Sunday, 30 June 2013

Family Sunday

I got up this morning and finished my reports for school. Then I was free to do what I liked and enjoy the sunshine.
Stephanie asked that we see my sister and go to a local park. So arrangements made picnic lunch packed and off we went. I had packed drinks and food but it wasn't warmer than I expected so I did have to buy more and as my niece and nephew were going on the bouncy castle Stephanie had a go too, so what could have been a free day cost £5.70 out of this weeks budget. Never mind I know I have everything else we need so I'm not overly worried.

After we had finished crab hunting, paddling and playing in the park we all came home for an impromptu dinner al fresco at mine. I used ingredients I already had in the house and easily fed 7 with this. Before a little bit of pre-bedtime silliness.

What a lovely day, I really am lucky to have my wonderful family :-)

Saturday, 29 June 2013


A busy day has been had here.
We have been fro swimming lesson, been to the library, done our Saturday whole house tidy, been for the children's haircuts, seen family, walked 4 miles or so with the dog and found another geocache whilst there. visited the allotment for the first time in far too long! I have spent this evening watching Harry Potter with Stephanie whilst writing school reports. I have 6 left to go but my eyes are hardly staying open so I will have to complete them tomorrow. Have a peek at some of our pictures from the day;

proof housework has happened.

Pretty hair done by great aunt Sharon;

Dog walking/ geocache hunting fun;
We found the geocache we couldn't find last time we went! YAY

Disgraceful allotment!! it has clearly been longer than I thought since we visited.

The potatoes/onions/garlic are growing well amongst the grass/weeds. I need to make more time to sort this out. I have potentially found someone who may be interested in sharing the space with me to make it more manageable. I think I need to get it looking lots better before he runs fast!

Friday, 28 June 2013

house guests

We have a house guest this week, she is with us until next Thursday. She is a much loved and eagerly anticipated house guest;

She is one of the riendliest soppiest dogs I know. The children love having her here. She has stayed several times before and she is always welcome.
She doesn't bark when people come to the door, not even the postman. She walks wonderfully, she doesn't pull at all. I am quite confident letting Stephanie hold the lead to walk her she is so well behaved.
The only thing she is being a devil with is her bandage! My Uncle has been medically retired and so since the accident with her leg she has not been left alone much so the bandage hasn't been a problem. However as I have to work she is left on her own at my house during the day. And the little devil chews at her bandage despite having toys/ food etc with her. So everynight when I get in I have to redress her leg. It is looking lots better than it was, but we still need it covered to stop her getting at it. Still at least she is good and will let me do the bandages for her.
Now if only all house guests would arrive this well trained....

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Sealed pot

It has been a few weeks since I filled my sealed pot. I have still managed to save I just haven't placed it in the pot. As I have been avoiding shops and only spending occasionally I haven't had much cash.
Here's is what I fed my pot today

The pot is looking healthy if you ignore that most of it is coppers, although I am sure if I counted them they will add up to quite a bit.

Once my little purse was emptied of shrapnel I added what is left of our monthly spends.

I want to see how far we can stretch this money. It is 4 weeks and 2 days until my next payday. That means we have around £12.50 per week as our weekly budget. Eek that doesn't sound much. The only money I plan on using from the current account is my diesel. I use more than the weekly money in fuel to get to work.
We do have a lot of food so it will just be the bits I can not buy and store for the month, see my page here for what we have already in stores.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Chocolate slices

The other morning I woke up to find this in my blog list. It looked delicious so I thought I would make some for our lunches this week. The bonus is that you only need things I generally have in the store cupboard, no Fancy ingredients needed.

I decided not to ice mine, just to eat them as they are;

I probably shouldn't confess that I have eaten most of this already. I may be baking some more later in the week to replace the lunch box stocks!
Pop over to Michelle's blog for the full recipe and lots more scrummy foods.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Food challenge

In the week Frugal queen posted about her use it July challenge, where she is going to use the food from her cupboards and buy no more! I have decided to join in. I knew I had a lot in store however I didn't realise how much until today when I did a stick take!

In stock I have;

Pudding and sweets
2 home-ready made bolognese 1 to be used saturday- 1 left
2 large german sausages
1 chicken pie
2 precooked rices to be used tuesday
1 bacon rasher packet
1/2 roasties
2 rustica bread rolls
1 spicy chicken slice
1/2 packet of sausage meatballs (see my post here)
25 naan breads, still going strong on my approved foods order in January/february 2 to be used tuesday- 23 left
500g mince
1 whole mackeral
2 paninis
4 mackeral fillets
3 home made tom pasta sauces 1 to be used monday 2 left.
cooking bacon to be used wednesday
plaice fillet using for mon
pouting fillet
dab fillet
1/4 bag chicken nuggets
5 portion of stewing lamb 1 to be used tuesday 4 left
toffee crisp ice cream tub
4 burger buns
red cabbage
tom soup
2 pints of milk 1 tobe used wednesday- 1 left
4 burgers
4 sausages to be used thursday
1 lamb steak
12 pork chipolata sausages
2 chicken drumsticks
2 rib eye steaks to be used sunday
1 black pudding
6 home made apple crumbles
Plain flour
Self raising flour
Risotto rice
Noodles (oodles of!)
Curry sauce mix
Rice krispies
5 bottles salsa
2 tins mackerel
4 tin tuna
3X tom pasta jars
6 tins toms
3 tins baked beans
4 tins spaghetti
½ pot gravy powder
Box Jacobs crackers
2 tins coconut milk
1 tin ravioli
1 tin chickpeas
1 tin red kidney beans
Pataks curry paste jar
Pack lasage sheets
4 bags rice
4 packets couscous
2 sausage and herb casserole mix
2 bbq chicken mix
2 fajita spice mix
1 taco spice mix
Dumpling mixes- lots
Tomato paste
Spaghetti pasta 3 packets
Pudding rice
Custard powder
6 jars jam
2 trifle boxes
1 tin fruit cocktail
1 tin peach slices
3 jars mincemeat
Elderflower cordial (lots)
Lots wafer biscuits
Banana angel delight
3 jelly sachets
3 blocks of cheese
½ jar jam
Pickled onions
Cooking marg
Cheese slices
7 small fromage frais
1 yoghurt
4 chicken eggs
8 duck eggs
Lettuce ( a little sorry looking!)
1 sweet potato
2 tomatoes
½ cucumber
½ garlic bulb
4 carrots
3 onions

I have made up a menu plan using some of this for the week;
lunches cheese rolls for children. I'll have salads. We normally take fruit and yoghurt. I will still pack us fruit, I will use the tinned the children don't like it. I will use cold custard/jellies instead of yoghurts once they are all gone.
Monday:plaice and pasta
Tuesday: lamb curry, rice and naan
Wednesday:cheesy bacon pasta
Thursday: sausage and chips
Friday: home made pizza
Saturday: jacket potatoes/ bolognaise
Sunday: steak and homemade chips

I haven't organised the rest of the month yet, but I'll let you know as I do. I think I may put this table on a different page so I can cross off items as they are used and keep track of our stores.
I am going to set us a budget of £100 this is to buy everything for the month, with the exception of the new bedroom furniture I am hoping to get, it will be including Stephanie's new shoes I will be getting next week. Once it's gone there is no more as I need every other penny put away as there are lots of demands on my money next month with swimming fees due, bus passes to be purchased and new school wear, as well as the impending summer holidays.
If you spot an item on my food list and you have a fantastic recipe for me please let me know.

Who else is in for the challenge? Leave a message here and then head over to Froog's blog to let her know too.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Another birthday party

Stephanie has another birthday party tomorrow. Again I have decided to mind the pennies and make the gift rather than buy one.
Remember the bags I made as gifts earlier in the year? Well Stephanie wanted me to make a bag for this little girl too.
So I went off to search through my fabric stash and found this:
An old torn/outgrown dress of Stephanie's...

and an off cut of pink fabric from an old project.
Inspired by the shape of the dress once I unstitched the ruched parts, I used the hem of half the dress and cut two of the corner pieces out to form the shape of the bag, and two identically shaped pieces of the off cut fabric.
Less than an hour later I have this;
A pretty handbag. Just need to get Stephanie's approval when she gets home tomorrow, then off to her friend it will go.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Hungry to happy challenge


“This post is an entry for BritMums’ Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs”

I was given the opportunity to review the Richmond's mini meatballs, we decided that tonight we would taste them.

It did take me a little while to locate them in the shop- I assumed they were a fresh product, they were frozen! LOL

Today I decided its Friday and I want to cook something quick. The packet says that you can microwave them. Perfect, we'll have a microwave dinner then! So I asked the children what they wanted "jacket potato and beans with mine" (Stephanie) I decided to join her in this. Dylan doesn't eat jacket potato or beans, so he got some left over pasta.
I went to the cupboard no beans! We have run out and I have pledged not to buy ANY more food until July's payday. So I found some spaghetti instead.

The whole lot was microwaved, it took about 15 minutes in total.



Dylan's, he decided he would like some spaghetti too once he got into the kitchen.
So what did we think on the taste? Honestly, not good. They tasted floury rather than meaty. Very little taste, the children weren't keen either. I do have some left in the bag, they may taste different cooked in the oven but I don't hold out much hope.
Most definitely not worth the £2.49 Tesco's are selling them for.
I didn't read the bag before the taste test, I wanted to not have any preconceived ideas. However, after tasting I must say I was not surprised to read the ingredients;
pork (52%), water, rusk, potato starch, wheat fibre, dextrose, soya. made up 98% of the product. The last 2% was made of various flavours and preservatives.
Typical 'children's food' full of junk and tasteless.
I will be continuing to make my own using meat from the local butchers- sorry Richmond's.
I was not paid to write this review, I was provided with a voucher to cover the cost of purchasing the product in order to review it. The views put across in this review are my own ( and my children's!).


Wednesday, 19 June 2013


A little post to show how the baby blanket is progressing. I am managing to do a little every night. I am on the cast off as the edge is made stitches are cast off. I am about half way through this process I am hoping to have it finished by the end of the month

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

crafting on

On Sunday I had a crafty couple of hours. I decided I wanted a permanent place to write my menu's for the week, rather than the scraps of paper I have been using. I used things I already have already. An unused picture frame, a photograph from our most recent holiday and a whiteboard pen. I LOVE it!
I then spent some time crafting with Stephanie. Here she is making a tea light holder, she used an old jar and some tissue paper from the stash.

Then we pressed some flowers which she had picked on Saturdays bike ride. We will do something with them once they are finished. See those heavy old, expensive uni books. They did come in handy for something! Now I really need to get them on Amazon!

Dylan has been working on a metal work tealight holder he is making as part of his GCSE project. I might be allowed to give you a glimpse once he has finished and handed it in. He is taking such a lot of care and it really shows. I can't wait to see the finished product it looks fab half made!
I do love a crafty Sunday. Now I must go and organise tomorrow's lunches and dinners then I can sit and knit. The baby blanket is progressing slowly. I might give you a peek tomorrow.

Monday, 17 June 2013


I have some great savings I made this weekend. I popped into Morrison's on the way past to get some bread. I spent the grand total of £8.61. Look what I got for that:
2 Mackerel
1 fillet of plaice
24 plain bread rolls
2 chocolate twists
2 large fruit tea cakes
2 rustic bread rolls
2 paninis
half a melon (9p!)
bunch of bananas
1 multipack of kitkats
cheese straws (for Grandad)
3 pots of ready made fruit- only bought as reduced 15p each.
All was reduced except the bananas and kitkats. The kitkats are worth the money though, they have 1/2 price vouchers for up to 4 people to go Chessington which is on the children's summer wish list.
Using items I had in the cupboard/fridge I canned a batch of tomato sauce we use for pasta etc.

A few cloves of garlic, 1 onion and 1/2 a bunch of fresh basil I bought reduced for 9p
A salad pepper delivered with my veg box in a sorry state, and the stalk off of the broccoli we had for dinner were chopped and added too.
This all went in, along with 3 cans of tin toms.

Here it is all cooking down.

And in the jars. With the tinned tomatoes and vegetables I estimate these cost me around £1 to make. That is for all 3 jars so 33p a jar roughly. As opposed to £1 a jar when on offer of the supermarket stuff, and I know what is in them.
2 out of the 3 jars sealed and "popped", the third didn't but as we have a tomato based dinner planned for Wednesday it is sitting in the fridge ready to be used. I will definitely follow Elaine's advice and make these again.
Oh and in case you are wondering, I didn't waste the water from the boiling the jars stage either, I put that in my metal watering can. I left it to cool over night, now I am off to water my plants with it. Waste not want not!

Sunday, 16 June 2013


I have so much to share with you all, today has been busy. I'll post about one thing each day until I have caught up, that should help with the mid week lull I get from having so much to do from work.

So today here is the garden update for this week it's starting to do well;

When I got up this morning I discovered that Stephanie had written a sign for her garden. I love it!
Raspberries are starting to bud

The peas are beginning to flower

Carrots are sprouting up

This pea is really doing well

Strawberries are beginning to fruit
I seem to have forgotten to photograph them but the beans are doing well too. All looking somewhat behind due to the late start this year, but never mind we are getting there!! Alsways makes me smile when I can see things beginning to grow in the garden.

Kids Grow Wild

This is an entry for Britmums' #KidsGrowWild challenge.

Yesterday we went to the post office retrieval place, I had missed a  parcel on Thursday but as they shut before I finish work I had to leave it there until the weekend. Not easy as I didn't know what it was, and I am hopeless at waiting for surprises! I also knew I had not ordered anything as I am really trying hard to curb my spending.

As soon as I saw the box I remembered, I had entered to join in with the Moneysupermarket and Britmums' kids grow wild challenge. This was my box of goodies to help with this. So I called Stephanie down to open the parcel, not telling her what I expected to be inside.

 Mum there is a letter in here! Along with the letter there was a gardening bag, which contained a watering can, a hand trowel, a hand fork, a pair of gardening gloves and three packets of flower seeds. A perfect gardening kit for any child.
 Being the avid reader that she is, she set to reading the gardening tips page included in the package. this has useful ideas for how you can use the contents of the package with your child, for example making a scrapbook to follow the process of growing your seeds. About encouraging your child to read the instructions and lead the way in following the process of planting by asking prompting questions. The one I am really taken with trying is growing a bean seed so that you can see the roots etc form. I am going to do this one with her today.
So after Stephanie had read the sheet I asked what she would like to do. She immediately put on some shoes, the gloves from the gardening bag, which she also picked up and went outside. No words but that simple response showed me she wanted to get planting!
I gave her some empty planters to use and went and dug some compost out of the bin. Here Stephanie is reading the seed packet for what she needs to do.
Sprinkling the seeds into her pot.
Getting a little help from big brother to fill the watering can from the water butt.
Once Stephanie had finished planting her seeds I gave her the choice of several places in the garden to form her garden. She chose along the fence where I don't have any pots already. We moved them in to place together ready for watering. I also gave Stephanie a couple of my strawberry plants I had growing, as she loves strawberries and so that she has something immediately to be taking care of, so that she doesn't become bored waiting for the other seeds to grow.
Here she is admiring her hard work.
I have a feeling that this is going to become something that really interests her over the summer.