Mama OWL Blog: October 2015

We Love #TacoTuesday

Friday, 16 October 2015

Tuesday night in our house is nothing short of chaotic. Two kids have after school club, which we then rush home from before H has swimming, L has Tae Kwon-Do and I have my fitness class to attend - this means on Tuesdays, dinner needs to be quick and easy.

We are huge fans of Mexican style food and Fajita Friday has been a firm family favourite for many years, we always have Fajitas for dinner on Christmas Eve and the kids love to get stuck in and help prepare the meal by cutting up vegetables and grating cheese. It's great fun to all do together and easy for them to have a part in (which often makes them more likely to eat it, I have found). Old El Paso have now added the brilliant Stand N Stuff Tortillas to their extensive range in a handy dinner kit which means that as well as Fajita Friday, Taco Tuesday is now A THING and it's even quicker and easier.

Minced beef is inexpensive (I buy a 750g pack of lean minced beef for £2.98 from our local supermarket) and can form the base of many simple family meals, with the Stand N Stuff kit there is even a tasty BBQ seasoning included in the pack. If you're short on time for cooking, you can brown off the mince in the pan before adding it to your slow cooker with the seasoning and a cup of water and leaving on low while you get other things done throughout the day, and it will be piping hot and ready to serve up in the evening. Otherwise it's as simple as browning the mince on the hob, adding the seasoning and water and simmering for 20 minutes before serving. Depending on your family's tastes, why not add mixed peppers, sweetcorn, or red onion to the mince? Get the kids involved and have them help chop up the veg or grate some cheese into a bowl.

The children love Tacos but find the crunchy shell version difficult to eat, they loved the soft flour shells and found them much easier to manage with no crazy fork-holding tricks necessary, and they took on the job of popping them in the microwave (one of the perks of having older kids who are big enough to use kitchen appliances) to warm up while I prepared the minced beef filling. On extra busy days - and with five kids I can tell you that there are no shortage of those - I can even leave it in the slow cooker for the teenagers to dish up themselves if I am out running the younger ones around between activities, so that they don't have to wait for their dinner. The kit costs just £3.79, and extra tortillas are £1.89 so the basics for this meal cost less than £10 & easily serves six.

Add in some of your five-a-day with tomatoes, onions (red are my favourite), mixed bell peppers, and sweetcorn, and you can even make your own guacamole by mashing up avocado with diced tomato, garlic & onion and lime juice - simply chill in the fridge for half an hour before serving or make ahead & chill ready to enjoy with the evening meal.

To see the full range from Old El Paso and for news, recipes and product information visit their website or follow them on Twitter at @oldelpaso.

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Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline & Sportsmanship | #LoudnProud

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The new season for H and his U10 rugby team was long awaited, the time seemed to drag for him between end of season presentation and the beginning of Summer training and he asked constantly how long it was until it was time to go back. Now we are well into our training matches with our first festival coming up this weekend, and H is chomping at the bit to get stuck into it and do his part for the team. This year he is really 'getting it', understanding the laws, and I think he is going to have a really great season.

The kids have played two sets of fixtures already with four teams visiting our home ground, with mixed results, but the challenges were met by the team and they did their best. We encourage and praise and the coaches do their thing, but it is important to remember that they are kids, and this is meant to be fun, and this is how they will learn - the core values of Rugby are Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship and those are what we all must remember and abide by. The only thing that H wants to hear at the end of his training session or after a match is "Well done, I'm proud of you, I enjoyed watching you play" and so that is exactly what we tell him.

Never does he complain about it being cold, or wet, or that he's tired. He gets up on Sunday and pulls on his kit, packs his bag and has his breakfast ready to get going. He loves rugby, and the progress he is making speaks for itself. He earned 'man of the match' from his coach last weekend and we honestly could not be more proud of how hard he is trying, and how much effort he is putting in to being the best player he can be. I saw him get studded on the hand last week, and he had his ankle stomped on the week before, but he stood up and shook it off and carried on. When he got home he had a big mug of hot chocolate and got himself cleaned up, and I might have pampered him a bit for the rest of the afternoon - but he definitely earned it. We might have a long cold Winter ahead of us but we're going to have a lot of fun and play some great rugby.

I'm this week's #LoudnProud host, and we would love to hear all about your special moments and achievements so please do share your posts with us below. Feel free to grab our badge, we would appreciate it if you could please try to visit 2-3 others including the host to enable this link to be successful - please do not link dump. The list closes at Midnight on Sunday, and next week will be hosted by the lovely Suzanne at 3 Children and It.

Mama Owl

Barbie Best Buys by E

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Like a lot of kids her age, E is all about the Barbie dolls. We have three large storage tubs full of just about every doll you can think of as well as the mountains of accessories and extras that you can get to go with them. E also inherited all of A's old dolls when she outgrew them so we do have a larger than the average collection but frankly where E is concerned, you can never have enough Barbie dolls. Or doll clothes. Not that any of them are actually wearing any...

For those newly venturing into the world of Barbie doll ownership, you can be overwhelmed with the vast selection of houses, pets and accessories to go with the dolls. A basic collection of 'this and that' is a good start, if you're planning on buying some for your son or daughter this Christmas (or need ideas to suggest to family) then E and I came up with a list of all things Barbie to get you started. This is what E had to say...

"Barbie needs a House! Or where would she even live?!"

Because of course every girl needs her own Malibu beach house to party in. The play set comes with lots of accessories and opens out to a large space but folds up to a neat square with room in the top to pop the accessories in when they are done playing. We bought E her Malibu beach house for Christmas last year and she has played with daily ever since - we think it's a must-have for any Barbie enthusiast.

"Barbie has to have a car to drive around in because she can't take the bus"

Barbie has an action packed social calendar (though it makes me sad that my daughter's Barbie has a better social life than me) and what better way to travel than in her own Glam Convertible! House of Fraser kindly sent E her very own hot pink convertible from their selection of Barbie toys, the funky design features metallic wheels, seat belts (safety first!) and a moving steering wheel as well as a signature pink print interior and a Barbie logo licence plate.

E had been eager to have her very own Barbie car for quite some time and is delighted with the convertible, the sturdy plastic design feels very robust and she has had hours of fun with her newest accessory, which is now parked pride of place next to Barbie's beach house. In my living room... Barbie's Glam Convertible is priced at £25 at House of Fraser and would be a great addition to any child's doll collection.

"She needs somewhere to go. Like shopping, or to work. Or sixth form - like sissy!"

I'm sure Barbie would love to visit a café after a day of shopping with friends, or perhaps have her very own stable for her horses - she could even drive there in her Glam Convertible Car! E has a small fold-up stable set to go with her horse toys and loves taking her dolls 'out' on adventures as well as re-enacting scenes from her favourite Barbie movies which is so sweet to watch and really stimulates her imagination.

"She needs clothes! She can't go out with nothing on!"

Now, as I said, the dolls don't tend to spend much time actually wearing any of their often extensive wardrobes but it's nice to have a good selection of outfits for kids to dress their dolls up in as well as it being very useful fine motor skills practice.
Family Fever
E received a complimentary Barbie Glam Convertible for review purposes. All views and opinions are our own.

Meal Plan Monday 121015

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Plan 121015
Monday 12th
Old El Paso Stand 'n' Stuff Soft Tacos - review coming soon
Tuesday 13th
Home-made beef burgers with (sweet potato) chips and salad
Wednesday 14th
Sausages, mashed potato & mixed vegetables
Thursday 15th
Friday 16th
Caveman Chilli with brown rice
Saturday 17th
Deli Pizzas
Sunday 18th
Roast Chicken

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
Brinner* = Breakfast for Dinner (eggs, bacon etc)
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