Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Not The Best Of Starts To The Day!

Today started quite normally, Teen Two was up and ready for college in good time, I was up and organised for visiting my Monday Recycled Teenager ( a day late) but we were both unaware there would be a slight unravelling to this highly organised state!
It started when I was just about to park up at my friends house, to get a phone call from Teen Two in a bit of a panic because he had left his lanyard at home...a cardinal sin at college!
He hadn't realised I wasn't at home, so was a little worried when I said it would be about ten minutes before I got to him, as I had to go home first.
The traffic was not kind and it took me about ten minutes just to get home, once home I couldn't find his lanyard....it wasn't in its usual place, wasn't in his bedroom...just what had he done with it!
Then I remembered....I had moved it when we put the new coat hooks up!
It had been hidden by the coats above it, and was a case of out of sight out of mind I guess.
I got to Teen Two bang on time for college registration and then went back to my Recycled Teen.
I always take her a plated dinner from the Sunday roast...but today as I  took it out of the boot and shut the boot, the edge of the plate got clipped and went smashing to the floor!
So, in the pouring rain I had to clear up the mess on the road, managing to cut my fingers on the sharp edges, then go and tell my friend what I had done!
At least I had the date loaf to give her!
Thankfully the day held no more hidden surprises.
I went to see a  close family friend (we've always considered ourselves cousins!) for lunch and she served up a delicious smoked salmon, muffins and perfectly poached eggs...mmmmm!
She had been sorting out her mum's paperwork and came across a wedding invitation for Grandma and Grandad in Devon, 58 years old almost!
What was surprising was how little orders of service have changed over the years!
For Christmas Teen Two was given this coaster...it has been much admired by all that have seen it and I thought I would share it with you in case anyone had a stash of pencils that were lying around doing nothing.
I am sure it took some time to work out the exact size each pencil needed to be, but the effect, though simple is really stunning.
With the chores out of the way and dinner ( chicken and chorizo risotto) simmering away, it was time for a cuppa and catch up online....whilst sitting there I noticed the daffs are starting to bud!
A sure sign spring wont be far away...
..although looking to my right a little with the woodburner glowing reminded me its not quite here!
Tomorrow is the weekly weigh in after the second week of the Military Diet, but I am not holding out much hope this week...a sneaky weigh a day or two ago suggests no change!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Our First And Last Visit!

This morning I had been invited out for coffee, along with Grandma and Teen Two, to a friend in the country...quite a change to our usual Monday routine!
Before going I put some fruit and sugar to soak, in cold tea, to give away to friends tomorrow.
One is just sultanas and the other is dates, as I know my Monday Recycled Teenager  loves dates.
This is a recipe a dear old family friend used to make regularly...and its her daughter I am going to see tomorrow, so I thought she might like the familiar taste of something her late mum used to make.
Its really easy
Soak 10oz of any dried fruit and7oz soft brown sugar in 1/2pt of cold black tea, overnight or as long as possible.
Give a couple of stirs round, then add a lightly beaten large egg, 10oz of SR flour (white/wholemeal or half and half)
Pour into a well greased loaf tin, I use the parchment liners,
cook in centre of oven 180 Gas 4 1-1 1/2 hrs.
Its fat free so is great, but is absolutely scrummy buttered of course!
Its the sort of loaf that improves with age, but it doesn't last long enough for me to know!
We had a pleasant couple of hours at my friends.
The drive there was very foggy, until we got well into the countryside, then it was fine.
On the way home we passed signs for a farm shop and tearooms...so decided to check them out.
It was right on the farm and as usual there were some interesting items, although we resisted buying anything.
Lured in by the smell of freshly baked food, we did however try out the tea rooms.
However I wont be rushing back.
The staff were very friendly indeed, and Teen Two had a delicious hot chocolate, along with a sausage and beans pasty.
Grandma had a sausage roll, whilst I had a teacake..and glass of water!
However, when the waitress came with the drinks, the tray she was using had the filthiest red tea towel on I had ever seen...I just hoped Grandma didn't notice and I don't think she did!
It put me off good and proper!
The rest of the place looked clean enough, but I was also a bit more off by the chef popping food into his mouth all the time, munching away as he was cooking...it didn't feel very wholesome, especially as his fingers touched his lips several times!
There weren't any nicieties around, such as flowers on tables, or extra touches of any kind...
so....that was our one and only visit.
Grandma visited the loo and gave them the thumbs up so it wasn't all bad!
You may remember, last week we bought a new sofa, and to break up the blandness of the cream sofa, cream curtains, I  popped one of my crochet blankets on the back, to add a splash of colour, however the colours didn't seem quite right with the sofa...
...so I went through my stash of blankets up in the attic and found this one, which came from my late neighbours. I think its a much better match!
Cheeky Milly has laid claim to the new furniture already!
This afternoon has been playing catch up on the laundry and housework etc  and getting dinner ready, which is a concoction I am making up using yesterdays left over chicken, a tin of campbells mushroom soup, and a packet of corn muffin mix...I am calling it chicken and corn casserole!
The Teens have just finished it and gave it the thumbs up.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

"Be Swift To Hear" James I vs 19

Once again it was me up first this morning, this is very unusual indeed, but I was glad for Hubby to have the pleasure of a lie in.
It was church first thing...
...followed by roast chicken....
...a couple of games, Rummikub and Scrabble....
...then we had to brave the very miserable weather to drive out to Winchester.
Hubby was preaching there at 4.15pm and usually 40minutes is plenty of time to get there, but the bad driving motorway conditions, combined with a lane closure made us a tiny bit late!
The small congregation were relieved to see us!
Being right on the High Street, the church often has homeless folk call in, its warm, they get a free cuppa at the end of it and once a month a free tea is provided.
It always makes for an interesting visit as you just never know who is going to walk through the door!
At the end of the service I chatted to a lady behind me, who I didn't recognise as being part of the fellowship.
I could see her adult son had some difficulties and was keen to show some kindness, all too often people shy away from anyone that is "different."
She told me a potted history of her life and its so sad to read of parents who feel they can no longer look after their children because of the aggression caused by their disability.
In this case the woman's 29 yr old son has Aspergers, but she hasn't been able to have him live with her for over a decade.
She was telling me he lives in Littlehampton, and comes for the weekends occasionally, but he doesn't like going back at the end of it, he misses his mum, but she has no home of her own, living in as a matron in a college.
She felt relieved to just be able to talk about things I think, sometimes that's all it takes isn't it, a listening ear and an interest taken in someone.
How good it was to come back, despite the thrashing rain, to our own home with our own children who do not have the issues this young man had.
Whilst we have our own issues of course, it always puts things into perspective to see the greater need of others and how blessed we really are.
It was then back to our own church, for the final service of the day,
and then a treat for the Teens, a drive thru McDonalds, as we had missed out on our usual light tea and by now they were feeling rather peckish!
I however didn't order anything....these scales had better be kind to me on Wednesday after all these sacrifices!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Looking For A Needle In A Haystack!

Funny how on a day when I can sleep in, I wake early!
So by 7am when sleep was obviously not going to come, I went downstairs and  made our Saturday morning cuppa.
We had a leisurely lie in, looking at internal flights Down Under and thinking about what we wanted to achieve out of the day.
Hubby had some wood to cut up, and I did my usual Saturday morning ritual of making soup.
Teen Two decided to make some marshmallow, using a kit he had for Christmas
It was a fairly easy process, just boil up the bag of sugar, whisk the gelatine and sugar together until meringue like...
...drizzle in the chocolate orange syrup  (which killed it for me!)
Leave to set for two hours...but with the magic of the internet, you get to see it straight away...
...its pretty sticky stuff and I don't know I want to try any, not being a lover of chocolate and orange together...but everyone else has enjoyed it.
We then decided to go over to Ikea  to buy a small coffee table I had seen online.
We had lunch there (wasn't I good choosing the kids meatball meal!) had a mooch around the nearby shops .
Before leaving Ikea, we validated our car park ticket as usual, drove down to the exit, but then had a minor disaster!
As Hubby went to put the ticket in another one popped out which slightly flummoxed him, then as he went to put the ticket in he somehow dropped it, which annoyed him intensely!
He went to get out of the car, but was too close to the machine, so I rushed out (there was a HUGE queue behind us!) only to discover that the floor was littered with hundreds of discarded tickets...no doubt the ones that were for some reason popping out as each car arrived at the exit barrier!
There was just no way we were going to be able to find our one amongst them all!
I went to explain to the car behind what had happened, Hubby meantime rang the assistance needed button, and thankfully they just let us through, but for a few moments it was sheer panic!
Back home we unpacked the flat pack and immediately Milly claimed the "new furniture" as her own!
Whilst I made us all a much needed hot drink, Hubby and Teen Two put the table together...able assisted by Milly as you can see!
Pretty swiftly, we became the owners of a coffee table, the first one we have bought in our entire life!
I think I mentioned before, I have fought against  one knowing it will become a dumping ground...
for that reason I chose a smallish one, for damage limitation!
Let's see how long it stays clear for...or how long Milly takes to sit on it...or even under it!
We had called into Whittards when out, and stocked up on one of Teen One's favourite drinks
"Turkish Apple"
So she had a cup of that,

Whittards had a flask of White Hot Chocolate out for sampling...which of course we all did...
Teen Two had a tub of this for Christmas, so he was eager to have some when he got home, it really is quite delicious I must say!
We enjoyed one of these marzipan treats with our cuppas
(can you tell its not diet day?)
Our only other purchase for the day were these sweet little gift backs down to 25p in Ikea
I thought they would make excellent Easter gift bags for our Parent and Toddler group.
It's been a lovely day, mooching here and there, not tied to time and enjoying each others
Tonight Teen Two wants to play board games, so we will enjoy the soup I had made earlier then spend the evening, no doubt laughing and munching on nibbles....something of a family ritual we naughtily slipped into!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Variety Is The Spice Of Life!

This morning I headed out to The Range hoping to find a coffee table,
I didn't find one I liked, but did see these tulips, which I couldn't resist!
It was then on to Lidl for the usual weekend shop.
The rest of the day was spent doing the usual household chores.
Teen One was in a creative mood and designed a pendant for herself....the results to follow!
I made a lasagne for dinner...although all I was having was supposed to be a tin of tuna!
Today is the last day of my second week on The Military Diet and today I have to admit to flagging a bit!
Instead of having tuna, I had a small piece of salmon which needed using up.
PLUS...very naughty indeed...I had carrots and green beans with it!!
I then swapped the banana and ice cream for greek yoghurt and stewed plums...and there may have been a sprinkling of sugar!
Well they do say variety is the spice of life!
We arrived at church tonight for Friday Club to discover the heating wasn't working and there was also no hot water.
The boiler was serviced on Monday so it was rather frustrating to say the least.
We told the parents of the situation as they arrived and gave them the option of going home...but needless to say all the children wanted to stay despite the cold!
Its good to be back home in the warm!

Thursday, 26 January 2017

The Car With R' R' Roooom!

Today Teen One and I went to Parent and Toddlers as usual.
We had a very small turn out, but the weather was freezing!
Back home I uploaded the old sofa onto freecyle and hope someone is interested, saves trying to get it to the dump, and if you don't mind sitting on a cushion, or only on one side it will be perfect!
Teen One and I then set off to the Warehouse clearance outlet to pay for the new sofa.
Seeing it up close again, and knowing the backs clipped off, I asked if they thought it might fit into my Fiesta!
They looked at me like I was a trifle mad, but humoured me as I went off to put the back seats down...
and ta dah!
It fitted!
My Clio was the car advertised as having Va Va Vooom...
but my Fiesta clearly has R' R' Roooom!
Teen One and I even managed to carry it into the house and manoeuvre it through the living room door!
Mind you, she did struggle a bit and said
"Mum...you are so strong!"
We have both been enjoying road testing it this afternoon.
Hubby will be in for a surprise when he comes home...he doubted my belief it would fit in the back of his much bigger Vectra!
All I need now is to find a coffee table, I have fought having one in the middle of the room all our married life as I know it will become a dumping ground...I will try and find a smallish one with drawers so any accumalations can be sneaked in there out of the way!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

It's All Change In Here!

Going back to last night, Hubby came in and without even referring to the manual of the spiralizer, managed to get some little spirally shapes out...and we did have to laugh at the mushroom looking remainder!
But when I tried it this morning, all I ended up with was a few shavings on the white board and a long thin stick of carrot at the top!
(The pile is Hubby's from last night)
So I clearly need some more lessons and am fast losing interest in this kitchen gadget!
This morning Teen One and I did the rounds of all the local sofa shops.
We are now well acquainted with the stock of SCS, DFS and the like, and they are more or less all selling the same sort of stuff.
What we need is a two seater sofa to replace the one in the picture as it has a broken spring.
I had heard about a warehouse clearance outlet close to home so we went to see what they had and found a cream two seater leather sofa, with recliners.
Hubby really wanted a recliner sofa as we all favour the recliner chair (well Teen One excluded)
But having a recliner meant rearranging the living room space, which is what I did this afternoon...and the picture shows the new look....I am leaving it over night to see if it "works."
There are only so many ways our room can be rearranged, because of the techy stuff filling one wall.
Of course the ideal situation would be to get rid of everything and start again, but life isn't like that is it, so we have been trying to buy something that matches the existing mismatch of furniture!
The recliner we saw was way cheaper than everything else and "will do."
Whilst pulling everything out  (and cleaning behind!) I started to reassess what was in the room...
this newspaper rack, I decided had no place in the room...I have never liked them as they become a dumping ground, but had found someone to hide it, with the new regime, there was nowhere to hide, but we did need somewhere to put the paper each night....
..then I remembered that the little side table our neighbour gave us has two slots for magazines...so,
the new rule is, only the existing nights paper sits in here  (how long will that last I hear you all saying!) and the others will be stored in the conservatory or put in the recycling  each day, in the summer months when they aren't needed to start the fire.
By now I was on a mission to empty the room of things that we don't regularly use, or, in this case, didn't actually belong to us originally!
Next to where Teen One sits is a sewing  box from next door, which she uses as dumping ground
side table for her essentials to life, tissues, ipad, phone, hand cream etc.
I hadn't opened it since the day it was given to us, and boy was it stuffed!
All manner of sewing notions, threads etc
there were several layers and tins jammed packed...
...it was never ending!
I don't know what these two long pointy thing are...any idea?
Wrapped up in felt were this pair of scissors...I thought they were shears for a moment!
Then I remembered my late neighbour was a suit cutter for a local tailor.
I also found this sweet pair of egg cosies.
I have bagged up all the sewing stuff and will go through it at a later date, what I don't want I will put in a charity bag.
The box is now filled with Teen One's Uni books, a much better use of space for us.
They used to sit in a pile under the sewing box, now we have a clutter free space there...but for how long!
The gerbils have been transferred to the dining room, where there was a perfect shaped space in the corner, we hope it will also be easier to deter Crystal from trying to get them, there isn't anywhere for her to sit and watch them, she may of course take a huge leap to get on top of the cage, but we are intending to keep the door shut as its not a room we use most days...but no doubt we will discover just how often we do use it from now on!
So it has been a day full of achievements and I even managed to stick to Day One Part Two of the Military Diet!
On a frustrating note, one of the students at college accessed Teen Two's account and uploaded an obscene picture on his Power Point.
Needless to say we have made enquires about the situation and how he was so easily able to get hold of the sheet of paper with everyone's password.