Thursday, January 31, 2013

crazy crazies

The way I summed up the rest of my day yesterday on facebook...

"Today was a crazy crazy day, starting at 5.30am - thanks kids for graciously waking me up so I had time to fit in a ton of things. And thanks for weeing on the floor so I'd give you both baths, and tipping over a plant so I'd hoover the whole downstairs and.... I love you Soph and JJ, even if you do change up my to-do list a little."
Today has not got off to the most auspicious start, with a rough night, but we're off to see my mummy and daddy (once all the people stop being asleep again!) so that will be lovely I'm sure :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do all the things

My children graciously decided that they would wake up at 5.30am to give me plenty of time today to do all the things. So before 7am came around I'd already got a load of washing in the machine and done almost all of yesterday's washing up!

It's not yet ten o'clock and I have thus far done breakfast, caught up with the online world, stripped and changed the bedding on my bed, put the wet washing out on the airer, sorted dry washing and started putting it away, dealt with wee on the floor, and consequently bathed two children. The one that did the wee, and then the little one wanted to jump in the bath too, so he also went in, dried and dressed the kids, half dressed me (the other half is still pyjamas) and started another load of washing (bedding and towels and all that was wee-ed on).

Now I am just sitting for a minute before I make white sauce and assemble some lasagnas.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Jaiden is doing something to my hair with a spoon. It feels a bit like when the hairdresser pulls two strands to check they're the same length. I suppose I should be glad it's a sppon he's holding and not something more dangerous!

Sophia is watching Cbeebies (TV channel for young children). I like to watch a bit of news and weather first thing and then we switch over for a few (or more than a few) children's programs. 'Tilly and her friends' just finished - that's one of the gentler ones, and quite enjoyable, even for mummy, as opposed to others which I turn off when they come on!

I am trying to be awake. JJ cried in his sleep a fair bit and Soph cried out at 2.30am. I went in, but she was actually asleep, but in going in, I woke JJ. He had a nappy change and went back to his bed ok, but coghed a lot over the next hour and cried and cried at 3.30am, so he came into our bed to stay! And that's that!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

How to run a kids' clothes swap (beautiful assistants not included)

Last year I was sorting through Soph's clothes and had a bag of bits and pieces that we no longer needed, and that I wanted to pass on to someone, but I wasn't sure who would need them.
Why not get a bunch of friends together, all bring clothes their kids didn't need, and swap them, at  the same time we could drink coffee and eat cake (Mums are especially good at multitasking!).
The idea (not original, but my version thereof) was born.
That clothes swap was in my house. Today we had our second one, in the meeting room of my church's offices. I think it was even bigger and better than last time. Here's how I did it... and how you can too.

Set a date and a location. If the date is quite far off (as this one was) make sure you promote the event nearer the time, and remind people lots, but in a non-annoying way. (I hope I managed that).
Our planned location actually changed twice over time, but it was fine!
So second I would emphasise be flexible and don't panic!

Once you've settled upon your time, date and location, start telling people. (I went for 10.30 start this time, cos that meant those of us setting up didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn. I arrived at the location about 9.20am)

Invite all your friends with kids. Set up a facebook group. Think about how big your location is, but don't be scared to invite more than double the number you can actually fit in your venue - not everyone will be able to make it. Go through your phone and text all your friends with kids there too.
Pretty much everyone will bring baby clothes, so also invite expectant mothers, or those you think might be planning to have kids (get cheeky, people can always say no!)

Co-opt a couple of friends to be your beautiful assistants. You could do it all yourself, but you'd probably get a bit stressed. And your friends will bring new perspective and together you'll come up with some great ideas. I've had Rachel, Claire and Corena as my beautiful assistants for my clothes swaps, and I honestly couldn't have done it without them.

Think about child care for your kids during the event, cos you'll probably be busy running it and it would be handy to have another pair of hands and eyes around. Last time I had my mum and today my wonderful husband (and Claire's) were these to help with the kids and be oh so gentlemanly and assist with carrying etc etc. (Thanks!)

Think about how to display the clothes - we used a variety of boxes (pretty much anything I could find!) Last time we had a hanging rail.

Make labels. If you laminate them, you can use them again next time. Stick the labels on the boxes, thinking about which sizes are likely to have most clothes. For us, we had a lot of baby clothes, so I had my biggest boxes at that end and put them in small age ranges (Newborn and 0-3 month, 3-6m, 6-9m, 9-12m, 12-18m, 18-24m, 2-3years etc)

Ask your friends to presort if you can! It's so much easier if you can come and just tip a bag into a bag and go, but be prepared that you will need to help sort on the day too.

Think about what else you want to swap and share - we had bedding, towels, toy, 'baby equipment', shoes, socks, etc etc. But try to have a place for each item, so people can find the right boxes to put things in, and find things to take away too!

Consider telling people with older kids about the event (I set a rough guide of newborn-age 10 for the event). But sometimes people with older kids are ready to have a turn out of baby paraphernalia and are happy to donate it to those with the littles.

Don't feel like you have to make all the cakes - buy some, or ask folk to contribute too. People like doing that.

Tell people as they arrive, what you want them to do - We asked them to sort their own stuff into boxes, and then they could start taking. But be prepared to muck in too!
Have a plan what to do with leftovers (you will have leftover!) - we gave to charity, including my church, and I sent the people who were around at the end away with a bag or two to take to their favourite charity shop. Last time we stored some of the baby clothes because a number of our friends were expecting babies soon!

Be prepared to feel totally exhausted afterwards!

Start small the first time so you get a feel for it, but be prepared for it to all take off.

Above all, have fun!

(Of course, we're considering changing this system slightly for next time, with potentially a bigger venue, and asking people to bring their donations the day before so we can sort them better)

Not a picture

Wanted to upload some pics, but blogger or computer is being super slow.

So, this is not a picture of Soph in a box. You can all move along now.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh the possibilities....

Those with kids will understand

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy birthday to... very special little sister (who done got big!) Seriously, how did you get so old?! Here she is with her lovely Mr Steve.
Ok, so maybe that wasn't the most flattering of pictures, let's ty again...
That's better! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

life as we know it

Preschool's closed until Wednesday.

JJ has some back teeth (a tooth?) coming through, which while it wiggles and jiggles about is causing him lots of pain, a high temp and general miseray. This in turn is leading him to wanting me all the time and making my life miserable too. After all, it's nice to share, mummy!

The house is a tip. The washing basket is overflowing, the washing up needs doing, not to mention anything else. But JJ is reluctant to let me out of his sight, which makes achieving anything much a bit tricky. Today I aim simply not to go mad :D

Monday, January 21, 2013

In the snow (walking to the pub for lunch!)

 And that's as close as JJ's got to the snow so far since he's teething and been running a high temp

Sunday, January 20, 2013

shoop shoop shoop

That's what Rachel in friends said in the episode she was hoping to go off ski-ing in Vale, but couldn't make the money in time.

And we have snow, and for some reason it made me think of that.

Snow snow snow.

By the time this posts, I'll probably be sick of it, but as I write this, it's the first day. I refuse to drive anywhere, and won't be until the snow and ice are gone! But we did have a walk in the snow along to the pub for some lunch (And to give the kids fresh air, since it'll freeze tonight and then even the pavements won't be that safe to walk on, and we'll be stuck indoors).

I haven't taken any kids in snow pictures yet and it's getting a bit dark now. We're (sort of) cosy indoors and Sophia is watching The Snowman. But I'll make sure I take some tomorrow :)  (which for me is Saturday, but as you read this when it posts in Sunday, that will actually be yesterday).

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Swag-extravangaza - Tuesday 22nd January

This coming Tuesday, the 22nd, Swagbucks is celebrating the month of January with a bunch of Swag Codes - if you can get them all, you'll have an extra 65 Swag Bucks at the end of the day. They'll be happening all throughout the day, so check their blog, Facebook and Twitter for potential clues.

Also, if you have the new Toolbar installed you'll be able to check for Swag Codes all day long!

If you haven't joined Swagbucks yet, click this link to join the fun and start earn reward points that you can exchange for free stuff like gift cards! Use the code JANTASTIC during sign up - that way you'll start with 100 Swag Bucks instead of the usual 30. Enter the code exactly as it appears with no spaces.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Interrupting my blog challenge to say...

I've been doing lots of the 31 blog post challenge, but to be honest, I'm finding it a bit frustrating. Yes, it was nice to have a plan of what to write, but some of the prompts just didn't interest me much, or didn't take my post in a direction I wanted it to go. 

I'm also a bit frustrated about losing all my readers, or perhaps just all the commenters! (But I know how rubbish I am at commenting on other people's post, so I do understand).  So, I've decided that I won't totally abandon the challenge, but I'm putting it on hold a bit so I can say some of the other things I want to say. After all, this is my blog, I should get to chose what to write! (But prompts and challenges are useful sometimes!)

Have you noticed that I have actually blogged 21 posts, one a day, for 21 days (if my counting was correct!). That may be my longest blogging streak I've ever had.

*ballons, hats and party poppers all round*

Now since my almost 13 month old is alternating between trying to climb the bookcase and grabbing my arm to make me cuddle him, I it's time to get back to real life, but I'll be here again soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

31 DBC - What are you reading?

-Well, I'm doing a 40 bible study along with the rest of my church, reading a different passage and devotional passage every day.

What else? Well facebook and blogs most days, but I've already linked up some of those.

I like dipping into a book called How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy, Balanced Diet with Very Little Money . . .: With Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a tiny kitchen, only three saucepans (one with an ill-fitting lid) and no fancy gadgets - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher...

 It's a good reference for inspiration for dinner at short notice! And is written in a funny, readable way. I'd definitely recommend it :)

I don't read it start to finish, but even though Jaiden is my second child, I still like to check things out in the 'What to Expect' books. I got the pregnancy one out of the library, but I was lucky enough to be given What to Expect the 1st Year and What to Expect: the Toddler Years from a friend who had finished using them. I'd definately recommend as they cover things from feeding to sleep to nappy contents and everything inbetween!

Finally, a couple of books I got for Christmas...
More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow . A book with slow cooker recipes on a budget, as originally featured on Stephanie O'Dea's blog,  A year of slowing cooking. I think it was last Christmas I got her first book Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

And one I'm hoping might help me to get Sophia eating veg! The Great Big Veg Challenge: How to get your children eating vegetables happily by Charlotte Hume, which also originated as a blog.

(I'm dipping my toe into being an amazon affiliate, so there are links in this post)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

31 DBC - Something I want my kids to know

Sometimes I shout. Sometimes I'm grumpy. Especially on the days you've woken me up at 4am for the third day in a row. Sometimes I'm a mean mean mummy (in your opinion). But remember this,


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

31 DBC - Best advice I've ever got?

Hm, I'm pondering over this one. It's been sat in my drafts with the title ready and waiting for me to write something. The two things that come to mine may or may not be the best pieces of advice I've ever been given, but they're pretty good all the same :D

1. "This too will pass". Sometimes it's one of those days (weeks) where the kids have been awake since crazy o'clock, the house is a mess (thanks kids), it's time for dinner but you haven't made any.... you get the picture.  Say to yourself "this too will pass" and somehow you realise that it's ok, this crazy stage can't last forever. The day will end, the kids will go to bed, your hubby will cook (or go buy take away!). Whatever the solution, you can make it through!

2. Trust God. He knows better than you do.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Menard and Sophia go to the kitchen to get her some milk.

Daddy: "That's a nice song you're singing, Sophie"

Soph: "I'm singing about a kitchen. I'm singing about you in the kitchen"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

31 DBC - My 5+ favourite blogs

Hm, not sure I can narrow it down to five.

Currently I will generally check these on a daily basis


The Common Room Blog

We are THAT family

Life in a shoe

Among the Savages

But I also like to read

The Path to Frugality

Light and Momentary

Vita Familiae

Frugal hacks


And that's just the tip of the iceburg!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Santa's little helper

He likes auntie Hannah, reading with Nana, and looking slightly grumpy.

Friday, January 11, 2013

31 DBC - Why do you blog?

"I blog because I'm happy, I blog because I'm free..."

No wait, that's singing. I like singing too. Especially when I'm happy.

I blog to remember stuff. I blog to share things I thought were funny (and then get deflated when noone comments, and decide maybe I just have an odd sense of humour). I blog to sharehighlights (and lows) of my life. I blog to be a part of the blogging community - I need to work on commenting on others' blogs more, I know. I blog cos it makes me happy, keeps me accountable in some ways, to share photos and mostly just cos it's fun :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

31 DBC - Meaning of my blog name?

Uh well, it's kind of self evident, I think.

My sister Bekki helped me set up my blog. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it, just thought it would be fun to have one. My url is cos that's a nickname in my family like "what's the Debbie monster up to today?".

'It's my life' came about because my sister blogged about her life, and I figured that's what I'd blog about too. So here it is, and I think it's probably been a pretty good way of recording some of the big and little events that have happened since 2005!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

31 day blog challenge - day 1

I found this blog challenge which gives a title or instruction for what to write for 31 days on a blog called 'While on this side'. I liked the idea, so thought I'd give it a go. The only thing I will say is that I retain the right to interrupt this series with inane twittering or random things my kids have said, so it may take me more than 31 days to get through this!

As you can see (click pic to enlarge), the first post is to be a recent photo and intro, I guess about me and who I am. Right, let's start with a photo....
This one is me being absolutely shattered my my kids' insistence at getting up at a time that starts with a 4.

 This is JJ kissing me.

And this is me discovering I'm about to go change a stinky bum.

And that, by the way, is how I look when I've not had enough sleep for 3 nights in a row and haven't even combed my hair yet. Just keepin' it real :D  And yes, those are birthday cards and Christmas decorations up still in the background.

So who am I? I'm Debs, I'm a wife, a mummy, a daughter, a girl who must have pink things (that's Soph's definition of a girl - they must have pink things. I'm more in to purple, personally, but there you go).
Most importantly, I'm a child of the king. I mess up, I get it wrong, get cranky and shout at the kids over stupid things (especially when I'm tired), but I love Jesus, and Jesus loves me, and has a bucketload of grace for me!

I've been blogging a looong time, or that's how it feels. When I started I was young, free and single. This blog has seen a lot of changes, and I alternately laugh and cringe when I look back over all I've written here.

That's all my sleep deprived brain can come up with at the moment, but I've gotta save something to write tomorrow, right?!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


"Mummy, I want some chicken" said Sophia pointing to a packet of chicken thawing on the side.

"Not now, Sophie"

"But mummy, I want some chicken"

"You can't eat that chicken, that chicken is raw"

Sophia scrunches up her nose, looks at me with a puzzled yet bemused face and says
"Chickens don't roar"

Monday, January 07, 2013

Boxing day

One of the thingsI really enjoyed over Christmas was the opportunity to play games with my extended family. Hannah, Be, Sarah and Sophie played cribbage and 'strip Jack naked', and then later Bekki, Be and I played scrabble. Even Jaiden got in on the action!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Extreme couponing?

I've been watching extreme couponing all day today (admitedly on the 31st Dec when I wrote this, and not on the 6th Jan when it will post. I'm taking a leaf out of Kathleen's book and writing posts ahead of time)

I've found the ones who hoard it all a little sickening, and the ones who give it away to charity an inspiration.

I honestly don't think that we get as many coupons here in the UK as they appear to in the USA. But it's inspired me to look out for coupons and also deals like buy one get one free, and to consider putting aside the extra to donate to our church food bank.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

When Sophie met Santa

(once I'd reassured her that he's just a man dressed up in a suit, like she was dressed up in her special party dress)

Friday, January 04, 2013

Fighting the language barrier

I grew up calling what I have on my bed 'a duvet'. Menard, for some strange reason calls it 'the blanket'.

I have lost the battle with Sophia, cos she's learnt to call it the blanket too.

Today I was trying to teach Jaiden the word 'duvet'. Every time I said it he laughed histerically, with his gorgeous giggle.


"giggle giggle giggle"

 Hm, I'll call that progress, I think.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Baby/Toddler self feeding recipes

Jaiden is getting to the stage where he'd rather feed himself that be fed. (Well, unless you're feeding him from your bowl!)
Anyway, I've been on the search for recipes for things I can make ahead, stick in the freezer, and just grab and go, that would give him a variety of things to eat and not always be having the same thing.

I've not (at the time of writing on the 31st Dec) tried any of these yet, but they're on the to-do list, and I'll give some feedback when I have :)

Cheese twists (pastry)

Individual mac & cheese

Mini meatloaf

Veggie Pancakes 

A healthy muffin recipe where you can chose your add-ins 

Weelicious - a site where I found the pancake recipe, that I will pursue further.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

ponderings and resolutions

This year I resolve to blog more, and considering how little I did last year, any amount has got to be more than that :D

I also resolve to get fitter. That means losing weight, for sure, and also getting out and being active more too.

And I resolve to have fun. Cos life is for living, and it only comes round once.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year!

From all of us!