A Mothers Ramblings: April 2015

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Fun At The Park #WordlessWednesday

We went to one of our favourite parks (Russell Park) in Bedford this last weekend, and we even managed a walk along the Great Ouse (it's a River) into the centre of Bedford (well the shopping centre) and then back again. It was great fun and a nice way to burn off 500 calories!

Big Boy on the Slide at Russell Park, Bedford

Top Ender on the Slide at Russell Park, Bedford


Tuesday, 28 April 2015

#BeSuper Your Whole Life Through!

Top Ender may be 11 going on 24, but there is one thing that is guaranteed to have her giggling like the School Girl she is with her friends, no not sharing secrets via whatsapp with her best friends, but watching a Barbie movie. Honestly, if you haven't seen a Barbie movie you won't know how they are actually really good. There are jokes and comments that parents will understand on a deeper level than the children, but the children still find hilarious. Top Ender is now at that magic age, where she can find both the adult and child jokes hilarious and some of the times she looks at me as if to check that she is actually understanding the hidden layer of the joke right... that in itself is worth watching them a million times or more with her!

Anyway.

Barbie and Mattel thought it would be a lot of fun if we had a #BeSuper Party because, Barbie's latest film has Barbie being a Superhero and a Princess. I know, it makes no sense to me (well actually it does because most children I know want to be some combination of superhero and royalty) but that's what the movie is and Top Ender has watched it about a zillion times and yes I'm ashamed to say I do know the words to all the songs and have caught myself singing them at moments where I should be more grown up!

Barbie is starring in Princess Power!

And also they sent over the pack because today (28th April 2015) is National Super Hero Day! Fab right?! I love days dedicated just to me...

The problem for Top Ender was who to invite and because of our schedule when to invite them. So Top Ender decided to have two parties, one with her cousins and one with a School friend. For the first party Top Ender decamped to my Sister's house to party with her cousins. And by party I mean, they sat on the sofa and watched the Barbie film together scoffing Popcorn and other treats together. Top Ender left them with some little Make Up purses and a copy of the film, as she already had the DVD at home.

Barbie #BeSuper Party favours

Top Ender invited her friend round on the weekend, unfortunately her friend arrived whilst I was out shopping and so I didn't get photographs of them watching the movie on Top Ender's Day Bed. The girls however assured me that they had had a laugh watching the movie and didn't spend the entire time texting each other or sending messages despite sitting next to each other... I somehow don't believe them! The girls then unpacked the Dolls that Mattel had sent over and spent time together playing in the garden, acting out various scenes from the film and other things that popped into their heads. They had a blast, at least I'm guessing they did because they were laughing their heads off in the garden.

Now, we've been talking a fair bit about Super Heroes in our house, because the topic last term for both children was about Super Heroes and one day BB had to write homework on a hero in his family. All I'm going to say about this piece of work, is that BB obviously does not get his modesty from me.

BB's Hero Homework

The thing is, he's right. He is a hero, as is Top Ender and hopefully Daddy and I. We all have the ability to be a hero and I don't know about you but I'm going to try and be a superhero my whole life through.

We were sent the Dolls, DVD and Make Up bits by Mattel.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder

Big Boy loves Hot Wheels.

Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder

Me? I'm rather less enamoured with them. They are small and go under my sofa and then I have to stick my hands under the sofa and risk losing them to monsters who live amongst the dirt and dust bunnies.

However, I'm a kind Mummy who when she gets offered track builder sets agrees to review them because she knows it will make her son happy.

Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track BuilderHot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder

Even if the inside of the box does frighten me by looking like this...

Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder

So BB and I set about building the track, it was a little hard going for BB because whilst he is a whizz at following instructions for some toys, the Hot Wheels track instructions are just beyond him. Eventually we had it built. I'm not sure if it was built entirely correct, but it was built enough that BB could let his cars zoom all around and basically be some kind of mini stuntman.

Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder

And if you want to see the track in action, this is just a little video of clips I managed to get of the car in various positions on the track... it's a lot harder than it looks to film a moving car!


So what do we think?

Well, it was a pain to build as I made a couple of wrong placements of the clips that hold the tracks together. I didn't really understand the instructions, which could just be me to be honest, but then I don't have a great track (ha see what I did there) record when it comes to Hot Wheels.

It is however fun, BB has spent hours sending his various Hot Wheel cars down the various tracks and just laughing manically when they fly off into various distances after coming off the edge of the track.. I'm sure it's something he'll grow out of right? Right?

PS There is an exclusive promotion: buy five Hot Wheels cars to get your hands on a free, limited edition Black Car!  For more details go to HotWheelsPromotions.co.uk

We were given the Hot Wheels Spiral Stack-Up Track Builder in order to provide this review.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Fourth Week Of April

I have an admission to make, at the start of this week I thought it was later than it was. You see my birthday is next Saturday, (May 2nd) and I was pretty sure that the weekend coming (as in now) was my birthday. I was mighty confused for the majority of the week, and as such I have no clue what was going on for the most part!

PippaD loves new socks

My Mum gave me some new socks so, I kinda didn't care that I had no clue about what was happening!


The Fourth Week Of April


The start of the week had Daddy and I dragging the children to the shops to look at Tents. As soon as we were there, the children however were REALLY excited and started looking at all the tents, ignoring Daddy and I who were busy trying to ensure that the tents fitted our specific requirements. Basically, I told Daddy that if he wanted BB and I to go camping with him and Tops then he was going to have to buy a tent that I could A stand up in and B had some space to sit down in that wasn't taken up by either an air mattress or the various other impedimenta that I tend to travel with.

Sunday, had Tops and I at Church, where I was teaching about the Restoration, by chewing gum and removing it from my mouth. Totally disgusting, but worth it to help the children understand what the word Restoration really means. Tops and I came home to Daddy cooking the BEST Roast Chicken ever. Honestly, I'm not sure if it's because we haven't had a Roast Chicken for so long, or if it was because I'd purchased the worlds tastiest Chicken but it was good!

Monday had us opening our Monday bags, me following the maxim to never miss a Monday and of course the children heading off to School.

Never Miss A Monday

Tuesday had me at the hospital, having an eye exam. It's okay, at the moment it's not serious, but if it changes I'll let you all know okay?! It was really worrying for me, because I think the thing in life that I do take the most for granted is being able to see and the sudden worry that I might lose my sight made me, well upset I guess. I prayed about it and mused on it and eventually ended up thinking what is the point on worrying?! If it happens then it happens, there isn't anything I can do about it, but I can probably learn a thing or two from it and hopefully help others learn a thing or two too. And I'm deadly serious now, please, please, please go and get your eyes checked!

Wednesday had Big boy coming out running with me in the morning, he was so sweet giving me lots of encouragement and he was so amazed at how I was able to run for longer and faster than him. I was pretty amazed too and it gave me a real confidence boost.

BB and PippaD


Thursday Top Ender and I decided to make the most of the time that Big Boy was at Beavers by going for a walk/run whilst we were there. I was following my couch to 5k app, and Top Ender just followed along. It was a nice sunny evening, and we saw a lot of other recreational runners on our route, but Top Ender stayed at the park we ran by around a mile into the course and I finished doing roughly a mile and a half.

PippaD and Top Ender

It was a little too hot and I sat in the car after finishing wishing that I'd recover faster! I'm sure once I get a bit fitter I'll not feel so terrible for quite so long, but it just seems that it is taking me forever to get to that point. And the first person who tells me I didn't put it on in a day and so I can't expect to lose it in a day will get a hard stare!

Friday was the day I got my new glasses, it along with my friend popping round were a couple of highlights of the day, but I think that the best part was when the children spent the entire evening playing together and just having fun. It was so great hearing them together, telling jokes and just enjoying each others company.

The Fourth Week Of April Had Me Decluttering


Well, actually my lovely husband did some decluttering for me and sorted out the drawer in the kitchen that we keep most of our gadgets in, as it had got to the point where we were only just able to get it shut!

Thank you my darling husband for doing this for me!


So that was the fourth week of April for me, what did it hold for you?

Monday, 20 April 2015

New Glasses and Why I Should Listen To My Husband

You may have noticed, that my plan to read one book every three days has gone a little awry, and so has my plan to write quality blog posts, but that's sort of another matter. The problem was, as much as I LOVE reading books, I was having trouble with the actual reading. I was getting really bad headaches and eye aches after reading and even when I've been writing blog posts I've needed to ensure that the zoom was increased so that the size of the text on screen was big enough to be clear.

I am however so stupid that I didn't put two and two together. My husband however, is apparently much smarter than me (And no he isn't standing behind me forcing me to type this) and told me I really should go to the Opticians and sometime soon as he was pretty sure there was something up with my eyesight. So eventually I listened to him, made myself an appointment and went to the Opticians knowing full well that I was going to come out of there with glasses. And sure enough after a few tests, exams and general explanations, I was sent to pick out some new glasses.

PippaD in her new Glasses

I decided to go with a blue and green frame, which I really liked and as I've always been told that I should wear blue and green as they suit me the most and because they were nice. Well, I thought so anyway. Look, just be proud of me that I made a choice in about ten minutes without having people around me to encourage me to make a choice after an hour or so of trying to decide!

I won't get my glasses until next Friday and then I should wear them to read, write, use the PC, drive and generally if I need to do anything that needs me to see detail... so other than running and exercising I have a feeling I'll be wearing them pretty much always!

I was chatting with my Mum after I'd had my tests and told her that I had Astigmatism, she giggled because apparently I've always known that. She then reminded me about how when I look at my finger and bring it to my nose, my eyes do a weird turny out thing, rather than the normal going cross eyed thing. I didn't realise it was a thing, I just thought it was a Pippa thing!

There is a little bit of "bad" news for me too. When the Optician took a photo of the back of my eyes, they noticed a small problem with my optic nerve. Now, it could just be that I'm a percentage of the population who naturally has a less distinct optic nerve or it could be a sign of something more serious. Either way, they have referred me to a specialist at the hospital (via my local GP) to check it out and hopefully give me good news or sort out a treatment plan (hopefully there is one!) to resolve or slow down the issue they may have spotted.

Please do get your eyes checked regularly and always listen to your husband!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Third Week Of April

The third week of April has been a good week for me, I've lost weight, I've eaten some GREAT food, I've done chores that I really needed to do and I've been running. Several times. It was also blessed with the most amazing sunshine, so it seems that there was no reason as to why I would have loved this week!

The Third Week Of April


The start of the week had Daddy, Top Ender, Big Boy and I going for a little walk and there was a hill there that allowed Top Ender to show off how much she loves running up hills. It was such a great image that I captured, I felt I could sense in the picture Top Ender's pride at having run up the hill and her new found love of running.

Top Ender at the top of a hill

Monday morning had us going to School, the first day back of the last term for Top Ender (sob) and the house was strangely quiet... and I really missed the children. Still, the day was filled with chores and it was soon time to pick the children up and we had a great evening together, with Family Home Evening (now that Tops doesn't have Brownies on a Monday night we've moved it back to being on a Monday) and just generally having time together. Our new tech rules had come into effect and the children took to them really well, but the real tell will be if they are still happy next Monday!

Tuesday, my Mum and I went to the city centre together and she purchased some sweets called Black Death. I nearly crashed the car laughing at her reaction to her first lick of one as they really are super sour. The night before I'd read Liar and Spy at Top Ender's request and the taste test they did reminded me of the reaction to licking the Black Death, so I asked Top Ender if she'd like to try one (having warned her that the taste was super sour) and she and Big Boy both decided to try. Top Ender then thought, it would be great to give one of the sweets to her teacher (he'd given her the book to read) to try. He tried them and of course found them super sour. Let's just say I'm avoiding him for a few weeks, just in case he thinks it was my idea!

Wednesday I finally got round to cleaning out my garage. It was one of the best days I've had because after sorting out all the rubbish, junk and stuff that we really should have got rid of already I went and purchased a new Patio Furniture set and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening putting it together.

Thursday had the children back to their after school groups (Beavers and Guides) and they were really pleased to be back, because they missed their friends and they needed the extra activity in their week.

Big Boy in his Beavers uniform and Top Ender in her Guides Uniform

Friday was our family night, and the children watched Mr Peabody and Sherman, after an evening of crafting and finally sat down to eat Pasta Bolognese. There was more to Friday, but it's in my post tomorrow, so come back to find out what!

The Third Week Of April Had Me Decluttering


Well, the garage. I did think that the bin men were going to hate me as I put a lot of rubbish out for them to take, but we have such a great service that they took it all!

Rubbish waiting for the bin men

And here are the pictures of my nice cleaned out garage!


So now I have lots of space for use of my boxing and exercise equipment in the garage, which means I can work out from home instead of having to go to a gym.

So that was the third week of April for me. How was it for you?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Silhouette of Triumph - Wordless Wednesday

I know this is supposed to be wordless, but if I don't put some words here, my homepage looks a bit weird! I hope you like my picture, after you've linked up and left a comment, feel free to follow me on Instagram too!
Top Ender at the top of a hill

A photo posted by Pippa Dawn Wright (@pippadamr) on


Monday, 13 April 2015

What's Your Favourite Salad?

I love me a Salad.

The first Salad I remember taking a picture of

Take a look through my Instagram images and you'll see plenty of Salads scattered through the images of the children, selfies and pictures of my socks. I love socks as much as I love salad.

Daddy and I had been eating extra healthily last week. Daddy had been following the Atkins Diet after a work colleague had had some great success on it and I was just sticking with my usual combination of Diet Shakes, Salads and sensible evening meals. Anyway, as I prepared a salad for me to eat one day, Daddy looked at me as if I was crazy.

Whilst I was making my salad look pretty by adding various chopped vegetables and other items I wanted to include in my Salad, Daddy stood by watching and claimed I was ruining a perfectly good salad. It so wasn't true. A truly good salad, according to me, contains cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions, celery, radishes, peppers and probably a half dozen other different ingredients according to what is in the fridge and how I'm feeling.

I posted a couple of pictures of our meals one night, both looked good enough to eat (well that's the point!) and said to Daddy that I'd determine who's meal looked better based on the number of likes that each picture garnered.


I won.

My salads are always very traditional however, some form of green leaves, traditional salad vegetable accompaniments (occasionally I have added raisins, dried mango or other fruits and fresh pineapple) and I'm looking for ideas.

What are your favourite salads? What do you add to make them special, fun and most importantly tasty?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

The Second Week Of April

So far this year, the second week of April has been my favourite week. Actually, thinking on it, I think that quite possibly the Second week of April could possibly be my most favourite week of all time. I hope that you had a great a week as my family and I did!

The family on Easter Sunday on Dunstable Downs

The Second Week Of April


The week started with Daddy being off work, thanks to him booking some well deserved holiday. And by holiday, I mean not going to work everyday, he wasn't off cooking duty, cleaning duty, dish duty or driving duty! It's been such a long time that it's just been the four of us having a giggle without anything else to be done in the house, or chores to do or places to go that it seemed rather a novelty. Although saying that we did go shopping on the Saturday and go and collect some new Guides clothing for Top Ender to wear to her first ever Guides trip... okay so maybe some chores were needed to be done!

For the first time in ages, Tops and I weren't doing the weekly supermarket shop with my Mum. My Mum didn't actually need very much and as she was going to come and visit with us on the Sunday, she figured that my fridge would be a suitable place for her shopping to live overnight. This did mean that I got to take Daddy, Top Ender and Big Boy supermarket shopping with me and reminded me why I like going with just my Mum and Top Ender. Also shopping first thing in the morning means bumping into hundreds of friends and the trip took about ten times longer than normal.

On  Saturday afternoon/evening I got to watch General Conference, which for those of you who aren't LDS it's basically a conference where members all over the world get to listen to talks by leaders within the Church about various spiritual matters. I do love Conference as normally if something has been weighing on my mind one of the talks will always either directly deal with what I have been thinking about or one of the speakers will say something which helps me understand. It's a bit like how in House that he'll be talking about something completely different to his case and suddenly his brain puts the two together and BAM! He has the solution.

Dr Gregory House. Gosh he's handsome.
Yes, yes I will do just about anything to ogle over this man!

Sunday was of course Easter Sunday, and after a few hours of just BB and I hanging out downstairs crafting and having a giggle together, I drove over to my Mum's home to bring her back to share Easter lunch with us. It's become a tradition now, that she comes to us, but I think that this year she was going to my Sister's home as I was really mean and made her stick to her diet and didn't let her have a lot of trimmings to our roast, by simply not cooking them!

After my Mum went home, the four of us went up Dunstable Downs to watch the sunset, just like the Children and I had done during the Summer Holidays. It was a beautiful sunset, slightly hampered by cloud but it was fun being together and doing something which the children had so enjoyed. When we got home, I tried to catch up with some more General Conference (it's on over two days) but ended up falling asleep... which was useful as first thing Monday morning Top Ender and I had planned to go out for a early morning walk/jog/run thing which you can read all about in my post from yesterday about Exercising Together.

Monday afternoon Daddy tried to kill me.

SERIOUSLY!

Okay, so he didn't really. Daddy planned a walk for the whole family to Barton Hills National Nature Reserve, which all sounded all fine and dandy until I saw that the climb was almost straight up. I may have cursed a few times at him, whilst huffing and puffing my way up the hill, but when I was finally at the top it was worth it. We're planning on coming back in a few months when, hopefully, I'll be several lbs lighter and I'll find the initial uphill bit a lot less strenuous!

Barton Hills National Nature Reserve

The rest of the week was filled with early morning walk/jog/runs with Top Ender and then the rest of the day spent as a family going on yet more walks. I guess that I shouldn't be surprised that I lost 3lb this week, although I wish it'd been a few lb more.

There was one more highlight of the week, and that was when Top Ender went on her first Guide trip wearing the clothes I mentioned right at the start of this post! Tops hasn't even been to a Guides meeting yet, but the group leader said we could! We were standing waiting for the coach and Top Ender was looking at the other girls and decided that she was going to have to be brave and say hello to someone... so she did! And by the time she came home she'd met everyone on the trip and was rather excited about the whole thing.

Top Ender in her Guides gear about to go on a Guides Trip

The Second Week Of April Had Me Decluttering


Well, mainly weight. Can you declutter yourself from too much weight? I think you can an this is my blog, so that's all that matters!

I also decluttered my socks, buying new socks is the same thing as decluttering right? No? Oh.

OH! WAIT! Oh no, that wasn't it either.



Well, that's it from me for another week! I hope you had a great week and that April is treating you as lovingly as it's treating me!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Exercising Together

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, you might have seen that Top Ender and I have been going out each morning and having a bit of a walk/jog/run as a sort of reboot of me trying to lose weight. There was a comment placed on one of the images this week that made me really proud. It was made by Laura and she expressed how awesome she thought it was that Top Ender and I are exercising together early each morning.

Top Ender and PippaD about to exercise

Initially I had roped Top Ender into coming with me for selfish reasons. I had wanted a workout buddy and who better than my sport hating sarcastic comment making daughter? We could make fun of the other joggers, early morning walkers and cyclists who were in far better shape than either of us in order to keep ourselves going and both secretly knowing that we were actually jealous of the other joggers, walkers and cyclists. And you know, time together being Mum and Daughter and having a lot of fun together.

I also thought that it might be useful for Top Ender to start learning that exercise is actually fun and not the worst thing to ever happen to her! Top Ender is a little like me. Okay, a lot like me. When I was around Top Ender's age I pretty much hated anything in PE other than Netball and Rounders. Then one day a teacher told me that I was perfect for long distance running and with my love of maps and short bursts of running I'd probably enjoy Orienteering too.

An Orienteering marker

I was hooked. I loved Orienteering (still do!) and I loved Cross Country, mainly because I loved running in the muddy puddles. I don't know why I didn't keep it up, if I had I probably wouldn't be as overweight as I am now, that however is a different story. As Tops is so similar to me I thought that she might enjoy the running too, although I think I have to give it more than a week before she can decide that!

Top Ender and I can only go if Daddy is at home, and with him having to commute to Birmingham each week this means we'll only be going on Weekends, although Big Boy has agreed that as long as he can take his Scooter he'll tag along with us a couple of times a week. This makes me very happy as I wasn't looking forward to exercising on my own.

So, look out for lots more selfies of Top Ender and I as we hopefully get fitter and faster!

Monday, 6 April 2015

The First Week of April

I know that half of this past week was technically March, but just nod and agree with me. I like having four week months (like February) as they fit nicely into my head calendar, and of course I can then work out how long it is before I need to perform certain tasks. Like changing the filter on the fridge water dispenser or recharging the wind up torch or even replacing the batteries in BB's pump and monitor. Enough with the boring stuff, here's what the start of the month held for me!

A Rainbow that could be seen from the back garden


The First Week Of April


The week started off as being the start of the Easter Break from School. Of course we also had our usual Saturday trip to the Supermarket, going to Church on the Sunday (although Top Ender was ill so she stayed in bed) and all the normal other weekend activities that we've come to expect. Top Ender watching a film with her Daddy, the occasional baking activity and a later bedtime for everyone... well me at least.

On the Monday we spent most of our day in bed. Hehehehee, Top Ender and Big Boy were technically under the weather and so they were recuperating and I think to be honest I was feeling sick because I'd not had as much sleep as I'd needed over the weekend.

Tuesday morning had us all up and ready as we went to visit with my Mum and to do the walk that my Mum and I have made part of our weekly routine. The trip seemed to be an exercise in fleecing my Mum by the children, although Big Boy did get to ride an electric dog. It's quite surreal and you can see a video on my instagram feed that just has me giggling every time I watch it.

Big Boy riding an electric Dog

We had seen a sign that we knew my Mum had to have, as Dotty is one spoilt cat. The game of hiding the sign behind my Mum whilst the rest of us had a good giggle, was fun although hiding it on the Kitchen cupboards at my Mums house and not having her find it for a few hours was more fun!

A gift for my Mum a sign that says A Spoiled Cat Lives Here

The rest of the week wasn't really all that noteworthy, other than Top Ender made several rounds of herself and BB over the week. Tops knows how to cook, but before this week the "perfectly" browned toast had escaped her. Now that she's got to know our toaster so well, it's probably time to get a new one!

April Fools Day came, with me trying to pull one over on the children by installing an app on their tablets that made it look like the screen was cracked. I thought that they might hide the broken screen from me, or make wild claims about how it was like that when they picked it up, but BB told me straight away that his screen had gone funny and Top Ender gave me a Paddington Bear stare as I think she'd watched the same youtube video as me to get the idea. Daddy however managed to make the children laugh more with his dead body outline in the living room.

Either the outline of a Dead Body or someone doing Saturday Night Fever

BB took one look at it and said "It's not real, that's not real Police Tape!" and burst out laughing. Why can't we prank the children!

The Friday had Daddy having the day off, and we were busy doing things together and just having fun, simple things like the Children were given £2 to spend in the 99p shop and had free reign to just wander around the store to pick what they wanted. I think that Daddy and I must have spent more than the children, but Sssh, we don't have to tell the Children that. The whole day was pretty fantastic, just because we were together as a family unit and having fun together even if it was doing chores and just pottering about.

The First Week Of April Has Had Me Decluttering


Did we agree that emails counted? We didn't? Oh. Well, in that case all I've been decluttering this past week has been my bags. And by decluttering my bags I mean I've been taking all the receipts and chewing gum wrappers out of my bags and trying hard not to put more back in!

The First Week Of April Has Had Me Crafting


I've been personalising some books for the children to use and beautifying some of the books I use too. I haven't taken any pictures yet, I'll have to do that and put them on Instagram at least because some of the designs have been super cute.

So what did the first week of April hold for you?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Easter Cards and Easter Crafts #BostikBloggers

If you're like me you have tonnes of craft items laying around the house, that quite honestly you don't know what to do with. Give me some wool and I'll knit, give me some fabric and I'll probably make something using my sewing skills, give me some pompoms and I'll look at you blankly whilst my children start sticking them together to make various animals because they saw how to do it in a book once!

The Easter box from Bostik left me similarly stumped and so I put off crafting with the children with the box. Top Ender did have one idea to make some cards, which she and I made for her teachers and BB's teachers as an Easter gift, I don't know if you can see, but Top Ender made a nest on hers, which she filled with an Easter Chick egg thingy and BB's cards were made by cutting two pompoms in half and gluing on to card in the rough shape of an Easter Chick.

Top Ender and her Easter Cards

Big Boy and his Easter Cards

BB also gave his teachers a small chocolately treat, but just presented them rather than making them part of the card!

For both Top Ender and Big Boy, Easter is a big part Religious Calender. Even when I wasn't going to Church on a weekly basis, we still celebrated Easter and what it means to us (The Resurrection of Christ, meaning that we can all be resurrected too) and so I don't know why I was surprised when BB came into my bedroom shortly after 6am this morning, fully dressed and asking to go downstairs... Even if he hasn't got up much before 9am since the Easter break from School started.

After Breakfast and our Scripture reading (we do it daily), BB was stuck for what to do. He'd already set up the Egg Hunt that he was in charge of this year and so I suggested some Easter crafting and opened the box of Easter craft items from Bostik.

Two little Easter Chicks in Baskets

The first thing BB did was find two little baskets in the box, he filled them with tiny pompoms and topped them with little chicks, that he rescued from my rampaging wind up Chick Rabbit hybrid.

A video posted by Pippa Dawn Wright (@pippadamr) on

I started gluing strips of tissue paper to an egg, I wasn't quite sure what I was hoping to achieve as I've never had much luck with the polystyrene eggs in the past, but it seemed to work and I eventually ended up with something that was rustic, but seemed to work.

Decoupaging an eggA Decoupaged egg

BB saw what I was doing and started doing his own thing, but using a similar method. Adding a little glue from the Bostik Glue Pen and then sticking the tissue paper on the egg.

BB Decoupaging an egg

Eventually he got a little bored with that method (After attaching three bits of paper!) and decided to attack the egg with a blue marker, that looked a bit purple. Why blue/purple? So that it would look like a real egg of course... (yeah, I didn't get it either). We had some trouble attaching a pompom to the top of the egg, and in the end BB took matters into his own hands and folded a Bostik Tape Disc to attach the pompom to the top of the egg.

BB Decoupaging an egg

We go for the rustic look in our home when it comes to crafting.

The last craft that we attempted was attempting to make a little money bag for Top Ender. There had been a little sponge chick in the box, and BB traced round it on some little bags we had. After that, we used the glue pen to fill in the middle of the chick and then stuck sequins to the chick, before adding detail of a beak and little foot.

A Chick outline on an envelopeA sequined Chick on an envelope

BB also decided that it needed to be prettier as it was for his sister and so he stuck two fabric flowers to the bag. I think that he did a pretty good job.

So, there you go some last minute Easter crafts for you to attempt today using various items you no doubt have stashed around your home! And am I the only one who has no ideas what to do with those little pompom things?

We were sent the items from Bostik, apart from the bags and tiny chicks as they were from my craft items.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

#BecauseHeLives, Easter Story Meringues

Many years ago I was babysitting for a family around Easter time. At least in my head it was around Easter time, I might have just made that bit up. Anyway. I was babysitting around Easter time and knowing that this family shared the same faith as me and combining my love of sweet things, baking with children and babysitting duties I thought what would be great would be to make Meringues in order to teach the Easter story.

Easter is some Family Fun Times

See that confused look on your face right now? That was the look that other people gave me when I explained this idea.

Okay, so I don't know how familiar you are with the Resurrection of Jesus, but it actually tells you how to make Meringues. Depending on how your family works, their age or preference either read the Scripture first or explain what you're doing.

Ingredients


200g Chocolate
1tsp Vinegar
3 Egg Whites
Pinch of Salt
200g Sugar

Method


Before you start, you need to line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and turn the oven on to the highest it goes. You'll also need to hunt out some scriptures, or you can use the links that I've included in this blog post and you'll need some tape and a plastic bag, like a ziploc bag.

After Jesus was arrested, the Roman Soldiers beat Jesus with their hands. We can read this in John 19:1-3 and just like the beating, we need to hit the chocolate in order to break them up into smaller pieces. We can put the chocolate into a bag and then use a wooden spoon or a rolling pin rather than our hands however. It might be wise to have chocolate chips and smash them up a bit, just because it's easier for children to break up.

After having asked John to take his Mother away from his Crucifixion, Jesus asked for something to drink. The drink given was a Vinegar wine on Hyssop. I wasn't there, so I can't say for sure, but I believe the drink was in part meant to dull his senses and in part that he required it because he had final words to say and he couldn't because he was dehydrated. We can read this in John 19:28-30. Don't get the children to sip the vinegar, instead get them to sniff the vinegar.

Next we add Egg whites. Well, it wouldn't be Easter without Eggs would it?! If you didn't know Eggs are really symbolic at Easter because of how they represent new life and some say they represent the stone rolled across the tomb entrance too. More importantly they symbolise how, Jesus gave his life for us. We can read this in John 10:10-11,

Next we add Salt. The salt represents our sins, which Jesus took upon himself for us to be able to return to our Father and of course it represents the tears of the followers of Jesus who cried for the loss of their friend and leader. We can read this in Luke 23:27.

It's normally about now, that I explain that the story isn't as sad as one would imagine. There is a sweet part of the story that comes now, Jesus died because of the great amount of love he has for us. He died because he wanted us to know that he loves us, he wanted us to know that we're able to be with our Father in Heaven again as he has taken all our sins upon himself in order to save us and have eternal life. We can read this in John 3:16.

We now have to beat the mixture until stiff white peaks form in the bowl. This normally takes around twelve minutes when I'm using my hand whisk, but be prepared it can take longer if you are doing it by hand. It's important that the mixture becomes white, because white symbols purity. It shows that sin has been taken away and we can read this in Isaiah 1:18.

It's now that we carefully fold in the broken chocolate, just as Jesus body was carefully wrapped in herbs and linen before being left in the tomb. The mixture then needs to be dolloped on to parchment paper, in small mounds. The mounds represent the tomb that Jesus was buried in. We can read this in John 19:40-42.

We now need to put the cookie mixture into the oven, turn off the oven and you can explain to the children that just like the Roman soldiers we need to seal the tomb. We can do this by adding tape across the oven door, just like the soldiers guarding the stone they placed across the entrance. We can read this in Matthew 27:65-66.

Now, this is where things get hard. Especially if you have young children who were expecting a treat! At this point, the children have to go to bed with no treat (unless you do something else for them before they go to bed!) and they may be sad but explain the ones who loved Jesus had to leave his body in the tomb whilst they went home. However joy will come, in the short term there will be a treat tomorrow, and we already know that Jesus will be resurrected. We can read this is John 16:20-22.

And honestly that is it.

Until the next morning, where you get to open the oven door and this part is my favourite part of the story. Now you can give everyone a little meringue tomb and get them to bite into it.

Do you see why this is my favourite part? No, not because we get to eat Meringues! When you bite into the meringue you will find that it is hollow, or rather it is empty. Just like the tomb was. Jesus Christ wasn't found in the tomb, he had been resurrected. It's a really truly happy ending to this story and we can read about this in Matthew 28:1-9.

I hope you have a great Easter and if you want to know more, then why not watch this.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Hotter Shoes Stores #Review

When Hotter shoes opened a store in the Shopping Centre in Milton Keynes, I was excited. I'd had a pair of shoes from Hotter for a review a few years back, and a pair of boots (Which I'd forgotten about to be honest) and I knew that I found them comfortable, in fact the shoes are falling apart from overuse but they are still comfortable. Which reminds me, I need to

Anyway.

With one thing and another I hadn't been in to the store, until a couple of weeks ago when I saw some shoes in the window with my Mum and we were both just standing there deciding what clothes we had that would go with them. We joked that the next week, we'd go in the store to buy some but when I got home I found an email from Hotter asking if I'd like to review the store and the shoes...

Coincidence or fate?

So, the next week before my Mum treated me to Lunch, we went to Hotter to get me some shoes.

Hotter Shoes at the Checkout

We looked all around the store, at all the shoes that were on display, picked them up, held them, looked to see what the soles were like, how flexible they were, how comfortable the insides were and eventually I'd narrowed it down to two different pairs.

This was when the store manager stepped in.

Why not try them all on?

So I did.

A selection of Hotter Shoes (My feet are the ones in the cat socks!)

Well, the ones I like anyway.

I couldn't decide what I wanted and then my Mum asked me what it was that I was wanting from the new shoes. I thought for a while, whilst watching the staff serve various customers and finally answered, that I needed something comfortable to wear whilst walking and for maybe wearing to Church or when I'm running to the Supermarket or... Suddenly I knew I didn't want the summery heels. It was only as I was paying that I realised I'd pick the same shoes I'd had before, just in a different colour.

The staff at Hotter were absolutely fantastic, and watching them interact with different customers was like a masterclass in brilliant customer service, especially the manager who was just covering this store and was also modelling some rather lovely Hotter shoes (for Men obviously!). And yes, some of the customers were of a more "senior" variety, but good shoes are good shoes no matter what your age!

Maison of Hotter Shoes, modelling his Shoes. I hope they are hotter shoes, because if not then he has some explaining to do!

As the manager was so lovely, I took advantage a little and asked if I could see his store room... and he said yes. Oh and if he's reading this it was a very important part of the review, look there's a photo of the neat rows of boxes and everything!

A Typically Neat Hotter Back Room

In the end I did get a pair of Shake Shoes (in Soft Beige and I think the Shake range from Hotter are the most comfortable shoes on earth) and my Mum tried on a pair of Cruise Wedges (in Navy Floral) which she was also given as part of the review! To say my Mum was excited is an understatement, she walked round the rest of the shopping Centre holding the bag and I wouldn't say she was showing off as such, just you know, showing off!

I've told Daddy that  I'm going to go and get a pair of Heather Wedges (or maybe three, one of each colour!) as soon as funds allow as I did love them, I just didn't think that heels would be any good for walking the three or four miles a day that I try to walk.

I received two pairs of shoes in exchange for this review.