Mama OWL Blog: February 2016

Meal Plan Monday 290216

Monday, 29 February 2016

Meal Plan 290216
Monday 29th
Tuesday 1st
Wednesday 2nd March
Mashed (sweet) potatoes & chicken with mixed vegetables
Thursday 3rd
Lasagne served with garlic bread
Friday 4th
Fish with scalloped potatoes & peas
Saturday 5th
Burgers & Chips with salad
Sunday 6th
Roast (hopefully after having enjoyed breakfast in bed in the morning since it's Mothering Sunday... Hint hint)

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

Easy like Sunday Mornings

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

That Sunday was the usual rugby training in the morning, arriving for 10am with H kitted up and ready to go - fitness training, drills and ball skills on a thankfully mild and dry day (compared to the week before when it had been nothing short of horrific). During a break in training he came over and sat on the rucking shield for a drink and I snapped this pic of him, he looks so big and grown up now and I love how devoted he is to his sport - whatever the weather and whatever is being asked of him, he just gets on with it and tries really hard. I'm pleased that it's easier for me to go along and watch all of his matches and training sessions now with E being older, and she loves to come along and watch her big brother play (or just to sit in the clubhouse with her friends!).

This weekend was a match with a local club, just a friendly as they all are at this age - training matches to allow them to practice the skills they learn in their training sessions each week and to have a little fun and friendly competition. It was another brisk day with a stiff wind blowing across the pitches and a fine mist of rain managing to soak us all without us noticing until we went back into the clubhouse for the post-match drinks and snacks. H had an early finish after bashing heads with another player towards the end of his second match, for safety reasons he was not allowed to continue so we headed in and he collected his hot dog and I bought him a hot chocolate to warm him up. No sooner had he polished that off than he was asking for something else so he had a bacon bap too, just in time to greet the rest of his team who joined us in the clubhouse after their third match. He went and sat down with his team mates and laughed and chatted while I talked to the other U10s mums and dads and finished drinking my coffee.

H was disappointed to have missed the final match, but happy to have scored a try in the first game. When we got home he had a hot shower and then spent the rest of the day in his PJs relaxing after his busy morning, before finishing off his homework ready for 'back to school' after half term. I love seeing him so committed to the game, and while he still has lots to learn he always makes me proud when he puts on his team shirt.

World Book Day - Sibling Costume Ideas

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

It's less than two weeks until World Book Day 2016, on Thursday March 3rd the vast majority of our school-aged children will be parading into school dressed up as their favourite book characters. This year my kids are going as a matching sibling pair with H dressing up as the Mad Hatter and E as Alice from Alice in Wonderland, sent to us by who have an extensive range of over 400 costumes. If you are a parent of multiples or simply have multiple children, matching costumes are a fun way to engage your kids and get them excited about the WBD event.

What ideas can you come up with together? Use their favourite books to gather some ideas. If inspiration is lacking, consider these suggestions :

  • Willy Wonka and Charlie Bucket - Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
  • Matilda and Miss Trunchbull - Matilda
  • Gruffalo and Mouse/Fox/Owl - The Gruffalo
  • Dorothy and Lion/Tin Man/Scarecrow/Witch - The Wizard of Oz
  • Thing 1 and Thing 2 - Dr Seuss
  • Harry Potter and Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley/Death Eater - Harry Potter
  • Bilbo Baggins and Thorin Oakenshield - The Hobbit/Lord Of The Rings
  • Hiccup and Astrid/Toothless - How to Train Your Dragon
  • Peter Pan and Tinkerbell/Wendy/Lost Boy/Captain Hook - Peter Pan
  • Little Red Riding Hood and Grandma/Wolf/The Huntsman - Little Red Riding Hood
  • Alice and The Mad Hatter/Queen of Hearts/Cheshire Cat/White Rabbit/Playing Card - Alice in Wonderland
  • A pair of Skeletons - Funny Bones
  • Witch and Cat/Dog/Bird/Frog/Dragon - Room on the Broom
  • Horrid Henry and Moody Margaret/Rotten Ralph/Perfect Peter - Horrid Henry
  • Caterpillar and Fruit/Butterfly - The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Spider and Pig - Charlotte's Web
  • Robin Hood and Little John/Maid Marian - Robin Hood
  • Mr Men and Little Miss characters

World Book Day was started as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the world. The event is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the enjoyment of all. A primary aim of World Book Day in the UK & Ireland is to encourage kids to explore the pleasures of books and reading by giving them the opportunity to have a book of their own, and so getting involved and dressing up is a fantastic way for your children to bring their favourite characters to life and inspire their imaginations. Will your child's school be taking part?

H & E received costumes for review purposes. All words and opinions are our own.
Sharing with #BloggerClubUK

Meal Plan Monday 220216

Monday, 22 February 2016

Meal Plan 220216
Monday 22nd
Turkey Chilli with brown rice (as we didn't end up having it last week, because, life)
Tuesday 23rd
Wednesday 24th February Toad in the hole
Thursday 25th
Cottage Pie topped with carrot & swede mash
Friday 26th
Turkey steaks
Saturday 27th
Spaghetti (Courgetti) Bolognese
Sunday 28th

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.

Dreaming of Lanzarote | #SummerLove

Monday, 15 February 2016

I have many fond memories of childhood holidays, in particular our visits to the Canary Islands. We regularly visited Tenerife and Gran Canaria when I was young, and then in 2012 I went to Lanzarote with a friend for some R&R after a sudden and serious illness as soon as I was well enough to travel. I spent a wonderful restful week in beautiful Puerto del Carmen enjoying the sunshine and reading, swimming and wandering along the beach in the early morning to watch the sun rise with my best friend and returned home to the Mister and kids feeling like a new woman. Lanzarote treated me very well and so it is a destination that I would love to share with my family.

Sunrise in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote
With the children's ages varying so widely (A turns 18 this year and E will soon be 6, with the three boys in between) it can be hard to find activities that we can all enjoy together, but Lanzarote has plenty to offer a family like ours - I would love to 'island hop' and take them on a catamaran trip to Fuerteventura where we might be lucky enough to spot some dolphins, and to go on an excursion to the Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains) in the Timanfaya National Park for a barbecue, as well as days out visiting the Aquarium and water park in Costa Teguise. I know that we would all have a lot of fun exploring the island, and would make many lasting memories.

On our recent visits to Corsica and Kos the children got to try out so many new activities including watersports like sailing and windsurfing, our holidays have been fantastic bonding experiences for them and it has been a delight to see them enjoying their time together, being independent, and building their confidence in and on the water. As they grow up it feels harder to find that quality time together between all our sports, classes, school and work - our holidays allow us that uninterrupted family break where we get to reconnect and enjoy each others company (most of the time, anyway!). Hearing their laughter and seeing the broad smiles across their sun-kissed faces as they run around and laugh and play with wild abandon, relishing the warm sunshine and long Summer days. Just being kids, and having fun. Those moments are priceless.

Windsurfing in Kos, Greece.
Our family.
Enjoying the pool in Corsica.
We stayed in a beautiful villa in the South of France in August 2014 which felt like a real luxury, to have our own private space and pool where the children could wander freely & enjoy our quiet, rural surroundings. It was especially lovely for L as his additional needs means that being around a lot of people can be overwhelming for him. Travelling with a child with Autism can be very difficult, and so to have our own private accommodation means less anxiety and a more calm environment for us all to relax in and enjoy. Our week in Montemboeuf was wonderful and has shown us that a villa holiday is something that is very well suited to a family such as ours.

We have so much of the world still to see, I want to experience as much of it with the children as I can, while I can. Their childhood is just whizzing past seemingly in the blink of an eye, I want to make sure that they have amazing lasting memories of happy times together before they all grow up and head off to enjoy their own adventures.

Sunset in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote.
This is our entry for the James Villa Holidays #SummerLove competition.

Meal Plan Monday 150216

Monday, 15 February 2016

Meal Plan 150216
Monday 15th
Spaghetti & Meatballs
Tuesday 16th
Wednesday 17th February Turkey Chilli with brown rice
Thursday 18th
Friday 19th
The Mister and I are out for the evening with the youngest two, so the older kids will be having pizza
Saturday 20th
Baked sweet potatoes with coronation chicken
Sunday 21st

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.

#LoudnProud | 110216

Thursday, 11 February 2016

My favourite thing about this link is that it gives everyone the opportunity to share something that they are really proud of, to take note of an achievement or milestone no matter how big or small and to feel free to do so without being made to feel like it is wrong to enjoy and celebrate success - because it isn't, and now is your time to shout about it!

Whether it be weight loss or fitness progress, non-scale victories, getting your teenager to actually wear a coat to school, sports or musical achievements, first steps, first words, or even that the bloody dog has finally stopped chewing everyone's shoes - anything goes. If you're happy or proud about it, then come & share with us and let us celebrate with you.

Want to know more about #LoudnProud? Check out the 'rules' here.

Mama Owl

Meal Plan Monday 080216

Monday, 8 February 2016

Meal Plan 080216
Monday 8th
Sausage and vegetable stir fry with brown & wild rice
Tuesday 9th
Wednesday 10th February Spaghetti Bolognese
Thursday 11th
Chicken & quinoa with vegetables
Friday 12th
The Body Coach's Italian Stallion Sausages
Saturday 13th
Currently still up for debate
Sunday 14th
Roast with a Valentine's themed dessert (it's as close as I will get to 'celebrating' Valentine's Day!)

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.

Wish You Were Here? Become a #MarkWarnerMum (or #MarkWarnerDad!) for 2016

Friday, 5 February 2016

Just over a year ago we were fortunate enough to be selected as Mark Warner Holiday ambassadors for 2015. It was an amazing opportunity and we had the most fantastic break at the wonderful Lakitira Beach Resort in Kos, Greece in the October half term last year. Now it's 2016 and while I am sad that our turn as a Mark Warner family has come to an end I am delighted to share details of their search for this year's lucky families - could YOU be a #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad for 2016?

Our holiday with Mark Warner was the best family holiday we have been on, it was truly a fully inclusive experience for the whole family with something for everyone to enjoy, we have come away with lots of wonderful memories, new skills and new friends.

Mark Warner have all of the application details on their website, there are just four simple steps to the process, firstly what type of blogger are you? The serious foodie, Crafting King or Queen, the style guru, adventure junkie, fab photographer, creative writer? Have fun and be creative, and once you have completed your questionnaire and blog please tweet a link to your post tagging @MWHolidays and using the hashtag #MarkWarnerMum or #MarkWarnerDad by Friday 19 February to complete your entry.

Good Luck!

February Half Term Fun at Brewer's Fayre

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Half Term is fast approaching and with it comes the dilemma of how to keep the children entertained when the weather probably won't be that favourable, without blowing the budget. This February, Brewer's Fayre are offering a range of fun activities & value meals for all the family that will keep the kids and your wallet happy.

During your visit, the children can tire themselves out in the recently refurbished Beano themed soft play areas while they wait for their food (and to give us parents five minutes peace..!) or have a go at solving puzzles and colouring in their favourite Beano characters with the special half term activity sheets. For extra entertainment during Half Term, there will be fun discos on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th February at selected Brewers Fayre restaurants nationwide. The Toddlers disco will run from 9.30am – 3pm while the Kids will be 3.30 – 7.30pm at a cost of £3 per child (though please do check your local site for half term details and a confirmed range of activities).

Brewer's Fayre menus are hard to beat with a great daytime value offer that runs Monday-Friday from 12-6pm. Guests can enjoy two starters for £2.50, two mains for just £10.99 and two desserts for £2.50, and there is something for everyone with a different themed menu every night of the week from 5–8pm at the Chef's Counter. We visited their Pizza Parlour on a Monday night - the teenagers enjoyed the Chicken Tikka pizza - or try their Burgers & Hotdogs on a Wednesday. On Tuesday you can experience a taste of Mexico, or come along for Curry Night on a Thursday. Our three youngest children all chose their meals from the extensive kids menu, which was £4.99 for three courses, enjoying the Menace Burger, Big Bad Dog, and some Poppin Chicken between them. They were also able to pick and choose their side dishes to suit their own preferences.

Find your local Brewer's Fayre restaurant this February half term & join the fun.

We were invited to visit Brewer's Fayre and supplied with a
voucher for the purpose of this post. All words and opinions are our own.
Shared with #TriedTested.

Meal Plan Monday 010216

Monday, 1 February 2016

Meal Plan 010216
Monday 1st
Spaghetti & Meatballs with garlic bread (courgetti for me)
Tuesday 2nd
Wednesday 3rd February Toad in the hole, mashed potato and mixed veg (sausages, sweet potato & veg for me)
Thursday 4th
Chicken Fajitas (in lettuce wraps with rice for me)
Friday 5th
We are celebrating J's 15th birthday today, with a meal out with a couple of his friends
Saturday 6th
Chicken & Chips
Sunday 7th
Roast Gammon

#MealPlanningMonday linked up with At Home with Mrs M.
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