Thursday, 29 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

I have been neglecting my blog recently and focusing on home life and work life.  I have lots of posts drafted but not many completed! My work has been my training to become a childminder.  After months of waiting and chasing I finally had an Ofsted inspector round today and yeay I'm going to be registered!  I just have to wait a few weeks for my certificate and then my door are open to all those little kiddies that want to come play in the land of penguins.  Some of you may have seen my playroom pics!

So although I have thoroughly enjoyed putting my baby fried brain to work over numerous policies, procedures, activity plans, meal plans, fire evacuations and safeguarding I am glad to have a few weeks rest before I start advertising.  

This weekend we went to the Cotswolds with some friends and then on the way home met up with the in laws who kindly took the kids off our hands from Monday afternoon to Wednesday evening.  This is the first time I've ever been kid free for such a long period.  I cried the whole way home and couldn't dare look over my shoulder as I didn't want to see the empty seats behind us.  However I had two full nights sleep, slight lay ins and I managed to blitz the house from top to bottom, do some gardening and get all my paperwork up to scratch for Ofsted.  

Having the kids back home has been amazing!  When toddler penguin (nearly 3.5yrs old) got out the car to greet me I could just tell by the look on his face that his missed me.  He wouldn't stop cuddling me and giving me kisses it was amazing.  Even the day after I was still getting lots of hugs!  Baby penguin (10 months) flapped her arms in excitement when she saw me and has since been a bit clingy but I'm not complaining.  She is now bum shuffling a lot more and can now pull herself to standing on anything she can get her hands on....including her older brother!

We have nothing planned for tomorrow but with no washing, housework or gardening to do it can be a completely kid focused day.  Something that will become more of my life when I'm a childminder.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

Its my birthday!  31 today!

I was given a lie in till 645am, then woken up by toddler penguin singing happy birthday to me then jumping on me.  What better way to start the day!

Although it is raining I'm off up to London today with the kids to meet some friends for a bit of Ping Pong Dim Sum and then home to meet the babysitters and papa penguin is taking me out for dinner.  Then tomorrow we're off to the Cotswolds for the bank holiday weekend.  Can't wait!

Have had some lovely cards and papa penguin got me a spa experience day....for two.  He hates that kind of thing so I'm sure I can find someone to take!  I do find it very great that my mum and mother-in-law practically got me the same card!  Can you guess I like penguins?
If you would like to get me a virtual present please come like my facebook page ;) x

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Gallery - World Photography Day

This weeks theme from Sticky Fingers is World Photography Day.  Monday was World Photography Day we were to take a picture on that day, of anything.

I took this picture in the even of baby penguin having a go on her brothers wooden rocking horse.  My Grandad made this for him for his first birthday.  He has gone on to make a few more for my friends.  I hope that it will last years and they can either pass it on to their children or I keep it at home for my grandchildren to play with!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

Papa penguin got promoted!  Sure it has its cons of late nights, working away up north one night a week, always on his blackberry.  But this post is about focusing on the positives of life!  I actually enjoy his one night a week away.  I eat dinner with the kids and tidy up whilst they are playing so come 730pm at the latest I have approximately 3 hours to myself!  I can watch my rubbish on tele.  Sit on my macbook all night.  Do housework....ok maybe that isn't a pro!

Promotion means more money and possible end of year bonuses that we've never had before! Its not a huge amount but its enough for me not to have to stress about getting registered as a childminder before schools return.  Its enough that we can actually SAVE!  We save for our yearly expenses such as car costs, birthdays, christmas and holidays but we don't save for the kids or our future. And finally it means I can increase our weekly food shopping budget.  This past few weeks I've really struggled to keep our food below £80 a week so I'm looking forward to a bit more splurging!  Won't be much - maybe £100 a week!

In hindsight of papa penguin's promotion I treated our garden to a makeover.  I managed to spend £85 in the local garden centre on lots of shrubs.  Doesn't look like much but I'm fed up with bedding plants flowering for a few weeks then dying and looking ugly.  Hopefully these shrubs will last years and and some even produce flowers!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

With no holiday this week, no nursery and no playgroups this is the first week I've had to find things to do.  Today is Friday and we are staying home today as I am shattered!

I have decided that I love where I live, there is so much to do within an hours commute!

Monday we visited National Trust's Claremont Landscape Gardens and saw the birds of prey displays.

Tuesday we visited a friend in Wimbledon town centre, did some shopping and then checked out a new soft play at the YMCA.  We got the train as I thought that would be more fun for toddler penguin than sitting in a car and getting stuck in traffic!

Wednesday we went to Tilgate Park in Crawley near Gatwick Airport with some playgroup mums.  Had a great day at at just £3 for parking and we did the Nature Centre which a bit like a farm for another £3.

Finally yesterday I met a friend and her baby at Hyde Park.  We met in the Diana, Princess Of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens and then walked to Hyde Park and stopped off at the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk where we had a picnic, chatted and walked in the stream. It was a effort to get there bearing in mind I have a phil and teds double buggy so had to get a train to a station that had a lift, then 2 buses then walk.  I treated myself to new sunglasses as I'd left mine at home and oh the worst part of the day..... we lost (or it was stolen) toddler penguins micro scooter. But I won't bring our sadness over that onto this cheerful post!

After 4 days of being out I'm looking forward to spending today at home.  Papa penguin has been working away all week and is working the weekend too (he got a promotion and a big fat pay rise last week so hopefully this is just whilst he settles into his new role) so I have my friends coming over Saturday for a mini afternoon tea!  Can't wait!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

The Gallery - Play

This weeks theme from Sticky Fingers is Play.

Constantly having my camera out and snapping pics of the kids made it a challenging choice as I have so many of them playing.  However I wanted to share a picture of baby penguin on the swings.  At 9½ months she is quite new to swings at the playground.  However she absolutely loves them and chuckles away when I push higher!  Fair enough not as high as her 3 year old brother (who you can see in the background) but pretty high!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Birds of Prey Week at Claremont Landscape Garden

Today the kids and I visited Claremont Landscape Garden which is owned by the National Trust. We are members so its a great free thing to do.  Most National Trusts hold weekly events and activities.

This week's event is Birds of Prey week held by Surrey Falconry who are providing a static bird display along with two flying bird displays each afternoon (weather permitting).  I was a bit confused what it meant by static bird display as I never been to one of these before but its where different species comprising of hawks, falcons, owls, vultures and eagles are featured under a gazebo and we can get a close up look and ask lots of questions. My questions included things like how do they feel to be chained up and are they okay being locked up in the van.  All were answered well and the birds of prey staff were pretty knowledgeable about all the different species. I was a bit shocked to learn what they were fed but thats nature for you!  Toddler penguin loved checking the owls out, definitely his favourite.

Along with the bird displays, Claremont are also holding craft activities and a children's themed trail.  Toddler penguin below is demonstrating the owl he made and we also created a badge. He chose the colours and I did the colouring!

I also wanted to share a pic of the play area at Claremont.  It is one of the only National Trust places that offer a children's play area.  Also a fab picture of toddler penguin feeding the doves who were getting a little too close for his liking and I couldn't forget about baby penguin who was an angel being carted around in the buggy all day!

If you live in the Surrey area I recommend you check Claremont Landscape Garden out!

Weekly Meal Plan - August 5th

Toddlers Dinners

Monday - Pasta and Sauce
Tuesday - Turkey Drummers, Waffles and Veg
Wednesday - Beans and Cheese on Toast with Mama Penguin
Thursday - Fish fingers, Alphabet potatoes and Veg
Friday - Mini muffin pizza's with cheese and ham

Grown up Dinners
Bit boring this week as papa penguin has lots of late work nights so will not need feeding Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
Monday - Pad Thai
Tuesday - Freezer food for me
Wednesday - Beans and Cheese on Toast with Toddler Penguin
Thursday - Freezer food for me
Friday - Salmon Risotto
Saturday - Chicken Katsu Curry with Rice
Sunday - Slow Cooker Jambalaya

I've linked this post with At Home with Mrs M and her Meal Planning Monday linky. Its been great to see other meal plans as well!

Meal Planning Monday

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

This weeks reasons to be cheerful.....

Firstly I'm on holiday with my besties. What could be a better reason than that! We are staying in a rather large cottage in the Lake District with our husbands/boyfriends and our kids. One boy is 5 years old, three boys are aged 3 (including toddler penguin) and then there is baby penguin who is 9.5months old which leads me to my second reason to be cheerful.

Baby penguin who usually has at least one 2 hour nap at home is having to fit around our schedules. If we all look like we aren't getting out the cottage any time soon in the mornings I put her down and get maybe an hour out of her till either we wake her up to go out or the sound of all the kids passing our bedroom door wakes her up. She has done really well and has been a complete angel!

Toddler penguin is having so much fun! He has had his mates to play with every day. He is getting fresh air, going on boats, going to parks, castles, outdoor adventure playgrounds, having picnics, scooting, drawing and watching films when we get home after a busy day! He has been going to bed about 9pm every night and does have a few crabby moments during day but apart from that he is being a really good little boy.

Finally my last reason is that I've discovered that my new MacBook Pro (which ended up coming away with us) has a SD card reader which means I can share a pic!