O5rcB_NXbIeHbJV7JFNcdfqL-vY Mummy From The Heart...: January 2012

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

What do my Children mean to me?

Last year at CyberMummy I sat in a room with a couple of hundred other parenting bloggers and we blubbed. We sat there while tears rolled down our cheeks as we listened to my friend Nickie read her earlier published blog post about her daughters fight with cancer. Today I am writing a post to support CLIC Sargent, a charity very close to Nickie's heart and I am writing this to help raise awareness of CLIC Sargent and a lovely campaign that they are launching.

If you are a blogger, you have probably seen the name CLIC Sargent and Yummy Mummy floating around on blogs, twitter and facebook just recently and if you are anything like me you have wondered what it is all about.  I must be honest and say that I nearly choked the first time I saw Nickie tweeting about #dosomethingyummy - that hashtag is so not her! Yes she is yummy but is that a phrase Nickie would associate with herself? I highly doubt it. However, she could well comment and prove me wrong though!

So what is the CLIC Sargent Yummy Mummy campaign all about?

Yummy Mummy Week (10th - 18th March 2012) is a fun-packed fund raising campaign during which mums do something yummy for children and young people with cancer, whilst spending quality time with their own children, family and friends. Money raised throughout the week will be used by CLIC Sargent to provide clinical, practical and emotional support for children and young people with cancer and their families.

To find out more about Yummy Mummy Week 2012 go to http://www.yummymummy.org.uk/ or call 08451 206 658 to register for your fund raising pack. Have a quick think, what could you do?  Patsy Palmer and Annabel Karmel hosted a glamorous tea party and you could do similar?  Or a bake sale at school or how about a dinner party for some friends and they make a contribution per couple. What a wonderful excuse to spend time with friends and to do something really worthwhile, not to say yummy!

Anyway the super Nickie has provided us with some writing prompts this week and I have chosen what do your children mean to you?


You know what? I am a bit ashamed to say that I have never really considered what my children mean to me. Of course they mean a lot, I adore my little people but fortunately I have never had to really spend time apart from them. I would say that I am a pretty independent parent and I encourage my children to be the same. I suppose some of that comes from the confidence gained by having very good family around me, who I can trust implicitly to look after my kids.

Just after JJ’s first birthday, dh and I went off to the Dominican Republic for a week and I know that over the years when I have mentioned this to other parents, more women than not have been shocked and asked how I could leave him. The crux of it was that dh and I were at a pivotal point in our marriage and we needed that time alone. My belief is that the best environment for a child to grow up in is a loving two parent family. Do not read anything into that, I am not judging single parent families, I understand that things happen. Just for me, as a Christian woman, I know that I can only be the best parent I can be when dh and I are in harmony and that means nurturing our relationship as much as my mothering ones.

Anyway this was supposed to be about the children rather than dh and I. Years back when I was at Uni we used to play a game quite often, a game of impossible choices. One of the group would pose the question and the others had to answer honestly and this would open a discussion. I cannot recall many of these discussions but one I remember very vividly. My friend M asked the group if your child and your lover/ husband were both hanging off a cliff which would you save? Quite a dilemma hey?

My friend J was adamant that she would save her child as that would be a mother’s instinct whereas my friend M said she would save her partner as you could always have more children together. The one thing I cannot remember about that conversation was my response but I have an inkling it was in favour of the child. So what would I say now at age 38 and a mother of 3? I don’t know, I think it is only one of those decisions you could make when absolutely forced too, I am pretty sure my heart would be telling me to save my baby for they contain a bit of dh and he would always be with me that way.

I may just have to ask M this question again now she has children of her own and see if her answer has changed. As a mother now I really do question that many people who are mothers could say ‘oh it is OK, we can have another baby’. Every child is unique and special in their own ways and they can never be replaced.

Of course I am totally blessed that I have never had a difficult choice concerning my children. Earlier today I read a post at Not even a bag of sugar and my heart wept for what Kylie had to go through leaving her very premature baby in hospital when she went home day after day but now I just see joy when I know what a wonderful bond she has with her little survivor.

Back to the question in hand, what do my children mean to me? They mean the world. They are my mini Christians that I am bringing up to know Jesus, they are the better parts of dh and I combined together in 3 gorgeous packages, they are my cuddle monsters when I have had a tough day, they are my teachers of patience and tolerance, they are my shining light on a dark day and they are my future.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

Monday #Mumentum - A Meal Plan Might Help?





It got to the end of the week and I was wondering what I would be posting about today.  There was no way that I was not going to do a #Mumentum post but I had nothing really to report.  Things are much the same, my exercise is great, my sleeping is good and I am being and feeling positive but my food is still rubbish. So instead of dwelling on the past I will look forward.

I read the serenity prayer this morning and I yet again realised how applicable this simple but powerful prayer is for me.  Do you know it?

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

Now I have got the acceptance bit down to pat but as for the courage to change the things I can, not so much so.  This is the one I need to work on this week.  I can change my eating, I have done it before and I WILL do it again - this week in fact.


Saturday, 28 January 2012

Blogging Is Just Like The Real World

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Just recently I have seen many comments and some posts pop up around the subject of some established bloggers not being very friendly or bloggers being in cliques and groups of friends that they cannot penetrate. There seems to be a trend that each January and February this happens and roll back a few years, I was the newbie wondering what on earth I was up to in this big scary blogsphere.

But I'll share with you what I have discovered in the last few years, in the hope that it might help you put your mind at rest and to relax and enjoy blogging and social media.  For it should be enjoyed, it is not a life or death matter it is just a hobby (whoops, I'll have offended a ton of serious bloggers there!).

So here is my opinion on the whole parenting blogsphere is cliquey business. So what?  Life is life, it is rich because people are so different and because we all communicate and act in completely different ways.  I really do believe that life would be boring if everyone was the same.  The beauty of a group of friends is that you are all unique and bring something special and differnet to the group collective. Blogging relationships mirror real life ones.  Simple really.

At any point when you are the new person, so in adult life that could be new job, new school for your kids, new evening class, new park that you visit, new toddler group and so forth you will probably feel a bit vulnerable and alone.  But what do we do in most everyday life situations? We smile at people, we say hi, we strike up a conversation, we look for a similarity that we can use and lets be honest we make judgement calls - is she my kind of person? You look at her clothes and the group of friends she is chatting to, how boisterous her kids are and you decide if you will make the effort to chat to that person.  Again blogging mirrors real life, do you like their tone on twitter, is their blog design nice, do they do too many reviews?

Yes there are some superb circles of friends in the parenting blogsphere and some of them use media like twitter to chat and many of their conversations look as if they know stuff about each other that no-one else knows and their tweets are full of innuendo that you and me do not get but so what?  They may have years of history together and have shared things we could never hope to understand - bereavement, divorce, parenting issues, all sorts and we know that this draws friends close and creates special bonds. Ones we cannot hope to penetrate in a week or even a month. However, that does not mean they are exclusive with each other.  If people choose to follow you on something like twitter it means they want to engage with you. So go ahead and say hi, but into a conversation, especially if it just looks as if it is general opinion and persevere. Keep chatting to people.

Please do not go on twitter and sit there feeling lonely.  I have done that many times and it does not feel nice. Why torture yourself?  Make sure you follow at least 100 people and tweet multiple people in one sitting, soon you will be having a chat with a few people.  Yes it might be all fluff and no substance but you are building new friendships here - baby steps.  Remember in the playground we may smile for a couple of weeks before we venture a hello.  Social media will be the same, unless of course you are one of those super dynamic people who storm in and establish yourself in a week.  Not many of those about and certainly not me.

I'll let you in on another secret, it is not just established bloggers who have circles of friends.  Last January loads of new bloggers came onto the parenting blogging scene and within a couple of weeks there were at least two groups that I knew of who had established firm friendships and tweeted each other as a collective group, therefore perhaps looking cliquey to the naked eye. They started blogging at the same time, had things in common, had kids at the same stage and chatted loads. So what did I do, as a blogger who has no particular circle?  I butted in every now and then, I commented on their blogs and I was friendly and helpful.  I now call those two circles of friends my friends too but that does not mean I am always involved in their tweets as I go on twitter far less than many people, so I sit on the outskirts and I watch and listen and then chat sometimes but I have made a wonderful range of friends who I can trust and call on. I just do not speak to them everyday....

So what I say to any newbie who feels a bit out of their depth at the moment is to keep with it and remember that many of the cliques that you perceive are in your mind. Just because people have a group of close friends does not mean that they don't want to make some new friends too. I truly know this from experience. I have met and shared time with loads of great bloggers, I have one super fab one coming to stay soon, I am excited to be sharing a room with a couple for BritMums and there are some new friends I have been chatting to online who I will be really excited to meet for the first time in the summer. Blogging can result in some awesome real life friendships but it does take time and work.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful: The Winners Edition - Week 4

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart



So we are at the end of the anniversary period for Reasons to be cheerful and time for me to announce all the winners.  If you have been lucky in the draw then I hope you like your prize.  Please email me on mummyfromtheheart @ virginmedia.com and give me your name and address and I can pass your details onto the PR's who will send the prizes directly to you.

I think the amount of smiles this giveaway should be providing today will be reason enough for my post but just in case you are not happy with that, I'll give you a few more reasons why I am feeling cheery this week.
  1. I started my new job this week and it is going well.
  2. Tuesday night I had some girl time with my Mum, we had a wander around Covent Garden, went for an Indian and saw Legally Blond at the theatre, it as a jolly good night.
  3. Sunday we are all going up to London together to see a showing of Johnny English Reborn.  I know my kids will adore this, JJ is mad about spy's and the girls will just think it is Mr Bean!
  4. My little ladies had a trial session at gymnastics last night and boy did they love this.  Miss E did not want to do it and I am so glad I made her try it as she adores it.
Now onto the important business of who the winners are:

1. £50 Experience Days Gift Voucher - Bod for Tea
2. Silver Mai Tui Ava Style Bag - Fay C
3. Sports Direct Golf Shoes - Grumpinator
4. Hotter Sheepskin Boots - 1978 Rebecca
5.  1/2 day Enrich Package at an Imagine Spa - The Rambling Pages
6.  Beauty Hamper - Julie, My Life and Kids
7.  Zibbits Battle Fortress - Lakes Single Mum
8.  JewelPet Playset - Forest Bump and Beyond
9.  Orchard Toys Monster Bingo - Old Fashioned Mummy
10.  Build-A-Bear  - Cupcake Mumma
11.  Grease game on Xbox 360 - Kate on Thin Ice
12.  Zumba 2 game for the Wii - SeasiderClare
13.  3 Children's books - Tired Mummy
14.  Leather Baby Shoes - The Gingerbread House
15. 2 DVD's from Warner Bros. - Mutterings of a Fool
16.  Martha Hill Skincare Set - Glenda Gee
17. Leapfrog Peek a Shoe Octopus - Emma and 3
18.  Rosebud London Change Bag - EmsyJo
19.  Discovery Channel Discover the Extreme World x 2 BooRoo & Tigger too & also The Monkey Adventures
20. The Playgroup by Janey Fisher - Inside the Wendy House
21. Cars 2 Lego Kit - Actually Mummy
22. Cars 2 Monopoly - SeasiderClare
23.  Cars Augmented Reality Book - Qwerty Mum

A big thanks to everyone who has joined in and linked up during the giveaway period.  I hope some of you will stick around and join our lovely little #R2BC community, we tend to be a friendly bunch.  Big apologies that I did not comment on anyone's post last week, life was just too busy. I have been helping a lady who is in a really tricky situation and that had to be more important than blog stuff I am afraid.

I intend to come and visit you this week, especially those who take time to comment here, I'll reciprocate the love.  Have a great week. Mich x

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

I want to be a girl in the 1980's again....

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JJ and I were having a chat this morning about reading and he told me that on Saturday he read a book in a day.  Now he is only 8 but I can totally believe this as he loves reading as much as I do.  I can recall being slightly older than him, at about 12 years and taking a whole day reading a Judy Blume book or perhaps one of the Sweet Valley High series...  ohh those were the days.  I started to reminisce and think back to the 80's when I had just turned 8 like JJ and recall all those wonderful early teenage years in the 1980's.

Life was very different then!

You know you were a girl in the 1980's when......

*  You wore Rimmel pink shimmer lipstick and Body Shop White Musk or Fuzzy Peach perfume.

*  The serious decision you had to make was would you marry John Taylor from Duran Duran or George Michael from Wham  (of course nowadays we know that one would not have worked out well at all!)

*  Your most valuable life lessons were learned from Jackie and Just 17 magazine.

*  You had your hair permed so you could look like Sharon from Eastenders (yes really!)

*  Your parents let you play out in the street, you could just walk up the road and knock on your friends front door and ask if they were coming out to play.  No play dates, no tea at each others houses.  Just running around the street like loonies playing Tin Tan Tucker or 50/50 Home.

*  You owned at least 2 pairs of luminous socks, so you could wear odd ones.

*  The t-shirt you wore either said 'Relax' or 'Fame' on it.

*  You thought a Chopper was such a cool bike and you collected Garbage Pail Kids cards.

*  Phrases such as 'ohh I could crush a grape' and 'I could wrestle with an actionman' were just a part of everyday life.

*  You wore fingerless gloves and lace in your hair, thinking you were so cool.

*  A big treat was to be bought a Cornetto and your family would sing the advert!



Were you a child in the 1980's. What do you recall?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Review: Pilates at the Perfect Balance Clinic

One of the Mums at the school asked me the other day at pick up if I had been to the gym (I suppose because I was wearing trainers and I am not at all a trainers kind of girl), 'No' says I, 'I have just been to Pilates'  and then I burst out laughing, as did she. How posh did I sound?  Those of you who have met me know that I am anything but posh.  I am just an average 38 year old woman who is pretty overweight and does not have any heirs and graces. I'll chat to anyone and am pleased to call everyone my friend.

I have to be honest and say I was a little nervous about reviewing the services at the Perfect Balance Clinic in Hatfield. It is situated on the David Lloyd site, which is the most expensive gym around and when I looked at the web site I thought it all looked rather swish.  The idea of there just being clinics in London and Hertfordshire gave the company an air of splendour and then when I saw there are clinics on Harley Street, in St Johns Wood and St Albans this confirmed my assumption that it was a quality company.

My first appointment was to see Stephen Makinde, an osteopath for an initial assessment to ensure that I was fit and well to attend the Pilates classes. When I read the web write-up about Stephen to dh we both chuckled at the fact that he regularly works with top class athletes and now he was going to see me! I may be a bit of a shock. 

How wrong I was, Stephen was a very gentle and approachable man. I felt completely comfortable in his presence, he did not even once mention about my size and before he physically assessed me he asked for permission and made sure I was happy with this touch.  I felt very respected and looked after during this assessment.  I walked away from the 25 minute appointment a bit shocked that someone could know nothing about me, just see me with my clothes on, ask some questions and take my case history and be able to provide such an accurate assessment of what I knew was going on with my body.

Stephen confirmed that there appeared to be nothing fundamentally wrong with me but that I did have diastastis, which is split abdominal muscles.  I knew this already, as about a year after having the girls I went to the doctors about the ridge I had from my boobs to my belly button.  I got sent for one session of physio where they laid me on a bed, explained nothing but said I had to draw in my tummy and now go away and do that all the time.  Needless to say I was not motivated by them and have spent 4 years doing crunches in the hope of helping.  Stephen confirmed to me that all I had done was close up the top part of the split as that is the area the crunch affects but that the lower part, which is the girdle like muscle that should support my back was very split and even weaker on the right side. I knew he was right from the way my distorted tummy looks. He sent me away with the advice to try out the Pilates classes.

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The second time I came back to the clinic I attended a basic core Pilates class with an instructor called Joe.  I took a shine to him instantly, he is such a nice guy and again he really seems to care.  In fact that is my overriding impression of the clinic, that they honestly care and want to make you better and will journey with you.  From the lovely receptionist and the prompt call-back service to the professional instructors it really is all very good.

Anyway back to my class, I spent an hour in a class of 3 people, which costs £14. Joe managed to deal with 3 people with completely different reasons for being there with ease.  He gave me beginners move and watched me perform them whilst helping someone else that was a Pilates pro and another needing rehabilitation for a knee injury. Everything was explained to me and even demonstrated, Joe was not afraid to help me move or hold me if he needed to. As I left the class I felt good, as if I had embarked on a new positive journey.  Three days later my body still told me that my muscles had been awoken and that this was a good thing.

The Pilates Studio

On my next visit I met with another Instructor, Slim and he was every bit as good as Joe. Today's class was a taster and assessment. Again there were 3 people and Slim watched us all perform basic moves to assess our ease and flexibility. Were we able to engage our core muscles, isolate them and hold them with good posture? In this class I really did learn how to stand tall and to relax my shoulders.  For the first time I tried out the Pilates equipment, which looks like it is made to torture you but was actually good fun.  At the end of the class Slim confirmed to me that I would be best to stay with the basic mat work class for the next 4 - 6 weeks to really perfect my moves and to learn the basics, so that when I did progress to the equipment I would get the most out of them.

I have been back again since for another class and Joe managed to show me that I had not awoken every muscle at the first class, there were at least another 20 more to ache this time and I am booked in again for next Friday. At £14 a session it is not cheap per see to use the Pilates classes at the Perfect Balance Clinic but it is a competitive and comparable price for the service.  The classes are kept really small to a maximum of 6 people, the instructors are so knowledgeable and approachable and the actual clinic is a pleasure to attend as the surroundings are luxurious but not intimidating.

I figure that I cannot afford to give up these classes now I know there is a way to repair the awful mess I have allowed my body to become.  In short I am exceptionally pleased with the interactions I have had with the perfect Balance Clinic in Hatfield and I would happily recommend their services, in fact I already have to quite a few real-life friends.

Disclaimer:  This is a review post

Sunday, 22 January 2012

It's about more than just weight loss... #Mumentum

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Last week I posted about my new exercise regime and I am pleased to say that things are still going well.  I am doing my walking DVD and I also went to Pilates on Thursday and yes I ached again for a couple of days.

I was chatting to my instructor and he said that if he could give me one tip this week it would be to eat my carbs at lunchtime and then to have a meal full of protein and green veg for dinner.  This really struck home with me, as when I lost lots of weight in 2006 that was exactly what I did, cut back on the carbs.  I know I need to take heed and make some changes to my food.  An eating plan has not really been at the top of my list in the last couple of weeks.  Hence I won't be reporting any weight loss again this week but that is OK.  I realised I am in this race and it is a marathon and not a sprint.

I am getting a new Thinking Slimmer slimpod, the Chocoholics Cure in the next few days and that I expect to make a really good difference.  I know the value of listening to my slimpod but I do feel ready for a new one to add a bit of variety.

I have also been reading a new book the last week or so.  It is by Joyce Meyer who is a prominent US preacher and I have watched many of her sermons before and I like her style of teaching.  I am finding this book very good.  It basically says it has 12 keys to enjoying a healthy life, the title is 'Look Great. Feel Great' and that is certainly my mission. I have only read the first 3 chapters so far but my appetite is whetted and I am ready to read more.

In the first Chapter she advises that we allow God to do the heavy lifting and reminds me that I cannot deal with my weight problem/ food addiction alone.  My eating fellowship taught me the same thing and sadly I have not been remembering that on a daily basis.  The task I had to complete from this chapter was to write myself an affirmation to say each morning to remind myself that I am not alone and that I am worth it.  I'll share it with you -
Dear Lord,


I thank You that You love me and care about every aspect of my life. Please strengthen me Lord to do Your will and to be able to be the best person I can be in Christ. I know that when I turn to You and ask for something in Jesus name that You listen. Help me Lord, to remember to turn to You. When my willpower is wavering and I am tempted, remind me Lord that You are waiting and You wish to help. How beautiful it is to remember that You will never give me a burden too heavy for me to bear. When times feel tough I need to turn to You God as my Lord and master and not to food as my false idol.

Thank you for making me free through the truth of Your word and for empowering me with Your power, strength and wisdom. Help me to be all that You want me to be.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.
So that is me for this week, all in all not too bad!

Exercise                                                     tick
Early nights                                                tick
Loving myself                                            tick
Reading healthy & helpful literature       tick
Balanced eating                                         to work on...
How are you doing?  If you are on a weight loss journey then link your post up with Liska at New Mum Online for #Mumentum.
 
Mich x
 

Taking YouTube by Storm!

Sadly not me taking YouTube by storm, the most views one of my videos has had is about 1000 and that is my girls dancing to the Zingzillas music, amazing what people want to look at!

No this video is pretty special in my opinion. It is called Why I hate Religion but love Jesus. Have you seen it?  It was only uploaded a week ago but already it has had over 15 million views.  I watched it the other day and all that came out of my mouth was WOW! I thought it is awesome and has some amazing messages in there. 

For a long time I have told people that I am not Religious I have Faith, but this poem just takes me to a new level and makes me think about my life and how I am living it.  Now don't get me wrong I know this can be hard to understand, I am a Christian and of course that is a Religion, I can not deny that.  When I say I am not religious I mean that I do not strive to follow a set of rules for life, nor turn up at Church to show off how great and Holy I am. My belief is that to be a good Christian and to follow my faith and be faith filled I have to strive to be like Jesus.  In every situation I need to be the good Samaritan and offer my help and love to all people.  Yes that is exceedingly hard and yes I fall short but through a continuing relationship with Christ I improve and live better.

I see on YouTube there are already loads of videos in response to this video, a couple of interesting ones are a Catholic Response and this one. I don't think any of them are perfect but it does make me very happy to think that 15 million people are thinking/ chatting about Jesus.

I would be interested in your view. What do you think of this?  Especially if you are not a Christian, does it impact you at all?



Can I just say that as far as I am concerned the message of this video is not aimed at any particular religion.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Bring the Romance Back...

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I am starting to realise that I have been a bit of a fool really. Dh and I have been together for nearly 18 years now and married for 10 of those. Since we got married we bought a house that needed a decent overhaul and had 3 babies. I changed jobs to do a role which is far more convenient in terms of taking care of my family and home life but which pays considerably less, so we have not had a great deal of disposable income over the last 10 years.

Dh is a solid and practical kind of guy (just like my Dad!) and he has always been really good with money, he saved as a youngster and when we were looking to buy our first house back in 1997 he was the one that had the deposit to put down for us. I on the other hand have always been a bit useless with money and have had the attitude that it is there for spending. When dh and I decided to get married we obviously talked about finances and having a joint bank account and basically without saying in so many words, dh said I had to buck my ideas up and start to be more frugal.

I knew he was right and I want to be a good steward of the things that God has entrusted me with, so over the last 10 years I have really improved and we have lived a good life, but instead of increasing our mortgage or taking big loans we have paid for the things we needed to buy or have done to the house. As part of these cut-backs somewhere along the line dh and I stopped buying each other Christmas, valentines and birthday gifts. Stupidly I am pretty sure it was me who suggested we stop! At first we would arrange to go out together and to enjoy a meal or the theatre as our gift to each other but in the last couple of years, probably since the girls have been around and money has been at its tightest we have mostly stopped altogether and I am just realising now that I do not like this.

I am a typical hormonal female, I like to feel loved and when you have a husband who is not the most wordy of people, it is nice to receive a gift. For the first few years I really did think we had done the right thing because if there was something I needed, I would just buy it for myself but now that has lost its shine and I want to feel loved again and to know that dh is putting some thought into our relationship. I am guilty too, so I feel we need to sit down and talk this through and come to a mutual agreement of what we will do. If we set a price limit then we will have to be creative about the things we buy for each other. So if you have any valentines day gift ideas then do let me know, ones that cost less than about £20 preferably. What do you buy for the man that wants nothing? Hmm I am very stuck with that.

As for me, I am easy to sort out. I would like a Pandora bracelet and I am happy to build the charms up over time, so I need to do some hinting to dh.  Maybe if I do this via JJ that might just work! Failing that, Interflora do some lovely gifts for her and I could point dh over to them as I love the look of their personalised love heart cupcakes. Yes it may be extravagant to spend £24.99 on 9 chocolate cupcakes but I now realise that when they arrive at the door I will feel special and loved and you can’t put a price on that.

Shame dh does not read my blog isn’t it? That would save me an awkward conversation! Wish me luck....

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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bloggy Reasons to be Cheerful - Year 2, Week 3 #R2BC


Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart


Morning cheerful bunch. How is everyone?  Doing really well I hope and managing to stay cheerful despite the bitterly icy and then rainy weather!

This week I am feeling grateful for all things blogging. I truly believe that my life has been enriched in the last few years by having my blog and making loads of super new friends. Here are just a few of the blogging things that have happened in the last couple of weeks that have made me reflect on my gratitude for my blog and the whole parenting blogsphere.

  1. I am blogger of the month over at the Tots100 and that feels like a really special privilege. Also, Sally said such nice things about me. I just went over to get the URL to link to and found more comments on there I had not read and you know what? I nearly had a snivel.  People had said such nice things, this is what makes blogging rock!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Which Muppet are you?

Do you remember the Muppets?  I do, vividly, how I used to look forward to a Sunday tea time back in the late 1970's when The Muppet Show would televise.  My favourite bit had to be the opening scene as all the Muppets marched on and sat in their own little windows in the theatre and then of course my favourite character was Miss Piggy! I had to laugh when I took a quick look at a which Muppet are you like quiz?  as apparently I am like Miss Piggy. Hi Ya and a chop of my arm!

For a couple of years now dh and I have likened Miss E to Beaker as she tends to whine and gets a bit stressed and makes these funny little noises, which sound exactly like him.  Until this weekend the kids had no real idea who Beaker was but after a trip to Leicester Square on Sunday morning they are now fully versed and have fallen in love with the Muppets too. 'When can we see the Muppets again Mummy?' is what I am hearing a fair amount at the moment and it is a fair point, bring back the Muppets!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Exercise as Damage Limitation #Mumentum

Whoops, this is where I have been this week! Not the ideal place but a better one than just doing nothing. It has been a mixed bag of a week with a poor start on the food front, good on the exercise and then I was really good with food Friday and Saturday and then a trip to London and ‘that’ time of the month meant Sunday was not so good. My weigh in this morning was disappointing but to be expected I suppose, no loss this week but I refuse to be down as my weight always fluctuates around this time of the month anyway.

So I will focus on the positive and that has definitely been finding some exercise that I am enjoying. Here is what I have been up to –

Pilates

I have now been for an initial assessment and two different Pilates classes. One to try out the basic mat work, then one to be assessed and try some of the ‘torture’ looking machines. I am pleased to report that the machines are nothing like torture, I actually had fun. My sessions have been at the Perfect Balance Clinic in Hatfield and I’ll write a full review about the service I have received there later this week.


Sunday, 15 January 2012

Listography: Top 5 Blogging Tips


When I saw this weeks listography over at Kate's I knew I had to take part.  I consider myself to be a friendly, approacable blogger and one of my favourite things is passing on the knowlegde I have gained in the last 3 years of blogging. I have been through such a massive rollercoaster ride on this blogging journey that it feels only fair to offer my services where I can to newer bloggers.  Hence New Bloggers Fortnight coming up in just a couple of weeks....  keep your eyes peeled.

So what are my top tips for blogging?

1.  Have confidence.
It is your blog, write it how you like.  Really think about why you are blogging and remember that.  If your blog starts out as therapy and a place to rant and that is why you continue, then remember that and do not get distracted by number of comments and stats or if your blog is primarily a place for you to make friends, then go out there and comment on other blogs and make friends - attract them back to your blog with your friendly personality.

2. Persevere
Blogging can be a massively emotional journey.  Most bloggers I know have shed tears at some point and it can be over many things; the emotions it brings up for you, the mean person who talks about you on twitter, or your lack of visitors.  But stay focused, if blogging is working for you on most levels then ignore the bad and keep going. At some point it will all come good and you will reach a place of serenity.....  it just takes time!

3.  Blog from the heart
You have probably noticed what my blog is called.  I tend to be known as a pretty honest blogger.  I reveal mostly all about my self (not others) and am happy to do so.  It helps me and I know from the emails, comments and tweets that I get that it helps others too.  That works for me.  Blogging from the heart does not mean you have to be as open as I am, it just means that what ever you write should be written with passion and care.  Do not try to imitate others, it is not flattery, it just will mean your blog will fall flat on its face.

4. Don't be afraid to ask
If you want something, go out there and get out.  Need to know how to put that widget on your blog? Want to know how to use twitter?  Would like to be tagged to join in with that popular meme? Would like to write a guest post for someone?  Ask, just be bold and be polite and ask for help. There are some wonderful places where you can ask for help like BritMums, Blogger.Ed, Love All Blogs and Twitter or just find your favourite blogger and use their contact page.

5. Make Twitter your friend
I had a love/ hate relationship with twitter for months when I first joint. In fact it took me about 5 months to feel like I could spend an enjoyable hour on there. The best thing I did my shed my inhibitions; I learnt that on twitter you have to just dive in.  No-one thinks you rude if you just jump into a conversation, the quicker you learn this the better.  You will start to have banter, fun and conversations with all sorts of people.  Follow 1 or 2 bloggers you have found you like and then look at their follower list and just start following people that you think look interesting.  You are going to need to follow around 100 people to ensure that enough is going on in your timeline to give you variety and something you fancy joining in with.

Last year I wrote a longer post wth tips for bloggers, take a look here if you fancy reading and if you are a new blogger you might be interested in the post I published a couple of days ago called How to get the most out of meme's, linky's and blog hop's.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I am hosting New Bloggers Fortnight for the 2 weeks commencing 6th February.  This is where new (ish) bloggers write posts for new bloggers with the aim of helping them find their feet quickly and with the least amount of pain! If there are any particular topics or questions you would like to see posts on then do leave me a comment and I will see what I can do.

Now head over to Kate's and check out all the other entires in this weeks Listogrpahy linky.

Cheers for reading, Mich x

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My Top 5 Toys from the Wooden Toy Shop

Have you visited the virtual Wooden Toy Shop before?  I have and they have been fabulous; they offer a superb selection of wood toys for children.  There was nothing I could knock - good price, quality toys, great customer service, quick delivery and well packaged.

I was having a browse there earlier today and though I would share my top 5 picks with you -

Top Girls Toy when you want to Splurge!


Plan Toys Dolls House At £98.95 this is not the cheapest dolls house but it is my personal favourite. If my girls did not already have one I would be trying to persuade them this is what they should have for their birthday. I love the fact that it is open and you can easily access all rooms. Many a time have I been found tidying up my girls dolls house and making all the rooms look neat! The terrace and stairs are movable to make play even more fun and you can buy all sorts of wooden furniture accessories to fill it up.
Top Boys Toy when you want to Splurge!

Big Jigs Construction Train set with 116 pieces retails for £74.75 and I do not think this is a bad price considering the quality and longevity of wooden train sets. JJ was crazy about his train set for a number of years and many a rainy afternoon we sat there playing together. I love toys were children have to engage their imagination and make up a scenario.  Not only that it is also good for developing hand to eye coordination as they piece the train set together.


Best Unisex Value Toy


For his birthday JJ received this fabulous Big Jigs mini solitaire set and he loves it. Many a boring car journey has been made more fun by him challenging himself to get a better score and he is doing pretty well for an 8 year old.  The set is just £4.95 and the wooden case is sturdy and all the pegs store inside it when you are not using it. I have to say I do love my children playing with toys like this rather than being on a computer the whole time.



Best Unisex Creativity Toy

All my children have loved to thread beads from an early age. Boys and girls alike are quite happy to wear a necklace they have made themselves. This Melissa and Doug lacing Beads in a Box is a beautiful set for £12.94. The primary colours means this truly is universal and the dots and numbers on the beads help children to make counting fun.  As there are two long laces this makes the set suitable for twins and of course the wooden box houses all the beads perfectly when they are not in use.


Best Garden Toy

Summer will finally arrive at some point and then it will be fab for the kids to get back out into the garden.  I know my three would adore having something like this Plum Products Chacma Wooden Pole Activity Centre. Just look at it!  You would be the most popular kid in the neighbourhood with 2 swings, slide, play den and climbing deck and all for £429.99.  Not such a bad price for the amount of kit that you get.

So there you have them, my top five picks for wood toys for children.  Why not have a browse at the Wooden Toy Shop now, I know you will not be disappointed.


Friday, 13 January 2012

Getting the most out of Linky's, Blog Hop's & Meme's

It is January and that tends to mean an influx of new bloggers appearing on the scene and I am all to aware that the blogsphere can be a confusing world to arrive in. It is like there is a secret language that bloggers share with SEO, backlinks, HTML, alt tags, pagerank, technoratti, meme's, linky's, blog hops and so on. Help, what do they all mean? Not only that, all of a sudden you realise people are reading what you have written, ekk or maybe that people are not reading and you wonder why not?  So many questions...

New Bloggers Fortnight

Well fear not because there is lots of help at hand. First start to visit some of the great blogging communities out there, like BritMums (if you are a parent), Love All Blogs, Blogger.Ed and Tots100. Then come back here in early February and enjoy two weeks of guest posts from new(ish) bloggers for brand new bloggers.  Last year I held the first New Bloggers Fortnight and it was very successful; go and take a look at some of the posts, they are still totally valid now. Read about other peoples journeys in blogging, how to build relationships, why you should find your own voice and the stress of being the newbie.
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The two weeks commencing 6th February will see my blog being taken over by new bloggers sharing their experience, strength and encouragement with you. If there is a particular subject you would like to see written about, leave me a comment and I will see what I can russel up for you!

For today, as a taster I thought I would share about linkys, blog hops and meme's, as getting involved in these is one of the easiest way to start to feel at home in the blogsphere, encourage some comments and to feel like you are making some mates - all good, right?

What is a Meme?

Different people tend to have slightly different definitions but the Urban Dictionary says 'that in blogspeak a meme is an idea that is spread from blog to blog'.  Basically one person writes a post and tags other bloggers to write on the same subject.  They then link back to that original post and if it spreads well it becomes a big web of blog posts all around the same subject that are linked together. Back in March last year I created the 1 Word Meme and that spread pretty well. Others  I have created have bombed but never mind it is all good experience.

As a new blogger, do not feel you need to create a meme, you may not have the know how, confidence or community yet to be able to pass it on. Get involved with ones that are already out there, if you see a meme you like, ask the blogger for a tag, most people will not mind at all. You need to be brave as a new blogger and just jump in and say hi and ask for what you want.

Then once you take part, make sure you link back to the person who tagged you (ask if you are not sure how) and link to some more new bloggers that you have found on your travels through cyberspace.

Weekly Linky's and Blog Hop's

For me, I believe that a blog hop and a linky are the same thing, people just use different names. I host a weekly linky here called Reasons to be Cheerful or #R2BC if you are on twitter. Each week I post my reasons for being cheerful and grateful and other bloggers write posts on their blogs on the same concept and then they use the linky tool to link up with me.  Then anybody that comes here will also be exposed to your post that you have linked up and that is a great as a new blogger, as the 7500 people that come here each month also now know about you too.




Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart


There are absolutely loads of different blog hops available for you to join up, every day of the week if your heart so desired. Love All Blogs are putting together a good comprehensive list at the moment.  A few of my favourites are -

Kates Takes 5 - Listography
Sticky Fingers - The Gallery
Mammasaurus - Saturday is Caption Day
3 Bedroom Bungalow - Dear So and So...

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of blog hop's/ linky's
  • Write a good post; re-read and spell check it. If it is being exposed to a new audience you want it to be your best work.
  • Link up as soon as you can after the linky list goes live, it is just the way it is that those who link up first get the most hits.  If you link up a day or 2 later you will probably not feel the benefit in terms of traffic and comments.
  • If it is a blog hop, take the code from the blog hop and inset it on your blog, it makes life far easier for people who want to follow the linky list. (Again, if you are not sure how, just ask).
  • Make sure you visit some other blogs in the linky.  Think about it, if you don't, why should they?  Blogging is reciprocal and 2 way.
  • Don't just visit them, comment as well (this is a subjective one, some people say if it does not move you then don't comment for the sake of it.  I personally say that if you are new and you want to encourage people to visit you then do comment on every post you read.  Even if it is a 'Hi, first time I have stopped by here, nice to meet you').
  • Do not copy and paste the same comment on every post in the linky, you will be blackballed in no time!
  • Leave the host a comment when you link up. It is very disheartening as a host to see 10 posts linked up and only 2 comments.  Hey, what happened to the rest of you? I took time to write my post too, do you have no opinion on it?  but do you expect me to visit yours and comment? 
  • Use the linky hashtag to promote your post (and in doing so, all the others in the linky) on twitter.
  • Enjoy doing the linky, if you are just doing it for hits then it is the wrong reason and it won't work out for you. 
  • Try not to just post linkys on your blog. It is really good to mix your type of content on your blog, the same every day rarely works.  So perhaps a linky on a Monday, regular unprompted post on a Weds, use a BritMums blogging prompt on a Fri and another linky on Saturday or whatever your personal posting pattern is. I have seen enough twitter conversations to know that a linky post every day of the week will turn many readers off.
However, I leave you with one nugget of wisdom that always applies. It is your blog and therefore your rules and you must suit yourself.

New bloggers - any thoughts of posts you would like to see during New Bloggers fortnight? and what linkys have you joined in with so far?

Established Bloggers - Do you agree with my tips or am I talking rubbish?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

#R2BC Year 2, Week 2 Celebrating Hidden Gems

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

Hello all,

Giveaway fever is still running high here at the MFTH... house.  Practically each day I am securing another new fabulous prize for you to win. I am up to 20 prizes now and I tell you I would certainly like to win some of them, shame I can't enter! By linking up with this week post or next week (or both = 2 entries) you will automatically go into the draw. Check out HERE to find out more information about the giveaway and next Thursday I will post the full list with photos of all the prizes you can win.

Don't forgot to tweet about the giveaway inserting @michelletwinmum and #R2BC if you want an additonal entry to the draw.

For this week, I am sharing with you a few hidden gems. These are bloggers that link up with #R2BC but I do not think are that 'out there' and I am sure they would love a few extra visits.  So go and see them and share some blogger love.

First up is Julie who blogs at  Party of 5 - My Life and Kids.  This is a beautiful blog, full of real family time. I love this, which is featured in the sidebar -
In our house:
We do REAL
We do MISTAKES
We do I'M SORRY
We do SECOND CHANCES
We do FUN
We do HUGS
We do FORGIVENESS
We do REALLY LOUD
We do FAMILY
We do LOVE

Next we have Ems, blogging over the seas at A matter of choice. She had to win the award for the best #R2BC post last week. I love going to visit Em as she has had a tough end to 2011 but stays strong and positive in spite of the adversity. She is an inspiration to us all.




Then lastly for my recommended gems this week is Fay, over at Glass Half Full. She is another true ambassador for Reasons to be Cheerful, I think the name of her blog gives that away. I met (virtually) Fay last year when she was recovering after an operation and she has inspired me ever since.... You rock Fay!

So over to you, I look forward to coming and visiting you.  Write a post and link up and please, pretty please go and visit a load of the other people who link up. Blog hops work best when we do all share the comment love. 

Cheers Mich x

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Does Parenting Get Harder As They Grow Up?

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I never realised what a minefield I had let myself in for when I decided to have a baby!  If I had known, would it have stopped me? Probably not, but it would have been nice to at least feel a little bit prepared for all the tough stuff that comes along as they grow up.  Every few months there is a new challenge to deal with and I am not entirely sure that I am adequately equipped. 

Learning as you go along, on the job so to speak seems to be the order of the day. When they are babes you have to learn all about feeding, bathing, changing and winding them amongst other things but there is pretty much logic to all this and once you have mastered a good routine it mostly goes along like clockwork and then they crawl, walk and run and start to put a spanner in the works but fear not as there are reigns and buggies to hold them back and let you breath easy.

What I am now just starting to realise is that the older they get the harder the emotional and behavioural stuff gets. Not just for the child but for the parents too. Toddler tantrums do not even compare when you start to deal with bullying, manipulative friendships, spiteful behaviour and generally acting without thinking through any consequences. However, someone said to me the other day I had to remember that they were kids and not adults and I needed to act accordingly and that has been a good reminder for me.

There have been a couple of occasions recently with one or the other of my kids where I have had to have a serious chat about behaviour and they have ended up crying and what did I want to do?  Well hug them and tell them everything is fine of course but I could not do that as it was not the right message for me to send.  Instead I had to have a firm chat about the naughty behaviour and ensure that my child starts to think through the consequences of their actions and starts to try and put themself in someone else's shoes.

I watched the shame wash over my child as they had to tell me what they had done and I was so pleased to see that shame and hear them cry.  Not because I am a heartless monster but because it showed me that my child cares, yes they get things wrong and do silly and even hurtful stuff but it is not from malice. The desire to fit in with peers is great and many kids are easily misguided. Sadly some children are just always the one who gets caught.  I do not believe any of my children are any worse than the average amongst their peers, but sadly at least one of them so far follows the trait that both dh and I have, in that we were always the child who was caught or dobbed in by the group!

I am so glad that these type of serious conversations are still far and few between but then I do only have 4 and 8 year old kids so far. Soon I expect I may be fighting battles over facebook access, playing computer games for older kids, wearing make-up, back chat and even girl/boyfriends!  Gosh now that is a scary thought.  Add hormones into the mix and it could be an explosive cocktail.  I hope I have a few years yet...

So what do you think people, does it get harder as they get older, or just different?  What do I need to know and how can I equip myself? Pearls of wisdom greatly appreciated!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fat and Proud? #Mumentum

Should I accept my size?
Last Wednesday evening whilst dh was out at a meeting I watched a program on Living, it was entitled Fat and Proud and was all about larger people being happy with who they are and the size they are.  I turned the program on out of sheer nosiness and at first was greeted with some super-plus size ladies (around the size 30 mark) and a special club night they went to for larger ladies and the men who fancy them. This was what I expected from the program.

What I did not expect from the program was to be greeted with some seemingly respectable people talking about the work they do to try and get society to accept that there are larger people and that we are not all lazy slobs. 'Size acceptance' they called it and one lady also talked of fat phobias and it is true, much of society has negative biased opinions already formed about people who are fat.  In honesty I have never had that much of a problem with this, my issue has always been with self-acceptance. I do not like fat on me, I do not want to be mega skinny, but I want to look good in clothes, feel nice, be healthy and active and have a great sex life.

What this program did get me thinking about was whether God intends that I should accept myself rather than keep trying to change me.  My automatic assumption has always been that God wishes for me to be slimmer and to be healthy and fit for whatever purpose he has in mind for me. I believe He forgives me for my sins of overeating but that his desire is for me to be free of this burden.  Now I am wondering how I should be free, is it free due to acceptance of myself or free by losing weight. or even a combination of the two. Having pondered on this all week I think that a combination of losing some weight to be healthier and then learning to love and accept myself, flabby bits and all is probably where I should be heading.

Also on Wednesday last week during my day at work, one of my colleagues was talking to me and she basically said she was not sure why I worried.  I can not recall her exact words but I think the sentiment was that I was fine the way I was and that I just needed to accept myself adding weight to my thoughts that I have some work to do on self-loving and acceptance.

So how has this week been?
It has been a good week in all.  I have not been perfectly good with my food and that is OK but the best thing is that I have not beat myself up about this.  I am aiming for 3 meals a day with a maximum of 2 healthy snacks. Sometimes I have eaten outside of this and that is OK as this is something I need to sustain for life.  No fads this time or regimes I can't keep to.

My weight this morning was 17st 5lb and that is a 4lb loss and I am very pleased with that.

Welcome to the world of Exercise
I have enjoyed exercising this week, it has not felt like a hardship.  Isn't that a turn up for the books?  I did my Leslie Sansom walking DVD on Tues and Weds and then by Thurs I had to have a break as my muscles had been awakened.  Saturday I went for my first Pilate's session and again I am feeling that.  I had no idea I had any muscles at my middle.  I am then genuinely looking forward to doing my walking DVD again tomorrow morning.  Getting up at 6am on a weekday to exercise before the kids awake is working perfectly.

So I am in a good place. Today God delivered me the most perfect gift.  I have spent the whole day not wanting food.  I did not have any cravings and I was able to say no to muffins at Church and snacks when the kids had them. Thank you Lord that are are walking with me and holding my hand.

How are you all doing #Mumentum friends?


Hop on over to Liska's and join up with the other #Mumentum participants.

Review: Morphy Richards Flavour Savour Slow Cooker

Morphy Richards made my Mum a very happy lady just before Christmas as they sent her a 4.5 litre Flavour Savour digital slow cooker to try out and report back on. Mum is not much of a writer so she has asked me to write up her thoughts and I was also lucky enough to get a go with the slow cooker and to try a couple of meals cooked in it.

For ages both my Mum and I have wanted a slow cooker, so this was the perfect opportunity for us to try out a few recipes. The Flavour Savour is a really nice model as it has 3 functions: quick brown to seal your meat, fast stew to cook for between 1 hour 30 mins and 1 hour 45 mins and traditional slow cooking for between 4 hours and 11 hours.

Firstly Mum used the fast stew function to make a spicy sausage casserole. Firstly she used the brown function to brown off the sausages and drained off any excess fat.  Then all the other food got put into the same pot and the fluid put into the cooker  as well and it was then left to cook for 1 hour 45 minutes.  Once cooking finishes the cooker automatically goes into keep warm mode and holds the food at a constant temperature for up to 2 hours.


Browning the sausages

At the start of the cooking process

Sadly she forgot to take a photo of the finished meal but it was very good I am told!

Plus Points for the Flavour Savour Slow Cooker
  • Large steel cooking pan which is lightweight and easy to carry due to the handles.  It can also be used on a gas or electric cooker hob.
  • Stay cool handles on the pan and lid. The lid is also glass so you can see how your meal is cooking.
  • Simple digital display settings.
  • Cord storage in the base for smart storage.  You can also store the base in the cooking pan if you wish.
  • It has  stylish exterior and does not look out of place left out on the work surface.
  • Versatile that it can be used for fast or slow cooking.
  • Excellent browning function for meat and onions, keeping down mess and minimising the pans used.
  • Dish and lid are dishwashable and came clean very easily.
  • Easy to understand and follow instructions
I asked Mum the question we all want to know, what could be better or where was the flavour savour slow cooker not up to scratch and I have to be honest she could not fault it and could give me no reason why it was not an excellent buy.  The only comment she had was to shop around and find a good price as that would make it even better!

Then when I was down at Mum and Dads just after Christmas we tried out the slow cooker function and had a beef and tomato casserole A few more pictures for you:



Quick frying the onions


Yet again we forgot to take a photo when the stew was finished and we had to take a photo of the last dregs once we had all eaten.  Do you get the feeling that we all like our food? 

I have to say that the flavour savour makes a superb meal and with the very minimum of fuss.  I was really pleased, as was Mum who give it a 5/5.

The 4.5 litre Flavour savour retails for £89.99 and the larger 6.5 litre model is £99.99.  I have to say that the 4.5 litre easily made enough food for 6 adults to eat a good portion. You can check out the full specification on the Morphy Richards website or head over to their blog Home of the Houseproud for some super recipe ideas and great deals.

Morphy Richards have teamed up with Age UK to put together a portfolio of products that are suited to the older generation.  Making it easier for them to perform everyday functions that younger people take for granted.  Whilst my Mum is officially an OAP she is in fact a very fit and active woman.  However I am pretty sure that if my Nan, at 84 tried to use the flavour savour she might find the pan too large and too heavy for just her living alone. The super thing about this range is that Morphy Richards are making a donation to Age UK for every item sold.  I can heartily recommend the Accents One Cup water boiler that I trialed a few months back and then gave to my Nan.  I saw her just after Christmas and she told me it was a godsend at 4am when she can not sleep and wants a quick cuppa!

Many thanks to Janelle, who has been a superb contact over the last year whilst I have been a Morphy Richards House Proud Innovator.  I am enjoying working with such a great brand.

Disclosure:  This is a review post.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Caption It Saturday - oh JJ!


Come on then tell me, what is my little man JJ up to??


Saturday is Caption Day, Click the badge below and hop over and check out all the entries at Mammasaurus!

Saturday Is Caption Day

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The Spoilt Brats Are Back to School - Yippie!

OK, before you shout at me, I don't really think my kids are brats (not much anyway) but I do worry about them being spoilt and I was completely thrilled that they went back to school today.  I was at work and the time apart really does make it easier when we come back together.  By 3.15pm today I was ready to pick them up and chat about their day before doing some craft with the girls and helping JJ to sort his room.

The last week of the holidays has been pretty intense.  Whilst I have learnt the value of down time - PJ days and time just with the family my kids do not seem to, I have massively intense and high energy kids.  They are super demanding and I am not always on top form to be able to deal with that in the best manner. I do question what we can do to help them be more chilled. I am pretty sure some of it will come as they mature and grow up.  JJ is easy to be around now, at age 8 and he used to be like the girls; a timebomb waiting to explode basically.  He is now responsible and will do as he is told, he enjoys playing alone as well as having some parent time too.  The girls are a different matter, at age 4 and with a partner in crime they can reap havoc in our house - stickers everywhere, toys just thrown together in piles, book pages drawn on, wallpaper borders ripped and so many more things. The word respect comes to mind!


On Monday they trashed Miss M's bedroom together and to some extent I can live with that as they are young and have to play. We expected them to stay in the whole day and to chill, so tidy up time comes with that expectation.  What I do not expect is them to then not want to help clear up or to keep doing other things whilst I am helping and directing the clearing up.  I got so fed up that I threatened to put everything left on the floor in a bin bag and to put it in the shed for a month. 'Don't care' was Miss M's response.  Ohh red rag to a bull, off I went and got the bin bag and started to pack it all in.  Poor Miss Ewas crying as she had been helping to clear and some of her stuff was in Miss M's room but I did feel it was important to follow through.  As I did it Miss M handed me Cookie, her new dog toy that she got for Xmas and told me 'give him to a child who has nothing, I don't want him'.   Boy did we have a chat about being grateful for the things we had and how we do not use the phrase 'don't care' in this house. Lesson for Mummy, less toys for Christmas next year - too many just creates apathy.

Since about age 6 months Miss M has been my hardest child to look after.  Always demanding and wanting her own way.  Nothing seems to bother her, you could empty her room and she would not be outwardly worried, she is not particularly attached to anything.  When she was younger the only thing I could find that she might get upset about if it was taken away was my bedtime cuddle and obviously this was not something I wanted to do often. This child takes me to my wits end and then in the next hour can have me so in love with her again. She can be loving, helpful and gorgeous too, all rolled up with her minxy behaviour.

The one thing that I do always find has a positive effect now the kids are older is using sticker charts. Dangling the carrot to ensure that they get the stickers which then means they can have daily and/or weekly small treats. It baffles me as to why I do not keep with the sticker charts on an ongoing basis.  Why is it I learn a parenting lesson and then promptly forget it again?

At the end of August I had come to the end of my tether with the kids and I sat down with them and drew up a sheet with what good behaviour included.  We were using a sticker chart also and their behaviour improved (well what I should say is that Miss M's behaviour improved and that positively impacts the other two). Then I found myself here again early this week, sitting down with the kids and explaining that I was absolutely fed up of not being listened to and that they needed to show more respect.  Then we made a sticker chart again and it is working, in a fashion.  Take tonight at tea, Miss E had got herself 2 spoons for her yoghurt.  Miss M promptly decided this was the best idea ever and she would also get 2.  I was able to say 'ohh Miss E is being silly, I thought Miss M was listening today, I'd love to give her a sticker for her nice behaviour at dinner'.  You visibly see her realise and she turns around 'Ok Mummy, I am your good girl' and sits back down. So it has the desired effect but I do wonder why I have to keep resorting back to this.


I have always thought of myself as a tough mummy.  Firm but fair and I carry through when I make a threat but do not pick on every tiny bit of poor behaviour, picking my battles wisely but I have to say that I am starting to wonder where I am going wrong  as surely my kids should be able to sit down nicely for short periods of time when we are out in pubic. They just do not seem to get it.

Do you ever sometimes just feel a bit 'I'm a Mum get me out of here!'?  because I certainly do.  If you have any good tips for me then please do share.

I was over at Jane's place the other day and read a hilarious post there about the drama of the kids still being home once Christmas is over and school has not yet started.  She feels my pain!  Go and have a read, you won't be disappointed.

I have joined up on Saturday 7th January for TheBoyandMe's Saturday Show Off Show Case - the one that shoudl have doen better!

ShowOff Showcase
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