10

Date Night Inspiration

If you’re looking for inspiration and ideas for an upcoming date night then take a look at different ideas and hopefully you’ll find the perfect date night. I recently wrote a post about How To Keep The Romance After Children and one of the ideas was to have a date night. Whether it’s weekly or once a month having one night, just the two of you, makes a huge difference in how well you stay connected as a couple. Children take up the majority of your time and conversations, so to set aside an evening for a date is a perfect way to keep the romance alive. No children around to interrupt your conversation with ‘choo choo, car, PEPPA!’ just the two of you enjoying each others company. Bliss!

  • Bowling this is normally more fun when you go on a double date or in a group. This brings out Darrens competitive side. Anything brings out his competitive side. Bowling is great because I have a high chance of winning (in your face Darren). It’s a fun thing you can both enjoy and there’s no question there’ll be plenty of laughs during the night.
  • D404343_10150689784561206_6888287_ninner in a restaurant, very fancy! Can you remember a meal in a restaurant where you haven’t had to bribe your dancing toddler off the table whilst over feeding your baby milk so she calms down? I can and it was days before I gave birth to my son. Call in the baby sitters and book a table at a restaurant you’ll both enjoy. It’s not often you both get to see each other ‘at your best’. Without a spot of baby sick on your shoulder, your toddlers dinner wiped down your leg, your hair in something other than a pony tail because your baby likes to pull large chunks out and him in his work clothes or some other kind of casual clothing. This used to be a regular outing before children and we really took it for granted. Now when we manage to dine out just the two of us it’s such a treat! We both make an effort and we both appreciate how good we can scrub up!
  • Takeaway if you’re like us and your nearest babysitters aren’t really near, then a takeaway makes a great date night. You don’t need to dress up, you don’t need to stay up late, you can enjoy something really tasty while watching whatever you fancy on TV and it’s much cheaper than a restaurant meal. Sometimes there’s even some left for the next day (not in my house!).
  • Weekend away why not turn your date night into a whole weekend! Our children aren’t quite old enough for me to be comfortable leaving them overnight but that’s just me. If you can take advantage of a weekend child free, then enjoy it! Having a weekend away without any responsibilities with you helps relieve any stress, you can enjoy as much as you can of adult activities, I don’t mean those kinds of activities, but a spa, sightseeing, anything you wouldn’t necessarily do if you had children with you. I’m looking forward to eventually having one of these weekends, maybe Barcelona again or if I’m not feeling brave enough to be in a different country to my children then somewhere in the UK will still be a fabulous treat.
  • Bingo it’s not just for ladies and not just for ladies of a certain age. Bingo is so much fun, it’s not expensive and you could win a bunch! We’ve won a few times it’s an exciting feeling and if you’re not much of a talker then Bingo is perfect!
  • DVD you could watch a DVD whilst you’re enjoying your takeaway or just spread out on the sofa once the children are in bed and watch a film that appeals to you both. When we both watch a film we tend to stick to comedy. I’d much rather watch something we can both laugh at than anything too intense. Although we are widening our DVD collection with things like ‘The Hobbit’.
  • Cinema if you’d rather go out to enjoy a film then this way you don’t have to worry about your film being interrupted by a teething baby or a toddler who has just been woken up by the cat scratching his door. Treat yourself to as many sweet treats as you can. You don’t have to feel guilty about eating it in front of your toddler whilst handing him an apple!
  • Concert chances are you’ll have a few artists that you both listen and bop your head too. So, if they have a concert coming up, put a little fund aside so you can both go, have a dance and listen to something other than that nursery rhymes cd you keep meaning to take out of the cd player. Even if you’re both into different kinds of music, any music live is an enjoyable experience and it’s good to try new things knowing it pleases your other half. You could also tie this in with a weekend away for a real splurge date night.
  • Comedy show there’s nothing more therapeutic than having a belly-aching laugh so to enjoy this together is a bonus!
  • Friends if you’ve not managed to catch up with friends lately because when you get any down-time you treat it as just that. Invite them over to you or travel over to them, you’ll both appreciate the adult conversation.
  • Ghost tours it’s not for me as I’m a real wimp but it gives him the chance to be brave (he’s probably peeing his pants secretly) and it’s an experience that’s a bit different from the usual date night.
  • Cooking together make yourself a really tasty three course meal. All you need to spend money on is the ingredients and this helps my man to learn a new meal to make should he ever need to. Pop on some music and have fun with it!

Have a good date night!

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0

Mrs Goose Designs Bib Review

PhotoGrid_1435483619239 (1)I was asked by Jessica @mrsmummyj From Mrs Goose Designs to Review one of her lovely bibs. Of course I couldn’t refuse. I had a look at the different designs she offered and was very excited to receive the butterfly pattern for my little girl.

I was very pleased when it arrived (very quick arrival) because it was much larger than I though it would be, not to mention 100% organic cotton which is perfect for a baby’s sensitive skin.

PhotoGrid_1435583420283 (1)The bib covers the majority of my daughters front, very handy for those milk dribbles while she has her bottle! It’ll be a bib that will last for many months to come without the worry of it getting tight around her neck or not having enough coverage. Mia is also dribbling like crazy lately due to a bout of teeth pushing their way through, so today I kept the bib on her to catch all of her dribble spillage. Normally I take her out bib-free because none of her bibs can go with many of her outfits but the design of Mrs Goose Designs butterfly bib went perfectly with her pink wardrobe! She also enjoyed having a little nibble on the bib to relieve any teething niggles she was having.

PhotoGrid_1435483564715 (1)The bib overall is very well made, the seams are strong and it feels good quality (100% organic cotton! Did I mention?). The quality of the bib wasn’t compromised after it went through a wash either and the butterfly is still as lovely as it was pre-wash. Another handy thing which I recommend all parents to look out for is poppers! Poppers on a bib is much more convenient than Velcro. No more getting attached to everything in the wash and no more getting attached to everything in general. I also think having a popper at the back of a baby’s neck must be much more comfortable than harsh scratchy Velcro.

PhotoGrid_1435583526820 (1)Thank you Mrs Goose Designs for not only making stylish, cute bibs but practical ones too!

Anything from Mrs Goose Designs will arrive beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and I would recommend any of her T-shirts, bibs, rompers/sleepsuits or baby grows not only for your children but they would also make a perfect gift. There is a range of designs to suit boys, girls and unisex. Anyone would appreciate such a lovely gift and any baby would appreciate the soft material against their skin.

Take a look at her website http://www.mrsgoosedesigns.com/ to find something you’ll love!    PhotoGrid_1435583607563 (1)

4

How To Stop A Tantrum

Our toddler is approaching his terrible twos and we are reminded on a daily basis of this. I say ‘we’, he’s lucky he can escape the ‘stop, drop and roll’ accompanied by a fit of screaming, because he’s at work. I try to be consistent with discipline, following the invisible rules we seem to have invented. But who am I kidding? Sometimes I like an easy life and there are certain ways I know will bring his roar back down to silence. Ah bliss!

  1. Both of my children drop things. Accidentally but mainly on purpose. It’s a game of who gives in first. For me it’s not a game and more of a question to who will give up and LOSE IT first. Usually me. The dropped item also usually ends up in the bin. To keep the calm with your children, just pick it up. Every time. Every. Single. Time. This way they will stay happy and satisfied knowing you’ll do it. You’ll do it every single time, pick up their cup of water, that’s also now leaked all over the floor. It is a game to them, but not for us.
  2. Yes! I am guilty of feeding a tantrum. If we’re in Tesco and Mason decides he wants a bag of apples (he loves apples, one bite and then he throws it away!) I pick up a bag of apples and give him one. My argument is yes I’ve just ‘given in’ but apples are healthy. Healthy and quiet child means happy mummy. I’m also guilty of bribing Mason with biscuits to GET DOWN from the table and not freak out because MIA IS ASLEEP. Food in any form is a great way of busting a tantrum, my son will stop abruptly mid-scream once something tasty is in his hand.
  3. Milk. Too much milk is bad. Not enough milk is bad. Milk to stop a tantrum, GOOD. We use this method in the evening when he suddenly channels his inner psycho. Normally tiredness. Milk keeps him calm and quiet. Brilliant for wind down time before bed.
  4. I’m reading or sending a message on my phone and this looks fun and interesting to Mason. He does his usual grunt signalling he wants. No needs my phone. I lock my phone and hand it over to him. A locked phone just isn’t good enough he wants access to everything. Fine. Here’s my unlocked phone, what harm can he do? LOTS. He’s changed the language on my phone (I didn’t even know how to do that), he’s called Darren and left him a voicemail of me babbling to him in the background, he’s taken numerous entertaining selfies and also managed to tweet them. WORTH IT. He didn’t have a tantrum could possibly advance into a job in tech?
  5. His first demands in the day is usually Peppa. I know every word, from every episode and it’s even taught Mason a few new words. I think you get the gist of how often we watch it. Still it’s in high demand in our house from our toddler. I can double up on the benefits of this, preventing my child taking all his clothes off and peeing on the floor in protest and I get to put a load of washing on. Result.
  6. This novelty is starting to wear off on the toddler but works amazingly for the baby. Bubbles. He still sometimes gets interested in the bubbles themselves but is more interested in getting the pot off me and doing it himself. He can’t do it himself. I know because I’ve slipped on what he’s spilt. Mia on the other hand loves the burst the bubbles, waving her chunky little arms around. So, bubbles is a great distraction.
  7. At the park the swing is slowly turning into my nemesis. The only thing Mason will entertain doing at the park now is the swing. He will gladly sit on the swing for an hour, or more! Well, dinner is in half an hour and I need to cook it. He won’t budge from the seat with that stupid bar he’s able to wrap his legs around. He starts to scream and I’m in full view of nearby homes and every person in the park. OK. Stay on the swing, who needs dinner anyway? Being in view of everyone nearby looking to see if you give in to your toddler, you’ll need to style it out so no-one knows you’ve given in. Put on a false smile and chuckle to yourself, try not to look too crazy when you do this. The stares will be for other reasons then.
  8. Poor Darren falls into the trap of ‘carry me’ every time we go out. Mason INSISTS on walking and we’re happy for him to exercise his legs but after seconds of walking, he’s bored. He wants to be carried. I am consistent with ‘no I’m not carrying you’ while I’m pushing the buggy, holding the bag and shopping. Darren however, always gives in. Then moans about carrying him. But the boy isn’t having a tantrum.

all iphone 1570If all else fails just start thinking of your favourite song, while you’re bopping your head and pretending he’s not really yours! Do what you need to do, I will never judge any mum that takes an easier route occasionally for an easier life. It’s hard! It doesn’t make you a bad mum. Plus if you’re out and you’ve accepted this tantrum just needs to ride itself out, us mums have been hard-wired to look perfectly calm and composed (even though inside we are just dying) outside we aren’t embarrassed. But God help anyone who comments on it!

4

His Day Off Means My Day Off

So today is Darrens only day off this weekend. In my head all I wanted to do was. Nothing. I’ve had a horrific week listening to a toddler having a tantrum if his crisp packet (given as a bribe) crinkled the wrong way and a baby who is teething and suffering with reflux crying. A lot. So his one day off, I hoped would be my one day off. But that would be a waste of our family day wouldn’t it.

Pre-children I would have loved a last minute decision to go anywhere, quickly throw my shoes on without a care in the world, off to have a fun day out. Now I can’t comprehend the idea of deciding last minute to go anywhere. No schedule? No trip! I like pre-planned days so I can prepare the children in the hope of exiting the house within an hour (a dream with two children). This morning we hadn’t thought of anything. We had set an hour aside last night to think of something to do but we got distracted by a child refusing to go to bed and then, yep, TV! We had a last minute scramble for ideas, we are surrounded by places to visit and things to do but similarly, there’s nothing to do. I’m sure many will understand the feeling. In the end I remembered a place I visited as a child. All I can remember was the location of the place and that they had emus. SOLD. We were on our way! Well we weren’t quite on our way, there were bags to pack, lunches to make, bottles to prepare unexpected nappies to change, more nappies to change.

PhotoGrid_1435435551633We were two minutes away talking about what will be there, our tasty lunch and that we must remember to put more sun cream on the kids, when Darren said ‘you got Masons shoes yea?’. No. I didn’t have Masons shoes. Darren was holding Masons shoes as we left why would I have them? This then turned into a mini-debate resulting in a U-turn back home to pick up his shoes! Luckily Mason had fallen asleep, so we turned it into a good thing that we wasted an hour driving around using up fuel. Mason had his nap, and he hadn’t been car sick yay!

We got there hungry and enthusiastic about setting the kids free on the grass and being able to enjoy our lunch, when we saw the sign NO PICNICS. What?! I had food rage and if my lunch didn’t hit my lips soon I could end up becoming emotional. So we eat our picnic, on this lovely picnic site, where we weren’t allowed to eat picnics. And it was delicious! We were very sneaky but we managed to finish the whole shebang and no-one said a word!

First stop were to see these huge, wrinkly, snorty pigs. PEPPA. Mason likes to rub his fingers at every animal in the hope they will come to him, so sweet. He calls every animals ‘buzz’, after our cat Bella, also very sweet. Each of these pigs had their own patch of farm and their own little tin house. A couple of the pigs were in their house sleeping, so Mason started rubbing his fingers calling ‘buzz, buzz’ and it worked. This huge, wrinkly pig started bowling it’s way towards us. This started to freak Mason out, this had never happened before, no animal had ever come to him so he started shaking his head ‘no, no, no’. The pig still came over and once Mason got over their intimidating looks he was happy that he was meeting Peppa again.

After a fun afternoon I was glad we made the effort to get out and do something and I was very looking forward to getting home, blowing up the pool and playing in the garden. So we got home. I blew up the pool. And it ripped. Fantastic. We all needed the paddling pool. I was so determined to just sit for a while today that I had to whizz down to Tesco and buy a new pool. This time a bigger one that didn’t need blowing up. Perfect! If I could get it out of the bloody box.

Pool set up. Mia napping. It was my time to sit, while everyone else was occupied and no-one needed me. Just my luck that I finally get to do nothing and my eyes, throat and ears start itching. I can’t stop sneezing, my nose turns to a waterfall and my eyes sting. Hayfever. Fantastic. I didn’t let it ruin my nothing time I sneezed and itched my way through it and actually came out with quite a nice tan. Once it was dinner time this hayfever thing got too much and I started to feel ill so I snuck into the lounge with the curtains closed. Darren had assured me he had the children under control. I did it everyday so how hard could it be. He must have realised that VERY is how hard it can sometimes be. When he started with the not so jokey jokes of ‘oh yea you just relax’ I thought I’d relieve him a bit by joining in the evening fun.

Morale is even when we’ve had a hard week and want some downtime when daddy is home to help with the children. Make the most of daddy being home and do something with the day, it’s his day off too so I shouldn’t be selfish to assume it’s my day off. We’re in this together pal! We all had a fun day and we have our usual luck of a little something goes wrong but it’s always easily sorted.

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0

The Best Times Your Child Can Cry

When babies, toddlers or children cry it can be a mix of emotions for the parent. It can make us sad, anxious, annoyed or worried. When children cry for a reason that can be fixed easily with food or a toy then that cry can be easily fixed. When they cry because they’re fed up, most of the time there is no fixing this!

When my children cry a lot of the time it makes me feel anxious, it just depends on why they’re crying. If they’ve hurt themselves or are ill then I cry with them! If they start to have a whine and a whinge because things just aren’t going their way, for me, this can be annoying and frustrating, not to mention difficult to deal with!

When your children start to have a cry there are certain situations where you think brilliant because it can be used to your advantage. Here are the best times for your child to cry like everyone’s watching!

Out ‘n’ About

There is nothing worse than knowing you’re about to listen to a cry that stops everyone in their tracks. You then get the judgemental stares (I’m guessing they don’t have children) or the pity stares (they definitely have children). You can use this crying time to your advantage. If there’s a herd of school kids kicking their heels waiting for nothing to happen all gathered right in your way. Come on Mase put them lungs to work and clear the streets! When it’s busy, a toddler that’s freaking out because he just wanted EVERYTHING in that shop we were just in, is the best way to part the crowds, so you have the freedom to roam the streets without having to ram anyone with your buggy!

Queues

Crying while you’re in a queue is painful for everyone near you (they don’t know how painful it is for you too). If I know there is nothing I can do to cheer my toddler up I just put my ‘pity me’ face on and almost try to pretend he’s not mine. This doesn’t happen often but it does happen, people will either feel really sorry for you or annoyed with the shrill scream, that they give up their place in the queue. This is queue jumping at it’s finest! Thank you Mason for cutting our already painful shopping trip down, so we can escape to the car much quicker!

On The Phone

Naturally when I’m on the phone and Mason suddenly decides he wants my phone, I just walk into another room. If you just want to get off the phone and finish your breakfast that you’ve finally been allowed to eat 11.30am, then use their crying to your advantage! No-one wants to stay on the phone while your child is crying.

Leaving

If you’re finding it hard to leave somewhere, because you need to get back to feed the kids, clean the house, do the washing, prepare his dinner and everything else. Then this is a great time for your child to exercise their vocals! We’ve all been in situations where we’ve bumped into someone and they’ve caught us off guard or maybe in a shop where the shop assistant is extremely friendly but you’ve just learnt her dogs name, where her last holiday was and why he just wasn’t  the one. I love a bit of chit chat, I will always make a conversation with anyone, but after at least 5 minutes, it’s time to go! By this time the kids start getting bored anyway and right on cue, they’ll thrash about in the buggy grunting and soon enough crying. Another situation where crying has been a good thing.

I’m Busy But He Isn’t

If I’m mid-cleaning while he’s watching football guess who’s job it is to attend to any crying children? HIS of course! Sometimes Mia will only take comfort in me but the best time for them to have tears and tantrums is when I’m busy and he Isn’t.

Noisy Neighbours

Lots of people have get togethers in the garden and I’m not against it, how can I be when we can do the same! But when it’s getting late and the neighbours are getting a bit too feisty then having a baby cry is the politest way of asking them to please keep the noise down. Open their window for extra effect so they’ve definitely heard the crying. It’s easy to be loud and not realise it but we have two very light sleepers and I’m not the sort of person that could ask someone to keep their fun quiet. So that’s what children are for!

I really don’t like when my children cry, especially when I can’t do anything for them or they’re crying out of rage from not getting their way. So, might as well make life easier if you can!

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Creamy Chicken And Bacon Tagliatelle

This was a last minute meal which shows it’s easy to make and there’s a high chance you’ll have all the ingredients in your home already! Creamy chicken and bacon pasta is very tasty and has been toddler approved! This recipe serves 4 adults.

Ingredients

  • Knob of Butter
  • 4 Rashers of Bacon – Chopped
  • 10 Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
  • 1tsp Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 300g Tagliatelle
  • 1 Cooked Chicken Breast – Chopped
  • 100g Broccoli
  • 75g Cheddar Cheese
  • 150g Sour Cream
  • 1tbsp Plain Flour

Method

Cook the tagliatelle and broccoli in a pan according to packet instructions. I use the same pan to cook both (saves washing up). Once both are cooked, drain and save 100ml of the cooking water.

SPhotoGrid_1435172237192 (1)autee the onion in the butter in a pan until soft then add the bacon. Sautee for a further few minutes then add the tomatoes and dried mixed herbs.

Mix together the plain flour and 100ml cooking water in a jug ready to be used.

Add the cooked chicken, milk and flour mixture, sour cream, cheese, tagliatelle and broccoli mix into the pan with the bacon and tomatoes. Stir all of the ingredients together until it is piping hot and the cheese has melted.

Season with pepper and enjoy!

11

How To Cope With A BAD Day

When I was woken this morning by two children crying instead of chatting to themselves that pretty much set the pace for the rest of the day. Breakfast turned into a battle of wills, he wanted cake but he got cereal, she got porridge but clearly not enough porridge and I just wasn’t feeding her quick enough! He wanted to watch Peppa the same episodes we’ve seen OVER AND OVER for the last few months! She wanted to cry. She’s cried all day. I’m not exaggerating.

When I speak to Darren and friends or family about these kinds of days I tend to get the usual response of are they teething? are they ill? are they tired? they must be hungry! NO! They’re just crying. Just. Crying. Has anyone else had these days where the only thing you can hear is crying or whining?

Today Mason didn’t spend much time having tantrums he just spent all morning ignoring me. I have to accept by this point the rest of the day will be shit. Acceptance is the best way. If you accept you’re going to have a hard day, it doesn’t get any easier but you’ve accepted it.

So after the 100th time of asking mason not to drag his toys along our new oak coffee table (why did we buy new furniture?!) I had to walk out the room! With a crying baby attached to my hip who just wouldn’t calm down and a toddler banging things on the table. My head was about to explode. Not just my head, my whole body I WAS GOING TO EXPLODE. I’ve had bad days, tough days, hard days but once you hand me a bad day, sprinkled with tiredness, a headache (soon to be migraine), hunger and I’ve not had my morning caffeine fix! Then that bad day turns me into a balloon filled with far too much air!

I’ve accepted we’re having a bad day. No. A shit day. So how do I get through the day? Ignore it! I disappear in my head to some place happy and if I disappear hard enough I can’t hear it. I can’t hear crying or our lovely new furniture being damaged. I carry on my business of changing nappies, preparing milk, preparing lunch, preparing dinner and washing up. If I come out of that ‘calm place’ I force myself to be in, then I will turn into that balloon again. This time that balloon will turn into a monster and there will be tears from all three of us all for very different reasons! So if the postman happens to look in through the window he will see me crying, holding my baby who’s also crying, hugging my toddler and he’s crying too. Just a mess so if you’re having a BAD day then find your inner calm.

PhotoGrid_1435325988890 (1)If you can’t find your inner calm then pop something on the tv that the kiddies will enjoy watching – tear free! Call up your man and remind him he’s left the toilet seat up, his clothes on the floor or he’s moved something! Darren gets at least 1 of these calls a day. He knows what this call means, so he keeps very calm and happy on the phone and just hearing his voice, an adults voice, tips my mood slightly the other way.

Another way to get through one of those BAD days is keeping busy. Thank you Dyson because you have invented something that not only cleans my house but entertains my children too! The vacuum amuses the children enough to stop tears, tantrums it sometimes even brings smiles! This keeps me busy enough to bring me closer to naptime! Not my naptime but sure enough there will be a nap looming for one of them which frees me up to focus more on the other child (who is clearly also having a bad day it’s not just me) and we can just wallow in our bad day together.

Naptime is my favourite time when we have bad days, they don’t often nap at the same time (would be nice) but to just be able to focus on one upset child instead of two is much easier. Sometimes they even let me drink my tea while it’s hot!

We all have bad days and some days are REALLY bad. It’s ok to know you’re about to blow, put the children down and leave the room to collect yourself. It’s a tough job, there’s no manual for this (I wish they were born with one!) but I try to remind myself that yesterday was a really GOOD day, tomorrow could be a good day? It’s all part of being a parent right?

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