Monday, 31 August 2009

Following the Sun

The forecast for today was not great, however, that is not unusual for a Bank Holiday Monday, but we are trying to make the most of every day before school starts next week, so decided to pack a picnic and to follow the sun via a trip to Ikea to check out beds for MiniMad!!!

So we looked and the bed we liked was out of stock - boohoo, but that means we can have a trip to Leeds on Wednesday to get it - yippee. The boys were very well behaved, but the promise of ice cream and play area might have had something to do with it (not that I am one to resort to bribes and emotional blackmail - oh no, not I)!!

We then decided to make the most of the warm weather and sun and go off to the coast and headed to Tynemouth for our picnic (yes we were at Ikea for opening) and spent the afternoon at Tynemouth Priory and Castle.

The boys loved running around the castle and really enjoyed the cannons and the gun battery. MadDad enjoyed telling them all about the reasons they were named (size of their ammo).

I just loved running free with the children and taking lots of pictures to remind me of a fab day. The beauty of English Heritage sites is the children can run and explore, climb on the ruins (within reason) and have a hands on experience of the wonder of history.

Best of all the day ended as it had started with ice cream and ice Lolly's, but unfortunately the rain caught up with us. By the time we got back to the car we were soaked though our rain coats and the boys traveled home in just T-shirts. But soon warmed up with a feast of crumpets and hot chocolate for supper.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Kitchen Chalk Board Wall

I am a great fan of affirmations and inspiration quotes and sayings and have been looking for a way to display some of these in my home.
I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen, cooking, eating breakfast, washing the pots, putting the washer on, sitting and chatting to friends. So was ideally looking for something to use in the kitchen. I also wanted to be able to update the words as and when I needed to. MadDad came up with the idea of a chalkboard after me and MaxiMad painted the playhouse.

Never one to sit on my laurels I set too yesterday. We marked out the area with masking tape and then I applied the first coat. Second coat when on yesterday evening and the final coat of paint at 6am this morning.

I have wrote two of my favorite and most appropriate quotes on to it and I love it. It fits the space perfectly.

And better still, so do the boys. I was busy preparing the curry this evening and turned round to see MiniMad chalking away.

A Perfect Sunday Afternoon

We have had one of those rare things, a perfect Sunday afternoon. Everyone of us has had a ball doing things that family's do. The thing that makes it so perfect - well for me that is the people I spent it with, my boys and my wonderful husband.

It is days like these, simple days, where riding a bike, swinging in the park, flying a kite and eating an ice cream at the stray cafe make all the surgery worth while. It is days like these that make me thankful for small things, for old folk stopping and asking where we bought our kites (the pound shop), for people saying hello as they walk their dogs and the joy on the mini's faces at a really long stretch of pavement to ride like the wind.

The boys had so much fun at the park with MadDad, as he could lift them on to the monkey swing (it is too high for me)!!

We ended the evening with a family curry and then a lovley cuddle on our superkingsize bed. Wonderful all round.

Spiritual Sunday

I Release all Criticism

I only give out that I wish to receive in return
My love and acceptance of others is mirrored to me in every moment

I am a great one for believing in karma, what goes around comes around. I also believe that the old adage of "blame where blame is due" doesn't always apply. I try and remain positive in my life and encourage the children to do the same and often the blame game doesn't help anyone.
It is hard to change the habit of apportioning blame and it is often the first thing that comes in to my mind, so I am mindfull of changing my thoughts and unless something is to be gained from apportion the blame, I try to hold the words in.
I have found that this serves me well in my parenting too. Children often feel the need to say it is his fault, I didnt do it, it wasnt me. So we try and tell our children that who did it isnt what is important it is often the act that is more important and the action following.
It isnt easy, but it really does encourage positivity and with that a happier family in my opinion. Try it for today and see how it works for you.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Making Chocolate Coins

I picked up a chocolate coin maker from Marks and Spencer in the January sale for £1.50 and have had it in the cupboard since then, well me and the mini's had our first attempt at making our own coins.

You can only make four at one go and need to use cooking chocolate, but it was great, if not messy fun.

MaxiMad melted the chocolate in the microwave and then poured it in to the four moulds that we have. I then popped them in the fridge to set, whilst the two of them licked clean the jug!!

Once they were set, we took them out of the moulds (we should have melted more chocolate, but at least we know for next time.

We then cut the foils for the outside of the coins and pressed them on to the chocolate.

The boys then chose the pattern that they wanted on each of their coins and they pressed the templates on to the foils and I explained that was why they were called impressions!

They weren't that tidy, but the boys did all the work themselves and didn't even wait to show MadDad, they just ate them.

Craft cupboard finnished

Thanks to a wonderful friend and my in laws, I have managed to finish the inside of the doors on our craft cupboard in the dinning room.

I have hooks for the boys art smocks on one door and on the other door inside I now have a wonderful cork board, so that I can pin inspiration, ideas and other things to it. I am reallt pleased with how it turned out.
The finnish on the outside of the unit is unfinnished pine and we have left it like that for the last three years and are still unsure of how to finnish it, infact we quite like the wethered look it now has.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Enjoying a break in the rain

We have tried to make the most of today, as the Mini's are pretty much over their virus (poss swine flu).
The day started with nude wii (only the boys of course - I would scare the neighbours)
So we have been to the supermarket, been to the park on the way home.
Called at the opticians to pick up MiniMads new glasses.
An ice cream with monkey blood and sprinkles (raspberry sauce to the uninitiated), whilst I unpacked all the shopping.

Magic painting, I do have more than one book, but both boys wanted to do the Backyardigans, so they shared and they shared really well.

Whilst the boys painted, I took the opportunity to tidy our craft cupboard a little. Our crafting area is the dinning room, we use this room for eating nearly every meal, so I wanted the crafts to be keep out of the way, as much as possible, but also to be as accessible as possible to the Mini's. Our solution a corner hideaway cupboard designed for a PC.

I keep everything bar the paints in it, which I keep in an old hamper box in the garage and bring out as and when needed.

We use an old lazy susan, which was a gift from my mum and dad when we moved into our first home 14 years ago, as a turntable for the pens, pencils, crayons, scissors and play dough. We also use old dishwasher and washing powder containers that we cover to hold the pens etc.

I have a couple of hooks stick to the door to hold the boys art smocks and I am looking for a couple of old cork tiles to stick to the left hand side to make a pin board (I just wont buy a whole box for such a small area.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wordless Wednesday

The little ones that make me happy

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

A rare event

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my two boys are energetic (that is an understatement) and always active from morning to night. Even illness doesn't unusually stop them in their tracks.

Well today it finally stopped MiniMad. He fell asleep on the sofa in the sitting room for 2 hours. It was such a rarity that I had to take a photo.

He woke up and it was as though he had never been to sleep as he was back to the active, happy boy that he normally is.

Sometimes I yearn for the time when they both still napped.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Wax relief painting

As both the boys are still not fully recovered from what we think might be swine flu, but also just may be a nasty virus, they are not allowed out of the house and are getting a little stir crazy.

Even the garden was out of bounds for most of today due to torrential downpours, so I decided to do a really simple art project with them.

I took a candle and drew a picture (very simple picture, as I am no artist) on to some paper and then gave them free rein with the water colour blocks. They loved seeing what was coming out, although they did have a tendency to make the colour a little transparent.

You are possibly wondering were MiniMads specs are - well he has broke them again and until he is better there will be no visit to the optician!

Reinforcing Good Habits

I have blogged before that the eldest MiniMad doesn't drink enough, so we are focusing on reinforcing good habits this week of having at least 5 drinks per day. I work on the FlyLady theory that it is one new habit a month, so we will be carrying this out for the next four weeks.

So I have drawn up a really simple chart and one any of us have a drink we draw it on there (we have left MadDad off for the weekdays as he is at work, but he doesn't escape the weekend)

Initially I am focusing on just getting enough fluid in to both the boys and they do have a varied choice of drinks, including milk, pink, milk, hot chocolate, high juice, smoothie juice, water and fruit juice.

They both know that they are only allowed one potion of fruit juice and smoothie juice a day and that they have to use straws, as per dentists orders (this is in a bid to try and reduce any effect the acidity will have on their teeth).

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Spiritual Sunday

I have been up most of the nights with the MiniMads and MadDad is now not feeling well. I am tired, I didnt want to start the day today. I didnt want it to be Sunday
It is only a thought and a thought can be changed
I am not limited by any past thinking
I choose my thoughts with care
I constantly have new thoughts and new ways of looking at my world
I am willing to change and grow

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Swine Flue and not taking the tamiflu

It has been a long night and a hard day with the minimads, who are still suffering and them being such kind and sharing soules are sharing their pain with me and MadDad.
We sent the night ministering to the boys, wiping their very hot heads, stroking backs and providing drinks to two very unwell boys. This morning has been better, well it is better once they have the calpol and nerofen in their system, as soon as it starts to wear off then they get very groucy.
Having spoke to our wonderful neighbour who is also a GP with four boys under 8 and one of them with CF, we have decided not to give the boys the tamiflu. We were heading along that route anyway and he just confirmed our findings on the side effects and also what freinds whose children have had the tablets have said.
So we are just going to treat this as a nasty virus and keep an eye on them both.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Swine Flu

Today has been one of those days, we had a fab day yesterday and I put the boys temperatures down to the fact they had been running around in a soft play area for hours and it was warm and humid - well no. It looks like the mini's have swine flu.
Both have the following symptoms
  • Temperatures
  • Nasty coughs
  • Sore throats
  • Ear ache
  • Diarrhoea
  • runny noses
  • Lack of appetite
And MaxiMad also has the chills. Now I am not a neurotic mother, but it's the not knowing that is the hard part. What if it isn't swine flu and it is just a nasty virus and I give them the anti-virals and they get swine flu later in the year. With the UK government no longer confirming suspected cases I am possibly never going to know the answer to this.
Will they still need to have a swine flu jab in September, that is if they are giving children them when they go back to school.
The thought of me being able to get the medication via a call centre and a non-medically trained telephonist is really worrying, as they can not answer any of these questions for me and it is the weekend and our GP's are closed until Monday. They also advise you not to use the out of hours service unless the children get any worse.
So what am I going to do? Well we are going to collect the tami-flu in the morning from the one designated collection point in the whole of the county and that is only open for 9am to 6pm and then we will have a long and hard think about things.
We will see how the boys make it through the night, they are both tucked up in bed asleep and have had calpol and neurofen too.
I have hot water bottles at the ready for ear ache and forehead cold pads for temperatures. I have stocked up on enticing food, smoothies, fresh fruit and fruit juice to try and tempt them to eat and keep on drinking. I have got 3 new DVD's that they haven't seen, we also have a couple of new books and a cbeebies Magazine and best of all it is the weekend and therefore, MadDad is home and we can tag team the boys.
So please keep your fingers crossed for a marked improvement of symptoms overnight.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The wonder of the Internet

Today I met a friend, a friend I have know for nearly three year, but never met. A friend I made on an Internet on a website for mums. It was like we had known each other forever.
Before I had children I would never have dreamed of stepping foot in such a place, but I needed support and this place offered me it in spades and never in shades of grey, always black and white. I didn't have to meet the people who offered their advise, it didn't matter whether I agreed with them or not, they were not swayed by knowing the "real" me.
Since then I have gone on to regularly frequent two such sites and both are every different, but satisfy different needs in me.
Well As you will have guessed from the blog, I love, love, love FlyLady, even if I can not stand all the "loving yourself" bits. I truly live by the main rules of anything in small amounts, 15 mins timer, the routines and habits. I came across a thread on one of the sites where some people in the UK followed her routine and joined in. It is a wonderful group of ladies, who have seen me threw thick and thin. They were there for me when I had my mastectomy, with a food parcel of tea and cakes from the very Yorkshire institution of Bettys. They sent treats for the minimads, Easter things for everyone, inspirational notebooks, I could go on, but the main thing is they all listened to me.
We often try to meet if we are ever in the area of one and another and have made some firm real life friends this way too.
Well today I met "Grouchy", her husband and her wonderful, energetic son as they were holidaying nearby. I have been excited all week about this and it definitely didn't disappoint. The mini's all got on really well and had a fantastic time playing with each other. I had a wonderful time with my friend and didn't want to leave.
Without the Internet I wouldn't have made this amazing friend, without the Internet I would never had learned about Flying, without the Internet I would have been stuck at home with a 15 month old and a seriously ill newborn and no support. The Internet has been there for me in my darkest nights and my brightest days. MadDad no longer calls these people my imaginary friends. They are some of the wisest and wonderful people I have the honour to have met.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Why we love home made play dough

last month I made a new batch of home made play dough and added essential oils to make them smell divine. I used a different oil for each of the colours, including lavender, neroli, geranium, roman calamine and ylang ylang.

MiniMad loves play dough, it is one of his most favourite things, he loves investing things with it, making sausages, using the cookie cutters and smelling it too.

We had a lovely relaxing hour before swimming this morning with all three of us sat at the dinning table chatting and playing with the dough, infact we were all so engrossed we nearly missed our duckings session.

The thing is it is such a creative tool, versatile, inexpensive to make and also a doddle to clear up too. I find playing with it very therapeutic and relaxing.

We have shop bought playdoh including the barber set, the octopus and operation, but keep coming back to the home made stuff and the cookie cutters, squisher thing (yes that's the technical term) and rolling pin

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Hairy Hotdogs

I am not sure where I saw this idea, but it is on loads of blogs and thought we would give it a try.

Basically you get a jar of hotdogs or bratwurst and cut into chunks and skewer them with spaghetti. MaxiMad took great care at this and loved doing it, while MiniMad, just shoved them in and started to eat the bratwurst before I had even cooked them.

I then cooked them until the spaghetti was soft and warmed up some premade pasta sauce and grated cheese.

Et Voila - hairy hotdogs, scary sausages or what ever you want to call them.

The boys polished them off, this would be a fun idea for a halloween party.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Praise, punnishment, rewards and consequence

We have always tried to bring up the MiniMads with positive praise and decided early on that we didn't want to smack them, as we believe behaviour breeds behaviour, however, we are finding that this can be a challenge.
Things slipped somewhat when I was in and out of hospital and physically not well enough to do much more than issue a well done or a reprimand. It turns out that the key to success for us is CONSISTENCY.
We have tried the reward chart route, but found it didn't work for us, unless it was something the MiniMads wanted really bad and they don't want for much, like most of today's modern children, so whilst reading through the blogs I love I came across this by Amy from The Idea Room, which is all about rewarding and reinforcing the positives, whilst not ignoring the negatives and it is a fun way of learning too, as the points equal prices (as Brucey would say). They shop is full of things like small cans of pop, sweets, crayons, popcorn, small Lego (which we got as a giveaway from The Mirror last year) and pound shop finds.

Each item is labeled with a coloured star for the number of points it costs.

I wanted to make it crystal clear on some of the things we get points for to reinforce good behaviours and things that we would like to become second nature to the boys, so I produced a chart showing this in images and words (MiniMad's are only 3 and 4, so I try and use imagery as much as possible).

It is such a cool and novel idea, that I copied it pretty much in its entirety and you know what we love it, so do the boys. The shop has opened up two Fridays now and they had had great fun picking their items, but what has gone down best of all has been the reward cards, they both love the fact that they get their special cards for "Board Games", "Bubbles in the Bath" or "Wii Time". It has helped us focus on their good behaviour and the times when they really shine.

We also had fun producing a special place for them to store their cards, I have hung these and the points information in the kitchen on their art wire.

It is by no means a magic button, but it has made me and MadDad more aware that we need to praise the good, in addition to punishing the bad.

We also operate a final warning system of Yellow and Red cards, which appeal to the MaxiMad as he has just started Football Tots. If they do something that we don't approve of they get a yellow card or final warning and then if they repeat it then it is timeout (4 mins). There is also a list of things that are immediate timeouts ie hitting and spitting.

We both make an effort to explain the consequences of their actions, so that they are aware that things happen because of them too.

However, one thing we are really struggling on is bedtime, both boys went to bed and sleep no bother until I was hospitalised, now every evening is a nightmare. We do our routine of bath, PJ's story and snuggle, but they keep getting up and being deliberately naughty - HELP

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Spiritual Sunday

I have a couple of thoughts for today. The first one I try and apply in things I do with the MiniMads. Sometimes it is hard to let go and allow them the freedom to try things and for them not to be perfect (take the playhouse).

Being Happy doesn't mean everything is perfect,

It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections

We may not have it all together

But together we have it all

My Bro and SIL got me these wonderful flowers as a thank you for having my niece over the last few weeks, totally unexpected and unnecessary, but a wonderful and uplifting gesture. I love my family

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Gala

Today was the Gala and Fun day at my sister in law Debs and Brother Chris' Sports and Social Club and although there was some rain, we all had a fantastic time, all the proceeds were for the new local junior football club

My Niece the scary tiger

My Eldest Niece did all the face painting and was kept busy all day

Mini Mad was so excited

The boys in the junior race

Brothers - I love that they were holding hands

Hands in the air

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