Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

Our 1st Family Craft Day

I love crafting. I enjoy card making – just don’t get as much time as I would like. Over the image years I’ve done various different things. Crafting with the kids is something I’ve always had issues with though. Why? Because I get frustrated they don’t do it "right". However, after conversations with other mum’s and reading other blogs I realised that crafting can be fun even when letting the kids take the lead!image

First up was playdough…..homemade at one of the workshops at the local Children’s Centre, away we went!image

 

The recipe was really simple :

2 Cups Flour, 1 Cup Salt, 2 Tablespoon Cream Of Tartar mixed together, then add 2 Cups Boiling Water, 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil and Food Colouring and mix well.

I’ll be honest I had seen recipes before which involve boiling it all in a pan etc, but this was so simple I would definitley do it again. The girls both enjoyed it, H took her time to touch it, I plonked a piece in front of her and she poked at it with the chopsticks and spoons, but didn’t hold it till I passed her a piece and then she was well away. B on the other hand was straight in their. Neither of them built anything, H was happy just to get used to the feel of it and poke at it while B tried to be creative and then just ended up squeezing it, breaking it up and squishing it back together. I grinned and beared the fact I hate the feel of the stuff and joined in a little, then when H started trying to eat it I knew it was time for lunch!!

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After lunch was Easter bonnet time. H had a nice straw hat to decorate, B on the other hand decided she didn’t want one of those but would use a polystyrine ring and decorate it. The only thing I did for H was put the glue on – I wasn’t brave enough to let a 19 month old loose with PVA! Plus it meant I got my hands covered in glue!! Anyway, H picked her decorations, told me where to put the glue and then stuck each piece in place, which B was let loose. I gave her a bit of guidance when she realised what she was doing wasn’timage working how she wanted. But I tell you what we had so much fun! I am definitly glad I have finally done this. I have never seen them both involved in the same activity and playing really well together like they did today. And, the big one for me, the laptop has been switched off for most of the day! I’m already planning our next crafting activity – paints!!!! I’m in shock that I am actually really looking forward to it!

So, for anyone out there who is like I was and wary of letting the kids do “messy” things at home, go for it, if I can brave it and enjoy it so can you! And if you have any ideas for me to try with the girls I’m ready to give things a try now!!

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February 28, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment, Parenting | , , , , , | 4 Comments

My Book Addiction

I first read Twilight last year. Friends had told me to read it but the thought of Vampire fiction didn’t appeal. It’s not a genre I had ever read, or had any interest in but I bought the book with all good intentions of giving it a go. The book sat on the side in my bedroom. I moved house. The book came out of a box and sat in my living room. One night I remembered to take it to bed to start to read. Now this was strange, I hadn’t read a book in bed for years. The only time I read fiction was on holiday by the pool. This book would have to be something special to get me hooked.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of Twilight, where have you been? Even if you havn’t read it, I guarentee you will have heard others talk about it. Many of my friends, real and “virtual” online friends talk about it many times a day. It’s one of those books that triggers something inside, takes you back to your youth, makes you believe in fairy tales again.

What’s it all about? The story is written through the eyes of 17 year old Bella Swann who is moving home to live with her Dad in Forks. Bella hates Forks. It rains. It’s a small town. There are no decent shops. Her Dad Charlie is the Cheif of Police and everyone knows she is joining the school. The book is aimed at girls around Bella’s age, so reading this is a 30 year old mum of 2 I was expecting to be unable to relate to Bella. Surprisingly though, within minutes of reading I was remembering how it felt to be at school, to be the new girl. To wonder who everyone is. It is such an easy book to read.

Just when you think the book is just another teen high school book, enter The Cullen’s. Unknown to Bella, this is the local vegetarian Vampire family. From the moment she sees them, sat with food they don’t eat and not interacting with anyone else, Bella is fascinated in them, in particular Edward, who she learns is the only single memeber of the family.

This is a true tale of forbidden love. Of first love. Unearthing secrets that are rarely spoken of. It’s not just a Vampire book, you could take away the fact this a love stary between a human and an immortal, and it would still mean the same. It’s about the power of love. But don’t read this and think it’s just a love story. This is the 1st book of 4 in The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. This book introduces the main characters to us. We learn who Bella’s family is, meet the Forks community, and also meet some of the Quileute tribe. We learn alot about how the Cullen’s live and also enough to know that the love story we are there to witness will not have a smooth start. This book sets the perfect start point for what is to follow, giving us a bit of lust, a bit of action and leaves us wanting more.

My synopsis has by no means given the book justice. I don’t think I have yet to read a synopsis that does. But in my whole life I have read at school and since leaving school I had probably read about 20 books in 12 years. I read Harry Potter and was hooked, but I never got hooked to reading. It was a one off thing. Twilight on the other hand was more. A year after my vision of love had been blown apart, I truely believed in love again. I remembered what it was like to feel that 1st love for someone. It sparked a sense of “life goes on” in me. Since reading this book, I have read 18 more, I am never without a book on the go! I can say 100% that I am now  a book worm. Even after a night out I have to pick up my book before I go to sleep! It’s not a bad thing I know, but I have to admit it’s a shock. I have stuck to the vampire genre, its very popular at the moment and there is alot out there to choose from.

Twilight changed my life in a couple of ways, all good, but mainly I have found a new way to unwind and I believe in love again. What about you, what books have you read that have stuck with you and why?

For any of you who havn’t read this book I highly recommend it. Whoever you are, wherever you are in life, this book will spark something within you. At least you will get an easy flowing read to give you that warm feeling inside.

February 27, 2010 Posted by | Book Reviews | , , , , | 8 Comments

Satisfaction Guaranteed

It’s 2.30am, bump has been wriggling about since I came to bed and all I want is a hug from my man who has been working away for 6 weeks and is on his last night of night shift before our long awaited weekend together. I hear the bedroom door open and the words “Are you awake I need to talk to you”. I know it’s over, after accusing him of seeing someone else, and being told not that he loves me and never would want any other, but that it says a lot about our relationship if I trust him so little. But the words hit my heart like a knife as he tells me it’s not just anyone but my best friend of 15 years, who had stayed with for the 6 weeks he was working away. Bump kept wriggling in oblivion of the fact my world has crashed. In the next room B sleeps deeply in her world of dreams. Even the dog is walking around tail wagging not realising life has ended. The knife is twisting and hurting even more as I listen to the words that seem to fall so easily from his lips, the lips that only 24 hours ago were mine. It’s not an affair, he loves her, he never loved me that way, it’s over, he will move out, I can stay in the house, he wants to be with her, he has always loved her since the 1st time he saw her……….why all the words, surely with this amount of pain my heart will burst and so I will die and I don’t need to be told this as life is over.

NO life can’t be over, bump is still reassuring me inside, the kicks are strong now, stronger than the pain and I know what I have to do. It will be hard, there will be tears and I will miss my friends, my work and my life but I have to go and start again. A new life. I have to go where my heart can heal. I have to be with people who can help me, support me and most of all I have to make sure my children don’t feel the pain I am in right now. I have to go to the only place I can think of going, where I know there will be open arms, where I know there is unconditional love, I pick up the phone….”Mum, can I come home?……….”

Friends by h.koppdelaney. Picture Credit: h.koppdelaney

That was almost 2 years ago. I’ve proved myself wrong and everyone else right – I can do it and I do it every day without even thinking about it. Oh don’t get me wrong, the thought of that night, writing it down and recalling the emotion is still hard because you never loose the memory of pain that betrayal causes. But I am 100% happier than I remember for a long time. Being a single parent was something I never thought or planned to be. I didn’t think for a second that H would end up with a half sister only 13 months younger than her. But life does sometimes throw the unexpected at us. And to top that, other people throw stereotypes around and think that because my marriage ended while I was pregnant and that I moved the length of the country, that obviously I had the affair, and the baby must not have the same Dad as B. Oh and because I went into the benefits system I am now a scrounger, even though I lost my job due to the combination of moving, maternity leave and the credit crunch.

So why write about this? Why now if I am so happy? Why bring this up again, everyone knows my story, everyone knows it’s been hard and I have learnt to shrug the stigmas off and not care what others think! Well it’s because now I feel I can walk away from the old life and truly run into my new life. I wake up everyday with a smile and my girls are happy (well, excluding the usual kids stuff). I’m starting work soon and I have just had a brilliant end to my week which has made me realise “I’ve done it!” This brilliant end to the week included a day of non stop laughter and smiles with three people who I can say are my best three “Since I became single” friends, i.e. they didn’t know me in my old life. So, here’s the sentimental stuff, Friend #1: Thank you for showing me that this sort of crap happens to others and that not only can I take help I can give it too, we’ve had some fantastic times, too many to mention here and you know I love you and here’s to many more. Friend #2: I for one wish you weren’t moving to Oz, sod the kids missing each other, I’m going to miss you and our mid week trips out with the kids. I hope you find happiness and I do understand that sometimes a new place can mean change in a lot of ways – Good Luck! And Friend #3: I gave you Twilight and you gave me blogging and boy oh boy am I grabbing this by both hands! We’ve had some laughs and if ever your feeling like you need a laugh I will gladly thread a bracelet and then drop it everywhere – your laughing now aren’t you!!!

Its Future is in our Hands - Live Earth by aussiegall.Picture Credit: aussiegal

I’ve probably bored all my other readers now, but the moral to this tale is simple; life only throws at us what we can deal with, and that which doesn’t kill us makes us a hell of a lot stronger. Change might not be wanted but we have to grasp it in both hands and make the most of it and who knows, we may end up happier in the long run – I have, every morning I wake with only 1 certainty, that there will be satisfaction guaranteed!

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Problem with Underwear

Right before any of you fret, I am not talking my own underwear, that’s not for a family orientated blog!!

No, I am talking the issues I have with B and her pants (I know generally pants are for boys and knickers are for girls, but we have always used the word pants). The issue 1st started about 2 years ago – maybe there is a psycological link here with the big family upheavel that happened around the same time. I digress…..the issue is that she hates the way pants feel. When the issue started she was 5 and when she wore age 5-6 pants she said they dug in round her legs and went up her bum. Ok, she has always been tall for her age so we bought some larger ones to see if that helped and initially it did. The problem went away for a little while and has come back here and there along the way but just lately we have had some major problems all due to pants. For the last week we have had the most nightmare mornings when it comes to getting dressed. She puts on pants in the mindset they are going to be uncomfortable. As soon as they are pulled up she starts grunting, squealing and throwing herself around. It’s not nice to watch but at her age (7) it is frustrating me that she still can’t explain to me why they are ncomfortable. We have tried breifs, full “granny” style and the boy short style. It doesn’t seem the style that matters, they are all comfortable but nt always. It’s hard to explain the issue because I don’t know what the issue is. She does however, suffer from very red and sore creases at the tops of her legs, due to the fact she doesn’t seem to dry herself properly every time after a bath. It flares up every few weeks and goes down within a day with the aid of moisturiser. But this flaring up doesn’t seem to match with the pants issue.

I don’t know what blogging about this will achieve, maybe someone else has experienced, or has a child with the same problem. Maybe someone has some ideas as to what else I can try. Or maybe it’s just I need a voice for my frustration that I don’t seem to be able to sort this out. I even bought her some new ones last week and she is refusing to wear them already and yet she hasn’t tried them on! I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall. Today I have tried to explain to her that different styles feel different and that just because they feel different each day that throwing a paddy will only make it worse. We have also agreed she will try her new pants tomorrow with no “stressing” so fingers crossed! No one said motherhood was easy but this is not an issue I expected to face!!!

February 24, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , , , | 10 Comments

1st Child Syndrome

I have just been reading the blog of fellow Mum Slummy Single Mummy, about how the age gap between our kids can effect the way we parent. It got me thinking…….

The age gap between my girls is 5 1/2 years and it was neither intentional or accidental. We had spent 3 years “trying” for B, I had ended up on the fertility drug Chlomid, and conceived on the 5th cycle. I had 95% convinced myself I would never be a mum by this point and that was something I couldn’t face. My pregnancy was not what I had expected. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t hard compared to others but I thought I would feel “glowing” for a whole 9 months, but morning sickness was constant through my waking hours till I was 6 months gone, when the indigestion and back ache kicked in. I hated the fact I was covered in stretch marks, I looked like some weird Zebra Woman hybrid!

She ain't heavy, she is my sister - The Hollies by martintoy.

I had a planned section at 40 weeks as the little tyke was breech. Having been convinced I was having a boy I was surprised to hear “It’s a girl” as she was briefly shown to me over the screen round my head! At the time I couldn’t admit to anyone – not even myself – but I felt like I was lost. I didn’t experience that 1st wave of emotion for B, in fact I didn’t even believe she was mine at first. It took me a while but eventually we built a bond. I grew to love motherhood but blocked my early experiences from memory.

With the hard experience of B, we didn’t really talk about having more kids until B was 3. I was back at work, B was completely dry day and night and as a couple we were getting some time back to us. Life was great and although we had said when we 1st married, that we both wanted a big family, we decided that we would only ever have B because we couldn’t risk her happiness on me having to go through fertility treatment again. We had tried a few times since she was born and never caught so said enough was enough. That all changed just after B turned 4. He had been away with work and came home and said he wanted to give it 1 more go, and see a specialist if need be. We set my 30th birthday as the time limit – if nothing by then we would stop and be thankfully for 1 beautiful girl. Nine months later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test and my gut instinct was pure dread and fear. In hindsight that was over my marriage which was about to crumble, but at the time I even contemplated not telling him and having a termination. (No-one knows that, not till now!) I had never felt so scared and unsure about what to do. I had a management position at work, a great group of no kids friends and a daughter who was at a stage where she was gaining independence by the day. It took me all of 1 minute to push that aside and realise I had conceived without intervention and was over the moon and so my future began.

So as you can see, neither planned or accidental, but the age gap exists. Now it’s not the gap I have an issue with. I had the same gap between me and my brother and my parents did a fantastic job at making sure we were both loved and supported in all we did, and family outings catered for us both where ever possible. What has got me thinking is the fact that B can see the difference in the way I treat them both. She is 7 now, so I do treat her completely different. Mentally she is probably older, she saw me go through a lot while I was pregnant and she had the upheaval of her Daddy moving in with her Mummy’s best friend, who she could no longer see. Oh and moving the length of the country and changing schools without any warning at all. It did mature her but that’s not always a good thing!

I do worry she will take the differences she see’s as meaning I love H more. I don’t! It is true that a mother loves all her children equally. I could never choose one over the other, but at the same time I see them as 2 very different people. H gets away with everything in B’s eyes, B copies H and doesn’t get away with it, H gets a cuddle when she wants one while B is expected to be old enough to understand she has to wait till I am free. I heard something that hit home last week – We spend the 1st years of our kids lives teaching them to walk and talk, and then when they can we tell them to shut up and sit down – that’s so true. H is always on her feet and jabbering away and that’s fine by me, but B gets told to stop it when she does the same! Hopefully in time B will see that things will change as H gets older too, but I do worry that because she is older I expect too much from her! Does anyone else worry about this?

Picture Credit: martintoy

February 23, 2010 Posted by | Parenting | , , , , | 10 Comments

A “Cot Free” home!!!

Wow, it brings a tear to my eye but that’s it, my baby days are over, never again will my home have a cot. I don’t know why, but it’s a big thing for me this time round. I guess it’s because H is number 2, and I am 99.9% certain I won’t have any more kids, so not only i it a mark of her getting olderbut it’s a mark of me getting older too.

I had been thinking about the cot to bed transition at Christmas. I decided against it then mainly because of so much other stuff going on at the time, but she is now 19 months and thats slightly older than when B moved from her cot. So thats it, no going back. I was secretly dreading bedtime. She had already climbed in and out a couple of times, so she knew what was waiting for her at bedtime, but I was expecting her to think it a new game, being able to get out of bed. I think I covered my anxiety well though and bedtime was the same as usual. I got her ready for bed, she had a drink of milk and then off we went. So far I have had to go in to her once and that was because she had dropped Igglepiggle on the floor and didn’t even think to get out of her bed to get him! That was an hour ago.  While B is still singing to herself – loudly – there is no noise coming from H. I don’t want to count my chickens though, we can’t say we have cracked it until she has slept the night through, and even then I won’t be celebrating until she has had at least a week!

On a slightly different line though, I feel like it’s kind of pushed me forward a little. I have been single now for coming up 2 years and as much as would love to be in a relationship for my own personal reasons, the fact H is so young has stopped me. It’s strange though, now the cot has gone I don’t feel like I have a baby in the house any more, so in a strange way I feel like I can move on completely now!

February 22, 2010 Posted by | My 101 Things, Parenting | , , , | 4 Comments

1 down, 100 to go!

Ok so I am starting easy as this one was stolen from another person, and was nice and quick to do – point 101 to stop junk mail – DONE!

How???

Well if you want to do the saem, go to http://www.junkbuster.org.uk/ and yu can register to opt ot of leaflets that are delivered by royal mail, also you can opt out of telepone directories being delivered to you. It doesn’t say how long till it kicks in, but in theory it shouldn’t take long.

As for unsolicited telephone calls, register your phone number at http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/ and your details will not be passed on to companies to cold call you unless ou have given the details for use by that company yourself.You can also register yur mobile number. I have just gone on there and both my landine and mobile are already registered so from now on I will be taking callers details and repoting them – they can recieve a hefty fine andfrom experience when you say you are registered with TPS they generally hang up before you can get any details from them!

Hopefully that info ill help someone out there!

February 21, 2010 Posted by | My 101 Things | , , , | Leave a comment

101 things in 1001 Days

Ok this is exactly what it says on the tin!

As a member of British Mummy Bloggers I came across another blogging mummy who is doing the Day Zero Project and found it quite an interesting idea, so have decided to give it a go! The aim of the game (and I am viewing it as a game as my competitive nature will kick in and I’m more likely to succeed), is to think of 101 things you would like to achieve in 1001 days. Yep it’s as simple as that……….or not!

I sat down on Thursday and began writing my list, yet here I am on Sunday and I still need about 10 things before I can publish it and crack on with it. The first few ideas came easily, with my new job just round the corner and a change in the permanent normality of my life I think it’s the ideal time to take stock and evaluate what I want to achieve in the next 2.75 years of my life. So as you will see when I do publish, some of my ideas are practical ones, things that I NEED to do and just put them off all the time. Some of them are things that I would love to become normal activities in mine and/or the girls lives and adding them to this challenge should help me form the habits. Others are “spiritual” or “emotional”, things to do in order to make me feel more content, or just feel more important. They are all things I don’t do now, or have tried and failed with in the past, but some of the things I have been saying I would do for a while and just never have. So take a look and see what you think. You can also visit http://www.dayzeroproject.com/ to find out more, and let me know if you give it a go too – I can cross that off my list then as I plan to get someone else on board!

Oh and of course watch this space as to how I get on along the way!

February 21, 2010 Posted by | My 101 Things | , , , | 6 Comments

Pancake Hell!

Yesterday, as we all know,was Shrove Tuesday, more commonly these days known as Pancake Day. Last year was my 1st ever attempt at making pancakes as my ex was always the one to make them before. Last year proved why! I didn’t have a clue so rang my mum for a rough guide on making the batter. I was told I needed plain flour, and used self raising as that was all I had. Every single one stuck and I felt such a failure after. But on the plus I had other stuff in the fridge and I think we ended up with omlette instead!

This year I tried things differently. I bought one of these “Just add milk and shake” pancake mix in a bottle things. I brought a new frying pan specially because I’d thrown my old one out a few months ago and hadn’t replaced it yet. I followed all the instructions and guess what……….they stuck like mad again! I was so angry, especially as H now eats what we eat and the 1st one I managed to save so it went on her plate. Now all credit to these easy pancake mix things – the taste was spot on. But with 1 small pancake between 3 of us, well that wasn’t going to work. So I rang mum and we joined them for mum’s homemade perfect pancakes.

I watched, I even had a go and cooked a perfect one there, gas hob same as mine, only difference was mum let the fat warm up more than I had so I assumed that was my problem. Nope tried again when I got home and the hotter the fat the worse it seemed to stick. So I have decided that’s it no more pancake making attempts from me, if mum isn’t about I’ll buy shop bought ones!

pancakes by roboppy.

On the plus side though, B was very interested in what pancake day is all about, and why I was asking her what she would give up for lent. I explained that pancakes were made to use up the perishable food before fasting for 40 days and 40 nights from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. She was fascinated and initially said she would give up sex for lent (!!!!), I asked her what she thought that would mean, to which she replied it would mean not looking good till Easter! Hmmm, talked her out of that one and so she has decided to give up being naughty for lent – yeah we will see how that one goes! I have decided to give up chocolate, so to all my dear friends out there, please don’t offer me chocolate till Easter!

It got me wondering though, how many other people actually explain the meanings of these special days to their kids? I mean, B obviously hasn’t learnt about it at school, even though their pancake races are a big event each year. I wouldn’t class myself as religious in that I don’t go to church every week, but I do have my faith and Easter is a time when I find myself taking stock and thinking about what my faith means to me. I always try and give something up for lent. B was christened on Palm Sunday too, so that holds special significance for me as well. What does it all mean for you?

Picture from Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/roboppy/7953025/ by roboppy

February 17, 2010 Posted by | Food, Parenting, Religon | , | 6 Comments

The wonderful half term feeling!

It’s once again that wonderful time of year, where the kids get a week off and us parents get bored silly!!! February 13th 2009 by -JosephB-.

Now before I start, don’t get me wrong, I love my kids to bits – I just want to clarify that point before I continue!

On Friday I picked up B from school and we were both excited about the week off ahead. Lets face it, I was excited at the prospect of not having to get up and out the house early, and the slight possibility of a lie in (fat chance with H!) B was excited about no school, being able to stay in bed in the mornings and just playing all week. H on the other hand was just facing normality as she isn’t yet at school and until I start work in a few weeks, is at home all the time anyway!

So far we are on day 3 of the 9 days off. So far B hasn’t stayed asleep past 7am. On a school morning I have to shake her awake at 7.30am! I am fed up of “can I have”, “can I watch TV”, “I’m bored”, “what can I do” and we have so much longer to go!!! And what am I doing to stay sane? Playing my farming game on Facebook! Not constantly, fat chance of that lol! But enough that B just told me I should get off the laptop if I have a headache because it will make it worse!

B has finally got the idea today that the TV is not going on, and when H wakes from her nap we are going to walk to the shop just to get out the house for a bit. Oh hang on, we spent all morning at Let’s Play, oh yes that’s right, H was in a strop as it was too busy for her and all she wanted to do was eat chocolate! Might take a rain check, or rather a snow check on that trip to the shop, yep, here comes the snow again!

I can’t help but think roll on bedtime and then feel like a completely awful mother because I have no idea how to keep a 7 year old entertained. Summer holidays are great, the weather is better and we can go on day trips out, or play in the garden. But with the large-ish age gap and a 7 yr old and 18 month old to keep occupied I am feeling a little out of my depth for the 1st time since having 2 kids! H wants to play with what ever B has, B wants to play with things her sister can’t touch, and both of them want to shout at me about it!

Before I know it B will be back at school and I will be starting work, and life will rarely be like this again. Holidays when I’m not working we will get out and do more because I will have wheels and the money to do it. Mabe thats why I am feeling it this week! But any suggestions on how to keep sane for the rest of the week are greatly appreciated!!!

Picture from Flickr.com by  -JosephB- http://www.flickr.com/photos/josephb/4171701696/

February 15, 2010 Posted by | Parenting, School and Childcare | , , , | 8 Comments