A Mothers Ramblings: 2015

Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year Traditions

For the last few years on New Year's Eve, Daddy has put a new set of bed linen on our bed.

It's a tradition that I have grown to LOVE because it's something that happened spontaneously the first time and Daddy takes so much care into ensuring that the duvet set he purchases for us each New Year is something different, something that we will both enjoy sleeping under and of course something that will help us start the New Year off right!

That's right, with clean bed sheets.


As I said the first year it started off as a surprise, Daddy had picked some bed linen up in a shop and had secretly washed it and put it on the bed whilst I'd been busy downstairs or something. Eventually, I had gone upstairs to get in my PJ's to see in the New Year and found new bed linen adorning our bed.

I did what any normal person would do.

I took a picture and shared it on Instagram.



Straight away, Daddy decided that my reaction had been so brilliant, that he was going to make this a Tradition.

And sure enough the following New Year's eve, I was banned from the Kitchen whilst he washed the new bedlinen and then he vanished upstairs to make the bed.

Again, eventually I was allowed upstairs and so when I was ready to get into my nightwear, I found some new bedlinen.


Last year Daddy had been teasing me for about a month mentioning the bedlinen he had picked out for us and yet it came down to a last minute washing and drying of the bedlinen and again a ban of me popping into the kitchen whilst it was washing and drying and then from the bedroom whilst he made the bed up.

Eventually I gave in and went upstairs and found the new bedlinen.



And so as we near New Year's Eve again, I'm wondering what this years linen will look like...

Find out with me when I instagram a photo of it before Midnight tonight!

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Nerf Fights, A #Review And A Secret!

A few weeks back, one of the young lads that I know at Church had a birthday. For his birthday he got a Nerf gun, and being the Nerf gun fanatic that I am (thanks to the education my children have given me) we started chatting about the various Nerf Guns we owned and he mentioned his plan to have a birthday party at the Chapel, where all invited could use their Nerf guns in an epic battle.

Somehow I managed to wangle an invite.

The Children and I turned up to find that the young lad and his Dad had set up bases and hide holes and it was going to be amazing. As the only grown up at the time that was playing, I decided to step back and not be on either team because I didn't want one team or the other to have an advantage.

I'm a crack shot.

Budget *Stuff*

A few days ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

Budget *Stuff*


Hmm. I wasn't going to share this publicly because to start with I didn't think that it was something that would be of interest, but after Nicki suggested that I write about Budget Stuff, I figured that this was fate. This was my prompt to write about my plans for my budget plans for the year.

Milkman's Wallet with Cash inside

Last year (well this current year as in 2015) I was really good. I managed to set aside some money for savings for issues with the car, I managed to save up enough Swagbucks vouchers to pay for Christmas gifts (if you want hints and tips let me know!) and Daddy and I started trying to reduce a few bills here and there.

This year, I want to be better.


Sunday, 27 December 2015

A Perfect Family Christmas

I tried writing a post about Christmas Day towards the end of the day, but for some reason I couldn't find the right words and each blog post I started, I quickly deleted.

I wanted to record, that the unspoken rule between the five houses or so on our Street that put up outdoor Christmas Lights about leaving them on all night so they were on when we woke on Christmas Morning was still followed.

I wanted to record that the Children had gone to sleep late on Christmas Eve, but it didn't matter because everything was wrapped, under the tree or in Stockings ready for the next morning and Daddy was looking forward to a Christmas morning lay in.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 26th December

You know how last Saturday my meal plan post had been written back in October? Well, this one wasn't, it was written on November 2nd. It was for the same reason however, I knew that we needed to be extra organised because we have special meals from Christmas Eve right up to Top Ender's Birthday on the 3rd of January and for these ten days all diets are off... well sort of. We don't really stop dieting, we just might eat foods that we don't normally eat!

Saturday AKA Boxing Day - What Ever My MIL Cooks!


Normally, we go to visit with my MIL on Christmas Eve. This year however with Daddy working until a bit late on Christmas Eve, we didn't have time and so we all agreed that we could go on Boxing Day.

And so we're going to visit with her today and have lunch and hopefully be so stuffed that we decide to just eat leftovers for supper.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Favourite Uplifting Quotes Around Christmas Time

A few days ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

Favourite Uplifting Quotes at Christmas Time


I love a good quote me.

My notebooks that I take to Church with me are full of them. That and little sketches of things which I hope will remind me of what the person giving the talk was saying or the feelings that I got when they were talking.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

My Top Ten Christmas Carols

A few days ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

My Top Ten Christmas Carols


I am of the firm belief that Christmas Carols should be sung all year round. Unfortunately my family and friends are of the firm belief that I am wrong.

Bah humbug to them.

Merry Christmas!

With my love of Christmas Carols (and Christmas Music in general) it was with great pleasure that I read that Claire wanted me to write a blog post about my top ten favourite Christmas Carols. I did think about making a joke here about Carol Vorderman and Carol Smillie, but that would just be stupid.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 19th December

I'm actually writing this post in October.

This is how I embarrass my Mum. I wear Christmas Glasses in October. And November. And December.

Yes, I know it seems an awfully long time ago to have written up a meal plan, and in truth it is quite long if you didn't know how we celebrate Christmas in our house. Being Christians, Christmas DAy is such a joyous event for us. It is one of our favourite events of the year (Easter is also really important and therefore special to us) and so we don't just celebrate it for one day, but everyday from Christmas Eve, right up until Top Ender's Birthday on the 3rd of January!

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Office Christmas Party

Over the last few weeks, my Facebook timeline has been filled with photographs of people off out with their Office for a Christmas Meal or having a Christmas Party. Daddy has been to a meal out with his work colleagues and with some friends, even Top Ender went to a Christmas Guides Camp and then out for a meal with her Guide friends a week later.

The only two who are missing out this year are BB and me.


Due to a conflict in our very busy Schedules, BB was unable to attend the Beavers Christmas Camp, because he was already committed (along with Top Ender and me) to performing in a Nativity at an Old Folks Home.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

A Middle Of The Night Blood Test Scare

Normally when Daddy and I do the middle of the night Blood tests on Big Boy he is fast asleep. We've got it down to such a fine art now, that BB doesn't wake up.

He didn't wake up the time blood went EVERYWHERE and his bedroom looked like it was a scene from a Horror Film. Serioulsy I was screaming at him to keep his hand still (we've worked out that he was bleeding well that night and the blood mixed with sweat which is how he hit and covered the ceiling, his bed and me) and still he slept.

He didn't wake up when Daddy accidentally left the blood test monitor on BB's bed and when he turned over the monitor went down the back of his bed and I had to rummage around under his mid sleeper (where I found a mobile phone, two pairs of smelly socks and a mouldy plate) trying to find the blasted device.

I guess however I was lucky.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Prepare For Your Smoothest Christmas Morning Ever

I love Christmas and being a erm, let's see how can I put this nicely so that everyone else will not get offended if they too have the same "qualities" as me? Oh yes, I know;

A Control Freak.


I find it really hard to let things just happen. I prefer to have a plan and of course for everyone to follow the aforementioned plan. Now, if you are a control freak like me, then you'll know that this rarely happens.

We have Children.


Adorable Children

Adorable little Children.

Yeah.

So. Do you want to know how I let things go and how to prepare yourself for a smooth Christmas Morning this year and every year to come?

Just follow my two Step Christmas Eve Plan.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

How To Freak Out Your Husband At The Gym

Daddy and I try to go to the gym together at least once a week. It started off with me trying to show Daddy how to use various weight machines, but it soon became just time for us to just exercise together.

The family that exercises together loses weight together.

During one of our recent trips to the gym together, Daddy and I were talking about the programme I had set for myself on the bike. I like to use the preset Fatburn programmes, I don't get to pick the intensity and as long as I keep up my RPM then I'm happy.

It had been a hard workout, one which nearly had me falling down dead after I climbed down off the bike. As Daddy and I talked and walked back downstairs to the changing rooms he commented that despite being over weight I was actually quite fit.

A Post Gym Selfie. Yes, I'm bright red. So what?!

That's the problem really.

Monday, 14 December 2015

A Thank You

There are seven staff members at Big Boy's School, that BB and I feel special gratitude to. These seven staff members are the ones who on a rotating basis help Big Boy with his Blood tests. They do it, not for glory or reward. They do it because they want BB to have a normal a School life as possible.

And BB and I wanted to say Thank You. So we made them a little box of goodies.

Treat Boxes for the Teachers

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Sherbet Flying Saucers - What You Want To Read

A few days months ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

Sherbert Flying Saucers


I remember Flying Saucers from the two pence sweets section of the sweet shop. They weren't my favourite, the chocolate fish and chip shapes and the razzle discs were but this post isn't about their deliciousness. It's all about the Flying Saucers.

Flying Saucers - Sherbet Filled Wafer Discs

Once, Daddy and I on a trip to Costco purchased a HUGE tub of the Flying Saucers. I was surprised to see how many were not filled with sherbert and how many of the rice paper discs were doubled up on some of the Saucers.

It was very disappointing.

And that's the problem isn't it.


Sometimes, the things we remember from our childhood don't quite match up to our expectations when we are older.

Things seem smaller and less magical.

It's up to us to make things special. It's up to us to make the magic in life. It's up to us to look past the bad, to see the good.

It's up to us to be the good.

Be The Good In The World (Believe There Is Good In The World)

So, this is my challenge to you all. I want you to do something good in the world. 

Do an act of service for a neighbour, for a family member, for a friend.

Go and clean up some litter in the street.

Go and give the man begging on the street some money to buy some food and a hot drink, or if you're worried that they'll spend it on something other than food buy them the food and drink and give that to them.

Buy some food for a local Food Bank, or a gift for a gift appeal.

Bring back the magic of the sherbert Flying Saucers from childhood.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Aladdin, AKA Why I'm in love with Gary Wilmot

There is nothing that quite compares to the excitement of going to a Panto at Christmas.

Amongst all the Childhood favourite things like having an Ice Cream (although £16 for four is a bit steep!) and getting dressed up and getting a light up "thing" and eating sweets when you should be in bed are all there.

Top Ender and Big Boy hyped up on Milkshakes, Spring Rolls and Prawn Crackers

There are even things that you come to appreciate more as you get older.

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 12th December

I am getting really excited for Christmas!

Later today we have our Nativity at a local Old Folks home. It is one of my Christmas highlights as the Old Folk love seeing the Children and they love watching the Nativity and then afterwards we sing different Christmas songs and visit with the residents for a while.

A Christmas Nativity

It's going to be great!

Saturday - Munch and Mingle Lasagne



Thursday, 10 December 2015

Life hacks... - What You Want To Read

A few days months ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

Life Hacks


When this was suggested I was flabbergasted. I mean, life hacks? Okay, sure I know a few I've stolen them from Pinterest or Buzzfeed and sure yes, I do have a few of my own that I've developed over the years because I'm a lazy so and so and like to manage my time and activities in a more efficient way, but I'm in no way an authority on life hacks.

And then I thought about it.

What if my friend who suggested this post, didn't mean the sort of thing like;

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The Den

Last year Toshiba lent me a TV over the Christmas period and it confirmed what I already knew.

I like TV's.


No, seriously, it just confirmed that we needed a large TV in our den to go with the games consoles so that I could free up the "real" TV in the Living Room AND so that when I was sitting in the den I didn't have to increase the zoom on the Screen to 250% just so I could see what I was doing!

Slowly things have been moving along. 

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Structural Realism And Its Role In Parenting - What You Want To Read

A few days months ago, I asked my friends on Facebook if they were to read a blog post written by me, what would they like it to be about? This is one of the posts, based on those suggestions.

Structural Realism And Its Role In Parenting


Yeah. Thanks Alex.

Do you know that one of the reasons that this blog post has taken so long is because I've been reading up on Structural Realism? That's right, Alex made me go to the library and get out a book just so I could write this post. And I know he was being funny when he suggested the post, but I promised not only myself, but also the readers of this here blog that if they asked me to write on something I would.

Only it turns out that the joke's on him.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 5th December

Can you keep a secret? Last week Daddy, the Children and I may have accidentally eaten takeaways on two or three nights.

Whoops.

Despite having meal plans, with things going the way they did we really weren't up to cooking and I may have forgotten a couple of times to defrost some key ingredients.

We are eating cheap this week, and using the food we may still have in the Freezer!

The Nativity Scene from the Shopping Centre

Friday, 4 December 2015

The Middle Of The Night Phone Call

The phone rang.

It was 2:37am.

In the dark I recognised the ringtone as the one that we had set up for my Mum. During the day it's a rather jolly tune, in the dead of night it's creepy and takes on a sinister tone.

I answered the phone.

Hello Mum?

There was no answer.

Dark thoughts filled my head. Had she fallen? Was she having a low blood sugar problem and wasn't able to talk?

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Elf On The Shelf Fun

Earlier this year, I talked about how there was an end to the Childhoods of my Children as I had imagined it happening for them growing up myself. You see, Top Ender clicked about the reality of Santa, The Elves, The Tooth Fairy and a few other "magical" things that happen in our home.

It was okay. Tops was after all, just a month shy of her 11th birthday and I think that's a pretty good run. 

However Big Boy worked out the truth himself too.

He's Seven.

SEVEN.

I really wasn't ready for him to work out that there isn't as much magic in the world as I would like, but I don't want to lie to my children I did tell him the truth. At first it was just about the Elves, but as I said in my original post BB is Velociraptor in Jurassic Park smart.

He worked out about Santa.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 28 November

It's Friday night. Big Boy is laying on the sofa softly groaning at his book (he doesn't want to put it in the fridge), Daddy is working out something on the main PC, I'm writing this and Top Ender is enjoying a Turkey and Tinsel weekend with her Guides troop.

I'm sad because I think I want to be on a Turkey and Tinsel weekend and exchange gifts!

Lots of Wrapped Gifts. Not this Years Paper however!!

This however is what we are eating this week.

Monday, 23 November 2015

What Is Santa Claus Going To Bring You This Year?

I was having a play on Facebook the other day and came across an app that can tell you what you are going to get from Santa. I paid particular attention because I've been having a hard time coming up with gift ideas this year.

Daddy and I have often said that we are of an age now, where if we need something or want something we tend to go out and get it. This is why when my Mother In Law asked for some suggestions of gifts to get me, all I could think of was Socks!

Admittedly I do really like socks.


So. I clicked the link and was told;

Saturday, 21 November 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 21 November

Can you believe it is almost the end of the month already? I honestly can't. I think that this year has gone so fast. I was just thinking earlier this week about something that in my head happened just a couple of months ago... then I remembered it happened January 1st!

I swear as I get older everything just merges into one big blob of memory.

So this is what we are eating this week!

Saturday - Sloppy Joes


The other day the children kinda demanded we have Sloppy Joes again soon. There was some vague threat of declining to eat any other meal until they had Sloppy Joes, but the promise of me adding them to the menu soon has encouraged the Children to keep eating!

Sloppy Joes with Cheesy Bread

Friday, 20 November 2015

I'm back, I'm not better than ever and I'm not any more interesting

Long time readers of this blog, or actually come to think of it long time readers of most blogs will understand that there are seasons to things.

Pippa looking erm I dunno kinda peeved.

I'm not talking, Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer type of seasons but more the seasons mentioned in Ecclesiastes (do you know how many times I checked the spelling on that?!) Chapter 3 verses 1 through 8. In case you aren't aware of what that section of the Old Testament says do you remember the song Turn Turn Turn? Well, that's basically the verses put to music.

Seeing as how we're all singing it now, I've put in a link to a version online, with the words as I'm nice like that.


Right, I hear you all cry. We remember the song (thanks for the ear worm too) but what has that got to do with blogging? 

For the last few months for me and my little family it hasn't been the time or season of blogging.

Well DUH! I hear you all say, We've been reading, or rather not reading the blog. We already knew that!

Yeah, I know this is one of those I've been away but I'm back posts and we all hate those. Stay with me however because, well, this is my blog and if you're here you want to read what I'm saying so you know you've made a rod for your own back.

For me the last few months have been a time for me to be selfish.

Yup, SELFISH.

I've been curled up reading books, watching TV, occasionally eating, a half hearted attempt at cleaning the house, a lot of thinking and even more ignoring of the pile of dishes.

Anyway. 

I'm back, I'm not better than ever and I'm not any more interesting.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 14 November

I decided a couple of weeks ago it was better for me to sort out the meal plans in one go, because with me being on a diet (I know, I keep talking about it) I didn't want to be thinking too much about food!

This is what we are eating this week!

Saturday - Cowboy Casserole


I love Cowboy Casserole, because all it is, is Sausages and Beans! I'll serve them with wedges. Or rather Daddy will because I'll be hiding upstairs wishing I could have the meal too.

Sunday - Lasagne


The Children love Lasagne and are pretty fab at making it too. I'll help the Children put it together before we go out to Church and then all Daddy will have to do is put it in the oven when I give him a quick text to let him know we are on our way.

Top Ender having cooked a Lasagne

I am almost always late home from Church!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 7 November

So, my diet of the last week has been pretty successful and I've lost a chunk of weight that I am very happy about! This does mean yet again that I'm not eating the meals that the Children are going to be eating, and thanks to a lovely friend who has been sharing her evening meal ideas for a family of four without going over a budget of £5 per day I've decided to do something similar for the next few weeks by trying to make meals to a smaller budget than I normally work to.

Here is what we are eating this week.

Saturday - Fish Fingers and Chips


This is a really simple meal for a Saturday night and one that the Children and Daddy love. Knowing Daddy he'll serve this with Baked Beans (I would have served it with peas) and hopefully a couple of slices of bread each so the Children and him can make either Fish Finger or Chip Butties!

Sunday - Sausages and Mash


Yeah, I know. The thing is I'm hoping that if the family have Sausage and Mash I can live vicariously through them and sniff the goodness! Daddy will serve this with peas and carrots and plenty of gravy. If he doesn't I'll hunt him down and teach him a thing or two about the amount of vegetables he should be eating!

Sausages and Mash

Saturday, 31 October 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 31st October

There are many things that I love. Eating is really the main thing if I'm honest and this is probably why I can't lose weight as easily as I would like! It's all well and good telling someone to exercise more and eat less, but I do that and lose maybe a 1lb a week, which of course is great, but I really need to lose more than that... which is why I'm doing something a little drastic this week and going on a different meal plan to the rest of the family after Saturday. I may blog about this more later in the week, but until then here's what the rest of the family are eating this week.

Saturday - Chilli


We're having a Chilli off at Church along with our Trunk N Treat. I actually don't think we're going to eat Chilli, I think we're probably just going to eat sweets and feel full from our lunch that we're having at Jamie's Italian.

Sunday - Beans on Toast (with an Egg on top)


Daddy is going to a recording of RHLSTP (at least that's what the cool kids call it) and so BB is coming to Church with Tops and I before we then head home for an evening meal. It needs to be something fairly easy to cook, something quickish and something fitting of a Sunday.

I think that describes Beans on Toast with an egg on top.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 25th October

I've been really naughty this week and haven't spent time working out what we are going to eat next week, well this week... in fact I even went to the Supermarket to do the Shopping before having written my shopping list! That for me is the most terrible thing I could do, it's a way to waste money and end up with nothing in the house worthy of eating... which is sort of what has happened!

Saturday - Steak and Chips


I picked up some cheap Steak in Tesco for Daddy to have whilst I was out on Wednesday night (I was at Relief Society) and the Children ended up stealing half of it from his plate. We decided to have it again as a family, although Big Boy decided that Sausages were better for him than Steak.

Steak and Chips

We prefer to get the so called cheap steak in Tesco (the value range) as with our griddle and my secret seasoning trick (it's just Salt and Pepper, nothing secret really!) it makes it really lush and tasty and like you'd hope all Steak would be!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Bernard Matthews Turkey Stuffed Pittas #Review

One of the first ideas I came up with for the Bernard Matthews challenge for creating some fun lunchbox ideas was Turkey Stuffed Pittas. This is something that is good for getting extra vegetables into the Children and also brilliant for little hands.


Turkey and Veg Stuffed Pittas


I used the Turkey Breast Slices again for this, mainly because again there was a distinct lack of Bernard Matthews Cooked Meats in the supermarkets and also because this is actually BB's favourite of all the products. Top Ender is really good at trying new things and eating a wide range of products, BB less so at the moment and so yes, we are pandering to him.

Ingredients


Turkey Slices
Cherry Tomatoes
Cucumber
Mayonnaise
Salad Leaves
Pitta Pockets
Seasoning

Method


This can be made really quickly if you need too, but you can also make them the night before and leave them in fridge ready for packing in lunchboxes the next morning.

Put the Pitta Pockets into the Toaster, to warm up and also allow them time to cool down before you need to cut them.

Take the Cucumber and chop into small pieces, put the pieces into a bowl.

Deseed the Tomatoes and again chop into small pieces and add these to the Cucumber.

Lastly cut the Turkey Slices up and again add these to the bowl of Cucumber and Tomato.

Add a squirt of mayonnaise, some seasoning and if you want you can add mustard at this point or Garlic, favourite herbs, harissa, mint, chives... anything that your heart desires or your Children will enjoy!

Then mix. And mix well.

Pitta Stuffing Mix - Cucumber, Tomato and Turkey Slices all chopped up and mixed with Mayonnaise

All you need to do then is slice the pitta pockets open and stuff with salad leaves and a couple of tablespoons of the Cucumber, Tomato and Turkey mix. You can add as much or as little into the pockets as you think that your child would like or can handle.

Pitta pockets with Bernard Matthews Turkey Slices

As you can see from this picture above the pittas look tasty and are certainly small enough to fit into a child's hand. One top tip for you when you pack them, it might be sensible to wrap them in either cling film or tin foil before putting them into a lunchbox because the filling can fall out in little pieces!

STuffed Pitta Pockets in the Lunch Box

Saying that, when Top Ender and Big Boy came home from School both their lunchboxes were empty save for a few small pieces of cucumber and Turkey which were stuck to the corners of the lunchboxes! So maybe the falling out pieces are good for something... like nibbling on whilst you are waiting for your best friend to finish their lunch too!

Bernard Matthews Sweet Chilli Chinese Wraps #Review

Ever since I was young, my favourite food has been a Chinese Take Away and any time I can recreate a dish similar to something I may order, I jump at the chance. This was part of the inspiration for the second lunch I made the Children using the Bernard Matthews Cooked Meats Range and I used the Bernard Matthews Turkey Sweet Chilli Breast Chunks (RRP £) as the protein of this lunch.

I had been looking for the plain chunks, but they didn't have any in the three supermarkets I tried, they are obviously very popular, probably because they taste great!

Sweet Chilli Chinese Wraps


Bernard Matthews Sweet Chilli Breast Chunks



Ingredients


Sweet Chilli Breast Chunks
Wraps
Cucumber
Hoisin Sauce
Mayonnaise
Salad Leaves

A word of warning, as I was making this lunch, it looked and smelled so yummy that I started making a third for my breakfast, so be warned you might want to make extra for yourself.

Method


To make the sauce, you have to mix a teaspoon of Hoisin Sauce, and a dollop of mayonnaise. I find it easier to put the mayonnaise on to the wrap first and drop the Hoisin Sauce on top and then mix them together by spreading the sauces together over the wrap.

Take the cucumber and cut into sticks, you can julienne them as thin as you like, but I prefer thick sticks because I'm always worried I'm going to cut my fingers off. Place the Breast Chunks, the Salad Leaves and the Cucumber sticks in to the centre of the Wrap and then fold the wrap as you prefer.

Sweet Chilli Chinese Wraps

I always find it easier to use tinfoil to hold the wrap in a wrap shape, but you can use whatever method you like. I'm just really bad at folding wraps in a way that keeps them folded! If you have any tips for me please leave them in the comments below. As you can see, the whole thing takes a total of two minutes to make, so perfect for busy Mums!

A Sweet Chilli Chinese Wrap

The Children loved their lunch and Top Ender was so excited telling my Mum about the wrap after School, that Top Ender got me to make one for my Mum too. I'd run out of the Sweet Chilli Chunks, so I used the slices of Turkey Breast and much thinner cucumber slices, and I put Spring Onion slices in hers.

Two Sweet Chilli Chinese Wraps with Spring Onion and Cucumber

My Mum loved the wrap too and it just shows how versatile the products are and how they aren't just lunches for Children, but the whole family.

Bernard Matthews have compensated me for this post. I'm going to use it to buy some Dinosaur shapes and then not share them with the Children. Okay, I'll share them with the Children.

Bernard Matthews Pasta with Pepper and Turkey Breast Stars #Review

Bernard Matthews had a great idea, they thought that the Children might like to suggest some fun ideas for their School Lunchboxes using the Bernard Matthews Cooked Meats range as the protein and creating lunches that they would be excited to eat. Now my Children have been, up to a point, rather spoiled when it comes to lunches. As you may remember I like to make the Children's lunches look fun and interesting.

Other than telling me that they love the Bernard Matthew range of Turkey and Chicken products, and that loads of their friends have them in their lunchboxes my Children were useless. Seriously, I asked them what they'd like me to make for them and I got blank stares back! In the end they said, Mum can you make whatever it is that you are going to make us for lunch fun, exciting and most importantly tasty?

I panicked. Eventually, I had some ideas that I hoped would be tasty and most importantly quick to make. Yes, when you read further on you might think that they aren't quick to make but I promise you they are!

For this first lunch I used the Bernard Matthews Slices of Turkey Breast, RRP £1.50. Actually, I also used it for the second lunch too. This is the great thing about the products, they are versatile and easy to use and perfect for busy Mums too.

Bernard Matthews Slices of Turkey Breast (New Style packaging, doesn't it look great?!)

Don't you love the new design packaging? It's so cute and funky looking!, you'll think the first one takes AGES, but honestly it only takes five minutes, well eight if you include boiling the kettle!

Pasta with Pepper and Turkey Breast Stars


Pasta with Pepper and Turkey Breast Stars in a lunchbox along with some Cheese Squares and Strawberries

Ingredients


Pasta
Mixed Peppers
Turkey Breast Slices

Method


Start by boiling your kettle and put a pan on the hob with a small amount of water in to start heating up. Well, at least that's how I do it. This will be to cook your pasta in, but I bet you had already worked that out.

The second thing to do is to wipe over your peppers. Then slice them in half, and then into quarters length ways. I do sometime chop off the ends so that I have straight pieces of pepper, but this isn't always needed if you're okay with fiddly! Don't forget to give the insides a wash too.

Using a biscuit cutter, press out the desired number of stars from the peppers. I can normally get at least six stars from a quarter, but if you are more logical about the cutter placement you can probably get more. You can do this with carrots if you want to, just slice them thinly and cut out the stars from the circles you create.

At some point your kettle will have boiled, so add the hot water to the pan, wait for it to start boiling again and add the pasta. I tend to use small pasta shapes or soup pasta because the Children love the mini size and it's quicker to cook.

Whilst the pasta is cooking, you get to use your cutter to cut out shapes in your slices of Turkey Breast. The good bit about this is that there is always a little Turkey left over which is perfectly acceptable for you to eat as a perk of making an awesome lunch! I love that the Turkey used in the Turkey products are all 100% British and it always makes me think of Norfolk too.


By this point, your pasta is probably cooked. All you need to do now is drain it, add any seasoning you want (and anything like butter, but I find it makes the pasta a bit too greasy as it congeals) and of course mix in your stars.

That's it. Job done!

Of course, if you wanted to simplify this even more just cut the peppers and Turkey slices into strips and stir into the pasta, but who wants to eat boring plain strips when you can have stars? Or Autumn leaves? Or whatever other mini Cookie Cutter shapes you have in the cupboard?!

As you can guess, this is such a fun lunch to make and one that can be made the night before (whilst you're making the evening meal perhaps?) and kept in the fridge ready to avoid a morning rush.

The Children loved the pasta and BB said that a teacher asked if she could have BB's lunch! I am seriously going to have to go into business making lunches for people, or at least the staff at BB's School. Top Ender reported back that whilst she was sitting down to lunch, her best friend reached over and stole one of the Red Pepper stars and was after doing a lunch swap. Top Ender held her ground however and invited her friend round for an evening meal, promising that I'd make something extra special with the Bernard Matthews cooked meats range... look out for that blog post soon!

Bernard Matthews have compensated me for this post. I'm going to use it to buy some Dinosaur shapes and then not share them with the Children. Okay, I'll share them with the Children.

A Whitby Seafoods Spooky Supper #Review

Last week Whitby Seafoods sent me a voucher to buy some of their lovely seafood products so that I could make a Spooky Supper for the Children and I. We decided to make ours ahead of Halloween so that you'd have a chance to make something similar for a meal for your family next week!

Whitby Seafood Lemon and Pepper Fillet Goujons

I present to you our take on the Spooky Supper!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Easy Meals with Old El Paso Stand 'N' Stuff Taco Kit #Review

In my weekly posts about what we are going to eat, I often talk about how I forget about meals that we love as a family. Tacos are one of those meals, and so when Old El Paso sent us their new Smoky BBQ Stand 'N' Stuff Soft Tacos to have one night when Daddy wasn't in (because they have wheat Tacos which he can't eat), I knew the Children and I were going to be happy. Actually scratch that, we were going to be very happy and hopefully also very full!

A Pack Shot of Old El Paso Stand N Stuff Soft Taco Kit - Sorry but I threw away the pack before taking a picture!

When I'd been shopping at the weekend, I'd seen the new Stand 'N' Stuff Tacos Kit (RRP £3.79) and was able to check that all I needed to add to the meal was Mince, some Lettuce, some chopped Tomato and of course the all important cheese. Everything on the list is something we normally have in our trolley, so it was a very easy shop and was the sort of meal that I could keep in the cupboard (well the Stand 'N' Stuff Taco part, the rest would be in the fridge or freezer) for a quick midweek meal.

What you get in the Old El Paso Stand 'N' Stuff Soft Taco Kit

We decided that last Thursday night was probably the best night for us to eat the Tacos because that's the night we are most in a rush because of After School Clubs and of course last week also had us trying to fit in Parents Evening for Big Boy too. A meal that says takes just twenty minutes to get on the table was the perfect fit for us, so when we got back from Parents Evening, Big Boy set the table and got plates and glasses out, whilst Top Ender put some grated cheese in a bowl (we always have grated cheese in the freezer and fridge) shredded some lettuce and diced some tomatoes and I cooked some mince and finished off what they started whilst they went to get into their uniforms.

Trimmings for Tacos

It was one of the easiest and fastest meals I had cooked all week, taking only twenty minutes (and that included taking photos!) and I would put it on a par (for ease) with the Beans on Toast that we were supposed to have and much easier and quicker than the Childrens favourite Lasagne or even make your own Pizza!

The Children loved that the Old El Paso Stand 'N' Stuff Tacos are shaped like a bowl, for BB it made it easier for him to hold as with the flat bottom it made them a better shape for him to hold. Top Ender liked that she didn't have to hold them at funny angles trying to get the filling in and that they didn't crack if she over filled them, which she is prone to doing!

After the Children had stuffed their tacos it was my turn.

Yummy Stand 'N' Stuff Tacos

I think they look pretty awesome and they tasted great! We all loved the flavour of the Smoky BBQ. It was mild, not spicy and Top Ender ate lettuce (this is HUGE in our house as she's the only person who won't eat Salad!). The Children have asked if we can have the Tacos again soon, which of course I will arrange because now that I've remembered that we love Tacos they will be added to our weekly meal plans again and of course we'll have to try the garlic and paprika flavour seasoning too.

We've had a second meal using the Tacos (RRP £1.89 for a pack of eight), as I sent the Children to School with Tacos to make at School! These were a total hit, with Top Ener texting me during lunch to say how fantastic it was and Big Boy so excited when he came home, telling me how wicked it was that he'd been able to make his own lunch at the lunch table!

Chicken Stand 'N' Stuff Tacos as Lunch

Big Boy wants to have Tacos on Tuesday, Thursday and possibly on a future Monday because he thinks with mild Spicy beans and rice we could have a great Meatless Monday using the Tacos and I'm inclined to agree!

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

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Saturday, 17 October 2015

What We Are Eating W/C 17th October

This weekend we are putting the heating on, Daddy has said that it is just too cold for him getting out of bed in the morning and so we need to go and bleed the radiators, ensure that nothing is leaning up against them and generally just be good homeowners. I'm going to try the tin foil behind the radiators tip this year too. Have you done that to your home? Anyway, on to what we are eating!

Saturday - Sticky Sausages with Bacon and Apples


After going shopping with my Mum (and Top Ender too!) when we get home Daddy has normally cooked for us. We tend to have a family meal and one that is warming and filling... which we might not need now that the heating is back on!

We'll go for Sticky Sausages because Daddy is the one who makes this the best and because everyone loves it.

Sticky Sausages with Bacon and Apples

Sunday - Turkey Roast


I think that the next couple of weeks will be our last roast for a while, I like to make sure that the Christmas Roast is special and I don't think it is if you have been eating it every week of the year! I've not yet talked about it with Daddy yet, but I'm sure he's used to my weird ideas by now and happy to roll with it for an easy life at least!

Meatless Monday - Vegetable Soup with Pasta


I figure the children will be much more receptive to Vegetable soup if there is Pasta in it!

I'm going to fry an onion, add some garlic, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and chopped tomatoes before adding some stock and pasta and cooking. I may add some peas and sweetcorn as I always tend to have them in the house (either frozen or tinned) but it's not a sneaky way to get more vegetables in the children it's because I want some freezer space back!

What is your favourite soup recipe?

Tuesday - Ham Risotto


I'm not sure why, but I feel I should be on a budget this week. I think Ham Risotto is a really cheap meal and so I've added it to my list of things to make this week!

Wednesday - Eating With my Mum


After the success of eating with my Mum at my home last week (we had Salad, Chicken and Rice), I'm going to suggest that we do it again this week... although we'll eat something different than what we had last week!

I think that we'll go for something like Salmon or Pesto Chicken wrapped in Bacon or even Roasted Gammon.

Chicken with Pesto wrapped in Bacon

Of course my Mum might just decide we should go to a Carvery or some other restaurant instead!

Thursday - Fishcakes and Mash



The Children and I are off to Beavers and Guides tonight, so we're going to have a nice warm meal and hopefully not freeze to death whilst we are out!

The reason that we might freeze is as Beavers is only an hour, Tops and I stay on site rather than driving home. As I'm sure you can guess it's cold in the car hence the need for the warm food!

Friday - Meatloaf


It's the last day of Term, so we're going to do something super cool tonight for our evening meal... Well, at least I think it is supercool!

I'm going to make either doughnut meatloaf (meatloaf in the shape of doughnuts!) or maybe individual meatloafs or ones in the shape of something else maybe hearts or stars because the ones that are heads and hands and feet are just a bit too creepy!


So, that's what we're eating this week. What are you eating?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Chocolate Week!

So, this week is Chocolate Week.

I'll just leave that there, I don't need to bother writing the rest of my post do I?

Yeah, I know I do really.

So.

I am a Chocoholic. No, surprise right? Yeah, didn't think so.

Chocolate Hamper from Whittard Of Chelsea

When I received a lovely Chocolate hamper from Whittard of Chelsea I was REALLY excited. IT WAS FULL OF CHOCOLATE! I passed the Tea and Coffee to my Sister, I'm kind like that and also because I'm LDS I don't drink Tea or Coffee and neither does Daddy...

My sister said the tea was lovely. She sent me pictures of it on Whatsapp in her little teapot that I got for her a couple of weeks ago.

Best dressed teapot in town

The Teapot has a sweater! I can't get over this, it just amuses me so much.

Anyway. That's not what I wanted to talk about. We can talk about Rocky Road Hot Chocolate or the fact that the White Hot Chocolate is my new favourite drink of all time all we want however it won't change the fact that this week is Chocolate week and I'm trying not to eat too much of the stuff.

What are your top tips for eating just a little bit of chocolate and feeling satisfied?

OR

What are your favourite chocolatey things to eat that really aren't that bad for you?

Let me know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter because I'm desperate here!

Monday, 12 October 2015

The Hallway - Part Two

So, after we decided to paint the Hallway and decided on a paint that we liked we purchased the correct amount we'd need, the masking tape and even some new brushes. If we were doing this we were going to do it properly it seemed.

It's like watching Paint dry this picture.

Daddy had a day off planned and so we decided that we'd use that day to paint the hallway. Well, rather I decided that he should use this particular day to paint the hallway and Daddy just agreed. Daddy actually started painting the hallway yesterday, whilst Top Ender and I were at Church. He knew that the amount of wallspace we had wasn't enough for the time he felt we had put to one side (the time the Children are at School!) to do two coats.

Anyway, I helped paint a bit.

Whilst Daddy was painting the walls previously unpainted, I started going over the walls that he had painted yesterday. Well, I was painting until I got annoyed with my husband because of the way he talked about my painting skills and the brush I was using and well probably I was just bored of painting the walls too if I'm perfectly honest.

So, the walls are now mostly painted.

The painted wall

and it looks terrible.

The wet paint looks like we've re-plastered the wall.

I know however, that it's going to look fine.

Really? We decided to paint the walls brown? It looks terrible!

Eventually. My husband promised me so.

Now, on to the carpet.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 10th Oct

This past week has flown by, now I just need to get the rest of the month and next month to do the same and it'll be Christmas and I'll be as happy as a clam at high water. Are Clams happy? I don't suppose they'd be that happy if they were on the Menu this week!

Happy Children are just like Happy Clams right?


Saturday - Chicken Curry for the Adults


I don't know about you, but for us we'll go off certain foods if we have them too often. The problem is when Curry tastes as good as the ones we make in the Steamer, we fancy it for a few weeks... then of course we get sick of them and we end up not having it for ages, which means we crave it for a few weeks and then we get sick of them and... I don't need to go on do I?

Pizza Challenge for the Children


Top Ender and Big Boy are constantly watching videos where the aim is to out gross each other. Okay, maybe it isn't really but the amount of time that the children spend making retching noises when they watch these videos is enough to make me think that this is the point!

Anyway, Big Boy has asked if he and Top Ender can do their own Pizza Challenge tonight. I'm going to buy some really lovely pizza ingredients, some really odd ones and some which are just downright disgusting! I'll link to BB's video as soon as it is live!

Sunday - Roast


We have Daddy's Mum aka Nanny over to share a meal with us today. Like Daddy she is Coeliac and so as normal all our food will be free from gluten and wheat. Daddy has already said that he will make his Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings, plenty of Roasts potatoes, a couple of different Veg and because I was a good girl and remembered to check the Big M&S for the gluten free stuffing our freezer is almost full of the stuff so we'll have some of that too!

I think that we might be able to eke out enough apples from the tree in the back garden to make a Crumble for pudding too.

Meatless Monday - Jacket Potatoes of some variation!


The Children and were going to go with Beans on Toast for our meal tonight because it was honestly the only thing I could think of that was Meatless that we hadn't had for a while. Then I remembered that Daddy was home tonight too and so Beans on Toast just wouldn't do, mainly because the last time I made gluten free bread it was so crumbly it was more use for feeding tiny birds than my lovely husband.

I've decided today that we're going to make either Twice Baked Jacket Potatoes or just ordinary potatoes. It all depends on Daddy!

Tuesday - Fish Cakes


New Potatoes, some kind of veg and fish cakes for our meal tonight. I don't think that Daddy will join us however as he really isn't keen on Fish. Luckily we have lots of things in the fridge and freezer which are perfect for him to pick at and so I expect he'll make himself something when he is in from work.

I should also point out that he actually might not be home tonight, so in that case he'll probably grab a cheeky Nando's!

Wednesday - Meal Out with my Mum


I have no idea where we will be eating, but I'm putting my foot down and saying NO JUNK FOOD!

Thursday - Beans on Toast with an Egg on Top


After having thought about it for our evening meal on Monday and not being able to have it I now really fancy it and so I've decided that as Big Boy did his Cooking badge at Beavers last week and made Beans on Toast with a mousse for pudding that he can make our meal tonight too.

Friday - Sausage and Mash (For The Children)


Big Boy and Top Ender tried a Mustard Mash the other week and loved it, so they have it again tonight along with Sausages in Onion Gravy.

It depends on how hungry when Daddy gets it before we work out what we're having, but it will probably be the same thing!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Self-Esteem And The Role Of You Over Social Media

Today I pretended to be a Teenage Girl.

Despite what my Mother might tell you, this doesn't mean I took to wearing all black (I have a white T-shirt on!), putting on heavier eyeliner than the stars of Black Swan and generally being the worst person to be around in the history of the world. Instead I pretended to be a Teenage Girl in the world of today. 

Why? Well, last week Dove shared with me some research they have done as part of their Self-Esteem project, which was started back in 2004. The idea was that the project would help young girls raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential, help them to increase their body confidence and they have partnered with other groups to help reach more girls across the world. 

Women In The World Generation Girl Dove Self-esteem project logo

And it's working. Mothers, Daughters, Sister, Grandmas any female in any shape size or form can access the resources that Dove have developed at www.selfesteem.dove.co.uk and after having had a nosey through, there is a lot there that could help you have a conversation with your daughter or another loved one.

Back to me being a Teenage Girl. The research that they shared with me showed that teenage girls are seeking validation using Social Media. The more likes they get on a photograph the better they feel about themselves.

This of course has the flip side. If a photograph is posted and has no interactions or likes the girl who posted it feels worse about herself. Now not only does she think she is ugly, but all her friends and followers do too.

WHICH ISN'T TRUE!

So the plan was to put myself through the exhaustive process young girls are putting themselves through to get validation and I wanted to prove that the only like that should matter is their own!

I'm sure you want to know how I got on. Well, the first thing I realised was, I am actually already leading a life pretty similar to a teenage girl. I instagram several times a day, I have Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter open almost all day. I pose my photos. I check my hair and teeth, I check the background, and I may realign my salad leaves...
Yeah.

At 11am I was replying to an email about the challenge. I was actually mentally exhausted. I'd been checking in on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram for likes and comments that I could reply to, giving myself an hour between checking (I thought about a School schedule and when girls would be able to check their phone) and no matter what I was doing I would stop and check every hour, which soon became half hourly and then quarter hourly.

I was becoming obsessed!

I'd been liking other people’s images and status updates in a quid pro quo arrangement. I had several conversations going with groups of friends on Whatsapp, I even joined SnapChat! Turns out when I say I've got Social Media open all day what I mean is very different to what it means for 50% of girls asked who say that they are using social media all the time.

Then there are the scary statistics, like the average number of likes on a photograph for a teenage girl in the UK is 24, with girls reporting they would like 5 times this number to feel validated. So I set 24 likes as my target. I got 29 on my most liked photograph (a picture of my Salad) and 15 on my least liked photograph (bottles of water).

As soon as the picture of my Salad hit 24 likes I was seriously over the moon. I was excited, I did a mini fistpump, and then I thought about what I could post next to get me 120 likes and what hashtags I could add to my existing photographs to get the likes higher.

With the picture of the water only getting 15 likes, I was deflated, I was crushed actually and I started thinking desperate thoughts about what I could do to up my likes. One of my friends gets hundreds of likes on her photographs and I may have complained slightly bitterly about how it was so unfair because she is skinny and beautiful and why couldn't I be skinny and beautiful...

I was falling into the trap that so many of our young girls are falling into. Nearly half of the girls said that using social networks could make them feel worse about their appearance. That girls often don't want to have their picture taken or posted on Social Media because they do not feel comfortable in their own skin.



Now, this next picture I preened and primped myself for 12 minutes before taking a so called candid shot. I actually took nine photos before I was able to pick one I was happy with. Why? Not only do girls spend on average 12 minutes preparing for a photo to be taken, but they take multiple shots before picking the one they think makes them look best.



So what can you and I do? How can we help our daughters, our nieces, our children with developing a healthy self-esteem, so that they don't need to rely on the likes on Social Media to feel good about themselves? It's simple. Access the resources that Dove have developed at www.selfesteem.dove.co.uk, there are plenty of conversation starters and all the information you could need.

You could even post your own photograph using the hashtag #NoLikesNeeded.

Talk to them, tell them about this campaign. Tell them how the only like that matters is their own. That they should be proud to be them. Tell them that you are proud of them. Tell them that you love them. Tell them that they are beautiful.

Just talk to them okay?!

#NoLikesNeeded

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post, Top Ender has nabbed it and is buying a Fitbit Charge HR with it because I promised her she could! 

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Last Week Of September

The week started with us as normal going food shopping with my Mum. The only difference was we should have been at Legoloand, but with BB being poorly we had to skip it. The good news was that this would also mean we could watch Doctor Who at the same time as the rest of the nation!

Sunday Top Ender and I were at Church, we had a great day with Top Ender giving a talk in Primary during the Senior Primary Time. I love the fact that being in Primary means I get to hear different talks each week from the Children and I get to hear my daughter of course too! In the evening we had the Missionaries round to share a meal and to teach a lesson. They taught a lesson about Talents, and using our talents. It was a really great lesson as the Children had to think about the Talents they have and how they use them. It was lovely because after the Elders had left the Children spent some time talking about talents they see in each other and other people they know.

Most of this week I was doing small things around the house, cleaning and trying to declutter the junk around the house. It seemed to me that things were just getting out of hand and I knew I needed to just buckle down. So I made a list! ROFL, talk about procrastinating right?

Tuesday was mine and Daddy's wedding anniversary. Amazingly we've been married for 14 years and neither of us have killed or seriously wounded the other. I'm only teasing, as I put on Instagram I am the luckiest person in the world to have been able to marry my best friend and to be able to share this adventure called life with him.

My Beautiful Anniversary card and Snooker Ball Keyring

Sometimes of course we drive each other crazy, but I think that when you take our relationship right down to basics there is not only love, but also respect and honesty which I think are all pretty important in a relationship!

Wednesday we did have some bad news. One of my Mums Kittens was hit by a car and unfortunately died. It was really sad because this Kitten was such a lovely Cat. He hated anyone apart from my Mum but he was good looking and would occasionally let me stroke him! My Mum is really missing him and his brother and Mum are missing him as they have been calling for him.

Wednesday had also been an All Change day at BB's School and I'd got to spend an hour in a lesson with him. Together we drew monsters on the laptops using shapes (I think mine looked like a Koala!), made monsters using 3D shapes and BB even managed to squeeze in some time making monsters out of play-doh. I do love these days as they enable us to see what our Children are getting up to and how they learn and of course gives us parents a way to get to know the staff who work with our Children on a daily basis.

The rest of the week passed quickly, with both the Children, Daddy and I looking forward to the weekend. Top Ender and I because it is General Conference weekend and this means we get to sit on my bed watching Conference on the TV via the internet and eating snacks! And this of course actually brings me up to what I'm doing right now... but Sssh because technically I shouldn't talk about this until next week!

What have you been up to this week?