Happy Easter!

I remember Easter Sunday as a child, my mum would go overboard on the Easter eggs and we would have an Easter Egg Hunt in our house and into the garden.  I remember waking up each year and loving the hunt and trying to make the chocolate last as long as I could, because the rest of the year it was rationed each week with a little leeway at Christmas.



I'm not going to be quite so exhuberant with TC, this will be the first time she has really tasted chocolate and because of that she isn't all that interested, a quick taste and she's on to the next task, she'll be more interested in the basket which no doubt she will make into a handbag, I wonder where she gets her love of handbags from!



Our chocolate eggs came out really well, I melted some milk chocolate and transferred it into TC's milk jug from her tea set.  She then (with a little help from mummy) very precisely poured the chocolate into the silicone Lakeland moulds, then we popped them into the fridge to set quickly.  These moulds were great, the chocolate came out of them in one piece much to TC's glee from the look on her little face!


 Happy Easter to everyone!

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Silent Sunday







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Reasons to be Cheerful this week...

The week is only 4 days long this week and next.

The weather has promised to cheer up but probably only after Easter is over, although for the last couple of days we have had some tantalisingly, teasing, rare sunshine here peeping from the clouds.  It makes all the difference, that little bit of warmth and light. I understand why Easter is where it is each year but this is just so early and had to coincide with one of the most freezing Springtimes I have known!

I've bought new sunglasses and a couple of gorgeous summer dresses for TC, ever positive that the warmer weather will return as quickly as the cold pounced upon us.

The chasm in the garage has finally been filled in and the Flintstones debris removed by the boys.

I get to eat chocolate this week, I have kept away from it most of the year with only a couple of abberations when the supermarket had a BOGOF, who can resist a chocolate BOGOF!  Me and Miss TC are making some chocolate eggs with our Lakeland mould at the weekend, I have no idea how they will turn out, it will probably be a lot mess but it will be fun and we can lick our fingers and eat all the eggs and the "mistakes", can't wait!  (ps I have back up eggs - just in case!).

& finally we overslept this morning, which means I got a mini lie-in!  Usually TC wakes around 8am but for some reason, worn out from all that growing probably, she slept until 9!  That extra hour has made me very C-H-E-E-R-F-U-L *waving pom-poms*




Bedtime Live

I was debating whether or not to watch Bedtime Live on Channel 4 this week. As I have had a dream sleeper since she was around 8-10 weeks old I didn't want to tempt fate.  I can count the fingers on one hand the amount of times she has had a disrupted night and by disrupted I don't mean running amok, just awake for some reason but easily settled back down or now as she is older I have got her up for a few minutes, then back again after a few minutes and straight back to sleep.  Jo Frost would be slapping my wrists but my parenting works for me.

I have had the non-sleeper, it.is.exhausting and sometimes having a non-sleeper resolves itself with careful handling and sometimes not.  From the programme trailer I see exhausted, fraught parents who are simply at a loss at what to do.  If a child doesn't have any medical problems then I believe that it is the early handling of the sleep situation that helps to smooth the way.

HUH!  Easy for you to say I hear you cry!  Well no, I do have the t-shirt, but with TC I had already decided that we would (well me and her anyway, it doesn't take 2 adults to settle a baby) stay put and put a good routine into place until she was in the swing of sleeping (mostly) through the night. 

The first 8 weeks were not at all easy (are anyone's??) and at times she was waking every 2 hours or less to feed (remember I was not the spring chicken I was when I had my first!) and 4 weeks in I was flagging and felt like I was past tired.  The pregnancy had been incident-free but at 39 weeks my bump was huge and as many of you know, it's not easy to sleep in the last few weeks.  Mother Nature didn't think that one through or was she preparing us for no sleep once the baby came??

Anyway, around the 6 week mark she started going longer and longer between feeds at night and by 8-10 weeks we were settled into a routine that still sees us through now.  At just over 2 half years old she asks to go to bed between 7 and 7.30pm and is a sleep astonishingly fast most of the time.  She only has around 3-4 day time naps a week now, I thought I would miss her 2 hour naps but it does give us more time in the day to go out and thankfully now it isn't dark by 4.30pm!

So, what is the answer to those children who play up every bedtime, I know having one is easier, 2 or 3 children feeding off each others bedtime mischief must make things a whole lot more complicated!

I'm off to watch Bedtime Live, I have no idea of the magic formula having had one of each albeit 20 years apart, but happy TC is of the sleeping through the night variety!


Nominations are now open for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. If you’d like to vote for me in the Family section, you can find the form for nominations here.

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My nearly final #wobbleswednesday

I haven't posted here either for a couple of weeks or so, I am continuing with my fasting quest, albeit on a more manageable scale.  I find myself eating less but more nutrient dense foods so if I do fancy a glass of red or a mini chocolate swiss roll - they are divine, soft, and so very.... sorry, got a bit carried away there!  Anyway, you get the gist, I am finding the "diet" really does suit me and I am carrying it on as a lifestyle choice now. 

I am doing about 700 calories 2-3 days a week, this may sound harsh but I am so used to it now, having done it since the New Year and I am continuing to lose weight, it has slowed down but I haven't gained anything back!  Weighed myself yesterday morning and was down another half a pound, this from (another) week where I couldn't fit any exercise in except for my usual running around and a bit of erratic eating. 

I won't weigh myself regularly now, I only used to weigh myself a couple of times a year but I can really tell that my clothes fit me better once again, my coats close now without straining at the buttons and I can get some of my clothes back out again and of course treat myself to some new gear and Mr J has said he can see the difference the diet has made. 

Total weight loss this year is over 12lbs, I have surpassed my target of 10lbs and now want to try and go a further 6lbs, it's very do-able and although I am no longer counting calories, I kind of know what's really outrageously calorific now and avoid it on my lower calorie days or treat myself to a bite or two of something delicious when not fasting.

So this may be my nearly final #wobbleswednesday, there's not too much more to say, I can highly recommend the 5:2 diet and the alternate day diet too, it is hard for the first 3 or 4 fast days but it gets easier after that.  My main food and drinks on my fast days are now highly densely nutritious soups that I make myself, full of vegetables and a few beans, huge naked salads, my Get Up and Go drink from Patrick Holford which is choc full of nutrients and when made with water (sometimes Almond milk) is a scant 66 calories (with Almond Milk add 29 more calories) and quite a few cups of tea (with carefully measured milk!).

Thank you Kate Naked Mum for hosting #wobbleswednesday, I shall pop in from time to time to see how everyone is doing and update every few weeks.

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Crazy Weather!

It's March 12th and a week ago we were celebrating the warmest day of the year so far.  Today this is the scene that awaits me as I open the front and back doors.




A few days ago I planted a planter full of beautiful miniature daffodils to greet everyone at the front door, they were blooming lovely and now flattened, soggy and frozen under the weight of the fresh snow.


I was all set to start turning over the beds in the front garden, ready for the seedlings and new plants I very excitedly wanted to sow and plant but it's not happening this week! 

Last year the cold weather and wind knocked off all the beautiful, delicate pink blossoms off my apple and cherry trees, we have 4 and 2 respectively and very few cherries appeared on the trees that I have nurtured from sticks bought at the local nursery and absolutely no apples - I never thought I'd miss the apples as we have a glut every year and are all appled-out by September but miss them I did and hope this late cold snap (understatement!) won't harm the crop this year too.

I can't believe I was basking in the warmth of the Spring sunshine this time last week, it goes to show we need to make the most of every thing when it comes along, except the snow!  Go away snow, come back warmest day of the year please.



Mummy's Many Mantels

Happy Mother's Day


There are single moments in life which are defining and irreversible, the birth of my children are such moments.  Apart from the sheer overwhelmingness of it all, where I gave birth we have a stunning sea view from way up high and every time the sun came out as I gave birth, no really it did, Mr J confirmed it when I thought I may have just glorified those exact moments a little. 

When I was a first time Mummy (with a capital "M") many years ago I just got on with daily life, raising my beautiful boy and all that life threw at me back then, you know the stuff of life and all that it entails.  I remember someone saying that as women we wear many mantels, many hats, Mother, wife, daughter, sister, etc, all those titles had their own challenges.  The time constraints of work for both of us and being our parents' children too were just two of many such challenges.

How things have changed for me this time round and how some things will always stay the same.  My many mantels and hats are still there but some have fallen away.  
In no particular order, here are a few ....

Chef/Nutritionist, many meals and snacks a day, every day, nutritionally sound, always made with love and sometimes rejected. I hate it when that happens, but such is the growing child.

Teacher, from their first words, their ABC's and 123's, the list is endless over the years.  Fascinating stuff how we learn.

Singer, well she doesn't know yet that I can't hold a note, infact, the more out of tune and louder we sing, the better she likes it and the more giggles we have.

Psychologist, figuring out the emerging child and being fascinated by some of it.

Psychic, knowing where everything has been "relocated" like car keys and my tweezers!

Bodyguard, Mama bear always keeping them safe.

Chauffeur, how many miles have I clocked up since TC was 6 days old, we go out on average 6 days a week and I do love our little trips, one of her first words was car, then car key!

Housemaid, cleaning up their mess, TC is a copier, so she already tries to load and unload both the dishwasher and washing machine, we've had a few broken plates and clean washing dragged along the floor and piled up on a radiator, but it's all good.

Nurse, it goes without saying that we are all nurses and know our children so well we can instinctively feel when they are becoming unwell, sometimes 
even before they do! 

Hairdresser, I have yet to trust a hairdresser with TC's silken locks, like mine her hair grows like a weed, so many fringe trims and some of them are actually straight!

Fashionista, when we're that young we look good in anything, sadly for me those days are past, but TC looks treat in everything and having a girl after all these years I cannot help dressing her up!

Fairy Tale Teller, to glide her into a happy sleep, where they all live happily ever after...


& as the years go on and as TC grows up into a young lady, a teenager, a whole host of new hats and mantels as well as those already worn will be donned, like….

Confidante, hoping she will tell me everything that is going on in her life, her secret crushes, her hopes and fears.

Inspirer, when things aren't going her way or to help her decide which other way to go.

Cheer-er-upper, for when those pesky hormones start to jump around causing chaos, having the tissues and hot chocolate at the ready!

Nurturer, comforter, kisser, cuddler, hugger, squeezer - making the very most of her wanting to do all those things and holding on tight, I know these times are precious and fleeting as the years.....
The list is happily endless, I'm sure you can think of many more mantels/hats you wear as Mummy every day.




In memory of Matilda Mae on Mothers Day

#Silent Sunday




Toddler Chicken Burgers

TC's dining habits are changing, she will only sit in her high chair for breakfast, the rest of the day she will eat at her toddler table or sat on daddy's lap.  I have had a booster seat for some time but TC being TC, she would much prefer to sit on a big girl's chair even if she can't see over the table!  So the mission to get her to eat sitting in the booster seat at the big girl's table twice a day at least continues.

Her food choices are changing too, she uses cutlery well but still prefers finger foods except vegetables, which I still hide in anything I can, I am a vegetable counter each day, it used to be so easy, changes, changes!!

Getting her to eat chicken (we only eat chicken and fish) is also not so easy, she will pick it out of any dish, it's not the taste but probably the texture she isn't keen on.  With this in mind I decided to buy a mincer, a cheap plastic one in case it was all in vain, to mince up the chicken (not a pleasant task!) and make some mini chicken burgers.  They turned out better than expected and TC even managed a couple of bites, they did taste delicious, I would have liked some chilli in the mix but they are for TC not me, although I did manage to polish off test out a couple!


Ingredients

4 x chicken mini fillets, minced
2 x sundried tomatoes
2 tsp red pesto (contains pecorino and grana padano cheeses)
2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
about half a slice of oaty bread, minus the crusts
1 tsp mixed herbs, I used herbes de provence
black pepper to season (optional)
Cooked Quinoa*

Method

Put the chicken fillets along with the sundried tomatoes and mince, then put the bread through the mincer, this helps to clear out all the chicken. 

Add the red pesto, spring onions, mixed herbs and seasoning to taste and combine until all the ingredients are blended in.  Then add a tablespoon or two of cooked Quinoa.

Form into small balls, cover and chill for an hour.

Fry gently, pressing down into burger shapes (you can also grill for 4-5 minutes, brush with oil first if you do) on both sides until cooked through.



Serve with lightly toasted mini burger buns and cheese, or in TC's case eat as a snack, it's a start!  More from the "test kitchen" soon.


*I cook Quinoa a couple of times a week to add to various dishes or use in place of rice, it adds extra protein and goodness to everyday foods.
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#R2BC - Reasons to be Cheerful this week



I don't join in with R2BC on Mummy from the Heart every week, there are weeks that fly past so fast that I get to the weekend, starting on Friday in my case and I look back and see what has gone on but so much of it is very run of the mill life, which suits me as it means a week of no drama!

First the uncheerful bit, power surge yesterday, lights flickered, usually reboots my computer, this time it completely wrecked my Sky router so no internet!  "Luckily" (back on the cheerful track) we have BT internet too so I was able to tack onto that after a dash to Maplins to get a bit of kit to hook it all up. Without the internet I can't work, blog or connect with friends online, so reliant we all are on the internet!

The last couple of weeks has seen me finally getting my eyes tested and getting some glasses but as is my luck they got the prescription a little off and I had to get retested so still no glasses, any day now I am hoping.

You are all going to think I am barmy after having being so happy about having my studio roof fixed but this week we also got a cracked drainpipe in our garage changed.  One of those jobs that needed doing for so long.  It meant having the garage floor dug up with pneumatic drills - that was fun, the house shook and the pong eminating from that area was "interesting"!  This will mean we can move forward on things indoors, more upheaval but necessary.


Which brings me onto... at least the weather has cheered up, Tuesday was the warmest day this year, it was positively balmy and with TC in nursery for the afternoon I took the liberty of taking tea on the seafront with a book and my favourite magazine where I ate finger sandwiches and cake, afternoon tea, peace and quiet, breathe and let it all go... until 5 when I jumped back on the travelator of life again... does a girl good to take a minute or 60 off once in a while!

On the health front Mr J is going for important heart tests in London next week when all manner of decisions have to be made, like how his heart is recovering or not and by how much, like the percentage of chance he has of survival if he chooses to go through with the next operation.  This may seem like it's not a R2BC but sometimes in life there are 2 doors marked "Come In" and you have to choose one, we just want to know which one.  

TC continues to blossom and grow, she is a lively child and nursery is suiting her well, they love the children there, it is clear to see with the affection they show the children and my cheerfulness is enhanced by knowing she is happy and enjoying her time there. 

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