A Mothers Ramblings: 2018

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

September's Holiday In A Weekend - Day Two

Dan Jon and I were the only ones who woke up early. Around 7am I woke up, and Dan Jon was already awake and getting bored of staring at the ceiling. Together we played on our phones, Dan Jon played a little on his DS and I did some knitting, as my suggestions of going for a walk along the seafront or seeing if we could find a park or something else he might find of interest were all dismissed.

Eventually, Top Ender and Flyfour woke up and so we dished out breakfast (cereal bars and crepes for all) before we got dressed, packed up and headed off for our second day of Holiday.

The A Mother's Ramblings Crew

Monday, 15 October 2018

All We Are Eating W/C 15th October

I'm not sure if I enjoy this whole keeping meals to under £1 per head. It means I have to actually think each week about what meals I'm making and I'm not allowed to buy my usual cheat ingredients... chopped onion being my favourite!

Anyway, I managed to get the meals this week for 73p per head, which I don't think is too bad. I've added on a tonne of tinned and frozen fruit this week, which the children will have after their evening meal, occasionally with Ice-Cream, occasionally baked into a cake or even just "plain" as I realised that they were wanting a little extra each night, because of the smaller portions and because 5 portions of fruit or veg a day is good, 6 or 7 is better right?

A large bowl of apples from our Apple Tree

Friday, 12 October 2018

September's Holiday In A Weekend - Day One

September's Holiday in a day was going to be a great surprise. Months ago Flyfour had suggested instead of going out for just one day that he would like to go away for the whole weekend... and he'd like to organise everything as a surprise for Tops, DJ and me. It would be a sort of Anniversary gift to us and a lot of fun would be planned.

So we said yes and left him to the planning.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family

It took great restraint on my behalf to not google things that were happening the last weekend of September and in the end, I managed to get one piece of information out of Flyfour with regards to the weekend. We'd need to leave at 6:30 am, as our first destination was a four-hour drive away. I worked out that this would mean we were heading to the North of the UK, and so knew to pack accordingly. Out came the fleece jumpers, scarves, hats and walking boots and away went any ideas of resting by a pool somewhere in Europe!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The Seminary Surprise

In the last post I talked about Seminary, The Seminary Challenge, I said that we were waiting on Sepli to get his revenge. Well, it turns out we didn't have to wait long.

The morning started like any other. We had our breakfast, we set off to pick up the lovely young woman whom we give a lift to each morning (she lives just around the corner from us, so it makes sense!) and headed off to the Chapel.

I unlocked the gate, leaving Tops and our friend in the car (it's cold early in the morning)! and drove into the deserted carpark.

The Chapel Car park before it is opened

Monday, 8 October 2018

A Social Media and Media Fast

Earlier this year, I went on a Social Media fast. It was a challenge aimed at the Youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and despite not being a Youth leader at the time or indeed a member of the youth, I decided to attempt it anyway. I mean a week away from social media wasn't going to kill me was it. Was it!?

Pippa is on a Social Media Fast Header

Well, it didn't. In fact, I learnt a fair bit about myself during that week. Like how when I'm bored, my first instinct is to check social media. Like how, when I can't "spy" on my friends, I actually message them to see what they are up to or if they want to hang out. I also discovered that whilst Pinterest is my go-to for when I want to get creative, it isn't always the solution and I came up with several ideas on my own, without the help of Pinterest or Google. I know, go me.

I'm pretty certain the Social Media fast was one of the reasons that I was called to be the Young Women's President, but then again it could also be because Heavenly Father just wanted me to start hanging out with the Teens of our ward. Either way, the fast helped!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

All Meals W/C 8th Oct 2018

So, the main meals that I made last week meant that the meal plan cost me just under £1 per day, which was a little bit of a cheat, as I had a few ingredients at home (frozen fish for example) that I used and so they didn't come into the price. However I also purchased some gluten-free plain flour and Olive oil, ready for a meal this week, so I think it sort of balances out!

A Balanced spinning Top

This week, I'm aiming for £1.50 per day for all three meals for Tops, Dan Jon and I as Flyfour takes care of himself for breakfast and lunch by making cereal and sandwiches at work during the week and guess what! It works out this week... so long as nobody adds anything else to the shopping basket when I go out later today to get it!

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

The Seminary Challenge

There are a few things that Top Ender and I don't like and being late for something is one of them. So with Seminary starting at 6:40 am, the plan is that we will get to the Chapel for 6:30 am each weekday. This means we need to leave our house at about 6:15 am, as even with no traffic it is still a fifteen-minute drive or so.

As it is so very early in the morning, I suggested and Top Ender eagerly agreed that in order to make this more pleasant I would cook breakfast for Dan Jon, Top Ender and myself each morning before we leave.

Top Ender eating Bean and Sausage Hash before Seminary

Dan Jon loves this because, as he is now waking up at 6 am with breakfast in bed, he is able to complete his morning scripture study, get ready for School and get at least a half hour in on one of the consoles! Plus BREAKFAST IN BED!

Monday, 1 October 2018

All Meals W/C 1st Oct 2018

The Meal plan is a little late this week, thanks to us having been away over the weekend. I also made a little bet with Flyfour, I'm going to see how cheap I can make the weeks meals for October... and try to keep it to below £1 per head per evening meal.

It came about as we were talking about different meals you can buy premade at around the 70p mark, and wondering if this was cheaper to buy than making a meal from scratch. I know obviously that if you make it from scratch it could be a lot healthier, but we were talking about living on an extreme budget (we'd been watching a documentary earlier in the week about a similar subject) and if it was still possible to eat filling meals (filling rather than healthy).

Anyway, we know I'm always up for a challenge!

Yummy Sausage Pie

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Under Pressure #Review

Every few months, Dan Jon and I go to visit with his care team at our local hospital. There they measure his weight, height, his hbac (blood sugar related) and his blood pressure.

They measure his various vitals because being a Type 1 Diabetic, comes with a few challenges that are made easier when the rest of you is in good health. At home, it is easy for us to measure all of these things, and so we do our best to keep him healthy and happy.

When we were asked if we'd like to test out a Kinetic Blood Pressure Monitor, I thought this would be a great way to help keep an eye on all the families health and so it soon arrived in the post!

Kinetik Blood Pressure Monitor

Friday, 28 September 2018

Early Morning Seminary

Members of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints aged between 14 and 18, get to go to Seminary. Seminary is this wonderful class, which in a lot of places is held first thing in the morning. They go to learn about theology and the four-year course goes over the Standard Works, so The Old Testament, The New Testament, The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, and from what I understand from my friends who grew up in the Church, they learn a lot about themselves too.

PippaD and Top Ender at the London Temple

Tops was due to start this past September, and with her recent ASD diagnosis, we weren't sure if Seminary was the right thing for her. Well, that's not quite true, we weren't sure if early morning Seminary classes were the right thing for her.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

The Folly

Ages ago, Flyfour and I had an idea that we wanted a garden room. We weren't sure if this was part of a ground floor extension, knocking down the garage and putting one of those cool sheds that you see in Garden Centers in its place or even if we would just convert the garage that was already there and of course in this scenario, figure out where to put all the junk that lives in the garage, that we can't live without.

With all the works that we did on the house last summer, we decided that the best course of action was to convert part of the garage into a room because A: We'd run out of budget and B: There was no way we were going through more building works so soon. Even a year later we are still sick of it!

The Garage full of junk but great natural light!

One day as we were clearing out the garage, I got a little stroppy. Most of the items we had in the garage were items we had stored with the purpose of turning one end of the garage into a room. A place where we could study or work or work out or relax or pray and Flyfour was wanting to throw them away. And worse, did throw them away.

Monday, 24 September 2018

An Almost Unexpected Haircut

In a move that I believe is typical of many Mothers, I quite often "forget" to get my hair cut. Well, I don't forget, I just tend to not put it at the top of my to-do list, because despite one of my best friends being a hairdresser, I put everything for me last. Then a couple of weeks ago, my husband mentioned to me that I really should get my hair cut, as I'd done nothing but complain about it. I really did need it cut, the split ends were out of control and so I bit the bullet and called my friend to arrange for me to visit with her and have a hair-cut at the same time.

PippaD having her hair coloured at a previous appointment

Saturday, 22 September 2018

All Meals W/C 22nd September 2019

What a week it has been! I've been ill, Flyfour came back from Amsterdam, the children went to School and their various other activities and I've managed to survive long enough each evening to stay up and watch a documentary or TV show with Flyfour. We are currently loving Killing Eve and The Bodyguard on the BBC, Grand Designs on 4 and Paddington Station on 5! What are you watching or are you recommending to everyone? We have Now TV, Netflix and Amazon Prime, so are well covered.

I love The Lego movie!

This week I'm trying something new, I'm listing all we are eating for our main meals, lunches and Breakfast! Yup, all in one post, mainly so I can just check one place each week.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

What's For Dinner? W/C 15th September 2018

I started writing this list before I got ill, decided it was too much like hard work (I was starting to get ill) and stopped. Now I can't smell a thing, food is the last thing on my mind and I've realised that the trip to the Supermarket yesterday was terrible as I apparently didn't buy any food for this weekend despite having spent £50 and this week planning to have a lot of leftovers and things from the store cupboard!

Tesco Bag hanging on Front Door

Oh well, back to the Supermarket we go!

Monday, 10 September 2018

Lunch Plans W/C 10th September 2018

Is it weird that I get more excited about preparing lunches for my children than I do about preparing an evening meal for them? I think it is because lunches are so much quicker to make and I don't have to worry about doing many dishes... well, loading the dishwasher anyway!

I love that my kitchen has a dishwasher. And looks pretty!

Monday - Cream Cheese Bagels with Cucumber Slices

We'll team these up with some Popcorn, an apple and some malt loaf because everyone loves Malt Loaf!

Tuesday - Leftover Meatloaf Sandwich

We've found that Meatloaf can be kept for four days without changing the flavour or killing us, so today the leftovers from Saturday will be used up. I'll also pack two satsumas, a milkshake and use up the malt loaf too.

Wednesday - Leftover Pasta Bake

If all goes to plan last night when I made the Baked Pasta, there should have been a little extra for today's lunch. I'll add some carrot and cucumber sticks, along with a little hummus dip and a treat of a homemade chocolate pastry twist. To drink, some plain milk or a bottle of water.

Thursday - Pizza Muffins

Dan Jon has requested Hawaiin muffins, which is fine by me. I'll give them three Muffins (they are small) along with a small bottle of Fruit juice. We'll add two satsumas to the meal along with a scone (cream and jam for them to spread).

Friday - Fish and Chips/ Cream Cheese Bagel with Salmon

Dan Jon is having Fish and Chip at School (Every Friday) and Tops will have a Bagel with some Cream Cheese and Salmon as I think they might be her favourite treat food. I'll also give her a bottle of her favourite fruit juice, some fruit salad and a packet of caramel popcorn I had been hiding for a secret treat for myself.

And that's what the Children will have for lunch this week!

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Evening Meals W/C 8th September 2018

I feel bad writing a whole post, going over how great the food we are eating is and how to make it, when it's just simple meals that anyone could work out how to make, or could search this blog or Google for recipes. So, welcome to week two of a stripped back post about our evening meals.

Meatloaf with Mash, Peas and Gravy

As I said, last week this month (and possibly next) we are eating cheaply, still keeping to the Healthy Eating Rules and all because the shopping budget is something I can control!

Saturday - Meatloaf with Mash and Peas
Sunday - Pork topped with Apple Sauce and Cheese served with Mash and Mixed Vegetables
Monday - Tuna Pasta Bake and Garlic Bread
Tuesday - Baked Honey Chicken with Diced Potato
Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes with Beans
Thursday - Salmon Risotto with Peas
Friday - Sausage Rolls and Salad

Flyfour is away from Friday morning until Sunday night for a conference, so the children and I are planning on indulging in some of our favourite gluten-filled foods, hence the Sausage Rolls!

Monday, 3 September 2018

Lunch Plans 4th September 2018

Poor Old Dan Jon, like last year he is going back to School a day earlier than Top Ender. This year he also has to put up with the fact that Top Ender starts Seminary and so our "normal" routine of getting up and having a cooked breakfast is a little... well it's a little changed. Luckily Dan Jon has some great lunches to look forward to and, hopefully, that will make his morning run a little smoother... Yeah, I don't think it will either.

Top Ender goes back to School on Wednesday and has asked to take a lunch to School with her until she has checked out what specials the canteen are doing, and when. So I'm planning on a couple of weeks of lunch every day before she picks a day or two to eat at School.

A Bento style packed lunch

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Evening Meal Plans 1st September 2018

I'm being cheap for the next few weeks and having very, very, very cheap meals planned, whilst still trying to keep to the Healthy Eating Rules of at least five portions of Fruit or Veg a day, two portions of fish a week and of course as Gluten Free as we can!

Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Luckily the rest of the family were all in agreement and have helped me come up with some great, tasty and favourite meal ideas.

Saturday - Sausages and Mash

Sunday - Roast Chicken

Monday - Cheesy Wedges with Beans

Tuesday - Smoked Salmon Tagliatelle

Wednesday - Home Made Pizza

Thursday - Jacket Potatoes with Tuna and Spring Onion

Friday - Chili and Nachos

I guess with us getting back into the swing of early nights and even earlier mornings (Tops starts Seminary this Wednesday), we're just glad to have some routine back.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Giant Teddies and Happiness!

When I was organising the car boot for the Youth of my local Church, someone very kindly donated three MASSIVE Teddies. I happen to know that the monkey cost £60 to buy brand new and the Youth totally wanted to buy them to keep, but I managed to persuade them all that they didn't need huge Teddies to be happy, and also that their parents would never forgive me for letting them buy them because nobody has that much room in their house that a giant teddy wouldn't take up too much room!

Sad Giant Teddies

Saturday, 25 August 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 25th August 2018

FOUR MONTHS TODAY WILL BE CHRISTMAS DAY! Oh my goodness, that has sneaked up on us, right? Flyfour and I, when on a "Pippa forgot to get on the weekly shop" trip, saw that Tesco is already stocking tins of Christmas sweets (Yes, we did buy one) so I'm officially starting stocking up on Christmas goodies this week!

Christmas Jumper Biscuit

Yes, I'm a tiny bit excited.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Emily Veg Crisps #Review

When I was younger, my Mum would often (well it seemed often to me!) take a bowl of crisps to bed. I always thought that it was special and something I couldn't wait to do when I was old enough. As I got older, occasionally my Mum would share her snack with my Sister and I as we sat on her bed watching TV, and it was there that I got a love for different crips. When Emily Veg Crisps asked if I'd like to try their new Sweet Potato Sticks seasoned with Sea Salt, I said YES PLEASE, because A I love sweet potato and B I love free food.

Emily Veg Crisps Sweet Potato Sticks Packet

The packets are rather snazzy looking, I mean look at them! They are funky purple and they just look really appetising!

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Wanted: One Enemy

I've been feeling a little stuck recently. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my life and every single crazy thing that goes on in it. It just felt a little like I had stagnated. I wanted to be doing better, I wanted to be stretching myself, I wanted to... I didn't know what I wanted which is probably part of the reason I had stagnated if I'm honest.

So I had a think.

PippaD having a think

What did I need to get me moving forward again? What did I need to get me out of the rut? The answer came to me whilst I was in the shower.

An Enemy.  I needed an enemy.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Family History: More Than Just A Family Tree

What did my Nan's Christmas cake look like? What did I eat for breakfast most mornings? What was my favourite drink? What did I want to be? What did I accomplish? What did my Gran want to be when she was younger? What did my Grandfather think about the internet? What will my Dad be remembered for? What is my Mum's earliest memory?

All these are questions that I've pondered on over the last few weeks, as I've been filling in more memories on FamilySearch about my family, whilst simultaneously searching records to complete more genealogy work for my family and finding out who I'm related to thanks to a DNA test I did with Ancestry (currently 128 4th cousins or closer and around 21162 others!) and discovered that I am for the most part Northern/Scottish with a hint of Scandinavian, Iberian and Western Europen thrown in for good measure!

PippaD's DNA Test Results

Saturday, 18 August 2018

What We're Eating W/C 18th August 2018

I'm starting to think that my family and I need to start having different meals again, purposely pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone. Did I tell you that whilst Dan Jon was away with Flyfour he tried a Blue Cheese Sauce and loved it? Maybe it is me who is the one keeping us in the same meals... hmm I'll have to think about that during this week.

My thinking place on the deck in the garden

In the meantime, here is what we are eating this week!

Friday, 17 August 2018

A Walk Around Intu Lakeside

When Top Ender and I had finished our time at the Temple, there was really only one place that she wanted to go to.

Naked Dough.

Neon Naked Dough Sign

Now, for those of you not in the know (basically anyone that doesn't live within the boundary of the M25), Naked Dough is a cookie shop with a difference. It's a Raw Cookie Dough Shop, and you can buy a scoop or two of different flavours and... well it's just delicious okay?!

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The London Temple Trip

A few weeks ago, Top Ender and I headed down to the London Temple with the Youth from our ward. It was a really lovely day, on the way down the two young women and two young men I was in charge of, entertained us all with conversations that ranged from one obscure subject to another via stories of school friends, events they were looking forward to over the summer and of course how good it would be to finally get out of my car to stretch our legs.

The England London LDS Temple

Monday, 13 August 2018

My Quiet Place

At the last General Conference, there was a talk given by President Russel M. Nelson where we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, were encouraged to receive personal revelation, as in, we should regularly talk to God in prayer and then listen for what God wants to tell us and we should practice this regularly so that it becomes easier for us to understand the revelation that we are being given.

Quote by Russel M Nelson "Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort."

President Nelson suggested we find a quiet place to go and at the time I was filled with thoughts of finding a special place, somewhere in the nearby woods, or a local park that for some reason nobody uses. Somewhere private and off the beaten track. I didn't think about how practical it would be, I just wanted somewhere in Nature and somewhere private. Until I found that special place then, my bedroom floor would just have to do.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

What We're Eating W/C 11th August 2018

Another week where I'm sure that I blinked and missed half of it! The meal plans for this week are quite simple, mainly because on Monday we're dragging Top Ender kicking and screaming to FSY, which is a Church Camp and she'll love once she gets there... it's just she has to remember to not let her fears and anxiety get in the way of her having a great time!

GREAT graffiti

Saturday - Baked Sloppy Joe

We haven't had this for AGES and it is one of our favourites, so I'm sure it will be met with a lot of grins from the family! I might attempt to make two because I know that after we've eaten one, we always ask if there is more!

Friday, 10 August 2018

The Gyosei Art Trail

If you know two things about my family, the first is probably that we like to go on walks as a family and the second is that Top Ender is a Japanophile. Actually, so am I and Dan Jon, whilst Flyfour has an appreciation that has been cultivated because he lives with the three of us!

A piece of art on the Gyosei Art Trail

A few months back, Flyfour suggested that we might like to go for a walk that combined our love of things Japanese, Art and of course walking, It happened to be Father's Day and so we headed off to where the Gyosei International School UK used, which has since been knocked down and a Retirement Village and some houses built in what was once its grounds.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Accidental Extra Shopping

Since having become the Young Women's President for my ward my life has got busy. Like super busy.

Hear me when I say this, I am not complaining.

PippaD, Flyfour, Top Ender and Dan Jon at Church

I love that I get to hang out with the Young Women and I love that I get to do so many things with them. It's just that I'm trying to keep all my old promises that I made to my family and myself, all whilst working in my calling and of course, it's now the Summer holidays which means I have two mini me's wanting me to feed them every day and I still need to do things like, clean, study and I don't know whatever else it is that I fill my days with!

Monday, 6 August 2018

A Walk at Waterhall Park

Back at the start of May, we were having a blast of nice weather and decided to make the most of it by going for a family walk. I had been playing about on Google Maps trying to see if I could work out where a picnic table I could see from the Road was and why it was in the middle of a field, and discovered that there was a walk in this field, and it was called Waterhall Park.

A sign in the Parks Trust Waterhall Park South Car park

We arrived at Waterhall Park and have since discovered that we didn't park in the "official" car park at the North of the park, but the smaller one by the allotments at the south of the park. Honestly, the small one only takes about three cars, don't make the same mistake we did!

Saturday, 4 August 2018

What We're Eating W/C 4th August 2018

I swear it can't be Saturday already, but it is. Here is what we are eating this week and a little look into what goes on during our week too!

Saturday - BBQ Chicken and Salad

I have a lot of Salad in the fridge that needs to be eaten and I figure if I sprinkle it with lots of BBQ Chicken the rest of the family won't complain!

Chicken and Salad

Friday, 3 August 2018

GITA The Battle of the Worlds Book Tour!

GITA The Battle of the Worlds Book Tour Banner

I have mentioned numerous times, that here at A Mother's Ramblings we are a house of readers. Top Ender at her recent Parent's Evening was called a Bookworm by her Maths teacher, that's how often she has her nose in a book.

Poor old Dan Jon has to suffer the embarrassment of being singled out in Assembly when he reaches a new reading milestone (the same ones each year) with the Headteacher normally saying something like; "And who can guess who is the first person to have read X times this last School year?" and all the children raise their hands to volunteer his name, as they know he is the only one to have read so much to have reached the target so quickly.

And me? Well, Books are like air to me, I need to read at least one chapter a day (who am I kidding, it's more like one book a day) and am well known, in our house at least, for reading shampoo bottles in the shower if I've been in there too long and am starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

Putting Things In Place (Part 5)

Since Top Ender's first meeting at CAHM's, Flyfour and I have read everything we can about ASD. As we've been reading we've occasionally pointed things out to the other that we have found interesting or useful or in the case of one book written to the library and suggest they no longer issue it as it was so stupid and completely contradicts everything else we've read (I shan't bother repeating the rubbish that was in there, sufficient to say the Library pulled the book and if they hadn't I was prepared to accidentally ruin it by spilling something on it).

PippaD and Top Ender

I've taken a course, I've joined Facebook Groups, I've reached out to friends, I've spoken with countless teacher friends, medical professionals, I've read websites, blogs, watched TV Shows and most importantly we've spoken as a family. We've discussed what helps Top Ender, what doesn't help, what makes her feel safe, what doesn't.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Period After (Part 4)

After we had left the Hospital, the Nurse explained that after he had discussed Top Ender in his next meeting with his colleagues, we'd get a letter in the post and the next steps would be explained in the letter depending upon what he and his colleagues felt.

I joked to Top Ender, that the way things take forever in Hospitals to filter through to the right department, we'd be lucky if we got the letter much before my birthday in May, which was about six weeks away. And I was right.  Just a couple of days before, the letter came through, confirming what the Nurse had said and asking us to speak with Top Ender's School about some information that they could gather together to support (or disprove) the Autism diagnosis.

Top Ender looking all cute

I had already emailed the staff members that would be involved, I'd let them know what the Nurse had told me and told them I would keep them updated, so an appointment was made where the SEN spoke to me just as the Nurse had done and asked 100's of questions.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Enlightenment (Part 3)

Suddenly things popped into my head.

PippaD when she has had a thought

Like, how a SEN teacher who knew Top Ender had said to me one day that when she first met Top's she assumed she was on the Spectrum.

Like, how one of the teachers at Top Ender's senior school had said to her one day that when she first met her, she assumed she was on the Spectrum.

Like, how I had painstakingly made face plates of different emotions when Top Ender was a toddler because somehow I had noticed she didn't seem to see the difference and I had to physically teach her what different faces looked like.

Like, how Top Ender couldn't seem to follow more than one conversation at a time and seemed baffled by those (me) who could.

All I managed to say however was, I thought you were going to say OCD.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The Appointment (Part 2)

The appointment with CAMHS was in the middle of a School morning, so after picking up Top Ender from School, we drove to the hospital. We weren't as nervous as we might have been as we'd done a little research about what would happen in this appointment and knew that someone was going to talk to us and be nosey and ask a million questions.

We sat in the waiting room side by side making silly jokes and trying to relax, when the Nurse, a rather handsome chap, came up to us and invited us into one of the rooms. After reminding Top Ender to say Hello, we sat down and started.

Top Ender about to go to School

The Nurse told us that at some point, he might ask me to leave the room and talk to Top Ender alone. We were ready for that, but it turned out that I didn't have to, but it was a fair warning and I thought I'd leave it here in case you are reading this looking for information about what could happen at a similar appointment.

Monday, 30 July 2018

The Build Up (Part 1)

I wrote this post a little while back, ready to be published when, well now.

Two days ago, Top Ender and I went to our local hospital to meet with the CAMHS service. In case you don't know CAMHS stands for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service and to be honest, I was half expecting them to tell me that I was wrong. That my instincts as a mother were wrong. That my teenage daughter was just a bit of a drama queen and testing her boundaries. I thought this, because, well Top Ender is Top Ender. She's perfect. She's funny and caring and loving and all her little quirks, are just that. Quirks.

Turns out that I was right and those little quirks? Yeah, they aren't just quirks.

Really though, to tell this story I need to go back to the start. Well, the start of recognising that those quirks that made my daughter unique, might actually be a condition.

Top Ender, possibly part cat

Saturday, 28 July 2018

What We're Eating W/C 28th July 2018

Is it just me or has the first week of the holiday flown by? Luckily, I am fairly up to date with what is happening in the world (Alexa give me the headlines every morning) and so am still aware of the day and date... Hopefully, I won't lose this ability by the end of the School Holidays!

Lots of Family Fun ahead!

Saturday, 21 July 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 21st July 2018

I almost can't believe that the first week of the School Summer Holidays is here, but here it is. We have so much planned for the summer, that doesn't cost very much, that between Mummy Home School and our trips, I'm not sure we're going to have much time to eat! This week is all about chilling at home however, so I've prepared a meal plan just in case we do want to eat... who am I kidding we always want to eat!

Giant Fluffy Pancakes

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Watermelon and Feta Salad Recipe

In a couple of weekends, we are going to have a BBQ for my Mother in Laws birthday and I've been trying to think of some lovely grown-up dishes to have with the obvious BBQ'd Meats, that is a bit different from the usual Salads, Corn and other normal Side Dishes.

Luckily, Sopwell House’s Executive Head Chef Gopi Chandran has shared a recipe that is perfect in this weather and it will be perfect to accompany our BBQ as a side dish to blow all other side dishes out of the water!

I know that we are going to love this (well I may have to ignore the olives) and can't wait to make it.

Watermelon Salad at Sopwell House by Executive Head Chef Gopi Chandran

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Evening Meals W/C 14th July 2018

Oh my gosh, I swear this month is just gathering speed! How can it already almost be the end of the month and the English Children breaking up from School? I swear this is the quickest July we've ever had and I still haven't got round to buying myself some blooms to cheer me up!

Some pretty flowers from last year that brightened my hall

Right, on to the food before it's next Saturday and I'm thinking about feeding my children several hundred times a day!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Football, A Secret And Yummy Brioche!

Dan Jon and I have a really big secret to let you in on, but you have to really keep it a secret and not tell anyone else okay?

We're not Footie fans.

Some of the little children I read with at School, will tell me all about their latest football accomplishments, and I've learnt some of the right noises to make (mostly by a trial and error) and I've given one of the children the nickname Mr Football Legs. I'm really not sure what it means, but he seems to like it!

Dan Jon is really struggling this week, as the project they have been working on this term is all finished and so they have a short project to see them to the end of term... The World Cup and he is fuming! He has no clue about Football other than players try to get the ball into a goal and he hasn't yet watched a single World Cup Match (I've managed at least three!).

Dan Jon at the MK Don's Stadium

Saying that some things we do know about Football is that our local Football Club is the MK Dons, that Dele Alli is a Milton Keynes lad and of course we fully understand the offside rule thanks to one of my Sister's Ex-boyfriends and the use of the Salt and Pepperpots.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

A New Calling

Normally I post at 7am in the morning, on the A Mother's Ramblings blog, because I like to have a post up and ready for the day. Today, however, this post won't go live until around 11am, because I'm keeping a secret, and at some point between 10am and 11am, if all goes to plan, then my secret will be revealed.

A couple of weeks ago, I was released as the Primary President in our ward. (That isn't the secret.)

PippaD having fun as the Primary President

The reason for the release was that the two wards that met in our building were merged to create one ward, our boundaries were slightly changed and this meant, for the most part, there were two people in every calling. Everyone in our ward with a calling and the ward we were merged with was released and the only callings put into place that weekend was those of the Bishopric.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

What We Are Eating W/C 7th July 2018

This week has come round so fast! I was so ready to be full of the joys of summer, but somehow it is Friday already and I'm needing to work out what we are eating next week so I can go shopping in between visiting with a friend, going to School for a Curriculum assembly to see Dan Jon as John Logie-Baird and cooking our Mexican feast!

Dan Jon as John Logie Baird at the Curriculum Showcase

So with that in mind, here is my meal plan for next week!

Saturday, 30 June 2018

What We're Eating W/C 30th June 2018

Just so you all know, I wrote this incredibly quickly last Sunday, just before I started my Social Media Fast. Why? Well, funny enough Blogs are considered Social Media because of the community that builds up. Now, I know that writing a blog post wouldn't be breaking the rules, but I wanted to ensure I wasn't tempted!

Pippa is on a Social media ban header image

Anyway, here is what we are eating this coming week and please forgive any mistakes you spot, I had five minutes to write this, because I only just remembered!

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A Visit to Kensal Green Cemetery

For some time I have been planning a trip to Kensal Green Cemetery in North West London, for the family, admittedly not a "normal" family outing, but have you met my family? When running an hour early for a meeting last week and found myself practically on the doorstep of Kensal Green Cemetery, I managed to take some time to take a look. A pre-visit if you will!

This cemetery is the largest, in terms of size if not in numbers of burials, of London's 19th Century "Magnificent 7" cemeteries. It was also the first, opening from 1833 to alleviate overcrowding in existing parish burial grounds. Over 250,000 people are buried here in this 72-acre site, and it is still open for some burials and interments today.

Kensal Green Cemetery in North West London

Now, the thought of being fascinated by the opportunity to visit a cemetery may be rather unusual to some readers, but this is a very special site for a number of reasons.

Monday, 25 June 2018

Packed Lunches W/C 25th June 2018

Another week, another set of lunches almost identical to the week before! This is the last of the "freezer" sandwiches so next week will be a whole new range of ideas, like the Sunshine Yellow Summer Solstice Lunch Box Idea!

Sunshine Yellow Summer Solstice Lunch Box Idea

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Evening Meals W/C 23rd June 2018

I was so out of sorts yesterday that despite working out what we were going to eat for the week, I didn't properly write it down or even go shopping to buy the food... So this morning I'm doing those jobs as well as preparing for a slightly impromptu hang out session that Dan Jon has organised at our house for his friends later today.

Dan Jon being all cute and one with nature

With all that in mind, here's what we're eating this week.

Friday, 22 June 2018

A Rainbows and Brownies Trip to Pets At Home

Top Ender has been volunteering with a local Rainbows and Brownies group as a young leader for over a year now and I have to say it has been amazing seeing how confident she is, how great she is with the small ones (and not so small ones) and how much the Leaders properly trust and love her.

Recently, a trip was organised (on two successive nights) for the Rainbows and Brownies to visit Pets at Home, where they would learn about Animals, get some hands-on experience and of course the all-important, finish off some work that would qualify them for a badge.

Top Ender at one of our local Pets at Home in Milton Keynes. We're greedy we have two and another just about fifteen minutes from our house in Buckingham.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Dan Jon's Adventure To The Phlebotomist

Once a year Dan Jon has an annual blood test done at our local hospital. It's to do with his Diabetes and is just to check that he hasn't developed any other auto-immune diseases and I'm sure other stuff that I've forgotten since we were first told we needed to attend these appointments each year. Our most recent appointment was scheduled for 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, a couple of weeks ago.

Now; If you have been reading my blog posts over the last few weeks, you will have seen that Flyfour's car was off the road for a few days when he ran over some metal in the road and it caused a massive rip in his tyre. In order to go to work, you know so we could pay the bills to buy a new tyre, Flyfour needed to take my car to work.

Not a problem, but when you suddenly realise that you are responsible for a tiny human who has an appointment at the hospital that afternoon, you have to go on an Adventure.

Dan Jon before School

Monday, 18 June 2018

Packed Lunches W/C 18th June 2018

I did think that the Packed lunches were going to kill me, but the weekend before we started having lunches again, I made up a months worth of Sandwich Sushi and Wraps, so that I can easily pull them out of the freezer of a morning and have lunch ready in just a few seconds.

Top Ender and Dan Jon having a hug in the Morning School Run Photo

The other benefit of this, is that I only have to think of two lunches a week and this week one of those lunches makes a batch, so we'll be good next week for lunches on three days, leaving me to just think up one new lunch and then I'll come up with even more ideas for July.