The cold never bothered me anyway

If, like me, you share a house with two young girls, you’ll no doubt know all about Frozen, the latest movie from Disney Animation Studios. To date it’s taken over $810m at box offices worldwide, enough to make it the 42nd highest grossing movie of all-time. Which isn’t bad going, when you consider that neither of Disney’s last two releases (Tangled and Wreck-it-Ralph) broke $600m – and I believe Frozen is yet to be released in China.

For those not familiar with the movie, it’s the tale of two princesses (of course!) who’ve grown apart thanks to one of them having the power to create ice and snow out of thin air. Things come to a head when Elsa (the one with the power) is crowned queen, and accidentally freezes the kingdom before running away from it all to an ice palace at the top of a mountain. Anna (her younger sister) gives chase, convinced that Elsa will be able to undo everything and they’ll all be able to live happily ever after.

There’s a little more to the plot than that (including a fantastic twist that I didn’t see coming at all) but you get the gist.

We’ve only taken the girls to see a handful of films, and only then thanks to a benefit we get with a life insurance policy, but it’s far and away the best thing we’ve seen as a family – so much so we’ve seen it twice (so far… Gem’s hoping the sing-along version gets a release round these parts). And, it’s the only film we’ve seen where neither of the girls has needed a toilet break – if that isn’t high praise, then I don’t know what is!

My favourite thing about the movie is how much the girls love it. If they’re not watching their favourite bits on YouTube, or singing their favourite songs from the soundtrack, or arguing about who will play which sister in the next re-enactment, then they’re probably asleep, because honestly that’s about all they’ve done for the past 6 weeks or so.

And who can blame them? The soundtrack really is excellent, in a West End/Broadway style, and if Let It Go doesn’t walk away with the Oscar for best song I will be very surprised – performed by Idina Menzel in the film, it’s a real showstopper and one that I’m struggling to get out of my head. Demi Lovato’s version over the end credits, on the other hand, isn’t.

I’m not sure when the DVD is due to be released, but Gem’s already desparate to pre-order it (for the girls, of course!). We might need to get two copies though, in case one wears out.

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Here comes the sun

Gro-clock sun

The sun, this morning

I’ve written before about how much we love Gro-clocks. Megan’s hasn’t been quite the raging success that Heather’s was, but to be fair to her she’s only now reaching the age Heather was when we got hers, and I think she’s just about there. She definitely understands the concept of staying in bed until the sun comes up, she’s just not very good at executing it. But she’s getting better, and that’s all we can hope for at this stage.

Now, since I started cycling to work, I’ve developed a very fixed morning routine. It’s become a well-oiled machine, just like my bike itself: out of bed, pull on my clothes, visit the bathroom, put lunch in my bag, eat breakfast, and go. No room for dawdling, something which can sometimes be difficult with small people around.

This morning I was in the bathroom, doing… well, what one does in the bathroom… when I heard the pitter patter of toddler feet. Toddlers aren’t renowned for respecting privacy, so I wasn’t surprised when Megan appeared to tell me cheerfully that the sun was up. I asked her if it really was (knowing that it would be) and she said she’d go and check. What I wasn’t expecting was the next bit:

“Close your eyes… and no peeking!”

Now, when a 2 year old tells you to close your eyes and not to peek, what can you do but comply? So I’m not really sure what the banging, huffing, puffing and muttering that followed was all about. I think she had knocked her Gro-clock over in trying to turn it round, but I guess we’ll never know. Eventually, though, I was told I could open my eyes, and there was Megan, standing proudly beside her Gro-clock where the sun was, indeed, up. “See? Sun’s up” she said. And it was!

And then, just to add to the feeling of “aren’t kids great?”, Heather appears from her room to tell us we were being too noisy! 4 going on 14, that one.

Of course, all these goings on somewhat derailed my smooth machine-like morning routine. But in this instance I’m not fussed. I don’t get to spend much time with the girls during the week, so moments like this are absolutely priceless.

I just had to pedal a little faster to make up the lost time.

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Sponsored Post: BakingMad.com

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Anyone who knows us knows that amazing things come out of our kitchen with amazing regularity. Rarely are these wonderful creations my doing, I should point out, for I am married to a veritable culinary genius who can whip up an incredible meal in the time it takes me to find and open a recipe book, never mind pick out something I think I can make.

And it’s not just meals, either, Gem is also becoming quite the master baker, and several of her offerings have featured on the Sunday Baking Club blog.

So when BakingMad.com got in touch with me, and asked me to make one of their recipes I jumped at the chance – it would be my turn to shine for a change! I also knew that Gem would approve, because BakingMad.com is a site she’s used in the past. And there was so much to choose from: sconescupcake recipes and even cheesecake recipes!

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In the end I actually ended up baking some peanut butter cookies not from the website but from recipe book they sent me. I say I did the baking… I did have a kitchen full of helpers, although mysteriously most of them vanished when it came time to wash up. And Gem stayed there to offer advice and assistance as required. Which I’m pleased to say wasn’t much – maybe I’m better at this baking business than I think!

The cookies were delicious. So good, in fact, we gave some to my dad as part of his Father’s Day present, and the rest didn’t last very long at all – not with all those helpers to feed! Definitely a hit though, and something I expect we’ll be making for years to come.

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Bakingmad.com supplied a goodie bag of ingredients and a recipe book in return for this post. All words, pictures and opinions are my own.

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Everything changes

Megan and Heather

The Usual Suspects

It doesn’t feel like almost four weeks since we took the side off of Megan’s cot, and yet it totally is – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun! Not that it’s been all fun of course, but I’m pleased to report that things are still going well with the transition. So well, in fact, that the next (and final!) stage in the transition will be occurring tomorrow: the big girl bed!

We’ve bought her a Barbie pink (not my description, it’s what’s on the side of all 3 boxes it came in) metal bed frame, which I’ve got to build tomorrow, and then that will be it – no more cot. What a strange feeling!

Even more strange, in the midst of changing her sleeping arrangements, Megan has stopped wearing nappies during the day, and is doing remarkably well – in two weeks, I think I could count on one hand the number of accidents we’ve had, which is incredible. Especially when you consider that most of the accidents we’ve had have been bottom burps with follow through rather than not knowing something was coming at all.

The final stage, of course, will be going nappyless overnight, which we’re going to leave until a) she’s settled in her new bed, and b) we’re consistently getting bone dry nappies in the morning. I don’t expect it to take more than a couple of weeks though, that was certainly our experience with Heather, and if there’s one thing we know about our girls it’s that Megan wants to do whatever her sister does.

Speaking of Heather, she’s going through big changes of her own just now, having just a week and a half of nursery to go! Gem has already started buying bits of school uniform, and I have to say, the sight of Heather in her school blazer made the whole thing seem so much more real. How on earth have we got to this point already???

Heather’s more than ready for school though, in exactly the same way as she was more than ready for nursery when she started 18 months ago. And having visited the school, and had an overview of how primary 1 works (totally different to my day!) I’m confident it will live up to her expectations. What’s more, from the glowing report we got from nursery (which is passed on to the school as part of her transition) I’m sure she’ll live up to theirs.

Of course, the changes aren’t limited to the girls. I’m still planning my new commute, and as for Gem… I’m not sure I’m allowed to share what she’s up to yet, but suffice to say things are going well there too.

So everything’s good, although some more sun over the summer would be nice. I guess some things never change!

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Movin’ on up

Megan's cot - before pic

Now you see it…

Way back in the mists of time, before I set up the only boy in the house (a year ago last Friday, fact fans!), there was Lunch Hour Waffle, my first toe in the water of the blogging world. To be honest it wasn’t that good – believe it or not, it was more rambly and less focused than this blog is – and I’m glad I decided to change things. Although I did bring those old posts with me when I changed, as a kind of starter for ten.

One of those was about Heather’s transition from cot to bed, and how much help the Gro-Clock had been. Astonishingly, almost two years on, we’ve now reached the same point with Megan, and it’s interesting to now be able to read back on our experiences with Heather. And with that experience, and having fixed the cot that caused so much trauma last time, we’ve been able to plan things much better this time round, and so far that plan seems to be working.

Our cot isn’t one of those that converts into a bed, but it does have a drop-side that’s fairly easy to remove, without affecting the structure and stability of the cot itself. It’s what we did   with Heather until her new room was clear and the bed built, and it’s what we’re doing with Megan too. And I think it’s a great way to get her used to sleeping without bars on all sides, not least because the mattress is at a height that’s not only easy for her to climb onto, but is also low enough that she won’t hurt herself if she falls out. Which she has done – several times in fact, but we’ve put a duvet down to pad the floor a bit, and so far those falls haven’t even woken her, never mind injured her!

Megan's cot - after pic

… now you don’t!

One thing that is different this time is how easy it’s been putting her to bed, in comparison to Heather at the same stage. Either she’s not yet worked out that she can climb out, or she’s quite content going to sleep rather than taking advantage of her new-found freedom. I suspect it’s the latter, because Megan’s always loved her bed, but I guess time will tell. At this point with Heather it could take us up to an hour to get her to stay in bed long enough to fall asleep so we’re definitely winning.

And, when it comes to morning, we’ve bought Megan a Gro-Clock of her very own, and after a couple of days she’s just about got the hang of staying in bed until it turns yellow and the sun appears. Honestly, I don’t think we could ask for anything more from her – the ease with which she’s adapted to the change is astonishing.

That said, there is the possibility it could all change when we move her into a proper bed, but I’m pretty confident that won’t be any problem whatsoever. Once she stops rolling out in her sleep, obviously!

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