Thursday, 7 November 2013

five days, five meals, one packet of mince... really.

i bought a pound of mince from the local butchers and for the first time ever, i meal planned. properly.

i always, always make a huge batch of something and freeze portions. always have done. always will. it makes me feel frugal. and thrifty. and housewife-y!
but this week was different. this week i made a big batch of mince and made five meals out of it. yes. FIVE.

here's how i did it...

i browned the mince with some onions, garlic and oil. put half of it into another pan.  i added chopped carrots, mushrooms, courgette and a red pepper to both and to one i added two tins of chopped tomatoes to one and some tomato puree.

meal one - mince and tatties ~ add baked beans to the left overs and cover with mash potato in a casserole dish to make meal two - cottage pie.

meal three - spaghetti bolognaise

meal four - add chili powder and kidney beans to the the left over spag bol mince and hey presto we have chili con carne {add rice}

meal five - add all the left overs from meal two and meal four together with some cooked fusilli {any pasta would do though}

now, we are a family of four. four big eaters. and this was plenty of food! okay, so i bulked it up with lots of veg, chopped tomatoes and i added potatoes, rice and spaghetti {and a sneaky garlic baguette or two} but i still managed to feed the entire house {except the dog} a home cooked, evening meal for five nights. wholesome? i think so!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

rainbow intestines and jelly worms

so for a bit of halloween fun, we had some messy play at the playgroup i run.  i boiled up some spaghetti and added food colouring to portions once i had drained and washed the pasta. i then added them all together into bowls and hid some creepy creatures in the pile of rainbow intestines!  for snack i made banana smoothies {basically just milk and bananas!} and i filled straws with jelly {gelatin and fruit juice mix} let it set then gently warmed the straws to release the worms!

we also had mini pumpkins {satusumas} and ghosts {more bananas with raisin eyes!}

it was a lot of fun :)

halloween always brings out the big kid in me...

Saturday, 28 September 2013

knitted dungers...

I posted a while back about knitting my wee guy a pair of dungarees... i finished them! actually, i finished them AGES ago but alas they were a tad too small :( so i started again and am pretty much finished this pair now too.

... but also a little worried that the length of time that has passed {months} these may too, not fit!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

log fires and beds in cupboards

 for the last few months it has been, pretty much, work, work, work. seven days a week. working late into the night. we needed a break. the kids needed a break.  it was a last minute decision: nothing booked into the diary, fair weather forecast and the surf was up! so i did it. i booked two nights in a luxury tent on the dunes of the east coast of scotland.  no electric, no tv and most importantly... no laptop!

i like to think that when i am at home with the kids i am completely present with them.  i play with them, i make food for them and i look out for them. but i am not. not completely anyway... i am often sneaking looks on my phone or trying to tidy the kitchen, hang the washing up or run a cloth around the bath.  i am always thinking about things i could be doing... or should be doing.

this weekend was going to be tough. i am a self confessed, phone addict. i am. and i hate it.

so i paid for the holiday and started to pack as we were heading off the next morning. bright and early.

i was looking forward to the challenge, to be honest, to see if i could be the parent, i so want to be. and do you know what, i did it... and i enjoyed it. okay, so i checked my phone once. okay, twice. but for 98 percent of the time, i was there with them.  i was there digging in the sand with them. i was there when we were pretending to be bears in the woods by the tent. i was there as we splashed in the rock pools.  i was even there when i was feeding my little man down for the night. & this is a big one as i tend to use this quiet, sleepy time to catch up with my texts and emails from the day. i dont feel great admitting that. but it is true, i am on my phone while i feed my baby to sleep.

but not in the tent. here i watched him feeding, i watched him get drowsy and i watched his little eyes fluttering closed. i saw him fall into a deep sleep and i lay there with him and i held him close. and i loved it. i love him.

then i climbed in to the big double bed, quirkily set into a cupboard,
with my little girl and just lay there with her as she fell asleep. another thing i have not done in a long, long time. i usually rush out to get my 'me' time. to get the telly on. to get the biccies out and the kettle on.

and then with the candles lit and the log stove burning (yes, this was a pretty delux tent!) my husband and i went outside and sat and watched the sun set over the dunes and the tide changing under the stars.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

the edinburgh dog snatcher!

we have had such a stressful week... on monday our dog (pretty much our first born!) lily was taken from the school playground railings.

we were distraught and immediately started an appeal on facebook.  the photo of our amazing pooch spread like wild fire, amazingly, reaching nearly 1000 people! i contacted the police and the dog homes and shared her photo with pet shops and local businesses.  two nights passed and not a word.  we told poppy that her doggy was off playing with friends when she asked and tried to act normal during the day but search frantically once the wee ones were in bed...

 wednesday afternoon a pet shop across town got in touch to say that a couple had been in the shop with a dog who looked exactly like lily and they were even calling her lily! she asked the couple to leave the dog with her and showed them the facebook photo and appeal. they wouldn't but they did leave an address.  this was obviously a false one but the police tracked them down and brought lily home to us safe and sound.  my daughter sat by her and placed her hand on her head and said

i love you lily, i don't want you to go away ever again

we have had the most emotional week and are physically drained but so so happy that our family is now complete again.

so what happened? well, after our afternoon walk, i tied lily up outside the school while i went to a mums and tots group.  i text my husband to say she was there and to pick her up.  he never got the text.  by the time i got out she was gone (i thought sam had her, he thought i had her) lily was tied up for around 40 minutes and this couple thought she had been abandoned and took her home (so they say) however, they never called the number on her collar, reported her to the police or the local dog homes or dog warden.  they removed her collar and attempted to buy her a new one.  when asked to do the right thing in the pet shop they refused and left with her.  this is not the actions of a couple who were concerned about her welfare and had no intention of returning her. 

it is a sad world where people think it is okay to just take a dog from a family. however, we are not blameless. this is an eye opener. do not take anything for granted.  keep your loved ones close and savour every moment.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

knitting nights

so the little folk are currently sleeping 7-7 {or there abouts} and husband and i have reclaimed our evenings! 

wandering what to do with myself, instead of watching big brother or getting re hooked onto home and away... i have taken on a knitting challenge! 

about a month or so ago i found ravelry... then i found these go-veralls and promptly fell head over heels... well, bit of an exaggeration there... but they are d'lish.

so i bought some wool and a some circular needles and hey presto we have two legs -

 will post an update as they 'grow' but i am super excited to get the wee guy in these... not too girly right??

Friday, 14 June 2013

no bad kids?

whenever i try to explain my parenting methods, i find it almost impossible to fight my corner.  my baby brain makes it so hard for me to think clearly enough to give a decent answer!

i want to say -
i am not a walk over parent who doesn't discipline her children or teach them right from wrong. 
i am not letting my kids run wild and rule the roost.
i am teaching them all of the above, respectfully. 

i try to talk to my daughter about everything, if she is having a hard time with a task, game or activity, i talk her through it and offer my help if she wants it.  i don't swoop in and do it for her.  if she is having a meltdown, i sit down with her and hold her until she is ready to talk to me and we work it out together.  tantrums are part of growing up and not necessarily a negative thing.  toddlers have these huge emotions that they don't understand... it must be so overwhelming for them.  so surely withdrawing affection as a form of discipline teaches them that our love is conditional?  it is not wrong to feel emotions, it is not wrong to cry - we all need to cry sometimes.  instead of leaving them to work out their scary emotions themselves, should we not instead help them to understand them?  i struggle to explain this without sounding patronising or critical but i really believe that children are not purposefully 'bad', negative behaviour is almost always a cry for help - a need to sleep, hunger or a need for limits.  using the naughty step, cry it out or the removal of toys or privileges when a child 'acts out' can really only create resentment and distrust as well as making the child feel shame or guilt.

often i see parents use the naughty step or other such threats at the smallest things and it makes me feel kind of sad... and this may seem harsh but it is almost like they are saying, ah, you are angry but please do it quietly over there so i don't have to see it.  these children are only little for such a short time so why not make that time fun, positive and happy? why stress the small stuff? 

so, i implore... enjoy this time as much as possible and trust your child or children to learn the lessons of life on their own - just as they learn to talk and walk in their own time.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

dolls house... to be continued!

i am starting a work in progress blog post... about my daughters dolls house! it was her 'most favouritist' christmas present and we decided that as soon as the weather improves we would all decorate it together. cripes. i can hardly wait!

so this is the dolls house as it is -

i have found so many inspirational projects online but must be mindful not to make this about me! i am pretty sure poppy is going to have a ball decorating this house and i must detach myself and relax enough not to get all control-y! hmmm, unless i do it when she is in bed as a surprise for her!?!? eek.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

upcycling and vintage chic

i love all things vintage, all things home made and all things crafty. lets be honest here, who doesn't? well, probably a fair few folk, but not me! so when leafing through last weeks sunday paper, i happened upon a feature about vintage wallpaper and fabric and ways to upcycle them around the house. weeeellll, did i not just die and go to heaven right there and then. i panicked a little as i had fears of the small people in my house wakening and ruining my moment... just five minutes little ones, mama needs just five minutes. i have saved it for future perusal, but for those five minutes, i poured over the pages eyes agog at all the lovely ideas! ahhhh, where will this feature take me i wander.  just as soon as i get a few spare hours in the day i am going to get cracking on those ideas.... just watch this space...

Thursday, 11 April 2013

early nights and crafty creations

i have been beavering away since my evenings have been drawing out... all thanks to my perfect little man who has learnt to fall asleep all by himself.  such a clever boy.

i decided to make him a sleep inducing cot mobile of hypnotic slow twisting and turning images filled with lavender...  this is it. i love it.

he loves it too.  he gazes at it as he falls asleep and chats and laughs away with his new owl friends when he wakes in the morning.  how much do i love the sound of a baby laughing? very much.

so i decided to sell them... i really need to perfect my sewing skills a bit and perhaps tweak bits here and there but i think lots of little newborn boys and girls would be fascinated by the bold black and white owls and the colourful patterns.

hope you like my new shop :)  etsy

it went down a treat with my not so wee girl too... she loved watching them... but then she loves owls! so for her birthday, i made her a plush version (also with toddler calming lavender)

Monday, 8 April 2013

chaos and contingency plans

months and months have passed, night after night of walking the floor with my wee man, long snoozy hours of night feeds and web browsing under the covers... i have been thinking alot about my children, a lot about how i parent them and even more about the effect i have on them and their futures.  it's a big thought.

i have been so tired, so so tired.  i love the sleepy dark feeds and the tiny fingers reaching up to my face.  i love the small sighs and snuffles of a sleeping child.  i am torn between cherishing every moment with them and the need to be me again.

in an attempt to gain some sort of control over things, i have been sleep training - i even hate using the words, but i just needed to get some sleep... or at least more than 2 hours in a row.  it's working, we got 9 hours last night! ahhhh the feeling of waking naturally and hearing a sleeping baby stirring across the room.  now after plenty of well meaning advice and tips we took the road less travelled - the gentle way.  there was no cry it out or controlled crying and there was no leaving him to figure it out on his own.  i mean how could we? this little guy spent 9 months being rocked to sleep in my tummy and another 5 being held, fed or carried to sleep - we could hardly just switch it on him. so we remained respectful and present, we helped him learn to fall asleep all by himself... it was hard... oh was it hard. and it still is. but it has been worth it - 40 minute naps to one and a half hours AND waking every hour and a half at night to sleeping 7-9 hours at a stretch.  how amazing our little boy is, so amazing.

i try to do this with poppy, who turned three last month... three.  how the time has flown. it is totally okay to cry, it's okay if mum and dad cries - and oh does mum cry! and it's okay to feel emotions, it's okay.
toddlers are at a tricky stage of their lives, so many emotions, so many feelings and not enough words or understanding to express them.
feeling as tired as i have and as frustrated at my chaotic life at the moment, i have been reallly struggling to keep all this in mind.  i have shouted and i have lost my patience... far too often.  but we snuggle up at night and we talk... we go over what happened that day (good or bad) and we help each other understand it all. no matter what we are all here for each other... when the going gets tough... 

being a parent is hard.  it is worth it but it is so, so hard.

Friday, 11 January 2013

sleep thiefs

so it has been a while since i blogged anything and this is primarily due to the fact that there are not enough hours in the day... not if i want to sleep anyway!  a newborn is tiring, yes. a newborn who snacks every 2 hours or so and a feisty toddler is... well... it's... hard work! but so great at the same time!

i feel incredibly overwhelmed sometimes - mostly at how relentless it all is! but also at how blessed i am... we are. i mean these little folk are just amazing, adorable, gorgeous and so so precious. blub blub. post pregnancy hormones. check.

i do really love the little sleep stealing monsters.

so just a short post to check in - with myself more than anything.

i have been going craft crazy lately so will post more about that soon...