Project 365: Days 22 to 28

22/365

I’ve been entering lots of competitions again, the dog has won two this year already so I’m trying to catch up!

23/365

Another 6am dog walk find! This seemed quite unusual for where I live and made me smile!

24/365

Unexpected guest for tea, luckily I had this bubbling away so was well prepared (even had enough left over to freeze!)

25/365

The closest I’ve come to forgetting a day! The group I’ve joined is quite (actually very) strict actually so it encouraged me to take an emergency winter sky pic!

26/365

After a really busy tiring week I was glad of a Friday night curry and boxset night! It was ambitious to think I’d need them all, managed 4 episodes of life on Mars before falling asleep!

27/365

Another food pic, I was so proud when I made pitta breads and they came out the oven looking like them!

28/365

Littlest W collects tea monkeys and today he has had a new one to add to his collection “green tea monkey!”

Another week complete, nearly a month in!

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Sunday Sevens #7

I cant believe it is Week 7 of Sunday Sevens, time is absolutely flying by at the moment.

#1 Lego

Our house is full of lego and everytime I tread on a piece of lego in the night I always say NO MORE! But it is a fab toy and it’s better than being on the xbox all the while, so this week when Smyths had their 20% off for one day only; we were there so littlest boy could spend the rest of his birthday money on another huge set (which he built himself!).

#2 Another Card

A thank you card for the placement I have been at for the last 12 weeks. I’ve waited and waited for my sentiment dies, but I got an email today to say they aren’t in stock anymore! Luckily I have lots of sentiment stamps.

#3 Pretty flowers

I had these pretty flowers and card from the placement I have been at.

#4 Summer Evenings

Well, summer returned and I had a lovely date night with Mr W on Friday night, it was so nice to be able to sit outside in the beer garden, a nice start to the bank holiday weekend.

#5 Curry

Date night ended in a fab curry, the best butter chicken I have ever had, calories don’t count on date night!

#6 A-Z

I am a little bit obsessive about the dvd storage in our house, they are a-z in boxes (both sides of the chimney!). Not accessible to the boys though, so this week I had to give in and let them put the discs in a big folder (and they’re not in order!!!) Its going to take some coming to terms with.

#7 finished!

Finally, today I have finished my craft book cover! I’m so pleased with it. It’s the book where I plan all my craft projects so I wanted it to be bright! Hopefully if I get chance I’ll do a post on how it came together.

Sunday Sevens #1

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I’ve always been a photo a day fan and have completed several project365s, so when I saw “Sunday Sevens” the weekly blog series over on Natalie’s Threads and Bobbins blog I had to have a go!

So here are my Sunday Seven from this week.

1. Surprise flowers for finishing my university work, but with a slight difference. I noticed my (very neglected) window boxes were missing last weekend, then Monday I came home to these, a surprise from my Mother-in-law!

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2. My littlest one is still patiently waiting for me to learn to play Lava on my Ukulele…it turns out I’ve forgotten the little bit I had learnt.

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3. Whilst planning out the Father’s day present in my sketch book I remembered I have a crochet/knitting project on the go, a half finished book cover!

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4. I also appreciated that I’d tidied and sorted all my papercraft supplies. I love sorting things!

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5. The weather has been so rainy, stormy and horrible this week and timehop keeps reminding me it should be sunny! Just like this day on the beach from 3 years ago with Niki and Woody.

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6. I’m on strict calorie counting in preparation for my holiday, 6lbs lost so far, absolutely no snacking has been allowed. Today however I treated myself to a chocolate brownie and cream (I had the calories after a big dog walk!).

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7. This is bert our 15 year old goldfish! This morning we found him almost dead at the bottom of his tank after he had the wrong food and it clogged up his tank and filter. My husband resuscitated him (squeezed him a bit in the middle) and I gave him oxygen (poked the air brick pipe towards his gills) and after an hour in a bucket while I cleaned his tank..he was fixed…look at him now…surreal but true!!!

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken and Naan bread

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With only two weeks until assignment submission and exam day its all about quick meals in our house.

Last night we had the best slow cooker curry ever, pictures are awful but if you pop over to Half Baked Harvest you can marvel at the beautiful pictures and how speedy it is to prepare! Then have a look at the equally as yummy and just as easy Naan bread recipe, mine were a little over cooked as I left them in the oven whilst finishing assignment number two, but they still tasted great!

Procrastination, Distraction & Emotion

As the title says, it’s all getting in the way at the moment, I’ve been able to return to my crafts and my blog as I’ve been lucky enough to have 3 weeks off.

I should however be glued to my laptop as I have so many assignments to write.
They need to by in at the start of may and I have done just one (the small one!)

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I have so many distractions in my life things I would rather be doing. I have ideas for starting decorating another room in my house but for now I’ve held myself back to just buying a few pieces to go in the kitchen.

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I discovered a video on free form crochet….I wanted to make a space notebook…tried and failed at a sun but turned it in to the beginnings of a flower. Something to go back to at some point.

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As a family we love the Disney Pixar short LAVA and my 7 year old asked me to learn to play the song from it on my Ukulele, that’s another work in process I’ve mastered the chorus and the end so far!

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I’ve enjoyed cooking a lot more like I used to, big home made meals without a packet in sight! Last night i made garlic bread which was amazing

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Then on Sunday Niki was very poorly again (she had Pancreatitis last year and almost died) and she spent an entire day at the vets they have no idea what is wrong with her but seem preoccupied that she is very bald….she lost a lot of fur when she was so poorly last year and it hasn’t grown back since. It hasn’t concerned me as she is on EN food and it was her old PROPLAN food which made her fur nice. Anyway they were also worried about low white cells but reading THIS health pack resource  they aren’t low for a greyhound so I think I need a greyhound vet. She seems brighter today though.

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So, life, fun, family and pets are getting in the way of assignments which I’ve well and truly lost my motivation for!

In the Kitchen: Popcorn obsession

We have always loved home made popcorn rather than the shop bought kind, however I always seem to end up burning pans when I make it or it turning out a bit chewy in the microwave, so after a lot of debate I finally decided to buy a hot air popcorn maker!

I went as cheap as possible and picked one up off Amazon for £12, it was really difficult to find one that wasn’t red.

When it arrived the first batch was a little dry, I was trying to be super healthy and not use melted butter, big mistake…it is the butter which makes it taste perfect.

We have tried lots and lots of flavourings, some shop bought some made with store cupboard ingredients. The boys love Chocolate and Salt N’ Sweet best of all.

My favourite is Mexican Popcorn and I have mixed up a jar full which I don’t think will last long! The recipe can be found HERE

The process is so easy, fill the measure up with popcorn, tip in, switch on and in two minutes freshly popped popcorn comes flying out. Then I tip on some melted butter and season!

I definitely need a bigger machine as this one does not feed 5 hungry popcorn addicts!

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In the Kitchen: Baked KFC

I have often tried to recreate the KFC taste and all of the recipes I have tried have failed, until now that is!

Then I found a recipe for Baked fried chicken on this blog.

I made it tonight and it is definitely the closest I have found, really nice, I would recommend you give it a go!

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I noticed a comment on the recipe asking what seasoning to use in the UK. I found this Season all from Schwartz and it seemed to be perfect for it.

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In the Kitchen: Rainbow Jelly

Quite a while back we went to our local ‘All you can eat’ restaurant and they had slices of rainbow jelly which J & A loved! I have been wanting to make some for them ever since.

I found (via pinterest again!) THIS method for making rainbow jelly and decided to give it a try!

It took a lot of messing around and probably wasn’t the best thing to do whilst I was working on my assignment as I kept forgetting about it and letting it set too much between layers.

I started with these colours… I had green as well and wish I had made room for it!

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This is how it looked last night in the fridge:

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And this is a slice of it this morning:

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I used plain yogurt for the white, but I think milk would work as well.

Things I learn for next time:

It takes an entire day, start early!

It would have been better in a smaller volume and perhaps in a square loaf tin so it can be turned out and sliced.

Use more colours as you need more for the effect.

It tastes yummy though, just like jelly tots and the boys love it 😀

BzzAgent: Tesco Goodness Campaign

I am a Bzz Agent and this post is about a product I was able to test through a current BzzAgent Campaign, I have been thinking a lot about whether or not to post this on here, but then I thought Yes, I will, as it is something I enjoy and I do share a lot of my opinions on here anyway so this is just a bit more structured!

What is BzzAgent?

BzzAgent is a form of word of mouth advertising word of mouth needs to be honest, open and sincere — it just doesn’t work otherwise. Every time I share about a product, online or off, I must:

  • Let people know you’re I am a BzzAgent and received samples or coupons
  • Give them my honest, hype-free opinion

So that is what I intent to do here!

I was sent my BzzAgent pack which contained money off vouchers so I could buy the items to test out (the voucher covers the majority of the purchase price, in most cases all). Unfortunately there were a couple of items (the smoothie pouches and the fromage frais) which my local Tesco did not stock, I did ask if they would be getting in but I got a lot of blank looks from the staff so I will probably try the bigger store next week.

Here are the products we bought:

TESCO GOODNESS APPLE &GRAPE SNACK PACK

TESCO GOODNESS LIGHTER MILD CHEESE STICKS

TESCO GOODNESS CHEESY TORTILLA SNACKS

TESCO GOODNESS MOUNTAIN SPRING STILL WATER

TESCO GOODNESS 10 ROCKET LOLLIES
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I absolutely hate making up lunchboxes so the main appeal of this campaign to me was something different to put in them which would be quick and easy, we decided to test them out on the first day at school, J would be eating his at school and A would have it when he finished as he is on short days this week as he has an August birthday so is the baby of Reception class 😀
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The boys found it all very exciting, I have participated in another Bzz campaign but it wasn’t something they could try, so this was new to them and they loved choosing what to put in their lunchboxes.

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This was A’s selection I was surprised he picked the water as there is nothing in the world which will convince him to drink water usually!

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First up the Cheesy tortilla’s! A immediately loved these because they were his size! J said he loved the packet because the prickly cactus made him laugh. Both enjoyed them and finished the packet. My only concern was A said they were really salty, which concerned me as he has never commented on saltiness of anything I have given him before and when I read the packet there was 8% of the RDA for salt in them, not something I would let them have all the time!

 

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Next up the cheese portions, not sure it is something I would buy as I find it more cost effective to just chop some pieces of our main block of cheese and put it in their lunchbox next to their sandwiches. A and J both loved them, the fact that it was different to their normal cheese and in a packet seemed to make it more exciting and they ate them all up.

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Next up, Apples and grapes in a bag, there was a choice of just apple or just grapes, but I thought I would get a mixture. The boys loved them, who would have known ready chopped apple could be so exciting! A also loved the cartoon characters on the packet so I would think if you have a child who doesn’t eat fruit this would perhaps encourage them? Luckily my two love fruit!

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It is very handy to have a nice sized portion of fruit ready without having to rush to prepare it in the morning, but I was a little bit put off by the short date on them as 2 days was the maximum display until date and some were starting to look at bit brown and squishy. I like to buy all my lunch stuff for the week ahead in one go. They would however be good for one off day trips and similar.

The water didn’t even get tried by A, as after he had got over the excitement of the cartoon picture he was no more tempted to try it! J drank it all but seemed indifferent about it really, but after all it is just water! I liked the size of the bottle and they price seemed very reasonable.

Our last item was a packet of Rocket Ice Lollies J was unable to try them as they have Beetroot colouring in which he has an intollerance to, but A was more than happy to give them ago. They come in packs of 8 and are quite a decent size for a children’s product A really enjoyed them 😀

Thats it for now, I shall update if we get the missing items 😀

Days out: Bwlch Nant y Arian and Aberystwyth

We usually do a family trip or day out for the boys birthdays, last year it was Legoland Manchester and Sea Life centre. However A decided for his 4th birthday he wanted to go to the seaside! We were dogsitting at the time so it worked out quite well as the dog could have a day out as well.

We decided to go to Wales as it is the closest to us, after talking to a neighbour we decided to go to Aberystwyth as she recommended a nice place to stop and walk the dog on the way.

Bwlch Nant Yr Arian Visitor Centre is about 10 miles from Aberystwyth on the A44, it was the perfect place for us to stop, walk the dog and feed the boys as they were all getting a little bit restless. There is a visitor centre with some information on Red Kites, lovely clean toilets, a cafe and they even have Dog bags (for the poo!) and plenty of bins 😀

The boys picked up a leaflet with an ‘Animal Puzzle Trail’  on and had lots of fun answering the riddles and then finding the hidden animals as we walked around the forest walk.

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The scenery was amazing and it was a beautiful walk around the lake. The Red Kites are fed there each day at 2pm, as we were visiting in the morning we didn’t expect to see any of the Red Kites, however we did! There were quite a few circling above us in the trees and I managed to get a picture of one of them, I was amazed how big they are!

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After the boys had worn themselves out on the two playgrounds and the dog had, had a decent length walk, we carried on with our journey to Aberystwyth.

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We were surprised how quiet it was for a sunny day in the middle of the school holidays! We were all very hungry so first thing was to get lunch, it was fish and chips all round and they were the nicest fish and chips I have had in a long time from the Central Fish Restaurant . After lunch we went down to the beach, all the houses are painted different colours which I think looked very pretty and brightened up the seafront, I would have to paint my house lilac if I lived there!

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We found a nice spot at the end of the beach where dogs where allowed on and had it all to ourselves! the beach was very fine stones so not sandy to make sandcastles, but the boys still had a fantastic time and found a couple of rock pools to explore in. The dog had a fantastic time running up and down with his frisby and ball and we had a fantastic afternoon!

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