A Mothers Ramblings: May 2017

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Fasting, Fast Sunday and Why It's Important

A few weeks ago, on a Sunday morning, I had posted on Facebook that one of my neighbours was accidentally torturing me as they were eating freshly baked Croissants and jam in the garden and the smell was wafting across their garden, to where I was sitting in my garden doing a bit of Scripture Study and I was fasting as it was a Fast Sunday. I posted to Facebook about the situation as a comment on my life, not as a complaint even though that is how I could be accused of dressing it.

It started a bit of a discussion amongst my friends and one commented that I should probably just eat something.The problem is of course, that Fasting is important within my religion (Latter Day Saint) and that of many other religions and I was fasting with a purpose that day not just because I fancied not eating for a meal or two.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr after Church ready for a meal in the garden

So, I thought I would write down a few thoughts about Fasting, Fast Sunday and why it's important.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 27th May 2017

I'm late with my meal plans today because, well because I haven't made one yet! That's right, I'm making this week up as I go along. Not just because I haven't gone shopping on Friday like I normally do, not because I didn't go shopping today (Saturday) but because this week we are transitioning back to the whole Family eating in the evening instead of at lunchtime as Dan Jon Jr is going to stop having cooked meals at School and back to having Packed Lunches.

Dan Jon Jr pulling faces

At the minute we figure it is just until the weather turns back to being cooler again, but I think until Dan Jon Jr can work out his carbs himself it might be a permanent transition!

With that in mind, this is what we are eating this week.

Friday, 26 May 2017

52 Everyday Luxuries For Children

When I wrote the 52 Everyday Luxuries post. one of the comments had a luxury that their children loved and so it inspired me to write today's post, just in time for the Half Term Holiday and maybe to inspire you for the Summer too.

A word of warning however, some of these treats aren't suitable for the very young and might get you an eye roll from some teenagers BUT I can confirm that even my teenager confirmed that they wouldn't say no to anything on this list and if they have no attribution next to them, that's because they are tried and tested by Dan Jon Jr and Top Ender!

Top Ender, PippaD and Dan Jon Jr

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Dressing Up To Go Shopping #SponsoredPost

If you follow me on Facebook, or know me in real life and are friends with me on Facebook, then you know that I love going out shopping with my Mum each week. I sometimes get in a little bit of trouble with her because I do things that aren't quite what she expects a thirty-something daughter of hers to do. For example, I might play Hide and Seek, or stand at the bottom of the escalator and call up after her "Mum, Don't leave me!" with fake tears and overly dramatic gestures, I've even been known to randomly stick things in her basket or trolley just to see if she notices!

PippaD and her Mum DottyMawMaw

Secretly, though I know my Mum loves it, loves all the photos I put up of the two of us and all the times I post our amusing conversations on Facebook. Actually, there is no secret about it, look at her posing in that photograph above. She loves it.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Evita on Tour #Review

Flyfour and I like to tease each other about our love for Musicals. Whilst my knowledge is a little more encyclopedic than his, he isn't really that far behind me, especially seeing as how we both seem to listen to Encore Radio day and night (Flyfour has programmed me up a sleep timer so I can listen to the DAB radio whilst going to sleep because he is the best husband ever!) and do a mean duet with I know him so well and anything from Blood Brothers being our favourite to croon to!

Anyway, we like to tease others about what musicals we have and haven't seen and one Musical that Flyfour knows the music to but has never seen, not even the film version, was Evita. I have seen the film version at least a zillion times and was lucky enough to see a touring version of Evita back in 2013, so when I asked Flyfour if he wanted to go this time I wasn't surprised when he said yes VERY quickly.

Evita on Tour Poster

Flyfour took Top Ender with him, not only has she inherited our love of live Theatre and Musicals, but she is a lot of fun and it's nice to have one on one time with her doing "grown up" things when we can. The rest of this review, is over to Flyfour.

Top Ender and Flyfour in the audience at Milton Keynes Theatre

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Socks, Socks and More Socks!

At the weekend Flyfour and I were sitting on the living room floor folding laundry together when I was suddenly pelted with a pile of balled up socks. You see, I appear to have had an unfortunate influence on my children and Flyfour was a tiny bit annoyed about it with me.

Everyone knows that I love socks, remember the time I almost got in trouble with my love of socks at Church? Yeah, well, the children also love their socks and now Flyfour is finding it hard to tell the difference between which pair of socks belong to which family member. Well, apart from his. He can tell his socks from mine and the children's.

Plenty of Socks

Monday, 22 May 2017

My Last Meal

This isn't me being morbid I swear. It's just that I've been thinking a lot recently about food that I like, food that I couldn't imagine not having again. So I thought about it and write a blog post and then ask you what you would want as your last ever meal. Just a suggestion though, don't skype your husband and say something like "If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you want to eat tonight?" because your husband will wonder if you are planning to kill him, or if you'd planned something other than the jacket potato and beans you'd written on the meal plan...

If you asked me what my favourite meal was I would probably say Chicken Salad. The way I make it, however. I like a big proper salad, mixed lettuce leaves with a few tomatoes. I don't mind if the tomatoes are cherry or salad or even baby plum tomatoes, as long as they are there. I like to put some spring onions in and just to overload the onion taste a few chives too. I like a few slices of cucumber and sometimes some slices of peppers or celery too, but they aren't essential.

Slow Roasted Chicken and Salad

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Tomato and Chilli Jam - A Recipe

A few years ago, I realised that some of my favourite family recipes were going to be forgotten forever unless I asked my Nan to write them down or to tell me the ingredients and method, so I could write them down. I didn't want to sound morbid by explaining that to my Nan, but she would joke occasionally that at least when she died I'd have something to remember her by and so now I have a mix of recipes in both our handwriting and since her death a year ago, they have brought me some comfort. 

Looking through the other day I realised that there was one recipe missing, however.

Somehow I had forgotten to get a recipe for her Tomato Jam and honestly I am gutted as it was one of the nicest accompaniment I ever had and it was always on the table at Barbecues and whenever we ate lunch outside... which seemed to me to be every day in the summer, just like I'm sure it will seem for my children when they think back to their childhood.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr having a Summer Tea Party in the Garden

Which is why when Head Chef Adam Woolven at The Island Grill, (For reservations call 020 7551 6000) shared a Tomato and Chilli jam recipe, that he makes as an accompaniment to his Burgers I realised that whilst I don't have my Nan's exact recipe, I do have access to something rather similar and just as tasty.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

What We Are Eating W/C 20th May 2017

I'm thinking that we are stuck in a rut again at the minute with regards to meals. I'm trying to think of meals that we haven't had before, that we can cook twice on evenings where the children will eat earlier than Flyfour and I and of course meals that can be cooked quickly.

And I'm losing the battle.

My version of a Ploughman's lunch. Blooming lovely too.

Anyway, here is what we are eating this week.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Favourite Motivational Quotes

If you follow either Dan Jon Jr, Top Ender or myself on Instagram you'll see that we're rather fond of our quotes. I have a few quote books made up of quotes that I've found on the internet, or that I print off for our frame on the Fireplace (which I place quotes in) that are either from the monthly Visiting Teaching message or ones that I've seen and I love because they are relevant to things happening in our lives at the time.

So I thought I would share a few of my favourite motivational quotes as I hope they will bring you as much joy as they have given both the children and me.

Every Person is different and has a different contribution to make no one is destined to fail. Henry B Eyring

Thursday, 18 May 2017

My Birthday Bucket List

A few weeks before my birthday, when I was thinking about what gifts I could suggest to others I was thinking about what my priorities are, what I want in life and how I was going to achieve this. I realised that if I was asked for gift suggestions that I could mention gifts which I could use to further my progress to the goals that I'd come to realise I was aiming to and more importantly now that I was aware of these goals more acutely that I could actually focus on them more clearly.

Pippa and Flyfour on a walk

Some of them were really obvious. I wanted to be more active, I wanted to spend more time with my husband and I'd already made the promise to myself to dress up a little bit more and no always looks so scruffy. The other two were even easier, Flyfour and I made a promise to go for a walk each night together. Occasionally life gets in the way and we've missed just two nights, but I've walked over three marathons on my own since my birthday and Flyfour and I should be completing our second this week.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

52 Everyday Luxuries

When I was posting my answers to the 11 Questions I wanted to answer, the one question that stumped me (which I had set myself so I'm really worried about myself!) was "What one luxury could you not live without?". It stumped me, because apart from things like Fridge Freezers, Washing Machines, Flushing Toilets, Hot Water etc I wasn't sure what I classed as a luxury and what was a necessity these days. At first I thought that it was the internet, but I wasn't sure if that was classed as a luxury anymore, so I google it and found this quote;

"The internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity."
President Barack Obama

If the former leader of the free-world doesn't think it's a luxury, but a necessity then who am I to argue? By the way, according to the Independent it's Angela Merkel and not Donald Trump who is now the leader of the free world. That makes me feel a little better about the state of things at the minute, doesn't it you?

Anyway, as every day luxuries now means simply a way to indulge and spoil yourself I thought that readers of A Mother's Ramblings might enjoy seeing some ideas, as like me they may be stumped at what a luxury is these days. So, I asked some Blogger friends of mine what they considered to be their everyday luxuries and have complied that into a list of 52 everyday luxuries that you should find time to schedule into your life for a little bit of every day luxury.

An Ice Cream Treat - Sprinkles, Sauce and a Chocolate flake!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Walking To School, Exploring And Being Safe

In our house, unless Top Ender is taking her Cello to or from School we walk. I mean you've seen all the walks that Flyfour and I have been on recently right? We like walking, we like exploring and we like doing it safely with our children too.

However.

I also know that children are sometimes a little trickier than my two are to keep safe when outside. I've seen a child be hit by a car, I've seen a child have their foot run over by a car (well a lorry) and I know that I panic less than some of the other parents on the School run because I know that I have drilled it into my children about how to explore outdoors safely.

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr, walking hand in hand and exploring the outside

Monday, 15 May 2017

It's Dan Jon Jr's Ninth Birthday!

It's Dan Jon's ninth birthday today, and so this blog post is just full of my love for him, and the love aimed squarely at him from his Daddy and Sister too.

Dan Jon Jr in an arch of a tree

Dan Jon is fearless, well as long as it has nothing to do with Spiders or anything too high. He is ready for new adventures and for new responsibilities, why just this past weekend he wanted to go to the corner shop on his own for some Eurovision supplies for the family, he helped put the weekly shop away and volunteered to tidy up after we had eaten supper together!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

British Sandwich Week

We love a good sandwich here at A Mother's Ramblings. We all have our favourites I have my guilty pleasures of a potato sandwich, Top Ender loves a Baked Bean Sandwich and Flyfour and Dan Jon Jr have slightly more "normal" tastes with Flyfour liking a BLT and Dan Jon Jr opting for either a Sausage Sandwich or a Fish Finger Sandwich!

And of course, there was that time I made the best sandwich in the world...

Double Layer Ham and Salad Sandwich, probably the best sandwich ever made

With British Sandwich Week starting today and continuing all this week, I've had some great tips shared with me by Gary Durrant from The Arch, London, (make reservations on 020 7724 4700) on how he creates the perfect sandwich, such as the ones you could be eating if you went for Royal AFteroon Tea at The Arch and I thought I'd share them with you too.

Watch out this week on my Instagram as hopefully, I'll be sharing some lovely yummy sandwiches for my lunch!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 13th May 2017

I've got into a little bit of a mindset when planning the evening meals for my family and I. During the week, Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr eat a meal at School, although this will be changing soon as I'm not sure that either of them are getting the full benefit from a hot meal at lunch and Dan Jon is pretty much only picking Jacket Potatoes as they are his favourite form of potato at the moment! Anyway, because of this, there is a lot of pasta happening!

My favourite pasta I've ever made even if the rest of the family didn't like it!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Birthday Gifts and Birthday Cash

Many moons ago, Dan Jon Jr hadn't quite learned that sometimes some thoughts should be run past an internal filter before they are allowed to come out of your mouth, or you'd face the consequences when your family would remind you forever. One such occasion was on Dan Jon's birthday a few years ago.

Dan Jon Jr dressed up as Mario

Dan Jon could remember on set of his Grandparents coming to see Top Ender on her birthday and having given her a nice wad of cash in a birthday card to spend on whatever her favourite obsession was at the time. I know that they gave her the cash, because they weren't sure what of the collection she already had, and just figured this was the easier way, especially with other friends and family all buying from the limited pool of obsession.

When they came round to see Dan Jon Jr on his birthday, he was expecting the same. Although, he didn't get it and without thinking Dan Jon exclaimed something along the lines of, "Where's my money?!" and we've never let him live it down.

Dan Jon Jr flush with cash

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A Walk In College Wood, Nr Nash Buckinghamshire

When Flyfour and I were walking around The Ouzel Valley Park, Flyfour told me about a woods that he had found in the local area not too far from a Village called Nash in Buckinghamshire, which in turn isn't that far from where we live in Milton Keynes. The woods were owned by The Woodland Trust and are just under 129 acres, which seems really large to me! It had been a toss-up between a walk at The Ouzel Valley Park and College Wood and so we decided that we'd go the next day to College Wood for a Sunday Morning walk.

The Woodland Trust Welcome to College Wood sign

Again, the children didn't join us. Top Ender was trying to avoid contact with humans (she was fasting and just a tiny bit ready for not fasting!) and Dan Jon Jr was having a well-deserved lay in... well he got up at 7 am and had breakfast and then went back to bed to read, watch youtube videos and basically wasn't getting up until lunch time!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

11 Questions I Wanted To Answer!

In the Liebster Awards post I posted a little while back, I asked two bloggers 11 questions that I made up. As I was writing them I was thinking, I kinda wanna answer these too... So I bet you can guess what this post is! That's right, it's my answers to my 11 questions.

PippaD being fabulous!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

A Ouzel Valley Park Walk

During our walk at Wendover Woods, Flyfour and I were walking and talking together at one point whilst both children had gone on ahead and we were talking about how we loved being outside, enjoying the sunshine, the open air and just being with family without any distractions. Basically, we were reminded of how much we enjoy walking and how yes, we might bring our mobile phones with us, but we're not plugged into Consoles or Tablets and Computers and it does us good as a family to just get out and about and so we decided that we would walk together as a family more often.

Which is why on Saturday afternoon, he and I went out for a date and Flyfour picked for us to walk around part of the Ouzel Valley Park in Milton Keynes. 

PippaD and Flyfour on a walk at the Ouzel Valley Park, Milton Keynes

Despite having lived in Milton Keynes for 16 years and in the local area since I was eight, I realised I had NEVER been in the Ouzel Valley Park! Flyfour used to work on the edge of the park, as he worked at The Open University and I think he may have walked there a couple of times and he's pretty certain he has cycled a couple of times around various parts of it too. However, it was really a walk of discovery as neither of us were that sure about where we were going, just that the walk was about a 3-mile circular route.

Monday, 8 May 2017

April In Pictures

I don't know if you love Instagram as much as me and my family do, but we honestly document almost everyday of our lives on the app. I think that it is programmed into u, because ever since I was a child, looking at photographs of my family was a huge thing, my Nan would get out photo album of the family and together we would sit and pour over them. Asking questions about who was who and where they were taken and just generally learning about these family members.

These days, we don't tend to print off pictures, they stay on discs and in the cloud (although I do have several photo albums and I'm working to ensure we have some from current photographs too) and we don't look at them past the time that we checked that it came out okay.

That doesn't sit well with me.

One of the apps that we love in addition to Instagram is Monthly Collage, where they take your Instagram images, work some magic and bam! A collage appears in your email at the end of the month/start of the next month and the email enables you to look at the pictures that you've taken and shared via the app.

Dan Jon Jr, Top Ender and PippaD taking a Selfie!

We love looking at the pictures as they remind us of the fun we got up to the previous month and let us reminisce over what we got up to and of course plan some similar experiences for the upcoming month. I thought I would share the photos from mine, Top Ender's and Dan Jon Jr's Instagram feeds because there are so many great pictures and memories included and mine (PippaDAMR) is up first.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

What We Are Eating This Week 6th May 2017

I thought I would actually do a meal plan this week, as I keep forgetting what I've put on the note on the fridge when I am elsewhere, like in bed or at the Supermarket picking up something that I forgot to get when I did the weekly shopping trip or I am hanging out with my Mum!


I also managed to get a free Click and Collect slot at Tesco, so was rather pleased because shopping is such a bore and instead of shopping, went on a date with my lovely husband!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Bathroom Advice Please!

One of the things I have hated since moving into our current home is the bathroom. I hate the tiles. I hate the toilet because it's not been fitted properly and so it leaks. I hate that we have a bath and only a shower that runs off the mixer taps. I hate that it is so small.

Seriously I just hate it.

Some people may like these tiles. I however blinking hate them

We have saved up enough money to redo the bathroom and I can't wait. I have a Pinterest board full of ideas and enough booklets here from various different suppliers to build my own library. A really boring library of bathroom fittings, but a library none the less.

I have some pretty firm ideas about what I want.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Mamma Mia On Tour #Review

Top Ender and I love the film version of Mamma Mia! and when we heard that it was coming into town over my birthday, we were very excited, even more so when Milton Keynes Theatre gave us two tickets so we could review the show.

I think by now, everyone has seen the film and so know that the story is of Donna who is preparing for her twenty year old daughters (Sophie) wedding unknowing that along with the invited guests, Sophie has invited three men that Donna slept with roughly 21 years ago, in the hope to discover which of the three is her Father! Again, as most of us know it's set to the music of ABBA and is the sort of sing along, dance along, bop in your seat along that cheer everyone up.

Top Ender and PippaD at Milton Keynes Theatre to see Mamma Mia!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

The Birthday Walk At Wendover Woods

Flyfour and I both have an app on our phones that show us photographs from this day over the last well, at least ten years. Our daily photos from our phones (and the children's) are backed up to it and basically on any given day we can look back over the last few years and see what we got up to.

One thing we have noticed is that we tend to do the same thing each year, coincidence or not some of them have turned into tradition, like my Birthday Walk, which we either do on my birthday (May 2nd) or on a day close to it. This year it was on May 1st (My Mum's birthday!) as it was the Bank Holiday Monday and of course come the Tuesday, the children were at School and Flyfour was at work.

Flyfour suggested we go out to Wendover Woods, as we hadn't been there for a while and so we headed off in the morning after we had wrestled Dan Jon Jr off the Xbox One!

A view from Wendover Woods over the Chiltern AONB. It really is a beautiful area.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

It's My Birthday!

It's my birthday today and last week when I was thinking about what kind of cake I would like, the one thought that came to my mind was a song by Parry Gipp, that Dan Jon Jr has sent to me a few times and I often sing because apparently that's the type of grown up I am. It's called "There's a Cat licking your Birthday Cake" and there is a cat in the video drawn by Brianne Drouhard that I think looks adorable.

I sketched out a copy of the cat that I wanted on the cake and posted it on my social media accounts.

A pencil sketch of a cat from Parry Gipps "There's a Cat licking your Birthday Cake" by me based on the original art of Brianne Drouhard.

I mean who wouldn't want that on their cake right?

Monday, 1 May 2017

The Pre-Cleaner Clean And The Illusion Of Perfection

Talking to one of the playground Mums one morning last week, we got round to the subject that she had a man coming to clean her double oven that day. We had a bit of a giggle over how she claims that she never uses her double oven, but that it was still filthy and I asked which company she was using as I really needed to get my double oven cleaned. Well, actually that isn't strictly true. I mean sure I do need to get it cleaned, but what I really need is for it to be serviced and I don't want to have it serviced before I get it cleaned and I told her that. We had a giggle over my confession before the playground Mum admitted that the night before she actually gave her oven a quick clean in order to not be too embarrassed when the guy turned up the next day.

By quick clean, what I assume she was saying is she spent two hours scrubbing the thing to within an inch of its life. So I admitted that when I had the Viakal cleaners come round back in 2012, I had spent AGES cleaning my bathroom in the run up to their visit. I had basically done a deep clean every day for a week all so that when they came I could nonchalantly claim that my bathroom always looked like this.

A Viakal Cleaned Sink - So shiny!