London

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Today, exausted from a late night trip to the out of hours doctors last night, I went along on a school trip to London with DS2 and his class as a parent helper.
I had been really looking forward to it and so had DS2. I don’t visit London much which of course means neither do the boys so it was an exciting trip for the both of us. I was also a bit nervous.  No matter how old you are social situations can be really tough when you don’t know the other people very well and I especially get very anxious about it. I was really glad to find a few mums in particular that were really easy to talk to and the anxiety quickly eased and I relaxed.
We each had our own child and any other children we were responsible for in tow and we set off for the train station. DS2 was so excited when we started to walk through the tunnel and up the stairs to the station. Ever since he was very little he has always been fascinated by trains and I felt a tinge of guilt that I hadn’t made more of an effort to take him and the boys for train rides. Something so simple to me is an exciting adventure for a train loving six year old.
We all piled into one carriage and DS2 was looking out of the window amazed. When we went through a tunnel he was beaming and saying ‘wow’. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself every time we stopped at a station, the annoyance on the business people’s faces as they waited on the platform for their train and the carriage full of excitable five and six year olds pulls up right in front of them was quite amusing.

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The teachers had planned the day out really well and had sheets with lots of activities for all of the children. DS2 was really excited, every time he spotted something from the sheet he’d pull on my hand and point really proud of himself for finding something. When we found the big fountain he was most excited to see lots of coins in the water, he asked of he could take a picture of it on my phone and of course I didn’t breath until he handed it back to me I was sure he was going to make a wish with my phone!

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It wasn’t to long before he was geting tired of walking around and was glad to stop for lunch at St James’ Park. We watched the guards marching and it was so much fun seeing them on horses, playing trumpets and drums.
The last stop before we headed back was a really great little park that the class had to themselves DS2 found his energy reserves and had great fun playing with his friends.

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I had so much fun today. It was amazing seeing all the sights that are at the heart of the country we live in but most of all it was amazing to spend a rare day together just DS2 and myself. The best part of the whole day was when he said (and he actually said this, which bought a tear to my eye), ‘I had fun today but it was best of all spending the whole day with you’. That right there is a melt the heart moment.

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The Party Is Over!

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We had a birthday party for DS2 at home this afternoon and it’s over! I have that wonderful feeling of relief you get after being responsible for other people’s children, they all left alive and without serious injury.
I was worried we hadn’t invited enough children but the noise proved otherwise. We had four of DS2’s friends from school, DS1 had a friend, my sisters three children and my three boys. I planned a few traditional party games such as pass the parcel and musical statues but the favourite had to be the ‘wrapping up the mummy game’. We picked three volunteers and split every one into three teams. Each team had two minutes to wrap up the volunteer with toilet roll to make them look like a mummy. The team at the end who was most covered won. They had so much fun, you couldn’t see the living room floor through all the toilet roll but they ended recycling it all by throwing it at each other. They were crazy but DS2 had fun and that’s all that matters. I love watching how my boys are around their friends they can be so different and it’s lovely to see the friendships they have built.
I have a mountain of pizza left overs and cake that I’m scared I might eat if it looks at me any longer so I’m off to eat an apple (and then no doubt end up scoffing all the cake anyway).

Birthday

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Yesterday was DS2’s birthday. I can’t believe how quickly he has grown up. It’s such a standard thing that parents say when their child has a birthday but it’s just so true. When they are  scrunched up little wrinkly babies you can’t ever imagine how quickly the time passes and they become walking, talking children with distinct personalities. When you are sitting there covered in baby sick, changing the tenth smelly nappy of the day and trying to decide weather to clean up or rest in between, what feels like, endless feeds it’s hard to imagine that you will ever miss it.
It only feels like yesterday I was waiting in my very unattractive hospital gown to be called by the surgeon for my C – section. From the moment he was born DS2 was so calm. Even his cries were calm little sounds and now, at 6 years old, he has such a laid back, caring personality that I adore. It scares me so much how the six years have whizzed by and I know it won’t be long before he becomes a young adult and I will yearn for the days I have today. The everyday days I have where I will walk through the door after a short shopping trip he sees me yelling ‘mummy!’ While smiling. When he hugs me just because. When he cries for me because he only wants me in the middle of the night to comfort him, it can feel like such hard work being the only one who gets dragged out of bed in the night when no one else will do but I know, soon enough, it will be me who is pleading him for some time and I will ache for those sleepless nights.
DS2’s birthday requests were very simple. A mcdonalds dinner after his swimming lesson and some mario teddies. He has always been so grateful for anything he gets and he never asks for alot it’s so lovely to see him happy and he says he had the best birthday ever.
The next birthday will come sooner than I expect it to and I will have to remind myself, in the tough moments when parenting a 6 year old feels so hard, that parenting a 6 year old doesn’t last forever and what I dread today I will miss and never get back again tomorrow.

Messy play with no mess!

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My 2 year old and I have spent the last few hours shopping for the last few bits for his brothers 6th birthday tomorrow. I have a horrible sinus headache and little man needs entertaining but I don’t fancy anything that reqires alot of clearing up after. So a simple, fun sensory activity with no mess is just the thing to keep him occupied.

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I have lots of paint in the cupboard so I simply poured in some red and yellow in one zip lock bag and some orange and green with a little glitter into another zip lock bag, sealed them up, sellotaped them to the glass of the back doors and let my 2 year old get creative!

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He enjoys making patterns in the paint with his finger and likes to try and make the same shapes I make. It’s a simple activity that I can just pull off of the door and bin when he is done or if I have storage, put away for another day!

Easy Healthy Pizza Pasta

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You may have seen in news paper articles and on social media about how food giant Mars has announced it will be labelling some of its sauces as for ‘occasional’ rather than ‘everyday’ use due to the high fat, sugar and salt content some of these sauces contain. The newspaper articles I have been reading have been focusing mainly on the Dolmio sauces but of course if you check some of the jarred sauces you may have in your cupboard, whatever brand it may be, you may be as shocked as I was and it is of course a good thing that Mars are making this move. I love a pasta bake for a quick dinner and never think to check the label just assuming that a vegetable base sauce must be healthy.

Last night for dinner we had a simple pasta bake made with a homemade sauce. We called it ‘Pizza Pasta’ as it looked a bit like pizza once it came out of the oven. I made enough for 2 adults, 3 children and enough left over for my 2 year old and I to have a portion each for lunch today. Here’s how I made it

 

You will need

750g of pasta shells

3 tins of Italian chopped tomatoes

3 Echalion shallots

About 5 basil leaves

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Mozzarella

 

How to make the pasta bake

Boil the pasta in a pot of boiling water.

Heat 4 table spoons of olive oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat.

Peel and finely chop the shallots and gently heat in the frying pan with the olive oil. You do not want to brown the shallots just gently fry them for a few minutes.

Add the 3 tins of chopped tomatoes into the frying pan, add a pinch of salt and pepper and heat on high whilst stirring for 5 minutes.

Finely chop the basil leaves into the sauce (I just cut them with scissors straight into the pan) and heat for a further 2 minutes.

Using a blender, blend the sauce until it is smooth.

Place the cooked pasta into  a large oven proof dish and stir in the sauce until all of the pasta is covered.

Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and place any way you like on top of your pasta.

Bake in the over for about 10 minutes.

pasta 2If you will not use any of the left over pasta bake the next day or you are not using as much pasta you could freeze the left over sauce for a quick meal another day or it is lovely heated on its own as a soup.

If you use a freezer bag to freeze the sauce a good little tip is to rub some oil all over the inside of the bag before you add the sauce. When you come to reheat the sauce it should slip out of the bag easily.

 

Nightmares- Good Dream Potion

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So we tried the ‘potion’ with my almost 6 year old boy who, as explained in my previous post ‘Nightmares’, suffers every night with nightmares that wake him up every night and can leave him terrified.
Straight away of course he noticed that it wasn’t labeled as if it had just been bought at the supermarket (hey I’m not as creative as I thought and I’m not exactly going to be pitching this to Lord Sugar as a new product ready to stack on the shelves it’s just to serve it’s purpose as a label for the ‘potion’). I explained that it had to be specially made at the local health shop and the man at the till had made the label especially for him which made my son feel a bit special and excited to try it.

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We followed the instructions on the back and my excited little one helped at every step.

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Once we had poured the milk in he looked, sniffed and wobbled the drink before tasting it and giving the thumbs up, I think he was expecting it to be made from frog eyes and snail tails so he was very cautious at first. He drank about half before it was time for bed and he was really excited and happy to think this might help to stop his nightmares so he went to bed straight away and with a smile on his face.

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The verdict
He came into our room last night as he always does but he was still half asleep and just squished up next to me going straight back to sleep. At breakfast this morning I asked if he had had any bad dreams and at first he said he couldn’t remember but then almost jumped up and down smiling saying he didn’t think he did.
So the potion worked for the bad dreams last night at least and that is a big deal in this house. Of course it’s exausting for all of us if my almost 6 year old has a really bad night and wakes crying but it is truly heart breaking seeing how upset and scared he can get so it is really exciting that this could carry on giving him some much needed peace at night.
I think he came into our room last night out of habit and I’m fine with that. I don’t want to upset him by sending him back to his room after geting over such a big hurdle. Of course we are yet to see if this continues but I will certainly be going back to the ‘health shop’ for some more ‘potion’ when we run out.

Easy Green Gloop

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We have been to playgroup this morning and now its raining outside. A great indoor activity I love to do with my two year old is ‘Easy Green Gloop’. I love sensory play especially when its messy. It’s fantastic for sensory development for all ages and I’ve done the green gloop with my boys from a really young age and they still all love it (and me too!). This is a messy activity so old clothes are best although I have always found it very easy to clean up.

You will need

Corn flour

Water

Food colouring (we used green)

A mixing bowl

A mixing spoon

A tray (A tuff spot would work best for this but we do not have one so we used the lid from a toy box and worked a treat!)

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How to make ‘Easy Green Gloop’

  1. Pour 1 cup full of water into the mixing bowl
  2. Add 2 cap fulls of food colouring into the water
  3. Add in 2 cup fulls of corn flour into the coloured water and mix it up (you can make this up to whatever consistency you like I made mine quite runny so my two year old could push his cars through easily)
  4. Pour it onto the tray, add toys and have fun!

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You can find a video of my 2 year old playing with this here

Birthday planning on a budget

DS2 will be 6 years old in 9 days time (as he told me this morning after crossing off today’s date on the birthday calender he made) and he is excited beyond words. He had lots of great birthday party ideas, a party at the farm, a soft play party and his favourite a bowling party but aside from the fact we just can not afford it at the moment me and hubby have decided that we are not going to do a ‘proper’ party for the children every birthday as it all gets so expensive, it’s crazy to spend hundreds of pounds on a party that lasts two hours especially when we have three children.
DS2 is pretty laid back he’s happy to be happy and so was excited with the idea of a small get together at our house instead of a big extravagant party. We decided that on the weekend after his birtday he will have a ‘pyjama party’ which is in fact going to pretty much just be a big play date with five of his friends. I’m planning on just letting the kids go wild (probably trashing the house) a few traditional party games thrown in, feeding them pizza, ice cream and sweets then sending them nice and hyped up back to their parents. I went bargin hunting for a small pass the parcel prize and was pleased to find a tray of kinder joy reduced to 25p each which will be put into the party bags (what kid doesnt love kinder joy?) I’m hoping that will be enough to keep them entertained for two hours and DS2 will enjoy and remember it when he is older.
Do you have any low cost birthday party ideas? Or do you have any other birthday traditions for your family?

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