About Me

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I am a full time mummy to an amazing but tiring little toddler of 19mths. We live with faithful daddy, and our 2 cats and 1 puppy. I also work part time as a nurse, and predominately work with children with learning disabilities. I am interested in losing weight, dieting and fitness, and have managed to lose 2 stone since May 2011. I also enjoy reviewing products, especially within the children and weight loss areas.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Week 2 of the 30 day play challenge!

Well this is my review of the second week of the 30 day play challenge put on by The imagination tree and Hands on as we grow.  For more information on the challenge, or to sign up (its not to late to start) see here.

This weeks challenges were varied and interesting and this is how we got on:

Day 8. Challenge: Water Play!
This one I was holding out a lot of hope for.  It is something I have been meaning to do with mini-faithful for ages as she is a complete water baby and has started to 'help' with the washing up.  But I have never had time to set up for her.  Adding in the idea of using food dye to colour the water took it to new dimensions too.  We spent nearly an hour doing this, as she had so much fun moving the coloured water into different containers using cups and mixing the colours up to make new colours.  I must admit I did not completely follow my mission statement, as she was having so much fun I couldn't resist taking a photo or two...

Day 9. Challenge: Sensory Tub!
This one was less successful.  The plan was to make a tub full of objects from around the home, and let them explore it.  I got mini-faithful to help choose things to go in her tub, we even went looking for twigs and leaves while on the dog walk! So our box had twigs, leaves, cotton wool, rice, pasta, polystyrene balls, pipe cleaners, blocks, her odds and ends of materials, hair brush and some kitchen roll.  After collecting all our things together and placing them in her old textured play box (from when she was a baby and we did this type of play more often).  We did spend a few minutes separating the stuff into piles, but then got distracted with her books of the week, and so we spent the rest of the time reading her books.  I'm not sure whether it is because we used to do this last year, so she has got bored of it or whether its just not her 'thing' but we did still spend the time together uninterrupted.  

Day 10.  Challenge: Mixing Concoctions!
The idea with this one was to mix together vinegar and baking soda, maybe with some food dye to make magic.  Unfortunately this one happened on a day I was working, and so had only a small window on free play time, and our house has neither vinegar or baking soda in so we have been unable to do this one.  We did however do some messy play for 15minutes instead.  

Day 11. Challenge: Outdoor adventures!
This one is right up mini-faithfuls street.  She adores spending time outdoors.  So I planned to take her to the local woods for an adventure.  She did however when she worked out we were going for a walk, insist that the dog came too.  So although in my mission statement I wanted the time to be me and mini-faithful only time, on her request the dog came too, but the dog actually helped add something into our adventure! Once there, mini-faithful decided that we should have running races, which the dog always seemed to win.  Then we played follow the leader, and our leader was the dog, so we went off the paths and into the woods for a while.  We found big piles of leaves to jump in, and sticks to throw for the dog and rolled acorns down the hill.  We had a whale of a time, if not a little tiring.  

Day 12. Challenge: A field trip day!
Unfortunately do to other commitments we couldn't manage a full day, however decided to do a field trip afternoon, we went to the beach.  We usually go in the summer, but figured that there wasn't much going on in the cooler months of the year, and as its only a 15minute drive from us we went to check out what we can do in November at the beach.  Amazingly there was little in the way of the usual attractions, no donkey rides or ice cream vans, but we still managed to have some fun.  We collected stones and shells before dropping them in the sea, we did some mark making with some sticks in the sand.  We practiced walking in a straight line, walking along the sea wall.  We looked at some different types of seaweed (while faithful mummy tried to remember her A level biology work she did on seaweed) and mini-faithful realised seaweed feels 'funny' and smells!

Day 13. Challenge: Sticky Art!
We have a whole section of mini-faithfuls play room set aside for craft based activities most of which can be used in making sticky art.  So I decided to only get a small selection of everything out and see which mini-faithful used.  First off, we stuck down lots of googly eyes, then the stickers came out and we used lots from many different sheets, although we did have to name each one before it went in place.  After that we added glitter glue and normal glitter to the paper before adding the more sparkly bits onto the page.  It did take less than 15 minutes before we declared finished, and no apparently making one was enough.  But this is our finished product...

Day 14. Challenge: Act Out A Story!
Now this really called for a story rather than a book, but I use sensory books as part of my normal job, and have recently been collecting things together to make mini-faithful a sensory version of one of her favourite stories, we're going on a bear huntgloop for the mud, a bag of sticks and leaves for the forest, a mixture of polystyrene balls and white hole punch bits for the snowstorm, and a den for the cave (with one of her teddies in).  First of all we read the story normally, then acted out each of the 'scenes' using the props.  Mini-faithful loved it, she then tried doing the story with one of her dolls although mixing up the order a bit.  Before getting me to read the story again in the den. 

What we have learnt from week 2...
I have learnt I need to start doing some of these activities I have been meaning to do for ages and just haven't got round too, especially things like the water play.  I have decided that we need to buy sticky back paper to do sticking with as that would make things so much easier.  I have learnt that it doesn't matter what we do, but doing something is important. I have learnt that almost anything can be fun, and it doesn't need to be massively creative but just something fun.  
Above all, I have learnt that I love my daughter more than anything, and this time together is so very precious. 

Looking forward to the next weeks worth of ideas....

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Poppy pictures

This is or second poppy related craft for this week.  Mini-faithful adores sticking, so I thought this would make a great poppy picture for Remembrance day tomorrow.

What you need:
White card or paper
Red tissue paper
Green card
Black card
Glue stick

What we did:
First of all, I cut big circles out of the red tissue paper, small ones out of the black card and leaf shapes out of the green card.  Older children (or ones who can be trusted with scissors can help cut the shapes out, mini-faithful is not one of them)

First of all we covered one side of the green leaf with glue (mini-faithfuls favourite part)

Then stick down on the paper, before adding a small amount of glue to the base of the leaf.

Next stick down the red circle of tissue paper, before sticking and adding the black circle to the middle.

Poppy printing

Tomorrow is November 11th, Armistice day, here in the UK, and this coming Sunday is classed as Remembrance Sunday.  As poppies are the symbol of this remembrance day, I thought it would be fitting to do some poppy related crafts this week.  First up, after the success the other week of pumpkin printing, I decided to try poppy printing.

What you need:
A potato (sponges can also be used)
Red paint
Green paper (or white if you have no green paper)
Black felt tip

What we did:
First of all, I cut the potato in half then shaped it into a rough poppy shape (sort of like a figure of eight shape).
Then I poured out some red paint and let mini-faithful print the poppy shapes onto the paper.

Once dry we added black felt tip circles to the middles to complete them.

Weekly update 09/11/11

Feeling disillusioned...
The reason this is a day late, is because I have put half a pound on.
Im being to get fed up of this lark, I'm finding it harder and harder to loose weight, possibly because I'm finding it harder and harder to continue dieting.  I think I have hit my dieting brick wall. I currently struggle to not have at least one 'bad diet' day a week.
I have realised Im now 3lbs off my 3rd stone mark, and I set a target of losing that 3rd stone in August (and to of lost in by mid october, that in itself is nearly a month ago) and Im still not there.
I working my butt off (quite literally if todays class was anything to go by) at the gym, I go every day I can work it around shift patterns and childcare, sometimes even twice a day.  This week I even braved a personal training session, which I am still struggling to move my arms after.  I have to admit though on the whole I am loving going to the gym.  It just doesnt seem to be helping the weight loss, even when wearing hot pants (review to come later this week).
Anyway, after a long hard look at myself (and lots of support from some lovely friends), Im going to keep going.
This weeks challenge is a basic one.  To stick to the diet for a whole week, and see how I get on at next weeks weigh in.
Wish my luck!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

5 a day habit- week 3

Well I cant believe it is that time of the week again.  This weeks theme for our books, is moving.  Mainly ones that get mini-faithful and usually me as well, moving.  There is one exception, but we do move along when we read it and its one of mini-faithfuls first books, and I love it....

First book this week is: Heads, shoulders, knees and toes.  This book is simple, and shows you the moves to the traditional song.  Faith loves this song and the book as well.

Our second book is: Monkey and me. We love this book, we use not only does it have a lovely pictures of animals it also shows you some moves those animals make, we then spend some time making those moves round the room.

The third book this week is: Animal Boogie. I first used this book at work, and knew instantly mini-faithful would love it.  Although it does cheat as it has a CD to help you sing the words.  But its a great book for getting you moving...

The fourth book is: Giraffes cant dance! This is a lovely book, that doesnt get you moving, but is about a dancing giraffe.  This is one of my favourite books to read to mini-faithful, we have been reading this book together since she was a month old.  Its a lovely story.

The final book is: Doing the Animal Bop! This is a lovely book, with great rhymes.  It gives you actions and noises to make so you look like the animals!

On a side note, why not pop along to Rainy Day Mums blog this week (find it here) as there is a competition to win a lovely recipe book....

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tomato Chicken and Rice

This is a recipe my mum used to make me when I still lived at home, and although mine never tastes as nice as hers (wonder if some of this is down to mother magic, and maybe not having to cook it myself!) this low fat version is still very tasty!

4 skinless chicken breasts
400g of tinned chopped tomatoes
2 stock cubes (chicken or vegetable)
Onion, diced
1 tbsp of dried mixed herbs
1 tbsp of tomato puree
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g uncooked rice

1.  Pre heat a non stick saucepan
2.  Add the chicken breasts and allow to brown on both sides, once brown add the onion and garlic and cook until they are soft.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and mixed herbs, stir before adding the one of the stock cubes in 400mls of water, bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
4.  Whilst the chicken and sauce is simmering cook the rice in the remaining stock cube.
5,  Once the rice is cooked, serve on the plate, before adding the chicken breast to the top and drizzling the remaining sauce over the chicken and rice.

Fat content: 3g
Calorie conent: 455 calories

Monday, 7 November 2011

One of the many firsts...

Well, today was mini-faithfuls first full (well 9-3!) day at nursery.  I thought I was going to be fine with this, we have spent months deciding whether we wanted her to go to a nursery or a childminders, then looked round serval possibles before making our final decision.  Last week, we went and had her settling in sessions, she loved it, I was happy with the staff, and I even left her there for an hour.  We had this week all planned, faithful-daddy had no meetings on, as works 5 minutes away, so could be on hand should she need it.  I was off work, so could collect her if needed.  Yet leaving her there, going back to an empty (well  nearly empty, still had the dog and cats) house was hard.
I had sit on my hands to stop me calling them every 2 minutes to check on her. Im amazed at my restraint, I called them once (in 6hrs I think thats impressive) and she was doing fine.
When I collected her, she was happy to see me, had managed to sleep for an hour (not bad for her first time there) and only took 20 minutes to get to sleep, which is a small miracle considering the weekends screaming arguments over sleep.  She ate reasonably well, she had fun, she wants to go again tomorrow (which is lucky as she is going for a long day tomorrow, 8.30-5.30!)
I have everything crossed that tomorrows day goes as well, and that maybe I find time to finish the cleaning, as well as going to the gym!

The 30 day challenge...

Well, last week I decided to get stuck in and take part in the 30 day challenge, by Imagination Tree and Hands on as we grow.
Basically its about spending 15 minutes per day of uninterrupted play with your child (or children), they set you a challenge to take part in each day, you can adapt them to suit your child, the important part is not having any interruptions.  Here is my first weekly report on how we are doing...

Day 1.  Challenge: Mission Statement
We had to make a mission statement on how you would like to become more hands on as a parent.  This is mine...
I am aiming to spend at least 15 minutes per day, with no interruptions to our play.  No looking at my phone, or taking photos, not checking facebook/twitter or any other social media sites (or even the internet in general).  I will not leave her to sort out the dog, or cats or even answer the phone.  I will try not to be thinking of all the jobs on my to do list or clock watch, but enjoy just spending time with my daughter.  I hope to find out new interests of mine and my daughters, and find new activities for us to enjoy together.

They also suggested making a list of your childs interests, here is mini-faithfuls...

  • Dolls, and pretend play that involves dolls, eg happyland etc.
  • Books.
  • Animals.
  • Messy play.
  • Sorting play.
Day 2. Challenge: Build a fort!
Well, this was a great idea.  Mini-faithful had a whale of a time with this.  We did have an issue that the dog wanted to play as well, but once the dog had been removed, she loved it.  We took some books in, and had a great time reading them, and then brought all her dolls in for them to enjoy the den.

Day 3. Challenge: Block building!
This is one of mini-faithfuls many favourite things anyway, so I had high hopes for this.  We built towers, sorted into colours, shapes and counted them.  I was asked to make houses for her animals etc.  Our only trouble was that mini-faithful did keep getting distracted by the lure of happyland....

Day 4. Challenge: Pretend Islands!
This one didnt go as well, when we tried this mini-faithful would just pick up the cushions and carry them around, but I did bare in mind that you can change the activity to suit your child.  So we incorporated mini-faithfuls love of dolls.  Her dolls had to use 'boats' (a bag) to get to one cushion from another, we made them swim and splash in the water and sometimes they even flew from island to another.  We also sang all the songs we sing at mini-faithfuls swimming lessons with the dolls.

Day 5. Challenge: Play Dough Exploration!
This is one that made me smile.  We play with play dough a lot in the faithful household.  Its a favourite for pre-dinner distraction and is frequently asked for during the day.  But this challenge has a twist, to attempt making the playdough together as well.  I must confess playdough in this household comes from the shop in a pot, and is not homemade.  I always mean to make it but never remember to buy cream of tartar or food colouring.
But ignoring my lack of cream of tartar and food colouring, we went ahead and made the playdough together, mini-faithful adored this and I now have placed cream of tartar and food colouring to my shopping list.  We will be doing this one again.
After making this we decided to mix things up a little more, instead of using our specific playdough tools, we used her beloved happyland toys, and some of our craft supplies to make it a whole new experience.

Day 6. Challenge: Family Together Time!
This was simple enough.  Spend time together as a family.  We decided that we would go for a walk. The reason behind this was simple, in the house there is always a distraction (phones, cats, dog, TVs and computers are some examples) outside the house, this is less of an issue.  We also always rush mini-faithful when out on walks, we have to be somewhere, see someone, or its a dog walk.  This time we went at her pace, when we stopped to look at the boats several times, and spent lots of time counting them together, or picked up some leaves.

Day 7. Challenge: Mega Floor Doodles!
The idea to cover the floor in paper and let your child's imagination go wild.  Colour or use stickers, make playmats for other toys etc.  In theory, I was thinking this would be a great play idea for mini-faithful, her love of colouring and sticking makes this an easy task, and my main concern was how I would teach her the difference between colouring on paper on the floor and just colouring on the floor.  However, whether mini-faithful was just not in the mood for colouring today or tired from her nursery day, she wasnt interested, without stickers, we managed 5 minutes max, with stickers, we lasted another few minutes.  All in all, we lasted 10minutes max.  May try this again another day, when we have had no nursery and hopefully in a more colouring mood.

Our thoughts so far
So far so good.  Some activities we will be trying again (making a fort, and making our own playdough) other activities have given us new ideas to our usual ideas (brick building, things to play with playdough, mega floor doodles). The pretend islands is one Im going to keep in mind, for when mini-faithful is a bit older.  In relation to my mission statement Im doing well, Im not using my phone (hence why we have no photos) and dog/cat interruptions are kept to a minimum.  I must admit on occasions Im clock watching, but we are enjoying our 15 minutes of play.
Looking forward to the next weeks worth of tasks...

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Making Fireworks!

Well toddler style...  With loo rolls, tissue paper and glue...

What you need:
Kitchen roll tubes cut in half or empty loo rolls
Black paint
Tissue paper
Black Card
Sticky tape

What we did:
First of all we painted the rockets black. Then while they were wet we covered them in glitter to make them sparkle, before allowing them to dry.

Then we added stickers, we used some glittery star stickers for ours.

We then (using a stacking cup as a template) cut out a circle, with a cut into the centre to make the top of the firework.  Before sticking this in place on the rocket, we added the thread so that we could hang the fireworks up when finished.


Once the top of the firework had been added, we ripped some tissue paper into strips (I think this was mini-faithfuls favourite bit) before adding some glue to the inside, bottom of the rocket and sticking the tissue paper in.

I made 4 to stick up at the window, as floating fireworks, but left two without thread so that mini-faithful could play 'flying' with them....

5 a day habit- week 2.

This weeks 5 books a day habit (sorry its a few days late, manic wednesday means it although we have been doing this I havent blogged on it till today).  This weeks loose theme is, surprise surprise bonfire night!

So our choice includes: Hovis the hedgehog: bonfire night.  I choose this book, because I love the idea of a hedgehog being called hovis! Strange I know, but thats me! On the plus side it does point out the dangers of bonfires to hedgehogs, which although is a message that is too in-depth for a 21mth old, she now tells me when asked the hedgehogs lives in a bonfire...

Our second choice is a noisy book.  I love them.  This one is called the red fire engine.  Although its only a loose connection to bonfire night, it is the busiest night of the year for them, and mini-faithful has a mini obsession with fire engines at the moment.

Thirdly was My first learning set: book of colours. This is very very loosely based, but mini-faithful is coming on leaps and bounds with her colours at the moment, and I thought it might help when we discuss the colour of the fireworks we are going to see.

Our fourth choice is Acorns bonfire. This is more a book on seasons than bonfire night, but is about going to a bonfire, so is still loosely based.  That and the pictures are lovely.

Our final choice is Cant you sleep little bear? This book isnt really based on bonfire night at all.  But it does explain the dark nights and shows the moon as the lantern of the sky.  It is a lovely bedtime reading book.

Firework pictures.

As today is bonfire night, we decided to spend this week making firework related crafts, that hopefully will mean mini-faithful doesnt get frightened by them when they make loud noises tonight..
We made two different types of pictures based on fireworks, this is how we did the first set...

What you need:
Black paper or card
Runny paint (explained below!)
Glitter (we used glitter glue, but plain glitter may of made things easier)

What we did:
On the black card we made a big blob of paint, then using the straw we moved the paint around the card, by blowing out (small safety notice, they need to know not to suck through the straw before starting this, also its a good idea to have a small hole in the side of the straw to let the paint fumes out).
Once you have finished with one colour add in other colours until you are happy you have used enough paint.
Then place another piece of black card and pat down, to make to pictures instead of one.
If you are using normal glitter now sprinkle it over the wet paint to add that extra bit of sparkle, if not wait till the paintings are dry before adding glitter glue to the painting.

Fingerpaint fireworks

This is the second firework painting idea, I think mini-faithful enjoyed this one slightly more, but that might be because of her age.

What you need:
Paint palette
Black card or paper
Glitter glue
Paint brush (optional)

What we did:
We have several different colours in a paint palette, for mini-faithful to try.  The reason for using a paint palette is to allow them to mix their own colours for the fireworks

Then using fingers (or paint brushes) make marks of paint all over the black card.  We also added blobs of glitter glue to the card, before allowing it to dry.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Weekly update 02/11/11

Mixed emotions.
Well this weeks weigh in was a mixed bag of emotions.  I did my traditional step on the scales before leaving for the weigh in (why do we do this? its not going to change my weigh in, nor even stop me going to my weigh in, as regardless of what it says I still always go) anyway, I had only maintained.  Well, that should be a positive thing, i.e. I havent gained.  It wasnt.  I had a tiny bit of a huff (read: huge strop) as I have been working really hard this week.  So arrived at the class, not impressed, to get on the scales and I have lost 1.5lb.  Shocked is not the word.  I went from depressed to happy in seconds.
I also had my body fat percentage checked, 34.3%, the normal range is between 21.0-32.9% so Im not that far off a normal body fat percentage.
I have also worked out that I need to lose another 3lb and I will of lost my 3rd stone.  Very happy with this...
Last week, I aimed to wear my hot pants for at least 30mins per day, I have managed 1x aerobics 3x 30 min dog walks, 1x bums, legs and tums, 1x circuit training and 1x core conditioning.  I have booked into bums, legs and tums, cardio blast, boxfit, bootcamp, step and tone and finally a personal training session in the next week, wearing my hot pants for them all, before doing my review.
I also wanted to behave at a meal out.  I did, I didnt fancy any starters, so didnt bother.  I had a slightly naughty main course (Japanese Katsu curry, with rice and chips) but then even though there was my favourite desserts, I chose not to have one, as I was full.  So all in all Im very proud of myself...
This week, as well as doing all the above planned exercises and sticking to the diet, I also am adding in 40 full sit ups per day.  This is after I have decided my beloved pouch (my lower belly flabby area) needs to go, and this is my first step (more will be added later).

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Pumpkin recipes!

Well, this week I thought I would add my two favourite recipes that use pumpkins, in case you have any left over pumpkins from halloween...

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds (we used all the seeds from one average sized pumpkin)
1 tbsp of soy sauce (this can be increased/decreased as required for the amount of pumpkin seeds you have)

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Wash all the pumpkin seeds and allow to dry.
2. Place on a baking tray, and cover with the soy sauce.
3. Bake for about 10 minutes, checking and turning regularly.

Calorie content (per 2 tbsp serving) 152 calories.
Fat content (per 2 tbsp serving) 12g.

Pumpkin Soup

600g pumpkin, roughly chopped
Onion, diced
1 tbsp of tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp curry powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper

1. Place onion, pumpkin, tomato puree, curry powder and garlic into a large pan.  Cover with vegetable stock.  Then boil, and simmer until pumpkin is soft.
2. Remove of the heat, and once cool, liquidise.
3. Place back into the pan, and re-heat adding salt and pepper to taste.

Calorie content 55 calories.
Fat content 0.4%