Saturday, 30 November 2013

My weekly round up 24/11/13 - 30/11/13

This week has been much better then last week for me as I started the week by going Christmas shopping with my hubby which was lots of fun and left me in such a festive mood. I do love shopping and I know that many people get stressed trying to shop at Christmas with the crowds of people and the pressure to buy the right gift, but for me, it is always fun and I also enjoyed the fact that I was doing it with my hubby as we haven't spent much time together lately so it was just what I needed to give me that lift to start the week on a positive note.
On Wednesday evening we were invited to Lauren's high school for a presentation evening as Lauren had won an award for excellent effort and behaviour in ICT. I was very proud as she has won an award every single year that she has been at the school and most children do not even win one. She had to go up on stage to accept the award which was a certificate and a £10 book shop voucher. The head teacher shook her hand and photographs were taken. It is nice to know that she is so well respected at school. She has always been such a lover of high school and I think she is really sad that she is now in her last school year.
I am very excited that we will be in December tomorrow and I always put up the Christmas decorations on the first Sunday of December which is the 1st this year so I have spent the rest of the week in my attic sorting through all the decorations so that I am ready to get them all up tomorrow. I am such a kid when it comes to Christmas decorations so add me to an extremely hyper five year old and Sunday should be very interesting!

Friday, 29 November 2013

My Christmas wish


My Christmas wish is the same every year and that is to see my family smile.
I adore seeing smiles as when you see your loved ones smiling you know that they are happy. You know that all the stress, rushing around and expense of the last few months has been worth it.
I love to see the excited smiles on the children's faces when they check to see if Santa has been. I love to see my children smile when they open their gifts.

Loving smiles are exchanged between myself and my husband when we sit at our dinner table ready to eat the wonderful Christmas meal that we have worked together to create.

I love the Smiles and the laughter when we are all playing board games or Wii games together in the afternoon.

The smiles and giggles when we cuddle up and watch Christmas movies or festive TV.

The smiles of full tummy's after our Christmas tea and the final smiles of the day as I tuck my little one into bed and say goodnight.
I must be one of the luckiest people in the world as every year my Christmas wish comes true and I get to spend my Christmas day with the people I love and see their smiles and hear their laughter.

Smiles that light up beautiful faces and make my heart smile.
Merry Christmas! This post is my entry into the Tots100/Argos 12 Days of Christmas competition.


December's idea list.

Welcome to the first of my monthly idea lists. There is a different idea for every day of the month and then at the end of each month a new list will be posted. You are welcome to follow the list to the letter, or you can just pick and choose the ideas that you like and find useful. This month focuses on Christmas, but if you celebrate something different you can always apply the idea's to your own holiday and adjust them accordingly. I would love to hear what you think of this and if you find it helpful so please let me know.

December 1st - Go for a family walk and take some time out together before the madness of Christmas begins.

December 2nd - Clean all your remote controls today as these are often forgotten when cleaning and can get quite messy!

December 3rd - Plan your Christmas menu and shopping lists if you haven't already as the more you prepare in advance the smoother your Christmas will be.

December 4th - More list making today! Write a list of everything you still need to do or buy before the big day and then start adding them to your 'to do' lists as there are only 3 weeks left until Christmas day.

December 5th - Treat yourself to a nice long soak in the bath with a face pack and some candles to reflect and unwind - go on, you deserve it!

December 6th - Treat the kids to a hot chocolate or warm milk and some cookies when they get home from school today. No children? Treat yourself instead!

December 7th - Run around the house with a cloth to clean all your light switches today, you will be amazed how dirty they can get, but please be very careful as water and electric DO NOT mix!

December 8th - Watch a Christmas movie today to get your household feeling festive.

December 9th - Take a look at your garden and do a quick tidy up removing any leaves that have made there way to your garden along with any rubbish that may have blown in and give your paths a sweep.

December 10th - Do something nice for a neighbour or someone less fortunate then you to spread some holiday cheer.

December 11th - Decide on what you and your family will be wearing on Christmas day and make sure that you know where everything is and that everything is clean, ironed etc. so that there will be no stress or tears on Christmas morning. If you have brought or will be buying new clothing for Christmas day make sure that you try it on ahead of time as there is nothing worse then finding out on the day that your dress is too small or your trousers are too long!

December 12th - Less then 2 weeks until Christmas - how are you doing? Spend some time today going through your lists and seeing where you are in your preparations for Christmas.

December 13th - Make a Christmas first aid kit and add any needed items to this weeks shopping list. Not sure what to put in your kit? I will be posting a suggestion list in time for this task. 

December 14th - Check your candle, incense or air freshener supplies to see if you have any festive scents and if you do not, make sure and add them to your shopping list. In my opinion, there is nothing nicer then walking into a home that smells like Christmas.

December 15th - Do some Christmas baking today and get the whole household involved.

December 16th - Give yourself a treat today like soaking your feet in warm water and doing a home pedicure to sooth tired feet and get them looking good for strappy sandals at Christmas parties.

December 17th - Check that you have all your Christmas essentials in and that you know where they are such as tin foil and batteries.

December 18th - One week until Christmas!!!
*Today is the last day to post letters and cards to UK addresses 2nd class.*
Check your lists and evaluate where you are in your preparations for the big day. If you are finding you have way too many items on your to do list and not enough time to get them done, try making things easier on yourself and reducing your list as much as possible. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas and it is far more important to your family and loved ones that you are happy and healthy and able to enjoy the festivities then if you make every meal from scratch or the house is sparkling clean to the point that no one dares to breath in case they mess something up!
December 19th - Give your entry way and front door a quick clean to make sure that it is clean and welcoming for any Christmas guests.

December 20th - Go for a family walk or drive at night to view the Christmas decorations in your area.
*Today is the last day to post letters and cards to UK addresses 1st class*

December 21st - How are you doing with your present buying and gift wrapping? If you can, spend some time today to try and get most of it done if you haven't already. Just think how nice it would be to not have to stay up until the early hours of Christmas morning wrapping pressies so that you can start Christmas day well rested.

December 22nd - Have a board game afternoon with your family to take some time out from technology and enjoy being together.

December 23rd - Spend some time doing any last minute tasks that still need to be done and any last minute cleaning jobs while listening to some festive music.

December 24th - Hopefully you have everything organised and you are free to enjoy today with your family, setting the mood for a relaxed, stress free Christmas. Let go of any worries of things that you had wanted to do but did not have the time or money to actually do, as it is too late now so no use worrying. Instead spend 30 minutes at most writing down some notes of those things that you didn't get to do and then put the list in a file for late summer next year. That way you will have plenty of time to plan in and budget etc. for Christmas 2014. Once you have filed that paper away, forget about it and enjoy the lovely Christmas that you have worked so hard for.

December 25th - Happy Christmas! Big hugs and kisses from me to you and your family and I hope that you enjoy the day.

December 26th - If you have not already done so, make a note of what was given to you and your family and who it was from so that you can write thank you notes later before you forget who gave you what.

December 27th - Take a few moments today to reflect on the past few days and make some notes of what was special, anything that you would want to change etc. and any new traditions that you would like to continue and file it with your previous notes for late summer next year.

December 28th - Have you made plans for new years eve and new years day? If you are having a party make a few lists of what is still needed to buy and do and make sure that you plan your time over the next few days to get prepared. If you are staying home but not having a party, you could still plan a small tea party just for the household with some games and music and welcome the new year in together as a family.

December 29th - Give the house a quick clean as if you are anything like me and my family the house could really do with a tidy up after all the festivities. Set your timer on your phone or clock for 20 minutes in each room downstairs and your family bathroom and go mad for 20 minutes. Once that 20 minutes is up, you go to the next room and so on until you have done all of those areas. Will it be completely spotless? Of course not, but it will be enough to get you through to the new year as who wants to spend hours cleaning right now?

December 30th - Prepare for your new year celebrations.

December 31st - However you plan to spend today, enjoy it!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Listography - Guilty Pleasures.

This weeks listography is being hosted by Older single mum and the topic is guilty pleasures. Here is my list of guilty pleasures, which I must admit, I am rather embarrassed about!

1) Vampires! I am a sucker for a bad vampire trying to be good and this obsession started long ago with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my teens when I would lust after the character Angel. As I have grown older I am still swooning over bad boy vamps like Spike from Buffy and Damon from The Vampire Diaries. There is just something very exciting about a dark and dangerous hunk trying to be good plus the fact that they always look oh so yummy!

2) Agatha Christie books. I absolutely love them and have quite a collection. I also really enjoy watching them on TV too.

3) Watching the Disney channel. When my two older girls started watching the Disney channel I very soon became subjected to shows such as Hannah Montanna and Wizards of Waverly place. Now that they are older, they do not really watch the Disney channel anymore, but I still do!!
4) Dancing in my kitchen. When no one is home I crank up the music normally tunes from the late 90's and as I cook and clean I sing and dance around the kitchen! Sometimes I even use a wooden spoon for my microphone!
5) Christmas! Now at this time of year it is perfectly acceptable to be talking about a love of Christmas but for me it is a bit of an obsession and I am constantly thinking about it. I like nothing more then watching a Christmas film in April or listening to my favourite Christmas cd in July. I just have to make sure that no one is home or else I would drive my hubby insane! He has actually banned me from playing my Christmas cd unless it is December as he is not as keen on Christmas as I am!
So there you have it, my list of guilty pleasures - what are yours?

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Portable office.

If you are lacking space for a specific office area in your home to do all your family admin such as paying bills, writing letters and replying to school letters or maybe you do have an area for that, but would rather do those tasks while watching TV, a portable office may be exactly what you are looking for.
So, what is a portable office I hear you asking me! Well, the name is pretty self explanatory, as it is basically all the things you need to do your admin stored in a box or basket that you can carry from room to room when you need it.
Here is a list of what I have in my portable office.
  • Pens, pencils and high lighters.
  • Cello tape.
  • Parcel tape and string.
  • Envelopes.
  • Stapler and spare staples.
  • Paper clips.
  • Note pad.
  • Cheque book.
  • Scissors.
  • Folders.
  • Address book.
  • Stamps.
I keep my things in a spare briefcase that I had gathering dust and I like using it as it is so easy to grab and go when I want to do something.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Autumn Family poem.

When I heard that to win a holiday at Center Parcs you and your family need to write a poem about autumn I jumped at the chance as I love writing poetry and I thought that even if we do not win, it will be a great family project to do.

The poem was inspired by the season and also by some brilliant tips from Emma Tapp and I particularly liked number three.
Get creative - Have your children decorate their poem with autumn leaves or drawings and paintings of autumnal scenes. And, if you’re kids are feeling confident, have them read out their poem and share the video on your blog. 
You can find out all about the competition and read the rest of Emma's tips here.
We took Emma's advice and the children have made a video of our poem.

Autumn Family.
The slight frost in the morning air reveals that autumn is on it's way.
So out come the hats, gloves and scarfs when it's time for us to play.
It's raining burn orange and chocolate brown leafs,
And as they fall, they twirl and swirl in the cold autumn breeze.

Walking together we can hear the soft crackle of crunched leafs under our feet,
We run through piles of fallen leafs up and down our street.
As the day draws to a close, like a dark blanket tucking us back into our den,
We hurry inside to warm up and recharge so tomorrow we can do it all again.

This is my entry into the Center Parcs and tots100 November challenge. If I'm chosen, I would like to visit Elveden forest, Suffolk.

5 very low cost Christmas activities to do with your children this Christmas.

We all know how stressful the Christmas season can get when it comes to our finances so it can be difficult to think of things that you can do with your children that are not going to cost you a fortune. What people sometimes forget is that Christmas activities can in actual fact be very inexpensive if you use your imagination. Here are five ideas to get you started.
1. Christmas carolling.
you could do a search on the internet to find a local group that you could go with or if there are none in your area then why not start your own group and pick a charity to donate any money given to you. If your not feeling so adventurous to sing in public then why not print off some lyrics and get the music online so that you and your family can have a carolling session at home. Children especially love to sing so you could have a fun afternoon together for the cost of some ink.
2. Put on a show.
You could either make up a dance to some Christmas music or you could go the whole hog and do a made up play with singing and dancing depending on the ages of your children and how many you have. You can then perform for daddy or grandparents and get someone to film it for lasting memories.
3. A Christmas sweet hunt.
Buy a bag of Christmas shaped chocolates such as chocolate Santa's or snowmen which are normally sold for £1 a bag, but quite often you can get 2 bags for £1 so very inexpensive. You then hide the chocolates all over the house (but make sure you count how many you have hidden so that you know when the game is over!) You then get your children to find them. I love this game as it is so simple to do but such good fun for the kids. If you have more then one child you could assign each child a shape so if they see any that are not meant for them they leave them where they are and carry on looking for their own. It's a great game as you can adjust the difficultness according to the age and ability of the child so that all ages can play.
4. Christmas crafting session.
Raid your arts and crafts stash and have a family crafting session. You could make pictures, collages, models or Christmas cards.
5. Night time walk.
Wrap up warm and go for a walk one night around your neighbourhood to see all the decorations that have been put up on the houses. You can even make it a game by seeing who can spot the most Santa lights or reindeers and so on. Young children especially love going for walks in the dark as every thing seems so much more exciting when it's dark and they should be in bed!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

My weekly round up 18/11/13 - 23/11/13

This week has been exciting in some respects due to me re-starting this blog, it is something that I love to do and I can see that I am getting page veiws so I know that someone out there must be reading my rambleings! If you like my blog I would love to hear from you so please do not be shy!
On the flip slide I have had quite a hard week when it comes to family life as my little one Faith has been extremely hard work and I am trying so hard to keep calm and work out why she is acting out so much. I know that at school she has been having quite a tough time as she started year one in September and the school have not been able to keep a teacher for her class so every day a different supply teacher is there and I think that has to be hard on any aged child but even worse for a five year old that is only now learning what school is all about. I have been assured that the problem has finally been sorted and the teacher that will be there on Monday morning will be the teacher that they will have for the rest of the school year so fingers crossed. I do not know if once the problems at school are settled, if Faith's behaviour will settle too, I can only hope!
I also think that the weather has not helped my mood this week either as it has been so dull and raining for most of the week that it does get me down. It's a little strange as I am normally much more upbeat at this time of year with Christmas just around the corner but maybe as I am not as prepared this year as I would normally be the stress is getting me down. Never mind, hopefully my mood will have improved this coming week as I have a lot of plans to get into motion and I like to be busy.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

I could not live without my fridge freezer!

When asked the question which household appliance could I not live without my first thought, like most, was none of them! But on reflection I suppose I could live without most modern items that we have now as our great grandparents once did. While I greatly admire what my nana went through during the war, keeping house with none of today's luxuries, I am sure that if she could of chosen to use the items that we use today she would of done. She was a very wise hard working woman and she was not at all stupid!
Anyway, after giving this a lot of thought I have decided that the household appliance that I could not in a million years ever live without is my fridge freezer. The fridge freezer is often forgotten with many people thinking how they could not do without their dish washer or their washing machine, but the fridge freezer is in fact, in my opinion, the most important household appliance in the world.
Just think what life would be like if we had nowhere to store our food! Keeping our food in the fridge or freezer stores our food in a healthy safe and convenient way. We can buy our food for the week from the supermarket saving us money because we have that safe place to keep our food fresh.
Being a wife and a mother to three growing girls, I know how important it is to keep the family fed. We need the convenience of the fridge freezer to ensure that we are able to provide three nutritious interesting meals a day. At the evening meal not only do we enjoy our food, we also talk about our days, laughing and debating, sharing our successes and our problems.
If we had no fridge freezer we would be faced with the constant threat of our food becoming contaminated and our lovely children falling ill with all sorts of food poisonings and other nasty illnesses.
The fridge freezer is like an important friend to us mums looking after the food that we give to our families and for that reason I know for a fact that I could never live without my fridge freezer!

This blog post is my  entry into the Tots100/Part Select ’Love Your Appliance’ competition

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

One for the freezer

Of course in an ideal world I would cook everything from scratch but in the real world I do not always have the time so I'm always on the look out for nice and easy dinners that I can keep in the freezer for when I'm short on time and in need of something simple.

Well, I have found something perfect for that purpose in the winter months. It is a chicken hotpot from Iceland and it only costs £3!! It is part of a range of family ready meals that they are doing and it comes in a 1.6kg pack so there is plently there.

I really like it and I think that it is such a bargain at that price. You can cook it straight from frozen and it takes about an hour in  the oven. It is bacially carrots and chicken in sauce with sliced potatoes over the top. If I was going to be really picky I guess it could probably do with more chicken, but for the price of just £3 I am happy with what you get.

It is so easy and convenient and I just put on a pan of extra vegetables to go with it and it easily feeds us all. It tastes great and all my family like it so I am going to make sure that I always have one in my freezer!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Listography - 80's and 90's gameshows.

I have found a game where you are given a topic and you have to list your top five which I think sounds fun, so I have decided to join in. I hope that you will find these fun to read as well.
Todays listography is - top 5 80's and 90's game shows.
This is quite hard for me as I must admit that I have always been a fan of game shows and I do think that UK game shows were probably at there best during this era although the prizes were somewhat to be desired! Anyway, here is my top 5!
1) Funhouse.
This was my all time favourite show when I was growing up and I would always dream of being able to go on the show. The whole concept of the show blew my mind, I couldn't believe that children would be allowed to do such things and get to win prizes as well! You have to remember that this was at a time when there was no such thing as the big soft play centres that we have today so I was mesmerised by the fun house and  I would spend hours playing make belief that I was actually a contestant on  the show, trying to recreate the fun house in my bedroom with pillows and blankets.
2) The crystal maze.
This was another great concept with the different zones that you could visit. There were four different zones which were the Aztec zone, the Industrial zone which later changed to the ocean zone, the Medieval zone and the Futuristic zone. It's funny as back in the 90's when I was watching the show, everything on set seemed so real and it really did amaze me. However, when I recently watched a repeat on sky it didn't seem to be as well made as I had first thought. They made a board game of the show which at one point I did own and I must admit, the board game was actually quite good.
3) Knightmare.
This show was great and there had never been anything like it before which made it really stand out. It was one of those shows that would actually scare me at times but even though I was scared I could not stop watching it! It also really confused me as I had no knowledge of computers or anything technical but I was of an age where I knew that it was a game and not real so I would spend a lot of time trying to figure out how it was done.
4) Catchphrase.
This is a show that most will have heard of as it has been a long running game show with a few different hosts over the years and it was even on TV earlier this year with Stephen Mullhern as the host and my children got to watch it and play along. My fondest memories of this show are the early years with Roy Walker as the host. Every Sunday evening we would sit in front of the television with our tea and watch catchphrase and this was the only time that we were aloud to eat in our living room which made it seem even more special and it was also something that we could all join in with, trying to guess before the contestants got it right.
5) Family fortunes.
Another long running game show that has been hosted by a few different people over the years. I first started watching this when Les Dennis was the host in the late 80's and I still enjoy watching it today when hosted by Vernon Kay. It is such a simple game but still very entertaining and it really does make me laugh when you hear some of the answers that people give.  I like these types of shows as my daughters can sit and watch with me and play along as you do not need to be Einstein to participate.


I'm back!!

Hello everyone :-)

I am back in the land of blogging and I intend to stay! I must apologise to my regular readers for disappearing and not explaining my absence. I feel very bad and I also realise that it was not a good start to a fairly new blog.

I fell ill with my depression and CFS (although the doctors are not sure which was the problem or if it was both as they present very similar symptoms!) so I was unable to continue with the blog as it took everything that I had to just get though the day and hold myself together. This also made me realise that I needed to be more prepared if I was serious about writing this blog and if I really wanted to build this into something that many people would enjoy reading. So once I started to feel better I started making plans so that if I was to fall ill again this blog would not be forgotten. If my readers would be willing to give me a second chance I would very much appreciate it and to any new readers that may well be reading this post as the first entry that they have ever seen, I promise that this blog will get better and is well worth coming back to as I will be posting on a regular basis from now on.

I like to try and find the positive in every situation so for me, although being ill was not very nice, I think that the new ideas and plans I have been able to make will make this a blog worth visiting and that will be a good thing. If I can help or inspire just one person out there then this blog is worth my time and I will be a very happy lady.

As always, I welcome any feedback from you all, good or bad I am happy to hear your opinions.