Friday, 19 July 2019

How To Manage Your Money With A Family

**Collaborative Post**

It can be a challenge keeping your finances on track with a young family. There always
seems to be something that crops up and before you know it, you have spent a couple
of hundred pounds that you had not planned to be spending when pay day rolled around.
It can be painful! So today we want to share with you a few tips on how to manage your
money with a family. 

Whether it be Mercedes Servicing or a broken down washing machine, something always seems to come up every month, doesn’t it? This is why it’s so important when you are planning your monthly budget to look at your annual expenses rather than just note down those monthly direct debits. 

Take into account every single expense

Along with your normal monthly bills, you should also take into account birthdays and Christmas spending, holidays, emergencies, and then those things that you know will crop up from time to time such as buying school uniform and shoes, swimming lesson fees, car servicing and so on. It can be hard to think of everything, so don’t rush this process, do take a look back over around a year’s worth of bank statements as they will remind you of all that you need to spend.

Work with a weekly figure 

The next step is one that people rarely take, but trust us, as it is well worth doing. Get yourself a weekly budget figure. 

You need to work out a weekly amount of money that you have available after all of the necessities have been paid. Weekly is a lot easier to work with and stick to than monthly. Weekly might only allow you to make one or two purchases, which will make you stop and think before you pop to the shops and buy a few bits and bobs. Monthly will be a greater amount and you are more likely to ignore it as one spend in a month’s worth of spending can easily get swallowed up and ignored. 

Spread out the cost

Now that you are getting used to looking at your finances across the year, then the month and then weekly, it’s time to start working on spreading the cost.

You should now be taking typically expensive times into account, such as Christmas and holidays. We would suggest that as well we putting money aside monthly for everything like this you also shop throughout the year for them.

Buy clothes for the next size up when the sales are on, avoid paying full price wherever possible. If you see a great deal on a toy that you know your little one would love, but Christmas isn't for another three months, buy it and put it away ready for them. Similarly, buy bargain toys and gifts that you spot ready for those birthday parties that you just know your children are going to be going to. This way you won’t be caught on the hop at any point and you will have bought a lovely gift without breaking the bank. 

The End of Playgroup

Its Friday the 19th of July 2019 and today was Freddie's last day at his playgroup before he moves into the school nursery in September.

There is so much I want to say to all the staff, but the biggest is Thank You!

Thank you for looking after my little boy,
Thank you for taking his allergies seriously,
Thank you for comforting him,
and Thank you for helping him become the little boy is he today!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Why Do The Boys Wear Allergy Bracelets

So both James and Freddie wear allergy bracelets.

For James this is to remind people that he is asthmatic. We received James bracelet last year as part of a review with Butler and Grace

His has the international allergy symbol on one side and on the inside it is engraved with Asthma. James wears this everyday when he goes to school as a reminder for his teaching staff and also the dinner staff that he is asthmatic. 

We have been very lucky that James has not had any major issues with his asthma at school. I think year one and year two have been the first years where we have not had any send homes through asthma related illness. In nursery and reception I think we were on weekly send homes at one point.

For Freddie, his is a little bit different, his came from allergy buddies. His has a round charm on the middle that says No Dairy, Soya or Wheat Please. Freddie has been diagnosed as Non Ige Allergic to Dairy, Soya and Wheat. 

His allergies are quite serious, although it is not an instant reaction, like hives or his breathing being effected, Freddie's reactions are delayed and they upset his stomach and his quickest reaction had been around 30 minutes after he has ingested the allergen. 

It can also take up to three days for the allergen to be fully out of his system. It is not just food that sets off Freddie's allergies. Our biggest trigger has actually been playdoh, as it contains wheat! He doesn't even need to be playing with it for it to cause a reaction. All he needs to do is actually touch something that has it on and then put his hands in his mouth, then within a few hours he is actually really poorly. 

Freddie wears his bracelet to playgroup and he will also be wearing it to nursery to remind the staff that he needs to be kept safe from his allergens. 

I hope this helps someone who is in the same boat as we are. 

Monday, 15 July 2019

Living Arrows 2019 28/52

Welcome to Living Arrows post 2019! If you haven't heard of the linky before, This was set up by Donna at What the Redhead Said and the name comes from the poem by Kahlil Gibran "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth" Each week I post one photo of James and one photo of Freddie and share what they have been up to that week! 

Its been such a busy week for James! On Monday and Tuesday he had school, then Tuesday night we had parents evening which went well. Then on Wednesday He had a school trip to Walker Activity Dome for some school sports afternoon, and just like last year they were late back to school. The bus didn't arrive back till after quarter past three, so by time the kids got off the bus then into school, then they had to get changed out of their pe kits it was nearly twenty to four when we got in the house! James then had to go and get changed out of his school kit as daddy was taking him for a hair cut!

Freddie has had a lovely week in playgroup, ending the week with a visit to his new school nursery! He was so excited to visit. He absolutely loved it!

We also went to stay with nana and gaga for the night on Saturday as it was gaga's birthday and they had arranged a party.

Living Arrows

Siblings July

Welcome to the July Edition of The Siblings Project!
We are now into the seventh month of 2019! 
James is now days away from finishing Year Two! And Freddie is days away from finishing playgroup before he transfers into the nursery at James Primary School in September!

James has been loving
* His tablet
* His Scooter

Freddie has been loving
* Playgroup
* His Moo
* His scooter

This months photographs were taken before we had a family day out the other weekend! Both boys decided to have their hats on backwards and demanded photos to be taken! 

Friday, 12 July 2019

Freddie's Allergy Issues

Over the last few years, well since around May 2016, we began to realise Freddie had issues with some foods. 

When he was weaning, we followed all the guidelines and introduced him to full fat cows milk in his foods. Then when it came to swapping him from formula to cows milk we realised there was definitely a problem. The first day we tried he had around 4oz of full fat cows milk over around 12 hours and that night he was a nightmare! He was grumbly, he had a gassy stomach, he was only sleeping for around an hour or two at the most. He then got very bunged up and didn't go for a number two for three days! We thought he wasn't ready for full fat milk, so stopped giving it to him. When we tried again a couple of months later the same things happened.

We then approached out GP who suggested as mummy cannot tolerate full fat dairy products maybe Freddie was the same, so they suggested keeping him on the 1-2 years toddler formula and then moving him to green top cows milk when he was 18 months old. 

So 18 months came and we slowly started swapping an ounce for an ounce, so replaced an ounce of formula for an ounce of green top. By the time James birthday arrived in the August, Freddie was fully on green top and we saw there was definitely a problem still. His sleep was horrendous and he wasn't going to the toilet for number twos very often and when he did he would be screaming his head off. So it was back to the GP who prescribed him movicol. Even with that he was still struggling.

Then he reached his second birthday and he was ill. He spent the whole night before his birthday vomiting, yet he was still crying for his milk. So we mixed his milk with some water. We kept giving it to him like that for a few days to make sure the bug was out of his system.

We soon noticed that he wasn't needing the movicol in is milk, so it was back to the GP who referred him to the hospital. This was when we started to suspect that he was having an issues with all things dairy, so we decided to take him dairy free to see if it helped! And it did! We moved Freddie onto almond milk to see if it helped in and after a couple of weeks he was starting to sleep a whole lot better. 

After a few months on the almond milk we decided to try him on Soya milk as we knew this could be bought in individual sized cartons, the idea was that if he settled on it we would purchase the cartons and he could take them with him once he started nursery. The day after he first tried soya milk we noticed he was having a lot of runny nappies one after another. We didn't think much of it till a few days later when he started to be very wheezy and coughing a lot. He was still having really bad nappies so I started to look online and found that the symptoms he was having matched soya allergy. So we immediately put him back onto almond milk. 

When his hospital appointment finally arrived he was in and out and told he had intolerance to dairy and soya. He was then referred to the dietitians. 

We saw the dietitian in the November who basically said keep him as he was and we would see her again a few months later. By the time he saw the dietitian again in the February we had taken him wheat free as we suspected wheat was the cause of the issues he was still having. And he was so much better! The dietitian team then referred him back to hospital where he was officially diagnosed as Non Ige Allergic to Dairy, Soya and Wheat. 

It is still very much a learning curve for us as the diagnosis is still very new, and finding things Freddie can and can't eat. If you have any tips please leave them in comments below or email us!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

(AD) Night Zookeeper Review

James is just about to finish Year Two at school and to be honest Year Two has not been the best for James. As he is so young he is actually working at levels below what he should be.

When we were approached by the people behind the website Night Zookeeper we were thrilled.The Night Zookeeper website is An educational platform that helps children learn new words, understand them in sentences and create amazing stories shared around the world. Children draw their own magical zoo creatures that go through the zoo to help 
them to develop their creative writing skills. This is something that James is definitely going to 
need to improve on for going into Year Three in September. 

The Night Zookeeper website says "The foundation of all great writers is their broad and rich vocabulary. We help your children learn thousands of new words through exciting, personalised activities and games." 

It also states "Children are then challenged to put their learning into action, producing stories, reports, poems and other styles of writing. Their work will live in a personal portfolio that can be shared with family, friends and a global audience

James has absolutely been loving the challenges he has done so far! He has been loving designing his own characters and writing about them

What I love the most is the fact that children get instant feed back on what they have wrote. For example on one of the challenges James has already done, he forgot to add punctuation in at the end of his sentence and once he pressed enter it reminded him.

I can see us using this with James over the summer holidays a lot to get him ready for the challenges he is going to face once he moves into Key Stage Two in September. 

**We were gifted a 3 month subscription to Night Zookeeper and also sent a copy of one of the books in exchange for this review!**