A Mothers Ramblings: May 2019

Friday, 31 May 2019

A Quick Visit To Willen Lake

During a recent visit to Willen Lake, Top Ender, Dan Jon and I were having a quick little photo shoot. Flyfour likes to keep his computer desktop up to date with pictures of the children and as they keep growing, I try to take suitable pictures at least every six weeks or so. Our images at home are backed up to the same place, so Flyfour is able to just pick through and use ones he likes the look of, not that it always happens.

We picked a nice little spot and I snapped a few shots when suddenly we heard a loud honk coming from behind the children. Both children immediately looked behind them, just as I was taking another picture.


The result was the above photograph, which is now the background of my phone screen. I just love it so much!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Playing games

For my birthday I purchased myself something I had been promising myself for ages, no not a magazine subscription to my favourite fiction magazine (but take a hint Flyfour!), but some additional content for the Wii U game Pikmin 3, which I love playing.

I mean really, I would have liked to have been able to purchase Pikmin 4, but you know that's been in the works since 2015 so I've long stopped holding my breath for the release! Anyway. I didn't play often but I liked the game and in particular, the optional extras of collecting Treasure, Killing the Bosses etc and so thought that it would be a good gift for me, and the family seeing as Top Ender plays it too.

Playing Pikmin 3 on the Wii U

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Bookmarks

A few months back, Dan Jon lost his bookmark.

This was a huge deal because unlike Top Ender and I, who will use a receipt or a train ticket or a chewing gum wrapper, Dan Jon can only use a bookmark to mark his page in his book.

So, I quickly made one for him using his favourite drawing of mine and Dan Jon has quite happily been using it to mark the pages in his latest read.

Dan Jon's Cereal and Milk Bookmark drawn by me, PippaD

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

All Meals W/C 28th May 2019

Half term, of course, means lots of fun for our family! There is a little extra month left at the end of the money and so we are trying to be frugal by eating as much as possible from home and from what we have in our fridge, freezer and store cupboard and sure enough, there is always something that can be made from seemingly nothing!

Chicken and Salad

Top Ender is deep in revision, with just a year to go until she will be sitting her exams she has taken the advice that Flyfour and I have told her at least a zillion times, that we regretted not having put in more work with our studies and she is taking that on board and studying hard! We're going to intersperse her studying with a few local trips to places like the library, some Orienteering and some other local places of interest.

Now, on with the week!


Monday, 27 May 2019

*That* House

Do you know *that* house?

The one where you go and even if they aren't expecting you they still manage to make a full meal for you within minutes of you arriving? Or maybe you don't know from personal experience, but you know that house because it is in every film, tv show and book you seem to watch or read.

I've accidentally become *that* house.

a plate and table full of food

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Sowers of Faith

A few weeks back at Church, we were discussing the Parable of the Sower. It's one of my favourite stories, ever since I found a video on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints website called The Sower, which I've embedded below for you to watch if you want. It really is fun, so do if you have time!


In Dan Jon's class, his teacher thought it would be fun for the children to be given a few sunflower seeds so that they could sew the seeds at home and try to recreate the environments mentioned in the parable, so that they could truly understand what the environments were and how it could be "translated" from a parable into what Jesus was teaching.


Saturday, 25 May 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Time 25-27 May 2019

I can't believe that we have another Bank Holiday weekend. It seems so soon, but I love that we do because for our family, the weekends are a chance for us all to relax, to hang out together and reconnect and the activities we take part in and the food we eat during this time normally reflects that. and having a Bank Holiday means we are able to spend an extra day together, so it's way more fun.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family having fun!

Friday, 24 May 2019

An Art Trail Walk Around ROCLA

Easter Weekend for us involved a lot of walking, which is good seeing as the weather was amazing and as a family, we enjoy going for long walks. We had decided to go to Redland Park, a newish housing estate (built in 2013/2014) just north of Milton Keynes, outside of Newport Pagnell. Flyfour had once again heard of an Art Trail Walk (I think that makes five in Milton Keynes now) that he thought we'd like to walk, plus it was a great excuse to have a nose at some houses so we could play which house would we buy and see more of the art that we could see from the road.

Cycling Friends on ROCLA Milton Keynes

The art walk goes right through the estate, which is actually really lovely as to make it more "fun" there are various insects attached to 36 lamp posts across the estate, with a sheet you can download from the local Parish Council website to identify and record the ones you find, there is also a map of the walk and a guide letting you know a little about each of the Artists who have been involved. And, Yes I am planning on going back with the children to find all 36 bugs at a later point and if they don't want to come with me, then I'll just do it alone!

Bumble Bee on a Lamp Post

Thursday, 23 May 2019

A Walk Around Nettlebed

Absolutely ages ago, Flyfour had suggested a walk that he wanted us to do as a family that he had read about online. The walk would take us around the village of Nettlebed and as it wasn't too far away (just over an hours car ride) and it wasn't particularly long for a family walk (just two and a half miles) everyone agreed we'd head off on Easter Monday to tackle the walk.

Of course, Easter Monday was a beautiful day and so with plenty of sun cream applied, everyone wearing suitable hats and footwear and of course four bottles of water in a backpack along with all of Dan Jon's Diabetic bits and pieces such as fast-acting glucose, his blood test monitor and other bits we always seem to need, we set off.

Nettlebed Mosaic

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Curly Tails Pig Sanctuary

One of the great things about being a School Governor and generally being a big kid is that occasionally you get asked if you can help out on a School Trip, which is why I found myself putting on my see-thru boots and Pig Socks one day last week, as I thought it would be fitting to wear Pig Socks to a Pig Sanctuary.

Piggy Socks in See-thru Boots

It was quite spooky timing, as a friend of mine had mentioned the Sanctuary to me just a few days before as a possible recipient of a Service project for the Young Women of my ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so I thought I could check out the sanctuary, see what help we could offer as well as hang out with a bunch of four or five-year-olds who are uber cool and know it.


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

The Surprise Birthday Party

Top Ender has been lucky enough to go to Spy Missions several times, thanks to her involvement with the Girl Guiding programme. It's sort of an Escape Room type set up, where you have a mission to save the earth, for example, and have to complete several challenges in different rooms and are guided around by a helpful leader, who if you get into too much trouble will help you out.

Dan Jon has wanted to go for ages, and for one reason or another has never made it.

So a plan formulated in my mind. Dan Jon had said that he didn't mind if he had a Birthday party or not, and was erring more on the "or not" side, which was fine by us, but he didn't say he didn't want a party and so I set about inviting his closest friends to surprise him at Spy Missions!

The Front Desk of Spy Mission Milton Keynes


Monday, 20 May 2019

All Meals W/C 20th May 2019

I can't believe we are nearly at the end of the month already! It's nearly Half term, it's nearly Summer and the entire family is ready for a bit of a break and a chance to hang out, relax and do not a lot! Plus I'm getting really good at the computer game I got for my birthday and I kinda wanna show off to the children.

The A Mother's Ramblings Family having some fun

On with the week!

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Weekend Meals And Plans 18-19th May 2019

This weekend is actually the first weekend in May where we will actually be together and to say we are excited is such an understatement it's not funny! Of course, Tops and I have been together and we have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and Flyfour and Dan Jon have had a great time together, they had lots of fast food and even went swimming together!

This weekend, we are also having a little bit of a surprise, Dan Jon has a surprise Birthday party today (Sssh, he still doesn't know and he'll not find out until after lunch) and we just can't wait! I'm truly so excited!!!! After we've finished with Dan Jon's party we're off to a meal out for my Mum's, Mine and Dan Jon's Birthday.

Dan Jon looking uber cute

Thursday, 16 May 2019

The Hot Chocolate Run

I know from experience of all the Beaver camps I went on with Dan Jon and from talking with the Brownies and Guides that one of the "best bits" of a Brownie/Guides/Scouts holiday, is that before going to bed, the unit (and leaders) get a nice mug of Hot Chocolate and sits together to relax a little after a looooong day and it's a great way to get everyone just a little extra ready for bed.

You know, the whole "Please fall asleep within a couple of hours, so that we can get a couple of hours to sleep ourselves before someone wakes up because they are homesick pretty, pretty, please?"

It just so happened that on my first Brownie Weekend (to PGL Liddington), that we hadn't brought any Hot Chocolate and so I was asked to go on a Hot Chocolate run to a local supermarket to grab a few bits that we had forgotten.

So I drove the ten minutes to the shop, purchased Rich Tea Biscuits, and Marshmallows and even remembered to buy some sticks to toast the marshmallows on (as well as making a purchase of some headache pills for myself) and made the journey back to the PGL location.

It wasn't until I was back in my room, that I remembered I'd forgotten to buy the Hot Chocolate.

Hot Chocolate Powder

So I drove all the way back again, purchased the Hot Chocolate powder and drove all the way back again and yes I did make it back before Bedtime and even before the end of the Camp Fire so that I could help make some Smores!

Seriously though, am I the only person in the world who can go on a Hot Chocolate run and forget to buy the Hot Chocolate?

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Happy Birthday Dan Jon Jr

Today Dan Jon turns 11.

Dan Jon Jr on his way in from School

This young man, who is honestly the sweetest and kindest person I know, is going to do great things with his life. This isn't just some proud Mum speaking, this is because I can see the hunger in him to change the world, to make it more just, to give others a helping hand, to ensure all feel loved and welcome and to not feel the pain and sufferings of the world.

Dan Jon was missing from Church due to illness a couple of weeks ago, and three of the Primary workers came to hunt me out after Church to check all was well with him. They had missed him. They had missed his kindness to others, his opinion, his thoughts and his normally good behaviour.

I had a teacher stop me, she doesn't normally teach Dan Jon but had been covering his class. Is he always like that, so kind, encouraging and laid back? she asked. I had to admit, that yes he was for me, that, of course, like all young men he occasionally wasn't, but that for the vast majority of the time he is the sweet and considerate young man she had met.


Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Moores Gluten Free Fish and Chips

When Flyfour was diagnosed as having Celiac disease, we didn't really think much about it. We had lifestyle changes to make and so we made them. Who cared that Gluten-free Bread tasted like Cardboard? Who cared that it wasn't so easy to get a Take-away any more? Who cared that we would make almost everything from scratch now?

Actually, we didn't care. We got used to the bread (and then some genius improved the recipe and now we aren't just used to it, we LIKE it) and the pasta and the lack of takeaway options. We got used to making everything from scratch and came up with a few copycat recipes so that we wouldn't miss out on our favourite dishes. Flyfour even worked out how to make the perfect gluten-free batter so we could have Fish and Chips at home.

Gluten Free Fish and Chips from Moores Fish and Chips Milton Keynes

Sometimes though, sometimes what you really want is to be able to eat a meal from a takeaway and to not have to cook yourself.


Monday, 13 May 2019

All Meals W/C 13th May 2019

This week sees Dan Jon turn 11, he takes his SATs and finally, I'm around for a whole weekend. This week is going to be great... just so long as we all remember to eat right, get plenty of sleep and occasionally do some exercise!

We may have exercised all we needed to for our life when we were in the Netherlands!

On with the week!


Sunday, 12 May 2019

To All Those Taking SATs This Coming Week

Hello, Year Six Students,

I doubt you normally read my blog, maybe your Mum or Dad or a Grandparent sent you a link to my blog or a screenshot or you did a google search and somehow ended up here because like hundreds of other children, this coming week you are taking your SATs.

Right, let's talk about the Elephant in the room.

a picture of PippaD

I know you know it already, but yes, I'm old but I beg you don't let that put you off listening to me.

The good thing about being old is that as well as knowing how to fix computers, cook a roast dinner and where the good biscuits are hidden is that you get all this knowledge about stuff and some old people, like myself, want to pass that knowledge on.

And I don't mean knowledge like what a pronoun is or what a great sentence structure is.


Saturday, 11 May 2019

Weekend Meals And Family Time 11-12th May

This weekend, I won't be at home and neither will Top Ender. Together we are on a PGL with our Brownies (I'm Brown Owl, she's Little Owl at the same unit) along with three other Brownie leaders and several of Top Ender's old Guides Unit (she is now in the Senior Section and a Young Leader hence the Little Owl name) and we are leaving Dan Jon and Flyfour at home for a boys weekend.

Top Ender and I know what our weekend is going to be full of; giggles, girls who won't go to sleep, missing socks, forgotten toothbrushes, food, fun, water, more fun, campfires, more food, exercise and the odd bit of homesickness. The boys? Well, their weekend is going to be similar and full of video games, food, swimming, more food, TV and the odd sensation that something is missing...

So with that, here is what the boys will be eating this weekend.

Flyfour eating a Gluten Free McDonalds

Friday, 10 May 2019

Sending Thank You's

For my birthday, I received many beautiful and wonderful gifts from my friends and family and I was honestly overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness that went behind each and every gift and card given. How could I show my appreciation for these gifts, for the thoughtfulness and the kindness that was shown?

Well, obviously by saying thank you in person, as I did, and then later sending a Thank You card.

Thank you card designed on Canva by PippaD

It took me a few days, as I designed the above card in Canva and then printed them out at home, Before writing a note on the back to the friends who had taken time out of their day to think of me and to thank them for the gift they had given me and explain how I intended to use the gift/what it meant to me.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

Hatching Baby Chicks At School

I love hanging out with the Squirrels at the School I'm a Governor at, the Early Years Class is one of the best places to be because the children are so naturally curious and full of questions, ideas and come out with the best statements. I guess, what I'm trying to say is that the class is a lot of fun and at the moment they are learning a little about animals... which means they have CHICKS in the class!

I'd been in a few days back, and the Incubator was full of 11 eggs, and the Staff were a little concerned that they weren't hatching just yet and if they hadn't hatched before the end of the week, the incubator had to be turned off... They were coming up with crazy plans of how to get around this but they need not have worried because of course, those little chicks were hatching, they were just taking their sweet time about it!

Hatching Chicks in the Incubator and one who just hatched

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Career Advice

Over the last few months, Top Ender has been having fairly serious discussions with Flyfour and I about her future. Conversations about where she sees herself in ten, fifteen, twenty years time. What career she thinks she might like. What university could be like for her. What she needs to do after her A-Levels and GCSEs. What she needs to do now to ensure she is ready for her GCSE's.

We've been serious and discussed various careers we think will suit her. Like maybe she could work in Air Traffic Control, or maybe she could be an Accountant or something else that deals with numbers. There has also, of course, been some slightly not serious discussions. Top Ender suggested where she could become either an Ancient Emperor's Concubine or a Vestal Virgin. We pointed out however that we don't live in ancient Rome and she doesn't speak anything other than English so these careers may not be for her.

There was one bit of advice in all the conversations that we had that she did take seriously. Get an Appointment with the Careers Advisor and see what they have to say.

Top Ender looking as smart as she is!

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

All Meals WC 7th May 2019

For my family, this week is all about economical meals. Yup, as usual, I'm trying to be cheap and frugal and provide meals that are filling and healthy all at the same time. There is no huge push to do so in our household budget (beyond what is normal), but I'm just trying super hard... plus I want to run down the freezer and get rid of all those odds and ends!

The A Mother's Ramblings Family

So, on with the week!

Monday, 6 May 2019

Last Week I Turned 40

Last week I turned 40.

You probably know this, because not only did I post about it yesterday and a few weeks ago, but I have also mentioned it once or twice on Facebook, Twitter and I think just a few times on Instagram. It is/was a milestone birthday apparently, but the plan for my birthday was really simple. Vote, Eat, Play Computer Games, Visit with my Mum, Take 30 Brownies to the Cinema, Eat Again, Eat Birthday Cake, Go To Bed. Yet, that's not quite what happened and I'm really happy that it didn't as I can't imagine spending my day any other way.


The day started as any other birthday in our home would, with all of us getting up super early and crowding on to mine and Flyfour's bed to open gifts and sing Happy Birthday before he went to work. As the children were up so early, we decided to also go to McDonald's for breakfast because well, why not?!

Dan Jon looking all handsomeTop Ender looking all beautiful

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Fountain Pens, Letters And Love

There is a rather smart man that I know that for notes, or correspondence or anything written uses a fountain pen. I had noticed this a while back, but it wasn't until recently that I had questioned him about it. He gave a slight grin as he spoke and I doubt he noticed, but his fingers stroked and curled protectively against one of the fountain pens he had hanging from a lanyard draped about his neck, as he explained that writing with a fountain pen forces him to slow down.

To write more crisply.

To think about what it is he is writing.

To enjoy the physical sensation and sounds of a pen scratching over a piece of paper.

He spoke about the different colours of ink you can buy these days, of feeling the weight of the pen in his hand and knowing that what he had just created may not be viewed as special by anyone else, but for him?

That act of writing was special.

The Fountain Pen Stabilo sent

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Weekend Meals and Family Time 4-6th May 2019

This weekend, Top Ender is a busy bunny. Last night, she and I drove down to the London Temple to be ready for doing Baptisms with the Youth of our ward this morning (in fact depending on when you wake up we have probably already completed the Baptisms and are on our way home!) and she has plans with Flyfour tonight (Saturday night) and that's on top of her normal weekend family things!

Luckily it is a bank holiday, so we have an extra day to hang out together. As I've said before, 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. Which includes the fact that the children have been told that they are being expected to cook with us Adults on the weekend, to increase the amount of time we spend together and to increase their cooking skills too.

It's kinda working!

Top Ender, Dan Jon and Flyfour on a family walk

Friday, 3 May 2019

A Free Birthday Costa Hot Chocolate

I have heard rumours of Baristas in Costa giving free drinks to members of the public. I seem to be drawn to them on Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram and they are normally linked to stories where totally beautiful people post a picture of them being so surprised that they got a free skinny-non-fat-green-mocha-pumpkin-water-with-extra-cream or something just as ridiculous that beautiful people seem to always drink when there is me always ordering a:

"As large as you can do it, Hot Chocolate please."


Normally, in these stories, the totally beautiful person has also been given the Baristas number (written on the cup of course) and the totally beautiful people have no clue why they were given the free cup of whatever it was that they ordered, but they will totally call the Barista because they were totally hot, even though the original totally beautiful person doesn't consider themselves to be all that.

AND THEN IT HAPPENED TO ME.


Although, mine wasn't because I was beautiful, or maybe it was. I'll tell the story and let you decide.

Thursday, 2 May 2019

IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!

Today I turn 40, which actually I'm really okay with.

PippaD looking very small next to a MASSIVE piece of Art. And technically standing on it too.

I'm not worried about it, nor have I ever been worried about it, despite a few of my friends being all "Oooh it's a big one!" because age is just a number and if you ask me how old I am, I'll answer anything from 26 to 63 depending on how I'm feeling, how cheeky I'm feeling and what I think I'll get away with.

In fact, answering I'm older than I really am is really fun. I'll say "I'm 45" and most people then say "You don't look it!", or "I had you at 35!" or similar and I get all pleased and smug and it's the easiest way to get a compliment; Although one person did once say, "I thought you were older" and now I don't talk to them any more.


Wednesday, 1 May 2019

It's My Mum's Birthday!

Today is my Mums *muffled noises* birthday and she doesn't look a day over twenty.

I mean look at her. These were taken on Easter Sunday, where we were mucking about in my garden and just having fun together and of course, enjoying the sunshine and the post "I've just eaten my own body weight in Roast Potatoes, Vegetables and Lamb" haze you get every Easter.

Dotty Maw Maw in the gardenDotty Maw Maw in the garden

I'm really lucky. I know I am. My Mum is that weird combination of friend, parent and not too dodgy that we all wish our parents were. She has a wicked sense of humour, a fabulous wardrobe and doesn't mind that before she eats anything when we are out and about, that I like to take a picture of it so I can throw it up on Instagram.

I am so grateful for my Mum and I know I don't say it enough, so hopefully, as she reads this blog post (Actually she probably won't, she only stalks me on Facebook!) she'll know that I love her so much that today I'm saying it out loud.

MUM, I BLOOMING LOVE YOU, BECAUSE YOU ARE FABULOUS!

Happy Birthday xxx