Tuesday, 27 September 2011

But mum that’s my favourite and the attack of the shark.

Our house is covered in toys, we have a toy box in the front room, a toy chest in the girls bedrooms and a bath toy box but yet somehow every surface and floor ends up covered in ‘favourite’ toys; I even have a tiny toy box in my bedroom for the unexpected 6am wakeup calls. Favourite toys come and go and I try to rotate the toys upstairs with the ones downstairs so that everything gets played with but some toys are never chosen so in my mind they are no longer needed. My two eldest children both have birthdays in the same week and with Christmas around ten weeks after their birthdays I like to have a clearout; mainly to make space for the new toys that will no doubt be arriving with the birthday fairies and Father Christmas.

When the weekend came around I suggested that the hubby take the girls to see his parents to give me time to sort through everything; he is as bad as they are, I have a loft full of items that we will ‘need’ one day. With the house empty I began the dreaded task; dreaded because nothing ever turns out to be where I think it is. The main toy will probably be in one room and the accessories in another. I had three piles, one to donate to the charity shops/hospital, one to bin and one to keep. Half an hour in and it looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off in the living room, I was hot and bothered and wondering why I had ever started. I had sat on countless parts and pieces and the accessories that I knew I had put at reach had gone; or rather I hadn’t put them where I thought I had. The girls were back, nanny and granddad had to go out; lack of planning turned out to be my downfall.
In for a penny in for a pound as the saying goes, I will continue I kept chanting in my head.

“mum that’s my favourite toy what are you doing with it” I explained about the poorly children needing toys only to be met with “but what if we get poorly we might need it” I was loosing the battle and it had only just began, I could feel my partners eyes burning into the back of my head; the fact that the toy in question hadn’t been played with probably since new year didn’t seem to come into the bad mummy moment I was apparently having.  “oh look, mum you found my racing car, I’ve been looking for that for ages I love this toy” it was news to me, I didn’t think it was lost; how could I not know it had been lost all the time it had been sitting in the toy box missing a wheel? I tried to explain it was broken and couldn’t be played with anymore but “daddy will fix it.”

 I thought I had finished in the living room so with a smile on my face I went off to the kitchen to get the bags and heard an almighty crash shortly followed by... “gggrrrrrrhhhhhhhhhh I’m a shark”
 I was standing in the door holding my bags just looking at the shark that had conveniently found itself thrashing around in the middle of my lovely neat piles of toys. I had just spent hours sorting through the toys and everyone around me was laughing and I just stood there with my mouth wide open debating an emotional breakdown.

I quit and I admit my failure with a smile on my face, my two year old daughter, sorry shark had beat me, the  next time I attempt the living room toys I will pre arrange a visit when nanny and granddad have no plans. I’m also sure my partner winked at our little shark after the crash; better luck next time mummy.

I escaped the bomb site and headed upstairs closing the stair gates behind me. The toys upstairs were a doddle in comparison but I think that had more to do with the fact I had no interruptions, Countless jigsaws with missing pieces, train tracks with missing tracks and a Barbie who was somehow missing her arm were just a few of my finds.  When I thought nothing could surprise me anymore I asked my daughter if she knew where barbie's arm was and I was informed that Barbie had wanted to be like the women on CBebbies with one arm because the lady off the telly wanted someone else to be like her. I normally would have told her off for deliberately breaking a toy but her heart was in the right place, well sort of. I did explain that she shouldn’t have just ripped Barbie’s arm off and how lucky she is to have so many toys but I’m not sure I made my point very clearly, maybe it was the suprise of her answer.

 I bagged the toys up and hid them in the spare room, I wasn’t going to risk taking them downstairs when the girls were awake just in case of another unexpected shark attack or another ‘my favourite toy’ moment.

Thanks for reading please follow me on twitter hayleythompson1

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

24 hours with no electric devices and gadgets.

Nothing irritates me more than speaking to one of the children and them not listening because they are watching television or playing on one of their handheld devices. The list of devices is endless but are these devices taking away traditional family time? Adults and children alike love them, my partner loves his Xbox, (I’m pretty sure he thinks he is actually in a ‘war’) I’m always on the laptop checking emails and sorting out appointments or reading on the kindle and the children are obsessed with the DS and like nothing more than to watch the television.

 Family time had changed. I decided that on Saturday we would spend twenty four hours with no gadgets or devices.


 Usually the elder girls would watch a children’s channel after breakfast while I do the housework; today I encouraged the girls to help, my eldest had a dust cloth, my middle daughter was running around with the dustpan and brush while I pulled the baby around in the wash basket filled with toys; my partner was still in the land of nod. The novelty soon wore off and the big girls became restless, “please can we just watch Phineas and Ferb until your finished mum? pppplllleeeeaaassseee” I wasn’t going to give in, “no but why don’t we wake your daddy up and then we can go to the park” the girls ran off up the stairs; the housework could wait, next stop the park.

Once everyone was ready we headed to the park and it was nice to chat on the walk with no interruptions from phone calls. The park was quite and we had a great time, getting the girls off the park however was a nightmare, after countless five more minutes I prized them off the climbing frame and we headed home for lunch. With lunch on the table I admit I was tempted to check some emails but I resisted the urge as I could hear the girls talking about joining up the DS’s, they had no chance, not today.

I fetched the dolls house, the dolls and prams not forgetting the cars, trains and trucks and the toy of the moment, the shark. The imagination of a child is wonderful, I love watching how my middle little girl fits a shark into any form of role play she is doing. As a family we sat on the floor, I couldn’t remember the last time we spent such quality time together and laughed as much as we did. The girls were having a great time and when the baby had a nap, we switched to a more ‘grown’ up game of Uno. It wasn’t long before my eldest was crying because she didn’t win, her dad on the other hand was smiling because he did; like father like daughter their competitive streaks are identical. 

After dinner we were all tired and I would have loved to put a film on and snuggle up; it would have been an easy option but instead we decided to walk dinner off and go conker picking. We told the girls stories of conker games we had played as children, they were excited to play. We talked about the changing seasons and how Christmas isn’t far away. Armed with leaves and conkers we headed home, bath and bed was definitely on the cards.

            The children were out like a light but  then my partner turned the XBOX on, he had thought that 24 hours actually meant until the girls went to bed, he is in a ‘war’, how could I forget. I grabbed his remote control and hid it in my handbag, 24 hours is 24 hours. We spent the night playing cards and talking about our dream wedding; (our ideas are very different) holidays and Christmas; just enjoying each others company. Since having the children we try to have a date night once a month, we go to the pictures or bowling usually but just talking and playing cards was actually a lot more enjoyable than a night out but I couldn’t wait to sleep.

            Reflecting on our 24 hours I must admit it was harder than I thought it would have been. Technology does make life easier; I would have had the housework done for a start, if I had let it, it would have kept the children entertained while I caught up on the things I had to do. I could have hogged the telly while being on the laptop once the children were in bed while my hubby was participating in his ‘war’. I have come to the conclusion that technology and gadgets make us lazy at times and sometimes you don’t get to actually spend quality time together as a family. Previously we had played family computer games and enjoyed them but I found the weekend’s role play activity so much better.

Of course when Sunday came around the house came alive with the sounds of the various gadgets but we have limited (more than before) the amount of time we spend using them. In all honestly I didn’t think we overused them in the first place but I didn’t like the way the world disappeared while using them. The 24 hours definitely brought us that bit closer together but it isn’t something we could do on a permanent basis. The phones had to be turned back on and luckily there was no big emergency in the last day; that thought hadn’t crossed my mind when I turned them off.

            Monday to Friday’s are a different story, the internet is always on; I encourage my eldest little lady to use the computer to work on her school work, although she doesn’t actually get home work she has targets for the autumn term and she works towards them. Education city is great for this, number lines, letters and sounds and other key stage one activities. With the eldest on the laptop our middle child is usually sat next to her at the kitchen table playing on her handheld and I’m preparing dinner. The phones are always on; hubby plays his computer most nights. The television is on for a few hours in the morning and evening for the children and most of the evening for me. I constantly read and also from time to time enjoy joining in on hubby’s ‘real life war’ much to his annoyance. (I don’t take it seriously enough and I also don’t have a strategy; woops!)

Weekends have always been about family time, family time with gadgets, my opinion has definitely changed

Weekends are family time, the less technology the better!

Thanks for reading, please follow me on twitter - hayleythompson1

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Dairy free pizza; an easy inexpensive meal to suit the whole family.

Cooking a meal for the whole family never used to require too much thought but since having a child who is lactose intolerant things have considerably changed. After a busy day I can’t just throw something out of the freezer into the oven because the odds are it will contain dairy; fish fingers, pizza, golden drummers and anything covered in breadcrumbs is out. I have found it hard to feed the whole family and would usually end up making separate meals for the baby. If anyone reading this has ever tried dairy free items you will know that most of them aren’t great; my other children don’t like the ones we have tried so this eliminates making the one dairy free meal to suit everyone. I set out to try a few recipes; I was determined to find at least one meal we could all eat together.
Today we made a dairy free pizza and the little one loved it. The activity turned into a family event with everyone getting involved and adding their own toppings. The girls loved making their own dinner and it was great way to spend some quality family time. The pizza took around thirty minutes to make and was a huge success; it was also a fraction of the price of a takeaway pizza and it fed the whole family without complaints.
I made the pizza base from scratch but you can buy a dairy free mix from most supermarkets for around 50p, all you need then is the tomato puree (also around 50p) and  the toppings of your choice; we used ham, bacon, sweet corn, mushrooms and pineapple. (The children’s choice)

The Pizza base recipe.

-          1 cup of strong white flour
-          1 teaspoon of sugar (optional)
-          1 teaspoon of salt (optional)
-          1 teaspoon fast acting yeast
-          1 teaspoon of olive oil
-          Half a cup of warm water

Mix the dry ingredients together first and then add the water and oil, knead together until you have a soft smooth dough; cover with a tea towel and leave for approximately 5 minutes to rise. (For best results leave for 10 minutes)
Once risen, roll the dough out on a floured surface to the shape of your choice; apply the tomato puree/ tomato sauce and begin adding your toppings. Once all of the toppings have been put onto the base, place the pizza into a preheated oven 180 ◦c for approximately ten minutes. Enjoy.
Warning – a great family activity but it can be very messy, we had more flour on the flour than on the table and in the bowl.

please follow me on twitter - hayleythompson1

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Back too school xxx

       The summer holidays have been and gone, late mornings, late nights and a stress free six weeks with no timetable.
       September comes around and apprehension filled the house, shoes didn't fit properly trousers needed heming and  my little diva did not want to go back to school because 'you cant play in year one mum'; well that settles it then no school because you can't play - god loves a trier.
i would have been more than prepared if it wasn't for the two other children  throwing up all night, believe me i  would have preferred ironing the school uniform then cleaning up sick off the carpet, the smell alone makes me ill, my children are so considerate!
       The alarm went off and no one moved, for the past six weeks the girls had been up by half seven but not today, i gave her a little rub to wake her up to be greeted with "did you not know i was dreaming?" Well mummy's sorry come on time for school; the look on her face was priceless.
Breakfast, oh the joys. To get out of the supermarket with all three children in tow and with all of their limbs attached we ended up with coco pops, chocolate weetabix or nesquik  - great i was sending my child to school on her first day high on sugar; young mummy mistake one, no healthy breakfast.
I'm not sure why getting dressed creates so much drama in our house, i know shes five but i like her to look neat and looking neat isn't always achieved by letting her dress herself, lets be honest its the first day; she can dress herself everyday after today. My daughter doesn't like her uniform at all, doesn't understand why she is wearing a vest and not a crop top, and tights how could i put her in tights? getting dressed took longer than it ever had but on the upside her hair should be easy.
       I had prepared her hair the night before so it shouldn't really have any knots this morning - wrong, toothpaste all through the front gggrrrhhhh. Ten minutes and alot of screams later we were ready to go; no rephrase that she was ready. i think mums on the playground like to play supermodels in the morning, full face of makeup perfect hair perfect outfit - not me, if i had my way I'd go in my nice warm cosy pj's and to be honest i don't have the time or energy to even try, i pull my jeans on, throw on whatever is closest to me and scrape my hair back. I think its clear to say i'm not 'in' with the other mums; young mummy mistake 2 - not trying with the other yummy mummy's.
I threw some clothes on and off we went, On the walk to school i reminded her of what we had done over the holidays because she has a knack of forgetting and when its her turn to tell her news she replies with "i don't think we did anything" I realise the money spent on various activities and holidays was well spent and she had such a good time that she had forgotten.
      We reach the school and the super mums are all there in their high heels and manicured nails discussing their perfect little angels, Ive not brushed my hair because i didn't have time, so to sum it up i look like Ive rolled out of bed and down the hill to school.
       I look down only to realise my little diva had her shoes on the wrong feet - note to self check shoes before we leave the house not at the school gate! I thought about cunning ways to change her shoes before we reached the classroom and before anyone noticed but came up with nothing. The only way forward was to do it there and then on the playground, if i didn't fit in before with the super mums i certainly do not now - "but mum i like them like this" Please dear god not now just change your shoes. Shoes changed, nightie hanging out of my coat, time to get into the classroom.
At home time my little lady looked like she had been dragged though a hedge backwards, walking out balancing her coat on her head while proudly showing her ripped tights, I on the other hand was dressed appropriatly and my hair was brushed - better late than never.
"how was your day sweetie"
"boring, i'm not going back tomorrow"
The school year had officially began........