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Mamma Musings

Mamma Musings

My Untold Story

This story was prompted by a discussion amongst blog buddies.  We were discussing “untold stories”.   I have a story. I was almost afraid to share it with the group as I though my story isn’t about over coming adversity, or  health issues or traumas.  My story is old school romance that would warm even the coldest of hearts.

Take a seat! Make a cuppa, grab some tissues and enjoy.

Ill set the scene – its the early 1950s bad boy meet upper class girl, girls family disapprove. Bad boy gets the hint and runs away to the Navy.  Lets roll on five years.  Bad boy returns to his old stomping group and bumps into said girl. She is upset. She was engaged and her husband to be had a gambling problem and has just sold the furniture of the house they had planned to move into when they got married to pay his debts. She was distraught.  She is comforted by bad boy, two years later they were married. He gave her a locket that day with a picture of him and her when they were 21 (when they first met) in it.

So who are they? They are my dads parents my Nannie and Granada. Their remarkable love story doesn’t end there.

They were the epitome of the popular hash tag used today of “couple goals”. My Granada had a deep love and respect for my Nannie that reflected in everything he did. If my two boys grow up to respect woman even half of what he did ill know I did my job well.

Lets jump to the 1980s their two kids grown up and married themselves (one being my own dad). My Nannie was outside cleaning and lost her wedding ring. She was utterly distraught.  My Granda searched, the neighbours searched but it was not to be the ring was gone.

Ten years later and my Grandas world come crashing down, my Nannie, his beloved wife passed away. I was only young yet I remember it like it was yesterday. My Granda gave me the locket that he gave her before they got married, the date of July 1956 inscribed on the front and black and white pictures of my grandparents when they were 21.  That is my most treasured possession.

From memory it was about two years later, my Dad came running in from the hall way after being on the house phone. My Granda had been out cleaning the shores that had become blocked and had found my Nannies wedding ring.  It has been sitting in a little crack just below the shore in their back garden all this time.  That was the turning point, he knew then everything was going to be ok.  She was watching over him.

My Granda, my best friend passed away in 2015.  I have written about him before.  He was the kind of man that left a lasting impression wherever he went. What I would give for five minutes more.  Maybe one day who knows.

The necklace I wear has the words “Miss me but let me go” as a tribute to our final conversation…….I do try to follow it…… missing you is easy its the letting go that will never be.

 

 

 

Mamma Musings

Easter Hols time for some de-stressing!!

There is something about the Easter holidays above any other time of the year that means I can actually relax and de stress.  It really is a rarity for me, two young kids, a full time job together with the blog, time off is a precious commodity. I vowed earlier this year that I would make more time for me and more time to relax and de stress.  This has been happening with mixed levels of success.

Rattan Direct have produced a useful guide with tips to help us to destress at home.  The guide talks about the Danish concept of Hygge. Believe it or not I have only been introduced to this concept in recently months. I’ve obviously been living under a rock or something as this seem to me anyway to be really popular.

I am reliably informed Hygge is pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah and  is a Danish word used to refer to or a conscious appreciation or feeling of content.  Sounds exactly like something we all need.  Basically you don’t buy a Hygge piece of furniture, you buy a piece or repurpose an old piece to bring the feeling into your life.

The Rattan Direct guide sets out 19 helpful hints to help us to invoke that feeling in our own homes.  One of the take away points for me and also the one I should action more is decluttering.  There is something very theraputic about throwing out or giving away things you no loner use, need or want.

One other point I always do for myself and the kids is focus on relaxing sleeping arrangements. Rooms are kept tidy and clutter free, sheets are kept fresh and refreshed often.  I loathe getting into an unmade bed so I have got myself and my kids into the habit of making beds each morning.

If you have any tips for destressing at home do let me know in the comments.

Note: This is a collaborative post.

 

Mamma Musings

3 Credit Card Tips That May Surprise You

People always tell you that you need to pay your credit card bills on time and in full to avoid late fees. After all, you can actually be charged a late fee mere minutes after your payment is due. However, most of us know this already.

But there are other ways to keep yourself financially stable – and even earn a few dollars in the process. In order to help you stay financially healthy, here are three specific credit card tips that will probably surprise you.

Don’t Forget to Collect Cash When You Spend

Just like small businesses select credit card processing companies, you have to pick your credit card carefully. Simply put, you need a card that suits your personal needs. For instance, if you charge in a ton of different places, you should consider getting a standard cash-back credit card.

credit card

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Although some people are not aware of it, these cards can even put some money back in your pockets. Some pay you up to 3% on everything you charge, others offer around 5% on some spending categories. So if you spend 10,000 dollars on groceries yearly, like most families do, you’re looking at 300 dollars.  

Paying just the Minimum is Definitely Not a Good Idea

Paying the minimum is better nothing, however, it can also keep you in debt for a long time. What’s more, paying the minimum will probably significantly increase the interest revenue for your credit company. If you still don’t understand just how important this is, here’s an example that will illustrate our point.

If you own 10,000 dollars on your card and you’re being charged a 25% interest. In this case, your minimum payment is 3% of your overall balance and you’ll have to pay 300 dollars a month. If you don’t make all of those payments, it will take around 15 years to pay the company off, and your payments will amount to more than 30,000 dollars.

Avoid Cards that Feature the Penalty APR

Like we said before, picking the right credit company is crucial and you should avoid cards that feature the penalty APR. Being late with just one payment will increase your interest rate up to 35%. Yes – just one single payment.

Furthermore, if your card already has the penalty APR, you should close it out as soon as possible. Just imagine – you already owe 20,000 on your card and you’re unable to pay the debt off. Before you know it, you’ll be 25,000 dollars in debt, unable to pay it off and trapped in credit hell.  

The Bottom Line

Last but not least, if you’re carrying a lot of debt, don’t feel too bad about it – you’re certainly not alone on this. Keep in mind that in the past, millions of people managed to pay off thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. Most of them went on to live financially healthy lives after paying off their debts, which means, you can do it too.  

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Daydreaming about holidays – where to next?!!

Pic Credit: @budgetravel

It’s hardly a secret, my obsession with travel and seeing the world is both well known and well documented. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly when it began but I think a trip to Copenhagen in my teens was the spark. When we decided the time was right to have kids we vowed to continue to travel albeit slightly differently! Traveling with kids can be more challenging but not less rewarding. We have had comments like “how can put your kids through that journey etc” I smile nod – my kids love to travel. They count the days on the calendar to their next adventure. We involve them in the planning from the start.  Its is a family trip so we aim for something for everybody.

My bucket list trips

Last year we made lots of short haul trips and one long haul to one of our bucket list destinations Niagara Falls so where to for 2018?  We haven’t quite decided yet but some of our top picks for the moment include;

  • Cape Town – when I started to look into Cape Town further I was quite surprised at just how much there was for kids to do.  I have romantic notions of outdoor adventures, water activities and good food. The kids love animals and love being outdoor which is why I think Cape Town appeals to me so much.
  • New Zealand – In a similar outdoorsy vein New Zealand appeals for the same reasons.  As a farmer my husband would love to see the large scale farming operations of New Zealand. For me id love to see first hand Queenstown the stunning lakes and glacial formations. However at over 24 hours flying time from Dublin I do think this one will have to wait a little longer until the kids get that bit older.

I reached out to my fellow bloggers to see where they would travel to with their kids if money was no object:

      • Lyndsey of  Me, Him the dog and a Baby  would go back to Orlando, where they got married this time to experience it all again with their daughter.

        aircraft wings

        Pic Credit: Pixabay

      • Pete of   Household Money Saving  would go for a cruise around the Mediterranean for the great weather, the variety of places to visit and the abundance of activities on board.
      • Catherine  of  Rock & Roll Pussycat would love to visit Borneo to visit an Orangutan sanctuary. That sounds really cool to me too!
      • Vicki of Family Travel with Ellie would definitely go on safari  as its  a dream of theirs.  I totally agree on that one, hopefully one day we make it to South Africa to do similar.
      • Sam of  Travelling with our kids would do Route 66 in an RV! One big road trip. I hear you!! This would be an amazing trip, also one which ill add to our bucket list.
      • Lucy of Outnumbered by Bunnies would love to take her daughter to Rome to see the Vatican in particular.

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Mamma Musings

Snow time fun or not!

After finally emerging from the “beast from the East” and the more recent snow fall I can safely say im pretty much snowed out for the moment. However im reliably informed that we can expect the return of some snow at Easter! Please…..enough now.  It was fun for five minutes but even the kids were glad to see it gone. So what did we learn from snowgate, snowmagedden, the beast from the east!!

  • Stock up, to see the supermarket shelves empty was quite surreal.  The shortages of bread made headlines through out the world and has generated tonnes of funny memes.
  • Snow equals tonnes of washing, the kids needed a full change of clothes every time they came in.
  • I spend more time preparing for the kids to go out side than they would actually spend outside, id guesstimate 30 mins preparation time -hats, scarfs, gloves equated to approximate 3 mins of snow play time!!
  • Community spirit is alive and well.  It was really heart warming to see people out helping to clear drives of elderly neighbours or those who needed assistance, getting shopping for them, bringing hot meals. Nothing like a crisis of sorts to bring people together.
  • We all need to own a pair of good waterproof boots just in case 🙂
  • On a more serious note it is important to keep all those key numbers handy as you just never know who you might need to call not just in the event of a weather emergency but at any time and to be honest not just when there is a emergency. Resources such as Contact Number UK are really useful. I book mark the site so that when/ if I do need a number in a hurry I have a central resource to find it.

According to media reports we haven’t seen snow of this magnitude in over 30 years. Don’t get my wrong I did enjoy playing with the kids, building snow men etc  however I probably wont be sorry if it doesn’t appear for at least another 30 years!!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post.
Mamma Musings

Preparing for your child’s birthday party

When you’re hosting a birthday party for your child, you’re likely to experience emotions on every end on the spectrum. From high stress to total happiness when you see their little face having the time of their life, it’s a bit of a rollercoaster. Here’s a few tips to hopefully cut out much of the stress, and leave you to enjoy their special day with them.

1. Discuss the theme

Picking a theme makes preparation much easier. You can tailor the decorations, entertainment and even the food. For some parents this is a breeze – you know what they love so you can guess their choice right away. If your youngster is a little trickier to predict, let them help to pick – it is their day after all! Put some choices forwards to them and let them choose, or work together to think of fun ideas and draw them out of a hat.

2. Pull together an invite list

Once the theme of the party is decided, next it’s onto the invite list. This can be the bane of many parents’ party planning, because the list has to end somewhere. It’s difficult to whittle a long list down if you’re hosting it at home and can’t accommodate everyone.

3. Write up and send out the invitations

You can make this a fun DIY job, or buy some that match with your little one’s chosen theme. Making them together can be a beautiful way to bond and let them get creative, and it makes it more personalised for the guests you’re inviting.

4. Organise the entertainment

Booking entertainment of course depends on your child’s preference. It also depends on the theme of the party (it’s got to be consistent, right?). For example a princess theme and a visit from a little girl’s favourite Disney princess goes hand in hand. Find something to suit your budget, and find something you know your child will love. Of course, you might be going for something a little more relaxed and might not have a direct form of entertainment in place. That’s also fine, but make sure you’ve got enough planned to keep them occupied!

5. Make a schedule

Planning ahead mitigates the risk of any hiccups on the day. Plan how you’re going to decorate, plan the food you’re going to make and plan for any fun activities that will be taking place throughout the party. In terms of food, it’s worth preparing some that you can freeze earlier in the week, to stop a mad rush as the time of the party get closer.

6. Buy your supplies

It’s always better to over-buy than to run out. Depending on how old your child and their guests are, you could end up catering for parents as well as children. For this reason, you should sufficiently stock up on enough food and drink for the duration of the party. A full toddler is definitely better than a hungry one! If you’re doing party bags, you can buy pre-made or prepare your own.

7. Clean the house twice

It’s obvious to most that you want your home to make a good impression on guests. A tidy kitchen, pristine wood flooring, and glistening windows – they make all the difference. However, a big clean the day before – or even worse, the day of – the party can be stressful. If you do a thorough clean a week or so before, you’ll hopefully only need to give it a once over before guests begin to arrive.

8. Practice ‘thank you’s’

You little one is likely to be receiving presents. It is their birthday, after all. To make sure they’re polite to their friends, practice saying thank you and make sure they understand its importance. This is obviously worthwhile generally, but it’s especially significant at their birthday party.

Most importantly, try and have fun with it. Don’t take it too seriously and enjoy spending time with your little one and their friends.

 

Note: this is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Preparing For The First Day Of Child Care

For those moms who are reading this article, I want to assure you that separation anxiety is a pretty normal part of having a kid. We all go through it, and getting your child ready for their first day of child care can be a very daunting task. This is probably the first time you and your baby will be apart for an extended time, and you will sometimes feel guilty about it. It is an emotional time in your life, but don’t worry, with a little bit of preparation, you can address these issues and turn this first day into a memorable day.

Get Familiar

We know how difficult it can be to get a place for your child in the first place. When you have secured a place for them at the child care centre, and there are a number of child care centres in Sydney, take them back there as soon as you possibly can, to get them used to the building, the surroundings, the people and the noise. If it’s OK with the people that work there, introduce your child to the other children and if possible, try to get a short tour around the facility. Doing all this now, means that when the time comes, your child will be used to it.

Create Comfort

When your child starts going to the care centres, then at some point, they will have to take a little nap and so, if you can get one of the care assistants to show where they will sleep, then that gets them used to the idea. Also, make your child familiar with where they will eat and drink and also the toilet facilities. Once they are familiar with this new environment, it will make them feel comfortable with the people who work there and the other kids.

Making The Transition Easier

If your child takes a liking to a particular toy or other child, let them explore and try to move out of their line of sight for brief moments. This will allow them to get used to you not being there, and they will realise that they are safe and having fun, and mom isn’t there. Let the assistants who work there, get to know a little more about your child. Anything that can help them best understand your kid, like what they like or don’t like to eat, or what kind of toy they like, can only help with the transition.

Praise And More Praise

Before your kids go to the child care centre, talk about it a lot, and praise all that it has to offer. Talk about the pretty pictures there, the toys, the playground and anything else, which gives a positive light. The more you talk about it, the more normal it will feel for your child and when the day comes to go, then it won’t be the scary occasion you thought it might have been.

It’s a difficult time for any parents, and any child’s life, but if you follow these simple steps, then you should be able to reduce your child’s anxiety levels, and yours too.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

Shifting the postnatal weight

Gym Equipment

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Having a child is one of the most beautiful and natural things in the world – but with it, a female’s body experiences a great deal of change, and post birth, you can be left with a body shape that doesn’t reflect your pre-baby body at all. For this reason, a growing number of women are joining post-natal classes and are trying to get back into shape after giving birth to their little ones. With a new-born baby in tow, it can be hard to go back to the gym – but where there is a will, there is a way.

The NHS recommend waiting around six weeks post-partum before starting up intensive exercise again. Your six week postnatal check will determine how well you have recovered. However, women who exercised regularly before pregnancy, may feel fit and well to begin working out sooner than the six week check – each new mum is different. You’ll know within yourself if you feel fit enough to get back into your regime, don’t push yourself too soon.

But with social media becoming a forum for fitness inspiration, some new mums want to jump straight back on the wagon. Postnatal fitness is on the rise too. The internet has inspired a lot of us to reach our fitness goals, and postnatal goals are no different. In fact, postnatal posts are becoming increasingly popular across the web, with #postnatalfitness associated with 53,003 Instagram posts.

Industry professionals noticed a gap in the market to help women post-birth. As a result of this, fitness professionals have set up their own postnatal classes to provide a solution for new mums who were struggling to get back into shape after having their new born. There are now specialised post-natal exercise classes that help women get back into shape with their baby’s – an opportunity for new mums to get their pre-baby body back. Classes usually allow mums to bring their little ones along to the class with them.

And it appears that postnatal fitness is helping new mums not just physically, but emotionally too. Many women have also revealed that exercising after having their baby has helped prevent, or ease postnatal depression as exercise has made them ‘happier’. Research would suggest this to be true, as exercise is shown to release endorphins in the body – hormones which can have positive psychological effects, such as a ‘euphoric high’.

Randi Lynn Greene, founder of RGL fitness, is a mum herself and is passionate about helping other mums get the body they strive for. Her Instagram account, with over 39.9k followers, showcases workout and yoga routines that can be done by new mums who have a baby in tow. She has proven that workouts can be done by mums at home with a little one crawling around. Of course, nutrition is just as important as your workout regime. Greene has also appeared on Lorraine on ITV to show mums that you can exercise at your own convenience.   

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Mamma Musings

What To Think About When Buying A Baby Present Online

Buying anything online can carry an element of risk. Will it arrive on time? What is the quality like in real-life? Does the image match what you will see in the box when it arrives?

If you are looking for a quality online retailer, you can find some of the most wonderful baby gifts on sale from Baby Gift Box. You’ll discover a huge range of nappy cakes, baby hampers, baskets and other precious gifts for a little one’s arrival into the world.

When it comes to buying baby gifts online though, are there certain things you can look out for to make things easier? This article will uncover some top things to consider before you make that purchase and make things official.

 

What To Think About Before Buying A Baby Gift…

  • If you are buying clothes… be extra careful

It’s easy to get swept away by the cute images. However, it’s equally as important if not more so to consider vital aspects such as the level of comfort. Therefore, it’s essential to look at the description to read what materials the clothing is made with and if they are suitable for sensitive skin.  You’ll also want to take extra care when choosing the size.   Babies grow super-fast so if you are buying for a new-born it’s good to buy 2 years ahead in general.

  • Always read the detail

Images can only do so much talking. It’s crucial to read the finer print to discover what makes the product so special and how it is made for babies. It should answer most of your questions but just in case it doesn’t, this leads us to the next point.

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Mamma Musings

The Christmas toys one month on

Last year I wrote this post which proved really popular. We had a look back 2 months on from Christmas at which toys were the hits and which were the miss! Its funny how sometimes the unexpected toys/ gifts become the most popular.

Starting with the ones still in pretty much daily use one  month on:

Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set

Hot weels track

Hot Wheels Roto Revolution Track Set

Hot wheels are a really big thing amongst my 5 years old’s school pals so I had an inkling this was always going to be popular and I was right. Its probably the first toys himself and his pals gravitate to when they come in the door.  The set comes with 2 hot wheels cars but no batteries included as we found out on Christmas day (it takes the size D ones so not that likely to have them lying around!).  Its almost like a battle where you have to launch cars at the same time strategically into the rotating set.  Queue meg excitement here when they get the timing right as it loops around the set and crashing into your opponent’s cars in no time. The last car on the track wins. The track is compatible with the “track stars” individual cars you can purchase in Tesco, Smyth’s etc. The boys love this, its fast, action packed and generates a lot of noise and excitement.

Only downside I can see (aside for bad mammy forgetting batteries) is it does take up quite a bit of space.  The track set is available in most toys shops and a good purchase in my view. Currently selling for €39.99 in my local Smyth’s.

 

Fisher Price Teach N Tag Movi

kids toy robot

Teach N’Tag Movi

This little guy is utterly adorable and enjoyed equally as much by the 5 and the 3 year old.   He is billed as being super mobile with 360 mobility and that he has.  He is really fun, he encourages kids to get active and follow his directions, not an uncommon sight to see the kids dancing around the kitchen following Movi’s lead! There are 6 different  games to choose from​ where Movi asks the question and encourages the child to think of the answer and interact with the push buttons on  his head.  Movi has great facial expressions!

What the kids love about this is how interactive it is, they like to follow his tasks and love to practice dance moves with him. If only they would listen to me as intently as they listen to him and follow his lead.  He takes size C batteries which I did actually have so Movi has been part of the Mamma Fairy house for a month now and I don’t see him being resigned to the toy press anytime soon. Its priced at €49.99 in my local Smyth’s. It is really durable he has withstood my Mr Destruction which is the ultimate test of a toys durability I think!!!

Original Rubix Cube

It’s a real testament to think a toy first developed in 1974 is still going strong today and that’s despite the fact we live in such a technological age.  We had the junior puzzle so for Christmas we upgraded to the 3×3 version.

He hasn’t solved it yet but its not for the want of trying!! I throw it in my handbag when we are going out as I know it will keep him occupied. Funny thing is we have had lots of comments on it when out and about. I think all us 80s kids feel a sense of nostalgia for this product. At around €10 this money well spent!

Laurence King Make Your Own Spaceships

rainy day activities

Build your own Spaceship

This is quite possibly be the most perfect invention for the non crafty among us. The set includes 14 spaceships that you press out and slot together, zero need for glue or scissors .

The set includes 2 blank aliens to colour in yourself which were great fun. Definitely a great choice for any fellow non crafty mums for those rainy days.

Books, books, books

Our love of books is well documented and some of those which arrived over Christmas which we are still dipping into are:

  • Adventures of Johnny Magory – there are 3 books so far in the series and my oldest man begs me to get more. He really loves them. I think its because he finds them relatable. Like Johnny he is mostly good with a hint of mischief! Johnny plays sports, works in the bog (as my pair do each year), goes on adventures along the canal so they can immerse themselves totally in the story for them its real life.  These books are beautifully illustrated and written, illustrated and printed in Ireland. I love that.  Check them out on their website here for signed copies and additional activities.  And if the author Emma-Jane is reading this my oldest cannot wait for you write more in the series!

And to finish off this years “miss” is…….Gross Science. He wanted this badly, I mean I reckoned if Santa didn’t bring it he would have been devastated.  Unfortunately I think it was just too hyped up in his own head.  While the set comes with a good bit of stuff you needed a lot of extras to complete the experiments. We were away from home for Christmas so we didn’t have a lot of the kind of things needed in the house handy. So as I write Gross Science had joined last years Miss – Soggy Door in the bottom press!!

 

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