Sunday, 31 January 2010

Friday, 29 January 2010

And so to bed... (sigh!)

Awwwwww. Hope looks really cute in this leopard top. (Thanks, Auntie Vicky!) Henry is playing with her. She loves the lion puppet he is holding. She doesn't talk much yet, alittle bit of babbling, but seems to prefer to make lion noises!


This picture was taken after school. I always give them a little snack when they get in as it seems to help keep moods stable! After this we all went off to Mothercare to get Hope a cotbed as she is outgrowing her Ambynest (baby hammock). It will be such a shame to see it go -it's lovely. Hubby's colleagues gave us some Mothercare vouchers when the little one was born so they pretty much covered the cost of a nice, white, wooden cotbed. We have decided to keep her in our room for the time being and get a nice comfortable futon sofa bed for downstairs if we need to sleep away from distraction.



This picture was taken after tea. I made chicken soup again as I have a cold starting. Henry and HM are ready for bed in their pyjamas, reading the Argos catalogue (groan) while they wait for me to prepare hot chocolate for Beatrix Potter night - it's the tale of Tom Kitten!



So here we have a little cup of instant Hot Chocolate topped with a spoonful of vanilla ice-cream, squirty cream and marshmallows and a couple of little sweeties on the side.




This might seem like a lot of fuss and bother to some but I find it's worth it. It's only on Friday night and they get ready for bed in record time.




Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Happiness.


I've just taken a break from painting in the kitchen to read the latest post from http://saltandchocolate.blogspot.com/. One of the good things about reading other people's blogs is that it can widen one's horizons and in this case has expanded my library somewhat. The lady here is talking about a book she has been reading about... happiness. She says she is happy. I'm happy too, most of the time. But I haven't always been so. I haven't read this book but my view is that I think you have to decide to be happy and take charge of it. It can take a bit of practise if you're not use to it, hee, hee! All the advice I have read usually tells you there is no point saying to yourself "when I have more money, am thinner, get a better job, x,y and z, I will be happy". I was interested in reading the bit about conversation too and it reminded me of the marriage course that Hubby and I attended at a local Church 2 years ago. Each week married couples came to the Church hall and were treated to a lovely candlelit dinner for 2 and after followed a presentation on a particular aspect of marriage that couples in general cope with. One week it was communication and one of the exercises that followed involved identifying our bad habits as a listener. It was very helpful. And that course is one of the things in my life that has enabled me to be happier. A good relationship with one's spouse definitely helps and beats fancy new kitchens etc. I'm going to kick back now with a yummy egg mayonnaise baguette and coffee that Hubby has just brought in for me (I'm spoilt!) and watch a bit of Loose Women while the paint dries.
Oh, and the picture is of a couple of very nice books that help the happy factor in our house: Ready, Steady, Cook for Kids (from Auntie Vicky) which we've been using a lot on cooking day (which is cancelled today for obvious reasons) and Heaven on Earth by Sharifa Oppenheimer - one of the many books I have purchased as a result of seeing them recommended by other bloggers. I think this one was on Salt and Chocolate, too.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Some advice please...

I think the time is approaching for us to transfer Hope to a cot. Hubby and I have been talking about where to put it/her as for now she has been sleeping in our room. Ideally we'd like the kids to have their own rooms. Hubby is all for converting the understairs cupboard! He doesn't like my idea of moving our bed down to the study. So I'm thinking of moving her in with her big sister. The problems with that would be the different bedtimes (HM likes to read in bed) and so far HM's inability to keep all the little bits and pieces off the floor. It is a big age gap but it might be workable for the next couple of years. If there is anyone out there reading this who has managed a similar situation and has any good ideas I'd welcome comments.

Time now to relax for a bit with a cup of camomile tea, Celebrity Big Brother and a cuddle. I've been enjoying this series of CBB. Stephen Baldwin was very entertaining - shame he's already out. And the Tree of Temptation is funny. I'm not sure who I want to win, though.
I started sowing my seeds last week. Some of them have started to come up. I just love growing things. I put some of the seed trays on Honor-May's windowsill as it has a warm, sunny aspect. I warned her that they were there and asked that she "leave them alone or what will happen?" "They won't grow, Mummy." Good, I thought. She's sensible, I can trust her. Anyway, this is how I found them when I went into her room this morning. No doubt she'll blame the dogs. Very active imagination, she has!
Even though the big dog was sitting on it, one of the hollyhock seedlings was breaking through.


After I put baby down for her morning nap, I popped out to the shops. (Hubby was home!) I went into Homebase as I want to give the kitchen a bit of a freshen up. At the moment it is all green and I've been thinking of adding some other colour for the door and woodwork. I ummmed and aahhhhed for ages between this porcelain blue and candyfloss pink, but the blue won in the end 'cos it was much cheaper and it is gloss (the pink was satin). If I don't like it, I could repaint later with pink, maybe.




This is what I mean.
When we first moved in I covered everything up in this Cath Kidston wallpaper. (Actually, father-in-law did, thanks!) I still really like this, but I don't like that the kitchen is so dark and feels pokey.











So I'm thinking of painting out this area in ivory to lighten it up and keep the paper elsewhere.







And all that stuff on top of the units has to go!







And perhaps a general tidy up and reorganisation to clear the clutter.


















She's lovely!








Monday, 25 January 2010

Well, big sis wasn't too miserable to play with little sis this evening. They had a great time playing with Honor-May's new Barbies!
But Bagpuss is Hope's favourite.


She's no hamster!




And the cherries are all gone!
I had a nice day with Mum today. I don't often get to spend time with her. She still works full time and her spare time is taken up with looking after my Dad and Grandad. So I enjoyed going round for lunch with the baby and afterwards we had a browse around the town. I got this pretty dish for the cherries in a charity shop. I got some books and Barbies for Hm too. She's very miserable at the moment. Mum thinks her nose is out of joint because of all the attention I'm giving to the baby. And she came home from school saying that she's being bullied. One of the girls in her class said she looks like a hamster. I'm not sure that constitutes bullying. I think the word bullying is used far more nowadays. When I was at school, a bully was a real hard nut like that Gripper Stebson in Grange Hill. And they were quite rare. But the 'bully' label is used a lot more frequently these days. I mean, kids are pretty mean to each other in general and do tease. I understand how she feels though. I know what girls are like and some don't get any better when they are grown up! So I'll keep an eye on it.
Other news: Hubby has been called up for Jury Service. He is not pleased!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

After tea on Friday, HM and I popped over to Grandma's with some of the hot 'n sour soup I made. Grandma was just getting home from work and was making her own dinner. HM managed to invite herself to join her for the meal (she had just had her dinner!).
But she does love tagliatelli with cheese. So while they tucked in, I popped down to Tesco's.


Here is Hope. She enjoys sitting in her highchair, joining us for meals now.






She's such a character.



Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Please Henry, can we have some more....

I invited my Mum to dinner tonight as I had bought some pork and Hubby won't eat it. I need someone else to share it with. I got Henry to make some more of those lovely warm plum sundaes. So yummy. There he is chopping up his plums!
Honor-May made the apple sauce and whizzed up the baby's dinner. It was lovely. Hubby didn't join us. He is still unwell and unable to eat much. I made us some thai hot and sour soup for lunch ( I had chicken bones in the slow cooker overnight) - Nigel Slater's recipe. It is my favourite soup even though it hurts a bit to eat! My nose and eyes were running. I put 3 times as much chilli in Hubby's (at his request) but he didn't bat an eyelid! However he said he couldn't eat any dinner. But as soon as my back was turned, he was tucking into a pot noodle.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

It has been great to get some energy back and so today I've done lots of clearing out and tidying up, including my bits and pieces on the dresser (and those drawers have been done too!) Mr Sainsbury delivered the shopping. I got a big load in. You get free delivery if you spend over £100 and I'm going to try and make it last 'til the end of the month. I do wish the delivery man didn't feel the need to comment on it though. He asked if it was for all the neighbours, too.
I was still very grateful to get some help with the washing up after dinner. Thanks Henry.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Oh look. My photos are in black and white today. Of course I meant that to happen! Hubby has just checked the settings on my phone for me. I never knew it could do that. I was a little nervous that I had sabotaged it while trying to wash it this morning. The baby had had her grubby mitts on it and it was smeared with food, so I had to clean it. These photos show that I have done a little painting today. Here are the cupboard and inner door frame before....
and after. Not a dramatic difference and harder to see in black and white, but I used ivory gloss to try and smarten things up a bit.


I did the radiator, too.


Ta, daaaaaaa!!!!




My hyacinths are in bloom - look even better in colour!




Now. This was the strategy I employed to get the kids to concentrate on their Kumon. We been focusing on developing concentration. I gave them both an egg cup with 10 chocolate buttons in. Every time they stopped focussing on their work I took out one of their buttons and put it in the middle egg cup. This worked very well with Honor. Henry, however, lost 2 buttons and then the end of the world came and Daddy eventually had to physically remove him from the room just to give Honor a fighting chance. (I was trying to feed the baby when all this was going on, too!)





But I was pleased with Honor's response. And after Henry had calmed down and eaten his dinner he got another chance, on his own, to earn them back.




Saturday, 16 January 2010

Dear Nana...

Today I visited Nana's grave for the first time since her funeral at the end of March '09. It has taken until now for the site to become a comfortable place to visit, with a proper headstone and the mound of earth transformed into an area of peace. Her grave is tucked away from the main part of the cemetary which adds to the feeling of peace. I shall probably be a regular visitor there so I went, today, with Mum to see how it is and to go through some rules of etiquette... after all, it is quite a delicate situation and I wouldn't want to cause offense if I was to bring some flowers and then not come back for a while and then another relative might come and be annoyed that I hadn't cleared away the dead flowers. Also, my littlies may want to make some of their own floral tributes to leave there and what if that somehow involved Indiana Jones? Well, I have to think of these things and Mum and I talked over what would be appropriate and what wouldn't and maybe Indiana might just keep outof this. And if he really has to be there, to keep it subtle! Definitely no light sabres, though.

I was going to write a bit about my Nana, but I think I'll save it for her anniversary. A brief introduction for now... she died, as I said, last March at he grand 'ol age of 97 (very nearly 98!). My Mum's Mum. Came from Ireland. Made me laugh. There was more to her than met the eye. XXXX
Miss you lots XXXX

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Good news

This blog is mainly a record of my time with the kids but I also like to write about, though not too often, about how I'm feeling and other stuff that goes on. It's therapeutic and anyway, these things affect the atmosphere in the house. The last 2 weeks have been on a bit of a downer but there's no point dwelling on them. And anyway I find the not-so-good times make you appreciate the good times all the more. So today I made the effort to get out a bit more because I've been stuck in for far too long and definitely need a distraction. I took the baby to the garden centre for a bit of a mooch about. We are very short of money this month so I had to be strong and resist blowing my housekeeping budget on some of the pretty things in the sale. Though, I might go back next week and see if things get reduced even further. I did buy some seeds, though. A mix of vegetables and flowers. I don't have the compost yet but I hope to start some seeds of sometime in the next 2 weeks.

I also went to pick the kids up from school ( because Hubby has been doing this job since Christmas) and was very glad I did. There are some lovely Mums on that school run and it was nice to see and have a little chat with some of them. Best of all was hearing the news that a friend is pregnant. We were both pregnant at the same time (while I was expecting Hope) but very sadly her baby died just before he was due. I know she is excited but I can imagine the anxiety and fear she must have to deal with too.

The snow is beginning to disappear. Fortunately the kids had a chance to go out this afternoon and have a snowball fight with the neighbours before it vanishes altogether. Honor made the most of it but Henry quickly feels the cold and wet and gives up to come indoors.

Finally, I've just been reading the latest post from Unplug Your Kids. It reminds me that we also need to revisit our discipline strategy. We do something similar with a smiley face board but it has been neglected a bit and the reward and consequence part of it has become unclear. I like the idea of a 'chore basket' so I'm going to get thinking about how to incorporate one into our household routine. I'm not sure if I want to use it as a punishment, though. Maybe they use it as taking responsibility for things that need to be done around the house, but the lucky dip element of it to make it fun. I'll have to think about it.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Taking things slow.

It has been a slow start to the year so far and this morning is no different. Although it hasn't snowed for a while, there's still tonnes of the stuff outside and although the family seems to be on the mend, progress is slow. Hubby took Honor to school this morning but Henry doesn't seem ready to go back yet. The baby's fever has subsided but she now seems to have a dry, irritating cough which kept the two of us up most of the night, again. Hubby, too, was awake coughing. Then this morning I had an upset tummy. So apart from shuffling to and from the washing machine now and again, I've not done much else except read some lovely, colourful blogs and get inspired to grow things, make things etc. A few years ago I got Hubby to buy me a sewing machine. I learned to hand sew when I was young but could never get the hang of a sewing machine. My Mum used to let me use hers and I remember making a skirt suit when I was 13 and wearing it to school on non-uniform day! It attracted a lot of attention - everyone else wore jeans! But it's the bobbin bit I just can't seem to work out. Anyway, my sewing machine soon ended up in the loft but I've asked Hubby to get it down again and we'll try and have another go at working it out.
I'm also dreaming about all the things I want to grow in the garden this year and can't wait to get sowing seeds - a much easier kind of sowing, hee, hee! It'd be nice to have a wander around the garden centre and perhaps get some seeds and stuff ready, but I don't think I want to drive in these conditions just yet. I'm so tired and drained of energy. I'll just flop about here and try not to let the housework build up too much. I have a joint of brisket to put in the slow cooker for later.

Monday, 11 January 2010

The Great Escape.

I've just been out for the first time in seven days. There's still loads of snow everywhere. I just got Hubby to drive me to Tesco's as I'm not brave enough to make the journey myself. It was nice and quiet in there. I bumped into someone I know who told me all about her Christmas, cooking dinner for the 5000, setting the alarm for 5am but struggling to get up to get on with all the work with a hangover. She said she enjoyed doing it because otherwise I just don't get why I often hear women lamenting about how much they have to do at Christmas. What would happen if they didn't get up at 5am and start peeling potatoes and sprouts. Would it be like in LOST where poor Desmond has to reset a button every 108 minutes or the world will blow up? Would Christmas come to an end if we put our feet up with chicken nuggets (like Bianca's family in Eastenders... and they seemed to be having the better day) or fish n chips instead of turkey?
Well. I suppose we have a choice. Personally, I prefer less of a hoo-haa but then I did really appreciate the beautiful dinner Hubby made for us. And he did it cheerfully. I can't bear to watch anyone making a martyr of themselves. Especially me... hee, hee!

Anyway. I think a little trip out was just what the doc ordered. One is starting to go a little stir crazy!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

COOL!

Seeing as how I'm missing out on all the fun, I thought I'd shamelessly pinch these facebook pics of our friends handywork in the snow.


Excellent!


Sick, sick, sick of snow!




I haven't had much time for blogging the last few days. The snow has been steadily piling up outside and while (as I see occasionally from pictures on facebook) everyone else is outside having fun on sledges, making huge snowmen, building igloos or making perilous trips to Tescos, we've been stuck indoors for days with a nasty flu-like infection. Hubby has been very ill and will have to go to the doctors tomorrow. Henry is quite poorly and the baby has been very ill too. We rang Candoc late last night just for some advice on keeping the fever down. I wanted to know if we could alternate between Calpol and Neurofen. I got a bit confused with the info on the internet. So, a nurse on the helpdesk said we could do that and told me to give her a warm bath and then lay her naked on a towel to air dry. She also told me to reduce the layers of clothing and blankets. This advice surprised me as it's so cold and I've been having chills and sweats too but have been wanting to wrap myself up in loads of layers and duvets. But anyway, I did as I was told and although I still had to attend to her a few times in the night, she slept a bit more than the previous night and didn't seem so hot. Her temperature today has still been high though she seems happier under the effects of the medicines. She has, especially yesterday, been extremely clingy and I've really had to just hold her and let her nurse all the time. I watched 3 episodes of LOST (season 5 which we had to get on dvd cos we don't have sky) yesterday afternoon while she dozed and nursed on me.


Here is a scene from the bottom of our garden. The kids really want to go out and play but can't incase they get something worse and Hubby is so disappointed - he loves snow. So tempers in the house are getting frayed and we're all feeling pretty low. I can really appreciate what it is like in the Big Brother House!!! We've spent this afternoon watching loads of Little House episodes.




Just to finish off..
While on holiday we watched the film Miss Potter and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even Henry 'cos it had Obi wan Kenobi in it! (That's Ewan McGregor as Mr Warne). The kids had hot chocolate with squirty cream, marshmallows and white chocolate mice and jelly worms on the side. As we already have a bedtime routine that is centered around a story and 'the bedtime tray' we decided to make Friday night Beatrix Potter night, with one of her stories and these yummy drinks. So here is Honor-May with hers, waiting for the story of Jemima Puddleduck.



Thursday, 7 January 2010

Shape sorting game.

I've put the game that HM was playing at the bottom of this page. Scroll right down to the bottom to see it.

More snow.

Well, the call I'd been expecting came this morning... the school was closing. So the kids had to come home and do their work here. Hubby went to pick them up while I ran about getting work ready for them... what? Did you think they were going out to play????
Henry got through his work very quickly but HM took a lot longer, though she does have more to do at her age. We did a bit of revision on 3D shapes, prisms and vertices, homophones and general reading comprehension.
She played this shape sorting game.


And Henry had another of the cheese and vegetable muffins that I made yesterday. I had made some carrot, courgette and apple puree for the baby and sneaked half of the mixture into the cheese muffin mixture. I'm told they were delicious!







We are watching King Solomon's Mines now with Sharon Stone before she forgot to put on her underwear. They are waiting for Hubby to take them out for a play, but they seem to be nice and cosy here in front of the telly.
I think I can hear the baby crying... times up!