Friday, September 07, 2007

New term makeover

I am amazed by the surge in energy levels that the new term has given me. It must be the time of year, inspired by the fresh start of a new school year combined with the freshness that the Autum chill brings. I have been busy dusting the cobwebs off our family routines ready for the new term, which has lead to life in our 21st Century home undergoing an incredible makeover. I hadn't planned it, it just fell into place. Nice to know that my haphazard ways still have a role to play.

Makeover no 1.

When I should have been ironing new labels onto school uniform, I suddenly had an immense desire to turn my youngest's bedroom into a fabulous playroom (a job which took all day...on the last day of the school summer holidays). Don't worry, he hasn't moved house or been booted out to a tent in the garden. He's been unofficially sharing with his older brother for the last month and this week we made it official. The boys now have their shared bedroom as well as a shared playroom. The results are amazing. They're having a great time sharing a room and we now have one room in the house, where ALL the toys can be tidied away. We feel as though we live in a bigger house, yet we have the same number of rooms!

Since he'd gatecrashed his brother's room, they seem to have got closer and their play has been better with much more sharing and taking turns. Of course we still have the odd tussle here and there, but that's natural. We are all benefiting from the latest arrangement and it's great!

Makeover no 2.

I've just booked my eldest's birthday party. He's going on a mini-beast hunt at a local nature reserve, where they will also make party hats and clay mini-beasts. Sounds fab...but the real big news most of his friends will be from his class at school, I have suggested to the mums that a joint present might be easier. So far this has gone down a storm. One mum has already offered to co-ordinate, which means less shopping hassles for the others, less money spent and fewer boxes to open. Just imagine if this catches on...less clutter all round and children won't expect so many toys in future. Train them early on I say!

Makeover no 3.

This week I've turned French. Well I haven't quite changed my nationality, passport or even my name (although, Maman du 21eme Siecle has a nice ring to it). No, I have just changed some of my habits, thanks to the influence of a great book that I have just read "French women don't get fat". After a recent trip to France, I thought I ought to find out a few secrets. Apparently, if you eat just a healthy balance of the right things, you can allow a few of what we British would refer to as naughty foods. Coupled with visits to good honest markets for fresh produce and natural exercise through lots of walking, living life the French way is apparently a great way for keeping slender and trim.

Of course this is all obvious, but I thought I'd give it a try. So after a pleasurable wander around our local market, filling a shopping basket with fresh produce and returning home to recreate a few tempting recipes from the book, I am now sure I could disappear to the midst of Provence and settle in beautifully. 21st C Dad has been well looked after with some delicious suppers this week Note: we used to have dinner, but it's taken me so long to organise myself in the evenings hence now it's supper!

...alors.... voila....

Okay...I know it looks just like a tomato salad with goats cheese...and it is but with a delicious home made dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and shallots, It definitely beats a jacket potato!

This has been a major transformation for me because since having my youngest boy my interest in cooking has completely diminished and for the last three years we have lived off plain stuff. Healthy but unadventurous. However, I've now got the taste for culinary delights, so watch this space. The breadmaker has even been recovered from the loft and dusted off, ready to be installed in place of the microwave!

At supper last night, 21st C Dad even suggested making baguettes at the weekend. So watch out for photos of our experiment!

Makeover no 4.

At last I've made a social effort. After hiding away for most of the summer ... doing our own thing on our own in our own space...I've got out there and organised a social gathering with parents from my eldest's class.

You will have gathered that only close friends get invited over the threshold for fear of my cover being blown big style. Call it pride, but I don't want the whole of the local community realising that my abilities are domestically challenged... and the effort to avoid being the talk of the town far outweighs the rewards.

But this 21st C mum actually likes being sociable and I have made the effort to invite everyone to a coffee morning...but not at mine...instead to the Art Lounge at the Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery, where many haven't entered since their own schooldays. However, the benefits are immense...a wonderful space with fabulous toys and drawing space for the children and tea and coffee readily available. The downside is that the exhibition won't be open that day, but eh that's a great excuse to go again!


Melitsa said...

Love the room layout. Just moved and putting the kids toys down in the basement....well most of them. Some in their room. My boys are sharing a room for the first time too. I often find them rolling around howling with laughter or fighting over the Postman Pat van. Those rainbow draws have given me inspiration... IKEA?

Have you tried sun dried tomatoes, cheese ( I like asiago), breadsticks and apple slices for lunch. Yummy.

Erica Douglas said...

We have that rainbow unit too :)

No.2 is a great idea, and no.3 looks yummy.

mummyonashoestring said...

Makeover 1. has given me hope! After having my second child last September my house suddenly became a lot smaller and the reality of having to stay here for the forseeable future in order that I can be a stay-at-home mum became hard to bear. My eldest daughter has expressed the desire for her sister to join her in her room when she is a little older, so there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - thanks!

Paul said...

It's true that French women don't get fat - well, lots of the younger ones.

Of course they don't snack like so many brits and yanks, or even have 11sies or afternoon tea; and lots of them smoke.

If only we were as moderate.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Melitsa - good luck with your sharing arrangement too. We're having fun so far and last night the boys decided to camp out on the floor (without our permission). When we popped into see them it was hilarious. The Rainbow unit is great - we found ours in Homebase and I don't remember it being very expensive. Your recipe sounds great - must try it. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Erica - I am really hoping that this is a trend that kicks off. At the moment I'm getting a few bemused looks. I had thought about passing on the French women don't get fat book so other's could try out those yummy recipes, but on this occasion, I'm keeping it all to myself. I might just put my favourites up in a post some time ;-D

Hi mummyonashoestring - I've been through the same process. When we moved in this house seemed big enough, but when our second was born space became a challenge. Hopefully sharing is the answer...will keep you posted.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi Paul...did anyone say snack? Now where's that biscuit? As you can see the elevenses problem is an issue at any time of day. ;-)

Jo Beaufoix said...

What a fab post.
I feel all motivated to do stuff.
I too am domestically challenged, but this post has given me hope.

Now can I convince Miss E 7 to share a room with Miss M 2?


Jo Beaufoix said...

P.S. You're tagged. Come and play.

21st Century Mummy said...

Hi - Jo, glad to know that it's not just least this term you can have Father Christmas up your sleeve (not literally of course) as an incentive for most things.

Good luck...and I will come and play soon. Promise ;-)