The 3.15 Hunger Hysteria

What happens to children between picking them up from school until teatime up is mind numbing.  The amount of times I hear “I’m hungry” and “what can I have to eat between 3.15 and 5.00 pm is unbelievable.  They come out of school absolutely ravenous.

I always take a snack for the journey home to try and avoid the hungry hysteria but just recently nothing seems to fill the gap between school pick up and tea.  Sausage rolls, fruit, fruit strings, yoghurts, biscuits, breadsticks, cheese nibbles and so much more.  There are however snacks that you just don’t want the children to eat in the car because they are so messy – puff pastry and croissants, there are some places that even the hoover can’t reach in a car and it’s enough of a mess already.

There is a fine line between a snack and a small meal.  If you cross over this line, you then enter into battle territory over eating tea because they are in fact, “not that hungry now” and that is infuriating.

Is there a happy medium of a satisfied but not full belly to bridge the gap between after school and tea?  I have yet to find it and quite often have hungry meltdowns because I just can’t cook tea quick enough and I won’t let them have another snack.  I get sick of the sound of my own voice saying “no, it’s nearly teatime”.  If we eat earlier then they are hungry again before bedtime and that opens up a whole other situation involving more snacks.  Eating later means we literally eat and then start the bedtime routine, oh the fun of teatime!

Throw into the mix a couple of children at after school clubs or evening football training and the whole thing blows up, you can’t after all cook everything in a slow cooker (can you?).

Some days I get it right but most days I just dance with the delightful hungry, hysterical and tired children and pray that 5 o’clock comes quickly.

What are your after school snacks? and are you lunch and dinner or dinner and tea?

 

 

DAD TALK – It’s Ok Not To Be Ok

Many of my friends will know that it’s been a tough year; from seeing my newborn head to NICU and my wife rushed off to surgery, to a cancer scare, to the last few months of back problems leading to an osteopenia diagnosis. Those friends however, are probably not aware that I have also been battling with depression.

I’ve been in and out of doctors and had numerous tests at the hospital, but somehow in my head, the taboo behind mental health stopped me expressing my concerns. Instead, the cave man gene took over and I struggled day to day keeping up an illusion for friends and family. I kept looking at my beautiful family and at my life, and just couldn’t understand why I felt like this.

Every morning, I’d battle with my mind trying to find the motivation to do even the most medial tasks such as getting washed and dressed. I cannot tell you the amount of times I got dressed for work but didn’t make it out of the door. I felt constantly tired, I couldn’t seem to turn my mind off and I simply couldn’t face people.

I thought that I was being strong, until one morning, my wife stopped me, cuddled me and said ‘I think you need to get some help’. On reflection, I now realise that I was being strong in admitting that I couldn’t keep it up and that I needed help to pull me out of the quicksand. So I rang the doctors made the appointment and sought help.  The meeting with the doctor was a big release just hearing myself talk of how I was struggling and how overwhelmed I felt. I have to admit I was fighting back the tears and found myself choking up. I remember the doctor saying ‘you are broken mentally and physically, but the good news is we will fix you’. Hooray!

Being self-employed in a physical job with the pressures of existing work, tending for new work, financial commitments, constant back pain and lack of sleep, had left me broken. It’s heartbreaking not being able to fulfil your role properly, especially given the expectation of home life and how important it is to the children. I’m also a keen runner and enjoy the freedom and peace it brings. Being unable to do this has also been a contributing factor to my health.

Hopefully, I’m now on the road to recovery and I know with the love and support of those closest to me I will conquer the stumbling blocks in my life.

So finally, be brave, do not be ashamed, it is not a show of weakness to ask for and accept help, talk to those you love but equally sometimes it might be easier to talk to a complete stranger. To borrow what someone recently said to me, “Always look for the light on the dark days”.

I hope this helps even just one person. It’s certainly helped me.

To Buy The “Tat” Or Not?

With Christmas only just over 8 weeks away you can’t escape the Christmas gift guides and adverts on the TV.  For children the excitement of Christmas is all about the magic of Father Christmas and presents.

Our children need nothing but want everything and anything that pops up on the TV or they find in the Argos book.  We still have 3 of the children’s birthdays before Christmas and New Year and in the past I have found myself buying things just for the sake of having something they could open.

It was recently my daughter’s birthday and there was nothing in particular that she wanted and I was really stumped on what to buy for her.  Again, she just wanted things to open but I didn’t want to add to the mountain of plastic tat that we already have.  And it’s not cheap either!

In our family we always put more emphasis on birthdays than Christmas so always spend a bit more on their special day than at Christmas.  I decided to be practical and bought clothes, stationery and arty things, a new reading book, a night light and gave her some money.  She’s old enough to know the value of money and would enjoy a shopping trip, just her and either me or Mr H to get exactly what she wanted.

 

 

For Christmas I am going to be sensible, yes they’ll have things to open in their stockings but they will only have one main present.  Presents for nieces and nephews will be useful and not toys.  I love it when the children get PJ’s that they can wear for months rather than a toy that gets lost under the mountain of tat, or a book they can read over and over again.  Things to use outside in the garden are a great idea too or a board game to play together as a family.

Over the years, with an ever growing family we have had to become clever about what presents we buy, they have to go somewhere and the house is only getting smaller as these little people get bigger.

What are you buying this year?

 

Trick Or Treat?

Today has been all about pumpkins.  We usually grab some from the supermarket when we get our shopping but this year we headed to a pumpkin patch.  We headed to Hill Farm Farm Shop in Norfolk.

The field was full of all shapes and sizes of pumpkins and the children loved it.  They ran around finding the perfect one (which I can tell you took some time) loaded them in a wheelbarrow and we headed back to the car.  We got 6 pumpkins for £9, which is actually cheaper than we would have got from the supermarket and we had the fun of hunting for them.

 

 

We don’t make a big fuss over Halloween, but every year we do take the children Trick Or Treating to the neighbours and have a Halloween tea.  We usually do some Halloween crafts during the half term and these are some of my favourite.

 

Toilet Roll Ghosts & Bats

 

There’s always a surplus of toilet rolls in our house, so I’m a great fan of toilet roll crafts.  These are quick, easy and all the children can make them.

 

Halloween Biscuits

Spiderweb-Halloween-Cookies

Who doesn’t love a biscuit?!?  I use a shortbread biscuit and the design is simple and really effective.  You can buy lots of great decorations from the supermarket to make it really simply for the children to do.

 

Ghost Footprints

footprint ghost

I’m a real sucker for hand/foot prints and I don’t think there’s a year that goes by that I don’t have prints of the children.  This is great for younger children, but to be honest it’s a lovely thing at any age.

 

Spider Lollipops

spider lolly

Create a spider using pipe cleaners and a lollipop – simple!

There’s also the compulsory pumpkin carving which the children love and then it all comes together for a Halloween tea by candle light!

Happy Halloween!

 

He’s Going To Be 1!

In the last 11 months we have not only become welcomed our sixth baby, but have also moved house and taken our first aeroplane trip as a family of 8 amongst many other day-to-day dramas.  It’s not surprising that time has flown by as we are so busy but I still find it hard to believe that in just under 3 weeks, my little man will be 1!

As we have quite a few toys already, I’ve been thinking about what to buy for him.  I want to get something special as it’s first birthday but also something that we haven’t already got.  So here are my favourite ideas:-

Grimm’s Rainbow

 

grimms

How great is this?!? I’ve had my eye on this for a while now, it would look wonderful in Milo’s room.  The possibilities for creative play with this are endless, they can be used as tunnels, fences, bridges, shelters or just stacking them.  This is definitely something that Milo can continue to use as his grows.

 

Wooden Shape Sorter

wooden colour shape

Milo loves putting things in and out of boxes and stacking blocks.  This teaches numbers, shapes and colours and helps develops fine motor skills.  Wooden toys look lovely and last really well.

 

Handmade Car Walker

car

Milo is pulling himself up on anything and cruising along the furniture.  He needs a little bit of help steadying himself and what better way than with a red car, perfect for any little boy!  This is great as he can fill it with blocks and toys and use as a trolley as he gets older so isn’t just a walker and looks really cool.

 

Teepee

teepee

This is absolutely gorgeous and something that could be used for several years.  He’s maybe a little bit too small to use it to it’s full potential at the moment.  A quiet space for reading, hiding and playing in, a space for imagination to grow.  We often build dens in the garden but this is something that would look fantastic in Milo’s bedroom.  A great hideaway for a little fella.

 

A Memory Box

memory box

This isn’t something that I’ve done with any of my other children but I actually wish I had!  Close family and friends can write a letter to Milo for him to read when he’s older (maybe 18?)  I know that the children would love to do this.  He would know how much he was loved when he was too tiny to remember and God Forbid that if anyone isn’t around when he is older, he will have a lasting memory of them.  You could also add a newspaper from his birthday, photos, an about the day the weather etc, what we did.

What are your best 1st Birthday present ideas?

 

When To Become Mobile?

People have asked me when did I give my children a mobile phone.  Me and Mr H felt that unless there was a need for it, they shouldn’t have one, so when they started High School, along came the phone.  They were going out on their own, meeting friends, going to the park and I wanted to make sure that they could contact me (and me them) if they needed to.

We live in a world where children don’t read books anymore to do their homework, they search the internet, which lets be honest is a fantastic resource.  A lot of the High School homework is set on-line so they have to access the internet to complete it.

With technology everywhere, it’s important that children know how to keep safe on the internet from an early age.  My 5 year old can use an i-Pad and being safe on line is the same as teaching him not to talk to strangers.  We have passwords set up so that apps can’t be downloaded without us entering a passcode.  This also stops anyone purchasing apps or music (we learnt the hard way though!)

Children don’t talk on the phone anymore, it’s all on-line through Snap Chat and Face Time.  Many times I’ve had a phone thrust in my face only to see one of my children’s friends face smiling, which I guess does save money on the phone bill.  Unfortunately bullying seems to follow them home from school now too.  There are apps such as Sahara where you can post anonymously comments about other people, and they’re usually not kind ones.

Recently in my children’s High School mobile phones have been banned.  They are allowed to take them on their journey to and from school but if they are found with them out during school time they are confiscated.

There are ways in which you can keep you children safe.

On Android, you can set a pin for purchases from Google Play Store and set an age level for downloading apps.

On an iPhone, you can restrict the browser access, sharing location, app access, in-app purchases and activate ‘find my iPhone’ to name just a few things.

You could do random history browser checks.  This isn’t something that we’ve ever felt the need to do but I know parents who have.

You need to remember why you want your child to have a phone, what you want them to be able to do with it and what sort of phone you want them to have.  For us, we just wanted them to have a way to get hold of us if they needed to and vice versa.  Our eldest son has had a phone for 4 years and during that time technology has changed dramatically and the things that are available to children is frightening.  I suggest parental locks for everything until they are at least 18!!!!

 

 

 

Autumn Lanterns

It is well and truly Autumn now, the leaves are falling from the trees and are beautiful, rich oranges and reds. This time of year is perfect for walks in the woods and collecting leaves, which are perfect for crafts.

Autumn Lanterns are great for the children to make and look beautiful when they are lit.

You will need:-

 

Mason jars or empty jam jar;

Mod Podge (a glue and a gloss) available from craft shops;

Tea lights or battery operated fairy lights;

Leaves (bring them indoors and let them dry out).

  • Make sure your glass jar is clean and then begin to stick dried leaves on the outside of the jar.  I found it much easier to use PVA glue to stick the leaves down and then painted over the top with Mod Podge.
  • Leave gaps between the leaves to allow the light to shine through.  Once you have covered the jar with leaves, paint over all the whole jar with Mod Podge.  This will ensure the leaves stay put and give a lovely glossy finish.
  • Allow to dry overnight.
  • Add tea lights or fairy lights and let the light shine!

 

Double Chocolate Smartie Lollipop Cookies

Double chocolate cookies are my favourite treat and I’ve tried several recipes trying to find the right one! This has to be my favourite. Quick, Simple and so easy the children can make them!

Ingredients

4 1/2 ozs of chocolate

4 oz butter

7 oz sugar

1 egg

7 oz plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 oz cocoa

1/2 tsp salt

Method

Preheat oven to 175 degrees;

Melt chocolate and set aside;

– Mix butter and sugar together;

– Add egg;

– Sift flour, cocoa, bicarbonate, salt and melted chocolate and mix into the egg mixture to form a dough;

– Roll into balls and place (do not press down) on a tray at the end of the lollipop stick. Allow space for the cookies to spread;

– Cook for 10-12 mins. Remove from the oven and add the smarties whilst they are still hot and soft. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

I prefer a more crunchy cookie so bake them until they start to crack on the top, for a softer gooey cookie take them out just before they start to crack.

These also work well by adding chocolate chips to the mixture and making them just as cookies without the lollipop sticks. I added the lollipop sticks when it was a someone’s birthday as something a bit more special. They are always very popular at the school bake sales too.

Everyone Needs Mum Mates

When you are a child at school you often have no choice about who your friends are, especially if you are in a small school. However by the time you reach the ripe old age of adulthood you are in charge about who is in your life, you chose your friends . You don’t have to be friends with anyone you don’t want to be and doesn’t make you feel good about yourself.

Once you become a parent your friendships naturally change. You are moving in different circles now, all the cool ones, you know the baby and toddler groups, music and play and soft play areas. I’ve made some great friends along my parenting journey that include lifelong friends, people I’ve worked with, toddler group mums and school playground mums.

Other mum friends make parenting a little bit easier for a number of reasons:-

We are all in the same boat. Only a parent can appreciate the tiredness and the joy that children bring. Having children of similar ages it’s great to have someone to share the wins and fails with and know that you’re not alone and doing ok at this mum thing.

– No Judging. Real friends don’t judge you when you’ve reached your limit with your grumpy toddler, they play with them and distract them and give you a moment to regain your sanity to carry on. Your house can look like it’s been robbed and they won’t bat an eyelid, they’ll just move the rubbish and sit down.

– They Understand. We’ve all had to deal with the tantrum in the supermarket or school playground, it doesn’t mean you have a naughty child or you’re a bad mum, it’s just parenting. We’ve all been there. A real friend will take the crying baby from you and cuddle when you’re so sleep deprived you can’t think straight without even being asked.

– Adult conversation. Yes children are wonderful and great fun to be around but adult conversation is wonderful, a break from play dough and CBeebies. Sometimes all you want is to talk to another adult about adult things. Is there anything nicer than a cup of tea with a mate?!?

So to all the ladies in my life, thank you for the friendship, listening ear, giggles and tissues to wipe away the tears over copious amounts of tea and cake – I value and respect each and everyone of you and look forward to the next cuppa! Xx

I’m A Liebster Award Nominee

“The award is a way to be discovered but also to connect and support the blogging community. A great idea in promoting your own blog and others. Originally it was given out to blogs with less than 2000 readers but this has slowly lowed as the reward has gained popularity. It is now only 200 readers or less.” – The Global Aussie

Thank you to Romina at Mini Mummi Blogger for the nomination for the Liebster Award. Romina is a first time mum to a baby boy. Currently on maternity leave she is putting her writing/publishing to good experience through her blog. Helping mummies navigate through wealth of often conflicting information out there about pregnancy and motherhood. She believes that every mummy knows what’s best for her own baby – even first time mums!

Random Things About Me

– I love knitting and hoarding wool;

– I like eating cake;

– I have the same Birthday as Jason Donovan;

– I have an obsession for buggies, can you ever have enough?

– I’m a morning person.

Questions from Mini Mummi

What is your favourite season, and why?

I love Autumn – The bright days and chilly evenings, lighting the fire and snuggling up with the children. The shops have chunky knits, which I love and all the clothes are warm colours. Woodland walks at the weekend and dark evenings.

Whether you blog anonymously or use your name on your blog, tell us a bit about why you chose the option you chose.

To be honest, I do a bit of both. The names are out there and I’ve used them on posts. I didn’t want to give the children numbers or nicknames because I’d get into a mess with that. I’ve used “this little dude” or “this one” sometimes if I’m talking about a photo and refer to the children are oldest or youngest. It doesn’t always work, so in those cases, I use names.

What is your blogging philosophy?

As long as I’m enjoying blogging, I’ll keep doing it.

Which established bloggers inspire you?

I follow Family Days Tried and Tested and love reading about what they’ve been up to. They’re a family with 8 children, so I can relate to what I’m reading.

Which childhood book/holiday/film/activity are you most looking forward to sharing with your kid(s)?

I went to Florida when I was 11 with my whole family and that’s also where I got married. I ‘d love to take the children there one day.

What is your favourite holiday season, and why?

I love Easter – it’s Christmas without the stress and presents. We always have a Christmas dinner with the family and there’s lots of chocolate!

My Nominees

Kathleen from Mummy to 5 Boys

Emma from Little Miss Eden Rose

Laura from Honest Motherhood

Jordan from Disorganised Harmony

Bella Louise from Documenting the Drews

Questions For The Nominees

– If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

– When do you find the time to blog?

– What’s your favourite type of cake?

– Who you gonna’ call?

– Are you a morning or night person?

What Next?

Please leave a comment here letting me know you’ve completed your acceptance post. I’d love to read your responses.

If you have any questions on accepting the Liebster Award Global Aussie is a fantastic resource on steps to follow. You also need to make sure you comment on that post letting them know you’ve been nominated.

Thanks again to Romina Mini Mummi Blogger for the nomination, it’s lovely to know that someone is actually reading what you’re writing.

Rebecca – All About Hurr