Time for a round up of what 3yr old little E has been up to during April.
Little E has been: Earning rewards
Little E's behaviour hasn't been fantastic since Little I was born. To try and focus her we have been rewarding good behaviour such as going to bed nicely, staying in bed until her Gro Clock sun comes up and listening to instructions. We bought a chart which doesn't have days on but simply has 16 steps to get to the castle. When Little E reaches the castle she gets to go horse riding on her favourite horse Chester.
Luckily the kit comes with a magnetic horse (well, unicorn) so the chart illustrates the reward on offer really well. It also comes with a butterfly and a princess so you can use it for multiple children at once. We decided to reward positive behaviour and, therefore, she doesn't move back steps when she is naughty. It took Little E 2weeks to reach the castle and at the weekend she went for her first solo lesson on Chester (usually she just goes for a walk). She was very excited and did really well in the lesson practising balance techniques such as riding one handed and riding backwards! We are very proud of her and her behaviour generally has improved dramatically.
Little E has been: Watching Frozen (non-stop)
It is an obsession. She absolutely adores it. The only other film she acts this way with is Beauty and the Beast which has been her firm favourite full stop. Elsa is her favourite character and she sings along to 'Let it go' waving her arms about and stomping her foot imitating the snow magic. Hilariously she also mimes along with the songs overexaggerating the words. I should make a film of her and she'd become a YouTube sensation! Husband is as obsessed with the soundtrack as Little E and she often tells him off for singing along. Luckily the songs are damn good (which makes up for the slightly weak storyline) so I'm not suffering like I did when The Swan Princess was flavour of the month.
Little E has been: Obsessed with dresses
This has become a bone of contention as she wants to wear dresses everywhere. Most often weather inappropriate garments made from thin cotton when it is raining outside. It coincides with her interest in dollies and being a mummy. Often the mornings are a battle to get her into leggings or jeans if we are off to the park only for her to pop up to her room ten minutes later and reappear in a party dress and sparkly tights. We spend lots of time bargaining over what is acceptable to wear that day and I'm getting flash forwards to what it is going to be like when she is a teenager. The other obsession is plastic heels. She totters about everywhere in them and can walk better than I can in heels! We have had to implement a 'no heels on the stairs' rule as more than once she has nearly tripped up. If a quick punishment is required confiscating her heels seems to be the most effective method of discipline. I worry for her future bank balance if this dress and shoes fascination continues...
Little E has been: Drinking new Ribena Plus Orange and Mandarin squash
Little E has been: Eating Easter chocolate
By the bucket load constantly since Easter and we still have loads calling to me from the fridge... My diet has suffered.
We were sent a bottle of Ribena Plus for review purposes but all opinions are our own.
It has been a lovely week. Little I was very sleepy for a few days after her injections and she got a bit of an upset tummy from the rotovirus vaccine but overall she didn't react too badly. One night she slept for 9hrs straight. I had to check on her several times during the last few hours and pump off my boobs as they were about to explode! She has settled down again now and it feeding at 10pm then around 4am which is fantastic.
She continues to get bigger and is well over 12lb now. She is 59cm long which puts her on the 75th centile for both weight and height. She's jumped up on the curve from just below the 50th centile at birth. Some of her 0-3 babygrows are getting too small length ways! Compared to Little E at this age she is 1/2lb heavier but 1cm shorter.
Little E has started her new nursery hours so we took advantage of the 4pm finish and took a drive down to visit my Mum (Nanna) and have dinner with her. Living an hour away we don't get to see her as often as we like but she got to have lots of cuddles before we drove home with the girls bathed and in their PJ's.
Little I has found her fists and a lot of chewing and sucking is happening. Her big sister is a thumb sucker so we expect it is only a matter of time before she finds her thumb. She is also more specially aware of her body now and kicks her legs on her playmat and tracks toys as you wave them in front of her. She also seems to like watching Little E's cartoons on TV!
This post is linked to #sharewithme linky at www.letstalkmommy.com
Over at Chicco it is all about creating smiles! Which is why they have a treat for Mums, Dads and Parents-to-be. The chance to win a pair of tickets to the next Baby Show at the NEC taking place 16th-18th May.
Make sure you visit the Chicco team at stand J45 at the show to find out more about their great range of products including the Urban (review appearing here soon!) and Activ3 travel systems, Next2Me bedside cot, highchairs, travel cots and more! There are bound to be some great show offers too.
If you want to see the products being tested out by real life mums and babies head over to www.chiccotestedforhappiness.co.uk to find reviews, photos and videos from the Chicco Tested for Happiness Mums.
WIN! For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the Baby Show at the NEC 16-18th May 2014 simply follow @mummy_blog on twitter and tweet:
'I want to smile with Chicco and @mummy_blog by winning a pair of tickets to the Baby Show! #TestedForHappiness'
Or you can enter by Retweeting one of my Chicco competition tweets.
Competition closes Monday 5th May 2014 at midnight. Winner receives 2 x tickets for the Baby Show at the NEC. One entry per Twitter account. Tickets will be posted to the winner. Winner will be drawn at random on Tuesday 6th May and announced on Twitter. Competition open to UK residents only.
We had a go at another Baker Ross kit this week, this time the Daffodil Wreath Kit.
I admit we are a little behind the season with this one as the daffodils in our garden are well and truly dead but Little E didn't mind. The flowers have self adhesive backs so everything was going really well and easy for her to do alone until we tried to stick the curly orange trumpets on. You have to roll up the long orange foam pieces and somehow stick them onto the wreath. Easier said than done. They just wouldn't stay curled up and kept springing off our wreath.
Needless to say we both got rather frustrated (plus we were covered in glue) so after a valiant attempt we ditched them and rooted around in our craft box until we found some sticky flowers and gems left over from another Baker Ross project and Little E used them to decorate the wreath. I think it turned out rather well and Little E thinks it is even better than the original design because it has pink on it...
Foam craft kits such as this wreath can be bought online from children's craft suppliers www.BakerRoss.co.uk
We were sent this kit as part of the Baker Ross blogger network but all opinions are our own.
Here's a round up of the books I have read this month using the time I am up feeding in the wee small hours to multitask!
The Hundred-Year-Old Man who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
I absolutely loved this book. It is a proper farcical caper revolving around 100yr old Allan Karlson who, just hours before his birthday party, disappears from his retirement home. We follow Allan as he becomes involved in a complicated, crazy tale involving a suitcase, a biker gang and an elephant. If that doesn't sound mad enough the glimpses into Allan's past are even more surprising and entertaining involving presidents, dictators, spies and atom bombs.
The sub-plot showing the confused police force trying to work out what has happened to Allan is comical and the characters we meet on this adventure are rich and instantly believable. Allan is incredibly likable and you find yourself willing him to come out on top of the tale.
It is such an unusual book and not one I'd usually read but I haven't enjoyed a book so much for ages. The writing is exceptionally good and the story is paced perfectly. Don't think too much about it, just pick it up or download it and enjoy.
Overall score 5/5
Fractured by Dani Atkins
This book has become an ebook sensation rocketing to the top of the download charts. The premise is clever: a girl experiences a terrible accident in her late teens which shapes her life. Fast forward five years and after an incident during a visit to her hometown wakes up to find herself suffering from a bizarre form of amnesia where the world around her is not the one she remembers.
Overall the book was quite enjoyable but the writing needs work and I think it is quite obviously a first novel. At times the writing was clumsy and childlike. The characters lack depth and I struggled to really connect with any of them or feel empathy with the protagonist who was a bit whiny. I can't actually remember her name which isn't a good sign!
The storyline was engaging but not entirely original, very Sliding Doors meets Life on Mars. I found the plot twist obvious and guessed it quite early on once the second half of the story got going. But it was an easy read and definitely a good attempt at a first novel. I also think the title is perfect for the storyline.
Overall score 3/5
Thursdays in the Park by Hilary Boyd
This is not the kind of book I usually read but it was on special offer in the Kindle store and I liked the look of the front cover!
We follow the story of 60yr old Jeanie who is in a controlling marriage with retired George who is forcing her to sell her health food shop and move to the country. Jeanie loves George but only truly feels happy on Thursday when she takes her little Grandaughter to the park for the afternoon. That's where she meets Ray and everything begins to unravel...
This book is really well written and despite it's somewhat Chick Lit undertones the story felt more sophisticated and it was quite believeable - unusual for Chick Lit which I usually find completely unlikely. I agonised with Jeanie over the hard decisions she had to make and the characters felt real and solid. I loved the description of the relationship between Jeanie and her Son-in-law Alex.
Definitely a good read if you enjoy some good quality chick lit.
Overall score 4/5
I am currently reading My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell which is our latest Book Club read.
I am also reading Breastfeeding Made Easy by Dr Carlos Gonzalez for a Breastfeeding Essentials post I am planning.
And yes, I am still reading City of Glass the third book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. But I have managed a few more chapters so maybe this month...
Over the past few weeks we have been reading a very special book. A book which is celebrating it's 10th anniversary this year. A book I cannot believe we didn't already own. How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.
The story is a delightful tale of a boy who loves stars and wishes he had one of his own. He tries everything to catch one, pushing his imagination to the limit and ultimately succeeding in the most unusual way.
The story shows children that no dream is too big to follow and with patience, perseverance and imagination you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
Oliver Jeffers not only wrote the tale he illustrated it with the most gorgeous watercolours which capture the story perfectly, bringing the boy and his quest to life. It has won numerous awards and become a modern children's classic.
Little E loves the simplicity of this book and now she is familiar with the story she has started to tell me about the boy and gets very animated when he catches his 'star' at the end. It is a lovely bedtime read and her new glow in the dark stars which came with our special review kit let her relive the magic of the story every night as they shine down from her ceiling.
If you don't already own this book grab a copy and read it with your children to remind yourself that we live in a world of infinite possibilities.
Published by Harper Collins, the 10th anniversary edition of How to Catch a Star, £12.99, is available now from www.amazon.co.uk
We were sent this book for review purposes but all opinions are our own.
Linking up to #triedtested with @lollinski and @familyfever
Easter has completely thrown my blogging into chaos so lots of posts are being paused for a week but I must share my favourite photo of Little E with her family over Easter.
A wet Easter Sunday meant the egg hunt was rather soggy but Little E and her cousins Big J and Big E didn't seem to care, nor did the biggest child of them all, Husband! This photo was taken from my perch of safety indoors leaning out the window. Well someone had to look after the baby! That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
Little I had a lot of firsts this week. At the weekend it was her first Easter and she went on an egg hunt with Husband's family. She wasn't allowed to eat any eggs but Litte E let her sniff some of her chocolate and there was a very special present hidden amongst the trees. She was very spoiled all weekend with lovely presents from both sides of her family. She also visited her Auntie's new flat for the first time but slept through the tour from the comfort of her car seat!
This week was first injections! Husband came along to lend some moral support but she didn't actually scream too much - not a patch on the distress Little E experienced. I somehow managed to misunderstand our health visitor and assumed she would do our observations at Little I's appointment but no, I should have taken her to baby clinic the day before so she's a week late with her length and head circumference measurements *slapped wrist for me* I did weigh her at home and she is 11lb 12oz so skipping up the centile lines and catching her big sister's curve.
She had her first babysitter on Friday. Little E was staying over with her cousins so my Dad came over to watch her whilst Husband and I went out for dinner! I filled her up with milk until she was in a milk coma and left her wrapped up in her rocking chair. It was really weird being without her for a couple of hours but we had a lovely time and when we got back she was fast asleep in the rocker just as we'd left her.
She is loving her playmat now and will happily gaze at her jungle friends and kick away for 20 minutes before getting bored. Little E thinks it is great and gives her extra toys and adjusts the music level for her. I have to keep a close eye on them as Little E gets a bit over enthusiastic and I find myself saying things like 'her arm isn't meant to bend that way!' in a panicked voice...
Size 2 nappies are getting a bit small but the size 3 swamp her so we are in that weird limbo zone. A 3 day poo hiatus came back to haunt is in the form of a series of explosive poos all over the weekend. We are talking poo up over the shoulder. So the washing machine has been on hot washes and we've gone through 8 packs of babywipes! There was a bit of a mad panic at my Dad's on Bank Holiday Monday when we realised we were out of wipes but a dunk in the bath sorted her out!
She has found her hands this week and is sucking her fists and fingers a lot. We think it is only a matter of time before she starts sucking her thumb. We are bestowed with gummy smiles throughout the day which make up for all the grumpy evenings and chewed nipples!
Linking up to #sharewithme linky over at www.letstalkmommy.com
This week Little E starts her new nursery hours. She goes 2 days a week and I will be picking her up at 4pm instead of 6pm and giving her tea at home during term time. Tea time is always a struggle as she is usually getting tired and is less hungry than at lunchtime. I've seen lots of people giving their kiddies Bento style meals consisting of lots of nibbly bits presented in fun ways to catch the children's interest. This is the perfect idea for post nursery tea as I can make it during the day and present to her when she arrives home or we can take it to the park for a picnic. If I finally get round to buying a KiddiKutter knife she can help me prepare her nibbles too.
For her first Bento box I used a fun flower shape Tupperware with deep, round holes for her nibbles. The selection was mini cocktail sausages, mixed pepper sticks, cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks, boiled new potatoes and celery sticks. In the middle was a generous blob hummus for dipping.
She absolutely loved it and had loads of fun dipping the different foods and ate far more than usual. This will definitely be our post-nursery tea time treat and I'm going to enjoy thinking up lots of new combinations for her to munch on.
Linking up with #letkidsbekids linky over at www.letkidsbekids.co.uk
In a world chocked full of baby products for every conceivable situation it can be hard to find the standout, unique items which are genuinely useful. The Snugglebundl baby wrap is one of those precious, clever products and I've carried everywhere for the past 2months - or rather it has carried my baby.
The idea is simple - a hammock style baby blanket/wrap with handles which allows you to lift up your baby safely, minimising the need for stooping and disturbing baby. There is an added head support helping you position baby correctly in the blanket and give added support. The ties on the side allow the blanket to be tied around baby wrapping it securely and snugly.
Having an elective C section meant my movement was limited in the first 6 weeks after Little I's birth. The Snugglebundl helped to protect my muscles during this time and aid my recovery. I was able to lift Little I up into my arms without straining my weak core muscles. One of the best features is being able to lift baby out of the car seat wrapped in the sling. In the early days recovering I was not able to lift her and the car seat at the same time but the Snugglebundl allowed me to carry her securely and warmly (really important as she was born in February) during the transfer from house to the car.
I love using it at the supermarket because I can easily place Little I in the baby seat next to Little E and secure her with the straps then wrap her up. Anyone who has tried this with a standard baby blanket knows it is near impossible with only one blanket and I hate Iying baby directly against the cold, hard plastic. She soon drifts off to sleep with the motion of the trolley.
The Snugglebundl is made from super soft jersey cotton with a brushed cotton lining. It is fully machine washable and you can even tumble dry it for a quick turnaround. It is suitable for babies from birth to six months and it is weight tested up to 33kg so there is no worry that your newborn will be too heavy for the wrap. I have the barley cream version but it also comes in a bright spotty design.
2 months on and this product has been eveywhere with us. I cannot recommend it enough and I am constantly approached by other mums at baby clinics or in the supermarket asking about the wrap because Little I looks so cosy. Everyone agrees it is a great design and such a versatile, useful product. You can easily use it as a conventional blanket too if desired. I also get a lot of 'is that the blanket on Dragon's Den?' Yes, it is!
Snugglebundl baby wrap £39.99 www.snugglebundl.co.uk
This product was sent to me free of charge for review purposes but all opinions are my own.
Post contains affiliate links
Artist, Baker and Blogger. Mum to my two beautiful, cheeky girls. Muddling my way through parenthood with equally cheeky Husband.