meal planning with children

As part of my lifestyle overhaul and effort to be more organised. I’ve been looking at every aspect of my life and obviously that involves food and the amount of time I spend cooking it, shopping for it and persuading children to eat it. Which some weeks can be an enormous chunk of my time.

Being the mum of really quite picky children whose likes and dislikes change on an almost hourly basis it is really difficult to know what to cook. Trying to balance my ideas, their ideas of what food they like to eat and trying to incorporate good nutrition as well as cut down on then time I spend on preparation and cooking. And also bearing in mind that often meals need to be reheated later for Mr ReallyQuiteFickle, well it’s all just got a little out of hand.

Things need to change, they need to be less complicated and I need to accept that sometimes I need to cut corners and that this is okay!

So I’ve started by signing back up to Ocado so that I don’t have to do food shopping with 3 children and I can also keep a firm grasp of costs. I’ve also had everyone in the family write me a list of what foods they like both for lunches and dinners and I’ve gone through the lists to make a meal plan which should suit everyone… hopefully.

I’ve cut corners on the amount I cook from scratch and I’ve allowed them to choose some convenience style foods which they like, working on the **little of what you fancy does you good** principle.

The shopping was delivered this morning, the plan has been actioned and I’m really hoping it makes things easier and leaves me with more time.


the accidental attachment parent

This is me. I am the accidental one. I never intended to be a baby wearer, a co-sleeper an extended part of my baby but that is what has happened.

My first two children now seven and nine didn’t do any of these things, they slept in cots in their own rooms, they travelled about in a pram quite contentedly and in fact were quite independent from me – happy to go off and play, amuse themselves etc. Then we get to baby three. He’s an entirely different little personality, he is a complete attachment child. He can’t sleep unless he’s in our bed, he’s only content if he can see us, he detests being put into a pram, cot, play pen where he isn’t with us and so I’ve morphed into an attachment parent.

But thinking about things, is attachment parenting how it’s supposed to be? Is it right to put a tiny baby into a barred cot in a separate room from his mother or father? Is it right to put a baby into cots, playpens, prams etc so you can  get on with whatever it is you wanted to do? Is it right to send him to a nursery from a very young age to be cared for by a stranger.

If left to nature is attachment parenting not how things would be? Would the young sleep with the parents, travel around by being carried and held, observe the world from the arms of mum and dad?

Or… Is it because this is baby number three and our last baby that we’ve been so much more laid back and wanted the easy option? In the night when the baby has cried I honestly have not been able to be bothered sitting up in a chair rocking him back to sleep for what could be hours on end. I’ve wanted to sleep, I’ve wanted to be comfy in my bed and so have popped him in with me. I can’t be bothered listening to tantrums and unnecessary crying because he’s bored or wants to do something with me instead of on his own and so he is always kept happy by being with us and 99% of the time he is really happy and laid back in a way I don’t remember the other two being.

Also because we’ve had two other children we feel no pressure to be checking child development books to see if we are establishing all the “correct” behaviours and milestones at the correct times. Or is it simply that we’ve created a rod for our own back by being lazy and relaxed as many people like to tell me, daily.

Autumn seaside – National Trust – Formby

This post doesn’t need all that many words. Formby is stunning, the autumn weather gorgeous and the children happy*

*well when I say happy, obviously that incorporates a wide range of sulking, arguing, fighting, tantruming and general Veruca Salt style behaviour in amongst the happy. But the happy was very happy – paddling, shell collecting and for a certain small boy the sitting in the sea fully clothed experience….

Formby is a brilliant place to visit and an absolute must if you are around the Southport area. It’s so easy to spend a day here – picnics, walks, beach, red squirrels, forests and obviously ice-cream.

the ghost of bloody Mary

Halloween is drawing near and so talk at school has turned to ghosts, one ghost in particular, the ghost of bloody Mary. Not as I had assumed the vile hangover following a few too many tomato juice & vodkas but an actual ghost who haunts the boys bedroom.

She came home from school with him yesterday after a day filled with scary stories. She is now a firm fixture behind the curtains, possibly in the wardrobe and sometimes under the bed waiting to drag the boy from his covers in the dead of night and into the underworld. She casts all manner of terrifying shadows and has been known to whisper evil things in demonic dog like voices….

I’d like to thank Mary personally for making my bed even more crowded than usual. I just love it now there’s one more in there with us, sleeping with just the baby and a husband wasn’t quite squashed up and uncomfortable enough. I like to have half my body hanging off the bed, I enjoy sleeping with one foot on the floor in a desperate attempt to hold on to a remaining few inches of bed with my name on them and now thanks to bloody Mary that’s all the more possible.

paying for homework…

It’s true. I have no shame. I pay my child to spell his words correctly in his spelling tests.

After months of quite honestly pitiful scores, we now enjoy a 100% pass mark in the weekly spelling test and all because I pay for results. I’ve made a little bargain with the boy that if he tries hard as opposed to not trying at all I’ll pay him an amount per correct spelling.  I like to think it’s educational…. after all receiving payment for your efforts has to be an important life skill, yes? Either that or I’m guilty of bribery and corruption… but even that has it’s up sides, he’ll be well grounded for a career in banking, politics, journalism….

For now I’m more than content handing over the 2p for every correct spelling and overly smug that he spells so cheaply.

the random questions of a 7 year old boy…part 2

This week the boy has wondered…

  1. What is a widget?
  2. Who is Major Tom?
  3. When you’re a genius do you need to have really neat handwriting like my teacher says?
  4. How much longer is it until David Cameron stops and we can have a new Prime Minister?
  5. If yesterday was today what day would it be tomorrow? What day is it again today?
  6. What do I need to study at school to get a job as a Lego creator?

and my answers….

  1. A widget is a special little ball they put in Guinness so that it pours out nicely, daddy can probably help you further.
  2. Major Tom, well he’s a fictional astronaut, David Bowie made him up.
  3. Your teacher is wrong in this case, geniuses can have any handwriting they choose, as in fact can anybody, it’s just that teachers like neatness and to be honest aren’t that big on the creation of genius especially when they don’t fit the neat mould…
  4. Well unfortunately not until May 2015…. unless there is a vote of no-confidence, which I doubt there will be because this is the era of apathy.
  6. Lego creators are more than likely going to be good at maths and science and art…. just try to do your best lovely.

I just love the boy and his wonderings….

toddler raising – sleeping

I’m going to write today about sleep. I haven’t been paid by a government body, I haven’t studied a degree in childhood development, nor am I a psychologist, but what I do know all about is sleep, or the lack of it.

I have nine years experience in the sleep behaviour of babies and small children and so I bestow upon you my conclusions.

  • a child will sleep if it wants to
  • if it makes you feel better by all means conduct a little bedtime routine, milky drinks, warm baths, the addition of lavender oil to your evening. Every little helps…
  • it’s best if you don’t try desperately to get your child to sleep as much as everybody else’s child seems to, that way you avoid feeling like a failure and getting annoyed at lack of any progress.
  • co-sleeping is fine in my book and if it means you get some as opposed to no sleep, then buy a bigger bed and go with the flow.
  • try not to become obsessed in the pursuit of a perfect nights sleep, it does not exist.
  • TV personalities, baby book writers do not know you or your child and your child will not be reading the sleep manual and so won’t know he is supposed to follow it.
  • always expect to get no sleep and then any bit of sleep you do get can be seen as a massive bonus.
  • remember it won’t last forever…. or maybe it will – that’s just the chance you take when you make babies…
  • I take comfort in the fact that my ‘non-sleeping through the whole night children’ will be survivors, they won’t get eaten by a bear in the cave at night because one of them is always on guard to warn the others…. I think maybe we are not supposed to sleep all night, just in little bursts, I think it’s a survival response leftover from the days of errr caves…..

You may also like my tips on toddler tantrums or money saving.

As ever, no need to thank me.