A Mothers Ramblings: February 2013

Sunday, 17 February 2013

What's For Lunch? (W/C 16/02)

It's Sunday night, which means I'm a day and a half late in posting what we're having for lunch... luckily though we all knew what we were doing over the weekend even without the blog post to remind us.

Saturday - Chicken and Pesto Mozzarella Ciabatta Rolls


With Daddy and I trying to make new sandwiches each week, it's falling to me to come up with lots of ideas for different flavour combinations. This week I decided to spread Pesto over the two halves of a heated Ciabatta Roll (Gluten Free), and then place slices of Mozzarella and Chargrilled Chicken in the rolls whilst warming it on the griddle to melt the mozzarella. The result was a delicious lunch.

Sunday - Gluten Free Fishfingers and Rolls


Daddy was in charge of lunch today and he decided that fishfinger rolls would be the best lunch for us all, especially when teamed with tomato ketchup. Yum yum yum.

Monday - Casserole Leftovers


The casserole that we had for dinner last night was not only the best casserole I have ever made, but the Rump Steak was melt in the mouth tender and EVERYONE ate it. Big Boy even ate most of the vegetables. The brilliant thing about the casserole, other than it tasting fantastic, was there was enough leftover to do lunch today.

Tuesday - Ham Baguettes


We haven't really got a plan this week about what we are going to do and when but if we do go out this week then these Ham Baguettes will be perfect to have in our lunch boxes.

Wednesday - Tomato Soup


Tops and BB asked for Tomato Soup one day this week for lunch as they love tomato soup. We have some special soup flasks (not heat retaining) which they have been dying to try out, so we might take them to the local park.

Thursday - Tuna Couscous


The children love couscous after having had it for the first time the other week, I'm going to mix it with tuna and chopped tomatoes and possibly some chopped chargrilled peppers and hope that Big Boy doesn't pick them out!

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's Too


As it is a Friday we are going to do something special. Normally it is something lovely that I make but I'm thinking that as we've had a great week together on half term that we'll do something special and go out somewhere for lunch. Knowing the children they'll opt for Ikea, but there are a few other places I'm hoping to get them to try.

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Friday, 15 February 2013

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 16/02)

I think something strange has happened to me... I've lost interest in food. I'm pretty sure this is just a passing phase, but honestly I seem to be in a food funk. It's taken so much effort to plan this coming weeks meals, I'm sure it's a sign of the end of the world or something!

Saturday - Chicken Stir Fry


Even though I'm not interested in food, I do know that a Chicken Stir Fry is lovely, quick and with the amount of vegetables I put in it only works out at about 100 calories a serving. Big Boy will more than likely turn his nose up, so he and Top Ender will have Chicken and Rice Noodles with a little of the stir fried vegetables instead of the masses Daddy and I will have.

Sunday - Slow Cooked Rump Steak Casserole


On Valentines Day we had a lot of Steak left over and Daddy thought it would make a great dinner. I decided we should have it this Sunday, so that everyone could enjoy it as it was really lovely. I'm going to do the casserole in the slow cooker along with, carrots, leeks, red onion, celery, sweet potato, and herbs and my secret extra ingredients (chopped tomatoes and a little honey). Daddy will add roasted potatoes and possibly peas as we do love our peas!

Monday - Meatless Monday Pizza


I'm going to the library tomorrow and getting out as many Vegetarian cookbooks as they have. Maybe that way I'll find something that all my family will enjoy and is a little more inspired.

Pom eating Pizza

Tuesday - Hotpot... but made my way


I'm going to make a Hotpot using Sausages, I know this isn't the real way to make it but I don't care. I'll serve it with sweet potato and swede mash and spring greens.

Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes


Today I have a brilliant Car Clean planned for my lovely car thanks to the Febreze team who should arrive just in time for cake. I thought we'd celebrate by having jacket potatoes and as Daddy will be so impressed with the clean and fresh smelling car he won't complain he has a jacket potato. I might even make the children's look like a car if they are good.

Thursday - Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast


Do you remember the rude word I put on a guests dinner one night? I won't be doing that tonight. I will be slitting chicken breasts filling with pesto, wrapping in bacon and serving with boiled potatoes and green beans though.

Rude Word Chicken


Friday -   Beef Strips Curry


Daddy requested another curry as he loves curry and says we don't eat enough of it. I disagree, but as he is putting up with me eating stir fry all the time I suppose it is only fair. I'll add extra cream to the Children's portion so that it is milder for them and I'll also serve theirs not with rice but with mashed potato whilst Daddy and I have Bombay potato.

So that's the plan for the week. I've set myself a challenge for March, which I'll let you in on now, and that is to not use the Supermarket, but to use the local market and butchers etc. Daddy thought it was a good idea, but I've no idea if it actually will be so if you have any tips let me know!

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Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Grasshoppers For Breakfast

It seems that my focus at the moment is on the morning. Maybe I'm getting revelation to blog more about breakfast because it's the meal I think least about, just focusing on getting through the week, or maybe it's just because I'm being sent lots of things that make me think breakfast! Last week was no exception when I opened a box to find some rather lovely and posh looking porridge from Grasshopper.

Grasshopper Porridge Pots

I love porridge, always have and I guess that I always will and Big Boy is rather fond of it too, although unlike me who likes to add cinnamon or ground almonds or even fruit to her porridge he prefers it plain (and of course no sugar). Top Ender, Big Boy and I decided on a pot of porridge that we thought we'd each like for Breakfast and I set about the complicated task of making the porridge the right consistency for us all.

Grasshopper Porridge Pots

We all loved the flavour that we had picked and as I'm a very fair Mum, I got to taste test the flavours the children had taken and I was really impressed, the porridge tastes as great as the bowls I make. The great thing about Grasshopper (other than the flavours) is the fantastic guide on the side that shows you at what level to put the water into the pot to make it the consistency that you like. We all ate our porridge, and loved the flavours and I was just disappointed that there aren't any stores local to me that stock the pots.

We were sent three pots so we could review them.

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Monday, 11 February 2013

Our Smooth Breakfast Tips

This week Warburton's sent me a lovely box full of Warburton goodies and asked for me and you (lovely reader) to help them. On  a side note, those of you that eat Gluten free have you tried the Newburn Bakehouse range from Warburton's lately? Daddy has said that the rolls in particular are lovely and that Warburton's are doing a great job and seem to be constantly improving their recipe.

Warburton's would love tips, recipes and ideas on how to make the Breakfast routine as relaxed as possible, as according to some research they have shared between 7:17am and 8:30am each weekday morning Mums are tackling an average of 9.8 challenges which include making multiple breakfasts, getting Children and partners up, getting Children washed and dressed and sorting out School Bags and Clothes. I shared a post (quite a while ago now) where I shared Top Tips for being an Organised Mummy (it was of course a big joke) but here are some of my very serious tips and you can share yours either in the comments or on the Warburton's Facebook page.

Warburton Breakfast Goodies

I think that my Top Tip for anyone who wants breakfast to run smoothly, is that you have to be prepared in advance. Way, way, way in advance.

Be Prepared in Advance


When I do the weekly shop, I make sure that we always have enough foods for a variety of breakfasts. Sure the staples of Cereal and Toast are there, but we include Brioche and Crumpets and Tea Cakes and Fruit and Yoghurt and flavoured Milk and Fruit Juice and Eggs and Bacon and just about anything we can think of!

Warburton's Seeded Loaf as Toast

The next thing that I think you have to prepare in advance is Clothes. I think that we are lucky that School aged Children (for the most part) wear a School Uniform as Monday through Friday it takes a lot of stress out of the equation. I have my children training (I'd be a fool to say they were trained already) to check they have their uniform ready the night before. It could just be a quick check that they have a jumper, shirt, suitable clothes for the lower half and underwear, or the full monty where everything is laid out ready, but as long as we all know that it is clean, not full of holes and the right size it's one less thing to stress about.

The next thing to sort out in advance is School Bags/Handbags. Make sure that letters from School have been signed/actioned/added to the calender and put back in bags. That home work diaries, reading records and the like are signed and complete and that PE Bags, Swim Bags and Musical Instruments are all packed too.

Lastly, it's plan the next days lunches (and dinner) and prepare the night before. As you know, I plan what's going in the lunch box at least a week in advance and if I don't make the lunch box up the night before and put it in the fridge, then it's something that's easy to add to the lunchbox in the morning. You can even freeze sandwiches (I do a week in advance) and let them defrost in the lunchbox if you want to do something special (like shapes) but also want to save time in the morning. It's also much easier if you need meat to defrost for dinner to make sure you get it out of the freezer in the morning rather than shoving it in the microwave ten minutes before dinner should be on the table.

My next tip is about Breakfast itself. If it isn't simple, then it isn't a breakfast suitable for a weekday morning.

Keep It Simple


One of my favourite breakfasts is Smoked Haddock Rarebit, but it's only an occasional weekend food. As is Bullseye Egg (the children's favourite breakfast) or a baked Fry Up. Weekday mornings for us are all about the toaster and things straight out of the fridge and cupboard as they take less time to make. I, like 52% of other Mums, make a variety of breakfasts in one morning, but when it's something like a bowl of cereal with milk and a side of fruit and yoghurt with fruit juice for one child and a plate with Brioche, fruit and yoghurt with fruit juice for the other it's not that bad.

Smoked Haddock Rarebit - a luxury Breakfast

Other simple and healthy breakfasts in our house are;

Boiled Egg and Toast
Scrambled Egg and  and Toast
Porridge and Fruit
Breakfast Egg Muffins
Smoothies and Cake
Pancakes and Fruit

Yes, you did read Cake there and I don't mean Chocolate Cake (although there is that study I read in the Telegraph that said eating Chocolate Cake for breakfast is actually a good idea) but either Carrot, Apple and Sultana Cake or Raisin Cookies or Banana Muffins or even Carrot and Oat Cookies all of which can be excused as being healthy because of the fruit or vegetable content and everyone needs a little fat in their diet too.

I guess with all these different lunches that the tip is also about keeping things varied too.

The last tip I have for a smooth breakfast time is to make sure you have enough time for all you need to do

Delegate, Relegate and Accelerate


It sounds odd to say I've delegated tasks to the children and to Daddy, because I'm not really in charge of my house! It's just the way that our life has worked out that it seems as if I've delegated walking the children to School to Daddy. He loves this morning time with the children, as they get to chat about what is coming up in School, things they are looking forward to, things they had forgotten to tell him the night before and a whole bunch of other things that I'm not party too because I'm not there. Big Boy is in charge of making sure that all washing from the bathroom (and the rest of the house) is put into the kitchen ready for the days laundry instead of me rushing around to do it and Top Ender gets to make sure that shoes and lunchboxes are in the right place to be worn or carried to School. Three jobs that I don't have to do or stress about.

School Shoes Ready

In our house, the morning chores are fairly simple, because of the way we've organised our life. In general the things we have to do every day are sort out Big Boy's Blood test and injection, make and eat breakfast, get washed and dressed, feed the cats, go to School. The other chores have been relegated from the first thing morning routine, (things like doing the dishes and hanging up a load of washing to dry) and are for me to do after the children have gone to School or as is more common for me to do before the Children wake up when I get back from the Gym.

The last part is accelerate. 41% of Mums believe that having their children eat breakfast more quickly would help them in the morning. I disagree, I think that you should be able to linger over your breakfast (if that's what you want to do) and so I prefer to have the children race through the other parts of the morning. Getting dressed is race between the Children and I and we find it helps them really focus on getting dressed rather than finding a toy to play with (or me catching up on the news), more than one person can brush their teeth at the sink at the same time (and this also means we can check they are doing it properly) and if you run up the stairs instead of walking when you've forgotten something it makes a difference.

And of course if you can't get everything that you have to get done in the morning before the School Run, even after delegating, relegating and accelerating then I do have one last tip - Get Up Earlier!

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Sunday, 10 February 2013

What's For Lunch (W/C 09/02)

Big Boy is doing really well with recognising when his blood sugar are going low, but I'm still aware that the biggest help that I can give him is with the food that he eats. I've been experimenting to see what his blood sugars do with different foods and I'm hoping that I've hit upon the magic formula for him, but with him growing every five minutes I'm sure that it will change before I next publish a blog post. With that in mind here is lunch this week.

Saturday - M&S Sandwiches


One of the things that we used to love to do was to grab a sandwich when we were out and about. This stopped when Daddy was diagnosed as needing a gluten and wheat free diet as there is only so much Salad he can take (I could eat it until it came out my ears!). Then one day we saw that M&S had started doing gluten free sandwiches to take away. GENIUS!

Sunday - Hot Sauce Steak


When we were at Chiquito's the other night we all tried the Hot Sauce. I didn't think it was really that hot, although as you might remember from the pictures it caught Daddy by surprise. We didn't take a picture of the Hot Sauce on the table and so a bit of Googling and looking in the background of pictures we did take, we found out that our local Asda store stocks the brand that Chiquito uses and I was despatched to buy a bottle for this weeks Sandwich. This is really just for Daddy and I, Tops and BB will have just a steak Sandwich as despite my best attempts neither of them like Hot Sauce.

Cholula Hot Sauce


Monday - Pasta and Couscous Chicken Salad


I love Couscous, but as Daddy can't eat it we don't have it at home. This week though that is going to change. I'm going to make a Pasta and Couscous Chicken Salad for the Children to have at School (small amounts of tomato and peppers and onion sneaked in) and I'm going to have a Couscous and vegetable Salad. I'm hoping that I can use the Couscous as a gateway to Quinoa.

Tuesday - Tuna and Sweetcorn Wraps


I've said it before and I'll say it again. It really annoys me that the children don't like Salad, I think that a wrap with Salad and some form of protein is a great lunch and one that I think helps keep you going all afternoon. As the children are still revolting against my attempts to educate them with different Salad leaves and the like I've resorted to hiding the Salad in the protein and will finely chop some salad leaves into the Tuna and Sweetcorn mix.

Wednesday - Ham Rolls


Thanks to Warburtons we have some tasty Half and Half rolls in the bread bin this week. If you know me then you know I prefer Whole wheat products, but the children are less keen and prefer white. I figure that this is the best of both worlds and with some ham a tasty lunch.

Thursday - Valentine Quiche


Do you remember the Star Quiche I made for Top Ender last year? If you remember that then you should guess what I'm doing for the quiche today!

Star Quiche


Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's Too!


The last day before Half Term starts for us so I'm planning some cool lunches for next week at home and almost forgot about this Friday. Luckily though I have a lot of ideas left to choose from and we're going back to the first fun lunch I ever remember making as the basis of inspiration. Tune in on Friday to see what I make!

As normal the children get a portion of fruit or vegetables to have at morning break (Big Boy has his provided by the School and some Milk too) and in their lunch box they will get at least one portion of fruit, a treat and a drink. I'm rather annoyed that I brought some new bottles from Sainsbury's the other day for their lunch boxes and discovered that they leak when on their side. If anyone knows of a great Sports Cap bottle that doesn't leak all over the place and is available in different colours please let me know.

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Friday, 8 February 2013

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 9/02)

It's a great week for celebration meals as there are three events that we like to join in with by eating food linked to them (is there any holiday that doesn't have a special dish associated with it?!). They are of course, Chinese New Year, Shrove Tuesday and Valentines Day.

Saturday - Nachos


I swear the only reason we are having Nachos for dinner tonight is so that Daddy and Top Ender can share their favourite joke of "That is NACHO Cheese!". In reality it's because I haven't made Guacamole in a while and I do love it.

Sunday - Chinese Banquet


As it is Chinese New Year today and the start of the Year of the Snake we thought we'd forgo our usual Roast for a Chinese Banquet. I'll make most before I go to Church and let it slow cook in our slow cookers or the oven and do the rest quicly when I get in as most of my Chinese dishes are quick to make. At the moment Chicken Stir Fry, Pork Ribs, Egg Fried Rice (Top Ender) and various other dishes I randomly decide on.

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

Monday - Baked Pasta


I'm loving the meatless Monday, but I'm wishing that I could come up with dishes that were a little more adventurous than Pasta and Soup and loved by the whole family. It's harder than I thought it would be though because even though Big Boy isn't that keen on meat I still think of most meals being completed by being meat and veg. I'm hoping that by doing meatless Monday for the whole year the whole family and I will think differently.

Tuesday - Pancakes


I'm off to the theatre to see Goodnight Mister Tom with my Mum this evening. She has said that if I can persuade Daddy to let me out early we should go and have dinner at Red Hot together (it's her favourite restaurant) but as it is Shrove Tuesday and I'm the only other person who eats Pancakes (the children don't like them, the weirdos). The Children are going to have the Large Scotch Pancakes from Asda as they do love Scotch pancakes.

Wednesday - Non Fishy fish


I was thinking of doing Sardines and pasta, or possibly Fish Cakes but what ever it is to keep Daddy happy it has to be not too fishy as he still isn't a fish fan! Here is a video of me making Spooky Fish Cakes... I'll have to make some more videos like this as they are such fun.



Thursday - Steak and Lasagne


It's a tradition that we have Steak for dinner on Valentines day, this year we're hoping to have something a bit more special than eating it with Chips, Peas and Mushrooms. At this exact moment we're thinking Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Mashed Potatoes, but I have no idea if we're actually going to go through with our plan.

The Children have decided that they want Lasagne as their special meal and as a treat/bribe to go to bed early they are allowed to watch a film in bed. Top Ender has said she'd quite like to watch Cupid Dog which we were sent to review and is quite fun.

Friday - Ratatouille


We have Ratatouille with bread for dinner tonight and if you are like Top Ender then you won't be able to guess which film we're watching whilst eating it... that's right it's Ponyo. No, wait that's what Top Ender thought we'd be watching, we're watching the brilliant Ratatouille.

What are you eating this week? Are you joining in with any of the celebration meals like we are?

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Home Made McDonald's

Last Wednesday night I put a status update out on the A Mothers Ramblings Facebook page (it links to my Twitter account) about how the children thought I was the best Mum in the world for having given them Home Made McDonald's complete with Cardboard Box and Toy. It was just a passing comment, I didn't think anyone would be that interested, after all you already know that we do home made McDonald's as I talked about it when we made our Cardboard Box Cars almost a year ago.

Cardboard Box Cars

It seems though that everybody loved the idea and some requested more details so that they could plan a similar night for their families in the future. So here is what we did.

My first port of call was to a local Party Shop. There I picked up two cardboard boxes, picking ones that I thought Big Boy and Top Ender would like from the range. As they are only 35p I don't think they are really that expensive, and as I planned for the children to use them again for a home made McDonald's in the future  I thought they were actually a good bargain.

Cardboard Party Boxes

I spent most of the next hour walking around the local town trying to find little paper bags that you find inside McDonald Happy Meals. I did consider begging in the local sweet shop, but thought instead I should make some bags out of greaseproof paper. To make the bags, I cut the paper into rectangles before cutting in half. I then folded the paper in half and folded over the edges, to make a pocket. I used Pritt Stick to glue the edges down, being careful to make sure that the folded over sides wouldn't go near the food as I was pretty certain the children shouldn't eat Pritt stick. If I were to make them again, I might use Sticky Tape instead, but would more than likely not be able to find any.

Whilst I had been in town I had picked up some little treat toys from the many discount stores our local town has. I had found a resticakable Hello Kitty scene for 10p in one of the shops which I knew Top Ender would love, and a little Pirate notepad and sticker pack for Big Boy. As these were both already in plastic wrap I put them in the bottom of the boxes and hid them in the kitchen. I had some spare Ketchup and BBQ packs from a previous McDonald's visit and so added them to the meal as well as a Fruit Shoot which had been brought for lunches.

Home Made McDonald's Fruit Shoot and Sauce

I had made Chicken Nuggets (same method as the Battered Lemon Chicken I blogged about before) and some chips and once they were cooked I added them to the paper bags I had made and let the children know that their personal McDonald's was open for business. They drove through, ordering their meals and having to drive to the different windows before being amazed that I had managed to produce dinner in a cardboard box and not only that, but there was a toy inside!

It's a great game and one that I hope the children will be willing to play with me for many more years yet!

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Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Tech Free Fail

I attempted a Technology free day on Saturday. I failed, but I think it wasn't my fault. Let me explain.

Grand Central Station From Wreck It Ralph

To start with I didn't realise it was Midnight. I was watching The Sixth Sense (because he sees Dead People you know) and turned the TV off to go to sleep. It was seven minutes past Midnight. I'd failed before I had even started. I decided that what I would just start from then, that would be okay, as long as it was a day it didn't matter what time it started from did it?

When Big Boy woke up, the first technology of the day was thrust in to my path. Big Boy wanted to watch cartoons, so I told him how to turn the TV on and what numbers to push to get to the cartoon channel he wanted. This led to breakfast which meant that I had to use Big Boy's blood monitor, but this is an exception to the no tech rule. My Saturday morning routine, normally has me playing a few games on Facebook, before I check my email and see who's tweeting what. As I was sitting in the den right in front of the PC, I decided to clean the kitchen, and in exchange for Top Ender loading and running the washing machine I did her chore of doing the dishes. It was rather boring without the radio to keep me company but I felt a lot better knowing that at least I wasn't wasting my time on the PC.

I was starting to get a little bored by mid morning, and decided a trip to the library was in order. I persuaded Daddy that he wanted to come with us, mainly so he would drive us, and we set off. It was lovely and peaceful in the library and as I was looking at the books a familiar bird call rang out, I realised that someone in the library was tweeting and it gave me a little pang that I was missing out. A sign of addiction if ever there was one, but as I didn't have my phone with me I didn't join in.

After a near tech free shopping trip for my Mum, Top Ender and I chatted without the background noise of the Radio. Tops asked me some questions about Barbie movies and I said that I'd check when we got back home, but remembered that there was no tech for me until after Midnight... but that's when I gave up. Top Ender had a question that she wanted answered and yes, sure she could have waited until after her dinner to have gone and looked it up for herself but we were enjoying our conversation and wanted to continue it. So when we got in, I searched for the answer to her question and ended my Tech free day.

Thinking over the day, I decided a few things.
  • Yes, I can have a mostly Tech free day. If it had just been not to use the internet for the day for fun then I would have passed with flying colours, I don't have to tweet everyday and I found out that I don't have to use Facebook first thing in the morning either.
  • I don't like silence. I knew that anyway, if I'm not able to have the Radio or TV on in the background then I talk to myself. Talking to myself makes me look crazy. I need the Radio or TV.
  • I'm useless at challenges that involve no tech.

I took a lot from this weekend and understand now that Technology is such a part of my life it's pretty hard to cut it out. Every day I'm searching the web for answers to questions, comparing prices for my weekly shop, putting a load of washing on or making dinner. Some of that technology is fine and dandy (the washing machine for example) and some is even unobtrusive such as my digital camera but when it comes to Social Media, maybe sometimes I do need to take a break and not just because I'm cleaning the house or in the swimming pool.
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Monday, 4 February 2013

Date Night at Chiquito's

At the end of last year I made some Family Resolutions, one of which was that Daddy and I would have at least one date night a month. Rather fortuitously for us, Chiquito's asked if we'd like to go and sample their new menu and that they'd pay for our meal and so of course we accepted and decided to go as our January date night. It was a last minute decision to go to the restaurant (I couldn't get the motivation up to cook) and so Top Ender and Big Boy came with us.

Chiquito New Menu Napkin

I booked a table online, which I didn't need to worry about because when we arrived at the restaurant the waitress didn't worry about checking, but then that could be because the restaurant was almost empty. I've been reading the Facebook page and at some of the restaurants it's a good idea to book more than a few hours in advance like I did.

Big Boy picking up Salted Popcorn

After looking through the menu, both Big Boy and Top Ender decided to have Lasagne from the older kids menu and Daddy went for a steak. I was going to go for Fajitas, (after all would any where other than a Mexican restaurant serve great Fajitas?) but as I couldn't make my mind up went with the same as Daddy.

Chiquito LasagneChiquito Steak and Chips with Peppercorn Sauce

I don't do decisions.

The meal was nice, it wasn't spectacular but it was nice and the portion sizes were good, not too big or too small and even the puddings (it was a treat) weren't overpoweringly large as they can be in other restaurants.

Chiquito Pudding

Chiquito PuddingChiquito Pudding


The highlight of the meal for us was when Daddy tried some hot sauce, it wasn't really that hot (I didn't think it was hot at all) but it caught Daddy off guard. Both Top Ender and Big Boy were tricked into trying the sauce and they both take after their Daddy as they thought it tasted too hot and they were able to impersonate Daddy tasting the hot sauce quite well which kept us all amused right up until bedtime.

Daddy Eating Hot SauceDaddy Eating Hot Sauce


If we hadn't taken Top Ender and Big Boy then it would have been a great romantic date night for Daddy and I. The restaurant was quiet, the lights are slightly dimmed and there are candles on the table.

It's quite romantic.

We were given a voucher to pay for our meal.

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Saturday, 2 February 2013

The No Tech Challenge

When I told Daddy that I had accepted the challenge of not having/using technology for a day he offered to write the blog post for me in advance. This is what he said.

"Pippa is very good at switching off and doing manual tasks, activities and finding ways to entertain herself without resorting to technology. 

I can't.

Also she has been a pain in the arse all day because of it, so whoever set the challenge, I'm coming for you."

I guess that he has a lot of faith in me as I was actually worried about the challenge, even though I agreed to it when Joanne mentioned it. You can read about her day and what she learnt here and read her daughters blog post about it and the rules here.

I decided to bite the bullet and get it over and done with sooner rather than later, and also to do it on a day where everyone would be at home. That way if I had to cheat I could, I mean what would happen if the formation disability scooter men came past the house again? I'd have to document that so you'd all believe me...
A Scene from Wreck It Ralph
This may be a Scene from Wreck It Ralph, but it's also what the plug beside my bed looks like.

So today is my day of no tech. 

Well, apart from a few bits and pieces. I'm going to be using lights later today and I'm going to have to go out in the car when I do my Mum's shopping and if I do Big Boy's blood tests then I have to use a little special monitor which is very most definitely modern technology but also a life saving piece of technology so I think it's allowed.

I would update you through the day, but I'm not allowed so... erm, I'll speak to you tomorrow?

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What's For Lunch (W/C 02/02)

I'm excited for this weeks lunches, I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I'm looking forward to making and eating them.

Saturday - Toasted Duck and Cheese Sandwiches


You are going to have to trust me on this one. When we were watching the American Sandwich programme this was a sandwich which really appealed to me. Daddy was less sure and it was only when he saw the completed sandwich that he thought it was a good taste combination.

Sunday -  Sandwich


It's the first Sunday of the month, which for me means Fast Sunday, so I won't be having breakfast and lunch today, as we're having a Roast this evening and I don't want to miss out on that! Lunch for the children and Daddy is going to be a Sandwich of what ever filling they decide they want, as I don't want to make them so I'm not tempted to snack.

Monday - Chicken Wraps


Some of the left over Chicken will go into wraps for the children to have today along with some finely chopped lettuce for them both too. I'm going to get them eating salad even if it kills me! I'll be having the same, but with more lettuce.

Chicken and Salad Wrap

Tuesday - Pasta


If there is any chicken left over then I'll add it to this pasta. At the moment I'm planning on it being cold and served in a cream based sauce rather than a tomato one (tomato stains more in my experience), but if the children ask for it to be warm or the weather turns cold then I'll serve it in their Thermos Bento boxes. Just Chicken Salad for me today.

Wednesday - Ham Roll


Big Boy told me the other day that the best lunch in the world is a ham roll, I'm not sure why he felt the need to tell me at 3am but as he did and as he loves them and I love him it's what's for lunch today (with a secret ladybird plan but sssh!)

Ladybird Ham Roll

I'll be having Ham Salad today.

Thursday - Pizza


On Wednesday night Big Boy has a friend coming round for tea, whilst they are making pizzas together, I'll knock a couple up too for the children to have for lunch on Thursday.

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too!


It's Jules Verne's birthday today (or would have been had he lived to see his 185th Birthday. Today's lunch is going to be theme after some of his work, but just which tome have I chosen?! Any guess?

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Friday, 1 February 2013

How Do You Tell A Child To Not Be... Them?

Top Ender is like me, and by that I mean a stubborn sure they know the only right way pain in the arse. For me it's not a problem because as an adult as long as you follow a few rules of the land (like don't speed when you are driving, don't kill other people, pay for things in shops etc) you can be as different to the rest of the population as you like. Heck, we celebrate differences between people, we like that not everyone does the same thing, we like watching one person try to swim upstream against 100's of people going with the current, we like that people have opinions and that we question why things are the way they are and I think that we try to encourage it in our children.

For Top Ender it is a problem and I'm not too sure what to do about it.

Top Ender

As a child in a School you have to follow rules, some of which make no sense to you. I mean when you are Nine you don't care about reaching target A before B, you just want to finish the day so you can get home to play. When you are Nine if you're working in a group and the other children want to do something differently to you, you have to go along with it, rather than try your way. When you are Nine you think you know everything and in reality you don't know an awful lot.

So how can I tell Top Ender that whilst I love her and love that she is independent, able to think for herself and willing to argue until she is blue in the face for what she believes in that there is a time and a place and that at School she needs to work a little more on fitting in. How can I word that she needs to work a little more on not being so independent, that she needs to think a little more about what the group wants (without developing a herd mentality) and that sometimes when an adult tells you that you are wrong that they are right without having her stop questioning what people tell her?

I guess what I'm asking is, how can I help Top Ender survive school?

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What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 02/02)

I was on the phone with my sister, having a chat like we do when we got round to the subject of food. As it happens we are both trying to have a super budget week of food, one google hang out later where we went through what bargains we had found and meal suggestions we had, I came up with this meal plan. I'm using up a lot of items that I have in the freezer and cupboards to help reduce the budget.

Saturday - Sausage and Beans


On Saturdays I spend time with my Mum, either doing her shopping for her, or going out with her if she is up to it and it takes up a large proportion of the day. I don't mind though because she's my Mum and I like spending time with her. I do then hate having to come home and stand alone in the kitchen as I rather like seeing my family so this week we've got Sausage and Beans which cooks easily in the slow cooker meaning it can be on whilst I'm out and served when I home!

Sausage and Beans Casserole

Sunday - Sunday Roast


A Chicken Roast with Roast Potatoes, Peas, Carrots and home made Gravy. The children get a treat of Yorkshire Puddings with their meal and we'll have Apple Crumble or Scones for pudding as Daddy is great at making both and it is mine and Daddy's treat day.

Monday - Meatless Monday 


The soup and toasties last Monday went down so well that I've planned it again for this week, for the children. Daddy and I were supposed to have Mushroom soup, but when I got back from the gym we decided to have mushrooms on toast instead. I've decided to do that again this week, but with the addition of  Tarragon butter on the mushrooms for Daddy and I.

Tuesday - Slow Roasted Pork Ribs and Rice


The pork ribs we had a couple of weeks ago on a Friday night were a big success. Big Boy wasn't too keen on the idea of ribs, but I know that he'd like them if he gave them a try. This week I'm serving them with rice as I know that the ribs would be the lesser of two evils for Big Boy. This is a completely free meal as all the ingredients are already in my cupboards and freezer.

Wednesday - Home Made Pizza for the Children


Big Boy has a friend coming for tea tonight, as it is his first after school play date they get something a little special as they get to make their own pizzas. This gives me a chance to discover what foods BB's friend likes so the next time he comes round they can have something they like. I have a feeling that the pizzas may look something like these Hello Kitty and Toad from Mario pizzas I made for the children's lunches last September.


Daddy and I will have Chicken Stir Fry with Rice, heavy on the vegetables and a fair bit of Chinese Five Spice for flavouring.

Thursday - Coconut Milk Broccoli Pasta


We have this new air freshner in the bathroom (stick with me) and every time it sprays it makes me think of coconut milk. I've been trying to think of something I can make with it, and decided that a mix of the Seasame Broccoli Pasta recipe and the Penne with Broccoli and Coconut Milk recipe would be best for my family. I was thinking of adding some small amounts of ham or bacon for my meat loving family but if I forget I'm wondering if they will notice!

Friday - Fish Pie


Yes, I know that Daddy doesn't like Fish Pie all that much, but we have fish in the freezer that has to be used up and I was reading Jamie Oliver's website and came across a fish pie recipe that seems quite light so thought that Daddy might appreciate it more than the more traditional versions I normally make. We're going to eat it whilst watching Monsters Inc as it is one of our favourite family movies.

What are you eating this week? Do you have any meals that you have on weeks when you are trying to eat cheaply?

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