A Mothers Ramblings: January 2013

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

My Grown Up Bedroom - Or Where I've Been For January

I've been so busy over the last month that I've not looked at my blog, let alone thought of noting down any blog posts that I could be writing (I have several that are buzzing around my head), so I apologise for the lack of activity from me. I was reading back over the last year too and realised that I've strayed quite far from telling stories of what me and the family get up to and so I hope to remedy that this year too.

So what have we been up to?

For most of the month I've been decluttering the house. I started with my bedroom and now that it's clean and tidy, I can show you why I started there.

Clutter In My Bedroom - Don't judge me.

My bedroom is was the dumping ground for things that didn't have a home elsewhere in the house. Was it something that was to go in the loft? Well, put it in my bedroom and then we'll get round to it eventually. These clothes no longer fit Top Ender and Big Boy? Well, then put them in my bedroom until I get a chance to go to the Charity shop or clothes bin. These toys are for younger cousins? Put them in my room then. These photos need to be sorted out? Put them in my room...

I originally planned just to do fifteen minutes a day, a little here and a little there and slowly see the changes, but several hours after I first started I realised that I was enjoying the cathartic process of throwing away my possessions and clearing the space that had dominated my bedroom.

It took me all week, but eventually my room was finished and looked like a bedroom again. I had recycled, thrown away, donated to charity shops, relocated, given to School and put away properly everything that shouldn't have been in my bedroom.

A couple more weeks have passed, whilst I've again gone through the possessions I own and thinned them out some more, passing more craft items to friends who will use them, to the School who will no doubt allow Big Boy to bring them home again as part of his art and craft creations. And now it looks like this.

A Tidy Grown Up Bedroom

I'm very proud of myself and my grown up bedroom.

I went through Big Boy's room next. The change wasn't as dramatic, but his room is a lot easier to keep tidy now. I still have Top Ender's room to do, but down sizing her possessions is a little bit harder, so I'm putting that one off for now!

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Monday, 28 January 2013

An Ideal Family Gift

Something that I should have reviewed an absolute age ago is from the very funky site Not On The High Street.com. If you haven't come across the site yet, then go and take a look. I can promise you that you will soon have a wish list as long as your arm! NotOnTheHighStreet.com is actually my first port of call when I am looking for gift inspiration for those people in my life that deserve something truly special and as such I have a few wish lists of things that I would like from the site.

NotOnTheHighStreet.com asked if I'd like to have something from my wishlist and after thinking for a moment or two I decided that I should buy something for the family and so it was the Doodle Tablecloth that I asked for, and was soon winging its way to me in the post. The parcel arrived within a few days, it was a surprise at how quick it had arrived and I forgot to take a picture of the parcel before I opened it because when I was faced with a lovely lime green tissue paper parcel with a bow I had to rip it open so I could see what it was!

We use the Tablecloth when we sit at the Dinning table and have great fun drawing away as we wait for dinner to arrive at the table, or between courses, or after we've eaten whilst we're putting off doing the dishes. It's great fun and is good for writing little messages to each other too.

Doodle Tablecloth from NotOnTheHighStreet.com

It isn't just us who think this tablecloth is great though, my Nan came for lunch on Boxing Day and took great delight in drawing on the tablecloth with the children with the special wash out fabric pens, although she did admit that she felt a bit naughty drawing on a tablecloth.

I've added a lot more to my wishlist of things to buy from the website, what have you seen that you would like? Maybe, I might add you to my special people gift list. And if you'd like to see more photos of our doodles, take a look at our Facebook page I'll update the album when I can!

NotOnTheHighStreet.com sent me the table cloth in exchange for a blog review.

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Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Giant To Do List of 2013

A little while back I was reading one of my favourite blogs (Frugal Family) when I saw that Cass had written a Giant To Do list for the first three months of the year. I thought that it was a great idea and so asked Cass if she would mind if I joined in/stole the idea for my own. Luckily for me Cass is adorably giving and gave me permission to steal/join in.

I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to publish this post, maybe like Cass originally said this post was only ever meant to remain in draft format sitting there reminding me that I have chores to do at home and should be doing them instead of sitting on the PC, but like Cass I have now published my list and I will continue to do so every three months and update as I'm going along with posts about what I've done and achieved.

This is my list. I've crossed off the things that I've already achieved, just to satisfy my own list making and crossing off needs.

1) Replace my bathroom flooring.
2) Make a Shell Photograph for the bathroom
3) Find a way to replace the bathroom. At least set up a way to start saving to replace the bathroom.
4) Paint the hallway to remove the stains BB left.
5) Fix the skirting board in the hall
6) Sort out Big Boy's bedroom
7) Sort out Big Boy's clothes
8) Paint Big Boy's bedroom
9) Sort out my bedroom - honestly this is a year long task but I only have until March!
10) Sort out my clothes
11) Weed the driveway at the side of the house
12) Replant the front garden and remove the thorny thing that is trailing under the front step
13) Make an attempt at clearing the back garden
14) Sort out Top Ender's bedroom
15) Sort out Top Ender's clothes
16) Go through the boxes of photos under my bed
17) Clear out the Garage
18) Clear out the loft
19) Teach myself the guitar (I got quite good, but need the time to practice)
20) Find a way of buying a new (to us) car
21) Sort through the Craft items and give some away
22) Sort through the board games and give away the ones we don't play any more
23) Wash all the curtains
24) Line Big Boy's curtains
25) Hit my swagbucks target everyday

I'm sure that there are plenty more than the 20 odd jobs listed above that I need to do and so as I come across them I'll add them to the list for the first quarter of the year, or one of the later lists... now I'd better get off the PC and go and do one of those jobs listed above. Why didn't I put slob about on there?!

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What's For Lunch (W/C 26/01)

Despite having a million billion TV Channels (okay, so maybe not that many my husband reliable informs me that there are around 300 here in the UK) the other night saw Daddy and I watching the final of Adam Richman's Best Sandwich in America. We cracked up that we were watching it, until we started drooling over the sandwiches. Some of them were stunning creations, with flavours we would never thought of combining and others were dishes that we had heard of several times but never knew what went into making them. It gave me an idea, every Saturday we'd try a new sandwich some from the TV show, others from websites or magazines that I'd found but it would mean that we'd be planning our weekend lunches to!

Saturday - Pippa's Philly Cheese Steak Subs

I know this isn't the correct method, but it's how I made it based on what I saw on the TV Show and what I saw on various websites. Take some Steak, cook it on the griddle along with some chopped slices mushrooms and some chopped onions and then when it's cooked place some American Cheese on top so that it melts in. Serve to willing family members.

Tops said it tasted like a cheese burger (I could see what she means), Daddy said it tasted really nice and I could see people being addicted to the cheesy meaty mixture as it was like a great comfort food. Big Boy declined it and had a ham roll instead... poor boy didn't know what he missed out on!

Sunday - Salad Wraps (minus the salad for the children)

I love Salad, I really do, I find it very filling and as I've thrown myself back into going to the gym and losing weight I figured that the rest of the family should see what they are missing. As it's important that Big Boy eats his food quickly after he's had his insulin injection he won't have a lot of salad (I'll sneak a couple of small bits in) but Top Ender will have more as she has to get used to it.

I managed to find some gluten free wraps in Asda (they've been sold out for ages) and despite them being terrible for folding in half (as the instructions tell you to) Daddy had left over Taco meat with cheese and Mayola (no egg mayonnaise) as we decided that hot salad just wasn't as tasty as cold salad!

Monday - Sausages (Cheese Salad for me)

Ages ago, Top Ender had some sausages with some ketchup for lunch. Big Boy was looking at the photographs of past lunches and asked if I could give them that for lunch one day, so that's what they have today!

Tuesday - Ham Bagel (Prawn Salad Bagel for me)

I was talking to my sister about foods that you associate with family members and she says that Bagels remind her of me because after I came back from America in the mid 1990's it was all I ate. I don't remember that being all I ate, but I do remember that bagels are lush. Ham for the children, and a prawn salad bagel for me.

Wednesday - Egg Pittas

The mini pittas are a favourite in our house, because they are small child hand sized and to easy to fill. I'm hard boiling two eggs and then chopping them with a bit of chives or dill and some chopped tomato as I think the food needs a bit of colour. My lunch will be boiled egg and salad but no pitta bread.

Thursday - Salmon Sushi (Salmon and Salad wrap for me)

Today was going to be a plain boring sandwich, but I thought I'd make some Salmon Sushi for the children. This is where you use a rolling pin to flatten a piece of bread, (after having removed the crusts) and then put your filling on the slice of bread and gently roll it up before cutting it in to a few pieces to look like Sushi. Salmon and Cucumber Sushi will be nice right?

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too

The lovely calender that my SMIL made for me this past Christmas informs me that today is Robinson Crusoe day. I read the book a long time ago and the only food I remember being mentioned in the book was goat, barley, raisins and well, human! I don't think that the children would be too impressed with goat or human sandwiches though so I may have to come up with another idea. If you want to celebrate today, then last year Chris came up with some great ideas which are great for all ages.

Just in case you were wondering, Daddy takes care of his own lunches Monday through Friday as he has some bits and pieces at work (Baked Beans, Bacon, Bread, Cheese, Jam, Crackers and other bits and pieces) although if we have a lot of leftovers he does sometimes take those.

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What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 26/01)

I planned this weeks dinners after eating my lunch on Thursday afternoon. I had two Salad wraps (they were delicious!) and discovered that meal planning on an empty stomach (how I normally do it) is so much easier as I know if I am hungry then I'm willing to think about food! Although being full did mean that I didn't want to eat after planning and allowed me to be a bit more creative when it came to lunches this week.

Salad Wraps

Saturday - Taco's

We are fans of Taco's because we like that you can customise your own food to how you want, it doesn't matter if you want it mild or spicy or with extra salad because when you make your own you get to decide. I'm still pretty certain though that if I showed a Mexican how we make them that they would die laughing at how silly we are over what we do. I have the Taco's in the cupboard already and will buy Mince fresh on the Saturday.

Sunday - Slow Roasted Chicken Wings

I did end up cooking the roast last week as I wasn't at Church, as I said Daddy was worried that if the snow got bad we'd end up stuck out in the snow and it wasn't a risk he wanted us to take. This week I should have been at Stake Conference but completely forgot and by the time I'd have driven there when I remembered it would have been almost over. I'm doing Slow Roasted Wings with Rosemary Roast Potatoes as I think they'll go well together!

Monday - Home Made Soup

I love the idea of meatless Mondays, not just because of the variety it will offer, or because this one time vegetarian still hankers after a meat free diet (I couldn't do it, I missed sausages too much and also some enzyme in meat stops me having dry skin) but because I think it's important that my family learn that they don't have to eat meat at every meal to make it complete. So this first week of having a meatless meal on a Monday sees us having soup, as I thought I'd ease the family in. I'm going to make bread for the children and I (If Daddy is lucky I might make him some rolls) to have with the soup. I'm planning on making the Jamie Oliver 15 minute Mushroom Soup, as I've heard good things about it for Daddy and I and plain old Tomato Soup for the children as that's what they like the best!

Tuesday - Lemon Pasta with Seafood

With the BBC Weather Team forecasting a balmy seven degrees for Milton Keynes (it will be balmy after all these minus three's and four's we've been having!) we gone for a lemon pasta dish with Salmon and Prawns for our dinner tonight to get us in the mood for the milder weather. To make this I'll oven bake the Salmon and prawns in a little olive oil and lemon juice, boil the pasta and then make a quick sauce by using the juice from the fish, a little more oil if needed, some chopped basil, some chopped garlic, some very finely chopped spring onions, some chopped dill and season the lot with salt and pepper. I'll then flake the fish and once the pasta is drained mix it all together. It's a nice light dish and a great way to add some fish to the week.

Wednesday - Home Made McDonalds/Hospital Visit Day

Once every few weeks we go to see Big Boy's Diabetic Care Team, at the local hospital. Whilst it annoys the heck out of me that he misses School to go to the appointments (why not have before/after school appointments every day of the week seeing as all the patients who attend are School aged children), it's also reassuring to know that Big Boy is well looked after and that we can make the necessary adjustments to his ratios to make sure that Big Boy stays well. As Big Boy hates the appointments (he gets prodded and pricked, weighed and measured and then talked about) he has chosen Mum and Dad McDonalds for dinner tonight. I make Chicken Nuggets and chips and then he and Tops "drive" their cars through a drive through in the living room before collecting their food at the kitchen. It's a little bit of fun that we don't mind having! I'll be having a Chicken Salad though.

Thursday - Steak Curry for the adults Sausage Curry for the children

Dinner tonight is for Daddy really, he wanted a repeat of the curry we had last Saturday as he really enjoyed it. As it is rather spicy, because that's what Daddy likes, I'm making a milder Sausage curry for the children in the slow cooker and will make enough to do at least one more dinner for all of us in the next few weeks. As it is Sausages that the children are having they are more likely to eat the meal as they still aren't spicy food fans even if it is mild compared to other dishes.

Friday - Baked Sloppy Joes

I remembered this last week when I used the picture, we love Baked Sloppy Joes and it seems like a while since we last had it. I think this is great Friday night food to watch with a movie because it's relaxed and casual food, which describes our Friday Nights! The film this week is Arrietty, which we haven't watched yet even though we've had it since it was released on DVD

And there you go, that's our dinner this week. Not too bad if I do say so myself. What have you got this week?

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Sunday, 20 January 2013

Monster High on DVD

I've never really understood Monster High, it's one of the cartoons that Top Ender loves that has really passed me by, but even Big Boy knows that Top Ender loves the programme as he is always pointing out the dolls or other Monster High branded items that he has seen that he thinks Top Ender just has to have. We were asked if we'd like to review the latest Monster High release, a double episode of Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love and Friday Night Frights.

Monster High DVD Double Feature

In Why Do Ghouls Fall In Love, it's Draculaura's sweet sixteen hundreth birthday party (which happens to be Valentines Day) and when Valentine (yes *the* Valentine, she dated him back in the day and he created Valentines Day for her) turns up with a plan for getting Draculaura's heart it all adds up to teen drama combined with teen angst but in a approachable cartoon way.

In Friday Night Frights (my favourite of the two episodes) there is a Skulltimate Roller Maze final where the stars of the all boys team are mysteriously injured meaning that School Spirit is at an all time low. The girls decide that they have to step in, and eventually realise that they have to be themselves in order to win and beat the oppositions teams dirty tricks.

The DVD is released tomorrow (21st January 2013) and is a double disc DVD, with special features and bonus material that will have Monster High fans very happy.

We were sent a DVD to review.

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Now Is Good

Just after Christmas, my Nan decided to treat herself to a new TV in her bedroom. The one that she chose came with a built in DVD player which she is really excited about as it is her first ever DVD player. I said that I would send her a few DVD's to watch (she currently only has one of a wedding she went to a few years ago) and asked friends on the A Mother's Ramblings Facebook page what they would send a Great Grandma who likes Romantic or Weepy films. They gave some great suggestions and my parcel of DVD's to send to her from my personal collection is just missing a letter and some step by step instructions on how to work her DVD player and then can be sent!

Last week whilst I was tidying my room (pictures to come trust me it's worth the wait) I watched a few of the suggested films to help pass the time and keep me on task. The only film that I watched that wasn't on the list was the soon to be released (January 21st 2013) Now Is Good starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine.

Now Is Good

I should have known not to watch the film.

I should have known that the film was going to make me sob.

I should have known that the film was going to stop me cleaning and get me watching it instead.

Now is Good is about a young girl (I think 17) who has Terminal Cancer and has decided to try and live her last few weeks ticking off as much as she can from a list of things she wants to do. The blurb on the DVD says that the top of this list is to lose her virginity, but the film is more than this.

A scene from Now Is Good

The film is about broken people being healed, about life and death, about love of all kinds and relationships between family and friends. It's a story that makes you think about what is important to you (well, it did me) and I really loved the film and despite it being so sad. I have sent it off to my Nan as there is a love story in there and it made me weep which is what she said she liked! As soon as she lets me know what she thinks of the film I'll let you know on our Facebook page!

We were sent the DVD thanks to Warner Brothers.

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Saturday, 19 January 2013

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 19/01)

Last night I was a bit busy sleeping to come up with a meal plan for this week, and then I went shopping before working out what we were going to eat which is such a bad idea. It was rather lucky that I did stick to some sort of idea of a plan so it kept the price of the shopping a little lower than I expected and here is the sort of plan I came up with!

Saturday - Pizza for the Children Curry for the Adults

This wasn't actually what I had planned, but it was what we ended up having. I was planning on getting something from the cupboard for dinner, but I couldn't find anything inspiring so BB and I went for a walk to the local shop for pizza for him and his Sister. Daddy and I ended up having a Beef Curry that I was planning on us having later in the week, but as it was lovely I don't think Daddy or I worried!

Sunday - Roast Chicken

If the BBC are right then I probably won't be able to make Church tomorrow afternoon as there should be a rather deep covering of snow. We will still have our roast Chicken and if Daddy doesn't make it (he is getting rather great at it) then I'll then I'm going to roast the chicken with red onion and garlic.

Monday - Creamy Pasta

Yes, again with the creamy pasta. The thing is the meal I made last week was sooooooooooooooo lovely that we had to have it again. All I did was boil some pasta as normal, dry fry some bacon in my special frying pan (it's special because it cost a fortune) along with some diced onion, some mushrooms and two cloves of garlic (sliced) before adding in a pot of double cream, some peas and a handful (maybe 15g) of grated cheese and letting it heat through, before mixing it into the pasta. Decadent I know, but it was blooming lovely!!!!

Baked Sloppy Joes
Baked Sloppy Joes. Nothing to do with this weeks meals but the last dish I had to make again and again because it was so tasty.

Tuesday - Pork Loins

As you can probably guess, we're big fans of Pork. I was going to originally grill the chops with a bit of apple sauce as that is Daddy's favourite but I found a recipe for Pork Loins with an Orange Gremolata and decided I'd do that instead!

Wednesday - Toad in the Hole (children) Something tasty for the Adults

Tops has a friend coming round for tea tonight and I thought that they'd rather like posh toad in the hole with gravy and peas. Daddy and I will eat later, and we were supposed to have the curry we had on Saturday so we'll have to have something else... I think it should be something fish based although I doubt Daddy will agree!

Thursday - Lasagne

It seems like it is a heavy dish because people assume that a lasagne has to be covered in cheese and dripping in sauce, but the dish I make is not like that. Yes, I do have cheese on the top of the dish, but we prefer the dish to be filed with veggies along with the lean meat and it isn't a very saucy dish as I tend to split the sauce between two lasagne's so that it goes further!

Friday - Chicken wings

A couple of weeks ago when we had Chicken Wings not only did I discover that I rock at cutting up Chicken Wings (mainly thanks to the instructions I found on how to cut chicken wings) but I also discovered that Chicken Wings are blooming lovely for a Friday Night dinner. I've asked on our Facebook page what to serve them with as I've hit a bit of a mental block this week!

So what do you have for dinner this week and can you shop without a shopping list or like me do you need it written down in stone before setting foot in a shop?!

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

What's For Lunch? (W/C 14/01)

I have so missed packing lunches over the Christmas break! This past week has been great because we've got back into the routine of having lunches packed before 8am and being eaten at 12Noon and also having them planned by the time I go shopping on a Saturday (or in this case Friday afternoon as it was supposed to snow Saturday). This week we have...

Monday - Ham Wraps

As I'm using yesterdays Chicken in tonight's dinner the children are having ham wraps at lunch today. I know that Top Ender will be very disappointed, but Big Boy is going to love it. I'm thinking of making a salad of chopped vegetables to add to give it some crunch as the children still aren't keen on lettuce.

Tuesday - Leftover Pasta

Today we have leftover pasta for lunch, as I always make too much and if I don't put it into the lunch boxes straight away I'll only try and eat it and that isn't good!

Wednesday - Cheese Sandwiches with a side of Chutney

To spice up the Cheese Rolls on International Hot and Spicy Food Day I'm going to add a side of chutney that if the children want they can add to their sandwiches, either by dipping or by spreading onto the bread. I may even get my chilli shaped sandwich cutter out!

Chilli Shaped Sandwiches

Thursday - Daddy's Birthday Treat

I'm giving the children crackers, ham, cheese and veggies so that they can make their own lunch today in celebration of Daddy's Birthday! They will also have some cupcakes for them to pretend are a slice of Daddy's cake. Which I have yet to make and seeing as poor Top Ender didn't even get one it's going to be one for her too.

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

It's Winnie the Pooh day today, so I'm actually telling you my theme in advance so that you can take part too (if you want that is!). I'm not telling you what I'm making though as that would be spoiling the surprise. If you do make something, make sure to share some pictures with me so I can see!

And that is our week of School lunches. What are you planning on making this week?

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Saturday, 12 January 2013

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 12/01)

With this weekend predicting snow, I actually went shopping yesterday afternoon... just in case we were unable to drive to the Supermarket and to my Mums to help her with her shopping too. Anyway, it did mean that I had to plan my menu earlier, which gave me the headache of having less time to debate over which meal would be best.

Saturday - Sausage Curry

I don't know why Saturday's are the hardest meal for me to decide on, I guess it's because Sunday is the highlight of the weekend and I want Saturday's meal to be something that we can all eat as a family and that we can all enjoy too. I've gone with Sausage Curry, but not with Rice as Big Boy has decided he's had enough of it and it gives me a chance to make some naan breads to eat with it.

M&S Gluten Free Pork Sausages

Sunday - Roast Chicken

Daddy is getting so good at Roasting a Chicken, that I'm getting worried that my position of best Sunday Roast cook is being threatened! Served with lots of veg, roast potatoes and yorkshire puddings for the children it's the highlight of the week.

Monday - Bacon Pasta

I'm going to use up some of last nights Chicken with the Bacon and Pasta and apart from Daddy's portion I'll serve the pasta with some sweetcorn mixed in too. Daddy will get peas instead. There will also be Basil as I got some fresh Basil reduced as the pot had been bashed.

Tuesday - Fish Cakes

I'm trying really hard to make sure that unlike Daddy the children grow up enjoying Fish. Thanks to Fish Is The Dish I'm a lot more knowledgeable about fish these days and I've even found a localish Fishmonger! I'm going to make the fish cakes with a little spring onion mixed into the potato and serve it with carrot and swede mash.

Wednesday - Salsa Pork Chops with Wedges

Big Boy still isn't that keen on Pork, it isn't the taste but just the fact that it is meat. He still thinks it's Chicken (which he does like) so with the wedges I am hoping he'll eat it without thinking too much! The Salsa is more for Daddy and I and will be a combo of tomatoes, basil, onion and anything else I want to add. The children will of course get some, but I'm not expecting them to love it.

Thursday - Daddy's Birthday!

It's Daddy's birthday today, so as per our usual tradition Daddy gets to choose dinner. He has decided that he would like Chinese (which is great for me as it's my favourite!) and so we'll order in some of our favourite dishes and if I go to the local Chinese warehouse I'll grab some more wrappers so that he can enjoy some duck pancakes without the wheat poisoning!

Friday - Movie Night

We've decided that we won't pick the movie until late in the week, that way if there is something on TV between now and then we can record it to watch together and make some pudding that is themed around the film (a lot easier than you might think) or we'll come up with some obscure way to link the film to the food... Either way we're having Hot Dog Casserole for dinner, which is basically hot dogs cooked in a cheesy pasta dish!

So that's this weeks plan. What have you got this week and do you have any suggestions of what film we should watch?

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Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Bathroom Seashell Picture

In the DIY theme of the day, I thought I'd share with you the latest art project I've been working on.

When we were in Scotland we collected several dead shells from the beach that were soon to be smashed from the in coming tide. Natures waste is beautiful in this instance and we wanted a natural souvenir to remember what was a great holiday. I had an idea of putting the shells (once washed) into a shadow box frame and making a display for the bathroom.

Firstly I washed all the shells, to get rid of bits of sand and general grime. I left the shells to air dry and in the mean time got together everything else I would need. I brought a Large Ribba Frame from Ikea, a pack of Sandpaper, some Super Glue and a large glass of water.

As I didn't have enough shells to completely fill the frame, I cut the Sandpaper to the size I wanted (to fit in the frame) and glued it to the cardboard mount the frame came with, so sand could show through between the shells. I then lay out the shells that I wanted to use and tried them in different positions, until the design pleased me.

Seashells on Sandpaper

Then I got to work glueing around the edges of all the shells before firmly placing them back into position on the sandpaper. I held them firmly for a few seconds to make sure they were going to stick and not because I had glue all over my fingers and was stuck to the shell (okay, so maybe that happened once).

Glueing Seashells to Sandpaper

I did start doing the shells in one corner and working my way round, but I got bored and ended up glueing random ones which was a nightmare as I couldn't remember what I had or hadn't glued already! Once I was finished, I let the glue set for a few minutes before putting the finished art work into the shadow box so that I could admire it and send out a Tweet and a Facebook Status about how much I rocked.

Twitter - I Rock!Facebook - I Rock!

I hung the new art work in the bathroom (with my newly laid floor it almost looks like a new room) and have waited for my family to notice. I still don't think they have noticed.

The Frame in the Bathroom

What do you think? Have you made something similar?

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Just Call Me Mrs DIY

I'm actually quite good at DIY. When I was younger the one thing (other than the appearance of the perfect loving home I had, I mean it was loving just not perfect!) that I am grateful to my Father for is that he taught me several useful DIY skills. Like how to wire a plug, re wire lights in the wall, tile a bathroom, mix cement, how to drill a hole, how to hammer in nails, how to wallpaper, how to paint, how to put up straight pictures and I'm sure a lot more stuff that some people could go their whole lives without knowing.

The problem is that Daddy likes to do the DIY in our house. Daddy isn't a natural DIY-er, but over the last twelve years of our married life has learnt a lot and is also quite good. I could make a list of embarrassing DIY mistakes that Daddy has made/said (I can think of five straight off the top of my head) but this is about me. Since we moved into our current home, there have been a few things that have niggled us. Small things that really wouldn't take that long to fix, but could be A) Expensive and B) Not so easy to fix. The one thing that annoyed us both though was the bathroom.

The Old Bathroom Floor

Whilst I hate our bathroom with a passion (the tiles are horrid, the sink has been put in wrong, the toilet is positioned too far forward to the pipe leaks, there is no shower, it's too small... should I go on?), the one thing that annoys Daddy is the flooring. Who ever put the flooring in deserves to be shot (okay, so maybe not shot) as instead of putting the flooring in and doing something sensible like going under the skirting boards, cutting holes for capped off pipes in the floor, cutting neatly around sinks etc they just whacked a bit of lino down that was roughly the right size.

Over the last few years I've taken to the lino with a Stanley Knife on occasion (remember how clumsy I am with knives and then what I do when I see blood? Not a good idea.) and cut it down to size. I took off a long strip so it didn't go up the wall. I cut around the toilet and sink and then I got fed up and told Daddy we should replace it. So I got Daddy to get some self adhesive floor tiles. They were cheap so if I made a mistake it wouldn't matter and no matter how bad a job I made of the flooring it was still going to be better than what we had.

I spent an entire day laying the bathroom flooring. My bathroom is barely big enough for one person to be in it at a time, but it still took me all day. The end result was that I was sticky from the glue on the back of the tiles, smelly and really annoyed with the bathroom. I was even more annoyed when little gaps appeared in places that little gaps hadn't been two hours before.

The New Bathroom Floor

Still. At least now my bathroom is slightly better than before. I'm still hoping for a freak tidal wave in my bathroom that means it all has to be replaced though!

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Pom Bear's Day At Work

So earlier this week when Big Boy went to School he left me in charge of Thomas and Pom Bear. Today Pom Bear had other ideas and smuggled himself to work with Daddy. Just in case you are wondering Thomas stayed home with me, TV Studios are not suitable daycare for invisible children.

Pom Bear found it quite hard to actually get into the office, but that might have been because he was trying to get out of a door instead of realising he was already in the office!
Pom Bear pushing a Bar to open a door

Daddy thought he would put Pom to good use though and gave him some cables to untangle. Pom would still be there if Daddy hadn't stepped in to help.

Pom Bear in some messed up Cables

Some of the other guys in the office thought that Pom Bear should help them too and so had him looking for some spare parts. As long as it wasn't sky hooks and tartan paint, Pom wasn't going to complain.

Pom Bear Looking For a Spare Part

As Daddy's office is also a TV Studio, Pom thought he'd help by making sure the Studio 3's Camera's were set up right.

Pom Bear setting up some Studio Cameras

And as he did such a great job he got to sit at the Directors desk and direct a live show. It was very good.

Pom Bear at the Directors Desk

After the Show had aired, Pom and the crew broke for lunch. Pom was very disappointed with what he found in the fridge.

Pom Bear in the Fridge

There were a few Tapes to ingest after lunch (ingest means turning a tape into a digital file, like if you Rip a DVD).

Pom Bear ingesting some tapes

A quick spot of photocopying found Pom in a dangerous situation.

Pom Bear stuck in the Photocopier

So Pom checked that the CCTV cameras didn't catch him, as he wouldn't want it to end up on TV!

Pom Bear checking the CCTV Cameras

And with Pom's working day over he switched off the lights before jumping in to the car to come home.

Pom Bear Switching The Lights off to go home

Where will Pom Bear decide to have an adventure next?

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Tuesday, 8 January 2013

365 - Week One

I've decided this year that I want to make sure I take a lot of photographs and decided to join in with a 365 project. I want to take pictures of the day to day life that we enjoy, pictures of food that we eat, pictures of events that mean something to us (even if nobody else realises the significance), pictures of each other, pictures of those we love and care for, pictures of our pets, pictures of just about anything really.

You can watch my feeds on Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to see the many pictures that I'm uploading but each week I'm going to post the ones I love the most from the last week here on A Mothers Ramblings.

1st January 2013

New Bed Linen

My new Bed linen that Daddy sneakily brought and put on the Bed as a New Years Eve surprise (it was New Years Day before I saw it!

2nd January 2013

The new Birthday Tradition of a Birthday Pillow Message snuck into Top Ender's room on the eve of her birthday.

3rd January 2013

Top Ender with her Merida doll

Top Ender with her Merida from Brave Doll. Apparently the best birthday gift ever.

4th January 2013

My Christmas Gift from Daddy

My Chrsitmas gift from Daddy, pixelated versions of our heads from my Blog header.

5th January 2013

Big Boy Looking Big

Big Boy brought a new T-Shirt in Primark and looked so tall wearing it!

6th January 2013

My Cat Tabbitha

A lazy Sunday morning in bed with the cat.

7th January 2013

Top Ender and Big Boy before going to School

Just before Tops and BB went to School on their first day back I grabbed this quick shot. I love how they love each other so much!

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Monday, 7 January 2013

Pom Bear's Day

Today when Big Boy went to School he asked me to look after Thomas, his invisible child, and Pom Bear. It's quite hard to take pictures of Thomas (what with him being invisible and all) so Pom bear has been on an adventure so that when Big Boy gets home from School (in the next ten minutes or so) he can see what he has been up to.

Pom watched some TV.
Pom watched some TV

Then Pom started to climb the stairs for some reason.

Pom climbed the stairs for some reason...

We soon found out it was so he could slide down the bannister.

Pom slid down the bannisters

It was time for lunch and Pom decided to make a pizza.

Pom had Pizza for lunch

After lunch Pom tried a spot of tight rope walking.

Pom walked a tight rope

And soon discovered he needed a drink to calm down with.

Pom had a break for some juice

A nice read with Turtle kept the mood mellow.

Pom read a book to Turtle

And a game of hide and seek lasted for ages as Thomas and Pom both hid instead of one of them seeking!

Pom played hide and seek

 Pom decided to smell the flowers when he came out of hiding.

Pom took some time out to smell the flowers

The flowers reminded Pom that he was missing Big Boy, so he stared at a photograph for a while.

Pom remembered he missed Big Boy and stared at a photo of him

Pom jumped on to the Computer so he could blog about his day. 

Pom on the PC

And then Pom decided to sit in the window to watch for Big Boy coming home.

Pom waited for Big Boy to come home

I think that it looks like Pom and I had a great day and I hope that Big Boy feels the same!

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Back To School

The children are back at School today.

It means I can clean my bathroom, hoover under the sofa, sort out the cupboards that have somehow become a dumping ground for cups and Tupperware all without having to break up a fight over who gets to play what on the Wii, or who gets to use the red crayon first.

It means I can eat my lunch and not have to get up twenty times to fetch something else that one of the children has forgotten and desperately needs in order to eat their lunch and I won't have to hoover crumbs up when they are finished either.

It means I can answer the phone and have a conversation without Big Boy asking to have a chat to who I'm on the phone to and without me having to ask the children to keep it down so I can hear what the person is saying.

It means I can go for a sneaky lunch time swim, or I can do my exercise video without the children trying to join in or asking me if I'm okay when I groan with the effort. And I can get back to going to the gym first thing in the morning before the children are awake.

Top Ender and Big Boy

I am so going to miss them and the chaos that they bring.

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

What's For Lunch? (W/C 7/01)

With us being back to School on Monday we are back to packed lunches and counting carbs before 8am. This is a good thing really as it does stop BB from being at home and asking to Snack all day and it will stop me from snacking with him and Tops too! I don't think that my body can take that much fruit and ham in a day (the ham we have has no carbs in it because it is 100% protein so it's a good snack for BB as it doesn't change his blood sugars)!

Monday - Chicken Wraps

The children were talking about lunches with me the other day as we were talking about creative ones that they have had that they liked and want again. Top Ender asked if it was going to be possible to have more wraps because she likes wraps and so we're start off the week with a leftover Roast Chicken wrap. It's going to be my version of a Thai Salad as I'll add cucumber and a vinaigrette type dressing just to jazz it up a bit.

Tuesday - Ham Pittas

The great thing about pitta breads is that they are so easy to draw on using food colouring pens and so I can make a normal lunch a little cuter by adding a few choice lines here and there. I'm not sure what I'm going to draw, according to my calender that my lovely S-MIL gave me for Christmas it's Bubble Bath day so I could make them look like little Baths.

Wednesday - Cheese Sandwich

Nice and boring, but it's Orchestra today and so Top Ender needs a quick lunch so that she isn't late for Orchestra and doesn't get indigestion from scoffing down as quick as she can. She really loves going to Orchestra so I know she'll appreciate the sandwich as she knows it is something quick to eat! Big Boy will be happy because I'll cut it in to some fun shapes for him!

Thursday - Sausage Rolls

The oldest parts of the London Underground are 150 today, what that has to do with lunch I have no idea, but we're going to see if we can link them up. We have a Sausage Roll for lunch (which could be a train going through a tunnel right?!) and an idea for pudding that will give us a fairly big link but you'll have to watch the Facebook page to see what it is!

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

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

There is an event this weekend which is just too good to pass up to base a Friday lunch on. It gives me the perfect opportunity to make a lunch for both the children that I wouldn't normally make (it's a bit young really) and it is also going to be super easy so no late Thursday night for me!

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Saturday, 5 January 2013

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 5/01)

Another day, another meal to prepare. At least this week I won't have the children asking me if it is time for dinner all day as they are back to School on Monday! Actually I don't know why I sound so up beat about that, I'm going to miss them and it's going to seem really quiet here at A Mother's Ramblings HQ.

Saturday - Pot Luck for me, Pasta for the rest of them

I'm off to a friends birthday party today, it's sort of an informal gathering of women and I'm rather proud to have been asked to attend. I'm taking a Fruit Salad, but it's not an ordinary fruit salad oh no. If Pinterest has taught me anything it's that a fruit salad on Kebab sticks looks fantastic! I don't know what else I'll be eating as it's a sort of Pot Luck thing with all the guests taking a dish (it's okay it's sort of being coordinated that we don't all take Fruit Salad!) but the rest of the family will be having Macaroni and Lasagne and Daddy is going to eat one of his Gluten Free meals that he normally saves for lunch at work.

Sunday - Roast Chicken

We're eating our Roast in the evening from this week as our Church service has moved to the afternoon. This means Daddy will need to work out all his timings for the roast again and make sure that he doesn't over cook the vegetables! I'm sure he can do it and make some lovely Roast potatoes for us too... We might even push the boat out and have some pudding too. Leftover Birthday Cake anyone?

Monday - Beef Casserole

We are back to School today, so I'm going to do a Casserole in the oven and slow cook it so that I can use a cheaper cut of beef. The one thing I've been asked though is to make dumplings as Daddy likes them. As I can't use ready packaged suet, I'll make them with butter which makes them a little richer than I like, but still gives the same texture that non gluten free dumplings have!

Floured Beef Ready for sealing and then Casseroling

Tuesday - Grilled Fish and Boiled Potatoes

We have still got some fish left from our Fish Is The Dish Delivery before Christmas (that I froze) so I thought that if I grill the fish (or possibly griddle it depending on my mood) and serve with boiled potatoes and peas for Daddy with the addition of Sweetcorn for the rest of us, it would make a rather tasty meal and one that even Daddy is happy to eat (he still isn't keen on fish!)

Wednesday - Beans on Toast

I asked Daddy for a non meat based meal that we could have this week and he said beans on toast. I've decided to do a 'posh' version with home made beans, grilled tomatoes and ciabatta bread. It's been ages since I made home made baked beans, so I'm just hoping I remember the recipe... anyone know of a good one?!

Thursday - Tomato Based Pasta

Two vegetarian meals in one week? Yup, I know unheard of. Still I thought a tomato based pasta dish would be nice and easy to make and easy enough for me to serve before going to Aqua and still taste great when I get home from Aqua as if there is one thing I've learnt it's that eating before Aqua is a bad move! I'll add in spinach (I'm trying to use it up) and mushrooms and bake it in the oven instead of on the hob and if the family are all really good I'll even add in some cheese.

Oven Baked Pasta

Friday - Movie Night

It's movie night, last week we ended up having supersized hot dogs and rolls for our evening meal as we watch Honey, I shrunk the Kids... well Daddy and I did. Big Boy fell asleep and Top Ender wandered off half way through. This week I'm going to make BBQ Ribs and chicken wings to serve with home made spicy (not to spicy) wedges and Sweetcorn cobs and a coleslaw, a sort of Southern theme for our film which is still to be decided but we're thinking possibly Home On The Range. Can you think of any films with a Southern or Tex-Mec type theme to match the food?

So that's the meal plan for us this week. Hopefully, no idiotic self appointed Food Police of a Personal Trainer will be reading this and deciding that the food I'm feeding my children counts as abuse and start tweeting and Facebooking about it again (if you missed out on this then be glad, I may explain more in another blog post but to be honest all I really want to do is leave it) and I can carry on feeding my children good food that yes does include fat and white bread or white rice but is actually balanced and tastes nice!

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