Monday 30 April 2012

What's appropriate for an 8 year old?

JJ is 8 going on 68, really, this is a boy whose favourite TV programme is currently watchdog and who polices the streets when he sees someone acting inappropriately.  They drop litter and he wants to reprimand them.  Yes, very good intentions but we do have to reign him in and remind him that not everyone is receptive to his forward ways.  There has been many a time that I have worried that some thug may take exception to him and offer him some advice of their own but with their fists.

I was pondering earlier today what is age appropriate for an 8 year old. He will be 9 in October and in most ways seems quite mature but I do not have much to compare him to, so it is always good to gain some more perspectives on what other parents of 8 year olds are doing.

Food Preparation

So what do you allow your 8 year old to do? I wonder if I am being over protective, I have not allowed JJ to make a cup of tea nor cook toast yet.  I know he has done toast before though when dh has been looking after them.  He also cooks with dh sometimes and has proved himself trustworthy with a frying pan. He wants to start having packed lunches and I am tempted to say he can if he makes his own lunch the night before. Too much or OK with supervision?

Sunday 29 April 2012

Help my carpets are infested with Moths!

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If I told you that, you'd probably think I was joking or talking about a long, long time ago or perhaps it happened in a country not as advanced as the UK.  But actually early in July 2011, I discovered that my three upstairs bedroom carpets were in fact alive with cloth eating moths. Yuck, I hear you shouting, that's gross and that is exactly how I felt too. I was teetering on the edge of seriously tearing my hair out and breaking down. My first instinct was to hide and not tell anyone, what if they think my house is a pit? that we are unclean?  I then started to google and realised this is a massive issue for many people but sadly it does not seem to be talked about that much in everyday life.

Would you be surprised to hear that moths are still a major pest in the UK, in the same way, that bees, mice and flies are? Amazing isn't it?  When I was a kid my Nanny always had a nasty smell in her wardrobes and drawers and that was from mothballs and repellent.  We never had those in my house growing up and as an adult, I never gave moths a second thought, they were just something that came in if the window was open and the light was on and then they would flit around the light. So I must say it was a surprise for me to learn that you can have a moth infestation.  Particularly when you find out that some moths (case-making cloth eating moths in my case) like to eat your carpets and of course clothes and laundry too.

threadbare carpet patch
Bald patches appear as I hoover

What has really surprised me, is that since I have been talking to people, loads of them have started to tell me that yes they find those little cases behind their sofa or they have found a bald patch under the bed when they have hoovered or had holes in their clothes.  It really does seem to be a much more common problem than is known about.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Giveaway - £25 Seeds from Seed Parade

Congratulations to the lucky winner @7hippopotamus.  Please DM or email me with your email and address for me to pass to Seed Parade.  Thanks, Mich x

Last year for the first time we decided to have a go at growing our own produce and I am pleased to say it went well.  We discovered that fine green beans, potatoes and carrots are all easy to grow but that corn on the cob did not really flourish in our garden.

I find it thrilling that these manky old potatoes that got forgotten in a bag and grew shoots could then be planted and grow until we dug them up and they were the most delicious salad potatoes ever.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - Week 17

Reasons to be Cheerful at Mummy from the Heart

I have struggled this week to know what to write for my Reasons to be Cheerful post, not because I am not happy but just no inspiration has come to me for a theme and I do not have any pressing major reasons.

I pondered taking something that really has the potential to get me down and turning it aorund, doing my Pollyanna bit and being glad in every situation.  The thing that came to mind instantly was the rain, I have to say I am really fed up so it.  So I spent some time trying to turn it around and be glad for it and all I could come up with was this -

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Do you enjoy Kids Party Planning?

My girls have been to a couple of parties just recently and I have realised that we are only 3 months away from their fifth birthday and and as such I need to get on and book something. I have heard from many mothers about the competitive games that go on once your own children are at school and you have to try and compete in the Olympic sport of party planning.

To date I have managed to avoid getting involved with this big circus.  We do not have a vast amount of disposable income to spend on parties for our children and I am not really interested in being regarded as the Alpha mummy, the one whose kids are the leaders in all areas of school and extra curricular life.

The thought of planning a party for 50 kids with paid entertainment, bought in catering, personalised invitations, extensive goodie bags, professional cake, balloon modelling, face painting, individually designed and wrapped cupcakes to take away and anything else that is now considered trendy and the norm for a 'good' kids party scares the living daylights out of me.

Monday 23 April 2012

Come Sow with Me....

Have you seen the new meme that the lovely Melitsa over at Play Activities launched last week?  It would be super if you fancy joining in, it is very simple and fun but could have a massive impact.

A couple of weeks back my girls got out in the garden with dh and they planted seeds, an abundance of seeds that are now growing tiny shoots and becoming strong enough to plant out in our raised veggie patch and old recycling containers that we re-use. This year we are having lettuce, cucumber, peas, carrots, broccoli and we will also plant some potatoes that we have left to seed over the winter months.

Last year was our first year venturing into home grown produce and we loved it. The thrill of picking our green beans off the plant and then eating them fresh was great. We are all looking forward to having a good harvest again this year. Already within a week all the shoots have sprouted and we have small plants ready to go outside.

Label up all the sticks to identify what is planted where
and the exciting bit....  open up the seeds
Let the planting commence...
If only it was this easy the world over....  sadly not! 

You will have seen me blog before about @ONECampaignUK and their new #LetsThrive campaign which launched a couple of weeks back. This Come Sow with Me meme is in support of their fabulous drive to get the average person to sign up to their petition and offer their voice.  No money involved, just sign up to confirm your agreement that donor governments and African leaders and the private sector need to team up to make smart investments in farms, food and the future.

The G8 summit will be held on 18 - 19 May 2012 and the #ONEMums are asking you to sow one and send one before then...

1. Sow one- Show your commitment to agriculture in the developing world by planting a seed at home.
2. Send one- By signing the petition, you will add your name to thousands of others (155,998 as I look at it now) who stand together to help reach the goals of Thrive.

You can also go a step further and send a message too. Here are a few practical ideas of what you can do now -
  • Send a letter to your elected officials asking your country’s leader to support effective, sustainable programs that save lives.
  • Send people to ONE to sign the petition
  • Keep up to date with the campaign by following ONE on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, youtube
  • Share a living proof video (these are really inspirational and share all the good news stories)
  • Share updates on your seed growing on your blog and link them up at Play Activities.
In a week my small people made this happen -

and it has been another 4 or 5 days too and if it wasn't raining down outside I'd get another picture. How blessed we are to have land to plant on, fertile soil, seeds available to us, tools to use and the rain to nurture our plants.  If only that could be said the world over.

I am tagging the following bloggers to join in  (pretty please)-

Kate Takes 5 who is a newbie to all things growing
Chris at Thinly Spread because Chris is helping Kate's kids growing at the moment
Jen at Mum in the Madhouse as I know she likes to garden with her boys
Laura at Yummy Mummy Flabby Tummy because I think she might enjoy it
Mummy at The Boy and Me as I keep spotting her commenting on Chris posts!

If you can join in ladies, thanks.  It is for a wonderful cause and you'll have a fab time too.  Please link your posts up at Play Activities so ONE can use the posts as more evidence of interest in beating world poverty.

#InnerTruth - No Wise Words!

Sometimes there is nothing to say, no wise words to share, you just have to get on with it and that is where I am at. As Nike would say 'Just do it...'.

I have had an enjoyable week, towards the end of it I was at a conference in Manchester and the food was superb but there was far too much of it and of course I indulged. By the second day I felt pretty sick and had indigestion as well as a sore throat and headache.  I think I have literally overdosed on food to be honest.

Sunday 22 April 2012

Not So #SilentSunday: May the Words of my Mouth...

I am reading a good book at the moment with my ladies bible study group. It is one that many of my group are struggling with but I must say I have got into it and am finding that much of it is talking to me. The book is 'Satisfy my Thirsty Soul' by Linda Dillow, it is a study book aimed at women who wish to experience intimacy with God, this is done through a lifestyle of worship.

One chapter that I read a couple of weeks back has really sat with me and I keep coming back to the title of that chapter again and again. In fact at random times I find myself singing a reminder of the key message:

Friday 20 April 2012

Has Life Meaning Without Faith?

I was pondering this question just yesterday morning.  I am not sure where it came from to be honest, but it just popped in my head and I started to think about my life before I became a Christian. It was immensely different.

Take it back 10 or more years ago and ask me if I was happy and if life was OK and I would of course have answered that I was great and life was pretty near perfect. I earned very  good money, went out partying loads and had a long-term boyfriend I loved.  We owned our own brand new apartment and had a nice car each (mine paid for by work), private healthcare, decent pensions and we were planning our wedding.  I regularly had beauty treatments, went away for spa weekends and had multiple oversees holiday each year. Everything I dreamed of as a child was mine or within reach. Sounds good, yes?

Thursday 19 April 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful - The Family Edition (Week 16)

This week I am sharing just one reason to be cheerful but it is a pretty major one. I am sure I have mentioned many times before that I am completely blessed when it comes to family.

I have the most wonderful parents, I grew up in a secure and happy home with them and my younger brother. Of course there was the odd argument along the way, but they really were the exception rather than the rule. We lived a modest life in comparision to many of my friends, there were no holidays abroad or cars bought for us when we turned 17 but not ever did we want for anything. I recall being treated to new trendy clothes, having meals out and going on wonderful family holidays in the UK. I really was a happy and blessed child.

My Super Mum and Dad (June 2003)

Monday 16 April 2012

For the Love of Blogging

Did you know that I have a really successful blog?

I often get told I am one of the 'big' bloggers and my rankings say I am a 'top' blogger and of course that makes me smile (and giggle a little too).

Shall I share with you why my blog is so successful? 

Yes, you fancy being let into my little secret?  Maybe you can duplicate it and you can have a successful blog too.  It really is a winning formula and it won't cost you any money.

Hi, I'm Mich and I Have a Confession....

Sometimes you just have to open your eyes and see what is going on. 

I have a confession to make, I have let things slip. I have fallen back into old habits. I am doing nothing positive at the moment to sort out my weight problem.

And it is a problem.  Yes I posted yesterday to say I must not be defined by my fat and that still stands. 

But it is also a fact that at 5ft 4" tall and just over 17 stone I am very overweight.  My BMI (body mass index) is 41 and that makes me morbidly obese.  I have fallen into this category for some time now and that should scare me shouldn't it?  It means I have an increased risk of illness, disability and death.  Not too appealing sounding.

Sunday 15 April 2012

Seeing Myself Though My Kids Eyes... Not So #SilentSunday

I was sat reading my book the other day, happily waiting while Miss E and Miss M went on a big soft play frame at Butlins and all of a sudden I heard a frantic shout 'Mummy, Mummy, Mum' and as I looked around I saw Miss E waving at me and saying to her new friend 'that is my mummy, the pretty one with the long curly hair'. She looked so proud as she pointed me out.

This really got me thinking about how our kids view us and how much more positive their perception of us is. Just think how great it would be if we could view ourselves in that positive light, how much more empowered and confident would we be? We all know that we teach our children what they learn about body image and feeling happy with themselves and that what we say does not matter one iota if we are not backing it up with our actions and our every day comments.

If you asked me to describe myself, the first thing I would tell you is that I am fat, overweight or if I was being kind to myself then I might say I was 'very curvy'.  Amazing really that I let this one fact cloud all the good things I do and I am. It does not even occur to our children so it really begs the question of why we allow something as rubbish as our weight (or any other negative held perception of ourselves) to matter to us.

Of course this would not be how I would describe myself to them but they could easily overhear a conversation.  Any kind of negative word should not be uttered about myself really. I am not naive, I know that some things about me are negative but I have a choice to either do something about them or forgot them to be frank. Whinging and being cross at my lot in life will achieve nothing.  So I make an active decision not to do that.

I have specifically added the photo above as I do not like it at all.  I look at myself and I see fat, fluffy hair and a distorted smile and I wonder if that is called vanity?  Why do I look at 99% of all photos of me and hate them? However, what I remember from this day is fun, time with my kids and my brother and a thoroughly good day.  At this point the kids and I were having a real laugh trying to get a decent photo and that is why the tickles started.  Surely that memory is far more important than how I look?  Yes of course it is and that is why it is here.  God forbid that I ever fall ill and die before my children but if I do how important would it be that they had loads of photos of me with them having fun and living life.  Makes you think.
As a way of helping me accept that I am OK, good enough, a Mummy to be proud of, I asked my kids what they loved about me and here is what they said -
  • You snuggle with us at bedtime and watch Madeline
  • We do prayers
  • You cook us yummy food
  • You play games with me
  • You look after me when I am poorly
  • You are soft and cuddly (hmm a new way to view my fat)
  • You buy us sweets
  • You help me with my homework
  • We go swimming together
  • We do nose kisses
I have to say that by the end of the conversation I was feeling pretty darn good about myself. Next time I describe myself to someone new (or someone who can not see me) I must remember to start with something like, I am kind, I am giving or anything other than I am fat!

Fat does not have to define me.

I do not have to be labelled.

Whilst on holiday I attended a parenting seminar and when it finished I met dh and the kids and JJ asked where I had been, I jokingly said 'I have been learning to be super mum JJ'.  To which he answered very seriously, 'you don't need that mummy, as you already are supermum'. At age 8 JJ is mature enough that I was able to ask him if he really meant that and he said 'of course, you are the best mummy in the world'.  Ohh what a marvellous feeling to be loved and appreciated.

I highly recommend that if you have kids old enough you try this with them.  See what they have to say about you, I bet it will give you an unexpected boost!

Next time you are tempted to be down on yourself, remember the high regard that your kids hold you in and know that God feels that way too.

Thursday 12 April 2012

#R2BC - Week 15, Grateful for Spring Harvest

Week 15, how quick times flies, I can hardly believe it!  But I can honestly say I am having a superb year, things are going really well in my life - I am content and blessed. I pray you can say the same or at least you feel there is hope and lighter times are ahead.

You will probably know that we have been away for the last week down to Butlins at Minehead for a big Christian festival called Spring Harvest and it was superb, so this week my reasons to be cheerful all come from holidaying away with my family. The week included all the things I love dearly - my husband, my children, being with God, learning new things, having fun, eating good food and an abundance of singing.

Easter morning, no chocolate in our chalet, the kids made sweetie bracelets to chomp on!

Wednesday 11 April 2012

10 Year Reflection

I was reflecting the other day that I have two big ten year anniversaries coming up.  The first will be July 20th this year and that is the anniversary of dh and I getting married.  This year will be our 18th together but only 10th married, we went through the mills first and made sure our match really was the right one.  What the Lord joins together let no man come between and all that!

The other anniversary will be early next year and that is my ten year anniversary of knowing that I was a parent.  JJ will be 9 this October but I count being a parent as since knowing I was pregnant with him, that is when my eternal love for him started and that heart-wrenching bond was formed.

Around the same time as thinking about these anniversaries I was tagged by a new blogger All-In-One Mum and she asked me to share 8 memoires from the last 8 years.  I am going to cheat a little and share some special memories from the last 10 years. Why don't you join in and do the same?

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Failure to Thrive.... but YOU can help!

My Story:  Failure to Thrive

Gosh, each time I hear those words my heart quickens just a bit, they conjure up such emotions in me and not good ones. I am transported back to late July 2007, two weeks post c-section, still in pain and hormones raging, baby twins keeping me awake at night and my smaller baby seems to be getting smaller and smaller and she is as yellow as anything. The last thing you need to hear when your little baby is just a couple of weeks old and has lost over 20oz's is that she may have to be admitted back to hospital as she is showing a failure to thrive. I am told I need to stop breastfeeding her and start to feed her formula every hour or so, just a small bit from a syringe to try and wake her up and help the jaundice to go away.

I recall being in the children's A and E trying to get Miss E to go to wee in the small dish provided. So I stand there wanting to be useful, but feeling such a failure myself as I don't seem able to feed and nourish this little babe. She can't get the hang of breast feeding and it makes me feel so tearful. I have no objection to giving her some formula if that is what she needs but then the guilt overwhelms me, I breastfed JJ for 6 months, why should it be so much less for the twins? Surely it has to be equal to show all the kids I love them the same? Ohh the warped logic of female hormones.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Happy Easter, a Not So #SilentSunday

I am away at Spring Harvest at Butlins at the moment and before I went away I got all my posts scheduled with the exception of one for Easter Sunday. My plan was that I would take a fabulous Easter inspired photo and place it on the blog as an Easter #SilentSunday but it has just not happened.

I have been searching and keeping my eyes open for photo opportunities and I cannot find anything that I want to showcase. I have some lovely photos of my kids from this holiday but that is not what Easter is about for me. Easter for me is a time to rejoice, reflect and be thankful. Thankful that the Lord gave his only son to die on the cross for me and for you. This may not mean much to you but for me it is a very big deal, it is the crux of my faith. 'For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life'. John 3:16.

Saturday 7 April 2012

I love my Shoes from Zalando

I have a bit of a passion for shoes, I think this stems from having been overweight for a number of years.  Shoes have always been my friend, even when I tried on a dress and felt a tad depressed that it just did not fit well, I was able to try on shoes and feel good.  A girl can never have too many shoes - right?  There are so many colours and styles and why not even have the same shoes in different colours? 

Oh yes if I had lots of money, I would have lots of shoes but luckily in the last few years I have grown up and realised that there are in fact more important things to spend our families money on than shoes for me.  Yes, I know shock and horror Mich has finally learnt to behave with her money.  That said I do still probably have about 20 pairs, quite a respectable number for an old girl!

Friday 6 April 2012

Helping your Older Baby/ Toddler to Sleep

You may have read from my earlier post that I was able to get all three of my children to sleep fairly soundly from an early age.  This does not, however mean that my children’s sleep has always been trouble free…  no, far from it.
JJ and Miss E have not presented me with a problem; they both enjoy their sleep and continue to sleep soundly through the night.  JJ learnt to sleep through very easily, gave up his day time naps at 20 months and I cannot recall ever having a problem with him.  He took a long time to be dry at night (practically 6 years) but children all take a different amount of time to develop the trigger in their brain to wake when they need to pee in the night.  This is one side-effect of sleeping very soundly, perhaps he has inherited his good sleep gene from dh and I, we can both snooze for Britain.
Miss E will be 5 in July and she would love to still have her daytime naps, given half the chance in the car, off she falls to sleep.  At 7 or 7.30pm when her head hits the pillow she snoozes away and her night waking is minimal, just when she is ill or at the moment she seems to wake and cry very quietly that she needs the toilet.
You soon realise that there is no such thing as normal in the realms of parenting. While JJ and Miss E have been problem free Miss M has presented me with enough challenges to keep me going for a lifetime. Some of the challenges we have had to overcome include -

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Can I change you?

What do you think?  Can one person change another? They can certainly affect your behaviour or influence you but can they fundamentally change you?

No, I don't think so.  I expect many of us with partners can think of traits our other halves display that drive us bonkers and we would prefer them to be different. Take for example the issue of our dishwasher,  my husband is pretty good and he will tidy and load the dishwasher.  These are good things.  He will also empty the dishwasher but will he put one hundred percent of the clean items back in their rightful homes?  Err no. So why Not?  I asked him one day and it turns out that as a child he regularly did the drying of the dishes but he was always ask to stack them neatly on the side and his Mum would place everything away and that has subconsciously stuck with him.

Monday 2 April 2012

Is there really a cure for being a chocoholic?

I am feeling a little depressed at the moment if I am honest, I have lost something and I am not sure it is something I wanted to shed.  All my life it has been there to get me through the highs and lows and basically just to be enjoyed but something has changed.

They say be careful what you wish for because when you get your hearts desire you might not want it anymore and that is sort of the case here.  For today I am in mourning, mourning at the loss of my enjoyment of chocolate.

You have probably seen me mention Thinking Slimmer Slimpods before.  About last August I received the lose 2 dress sizes one and when I remember to listen to it consistently it helps me loads to make better decisions and I do believe it was the spur behind my exercise kick that has been started this year.  I was then offered the Chocoholic cure a while back and again I listened to it consistently for a good 6 weeks.

It was then Lent and I felt compelled to give something up that would really be a a hardship for me and I chose chocolate. I know God is on my side and he has been helping me with abstaining from chocolate but I also gave some credit to the slimpod.  I have to be honest and say that I have not really listened for the last couple of weeks, the kids and I have all been poorly and it has fallen down my list of priorities.

Sunday 1 April 2012

It's time to save energy (and money)!

With frequent rises in energy prices, you may have rejoiced with the coming of daylight saving time. But what exactly is DST, and how is it related to your energy bills? The answer may surprise you.
Except for the darkest -- and coldest -- four months of the year, November to February, many areas implement daylight saving time to coordinate waking hours more closely to the rising and setting of the sun. So the next time you hear someone telling you to “spring forward”, keep in mind that it is only so that you can best utilise sunlight in an effort to saving on lighting costs. In the United States, for example, the implementation of daylight saving time resulted in a electricity savings of 0.03 per cent. This may not seem like a figure worth the extra effort, but multiply it by an entire nation’s energy overall consumption, and you’d be impressed.

However, daylight saving time can have its pitfalls. If you are an early riser, for example, the amount of extra electricity that you use getting ready for work during the dark dawn hours could off set your energy savings. Whether this is true or not, there are additional steps you can take to save energy on your next bill.