Progress report

Well, I’ve had my Fitbit now for almost 3 weeks and it’s time for me to take stock of my progress towards my health goals.

It has definitely made me think more about my movements. I’ve still got a  long way to go to be hitting my (currently low) step target every day, but I’m getting closer. I’ve also been considering how to fit more walking into my daily routine once term starts again. I’m not good about going for a random walk from home without a purpose (I have a tendency towards walking to shops and spending money…)  so I’ve downloaded some OS maps to my phone and I’m going to try driving into Epping forest, Paringdon Wood or to the river at Dobbs Weir after dropping the children to school a couple of times a week. I have downloaded an app which will map my routes as well so I can see how far I’m walking and gradually try to increase that too.

Weight-wise things aren’t so good. I lost 1.5 lbs in the first 5 days of tracking… then it went a bit wrong… I suppose starting a calorie tracking plan just before going on holiday with limited data allowance on my phone wasn’t the smartest idea, though with hindsight (what a wonderful thing…) I could have tried to write down what I’d eaten even if I didn’t know the calorie content would have kept me more on track. Anyway, I’ve returned home weighing more than I started… doh! I was rather down about this on Saturday, but I’m trying to just pick myself up and get on with it. I have the tools to get myself healthy, I just need to keep myself focussed and plod on. This isn’t going to be a quick process.

I’m going to finish this post with a photo to remind me I’m not just doing this for me. I’m doing it for these precious people as well. They are amazing in so many ways and really deserve the best wife and mother who has the energy and fitness to look after them and do the things with them they want to do. That’s not me at the moment, but one day it will be.



10 thoughts about school holidays…

10 thingsAs we hit the middle weekend of the Easter holidays I thought I’d note down 10 thoughts about school holidays… both positive and negative!

  1. 🙂 No school runs! A fabulous break from driving 5 mile each way three times a day to drop off or collect the children from their schools. (a break for the pocket as well as 30 miles a day uses a lot of petrol!)
  2. 🙂 No structure so we can do as we please each day – whether it’s snuggling up on the sofa with a dvd, playing with scooters in the garden, colouring in, reading or building mammoth train tracks
  3. 😦 No structure so we can do as we please each day – yes, I did intend to write exactly the same statement as number 2… Having a child with an ASD means that the lack of a structure or routine can be upsetting, and for R she has been a lot more excitable and needing more control of what B is doing.
  4. 🙂 We’ve been able to sit and eat lunch all together at the table each day (well, without the husband as he’s still been at work). We’ve been able to chat, B has seen us all eating the same meals and today we had a huge breakthrough – he ate a whole bowl of rice, chicken and carrots! He has always complained that he doesn’t like rice but today he realised there’s not a lot to it, and on a spoon with other hings he likes he’s been quite content to munch away at it.
  5. 🙂 We don’t have to worry about B refusing to get dressed. If he won’t clothe himself then he just stays in his bedroom until he realises he’s hungry. We have a rule in this house that unless you are properly poorly you must be dressed before coming downstairs. A grumbily tummy soon gets him moving!
  6. 🙂 The children have been able to play together when they’ve not been too tired from school to tolerate each other.
  7. 😦 The children have been able to play together when they’ve not been too tired from school to tolerate each other… this can get very loud! While I’m still not 100% after last week’s virus I don’t tolerate loud silliness very well.
  8. 🙂 B can have a nap in the afternoon to help him get over the virus without me worrying about picking R up from school. R is very good about playing quietly in her room if she knows someone else is trying to sleep, I think it gives her a very good excuse to get lost in yet another book.
  9. 🙂 I have time and energy to cook ‘real’ food for myself and the children at lunchtimes and healthy teas for them in the early evening as well. This is really good for all of us and is helping up the fruit and veg intake of each of us.
  10. 🙂 No school means no worries for R about noise and unpredictable other pupils and no worries for us about how suitable the work for her is both academically and accounting for her ASD and how she interprets the instructions she is given. This isn’t to say we’re not happy with the school, we don’t know another one in the area which would be better for her, just that school isn’t easy for her.

What a week!

We didn’t quite have the week we’d planned this week.

We’d hoped for a lovely family Mothering Sunday followed by a nice last week of term an birthday for me. God had other plans…

B, M and I have all had a form of flu. M started on Monday, gave it to me as a birthday present on Tuesday and B started it on Wednesday. We all had a temperature of over 39 degrees as well as aches and a cough. It’s been nasty. M is still exhausted despite taking 2 days off work and doing half days on Tuesday and Friday. Rather than a weekend of getting the garden more organised by preparation for selling the house later in the year our weekend is going to consist of chilling on the sofa with dvds and doing the minimum amount of housework to keep things ticking over.

Amazingly R has avoided the virus. She hasn’t coped very well with the rest of us being out of sorts and not reacting to things in the same way we would normally.

B has fallen asleep on me snuggled on the sofa twice; lovely in a way, but a sure sign he’s not well.


The only good thing about this virus is the effect it had on my appetite for a few days… My clothes definitely fit better than they did at the start of the week! Sadly, it has had the same effect on M and has left his BMI down at 18.1! He doesn’t need any help keeping his BMI down!

Hopefully we’re all past the worst now, we want to be able to enjoy our Easter break and have some family fun.

Trying to spend less on food

I’ve been reading a lot of thrifty living blogs lately and I have been inspired by some of the ideas I read.

Cooking an evening meal from scratch for us all doesn’t work in the week in our house. The husband doesn’t get home from work until a similar time to the children’s bedtime so a meal for all four of us doesn’t work. I prefer not to cook from scratch twice in the evening and have come up with a solution that helps my husband and I eat healthily, reduces the amount I spend on food and is also really easy.

Whenever I see a really good offer on meat (chopped beef, lamb or chicken breasts) I will buy some and then create something in the slowcooker either with a cheap jar of curry sauce, a tin of soup, or a carton of chopped tomatoes as a sauce base. I’ll add lots of vegetables and extra garlic or spices depending what I’m aiming for.

So far I’ve created:

  • chicken dopiaza (a jarred sauce with added peppers, onions and a carton of tomatoes)
  • beef madras (another jarred sauce with added peppers and onions)
  • chicken korma (a jarred sauce with added mushrooms, spinach and sultanas)
  • creamy chicken, leek and carrot (using a can of condensed cream of chicken sauce as a base and a little bit of smoked bacon and garlic for extra flavour)
  • a rich chilli, tomato and bacon pasta sauce (4 cartons of chopped tomatoes, lots of garlic, chilli and basil and a box of Sainsbury’s basics smoked, chopped cooking bacon)
  • garlicky chicken and mushrooms (a can of condensed mushroom soup, half a bag of frozen mushrooms, a couple of rashers of smoked bacon and 5 cloves of garlic) – this didn’t look appetising as the sauce separated a bit but it was gorgeous, very garlicky and lovely with some frozen spinach and a little grated italian hard cheese stirred though a portion
  • paprika beef (this came from a large box of reduced chopped steak late on a Sunday afternoon and was cooked with chopped tomatoes, garlic, onions, peppers, carrots, a beef stockpot and a lot of paprika) – it smelt amazing, but sadly due to the number of peppers put in it I couldn’t eat it 😦

These have all been boxed in individual portion foil trays (just like you get from a takeaway – but I bought mine on Amazon), clearly labelled with the date and contents and then frozen. They can be defrosted in a pan with a little water as the rice/pasta/potatoes are being cooked. The trays may not seem a cheap option, but I kept dropping plastic boxes out of the freezer and breaking them. The trays I bought worked out at ~12 pence each, which doesn’t seem cheap, but even including that cost I have been spending less on evening meals for my husband and I than I was.

My husband and I can have easy, healthy food on the table within 30 minutes of him getting home (or us getting the children into bed). We’re eating more vegetables (no bad thing!) and getting to sleep sooner due to eating earlier (which is definitely a good thing!).

How is it the end of February?

This year is flying by. I can’t believe it’s the last week in February already!

February has been a write off. I didn’t manage to shake the virus off properly at the start of the month and it’s still making its presence felt having left me with breathlessness which requires an inhaler at times. Almost everything has fallen by the wayside in the last couple of weeks. It’s only this week that I’ve been able to stay on top of the basic housework without relying on the monkeyfather to help me, and that’s partly thanks to a wonderful, restful few days staying with my lovely mother.

I haven’t spent quality time with the monkeygranny since last summer, it was great to be back at home and able to switch off a bit. It was brilliant to see the wonderful relationship she has with my two monkeys as well.

My photography has fallen by the wayside this month. I took a lot of photos while I was up north, but on the whole it was just using the automatic settings and hoping for the best rather than trying to set anything up properly. I think I may have put too much pressure on myself at the start of the year with the photo365 challenge, I don’t think I realised quite how precariously my depression was balancing. I’m going to try to keep taking photos, but if I don’t take them, or I don’t post them on here then so be it.

In other notes, the poll for the names of my Lego couple closed with the decision that they are called Bob and Martha. I will try to include a photo of one of both of them once a week or so (but I’m not going to commit to anything).

I hope to be around more in the coming days but, again, no promises.


My nose may have been dripping 90% of the time(sorry if that’s too much information…), but it has been a productive day – depending on your definition of productive…

The kitchen may be a bit of a tip (again!) but I’ve researched and booked a holiday for us and managed to put two children to bed without shouting (from anyone!). Hanging the washing out to dry was a challenge due to an inablity to breathe when bending over; but I still managed to finish it – I did need to lie down briefly afterwards though.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll be breathing more easily as I’m chairing a meeting in the evening and that will be a challenge if I’m feeling rough.


The wonderful (not!) cold that I’ve had all week resurrected itself today after almost going yesterday… I’m not impressed. I’ve sniffed my way through today…

Despite this, I have had a good, though tiring day. Church this morning was followed by a rush up to Cambridge to meet the lovely in-laws for lunch and a play in a playground for the children. It was fantastic to see them again and see how much our precious nephew has grown. The monkeyboy was a pain in the restaurant, unless he had food in front of him he was wandering/crawling under the table and generally being silly. Nothing I said seemed to make any difference whatsoever. Thankfully he was fantastic after a firm talking to when we left there and was a superstar at bedtime (maybe his sleep in the car on the way home helped that!). The monkeygirl, on the other hand, was great in Cambridge but whiney on the way home (traffic was stop start for a while, she doesn’t cope well with that) and downright obnoxious at bedtime. She did her bathroom things without trouble but refused to get into night clothes and lay on the landing shouting that she was too tired. I ended up having to change her myself, pick her up and put her into bed  and shut her door. She screamed and shouted for the next 10 minutes then calmed enough for me to go in a talk to her, she eventually admitted she’d not been good and it was her choice to be naughty and get some of her cuddlies confiscated, she’ll get them back on Wednesday. We count to 5 if we feel the need to threaten that, usually the children will be doing what we asked before we get to four, but not today. She just shouted. She was definitely a tired girl, I’m not sure whether anxieties about which teacher she’ll have tomorrow will have affected her today, she did tell me on Friday she didn’t want to go in unless her normal teacher was back. Hopefully she’ll feel better in the morning anfter a good night’s sleep.