Friday, 30 September 2016

When Words Are Not Enough

There are all sorts of things I could talk about today, nothing out of the ordinary, a bit of a moan and one or two things....but tonight I heard that a close friend, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer, has been taken into our local hospice, and my chit chat just does not seem appropriate tonight.
She is a beautiful, gentle, sincere and loyal friend, a loving mother to a daughter the same age as Teen One  (they went to school together as well) and a devoted Christian who has touched so many hearts and lives.
I hope to visit her tomorrow morning, but as the cancer has spread to her brain, communication has become hard in the last week, I understand, so I don't know how the visit will go.
Just what I will say to her husband I don't know.
He lost his dad as a little boy to leukemia, and now is losing his wife early, I am hoping that just being there will be enough, for there are no words that will bring any comfort or cheer to his heart.
We know that soon she will be free from pain and with her Lord who she has served for so long....but we will miss her.
"My hope is in the Lord"

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Bats In My Belfry?? No... Pythons In the Garage!

Starting with last night...I had come to the conclusion our pop up beach tent had really had its day.
Aside from the fact I have never mastered how to fold it down, so end up carrying it under my arm, half folded, with the "loaded" spring ready to explode from right under me at any minute....part of the wire was now poking outside of the seam.
I asked Hubby if it was in any way repairable and he said definitely not...that's good enough for me!
So, I thought I would squish it all into the tiny carry bag and put it out with the rubbish tomorrow....
ha ha ha!
I may have succeeded in getting the fabric in the bag...but the wire that I pulled out (hoping to coil up somehow then force into the bag, zip up, then make a hasty retreat) was  never ending!
It has gone twice round the perimeter of the garage!!
I cant believe so much came out.
There was no way I could tackle the thing by was like having a python in the garage with me, slipping and sliding all over the show! I struggled with it for half an hour and I am sure if my neighbours overheard they would have thought I had some deadly wildlife in there!
So when Hubby comes home, he can hopefully snip it up into manageable strips!
This morning was Mother and Toddlers, which kept us on our toes, then after lunch I started on some bits and pieces jobs.
Firstly, I had noticed the dehumidifiers were full up....I don't know how these work, but they are brilliant....I have one in each bedroom and the conservatory and downstairs loo.
I am always amazed at how much moisture is in the bedrooms...and these little pots certainly cut down on the wet windows and sills.
I usually buy them in Poundland...but saw the same size in Asda...four for £3, so that's one free!
I also use them in our church back hall, where the heating is not on regularly, and it has really helped with the damp problem we had.
I am never sure how long it takes to fill up with water, so today I dated the new ones. I am guessing 6months.
The next job to tackle was Teen One's room.
She always keeps it tidy, but the dusting is something only a brave person can tackle....she has Sooooooo many ornaments, its a nightmare!
However,  I was feeling brave today, so got straight in there and an hour later came out victorious!
Whether everything is in the right place, I have no idea...and I doubt she will know either!
I also took pity on a poor spider plant that was beyond pot bound and making a bid for freedom on her sill!
Its now in a lovely new pot, with four off spring also potted up.
It will soon be time for Teen Two's footy, but with Teen One having dropped piano for the time being, my evening won't be quite so hectic.
All I need now, is to find my crafting mojo...I appear to have left it in the Peak District!
"In the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice"

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Shades of Autumn

Starting with last night...I joined the 21st century by buying a new with a camera...Bluetooth, a torch, dual sim, MP3 and all kinds of other things I will never use!
For £12.95 this has got to be the bargain of the century!
My old candy bar phone is much loved and I am loathed to consider replacing it, but the lack of signal is becoming increasingly frustrating.
We are not sure if its our provider or the phone, so bought this cheap and cheerful one as a test.
Last night had some frustrating moments, not knowing how various functions worked, and today there are still gaps in my knowledge, but I can text, call, receive both, and even got Bluetooth working in the car!
Sadly it only works for calls, text is not compatible apparently, but I guess calls are more urgent...put it this way, anyone calling me rather than texting ( which is rare) wants an immediate answer.
I haven't managed to work out how to send a picture or use as an icon...I seem to be following the instructions on the phone (the book doesn't cover it!) but with no success...but its a minor issue.
My phone is only used for calling and texting so if I can achieve both I am laughing!
Teen One has a spare giff gaff card ( with money on too!) so I will use that next week as well and see what gives the best coverage.
Whilst we are on the subject of last night...I was not impressed to see this walking across Hubby's PJ's top as he got out of bed last night!
He had been having a drink in bed and was just putting his cup on the side when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move!
I looked again and thought it was just shadow...then looked closer and there was a humongous spider galloping across his chest!
Having imparted this information as calmly as I could ( hubby is not frightened but has experience of me over reacting!) but the huge black living nightmare dropped to the ground and under the chest of drawers.
Well Hubby thought that was that...until he looked at me and knew he was not going to get a minutes peace until the unwelcome visitor had been found and evicted.
Had it been just a regular house spider I wouldn't have worried...but this was mega massive and the thought of him going walkabouts in the night was not a nice thought.
Thankfully it didn't take too long, although there was plenty of huffing and puffing from Hubby and we did have to resort to using the Dyson!
Today I busied myself with some more spring autumn cleaning.
I got lots done and even dug out my autumn decorations, I bought this in Lidl's last year....
...which came as a pair...
...I bought my first pumpkin of the season...75p in Morrisons....
...I love this little one, bought in the reduced section a few years ago as it had a little broken piece, which we have managed to fix...
...Ikea do lovely candles for less than a pound, this is its third year I might even light it!
The autumn runner is now out, along with fir cones that were used at a family wedding a couple of years ago, as place settings, each one having a little label with the name of the guest on.
And best of all.....Teen Two kicked off our autumn collection of woodland treasures, by bringing in these conkers from his walk to college today.
We did this when the Teens were small, collecting bright coloured leaves, twigs, conkers, acorns etc, and always made a display in the fireplace, along with a pumpkin which at the end of the season becomes pumpkin soup.
Teen One used to bring conkers home from college and now Teen Two takes the same route, its great he has picked up her mantle.
Along with the conkers my ambulist Teen  brought home a large stick ( he has always been a collector of sticks!) which he spent an hour or so in the garden, whittling...along with a cuddle from the bunnies.
"Ambulist" = Collector of (walking) sticks
"To every thing there is  a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven"

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Gifts From Afar!

This morning we all needed to be up early, the first time since  the summer holidays.
Well in truth I didn't need to be up early...but what sort of mum would I be to laze in bed whilst the Teens rushed around getting themselves ready?
I say rushed, but in reality our household is generally calm in the morning (just not normal is it!)
Teen Two is an early riser and Teen One sets her alarm in plenty of time, so there is little reason for rushing around...and having two bathrooms and three loos is probably a big reason for the peace we are blessed with!!
With everyone gone by 9am, it was the first time I have had the house to myself since June...and I had planned all sorts of  jobs, but it wasn't easy getting on with them.
I seemed to plod from one thing to another, getting bits and bobs done...but nothing that was particularly blog worthy!
I had the conservatory doors open, as there was some warmth in the air still and it wasn't raining at this I wandered by at one point, I wondered why one of the cats was looking intently at something.....then I saw!
Our little bunny visitor had decided to check out the house! She was infact in the living room when I first saw her, but by the time I had got the camera she had taken refuge under the table in the conservatory!
Bearing in mind our incident last week I was not keen to repeat it, so the door was firmly shut for the rest of the day!
We have way more leads for her to chew in the house that's for sure!
I got on with various jobs, trying to drum up some enthusiasm for the neglected chores, I was so sure I would attack with great gusto "when everyone has gone back," but somehow it didn't seem so appealing!
Late morning the postie came with a unexpected parcel...from Canada!
About 18months ago grown up children of our dear friends in the US were over in the UK and managed to squeeze in a visit to us.
We had great fun, showing them the sights of London as well as local places of interest.
They have said thank you a thousand times I am sure, but today we received a lovely thank you card, along with some Blueberry tea, a Canadian maple syrup soft caramels...which are delicious!
There were also some loose Macintosh toffee's......I thought Macintosh was British ( didn't they make Quality Street?) I will have a google later on.
It was so kind of them to remember us, and remind me of those happy days we spent together.
When we were over with their parents this year, we were taken to a sale of goods at the local university. I bought this brand new ceramic leaf dish for about 50p, which I knew would be perfect around this time of year for holding sweets of some sort...I had  no idea it would have such treats in as this!
With that happy interlude over, I got the ironing out of the way, not only that but put it all away too!
I was just thinking of tackling a job I have been aware needs doing for a the kitchen walls, which hold a surprising amount of saw dust still, from when Hubby sanded the floor.
But as probably only I know its there, I have been ignoring it!
No sooner had I filled a bowl with warm soapy water, than the door bell friend was on her lunch hour and popped in for a cuppa, so whats a gal to do but sit down and have a natter!
Whilst with me she received a text to say one of her colleagues cases, a triplet, had lost his dad last her meeting with him was cancelled.
We sat and thought about the poor mother, who will now be bringing up three (IVF) children alone.
She knew he had cancer but they hadn't yet told the children.
So sad, and how blessed we felt to not have been through that experience with school aged children.
With my friend back to work, I cracked on with the task of cleaning the walls...and boy did they need it!
Its amazing that the white walls looked as white, considering the amount of yellow I washed off!
"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart"

Monday, 26 September 2016

Pears and PPI

Today we are back to routine...or should I say, back in the new routine.
I haven't yet got used to the fact both Teens are home on a Monday, although Teen One can only claim to have been "here" half of the day, as she was still asleep in bed at lunchtime when Teen Two and I returned from visiting my Monday Recycled Teenager, and our trip to Morrisons!
In the afternoon Teen One had a driving lesson, and I cracked on with some housework.
Part way through the afternoon I had a call about PPI...a follow up from a call last week.
Normally I would say no thank you, having believed I wasn't entitled  to any as we have never had a loan before.
But speaking to a friend last week, who received...wait for it.....£22,000 and also has never had a loan...just credit cards, I decided the next time I had a call I would persue the conversation.
So, with the paperwork now received, they just wanted to ensure I understood what was involved (not much to be honest)
If we get a penny back no one will be more surprised than me!
I must say though, I hadn't realised that using catalogues such as Kays, Littlewoods, Ace, etc meant PPI may have been charged, and I most certainly had those years ago.
After Teen One's driving lesson, we took Grandma out for her belated birthday treat.
Teen Two cant resist a luxury hot chocolate....he is wearing a T shirt especially designed by the teachers of one of his US friends, called Matt, who has cancer.
After a scrummy home made scone, the Teens went to try out the jumbo swing, whilst Grandma and I looked round the garden centre.
Its good to see them having fun together, even at their age!
Grandma and I managed to avoid spending any money, but found a pear tree that had shed a load of fruit, so we scooped them up to freeze and enjoy another time.
"The joy of the Lord is my strength"

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Today was our Family service at church, followed by lunch, a busy day.
I made a simple cottage pie for my mains, and struggled to cut up the swede, which after two hours of boiling was still not tender....trying to mash it was impossible, and when I tasted it, it was like chewing it went straight in the bin!
What a waste of time money and effort!
Thankfully I had plenty of other veg and someone else also brings along veg, so no one starved!
Today is Grandma's birthday (82...shhh I didn't tell you that!) and she would normally go home after the family service, but it didn't seem right sending her home alone, so I suggested she come back to us like any other Sunday and play some games.
We had a lovely couple of hours playing Scrabble .....
...and Rummikub, and Teen Two is still the reigning champion....this game is perfect for him, I would never have thought it!
Hubby is going to try and teach him chess, as he thinks it might need similar skills.
Tonight it was back out for the evening service, and I did my best to get rid of the last of yesterday's cakes...yet again...but we have still had to bring some home...this isn't good for the diet!!
"God is faithful"

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Family Technology Workshop

Today we travelled to the very pretty village of Datchet, near Heathrow.
It was the first time I had been there and thought what a pretty and well kept place it was, you could almost have been in the country, not so close to our busiest London airport!
The venue was a senior school, which was ideal, as there were plenty of room, tables, chairs, the use of the sports hall and also the field.
Our day was relaxed, with input from the two families who had researched and put together the information they felt most useful for Christian families.
It was presented in power point form, with plenty of interaction.
The notes will be sent to us soon and I will share bits and pieces which readers may find useful as soon as I can.
Lunch was delicious, with a selection of bought in sandwiches and wraps  (why do they always taste so much better when they are professionally made!?)
with cakes for dessert that had been provided by those of us attending.
There were plenty left overs and I was given a tray of Danish pastries etc....
...and a box of these white chocolate, raspberry and meringue shortcake delights...don't know if they were home made or bought, but they were delicious.
With our family lunch at church tomorrow these won't last long I know!
During the afternoon the kids were well entertained with games on the field, whilst us parents sat and chatted, exchanging helpful hints, sympathising with the various stages of parenting each other was at and generally encouraging each other.
The kids didn't need telling twice, when the call went out "Pizza's here!"
Having spent the afternoon sitting down, I barely felt like eating, but the kids had for sure worked up an appetite!
It was a great day and we were grateful for all the time others had given to make it happen.
"Giving thanks unto the Lord for He is good"

Friday, 23 September 2016

Salad Spinner Fun!

Today was the last day of our friends visit,
he is great company, and enjoys our family life...not least because we are more laid back than his own!
Once he had gone home, I had some baking to do ahead of a family day out we are having tomorrow.
I had wanted to make some flapjack, and had to half empty one of the cupboards to get the oats out....queue Milly taking up residence whilst my back was turned!
She is a funny cat!
I added dried apricots, fresh blueberries and pumpkin seeds to the *basic mixture.
For the kids who will also be attending the family day tomorrow, I made Oreo cupcakes...annoyingly I couldn't find my piping nozzles, so just used the piping bag without one...I don't expect the kids will notice!
I had told Teen One I was making them, and when I showed her the end product she said "Oh I had thought you were putting the Oreo in the bottom of the cakecase"
Sounds like a good idea...I will do that next time!
Dinner needed to be quick and easy, so using the chilli left over from earlier in the week, I put together some fajitas....a real favourite in this household....tortillas are so versatile!
Our Friday Club Bible story tonight was Shadrach Meshack and Abedego in the fiery furnace....for the activity we put a "ball of fire" in an old salad spinner.... some children drew on people before the next stage....adding some drops of watered down paint (orange,yellow and red) before putting the lid on and getting on with the exciting part!
The kids loved using the spinner, seeing how fast they could turn it...and the effect is rather impressive too.
Its always a popular activity and unlike many painting activities is dry by the end of the session so can be taken straight home.
Tomorrow we are going to a Family Technology Workshop, looking at the pros and cons of technology in our kids lives and how to use it safely and wisely.
It should be an informative day.
Games and food is provided and I am sure it will a great day...I will let you know tomorrow!
*Basic Flapjack Recipe
125g (4oz) marg
125g (4oz) soft brown sugar
75g (3oz) golden syrup
250g(8oz) rolled oats
dash of lemon juice
Melt the marg, sugar and syrup in a pan.
Add the lemon juice and oats
Stir well
Bake  180 f Gas 4
 25-30 mins

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want"

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Currys Deliver!

This morning I received a text from Curry's saying our new church fridge freezer was being delivered between 8am-12pm.
My heart sank...because they had assured me on the phone last week it would be between 9am-1pm!
I started to organise myself for an earlier trip to church, but it meant messing up so many other peoples morning, I decided to take a chance and not leave until the planned 8.30am.
Its a short drive to church and I figured if they did arrive before I did, they could call me!
Just as we were clearing up from Mother and Toddlers at 11.15am the van arrived...perfect timing!!
The two Romanian drivers were very pleasant and one looked at our Bible verse poster and said "I love Jesus!"
As he went he said "good bye and God bless!"
So lovely!
We did offer them a cuppa but they were keen to get on to the next delivery.
So I am very pleased indeed that this little episode is behind us, and I must say, the fridge freezer looks much better than our previous one.
This afternoon has been spent, putting washing away...
...putting washing out....
....making a strawberry pavlova ( still in the oven)
as a mutual friend is coming for dinner and he loves strawberries...
...making a red thai chicken curry for dinner...I do cheat and use this Loyd Grosman jar sauce...I am not a lover of jar sauces, preferring the flavour of fresh ingredients, but this one is hard to beat!
I wait for it to be on special offer (£1) and then stock up.
I do add extra bits and pieces, such as lentils, sweet pointed peppers etc to make it go further.
Its a lovely evening and I suspect after dinner we will have a final sit out in the garden, before the evenings get too chilly and too short.
"God is faithful"

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Freebies At Freshers Fair

Last night was one of those frustrating nights when I went to bed tired at 9.30pm and at 2.30am had not managed to drop off!
I did however finally drift off, only to wake at 5.40am!
I didn't get up, just tried to drift back again until 7am.
This morning my friend and I just had a slow start to the day, chatting, catching up with some chores whilst he surfed away an hour or so, then finally we went out for a walk along the seafront and an obligatory cup of tea.
Back home, after some lunch, I cracked on with getting dinner ready and making an apple crumble, whilst my friend relaxed in the sofa reading a book whilst listening to the cricket...except there wasn't much of either going on from what I heard!!
Teen Two came home early from Freshers Fair with bags a plenty, full of all sorts of freebies.
Her favourite two items are a pen that doubles up as an extending pointer and a bottle top opener...perfect for J2O's!
Our takeaway yesterday was delicious, although as I suspected way too much was ordered, so we will finish it off tonight.
Teen Two did have a slightly squiffy tummy this morning but as no one else did we don't think it was the food.