Sunday, 28 July 2013

My weekly round up 21/07/13 - 27/07/13

The early part of this week was spent on preparing for the summer holidays. Now that we are in the summer holidays I thought that I would write a day by day account with a few photos to give you a clear idea of how we spend our summer holidays.
 
Day one - Wednesday 24th July.
 
Today we spent the morning cooking chocolate crispy cakes and chocolate pancakes. The crispy cakes are from a recipe that I have had for a good ten years now and the pancakes were a ready made 'Peppa pig' mix that I had brought.
 
 
It was great fun and after our lunch we enjoyed the pancakes with some chocolate ice cream and then we saved the crispy cakes for our desert after our dinner that night. 
 
We spent the afternoon potato printing and using a foil art set that had been a present earlier in the year.
 
 
After our creative day of cooking and crafts the children had some time to play in the garden and see their friends.
 
Day two - Thursday 25th July.
 
Today we spent the morning playing board games. We played the Disney princess magic wand game which is a firm favourite for Faith  and our Tetris board game which is a favourite game of the older two girls.
 
After lunch we took Faith to Wacky warehouse for a play as we have brought their summer saver offer which entitles unlimited play in July and August for just £10 which I think is fantastic value so needless to say we will be visiting wacky every week!
 
Day three - Friday 26th July.

Today was an organising and helping day. I always plan in at least two of these days every summer holiday as I think that it doesn't hurt for the children to spend a few days helping to organise things and have a good clear out. Today we went through all of the children's clothes as that was long over due and we also had a good clear out and tidy up in our coat and shoe cupboard under the stairs. The children were very good helping so after we had finished we went to visit my sister which is a nice treat for the children as we do not often get to visit her and then when we got home they had some garden play while I cooked the dinner.
 
Day four - Saturday 27th July.

Today we had a family old fashioned sports day which is a brilliant way to have some low cost fun outside in the lovely weather we have been having. We split into two teams of two (one adult with one child) as my oldest was out with her friends and then we drew up a list of games such as the sack race and the egg and spoon race and then we completed in our teams to win a small prize which was a chocolate bar. After the sports day we had a BBQ and it was a lovely day.
 

***To hear more about how you can plan your own sports day look out for my next post which will be up either tomorrow or Tuesday.***

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Potato printing

Some times in life it's the good old simple ideas that really are the best!
Yesterday we decided to do some painting so we got everything out only to find that we did not have any paint brushes (due to the older two taking them and then not putting them back!) so as I had some potatoes that were looking a bit past there best, I decided to cut some shapes into the potatoes to make potato stamps.

Faith, my little one, absolutely loved using the stamps and she spent ages making a picture. Faith is normally quite a hyper child as she rushes through things eager to get on the next activity so for her to sit for over an hour working on one picture, it really is amazing.

For anyone that has never done this before you simply get a potato, cut it in half and then cut around the potato, leaving a shape in the middle that sticks out, so that when it is dipped into some paint only the shape gets the paint on it and then you use it like a stamper.
The finished art work!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The start of the summer holidays!

Today is the children's last day at school before the holidays, so at 3pm today it is officially the start of the summer holidays!!

Things have been quite serious at home for quite a while now due to my health issues and other family problems so I am determined to make the next 6 weeks as fun and family orientated as possible to help get us back to enjoying each others company and having a laugh together. I think that when you have long periods of time where things are quite low at home, it is far too easy to forget how to smile and have fun and its all too easy to get stuck in a rut and let life pass you by.

With that in mind I have a bucket full of water bombs in the garden and some loaded water guns waiting for the kids. I have blown up a load of balloons and I have made a 'summer holiday starts here' banner and I have 2 water bombs by the front door so that when they get home I can bomb them straight away! I can't wait to see their faces!!

Sometimes, when things get a bit flat and life can seem like hard work, it can do you all some good to do something totally mad and out of character to shake things up in the house. That's not to say that I am boring, I use to mess around with water bombs with the kids all the time before I got ill, but like I said, things have been too serious for too long so I'm looking forward to shocking the kids and acting crazy for the rest of today!

Monday, 22 July 2013

The importance of meal planning.

I think that it is really important to plan your main meals each week in advance for a number of reasons.
  • To start with, it stops you standing in your kitchen with hungry children wondering what on earth you are going to make each night.
  • It can save you money as you know what you need, so helps to avoid impulse buying and it also stops you turning to take-a-ways when you do not know what to cook.
  • You never have to run to shops half way through cooking a meal to get an ingredient that you need but don't have in.
  • You can make sure your weeks meals are varied.
  • You can plan for days that you are limited on time with easier dinners.
For those of you that are new to meal planning, I thought that I would share with you how I started off planning my menus.
 
I started by getting a pen and paper and jotting down all the dinners that I could think of that I would normally make. I then made another list of all the recipe's that I have that I would like to one day make. I then had a master list that I could refer to when making my weekly menu plan. Once you have your weeks plan, you can then make a shopping list so that you have everything you need for the week. When the week is over, don't throw away your plan. You can keep it and then if you have a week where you are short on time, you can just re-use it so all you have to do is make a shopping list and your done.
 
More meal planning tips.
  • Try to include as many different food groups as possible each week for a varied and healthy diet.
  • Try to include a new recipe that you've never made before most weeks to keep things interesting.
  • If you have a week where you need to spend very little you could base your menu plan around the food that you already have in your cupboards and freezer.
  • Another way to save some money is to look online at your supermarkets offers and base your menu around the stores current offers.
  • Although it is not always practical to cook from scratch every night, try to have at least two meals a week where you do and then once you are use to that, you could try three each week and build it up to a level where you are comfortable.
  • Write your menu plan out and put up somewhere that all the family can see to stop the constant 'what's for dinner?' questions.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

My weekly round up 14/7/13 - 20/7/13

My top 3 highlights of the week.

* Attending Faiths first ever sports day.
* Winning another competition!
* Giving the girls their week one summer holiday booklet.

Attending Faiths first ever sports day last Monday was a very special mummy moment and for once we actually had lovely weather. I suppose if anything, it was a bit too hot, but the school were very good about keeping the children hydrated and making sure that they all had sun hats and sun cream so it wasn't too bad.
We arrived at the school at lunch time as we were allowed to join the children in a picnic lunch which was lovely and Faith was so pleased to have her mum and dad at school with her.
 
After our picnic, the children all went and got changed and then the fun began. They did eight events in teams which were all given a colour and Faith was green team. 

It was so lovely seeing all the excited children complete and at the end every child received a medal and Faith was super proud of herself for 'winning' a medal and has not stopped talking about it ever since! It was a lovely day and I am really glad that I was able to go and enjoy the day with her.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On Thursday I received an e-mail telling me that I have won another competition which is very exciting! I must be lucky at the moment! I have won 2 tickets to 'WAGs the musical' in London and a goody bag worth £60. This was a lovely surprise and I have decided to take my sister with me as hubby is not really a theatre person and it will be nice to spend some time with my sister and have a girls day. The tickets are for Friday August 23rd and we have decided to make a day of it, so I am really looking forward to going.

On Friday night, when the girls got home from school, I gave them their first summer holiday booklet of the year telling them all about the plans for the first week of the holidays. It was so lovely as they were all genuinely excited and Faith was dancing around the living room singing 'thank you mummy' over and over again. It really is moments like this that make the extra time planning etc. all worth while. I love my children so much and I want to do all that I can to make sure that they have a happy childhood and grow up into happy confident adults that are ready to take on the world.

In other news, Lauren has been on work experience this week. She wants to be an English teacher when she leaves school but the school said that there was no work experience placements anywhere for working in a high school which I must admit angered me somewhat, as it is not as if she wanted to get a placement on a TV show or in out of space! Anyway, to cut a long story short, she has ended up being placed in a café with a shop attached to the side of it so she has been working in both the shop and the café this week. She didn't want to go but I made her go as I believed that it would teach her some valuable life experience as often people do not want to go to work but they have to so that they can pay their bills and when she came home on her first day in tears, I must admit, I felt really bad. She had been through hell that day, working over 5 hours without a break, drink or food, spoken down to and made to do all the horrible jobs that no one else wanted to do. The next day, she begged me to let her stay home but I felt that she needed to give it another chance. I told her that if she gets no breaks again, she should ask for one and if they refused she could walk out and I would tell the school what was going on so that she did not get in trouble. I told her that if everyone gave up after just one bad day that no one would ever do anything or get anything done. She was really not happy with me and I was so worried all day that she was going to come home hating me having suffered for another day. It was one of those decisions on my part that I had really struggled with and I was very uncertain as to if I had done the right thing. She came home that night with a huge smile on her face, telling me that she had really enjoyed her day and that she was actually really glad that she had went back. I can't tell you how relieved I was! On the Friday, her last day, she was actually sad to be leaving and she has even asked them if they would give her a summer job! It just goes to show that sometimes in life, we as parents have to make hard decisions that can make us look like the bad guy, but if we are doing it with love, things will work out in the end.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Summer record sheets.

This is an idea I had when my older two girls were little and we have done it ever since and it's so simple to do!
 
Every summer holiday I get a sheet of plain A4 paper and write on the top 'Summer record sheet'. I then draw a line for them to write in the date and then I get them to write about their day, high lighting things that they have particularly enjoyed. I get them to draw at least one picture of something that they have enjoyed that day and they can also stick on things like cinema tickets or post cards from places we've been. I buy them a folder and then we put the sheets into the folder and at the end of the six weeks holidays we have a lovely folder full of their thoughts, drawings and souvenirs to keep forever and look back on in years to come. Lauren and Chloe who are now 15 and 14 years old often look back through their old folders and reminisce on times gone by and it is so easy to do. If you have a printer you can just make one sheet and then print them off as you go so it's not very time consuming at all. Each night about 30 minutes before going up for baths and bed we sit down and fill them in and it's educational as well as it gets them practising their hand writing, spellings and reading.
 
So there you have it, a simple easy idea that can create memories that will last a life time!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Summer holiday booklets.

Every year, once I have planned my summer holidays I make summer holiday booklets for each of my children. Now, these may not be for everyone as they do take a bit of time to make and they really only suit the parents that like to be super organised and those that like a lot of structure to their day. The reason that I like them so much is because my children like to follow a plan and know what they are suppose to be doing at different times of the day and it stops argumements about baths and bedtimes as everything is planned out. It also stops endless questions about when we are going to be doing certain activities as it is all clearly set out in their booklets. Another reason that I like to do these books is because it helps them to learn in quite a few different ways without them even realising it. For example, it helps them to read as they have to read what to do. It helps them to tell the time as every item has a time. It helps them to understand time management and how to follow instructions and it helps them to understand how to plan things, so for me, I think that what you get out of them it worth far more then the time it takes to make them.

I thought that I would show you how you can make some booklets for your children as they are really easy and you could always use the idea for a less planned and structed version if you would find that more comfortable.

So, step one is to get 4 sheets of plain A4 paper and put them on top of each other and then fold them in half to make a book with pages.

You then fold a spine and staple it to fasten the book together although if your not happy using staples you could always try using paper clips or glue but personally I find that staples work best.

You can then decorate the front cover and label it as week one.


I then write in everything from getting up in the morning, right through to bath and bed. That way each child knows exactly what they are meant to be doing and when. Of course I'm not totally rigid with my lists as if it was raining on a day to the park or a child was unwell I would change the lists accordingly but it's all there as a guide and each child gets enormous satisfaction ticking off each task throughout the days.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Planning for the summer holidays.

For those that read my last post, you will know that I have been busy planning the summer holidays this week. I do not usually leave it this late, but for those of you that are yet to make any plans, there is still time to get things sorted. I thought that it would be good to share how I plan the holidays and give you some ideas to get you started.

The first thing that I do is my accounts. I look at what we will have coming in and all of our out-goings and then I decide how much I can afford to spend over the six weeks and then I divide it out into each week depending on pay day and what have you. I then discuss it all with my partner to make sure that we are both on the same page and that I haven't forgotten anything. Previous years I have saved some money prior to the holidays so that we had more money to play with, but this year I left it too late.

The next step is to start looking into the costs of activities that you would like to do. There are lot's of free or low cost activities out there if you know where to look and use your imagination. Check out your local libraries, museums, sports centres, farms, swimming pools and notice boards. Check your local cinema website as well as they often do special deals in the school holidays, for example my local cinema does special screenings of slightly older films (films that may have been released 6 - 12 months earlier) for just £1 a person. Also have a look at your schools website as they often advertise events and activities that are taking place during the holidays. I also like to ask the children to tell me one place that they would like to go or something that they would really like to do but I make it clear the kind of budget I have so that they don't ask for something that I can't stretch to. This year my older two have asked for a family BBQ that they can invite three friends each to and then the friends get to sleep over after the BBQ and my little one has asked to go to the sea side.
Below is a picture of my the start of my list, but please excuse my hand writing, spellings and photography!


Once I have a list of places to go and things to do out of the home, I then put my thinking cap on and devise a list of things that we can do at home. Some of the things I include are; arts and crafts projects, cooking, themed days, movies, make-over days and playing board and computer games. Once you have written down all the things you can think of which you know will go down well you can then do a few searches online to get some more ideas so that you have some new things to do that you've never done before to keep things interesting.
Here is my list.


The next step is to check your calendar to see how much time you have. I am a stay at home mum so I have a lot of time, but if you are working then you will be more limited. Even if you are like me and at home every day, you still need to check to see what commitments you have and you also need to leave some time to do your house work, food shopping etc. to keep the household running. Again, it's a good idea to discuss this with your partner, if you have one, in case they have any plans that they've yet to tell you and also to see if they can help with anything during the holiday and if they are planning on taking any time off work etc.

Now it's time for the fun part! For this, I get 6 A4 sheets of paper (one for each week) and I then draw on 8 boxes which I label with each day and date of the week for the summer holidays labelling the eighth box 'notes'. I then start with week one and I fill in any obligations first, in the corresponding date box and I write how long the item will take ( this just needs to be a rough estimate to help you plan enough activities or stop you from planning too many!). I then look at the budget for the week and decide which activities or day trips I can afford that week. I then write them in to the corresponding boxes with the estimated time and cost and any other important details that I need to remember. Then it is just a case of filling up the empty time slots with at home activities and allowing time for chores, meals and time for the children to play out with friends or occupy themselves as it's also important for them to be able to do their own thing and not be over scheduled.
Below is one of my weeks that I have just finished planning.
 
Now you can either put up your list as it is, where it is visible for everyone or keep it some where safe that only you know so that you can surprise your children each day or you could make the list into little booklets for your children, which is something that I always like to do as it always go's down well with my kids and this year I was unsure as to if  I should make booklets for my oldest as I thought that at aged 15 she may find it babyish but she actually asked me to make them for her as she loves them! I will do a post very soon with more information on my booklets for any one that is interested. 


Sunday, 14 July 2013

My weekly round up 7/713 - 13/7/13

I thought that each week I would write a post filling you in on what myself and my family have been up to for those that are interested.

The high lights of the week are; reports for Lauren and Chloe, our trip to the seaside and winning a competition.
 
I got Laurens and Chloe's end of year reports this week and I was very proud. They are both doing amazing well at school and they are both in all the top sets so I am a very proud mum. Faith had her end of year report a few weeks ago as well and I was also super impressed and proud of her. Faith finds reading and writing quite hard as she has had a problem with her speech but she has such enthusiasm to learn and improve that she has come on leaps and bounds since starting school so I am really proud of her.
 
Friday we went to Felixstowe after school which I blogged about yesterday, so I won't go into too much detail now, but it was a really lovely afternoon/evening and was enjoyed by all.
 
On Wednesday I received a letter telling me that I have won a competition that I entered to win an apple ipad so I am really pleased about that. I first started entering competitions a few years ago when I first got ill with ME as it is something that I can do without using much energy and concentration and I won a few little things but as I started to get better, I got busier and then stopped it all together. About five weeks ago I decided to start entering competitions again as I do enjoy doing it as a hobby as it can be fun to dream of what it would be like to win each prize and so far I have won a pair of ear-rings, a tube of face cream, a maple syrup cook book and now an apple ipad so not bad for only five weeks of effort! I can't wait for it to arrive and I've been told that it should arrive some time in the early part of next week so it will be very exciting when it arrives as I have been wanting an ipad for a while but we just didn't have the finances to get one, so winning one is perfect!
 
In other news, I am a little bit panicked as I didn't realise how close we are to the summer holidays so I have a lot of planning to get done. I always like to be well prepared for the summer holidays as there is nothing worse then a bored child, as in my experience, they always get up to mischief when they have nothing to do. That's not to say that they will be constantly doing things with me as of course they do need some time to play with their friends and also some time to learn how to occupy themselves so I always plan in time for that and it is also nice as it gives me some time to catch up on housework (which always gets waylaid in the school holidays) and also some time to relax as well!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Do you ever surprise your children?

Yesterday we surprised the children when they got home from school with a trip to the seaside. It was so lovely to see their faces when they realised that instead of our usual routine of home work and chores that we were instead going out for some family fun and the whole surprising the kids is something that I do like to do now and again.
                                             
 
I know that on the whole children need routine and structure and to be honest I also function much better that way as I am a list maker and a big planner, but I do think that it's nice to sometimes shake things up a bit and surprise the children and I wondered if other people do this or if you don't, maybe reading this may make you consider doing it. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money and in fact there are many things that you could do to surprise your children that doesn't cost a penny but for us we wanted to spend a little and treat them to a trip to the seaside as we haven't been out for a while (due to me being unwell) so when they came in from school they did their usual 'hi mum, can I have a snack?' and I told them yes but they needed to get changed first into something nice and they all stood there looking so confused and intrigued it was really funny. We then told them that we were going to the beach and they were all so excited (even the teenagers and for anyone with teens, you will know that excitement in them is quite an achievement!) and they all run off to get ready.
We drove to the local super market and let them pick a few treats to make up a picnic with some drinks and then we headed off to the beach. We ate our picnic on the beach and then we had a paddle and the water was absolutely freezing but I didn't mind as we were having such a laugh together.
 
 Then we searched for shells and unusual stones and that always goes down well with my little one. We then gave each child £2 and we went into the arcades and let them have a little fun. Then we put Faith on some rides and then it was time to head home.
 
On the way home, both Lauren and Chloe thanked me for a lovely evening and Faith told me that I was 'her wonderful, beautiful, special, princess mummy' and that she loved me very much so I know that they all appreciated the treat and myself and hubby had a great time too so all in all, it was a successful surprise trip out.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

MOT yourself!

We all make sure our car goes for an MOT every year to make sure that it is working properly, so that it does not fall apart on us, but many of us fail to look after our own health in the same way. We are often the glue that holds our families together so we need to make sure that we are well and in the best condition that we can be. After all, if we don't look after ourselves how can we look after the rest of the family. I have devised a check list for you that covers everything you need to give yourself an MOT and make sure that you are in the best condition that you can be.

* Book a doctors appointment for a general check up. It's a good idea to get checked for illnesses such as anaemia, diabetes and thyroid disorders if you have been feeling more tired then normal. Get your blood pressure checked and talk to your doctor about any other concerns you may have including your mental health.
* Diet and exercise. Check how much you weigh and look up your BMI online. Be honest with yourself about how much you exercise in a normal week and if you find that you are not moving very much then try to find some ways to move for an extra 10 minutes a day, such as putting on some music and dancing around your living room. This will not only help with your general health but it will also make you smile and lift your mood.
* Drink more water. It is recommended that you drink around 8 glasses of water a day. If drinking water is something that you struggle with then start off by just drinking one glass a day along side your normal drinks and then gradually work your way up to 8 glasses.
* Sleep. The average healthy adult needs between 7 and 8 hours a night. It is really important that you get enough sleep so try setting yourself a regular bedtime each night and also try to get up at the same time each morning. This will be hard to start with but after a few weeks your internal body clock with adjust to this and you will start to see the benefits.
* Eliminate the bad. This can be any of a number of things. There are addictions such as smoking, alcohol, gambling and drugs to name a few. If you are affected by any of these things then the first step is admitting that you have a problem. Once you are prepared to deal with your situation you can then start taking steps to eliminate the problem form you life. There are many support groups available so contact your GP as a starting point and then they can point you in the right direction. Then there are toxic relationships, which can be your partner, a family member or
even so called 'friends'. When it comes to bad relationships in your life, you really need to assess the situation very carefully as you do not want to make any rash decisions unless you or your children are in danger as there is violence or mental abuse involved. You need to evaluate the problems with the said person and decide if there are steps that can be taken to put the relationship back on track. If you can see no way of getting to a place where both parties can be happy and move forward then you need to end the relationship. Your own thoughts. We all have a voice in our head that tells us things about ourselves and for some of us these thoughts are always negative and put us down. This really is not a healthy way to be living our lives, the world can be a hard enough place without us adding to our own stress levels by constantly finding fault with ourselves. One of the first steps to over coming this problem is to make a list of your good points and things that you are proud of yourself for and then when ever you feel low and fed up with yourself, read this list and remind yourself of the beautiful person that you really are. Now, I know that this may be difficult for you to do, you may be thinking that you do  not have any good points to list but everyone has good points and if you are really struggling with the list then why not ask your partner or a good friend to help you.
* Relaxation and time for yourself. It is important that you take some time every week to have some fun, do something that you enjoy and relax. It can be hard to find the time as very often it feels that there is not enough hours in the day but it is not selfish to focus on yourself now and again. If you are someone that thinks that you do not have any hobbies then start by taking the time to try different things until you find the things that you most enjoy or at the very least have a long relaxing bath while the children are in bed and read a good book.
* Beauty. Try to always get dressed every day even if you are not going anywhere as not only will it make you feel better about yourself, it will also help you to be more productive during your day. Even if your someone that does not like to wear make-up you can still make an effort with your appearance by making sure you are wearing clothes that are comfortable and that flatter you, adding accessories, doing your hair and making sure that you nails are clean and tidy. Appearance is by no means everything, but it does lift your mood to see yourself looking your best.

It is also important to make regular appointments for the dentist, opticians, and hair dressers. If you have a phobia of visiting the dentist, it is still important that you take your children every 6 months for a check up so that they can develop good dental hygiene as they grow up. It is also imperative that you do not let your children see how scared you are as they will pick up on these things and we do not want to pass our phobias on to our children. Getting your eyes tested regularly is also important and your children need these tests to make sure that they can see properly as it could impact on their education if they can not. If you are told that you need to wear glasses make sure that you do! We need to set a good example to our children as if they were told that they need to wear glasses for reading we would be the first to moan if we caught them reading without wearing them. Making regular appointments at the hair dressers is also a good idea and it is recommended that you have a hair cut every 6 - 8 weeks in order to keep your hair healthy. Finally, make sure that you are up to date with your cervical smear tests as these save lives! It may not be the nicest test to have done, but it is very important. You should have a cervical smear test done every 3 years, so if you are over due, make an appointment today! 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bedtime antics!

How do you get your kids to go to bed at night is a question that I have often been asked over the years and the main answer to that question is consistency!! I know that you are probably thinking that you've heard that before, but I think that when you are experiencing problems getting your child to bed you can often feel overwhelmed and add that to tiredness and stress and it can often be hard to look at things in an honest and logical way.

When it comes to bedtimes you first need to decide on what time you would like your children to go to bed and you need to agree on this with your partner if you have one as everyone that is in charge of caring for your children need to be on the same page. Now, when it comes to choosing a time for your children to go to bed, much of that will depend on your own personal circumstances but as a guide the NHS choices website has a list of ages and how many hours the average child needs to sleep each night. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Childrenssleep/Pages/Howmuchsleep.aspx You may decide to have a set bedtime every night or you could do what I do which is have a school night bedtime and a weekend/school holidays bedtime and for our family that has always worked well.

Once you have decided on an appropriate bedtime you then need to set up a bedtime routine that stays the same 99% of the time. The reason I say 99% is because in reality there will be times when the situation is out of your control and it is not possible to keep to it, but for the majority of the time you need to follow through with the bedtime routine from start to finish so that your child always knows what to expect each night. One important factor to consider is what your own mood is like at your child's bedtime as you need to be clam with your children if you want them to stay calm and settle down nicely.

Here is a list of some of the things that you could include in your child's bedtime routine depending on how old they are and what is suitable to you and your family.
  • Bath or wash.
  • A warm drink.
  • A quiet activity such as a puzzle or colouring in.
  • A bedtime story.
  • Teeth.
  • A quiet talk about the days events.
  • Cuddle time.
  • A healthy snack.
  • Listening to some calming music.
For Faith, my 5 year old, the bedtime routine starts at 6:30pm. First of all we do a quiet activity to help calm her down as she is a very active child. Then at 7pm I take her upstairs and she has a wash, brushes her teeth and gets ready for bed. I then read her a story and then we have a cuddle and a quiet talk for about ten minutes. It is usually around 7:30 after all of this when I then leave the room and she is aloud to play with her toys or read to herself until 8pm. This then gives her the recommended sleep of 11 hours each night. On a weekend or school holiday I still do the same routine but an hour later as of course she can sleep in for longer when there is no school. I only allow Faith to watch a dvd or play on her play station on a weekend or school holiday as well as I feel that doing such activities at bedtime can actually keep children awake rather then send them to sleep so if she has school the next day it is important that she gets a good nights sleep. For my older two girls, it is recommended that they have 9 hours sleep, so they go to bed at 9pm on school nights and then it's light's out at 9:30pm and although I can't force them at their age to go straight to sleep I do have the same dvd and video game rules which helps them go to sleep a lot earlier then they would if I let them do what they like at bedtime.

Once you have everything sorted for the bedtime routine it's a good idea to write it down and stick it up some where so that everyone can see it and if you are doing this for the first time then it is probably a good idea to discuss your bedtime plans with your child but don't do it just before bed when they are tired as they will not be able to take on board what you are saying. The best time to discuss your plans with your child is at a time when they are fully awake and in a good mood.

The only other piece of advice that I can offer on this topic is to stay consistent! It may be hard as at first your children will probably try and test the situation to see how far they can push the boundaries but if you stay calm but consistent they will eventually learn that this is how things are going to be and they will be much more compliant. I do still on the odd occasion get resistance from Faith when it's bedtime but I just stick to my guns and after a few days she goes back to accepting that it is bedtime and I never have a problem with my older two when it comes to bed and more often then not they actually just get up and say good night at 9pm without me having to say anything at all as they know the rules.

Monday, 8 July 2013

A bit about me!

I thought that it would be good to introduce myself to you all so here goes!

I'm Denise, I'm 32 years old and my birthday is October 10th which makes me a Libra. I am married to Darren who is 39 years old and we have been together for 17 1/2 years in total, married for 11 of them this September. We have three children together - all girls! Lauren is 15, Chloe is 14 and Faith is 5 years old.

My hobbies include; scrapbooking, card making, baking and cooking, snail mail pen palling, playing sing star, doing things with my family, entering competitions, reading, watching TV and films, amateur dramatics and writing.

I have had ME since 2009 (well, that was when I was given the official diagnosis, but I think that it actually started in 2007) which has been a real struggle for both myself and my family but I am dealing with it better now then I was. Before I fell ill I was actually on a social work degree in the second year and I was doing really well so it has been difficult to come to terms with thinking of where I was in terms of knowing exactly where my life was going to the uncertainty that being ill has left me with.

I am not as healthy as I would like to be as I have gained a huge amount of weight since being ill due to not being able to move very much, comfort eating and the side effect of medication so 10 weeks ago I joined weight watchers and so far I have lost 21lbs which although I know that I still have a long way to go I'm pleased with how I have done so far. I have also been trying to give up smoking for the last year! I have done 12 weeks twice and lot's of days and weeks here and there but I just can't seem to do it for good. So, with that in mind I know I have a lot to do to improve my health and quality of life.

I am writing this blog with the experience of having three children and the experience of life in general as if I can help just one person to improve their families life then I know that this will be worth doing.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Welcome

Welcome to my new blog! I am hoping that this will be a platform to help and inspire people to improve their lives for themselves and their families as I too try and improve my own and my families lives.