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Rainy Day Cookery – Breakfast Muffins

If you’re anything like me and are used to spending most of your time outside, rainy days can be a bit of a challenge. We are more than happy to cover up and pop some wellies on when it’s a bit wet but when we have days where the rain is torrential and the thunder and lightning have set in, even the hardiest of us have to admit defeat!

When we recently had one of these days I decided it was time to introduce Ted to the delights of home baking. I have resisted including him in cooking until this point as I didn’t feel he was ready to follow directions and thought that his determination to be independent may cause problems however once we started I felt that I had really underestimated my little chap and was so impressed with both how well he did and how much he enjoyed the whole process.

My cookery style when it comes to healthy food snacks for Ted is very ‘chuck it in and hope for the best’ and thankfully so far it has worked well for us.

With this in mind I mashed bananas into the big bowl and then filled up Ted’s little colourful bowls with the rest of the ingredients we needed, I then tried to let him have as much freedom as possible.

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He loved being able to have it all in front of him, picking up and pouring all the ingredients himself…

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Obviously there was the odd cheeky taste test…

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The eggs could have been a messy option…

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But amazingly went straight in to the bowl without a hiccup!

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Before long we were ready to pop them into the oven and wait 20 minutes to find out how they’d turned out!

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Looking good…

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It seems our mini food critic has given them his seal of approval too!

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If you fancy giving our Breakfast muffins a go, our very loose recipe is as follows…

– 3 ripe bananas mashed
– A cup of porridge oats
– A cup of wholemeal flour
– 2 teaspoons of baking powder
– A cup of yummy ‘extras’ we used raisins, sunflower seeds and chia seeds but any fresh/dried fruits and seeds work well.
– A teaspoon of cinnamon
– 2 eggs
– Some milk

I mashed the bananas and then Ted added all the dry ingredients, stirring them in well.
We then added the eggs and enough milk to make the mixture a cake consistency (I did warn you I’m no Mary Berry!!)
In to cake cases and baked at Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes before allowing to cool and taste testing!

Please do share your pictures if you try these by tweeting @loz83g or using #thingsmytoddlerloves on Instagram.

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Preparing to become a Big Brother

With Peanut’s arrival becoming ever more imminent now I started thinking more seriously about making sure Ted is as prepared as possible for the arrival of his new sibling.

So far we have…

– Been talking about the baby lots.

– Ted has been to all my midwife appointments with me – although generally he’s been trying to stop the lady touching me and then concentrating on eating the snack I’ve distracted him with rather than taking a great interest in what’s happening but as he’s only 19 months I don’t think that’s too much of a concern!

Including bump, in the morning when we snuggle up and slowly come round he now will lift my top up and kiss/blow raspberries on bump, we always use this as an opportunity to talk about the baby and how lovely he is being.

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– A new game called ‘Dinner, Dinner, Baby!’ This started with Ted lifting up both his top and mine and me telling him his tummy was full of dinner and mine full of baby…Daddy has since been added in and it has given us many laughs!

Including Ted in the preparations, letting him help unpack deliveries and talking to him about what everything is for. This has proved entertaining for everyone if nothing else!

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Helping! I am pretty obsessive about moisturising and in the morning as soon as Ted sees the pot of Bump Cream he heads straight on over with demands of “Ted, cream, help!” And then proceeds to rub cream on my bump…and then generally all over himself too!!

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Stories, We have been regularly reading:
There’s a House inside my Mummy for about the past 10 weeks and as well as being a lovely story that we all enjoy the illustrations are simple and easy to relate to our family so I definitely think they’ve helped make a few connections. We have also just added I’m a New Big Brother to our book collection on the recommendation of Emma at Our Fairytale Adventure, this is another lovely book to help understanding and the giggling noise button has given us some giggles of our own too. Ted instantly related to the story and pointed to my tummy during the first time we shared it and has asked to read it many times since.

Preparation, We decided rather than getting Ted a specific present from the baby that I would make a ‘feeding box’ a selection of old and new toys, stories and activities that I’ve put away in a large box that will be from the baby, dragged out at each feed time and packed away after. This will hopefully keep him happy and occupied (alongside a drink and snack) and allow me to feed the baby without an irate toddler protesting or any jealously ensuing! So far we have some building blocks, a few new and a few old favourite books, toy cars, dinosaurs and animals, aqua doodle mini and a dustpan and brush (Ted loves to clean!!). We also plan to let him have some chill out time in front of the TV during one feed and hope he’ll nap during another…all sounds so simple in theory!!

Is there anything else you think we could do to make things easier on the little guy?

The Twinkle Diaries
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Hampshire Days out with a Toddler – Longdown Activity Farm

Today we took our first trip to the farm. There are a few options locally to Southampton but we decided to descend on Longdown Activity Farm with a group of toddler pals!

Ted loves to explore as soon as we arrive anywhere, investigating the areas he can access without delay so it was good that he had a couple of entertainment options while we briefly queued to pay.

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Boo!

And lift the door options are always popular!

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Ted loved the open space as soon as we walked through, it is safe and enclosed so he was able to run about next to me without being restricted by the need for reins or a pushchair at all. That said it is also really pushchair friendly, which will be great once our new addition arrives.

First up…the ducks and a chance to practice one of the first signs Ted learnt over and over with excitement! On arrival we were given a timetable with all the interactive activities on so we planned our route based around these.

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We had arrived a bit before everybody else and were just in time to feed the baby goats. I was really impressed with how Ted responded, the goats pull at the bottle quite a lot while they’re drinking and I wasn’t sure how he’d feel about this but he happily sat on my lap holding the bottle until it was empty before declaring “All Gone” and clambering down!

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We headed straight to the first of many hand washing stations as soon as we’d finished, luckily Ted thinks anything involving water is a play activity so the constant cleaning was greeted favourably!

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Next up were the chicks! Again I was massively impressed with how unphased Ted was. He held the chick without hesitation…and took it very seriously, I do wonder what they were both thinking here (poor  chick!!)

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There were some massive bunnies in the barn that Ted got to touch too before heading for some more handwashing/water play!

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Our friends arrived as we were leaving the chicks and bunnies so we joined them for lunch and a play.

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Ted would happily have spent his whole day sat on the tractors…Mummy’s back wasn’t going to manage pushing him for too long though!!

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One of my favourite parts of the day was watching Ted check for eggs and how proud he was when he found one.

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Ted and his friend Hattie took their eggs to the farm shop (I was very impressed they made the journey without being squeezed or dropped)…

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Where they swapped them for a sticker. Ted loved his sticker but wasn’t too keen at giving up his egg!!

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We then headed off to feed the big goats their lunch, there was also the opportunity to feed the pigs and Ducks but we missed them this time while having our own lunch!

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At 1pm there was the chance to take tractor rides around the farm…what little boy wouldn’t be excited by that prospect? Ted couldn’t wait to get on.

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The cows were a good distraction while we waited for our turn, I’m not sure who was most interested in the other!

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The “bumpy bumpy” tractor ride was a massive hit and Ted would have gone round and round for hours on the back, by the end he was getting very confident/showing off (!) and wanted to stand…he’s so his father’s son!!

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After all that fun it was time for some tea and cake!

We had a fab day out and will definitely be investing in a season ticket next year, a lot of activities are in barns (including trampolines and soft play) so even in wet weather it will be somewhere to come in a splash suit and then take cover – a much better option than a stuffy indoor soft play area in my opinion.

Longdown opens from February half term through to October half term each year but does offer a Christmas Grotto with a few animals and the chance to see Santa too.

Entry was £9 for adults and free for Under 3’s.

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31 Week Update – signs I really am having a(nother) baby!

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I think I’ve been slightly in denial but this week and the arrival into the 30’s has been a reality check…it has dawned on me that I really am having another baby and pretty soon!

Aside from the obvious bump, the fact I’m now being forcefully kicked a quite frankly unreasonable amount of the time and that flopping down on the sofa in the evening doesn’t include a glass of wine currently the big eye openers for me this week were…

– The pram top arrived for the new buggy…

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– The birthing pool being delivered and sitting in the corner of the room staring at me…

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– Hypnotherapy classes beginning and starting my own lunchtime relaxation time. I will do full post on these in the near future.

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– Essential DIY work has been completed – out with the horrible old carpet…

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And in with the lovely new laminate! Much more practical for a house that is going to have even more food and bodily fluids flying around it in a few weeks!

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Sickness, aahhh just like their big brother was this little one is cramped and refuses to share space with my meals, so is kicking them straight back out again. It’s exhausting.

– Nesting has commenced…Lots of organising, cleaning and purchasing of very boring things like new mops, brushes and dustpans – what’s happened to me?!

Oh that’s right…I really am having a(nother) baby!

On a more positive note, things I’ve loved this week:

Naps – any excuse to crawl back into bed when Ted does is taken!

My little helper – everybody needs a personal moisturiser!!

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Feeling organised – although I’m hoping this little one isn’t planning on springing a surprise early arrival on us I’m organised enough (or almost) that we’d be OK!

Pregnant Friends – I have a handful of friends with due dates four weeks either side of mine and it’s great having people to share the highs and lows with who are in the same position/ level of discomfort!

See you at 33 Weeks.

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Travelling with a toddler #8 – Traditions and Memories

I remember attending a training course a number of years ago where we were all asked to share a memory from our childhood…nobody shared anything expensive or materialistic, everyone had a memory that involved time, attention and the majority some sort of tradition.

This has impacted massively on my parenting and although I’ve always known experiences over objects were important, from that day I knew I wanted to make sure when I had a family that we would create some traditions that we’d all look forward to repeating over and over.

Now I have my own little family that is due to expand again in a few weeks (eekk, that’s scary!) and Ted is at an age where he is starting to understand and get excited about things so we thought it was time to start. Lots will just find us naturally I’m sure, some will follow on from experiences Rich and I had as children and others we’ll create ourselves but all will be about minimal money and maximum quality time and attention.

Our first family tradition happened while we were away in Cornwall this August…

Fish and Chips on the Beach!

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It was a definite hit!

Ted was not remotely phased by the amount of sand he injested along with his chips…in fact I think he saw the deep clean of his teeth as an added bonus!!

We had an hour and a half of quality time, digging, paddling, finding stones, watching the sky change colour and eating chips plus staying up late…and it was awesome!

Now to get thinking about our next tradition – do you have any you’d like to share?

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And 5 reasons Pregnancy has been harder second time!

So we kept things positive last time, with my 5 Reasons my Pregnancy has been easier second time now I’m playing devils advocate…what if I’m just being naiive and stupid?

Been there, done that!
Oh no, it’s all coming back to me now – how on earth am I going to do all that again and with a toddler?!!

No time!
There is no time for fortnightly pedicures and pampering. No regular massages. No classical music is being played to bump, no yoga, pilates or aqua classes are being taken, no reflexology or acupuncture to speed things up (in fact, stay in there a little longer – I still have things to sort)! This time I am mearly an oven doing it’s job with no time dwell or congratulate myself, there are too many other jobs to finish first!

Tired…oh so very tired!
When the end of the day arrives, when dinner is eaten, laundry is folded and pots and pans are put away…BED is the only thing I can think of, on a really good (or really bad) day I might even manage to climb in for an hour at lunchtime too!

Guilt
Here’s the biggie – we are all plagued by it. I already feel guilty for bringing a baby into the family to take our attention away from Ted which is ironic because number two is happening quickly because I felt guilty at the thought of Ted not having siblings! Then there’s the baby, they will never have the 1:1 time Ted has been treated to, will we know and understand them as well? Love them as much? The questions are endless and unanswerable – I guess we’ll just plod along and do our best, as ever.

What if?…
It’s not all OK, what if they never sleep? What if they don’t like us? What if Ted struggles? What if I’m too tired to be any good? What if I can’t handle two? What if, what if, what if?? Aaaaaahhhhhhhh!!


Best of Worst

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5 reasons Pregnancy has been easier second time around!

As I have documented before, I found my first pregnancy quite difficult for a number of reasons, this time I have enjoyed it a lot more and found it much easier, for a number of reasons;

Been there, done that!
First time round everything is new, every twinge and cramp wass analysed and every quiet period questioned. Is this OK? Should I be worried? Shall I just Google or call the midwife? Although every pregnancy is different I think once you’ve done it once you vaguely remember similar things happening last time and feel you’d know if something wasn’t right.

No time!
I have a toddler distracting me from pregnancy, it’s many ailments and any chance to over think. I have found myself sitting down at the end of the day, resting my hand on my bump and thinking “oh, yeah…you’re here too!” or I try and squeeze into the car that’s too close to it’s neighbour and realise this isn’t happening!

Less to prepare
And less to spend!…all the essentials are still sat in the loft ready for round two!

Less is changing
Last time, when two was becoming three our whole life was about to be turned on it’s head – no more spontaneous trips away or unplanned midweek wandering to the pub, the end of partying until 3am every Saturday and the start of 2am feeds every night. This time, we know we’re starting the hardcore newborn stage again but we also know that we’ve only been out past 11pm twice in the past two years so the adjustment is much smaller!

We know it will all be OK
Eventually! Having a tiny baby is really hard work but it’s also really amazing and over really quickly! Before we know it we’re going to have two little people running about and chatting, those sleepless nights filled with feeding and newborn cuddles will be a distant memory and this time I realise we need to embrace and enjoy them not wish them away – I may need to be reminded of that in a few weeks though!

Best of Worst