A Mothers Ramblings: 2016

Monday, 12 December 2016

Mio MiVue 688 Dash Cam - A #Review by Daddy

A recent change of job location has seen my driving mileage increase from zero (because I used to go by train) to 75 miles round trip, each day.

As well as now experiencing the extra expense of owning, insuring and running a car capable of doing 20,000 miles a year, there is also the sad realization that every day I routinely pass a bump, shunt or accident, or have to get out the way of an Ambulance or Police Car.

Heaven forbid that I am ever caught up in such an incident, the idea of having a Dash Cam to be an eyewitness on the road is something that I have decided is essential (almost as essential as a DAB radio, but then that came with the car anyway).

So, a Dash Cam was quickly put on my Christmas wish list - only to be taken off when the nice people at Mio asked if I would like to test their MiVue 688 Dash Cam.

Mio MiVue 688 Dash Cam

Saturday, 3 December 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 3rd December 2016

It's finally December! I love this time of year, becasue everywhere looks a little festive, everyone is a little nicer to each other and everyone just seems to know that during December there is a little magic lingering for us all to find.

Make it a December to remember

Apart from if you are doing the food shop. Then it's really hard to find.

Well, never mind! Here is our weekly meal plan!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Vlogmas Day Two! A Christmas Party!

You can find my Day Two Video below or on my youtube channel, where I'm talking a little about the Christmas Party I'm organising... I may be a tad excited about this.



Christmas Decoration Wanderings

Something I love to do at this time of year is to wander around various stores looking at the different Christmas decorations that they have in stock. Last month, I even managed to get Flyfour and the Children to come along with me. Sometimes people think that I'm the outgoing one, the slightly crazy one who leads the rest of my family astray... it simply isn't true!

And I can prove it because I have photographs...


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Vlogmas Day One! #LightTheWorld

Hello World!

So I've decided to join in with Vlogmas this year and do a different video everyday in December. You can watch my video below or over on my youtube channel.



The following links and photographs are the links and photographs I mentioned in the video and couldn't work out how to put them into the video!

Christmas Fun, Christmas Trees and a Chimney!

One of the great things about the Church that I'm a member of, well I think it it is a great thing, is that every month the women of Relief Society (18 years old and above) get together and do something. It's because of evenings like this that I can honestly say that I love these women and of course I get to know them a little more each time we hang out.

At the tail end of November (last Friday basically) we got together to have a Christmas themed evening. I knew a little of what was planned, we were going to craft Christmas Advent books, and I knew it was going to be a great evening, filled with fun and glue sticks! I was really excited to attend.

One of the members of the Relief Society presidency asked if I could bring a Christmas tree up to the Chapel I agreed because, honestly I knew that a little bit of extra Christmas cheer would be perfect and I was going to be getting my Christmas Trees down the following day ready to put up anyway, so it wasn't like it was any extra work. Well, apart from the whole putting them up twice in one weekend.

As luck would have it, Top Ender had a Inset day at School and so she and I headed up to the Chapel with our main Christmas tree, our Kitchen tree and our Front door tree. We decided to dress the part to help get us and the others going to get set up into the Christmas Spirit.

PippaD and Top Ender dressed up as Elves

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

New Year's Eve Ideas

Last year, was the first year that both Dan Jon Jr and Top Ender tried to stay awake to ring in the New Year. Amazingly, they both managed it and I think in part it was due to the ways I'd been thinking up to get the entire family to ring in New Years Eve together, rather than everyone spending most of the evening hiding in our own bedrooms or on different consoles and being together but not actually doing anything together.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr with their 2016 hats

The family all agreed that I could be in charge of activities and as long as there was food and I did listen to some of their suggestions as to what we did and ate then everyone would be happy... So, I planned activities to keep us busy the entire day.

The following are ideas that worked for us last year!

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

New Garden Visitors

When I posted pictures a couple of weeks ago of my front garden, I had a couple of friends ask me about the garden ornaments that they could see. I thought at first, they were talking about my Christmas light, but soon realised that they were talking about something which mean a lot more to me.

Can you spot them in this picture below?

A slightly closer view of my Garden Ornaments

Monday, 28 November 2016

Saving Plans - I HATE THEM!

I HATE SAVING PLANS.

Actually that isn't true.

I hate the saving plans that start circulating more heavily in the next few weeks. The ones that are titled things like;

2017 Weekly Saving Plan! 

or

Save £1378 in just one year!


or

Easy 2017 Jar Saving Plan!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 26th November 2016

Hoorah, it's Saturday already which means that today I get to go shopping... oh wait no I don't because I was super organised and I went yesterday with Top Ender and that means that today I can have a lay in and just relax!

I'm so excited. You could be reading this, and I could still be in bed.

Dan Jon Jr having a yawn

Although, I probably won't because Dan Jon Jr will want me to be the one that gets up with him!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Two Things I Learnt From Gardening With My Husband

After Flyfour and I spent a morning working on the front garden together, I had a lot of time to think over the morning because I was building a boat.

Yes, a boat.

Anyway.

Whilst I was building the boat and throughout the Church service I attended the next day I was thinking about having worked in the garden with Flyfour and I realised I had learnt some valuable life lessons, the kind of life lessons I should probably share with the world. I shared these with my husband and he agreed that these were worthy of sharing with the world, so I present these to you now.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

A New Hair Cut

Dan Jon Jr got the short end of the straw when the genes that make him were jostling for dominancy. He had no option but to get curly hair, both his Daddy and I are cursed blessed with it, but for some reason my hairs lack of obedience and desire to do it's own thing won out and Dan Jon ended up with a mop that normally looks like the below. 

Dan Jon Jr with freshley brushed straight out of bed hair

And that's when it's been brushed!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Priesthood Preview

When this February I was asked to be the Primary President in the ward I belong to, I thought it would be fun. I mean, I love being with the Children each week, and I love listening to what they have to say and what they have been up to and I hope that the Children know that and know that I'm there as a sort of responsible adult if they want to talk, or have a hug or just be told how fantastic they are. That doesn't go away after they leave Primary either, when they move on to the Young Women's and Young Men's programmes I'm still there for them.

Of all the responsibilities I have there was one thing that I had no clue about and that was the Priesthood Preview. I had no clue about this because, the first priesthood holder in my family will be Dan Jon Jr, and not until he is twelve. As he is only eight right now and we're all still thinking about how his Baptism went well, all I have to think about with regards to him and Church is getting him there on time, dressed and keeping my fingers crossed that he behaves! 

Dan Jon Jr at Church

Secondly, until this year it had been handled by the Stake Primary Presidency so I saw nothing of the arrangements and of course had never attended not being a priesthood holder or a parent of one about to become one myself. So, I did what anyone else would do. 

I googled, I searched Pinterest, I read talks on LDS.org that would help me understand what was required of the young men and of course I spoke with the Young Mens President who would be the one leading the meeting with the boys!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Front Garden

During the Summer, the plan was that we were going to spend a few minutes each day tackling our front garden. It was my plan, but we had spoken it through as a family and we decided that we were going to as a family, dig up the weeds, plants, bulbs and just clear the garden so that we could make it a tidy, neat and hopefully easier to keep weed free reflection of our home.

Plus, a bit of kerb appeal never harms anyone right?

The garden after Pippa cleared it

Instead, one day whilst Flyfour was at work, Top Ender was at one of her camps and Dan Jon Jr was busy building an entire kingdom in Minecraft I tackled the front garden. It took me all day, but I pulled out the things that we didn't want, I dug up all my bulbs and I tried to make the small patch of land at the front of my home look... well a bit tidier I guess.

Monday, 21 November 2016

25 Quick Breakfast Ideas and More Required!

On the way home from Church at the start of Autumn, I announced to the children that I would like them to think of some different breakfast ideas for us three to eat on weekdays mornings. It seemed to me that we were only eating the same two or three dishes, the things that we turn to time and time again that we all like, or that most of us like. I wanted something different, something to tempt our taste buds and I wanted to keep the bank manager happy too!

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr having a morning photo

As it is quite cold in the mornings, I wanted something warm for them and I to eat before they head off out into the cold, but it also needed to be something that was fairly quick to prepare and/or eat, as we try to squeeze a lot into our mornings with Scripture Study and showers and taking our daily Instagram Selfies and of course the Children trying not to get out of bed until the last possible second...

So, we started a list of breakfast ideas that we already eat, which I've recreated below.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 19th November 2016

Hello! I'm excited about the meal plan this week, it seems like I actually have a life as I'm out a few times (I know the horror!) and so I'm going to try and keep everything simple and make sure that it is family friendly and tasty.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family

I'm also going to try and not use every single cooking pot in the house, because that way there won't be too much to do dishes wise as I hate doing the dishes!

Monday, 14 November 2016

New Christmas Lights!

Over the last couple of weeks, one of my younger neighbours (well, he is a teenager, that counts at younger right?) has asked me and his Mum (who subsequently asked me) about when my Christmas lights are going up. I think that he may be more excited that I am and I am REALLY excited.

The problem that I have is that last year the lights that I had inherited from my Sister, (who herself had inherited them from a friend) were looking a little tired and broken and repairing them might look simple according to the youtube videos I've found, but I think it will also work out really expensive.

So I decided that I what I really needed to do was look into buying some new lights, which again costs a fortune according to the internet research I've been participating in. However I found something that was rather fun and wasn't that expensive... an LED Kaleidoscope Christmas Light Set!

LED Kaleidoscope Christmas Light Set

Flyfour and I managed to set them up in the garden so that they only decorated the outside of our house, not that of our neighbours (which is a good thing!) and Top Ender and I have some rather smashing plans to finish off a bit more decoration before we officially turn on the lights during the last weekend of November or December 1st.

The great thing is, the Children and I have decided that what we really want to do is work on this every year and create something new and different and funny and something that our family can work on together.

We are really excited about it and can't wait to show you the finished design in just a few short weeks!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 12th November 2016

I was almost asleep before I remembered that I haven't worked out what we were going to eat this week, so I started paying more attention to QI and woke myself up to create this weeks Meal Plan for my busy family. Talking of QI, I wish I had put on Facebook, by the way the prediction I had about this current series. I said that I bet Alan would be smart and win as it had been Stephen Fry holding him back and if you've been watching, you'd know that is EXACTLY what has happened until this week when Alan was back in his usual position of last place. I'd cry fix, but I'd probably wake up the neighbours.

My pet Rooster

Anyway, whilst watching QI, I worked out what the family and I were doing this forth coming week added it all to my google calendar and decided what we should eat too.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

School Meals Ahead!

Today will be the first day that Dan Jon Jr eats a hot meal at School that I haven't prepared and sent in with him as part of his lunchbox. Yup, with our School having recently built it's own on site kitchen, Dan Jon Jr wanted to swap from having packed lunches to having school meals a few days per week just as Top Ender did when she went up to Senior School.

There have been a few hassles, because of Dan Jon's diabetes but it's okay, we're prepared and it's not like we haven't done anything in the past that has been more difficult or stressful.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr

Monday, 7 November 2016

It's a Grey Day

It's rather a grey day today isn't it?

Well, I thought looking at some pictures from the Summer might cheer me up and I figured that you might like to take a look too because the memories of a Summer Day is better than sitting looking at an actual real life Grey one!

I took these pictures on a day trip to my Nan's. It was just before the weather turned at the end of August and we had an absolute blast. Flyfour hadn't been able to join us and when he sat looking through my photos later in the week he was shocked at how blue the sea and sky were. I'm pretty sure there were some comments about how he was sure we had actually sneakily flew off to somewhere hot and sunny, but this was just plain old Norfolk.

The Beach at Bacton

Saturday, 5 November 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 5th November 2016

I don't know why I bother making meal plans anymore.

I seem to take one look at what we're supposed to be having and decide against it. Which is why this week there are a lot of repeats of last weeks meals, because we didn't eat what we were supposed to last week!

Saturday - Fish Pie


The Fish Pie was going to be my highlight of the week and so I'm rather excited to be eating it tonight, especially knowing that tomorrow we have Salmon too.

I love Fish!


Again, Flyfour won't be too pleased, but I'll remind him that he is watching a film with Top Ender ronight and will eat Popcorn and sweets so he should think himself lucky lol.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The Haunted House Trunk N Treat

I wanted to write a little about our Ward Trunk N' Treat because as usual it was a fantastic evening and something that I think years later I'll wish I had documented!

Flyfour and I arrived with the children, three slow cookers full of soup, (the fact that at the end of the night we took home three almost full slow cookers of soup isn't important) and a car boot full of decorations, a marquee and enough glow sticks to light twenty-two and a half raves.

Dan Jon Jr as Ash Ketchum and Top Ender as the Girl Inkling from the Wii U Game Splatoon

Top Ender was dressed as an Inkling from Splatoon and Dan Jon was Ash Ketchum from Pokémon and together they went off to help others in the ward set up the Cultural Hall for when we would share a meal together at the end of the evening.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ravensburger Fireworks Over Sydney 2000 Piece Puzzle #Review

I like to try to do things with my family.

Like, I might try a new food, or we might try a new sport, or we might read a new book together or craft together... the one thing that we hadn't done together for a few ears however was work on a jigsaw together. In fact, thinking on it, other than the small children jigsaws I hadn't really worked on a jigsaw since I was in labour with Top Ender.

It had to be rectified.

A family jigsaw was a perfect way for us to spend time together now that it was colder outside and all we wanted to be doing was curling up in our nice warm home with some cinnamon sprinkled hot chocolate and plenty of hot buttered teacakes...

By random coincidence I was offered a chance to review a jigsaw and so I accepted and this beauty, Fireworks Over Sydney, turned up.

Ravensburger Fireworks Over Sydney 2000 Piece Puzzle #Review

Kid Made Snow Globe Cards

Earlier this year one of my personal heroes asked if anyone wanted to join in with a Child made Christmas Card series. I thought this would be perfect for the children and I to do together during the October half term and as I had an idea, before I knew it I had volunteered myself and the Children to make some Snow Globe inspired Christmas cards... yeah I know I forgot that my children and I are rubbish at crafts.

The snow globe inspiration came from finding a stash of Pringle can lids in one of our crafting drawers. I had used the cans to make a punch game at Church (It was such a hardship having to eat 16 small cans of Pringles!) and had put the clear plastic lids to one side knowing that one day I'd find a use for them!

Kid Made Snow Globe Cards

Plus who doesn't love a glitter filled snow globe?

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The KonMari Method Six Months Later

When I first read the Marie Kondo book I was prepared to think it was rubbish. I mean I've followed other plans in the past to try and help me to get my home neat and tidy and none of them have worked. I guess it's because just like Healthy Eating, it's not about a diet, it's about making a lifestyle change. As I read the book, the idea made more and more sense to me.

Half of me thinks it's not because this method is any better than any other, but because this book gives me permission to get rid of things which are perfectly useful, to give things to people or charity or places that need the items or can make use of them. The other half of me thinks I just needed a reason to do something about the amount of junk I had in my home, which quite honestly I should have done months before but as Flyfour said to me this last week, even he didn't realise we had so much "stuff".

We couldn't see the wood for the trees.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 29th October 2016

It's currently 4pm on the Thursday of Half Term. The Children are playing on the consoles...oh wait I spoke too soon, the Children are arguing over playing on the consoles! I'm attempting to do something productive as I've been working for an hour on my jigsaw and although I've done a lot, I needed to do something that would give me a finish... which is why I'm now finishing writing this blog post at 11:30pm on the Friday!!!

I'm seriously needing some sleep!

Saturday - Fish and Chips


Last night we didn't have the Fish and Chips because our family visit to Verulamium kept us busy and we didn't eat lunch until quite late, so we had a light supper... so we're having it tonight!


Sunday - Roast


This is our last Roast for a while, mainly because I really want our Christmas meal to be special and so I find by cutting down on having the roasts in the run up it helps us! Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr are not happy about it, but it's my decision and Flyfour totally supports me!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Dan Jon Jr and The Holy Ghost

Yesterday I published the highlights of my Baptism themed talk to Dan Jon Jr at his Baptism this past Saturday. Dan Jon asked Top Ender to talk too and asked if she would mind talking about The Holy Ghost. 

The following are the highlights of the talk that Top Ender gave.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr at the Baptism

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Dan Jon Jr and The Three Bears of Baptism

I mentioned in my post on Monday that I gave a talk at Dan Jon Jr's baptism. Dan Jon had asked Top Ender to talk about the gift of the Holy Ghost, which gave me the opportunity to talk about Baptism.

The problem, well I think it was a problem, was that Dan Jon Jr has been learning about Baptism in more detail for weeks, months even. We thought that there was no point in agreeing to be Baptised if you didn't know all about it!

So I wanted to talk to Dan Jon about Baptism, sort of recapping what he already knew but with a twist. A twist suited to him, suited to Children and suited to our quirky family (and friends who would join us and be listening to the talks too!).

I had a half idea in my head from a talk I had read years ago, probably when Top Ender was being baptised a couple of years ago, and so I went searching for a more filled out version of this idea and from there I wrote a talk, the highlights of which I'm including below.

Dan Jon Jr before his Baptism

Monday, 24 October 2016

I am not laughing at my Mum... I am so laughing at my Mum!

Last Friday whilst my Mum and I were trying to waste some time, she looked up the Toy Sale on The Entertainer website. Whilst I was busy trying to match different candies, and sending pictures to Instagram she was looking up gifts for her various grandchildren.

PippaD and her Mum about to play Hide N Seek

There was one toy that caught her eye, a Scooter at a very low price and perfect for one of her Grandsons who often wanted to be out with his bigger Sisters when they were playing out on their bikes and scooters.

Just at that very moment our time wasting came to an end and we had to go speak to someone important, so my Mum quickly sent a link to Flyfour and asked him to purchase the scooter for her. Flyfour followed her instructions and purchased the Scooter at the link that she had sent to him and arranged for it to be delivered to our house, as there was a higher likeyhood that I'd be in when it was delivered than she would.

And then we all forgot about it.

Dan Jon Jr Got Baptised!

When Flyfour and I got married, we spoke at length about how we wanted to raise our children. One thing that we both agreed on, was that when our Children were old enough they would be able to decide if they wanted to attend Church with me and be baptised when they were old enough, or they could pick if they didn't want to attend Church and then they could stay at home with Flyfour and they didn't have to be baptised.

Dan Jon Jr in front of a picture of Christ and his Disciples

A few months ago, Dan Jon Jr changed his mind about attending Church and instead of hanging out with Flyfour at home, he decided to come to Church with Top Ender. Honestly I was a little surprised, we go to Church for three hours on a Sunday and I didn't know that Dan Jon could be away from his Computer for that long!

Baby Pippa - I was a Cutie!

I was searching through some pictures a few weeks ago looking for baby pictures of me for a Faith In God activity I was in charge of when I found this picture of me, walking about in a baby walker. Yes, you are right, you may have seen it over on Emmy's Mummy when I was one of the bloggers you had to match to baby pictures in her Guess the Baby blog series.

I was talking to my Mum about it and luckily my Mum remembers the day this photograph was taken really clearly, I'd been taken to my Great Nan's home and luckily as my Dad had a huge Peugeot 406 Estate my Baby Walker fitted inside the car, along with all the rest of the hundred other things that any good Mother in the late 1970's, early 1980's took everywhere with her.

Baby Pippa in a Baby Walker

The reason this day stuck in her mind so much was because I was on the verge of walking. I had cruised around the sofa and tables, but wasn't free walking just yet.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 22nd October 2016

IT'S HALF TERM!

Sorry. I got a little excited there. Well, we're eating on a budget this week because we're saving up to pay for all the fun things we want to do, but we're not stopping us from eating things that we fancy, things that we like and things that we're trying!

Saturday - Sausage and Mash with Gravy


Dan Jon Jr is getting baptised today and so he was allowed to pick what we had for our evening meal. He decided that out of everything available to him (including restaurants and take away etc) that what he wanted the most was Sausages with Mash and Gravy.

Dan Jon Jr looking cool


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Tesco Halloween Fun

I love Halloween. I think it is a good excuse to dress up, eat sweets and generally spend a bit of time with family having a laugh. I think this is also why I love our annual Trunk N Treat at Church. The Children, Flyfour and I love to get together with our friends and socialise, eat at a pot luck supper and of course there are sweets and costumes and because we have lots of American friends proper Pumpkin Pie!

Pumpkins, glorious plump pumpkins!

When Tesco asked if I'd like a voucher to go explore their Halloween range and hopefully get some great bits for Halloween, I of course said yes! I was going to go with Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr as they were here when the Halloween Hamper arrived (well Dan Jon was!)

Dan Jon Jr and the Tesco Halloween Hamper!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Ravensburger Funky Owls Girls 3D Puzzle Range #Review

When Top Ender was going up to Senior School, we knew that she was going to have a lot of homework and so we wanted to create a space for her to do her homework in peace and quiet and after a little rejigging of her bedroom we created some space for a desk. The problem was that Top Ender's desk became a bit of a dumping ground instead of a serene place to work on her homework and Scripture Study.

Luckily Tops got on board with the whole KonMari method and has slowly been working her way through her room and adding pieces to her room that brings her joy... mainly items featuring owls or Kawaii characters. When we were asked if we would like to review some 3D puzzles featuring Owls, which would help Tops keep her desk neat and tidy I was excited.

Some of the Ravensburger Funky Owls Girls 3D Puzzle Range

Saturday, 15 October 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 15th October 2016

I was on Twitter on Monday night, when I saw a tweet for a Cauliflower Cheese Soup from Chris aka Thinly Spread. I was, at the time STARVING as I'd made the Children their evening meal (soup and toasties) and I was waiting until Flyfour got home before I started on our soup...

Anyway, I decided that as it was such a brilliant soup that I'd add it to the meal plan for the following Monday and whilst I was there I sorted out the whole week too! I even added everything to my online shopping basket and ordered and paid for it, so I could just pick it up on Saturday morning!

Chris I blame my organised week on you!

Friday, 14 October 2016

Pityriasis Rosea. Yup, I'd never heard of it before either.

If you read my Facebook pages, both Personal and Blog wise then you may already know all this... so I apologise that I'm repeating myself!

Last Sunday evening, Top Ender mentioned a rash that had appeared around her neck. She had been wearing a necklace that we got her for her Baptism back in September of 2014 and so we just assumed that she had developed an allergy to it. It made sense, seeing as how I'm allergic to Nickel, we figured that she had developed the same allergy.

Only by the end of Monday her entire torso was covered in this rash. We gave her some anti-allergy medicine and decided that come Tuesday morning, if she still had the rash, we'd book her an appointment at our Doctors Surgery and get her checked out.

Top Ender all wrapped up warm

I sent a couple of pictures of the rash to my friend, wanting a Mums opinion.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Dan Jon Jr's Netflix Party

Dan Jon Jr has recently discovered the power of Netflix.

For ages, Dan Jon Jr has sort of thought that Netflix was a Mummy and Top Ender thing. It wasn't that he couldn't control it, or didn't have access to it. It was just that other than a few films that we'd watched together he didn't really seem that interested in the shows available to him on his Netflix profile.

Dan Jon Jr playing Minecraft with his friends online

A lot of Dan Jon Jr's friends are online friends. He shares online worlds with them and they will regularly meet up online to play various different games on their consoles. They enjoy the same things, they enjoy hanging out and they want to share the same experiences which is why I love listening to them when they meet up online.

They chat about their days, about what they have had for their lunch or evening meal, what their homework is, what result they got on their latest test... basically everything that you would share with friends that you would invite into your home to hang out with.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Mr F Rumpelstiltskin Wright

Last week I was reading a bedtime story to Dan Jon Jr. He is particularly fond of a book of Five Minute Kitten Tales. The pattern is that he reads one story and then I read one story, we say his prayers together, have a cuddle, I kiss him on the head and then he goes to sleep.

Apart from last Sunday.

Last Sunday, Dan Jon Jr had a high blood sugar reading and so we'd called down to Flyfour asking for him to bring us up a bottle of water for Dan Jon Jr.

Dan Jon Jr's favourite book on his bed

Dan Jon had already read a story to me and I started reading one to him. The tale I read, had the little kittens trying to figure out what Father Cat's middle name was, after having been told the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. It turned out to be Fluffy, which both Dan Jon Jr and I believed to be quite a good name for a Cat and if we ever get another cat we might consider calling him Charles Fluffy Cat.

Anyway.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 8th October 2016

I got the meal plan sorted really early in the week, because I was cleaning out the fridge and freezer and making sure I'd used up all my leftovers and portions of meals that I had saved for my lunches! As I went on I could see the dishes I could make from the ingredients I have to hand and so hopefully this week will be a cheap shopping week!


I'm going to be making some sweet treats this week too, did you see the doughnuts I made last week? What about the Cake Bagels? What else should I make this week?

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Toby The Bento Friend Lunchbox And A Remembered Passion #Review

When the DotComGiftShop asked if I'd like a Toby along with a voucher to spend in their online store, I said Yes straight away. (As soon as I get my voucher code, I'll be purchasing a Rosie as well as some other Christmas surprises... stalk me in a couple of weeks to find out what!)

Bento Box Friends Toby

I said Yes, becasue recently I was reminded that making lunches fun is a passion of mine and I was reminded thanks to Heavenly inspiration.

At Church each month the women's group has an evening where we get together and do "stuff". It might be that we go for a walk around a local lake, or that we do a fitness class, or that we eat cake or waffles, or we might have someone come and talk to us or we go and do an act of service. Whatever it is however, we have fun doing it together.

A few weeks ago, one of the women organising one of these evenings asked for volunteers to talk about Healthy Packed Lunches. This is something I know about, so I volunteered myself to talk and sent the organiser a few ideas about what I could talk about. The organiser was thrilled, as like always I had at least twenty hours of chattering away inside of me but really we only needed about half an hour!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Netflix and Snacks - Gilmore Girls Inspired Breakfast Ideas (And A Recipe!)

Rather like when we watch Studio Ghibli films, watching some programmes on Netflix makes us hungry. We recently watched the documentary series Cooked, and discovered a lot about how communities and cultures have developed around the need of sustenance and sharing the partaking of this food... and boy did it make us hungry. Then Netflix gave us the idea to make some food to eat whilst watching our favourite shows or films, food inspired by what we were watching.

What would we make?

Could I make myself a Key Lime Pie to eat whilst I watched Dexter when the Children had gone to bed or School?

Waffles whilst we watched Waffle Street?

Hot Chocolate whilst watching Once Upon a Time?

In the end Dan Jon Jr decided he was going to make a Fry Up with Flyfour for us to eat whilst we watched Meet The Mormons on General Conference Sunday (2nd October to anyone who isn't a Mormon!).

Dan Jon Jr Netflix and Snacking... well Brunching!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Top Ender at the Radio

Every few weeks I'm lucky enough to be asked to be a guest on the BBC Three Counties Radio Sunday morning Faith show, normally hosted by someone I now consider a friend Helen Leigh.

I think it's because I have a face for radio.

Anyway. Top Ender has been desperate to come with me, not because she wants to be on the air or because she wants to be a presenter or even because she wants the fame and fortune that will surely follow her once she is discovered.... but just because it's one aspect of my life that she hasn't had a peek into.

At least that's what she told me.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 1st October 2016

I think that because I'm cooking a lot from Scratch at the moment that I'm really enjoying cooking again. I think that cooking is a great stress reliever and for me a great way to relax and as I'm also doing something for my family I don't feel like I'm wasting my time by relaxing when there is plenty to be done for me and my family!

With that in mind, here's what I'm cooking this week

Saturday - Casserole


I would like to say that we really enjoyed the casserole I had planned a couple of weeks back... but as it turns out we didn't eat it. Instead we snacked and ended up not eating a proper main meal. According to the Weather Man today is going to be a bit rainy and miserable so I thought a Casserole would be a perfect comforting dish.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A Promise Or Ten To My Husband On Our Wedding Anniversary

Today is mine and Flyfour's 15th Wedding anniversary.

Flyfour has the day off, I would like to say it was just so that he could spend time with me but it isn't.

No, instead he's taken today off to play with his home automation project and to play with some of his new toys.

I joke, I mean yes he probably will spend some time in his hobbies, but why shouldn't he? It's his day off after all! Of course we will manage to carve out some time to have Lunch together (I imagine it will be Nando's as it is a favourite of his) and I'm sure that we'll have lots of chats together throughout the day, it's nice to just spend time together and be the friends that we have been since we first met.

And so I thought I'd take some time before the day gets going to make a promise or two to my husband.

Flyfour and PippaD getting married

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

A Big Bathroom Mistake

When we purchased our current home, I wasn't that keen on the fact that the bathroom was downstairs. I mean sure it was really handy when I was potty training Dan Jon Jr and it's excellent for me as a Stay at Home Mum because I don't have far to walk when I'm doing whatever it is I'm doing when I'm at home... but the middle of the night wee when you need to wake up enough to walk down the stairs?

Oh, they kill me.

Everyone knows that monsters live in the dark and so most nights I'd rather hide in my bed than walk down the stairs in the dark to visit the little girls room...

The smallest room in the house

So, apart from our bathroom being downstairs it is also quite small, so towels are kept in the cupboard under the stairs, handily situated next to the bathroom door. The cupboard under the stairs also houses things like the carpet sweeper, reusable shopping bags and sleeping bags for when we are camping, extra soap and bubble bath and shampoo... you know all the things a decent bathroom needs. There is a host of other things in there too, but I won't bore you with an inventory.

The other morning I went under the stairs to get out two towels (one for my hair and for me!), went into the bathroom and, well, showered.

It was a good shower.

Seriously, you know how sometimes you have a great shower that leaves you all blissed out? It was a shower like that, a perfect shower.

As I got out of the shower I went to pick up my towels, but I was very confused to see two shopping bags, which I'd apparently decided to bring into the bathroom instead of towels.

PippaD fresh out of the shower

I'm losing the plot!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who has done something this stupid!!!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 24th September 2016

I'm really looking forward to this week, not only do we have a Munch and Mingle tomorrow, but it's my Wedding Anniversary on Thursday. Flyfour and I will have been married for 15 years, which I think deserves some kind of recognition right?

PippaD and Flyfour


Sunday, 18 September 2016

What We Are Eating W/C 17th September 2016

I just realised that it's Sunday and I haven't posted my meal plans for the week. I'm sure that you don't really care about what I'm having for lunch, but come Wednesday when I've forgotten what I've planned or more likely when one of the Children or Flyfour wants to know what I'm cooking without asking me, I'm going to be cursing not writing this post!

Saturday - Fish and Chips


On Friday/Saturday when I was trying to work out the meal plan I suggested several meals to the family that we could eat. Dan Jon Jr asked if it was possible if we could have Fish and Chips, which of course was possible as long as Flyfour made it, as his gluten free batter is a lot better than mine.

Luckily my husband is a rockstar in the field of kindness and agreed.

And we had the best Fish and Chips meal ever had by anyone ever.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Actually You're Doing Okay

I waffle. In fact, I waffle a lot. So, I thought today I'd make a change.

I thought that today I would just say how lovely it is to see you.

I thought that I would tell you, how much I appreciate you for being you.

I thought that I would let you know that no matter what bad is going on in your life, that you'll get through this.

I thought that I would let you know that you are stronger than you think.

PippaD looking reassuring

You're doing fine.

You'll be fine.

Trust me.

I know.

Monday, 12 September 2016

How To Fit Three Boxes Into A Car

A recent Church Primary project nessitated a visit to Staples on a wet Saturday morning. As I was walking into the store I noticed a man carry three large plastic boxes out towards the car park area. He was a little shorter than me but was able to carry the three plastic boxes easily and was avoiding obstacles in his way (such as me!) because he could see through the clear plastic boxes. I assumed that there must be a good deal on the boxes.

As I ented the store, I noted that they did indeed have a fairly good deal on the plastic boxes, but I didn't need any as I purchased a few from Ikea not too long ago. I spent around twenty minutes in Staples, mainly because I couldn't find what I need to start with and partly because I was looking longingly at boxes of 1000 biro's and multipacks of notebooks...

Anyway, after I had made my purchase and left the store I head back to my car and pass the man I had passed on my way in to Staples. The man is standing by his car looking visibly frustrated; Basically he looked like he was about to explode into tears or punch the nearest wall in a fit of anger.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

What We Are Eating This Week 10th September 2016

Hello! It's been a good week here, the Children have loved going back to School and have enjoyed the new rules at home (we gave them both a slightly later bedtime, a couple of tech free evenings and an adjustment to the chore lists) and I must admit that I've knocked a few things off my to do list that have been on my list for far too long.


Saturday - Salmon Pasta with Vegetables


The children love to eat Salmon, but Dan Jon Jr isn't too keen on actually eating it, when it is a lump on his plate. I figured if I made a Pasta dish, swirled some vegetables and a sauce into it (a white sauce) and flaked Salmon into it then it would be easier on him... and me as I wouldn't hear him moan about it!

Leftover Salmon Pasta for a tasty Lunch

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Bin Day Embarrasment

It was one of the last days of the Summer Holidays and so unlike term time mornings, I was taking it a little easier and that included me not having a morning shower at 6:30am as normal, but after I'd run a few chores, had a cup of tea and more than likely my breakfast too. I set the kettle boiling, and took the full bag of recycling and general waste from the bins in the kitchen and decided to walk them through the house to the front kerb. The general rule is that the rubbish has to be out on the kerb for 7am, but the bin men don't tend to come until 11am or so, but you know they could come earlier...

I was taking a risk, because for me in the summer my PJ's are black leggings and a tank top and because I've been asleep and not in the shower, no bra. I hate to tell you this, but when I don't wear a bra my boobs could pass as an extra pair of knees. It was okay though, it was before 7am and my neighbours hadn't been out of the house before 8am for the entire summer holidays.

Bin Bags (this isn't just mine!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Playing Dressing Up

Just before the Summer Holidays started the family and I were in Asda and I spotted a Grown Up sized Anna from Frozen dress up costume in the sale section. It was the only one there and more importantly, it was my size and it only cost £10.

Flyfour decided to buy it for me, at first it was just as a joke, then we thought that maybe we could use it at Halloween, or any other time I needed to dress up and then I just decided it would be brilliant to wear whenever I wanted. My Mum of course banned me from wearing it when I went shopping with her and Dan Jon Jr decided to ban me from wearing it on the School Run (I have form for that sort of thing) so I did what any normal Mum would do.

I wore it to do my daily chores and to make Dan Jon Jr laugh.

PippaD dressed up in her Anna Costume to do the household chores

Saturday, 3 September 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 3rd September 2016

I've been thinking a lot lately about eating more healthily, about eating cheaply (or frugally) and about going to more than one Supermarket. Normally I'm a loyal Tesco shopper. Occasionally popping to Morrisons, Asda, Sainsburys, M&S and Waitrose for Gluten free bits or things that I've seen that are on offer or that I prefer the different own brand supermarket version of.

Tuna Steaks and Salad

As I said however, I'm trying to change the way we eat again, so please tell me what your best frugal and healthy meals are, where you get the best priced and quality ingredients from and other secrets about meal planning that you know and I don't!

Friday, 2 September 2016

The TV Is Listening To Me

I mentioned years ago that Bear in the Big Blue House was my TV Stalker. I know that it was a coincidence, that Bear episodes were filmed months or possibly even years in advance of when Baby Top Ender and I were watching them, but the fact that they were so accurate in describing what I had been doing that day just seemed far too coincidental, it had to be that Bear was stalking me.

I know now that it was just a coincidence, because over the Summer something much bigger happened. Something which I can't put down to coincidence, something which I have to assume means that my TV is listening to me...

The first time I became aware that my TV was listening to me was when Dan Jon Jr and I were watching a cartoon. Look at the  Facebook post from below, it tells the story.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

The New Term Resolutions

I don't know about you, but to me September is the time for new starts. I've been a product of the English Education system for too long and so I know, because it is ingrained into my very soul that September means a new term. A new term means new uniform, new school bags, new PE kit, new lunchboxes, new stationery and for me at least new resolutions.

Every September I would set myself new goals. I'd want to do my homework on the day I was given it, I'd want to read more books than I had the previous year, I'd want to improve my handwriting or my spelling (neither of which took, thank goodness for laptops and spell check) or I'd want to do something that made me a better person.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

A Funny Story About Socks

Everyone knows that I like Socks. It's one of the things that I regularly get sent links to via DM's, Facebook and email of different socks that people think I might like. It's a bit like how Jay likes Bacon and Rum and Nickie loves Stationary and Running (and her fitbit) and Sian loves the London Underground and Morrissey...

Anyway.

I like socks and Dan Jon Jr mentioned the other day that he'd been reading my blog, but hadn't found enough pictures or stories about my socks and was disappointed. So, partly just to appease him here is a story about my socks and some pictures too!

PippaD wearing Heart Socks

Monday, 29 August 2016

The Missing Bank Card

When Top Ender and I set off to walk my sisters dog, we decided to take the bare minimum with us. Basically I didn't want to carry a handbag. So instead of taking my wallet, I took out my bank card, about five pounds in change and my phone.

Top Ender and I loved our walk. We threw a ball at least a million times, we scooped up poop, we ran, we walked, we sat, we petted, we explored... it was a brilliant walk.

Poppy looking adorable

Saturday, 27 August 2016

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 27th August 2016

Flyfour and I were joking a little bit last week about not having any money at the end of the month thanks to the Summer Holidays. It's not true because we were canny over the summer, although to start with I didn't realise exactly what was going on and thought that the only way we were able to get out of the money issue was that we needed to eat very frugally this week. Even after Flyfour had revealed his "joke" to me I was still stuck in the frugal mindset and so had created a meal plan for the week with as little spend as possible, using up all the things that I could find in my freezer and cupboards.

It does mean that I am going to have almost empty freezers and cupboards BUT that's fine.

Saturday - Spaghetti Bolognese


Flyfour said he really faniced Spaghetti Bolognese the other day and so even after I looked into the Gluten free cupboard and saw that we didn't have any Spaghetti I added it to my list.


Everything else that we need we have in the Freezer and cupboard, so all I had to spend on here was the £100000000 on Gluten free Spaghetti. Only kidding it was £1.20.

We even have a few bread rolls that we can use to make Garlic Bread with as we have parsley, butter and garlic available to us too.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Have You Got A Camp Bucket?

I'm pretty certain that the only reason that Top Ender wanted to go to Guides camp was because she had heard about Camp Buckets when she was a young impressionable Brownie and wanted one. From her description, all I could work out was that a Camp Bucket was a bucket which she would keep some stuff in and would also act as a seat at some point during her camping trips. They are apparently invaluable to Campers and we all know how much Top Ender loves Camping.

Top Ender camping in the Back Garden

Flash forward a few years and Top Ender was given the all important Camp Bucket prior to her first big Guides Camp and she was tasked with the very important job of needing to personalise the bucket by decorating it. Older Guides let us know that Sharpies worked best and one evening Top Ender sat and decorated her bucket.

Tops made such a great bucket that I thought I'd share a few pictures of the different drawings and the meanings behind them that she shared with me... just be warned cos I'm pretty sure she made some of them up!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Our Irish Adventure Part Three

This is part three of our Irish Adventure. You can read Part One (with real magic) and Part Two on those there links!

Top Ender loved Ireland too. Apart from the fact we kept seeing Petrol stations named after her (So now she owns a Pizza Chain, a Tile chain and a chain of Petrol stations) and at least a dozen stores which all bore her first name she loved the feel of Ireland.


Everywhere was relaxed, even in Dublin people weren't rushing about and that was in the non touristy bits too. I don't know if it was just because there seemed to be more space, or what but even rush hour seemed to only last a few minutes!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Our Irish Adventure Part Two

This is Part Two of Our Irish Adventure, you can read yesterdays post aka Part One (with some real magic) on that link, and there'll be another tomorrow so come back then to read it!

Our plan was to fly into Dublin, spend some time there before driving to Cork, visiting around Cork and them moving on to Killagoley (as a base for our visit to County Wexford) before heading back the next day to Dublin for our flight home. The itinerary was busy, but not so bad that we couldn't have some flexibility and some down time during our little whirlwind vacation. It was a good plan and one that all of us had some hand in organising, requesting places we wanted to visit, picking out hotels and even using google maps to find the nearest petrol stations...


I think the most excited about our trip was Dan Jon Jr.

He had wanted to experience his first flight (apparently he's the last person in the world to go on a plane) for some time and was excited about the prospect of using foreign currency and of course going on holiday with three of his best friends and I'm not talking about the cuddly toys that he packed! I've already mentioned in another blog post about how amazing Dan Jon was on the trip and how he loved everything as he appreciated all the small moments as well as the big ones, but I think he deserves another shout out here for being so totally excellent.