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See posts about: // Isabelle // Parenting // Family //

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Day 2: Button Activities

Day 2 of our 50 Active Days today - challenging myself to complete 50 activities with Isabelle between now and Christmas. I have been keeping a note of things I would like to do on my phone, and this wasn't actually one of them. I hadn't planned to do anything today, but again in that dead time just before dinner, Isabelle got a bit fussy so I pulled the buttons out for a quick activity. We have done a similar activity before - but I never got round to posting it - but today's took a slightly different slant which I found interesting.

I opened the tub, and poured some of the buttons into he muffin tin. Isabelle spent the first few minutes just lifting the buttons in and out of the box to the tin, back and forward. I then got the bottom of the bottle which we used in yesterday's pom pom ball run, and she then decided to use it instead. She filled the bottle up with the buttons, and poured them into the muffin tin, scooped them out and started again. We talked about big and small buttons, and counted them out on my hand. When I pulled the bottle neck off the ball run and gave that to her, she loved putting the buttons into it, and poking them through it.

Mostly, Isabelle just enjoyed picking them up and moving them from place to place - as you can see in the video. She does love little fiddly things, so this is the perfect activity for her. It's great for her fine motor skills, and for her hand eye co-ordination.

After dinner,

Monday, 29 September 2014

Sensory Play: Pom Pom Ball Run and Relocation

I have been saving up our toilet roll tubes recently to make a little ball run for Isabelle, and today was the day. I came home from work and saw them all sitting, and decided to put together this little activity to fill that horrible space just before dinner. I am also making a conscious effort to do more activities with her, as we have lapsed since I went back to work, and so this is #1 in my aim to reach 50 activities before Christmas!

As you can see, it's pretty rough and ready (like everything we do!). I simply sellotaped the toilet roll tubes to our patio door, making sure that each one lined up with the one before so that when the ball dropped, it continued on it's journey. I cut some notches out of the ones which ran diagonally, so the ball could easily fall in, and even opened some up into a 'half drain pipe' effect so Isabelle could see the ball as it travelled.

After we liberated lots more pom poms from her old sensory bottle, Simon then cut the top of it open to make a funnel to put at the very start of the run.

I showed Isabelle how to use it, and she had a little play - but she was far more interested in the pom poms themselves. She adores the little balls (as she calls them) and can often be seen wandering round the house, clutching them in her hands. She has loved playing with them for months now, and we've lost a lot along the way, so this new influx of pom poms was far more appealing to her - especially as some were shiny!

So, instead,

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Slow cooker beef chilli

Earlier this week, as part of meal planning Monday, I mentioned we had slow cooker chilli on Monday. and a lovely blog reader commented and asked how it was made - so I thought I would share the recipe with you all as part of my new 'Family Meals' series.

As with all my cooking, this was very ad hoc - what we had went in, and there were absolutely no measurements used.

Beef strips/cubes/chunks
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
Half a butternut squash, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Squeeze of garlic puree paste
2 teaspoons Jazlfrezi paste (more or less to taste)

Rice to serve

Cut up all the veg - I did this on Sunday night and stored them in the fridge overnight, with the butternut squash and carrot in a bowl of water to stop them starting to brown. I also chose not to pre brown the meat and to simply put it in raw.
Throw the meat, veg, tin of tomatoes, garlic puree and Jalfrezi paste into the slow cooker, and mix thoroughly. Pop the slow cooker on low for 6-7 hours.
Half an hour before you are ready to eat, cook your rice as normal, and serve.

I was a bit unsure about cooking the beef from raw in the slow cooker, but it was so tender - it just fell apart as soon as a fork hit it. I think I would use more Jalfrezi paste next time, as ours was more of a stroganoff than a curry, but it was still delicious.

This is a perfect family meal as it has lots of veg, the meat is nice and tender for little mouths and a lack of teeth. Even better, it's a perfect family meal because it took me about 10 minutes to prepare the night before - and that means more time to spend with Isabelle when I get home from work.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Isabelle is....

I write about life with Isabelle a lot (constantly!) on here - but it mainly focuses on WHAT we do, WHERE we go, THINGS we use. I maybe give a little glimpse of her personality here and there, but I thought it was about time I gave a little bit of insight into just WHO Isabelle is.

As she gets older, of course, Isabelle's personality shines through more and more. She has some wonderful traits (inherited, largely, from her father) and some not so wonderful ones (inherited solely from my family!). So....what is Isabelle like?

Monday, 22 September 2014

Meal Plan Monday - 22/09/14

Last week, I discovered a great linky over at At Home With Mrs M called 'Meal Planning Monday'.

I always used to laugh at people who made meal plans, and thought they were a bit silly, but I must admit ever since Simon and I bought our house and I was in charge of the weekly shop, I have meal planned for each and every week. I guess I'm a convert!

I HAVE to meal plan. I am not a natural cook, and we don't have loads of random ingredients in the house. I cannot whiz around the shop and see things and think 'that would make a great meal'. So, instead, I meal plan to help us make our shopping list, and so that whoever is home first ready to cook (usually Simon!) knows what there is for each night.

We are pretty flexible, especially since we have a little issue with forgetting to take meat out of the freezer! We also don't need meals for a normal Thursday and Sunday as we eat with my family, which means we only have to plan 5 meals a week, instead of 7.

So here it is - my first Meal Plan Monday weekly meal plan!

Monday: slow cooker beef chilli with rice
Tuesday: chicken and broccoli pasta bake
Wednesday: homemade pizza 
Thursday: n/a
Friday: leek, bacon and pea risotto
Saturday: spaghetti 
Sunday: n/a

I hope it gives you some ideas if you get stuck this week. Hopefully, I'll be linking up with Meal Planning Monday every so often in the future!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Playroom Art Wall

It has been ages since I've posted - I am just so busy with work and spending all my free time with Isabelle that I feel I've had no time!

One of the things I have had time for over the last few weeks, though, is putting Isabelle's art wall together in our playroom. I've known for a while that I wanted to do it, but I didn't think Isabelle was quite ready due to her preference for eating chalk, rather than drawing with it...

I knew I didn't want just a standard easel in the playroom, and to be honest, we haven't really got the floor space (well, we won't after Christmas!) and since we have a great big blank wall, I thought it would be perfect for some wall mounted art materials.

After getting lots of inspiration from Pinterest, I knew I wanted to have a chalk board, a role of paper, a wall decal, an area to display her artwork and somewhere to store the art materials.

I have to be honest, Simon did all the hard work - I dictated, and he built.

I decided that for the chalk board,

Monday, 8 September 2014

10 things a breastfeeding mother will understand...

Recognise these? You're probably a breastfeeding mother....

1// One top up, one top down
2// There really is a point in crying over spilt milk

3// Your postman has seen it ALL
4// Frequently going out and realising you didn’t reclip you bra. On either side…

5// “Oh, I can’t…I’m feeding the baby. You’ll have to make dinner/hoover/walk the dogs…and yes I need that chocolate, if you could just fetch it for me”

6// Half your wardrobe being defunct as it neither lifts up or pulls down adequately

7// Finding pyjamas that will be OK for a night feed. Especially winter pyjamas
8// Sitting down to feed and realising you don't have your phone/iPad/the TV remote/a drink/a snack. And nobody else is home...

9// Remembering the first time that ‘not even boob worked’, and you realised you are a one trick pony as far as comforting your child goes
10// The first few times you spend a few hours away from your baby and return home looking like Pamela Anderson and you MAKE little one eat, even if they aren’t that fussed…

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