Monday, 31 August 2015

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday


Woop! Woop! Last weeks meal plan actually all went to plan!! Well the chicken nuggets actually turned out the be chicken dippers but I will count last week as a win!! It was an easy week as the kids had planned it and were quick to remind me what we were having....

This week we are back into the school routine....Ellie goes back Wednesday and Becky goes back Thursday.....The are very excited for the start of school....I am not looking forward to it.....I am dreading the early mornings!! Eek! 

This week on the Menu we have:

Monday - Bubble & Squeak....
Tuesday - McDonalds....A last treat before school begins again....
Wednesday - Turkey Meatballs with Spaghetti....
Thursday - Philly Chicken with Bacon....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Burgers in buns with curly fries....
Sunday - Toad in the Hole....

As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky.... 

Ellie's best birthday yet.....

On Saturday it was Ellie's birthday.....She had an amazing day! Ellie had all of her day planned and it went exactly how she wanted it too.....Hooray!

She got up and opened her presents....Then had her breakfast....Croissants and milkshake!

 
Then we headed off to soft play! My idea of hell....There was no Wi-Fi, far too many screaming kids and my girls jumping and diving off things making me a nervous wreck but they had a fantastic time, especially Ellie! Lunch was a meal of hot dogs and chips which cost a small fortune but it was a special treat and my girls are worth it....

Then we went home to Ellie's special surprise! The Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Doc - Mobile Clinic She didn't have a clue and as soon as she ripped the wrapping paper the squealing an screeching began! She was so happy and so excited.....Of course she loves it and the best mam of the year award goes to me! Hooray!!


 Ellie requested a Chinese takeaway for tea and that is what she got.....We got enough to feed a small army and stuffed ourselves....Then there was cake! I bought some relightable candles which were a little too good....I ended up having to run them under the cold tap to put them out....lol


Ellie finished her perfect birthday in her new Frozen ready bed watching X-Factor.....That is where she fell asleep! Extremely happy and another year older.....

http://northumberlandmam.blogspot.co.uk/2015/08/ellies-best-birthday-yet.html

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Project 365 - Week 35

 Ahh! So that's it....The last full week of the school holidays is gone! I feel like crying a little.....The last 6 or so weeks have flown over.....I'm back again linking up with Project 365....A photo every day for a year.....

 
234/365. 22nd August 2015

We got to grips with Hue Animation Studio....We love it! 

235/365. 23rd August 2015

As normal a lazy Sunday with a lot of computer time....

 
236/365. 24th August 2015

With all her teddies she leaves hardly any room for herself....

237/365. 25th August 2015

A huge fry up! Yum!

 
238/365. 26th August 2015

Ellie had a busy afternoon drawing and sticking....

239/365. 27th August 2015

Probably our last PJ day of the school holidays....Sob! 


240/365. 28th August 2015

I finished wrapping Ellie's birthday presents yesterday....It is her birthday today.....My baby is eight! 


My baby is eight!

Today is my baby girl's 8th Birthday! How an earth did that happen....It's a cliche but it doesn't seem that long since she was born.....

This post is quite photo heavy but it's my girls birthday and I don't care I wanted to share her through the years of her life...


 Ellie was a lovely baby and toddler.....I know all babies are lovely but she was a pleasure to parent.....She did have her troubles. If I had a pound for every hospital appointment we had with her I would be rich.....If it wasn't her ears it was her heart or her dodgy eye.....She has her imperfections but to me she is perfect! She wouldn't be the Ellie I know and love without her problems....


Just after her third birthday Ellie started nursery.....She wasn't ready & struggled with the toilet and being tired....She was often found asleep in the reading area but I thought it might be good for her and I was right.....Yeah she may have been a year younger than some children in her class....She still is now but she never let it put her off anything....She does her best to keep up and tries her hardest that's all I can ask of her! 


I can't express how funny Ellie is....She is so cheeky and has an answer for everything....She has everyone wrapped around her little fingers especially her dad.....She can be naughty....So very naughty but there are times when I try to tell her off and can't for laughing because the things she has done are so ridiculous! i.e Using all of my make up!


She has had her day planned for months....We are going to throw in an extra surprise for her....hehehe I can't wait to see her face!

Happy 8th Birthday to my beautiful, crazy, kind, funny girl! 

Friday, 28 August 2015

We can't wait for the Weekend - #WotW

This week my word of the week is....


I have been doing a lot of planning this week for the weekend....We have a busy one and the girls and I have been wishing the week away which is a bit silly as it has been the last full week of the school holidays....

It's Ellie's birthday tomorrow and she has planned her ideal day......She's going to get up and open her presents, have a fancy breakfast, visit the soft play, come home and play, have Chinese for tea, blow her candles out on her Frozen cake and eat a lot of sweets while watching X-Factor....Sounds perfect to me and that's exactly what we're going to do....

BUT with a big surprise for her in the middle of her day.....Just before Christmas she started asking for a Doc-Mobile....It's full name is the Doc McStuffins Get Better Talking Doc - Mobile Clinic (it's bigger than it looks in the picture)....As it was just before Christmas we didn't get it as I had already bought her main present and this cost about £60.....A few months ago I bought it and it has been hidden away....She hasn't a clue. We have said since it is quite expensive it is the type of present that Santa brings.....We have bought her a new tablet as she dropped hers and smashed the screen a few months ago so she will think that is her main present....hehehe She can open her presents and do everything she wants to....I will then take the girls to the soft play and Stu can get the Doc-Mobile out ready for us to return....I can't wait to see her face!!

I had no intention of buying Ellie a new tablet....I thought she had enough but then when I was wrapping her presents I realised I have spent way more on Becky for her birthday! I like to treat both my girls the same and that includes having the same spent on them.....So Wednesday saw me rushing to order a tablet....I ordered it to arrive today so I didn't have to pay the £8 for next day delivery.....It actually arrived yesterday so I am glad I didn't pay the £8.....

Also this weekend I have my great Aunty Jean, my nephew and his mum coming to visit....Yay! I don't see my family very often so when they visit it is very exciting.....

My dad has been shopping for the girls birthdays and wanted to get them some Minecraft things.....He knew nothing about Minecraft until the other day.....He was stood in Toy's R Us looking at everything baffled....Bless him! He rang me very confused asking if he was looking at the right things. Zombies, skeletons and pigs Oh my! I said when he comes and visits I'm sure the girls will tell him all about it.....hahaha We're expecting the parcel to arrive today or tomorrow....

Thank you for all the messages on my Word of the week post last week.....I'm glad to say I am feeling much better and this week has been a much better week.....

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 27 August 2015

How to help your child make friends....

Whether you’re 5 or 15 or even 55 making friends takes some effort.....Big events like the start of school can trigger anxieties in little one's and have them worrying about making new friends....



If your child struggles to find friends there are a few tips that may help.

Practice simple phrases that may start conversations, such as What’s your name? or What’s your favorite TV show?

Playtime is the ideal chance for children to mix and to get to know each other....Let your child know that they should ask to play with other kids and not just jump in.....Usually, most kids will say yes anyway!

Being social with parents of your child’s classmates kills two birds with one stone. One it can help you set up play dates and after-school activities and secondly you may even make new friends.

You can help your child along by providing opportunities to meet other children....If your child’s school is within walking distance stay at the school after the bell rings and let your child spend time at the playground...Go to library. They often have story times....Get your child involved in after school clubs so they have a chance to interact with a variety of kids in different situations.

Shy children feel more comfortable in their own home so host a play date at your house and give an activity that requires less conversation and more participation. Arts and crafts would be great....

If your child is overly timid or shy be supportive but don't always step in and answer for them....For example you may be in a shop and the person serving you asks your child a question....Give your child the opportunity to answer and encourage them to do so if they remain quiet.....Taking small steps to learn to speak for themselves is the path to overcoming shyness.

Try not to interfere in your child’s play situations. Unless your child or the other children are in danger of getting hurt...Let your child work out their own social challenges. 

Make sure you children know to smile! It sounds simple, but by putting a smile on your face it will let others know that you’re approachable!

Good Luck!

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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Dressing for the school run....

The kids have been kitted out with their new uniforms and they have everything they need....I think it's about time I spoilt myself.....Every week day, twice a day I do the school run.....I want to look good.....Not for the benefit of other people but to feel good about myself.....I would love to be one of those "yummy mummies" (I hate that phrase)....I'm never going to be one but I can try.....hehehe


Round Hem Check Shirt - £12.00 -- Straight Leg Distressed Jeans - £18.00 -- Skechers Lotopia Canvas Shoes - £31.00 -- Women's Striped Zip Side Top - £9.60 -- Lee Cooper 2 Zip Gilet - £17.99

 
Mock Zip Trousers - £12.00 -- Elementz Neon Butterfly Satchel Cross Body Bag - £16.00 -- Lilley Womens Black Wedge With Side Knot - £14.99 -- Annie Oversized Jumper - £15.00 -- F&F Tapered Leg Trousers - £6.00


Stone Long Line Shirt - £25.00 -- Grey Denim Leggings - £10.50 -- Grey Fine Knit Waterfall Cardigan - £14.99 -- Emilio Luca X Red Utility Ankle Boots - £44.00 -- Fulton Photographic Rose Automatic Umbrella - £22.00


Floral Trousers - £10.00 -- Women's Woven Front Print Sweater - £11.20 -- Slash Neck Crop Fisherman Jumper - £12.00 -- Stretch trousers - £12.99 

What do you usually wear for the school run?
Are there any of my choices which take your fancy?

PR Collab.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Supporting Dairy Farming in Britain #DairyPromise

You must have seen the news about the farmers taking their cows into the supermarkets....The farmers protesting about the milk prices...The 11,200 Red Tractor dairy farms and their farmers across Great Britiain are having a rough time of it at the moment and they need all the support they can get!


There are ways you can help:

Trust the tractor -- The largest food assurance scheme in the UK......Red Tractor ensures the food you buy is traceable, safe to eat and has been produced responsibly from farms to fork! Look out for a quality logo on packaging, not just on milk, but on other products such as butter, cheese and yogurt.


Speak to your retailer and ask - How their sourcing policy supports farming in Britain across all dairy products?

Take the Dairy Promise -- This is an online promise and you don't even have to leave your seat all you need to do is click some buttons which agree that you are going to commit to looking out for the quality logos like the Red Tractor and then submit your email address. 

From now until 14th September the Dairy Promise will be supported with a prize draw....Everyone who takes the promise and submits their email will be entered into a draw to win a fantastic overnight farm stay at a dairy farm for you and three friends or family members

http://www.thisisdairyfarming.com/get-involved/its-in-our-hands/

HUE Animation Studio - Review!

The kids love being on the computer.....Usually you can find them playing on Minecraft or The Sims but over the last few days we have been playing with the HUE Animation Studio

HUE Animation Studio contains everything that you need to create your own stop motion animation videos...


The kit includes:

The HUE HD camera, a flexible plug and play USB camera with built-in microphone.
The fully-featured HUE Animation software designed for children by teachers.
The HUE Book of Animation - It has step-by-step instructions for creating 20 hilarious stop motion videos and ideas for even more.

HUE Animation Software Features:

Play your movie back at any time
Import music and sounds, or record your own
Add text and special effects
Copy, edit, move and delete animation frames
Share movies on YouTube
Timelapse
Green screening

The kit was easy to set up....It was just a case of putting the CD in the laptop and going through the setup process....It took a few minutes and then we were ready to go....


In fact it took us longer to decide where to put the camera and scene than to set the programme up....lol The camera looks very funky and was easy to move due to it's flexible neck but we positioned it on a stool....We positioned our Lego Castle in front of the camera and got started on making our first animation.....

We put our characters out, pressed the space bar to take the photo, moved them, took another photo and repeated until we had finished....It was so simple to do! The girls didn't need much instruction once I had explained it to them.....

This is our first animation....It was a joint effort between the girls and I.



 I thought it was pretty good for our first try......It is that simple to use you can't really go wrong unless you move your character too far then it just looks a bit odd...hehehe

Ellie decided to go it alone and make her own animation. She is seven years old and is a whizz with a computer so this was no trouble for her....



We then decided to have a bit of fun with it.....The girls love to pull funny faces so I put their talents to use....



The first video we made lasted 16 seconds but it took us a good half hour to make....It wasn't a problem we had great fun but it just goes to show how much work goes in to making the films and TV shows we see using this type of animation.....

Everything worked like it should and most importantly it was a lot of fun to use.....Everything about it is child friendly and my girls who are 7 & 12 understood it....The only issue I had was that when using the programme it automatically defaulted to my webcam and not the HUE camera....Just a quick click of the mouse to change the camera fixed that...

We still have a lot to learn and features to use but I can see us getting a lot of use out of the HUE Animation Studio especially after the girls birthdays....Someone is getting a lot of play doh and someone is getting a lot of Minecraft figures which will be ideal to use with this....The possibilities are endless....

The HUE Animation Studio is available to buy for £41.63 excluding VAT....

We were sent the HUE Animation Studio in exchange for our honest review....This is is! All thoughts and opinions are of course our own... 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday



Last week I wasn't feeling too good and I muddled through....I seemed to lose all interest in food. Eating and cooking it.....Thankfully yesterday I was feeling better and I made the Apple and Pork Casserole which was so good.....The kids loved it too which is fantastic as Becky can be fussy when it comes to casseroles.....

This is the last full week of the school holidays so I have given control over to the kids....They discussed it between themselves and came up with a meal plan....I expected them to say pizza for every night but didn't! Phew! I think I have trained them well.....It probably isn't the healthiest or exciting weeks but it's their favourite meals....

It's Ellie's birthday on Saturday.....We usually go out for a meal but Ellie has got it into her head she wants to go to the local soft play! She was very sensible and said if we go to soft play we can just get a takeaway for her tea.....That is fine with me....She has chosen Chinese as her takeaway of choice....It also means we won't miss the start of the new series of X-Factor!

This week on the menu we have:

  • Cottage pie & baked beans....
  • Spaghetti Bolognese....
  • Chicken nuggets, chips and spaghetti hoops....
  • Sandwiches, sausage rolls & cakes....
  • A fry up....Sausage, bacon, mushrooms, onion rings, bacon, tomatoes, beans, toast and a cup of tea....
  • Chinese takeaway for Ellie's birthday....
  • A fancy roast chicken dinner with everything you can think of....We have family visiting! 

As always I've joined in with the wonderful Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky....
 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Project 365 - Week 34

Saturday again.....Already! The closer we get to the kids going back to the school the quicker the days seem to go....We have had a pretty busy week....You can read about it on my Word of the Week post.....


227/365. 15th August 2015

The thoughtful princess.....hehehe

228/365. 16th August 2015

Happy Birthday Stu! 


229/365. 17th August 2015

Playing the Lego Marvel game together....They love it. Not as much as Minecraft though....lol

230/365. 18th August 2015

Becky had her tooth out to make room for her braces....She was so brave....

 
231/365. 19th August 2015

The girls both got to pick a treat for being good while out shopping for school supplies....Becky got the Vloggers Yearbook....I may have slightly wanted it too....hehehe

232/365. 20th August 2015

Ugh! The drain which caused so much stress on Thursday! It was blocked with wet wipes and was overflowing....Thanks kids! Hooray for Northumbrian water who sent someone out for free to unblock it....I was thinking we were going to have to pay.

 
233/365. 21st August 2015

The kids finished school over a month ago and I washed all the school clothes weeks ago....So why do I have school clothes on the washing line.....Oh yeah! Because I have a girl who pulls all her clothes out of her drawers and then instead of putting them all away she puts them into the dirty washing basket....Grr!!

 

3M Post-it and Scotch Back to School Supplies....

In just over a week and a half the kids are back to school.....Ellie starts Year 4 and Becky starts Year 8.....Eek! 

Things are about to get more serious for Becky....She has said the school was soft on her and her classmates because they were in year 7....The newbies. Now she knows what is expected of her and one of those things is having the correct stationary....

We were recently sent three must-have items to get Becky prepared for the new school year.....


The portable and colourful Scotch Flip Dispenser with nearly invisible Scotch Magic Tape....I thought this was so cute....I think it will come in really handy. Especially for Becky. She is always ripping her planner.....

The bright coloured Post-it Super Sticky Notes Neon Lined Pad will be fantastic....Becky does like to write herself notes about what homework she has to do and what she needs for lessons.....I wish I was more organised like her.....

The 3M Back to School Stationery Essentials Pack includes the all-important pencil case items from Post-it notes, Index flags to Scotch Magic Tape and glue.....Both Becky and I loved this set....


 These are all great items and have been put into Becky's school bag ready for the beginning of September....
 
All these products are available now from WH Smith, Tesco, Ryman, Staples and Amazon....
Family Fever
We were sent these stationary items free of charge.....This is our honest review....All thoughts an opinions are our own.

Friday, 21 August 2015

This week has been a pain in the bum mostly....

This week my Word of the Week is.....


I bought Stu a jigsaw for his birthday....One of the saws not the puzzles.....hehehe! He used it for about 30 seconds and it just stopped working.....Such a pain! I had to box it back up but Amazon were quick to arrange collection and the refund.....He's not got one from Argos and it does what it's supposed too......

This week was the anniversary of my girls heart surgery.....I got a bit emotional on Monday....I kept watching the clock thinking this is when we did this, this is when we did that, this is the time Becky came out of surgery.....Thank goodness I was busy on Tuesday so I didn't have to think about the six years since Ellie's surgery.....I thought 6 years ago when I was going through it once it was all over I wouldn't get emotional....I still do. 

Becky finally got the tooth taken out....So she now has the space she needs for her braces to be put in next month......She was so brave and hardly complained....Well she couldn't really as she was so numb it took her hours to be able to speak properly.....hehehe She did find it funny that she couldn't even say her name.....Bless her! 

I finished of the back to school shopping.....Hooray! It pained me to pay sixty odd pounds but everything is bought and the kids are all ready to go back to school.....They have less than a couple of weeks left of their holidays.....We have got hardly anything we wanted to do done.....I have been having lady problems and I've been feeling pretty rubbish....I have the contraceptive implant in and I rarely have periods usually....Maybe one every 6 months or so.....The last 5 weeks I have and the period pain has been horrible.....I've been to the doctors and it's not normal but it's nothing to worry about.....They gave me the option to have it removed or leave it a few weeks and see how I get on....I've been using the implant for about 4 years (I got it changed last year) and it has been fine....I hope this is just a short term thing....I don't think I could cope with being so tired when the kids are back at school.....I've actually been falling asleep on the settee watching TV on an evening and that never happens....

The biggest pain in my backside this week has been the toilet.....We thought it was blocked.....Stu had his arm down it and couldn't feel any blockage.....Eww! So her started throwing buckets of water down it to try and dislodge anything....I went outside to put something in the bin and saw all the drains overflowing.....We lifted the metal drain cover up and it was full to the top with water and poo....Double Eww! We spoke to the water board and they sent someone out to have a look......He looked stuck a stick down and found a blockage of wet wipes...Grr! If I've told the kids once I've told them a million times....Wet wipes in the bin not down the toilet....I am so glad it was easily fixed as I didn't fancy paying for someone to unblock it....

So this week has been a bit of a pain.....It all hasn't been bad though....Stu had a great birthday, a few competition prizes arrived....I won a breakfast box from Hovis with some bread, jam, juice & honey.....We ended up having breakfast twice on Tuesday....hehehe My nephews mother has been in touch and she is coming up to visit next weekend & is calling in to pick my great aunt on the way too.....Yay! Ellie is on with making a lot of wish lists her birthday is next weekend and she's counting down the days....

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Our Loo Roll Owl Family.....

I bought some craft kits from Tesco to keep the kids amused over the holidays.....One of them was the Loo Roll Owl family....It was only a couple of pounds and looked cute!


I finally saved up enough toilet rolls and the day came to make our little owl friends....I told the kids to get the craft box out so we could get crafting....

I had a slight fail.....I thought there was paint in the craft box but there wasn't and I didn't read the instructions properly saying I needed a kitchen roll tube as well....Oops. We improvised....


We made do with the lovely paint pens we still had from when we reviewed some Baker Ross goodies and for the tree three toilet rolls jammed together seemed to work.....

I think even though it was a bit of a fail it is so cute....I think we did well....


In case you were wondering mine is the orange one, Becky's is the blue one and Ellie's is the pink one....

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