Monday, 2 March 2015

#Paperhaul February has Landed!

This months box popped through my letter box recently and can I just say how much I love this theme! This month, #Paperhaul have gone for a box of wonderful bird themed stationery and if there  are other animal themed boxes in the future I cannot wait to receive them!

Bird themed washi tape is this months tape of choice. I've been tempted to buy this online recently but I ended up buying a similar one so I'm really pleased that I now have it in my collection. I can't wait to seal my letters with this pretty tape.


These little cards are just fabulously unique, quality cards. They're always great to slip into a swap parcel I put together or sometimes add to a letter I've penned to a penpal. These cards are very fun, the owls are so cute.


There are 2 more beautifully designed cards in this months box:



Finally I can say the tags in this box will be used by myself because they are just lovely and very me! For the last two months the gift tags haven't been very 'me' so have found new homes but these are mine for my scrap booking!


 Gorgeous bird stickers. I am a huge sticker fan so I find I'm always hunting for the stickers in the monthly boxes first and I'm never disappointed. I also love pigeons which is controversial, I know people who really dislike them and have strong opinions on them! Ah well they make cute stickers!


Three postcards


Finally, the scrap papers in this months box are just beautiful! Can't wait to see the March box!




*I am part of a blogging group who receive a #Paperhaul box at a reduced price. However, all photos and words are my own.



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

How Sensory Processing Disorder Affects my Son


Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD Foundation Link) (also known as S.P.D, Sensory Integration Disorder) is most simply described as a traffic jam of the brain. When processing all our 7 (yes 7!) senses, the nervous system sends messages to the brain in order to process these senses and act accordingly. Sometimes we all experience a little overload or perhaps we can be fairly unresponsive but the child or adult with SPD will be affected by everyday tasks (teeth cleaning, hair brushing, socialising, play; both at home and school, eating, clothing and so much more) without help and a sensory diet, children and adults can be left with constant battles with daily activities that should not cause distress. After our first paediatric appointment we walked away feeling lighter, now I had a name I could research. The wait between now and an occupational therapy appointment is unknown but this is the best step to take when dealing with sensory processing problems.

SPD does not get cured. But by working through it in the early years he could learn to live with many sensory issues and even grow out of some. Sadly though recognised, SPD is still not diagnosed as a stand alone disorder being commonly seen in children with autism, ADHD and many other learning and behavioural problems. Most health professionals and occupational therapists treat SPD in its own right but it still needs more research and recognition (I'd never heard of it until researching for my son) With a Sensory Diet, (Sensory Smarts Link) my son will learn to manage his difficulties, at least we most certainly hope so.

So how does S.P.D affect Little A? 

Mostly he is hypersensitive and a sensory seeker. He is the child that head rocks, runs into walls and drawers, enjoys running around and being free to make lots of his own noise and play rough regardless of someone else maybe not wanting to. This is more common with his sister rather than another child, say from school.

Having his hair cut causes A much distress. Lots of children hate having their hair done, it can be a long and horrible process for loads of parents. For a child with SPD the noise, vibrations of clippers, snips of scissors, your touch upon their person can cause them pain. It is like every hair on Little A's head is attached to a nerve and by snipping away we are causing the most pain. It's been suggested we let his hair grow but every day brushing and eventually getting out any knots would be like a daily hair cut for him. That's no fun for anyone.

Teeth brushing is another one which many children protest and fight the parent on. There's again a lot of sensory input to deal with. We are currently unsure if he could be experiencing sensory distress or be like many other pre-school children who need pinning down!

The cold bothers A a lot. He will only wear long sleeves, hates shorts and trousers that don't cover his legs and always leaves the house in gloves and a hat even when not too chilly.

He becomes distressed when he cannot pinpoint exactly where a noise is coming from. He hates sudden loud noises and banging. At the other end though he is a seeker and therefore does not mind creating as much noise for himself as possible! Loud phones when watching movies, loud games and lots of shouting and screaming are A!

Difficulty with speech and language. He always needs something to do with his mouth. He chews his jumper, coats and sleeves even his gloves become soaked! He still has a dummy and over fills his mouth when eating.

He will only eat foods that require his jaw to work hard. He loves crunchy foods and avoids wet, lumpy, hot food and has a preference for cold food.

He loves squeezes and bear hugs from people he is familiar with. He's a pretty friendly boy but he isn't always keen on others touching him or pulling him in directions.

He's a fidget!

Poor sleep is a long term problem. Part sensory and part difficulties with his transition from deep to light sleep. Currently no nearer to solving our difficulties.

If A has a preference or his mind up there is no reasoning, no distracting and no negotiating. He has to wear his wellies most days, he may not want to wear a certain piece of clothing but you won't have a clue why! He may eat food one day and not the next, it's never predictable!

He's incredibly distracted when out and about making school runs, nursery runs and anything that should be quick doubly long and doubly frustrating!

Showers terrify him but baths are fine. Just stay away from his head! He also loves water play but you must not splash him or cover him with water; especially if it's cold!

There is so much more to A and more to sensory processing disorder. Do check out the link at the start of this post to read more because it's a lot more complex and I'm having a hard time explaining! I hope this gives people a little insight into our special little man. People that see us need to take this on board so we have a happy melt down free little boy!

Cupcake Mumma

Monday, 23 February 2015

Little A Turns 4!


Although we all felt a little worse for wear come the day of Little A's birthday, we all woke with the birthday boy realising it was his big day and he was so excited. He made me sing him 'happy birthday' when we were still in my bed before hopping off and being led downstairs to his little pile of presents and cards.

He did well this year. He opened his cards then spent 20 minutes ignoring every wrapped present because he was too busy playing with a JCB set Hubby had bought him! Eventually he opened his gifts before putting his new clothes on and heading off to see his cousins and other family at breakfast. We had such a lovely breakfast together and proceeded to town where he bought some toys. We then went to my sister in laws new house and stayed there for a few hours. All the children played together happily, we only left because I had my shopping booked to arrive!

The rest of the day was spent as a duvet day really. A had fun with his toys and Midge, they played together until late. We had a picky tea including A's favourite food right now: pizza! We sang happy birthday and ate destroyed by children cake! It was supposed to be a lovely vanilla covered cake with a train track and one of A's trains on but both children poked and dragged their fingers over the top when I was busy!


And that was Little A's fourth birthday! I felt bad I couldn't wrap all his presents, that his cake was no where near what I wanted and he had no giant balloon or banners but did he notice? Of course not! I'm going to chill out on birthdays from now on!

Cupcake Mumma

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Our Week That Was Captured ~ Week 8

Sorry for the lack of blog posts, this week has been half term for the little ones and it's been rather nice in many ways. Nice to spend some time together, great to have longer in bed, great that Hubby had 2 days off and so good to finally chill. If you read here often you'll know most mornings are a struggle ,not just getting ready but getting to and from the school (at least 4 times a day and 6 Monday's!)

This week we had my eldest niece staying with us. She slept over at the weekend and woke early on Monday eager to do stuff. They did a bit of water play before we all went out and I got sucked into spending a small fortune in the pound store on craft supplies! When we came home I placed glue, paints, pom poms and feathers on the kitchen floor so they could get crafty for a bit. Later my niece went to her Nans for another sleep over and Midge went to my Mums for the night! Little A and I read some nice story books before I spent some time with Midge before Grandma came to collect her.

On Tuesday I came out in this horrid cold which totally took me by surprise. I spent all afternoon on the sofa barely doing anything, just waiting for my friend to arrive. It was a rather spontaneous idea but it was lovely to have a hot drink, a natter and to see her daughter again. Midge turned up just as they left which was gutting and so typical! We enjoyed delicious pancakes in the evening with thanks to said friend dropping over a new recipe I've never tried before. I had mine with banana custard, the children just had a small bit of sugar and even pancake-hater Hubby had some chocolate spread on one. Yum!

Cousins crafting// Little A's artwork// Banana and custard pancakes// Some happy mail ready to be posted.

On Wednesday I really did feel bad! I had a proper duvet day and was very grumpy. I had my aunt over in the afternoon and grabbed a much needed hot shower before that. We did some dog training then watched Outnumbered on Netflix before she left. I put myself straight back into the duvet with two hot water bottles and a lot of tissues for my streaming nose! I did little A's cake whilst Jay put him to bed but had no energy to make a real great cake this year. I nearly fainted whilst icing it so had to take a break! I read a little of my book then called it a night. I was joined as usual not longer after I went up by A crawling up my stairs to get into my bed. He was really fussy on this night, why is it when you're at your weakest!?

Thursday my beautiful boy turned four years old (I know!) we had a family breakfast in town, went shopping and spent some time with my nieces and nephews in their new home before having picky tea and cake. We were all a bit under weather sadly and I was really feeling it in the morning. So glad I was able to last until bedtime!

Boy in my bed!// Opening his present with help from Midge, Happy birthday and candle blowing time!// The destroyed before it had chance to be photographed birthday cake!

On Friday Jay had another day off so he had a long weekend. I had a bit of a lay in and we had a mostly lazy day. We decided to cut the children's hair today before they went back. Midges was easy because she's growing it and just needed it trimmed a tiny bit, Little A's needed to be cut properly. With his SPD it's a blog post in itself but let's just say during the second half of having it done he was a total star and I am so proud of him. After hair cuts we went outside where we put paint on some tarpaulin and slid around. This was Jay's idea and so much fun! We got cleaned up and had a picky tea but I started to feel really unwell again shortly after. I put Midge to bed then stayed on my sofa watching live Eastenders and Gogglebox!

On Saturday I had a nice lay in, I read a lot of my Harry Potter book and started writing a letter which I've felt too rough to catch up on all week, I haven't even blogged this week! Jay had a football match but was too far away to watch so the children mostly entertained themselves while I started early spring cleaning. I'm de-cluttering first, the house is messier than when I started! Still a nice day overall with a very late bedtime for me- oh dear!

Cousins posing together// Half trough the hair cut a much needed break was required// More happy mail ready to post// Fridays movie of choice? Good old Harry Potter!

Next week is back to school and I'm not looking forward to it. My Gran is having a knee replacement so I'm hoping to see her at some point, although I do have a phobia of hospitals so we shall see! I know I must really. I have parcels to post, letters to write and hopefully a catch up with a friend who is back from the grand U.S of A! Have a great week.





Tuesday, 17 February 2015

A Fantastic Gluten & Milk Free Pancake Day!

I love Pancake Day! A lovely friend popped over today and handed me a recipe for some gluten free pancakes. I didn't bother with weights, but I had all the ingredients and my very good (alright, overly keen) eye and piled up the plate!


Hubby went for good old chocolate spread, Midge had already eaten some at Grandmas house so decided against another round, while Little A went for a sprinkle of sugar on both of his. I however, went for banana and vanilla flavoured soya custard. It was So. Good!

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It's little mans birthday on Thursday and we usually do birthday pancakes for breakfast but since we are having a nice breakfast out, I think I will have them for birthday dinner instead! It has the positive of also being something A is definitely going to eat and they're very filling (especially so if you're a massive pig like me who had 4!!)

Happy Pancake Day Everyone!

Cupcake (Pancake?) Mumma

Sunday, 15 February 2015

My Week That Was Captured ~ Week 7

This week went so fast! I woke up on Monday determined to not hate the day as I always dread Monday's! I'm pleased to say that it paid off. I was calmer on the school run and had a lovely nursery run with Little A later on. School runs are very hard with A and his SPD as he's so distracted by literally everything! In the afternoon I took A to nursery with a hot chocolate in hand as he enjoyed a cookie and on the way back I enjoyed looking in some charity shops where I found a few bargains. I later baked some yummy cookies which I enjoyed munching in front of the TV!

Tuesday just couldn't be another Monday sadly. It was a long day and A didn't sleep well so I kept him home from nursery today. We had lots of cuddles and he tried out his new sensory necklace. I don't think I'm getting the dummy off him anytime soon which is a real pain because of his age!

Posting happy mail// Smiley boy// Cookie munching// New bargain plate find// Home baking!// School run hot chocolate//  Tired cuddles on Tuesday// Playing cars//  Hiding behind Olaf

On Wednesday I stayed out with A after dropping Midge off. He was a little grumpy but I had to get some bits from town. We went into Costa where A played with his new digger and I had a hot chocolate. We then went to the library where we spent half an hour going through children's books before watching our regular train and heading to nursery. The rest of the day was just usual pottering about with nothing much exciting.

On Thursday morning after dropping off Midge, A and I went a different way home and found some chalk pictures some children had drawn. I thought it was really cool and reminded me of how much fun that activity is. We had a bit of a stand off but I won eventually (or maybe he did because we had to go his way home which was the long way *sigh*) my Mum popped over later on and we did the school run together before heading home and having dinner together. She stayed until 8pm which was nice.

Costa with Little Man// Playing not eating// At the library// Stubborn man// Girls are the best!// Cute chalk art// Healthy porridge// Trains// Very tired boy

On Friday I didn't have to do the school run because A's new bed was meant to be arriving early. Midge went to breakfast club and I stayed in all morning waiting for this bed...it didn't come until 3pm when it should have arrived at 9am! Least I wasn't paying delivery that's all I could say. I was also lucky that because A had such a disturbed night and had conked out on the sofa I decided to give him early half term. Jay picked Midge up and because A had brightened up we all headed off to my youngest nieces' 3rd birthday party at a soft play center. She had an amazing time and so did all the children. The cake was amazing!

On Saturday we went to a local restaurant and had a big breakfast with Jays family which was so good. I was so full for the rest of the day! A did really well but it's not his ideal environment. Afterwards, Jay went to play football and stayed home getting the children some water play set up and I read a book and sorted A's room. Nothing happened for valentines, The first time we didn't bother and it was fine. I did do hubby a card and he bought mine but forgot to write it ha!

New book// Testing out his new sensory chew// Valentines cupcake made in nursery// T on the slides// Olaf cake!// Spinning fun// Blowing out her candles// Pretty birthday girl at breakfast// Creamy chicken on some weird pasta!

Hope you all had a good week! Next week is half term. My niece is having a sleep over, Midge has requested an indoor picnic and I'm hoping to do some messy play.

Cupcake Mumma

Grab button for The Week That Was

Saturday, 14 February 2015

My Sunday Photo ~ With Olaf!


I didn't make this cake but I wish I did! My niece had the best 3rd birthday and I think that this cool cake really made her day!

OneDad3Girls

Thursday, 12 February 2015

What February Means To Me

Lots of love! I do all the seasonal occasions but I respect there are many people who hate them, especially Valentines! We don't buy into the commercial rubbish but we usually make a card and get a little gift and enjoy breakfast in bed. This year we're having a joint birthday breakfast for A and my niece who is 3 on the 13th, so that will be a room full of happiness and love! In general though I'm lucky I'm in a marriage where we often see something one of us would like and buy it anyway but I still like to 'do' Valentine's Day; it's harmless to us.

I can feel spring around the corner despite the very definite chill in the air.

Looking forward to change. With spring so near, I start to want to de-clutter my home and mind and to feel lighter.

The first half term for the children since the festive holidays looms near and I always look forward to this one.

It's the month my Little Man was born. This year he'll be 4 but it doesn't feel that he'll be that age just yet thankfully. I don't feel he's growing up as fast my Midge!


With big sister Midge

Pancakes!! I love pancake day! Since all my tooth trouble I've really cut back on my sugar, which is a big deal because my sweet tooth is a big sweet tooth. I won't give up pancakes covered in lemon juice and sugar though no way.


It's still cold enough for hot chocolate.


What does February mean to you?

Give Thanks Thursday at Mummy from the Heart

Monday, 9 February 2015

Our Week That Was Captured: Week 6

Not a bad week for The Cupcakes last week I must admit. We had a lovely bit of snow falling (after Einstein here mistaking hail several times for snow!) and we woke in the morning to a lovely sprinkling across the estate. Nothing we could do much with but it was the first time Little A had seen snow properly so that was exciting for us. On Monday we all walked to school very gingerly I must admit! After I had done the nursery run I grabbed a cheeky Costa wrap and hot chocolate. School runs have been so stressful with Little A, I'm trying to find ways to get him less distracted but all I can do is leave super early for everything! In the afternoon Jay collected them both and treated them to a surprise meal out while I got a surprise bit of alone time at home!

On Tuesday I had a relaxing day doing my usual. I enjoyed a hot chocolate (yeah you get the idea, this is a big part of my diet ha!) I also introduced A to the wonders of poached egg on toast which he's never shown interest in before- he loved it! We snuggled for a while before setting off for nursery. I spent a while in the library reading newspapers whilst I waited for my Dad then I spent the afternoon with him which was so nice.


Late night snow// Cheeky Costa on a Monday afternoon// Midge on the bus to dinner// Tuesday post school run hot chocolate at home// Poached egg yumminess// Holding hands for the school run// Our baby Olaf// My chicken pasta// New book

I spent the rest of the week just going about things quite happily to be honest. I've done some letter writing and caught up on my blogging which always makes me happy. I was very late on Wednesday for nursery because 2 trains were due in and we had to stay and watch them...I was very stressed that day! We had Little A's first paediactric appointment on Thursday and all went well. I spent the morning with him having breakfast and a nice stroll before we went there, then I took him to nursery. I spent the rest of the day researching a disorder they think he has (sensory processing disorder) and just bogging myself down in thoughts to be honest! Friday was a dull day so no photos from then sadly, not everyday can be great I suppose..

Saturday made up for the bad day though because I had a couple of hours to lay in bed, then I set up a travel bath with water and both the children loved playing with the water, bubbles and some bits I added for fun. We then took the bikes up to the local field and watched Jay play footie. They won 5-3, so a good match, although I stood in dog poop twice so wasn't in a great mood on the way home! Sunday was really good too. We tidied the garden, tidied the house, watched some cartoons and had a great roast- yum!
At the train station before nursery// Train incoming!// Reading the paper at the library// Naughty but nice chips and salad for tea// Super long socks// Little A and Mummy breakfast// Water play fun// Muddy goalie// Watching daddy play


This week Midge has a valentines disco, it's Valentines Day on Saturday, I want to get some baking done and my Aunt is popping over to do some work with our dog who is very over excitable and needs some training! Have a fab week! 

Cupcake Mumma

Our Paediatric Appointment and the Start of Our Journey



I wasn't nervous at all about this appointment which was a good sign. I really didn't know what to expect and ever since I knew we were going to visit our paediatrician I tried to research what may happen. Everyone visits these professionals for different reasons but just to find a personal account  of what a parent could expect as a rough guide would've been really comforting to me. As an anxious person, I really like to know what I'm facing so I can feel more in control! I'm writing this partly as a memory for my blog, partly as an insight into what may happen when other parents are meeting their paediatrician for the first time and it will also become part of a page that I'm setting up now we know that Little A most likely has Sensory Processing Disorder.

The Meeting:
I received my letter for appointment 3 months after my meeting at nursery with a member of staff from the Special Educational Needs (S.E.N) department. I phoned to confirm Little A's appointment at my local outpatient health clinic and waited for Thursday morning to roll around. If your child is old enough to understand i'd recommend talking to them about this appointment before you go (if you think this would be helpful) Little A didn't really understand but I told him we were seeing a special doctor.

When we entered the room, which was a basic GP surgery room with the usual equipment, bed and what not, Little A sat nearest the desk where he would soon be able to do some puzzles and drawing for the paediatrician. I was asked to clarify how old A was (very nearly 4) we spoke about a few points that were in the report from the nursery and the S.E.N department, just confirming the points and discussing how he has been getting on. At this point I mentioned the list I had brought with me (please do this parents and carers!) after a few more minutes of talking she suggested she look over this list I had put together (2 sides of A4 detailing any behaviours I could think of) immediately she asked if I heard of sensory processing. I said that I had recently come across it on line and found a processing disorder which I felt was so like my son and wanted to mention in the session today. I was given very little detail and was told they wouldn't diagnose it per-say because of his age (lots of children dislike their hair being brushed and teeth cleaned etc so it's difficult but based on other details I had written it was a case of 'this is what is most likely going on with your son.')

Little A was quite keen to interact with his doctor and after a short while his height and weight were taken (all normal) and we spoke about his eating which she confirmed was common behaviour in S.P.D, only liking very certain foods, not having a very broad range of likable foods or disliking the foods touching for example) she got A to jump and hop and balance which was all normal for his age and development. Then she spoke to Little A about the pictures he had drawn ( a spider and Olaf) with some input from myself. She spoke about his speech and I said that I'm happy to continue with speech therapy because he has come such a long way. She agreed and felt developmentally wise physically he is doing great, it is just his speech and communication that is behind.

Then Little A did some colour matching. He performed this very well, only getting 3 colours mixed up. He couldn't tell her the names of any colours but that was expected. He then did 2 simple puzzles perfectly. Seems he's achieved the goals that were set after our first meeting at nursery now I re read it! Excellent! Anyway, these were the only activities A had to participate in. We spoke about his sleep as this is a big problem for us. The only thing we can really conclude is that he has trouble when transitioning from periods of light and deep sleep. There isn't a cure, just some things we can try. I'll have to accept this as a long term problem with A and hope that one day soon he can grow out of it, could be a while!

To conclude the meeting, the paediatrician felt there were no other behavioural problems to deal with and I admitted that I felt the same but felt sure there was 'something' and Sensory Processing Disorder fits very well and means I can work with A better. We are getting A referred to an Occupational Therapist which is a common process as I understand with S.P.D in both children and adults. Hopefully we can learn what A can stand and what he really dislikes, although we are already discovering some main causes of distress.

The whole appointment for us lasted 45 minutes and was a friendly and relaxed appointment. I left feeling helped and hopeful. A was very restless by the end of it and very bored so it ended at the right time! I'm going to be doing more writing about S.P.D. I've found some blogs I want to share and to write about our own journey with A as it's all so very different; one thing I have learnt already!

Helpful Pointers For Your First Paediatric Appointment

* If you feel it's helpful, talk to your child about the upcoming appointment and what may happen if they're old enough to understand.

* If it helps your child, try to arrive a little earlier than needed (more to get used to the environment than anything else)

* Avoid anything stressful beforehand. I had to leave very early and do a nice activity with A before our appointment just so we could go slow. If A felt rushed he would've been in a foul mood and our meeting would've been very different!

* Do take a list with you. Try to be as specific as possible and don't worry about looking silly, you won't be the first nor the last person to take one of these lists with you!

* Re read any forms and reports you have prior to your meeting and even take them with you just in case. Your paediatrician will probably have the same reports as you so it's good to re read them, I tend to put them in my file and not re read for a while!

* Ask for notes. During our meeting several products and a website were mentioned which the paediatrician wrote down for me so I could look into them. I would've never remembered them as well as all the information!

* Sometimes if your child is under 5 your Red Book can be useful. It wasn't in our case but I know some clinics ask for them so it's worth checking.

* Your first appointment can vary from 30 minutes to an hour, it all depends on what you're being seen for. I'd make sure you prepare for that and also a small wait just in case. Taking some bits for your child if they're young or you know they are likely to get bored in this time (like some juice, a snack for before or after or something they find comforting) could help you.

Good luck with your appointments and if I've missed anything please let me know and I'll add them above!

Cupcake Mumma
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