Monday, 31 December 2012

Meal Planning Monday (31/12/12)

Back on the weight loss bandwagon 'alledgedly' to see in the New Year with a healthy start, this weeks menu is gravitating towards slimming world. Seeing as 2012 saw me gain a stone, I probably need to read the books again as clearly whatever I was doing last year didn't work a fig....

Anyway, here's our first week and remember to check what Mrs M's got cooking over at her page.

Monday - spaghetti bolognese using the leftovers from yesterdays stew
Tuesday- a big old roast for my big old appetite.... plenty of good veg to balance it out though!
Wednesday - Beans on toast
Thursday - Pasta with whatever I can lay my hands on to make a sauce
Friday - Grace and the Husband are having pizza, I'm off over to Sharon and Tania's for a girls night in and a steaming great big bowl of homemade chili.
Saturday - Vegetable chili from the freezer and rice
Sunday - Shepherds pie

Looking at my use of words like 'great big bowl' and 'big old roast' I can see why I put a stone on this past year. Probably given a helping hand by my lack of exercise in the second half of the year.... something to be addressed for 2013 I think. I don't like to make resolutions as I rarely stick to them, but one things for sure, I need to eat less and exercise more next year. Wish me luck!

What are you putting on the table this week?

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Trend setter

Opting to put her vest on upside down this morning, Grace proves she's a trend setter.

Stepping out in M&S cotton with lace trim, she show off the latest in designer toddler fashion before being chased round the bedroom by a rushed Mother trying to voice reason and I hear myself saying things like "you're not leaving my house dressed like that..."

One leg into each arm and the waist up under her armpits, this curly haired beauty is set to give the catwalk a run for it's money. Fortunately, bribery comes cheap in the fashion industry and a Mother triumphs, swapping the upside down number for a chocolate mouse. In no time at all I've rejigged the vest and we're on track for a fully dressed Grace. And all before dawn. A real trend setter!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Moments like these

With the excesses of Christmas already nagging at my waistline, I'm breathing in and soldiering on as every good Mother and Wife must. To purge we took advantage of a break in the bleak mid-winter gloom to get out for a breath of fresh air in the, erm, fresh air.

It was a glorious day, brilliant sunshine and lots of muddy puddles for Grace to splash up and down in. Cue long afternoon nap from a well worn out little toddler (and Husband)! In the moment in between I've been mulling over all the good things in our lives and how something as simple as a walk in the park can lift ones spirits.

It's been a fickle year. I've been made redundant, a process that left me shell shocked despite having the foresight to see it coming. I've been fortunate to find another job to start straight away but the adjustment is hard when I spent so long in my last. I'm sure I'm going through a mini-mourning for my old workmates and banter! I know the period of change has come as blow to Daisy-woof as well who had enjoyed playing with other dogs all day long for a living and now has to make do with a dog walker, albeit a very good one. And the Husband has lost the indulgence of sleeping in until 7am now that we have to exercise the dog before the work day so he's been out in all weathers jogging the dog the minute the alarm goes off at 5.50am, tiptoeing out of the house trying not to disturb a sleeping toddler.

Grace has breezed through the year, taking nursery in her stride and taking learnings from every waking day. She's accomplished a lot in 2012.... walking, talking, potty training.... singing ('the bingbong song', 'twinkle twinkle little star', 'baa baa black sheep' are on repeat)..... dancing (her firm favourite Gotye's hit 'somebody that I used to know' when it comes on the radio).... and books - reading lots of wonderful stories to fire her imagination. Drawing and painting has come top of her list of enjoyable passtimes and I can see now she's likely to be a leftie. Mummy's little artiste. She's coming on a treat.

So with all the happenings this year, it's nice to find the odd hour to go out as a family to enjoy something simple like walking the dog and splashing in puddles. It clears your mind.

Or at least it helps!

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

A 'little deer teddy' from Santa
Santa's been!


Time out after all the unwrapping

Merry Christmas, time for bed

Monday, 24 December 2012

Meal Planning Monday (24/12/12)

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas..... the fridge is full, thanks to Asda home delivery (and a very random set of substitutions), the wrapping is done, and Grace is on track to experience the merriment of Santa. She's still bubbling with enthusiasm after sitting through the Festival of Lessons and Carols at our church last night, a giddy kipper indeed. I'm feeling very rotund after trying to alleviate my toddlers temptation by snaffling all the chocolate in the house she is being given, and yet there is still enough sugar in her goody box to fuel Santa's sleigh tonight. Turkey is a given this week... wouldn't be Christmas without it! So what's cooking?

Christmas Eve - a fajita bonanza.... it's going to be very messy with Grace in full control of loading her fajitas, so looking forward to our Christmas Eve tradition!

Christmas Day - turkey (of course) with all the trimmings. I'd be a fool not to!

Boxing Day - turkey, sausage and cranberry casserole - done in the slow cooker so I can sit back and enjoy with the in-laws.... hopefully!

27th - a day of rest while I ship Matt the Husband off to work and sit back and have a duvet day with Grace enjoying some of her presents. We're dining on pasta carbonara and garlic ciabatta crafted with my very own hands. Mmmmm.

28th - we're heading off to my cousin Christina's for the day so I'm sure we'll be feasting on a delightful menu painstakingly prepared by my aunty Mina, with a twist of the Greek heritage.

29th - traditional Hungarian goulash, a real belly warmer.

30th - stew and dumplings... haven't you noticed my love of anything comforting at this time of year?

So that's it. Christmas is on the doorstep, New Years Day is around the corner AND summer is on it's way! Hurrah!!! Yep, the shortest day has been and gone so I'm dusing off my flip flops and getting in the mood for better weather. Merry Christmas everyone!

Chin chin!


For more meal time inspiration, head on over to Mrs M's page here

Sunday, 23 December 2012

At times like this

At times like this with Christmas around the corner it's refreshing to see we can take pleasures from the simple things in life. Take a brown envelope. Ignore the fact I've had to traipse to the local post sorting office to pay £1.09 in underpaid postage to take receipt of said envelope, and we're granted with a wonderful opportunity. The look of wonder on Grace's face when we're handed the envelope, containing nothing more than some forms from our bank to sign. The excitement is in the opening, the rifling through the paperwork to see if there is anything else of interest, and the creation of a wizards hat using nothing more than a few carefully crafted rips and tears.

With Christmas around the corner, it's feels good to know that if we had nothing but a brown envelope to our name, Grace would be content. Everything she needs is in the excitement of her imagination, and ours. Of course we have a few little surprises for Christmas Day, things she will enjoy and appreciate... and seeing her today makes me relax in the comfort of the knowledge that we didn't need to spend an arm and a leg to see her smile on Christmas morning.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Little Miss Independant

When Grace went to Daisychain nursery for the last time, my heart broke just a little bit. For nearly two years she has been going, her home away from home. She loved it, and I loved that she loved it. She's learnt so much from them, not least of all how to start out in life being little miss independant.

"Gracie do it!" has become one of the most-heard phrases in our house.

Take the bedtime story for instance. We have been reading "We're going on bear hunt" since it was passed down to us from a good friend of mine just after Grace came into the world. She knows it, the way it rolls, whats on the next page. I didn't realise how soon it would be before she started telling us... "No Mummy, Gracie read it!"

Of course she's not actually reading, she's recalling the pattern of the words, remembering the pictoral cues on each page. Nevertheless, my little miss independant is pretty darn good!

"Going on a bear hunt.... big one... not scared.... beautiful day"
"Grass! Swishy swashy, swishy swashy!"
"Going on a bear hunt.... big one... not scared... beautiful day"
"Mud! Squelch squerch!"

it goes on, through the snowstorm, through the river, through the dark wood....

"stumble trip, stumble trip"

to the cave

"dark cave, not scared. Tiptoe tiptoe. It's a bear! Raaaaaaaaaaa!" she mimics a bear at this point, claws ready to pounce!

"quick! back home, upstairs, door, stairs, bed"
"no bear hunt again"

I'd video or soundbite it, but I'm not allowed. Little miss independant tells me "No Mummy. Away!"
So I put the smartphone away. I've been told.

And I ask her, has Mummy told you she loves you today?

"Yes Mummy. Love you too. Gracie do it".

And we both go to bed.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Meal Planning Monday (17/12/12)

It's been so long since I sat and thought about the week ahead - starting a new job is soooooo tiring! Anyway, here we are a month in, and I'm getting back on track for meal planning monday with Mrs M....

  • Monday - chorizo and bean chili
  • Tuesday - I'm being fed at a regional meeting so there's some pasta sauce in the freeze for the Husband and Grace.
  • Wednesday - Mexican rice, ham and brocolli
  • Thursday - Sausage, mash, peas and gravy
  • Friday - Chickpea curry
  • Saturday - Bacon & mushroom risotto
  • Sunday - Sausage and three bean casserole (just realised we're having sausages twice this week but my thinking cap has been filed for the week so we'll just have to grin and bear it!!)
I'm most looking forward to the bacon and mushroom risotto this week as I haven't done it before. Grace likes all the ingredients, just be interesting to see what she makes of it all thrown together in a dish!

What are you planning this week?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Twinkle Twinkle Chocolate Bar

It's not often you find Grace and me behind the lens of the camera together. I try to avoid it, much to my Husbands annoyance. Nevertheless, here's one for the album. Beautiful but nippy out this morning at Newmillar Dam, Grace ate more bread than she fed to the ducks and seemed to enjoy spotting the blue lights on the passing ambulance more exciting than tossing crumbs to the critters.
I'm over my blue fit earlier in the week over her singing Twinkle Twinkle and making it 'her own'. SiCo would be proud, as would every other x-factor judge that has ever been. Taking a classic song, and making it your own. That's my girl.

So I'm listening to the sound of Father - Daughter cameraderie during bathtime, while I amused myself washing dishes in the kitchen. Proud to hear her singing along to whatever nursery rhyme took her fancy. Then I hear 'twinkle twinkle chocolate bar....'

I stop to listen. The Husband sounds confused. (It doesn't take much, nursery rhymes are tricky).

'Daddy drives a rusty car....'
'Turn the engine, pull the choke'
'Off we go in a puff of smoke.....'

Hm. Money well spent at nursery it seems.

On speaking to other parents in the same situation, it's common. They are conspiring against us. They are now, officially off my Christmas List. Hmph.

Today saw for me the first frozen lake of the season, it will have frozen earlier in the week and is thawing since the mercury has risen a few notches overnight.

Here is Grace spotting the flashing blue lights..... ne-nar, ne-nar, ne-nar!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Full steam ahead!

Apparently I am a very poor judge of time. Talking to my good friend Frances on the phone last week, I was telling her how it must be a good 20 years since I'd sat on Santa's knee on a Santa Special at Nene Valley Steam Railway. She chuckled. As a lanky teenager, sitting on Santa's knee with my 16th birthday looming was the last thing on my 'things to do near Christmas' list.

In making that closer to 30 years, we went on a trip down memory lane...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Let battle commence!

 Each day a new battle. A battle of the wills. A battle of the patience. A battle of the fashion sense even. None of which I seem to be capable of winning. So I'm just going with it. Blue it seems, does in fact go with green.

"Gracie do it!" has become the phrase of the moment. Be that dressing (her first full outfit yesterday, very proud moment), preparing a sandwich or completing an expenses claim in a mad dash to meet the cut-off. Yep, "Gracie do it".

This brings with it it's own challenges, the main one being time. Of which I never had much of, and since going back to work full time has become less and less. Trying to squeeze everything into that minute space between Grace going to bed and me going to bed is becoming tougher. So sometimes its best just to say to hell with it all, and pack up the car for an outing. Life can be tiring at times, obliging everyone else and their needs, and sometimes it needs to be more about the toddler. So we scrapped our to-do list and went to The Deep for a fleeting visit yesterday, amidst the chaos of family life on a shoestring. The only problem being who was going to drive... Gracie do it.