Monday, 26 October 2015

Pierce and ping

Hello,

What one thing makes life easier for a busy mum is creating pierce and ping.  By this I mean making healthy, filling meals and puddings for your freezer. 

Firstly decide what meals you wish to make e.g. curry, chilli, bolognaise sauce, mince in onion gravy. 
Secondly write a list of everything you need to buy to be able to make these items.  These meals seem mince heavy but we tend to use a mix of beef or quorn, lamb, pork or Turkey mince could be used to ring the changes.

I chop all vegetables needed to make all the meals and make up the meals in my biggest pans.  I only ever cook 2 meals at a time so say a curry and a chilli on the stove together.  When cooked I cool in my porch (all food is cooled here away from cats) then I portion up, label and freeze them.  When needed I then take the required portions out of the freezer in the morning to defrost then  heat through when I get home.  It makes teatime easier.  It uses less time as I prepare all meals in one go, less fuel to cook as I only cook once and then reheat.

I also buy fresh vegetables e.g. bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and carrott shavings.  These are frozen and bagged to create stir fry mix (a nice quick easy tea with some brown rice).

Just a bit of planning and an afternoon free can see you with quite a few stress free dinners banked its cheaper and healthier than a takeaway when the idea of chopping and cooking just seem like to much of an effort after a busy day at work.

Anyone else batch cook for the freezer?  What do you make?

Dawn

Autumn days and warm comforts

Hiya,

Yesturday saw me tackling the washing pile all done now

Today I'm thinking will be a baking day, may just crack on with cupcakes today that are to be kept plain tonbe eaten in the coming weeks with custard for puddings.

The playroom bookcase has been tackled and looks much better now tidy, stories we had forgotten about have been found (new bedtime stories).  The kids have been entertaining themselves whilst I have been having a look at meal plan ideas.

Below is a photo of a dark October day in my dark kitchen (not the brightest photo) hot chocolate and bowls of homemade popcorn (cheaper and healthier than shop bought).  We seem to occupy our time filling it with low cost or free fun quite well these days.  Our car gets its 2 new tyres fitted this afternoon and will be useable again (not that I drive, because I don't, however I'm sure J is missing it).  Thank goodness he can get the bus to work (costs nothing), we are lucky where we live to be only ten minutes from the town centre and buses are every few minutes, supermarkets are 15 minutes walk away so we are by no means stranded.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

It's half term

Hello,

Well last week went so quickly, as you know last Thursday I received my Teaching Assistant certificate and I got a phone call the day afterwards which meant I had a following busy week.  The phone call was offering me a supply teaching assistant position.  I have completed my first week now (first week on the pay roll in 9 years) I loved it.  This is the reason I have had to be super organised.  This now continues a little while longer, but for this week it is half term.  Once again we will be taking advantage of low cost or free fun, due to a few factors including the fact J is working most of the week, the car now needs three new tyres (expense we weren't anticipating) and I have a list of jobs as long as my arm to get through and try to get a head start on the coming weeks by making meals in advance for the freezer.

The list;

Washing pile started Friday night when home from school
Putting clothes away in wardrobe
Tidy up kids have done their rooms
Big clean through upstairs has been done
Change all beds and wash bedding
Big shop Ordered from Tesco delivered yesturday evening

To make;

24 chocolate topped Fairy cakes for the freezer
Large chocolate cupcakes for the freezer to have with custard as a pudding

2 portions of bolognaise (family size for the freezer)
2 portions of minced beef and onion (family size for the freezer)

I also have some more new stock items to make and list in my shop as my new beads have arrived this week. (happy dance)

Will I manage it all? Hopefully!

Happy half term

Dawn x

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Plastic free school trip

Hello,

Since there is now a charge for disposable plastic bags we no longer have carrier bag mountain.  We usually use big jute bags when we go shopping however these bags are too big for some uses.  We found a situation recently upon where we usually requested to bring a packed lunch in a disposable bag (for a school trip).   A big jute bag is too much and we don't have carrier bags, so what did we do?

I purchased three collapsible tote bags (pictured below) from poundland they cost me £1 each they fold down to nothing and can be placed in the child's coat pocket at the end of lunchtime.  I keep one in my handbag for when I go shopping to town.  Excellent for clothes shopping and library books and they take up less space than my cotton bags.  By keeping these in my bag I'm saving money and resources a great buy for £3.00.

Dawn

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

My little Victorian

Hiya,

Today is Victorian day at school for year 1.  Here is my little Victorian, happy as Larry to be all dressed up. 

Have fun

Dawn

Sunday, 18 October 2015

All change

Well hello,

Due a phone call on Friday, this week coming will be a very busy one indeed.  I have so much going on now I need to be as organised as possible.  In order to free myself from as many household tasks as possible in the week I have re organised the order in which things will be done to ensure I get everything done as I will be shattered by each evening. 

Today I have been to church, followed by Aldi for a weeks big shop armed with a list of what we need to make the bulk of all meals for the week ahead.  This little lot came to £80 a mini shop during the week for milk, bread and fruit may be needed (J is off Wednesday so I may ask him to bob down to aldi for those).  I have planned my busy week on paper so I don't forget anything e.g Victorian day, school trip, music group, Brownies.  I have since come home and made a stew for tonight's tea, and we have a yummy cheesecake for pudding.  All clothes are out ready for tomorrow, showers have been had and I have done all my washing and cleaning.  At the moment I feel like I am wining.  I still have packed lunches to do for tomorrow.  I have been really busy this weekend and this week should flow well as long as I don't loose my plan lol.

Have fun
Dawn

Thursday, 15 October 2015

A good day

Hello,

Yesterday I found out that I have passed my teaching assistant course from before the summer holidays.  I'm now a fully qualified teaching assistant (happy dance) and today I went to collect my certificate, my first qualification in my married name.  I'm now looking to the next step of my journey.  J is off today so we went out to wetherspoons for a pub lunch.  I had a superfoods pasta salad and a bowl of chips and a still water.  It was yummy and filling.  I then came home to find I'd won a prize on another blog I follow (I haven't won anything for years) it is turning out the be a good day, who knew.


Dawn

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Because Rome wasn't built in a day

Hello,

Today I have taken the bull by the horns and decluttered another dumping ground hot spot.  The bottom of the wardrobe filled with all manner of bits of old work uniform (him) jeans from before she had three children (her) 6rolls of wrapping pile, tons of bedding, shoes and handbags (a weakness if I'm honest).  I do like handbags a bit too much they are great for altering a look and always fit.  I have got rid of some that I'm not sure why I was keeping however I did find some of my hippy bags which I love and can't let go off.  I have washed and stashed them lol J will never know haha!

Tomorrow I have another 6 full bags to go to the charity shop and clothing bank.  I feel happier and lighter for it and will not miss the items that are going they have served a purpose but are no longer needed in my life. 

Decluttering of the girls room (the Bermuda triangle) is done in small snippets everyday otherwise they would realise I am decluttering in there as well. (Needs must).  If the girls were aware of it they would vet every scrap of paper and every broken crayon, crying of its merits as a prize possession.  Three words sum it up Hoarders from Hell.

Who else loves a declutter?  Anyone else live with a hoarder?

Dawn

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Stuffocation

Hello,

When I went to Waterstones (bookshop) the other day I also bought this, I have only just started reading it but it really does help with mindset of decluttering, organising what is important in life and reducing consumption and buying of unnecessary stuff.

So far I'm finding this a really good read (I usually read on the school run when at the school gate waiting for the kids to come out, I call it me time).

I am still decluttering slowly but I am getting there, however I am nowhere near finished.  If I ever get another free day (hahaha like it ever happens) I shall tackle another hotspot on the list.  I keep looking at carrier bag mountain and think one day it'll be you as I fight the iron out from underneath it (oh the shame).

I need more time. 
Dawn

Just when you feel you'll never make it, a glimmer of hope

Well hello,

Sorry I have been missing in action this week.  It has been a massively mad week and I've been trying to fit everything in.

We have had 2 harvest festivals at school for Peaches and Pixie,  they did really well with their words (proud mummy moment) Princess got student of the week at school last week and Peaches has been on the achievement board twice this week at school.
I have parents evening tomorrow but only for Princess as Peaches and Pixies teachers off school sick.

Regarding budgets and my original goal of paying off the mortgage, I have felt this to be unobtainable many times however this week I have had to renew my fix.  I have now been quoted lower payments so when I have had a good number crunch I may be in a position to overpay on my mortgage therefore knocking it down by 2 years.  I still need time and space to do the full number crunch on my budget as I now have final income figures that I can work with.

I am finally seeing a glimmer of light of hopefully being able to pay off my one and only debt sooner rather than later.  We live a simple life but that's what we are use too and we are happy with it.  We don't feel the need for added frillies in order to make our life complete.  I am however trying to find wriggle room in my budget for a few days away by the sea in summer (August is expensive).

Ah well best get cracking on everything I failed to get completed last week lol
Have fun

Dawn

Monday, 5 October 2015

Carrier bag tax

Hello,

As of today in England you will be charged for carrier bags when you visit shops, anywhere that employs 250+ people are now charging 5p a bag.  I use cotton bags that I take in my handbag, the carrier bag tax may reduce consumption ya never know.  Many shops have had training for today on how to deal with outraged customers who do not want to pay.

What are your thoughts on people having to pay for carrier bags?  Will it put people off buying so much if they have to buy a bag?

Dawn

What's for tea?

Hello,

As you know I shop with a meal plan, Sunday I bought a beef roasting joint (haven't bought one in years due to cost and the fact they shrink) J fancied a change so we thought why not.  I got my roasting joint from Aldi it was a good size and cost £5.00.  I served it with roast potatoes, carrots, peas, Yorkshire pudding and gravy (being northern gravy is a must).  I was so surprised when the meat did not shrink.  I therefore had enough to feed all 5 of us and still have enough left over to make something else with (that's Monday nights tea).  I have also been gifted more apples they were absolutely delicious I made an apple crumble to go with custard (instant) this filled the yummiest up.

Monday nights tea will be shepherds pie made with last night's beef and veg and I have made a large fairy cake for pudding. (Photo below)

The cake making stuff I already had in and the topping is a large bar of white chocolate (melted) with chocolate stars.  I try to keep to a budget, whilst also ensuring everyone is full of healthy, nutritious food with the odd sweet treat of course. 

Today we have a dark gloomy day mainly consisting of rain, so after getting drenched on the school run for a second time today we'll all be glad of a nice hot yummy dinner.  Tomorrow J is off work and Peaches has her church service at school(harvest festival) which we are looking forward to seeing her in.

Have fun

Dawn

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Laundry liquid recipe

As promised here is my laundry liquid recipe;

You will need;

•Soda Crystals
•one bar of soap
•borax
•one large pan (i use a huge stock pan)
•boiling water
•large storage container with lid (my old nappy bucket being reused)
•a stirrer ( I use a wooden spoon)
•old laundry liquid bottle

Method

•First grate your bar of soap

•Half fill your big pan with water and boil

•Add grated soap and stir until it is fully dissolved

•Pour mixture into your storage container

Add half a mug of soda Crystals

•Add half a cup of borax

•Still through

•Add more hot water to fill the bucket

•Give it another still

•Leave over night too cool

Then decant into your old laundry liquid bottle to fill half the bottle and fill the rest of the bottle with water, give it a good shake and use as normal.

Hey presto, laundry liquid for pennies as good as the leading brand!

I purchased soda Crystals and the bar of soap from Home Bargains (UK discount shop) and the borax I am unable to buy in the shops in the UK so I bought it off Amazon.

All aboard the coach

Hiya everyone,

Yesturday i didn't manage to post a blog as I was helping out on a school trip to Liverpool with my daughters class (Peaches), the day started off a foggy affair however when we got to Liverpool the sun shone.  An excellent day for taking photographs of the docks (sorry no photos here though as they are all on the school iPad).  We went to two museums as well,  we ran out of the time in the end and all climbed back on the bus back to school after 20 minutes in the gift shop and another 20 minutes whilst everyone went the loo.

Peaches was a happy little soul though because I was able to accompany her class, I was shattered last night sea air and tons of walking did for me lol.

This morning I shall be catching up on my Friday housework lol, I have started using my laundry liquid that I have made and so far it has worked really well.  I'm very impressed with it and shall blog the recipe for it.

Have fun
Dawn