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Archive for October, 2011

With the internet playing such a large part in our lives, it is hard to believe that as little as 15 years ago it was a relatively new thing, and only just starting out.

Nowadays, with most people having internet access in their own homes, there is a whole online community out there and people can theoretically live their lives via the internet.

I think the internet is a fantastic thing. People living in the middle of nowhere, or unable to leave the house for any reason can shop online, doing all their grocery shopping via their computer, which then gets delivered to them.

People feeling isolated, seeking support, or generally just wanting to read parenting funny stories and find recipes etc can find parenting forums to visit, with a whole community of posters ready to chat to.

Even not being able to go out and see your friends due to lack of babysitters or emigrating to another country isn’t a problem now.

Via sites such as facebook, you can link up to, chat to, and even use the new web cam type chat to chat to them in person. It doesn’t matter if they’re in England or New Zealand, the world has become a lot smaller and more connected – thanks to the internet, we can keep in instant contact.

If you wanted to ring somebody abroad in the early/mid 90’s, you had to use your house phone as there was no other way of doing it.

Flick through the phone book, find the international dialling code and ring the number which puts you through to someone who actually sounds like they are at the other side of the world as they sounded so far away.

It’s hard to believe that mobile phones were not even commonplace at the beginning of the 90’s and the ones that were about were the size of small house.

All of this progression in technology is a great thing, and can help to make a lot of people who are generally isolated feel a lot less cut off and part of the world again.

The only downside to the internet is to actually remember to go out and interact with people in real life if you can, as well!

The internet can be great, but real life human contact and social interaction is just as important.

 

The London Conference on Cyberspace is taking place this week, and will be discussing the benefits and the challenges of the internet.

Mumsnet Bloggers will be there to discuss the social side of the internet and have asked for people to write on this subject.

 

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I don’t even know why I’m bothering to blog about it this week, as I have no good news for you. When I got weighed this week, I had actually stayed the same which is a bit rubbish really.

I know why. Even though I had mainly stuck to it all week and cut down on portion sizes blah blah blah, the X Factor was the downfall of me.

It just did not seem the same sitting down with a cup of fruit tea to watch it. Saturday nights are made for having a glass of wine (or three) and slobbing out in front of the tellybox.

So this weekend I fully intend to stop being so slack and get something that I can pretend I’m drinking even though I’m not. A non alcoholic lager should do it if I feel like I ‘should’ be drinking – one of them will be more than enough.

I’m loving the exercise classes though. This week is half term, so I’ve had both little munchkins with me to class attempting the exercises too, which was very cute.

Some of the exercises this week were chair based, and seeing the 4 year old marching on the spot in time to the music then attempting to put his leg up on the chair was the highlight.

“Ooh, my leg won’t stretch that far. Oh hang on, I can do it!” Cue much leg stretching and bum wiggling to the music.

The 8 year old loved it too, even though he was coming out with statements like  “Tch. Gawd. This is so EASY.” You could tell he was secretly enjoying it though, just reluctant to admit it!

I’ve been good this week so far though, so I’d better see some improvement on the scales next week. I might be sat here with wine right now (oh so what, it’s Friday night) but on the whole this week I have been a very good girl. I’ve even been to the Magpie cafe in Whitby today and had salmon and new potatoes for my dinner, when I could quite as easily have had scampi and chips.

No dessert, either.

So if there’s no shift downwards on the scale next week I’ll be in sulk mode. Here’s hoping it’s all good!

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Even though you know the time is going to come when your child starts asking about how babies are made, you can still feel unprepared when it actually happens.

You feel like stuttering “um… well, these birds called storks with great BIG beaks carry little babies in their mouths and drop them under a bush, then the mummy comes and collects them!”

When you know someone who is heavily pregnant and the child can blatantly see that no, there is no stork with a baby parcel and the baby is actually inside the mummy, that kind of explanation just isn’t going to wash.

How much should you actually tell an 8 year old who wants to know how the baby gets into the mummy’s tummy? When the child wants to know if the mummy goes to the hospital to get an injection that makes them grow a baby inside them, do you arm them with the basic facts suitable for their age range or say:

“Um, yes, something like that. Now, what do you want for tea? Ooh look, it’s all raining and cold outside. Is that the doorbell?!…..and run away quick?!

As much as I’m tempted to go with the latter, the amount of questions I’ve got today shows that it’s definitely a few facts time.

He wants to know how the baby got into the tummy in the first place. So far he’s been told the mummy has an egg in their tummy that mummies and daddies can turn into a baby.

Now an age appropriate book (from age 5 so definitely ok) from Amazon is on order, which tells the basics without all the gory details – the nitty gritty bit apparently describes as ‘a special cuddle between the mummy and daddy.’

Hopefully that will satisfy any burning questions and I can get back to less taxing questions like football or Super Mario related ones!

 

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It doesn’t matter what you do as a mum, you know you’re always going to be in the wrong, don’t you?!

Whatever you do, there’s always going to be someone out there with an opinion on what you are doing. Which is why the ‘stay at home mums’ versus ‘working mums’ debate still rages on.

I’ve been on both the working and stay at home mums side. I have always worked full time, then when my eldest who is now 8 came along, I carried on working part time when my maternity leave finished.

This prompted comments such as ” He’ll forget who you are, you’re never there!”

Then when my second came along, I had to stop working as putting two children in nursery and before and after school clubs was too expensive – at just under £800 a month childcare, and then transport costs at a £100 a month, I’d have been working for literally nothing.

So I became a ‘stay at home mum.’ I’m lucky in that I was in a position to do so, as my husband earns enough to be able to pay all the bills and mortgage.

This now gets new comments.

“So when are you going back to work?” “Are you working yet?!”

Never mind that since leaving work I have had a small person and baby to care for. The past eight years have been all about babies and toddlers. My now 8 year old started school at the age of 4, which is the exact time that I had my youngest, who has now just turned 4. So there has always been the baby and toddler stage going on.

You just can’t win can you?! Whatever you do, there’s going to be someone to tell you the ‘other way’ is better. Take it from me, whichever one you’re doing it’ll be the wrong one.

So as long as it’s working for you and your family, that’s all that matters – stick your fingers in your ears and ignore the rest.

 

 

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Even though they only went back to school 5 minutes ago (well it seems like it anyway!) they’re all off school again this week.

Do they ever actually go?! It doesn’t seem like it! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be looking at keeping them occupied while at the same time spending hardly any money.

With the cost of everything nowadays being so expensive, and the fact that having two children obviously doubles the price,  things soon add up and can cost a fortune.

So here is how we keep entertained for not much money.

- Baking.

Even little people can do this. This is what we usually make – dead easy.

fairy cakes

4oz self raising flour

4 oz margarine

4 oz caster sugar

2 eggs.

Chuck all the dry ingredients into a bowl, crack the eggs over it and whisk it all up. Put into bun cases in your bun tin and chuck into the oven on gas mark 5 for 20 – 25 minutes. (No opening the door to peek, or they’ll flop everywhere!) Then take them out, and you’ll have a tray full of yummy buns. Mmmm….buns….

Cinema days

Have you seen the prices of cinema tickets nowadays?!  Around £7 a ticket, then that’s before you’ve bought popcorn or whatever. When we last went to the cinema it cost £28 for two adults and a child, JUST for the tickets.

No, far better to do it yourself at home. Arm your child with a piece of coloured paper and some pens and get them to make cinema tickets stating time the film starts, and the name of the film etc.

Watch one of your favourite dvd’s, or have a look in your local library – ours has a dvd section which has all the big name releases. Some you can lend for a week for less than £2. Or buy them off amazon, you get the dvd for less than the price of a cinema ticket. Bargain!

Don’t forget the bowl of popcorn too! You can get a great big pack of popping corn that lasts for ages.

Nature walks

There’s nothing better than walking through any local parks/woodland when it’s autumn. You’ve got your crunchy leaves underfoot, and it’s great to try and find as many pine cones as you can. How many different sizes ca you find?

Going to the park

This is also a favourite in this house. Not so much with me if it’s freezing cold though! Maybe I should jump about with them to keep myself warm?! Or maybe not….

Any more cheap ideas on keeping the small ones occupied are always welcome!

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It doesn’t matter how many times we tidy them away in this house, they always seem to be all over the place ready to fall and break your neck over.

Yes, I’m talking about toys. Big ones, small ones, they get everywhere with two small children. It’s also near the time of year where we start to have a clear out ready for Santa to (hopefully!) come with a sack full of new ones.

http://katetakes5.blogspot.com is asking us this week to compile our top 5 favourite toys, so here are the ones that we will never tire of.

Lego

Is there a child about who doesn’t like Lego?! I’ve yet to meet one. It’s been about for years, but is still as popular today. I remember building Lego houses and buildings, and now mine do the same.

Sticklebricks

Like Lego, but prickly. Great for making stick men out of!

Board games

A firm favourite on rainy days in this house. From snakes and ladders to Monopoly, it can keep them quiet for hours. Which is always a good thing.

Toy cars

Many hours have been spent here ‘driving’ matchbox cars around, and parking them in the garage. Another game is to put them all in a long line and create a traffic jam of cars. Very true to life, here.

 

Teddies

Everybody loves teddies. Nobody better to cuddle up to in bed when small!

What are your favourite toys?

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With the head honcho, Mr Simon Cowell out of the country and heading up the X Factor USA team instead, he must be foaming at the mouth at what is happening over here to the UK Lot. According to today’s papers, he is on the warpath as he warns judges that they all face the chop as viewers desert in droves.

Is it any wonder that it is all slowly sliding down the toilet? Year upon year we have to put up with novelty acts who would make a pack of fighting cats sound tuneful. The other year it was Jedward who couldn’t sing a note, this year Goldie. Not to mention the whole lot of them this year are mediocre, to say the least.

Last Saturday’s out of tune performances were making me lose the will to live, especially as it was TWO. HOURS. LONG.

Even after a full panel re-vamp and some fresh faces brought in, we STILL have to suffer Louis Walsh who insists on treating the whole thing like a complete joke and has even insisted in the past ‘It’s not all about the singing, you know!”

That’s the reason we end up with so many joke acts, right there – Mr Muppet sat on the end, just taking the pee out of everything.

Not seeming to ‘get’ that to most people watching the show, that yes, it is actually about the singing, and they do actually get frustrated when perfectly good singers get booted off the show just to keep the joke acts in, seemingly regardless of what the viewers want.

Last year, acts persistently got into the bottom two week after week, but stayed in as the judges wanted them to. So what exactly IS the point in the phone votes, then?! You just know the same is going to happen this year.

It doesn’t help that not one single act is standing out this year. Last week’s performance from them all was absolutely woeful, and only one or two acts actually held a tune. Rythmix, and the guy whose name no-one can ever remember.

Nope, you don’t have to actually be able to sing on this show. Make like a cut price Tina Turner and screech and squirm your way around the floor, while draping your legs round Gary Barlow?

Yep, you’re in.

Got your arse tattooed with loads of girls names? Ooh, what a lad, the kid’s’ll LOVE you. You’re in.

Have a beautiful voice and sing a note perfect rendition of Adele? Pfft. Out you go. You’re not ‘controversial’ enough, you can only actually sing, for goodness sake!

Just listen to the Walshy. He said it all when ‘it’s not all about the singing!’ You’re right, Mr, it’s blatantly not.

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My 5 favourite blogs

For as long as I can remember, I have been completely obsessed with the written word. From the age of 3, I’ve been there reading my favourite books, and then at school not only reading, but loving any creative writing tasks that were set.

This love of writing and reading has never gone, and as an adult it has seen me study the NCTJ journalism course,  work at local newspapers,  and have many letters and a short story published in the national media.

So why I have only just discovered the world of blogging a couple of months ago is completely beyond me.  A whole world of new reading material out there and I’m not aware of it?! What?!

From magazines, to newspapers, I have to read them all. Online and in print. So to discover a whole new place to write, and read was a revelation to me.

This week’s prompt over at Britmums.com is to name your 5 favourite blogs and why.

 

There’s some GREAT blogs out there, all bringing something different. Here’s just a few of my favourites. (It’s very hard to pick just 5, you know.)

So, in no particular order, here are my top 5.

http://www.reluctanthousedad.com
As the title of the blog states, having to become a stay at home dad as his wife goes back to work – he gives an honest, everyday and very humorous account of life at home with the kids.

http://katetakes5.blogspot.com

If you like writing lists, you’ll be in your element on this blog. There’s a different theme every week. If one of the weeks doesn’t inspire you, one of the weeks will. There’s always going to be something for everyone on there at some point!

http://mammasaurus.co.uk

Says it like it is, and very funny with it too. :-)

http://notesfromhome.com
A great blog, from things to keep the kids occupied (yup, that definitely comes in handy – one more “I’m borrrred!” and their bags are packed!:-) to getting the clutter sorted (again, something this house needs – just see ‘shovelling snow in a blizzard’ post here on my blog. Anyone who blogs about the accumulation of stuff gets my vote!

Last, but certainly not least is….

http://mummy-cool.blogspot.com/

Most recently discovered, but great imagination – love the ‘funny faces’ food post that has such gems as “When Harry Met Salad”  and “Grated Expectations”, among others. Genius.

So that’s my list of 5 favourite blogs. Took a while to whittle it down, but that’s the final cut. Now I just need to find more to follow and read!

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When my jeans did up without a fuss instead of jumping up and down on the spot then promptly falling over, I knew the Rosemary Conley fitness class must have worked a little and lost me a couple of pounds.

So I was very pleased to find out on my first weigh in this week that I had lost the grand total of… wait for it….. 4lbs! Well, it’s 4lbs in the right direction and if I keep it up and lose again next week, I’m on track for the Christmas party dress season!

This week’s exercise class was aerobics. Bearing in mind that I haven’t done an aerobics class since I left school (let’s just say a long!) time ago, my legs didn’t know what had hit them. Whereas last week we had a pole to hold onto, this week we were expected to actually prance about with NO pole. What was I supposed to hold onto now? That’s what was keeping me upright!

Oh well. My legs had to learn to adjust and once into it, it was really easy and enjoyable.

The morning after though was another story altogether. Muscles I didn’t even know I had were aching in my legs, cue me walking down the stairs with an ‘ouch, ouch, ouch, OUCH!’  grumble for each step.

At which the other half laughed and called me a wuss, Yes, I’d like to see HIM do it. He’d be a heap on the floor so he can shush right there. Tch.

Next week brings half term, so I’ll be taking the two little munchkins with me to class. I’m sure they’ll find it absolutely hilarious seeing mummy jump up and down ‘like Sportacus.’

Or maybe not. More like Robbie Rotten.

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As someone who has grown up never celebrating Halloween, I struggle at this time of year to see what the point of it all is.

Children parading around knocking on doors begging for sweets, when at other times of the year they’re told not to talk to strangers.

On this day, though, they’re actively encouraged to go out and approach strangers houses. Then if they’re refused sweets, it’s the norm to pull a silly prank.

Egging Mrs Bloggs’ house as she didn’t answer her door? Tying string from one house door to another? All okay to do, apparently if it’s Halloween.

So what if Mrs Bloggs is elderly and didn’t want to open her door as she lives alone and feels vulnerable at all the people roaming the street dressed up and demanding sweets with menaces?

Doesn’t stop them, does it?!

I don’t see the point in celebrating death and evil, either. Surely there are much ‘nicer’ things to celebrate?!

I have two young children, aged 4 and 8. They’ve never been trick or treating, and I’m reluctant to let them start. Why go out into the cold knocking on strangers doors when we can have a nice cosy night in?

To counter-act the lack of trick or treating, and so that they do have something special and nice to do on Halloween, we do something that we call ‘Spooky Tea.’

We’ll even buy a Halloween tablecloth for the occasion.

Tea last year was monster mash and witches fingers (mashed potatoes made green with all the peas in it! :-) ) and witches fingers were sausages with a slice cut off the end, and a slice of red pepper for the fingernail. The other end was dipped in tomato ketchup so it looked like blood.

Then dessert will be buns that we have baked earlier that day, and decorated with ‘spooky icing’, such as spiders webs.

Marks and Spencer’s do a great range in Halloween sweets and crisps as well.

Who needs trick or treating when you’ve got a scary tea party going instead?!

I only do it for the kids, mind you  – if it was up to me we’d be sat in the dark pretending we’re not in when the Trick or Treaters came a’knocking.

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