A Mothers Ramblings: December 2012

Monday, 31 December 2012

Family Resolutions

This week I've been thinking about family resolutions. I had spoken to Daddy about them and had a few in mind that I thought would be sensible for us to work towards this year. Then in Church yesterday we had a joint meeting where we talked together about resolutions and how we don't need to wait until January 1st to make them. It's true we don't, but it is a good focal point for people to work from and whilst we work on the ones I've listed below it doesn't mean we won't be making new ones through the year.

1) Have a date night with Daddy at least once a month. We are planning on having a take away on a Saturday night once a month and watching a film together. If we can get a babysitter then we might even push the boat out and go out to a pub or something. Seeing as neither of us drink we're not sure if this is really a good idea!

2) Have a family night each week.  We do love each other and we love spending time together, but we need to really spend some proper time together. I'm thinking that we should have a craft night one week, a game night another week, a Lego night another week etc. With no TV distractions we think that some solid family time could benefit everyone.

3) Give the children chores. The children have had chores in the past and they have been good about doing them, but sometimes Daddy and I might do their chores for them if they took too long to get them done. This time though we're going to make sure they do their chores!

4) Go for weekly family walks. The family that exercises together, stays together, and walks in the Winter are just as fun as the walks we go on in the Spring and Summer. It doesn't have to be something long and far away, just walking to the local park once a week will be good enough as long as we all do it together.

5) Complete more of our Family Fun List. We have this great list full of things we'd like to do one day and the only way we are ever going to complete it is if we actually actively try to accomplish some goals. I'd like to knock at least twelve off this year, as that is only one a month.

There are other small things that we want to do, we want to pray more as a family, we want to show better charity to others and we want to make sure that our friends know we are here for them. The great thing is that whilst we have these five big main goals, it doesn't stop us from taking on smaller goals during the year it just helps us to focus on what is important to us as a family.

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

What's For Lunch? (W/C 31/12)

With having a plan working so much better for me I have planned lunches for this week, even though Tops and BB aren't at School and so I don't have to make the lunches until it is really lunch time. Daddy isn't back to work until Wednesday, so he'll be eating with us on Monday and Tuesday, but as of Wednesday he has to fend for himself again!

Monday - Bacon or Sausage Rolls

It depends on who wants what, but today we'll be munching on a Bacon roll for lunch unless we are Big Boy in which case we'll be eating a Sausage in a roll!

Tuesday - Cheese Toasties

We all love cheese toasties as they are so easy to make and who doesn't love gloopy cheese?!

Wednesday - Ham Sandwiches

I've gone back to having 50/50 bread as the children were upset that we didn't have white bread. They are fussy little so and so's as I'm pretty sure that bread is bread and it doesn't matter what it looks like just what it tastes like!

Thursday - Sausage Pie

Top Ender has asked if she and Big Boy can have Sausage Pie for lunch today. I've decided that they can have a small one together for lunch as they may be having a rather large evening meal if we do go out for dinner to a restaurant, with it being Top Ender's birthday.

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's too 

I don't yet have an idea in mind for Top Ender and Big Boy's Friday lunch this Friday, but with it being the first Friday of the year I want it to be something rather lovely and fun and something that they would like and would be too hard to do in a lunch box... if anyone has any ideas please let me know!

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What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 29/12)

I did do this meal plan on Christmas Day, well Christmas Day Evening really. We decided what we were having whilst playing with my new tablet, but it took me too long to type on the tablet so I had to wait until I had some time to publish the post.

Saturday - Lasagne

We had this last night (it's currently Sunday evening) and I have to say it was one of the best Lasagne's I have made. The benefit was that over the last weeks weeks every time I've said we're going to have it we haven't had it for one reason or another and so I think that it was a delayed gratification thing.

Sunday - Roast chicken

Daddy started this whilst I was at Church, when Tops and I walked in to the house, the smell was so divine. I promise dear Sunday Chicken that I won't ever stop eating you again! As of next Sunday Church is in the afternoon, so we are going to be eating our main meal in the evening on Sundays like every other day. Daddy is going to be cooking them for the next year too as Tops and I won't get home until 5:30ish.

Monday - Kebab 

When Daddy and I were dating (or this was possibly when we were engaged I can't really remember now) he had a lot of firsts. His first Chinese meal (I know!), his first night out at a Nightclub (for someone as in to Dance Music as him this surprised me too) and his first Kebab. The story goes that my Mum wanted a kebab and so Daddy and I were despatched to the local kebab shop as he and I were the only ones who hadn't had a drink. Seven kebabs later (three with chilli sauce, all with salad) and three portions of chips all shared between the seven of us (Nanny B, my Mum, my Dad, Kitty, her boyfriend, Me and Daddy) we saw in the New Year and a tradition was born. The tradition being that we try to find an open Kebab shop so we can eat Kebabs on New Years Eve.

Tuesday - Spring Rolls and Rice (and prawn crackers!)

I thought I had written a post explaining how to make Spring Rolls, but apparently I haven't yet. I'm going to make Spring Rolls and I'll do Egg Fried Rice for the Children and I (Daddy can't eat egg) and if Daddy is really lucky instead of making vegetable spring rolls, I'll put some chicken in them or possibly  make an additional chicken dish to eat.

Wednesday - Baked Pork Chops in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

I'm cheating and using a jar sauce (Chicken Tonight) because I plan to be busy with Top Ender and Big Boy during the day as Daddy is back at work and we want to make sure that we make the most of our day together. We are planning on making Top Ender's Birthday cake, some posters and something else which at the moment has escaped me!

Thursday - Top Ender's Birthday Meal

We are allowed to chose what the family eat on our birthday and Top Ender had asked for us to have Lasagne, but as we had it on Saturday we said that she couldn't have it tonight too. So at the moment we aren't sure what we are having (but it may well be a trip out to a restaurant so Ssssh! Don't tell Top Ender).

Friday - Movie Night 

Daddy and I are going to work really hard this year to make sure that a lot of the plans we had for last year become engrained into our family. Movie night is going to be the first one we tackle. We did for a while watch a film on a Thursday night and have a themed pudding or dinner to go with the film. We want to start that up again and whilst some weeks it might be that we just eat so called cinema food (hot dogs, nacho's and popcorn) other weeks we'll have something themed. We're not sure what we'll be eating this Friday as we aren't sure what film we're watching yet!

So that's our plan for the week. Hopefully it will be tasty and balanced out with lots of fruit and veg!

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Tuesday, 25 December 2012

This Christmas Morning

This Christmas morning when Big Boy woke up at Five, I didn't expect to spend the next two hours in his room watching cartoons, slowly counting the gifts in his Stocking and putting together Lego creations. But I did.

This Christmas morning when I poked the Turkey to determine if it was defrosted or not I didn't expect it to fizz under my finger, I didn't expect it to smell like a backed up sewer. But it did.

This Christmas morning I didn't expect the family to take it well, when I announced that we weren't going to be eating Turkey for Christmas Dinner as it had gone bad whilst defrosting. But they did.

This Christmas morning didn't turn out like I expected.

Top Ender and Big Boy Christmas 2012

It was better.

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Sunday, 23 December 2012

What's For Lunch? (W/C 24/12)

I hadn't intended to plan any lunches this week, I figured that we'd have more than enough in our fridge to keep us well fed, but it was this evening that I realised that we do need to plan. I'm terrible without a plan, I'll forget to feed the children, or feed them so late that it will screw up Big Boy's blood sugar levels and with this week being partly about feasting I don't want to screw them up even more than they will be!

Monday - Elf Pasta

The children and I are at home today and Daddy is at work, so we're going to have a bento lunch, and I'm going to attempt to make an elf for the children. I hope it works, if it doesn't then I'll tell them that the strange mix I've made is what the Elves eat before they go on their final checks of peoples houses to give them enough carbs to do their jobs properly.

Tuesday - Leftovers/Bubble and Squeak

Technically we are having a Roast Dinner for lunch as we'll eat our Roast at lunch time, but for some reason when ever we have a roast for lunch I still call it dinner and then lunch when we eat in the evening. Anyhoo. Leftovers it is, and I figure probably some Bubble and Squeak.

Wednesday - Leftovers (again!)

Again technically this is going to be an evening meal as my Nan is coming to spend some time with us during the day and so we're going to be eating with her. There will hopefully be a lot of leftovers   and teamed up with yesterdays we should be able to make something rather yummy. If not then it's beans on toast for the children!

Thursday - Sandwiches

Yup, using up the leftovers in a soup would be a good idea, but no. Instead we're eating them in Sandwiches. Anything you want in a sandwich, so it could be a potato sandwich (I LOVE potato sandwiches), a ham sandwich, a cheese sandwich, a salad sandwich, a turkey sandwich, a cake sandwich...

Friday - Sausage Sandwiches

Hopefully by now we've used up all the leftovers. If we haven't well then we just haven't been feasting enough! As it is a Friday we should be having a Special Lunch, but something that all of us will eat. I decided in the end to go with Sausage Sandwiches. Big Boy loves making them, as he knows how, and so it'll be a treat for him.

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Saturday, 22 December 2012

What' We Are Eating This Week (W/C 22/12)

It's taken me all day to stop feeling sick so that I can write up what is for dinner this week. I had, luckily, decided whilst I was sitting in the hospital waiting room on Friday what the menu was and written out a shopping list so Daddy who is merely feeling rubbish rather than actually being ill was able to put everything in motion.

Saturday - McDonalds

Today, had I not been ill, I would have been taking my Mum shopping as normal. I had said that this week we would remember to bring her injection with us (she is also a type 1 diabetic like Big Boy) so that she could eat with us and so that I could take her on a light hunt too. With me having been in bed almost all day, this has meant that this was cancelled. Luckily the children reminded Daddy that as they were healthy it didn't mean they didn't have to not eat dinner... they are tucking into it now.

Sunday - Lasagne

I figured that as we are going to be having the biggest roast of the year on Tuesday that we shouldn't have one today. I was talking with my Mum and she said that she thought Lasagne would be a good choice because all my family love it and wouldn't mind missing a roast for it!

Monday - Take Away

I swear that we have a tradition that means we have Chinese on Christmas Eve, but I can't find mention of it anywhere on my blog or my Facebook status updates. Daddy did confirm that he thinks we should have a take away because with all being well I should have cooked our Turkey during the day and so Daddy thought I deserved a day off.


Whoop whoop! This year Daddy is having pate for starter, Top Ender and Big Boy are having Melon and I'm having Smoked Mackerel Pate! Yay! I loved this when I made it in Scotland with the Fish Is The Dish team and knew it would be a great Christmas Starter. The main course is of course Turkey, Roast Potatoes, New Potatoes, Peas, Carrots, Sprouts, Yorkshire Puddings, Little Sausages, Stuffing and Gravy. At least it will be for everyone well enough to eat it.

Christmas Dinner Past

Wednesday - Gammon

My Nan is hopefully coming over to see us today (well I'm going to pick her up from her Hotel where she is staying with my Uncle) and I thought that along with leftovers from yesterday we could have some Gammon. I was going to cook it in Dr Pepper as I found a recipe for it online, but I remembered that would probably add carbs to the carb free Gammon and then Big Boy wouldn't be able to eat his fill. I'm sure I'l find a great way of cooking it.

Thursday - Leftovers

I'm guessing that after two big days of eating (if we are well enough) we'll be drowning in Leftovers and that it would probably be best if we could use up as much of them as we could. So it's a cold buffet style supper tonight.

Friday - Pork

I had originally planned to have Stirfry Pork tonight, but I'm not sure now. I think that we will just have to wait until Friday to see what we are feeling like eating!

So that's enough from me. What are you eating this week? What are you having on Christmas Day?

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Friday, 21 December 2012

The Annual "I Love My Child More Than You Love Yours Competition"

A few years ago at our School it was suggested rather than bringing in a tray of biscuits or fruit or sandwiches for all the children to share in one class party that they should instead bring in their own lunch as normal, but it could be a special lunch. The lunch box could be decorated, or they could add in a special chocolate bar treat (we aren't allowed chocolate bars in our lunch boxes normally) or if you are like me you could just make a normal lunch that looks nice and pretty anyway.

Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too! Logo

So today all the mothers will try to out do all the other mothers with decorated lunch boxes and special treats. I feel sorry for those who read the note that came home from School and didn't realise that they have been entered in to a competition to see who loves their child the most...

Yes, I have added some little extras to the lunch box today thanks to Hobbycraft who sent me a lovely box full of things to have a Christmas Party with. Yes, I have made a special Friday lunch as I normally do each Friday and Yes there is a little more effort in this one than normal but I said that I had planned this last Sunday, before the note came home telling us that the party lunches were to be brought in this Friday.

The Goodies from Hobbycraft

I haven't done this to show the other Parents that I love my children more than they love their children. I haven't done this to show off my wonderful skills of lunch making. I haven't done this to make Top Ender and Big Boy the talk of the school or envy of their School mates.

I have made a special party lunch for my children because I wanted to.

Hobbycraft sent me a huge box of stuff and a rather smashing Christmas Card.

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Primula Pods for your Lunchbox

As many of you know when I'm planning the lunches for the children for the week I try not to give them something totally new to them for lunch, just in case they don't like it. I wouldn't want them to go hungry, especially Big Boy as if he doesn't eat everything in his lunch box he would suffer from a low blood sugar because everything is measure in detail for him.

Primula asked if I would be interested in trying their new Pods out in Top Ender's and Big Boy's lunch boxes and seeing as they both love Primula I thought this could be a great plan. Mistake Number one was thinking this was a great plan. One Saturday lunch time I realised that we had nothing in the house suitable for lunch and we needed to eat as we were going out. Cue much giggling from the children as I "stole" some of Daddy's bread and found the Primula Pods in the fridge.

Primula Pods for your Lunchbox

I made the children a sandwich using the pods and the children hated them. I wasn't sure if it was because they didn't like the gluten free bread or if it was the Primula Pods. Luckily the children have short memories and when I snuck a couple in their lunch boxes they ate them with no complaint.

Last night Daddy and I were after a late night snack and I hunted out the Primula Pods with chives. I knew that the children wouldn't like this range as despite green being Big Boy's favourite colour anything with "bits" in is not his or Top Ender's favourite anything. Daddy and I really liked the Chive flavoured pods and I have put one into the Children's lunch box today... I just hope that they like them too!

Primula Pods for your Lunchbox

Primula Pods (5x20g net) are stocked in Morrison’s and in independent retailers and are priced around £1.29, which is rather handy as Daddy can pop into Morrisons in the New Year to buy the chive ones to keep as a snack in the fridge at work.

We were sent a cold pack with two bags of Primula Pods in them to review.

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Can we cope? Yes, we can.

One of the things that we were warned about by the Diabetic Care Team at the Hospital, was how to react and cope when Big Boy got ill. When a diabetic child gets ill, things can change in an instant, blood sugars can drop to dangerous levels or sky rocket to dangerous levels. That's right if it isn't the normal number then it's dangerous and there are a lot of problems that can quickly follow.

For the last couple of days Big Boy hasn't been right. He hasn't wanted to eat, but he has. Until yesterday lunchtime when he left half his lunch. This is a problem when you've measured out how many carbs and given the required amount of insulin. After School the teachers told me that he'd been quiet this afternoon. Not low quiet, but possibly coming down with a bug quiet.

Big Boy had gone back into the School to get his Wellies and a picture for his cousin that he had drawn when suddenly he had felt quite queasy and had thrown up all over the sharing time mat.

I was ready for this, we got BB home and tested his blood sugars. Normal range, a little low but normal range. We tested his ketones in another blood test and they were raised, 0.8. A glass of Apple Juice and a half hour snooze later and Big Boy was feeling a bit better. Another blood test gave him normal blood sugars and ketones of only 0.4.

We could cope with this. No Hospital for us.

And then Big Boy threw up again.

Dinner time came. Big Boy didn't want to eat, but he has to eat something so he can have an injection. We talked about what he would eat and settled upon Porridge. Nice, easy to eat porridge. Big Boy managed two mouthfuls before deciding that he couldn't eat any more.

And then Big Boy threw up again.

I managed to get Big Boy to bed, if we were going to Hospital I needed as much sleep before we went as possible. A midnight blood test had us on the phone to the Children's Hospital Ward. Daddy speaking to them whilst I cuddled Big Boy and offered a prayer on his behalf.

We can cope with this. Please no hospital for us.

And the Doctor and Nurses agreed. Let him sleep. Test again and call us if there is a change. If his blood sugars go above 8 or if his ketones rise you call us and we'll decide about bringing him in.

So we went back to sleep. Big Boy and I snuggling in mine and Daddy's bed, Daddy with Big Boy's teddies in Big Boy's bed. Everyone who knows me offering a prayer on our behalf.

They can cope with this. Please no hospital for them.

Another test. Everything is fine. Another prayer

We are coping with this. Thank you for helping us with this. Please though, no hospital.

Nearly time for another test. Can I have something to eat Mummy?

So it's 5am and we're in the living room, eating cake and an orange because that's what BB wants.

The next test time slowly creeping up on us.

Can we cope? I really don't know. Will we be off to the hospital? I really don't know.

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Thursday, 20 December 2012

Do You Like Christmas Adverts?

I love Christmas adverts on the TV, it's bitter sweet because every time one comes on I think "What would Maw think of this?" and it reminds me that she isn't here. I think that for me Christmas adverts remind me that Christmas is really here, and that I had better get a finger out to do those last minute chores, tasks and find those well hidden gifts again.

There are a lot this year that have caught my eye and in no particular order they are;


Go Compare

John Lewis







The one advert that is the same every year though is the Coke Advert... and I don't think I have actually seen it yet this year! What are your favourite adverts this year? Let me know in the comments!

I received a lovely gift from Boots early in the Season, and of course I'm part of the Sainsburys Network and I've worked with Aldi this Christmas and went to a Littlewoods Christmas party. None of the companies mentioned asked me to blog about them though, but I thought I'd mention it just to be totally clear on where I stand!

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I tell you, the things I do for my blog!

Today started like any other day with a quick radio interview about my views on children under three going to the Panto (if they are mature enough then why the heck not? Big Boy started going when he was 18 months!), making the packed lunches for the children, taking the children to School, cleaning the bathroom, doing the laundry, taking in parcels for neighbours, steam cleaning the kitchen, being mock insulted by another neighbour, reminded that I'm not hip and happening any more and eating pizza for lunch... and as I'm the only one here almost a whole pizza all to myself!

I had been asked if I'd like to review a Goodfellas pizza and had been sent out a voucher, but every time I went out I'd forget to buy one or they wouldn't have one of the ones I wanted. It sounds stupid to say that I was looking for a specific pizza when Goodfellas have launched so many new ones this year such as the Superiore  (A premium pizza that delivers restaurant quality), the Takeaway and Wedges (perfect for sharing with the family as they come with a side of wedges!) and the Flavour Fellas (A full-on flavour range) which is the range I was after.
Goodfellas The Meaty Fella Pizza
Excuse the crushed box, I have no space in my freezer because of all the Christmas goodies!

Last night Big Boy and I were running a few chores and I found the Goodfellas pizza voucher in my pocket, so we popped into Asda to have a look and sure enough, they had one of the Goodfellas Flavour Fellas Pizzas that I wanted to try. Today I cooked the pizza as per the instructions on the box (very simple, remove packaging and put in the oven which you have remembered to turn on either straight on the shelf for crispy or on a tray for a softer crust) and have just sat watching the end of a Christmas film and polished off almost the entire pizza.

Frozen Goodfellas Meaty Fella Pizza

The pizza is actually delicious, and that's pretty much why I've eaten way more of it than I should have. Like I say, the things I do for my blog. Do you know how long I'm going to have to spend in the gym burning the calories of this pizza off now?!

Cooked Meaty Fella Pizza from Goodfellas

The Flavour Fellas have a RRP of £2.69 but I brought it for £2.50 in Asda last night (and I'm sure there are other deals on in other supermarkets). I do think that they will be falling into my trolley again in the near future... now if we could only get them to make a gluten free one for Daddy too.

I had a voucher to buy a pizza up to the value of £2.69. If I had hated the pizza I would tell you, but it was actually really nice and I didn't burn it.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Rise Of The Guardians - Game Review

I mentioned the other night that Big Boy is really in to computer games at the moment. He has decided that when he is older he'd quite like to design video games and has figured out that what he needs to do now to make that happen is play as many video games as his Daddy and I will let him. I'm a great believer that everything in moderation is important and so we do let Big Boy play computer games most evenings, even if it is only for ten minutes. This way we all get what we want and I can see that Big Boy is improving with his reading skills as he reads different things that appear on screen when he is playing the games.


Big Boy has been seeing the trailers for the film Rise Of The Guardians and has been excited about it and our trip to go and see it during the Christmas break and was most excited when we got a copy of the XBox game to review.

Rise of the Guardians Game Review

Barbie Photo Fashion Doll

Top Ender loves Barbie and keeps everyone up to date what is going on. It might be a new film coming out, a new book she has noticed or a magazine or as was the case this Summer a new doll that she had to have. This new Barbie was special because she was actually a doll you could play with AND a digital camera that you can take pictures with and can then be instantly displayed on the Barbie's T-Shirt - the Barbie Photo Fashion Doll. The plan was that we would get her this doll for her birthday although fate intervened and the lovely team at Mattel asked if she would like to review the Barbie...

Barbie Photo Fashion Doll

The Barbie has been with us everywhere, and little shots appear on Barbie's T-Shirt of interesting things that Barbie and Top Ender have seen. There is a folder on The A Mothers Ramblings Facebook page of all the pictures that Top Ender had taken at Santa arriving, and we will continue to add to other folders with Top Ender's pictures.

Barbie Photo Fashion Doll Picture of Mummy

The doll can store up to 200 photos and as she has a USB cable you can upload pictures to the doll's shirt or you can download the pictures that you have taken so you can have space for more. Top Ender is rather keen on embellishing her photographs with the preloaded graphics and it does mean the pictures are "unique".

Barbie Photo Fashion Doll Picture of Top Ender

What do we think? Well the doll is still a doll and can be used as a doll, as well as a camera. Whilst the pictures aren't great quality (Daddy has informed me that the camera is a 0.3MP Colour Camera, with 4mb of Memory) they are great for a child (I say Child and BB has had a play too and loves it) over the age of six  (that's the age Mattel suggest, but I think most School aged children would get a kick out of this) to play with and when displayed on the Barbie's shirt do look quite cute. You can go to the Barbie website where you can download more designs, which if it keeps being updated is a great bonus, and Top Ender loves that it brings even more choice to her embellishing!

The Barbie has an RRP of £69.99, and has a contained battery which can be charged via the USB cable, which I think is handy as it means that I have to download the photographs and back up the images regularly and there is no battery for Top Ender to somehow dig out of her Barbie! If you are still looking for a gift that is going to knock a Barbie fan's socks off, then this is the one doll you want to go and get.

We were sent the Barbie Photo Fashion Doll to review.

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Tuesday, 18 December 2012

When Big Boy and Top Ender met Santa at the Littlewoods Christmas Party

A couple of weeks ago the children received a parcel in the post. Inside amongst some snow and candy canes was an invite to a special Christmas Party hosted by Littlewoods with a special guest... of course Big Boy and Top Ender were very excited about being invited and even more so when I agreed that we could go! We travelled down by train, keeping ourselves amused by making up stories about other people on the train and finding a cup for Big Boy to relieve himself in when we found the train toilet to be out of order...

Big Boy with a Cup of wee...

The answers that some of our friends on Facebook were giving as to what they thought the cup contained kept us amused right up until we walked into the party and there sitting on a throne just for him was SANTA.

Santa on his Throne (and Tops and BB in the background!)

Although Big Boy and Top Ender have reliable informed me that this wasn't actually Santa, because he was too skinny, too young and the real Santa would be too busy to go to a Christmas party in the run up to Christmas... too clever by half my children. Top Ender and Big Boy didn't say this to Santa of course (just in case) and were most pleased when Santa gave them a gift. The delight in Big Boy's face is obvious and I'm so thankful to the lovely photographer who managed to capture this.

A delighted Big Boy getting a gift from Santa

We had a great giggle at the party, which was followed up by a walk down Regent Street where Top Ender, Big Boy and I sang "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and actually got several others walking down Regent Street to join in (it was so surreal, but I didn't dream it, Londoners actually joined in and smiled!). Big Boy managed to top this by having an entire tube carriage listen to his tale of the Christmas party and wish him a Merry Christmas when we got off (Christmas does great things to Londoners).

And I don't care if Santa wasn't as fat and old as he should be, I still think it was a fun Christmas Party!

Top Ender and Big Boy with Santa (aka The only Male in the office daft enough to agree to be Santa)

On a side note that is kind of related, Big Boy is completely in love with Littlewoods because of his new curtains that arrived (they're Mario) and even though I ordered them, paid for them and even hung them it's Littlewoods that are getting all the credit.

Littlewoods paid for our travel to the event, fed us Mince Pies, gave the children some rather lovely gifts and kept some of the other bloggers invited plentifully supplied in Mulled Wine.

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Monday, 17 December 2012

Warner Brothers DVD's - Fun For Grown Up's and Children!

After the lovely guys and gals at Warner Brothers read my review of The Vampire Diaries and realised that I was now a dedicated fan they asked if they could send me a special treat. I was delighted to find that they had sent me the box set for Series Two and for Series Three! I was seriously over the moon and had to wait for a few days when Big Boy was finally at School full time and didn't need me to go in at lunch time to supervise the giving of his injection as I didn't want to start watching the series only to have to pause them whilst I ran out for half an hour!

Vampire Diaries Second SeasonVampire Diaries Third Season

If you're not a fan of Vampires then you really aren't going to understand why the DVD's are so great, but if you can give the series a go. If you have a teenager over 15 (or you're lenient like that) then these DVD's are either a great stocking filler (if you only buy one or have brilliant stockings in your house) or a great under the tree gift. Personally I think that they are a great gift for those young at heart aunties and other female relations you have that you are never sure what to get as they are too young for monogrammed hankies and too nice for a joke gift.

Warner Brothers were also great and sent Tops and Big Boy a HUGE parcel of DVD's for Halloween which we took with us on our Holiday to Scotland. It was a huge relief not to have to find DVD's that Big Boy and Top Ender hadn't watched and both liked and that were seasonal too. The kids loved the films, but not as much as me as I watched them after they had gone to bed

Warner Brothers Halloween DVD's

Talking of Seasonal, I'm going to go and pick up the children so we can watch The Polar Express as our after school treat and maybe have some Hot Chocolate too!

Warner Brothers sent us the DVD's which is really nice of them because we like DVD's.

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Sunday, 16 December 2012

What's For Lunch? (W/C 17/12)

This is the last week at School for Top Ender and Big Boy before the Christmas Holidays, so we have to make this weeks lunches extra special. I also have to remember to post the pictures on my Facebook and Tumblr pages because I know that some of you like to pin them on Pinterest (Feel free to follow me!) and some of you just like to laugh at my sometimes terrible artistic talent!

Monday - Baby Jesus Mangers

Did you know that Mince pies used to be filled with meat rather than fruit and were oval shaped rather than round because they were supposed to be representative of the manger and the lid was supposed to be represent the swaddling? This is one of those "little facts" that I know and when I tell others they look at me as if I've been at the Christmas Brandy, which as we all know doesn't exist in my house. Well today, we've got my tribute to the original manger shaped mince pies aka a Sausage Roll!

Tuesday - Rudolph Sandwiches

Some lovely Rudolph Sandwiches are planned for today, whole wheat bread which gives him that lovely brown coat he and the other reindeer must be proud of and cheese slices inside because who doesn't like a little cheese? The antlers and nose are a little bit of a secret, because I know that Top Ender has been reading the blog this weekend and I don't want all the surprise spoilt!

Big Boy as Rudolph

Wednesday - Angel Wing Hot Dog Sandwiches

Top Ender is going to need a hearty lunch today as she is spending the morning outside with The Parks Trust, so today is a hot lunch for the children using their Bento Thermos Boxes. There was much debate over what the lunch should be, so that it was Christmas themed, hot and tasty and in the end we decided on Hot Dog Sandwiches. Mainly because with Golden Triangles of Sandwiches, we can pretend that they are Angel Wings!

Thursday - Gingerbread Houses or possibly people

A bit ambitious, but I'm going to attempt to make a gingerbread house sandwich for lunch... I just hope it stays together until lunch and works! If it doesn't work before the children head off to School then Gingerbread Men it is.

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's Too!

This has to be the best School Christmas Themed lunch ever as I know that the children will be expecting something wonderful... I just hope that I can pull off something they will both love! As this is also the last day at School before the Christmas break I've got some lovely secret treats to add in to the lunch box.

Is it the last week at School for you before the Christmas Holidays? Do you have any pre Christmas lunches to look forward to?

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Saturday, 15 December 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 15/12)

I did have a great meal plan for the whole of December all worked out, but for some strange reason I haven't wanted to stick to it so this is what I want to eat this week as opposed to what I had planned!

Saturday - Sheppard's Pie

Today Top Ender and I are taking part in a service project through our Church ward and going to sing at a local Old Folks Home. As we are going to be dashing about doing this and then taking my Mum shopping, I thought I should get Daddy to make dinner and as he makes a lovely Sheppard's pie...

Sheppard's Pie or Cottage Pie depending on what Mince Daddy uses.

Sunday - Pork Chop Roast

Again today is really busy. In the morning we have Church and Top Ender is in the Nativity, so Big Boy and Daddy will be joining me to watch it. Then of course we are all home for lunch and an afternoon of doing some things together before finally in the evening I head back to Church for our Carol Concert. If you'd like to attend and you are in the Milton Keynes area it starts at 6:30pm and you can find us at High Street/Dansteed Way, Two Mile Ask, MK8 8LH.

Monday - Sausages and Mash

I have to be kind to Daddy as I'm going to give him fish tomorrow which he will inwardly complain about. So in order to butter him up tonight he has Sausages and Mash! The sausages we buy are 100% meat because of Daddy having to have food that is Gluten free and I make the mash with milk but not butter so it's a healthy option really.

Tuesday - Oven Baked Haddock

I know that Daddy isn't that keen on fish, but I am and as I'm cooking I win. Plus this is really easy as all you do is top the fish with a crumb/herb topping (I'll also add in some chopped tomato and some onion too I think) and bake in the oven. I'm going to serve it with spiced wedges as I know that Daddy does like those. Also today is Big Boy's first Nativity at School, he is playing a Wiseman and is really excited about i, this has nothing to do with Fish I just wanted to mention it!

Wednesday - Chicken and Rice 

Tops and Daddy are off to Top Ender's Carol Concert at School tonight (I'm going in the morning) so dinner has to be something that is filling, quick and more importantly doesn't smell! I thought that it would be best to go for something simple and so that's why we are having Baked Chicken and Rice!

Chicken and Rice

Thursday - Everything in Pasta

I love everything is Pasta. I tend to keep a lot of different frozen vegetables in the freezer and I always have vegetables that need using up in the fridge. Everything in Pasta is just how I use up the hot dogs, and ham and sliced peppers, and chopped onion, and peas and tomatoes up. The great thing is that it always tastes great and the better news is that it gives me a good reason to clean out my freezer before a certain big day!

Friday - McDonalds

Yes I know Fast food on a Friday. Sue me.

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Friday, 14 December 2012

Lego Duplo Photo Safari

There is one thing that really annoys Big Boy about being a School boy. It isn't the T-Shirts, it isn't the trousers, it isn't that he has to tidy up the toys and that when he gets home I get him reading, writing and doing all the things he has already done at School with me. What he really hates is that now when a parcel arrives for him, he doesn't get to open it straight away, but has to wait until I tell him a parcel has arrived and where I have hidden it!

The most recent parcel that he was over the moon about was a rather lovely LEGO Duplo Photo Safari set.

Big Boy loved naming the different animals that were pulled out the box and was soon involved in some rather imaginative role play about a documentary film crew filming the animals for a TV show. I fear we've been watching too many Nature Documentaries this year, and just how dark is Big Boy's imagination?!

Big Boy assessing the Lego Duplo Photo Safari SetThe Poor Cameraman in the LEGO Duplo Photo Safari Set is about to meet his maker

The camera man being eaten by a Crocodile

Luckily Big Boy soon stopped killing the characters and started building some places for the animals to live and roam.

A Cheetah in a Lego Duplo Tree

The Elephants marched two by two

It was really great for me to see just how much Big Boy knew about animals that we don't keep in our back garden, but it did start up again that age old question of what noise does a giraffe make?!

If you are looking for a last minute gift for a five and under child, I suggest this set as it really is lovely. And if you spend over £25 in Toys R Us Stores on Lego Duplo you can get a Lego Duplo Plush Bunny as a free gift! I would show you the one that we were sent, but I'm not too sure where he is... I'll add a picture in of him later, or you can have a look at the Facebook page as I'll add him there as soon as he reappears!

We were sent the Photo Safari Set as we are part of the Lego Duplo Bloggers for 2013.

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Why I was Missing

So you might have noticed, if you're a stalker (like Rachel Gurr!), that for a couple of weeks I hadn't posted a plan for dinner or for lunches. In fact I'd been a bit slack with the whole blog posting thing for a few days really and despite most of you knowing that I'm not MIA with my infrequent tweeting, occasional Facebook posts and for the lucky few middle of the night renditions of Rockin' Robin there are some who might be wondering just what the heck is going on.

Well it's simple. I'm being a Mum, Wife, Auntie, Sister, Daughter and Swagbuck Queen.

Thursday night the Children and I watched The Yummy Gummy Search For Santa Movie (available to buy now) which we had been sent and had us giggling, dancing and eating jelly.

The Yummy Gummy Search For Santa Movie

Then on the Friday, Top Ender, Big Boy, Daddy and I headed over to Leighton Buzzard to have dinner with my Sister and her family and my Mum. We had Fish and Chips and then headed off to the Town Centre for the Christmas Lights being turned on. It was amazing fun all bundled up warm together at the Market Cross, it was even more fun when the fireworks started just a few moments after the lights were turned on and in a typical British Crowd moment the biggest cheer came when one of the local shops burglar alarm went off as a particularly loud firework exploded overhead.

Cousins All Together

Cousins All Together

Then on Saturday we headed off to Big Cousin's Christmas School Fete. We wanted a nosey around her School and a Christmas Fete gives you access to almost every where! We followed this up with a trip to the Supermarket with my Mum, but as I hadn't written a shopping list it was a very confusing affair for me and meant I didn't write a menu plan all week!!!

Sunday morning found me at Church and Sunday afternoon had us putting up our Christmas Tree and watching a Christmas Movie on the Projector.

Then last week was so busy for me, with me spending half my time going to the School for one reason or another (the children were tag teaming me I swear), me finally getting the kitchen cleaned, the Bathroom being given a professional Clean (more about that in my Viakal post), a couple of friends coming for a visit, Christmas present buying, Swagbucks earning and a lot more besides.

The good news is that this little break from blogging has meant that I'm ready to blog again, so no more little breaks from me!

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Thursday, 13 December 2012

Big Boy's Nativity

This year Big Boy is taking a big interest in my Nativity set. As it is rather delicate, I knew that something had to be done to stop him from playing with it and accidentally breaking it, although I wasn't sure what. When walking round Tesco the other day I saw a sweet little Wooden Nativity set and I knew that Big Boy would love it. After explaining how precious to me my Nativity set was, I gave Big Boy his own Nativity set. He was rather proud of his new acquisition and set about retelling the Nativity using his little figures. I thought that everything was good and left him to it.

Big Boy had other ideas though. 

Big Boy playing with his Nativity

Big Boy decided after a little while that his Nativity figures were actually children and that they needed to know what they were going to grow up to be and so he put all his figures next to my Nativity figures... and moved them all to be in a circle around the Baby Jesus again!

Big Boy's Nativity from Tesco

After explaining again to Big Boy that his Nativity set was for him to play with and mine was just for looking at, he seemed to understand and got back to playing with his set again. It's been a brilliant buy and I'm so pleased that Big Boy loves it.

Tesco didn't pay me to write this, or ask me, or anything. I just thought you'd like to know because it's a cute little Nativity and it's about Big Boy and not diabetes for a change!

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Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Themed Lunches

Last week I forgot to post pictures of the Children's lunches, mostly because I was running around like a headless Chicken for most of the week trying to get a lot of last minute jobs done, like clean my house, do the dishes, stop slobbing on the sofa.

So I thought I would do a quick round up here for those of you who are interested!

The first lunch we have here is a Christmas gift all neatly wrapped up. As you can see in the top left there is a penguin on the Satsuma, this was a temporary tattoo which thanks to Pinterest I found out works really well on fruit with a skin you aren't going to eat.

Christmas gift themed lunch and temporary tattoo Satsuma

The Fondant Fancy there is a special Christmas version as it is all white and snowy. Big Boy seems to think that they taste better than ordinary Fondant Fancies, but then again he thinks the pink ones taste better than the chocolate brown ones.

We were sent a new Seasonal packet of Pom Bear Crisps (available in Asda), they are Pigs in Blanket flavour and for the first time they aren't Pom Bear shaped! They are adorable Snowmen. We love them as they are Gluten Free so Daddy can eat them too!

Pom Bear Christmas Themed Crisps

The Christmas Tree Shortbread there is also a Gluten free treat, and has had Big Boy cracking up with delight because not only are they not short they aren't made of bread either... I really don't know where this boy gets his sense of humour from!

Another lunch we had this week were Pitta Bread Snow men with ham scarves. I used my food colouring pens to draw the different features on the pita breads and that's a small Fabulous Bakin Boys Mini Choccy Muffins as a hat too.

Snowman Themed Pitta Bread Lunch

I love the mini versions that the Fabulous Bakin' Boys make because it gives Diabetic Big Boy a treat in his lunch box that isn't sky high in carbs and sugar and also Tops loves them because she can eat two instead of one!

So for the rest of December keep an eye out on the A Mothers Ramblings Facebook page as I will be posting the pictures (I'm organised and I've done the dishes!) every morning and the challenge is to make Christmas themed lunches for the whole of December!

We were sent the Pom Bear Snacks to review. I almost ate them all, but remembered that would be greedy.

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Ugg Boots for Children

Every so often I surprise Top Ender by being "Fashionable", or by knowing something that she is sure that I am far too old and uncool to know. Like what Ugg boots are.

It's not that hard, here in Milton Keynes it's a fairly common sight to see girls wearing Ugg boots, skinny jeans and long jumpers so I've learnt how to tell real Uggs from fake Uggs at about 100 paces. It isn't hard, The real Uggs are great quality and look expensive where as the fake ones... well they look fake.

Tops was asked if she'd like a pair of Uggs, and she chose the Kids Cardy 2 in black, which she said would be great as the colourful buttons down the side would mean she could team it would some bright clothes or with dark clothes because they are black.

Black Cardy 2 Ugg Boots for Children

Sunday, 9 December 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 8/12)

The one thing that I learnt from not posting a meal plan last week is that if I don't post a meal plan my family and I really have no clue what we are doing. I didn't make a shopping list when I went to the supermarket, I didn't know what I was cooking each day and we were quite terrible and had take out a couple of times even though we knew we shouldn't. Still this week I at least had the meal plan in draft before I went shopping so I knew what I should be buying, and I even managed to remember to buy some snacks such as the Lord Poppington Popcorn Daddy and I had been munching on (and enjoying) earlier in the week!

Lord Poppington Popcorn

Saturday - Fish and Chips Home Made

Last night we had Home Made Gluten Free Fish and Chips. I was supposed to cook it, but I spent some time with my sister and my Mum (who has a terrible cold) and so Daddy ended up making it. It was lovely and even though Daddy has once again admitted that he really isn't keen of fish he did enjoy his fish supper.

Sunday - Roast Potatoes and Trimmings with Pork Chops

We are nearly back to having Chicken Roasts once a week and I can't say I won't be glad, not having Chicken or Turkey for the last few weeks has meant we've had to buy a more expensive joint of lamb or beef and  my budget just can't take it! Although saying that, last week and this week we went with Daddy's favourite of Pork Chops (actually loin steaks but we still call them chops!) which after being grilled are given a teaspoon of apple sauce on one side and a sprinkle of grated cheese on top of that. They are rather delicious even if they should be a once in a while treat!

Monday - Lasagne

Everyone in this house loves lasagne and so after I get back from Church with Big Boy and his classmates I'll come home and make a couple of Lasagne's. Hopefully if I can stretch it to two then I can freeze one for use in the future as it's so much better for us that when I'm feeling like I can't be bothered to cook, that I can grab a home made meal out of the freezer.

Tuesday - Beans on Toast with Egg

We're at the Milton Keynes Panto on Tuesday night, so I'll give the children Beans on Toast with a poached egg (actually I'll have the same too) as it is quick, easy and quite well nutritionally balanced according to a teacher I once had. Daddy will eat something big at work so that he can have a sandwich when he gets in, before we disappear to the Theatre.

Wednesday - Beef Burgers

I've got a choir rehearsal this evening (I know, I know!) at the Chapel for a performance this weekend (Service project, going to an Old Folks Home with Primary isn't that cute?) and so I thought we'd need something quick and tasty. Both Big Boy and Top Ender have recently decided that they like Beef Burgers, so I thought I'd class them up with some Potato Rosti and Broccoli and it would be a great midweek meal.

Thursday - Honey Mustard Chicken

I am such a big Honey Mustard Sauce fan that I thought it would be great to do a slow cooker version of the drumsticks we had the other week. I'm cheating and using the low fat Chicken Tonight version of the sauce as it makes it so much easier for me to calculate how many carbs Big Boy is eating compared to my home made version.

Friday - Taco Trays 

We haven't had Taco's for such a long time, and I love the trays as they make it so much easier to load and as they are Gluten Free it's a really simple meal to cook. I think that it's a great Friday night meal and as we've been invited to a Christmas Party they would also mean we didn't pig out on all the Hors d'Oeuvres. Plus it means I get to put this picture of Daddy enjoying his food up again...

Daddy enjoying his Taco Tray

So that's my week of meals. What are you planning this week?  

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Sunday, 2 December 2012

A Strangely Diary Like Post

I'm not the only one who starts thinking about how their home can be made better around Christmas time am I? I think for me that I start moving a few items around, to make space for the Christmas Tree, and before I know it I've spent £100 in Ikea on a new storage unit and a huge plastic box thing to go under the Den sofa. Still it does look nice in the den now and everything is much easier to get at.

This year even Daddy has caught this cleaning/tidying/sorting out bug and has tackled the mess we call a computer desk. As I'm typing this, he is sorting out memory sticks, memory cards, various cables and other computing related things into a new drawer unit... also from Ikea!

We had a great evening together, we watched a Christmas film and the children have both gone to bed and they are both fairly healthy, so I'm taking a risk and making plans for tomorrow.

1) Put the picture frames up in the alcove. Seriously I really have to do it this time.
2) Paint four picture frames gold.
3) Deep clean the bathroom before the Bathroom Cleaning Company come on Wednesday.
4) Eat. The Goodfellas Pizza would be a good choice as then I could review it.
5) Sort out the Craft items. Basically I need to halve what I have.
6) Decide what Christmas gifts the TA's and Teachers are getting. Buy them.
7) Write Top Ender's Birthday invites.
8) Clean the Kitchen. Use the Morphy Richards 2 in 1 Steam Cleaner and then review it.
9) Write Christmas Cards. Post Christmas Cards.
10) Finish Christmas Shopping.

Sounds like a normal day for me, which when coupled with watching a few Christmas films will hopefully have me in a Christmasy mood ready for the children and I to decorate our Living Room window with a Christmas Scene (Keep an eye out on Facebook for the pictures) and maybe I won't procrastinate and will actually achieve everything on my list for once... well a girl can dream can't she?!

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