A Mothers Ramblings: February 2019

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Making Store Brought, Home Made!

I am in no way saying that I have ever done this, just as I am also in no way saying that I won't ever do this again in the future and more importantly I am not saying that this is right or wrong and I most definitely didn't know that one of my friends got the idea from me and has been passing off some cookies as baked from scratch when they are in fact purchased from a local bakery...

So, I love to bake. I really do and I'm not bad at it, but sometimes I want to take a treat to a friend and I realise that I've not left enough time to make something and there is only one thing left to do.

Some nice Gluten Free Cup cakes, that I totally told my husband I made.

Cheat.



Wednesday, 27 February 2019

An Unexpected Holiday In A Day

Flyfour had arranged a last-minute day off whilst the children were on half term and so we thought we would go for a walk as a family and just enjoy the sunshine that was making February feel Spring-like, rather than a cold winter day like it was just a week before!

Flyfour had an idea of a walk that he had wanted to do that he had driven past several times when he had been working in Chalfont and so we set off to central Buckinghamshire... actually we headed to Chequers (yes, the country house of the Prime Minister) as the walk we were going on was just up the road from the Chequers estate. In fact, the area used to be part of the Chequers estate!

When we arrived at Coombe Hill, we found the carpark to be quite, erm well there were a lot of Potholes, which is to be expected from a natural area like this. I wish I'd got a photo, but just make sure to go slowly and you and your car will be fine.

Coombe Hill, National Trust Site and a great family Walk

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Top Ender's Hour To Do Anything!

Whilst Dan Jon was at his Babysitting Faith In God activity last week, Top Ender and I had a whole hour to ourselves, and Top Ender was quite sure what she wanted to do with that hour. Now remember, within reason she could do anything, and what did this teenager of mine decide to do?

GET FOOD!


There had been suggestions of going to the Library, or looking in a couple of shops that she likes, but no. Top Ender was determined that if we were going to hang out together that there was just one thing that we should do, and that was to go to Costa for a drink and possibly a sandwich, or a cake or a sandwich and a cake! Luckily, the home of Brother and Sister Island is about five minutes away from a Costa, and so after dropping Dan Jon off, we quickly sped off, found a parking space and was sitting drinking our drinks and Top Ender eating a pack of Mango pieces, all within ten minutes.

Top Ender with her favourite Strawberries and Cream Costa Drink

Monday, 25 February 2019

All Meals W/C 25th February 2019

I hate to say that I 'm looking forward to the end of the month of Salads, but I really am. Don't get me wrong, I have LOVED the salads, almost all of them have been great and I certainly have several favourites that will be put into our regular meal rotation (and feature a lot over the Summer!) and it has helped the family to see what they do and don't like.

Dan Jon and Top Ender all lit up

Apparently, they don't like Salad.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Week Three Of Salads

As normal, I'm just talking about the Salads that were good and not the Salads that were a little, shall we say disappointing. We think we know as a family what our favourites are, but there are a few close seconds!

We had a Fajita Salad on the Saturday night, that Flyfour and I really enjoyed but the children found a little spicy and it probably didn't help that I picked a few Salad leaves that had some bite to them... Still, it was fine and they all ate it if just a little slowly!

Fajita Chicken Salad Bowl


Friday, 22 February 2019

Babysitting - A Faith In God Activity

Dan Jon has a really cool Faith In God activity this last week, that he was super excited to attend because it was something that he wanted to learn, something he hoped he would be good at and something that he personally hasn't had much practice at, but loves doing. His new Faith In God leader, (we'll call him Brother Island for the rest of this blog post as his name sort of means that!) and he had wanted those in the Faith In God programme to learn a bit more about how they can serve others, which is something that Dan Jon loves doing, by helping them to learn how to Babysit and providing a small Babysitting kit.

Brother Island, is Dad to five young children and so with the help of his lovely wife and children, those who attend Faith In God were going to learn how to take care of young children, how to play games with them, learn how to be a great babysitter and of course there were some snacks promised too!

Dan Jon had been the first to arrive, but soon others joined him and together they helped Brother and Sister Island put some bits and pieces in a Ziploc bag, which was being explained as a Babysitting kit. It's actually not too dissimilar to the bag of goodies I used to cart around with me when I used to babysit.

Dan Jon with his Babysitting Pack. It includes Bubbles, an information sheet, some bits to craft with and some little toys too

Thursday, 21 February 2019

The Start Of GCSE's Revision

I spoke last week about our family plan of Dan Jon not doing any revision at home for his SATs, but for Top Ender it is a little different... and by a little I mean a HUGE amount. Top Ender will be taking her GCSE's next Summer, yeah I know, the little girl who is the reason I started this blog is old enough to be taking her GCSE's and then will be out in the big wide world.

Anyway, the last few weeks have been full of revision for her mocks, taking her mocks, going over the questions asked in her mocks with her classes in the different lessons and even speaking about them at home. They have discussed what they got right, what they got wrong, where there are gaps in their learnings, where they need to revise a little more, where they need to improve, where they can help each other and themselves. We've even spoken about them at her recent Parent's Evening!

We had made it important, revising for her Mocks. Ensuring that Tops had time, space and snacks. Asking her questions about various subjects, asking her to teach us so that things will fix in her own mind and do you know what? It worked.

Top Ender looking grown Up

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

All Change Day - Where We Come From

One of the things that the Head at the Primary School both Top Ender and Dan Jon have attended over the last few years (7 years each, well it will be this July for Dan Jon) put into place not too long after she became the Head, were these days where the entire School gets turned on it's head a little.

All seven years of the School mix together and learn together, divided only by one of the four house groups. The older students with siblings in the school, get to help their siblings, students like Dan Jon get to hang out with students in younger years and help them and of course, Parents are invited along too. This most recent "All Change Day" was about different countries, with each student asked to attend wearing something that represented their heritage.

This was Dan Jon.

Dan Jon in his "It's a Scottish Thing" T-shirt

I love that he is so proud of his Scottish roots! I really need to take him back to Scotland and show him all the things he loves about the place that he doesn't even really remember.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

The Food and Craft Fair

Saturday morning had us all up bright and early, despite it being the first day of the half-term holiday and everyone apart from me had stayed up rather later either reading or watching the Welsh Open. I had been doing both but had also gone to bed at a "decent" time because I'm a sensible grown-up.

Please stop laughing.

Flyfour and I had announced to the Children, the previous evening, that we would all be leaving the house at 9:30 am the next morning and we did actually get out the door on time. It was only once we were all buckled into our seats, that we remembered we hadn't said our family morning prayer and so we said that before we set off.

The Family Ready to go!

The plan was, that we were going to go to the local Shopping Centre to have a look at the Food and Craft Fair, (here until February 25th!) or more particularly, the Food part. Flyfour and I will often eat Cheese and crackers for our evening meal on a Sunday evening (or as my lunch during the week) and we like to support artisan companies because generally, they have the best cheese!

The problem was, when we got there the stalls weren't open, as it wasn't opening until 10 am! So we went for a quickish walk around the shopping centre and even managed to get Flyfour to offer to buy us all books (we declined, as we had all been gifted books in the week!).


Monday, 18 February 2019

All Meals W/C 18th February 2019

I'm actually a little upset, as I've realised today that our month of Salad is almost over! There are just eleven more days (including today) of a daily salad and I think, that the whole family are going to miss eating all these extra veggies each day... So we'll have to keep that up. I'm just not sure how at the moment. Maybe we'll be one of those families that eats a serving of Salad with our meal, or before our meal or as a side to your meal. I have no idea!

A rather large side Salad with Sandwich

Sunday, 17 February 2019

In Our House, Reading Is Important

In our house, reading is important.

Dan Jon with a giant reading book

Actually, no that isn't quite true. Reading isn't important, reading is, reading is a way of life.

Every morning before any of us even think about getting up in the morning we read. We read when we get home from School. We read when we go to bed. We read when we are waiting for our evening meal, we read whilst we eat our lunch, we read when we are standing in queues.

We read fast. We read slow. We read with passion. We read whilst crying and whilst laughing.

We read long complicated books. We read short easy books. We read books of quotes. We read books of history.

We read fiction. We read non-fiction.

We read blogs and news stories and newspapers and pamphlets.

We read textbooks for personal learning and formal education.

We read our Scriptures, for fun, for learning and for understanding the world we live in.

We read because we enjoy it and because it helps us learn.

We read because it makes us, who we are.

We read because we love it.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Week Two of Salads

By Saturday morning, I had mostly calmed down from my bad mood over the family ruining my salad plans. I realised that I was taking the whole not liking the salad thing personally. It's a salad, it isn't something to get annoyed over. I'm used to the family not liking food I do, that's why I get to have whatever I want for lunch when they aren't here! And the Coronation Chicken Salad? That will be something I have for lunch in the future, although, with a star-shaped fried egg on top it was rather lush for breakfast!

By evening time, the family (well Flyfour was at work, so he doesn't count) were contrite and understood that I was making food for them, that was healthy, nutritious and pushing the boundaries of what they were used to for a reason. I was doing it to help them, not to punish them. They agreed after the MASSIVE lunch they had both had (Tops had a Five Guys, and Dan Jon had been to Pizza Hut for a friends Birthday) that a small bowl of salad would fill them up, and I wouldn't get annoyed at the waste if they didn't eat it.

So we had the Roasted Pepper Panzanella.

Roasted Pepper Panzanella.


Friday, 15 February 2019

An Evening For New Beginnings

As a Young Women's President for our ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I get to spend time with the Young Women each week and I honestly love it. Twice a year we get to celebrate them with an evening about them/the programme they are involved in. At the end of last year, my counsellors had both been busy and so I had organised our "Young Women In Excellence" evening, and one of my counsellors volunteered to organise the next event, not realising it was just a few weeks away! It was this event, our "New Beginnings" that we had this week.

If ye love me keep my commandments bunting

The counsellor had printed this fab bunting, as a reminder of the theme for the year, "If ye love me keep my Commandments" and it was great hearing from the girls what it meant to them and how they apply it to their everyday lives.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

It's VALENTINE'S Day!

In case the postman is late with your Valentine's Cards, here is one you can see anytime you want from me to you.

Valentine's Day Cookie

Also, just in case nobody has told you recently, you are an amazing person, you are fun and beautiful and smart and a great friend.

You are so talented, strong and you know that dish you cook? That is the best I have ever eaten.

You honestly should win awards, but I know you don't like much of a fuss, so instead know that I love you and that you deserve great things.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Homemade Croutons

Okay, before I start this post, I need to know why nobody told me how easy Croutons were to make and just in case anybody nobody has told you, did you know that Croutons are so EASY to make? I honestly only just found out and have made them three times in four days and I am honestly going to be making these for every salad, soup and every other dish I can possibly imagine... in fact I think I may have a breakfast idea which might work too...

Golden Home Made Croutons

Right so how do I make these amazing croutons?


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Playing With Light

A few weeks ago, one of the activities the young women had wanted to do was to play about with some light photography. Unfortunately, that evening the young woman who was going to teach us, was unable to attend and we only found out moments before the activity started. So, we decided to press on with my rather limited knowledge of long exposure photography. The girls and us leaders had a blast, so much so that this past Sunday evening, I managed to get the entire family out into the back garden to have a bit of a play with light. It was hilarious and we all laughed, giggled and got out of breath running around the garden whilst we wrote names and short words, and all the time remembering to write the words backwards, although in the case of Flyfour not always remembering the amount of space one needed!

Light Photography drawing of FLYFOUR


Monday, 11 February 2019

All Meals W/C 11th February 2019

Our First week of salads went quite well, did you see my post on Saturday confirming that? Well, pop over at some point to give it a read and see the pictures! This week of course see's Valentines Day, which is traditionally a meal involving Steak in our home. I just hope that Flyfour still loves me at the end of the month!

The picture below is our favourite meal of the last week. Flyfour ate his at a different time to the children and I, and was quite surprised at how "pretty" I had made ours look, compared to how he just dumped it all on the plate! There is the main difference between Flyfour and I. I eat with my eyes, he just uses his mouth...

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Christlike Love

I was thinking about Christlike love this week. To me, Christlike love is loving everyone, but therein lies a problem. How can I teach my children to love everyone?

Even those who eat really smelly food on trains or those who have different political opinions to the ones you hold or those who make off colour jokes or those who purposely say things about you behind your back to others or even those who decide that although there are very clear signs the traffic is merging up ahead and everyone else is queuing nicely, still try to push right to the very front because they can't possibly sit in traffic for an extra two minutes.

I'm really working on loving those last ones and I'm an adult, I should have this mastered.

PippaD pretending she is a proper adult

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Week One Of Salads

Flyfour is used to me. He is used to me coming up with wacky ideas and because he is truly my best friend, my soulmate, my foil (and if we're being honest my straight man!), he goes along with my wacky plans and basically humours me. Occasionally he gets an idea or two of his own, which is why as well as eating Salad every day for a month, we are also not shopping in our usual supermarket and for the last two weeks we've been shopping in Aldi and saving around 10% off our usual shopping bill. It's been a bit of a lightbulb moment!

Our first week of Salads has been a pretty good week and a good way to get the whole family on the same page with regards to what they will and won't eat when they are hungry and all that is on offer is something that they really aren't that fond of... yes I do mean Flyfour and Top Ender!

The A Mother's Ramblings Family

What did we think of the food? Well, let's just talk about the good ones as I saw them, shall we?


Friday, 8 February 2019

The Lost Security Pass

Earlier this week, Flyfour sent me a message asking for my superior skills to help him locate a man who had been sat next to him. No, it wasn't that he wanted to find him and run off with him, or to continue a conversation, it wasn't even that he had told the gentleman that his wife was at home and itching to look up some stranger on the internet, although it would have been cool if he had done that last one. I live for moments like that.

Instead, it was because in his rush to leave the train, the man hadn't noticed he had accidentally left his Security Pass behind on the seat and Flyfour sent me a picture of the pass so I could see what we were dealing with. The security pass had just two identifying pieces of information on the card; the gentleman's security photograph and his name. The name wasn't exactly a common name, but a quick Facebook and Twitter search found an awful lot of people with his exact name. Flyfour wanted to see if we could trace this man to let him know that Flyfour had his Security Pass, as I'm sure many of you know, replacing that is a right bother, and of course it would be a good deed.

I had a think.

The Shut Train Doors

Thursday, 7 February 2019

A Monumental Moment for Dan Jon

This week saw a monumental moment in the A Mother's Ramblings household and one that passed without much of a fanfare. You see, this last week Dan Jon started to grow up, well School grow up. He changed from being my "little Primary Schoolboy" to being my "almost at Secondary Schoolboy".

That's right, this week Dan Jon started his SATs prep at School.

Dan Jon will be taking his SATs the week of his 11th Birthday and like Top Ender, Dan Jon isn't that worried about taking the SATs, all he is thinking of is how his friends might not be up to celebrate, because they will be mentally exhausted.

Dan Jon isn't worried about his own mental exhaustion, because he understands from the number of times I told Top Ender, that the test is more about how well his teachers have taught him rather than how well he has learnt.

Dan Jon at School looking as lovely as he always does!

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

We Finally Got New Towels!

Flyfour and I were a little bit cheeky this past Christmas and when my Mum asked if there was anything we would like for Christmas, or would we like cash, we took the cash option. We had decided that we needed to replace our towels, which we'd had for a good few years... I shan't embarrass myself by confessing quite how old some of them were, but lets put it this way they were older than Top Ender and looking very rough!

Our original plan was to buy some grown-up towels (basically we decided we weren't going to go with bright colours but something like Stone) and after much groping of towels in various department stores, we were becoming towel snobs, and able to tell the difference between different GSM types, the different types of cotton and even looking if the hems were double stitched!

Fluffy Towels with a high GSM and double Stitching and pure cotton!

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Top Ender Doesn't Love Me!

On Sunday, after Dan Jon, Top Ender and I returned home from Church, Top Ender asked Flyfour if he was up for making some cupcakes with her later that afternoon. Since our trip to Aldi the previous day, when they had found some Chocolate Orange segments, they had been talking about making some Orange flavoured cakes and as we had all the ingredients needed it was a given it was going to happen.

After we'd had lunch and put the dishwasher on, they made some Cupcakes together.

They had a blast and when they'd finished, they asked if I would like one.

Chocolate Orange Cupcakes

Monday, 4 February 2019

All Meals W/C 4th February 2019

Finally February is properly underway and I can get the whole family eating Salad and not worrying about silly things like Snow, complaining how cold it is and how they can't possibly eat Salad and all the while not worrying because I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid and there is plenty of warm food available to have as sides if that is what they are worried about!

So, here is what we are having this week!

A Sunny Chicken Salad

Saturday, 2 February 2019

The New Unit

Flyfour and I were rather excited when we found out that our home was going to be one of the first in Milton Keynes to have the Superfast Internet of our dreams. Never mind that the rest of the world and our own machines would be slowing us down!

One day, shortly before the new internet was activated, I mentioned to Flyfour that I was after a box or a chest of drawers or something that the children and I could throw our, hats, gloves and scarves into when we got in from the cold. The current coat hanging situation just wasn't good enough for them and it gave Flyfour an idea.

We need a new unit for the routers to sit on, we need a new unit to put our scarves, hats and gloves in... let's combine the two.

our new unit

So we did!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Dan Jon Has Chilblains!

Just before Christmas, Dan Jon came in from School and commented that his knuckles were a bit sore. He took off his gloves and showed me, what looked like a little burn or graze. I questioned if he had caught his hand on the radiator in the bathroom, or at School, but he assured me he hadn't. So, a little magic cream later (Yes, it was a pot of hand cream I'd written magic on!) and it was sort of forgotten. Well, forgotten by me at least.

A week ago, Dan Jon called to me as it was his bedtime and he was crying with pain. His hands were sore, and from the look in his eyes, this was proper pain, not trying to get out of going to bed pain. I suggested he go and give his hands a good wash in warm water (just in case it was something on his hands!) and that he meet me in my bedroom afterwards.

Dan Jon looking warm and snuggly