Saturday, 1 December 2012

I've commited a crime!!

Yesterday I found myself doing something I swore (as a Mum) I would never do!! I commited the ultimate Mum crime.....I carried a scooter to school so my DS could ride it home.

I am all for kids getting to school and home again quickly, especially as in the last few days where the temperature has dropped considerably. But I made myself a promise way before I had kids that I would NEVER carry a childs toy when they got fed up with riding/pushing it in the street.

Mr L and I laughed about this a lot before we had kids. He always said he would expect weekly calls from our local supermarket go to and collect the array of toys belonging to us which had been abandoned because I would refuse to carry them home when the kids got tired of carrying them themselves.

BUT....without thinking I opened the garage door, took out R's scooter and carried over my shoulder the 10/15 minute walk to R's school just so he could have a little fun on the way home.

I must have been feeling VERY generous this day because E was in tow walking her baby pram, and she walks slower that a snail stuck in glue!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Referee

I read a quote recently that said 'If you have a child you become a Parent. If you have 2 children you become a referee'! This is SOOO true.

Every day is a constant battle to keep my 2 children from tearing each other apart.

I have lost count of how many times a day my DD cries because her big brother just doesn't know when to stop.

I frequently am removing him from sitting on her head or retrieving her favourite toy from a 'secret' hiding place because he's snatched it off her and run off with it.

I remember me and my big brother used to fight but now realise why my Mum used to get so stressed!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Spammers



Is there an actual point to Spammers? Apart from being annoying!!



I run a popular group on Facebook that has over 500 members. Collectively we provide local information and parenting knowledge to the community.

I set the group up when R was born mainly to make some new mummy friends because I knew no one where I live (except the In Laws) but also to help other Mums in my town be educated with information I never had access to when I had R.

Now it is thriving with 532 members at my last count but this has also left me wide open to ‘Spammers’, People adding adverts for loans and scams.

The group is ‘Closed’ which actually only means you can be added by an exsiting member or at the approval of the Admin team. I have no idea how they get in. I have a tight group of Admins that would not let anyone with a dodgy looking name in but somehow they sneak in under the many loopholes of Facebook and cause me a headache! Even more annoying is they can hide from Admins which means I don’t even know they’re there. Luckily, I have a very good group of friends who inform me.

So why SPAM?

It’s highly annoying and means extra ‘work’ for me as I have to enroll someone else to get rid of them. I wouldn’t mind but I don’t get paid to run the group. Its hard work enough trying to keep 500 women in line, let alone sort something out that I can’t even see!

SO GO AWAY SPAMMERS. YOU’RE NOT WELCOME HERE!



Saturday, 6 October 2012

Autumn Cooking



You know its Autumn in my house when my slow cooker comes out of the cupboard and gets a dusting off ready for plenty of use in the coming months. Autumn is my favorite time of year; Crisp fresh mornings, Cosy evenings in, Multicoloured leaves, Fluffy Slippers, Comfy cardigans and Stews & Casseroles for dinner.

The slow cooker becomes my best friend and the main reason I love it to much is because you can throw everything in, leave it to cook for 8 hours and enjoy a delicious/healthy family meal. Here are a few of my favorites -

Beef & Ale Stew (courtesy of Jamie Oliver) www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/beef-ale-stew-1

Somerset Pork Casserole – from a Swartz packet mix



Sausage and Bean Casserole
·        Brown 12 sausages in a frying pan and put at bottom of slow cooker
·        Add 2 chopped large onions, 2 sliced carrots and 2 sliced sticks of celery
·        Stir in can of baked beans, can of haricot beans and kidney beans
·        In a saucepan add 6 roughly chopped large potatoes, season and bring to boil, drain and then add to slow cooker
·        Add  ¾ pt of Vegetable stock
·        Slow cook on ‘high’ for approx 4 hours
·        Serve with green vegetables
And enjoy!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Sticky Fingers Poem

In aid of National Poetry Day today, I thought I'd share this with you all.....

Sticky fingers ' tangled hair,
scattered crayons, everywhere.
Fancy artwork ' on the wall '
drawn by midgets ' three feet tall.
Tell me why ' and tell me how '
that was mine ' I want it NOW!

Fix my bike. Buy me gum.
If you have it, I want some.
Dirty faces, grass-stained knees,
learning words ' like pretty please.
Endless hugs & goofy wet kisses,
learning respect with 'Mr.' & 'Mrs.'
Scraped-up hands, from falling down.
Tender tugs - - on my night gown.
Need more paper ' for Santa's letter?
I wasn't so bad ' but I've been better.
Watching a movie ' again and again '
Mommy, please ' put the tape back in.
Messy fingers ' hair gone wild '
all in the life ' of a precious child !!

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Creative Me



Even though I tried my very best at school to get it right I was rubbish at Textile Technology and during my time preparing for my GCSE I managed to (badly) make a bag which I unpicked so many times it took me about 6 months to complete. So while the rest of the class was speeding along with their other projects I was correcting something which turned out to be a total flop. A Tartan record bag with cardboard lining and a wonky pocket.

So, about a year ago I was asked if I’d like a sewing machine. At first I was skeptical if I would ever use it but I gratefully accepted and I even asked for a few starter bits for my following birthday and after some practice I have made something I am very proud of. It may only seem minor and very easy to the advanced seamstress but I to me it’s perfect because it’s straight around the edges, square and my hems are neat. 




My gallant effort has spurred me on and I have now started making some bunting for my DD’s bedroom. Although my sewing is a long way off perfect and the Unpicker is still my best friend, I have come a long way from getting tangled in the school classroom machines!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Grandad Idol



Grandparents play a special role in every family but I have noticed recently the special bond between R and his Granddad that just gets more magical every time they are together.

Sadly for my kids they will only ever have one Granddad but Mr L senior seems to fit the shoes (or should I say, slippers) perfectly. I look up to him as my own Dad now but there’s something about Granddad that R finds captivating.

R has always been curious about Granddads interests and hobbies and as he’s getting older it seems EVERYTHING Granddad does, R is interested in too, from Sports to Stamps! They’re like 2 peas in a pod born in different era’s.

A recent example is that R  had taken a sudden disliking to Peas, so the other night I changed the name of them to ‘Make you strong like Granddad green balls’. He wolfed them down so quick he was finished his dinner before me which is quite rare and another night I did Green Beans which I knew he wasn’t that keen on, but told him ‘They’ll make you strong like Granddad’ and he polished them off within 10 seconds and asked for more!!
 
The truth is, as much as I know R idolises Granddad, Granddad idolises R just as much.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Teacher Envy


I always had this dream that I would be the one who solely taught my kids everything. That they wouldn’t get influenced by anyone else because I could keep them with me 24/7 and they’d listen to ONLY me and do EVERYTHING I tell them…. Delusional or what???

This first hit me when I had to leave R at pre-school for the 1st day when he was 2. While he ran off to play with he toys and make new friends, I was the one walking away in tears, not because he wasn’t bothered I was leaving him for 2 ½ hours but because this was the beginning of the time when someone other than myself was going to teach him new things.

I decided quite early on in my pregnancy that I was going to give up work to look after him and see him achieve all the milestones for myself. Hear him say ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’ for the first time with my own ears and watch him take his first steps with my own eyes.

So here’s my latest dilemma!!!

R isn’t going to ‘Big’ school yet. In fact, he’s staying in the nursery school he’s been at since January this year with the same teacher and assisting staff, but for some reason the start of his first full year in this class with this teacher is quite daunting for me. Mainly because in the last 6 months they have taught him things I could never have taught him myself and he has done things I never imagined he could have achieved. He has his moments like any other 3 year old but he’s turning into such a charming young boy and I can’t help but feel I’m not able to take any of the credit.

I think the problem is because I’m jealous!! There….. I said it. Jealous!!

R’s teacher is all the things I would love to be but just fail miserably at.
She’s enthusiastic; even at 3:30 in the afternoon after 2 classes of 20 odd kids all day she greets the parents with a chirpy smile and a spring in her step.
She’s approachable; something I always strive to be but have just never got the hang of, I think this is linked to the enthusiasm. Parents are less likely to raise issues with a hapless person aren’t they?
She’s well travelled (I presume); I can't imagine that someone who just ‘popped’ to New York for half term is likely to stay at home and do nothing the rest of the time….Lucky girl!!
She’s Pretty, Fashionable, Slim, Fit and basically, she’s someone I wish I had been prior to having my children.

She referred to me as a ‘Yummy Mummy’ recently when introducing me to someone which I took as a total compliment, still I can’t help but be envious of her

The Nursery Nurse and all rest of the staff are always smiley and helpful too no matter how big or small your issue and I am very covetous of them all.

The bottom line is this…..Anyone that can teach a class of 3 and 4 year olds to sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ in Spanish will ALWAYS be better than me!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Managing a Family on a Budget



When I was pregnant with my first child, I always knew I wanted my Husband and I to be the ones to teach him things and see him do things for the 1st time. Taking his first steps and hearing him say his first word were, without a doubt, things we wanted to teach him to do ourselves. That’s why when it came to thinking about going back to work I decided that seeing as I’d earn less than a days nursery fees, plus train fares it made sense to become a stay at home mum. Any parent will tell you that it’s the hardest job in the world but definitely the most rewarding.

Even though I am very fortunate to have a loyal husband with a secure job, juggling the family outgoings on one income isn’t easy. I've never been very good with money but thanks to Mr L, I am reigned in just enough not to go overdrawn in the bank every month and he has taught me the difference between needing something and wanting something! So, clearly I am no expert but here's a few little things we do (or my friends do) that you might find useful.

Raid Charity shops for decent clothes (for kids and yourself), books and toys.

Search the internet for vouchers for eating out (Vouch4that, Groupon etc)

Use Supermarket loyalty schemes to pay for days out (Tesco Clubcard vouchers)

Use FREE events/places to plan family days out. Local parks and Museams are usually free admission and are educational too. Take a picnic and hope the sun shines!

Organise a 4 weekly meal planner. Buy all your store cupboard ingredients in one shop and just make 1 weekly trip to the supermarket for fresh things and daily essentials like bread and milk. This isn’t something I do as my Husband works shifts but I know it works well for friends.

Buy groceries on offer and stock up. If you have the space buy in bulk as you might not need it right away but lots of stuff has a long use by date so will save you money in the long run.

Buy seasonal fruit and veg. Things like Strawberries in the winter will cost you twice as much than during the Summer.

Buy Supermarket discounted items rather than expensive brands. Some of the products are the same just in different packaging.

Have a little hobby to bring in extra pennies. I have an Avon round and although I don’t like going out in bad weather it’s worth it just to have money of my own so I don’t have to say no to coffee or for an emergency bus fare.

For those with babies, check out the best deal regarding nappies. A baby will on average need 9 nappies a day so look around for information on eco friendly ones as they often come out cheaper in the long run. Disposable nappies will cost about £50 per month.

Ebay is great for selling your unwanted items. Look out especially for ‘free listing’ weekends. It can also be a good way of getting a bargain (but don’t get stung on postage costs)!

Local Facebook sales pages are also great for selling your unwanted things. Most things are advertised for collection in your Local area and you can ask for things you need/want and if someone has it, you can arrange to buy it.

Use gift vouchers you get for your Birthday/Christmas etc to indulge yourself. You deserve to treat yourself to something you wouldn’t normally buy. You’ll feel good having something you wouldn’t usually spend your own money on and it’s FREE!!

Regularly review your finances. As boring as it is, check incomings and outgoings on a regular basis and get rid of any unnecessary expenses.

We always make sure we have everything we need BEFORE we buy things we want. It’s easy to get carried away with a few luxurious purchases and forget that you’ve got a bill to be paid.

Ask yourself…Do you need it? Will you use it? Can I afford it?

 A brilliant website for helping you calculate costs is www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/parents

Check out change4life (www.nhs.uk/change4life) for cheap and easy family recipe ideas. It also has extensive information regarding healthy easting and exercise to help you change your lifestyle for the better.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Is Breast Really Best?


I offered to write an article about Formula feeding for 'Essex Mums' website which hasn't yet been published but I wanted to share it with you here and add my own personal thoughts. I am not claiming to be an expert on the subject but I did find a lot of interesting scientific information on my search about Formula feeding which I'll spare you!!!

When I was expecting R, I knew nothing about about any type of feeding. All I did know was what society showed me; Babies fed from bottles in public places, I very seldom came across a breastfeeding mum. 
I was NEVER given any information on breastfeeding, I only ever had a very old school midwife bark to me the dreaded words which probably made me dig my heels in and make up my mind ' Breast Is Best'. Mr L and I did our reasearch and decided we would formula feed both children but I'm sure that if I had I known my pro-breastfeeding friends when I was expecting R, I probably would have given breastfeeding a go. However, I saw the idea of family & friends feeding and bonding with my baby and the hope of a little extra sleep more beneficial to me at the time. Selfish I know, but I didn't know any different!

The whole idea that Supermarkets would not be allowed to sell formula (or Manufacturers allowed to produce it) IF it were dangerous to babies still confuses me. Government advises that you should exclusivley breast feed your baby for the 1st 6 months. However, they allow supermarkets to let you pick formula off the shelves and put it in your baskets without question. If  (dare I say it) Breast Really Is Best, this should not be allowed and formula only sold to those unable to breastfeed.

All I know is despite the controversy surrounding it, both of my children were exclusivley formula fed and apart from the odd infection here and there, like all kids, they are prefectly healthy AND that some of my friends children that were exclusivley breastfed for the first 6 months have some major health issues mine dont have!!

Here's my article -

'There’s no denying ‘Breast is Best’ and the government currently advises that you should exclusively breastfeed your baby for the first 6 months. However, if you cannot breastfeed or choose not to, there are many different brands of formula on the supermarket shelves nowadays packed with all the nutrients your baby needs from birth.

The Pro’s of Formula Feeding are that anyone can feed the baby so you can get a break and you know exactly how much they are getting. The Con’s are that it can cause Constipation, Colic and potentially some long term digestive problems.

One bottle can take up to 30 to 40 minutes if made fresh every time so if you give your baby six bottles a day, you could spend up to four hours a day preparing your baby’s feeds. There are some cheaters ways of making up bottles in advance but they are not recommended by Health Professionals nowadays because of the risk of contamination from unsterile environments. However, it does save time and as long as the formula isn’t added to the water until the last minute, it’s accepted if you have multiple babies to feed at once.

Prices vary by brand, type, and retailer, but it costs around £8 for a 900g tin of powdered cow's milk-based formula milk. Ready-made is available in cartons for convenience mainly if you’re going out for the day. You generally pay about the same for soya-based and lactose-free formulas. Hydrolysed-protein formula costs more, although it’s usually only available on prescription from your doctor.

Shop bought formula is based on cow's milk which is modified to resemble breast milk as closely as possible. First-stage formula which is suitable from birth up 1 year and Second-stage formula is designed to take longer to digest and is often promoted as ‘Hungry baby’ milk. Nutritionally, your baby will only need first-stage formula although if you feel you have a ‘Hungry baby’, change with caution as switching too early can give your baby constipation and although many milk manufacturers market their second-stage milk as suitable from birth, it’s best to wait until your baby is at least four weeks old.

The different types of formula are as follows -
  • Hydrolysed-Protein formula is specially designed for babies with an allergy or intolerance to the protein in cow's milk whereby they will have difficulty digesting the lactose or sugar in the milk. These are based on cow's milk and have the same nutritional value as standard formula milk but the protein in the milk is ‘Hydrolysed’, which means it is broken down so your baby is less likely to react to it. These milks are also generally lactose-free, so babies with intolerance to cow’s milk can digest them easier. Lactose-free formulas from are available also for babies with a Lactose intolerance.
  • Soya-based formula it is made from Soya Beans and modified with vitamins, minerals and nutrients to make it suitable for formula milk. You should only give your baby Soya-based formula on the advice of your doctor, health visitor or pediatrician as babies who are allergic to cow's milk are often allergic to soya, too. There is no evidence that changing to a soya-based formula can help to soothe your baby if they are suffering with colic. Soya formula may actually damage your baby’s teeth over time because it contain glucose syrup.
  • Follow On Milk is suitable for babies from 6 months. It is higher in protein, iron, vitamins and minerals to help your baby’s brain development. However, if your baby is happy with the current formula you do not need to change as they will get all these essential nutrients from the solid food you are introducing.
  • Goodnight formulas which are follow-on milks with added cereal. These are marketed at parents as helping babies to sleep better at night. However, there’s no evidence that they help babies to settle easier or that they take longer to digest. It’s not recommended to give goodnight milk to babies who are considered overweight or if they are less than six months old because cereal isn’t suitable for younger babies.
Growing-up milk is suitable for children aged 1 an above are marketed at parents as being better than cow's milk because they contain added iron and other vitamins and minerals. However, it’s not essential as once your baby is a year old they can have full-fat cow's milk as their main drink. They’ll also be eating a varied and balanced diet, which should provide them with all the essential vitamins and minerals, without the need for growing-up milk.'

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Witham Carnival..Dampened and Deflated!

The weather was pretty rubbish today but it certainly didn't stop half of Witham turning out for the annual Carnival which always has high expectations and today I can't help but think I'm not the only one feeling quite let down.

It was advertised that the procession started from the Football Club at 1:30 which is fine but its a good 10 minute walk from there to the high street where most people (including us) had turned out so see it. So we waited in the awful weather for what seemed like an eternity, the rain kept appearing so up went my hood and everytie it stopped again, my hood went down. Up and down like a happy yoyo for a good 20 minutes then finally a glimmer of a Police car's flashing lights appeared round the bend in the distance!!

E had given up by now and was flat out in the buggy but R was getting quite excited of people gathering, blowing whistles, drum beats in the distance, people selling not so official merchandise, lots of colourful floats and music........but we were greeted with at least 20 Carnival Queens, a good 30% were from places I've never heard of. 2 floats (The local Rugby Club and Brownies made an effort at least!), 1 brass band, a few Majorette troupes, 3 fire engines (one Vintage one, representing the Witham Round Table, advertising the Fireworks display which is in November!!!) and what I thought was a group of people lost in random cars but I found out after they were part of a local church group!

It went on for about 25 minutes, mostly delayed because the fire engines kept stopping to let kids on and off and apart from a police car slowing traffic behind it, you'd never have known it had come to an end.

SO, I propose this. Next year I want to see A LOT more effort from the Witham Community. What happened to the Childrens centres, Local dance groups, Football clubs, Schools, Nurseries, Playgroups, Zumba (and the like) fitness classes, diet club classes and local businesses that do community based work.

I have so many ideas running around in my head, I should join the Organising Commitee. I am definitely getting a float of some description though. One thing is for sure.... I won't let this happen again!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

To Grey or not to Grey?

So, ALL of my friends are talking about the '50 Shades of Grey' triliogy, and I admit I am curious purely because I like a bit of bedtime reading but I have hit back. I refuse to be a sheep and follow the world in what is becoming the fastest reading competition I have ever known.

Is it really as good as they say?

My friends in the real world are all raving about it but I have read mixed reviews from my Twitter buddies. Apparently, (according to my friend MAABOF) its not all about the 'Sex', she explains Mr Grey as being very troubled and the sex is only a small part of it. Whereas, @hollywills has described it as badly written.

Only because I like to be a bit different, in total spite of the craze that is going on in the world around me I have dug in my heels and purposly rented a book out of the library entitled 'Before I Die' which is about a teenage girl with Cancer, a complete contrast to the world I believe Mr Grey lives in!

So, will I read it??????.....mmmmm.....Maybe......you'll have to check back with me in a few months to see if I could resist the urge and fall under Mr Grey's spell!

Monday, 9 July 2012

My very first blog!!!!

My very first Blog....how exciting?? Please be gentle!


A little about me to get this started......I am 31, I am a stay at home (SAH) Mum to R & E. Wife to Mr L. I am a flitty little butterfly who likes to be busy, try new things often and gets bored easily. I would not survive if it wasn't for Cake, Wine and my Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone.

I have decided to join the world of mummy bloggers to share with the world the world of the 'Bubblegum Mum'.

My life often suprises me, makes me cry, smile from ear to ear or dispurse into fits of giggles everyday and I hope I can share that with you through my future blogs.