Work at Home Dad

I did the stay at home cook and clean thing for a few days before I experienced the innermost regions of my boredom. The depths of Mordor pale in comparison to the darkness that becomes me when bored. I cooked, clean, baked, cleaned again, nagged, interrogated and procrastinated my way through many misadventures in the first few days of stay at home ‘Dadom’. I even built a bookcase (of which I am immensely proud). I have never been that great at DIY so I knew on completion of this magnificent book case that I would need to fill my life with something. More miraculously, it wasn’t a shop bought, self assemble job, but a fully fledged piece of wood cut, measured and built. Check me out…Bob the Builder has some competition!!!

 

Thankfully, I had been asked at the beginning of the year if I would be interested in working from home. At the time I wasn’t sure if I would be doing the stay at home thing and to be quite honest I thought I would be going back to work. Events unfolded that meant I would be making that step. On deciding that I may lose my mind to boredom if I did nothing, I have started to work from home. Coincidentally, it is something relevant. I now work for a mummys and daddys job website.I am biased I know but for any UK mums and dads that are looking for work, check out these sites: Mummys Jobs & Daddys Jobs .How could I refuse something so fated to be perfect? The downside – I have to dust off the old sales skills. There’s definitely a few layers of dust there as well.

It’s been a couple of weeks and I am fitting the job around  my self inflicted list of chores that I give myself to procrastinate over. I am an amazing procrastinator. I don’t deny it. If there is anything that can fill 10 mins to 5 hours of time when I should be doing something else I will find and explore it to its fullest. I think we’re all a bit like that nowadays. It’s easy to do. Whether it be a good film (or book if you’re old school), a good binge on Netflix, or even the odd Facebook or Twitter marathon.Life is designed to fragment us I suppose – a series of random useless activities that do nothing but pass the time and fill the void of boredom.

My day starts with the morning school run, which to be honest is like running the 100m final through a minefield. I thought stroppy kids didn’t turn up until teenage years. My 4 and 5 year old children have mastered lazy teenager mode already!! I am a morning person. Well, sometimes, so they must get most of their morning grumpiness of their mother. I strictly give myself an hour on a Sunday afternoon to be a grump. Everyone is the house knows it and reacts in the appropriate manner – meaning that I am given it back with interest. We are a happy family – honest! Anyway, after the school run, I do some mandatory exercise of the dogs and then myself and then do some work for a couple of hours a day. It’s not much in terms of time but it pays off – not really financially yet – but psychologically it’s worth millions. I am just one of those people that needs to fill my life with jobs and meaning. Being a dad should be enough right? Nope, I need a bit more for me. I think that is important for all of us. I love being a stay at home dad but I can’t break the stereotypical feeling of needing to contribute to the household wallet.

Working from home definitely has its benefits. The most important one is that I have a more defined routine; a routine which is also flexible. I can work around my home commitments, fit in some time to try to get fit, something which never happened before. I can feel like I have value without compromising the time I spend with the kids. In fact, I have never had so much quality time with my two little nutters. I have to fill a lot more time than I was expecting. We go to the park at the bottom of the road now much more than we ever used to, and they love it. It took them some time to get used to it. My son cried seeing me at the door when he came home on the bus one day last week – he was disappointed as he was expecting one of the grandparents that was usually there when he got of the bus. That was slightly disappointing, but expected as he doesn’t like change too much. He’s smiling most days now which is a good sign. Thank God!

My daughter on the other hand has really loved me being at home. We get so much more extra time together. I now walk her to and from school. We never had time for this, but now we have at least an hour of just me and her time everyday. I really cherish this. She told me she loved me with her whole heart yesterday. Wow!

 

Since working from home I have started setting myself goals each week and for the month. I think it is important to have something to work towards. It gives me a direction to point in. So I have set myself targets of getting my first client, writing 20,000 words, reading two of my set books for my open university degree, and losing another stone over the next month. Nothing wrong with being ambitious is there? So only another 18,451 words, two books, my first client and one stone to go. Targets aren’t meant to be easy are they?

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My Summer As A Stay At Home Dad

My Summer As A ‘Stay At Home Dad’ – Blog 003

It’s been awhile since I wrote my first two blogs. A couple of months. It’s not that I have been lazy – just too busy. The summer was a crazy mess of holidays and keeping the kids entertained. I have got to say it was the best summer yet. We had two holidays. Yes, I feel very blessed to say that we had two holidays. One was an ill-fated, rained out caravan holiday and the other was a 30 degree stunner in Crete. It was brilliant!!!

I ‘accidentally’ bid on a caravan holiday in a charity auction back last year. It was our first caravan holiday, and probably our last. The location was spectacular and the caravan wasn’t too bad. It’s just that caravanning is just not for us. It rained for 90% of the time and the kids couldn’t cope with being stuck in a tin can. Needless to say, we won’t be doing that again anytime soon. Unless nostalgia bites and we think it will be okay next time. I think my main issue is that I am a little bit larger and a little bit taller than most people than caravan. My feet hung about two feet off the end of the bed, meaning that I didn’t get hardly any sleep. For some strange reason the lack of year round heating in the tin can meant that there was a slight dampness in the air, resulting in my asthma playing up and me feeling like I was breathing through a damp cloth for three days. Fun! Looking on the bright side, we now know not to do that again. To be totally honest, we were grateful that we had this holiday and that the money we paid went to a really worthy charity who helped us for many years with our son, and we know that if we more caravan goers we would have enjoyed it far more as the setting was brilliant and it was a good caravan that had been donated by a very kind and generous family. My hat goes off to them. 

Thankfully, we had booked a week away in Crete, Greece. This is our last holiday away for a while. Due to giving up the day job, money is going to be a little more sparse than in previous years, so our usual week away in the ‘Med’ is going to be more of pipe dream for a little while. This holiday was our last big getaway before our son goes through his assessment for a pot

ential brain surgery. A lot was riding on this one. It didn’t disappoint. It was honestly amazing. The weather was perfect, the food was unbelievable, and more importantly, the memories we created as a family were unforgettable. My two children finally got over their fear of the swimming pool and I enjoyed

dunking them in the water more than what’s acceptable. Payback at last! Without giving you every last detail, it was absolutely incredible.

Not one to have a moan, I must talk about one aspect of the holiday that was gobsmackingly awful. Gatwick was awful on the way back. Their special assistance service resulted in me having to carry my heavy, sleeping, nearly 6 year old son from the plane to passport control and on to baggage in order to collect his wheelchair, which coincidentally came through last. To use a ‘Welshism’ – I was tamping. We have flown to several airports and never had a problem. When flying back to Cardiff from Spain last year the service we had was excellent. We were even allowed to meet the pilots and my son got to sit in the Pilot’s chair while we waited for our escort through to baggage collection. The wheelchair was delivered to the plane so I didn’t have to carry my son and our every need was taken care of. It could not be faulted. We thought thought that the Uk’s No 1 airport would give us something similar. It clearly fell well beneath expectations. Needless to say we shall avoid Gatwick when travelling abroad again.

I have to say that being a stay at home dad this summer has been amazing. It’s gone far too quick and I was ready for the children to go back to school – basically so I can get some energy back. I am pretty sure that this year’s summer will be one I will remember clearly and will be one of the best. If not, I have some great summers to come.

Yellow Plum Mini Cheesecakes

Low Sugar Mini Snack Cheesecake

 

If you love cheesecake, especially baked cheese cakes, why not try these? You can choose whatever topping you want. I have tried lots of different fruit compotes but this one is one of my favourites: Yellow Plum Mini Cheesecakes. There are lots of recipes out there for mini cheese cakes, but mine is lower in sugar than most and lower in fat. Apologies for the awful photo, it doesn’t do these justice.

Ingredients

8 paper muffin holders

5 digestive biscuits

1 tsp honey

250g low fat (5% or less) cream cheese

1 egg

50g sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp cornflour

Topping example: Yellow plum compote

2 ripe yellow plums

50g sugar

100ml water

Method

To make the Cheesecake

Put the egg, sugar, cornflour and vanilla into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Add in cream cheese and whisk until a thick white consistency. Leave to rest at room temperature whilst you make the cheesecake base.

To make the base, crush the biscuits until a fine crumb and then add the honey and mix together. Line the paper muffin cups with digestive biscuit and press in firmly.

Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the biscuit base and then bake in the centre of the oven for 25 mins. Once finished, place them on a cooling rack before adding your topping.

To make the Topping

Slice the yellow plums into segments of equal size. Add100ml water and sugar into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Wait for it to thicken to the consistency of a soup-like liquid. Add the plums to soften. Let it cool for 10 mins before adding to the dessert. You can add a 2 tsp of light brown sugar is you have a sweet tooth.

This is a really simply and delicious recipe. Enjoy! Remember to let me know if you try this out and what your thoughts are.