Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Memorial Ideas

As I have been asked not to attend my Nanna's funeral tomorrow, I have been trying to come up with something else the Boys and I can do to mark the day.

I did think about sending up a Sky Lantern, but with this lovely sunny weather we're having, it won't be dark enough, early enough for No. 2 Son's bedtime tomorrow, to make it effective. Currently, I am thinking about sending some paper boats down the local river. Not sure if you're allowed to do that?

Any ideas, gratefully received.

On a more slightly more upbeat note and in an attempt to get back in the saddle, here are some updates.

No. 2 Son got to hold all £200 worth of Tiegan's Olympic Torch, which was special for him. 

All 3 boys played in the Parent and Child Hockey tournament night, last night and I know I really shouldn't laugh, but DH is making some very strange noises today with all his aches and pains.

There were about 50 taking part in all and they were all split up across ages, skill, gender to create mixed teams, but No. 1 Son's team came first so he was very pleased.

Finally, today, I got the courage up to have a go at making the Chicken and Chorizo pie the wonderful Frugal Queen taught me. 8 carrots, 1 onion, 1 green and 1 red pepper blitzed in, so plenty towards their 5 a day. I was worried that the pastry was too wet when I took it out of the food processor, but it rolled out Ok.
I also wasn't too sure how long it would take to cook, as I hadn't written down the cooking time, so I had to put it back in a bit longer. I took a chance when it looked brown but not burnt.

When No. 1 Son said, on receiving his plate, "I didn't know you could make pastry!. I said , quite honestly, "neither did I!".  No 2 Son said, "You can't have made it Mommy, it's not black". Children, can't live with them, can't live ..... no just, with them!!!

The verdict, they all loved the pastry but they didn't like the filling. I'm amazed, I thought it would be the other way around. Next time, maybe no chorizo or paprika, need to make the filling a different flavour.

On the subject of cooking, I have saved all the bread loaf crust/ends, since Froogs told me not to waste them, but what can I do with a bag of frozen bread crusts?

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Torn in Two

Being pulled in two different directions, or rather pushed by one party one way and by another in the opposite direction, with no way of pleasing both. Not up to the struggle of battling swords and liable to get torn in two, or maybe Solomon will provide them with a sword to cut me in two and then they will be happy.
Am I not fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means. If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you poison me, do I not die?

There's an awful lot of blood around that water is thicker than.

Arwedd xx

Friday, 25 May 2012

Depression Lies

Has anyone ever warned you about another person? Not in a nasty, malicious, "None of us like her", kind of way, but in a genuine caring, "just watch out for yourself" kind of way. The kind of way that makes you act just a little more carefully, that makes you try to be a bit more discerning about whether what they are feeding you is true or not. It's happened to me once or twice and I was always grateful for the warning, forewarned is forearmed, after all. I never thought, I wish they hadn't told me that. I might have thought, I'll wait and see for myself, but I was able to mind the cracks on the way.

Well I've got a friendly warning for you, Depression Lies. It's toxic and it's not to be believed.

When it tells you that the World would be better off without you, don't listen, it's telling lies.

When it tells you that all your troubles are your own stupid fault, don't listen, it's telling lies.

When it tells you that you are rubbish at everything, a rubbish mother, a rubbish wife, a rubbish daughter daughter, a rubbish friend, a rubbish employee, a rubbish human being, without exception, don't listen, it's telling lies.

When it tells you that everyone is talking about you behind your back, don't listen it's telling lies.

When it tells you that you should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself, because you can't get motivated to keep yourself clean, let alone sort the laundry, the vacuuming and the cleaning and tidying, don't listen to it, it's telling lies.

When it tells you that things can only get worse, don't listen, it's telling lies.

When it tells you it will never get better than this, don't listen, it's telling lies.

 .....if you consider suicide an option, I get it. Please, please, tell someone, anyone. NOW!

and please, please remember, Depression lies, it can't be trusted and it should never be listened to.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Thursday, 24 May 2012

House clearing

At the moment everywhere I look around my garden, drive, paths, we are over-run with ants. It seems they like this lovely sunny weather we're having too and have all come out to walk around in the sunshine.

Not so lovely when the path they are walking goes through the middle of the house. Thankfully not my house, although that has been known, but the house belonging to our two bunny wabbits, Speedwell and Bigwig. So today, a spot of house clearing was in order, just a bit earlier in the week than the normal cleaning job.

Out with all the old sawdust, straw, food leftovers, and general waste. All of which will go for composting, I'm told rabbit poo is a brilliant fertiliser, maybe I could sell bags of it to the local gardeners? A good cleanout, then a brushout and a spray around with rabbit friendly hutch cleaner.. 
Bigwig evicted for the clearout!

Nice clean sawdust back in and Bigwig enjoyed a lovely lie down next to his tea. 

The hutch our rabbits live in was originally built by a chap as a dog kennel, bought by us for £10.00 when he moved and converted by DH so the front wall with his archway in, turned into two mesh doors, with plenty of ventilation and somewhere to clip their water.
Don't get too settled, Speedwell, I'm cleaning that corner next!
 Bigwig and Speedwell have quite a large run, much bigger than any shop bought run and they make full use of it. They often play games in the early morning running around, hopping and they jump quite high and twist in the air. You can actually tell they are having fun, I know it sounds soppy, but it's true. They have a catflap which swings loose both ways and they come and go, in and out, whenever they please. They generally come in when it is pouring down, very wise.
Bigwig demonstrating the cat flap, but he's a bit quick!!

I tried something different today, with bits and pieces that had been in the freezer and store cupboard for months, Taco Shells. I must have seen them one day and decided they looked like a good idea, but then changed my mind. However, today after mincing down the carrots and onions, plus a pepper, now becoming a routine to hide the veggies, 

then frying off with the beef mince, 

I added a small amount of the pack of seasoning, as my lot are not particularly into spicy food,

added the water and left it to simmer down. 

I also added a good dollop of tomato ketchup, as per Froogs instructions to make it a bit sweeter and more familiar.

At the end warmed the Taco shells themselves and served with oven chips.

No. 2 Son wanted to know what the orange bits were and barely touched it, so I may have been rumbled, but the other two made their way through it. Not a huge success, but veggies eaten, items from store cupboard used after being there a few months and frozen mince from the freezer, (that had also been there a few months) also used up. More room for the things they prefer in future.

Are your pets troubled by home invasions, too? Any tips on how to solve the problem gratefully received.

Off out now as DH is insisting I get some exercise in today and it's still warm enough to walk, not sure I fancy a jog!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Flat is the new tasty.

Many Thanks to everyone for their words of Condolences. It is much appreciated.

Recent circumstances have led to the need for communications with those who generally leave me feeling inadequate and generally flat, so our meals today have reflected this.

However, even flat food can be very tasty. Instead of ham sandwiches today for school lunch, both boys took a Ham Wrap. We then carried on the Tortilla fest for tea.

I fried off four large chicken breasts.

Also made some Gucamole with avacados, and cut up some cucumber. Already had store bought Salsa and so we all had one of the boys favourites, Chicken Fajitas for tea.

As I seem to have an absolute glut of eggs this week, so these were followed by more flat food, Pancakes!

I made the batter doubling Delia's recipe so,

8oz (220g) plain flour
2 pinches of salt
4 large eggs
14 fluid oz (400mls) milk mixed with 6 fl. oz (150mls) of water
 4oz. (100g) butter to oil the pan.

Thankfully my DH is great at cooking anything to do with eggs, Omelettes, poached, scrambled etc, so while we sat, he made the pancakes and out of my 8 1/2 " pan we got three each, plus an extra two, one each for the Sons and a tinsy one for DH as he had stood at the stove for an hour making them. 

They were delicious with lashings of sugar

and a good sprinkling of lemon.

Apologies to all those horrified by our use of a plastic lemon. I did have real lemons but couldn't be bothered to mess up another implement for the washing up to squeeze them. Someone also put Golden Syrup on theirs, NOT me!!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx

P.S. I love that I just shared a recipe, even though it isn't mine and I didn't put the method, 'coz you all know it.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Grandma, because of you...

.... I have Memories to last a Lifetime.

In Loving Memory of my Nanna who died today.

Freed at last from the Living Death that is Alzheimer's, May You Now Rest In Peace, Restored and Whole in a Far Better Place, telling your terrible jokes to the Lord.

Nanna and her Little Boy
You Will Be Missed, but not Forgotten.

Love Always

Arwedd xx

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Olympic Torch Relay

This afternoon, as promised we went out to watch the Olympic Torch being carried through Paignton, Devon.

We decided to watch the stretch completed by the very beautiful Tiegan Flay, who attends the same Taekwondo class as No. 2 Son and I on a Friday night, as this would mean more to him. Tiegan is just 13 years old and has been Taekwondo training since the age of 8. She has competed at local, national and international championships, but her proudest moment was representing England in the WKA (WORLD KICKBOXING ASSOCIATION) World Championships held in Spain, where Tiegan brought home 2 X Silver medals. On a regular basis she travels a 250 Mile round trip to train with the England Squad team and the 'Flowering Youth' Demo team (an elite demonstration team of 16 young children from across the country, who have shown great potential in Tae Kwon Do). Due to Tiegan's hard work, determination and her love for Martial Arts she has won over 150 medals (100 being Gold), giving her the title of 'British' and 'English' Taekwondo champion four years in a row. I don't think she views me as any kind of opposition for her title yet, but just you wait. Once I've got those Press-ups mastered, she'd better look out. Hahaha.

Here is No. 2 Son in his specially homemade T-shirt with torch.

No. 2 Son holding a banner, not sure why he looks upset, he was fine moments later.

Quite a large entourage preceeding the torch.

Then the bus to drop Tiegan off, lots of cheers accompanied her arrival.

 The very beautiful Tiegan, resplendent in her white tracksuit, torchbearer No. 74.

Another Bus, whose that on the side?

Guess what? another bus. Where is that torch?

Tiegan gets a last minute briefing from the Metropolitan Police Cyclist.

 A smile for the crowd, but still no flame.

At last, the flame is here. Go Tigz!!

Then a very brief  300 metre jog down the road and she jumped back on the shuttle bus you see behind the torch.

Well Done Tiegan, you truly deserved your 15 secs of flame and You looked fabulous. Hurrah!

Lots of Love Arwedd xx 

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Best of British plus a touch of Italy

Now I know not every one is interested in all the "hype" over the Jubilee or the Olympics and I can totally understand why. However, I am trying to get into the spirit for the boys sake. No. 1 Son is desperately keen for the GB Hockey team to do well, as it is his No. 1 passion. I doubt it will feature highly in the BBC coverage, but we will be following it. No. 2 Son is interested because they are using it as a learning tool at School.

I've been enough of a misery in general over the last 10 months, so I am trying not to get too jaded about this aswell. Our Church is taking advantage of all the festivities to hold a Jubilee fair fundraiser and aswell as being roped in to Face Painting on the day itself, I promised to make some cards for one of the stalls.

So here are my first few efforts, made today:-

Hopefully a lot more to come before June.

Also today I made my own attempt at the lovely Frugal Queen's lasagne, after my recent cookery lessons and if I say so myself it didn't come out half bad. At least it smells fabulous, it is actually going in the freezer for next week.
It doesn't look as dark in real life as it does in the photo, so it's not actually burnt.

For tea I did homemade Carbonara:-

Blitzed some leftover bacon and left over cooked ham (as I didn't have enough of either on their own) in the food processor with an onion, fried them off with some mushrooms. Made my own **HOMEMADE** cheese sauce, with Froogs microwave method. It used 2/3 rds of a block of mature cheddar and was very cheesy. Cooked the spaghetti and added that and the sauce to the frying pan, gave it all a good stir around and served with some crusty bread. I would have done salad as well but we are nearly out of food this week. My DH said it tasted much better than the normal packet stuff. I am doing a little dance as I type this. Hurrah!!

Lots of Love Arwedd xxx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Coffee, Cake, Saucers and Grading

Had a lovely morning with the very beautiful FosterMummy in our very favourite Community Cafe.

Nice latte

and a lovely piece of lemon cake.
Oops, it's not looking good for weigh in again tomorrow, but I absolutely promise it has been my only treat this week.

My lovely latte, led me on to a very vocal discussion (aren't all discussions vocal?, but you know what I mean!), this afternoon about that age old dilemma whether to Saucer or Not Saucer?

Now I'm firmly in the NOT to saucer camp and I'll tell you, for why:-

Ben Terrett summed it up beautifully for me, when he said, it's because William Morris famously said, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”. The modern day Useless Saucer is neither useful nor beautiful.

Here's the worst modern day offender, the Conference Useless Saucer.
Ever tried to stand chatting, at a conference, holding a cup of coffee in one hand, a saucer in another, an agenda and then trying to drink the coffee? It's hard isn't it? Especially when the point of a conference break is to stand chatting!

Another one that annoys me is the Table Too Small Useless Saucer. This is especially annoying when you've got kids. Waiters have a habit of putting the most dangerous part of eating right in front of the kids, boiling hot coffee, sharp knifes or open bottles of wine. This problem is exasperated by the fact that the table is short of space. This problem is exasperated by the bloomin' useless saucers. Look I found an infographic!

I just don't see the point of these saucers.

The point isn't to hold the tea bag, you should take that out beforehand. Obviously! And the point isn't to look good either. If I went round my Gran's house I would expect a cup and saucer like this.

But in yer modern day coffee houses you get this hideous hybrid.

Or worse, one where the base of the cup doesn't fit in the dip of the saucer, but wobbles about precariously.

It's like they've used a trendy coffee glass and then thought, "Bloomin' 'eck! We forgot the saucers! The Englishmen will be revolting!"
But no one cares anymore. David Cameron doesn't wear a tie. Traditions change. And anyway, my Gran doesn't go to Costalotta Coffee.
I also know that saucers used to have a point. People used to pour tea into the saucer and drink it from there. That way it was cooler, quicker and you could slurp at it which aerated it and made it taste better. My Mum told me.

Until then. Unless you're a Grandparent ditch the Useless Saucers. 

As you can see from the glass at the top, my favourite Cafe does not "do" saucers, unless by special request and I like it that way.

Grading was also a thorny issue for me today. This is grading for my next Taekwondo belt. As I am worse than useless at this lovely Martial Art, I am but a mere White Belt, the lowest of the low, but my Instructor has been pushing me for the last two months to do my first grading for my next belt. She had another go for 20 minutes tonight aswell. However, there are two reasons why this will not be happening in the near future, well three actually, well actually four.

Number One - I can't do Press-Ups. No matter how hard I try, I just do not have the upper body strength to lower my sizeable lump to the ground, without smashing my face into the floor. To pass my first grading I must do 10 full Press-ups. Hahahahahahahaha, don't make me wet myself!!

Number Two - For Training sessions I am allowed to wear a black training kit. Below - me in my Blacks.

Blacks - Back
Blacks - Front
However, for grading sessions you have to wear your "proper" set of Whites, the Dobok! Here are my Whites.
Whites - Front
Whites - Back
There's a reason my Whites are still on the hangar. The largest size trousers in the Whites (which is the one I own) is not as large a size, as the Black trousers I own. I can just about fit in them, as long as I don't breathe out, not great if you need to jump around doing the "moves". I just don't have the skills to make them bigger.

Number 3 - No. 2 Son, being only 8, has to do all the Little Puma grades, which means 3 extra belts between his White and Yellow. He has done 2 of these, but not the 3rd. That means if we both grade at the next session, I will go from White to Yellow, he will go from White with an Orange Stripe to White with a Yellow Stripe and then Yellow at his next grading. Effectively, therefore, I jump ahead of him in one fell swoop. Now we first started going to Taekwondo for him, not me, and he likes being effectively 2 belts ahead of me at the moment. He likes to "teach" me things and it's good for him. I think he should stay ahead of me!!

Number 4 - It's very SCARY!! You have to stand in front of a panel of 9 Black Belts, the main examiner is a Master Black Belt and there are very few adults who do it in amongst the youngsters in each grade. To be honest, I've watched No. 2 Son's last two grading sessions, and the 5 year olds are wiping the floor with the few low grade adults, let alone the 10 - 15 year olds, who make it all look so easy. To make matters worse all the Mums and Dads of all those youngsters, are sat around the edge, watching the one lone adult trying to get their kick above waist height, while the kids are at shoulder height. It's humiliating.

I'm quite happy to give it a miss for quite a while to come, if it's all the same to you, Ma'am.

Hope you had a good day.

Lots of Love Arwedd xx