A Mothers Ramblings: 2017

Saturday, 9 December 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 9th December 2017

YAY! This is the last week of School for Dan Jon, Top Ender has a couple of days the week after to "suffer" through, but with everything going so fast, I doubt that we'll even notice and it'll be time to return to School before we know it!

Anyway, here is what we are eating this week!

Gingerbread Christmas Jumper Cookies

Friday, 8 December 2017

Dan Jon's Christmas Concert And The Secret Treat

For the last few years, the Christmas Concert for the older years of the Primary School that Dan Jon Jr attends has taken place at a local Church. The Church isn't actually that far from us and so normally Dan Jon, Top Ender and I walk to the Church and Top Ender and I enjoy the concert whilst Dan Jon performs and then we walk home singing carols together.

This year though, Top Ender was at the second of her Christmas Meals, this time with the Brownies as helper Little Owl (they wisely upgraded the Owlettes name!) and so Dan Jon and I waved her off with one of the Adult Helpers who had kindly agreed to take her and Dan Jon and I walked to the Church.

The Local Church At Night

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Christmas Meal Out

Top Ender loves volunteering and helping out with the Rainbows and Brownies each Tuesday and Wednesday as a Young Leader and funny enough, the girls and the Grown-up leaders of the groups love her too. So it was no surprise, that when the time for the Christmas Meals for the three different groups came around Top Ender wanted to go to all three, but understood that she couldn't. However, with a bit of Christmas Magic, we were able to make it work and Top Ender was able to go to all three meals. And by Christmas Magic, I mean some very helpful and lovely Leaders, who I honestly love as much as Top Ender does.

This left Dan Jon and I feeling a little... deflated. I mean, I'd organised Soup with Pasta as our evening meal before I knew Top Ender was going to have a Christmas meal out. So on the night of the First Christmas meal, after driving across Milton Keynes to deposit Gummy Bear at the restaurant, we went to McDonalds.

Yes, as you've guessed it was Dan Jon who chose where we got to eat, but it didn't matter really. It just meant we didn't have to drive back across Milton Keynes to our home during rush hour (and then back to the restaurant and then back home again), we got something warm inside us and we were going to make it count as our Christmas Meal out somehow.

Dan Jon Jr and PippaD having some Christmas Fun

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A Family Photo Shoot

My Mum was very excited a few weeks back and gave me an envelope that she explained was a Christmas gift that she was giving me early. If she was being perfectly honest, the gift was actually for herself, but in the disguise as being a gift for me.

My Mum had been on Groupon and had purchased a Family Photoshoot for the children, Flyfour and I as she wanted a new family photo of us to put up in her home. Actually, she had purchased two, as she gave one of the photoshoots to my Sister too... apparently slacking on providing Family Photos is a family trait!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

The Lengths Flyfour Will Go To

Whilst Flyfour and I were watching TV the other evening, an advert for Green and Blacks came on. Now, this advert had caught my eye recently, not because of the woman being chased by wolves, not because of the nice dress that the woman was wearing but because of the seemingly massive bar of chocolate that she was tucking into.

Green And Blacks Advert Screen Shot with a MASSIVE Bar of Chocolate

I mean look, that bar of chocolate is HUGE.

Flyfour and I paused the advert and were trying to work out how big the bar was, based on the size of the woman's fingers in the advert and comparing it to bars of chocolate we had at home. In the end, I was convinced that the bar of chocolate in the advert was oversized compared to normal Green and Blacks Chocolate Bars!

For any normal family, that would be the end of it.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Shakespeare Schools Festival

When Dan Jon Jr started Year Five, one of the things that he was SO excited about was the Shakespeare play that they would be performing (and of course studying) as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. The lower school that Dan Jon attends has done this for the last couple of years (basically they started the year after Top Ender left!) and all the children love it, as do the Teachers and Parents.

Dan Jon Jr, just like Top Ender and I, has a real love of Shakespeare, I guess the daily study of the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible has helped him to have a love and understanding of ye olde English. He took the Script around with him everywhere, I swear he memorised the WHOLE thing and not because he had to, just because he wanted to.

Dan Jon reading his Script

Dan Jon wasn't too disappointed that his class were performing Richard the III, instead of his favourite Shakespeare play Macbeth because he quite liked the story that Shakespeare told and like the rest of his family he quite likes a history!

Each of the three Senior classes take part in performing in one play (from a smallish selection of Shakespeare plays) and put on an abriged version of it, with the children workshopping and really getting involved with all aspect of the the production, before performing it on a stage at a local theatre.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

#LightTheWorld This Christmas

Each Christmas the Children, Flyfour and I try to do something extra that helps those around us. It might be that we donate a little extra to the local food bank, or that we provide gifts to one of the local shelters, that we donate to a local Charity or one of a hundred other things that we decide to take part in as a family. Last year, we took part in the Light The World campaign, where Church members all over the world were celebrating the life of Jesus by being a light to others and acting as he would be serving and helping those in our community.

This year, we're all taking part in the campaign again and I think based on the joy we got from serving others last year, it will be one of the main highlights of my Christmas.

Light the World illuminating gif

Apart from this blog post, you probably won't see anything else by me on any of my Social Media accounts about what we are doing to Light the World. Don't get me wrong, I will be documenting it in my journal and with photographs that we'll be able to look back on, but my little family love Serving others, not for a reward or for likes on social media, but because we genuinely want to make the lives of those around us better and we hope that you will join us too.

There is a Light The World calendar that you can download if you want to join in with us, and if the Scripture that is shared each day doesn't inspire you with an idea of something you can do, just let me know and I'll give you a few ideas either based on that day's Scripture, or from the hundreds of things that we have done in the past. 

I love that this Christmas we are thinking of others, and not just about our own wants and needs. I love that we are celebrating the life of Jesus Christ by acting as he would, by brightening the worlds of others and I really do hope that you will join us too.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 2nd December 2017

I almost can't believe that it is December already, but the calendar doesn't lie and my internal clock is yelling that I've not wrapped enough of my gifts for me to claim to be on schedule just yet... maybe by the end of this week I'll have caught up with myself; But I probably won't have. I mean, I'll try but I assume, that as normal, I'll be distracted by some Christmas film or making some Christmas craft and I'll just have to cry into my Hot Chocolate come next Saturday when I am looking at how far I have (or haven't!) progressed!

A Mug of Hot Chocolate

Friday, 1 December 2017

All Is Well

Grieving is hard and funerals are harder, so I hope you'll accept that writing today is a little too hard and accept a poem I first heard when a friend's father died many years ago. I thought it beautiful then and now? Well, now it has new meaning for me.

My Dad

All Is Well

Death is nothing at all, 
I have only slipped into the next room 
I am I and you are you 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 
Call me by my old familiar name, 
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used 
Put no difference in your tone, 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow 
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. 
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was, 
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it. 
Life means all that it ever meant. 
It it the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity. 
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, 
Just around the corner. 
All is well. 

Henry Scott Holland

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Well We'll *Definitely* See You Coming!

As Dan Jon and I walked to School this week, we were talking about his hat and how it is possibly a little too small for him now. Obviously, Dan Jon absolutely loves this hat and the idea of not having it anymore is a little upsetting, but as he came to realise, he needs a new one because it really is too small to be of much benefit in the cold weather!

Dan Jon Jr and Top Ender wearing their new hats

I shouldn't be surprised that the hat is too small, he has had this hat since he was two years old... yes we got this hat back in 2010, on a trip to Go Outdoors and despite his reluctance to smile and show his face in the first photograph we have of him wearing it, it has been well loved and worn many, many, many times over the years. Including one of my favourite winter photos of him ever.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

How To Please Flyfour and A Trip To The National Gallery

My husband is a simple man. Flyfour doesn't require fancy meals and the like to be happy, no he'd be quite happy with a plate of Tortilla chips sprinkled with grated Cheese and blasted in the microwave as much as he would a Steak in some fancy restaurant somewhere. When he realised that I was going to the National Gallery on a School trip he had just one request for me. He requested that I find a painting by Turner and take a selfie with it if I could and publish it with a very particular comment.

"It always makes me feel a little melancholy. Grand old war ship, being ignominiously hauled away to scrap... The inevitability of time, don't you think? What do you see?"

So I found the painting, took a picture and sent it to Instagram and of course managed to take a terrible selfie with it and sent that to Flyfour too, along with the particular comment he was after too.

The Fighting Temeraire

Saturday, 25 November 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 25th November 2017

This week has come round so fast! I can't believe it! Well, here is what is happening this week in both meal plans and daily activities. Let me know what you are up to this week in the comments!

Family is as Family does!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Shopping With My Mum

I love going out shopping with my Mum. It's not the act of shopping, that we both enjoy. It's not even the bit where we have lunch together in one of our favourite restaurants or cafes. For us, even when we don't actually go out with the intention of buying anything, but just go out to window shop the best part of the trip is the spending of time together.

PippaD and her Mum having fun out shopping

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't always this way. I'm sure that my Mum could have quite willingly murdered me when I was growing up, just like I could have quite cheerfully have done the same to her. Obviously, things have changed now, as apart from the odd moments where homicide seems the only answer, we get along famously.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Roadshow Panto

There are a few things that mark out members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as different from those around them. One of them is one of my favourite things ever, watching or participating in a Roadshow. A Roadshow is basically a short performance put on by each ward in a Stake based around a theme. Last year for example, the theme was Disney, this year the theme was Panto.

Oh yes, it was!

PippaD, Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr in costume for the Roadshow Panto in Northampton Stake

Somehow I had managed to volunteer myself to write and direct a Panto and get as many members of the ward involved as I could, and I wanted EVERYONE involved because I'm a tiny bit of an overachiever.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 18th November 2017

I have decided that this week I'm not buying anything in the Supermarket, other than Cat food, a couple of bottles of drink, some fresh fruit and something for Christmas. This week we are going to eat from the supplies in our well-stocked Kitchen and hopefully, we have everything that we need because I'm not intending to go near a Supermarket again this week (well I'll take my Mum and drop Top Ender off, but they don't count!).

Next Customer Please at the Supermarket

I'm hoping that when I do go shopping at some point today that it will be one of those quick ten minute jobs, rather than one of those supposedly quick because I have a list that turns into a two-hour nightmare...

Monday, 13 November 2017

KidZania with Snazaroo #Review

I guess I should have known that Dan Jon Jr was excited about a trip we were making during the October Half Term before I picked him up on the last day of School. I hadn't really picked up on it, until almost every child I spoke to on the last day of term, knew where we were going and exclaimed how jealous they were of Dan Jon and even some of the teachers that don't teach Dan Jon told us to have a good time. The visit we had planned, was of course to Kidzania, a city for children run by children and we were off to visit thanks to Snazaroo Face Paints.

Top Ender and Dan Jon at the Snazaroo stand in KidZania

I had heard lots about the place and wasn't sure if Top Ender would want to go, she is after all, at the upper age limit of the admittance age. Top Ender said she would go just so she could be there for her brother, but I think by the end of the visit, she was enamoured enough to confirm that she had been looking forward to it (maybe not as much as her brother), that she had really enjoyed the visit and was up for us booking another visit in the very near future...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Missionaries, Missionaries Every Where!

You've probably seen Missionaries walking around the streets of your town, two young men, or two young women, smartly dressed with a name tag proudly declaring their name as Elder "Surname" or Sister "Surname" and the name of the Church that they represent. They have probably smiled at you, spoken briefly with you and you've probably thought something along the lines of "How can I make a quick exit?!" and then thought nothing more of them as you've ended the conversation and gone on to your destination.

Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints giving a lesson in a members home

I get it. Talking about religion in the middle of the street isn't top of most peoples list of fun things to do and it can be a little awkward talking to strangers, especially ones who seem to look super formal, have smiles that could power a small town, be jolly all the time and look like they are young enough to be your child.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 11th November 2017

Yesterday, Flyfour and I quickly worked out what we were going to eat this coming week before going shopping. Flyfour had the day off so that we could ensure we were on time for Dan Jon's evening performance of Richard III and didn't have to worry about rush hour traffic messing everything up.

As I had been making props for Panto, DJ asked if I could make a warrant for his play... so I did!

Richard III Warrant

The evening was brilliant. Dan Jon and his classmates were amazing and I was so proud of them all. I've known them all for so long and have been on class trips with them, read with them, practised spellings and just hung out with them.

Anyway, this is what we decided upon!

Thursday, 9 November 2017

A Visit To A Fire Station

For our last Faith In God activity, the Leader had arranged for the children to visit a local Fire Station. The idea was that the children would get a tour of the building and at the end of it have an understanding of what life as a Fireman is like and what their job involves and hopefully be more aware of the importance of their role and of the hard work that these brave men and women do.

A Fire Engine

I sorta said that as Primary President, I'd be going to support the Faith In God leader and to help if Dan Jon Jr had a problem with his blood sugars, but really it was because I wanted a tour around the Fire Station too!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

My New Kitchen

Finally, it's finished. Finally, I can show you pictures of my amazing Kitchen, but before I do, I have to tell you how we got here and show you some pictures of what we were living with before...

Old Kitchen Wasn't my Style

Out kitchen was fine. Seriously it was, Sure, it wasn't my choice or style, but it worked. We had spaces for food and our plates and pots and pans. Yes, the wall cupboards were slightly too small for our plates and the worktop was starting to warp a bit from a leak, the tap leaked, I'd cut the worktop a bit weird when we had the fridge put in and well, it just wasn't set up for how we use the Kitchen.

When we planned the Kitchen with the Ikea Designer, I hadn't really thought about how we used the kitchen, but they were lovely and talked us through the process and pretty soon we had a kitchen that we were pleased with. We decided to go with the fitters that Ikea recommended and after the initial walk through with the fitter, all I had to do was pack up my kitchen. Oh and buy my flooring and wall tiles. And a new oven. And an extractor. Normal kitchen refit things!

By the time the Kitchen refit started, the family and I were super ready for it. At least we thought we were. Living through the kitchen refit? Oh my gosh, it was even worse than when we didn't have a bathroom! Actually, that isn't true. I'd rather not have an oven than a toilet any day of the week.

A ripped out Kitchen

You know what though, it was okay. However maybe it is like labour and once you have your new baby in your arms, (or in this case your new kitchen all clean and sparkly) you forget about all the pain and hassle and just focus on the perfectness that is bundled in front of you.

I'm sure now, however, that you have waited long enough and here is my beautiful Kitchen!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Why I'm Feeling Sad

If you look at me and my Mum, you can see we are related, even if she thinks I look more like my Paternal Grandfather than her.

My Sister, Grandfather and I

My Mum and I have the same eyes, chin, evil glare at people who've annoyed us... You'd have to look a bit more deeply to see my Dad in me.

He's there though. The same way of sulking, the same love of telling a story, the same determination, the same temper, the same confidence, the same sense of humour, the same love of technology, the same love of dressing up (honestly I swear half the pictures from his youth are of him dressed up in costume) the same sense of right and wrong.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

What We Are Eating 4th November 2017

Out meals are a bit boring this week, there are a few bits that I'm making fresh that will keep me amused, but nothing too strenuous as I'm still banned from using the sharp knives unsupervised after managing to slice into my finger with a butter knife last Sunday!

A Yummy Roast Dinner

Friday, 3 November 2017

Our Halloween And A Giant Ferrero Rocher!

Halloween may have been and gone, but I wanted to share a few pictures from the night of what my little family of four got up to, so I hope you'll all indulge me!

As has become tradition, we headed off to the Trunk N Treat at our Church building. The rules for our little get together are simple, no masks, not too much gore and keep the costumes modest to be inline with our values. The children and I had decided to get there early to drop off our Slow Cooker pots of Veggie chilli and help out with various jobs that always need to be done, but somehow the lady who was in charge of organising it this year was all done. I think she really is Super Woman in disguise!

Our Halloween Doll Quote

Instead, we supported the Missionaries and one young man who turned up to help remove the leaves from the car park (the other young men seemed to forget to arrive early to help!) and by support, I mean we stood around making small talk with the other adults and generally got in the way. I believe it's called "Supervising"...

Monday, 30 October 2017

Halloween Round Up

Home Made Halloween Treats

As you may have noticed, we LOVE Halloween here at A Mother's Ramblings. We love dressing up and taking part in the Trunk N Treat that our Church organises every year. We love doing crafts and making treats just like several of my blogger friends and we have a tonne of ideas on our blogs, that might have slipped past you. So here is a roundup of some of the best posts about Halloween Crafts, Foods and Fun that you still have time to get prepared to have fun with tomorrow night.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Halloween Shrunken Heads Craft

I was talking with Dan Jon Jr the other night about why people like being scared. We decided in the end that it was the rush of adrenaline and the excitement that people liked, and in some cases get slightly addicted to. We then talked about the different things that scared us, but in a nice way and I didn't then spend ages with my feet in the air because I was convinced there was a snake slithering around...

Something that did scare me when I was little, but in that delicious shiver down the spine way, were Shrunken Heads and when I saw a Halloween Craft that turned a humble apple into a Shrunken Head, I wanted to carve some. If you'd like to make some too, then you need to start work now or they won't shrink in time for Halloween!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Halloween Puffy Ghosts Craft

When I said to Dan Jon I wanted to make some ghosts with him, he jumped at the chance for a little one on one time and because he knew that crafting with me would be a good way to check off the make something from the free time rules we have during any time off, that I had instigated in the Summer.

Spooky Halloween Fun for all the family

They were so fun to make, that Dan Jon thought we should blog about them as a craft that others might like to make and I bet, like me, you have all the items needed to hand too and if not, well they are very cheap to buy.

What We Are Eating W/C 28th October 2017

This week is the start of our change over of meals again. I'm pretty sure I mentioned it already, the children are going to be eating Hot School Meals and then eating lighter hot meals in the evening. Flyfour and I will also be moving over to lighter meals in the evening, but as we're also not changing our lunchtime meals we're going to have a supper together too, something like cheese and crackers or a plate of antipasto.

With that in mind, here is what we have planned this week!

Halloween Biscuits - Cute and Tasty!

Friday, 27 October 2017

JCB Zone At Gulliver's Land - A Fun Family Day Out! #Review

Living in Milton Keynes is fantastic fun; we have everything a family could need within easy reach of our homes, even a Theme Park aimed at Children between 2 and 13. This means that at Gulliver's Land there are rides suitable for thrill seekers or those who like it a little bit less hair-raising and a little more sedate and when we were invited to go and visit a new area that had opened at Gulliver's Land Milton Keynes dedicated to the most iconic of construction machinery companies - JCB, it was without a moment of hesitation, I agreed because I'd always had a soft spot for the yellow JCB as had Dan Jon!

JCB Zone at Gulliver's Land

We were not disappointed, the whole area was awash with yellow and black and looks amazing. I mean I guess it kinda helped that we went on a day where the park was covered in a beautiful blue sky, but I think that the brightness of the yellow would brighten even the greyest of days.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Half Term Halloween Treats - Spooky Cakes

When we sent this picture to Flyfour to show him what we had got up to one day during the Half Term, he asked us where we had stolen the picture from. Apparently, he'd forgotten that we now have a nice new shiny Kitchen (an update post coming soon!) and didn't recognise it in the picture below. I would be insulted, but I guess that it means he was impressed with our efforts if he thought I'd stole the picture from somewhere!

Half Term Halloween Treats - Spooky Cakes

Today, I thought I'd share how to make the spooky cakes as they are nice and tasty, ridiculously easy to make but look spooky and like you spent hours working on them!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Half Term Halloween Fun - Lollipop Ghosts

The October Half Term is always family time for us here at A Mother's Ramblings and also time to prepare for Halloween too. In the past we've made decorations for our Trunk N Treat car boot design, decorations for our home, watched Halloween movies together, baked treats, carved designs into our pumpkins and worked on our costumes too. 

This week is no different and we decided to make a few treats to give away during the Trunk N Treat our Ward is having on Halloween and we thought we'd share them with you too!

Half Term Halloween Fun Treats - Lollipop Ghosts

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

What Do You Think?

Imagine, if you will, that you live on the edge of the trendy area of town. You live close enough to the local nightlife and restaurants that there are people who will park near your complex when they are on their way to the trendy area and you can easily people watch just by looking out of your apartment window.

Now imagine, that one weekday; not too late at night, about 9:30 pm, you are looking out of your window and you see an approaching middle aged woman standing outside of the apartment block opposite you. She isn't like the normal people who you see, on their way to a club or a restaurant or a bar and because of that she catches your interest. She's standing in the pool of light being given from a street light, so you can see her quite clearly.

The light of a Street Light

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Slightly Disgusting Funny Story

In the Summer, one of my friends moved abroad and we've been keeping in touch by WhatsApp, Facebook and email, because that's what you do these days. I was sending an email of something funny that had happened at Church, that I thought she'd appreciate, when I realised you all might appreciate it too; although you might find it disgusting, so be warned!

So our one and only Sunbeam had been sitting with me during sharing time. We only had a few children and so had combined junior and senior classes and this meant that our Sunbeam was the youngest by a couple of years and I was helping him to understand what we were talking about this particular Sunday.

Top Ender and Flyfour outside a Chapel

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Pippa, What On Earth Does *That* Mean?

When I said in my recent blog post about the Faith In God programme, that I would write a bit about my calling and what I get up to at Church on a Sunday, I expected it to be this post that you are reading right now. Then whilst I was sitting in Sacrament, focusing on the words of the prayer a thought came to me and because I am trying very hard to listen to Spiritual Promptings that I may be given, I knew that this idea was something I should write about sooner rather than later and so this post became an explanation post!

Our Ward Building

Within all religions there is a particular parlance and if you haven't been initiated into understanding so to speak they can be a little confusing. As I sat there listening to the prayer I realised that you might not know what some of these words mean in the way that I do because of my immersion in the religion and so I thought I'd do a little post about some of the ones I use most frequently, if there are any others just leave them in the comments and I'll try to explain those too!

Saturday, 21 October 2017

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 21st October

With this week being Half Term and the children going back to School Meals when they go back to School, we're having a bit of a change around and having a main meal at lunchtime and out evening meal will be something lighter and if I'm honest a bit boring after the first week... we're going down the plain and simple route of having Toasted Sandwiches, Soup and the occasional Pasta dish. I guess I'm going to have to start working out what I want to eat at lunch time when they have gone back to School!

Anyway, here is this week's plan.

My shiny new cooker is still shiny!

Friday, 20 October 2017

Frisbee Golf

Ages and ages ago, Flyfour and I talked about wanting to go to Lee Valley (It's on the border of Hertfordshire, London and Essex) not just to see the White Water Course that we spent hours watching on the Telly during the 2012 Olympics, but because they had something that sounded great fun, so much so that because we hadn't gone to do this in the past five years and I really wanted to, I added it to my Birthday Bucket List, so that we would have to go.

It was of course, Frisbee Golf.

The Family ready for a game of Frisbee Golf

Thursday, 19 October 2017

My Kids Make Miso Happy

Sometimes I look at my children and I'm amazed at them. I mean look at them. They look like me, they sound like me, they act like me, they smile like me, they love cake and the internet like me...

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr looking adorable, just like their Mum

And then at other times I have no clue about them at all. I mean, take for example the latest reason I've had to raise one eyebrow at them. With half term coming up, I've been busy organising different events and activities for them and me to attend or do during the half term and one idea that was suggested to them that they flat out refused was making Sushi; Because apparently they hate Sushi, unless it looks like this.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Importance Of Play

I was listening to some of the new Mums at School the other day as they were talking to their children on the way home. They were asking questions about what they had eaten for lunch and what they had done whilst at School and it pleased me that not one of the parents that I was listening in on got upset about their child answering that they had played with various items all day.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr, off to School where I hope they will play as much as they want!

You see, a few years back, I did overhear a parent who, as they talked with their child got increasingly angry about how their child hadn't done any work at School. They hadn't had a maths lesson, or sat and learnt to read, they hadn't even practised writing! The parent decided enough was enough and they were going to go and talk with the teacher. School was for learning not playing!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

PIE Night

On a Tuesday night, after Orchestra, helping out at Rainbows and having something to eat, Top Ender heads out to a youth Church night which is known as Mutual. On these evenings, the young women and men who attend (and their leaders) do things together. Sometimes it might be a Murder Mystery event, or a competition between the two groups, or a party, or an art evening, or a cooking experience... it's just a time for them to get together and do things that help them become more rounded, like I explained in my Faith In God post the other week.

PippaD and Top Ender

Well, last Tuesday, Top Ender and the other Youth girls were going to have a PIE Night and after a bit of googling, I've come to realise that PIE stands for Personal Progress, Interviews and something Extra. So, Personal Progress I'll explain about in more detail in another post but for now it's a bit like the Faith In God award.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Taking Time Out

I've noticed a worrying trend when reading peoples Facebook status updates over the last few weeks. No, it's not that everyone has been getting ill (that's normal this time of year!), it's not the lack of clothing several of my "younger" friends have been wearing (I hear myself say things to Facebook photos like "Put on some clothes, you'll catch your death out!"), no it's the lack of self care that is so evident that has had me worrying and an answer came to me when I saw a friend post this.

In case you can't read the status it says;
"Saw this picture on Pintrest. First thought oooh pretty autumnal photo. Second thought, look at all the nice peaceful things this person had time to do, pick apples, read a book, arrange conkers decoratively and take a hot drink out etc.... last thought nope probably doesn't have kids. I love my girls but wish I could steal more moments like these for myself. It's been a difficult month."

Now, the lady who posted the photo (who can name herself, but we're going to give her some anonymity!) is utterly amazing. She gives her whole life to serving others, to her children, to her husband, her family, her job and still manages to keep a smile on her face and look amazing every time I see her.

Oh and the lady who took the picture? That's Christina Loewen of The Scarlett Door and her Instagram is amazing and she has a daughter and another baby on the way, she likes Cats and of course would totally be my best friend if we lived in the same country and I wasn't quite so erm, Me.

Also, on a sort of separate note, how come when I "run to the shops" in a stained t-shirt to grab a forgotten essential I bump into the world and his dog, but when I'm looking good I see NOBODY?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 14th October

Another week, another meal plan. There isn't so much Pasta this week, (in fact none at all!) so I'm not sure if I'm feeling too well, but as it was really cold when I wrote the meal plan (because I refuse to turn the heating on!) there is lots of warm filling food.

My resolve is being weakened by the groans of my husband about getting out of the nice snug warm bed and into the coldness of our bedroom in the morning however, so the heating may (SHOCK HORROR!) be switched on sooner rather than later. I'm still wanting to hold out for November!

Lit Candles on the Fireplace

Friday, 13 October 2017

Fuse Boards and Bonding

The problem with knowing a little about everything, is that sometimes you don't know enough to stop people from unnecessarily scaring you. Which is what happened when Electricians in the past have been to our house and looked at our fuse board, which was installed back when the house was built in 1960.

The Old Fuse Board and Electricity Meter in a Cupboard

You know that sucking teeth sound that people make before they give you bad news? That's the noise they'd make, before telling us that they would need to rewire the entire house if they were to replace the fuse board and of course that's before they'd done the bonding, which required a lot more teeth sucking.

Flyfour and I couldn't afford for the whole of my house to be rewired, nor the making good and redecoration expense afterwards. So we did what everyone does, we ignored it and pretended that it didn't matter.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Top Ender's New Room

When we worked out the order of the things we were doing in our home. Top Ender's bedroom was supposed to be the last thing that we did. We thought that because of the wood panelling that was lining the lower half of the walls in her bedroom that it would probably need re-plastering and we thought seeing as she was going away to camp for a week with Church that we'd do it then.

An empty room would be perfect right?

Top Ender's Bedroom before the make over

Then we got a quote on how much it would cost to re-plaster the whole of Top Ender's bedroom and we knew that unless we really had to, we didn't want to re-plaster her room! So armed with a screwdriver I took part of the cladding off and discovered that her wall didn't need re-plastering! Sure enough, there were a couple of holes that needed patching but her walls were quite good quality and not for the last time this past summer we thanked our lucky stars that someone was watching over us.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Our New Rangemaster Oven!

When Flyfour and I were designing the Kitchen we wanted to get a new oven, and not just because the old one was green and starting to play up a little! We had initially thought it would be easier to just get an oven from Ikea along with the rest of the Kitchen, but we realised that we didn't want an Electric Hob and main oven, we're a gas oven family and we're also a double oven family!

Our Old Green Range Master

So, Flyfour and I started looking at Ovens. There is so much choice out there!

Luckily Flyfour and I had a few different stipulations over what we wanted in our oven and it narrowed the field down somewhat.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The New Garage Door

When we moved in to our current home, we were full of the hope and optimism that anyone moving into a new house has. One of the things that we hoped to sort out straight away was the garage door, which was broken and had been fixed by someone with perhaps less DIY skills than someone who should probably have been allowed to fix the garage door.

To stop it from being able to be opened, they had put a nail in the lock at the top.

Yeah, I know.

The Old Garage

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Slightly Boring Update on the Soffits, Facias and Guttering!

The first thing we ordered when we were starting the works in our home, was the guttering, the soffit and the facia and the other bits that adjoin the roof. Which is why of course, it makes perfect sense (Yes, you note a hint of sarcasm here!) that it was almost the last thing that happened in the scheme of works.

And not just because they cancelled it on the day they were supposed to turn up the first time.

Great graffiti at Bicester Village

Yeah, that was not a great day.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Faith In God - Err, What's That Then?

This past week I mentioned the Faith in God programme a few times and mostly everyone was really accepting of it, but I did get asked a question in my email asking what the Faith In God programme actually was, as they couldn't work out if it was a youth club, a religious thing or a thing I just made up!

The answer is, it's actually a mix of the first two. As much as I'd like to think I was that clever, there is no way I could have made up the programme. To explain properly I need to give you a little background. Stay with me if you already know this and if you don't, well read on!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka Mormons

Saturday, 7 October 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 7th October 2017

Well, hopefully if everything goes right, I should by now have a new cooker installed and have my kitchen tiled. I don't want to think about the possibility of this not having happened, so if everyone can will positive thoughts to me that would be great...

Also, you know having your kitchen completely ripped out is a great way to find out what you have in your cupboards and needs eating; Apparently I buy a lot of canned tomatoes and different varieties of pasta! With that in mind, here is my meal plan for the next week.

Pippa's partially refurbished Kitchen

Friday, 6 October 2017

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Spiritual Promptings Like Me

Do you ever get that feeling, where you think you should do something? You aren't sure why, but the feeling nags and nags at you, until you either finally give up and do the thing (or something close enough to it that you feel satisfied) or you manage to bury the feeling deep, deep down inside and forget all about it?

Well, I get that feeling all the time.

For me, that feeling is what I recognise as a Spiritual Prompting. A prompting, or a warning, or a reminder from the Holy Ghost just for me and I thought I'd share one of the most recent times that I felt it and sort of ignored it, so that you can have a giggle over it with me and maybe next time you get a similar feeling you won't sort of ignore it like I did!

So imagine a wibbly wobbly time fade effect and let's go back to the last Thursday of September!

PippaD being happy

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Last Weekend

Last weekend was one of my favourite weekends of the year. No, it wasn't because my Kitchen was finally fitted, but because it was General Conference weekend and in our home General Conference weekend generally means I get to spend hours watching TV and when I'm not concentrating on the talks that are being given, I spend time with my family.

The new tradition that Top Ender and I have is that on Saturday morning we travel to the Northampton Stake Building to watch the Women's Session of the General Conference with other women from our Stake. Plus we get to eat Breakfast and Tops and I like Breakfast!

Top Ender, however, had volunteered to help out at a Rainbows and Guides camp and so I made my way to the Stake Centre on Saturday morning on my own.

Top Ender in her Guides Hoodie