Monday, 31 December 2012

My Favourite Posts of 2012

My blog is a place for me to record our memories and special events as my children grow up. I enjoy looking back over old posts I've written. It's a nice way to remember and it often inspires me to write another post.

This post is me sharing some of my favourite posts of 2012. I can't believe it has almost come to an end. What a year we've had though!

In January, we registered Wee Z for primary school. That was a pretty big milestone!

In February, I decided I'd had enough of eating junk and not feeling healthy about my weight. 

In March, I talked about why I love being a woman for International Women's Day.

In April, I shared a poo story. There has to be a poo story at least once a year on a parenting blog, right?

In May, my baby girl, Miss C, turned 3. I wrote her a letter to celebrate.

In June, my little boy, Wee Z, turned 5. He also got a letter written by me.

In July, I wrote about leaving my children overnight for the first time. It was scary but they were OK!

In August, it was time for the first day of school.

In September, Wee Z had his first ever karate competition. It was a lot of fun!

In October, we spent 4 weeks suffering with chicken pox. That wasn't a fun month at all!

In November, Miss C seemed to go through quite a bad tantrum-throwing period. She shared her tips for throwing the perfect tantrum.

In December, we finished our final set of reviews for Toys R Us as part of their Toyologist programme. We had a lot of fun playing with all the new toys!

We had a year full of ups in 2012 and only the occasional down. Here's hoping 2013 brings as much fun for our family.

Happy New Year to you all!


A Year in Photos - 2012



Sunday, 30 December 2012

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekFiftyTwo

Last Sunday, Husband took the kids swimming to allow me some peace to get ready for my night out with the girls. We headed out after dinner for a few drinks. I'd promised myself I'd be home for 8:30 however I ended up staying out until almost midnight. It was a great night though and I'm really glad I did stay out.

On Monday, it was Christmas Eve. We took a walk into town to buy the steak for our dinner and we treated ourselves to lunch at a Chinese restaurant. I had to work in the evening so Husband had the excitement of getting things ready for Santa and putting the kids to bed. When I came home, we got presents ready and watched some TV.

On Tuesday, it was Christmas Day! We woke up at 7:30 and laughed as Wee Z got up for the toilet and went straight back to bed. The kids opened their stockings in our bed and then we opened our presents after breakfast. We spent the morning opening boxes and building new toys and in the afternoon, family arrived with more gifts. We had our Christmas dinner at our usual dinner time as it was just the four of us and then we watched Room on the Broom.


On Wednesday, my alarm went off at 4:30 in the morning so I would be up for the Next Boxing Day sale. I was driving and taking 2 friends with me. I managed to get quite a few things for the kids. In the afternoon, we went in to town to treat ourselves to some new clothes with our own Christmas money. I do love the sales!

On Thursday, I spent the day trying to clean Wee Z's room and find new homes for all of his new games and books. In the evening, we went to visit a new baby in hospital as one of my friends had given birth to a baby boy. The kids were quite excited and on the way out decided they'd like Mummy and Daddy to have another baby. Husband almost fell over.

On Friday, I was up early to go food shopping. I don't know why the shops get so crazy at this time of year. Most places are only closed for one day and yet people are panic buying like they are closed for a month. In the afternoon, we had a chilled out day and Husband took the kids for a bike ride whilst I continued to tackle the mountain of new clothes and toys.


On Saturday, we had a pretty lazy morning. The kids enjoyed playing with their Leappads and then Wee Z and Husband started building some of his Halo MegaBloks sets Wee Z got for Christmas. In the afternoon, Husband took the kids swimming and I finally managed to sort out all the new toys. I just threw them on top of the old ones in the cupboards but at least I'm not tripping over them or standing on them now.


#SilentSunday



Friday, 28 December 2012

Flashback Friday - 2012

The theme for Flashback Friday this week is 2012. I've decided to go with a photo that marked a really important and special occasion in our lives.




Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas to you all!

I'm having a little break from my blog for the next couple of days as I really don't think Husband would be too impressed with me sitting in my cupboard, tapping away on the computer whilst he slaved over a hot cooker making me a big, juicy steak for my Christmas dinner.

I love Christmas with my little family and the kids are so excited for Christmas Day. It's amazing to watch the magic of Christmas through your childrens' eyes.

Our Christmas will be spent at home together. We'll wake up and open our presents, get dressed up, (in fancy clothes not costumes!) and enjoy playing with any new games or toys Santa brings. We'll have some family visit to exchange presents and then we'll have our Christmas dinner. Husband and I will have a fillet steak with vegetables and potatoes whilst the kids will have chicken drumsticks.

Apple crumble and ice cream for pudding! My favourite!

We will then cuddle up on the couch and watch whatever happens to be on TV that will keep the kids entertained. I'll be off to bed early as I'll be up on Boxing Day for the SALES!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, filled with fun and laughter.

Merry Christmas!

Laura, Husband, Wee Z and Miss C x

Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekFiftyOne

Last Sunday, I sneaked up to our loft and started wrapping the Christmas presents. We were going to leave them all until Christmas Eve however, I'm working until late and I didn't fancy coming in to have to start wrapping a gazillion presents. In the afternoon, we took a walk into town so Husband could buy some wrapping paper for my presents. The kids got to choose an annual from the shops. Miss C chose one with lots of cute animals and Wee Z chose a Scooby Doo one.

On Monday, Miss C and I bought a Greggs sausage roll for lunch and then went to the park to feed the ducks (bread, not sausage roll!) We walked through the park eating our lunch and chatting away. It was nice to get outdoors without it being absolutely freezing and pouring with rain. Then we went to pick up my new wellies I treated myself to with my birthday money!


On Tuesday, Miss C and I had a bit of a lazy day in the house. The reason for this was my bum was really sore after doing my new Kettlebell DVD. I could hardly sit down so I wasn't for walking anywhere far, except to do the school run. Wee Z had his Christmas party at school. We must be reaching the teenage years already as when I asked him how the party was he simply replied, "It was OK!" OK then...

On Wednesday, Miss C and I had a morning of crafts thanks to Galt and our review for Izziwizzi Kids Play Fest. We did some sewing and made a pencil case and then we decorated a picture of a kitten with sequins. We also made some chocolate truffles to gift teachers and neighbours. I also made enough for us to eat too!


On Thursday, Miss C had her nursery Christmas party. She was very excited to see Santa and the parents were allowed to go in and watch them getting their present from Santa. Miss C waited patiently for her name to be called and when she got her present she turned around to me and said, "Mummy, this is not a horse!" I had to explain that this was just a small present from Santa to say well done for being so good at nursery. I'm really hoping she isn't too disappointed on Christmas morning when she doesn't get an actual horse.

On Friday, it was the last day of school and nursery. Husband was also off. We picked Miss C up from nursery and then went in to town. Husband and Miss C were going for some shopping whilst I was getting waxed and beautified at the beauty salon. In the evening, we had pizza for dinner and watched some of The Polar Express.


It was a horrible day on Saturday. I went to work in the morning and when I came home, the kids were back in bed asleep! When they woke up, we stayed in and did some crafts and colouring in. We had Christmas music on so we were feeling very festive. After dinner, we snuggled up to watch The Grinch.


#SilentSunday



Friday, 21 December 2012

Flashback Friday - The Antenatal Classes

This post is for Flashback Friday and I'm continuing my story of my pregnancy with Wee Z.

Antenatal classes were something I was really looking forward to. You hear about them and read about them when you are pregnant, sometimes when you are not pregnant, and you wonder if they really are all breathing and positioning. At least, that's what I always wondered.

I started the antenatal classes when I was about 30 weeks pregnant. Husband was able to come with me because they were in the evening. The classes were held in the maternity unit.

The first few classes were about pain relief and how to look after your baby which was pretty much covering off most of the things we already knew. We chatted with other couples about their pregnancy and when their baby was due and we laughed when the midwife seemed to be "going through the motions".

It was the class when we were taken to the labour ward that really freaked me out. Having already stayed in the maternity unit a few weeks before, I knew how noisy the new babies could be but never was I prepared to hear a woman in labour screaming. You see them on films and TV shows but hearing it just behind a door you are walking passed...that's something else.

All the girls looked at one another and seemed to cringe in discomfort. The guys...they didn't really know where to look except in at the room with the TV where the footie was on.

We got to see a delivery room and the cot where the baby would sleep. It was really sinking in that we were going to have a baby soon.

The breathing class was the last class we had and, although very informative at the time, was absolutely forgotten about during the actual giving birth part.



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Our Final Toyologist Round-Up

This is our final Toyologist round-up of the reviews we have enjoyed doing for Toys R Us. We started our reviews back in October and that has seen us receive 30 new toys to play with and write about as honestly as we possibly could. It has been a lot of fun!

The first item in our third box was the brand new Furby. I was super nervous about this toy as I remember the original Furby and I really wanted to, well, kill it whenever my sister played with it. The new Furby is much more interactive and you can download an app on to your phone (it is now available on both Android and the App market for apple products) to feed your Furby and to translate its jibberish Furbish language. I (dare I say it?!) really enjoyed the new Furby, as did the kids.

Miss C was delighted with the BABY Born Interactive Cabriolet for her BABY Born Star doll and Wee Z loved the Dino Bite and Spin Mania games from Drummond Park.


Another favourite was the Play-Doh Candy Cyclone. Miss C loves Play-Doh and spent ages making lots of little sweeties and gum balls. There are lots of little sweetie moulds around the set and you get 4 mini tubs of Play-Doh so it is ready to play with straight away.

Wee Z got to play with the Avengers Quinjet which comes with a small Iron Man figure. He is just getting into Super Heroes and he loves flying the Quinjet around the living room. I thought it could have been better with an extra action figure included. Otherwise, I thought it was a really fun, well made toy.

Miss C loved her Lalaloopsy Sew Cute Patient. These dolls are the little sisters of the larger Lalaloopsy dolls and this one comes with a little injured teddy bear. I loved her vibrant blue hair and little button eyes. Miss C had her doll in the BABY Born car, in her buggy and she tried to take her in the bath but I said no. She's had so much fun playing with her, Santa got an order for the big sister Lalaloopsy doll!


We also received the Daring Drop Thomas, a Tatty Teddy Baking Set and My First Paint by Numbers.

We've had an excellent time being Toyologists for Toys R Us. I hope our reviews have been helpful to parents with their Christmas shopping! I want to thank Geoffrey and his team for picking us as it really is an amazing opportunity, although it is also a lot of hard work! I'd definitely apply again.

As for the toys, the favourites have been kept and the others have been passed on for others to play with.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Getting Ready For Christmas

It's only one week until Christmas Eve. ONE WEEK!! EEEK!!

I can't get over how quickly this year has gone in. It doesn't seem like almost 366 days since we last celebrated Christmas.

I'm pretty much set for Christmas now. I have a list of things I need to do to get ready for Christmas and most of the list is ticked off. Here's what I've done so far:
  1. Buy Christmas cards for myself and for the kids to give out
  2. Buy presents for everyone
  3. Write the Christmas cards
  4. Post the Christmas cards that need to be posted
  5. Buy more stamps cause I've run out
  6. Wrap the presents
  7. Clear out the kids' rooms
  8. Get rid of any unwanted not played with toys
  9. Wash the living room carpet
  10. Put the tree up and decorate it
Usually I've bought all the presents before December but I was much later this year, mainly because we've been involved with the Toys R Us Toyologist programme and I didn't want Santa to go duplicating presents.

I've only a few things left to do from my list:
  1. Wrap Miss C's presents
  2. Deliver the cards and presents to friends and family
  3. Buy the Christmas food and meat
Not bad considering we've got a week to go! How are you getting on with your Christmas preparations? I'll tell you, I'm excited but looking forward to it all being over with now. I just want to enjoy my tins of chocolate and bottle of champagne.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Sunday Round-Up #WeekFifty

Last Sunday, it was time for Bella, Pops, Miss Baby K and my Sister to head home. They left early in the morning so they could get back in time to pick Cooper up from the kennels. Miss Baby K seemed pleased to be going home. It is nice to have your own bed and home comforts so we weren't too offended. In the afternoon, we tidied up and then went into town to finish off the Christmas shopping. Husband took the kids to the park.


On Monday, it was back to school for Wee Z. Miss C and I spent the morning indoors and in the afternoon, we went for a scooter ride to the shops. Wee Z was going to the pantomime with school so we didn't have to pick him up until after 4pm. He had a really great time.


On Tuesday, Miss C and I had a day indoors as it was so cold outside. We decorated her mirror Bella and Pops bought for her and snuggled on the couch to watch Tangled.

On Wednesday, we went to watch Wee Z in his nativity at school. Husband managed to get a half day off work so he was able to come too. The kids were really great and did so well to remember all their lines and their songs.

On Thursday, Miss C went to nursery. I picked her up and we were invited to spend the afternoon at a friend's house. They had party games and party food and after 2 hours, I was ready for a kip on the couch. We walked back to school to pick up Wee Z and then headed home to heat up.

 
On Friday, it was time for Miss C's nativity at nursery. I stayed in the morning as parent helper and was given the job of selling the lucky programmes. There was a lovely hamper filled with goodies up for grabs. Once everyone had one, I bought one for myself as all the funds were going to the nursery - a very worthy cause. The kids were brilliant in the nativity and I had tears in my eyes watching my girl singing and doing the actions to the songs. At the end, the nursery head got one of the kids to draw the raffle for the hamper and...I won! I promise there was no fix!

On Saturday, I was working. Husband picked me up when I finished and we went to town to get some last bits for Christmas. Except we couldn't get what we wanted as the shop had run out of what we wanted. We came home empty handed and decided to watch Miracle on 34th Street; one of my favourite Christmas films. In the evening, we had some friends over for drinks, munchies and the new Michael McIntyre DVD.


#SilentSunday



Friday, 14 December 2012

A Front Row Part in the Nativity

On Wednesday, we went to school to watch the school nativity. We had no idea what to expect however, Wee Z's school is a catholic school so I was assuming there would be some reference to the birth of Baby Jesus, some shepherds and some wise men.

We got there early enough to sit right at the front. Well the second row. We picked the seats behind the Head and the Deputy Head, although we didn't know this at the time. I don't do well with that sort of authority so I already felt like a naughty school girl as soon as they sat down.

The gym was decorated with pictures of the twelve days of Christmas and the stage had been set up as the story of Baby Jesus. There was a stable and a night sky for the star to shine and guide the visitors to the stable.

When we were seated, the kids were brought in. The nativity was performed by Primary 1 through to Primary 3. The costumes were excellent. Miss C was delighted when she saw some children dressed up in full blown animal onesie costumes. We watched for Wee Z coming in. He didn't spot us straight away but he was right at the front of the stage so he soon clocked us.

As delighted as I was that Wee Z seemed to have an important part in the nativity, I was horrified to see his shirt hanging out and his collar up-turned on one side of his shirt. Husband managed to get his attention and he quickly fixed himself. Crisis over, we sat back to enjoy the show.

The kids were fantastic and I was in stitches watching them. Wee Z had a tambourine to play and he did really well on his parts. He kept looking over to make sure we were watching.

In between his parts, he was picking his nose, wiping it on his shirt, fidgeting and smiling at us. Oh, and then he decided to have an itch at his tummy so his belly was hanging out his shirt whilst he did this. I was mortified. I was crossing my fingers that the Head and the Deputy Head were more enthralled with the star and the fight between the wise men and the shepherds to notice him. Husband was shaking his fingers and mouthing "STOP IT!" at Wee Z right behind the Deputy Head's head and I was hoping he wouldn't turn around. I didn't want to get told off!

Luckily he had some more singing parts to join in with so he was soon back to performing and doing a very good job of that. The kids really did a fantastic job with their lines and singing their songs.

As thrilled as I was to see my boy right at the front of the stage, I'm hoping he is in the back row next year so he can pick his nose without a front row viewing.

#FlashbackFriday - A Photo

For Flashback Friday this week I've chosen a photo of my baby bump at 33 weeks. I was feeling pretty massive by this point and ready to explode.


I seemed to grow overnight in my last trimester. One minute I had a teeny bump and the next day I was huge. My ribs ached and the middle of my back was agony. I had to wear a bump support but it didn't help at all.

I didn't get very many stretch marks as I used cocoa butter religiously throughout my pregnancy however my belly button, which was once beautifully pierced, was ruined. 

Wee Z used to move about quite regularly and often got hiccups. There were days he was down so low into my pelvis I felt like it would break and I often worried that my lady place was about to burst open.

But it was all worth it for my baby boy.





Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas Truffles - Perfect Gifts for Teachers

Christmas can be so expensive especially when, like us, you have a multitude of parents, step-parents, grandparents, cousins, nieces, nephews...you get the picture...to buy for. Throw in people like Godparents, dance and karate instructors and teachers and it becomes a really, really expensive time of year.

To save a bit of money and to give something I think is quite nice with a personal touch, I make sweets or cakes for the teachers. This year I'm making chocolate truffles. I've made them before and they always go down a treat. They are super easy and cheap to make too.


Ingredients:

1 pack of digestive biscuits
1 can of condensed milk
50g of unsalted butter, melted
50g dessicated coconut - optional
70g drinking chocolate
Chocolate sprinkles, icing sugar, cocoa powder or dessicated coconut for rolling them in

Let's Make It:

Start by crushing your biscuits. I use my food processor as this gets them into really fine, soft crumbs. Once the biscuits have been crushed, add the drinking chocolate and dessicated coconut, if you are using it. Add in the melted butter and start to combine the ingredients together.

Gradually add the condensed milk. You want your mixture to be totally combined and wet but not so wet that when you roll the truffles, the mixture sticks to your hands and won't hold its shape. If it seems too wet, add some icing sugar.

When the mixture is ready, start rolling the mix into balls. You can roll them in chocolate sprinkles, icing sugar, cocoa powder etc. to finish them off and make them look extra special. I let mine set in the fridge for a few hours but you can eat them as soon as you've rolled them. These keep nice for up to 4 days...whether they last that long is another story.

You can use any kind of biscuit too. We've had them with oreos, ginger nuts and chocolate digestives!

I bought some cellophane Christmas bags to gift them in. I put 6 truffles in a bag (and keep the rest for myself!) They taste yummy and I think they look very festive and special.


Schuh Kids - Review

I am a bit of a shoe addict. For myself, for Miss C and for Wee Z. Husband...not so much. I try to avoid his shoes at all costs.

Miss C must have over 10 pairs of shoes at the moment and the other day, Wee Z declared that, "we don't need any new shoes Mummy!" Definitely a male excuse!

I was sent a Schuh gift card to visit their shop and see what their kids' shoes were like. I used to go to Schuh when I was younger. My favourite school shoes, before I had Rockport boots, were Kickers. I loved my Kickers and Schuh was the place to get them.

The nearest Schuh shop happened to be right beside the Xscape centre, so after our visit to Santa, we went shoe shopping. In the Braehead shopping centre, there is a Schuh shop for the adults and then, right next door, is a Schuh Kids shop.


The shop looked fab from outside and I could see the display of lovely shoes in the window. It was a Sunday and it was busy. The staff were quick to come over though and we got Wee Z and Miss C sized. Making sure your kids are wearing correctly sized shoes is really important so I was pleased the staff were taking their time to make sure the kids were standing properly and not curling their toes.

Then came the long-drawn process of choosing some shoes. Schuh houses lots of brand names such as Converse, Kickers, Ugg and Hunter, to name but a few, so you know the shoes aren't going to be cheap. I was spoiled for choice.

 
Miss C chose some purple Converse high-tops and for Wee Z, we decided to get him some Hunter wellies. He desperately needed new wellies and with walking to school in horrible weather, I thought it would be a good idea to get him a good pair of wellies to save his school shoes getting ruined.


The staff were quick to bring up their sizes. They didn't have the colour of Hunter wellies Wee Z liked however, instead of disappointing us, they brought up the colours they did have in his size and he decided to choose some black ones instead.

The staff checked both the shoes and wellies fitted properly and the kids got to have a walk around in their new footwear. Miss C wanted to keep hers on!

 
Even though it was really busy, the staff were really helpful and friendly and the shop had a really good selection of shoes. The shoes aren't cheap, however I'd use Schuh again, especially for school shoes. Sadly, we don't have a shop local to us however, Schuh do have a website and an online customer service team who can help with sizing before you buy.

We received a gift card to use in Schuh to buy some shoes for the purposes of a review. The opinions expressed are my own.



Dear Santa, Love From Me

Dear Santa,

I think I've been a very good girl this year. I've completed all my chores, kept my house nice and clean, fed my Husband and children, done the school run without fail, helped with homework, washed and ironed uniforms and clothes...I think you get the picture I'm painting here Santa.

For Christmas I would really like:

My Christmas Wish List

I'd also really like the new Nigella Lawson book as I love Italian food. And Lorraine Pascale's new book as I really love her recipes.

Lastly, Santa, I ask for this present every year and you have yet to fulfill this wish. Please can I have Tom Hardy with a beautiful bow around him. Just a bow is fine. No paper required. No clothes either. Just for one day?

Wishing you all the best for your big trip on the 24th Santa!

Lots of Love,

Laura aka Wee Z and Miss C's Mummy

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas #TheGallery

You know Christmas is on the way in our house when...

The advent calendar appears



The cards start to arrive



The present pile starts to grow


And, most importantly, the tree goes up.


It definitely is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, which is the theme for The Gallery this week.


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dear Santa, Love From Miss C

Dear Santa,

I have been mostly good this year. I've tried not to pee my bed! For Christmas I would like:

1. A puppy with a red lead

2. Furniture for my doll's house

3. A pony

4. Spike the dragon

5. Sylvanian families

6. Game for my Leappad

7. Peppa Pig toys

Thank you very much Santa.

We will leave you something nice on Christmas Eve.

Lots of love,

Miss C aged 3 years 6 months




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