A FAMILY DAY OUT: KING JOHN’S CASTLE

Life has been so busy lately. I guess that when it’s sunny and warm, sitting on the couch doing nothing is not an option.

We have been out and about most weekends and the ones we have stayed at home, we’ve spent them working in the garden, painting furniture, weeding…

A couple of weeks ago we went to King John’s Castle here in Limerick.  It was a great family day out.

Family Day Out in King John's Castle

It is one of Limerick’s landmarks, it’s only around the corner and the boys have been wanting to go for ages. So we took them. Because that is how we roll. We are cool parents. Ask my children (only 1 day a week though, and I will tell you exactly when to ask them, right?). Cool parents, indeed!

A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
Big Monkey got to do some sword training and archery, his latest obsession.

Daniel training swords @ King john's Castle
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog

Chaotic Monkey got to climb to the top of the towers and investigate every room, which he loves.

A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
The views from the towers are spectacular!

Most of the history went right over their heads but between the weapons and the other props, the boys imagined themselves to be right there with Robin Hood.

Family Day Out - King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog
A family Day out at King John's Castle - Organising Chaos Blog

Great family day out. Where have you been?

Chaotic Itzi

OCB

WHEN YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH

We all have those moments, something happens, it keeps happening and then, that’s it! We’ve had enough! Something needs to change.

I had one of those moments before Christmas.
But let me start from the beginning.
My monkeysBack in 2009, Mr B and I bought our current home which had 4 bedrooms upstairs. Big Monkey was already with us and we were expecting Chaotic Monkey. As Mr B and I were planning the distribution of the house, we had a few things very clear: our room is the one at the front, we need a double spare room and the kids will share a room.

Both Mr B and I grew up sharing rooms with our siblings and we always loved it (except when you hated it!). The laughs, the fights, the camaraderie…  we wanted that for our children. At this stage we didn’t know the whether Chaotic Monkey would be a boy or a girl, but it was irrelevant. We wanted them to share for as long as possible. So that was the plan.

The Chaotic Monkey was born and it is amazing how siblings can have such different personalities, even at the baby stage. I have to say that I was an extremely lucky mum in that both Monkeys fed and slept well. Big Monkey would feed, you’d change his nappy and put him down on the cot and he’d be sleep in minutes. Chaotic Monkey would also feed well, and after a nappy change he’d settle well in the cot, not problem, but he wouldn’t go to sleep straight away. He’d start talking (making noises…). He wouldn’t cry, he’d be happy, but I would not be able to go to sleep until he was sleep himself. At this point we have to take into consideration that I had an emergency cesarean (with both of them), I was breastfeeding, in a lot of pain, hormonal to the max and exhausted, so no logic applies here. NONE!

After few months, we moved Chaotic Monkey from our room to the nursery and by the time he was 7 months old he was already sharing a room with his brother. Perfect! It worked! Both of them have always been great sleepers, so this worked a treat for many many years. Until it didn’t.
When you've had enough @ OrganisingChaosBlogAs their personalities developed and evolved, some basic things did not change. Big Monkey would go to bed, he’d be happy to have a little chat with his brother and then turn around and go to sleep, Chaotic Monkey would not. He would want the chat to go on for longer and so if Big Monkey wanted to sleep they’d start arguing, or Chaotic Monkey would keep talking (he doesn’t need anyone to answer back!) or start singing at the top of his voice hoping that his brother would give up trying to sleep and join him in his shenanigans.

Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. More often than not, there would be bickering, fights, “he said, no he said”, “he started it…” and so on. They would of course be tired the following day which made the bickering start earlier and earlier as the week progressed. Mr B and I had never walked those stairs more than the last 6 months! Up and down every 5 minutes (or roaring from downstairs if we were too tired) with the “stop arguing”, “stop talking”, “stop singing”, “I don’t care who started it”,”stop talking”, “go to sleep”…

They were threatened with being separated, being sent to different rooms. Despite the fighting, they hated that idea, so I had some leverage there for a little while. Besides, I think they thought it would be too much work and we wouldn’t do it. Until one day, when I had enough.
Breakfast picnic in their bedroomOne normal day, we all woke up, had breakfast, got school lunches, waived everyone goodbye at the door, got my electric screwdriver and went upstairs and started moving furniture around. It was tough but I was determined. I sent some photos to Mr B in the middle of the day with all the beds taken apart and in different rooms and I’m sure he had a little heart attack at work and thought of not coming home that day but he also knew that it was all for the better.

The beds were up that night in different rooms. When the kids came home after school they got a shock. Different rooms? How could I? Chaotic Monkey cried and mourned the loss of his big room. Big Monkey loves having a room to himself although I am sure that he misses hanging out with his brother. Both of them are sleeping much better now although Chaotic Monkey still insists that he needs to share the room with someone for him to sleep better.

As there is an extra mattress in Big Monkey’s room, they are allowed to sleep together at weekends. They love it!  So they get the best of both worlds – they get to sleep earlier on their own on school nights and they still get to hang out at weekends.

Mr B and I are loving the new sleeping arrangement, the kids are getting more sleep and we all are in better form for it.
Adapt or die they say. Well, it’s true.

Do your kids sleep together or separate? How does it work? Share with us!

Chaotic Itzi

LOSING WEIGHT WITH SMOOTHIES – WEEK 2 : SPINACH & KIWI

This week’s smoothie for my personal challenge of Losing Weight with Smoothies is (drums roll for dramatic effect…)  a Spinach & Kiwi Smoothie!!!

I am already in my second week of my personal challenge for February and I am delighted to say that I have lost 1.5 kg last week (3,30 lbs), 50% more of what I was planning, so feeling pretty good about myself, I have to say. And all thanks to smoothies! who would have thought?
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogI have to admit that the first week was easier than anticipated. In all honesty, I was worried that I would get bored with effectively having the same lunch every day but I didn’t. The kale & pineapple smoothie kept me full until dinner and I didn’t even feel like snacking between meals. I think that also knowing that in every smoothie I was getting plenty of nutrients, vitamins and all sort of goodness helped me stay strong until dinner.

The dinners were had with my family. The same dinner as everyone so no extra work. On Tuesday I even shared a brownie with Mr B after dinner! And I still have managed to lose weight, so I am truly delighted and very much fired up for the second week!
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogAs predicted, the weekend was the most difficult time to fit the smoothie into my diet but with a bit of thinking ahead I made it work. It’s all about being prepared. I have been making the smoothie in the morning and I take it with me if I am going out so there is no chance of being tempted while out shopping, or if you feeling hungry earlier than usual – there smoothie is right there with me

This week smoothie is another nutritional delight full of vitamin C, iron, folic acid and calcium, and also delicious, because there is not point in drinking something super healthy if it tastes yucky, right?
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogWEEK 2 : SPINACH & KIWI SMOOTHIE

100 ml of coconut milk
1/2 cucumber
1 banana
1 kiwi fruit
2 cups spinach
1/2 teaspoon chia seeds
1 to 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder

The cucumber and the kiwi make this smoothie so fresh!
Lose weigh with smoothies - Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie @ OrganisingChaosBlogThe original recipe of this smoothie does not include chia seeds or the protein powder so feel free to leave out. I like adding chia seeds to any smoothies as they are high in omega 3 and healthy, and the protein powder bulks it up and helps me stay full until dinner.

I am so ready for this week’s challenge. What about you?

Chaotic Itzi

WEEKLY INSPIRATION : VALENTINE’S DAY

We are already in February and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Are you a Valentine kind of person?

Mr B and I never celebrated it until we had the boys and they became aware of the day. We are just not very romantic. Now  we have a “family date”, exchange cards and have breakfast in bed, all together. It’s lovely. The boys call it Love Day, and for us, that is exactly what it is.

Whichever way you celebrate, on your own, with your partner, in family, with friends… t is always nice to have some inspiration for the day.

VALENTINE’S DAY DECORATION

If you like embracing Valentines Day to the fullest and go all out decorating your home, this balloon arch is just super cute and it can be used from breakfast bar to cocktail bar as the day evolves…
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlog
I. Am. Totally. In.Love. With. This. Chandelier. I just have to make it.
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlog
And what about these love-heart garlands? Easy to make and ever so adorable!
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingChaosBlog

VALENTINE’S DAY PRINTABLES

If you are too busy to make anything, or you are feeling lazy, or just not feeling at all, there are some amazing free printables that you could use to decorate your home and get you in the mood.

Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingChaosBlog
www.iheartnaptime.net
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingChaosBlog
persnicketyprint.blogspot.ie

Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingChaosBlog

VALENTINE’S DAY FOOD

Now, if you are traditional and you are planning a Valentine’s romantic dinner, this caprese salad as a starter would be only delightful, delicious and super romantic!
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlogAn antipasto platter is totally down my alley and it means no cooking for anyone… It doesn’t get any better than this!
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlog

Or if you want to something a little bit more special, you could have the seafood option.
Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlog
And I believe that tradition dictates that chocolate must be had for dessert in Valentine’s Day, right? This walnut and chocolate cake is just the perfect treat, don’t you think?Valentine Day's Inspiration @ OrganisingchaosBlog

So, whether you are having a quiet one, a by yourself one, a family one or a romantic night, I hope you are now inspired to make the day a little bit special. For you at least. Because you deserve it!

Have an amazing weekend!
Chaotic Itzi

ps- If you like this post, please feel share it with your friends. Thanks!

POSITIVE THINKING: Enjoying the Little Things #ChaoticallyPositive

The last month has been a bit crazy busy

In the middle of December, I moved every bed in the house and about 85% of the rest of furniture. It was intense. I am nearly finished tidying up all the rooms but it has taken the best of a month and a lot of back pain. The chaos, the constant mess, the darkness and the bad weather was not a great combination for my head but I knew that I wouldn’t get done before the Christmas holidays and that I wouldn’t be able to do anything from Spain, so I made a decision to do little bits every day without getting bug down on finishing the rooms. That was a great step towards keeping my sanity.

This decision also helped me focus on the little things.Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.com1. I managed to make some presents for the teachers in the boy’s school 2. We had a lovely morning going to visit Santa and hanging out with Rudolph 3. The boys got dressed up to go to see Star Wars: the Force Awakens, the first time 4. Big Monkey made a Christmas card that sums up our Christmas 2015 – equal amounts of excitement for Star Wars and Santa – perfect!

Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.comChristmas - Spain 2015Hanging out with family in Spain was soooooo lovely!!! 1. Travelling to Spain had many hiccups and took much longer than we planned but the boys were so good and patient. Real heroes. 2&3 . Christmas Day was fabulous. It was sunny, it was warm, there was 40 of us. Loads of chats, loads of hugs, loads of food. So good for the soul. 4. Chaotic Monkey and I went to a soccer match with my sister. He loved it.

Focusing on the little things - OrganisingChaosBlog.comAnd this is my new BFF,  one of my presents this Christmas. It makes everything better….

Have a  fab day
Chaotic Itzi

A NEW APPROACH TO THE TIDYING CONFLICT

Chaotic Monkey turned 6 last October. It is a bit insane to think that my youngest is already 6, a full little person with a lot of personality and spirit.

Chaotic Monkey

He loves toys. That might sound like an obvious statement considering that he is a child but not all kids are the same. Big Monkey has always been more about making up stories and acting them out, drawing or making things. Toys, not that much. But Chaotic Monkey could spend hours playing with the tiniest figurines. Hours! He always has a toy in his hand – going for dinner, to the bathroom, to his bed, everywhere!

He mixes and matches also. So the dinosaurs, Darth Vather, Storm Troopers, Ninja Turtles and Spider-man can all easily be in the same game. I love that about him. He has an amazing capacity to immerse himself into a game for so long that he forgets about the rest of the world – just him and his toys

The downside to all this playing, is that the playroom’s floor gets covered in toys every day. He has an uncanny ability to have at least 20 toys down in .2 of a second, and that is no exaggeration whatsoever! But then, at the end of the day, when it is time to go to bed, he is always too tired to tidy up, or there is too much to do, or he can’t do it by himself and he talks his brother into helping him, or his head/ear/nose/hair/foot/brain is sore, or he just simply refuses to do it.

Shortly after he turned 6 I had a chat with him about what it meant being a big boy : helping out more, no winging, tidying up, eating better… Looking back at our little meeting I realise that he would have agreed to anything that day as there was a hot chocolate and a brownie in front of him… oh well, we live and learn..
Chaotic Monkey - always with toys

As much as I would like to say that the tidying improved, I can’t. It only happened as a consequence of “Angry Mum”, blackmail (“your friends can’t come to play until the toys are tidy”) or when he wants something and, as a side note, always be aware when that happens…

So I decided to try a new approach in the new year, one they had been threatened with for a while but I never implemented.

Every toy left out of place at night goes into a bag and is decommissioned for 2 days.

Simple? Yes!
Does it work? Oh Yes!
Why did I not try it before? Don’t know!

There was of course resistance from Chaotic Monkey. He might have even contacted Amnesty International to make sure it was in agreement with the Geneva Convention on Human Rights, but once that was confirmed, he had to go along with it.

A tidy playroom

I have been doing it for a couple of weeks and I am picking up less and less toys every day so it seems to be working. For how long? I expect I will have an answer to that very soon, but for the time being, the toys are put away at night and there are less toys on counters and tables everywhere, so I’ll take this little victory and enjoy it while it lasts.

Have you got a technique to get your kids to tidy up that works for you? Let us know! All together we can win this battle!

Have a great day.
Chaotic Itzi

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A VERY (LATE) HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU!

I know, I know… It is already the 11th of January, which means that we are truly into 2016 already and this is me now wishing you a happy New Year! A bit late, you say? Timing??? I seem to have no timing what-so-ever lately.
I am late
Christmas was amazing but insanely busy and although we are back from Spain a week already and pretty much settled into the school/work/miscellaneous routine, my head is still spinning.

I was so organised in December. I had great posts scheduled, presents bought, dinners organised… and then one day I woke up and I decided to change every room in the upstairs part of my house. 4 beds had to be taken apart and re-assembled in different rooms, furniture moved… Then we decided to go to Spain for Christmas at the last minute but I realized my passport had expired, so after running around like a headless chicken calling myself every name under the sun, I had to drive to Dublin to beg and cry in the Spanish Embassy to try to get it renewed in time. I worked. We left our house with 4 slightly upside-down rooms to go to Spain to have a fabulous Christmas with all my family (there was 40 of us on Christmas day and there was still people missing!) but there was trouble with the airline and we got to Bilbao a day later than planner (on the 24th!) and without the boy’s suitcase which meant we had to run to the shop to buy clothes for them for at least the following couple of days.

Oh, yeah! and I signed up for 2 online courses that I am trying to finish before my evening courses start. I am either very smart or very stupid… nope, no need to answer that one…

Anyway, you get the general chaotic feeling. It has been an amazing Christmas full of family, food and joy and also quite a bit of stress so that is why I haven’t been online lately.

I am hoping to get my study finished this week so not only I will be able to show it to you, but also I will be able to write at a desk in a calm room not surrounded by boxes.

I am trying to stay calm in the midst of the chaos, stay focus and mindful. It will get done, it will be ok.

How was your break? Is it too far in the past that you have already forgotten about it?

ChaoticItzi

HAPPY LUNCH NOTES

The boys are tired. We all are really.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThe weather has really turned from cold to just pure evil in the last couple of weeks. We’ve been having storms, strong winds, rain, rain, more rain and when you thought you couldn’t see any more water… yes, you guessed right, more rain! The skies are grey and the forecast is not looking good. Between the weather, the extra-curricular activities and the darkness, we are all exhausted and very much looking forward to the break at Christmas. And did I mention we are going to Spain for Christmas? I am so excited!!!

In order to make things a bit fun for the kids until we get the holidays, I made some notes to go in their lunch boxes and cheer them up at lunch time with random notes from their mum.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThey were very easy to make and they can be as goofy or as deep as you want, whatever you think will put a smile in your kid’s face. I used colored paper, punchers, reward-chart stickers and markers. Some cutting, some sticking, some drawing. That is all.
happy lunch notes - how tohappy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogThe boys are loving them. They are coming home with big smiles and are then looking forward to seeing what they’ll get the following day. I have been instructed by Big Monkey not to give him cards that say I love you, although he does love me. I guess I’d better get used to get to that, it is the age. As long as I keep getting big cuddles and kisses at home, I’ll play cool mum outside.
happy lunch notes - Organising Chaos BlogSometimes I even put a little note in my lunch at home to cheer me up. It really is the little things…

Chaotic Itzi

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