Showing posts from July, 2013

Penguin on Holiday - A Review

Penguin on Holiday is a new book published by Bloomsbury that has delighted Big Boy. I don't think that we had read Penguin and the Pinecone, Penguin's previous adventure, but we immediately loved this little penguin and his desire for a holiday.

The book was very easy to read, and Big Boy was able to read a lot of it himself, although he preferred for me to read the larger/bolder words because he liked to be Penguin and Penguin's new friend...

This book fitted in so well as part of our Summerproject on friendship. We created some great postcards from the characters in the book with some friends having moved away during the Summer, it was nice for the story to show that separation from friends can be sad but the reunions are always fun.

The book is so sweet and full of love that it's going to be a favourite of ours for years to come and end up in every baby gift basket I'm giving from now on.

Penguin on Holiday is available from the 22nd August and is £11.99 for the…

A British Crème Brûlée (Review and Recipe)

It's not going to be a surprise that I'm an indulgent pudding fan, normally of the Chocolate variety, but when I want to do something special and be a bit of a show-off I make a rather lovely Crème Brûlée.

Saturday night, after we got back from the Science Museum, we had a rather simple meal of Hot Dogs and I thought I'd push the boat out with a pudding for Daddy and I instead of on the Sunday like I had planned.

I had been sent a cup of sugar to celebrate a new globally-inspired ‘Taste Experience’ range from Tate & Lyle (see their Taste and Smile website) and by luck of the draw was sent the British Inspired Golden Syrup Sugar (third from the Left below) which I thought when burnt as the topping of a Crème Brûlée would taste deliciously syrupy and because it's great for making glazes would hopefully turn a lovely colour. I think they turned out rather fabulous and have included my cheats recipe below so you can create them at home too.

2 Innocent Fruit…

Summer Writing

This Summer, I'm working hard to make sure that Top Ender and Big Boy don't suffer from Summer learning loss and also to make sure that the skill areas that they struggle with at School is given some serious attention so that hopefully next year they will have a better foundation to work from and put them on a more level playing field with their peers.

Handwriting is one of those areas.

We have a theme for the summer, it's friendship and was decided by Big Boy. It fitted in well with some of the projects I had in mind and I was able to adapt others to fit in within the friendship theme. So far we've;

Created postcards from characters in a new book we were sent to review.

Sent handwritten letters to Nanny B.

Started to write down the stories we tell each other about Pirates.

There is a lot more that we've been doing, for example we're keeping journals (which maybe we'll share at the end of the Summer), and are going to be doing like writing Menus and invites…

Washing The Car

Daddy decided he was going to wash the car and invited the children to help him.

Big Boy decided that he was only going to help, if he could use his water gun and had great fun doing so.

Top Ender decided that she would help too and also had great fun.

Despite it being a rather good work out for Daddy, he had fun too.

It reminded me that the Children don't need fancy toys and days out to have fun during the Summer months, or indeed at any other time of year. All they really need is the encouragement and love of a parent and time.

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The First and The Last

Today is the last day of School for us here at A Mother's Ramblings... well for this School Year anyway. I had said I was going to make today special for the Children and despite other things going on that are needing my attention (may I direct you to this tweet) I've still got my plans to stick too!

The first part of this plan was taking a picture of the children on their last day at School to see the difference between then and now.

What do you think? Have they grown? I think that they have both grown a bit and look a lot more slender now than they did at the start of the School year. 
My kitchen door also still needs painting...
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What You May Have Missed...

Every so often I get to do a sort of roundup post of things that you may have missed if you don't live with me, don't follow my every word on Twitter and Facebook or notice the odd photo on Instagram. Of course if you are one of my many stalkers, then you'll already know all this but as we all know it's good to share.

So I went to Henley with BMW.

Posh people are most amusing as at their festivals they eat three course meals, drink Champagne and do it all whilst dressed in Evening Wear. I got to borrow a BMW 3 series for a few days, and there will be a blog post about it soon but I doubt I'll ever own one as I'd be constantly worried that someone would hit me or scratch it!

I went to the Hyde Park London Chapel and Visitors Centre.
Honestly, if you wanted to know more about Mormons (like me!) and are in London and on Exhibition Road then pop in. For a start it's air conditioned so nice and cool, they have some nice little videos to watch with some quite com…

What Are Your Budget Summer Meals

I was talking with some friends about budgeting for shopping the other week and it made me look at how much I spend, which is normally about £50-£70 a week for my little family of four and three cats. The majority of that is spent on fruit and vegetables and then meat and poultry (in that order too) as try as I might I still can't get my whole family eating meatless more than twice a week and even then I have to be sneaky about it.

I've already given up fizzy drinks, and Daddy is well on the way to following me with abandoning that habit too and Tops and Big Boy like the odd glass of milk and squash, but like me most often just drink water. As a family we don't really eat sweets, although we do have to keep them about so that if BB has a hypo we can treat it (there is only so much Ribena or Orange Juice that one boy can drink) and puddings are of the home-made cake variety.

So I'm looking to see if I could make further savings and the only way I can see this happening …

Material Things I Need And Want Or Possibly Don't

I'm being selfish today and daydreaming about all the things that I need and want and probably don't really need and want in the grand scheme of things. It's a great game to play because sitting out in the garden in the early morning sun and relaxing and letting my mind wander over all the things I would do if I had some extra money is almost as good as having the money.

A Skip
I need a big skip to put all the rubbish on my drive way in and all the little stones that cover my driveway and are supposed to make it look nice, but just succeed in making weeding my drive annoying. Whilst we're at it can someone send me some industrial strength and sized weed killer?

A New Driveway
Once all the stones are scooped off my drive, I'll need a new blocked path driveway laid. That'll stop the weeds. Mwhahahahahahahahaha.

A Digger And One Of The Jack Hammer Things
I need a little mini digger to dig up part of my garden and the jack hammer to break up some existing concrete …

Summer Holiday Plans

Every Summer, I hope for brilliant weather as I hope that Top Ender, Big Boy and I will be able to take long walks, have long leisurely picnics and generally enjoy the weather. This year, it has of course been a little warmer than generally us Brits are used to, but still here at A Mother's Ramblings we are excited about the weather and there is no grumbling about the heat, at least from me.

We have a plan in place, as is normal for us every Summer. We want to make sure we don't experience any Summer Learning Loss (where because Children aren't practising their skills, they basically lose the ability), we want to also maximise the amount of time we are spending together and also the Children quite like being my personal trainers in the summer and getting me running around after them...

Every year when we get the Children's School Reports, I take a look at what I can help the Children with over the Summer Holidays and make a plan of what we will do based around this. I&…

The Diabetic Insulin Pump

When Big Boy was diagnosed as being a Diabetic, the suggestion of a pump was brought up. It was brought up when we went for training on how to count carbs and calculate insulin levels, it was brought up at our appointments and each time I said No.

No, I don't want my son to have to have a pager sized machine attached to him 24/7.

No, I don't want to have to take out a cannula and reinsert a new one into my son every couple of days.

No, I don't want to run the risk of insulin not actually going into my son, because of a kink in a tube, or a tube accidentally being ripped out in the night.

Just No.

I had read up on the internet of what other people thought of the Insulin Pumps and continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion. I had read about the problems, I had read the downsides and when I weighed it up, the lesser of the two evils appeared to be injecting Big Boy before each meal and snack and correcting his levels as needed. And then the matter was sort of taken out of my hands, …

A Letter To Top Ender's Teacher

At our School we find out who the teacher of our Children will be for the next School year tonight when reports are sent out. So I've penned letters to Top Ender's teacher, who has been her teacher for two years now and who I know won't be her teacher next year.

Dear Miss Charles*,

You've been Top Ender's teacher for two years now and I can honestly say that apart from family members she loves you the most in the world. I know so much about you, or so it seems, because of the little tidbits you have shared with your class over the last couple of years and that Top Ender announces over dinner, that you seem like a family member so I hope it doesn't sound creepy that I think of you as family.

I remember meeting you for the first time, you seemed quiet and a little shy and I was pretty sure that the children in Top Ender's class were going to run rings around you. I shouldn't have worried, you had control over the class like the pro that you are because the …

Mama's Family Cook Book Review

The last cook book I reviewed was the Vegetarian Step by Step from Parragon Books, given to me when I met the team at BritMums Live. This cook book was also given to me by the team and features one of my favourite cuisines as these are family recipes from Italian kitchens.

Reading in the first few pages that all the people in the book are made up, ruined my daydream of marrying into the family (I know I'm already married!) but didn't stop me drooling over the recipes! Reading through I knew that I would have to make a lot of adaptations to the recipes, as the Italians are well known for the inclusion of alcohol and pasta is of course not gluten free for the most part, but I knew it would be worth it.

I started off easy with making a Chicken and Mushroom Lasagne as I know my families love of lasagne, and it went down a treat, it was nice to have a change from a beef lasagne too. The Sausage and peppers was a great twist on our favourite sausage meal (we didn't use Italian s…

A Year Ago Today

At 9:47am one year ago today I tweeted that we were off to the hospital with Big Boy again. We'd been just a few weeks before, but had been sent home after further testing has told us everything was fine.

Just under one and a half hours later, we were letting the world know that we were pretty sure that Big Boy was going to be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and it was a bit of a shock to be honest. I can't say express how much the comments from friends and family on my Facebook page and via mine and Daddy's Twitter accounts meant to us. I heard Oprah say recently, that if the only prayer you ever give is one of Thanks then that is enough. So to those who let us know we were in their thoughts and prayers, Thank You.

The day is a bit of a blur, but at the same time crystal clear. I can remember moments of the day as if they have just happened and other moments I forgot about until I looked back at the tweets and Facebook status updates that I made. I remember Big Boy had som…

Lunch Plans (13/07)

I'm on a really tight budget this week (self inflicted) and I'm hoping that I'll be able to really stick to it, although I'm not sure I will!

Saturday - Leftovers Sandwich
We're at the cinema, so no doubt we'll have some popcorn and the like, but the children will need a sandwich when we get home (well Big Boy will), so we're thinking leftover of whatever we have in the fridge!

Sunday - Picnic
We're at the cinema in the morning (I know two days in a row!) and so we'll be eating lunch in the car on the way home. We have picnic because I know that Tops and BB love a picnic.

Monday - Quiche
I've made a lot of quiches recently. They are great because both children like them, I can sneak veggies in and they travel well.

Tuesday - Ham and Veggie Pittas
I'm hoping that the children will enjoy a ham and veggie filled pitta today, well I say veggie filled, I'm going to grate up a carrot and an apple and mix it with strips of ham. I think that it&…

Vegetarian Step By Step Cook Book Review

If you read my meal plan posts, then you'll know that not only am I pretty useless at coming up with meatless ideas but that my family aren't that good at eating meatless meals too often. It was quite lucky therefore that when I met the team at Parragon Books that one of the books they thought I might like to review was a Love Food Vegetarian Step by Step Cook Book.

Reading through the book was interesting, everything is explained step by step (as it says in the title) and the majority of the items it mentions are ingredients that I know and either regularly buy already or would know where to find them in the Supermarket. The only downside is that the book isn't really aimed at my normally meat eating family as some of the meals are too "vegetarian".

I know, I know, how can a Vegetarian book be too vegetarian. Of course it can't, but as I have learnt with getting my family to eat fish, we have to ease them in with "easy" recipes first and then work …

Banning Packed Lunches

It's not often that I talk about things that are going on in the news, I find it far too depressing and would rather live in my happy land where bad things don't happen and everyone is happy. Yet this morning I couldn't help but see tweets about a BBC report about packed lunches and how two chaps who own a chain of restaurants have come to the conclusion that packed lunches should be banned in Schools.

Cue the outrage.

Why are people angry though?
I'm angry because it's a case of labelling all parents who send their child to school with a packed lunch as irresponsible and unable to provide a nutritious and healthy lunch. I think that it's a far better move to spend money educating not only the children in School (and the younger the better) about nutrition and how our bodies use energy, but also going back over this for all parents. I took Home Ec classes at School and I remember being taught what makes a balanced meal. Sure I might have forgotten a bit of it a…

Meal Plan (W/C 13/07)

This week is a really busy one for me personally, but I know that we'll be fine as long as we really do stick to our meal plan!

Saturday - Honey Mustard Lamb with Mashed Potato
We are out during the morning, at the cinema and then we're off shopping with my Mum and then this for our evening meal. I don't think we've had this for quite a while and when teamed with green beans and sautéed mushrooms it's one of my favourite meals.

Sunday - Sunday Roast
I'm technically not here today, but Daddy, Top Ender and Big Boy will need to eat and so Daddy will make a Roast to share. I think that he may go for Sausages instead of a Chicken though as it makes it easier for him as he won't have to carve the Chicken.

Monday -  Chicken Chilli
I'm going to be out for most of the day today, so I'm thinking that if I make Chilli I can put it in the Slow Cooker and let it cook away without me and by the time I get home with the Children after School, all I'll have to…

When I drove a Volvo or My Audition for Top Gear

I don't know much about cars, well actually that isn't true. What I should say is other than what I've learnt from Top Gear and Fifth Gear, I don't know much about cars. Actually, even that isn't true as proved when Daddy and I met Quentin Willson and I was Top Girl on the Leaderboard at the Shell Event we went to last year.

Okay let me start again.

I know a bit about cars, not a lot, but enough to let me talk to people who do know things about cars and I know enough that when Volvo say;

"Come on out to Sweden where we'll show you some rather clever technology that we're working on to put into all our cars from the end of 2014 and we'll even let you test some of it out if you want..."(They may not of said this exactly)
you reply 
"When do I come?"

Last Day of School Fun

Next Tuesday is the last day of School this year for Top Ender and Big Boy and I want to make it special for them, really special, so these are my plans to make the day fun.

1) I'm decorating their bedroom doors for when they wake up, like I did for Big Boy's birthday.

2) I'm taking a photo to compare to the one from the first day of term.

3) They are going to have a special packed lunch.

4) I'm putting a banner across the front door welcoming them to Summer.

5) If it's dry, we're going to have an outdoor movie night and BBQ.

I'm sure there are a lot more things I could do, but these are the ones that I know that Tops and Big Boy will enjoy. What are you planning on doing or have you already done?

Have you added A Mother's Ramblings to your RSS Reader? Make sure you never miss a brilliant lunch or a fantastic family moment.  

Also don't forget to follow my Weight Loss and Fitness Journey at Pippa World too!

Nashville Boxset Review

My Mum brought my Sister and I up listening to Country Music, amongst a whole range of other types of Music, but it was Country that really spoke to me. I loved the stories that were told and the seemingly simplicity to the music. Even Daddy has a soft spot for Country, and is often heard humming a few of his favourite tunes. When I saw that two of my favourite actresses were going to be in a show about Country Music and set in the home of Country Music, I knew I was going to watch. The main story of the show is about an older established Country Star, Rayna Jaymes (played by Connie Britton) who has secrets and family issues being pitted against newer Country star Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) who has her own family issues and secrets too. 

The two dislike each other, but need each other to be a success after being thrown together by their record label. As each battle between them is won or lost, nobody is quite sure if the personal losses they suffer along the way are going to…

Complaining And Change

I was in Tesco's doing the weekly shop, looking for various bits and pieces that I could buy for Daddy as treats that would fit his dietary needs. I got to the quite small free from section that is in our local store (small compared to the other local supermarkets) and saw some Muesli that looked nice and seeing as it is on the Free From section new that it was going to be gluten free, or something. On closer inspection however it wasn't Gluten Free. It wasn't "anything" free.

I planned on carrying on doing my shopping until I found a staff member or manager, and eventually found a manager a few minutes later supervising the clean up of some smashed bottles of beer. I mentioned the issue to him and was initially dismissed as it having been my mistake, it wasn't just gluten free items in the free from section so the cereal was probably there because it was free from another allergen.

I explained that whilst he thought that might be the case, that this wasn'…

Frankie and Benny's New Menu Review

The other night, Tops and I went out on a Mummy Daughter Date night. I had been planning it for a while, we were going to have a meal and then go out to the theatre and in between we were going to get in as much girlie gossip as we could manage.

Frankie and Benny's had invited us to try their new specials menu out, so we thought it would be a great place to start our evening, and we even got Daddy home early so we could have a really long leisurely meal together.

Top Ender had been reading about the Hot Dog's on the specials menu, and was excited to try them so she was most disappointed when she found out that they are only available at lunchtime and as we were there in the evening she'd missed out. Still at least I suppose that means we just get to go again in the future!

I thought, that at nine, that Tops was allowed to be introduced to Mocktails. She instead ordered a Strawberry and Coconut Smoothie whilst I ordered an Amalfi Sunrise, which wasn't as nice as the last…

Scrambled Egg and Spring Onion Bagel

I'm having a real love affair with eggs at the moment. I'm not sure if it is because I read that people that eat eggs for breakfast eat less calories during the rest of the day, or because there are 100's of things that you can do with an egg. Either way, eggs for breakfast is a great way to start the day and the other morning, I decided I was going to make Scrambled Eggs and I thought I'd share the recipe with the world too.

2 Eggs
Splash of Milk
Salt and Pepper
2 Bagels
1 Spring Onion
2 Tomatoes
Squirt of Tomato Ketchup

Crack the eggs into a bowl, add a splash of milk and lightly whisk before seasoning with Salt and Pepper. Heat the eggs through (either in the microwave, or over a low heat on the hob).

Slice the bagels and gently toast. When they are lightly browned, butter and add a smear of Tomato Ketchup over the top of the butter.

Slice the tomatoes and lay across the lower half of the bagel.

Once the eggs are ready, cut the Spring Onion…