Monday, 30 September 2013

Weekly Meal Plan - September 30th

Toddlers Dinners

Monday - Chicken nuggets, homemade wedge and peas
Tuesday - Beans on Toast
Wednesday - Cheese and Ham Omelette
Thursday - Sausages, potatoes and peas
Friday - Eggy Bread with Cucumber and Carrot Sticks

Grown up Dinners
Monday - Tricolour pasta twirls with pesto and cheese (Parlick Fell Sheeps cheese for mama penguin)
Tuesday - With papa penguin out the kids and I will have Beans on Toast!
Wednesday - Chicken Katsu Curry and Rice
Thursday - Lime and Coconut (from a jar!) Chicken Stir Fry and Noodles
Friday - Out and papa penguin has requested a pizza!
Saturday - Oh dear I'm out again!  Papa penguin and the kids are having Bangers and Mash.
Sunday - Chilli con carne

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Lidl happy!

Recently papa penguin has been complaining about the supermarket ham we get.  This is after a trip to his parents who had some pretty good stuff which they claimed they got from Lidl.  

Papa penguin grew up in Germany after moving there at the age of 4 for his fathers job (aka Papi as toddler penguin calls him).  They as a family moved around southern Germany a bit and so had access to all the german hams on the market.  He has always claimed that the english stuff just isn't as good!

So I dragged the kids round Lidl one afternoon and was very impressed with the vast variety of food in the whole store.  If you aren't bothered about brands then its a great place to shop.  I've seen people in there filling their trolley obviously doing their weekly shop is easily done.  However I chose just to get a few items and here is what I bought on one particular shopping trip.

Just to prove a point I compared the price of these items from Lidl to Sainsburys (prices correct 26-29 September 2013).  Turns out I saved £8!  Everything at Lidl was cheaper!

There were a few items that I couldn't get from Sainsburys such as the hams, spiced biscuits and Cornichons so I haven't included them in the price comparison.

I'm definitely Lidl happy.  The prices are great and they don't compromise on quality like some cheaper supermarkets I feel do.

Friday, 27 September 2013

I've become a full time housewife!

I've been a bit lost recently.  Papa Penguin has been working really hard recently in his new job role and is hardly ever at home. If he is its for dinner then he is back on his laptop doing work again! All of a sudden I've have found that I have become a full time housewife and stay at home mum.

Technically I've been a full time housewife and stay at home mum since I got made redundant from my PA job last year, however I only noticed it this week after looking after a friends 2 year old for two days.

I've always been to really lucky and had a husband that was home by 6pm. We took turns bathing the kids.  He had a few jobs round the house which included emptying the bins, putting our bins and recycling out on bin day, hoovering, mowing the lawn, changing the bedsheets and even tidying the playroom.  The last few weeks I've done it all including mowing the lawn!

I've become like every other housewife out there.  Now I'm not complaining about this....I'm adjusting.  I think about those single parent families, army wives and families with children who are more demanding and I know I've got it easy.  But no one likes change!

At the start of this week things were going well.  Then I had an extra person to look after and my organisation went downhill. Once the kids were in bed I was too shattered to do anything but have a bath, get in my pj's and watch the Bake Off. The following morning came, I got up early and had to tidy the kitchen, lounge, hallway and playroom before the kids got up.  That way I could spend the morning with them before I had another kiddie to entertain.

This week any spare time I have had had been doing housework and preparing contracts and documentation for my childminding business.  Gone are the days of having time to myself to read a magazine or catch up on my crochet.

I am writing this draft post at 6am in the morning.  Baby penguin is lying across my chest.  She keeps squirming in pain with wind and lying on her belly with me patting her lower back helps.  One hand patting, one hand typing!

This week has been good practice for when I'm childminding. I need to be more organised in the day to day running of the household. The house won't run itself as I keep telling Papa Penguin!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

Its a Thursday, toddler penguin is at nursery and baby penguin is napping!  I've hoovered the car, baked some cakes, been to the sorting office and tidied the lounge.  Now I'm sitting writing this with a cup of Clipper White Tea and 3 bourbon biscuits....bliss!

I went to the Cake and Bake show at the weekend.  It was great!  I really need to get one of those shopper trolleys as gosh my bags were heavy!  I got some bits for baby penguin's first birthday and I got one of those cupcake boxes to carry my creations around safely.  I also found Ms Cupcake - a vegan baker who most importantly makes dairy free cupcakes!  I got her recipe book (signed personally) and I can't wait to get baking.  The batch of cupcakes I made today is from my Cupcake Heaven magazine which I've just subscribed to!

And finally I got registered this week as a childminder!  I did my course back in March and I can't believe how long its taken! Currently sorting out insurance and then can start advertising!  My playroom needs some visitors!

Monday, 16 September 2013

100 days to Christmas

Wow did you know its only 100 days until Christmas?  Some people are saying 99 days but according to OfficalSanta on twitter its 100!

I wish I was one of those people that shopped throughout the year for Christmas presents or crashed the January sales.  However I don't because I know that I will buy something for someone, then forget I've bought it or where I've put it and end up buying something else! 

Instead I am organised in other ways.  I have a spreadsheet with a list of people to buy presents for, give each person a budget, add a food and drink budget.  Total it all up and divide by 12.  We then put that much money aside each month into a dedicate Christmas account.  And incase you are wondering we need to save just over £50 a month to cover Christmas costs.   

The only thing I do buy throughout the year is Christmas decorations, especially if I go somewhere on holiday and I find something for our tree.

As we get older there are more kids to buy for so we end up spend less on adults.  After all Christmas is all about the children!

The photo we used in 2012 for Christmas cards

Weekly Meal Plan - September 16th

This is a bit of a boring week as papa penguin is out two nights and we're busy over the weekend.  So this week I shall be saving money and using up whatever I can find in the fridge, freezer and cupboards.

Tonight I'm going to be making inside out chicken kiev's. This is a really simple recipe....after flattening some chicken breasts with a hammer/rolling pin, you chuck them under the grill for 10 minutes.  Take them out, turn them over and spread with goats cheese and a pre made mix of garlic, garlic and more garlic and some parsley.  Then sprinkle some breadcrumbs over them and put them back under the grill for 10 minutes.  Serve with potatoes and veggies.

I'll shall update this post throughout the week as to what else I shall be making!  

Toddler penguin will be easy over the next few days has he has a cough and cold and never eats when he is ill.  So he'll be getting things like eggy bread, few nuggets and mash potato!

Tuesday's update: Tonight the toddler penguin and I had chipolatas and baked beans.  He had his with a potato waffle and I had new potatoes left over from Monday night.  Baby penguin started off with salmon and potato puree but ended up eating/throwing on the floor one of my sausages and a few of my baked beans!

Wednesday's update: Papa penguin and I had pitta pizzas.  You spread tomato puree on your pitta bread, add chopped peppers, tomatoes and salami and I added feta to mine and cheddar to his.  Kids had pasta twirls in tomato sauce.  I freeze batches of  vegetable pasta sauce in ice cubes then just defrost a couple in the microwave to serve.

Thursday's update: We had a yummy pork, mange tout, asparagus stir fry in oyster sauce served with rice.  Toddler penguin had turkey dinosaurs, peas and a potato waffle

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Mummy my shoes are too tight....

....yes thats because you've been in crocs and sandals all summer and you aren't used to these ones. 

No mummy they hurt.

So off toddler penguin and I went to Clarks to double check his size.  I previously bought him some shoes in October 2012 and got him fitted again in May 2013 and was told he hadn't changed, toddler penguin still was a size 7F.

Getting him measured yesterday I was told he is now a 9F!  I can't believe he has gone up two sizes over the summer.  

I decided to do what I did last year and buy him two pairs of shoes, one trainer style and one smart style.  I ended up buying the exact same trainers and very similar shoes.  I just felt like the other trainers were too old for him.  He is only 3 years old and he isn't going to want dinosaurs on his feet forever.

Loved looking at the girlie shoes whilst I was there. Can't wait to shoe shop for miss baby penguin!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

So summer looks over but we've been out enjoying the muddy puddles and making the most of our little red headed bodies not getting sunburnt!

Toddler penguin went back to nursery but instead of doing just two mornings a week he now does two full days and one morning. This means two days a week I have to make him a lunch.  This makes me feel like a real mum. I don't know why it just does.  However came downstairs this morning to find papa penguin had eaten all the bread and we don't get anymore until the veg box comes later on this afternoon.  This is what I came up with.....hope he likes it.

I've also been busy planning baby penguin's 1st birthday.  I've decided on a ladybird theme and I'm in awe at all the amazing cakes on google images....I've got my work cut out! I did a ladybird photoshoot yesterday for her invitations....great fun but not many great shots!

And finally after my post/rant the other day about baby penguins bad sleeping she slept through last night!  I feel so refreshed today and really hope its the start of more nights like this!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The Gallery - Self

This weeks theme from Sticky Fingers is Self.  I took this picture with my brand new phone on the day I got it (last Friday) as I was checking the camera out.

I look amazing!  Haha....thats because I've used this setting called "Beauty Face" and it has basically got rid of all my wrinkles and freckles.

I do think its a great setting but I'm not sure how I feel about it in terms of a young teenager using this particular phone.  Kids have enough insecurities as it is without your phone telling you how you should look.

So with this in mind I'm also showing you the picture of how I really look...a picture taken just a few seconds before.

PS I have the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

What has happened to my angel baby?

Generally I like to think I've been blessed with two extremely easy children.  They aren't hugely demanding, are well behaved and are great at playing on their own when I'm trying to get dinner on.

Baby penguin was born in October 2012 and within a month she was in a great routine (baby whisperers 3 hour EASY routine). I remember in December I had a friend babysit whilst I popped out to visit a potential nursery.  She arrived at 1045am, I told her that baby penguin was due a nap around 11am and to just take her upstairs, lie her down in her sleeping bag, give her a dummy and muslin and she would go straight to sleep.  She did.  My little angel baby.  My friend was impressed.

Things continued like that.  Nap times were a breeze.  Bed time the same.

Baby penguin is now 10 months old and a robin hood sleep stealer!  She steals sleep from me and gives it to someone else.  She certainly doesn't keep it for herself.

2 weeks ago in laws had both kids for 2 days.  It was bliss.  The day after their return, baby penguin turned very clingy.  Her clingyness starts when I leave the room and is so much worse from 3pm onwards.  I can distract her with a random toy or kitchen utensil for about 10 minutes but it doesn't last.

Nap times and bed times have become a nightmare. She has never slept through (except at the in laws) and always woken for a bottle at about 230am.  I've gotten used to that and have been happy to let her have it.  Two nights ago for example she woke at midnight.  I gave her a bottle and she went straight back to sleep.  I only pre-make one night time bottom and a 7am bottle.  Two hours later at 2am she wakes up again.  I go in, settle her, walk out.  She screams.  She shares a room with toddler penguin and I don't want him to wake up so I go back into her room, pick her up and bring her into bed with me.  She wriggles and fights and screams....papa penguin sleeps through it all....I kick him hard and tell him to take over.  He says he's not having her in our bed, takes her back and rocks her to sleep.  Half hour later she screams again.  This is the 3rd night in a row she has been like this.  I leave her to cry.  I am exhausted.  She isn't really crying that badly I assure myself but it wakes toddler penguin up and he comes into our room telling us she is awake and standing in her cot.  I bring her back into our room, switch the light on and tell her that if she wants to be awake then she can sit on the floor an play with a box of toys I had out.  I get back into bed and cry. This is a sleep deprivation cry.  I look over at her and she is playing nicely.  Makes me cry more.  I wipes my tears and take another look at her and she has her head buried in her mussie on the floor (she is very flexible) and it makes my heart ache.  I get up and give her a big cuddle and with a thump make papa penguin get the 7am bottle and tell him to make up another for the morning.  He isn't impressed but I don't care!  She downs the bottle and sleeps through till 645am.  

I can no longer lie her in her cot and walk away.  I have to rock her and at bedtime in the evenings I've found out that the only thing that works is by bringing her into our room, lying on the bed with her on my chest and putting Josh Groban and she stays awake until I start singing along.  

I really hope this is a phase.  I know it won't last forever and I do enjoy our sleepy cuddles but it would be nice if she would just go to sleep when told!

Rant over.  Its 9pm and I'm off to bed to catch up on some sleep!

Radical Reward Chart Review

I've tried a few reward systems in the past year with toddler penguin who at the time of writing is approaching 3½ years old and is my all means a generally well behaved child but he sure can have his moments!

I was sent a reward chart with a difference from Radical Rewards to review.  I believe in praising and rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad behaviour unless its really bad then its a time out.

This reward chart is all about rewarding the positives. So I let toddler penguin choose his own chart in order to get him involved from the beginning.  He chose wacky wildlife as is a huge fan of barn owls.

I also chose for toddler penguin to have his chart personalised and this involved sending a photo of him by email with the promise that it is deleted once printed and laminated ready to use.  You do need to have some blu-tac to hand to stick the little guy on to the chart, but then you need blu-tac anyway to stick the chart to the wall!

In the post we receive the reward chart and mini instructions which offer a few guides such as never use the reward chart as punishment and move them down the chart and maybe pin their reward to the top of the chart as motivation.

The idea of the chart is that each child moves up the wall as opposed to a typical tabular chart that goes from left to right.

Here is how toddler penguin has moved up his chart so far....
1 - Eating his dinner all up
2 - playing nicely whilst I got our bags and picnic stuff ready
3 - for tidying up the toys
4 - getting undressed, getting in the bath and putting pjs's on when asked one evening.
5 - doing a wee on the toilet (followed a wee earlier in his pants)
6 - getting dressed by himself (well half way)
7 - putting his shoes on when asked
8 - being nice to his sister
9 - tidying up the toys
10 - doing a poo in the toilet (not in his pull up when he wakes in the morning)
11 - sharing toys at a friends
12 - helping mummy water the garden
13 - tidying up the toys
14 - doing a poo in the toilet (not in his pull up when he wakes in the morning)

We have 5 steps to go before he gets his final reward which is a trip to "Potato City" or Chessington World of Adventures as its nearer to us than any other theme park.  He also received a new Disney Car's character when he reached goal 10.

Some days I forget to praise him by moving him up the chart, other days he goes up 3 spaces.  It was a bit of a rush to get him from 10 to 15 as baby penguin can now stand and she kept putting toddler penguin in her mouth and bum shuffling off with him!

It currently retails at £14 with free postage if you are happy to have it folded, or it can arrive in a tube but you have to pay a bit more.  Folded is fine as you just have 3 horizontal creases that easily flatten out once stuck on the wall. £14 may seem pricey for a paper chart but it is of good quality and reusable. If you would only need to buy one its worth the money but I think if you had more than one child to buy for it could get expensive therefore I believe a discount should be offered for multiple purchase.s Also a leaflet detailing the actual species on the chart at each point would be handy as I'm clueless with that sort of thing....all owls look the same to me ;)

I really recommend this chart as a great and different way to reward good behaviour.  Plus it looks great  in our kitchen and I've had lots of comments.

Disclaimer: This is my own personal review and I have received no payment for this post other than to keep the chart.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Reasons to be Cheerful

The sun is still shining! I've had a fab week with the kids.  We've been to local parks, gone finishing and weirdly spent a day in kiddicare!

On Saturday we got baby penguin's imprints done.  She wasn't sure about it but as we had it done when toddler penguin was 9 months we felt that we had to get it done for her!  Watch this space as we have to wait 4-6 weeks for it to be finished properly!

On Sunday we took a last minute trip to Southampton to see Auntie Cas (papa penguin's sister). She is working as a photographer on a very big ship and is often at sea for long periods of time.  So we try and visit when she docks, even though we can only see her for a few hours at a time.  This visit papa penguin and toddler penguin handed their passports in so that they could go on the ship.  With a crew member as your guide you can go practically anywhere!  Toddler penguin had a blast!

Finally I'm back following what I eat with myfitnesspal. I've found that although I lost weight at the beginning of the summer I've actually in the last few weeks put it back on.  Already by watching what I eat I've lost a few kilo's!

Now I just checked the weather as we are in for a few days of rain.  I'm actually looking forward to it as I think our garden needs it!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Weekly Meal Plan - September 2nd

Toddlers Dinners

Monday - Turkey Drummers, Waffles and Veg
Tuesday - Teriyaki Chicken with noodles and beans
Wednesday - Sausages, potatoes and peas
Thursday - Salmon Pasta
Friday - Mini muffin pizza's with cheese and ham

Grown up Dinners
Monday - Thai fish cakes and egg fried rice
Tuesday - Bangers, mash, sweetcorn and peas
Thursday - I'm attending a work reunion so papa penguin will be having something from the freezer!
Friday - Chilli con carne
Saturday - Homemade chicken kiev's and roast potatoes
Sunday - Creamy pasta with asparagus and peas

Meal Planning Monday