Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Xmas everyone!!!! Life has been hectic, hopefully normal blogging will return in the new year with lots of updates!!
Wishing everyone a happy, peaceful christmas time.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Baby steps to green living....

5 simple ways to go green right now!! Join me in changing the way we live for a greener (and cheaper) future...

1. Eat less meat - I actually learnt this off the kids cbbc website, oops! It costs more and uses more energy to raise 1 kg of meat than 1kg of non meat food (crops etc). Making a change to a few more meat free meals will not only help the environment but your purse too!
We've gone slightly further and gone totally meat free at home now, but make sure you dont just buy meat replacement products, get out your cookbooks and try wholefood recipes, better still grow your own ingredients.

2. Change your lightbulbs - Low energy lightbulbs use less electric and can save you money. We changed our main lights ages ago but never got around to the moredifficult fittings in lamps etc. Tesco have a promotion on instore now for buy one get one free or even £2 bulbs down to 40p each when you buy 5. Lots of different fittings available!!!

3. Save water - Keep a container by the sink to save the water wasted down the plughole whilst you wait for the warm tap to heat up. This can be used later in the day. Fill a jug with the amount of water you need for your cuppa then pour it into the kettle, so you only heat what you need! If you do boil too much pour it into a flask for hot water needed later!!

4. Carry a couple of reuseable bags inside your handbag for unexpected shops and keep some heavy duty bags in your boot for the grocery shop.

5. Thing twice before parting with your money and buying something. Do you really need it? Can the old one be repaired? Can you get it cheaper elsewhere? How much will it cost you in the long run (running cost etc.) I've put off several buys in the last week.
, not replacing one item, fixing another and buying an alternative for the third saving me £15!!

These are all things i've changed or done in the last week, how are you getting greener?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

I found this quote today from the book "Better Off" by Eric Brende... on the consumption rebellion blog

The rich man from the North came by one day and saw the southern fisherman sitting, just sitting by the water. This horrified him.
'What are you doing?' he asked.
'I'm sitting,' replied the fisherman.
'Why aren't you out there fishing?'
'I've caught enough fish for one day,' he said.
'Don't you know,' returned the rich man, 'that if you continued, you could earn more money, and with that, buy another boat? With two boats you catch even more fish and pretty soon you'd have a whole fleet of boats. Then you'd be rich like me.'
'What would I do then?' asked the fisherman.
'Then you could really enjoy life.'
Replied the fisherman, 'What do you think I'm doing right now?'"

Doesn't that just sum it all up?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Oops!! Where are all the crafty things I was going to make for it??? We knocked up the window silhouette this morning. It actually stretches across the whole front window but I can't get a good photo!

Spooky Window Silhouette

You will need:-

Yellow Card
Black marker Pen / Poster paint


Measure window pane, and mark this on a piece of yellow card.

Cut card to length and draw on your spooky scene - gravestones, bats, witches houses, crosses, black cats - just remember to keep outlines simple if you are wanting the kids to help cutting out! We compromised with me cutting out and them colouring in and sticking it up!

Next cut out this outline. Now with LOTS of newspaper underneath your shape outline, colour it in with a marker or paint with poster paint. Remember not to colour in windows etc as the yellow card showing through will make them look illuminated in your room.

Now turn the shape over and paint it again ( you'll be able to see both sides if you are sticking it in a window!

Use left over scraps to cut out bats, flying witches etc ( colour them black too ) and even a big yellow circle for a full moon.

Arrange shapes in window and adhere with small bits of clear sellotape.

Sit back and enjoy!!!!

Halloween plans tonight are a big warming veg curry before 'trickle treating' as my kids call it, then off to a firework display and halloween disco!!

Easy Sweet Veg Curry

Medium Onion, chopped
Tbsp Olive Oil
1 /2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ginger
3/4 pt basic tomato sauce
4 small potatoes
1 large sweet potato
1/2 small butternut squash
1 can butter beans
up to 1/4pt water

Dry roast the spices, add oil and sweat onion. Add tomato sauce and stir. Chop potatoes and squash and add to pan. Add beans. Cover and cook for 40 minutes adding water as need to get the amount of sauce you like in your curry!

I'm glad todays a bit more relaxed we don't seem to have stopped this week! We've had lots of fun though, building a willow play area for bath city farm!

These were bent over, weaved and tweaked into little igloos for the kids to play in, a short scavange around the site found 2 logs worthy of bench status to put inside for a very comfy hideaway!!

We had lots of fun there too, shooting apples off post with a home made bow and arrow, apple bobbing, homemade see sawing, hot ribena, berry spotting, and even baking cakes in oranges on a campfire.....

Little miss seems to have an insatiable appetite at the moment, declaring I'm hungry every 1/2 hour!! Has anyone got any good suggestions for some filling snacks???

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A little bit of every day....

roasted butternut squash & garlic

Half term is almost half way through now and we've been taaking it nice and slow .... we've done a little bit of cooking and a little bit of gardening. All indoors as its soooooooooooooo cold! * we were in Coventry yesterday and saw snow was forecast for Bath - kids very excited, mum excited too but slightly nervous about driving home - bitterly cold we set off for home, no sign of snow until 15 miles from home, beautiful cotswold cottages, dusted white rooftops, then other side of the hill nothing .
We've woken up with a thick frost and a phonecall from Coventry saying they have 2 inces of snow!!!!

I'm getting a bit disheartened with the whole veggy growing at the mo, I'm not sure if I'm going to have to chuck these or not, they seem a bit leggy to grow into anything?

Spinach (rear) and Mixed Lettuce Leaves (front)


And the weather has been too rotten to get out and sort the soil into the raised beds for pea planting this week. Other plans for the week include planting potatoes and onion sets.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


We've had a lovely few days, out in the autumn sun, walking and exploring the local tourist spots before they get busy at half term next week, re-exploring places I'd visited as a child. I'm so proud of what I've managed, maybe I should explain...

15 years ago (when I was 17) I had a stroke and was totally paralised down one side, I had physio and had to teach myself how to walk again. In hospital I told myself I knew I'd have beaten it if I could climb local landmark Glastonbury Tor. Since then its been too hot, too cold, I've had the children or had something important to 'save myself for' the next week! All very lame excuses, but that seemed quite reasonable at the time.

I year ago I told my partner about this secret promise to climb and we agreed to do it together, and STILL the excuses continued....
Last wednesday night as we lay in bed, I casually said to him, 'hey, instead of going to the castle tomorrow, shall we go climb the tor?'

So we did.

It was cold and windy, I forgot my camera. As we sat on the park and ride bus travelling to the tor we took guesses on how long it would take us to climb up , I guessed 1 hour 30 mins, P guessed 2 hours. So we set off with timer in hand...
It took us 10 minutes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It also took us 30 minutes to get back down!

And what happened after? Did the world end? Was I too tired to collect the kids from school?
Went walking in cheddar and I climbed this and several other hills...

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Happy Apple Day!!!

Today is Apple Day and although I'll not be doing anything to celebrate it directly today ( except for maybe a nice cold cider tonight) we had great fun at the weekend at the Broadlands Community Orchard Apple day!! We picked apples, pressed them for juice *hopefully in the video below*, baked potatoes on a fire, toasted marshmallows, played apple conkers, apple bobbing, climbed along big branch fences, climbed trees and saw some delux compost toilets - believe me , after the very basic '2 planks over a hole in the ground' compost toilets we had at a campsite last year these were palacial!!!

It was our first time at the orchard and I'm really keen to go back soon. Ontop of the apple days and regular volunteer days they do winter wassailing, spring picnics and other events. We might even sponsor a tree sometime soon!

There of lots of local community orchards near here, I wonder why they aren't more widely advertised?

Friday, 17 October 2008

Have you noticed???

All the christmas stuff creeping into the shops already? Well my daughter has, so its got me thinking I need some kind of plan ready to help xmas go smoothly and as I would like it! I want to get back to the christmases of my childhood, enjoying a few well chosen pressies but not hundreds of commercial nonsense, destined to be thrown on the junk pile by new year :( I want my children to remember the christmas experience and get a warm glow inside in years to come remembering it.

So yesterday I wrote down a long list of THINGS TO DO with the children this Xmas, instead of THINGS TO BUY!! I eventually came up with about 20 odd so this naturally led me on to thinking about turning this into a kind of 1 thing to do a day advent calender. Instead of sweets in the fabric calender this year will be cards with activities to do that day instead. I'll post the list nearer xmas but it ranges from making stuff to xmas walks and dickensian evenings.

Another thing I wanted to do this year was involve the children in the annual christmas charity Operation Christmas Child. It enables families and schools to send christmas pressies ( a decorated shoe box, filled with small thoughtful gifts to needy children around the world).

Thursday, 16 October 2008

New traditions

My focus seems to be changing these days, I'm still stupidly busy and somewhat disorganised but I feel that we need more in our life. I'm going to try and simplify the neccessary things so we have time to spend on new more simple activities. We started last night with a family campfire in the garden. We sat out for over an hour around the fire, wearing our ponchos and drinking hot ribena. Next time I'll have organised a toasting fork and marshmallows too!!! We all agreed, weather allowing we'll do this every week from now on.....

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

I'm addicted......

Want a totally free addictive brain training style game that'll give your grey matter a daily work out?????

Headover to and play to your hearts content!!!!

Oh, and incase you didn't notice, for every question you answer correctly they'll donate 20 grains of rice to a hungry person via their scheme!!!

I've set myself a target of 5000 grains 3 times a week

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Muuuum - I can't find my wellies!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, we checked the front hall, the camper, the conservatory, under the settees ...... if only we thought to look up the tree!!

This week has been a tad chaotic, college work has been over whelming me and a swap had to be finished. On top of that its Book Week at school with a dragon theme, I've been sourcing dragons, handing out Dragon fruit samples at nursery, handprinting 60 kids for 'dragon scales', Thursday saw me dressed in pyjamas at school helping make hot chocolate for 400 odd children at their Bedtime story evening!!
Luckily it was just the kids that had to dress up yesterday for school!

Friday, 3 October 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!

Well it feels like it here anyway!!! We're off to a VW show for the weekend, but it happens to be our club xmas do too so the vans been decorated....

The costumes have been packed....

And I've cooked enough stuffing balls for 70 people!!!

Otherwise this week its been busy on the college / work front and I've been teaching my kids to cook! First raisin oat cookies then last night they did a veg risotto!!!! I'm amazed at their chopping skills so young!! I can't think of anything worse than not learning to cook at home but sadly its not as common these days :(

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Happy Birthday P!!!!

In the Garden: Harvesting apples from my mums garden. My brother planted a seed from his eating apple (from infants school) 25 years ago, its now giving back soooooo many apples each year. The kids had great fun on shoulders picking them all!!

At Home: Birthday celebrations for P who loved his Porsche cake!!! A lovely meal out at lunchtime and gokart racing this evening!!

With the children: Cutting out butterfly and star croutons to go with their after-school soup.

Rediscovering: A local farm shop I visited as a child and treating ourselves lovely to lovely mature cheddars, scrumpy cider and free range eggs!!!!

Having Fun: Playing on the Gruffalo website with the kids, singing the Gruffalo chorus!!!

We're off to London tomorrow visiting and calling in at the VW Ultra Bug Boogie and Porsche Picnic at Reading on the way home - see you Monday!!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

College was fun, I'm doing a Teaching Assistants NVQ with a volunteer placement at my local primary! My first day was yesterday and it was brilliant but I was soooo shattered after - 20 three year olds do that to a grown woman!

In the Garden: I'm planting garlic bulbs .

At Home: I've been baking and sculpting this sponge

into a Porsche 356 - please don't laugh!!!

With the children: Recreating the glistening spider webs we've found on autumnal walks, making glitter spiderwebs; drizzling glue in crazy spider patterns on card then sprinkling with gold glitter

Crafting: Finishing some more bits for jellybelly*jellybrain's campervan swap

Thinking about:
Getting P to build me some raised borders in the garden for veggie growing.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Happy Birthday Mia!!!!!!!

Its our cat's birthday, so E suggested a party in the garden :) We did do homemade chocolate sponges with cerise drizzle icing and sprinkles - but - the cats raided the kitchen and ate them all :0
So we had to do with cupcakes and trifle instead...

E insisted on eating hers in the hot rod go kart P made today

I start college tomorrow, I haven't got ANYTHING ready for it at all!


Friday, 19 September 2008


We went on holiday to Dorset (beautiful!) then my eldest was ill :( This was taken on the first day, the rest were gorgeous blue sky days but we were far to busy having fun to take photos!!!!

I've started on a few halloween ideas, some ideas for xmas fayre, a bit of crafting for the camper van swapand a treat or too for the kids!

We always call E our little 'maths genius' so she can officially show it off to the world now with her new badge!!!

Unfortunately its a bit misshapen already - she has a habit of keeping secret treasures in her school shoes during the day and walking on them!! (grrrrrrr!)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

What a load of rubbish?

We're taking place in the Zero Waste challenge at the end of September so I've been trying to reuse or recycle stuff to cut down on our waste, card paper, glasses and even tetrapaks are all recycled locally but for the past few weeks I've been thinking about trying to reduce the stuff that gets tossed straight in the bin.
  • Used butter tubs (plastic) are being washed and reused instead of tupperwares - which are always in short supply around here.
  • Plastic trays (ie. that fruit gets sold in) are being kept for plamnting seedlings in.
  • Crisp Packets - We don't eat many but I fell in love with the colours of the new Burt's Crisps packets and have started thinking how I can reuse it? So far I've sewn a few together successfully.....

Now I just need to decide what to make it into!

Nutterbut is heading towards the kitchen tomorrow so I've started on a replacement for him

Sunday, 7 September 2008

What do you do when your kids bond with supper

We have two new (hopefully temporary) family members

Nutterbut Gosh ( a squash) and baby butternut ( a melon)
Grr, I hope they let me turn it into a delicious veggie feast and snack by Tuesday!
Homemade Yoghurt

Yay, I've finally got around to trying this out!! I made up 600ml of powdered milk, warmed it until it started foaming at the side of the pan, then poured into a bowl - mixing in 1/2 small tub of natural yoghurt. Covered and placed in a cooling oven (50 deg C then turned off to cool) . Left overnight I was greeted with yoghurt at breakfast time :)

Next thing to try is turning it into soft cheese, later in the week.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Reflections of a week

So many things have changed this week.....

Our camp seemed to bring the summer to a close - we had a fabulous time, beautiful surroundings ( gorgeous grounds, classic cars, vintage finds - the above wash stand was in the shower block!) , great activities ( fishing, cricket, walking), good friends and magical castles. It rained, tipped down and flooded - but only at night, blue skies ruled the days!
Since we've returned its rained non stop, and the UK is flooding again :(

The Children have gone back to school, both loving it! New routines are working great - perfect as I go back to school next week as Volunteer Teaching Assistant and Library help.

We're thinking about going vegetarian. This has totally thrown my meal planner, I need to find lots of good veggie recipes that the kids will enjoy. So far I have veggie Lasagne and Bolognese type thing.

The harvest has begun in the garden, Tonight we have homegrown new potatoes for supper....

I was thinking of signing the kids up for clubs this term ( Rainbows/Beavers etc) Camping the Kids discovered Jazz, and love it! Now I have to find details of Jazz Dance Classes for Evie.

Unfortunately all this means crafting has been non existant this week.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Last Camp of the Summer

We're off again for a few days camping to here taking advantage of the last few days of holiday and trying out the caravan, then its straight into the new term! School Uniforms have been bought and named, PE Bags finished.....