A Mothers Ramblings: 2018

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

How Can We Have A Cohesive Engaged Society? #SponsoredPost

Sometimes, when I think about society as a whole, there is one conversation that sticks out particularly in my mind. I was about 15 and sat talking with my Grandfather, in his garden in the middle of the Summer holidays. My sister and I went to stay with our Grandparents each summer, to enjoy the "break" from normal life and unbeknownst to me at the time, absorbing all the wisdom that our Grandparents were bestowing on us one conversation at a time.

PippaD, her Sister and Granddad

The reason the conversation sticks out was because my Grandfather was talking about where he felt society was going wrong and how it was up to me (and the rest of my generation) to change it. His generation had laid the foundation, but it was up to us to build upon it and make life great for future generations and he believed that a lot of this was down to the small choices to make society "better". Better as individuals, better as citizens and better at being engaged in order to make society better as a whole.

It is probably something to do with that conversation that the children and I try to be the best that we can and why the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme appeals to me and as soon as Tops and Dan Jon are old enough I will be signing them up In actual fact, I've already emailed a few of my Mum friends who have children who are old enough to take part, that's how great I feel this programme is!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 21st April 2018

Is it just me or is this year flying by? I swear, in a couple of weeks it'll be my birthday, but it was only Christmas a week or two ago! Still, at least with my birthday coming up, I'll be able to look forward to a nice Chinese and who knows maybe I'll finish one of my WIP (Works in Progress) as I currently have two knitted cardigans on the go, one baby vest, one crochet experiment and three cross stitch samplers!

I like to keep myself busy.

Knitting is fun!

Saturday, 14 April 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 14th April 2018

The Meal Plan this week is based on the weather turning nicer... as has been promised by the weatherman, my husband and various newspapers that are also predicting the end of the world!

Drinks in the Garden mean something very different when you're a Mormon

As it happens today (Saturday) has been rather lovely and we've already eaten a picnic lunch in the garden, so if the rest of the week does turn out to be wet, we won't care!

Sunday, 8 April 2018

What We're Eating This Week W/C 7th April 2018

Lots of food and lots of family fun is planned this week, hopefully, they will both mix and we'll end up happy, fed and ready for what life throws at us!

The four of us having some Family Fun

Saturday, 31 March 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 31st March 2018

I can't believe that it is almost April already! It means it is nearly my birthday! It means it is a little over 50 days until the children have half term! It means a little over 100 days until the Summer Holidays starts!

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr shooting each other

Saturday, 24 March 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 24th March 2018

Waking up Friday morning, I half-remembered a conversation I'd been having with Flyfour the night before about what meals he would like this week, the only thing I remember him asking for was Nachos for Saturday night and the rest was up to me. Which is fine, because I had a few ideas based on things we've loved or fancied recently!

So here is what we are eating this week!

Taco's and Burrito's everyone loves them right?

Saturday, 17 March 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 17th March 2018

I know, you've all thought that I've starved the family over the last few weeks. Not only have no meal plans been published, but I havent posted a single cup of Hot Chocolate to Instagram nor any Salads. It's not true though! Really I've just cut back on the Hot Chocolate, I've forgotten to hit publish on the meal plans and it really isn't the weather for Salads in my humble opinion.

No, this is the weather for comfort food!

Piles of Steamed Veg, Casseroles and very yummy things that probably make our insides all happy with love added to every bite!

Friday, 16 March 2018

The February Family Resolution

On the surface, the February Family Resolution was a bit.. boring. It was, however, probably the most successful Family Resolution I could have imagined!

The idea for February was that we be well rested, this involved working out how much sleep we each needed, what we needed in order to go to sleep, and looking to see what helped motivate us to get up and going in the morning.

A Nice inviting Bed with fresh bed linen

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Problem with being Smiley

The problems with being smiley aren't really that many. People may think you are more outgoing than you are, People may think you are crazy (try walking down a London street smiling at strangers, you'll see what I mean), People may... well, people may think you're me.

And then there is the real problem. Well, the real problem for me. You see, every morning when I walk Dan Jon Jr to School, we pass several people. Some are walking children to School, some parents are walking home from dropping their children at School, some are walking to other Schools, some are walking their dogs, some are just out for a morning constitutional and some are just neighbours who wave from their windows at the various families who walk past.

Dan Jon Jr ready for the School Run

Dan Jon and I discuss various things that are of interest to us, we practice spellings and answer random math questions. We discuss what is happening after School, what we're having for our evening meal, what we are reading, what we thought of breakfast or a million other things, which on a five-minute journey is seriously impressive.

Friday, 23 February 2018

I Hate Those Stories

I hate those stories that start "A friend of a friend said this happened" or something along those lines.

Standing in the School Playground this morning, slowly freezing whilst we waited for the bell to signal it was time for the children to exit the Playground and make their way to their Classrooms, a group of Mums standing near by was suddenly brought to life when another Mum burst into the middle of them.

Top Ender and Dan Jon ready for School

"Oh. My. G--!" She screached. "You will never guess what a friend of mine reposted a friend of her's on Facebook."

I thought I had discreetly rolled my eyes, but my own little circle of Parent Friends caught the so called discrete gesture and all immediatly hushed down to also listen to this other conversation being relayed a few feet away.

Monday, 5 February 2018

The January Family Resolution

This year, I set 12 different resolutions for my family, one for each month of the year for things that my family and I thought we needed to work on as a family. Things we wanted to do as a family. Of course they had input into these resolutions, as I asked them what they felt we needed to work on, how we wanted to refine ourselves and what we thought we needed to work on and then I translated them into English (rather than our family slang) wrote these family resolutions down and published them back in December, so that we'd be able to share our progress with you and of course, be able to look back on it in years to come and see when and how we started certain positive habits.

The resolution for January was that we would put the family first.

Family Fun in the Snow

Saturday, 3 February 2018

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 3rd February 2018

I think that the meals that we have picked this week have actually been picked already in the last few weeks since I changed the way the Meal plans were organised, but that is all part of the learning curve, right? Right?

Oh well, here is what I have planned for this week.

Beans on Toast

Saturday, 27 January 2018

What We Are Eating This Week W/C 27 January 2018

I'm loving the simplicity of having a few meals to pick from with the same basic ingredients. It has meant that I've been able to stick with a budget of just £50 to buy the weekly shop and apart from a few pence here and there I've mostly stuck to it, so I'm so proud of myself!

I was planning on doing the exact same meals next two months (February and March), but I think that I'll switch it up for March and have a few other meals, especially as I've noticed what meals the family has liked the most and which meals have fallen a bit flat. Dan Jon thinks it's brilliant the way that I'm also making sure that if there is an extra portion of ANYTHING, that it's being incorporated into something else or made into my lunch... although I am regretting using up a spicy sauce last week instead of BBQ for our Chicken Burgers as the Couscous I made up in the leftover sauce has rather a kick to it!

Saturday - Toad in the Hole

We're having a day out together, but I'm planning on us being home early enough that we'll be able to have Toad in the Hole for our evening meal. The real reason for this is I hate making it and if Flyfour is home, he'll make it!

Sunday - Roast Chicken

We'll have a Roast with Trimmings (everyone loves the Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings that Flyfour makes) and hopefully with extra Roasties because we all love Roasties!

Winner Winner! A Roast Chicken Dinner!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

January Rudolph Club

I must admit that this month has gone rather fast and so I'm not quite sure that I've managed to actually do anything for Christmas 2018 other than acknowledge that it will happen and that at some point in 2017, I thought it would be useful to document my progress each month.

Actually, that isn't true. I started working with my Swagbucks account again, and will hopefully with just doing the bare minimum for the next few months (until the end of September/start of October) to have a couple of hundred pounds to spend on Christmas bits and pieces either as cash (via Paypal) or in the form of Amazon vouchers. I've already cashed out £25 in Amazon vouchers since the start of the month as I wanted to buy a gift for a friend.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Dan Jon's Pre-Residential Jitters

Last week Dan Jon Jr went on his first ever School Residential, well actually that isn't true. There had been a Camp for the entire year last Summer, but it was one night and well, I was actually there as a helper as I'm a School Governor at the Primary School Dan Jon goes to as we figured it would be easier for me to do the over-night testing, rather than having two of the staff members do it (safeguarding means there would have to be two).

This residential was going to be Dan Jon's first trip without Flyfour or I.

Dan Jon Jr excited for his School Residential

I was actually quite calm about it. I know the staff that were going on the trip fairly well and when another staff member was added to the roster, any worries that I hadn't even admitted to myself had entirely vanished as I've known that member of staff for ten years and know that Dan Jon has a soft spot for this teacher too.

Everything was fine.

Until the night before he left.

Monday, 22 January 2018

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies explained for the curious and the nervous!

Hello! Pippa here! If you are like me and keep hearing about Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies but having no clue what they really are, then this is the blog post for you. Here is Flyfour's not so quick, hopefully, easy to digest guide to Bitcoin, and other Cryptocurrencies, which should be enough for you to make your mind up if this is for you and if you could make any money!

Bitcoin logo

Over to you Flyfour!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 20th January 2018

When I wrote this meal plan, I was really excited about going shopping for it, because according to my costings I was going to end up having a whole threepence change from my Fifty pounds to pay for the shopping! I have a copper pot that I keep on the side, which already has a few pence in it, (well more like a couple of quid) so I was hoping to add them to it and use the pot at the end of the year to buy something ... I just don't know what yet, but knowing me it will either be Flowers or Book!

My favourite Sweetpeas

Do you save up your loose change? What do you do with it? What would you buy with it if you did save up?!

Saturday, 13 January 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 13th January 2018

I've always thought, that when I do the weekly shop, that I'm quite good at sticking to a budget. I've realised in the last couple of weeks, that prior to the change of the way that I do the Food Shop I was terrible at sticking to a budget! This is changing now, as not only am I sticking to only a few different meals, but I'm trying to stick to a strict £50 a week... and I'm mostly doing it. I mean going over by a few pence each week isn't too bad, is it?!

Look, I think considering I'm knocking about half off the budget each week that I'm doing great!

Saturday, 6 January 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 6th January 2018

This is the first week that I've picked the meals from my rotating meals list. I just picked one from each of the categories, and then worked out where they should go based on what we are up to and how we like to eat during the week.

Flyfour also did me a huge favour and he programmed up something in our Home Automation to mean that we now have a database where I can ask one of our devices what is for dinner and it will tell me, without me having to look it up on my calendar, or in my diary or even on my blog! I'm so excited because, who doesn't like technology that is useful and fun?!

Plenty of Technology in the Garden

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Happy Birthday Top Ender!

Top Ender is 14 today!

Oh, and if you are reading this and seeing her today, please don't tell her what this blog post says, you are sworn to secrecy okay?!

Beautiful Top Ender, Seriously how gorgeous is she in this picture?

I feel really bad for her because she will have to go to School today (so does Dan Jon) and it's the first day after the Christmas break, so it will be a bit of a culture shock for her especially as she has got used to sleeping in late during the Christmas break.

We'll open gifts super early so that Flyfour can get to work on time, but we'll make the most of it by having a nice leisurely breakfast of her choice. I've no idea what she'll pick, but I'm ready for an early morning trip to McDonald's, a full breakfast at home or anything in between.

Top Ender the new assistant to the Doctor, yes Doctor Who! Okay, so not really!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Mario The Watcher

Every morning, when Top Ender, Dan Jon Jr and I take the morning photos we have someone who joins us. Actually, that isn't true. Occasionally we have, one or two of our neighbours who stop and chat with us as they pass on their way to get a newspaper or to walk their dog. Every day, even when our neighbours aren't around, we have someone who watches what we are doing. Watches us intently and never seems to fully understand what it is that they are seeing.

It is, of course, Mario our cat.

Mario, a cat actually sat on a mat

Monday, 1 January 2018


I don't think that I have ever started the year so optimistically.

I'm not sure why, maybe it is because I've manged to pack away some of my emotional baggage from the last few years, forgiven myself for things that I have done wrong or percieved I have done wrong, or that I believe I should have handled better.

Maybe it's because 2017 was a hard one, with death and loss and all that work on the house took it's toll emotionally and I'm glad to finally see the back of it.

Maybe it's because I'm finally happy with myself and my plans, maybe it's because I'm finally accepting myself or maybe, just maybe it's because I've, heaven help us if it's true, grown up.

PippaD on the phone and ready for a fun new year!

Whatever the reason, if all has gone to plan, then about now I'm either sitting at a high point in Milton Keynes hoping to watch the sun rise, despite knowing that the clouds have probably ruined that plan or I'm sitting in the back garden on the deck, hoping that the neighbours aren't looking out at me wondering why I'm sitting out before the sun has risen and why I'm not being much more sensible and sitting indoors in the warm.

I want to greet the first dawn of the year, I think that it'll be a little honouring of the traditional Japanese Hatsuhi Sunrise, but mostly this year watching the sunrise is for me to set the expectation for the rest of the year. I will bethere as it is born, I will watch as it takes it's first breath and hopefully see that it gives new breath to my hopes and plans for the year.