#EveryMomentCounts Photo Challenge with Families Online

Families Online set us a photo challenge to capture a special moment every day for a week, on a different theme each day. This is the compilation post of our #EveryMomentCounts challenge.

Families Online have set selected bloggers an #EveryMomentCounts photo challenge to capture a special moment daily over this past week, with each day having a different set theme. The aim of this campaign is to remember that even the seemingly ‘little’ family moments throughout each day are precious and actually do matter. Every moment really does count! The themes for the challenge are as follows…

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

I don’t think these are ‘official’ rules of the challenge whatsoever, but I also set myself the additional challenge of picking just one single photo for each day. Each ‘moment’ captured was on the actual day of the challenge too – no throwbacks – because for me personally, I felt the point was to focus on being ‘in the moment’ and embrace those special little moments as they actually happen. That was just how I chose to interpret the challenge though, and also I felt this is how I would get the most out of doing it as well. 

So here are my moments throughout the week…

Day 1 – Together

Monday was a tough day. But for days like that, it is even more important to capture and remember the special moments.

We don’t often spend time at home all playing together (it is usually either one or the other of us with Squiggle when we are at home, not both) so it was lovely to grab a few minutes together. I particularly love this photo because I captured Squiggle affectionately stroking her daddy’s stubble too.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, together, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 2 – Tradition

I struggled to imagine how I might find much tradition in a regular Tuesday in September to be honest. But I decided to just get on with our day regardless, and see how it all worked out. After all, I feel that the whole point of the challenge is to just be in the moment, enjoying family time, and making every moment count!

As it turned out, we found ourselves outside embracing the beautiful signs of Autumn, collecting acorns and leaves. Of course this is a tradition! We do it every year, ever since she was tiny. I remember spending many afternoons during my childhood doing the same with my parents, as no doubt they did with theirs, and one day maybe Squiggle with her own children too.

However, I chose this particular photo, which is taken in the same spot we collected our autumn treasures just minutes later, because it is my favourite moment of the day. Squiggle had the biggest smile as she carefully jumped on and off the moving roundabout. And look at that lovely traditional style play area! They had those same rocking horses that you can just see in the background when I was her age, they were one of my favourites infact. Fun times!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, tradition, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 3 – Laughter

On this morning I could hear lots of giggling from my bed, as Squiggle played with her daddy whilst I caught up on some rest. It is lovely to hear her enjoying precious moments, even if they weren’t mine to share with her! But ‘the moment’ I chose for Wednesday was when Squiggle was delighted to discover that the paddling pools are STILL open at one of our local parks (brrr lol!) and ran through them, giggling and laughing happily. This photo really captures that. Love it!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, laughter, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 4 – Three Things

Continuing on with our Autumn exploration from earlier in the week, on Thursday we visited a beautiful local park that we hadn’t actually been to before, for a lovely nature walk and Autumn hunt. We found these 3 little treasures which we collected from different trees (obviously!) within a few metres of each other. We paused under a gorgeous horse chesnut (conker) tree with huge fabulous branches to take this photo of our little collection.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, nature, autumn, three things, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 5 – Colourful

We had a day at home on Friday and we actually used the theme as inspiration for one of our activities. Squiggle and I went into the garden with the challenge of getting as many beautiful natural autumn colours into one photo as possible.

I adore this photo because of the vibrant red and orange berries on bold green leaves against the bright blue sky with gorgeous yellow and brown leaves in the background. So much colour at this time of year!

I really loved this moment of our day because it’s a great reminder that not only is it important to savour precious moments, but that sometimes we need to take the time and effort to actually create those special moments too!

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, colourful, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 6 – Love

Of course this picture would include Squiggle, whom I love more than anything! And this particular photo captures us outdoors in nature, which is one of our biggest loves.

But beyond that, this moment also captures us watching some charity fundraisers and volunteers at the park – an act that no doubt comes from a place of love. And even though these people were random strangers, we felt grateful that we were able to witness this for a few moments too.

So lots of love in this moment from Saturday, in various different forms.

#EveryMomentCounts, Families Online, family, general life, family time, mindfulness, childhood unplugged, home education, photo challenge, love, Every Moment Counts, Living Life Our Way

Day 7 – Reflection

For the last day of this photo challenge, how better to end it than with a moment of reflection. I stood on this bridge, looking out at the water, and took just a moment to myself to reflect on the wonderful moments we shared as a family throughout the week.

As a busy parent, taking a moment to myself is sometimes just as important as those precious family moments, hence why I chose this particular photo. I am grateful for the rare moments alone, as well as the many I share with those I love!

(By the way, we spent lovely quality time together as a family, right before and after this particular moment for myself, going for a wonderful walk in the warm sunshine. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday!)

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I really enjoyed taking part in this challenge; I loved how much it helped me to really be in the moment and focus on, and celebrate, those ‘little things’ each day. It amazed me how I noticed things so much more than I usually would, depending on the theme for the day, and generally too. I practice mindfulness anyway, but I am still genuinely surprised by how much difference taking part in this challenge made!

Thank you to Families Online for inviting me to take part in #EveryMomentCounts 

What Does Family Mean To You? #FamilyMadeSimple 

What does family mean to you? The truth is, family means different things to everyone. Long gone are the days of 2.4 children as standard. I look around me at friends and aquaintences, and I see a wonderfully diverse range of family units that include single parents of both genders, same sex couples, multicultural families, married and unmarried partners, and blended families. In addition to the childless couples, family sizes range from one child to half a dozen or more. Some families live in close proximity, whilst other (still close knit) families are geographical far apart. Some are related by blood, others aren’t. There is no standard; every family is beautifully unique in one way or another.

For us, whilst I wouldn’t consider my own family unit particularly diverse, we do have an only child, with no plans to extend our family; it feels complete already. Our family lifestyle is somewhat different to most too, in that we home educate Squiggle rather than taking the traditional schooling route. I guess that shows how modern family life can differ in other ways too!

The following infographic What Makes A Family? has been produced by Slater and Gordon Family Lawyers and has some interesting stats and information about modern families.

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What does family mean to you? 

I asked some fellow bloggers this question. Some came up with lovely, sentimental and insightful answers…

Family means Christmas Day, Sunday lunches and the only kind of hugs that make you feel better.Planes, Trains and Meltdowns

Family means those who you can rely on and who support you and make you happy! Family is not just blood. The Smallest of Things

Love, support and understanding.The Incidental Parent

Family means everything to me. My Mother doesn’t do anything with me, and my kids and I think that’s one big reason to why I keep the rest of my family close. They are the ones I can go to if I need a chat and we’re always there for each other.Life As Mum

Being together through thick and thin. Being happy to be just spending time with family, whether you are on a fun day out or relaxing at home.Dillydrops

To me, my close family are the people who know me better than anyone else, who I can completely be myself around, and who love me without judgment. And vice versa.Five Little Stars

Someone to support you through the tough times and celebrate the small victories!Two Hearts One Roof

Family means to me being around people who want to spend time with me and will be there with me no matter what. Always have my back and stand up for me.The Mum Diaries 

Whilst others had a more witty, lighthearted response…

People to argue with that are available on tap.The Money Shed

But Beth really sums it up perfectly…

Quite simply – Everything ❤️ ~ Twinderelmo

So, what do you think makes a family? Tell me in comments and/ or join in the discussion on social media using the hashtag #FamilyMadeSimple

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Slater and Gordon Family Lawyers.

My Hopes and Wishes For 2017

​Moving on slightly from my new year resolution post, I was kindly tagged by Devon Mama and Friendly First Foods to share my wishes for 2017 in different areas of my life. I am grateful to be involved in this because it helps me to focus on my aims for this year; I do like to set myself goals, as I said previously! 

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Personal Wishes

  • To make time to dance, go to gigs, listen to music; do the things I love.
  • To meet more like-minded people and build new friendships.
  • To try new activities/ do different things/ go to new places; be adventurous!
  • To volunteer at a couple of events.
  • To keep developing myself and continue with my inner growth.

Blog Wishes

  • To increase my reach, so that more lovely people read my blog!
  • To meet some more fellow bloggers in real-life, maybe even make it to one of the blogging events this year.
  • To start my nature linky, which will motivate me to post regularly about our outdoor adventures. It will also help me become more organised about blogging too!
  • To continue my guest series ‘A Quick Cuppa With….’ because it is a lovely way to connect with other bloggers and support small businesses, plus it helps me to have scheduled posts in advance!
  • To seek out more paid opportunities as my blog continues to grow. 

Family Wishes

  • To organise a good balance of home ed activities that interest and develop Squiggle, whilst giving her plenty of freedom and the flexibility needed, to meet her needs.
  • To explore some new days out, such as Kew Gardens for example.
  • To have a family holiday.
  • To expand our etsy shop to sell more sustainable clothing with Squiggle’s own designs.
  • To continue taking an active role role in protecting our environment.

Hopes and Wishes

  • That 2017 is a peaceful year.
  • That we stay happy and healthy.
  • That we are able to overcome challenges and find solutions.
  • That we maintain our sense of wonder for the world around us.
  • That we set a good example and inspire.

So that’s my list of hopes and dreams for 2017! 

I tag the following lovely bloggers to take part too…

Han Plans

Waffle Mama

The Amphletts

Big Family Little Adventures

Life As Mrs D

Five Little Doves

Mummy Miller
I look forward to reading your posts!

What Do Parents Do To Unwind Around The Home?

I mentioned in a recent post about the importance of having time to myself as a parent, and what an achievement it can be to actually find time to relax! But what are my favourite ways to unwind at home? A few things come to mind; I enjoy sitting in the garden, meditating or doing some yoga, or chilling in the living room on the sofa either writing or watching TV.

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Relaxing in the garden

Rattan Direct are conducting a survey about how parents unwind at home, and they will share the results with us soon. If you would take a moment to complete the survey, that would be really helpful, thank you.

www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/37BFHD9

The survey is in three parts:

1. How do parents unwind around the home?

2. How are you going to celebrate Christmas this year?

3. Has Brexit actually affected your spending habits around the home and garden?

Part one I already answered, but I did leave something out earlier! One of my very favourite things to do to unwind is to have my own little silent disco once Squiggle has gone to bed- I stick on headphones so I can listen to the music as loud as I want and dance around the living room!

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I love dancing around the living room to my silent disco!

Ooh, and they mentioned the C word in part two! Given it’s now practically November I am very much starting to think about Christmas now and get my head in that zone. Christmas tends to be very low key for us, to meet Squiggle’s needs. We try not to overwhelm her with too much going on or too many visitors, so we spend Christmas day at home and just have one or two family members pop over for a short time to wish a Merry Christmas, spend some time together and exchange gifts. Most of our family lives fairly local anyway, so nobody has far to travel, and we probably see them just as much, if not more, during the rest of the year compared to Christmas. We also do lots of festive days out in the lead up to Christmas too though, so there a nice balance!

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We have a quiet Christmas at home

As for Brexit, I have been trying not to think too much about it to be honest. It hasn’t affected my spending around the home and garden as yet, but who knows how I will feel in future. I do think house prices have been affected though, as I know a few friends are having problems with that. Let’s hope it settles soon. But for me personally, there has not really been any difference.

What are your thoughts?

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

April 2015

Ok, since I have gotten lazy about blogging lately here is April all rolled into one…

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Spring walks
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Highfield Park, including some of the tree trail with friends
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Growing our own food
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Science experiment- celery in food colouring
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Sand and water play
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Problem solving- how to patch up a leak with resources available
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Art group- foam marbling
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General garden fun
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Squiggle designed a carrier bag kite and parachute
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Quality time with our cats
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Observing and discussing the sky above- including clouds, rainbows, sunrise and sunset
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Playdate at home
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Writing
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Princess Diana Playground, Kensington
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Aldenham SEN playground
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Designing own games and activities
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Art and crafts
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Fun at a park
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Physical games- cone activities
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More playground fun- with grandad
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Butterfly World
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New 'Music Meadow' at Butterfly World
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Seaside- yes, she did steal daddys cardigan for a short while!
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Art group
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Art group- butterfly symmetry painting
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Art and Science! Put a few drops of food colouring into milk. Then put some washing liquid on a cotton bud, dip it in and let the colours disperse. Makes an interesting 'painting'
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Exploring instruments- lots of singing and dancing too!
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Park with a friend

We also did lots of Easter activities, which I blogged about separately, and have been to music class but haven’t got any photos of that! Last but not least, we did various circus themed activities, but that needs it’s own post!

Latest Highlights: Our Fortnight in Pictures

These are the highlights of our week fortnight in pictures…

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Playing in the woods with friends
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Whipsnade zoo.
Squiggle particularly enjoyed comparing her hand to an adult foot and elephant foot, driving along the ‘Passage through Asia’ and seeing baby Mara, as well as playing in the outdoor adventure play area ‘Hullabazoo’. She also loved the penguins and of course the sealions. One of the sealions spent much of the time sunbathing, which she found especially fascinating and hilarious. She was also able to view them underwater (for sealion cuddles!) and watched a member of staff carry out their health checks and enrichment activities, which she found both intriguing and entertaining. Later two of the sealions enjoyed playing under the spray of a water hose, which she was also lucky enough to observe.
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Playing at home.
A few of her self- chosen activities recently include making outfits for her toys, drawing and writing, practising her letter formation, reading books to her toy baby, making mosaic pictures and hosting an imaginary bring and share lunch with toys. Lifting and carrying shopping is a fantastic sensory activity!
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Making magnets using plaster in moulds
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Princess Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington has lots of sensory activities.
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Art group/ Meet up and play
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Local park (with friends, just not pictured!)
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Woodside Farm.
Squiggle loved spending time with family members, playing inside and outside, feeding the rabbits and guinea pigs, and seeing other various animals including goats (including a baby kid less than a fortnight old). llamas, lemurs, ducks and geese.
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This begun has Squiggle wanting to make a zip wire for her toys but turned into an excellent learning opportunity when the ribbon she used broke repeatedly because it rubbed against the other ribbon as it moved. This led to a discussion about friction, investigating how much friction different materials produce and then also a discussion about making fire by rubbing sticks together as well. She decided to use the smooth side of a belt to make the zip wire as it would create least friction out of the items she had available.
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Playing in the garden
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Longacres park

The Beauty of Interest-Led Discussions

Today so far we have discussed the following, all entirely led by Squiggle (and it’s only lunchtime!)…

Odd and even numbers

Times tables (she specifically asked about counting in twos, threes, six, tens, elevens, hundreds and ten thousands). This also led to a discussion about how larger numbers are written.

Why people can’t fly and how gravity works. This led her to demonstrate and explain it to me herself in her own words while jumping around flapping her arms.

Why our cat is called a half Norwegian Forest cat, what we mean by ‘half’ and where the rest of the name in general comes from.

The weather forecast for today and how people predict the weather. This led to discussion over recent weather, climate and seasons.

How paper is made.

Our Week in Pictures

Here is a small snippet of some of last week’s activities…

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Splashing in puddles
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
Drawing, spelling, reading and writing in a wipe clean book
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Woodland walk
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Various activities (see below for more detail)

Activities at home this week included water play (sensory activity), studying a particularly friendly ladybug, discussion about the weather (with myself as well as our cat obviously!), drawing lots of different pictures including a cat character and Igglepiggle (as well as many others), making a decorated model house for her seal, sorting beads and inventing her own target games using a set of foil containers she found in the cupboard. In additon, our egg experiment can be found here. We also met up with friends at a local soft play centre.

Science Experiment: Egg in Vinegar

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Cover the egg in vinegar.
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Cover and leave in the fridge for one week (change vinegar after the first 24 hours)
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Carefully remove the egg from the vinegar.
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Gently wipe off the shell with a tissue.
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I am not entirely sure if this is supposed to happen, especially since it then dripped slightly from this bit. Perhaps we weren’t careful enough. Squiggle said the shell looked and felt like sand as it rubbed off.
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The egg is now quite squishy and rubbery!
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Squiggle enjoyed bouncing it around the table.
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Of course it is still an egg so therefore not entirely indestructible! When it finally broke from all the (over-enthusiastic) bouncing, the shell felt like latex but gritty and was almost whole. Squiggle found this very interesting.

Failed Science Experiment

We tried another experiment from the Eco Science kit yesterday. The idea was to discuss pressure and demonstrate how a submarine works. The instructions stated to fill the dropper 2/3 full then drop it in the bottle full of water. With the right amount in, the dropper should sink and float and the bottle is squeezed and released.

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Preparing the experiment

However it didn’t quite go according to plan unfortunately as the dropper seemed to go from too much water to too little in just one drop. After a frustrating half hour or so of emptying and refilling the bottle in order to get the dropper out and try again it got rather tedious so we finally gave up.

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Trying to successfully complete the experiment

She then enjoyed designing her own experiment and exploring the resources her own way instead.

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Exploring the resources using her own ideas

She was very disappointed it did not work out and we were both rather frustrated by the end. Think we would rather have given this one a miss!