Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Rekindling The Passion!

Today started with one of my least favourite the oven.
This blurry picture does not do justice to how gleaming it now looks!
I am glad its out of the way for a while!
It does have a lick and a promise daily, and kitchen roll is my best friend at keeping the grease down, but deep cleaning is reserved for a few times a year.
I see several small businesses offering this service for around £35 and this morning it felt like they earned every penny of it!
With that chore out of the way, it was time to tackle another messy chore, getting rid of the garden waste.
I saw several people with bags like this at the recycling centre today, I felt quite envious!
Our local authority (which borders two other authorities who use the same centre) doesn't provide such bags. Instead we save any strong bags ( from sand, cement etc) and they do a fairly good job.
I noticed, when loading the car up for the dump, that it looked like the entire Sahara Desert had fallen from the sky overnight, and all over my car!
Cue another messy job for me!
After all that strenuous work, I was famished come lunch time, so ditched the rice cakes for real carbs...fresh wholemeal bread, with some philly cheese and a drizzle of that lovely basil infused olive oil. A handful of baby spinach leaves to add some was very very yum! So yum, I was desperate to eat it all over again...but resisted!
However I really should have had that extra sandwich, as a couple of hours later I was so hungry I wasn't able to resist the Turkish delight I had bought in Poundland yesterday!
They are around 75p each usually,  so when I see  a pack of three in Poundland there's no question about not buying them!
Aside from the fact they are absolutely delicious ( albeit very small and calorific!) they bring back happy childhood memories.
My Grandmother used to buy them around Christmas time, decorate a trolley with festive serviettes, then laden the trolley with treats which we were allowed to help ourselves to!
My memory is we were incredibly well behaved grandchildren and didn't indulge in  more than one treat at a time!

I popped into Tesco briefly and was greeted by an assistant handing out "Bags for Life" for free!
Next week sees the start of the new Government Legislation where large businesses must start charging for single use carriers.
I have been trying to keep carriers in my bag now, as I am far too thrifty to pay for one and will have to remember to buy bin liners from now on!
When I was in Tesco last week, I saw this dress reduced from £13 to £5.
I thought it would suit Teen One, but she wasn't too sure when she saw it hanging on the door handle.
However, when she teamed it up with a pair of white leggings,  her white denim jacket and a pair of navy ballet pump shoes, she looked really stunning in it!
How I wished I was a size 10 and could wear it...and maybe be 30 years younger!
Today they had the same dress, in red, so I took a chance and bought it.
I reckon on a bright summers day, with her white leggings and jacket it will look great.
I finally got the blocking done today. Can you see how the cover on the left  which has been pinned down, has a much straighter edge than the one of the right? It is also slightly bigger.
After pinning, I spray liberally with water and leave them to dry.
I had a bit of a clear out today in my "corner" and found some left over yarn I had forgotten I had.
Having seen so many tea cosies at various tea shops in recent times, it would seem the humble cosy has made a bit of a come back.
So I thought I would make one with the left over yarn.
I haven't done any knitting in absolutely ages...preferring to use a hook than needles, so am hoping this will rekindle my passion!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Who Would Do That?!

Today started rather early in this house....4.30am!
Hubby had to be at work for 6.30am ready for a trip to Essex.
Now it's true I was able to turn over and get back to sleep...but the reality was I tossed and turned until it was time for me to get up.
However, it was good to be up, and appreciate the early morning sun streaming through the conservatory window.
I had several things planned for today, changing the bedding next door, popping in to town, going to the dump with the weekend's garden waste to name but a few.
But all this changed when Grandma rang to say she had been up most of the night with a troublesome heart rate.
She had made an appointment with the doctor for 10am and needed a lift ( and some moral support no doubt) down there.
Having finished all the "first thing in the morning" chores, I didn't really feel like getting on with something major, as I only had about 45mins before I needed to get Grandma.
So, nothing for it but to have a lovely cup of peppermint tea, finish off the sewing of the granny squares and watch one of my favourite TV programmes...
I hadn't seen this episode before so it was a real treat to put my feet up and watch some light entertainment.
Yorkshire is a beautiful part of the country, and I fell in love with it years ago reading the James Herriot series of books.
Teen Two loves Compo and laughs so much when he ends up with water all over him.
Howard reminds me of my Grandad, his mannerisms, his hands and the way he is always sneaking off on his bike to enjoy the (innocent) company of another female!
The trip to the doctors proved inconclusive, since Grandma's heart rate decided to behave itself for the entire appointment!
The Doctor did however give her a hand held heart monitor, on loan for the next three days.
If and when she gets the uncomfortable sensations, she holds the monitor in her hand and the device will record what is going on.
With Grandma safely returned home with her little device, it was time for me to pop into town.
Nothing spectacular to mention, a few bits and pieces in Poundland ( with one or two stocking fillers bought) and a trip to Holland and Barrett for their Penny Sale...only it WASN'T their Penny sale....did I dream it? I am sure I saw an ad on TV yesterday!
This afternoon has been a blur of washing in, washing out, washing folded, hoovering, corner sorting, and finally preparing dinner.
You may be wondering why there is a photo of the humble potato, well.... as I was peeling them today, I was reminded of something Teen Two said the other month.
I always buy the cheapest potatoes, and for some time now, they happen to have been pre-washed.
Morrison's had a sack of potatoes reduced to £2, which is a great bargain as 2.5kg is often £2.50!
When I opened them I saw they were unwashed...not a problem, so I set to and filled up a bowl with water to peel them in.
Teen Two passed by, saw the pile of dirty potatoes and said "Who would do that!!"
For some reason he had thought someone had deliberately covered the potatoes in dirt!
Quite why he should think that I have no idea...especially since he has helped his Grandad dig potatoes out of the ground in their garden!

Monday, 28 September 2015

Soap Making Disaster!

As you know, I keep a close eye on my Recycled Teenager next door. His son is very appreciative for all we do, and regularly treats me to little gifts.
This time it was this bright and cheerful potted "mum"
Not only that, but he also brought in a bag of homegrown tomatoes.
Seeing as mine pitiful few are still green, they were most welcome.
Teen One and I enjoyed them in our lunchtime sandwich.
The morning was spent doing my usual Monday things, visiting another Recycled Teenager, a trip to the supermarket and some housework.
I was rather disappointed to see that my efforts to make some handcrafted soaps last week, haven't turned out as good as I had hoped!
These ugly brown patties are certainly not set to be Christmas presents!
I think the problem is the oats I added....I will try again with just the lavender.
 The soaps are now in an empty jam jar and I will use them up myself.
They do smell good and the oats are supposed to be good for your skin!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A Happy 93rd Birthday To My Recycled Teenager!

This morning started with glorious sunshine and this friendly robin singing a pretty song from my washing pool.
Today was our monthly Family service and bring and share lunch.
Always a lot of hard work, but always good to see families from the local community, who are not church members, coming along.
Whilst Hubby had a snooze in the chair, the Teens occupied themselves with some form of computer game, I sewed together some of the granny squares.
Tonight I will block them and hopefully you will see a difference when I post another picture tomorrow.
Today is the 93rd birthday of my Recycled Teenager in the dementia home.
I was a bit startled on arrival to see two police cars and an open hearse!
I walked with dread to her room....but was mightily relieved to find her sleeping peacefully
She had some beautiful bouquets and the staff and decorated her room
It's sad that she can't appreciate the little things people to do make her day special
but at least the staff can see, by the number of cards and visitors she has, she is a lady who has been much loved.
I didn't wake her, she is generally rather agitated these days, and waking her in the past has usually led to her being more confused than normal, so I just enjoyed her peaceful company for a short while and prayed she felt as peaceful as she looked.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A Cornucopia Of Home Grown Vegetables?

I had the dreaded dentist visit this glad that is out of the way.
Before going I asked Hubby if he could cut the bay tree for me. It was seriously out of hand and beyond me doing it.
A rose bush is very near to the tree, and most of the branches are now intertwined with the bay.
When I came home, it was so sweet to see hubby had rescued the late blooms and put them in a vase on the kitchen dresser.
Yesterday was of course, Grandma's birthday. She has long since not wanted any pressies, but we can't let the day go by without recognising it in someway, a meal out has become the custom.
We went to a local marina and enjoyed a delicious meal, passing the time with a game of Uno.
After the meal, whilst waiting for the bill, the Teens found some hand games to amuse themselves!
It was a lovely sunny day and ideal for walking round the marina admiring the expensive yachts.
There is a little shopping arcade in the marina, with quaint craft shops...I rather liked these denim farmyard time you have some jeans in need of upcycling how about one of these cuties?
The rest of the afternoon was spent in the garden, with gloves and secateurs in hand.
For all the effort  I had put in all year, I was hoping for something like this for my hard work....
...instead I am having to content myself with these teeny weeny courgettes!

Friday, 25 September 2015

Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur

Today is Grandma's 81st birthday, so I promised to take her out. We would usually choose a pretty tea shop somewhere, but Teen Two's school was running a MacMillan Coffee morning, so we decided to spend an hour with him.
The students had spent some time preparing posters, setting out their objectives for the session and why they had chosen Macmillan
As the Teen's Grandad had received help from  Macmillan before he died of leukemia, it was a charity close to our hearts
Students designed invitations and hand delivered them to the local community over the weekend
Local stores donated cakes, and staff brought along some home made cakes..always the first choice for us!
Teen Two even had room for two!
Our Bible story at Friday club tonight was Moses and the burning bush.
For our activity we used some cut out "burning bushes" watered down some paints, gave each of the kids a straw and then got them to blow the flames around the cut out.
not only is it a lot of fun, it uses up a lot of puff...and is an incredibly quiet activity! All the time they are blowing they can't be talking!
The title of today's blog, is in honour of my dear neighbour.
This morning as I was leaving, having just popped in as usual to check he was up and about ok, he said, "I had a parcel was a medal from the French government."
"REALLY!!" I replied...I had heard a while back in the media it was in the was thrilled he had received his.
I asked if I could come back and take a picture, but he didn't really want me to.
So typical of his generation, to have given so much, lost so much and be so humble.
I knew Hubby would be keen to see it, so later in the afternoon we both popped in, with Teen One as well, and I asked if he would mind them seeing it.
I did take my camera and although he was rather camera shy, didn't seem to mind me taking a sneaky picture.
He really is our local hero.
He spoke a little of his experiences today, which is very rare. His late wife said he never ever spoke of what he saw and she knew very little of his time in Normandy.
I am sad she didn't live to see him receive this recognition...but we know how proud his son is and we did our best to show our appreciation for the sacrifice he made to give us the life we now have.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Mum's Taxi Service

Last night I was in the mood for some of the sewing in of the ends of my granny squares.
Milly was trying to lay claim to my lap, which is comforting usually, but last night I really needed the space to keep the cuttings etc. No matter how many times I took her off, she jumped up again! She finally settled for a little corner of my lap and  the arm of the chair.
Just as I was clearing up from Mother and Toddlers this morning, I had a call from Teen Two's school medical room...the second time this week!
This time it was a headache.
Now he does, like me, suffer from headaches, but if its not a migraine, I would prefer he learnt to work through it..with some painkillers of course.
They had given him one paracetamol, which I didn't think was enough, I would have given him two, so I suggested he have a second one and they let me know how things went.
I didn't hear anything for another two hours...then half an hour before school was out, they called again!
He has a taxi to and from school ( which we pay dearly for, even with the subsidy ) and by the time I would have got to him, he could have been half way home in the taxi.
I don't really know why school asked me to get him, but after chatting to him, I persuaded them both it was best he come home in the taxi as usual.
When he got back, he was only complaining of a small headache, but I gave him some ibuprofen to try and knock it on the head. (Oops..pardon the pun!)
He managed to do all his usual after school chill out things, so I feel I made the right call, he even wanted to go to his new football club tonight.
I don't believe in letting kids suffer the pain of headaches or tummy aches, however they do need to build up some resilience and know when a pain is so bad you need to lie down, or its one you can work through
For dinner tonight I made some tuna fishcakes.
I had rather a lot of mash potato left from a night or two ago, too much to throw away, so thought I would try these out.
I made it up as I went along, it was something like this...
Tin of tuna
handful of grated cheese
dried sage
egg to bind
I made them into patties...coated them in egg, then freshly made breadcrumbs, popped them in the oven for 15 mins.....
...and they came out lovely and golden brown.
The kids hailed them a hit!
Tonight has been mum's taxi service...infact all week has! Teen Two has three new activites Tues Sports club, Weds Internet Café, Thurs football.
Tonight is also Teen One's piano lesson, so I have to be at piano for 5.15, football for 5.30 ( the other side of town!) back to collect Teen One from piano at 5.45, then back to get Teen Two at  6.30pm
Needless to say I am tired out...good job hubby's dinner is left overs and only needs to go in the microwave!