Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween from my favourite Pumpkins

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Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Wordless Wednesday:Return from a Trip to the Park With Dad via a Muddy Puddle or Two

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Monday, 27 October 2008

Why it's Worth the Expense of Buying Things Pre-Assembled

A month or two ago (yes I am somewhat behind in my blogging I admit it) my mum popped up on a Sunday afternoon. The boys were thrilled to see she had not only brought Grandad Fred with her but also a trampoline (or tampoween as Eli pronounces it in his slightly Chinese accent) of their very own.

1 trampoline,

2348 pieces,

Some pretty vague instructions,

1 missing piece,

1 faulty bolt,

4 adults,

1 severely blistered and bleeding finger,

1 potential heart attack,

1 possible hernia,

1 angry outburst,

Several red faces,

A couple of short fuses,

2 excited boys,

A few hours longer than we anticipated.........

Totally worth it!

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Friday, 24 October 2008

Woof Woof! Who's There?

A few weeks ago our family expanded literally overnight. To say Rob wasn't thrilled initially would be an understatement and a half. But slowly our new addition has grown on even him. You see Rob didn't grow up with a dog for a pet. I did. So I knew exactly what to expect.

Our puppy as he likes to be called is seriously beyond cute.

He loves to jump up on your lap and gently rub his head on yours.

He likes sitting with his face as close to yours as possible whilst panting in your face.

He adores when Thomas throws a ball for him and never tires of chasing it and bringing it back.

He likes to eat his food straight off the floor with his mouth. No bowls required.

He makes the sweetest little woof woof sounds...ever!

Here he is the dog we have always longed for.......
Yes, worry not, it is Eli you are eyes are not deceiving you.

But for now he is simply our puppy (most of the time) and there is just no convincing him otherwise!
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Lucky Winner of 2855 Calories is......

Aided by my rather lovely assistant, Thomas, this morning I put all 39 names of those who had commented on my giveaway post in time into one pumpkin bucket and let my firstborn pick the winner.

A 5 minute task that he happily enjoyed for a whole two hours afterwards.

Small pieces of paper + bucket=Hours of entertainment for a smallish child

Anyhow, I digress the lucky recipient of my chocolate stash is Jen at Mommablogsalot, who I know will get plenty of help devouring it all.

Though if it were me I wouldn't share at all.

I'd fob the kids off with some raisins and enjoy the chocolate fix in peace.

Enjoy, Jen!

Thanks for playing everyone.

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Nutritional Advice from a Three Year Old

Sunday was Rob's birthday and we were at the in laws for Sunday lunch.

I found myself starting a familiar conversation with Thomas.

"If you don't eat all of those carrots you won't get any cake."

Which we were all secretly hoping would be the outcome seeming as my mother in law had whipped up a super yummy looking chocolate fudge cake in honour of the super spoilt birthday boy.

"Carrots aren't for boys!"

And before I could respond,

Very matter of factly.

"Carrots make boys sick!"

Well you have to give him an A for effort, right?

But he did eat all his carrots that day, and managed to do so without getting sick.

If only I had chocolate fudge cake on hand for bribery every day.

Check back later for the result of my giveaway.

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Monday, 20 October 2008

Why Does the Yummy Stuff Always Have the Most Calories?

My mum came to visit last week, all week long. Delightful.

It turns out though sadly enough, that my mum is a really bad influence on me.

As if those hellions at Cadbury weren't making my pursuits to unearth my abs difficult enough with their yummy and delicious produce (the bars intended for my giveaway are sitting less than 2 metres away from me and screaming EAT ME!!!!! as I type), but I will NOT succumb.

Pause for essential brushing of teeth. Cheers Pammy!

Having my mum here is such a rarity that I totally and happily justified to myself that it was more important to spend time in her company than to exercise. I can exercise double the norm when she's gone I told myself. So all week I exercised just once.

I also justified eating all kinds of things I really shouldn't have because it would have been beyond antisocial to hang out with my mum and not consume 4000 calories every day.

I even only trekked to school to collect Thomas twice, terrible, considering that walking is my fallback exercise when I am slacking off. My mum recently had a bladder/bowel prolapse fixed and is still in take it easy mode so I used her recovery to justify driving to school. After all it is a huge novelty to be picked up from school by Nanny. I couldn't have deprived my child of such a novelty. That would just have been cruel.

My failure and regression dawned on me midweek and I figured I could either get my life in order right away or wait until my mum left. The glutton in me speedily decided it would be far more worthwhile to just start anew when she left.

So I even managed to squeeze in a trip to the Krispy Kreme drive through in Manchester (which my friend Becky told me about in response to my KK post) during our evening out for Rob's birthday and followed it up with a scrummy Lamb Bhuna. Perfection.

Mum is gone now (we miss you!!) and reality blows. Our house is still stocked with goodies galore from her visit but I have to turn over a new leaf and start again. I feel both tired and grumpy from lack of exercise coupled with sugar detox.

So here is to the start of the beginning and fingers crossed no more slip ups.

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Friday, 17 October 2008

Saving the World a Chocolate Bar at a Time

Lucky you! I am feeling inspired.

Partly by those (slightly greedy) souls who suggested a giveaway, and partly by the fact that for the last few weeks I haven't been keeping on top of my blogging etiquette.

My Google Reader overfloweth and I have a trillion emails to respond to.

Thinking I haven't stopped by in a while? You are not alone I assure you.

But I will catch up I always do, I am far too nosey/intrigued not to.

So therefore I introduce to you my lucky readers, my Cadbury inspired giveaway.

The incredibly lucky and honoured winner will receive one of each of the new ultra healthy Cadbury bars. Obviously I am looking far beyond the sugar and the fat here and focusing on the cold hard facts.

Cranberries? Hello antioxidants and super healthy urinary tract.

Apricots? Hello to a nicer source of Iron than Spinach.

I am all about improving your health (actual bars will appear larger in real life).

With the holiday season just around the corner I will even throw in a few of my other favourite bars, because lets face it the less chocolate there is in my close vicinity the less I am able to actually eat.

So all you have to do is leave me a comment before Tuesday 8am (English time of course) and you'll be included in the draw.

You don't have to have a blog or even a google account to leave a comment and if you don't usually comment feel free to do so (which includes most of my family and the British Isles). Plus if you're reading my blog surely I should be reading yours so feel free to unlurk and share your link you lurkers.

From someone who has recently eaten her body weight in these bars this is truly an opportunity not to be missed.

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Monday, 13 October 2008

The Cadbury Conspiracy

I am off the wagon.

Last week I only exercised 3 times though I did do the hike to school 6 times.

Remember how I said I broke my chocolate purchasing habit?

Well it seems in these times of financial hardship Cadbury just couldn't survive without my custom.

So those bigwigs at Cadbury must have had a top secret important meeting to discuss how to entice me back.

I was out shopping recently and saw the unfamiliar wrapping so glanced to see what is was....

My first instinct was yucko!

Why ruin some perfectly delicious Cadbury chocolate (and I mean the the REALLY good British stuff not that other stuff that masquerades as Cadbury in the USA) by inserting cranberries and granola? A travesty.

But then fast forward to Friday evening and a trip to the in laws house and in response to a request from his grandson for treats my father in law (a chocolate lover/devourer) returns with an entire box of the new pretend healthy chocolate bars, as well as some others that he gave to the kids.

He offered me a bar. I was intrigued and it was free so I took it.

It would have been rude to refuse, right?

Sadly, it was delicious.

So in an attempt to maintain his own waistline he asked me to do him a favour and sent me home with 6 more bars.

Six bars that barely lasted me until Sunday lunch.

In my somewhat weak defence Cranberries are actually a super food and just think of all the good I'm doing my urinary tract.

Plus with the rate I am devouring them I am assuming I can now count cranberries as one of my five a day.

I guess every cloud really does have a silver lining.
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Friday, 10 October 2008

Healthy Week?

This week is Healthy Week, not here of course but at school. Each day has a designated topic and activity. Monday was Move it Monday, Tuesday was Taste it Tuesday and then I guess I lost interest in the letter they sent home after that because I only remember that today if Fresh air Friday. I hope I didn't miss anything particularly exciting on the other two days.

Bearing in mind that Thomas would happily exist on a diet of bread, cheese and yogurt (well in addition to crisps, chips and chocolate of course but surely that is a given) I knew that Taste it Tuesday was unlikely to be a big hit with Thomas.

When I arrived I saw they had a display of all kinds of exotic fruits and a plate next to each fruit for the children to taste. Thomas just looked at it as he walked in and grimaced like he was being offered pure arsenic. Outrageously they had even put jam on the crackers they usually serve at snack time in an attempt to be more 'healthy' and up their fruit intake. I didn't want to point out that jam is actually loaded with sugar which surely defeats the healthy part? Nobody likes a party pooper so I kept my mouth shut. Thomas was disgusted that his crackers had been smeared with red goo and refused to eat them he later assured me.

So I left him there knowing full well Taste it Tuesday would be wasted on him.

Well until I picked him up and was informed that today he had tried something new.


Yep, on Taste it Tuesday my three year old rejected all offers of fruit and attempted to eat paint instead.

His teacher loudly informed me in front of all of the other parents (whose children don't attempt to snack on paint and looked on in horror) and enquired if this is something he frequently does at home.

(Imaginary response) "Yes, all the time. You see he is a really picky eater and so we're just relieved to get him to ingest something other than bread, cheese, yogurt or McDonald's alternatives. So we serve it up by the pint. He really seems to like it!"


He was only getting into the spirit of Taste it Tuesday after all and nobody can accuse him of not wanting to join in.

Though he has informed me that paint isn't very yummy.

And for the record neither is play dough.

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Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Enduring to the End

This month for the Classics book club at 5 Minutes for Books the book of choice was Jane Eyre. I was really excited to read it because I actually never had. Which admission completely stunned my mother in law as she rates Jane Eyre as the best book written ever. How could it be that one as reasonably well read as myself could have been so unfortunate as to have never read from the pages of Jane Eyre?

I live here in Yorkshire and where the Bronte's are from, Haworth, is really close by. So having adored Wuthering Heights as a teenager (oh Heathcliff!) I have felt almost like I have been living on hallowed ground. But only the lazy type of feeling not the actual type of feeling that has ever motivated me to get off my backside and take the 30 minute trip to Haworth and enjoy all that Bronte country has to offer.

Several chapters in I was gripped. My very own mother used to threaten to send me away to boarding school as punishment for my misbehaviour as a child which naturally terrified me to my inner core but somehow along the way I have romanticised just how wonderful life in an orphanage/boarding school would actually be. I have pondered on how great it must be to have such close kinship with your fellow boarders and the unity that would result from existing on a diet of mouldy bread or burned porridge and sleeping three to a bed. Or maybe I have just watched Annie one time too many?

As Jane survived Lowood and matured I was sad that she chose to leave but was excited to accompany her on her adventures in the big wide world.

It was at this point in my reading that my sister in law happened to enquire how I was finding the novel and decided never to speak to me again as I described Jane Eyre as dull. The middle chapters are seriously long and needlessly drawn out.

Mr Rochester was a very sad replacement for Mr Darcy in my mind (as I had just read Pride and Prejudice) and I found him strangely creepy and not at all attractive (Yes, I am shallow thank you very much!). Flirting with a young girl half his age, insisting on calling her his pet or his elf. I once very briefly dated a guy who insisted on calling me pumpkin, pet names like those should be outlawed, seriously. They're just plain wrong. Then he proceeds to occasionally call her Janet even though she never once refers to herself as anything other than Jane. If her name were indeed truly Janet Eyre I feel sure that hideous Mrs Reed woman would've been calling her it from day one rather than a kindly shortened version of her name. I was desperate for whole chapters on end for Jane to spout out, 'Hey Mister, I am neither your imp, elf or pet and the name is Jane, you humongous buffoon' sadly it never came. Gutted. Such a comment would really have brightened up the narrative.

By far my biggest concern at this point in my reading was what on earth was in existence and maniacally laughing on the third floor that relentlessly bites and knives people? I started to seriously wonder if Charlotte Bronte was some precursor for Stephen King.

But Rochester & Eyre are almost united before the creature on the third floor is exposed as his actually legal but slightly crazy wife and Jane takes off with no money or possessions for fear of being kept as his mistress on the continent.

Which results in the highly unlikely turn of events that she randomly wanders for three days seeking food and shelter and is eventually taken in by St. John Rivers and his sisters who end up actually being related to her and she happily shares with them the fortune she inherits from one of their Uncles.

St. John tries to coerce Jane into marriage saying some of the most blunderous things that no man should ever say to a woman 'You were formed for labour, not for love...', yep, because compliments like that will have the ladies lining up to marry you. She continues to refuse his less than tempting offer.

She randomly hears Rochester's disembodied voice and returns to Thornfield only to find it burned courtesy of the crazy wife on the third floor who jumped to her death from the flaming ruins. Jane discovers Rochester was badly maimed in the fire and left blind and without a hand. She of course finds him and it is the stuff Disney films are made of. Like a modern(ish) day Beauty and the Beast. Except she isn't exactly beautiful and he isn't exactly a beast.

But it goes without saying they live happily ever after and he even regains vision in one eye just to make everything fine and dandy.

So what I am trying to say in essence time I consider reading Jane Eyre I will just read Pride and prejudice for 5,321,213th time instead.

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Monday, 6 October 2008

The Best Advice Ever Courtesy of Pamela Anderson Lee

I know that those who know me well probably imagine (and rightly so considering my track record) my quest for fitness was a flash in the pan and that now I am much more wisely investing my time sitting on the sofa with my feet up eating chocolate bars with such frequency that I must be sadly misled that they are fat free (if only, right?). What other explanation could there be for the lack of progress reports in my endeavours to be Looking Fine by 2009?

Truth is I just didn't want to bore the world (or myself) with monotonous posts on a weekly basis saying essentially the exact same things.

Here cometh the truth:

I still adore my cross trainer. Truly. I can watch TV and do my 3.5 miles in the cosy comfort of my very own bedroom every single day. Well maybe not every single day because that was a tad OTT so I have settled on 5 days a week, which is a 500% improvement on the rest of my life.

I can both see and feel the progress I am making. My abs aren't so far away anymore. Yippee! Not that you'd be able to tell in a million years of course because my body is currently hiding beneath numerous layers of clothing in an effort to combat the hideously gloomy wintry weather.

I have a disease. The extra 1.5 miles I do on the trek to get Thomas from school has become something of an addiction. One day Rob was going to collect him and I actually persuaded him to walk so I could go along too and another day I had to collect him in my car because Rob needed me to be back quickly and I actually felt both sad and disappointed that I couldn't walk there. Such thought processes cannot be healthy surely? There is just a massive sense of achievement about hauling my newly toned backside up a hill whilst pushing a 2.5 year old toddler. It just makes me feel like superwoman.

On my last trip to the supermarket I broke my biggest bad habit. I didn't buy any chocolate. Getting the kids in bed and devouring chocolate has been a massive part of my routine since day 1 of Thomas sleeping through the night. My little well deserved celebration at having survived another parenting day. I decided now if I am hungry in the evenings I can have an apple (talk about being indulgent) or at best a bowl of cereal. Lucky me!

But this week I came across the best advice ever whilst reading a magazine when I was supposed to be working. The unlikely source of the advice? Pamela Anderson Lee.

Major paraphrasing here but she said in essence if you feel tempted to eat something you shouldn't and will regret it later, go brush your teeth, and I have to agree with Pammy here (which is something I never imagined saying) but it works a treat. I couldn't even consider eating those crisps or drinking my Dr Pepper when my teeth were freshly clean and minty fresh.

Try it, it just might revolutionise your life.

But if it doesn't blame Pammy, not me!

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Saturday, 4 October 2008

Let Me Educate You

What do the following pictures of models that Thomas created at nursery clearly have in common?

Well quite obviously they are all speedboats.


You didn't get that?

Don't worry me either, but Thomas has kindly overlooked my stupidity and corrected me (with sheer disgust) so it's only polite for me to do the same for you.

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Thursday, 2 October 2008

Au Revoir

I am officially in mourning.

You know life can be hard and I do try to maintain a cheery attitude, true as it is, most days I fail.

Like today when on the traipse home from school I saw my three year old headed towards dog poop. Not any ordinary dog poo but diarrhea dog poop! I guess the fact that it was diarrhea confused him and made him lose control of all the 3 ounces of sense a three year old possesses because before I could scream 'hand sanitiser' I saw him bending down. I almost managed to avoid the catastrophe, but only almost. I grabbed his coat by the hood and yanked hard in a manner that could have been categorised as child abuse, but it was after all an emergency. His fingertips had barely reached the excrement but small brown circles of dog faeces were evident.

I didn't have any baby wipes to hand and when I explained it was dog poo and shrieked 4 verses of 'what were you thinking?' it turns out he thought it was a stone. Yep, I always got muddled between a stone and dog diarrhea. Happens all the time. Easy mistake to make.

So now I will forever be known to those who have the downhill route home from school as the hysterical mother of that boy who puts his hand in dog diarrhea. Charming.

But that is only part of my trauma....

You know I waited all summer long for summer to make it's appearance.

It never really made it.

I know I shouldn't really be complaining though because we by far had the best of the weather during our family holiday.

1 entire week without rain, big-flaming-whoop!

Then Autumn came and for the first 5 majestic days I enjoyed the beauty of the change in seasons. Seeing the leaves turning brown and falling from the trees, enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sunshine.

This I could get on board with.

Then as quickly as Autumn had arrived it had departed.

Not to be a grump (well maybe a bit!) but Winter has now officially arrived. I have been cold and I have been rained on more than I would like and it is only October 2nd. I am seriously considering homeschooling my children so that I don't have to brave the elements for the next 7 months (and partly to avoid the unenviable tag of dog poop mother). Why oh why does Thomas' school have to be up an enormous hill (well it feel enormous at least to my unfit self) and why does the wind always have to be blowing downhill just to make my journey all the more depressing? Of course on my descent the wind fails to blow at all. The wind it would seem is in conspiracy against me.

Yep, that's right. We may be lucky enough to enjoy all 4 seasons here in my homeland but for some unfathomable reason Spring is 4 months long, Summer a week or two at best, Autumn even shorter in length than summer if such a thing were imaginable and Winter 7 eternally long months.

So faced with the choices of eating my body weight in chocolate to make me feel better and hibernation I decided to choose the latter.

I'll be seeing you all in Spring.

And the sun had better be shining!!

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