2020 · February 2020 · Uncategorized

Preparations – 19.02.2020

Today I have had two of my tribe in a cooking mood. DM was keen to make pancakes for Auntie George. So this morning after a lovely cooked breakfast by Dominic, DM set to making everyone some pancakes. Thanks to her Uncle Alex, DM has now mastered the mix for pancakes and thoroughly enjoys making them.

Then we got home and Minion wanted to prepare dinner for our family night. Wednesday family night is always a vegetarian meal, as two of the aunties are vegetarians. Tonight’s meal is roasted vegetable lasagne. This is a meal that Minion has made before with Daddy and has now claimed as her meal and no-one else is allowed to make it. She made me giggle as she picked her sharp knife to cut the vegetables and counted her fingers. With pure admiration, I watched her carefully chop the vegetables, she did a few slices and then counted her fingers again, with the sound of a phew. 😂😂

We had a great afternoon at the cinema watching the new Doolittle movie and had an extra guest too. Rubels had a date with a male friend. He was so polite, well mannered and every bit a gentleman; offering to pay for her drinks and snacks and letting her choose where to sit 😍😍 They sat together in the VIP seats, while me and the rest of the girls sat the other side of the cinema, away from them both.

We got home to find that Daddy had finished the lasagne for us and it was ready for the sharing! 😋

2020 · February 2020 · Uncategorized

Calendar of activities – 17.02.2020

Our girls are inquisitive and visual young ladies. They like to know what we are doing, when we are doing it and what we have planned for today, tomorrow and next week. They also have ideas of what they have planned for themselves and get disappointed when I can’t read their mind and don’t facilitate what they wanted to do. 🤦‍♀️

So to make sure that we all were singing from the same sheet, we have sat together and planned our week together. We have planned in the things that are already booked, added in when we can do activities that we would like to do and then list extra treats, that if we get the time, we can do.

As you can see, it’s a pretty jam packed week. Fingers crossed, I can keep the screen time to a minimum and keep the girls busy, whilst also encouraging family and friend time and some down time too. 🤞

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9 rules to live by – 30.01.2020

Today I watched a video of a graduation speech by comedian Tim Minchin. The speech were his belief of 9 rules to live by, and I personally found them very powerful. If you get the chance, I would recommend that you watch the video of it (link in name).

However, in brief, these are his 9 rules to live by:

1. You Don’t Have To Have A Dream.

If you have something that you’ve always dreamed of, like, in your heart, go for it! After all, it’s something to do with your time… chasing a dream.

Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery. Which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won’t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.

2. Don’t Seek Happiness

Happiness is like an orgasm: if you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect. We didn’t evolve to be constantly content.

3. Remember, It’s All Luck

You are lucky to be here. You were incalculably lucky to be born.

Understanding that you can’t truly take credit for your successes, nor truly blame others for their failures will humble you and make you more compassionate.

Empathy is intuitive, but is also something you can work on, intellectually.

4. Exercise

Play a sport, do yoga, pump iron, run… whatever… but take care of your body. You’re going to need it. And this long, luxurious life ahead of you is going to make you depressed!

But don’t despair! There is an inverse correlation between depression and exercise. Do it. Run, my beautiful intellectuals, run.

5. Be Hard On Your Opinions

We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out onto the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat.

Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.

6. Be a teacher.

Please? Please be a teacher. Teachers are the most admirable and important people in the world. You don’t have to do it forever, but if you’re in doubt about what to do, be an amazing teacher. Even if you’re not a Teacher, be a teacher. Share your ideas. Don’t take for granted your education. Rejoice in what you learn, and spray it.

7. Define Yourself By What You Love

We have tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff, but try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

8. Respect People With Less Power Than You.

I have, in the past, made important decisions about people I work with – agents and producers – based largely on how they treat wait staff in restaurants. I don’t care if you’re the most powerful cat in the room, I will judge you on how you treat the least powerful. So there.

9. Don’t Rush.

You don’t need to already know what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Most people I know who were sure of their career path at 20 are having midlife crisis.

I said at the beginning of this ramble that life is meaningless. It was not a flippant assertion. I think it’s absurd: the idea of seeking “meaning” in the set of circumstances that happens to exist after 13.8 billion years worth of unguided events. Leave it to humans to think the universe has a purpose for them. However, I am no nihilist. I am not even a cynic. I am, actually, rather romantic. And here’s my idea of romance:

You will soon be dead. Life will sometimes seem long and tough and, god, it’s tiring. And you will sometimes be happy and sometimes sad. And then you’ll be old. And then you’ll be dead.

There is only one sensible thing to do with this empty existence, and that is: fill it. Not fillet. Fill. It.

Life is best filled by learning as much as you can about as much as you can, taking pride in whatever you’re doing, having compassion, sharing ideas, running(!), being enthusiastic. And then there’s love, and travel, and wine, and sex, and art, and kids, and giving, and mountain climbing … but you know all that stuff already.

It’s an incredibly exciting thing, this one, meaningless life of yours. Good luck

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Weekend done! 26.01.2020

I’m not going to lie, today has been a pretty hard day. I have spent most of the day feeling overwhelmed. The two big girls worked really hard last week to achieve their full contributions and were very excited to have full pocket money. I spent some time sorting out their pocket money owing for the past three weeks, and with the contributions they haven’t done, the money I have subbed them and their breakfast monies, it has left them with practically a nil balance, which as you can imagine, hasn’t gone down well. I wrote it all down on a sheet, detailed the income and expenditure and then left it for them to make the totals. Their attitude when they got up today was vile. We all had a lie in this morning. Peach & I were downstairs for 10am, and the girls made it downstairs from 11am. The girls leisurely got themselves up, but when told to make their own breakfast it was like we had asked them to clean the floor with a toothbrush.

I have spent most of the day with the feeling that Peach and I are here to serve. The bigger girls are quick to say “I didn’t ask you to do it” but if we don’t do it, we get “why do we have to do everything”.

I have struggled to snap out of my aggravations which has left me emotionally drained.

We all have tough days and today was certainly challenging. When the girls went to bed tonight I explained that I was feeling overwhelmed and that I felt disappointed because I would have liked to do some family activities today. The difference is, their agenda for today was very different to mine. And that’s ok ❤️

#magnificent7 #bigfamily #family #emotions #recharge #feelings #itsoktonotbeok

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Family Contributions Pt 2.

I’ve woke up this morning with such a fantastic thread of complimentary comments on my Family Contributions blog over on my Facebook profile.  Thank you 😍

I’d just like to take the time to thank you for reading my posts, it really does mean the world to me. ❤

So in answer to your questions….

Where did I get the sheets from? 

I made them

How did I decide how many contributions each child does?

Each child does twice their age: 13 x 2 = 26 (26 over seven days is less than 4 contributions a day)

How was it decided who would do each task?

Originally I made a list of the contributions that I felt were acceptable for the girls to do.  I then put them individually on small pieces of paper and let the youngest pick one first.  I had twenty five tasks, with a view that the girls had 5 tasks each.  (Girls were ages 13, 12, 9, 9 and 7)  They each took a turn and when it came to the final two picks each, I separated the tasks to more age appropriate to allow the younger girls to select the easier tasks.  After a couple of months of trial and error, I reevaluated the tasks and switched them around a bit.  They are given more contributions than they need to do (age x 2), but that allows them the freedom to not do any contributions should they have after school activities, or not be ‘in the mood’ to help around the home.  We have a weekly tasks sheet that is separate to the Contributions list, which breaks down the week into days and is a visual reminder for the girls which tasks is theirs to do on each day in the morning and in the afternoon/evening.

What’s the purpose of the other contributions that are not assigned to a child?

This is to allow the girls to be recognised for helping around the home over and above what is assigned to them. Making tea/coffee for guests, watering plants, cleaning the bathroom (like that ever happens!) and such like.

What’s the parent special credit?

This is where Peach or I give the girls an extra credit for going above and beyond. I have given credits for acts like being the only child that takes their water bottle out of their bag at the end of school, or the only child that has took their dirty plates and cutlery into the kitchen and put it straight into the dishwasher without being asked and for kindly helping her sister tidy her bedroom without being asked to.

Is it possible to get a copy of the Family Contributions file?

Absolutely – download it here ……

Is it possible to get a copy of the weekly tasks file?

Again, absolutely – download it here ……

Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog posts.

#magnificent7 #bigfamily #contributions #happyhome #workingtogether #familylife #love #helparoundthehouse #teens #family #chores #jobs #jobsaroundthehome #fostering #mindful #familycontributions #tasks #familytasks #largefamily #makingmemories #youth #responsibilities

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Family Contributions 25.01.2020

We are a family of 7. Together we make a lot of washing, a lot of dust and we all use everything around us.

When the girls were little, Peach and I would spend Saturday mornings cleaning. As they have got older, we have slowly asked them to help around the house. It started with tasks such as make your bed, open your curtains and turn your lights off. We felt that we made the tasks as age appropriate as we could. Our biological girls have been asked to help us from a young age, however our foster daughter is new to this.

Our hope is that the girls learn to be responsible for their home and responsible for what’s around them.

At first we wrote a list of chores that we felt were age appropriate and would help to keep weekly jobs around the house to a minimum and therefore give Peach and I more time to spend with the girls at the weekend. Peach and I obviously still have jobs around the house and outside the house; just asked for more help with the day to day tasks.

When our eldest daughter moved in, this was all new to her and we were keen to include her as part of the family. We wrote a list of 25 jobs (chores) that the girls could pick 5 from. This included feed the animals, open the lounge curtains, fill water bottles, put the cutlery out for dinner and also bigger tasks like hoover the lounge. The girls agreed what they would be happy to do and I made a ‘Chores list’. As part of our fostering requirements, our eldest has to be given pocket money. We have never given pocket money before as we are used to buying the girls something if they ask for it and if we have the money. So we set a new precedent that the girls would get pocket money for their chores.

This worked for a couple of weeks and then our eldest stopped doing it, as she knew that we had to give her pocket money. So we changed it to earning pocket money for completing chores, and being charged by someone if they had to do your chore for you. That caused arguments and battles, as the girls raced to do another persons easier chore instead of doing their own.

This created animosity and spite, so I had to think how I could change it again. I created additional chores that the girls could earn extra pocket money for. This worked for a short time but I felt uncomfortable knowing that the girls had got to the point where they were doing chores for money and not because they were being responsible for their home.

At the time, I was listening to The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read and your children will thank you for by Philippa Perry. In her book she discusses the negative associations of the word chore and how even asking a child to do a chore creates negative feelings and does not encourage children to be responsible for their home.

Having listened to her book and agreeing with the negative word association, I changed our chores to family contributions and set a weekly family shared moment of going out for breakfast together. The list of contributions was made and the girls have to put their initials beside the contributions that they do. We agreed that the girls are asked to complete double their age of contributions i.e. DM is 12 she does 24. That may sound a lot, but 24 over 7 days is a little over 3 contributions a day. Whether the girls complete or don’t complete their contributions, the family go for breakfast together and get their pocket money. The only difference is that if the girls have done all of their contributions to a happy home, the family will pay for their breakfast. However if they have not done all of their contributions, they use their pocket money to pay for their own breakfast.

We have tried many places to have our family breakfast, we have been MacDonalds, The Harvester, Sainsbury’s Cafe, Morrison’s Cafe and a local garden centre cafe. Today’s breakfast was at The Marina, a Brewer’s Fayre; which has now become our family favourite. For £23 all seven of us had an all you can eat buffet and unlimited drinks; we had a choice of cooked breakfast, cereals, toast, pastries, fruit, tea, coffee, fruit juices, pancakes and muffins. It was amazing!! By far our best value and best choices.

#magnificent7 #bigfamily #contributions #chores #workingtogether #familybreakfast #familytime #familyvalue #pocketmoney #teachingvalues

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New Skills – 24.01.2020

I love to learn new skills. As part of our role of fostering, we are offered to attend training; which is great news for me!!

Today (and yesterday) has been spent attending an Emergency Paediatric First Aid Training Course. It’s an amazing course that is usually ran over one full day, but knowing that we are all parents, the training was spread over two days to allow us to do school drop off and pick up. The course has shown me how to perform CPR, put a person into recovery position and how to carry out an abdominal thrust (for choking). I have also been trained to learn the signs and symptoms of shock, how to treat burns and how to recognise the different types of bleeding. This is just a few of the things that I have learnt over the two days. And I am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the training.

This does lead me to raise a question though…..

Through fostering, I am being given the amazing opportunity to attend resources that will benefit my parenting abilities. How is it that First Aid isn’t made available to all first time parents? This has the potential to save so many lives, in so many ways. I see that schools are starting to implement basic first aid being taught in schools, which is fantastic. Maybe this is something to add to my vision 🤔

#magnificent7 #family #bigfamily #helpingothers #firstaid #firstaidcourse #firstaidforkids #firstaidforparents #appreciation #ipassed #fostering #fosteringsaveslives #firstaidsaveslives #helpingothers #vision #skills #learning