

I bought a dewdrop premium starter kit. For me, when I decide to buy something I want value for money. I want good quality and I want multi purpose use. This had it all. With 12 oils and samples and a diffuser. There were oils I had in mind for my hubby, for me, for everyone I know!

When the kit arrived I was so excited! We used it straight away. And we haven’t stopped using it since. The diffuser sits there in the lounge on the fireplace blowing out molecules of essential oil most of the day (lemon and orange in the morning, purification while I cook or if the house smells of wet dog or nappies!, Thieves if we have runny noses, Lavender in the evenings). I’ve added drops of oils to my facial oil to add an anti aging element (Frankincense and Copaiba) and if I’m feeling a bit stressed I diffuse Stress Away. I’ve mixed my own anti bacterial and medicated balm using Thieves and Panaway for my dry patches of skin too (and elbows, feet, hands and knees!).

It really has me thinking about the products we use and how we can change them up for Young Living products.

It’s had me thinking of my childminder buddies and how the oils can regulate stressful times and routines of the day (drop offs, collection times, quiet time, sleep times, focused activity etc) because there is an oil for everything.

It’s had me thinking of my friends and family suffering from mental health issues and others suffering from fibromyalgia. There’s an oil to help these things!

And the bottles are small…you can take them with you! Add them to a carrier oil and put on your temples, pulse points, bottom of the feet, anywhere!

I can’t recommend them enough… So much so that if you want some, I’m now a distributor of theirs and can get you the products at membership prices (it makes sense when I’m going to be using them for the rest of my life anyway).

Have a look online. Become a member (it’s free and you have no obligation to buy but if you do you get products at a reduced cost) or just browse… Well why not? Join the epidemic that will help you to be your best! I did 🙂

Join Young Living HERE and support me in my goal of freedom!

Yours, ever thankful, Alex 🙂

We failed at homeschooling and its OK!

How life can bring you many adventures!

We started homeschooling in January. Life brought changes to us and we embraced them.

We attended a group at our local village hall and I had a really nice chat with the other parents while Olivia made friends and Ellie explored. I found it really helpful to have like minded people available to chat with.

We tried unschooling for a while and after a couple of weeks Olivia wasn’t feeling it. She felt no motivation. So we sat down at the table together and discussed a plan. I already had a curriculum and we decided to use it to help us plan Olivias learning.

I came up with a schedule of learning she could follow that worked around groups, get togethers, my work and dog walking.

We started with a full week of lessons presented on Monday morning and needed to be completed by Sunday.

During the week I’d ask Olivia how she was getting on and she’d say ‘fine’. I didn’t want to get involved. I wanted to see if she could manage to motivate herself.

When Sunday arrived she’d only completed 2 pieces of work. I was a little sad inside but it showed us this method didn’t work for us. We had a chat about it Olivia just didn’t feel motivated to learn in the home environment.

She was happy to go out and take the laptop and learn via videos and we already had a conquer maths subscription, but we learned that Olivia preferred maths on paper. We bought (cheaply) workbooks and she began to use them.

By now she had started working on the farm where I worked, as a farm hand. Learning hands on she loved! The farmer was teaching her so much and she was coming home happy (and exhausted!). After all, she wants to be a vet, so this was right up her street.

We visited Bolton and Olivia met up with old school friends and when we returned Olivia wasn’t the same. She was sad. She missed her old friends and had much less interaction with like minded people. We had a really long conversation and learned she craved the school structure but not the environment.

Hubby was desperately unhappy in his work and was looking for a new job. He eventually got another… But back near Bolton. This meant we would have to move again. I was sad because I had made so many new friends and lovely people. My business was growing well and everything was great but Hubby needed to leave his job before it killed him, and financially it made sense to move back to Bolton.

So now Olivia will return to school in Bolton, I will continue my work in Bolton and we can holiday in Market Harborough (Country Bumpkin Yurts, on Waterloo Cottage Farm), and we can finally have some stability (because I’m not moving again for a very long time!).

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. If you have any questions about anything mentioned above, please ask away!

Alex@ministryofminding 🙂

The (Childminders) Resource List For Babies O-1 years+ Part 1: Pushchairs

A little help deciding the best pushchair for you!

OK so I was a childminder for 12 years, I have a list of must haves that have been tried and tested and reviewed over and over by me. Yes, new things do come out but there will always be the ‘greats’.

Below is a list of things I feel are essential to making your (working) day easier without having to make the mistakes over the years like I did. It is important to make an investment in the products you buy, you need them to last a long time but you also need to love them. If you don’t love them, other items will catch your eye and you’ll be tempted to purchase those and you don’t have time for that! (Childminders, contrary to what you may think, you are running a business-you need it to be profitable and professional 😉 ).

Prams/pushchair/buggy:

You will only ever need 3 types:

The ‘Parent Facing’ pushchair. (suitable from birth).

This is essential if you are caring for a baby. Small babies do not need or want to see the world, they want to see your smiley happy face glaring at them and talking to them. You are the world to them when they are small.

My recommendation: Mamas and Papas Urbo. Mamas and Papas Urbo Video (unfortunately I cannot find a good price online… I would search ebay, Facebook and car boots etc to find one at a good price!)

This ‘not too fussy’ pushchair can be world or parent facing, has a strong metal base (chassis) and has a genius hood that allows any aged baby or toddler a sun free nap. The handlebar is adjustable and its simple to fold down and small enough to fit in the smallest of car boots. (see video above)

I bought my first one in 2010 and still had it when my own daughter was born in 2015. It was still like new! I’d always looked after it and I used it most days in the week. When I stopped childminding (and realised I had 3 pushchairs and 1 baby) I had purge one of them and I chose this one… BIG MISTAKE! I sold it and a few weeks later bought another one because I missed it so much!

The ‘Buggy’. (Some available from birth, others from 3m and 6m.)

A really good addition to the family when baby is a bit older and you are out and about a lot more.

My recommendation: Baby Jogger City Mini

There are groups on Facebook just for this pram/brand it’s THAT good! It is suitable from birth and would easily fit in an average sized 5 year old!

It has super easy folding, a ginormous hood and is really robust. This pram is many peoples ‘go to’ once baby turns 1. Many childminders swear by this pushchair (and they’re the experts!). It is a little bit more expensive than the average umbrella folding pushchair but you will get far more use out of this pushchair, meaning you will get your monies worth!

I first got a second hand city mini once my youngest was 18m. I’d read lots of reviews and had asked random people who had one what they thought. There was never a negative comment! We loved ours and have only just sold it as our youngest doesn’t have an afternoon nap anymore and we weren’t reaching for it (our child loves to walk and run everywhere!).

The Double Buggy. (Some available from birth, others from 3m and 6m, suitable for twins and different aged children.)

I recommend Red Kite Push Me Twini

I actually bought this pushchair using my Tesco Club card points! I’d saved up £90 and used the ‘double points’ scheme in Tesco Direct to buy the £180 pushchair (2014).

The best feature of this? It’s so easy to push with 2 heavy children in it! It was a dream come true when I found this double! I’ve had MANY doubles over the years, some side by side, others tandem. This is the best! (I’ve even had a Baby Jogger double and the red kite is my first choice every time)

OK so there are my recommendations. I hope this has helped you make a decision on the different types of pushchairs and buggies to choose when it comes to buying for your little ones.

If you liked this blog, please share it, it helps me out! If you click on the links and decide to buy, that also helps me out… Thanks!

I really enjoy helping others and I also enjoy writing! I’ve loved writing this blog, I hope you like it too… Alex 🙂

Got a new baby/one (or more) on the way? Here’s what you need…0-1y

A little help choosing products for the lovely little ones in your life…

Many people have lots of help with purchasing essential and luxury baby items. Friends and family buys often make up for the majority of items needed for your baby.

There is a lot of waste in the world and many items can be duplicated or just impractical so I recommend making a list of items you’re going to need over the months.

An easy way to get what you need without being pushy is to hand write your list, add tick boxes and take a photo of it. Post the photo to your social media and comment ‘Eeek…baby is on the way and I’m getting prepared with lists, here’s my first one…time to get saving up!’, or something similar. As items are bought (or given) tick the list and repost on social media, everyone instantly knows what you have and what you need!

I’ve had 3 children and I have been a part many more babies and small children’s’ lives as their childminder. After speaking with many parents and carers and using my own experiences with products, below are my recommendations. These items have been tried and tested against many others by me. These are my choices and I just thought I’d share them with you. This list doesn’t contain the larger essential items such as pram, cot and car seat…for my recommendations on these a post will be coming soon.

You can click on each link and buy these items on Amazon UK. Amazon is one of my favourite shopping sites and if you’re super impatient (like me) signing up for a month of free amazon prime is a really good way to save money on shipping costs too (super useful if you’re ready to purchase all in one go!)…just make sure you make a note on your calendar a couple of days before the end of the trial so you can cancel or you will be charged. If you do decide to buy from these links it will help me out, so thanks.

This list is in no particular order…

Wooden Teething Ring/Baby Hold Toy Great for young babies to hold, pass from hand to hand, and chew on. My youngest loved these!

Lovely Lamb Taggy Comforter Lovely and soft and super sensory!

Mobile This is perfect for suspending over baby to keep them stimulated in the first 4-5 months. Manhattan Toy products are a favourite of mine as they produce some lovely contrasting colours and shapes on their toys that will stimulate any baby’s imagination. Take it with you wherever you go.

Jumparoo This is perfect for keeping your baby entertained. Yes this does take up a bit of room, and when folded isn’t the smallest but it is one of the most used purchases we had. Suitable from sitting to standing. These are popular, so look after yours and sell on!

Treasure Basket Treasure baskets have been around for years now and are still going strong. Every child needs access to one. For babies that can sit to preschool plus…(you certainly get your monies worth here!). There are items that may not be suitable for a very young child in this basket. Please remove them and add them when your child is old enough to explore them. Always sit with your child and closely supervise when using a treasure basket…<3

Infant to Toddler Chair The best chair by far. Suitable from birth to around age 3! Affordable and long lasting…I’ve had mine for 10 years! EASY TO WASH

Cheeky Wipes Kit They claim to save you money, and you do (if you don’t go buying baby-wipes too!), but these cloths are super lovely. A perfect size, thickness and Essential oil blend that make them smell so lovely that you’ll not only use them on baby! We still use them today on our now 3 year old (at the sink, in the bath, as dolly blankets etc, etc) and on ourselves! Perfect for combining with cloth nappies too!

Sheepskin Rug Perfect for regulating baby’s temperature, keeping them cool in summer and warm in winter. Place into your carrycot and pushchair and onto the floor at tummy time. Oh and then use as a bedroom rug/chair cover 🙂

Ball Every small child needs a ball…this one is perfect! Vibrant colours and sensory for your super sucker and dribbler. Made from natural rubber and is Organic too! Only the best will do.

Geometric Cushion Covers You’re going to need cushions just for baby. Why not have a set that look cool, grab baby’s attention and will do a multitude of things that the expensive shaped cushions will do for much less money?

Floor Level Feeding/Play Chair from 3 months! Before you go and purchase a high chair, try this chair for as long as you can. This chair was fabulous for us, we were caring for two 9 month olds and just didn’t have the room for 2 high chairs. These did a fabulous job and when I had my youngest she used it from the recommended 3 months old! She enjoyed sitting upright safely and playing with toys on the little tray. It’s also easy to clean and look after.

Waterproof Suit age 6-12m Essential for the crawling baby. There is no such thing as bad weather…just bad clothing choices! Accessories to follow:

Waterproof Booties

Waterproof Mittens

Gruffalo Bag with Parent Strap Essential for the wandering toddling baby. I had so many comments on this bag because it is so cool! Easily fits inside a small drink cup, small snack, nappy and wipes, so perfect for a short walk to the shops etc. The strap detaches for when the toddler no longer needs it. I chose this bag for my daughter because I liked it…(well she couldn’t even see the bag when she wore it)!

Thank you for reading this post. If you think someone you know might like it, please share it. Take care and I’ll write again soon…

Alex 🙂