Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Erin turns 6

This year she wanted a party..in fact she left it until the last minute to tell me she wanted a party, so my organisational-self went into over-drive.

She invited a few select friends to the house, I had put on some snacks to eat, along with a cake decorating station, which all the girls loved.




We had a disco area in the living room where the girls could dance along to One Direction...cue much screaming from them when a song came on.

They all had lots of fun and each girl left with either a necklace or a bracelet, a stationery set and a big slab of cake (along with the many cupcakes they decorated) I pleaded with the parents to take extra cakes so I wouldn't have to eat them myself bin them!

Erin talked about her party for days after, she certainly had a lot of fun and I must admit, I had lots of fun too, I will always look back fondly remembering a room full of girls dancing wildly to Gangnam Style.




Last year I started a birthday tradition where I asked Erin 20 Question to do with her favourite things. Every year I'll ask the same 20 questions and see which answers change and which stay the same.

You can see last year's answer's here.

This year's answers are:



1.      What is your favourite colour? Pink
2.      What is your favourite toy? Littlest Pet Shop cat
3.      What is your favourite fruit? Berries
4.      What is your favourite TV Show? Adventure Time
5.      What is your favourite snack? Sausage Rolls
6.      What is your favourite animal? Cat
7.      What is your favourite song? Dynamite by Taio Cruz
8.      What is your favourite book? Ballet
9.      Who is your best friend? Evie and Abbie and Morgan
10.  What is your favourite thing to do outside? Play tig
11.  What is your favourite drink? Orange juice
12.  Which is your favourite holiday? Christmas
13.  Who is your favourite person in the world? Mummy and Damian
14.   What do you want to be when you grow up? Hairdresser
15.  What is your favourite thing to do at school? Literacy
16.  Who is your favourite cartoon character? Ben and Holly
17.  Give 3 words to describe you brother? Funny, Loving, Nice
18.  Give 3 words to describe your family? Loving, Nice, Awesome
19.  If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do? Draw lots of pictures
20.  Give 3 words to describe yourself? Funny, Nice, Good

 The picture on the left is from her 5th birthday, the picture on the right was taken on her 6th birthday...I can see a little difference, she's losing her babyish features.

Happy Birthday my little munchkin!!

Being prepared in the case of an emergency...

Whether it be a national food shortage, power cuts, contaminated water supply, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our family to be prepared for the worst.

It was upon reading a particular thread on the Money Saving Expert forum that got me thinking about starting a store cupboard and gathering equipment in the event of an emergency. Living in this day and age, we never think of anything bad happening...we don't really suffer with catastrophic weather, our homes are fully equipped to receive gas, water and electric. But, what if the worst did happen, how long would we be able to stay comfortable inside our own homes??

I've already starting writing a list of things I need to buy:

  • Camp stove and extra gas cannisters
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Batteries
  • Candles/matches
  • Extra blankets
  • Torches
Along with supplies I can pick up as extra along with my weekly shopping to start a store cupboard:

  • Long life milk
  • Tinned goods
  • Bottled water
  • Tea-bags and sugar
  • First Aid items
  • Paper plates and cups (easy to throw out after use instead of using valuable water to wash)
  • Rice/pasta
  • Biscuits
  • Squash
 Any item from the above list costs a few pence alongside your normal weekly shop and is well worth investing in to stock up.

I wonder how many households would be in serious trouble if anything happened? I know mine would be! But I'm on track to being fully prepared.







Here are a few links if anyone is interested:

http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit
http://www.redcross.org.uk/What-we-do/Preparing-for-disasters/How-to-prepare-for-emergencies/Ready-for-winter/Prepare-your-emergency-kit

Plus here is the link to the MSE thread for those that are interested.

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4065593

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Our Elf On The Shelf

Mr Jingles came to us on the morning of Friday 6th December and became an instant hit with both kids. Not surprising since he came bearing gifts.





Erin received a letter from Santa explaining why Mr Jingles was staying with us and he included a little report card for Erin to fill out on how Mr Jingles was behaving. He even had his own little passport, how cute is that!!




On Saturday, Mr Jingles let his mischievous side out and hung Erin's underwear on the Christmas Tree, Damian and Erin thought it was hilarious and couldn't stop talking about it all day.




On Sunday, he brought Donuts for us to eat for breakfast...I guess he was making up for being mischievous yesterday.




On Monday, Mr Jingles and Mr Bear were playing Noughts & Crosses.




On Tuesday, he made himself comfortable in the doll's house.




On Wednesday, he read a story with his friend Santa.




And today, Mr Jingles brought Damian and Erin some new Christmas dishes along with a note asking them to be nice to their teacher and friends.

He has only been here for a week, but he has definitely settled in and is an additional member of our little family. There was even murmurs from Damian and Erin that they will be sad to see him go on Christmas Eve!!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Halloween

All week I've had my kids asking if it's Halloween yet....All.Week!!! Thankfully it's finally here and yes the kids are still very excited. Unfortunately, I have to work tonight so will be unable to take them Trick or Treating *insert sad face* however, my sister has volunteered to take them out, what a fab auntie she is to my 2. I hope they have plenty of fun and fill their bags with treats.




Saturday, 19 October 2013

Saturday is caption day


Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

I love nothing more than to snap pictures of my kids when they're caught off-guard, it looks much more natural than a posed picture. I took this picture of Erin while we were waiting for Damian to catch up, I'd love to hear your captions.


I'm linking up with Mammasaurus for her 'Saturday is Caption Day' Blog Hop.

Why not pop over and caption other wonderful pictures.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Four Adventure-Inspired Birthday Themes

Every great birthday party starts with a great theme. When you choose something fun for your little one, it helps tie everything together and makes the party even more memorable. Looking for ideas? Adventure-inspired themes are perfect for active and imaginative kids, and will keep everyone entertained. Here are some great action-packed birthday party themes to inspire your party planning:  

The Pirate 
Create a swash-buckling theme with pirate hats, chocolate gold coins, a map cake, and some sea-faring games. You can play Pin the Patch on the Pirate (printouts available here) or create a treasure hunt for the little pirates using hand-drawn maps on brown paper bags. At each “stop” along the hunt, you can place little treats or treasures for them to find. Be as creative as you like, and don’t forget to incorporate a Jolly Roger pirate flag in your decorations! 

The Explorer 
Create a backyard expedition where your little explorers can take a tour of the backyard jungle on a quest for safari creatures! To enhance the experience, give them each a safari hat and a pair of little binoculars to carry along their journey. An explorer birthday party theme can also have a fun archeological twist. Let your guests make their own fossils using clay and plastic dinosaurs. There’s a great tutorial here. A globe-shaped piñata, decorations inspired by Indiana Jones, and jungle animal cupcakes will put the finishing touches on this adventurous theme. 

The Pilot 
For a memorable aviation-themed party, begin with a fun activity. Set up several tables decorated as famous locations in the world, and let the little ones “travel” the world. You can give them personalized blank books (easily made from construction paper) that will serve as their passports, and have them collect a stamp in the book for each place they visit. Spice this up by adding small snacks to each destination table that reflects the theme. You can also have your guests make mini airplanes to take home with them. Instructions can be found here. At the end of the party, offer your little pilots take home goodie bags from a table labeled “Baggage Claim.Include themed party favors and sugar cookies frosted or shaped like airplanes.  

The Cowboy 
Howdy partner! A cowboy or western themed birthday is perfect for young adventurers. Provide kid-sized cowboy hats for each of your guests to get the party started. You can also outfit your little ones in bandanas and handmade sheriff badges with their names written in felt marker. For a fun activity, set up the kiddie pool with sand and water and let the kids pan for gold. Complete your cowboy party with a horse piñata and a cowboy hat shaped cake. Don’t forget to send thank you cards after the party! Snap a few photos of the party and your guests, and create personalized digital eCards for all the little adventurers! 

Stephanie is the Director of Marketing at Punchbowl, Inc. She blogs about celebrations, party planning, and free digital greeting cards.


*This is a guest post*

Monday, 30 September 2013

My artistic little bunny

As I've mentioned many times before, Erin is my creative bunny, she loves everything arts and crafts and is quite happy to sit at the kitchen table and draw while I'm pottering about or making dinner.

She has been particularly artistic this week and drew me some pictures:




I have ring-binders full of these drawings from when she first picked up a pencil til now, along with school achievements and certificates. I always thought it'd be nice for her to look back on these things when she's older.

This child has no idea how much she makes me laugh, she is goofy, playful and very very loving. I love nothing more than to snuggle up with her and read a book or watch a film.



As it's only 12 weeks til Christmas, I gave Erin a piece of paper and a pencil and asked her to write down what she'd like from Santa (a mum needs to have plenty of notice and ideas of what to buy her child) and this is what she wrote:


(I want a toy bear and a doll please Santa, just on Christmas please. Ok Santaa ok ok pinky promise and a)

It's little moments like this that are so magical to me, seeing my children grow and learn, yet still come to me for security and snuggles.

I'm linking this post with The Oliver's Madhouse for their Magic Moments Blog Hop. Why not pop over and see Magic Moments from other bloggers.

Meal Plan Monday

Meal Planning Monday

I used to link up with Mrs M for her Meal Planning Monday Blog Hop, but it fell by the wayside. I'm so very sorry Mrs M, please accept me back. I recently read City Girl Turned Suburban Mum and her quest to feed her family for £5 per day and was very inspired, not only by the budget but also by the great meals she serves her family.

So with that in mind, I came up with my own version, I have a £50 budget but this includes everything; breakfast, lunches, dinners, snacks and household goods but I wanted to include the many tips that I picked up from City Girl, buying only items that are needed, using leftovers and making good quality meals.

If it were just my daughter and I, this wouldn't be too much of a problem at all. But once we throw my son into the mix, it becomes a different story, this child is the fussiest eater ever, his food has to be dry i.e. no sauce, he doesn't like fresh meat, fresh vegetables or rice and pasta. He could quite happily live on a daily diet of nuggets and chips (just to be sure - I try to vary his diet so he gets plenty of vitamins and minerals) but it's very hard to get him to try new food - he doesn't discount food on the taste, it's purely on how it feels in his mouth.

For this week's meal plan, I'm planning for 9 days including today as this will be the next time I can go food shopping. The meals I have planned are:
  • Chicken Pasta Bake (Damian will have eggy bread and cocktail sausages)
  • Chicken Curry with rice & poppadums (Damian will have chips and HM nuggets)
  • Fantastic Fishcakes with potato wedges & Salad (recipe can be found on citygirlturnedsuburbanmum)
  • Chicken patties with cubed potato & spaghetti hoops
  • Meatballs & pasta/chips
  • Chicken wraps & salad
  • Burger & chips with corn on the cob
  • Tuna Pasta Bake (Damian will have left over meatballs with chips)
  • Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic doughballs (Damian will have chips and HM nuggets)
Breakfast will be either cereal or toast. The kids will have packed lunches and I'll have either something I already have in stock or leftovers for lunch.

Taking into account what I already have in stock, my shopping list is:
  • Whole Chicken
  • Rice
  • Poppadums
  • Fresh Fish
  • Bread
  • Potatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Spaghetti Hoops
  • Meatballs
  • Tortilla Wraps
  • Burgers
  • Corn on the cob
  • Tuna
  • Cheese
  • Oil
  • Onions
  • Lemons
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Garlic
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Tinned corn
  • Spring onions
  • Jelly
  • Ham
  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Butter
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Rice Krispies
  • Lean Mince
  • Tomato Puree
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Beef Stock
According to My Supermarket this will cost me £51.75 from Tesco, which is where I usually shop from. I also have the following vouchers to use:
  • £5 off when you spend £50 or more
  • £1.87 Price Promise voucher
  • 65p off tortilla wraps
That would make my total spend £44.23.

My ultimate goal would be to make sure myself and my children eat a healthy and varied home cooked diet using only fresh ingredients and cooking wholly from scratch, however if I was to suddenly change the way I serve dinner, I know my children will refuse to eat what is put in front of them, so over the next few months I will be bringing in new meals, new techniques and lots of flavour so for them, the changeover will be gradual. I know this way will work better without tears and tantrums.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Saturday is Caption Day!!

I think everyone has guessed by now, that I love me some link-up parties, I've joined in with quite a few this week, so I may as well carry on.

Today I'm linking up with Mammasaurus for her 'Saturday is Caption Day' Blog Hop.


Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day!

The photograph I'm putting forward for this is a very old one indeed:

  

This is me when I was 18 months old, taken in our garden - my mum still lives in our childhood home, but the garden looks tons different now.

I'd love to hear some of your captions.

Friday, 27 September 2013

H54F

What a great week it's been, lots of time spent with the horrors plus a little time out for myself.

I'm linking up again with Lauren Elizabeth for her High 5 For Friday link up. Why not pop over and see what other blogger's are grateful for this week, or even let us know what you've been up to.

So, back to my #h54f






#1 - Doughnuts!! Now I love doughnuts, I could eat them all the time, my favourite is Krispy Kreme, but seeing as we have no vendors in town, I normally go with supermarket brands, which in my honest opinion aren't a patch on Krispy Kreme. However, this week I was walking past Greggs and saw these doughnuts in the window. These doughnuts had a sweet flavoured cream filling and were absolutely delicious!! Albeit, not as delicious as Krispy Kreme, I'm still very loyal to them, but these were still very nice indeed and a fraction of the price.

#2 - Last night Damian's laptop went to laptop heaven, he was up in arms!! 'What am I going to do now?' he wailed, 'Oh I don't know, how about reading, playing with your toys, doing some puzzles, or even, shock horror!! Go outside and play'. He still wasn't convinced on the whole going outside to play so he settled on doing some jigsaw puzzles and he picked some Egyptian puzzles, what a great choice, fun yet educational. He sat at my feet and we had a nice little convo about the different puzzles, as is always the case, he was telling me about them and not the other way around.

#3 - Don't you just love it when you take a sneaky selfie and it comes out much better than you ever imagined. I'm probably with the majority of 30 something ladies that hate having their picture taken, my hair has to be just right and I have to have full make up on before I let someone near me with a camera....however the other day, I took this pic without having any make up on and I really like it.

#4 - Erin drew this picture for me, it's a fish and she wrote 'Mum and Damian and the Fish, I love my Family'. Now bearing in mind, we don't have any pet fish, I think she meant the fish she drew was now a family pet. I love how random she can be without realising it.

#5 - I blogged yesterday about going rambling round the woods, I'm hoping this will become a more regular occurrence for us, we all loved it.

I hope you enjoyed my High 5 for this week, I love taking part in this linky party, it's one of my favourites.

 photo H54Fbutton-1_zpsa7aaa665.png

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Our evening rambling round the woods

There is nothing I love more than taking the kids out for a nice walk after dinner, especially as the evenings are getting that little bit cooler.

We wanted to go conker hunting, but when we got there, the tree we normally get them from had been stripped bare!! I made the decision to go for a little ramble along the woods and see what else we could find.

I remember as a child, my dad and stepmum would take me rambling through the woods on a Sunday after dinner, I loved it and can still remember that time spent with them to this day. My 2 love nature, they love walking through the woods, spotting wild animals, trying to find different things to bring home. Even though Damian is 10 and Erin is 5 and have very little interests in common, this is something they love doing together and I'm more than happy to indulge them.

I can't believe I didn't take my camera with me, however I did take some pictures when we got home.

We managed to stumble across lots of bramble bushes full of blackberries, however we came out a little unprepared and I only managed to grab a handful to bring home, Erin has decided that she would like them as part of her school packed lunch tomorrow, which again got me thinking. Why do I pay stupid prices for blackberries at the supermarket, when we can go for a little ramble and pick them ourselves. So tomorrow evening, as long as it stays dry, we are going rambling again but this time armed with a container and a bag.










I'm linking this post up with Cold Tea and Smelly Nappies for her Thrifty Thursday Blog Hop


And also with Clarinas Contemplations for her Savour The Season Blog Hop


ClarinasContemplations

Mother/Daughter Journals

 Last night I was reading through a favourite blog of mine over at modern mom where the author blogged about a mother and daughter journal as a way of connecting and communicating with your child, whether they be 4 or 14.

I thought this was a fab idea! Erin and I love to be creative, we both like writing, so what a great idea to use a journal like this. Plus it will give us something to look back on many years later.

I immediately went onto Amazon and had a look on what they had to offer. The journal that was blogged about over at Modern Mom was:

Just-Between-Us - pic and bio provided by Amazon - I still haven't got the hang of making the pic into a link!



This beautiful keepsake journal is the perfect place for moms and tween daughters to share stories and dreams, hopes and fears. Advice, guidelines, and prompts by author Meredith Jacobs and her thirteen-year-old daughter Sofie pave the way to discussing everything from friends and school to crushes and growing up. With plenty of free space to write about whatever's on their minds and fun pages for drawing pictures and making lists, this journal will open the lines of communication and help moms and daughters create memories that will last a lifetime.

But then I also came across this journal, which I thought matched Erin's age better.

 Just-Mom-Me - pic and bio provided by Amazon


From quizzes and car games to recipes and story starters, this book is full of fun things for girls to do with their moms. They can tear out and share the notes and gift coupons. They can test their knowledge of each other with checklists made for two. And they can get to know each other even better with games and activities that are sure to leave them giggling. 

What is your opinion? Is this something that your daughter would enjoy?

Disclaimer - In no way have I been compensated for this post, it is truely my own honest opinion. I just wanted to share it with you.





Wednesday, 25 September 2013

All the photos taken before you get the perfect one....

Today I'm linking up with The Sticky Fingers Blog for her wonderful Gallery themed Blog Hop. Every week, we are given a theme or a prompt for some pictures then link up together every Wednesday. This is the 1st week I've taken part and hopefully will continue to take part every week.

Sticky Fingers Photo Gallery

So back to this week's theme/prompt - Faces.

How many of us take about a bajillion pictures of our children until we get that perfect photograph? Then spend a few minutes deleting all the others that don't quite fit the bill? Maybe it's just me, but for this week's post, I decided to keep all of the not so perfect pictures before showing the one that made the grade.

I always seem to blog about my daughter, my son is quite happy with this, he hates posing for pictures, so much so, I have to kinda catch him offguard to get that natural look, otherwise he pulls this awful posing face (I know I shouldn't say it, but his posing face is so fake), but he has the starring role for this post.

When I was taking some pictures for my Ordinary-Moment. post, I happened to take a few pictures of the boy.







This is the dreaded posing face, yes I know it's not bad but I know it's fake.


Now here comes the picture that made the grade, I think it's perfect, natural and shows his natural smile.






Why not pop along to thestickyfingersblog and take part.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Just an ordinary moment



Erin is my little creative bunny, she loves to be doing things, whether it be colouring in, puzzles, helping with cooking or cleaning.

This past Sunday, she rediscovered her Fairy Tale Activity book and sat herself at the table while I pottered about.








It's moments like these that I truly cherish. When their thirst for knowledge and education is still alive. I also use these moments to ask questions which make her think. Do you believe in Aliens? Where do they live?

I'm linking up with Mummy, Daddy and Me for their Ordinary Moments Blog Hop. Please pop along and enjoy this wonderful blog, and take part with your own Ordinary Moment.