Thursday, 29 August 2013

August in Bullet Points

August has been crazy, it has been for the last three years as Philip's boss takes about three weeks off in August leaving him to run the show.  He has been pretty absent the last three weeks between the hours of 7am and 11.30pm Monday through Friday not leaving me much free time but we do make the most of weekends and the occasional "early" or him getting home around 4.30pm.  Our days have been full though.

  • This little man became an American he pretty much slept through the whole 8 hour journey and process and then proceeded not to sleep too well for two week ha!

  • We took Joss to her first Fun Fair at Chalkwell Park crossing that off our Summer Bucket List.  Man that girl has no fear the only thing that held her back was her height!

  • We enjoyed a trip to our favorite park in Maldon, sand castle construction was heavily supervised by Joss so that she could stomp on them once they were built

  • Much ice cream was consumed

  • But don't worry we practice good dental hygiene and mummy got choked up when Joss moved up into the next tooth paste age group.

  • Joss got her pasting skills on

  • This little man continued to fight sleep

  • Then after some tweaks to his routine finally realized that yeah sleep was good

  • Enjoyed some time at our local beach in Old Leigh

  • Enjoyed the bouncy castle fun day at our local park every week

  • Found a new favorite toy at the park which Joss can do herself which is a relief for me cause to be honest I was getting bored of pushing her on the swings for the whole time.

  • Joss decided to set the table herself one night and damn that kid is not bad for three years old

  • We headed of to London for what was suppose to be a trip to London Aquarium to check that off our bucket list but when we got there and found out the queue just to get tickets was 90 minutes we decided to just enjoy a walk around Covent Garden and a fabulous lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant Wahaca, the food was amazing as usual. Joss had her fill of jumping in puddles and riding on buses and trains.

  • We visited the East Anglia Railway Museum which happened to be having a "Day out with Thomas" which didn't mean much to Joss as she isn't familiar with the Thomas characters but she loved being able to ride Thomas and the other characters from the series.

  • To cap the month off this little man at not even four months mastered the back to belly roll and now tummy time does not seem such a chore.  Not sure I am ready for him to be as mobile as he is but looks like this one is going to hit his milestone on the early side, who can blame him when he has a crazy sister he wants to try and keep up with!

Sunday, 11 August 2013

11 things I am loving on the 11th

This was originally meant to be a post about ten things I was loving on the tenth of the month but after melt down days on Friday and Saturday it never quite got finished. I realized while winding down this evening that I am am loving dusk as well so guess we are going with eleven things I love on the eleventh. Work with what your given!

1. Newman's Own Tex Mex salad dressing. OH MY GOD so good.  I know that for all my American readers you can pick of your choice of southwest ranch at any grocery store but Tex Mex is not big here in the UK and I have spent the last year trying a million different recipes for a good chipolte type ranch since having an amazing southwest salad at a little diner near my parents. Some of the recipes turned out good but none were quite right.  I saw this last week on the shelves of our local grocery store and got super excited and it didn't let me down.  I have had and embarrassing amount of salad in the last week so we could use it. We are on our second bottle in a week, just to be clear Philip is using it too so its not like I have gone through almost two bottles on my own but am doing a good job of using it up!

2. Good Morning Smiles
Cheeky Good Morning Smiles
I get some variation of this EVERY morning who wouldn't want to grab this baby and smother him with kisses, or more likely what he is looking for feed him!

3. Swinging

Somewhere towards the end of my pregnancy Joss rekindled her love with the swing and to be honest I was SO glad, nothing like trying to run after a dare devil almost three year old at the park when you are the size of a double wide.  I really thought her desire to sit and be pushed in the swing the whole time we were at the park would wear off quickly but over three months later it is still 95% of how we spend out time at the park.

4. Dream Feeding

I missed the memo on dream feeding with Joss and by the time I found out about it when she was around six months old she was such a crappy sleeper there was no way I was going to take the chance on waking her up in the process of doing a dream feed.  I don't know if it is the fact that I get so little one on one time with Jasper but I love that dream feed, having him snuggled into me the milk drunk expression on his face when he finishes, and not having to put him down and run off after Joss the moment I am done.

5. Meringue Nests  

At some point middle of July I decided I need homemade meringue nests with passion fruit.  My MIL had been buying store bought ones and Joss had discovered the joy of Eton Mess but I am a stickler for meringue and I need mine to be chewy in the middle and the store bought ones were not.  Luckily I have a chef for a husband and my food wish is his command and less than 24 hours after I mentioned it viola.  Multiple batches have been made and I have since discovered a local grocery store that makes them fresh daily and theirs are chewy in the middle. It has to say the least become the summer of meringue.  Joss loves them as much as I do and round here were use "special yogurt" or Creme Fraiche with ours and any yummy fruit or berry that takes our fancy when doing the weekly shop.

6. Matching Toe Nails 

I am not a girly girl and neither is Joss though that is probably as much nurture as nature, but man I love a good pedicure and turns out Joss does as well.  I had mixed feelings on even introducing nail polish as I want Joss to grow knowing she is beautiful with out a scrap of make up and that make up does not the woman make.  However after much thought and discussion with Philip and the need to fill a rainy afternoon out came the nail polish.  She always chooses the colour that I am wearing at the time this particular time it was "blue like you mama"

I am pretty minimalistic when it comes to baby supplies and for the most part if I can use something we have or can buy the same product that is not "baby" such as wash clothes I tend to buy the cheaper option but these were a gift when Jasper was born and I have to say I love the bright colours and the fact that they are lighter and easy to ring out with one hand. It makes cleaning up dirty faces and bath time fun.

I made these on a whim after seeing someone post a photo on Instagram and they are amazingly yummy and delicious, I am always game for cookies that have peanut butter, oatmeal, and m&ms. I left the raisins out due to my deep seated belief that raisins should never appear in cookies.  I also found due to a melt down day that the dough works better if refrigerated then cooked straight from the refrigerator.

9. A relaxed approach to summer planning

As I mentioned in my post about our Summer Bucket list I didn't know how life with two would go so kept our summer pretty free form.  I have signed Joss up in August for a few activities through the English equivalent of Parks and Rec but on a whole just kind of faced the days as they came or only a few days in advance.  On a whole I have loved this approach but can definitely tell next summer is going to need to be planned more in advanced with some research into activities in the area. I also want to give much more thought and planning to our Summer Bucket List next year and include more recipes and eating out experiences.

10. Quiet time

We got rid of Joss's naps not long after Jasper was born as she wasn't settling until 8.30-9pm but was still up bang on 6am every morning. On a whole it was a good decision as she went back to easily settling around 7pm and sleeping till between 6-7am most mornings. The one downside was with no nap time it was all toddler all day and as Joss still really does not play on her own this was full on especially with a small baby.  Ali Edwards mentioned quiet time in this post and after reading some online resources I felt it was something Joss would benefit from and would give me either some time with Jasper or a few minutes to do tasks during the day that did not suit a 3 year old like make business calls and such. Joss actually transitioned well into quiet time we started slow with me only expecting 5-10 minutes and have worked up to 30 minutes. We do it in her room and I read her two stories and then make sure she is set up with her potty and water and explain I will be back when the timer goes off (I don't actually set a timer so if needs be I can pop up if she is not doing well and say the timer has gone off or if she has fallen asleep the timer does not wake her) sometimes this lead to nap time and if we have had a busy day or a bad night the night before I let her nap for up to an hour then wake her gently. If not I go up after 30 minutes to let her know quiet time is over. It has been a welcome break and gives me the time to focus and redirect my attention to afternoon activities.  I have also seen a huge improvement on Joss playing on her own in this time. Listening to her on the monitor and hearing what games she is playing or her imaginary play is brilliant.

11. Dusk

I am loving sitting out in the garden after thing one and thing two are asleep for a few minutes as the light changes. It is so peaceful to hear the rest of the world shut down for the night as well. The quiet only gently interrupted as the neighbors seem to enjoy dusk with me.