A Mothers Ramblings: March 2013

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Half Term Lunches

One thing I love about half terms is that we don't have to worry about lunches as much. I don't have to get up before the Children to create a masterpiece, I don't have to worry that there is no bread defrosted or that the fruit looks a bit dry as I know that I have a few more hours to work the kinks out.

The one thing I hate about half terms is the exact same thing. It's okay during the School term for the Children to know that lunch today is a ham sandwich, because they know that I had to pack it at 8am and so if they aren't really in the mood for a ham sandwich that doesn't matter because it's already packed. During the School holidays by the time lunch comes round if the children aren't in the mood for a ham sandwich then they can fuss, because it's not made yet anyway.

With this in mind here is this weeks lunches.

Saturday - Steak Sandwich

Nothing special this week, just a plain steak sandwich because I couldn't find a recipe that grabbed me.

Sunday - Ham and Salad Sandwich

We're saving ourself for our roast, and plenty of Hot Crossed Buns after Church... and of course EASTER EGGS!

Monday - Picnic

We're very lucky to have been invited out for the day to Chessington by Lego Chima. Big Boy is really excited because he loves Chessington and Lego, so it's like an ideal day out for him. I have no idea what we'll be eating as we'll be picking up bits for a picnic in the morning on our way down to the park.

Tuesday - Egg and Soldiers

I'm not sure why we are going to have dippy egg and soldiers, but it appealed to me as something that we haven't had in a while and that the children would love to play around with.

Wednesday - Toasted Cheese Sandwich

The children love toasted sandwiches, and despite Tops always wanting Baked Beans in hers all she is getting is cheese. Well maybe a bit of onion or tomato, but I'll have to remind her and Big Boy that the temperature of the onion or tomato is always 1000 degrees hotter than the sun when in a Toastie!

Thursday - Couscous

Whilst the children and I love Couscous the one problem with it is that there is so much of it. Honestly, I brought the smallest packet and I've been eating it for ages and ages and it is still isn't even half way to looking like it has been opened! Today we'll have it with plenty of diced veggies so that the Children have something to help me with when we cook the dish.

Friday - Decide What You Want Day

It should be a special Friday Lunch, but as we are at home I'm cheating slightly and letting the Children decide out of everything we have what they would like. Knowing what my kitchen cupboards look like on a Friday it isn't going to be much.

And that's the plan, if we stick with it then it will be a miracle!

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Friday, 29 March 2013

Our Evening Meals (W/C 30/03)

I'm trying to reduce my food budget as much as possible as I'm trying to save up for something special and also to prove to myself that I can keep my budget low. I was talking with Mediocre Mum about our weekly shopping budgets and I found it amazing how different we look at things. With this week, when I take out what I already have I'm spending  (includes cat food and household products).

Saturday - Chicken and Bacon Pasta

My recipe for this is one Chicken Breast shredded, 100g of Bacon cut into small pieces, 300g of Spaghetti and a 200g pot of Creme Fraiche.  It's so simple that I can do this blindfolded, but instead I'm going to get Big Boy to help me make it.

Sunday - Roast Lamb

It's Easter Sunday, which means we have Roast Lamb, with Roast Potatoes, Carrots and Peas and Gravy for our traditional Easter roast meal. Daddy has found a great Yorkshire Pudding recipe, so I'm encouraging him to make more, especially if we have my Mum round as she loves Yorkshire Puddings and her favourite thing to do is to take home the Lamb bone, although she might have to fight the children for it!

Monday - Take Away Pizza

With us being out at Chessington World of Adventures today with Lego Chima, we're going for Take away Pizza tonight. We're rather pleased that so many Pizza companies are doing gluten free versions now as it makes it so much nicer and easier for us as a family.

Tuesday - Fish Stew

The last time I attempted a Fish stew it was a bit of a disaster. We all ate it, because as I've maintained if you are hungry enough you will eat what ever is put in front of you! I'm going to make it tomato based and will be using Hake, instead of cooking the hake in the stew though I'll serve it along side, as I think that might rescue the dish.

Wednesday - Chicken Pie

I'm going to fill up a pie with one shredded Chicken breast (the other one from Saturday) and plenty of vegetables. I'll serve it with Mashed Potatoes and Salad and the only thing I have to decide now is if it will be a gravy or a cream sauce.

Thursday - Vegetable Lasagne

We loved this the other week, so much so that other than the Baked Sloppy Joes I'm always going on about, it is the one recipe I would willingly only eat for the rest of my life. I'm thinking that we should all take out shares in courgettes as I'm going to be buying a lot of them in the next few months.

Friday - Chilli Salmon Stir Fry with Rice

After the success of the Sticky Chilli Salmon Daddy and I had the other week, I thought I would make something similar for the four of us. There will be a lot of shredded vegetables to make the stir fry (carrots, courgettes, peppers and possibly some broccoli if there is some in the freezer) with the Salmon tossed into this mix and served with Rice. I hope the children like it as much as I'm hoping that we grown ups will like it!

So that's what we have for dinner this week, what about you?

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Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Diabetic Easter

This Easter is our first Easter with Big Boy being a Type 1 Diabetic. For us of course, Easter is about the Resurrection and always has been, but there is also a large part about finding Chocolate Eggs and sharing a Roast Dinner with extended family and buttery toasted Hot Crossed Buns and other various Easter Sweet treats. If we want to keep Big Boy's blood sugars in what we consider a normal range then it suddenly starts to matter if we indulge a little more over Easter. Gone are the days of not having to give a second thought and now we live in the days of having to second guess everything.

So how can we make sure Big Boy is included and doesn't feel that Diabetes is stealing away the sweet treats that he is looking forward to?

We make new traditions.

We are going to decorate Easter Baskets. We have basic baskets that we use every year, but this year we're going to add flowers and garlands and bunny's and chicks and stamps and stickers and paper carrots and what ever else the children can come up with.

We're still going to go on our Easter Egg Hunt but instead of hiding lots of Easter Eggs around the garden (or house) this year we are putting loose change into the eggs, a few little toys and stickers and of course there will be a couple of sweet treats too (but not Diabetic Chocolate as it's full of fat and tastes horrid!). This way there is still a bit of the Chocolate that Big Boy and Top Ender are looking forward to (they really don't eat that much chocolate the rest of the year!) but there are other gifts that I think they will be much more excited about.

We are going to make Bonnets. Daddy and I did this on our first Easter together, but never with the children. It's great to be able to sit and create and cut and stick and colour and laugh together. It's just so fun and silly but great because it's time spent together.

We always decorate Eggs at Easter, Top Ender has won a few School competitions in her time, and this year we are going to make sure that our competition is judged the same way. Instead of Daddy and I judging the eggs we decorate were going to add the eggs pictures to our Facebook page and let our friends judge the winner for us!

Dora the Eggplorer

Big Boy is really in to arts and crafts, it's the table he makes a beeline for at School and this Easter we're going to capitalise on this and make Easter pictures together. I think that it's great when Daddy crafts with the children because they understand that colouring and sticking isn't just a Mummy thing, or a girl thing or a child thing but that it is an everyone thing.

We're going to bake Easter Biscuits and Hot Cross Buns together, we can reduce the amount of sugar and we can make sure we know how many carbs are in the baked goods so that we can make sure that we balance the burning of the carbs with going for a family walk and insulin intake. We're not stealing all the fun.

We're going to watch Hop and all the different Easter themed films we have here (we have a lot of Easter Cartoons that we've collected over the years), we're going to make sure that everyone gets to watch something they like.

We're going to make our Easter Wreath for our front door (actually more likely the bathroom door, but it's directly opposite the front door!), it'll be fun to have something seasonal to decorate our house with instead of just our window display. Our Easter Window display this year is still a work in progress... mainly because we haven't started it yet!

And lastly we'll keep our family tradition of the Family Dinner. We'll cook a huge roast, we'll have our family over, we'll sit and eat together, we'll talk about how grateful we are for each other, for the time we have together, the love we share.

We'll make these new traditions our own.

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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

What A Mormon Thinks Of The Book Of Mormon Musical

On Saturday I went to see The Book of Mormon Musical, with a journalist from the National newspaper The Sun, you can read their article in the paper (or here) as I can't find it online. What is so special about me going to a musical you might ask, I mean if you read my blog then you know that I go roughly once a month to see a stage show or musical. What was different about this musical is that I'm a real life practising Mormon. I belong (proudly) to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this musical, by the guys behind South Park, is lampooning my religion.

I have to explain, first of all, that Mormon's are normal. I feel I have to explain this because it's one of the first things people say to me when they discover my religion, something along the lines of;

"But you seem so normal!"

Well of course I am, just because I'm a person of faith doesn't make me stop being me! You may have met other members of the Church and not realised it, it's not like we have a sign above our head pointing out our religious beliefs, just like we don't have one pointing out our clothes size or what blood type we are. We are what we are.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Double Smiles - Big Boy Giggles

We haven't had a giggles for a while, as I've been sharing most of them via Twitter or our Facebook page but Saturday morning gave me a humdinger of a giggle that I had to share here.

It's become the routine that when Big Boy wakes up, I climb into bed with him to have a cuddle and talk about the day ahead. We talk about what we are excited about, things we have to remember and anything that we are worried about (well he does, I mostly listen and ask math and spelling questions). On Saturday morning I had curled up in bed next to him and we chatted away for a good ten minutes before my body realised I was awake and I gave a BIG yawn in recognition.

DO THAT AGAIN! said Big Boy
What? I said Yawn?
No! That thing! said Big Boy moving his chin towards his chest

I assumed he wanted me to do the same, so I pushed my chin towards my chest and was rewarded with a big smile from Big Boy, which of course I returned.

Now do a sad face Mummy. You have TWO smiles Mummy! said Big Boy proudly.

What a way to point out I have a double chin.

Big Boy with Two Smiles

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Sunday, 24 March 2013

When In Paris - The Jardin d'Acclimatation

On our last day in Paris during our Summer visit last year, we were faced with two problems - the first was that the queue at our planned destination - the Louvre - was about half a mile long, and the second was the weather - no, it was the opposite to the usual weather problems, it was in fact one of the hottest days of the year.

A quick bit of Googling for alternative opportunities for the day, in Paris, with a family, and we decided to try the Jardin d'Acclimatation - an amusement park with a zoo and other attractions in the centre of Paris, and we had never heard of it before. The website, and a few other reviews, suggested it was worth a look, so we hopped on the Metro to Les Sablons, from where it is just a 5 minute walk to the entrance - a 5 minute walk that appeared to take us from the busiest street in Paris to the middle of the countryside!

Jardin d'Acclimatation

In fact the Jardin d'Acclimatation sits at the northern end of the Bois de Boulogne, a 2,000 acre green space roughly the same size as Richmond Park in London. For fans of tennis trivia, Roland Garros - home of the French Open - sits at the other end.

So, what does the 50-acre Jardin d'Acclimatation have - well it has a narrow-guage train that you can ride around the park, an amusement park with child-friendly rides, a puppet theatre, a zoo, small farm and aviary, playgrounds, a paddling pool and a lot more.

After soaking our legs on water mist sprays inside the main entrance, we made a bee line for Le Petit Pavillon du Jardin for lunch - where despite my attempts at my very best French, I was delighted when the server said "It's ok, you can speak English here". A quick Nuggets and Chips (and Caramel Ice Cream for Top Ender) and we set off into the park to find the paddling pool - after all, the hottest day of the year calls for a bit of cooling off!

After a very short, sharp summer rain shower en-route (opportunity to shelter under a tree and look at the Goats on the farm, walk along the edge of the Enchanted River and laugh at ourselves in the house of mirrors), Top Ender and Big Boy quickly changed into their swim kit, and headed for the paddling pool - Top Ender was quite content to run in and out of the shallow water and play in the sprays and jets, but Big Boy tired quickly of the noise (and the heat) and so he dressed and we headed for the playgrounds in the shade of big trees. Particularly impressive were the First Aid wardens who patrol the park on bicycles - we witnessed a graze being patched up with no fuss. The pool also appeared to have life guards on duty.

Top Ender at The Jardin d'Acclimatation Paddling Pool

The Jardin d'Acclimatation, which was opened in 1860 by Napoleon III, has a very reasonable entrance fee at just €3.00 per person for anyone over 3; half-price for "Seniors". The playgrounds, zoo, farm, the paddling pool and several of the other attractions are included in the price.

Big Boy in the Park

There are extra charges for the train ride, and for the rides in the amusement park - these are paid for with tickets; these are as low as €2.33 each, if you buy a book of 15. As we only had an afternoon there before needing to head home, we didn't go into the amusement park - but it had a range of rides from teacups and small rollercoasters to chair-planes, bumper cars and a carousel.

The House of Mirrors at the Jardin d'Acclimatation

On the way out, we took a scenic walk along the tree-lined paths at the back of the park, stopped to play on the outdoor Gym equipment, and marvelled at the curious architecture of the Frank Gehry designed Louis Vuitton Foundation building taking shape along the southern edge.

Louis Vuitton Foundation building being built

The Jardin d'Acclimatation gets a thumbs up, and if you are ever in Paris and tire of the usual tourist attractions - especially if you have kids in tow - this is a great place to spend a day, and even if you avoid the amusement park there are still plenty of activities to enjoy without it breaking the bank.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lunches For The Week (W/C 23/03)

It's nearly Easter! This week I'm planning on making Easter themed lunches for the Children, so I'm making use of my Bunny, Egg and Chick cutters and a few more sneaky treats too.

Saturday - Ham and Salad Sandwich

As I'll have been shopping yesterday, the salad ingredients will be nice and fresh today still, which means they will be great in a Sandwich. Plus, I'm not here as I've gone to London for the day this is so simple even Daddy can make it!

Best Ham and Salad Sandwich

Sunday - Brie and Caramalised Onion and Mushroom Toastie

The best thing about the sandwiches we have for lunch on a Saturday is that I plan and make them, this means that Daddy can't complain when I serve up something I love and he isn't that keen on. As I wasn't able to make our Saturday Sandwich today we are having a Brie and Caramalised Onion and Mushroom Toastie. *Cue evil laughter* Mwhahahahahahahaha!

Monday - Chicken Pasta

I'm using the Chicken from yesterdays dinner mixed with a little sweetcorn and mayola to make a nice pasta salad. I'm going to include some little croutons, which will hopefully be an Easter theme shape, or if they look rubbish just little cubes!

Tuesday - Easter Egg

Okay, so you got me. This isn't actually made out of a Chocolate Easter Egg, but it is egg on the inside!

Wednesday - Easter Sushi

You know the Sandwiches I make for the Children where I wrap the bread into circles and cut them to make like Sushi? I'm doing that, but with an Easter theme!

Thursday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's too... on a Thursday

As the Children won't be at School, I've brought the Friday Lunch forward a day. As you can guess this is going to be a big Easter lunch, and will be full of surprise treats. Only if I remember and make sure to make this from the start of the week though!

Friday - Something Out

We're only after something light today as we're going to be out at the Science Museum in London. We had such a great time there when we went last year (I swear I blogged about it, but can't find anything!) and we've been invited down to see some of the exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops that are on during this Easter break.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Dr Oetker Panebello Deep Bakery Crust Pizzas

I'm a big Dr Oetker fan, my cupboards are stuffed full of various tubs of cake decorations and sugar sprinkles from the company and when I was asked if I'd like to try some of their new Panebello Deep Bakery Crust range I was intrigued and said YES PLEASE! The pizzas arrived, and I have to say that the packaging looked great and had my mouth watering, but I was ready to be let down because everyone knows that frozen pizza never tastes or looks as great as the picture on the box. It took a few days until we had Pizza scheduled on the meal plan, and when I got the pizzas out of the box I was pleasantly surprised. The pizzas looked good, they were deep pan, there was plenty of toppings and they looked as good as the ones on the box.

Dr Oetker Panebello Deep Bakery Crust Pizza Boxes

Cooking the pizza is easy, just take it out of the packaging and throw in the already heated oven. You don't need a tray, you can just put them on the oven shelf (although I hate doing that as I always get the pizza stuck to the oven shelf) and other than turning the pizza half way through the cooking time to ensure a more even bake you pretty much ignore the pizza for twenty minutes... although I kind of forgot about that and the pizzas cooked anyway.

Cooked Dr Oetker Panebello Deep Bakery Crust

Top Ender, Big Boy and I shared the pizzas for dinner (and I got the leftovers for lunch) last night and there were mixed reviews. Big Boy was pleased at the pizzas, citing that the deep pan crust was crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside and that is his favourite. Top Ender liked that there was plenty of topping (there did seem to be a lot of cheese) but that she is a thin pan fan so there was too much dough for her.

I was comparing the pizzas to the ones that I make for the family, after all Daddy can't eat frozen pizzas other than maybe two gluten free brands and so I have some experience in making pizza. I loved the bases, I love proper deep pan that is thick and soft and chewy, and in my opinion it's the only way to eat a pizza. The sauces didn't seem as flavourful as the ones that I make, but then maybe I'm so used to my own heavily seasoned sauce nothing else compares. 

There was a lot of topping and it was flavourful too, the pizzas were nicely balanced between the different flavours and to be honest these were nice frozen pizzas BUT we won't be buying them again. The pizzas were so high in carbs, that it just isn't practical for us with Big Boy's diabetes and trying to keep his carb count balanced. If we didn't have to worry about his diabetes then we'd more than likely choose these instead of a take away pizza.

We were sent two pizzas to review, we had them for dinner and this is honestly what we thought.

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Dinner Plans (W/C 23/03)

Last week isn't even really started and I'm already planning next weeks menu, but I do have a good excuse... I was up early last Sunday with Big Boy and after I got bored of watching him play Little Big Planet (his latest craze) I decided to go and sort out the kitchen cupboards. I do this fairly often, but had noticed my "pantry" cupboards were getting a little dishevelled again and I like straight lines. It gave me the perfect opportunity to find and use up some of the ingredients in my cupboards that we probably never meant to buy.

Saturday - Tartiflette

Daddy jokingly suggested that we have Cheese for dinner, and this was the first idea I had of something that was fairly simple to make and had Cheese in. The Children have asked if they can have Macaroni Cheese instead, so I'll make the Tartiflette a little more special for Daddy and I, maybe in heart shaped dishes (aren't I sickeningly romantic lol). Also I'm going to use Reblochon, as I tasted some a couple of weeks ago and am now in love with a Cheese.

Sunday - Roast Chicken

The usual Sunday Roast, with the usual ingredients. As Daddy makes this I can't really say what we'll be using up, but I'm sure that as he is reading this he will make sure to use at least one ingredient from the cupboard, even if it's just gravy powder!

Carving a Roast Chicken

Monday - Meatless Monday Chickpea Tagine

I found a recipe on the BBC for a Chickpea Tagine cooked in the slow cooker, this suits me fine as it uses up my cans of chickpeas and a small jar of honey that I either stole from a hotel or was sent with something else (which is more like it). I'll serve this with rice as Daddy can't eat couscous.

Tuesday - Swordfish for the adults, Holy Mackerel for the Children

We have some Swordfish, which we can't serve to the Children as the current recomendations is that due to the Mercury content children under 16 shouldn't eat it. Daddy and I aren't intending to add to our family so we figure we're good to eat it. I used to make Swordfish and Red Pepper Kebabs (we replaced the Swordfish with Tuna) so that's what Daddy and I will have whilst I'm making a Phineas and Ferb inspired Holy Mackerel meal,

Wednesday - Sticky Marmalade Pork

Nobody in our house is a fan of Marmalade, unless it's being used to stick marzipan to cakes and icing to marzipan. I'll occasionally have it on toast but I buy tiny little jars so that it gets used up rather than leaving a full jar with just a scraping taken out of it. We have a posh jar in the cupboard and I thought that it would taste nice smothered across some Pork Loins. As I'm sure that I won't be able to use a whole jar I'll also *have* to make a cake for Easter with Marzipan and Icing and I'll probably need to have a couple of rounds of toast... It's such a hard life.

Thursday - Beans on Toast

The Children will have a poached egg with their meal, but I'll do Daddy and I some large grilled mushrooms as Daddy can't eat egg. I don't know if you've noticed, but for the last few weeks I've managed to sneak in two vegetarian meals (well if you excuse the egg!) each week (and two fish meals to) and so far no family member has cottoned on to this... I'll make my own baked beans again, with Cherry tomatoes and if I can I'll make some more bread for us too.

Good Friday - Creamy Cheesy Hake Bake

As we're going to be busy eating our Easter Cake, Hot Cross Buns and what ever else people eat at Easter time (Biscuits?) we figure we won't want anything too filling, so I thought a light creamy cheesy hake bake would be perfect. I'm going to bake the Hake fillets in the oven with a mixture of grated sliced potatoes and grated cheese over the top and serve with fresh bread and Salad.

So that is the plan for this week, it's rather indulgent I think but as we'll be walking a lot I think it balances out!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Winx Club Magazine Review

Many years ago Top Ender found a cartoon that she quite liked. It was about these girls who were into fashion, happy to be great friends despite having different interests, worked hard at School and happened to be Fairies. It ticked so many boxes for Top Ender, and I actually quite enjoyed it to, and so we watched Winx Club. And when Big Boy was born, he watched Winx too.

At first it seemed that nobody else watched Winx and trying to find gifts for Top Ender with characters on from this TV show was so hard, but I managed it thanks to some dedicated google searches and late night sewing.

And then it became popular, dolls were on sale in shops, pyjamas, bed linen, lamps, rugs even sweets. Top Ender was of course in heaven, but even more so when a copy of the new magazine arrived that we had been asked to review.

Top Ender loved the Winx magazine, she said;

and as you can see, she loved it so much she didn't even care that she has had to read it to Big Boy more than once!

Top Ender reading the Winx Magazine to Big Boy

We were sent a magazine to review.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

News of the Week

I enjoyed catching everyone up with our news last week, that I thought I would do it again this week (and possibly again the week after too!) as there are always little titbits of news that aren't complete enough to be a blog post or are too long for Twitter and Facebook and if you ever want to know more about something that I've mentioned on Twitter or Facebook then you can always ask. I might not give you any more detail, but then again I just might!

On Saturday 9th March, whilst I was driving home from the Supermarket, the car made a rather horrible noise, the sort of horrible noise that can only mean an expensive trip to a mechanic is in order. Luckily the mechanic fixed what was wrong for a rather reasonable price. I wish the same could be said of the cost of the new tyres the car needed, but at least it didn't happen at Christmas eh? The good thing about the car being broken on Saturday evening was that it gave me a lot of time to make the Mussel soup, which was LOVELY! And we got to spend time with my Mum, until my Sister came to pick her up. It's at times like this that I'm very pleased that my family is so close that doing favours like this without asking is just what we do.

Daddy has for months been asking me where I would like a TV in the Kitchen, we've not been able to come up with a suitable area until this week when Daddy realised the perfect place would be just over the sink. It's not that we watch hours of TV that we needed to have a TV in the Kitchen, but it's just nice that we can multi task or spend hours in the kitchen cooking and have some company (other than the radio). Plus with my lasting tinnitus from my recent burst ear drum I really need to have constant noise or the buzzing really does my head in.

TV in the Kitchen

With Big Boy being a diabetic the School are always going to need me to be around on School trips and so I hung out in the Reception Classes on Monday going on a couple of trips to local Travel Agents. Whilst I was hanging around the classroom I spent my time as a Parent Helper and heard a few of the Children read and played with some of the others. This was great because I really enjoyed myself and I was useful. I've asked how I can volunteer some more, although I'm going to need to find out how to get Big Boy to understand that I'm not there just for him to cuddle and be told that I'm loved (although I liked that bit of it).

Top Ender has been having Olive Oil dropped into her ear for the last few weeks, as there was a rather large lump of ear wax that had built up and the Doctor suggested this before the drastic syringing at the hospital option. I had first taken Tops to the Doctors about this when she was two or three, and had been assured that the wax would come out on its own, but had forgotten about it and it was only when Top Ender couldn't hear me that I thought to check again (a good six years later). It finally came out this week, although we were surprised to see that behind the lump of ear wax, was an orange pip!

Ear Wax and Orange Pip from Child's Ear

Top Ender had a brilliant parents evening, we love her teacher and have considered kidnapping her to be Top Ender's personal tutor when Top Ender leaves her class next year and we know that the progress that Top Ender is making is due a large amount to how she is taught. Tops is great at Maths and reading, has some great ideas for Literacy and is improving day by day with her handwriting and spelling. I pretty sure that Top Ender is actually me as a child, which is worrying thinking on it! Big Boy's parents evening was postponed as his teacher was off sick, but I'm sure that he has been improving in the last few months too and that we'll get a great report for him too.

I found out that I am a Parent Governor at our local School that both Tops and BB attend. I was really nervous on the day of the vote count, but the number of people I know (and I don't know) who have supported me to get the role is impressive and I'm glad to be able to represent them, and glad that I'm going to be able to help the School too.

So they were the highlights of my week... What happened in yours?

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Reminder

Since Big Boy was diagnosed as being a Type 1 Diabetic (July 13th 2012) we haven't taken the yellow sharp boxes back to the Doctors to be safely disposed of. They are sitting in my kitchen, under the boiler waiting for something.

Big Boy's Diabetic Sharp Boxes

They are a constant reminder of how our life has changed and yet they just sit there. Full of needles that have pricked my sons skin.

Sharps Box

Since Big Boy was diagnosed as being a Type 1 Diabetic he has had at least 1080 injections, he has had at least 3570 blood tests. My little baby has bruises across his thighs and belly and his bottom from where we've accidentally hit a blood capillary with his tiny needles.

Diabetic Insulin Injection

I don't want to work out how many injections and blood tests Big Boy will have in his lifetime to keep him alive. I don't want to work out how many boxes I'm going to have under my boiler between now and the one year anniversary of Big Boy's diagnosis.

I want to know there is a cure.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Lunch Meal Plan (W/C 16/03)

I really have to get back in the habit of taking photographs of the children's lunches for sharing on the Facebook page, as I realised today I've not put any up for ages, mostly due to me being ill but partly because I forgot to charge my camera battery, and I know that some people were getting inspiration from them, but mostly I was getting asked to make lunches for other people and I liked that! I actually went ahead and made one for a friend who is teaching at Top Ender and Big Boy's School at the moment and she was quite surprised and I think she liked it (I got told she was showing off at lunch time!), if not she is a great a actress as she is a teacher, and her sisters say that just isn't possible...

Saturday - Avocado and Prawn Crunchy Rolls

I'm a big Prawn and Avocado fan, I'd happily eat them all day everyday, but apparently that would be bad for me. So I'm hoping this week to convert the Children and Daddy to the delights of an avocado, but I'm not holding out too much hope. I'm mixing the avocado with a little mayo (well the egg free Mayola that Daddy can eat), a little Cayenne Pepper and chopped seeded tomato.

Sunday - Crackerbreads

When I was younger one of the best days I remember was when my parents, sister and I took turns to create different toppings for some cracker breads we were having for lunch. We each made what we thought was nice and I remember having avocado and bacon on one round and banana and chocolate spread on another. I thought that I might try to recreate something similar today, although I'm guessing that it will just end up with the children going for cheese and ham and only me eating the avocado.

Monday - BBQ Chicken and Carrots Soft Baps

I'm planning on using the leftovers from yesterdays Roast Chicken with a bit of the BBQ sauce from Saturday's evening meal mixed together with some grated carrots for a tasty filling in a soft roll. Big Boy is off on a School trip this afternoon and I'm a parent helper so I'm looking forward to this one too as I'll make my lunch first thing in the morning so that I can eat and get to School on time.

Tuesday - Quiche

With all being well the quiche for dinner last night will have left us with enough to send Big Boy and Top Ender to school with the leftovers. Just in case it hasn't though I will be making a back up quiche for slicing and putting in the freezer for lunches over the next month and they can have some of that.

A Special Salad

Wednesday - Noodles

I said to Top Ender that I didn't think she'd like a Pasta dish on a Wednesday because of Orchestra and her needing to be quick. Apparently though she eats pasta quicker than she does a sandwich, so today I'm going to make Beef stock Noodles for Big Boy and Top Ender. I'll try and make them pretty for the first day of Spring, but I'm not sure that will happen.

Thursday - Sausage Wraps

One of the foods I used to love making for Daddy and I to share as an evening meal before Top Ender was born was breakfast wraps. Chopped mushrooms, sausages, bacon a fried egg and a big squirt of tomato ketchup. It was heaven in a wrap. Today Top Ender and Big Boy are going to have Sausage Wraps as a sort of tribute to this past meal. I'll make some sweetcorn relish to go with the sausages and try and smuggle in some salad leaves.

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

Today the lunch is going to be themed around Top Ender and Big Boy's School topics. Top Ender is learning about Eco Warriors and the environment in general and Big Boy is learning about Travel Agents... I have no idea why he is learning about travel agents, other than "So, we can play in the Travel Agents Corner in the Classroom Mum!".

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Parent Governor Elections

Today after School, I was standing in the School office looking over the Chairman of the Parent Governors shoulder as he split the submitted votes for the newest Parent Governor in to two piles. One with my name on and one with the other nominees name on. The piles looked to be the same size and from my rough counting there were slightly more in the pile for the other nominee.

I was gutted.

I put my name forward to be Parent Governor a few weeks back, after a friend was talking about how we have to volunteer, we have to put ourselves out there if we ever want to make a difference. It's all well and good standing in the School playground complaining about the School, but what good does it do?

I nominated myself, I got a friend to second me. I got told that another parent had volunteered. I wrote a statement to go out to parents, telling them how fantastic I was. I had a friend suggest I just write "I'm amazing so vote for me", I had other friends read what I had written and made suggestions in the end I wrote this.

Hi. I’m Pippa, a Self-employed Mum with two students at this School, my son Big Boy is in Reception and my daughter Top Ender is in Year Four.

I’d like to be a Parent Governor as I believe that our School needs more parent involvement and support. I want to help all our Children to reach their maximum potential and to have our School not only reaching, but exceeding all the targets set for it and I want to make our School more a part of the local community.

I have many skills and strengths that I can apply to the role of Parent Governor, which will enhance and complement the existing Governors. I’m a great communicator, I have good organisational skills, I work well as a member of a team and having a background in IT and Project Management gives me many other professional skills.

I have in the past served on a Church Council and I’m well known in the local community for my Media skills, which I believe the School can benefit from. As I’m a very hands on Mum, I understand the importance for parents to know they have a voice in their Children’s education.

I thought that it got across what I wanted. That I want to make our School great, that I want to make sure that all the parents are involved in the School and their Children's education, that all the Children at the School reach their potential so that they can go on to be Policemen or Pilots or Singers or Bin Men or Florists or Stay At Home Mums like me. 

It seemed that, that wasn't what the other parents wanted. And that was fine, my full support would go to the other nominee in their new position. I was just about to take the Children home so I could cry into my Sorelle and then the Chairman said I'd won. The pile with slightly more slips in was mine.

I'd won.

I suppose now the real stress and worry begins, so who has some words of advice for me in my new role?

Oxtail Soup

The other morning I needed to grab a few bits from the local Supermarket. Daddy said he'd take me on his way to work and whilst we were walking down the soup aisle he sighed a sigh of longing when his eyes rested upon the Oxtail Soup. Apparently Daddy's favourite soup is Oxtail (I thought it was tomato!) and since being diagnosed as a Coeliac he hasn't been able to find a brand that doesn't have wheat in... although I don't think that he has tried that hard! Being the lovely wife that I am I suggested that I make some for him, he jumped at the chance and so here is my recipe for Oxtail Soup, it did start being based on the BBC Good Food one, but I made a few changes based on a recipe my Nan sent me that she used to make when her family were young.


2 Sticks Celery
1 Leek
2 Carrots
1 Onion
1 Turnip
1.5 litres Beef Stock
0.5 litres Beef Stock
1kg Oxtail
Salt and Pepper
4 tbsp Gluten Free Plain Flour
Bouquet Garni
1 tbsp Tomato Puree
500ml Sorelle (Rose)
Olive Oil


Heat some oil in a pan (Large pan and you'll need another one in three hours) and season two tablespoons of flour (heavy on the pepper) in a large bowl.

Flour the Oxtail and then gently fry to brown the sides, for me this was six sides (top, bottom and around the four sides) and it took roughly two minutes on each side. Take the Oxtail out to cool on a plate whilst you use the pan again.

Whilst the Oxtail is browning, peel and roughly chop the Carrot, Onion, Leek and Celery. Peel the Turnip, quarter it and then slice into rougly 5mm thick slices. Be careful not to take off a finger or two.

When you take the Oxtail out of the pan, add a little more oil and allow to heat before adding the chopped vegetables.

Add the leftover seasoned flour that you didn't use when you were flouring the Oxtail, the tablespoon of tomato puree and a dash more oil and the Sorelle (of course if you are a drinking non gluten free family you can add red wine here and use ordinary Flour too!) stir well and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes. Season the mixture again with Pepper.

Add the Oxtail back to the pan, including any juices that may be on the plate the meat rested on, making sure you know how many pieces you have added and then add the 1.5L Beef Stock and the Bouquet Garni. Leave the pot to simmer for two and a half to three hours, occasionally coming back to stir and taste because it will smell so delicious that you have to taste it.

Remove the Oxtail pieces (see now you know why you had to remember how many pieces) and place on a plate to cool.

Remove the Bouquet Garni, before straining the soup through a fine strainer into another pan. Use the spoon to mush the vegetables to make sure as much taste as possible gets through, try doing it in batches so you don't throw the mixture into the soup like I did... twice.

Put the vegetables to one side as you don't need them now, but they do make a delicious addition to a casserole or you could blend them to make into a thick vegetable soup if you add a little more stock, but that's another post.

Take the Oxtail pieces and remove the meat from the bones. This is best done with a giant plaster or piece of sticky tape over your mouth so you don't taste any of the pieces, also lock any body in your family out of the house (like my husband) as they will eat far to much if they get too close.

Add the pieces of meat back to the Soup and cover and allow to cool, as you aren't finishing the Soup until tomorrow.

The next day, around thirty minutes before you want to eat, start to heat the soup (which will be like a very thick gravy or possibly gone all rubbery) up very gently before adding the extra 0.5L Beef Stock and some extra salt and pepper (actually just pepper, you probably won't need salt) and giving it all a good stir.

Serve with crusty bread or whatever you have laying around in the kitchen!

Oxtail Soup

Personally I think that it needed a little more tomato, but as Daddy isn't that keen he wouldn't let me.

This cost approximately £11 to make (ingredients wise), but there were six large servings (maybe really ten), and it's cost per serving is a more reasonable £1.83 (£1.10 if ten servings) and for something that was not only alcohol free but also gluten free we think it's well worth it and when we make it again we could make it with less Oxtail to reduce the price further.

Evening Meal Plan (W/C 16/03)

Last week was quite fun, we didn't have the curry on the Tuesday, but we didn't seem to mind! I planned this week quite quickly with a little help from Daddy and am looking forward to cooking the dishes. I think that the food is interesting and a variety of flavours should help me to get the children interested in food again.

Saturday - BBQ Chicken Burgers

We like Saturday evening meals to be easy to prepare or something that can be thrown into the slow cooker so that it is prepared without really having to do anything because we are always so busy on a Saturday. This week we've decided to have grilled Chicken breasts as a Burger in floury baps and despite what Daddy says he won't be having two, but will be having salad or maybe some vegetable kebabs.

Sunday - Roast Chicken

Daddy and I were talking about different vegetables earlier this week and we decided that seeing as we both like cabbage that we should have it with our dinner this week. So the Chicken this week is going to be accompanied with some nice spring cabbage, peas, carrots, roast potatoes and hopefully some yorkshire puddings as I'm sure that Daddy will have nailed the recipe this week!

Monday - Meatless Monday Vegetable Quiche

After the success of last weeks Vegetable Lasagne (which we had on Tuesday, but we did have home made vegetable soup on the Monday which was lovely) I'm really looking forward to making a Quiche tonight. We haven't had quiche as a family for a while, seeing as how Daddy is unable to eat egg, but now we know how to use the Orgran No Egg to our best advantage I'm going to see if I can make a nice tasting quiche and I might try to make it special and be all starry again.

Star Quiche

Tuesday - Sticky Chilli Salmon

We're big fans of Salmon here, normally we just cook it with a little butter and some mixed herbs but I'm hoping that if I use a bit of Chinese inspiration (or maybe it is Thai, I'm not really sure!) we can create something a little more sophisticated and something which I hope that the children will eat without complaint. If they don't I might just have to remind them what they ate last Tuesday night. I'll serve this with rice, and some cabbage that I didn't cook on Sunday.

Wednesday - Toad in the Hole

Daddy still hasn't forgiven me for not recognising what he had brought up for me to eat when I was ill (it was Toad in the Hole) and so to make it up to him I'm making Toad in the Hole and he can get his own back. I'm going to make a nice onion gravy and will serve the gravy and toad in the hole with peas and carrot mash.

Thursday - Pizza

I thought after the comfort food of last night we'd eat lighter this evening, so Pizza and Salad and if the children are very lucky some garlic bread for them to make up for having to eat salad. As we're making the pizzas at home, I'm guessing that Top Ender and Daddy will go for pineapple and ham and Big Boy and I will go for just cheese (although I might smuggle mushrooms, peppers and sweetcorn on to my side of the pizza).

Friday - Date Night! Scallops

Daddy and I try to have a date night every so often so that we can reconnect, and I figured that we should have a chance tonight. The Children go to bed early (with some treats) and get to watch a film in bed (and knowing them play a game of Minecraft over the internal network) so I'll serve them dinner early (this Kid friendly Scallops recipe looks good for them) and then I'll make Scallops and Bacon with Spring Onion Mash for Daddy and I.

So this is the meal plan for the week. What do you think? Are you going to invite yourself round to join us on any particular night?!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Cookery and TV

A few weeks ago Daddy and I were flicking through the TV Channels trying to find something to watch. For some reason we stopped on a TV programme that was a competition between different sandwiches, with each sandwiches creator hoping their creation would be crowned best sandwich in America. Despite not being hungry, we really wanted to try some of the sandwiches and seeing as how funds are a little short at the moment and we can't fly to the restaurants featured in the TV programme, we decided to recreate some of them at home. I'm actually having a lot of fun recreating the sandwiches as seen on the TV programme, and we've discovered a lot of different flavours that when fused together taste amazing. Who would have thought that Duck and Cheese went so well?!

Duck and Two Cheese Sandwich

It's not the first time that I've used TV programmes as inspiration for what to cook. I used to be a bit like Robin Williams in Mrs Doubtfire, sitting watching the cookery show making copious notes on what I had to do to make the dish they were easily knocking out in a few minutes. It was made easier, when Daddy put a TV in the Kitchen for me so I could cook along with the TV shows I was getting my dinner inspiration from, but I soon reverted to watching Neighbours instead.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses TV programmes as inspiration as what to cook, I remember a couple of years ago going to a local cake decorating equipment shop and finding that they were all sold out of edible glitter after it had been featured the night before on a Cookery Show. I was okay though, as the staff knew I'd be in and had saved me the glitter that I had mentioned I wanted and our Christmas Cake that year was a glittery golden delight.

I do see quite often in the Supermarkets, notes on shelves pointing out an ingredient that TV Chefs have mentioned or have used in recipes to help customers find everything more easily, and I think it's quite funny how we can be influenced to make some supermarkets run out of certain ingredients, or even getting more supermarkets to stock an ingredient. Goose Fat is my favourite item that all the Supermarkets I go to now stock, thanks to it's increase in popularity because of TV Chef's endorsements.

What product are you hoping will be the next big thing so you can buy more easily?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Painting The Stairs

It's not often I have an idea that is perfectly formed and needs no refinement, so when it does happen it sticks out as being something to remember. A few days ago, I was suddenly struck with an idea about our hallway and how if we decorated it, that it would be more inviting and hopefully it would also stop the issue that we have where "magically drawn" crayon marks appear surrounded by grubby finger prints about Big Boy and Top Ender's size, but of course neither Big Boy or Top Ender know anything about it!

The idea was to paint the lower half of the walls a red colour, similar to the colour we have in our Living Room, and split the wall with a border, so that the line of where the two colours meet is hidden. We've narrowed it down to two different borders although we have no idea which one to pick, or even if we should choose something completely different and a totally different colour scheme.

The boarders on the wall waiting for to be decided between

As you can see we plan for the boarder to be behind the bannister as it goes up the stairs and then to run along the wall to Big Boy's bedroom door.

The reason we chose these two boarders was because it has the colours we are using in the hall, although to be honest I'm not a floral fan really. The red that we are painting the lower part of the walls, matches in with the red of the flowers on the two boarders and it will pull together the downstairs making the house feel like more of a home (I still feel the house doesn't look like a home) and it will give me a project to work on whilst the children are at School.

I really need a project to work on.

What I'd really like is to know before we make the final choice of what to do with the space though, is what would you chose to do in the space? To help you here are some more photos of the space!

The wall next to the stairs

The hall at the bottom of the stairs

The top of the stairs

The stairs and hall from the top of the stairs

Roughly where the red paint would go up to... if we painted this wall

Would you only paint the wall next to the stairs and the one at the top? Would you paint all the walls around the stairs and landing and hall? Would you paint it red or some other colour? Which boarder would you chose?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Our Locked Out Adventure

Yesterday afternoon as I set off on the School Run I picked up my phone (so I can be a playground loner!), the keys from the hook, the Mothers Day card for my Step Mother-in-law (Yes, I know it's a day late), did my coat up and set off up the road. I'd only gone a few meters when I had a feeling I should check the keys in my pocket, so I did and discovered that I'd actually picked up the car keys and not the house keys.

I had locked myself out the house.

The children and I walked slowly home, in the lightly falling snow. We had a plan, as the door wasn't locked, if we could reach in the letter box we could open the door.

Top Ender tried.

Big Boy tried.

The door remained shut.

Top Ender trying to open the door

So we sat in the car and came up with a few ideas.

Big Boy decided that we should get a Ninja Monkey who'd kick the door down. I let him know that whilst this would be good, it would mean that the Pirates could get in our house.

Top Ender suggested we scream the door down. I let her know that I didn't think that this would work and also it was too cold to scream at a door.

Big Boy suggested we jump over our 8ft fence and climb in the cat flap. I reminded him that we weren't superheroes and so couldn't jump over a fence or stretch through a cat flap.

Top Ender suggested that we Flat Stanley ourselves. I reminded her that we didn't have a notice board in the car.

Big Boy and Top Ender in the Car

We let everyone know how daft I had been, by updating Facebook and Twitter and had some lovely offers from people letting us know if we could get to them that we were welcome to keep warm in their homes and some great suggestions of things to do to stay warm, if only I had my wallet on me.

So, we sat in the car (which we could drive because it's got a broken bit) and told Pirate stories to each other, we dealt with Big Boy's low blood sugar (we had his meter on us because it goes to and from School) with the emergency apple juice in the car, we waved to the Police Helicopter and then Daddy came home (as early as he could) and let us into the house.

Our locked out adventure was one of the best evenings I've had with the children in a long time. It just goes to show that it's about the time spent together and that it doesn't matter what it is that we're doing as long as we're together.

Monday, 11 March 2013

You haven't forgotten me have you?

It's been so long since I've blogged about mine and the children's lives that I'm pretty sure you might have forgotten about me. Just in case you have, I thought I'd remind you of us by letting you know what's been going on in our lives for the last few weeks.

Family Fun

I'll start with me.

So February had me being ill. Nothing new there, since Big Boy has started School I've been ill a lot as he's brought home so many germs that for some reason have decided to plague me! My right ear drum burst and it's not until my birthday that I should have my hearing fully back because that's when my ear drum should have regrown.

I'm still looking for a job, I want to have something to do at home as I need to be around in case Big Boy needs me at School (Could you see a job letting me go out to give BB an injection if there is nobody at School to do it or to vanish at a moments notice because his blood sugars are high or low or he's been in hospital) and also I kind of love being at home doing the chores and doing the School Run!

I've not been to the gym since the start of February, but I've been making sure to walk a lot to make up for being so rubbish. With having been ill I hadn't wanted to go, but I will be getting back into my routine soon.

I've stood for nomination as a Parent Governor at the Children's School as I want to make a difference and make our School great, but it's made me realise that even if I'm not elected that I want to give back more to the local community and so it's given me some food for thought on how I can do that.

Top Ender has been adorable for the last few weeks, she is trying really hard to be considerate (something we had to have words with her about) and whilst her bedroom tidying skills are still leaving a lot to be desired she is trying to help where and when she can.

Tops has been reading a lot, Daddy and I are both rather pleased that she takes after us as we both read a lot when children, and she has discovered that the book suggestions Mummy and Daddy makes are actually good suggestions that she'd enjoy!

Big Boy has been enjoying School, despite his protests on a Monday morning that he doesn't! We're amazed at how great he is getting on as everyday his skills seem to jump to a new level. His writing is great, his reading is amazing and he is taking after Top Ender with his Math skills.

Big Boy is doing really well with managing his Diabetes. He is so great at telling us when he is having a Hypo or a Hyper and is getting really fast at preparing his needles for his injections, although we still need to work on a bit of hand washing practice.

Daddy is doing great too. He's working hard, being the best Daddy and husband he can be and generally being lovely! I'm sure that I could say more about him, but I haven't really seen him for the last month with me having been in bed for most of it!

And so that is us. We're doing great, we're loving each other as much as we can, we're trying to spend time together, we're trying to take part in our hobbies and we're trying to be the best we can.

We're a normal family and glad to be sharing our lives with those who want to read and share with us.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Time We Ate Curried Mussel Soup

When the latest delivery of Fish turned up during the week, thanks to Fish Is The Dish, there was a net bag of Mussels included. I was worried, it's been hard enough to get Daddy to eat more fish and even though he had once eaten Cockles and Mussels on a little mini break to Clacton in 2003, I doubted he was going to eat them again unless I could disguise them somehow. I looked up a lot of recipes and finally found one for Curried Mussel Soup that I thought that Daddy would like and arranged for my Mum to come round to share the meal with us as I thought some adult encouragement to eat our dinner might be good for us, plus the recipe was for six and I can't each that much soup.

Mussels cooking to make Curried Mussels Soup

I made a couple of adaptations to the recipe, I used 300ml of cream instead of 500ml, 400ml of White Sorelle instead of White Wine, I used three small potatoes instead of one medium one, I didn't include any Saffron (it cost too much!) and if I were to make it again (which I will) I would make it with 2 teaspoons or possibly even a tablespoon of curry powder to give it a bit more flavour and power or maybe more cayenne pepper, for more of a kick. My Mum was great to have around as she gave me a great tip for getting Mussels out of their shell, she said that you have to use a second Mussel shell to pinch the Mussel out of the shell and that it makes it a lot easier and faster!

How to remove a Mussel from its Shell

I snuck a couple of Mussels into the children's dinner and watched Big Boy eat them without a second thought and although I didn't see Top Ender eat hers, she confirmed that she thought they were mushrooms and so ate them as she knew I would tell her she had to. I'm such an evil Mum, aren't I?

Mussels in Pasta

I did get a bit stressed making the soup, but that was because I was trying to entertain my Mum, keep an eye on the children, I was stressing about the car (the anti-roll bar drop links has snapped or something, meaning we can't drive it until the Garage fixes it) and I was trying to make the children's dinner at the same time. I know if I were to make it again it would be much easier.

Daddy, my Mum and I all agreed that the soup was lovely. Daddy thought it might be nicer to have it being a bit thicker (he wanted to add corn flour to thicken it) but my Mum and I managed to convince him that it wouldn't taste as good if it was thicker.

Curried Mussel Soup

After having made the Curried Mussel Soup I'm feeling a lot more confident in using more "exotic" fish (I know it's not that exotic really but honestly who here eats Mussels at any time other than when they are at the seaside?!) in my cooking, and I'm currently thinking up how I'll use the Scallops that were delivered too.

Do you stick to regular ways to eat fish (fish and chips, fish cakes, tuna sandwiches and that sort of thing?) or are you more experimental than me and eat what I'm calling "exotic" fish?

We were sent a box of fish as part of the Fish Is the Dish Healthy Happy Hearts campaign.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Lunches This Week! (W/C 09/03)

This weeks lunches are still coming mostly out of the freezer, when we sorted out the freezers we found more rolls, wraps, pitta breads and other assorted bread products than one family should ideally have and so I figured we really need to work on eating them all up.

Saturday - Steak Subs

We're a fan of steak and as we have slices in the freezer just waiting for us to eat them, we thought we should have a sub today as we're not sure our evening meal is going to be that substantial. We might hate Mussels, which would be a shame and also leave us hungry! Daddy and I will supplement ours with the hot sauce, some grilled mushrooms, some soft fried onions and cheese although I think the children will just go with the cheese and onion!

Sunday - Grated Cheese and Carrot Sandwich

I know that the children have had this for lunch in the past, and I've not made it for a while, but Daddy hasn't had it before so I'm not sure how he'll react. I think that the textures work well together and it of course is a great way of eating an extra portion of vegetables without really realising it.

Grated Cheese and Carrot

Monday - Left over Beef Wraps

I know that it is a meatless Monday, but for me that only applies to our evening meal. I'm not sure why I think this, but I do know that it means that left over beef in corn wraps with a bit of salad will be making it's way to Top Ender, Big Boy and my bellies around 12 Noon.

Tuesday - Boiled Egg

I was going to make a chopped boiled egg sandwich, but decided instead that I should make something a bit more fun. It will either be an Angry Birds themed lunch, or maybe a ghost themed lunch or maybe something Dennis The Menace themed as it's his birthday today!

Wednesday - Hawaiian Ham Sandwich

Top Ender and Big Boy like pineapple on pizza (the crazy fools) and so I thought I'd surprise them with a little Hawaiian Ham Sandwich for lunch today. Basically it's tomato, ham and pineapple in a sandwich but I'm sure I'll make it a little cuter with a few tricks from my cake decorating cupboard.

Thursday - Cheese Rolls

I want to make the rolls a little more special, so I'm going to defrost them on Wednesday, and bake them in the oven with grated cheese on top to give the roll a little more flavour. I'll mix grated cheddar with some pesto to make the filling and whilst mine will have Salad in it I'll let the children get away with just grated cucumber mixed into the cheese and pesto mixture.

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

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

It's Red Nose Day or Comic Relief Day, what ever it is called you'd have to be as daft as me to not guess that the lunch is going to be themed around this. The Children are allowed to wear red accessories to School today, so I thought that lunch should be in the same vein!

That's what we have for lunch this week. What about you? Anything special planned?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Evening Meals (W/C 09/03)

Last week, with me being just able to start using the computer again (the lack of an ear drum apparently also gives me an inability to look at computer screens without feeling sick), the Meal Plan was a sheet of paper on the fridge. I must say it worked out rather well as instead of having to look up my own blog to find out what I was supposed to be feeding the family I just looked at the fridge.

I also decided to sort out the three freezers so that I knew what we had (or rather what I'd forgotten we had) and eating it and every thing in the stock cupboard this week is an expensive week as I have to buy almost EVERYTHING as we've now run out of everything.

Saturday - Mussels or Pasta

I got a delivery from Fish is the Dish and Delish Fish this week, and I'll be using the Mussels as our first of two portions of fish this week (There is a plan to this, and I'll post about it soon!). I did think I could make a chowder, or maybe just cook them in garlic as my Mum would but I decided that as Daddy was going to eat this with me (well he will attempt it anyway) a curried mussel soup would be the best choice. I've invited my Mum over as hopefully between the three of us we'll make a decent soup and also it's Mothers Day tomorrow!

As a back up I'm making Smoked Salmon Pasta for the children so if needs be Daddy can eat this too! The pasta is easy to make, you just cook pasta as normal and whilst that is boiling you fry some onions, chopped peppers and a little garlic (I don't do it in oil as my special frying pan is clever, but you might need a little) stir into the pasta some Creme Fraiche or soft cheese and a little lemon juice before stirring in the vegetable mixture and the Salmon.

I will sneak in some other vegetables, possibly some mushrooms too and serve both with some bread, as you can't have soup without bread!

Sunday - Shoulder of Lamb

I have the local Missionaries from Church coming round for dinner tonight. I know that they probably get over fed at all the houses they go to, but I wanted to make sure they got fed well here. I used to love the Missionaries coming round for dinner when I was younger, and I'd like my children to experience the same thing. My sister suggested the Jamie Oliver recipe for a slow cooked Lamb Shoulder, as she did it when she had guests and it was lovely and on top of that there were a tonne of leftovers, which when you are feeding an extra two hungry adults is a good thing!

As it is a roast, we'll have roast potatoes, gravy and possibly Yorkshire puddings along with a selection of veg that may or may not include, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots, sprouts, green beans, sweetcorn and spinach. It's a big calorie (and carb) meal, but we'll have a small lunch to make up for it.

Monday - Meatless Monday

We are useless with coming up with ideas for meatless Monday. Honestly, if it isn't pizza, soup and toasties, jacket potatoes or some form of pasta then I don't know what to make. Today is no different, but I'm attempting to make a Vegetable Lasagne, I'm going to need luck so please send me any you have spare!

Tuesday - Lamb Curry

If all goes to plan, then along with our Sunday meal the Lamb Shoulder should also have enough meat left over to do sandwiches on the Monday AND to be a meal tonight and possibly another meal after this too. I've figured that Lamb Curry would be a good bet, as it can be bulked out with rice and vegetables just in case there isn't as much meat as my Sister said there should be. I will have cut the lamb up on Sunday night, and if there is more meat left I will freeze it ready to include in a meal next week.

Wednesday - Fish and Chips

The other week Daddy discovered the secret to making a great Gluten free batter. I will get him to write it down so I can share it, but until then know that on Wednesday night I'll be eating Fish and Chips (my second portion of fish of the week!) and if I'm really lucky I might be eating Battered Banana afterwards as Daddy has discovered that they are rather lovely.

I'm not sure what I'll be using at the moment, I have some nice Cod in the freezer and Hake too, so it'll be one or the other.

Thursday - Baked Sloppy Joes

The children and I were working out a meal plan for a month, (we were hoping it would be this month but with one thing and another it looks like it is going to be April or possibly May) and they both asked for baked Sloppy Joes as they love it. So I figure a lovely Thursday meal is in order. I'll serve it with Salad (as it is Spring) and peas. Or maybe beans. I just don't know yet!

Baked Sloppy Joes

Friday - Casserole

In the freezer I found a pack of Aunt Bessie's Casserole, that I had got at Aunt Bessie's event I went to. Yes, it was a while back but in my defence I do have three freezers! The problem is as it isn't gluten free, Daddy can't eat it and so I needed a night he wasn't in that I could use it.

Tonight's that night.

I'm going to serve it with either dumplings or Yorkshire puddings and cauliflower mash. Just don't tell the children it's cauliflower mash and they will never know.

So that's what we have planned for this week, what about you? Are you getting two portions of fish this week?

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Microwave Cookie

You know how sometimes, you really, really, really, want a cookie, but because you're on a diet/healthy eating thingy in order to lose weight and be healthy you don't buy cookies or dare make a batch because you'll eat them all in one sitting?


Oh. In that case me neither and this Microwave Cookie recipe won't be of any interest to you.

Just in case you are one of those people who would be interested in such a cookie, know that it is a little more like a cake than a traditional baked in the oven cookie but it is blooming delicious and my new favourite thing to make Daddy make me when I'm needing comfort and chocolate.

Also I made it with Doves Farm Gluten free flour and Orgran no egg and it was still as lovely as anything.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

9 To 5 The Musical

One of my favourite films is 9 to 5. I love the Dolly Parton theme tune, the idea of women taking charge and making the world better and who doesn't love a comedy set the year they were born? I like to read a lot of websites about the Theatre Scene (I would have made a great actress) and when I heard they were going to make the film into a Musical Stage show I was a little worried, how could they improve on this great film? I needn't have worried because the show is great and has been cast perfectly.

Cast Shot of 9 to 5 The Musical

If you love the film, have a nostalgia for the late 70's early 80's or just want to see a feel good musical you'll love the show. Actually I don't think anybody could hate this show, because there are moments from Natalie Casey and Amy Lennox that will just make you grin and realise that like them you've been in a predicament fairly similar in the past... although I should make it clear I never kidnapped my boss before. Or fed him Rat Poison. Or shot at him.

I thought about it though!

The songs compliment the show, and as in all great musicals, instead of sticking out it seems natural that the characters break into song every now and then and we see deeper into the Characters motives for how they are the way they are, or what they are thinking. I've added the Soundtrack to my wishlist for Mothers Day gifts and I'm also hoping that when I'm as old as Bonnie Langford I'll be as flexible as she is!

I was really impressed with the costumes (and in particular one very quick costume change by Jackie Clune that should probably go down in the record books), the sets and the general ambience of the show and several "personal touches" from the cast and Dolly Parton. As we left the Theatre the general buzz from the Audience was how great the show was, and how brilliant the cast were. It seems a bit stalker like, but I wanted to write the entire cast and crew a little note to let them know how much I enjoyed the show and I don't think I've ever wanted to do that for the cast of any show before.

The show is on tour around the UK at the moment and is stopping at Milton Keynes until the 9th March, so go and see it and as Dolly said tell all your friends about it too!

We were given two tickets to see the show, and I took my Mum after all she was the one who first introduced me to Dolly Parton.

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