29 Sep 2012

A Duck...a duck..a duck

I've know for a while that Bubba loves monkeys, it's the first official animal noise she made followed closely by a hissing for snake. First she would chuckle every time she saw a monkey but not any other animals, then she started making the noise and now she points out any she sees.
Recently her animal allegiance has changed and she will shout (more of a shriek) 'a duck, a duck, a duck' over and over if she sees a picture of a duck or a bath duck or one at the park. On holiday we were visited by about 15 ducks on our decking every night after dinner and we fed them bread and I'm sure that made the holiday for Bubba. She would stamp up and down getting excited all the time shrieking and holding her arms out - quite what she would have done with a duck if being able to hold it I wouldn't like to say!

So whilst out last week I saw this bath duck by Munchkin, in the sale no less, I'd had my eye on one of these when she was smaller but Hubby said we didn't have the space (and we don't really) to keep it in our bathroom but I couldn't resist. I thought it might be good for holidays as well or if another baby should come along as it can be set up anywhere and deflated again. It has a hook on the back so we can hang it up (not that we have as yet) and suckers on the bottom so it doesn't move around in the wet bath.

When I first inflated it in our living room, Bubba went mental and spent a good couple of hours just climbing in and out and rolling over in it. Money well spent in my book. I have since started using it in the bath and it's so good as it fills up quickly and doesn't take up as much water as we used to use. Bubba stays confined to one area (before she had started mucking about in the bath and trying to stand up but here she is kept in one area and its a bit of a novelty at the moment.


21 Sep 2012

Seaside love

Last week we went to the Isle of Wight for a break and I was excited because it was Bubba's first time at the beach and on a ferry. She loved it all and was the perfect toddler the whole week.

We spent time on the beach in the day as the weather was lovely (although we were wearing jumpers when the sun kept going in!) and as our apartment was on the beach, went back out after dinner to splash around in the sea.


19 Sep 2012

Five Things - That make me smile

Five things that make me smile most days now can be easily found, Bubba is getting funnier and funnier as her personality starts to shine through. Below are a few of the every day things that I smile about.

Listening to Bub singing
She will sing at most opportunity and it's funny at the supermarket but my favourite is early in the morning in her cot  where she makes weird noises when she wakes up and then starts idly singing. We can leave her for at least 30 mins happily playing/singing on her own and it's only when the singing becomes yelling that I finally get up!

The way she follows me around 
...sometimes it gets a bit much if we've had a bad night or she is moaning but mostly I love it. Like my very own little shadow and it's reassuring to know where she is and what she is doing.

Coming downstairs at 7pm 
I love walking down the stairs thinking that's my work done for today (well as long as you don't count cooking and clearing up after bubba). I get dinner started and the evening is my own.

Watching bubba play with nanny and garg (grandad) 
They all have a blast and do crazy things that at home wouldn't be an option. I like just sitting back and knowing that they are having fun and memories are being created. She loves being at their house so much that she sometimes cries when she has to come home with me.

Waking up at 7am feeling refreshed 
The best feeling is looking at the clock and smiling when I realise she's slept a full night. They happen more often than not but you still get the odd off night. So when we get a full nights sleep, it's always worth a smile and to recognise that it hasn't always been like this (and may revert back at any moment!).

17 Sep 2012

Easy Meals - Bubba's Risotto

I used to make a lot of fresh food for bubba when she was weaning. Sometimes I'd even spend a Sunday afternoon cooking up batches of food to freeze (I know, you're thinking 'that woman is rock and roll'). She'd pretty much eat anything I put in front of her so I thought I had a really good eater.

Yeah that ended soon enough and I stopped patting myself on the back for having a fuss free child! She still eats lots of stuff but is now more opinionated and uses the power of choice, mainly the choice of saying 'no'. So many an occasion I've been close to pulling my hair out and resorted to toast. There is one recipe from the good old days that has stood the test of time and that's Butternut Squash Risotto. Except now it has become a 'whatever vegetables I've got' risotto.
In its original form it was a Annabel Karmel creation (don't worry, it isn't complex and recipe is below). Well I add more cheese, less squash (usually none!), normal rice and whatever else I fancy. Even thought the original recipe was designed for 9-12 months old, she still eats almost all of it even now which is saying something at the moment what with teething and mainly wanting bread based foods!
50g onion, chopped 
5g unsalted butter 
110g basmati rice 
450ml boiling water 
150g butternut squash, peeled and chopped 
225g ripe tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped 
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
Saute the onion in half the butter unitl softened. Stir in the rice until well coated.
Pour over the boiling water water, cover pan with a lid and cook for 8 minutes over a high heat. Stir in the butternut squash, reduce the heat and cook, covered, for about 12 minutes or until or the water had been absorbed.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in a small saucepan, add the tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes, stir in the cheese until melted, then stir the tomato and cheese mixture into the cooked rice.
End result...almost all gone!


14 Sep 2012

Toys toys toys on their travels

I'm probably going on a bit and realise that everyone else is back at school now but we've taken advantage of the quieter time of year to go on holiday with Bubba.

I manages to pack her clothes concisely but wanted to scale down on the toy front as well. We only have a small car and I'm not sure Hubby would let me get away with a roof rack full of toys so I had to think small.

We have a constant battle against plastic toys, they have their place but sometimes I get a bit irritated by noisy plastic big toys. I'm glad they often have the two sound setting levels although to be fair, even the quieter setting is way too noisy for me. It's my ongoing nemesis.

So I've decided to go with a tote bag full of bits:

To start with I got a few puzzles in boxes with the idea that we can take them on the road with us to restaurants etc when we want a small bit of peace and quiet. May not work but it's worth a try.

Books...books...books - I've got sticker books, we love stickers in our house, I usually find them stuck on the floor, my jeans (or arms or legs), her toys, anything that doesn't move really! There is a brilliant little fuzzy felt book that I'm hoping might help with the car journey and of course colouring books as she likes a bit of a scribble.

We have a small library of Peppa Pig books, I find these brilliant because putting them back in the little box and taking them out again keeps her busy for ages. That's even before she's has had a read!

Last is the best bit of the whole bag of goodies...Happy people. They are my saviour and so I got a small fire station in the sale which includes a fireman, cat and car. It's the equivalent of a capsule wardrobe of happy people.

I really hope these things keep her busy when we can't. If all else fails we will be running around on the beach if it's raining or not!

11 Sep 2012

Outdoor fun - Project Wild Thing

We try and get out in the fresh air as much as possible and lately I've started to worry about how much time I'm letting Bubba watch TV and conscious that sometimes I put our family needs before hers (we go to the shops rather than to the park which she would enjoy more).

I know it's not always easy or convenient to run around over the park or in the woods when we need to get food or other supplies but Bubba is making it more and more apparent as she communicates better that she disapproves!

She does love the outdoors so much and it's a pleasure to see her laughing at the simple things, that's why when I heard of this initiative I got really excited.  Project Wild Thing is a  feature-length cinema documentary being made by Daivd Bond to encourage us all to go out in the fresh air more and I think it's a simple and brilliant idea.

Once on the website you can make a pledge and encourage others, there is help and ideas on how to encourage children to become interested in the outdoors. For new mothers there is the Out and About pack which shows the advantages of taking your little one out www.projectwildthing.com/projects/out-and-about-pack

We are going to make our pledge and a real effort to get out more for all our sakes. Please do take a look because we could change our children's lives for the better.

9 Sep 2012

Guest Post - Family Car Journeys

We are off on our holiday next week and although I'm looking forward to it, it's also a source of anxiety for me. Bubba isn't keen on car journeys at the best of times let alone the long one we have planned and she is liable to moan a lot. I found this information below helpful and I have a list of sing a longs now to help us on our way.


Music for family car journeys

Long family car journeys can be trying for even the most seasoned traveller. But choosing carefully in advance some music to listen to along the way can help ease the stress of travel. Try these ideas with your family. We’ve even compiled some track lists that you might find useful. Sing-a-longs are optional!

For the kids
Keeping young children entertained on the road is often a major challenge for many parents, but the right music can help to entertain and educate the little ones. For very young infants, nursery rhymes are the most obvious choice, but you could also try classical or folk music to soothe a travel-weary baby.

Toddlers usually can’t resist their favourite nursery rhymes and sing-a-longs. Action songs can also help them burn off excess energy. Why not get the whole family involved? These old favourites should work like a charm:
  • We’re Driving in Our Car
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain

For parents
After singing Wheels on the Bus for the 10th time, you’ll be ready for something more grown-up and relaxed. Consider making a compilation of your favourite tracks so you won’t have the hassle of fiddling about with the console, or download your favourite tunes to your iPod or MP3 player.  

If you’re stuck for ideas, we have a few suggestions for classic driving anthems:

  • Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
  • I Drove All Night – Roy Orbison
  • Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • Respect – Aretha Franklin

For grandparents
It’s important to consider the musical tastes of elderly passengers as well.They might often prefer genres such as classical, jazz, blues and rock ‘n’ roll. Of course, you’ll be on much firmer ground if you find out beforehand what music your older passengers prefer.

For some inspiration, try:

  • Jailhouse Rock  – Elvis Presley
  • On the Road Again – Willie Nelson
  • Mobile Pursuit – Queen’s Hall Light Orchestra
  • Fifth Symphony, Movement One – Beethoven
  • Tom Dooley – Lonnie Donegan

While sharing your musical tastes with the rest of the family can be a good bonding experience, there’s always the possibility of arguments flaring up. It’s a good idea to establish a few ground rules before starting the journey. Consider allocating equal times for all family members’ music to be played.  

It’s also worth packing extra headphones and personal music players for when everyone wants to give the bonding a break!

Author Bio:
Gargi Shastri writes for the Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters blog on topics ranging from
car insurance to family holidays. A road trip fanatic, she has clocked up thousands of miles in her trusty MPV.

4 Sep 2012

Monkey Madness - Our review of Animal Reins

We have reached that point where Bubba is really on the move and seemingly with a mindset of 'why walk when you can run in the opposite direction' which is fun for her but leaves me feeling a little anxious once we've left the house. She is walking but not yet full conscious of where she is going or the perils involved before she gets there!

She can't be left to wander free at the moment so I started off using the basic reins from Mothercare which worked well when she first started walking because I could scoop her up before she hit the floor (it involves a harness that fits around her front and has a strap around her back to hold onto) but the only problem is that it didn't give her much freedom and although she wasn't stopping me putting them on, I could see that as she got more opinionated she may disagree with being so constrained.

Bubba has a love affair with all things Monkey, she will walk around making monkey noises and points at any monkeys she see's in books. With this in mind I thought she might like the Goldbug Animal Buddy Harness so we purchased them. They work out more expensive than the norm (retailing around £20) but I think they have already paid for themselves time and time again. She loves putting them on and wearing the monkey on her back like a small backpack and I find the single guiding strap (the monkey's tail) gives her the freedom she wants whilst still giving me ultimate control. 

The monkey is well made and only has one strap across the body, the handle has a nifty loop which helps me hold on properly and also I can put it over the stroller handle if I need to have my hands free to sort Bubba out. It also has a clip so can be removed easily if needed. There is a little pouch on the monkeys back for toys or I've found its good for stuffing the strap into when she is wearing it indoors. My only negative comment is that the straps are a little large on Bubs shoulders and we already have them as short as possible but this could be because she is only slight anyway and as the weather gets colder and she is wearing more layers it won't be a problem any more.

They come in a variety of animals and all are equally well made, I can't say enough good things about this as already it has revolutionized our little world.


2 Sep 2012

Wabbit love

'Wabbits' as Hubby calls them are a big favourite in our house. I've always had a love for rabbits and kept them from an early age and given them interesting names like Fudge, Fluffy, Oscar and Honey to name but a few. The last few rabbits were house rabbits and Honey only gave up her gallant fight on my first day of maternity leave so it was a very sad time for a while until I got used to life without her.

I have a dream of having lots of rabbits and passing my love of bunnies on to my daughter, so you can image my delight when our friends asked if we'd bunny sit their two baby buns for a week (they are only 10 weeks old).

At first Bubba eyed them with an air of suspicion  and kept asking to look at them (I put their cage on our dining room table, out of reach). After a while she forgot they were there until they moved and then would spend the next twenty minutes asking to get up to see them and then asking to get down and then asking to get up again. By this point the novelty was wearing thin with me too!

They were wonderfully tolerant little things and happy to just sit and just be. Bubba enjoyed having them around although the first time I put one on a towel on her lap, she stroked nicely and then squeezed between it's back bone and legs (in effort to move it I think). Poor little bunny handled it well and just sat there (plus Bubba didn't squeeze very hard thankfully) but it made me think that perhaps they weren't a good idea just yet.

I think she was more interested in trying to get in the cage and/or eat their food and the last time I got them out to clean the cage she gave one a helpful little foot nudge because it wasn't moving as fast as she wanted.

It made me realise that we aren't ready for pets and I want to concentrate on child rearing for a while but still have grand ambitions that one day we will be a home of 'wabbits'.
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