Monday, 30 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday (30/4/12)

I'm pretty impressed with myself this week - for acutally sticking with the meal plan. That must be a first in a long time. There's usually at least one day where I look at the menu and think to myself, nah, not having that. Well this week I am hoping to stick to plan as well... two weeks running is half way to a habit in my book.

Monday - leftover lentil 'n' veg chilli from last week and rice (Grace wasn't keen so I whizzed hers with the blender as she scoffed the lot once the lumps had gone!)

Tuesday - Spaghetti bolognese with lots of veg. Slimming world advise a third of the plate is fresh veg so this will be rammed to the rafters with just about anything I can find in the fridge.

Wednesday - Ham, mushroom and tomato omelette (I'm working in Newcastle so I'll be grateful for something super speedy when I walk in the door).

Thursday - Quick pasta - sauce will be a concoction of whatever is looking ready to roll over and die in the fridge...

Friday - Cottage Pie with green beans and probably a moat of gravy. I batch cooked this a while ago and it's in the freezer, so compliance on Friday will be down to remembering to get it out Thursday night!

Saturday - me and Matt the Husband are off to see a band in Leeds so we will be popping into one of two favourite cafe's for supper. A fantastic little noodle bar near the station where you sit at the counter and watch them cook, or the middle eastern cafe up near the Leeds Grand Theatre. Either will do me, both will blow the syn count!

Sunday - Mummy's special lasagne, taken from a recipe book bought thoughfully for Mother's Day this year. I LOVE lasagne, so looking forward to this meal the most I think.

Grace should tuck into all of these meals with gusto. And I think the only thing we're cooking with a syn count is the white sauce for the lasagne on Sunday. Not bad going.

Remember to head on over to Mrs M to see what she's got going on in the kitchen this week...

Chow for now...

Saturday, 28 April 2012

You can stick it here!

Making the hundred metre dash from the car park to the Dentist's in pelting rain, I arrived at the counter dishevelled, wet and a little hoarse for clutching a squirming toddler under my arm. We're early, so I have time to catch my breath, straighten my hair and practice sucking in my muffin top before prancing up the stairs to see Mr Lane, Rick, my long-standing guilty pleasure of a Dentist. We're on first name terms.

We go back eight years me and Mr Lane, then the new graduate, nervously fumbling around in my mouth with his blue rubber gloves on. I looked forward to the visits. I'm now on a 12 month recall and I found myself sucking in air as I step into the room to see the last year has not been kind to Rick. Instead of gazing lustily up into perky young eyes while he prods around the corners of my mouth with his rubber pinkies, I am transfixed by the gloriously middle-aged hairs sprouting precosiously out of his slender nose.

I'm more than a little miffed. My guilty-pleasure is no more.

Instead of lingering in the chair for one last poke, I hop up quicker than you can say 'married', and beckon for Grace to come to sit in the chair. Her feet appear stuck to the floor with toffee dropped by the last patient no doubt. No amount of coaxing can move her closer to the Hairy One, so we coax her with a sticker.

It's her first time.

For me it's rubber, for my daughter apparently it's stickers. The bate works and she points to her chest, gesturing, 'you can stick it here'.

She won't smile for him, but she does do a little lion-roar when he makes the trade which shows off her pearly whites. He's happy with that, he says come back in six months.

I'll remember the day Grace first visited the dentist. I realised it's not only the dentist that has weathered over the last 12 months, it is us too. Matt the Husband has just pointed out that he too has nose hairs. Soon his ears will grow,  his forehead will rise and he too shall become older. As for Grace and me, we girls aren't getting any younger.

I can't believe my little girl has endured her first visit to the dentist, albeit without a smile on her face...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Spontaneous oof

Riding home in the car last night I'm oblivious to the chatter in the back as Grace flits between talking to herself, the dog in the back and me. Sitting at a red light, she motions for me to pass her the plastic toy that has fallen into the footwell, a dog with a party hat on.

She thanks me by saying 'oof oof!'


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Have you seen this Rabbit?


Mr RABBIT. 6" tall. Last seen Sunday, Grace's bedroom. Hops.

You'll know the one. Much loved and relied upon snuggy. Toddler attachment to said snuggy.

We had it covered. We have FOUR, yes FOUR of these little cretins. Two pink, two white.

And the mistake?

Letting Grace KNOW there are four.

Result when one goes AWOL?




(And that's just me in response to Grace's knowledge there is one absent).

Please please, if you can spare a moment to check behind a cushion, under the sofa, in the shed, much obliged. My daughter has sentenced me to a lifetime of guilt.

I thought I was smart. I thought I was clever, clocking up four Mr Rabbits. Teaching her to count. Being generous, letting her play with all four. I was wrong. I see the error of my ways.

I'm not gloating now.

Wish me luck. *Sobs*

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Where'd my week go?

I've been a bit absent of late. Blogging has been a fond memory so I am making a point of putting it back on my map so to speak. Family L have been very busy, trips to Norfolk to visit Grace's Nanny and Grandpa, play dates with friends in the village, Daddy away on business in the Big Smoke, and me left nursing a poorly back and juggling a toddler with work. Wow, long sentence! *Must refine grammar*

Grace has been a little star and I must note these things she is doing for the first time in case I forget...
  • Taking great pleasure in jumping in puddles...
  • Putting Mama's shoes on and trotting off to show her Daddy... clip clop clip clop...
  • Making noises of 'broom broom' as we do the supermarket sweep in the trolley...
  • Wanting more, more and still more of row row row your boat, so she can giggle and do the roar of the lion, the shiver for the polar bear and scream for the crocodile. Super cute...
  • Saying 'I did it!' to everything she does, like putting her socks and shoes on, putting her clothes in the laundry bin...

I'm hoping to get back on track with the running too but my back is still being a bit of a pain so I am planning on seeing the physio in the village for some advice. As for letting things slip, I am dreading my weigh in at Slimming World on Thursday.

Anyone for bisuits?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Coffee love

On a wet and windy Wednesday I wake to the sound of a toddler coughing. Sounds very chesty. She's ok, just a bit subdued so I prep her with Calpol and Tixylix and pack her off to nursery with not one but three Mr Rabbit's and a dummy permafixed to her chops. Comfort in soft-toys.

She's clingy when I drop her off. The first time since moving up into the Imps Room that we've had no tears and I wonder if today she just doesn't have the energy? I know the feeling. I wave goodbye, she ignores me sulking, and I leave feeling decidedly unloved. It's me with the separation anxiety today.

I've had a bad back these last few days so I've not been able to pick Grace up for a cuddle or give her much attention as just moving has been so uncomfortable. I'm missing my baby girl. I'm going to treat myself to a soothing cup of coffee. Like a big hug.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

2 years and counting

Well Happy Birthday to me! Two years ago today I started this blog on a rainy Saturday when the ironing pile was beckoning and I needed something better to do with my time. What started out as "The Making of Gracie-Wiggle" became "Grace and Me" and brings me to where we are today. 260 posts under my belt and a whole lot of memories.

April is the month of occasions, blog's birthday, my birthday, our wedding anniversary. And Grace turned 20 months. She can now dress herself remnants from the laundry basket, favourites being Mummy's knickers and bra. Plenty of material to play with.

Thanks again for stopping by to read my drivel, hopefully you enjoy some of it.

Ciao for now! x

Monday, 16 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday (16/4/12)

Back this week again linking up with Mrs M for Meal Planning Monday. Our food this week will be a rushed affair as I haven't had time to give it much thought since the weekend saw us housesitting four unruly dogs in the wilds of Yorkshire and I'm left feeling in need or a spa holiday or some other such relaxation extravagance. Fat chance.... next weekend will see us descending on the Aged P's in Norfolk, hence the four day week.

Monday: Shepherds pie
Tuesday: Italian bean stew
Wednesday: Chicken and veg risotto
Thursday: Quick pasta

Grace has been a particularly picky with her food this week, spitting out the carrots, picking out the green peppers, and reaching over to my plate to steal the kidney beans. Fickle child. Let's see what this week holds...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Forbidden Fruits of the Vending Machine

I am weak. Metaphorically speaking.

I can arm wrestle the best bloke in the office with my left hand, but ask me to say no to chocolate or a packet of crisps after I have just scoffed a slimming world syn-free lunch, and I'm there with skates on. Super fast ones.

I'm sat at my desk, stuffed, having eaten a huge portion of leftover stew, an apple and a banana. I'm not hungry. I'm not even that bored (that comes later in the week generally). I do not need more food.

Consider then the reality of me wearing a pre-baby bikini in a body that is carrying 21 pounds of excess weight in just four short weeks. Postage stamps on watermelons. The prospect should send me screaming to the salad aisle. Why then, do I find myself excavating my purse for coppers to stop my body-brilliant plans dead in their tracks by shopping for the forbidden fruits of the vending machine? It's like I want to fail.

I started up running a few weeks ago, getting out three to four times a week for two miles. Not far by any stretch but enough to get my weight loss moving in the right direction. I've been so excited about getting back to my weight pre-Grace, even signing up for Daily Mile which tracks calories burned and miles run.

I started running to lose weight, not to fund more eating. What am I to do?

Eat chocolate. It's great for the soul.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Meal Planning Monday (9/4/12)

Unable to curb the urge any longer I am jumping on the Meal Planning Monday linky hosted by Mrs M over at at home with Mrs M and with any luck it will see me being a little more motivated in the kitchen. With over a week to go until pay day, dining this week will be a frugal affair as I make the best of the stock in the cupboard and cobble together whatever I can dig out of the freezer. Friday and Saturday will see me foraging in someone elses cupboards as we find ourselves house sitting over at the Scanlons while they head off for the wedding of the year.

Monday: bacon and root vegetable stew
Tuesday: chickpea curry
Wednesday: jacket potato with chilli con carne
Thursday: quick pasta
Friday: ???
Saturday: ???
Sunday: roast gammon with onion sauce

I'm only working two days this week so I'll take leftover stew for lunches. I do love a good soup! Grace is just about getting to grips with liquid on a spoon so soup is a good option for us at the moment, filling, cheap and healthy. Bonza!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Popstars... your rival is here!

With a musical Daddy, it's only to be expected that Grace would play the penny whistle like a pro. It's only a matter of time before she's queueing with the masses for an audition in front of Simon Cowell or and I am making it my personal mission to capture that journey so her VT is peppered with embarrassing pics from her childhood. I will simply add a disclaimer so we all know it's OK for my toddler to be puffing into the wrong end of the whistle in pics 2-4. But my mini-Bono can get away with it. She does after all, move in mysterious ways. Here she is making her debut with U2 as backing...

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Down on the farm

We headed off to Canon Hall Farm in Yorkshire today for Grace to experience some new sights and sounds. Still a little cautious, Grace overcame her fear of touching rabbits, got her shoe nibbled by a goat and was petrified by the noise the pinkies in the pig pen made. She got over it by munching on a ham sandwich for lunch. Karma.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Mama 1 - 1 Grace

I talked some time ago in a post about the power of persuasion being a winning recipe for raising a toddler and wanted to tell you how thrilled I am it's still alive and kicking in this household! Mealtime today was a meat-free affair being Good Friday and all. I quietly confess I was ignorant to this until my Godmother Jennifer pointed me in the right direction. I thank her for this, wiping my brow since by some stroke of luck we'd eaten a vegetarian meal anyway. But that's not my news.

Grace has eaten edamame beans!

Not willingly, not at first, but down the hatch, 1, 2, 3.

Admittedly to many there won't be anything exciting about sitting down to a plate of edamame bean and mushroom stirfry with a satay sauce and rice. My father in fact would probably rather go hungry. And so would Grace it seems.

We're sitting at the table ready to tuck in when Grace casts me a sideways glance that clearly says "what the dickens is this?"

She's hungry so she eats, gingerly raising one spoon after the other, she chews slowly wrinkles her nose and pushes her plate away when she reaches a count of five. Five spoonfuls is not sufficient to see her through to morning-o'clock. Simply not good enough.

I cajole. "Come on Grace, eat some more stir fry."

She shakes her head. No.

"Are you still hungry?"

She nods her head. Yes.

"Then eat some more dinner," I tell her, pushing the plate back within her range.

She shakes her head. No. Pushes the plate back over to me.

I decide to bribe her. Remarkably for a toddler of 20 months she is decidedly open to bribery.

"You can have some some grapes if you eat three more spoonfuls of your dinner." This she does in rapid succession. I offer her a few grapes.

When she's cleared them, she asks for more. Shaking my head, I tell her if she wants another grape, she needs to eat three more spoonfuls. She does it. I pass her a grape.

And then my success peters out when she spits a spoonful out, half chewed beansprout and rice tumbling down into her lap. She shoots me a look that says she'd rather starve than pop one more edamame bean down the hatch.

I concede a drawer.

More from Mama's mealtimes soon x

Monday, 2 April 2012

Stress? Ujayii...

Matt the Husband always takes the michael when I'm blowing a gasket by following me round the house making the sound of a whale or dolphin. The more apoplectic I become, the more his voice is there resonating in my head making me want to throttle him, burst into tears and laugh all at the same time. It's really really annoying.

I've had one of those days.

Grace has been the definition of a toddler today, perfect behaviour interspersed with manic tantrums, screaming fits, hitting, throwing things and generally putting my patience very much to the test. Today I have perfected the ujayii breath my yogamaster always spoke of.

Now I get it.

It always tickles me that in the real world I have a short fuse and a sharp tongue, and yet I can withstand a full shift of toddler hell with my darling daughter and still be able to smile for the Vicar when we pass him mid-tantrum in the supermarket. I have been tested today, bitten my lip, prayed the three hours until Matt the Husband gets home would speed up and the two hours Grace slept would slow down.

Yet mixed with the "I'm a stressed Mama, GET ME OUT OF HERE!" moments I have toyed with in my head today, there have been the little gems of wonder like a cloud with a silver lining where Grace does something cute and just makes me smile. Like waving like Royalty to all and sundry perched on a chair reading a book in the library.

And breathe!