Boring Lunchboxes?

We've got easy ideas that take seconds to make!

Looking for some Summer Fun?

We've got lots of ideas!

Thinking about Summer?

Why not kick back and relax?

Having a Family Movie Night?

Why not take a look at what we've been reviewing and what we thought?

Don't know what to cook?

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

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The First Week of July

July for me is the month of Sport Days, Birthdays and the official start of SUMMER! For me one of the best memories about July was being able to go down the field at Lunchtime and from what the children are saying it's one of the highlights for them and I'm sure one of the things that they are going to remember fondly when they are old and grey... talking of which Do you prefer me blonde or brunette?! I'm thinking about dying my hair and those are the main two colours I've had in my life so you know I thought I'd stick with the classics!

The First Week Of July

The weekend was a lot of fun, we got to see the Minion Movie as a family (we liked it, but we want to see more of Gru as a child!) and as a consequence got to eat a tonne of popcorn and sweets! I'm not saying that it is the only reason I go to the cinema, but it doesn't hurt! BB and I got to take part in the Minion weekend at Tesco where we hunted down various signs across the store, BB and I had a total giggle and I love this picture I took of him at the display at the front of the store.

Big Boy being a Minion

Now, one of the best meals we had over the weekend was a simple fish finger sandwich.

I know. The classic dishes are always the best dishes.

Birdseye Wholegrain Fish Finger Sandwiches. Can you say YUM?

Birdseye had sent me some vouchers to buy some of their wholegrain fish fingers with, the Children decided what we really needed was to serve the fish fingers in white bread, because as we all know fish finger sandwiches are way better on white bread, the bread is buttered and of course there is a healthy dollop of ketchup.

Now somebody made a good point on my Facebook page about having the goodness of wholegrain being cancelled out by having the white bread, BUT I purposely picked a white loaf known for having more fibre per slice than "normal" white bread and as I said if you're having a fish finger sandwich it has to be on white bread or it just doesn't taste as good.

Anyway, the children and I didn't really notice any difference in the Fish Fingers to the ones we normally eat. We wolfed them down and I did pick some more up as I figured keeping some in the freezer would be useful especially as they are made of wholegrain.

The Working week/School week started with the children producing a great School Run photo. The children were jumping and their favourite was when it looked like BB was looking in amazement at Top Ender levitating.

Top Ender can fly!

I do think the Children have as much fun as I do with our own particular brand of crazy!

Meanwhile, the Kittens have been growing and getting more and more adorable everyday. At the moment this is my favourite picture of the boys, which shows how they like to spend most of the day - cuddled up together.

Mario and Harry the Kittens

I do have to give a quick mention of the babysitting duties that I undertook this week. Whilst my Sister and her partner and my Mum went to a concert that my eldest Niece was taking part in I got to stay at my Sisters home with Tops and BB and the rest of my Sisters children. When it was time for Teddy to go to bed, we took these selfies and it just proves that my sisters children are just as awesome as I am!

PippaD and Teddy are just the cutest taking Selfies!

The best news of the week, was that my shower got fixed. I may have got a little excited at the fact that I had a working shower and as soon as the plumber left my house (well technically my driveway) I jumped into the shower for an hour.

A Steamy Shower For One

It was BLISS.

Somebody asked on Facebook, how I'd coped without a shower for so long and the answer is, I have no idea. I really missed showers and washing my hair in the sink and having a bath just isn't the same.

As it had been so long, we didn't have a Shower Curtain so I got to go out and buy a new one and as I was alone I got the one I wanted.

A Rainbow Showercurtain

It's like showering with a rainbow! Now, I'm after some waterproof LED bathroom lights to have in the bath when I shower to make it even more rainbow like.

Oh and in the last few years have their been any advancements in shower taking that I should know about? Do I need special foot scrub things or special sponges or anything? At the moment I'm just happy to smell nicer at the end of my shower than I did before and to wrap myself up in a nice warm fluffy towel!

And that is really all that my week contained... well apart from watching Pretty Little Liars because we got a Netflix subscription! I've wanted one for AGES, but Daddy has always thought it wasn't something we'd make use of. I kept making little noises about it, talking about TV shows I could only see on Netflix that I wanted to see, talking about articles I'd read about how the future of TV is online content...

Netflix logo - Thanks Netflix Press Team for the logo!

Anyway, eventually Daddy decided that getting Netflix was his own idea and I let him believe it because seriously, it's not worth the hassle of pointing out how brilliant I am because the man knows that already. He married me after all!

So, that was my week. How was yours?

As I mentioned, Birdseye sent me some vouchers to buy the Fish Fingers.
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Saturday, 4 July 2015

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 4th July)

This week I asked friends on Facebook, what they liked to read on my blog. Lovely Leoni-Fay said that something she has missed in recent months on my blog has been reading my meal plans. It's funny because, the children have also been suggesting to me recently that they would like to see a return of the weekly meal plan post, because the Meal Plan on the back of the living room door isn't visible when they are in bed!

Meal Planner on the back of the Living Room Door

So, with this in mind I welcoming back my weekly meal plans.

Queue applause, fanfare and fireworks.

Oh. No applause, fanfare or fireworks eh? Well, I know where I stand then.

Saturday - Salmon and Potatoes

On a Saturday, after I've been shopping with Top Ender and my Mum, we dump the shopping at home and then my lovely lovely husband cooks a meal. I thought that Top Ender, Big Boy, Daddy and I would like to have Salmon.

Okay, so I'd like Salmon and they can just have what I want because if I do the shopping then I'm in charge!

Sunday - Roast

Top Ender and I are fasting today as it is Fast Sunday, a monthly "event" at the Church we attend. We fast for two meals (which is about 24 hours) and donate the money to the Church which then uses it to distribute to those in need. Anyway, by the time we will get home from Church we will be STARVING and so we'll be ready for this amazing roast which Daddy will have produced.

At the moment we aren't sure if it's a Chicken or Sausage Roast, but what ever it is, it will be accompanied with Roast Potatoes, mixed veg and a lovely pudding after of (if it's still warm) some form of iced dessert.

Meatless Mondays - Pizza Jacket Potatoes

I was going to schedule these a couple of weeks ago as a Saturday family meal, but everything conspired against me! I figure that the kids will love these, because they can make the meal themselves, all they need to do is add the Jacket Potatoes to the Crockpot before they go to School in the morning and then add the toppings when it is time to serve.

I'll organise a side dish of carrot and cucumber sticks and other raw vegetable and salad items and we'll be away!

Tuesday - Fish Burgers

The great thing about my children is that they now willing eat fish. If you ask them they will say that Salmon is their favourite, but they still quite like Cod and Haddock. The burgers are Cod, which I'll accompany with a bit of salad in the bun and a side of oven baked chips and I'm thinking corn on the cob because who doesn't love corn on the cob. Apart from Daddy that is.

Wednesday - Meal Out

Don't get excited. The meal out is more than likely only going to be at Ikea as my Mum LOVES the Lamb Shank offer that they have for members. It's a ridiculously cheap price and actually really lovely. The children normally opt for Meatballs, but then again at Ikea, who wouldn't!

Ikea Lamb Shank and Mash

Thursday - Veggie Stuffed Pasta

Thursdays are busy for our little family. When we get home from School, we need to start our homework, read, practice our Violin, get changed, eat and get out to Beavers and Guides. So Thursdays we need something that is filling, fast and hopefully yummy. Sometimes we go to Beavers early and have a picnic, but this Thursday I'm planning on Veggie stuffed Pasta.

Friday - Chicken Curry 

Did you ever watch the programme Friday Night Dinners? I didn't, but Daddy did. Anyway, we've started eating later on a Friday night so that we can eat together, when Daddy gets home from work. As far as I can tell our Friday Night Dinners aren't quite eventful as the ones in the TV show, but they are just as funny.

Top Ender has actually suggested that we start recording them for a podcast to be released once a week for people who are lonely or bored or who want to know what one of our Friday Night Dinners is really like!

Anyway. We're going to have Curry, which we had a few nights ago and the Children loved and this time I might even be tempted to make the additional items that Daddy sometimes makes, like Naan Breads and Onion Bhajis.

So that's the meal plans for this week. What are you planning?
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Thursday, 2 July 2015

Reading Certificates, Collins Big Cat Books and A Proud Mama #Review

At the School that Top Ender and Big Boy attend (although Top Ender leaves in just a few short weeks) there is an ongoing challenge to all the children. The challenge is to read, something which we do in our house at least four times a day, but closer to seven or eight if I'm truly honest.

The reading material doesn't have to be a reading book, it could be reading a shopping list, a recipe, a comic even just as long as the children are reading everyday. Then the children or a parent, note down that they have read in the School/Home contact book and that's that. I have a further rule, that each reading session has to be at least 15 minutes long, but that's not a School rule and I have it because both Top Ender and Big Boy have inherited their love of reading from their Daddy and I and they have also inherited their love of speed reading. Whilst neither of them are quite as fast as I am, they are well on their way!

At School, the Teaching Assistants or Teacher count up the number of times the children have read and when they get to 25, they get a certificate in assembly. They get another at 50, another at 100 and another at 200. The School are making all the Children excited about reading, excited about being recognised in front of their peers for making reading something tangible. The last level they can reach in one School year is 300.

Reading at Home

Oh and just to point out, we note down one read per day, so a total of seven per week, even if my children do read closer to 50 times a week with the system we have at home. So Playground Mum who kinda accused me of noting down multiple reads a day in order to get the Children certificates quicker, that's not how it works and that's not what we do.

And last week, both Top Ender and Big Boy reached 300.

And in the Friday assembly, both children got their certificates.

They came home happy, with their certificates clutched in their hands, grinning wildly and chuffed to pieces that they had reached the last level before the end of the School year.

I guess, with all the reading we do you wouldn't be surprised that when Collins Big Cat Books asked if we'd like to review some books, we said yes.

Collins Big Cat Books

The bumf for the Collins Big Cat books are a great tool to help children build their speaking, listening and reading skills outside of school and a great way to encourage parents to help with their children’s reading progression.

Well, actually it's less bumf and more true. The books that we were sent have been great and have allowed Big Boy (and Top Ender who's borrowed the books herself!) to read aloud and build upon the skills that he is working on at School (and at home!), skills which will stand him in good stead for the rest of his School life. Here take a look at a video of BB reading the first chapter of Class Six and the Very Big Rabbit.

I am so proud of this little boy and his reading skills, there was a time when the staff at School were worried that he had a speech issue, but as you can hear, that clearly isn't a problem anymore!

See more about what we think in our video review and let us know if you are big readers in your family or if you find it hard to get your children motivated to read in the comments below.

We were sent the Collins Big Car Books to review. Big Boy has taken the Picture Atlas with him everywhere.
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Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Giant Daisy Bowl - Wordless Wednesday

Fruit Salad in a Giant Daisy Bowl

Gammon Pasta Salad in a Giant Daisy Bowl

Ham Salad in a Giant Daisy Bowl

I love the bowl my husband got me for my Monday bag!

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker #Review

A few months back, I was asked if I would like to review the Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker. I said yes, mainly because the one thing I am missing from my Primary arsenal (at Church) is a good quality speaker that can link up to my phone and allow me to play music if the music leader isn't around and also because I want to be the annoying Mum who has a portable speaker on her picnic blanket this Summer.

Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker #Review

When it arrived, it was perfectly timed. It was the day of the Primary Talent show and so I thought I'd take it with me, just in case. It was actually needed, needed that is until a friend came with a bigger portable speaker that was louder and when we're backing up children in a sports hall, louder is what we need! Since the BTX270 arrived, I haven't been able to make use of the speaker in Primary, as our lovely Primary Music Leader has been with us each week, so I can't say how good it is in the Primary setting.

The children and I have started using the speaker to play music when we're eating dinner each night in the garden. It's been fun, creating Youtube playlists together of various songs we like (or don't like!) and singing together whilst we eat our meals and spend time together.

Top Ender and Big Boy have a singalong

The speaker itself is designed to work with smartphones, tablets and PC's and if there isn't a bluetooth function on the smartphone, tablet or PC, there is a 3.5mm input (cable comes in the box, although I used my own as it's longer!) to connect the two together.

Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker #Review

The BTX270 also uses a rechargeable battery and with my useage it's lasted a little over ten hours, before I've felt the need to recharge it and saw the little light. I figured that it would be better to recharge it before it died on me mid song! I've used the micro USB cable to charge it a few times, it takes a couple of hours, but I do it whilst I'm on the PC doing something else, but it would have been nice if it came with a charger. At least that way I wouldn't have to have the PC on, or hunt my phone charger out to make use of that.

Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker #Review

As you can see from the pictures, the speaker is about the size of a ruler, and quite thick. It is cased in rubber, which I guess is more for protection as it is portable rather than being some fashion statement. Saying that however, the speaker, in my humble opinion, looks good and doesn't look cheap.

Something I didn't realise until I received a call is that there is a hidden microphone in the speaker, I think it's under the control buttons (Volume Up, Volume down and a third one I have no idea what it does really!) and this meant I could have a conversation with my husband without having to disconnect my phone from the speaker.

Kinivo BTX270 Wireless Bluetooth Portable Speaker #Review

The Kinivo BTX270 is a great speaker, it's brilliant for what I need and for it's size is surprisingly loud.

I was provided with the Speaker in order to produce this review.
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