Well, our little one is now just shy of 6 months old, it's flown by in a haze of sleep deprivation, adjustment and fun all jumbled in to one big half a year! Phew, no wonder I am a little exhausted. Jenson is doing very well! There have been times of despair when he won't nap (still working on that one), won't take a bottle to give me a break (given up on that one so breastfeed 100% now, well as well as solids that is), or on a growth spurt so pretty unsettled & un-fill-able for weeks (learned to go with the flow there!), but I am a lucky mummy to a gorgeous smiley happy chap most of the time who seems easily pleased and full of fun, so long as his needs are met, I'll take that and rejoice as GS was much tougher to placate and keep happy (and still is, but thats for another post).
We've just returned from some time spent in West Yorkshire, it was fantastic and although the weather was typically British we managed to get plenty of fresh air and long walks in. GS loved walking and is now able to keep up our pace and was enjoying the hikes even when my legs were aching (I am so unfit, more on this later!) I will pop up some pics later of the gorgeous scenery & attractions around Haworth, Keighley and Skipton.
Maternity leave is beginning to take its toll financially, the reduced income plus recent government changes to child benefit, gas/elec bill increases and fuel costs have all hit hard; we seem to start saving in one area only to have that gain taken away from us by something else thats gone up; food, fuel, insurance, blah blah blah. Its hard juggling it all and i know we aren't alone and there are lots of people much worse off too. I only pray our jobs are both safe (I work for a council libary and we all know they've been heavily targetted for cuts- I wait and see). So, once again instead of burying my head in the sand I am on a thrift-drive to save our outgoings as best I can and make sure we have the money for the basic essentials, that will hopefully mean I can take the unpaid leave at the end of my paid maternity period to spend valuable extra weeks with my boys before GS starts school in September and Jed will hopefully be a bit more ready to be left with Granny Nanny while I return back part time. That's the plan anyway. It worries me as it was during such unpaid time in my last maternity leave that I was made redundant landing us in terrible debt and in a right mess, I hope history does not repeat itself but what can you do, just take it a month at a time.
I will be trawling all your blogs and forums for thirfty finds, ideas, recipes and projects from now on and PROMISE to update this blog more regularly so I hope you'll join me in discovering how it pans out, and I will in return try and add my own thrifty finds to share along the way!
My first thoughts are now about getting fitter, and more specifically, whether it's possible to get fit in a thrifty manner? Yes, starvation is definitely thrifty, as is lots of free outdoor exercise, but the actual logistics of eating a well balanced diet (as I am still breastfeeding) and combining exercise with looking after two young children in often less than sunny weather is not as easy as it seems, or at least I am not finding it so. I have a skipping rope I have yet to find half an hour to use without a little one within accidental whipping range, a free guide from a magazine to get fit in 10minute stretches which I am too exhausted at the end/start of each day to do, and a bike in the shed I similarly get no time to go on as I can't afford a baby seat. I suspect there are ways around these if I look closer, but I am lacking a real option to fit in any exercise other than the occasional kick about with GS & walks when the weather is fine, and several trips up and down the stairs every hour. Cooking more lower fat is slightly easier, although convenience foods are, well convenient, they are not healthy and I do actually enjoy cooking most days so I find homemade food is easy enough to do fairly healthily, I think my downfall is needing a bit of a social life every week I'll pop with friends or Granny Nanny to a cafe and then consume fatty & expensive drinks and cake no doubt, really need to bang this on the head but without going to these places I don't get out much and end up a bit cabin-crazy! Portion control is another naughty, I am so tired I feel the need to stodge up until I am full, and then seem ravanously hungry an hour or two later, I know breastfeeding means I need to eat regularly and when hungry but i think i need to train myself in to having smaller portions and of course better snacks instead of naughty biscuits and cake! I have a few friends that are doing Slimming World and blog about their experiences and recipes, so I am sneakily (thriftily?!) stealing their menu plans and recipes to try and semi-follow the principles in a light manner, particularly the portion/fat control side of things, so we will see where that gets me, if necessary I may need to buy a guide or two or even join up for access to the full plan to shift things if all else fails, but really hope to avoid that cost if possible. Does Nutracheck still do free trials, I found that a handy website before for keeping me on my toes? I shall have to google that and see. I need to state that this is NOT a need to lose weight for me, it's about toning up the parts that have gone extra wibbly after pregnancy and increasing my fitness so that I can keep up with my 3 year old's pace and not be out of breath walking up a relatively small hill, so I won't be doing weigh-ins etc, the proof will be in the (lack of) pudding of whether I can feel more healthier inside as well as out.
Wish me luck, and by all means offer tips you've found helpful if you have been/are on a similar mission!