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Showing posts from August, 2011

Animals - The Gallery

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The gallery theme this week is Animals. I thought about posting a picture of the concrete cows here in Milton Keynes, or even the Wooden Cows that we found in Geneva. I thought about the elephants that we went to London every week to find last Summer or even the hundreds of pictures of animals in wildlife parks, Zoo's and farms and even ones we have seen in the wild when we have been on walks and rambles in the local area.
Instead though I thought I a picture of Top Ender from a few years back would be more fun.

As you can see Top Ender was a chubby little Baby and she loved to smile for the camera from a very early age. One Easter I decided to take a few photos for posterity and took the above snap. She loved it, she sat there surrounded by chocolate with her bunny and wearing her bunny ears and grinned. The ears fell off at one point but she just giggled and sat there smiling for the camera.
I look at Top Ender now and think how amazing it is that the baby in this picture became th…

The Indoor Beach - Wordless Wednesday

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Father Christmas at Harrods

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Last year when my sister and I talked about our Christmas Traditions we talked about booking tickets to go and see Father Christmas. It was decided by my Sister that she was going to try and see him at Harrods, as it was something that she would love to start as an annual holiday tradition for her and her family. As I hate going into London during December I didn't try to book tickets I know from previous years that Harrods at Christmas is amazing, with the whole store being themed. Last year the theme at Harrods was a Vintage Christmas in celebration of J.M.Barries Peter Pan and my sister confirmed that walking through the store was amazing.

The actual Santa visit resulted in the first family photograph of the entire family together, some gifts from Santa and lots of fun and made me just a teeny tiny bit jealous, as the whole thing cost just a £5 booking fee! That's right other than the booking fee, going to see Santa at Harrods is free (and the £5 is credited back to your re…

Caption It Monday! #1

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This weekend saw me being a bit silly. Yes, I know when doesn't a weekend see me be a bit silly? Anyway I decided that I should start a bit of a game with Caption It Monday! Every Monday I will post a picture that you get to leave a comment on, suggesting the best caption you can think of and then the following Monday I shall list the best runner ups and the winner along with a new photograph for you to caption....

Easy right?

Okay the first week's picture is below.


I'm saying nothing, but come on caption away!

Speedo Sea Squad Helping Big Boy Learn To Swim

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We were sent some Speedo Sea Squad Learn To Swim goodies.
In one short year Big Boy will be starting school, before then though we are going to cram in as much fun as possible and complete as many things from our Things to do before Starting School List. One of the items on this list is to learn to swim and so when Speedo sent over some products from the Sea Squad Learn To Swim range we knew we had no excuse to achieve this goal!

The Speedo Sea Squad Website was launched in January and is a good site for children to explore and has some great downloads available for keeping track of your swimming progress. This is great as it helps me to know what to encourage Big Boy to do when we go to our local pool. There are some great videos and printable guides for parents to use as a resource and you will see soon there are some mentions on my facebook page as I have linked the two up. Sorry I couldn't help it I am a Social Media Addict! Top Ender has had a play on the Kid Zone area of the…

Dramatic Sunset - Wordless Wednesday

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No editing, this was the colour of the clouds the other evening. Very dramatic and beautiful.

Starting School To Do List

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This coming school year is the last year that I will have Big Boy at home with me, as in September 2012 he will be starting school. I asked on my facebook profile what people thought I should do in this last year with Big Boy at home and had some emotional responses about how this time will fly by and some great suggestions about things we might enjoy doing together. I already knew that this time was going to pass in what seemed a heartbeat, as it doesn't seem like five minutes has past since I realised that Top Ender would be going to school and now she is getting ready to start year three.


Having read some of my friends responses from my facebook question, I knew that there was so much that I wanted for Big Boy to learn and to experience before he goes to school. Big Boy and I talked together about things that he might like to do and we talked again with Daddy and Top Ender about things that we think that someone should experience and created a bit of a to do list for Big Boy to…

Silent Sunday

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Making Chores Fun - Clean the Bathroom

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I like to try to keep the house clean (if not tidy) for the family and making the various chores fun isn't just for the benefit of Top Ender and Big Boy but for my benefit too! I am sure if I worked out just how long I spent cleaning, doing the dishes or shopping I may pass out from shock as I am sure the number of hours would be longer than I spend asleep. Then again that might just be a reflection on how much sleep I get! Cleaning the bathroom is one of my most satisfying chores and using the e-cloths (that I reviewed as part of my Green Clean Challenge) means that the chore doesn't take long.

Every morning whilst I am in the bathroom I give the bathroom a quick wipe over to keep things looking fresh. I find that this only takes a few moments but seeing as I am in the bathroom anyway it makes good sense and keeps the bathroom looking clean. I know that with an e-cloth that you don't need to use bathroom cleaner, but I like the smell of bleach and so once a week I use my …

A Family English Afternoon Tea

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Growing up I remember having Afternoon Tea at my Grandparents on a Saturday afternoon with my family. There were always sandwiches with the crusts cut off and fondant fancies and other small slices of cakes and of course a pot of tea for the grown ups and orange squash for us children. It was something that we looked forward to, the weekly Saturday Afternoon visits and the treat of cakes and being allowed to sit in the living room instead of the dining table. As a child I didn't understand the comfort of the routine, I just liked the cakes but I was being taught the family Afternoon Tea tradition without knowing it.

Top Ender and Big Boy often play tea party, and this Summer they have so much fun together pouring water from their teapot and orange squash from a milk jug into little cups and pretending to eat sandwiches and cake. I have joined in on several occasions and I have been teaching them the unwritten rules of an English Afternoon Tea as opposed to High Tea, which is somet…

What to do with Leftovers - Gravy

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In our house we have a couple of gravy fanatics, and so during the colder autumn and winter months we will have quite a few meals that use gravy in some form and of course we have it every Sunday when we have our Sunday Roast. For me the issue comes when we have finished with the Gravy, there always seems to be some leftover no matter what quantity I made in the first place! Luckily though I have a few ways to use up the gravy  as waste not want not!

The first option is to freeze it in ice cube trays. When Big Boy and Top Ender were small I would often do this and then could add an ice-cube of gravy to their home made dinners. Now that I don't have to worry about making Baby food I still freeze some left over gravy and then add to rice to give it a bit more flavour. You can also do this with noodles and pasta, just make sure that you aren't adding a sauce as this sometimes makes the sauce taste funny. 
It doesn't have to be frozen to be added to a meal for flavour though.…

English Afternoon Tea - Wordless Wednesday

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A terribly English thing to do, but it was Orange Squash not tea in the teapot!


Barbie Princess Charm School

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We were sent a copy of Barbie Princess Charm School on DVD.

Top Ender is very much a Barbie girl and was waiting for the Barbie Princess Charm School DVD to be released at the end of August, so that she could use her Summer Holidays savings to purchase it. When on Saturday the postman delivered a parcel to me containing a preview copy of Barbie Princess Charm School I was suddenly propelled to superstar status with the promise that we would watch the film together that afternoon.

Barbie Princess Charm school is about a young girl called Blair Willows, who is a kind but slightly clumsy young girl and is chosen via a lottery to attend Princess Charm School. You see even in Gardinia (where this is set) before you can become a Princess or Lady Royal you have to have some training to build character and to learn the proper etiquette for being a princess!


Blair attends the school with several young ladies of her age and shares a room with Princess Hadley and Princess Isla (The Princess Char…

A Merry Unbirthday (Just Because We Could)

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It had been one of those days where everything was wrong and the only way to make it better was cake. Big Boy seemed to misunderstand the purpose of the cake as he wanted candles on the Birthday Cake, even thought it wasn't anybody's birthday. So I started plotting an Unbirthday treat for the next day just because like with our fake Christmas we celebrated last year we could! Luckily Daddy understood that out of the 365 days of the year that 361 of them were our joint Unbirthday's and the next day just happened to be one and that was an Unbirthday worth celebrating!
We started the Unbirthday at Sunday Lunch when both Top Ender and Big Boy were presented with Unbirthday cards. I have a large selection of Birthday cards which were easily converted into UnBirthday Cards by writing "Un" in front of Birthday!


Top Ender and Big Boy loved these cards and enjoyed the thrill of getting to celebrate something which normally passes without recognition. Dinner was eaten with…

What to do with Leftovers - Yorkshire Pudding

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I make Yorkshire Pudding every Sunday as part of our weekly roast (not just when we have Roast Beef) and sometimes we have a lot leftover, it has to be said that it is rare for there to be leftovers but it does happen. As part of my waste not want not mentality I have a few ways to use up the leftover Yorkshire Pudding that Top Ender and Big Boy love as an after school treat on a Monday night. 

Read on to find out Six Ideas for using up Yorkshire Pudding

Rules for a Good Family Life

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Last week we went to a local woods for a walk. We spent time dodging puddles (Goblin ponds) and smiling at Dog Walkers and other families out for an afternoon stroll all whilst having a giggle together and enjoying the sunshine. It was a really lovely afternoon and one that made me think in more detail that night about what a good family life we lead and how Daddy and I are lucky to have the sort of marriage and family that many people spend years trying to find and we just stumbled into.


Then I got thinking a bit more. Did we really just stumble into this happy life, or were there some rules that we followed that meant we actually worked at this fun family life? I came up with the following;

Wooden Stringing Beads from Letterbox

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We received the Wooden Stringing Beads from Letterbox to review.
I had found the letterbox website a few days before they asked me if I would like to a product for Top Ender and Big Boy to review and had been marvelling at some fantastic products. When they asked if it would be okay to send a surprise I knew that we would be in good hands and a few days later the Wooden Stringing Beads turned up. The packaging said that they were suitable for children aged four and over, but anyone who has ever met Big Boy knows that telling him that he isn't allowed something is as much use as a chocolate teapot!

So Top Ender, Big Boy and I sat down in the living room and started threading shapes and letters on to the threading laces. We decided that we would each create just a string of beads that was in a pattern pleasing to us and we had a good giggle looking at the different shapes and getting Big Boy to read the letters out as he has just learnt the alphabet.

There is a negative to this pack…

Making Chores Fun - Go Shopping

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Splitting up all chores in to parts and giving everyone a specific role when doing the chores works well for us as a family. This way Top Ender and Big Boy both get to learn how to do a chore without being overwhelmed with having too much to do and it can be made age appropriate. Just liking mowing the lawn, if you get into a routine of sharing the work it helps speed things up and encourages co-operation from everyone! When we go shopping we work off a shopping list that I create. I have a basics shopping list of things that we need every week (and month) and will check what we need as I go along creating the list. I check out the prices on the website My Supermarket and go through the products that we use most regularly to see if they are on special offer. Then the fun part starts.

When just Big Boy and I go shopping I will create a list for him, complete with drawings (as he can't read yet) for him to see what we need and for him to be in charge of putting into the trolley. I u…

Lego Duplo Cars 2 Sets - Perfect Summer Fun!

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We received a package of Lego Duplo Cars 2 as part of Big Boy's Lego Duplo Expert review responsibilities!
Big Boy loves Lego Duplo and almost everyday we have it scattered across the floor making up wild and wonderful creations. Since finding out that it fits with the ordinary Lego too we have made some truly amazing city scapes and Big Boy likes to make farms for his tractors to plow too. When a big package for review arrived during the Summer Holidays Big Boy was very excited to see that it was Lego Duplo scenes from his favourite film Cars 2! I managed to persuade Top Ender and Big Boy that I had to make up the scenes with them before they could play with the sets and quickly took a few shots of the different sets.
The first set we made up was the Agent Mater set (which has an RRP of £13.49) which was great fun at aiming the missile at the two brick targets included with the set. Big Boy soon came up with the idea to see who could get their missile to go the furthest though an…

Cliff Steps - Wordless Wednesday

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Don't forget to comment after linking up!


Ten Fun Family Day Out Essentials

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Over the last couple of weeks, the children and I have got our day out Essentials down to the most needed and essential items for a successful day trip. We have by trial and error come up with the Top Ten Items that you need for a successful fun family day out, that will hopefully save you the trouble that we have had on past day trips.

Back Pack

A back pack is the easiest thing to put everything into when you and the family are heading off out for the day. Just remember that when you wear the backpack properly (over both shoulders) it spreads the weight and doesn't cause damage to your back. Plus with it being on your back it means you have two free hands and everyone knows you need two hands for eating ice-cream with!
Snacks
Just something small and not messy, so no chocolate or chocolate covered biscuits. Ours tends to be cereal bars or bread sticks as they are small and compact and have a longer shelf life. This will save a lot of moaning about being hungry, will help if someone…

Silent Sunday

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For more Silent Sunday Shots click on the logo below my picture.

The Open Air Film Festival in Milton Keynes

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It's no secret that I love Milton Keynes. There is a lot going on here for families to have fun doing and despite what a lot of people think there are a lot of green spaces, (many of which have featured in posts of family days out or family activities here at A Mothers Ramblings) and a lot of those green spaces are managed by The Parks Trust. The Parks Trust are a fantastic organisation and put on regular events through the year at various Green spaces, but it is the Open Air Film Festival at Campbell Park in August that gets us here excited the most.

Every year a cinema screen is set up, in Campbell Park (near the Shopping Centre) and over the weekend six films are played out to the gathered audience. A few years back we went to see Grease with Top Ender and Big Boy and this year if the weather stays fine we are hoping to pop along to a few films over the weekend. We are really looking forward to introducing Top Ender and Big Boy to Back to the Future and hope that they will love…

An Update/Confession/New Leaf - Your Shape

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When I was sent the Xbox at Christmas to help with increasing the amount of exercise that I do I was full of great plans about getting up early, going to bed a bit late, having time to myself during the day to exercise and I was really fired up. I got over the wire not being long enough and even worked out how to position my furniture so that I could have the needed amount of space to exercise in and even managed to get up before Big Boy a couple of times to get a bit of early morning exercise in. And then life started getting in the way. I stopped exercising, I stopped trying my hardest to fit it in and I put on more weight.


There are so many fantastic features on the game, extra downloadable content and ways for me to see my goals but if you haven't got the time to exercise then it doesn't matter how great the content is, how amazing the graphics are or how amazing it is to see you in the game instead of an avatar because you aren't using it for anything other than colle…

Camp Bestival

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The team at Dairylea arranged for tickets for us to go to Camp Bestival, which was very kind of them indeed. 

ALAN!*

Early on Friday morning Top Ender, Daddy, Big Boy and I piled in to our stuffed car to travel down to Dorset for Camp Bestival. We were excited to be going to a Festival together as a family, to be camping together as a family for the first time (instead of just Top Ender and Daddy) and also we quite like Dorset thinking it to be a very pretty area. The whole journey and setting up camp area could be described as easy with only one minor melt down when I couldn't set up the supplies tent because I had forgotten which way the poles went!

The whole event was amazing from start to finish. Like Emily from Baby Rambles, I haven't got the words to describe how awesome it was but lets just say having 10,000 adults and 5,000 children altogether in one place is quite an achievement. Everyone was so friendly, there were a few people that I must mention though;

He Was Told To Pull A Silly Face! - Wordless Wednesday

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Durdle Door and A Fun Family Morning

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When we were in Dorset we drove to Durdle Door, as something that Daddy and I always comment on is that in the United Kingdom nothing is ever that far away (we are an island after all). It was a glorious British Summer morning and so we thought we should have a bit of fun and walk down the steep 800 meter long path and down the scary steps (I nearly turned back around and went back up as the stairs got narrower and I started to panic a little) to the beach and sat down on the shingle. For those who don't know Durdle Door is part of the Jurassic Coastline of  Dorset and Devon and is a World Heritage site (yes all 95 miles of it) and it is a nice place to sit and paddle as the beach is sheltered and so it doesn't get too windy.

Top Ender and Big Boy weren't disappointed that there was shingle instead of sand on the beach at Durdle Door and set about building stone piles instead of sand castles. We had taken buckets and spades down to the beach but it wasn't easy creatin…