Saturday, 25 January 2014

January on a budget

So we all expect to feel the financial pinch a little in January, I get paid really early in December so end up with nearly 7 weeks until my next payday. Every year I say I won't start spending it but alashristmas, sales and new year inevitably get in the way.

So here we are a with a week till payday and quite frankly poor! I'm not talking 'send Daisy up the chimneys poor' but definitely no luxuries poor! So a challenge was set, not just to miserably struggle through the next week but to try and make the very most of what we have access to.

Here's a few of my tips

1) Food shopping. We all know meal planning works but I've also realised a lot of what we eat could be used for 2 meals or more if we stretch it a little, for example - Chicken. Buy a large one and use it for a roast, leftovers such as curry and then turn into stock for soup

2) While we're on the subject of soup, you can pretty much use any veg to make a good soup without really spending anything extra! 

3) Add foods to bulk out your usual meals such as mushrooms to spaghetti Bol, beans and lentils to stews and potatoes to curries. 

4) Bake cakes instead of buying snack bars etc for lunch boxes

5) If you don't already, take lunches to work - it'll make a huge difference

6) Despite not being a fan of online shopping I found a deal which gave £15 off a £60 shop so that was instantly and extra £15 to spend and a bit of petrol saved!

7) eBay eBay, eBay! 

8) Use the weekends to catch up on DIY, doesn't cost anything (we already have the paint etc in) and the house looks better. If you do want to get out there's so much to do that doesn't cost anything, walks in the wood, parks, bike rides. 

9) If it's wet or cold, get painting, drawing, building dens or indoor obstacle courses. Believe me your kids aren't going to complain!

I'm not going to say I'm not looking forward to payday, I can't wait to have a bit of free cash again but quite frankly January is depressing enough without adding extra money woes! 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Two Year Developmental Check

When I first started my little blog I intended it to be a record of our family and hopefully something we could look back on when Daisy is older so I've tried to record important, interesting and (hopefully) funny events. Well today was Daisy's 2 year check with the health visitor and being the proud mummy I am I thought I'd blog! 

Daisy has been doing really well developmentally from what I can see, she's regularly talking in sentences, asking lots of questions and understanding more and more each day. But I'm her mum and she's my favourite person in the world so I'm obviously going to think she's amazing and to be honest As she's my first I don't have anyone to compare her to. 

So to hear the health visitor tell me how beautifully she speaks and to say its all down to how much we talk and listen to her was really rewarding. We've been winging this parenting lark as most first time parents do and it's great to feel like all our efforts are paying off. 

In case you've not been through the process yourself, prior to the appointment you're asked to complete a questionnaire about what your little one can and can't do, Daisy can honestly do most of the things on the list so I was worried she'd freeze when we got there and I'd be exposed as a fraud. Thankfully though she was a little star and other than a little blip when we had to bribe her to have her height measured she performed wonderfully, chatting away and showing off her skills.

I'm never sure what to expect from these kinds of checks and was fully prepared to fight my corner against the 'she should be out of nappies' and 'there shouldn't be a dummy in sight' (we're working on that one) comments but the health visitor was lovely, supportive and really complimentary of mine and Daisy's relationship - I'm feeling very very happy and very proud right now! 

Monday, 13 January 2014

Easy chicken and chorizo paella

Made this for the first time today and it went down so well I thought I'd share it. It's a mixture of lots of recipes I have and feeds 2 adults and 1 child.

60g Chorizo 
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 red or yellow pepper
Half tbsp paprika
Quarter tsp chilli powder
150g Paella rice
500 ml chicken stock
Handful peas
5 cherry tomatoes halved

Dry fry chorizo in large frying pan (with lid) and remove leaving oil in pan
Fry onions, garlic and peppers until soft
Add spices 
Add chicken and cook for around 5 minutes
Remove and add to chorizo
Put a knob of butter in the pan and add the rice, cook for a couple of minutes
Add stock and cook for 5 minutes
Finally add chicken, veg and chorizo and summer with lid on for 10 - 15 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid absorbed

* I added a few black olives at the as they're Ds favourite

* Ds not too keen on Chorizo so Bacon can be used an alternative

* You can add also prawns towards the end if you wish


Saturday, 4 January 2014

The big move to a Toddler bed.....

So the big day came, New Year's Day and new big girl bed for D. I though this would be a good time to give it a shot as I had a bit of time off work so would be able to handle and sleepless nights if needed. 4 days in and I thought I'd write a little report, we're not settled in completely yet but certainly getting there. 

First night - I had expected a struggle, Daisy is pretty headstrong so I knew this wouldn't be easy but I was surprised at her determination, she must have got out of bed 30 times before finally going to sleep over an hour later. Thankfully once asleep she did stay there until morning so pretty happy with that.

Day two - The next test came at nap time, Daisy normally goes down really well for her naps and generally I'm waking her up after a couple of hours. We had a quick story but once again she was up as soon as I left the room. I stayed in my bedroom next door and this time only had to return her 3 times, it felt like a major achievement. I realised her leaving the bed is a little bit of defiance so I still leave the room even if she's swung her legs out of bed again as she actually put herself back to bed today and went to sleep.

Bedtime came round and expectiAng a struggle I had my iPad, magazine and a drink ready for another evening camped in my bedroom but to my surprise she got up just the once and was asleep within 30 minutes.

Day three - Even better! she didn't get up once and she slept through till 8am despite the shocking wind and rain outside. For the first time in ages I woke up feeling refreshed and without a banging headache.

Day four - she's still awake after 10 minutes and I have been in to confiscate her singing teddy as they were getting a bit too energetic dancing on the bed. That said she's not come out and I'm downstairs so fingers crossed........

For those interested the bed is from Kiddicare and is absolutely lovely, really sturdy and just the right height for D to get herself in and out. Despite wanting to add a beautiful vintage patterned duvet cover (something I would love) I let D choose her own, I thought it would make the move a bit more special and keep her in control. Of course we ended up with Peppa Pig but thankfully it matches the room really well.

We also chose not to use a bed guard as the bed is so low and I wanted D to learn to feel the edge of the bed and not rely on a guard. At the moment we're using the old cot mattress on the floor in case she falls but we haven't needed it so far.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Finally some sun!

After what feels like weeks of wind and rain I opened the curtains to blue sky this morning so we headed to Cassiobury Park in Watford for some fresh air and puddle splashing!

We had a lovely walk in the woods, splashing in puddles, wading through the mud, collecting sticks and playing on the swings - perfect! 

Hunting for the best sticks.......

Making friends.........

When your wellies look like this you've had fun!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

New Years 123

I wrote a New Years resolution post yesterday and forgot to save it, I was going to write it again today but realised I'm not very good at the reflective stuff and even worse at keeping resolutions so instead I have compiled a very short list of hopes for 2014

1) Practical one - Open a joint bank account. After 13 years together and 4 years married we still haven't got round to joining up the finances and quite honestly now Mr has a new job and a pay rise I can't think of a better time to 'share'

2) Hopeful one - Leave work / change work / reduce hours. Any of those would make me happy, I do enjoy my job but I've lost interest to a degree and definitely want to make changes which will allow me to be at home more. I know it won't happen over night but I would love to think my this time next year I won't have that feeling of dread knowing I'm back at work on Monday

3) Little person one - To indulge Daisy Bea! Before you all think I've gone stark raving mad I don't mean in a materialistic way or start letting her get away with behaving like a feral imp, it just dawned on me today that she's only going to be 2 for another ten months and I intend to thoroughly enjoy that time with her. Embrace the mess, dance when wants to dance and if she wants to wear a tutu, wellies and a sun hat to Tesco, not only let her, encourage her! She's an amazing little package of fun, energy and love at the moment and I want to embrace every minute of it. 

Happy New Year Everybody!
That is all. 

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