Jul 18, 2017



Edited: Jul 18, 2017

Last Fathers' Day I got an Amazon Echo.


It's a wonderful piece of kit, enabling me to switch lights on or off, control the heating, play music, find out what the traffic is like on the school run, get news, weather and sports reviews and tell my son and I jokes, all with a simple, spoken question.


Echo is at its best though when another parent arrives to pick their child up from a play date.


They arrive and the kids ask, "Alexa, how old is xyz?" or "What's the news on xyz?"


Of course, the results rarely relate to the actual person in question, but the reaction of the kids when Alexa tells them that "xyz is 78 years old" or "xyz was imprissoned for embezzlement in 2016" provides great amusement.


It also helps our guests leave a little more quickly!



New Posts
  • vickiharris1977
    Jul 20, 2017

    A post by Live Laugh Giraffe, the lifestyle magazine and social platform by YOU! Share life, help each other through or simply enjoy the fun stuff! As we've entered June it's officially Summer. So, as promised here is my list of 5 alternative and cheap things you can do with your toddler over the next few months! Fruit Picking I'm a country boy and one of my fondest memories as a child is going the Pick Your Own strawberry farm with my Mum and picking strawberries and raspberries by the punnet (or was that eating them). This is a great way to kill a couple of hours, to pick up some healthy food and to begin to educate your children as to where their food comes from. Strongly recommended. Later in the year we play a fun game in which we pick apples that fall from the apple tree that overhangs our garden and sort them between good apples (which I have used to make an apple pie) and bad apples which go in the brown bin. Summer Fetes and Fairs Another relatively low cost fun afternoon out and as we get into the summer there should be plenty of these going on. Whilst bigger country shows or fayres can cost £20 per head plus, we've found that you can have just as much fun at the free entry school fete, these are a great opportunity to let your toddler get used to crowds and to experience a huge range of sights and sounds. We've done this before and found it a truly amazing experience to watch our son tapping his foot in time to a brass band playing movie scores and then start heckling them for "more music" in the interval betweeen songs! It's also a grat opportunity to meet friends in a slightly more relaxed environment and watch the fun that is toddlers at play. Fun with nature Again, this doesn't need to be expensive. Friends of the Earth this year have introduced their "Great British Bee Count" which runs to the end of June, a great and easy way to get kids involved in identifying visitors to the garden https://www.foe.co.uk/bee-count If you live in a City, then our parks offer a huge range of fun activities and sites. Alternatively, City farms provide an fun, low cost and friendly morning out for the family. Laundry Duties Now that we've entered the stage of the year where we can hopefully get a whole morning, afternoon or evening, then the washing line comes to the fore. Our son likes helping me take the washing out and hang it on the line, which mostly involves playing with pegs! On subsequent checks to see if the clothes are dry, I ask my son to help me check if the clothes are dry by touching them himself. Watering the plants An obvious one really in many respects but with a little watering can, my son enjoys following me round the garden as I water the plants. Inevitably, everything gets soaked and we end up jumping up and down in puddles like a certain cartoon pig and her family but we enjoy it! Hope this summer list gives you some low cost inspiration over the coming months. Why not tell us about how you keep the kids entertained over the summer in the comments below and join us in a few months time for the Autumn edition of this blog! This post is part of a series of seasonal things to do with your kids that are cheap or free. The Spring post is on our website at www.livelaughgiraffe.com so come and have a look for this and more Keep a look out for the Autumn edition!
  • vickiharris1977
    Jul 12, 2017

    We at Live Laugh Giraffe think it is important to reconnect with your family after a busy week, so to help with this we bring you our list of the Top 6 card games to play as a family. For our family, cards are generally brought out on holiday and at times when we are together on masse, so Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc. For me these evening hold some of my favourite memories and it has always been a great initiation into the family for joining members! Even those that like to cheat at cards add to the fun, you know who you are!! So Ace up the sleeve and here we go: Snap - Simple and effective! One of the best things about cards is that all ages and abilities can join in so no one needs to be left out or sent to bed early and for Snap you only need 2 players! Just in case you are a card novice: in order to play snap the dealer would deal 1 card to each player until all of the cards are given out. Starting with the youngest player and without looking at the cards in their hand, they place one card into the centre face up followed by the next person until 2 cards with the matching number or picture are on the pile at which point the fastest player to touch the pile and say snap wins the cards. The winner is the player who ends up with all the cards. Go Fish - Another of the simpler games great if you have younger players. The dealers gives each player 5 cards and places the remaining cards in the centre. Each player would then look at their hand and decide how they can make sets of 4 of the same (4 Aces for example). Starting with the youngest player they ask for a card they need and if any of the other players have it they must hand it over. If no one has the requested card then the player can pick one up from the centre deck. Each time you get a set of 4 you remove the cards from your hand and play them on the table. The game continues until there are no cards left at which point each player counts up the number of set of 4 they made. Whoever has the most is the winner. If at any point you run out of cards 5 more can be taken from the centre. Rummy - Similar to go fish but slightly more complicated is the game of rummy, great for kids who are getting older and want to be challenged! The dealer gives each player 7 cards with the remaining desk in the centre, the top card from the desk is placed face up next to it. The aim of the game is to get a run (1,2,3,4) of the same suit or sets (3 or more cards of the same rank such as all the Jacks). Each player studies their hand and can choose to either pick up the card which is face up of one from the deck. Once they have done this one of their cards must be discarded onto the face up pile so that you only ever have 7 cards at a time. The winner is the first to achieve 7 cards in a run or run/set combination. Sevens - Now here is a classic, make sure you have lots of room for this one! This a real crowd pleaser especially when the knocking starts and your dad makes his usual quip of singing he/she's knocking again! The dealer gives out all of the cards and the players may look at them arranging them in order of suit and number is best. Whoever holds the 7 of Diamonds starts the round and places the card in the middle of the table. Each person takes turn adding a card to the line in order, although you can go up or down from 7. Anyone with one of the remaining 7's can start a new line but tactically it is better to hold onto them for as long as possible. If you cannot lay a card in order you have to knock (cue ditty) and miss a turn. The first player to lay all of their cards is the winner. Beat your Neighbours - This has got to be one of my favourites and brilliant because you never know which way it is going to go a game of complete luck! What makes it so interesting is that your luck can change with a single card and the game aint over till it’s over! The dealer gives out all of the cards and the players must keep them face down, no peeping! The youngest lays the tip card from their pile face up in the middle and so it continues. So here is the good bit when the player before you lays a Jack, Queen, King or Ace you must lay extra cards. Jack is 1 card, Queen 2, King 3 and Ace 4. I f you cannot lay another picture card within that number the player wins all of the cards. If however you lay a picture card before you reach the number then the next player must take over laying down cards and you would win the pile in they couldn't lay a picture card in time. The person left with all the cards at the end is the winner. This game can be a little more tricky for the younger players but again is great for the ones looking for something to get stuck into. Find the Lady - This is the game to play when the whole extended family is round! You can use 2 packs if your group is large enough and that makes it all the more interesting! This one is more complicated and tactical than the others so younger players are encouraged to team up with an older relative. My family loves this game although we play slightly more complicated version it’s just what we are used too. 1 person will need to be nominated to keep score (we tend to have someone regularly checking the scores are correct!) The aim of this game is to win the least amount of hands with hearts in and to avoid winning the lady who is worth 25 points. The dealer gives out all of the cards and each round the person to the left becomes the next dealer. Each player starting with the person to the left of the dealer selects 3 cards to discard to the player on their left (you cannot pick up these cards until you have discarded your own). The lady (queen of spades) cannot be discarded. The player to the left of the dealer then lays 1 card in the centre players must lay following suit if they can with whoever lays the highest card in the original suit winning the 'trick'. If you cannot follow suit you can play any card. The winner of the 'trick' plays the first card in the next round. Once the game is over each player adds up the number of points and gives them to the person keeping score. So each Heart is worth the number of points of the cards value e.g. the 2 of hearts is worth 2 points and the lady is worth 25. The person with the lowest score overall is the winner. All of these games are brilliant for getting your family round a table together having a bit of a laugh, some healthy competition is good for us all too. Enjoy! Sam x If you like this article come and visit us at www.livelaughgiraffe.com . We would especially love you to join in and start a conversation, so be sure to visit our Join In page with your issue to discuss.
  • jasonssmith
    May 15, 2017

    According to research a night out with the lads isn't just fun, it's good for you! Studies by scientists at the University of Gottingen showed that regular male bonding reduces stress and improves health. The research of Barbary Macaques, apes that share incredibly similar social behaviour to humans, concludes that males are much more relaxed when with a group of fellow males than they are when with their partners or family. Levels of anxiety plummet when the boys are together and the probability of illness is vastly reduced among those that have regular male social interaction. This confirms an important issue for many Stay At Home Dads. Many of us look around at the mums and nannies that have become our regular daily surrounding and long for the interaction we once had with male colleagues and friends whose lives now seem a million miles from our own. Our lack of regular interaction can cause us to withdraw further, shunning opportunities to socialise, especially with those we don't know well. It can all to easily become a vicious circle. It's certainly a regular experience for me. In a way this research is telling us what many Stay At Home Dads already know. We need regular male interaction to stay mentally and physically fit. If we're not getting it we should make more effort. Talk to any of the other dads you see around you. Hold a reunion will ex colleagues. Get back in touch with mates you haven't seen for ages. Force yourself if necessary. Unfortunately the research didn't study additional benefits of males bonding over a pint and/or curry. But I guess that's just common sense.