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Showing posts from August, 2013

My 99p Summer - #Review #my99psummer

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When Daddy and I were first married we didn't have a lot of spare cash and we use to have little "competitions" with each other to see who could buy the best gift for the least amount of money. If we'd had a 99p Store near us it would have made things a lot easier, especially if we had a theme like we did when the 99p Stores challenged us to have a 99p Summer... We happened to be in London near a 99p store at the start of the Summer Holidays so we popped in and looked round the store, to see what we'd buy.

The children decided to buy a water bottle and a sandwich box each. They figured that with all the picnics they had planned for the holidays that they'd come in useful and they were right!


The sandwich boxes are brilliant and will be making a lot of appearances in lunch boxes over the upcoming school term. Top Ender's water bottle is going to stay in use as her water bottle for at home and during the night, but Big Boy has a rather bad habit of chewing …

Back To School Meal Plan (W/C 31st Aug) - #Review

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I didn't mean to stop Meal Planning over the Summer Holidays, but with the budget being super small I thought you'd get bored of seeing every other meal being Beans on Toast and an increasing dependence on eggs!

We were back to School this week and so the Meal Planning has started properly again, instead of the scribbled note on the fridge that we've been consulting during the holidays.

The only difference is, I'm now planning meals for Big Boy and Top Ender in the evening that are low carb (it's okay I'm not going all Gwyneth on you) and then a later meal in the evening for Daddy and I as he isn't back from work until just after 7:30pm.

The weekends though are all about the family time.

Saturday - Ragu and Pasta
We're loving the new Ragu range that we were sent to try*, the meat is already in the sauce so it's easy to heat up and add to your favourite pasta without having to worry about cooking meat to go with it and as it's so quick, it gives …

Daddy's Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Pizza #Recipe

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A very simple recipe that takes only a few minutes to prepare, and turns out a very respectable pizza, free of Wheat and Gluten.

Ingredients

200g gluten-free plain flour (we use Dove's Farm)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
4g dried active yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
115ml warm water (1 third cool, 2 thirds just boiled)
Toppings of your choice (we like it with passata, grated cheese and chopped onion)

Method

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

Stir in the olive oil and water until it forms a dough.

All gluten-free flours vary, so if it seems a little sticky, add small amounts of flour and keep mixing.

Press out by hand into a circle on a non-stick pizza tray (the ones with the holes work best), turning up the edge to create a lip.

Add the toppings and then cook at the top of a pre-heated oven (200C / Gas Mark 6) for 25 minutes and voila!




HP Slate 7 Tablet - #Review

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I've said before that we're big on using Tablets in our family, there are actually more tablets in our house than there are people and as we each use them in different ways, we knew we could test out the new HP Slate 7 Tablet to its full capacity.

Daddy set the tablet up. He's the go-to guy for things like this, manly because he knows all the WIFI passwords (we have several) and also because when there is then an issue he's the one to sort it out and so if he knows how the tablet should be set up, he can find out what's wrong more quickly! Daddy used the tablet to tweet and to check his emails and do some general web browsing. As it runs Android, he found that it was just the same as the other tablets we have in the house (which all run Android) and although it wasn't the most up to date version it was more than capable of doing what we all needed it to do. The web browsing wasn't the most comfortable experience, but as Daddy said if he wanted to do some se…

Candles With A Twist - #Review

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It's coming up to the time of year, where I start thinking about gifts, not just gifts for Christmas but gifts for friends next year and gifts for ME, seeing as it's my wedding anniversary in September and I know that if there is something I'd really like that I need to either tell Daddy or drop a really big hint! I was asked if I'd like to review a Jewel Candle, and I said yes. I thought that it was a cute idea and I like candles too!

There are two types of Jewellery that you can get in your Jewel Candle, a ring or earrings. I asked if I could review the rings because I don't wear earrings these days and then had to make the hardest choice, I had to decide what scent I'd like! I went with Cherry, as this is one of my favourite scents and then a couple of days later my candle arrived. I was surprised firstly at the size of the candle and secondly at the strength of the scent.


I thought that the candles were going to be small, sort of a couple inches tall but se…

I Solemnly Swear I'm Up To No Good

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Big Boy and Top Ender are rather big fans of Youtube videos. They have realised that if they have a problem getting through a level on a computer game, or they want to learn how to do something, or they want to watch a favourite music video that YouTube normally has the video they are after. I don't mind, I think it's good that the children are learning to be independent, and if it means that I don't have to go and finish a game level for them, then all the better.

We do have a rule though.

If the person in the video swears, we turn it off. No ifs no buts (no coconuts).


We make it a little easier, by selecting videos by people who don't swear and videos on channels we have watched before and so have "vetted". So it was a little bit of a surprise the other day when Big Boy was sitting in the back of the car and I had to break a little faster than normal and he exclaimed;

"WHAT THE BEEP!"

That's right, he beeped himself.

Apparently one of the no s…

Ideas For The Last Week Of The Summer Holidays - #Review

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So what are you up to in the last week of the Summer holidays? If like us, you haven't really got any plans, here are a few ideas of things that we've got up to and that we're planning on doing again if we can muster the energy!

A Trip to the Science Museum
We went quite early in the Summer Holidays, and had a brilliant time walking round looking at the different exhibits and asking the Children to answer questions based on what we were learning from the exhibits. I've said several times before that the Science Museum is a more than one day visit so don't feel bad if you don't see everything in one trip.

If you do have some funds left this close to the end of the holidays, then consider going to one of the paid for shows at the Science Museum, which we were kindly invited to. Big Boy (aged 5) and Top Ender (aged 9) loved The Energy Show and are still talking about some of the concepts they learnt.


Top Ender in particular is quite fond of telling us that she can…

BT Home Hub 4 - A #Review By Daddy

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If this summer has taught me anything, it's that children (and Mummy) and their gadgets are hard to part. Even if it's 30 degrees outside, with weather men laying odds on a second  Cretaceous Thermal Maximum*, you are often to find the family on the sofa clinging to a Tablet PC, Nintendo DS or Phone.

Fortunately, most of these devices are portable (with the exception of the Xbox, but even then I swear Big Boy is making plans to put it on wheels), so the garden is not out of bounds. When we were given the opportunity to test the new BT Home Hub 4 ADSL Wireless router, I said I would definitely be interested - because this version of the Home Hub is being advertised on the basis that it offers a better WiFi signal, and for me - in a moderate suburban house - the only real "slow spot" as far as WiFi goes is the Garden.


I Was Katniss Before Katniss Was Katniss

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Long before Katniss Everdeen ever picked up a bow, I practised Archery. I mentioned it to Top Ender as we watched The Hunger Games together as a "if this ever happened I'd be Katniss and survive" kind of thing. You know the normal parenting reassurance that we all give whilst watching PG13 films with our daughters...


It was sort of never mentioned again, until last weekend when I was in the Kitchen and Big Boy ran in demanding I tell Top Ender off for lying. What had Top Ender lied about? She had simple mentioned that I knew how to do Archery and had a bow in the garage like the one they had just crafted in Minecraft. I told Big Boy that Top Ender wasn't lying, that I did have a bow in the garage and that if he'd give me a few minutes I'd show him. Big Boy looked at me with astonishment, it was as if he was just realising that I had a life before him.

A few minutes later, when I'd worked out how to put the bow back together again, I let the children fire …

A Friends Day Out At Thrift Farm

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I always love getting texts from friends, especially when they are suggesting that we meet up during the Summer Holidays. I got two texts last week, from two of my social circles suggesting meeting up with our various children for a bit of Summer Holiday fun and the first meet up was last week.


We agreed to meet up at Thrift Farm, which is really a rural training centre for adults with learning difficulties, and is well thought of in the community as being a brilliant place to go for a couple of hours at a reasonable price, it's also a brilliant place to go if you want some nicely priced free range eggs!

It was brilliant.

We petted Guinea Pigs and Rabbits, we fed Chickens and Goats, we stroked Donkeys and Sheep, we looked at a baby cow and it's Mum, marvelled over the size of the pigs and tried to count Baby Ducks and Baby Chicks who didn't help by sitting still and instead jumped over each other and probably got counted more than once. Either that or there really were 137…

Barbie Mariposa And The Fairy Princess - #Review #Competition

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Top Ender is a big fan of Barbie and all her movies, I've mentioned before that she knows when new films are coming out and has them marked on her calender, so it was great to surprise her earlier this month with a chance to watch the new film Barbie Mariposa And The Fairy Princess, which isn't out until the 26th August 2013 here in the UK.


Top Ender was thrilled and even Big Boy sat to watch the film because whilst he pretends he isn't that keen on the Barbie films they are secretly something he enjoys!
The story of the film follows Mariposa who has been sent as an emissary to Shimmervale from Flutterfield, (both remote kingdoms in Fairytopia) to reunite them after both Kingdoms had a falling out many years before over a misunderstanding about Crystals belonging to Shimmervale. The Fairies of each Kingdom believe the Fairies of the other Kingdom to be the bad ones, with fairytale (ha!) type stories of the evil deeds that the others do.
It's not long though before Mari…

Brownies and Top Ender

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Many Moons ago, Top Ender wanted to go to Brownies. I enquired and the local group said they'd get back to me and they didn't. At the time it was probably a blessing in disguise and when I was thinking over the Summer Holidays over how to help Top Ender have more interactions with children of her age I thought about her joining Brownies again. So I applied online and a few days later a letter arrived in the post for Top Ender.

She had a place in a local group if she wanted it. Which of course she did. So when Daddy starts his new job, Top Ender will start at Brownies too. I'm going to need to get organised aren't I?

I'm sure that a lot of you reading this blog have children who go to Brownies or Girl Guides or Cubs or Scouts and know the things I need to know, little tips to help me make sure that Top Ender gets the most out of going to Brownies, how to sew badges on the best way (do we have to do that at Brownies?), what the uniform sizes up like and what pieces a…

A Little Secret And A Picasso! - #Review (of sorts!)

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We have had a little bit of a Secret here at A Mother's Ramblings, which we're about to share with you... so it won't be a secret any more.

Daddy has got a new job.

For the first time since Daddy and I have been married (bar a few days here and there, that trip to Sweden, that trip to Chilie, a few blog trips and the odd weekend to the seaside) we'll be more than 15 minutes apart. Even when we worked at opposite ends of Milton Keynes, we weren't more than ten minutes apart and so with Daddy's new job taking him about a 75 minute drive away it's going to be a little bit of a shock to the system for me at least!

To start with Daddy is going to mainly take the train to work, but he's hoping that around Christmas we're in the position to be buying him a new (to us) car and seeing as we love our Citroen Xsara Picasso so much he's looking to get a C2 or a C3... and not just because he's lazy and wants an automatic with lots of toys!


The Fairy Door

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As promised the other day, I knew that I had to get back out into my garden and start tidying it up before it got all overgrown again. I went out there and the hot weather started again (You're Welcome) and we mowed the lawn, pulled weeds, stuck our tongues out at the ivy and generally made our garden more welcoming to be in. Those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram probably saw my updates and may have seen that it took us all day... but it was worth it.

The garden looked so brilliant, we decided to camp out in the garden in our two tents and read and watch butterflies and a couple of friendly Sparrows and then it was noticed.


At the bottom of our Pear tree there was a Fairy Door and none of us put it there.

Fairies had moved in, Fairies are living in our garden! Just like they do in Nanna's garden (who may have had something to do with this door arriving in our garden, but Sssh!) and so now we have to keep our garden neat and tidy or the fairies might …

Family Home Evening - Dobble #Review

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Unlike the lovely Jen, we don't have a no tech after 6pm policy in our house. We do however have Family Home Evening, where we have an evening at home as a family... it's one of those self explanatory titles isn't it? It's actually something that is positively encouraged by the leaders of my Church and so whilst we have a religious element to ours we always end up playing a game or having an activity and so I thought that I'd share them with you over the year, just in case you're looking for something fun to do with your family of an evening.

Recently we were sent Dobble by Esdevium Games, (you can buy the game in Waterstones and in most Toy Shops too) as they were sure that it was something that our family would love to play on Family Games Night and they were right.


Dobble is designed to be played by 2-8 players aged 6+, although Big Boy at 5 played it and understood what to do rather well. The game comes with instructions that are easy to understand although…

The Incredibly Sweet Things My Children Do - #Review

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I was sick yesterday, technically I could still be sick today but I'm thinking positively. I had gone downstairs with Big Boy when suddenly I knew I had to get to the bathroom and QUICK! It wasn't a surprise because Top Ender had suddenly been ill on Saturday evening and all through Sunday, meaning I'd gone to Church alone Sunday afternoon.

After having been sick, Big Boy bestowed the ultimate honour upon me telling me that he'd get his own drinks today, seeing as how I was ill. If you know how much water or squash Big Boy drinks then you know that this is a big deal. The morning passed in a blur and as the children ate lunch, I went for a rest on my bed (seeing as how Top Ender had been in bed all day Sunday I thought twenty minutes would be okay) and when the Children came upstairs with a gift for me I was so touched that I felt better.


The children had worked together to make one of the Baker Ross Daffodils and Vase Foam Kits for me that Yellow Moon had sent through…

Lollibop 2013

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I'd never been to the Lollibop festival before so I wasn't really sure what to expect, but I did know that we were going to have fun as a family, especially when we had a last minute addition of Daddy to our party! Daddy was originally supposed to be at work, but surprised us with a day off which was especially good as it meant that I could let him drive and I could concentrate on... well whatever it is I concentrate on when I'm not driving.


When we got to the Queen Elizabeth Park, which is where Lollibop has moved to this year, we were all very excited. We'd been walking with a lot of people towards the festival and the party atmosphere was growing as we got closer, we were even more excited when we peeled off from all the other attendees and went down the VIP lane... I always knew I was a VIP.

Daddy was mainly excited because he was going to be able to shout BOGEY at Dick and Dom again and sing along the songs with the tunes he knew from the Go! Go! Go! Show.


Big Boy…

Tank! Tank! Tank! Wii U Game - #Review

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I wasn't around when Tank! Tank! Tank! was first discovered in our house, it was downloaded by Daddy and Big Boy who despite the negative reviews they had found online thought it looked rather cool. It was the only thing that Big Boy wanted to talk to me about when I got home and after my first go I must admit I was hooked too and had to persuade Daddy that it was worth the £1.99 to open up the game to be played more than three times every twelve hours.

Despite there being four different areas to the game (once you've brought the fourth section "My Kong"), the idea of the game is really simple. You are in a tank and have to shoot the other players and destroy them, before they destroy you. If you are destroyed you are soon re-spawned, or deployed as the game screen states, and the loss of a tank is just counted against you in the final tally of how many you destroyed (or how much damage you dealt out) versus how many times you were destroyed.


I'm Sorry Britain

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Yes, I'm sorry Britain, it's all my fault.

You see, for the last few weeks Britain has been having a spell of beautiful weather and it was thanks to me, not those patches of high pressure or low pressure or it being Summer and therefore the weather should be sunny and warm...

Why was it me that was causing it?

Because I was gardening.

I had huge plans for my back garden, digging up the borders, getting rid of weeds, expanding the patio, clearing the junk off my driveway... and I ran out of steam with it or rather I lost heart. The effort I was making seemed to be disproportionate to the amount of work it seemed I had done.

I was doing the garden in sections, I figured it would be the easiest way and so having started outside the house on the patio and then moving up to the apple tree and then to the boarder space between the apple tree and the pear tree, the space between the pear tree and the plum tree, the space between the plum tree and the back fence... but the problem was…

Family Cinema Trips

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There is one thing that my Children love more than Minecraft and that's going to the cinema. I'm not sure if it is the Popcorn, the sitting in the dark or just the fact that we don't get to go too often that makes it special but when we were asked by Cineworld if we'd like to go and see Monsters University on opening weekend (I know it was ages ago) I didn't have to ask the children twice.


Cineworld have some Big Family Offers to make the experience even more exciting with 20% off family tickets booked through mycineworld and various prize draws and giveaways when you book tickets to see various Summer Family Blockbusters.

I've been a long time fan of the Movies for Juniors that Cineworld offers, where tickets are just £1 and for quite a while Tops and I used to go on a Saturday morning whilst Daddy was sleeping off his night shift, but seeing that we could possibly go on a Thursday morning too is making me really want to go today!


As well as being given ticket…

Don't Take The Red Road - Big Boy Giggles

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It seems like ages since I last did a giggles post, not because the children aren't being hilarious it's just that I keep forgetting what they say! Things were easier when they didn't talk all day, everyday... Anyhoo.


We were watching The Wizard of Oz the other day, and Dorothy was advised to take the yellow brick road (as she always is) but for the first time Big Boy noticed there was a red brick road.

"I wonder where the red brick road goes to, I wonder if I could follow it." I said knowing that it wasn't in the books, and was more than likely just put into the film to make the yellow seem more vivid.

Big Boy paused for a second, looked me straight in the eye and replied;

"TO YOUR DOOM!"

I don't want to follow the red brick road any more, or after seeing this photograph sleep.


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The Big Secret

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How are the Summer Holidays going for you? For some of my Scottish friends, they are almost over and School is just a couple of weeks away... it makes me want to treasure this time with Top Ender and Big Boy even more, but I know that as always I'll forget that I want to do this as soon as they start squabbling tomorrow or if for some reason tonight I don't get as much sleep as I need to.

And that's the big secret that we all have in common isn't it? At least I hope it is. The secret where we pretend to be perfect and strong and ready for anything and in reality all I know for sure is that I'm not, but you and everyone else seems to be.

All I am is a scared grown up, worried half to death that what I'm doing for my family isn't the right thing. Worried that my children will turn out like me. This isn't some massive sympathy hunt, there are some good points about me, and if the Children learn them then great, but I want them to be better than me, I want …

I Have A Diabetic Child

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I'm a mother to a Diabetic Child.

What difference does this make you might ask?

I could cite hundreds of little things that I do to make Big Boy's life "normal" but for us having Diabetes is normal. He is no different to any other five year old boy. If he falls and grazes his knee, then of course I pick him up and cuddle him and clean up the graze. If he wakes in the night crying from a nightmare, then I cuddle him and calm him down and soothe him back to sleep.

I'm his mother why would I not do motherly things for him?

I'm the mother to a diabetic child, I give him insulin daily. In fact Daddy and I administer it several times a day... And Night.


To you and I Insulin is something that naturally occurs in our body and we don't ever think about. We don't have to think if the food we are eating is going to be processed and the carbohydrates broken up and taken to various cells of our body that require it. We don't have to carb count (unless we want …

Playing In The Rain

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It always seems to be, that as soon as the Children are off on Summer Holidays the weather turns from the nice and sunny weather that we expect to the wet and miserable that means we end up staying indoors feeling as miserable as the sky is grey.

Apart from last week.

Last week Top Ender and I had sat out in the garden in the morning doing some crafting enjoying the weather, whilst Big Boy ran around burning off some excess energy. It wasn't as warm as it had been, but it was still pleasant and before long we had gone back inside to get out of the heat.

Then we heard a noise.

The noise, we heard was rain and it was absolutely pouring down. The children and I had rushed to the open back door to look, and as we did it seemed that we shared one thought between us. We needed to get out into the rain.

And so we did.



Tops grabbed her jacket, BB grabbed an umbrella, I grabbed my camera and they danced whilst I took pictures giggling along with them as the rain drops fell around them.

It …