Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy New Year and 2015 Resolutions

I'm sitting typing this out on my tablet, hoping it comes out okay, as I haven't done it before.

Would just like to say Happy New Year to you, and hope you all have a great evening and day tomorrow. I've put Ben to bed, although he is still awake as I type, so am just relaxing and finishing off my cider and also going to have some left over chocolate tort that my mum gave us.

Now on to my resolutions.

1. Be more organised, I've ordered my diary from amazon, just waiting for it to arrive, it's  an A5 day per page so I can write a nice long list of everything to do that day.

2. Keep up with my blog, as I think I've been quite good this year, but want to grow more, and branch my posts out a bit.

3. Bake more, I've loved the baking I've done in the lead up to Christmas, and want to do more throughout the year.

4. Eat healthier and cook more, I ordered a slowcooker today, and also a recipe book to use with it.

5. Work out, I think this is going to be in the form of youtube videos, I may also buy some DVDs. I really want to tone up, and lose a little bit of weight as well.

6. Be a good mum, I had this last year as well, but Ben is basically my life, and I love seeing him becoming a little boy, and teaching him new things. Although I in visage that this will be a tough year with the terrible twos, potty training and transferring to a bed.

7. Sort out the spare room and keep it tidy. It is a mess and basically has a load of junk in it. I get it tidy and then it all piles up again.

I'm off to watch James Bond Golden Eye now, the next posts will be our Christmas presents we recieved, sale shopping and a baking post.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Happy Christmas


I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas spent with family and friends.

I've included a few photos of Ben from Christmas Eve morning.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Decor 2014

I love decorating for Christmas, I try to do it as close to 1st December as possible. I try to buy a couple more decorations each year. This tree I've has since I lived at home with my parents, and wanted my own tree in my bedroom.

It doesn't look the best this year, because Ben keeps taking off baubles, and touching the tree, I also couldn't spread out the decorations as much for the reason that I knew Ben would be fascinated by it.

The soft Rudolf and this Father Christmas were the new decor items this year, they were £4 each from John Lewis.

I have to put lights up around the lounge too, it's so nice to sit there in the evenings just by the light of the fairy lights!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Ben's Stocking Presents 2014

I thought I'd show you what I've got Ben for his stocking this year. He'll be 20 months at Christmas.

Bath toys, great stocking filler. Ben loves filling things up in the bath (he currently has a couple of old baby bath bottles), and I really wanted him to have some boats. Picked these up from The Works, think they are around £3-£4.

This is the book I chose for Ben's stocking, Playtown. I actually got this in Sainsbury's months ago, looks great, and Ben will love the lift up flaps.

Stickers! As Ben has stopped putting things that he shouldn't in his mouth I thought these would be good when we do some drawing.

I had to have something Christmas related, haha! Bought these from ELC when they had their 20% off a little while back.

Soft Touch Dinosaurs, Ben's been loving a little dinosaur that he got in a party bag, and his soft toy Jellycat dinosaur too, so thought these would be a good present.

Also picked this up from Sainsbury's months ago, they have good presents. I actually bought this because it was on offer, and wanted to get him something like this for Christmas any way.

Lastly and Gruffalo chocolate, we got this in Morrison's and it was £5.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Recipe - Cheese Scones

I thought I would write a different kind of post for today. A baking post. I actually really enjoy it (and cooking isn't as bad as I first thought, haha!). I'd fancied making some cheese scones for a while, and I found a really simple recipe here, although I did adjust it a little.

I used:
225g self raising flour
A pinch of salt
55g butter
50g mature cheddar cheese
140ml whole milk

After tasting these I will probably go for 75g cheese next time, as we love cheese around here.

Preheat your oven to 220C/Gas Mark 7/425F. And also grease or line a baking tray,

Firstly you mix the flour and salt together, then add in the butter and rub it in with your hands.

Then mix in the cheese.

And the milk.

Put some flour down on the surface, and need the dough a little bit, press it flat until it's around 2cm thick, then cut out the scones. Keep going till all the dough is used up.

Place on your baking tray and brush with mik. Put in the oven for 12-15 minutes. I took mine out after about 13 minutes.

This is how mine turned out, lovely and brown. But not quite cheesey enough for me, and Ben didn't seem too impressed when I gave him one for lunch either. Will try him on another one tomorrow.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Ben's Christmas Eve Box 2014

This year I've decided to introduce a Christmas Eve box to Ben. I saw got the idea from Pinterest, and also saw lots of photos on Instagram of similar things. I thought what a lovely tradition to start doing, keeps the children entertained for Christmas Eve, when they're all excited to see what presents they're going to receive from Father Christmas.

This year as Ben is still pretty young (will be 20 months at Christmas), and doesn't understand Christmas yet I kept it simple. Starting with snacks, as Ben loves to snack. So I chose some from the baby/toddler section at Boots, and also picked up a small Milkybar selection box, as it's the only one available suitable for his age.

I really wanted to include a book and DVD. I chose Dear Father Christmas, as the book. It's probably a bit too old for him, but he loves to read and look at books, and it's got little letters to get out and read, as he loves more interactive books with flaps and things. I thought it would be good to read a little bit at times throughout the day. The DVD I got is Yogi's First Christmas, I loved this as a child, my sisters and I would watch it together every year. So hoping Ben likes it too, although he probably won't sit still and watch it, haha! I also picked up some stickers, so Ben could do some drawing and stick the stickers on the page as a little activity we can do.

I also thought I have to have a pair of pyjama's. You may remember these from a haul I did, they were in a 2 pack from Matalan. And as I go Ben a Father Christmas soft toy last year, I felt this year he needed a reindeer (well Rudolf). This is by Jellycat (I love their range), although this version is retired, I managed to pick it up in John Lewis, he was on one of the display tables. and seemed to be the only one they had, maybe you'll be lucky like I was, other wise there's the bashful reindeer.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ben's Christmas and Winter books

On the 1st December I gave Ben's pile of bedtime books a change over, they are now all Christmas and Winter themed. Last year we only had a couple, and since then he's got some as gifts, for last Christmas or his birthday. I also purchased one a couple of months ago. And I've also got another one to add to his collection, but that one's in his Christmas Eve box (which you'll see in a separate post).

Usborne Touchy-Feely The Nativity
Guess How Much I Love You in the Winter
The Night Before Christmas
The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas
The Gruffalo's Child
Harry and the Dinosaurs make a Christmas Wish
Stick Man
Muddypaws First Christmas

Monday, 1 December 2014

Review - Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner

I'd always decided to make Ben's puree's myself, and Steve wanted me too as well. I'd seen Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner (what a mouthful) in the Top 100 books on amazon many times, and it has good reviews too (currently 4 and a half stars out of 778 reviews). So I decided to purchase it a few weeks before I planned to start Ben on solids.

 As you can see from the contents page the book contains food right up to toddler age, which is great for if you're having something, like a take-away that you don't want your toddler to eat.

The book also contains loads of information for each age group, that you need to know. What they can and can't have, vitamins, allergies etc.

In each section (apart from toddler) there's a meal planner, which can be helpful. But I never used this.

I loved this book because it starts with instructions for the simplest of purees, when only using one fruit or vegetable. It tells you the timing for the cooking, although I think that does depend on how hot the water is, and I basically just cooked everything until it was super soft. It then goes on to multiple fruit and vegetable purees, great as I didn't really have a clue of what to mix with what. The book has a great range of recipes to give your baby a varied introduction to food. I think the earlier you introduce more foods the better, and they'll be less picky. I'm very picky - but don't know how that came about, haha! There's fish and meat recipes as well as just vegetarian options, and pasta sauces. Ben has always loved pasta (I bought the little baby shells from Boots to begin with), and the sauces are really easy to do. There's also some pudding recipes in there too,

Some recipes do require chicken stock, I just bought the Boots Baby stock cubes and used them as it was so much easier.

As each recipe makes more than one portion I would freeze the rest in little pots or ice cub trays. I used to do batch cooking, and do 4/5 a week, use that up and then do some more once I was running low. One of Ben's favourite recipes was the Butternut Squash Risotto and the Multicolored Casserole I recommend for helping with self feeding and for finger control.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Our Daily Schedule at 19 months

8:00-8:30am - This is the time that Ben roughly wakes up, it used to be 7am not that long ago. But recently he seems to be sleeping a bit longer at night, which I love as I feel much more awake. Once Ben's awake I go get him up, sometimes bring him in to see Daddy, and spend a little time in our bed, before we go downstairs. Ben has some milk and plays whilst I have a big mug of tea.

9:00-9:30am - We usually have breakfast around this time, I normally asks Ben if he's hungry and wants breakfast. He then has a little more play time.

9:30am - This is the time I like to get us dressed, I put Ben in his highchair whilst I shower, wash, get dressed etc. I also choose Ben's outfit for the day, before I go down and get him, clean his teeth then get him dressed.

10:00am - Back downstairs and Ben has more play time, whilst I put on a load of washing and do the washing up.

11:00am - I try to have some playtime with Ben, but also maybe get a bit of housework in as well. We also do some learning in this time,

12:00pm - Lunchtime for Ben, I'll sometimes eat as well, depends on if I'm hungry or not.

12:30-1:00pm - Nap Time. I always try and give Ben his nap straight after lunch. He doesn't go to sleep straight away, normally has a little play with his toys and then falls asleep. Whilst Ben naps I try to get some more housework done, and have my lunch. And if I'm lucky have a bit of me time.

2:30-3:00pm - Ben normally wakes up around this time, but if he doesn't fall asleep till later, he'll nap till 4:00pm or sometimes later. He'll have his afternoon snack and milk when he wakes.

3:30pm - More playtime

5:30-6:00pm - I like to get started on cooking dinner whilst Ben entertains himself.

6:30-7:00pm - Dinner time

7:30pm - Bed time routine, which is a bath or shower, followed by lotion, teeth brushing, pyjamas and sleeping bag on and then we read. Ben chooses his own books, we just have a few on the floor so he picks which one's he wants to listen to.

8:00pm - Bed time, we try and have him down in bed by this time, sometimes it's not bang on time though.

Not every day is the same but this is the general routine we try to go by. Like every Monday we normally try and get out of the house for 10:30am, which normally means shopping. And on Thursdays and Fridays I work in the evening. And on Saturday mornings we do our weekly food shop. I also work Sundays and Ben normally goes round his grandparents with Daddy.

Monday, 24 November 2014

A Toy Advent Calendar for Toddlers!

I really loved the idea of a toy advent calendar for Ben, but as he'll be 20 months are Christmas the Lego and Playmobile one's are far too old. I then discovered that WOW Toys do a choice of two aimed at 1-5 year olds. Ben already has a couple of the cars from this brand, which he loves to play with and is learning to push them across the floor. So I thought one of their calendars would be perfect for him. I purchased the WOW Wonderland but there's also WOW Town. They retail for £19.99, but are currently down to £16.99 in Argos, you can also purchase them on Amazon, which is where I bought mine from.

It come's with a main present of a car (in door 24), and the other presents are people - including Father Christmas, reindeers, Christmas Trees etc.

I'm really hoping Ben likes this, he also has his Thornton's Gruffalo advent calendar, that I plan to open at lunchtime, and I also bought a picture one that's we'll open together as well.