Tuesday, 26 November 2013

One Down, 3 To Go!

Every year I pledge to make the children a homemade advent calendar and every year I end up dashing around the shops like a woman possesed to try and find 3 suitable calenders on 30th November. Not this year! This year I am being super organised and have begun making them already. To be honest, the hardest part was choosing from the hundreds of creative ideas to suit each child.

Little monster was the easiest to choose for so his is the first to be made.

Suprise Box Tree Advent Calendar

You can make this using any colour card but we opted for Christmassy green and red

You will need
Double sided tape or glue
Cardboard (optional)
Treats to fill

How to Make
1. Draw or print 24 cube templates on the card and cut out

2. Score the card along all of the folds and flaps and fold into a cube shape.

3. With a pencil, mark a cross on all of the flaps that will need adhesive.

4. Unfold the cube and put double sided tape along all of the marked flaps.

5. One by one, remove the tape backing and stick the cube together.

6. Repeat this process for all 24 boxes.

7. Once you have made all 24 boxes it's time to assemble them. With the lids facing the front start to build a Christmas tree shape using double sided tape or another adhesive to stick the vibes together(use the picture as a guide)

8. OPTIONAL Once you have created your Christmas tree attach the entire shape to a piece of decorated cardboard. How you decorate it is entirely up to you. You can either punch two holes in the cardboard and hand up or leave it to stand.

9. Write or use stickers to number each box. This can be done in number order or randomly.

10. Finally, fill each cube with a treat. I've opted for a mix of sweets, chocolates, toys and craft items.

As little monster has decided he wants to use Christmas stickers to finish decorating his calendar there isn't a finished picture yet of his advent calendar completed but follow me on Twitter or check out my Facebook page for the end result.

Are you planning on giving your child an advent calendar this year? Will it be chocolate filled or are you opting for something healthier?

M xx

Is Your Child a Brand Snob?

On a recent shopping trip I popped into a sports shop to pick up a pair of plain black trainers for son number 1 for school as his kickers are well and truly worn out. 
I looked along the shelf at all the different brands and picked up a couple of pairs "eurgh, Jason won't wear that, it's not Nike!" my 4 year exclaimed at the top of his voice. I felt totally embarrassed. 
Jason, who turned 9 in September, really couldn't give a toss as to what brand something is or how he looks. For him it is about comfort and more often than not we will argue because he will try and wear jogging bottoms and manky old trainers everywhere.
None the less, little monsters comment got me thinking, at 4 what on earth does he know about brands?
After a very interesting discussion with said child, I discovered the he only likes Nike, doesn't like shopping anywhere but Sainsburys, isn't keen on clothes from Primark because they feel and look cheap and that H&M is by far better.
As an adult I obviously have preferences as to certain things but I'm pretty laid back when it comes to brands, in fact if I'm honest the only branded products I really own are my Nike gym shoes, Mulberry handbag and Espirit watch so I'm not exactly dripping in designer.
I tried to explain to the little one that whilst he is quite a fortunate child that life isn't about brands and labels, it's about being happy.

My fear is that due to the media that is all around us each and every day our children are being brainwashed into believing that they need all of these things, just like the Christmas adverts.

Television, in app adverts and computers are something I can control but how do you as a parent control how advertising in the media affect your children?

M xx

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Weekly Meal Planner

Here is what I'll be offering up to my boisterous bunch this week

Weekly Meal Planner

Vegetable chilli with rice

Salmon and green bean pasta

Chicken and mushroom pie with new potatoes and seasonal veg


Creamy coconut curry with noodles

Mini Christmas dinner (we have people coming over for a Christmas make and bake afternoon so it seemed fitting!)

Lamb casserole

What will you be serving up this week?

M xx

Friday, 15 November 2013

Little Monsters Cinnamon Whirls

I'm enjoying just how much little monster wants to bake and as it's part of his learning at school this term, what better excuse!

Here is his recipe for Cinnamon Whirls (in his own words!)

You will need
Puff pastry
75g butter
75g sugar
3 tbs ground cinnamon
A pinch of grated nutmeg
Icing sugar 
Glacé cherries

1- Mix the butter and sugar together until it's all smooth and fluffy.

2- Then you have to mix the cinnamon and grated nutmeg in really well.

3- You have to roll the puff pastry out into a rectangle shape then brush on the creamy butter with cinnamon in it.

4- Sprinkle all the yummy raisins all over the pastry.

5- Roll the pastry into a sausage shape( from the short side)

6- Put it in the fridge and let it get cold for 20 mins.

7- Take the pastry out of the fridge and cut it into 2cm thick slices.

8- Put the slices on a greased baking tray leaving gaps because the pastry grows.

9- Brush with the egg and get an adult to put the tray in the oven.

10- While they're cooking make up the icing sugar into a thick paste.

11- After 25 mins take the cinnamon whirls out of the oven and let them cool down.

12- When they are cool drizzle with the icing sugar paste and finish with a cherry on the too.

They're yummy!

Sam and M xx

Monday, 11 November 2013

Tip of the Day

Perfect for when attending a dinner, function or even going on a car journey with the kids. Pick up a reusable bag and fill it with a pack of coloured pencils, colouring in book, activity book, pack of playing cards, a couple of quiet toys and some books. Keep it handy and whenever your off out just add a snack and juice and your ready to go!

M xx

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Weekly Meal Planner

When I originally set out to do these weekly meal planners I thought it would be an easy task, the last couple of months have actually shown me how repetitive some of our meals have begun and it's not actually as easy as you'd think planning a weeks worth of meals would be.
All of these factors have really made us think about what meals we could do with a break from and what meals we could do with re-introducing into our lives.

Weekly Meal Planner

Turkey curry with noodles

Lasagne and salad

Meatballs and cous cous

Mushroom, bacon and onion potatoes

Homemade fish cakes and linguine

Homemade pizzas

Grilled chicken, potatoes and salad

Are there any meals that make a regular appearance at dinner time? What new recipes have you tried lately? I'd love to hear about some of your favourite recipes.

M xx

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Your kids and Facebook

"It's not fair", "but my friends have one", "your so boring" were just some of the statements made by my tween when discussing why she cannot have a Facebook account.
I guess I knew that when you have kids they eventually get to 'that' stage where they want to be grown ups and in this day and age its happening at younger ages.
My daughter is almost 12 and having started secondary school this September I've slowly but surely noticed changes in what she wants to do and how she behaves. Whilst many of her arguments with me are well thought out and very diplomatic, I usually still manage to get her to understand why I am the way I am with her and why I make the decisions I do with her. Compared to some parents I know and some of her friends parents I know I'm not necessarily as liberal as them but I think that our children are children and there will be plenty of time to be adults.

I tried explaining to her that all Facebook users need to be at least 13 years of age and there's obviously a reason for this to which she replied "what?" Before I could answer the clearly rhetorical question she replied by reeling of a comprehensive list of internet safety and security measures and the benefits of the privacy options Facebook offers.
It was also suggested that if I would be a wonderful parent and let her open a Facebook account then she would 'allow' me to have the password giving me full access to what she's up to. Her extremely mature and concise debate doubled with the fact that she had actually come and asked me if she could have a Facebook account instead of just opening one almost made me cave in. In asking me if she could have an account she is showing a level of responsibility that a lot kids her age wouldn't.
I know many of her friends already have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram accounts but rightly or wrongly I just feel there's something sinister about letting our children have access to all of this so young.

Even though I have a Facebook account myself I don't see what the fascination for her with having one is. I admittedly feel horrible and unreasonable for not allowing her to have one but I want to protect her from the world as much as possible!

Am I being unreasonable? Have you allowed your child to open a Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter or Instagram account?
What are your thoughts on children using social media. 

M xx

Monday, 4 November 2013

Weekly Meal Planner

This weeks meal planner is a bit delayed as the children wanted to create it! With a new routine in place thanks to more extra curricular choices we needed to create a meal planner that was as streamlined as possible.
Here we're their choice...

Weekly Meal Planner

Cottage pie, baked beans and vegetables

Spaghetti bolognese with homemade garlic bread

Beef casserole

Toad in the hole with roast potatoes and vegetables

Ham, egg and chips


Roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings

What's on your menu this week?

M xx