Archives for posts with tag: summer

Thankfully, the warmer weather and brighter evenings have given us the opportunity to be outside more. After the winter storms, I have a bit of cleaning up to do in the garden, but I’m not naive enough to think the kids will want to help me with that.

So, I had to think of something that will encourage them outdoors. We have the trampoline, and they were excited about being able to use it again (after they remembered we had one!). But that wasn’t enough. I’m a fan of Pinterest, so I collected (pinned) a few ideas of ‘gardens for children’ over the winter months. This is the time to put some of them into practice. You can see below what we’ve done, and in an effort to prevent you from staying indoors reading this, I’m keeping this post short, and hope you enjoy the possibilities of good weather.


The picture above shows our tic-tac-toe game. I gathered a few stones from a local beach and painted them to look like bumble bees and ladybirds. I also painted a pallet table we have in the garden to create the board, and now we have a outdoor board game.


For less than €30 I got some concrete flag stones to put across our gravel path. Then with the magic of chalk, we also have a hopscotch game. The added advantage of these stepping stones is that the kids can cross the gravel towards the grass in their bare feet – resolving one of their issues from last summer. 🙂

So, that’s just two simple changes to the garden this spring that brought the kids outdoors. We’ve also planted some seeds, so check back with us in a few months to see the results. Bye!

The last few weeks have been an effort for me. In the midst of trying to get stuff done there were a few factors that slowed me down or distracted me altogether. Some of these were not preventable – such as me or the kids being ill. However, some distractions were self inflicted.

In my college days I used to clean the house, or rearrange furniture to avoid sitting down to study for exams or write a thesis. I’m still taking this approach today – in the guise of creating a more functioning family and the attempt to put a better design into our home – I avoid some more essential tasks – clearing out the garage for maintenance works, rebuilding a website, moving email accounts… These tasks are not too appealing, so I seek distraction.

So, low and behold, a knight in shining armour appears a few weeks ago in the form of an Xtravision Summer Madness deal! For the small price of €20 I had the ability to take any two DVDs out each night for one month – that’s 60 DVDs!! That is one great distraction 🙂

So, for a man starved of cinema trips over the last few years, also without a television for many years – this was a bargain! I can catch up on so many worthwhile movies! So I sat and caught up with some ‘blockbusters’ I was hoping to see. I have to admit the majority were not as good as I hoped, so I was glad to have avoided the €8 cinema charge for many of them.

My list of movies, in no particular order, with a short review from me:

Identity Thief : simple comedy, a few laughs, Jason Bateman shows usual facial expressions

A Good Day to Die Hard : If I was twenty years younger…this may have been better!?

The Hardy Bucks : homegrown comedy I hoped would be good. Twenty years younger…

The Impossible : enjoyed it because it made me grateful for what I have!

Flight : thought this was a media turns in hero, rather than the usual alcoholic recovery effort

Silver Linings Playbook : brilliant! Great cast, great story, simple and entertaining

Five Year Engagement : felt like I was there with them for the whole five years!! 😦 terrible

I Give it a Year : who thought it could get worse? (see above) how do they get the money?

Arbitrage : simple thriller story but effective in entertainment. Worth watching

Life of Pi : loved the imagery; knowing the end took away some magic. I enjoyed the book more

Good Vibrations : great surprise. Knew nothing about it before. Great music, inspirational

Perks of Being a Wallflower : coming of age story (thankfully no vampires needed) Brilliant!!

End of Watch : not just a shoot out between LA cops and gangs, there’s also a love story

Killing Them Softly : cool hitman safes the day. American attempt at cool. French do it better

I’m not going to link each movie, but will recommend the imdb website for trailers or info on each of them. I’ve another week left on the deal and hope to improve the stats on the movies worth watching. I also have to admit that my distraction from my distraction is Netflix, and a brilliant program there is ‘The Killing‘ (US version), and for nostalgia I’ve watched a few ‘Quantum Leap‘ episodes – still brilliant.

Anyway, better get back to my distractions. If you have any good recommendations for movies, please let me know – or maybe drop me a line to tell me if I ‘misunderstood’ some of those listed above.


This week has thankfully proved to many of us that there is actually a season that brings sunshine and warmth to our fair land. I feel I deceive my children when I promise to do certain things outside “when the summer comes” or “when it’s a bit warmer”! Thankfully, this week, some of these promises were kept with our ability to picnic in the garden, splash about in the [birth] pool, and ‘galocher‘ ice cream several times throughout the day; and hats and coats were left in the boot of the car! It’s been a wonderful week and the kids seem happy to be around their parents; and the parents are happy to be around the kids! And it ain’t over yet…

So, feeling all positive about my stay-at-home-dad status, I was happy to discover that today – June 1st 2013, is now a worldwide celebration day of parents. So, Happy International Parents’ Day to all readers who are parents, or have parents!

So, before you start the cynical criticisms about this being another exploitative celebration from card-makers around the world – you’re wrong – this is actually a UN resolution (66/292 to be more precise) to recognise the role of parenting! Yes, the United Nations reckons we need to universally look at the positive role parents play in society. After all, would there be much of a society if there were no parents? Actually, who would provide a new generation of leaders to sit around the UN table, if parents were not here?

So, looking at it this way; us parents are very important people and therefore we should be celebrated. I know some of you are asking, do we really need a celebration day for parents? Sure we already have a Mothers’ Day and a Fathers’ Day? Why is this new parents’ day slotted in between these existing parental dates? Has the UN just placed parenting between the celebrated mothers and fathers of this planet?

This inaugural celebration day of parents is hopefully to show how “families built on the recognition of equality between women and men will contribute to more stable and productive societies.” Well, chronologically at least, the United Nations have certainly placed the day between women and men. As to how the ‘more stable and productive society’ will pan out after celebrating International Parents’ Day is probably based on the notion that men, if they clean the house more, will reap the benefits of a more amorous partner. 😉 Not sure how true that is!? [Any comments on that Irish Parenting Bloggers?] And, I have to question how productive can a parent be while being a parent – I constantly feel everything I do is only half done.

But the UN don’t seem to have the half done scenario at all. Along with the three celebration days mentioned above, there’s even an International Day of Families observed on the 15th May every year. Did you know that? It was celebrated only a few weeks ago. I can’t remember it, but it supposedly ‘provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.’ Again, I think they’re trying to point out how parents rarely get out, money seems to evaporate and the sense of crowded isolation hits several times a week. Fair play to them for this recognition.

So, looking at the work of the UN in recognising Mothers, Fathers, Families, and now Parents; you’re wondering if they have left anyone out? Well the answer is No, because on November 20th each year we can celebrate worldwide fraternity and understanding between children, and their welfare, with Universal Children’s Day. And then there’s the people who are neither parents or children, and who might feel aggrieved by only getting an single day of recognition with International Day of Families, so the UN provides International Women’s Day on the 8th March, and then there’s International Men’s Day on 19th November each year

So all in all, there are a few days throughout the year that are universally recognising our great contribution to society, no matter how old you are in the family! So, if you are a young child reading this today, remember to treat your parent well this Bank Holiday weekend. No whining, fighting, screaming or shouting at us. Like our summer, it may only come once a year, but its still real.

Peter McKee ‘The Meaning of Life’ available here