Keeping Active at Home for the Lazy Lady/Lad


Keeping Active at Home for the Lazy Lady_Lad

I am lazy.

When I’m not at work I can be very lazy. I find it easy to sit and watch TV or play on my phone for hours. I don’t feel the need to exercise every day like some people do. I’m not one of the people doing workout videos in my living room or joining in with Joe Wicks PE lessons each morning. I’m not running circuits of my garden.

I’ve got a two bed semi, with a small garden and a (nearly) 8 month old crawling around and getting under my feet, so a living room work out session just would not work for me even if I had the inclination or desire.

During this period of self-isolating and social distancing I’ve figured out a couple of ways of getting off my arse, increasing the steps and movement, the lazy way! And I’m going to share them with you, hoping that if you have any others you could share them with me in the comments.

  1. Putting washing away one item at a time. 
    I’ve been doing this for years and it’s a particular favourite of mine. When washing is clean and dry, I take each item upstairs to put it away one item at a time. A pair of socks counts as one item. This increases my number of steps massively, and gets my heart rate up going up and down the stairs with each item. I actually quite enjoy this and feel good afterwards.
  2. Bring shopping in from the car one bag/item at a time
    I’ve always done my grocery shopping once a week, and this is even more important at the moment. I may try to reduce it to once every 10 days if I can. When I arrive back home with the groceries I bring one bag in at a time. Many people try to carry 2 or more bags at a time to unload the car as fast as possible. But by bringing one bag in at a time, I’m easily increasing my movement.
  3. Haphazard, Illogical Housework
    I hoover the living room, then go upstairs to hoover one of the bedrooms, back downstairs to hoover the porch, then back upstairs for the other bedroom, kitchen, then the stairs and landing. It’s one chore, but by doing it in an illogical order I’m getting way more steps in and getting my heart rate up. You can do this with any chore, whether it be vacuuming, dusting, mopping…
  4. TV OFF > Music ON 
    You’ll be surprised how much more moving you do when listening to music instead of watching the telly. The TV demands us to sit and watch so we don’t miss anything, but music doesn’t make those sorts of demands of us. Turn your favourite tunes on and you’ll no doubt start finding yourself jigging/dancing around or at least moving around your home much more.

How are you keeping active the lazy way? Are you currently doing any of the things I’m doing?

Keeping Active at Home for the Lazy Lad or Lady

DIY: Making a Fiddle Board


DIY Fiddle Board blog header making a fiddle board for my son; a Montessori play idea. sayidoonabudget.com mumminonabudget

If you follow me on Facebook, Insta or Twitter you may have seen in my stories and on my wall, pictures of the fiddle board I’ve made for my son.

A few weeks ago I asked my husband to make one. We sat and looked at ideas online and I drew out what I would like to have on the board, but the husband said he had too many other projects on at the moment. So I asked my Dad, he also has a lot of projects on. So I decided I would make it myself!

Fiddle boards are based on the Montessori appraoch of giving babies and children real world items to play with and are ideal for babies once they are able to confidently sit unaided. R is 7 months, has been sitting unaided for 2 months and confidently pulls himself up to kneeling, meaning he is at the ideal developmental stage for an activity board.

I’m no stranger to be a bit of crafting and DIY as you will know if you’ve seen my posts on creating pom pom buttonholes or the time I created my own DIY wedding invitations. How hard could it be?

The first item I sourced was a board left over from when the husband built an under stair storage unit (which I may write about in a post soon), and then I took the little one to B&Q where I bought:

  • 1 wheel £2.90
  • 1 double light switch £3.47
  • 1 furniture pull handle £4.38
  • 1 plumbers T shape pipe £4.20
  • 1 door chain £5.12
  • 1 misc

At screwfix I picked up a pack of spring door stops for £5.49. My shopping finished on ebay with two chunky plastic zips for £1.99 per zip and a foam clock for £1.49.

I decided to use paint we already had from when we decorated our house in January 2019.

Total: £31.03

DIY home made Fiddle board in the planning stage sayidoonabudget.com

With all the items at home I started to plan out where I wanted to put each thing, then the DIY got under way!

The husband set me up in his workshop with the tools and PPE I would need and I set to work creating a cut out hole to recess the lightswitch into. That wasn’t the easiest of tasks as all I had to do it was a drill, enter me drilling a hole in each corner of the square I’d marked out, then drilling holes in the hope they’d join together. This worked better than I thought it would, meaning two taps with a hammer to break the small areas i couldn’t drill out and the recess hole was made.

I then used an electric sander to sand all edges and round off the corners. Two coats of paint took 3 days to dry out in the workshop due to the wet March weather we’ve had.

Attaching each item was fairly easy. Once I was satisfied the board was complete and safe for my son to play with it, I hooked it over the hand gap on the draw of our understair storage unit and sat my son in front of it. So far it has been complete for 5 days and both my 7mo son and 1 year old nephew have got enjoyment from it.

There is space to add extra items to it in future if I wish and I will happily remove items and replace with new things to keep the board fresh and interesting.

Tools and supplies I used:

  • Wood glue
  • Electric sander
  • Electric drill
  • Screw driver
  • Screws
  • Cable tie
  • Scissors
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Pencil
  • Grinder (grinding off screw lengths that stuck out the back of the board)
  • Paint brush
  • Confidence

If you have made one I would love to see a picture of what you included on the board. How did you go about making yours? What toys or activities have you DIYd for your little one/s?

DIY fiddle board _ how I went about making a DIY fiddle board for my son. with costings. sayidoonabudget.com

6+ Free and Cheap Ideas for Entertaining Children


6 Ideas for Entertaining Children

I wrote a blog post for The Nottingham Bank last year titled ‘How to ensure your wedding comes in on budget’ to provide some key advice to their readers on reducing the cost of a wedding. Recently they asked for ideas on how to entertain children during half term that don’t break the bank and I contributed a few suggestions. The Nottingham Bank have put some of my suggestions into a blog post titled Five half term ideas that won’t break the bank on their website.

It doesn’t go undetected for long that living frugally is a topic I’m well versed on so I thought I’d share the tips I gave The Nottingham Bank as well as giving you a few extra ideas for how you can keep your sanity and your ££.

  1. Investigate your local area
  2. Get outdoors with a treasure hunt
  3. Find a community garden 
    For more detail on the above 3 tips, go to The Nottingham Bank’s blog post where you will also find two more tips from other bloggers. 
  4. Hit up your local library. My local library has a ‘story and rhyme’ session on Wednesday mornings. It’s a half hour session designed for babies and toddlers where songs such as ‘wind the bobbin up’ are sung and a big story book is read out. The session is totally free and open to anyone.
  5. Go Scrumping. My childhood often involved scrumping for blackberries or Hazel nuts with my sister. She would climb the Hazel tree and shake the branches whilst I scooped up the nuts as they fell. Another fond memory of scrumping was for blackberries in the hedgerows of a farmers field, getting sniffed by heifers as I filled my bag and my belly with the berries. Exploring the countryside with Tupperware and a mission can be brilliant fun for children of all ages.
  6. Attend new baby and toddler groups. Many baby and toddler groups are free for your first attendance. If you’re stuck in a rut attending the same group every week, look slightly further afield and scope out a different group to give your little one some variety and save yourself a couple ££.

Plus, baking at home anything from simple fairy cakes to a quiche; going old school with a game of rounders on your local playing field; setting out on a bear hunt; hosting a teddy bears picnic; creating decorations from salt dough and signing up to a bird watch to report on what birds you have spotted in your area.

How do you? What’s your children’s favourite things to do in the holidays that don’t break the bank? Let me know in the comments.

Frugally Preparing for Baby


frugally prepare for the arrival of your baby
In January 2019 the husb and I completed on our first house purchase and moved in on 18th. The month prior we found out we would be expecting our first baby. 2019 was an expensive (and very exciting) year!

The house was in desperate need of a deep clean and a redecoration. It hadn’t been decorated in a long time, and everything was filthy and nicotine stained. Thankfully we had bought paint and carpets before moving in and we already had all the furniture we needed from when we were renting, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be able to start buying things in preparation for the baby arrival.

We chose to keep the gender a surprise, so throughout my pregnancy we referred to our little one as Spark.

Preparing frugally for baby 

  1. Sleep Arrangements 
    There is no end of sleeping places you can buy for a baby. Moses baskets, cots, space saver cots, cotbeds, next2me cribs, sleepy heads, travel cots… and a whole host of bed accessories you can splash the cash on from a multitude of cot bumpers (studies suggest to avoid cot bumpers to reduce the chance of SIDS) to canopies and nests.
    Before you buy any beds/cots for baby consider where baby will be sleeping. I knew I wanted Spark in our room with us for the first 6 months, before being transferred into his own room. I also thought that for the first couple months I’d probably want him to have his daytime naps in the living room.
    Therefore I decided to buy a next2me cot and a cotbed. Instead of forking out on a moses basket for the downstairs daytime naps, I decided I would just use the bassinet from the pushchair.  Babies grow out of moses baskets very quickly, so much so most parents I know who bought one say that in hindsight they wouldn’t have bothered getting one.
    Cots, cotbeds and next2me cots are easily bought second hand in very good condition. I bought a Chicco next2me cot secondhand off Facebook Marketplace for £80 and a secondhand Mamas&Papas cotbed for £50 off Facebook Marketplace. A cotbed is a better investment than a cot, as cots are small and only last a year or two at most, whereas a cotbed has various heights for the base of the bed and the sides can be removed to turn it into a toddler bed, meaning your cotbed will take you from newborn to about 4 years old.
  2. Baby Monitor
    With hindsight I wouldn’t buy a baby monitor at all. Unless you live in a big house, or your little on will be sleeping on a different floor of the house to you, a baby monitor may be unnecessary. I live in a two bed semi. Irrelevant of where I am in the house, or where my son is, I can hear him when he stirs/cries. Even now he is sleeping in his cotbed in his own room, I wake up to the sound of him stirring/crying. If you do choose to buy a baby monitor, definitely consider purchasing a second hand one, or alternatively, look for a dog monitor. We bought a dog/pet monitor. It does what most baby monitors do, but was quite a bit cheaper!
  3. Nearly New Baby Sales
    Scope out your local nearly new baby sales to find everything from clothes and toys, to baby monitors, carriers/slings and highchairs. Little Pickles Markets happen every month across the south of England. I went to two Little Pickles Markets whilst pregnant where I picked up a baby carrier, some newborn clothes and a play mat (for £4) among others things.

As well as everything above, the quick tips I would give are to write a list and stick to it. It is easy to get suckered in to buying a lot of stuff you do not need when browsing online and walking around the shops. Buy what you think you will definitely need in preparation for your babies arrival. Other things can be bought once baby is born. Wait for baby events, such as the Asda baby event when lots of essential items are reduced to stock up on things like wetwipes.

All your baby really needs is you and to be warm, dry and fed. Everything else is a bonus.

 

Baby Led Weaning


Weaning using the Baby Led Method

30th December brought my husband and I’s decision to offer solids to Russell for the first time. I knew I wanted to follow the baby led weaning method, but as R was showing weaning readiness before 6 months I started with some purees. However to test his readiness the first thing I gave him was a rusk. He handled the rusk very well so the next day I soaked the rusk in some milk and spoon fed him it.

The NHS recommends that you start weaning from 6 months. However, all babies are different, some may not be ready at 6 months and others may be ready a little before 6 months. Your baby may be ready for weaning if they can sit up with minimal support, can hold their head confidently and have the coordination to pick objects up and put them to their mouth. Even if your baby is able to do all these things it doesn’t mean they are ready. You know your baby best, and weaning should be led by your baby.

starting baby led weaning

Baby led weaning - starting the journey

I have so far borrowed three books from the library on weaning and the one I’ve found most helpful and informative on baby led weaning is ‘Baby Led Weaning : Helping your baby to love good food’ by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett. I’d recommend this book as it goes through chapter by chapter everything you need to know about the baby led weaning method, meaning you will feel confident to pursue this method.

Nearly everything that R has had so far has been home prepped by myself. It’s so easy and cheap to make food for your baby, there really is no need to shell out on the expensive ready made pouches and jars in the baby isle.

After rusk, we went onto fruit and vegetables. In the first full week of weaning R had Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Banana and butternut squash. I peeled, chopped, cooked and mashed the parsnip and sweet potato and butternut squash then stored the excess in the freezer. You can use pots or ice cube trays. 1 large sweet potato made 8 portions for R! The banana I simply mushed before giving it to him. The important thing is, that even if you are spoon feeding purees, your baby should choose how much they eat. Do not try to force or encourage your baby to eat more than they want to. Your baby will show you when they have had enough by closing their mouth, turning their head away, and showing a lack of interest in food. Until 1 year old, milk is still your babies main food and nutrition source so there is no need to stress about how much they eat. I let R guide my hand with his own and even gave him a loaded spoon for him to practice feeding himself.

freezer stash for baby led weaning

After a couple weeks giving R purees I decided he was ready to start real solids as per the baby led method. I was very prepared to buy a second hand high chair as there always seems to be high chairs for sale on Facebook Marketplace, but a friend offered to buy the highchair as R’s Christmas present which was lovely. With baby led weaning you don’t need any weaning spoons or bowels etc as you can just place the food directly on the high chair tray. My parents did buy a bamboo weaning set for R as a Christmas gift, so we have used the bowel and spoon when giving R sloppy foods as R hasn’t mastered the skill of dipping yet to feed himself sloppy foods.

Baby Led Weaning is great for weaning on a budget as with some adaptions you can feed your baby what you’re eating.

Here is everything R has had so far with a brief description of how I served it.

our first month of weaning

Since I got Married – an update


Millennial Struggle

I got married on 8th October 2016. Since then life hasn’t exactly panned out the way I expected it to. The Husb and I went to Fuerteventura on Honeymoon for a week directly after our wedding, which reminds me, I don’t think I’ve ever written a post about my honeymoon… [find post here]

Once married, the Husb and I carried on living in the rented house we had together until June 2017. Basically, my Sister and her boyfriend had bought a house together and moved into it in February 2017, they got on the property ladder! Which was really great and a big achievement in the times we’re living in. But they were feeling the pinch of first time home ownership, and were considering getting a lodger. We gave them our spare double bed from our spare room to put in their spare room as it is much easier to get a lodger for a furnished room, and they started to advertise for a lodger, but weren’t having the best of luck in getting someone. The husb and I had really started to be very determined to get on the property ladder ourselves, but the miniscule amount we were My life - an updateable to save each month whilst private renting meant it was dawning on us we may be fighting a loosing battle.

This lead us to asking my sister and her boyf to consider having us as their lodgers. It took quite a lot of consideration on both sides, as my sister and I hadn’t lived together since we were teenagers and as we are rather close, we didn’t want to end up having a big fall out. None of us wanted to out the good relationship we have with each other on the line. However we deemed it was a safer option for all of us, and mutually beneficial.

Eventually, we moved in to their home in June 2017 and have now been living with them for a year! A whole freaking year! and we don’t yet have our deposit saved! The story about our deposit I will publish in a separate post as it is quite long.

So yea, at 29 (husb is 33) I am married, but not  on the property ladder, and the joy of parenthood feels like a distant unattainable dream. This is not where I thought I would be in life at 29. I try to keep a realistic and positive mind-set. I have friends my age, who look at what I have and wish they had a serious, committed and loving relationship with someone. But that doesn’t stop me looking at my friends who are married, on the property ladder and have started a family already and feel like I am behind the curve.