Norfolk based Mum of 3: J, D & PND trying to Keep Calm & Carry On

Sunday, 22 December 2013

That went well then!

Whoops!  I seem to be very good at saying I am going to blog & then never getting round to it!  In my defence I have just finished my Beauty Specialist Diploma and am now fully qualified in Manicure, Pedicure, Waxing, Facials, Eye treatments & Make-up!

So it's 3 days to Christmas & I have almost finished shopping, have made a slight dent in the wrapping & am looking forward to spending time with my family.  Although we will be in the car a lot over the holidays so we have decided to spend the big day at home next year. 

Apart from being asked every 5 minutes by my four year old if it's Christmas yet and sending my six year old a video from the Portable North Pole to tell him he's got two days to buck his ideas up, things seem to be going well.  All I need to do now is survive the rest of Christmas!

So it's cold outside, the kids are high as kites on festive cheer and if you're giving presents this year you are probably looking for something to do that doesn't cost a fortune.  Here are some ideas based on what we've been up to this weekend.

We've been to our local cinema (fondly referred to by some as the flea-pit) to see the kids showing which 
is only £1 a ticket.  This time the boys choice Justin & the Knights of Valour & it was a hit with Daddy too! 

I got the inspiration for our next activity from Pinterest.  I am absolutely addicted to Pinterest - you can follow me here   
All you need is some salt, a tray of some kind & some inspiration.

I originally set up this activity for my four year old to practise his common words.  He's a typical boy (not keen on picking up a pencil) and gets very frustrated when he can't get the pencil to do what he wants.  I can sympathise with him as I vividly remember getting frustrated when my hand could not keep up with the thoughts in my head.  We poured the salt into the trays and used our fingers to write letters and common words.  I never thought my six year old would want to get involved but he soon requested his own drawing tray.  He even said it felt relaxing playing with it!  The children soon took over with their own ideas - drawing waves, salt angels and much more. 

As long as you can convince your children not to lick the salt it seems to be a success & one that is easily hoovered up too!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

I am going to blog everyday, honest!

Apologies for the quailty of this picture. 1.) My husband took it 2.) I'm recovering from a bug 3.) That scribble behind me on the wall is actually the Octopod - I'm going to paint soon!

Ok so I've said this before and it hasn't quite worked out as I had planned.  Life just erm, got in the way.  Rubbish excuse I know, but it is quite hard to think of things that people actually want to read. 

So anyway here I am.  The name Norfolk Homemade Mum came about after  finding a creative outlet to express myself after having children & somewhat losing my purpose (or so I thought at the time).  I have two boys, and our latest addition (who I have posted about before) is our gorgeous girl Beulah who is a Black Labrador. 

Something really interesting has happened over the last 6 months.  My depression has pretty much packed it's bags, walked out the door & has thankfully not yet reappeared.  I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the rather large bundle of black fluff lying across me on the sofa.

She gives me comfort and purpose.  There's nothing more heartwarming than watching her play with my boys.  Even though she is still only a puppy she is so patient & gentle with them, never failing to roll over on her back when they come from school "offering" them a tummy rub.  Dogs can teach us a lot.  So far she has taught us about fairness, unconditional love and above all patience.  Oh yeah, and the fact that Labradors will eat ANYTHING including anything wooden, plastic or even windfalls. 

I worried about having enough time for her but she has done a great job of fitting in with our family, although realistically we all revolve around her, I certainly wouldn't change it!

Do you have a pet that completes you? Or has turned your life around?

ps. hopefully by tomorrow blogger won't be playing up & I'll be able to put a photo in the right place!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer Holiday Madness: Day 2

Day 2:

-  Eating Out:  Today we treated the boys to some scrummy pancakes with ice cream at our favourite local cafe "Penelope's."  We enjoyed some yummy paninis & homemade coleslaw with a lovely coffee.  The boys were restless so I produced some puzzle/colouring books & pens which kept them occupied whilst we waited for our food.. 

- Den-making: Hubby put our gazebo up last week to give us some shade during the fantastic heatwave we're enjoying so whilst puppy was sleeping I pegged some sheets on the sides (knowing they'd be down in secinds when she woke up).  The boys then decided this was their house & brought their teddies outside for a tea party so I provided them with some snacks.

- Bouncy fun: A cotbed mattress on the grass has provided plenty of bouncy fun & they practised their gymnastics all afternoon and pretended to have a sleepover.

- Sack races: We used two old pillowcases as sacks and they raced up & down the garden.

- Screen time  - This is limited to 1 hour a day in our house but extra time can be earnt through good behaviour.  My youngest really wants to be just like his brother who has a DS but the games are a little difficult for him to do alone so he played Angry Birds on the Xbox.  He got lots of satisfaction from playing a game he could actually win!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Summer Holiday Madness: Day 1

I always used to hate the summer holidays before DS2 reached 5 years of age.  Having two boys constantly running off & a husband who works shifts meant I often ended up stuck at home, sleep deprived with two very energetic & bored children.  So for the first time I intend to be super organised (those that know me will know this doesn't come easily).  Over the next 6 weeks I'll be posting & sharing the activities and adventures that we've been getting up to and hopefully this will give you some inspiration of what to do with your little ones.  My boys are 4 & 6 but most of our activities could be modified so they suit younger or older children - just use it as a starting point for your own ideas.

As mentioned before on my blog we now have a Black Labrador Puppy called "Beulah" who is absolutely gorgeous but also provides a bit of a challenge over the summer break.  At the moment she chews everything in sight and when excited she jumps up (mostly strangers & already she has improved with my boys).  I am in the process of training her but I'm not totally comfortable having other people's children round and I don't want to set her up to fail.

Day 1:

-  Hide & Seek outside - My eldest & me took the puppy for a short walk to the village green (North Elmham, Norfolk).  It's a great open space with a path running across it.  I distracted Beulah whilst Bubba hid behind a tree & then with great enthusiasm she set off sniffing him out with a reward on finding him (if she didn't jump up!).  We did this a few times & they both loved it.

- Planning - The after school club were selling off some of their items on the last day of term which is where I snapped up a whiteboard with the days of the week on & we started to plan the next week ahead.  Bubba did the writing (handwriting practise) & we summarised what to write in the small spaces together. We've also got a list of activities that everyone would like to do in the holidays so we can keep track & tick them off.

Inside toys  - Disney Fairies Playmat, Lego Duplo, Disney Characters & Moshi Monsters. A city built from bricks and the mat was the countryside.

Kitchen Table - we had a handwriting whiteboard out with some different coloured pens (Poundland).  We also had colouring books.

Movie & Popcorn - I had puppy class in the evening so I got the boys ready for bed before the babysitter arrived and settled them down with a new (secondhand) DVD & some popcorn.

It's probably worth mentioning that the boys were reading & going in the garden intermittently allday aswell which is normal for us.

Day 1 survived!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Happiness comes to those who...

wait, very patiently, for a very long time...

I have a very good reason for being super happy - I love my boys to bits but those close to me will know that I have always wanted a girl.  I didn't earn the nickname Lady Penelope by wearing jogging bottoms and a hoody, always a girly a girl deep down I have longed for the pink hole in my heart to be filled.

My husband would have another baby in an instant and I've never said never but it's definitely not the right time for me at the moment (although having turned 30 this year my body clock is ticking).  I have however wanted a dog ever since I got over the passing of my childhood companion Belle.  Belle was just amazing and I loved her so much.  There is nothing quite like the unconditional love of a dog, especially when you're a child.  She was bred on the Sandringham Estate with a hefty pedigree and the prestigious Drakeshead in her lineage.  However what do you do with a gunshy Labrador bred for working?  We believe she had her first home in the North of England living with a family with small children but the mother found it hard to cope with her so wanted to rehome her.  My Uncle came to hear about her needing a new home and thought of my parents as we had recently lost our Golden Retriever "Honey." 

Belle was 6 months old when my Uncle brought her to us.  She was impeccably housetrained but aswell as being gunshy she was afraid of loud bangs, fireworks, people with hats and the sound of rain hitting the house.  But she was loyal, intelligent, very loving and did a brilliant job of keeping my Mum & I company (along with barking at anything/anyone that came near the house) as my Father was often working away.  We always used to say she should have been a Golden Retriever because she acted so blonde.  She loved it when we got the hose/sprinkler out, she would go crazy and try to bite it whilst running in circles round the garden.  She would stand at the window when Dad was away waiting to greet him when he came back.  Best of all if ever I was upset, there was nothing she couldn't make go away with a doggy cuddle & I would nuzzle her head and stroke her silky ears. 

I've been asking my husband if we could have a dog for YEARS!  He never had the pleasure of having a pet when he was growing up so there was no way he could relate to what I was missing.  Well all my hard work has paid off & he finally agreed earlier this year.  I didn't wear him down until he said yes, he had to want it too otherwise he would just resent it & I needed him to be on board when it came to looking after it too.  After hours of searching on the internet we went to visit a few breeders, none of which suited us or carried out the health tests we needed them to.  We had just about given up hope of finding THE one when I came across an advert for a breeder in Suffolk.  The set-up was perfect, he wasn't pushy (& didn't want us to choose one at 1 week old) & very experienced.  He carried out all the required health tests & ticked all of our boxes.  Well when he showed us the puppies available one stood out from the rest - it was love at first sight.

I waited a very long time & I am one excited Mama.  I'm not the only one, hubby is very excited too - infact I've never seen him so pro-active & carrying out so much DIY in such a short space of time.  The boys can't wait either.

This is little pink princess comes home in 7 days & I can't wait.  It's going to be hard work but well worth it!

Beulah  at 6 weeks

Monday, 17 June 2013

Points mean Prizes!

After a pretty horrendous weekend dealing with my son's behaviour I put my thinking cap on.

We've introduced the traffic light system at home which they use in school.  The boys have been asking me to do it for a long time but I wasn't sure how to make it work.  After this week though I thought I would just have a go & wing it.  I printed the traffic lights off so they could take ownership of them & colour them in.  They have taken to it very quickly & really do not like their name being on red. 

Then we had the mother of all tantrums - I'm not sure what caused it other than being given warnings, consequences & not getting his own way.  One of my friends has started giving her son pocket money which I have been considering doing for a while.  Then I had an idea!......

The housepoint shop...

The boys have gone crazy over it so here's hoping it will work.  Housepoints are rewarded for various things, showing kindness, being helpful, doing little jobs (emptying the dishwashers cutlery basket) & good behaviour. 

10 points loosely equates to £1 so I went to Poundland & the charity shop & picked up a few things...

In the box....
20 - Usborne lift the flap book (charity shop)
20 - Veggie tales DVD (charity shop)
10 - Smurf magic painting book
10 - Olympics diecast car (two of them)
10 - whoopee cushion (youngest has his eye on that already)
10 - Star Wars Fighter Pod (eldest collects these)
3 - some naturally flavoured, low sugar sweets
3 - a Kinder Bueno

Fingers crossed! I'll let you know it goes :-)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Lego City

Having two boys & 3 Star Wars fans means there is a lot of Lego in this house.  We started with the mini figures, then the Star Wars Planets, then the Brickmasters...... I find it a bit disheartening that the boys are always asking me to build models for them when they just take it apart! Don't get me started on how much it hurts when you step on the stuff.  I had this idea to display my eldest's models on a shelf above his bunk bed - well out of the way of his little brother - but I was worried he would bang his head on it or end up with more bricks in his bed (he has been known to take models to bed & keep them "safe" under his pillow).  So when I saw a small typography type shelf I knew straight away what I was going to do...

Ta-da!  The lego shelf - now my son's precious mini-figures can take pride of place in his bedroom, he can swap the display round whenever he likes and his favourites are easy to find!  I can't wait to show him when he gets home from school.  If you'd like to order one just contact me.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The Road to Recovery

So I said I'd come back to blogging & then I didn't...well sometimes the road to recovery is like that...sorry!

Having found myself pretty near rock-bottom recently, I have pulled back from the brink of having a major wibble.  Why do I always say to myself this year is going to be big, this year will be better than last year?  Well so far this year has been pretty rubbish.  The post Christmas lull was made worse by snow, more snow, sick children, more snow, sick children & then inevitably a very run down sick me.  I've had an awful bug which felt like flu, with a large dose of nausea, & finally a cough so bad I kept throwing up.  Having spent a week in bed I had to look for the silver lining, in this case I seem to be a dress size smaller & my caffeine dependancy is zero.

Receently I've been studying Beauty Therapy at a fantastic private college in Norwich, the snow/illness combo has led to me becoming pretty behind with my studies.  I'm fortunate to have an amazing tutor & principal who have both supported me but when push came to shove I felt unable to carry on juggling my course with everything else & the pressure I put on myself about being behind with my work.  I'm having a rest so I can get better gradually, finish my studies later on in the year & I am so grateful to my principal for being so wonderful.  It's a bit of a lightbulb moment for me really as I can't recall ever having "stopped" myself from having a big wibble & although initially I was panicking & worrying about how I was going to possibly fit everything in & pass my exams, I can honestly say I feel no guilt in taking a break. 

Some might think why put off what you can do today - but they're missing the point.  My happiness is the cornerstone of our family - so if Mama needs to stop & take stock so be it.  In the meantime I get to spend some quality time with my boys & make the most of the next few months before my youngest starts school.  I can't believe our baby is going to be 4 in a few weeks! 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

What's For Dinner - Guest Post

Today I have a recipe using my husband's culinary talents - enjoy!  He would welcome some feedback and you never know this could be the start of a new foodie blog!  

Daddy's Big Mushrooms

Serves 2


Large Flat Mushrooms (1 per person)
Halloumi Cheese (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic
2 rashers bacon
1/2 Ciabatta
1 small onion (Finely sliced)
Tomato Puree
Tomato Ketchup
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Black Pepper
1 cooked beetroot (cubed)
Salad leaves

1.) Peel & core the flat mushrooms, place on a baking tray face down & drizzle with olive oil.  Place in a preheated oven at 200 deg C.

2.)  Put 2 rashers of bacon under the grill.  Whilst they are cooking chop 1/4 of a 225g packet of Halloumi cheese into small cubes.

3.) Finely slice the onion & chop 1 small clove of garlic. Keep separate.

4.) When the bacon is cooked to your liking remove from the grill & roughly chop.  Mix 1 tsp tomato puree & 1 tsp of tomato ketchup. 

5.) After the mushrooms have been in the oven for 10 minutes turn over and spread the tomato mixture into the centre of each mushroom. 

6.) Scatter chopped Halloumi, bacon & garlic on top of the mushrooms & top with Rosemary (or Thyme) & black pepper to taste.  Return to oven for another 8-10 minutes until the Halloumi starts to caramelise or goes golden on the edges. 

7.) Wash salad leaves, add finely sliced onion and cubed beetroot. Combine & arrange on plates. 

8.) 5 minutes before taking out the mushrooms, slice ciabatta in half and place in the oven (directly on the shelf).

9.) Remove mushrooms & ciabatta from the oven. Place the mushrooms on top of the ciabatta & drizzle with Balsamic Vinegar.  Drizzle salad with Extra Virgin olive Oil. Season to taste.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Return of the...

Apologies for the lack of posts since last Summer.  I've found myself in a rather peculiar situation, where for the first time in months I feel like blogging.  I've been much better depression-wise since the start of last Summer so I've been busy throwing myself into my college course.  The awful winter and lack of sunshine has however taken it's toll and I am now feeling depressed again yet wanting to blog. I feel almost cheated by this blip, but I knew it was coming, I felt it creeping up on me.  Writing, keeping a diary or journal has long been considered therapeutic but that is not why I am writing this post today, I just had a sudden compelling urge to write it down. 

So here goes...I shall try to post as much as possible in future.  I also need to get writing on my other blog but I'm finding wordpress harder to work with so I'm going to have a think over the next few days & possibly transfer it to Blogger.

For now I'll leave you with a picture of my new wellies - can't wait to try them out on the allotment!

Sainsbury's £18

I originally saw a pair on the Next website but I came across these in Sainsbury's & they had 25% off.  I do love a bargain!