Christmas Brownies

This post features on Bad Mum Magazine if you would like to check it out there and other fabulous articles highlighting the highs and lows of Motherhood.  We’re all in this together and our best is all we can do.

Who doesn’t love brownies? Ok, potentially a lot of people but we are not some of them! These are a firm favourite in our family and it has been a long time since I have made any. How could I resist a Christmas theme at this time of year?

I am a self confessed perfectionist when it comes to baking. Most things I make are designed to look perfect, they require precision and often a steady hand. The end result isn’t always what I had in mind and I am my harshest critic. I want to teach my girls how to bake and decorate but I struggle to give up some of the control. Brownies are perfect to do this with, they are not meant to look perfect. They should be rough around the edges and homely.

The recipe I have used for years is one from Humming Bird Bakery. It is gooey and because it uses real chocolate it has a very intense flavour. Ordinarily I don’t fiddle around with it but this time I added the zest of three oranges for a Christmas flavour twist to it. (I wanted to make it with a gingerbread flavour but Hubby told me I was insane and that would be disgusting…. I think it would taste nice. No?)

To ensure a smooth baking experience, prepare everything in advance. Measure out all of the ingredients into bowls and have any equipment and utensils to hand. Things can get forgotten or burnt/over mixed if you aren’t prepared.

‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’ Benjamin Franklin.

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To line a square tin this is how I cut the greaseproof paper, then I use a fry spray to stick it to the tin.

I melted the chocolate myself, as I didn’t want Pinky to get a steam burn. When melting chocolate ensure that the heatproof bowl you use fits snuggly in the saucepan without touching the bottom. If the bowl touches the bottom of the pan or the water you put in it the chocolate will burn and taste extremely bitter (not in a good chocolate way). If you get water in the chocolate it will split and go grainy. Yuk!

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Before adding the other ingredients I added the orange zest to the melted chocolate to ensure it mixed in well and didn’t clump. You could also use an orange essence but I haven’t found one I like yet. If anyone knows of a good essence brand let me know!

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Look at the serious face!

I use two square brownie tins when I am making these. This is bigger than the recipe recommends so mine come out thinner than intended but I like them this way. Because it is such a rich flavour it can get a bit sickly. I have always cut them up into small pieces but now I spread the mixture more the portion size can be cut bigger.

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I cooked these for 40 minutes at 180oC. The recipe says they should be done after 35 minutes. I learnt a long time ago (due to mistakes) that every oven runs at a different temperature. I have made these in 30 minutes before and I have also used an oven that meant they took over an hour to bake! The best way to check is get an oven thermometer. I don’t actually have one but I now know my oven well enough to know where the heat spots are and how accurate the temperature actually is. Use your instincts basically.   Baking can be all about trial and error.

Once these are done and cooled completely I cut them up into triangles. I had every intention of trying to make them all the same size… That didn’t happen (give it up love it doesn’t matter).

I decided to use some Candy Melts I had in the cupboard to decorate. These can be melted using the same method for chocolate or in the microwave. Once melted put in a piping bag (carful this is warm!) and pipe however you like. You could dip the brownie straight in if you wanted*. Then I added some smarties and sprinkles to finish the look (thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration).

*The candy melts are quite thick once melted which is ideal for piping rough details. Add a little vegetable fat to thin the mixture out if you are dipping (I would anyway). Be careful not to add too much fat, but if you do, add more candy melts to thicken it up a little again. Little by little is the key. Candy Melts can also be reused, if you have some left at the end leave to cool, it will harden at room temperature, then place in a sealed plastic bag until you want to use them again.

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I gave Pinky some triangles to decorate and she had so much fun. I use a cable tie at the top of the piping bag, which stops any mix coming out of the top. I find this useful myself but it even more effective for a three year old who doesn’t really have the two hand piping coordination. I put the smarties and sprinkles into bowls for her because, as I suspected, things got a little messy and no one would want to re use they ones she didn’t need!

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Spot the cable tie

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The final result….

TaDah!

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Perky trying to steal her sisters creations! Didn’t Pinky do a lovely job?
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Science: Is it right this time?

Today I came across a ‘suggested’ article on my personal Facebook feed. It was an article that outlined the findings of a study conducted by Oxford University and The London School of Economics.   I have had some University experience, I am well aware of the high standing these two Universities hold so thought it may be worth a read.   The study they conducted was around the effect mothers have on the development of their children. The headline, which caught my eye, was ‘Young Children of Working Mothers have Better Skills than those of Stay at Home Mothers’.

The opening paragraph of the article states ‘Young children whose mothers are not working have lower capabilities in terms of talking, social skills, movement and everyday skills, according to new research from LSE and the University of Oxford.’

Instantly this has hit a nerve. I cannot deny that Perkys speech is slower than her sisters was. It is also slower than her cousin who is four days older than her. However I refuse to attribute that completely to the fact that I don’t work. Her sister does a lot of talking for her; also, she has been bombarded with more conversational talking from day one because I have her sister to talk to, direct, instruct. Pinky had a lot of one on one time that involved ‘Cow’ ‘Bowl’ ‘Window’. Instead of building up her use of single words Perky has jumped straight in with stringing two or three words together.

The article goes on to say: ‘The effect was particularly significant in both everyday skills and social skills. Among other findings were that spending more time in nurseries is associated with better social skills and better everyday skills, while spending more hours being cared for by grandparents is associated with better talking skills and social skills’.

Again, I cannot deny Pinky has better social skills and is more confident around other children than her little sister. I absolutely attribute that to the fact she started nursery when she was 10 months old because I had to go back to work. After Perky I went back for 6 weeks to work my notice period, she was looked after by family. If it were not for the cost of childcare I would still be working. Believe me I long to work, to have a little time out of the house without a child in tow. However, as a low paid worker (nurses really do get paid peanuts!) I would like to know where my husband and I were supposed to find an extra £3500 per year to cover the childcare for both the girls 52 weeks a year 20 hours a week each. And to be very clear that figure was calculated to include Pinkys 15 hours free entitlement for 39 weeks of the year. I don’t stay at home out of choice so the last thing I need to read is that I am having a negative effect on my child’s development. (Perhaps I shouldn’t have read this since I’m not done ranting!)

I am 30 years old. I will be 31 in January. I am not an ‘old’ mother by any definition, so my next snippet from the article is for all you ‘Geriatric Mums’ out there… (anyone else up for petitioning to ban that term?)

Having an older mother has a negative effect on all four of the skills assessed: social skills, talking, movement and everyday skills. Conversely, and not surprisingly, having a mother with more years of education has a positive impact on all four capabilities.

So if you are old and uneducated what were you thinking having children? How irresponsible!

What utter tripe!

I am sure education will come in very useful when children are at school. I know I will be able to help with maths, English and science to a point.   I do not feel scared by this at Primary level and perhaps my further education has helped with this confidence, but the notion that old age can effect the development of a child in four key areas seems baffling to me. If there are any mums reading this who were catagorised as ‘older’ when they gave birth can you understand this? Does any of this make sense or have I made you as angry as I am?

Next up… ‘There was also an assessment of which activities had the most impact on skills. Reading or telling stories and singing children’s songs are both found to have a positive impact on talking capabilities. Less obviously, visiting other families with children has a positive impact on talking ability.’ Less obviously? Less obviously to who? I know it helps! Most mothers I know, know it helps. It is a social event not just for the sleep deprived, wits end, stressed mother but for the children too. I don’t think anyone can disagree with positive impact reading has on a child but I would also like to find a mother who feels like they do it enough with the children… We feel guilty enough we really don’t need Oxford and LSE scholars rubbing it in.

‘Children with more siblings have better skills in all four areas, perhaps suggesting that they are learning from older siblings, despite having less time interacting with a parent.’ I hope none of you have only one child! Tut tut if you do apparently! We only have two children and we are NOT having anymore… Whoops! Poor deprived children.

The article goes on to highlight some positive things in a childs development, although I struggle to see that it tells us anything we don’t already know.

‘Singing children’s songs and painting and doing arts and crafts are found to have a positive impact on the development of movement skills, which researchers linked to the actions associated with songs and the hand skills needed for arts and crafts.’ I knew that! Or am I just being a smart arse now? Never fear because they are about to rip that positivity right our from under us…

‘Taking walks outdoors is negatively associated with movement skills, which is surprising but may be because children spend long periods in a buggy and spends less time doing other activities which appear to promote skills.’ Quick, throw that buggy in the bin! What a waste of money that was!

The closing statement finished me off: ‘Professor Anand commented: ‘We are delighted that one of first economic studies to look at the behaviour of very young children comes out with positive messages about activity involvement with parents, and shows that different activities promote different skills.’ I’m glad someone took something positive from it all because I didn’t.

The worst thing about it all is for some of it I know they are right. I didn’t need a study to tell me the benefits of a nursery setting. I always wanted my children to go to nursery for the social and learning aspect. I can see the positive impact it has on Pinky and I would love Perky to have that too. But we can’t afford it! As soon as her 15 hours free entitlement kicks in she will be going and I will skip her all the way to her preschool setting with a big beaming smile. As for the arts, crafts and reading I think you will be hard pushed to find a parent that doesn’t already know the benefits of it all.

This has just been another thing that has made me feel you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Have kids too early and you may not have the career that can support childcare costs. Have kids too late and your age will hinder their development. Does any of it truly matter? Don’t all children just want and deserve to know that they are loved, that they are special?

If you want to read the article I am talking about then click here. I have decided not to request the whole study paper but you can if you want to, the email address to do so is at the end of the article. In the interest of a balanced argument I know I should reference other places and studies but since I am not submitting this to be marked for a University course and since I didn’t actually conduct the study I am not going to. This did not make me feel like balancing my arguments today!

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Separation Anxiety in a Preschooler

Our lives have changed slightly recently.  Not vastly, or at least not to my adult brain.  To the brain of a three year old the change is obviously a lot greater.  Hubby is now traveling a lot for work.

This travel is often erratic, there is no pattern, it can be relatively last minute and although it isn’t for long, maybe a couple of days and nights, that is a long time when you are three.  To be clear I am fine with all of this, I am embracing the positives because if I didn’t that wouldn’t achieve anything.  I now get a couple of evenings to myself in a month (sometimes more).  I get to watch whatever I want, I can cook meals Hubby isn’t keen on, I get to be alone with my own thoughts once the girls are in bed.  It helps me reset.  Pinky, however, is not coping well.

Recently she has become very moody.  I understand that part of this comes with being three and a half but her outbursts have been a little different to the usual tantrum.  Ever since she was born she has been referred to as a ‘velcro baby’, a Mummys girl.  These last few weeks she has very much been a Daddy’s girl.  In the mornings she goes to him for cuddles.  She wants him to get her dressed, brush her teeth.  She wants Daddy to read her stories and to put her to bed.  All of this is lovely on the surface of it.  The fact that it is a direct reaction to him going away for work is what makes it hard.  As soon as the front door shuts behind him her whole mood changes.  She will go from happy and giggly to miserable and nasty.  The tears are free flowing over anything and everything.  This last week it has progressed fro being generally tearful to being outwardly angry.  Pinky has always had a great foot stomp but now she does it with the intent of causing pain.  She has started punching the floor, gritting her teeth and screaming in anger.  None of this is normal behaviour for her.  I was pretty satisfied with the idea that this was a phase that would pass in due time, she would soon get used to this change in our lives.  Now I’m a bit more concerned that the phase isn’t passing fast enough.

I decided I would do a little reading to make sure that I was doing everything I could to help her.  I have struggled to find anything really useful online as most websites only cover separation anxiety in relation to daycare of the younger toddler.  Pinkys preschool stage isn’t as well documented, nor is the ‘traveling parent’ scenario.  However, I think some of the advice is useful in general.

After much digging www.parenting.com gives the following advise for separation anxiety: http://www.parenting.com/article/separation-anxiety-age-by-age

  • Let your child know it’s onto feel nervous: I try and let Pinky know it is ok to miss Daddy… This seem to anger her further… I don’t know why.  Telling her that I miss him too is even worse.
  • Plan so extra one on one time: I have tried to do this but it isn’t easy.  She has a little sister, I can just take Pinky out.  We did go out for lunch the other week just the three of us and it was lovely.  It may not have been one on one time but it did remind her that I could be fun too.  We didn’t need Daddy to do nice things.
  • Develop a predictable bedtime routine: Well…. Pinky has had a predictable bedtime routine since she has been 12 weeks old! It has adapted slowly as she has gotten older but essentially it’s exactly the same.  She has still had the predictable sleep regressions and we have still had the awful soul destroying weeks that have require all of mine and Hubbys willpower not to cave in.  She is now playing up at bedtime when Hubby is away…. I think she can smell my weakness.
  • Do your best not to cave in:  I am the most stubborn person I know.  Pinky has inherited this!  It’s a stand off for days.

I found www.help.org much more useful http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/separation-anxiety-in-children.htm.  It lists some of the signs and symptoms of separation anxiety including reluctance to go to sleep and why. Check. Cling to the care giver. Check (she wont let Daddy go).  Fear that something terrible will happen. Check.  She simply likes having Daddy around, he makes her feel safe.

This website gives much of the above advise but it also has a couple of other points:

  • Develop a good bye ritual:  We have had one of these since she was born.  Hubby always says the same things to her as he leaves to go to work, traveling or not.
  • Leave without a fanfare:  Hubby also does this very well already.  It’s the usual good bye and he’s gone.
  • Have a consistent care giver:  I am a stay at home mum.  I couldn’t be more consistent if I tried.
  • Keep familiar surroundings when possible:  Well quite simply I do.  We don’t go far when Hubby is away.  Just our usual playground and walks.
  • Try not to give in: Again… stubborn!

The one piece of advise most people agree on is don’t use the phrase “be a big girl”.  I am very guilty of this so from now on I will not be saying this!  I will hold my tongue and tell her everything is ok.  I have taken solace in the fact that I have already implemented most of the advice so hopefully this stage will pass as quickly as it came.

Are there any other techniques you would recommend? Has anyone else been through anything similar?

This post originally appear on Meet Other Mums where I am very proud to be a regular blogger.

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Help! We’re Applying for Schools

That time has come and I can’t quite believe it. We are looking at schools for Pinky. She will start in September 2017. How is our biggest baby about to start her school career? Where has that time gone?

We are extremely lucky where we live as a vast majority of schools around us are excellent schools. We also have a lot of schools to choose from. Or so we thought. Our little part of the country is full of younger families therefore all of the schools are over subscribed. This isn’t actually a shock to us; the shock was more how the system works.

We get to pick four choices. Four!

‘Wonderful’ I hear you say, ‘What are you worried about?’ Well, hopefully I am worried about nothing, but here is our predicament…. One admissions officer has told us if we don’t put one of our local schools as our first choice we simply won’t get in. All of the schools are so over subscribed that they only take pupils who have put them as their first choice because there are so many of them. This means if we don’t get a place in our first choice we could end up anywhere! Another admissions officer of a different school has said that isn’t necessarily the case as schools simply get given a list of applicants.

When I first started looking into which schools to put down 3 were easy but the fourth choice was a little harder. I had to look further afield so there was a lot to chose from. I looked at the website for one of the possibilities and it stated that it is so oversubscribed it admits children according to distance from the school. Last years catchment was 500m wide! That’s not a catchment!

Initially I went to see all of the schools by myself but I have had to ask Hubby to visit them all subsequently because I was buckling with the decision. I have my top 2 schools in mind but they are so incomparable I need a second opinion. A pro for one isn’t always a con for the other.

First up; the school Hubby went to as a child.

  • It is a very small school, only one class of 30 children per year.
  • Of these 30 siblings get priority so we don’t know how many spaces there are available.
  • It is a Primary school so Pinky (and hopefully Perky) will be there until they go to Secondary school.
  • It feeds in to the best Secondary school in the area (apparently).
  • It is a high achieving school and its small size doesn’t seem to stop the students from thriving and succeeding in county sports games.
  • The children were all well behaved and polite. All seemed to be happy and confident.

I think Pinky would do well here. The smaller school wouldn’t suit all children but I think it would be fine for her. She would flourish in a smaller environment.

Second choice (currently):

  • This school has 3 classes in each year group, total 90 children each year which means there are more places available even after the siblings have taken priority.
  • It is an Infant school so we would have to apply for the Junior school in a couple of years.
  • The Infant school is fantastic (better than the first choice) but the Junior school is very average… I feel this evens things out a little.
  • The children were very happy and bouncy.
  • There is a preschool nursery onsite.
  • There are breakfast and after school clubs on all days. We don’t actually need these at the moment but what if we did one day?

So there is a little insight into my predicament. To make it worse we live smack bang in the middle of both of them. There is absolutely nothing in it! As far as suitability for Pinky herself I think she will be fine in both schools, I don’t think we can make a wrong choice. But if we make the decision to put a school as our first choice and she doesn’t get in I think we will always wonder ‘What if we had chosen the other one?’

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My Top 5 Family Christmas Films

I am a huge Christmas fan. I won’t lie; I start getting excited in September. I love Christmas shopping, even if I do it all online. I save all of my wrapping until Christmas Eve when I sit down with a Mulled Wine or Winter Jack and wrap all of the presents watching a Christmas film (or two). I have decided to compile a list of my top 5 festive films.

  1. Arthur Christmas (2011) (U). I only discovered this last year and it quickly went to the top spot in my rankings. This is a modern take on the Santa Clause story. Santa misses a girl on Christmas Eve and his son, Arthur, comes to the rescue along side a wrapping specialist elf, Bryony. It is so sweet, suitable for all of the family and with some modern twists and humour that will keep parents chuckling away. arthur_christmas_poster
  2. Home Alone (1990) (PG). Is there anyone who doesn’t know Home Alone? Ok, just in case… Kevin is a young boy who invariably drives his parents a little crazy. In the madness of trying to get about 20 people out of the house so they don’t miss their flight for their Christmas holiday, he gets forgotten. Whilst home alone over the festive period he protects the house from a couple of burglars, the wet bandits. Of course everything is alright in the end… Ooopps, spoiler alert! I love ‘Home Alone: Lost in New York’ too, but the original is the best.                                                          home_alone_poster
  3. Miracle of 34th Street (1947/1994) (U). I think I prefer the more recent version but that is mostly because I was always a huge fan of Richard Attenborough and his Santa performance was brilliant. This is a story about a girl who no longer believes in Santa. She meets a man who tries to convince her he is the real deal even though her mum told her Santa doesn’t exist. It is a lovely story that shows the importance of hope and having something to believe in no matter what age you are. mv5bmti3odezoda0nv5bml5banbnxkftztcwmji1mjiymq-_v1_uy268_cr30182268_al_
  4. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (U). This is such a lovely film with a message we all need to hear every now and again. A man who feels overwhelmed by everything in his life and a general waste of space, is shown what the world would be like if he had never existed. It shows him how he has touched so many lives throughout his time. We all need to feel valued and appreciated. It is easy to forget the impact we have on others when the daily grind gets us down. This film always puts a smile on my face.mv5bmtmzmzy5ndc4m15bml5banbnxkftztcwmzc4njixnw-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_
  5. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) (U). What is not to love? The Muppets, Christmas and utter silliness. The Muppets take on the Dickens classic is brilliantly funny, heart warming and addictive. I have lost count of the amount of times I have watched this film and now the girls love it too.                                                                                              muppet_christmas_carol

What are your favourite Christmas films? Have you watched any yet (shhh…we have)?

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Sausage Tagliatelle

Recently I have been trying to ‘spice up’ our meals.  I hate buying jars and ready meals, not because of the sugar and salt content (although obviously that doesn’t help) but because they have made me a rubbish and lazy cook over the years.  Making a simple tomato sauce isn’t hard but I never knew where to start.  Well, with tomatoes as it goes.  Both Hubby and I suffer terribly with ‘fridge blindness’, to counteract this I started menu planning a few months ago.  Not only has it saved us a fortune, reduced our waste and made our diet healthier than it was before, it has helped me use up a lot of things in the cupboard I wasn’t too sure what to do with outside of a recipe.

The other week I had ‘run out of food’ (I literally hadn’t) but the shopping wasn’t arriving  until the next day.  I hate walking around the supermarket with two toddlers in tow so its online or we don’t eat!  Eventually after a total mind blank I came up with this and it was delicious! I found the sausages in the freezer….

Ingredients: 

  • Sausages (I used all 6 from the pack as they weren’t going to keep anyway)
  • 2 Mixed Colour Peppers chopped into bite-size pieces.
  •  1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 Crushed Garlic Cloves
  • 2 tsp Dried Oregano (I suspect fresh is nicer but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 tsp Coriander (again dried for the same reason)
  • ½ tbsp Chipotle paste
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Glaze
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • Spinach
  • Pasta (I used Tagliatelle as it’s my favourite)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C
  2. Place the sausages on a baking tray and cook for 30 mins or until cooked through.  Turn half way to ensure even cooking.
  3. Start cooking the pasta as per the packet instructions.
  4. Place a sauce pan on a medium heat and add the garlic cloves and chopped peppers.  Cook until lightly charred.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, dried herbs, chipotle paste and tomato paste and bring to the boil.
  6. Lower the heat and simmer until as thin as you like a tomato sauce.  Add a little water if necessary.  It’s entirely up to your personal preference.
  7. Chop up the cooked sausages and add them and the balsamic glaze to the tomato sauce.
  8. Add the spinach to the tomato sauce and it is ready when the spinach has just started to wilt. (I didn’t do this stage as I was the only one who wanted the spinach so I served it on top as you can see.)
  9. Serve with the tagliatelle.  You could mix it all up, if you preferred, before serving.

Enjoy! Please let me know if you try this and what you think of it.

 

I was Nominated for the Liebster Award 2016!

So the other day I was thirlled to recieve a notification from Lianne at MrsMummyHarris86 saying she had nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Quite simply it made my day!  So thank you, thank you, thank you! I really was so flattered you thought of me!

So to explain the Liebster Award is designed for bloggers to nominate each other.  It is a way of find out more about the bloggers themselves and to discover new blogs.  As with anything there are rules which I have put at the end of this post.  For those I have nominated feel free to copy and paste into your post.

I have done number 1.  Thank you again Lianne.

Number 2. The badge… Display it proudly!

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Number 3.  My favorite blog:  This is actually a tough one as I like quite a few.  I think if I had to narrow it down, and this does change from week to week, I would currently say Life Is Knutts.  Every week she runs an Instagram round up the the #CapturingtheDay community along side Double the Monkey Business (also a very good blog!) and they always choose such lovely photos.  Aside from that her sense of humour in her writing is right up my street! I always enjoy reading her posts and they are always varied from family life to crafts.  Plus, as a fellow gin lover what is not to like.  Oh and all the recipes! Total winner for me.  She is quite an all round blogger and nails each subject.

Number 4. 10 Random Facts about myself:

  1. Until recently (about a year ago) I hated chicken.  I wouldn’t eat it under any circumstances.  I disliked the taste and texture.  Now I will only eat it if I have cooked it.
  2. I can cope with all creepy crawlies except spiders.  I can’t even look at pictures of them.
  3. Daffodils are my favourite flowers.  I like all flowers but they are my favourite, I love how bright and simple they are.
  4. I don’t like sitting on other peoples sofas.  There is absolutely no reason for this but it started as a child.  I would rather sit on the floor.  I don’t give it a second thought until someone tries to make me sit on one, then it can make me anxious and I will likely just ‘perch’ to keep them happy.
  5. I met my husband just before I started university.  I was adamant at the time that I didn’t want a relationship at that point in my life.  I married him 3 years later!
  6. If I could speak any other language I would want to speak Russian.  I don’t know why, I just think it would be useful.
  7. I do a really good Mickey Mouse impression.
  8. I have a four toe footprint.  The tendons for my little toes are too short so they stick up.  I was really embarrassed about this as a child.
  9. I love the winter and I would emigrate in an instant if it was to somewhere like Canada where it snowed every year.  The South East of England gets crap snow.
  10. I have a dragon tattoo.  It is well hidden so you would never know unless you were on holiday with me.  I got it 11 years ago and I still love it.  I want to get another one soon and have a design in mind.

Number 5.  My Nominations:

  1. Ember at Relentlessly Purple
  2. Jo-Ann from A Mum… And Then Some
  3. My Rambling Thoughts
  4. Ali from Ali’s Upside Down World
  5. Kerry at Blissful Domestication

So that is it.  The rules are below if you would like to join in and ‘accept’ the award.  I look forward to reading your posts.  I always enjoy finding out more about the bloggers who write them.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. They will thank you for it and those who you nominate will also help you out as well.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.) Get it Here.
  3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favourite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
  4. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  6. List these rules in your post.
  7. Once you have written and published it, you then have to: Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post if you don’t have all the information so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

 

The A-Z of Parenthood

A is for Appetite: How on earth can someone so little eat so much?

B is for Bribery: See my Parenting Bribery 101 for more details, in summary this is the daily saviour.

C is for Curiosity: Be prepared to answer an average of 8586 questions per day.  Kids are really curious, have google at the ready, a half arsed answer will not suffice.

D is for Danger: There is danger literally everywhere.  This is worse as a first time mum.

E is for Elocution: Kids may be able to talk but their pronunciation leaves much to be desired.  Prepare for some hilarious moments (hopefully not in public).  For my niece socks are co*ks apparently.  Can anyone find another hilariously rude slant on this one? Or is it just me with a mind in the gutter?

F is for Farts: Call them what you will, they are ‘Botty Pops’ in our house, Kids find them hilarious, always.  The louder the better, they have no sense of embarrassment.

G is for Grey:  Parenthood bought with it the first of many grey hairs! Oh and eyebrows… fml.

H is for Hair Washing: Who knew such an innocuous part of washing could be such a drama?

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I is for Imagination: Kids have the most vivid imagination.  Sometimes, just to keep you on your toes, they will balance this with being the most literal people around.

J is for Jealousy: Kids seem to have a large amount of jealousy.  Cuddles given to Hubby, Toddler needs cuddles too.  Sibling has something, Toddler needs something too.  They simply cannot bare to feel left out.

K is for Kisses: Give them lots and lots of kisses.  They won’t let you for long and who doesn’t like to know they are loved?

L is for Love:  One of the most amazing parts of being a parent is the love you feel and receive in return, it is absolutely indescribable.

M is for Mother: It doesn’t matter if you are a Mum or a Dad your own Mother will suddenly make so much more sense to you.  Be prepared to apologise for your past indiscretions.

N is for Normal: Whatever you used to think was normal will be different as a parent.  Accept it and embrace it the new normal.

O is for Organisation: Not everyone is naturally organised, if you aren’t then get organised.  It will help no end.

P is for Poo:  There is no greater expert in the types, colours and consistencies of poo than a parent.

Q is for Quiet:  Say goodbye to the quiet.  You will spend all day craving it and then when the little ones are in bed asleep you will miss them and their noise.  Plus everyone who owns a toddler knows silence is dangerous not golden.

R is for Repetitive: Nothing can be done once. Everything you do or say that involves the toddler will be repeated over and over and over….

S is for Snot:  Children just seem to have a constant stream of snot! Even in the summer!

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T is for Tears:  There will be lots and lots of tears, unfortunately it will probably be at a 50:50 ratio between yours and the childs.

U is for Ups:  There are so many downs in parenthood, often due to lack of sleep and short fuses, it is important to appreciate and savour the ‘Ups’ when they come.

V is for Volume:  Kids seem to need everything in large volume.  Nappies, snacks, toys, clothes, you name it there will be lots of it!

W is for Waistline:  Say goodbye to it! Mums and Dads!  I’m not saying forever, of course if you put it a ridiculous amount of effort you can probably get close to a pre-child waistline.  But don’t try too hard because even if you achieve it you will suddenly realise your arse has sagged 3 inches! (I speak from experience)

X is for Xylophone:  Why on earth is this noisy toy available and aimed at toddlers? Seriously! Also if they drop the sodding thing on my foot one more time I’m going to find the person who made it and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

Y is for Yelling:  You will do your best not to yell.  Every fibre of your being will go into not yelling.  At some point you will break and you will yell.  It may not be at the child, it may not be at your partner, but you will yell.  Chin up! Move on! It happens to the best of us.

Z is for Zzzzz’s of Sleep:  Never again will you get into a decent deep sleep, it’s simply part of being a parent.  You will sleep, but you will always sleep with one ear open.

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