Mama OWL Blog: August 2016

Meal Plan Monday 220816

Monday, 22 August 2016

Another E meal planning special, I've bought myself alternative things to eat because frankly I can't be bothered to argue - if this is what they want, this is what they can have. It's Summer, I'm all about a quiet life and happy kids with full tummies.
Meal Plan 220816
Monday 22nd
Spaghetti Bolognese with garlic bread
(I had steak, halloumi and rocket salad with cherry tomatoes)
Tuesday 23rd
Variations of Brinner*
Wednesday 24th August
Mac & Cheese with crispy bacon bits
(I'm having pulled pork burgers with salad)
Thursday 25th
Cottage Pie
Friday 26th
Chicken Fajitas with mixed peppers and red onions in tortilla wraps (served with rice for me) and quesadillas for E
Saturday 27th
Fish Fingers & Chips with peas
(Steak for me & the Mr as it's his birthday)
Sunday 28th

Meal Plan Monday 150816

Monday, 15 August 2016

E wanted a turn writing the meal plan as H did it last week (anything for a quiet life) however she is put out that we have a very busy week and so she hasn't been able to plan the entire week, which means that she will also be doing next week's meal plan. Take a wild guess at who runs the house. Yep. Not me.
Meal Plan 150816
Monday 15th
Macaroni Cheese with broccoli & bacon
Tuesday 16th
We are going to the beach today, so probably fish & chips before we head home and a picnic on the sand during the day
Wednesday 17th August
Thursday 18th
Chicken Fajitas with mixed peppers and red onions in tortilla wraps (served with rice for me) and quesadillas for E
Friday 19th
It's L's 13th birthday today so he gets to pick
(I'm willing to bet it will be pizza or KFC)
Saturday 20th
Fish fingers served with chips and baked beans
Sunday 21st
We're off to Thorpe Park for the day today, so whatever we fancy when we get there!

Finding Calm Amongst The Chaos

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

This year has been... Challenging. So many changes in my life and at home, lots of ups and downs, new beginnings. The kids are all in for some big changes this coming school year and the stress of it all has been hard to manage. My brain has felt chaotic for months, trying to navigate my way through as well as steer the kids at the same time whilst still managing the day to day has been hard work. But I've done it and we are all still in one piece. The Summer holidays were welcomed with open arms, some days the end of July felt a very long way off. Though perhaps ask me again in a couple more weeks I'll probably be counting down the days until they go back to school...

A couple of weeks ago our eldest turned 18 and a month today, it will be Uni 'moving in day' for her - depending on those A level results next week of course. I think that A thought that turning 18 turned her into an adult, she has yet to realise that that actually comes from experience and she has a while to wait yet, and a lot of growing up still to do. In a few weeks she will have to go and stand on her own two feet, manage her own finances and pay her own way - rent, bills, her own mobile phone... The bank of mum and dad is closed, except in cases of emergency. I've talked before about how to raise a successful human being, now it's time to put it into practice.
After starting his GCSEs way back in year 9, it's now 'game day' for J with him going in to year 11 in September. He's got lots to look forward to this year - turning 16 in February and going on the school ski trip to Andorra not long after that, and of course the prom after his final exams but there is also a lot of work to be done and he's got to knuckle down and really put his mind to it. I know he is capable of achieving good results, the trick will be getting him to realise this too. Wish us luck!
Year 7 was very difficult for L but I am pleased to say that year 8 was a vast improvement. In September he will start year 9 and begin his GCSE studies. He chose his options at the end of last term, and has been supported well at school to make the best choices for his needs. He has grown up so much in the past year, physically and emotionally. I'm looking forward to seeing where the next year takes us and the progress he will make, he is growing up to be a funny and lovely young man and I am so proud of how far he has come after a very difficult start to school life.
It's the final year of primary school for H starting in September, year 6 is looming. He was emotional on the last day of term with all of his friends in year 6 heading off to new adventures at their chosen secondary schools. I also think the realisation that that will be him next year had started to sink in, he's a strapping lad for 10 but he is also very sensitive and thoughtful, the transition to 'big school' could be a tough one for him but we have a year to prepare. I know he will love it, but I'm glad he still has another year to be a little kid and enjoy primary school. They do change once they get to senior school and I'm not quite ready to let him grow up just yet.
Last but by no means least, E will be starting year 2. She has absolutely flown through the past two years at school and I struggle to keep up with her at times. She's a whirlwind and constantly needs things to keep her inquisitive mind occupied. She wants to see and know and do, and while she is still a little sponge I will keep feeding her with everything she needs to flourish (though it's bloody exhausting at times). She managed to complete all of the reading levels at school by the end of term to become a 'free reader', and so far through the holidays she has had me printing off crosswords and word searches as well as making up spelling tests for her. She's completed this year's Summer Reading Challenge, and brought home three more books from the library to celebrate. There is just no stopping her, she is a real force of nature.
It's such a cliché but I honestly don't know where the time has gone. Next week I'll have three teenagers with L turning 13 on Friday, and then this time next year I'll have only one child left in primary school. At times I find myself sitting at the kitchen table at mealtimes just watching them all and wondering where the bloody years went. Where are my kids? Who are these huge hulking men taking up all the room on the sofa? Why do I have no food left when I only went shopping yesterday?

With things a little calmer at home for the next few weeks, I plan to try and get back into blogging, I've missed having the time to put my thoughts into words and I think for me it helps keep the noise in my brain down to a dull roar to have an outlet for it - hopefully it will help me find some calm in amongst all of the chaos. Right now the Summer is in full swing and we are making the most of it - we've enjoyed the beach, the park and some swimming as well as fun at home in the garden and trips to the cinema which I'll look forward to sharing with you soon.

The Summer Reading Challenge 2016 | The Big Friendly Read

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Summer Reading Challenge 2016 is well underway, but there is still time to join in. Every year, thousands of families all over the country take part in the UK’s biggest reading event for children in libraries run by the charity The Reading Agency.

The idea of the challenge is to encourage children to read any six books (fact or fiction, or even magazines or audio books) of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays. Every year there is a different theme - last year was Record Breakers and the year before was the fabulous Mythical Maze; this year it is The Big Friendly Read, linking up with the global year-long Roald Dahl 100 celebrations, to honour the world's No.1 Storyteller.

Unfortunately H didn't want to take part in the challenge this year, which is aimed at children aged between four and eleven and is run at nearly all libraries across the UK (and is completely free!). As a compromise, he and I chose a new book each for him and for L and they are both reading them over the Summer. At the end of the holidays they will be writing me a short book report. I think it is so important to encourage reading through the Summer to prevent any 'dip' in progress during their break, and also just because I want them to learn to love reading and all of the adventures books can take them on.

A photo posted by jooleroo (@jooleroo) on

We have made several trips to the library already and E is ready to go back and choose books five and six, she loves the little Roald Dahl collector postcards - brilliantly illustrated by Quentin Blake - that she receives for each book she finishes, which also come with a folder to keep them in. Some of them are even scratch 'n' sniff!

A photo posted by jooleroo (@jooleroo) on

E can't wait to receive her certificate and medal at the end of the challenge, this is her third year of taking part and she is always so proud of her achievement when she finishes. She is an amazing reader for someone so young and I love that she shares a love of reading with me. Long may it continue.

Meal Plan Monday 080816

Monday, 8 August 2016

H wanted to choose this week's meal plan, frankly he's given me an easy life with his choices so I'm not complaining! Might let him do it every week...
Meal Plan 080816
Monday 8th
Burgers, chips and salad
Tuesday 9th
Wednesday 10th August
Thursday 11th
Macaroni Cheese
Friday 12th
Chicken Fajitas with mixed peppers and red onions in tortilla wraps (served with rice for me)
Saturday 13th
Fish fingers served with chips and baked beans
Sunday 14th
Roast Gammon
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