Showing posts from March, 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 31/03)

I've been blogging on Monday's about our meal plan for the week, partly to link up with others doing the same with Mrs M's Meal Plan Mondays and partly because it makes things sense for me to record what we are eating on our family blog. Food is a huge part of our family life, be it because Daddy can't eat something, that Big Boy or Top Ender won't eat something or because in years to come my children might want to remember what we ate and why. It also makes more sense for me to blog about this on a Friday or Saturday because that's when I go shopping and so it's when I make my meal plans for the week!

Soup and buttered bread. We've all had the stomach flu and so this was all Daddy and I ate today. Top Ender and Big Boy were feeling a bit better and so they had some of the Warburtons Brioche that had been sent to us for a very late breakfast or a sort of early lunch. They enjoyed them, but with all the illness that was going around we'll do…

Big Boy's Campbell Park Adventure

On Saturday morning Big Boy asked Daddy to google something for him. He wanted Daddy to look up "Parks in Milton Keynes" as he wanted to find somewhere for us to go as a family that afternoon. It was so sweet that Daddy agreed and they found the Parks Trust website and that is where Big Boy saw a picture of Campbell Park and decided that was where we should go. It sounded like a good plan and so we set off after lunch on what was the hottest day of the year so far.

Despite having lived in Milton Keynes all his life, the only times Daddy has been to Campbell Park is to watch the fireworks or for the Open Air Cinema. Even Top Ender and I have only been one other time and that was when we were trying to watch the sun rise and seeing as it is right next to the Shopping Centre we have no reason for not having been before or knowing that much about the park! Still we knew Campbell Park is big, it's where several of Milton Keynes festivals and events are held, there is a cricke…

What to do with Easter Leftovers - Hot Cross Buns

I don't know about your house, but we love Hot Crossed Buns here but they sort of get a bit forgotten when the Easter eggs are on offer and so we end up with a surplus of leftovers. And then we might see some in our local supermarket for a really cheap price and forgetting that we already have enough to feed a small army we buy some more and before we know it the hot cross buns have multiplied like bunnies and are threatening to take over the kitchen!

So every Easter I start to think up ideas about how to use up the Hot Cross Buns and here are a few suggestions for you!

1: Make Bread pudding

Instead of bread use the hot cross buns, they cut quite well when they are a bit stale!

Or Chocolate Bread Pudding

It's the same as normal bread pudding, but erm with chocolate bits (such as left over Easter Egg) in it!

2: Chocolate Stuffed Easter French Toast.

Honestly click that link you won't regret it.

3: Hot Cross Bun pudding

My favourite recipe for this is to take as many buns as…

What to do with Easter Leftovers - Chocolate Easter Eggs

One of the great things for children at Easter is the amount of chocolate that they get from friends and family. Last year the number of chocolate eggs that Top Ender and Big Boy got was overwhelming and so it was no surprise that come July we were still eating it... in fact by the middle of July I got rather sick of it and so decided that we should use the chocolate to make something else.

1) No bake Chocolate cakes

We had a partially eaten bag of chocolate rice cereal and so decided to add that to the melted chocolate, making some rather yummy lunch box treats! This can easily be made with any leftover cereal and is a good way of clearing out your cupboards as adding dried fruit and marshmallows is also a big hit in our house!

or you could make


100g Margarine
25g Sugar (whatever you have in!)
5 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
250g of crushed biscuits (or cereal)
100 -175g of dried fruit (depending on how fruit you want it)
250g Chocolate

Mix everything together, put into a lined …

Swan Lake - Wordless Wednesday

Big Boy and I walked to the local nature reserve earlier this week. As we were sitting at the side of the lake we had a couple of visitors, they were so close at one point I was worried that one of us was going to be bitten by the Swans but they were just interested in posing for my camera!

I don't think I have even been this close to a swan before, but they really are magnificent looking creatures aren't they? Don't forget to link up and leave me a comment below too!

What to do with Easter Leftovers - Lamb

One of the last things you probably want to think about two weeks before Easter is about the Leftovers, but for me last year I knew I needed to have a plan in place so that my leftover Lamb wouldn't go to waste! I knew that there were a lot of meals that I could make, but I wanted to make sure that I used all the meat as a leg of lamb can be very expensive! So what can you make with Lamb leftovers? How about;

Lamb Curry
Once you have served slices of lamb for your Easter Lunch, why not take the rest of the meat off the bone and cube it up for use in a lamb curry
Roast Dinner Soup
I know, I am always going on about Roast Dinner soup, but it tastes lovely! Follow my recipe from Christmas just add the lamb instead of Turkey!
Lamb Salad
Sorry another recipe from Christmas, but I will sum it up here for you. Get Salad into a bowl, add lamb leftovers. Serve.
Lamb Sandwich
I know you know how to make a sandwich, but check out the Conscientious Cooks version of the Ultimate Lamb Sandwich. …

Twenty Ways To Surprise Your Children

We try and have a lot of fun as a family, it's something that is part of our family culture and I think we could go as far as to say it is part of our family psyche! It's so engrained that we don't think twice about what we are doing and it's only when someone else is surprised at something that we do (in a good way) that we even think that what we do is that different to the mainstream. Every so often we like to mix it up a bit, to surprise the children and to give us adults something to look forward to. It is just simple things that we do, but not letting the children know until we are just about to do it means that the children are surprised even if it is the 20th time they have done the activity!

Here are 20 ways we surprise our children. Go on a Date Night/Date Day with themPhone them when you aren't with themLet Them Choose Dinner, even if it is something like Fish Finger Pizza!Celebrate something silly like New Haircut DayFrame their artwork or a picture they…

Seven Steps To Making More Quality Time For Family

When I blogged that we had made Sunday Nights Family Nights so that we had quality time together as a family I said we had made changes to the way we spent time together all the time to make the most of our time as a family, not just on the Sunday nights. I had a few messages asking how I did this and the changes we made were simple things that make sense to our family but before you think about implementing them into your family remember that these changes might not make sense to your family, but they will hopefully give you some ideas on how to maximise the amount of quality time you spend with your family.

We decided that at the weekends we would let the schedule relax slightly. We have slightly later bed times, for the children and we have our main meal earlier. At the moment it doesn't make a difference to what time Big Boy gets up in the morning, but as Daddy and I have a lay in on the weekend on alternate days we don't mind getting up early on one of them. During the we…

An Evening Watching Happy Feet Two

We have two regular post people here at A Mothers Ramblings. There is the Post Man who brings bills and the general mail (we chat a fair bit, but he isn't my favourite person due to the aforementioned bills that he brings) and the Post Lady who brings the big parcels too big for the regular post. The Post Lady always greets me and BB by name and has a giggle with us over what is being delivered. This week when I was out at the Regis Salon in Oxford Street, being made to look beautiful with a new hair style, Daddy was at home with BB when the Post Lady came. She was a little shocked to see Daddy instead of me, but handed him the parcels and had a joke with him and was soon off on her merry way.

Unlike me however Daddy didn't then rip open the packaging there in the hallway but left the parcels to one side so I could open them when I returned later that day. I wasn't sure what was being delivered, but opened it up to find a parcel from Warner Brothers to celebrate the releas…

A Family Walk At Sharpenhoe Clappers

When we won the MADS Best Blog for Family Fun last year (You can nominate me again if you like), part of the prize was a family membership to the National Trust. This has led us to be frequent visitors to the National Trust website and it was when Daddy was looking at the website for somewhere for us to go for a walk that he found Sharpenhoe Clappers.

Sharpenhoe Clappers is a chalk escarpment in Bedfordshire, and despite being just under an hour away from us and having driven past it several times we had never been. We set off on a very early Spring day and it was so warm we abandoned our coats to the boot of the car before we set off on our walk around the woods. 
We set off and as we walked we started looking for different signs of the changing season and the everyday nature that was around us. We spotted hundreds of ladybirds and had a great conversation with a couple who were just finishing their walk.

As we were walking round the children spotted lots of bits of chalk on the gro…

Gluten Free Egg Free Banana Muffins

I'm slowly learning how to bake again now that I can't include wheat or eggs in anything I bake for Daddy. I've been thinking over recipes that I have read in the past, adaptations that I can make to well known and loved recipes and trying to think up new recipes too. I was pretty sure that I had read a recipe once where muffins were made with yoghurt and so I set about experimenting with Big Boy and made some really nice Gluten and Egg Free Raisin Banana Muffins for Daddy. This is what I came up with.

4oz Self Raising Flour 4oz Butter 2 Bananas 2oz Raisins 4oz Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
200ml Plain Yougurt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Xanthum Gum


Mush the bananas and put to one side. Mix the other ingredients together, holding back the raisins and the banana. Once everything is combined stir in the mashed up banana and the raisins, try not to over stir the raisins as they can break up. Bake for thirty minutes at gas mark five and then let cool.

I think that…

Ten Things To Do As A Family In Spring

This year Spring has infected me with it's sunshine and flowers and given me lots of ideas of things to do with my family. We love being outside and so I thought that I would create a list of our ten favourite things to do as a family in Spring and see how many of them we can get through this weekend.

1) Plant some seeds, bulbs, plants.

I love watching green shoots slowly push their way out of the ground and when the plants start to flower I love being able to sit in the garden and look at the different colours. I think that it's something which is great to do as a family because you all get the reward in a few weeks and most children like to dig in the dirt! I'm hoping we can get everyone to concentrate on the front garden and plant up some pots too!

2) Go for a walk.

We are always going for walks and there are so many places you can go. You can walk in local woods, around lakes or even around your own housing estate. There are a lot of things to see and we are always sur…

Would You Nominate Me?

The MADs (Mum and Dad Blogging Awards) were launched this morning, and despite thinking that I might not try to get nominated this year I've decided what the heck, I want to see if I can be nominated and possibly win the best blog for Family Fun again!

Of course you can nominate me in any relevant category that you like but it is the Best Blog for Family Fun that I think I have the best chance of winning. If you need suggestions of other blogs to read to consider for other categories then let me know but otherwise vote for me! And please do ask all your friends to nominate me too, the more the merrier!

Six Fun Family Spring Cleaning Chores

With today being the first day of Spring it starts me thinking about Spring Cleaning! A little unusual when I could be thinking about Spring Lambs, Spring Flowers and my upcoming birthday but if you have read my blog in the past then you will know that I love Making Chores Fun and Spring Cleaning is perfect for this. Click on the links for the original posts, with a more detailed idea of how to make the chore fun, but here are my top six Spring Cleaning jobs to do as a family that involve a huge dollop of fun too.

Number Six

After the winter months it's good to be able to get out in the garden and to enjoy some sunshine. The only problem is our garden, along with a lot of the country's looks a bit neglected with the lawn needing a good mow. Luckily this is a great job to start off working as a family to do and whilst a grown up mows the lawn everyone else can have fun running around making sure that the grass is clean of sticks, stones, toys and everything else that gets lost!


Meal Plan Monday (Starting 19th March)

I quite enjoyed joining in with the Meal Plan Monday last week, especially as it meant I didn't have to keep looking at the Fridge door (that's where I keep the weeks menu) to tell me what was for dinner! Again I don't tend to do a lot of different types of meals, I stick to plain cooking because for us it makes more sense both financially and I know everyone will eat it! Let me know in the comments what you are cooking this week, or even if you you plan in advance or go with what you have in the cupboards when you get hungry!


I'll use the Leftover Roast with rice noodles and a Chinese Plum Sauce I have in my cupboard to make a stir fry. I'll add in some strips of carrots, spring onions and some red and green peppers. It's a cheap meal, uses up leftovers and gives me the takeaway taste I crave!


Jacket Potatoes and Beans with cheese. I might have some Tuna and cheese with mine, I've got a can of tuna in the cupboard, but I'm not sure on wh…

Cake Decorating with Renshaw

I love baking and whilst I'm not the worlds best baker, I do think that I have some skill. I'm quite ambitious with my cake decorating and have spent many hours in the past trying to create something that looks as pretty as the image in my head. I'm not always successful but my family happily eat anything I bake and decorate. Renshaw sent some decorating products to us here at AMR for us to use for some Easter baking. Like me you might not have heard of Renshaw before but they have been supplying products to the trade for over 100 years and have now brought a range of products to market for home bakers and it was from this range that they sent me some bits to try.

I used the toffee flavour buttons first. They were really simple to use, you just cut off the corner and melt them in the microwave. Add to some cereal and put a spoonful into a paper case, let set and voila instant toffee flavoured cakes! The toffee flavour was really lovely, it wasn't too overpowering and I…

Sunday Night is Family Night

Despite spending nearly all my time with my family it feels like I hardly see them and talking about this with Daddy we came up with a plan to increase the amount of quality time that we spend together as a family. We took a look at what we did during the time we had together as we knew that we weren't making the most of it and looked to where we could make changes.

The first thing we did was move our shopping day from a Saturday morning to a Friday night. Apart from my weekly appearance on the Saturday morning show on Three Counties Radio that meant we had all weekend to spend together. We love going for walks together in local woods or exploring further afield, we love to walk round the shopping centre where we people watch or play the £1 game or even hunt down the worst gift we can find for one of our relations.

We have great fun together and having that extra time on a Saturday was better, but there was still something missing. When we put the children to bed on a Sunday night…

Books, Blood and Twitter!

Big Boy had some books arrive for him in the post and he was really eager to read them with me. We sat on the sofa together and planned which one we would read first, then second and then last. I had a couple of chores to do and said that if he gave me a few minutes we could read the books together and have a snack together too. This pleased Big Boy no end because he is constantly hungry at the moment (we are putting it down to a Growth Spurt) and so he let me do my chores but then my computer made a noise and so I sat down to see what it was alerting me to.

A minute or two later and Big Boy was starting to get impatient with me, so he brought the first book we had chosen to read to me. Only it slipped out of his hands and hit his toe. Big Boy started hopping around yelping that it hurt and I told him to go and sit down and I would come and kiss it better. Big Boy started crying and told me that I couldn't come to him to make it better because there was blood and he knows that I d…

Marbling with Yellow Moon

There isn't a lot that I remember from School, but one thing I remember quite clearly is an art lesson when I was about eight years old and we did marbling. I don't know what we did with the pieces of paper that we marbled or even what we were expected to learn but when Yellow Moon asked if I'd like to do some crafting with Top Ender and Big Boy and that they were going to send out materials so we could do some marbling at home I was over the moon! I had a tray that we could use and explained to the children that by dropping the ink on to the tray of water the ink would float on top and we would be able to use the paper to pick up the ink. The children thought this was some form of magic (well science and magic are quite close!) and were eager to help and have a go.

As you can see we had fun and made some great patterns which we managed to transfer to some paper, some card and some polystyrene shapes! We weren't really sure what to make with the paper and card we had ma…

Complicated Surgery

Did you know that I'm a World Class Surgeon? Yup, I dabble in General Surgery and have been dubbed by the next of kin of my patients as being wonderfully talented. I've been told that my bedside manner is amazing and my colleagues have expressed gratitude at taking on cases that they knew only I had the skills to take on. My most recent Surgery was a tricky one with my patient needing to be readmitted to theatre because of complications that arose after surgery.

That's right my patient was a toy dog.
Big Boy and I had been talking about having our own version of Crufts for him and Top Ender and their wonderful pet dogs, but Big Boy was really worried that his special dog Super Dog wouldn't pass any inspection because he had a hole where Doggies shouldn't have a hole. There was only one thing for it, we had to operate and lucky for Big Boy I'm the afore mentioned World Class Surgeon.

Big Boy was so pleased to have Super Dog back in one piece that Super Dog hasn…

Early Spring Flowers - Wordless Wednesday


All About The Bacon!

I love getting emails that offer me food, especially when the food they are offering me is Bacon. With  Bacon Connoisseurs' Week coming up (19th to 25th March 2012) Morrisons Supermarket sent us some of their "The Best" Bacon range which comes from British Farms and the Online Sizzle team challenged us to create a meal either using the recipes they sent or by making one up ourselves. With the challenge accepted we started cooking using the bacon.

We started the week with a risotto. I adapted the BBC's easy risotto recipe (adapted as I didn't have any parmesan or onions) and used a pack of Morrisons The Best lightly oak smoked sweetcure rind less back bacon and despite the rice not being quite tender enough everyone ate it quite happily, as there was bacon.

I thought the Risotto would be the best meal to give the recipe for but then Daddy made a Bacon and Cheese burger for our lunch using Morrisons The Best lightly oak smoked sweetcure rindless back bacon again. D…

Meal Plan Monday

I see links to Mrs M's Meal Plan Monday's all the time. I read some of the posts that pop up in Twitter or my RSS reader and am always in awe of some of the meals that some people plan on making that week. It makes me feel stuck in my ways to be honest, but then I remember that I do what I know best, and somebody out there might find inspiration from my meals so this week I have joined in.

Monday: Tacos. Everyone in our house loves Tacos and as the Discovery Foods Tacos are Gluten free it is even better and I get to think about Emma and Vic when we all celebrated Mexican Independence Day together!

Tuesday: Jacket Potatoes. We were having it with the leftover chicken from the Sunday Roast with a lovely Sauce, but due to an accident (involving a cat and some forgetful behaviour) we aren't now. I guess it will be beans and cheese again.

Wednesday: Tops has a friend for tea so I will get them making themselves a pizza and it's Steak for us adults, with mushrooms, Chips and…