Thursday, 31 January 2013

Budget Days Out!

There are great ways to have fun with the kids without spending a fortune...Here are some suggestions for things to do that don't cost a fortune or which cost very little....Brilliant for during the school holidays or the weekends!


A trip to the library!
 
Dust off that library card and take the kids off to choose some books, DVDs or computer games. Many libraries run activities for kids including craft days and story times too especially during the school holidays.

A day at the beach

 It may seem mad going to the beach at this time of year but they don't have to be reserved for the summer. Out of season you'll have miles of sand almost to yourself, so they're a great place to burn off some energy with a bracing walk along the shore....Beaches are packed with interesting natural features too - scour the surf for pretty shells and pebbles, or get your wellies on and explore some rock pools.

Get down to the garden centre

Garden centres are surprisingly child-friendly. Many of the bigger ones have aquaria, aviaries and nice cafes so you can quite easily while away a morning wandering around and looking at the animals...A stroll through the plant and flower displays is also nice and some centres even have children's play areas..

Bus around town!

A bus trip might not inspire much excitement in you but if
you tend to take the car most of the time younger children will find a trip on the bus quite a novelty!! Little boys especially will be fascinated by watching the driver and the comings and goings as people get on and off the bus. And few children can resist climbing upstairs to the top deck and securing a front window seat to play at being driver! Children under five usually travel free so you'll only have to pay your own fare....

Root around the charity shops

This activity might have a minimal cost....Take a trip to your local high street and give each child £1 or £2 to spend in the charity shop. If you're lucky you'll have a few shops to choose from so the idea is to just have a good root around, unearthing unusual items, books and toys. You'll almost certainly find something....a fun item for the dressing-up box, an interesting book, some fancy costume jewellery or some new cars...think of it as a kind or retail treasure hunt!


Also how about....

Making collages from items collected on a nature trail
Bike/scooter rides to the local park
Putting a tent up in the garden and camping
Splashing in puddles on wet days
Picnics
Flying kites on windy days
Days at National Trust sites (many have free open days during the year)
Other good sources of information include your local council websites or local tourism sites.....

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

10 Things That Make Me Happy.....


1. My girls.....Especially when they are playing nicely together....


2. Soaking in the bath and then stepping into clean pyjamas and a bed with clean bedding...

3. Those couple of hours before bed when the kids are asleep and I can relax and unwind....

4. Food shopping days....I usually get it delivered and when it comes I love putting it away and having full cupboard's and fridge for a few hours at least....

5. Summer days....Being able to sit outside while the kids play....I can read a good book while the kids play in the paddling pool....

 
6. Getting surprise parcels in the post from competition wins....

7. Lazy Sundays....Getting up late, not getting dressed, lazing about, watching family films and a roast dinner....
8. Having a good sing-a-long to my fave songs while doing the housework...I only like housework sometimes....More often than not I hate it....

9. Chocolate!!

10. Rose Wine....hahaha No list of my favourite things would be complete without my fave wine!!
       

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Little White Lies....

Nine out of ten parents admit to telling little white lies on a daily basis to try and keep naughty kids well behaved....I will admit I lie to my girls all the time....Which is naughty because at the the same time I tell them not to lie as it's wrong....I think it's a case of do as I say not as I do.....

 It's such a wonder Ellie like's fairies...They have been awful to her....The pesky little things took her dummies away and her bottles when we were trying to get her off them....When she was being toilet trained the fairies came back and took her nappies away.....Now the tooth fairy comes and takes her teeth away....Now this lie has come and bitten us in the bum....If Ellie does something naughty like drawing on the walls, pinching yoghurts out of the fridge at 3am she blames the fairies....

No matter how hard we try some little white lies just seem to roll of the tongue as though they were gospel...Most we have also heard from our own parents....


Here's a few of the best....

Eating carrots makes you see in the dark...
hahaha Used it on Sunday!! Becky questioned how come I can't see in the dark...I eat my carrots....We had a quick change of subject!

If you sit too close to the television it will make your eyes go square...
I used to use it all the time.....They just don't listen...lol

Spit out the seeds or a tree will grow in your stomach...
Yes!! I tell my girls this too....I won't eat any seeds...Just in case! Thanks dad!

If you swallow gum, it’ll stay in your stomach for seven years...
I actually said that to Stu the other day believing it was true!

If you eat your crusts your hair will go curly...
That explains my hair then!! I'm a softie I cut the crusts off for my girls....

You had better be careful; if you pick your nose you might put a hole in your brain...
Ohhh yes! I say it to Ellie on a daily basis! She's a chronic nose picker!

If you tell me the truth you won't get into trouble...
This is a no win situation for kids....My girls know if they have done wrong and tell the truth they are in trouble....If they lie they are still in trouble....I still say it though...

The ice cream van only plays music to let you know it has run out of ice cream...
My dad used to say it to me and I say it to my girls now....lol Nasty mammy!

If you pull a face like that again, the wind might change and you'll stay like that forever...
I say it and I get even worse faces pulled at me...

You'll be washed down the plughole if they stay in the bath too long...
I use this lie sort of....I tell the girls I'm pulling the plug out and if they don't get out they'll be washed down the plug hole....It still works for Ellie...

And the biggie....Santa!! There's a whole heap of lies about Christmas....He won’t come unless you’re asleep before midnight on Christmas Eve...If you’re naughty, you’ll get a lump of coal for Christmas...Remember he only brings presents for good children...In the run up to Christmas I always say he's watching....

Monday, 28 January 2013

Meal Plan Monday!! #mealplanningmonday



Meal Planning Monday

Well.....Last weeks meal planning mostly went to plan!! Wednesday we didn't have our Mcdonalds as the appointment was cancelled which I was so glad about....Wasn't much looking forward to two hours bus ride to the hospital for a hearing test for Ellie in the weather we had....So we made do with ham, cheese & beans in wraps....Simple yet yummy!! 

This week Stu has the week off work, has to use his holidays up before April so he's doing his share of cooking!....On the menu is....

Monday - Quiche & Salad....
Tuesday - Gammon Steak, chips, peas, pineapple & fried egg... 

Wednesday - Chicken Pasta Bake for Stu & the girls - Stu's creation...I will be having something else...I'm not keen on the sauce he uses!
 Thursday - Something with chips out the freezer....burgers, pizza...
Friday - Pork Stir Fry...Stu will be cooking this...The only meal he can cook better than me...

Saturday - Hot Dogs and fries!!....
Sunday - Chicken and mushroom pie, with new potatoes & veg...

I've joined in with At Home With Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky HERE! 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Comping Wish List!!

As you all know I love entering competitions and won quite a lot last year....Toy's for the kids for Christmas, hampers, wine, dvd's, cd's and gift vouchers which I'm so grateful for....


You can read some of my Comping Tips.

I have seen a few people making a comping wishlist and thought I would give it a go....

Top of the list is a holiday...Anywhere...We've never had a family holiday so even a weekend in a caravan would be fab!

A mobile phone for me....Mine is just about kaput! I've had it about 8 years...lol

A new oven! Another thing which needs replacing in our house...

Some new bedding!

A garden bench!

Supermarket vouchers!

A camera!

Clothes for the girls!

Some wellies or boots which won't leak after a couple of weeks!

More toys for the girls to put away for birthdays and Christmas!

Some gardening stuff!

A steam mop!

A nice handbag!

And more WINE!! lol
 I don't think I want too much...lol Nothing too unrealistic! Fingers crossed I get some of what I want!!

Friday, 25 January 2013

Ranty Friday! - Asda!!




Nearly every week I have my shopping delivered....It saves me money but does not lower my stress levels.....

My first issue is this....
 Last Saturday as normal I had the shopping delivered.....As it was quite snowy here they had two delivery men....One unloading and carrying it so far and the other bringing it to the door....

The driver unloading started throwing snowballs at some kids in the back street (not my kids by the way)....As he was bringing the shopping so far kids were throwing snowballs into my yard right next to my back door....I was bending down to get the bags out the delivery boxes and there was snowballs inches from my head!!

Then the driver bringing the shopping to the door joined in...Shortly after he asked me to sign for my shopping....I said not a chance.....Half of it was missing....The tinned/dry stuff had not been brought to me....In fact a box was still sat in my yard and several still in the van....He was that eager to get away....He'd already said this was the last delivery of the day!! So he brought me the rest of it or so I thought... I did not feel safe of comfortable!! I'd hate to think I was an old person or a younger person!!

My second issue....
So what I thought the rest of my shopping was brought and I signed for it.....I was unpacking it and then realised they had missed one of those family size ready meals (Mince & Dumplings) It was not in my shopping and there was no mention of it on the delivery note of it being substituted or not available!! If it was something for a £1 or so and I hadn't had the stress of the snowballs I would of let it go....But the Mince and Dumplings are £4.95!

So I rang them straight up......All the people who answer the phones were busy....Understandable with the weather being as bad as it was....So I emailed Saturday and again on Wednesday....No reply!! Really bad customer service from Asda I think!!!

I'm linking up with Mummy Barrow's blog hop for Ranty Friday!


MummyBarrow

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Best wedding speech ever!!


I'm not a huge fan of Mcfly....I don't dislike them I was just into other groups when they were about....There song's are catchy but this made me like the lead singer (is he?) Tom Fletcher even more...He's stated he's useless at public speaking so this was his solution for his wedding speech!

This is great!! I think it's so romantic and a lovely thing to do!! It's the first time I've cried for something that's not sad for ages...lol  Happy Crying is good!!

Gavin & Stacey remake *is* occurring!!

Why oh why can they not leave tv shows alone...

Yesterday I read that a A US remake of Gavin & Stacey has reached the pilot stage at Fox....


Good for James Corden and Ruth Jones they could earn up to £5m but what's the point.....British shows never work over in the US!! It's already there ready to be watched! Waste of time and money in my opinion!!

Have you seen the American Inbetweeners? It's not good!! Other flops have included remakes of The IT Crowd, Skins, Spaced & Only Fools and Horses, called the Kings Of Van Nuys has also reportedly been shelved too and don't forget about Men Behaving Badly, Life on Mars, One Foot in the Grave and Shameless!!

Us sending shows over there does not work!! When will we learn....

I sense another cancellation after the first series. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Housework! Get the kids involved!!


Involving the kids in the chores is a great way to teach them about responsibility and the importance of keeping the house clean...Cleaning is often seen as one of those jobs that everybody will do their best to avoid but if you approach it in a positive light it can be turned into something fun!

It's important to set realistic goals for a child. You aren't going to get a five year old to spend an hour cleaning so focus on tasks they can easily do such as tidying away their toys...helping with the dusting or pegging out washing. If you do a little each day they're less likely to get bored...

Turn cleaning into a game by seeing how quickly toys can be tidied away...Who can match the most socks in 5 minutes or just have a dance around with the feather duster!

Hoover contests: set your watch and time the kids to see who can hoover their room or indeed the whole house in record time...They'll enjoy the challenge and it's a good incentive to get tasks done quickly and effectively.

Reward charts: these can be great for promoting good
behaviour so why not try it for cleaning too? Use stickers to mark the different tasks they've helped with (putting their toys/shoes away, tidying their room, helping with the washing up etc) and reward them with a little treat once they've completed ten tasks....

Ideas for age appropriate cleaning

Under five's
Help tidy their room/put their toys away in other rooms
Help make their bed
Put their clothes in the laundry hamper
Help dust
Put clean towels in the bathroom
Help Set and Clear the Table

Aged 5 - 10 years
Tidy their room/put their toys away in other rooms
Make their bed daily
Wash up/load the dishwasher
Match socks
Peg out washing/bring washing in
Put the bins out
Dust
Hoover
Help clean the car 

Aged 10 to Adult
All of the above
Load the Washing Machine
Clean Bathrooms
Clean Windows
Clean the car

Both my girls have their own jobs they do about the house..They both tidy their rooms....Put their clean clothes away & they put their toys away!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

It was fun at first....

The snow....



Yes was brilliant to start with....Lot's of excitement and then the snowball fights and building snowmen.....We had all weekend to stay in the warm!

Monday morning wasn't too bad....The snow was still there a bit slushy but not too bad.....Coming home Monday was a different story! A complete nightmare!! It had been raining/sleeting/snowing all Monday afternoon.....It was so slushy...Not quite snow and not quite just puddles and very, very slippy!! Reminds me I need to get some new boots which don't leak!!!


 Yesterday it was all over the news about schools being closed.....Why not my girls school! 

As of 7.20am today there has been no news of the girls school being closed even though it's snowing again now there is ice, slush & fresh snow!!! Horrible!!

At least we had some good news....Yesterday the hospital rang to re-arrange an appointment for a hearing test for Ellie....I'm glad they did as the appointment was at 4pm meaning we'd of had to leave here no later then 2pm....Get there have the test....Probably leave about 5pm and get home for 7pm!! Well that is as long as the buses were running ok....Yesterday they were running 45 minutes late and some being pulled from service.....Phew!! 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Meal Plan Monday!! #mealplanningmonday



Last weeks meals all went to plan....YAY!!

This week on the menu is....

Monday - Soup and sausage rolls to dip in....
Tuesday -
Fishcakes, chips & peas.... 
Wednesday - We have an appointment so McDonalds on the way home...
 Thursday - Chinese pork ribsteaks and Noodles.
Friday - T
oad in the hole, mash & baked beans....
Saturday - Pizza!!....
Sunday - Mince, dumplings, mash & veg.... 

I've joined in with At Home With Mrs M's #mealplanningmonday linky HERE! 

Give Me A Hug!!!

Do you know what today is??


Kevin Zaborney is credited for creating the holiday in 1986.....The date of January 21 was chosen because it marks a midpoint between Christmas and Valentines day, where people are figured to be at their emotional low....



Studies have shown that human contact has many health benefits. It has been found that human contact improves both psychological and physical development. Hugging can also help build a good immune system, decrease the risk of heart disease, and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol in women. 

HUGS TO YOU ALL! 
 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Top Tips for Entering & Winning Competitions...

 I always get people asking How do I win so many prizes?...How can you win and I don't? Simple....I spend a lot of time entering comps....Yes maybe luck comes into it but I put the effort in too....


The spirit of comping is that it’s a bit of fun rather than a dead cert money-spinner.....Hours can be long....Payouts poor and your bum won’t thank you for sitting at the PC all day...
 
I started comping the middle of 2010 and won nothing for months and I entered hundreds upon hundreds of competitions...I gave up....Then a few weeks before Christmas I got my first big win!! £100 worth of Dora the Explorer toys from Toys R Us!! That got me back into it and since then I have kept up with the comping sometimes winning nothing for months then winning something every day....

The past few months have been brilliant for me....I won so much for the girls for Christmas....Board games, dvd's, £150 worth of Amazon vouchers, CD's, A case wine, Chocolate Hampers, Socks, a ready bed, nail varnish, Slippers, ear plugs & ohh probably a cuddly toy..lol

Comping takes time....I can easily spend a couple of hours a day sat at the computer entering comps...But the more you enter the more chance you have of winning!

You also need to put the effort in....Lots of people are lazy, so anything involving a smidgen of extra effort attracts fewer contestants...Need to pen a poem, complete a tie-breaker or snap a photo? Try your luck – you might be the only entrant..

Finding Competitions - I find my competitions in many different ways....At the moment I am entering a lot of comps on Personal Blogs...Di Coke over at Super Lucky has a monthly list of blogs hosting give-aways and as well as finding comps you may find a great blog to read too....I have found quite a few blogs to read by first going there to enter a comp!! It was going on blogs and entering comps which inspired me to start blogging myself :)

 Twitter is a very simple way to enter competitions...You follow different companies, and then you usually just have to 'retweet' a specific message, and then you are entered! Follow me on Twitter @NorthumMam as I am always entering comps on there to get an idea of which companies are holding comps at the moment....They do change on a daily basis though :) 

I also sometimes use The Prize Finder website which is basically a mass list of all open competitions in the UK...

Read the rules. It takes a bit of extra time but you don't want to disqualify yourself - or win a holiday that you can't take because you didn't read the dates in the terms and conditions!

Fake Competitions When people start out comping they often enter any competition they find....I did!! I know now if it seems too good to be true it probably is!! I think that you should never enter your details into are ones where they advertise lots of competitions and want you to answer surveys etc...I DO NOT recommend these types of sites: Win 4 Now, UK-PrizeDraw, Prize4U, Prizes.UK, InstantPrizeDraw or FindAPrize.  

 You will also stand a better chance with highly localised competitions such as tickets to a nearby theatre in a local paper.

Free web program Roboform is a form-filling weapon that easily outguns just typing....It stores info such as addresses, phone numbers and postcodes and uses them to automatically fill in online forms!

It’s worth keeping a list of prizes you’ve won, in case they don’t materialise. Usually promoters are not purposely with holding the goodies - they just need a little nudge now and again.

When looking for comps, you may come across websites and magazines charging to view lists of contests. Never pay to register with a competitions site. 

It’s a good idea to focus your efforts on prizes that you can really use....What's the point in entering comps for say scuba diving if you can't swim or a day rock climing if you're scared of heights...lol

The More Prizes The Better - Go for competitions that have many prizes on offer. If there are 100 prizes on offer, you have 100 more chances to win something!!

Be patient!!! It can take a while to start winning prizes so don't give up....

Have Fun! The most important rule is to have fun! Remember you do this because you love it....If it starts to feel like work take a few days off and come back to it later... There will always be more competitions waiting for you when you return!!  

Friday, 18 January 2013

If children were lodgers....You'd evict them!!

Imagine the advert you'd write if you were looking for a new flatmate who behaved like our children....


Wanted: loud, untidy individual with dubious table manners. Must never flush the loo, consistently fail to replace used toilet rolls and repeatedly sit six inches in front of the television screen while talking at the top of their voice.

Would prefer someone with selective hearing whose attitude to personal hygiene could be best described as relaxed. Don't bother to apply if you have ever thrown an empty crisp packet in the bin or made your own bed.

Do apply if you are addicted to sugar, habitually wake up at an ungodly hour and then wake up every other sleeping housemate, too.

If you find the word 'poo' exceptionally funny and have a casual relationship with the truth you would be ideal. If your most used phrase is “it wasn't me, it was her” please apply.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

How to cut the cost of your food bills!!!

This time of year we always think about saving money....Maybe the guilt of spending so much at Christmas...lol

A few easy changes to your shopping habits can save you hundreds of pounds over the months...The average family throws away around £420 of food a year...That's £35 a month literally thrown in the bin!! Wow!!

Plan your meals. Writing a shopping list might seem boring but it really does pay to plan what you're going to eat. 
Check your fridge, freezer and store cupboard, so you don't double up on food you already have.

Get out of a food rut of buying, cooking and wasting the same foods by trying some recipes....There are hundreds of thousands on the internet....

Be aware that top-up shopping is when you waste the most money. Only buy what you really need not what caught your eye on the shelves!!

Try doing your weekly shop online....That way your not tempted to buy things you don't need.

Bulk cook and freeze - if you're making a Bolognese, make double and freeze half. It takes no more effort and you'll feel so much more smug and organised when there's a homemade ready-meal waiting for you a week later...

Ditch expensive takeaways....A supermarket pizza still gives you a cook-free treat but at a fraction of the cost.

Regularly check the dates of perishable food in your fridge, like meat, fish and dairy products. They're the most expensive items on our food bills. Be realistic, if you're not going to have time or energy to cook a meal from scratch that evening...Move them into the freezer.

Know your food labels

‘Use by' is the important one - don't eat anything after this date (although if it can be frozen you may be able to eat it at a later date).
‘Best before' is about quality control, not food safety. You can tell if something tastes OK to eat. One exception is eggs - don't eat eggs after the ‘best before' date.  
‘Display until' and ‘sell by' are instructions to shop staff about stock control, and not relevant to shoppers..

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I'm so hungry I could eat a horse....burger?!

We've all heard about it in the news today....The horse meat discovered in Tesco value beefburgers.....


I don't know why but I'm not that horrified or upset by it....I'm thinking at least it's some type of actual meat rather than chemicals or fillers.....

At the moment I'm finding Facebook & Twitter hilarious....The jokes and funny pictures have really made me giggle today!


Horse meat in burgers? All part of a stable diet..
Stacey Solomon has been chosen as the new face of Tesco's beef burgers....
Well,had them Tesco burgers last night, went out for a 6 mile run this morning, took me 6 minutes an i cleared 42 fences!...
Can't believe that woman was sent to hospital after eating a horse meat burger... Her condition is said to be stable...
Traces of zebras found in Tesco barcodes...
I see absolutely no problem with horsemeat in my burgers, which is why my mane is so glossy and I'm running in the 3:10 at Kempton...