Thursday, 29 January 2015

A weekend with the class teddy

Blue penguin did really well with his writing in school that he got to take home Cookie the class teddy! Unfortunately we didn't have a very exciting weekend planned, its very rare that we have a weekend of no plans. So Cookie got to experience boring home life, routines of story time, bedtime, breakfast, lunch and homework.  Though we did drag Cookie shopping and made some cookies - cookies for Cookie!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Weekly Meal Plan January 26th

Well I'm almost organised. I've now decided that I'm going to have a 4 week rolling menu for dinners and a two week rolling menu for lunches.  I'm hoping it will keep everyone happy.  I'd like to get more varied with puddings and I had planned to do mid week mini apple crumbles a few times but I just find it difficult to find the time to make them when I'm already making dinners and cakes whilst the little ones nap.

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:KidsSlow cooker chicken curry - recipe recommended by a friend!
AdultsSame as the kids
Tuesday:KidsPizza and peas/carrots

Grown upsFreezer food. We'll probably have the chilli from last week. 
Wednesday:KidsNuggets, waffles, peas and sweetcorn
Grown ups
Freezer food - papa penguin doesn't think he'll make it home
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so pasta
Grown upsUndecided as it is the night before papa penguin goes away for a few days
Friday:KidsChicken Korma

Grown upsMy mum will be staying for a few days so hopefully we'll eat with the kids

The weekend is yet a bit up in the air.  My mum will be staying, we are seeing extended family on Saturday so might be out for dinner.  I have sainsburys come twice a week, Mondays and Thursday so I think I'll decide later on in the week!

Meal Planning Monday

Friday, 23 January 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful

Buttons!  Blue penguin can finally do buttons!  Aged 4 years and 9 months there is no more screaming at the top of stairs "MUMMY CAN YOU HELP ME DO MY BUTTONS!" I myself having been telling him to get dressed for the last five minutes whilst I rush around upstairs making beds, getting myself ready, folding laundry etc and he finally decides to get dressed as I go downstairs which means two minutes later I'm running back up them to do buttons! I bought him two pairs of button up pj's in the john lewis sale so I think they've helped teach him.

I took blue penguin out of school today for an eye check up at the hospital.  It was a 1120am appointment and last time we were there for 3 hours.  So we turned up with packed lunch, were seen within 25 minutes and apparently his squint has improved a little since wearing glasses. Such good news, maybe he won't have to wear glasses forever after all (but you can tell in the above picture that he still has a lazy eye).  On the car drive home to drop papa penguin, pink penguin fell asleep so he took her indoors and I left them taking blue penguin to school.  It was their lunch time when we got there and as he had already eaten I treated him to a milkshake and brownie at the village cafe. Usually I have 3 little ones with me during the day so it was soooo nice to just sit in the cafe with just my son giving him my full attention. 

I feel I need to write about pink penguin but to be honest she is currently going through that I don't want to nap but can't quite make it to the end of the day without having many major breakdowns, however it does mean that when the other kids I look after are napping I get to spend an hour with her. I'll admit Wednesday she sat in front of the ipad whilst I baked and prepared dinner but she was happy and I was happy!  The other two days we red and practised our colours!  She knows quite a few now but always gets stuck on green! Here she is, wearing a hat indoors!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Recipe - Spaghetti Bolognese

Oh I'm sure there are millions of spaghetti bolognese recipes online.  I know there are even more sitting it lots of parents heads as they make their version off by heart on quite probably a regular basis.

But I wanted to share mine. I love it, kids love it (not just mine but the othersI look after) and papa penguin loves it.

I quite often prepare the vegetables in advance (at lunch or day before) so it is easy to cook when we get home from school or if we've been out at the weekend.


Fridge items:
Onion - diced
Garlic - squished in a garlic press
2 carrots - diced small
3 celery sticks - diced
1 small courgette - diced
Bacon (back or streaky) - diced
Lean beef mince

Cupboard items:
Red wine (optional)
Carton chopped tomatoes
Carton passata
1tbsp tomato puree
1tsp Basil
1tsp Oregano
1/2tsp Parsley
1/2tsp Paprika
1tbsp Worcester Sauce
1tsp Soy Sauce
1tsp Sugar

Deep frying pan with lid

In a deep frying pan fry the mince and bacon.
When the mince is nearly brown add the onions, garlic and celery.

Mix well then add the garlic, carrots, celery, courgette and tomato puree. If you have any red wine add a glass full here.
Fry for a few more minutes then add the herbs, worcester sauce, soy sauce, sugar, chopped tomatoes and passata.  Mix well, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring every so often.

Cook the spaghetti according to instructions, grate some cheese and serve.  I like to chop it all up for the kids, giving the older ones a few longer bits of spaghetti on the side for them to slurp!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Recipe - Cherry Bakewell Cupcakes

I recently made these cherry bakewell cupcakes very last minute for lunch with the inlaws after my fifth attempt at making a swiss roll went wrong.

I needed to make cake and wanted it to be slightly interesting but also quick.  So using my normal cupcake recipe I added almond extract and voila!

Makes 12 cupcakes.
4oz butter (I am dairy free and use pure spread)
4oz caster sugar
4oz self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1tsp almond extract (got mine from sainsburys)

Preheat oven to 180C.
Cream the butter and sugar.  I use a kitchenaid and leave this mixing whilst I get the rest of the ingredients ready and prepare my muffin tins with 12 cup cake cases.
Add flour, I don't bother sieving.  Add the baking powder, the eggs and the almond extract. Continue to mix until flour is incorporated.

I then use an ice cream scoop so as to get equal measures of the batter into the cupcake cases.
Place in the oven on the middle shelf for 20-25 minutes until golden in colour.

Remove from oven and when cases are a little cooler transfer to a cooling rack.

10oz icing sugar
4oz butter (again I use pure spread)
1tsp almond extract
Diced glace cherries for the topping.

Sieve the icing sugar, add the butter.  Mix well (I cover my kitchenaid with a damp tea towel to contain the "dust"!)

Using an icing nozzle, ice the cupcakes and top with a diced glace cherry.  Delicious and simple!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Weekly Meal Plan January 19th

I am currently revisiting my two weekly rolling menu due to some very fussy eaters.  It is very hard to find meals that up to 6 children will all eat.  Two weeks ago I did pizza, I served it again tonight and the youngest who didn't eat it last time ate it this time but another child who ate it before decided they didn't like it this time. You never know how feeding times "At the zoo" are going to go!

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, cucumber, carrots and pepper crudities 
AdultsWraps with couscous, roasted veg and feta
Tuesday:KidsSpaghetti Bolognese

Grown upsPrawn linguine 
Wednesday:KidsFish fingers, waffles and peas
Grown ups
Freezer food - papa penguin doesn't think he'll make it home
Thursday:KidsThis is our after school martial arts night so pasta
Grown upsRed thai chicken curry
Friday:KidsChilli con carne

Grown upsSame as kids
Saturday:Whole familyWe are having a belated anniversary night out and have babysitters - kids can have nuggets!

PuddingMaking chocolate marble cake for the sitters
Sunday:Whole familyRoast Lamb, potatoes, veg

PuddingLeftover cake

Meal Planning Monday

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful

Monday morning, I'm taking 6 children to school and my double buggy front wheel snaps off as I'm crossing the road.  I have to practically lift and drag the buggy to the pavement pulling a stomach muscle and keep the kids all together as I assess the problem.  I'm stranded and can not move. Panic stations start to kick in.

Then two parents that I recognise from the playground stop to help me.  We get the young ones out of the buggy, I hold their hands. The older ones walk in front keeping close to me.  A kind mum takes pink penguins' hand and the dad drags my buggy the 15 minute walk to school. 

Why does this make me cheerful.  Because although it can all go wrong there is always someone that can help, you've just got to ask for it!

Boy was I grateful that they stopped to help me, I don't quite know what I would have done! So now I'm having to drive to school which if fine in the morning but it means leaving home earlier than normal so I can get a parking space near the school. The buggy company have already picked up my buggy and I am hoping it will be repaired or replaced asap!

We cleared out a fair bit of the loft over the weekend in preparation for our loft extension that we are planning to get over the next few months.  Builders have been instructed, drawings have been this space!

Pink penguin had her 2 year progress check today aged 27 months.  Being a childminder I know at what development she should be at and I know that she is exceeding the EYFS curriculum.  I however wanted to hear someone else say it!  She may not yet be potty trained but her speech is fantastic, she can count and she knows most of her colours.  Okay I'm bragging but I'm allowed!  This is my blog!  

And my final reason is that this evening blue penguin read this book called Billy the Kid.  He READ a book!  A whole book!  He is 4 years old and started school in September.  I am one super proud mummy!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Weekly Meal Plan January 12th

Last week I mentioned that I have a two week rolling menu, this is week 2.  I'm thinking of changing it around again, I'm struggling with Tuesday's as we have pasta Monday nights. It very difficult to find meals that 6 children of different ages will eat.  Last week I did Pizza and corn on the cob.  A meal that my own two kids will eat, however it didn't go down well with some of the others and I ended up making some last minute toast!b

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:KidsFrankie Pasta Bake
AdultsSame as the kids
Tuesday:KidsPasta with a tomato sauce which I batch make and freeze in ice cube portions.

Grown upsSame as the kids
Wednesday:KidsSausages, potatoes and carrots or peas
Grown ups
Freezer food.
Thursday:KidsEgg on toast
Grown upsSeafood risotto 
Friday:KidsFish Fingers with rice and peas

Grown upsChicken Kievs, potatoes & Brocili!
Saturday:Whole familyI'm out so papa penguin and the kids are having pizza

PuddingMost likely yoghurts
Sunday:Whole familyJacket potatoes


Meal Planning Monday

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A week done and dusted

I'm amazed at how quick this week has gone.  

Blue penguin went back to school on Monday and I went back to childminding after two weeks off. The kids all settled really well into routine on Monday morning and blue penguin plus my two school aged mindees happily went to school practically running there.  Pink penguin (who only woke up 5 minutes before leaving for the school run) and my other two mindees, aged one and two, went along with it all and we decided to stay home and all get to know each other again and reacquaint ourselves with all the new toys. 

Tuesday again was a surprisingly easy morning and we got back into our routine with the young ones of playgroup in the morning, home for lunch, nap time then school run.  However Tuesday evening it was as though pink penguin had realised that erm hold on I'm having to not only share my toys again after two weeks of having them to myself but also my brother is no longer playing with me and I'm having to share my mummy! At one point I had all three little ones on me fighting for cuddles.  The other two young mindees may have also realised that they weren't spending every day with their mummy but me instead so were using me as a substitute!  Its nice to feel loved!

Wednesday both my children were still asleep when my first mindee turned up at 730am.  I sadly had to wake them shortly after which meant two very grumpy children on the school run was not fun, luckily my other mindees were really well behaved!  Bathtime from Wednesday got worse and worse throughout the week with blue penguin.  I guess tiredness was to blame.

Thursdays (my day with just pink penguin) was a great day.  Took my son and a mindee to school, visited the ducks, went to the bank, took car in for repair (more expense), came home, played, looked through bathroom catalogues, played,  had lunch, watched peppa pig, read a couple of "Thats not my..." books, watched more peppa pig (I nanna napped!) tidied up, got the boys from school, went to martial arts, came home, had dinner, bathtime (very stressful), kids in bed, made dinner, me glass of wine.....fell asleep on sofa!

Friday came around so quick that I don't really remember what we did.  Picked up car, caught up with an old friend and her baby which was the best part of the day. After school took pink penguinblue penguin and the other two mindees of similar ages to our local play barn with friends and for two hours they ran around like I guess children in a play barn do. I don't know where they get their energy from. I surely couldn't keep up with them when I had to go inside and climb the soft play cages to help pink penguin get to the big red slide she wanted to go down!

Fingers crossed next week goes just as quick!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Reasons to be Cheerful

Wow can you believe its been a year since my last reasons to be cheerful post. I would write here a years worth or reasons to be cheerful but I don't want to bore you!  Lets just say I'm pretty happy with life right now!

Blue penguin started school in September and the teacher has told us he is doing great.  Its amazing how quick he learnt to read and spell not only the words in front of him but work out how words sound and then spell them out. However a favourite of ours is daddy spelt d-a-d-e!  He has also adjusted really well to having to wear glasses to help with a squint.  

Pink penguin now aged 2 years and nearly 3 months doesn't stop talking, is on the 95th percentile on the height chart and although not potty trained yet often gets mistaken for being nearly 3!  She can be a right little madam at times but has a real sweet caring nature about her.

Work wise, papa penguin is doing so well that we rarely see him.  He works long hours either at the office during the day or on his laptop in the evenings and puts a lot of effort into it.  Apparently yesterday in front of 400 people he got a mention with 3 others in a big hot top directors speech. He said he was a bit embarrassed but it felt nice to be appreciated!

Work wise for me childminding is going well, I have my own two kids, two others before and after school one of which is every day and the other just a few. Then I have 2 year old and a 1 year old three days a week and every other Friday. I spend Thursday's just me and pink penguin.  My favourite day of the week.

Today pink penguin and I have been bathroom and tile shopping as we will be having a loft extension done this year, hopefully sooner rather than later!  Feel free to check out my pin board on pinterest! Boring for some I know!

So thats pretty much my update of life!  I can't believe Christmas was 2 weeks ago, its gone really quick.  I guess before we know it, it will be Christmas all over again!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Recipe - Spaghetti Primavera

This is a family favourite and I quite often make it for lunch guests as it is so easy and quick to do.

You'll mainly need spaghetti, courgettes and carrots. I then stir cream cheese and little bit of lemon juice in it for the kids and then offer the yummy pizza express light dressing to the adults.

Fill the kettle and switch on, top and tail the courgettes and carrots and then using a julienne peeler grate them into thin strips. Boil the spaghetti for 5-7 minutes, I weigh mine and do approximately 75g per adult and 50g per child.  

After 5 minutes of boiling the pasta add the lovely green and orange strips to the saucepan and leave to simmer for 2 mintutes.  Any more and you'll end up with soggy pasta and veg. 

Strain the pasta and veg drizzle some olive oil over it to stop it from sticking. Give it all a good stir and you can serve as below with some sliced beetroot from a packet of bistro salad.

This is the end result on my plate with a sprinkle of grated cheese and some pizza express light house dressing. Yum!