Barking mad?

We are now the proud doggy parents of two French Bulldog puppies. They are the most beautiful little guys, and we’ve named them Arlo and Beau, although Jude was hoping for Ryan and Axel (kids on YouTube, absolutely not a chance!).


We kept it reasonably quiet as the elder two girls were still in school until yesterday and we wanted to surprise them. The people we did tell were wonderfully supportive and excited for us, and they knew this was something we had wanted for a while. 

Upon surprising the (human) girls after school, we decided to unleash the (canine) boys upon social media, and that’s where the fun really started.

“Oh god you must be mad! Do you know how much work that will be?”

Well I’ve got four kids, so I’ve a pretty good idea. 

“How on earth will you cope?!”

Please see above ref: loads of bloody kids that I’m not doing an altogether shitty job of raising, so I think I’ll be sound thanks.

“Make sure you hide all of Jude’s Lego!”

Oh you know what? I’m so glad you said that, I had thought that Arlo might want to help me build the Millenium Falcon, but you’re probably right, he’s just not got the dexterity in his paws. 

“Oh Frenchies have *this* problem and their personalities are like *this*”

Yeah, because I didn’t research the animals that we are forking our huge sums of money for. Just totally winging it. Didn’t get health checks and papers and look at the parents and the home they came from before making a decision. What kind of idiot do you take me for?

There was a few more along this vein and it was actually a bit depressing. Are people genuinely so eager to put others down or show off their knowledge that they can’t just say “congratulations”? 

If I’d unexpectedly brought a baby home, would the comments have been the same? “Oh you’ll never cope with that, are you mad?!” So why is it acceptable for those comments in this situation?

I think of friends who maybe can’t have babies for whatever reason, maybe it’s just not worked out that way, or personal choice. I would never question them on their ability to look after their pets. Just as I’d hope no one would doubt my ability to parent, and come out with it on social media.

I’m not an idiot, I’m fully aware that they’ll add to my workload, but I’m equally as aware that I’m not the only person in this house capable of getting stuck in.

I think it’s important for children to grow up with pets, and to see the looks on my kids faces when they met the boys yesterday was worth all the social media digs in the world.

Beau

 

Arlo

*Some folks were genuinely helpful with their comments, and at least saved them until after the “Congratulations”. I like those guys, the rest I got rid of, because those Debbie Downers have no place on my page. 

The crippling cost of half term?

Half term, like Christmas, always seems to come around too quickly. Pretty sure they only went back last Wednesday! You can guarantee that before 10am on the first day (if they’ve managed to drag themselves out of bed that is!) you’ll hear those dreaded words…”I’m bored!”

With two teens and two younger ones at home, it can be difficult to keep everyone entertained without either losing all of my money or my sanity. With this in mind I have been researching ways to get everybody out of the house on the cheap (Scottish blood, tight as hell) or things to do on a rainy day that doesn’t include filling the bath with green slime.

Here are a few ideas if you’re in the same boat, or if you’re just a really, really bored adult.

Baking. Get the worst out of the way first. It’s messy and personally I have never understood how Katie from “I Can Cook” doesn’t lose her shit with those kids cracking eggs ENTIRELY the wrong way. Everyone seems to enjoy it though and an added bonus is you get to eat it all later, and pretend it’s not entirely inedible.

The BBC website (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/kids-cooking) alone has over 40 kid friendly recipes to keep the lot of them entertained. If you really hate yourself and want your kitchen to be destroyed, let them do one recipe each AT THE SAME TIME.

Bowl them over. Many bowling alleys do discounted family tickets during half term, and it’s a fantastic way to get everyone a little exercise and a LOT competitive. Help them work on their team skills by splitting up, if there’s enough of you. Coming up with the team names is always, erm, entertaining!

bowling

Go to the library. Public libraries often offer workshops for children, free reading programmes and other amusements. They really are a godsend and an often under used resource. Kids also seem to love getting their own library account, something about choosing their own book to read makes them act more responsibly toward them (Looking at the child who dropped my Tolkien in the bath).                                                                                                                                                 Another idea would be to get each child to take out a Craft or How To book, and you can all make something or learn a new skill. Wonderful stuff.

Pumpkin picking. Perfect for the October half term, although in summer fruit picking is a family favourite, this past time is fun for younger and older children alike.                                                                                                                                                                               Wrap everyone up warm, dig the wellington boots out and enjoy a fun morning in the fresh air picking the perfect pumpkin for you Jack O’ Lantern. Don’t forget that the flesh of the pumpkin can be used for many delicious recipes, although probably not on the day you’ve picked it, you’ll have earned yourselves a pub lunch! Find a local patch at http://www.pickyourownfarms.org.uk/                                                                                                      

Local Museums. Whether your kids are into science, art, sports or history, there’s so many museums with interactive exhibits and activities aimed at younger visitors, you’ll be spoiled for choice. A quick Google will probably bring up a surprising amount of museums within a reasonable distance. Whilst these aren’t always free, they are usually run by Trusts and relatively cheap, just stay away from the gift shops, those places will have your eyes out!

Get a National Trust membership. The moment I realised I was an adult was when I started researching the benefits of a National Trust Membership, and I was pleasantly surprised at them. You get free entry to over 500 attractions, and free parking at most of these. When you factor in non-members would usually pay over £30 for a family of 6, a yearly family membership at just less than £10 per month seems an absolute bargain.

You also get a handy National Trust handbook when you sign up which can help you plan for future visits, and most importantly, if you sign up for Direct Debit you get a pair of FREE BINOCULARS (I love free stuff)!!

Belton

Get the bikes out. Ok so if your kids don’t already have bikes, this won’t exactly be free but it COULD still be quite cheap. Get on your local social media selling pages, or auction sites for local pick ups (remember to have the bike looked over for safety concerns before purchasing or using).

Cycling is a great way for the family to get some fresh air, exercise and quality time together. Getting out into the local area will also give you a different perspective than you may get in a car, and you may find a new park, picnic area or activity centre that you didn’t know about previously.

 

Bath time. Ok so I said don’t fill it with slime, and with good reason, but it doesn’t mean bath time can’t be fun.Bubbles are always a winner, and if you’re feeling flush, get to Lush for their AMAZING range of coloured bath bombs. A cheap winner for us this week will be getting to the pound shop and buying a bunch of glowsticks to put under the bubbles. We’ll dim the lights, put some terrible music on and let them have a little disco (Just be careful they don’t leak as the liquid can be pretty nasty!).

My littlest ones love a bath, mainly because it’s frickin’ hilarious (for them) to hear my screech as the water starts pouring through the ceiling, so it’s always nice to make it more enjoyable for them.

Treat yo self. The best thing you could probably do this half term is print this list, and hand it to the grandparents as you deliver the kids to them. Then hot tail it to a spa for a couple of days break, using all of the lovely money that you’ve saved.