Monday, 30 March 2015

Exciting shopping find! :)

Ive had a very quiet week this week because I had a bad cold that knocked me out most of the week but we've just been shopping (hubby wanted to try stocking up the wine cellar/cave & the shop was open on a Sunday unusually) & I'm officially considered 'sad'.

We found soda crystals so I'm going to try making my own washing powder & yes I'm super excited! :)

My amazing, lovely friend on facebook, Shoestring Mum (search groups & ask me if you want to join) has been inspirational. She's a true role model for me. Some examples:

The rest of the world often hate Monday's so she's made it her mission to love Mondays. 
She thinks carefully through all her choices like using family cloth & no tv so she can work part time & still have other things. 
She works in 'not for profit' & regularly donates to food banks, etc.

I won't list everything because it would take a long time and some of her choices I don't do for various reasons. But today she mentioned washing powder made from soda crystals & baking soda. We happened to be in a shop at the time & I spotted soda cystals. 

Oh yeah, I also found coconut oil to do 'oil pulling' with. Google it...


I wrote this AGES ago with the title 'The end is in sight? I hope...'

In the last 10 weeks I have learnt that I am NOT a fan of newborn babies (well not my own anyway). No, I am not joking. And no, I don't believe I have post natal depression or not a severe case anyway. I am tired. ZC was 10 weeks old yesterday. Yes, I know, hasn't time flown by!? Christmas is next week, she was born in October and so much has happened!

My mother summed up how I feel last week:

I was talking about the differences between IP and ZC as babies. She said

'And you probably thought you could do things better with ZC to avoid all the issues you had with IP didn't you?'

She also pointed out that it's a valuable lesson to learn. So #1: Baby number 2 no matter what you think could be very different to baby number 1.


IP was premature so had a set of 'issues' from the start that we had to follow. She came home from the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit) on a 'routine' of bottles every 4 hours and was tiny. So I had to get up overnight and feed her at 3am. I hated that feed. She wouldn't resettle easily and I longed to drop that feed. At 8 weeks old approximately she had a cold and slept through the night. So I waited for her to do it again... And she didn't. Finally at about 4 months old I read a Gina Ford book (I know, I know!) and she said 'some babies get into the habit of waking when they don't need to. Try resettling baby without getting them out of the cot with some cooled boiled water or patting them'. I thought it doesn't hurt to try it so the next night I patted IP and 3 nights later of doing so, she slept through! And has been fantastic at sleeping ever since - at 2.5 years old she still has a day time nap (thank gawd!), sleeps 7:30pm to 7am and for at least the first year would actually sleep in later if she went to bed later - eg 10pm to 9am at weekends! I know, we were VERY lucky!

So when ZC was born and at term (37+6) I thought yey as soon as she sleeps through the night the first time (unaided - she did so one night but was too hot) I can get her to do it again. Uh uh. I read something the other day and have a bad feeling after this morning that it's the case with ZC: because she has silent reflux the 5am waking is not for a bottle, it's because she's got stomach material coming up which is painful. So she may not have premature issues but she has a different set of silent reflux/ allergy issues.

And that is just one example. That said, all the pediatrician's I have seen have said she should grow out of it and this weekend she seems to have dramatically improved so I am hoping that it's the beginning of her maturing and us catching up on some sleep...

Last week I finally got a prescription for Zantac Rantidine and milk thickener. We started giving her the milk thickener on Saturday, to see if it helped and randomly as of yesterday (Sunday) she started to take her full bottle in about half an hour, absolutely fine - beforehand she was taking an hour plus to take a bottle so it was becoming hell for me and a bit of a nightmare in general....

So much so that I had put IP into creche almost full time as of last week. I was hoping and am more hopeful now that I might be able to do normal times after Christmas... I think it was the time taken to have bottles that was the biggest issue previously so hopefully now ZC is taking them much faster, it won't be as much fo an issue! :)

Anddd another hopefully, now she's getting bigger, I may have some more time to worry less about her and get writing again. I have missed massively, writing blog posts.'

So I wrote that actually about a year or so ago! And Z does sleep ok through the night. I can't remember if she did at this point but she did at some point. And I still maintain I don't want more children. But she does definitely have a totally different personality to F.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Minimalist Daughter? ;)

This was ages ago but F had a hissy fit about choosing a new coat & then shouted 'no more' in Ikea, which made me smile & wonder if I am growing a minimalist daughter?!:)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

How we display artwork

This is a mixture of several ideas. F is doing and making more and more artwork, with drawings from creche, precoce and artwork from home and our friends. So I took an idea from a friend of putting hooks up on the door. I then strung a ribbon & put clips on it. 

Thennnn I saw on pinterest that someone had done a beautiful sign (the link isn't actually the sign I saw but it's an example). Well mine's not as beautiful but it does the job.

Hopefully this afternoon (Wed 18th) I'm borrowing a friend's feeder scanner so we can get rid of some of the masses of paperwork in our house! :)

What to do with photo's?

A while back I finally found a solution. I went through really really old photo's. I  had previously scanned them all and this week I created an album on facebook called 'Blasts from the past' and just uploaded them, tagging people as I went. I found a lot of duplicates and naff pictures but I just put all the photos into a folder named 'archive' afterwards. All our files are automatically backed up so they won't be deleted and I can just forget about them. I came to the conclusion if I never actually look at them why do I keep them in folders that stress me out?

Minimalist Mom mentioned having a digital photo frame on her tv which I love the idea of but I've just had a thought that as I use my laptop a lot and the screensaver I try to change fairly regularly, I may use that as my digital album.

And I am currently in the process of uploading all the photo's into different albums from my mobile... It's made me realise I need to severely cut down the amount of photo's I take! It's ridiculous! Especially as I don't have time to keep sorting them out.

Buy Nothing Day

A date for your diaries if you're interested:

Buy Nothing Day 2015 is Saturday November 28th!

More information is here:

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Firby cat

One of my lovely friends actually asked me a few weeks ago how the cat's doing... (Hopefully she knows who she is!)

And anyone who's friends with me on facebook will have seen that he had a trip to the vets. Yuck. So I thought I'd do an update.

I know a bit about cats behaviour but not masses. I know they hate change and get stressed by it. I know they get more health problems as they get older. My cat in particular, has previously had struvite crystals & cystitis. I know that Firby can become seriously ill very quickly. When F was very small we went all day on a Saturday. I had an inkling something wasn't right when we came home but as usual hubby wasn't interested. Firby then pooed on my clothes at about 11pm. I rang the vets, despite hubby saying wait until the morning. I am SO glad I did because it turned out he had developed more struvite crystals in his bladder & needed treatment immediately. If I'd left him he'd have died overnight. Unfortunately it meant a large vet's bill because, of course, it was a Saturday night and then he had to be kept in on the Sunday.

I know he's more likely to get it due to stress. He is supposed to drink more water and has a special diet (cat food as normal, just special cat food). I find it slightly amusing that I always need to drink more water and years ago was susceptible to such problems. 

When we moved house I found a vet that does home visits. Firby HATES going in the car. I've noticed he's actually ok with the vets so I wonder if he gets travel sick. Unfortunately since having the home vet he's needed to go to a different vets twice which involves a 20 minute car journey where he howls the whole way, vomits, poos & wees. A healthy cat here would need to see the vet once a year for a feline flu vaccination & then every 4 years for a rabies vaccination. SO my hope is that in the future he'll settle to just having a home visit once a year.

I'd noticed he's been vomiting, started keeping a diary and the vet had to visit. He stopped as soon as the vet visited (of course!) but has also been pulling his hair out. So he's had treatment for the latter (the vet recommended we start with a simple de flea, worm etc and said she'd always suggest this first so if your cat is doing this, it could save you the vets fee! ;)) and then I had to take him to the vets yesterday. And yes, the home vets suspicion was correct. He has inflammatory bowel disease. 

It was a good visit in terms of diagnosis. It's never nice taking Firby in the car and when we were there there was a huge dog barking that really irritated me. I ended up taking Firby out the waiting room, yet really this dog should have left (there was 3 dogs in the room & Firby crying. 1 of the dogs barked at both other dogs, 'went' for 1 of the dogs & then started sniffing & barking around Firby. I eventually got so concerned as Firby was crying constantly that I left but really as it was this dog that couldn't behave I feel it's owner should have removed it from the waiting room?) 

So the start of the visit wasn't that pleasant. Then I took him into the room & he was apparently exceptionally well behaved. It is normal apparently to have to sedate a cat but he lay there fairly still to have his fur shaved off & the ultrasound done. I spoke to the vet (who was different to my normal home vet) and said I thought it was due to stress and that a cat flap would help but our home vet was concerned he'd go to the busy road in front of our house (& yesterday morning I found a dead cat at the roadside so I was more concerned). This vet agreed with me that sometimes older cats get set in their ways and just want to go outside for a little while, do their business and then come back (which is what Firby seems to want). Whilst we have a litter tray he always uses that but I know I'm not as diligent as I should be about clearing it. He agreed that a cat flap would probably help considerably. Years ago when we had a cat flap in the UK, I'd keep him in on firework night. He'd literally pull everything down that I'd put in front of the cat flap, force it open, go right outside to do his business then come straight back because he didn't like the fireworks. The vet agreed this is a sign that he wants to have the freedom to go out when he wants but he probably won't go too far. Certainly the health problems he's developing, possibly from being kept in, indicate yes he may have troubles outside but he'll also have them indoors.

Soooo he had 2 injections yesterday, one was a steriod and now I just have to keep an eye on him (he'd lost about 1kg, which is huge). On Monday we're having our door measured for a new door to have a cat flap fitted. It will cost just under €1000 so hubby is not overly happy. However Firby was there when I was in labour with F, right up until the last minute so he's very special to me. If I'd paid more attention I may have realised what was going on (a story for another day). Even the home vet said he's a gorgeous, characteristic cat. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Some photo's... Just because.

In no particular order, just because:

F showing how to make meat tender! ^

Papa cooking with f & z... This has become a regular weekend activity.

F insisted she needed a top like her friends... Said 'friend' is the daughter of someone I know who she played with one evening a while ago. She proudly wore the top to the cinema with Papa, hence the popcorn :)

Play time with baby sister just before bed... With new drum made at school.

Getting all grown up! Z sat in the 'big girl's chair' & shared dinner with them recently. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Chore & Reward Chart...

I had every intention of making F a chore and reward chart. From scratch. But then we were in a shop agesssss ago and I saw this. And thought sometimes I just need to 'let it go' and 'buy it in'... (I can often spend so long making something we never actually implement it) So I did:

It's still taken me weeks to get round to actually checking all the chores are there. And when we first did it she responded really well to them so I'm actually kinda cross with myself for taking so long. But lately F's been having more and more hissy fits and not listening so hopefully this will actually help. 

I used this article for ideas. So F's 'chores' are:
  1. Lay the table
  2. Put away 'bowl' after meal & clean the table/sweep under
  3. Brush teeth
  4. Put toys away
  5. LISTEN!

We've been working on these recently, just not 'formally'. This chart is magnetised and the idea is we choose a number of magnets as a reward but I think we'll probably just go with it.

So we'll see! :)

Oh and by the way, we use a mixture of techniques for bad behaviour. Yesterday we were 'out' and she was misbehaving so I told her to sit in 'time out' for 3 minutes but I wasn't stern with it, she was allowed to look at the rest of the room, it was just so she got the idea. Recently she lost a pen the day she got a new pack of pens so I told her she couldn't have them back again until she found the pen... (she didn't miss them too much in the mean time and it was actually Papa that found it but it's the principle) And if she's really misbehaving at home then I'll take a toy away. 

On the whole, I am incredibly proud of F and Z. All day yesterday (unintentionally) we were out and they were both well behaved for the majority of the day. I left at 10:30am, they met me at about 11am and we left the restaurant at about 11pm! So they stayed with me and their Dad all day at the school book fair, then helped pack up and played with the other children then came to the restaurant and had dinner nicely. Considering F is only 3.5 years old and Z not even 18 months yet, we/I get so many compliments I'm really proud...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

RAOK: March

I was thinking today 'oh mannn I need to write a post on my RAOK for March and I have not got a clue what to put'. One positive about this challenge is it gets me thinking about what I have actually done:

In March I bought and donated some toiletries that are going to the refuge centres here. It started off aimed at women's products but I just bought generic items so they could go to anyone, really. I'm seriously considering investigating what facilities they have, to decide if it's worth me trying to help with educating on cloth products. But that's for another day! ;)

Thennnn yesterday afternoon I went to my friend's charity sale for Comic Relief. Anyone who's English will know that it's every 4 years (I think?!) in March, to raise money to help those that need it in the UK. So not a Luxembourgish thing... It was a play date and I wanted to take F and Z but they were in school/creche so I decided I'd just go myself...

Tomorrow F is going to the cinema on an expensive ticket because €8/15 goes to research adult brain 'problems' in Luxembourg. I've asked F if she wants to buy her own ticket to give her an idea of charity. It will probably be that we don't take the money out of her pot but we ask her and encourage her to think she's bought it.

Anddd lastly I was in town today, hubby had gone off and I saw the guy I've bought coffee for before. So of course I bought him a coffee today and had a little chat with him. If nothing else, I know he is a pleasant individual and he's reading a book so is educated enough (that he's not doing nothing). It must be very boring sat hoping that people will give him money so I figure a little chat in English, F entertaining and some coffee helps pass the time. Today I learnt his name and that he's hopefully going to be off the street/s in a month or 2. After we walked to the bus station, F also heard a musician so we gave him some money as well.

I did try to sign up for the Street Team via Serve The City but it was fully booked so it will wait until next month.

Serve The City also advised on facebook that a homeless man had died in the city, from the cold:

I am launching a new business this month and next month and have decided that I will donate some of my profit to charity.

This week

Some things I haven't done so well at:

1. I haven't been writing posts on a Saturday morning as planned ages ago because...

2. Last Saturday we had a ridiculously busy day & then I got a sore throat. The good thing is I implemented a chill out for the week to try to keep a cold at bay & it worked. 

3. So I also didn't manage to catch up on my posts as I hoped. I didn't go to Krav Maga on Monday but by Tuesday afternoon I was feeling more 'normal'.

4. Been ok with clean eating but not great. Need to be stricter... Trouble with here is there's lots of alcohol & meals out... 

Hubby & I have just been discussing future plans for the weekend so we may be able to implement some changes... 

So I hope next week I'll manage to catch up.

I have discovered my friend has a feeder scanner so may be able to do 1 of my jobs better. 

Had a visit to the printers so got lots of outstanding jobs done...

Had dinner with said friends for girls night. 

Started advertising 2 businesses formally. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

What to do with your child's artwork?

I had planned on a lovely post with suggestions or links in it to other blogs on what to do. But frankly if you put the title of this post into google, as I did, you'll get masses of suggestions. So I'm going to tell you my latest 'plan' (yes I've not yet done it) and then you can decide yourself! Novel idea, eh? ;)

I recently discovered a 'shop' called Mister Copy in Luxembourg and it's like my dream! I can scan (bigger than A4!), print, bind, have business leaflets etc printed and buy all stationery! Or I can pay someone else to do it! Even better... Soooo I plan on going there with my big box of F's art work and scanning it all. Then either binning or sending to family or using as wrapping paper. To be honest, probably the former...

I have saved pretty much every piece of paper she's drawn so much as a line on so I figure if I scan it all then bin it, she can remember it in the future. I've already photographed then binned her '3D' creations. Again, she has quite a few already, for a 3.5yo!

I believe this works best for us. We now have an artwork line so obviously initially artwork will go on that:

What is your solution?

hanging child's artwork

I love this idea ^ But then again there's so many ideas in the world ;)

Monday, 9 March 2015

Post 2: What we did a few weeks ago:

So having just written a post about what we did a few weeks ago... I've just found the draft post with all the other pictures! 

Hubby painted the strip we'd left white in the lounge. We're playing safe for now.

We had a 'quick' trip to Ikea and bought some 'bedside tables':

We bought a rail up in the kitchen for utensils and the iron on the wall:

Random 'decorations' and pictures: Hubby was not impressed with this one!

^ Luckily Z LOVES her room! :)

^ And finally, we bought some sloping shelves for the study and got some of the pictures up. Not all. F insisted on helping Papa & groaning and rubbing her back as she got on the floor and up! ;)

So a few weeks ago we did stuff at home:

Oops sorry I thought I'd posted this already! A few weeks ago hubby took the week off so we could catch up on stuff at home:

I'm sure there are other photos. I'm sure I took this mid week and meant to add to them. So apologies that I haven't but to be honest with you, I'm feeling really really rubbish today. I think I  have been too crazy the last few weeks and I need to slow down a bit (and I didn't think I'd been that crazy busy!). Sooo you have to make do with just these pictures. ;)

The top one is Z's room with the wall stickers. The middle is F's wall now it's finished (no it did not turn out quite how I meant but never mind). And the bottom is Z's room mid paint. Again, not absolutely perfect because F likes blue so doesn't feel her room has been painted which kinda sucks. But in the grand scheme of things, it could be a lot worse...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Z's room

As I've just done it...

I'm not 100% happy with this, it goes too far round the wall at the moment so I'll probably add photo's later and I have to put photo's in the other frames but I had the equipment in the room to do this so I'm glad it's getting there. 

This is a timeline of her first year, displayed at her birthday party.

^ I love stuff like this. I had this in my bedroom for years as a kid and then found it when we were sorting pictures. It was stuck to the back board and in a gold frame but with a new frame and me using a knife to cut it out, a few minutes later and Z has her Mummy's old picture! Anddd I'm considering it as a theme for her next birthday, whilst I'm still able to choose what she has! ;)

(P.S. Yes, I have set the study up and am actually 'working' in the study, hence lots of posts! Don't expect this diligence every day! ;))

News! :)

I posted on facebook recently that I had some big news. Well I didn't want to say it then just in case but I've now managed it and if any of you happen to have been looking recently you'll have noticed something new...

No, as one friend and reader asked, I am not pregnant (just to dispel future rumours, nor am I ever likely to be again. Ever.)

I read various blogs and a few have been featured on Luxemburger Wort (I'll let you work out which ones I read and follow). So when I saw there was an email address to make suggestions, I thought I'd email and ask if 'The Adventures of Mamma' could be included.

And, if you look to your right and down now, there's the badge... >

This is important to me because I don't make any money from blogging or have a team behind me. Or for that matter, know masses about blogging, IT, etc. So whilst this isn't an award, to receive a nice email and be selected for Luxemburg's biggest newspaper, means a lot. 

And whilst I won't go into it now, it came at the right time for me. I believe (to a point) in 'The law of attraction' and I believe I received this because I needed it. 

Am I mad?!

Last night it started raining heavily. The first thing I do when I get home is sort washing otherwise I forget. Last night hubby returned home at the same time. So I took the opportunity to take my nearly dry nappies & peg them out in the rain. I know a lot of you will read and think what on earth did you do that for? You're absolutely mental. And as I stood in the rain I did think I must be stupid. BUT anyone who knows a bit about cloth nappies knows that actually rain is rely good for them. Weird fact, eh? 

So there you have it. I can't remember why it's good, I know a thorough rinsing is needed when they stop working so I'm wondering if it's related to that. Either way it's the first time I've done it :)

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Dirty Laundry

Yes, I am really talking about washing your dirty laundry. But preferably NOT in public ;) I got this via email this week from Clean Mama and as I was just about to 'start' our laundry routine, I realised that I actually seem to have a laundry routine and it kinda seems to work for us! For me that's a big shock! ;)

Soooo what do I do? Well I actually kinda do both the suggestions Clean Mama makes. About a month ago I realised that whilst our daughter's bathed on a Sunday night, was a good time for me to take a couple of massive laundry bags up to their rooms. I use the Ikea bags so they're also easy to carry. Whilst hubby is bathing them, I gather their dirty laundry - they have a basket in each room so today for example I just chucked both baskets' contents on top of each other in a Ikea bag. Then I had a separate bag to put towels in. 

This week I hadn't gotten round to taking their clothes off the line on Friday/Saturday and the baby hadn't been very well so needed clean pj's and sleeping bag. So I literally put a bag underneath the lines and 'tip' the clothes off the line and into the bag. Then I took it up to their rooms, starting in the baby's as she was really tired and needs bed first. And then whilst she was in the bath I sorted through and put her clothes away.

This is another thing: I noticed a friend spent a long time folding all the family's washing up neatly. I asked hubby if his mum did that and apparently yes. Apparently this makes me an awful mother that I just don't have the time or inclination. Oh and when F was a baby our friend mentioned how she ironed all her daughter's dresses. I was aghast and we discussed more than once how F did not look creased or crumbled despite not having her clothes ironed. She was a baby, about to crawl on her clothes, why would I bother ironing them?! 

Well I have to admit I have now taken it to a new level 'cos I have even less time these days. So Z has a few drawers (her one smart dress is in her sister's wardrobe). And I just chuck clothes into them. Top 2 have tights and socks so they're easy. Next has pj's. Then she has trousers and 'tops'. Just chucked in because there's so few they don't stay put long enough. The bottom drawer is dresses and jumpers. And again, they don't stay folded neatly so I don't bother to start with. I did, ages ago, spend hours organising their drawers but it lasted about 5 minutes so I don't see the point now. 

What I do want to do that I haven't done recently is apply Project 333 to both girls and my wardrobes. I plan to when I next get the chance but right now I'm ok with that because they have enough clothes to keep them going through the week until the next laundry load and mostly both have clothes to grow into. 

So back to my laundry routine: having taken all their dirty clothes and then the towels down to the laundry room, I then take our dirty laundry down as well. This should be all the dirty laundry in the house. Our towels and cleaning cloths go in our dirty laundry basket. In hindsight this may not be the best but it works for us right now...

I had also taken down the nappies so I've already put them on. This weekend for the first time in about a month I actually had done all the washing by Saturday so I wanted to continue to 'relax' but previously I've immediately sorted through all the laundry:

1 load of adult whites
2 loads of adult 'darks'
1 loads of kids washing, mixed
Baby's nappies as and when needed

Oh yes, that's the other thing: when I was younger I never got round to changing my bed sheets weekly and unfortunately that's continued. I know, I'm terrible. But do you know what? No one complains at me and hubby is quite welcome to change this cycle if he wants but he never has. We change the bed sheets when we feel they need doing... And all beds have about 2 sets of sheets... The baby has a few sleeping bags and some spare sheets. So no, one of the loads is not bed sheets...
Yes this is mostly what my laundry room looks like on a Sunday evening when it's all been taken down! ;)

Nappies wise as I say, I remembered this week to put them on first. When the bin starts to get full up then I have asked hubby if he spots it first, if he can take it down to be washed... So I probably have to do 2 loads a week. She's at creche a fair amount of the week in disposables so it's really to keep the smell down a little...

As of this week I learnt that I can't tumble dry some of the nappies so I've started putting them on the line but I've saved both clothes horses we previously had PLUS there's a line outside for when it's sunny - woo hoo! (And actually rain is fantastic for cloth nappies so I might peg them out next time I have a chance)

Going back to the laundry routine, having got all the laundry into the cave, every day I then put a new load on each night. I take the previous night's clothes out and put on the washing line. Then when it's dried I sort it and put away. If I do it that adult clothes are done first, that means that the girls' clothing is done in time for the Sunday night of putting it away and getting the new load of dirty laundry... As Clean Mama says in her article, this routine probably won't last forever or work permanently but for the last month it has worked. I realised a while ago I hate routines so I think this probably helps because I can still put a load in during the day if I want to.

The other big thing for me regarding Project 333 is that whilst I want to do it again soon, I know that we have just enough clothes to last us a week or so before I then do the next load of washing. So if that's more than 33 items, I'm not sure I'd change it or be that worried anyway? What I do need to do is I've just bought 2 new tops (and a dress) so I need to take some of the ill fitting tops out of my drawer...

I currently have masses of things to sort through in a part of the cave & get rid of. Clothes the baby grows out of normally go to her creche when I have the chance. Well I sorted through all of the clothes F had grown out of we'd saved for Z, in the process of finishing their bedrooms. And discovered random things like extra dresses and useless hats!

Anyway, this is all totally off the actual topic of: WHOOO HOOO I've got a vague laundry routine! :D It's working at the moment...

Silent Sunday