A Mothers Ramblings: April 2019

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Personal Progress, Pie and Young Women

I'm just back from Mutual, (Okay so by the time I post this, I've been home an hour because I kept chatting with my husband instead of writing!) where the Young Women have spent the evening working on Personal Progress, eating Pie, having a chat and just hanging out together.

IT WAS BRILLIANT! Oh, and four of the Young Women said they loved my Pie and a fifth Young Woman followed me home and hugged me before going to bed saying that they loved the pies I had made, okay you guessed it, yes it was Top Ender!

When I got a Secretary for Young Women's I wanted to give her responsibility for Personal Progress, so that she would be working with the Young Women more closely (because they and she are amazing) and because of the changes where Personal Progress may look different at the end of the year we wanted to make sure that the girls had every help that they possibly could in being able to complete the programme.

Individual Puff Pastry Pies - tasty and portable!


Monday, 29 April 2019

I'm A Stapler, What Are You? #Review

So, we recently were in the process of hiring a new Head for the Primary School I'm a Governor at. We had asked some of the children to take part in part of the interviews, and I got to go and hang out with them and get them to suggest some questions they would like to ask.

Now, you know me. I'm a bit of a clown where children are involved and so when they were asking the questions, I answered most of them as if it were me they were interviewing. And one of them asked;

If you were an item of Stationery, what would you be and why?

I knew straight away and blurted out "A Stapler! I like holding things together!"

PippaD being a Governor at a local School

All Meals W/C 29th April 2019

It's a busy month that's coming up for us, I'm so excited about it, not just because I'll be celebrating my birthday, my Mums birthday, Dan Jon's birthday and hopefully a couple of personal achievements but because I'm also going away three times!

PippaD on the beach


Now, on with the week!


Sunday, 28 April 2019

Our Family Playbook

During our last General Conference, one of the talks that I was really taken with was given by Elder Gary E. Stevenson, titled Your Priesthood Playbook, who suggested to the Priesthood holders that they create a Playbook. You know what a playbook is right? It's the book a team keeps, which details the strategies and plays a team may use during a game and it's important that all team members know what it details, because when they are out in the middle of a game they need to know what they are doing.

Well, Elder Stevenson noted how a sports team and the Priesthood (but it applies to the Women too) are quite similar. We have a goal of returning to our Heavenly Father rather than winning a game, we have teammates (our fellow Church members, or our families) who need our support and we have a playbook in the form of the Gospel and counsel given by our leaders.

Top Ender, Dan Jon and I pretending to be Prophets of Old

It was a really great talk, and I recommend if you haven't read it you go read it, or watch it, and all of the other talks that were given during this last Conference too... anyway.


Saturday, 27 April 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Time 27-28th April

This is a little late, as yesterday I was super busy doing something super important and when I got home, after almost twelve hours of super intense importance I may have thrown up and gone to bed feeling sorry for myself. I think it was just a case of stress/relief that it was over rather than actually being ill, but a good sleep had me feeling better and ready for the weekend.

Top Ender and Dan Jon painted in light

For our family, the weekends are a chance for us all to relax, to hang out together and reconnect and the activities we partake in and the food we eat during this time normally reflects that. It's family meals, I guess what most of us would think of as comfort food and of course some new favourites, which I think the children will think of as comfort food in the future.


Thursday, 25 April 2019

I Amsterdam City Cards

When Flyfour and I first started thinking about going to Amsterdam, we did it with the idea that we would do it as cheaply as we could. Cheap because, well we're a family of four living on one wage and we try to do almost everything frugally (apart from gadgets, we do spend a lot on gadgets). We found a fairly cheap, but decently reviewed hotel, booked it and then started on a list of things we wanted to do and working out if we'd drive or fly. We decided to drive as it was cheaper, and well Flyfour loves a road trip.

There was a long list of places that we wanted to visit, to stand outside of, to eat food at, to walk around, to shop at, to look at, to soak in the atmosphere of and of course to take selfies at. Then there were the places that you can't miss if you are going to Amsterdam. Things like the Museums, going on a Canal Cruise, and of course stereotypical Netherlands stuff like Windmills and Clogs and Cheese and people on bikes and Tulips!

Amsterdam and a Tulip Display

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Gluten Free McDonald's!

I have to point out before I say anything in this post, that the fact that McDonald's has Gluten Free options (Hamburger, Cheeseburger and Quarter Pounder) in Amsterdam is not the reason we decided on Amsterdam as this past Easter's holiday destination. Okay, so it wasn't the only reason...

The Gluten Free Quarter Pounder at McDonalds in Amsterdam

Flyfour has a hard time of it when we are out and about on our day trips, or on holiday as despite Coeliac Disease being something more and more people are becoming aware of not everywhere caters for people who have the disease. Sure, he could always pick up a salad (as long as it doesn't have hidden croutons or pasta in as a lot of them do) or eat ready-to-eat meats such as Chicken or Bacon, but sometimes it would be great to have something like a Mcdonald's, without having to ask for it without the bun, as the food looks terrible when deconstructed!


Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Dan Jon And The Girl in a Kimono

When we went to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, we all sort of split up to look at the art ourselves, looking at pieces that interested us rather than forcing everyone to look at the same piece for the same amount of time. We all stayed in the same room, and Flyfour and I ensured that we had a view of each of the children. It's a tactic we use quite often in Museums and Art Galleries, as we've been taking the children to them since they were tiny and know that all four of us have different tastes, opinions and interests.

We had barely got into the museum when Dan Jon came to take me over to appreciate a piece of art that he had found. Or rather, he didn't want me to appreciate it, he wanted me to look at it and tell him what it reminded me of.

"Girl in a Kimono" painting by George Hendrik Breitner


Monday, 22 April 2019

All Meals W/C 23rd April 2019

A short week this week, because of the bank holidays, but I don't mind! We had so much fun together as we were able to go on a couple of walks and we were able to have a lot of family time, which will hopefully keep us "stocked up" as we aren't going to see much of each other this May! It's going to be a busy month, but we don't mind especially as we'll get to celebrate not only my birthday but Dan Jon's too!

Dan Jon, my proud to be of Scottish heritage son

On with the week!

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Easter - The Day That Changed Everything

Most people today are celebrating that they finally get to eat their Easter Eggs. Today, I'll be celebrating that Jesus lives.

I believe that Jesus was, is the Son of God and that today I'll get to remember that he overcame the bonds of death, which means that I too will live again.

Easter The Day That Changed Everything quote Dieter F Uchtdorf

I believe that our Heavenly Father had a plan, a plan where his children would be able to learn and grow and return to him and that Jesus volunteered to take upon the sins of the world so that we would be able to return to him.

Easter really is the day that changed everything.

If you'd like to join me, you can find a Meeting House near you by clicking that link and entering the town or city you live in.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

The Change In Eating Habits

When I first started doing random food challenges in February, it was because I wanted to change the way our family ate. I wanted our family to be more healthy, to eat a wider range of foods and because the odd occasional change up means that I focus much more on what we as a family are eating and I can sometimes knock some of my unhealthy habits on the head...

It generally works. Now, for example, we eat a wider range of Fish dishes, a wider range of vegetables (even if Flyfour still occasionally moans about them!), the whole family are more willing to try new things (rather than going out to a restaurant and picking the same three dishes our whole lives or the same sandwich fillings) and I may have accidentally given the family an addiction to Salad.

Seriously. They are addicted to Salad.

Lunch Top Ender made of Salad and Quiche

Friday, 19 April 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Time 19-22 April

With this weekend being a little longer thanks to the bank holidays either side, we have more Family time and more fun planned together. Not only do we have a couple of walks planned, a family meal, an Easter Church service, we also have our usual game evening and a movie night planned. On top of that, I've nearly cracked a top score on a computer game that Top Ender and I have a friendly rivalry going on in and to me, that is what is important!

The A Mother's Ramblings Family hanging out together

We're actually really pleased to be able to spend time together again, we got so used to spending time together whilst we were in Amsterdam, that we're missing all of us being together now that Flyfour is back at work. I'm sure in a month or two we'll be at each other's throats again, but for now, we're enjoying being together.

So food wise, this looooooooong weekend we're having;

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Time I Said I Ate Cat Food

Whilst I was doing the weekly shop in Aldi, the woman in front of me at the Checkout was looking at some of the snacks they had for sale and I could see was having an internal debate over if she should buy some crisps or not. Knowing that these particular crisps are very nice, I leant over and said:

"If it helps, I really like them! In fact, I have a large pack in my trolley!"

The woman then told her husband and together they agreed to try them. The lady behind them in the queue had vouched for them after all. A conversation started between us then, about various items in the store that they had selected for purchase and if I'd had them and liked them or if there was anything I could suggest they might like the next time they came in. Luckily there were several items I was able to suggest, including some items my Mum had purchased and had said she loved and they were eagerly writing them down and having a joke that maybe I should move in with them.

PippaD with Tulips. Look how cute I am. Who wouldn't want me to move in with them?

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Children Are Growing Up

Whilst we were away in Amsterdam, I was able to look at my children in a new light because we spent every hour of every day together. There was no alone time, we all slept in the same room, we ate together, we prayed together, there was no alone time, there was no other room to escape to (well apart from the bathroom, but we didn't spend much time in there really!), no other commitments to be kept, no work to go to, we went to sleep at the same time, we woke up at the same time.

Of course, this is not too dissimilar to our home life. I see the children every day, eat with them, tuck them into bed, wake them up each morning but here at home, I see them through the lens of a Parent making sure they get to School, that they complete their homework, get to their various after-school clubs and activities and perhaps most importantly ensure they don't become slaves to their electronic devices and computers just like their parents!

Top Ender and Dan Jon Jr on a Bridge over a Canal in Amsterdam

The time we spent together meant that it was easier for me to see how the children had changed. How they have grown up whilst I've basically not been looking because I've been busy being their Mum,


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

A Few Days In Amsterdam

I have wanted to go to Amsterdam FOREVER! Flyfour has gone a few times for work, (no seriously there is this huge trade conference there every year that he goes and meets suppliers and clients at, it really is work!) and each year I am majorly JEALOUS. When the idea came up that we could go during Easter Break, I was really excited, especially as we were going to drive and stop in France and Belgium on the way.

So we stopped in France.

PippaD on a beach in France

And can I just say, how fab and curly does my hair look? I'm a proper Curly Girl Convert!

Monday, 15 April 2019

All Meals W/C 15th April 2019

After having spent time in Amsterdam, my family and I are pleased to not be moving far from home this forthcoming week! We are treating our sore and tired feet to some well-deserved rest and relaxation, whilst helping Top Ender with her Film Studies revision (watch some films and discuss them!) and enjoying time together.

Top Ender and Dan Jon after a long day of walking in Amsterdam

This week, I'm including Friday with the weekend's meals because it is a bank holiday and Flyfour will be at home for a nice long four day weekend. Now, on with the week!


Saturday, 13 April 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Fun 13th April 2019

After our trip to Amsterdam, this weekend is needed to relax, regroup and of course catch up on all the things we have missed. Which is mainly General Conference, Chores and Housework, a bit of Homework and of course backing up all our photographs to a shared folder so we can all see them and decide which ones we want to print out in a photo book to bore family members with as we remember our holiday!

Top Ender looking tiny on a climbing frame in Amsterdam.

Top Ender has been put in charge of our meals this weekend, I'm not sure why, but she has made some great choices so we shall have to try it again in the future!


Friday, 12 April 2019

Isn't That The Kid From The Movie?!

The first night of our holiday to Amsterdam had us following Flyfour around, as he knew the city having been there four times before, me bringing up the rear, with the children holding hands and walking between us. We were all just drinking in the sights and sounds and trying to avoid the smells (honestly I didn't realise that the Cafe's were so pungent!). Everyone was being a little protective of Dan Jon, because he's the smallest out of all us and our baby and well we are all a little protective of him because of his Diabetes.

As we were approaching a crossing, I overheard part of a conversation between some teenagers who I had noticed had been following us for a while, or maybe just coincidentally taking the same route as us.

Top Ender and Dan Jon walking around Amsterdam

Thursday, 11 April 2019

The Kid The Police Were After!

A few months back, Flyfour found a trailer for a film that we hadn't heard anything about. The film looked really great and Dan Jon, Top Ender, Flyfour and I all wanted to go and see it. The film was The Kid Who Would Be King, and by a strange coincidence, we were sent a backpack and hoodie for Dan Jon which bore the name of the film.

Dan Jon was planning to take the hoodie and backpack with us when we went to Amsterdam and so I asked if he'd mind if I took a picture or two in the garden. Dan Jon, of course, was up for that and started pretending that he was in a training montage, running around the patio and up and down the steps to the lawn. 

Dan Jon wearing his The Kid Who Would Be King Hoodie

It was really funny, and we were both in fits of giggles over it all and were singing the Rocky Theme music. I was leaning against the wall of The Folly because I was giggling so hard and couldn't stand up straight. We were joking that the Police Helicopter we could hear above us were watching us, but didn't think much of it, after all, they were after some evil doers and we are good doers and they weren't really interested in a photo shoot going on in somebody's back garden.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dan Jon's Younger Fan

Dan Jon has been a Playground helper on the Key Stage One Playground since the start of the current School year. He loves it because he loves being helpful, he likes doing a bit of weekly service and he, like me, loves hanging out with younger children because they are generally really cool and don't even realise that they are.

Dan Jon at School

Every Wednesday, Dan Jon eats his lunch quickly before heading out to the Keystage One playground and playing with the children, or being a door monitor and opening the door for the children who need to use the bathroom, or something else that the lunchtime supervisors ask for him and the other Wednesday helpers to do.

There is just one little thing that has caused a little bit of an issue for Dan Jon. He's caught the eye of a rather lovely little lady, who is kind of determined that Dan Jon will be hers... She's even tried kidnapping him after School and this little lady is STRONG, I almost couldn't keep ahold of him!

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

The Wrong Way Home

Last Friday evening one of Top Ender's friends asked if I would mind giving him a lift home. I didn't mind because he is a great friend, a great young man and he only lives five minutes away. In fact, if we hadn't of moved from the home we lived in before the home we are in now, we would have practically have been neighbours living just a minute walk away and probably would have been able to wave to each other from various bedroom windows!

Top Ender and I had planned on visiting her Nanny after School, for a few minutes to say hello and to drop off some of her artwork which we had at our home. She too had moved on to the estate we had previously lived on and again, had we not moved we would have been able to have seen her home from our previous home! She, however, wouldn't have been able to see us as she is in a bungalow!

It's actually a great estate as one of my best friends also moved onto it a year or so back. Again, had we not moved, we would have been able to see her home from ours... in fact, you can see it from my Mother-in-laws home!

Top Ender at our old front door at our current home!

Monday, 8 April 2019

What To Do On My Birthday?

My fortieth birthday is coming up and according to my friends, who for the most part have all had their fortieth birthdays, I need to do something special, because a big birthday like this has to be marked as it is a special occasion.

I spoke with Flyfour about it, he reminded me that back when we met my Mum had not long celebrated her fortieth Birthday and I said that I wanted to do the same as she did, a huge party for family and friends. I don't want that now, mainly because I've realised that Parties are not my thing, I prefer to go for a little while then quietly sneak away and let the Party animals keep on partying. I couldn't do that if it was my own party!

PippaD on her birthday with a giant candle

Sunday, 7 April 2019

The Right Place At The Right Time

Last week, I kept reminding myself that I needed to contact a fellow School Governor, but I kept forgetting. Eventually, I remembered, so sent him a quick Whatsapp message, to which he replied and we agreed to meet up that morning. The fellow Governor offered me a couple of times to meet and as it wasn't going to be long, ten minutes or so just really a chance for us to touch base, I opted for the earlier time. We met up and our conversation took way longer than the ten minutes we had allowed and as the fellow Governor had a meeting he needed to go to at the School, I agreed to hang around for an hour or so in the Staff Room so that when he had finished in his meeting, we could finish our conversation and then we could have another conversation with a member of the School staff.

I didn't mind, hanging out in the Staff Room isn't a bad place to hang out, even if I don't have the key to where they hide the good biscuits.

PippaD hanging out at School on a Previous visit

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Time

This weekend is going to be brilliant, we're having one of our special holiday in a day weekends! I can't really share where we are going or what we are doing, because the children will cheat and use this blog post to find out, but we are planning on having a lot of family time together and so watch out for posts on Instagram and Facebook of what we are up to and where we are!

It's going to be a very early start, so a breakfast of cereal bars whilst the children and I probably sleep in the car on the way to our destination. We have Music ready to play, a few games to play with wipeable markers and laminated pouches and a tonne of sweets and other treats for when we get bored!

The A Mother's Ramblings Crew out on an Adventure!

Friday, 5 April 2019

Time Travelling - Again!

It's well known in our home, that I'm pretty sure I can time travel. I found a picture of a child who looks like me in a book once and I've either forgotten I can time travel, or the theory Top Ender has, where Time Travel is invented in my lifetime and then I go back and take younger me back in time (goodness knows why) hasn't happened yet, which is why I don't remember it...

Now, it's not just me. Yup, now we know that Dan Jon Jr is also a Time Traveller and he too doesn't have any memory of travelling back in time, but we have photographic evidence. Again!

It all started the Saturday evening before Mother's Day. I was pretending to watch TV with Flyfour, but really I was scrolling through Facebook. I came across a picture in a local group I belong to from 1988 and had been taken from the Living Archive of Milton Keynes. The picture had caught my eye, as I knew where it was taken (which is unusual for me, having not grown up in Milton Keynes) and as I was looking, I saw Dan Jon in the picture.

Seriously! See if you can spot him.

A picture from 1988, with Dan Jon in it!


Thursday, 4 April 2019

Bin Day Embarrassment!

Last Thursday, AKA Bin Day I MAJORLY embarrassed myself and because I know you like to live vicariously through me, here are all the details.

So, in Milton Keynes, we have Green Wheelie Bins for Green waste. They are about three foot tall and, well Flyfour and I fill it with the waste from the garden. You know, grass clippings, weeds, bits of the trees I've cut down, leaves and dead flowers too. Any food waste goes in too, so it's often full of bits of bones, egg shells, bits of Spring Onion, Veggie peelings, fruit waste etc.

The Green Waste Bin, Recycling, General Rubbish and Glass Collection Box

The end result is that the bin can erm, well it can stink and so I'd made the executive decision that this week as the bin needed a wash and it was sunny and would dry quite quickly, as soon as it was emptied I'd give it a good clean and hope I didn't get covered in the gunk because then I'd stink too.

I heard the green waste lorry come about ten minutes before I ventured outside, so I went to bring the bin back onto my driveway so I could give it a little wash.


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Witch In The Woods

Saturday afternoon, Flyfour and I decided to go for a walk on the Ashridge Estate. We asked if the children would like to join us, even offering them sweets, but they declined. So we set off on an adventure on our own, via a shop to get some sweets! Flyfour had been plenty of times (Twice and one of those was when he was about nine) but had looked it up on the internet, so knew where we were parking and had a rough idea of which of the routes we could be taking for our last minute walk.

Only we ended up going the wrong way and instead of getting lost, we came upon a shack which looked... Well, it looked interesting.

The Witches Shack In The Woods


Tuesday, 2 April 2019

I'm So Excited For General Conference!

This weekend is General Conference for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've explained what General Conference is a few times before, but I think that this Video created by Third Hour, explains a little bit better than I did.

Watching this video gave me all the emotions of watching General Conference. I laughed, I cried and I've had this song stuck in my head for days now.



Monday, 1 April 2019

All Meals W/C 1st April 2019

April Already?! It's like one month and a day to my birthday and it's nearly Easter and everything is so exciting! Okay, so maybe not everything is so exciting, just enough that I'm excited because everything is awesome at the AMR House!

Don't Forget To Be Awesome!

On with the week!