2017 = Healthy Mum

What is more important that our health?

 

I started a diet before the Christmas break.  It was going quite well but I know I’ve slipped back into bad habits again over the break. Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve been sticking to my healthy diet again.

On the 3rd January I weighed:

I now weigh:

 

Weightwatchers old system worked for me years ago and I can work out the points system quite well.  I think the main thing for me is exercise if I’m honest.  I just don’t find the time and I should. One thing I’ve come to realise is that health is so important.  There are a couple of friends of mine (in their early thirties like me) who have suffered from Cancer.  It really hit home just how important health is!

 

I didn’t have a drink all over the Christmas and new year period, and I’ve stayed dry for January too!  I actually don’t drink a lot anyway, especially in the house but I just didn’t actually fancy a drink at all.  I would have been drinking for the sake of drinking. Usually, I just drink and don’t think about it, but this year I did think about it and I just didn’t feel the need to drink!  Staying off alcohol is beneficial health-wise, so that’s one of the ways I’ve been staying healthy this year.

 

I like grapefruits, so I’ve been having half of a grapefruit alternating with an Activia yoghurt every other day.

 

I’ve also cut down on carbs in my diet too.  For one meal of the day, I don’t eat carbs and I replace my carbs with other things.  For instance, I’ve been eating spiralled butternut squash, sweet potato, courgette or carrot instead of spaghetti or noodles.  I’ve replaced potatoes with butternut squash or sweet potato too.  If I made stroganoff and rice I’ve replaced the rice with vegetables or eaten with cauliflower rice.

 

I think it’s important to point out that I haven’t cut out carbs completely! If you want a balanced diet then it’s important to still eat some carbs.  I’ve been buying low-fat crisps as a snack (not every day) along with cereal bars as a sugary treat.

 

Another thing I’ve cut down on that I love is cheese. I adore cheese and would eat it every day.  I’ve been buying a lower-fat cheese and cottage cheese and I’ve cut down my portion sizes.

 

For exercise, I’ve been doing…

 

Now I’m being healthier, I feel great! I hope I can keep losing weight at this rate.  Being fit and healthy is really important to me and my family because life is too short and I feel I need to be a good influence.

 

Have you been on a diet following Christmas? Or have you been trying to lose weight? Are there any diets you would recommend? Maybe there are exercise routines that helped you get back into shape? I would love to hear your tips and advice, or about your experiences!

 

Christmas Money Experiment: What did the Children think?

 

1# What did you get from Santa this year?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

2# What did you think about the money you got?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

3# Do you like to get money and choose some of your own gifts or do you just like to receive gifts?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

4# What was the best part of having money to spend after Christmas?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

 

5# What was your least favourite part of going shopping with your money after Christmas?

Abbey:

Freddie:

Alex:

Growing Feet: Keeping up with the shoes

I’m sure that any parent can appreciate what I’m about to discuss.

I feel the need to moan about the number of shoes my children go through. We are now at mid-January and I buy shoes at the beginning of every school year.  The amount of money I must have spent on shoes for my children is mounting already.  Children should come with a warning similar to the labels we see for hazardous waste; parents beware, children’s feet grow rapidly, and you must be prepared to buy several pairs of shoes within the space of four months and God help you if they have any extra-curricular activities like football or dancing!

 

So since September my kids have had the following shoes:

My youngest son: 1 pair of school shoes, 2 pairs of trainers, 3 pairs of football boots, one pair of regular boots, 1 pair of plimsolls, and a pair of wellies.

My eldest son: 2 pairs of school shoes, 3 pairs of trainers, 2 pairs of football boots, 1 pair of plimsolls, and a pair of wellies.

My daughter: 1 pair of school shoes, 2 pairs of school boots, one pair of plimsolls, 1 pair of trainers, 1 pair of football boots and a pair of wellies.

 

I mean shoes cost a fortune and there is well over £400 worth of shoes there and guess what, my daughter needs a new pair of school boots and trainers, and both of my sons’ need a pair of trainers.  How am I supposed to compete with this? 

 

How dare our children’s feet grow?  I mean it’s just rude! Do they have no consideration for us?

Don’t they know that by growing their feet means their parents are out-of-pocket? 

Money doesn’t grow on trees you know, and neither do shoes!  Today I’m just choosing to moan about shoes but what about uniforms, and regular clothes too.  I mean the costs are never-ending!

The next time I get a job, I’m going to see if staff are offered discounts on footwear as a perk of the job – maybe I should actually consider getting a job in Clarks or a sports shop instead of teaching!

Rant over for today!

AWM is now self-hosted!

How exciting?

AWM is now self-hosted!

I’m so pleased about this but it means that I now have to redirect you wonderful people to my new site – now I am trying to do this automatically but everything seems to be a challenge for me at the moment! Within about an hour of buying my account I was freaking out and sending messages to my friend – I wanted a refund because it didn’t work!!!

Thankfully, it was just me and I hadn’t wasted my hard-earned cash!

I have self-hosted before, just I went with a different host and I panicked. As it appears, this host is in fact better than my old host and much easier to use so I am thrilled.

Onwards and upwards for Aspiring Warrior Mum!

So check-out the new look and if I could ask my wonderful followers who have started to follow me over the last two weeks to subscribe to www.aspiringwarriormum.com just in case the redirection isn’t working properly?

Have a great weekend and look out for tomorrow’s post.  If you’ve missed any of my posts over the last couple of weeks, it’s the perfect time to skip back and check them out (as I was capable of importing my WordPress account without freaking, lol)!

Janet

🙂

Our Top 5 Favourite children’s Xmas Gifts from 2016

I’m briefly going to talk over our best buys for Christmas this year. It’s been quite successful this year and there was very little that I felt I had wasted my money on (thankfully).  I have children aged 11 (girl), 9 (boy), and 5 (boy) so I bought quite a wide range of gifts.  My daughter actually got a dressing table as her main present and my youngest son wanted wrestling figures and a ring.  The only major disappointment this year was for my 9-year-old son, and that was Skylanders Imaginators.  He collects Skylanders but this year he didn’t like the new game. He has played on it once which was a let down considering it was £50.  In previous years, I’ve had to prize him away from his PlayStation because he’s always loved Skylanders. My son doesn’t think that the latest game is as good as expected.chalk-board

Our top 5 favourites are… 

1# Easel and Chalk Board

This was a great choice for my five-year-old.  He actually asked for an easel because his friend has one but the chalkboard was an added bonus.  I got him a wooden one rather than a flimsy plastic character one and it has storage underneath.  It was around £60 but well worth the money.

air-hog-zero-gravity

2# Air Hog Zero Gravity cars

All three of my children asked for these.  My children are aged 5, 9 and 11.  I have a girl and two boys and all got pleasure from this gift.  At the price of £35 I didn’t think it was a bad price.  The only negative point is that it doesn’t climb up wallpaper, just smooth walls.  As our house has poor quality walls due to its age, most of the walls are papered with wallpaper and that means limited use.guitar

3# Electric Guitar with mini amp

My boys both asked for this gift.  The recommended age is
from age 6.  The mini amp is ideal as the lads can hook the amp over their body and
play, whilst carrying the amp.  It’s not too loud, but the sound is adjustable.  The lads have really enjoyed playing these and at £65, I can’t complain, especially if they want to play professionally.  Learning music is always an added bonus!monopoly-1356307_6404# Monopoly

Good old classic Monopoly is great as a family game.  Although it does seem to cause fighting if the children play this themselves.  They do love the game and what I like is the fact it promotes thinking skills, maths and reading.  A lot of enjoyment that can include the whole family having fun!  I do think it’s expensive now though ranging from around £20-25 but it is well used!newt-book

5# Newt Scamander’s scrapbook

My youngest son loves Fantastic Beasts and where to find them.  I found a scrapbook in WH Smiths for £15 that talks through the characters and beasts and provides cards and maps etc… You can work your way through Newt’s travels and learn further about the characters and the beasts he has in his suitcase.  It was a great addition to the film and really interesting! Another good buy as I don’t believe you can ever have too many books!

What were your best buys at Christmas? What did your children get the most enjoyment out of (usually mine get more enjoyment from the boxes but this year was more successful than usual)? Did you buy anything that was an absolute flop or waste of money? 

My Random Musings

Parent Problems: Why can’t my five-year-old get to Sleep?

My five-year-old doesn’t sleep well at all!

The last three weeks have been much worse.  I think it’s been the excitement of Christmas at first.  He’s quite active and he’s had a break from all of his clubs; football and swimming.  The weather hasn’t been so good, and I haven’t been well (a bug seems to have been doing the rounds in our house) so I haven’t taken them out a lot over the last few weeks either.

It got worse over the week from Christmas eve to new years day.  I’m talking that child was away until at least 1am and on one occasion, 3am.  His older brother is not able to go to bed until he’s asleep, as he’s a chatterbox and talks for anything between one-two hours every time his brother enters the bedroom.  My son was falling asleep downstairs wondering why on Earth he had to share a room with his little bro!

I’ll be honest, he was back at school earlier this week – Tuesday 3rd.  His football returned on Friday and he went to his swimming lesson yesterday.  I was hoping he would settle down, being up even earlier than usual for school but he was still awake all week until midnight.  It’s keeping the rest of the family awake.

I mean does this dude run on fresh air, or what? 

Finally, on Saturday night, following another early morning followed after swimming is the first time he’s fell asleep before 11pm.  I’m really hoping now we are getting back into a routine that he will sleep.

I wish I could blame something in particular, like the sweets over the holidays, but by boxing day, most of our delicious treats had gone.

I know there are a lot of parents that go through exactly the same thing as us, who will appreciate how hard sleep deprivation is.  I really need to tackle this issue if it continues because a lack of sleep could really affect my other son’s education and he already struggles with his concentration.

I work assessing, I work 2 days per week on placement teaching English, I have my course to study for, as well as the kids as well as other commitments and household/family duties.  I just can’t deal with this!

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My daughter was never a good sleeper and she still has her moments.  But she’s 11 so she doesn’t cause a scene when she’s awake as she does try to sleep and doesn’t chatter on.  As she was my first child, I worked part-time and I didn’t have as much on as I do now so I never felt it as much.  I currently feel run down, as if I’ve worked for fifty years and I’m about due to retire!  (I’m 32 by the way so that’s a long way off).

I once took my daughter to the doctors because of her sleep pattern but I was told to stop her eating late, stop her drinking late (which she didn’t do anyway) and promote exercise by taking her out for a walk after dinner in the evening.  We did this for several months and it made no difference whatsoever.  I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with my son as such – I think this initially stemmed from the excitement of Christmas but I appreciate that I do need to put a stop to this.

So my plan of action is as follows;

No sweets or sugary treats after 6pm (we don’t often allow that but occasionally he has a biscuit).

Make sure he gets fresh air every day – to play outside on his bike, a walk, or a kick around with a football should be fine!

Try to wind down with a bath and a story.

I don’t think that this is really any different to what we do anyway but I’m going to make sure that he’s tired out.  Sometimes supper is needed because nobody can sleep if they are hungry but I’m going to make sure it’s something light and healthy.

Just sleep child, sleep!!!

 

Do you have a child that doesn’t sleep?  Do you have any advice for me or do you want to discuss your own experience?  What did/do you do? How do you cope with sleep deprivation? Have you been putting up with months/years of sleep deprivation? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why I think Swimming Lessons for my Kids are a Good Investment

I read an article just a couple of days ago about children not being able to swim by the time they left primary school and I decided that this would be great for me to discuss as a blog post because I have first-hand, experience of this.

Just to clarify, I could not swim when I left primary school.  All three of my children, aged 11, 9, and 5 attend swimming lessons and have been for around 16 months. My daughter left primary school in July 2016 and could only swim as a result of these private lessons.  They all get half-an-hour each week and it costs me £16 each per month.  I know that this is a lot of money in theory because I have to pay £16 X 3 because I have three children (that’s £48), however, if you divide it by four weeks, it’s about £4 per lesson per child.

 

First of all, I want to tell you what I get for my money…

  • They get a qualified swimming instructor that teaches them to swim and breathe correctly.
  • The follow an approved programme of ASA Stages.
  • They get passes for the local leisure centre, and that means they can actually go and swim for free at any time (this usually costs £2.10 per hour).
  • They learn a little bit of theory at each lesson about safety in and around the pool.

 

So what prompted me to pay for swimming lessons for my children? 

Maybe it was quite naive of me, but when my son had been completing swimming lessons at school and told me he could swim I believed him.  He could swim – he showed me!  So I allowed him into the swimming baths without his armbands.  He was jumping in with his friend and launched himself to the centre of the pool and couldn’t touch the floor.  He panicked and started shouting ‘help me!’  Of course, I was close by with my little one so I stuck him on my back and swam to him – the lifeguard clearly didn’t want to get in the pool as he was leaning over, but I must stress that my son wasn’t sinking – he was simply panicking and shouting whilst treading water because he couldn’t touch the bottom.

The fact he wasn’t drowning and a woman next to him passed him to me in an attempt to calm him didn’t stop it from being embarrassing on my behalf.  I should have checked he was confident in the water and I should have made sure he knew what to do – how to swim after you jump in and can’t touch the bottom.  I also thought of what danger he could have been in as he was panicking.  I made him wear his armbands as a safeguard when jumping in.  I’m not the strongest swimmer myself but his dad is brill so I told him his dad would work with him on our Summer holiday to help him.  I had to fill an accident form out in relation to the whole incident and I felt like a bad parent.

His dad did do work with him on holiday, but I was still apprehensive.  I observed my daughter and discovered that at 10 years old, she couldn’t swim either and was, in fact, walking along the bottom of the pool.  We didn’t go swimming very often so I hadn’t really noticed before as when we did go swimming it was usually to have fun on holiday and not to necessarily swim.  Enough was enough and I decided to enrol them in swimming lessons.  My youngest was 3 and there was no way this was going to happen to him too.  He could enrol on a ducklings class and I had to go in the pool with him until he progressed to the last stage.

16 months later, my eldest two are in the bigger pool, can dive, swim on top and under the water, even when they can’t touch the bottom and they breathe properly whilst swimming.  My youngest child has progressed into the 1st level class (what his sister and brother were in the previous year) and can swim under water.  They all love swimming and are much more confident.

 

swimming-78112_640

 

Finally, after my experience over the last 16 months, here are my top five reasons why I think swimming lessons are a good investment…

  1. Swimming can be a life-saving skill – it can save your own life or the life of another.
  2. Swimming keeps you fit as it’s a sport that encourages the use of a lot of your body’s muscles.
  3. Swimming lessons have built up my children’s confidence in the water. This ultimately means more enjoyment for the family!
  4. From my point of view, as a parent, I feel less nervous (although I still keep a close eye on them) when we go to swimming pools and they go down water slides as it always used to worry me. This means we can relax a little more as adults.
  5. Swimming lessons have taught my children a lot about safety in water and at poolside, like not running and getting into the pool safely etc…

 

I will continue these lessons for as long as I have to, plus they are in a routine of going every week now – practice makes perfect!

 

Can your child swim? Do you think every child should be able to swim when they leave primary school? Do you think swimming lessons are a good investment? Maybe you have a different view – are they reasonably priced or expensive? 

Why I chose not to buy a Hatchimal in 2016

Hatchimals were the new craze this year for Xmas.  My daughter really wanted one and usually, I find myself battling away for the latest craze of the year!

At first, I searched but by the beginning of December, I decided I was no longer searching for this toy.  So why did I decide to disappoint my child at Christmas you might add?

Firstly, I read up about the toy and it doesn’t sound as if it actually does much once it’s hatched.  I mean £60+ is a lot of money to pay for something that isn’t much more than a cuddly toy.  I also read a bad review of one that didn’t hatch properly – I’m sure this issue was resolved but the idea of faults occurring put me off little – although I am well aware that faults can occur with any product of this nature.

Another reason I reconsidered buying a hatchimal was because of my daughter’s age.  She is 11 (although quite young for her age) and I wonder how much pleasure she would actually get from this, considering she is the older end of the spectrum and doesn’t really play with toys.

So, how did I get around this without being a bad parent?enraged-804311_640

Chasing the right gift for your child can be stressful!

The truth is, I told her the truth – they weren’t in stock and I didn’t think they were a good buy.  Now again I could only do this because of her age as she knows the whole truth about Santa.  I also explained to her that you can’t ALWAYS have what you want in life – as much as part of me wants to give my children everything they desire in the world, I’m actually sure that this is a good life-lesson.

What I did propose to my daughter (who hadn’t asked for a lot at all this year) was that I would give her some cash in an envelope for Xmas (which I will talk about later in the month – when I interview my children) and if she chose to spend £60 of that on a hatchimal, it would be fine with me.

This worked really well for me – no stress of searching and queuing (possibly paying over the odds) for gifts that I felt wouldn’t bring much enjoyment.  She actually didn’t buy one!

I think the reason I got away with not jumping on the hatchimal bandwagon was because of my daughter’s age.  Obviously, children who are younger and believe in the magic of Christmas and Santa would obviously be disappointed but because of my circumstances, I decided on this course of action and it worked out for the best.

Did your child want a hatchimal for Christmas and if so, what prompted you to get/not get one? What do you think of hatchimals?

What do you think of my reason for not getting one and giving into the Christmas craze this year? 

I must admit, I’m so pleased the boys didn’t ask for one!

Returning to the Norm in 2017

The thing about the Christmas break ending is getting back into your normal routine.  My children go back to school today and they’ve been up late every night over the holidays.  I know it’s going to be difficult for us all to get back into the school routine.

For me, I return to my teaching placement tomorrow which means I’ll be leaving the house at the crack of dawn and commuting for an hour.  I really wish my placement was closer to home. I’m also back to my other job, working from home today.  This is with a heavy heart and zero motivation.

no-motivation

Does January make you feel deflated?  How do you feel getting back to a typical routine? 

We’ve had such a chilled time (well, apart from our shopping spree in the sales) and we’ve played inside the house mainly because of the miserable weather.  On new years day, I had to wake the children up as it was getting towards lunch time!  I think that the this and the cold, dark mornings don’t help, only aid the lack of motivation.  This was also our first Xmas without my mother-in-law who died the day after boxing day last year!

I’m a bit sad that it’s the children are back at school next week.  I enjoy them being at home.  If I could afford to give up my job and course, I would totally home educate but with my husband’s health conditions, I have to work as he is only able to work part-time.  I love teaching and learning with them!

I’m quite an anxious person on the inside, although this isn’t always apparent on the exterior.  I worry about everything and sometimes my anxiety holds me back and I have to push myself.  I know a lot of people feel the same!  In my case, I had just seemed to settle into my teaching placement for three weeks, and then I’ve had three weeks off on holiday.  Teaching English is hard as under government legislation as students have to study English at GCSE if they don’t attain a C until they are 18.  As you can imagine, this means that some of the students don’t want to be there and this means it can be quite a difficult subject to teach.  I’m up for the challenge but sometimes I wonder if teaching is for me.  I wanted to teach in further education because I thought that the students who I would teach would all want to be there, but that’s not always the case.  I’m far from naive but it’s harder than I first imagined.  I didn’t expect an easy ride but teaching can be quite scary!

I’ve decided that this year, I’m going to push myself to be more motivated – I mean it’s the perfect time, right? A new year, a new journey!  I’ve been writing myself some goals for 2017 and along with my new blog, I’m hoping I start to feel inspiration and motivation quite quickly.  I’m going to write more about my goals later in the month so look out for this post!

 

What do you do to stay motivated?  Have you made any goals this year?  What makes you feel inspired? 

Family New Year’s Eve Traditions

When I was younger, I don’t think I recognised what new year’s eve was for a long time.  My Mum rarely stayed up past ten o’clock and my dad did stay up but never broadcasted the fact.  When I discovered new years eve, I stayed up with my dad for a couple of years and then I went to my Aunt’s house.  Simply because she allowed me to stay up late plus her next door neighbour used have family and friends over, so we used to get invited in and I knew their daughter.  When I was 12 I made a good friend who lives in a nearby town.  Her family had a party for new year and kind of made a big deal of it.  I got invited one year and for several years to follow they couldn’t escape my presence at their party.  I loved the atmosphere.  The family was so close and fun, I just wanted new year to be like that always.

 

When I got older I started to spend new year in pubs, usually with a boyfriend or close friends.  I must admit I still preferred the house party over any of these.  When I had my first child (almost 12 years ago) I stopped.  I have tried going out twice since having a child but for ten out of the twelve years I’ve stayed home and had a party at home with family and friends.  The tradition has been for a while now that family and friends come over to my house.  My children look forward to it so we now have our new year traditions.

 

First of all, let me stress that although I do occasionally have a drink in front of my children, the idea of our new year is not to get smashed because I don’t like it around the children.  It’s to simply have fun and make memories.  I didn’t actually touch a drop of alcohol this new year and both my sister and friend who come over don’t drink either. We are quite boring really!

1# Our first tradition is that everyone comes to our house and we put on a buffet.  Good people and good food!

2# Another tradition is to buy schloer to toast the new year – red grape light to be specific.

3# Slow cooker, self-serve hot chocolate is a must-have at our little soiree.  We ladle it out of the cooker for the kids and they add their own squirty cream, marshmallows and choccy chips.  We usually have candy canes too but this year someone forgot to buy some more (oops!).

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4# Band.  Every year we form a band.  I have three children and a husband so of course there are lots of musical instruments.  This year the boys got an electric guitar and my husband also has one.  My daughter has a keyboard, and there are several other instruments like a recorder, maracas, bells, and we always have pots and pans for drums!!!  Forming a band is a must at new year!

5# Watch the BBC one show and countdown.  This year it was Robbie Williams.

My kids also try to force in a board game or two – usually monopoly.  That is not exactly my idea of fun!  Maybe I should by them bingo next year, that’s fairly quick.

They may not seem very interesting traditions, but they are ours! Do you have any traditions at new year?

I was thinking about breaking traditions next year and either going out somewhere suitable for the children or maybe away on holiday.  What do you think about breaking traditions?  If you could go anywhere for new year where would it be?  I’m always stuck – do I go somewhere peaceful or somewhere busy?  How do you prefer to spend your new year? 

 

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