Puberty talk – when and how?

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Since my daughter started in KS2 I have often pondered over how and when we will have the all-important “facts of life” chat.

She’s just coming up to 9 and for me, that seems to be about the right age, though I myself was certainly older. She’ll be having some sex education lessons at school in the summer term and I feel quite strongly she should know something before then. On the other side of the coin, my little girl still seems such a baby and I so dearly want to protect her childhood and innocence as much as possible, for as long as possible, however I am all too aware that other children may learn things before her and I don’t want her to a) feel silly or b) be given wrong information. I also feel that whilst school plays an immensely important role in sex education, I don’t think it should really be their sole responsibility to impart this information.

My own parents told me nothing, and what I did know, probably came from Just Seventeen, Chinese whispers and the very basic lessons we had at school around the age of 11. I definitely did not feel my parents were approachable when it came to talking about things like this and therefore when my period arrived (at the age of 12) I was hideously unprepared for it and had nobody to discuss it with. I really don’t want it to be like this for my daughter but I also don’t want it to terrify the bejesus out of her!

9 seems such a young age to worry about all of this stuff but a close friends now-grown-up-daughter started her periods at that age, and she herself said it was a horrifying experience as she had no idea about what was happening to her or her body.   Seeing as the onset of puberty happens generally between 8 and 12 I suppose it’s really not too young to be having these conversations at all. Recent studies have demonstrated the puberty is starting earlier and earlier – consider that in 1860 the average age of onset of puberty in girls was 16.6 years and by 2010 it had dropped to 10.5 years.

I’ve always had a policy of complete honesty in our household – if my children ask me a question, I’ll answer it honestly. This means they know about all about boobs, they know about the hair that is going to grow in strange places, they know girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys, they know that (technically) you need a man and a woman to make a baby and they know how said baby exits the body. The last one was an accidental description and I won’t lie, she was pretty horrified at the time, because, like, HOW?! Yep. I know my love. That was my thought too when I was 9 months pregnant, heavily regretting my life choices…  I’ve waited and waited for the questions about how babies get in their mummy’s tummy to come but so far, nada – yet. I’m not entirely sure she’s actually ready for the sex conversation but as it really is part and parcel of the whole periods thing, questions are bound to follow.

My current thinking is that the way forward is with a good book. You can’t beat a good book.

I’ve chosen What’s Happen to Me? by Susan Meredith mainly because it has good reviews on Amazon but also because it’s is presented in a nice friendly, childlike manner so shouldn’t be too scary. My plan of attack is to sit and read a little bit together every now and then, giving her ample opportunity to ask any questions that pop into her mind, however random (and they will be random, she’s her mothers daughter). Bitesize, management chunks of information to confirm what she already knows and introduce her to what she is going to need to know for the future is my strategy.

I don’t really know if my approach is the best way, hell I’m going into this completely blind, so I’d love to hear your thoughts about how to handle the puberty conversation? Is there a “right” age or is it more child-dependant? Should you go all-in or leave out the gory bits?

How much is TOO much information?

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Our Walt Disney World trip – the Highs

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It’s been a while now since our holiday to Florida, in fact, so much has happened between then and now it feels like an absolute lifetime ago. I participate regularly on a forum called The Dibb where many people do full lengthy trip reports of their visits to Walt Disney World. Whilst I really enjoy reading this and am always full of great intentions, I just don’t have the energy, or more importantly the memory for that, so another popular idea on the forums is a highs and lows post.

I realise that this post won’t be that interesting for a lot of people but if you’ve been to Walt Disney World or you are considering it in the future (and I firmly believe everyone should go at least once!) then you might find something here that you find interesting.

Remember these are purely my own thoughts, other people will have a different view altogether, that’s what makes us unique. It’s also worth mentioning, this is not a review or sponsored post of any type. Unfortunately my trip was entirely funded out of my own pocket!

WALT DISNEY WORLD – THE HIGHS

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I’m not sure why he’s in this position, I suspect I’d had too many glow-tini’s

Characters - Obviously it goes without saying but all the characters and the interactions are fabulous. I did wonder if my children would have outgrown character meets this time around but definitely not! Favourites were definitely Anna & Elsa, Russell and Doug from Up and Pluto & Goofy.

Most days it looked like this…

Weather - It’s August, what’s not to love! If you know Florida, you’ll know that travelling in August can be somewhat of a risk. Daily, heavy, thunderstorms are extremely common. As it turns out, we arrived after an incredibly wet period and ended up with an unseasonably dry spell. This is of course a HIGH as rain can stop play big time. It was ultra hot though, and this could have quite as easily ended up as a low. Air conditioning is your friend!

But you know, some times it did look like this…

Fastpass+ - The new Fastpass+ scheme is pretty controversial, and definitely a Marmite topic. I happened to love it, however if you’re not a planner then I can see why this would gripe you. Personally I liked the ability to book fastpasses for key attractions, even if it did take some really quite meticulous planning. It meant we had a more relaxed holiday and actually spent a lot more time sitting around the pool, as we knew we could still go out at midday and get on the best rides. Definitely took away some stress.

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Teppanyaki Disney-style with the best chef EVER.

Food - The food at Disney is always a highlight for me and the biggest element of my planning. I shall be doing a whole separate post on this in the future. The restaurants at Walt Disney World are outstanding – so much variety and choice, and the themeing is excellent. Sure, like Fastpasses, you need to get yourself SUPER organised and book in advance (180 days in advance for the very popular ones) but it’s well worth it. Absolutely no excuse for eating burgers and fries every night.

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Grand Floridian Dessert Sampler. One word. YUM.

The people – When I say the people, I am not just talking about the cast members, who cannot do enough for you, I am also talking about other guests. We came across some really truly lovely American people. When trying to find a space for the parades (see LOWS!) a lovely family let us squeeze in next to them. Not only this, they also gave my children glow sticks. Such a lovely random act of kindness. When my son was violently sick all over the floor (and down my leg, naturally) some lovely Americans came to our aid with bottles of water and baby wipes. Really helped to take the pain out of a stressful situation.

Our hotel - We stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge and cannot recommend it enough. It totally WOWed us and having stayed at some of the more value resorts in the past, the difference here was that it really felt more of a vacation rather than a theme park holiday. There were tons of activities at night including looking at the animals through night vision goggles – something my children adored. Our room was standard issue Disney but was in a great location – exactly where we had requested – within spitting distance of the food, lobby and transport. Perfect.

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The pool at our hotel, bliss.

Disney Transport - Not everyone loves the Disney Transportation and a whole lot of whinging can be done about the buses but when you think about it, they move a lot of people, to a lot of different places and are pretty regular. We never waited more than 20 minutes for a bus. I don’t know anywhere else I have been to that runs such an efficient service.

Wifi - Noticeable from my visit in 2011 was wifi. I know we shouldn’t care about having wifi on holiday but this was really helpful when we wanted to modify ride or restaurant reservations, or check out wait times using the the My Disney Experience App.

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Yes, that is a gorilla’s butt.

Wilderness Explorers at Animal Kingdom - Something we very nearly totally overlooked was the Wilderness Explorers experience at Animal Kingdom, an activity where children complete challenges and collect “badges” in their Wilderness Explorer books. It takes a lot of exploring in the park and encouraged us into other areas we’d not been before – we realised how much we’d missed out on in the past. The children thoroughly enjoyed this activity and collected all 30 badges, even though by the end of the day we were flagging!

Beautiful Belle

Enchanted Tales with Belle - This is a new attraction in the Fantasyland park extension so we weren’t really sure what to expect. We loved it! It was an interactive experience and the special moment was when my daughter got picked to be the Beast and danced with Belle. What a beautiful moment we’ll never forget, dancing with your favourite princess at Walt Disney World. I won’t lie, it brought a tear to my eye.

Dreamliner - We flew out on the new Dreamliner. I was a little nervous given all the media reports in the run up to our trip and I’ll admit, I didn’t really get the hype once aboard, however it got us into Orlando an hour early so for that reason alone – it’s a high!

I’m in danger of boring you all to sleep so I’ll leave my HIGHS there and continue the LOWS in another post very soon!

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World, I’d love to hear your thoughts on my HIGHS or what you would include in your own!

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Meal Planning Monday (15th December 2014)

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Ssh.

Nobody say it.

Yes. I know it’s Tuesday.

I suck at life right now, I am seriously failing on every front. It seems that not having a job has really knocked me for six, I just can’t cope without a routine. I need a real kick up the bum to get me going with life again.

I am going to OWN 2015. Watch this space.

In terms of meal planning, there is semblance of a meal plan this week. Last week was about eating and clearing out the freezer (which was successful) this week is about JUST GETTING THROUGH the last week of term. We have so many concerts, trips, parties, social events it’s ridiculous so whilst there is a plan, it’s not very inspirational!

Tomato soup with mature cheddar and bacon bread
Lamb rogan josh with pilau rice
Chicken fajitas
Sausage casserole

and I ashamed to say I am eating out three times this week!

The bread is from my new bread maker, I am so utterly in love with this piece of kit. It was sent to me to review so I will be sharing that soon but for now I am just going to sit in a wheat-induced coma.

I know I am late so I fully understand if nobody wants to share this week but just in case the linky is below – you know what to do! I’ll be back on it next week – though to be fair it will be a lot of turkey! Only 9 sleeps people. NINE!

Have a great week.

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Five great Christmas Crafts

We love a bit of seasonal crafting in our house. We’re not HUGE crafters by any stretch of the imagination, but we like to have a go and have a craft stash to rival that of Hobbycraft, let me tell you!

This year I’ve decided to have a go at some of the ideas that have been languishing on my Pinterest boards and thoug9309708ht I’d share ten of the best ones here with you guys.

Hope you find something you might like to make!

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Oranges and cloves – so pretty and I bet they smell amazing too! Find out more about them here – it’s Norwegian but you can translate the page to English easily enough!

Upcycled Candles

Love this very simple and cheap idea for styling up basic candles. The original blog for this has vamooshed but all you need is some double sided sticky tape, a cheap candle (try your local Poundland or similar) and glitter.

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How cute are these owls? Super cute! And very easy too, you can follow the tutorial over at Paging Fun Mums.

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A variation of the same theme, salt dough decorations are lots of fun to make with children – you can even use them as gift tags for your presents. Be as creative as you like, the world is your oyster!

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I love this really nice simple paper angel idea and I’ll definitely be making some of these with my children this weekend. The great thing is you can use any colour or type of paper you want so they’ll fit with any theme, and you can let the children go crazy decorating!

Have you seen any novel crafty ideas for the festive season? Share them below!

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Meal Planning Monday (8th December 2014)

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Hello! A little late in the day but at least it’s still Monday! Everything is up in the air at the moment and that coupled with the usual Christmas madness, well, I am running behind myself again.

I don’t have an ACTUAL meal plan this week, though I do have a PLAN. The plan is call “Eat-as-much-from-the-freezer-and-cupboards-as-humanly-possible”. My husband is away this week and I am on a using-up mission to try and clear some space for all the Christmas lovelies. I have no idea what this will entail but no doubt there’ll be such things like green beans, chilli and fishfingers served up on one plate. Waste not, want not!  I’ve also got two Christmas dinners out this week – such a social buttefly, but no way of paying for them!

So there you are, I can’t inspire you with a tasty meal plan – though I may inspire you to have a clear out maybe!

Okay, here you go. Your turn to link up.

If you are a newcomer to my blog and Meal Planning Monday then the idea is simple. Read more about Meal Planning Monday HERE.  All you have to do to join in is write a blog post about your meal plans for the week and add it to the Linky below. No blog? No matter! Just leave a comment below with your plans or you can join in with our Facebook group and let us know over there.  We’ve also got a great Pinterest board going on.  If you want to join this collaborative board then let me know. We’ve currently got over 915 followers so it’s another great way to share your recipes and posts with the masses!

Follow At Home With Mrs M’s board Meal Planning Monday’s Family Favourites on Pinterest.

Also, I’ve just started a new community on Google+. I have ignored Google+ for so long since I joined there so I have no idea what I am doing but here is the link, come join me so I am not lonely!

https://plus.google.com/b/…/communiti…/117001749684787456150

I’d really like to drum up some more interest in Meal Planning Monday this autumn, so please do share your posts and RT so we can get as many people on board as possible!  Use the hashtag #mealplanningmonday over on Twitter and I’ll share as many as I can.

Look forward to seeing what you’re all cooking up this week. Only 17 more sleeps until the big day! EEP!

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