Half term was mainly brought to us by….

PR parcels. πŸ˜† oh, with added Hama, fimo and junk modelling, which means no great change here :)

I had every intention of a good half term as I really wanted to make the most of Fran being off school but I was probably being over optimistic in all sorts of ways. However, in the main, it was a lovely week, mostly just all together and relaxing which is always good. I was stressing too much about Ben to be really nice company and too much of that got picked up on by the girls. Still, no one is perfect. Looking back, now that he’s picking up again, I can see that I started to perceive the frail, fragile look that Freddie got in his face as he lost weight and got I’ll and it frightened me. Once Ben got more food into him, and began to re-inflate, I got much less frightened and now he has begun to be like a normal baby. It’s almost like he was on demo mode until he got to his due date :)

We’ve needed a fair bit of help but a few blood tests confirmed he was healthy and the yellow is now receding. He’s not quite back to birth weight but he’s close so I am really hoping that he will gain weight now and things will get easier.

On Monday the girls all had music lessons. The festival is coming up, as are exams, so after a long period of the teacher being ill and missing her badly, they were thrilled to be back in her clutches πŸ˜† They’ve been practising really hard since too; Fran wants to try to learn the viola after grade 3 (hmmmm) and Amelie just wants to beat Fran’s grade one score :)

One rather lovely parcel were received to review was the Journal10 which Ian kindly sent us. This is a blank ‘diary’ style book, with slim slots, ten to a page, for every day of the year. The idea is you have a brief record of important events that happen to people in the family. It’s almost like blogging in a retro style πŸ˜‰ Fran was particularly taken with the idea, particularly because she can write in things like getting new gym moves, doing well at an exam or achievements at school. We’ve set it up in spot with a pen and anyone can write in it to make note of meaningful achievements or events. It should be a good blogging prompt for me too πŸ˜† I’ve promised to text them in 10 years to tell them what they were doing on any given day, especially if embarrassing. Will they make note of first kisses and dates I wonder? πŸ˜‰

I think this prompted Fran to go back to blogging; I was pretty choked as well as rather awed, by what she wrote about Ben’s arrival.

We managed to take a walk out to the local park one day once it got above -5c which was lovely. I always forget how much a section hurts but three weeks on the sofa was making my muscles waste and I needed a sanity stretch out too. I had spent too long looking at Ben and wondering if he was okay. Considering it was 9c by then, we were amazed to see all the lakes still thickly frozen.

It did us all some good to get out and just be an ordinary family doing ordinary things again. The younger girls played in the bushes but Fran wouldn’t in case someone from school saw her πŸ˜†

Less activity thanks to weather, baby and treats of the wrong sort has led to a couple of girls noticing what they call ‘flabble’ on tummies (hmmm….. Not much of it!) so snacks have been healthier. We were sent some Sweetcorn Bites to try out, so they substituted these for a biscuit at 3pm. Now, I must admit I’m lazy and left to me, I’d probably spend money, if I had it, on easy veg snacks. These are chopped corn cobs (8 pieces, I think 2 cobs) that microwave in 4 minutes inside the bag. They are around Β£2.50 although I like this site, which has deals and found me 2 bags for Β£3. Max was outraged at the idea but as I don’t do the shopping and don’t know what a corn cob costs if it doesn’t come from my allotment, I’m oblivious πŸ˜† The girls loved the idea and the novelty and happily ate all the ones we were sent and it was a nice easy way of having a fast, hot and unusual for us, vegetable snack. There is a Facebook page if you are curious.

It prompted some good discussion on seasonal veg, microwaving, healthy snacks and what we ought to change a bit and also meant we started planning the allotment again this year. Lots of corn down one end is certainly on the agenda πŸ˜†

By Wednesday, Max and the bigger girls had got obsessed with the Civilisation computer game, which I highly approve of as an excellent educational tool. Maddy is fairly new to it and worked very hard at all the strategies required for playing. However, after a morning at the hospital, while they all played in the fresh air at the local park, it felt like some order was in order so I said that computer time ( there was a lot of club penguin too) had to be hour about with practical and creative and exercise time.

They were very patient with me about that!

Maddy made a rather awesome hat from left over card.

Nice easy St Patricks Day craft this one; she modelled the cardboard hat, then used green tissue and PVA, paper mΓ’chΓ© style to cover it and finished it with the card belt and buckle. Love it.

I think Amelie’s Hama design deserves a post of its own. Josie also modified a Santa board to make a leprechaun which I loved.

Fran was very pleased with her acrylic painting. She’s not a natural at art and she worked very hard on this.

I thought they deserved a reward, so I dished out some more lovely free PR gifts. We’ve been very lucky this month :) Cutey sent us two lovely bracelets to try out and the big girls fell totally in love with them. They are really good value for what they are I think; several lovely quality beads and charms on a nice strong chain and a good clasp, all things that get skimped on too often. The colours and designs are gorgeous and the girls love them; they have a a nice weight to them and feel lovely to twiddle. I do love a good twiddly bracelet, however, I think I have no chance of getting these ones back from the girls!

Meanwhile, Amelie and Josie got to lay hands on a set of new Build a Bear sets that arrived just at the right moment. Amelie adores these, having been bought a full size one (coincidentally called Benny) by her best friend. I’m extremely grateful we don’t have a shop here or I’d never have any peace πŸ˜†

I actually think these little Build a Bear workshop fun packs are good value at Β£6, great for a little collectible or cheer up gift. They have lots of bits in them and it talks you through all the little rituals that come with buying a full sized best, including making his heart love you and then tucking it into the back of the bear. There is a code for some online bear fun (!), trading cards, clothes and clothes stickers. We like very much.

That gave them endless fun for a day or two, which took the heat off me needing to entertain them.

Ben approved too :)

We spent a good bit of the weekend tickling the newly fully functional Ben. And then I decided I needed to walk, as I want to do race for life in 5 months so need my muscles back. We practised slinging again.


I took the little girls with me; it was lovely. Back to a new normal.

Disclosure: where I say sent, we received the items free for review. Opinions are my own. I generally try to find an optimistic view of products because it is in my nature as a shop owner to do so, but I would always say if I disliked an element of something and I only blog items I approve of.




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    • says

      Well, he’d be in good company. My mum is a professor and my brother a doctor, of the non medical sort. And daddys a geek so the odds are in his favour. Or he might be a ‘could do well if he applied himself’ like me!

  1. Rich says

    I thought that said “we practised SINGING again!” and was laughing at the pic of him crying thinking it was a funny singing joke! Dumbo

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