Friday, 17 November 2017

What is it?

I picked up a watermelon in Waitrose a few days ago. It was reduced to a very reasonable 99p.
I wasn't sure what the kids would make of it. If they would recognise it as watermelon  or if it would be a repeat of the whole suede fiasco. 
(I usually serve Swede mashed, DD1 took a lot of convincing that the ugly round ball in fhe shopping trolley was the yellow mashed vegetable she loved lol)

Being Friday, DD2 promptly ate her dinner and passed out for the night. DD1 was confident it was a melon, Gman wanted to kick it like a football.
 When DH carefully sliced it into two halfs they were fascinated.  DD1 had predicted it would be in segments inside like an orange, Gman suddenly recognised it as food and demanded a wedge.
One half was swiftly eaten with the second half set aside as a snack for tomorrow.
Definitely a well spent 99p!

X x X

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Christmas Central

I've had a lovely quiet day at home today. Lots of R&R and more naps than I care to admit.
I've also been pottering a little. 
Inspired by yesterday's festive find, I have created Christmas Central on the mantelpiece.
It's houses the advent calendars, Christmas themed books, DVDS, activity kits, craft activities, soft toys and anything else remotely Christmassy.

 Can't wait to see what the children make if it.

X x X

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Festive finds.

I found the most beautiful copy of A Christmas Carol today. It was in one of the local charity shops on a little shelf full of Christmas themed items. 
It looked quite dull with a plain red hardback cover but I liked the old fashioned text on the spine and picked it up to have a peek. 

The pages inside took my breath away! 
I fell instantly in love. With apprehension I turned to the back cover to see the price expecting to see something astronomical on the label. £1.50! 
I scurried to the till as fast my legs could carry me and snuggled it deep in my backpack to get it safely home. 
I'm looking forward to reading it with the children and introducing them to the world of Charles Dickens.  

X x X 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Bauble spellings

I've spent over week away from the internet and social media. It's given me some much needed head space to reassess a few things. Reminded me why I like to live simply and quietly. One big example is the fact I spend so much time finding ideas to do with the children than I don't actually have any time to do the said activities.
 Things need to change!

Today's activity is quick and easy to set up. A pipe cleaner, a dozen baubles and a felt tip pen.

DD1 wrote each of her homework spellings by writing one letter per bauble and threading them onto her pipe cleaner. She has some tricky words this week like beige and neice which sometimes need the letters rearranging.

DD2 enjoyed putting the letters of her name and surname in the right order. She also numbered the baubles 1 -12 and hung them in the right order. We also worked on finding the odd and even numbers.

Gman was just happy threading baubles onto pipe cleaners. I tried to tempt him into mark making on the baubles, simple dots or crosses but was firmly put in my place for messing up his game. Lol. Toddlers eh? Dangerous creatures to anger!

X x X

Friday, 3 November 2017

Universal Credit prep Part 2

 Breakfast has been covered. Now I am turning thoughts to dinners.
 A favourite meal in this house is always a simple pasta in sauce style meal. They can be cooked in a single pot on the hob, made as simple as 2 ingredients or more extravagant with extra ingredients and have delicious tasting leftovers.
 A single jar of Aldi pasta sauce is 65p, cheese and bacon or creamy tomato being our favourites. Add it a packet of smart price pasta (20-35p depending on type) and you have a filling tasty meal for less than £1. A 500gm packet of pasta will feed all 5 of us a hefty portion with plenty left over for 2-4 lunches.
 This make pasta sauces and dried pasta  an essential add to the food stores.
 12 jars and packets will cost me less than  £12 to purchase and ensure 1 meal a week is sorted out. I could even cook it twice a week for a paltry £24.
 I think I'd like a bit more variation than that though so for now I will keep it as a back up plan.
 I will get sauce and pasta early next week.

                                          X X X

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sunday Frugalling

* Buying our pumpkins from a local farm rather than a supermarket.

* Buying 5 ears of corn for 35p each from the same farm. The children are fascinated with them.

* releasing a surplus book into the wild with book crossing. If you've  never tried it please look it up HERE  it's great fun.

* We recycled a cereal box, used envelopes, fabric scraps and linen fabric from a ruined pair of trousers into a notebook/sketch pad.

* removed the sequins from a broken husband before throwing it out. We will use them for arts and crafts later on. 

Friday, 27 October 2017

Thoughts on breakfast

There's been a lot of talk locally about preparing for the big changeover to Universal credit. With delays of up to 12 weeks between applying and receiving money being reported, the local food book is recommending families start putting aside savings and building food stores.
 It sounds like great advice to me. We already save regularly but we are lacking an organised food store.
This needs to change! And now!
I'm planning to tackle the food issue one meal at a time, starting with breakfast.

After a morning of comparing supermarket prices and calculating portions per carton/packet, I have come up with the following plan.

12 x 1kg porridge oats - we all eat porridge and over night oats. Plus I add oats to bulk out meat based meals like Bolognese. Everyone eats flapjacks to so any surplus will be easily used.

6 x Smart price Corn flakes - a 500gm packet equals 16 portions. I use a scoop to make sure we stick to portion control. There's also the option of making cornflake cakes and cornflakes tart if there's surplus.

 6 x 24 pack Wheat Biscuits - a 24 pack equals 12 portions, however the two smallest share a portion of 1 biscuit each. I have a good wheatabix cake recipe for using any surplus.

So how much will a 12 week supply cost? 

£15.54 which isn't a huge amount when you consider the amount of food that includes (35 breakfast plus extra for snacking and baking)

I could go out a buy it today that might leave me with a use by date issue. You DO NOT want your food stores all reaching use by dates at once! 
So o my next food shop I will by just 4 weeks supply. (4 x porridge 2x wheat biscuit 2x cornflakes) each time we use a packet I will replace it with 2 of the same, until we are up to a 3 month supply. Then it's just a case of maintaining the stock. 1 in, 1 out. 

That should stagger the dates a little and spread the cost of restocking over a few weeks.

Anyone else stockpiling to beat Universal Credits or uncertain finances? Any tips would be welcome 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Today's frugalling

Today I saved money by;

* starting some plants to use as teacher gifts at Christmas.  I already owned the parent plant and the pots cost 10p each in the Wilco gardening sale. 

* I pulled out the box of Halloween goodies I tucked away last year. Nothing inside cost me more than 25p. 

* I made 8 boxes of stewed apple from the two bags of fallers I was gifted.
* I saved the seeds from the apples to grow. You can find a useful guide Here  if you are tempted to try. 

* We made bats using toilet roll tubes, tissue paper and scrap paper.

X x X

Monday, 23 October 2017

Gifting books and upcycling

I love sweet and simple crafts. I saw the bookmark idea on Pinterest and knew it would be perfect to use up a few more cards.
The beads came from a broken bracelet so I had everything on hand to whip these up.

DD1 is a ferocious reader. I picked up the set of books above in the poundshop earlier in the year. It's not often DD1 gets brand new books so it felt nice to get them for her. 
I've tucked one of the  bookmarks in each one.

And while they were out of the gift cupboard I got them nicely wrapped ready for the big day. 
I'm determined not to leave all the wrapping to the last minute this year. I will be trying to do it as I go along. (She says!)

X x X

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Greeting card pináta

This afternoon I took down the collection of greetings cards from the lounge and replaced them with yesterday's Halloween decorations.
But when I went to store the cards with the rest of them, I found the drawer was almost over flowing.

Pinterest provided several options for upcycling. My favourite was from Ruffles and Boots. Her easy to follow tutorial made creating my own pináta a breeze. 
 Each pináta used up one card each so I can easily make several of these over the course of an afternoon or an evening. 
Wouldn't they make sweet tree decorations for Christmas? Or Party favours? 

Let me know if you try them.

X x X

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Halloween Half Term

On Friday DD1 attended her first school disco. I can't quite believe how grown up she looks in her costume!

While DD1 was out partying the night away, DD2 and I made this stunning box monster from an empty nappy box and random craft supplies. 

Today we visited the local library's Halloween craft party. They had 4 different activities to try and they all went down well.

The children where all as good as gold. I even had some lovely compliments on their behaviour from other parents and the library staff. 

Particularly when DD1 had finished all her activities and read stories to Gman while waiting for DD2 to finish. 
They made my heary melt.

X x X

Sunday, 15 October 2017

It's been one of those days....

I'm writing this sat at my dining table, counting down the minutes until my Hubby walks in the front door.
He has precisely 5 minutes to get himself organised before I disappear to the bedroom for half an hour with some hot tea and my delicious peanut butter treat.
For every 1 thing I've cleaned and tidied today the kids have created 3 new ones....each!
I give up.
Tomorrow when they are all out the house I will roll up my sleeves, pull up my big girl pants and blitz the house. But for now I'm admitting defeat.


X x X

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Freezer clearing part 1

Now I'm up to facing food again, I've rebooted my freezer clearing project. 
I'm working my way through each drawer turning raw ingredients in to meals and using up all the bits and piece.
The list above is the contents of drawer 1.

First I made a supersized pear and chocolate crumble from the free pears DD2s school handed out. DD1 is delighted as pears are her favourite fruit.
Next I made a supersized  apple and BlackBerry crumble. Both have been carefully taste tested for the families approval  before being frozen in double sized portions. 
Each box will either feed the three children or split between me and hubby. (If I'm fast enough)

For lunch I munched through the single portion of soup. It made for a nice change from sandwiches or toasties. 
Then I got to work on a few batches of fruit pies. I dumped all of the  remaining fruit into my jam pan, heating it and turned it into a thick compote.
I've made 48 pies, mostly covered but the pastry ran slightly short. Half have been frozen for later and the rest will be for this weeks lunch boxes and snacks. 

 Phew! Time for a sit down.

X x X

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Another day of bargains

This morning after the school runs Gman and I attended the first of several Macmillon coffee mornings. A lot of places seem to be splitting them over today, tomorrow and Saturday this year. 
Sadly this first one wasn't well attended but every little helps as they say and Gman was gifted a free balloon.
£1 for two homemade cakes and a cup of tea is definitely a bargain.

A quick visit into Waitrose found tomorrow's bargain breakfast. 6 chocolate pastries will make for a delicious easy breakfast.
75p! Another bargain!

And last but not least a trip into Wilko discovered a shelf of heavily reduced dental products.  These toothpastes were only 37p each. So I picked up 6 for home (an estimated years worth) and 6 to donate to the local food bank. At that price they were to good not to share. 

What a great day!

X x X

Monday, 25 September 2017

Prepping for the next apocolypse

According to the Daily Mail and a few other newspapers we are all keeling over from Australian flu this winter. Something to look forward to eh?
While I don't buy into the whole flu pandemic idea, it is a timely reminder that cold and flu season will soon be upon us.

This afternoon I took 15 minutes to pull out the contents of the first aid and medicines shelf.
The first aid box was in pretty good order, I just need to add a new tube of antiseptic cream and some antibac hand gel.
The medicine box was eye opening. Many many out of date products!
I've popped them into a local pharmacy that offers a free disposal service. 
 Tomorrow I'm hoping to pop into town and restock a few things, mostly Lemsip and decongestants. I also need a fresh jar of local honey and a stock of tissues. 
Hopefully we won't need to use them to much 

X x X

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Hubbys new toy

We decided to treat ourselves to a tasty Wetherspoons breakfast this morning. We had an hour to kill between the school run and Tuesday morning rhyme time at the library.
Gman loves his mini fry up just as much as giant clone enjoys his full sized one.

With a few minutes left to spare we popped into Wilko to see what was in the clearance section. It's the time of year when the Christmas stocks begins to arrive so there is plenty to be found. 
Hubby was very pleased to pick up this Christmas light projector. We saw several people using them last year to decorate their homes, and Hubby was really impressed by them. 
You can probably guess what he's playing with in the garden right now lol.

X x X

Monday, 18 September 2017

Little bargains

I popped into Waitrose at just the right time today. I usually pop in on the school run for cheap breakfast pastries. They seem to reduce them about 2pm in the bakery section. 
Today however there was a big trolley of fruits and vegetables to look through as well.
I snaffled;
2x 4 packs of burger bun  80p - reduced to 35p each
Vegetable pack  - £1 - reduced to 35p
Mandarins - £3.50 - reduced to £1.25

Tomorrow I will be making some vegetable soup for lunch, the rolls were eaten tonight with sausages and the mandarins will be popped into lunch boxes and after school snack packs.

I also spotted these sweet little stationary sets in Poundland. (I'm still avoiding poundworld) they are just perfect for popping into the children's stockings. I've popped them into the present cupboard for now but I need to start a notebook to keep track of bits.

X x X 

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Shining my sink

Sigh*  I just don't feel like I'm making a dent in the household chores at the moment. Although I'm aware my current energy levels are not really helping matters. 
So I'm turning to an old friend for support and getting life back on track the flylady way.

It's gentle enough to do step by step and build up day by day, yet at the same time big enough to see improvement each day.
And we all know were flylady starts. The kitchen sink.

It is now clutter free with fresh smelling drains and a shiny surface.  It really has lifted my spirits Every time I've entered the  kitchen. 

Tomorrow I will be dressing to shoes and tackling some clutter in the current flyzone.  Watch out world, this mummy is getting back in control.

X x X

Conker Folk Art

We spent a happy grey afternoon crafting. Using conkers, yarn and bamboo skewers we made some lovely hanging art work to display. 

Both of the girls enjoyed winding the wool round and round the spokes. Sadly I have no photos of DD2 crafting as she decided it was an activity best completed in the nude, lol. 
Gman was happiest rolling conkers and balls of yarn around on the floor so I left him to it. 
I think they'd look quite pleasing displayed together in a window but we shall see what the little ladies have planned for their masterpieces

X x X

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Feeling rotten

Today has sucked.
I've spent the morning kneeling by the loo and the afternoon  sleeping.
11am to 4.40pm! 

Hubby has been an absolute Angel and taken care of the kids and the house. 
This evening isn't going much better sadly. 

All I can do is remind myself there is good reason for it. (Shhhhhh to those super intuition types)

X x x

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Collecting Conkers

Yesterday we popped to the park after school. We had half an hour to kill before Hubby finished work and we could travel home together.
We spent the time collecting conkers. Our local park has several enormous trees all of them dripping with conkers.  

The girls particularly enjoyed stamping on the freshly fallen husks to break them open. Gman had the important job of putting them in the collecting bag. 

This morning Gman has enjoyed sorting them into an empty sweet box. He also enjoyed pouring them from one box to another and back again.
Our after school activities are going to have a distinct theme for a while!

X x X