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Showing posts from October, 2014

Halloween 2014 at A Mother's Ramblings

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I love Halloween.

Between the spiders and the cobwebs that my house naturally has in each corner and the piles of leaves that end up on my driveway I don't have to spend ages decorating the house as it's already done!


Plus who doesn't love a day where you're expected to eat sweets?

So.

Top Ender wanted to be a creepy doll this Halloween, which was fine by me, especially as she was using a costume from the dressing up box. I'm not really freaked out by spooky dolls, although saying that Top Ender kept doing this sort of dead eye glazed over expression thing that was a little freaky. We did a trial run of her costume for the School disco, where a few people wouldn't make eye contact with her and a few others were like "Err, what's so spooky about a doll?!"

A photo posted by Pippa Dawn Wright (@pippadamr) on Oct 10, 2014 at 9:53am PDT
Big Boy had gone to the disco as a Zombie Knight, which was fine and also what he went as last year (thank you dressin…

Microwave Meatloaf

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During half term, I made my first microwave meatloaf. I had explained to Daddy several times what it was that I was doing, but Daddy still didn't understand even as I was about to put the meatloaf in the microwave! Luckily one more explanation of what I was doing and hoping to achieve and Daddy understood what I was getting at - the Microwave can be used for more than just reheating and can be used for actual cooking and that's why we were having Microwave Meatloaf for our evening meal.


I made the meatloaf around lunchtime, as I was rather excited about it because despite loving meatloaf we haven't had it for a while and when we do have it, it takes AGES to cook in the Microwave and isn't something we can easily rustle up in minutes.


 In the end the Meatloaf took 18 minutes to cook, which was just enough time for me to do the dishes, clean up the kitchen and remember that I was supposed to be making Mashed Potatoes, boiling some peas and making up some gravy!


 The meal…

Barbie and Feed and Cuddle Tawny #Review

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Top Ender has always loved Barbie. I'm sure this is why Big Boy and Daddy (and of course Top Ender and me) can sing every song ever featured in a Barbie film. Luckily for me, now she is ten (almost 11) she can for the most part work the DVD out on her own and has in the past been known to act out the Barbie films with her dolls and it's only right that Big Boy and I help her out... I mean we know all the words and songs for a reason right?

When Barbie and her Feed and Cuddle Tawny (who is a horse) arrived, Top Ender and BB were thrilled. Now they could finally stop using my naff old ponies (their words!) and they finally had a horse they loved, because it was able to move and walk and talk... well actually it can't talk but you know it might as well the amount that the children love it!


So, what can I as a parent tell you about the Barbie and Tawny Horse set?

Well, it's actually quite fun.

I've had far too much fun just making Tawny nuzzle me or Barbie.

I've be…

New Handwriting Books and How To Help My Children Succeed

We, like most of the UK population, had parents evenings to attend over the last couple of weeks. I always love parents evenings as I tend to have a pretty good idea of what the children are up to within School as I'm one of the lucky parents who gets more than a grunt from the children in reply to my questions about their lessons and what they've been up to in the day and so I spend the time allotted picking the teachers brains about what extra work my children can do to help them improve and to get better grades and that's on top of what we like to call Mummy Home School. I guess I'm one of those horrid Mums that we all promised ourselves we wouldn't be when we grew up, but at least I'm not as strict as a Tiger Mum!

Anyway.

As normal, both my children are doing great with their School work and have a great general knowledge. If I didn't know better, I'd say that the teachers colluded together to give descriptions of the children as being well rounded,…

Blogger Day at Bletchley Park

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With it being the start of the Half Term holiday for us here at A Mother's Ramblings, I thought it wise to recount back some of the information I learnt at a recent event I went to with the children. Well I say recent, it was during the Summer Holidays, but it's apt for now as if your children are anything like mine then the next week is going to be filled with requests to go on the computer or games consoles and well the event was an eye opener to how safe we all are online.

We spent the day at Bletchley Park, which as you may know is where the Government Code and Cypher School studied and devised methods to enable the Allied forces to decipher the military codes and ciphers that secured German, Japanese, and other Axis nation’s communications. Remember that film Enigma? It's just like that, but with less Kate Winslet and more local people not having a clue what went on there and treating the people that worked there quite badly because they didn't realise they were a…

Beaver Camp

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When Big Boy's Beaver troop was asked if they'd like to go on an overnight camp, sleeping in a local Museum, Big Boy was excited. So excited that he forgot our pact to never ever go camping and immediately it was all he could talk about. It was also agreed, that to make things easier on the leaders at the camp it would be much more sensible for Daddy or I to go as a helper to BB's troop as we could take care of BB's medical needs. Without the drawing of straws or the flipping of a coin I volunteered to go because having a DBS check (thanks to being a governor) kinda proved that I'm safe around children.


Despite hating camping, I thought of myself as being really lucky, because I'm sure that every parent of a Beaver has wondered just what happens on camp and I was going to be able to experience it! When we got to camp the boys from the troop decided where we were going to sleep and luckily for us they decided that we should sleep in the Computer Room, rather tha…

Keema Inspired Sloppy Joes

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If you saw my blog post about Keema, then you'll know it's basically an indian mince. It has various spices in, that make it tasty but not too spicy (well depending on how many chillies you put in!) and the good news is that when you use the Keema as a base for dishes that use mince as a basic ingredient, such as Spaghetti Bolognese or Shepherd's Pie it adds a new twist to family favourites. I spoke to Daddy and we thought about what we could turn the Keema into that we would enjoy, that our children would enjoy and what would be something worthy of winning the competition too (nudge nudge, go vote for me!).


We thought about what it was that was in the Keema, and it was when I said that there was cumin, we knew what we had to make it, what we were going to turn it in to. Baked Sloppy Joes! We really love Sloppy Joes, and one of the spices in the recipe we make is Cumin, so we thought it would mix well. Daddy decided to make the dinner, mainly because he loves making Baked …

A Spooky Bostik Craft Time

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When the box of craft items arrived from Craft Merrily and Bostik I was super excited, surely this would be the month that I looked in the box and someone had handily written a sneaky note giving the children and I some ideas of things to make with the brilliant craft items. I eagerly opened the box and found out that, no. They hadn't.


It was quite late when I opened the box, the children were in bed and as I sat on my bed looking through the items and hoping for some inspiration when I started fiddling with a piece of wool whilst watching TV and ended up somehow without thinking about it, creating a pumpkin!

I was so proud of myself. I had no idea how I made it, but working "backwards" I figured out that I had been sort of making a pom pom and had been wrapping the wool round a wedge of cardboard. I'd then used a little part of a pipe cleaner to fix the bottom together and a little binding to fix the top together and create a stalk.
I'm going to let my hands do …

K'NEX Construction Toys- Could you be the next ultimate K’NEXPERT builder? #Review

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I never had any K'NEX as a child, I remember one of my cousins did as I played with it one rainy afternoon when there was a family party happening downstairs and us children had got rather bored. I think I had high aspirations of building a working Ferris Wheel like on the box, but I think in the end all I ended up doing was making some random works of art. When K'NEX asked if we'd like a box to have a go at trying to be one of their ultimate K’NEXPERT builders I said yes, hoping that the children would be inspired, instead they looked at me as if I'd gone crazy!


Of course as I explained what it was that they were supposed to do they looked a little more interested, but the box was left alone for most of the Summer. Big Boy was seen however, emptying it out on the floor and placing things in size order, one rainy afternoon!


So it seems that for us as much as we love the idea of K'NEX, that the reality is unless Mummy or Daddy plays with it, it's going to go unp…

Microwave Dinners

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After my review post about the One Touch Microwave by Sage, I was after suggestions of meals that would feed the family and that used the Microwave as more than just a tool for reheating the food. Basically I wanted to be the sort of person who would be able to rustle up a brilliant meal in minutes and have people be amazed that I did it by using the Microwave. I called my sister up, she too uses her Microwave as something to quickly heat up leftovers, or to make quick things in so we got to work thinking up some ideas of some meals that we could cook using the Microwave, other than the Chicken and Vegetables I made.


And this is what we came up with.

Baked Potatoes.

One Pot Pasta.

Poached Eggs.

Quick Casserole.

Quick Quiche.

Scrambled Eggs and Bacon.

Nachos.

Prawn Curry.

Salmon Salad.

Soup.

French Toast.

Risotto.

Meatloaf.

Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Frittata.


My plan is that each week, I'll make one of the dishes and report back if it's been a success or not and give a basic recipe …

Barbie Fashion Design Maker #Review

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Everyone who knows Top Ender knows one basic fact about her, when she grows up she wants to be a Fashion Designer. It's all over her blog, it's the only thing she chats about when talking about future careers, when looking at the local Schools that she could attend over the last few weeks, it's been one of the deciding factors (do the Schools offer Design Textiles or similar) and if you took a peek at any of her digital art you'd find hundreds of different clothing designs.

It wasn't that much of a shock therefore, when she suggested some items we might like to look into buying for her that the new Barbie Fashion Design Maker, aimed at girls aged 5+ ,was on the list.


What was a shock for Top Ender, was when Mattel asked if we'd like to review the design maker and without Top Ender knowing I accepted the review and before we knew it the package arrived and Top Ender was busy downloading the app onto her tablet. I hadn't even realised there was an app to go w…

New Ink, New Printer, No Need To Remember #Review

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I used to hate putting the bins out for the bin men each week. Mainly because I'd always forget, and so the next week I'd have a million bags (okay so that's a slight exaggeration) to put out. Then I hit upon a genius method, where I would set a weekly reminder on my phone and then race the children to see who could get the most bin bags to the top of the drive in the shortest amount of time. The same thing could be said of changing the ink in the printer. I hated using the printer, because I was never sure when I was going to run out of ink and by the time I remembered to add it to my shopping list, we'd run out of ink and Top Ender would be giving me death stares because I hadn't been able to print off her homework.


And even then I'd still forget to get the ink.

Then a miracle happened. HP asked if I'd like a new printer and a trial of their service where the printer sends a message to HP saying it's running low on ink. Then HP sends ink out in the po…

Keema Inspired Cooking

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I love cooking for my family and I love cooking new things that I find out about online or in new cookbooks that I get sent or I borrow from friends or the library. I know that Daddy and I have slightly more adventurous tastes than Top Ender and Big Boy, but it's good because slowly we are introducing more and more foods to them that are adventurous (for them), that are different and new and eventually they'll be like Daddy and I and understand that nothing ventured means nothing gained!

So. Who's heard of Keema?

Yeah, me neither.

What is Keema? Well, it's basically Indian cooked mince! 

Who knew?! I know! Also this means I eat Keema all the time!

So. Stacy Solomon and Nisha Katona are wanting to get everyone to start cooking Keema dishes and I was invited to join a competition between bloggers to cook Keema and create a family friendly meal from it and you can all go and vote for me at Simply Beef and Lamb. Also if you vote, you're in with a chance to win a luxury food…

Creative Fun

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I like to think of myself as creative. I'm not sure why, because it is so far from the truth that everyone can see that I'm a total fraud, however it makes myself feel better to think of myself as being a creative sort. Then every so often I do something, Instagram it and get liked and inspire others and suddenly I am actually a creative sort.


Well, I am for about five minutes and then Daddy goes and does something which is so loving and creative that I realise he's the true creative in our marriage. If I didn't love him so much, I'd probably be annoyed. It all started when we were in London and Big Boy decided to name his bottle of Ribena, Barry.

Barry the bottle of Ribena, wasn't allowed to be thrown away, instead Barry the bottle of Ribena was hugged whilst we were on the underground, and stored in my handbag at all other times. When we got home, Barry was placed on the Fireplace and the next morning when BB woke up, Daddy had made Barry look more like a Bar…

Sage One Touch by Heston Blumenthal #Review

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I can't remember a time without Microwaves, it's a little like how Tops and BB don't know life without the internet. My Nan could blow their little minds, by explaining how she is older than not only the internet, but Microwaves as well. The thing about Microwaves, in my humble experience that is, is that you often need a degree in order to work out how to do anything. The number of times I've overcooked something, or caused something to explode all over the inside of the microwave is too numerous to mention. The one thing that always bothers me however is when I defrost meat in the microwave, particularly Chicken Breasts, as you always seem to find the edges of the breasts have started to cook, and have the tell tale signs of being white instead of pink.
I was most interested to find out that I wasn't the only one who thought this way and was asked if I'd like to try out the Sage One Touch Microwave by Heston Blumenthal, which has been designed to change the …