Monday, 30 November 2015

Ironing Out The Hiccups

This morning, as usual, I visited my Recycled Teenagers, went to Morrisons, then back home for some housework.
When sorting laundry in Teen One's room I spotted her revision notes.
It might mean something to you, but to me its gobbledegook!
It reminded me of when she was sitting her GCSE's, there were colourful notes in various places around the house...even the bathroom!
For lunch I just fancied a banana sandwich, with a drizzle of honey....wholemeal bread works best for this sweet treat!
The afternoon was spent doing yet more housework...just where does all the dirt and dust come from!
Around 3pm I had a call from Teen Two's school.
He was supposed to be staying on for English Revision, but it appears his mock exams today hadn't gone well.
For reasons I am not totally sure of,  he had been refused permission to use his laptop for his English exam.
I have spent the passed few years ensuring everything was in place for his support during exam time, and the SENCO has been in agreement all along, so I think there must have been a lack of communication today.
There were other issues as well I understand, the teacher didn't share them with me, but was not happy, and felt that Teen Two had been through enough trauma today and should come home and chill out.
She was very unhappy at how things had panned out for him as he has shown such commitment to his work, staying after school, going in during the holidays etc.
I am hoping that the mocks tomorrow are more positive than today.
I guess one positive is these hiccups can be ironed out before the actual exams next summer.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

We Are Truly Blessed

I do like a bargain, as you when I saw this box of stuffing for 9p, it just had to be bought.
No matter what stuffing mix I use, I always add sausage meat to it and an egg.
It made our roast chicken lunch extra special today.
Dessert today is a family favourite, particularly Teen Two's.
Syrup Sponge Pudding.
It's quick and easy to make and is cooked in  a microwave oven.
Ingredients needed
100g soft margarine
100g  sugar ( I used granulated but the original recipe said soft brown or caster)
2 beaten eggs
100g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
2tbsp milk
3tbsp golden syrup....I always add a bit more as the sponge tends to soak up quite a bit.
I add all the ingredients, except the syrup to my mixer and mix until light and fluffy.
Grease a 1.4 litre basin and pour syrup in.
Add the cake mixture.
Cook for 8 minutes on high.
Leave to stand for 5mins.
Serve with custard or cream.
The original recipe said to cover the bowl loosely before cooking...I haven't done this in years and it always comes out fine.
I usually serve it straight out of the bowl, but if you had guests it would look better turned out onto a plate with the syrup cascading down the light sponge.
This served 6 of us today with a small portion left for Grandma to take home with her.
It's a sweet and light dessert, best eaten the same day.
Today we had steaming custard with it...mmm...perfect for winter days.
After lunch Teen One spent part of the afternoon studying....
...Teen Two chilled out on the PC...
...Hubby too chilled out with a screen...
...Grandma had an afternoon nap...
...and me...well I put my feet up with a spot of knitting, with Milly at my side.
Once Grandma was awake there was the inevitable game of Scrabble...Hubby won hands down!
After our evening church service its now time to get ready for a new week.
Packed lunches are made and in the fridge, the kitchen clear of the debris from a busy day and before long we will all be heading off to bed.
A fairly ordinary day, but one to be thankful for, everyone healthy, good food in our stomachs and a warm bed to end the day with.
We are truly blessed.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Enjoying Some Family Traditions

Today was our annual trip to Bournemouth.
I can't remember how many years we have been going, it must be about 30!
They have a lovely Christian Book shop called Keith Jones...if you are ever in the area I can recommend a visit.
Today was even more enjoyable than usual as we were treated to free hot drinks and cake!
After an early start for the journey, it was most welcome!
They have a large selection of books, but for us its the selection of children's Bible books that has been the reason for our returning year after year.
Our Sunday school prize giving is why we love this shop so much.
Although our Sunday school is not huge, we tend to have the same children year after year, so a good selection is essential.
We thought this book looked fun!
Record yourself as you read the story!
One of our lads is a slow reader  so we thought this "Where's Wally" style book would be fun and also a book that brings the story of Jonah to life in 3D!
Veggie Tales are always popular and this daily devotional book looked both inspirational and humorous.
But the book that really has the wow factor for us is this fantastic Minecraft Bible stories book!
One of our lads is really into Minecraft... and of course our own Teen Two is a massive fan.
He saw the poster in the shop today, but didn't see the book was actually on the shelf.
We bought the only two books we saw and hope the boys will be as excited to see them as we were...and more importantly be inspired to read it and learn more from the Bible and of course the Lord Jesus.
Another family tradition after spending several hours in the book shop, is a trip to Pizza Hut!
It ends up being rather a Pizza fest day as we always bring back almost a whole pizza of left overs and have it for tea...and if there is still some left in the morning, Teen One loves it for breakfast!
Today is full of family traditions and following lunch, we enjoy browsing round the art galleries nearby.
Westover Gallery is probably our favourite.
Teen One is always fascinated by Peter Smith's work.
Anita Jeram's work is always enchanting...she is of course famous for illustrating the book "Guess How Much I Love You?"
There are many works of art there that are truly beautiful...all out of our price range but always a pleasure to admire for free!
A Lego model from Toy Story was a treat for Teen Two to see!
For the past few years I have been buying charity Christmas cards.
The best ones I find are sold in places with this Santa sign outside.
We don't have anywhere locally that sells them, so I was delighted to see the familiar sign outside a church on our walk back to the car park.
I found a few packs that appealed to me, the top set being my favourite.
Not only is the picture fun, the charity is for Diabetes UK.
Our niece, now 17, was diagnosed with diabetes about four years ago and we have seen first hand what an effect this has had on not only her life, but her whole family's too.

Another tradition is to buy an advent candle for the Teens.
They are usually sold along side the cards, so I was pleased to see them on sale today.
We used to buy one and let them take turns to light it and blow it out...but when, from time to time the inevitable happened and one of them forgot to blow it out in time, it left the other with less opportunities for that thrilling job of blowing the flame out, so, we have been treating them to their own one, that way, if either of them forget to blow it out, the other doesn't miss out.
Despite the cold and damp weather, it's been a lovely family day, enjoying some simple traditions we have established over the years.
We feel very blessed that the Teens still want to tag along with us and enable this outings to remain a family tradition.
After the drive home, it's good to be back in the warm with a cuppa and slice of ginger cake to enjoy together.
I wonder that sort of family traditions others have?
Anyone care to share them with us?

Friday, 27 November 2015

Isn't Fashion Funny!

Today I have been trying to get some of the Friday Club presents wrapped.
A large Ikea bag's worth has been a good start!
In preparation for tonight's craft activity for the children, I made up a bowl of icing and then filled up a pile of icing bags.
These ones from Poundland are great value and very easy for the kids to use.
They do need to have the top of the bag knotted though.
They had great fun decorating their gingerbread hearts and stars....less than a pound a pack from Ikea.
 I wasn't keen to go shopping today, with all the Black Friday hype, I really didn't fancy being surrounded by crowds, but needs must, so I took my usual supermarket trip.
I was pleasantly surprised that our local Tesco wasn't any busier than usual, and what's more, I saw some of their clothes were half price for the Black Friday sale!
The only thing that caught my eye was a denim skirt. I do love denim skirts, very practical, goes with more or less anything and good in the summer or winter.
I didn't really study the skirt too much, just saw the overall style and thought it was more or less "me" and of course if I didn't like it I could return it.
It wasn't until I tried it on  at home that I realised how weird the hem was!
It had been deliberately hemmed and then undone, leaving the raw edge showing the "mechanics" of the previous hemline.
I am not sure I like it that much....but the skirt was cheap and is comfortable, so I will, in this instance be a fashionista...but I can't help thinking...isn't fashion funny!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

A Happy Accident!

This morning at Mother and Toddlers it was my turn to do the activity.
As I had a lot of angels left over from Friday club, I decided to "cheat" and do the same craft with the tots.
It went down really well and the mums were very impressed with their little darlings creativity.
After the clear up and then dropping off Grandma and another dear old lady, I was looking forward to a bit of down time, before going next door for the cleaning session.
I had no sooner got in the door than the phone went...Teen Two was in medical with a migraine... would I go and collect him.
So back in the car I went, and zipped over to collect the poorly boy.

When he came out to reception bearing this can imagine how my heart sank!
Thankfully we made it home without it seeing any action!
I waited for Teen One to come home from college before going next door to clean.
Whilst Teen Two was finally getting some relief from the meds, and was snuggled up in bed, I didn't want to leave him, so when Teen One was home I hot footed it next door.
When I came home I was in one of those "only chocolate will do" with a cuppa I indulged in a box of chocolates Hubby had given me a while back.
They have sat unopened for several weeks, but once can see...I had more than one or two...boy did it hit the spot!

Teen One has spent the afternoon painting signs for the Carol Service...
...whilst I had a happy accident!
A while back I bought Hubby some trousers in M&S, considerably reduced.
I was aware that they were supposed to be dry cleaned, but figured if I put them on a wool wash and dried them carefully, that would be fine.
Today however, without realising it, they went in the regular wash and then into the tumble dryer!
But as you can see, they have survived to tell the tale and will probably be washed in with the usual washing in future!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Honesty Is So Precious

Every other Wednesday my Recycled Teenager likes to change his bedding, but needs help.
He has a very meticulous method for doing it.
Today, he wanted the mattress turning round. I was worried how we would manage it between us, but in actual fact, all he wanted was the top ending moving round to the bottom end, not turning over, which is what I had imagined he meant.
However...I hadn't anticipated the massive problem it was going to cause!
I turned the top end round without any problem, but it was obvious my RT was not strong enough to pull the bottom end up to complete the turning.
So, as quick as a flash, I whizzed round to the bottom end of his side and very easily pushed the mattress round ....unfortunately, the speed with which I did it rather took the poor man by surprise....sent him off balance, his oversized slipper then went from under his feet and then plop...he fell back on the floor!
To say I was mortified is an understatement.
At his age, having just got over a recent fall, another fall is not good news.
I think he just winded himself as it turns out, and between us we managed to get him up onto the bed to catch his breath and then back downstairs.
He refused to use the chair lift, insisting he was fine and wanted to walk down.
I made him a cuppa and sat with him for a while.
He assured me he was fine, and when I went in a couple of hours later he had made his lunch, hung out some washing and generally seemed to have recovered.
He hadn't, unfortunately, wanted to tell his son, I wish he had, and he swore me to secrecy.
I don't like keeping secrets like this, who knows what repercussions  may lurk at his age.
I shall be keeping an extra careful eye on him for the next few days that's for sure.
I also want to try and encourage his son to look for some new slippers.
They weren't the only cause of todays fall, but have been the cause of the last two falls.
He insists on still using them, complete with an elastic band to try and give some extra grip and also stop them from falling off as he shuffles.
Once back home, and with the usual "first thing in the morning" chores complete, it was time to head into town, yet again.
I am fast becoming a little weary with the never ending shopping, I must confess!
Whilst in town I made a trip to the bank to get some pound coins.
Up until recently, the bank was a place I rarely went to.
With direct debits,  online banking and easy access to cash at supermarkets and the like, actually
visiting a bank just hasn't been necessary.
I guess this is the biggest reason that so many of  our high street branches are closing down.
With Teen Two attending three clubs every week, the need to have real money in the house  has become essential, so every month I now go to the bank and draw out enough, in pound coins, to keep in a little pot for him.
Every club night he just has to go to the pot and take what he needs.
It is so much easier than scrabbling around trying to find £2 every time.
I also am very grateful that he is so trustworthy, he only ever takes the amount he needs on the nights he needs.
Honesty is so precious.
A friend came for lunch, we had a quiet cuppa and chat, then when it was time for her to head back to work, I had planned to head out into the garden.
The courgette plant needs to be pulled up and the area generally tidied up.
Unfortunately I had no sooner got outside than the rain came!
I thought about continuing, but it really was rather cold, so I decided to just get the wood stock in for tonight's fire and then have a cuppa instead!
With the fire dressed and ready for lighting tonight, it was time for a little down time.
I sat myself down with a lovely cup of tea.....
...and some knitting.
I have a new project on the go....but not one I can share with you right now...sorry folks!
All will be revealed in due course.
Today is Teen Two's night for cooking dinner, as I had time on my hands, I put everything out ready for him so when he comes in from school he can get straight on with it.
On the Grandma front, she has started to feel a little better the past few days, so we are hoping whatever it was has passed.
She still has an endoscopy appointment to attend and hopefully that will just show everything is normal.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Cutting Out The Middle Man ( Or Woman!)

This morning Teen One and I started the day off with a little breakfast treat at Costa's.
The usual hazelnut latte for me (although I was tempted to go with a gingerbread one)
and a fudge hot chocolate for Teen One.
Teen One opted for an Emmantel Cheese and mushroom toastie....
...and a toasted teacake for me.
We had a wonder round the outlet stores, looking for the final presents for the Friday Club children....thankfully we think we have now bought them all...just the wrapping to do.
Whenever we pass this bike I always think how attractive it I couldn't resist taking a snap!
I popped into our new B&M Store and thought these little pots of seasoning and sauce were good value for 25p each.
Tonight we are trying the sweet and sour one.
I was delighted to see they were selling these tins of condensed mushroom soup for 49p, less than half what the supermarkets currently sell it for.
I find these little tins of soup invaluable to keep in the cupboard.
They can transform left overs into a very tasty dish and form the base of many sauces.
Here are a few to get your taste buds going
This afternoon I had a bit of a sort out of my yarn stash.
I made the decision to pass on a huge bag of chunky wool I was given a couple of years ago.
I had forgotten I had it and just know I won't use it.
I guess I was thinking I would knit it up for charity....but have decided I will cut out the middle man ( me!) and give it straight to charity!