time flies when you're being a mum

Mums’ List 25

Aug
23rd
2014

23 Aug, 2014

Real life

We’ve been on holiday and it’s been amazing! At first it was the windiest place ever, which meant I was lulled into a false sence of security about the heat. That was until we went into Lagos on the second day for lunch and I looked like a perfectly boiled Lobster by the time we got back in the car. It’s been wonderful to chill out with my family and concentrate on life’s big questions…which beach to go to, what to eat and where’s the sun cream? I’ve only taken a few photos off the camera, so until we’re home here’s a cute one from the beautiful beach of Beliche for now! Mums' List 25 - in Beliche, Portugal

Blog life

I bust a GUT to get all my guest posts ready in time and didn’t quite succeed in having a full 2 weeks off but I was pleased with myself for managing to get everything scheduled and ready for the first 7 days so I could completely switch off and see where my mind takes me. Turns out that without blogging and the internet my mind is a pretty quiet place. I’ve even been doing the washing up AND putting the dishes away. So no major blog revalations or eureka moments to share with you as yet! Oh, and this REALLY exciting thing happened…

Mums' List 25 - competition win

Waaaaaa!!

Inspiration

I have read a book!! Within the first 3 days I read Tina Fey’s (of Sarah Palin fame – for me anyway as my Brother was OBSESSED with the 2008 American election when I stayed with him in Tokyo then for 2 months) autobiography,Bossypants, which was totally fascinating. What a woman. Being a comedian is possibly one of the hardest jobs as a women because it’s just so male dominated…you might get a part but invariably you’re a filler. The wife, the daughter, the dinner lady. But here she is writing, producing and acting in multi-award winning shows (30 Rock, Saturday night live), providing jobs for hundreds of people, and doing it with good grace amongst the death threats and general insults from the wonderful general public. Her attitude to achieving is awesome and all while answering the question on all mother-of-one’s lips…Should I have another? Girl Crush!

Linking up with You Baby Me Mummy, who’s been hosting Mums’ List while I’ve been away – thanks love!

Mums' Days

 

21 Aug, 2014

I experienced a bit of a revelation the other day when buying a croissant with jam here in Portugal…Jelly to American’s is the same as our Jam! I literally thought if we ordered the Croissant with Jelly, we’d get, well, a croissant with jelly. But no, the waitress assured me it would be jam. So, all these years I had assumed the famous America delicacy of the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich was made with actual jelly!! What a dork! I know you all know this but I didn’t. And, now I understand Claire’s invention; her Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie recipe is a classic American combination…it’s a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in cookie form! What a genius.

Without further ado I bring you…

Cookie Recipe – Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Guest post from Claire Manby

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

Peanut butter and jelly (jam!) cookies

This cookie recipe was born out of a need to bake biscuits but not enough butter in the house…hence the peanut butter! They are really easy to make and I have made them several times with George, and my littler helper was ever present when I made these to share with you today.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

Our official household biscuit and cake sampler testing today’s mix.

Ingredients

So, first off, have a good rummage in your cupboards or nip to the shop and assemble your ingredients for this cookie recipe;

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

  • 50g (2oz) Softened Butter
  • 50g (2oz) Crunchy Peanut Butter (you can use smooth but the nutty bits are nice in the cookies also try and get one with no added sugar)
  • 50g (2oz) Caster Sugar
  • 150g (5oz) Self Raising Flour
  • Jam of your choice
  • 50g (2oz) Icing Sugar (optional)
  • Lemon Juice (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4 and lightly grease two baking trays.

2. Add your Butter, Peanut Butter and Caster Sugar to your bowl and beat together. I would suggest using a wooden spoon and elbow grease as an electric whisk breaks down the pieces of nuts.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

3. Add your flour (no need to sieve) and mix with your spoon until your mixture looks a bit like large breadcrumbs.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

4. Add a couple of tablespoons on water and bring the dough together with your hand till it forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Roll the dough into 16 balls and squash them slightly flat with your hands before placing on your baking tray.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

5. You now need to make a hole in your cookies for your Jam. I use the rounded end of my teaspoon and wiggle it about to make the whole bigger. You’ll need to improvise with what you can find in your kitchen or use your finger. Don’t make the hole all the way through just about half way down.

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

6. Once the holes are made fill them with your Jam but try not to get it on the sides of the cookie as it will burn slightly.

7. Bake them for 15 -20 minutes until pale golden in colour. Remove them from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

8. You can then leave them as they are but I like to add some icing as I think it makes them look prettier. Measure your icing sugar in to a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of water. I also add some lemon juice as I think this improves the flavour of the icing. You want it to be quite runny as you need to drizzle it all over your cookies. I place kitchen towel under my cooling rack and can then drizzle away without a ton of mess or the icing pooling around the bottom of the biscuit (which is what happens if you do it on a plate).

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

The finished article, enjoy with a cuppa and friends.

I’ve also made these with almond butter and flaked almonds as well as the icing on top with Cherry jam which gave them a bit of a bakewell tart feel.

Thank you Claire!

Peanut Butter and Jam Cookie Recipe - a classic American combination (peanut butter and jelly) in a cookie! And, easy to make with kids: http://mumsdays.com/cookie-recipe-peanut-butter/

Claire is 32 and lives in the lovely county of Suffolk. She shares her home with her other half, Ian, a London Firefighter, her gorgeous 2 ½ year old son, George, and their rescue dog, Larry.

She has a passion for doing makes her happy; cooking and baking; knitting and crafting; and she’s also a bookworm! I’m the youngest member by quite a way of our local WI, I’m a big animal lover especially Dogs and Horses and we’re out most days enjoying the countryside that we live in.

Of being a mums Claire says “Being a Mum has changed my life dramatically. George has meant I get a lot less sleep, and my patience tested daily. I cry at the most ridiculous things and have a whole new world of world of worry but he has also brought me unimaginable amounts joy and love.”

Read Claire’s childbirth story here!

 

Potty Training

Aug
20th
2014

Guest post from Sarah Boud

20 Aug, 2014

Having recently been through this with one gorgeous girl, Sarah is currently tackling the joys of potty training with her second, Eliza! She has kindly written up her wisdom to share with us. My approach to potty training thus far has been denial. But as we’ve just had the big T.W.O. it’s time to stop pretending. This sh*t is getting real. Literally.

Potty training from Sarah Boud

Potty training can be quite a stressful time for a lot of parents, but it’s the last big hurdle from baby to child.

How do you know when your child is ready? Well, they’ll tell you! They’ll start pointing at the toilet, watching what you’re doing, pulling down or taking off their nappies. The big thing is don’t rush it. It can take much longer if you do. Huggies has come up with a list of signs of readiness to potty train and your child needs to be doing at least three:

  1. Your child stays dry for two hours or more at a time, or is dry after a daytime nap.
  2. Your child tells you in words or by behaviour that wearing a wet nappy is uncomfortable, and needs changing.
  3. Your child asks to use the potty or the toilet.
  4. You usually know when your child is likely to have a poo.
  5. Your child asks to wear potty training pants or normal underwear.
  6. Your child can understand and follow simple instructions, like ‘bring me the potty, please’.
  7. Your child can show in behaviour, or can use words, to let you know they need a wee or a poo.
  8. Your child can put on some of their clothes on unaided.

I think it’s quite useful! You should also trust your gut instinct too!

Boys vs Girls

Boys notoriously take longer than girls. You might expect a girl to start anywhere from 20 months to three years and a boy from two and a bit to four (as a generalisation, obviously there are exceptions.)

What do I need?

Well, pants, kitchen towel and a cleaning spray of some kind! Make sure your child is included when you get their pants as it really helps for them to engage. You can buy potty training pants that have a bit of toweling inside, but we didn’t really get on with them.

Loo seat vs potty

Anything else is up to you. You don’t even need a potty! My eldest went straight to using the loo. We had a fab loo seat that is part of the main toilet seat and folds down. She just wanted to be like me. I’m now potty training my second daughter and she is using the potty, more because she doesn’t want to miss what her sister is doing.

Pull ups?

I found pull up nappies great, but they’re not essential. If you go on lots of trips, you might decide to get a Potette Plus - it’s like a potty with a sanitary pad inside so it soaks up the wee and you can just throw it away.

I’m ready! What next?

Well, that’s where it gets harder. Most children will wee quite happily, but poo takes longer. However, many children are quite regular – both my daughters would poo like clockwork – after breakfast and dinner, so I could just take their nappies off when they said wee and let them run around naked. For some strange reason, children think they need to be completely naked to pee! I found it quite frustrating but it’s another phase.

It’s definitely easier when they’re a bit older because you can ask them to sit on the loo before you go out or eat and they’ll understand. They might not want to, but I just made sure I left plenty of time and said that we weren’t leaving / eating until they had sat on the loo!

I think the most important things to remember are to listen to your child – if they say ‘wee now!’, they can’t hold it in, so go with it!

Don’t rush

They might not be ready and it can make the whole process take longer. My eldest just wasn’t interested until she was two and a half, but then she was dry day and night within two weeks!

Don’t scold

And finally don’t make them feel bad if they have an accident. It will always be at the worst time, but they didn’t do it on purpose!

Good luck!

Sarah, mum to Ava and Eliza

Potty training - 7 key ways to help you prepare! http://mumsdays.com/potty-training/

Thanks Sarah!

You may also like these articles from Sarah… BLW, Bottle Feeding – the Guilt, Baby Bond – when it doesn’t go to plan

Tarika Marshall

19 Aug, 2014

One of my twitter buddies Tarika from Cahootsy (a brand new recommendation site dedicated to products and offers for UK parents – watch this space as it’s launching soon!) saw I was looking for guest posts. She’s basically become an expert in sleep problems in toddlers as she’d recently under gone some serious training for her gorgeous daughter who wasn’t a fan of sleeping…read on for her experience!

Sleep Problems in Toddlers and why I’m now a fan of Princess castles

I’m mum to two toddlers aged 4 and 2.

Bedtime is the loveliest time of the day and also the most harrowing.  After the usual routine of bath time bubbles and cuddles and warm milk who wouldn’t want to get snuggled under the duvet and drift off into the land of dreams. I definitely would.

But oh no. Not my little girl, who is also going through her terrible twos. The past three months have wrecked any hope of sleep.

Sleep problems in toddlers - how to sleep train using a reward chart: http://mumsdays.com/sleep-problems-in-toddlers/

Every night we get the same record – I need water, I need a wee, I need a cuddle, I need another rendition Puff the magic dragon and then finally the dreaded I need mama’s bed. That last one is timed to perfection at the very moment I’m falling to sleep. After a full day working on my start up business, much as I love any excuse to have a snuggle with my little one, snuggle time between 1am and 5am after an hour or so of intense screaming is not one I can handle.

We’ve been through a number of the great help guides: Supernanny; the Baby Whisperer; and Gina Ford. And even watched youtube videos on the subject but none of the advice seems to work with our little one.

Then at 2am one night I came across a great article from Baby Sleep Advice on reward charts. With all the creative talent I could muster in the dead of night (motivated by the idea of sleep) I mapped out the next week and drew a princess castle at the end of it. I filled a jar of smarties and found some gold stars from the days of potty training my older one. Voila! A handmade rewards chart.

The next evening I enthusiastically explained the prospect of visiting a castle to my two year old. If we made it to a week of sleeping in her own bed, for which she’d get a gold star and a smartie as reward, then we would go on a family trip to a real life princess castle.

It worked! It wasn’t completely smooth and the first 3-4 days involved middle of the night negotiating, a lot of tears, and some mention (bribery) of no smarties in the morning.  By day 4 she was walking into our room, getting a cuddle, and then walking straight out to get back into bed and by the second week she was happy to get back to sleep herself.

I have to add I also re-introduced her daytime nap which always made her really cranky but keeping it down to only 45 mins seems to do the trick.

We’ve now had a full three weeks of sleep. All of us. I’m no expert but for anyone struggling with nighttime waking I’d highly recommend giving this a go.  So until the next nursery bugs arrive to mess with sleep time I think we might be on a roll!

Sleep tight.

Thank you Tarika!

Do you know much about sleep problems in toddlers? perhaps you’re experiencing it right now? Do share your experience/what worked for you in the comments below!

Guest post from 3 Boys and a Cat

18 Aug, 2014

I once spent a miserable January making a hundred cupcakes in a bid to win customers for my old business, in the pre-Reuben days. I vowed then and there never to make another cupcake…that is until I had a child and saw this awesome guest post from Grace, who writes the blog 3 Boys and a Cat! The cupcake recipe she shares with us today is an easy 5 step process to the perfect cupcake.

You will never look back again!

Cupcake recipe – A simple guide to perfect cupcakes

Step 1: Preparation

Whilst you may be eager to get whisking and licking out that bowl, preparation is the one of the most important aspects of successful baking. Baking is as much a science as an art and accuracy is paramount.

  • Pre-heat the oven (180°c/gas mark 4)
  • Line your cupcake tray with paper cases
  • Weigh out your ingredients

The four main ingredients in a basic cake mix are sugar, butter, eggs and flour (self-raising). There are many a cupcake recipe out there each using varying amounts of these four basic ingredients.

My preferred method is very simple, easy to remember and gives great results – a light, fluffy and moist cupcake every time:

Weigh your eggs (with the shells on).  2 eggs will make a dozen cupcakes. Whatever your eggs weighed use that weight for the sugar, butter and flour.

For example, if your eggs weighed 120g you would measure out 120g flour, 120g sugar and 120g butter. Essentially you will have equal amounts of all the ingredients. 

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Step 2: Mixing it up

  • Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and whisk.
  • Fold in the flour – I also added some vanilla paste at this point, you could also add cocoa powder if you wanted chocolate flavoured cakes. I also added half a teaspoon of baking powder.
  • Divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Step 3: Bake

Bake the cakes in the oven for about 15-20 minutes; they should be well-risen, golden brown and spring back to the touch.

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Step 4: Make the icing

For perfect chocolate butter icing you will need:

  • 100g icing sugar;
  • 100g dark chocolate (melted); and
  • 100g butter (it must be real butter, don’t be tempted to use spread!)

Whisk the icing sugar and butter together (being careful not make your kitchen look like it has been in a blizzard) until really smooth and creamy, then add the melted dark chocolate (milk chocolate would be too sickly sweet) and whisk again. Use an electric whisk for best results.

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Step 5: Decorate

Pipe the icing onto your cake in swirls and add any decorations you wish. You can always just spread the icing on if you don’t have a piping set. I decorated my cakes with freeze-dried strawberries as they add great colour and taste delicious too. Don’t forget to lick the bowl!

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Step 6: Enjoy

Eat your cake with a cake fork on a floral plate; it just tastes better that way.

Cupcake recipe - how to make the perfect cupcake in 5 easy steps! http://mumsdays.com/cupcake-recipe/

Thank you Grace!

That’s good, isn’t it? I really want one!

Do you have a secret Cupcake Recipe that gives you perfect cupcakes every time? Do share your methods in the comments below…

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