Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Busy Busy Busy

Just a quick one.  I've not disappeared off the face of the earth, I'm just really busy!!  

Work has become really busy with a lot of clients wanting paperwork turning round in a few hours and many going for accreditation status, so I'm fire fighting my inbox at the moment.

I did think I had a lul so started a bespoke blog for Groundworkers which is SO NEARLY finished  but I keep getting taken off it to do urgent client work.

So I will be back (and no, I haven't meal planned) (and no, I'm not comfortable with it) as soon as I can!!

Now, off to swap the laundry over and do a couple of CoSHH Assessments.


PS - If anyone wants to write a guest post to help me out on Money Saving, Organising or Making Money - Please, please do leave me a comment and I'll get back to you!!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Gluten Free Homemade Meat and Potato Pie

Meat and Potato Pie is an easy left over dish to make.  If you're not Gluten Intolerant then this is a cheap recipe.  If you are and are rubbish at making Gluten Free pastry like myself, then buying the ready made DS Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry (other gluten free products are available!) from the Freezer Aisle does unfortunately push up the price.

So once you've had Gluten Free Hot Pot for an evening meal, save the leftovers and make this, like this...

1. Defrost the pastry (or make your own) and roll out to a dinner plate size

2. Warm the plate in the oven.  I find this makes the pastry cook better and a little crisper

3. Grease the plate - use a brush or a spray unless you have fireproof hands.

4. Place the pastry on the plate and cut round, not to close, you need enough to crimp together to seal the pie

5. Fill the pie with the left over hot pot (you'll be surprised at how little you need! Freeze the rest if there's any left over)

6. Now do a gravy check.  You need a little but not a lot otherwise the pastry on the bottom will not cook.   Add a little if you think it needs it

7. Roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the pie.  Again, roughly cut round and crimp the edges together using a fork.

8. Prick the top of the pie to let the steam escape

9. Glaze the top with lactofree milk or cream if you are dairy intolerant

10. Cook until looking golden.

Check the bottom by sliding in a knife between the pie and the plate.  If the pastry is cooked the pie is done, if not it needs to go in a little longer.

Serve with Peas and a little extra gravy if you are a fan of "wet" food, like my boys

Voila - a Meal for the price of pastry!

There are no affiliate links in this post and I have not been compensated to mention DS and Lactofree products.  They are just what I use and I find them the best alternative at present if you have intolerances.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Ten Minute Task - The Can Cupboard

This week, I have to tackle the canned food cupboard as it is driving me insane!

Nothing is in the right place, things in jars are going out of date and it just needs organising.

So,  empty the cupboard and whilst you do this get rid of anything which is out of date.

Wipe out the cupboard and dry it.

Put the tins into some sort of sensible order.  I start with the ones I have most of and put those together, double stacked.  Then vegetables all go together, then sweet stuff ... you get the idea.

Probably the most useful advice from me on this one will be to put anything the kids love to eat at the back such as pots of custard or jelly that you are saving for a packed lunch.  

Have an organised week!


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Top 5 Thrifty Blogs

Much of my inspiration for money saving comes from reading the blogs of those on the same journey.  Some of the advice on those blogs has changed the way I have approached my mortgage pay off project and served me well when I've had quiet months work wise.

Top 5 Thrifty Blogs

These are my Top 5 Thrifty Blogs

Living Well Spending Less
This is an American Blog but most of the posts make perfect sense whether your in £££ or $$$.  Loads of to the point how to posts here to keep you on track and a huuuuuuuge Thrifty Thursday Linky where over 300 thrifty posts are linked up each week.

From Aldi to Harrods
Just discovered this last week and I'm loving it!  From tips on how to make £1000 in one month to posts telling you when to post on eBay for free.  I'm currently reading through old posts on here and my favourite has to be How To Sell Your Smelly Shoes on eBay.  You will not believe it! 

Mortgage Free in Three
I've spoken about Elaine's blog recording her journey of paying off her mortgage and living a debt free life.  Last month Elaine make a phenomenal amount of money and also shared some fantastic ideas for both making and saving money.

Utterly Scrummy Food for Families
A great source for low cost recipes.  If you're struggling with your meal planning or need a tight week, get over and have a read as Michelle seriously knows how to keep the cost of the weekly shop down and her family eat really healthy food.

A Thifty Mrs
This is the first thrifty blog I came across and I love the household advice on here.  I now know how to launder my towels correctly and mix up cheaper cleaning solutions.  A mine of advice and also a source of sales alerts and bargain buy news.  Invaluable, you must subscribe to this one to know about the offers asap.

 So that's what I read and what keeps me on track.  How about you - what's your favourite thrifty blog?

Monday, 21 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - Freezer Restock

Remember how we ate out of our freezer for the whole of February?

Well now it's pretty empty and although it's nice to be able to find things, it's not so nice not being able to grab a quick meal top heat through.

So this week, I'm batch cooking all day Monday (I know how to enjoy a bank holiday :s) to restock.

I spent Saturday looking for meat deals to keep the cost down as a big cook like this can be expensive otherwise.

So this is what we're on...

Monday: potato hash (aka pie filling)
Tuesday: Potato, spinach and Chicken Curry
Wednesday: meat and potato pie and peas
Thursday: enchiladas and potato wedges
Friday: Chilli Con Carne and rice
Saturday: Take away
Sunday: Steak and Ale Casserole

I'll cook four portions of each meal and have the slow cooker going for the potato hash as its the least fragrant!

The enchiladas and curry will both be wok cooked and the two big pans will be on for the chilli and steak casserole.

I freeze everything in either Pyrex or disposable foil trays so there's no faffing around with plastic bags, I can just bung things in the oven or leave them out to defrost.

This post is linked up with Meal Planning Monday on At Home With Mrs M where there's loads of different meal plans. Go and have a look

Have a fab week!


Sunday, 20 April 2014

A Day in the Life - Infinite Claire

Most of my friends and family regularly, and have for years I may add, get digs in that I don't do any work.

I do actually own my own business, believe it or not - and most choose not to!!

For those who don't know I'm a Health and Safety Consultant and I own my own company Infinite Safety Ltd.  I work mainly with Construction Clients in the Lancashire Area and I work part time.

I work part time for two reasons.  Mainly because

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Plum Little Yums - Review

Teething seems to be happening younger and younger and this time I've lived every tooth, unlike my other two children who seemed to pop them through without much bother.

My youngest seems to get four at a time and take a week in doing so.  He goes off his food and goes picky whilst there's one on the way and although I've tried hard foods to get the tooth through, I think they
just appear when they are ready.

We were sent two packs of Plum Little Yums to try and they have gone down a storm.  He will eat these with Cheese and Chicken when going through a teething week so they are ideal for picky lunch.  They are also ideal for taking in the changing bag as a snack as they are individually wrapped in packs of three.

They are suitable from six months on and are certified as organic. They are also a great way to get babies self feeding and don't contain added sugar or salt but still taste great.

The two flavours we tried (and we have all tried them!) were Pumpkin and Banana and Spinach, Apple and Kale.

The flavours are sweet but not sacharinny and certainly don't leave teeth coated which I find other baby biscuits can do

Both varieties went down well and didn't leave any mess, which is a massive plus from me as I often can be seen with various food stuffs around my knee level!  As you can see, someone just wanted to help himself!

A box of 18 (6 packs of 3) is currently £2.49 in Tesco.  I can't find them stocked in another supermarket yet but I'm sure when they become available they will be on offer!  They are available online via the Plum website and a few organic food suppliers.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Best Supermarket Deal

What do you do when more than one of the big supermarkets are running offers? Which is the best?  Which one do you go for?

Each offer needs weighing up to see how much you actually save.  If you are spending what you haven't got to save, then it's not a good offer for you.  However, if you usually spend the qualifying amount, then it could be a good deal for you.

Take the Morrison's £10

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The £40 12 Year Old Challenge - The First Week

Remember at the start of the Easter Holidays I gave my 12 year old his spending money for the holidays?

The idea was to give it in one lump so the daily "can I have some money" didn't add up to a small fortune.

So how did the first week go?

From my perspective, very well as I've not been asked for any money!

On the other hand £16.50 went in the first evening at the waterpark and the rest has basically been frittered on drinks at the park.

He has learnt something though as he's spent birthday money on an annual pass for the waterpark.  He worked out it would take 8 trips to pay for itself and he's made two on the pass so far.  The food is really reasonable in there and they get a good meal.  He quickly realised that paying on the door would eat up his spends and took the advice of a friend who gets a pass each year.

He has dipped into his own money box though so he could get dinner during one visit to the waterpark.  And yes I did feel mean.

So, how much has the Easter holidays cost you in spends and refreshment money?  I'd love to hear, please leave a comment below.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ten Minute Task - Bannisters

My life is a constant rush and unfortunately not off the adrenaline kind.

An uncluttered house is my dream and I'm working at it ten minutes at a time.

This week, I have been cleaning bannisters.  It's also good exercise!

It's a simple job but one that gets ignored no matter how many times you lean on it.

So the easiest way, I find, is grab a bowl of hot soapy water and a cloth.

I hold the cloth and run my hands down each spindle, quite tightly, to get those rings of dust.

Then I pull the cloth from side to side through the gaps, where the dust really gathers.

Then it's a quick wipe down the sides, wipe of the handrail and I'm done. 

I also do the skirting boards on the other side and it just takes me ten mins.

What can you get done in ten mins, what task do you avoid?

Have a good, clean week!!


Money Making Mojo

The hardest thing about being determined to pay off a debt or to save is to get focussed and stay focussed.

Those who have read this blog will see that I've lost focus on that goal several times.  If I had stayed focused, I would have paid off my mortgage by now and have a nice little income in the form of rent.

Most of the time, doing what you always have is not enough and you can only scrimp and save so far.

So how to make that extra money to throw at the debt you want to kill?

Firstly look at what you do.  There's 24 hours in a day.  How much of that do you spend in front of the TV?  Could you spend that couple of hours doing something else? Do you sleep too much? (I do given the opportunity)

Have a look at People Per Hour or E-Lance.  Are there any jobs on there that you could do in that couple of hours a night

I know you don't want to work all the hours, but this doesn't come easy.  Hard work pays off!!

Are you crafty?  Have a look at Etsy or Folksy.  Is there anything on there that you can make and sell to create another income stream?  I find Craftseller magazine a great inspiration.  Buy a second hand one off ebay, see what you think.

Is there anything you can do locally?  Babysitting maybe?  Tutoring students?

Do you blog? Can you write? Can you complete questionnaires for a few quid (you could do that AND watch TV!)

And your regular job, could you do more hours?  Are you worth a pay rise?  Can you do a project at home maybe for a bonus?  

If you own your own business, market yourself in different ways to get more work with a different clientelle, maybe?

These are just ideas to get you in the right frame of mind.  You have to have several income streams to make this work fast.  Have a look at the March Side Hustle Posts on Mortgage Free in Three.  Elaine's kids were determined to make a set amount and they did it.  They pulled together and they did it because they worked hard and made more income streams.

Hopefully I've got you raring to go now?! So go!  Do!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - The Big Cooking Session

So, last week worked really well - here's the gist if you missed it...


So, as usual I'm acting like my children actually run the house and have the upper hand, and I'm letting them do the meal planning again.  I've suggested they follow up on this and do the shopping too but they both disappeared leaving me with a 1 year old that can push a trolley but just throws money out of purses therefore can't yet be trusted.

Although they have chosen what they want to eat, I have jigged it around a bit, just to stamp my authority as an adult really, and to make it so I can cook once on Monday after I've shopped and then have more free time to clean up after the little darlings and chauffeur them around if necessary.

Here it is..

Monday - Spaghetti Bolognaise and Garlic Bread

Tuesday - Green Thai Curry and Rice with piles of mange tout and baby corn

Wednesday - Spaghetti Tacos and potato wedges

Thursday - Slow Cooker Curry

Friday - Cheesy Mash Shepherd's Pie and piles of veg

Saturday - Take Awaaaaaayy!!

Sunday - Paprika Chicken and Quinoa

and the plan for cooking...

- Make huge batch of spag bol and freeze several portions.
- Put enough in fridge for Spaghetti Tacos on Wednesday
- Make Thai Curry and refrigerate
- Mix up the curry sauce in a freezer bag and put in fridge
- Make garlic bread - from scratch!!  (anyone know if I can freeze dough?)
- Make two shepherds pies and freeze

- Make pan of rice and veg for with curry

- Dice chicken and add to bag of ingredients

- Fling chicken curry bag contents into the slow cooker in a flamboyant, I've beat this stove standing lark fashion
- Remember to switch slow cooker on at the plug!!!
- Make some rice and chips at tea time
- Defrost a shepherds pie

- Bung shepherds pie in oven and boil loads of veg

And you're thinking but what about the Paprika Chicken?

Well it's already lingering at the back of the freezer.  I found it during a lunchtime freezer dive last week.

This reduced cooking plan is really working for me!

This post is linked up with the Meal Plan Monday Linky on At Home With Mrs M.  There are loads  of meal plans on there and I urge you to read them as some are gourmet!!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Wine...Its not for me

How many thirty-ahem-cough-cough year old females say that?

I've tried wine drinking and come to the conclusion that I'm more off a beer gal.  But then it's difficult to eat a meal with a stomach full of gas and equally as difficult to hold a conversation without letting rip with a massive belch.

So, real ales, they're good as they're not gassy but they are filling, not widely available and can be a little bit too strong for me.  I'm good if its a couple in a pub, but not for a night out.

Colin Burbidge - The Lancashire Wine School

Now to the housewives favourite, wine. Red or white I'm not a fan.  Neither are sweet enough and I fear the staining of the red on my teeth.  (Tooth tip - don't brush your teeth after drinking red - the acids interfere with tooth enamel and it can be damaged by a vigorous brush-another reason to give out a wide berth - Thanks Col!)

I do actually like the taste of one wine, a sauvingon blanc that I tried at a Lancashire Wine School Wine Tasting.  It was fruity enough to taste nice and was refreshing. I didn't get the icky aftertaste.  I just get to drink on wine.

So what is my drink of choice?

After trying six different types, including white, aged and tawny, my drink of choice is Port.  Get me!  Who'd have thought I'd be tempted away from Dissarono and Tia Maria!! From The unsophisticated drinks of the bar to the posh end in one high heeled glide!!

Thanks to Colin Burbidge for furthering my alcohol education and introducing me to grown up drinks at my ripe old, I mean tender, age!!

You can read more about Colin's Port and Cheese nights here, and if you're in Lancashire and going to a tasting night, let me know!

The Lancashire Wine School are, appropriately, sponsoring My Cava Lifestyle this month.  Unfortunately just the blog, not my actual Cava Lifestyle!!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Project Life for Meal Planning

Project Life by Becky Higgins is a system designed for scrapbookers who don't have the time to do layouts but want to record their lives in a quick and easy way.

Segmented plastic pockets are filled with pictures and pre-designed journalling cards which give a large layout where the elements just slot in and all the pockets are held in a lovely padded ringbinder.

It just doesn't work for me though.  I like simple scrapbook layouts but I don't like my layouts when I do them in the Project Life style.  So after investing in the cards, the pockets and the binder, I need to find an alternative use and that is...

To do my meal planning!

I've been meaning to make a meal planning board for ages but haven't got around to it.  I want a card system where I can categorise meals into types of meat, sides and carbs and I figured my project life binder is ideal for this!  I can even write recipes on the backs of the cards.

I have a lot of meals to write up and add to my binder but this is my starting point.

The boys can even have a browse through when they don't know what they fancy.  It'll be like a menu for them.  They'll love it!  They have waiter service, why not have a menu too!

What do you think? 

Would this system work for you?

Have you any alternative uses for the Project Life Materials?

This is not a sponsored post, it is me making a craft project out of an investment that is sat there gathering dust.  Although, I would love to do a sponsored post if Becky or her team are reading?!

Friday, 11 April 2014

Stupid Things My Council Does - Week 1

I'm taking a break from ranting this week.  It's the Easter Holidays, 3 boys at home, I'm too chilled to rant!!  (ha!)

I regularly go on and on (and then some) about the council but this really is blogworthy.

Blackpool Council are giving out cards to dog owners who pick up their dogs poo.  The card says "Thanks for Doing Right".

I'm sure you probably re-read that to make sure I had typed Had rather than Hadn't.
The Gods Shining on My Dog who never leaves a Poo Behind!!

It is indeed someone's job to watch people pick up poo then go and say thanks.  They are then entered into a free draw for an annual Merlin pass. (the dog owner, not the employee hahah!)

If some jobsworth gave me a card for picking up MY dogs mess, I would calmly* suggest they spend their time and my council tax money focusing on the lowlifes that DON'T pick up poo - you know - the ones that actually break the law by letting their dogs foul.  The ones that could cause blindness to an innocent child who just wants to play on the local field.

*whilst Red Faced, Loud Voiced and Hand Waving Frantically 

Is this the most ridiculous thing you have heard today?

People at the council are losing their jobs because of cutbacks yet they are paying for personnel and printing to fund this stupid scheme!!!

Please back me up on this!  How stupid is this!!??

Is your council as ridiculous?

Thursday, 10 April 2014

What's on at Easter - Budget Activities

The school holidays can really affect your budgetting and saving.  They certainly do mine.  I get sick of hearing my own voice say No to everything that costs money.

Here's five ways to get you and the kids out of the house for not very many pennies at all.

1.  Take a picnic.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, take food with you.  I can't pay £2 for a sandwich and drinks really affect the savings.  Take far too many drinks and enough food to keep the "can I haves?" at bay.

Cheap Days out for kids

2.  Visit a Museum.  The majority are free.  Google your county followed by the word museum and find one you may not have known about.  Fleetwood Museum was our surprise last Easter.

3.  Visit a Graveyard.  What?!!  Are you crazy!? What kind of day out is that?  Well, if you've an interest in family history or maybe a section in your local graveyard (we have a polish section and a WW2 section) you can really get stuck into discussions about how the world was.  ok, it's not an every holiday day out, but it is an experience!

4. Park Crawl.  Like a pub crawl but parks instead.  Great if you've got fuel in the car and your town has several parks.  We visited one a week in the summer hols last year and rated them on equipment and friendliness of locals.

5. Couponing!!  I know Walkers are currently giving half price vouchers to Sea Life Centres and if you get on the money saving forums, any good deals will be listed.  There's always Tesco vouchers too.  You can even buy them for a song on ebay! Search Tickets and see what comes up.

6.  RNLI - if you live on the coast, have a mosey round the lifeboat station.  Check they are open first though, most are and all have an open day at some point in the year.

7.  Scavenger Hunt.  You know I love them.  Do a nature themed sheet and do the hunt in the park before you settle down for your picnic.  Take a bat and ball and go all old school in the afternoon with ball games!

So, hopefully that'll give you some ideas to get out.  And if you had budgetted for the day out and do a cheaper, or free alternative, bank the money in your savings fund!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Ten Minute Task - Cleaning the Front Door

Nothing is more welcoming than a clean shiny front door and likewise, nothing is more off putting than a dirty door that has not been cleaned.  What will the rest of the house be like?

So this weeks 10 minute task is to clean your front door (and the back if you work like a dynamo!)

- Grab a bowl of hot soapy water and wipe the inside of the door down with a cloth

- Really get into those nooks and crannies

- Give it a wipe down with an old towel to avoid water marks

- Clean the glass and dry with kitchen roll.  I use hot water with a dash of white vinegar in.

- Repeat this for the outside

- Polish the ironmongery.  Get that letterbox gleaming

- If you have a step, sweep off the dirt.

- Stand back and be proud of your front door.

Try and incorporate this into your porch/hall cleaning routine.

Job done!

I'm getting some really positive comments on Twitter about my #tenmintask posts - what can you get done in 10 minutes?  Would you like to write a Guest 10 Minute Task Post?  Leave me a comment below

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How to Get Maximum Ebay Prices

You know I'm addicted to eBay.  Well, I'm addicted to the trickle of pennies flowing in.  I know a lot of people are put off ebay because they don't feel it's worth the time or slight money investment. 

So here's my top 5 ways to increase your chances of getting higher bids.

1.  Good Photos.  Have a staged place to take your photos.  A white background with light on the item works well.

2.  Low Start Price.  Sounds crazy but you need people to put that initial bid in to get things going.  People will bid a quid without much consideration, they will not bid £4.99 without a thought.

3.  Time the Auction.  Depending on what the item is, your end time can have a massive impact on the number and speed of the bids.  If you can get just two people battling it out for your item, you will get a better price.  Consider your target market.  Lego will do well ending on a Saturday tea time when the kids are watching it and pestering mum and dad.  End the auction at 11pm and no one will be watching.  However, if you're selling a fashion item, end that around 9.30 on a Thursday when fashionistas will be ebaying for next weekends outfit.

4.  Tell Everyone!! Each listing has the option to share.  I'm sure those that follow me on Twitter are sick of me posting what I'm selling, but don't forget the search facility on Twitter.  If I tweet I am selling #lego, anyone interested in lego will see my tweet promoting my item.

5.  State the Obvious.  If it's new, unused or an unwanted gift - say so.  If it's from a smoke and pet free home, this makes a massive difference.  Tell people what your item is good for.  Tell them who would love it as a gift.  Say how quick you'll post it and point out your good feedback record.  And remember, ebay has an amazingly good page rank when you google an item you are wanting to buy, and who wouldn't buy brand new but at a discount price?!

So have a go!  Just remember when you are pricing your item to consider the listing fee, the percentage ebay will take, the paypal fees and the postage charges if you're offering free postage.  I work on everything selling for a quid plus fees then anything on top of that is a bonus.

Tweet me @Claire_Sheehan if you are selling and I'll RT for you.

Oh!  Here's a bonus tip Free Postage incorporate the postage fees into your price and you'll get more bids as we all love free postage.  I work on items under a kilo being £2.60 second class, but postage scales are cheap and there's loads of online post label services that can give you the price.

Go on!!  Clear your clutter and make a few quid!  It all goes to your major financial goal.  My mortgage is shrinking thanks to ebay and my house is becoming less cluttered.  Win Win!!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday - Cook Once for the Week

It's the Easter Holidays and about time.  Both boys are worn out and quite frankly that is wearing me out.  

So, tactics are required here.  Dinners (lunches) are always a bit of a hit and miss thing.  Some are planned and healthy, some are made by themselves as a cooking activity and others are thrown together and eaten like we're cavemen.

I will not be chained to the kitchen for this holiday and I do aim to leave it at sometime.  I'm adopting the Once a Month Mom tactic.  (prepping as many meals as possible and spending one full day cooking)

Here's the meals:

Monday:   Chicken Dinner 

Tuesday:  Sloppy Joes and Potato Wedges

Wednesday:  Chicken and Veg Pasta Bake

Thursday:  Turkey Tikka Massala

Friday:  Chilli Tacos

And here's how I'll do It

Monday:  Cook 2 Chickens and double veg  refrigerate leftovers
                Make Cheese Sauce and refrigerate
                Cook Sloppy Joes in Slow Cooker and refrigerate
                Bake 4 potatoes and refrigerate
                Mix up Turkey Tikka Massala Raw in a Freezer Bag and freeze
                Cook big batch of Gluten Free Chilli on hob then freeze

Tuesday:  Warm up sloppy joe mix, Cut wedges, sprinkle with seasoning and bake, toast buns, fill with sloppy joe mix and serve

Wednesday:  Warm up cheese sauce to loosen up.  Put extra chicken and left over veg in pasta bake dish, pour over cheese sauce, pour over water until loose consistency and stir well.  Take out 20 mins in and stir.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cook until hot.
                Take the Turkey Tikka Massala from the Freezer

Thursday: Cook the Turkey Tikka Massala

                Take the Chilli out of the freezer

Friday:  Heat through the chilli and serve in tacos with loads of accompaniments

What do you think?  Sounds easy?  I'll report back next week how it goes (fingers crossed!)

There's loads more meal plans which are probably not so frantic over on At Home With Mrs M which this post is linked up to.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Free School Breakfast - No Thanks

My middle child's school provides a free breakfast for all pupils.  This is as a result of children going to school hungry.

Why are they going to school hungry?

Is it not a parents responsibility to feed and look after their children? I would go hungry myself before letting my sons go hungry.

Each day, at morning break they receive a bread product, a piece of fruit (which they have provided for at least the last 8 years anyway) and a bottle of water.

So why do I have a problem with this?

I feed my boys when they get up.  Always have, always will.  Then they take a packed lunch to school.  When they eat an extra bread roll or pancake they are not hungry enough at their lunch slot and they are not eating all their lunches.

This extra meal provided by school is interferring with a meal routine I have spent years developing.

I understand some kids don't get a meal but is providing this meal solving the problem?  I believe children should be looked after at home.  If school continue to pick up what is missed at home, the problem of it being missed will never be addressed. 

Please let me know your thoughts

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The £40 12 Year Old Challenge

I am a massive believer that children are not taught enough about money at school.  

Blackpool Council have proudly announced they are giving each September 2014 Year 7 Child £10 to deposit with Blackpool and Fylde Credit Union.


Are you thinking what I'm thinking.  (I might soon start a blog "Stupid Things My Council Does")

I really don't know the ins and outs of it, but I think the gist is to show them that they can actually save it rather than buy 10 bottles of cheap energy drink.

So anyway, I figure school aren't going to teach the boys about financial matters so I'll take the matter into my own hands.  I tackled the handwriting problem - I can do this!

My 12 year old is either attached to a wireless device or out.  Both have their costs but the Out usually entails £5 on the way out for drinks and dinner (I mean lunch, I'm northern!)  17 days off school would equate to £85. To me that's a weekly shop, not a load of pasties and lucozade.
Child Savings

So, on the Friday they break up, I will be giving the boy £40 to do with whatever he wishes.  I shall also be asking for a daily run down to chart what he spends his money on.  I then propose to equate this to things he would want to buy or do. i.e. New Xbox game or a load of pop or A day at the Waterpark, 2 trips to the cinema and a couple of bowling sessions.

I shall be tweeting the previous day's expenditure so if you are interested in the spending habits of a 12 year old in a seaside town, my twitter feed is @Claire_Sheehan

Play along in the comments!  I'd love to know if all boys are the same and if other children do actually value money.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ten Minute Task - Cleaning The Washing Machine

Yes, your washer does need cleaning.  Think about put dirt in it, some of it will stick!!

This task, although it doesn't take long, needs going back to over the day, so best to do when your in all day.

Firstly, take the powder drawer out and soak it in really hot water for about 20 minutes.  Then give it a scrub with a sponge scourer and a bottle brush to get in the nooks and crannies.

Dry the drawer and put out back in the washer.

Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to the fabric conditioner drawer and 4 tablespoons directly into the drum.

Wipe around the seals and wipe the door glass with a damp cloth to remove any forty and soap scum.

Run a 90 degree wash with the washer empty.

After its done it will be fresh and soap scum free.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Personalised Star Chart

Over the years of tantrums and tears, mainly mine, I have found an invaluable tool in getting the boys to toe the line and act more human and less caveman.  It's the star chart.

We've tried the naughty step.  We've tried the toy confiscation.  We've tried early bedtimes and mollycoddling and pretty much the only guaranteed method that works for all of us, is the Star Chart.

Kids are used to various forms of token winning and card charts at school and toe the line to get the hallowed Golden Time, the opportunity to play rather than work.  There is no reason why this can't work in the home too.

Set the Ground Rules

For this to work, establish the ground rules to avoid cried of "That's Unfair".  The most important thing here is that it is fair and your child is rewarded for doing as they should.  If you don't do what you say you will, they will never forget and the whole process is undermined.

So here's the rules

Stars are given by an Adult as a reward for good behaviour.

The child must colour in the stars when they have earned it (not mentally bank them stating this and that as a reason for earning a star)

Agree on a timescale when the goal reward will be given, I think at the next weekend is fair.

Follow Through You promised it.  You need to let them have their reward.

Goal Setting

So why set a goal?  Motivation.  Simple as that.  If there is no reward, your child will lose interest and won't see the point.

Reward good behaviour in a way they can see the results and benefit from their good work and your child will soon turn effort into routine and habit.

You can download a template Star Chart in Word Format Here.  It can be personalised to your child's name and they can (or you for the young ones) write in their reward

Good luck and let me know how you go on!



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