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?

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Painting Suncatchers

Today it seems like we've been on School Summer Holidays for months already. I think that after the weekend of family fun with both Daddy and I, a party to say goodbye to some neighbours and friends and having the Missionaries round for dinner took it out of us. Top Ender was the first to suggest that we have a PJ day, but I explained that it wasn't possible as we had some chores to do outside of the house but that we could have a lazy day and mostly hang out at home instead of one of the many activities I had earmarked for this week. I did insist however that once we were all dressed and had done a couple of chores (we had to pop to a couple of shops) that we had to do something fun as a family, but that I would make it as easy and painless as possible. The children knew that if they didn't agree that I could make them miserable and so agreed quite readily. We carried out our chores and when we returned home we took our places at the Garden Table to paint some Suncatchers that I'd picked up in Hobbycraft a couple of weeks ago.

Drying Suncatchers from Hobbycraft

I didn't take any pictures of us whilst painting, as the children both stripped off to minimise the risk of the paint/stain getting on their clothes but I can report that we had a good giggle together whilst we contemplated where we would put various colours, if it would be worth mixing the colours together to make different colours and of course having our usual daft conversations about everything in the world!

Our Suncatchers spent a few hours drying in the kitchen, because it was busy trying to rain in the garden and after a few I noticed that they appeared dry and took a few snaps!

Suncatchers from Hobbycraft

Suncatchers from HobbycraftSuncatchers from Hobbycraft

The instructions suggested they needed overnight drying so 24 hours or so later, I added some ribbon and we hung them up in the window in the Living room.

Suncatchers in the window

Suncatchers in the window

Suncatchers in the window

Now we just need some Sunshine to make the most of them!
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Salad Bar - Parragon Book #Review

If there is one thing I know how to make, it's a salad.

They aren't hard are they? You get some green leafy stuff (lettuce generally) and if you've cheated you open the packet and drop it in a bowl, and rearrange the bits of carrot or other healthy vegetable type things to make it look less like you opened a bag and dropped it in a bowl. Of course, there are times when you want something a little more personalised and for me that involves cutting up lettuce and other green leafy stuff and adding chopped carrots, slices of mushrooms, raisins, radishes, cucumber... you name it from the first few aisles of the Supermarket and I've put it in a salad at one point of another.

For me the problem comes when I want to be a bit more fancy. What am I supposed to serve as a posh salad when I have friends round or I'm taking something to a potluck dinner or a munch and mingle and that's where this book The Salad Bar has come in useful... well and also as healthy bedtime reading!

The Salad Bar Book (on my lovely green lawn)

The recipes in the book are simple and easy to follow and even the ingredients which seem slightly more exotic were easily found at one of my local supermarkets (rainbow chard anyone?) even if it wasn't available at all of them.

The pictures in the book are amazing, and really give you something to aspire to when recreating the salads but I've consoled myself with the thought that they were professionally prepared, style and photographed when my salad doesn't look anything like the one in the book.

A random sample page with amazing Salad pictures

The book has an RRP of £10 and you can read some more about it on the Parragon website.

We were sent this book to review, it now lives on my bedside table where I often drool over it.
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Monday, 28 July 2014

Little Cracker Drinks #Review

One thing that my children have got used to is finding new drinks in their Lunchboxes. I love to be able to give them different flavours, rather than always going for the same traditional drinks and this coming year you're going to see some great lunchbox ideas on this blog, so make sure you come back when we're back to School this September!

Big Boy had been asked if he'd like to try some new juice drinks recently launched by Cracker Drinks and whilst I said yes on his behalf I knew that Top Ender and myself would also be slurping on them this Summer. 

Little Crackers Juice Drinks

When Big Boy first saw the drinks, the first thing he noticed was that each 200ml carton would give you 1 of your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. He was quite excited about this and was trying to work out if he had a juice and some fruit in his lunchbox and a fruit snack earlier in the day what he could also eat to get him up to his daily total. I thought that this was so cute and just proves that children really do pay attention to what they read around them.

Cracker themselves say 

"We offer unique yet tasty fruit blends and most importantly provide parents with a healthier alternative to other drinks on the market. Our Little Cracker drinks meet school approved guidelines, have no added sugar or any artificial nasties. Each 200ml carton represents 1 of your 5 a day".

We were sent the following flavours, Orange and Lemon, Blackcurrant and Cherry, Pear and Vanilla and finally Apple and Raspberry to try. I so daft that I didn't realise at first and so grabbed out the Pear and Vanilla and headed off to a family day out.

When I read what the flavour was I was worried that Big Boy was going to refuse to drink it. I shouldn't have worried however, he grabbed a carton as soon as it was offered and happily drank it down.

Big Boy slurping on a Little Cracker Juice Drink

Even Top Ender has been found drinking the drinks happily!

Top Ender eating fruit with a Little Cracker Drink

The drinks are all delicious, the Pear and Vanilla is Big Boy's favourite (Mine's the Blackcurrant and Cherry) but he declared the Orange and Lemon to be "outstanding in flavour" and Top's is quite taken with the Apple and Raspberry saying that the blend was "perfectly balanced". 

I say that the drinks are going to be in our lunchboxes this year and I just hope that they keep up the brilliant taste combinations!

We were sent the drinks to review as part of the Mumsnet Panel.
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A Meaningful Birthday Gift- HELP! #SponsoredPost

It's my MIL's birthday this week, I shan't embarrass her by saying how old she is but lets just say it's a significant birthday. So what kind of gift could we get her to mark the occasion? Well, I did what all normal people do, after I had a good think and came up empty handed I called my Mum and asked her for suggestions. The first thing my Mum suggested was a jewellery, something we could have engraved with something meaningful or lovely, you know like the below;

Happy Birthday Mum, All our Love xxxx engraving image

And so I thought about it a bit more.

And then I knew what to get, a watch. We should get my MIL a watch, because they have lots of nice bits to engrave, like the back of the face and the clasp bit and every time she wore it or looked at it in her jewellery box she'd remember us and how much we love her.

So I headed over to The Watch Hut, as I know that they are the largest online UK Watch retailer, to have a look at the different watches that were in our price range and that I thought that my MIL might like. I narrowed it down to four or five that I thought were quite nice and then let Daddy in on the action. He again helped me narrow it down and we asked the children, eventually we picked a lovely Sekonda (I'm not showing you which, just in case my MIL is reading this!) which I'm going to have engraved. Now I just need you to help me with what to have engraved on the claspy bit, because despite what the picture below shows, the back of the face is not suitable for engraving on!

Sekonda Watch

We could go with something simple such as the Happy Birthday Mum above, or we could put a short quote on or even a Biblical reference of something meaningful to us and her but what I really need is your help! I have a couple of ideas of what to have engraved, but what would you have engraved?

What would you think was sweet and lovely and remind you of your loving family every time you put it on or looked at it? What Biblical quotes can you think of (remember with Biblical quotes you could just write Psalm 149:3 for example instead of the full quote) that would be appropriate?

And whilst we're on the subject, what quotes can you think of that are so not appropriate but will give me and Daddy a good giggle?

It was a total surprise to me that my Mum suggested jewellery, and it just happened to be at the right time that I could write this sponsored post. The watch is sitting on my fireplace waiting for the perfect quote idea!
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Fruit Picking At The Farm

One of the things that was on my bucket list to do this Summer was to take the children to a local Pick Your Own Farm. As this past week has mainly been spent by the children equally divided between our house and Neighbour Mums house, I thought it would be nice to ask Neighbour Mums boys if they wanted to come with us. It's bitter sweet that the four of them are getting on so well at the moment as with Neighbour Mum and family moving in the next few weeks it's almost like we are trying to cram in as many memories as possible before they are too far away for the children to be running down the road barefooted into each others homes.

Anyway.

We arrived at the Farm and after a quick divvy up of the fruit baskets amongst our party of five we headed off to the fields to collect as much as we could manage. We had a hoot.

Top Ender picking Strawberries

Big Boy picking Strawberries

The children, despite all chattering amongst themselves, were suddenly becoming very competitive with each child wanting to pick the most, or see who could find the reddest strawberry, who could find the largest, who could fill their punnet the quickest (it was me for that last one and I had a HUGE basket) and it really didn't seem like long before we were pretty much all Strawberried out and we headed over to the Raspberries.

The children took great delight in picking only the nicest berries, and they spent ages examining each fruit before they put them into their punnet. I could have easily just sat down on the edge of the field and supervised them all afternoon as they were so great with each other, helping each other to find patches of ripe berries and just having a conversation with each other.

Big Boy and Youngest Neighbour Boy

Top Ender and Oldest Neighbour Boy

We went to queue and pay for our harvest, knowing that we had an absolute fortune to pay but knowing that it didn't actually matter that much about how much we were going to pay out because whilst we were technically paying for the fruit we had picked, we didn't pay for the fun we had, the memories we made or the friendships that were made stronger.

I'm sure we'll go back before the Summer is out to pick a few more different crops, but until then we'll be busy eating up what we've already picked!

Pick Your Own Strawberries

Do you go fruit picking with your family? What's your favourite thing to pick? I love a farm in South Buckinghamshire (you know the posh end) where you can pick berries, plums, apples and nuts!
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