Tuesday, 24 November 2015

I'm still here!

I don't want to loose this blog but I've recently been feeling very unorganised and this blog had to take a step back!  I also felt like I was losing my way.

So I started a new blog!  Really hoping I find the time to keep it up to date and post back here every now and then.  I miss writing about the kids.  Not just to share with you guys but I really enjoy reading my posts back a few years later!  So I'm not going anywhere....

However my new love of clean eating is being blogged over here at The Nutritious Penguin....

Thursday, 1 October 2015

My Thursday...

It is Thursday again.  It is that time of the week where I have no kids. Yes no kids!  Pink penguin is at nursery again this morning.  She has been going two mornings a week and loving it.  She does ask every time if I'm going to come with her but I tell her its only for children and grown ups aren't allowed. She seems to accept that.

So what have I been doing.  Last week I was a bit under the weather and also very unorganised.  I had my cleaner due in the afternoon so spent the morning drink herbal tea and tidying up.  Yes I tidy for the cleaner.

Today I have fitted a radiator in our loft shower room.  Yes I fitted it.  Me.  A woman.  I'm super proud as I've been waiting for the original plumbers to come back and do it for over a month now but we had to wait for a valve and that took ages and I guess I got fed up of waiting so I did it myself! The shower screen was finally fitted yesterday. Have to wait for the silicone to dry but it looks as though we can use it from this evening! 

I have also done my weekly towel wash and swept the driveway.  We had a plasterer here yesterday plastering the kids bedroom ceiling as there is a bit of plasterer dust outside along with lots of autumn leaves. Hoping to get stuck in with painting this weekend.  So now I'm off to strip the remnants of wallpaper left in their bedroom.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Where have I been?

When life gets busy I'm afraid its my blog that suffers!  I haven't forgotten about it, in fact I think about things I could write every day.  Its just I never find the time to do it.

I work four long days childminding from 730am to 615pm.  With no decent lunch break and no time to myself, my evenings are spent getting the kids ready for bed, washing, ironing, cleaning (I do have a cleaner that comes once a week so won't moan too much there) and getting the house ready for the next day.

However as I write pink penguin is currently at nursery/preschool. She will be going two mornings a week. Therefore I have one morning, 3 hours a week to myself!  I have spent this morning doing two wash loads,  tidying the house ready for the cleaner to clean and sorting bills and finances....or lack of!

Maybe I'll start to find the time to blog more now I have a bit more freedom!  Watch this space!

Blue penguin back and school, pink penguins first day at nursery!

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Potty Training

We are potty training pink penguin! It was papa penguin's idea not mine surprisingly! 

A few months ago we dug out the potty, she had a play with it, mainly putting dolly on it. We asked her to sit on it but she never did.  Then at bath time she started to ask to sit on the toilet before bath.  She did this for about a month, only once doing a wee. She would sit on it and read a book. Then she kind of lost interest.  I did too.

Then three weekends ago on the Saturday we knew we weren't going any where for the day so we put a loose dress on her and some comfy leggings and let her choose her knickers.  By 9am she had wet herself twice.  I was ready to give up but all of a sudden she just kinda got it.  She'd be running around the garden, then stop and ask to use the toilet.  It had to be the toilet and not the potty.  We struggled to get her in her nappy at bed time.  On Sunday it all went to pot!  She pooped herself twice by midday, countless wet knickers and we gave up! Monday I had forgotten about it and naturally put her back in nappies.

On Tuesday we went to our normal playgroup, got home just before lunch, changed her nappy and she refused to put it back on. So I went with the flow and gave her some knickers to wear.  10 minutes later she asked to use the toilet.  I lost track of time after that and we did the school run nappy free. I had completely forgot to put her in a nappy until we were pulling up on the driveway and she said out loud that she needed a wee wee.  Amazing!  Apart from night time she hasn't been in a nappy since. One Wednesday I packed her a little back pack of spare clothes and she so proudly carried it on the walk to blue penguin's school.

Now its not all going smoothly.  She has had one wee accident in the car during a deep sleep and she can't see to make it to the toilet for number twos.  BUT she is waking up dry, waking us in the night to use the toilet (as annoying and sleep depriving as it is!) and we even managed a trip up to London and back with no accidents.  Thank goodness for the travel potty's! 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Weekly Meal Plan June 8th

Last Friday I made chilli con carne for all the kids.  I can't believe how well it went down with the tortilla chips.  I had ages 13 months, 22 months, 2½ years and two 5 year olds. Bowls were scrapped! I really want to get the family into more clean and lean meals but for now I'm sticking to just me and papa penguin.

Here is my ipad screenshot of my menu planner app of this weeks meal plan: 

For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
AdultsClean & Lean - Spelt Risotto with butternut squash
Tuesday:KidsFish Fingers, spaghetti hoops and new potatoes

Grown upsI'm having stir fry veg and prawns as papa penguin is away 
Wednesday:KidsSpaghetti bolognese
Grown ups
Homemade Gluten free pizza - recipe here
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so quick pasta and homemade sauce from the freezer
Grown upsJacket potatoes - papa penguin will have beans and cheese.  I'll have salad and a small spoonful of beans.
Friday:KidsSalmon, potatoes & veg - last month this didn't go down well.

Grown upsSmoked Salmon and Spinach wholewheat pasta
Saturday:LunchLunch bits - selection of ham, cheeses and cruditees 

Chilli con carne leftovers from freezer as kids will be eating at a kids party
Sunday:LunchSpaghetti Primavera

DinnerCottage pie and Salad

Monday, 1 June 2015

Cars Party

At the end of April we celebrated blue penguin turning 5. Then at the beginning of May he had a hall party down the road with a cars theme! Pink penguin is now aged 2.5 years.  Where has the time gone! 

With 38 children invited I knew it could get a bit mental but didn't want to fork out for an entertainer. I think the party went well without one.

Here's a peek into our day starting with his invitation:

We had some great space to use up in the hall.  So I ordered this road tape from amazon which covered a vast majority of the floor.  Papa penguins dad build a ramp for the kids to race cars on.  This was a massive success!  We took all our disney cars die cast vehicles (78 in total) and a toy garage. Also a great success.  I set up two tables, one with biscuit decorating and another with disney car tattoos from ebay. We ended up running out of the write on icing and having to send someone home to get icing sugar and food colourings!

I had party games planned and even put music on to get the kids going but they were having so much fun just playing.  Some times you don't ned to intervene and just let them get on.  Go with the flow!

As usual I was up the night before till ridiculously late making his cake which I think turned out great with the help of papa penguin and my mother! I have a great stock of those colourful ikea plates which come in handy for party's and kids were served ham, jam or cheese sandwiches, a selection of cocktail sausages and crips and a few bowls of cucumber and carrots were shared out.  There was a cupcake for everyone for pudding and fruit shoots or small bottles of water.  Adults had pimms, coffee and garlic bread!

At the end of the day blue penguin said his favourite part of the day was opening all his presents (he was one lucky spoilt boy) and the worst part was all the food because he ate too much and felt sick after!

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Weekly Meal Plan June 1st

Hello fellow readers. Its been a while!  Unfortunately when life gets busy and hectic its my blog that suffers. I've been doing really well following the clean and lean way for our meals but I admit my snacking is not something I'm proud of.  I'm a total stress eater and my poor body has been through its ups and downs! I've also been working on a 4 weekly menu plan for the kids.  I'll share this on another day!

So here is my ipad screenshot of my menu planner app of this weeks meal plan: 

For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
AdultsClean and Lean: Chicken, Asparagus & Cashew Stir Fry
Tuesday:KidsSlow cooker Ham, roast potatoes, peas

Grown upsI'm having stir fry veg and prawns as papa penguin is away 
Wednesday:KidsChicken nuggets, waffles and baked beans
Grown ups
Red Thai Chicken Curry
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so something on toast; baked beans on egg....each child has their own preference.
Grown upsRoast Tomato Pasta
Friday:KidsChilli con Carne - mild for the kids

Grown upsSame as the kids - with extra chilli
Saturday:LunchLunch bits - selection of ham, cheeses and crudités 

DinnerSteak Casserole with Pie Topper
Sunday:LunchHomemade Soup and rolls

DinnerBoiled Ham in Apple Juice and Golden Syrup

Meal Planning Monday

Saturday, 28 February 2015

10 years since my daddy died

Dear daddy,

Today marks the 10 year anniversary of your death.

Today, 10 years ago, I was living in a house share in the Docklands and had just sat down to have dinner.  I was about 5 mouthfuls in when there was a knock at the door.  My housemate sitting next to me didn’t move. So I got up and answered the door to find mum there.  She didn’t live local. I knew. I just knew.

Mum and I went upstairs to my bedroom. She told me that Peter (his “housemate”) had found you that morning. You had passed away in your sleep.  At least I like to think thats what happened. As mum was talking I couldn’t stop thinking about the dinner I was halfway through.  The dinner that I thought I was going to throw up.   I had an ensuite.  I knew it wasn’t far to the bathroom.  Would it be rude to leave mum talking. I had this feeling of numbness.  I don’t really remember what we talked about but I packed a few things and went downstairs.  My housemate couldn’t make eye contact with me.  He didn’t even offer to clean up my dinner for me.  Its the silly things you remember.  I remember scraping the plate into the bin then scrubbing at the plate for a ridiculous amount of time. I got in the back of mums car, my now stepdad drove and I cried all the way back home.  I think it was raining.  I’m not sure.

It was a Monday.  I was due to go skiing on the Wednesday.  A ski trip that you had paid for. 

Tuesday morning I rang work.  I strongly told them, holding back the tears, that you had died and that I wouldn’t be coming into work.  That afternoon flowers arrived.  They were really pretty. You would have liked them.  I remember how much you enjoyed our garden, you worked hard keeping it nice. Wish I had paid more attention to your gardening lessons! Wish you had taught me more. Wish you were still here to teach my about my garden.  Tell me what are weeds and what are not.

We visited the house on Tuesday.  Went to see Peter.  I didn’t go upstairs.  I didn’t want to see your bedroom.  I never went in their until someone else had stripped the bed. I think my mum did I’m not sure.  She did a lot for me over those next few months.  She was my rock.

Tuesday we had a visit from a good family friend Brenda.  I think it was a visit.  Maybe a phone call.  I don’t have a great memory.  I should write things down more.  She convinced me to go skiing.  Mum told me there wasn’t much we could do.  We were waiting on the coroners report. It would take at least a week.  My ski trip was for 10 days.

Mum drove me back to my house so I could pack.  My other housemate was there.  I remember her giving me a hug.  I don’t remember much else, I don’t remember going to the airport. I went with two friends and a group of their friends.  I don’t remember much about that holiday. I remember listening to classical music on the aeroplane and crying, fighting back the tears so no one could see.  I remember being in a chinese restaurant with everyone.  Chinese was the last place we had eaten out.  I had done all the ordering for you and Peter, like I always did.  This time though other people were taking control and I couldn’t order what I wanted.  I remember going to the bathroom and sitting on the floor crying.  I remember ski school. A great distraction.  I remember a few days after ski school and going down a slope by myself.  Getting stuck and my legs freezing up.  They were shutting the slopes and I couldn’t move.  I was freaking out.  They had to get a skidoo to help me down.  I didn’t cry, I thought I was being strong.  I remember drinking a lot of milky hot chocolates every day. Alcoholic ones.  I was cold, they warmed me up.  I remember eating a carbonara and being very ill that night.  I didn’t know that you dying would cause my body so much stress that I would become lactose intolerant and 10 years later still suffer from IBS.  I remember ringing my mum everyday away from everyone.  They only time I felt I could cry. I think back to it now.  My daddy had died two days before, I was on a skiing holiday and people thought I wasn’t upset.  To them maybe. My behind closed doors I was an emotional wreck.

I don’t remember the days after the holiday and leading up to your funeral.  The coroner told us that you had died from a ruptured aneurysm. I think I went to work.  I must have as I didn’t get signed off work till the end of April.  

I remember the morning of the funeral.  Putting on my black skirt suit.  My work suit. I wore heels.  I felt taller and felt that being above everybody meant less eye contact.  Everyone met at your house.  I can’t remember how many cars we had.  I think two. I was in the first car with mum. Laura and Amy came with me.  They were like sisters to me. They held my hands the whole way to the crematorium. I don’t remember if it was a sunny day or not but I wore sunglasses. I was glad they were on as it meant I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone at the crem.  Uncle Tony (who is no longer in our life anymore due to Will issues) did a reading and Amy’s dad Scott read your eulogy.  I still carry around a copy of it in my purse. 

The wake afterwards was not what I expected.  There was alcohol and laughter.  I met your first wife. As I only visited you at weekends, and not every weekend at that, there were lots of people there that I hadn’t seen in ages.  They were your friends that you had spent most of your days with.  Usually on your daily afternoon visits to the Thatchers pub. They all told me that you were ready to go. 

This was in March. On 27th April 2005 I started a diary.  This is interesting as on 27th April 2010 my son, your grandson, was born! In my diary I stated that I had been feeling ill for a few weeks and my doctor diagnosed me with delayed stress.  I didn’t write often in my diary, it started with every week, then a random two days in a row, then every month then a 4 year gap to 28th February 2010. 
Each diary entry I get worse and worse. I write about not being able to talk to anyone, feeling all alone. Looking back I can’t believe what I went through and how low I felt.  I find it really sad to read what i have written. I don’t think I dealt with loss very well.  I constantly write about feeling ill and not sleeping.  I’m a stress eater so that probably wasn’t helping.

On 28th February 2010 I write that I am 7 months pregnant and I’ve been to lunch at the inlaws and some of their family friends.  I write that I had to leave the room making excuses for the toilet when in reality I had gotten upset at remembering halfway through lunch what day it was. I haven’t written in the diary since, but I will today.

They do say time heals all wounds. 10 years on and I still miss you but it gets easier. For your funeral mum and I made a photo album and people wrote nice things about you at the back and I saved all the sympathy cards.  When we moved house in 2012 it went missing.  We are due to clear out the loft today, I will be over the moon if we find it.  It has to be somewhere.  It has to be. 

But dad I want you to know that I'm doing okay now.  I have an amazing husband and two wonderful kids. Olivia would have you wrapped around her little finger!

Lots of love
your daughter x

Monday, 23 February 2015

Weekly Meal Plan February 23th

This week I've started my clean and lean healthy way of living.  I'm going to do my best to stick to it during the week but am going to make use of the slow cooker at weekends. These meal will still be "clean" in terms that they won't be process but they may have more carbs than the official clean and lean plan allows. I'm also including a few recipes from Davina's 5 weeks to sugar free book,

So here is my ipad screenshot of my menu planner app of this weeks meal plan: 

For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
AdultsClean and Lean: Chicken, Asparagus & Cashew Stir Fry
Tuesday:KidsPasta with homemade tomato and hidden veg sauce

Grown upsDavina's Salmon with Lentils 
Wednesday:KidsCod burgers with polenta flour, served with homemade chips
Grown ups
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so something on toast; baked beans on egg....each child has their own preference.
Grown upsPapa penguin is out so I'm having Rye bruschetta with broccoli, asparagus and garlic (I'm not convinced!)
Friday:KidsSlow cooker lasagne

Grown upsSame as the kids - if there is any left!
Saturday:LunchLentil and Spinach Soup - Davina recipe

DinnerSlow Roast Moroccan Lamb - a Davina recipe
Sunday:LunchLunch bits such as cheese, salami's, ham, crudites

DinnerSlow cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken - Audrey Deane recipe

Meal Planning Monday

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Recipe - Dairy Free and Gluten Free Fish Pie

I just had to share this recipe I made.  I admit we don't eat that many meals with cheesy creamy sauces in as I don't really like them.  Not just because I'm dairy free, I just never have.  I did however recently have a huge craving for fish pie so I found a recipe and although it was really faffy I really enjoyed it.

I've recently taken on a dairy AND gluten free mindee so I was keen to given this recipe a try without gluten and it worked!  I thought it was really yummy and all 6 children I looked after ate it all up, two even had seconds!  So here it is.

Please note this recipe contains goats cheese.

Serves 4 adults - or lots of kids!

For the sauce
50g vitalite (or other dairy free spread)
50g gluten free flour (such as doves)
500ml Rice Milk (I use alpro)
50g hard goats cheese (grated)
For the pie mix
5 medium sized potatoes (I use Maris Piper) peeled and diced
ground white pepper
dollop of vitalite
1 packet fish pie mix
handful of frozen prawns (defrosted)
50g hard goats cheese (grated)

Boil the potatoes and then mash them with a sprinkle of ground white pepper and a dollop of vitalite.
Pre heat the oven to 200°C degrees

Make the sauce:
Put the rice milk into a microwavable jug (such as pyrex glass jug) and heat until hot (or use a separate saucepan). In a non stick saucepan heat the vitalite until melted, turn down the heat and add the gluten free flour. Stir continuously until a paste is formed.  Gradually add the hot milk approximately 100ml at a time stirring continuously to remove lumps.  Add the grated cheese.

Make up the pie:
In a lightly greased (with oil or vitalite) oven proof dish place the prawns and fish pie mix and stir well. Gently pour the white sauce covering all the fish.  Spread the mashed potato over the top, run a fork over it and cover it with the grated hard goats cheese.

Bake in the oven for 45-60 minutes until golden brown.

I serve mine with peas and sweetcorn or baked beans. 

Monday, 9 February 2015

Weekly Meal Plan February 9th

Whoops I missed a week.  I had it all in my head and meant to write it down but blue penguin got ill and then I just felt really tired all the time.  I now have my 4 weekly meal plan rota in place.  Its all just hand written scribbles at the moment.
Kids food is sorted but myself and papa penguin are going to have a go at doing the Clean and Lean diet.  Its not so much a diet but a healthier way of living.  Once I get us sorted and my head round all the recipes I'll be transferring our ways onto the kids!

So here is my ipad screenshot of this weeks meal plan: 

For those that can't view the image this is how my evening meals are planned for this week:
Monday:KidsPizza and crudites
AdultsPapa penguin is away so I had my fave pasta with pizza express dressing
Tuesday:KidsDairy free and Gluten free Fish pie

Grown upsSame as the kids. 
Wednesday:KidsNuggets, waffles, peas and carrots
Grown ups
Freezer food - papa penguin doesn't think he'll make it home
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so something on toast; baked beans on egg....each child has their own preference.
Grown upsTakeaway!  Last one for a while but we have parents evening!
Friday:KidsSlow cooker lasagne

Grown upsSame as the kids - if there is any left!
Saturday:LunchRoasted tomato soup - Clean and Lean recipe

DinnerChicken and roasted vegetable traybake - a Davina recipe
Sunday:LunchLunch bits such as cheese, salami's, ham, crudites

DinnerSpaghetti bolognese

Meal Planning Monday