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Having a Family Movie Night?

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Why not take a look at what we've been eating?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

This Advent Will Be Special

I've been getting really excited about Christmas over the last few days (actually weeks, but Sssh!) and am busy planning everything to make this Christmas the most magical and Spiritual yet. Well, apart from the first one as a Baby being born to be Saviour of the world is pretty magical and spiritual.

The Nativity Scene at our local shopping Centre

Anyway.

With Daddy being in Birmingham all week, I want to plan things that the children and I can do together that I can also either give a simplified version to Daddy for whilst he is away or that he can "catch up" with when he gets back home, and of course that's why I need to start planning now. After all, December is really just a few days away if you take out all the hours of sleeping, eating, bathing, chore doing, shopping, cooking, school run, petrol filling, TV watching, blogging and whatever else it is that I do.

So, what have I got planned. Actually planned seems a little grown up and fully arranged, it's more like what have I got in mind.

Well, lets start with the things we're going to do together.

Each Sunday, we're going to light our Advent wreath candles together. We'll pray, read some scriptures and sing some of our favourite Christmas Hymns or Carols. I love the Spiritual refill that we get on a Sunday from this and the chance that we have as a family to read scriptures and pray together. I love Jen's candles this year, but mine are much smaller... I can't find a picture however!

I'm thinking of starting a Jesse Tree this year, and so each Sunday we'll work together to create various ornaments, If you don't know about Jesse trees then this Catholic website is brilliant at explaining about it all. Have you ever made a Jesse tree? If so, let me know if you found it added to your Spiritual appreciation of the season in the comments!

Each Saturday night we'll watch a movie together, We have plenty of Christmas movies to chose from, but I'll make sure we watch a Nativity film at least once, after all "it is the reason for the season". I just have to pick my favourite from all the ones that I've seen over the past *cough* twenty-five *cough* years. Of course, we'll definitely watch my Top Ten Christmas Movies and more than likely the film Nativity! at least twenty times...

Poster for Nativity!

For the time that we're apart I'm busy combing Pinterest for ideas and I've got several already, but if you have any ideas then please let me know either in the comments here, or on Facebook or Twitter, as it takes a village and all that!

One of the things we are definitely do is go to the Cinema (different towns, same time showings) to see Get Santa. My sister is planning on taking her troop to the cinema to see the same film, so we might get together to go as a BIG group and have some family time too.

We're going to make some new decorations (I quite like the Santa Hand print Baubles), and we'll try and top our 21 Christmas trees total this year too.. Oh and don't forget that I have a surprise for all of you this Advent, a little like our Calorie free Chocolate calender a few years back!

On top of all this we have a few ideas, that I can't actually share here on the blog because, well they are secret and we don't want people to know that it is us! However if you leave a comment because you're after some ideas from what we are up to, leave a comment and I'll send you an email or DM me or private message me or something!

So what are you up to this advent and what should I be adding to my list too?
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Monday, 17 November 2014

Samsung Food ShowCase Fridge Freezer - The Big #Review

I have my Samsung fridge freezer for ages now. 

I've got over the fact that it has magic wheels, I've wiped off at least a million fingerprints and have now given up and am living with a slightly streaky look to the Chrome finish. I've discovered that my boobs can accidentally turn off the ice maker if I stand too close to the touch pad area and that you get used to new noises really quickly. I've also discovered that the novelty of having ice on hand at all times of day and night without having to think about refilling ice trays with water has not worn off, and Top Ender is still so in love with the cold filtered water available that her water consumption has doubled, which is good as I was a little worried about how much she wasn't drinking!

Iced Water For all!

The children LOVE that they have their own drawers and that I fill them with appropriate snacks for them. Mostly carb free options for Big Boy, slightly more carb options for Top Ender and of course breakfast brioches and similar items that they seem to think the world revolves around! There is still plenty of room to store the plethora of insulin, glucose and other items that BB needs for his Diabetes that need to be refrigerated

I'm quite chuffed with myself as I even managed to work out where my milk should go. It only took me three months, so as things go I think that's a genius move on my part, and I can't believe I didn't work it out sooner.

There have been a few issues however. 

I discovered when trying to freeze a muffin pan of soup that the tray was too wide for the freezer shelf. Luckily as you may remember I have two spare freezers in the garage (I bulk buy and cook okay?!) and the tray fitted into one of those quite nicely.

The bottle storage area is really designed for wine size bottles, which in a house that never drinks wine and rarely drinks drinks that come in wine size bottles is annoying. But it handing for storing sauce bottles, such as the ketchup and brown sauce that we can all have an argument about in the comments over which one goes on our Bacon Butties!

inner case and show case door handles

Daddy still hasn't got used to the ShowCase door allowing for quick and easy access to our favourite things. Such as milk, sauces for meat, lemon juice, you know all the things that you normally find a place for in the fridge. I love that in the description of the fridge, they call this part a fridge within a fridge and it's true. It's like I have two fridges, the showcase door allows me to store things I want quick access to and then the actual fridge has all the meat and vegetables in. I can honestly say that it has revolutionised the way I cook

The pro's certainly outweigh the cons.

The fridge and freezer seem less chaotic, despite being just as full as my old fridge freezer ever was.

The children are much more able to help themselves, and with the rule of all leftovers living in green lidded pots from Ikea, my fridge looks so much neater most of the time too.

The alarm that sounds if you haven't closed the fridge or freezer door, reminds me to get a move on when I'm putting the shopping away and makes me realise that having the showcase door, keeps a lot more of the cold in when I'm after something quick, like when adding more of the Nando's Peri-Peri sauce to Daddy's chicken dinner!

I've put a thermometer in the fridge, and move it around, and can see that the all around cooling, where cold air is blown out at each shelf level, means that the fridge really is kept at a constant temperature (apart from when my boobs accidentally reset the fridge temperature as well!).

The lighting is amazing, I mean why have we never had lights in a freezer before?! LED lighting is certainly the way forward.

LED Lighting in the Freezer to help me find my ice-cream

The digital inverter is really cool, Daddy had to explain this to me as it makes a difference to the cooling performance in the fridge by automatically adjusting according to what I put in the fridge. Yeah, made no sense to me either. Basically if I (or the children) keep opening the fridge door, or I put in a tub of leftovers that is still warm the fridge works this out by seeing the temperature of the fridge has changed and so reacts and puts out cold air to cool the fridge down (if there is food in there) or slows down to help with the energy consumption. That makes a little more sense to me.

I'm not sure if it is the digital inverter or the thermometer or the drawers but the food in my fridge is being kept fresher for longer. Salad's are crisper for longer, the carrots didn't go all wibbly before the end of the week and believe it or not but my onions haven't made me cry once since having started to keep them in the fridge for an hour or so before chopping!

Lastly, as most of my friends (who've all come round for fridge tours!) have pointed out the Fridge Freezer looks good. It suits the kitchen, despite the kitchen being a sort of country theme (not my choice, but I can't afford to replace it just yet and if anyone wants to give me a redesign for free and then come fit a kitchen please do get in touch!) and it would look just as good in their kitchens. Especially one of my friends whose kitchen is my dream kitchen.

So there you go. I love it, it's perfect for how I cook and two of my friends have ordered it off the back of seeing it in my kitchen. If you're looking for a new fridge freezer, then honestly make sure you put this one on your shortlist.

I was sent the fridge freezer to review.
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Saturday, 15 November 2014

Weight Watchers Iced Desserts #Review

There are many things that I love about having the evenings to myself. Of course having Daddy away is a really sad thing and the children and I miss him terribly, but as I said I really love having the evenings to myself.

And of course when I say I have the evenings to myself, what I really mean is I go to bed early, watch TV and eat pudding.

One of my Weight Watchers Iced Desserts being Eaten whilst watching Sir Alan on the Telly

I think that most of you will remember that I'm not a huge fan of Ice Cream but the desserts from Weight Watchers have a few benefits for me (and for you too!). The first is that they are a good serving size, meaning that I'm not overwhelmed with Ice Cream but this is good for you because honestly we all need to watch our serving sizes don't we?!

The second benefit is that I am actually still watching what I eat, (I'm not on a diet as such, I'm just more interested in what I'm eating) and so eating a calorie reduced pudding is a good thing. Also with the lead up to Christmas, I know a lot of playground chatter has been about keeping to diets in anticipation of either putting weight on at Christmas or more commonly looking good for Christmas photos and Christmas work dos.

Another benefit of the puddings, is that they are actually nice. I know, who'd have thought it?! Seriously, remember that I don't like Ice Cream and then remember that I'm actually deciding to eat these Ice Creams in my treat time!!!

I had been given some vouchers to buy the puddings and despite these having run out weeks ago, I'm still buying the desserts each fortnight for some treat time.
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Thursday, 13 November 2014

Why I can never go on Pointless

I'm normally quiet good at the quiz show pointless. In fact I'm normally so good that my Mum and I have considered applying to be contestants.

However, recent events have meant that I now can't be on the show and it wasn't even anything I did.

To explain why I have to take you back a couple of weeks, so imagine wibbly wobbly wavey lines across your vision now.

I was in bed, one cold and dreary night. BB was needing a blood test in just over an hour and I thought there was no point in going to sleep, so I started channel hopping. I'm terrible when it comes to late night TV, I prefer things that I don't have to think about, possibly romance the sort of shows that are akin to trashy novels, but none of these scripted reality shows, I'm not that low brow.

Underground bedlinen. Perfect for memorising the stops on the Northern Line

Eventually I settled on ITV Encore, a new programme was about to start, well a repeat from about 14 years ago but it was the first one and I'd never seen it before. It had Caroline Quentin in it and I quite like her and Alexander Armstrong was in it too and he's funny on HIGNFY and I've obviously seen him on Pointless so I thought I'd give it a go.

Soon I became engrossed in the storyline of Life Begins, which sees Maggie (Caroline Quentin) being left by her husband (Alexander Armstrong) because he was a bit bored. There is a little more to it, but look the impression I was left with at the end of the first show was that Alexander Armstrong's character is a bit of a tosser.

I can see why I sympathised with Maggie. Apart from the obvious, that's how the writer wrote it, she and I were quite similar. We were both housewives/SAHM's. We were both not quite living up to what we had thought we'd be. We had two children, one girl, one boy. We're both really funny and of course we were both at one point once married to Paul Merton. Oh wait that was just her.

Anyway. As the series went on (nightly) I started to really dislike Alexander Armstrong's character because of more examples of his tosserism and general lack of being a decent human being.

Then I saw another TV show with Alexander Armstrong in it.

Guess what. In this show, he has an affair whilst his wife is sort of having a nervous breakdown because she can't conceive. Worse still he gets the woman he's having an affair with pregnant.

So.

I can't go on Pointless, because if I do I'm sure that I'll punch Alexander Armstrong in the face or possibly have an affair with him.

Either way I don't think the BBC will approve.
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Friday, 7 November 2014

One Hour A Week

Every Thursday night, Big Boy goes to Beavers.

I love that he does this, I think that it's important for him and I can see the difference it has made in him for the short time he's been going. He is much more confident, he talks with other children much more easily, he has become more tolerant of others and accepting of differences. Basically he is turning into one of those well rounded young men that I'm going to be incredibly proud of for the rest of my life.

BB at Beavers

Anyway.

As you all know, BB is a Type 1 Diabetic; And whilst I'm a little more protective of him than maybe I would have been if he wasn't a diabetic, I have good reason to be really don't I? Now, whilst his leaders at Beavers know what to do, I'm still a little worried about leaving him alone with them. It's a lot of responsibility to put on people who see him for an hour a week and who have a duty of care to other children too. So, each week when BB goes to Beavers, Top Ender and I go too. And we sit outside, because we don't want to intrude on BB's Beaver time, or on his independence, or even on his street cred!

In the Spring and early Summer it was great fun. Top Ender would play in the park and we'd have picnics and we could sit in the sun. In the Autumn it was fun too. We went foraging, collected conkers and we were still able to sit in the sun because it was so mild!

Now however in late Autumn, we're a little lost at what to do.

It's dark.

And wet.

And cold.

So if you had one hour to spend a week doing something with your daughter in the family car whilst you waited for your son, how would you spend it?

Top Ender reading in the car

I've suggested to Top Ender that she do her homework, spend some time reading or practising her spellings, that she could spend time studying her scriptures with me or even catch up on her sleep. I've thought that I could spend time meal planning, writing blog posts, writing correspondence, sleeping, reading, helping Top Ender with her homework or spelling practice or scripture study... but I really want to do something in that hour a week, something productive or that will seem to be productive!

Any suggestions?
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