Introducing – Back to School Traditions

Half way through the summer holidays already!  I remember as a child the signal that we were midway in to the holiday was the sudden appearance of all things ‘Back to School’ in the shops.  Uniforms, school bags, lunch boxes, stationary etc. As a kid I hated seeing it all as it meant that all too soon it would be back to early mornings, homework, and dark, cold evenings.

Nowadays though, ‘Back to School’ stuff appears in the shops pretty much immediately!  In fact the new uniforms were in the entrance to Asda before schools had even broken up for the holidays!

back to school

Really, the only tradition we have done each year is around the purchase of new stuff for the new term – and thats just because its an essential activity, rather than a tradition as such.

Historically I’ve done this the the last week of the summer holidays – but I found last year that I’d gone to do the whole back to school shop and there was almost nothing left.  Getting jumpers in the right colour was a nightmare, the choice of pinafores and skirts non existent and the queues at Clarkes for new shoes was interminable.

To not get caught out this year – we are starting early.  However, I absolutely, categorically refuse to start any earlier that week 4 of the holidays.  It just doesn’t seem right or fair to be thinking and focussing on the end of the holidays when it feels they’ve not long begun.

But also this year, I thought we’d start a couple of new traditions.  As much as the summer holidays are great, its awful that the last couple of weeks of them, and certainly the few days are plagued with that feeling of dread (for both me and the kids to be honest) that the holidays are ending and the return to school is looming.

I want this year, and the years that follow to bring some positivity to the prospect of the new term starting for all of us.  A few things that will ease the pain so to speak, and that form family traditions over the coming years.  After checking out Pintrest, blogs and the like I decided not to go overboard, but choose 3 – keep it simple ideas

1.A super shopping date – aka purchasing of new uniform etc

Ok, so not original, but something that has to be one each year.  However rather than it just being me that does a mad dash to the shops, grabs an armful of clothes and shoves it in drawers and wardrobes on my return home.  This year I’m going to take the kids with me on the shopping trip – make a bit of a treat out of it.  Let them choose their own (oh heavens!), make it a bit more special with lunch out etc

2. Last Supper of Summer – a themed meal

Something that I read on a blog The Larson Lingo that one of their traditions was to have a theme for their school year – things like ‘Grow’,  ‘Love’, ‘Be Brave’.  It was the Be Brave one that caught me.  This is going to be a big year for Jess and Nat.  The move of house, new school, new friends, new routines.  All major changes.  They really are going to have to be brave, show courage and determination.

So, we are going to take on the tradition of an annual theme and introduce it through a Last Supper of Summer. A special dinner on the last day of the holidays. Theme – we deffo have to go with ‘Be Brave’  – I’m working through ideas, will include them, and update on a future blog.

brave

3. Knowing you – knowing me

One of their concerns each year of returning to school is having a new teacher.  They have spent a whole year getting to know the last one.  They have built a bond with their teacher, they know what they expect, how they will react, and will rightly so miss them a great deal. Then all of a sudden they’ve to start all over again.  For both the children its something they have talked about regularly and I feel that its what causes them the most anxiety when thinking about starting the new school term.  Yet another good idea on The Larson Lingo blog which I’m going to adopt and adapt was ‘My favourite things’ questionnaire.  A list of simple questions they give to their teacher to answer along with a gift to help them get to know her.

I think this is a wonderful idea.  A little gift for the teacher at the end of their first week to show a bit of appreciation (I do admire teachers, and I can imagine that the first week back for them is a total nightmare).  And what a great way for the kids to get to know their teacher, feel more comfortable around them and start a strong teacher pupil relationship.  I’m adapting it a bit as I’m going to get the girls to fill our their own questionnaire to give to their teacher with the small gift so the teacher can know some things about them and one for the teacher to then complete and return back to the girls.

questionnaire

An example of one from Pintrest – check it out for lots of fab ideas on teacher questionnaires

So, 3 new Back to School traditions in our ‘Daly Life’ – can’t wait!

I’d love to know other family traditions people have – back to school ones or others

Linking up with #momsterslink

Blended Family – Nice stuff & Niggles

Blending together as a family is one thing, blending together as a couple is another matter entirely.  Its almost unheard of nowadays for couples not to have lived together before they get married, we however didn’t do the the try before you buy scenario.  Not only did not live together before we married, but haven’t done since we married either.  That is set to change in the next couple of months, and its brought to my mind recently on how I’m going to manage the transition from being a married yet singleton so to speak, to being real life couple and all that it brings with it.

I’ve lived on my own for 4 1/2 years (with the kids of course).  I’m a bit set in my ways, used to ruling the roost, making my own decisions, getting my own way pretty much all of the time (except when the kids pester power gets the better of me). Mr Daly is here only a couple of days a week, and as such has little impact on the way I go about everyday life, but there are the odd couple of things that I’ve had to take note of, little reminders along the way that he has his own way of doing things, his own foibles and little quirks.

Blending together as a couple has meant embracing the good and the bad, the odd compromise here and there, keeping a balanced and honest view of our relationship – recognising the positives and keeping them at the forefront of the relationship and accepting that there will always be a few negatives.  No one is perfect, perfection would afterall I think get boring anyway.  However, it can be so so easy to take the good bits for granted and let the little, insignificant annoyances fester.

its the small nice things I love the most.  I don’t need big gestures, hearts and flowers are a bit lost on me really.  The little things are not –

  • He walks through the door, and before doing anything else he kisses me hello
  • He is always the first to ask me how my day has gone.  What I’ve been up to, how have the kids been.  Despite him working very long hours, often being very tired and usually arriving at mine pretty late in the evening, he always puts first my need to off load my day.  Only after I’ve rattled off everything I’ve been up to, do I take a breath, and remember – his turn.
  • We’ll sit down at the dining table to catch up on our day, and he always holds my hand whilst we talk
  • No matter what I cook for dinner he remembers to thank me (and proceeds to eat the lot, thankfully he’s not a fussy eater, just a wheat intolerant vegetarian!)

WP_20150802_013

Then, there are the niggles – small, insignificant things, but as insignificant as they are, they haven’t gone unnoticed!

  • He squeezes the toothpaste tube in the middle instead of at the end
  • He brings a glass of water to bed, but never takes it down again in the morning- amazing how quickly a collection builds up

niggles collage

  • I  find socks anywhere but in the washing basket
  • He uses the nicely folded towel in the bathroom, but never refolds it afterwards

towels

But you know what, even though I give a bit of a mental ‘tut’ when I am re-folding the towel again, or a resigned sigh as I squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom of the tube back up to the top.  I also have an inward smile, a bit of a warm feeling.  Because as tiny and unimportant as these niggly things are, I’m grateful for them.  When I pick up his stocks from the bottom of the stairs and throw them in the washing basket, it reminds me that he’s here, and due to the way we currently live, thats a bonus as the majority of the time he’s not.

I recognise the fact that I am most definitely, without doubt not an easy person to live with or even be around sometimes. I would hate to see his list of niggles about me – endless is a description that springs to mind!  Quite often my stress levels are off the scale for which unfortunately my family bare the brunt of – but he accepts this, without question, with patience and understanding (and lots of hugs).  This is what I mean by me trying to keep a balanced view of our relationship – keeping and remembering constantly of what is good, what is really of value in our relationship, my husbands true worth rather than any of the occasional trivial annoyances I come across.

Blending together is a process for me that has and is taking time, patience (hmm.. need to work on that.. not my greatest attribute),  and love (we’ve got plenty of that thankfully). I am having to learn that I am not the centre of my world , we both are.  That means working together, seeing, understanding and sometimes accepting (only sometimes mind!) an opposing opinion.  I learn a lot from him – mainly a better way to deal with stuff other that screaming my head off, and I do try (not always successfully I admit).  Blending together has wanted to make me a better person, better mother, better wife (again, not always successfully, ha ha…but I’m trying)   And isn’t that the ultimate goal – to become better  and happier people together than you were apart – I hope so, thats certainly where I want to head.

Linking up with #bestandworst

Best of Worst

The Weekly Daly Roundup #3 .. 2/8/15

Week 2 of the holidays and a bit of a jam packed week.  Many more highs than lows, many more goods than bads – so I’d say a pretty productive, fun, family week.

A roundup of our week:

High – successfully managing to bake a cake!  With much help from the girls, a never fail recipe supplied from a friend, more buttercream than you’ve ever seen before – ta dah!  An edible, half decent looking birthday cake for my mums 70th.

WP_20150729_139

Low – Spending £25 on ingredients, cake tin etc for said cake when could’ve bought one from a supermarket for less that a tenner!  Ah,but it wouldn’t have had the same love, care and attention (and slightly sunken middle or wonkey edges!)

Good – successfully got through the first week of Mini Mess without any mishaps – my summer kids programme.  Week 1 can be a bit manic, and I’m never quite sure how its going to go –  but thoroughly enjoyed myself as I think did everyone else.  Just 3 weeks left to go

WP_20150729_057

Bad – Currently in mid-bout of insomnia – leading to finding the milk in a a cupboard rather than the fridge, searching for and eventually finding my car keys in the shoebox, leaving house in slippers (twice!), leaving house without kids..

WP_20150730_092

Enjoyed –  Loads of fun with the kids this week – from baking the cake, swimming followed by the obligatory cheesy chips in the cafe. A day out at Sundown Adventureland with friends.

wildwest2

We managed a lazy Friday morning before heading off to a kids ‘Breeze’ event in the park for FREE put on by the local council.  Great afternoon making masks, bouncy castles, dress up, icecreams, roly polys down the hill and especially loved watching the kids put on Sumo suits and try to wrestle – hilarious!


Mini Breeze

Didn’t enjoy – Spending over 2 hours on the drive back from Sundown – traffic was a nightmare to say the least.  With 4 kids in the car it was endless rounds of hold your breath under the next bridge, spot the green & yellow cars.  In all honesty, they were great, no bickering or falling out, and only a couple of ‘how long till we’re back now’ comments

Mundane – finally finished climbing Mount Everest – otherwise known as the ironing pile!  Something I’d put off everyday for almost 2 weeks, so you can imagine the size of it.  The kids are going through clothes like there’s no tomorrow – they don’t seem to able to keep even just one item clean enough to wear for a second day.

Out of the Ordinary – A couple of things this week.  Went to see Texas in Millenium Square with a friend.  Last time I saw them was 1998 in Sheffield (WHAT!  how long ago!) They didn’t disappoint, fab music, amazing energy.  There is so much to be said for an open air venue, warm summer evening, live music and being out with your bezzie mate acting a bit daft! Makes for a brilliant atmosphere and the ability to remember what it was like to be young and carefree again

bezzie mate collagetexas

We also attended the lovely wedding of friends – John and Sarah, and they did the Christening of their youngest daughter Isabelle at the same time.  Loved the reception.  The tables all decorated in a shabby chic style, hession table runners, jam jars with fresh flowers and vintage style tea-cups and paper plates.  Food was picnic boxes filled with delights of pork pies (best I’ve ever had), fresh bread, cheese, pickles, crackers, coleslaw and salads.  Desert was a table filled with homemade cakes – coffee & walnut, strawberry and cream, bannofee pie, scones, chocolate cake – it was a help yourself kind of deal.. so would’ve been rude not to try a bit of a few!

Sarah and johns weddingWas such a wonderful, social and relaxed way to have a wedding reception.  Loads of kids entertainment, bouncy castle, soft play, picnic blankets out for them – fabulous. And the sun even made a re-appearance early evening. It was a beautiful wedding. It was also really great to attend as a family and the girls were the best behaved little angels for the full day.  They were polite, they self entertained (with the help of a couple of activity books I’d taken along to get them through the ceremony), no arguing, happy to talk and answer grownups with their simple child endearing conversation when required – lots of fuzzy’s awarded for their chart at the end of the day.

Grateful for – having children that can be (when they want to be) so delightful, so charming and adorable it makes my heart swell with pride and brings tears to my eyes with joy

WP_20150801_021

Linking up with #TWTWC

TWTWC
Linking up with #TWTWC

{Ordinary Moments} #4 Let us eat cake

My mum has a bit of a landmark birthday this week – the big 70.  Normally for birthdays I get cakes made, I have a fab friend who has a real talent and does it as a hobby (although I think she should make it her career) or I use Paula at The Perfect Cake Company – who I have to say is the most amazing cake decorator.  She has done numerous cakes for me over the years for my girls birthdays and I’ve loved each and everyone of them.

cake collage

But, I’d left it a bit late to order one, and given its the holidays I decided to try my hand at a cake myself.. or rather, do one with the girls.  Whilst I cook often, and think I’m ok at it (kids eat most of what I put in front of the, Ron eats everything I put in front of him, but he hates waste, so will eat it whether he likes it or not!), I rarely bake.  I’m a bit of a throw it all together type of cook so generally limit myself to baking flapjack or scones.  I think to bake successfully (cakes etc) you have to be precise or it all goes terribly wrong in my experience, and I’m not too good at precision!

But I thought, hey, no matter how it turns out, I’ll just say the girls did it and everyone will think its wonderful.

My girls certainly have their priorities right .. In their own true style they decided on at the outset was who was going to get to lick the spoon and who was going to get to scrape out the bowl!  I know its the best bit, and boy did they make the most of it.

WP_20150727_008 WP_20150727_007

My friend had given me a Mary Berry Victoria Sponge recipe that she said had never failed her and was the easiest out there. We set about weighing, measuring, cracking eggs in to the mixer

WP_20150727_003 WP_20150727_004

It wasn’t long before the kitchen looked like a flour bomb had gone off in it, but the cake was in the oven, and the kids were glued to the oven door waiting for it to rise (I stood there with my fingers crossed that it would actually rise!)

WP_20150727_009

Decorations were in order – I had in my mind to make lovely pretty roses, and cut outs of flowers and butterflies – all looked so simple in the pictures.  In reality.. not quite as easy as I thought, but we gave it a go and overall, did a reasonable job.  The girls loved using the cutters and we had enough to decorate 3 cakes never mind one.

WP_20150727_011

WP_20150727_010

I actually had a try at covering the cake in icing, not the most professional job, but given it was my first time I was pretty pleased with myself.

We sat around the cake together, deciding on placement of roses, butterflies and flowers, stood back and admired our handy work.  Ok, so entry in to the Great British Bake off is not going to happen anytime soon – but I think Grandma loved her birthday cake so much more than anything professional I could have had made for her.  There’s nothing quite like something thats home made, slightly wonky, but done with much love and effort.

WP_20150727_018

As soon as we’d finished, the next words spoken – ‘can we eat the cake now mummy?’

The finished article, made with love (and lots of buttercream) and presented with a rather charming if quite loud rendition of Happy Birthday To You from the girls!

WP_20150729_139 WP_20150729_143

Linked up with #theordinarymoments

theordinarymomentsbadge_zps284f9457