Getting Into The Christmas Spirit

With this being our last Christmas as a family of three, we are determined to make it a very special one for Jack. Whilst Steve is working quite a lot over the festive period, we are trying to fit in as much Christmassy stuff as possible in and around the big day itself. We are going to Steve’s parents for our Christmas dinner which I am so excited for and we’ve got so much more planned too.

Just this week, Jack has his nativity and Christmas jumper day. We will be seeing Santa over the next few weeks too and taking part in any festive goings on round our village too. One of our big things though is to watch Christmas films together – Warner Bros. have the ultimate selection, whether you’re looking for him, for her, or for festive favourites to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit. It has a fantastic selection of festive favourites to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit, including Polar Express, Get Santa, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Jack Frost – some of mine and Steve’s absolute favourites from when we were little. Available to buy here, these are just some of the films we plan on watching this year but of course we will be watching other such classics as The Nightmare Before Christmas and maybe even It’s A Wonderful Life with Jack – our film watching this year is certainly going to be festive!

We’ve almost finished our Christmas shopping with just a few more things to pick up for Jack; and Steve and I both have each other to buy for – but neither of us really knows what we want, we’ve finally got to the age where it’s a struggle to give people Christmas gift ideas for ourselves!

I’m so excited for Christmas and can’t wait – and if you love Christmas and these films as much as me, why not head over to my Twitter and enter the retweet competition I currently have running for these films? Hope you all have a fab Christmas!

Collaboration

Batch Cooking In Preparation For A Baby

With baby girl due next month, I’m starting to turn my attention towards batch cooking. Its something I used to spend a lot of time doing when I was on Slimming World and its something I want to get back into before baby girl arrives so that I don’t have to worry too much about making meals when she is a newborn.

I tend to make a variety of things when batch cooking – soups, chilli con carnes, curries and even a good old stew. I either use the hob for things that need constant supervision or opt to get out my slow cooker for meals that can be left to their own devices. I then have a meal of it that evening with family before letting it cool and sticking it in the freezer for the future. I tend to have at least five or 6 portions left over so I’m hoping over the next few weeks to make a good fortnights worth of meals for the three of us to enjoy once baby girl has arrived. Our slow cooker is looking a little tired though so I’m thinking about picking up a new slow cooker this week in preparation for next month.

They say that cooking for a family with a newborn is one of the best gifts you can get them and its so true – with all the exhaustion and stress that comes with a newborn baby, the parents will hardly want to be thinking about cooking a meal for them to eat but its a necessity for them, especially if they have other children like we do. I know that Jack will be having a decent cooked meal at school each day too so will definitely be getting all of the nutrition he needs.

So what I want to know is what are your favourite things to batch cook? I know of the obvious choices like stews, soups, curries and those kind of meals – but do you have anything in particular that your family love? Let me know in the comments below.

Collaboration

Which Bike Decade Are You?

Collaborative Post

How old were you when you got your first bike? How old were you when you learned to ride? Halfords have recently taken a look back at bikes through the decades, looking at those iconic bikes from yesteryear.

I remember my first bike like it was yesterday. It was pink with the whitest wheels and stabilisers. I was very nervous about riding on it and used to worry too much about falling off but I eventually got the hang of it. My next bike was a bit bigger but purple this time and I loved it and was so sad when I got too big for it. I haven’t had a bike since then but really want to get one as the exercise I would get would be great.

Looking at the Halford’s bikes through the decades, of course the 1990’s stood out to me. I was born in 1990 so its my time and I remember everything they’ve mentioned – with the exception of Christ Boardman winning Olympic gold as I was only 2 but I do know who he is!

Who can forget the release of Candle in the Wind or the first Harry Potter book and as a big Nirvana fan, I of course know what grunge is. Its also interesting to see how popular the BMX became in the 90’s – to me, the BMX has always been around.

bmx-1990s-01

Its quite amazing to see the difference in price from back then to now. I remember being able to get bikes for less than £100 and BMX’s being around the £100 price range as they were the must have bike. Now you’re hard pushed to get any sort of bike for under £200 which can be quite frustrating – Jack really wants a bike but we just can’t justify the expense right now with baby girl on the way!

BMX’s are still super popular and its easy to see why. I never wanted one when I was younger but I can definitely see Jack wanting one when he’s a bit bigger and I’d be more than happy for him to have one.

What bikes do you remember from your childhood? What was your first bike like?

Our House Plans For 2017

Collaborative Post

With a new baby on the way, we’ve got a lot to think about come 2017, especially when it comes to our house. Right now we are privately renting a two bedroom house in our village. The rent is reasonable and we’ve been here since Jack was one month old so we would like to stay here. Of course, there is the slight problem that we only have two bedrooms and we will have two children, one of each gender. This won’t matter too much for the first few months but we have been talking recently about changes we may have to make in 2017.

Change bedrooms

Currently we have the master bedroom which is absolutely massive. It easily fits in our bed plus plenty of furniture and when Jack was little, we managed to fit in our bed, his cot, a computer desk plus all our bedroom furniture with plenty of space to still get around. We are thinking that we may take over the small room that is currently Jack’s room and give him and his little sister the massive room to share as we could easily create a divide in there for them.

Change our windows

If we are going to stay which is more than likely, changing the windows is something we’ve considered. We had them changed a few years back when we hadn’t been in the property too long and we’ve noticed some problems with the work since then that really shouldn’t be cropping up after such little time. We would definitely consider getting some new aluminium windows if allowed as we want to ensure our home is as safe and energy efficient (not letting the heat out and wasting energy) as possible.

Do something with the garden

I’ve mentioned before how tiny our garden is and how Jack doesn’t really use it as it just isn’t okay for him to be out there – its on a slope down to the back gate, the ground is uneven and there’s no room to do anything. The most we’ve done is sat by our sliding doors on a summers evening with friends as that’s the only bit of level ground. I’d love to do something with it to make it a nicer place to relax or play by next summer.

Go minimal

Finally I would like to go minimal. I realise this won’t be completely simple with two children but if I can manage to get rid of half the stuff in this house I would be happy. I’ve really been getting into decluttering recently – selling items, sending stuff to charity shop, recycling and sending stuff to the tip. If I could get our house down to the most essential of things, I’d be very happy!

What are your plans for your house in 2017?

Caring For Elderly Family Members

Collaborative Post

I’ve mentioned before that I often help care for my elderly father, grandmother and grandfather at different times throughout the year. Whilst they are all still quite independent in their own ways, they sometimes need a little bit of help with day to day activities such as meals, errands and those sort of things. I mainly care when other family members are away – my Nan sometimes goes to my uncles for some rest and I take over looking after my Grandad who cannot do much for himself at all in comparison to my Nan and Dad. As family, we are more than happy to help each other but it can certainly get a little stressful. I’m heavily pregnant and have a young child to look after already, my Mum has my elderly father to look after – sometimes a break is needed which is why we take it in turns to share the workload and give my Nan that little bit of time to herself.

When my great grandmother was alive, we also did the same. It did, however, get too much and we had to hire carers as we just couldn’t cope. A topic that arose on multiple occasions was the topic of respite care and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t something we had considered at times. Barchester have recently released their respite care guide in PDF form to help educate people on what respite care is and whether it is for them – it won’t necessarily be for everyone.

Ever since my Nan started caring for my Grandad, she’s caught bug after bug after bug. Luckily she hasn’t been more seriously ill but it really is taking its toll on her – she’s only two years younger than him and doesn’t really have time to think about her own well being which is why we try to ensure that she gets a break and we will take over as and when we can. With baby girl on the way, I’m going to be out of the picture for the foreseeable future and my Dad isn’t as well as he could be which puts my Mum out of the picture too – with other family living quite far away, there may have to be some compromising on both my grandparents part – my Nan would consider respite care but I don’t think my Grandad would be too happy about it. However if my Nan needs a break, she’ll need to do something and it certainly seems like a more viable option to me than her overworking herself and making herself seriously ill.

Caring for elderly family members can be really tough and very exhausting but it is so handy to know there are so many options out there for help. Respite care may not be for everyone but its certainly something our family have considered in the past and will probably opt for in the future.