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Summer Plans

3 Jul

Apologies, everyone, for the bad weather. At the first hint of summer, I bought myself a sun hat and now look what’s happened. Inevitable really. It could have been worse though, I could have bought a barbecue. We were really lucky that son’s birthday party fell on one of the few sunny days of the year so far (that was pre-hat time) as most of it was spent outside, but I’ll tell you more about that later.

With just a few weeks of nursery left, I thought I’d better start making some plans for the summer. I’m going to need a lot of ideas to fill all the lovely summer days that I am sure are just around the corner. I intend to make this an outdoors summer for my son. Once he starts school in September and the weather turns as we approach winter (turns into what? Is it not bad enough already?), he will be spending more and more time indoors so best we make the most of it while we can.

50things

I thought that a good place to start looking for ideas would be the National Trust’s brilliant campaign to get kids away from the tv and out exploring nature; 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4. After having a good look around their website, I signed son up to help keep track of the activities we complete. We have already done quite a few on the list, but we’re going to start over and see how many we can get through before the end of the summer holidays.

We are also going to be taking inspiration from TheBoyAndMe’s fabulous posts on a Natural Childhood and Country Kids from Coombe Mill. There are so many amazing ideas that are being linked up each week and there’s nothing better than seeing kids outdoors enjoying themselves. I definitely need to make more time for outdoor play and exploring the countryside, whatever the weather.

Oh, and if the weather doesn’t improve soon? I’ll burn my hat.

 

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Happy New New Year

9 Feb

Happy New… err… *cough* It’s been ages since I’ve been able to post anything, our house has been full of germs since well before christmas and I didn’t want to pass any of them on to you. Yes, I think we really were that infectious. Just as one of us started to get better, someone else would take ill. Now, I don’t want to jinx it by saying so, but I think we’re all ok at the moment.

So, as of now, I’m restarting the new year and I have plans. Lots of plans. It’s the start of the Chinese New Year and this is the year of the Snake. As I am a Snake, I hope it means this will be a good year for me. I’m feeling really positive so far, well, my new new year is only a matter of hours old so there hasn’t been much time for things to go wrong yet.

For about the last four years, my life has been centred around my son. It has left little time for me to do anything for myself and I guess I haven’t even really thought much about myself in that time either. I think it’s about time I gave myself a swift kick up the backside and remember that I need to look after myself too. Son will (hopefully) be starting nursery for a few afternoons a week, so that should give me a bit of time to work on my goals. I already have my Day Zero list which has specific things to complete before the end of September (eek!), but there are a few more general things I would like to get started on.

1. Get fit. Well, fitter than I am now, anyway. I started swimming once a week but that has turned into an excuse to chat to adults with no children around. There is much more talking and much less swimming, possibly because it is my only child-free time out of the house. I aim to count my lengths, then do two extra each week until I am swimming all lesson. Then I will work on swimming faster. I should probably add something else in here like walking to nursery instead of taking the car. Exercise does not come naturally to me though, I think I might need some help here.

2. Lose the baby-belly. I have put on nearly two stone and gone up two to three dress sizes since having my son. While I am pleased that I can now fit into adult clothes and no longer have to shop in the kids department, I could really do with toning up a bit. No idea where to start with this one as I’ve never really done any specific workouts or diets before.

3. Have fun. I would love to have a regular night out. Once a month would be great, nothing fancy, just to catch up and have a laugh without having to worry about what mischief the kids are getting up to. This would also help with the swimming as I wouldn’t have to do all my talking there. *makes a good case for night out with the girls*

4. Plan for work. I know I have just over a year before I have to start work, so now would be a good time to try and figure out what I want to do. I had to go for a ‘work-focused interview’ at the job centre and had a really good chat with the man there – not what I was expecting at all! He made me realise I have many options and gave me lots to think about, but I need to gain more confidence in myself.

So there you have it. Not exactly new years resolutions as I don’t do those very well. More like new new years vague goals for the time being.

Wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it.

 

I am entering this post into the MoneySupermarket.com Get Fit Feel Epic competition hosted by Yummy Mummy In Training

First Winter Snow

3 Dec

One good thing about not being able to get to sleep, is that you see things you would otherwise miss. Like the first winter snow falling silently from an orange sky.

Son had heard on the weather forecast that there was snow coming and had been checking the window all day, but when he went to bed there was still no sign of it. Shortly after 2am, he woke himself up coughing. Instead of letting him fall back to sleep, I whispered to him that it was snowing and asked if he wanted to see. He sleepily lifted his arms to me so I carried him to the window. Squinting through tired eyes, he nodded and croaked ‘good’ then I tucked him back into bed. He fell asleep with the biggest smile on his face.

By the time he woke again, there was barely a hint of snow and he couldn’t remember me showing him during the night. I hope there will be plenty more to come, he has his heart set on building a huge snowman. A little treat in Elf’s pocket soon cheered him up though; a chocolate, a small bag of sequins and a note asking if he could make some decorations to brighten up Great Gran’s flat.

We were going to make four of these triangles, stick them together into a pyramid then hang it over a bottle. However, son’s attention span was particularly short today and barely covered making this one, so it will probably just be made into a picture. Not to worry, I’m sure Elf will have a few more suggestions for him over the next couple of weeks.

Christmas Hot Chocolate

2 Dec

I’m not a big fan of hot chocolate out of a packet. I haven’t tried it since I was a child because the memory of that chalky feeling in my mouth just puts me off. But the idea of hot chocolate is one that appeals. I love chocolate, I want to love hot chocolate. So I thought I’d better have a go at making my own. I had to anyway, the Elf told me to.

I’ve never made hot chocolate before so, rather than follow a recipe, I thought I’d do the sensible thing and just chuck some chocolate and milk in a pan, heat it up, and see how it goes. Quantities were based on ‘what was left in the bottle’, so about three quarters of a pint of whole milk and half a small tub of single cream. I had two 100g bars of chocolate in the cupboard, one dark and one milk, so I tried 60g dark and 40g milk. I know this because, rather conveniently, each bar of chocolate had ten squares.

It tasted quite nice but I thought it could do with something extra to make it a bit different. I considered a pinch of chilli powder but didn’t have any, curry powder sounded yucky, so I went with the only other thing in the cupboard – mixed spice. I used a measuring spoon (so that I didn’t accidentally tip half a jar in) and added a bit less than a quarter teaspoon, then gave it a good whisk for frothiness.

It made four small cups of some rather good hot chocolate. A small cup was enough as it was really quite rich, but I was pleasantly surprised with how nice it was and the mixed spice made it taste all christmassy. Granny and Grandad both approved but son was not keen. I think if I make it for him I would have to use more milk chocolate and maybe less cream so it’s not as rich.

I’d like to try it again but, as I am generally rubbish at cooking, I’ve no idea how it can be improved. Should I boil the milk or just warm it? Would more spice be too much? If any of you can tweak my recipe a bit to make it even better, I’d love to hear your suggestions.

The Magic Of Christmas

1 Dec

I know I say this every year, but I can’t believe it’s December already! As son has not been having a good time of late, I plan to make this the best, most magical christmas ever, but despite scribbling ideas in a notebook for the last couple of weeks, I am still totally unprepared. Last year, Elf came to visit. Son remembered and asked about him so was pleased to hear that he would be returning this year, but I haven’t told him anything else about my plans.

Last week, we borrowed Polar Express on DVD from a friend. Son had never seen it before and sat captivated all the way through. He even cheered when they made it across the ice! He loved it. Which is why I was sat up until silly o’clock this morning preparing this:

The first gift of christmas, brought by his Elf. Son was over the moon. His face lit up before he even got the box open as he realised what it was, and it was so good to see him so happy and excited. He kept ringing the bell and telling us all that he could hear it because he believed Santa was coming, and checking that I could hear it, and granny could hear it, then had a whole conversation with the Elf about it. It was magic.

I’m sure, as parents, there are many of us who do things like this to make christmas a truly magical time for our little ones. I bet there’s a good chance that while the little ones are busy staring, full of wonder, that a few knowing looks are exchanged between the adults. How many of us secretly wish that it really was magic, that these things just happened and didn’t have to be set up by us? That Santa really had just flown over on his sleigh and dropped an elf off at your house?

What if, when you looked out of the window that morning, there was a huge chunk of ice on the road outside your house? Or is it compacted snow? What if you knew that there had been no snow falling at all, anywhere near where you lived and a quick scout of the area found…nothing? What if that groove in the top of the ice was just wide enough for the runner of a sleigh…

 

I believe.

Do you?

And The Little One Said

18 Jul

I thought, as he is only just three, that I would have a few more years before my son took an interest in women. How wrong was I? In most of the shops we go in regularly, he has picked out his favourite lady and if they are working he won’t be served by anyone else. Luckily, they all seem to like him just as much and go out of their way to chat to him, even if it’s just a few words and a smile. If only all shops treated all of their customers like this, it would make the weekly shop a far nicer experience.

This collection of things my son has said recently is dedicated to all of his special lady friends.

 

Son got his hair cut last week but the girl who usually cuts it was busy so he had to see someone else.

Me: You were very good in there, you sat so still while you got your hair cut, well done. Do you like it?

Son: No.

Me: But your hair looks lovely, she did a great job.

Son: Yes, but it wasn’t my lady. *sad face*

 

Outside the baker’s shop:

Granda: Are you sure you want to go in? Your friend isn’t working today.

Son: That’s ok, I like to meet new ladies.

 

While helping son get dressed, I told him he’d be going with Granny and Granda to see The Gingerbread Mam to get me some of her irresistible goodies, so I could stay at home to varnish the horse.

Son: Ooh! I’ve got my blue shirt on today.

Me: That’s right.

Son: I look very smart in my shirt, don’t I mammy?

Me: You do look very smart.

Son: I will show my shirt to the ginger lady. I think she will like me with my blue shirt on.

 

Walking across the car park, going in to the country park. Two older women walking towards us.

Son: Good morning!

They didn’t hear him, but they were still some distance away.

Me: It’s after twelve o’clock so it’s not morning anymore, it’s afternoon now.

By now they are right up to us.

Son: (with a cheeky smile and nod of the head) Af’noon ladies…

 

I’m going to have trouble with this one, aren’t I?

Chilly Adventures In The Country Park

5 May

Tightly wrapped up in hat, scarf and gloves, thick coat zipped right to the top and a blanket for the pushchair. All ready for a winter’s day out. Only it’s not winter. It’s May. May! What is going on with this crappy weather? It is absolutely chuffin’ freezing! Did you see the picture from our trip to the seaside last week? Ridiculous! I’m ready for some sunshine now please.

Anyway, rant over. We had a lovely afternoon on Thursday, despite the red noses and blue fingers, at a local country park. Just by the entrance, Cats Protection were giving away goodie bags and son won a teddy on their tombola which he was ever so happy about. He’s calling it Bob.

The afternoon’s adventures began in the big castle, but don’t go near the tower because that’s where the trolls live.

The rest of the castle is where Evie lives. She made these funny bumpy bits on the wall by pushing her fingers in. She must have really strong fingers because we couldn’t make any more bumps when we tried.

Around the lake and over the little bridge and we were at Mike The Knight’s castle. We spent quite some time there making up our own stories about what Mike was getting up to and watching the ducks swimming on the lake moat. Son loved this castle and didn’t want to leave, but was eventually persuaded by going off to look for Mike. Only problem was, round the other side of the castle there was another set of steps. Leading straight back up to where we had just been. “Ooh look mummy! Steps! I wonder where they go to…”

Son’s main reason for wanting to visit this particular park was to feed the ducks. We had a bag of bird seed with us (NOT bread! Bread is not good for ducks!) so we went off in search of hungry ducks. Normally, there are ducks everywhere acting as if they haven’t been fed for weeks. But it was so cold that they were nearly all snuggled up, heads tucked back under their wings, trying to keep warm and showing no interest whatsoever in our food. Lucky for us that these little fellas popped out for a stroll just as we were heading back to the car.

It seems that, as with people, it’s the little ones that are not bothered by the weather. It was a lovely end to our afternoon and hopefully next time we visit it will be a bit warmer so all the ducks come out to play.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall