Sunday, 24 November 2013

challenge and an over-achievement

I enjoy running, I have been an on/off runner for years. I enjoy the feeling when I run and just after I have however I often lack the motivation to run in the first place! Last week I was looking through the blogs I follow and I saw a post by frugal queen about how she enjoys running and her fabulous fitness after beginning to run. Froog's was very brave and posted some pictures of her self during her 5 km run last sunday. This motivated me to get myself up and out of bed running before work on onday, but Tuesday rain was torrential- so I laid in bed. Then Stephanie was poorly with  sickness bug so I couldn't go running before work. So today I decided I was going to make a a little moage to Froog's achievement laat week I went for a run and took some dodgy pictures of myself as I went. I do not do glamour when running and my selfies are awful but here you go!

I went to a lake a short drive from my home as it is picturesque and tranquil- and mostly flat! The lake is 2.4km or 1.5m all the way round so I set myself the target of jogging as much of 2 laps as I could.

just about to set off!

1 lap in and still running, I was amazed I hadn't needed to stop and walk!

A blurry (still running) shot of the wildlife- not quite the cattle Froog's has to contend with- rather elegant swans and noisy coots here.
end of lap 2- still no walking! I was so shocked I decided to keep going and see if I could run another lap bringin my total run to 7.5km.
I completed lap 3, starting to feel tired but still running so I went for lap 4. To see how close to 10km I could run. I wasn't actually asleep as I ran but well taking pictures of yourself is very tricky when running- I have lots of shots of the floor LOL

My amazed and happy face! I did it I ran all the way around the lake 4 times- NO WALKING!! that's a massive 10km. I must keep up with this.
My after run treat waiting in the car for me!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

food glorious food!!

I love food, and I have been busy yesterday cooking, and today listing items on selling sites. Her'es the food calling to me at the moment;

Mince tarts made with home-made mince meat. Even Dylan likes them!


Cheesy swirls, loved by us all!

And slow cooked lamb stew- all the random veggies I had thrown in together this morning.
With dumplings added from an approved food shop.
All cooked with food I had in no extras needed!

Making extra cash

Yesterday I sorted out our old cloths

 and took them to a cash for clothes collection site near where I live. I sold our old clothes for 50p a kilo and came home with £14.00. Not masses of money for what looked like oodles of clothes, but lots more than I had in my purse to start the day with!

We have decided that as a family we would like to cycle together more, to aid this I need a new bike and Stephanie could do with a bigger bike as she has grown a lot recently. Now I very much doubt this will be new bikes, more likely 'new to us' bikes. The money received for the clothes has started off our budget for buying these. I will be on gumtree/ebay/facebook selling sites and so on until I find what we need.

I shall add a counter to the side bar where our financial stats for the month are to keep a check of this progress.

A little inspiration;

some of these so we can do this;

more often :-)

These pictures are to help me keep inspiration and get up in the cold attic, and cold shed to find things to sell. I'll be back later

Friday, 22 November 2013

Keeping Warm

A topic on so many peoples minds this year, the energy company price hike has only made it worse for so many people who were already struggling.

I held off putting on my heating until a week ago and even now it only goes on for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening just to lift the chill. I have a very modern energy efficient boiler and still struggle to pay the costs of using the heating so I know there are going to be far too many people without this luxury in so much trouble this year especially as the winter is supposed to be the coldest in nearly 50 years. Let's hope they get that as wrong as when they tell us we are going to have a record breaking summer!

The central heating is our only source of warmth so I try to 'catch' as much of the heat as I can when I do switch it on. I only have it set to heat the rooms to 19C as this is warm enough when wearing a jumper/layers. We wear layers, vests, t shirts, jumpers. Socks and slippers. In the evening when we wear pj's I put the summer weight ones underneath the flannelette winter ones I love to wear, and a dressing gown. Stephanie swears by her onesies. Dylan is always cold- mostly because he refuses to wear lots of layers- he is coming round slowly and instead of moaning about the cold last night went and got the fleecy blanket off his bed to snuggle under while we watched a film.

The other thing I find helps is to move! As tempting as it is to sit and shiver under a blanket and think if I move I'll get cold. I find getting up and doing a job warms me up. So I have started to spread out the housework rather than doing it all in one hit. I get up and do the dishes- the warm water helps. Then I might sit and do a sedentary job. Then I'll fold the washing, then another sedentary paperwork job before hovering and so on. This really helped yesterday, Stephanie is off school with a stomach bug, we are not usually home during the day so don't notice the house get cold but it did yesterday. Stephanie was fine as she was hot due to the bug! I was trying to do some paperwork from home and found that interspersing housework with paperwork meant the cold didn't get tp me too much. Also helped I guess that I kept my night time layers on! Lazy moo's we stayed in our pj's all day, well we weren't gong anywhere and were having no visitors why make washing!

It did get very chilly overnight last night I dreamt that we woke up to a huge bank of snow, and Dylan came to tell me this morning that he was cold. He will learn and accept he needs to wear long sleeved pj's before the winter is over. It was still chilly this morning when we got up even with the hour of heating on. So I got busy- I washed all of the condensation off of the windows, I sorted the washing, I have done the ironing, washed up and hovered downstairs. I am toasty warm now. So shall do some paperwork. When I start to feel cold I shall head upstairs to clean to warm myself back up.

The other thing I find difficult is drying my washing, in the kitchen, the warmest room in the house, it can take 2-3 days to dry a load of washing. I was given a new ( to me) 5ft upright freezer last week an have found the heat that come from the back of it is perfect for drying washing. It has taken 1-2 days now to dry washing if I put the clothes horse next to the freezer.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

How far can you...

Stretch out one of these;

I am very impressed with one my mother in law bought for us. It was a medium chicken she found in the reduced section of the supermarket. It cost her £3.00, I think.

So far we have had 5 dinners for the three of us, and one lunch. The meat is now all gone but I still have 2 large jars of stock made from the bones in the fridge. so that has been less than 20p a meal each from this one bird.

I have been paying attention to our portion sizes again. I was weighing meticulously a few months back but I have been lazy- which results in over cooking. So I have used the love food hate waste portion calculator this evening. I found that even using this I had too much food for te 3 of us. I weighed out the suggested pasta for 1 adult and 2 children. Knowing that while Dylan is able to eat as much as an adult Stephanie doesn't eat very much. Even so we still have a large portion of pasta left which Dylan is taking for lunch tomorrow. So I will try the portions for 3 children next time and see how we get on with that.

This week is set to be very low cost for me meal wise- we have had the chicken which cost me nothing for the last 5 days, tomorrow we have a very large pizza which we will share with garlic bread, both of which arrived from the same source as the chicken.
For lunches Dylan has been taking chicken sandwich, made from reduced priced bread so has been 25p for the loaf we have used this week. Stephanie has been taking houmous and vegetable dips, the vegetables were bought for 50p the houmous £1. I have been having a pot of soup which cost me 19p it will be the last and 4th meal from it for me tomorrow. There has been a little cost in vegetables with each meal, the pasta and potatoes but this were bought in bulk so minimal cost.

How far have you managed to stretch your budget this week?

Monday, 11 November 2013

a Christmas Guest

I spent some time this weekend making a visitor who will be visiting us in the lead up to Christmas, I have a feeling she may inject a little bit of light hearted fun and amusement into our mornings!

Here she is lying on the front of the knitting booklet I got the pattern from. She doesn't yet have a name as she is for us to play 'Elf on a shelf' with.  got the idea from Frugal mum

I can't wait to start playing. I got the DVD from argos for £2.99 and free delivery. The Dvd will arrive on 1st December 2013, then the elf the next morning.

I plan on blogging about some of the adventures our Elf will get up to throughout December. I have a feeling she may sneak into the suitcase when we go away for our family surprise.

I used a tiny little amount of yarn in each colour, all of which are in my stash. I am hoping that next time the children go to their Dads then I will have a chance to make the boy elf to keep her company.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Last weekend

I didn't get around to posting last weekend, and today I am avoiding paperwork! so I thought I would post about last weekend now.

Saturday I went to watch Stephanie dance with the cheerleaders and the local football stadium. She loved it, turns out she has as much interest in the actual football as I do! LOL we left at half time.

Here she is on pitch just before dancing- yes it did start to rain as the children came out. Turns out pompoms can be used to keep your hair dry!

Beginning of the dance routine

In full swing!
Stephanie had a brilliant time dancing, although it turns out she has her mum's interest in football- we ended up leaving at half time as she really had had her fill.

After the football we went to the fireworks show, I didn't get any pictures as my phone battery was flat after videoing the dancing and the millions of calls and messages from proud family members. When we got home from football we had another power cut so I couldn't charge the phone. Maybe there'll be spare cash soon so that I can buy a new camera.

On Sunday we went out with my sister and her family to The enchanted woods.

I love a good action shot- The gang involved in their own thing! LOL
We had lots of running, climbing, swinging and puddle jumping fun;

Then a quick cousin cuddle before going home;

A lovely weekend before getting back into the 'term-time routines'.

I am avoiding paperwork but I need to stop and go and get on with it I suppose. So will be back later with a 'what's happening this week' post.

Friday, 1 November 2013

A much better day

Our day might have started a bit fraught but it was much better. Stephanie and I went to Lullingstone Roman villa. She has been learning about Romans at school so we went to have a look at the real thing. It is part of the English Heritage properties so we didn't have to pay to get in or for the car park, saving £9.90 for entrance fees and £2.50 for the car park without our membership this would have been an unaffordable day out at the moment.

reading the information boards

trying the clothes on

Once we had finished we went back to the car for lunch.

enjoying her soup- flasks are great aren't they! Once we had finished lunch we left and saw signs for a castle so once we found somewhere to park we went to have a look. It doesn't matter how many castles we have seen previously this child always loves to visit more!

This one is more of a shell than a castle, there is not a huge amount of it left, it had been argues over and fell into disrepair many centuries ago.
Stephanie was horrified to read that parts of the roman villa had been taken apart in order to build the castle. I had to explain that the villa didn't have the same status back when the castle was first built- it was just like recycling the materials. She understood a little better then.
We came home and then had dinner. Dylan has decided to come home just for tonight. He is off to his Dad's tomorrow as he doesn't want to come to the football or fireworks.
Now I am off to sit in front of the tv with my knitting I feel the need for something to switch off my brain!

almost the end of the half term :-(

I have loved this half term, don't I love all of them?! I get time at home to spend with the children and to catch up on jobs that just don't happen in the school term.

This half term is a little more odd though, my only issue with it is that it has forced me to face the fact that Dylan is growing up :-(

He has npt been home at all since Sunday. He wanted to spend some time with his Dad, quite rightly so went off to his Dad's for a couple of days. Then he has been to his aunts for a couple of nights. I get a phone call each day, usually to just let me know he won't be home or can I bring some clean clothes etc. He doesn't want to join in with the things I am doing with Stephanie, today we are meant to be going to the Roman villa- that is not interesting to this 15 year old boy. Tomorrow he is off to his Dad's as he doesn't want to come to the football match that we are going to or the fireworks with me in the evening.

I fear he has reached the stage where it is not cool to go out with the family. This makes me a little sad. I'm sure there are some days he will still want to join us on. I'm feeling a little glum that he has got here, and also a little like I am doing more with Stephanie than him. Although this is purely because he doesn't want to join us. I have tried so hard since Stephanie was born to have them both included in everything it seems odd now to do things with Stephanie and not have Dylan there.

I am off now to give Stephanie a hug, today has not started well and she is back in bed already in an effort to find a happy place! It won't be long and she will be wanting to do her own thing rather than joining her poor mum.

this is not Stephanie but it is how her face looked this morning when I said it was breakfast time.