Wednesday, 16 August 2017

An anniversary. 8 Years Ago. #CHD

Today is my fella, Stu's birthday. That is one of the reasons that today's date sticks in my head and we celebrate but it is also the anniversary of the day my girls and I traveled to the hospital so they both could have open heart surgery....

The short story is: One night the kids were messing about in their bedrooms and Becky shut one of the doors on Ellie's fingers....While getting her fingers fixed they realised Ellie had a problem with her heart and it was found she had a Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) (A hole in her heart) Becky showed the same symptoms so we got her checked out. Becky had the exact same defect on her heart as Ellie. We traveled to the hospital on the 16th of August. Becky had open heart surgery on the 17th of August and Ellie had her's on the 18th. We were in hospital for a week and they are now left with leaking valves which will probably need surgery in the future....

You can read the longer version of our story.....Part One and Part Two.

Over the last year nothing has changed with my girls....Well nothing that I know about anyway. The girls were supposed to have a check up in April but the people who organise the appointments are idiots. I don't want to bash the NHS but the appointment people are idiots. For 8 years we have told them we can't get there for 9am. It takes us 2 hours to get to the hospital so it would mean us leaving at about 6.30/7am which is ridiculous.

A new one was arranged for August! That was the first time they could get 2 appointments round about the same time on the same day...It just goes to show how busy the child's cardiac clinic is. Great! The girls wouldn't have to miss any school. We then got a letter saying that had to be rearranged and they sent more appointments out for just after 9am! Grr! Back on the phone and fingers crossed we should be seen in October! 

The girls are fit and well and I have no worries about their hearts...I wrote a blog post just after Becky's birthday last year and it sat in my drafts until a couple of months ago....Full of questions? Death? What if? I know come October when the girls have their appointment I will start to worry...Eek!

I think when we go to the hospital I will have to ask about the Cinema room that I won for the hospital where my girls were treated....

It was so amazing to give a little bit back to the hospital which saved my girls lives and because of that we appeared in our local newspaper....

So today we will be celebrating Stu's birthday and I will be spoiling my girls a little bit more than usual....

To some it may seem strange that we celebrate a day of worry, pain, stress and heartache but to us it means a lot. Every year which passes means my girls are fit and well. We are celebrating that we all got through one of the worst times of our lives and the girls are still here with us now....

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Organix Punk'd! A new no junk snack bar....

When I think of the brand Organix I always think of baby and toddler food....Up until last week I didn't think they made anything for older children but they do!

Organix Punk’d is a new no junk snack bar suitable for older kids. The bars are aimed at children aged 5 to 11 but my teen tried a couple too.

Research shows that parents are struggling to find good snacks for children as they grow up and are being forced to make a choice to enforce health or save the battle on snacks. In response to this Organix Punk’d is the snack food with attitude that rebels against junk with real ingredients, great taste and absolutely nothing else!

We loved the packaging it was very cool. It stepped away from the cutesy style and has gone for the more edgy look which is perfect for older children.

We were sent the two different flavours of bars to try out..

Strawberry & Vanilla Smash.

Organic strawberry & vanilla oaty bars containing a blend of organic wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple & strawberry juice with vanilla extract

Cocoa & Orange Crash.

Organic cocoa & orange oaty bars containing a blend of organic wholegrain oats, sultanas, apple juice, cocoa & orange oil.

My girls and I all taste tested both flavours of bars and in all honesty I can say I loved both. My teen did too but her favourite was the Cocoa & Orange Crash one

My 9 year old is a little pickier though....Ellie wasn't so keen on the Cocoa & Orange Crash one. She said it was too orangey. It did taste very strongly of orange but I wouldn't say it was too strong.....She did however love the Strawberry & Vanilla Smash one's and has claimed all of these for herself.

These bars are the perfect size for a snack. I'm thinking for after school or a packed lunch.

At the moment you can buy these from Asda or Ocado for £2.00 for 6 bars which I think it reasonable for these type of bars....

We were sent these free of charge in exchange for our review! This is it. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

We did it....We ate everything on last weeks meal plan! Hooray! I love it when a plan comes together. hehehe

Today is the day that Becky is getting her braces off! She is very excited. She has written a list of food that she hasn't been able to eat for the past couple of years....She is planning to buy toffee and chewing gum on our way home. lol We have no idea how her teeth are going to feel, whether they will be sore or not so today we shall be eating soft food.

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Soup and ham sandwiches to dip in....
Tuesday - Sausage & tomato pasta....
Wednesday - A takeaway of some sort. It's Stu's birthday....
Thursday - Greggs bacon & cheese wraps from Iceland with fries or potato wedges....
Friday - Spaghetti bolognese & garlic bread....
Saturday - Leftover bolognese in Old El Paso Stand And Stuff Tortillas....
Sunday - Cottage pie....

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Our Skittles Experiment. #MySundayPhoto

A few days ago we had some fun with some Skittles. We found an experiment on Science Sparks and it looked like fun so we had to give it a try....We had great fun and the results were so pretty. I recorded a video and you can see it over on my You Tube account.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 32 #Project365

Happy Saturday! These weeks are flying over. I blame the fact it's the school holidays and it's the run up to birthday season in my house. My fellas next week, Ellie's a couple of weeks after then Becky's the week after that.

Now for a photo every day.

203/365 - 5th August
Fresh flowers always make me happy. I have been getting them most weeks with my shopping delivery.

204/365 - 6th August
Ellie asked to take my Sunday photo and of course she had to take one of Monkey.

205/365 - 7th August
Becky baked...Her cookies didn't work out well. They ended up too think and they burned but her chocolate cake was delicious.

206/365 - 8th August
I don't usually take much notice of my Tots 100 score. For the past couple of years I've been in the top 200. This month I found myself back in the Top 100 at number 66. I know it's just a glitch. Something to do with changing how they collect their scores and older blogs being ranked higher but I will take the ranking of 66 and go with it. heheheh

207/365 - 9th August
She had a lovely time doing some drawings. So many unicorns. 

208/365 - 10th August
We had some fun doing an experiment using the sweets Skittles that I found on Science Sparks. This was just before we started, they were so excited. 

209/365 - 11th August
We had some Organix Punk'd bars to try out....There will be a review coming soon.

In Solitary? I could easily spend 5 days alone....

I have seen a TV show advertised on Channel 5 called In Solitary....It see's contestants attempting to survive five days and nights in solitary confinement. Totally alone....No social media, no strangers, no loved ones...From what I can see they are in a PortaCabin, alone. They have things to do like colouring in, books and have everything they need to live like a bed, toilet and food.....

The adverts shows people breaking down and crying....What wusses! Five days alone would be my idea of heaven! My guess is the contestants were chosen because they have a busy social life, see their family every day or need company....Those type of people.

I could easily spend 5 days alone...

As long as I know my girls are looked after I would be happy to leave them for 5 days....They are 9 and 14 now. I know they would cope OK without me....They would probably be glad of the break from me too....

I never get this long to myself. I am not a people person. I'm quite the introvert. I like a gossip with my friends and love them to bits but I can go 5 days without speaking to them. 

Five days is 120 hours. That sounds like the perfect amount of time to spend alone.

In that time alone I could:

Sleep! I never get enough sleep.....I could sleep and sleep and sleep some more. Boring for viewers to watch but I would love it.

I could read. Since I started blogging I haven't really read any books. There are books which I have bought and would love to read but I have never quite got around to even opening them.

I have always wanted to learn to crochet or knit. 5 days would be long enough to learn?

I could stay in my pj's with no bra on! Comfort at it's best.

As I never have much time away from my girls and Stu it would give me chance to miss them and appreciate them.....

If there was a bath I could bathe in peace. No one coming in needing a wee, no one telling tales on their sister and nobody asking pointless questions...

If I had a pen and paper I could write ideas for blog posts. hehehe

If you had 5 days alone in one room, what would you do?

Friday, 11 August 2017

Feeling the pinch. #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

Every year it happens. This is the week where we are in the poor house....hehehe We have the usual bills and food to buy and then birthday shopping and birthday meals to budget for too. This is the week where we feel the pinch...People ask why we never go on a summer holiday, this is why! August is our most expensive month....

Over the next month is is Stu, my fellas birthday, Ellie's 10th birthday and Becky's 15th. 

The older the kids get the more expensive they get....They know what they want now and it costs more. They don't just want no-name trainers now. They want Nike ones.....They want all the latest gadget, books by Youtubers and a certain teenager has grown so much she no longer fits in children's clothes she now wears ladies clothes.

Ellie's present's are all bought and I bought the last of Becky's presents earlier in the week and they should be delivered early next week. I have one last present arriving for Stu's birthday. I hope it comes before Wednesday. Eek!

Stu will be working on his birthday so we'll be having a takeaway. The kids have decided what they want to do on their birthdays....Ellie wants to go to our local Brewers Fayre. She loves the indoor and outdoor play areas and Becky wants to go to another local family pub, The Old Ash Dene. I went there for a meal at Christmas with my friends but the kids & Stu haven't been yet. The food is amazing!! They have chosen their birthday cakes and all I have to do is buy cards and wrapping paper.

I do really need to start buying the kids things for going back to school....This year is a good year all I have to buy is shirts, trousers. shoes and a school bag each. I can pick all of those up in Asda. My good friend gave me some school jumpers for Ellie so that has saved me a small fortune. This time next year she will be having them back for her son as long as Ellie hasn't ruined them.....

I did get a few things while I was doing my online grocery shop. Quite a lot of the back to school stationery was and as of yesterday is still on offer. As Becky is starting her GCSE's in September and is taking Statistics as one of her options I thought a fancy calculator would be a good idea. I got her a Casio one reduced from £11.99 to £5.99. Bargain! 

I have decided this week to skip the food shop....The freezer is pretty full and the cupboards are over flowing! All we need is bread, milk, fruit and some more things for the fridge. I will pick those up from Iceland when and if we need them.....

We have enjoyed lots of inexpensive things this week.....The kids have played outside a lot, played on the computers and we had some fun with Skittles yesterday! We found an experiment on Science Sparks and had to try it.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

My teens birthday wish list from Wicked Uncle....

In June we reviewed some items from Wicked Uncle and my teen said she was going to make a list of things she wanted for her birthday and she has done just that....Her birthday is exactly a month away and I really need to start buying things!

Jellyfish Tank Mood Light - £18.95
Popcorn chocolate bites - Sweet and salty caramel - £4.95
Petal Perfect, Luxury pamper gift box - £17.95
Imagic - Smart magic for smart devices - £24.95
Lucky seven rings necklace - £34.99
Hop, skip & funk - Six odd socks - £10.99
Genetics and DNA experiment kit - £26.99
Mini arcade machine - 240 Multi-level games - £24.95

Becky even has a cake picked out from the Wicked Uncle website....She want's me to make her one this year and thinks this will be perfect. At £16.95 it isn't a bad price as long as I don't mess it up....Eek!

Obviously Becky won't be getting everything she has asked for...The prices are great at Wicked Uncle but I'm not made of money....hehehe

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Making Moon Sand....

Usually during the holidays we like to make Play dough but I thought this time we would try something different and make some Moon Sand. I had seen various recipes online some using corn flour, plain flour, real sand....There is so many but I chose the simplest one.

It takes just 2 ingredients to make Moon Sand.

8 Cups of flour.
1 cup of baby oil.

Adding food colouring is optional. We added it just so my girls wouldn't fight over who's was who's. lol

The girls made it all themselves with very little instruction from me....I was just there to keep count of how many cups of flour they had added to their bowl and open the bottles of baby oil....

The end result was a bit lumpy at first but after five minutes of playing with it, it seemed to smooth it's self out....

I sent the kids outside to play with it.....They could spill it on the floor as much as they wanted. hehehe They made pretend cakes, had Playmobil people in it and really enjoyed themselves.... 

Moon Sand was a cheap activity and it kept them amused for a long while....Well worth the few pounds I spent. 

We covered the bowls in cling film and the Moon Sand was good for another few days....

Have you made Moon Sand before? Would you?

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The day finally came...Cutting the apron strings.

The day finally came....The day where someone knocked at the door and asked "Does Ellie want to play out?"....Eek!

My girls have only ever played in the back yard with each other and the front street on their scooters....Last Monday the boy who Ellie walks home from school with knocked at our door asking if she could play out....I panicked and said come back in an hour. 

The boy is really sensible. He is like a little old man and I can't imagine him doing anything naughty. His sister who is a year and a half younger was also playing out....

As Ellie had never played out without her sister I needed to lay some ground rules....The usual no talking to strangers, come home every hour or so and for lunch, don't go too far and don't go into other peoples houses even if you think you know them....She was so excited waiting for her friend to come back.

Off she went and I was worried.....Cutting those apron strings is hard....She came back after a hour and asked to go to the park....I didn't feel comfortable with that. It's a little way away so I sent my teen Becky off with them....She had her mobile which made me feel a little more relaxed.

Lunchtime came and I had a great idea of making the girls a packed lunch. I'm glad I did. They had been back to the boy and girls house and their mother had packed them sandwiches 

They came here and were all set to eat them in the front street. I sent them into the back yard. At least there was the tables and chairs.....

They played all afternoon....Coming and going. They picked up more people they knew and in the end there was a few kids playing in our back street....It was lovely to see. It reminded me of when I was a kid during the summer holidays.....Only coming home for food and drinks.

The boy and girls mother did pop along to see if everything was OK. It turns out it was the first time she had let her kids out to play too.....She was feeling the same anxiety I was. lol

Since then they have played out several times. They have had a brilliant time and I have had a little time to myself which I was not expecting during the school holidays....

Monday, 7 August 2017

Our Weekly Meal Plan!! - #mealplanningmonday

Last Weeks meal plan went pretty well until we got to Friday...Stu was full of cold and I was feeling very lazy. So pizza was ordered and eaten....It was so good even better that I found a 50% off voucher code online. hehehe. We even had leftovers for Saturday lunchtime. 

This week on the menu we have:

Monday - Hot chicken & stuffing sandwiches....
Tuesday - Meatloaf with mash & veg....
Wednesday - Jacket potatoes with beans and cheese.....
Friday - Pizza....
Saturday - Chicken fajitas....
Sunday - Roast dinner....

What are you eating this week?

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The best packed lunch ever. #MySundayPhoto

My girls do love a packed lunch and they said this one was the best I've ever made! Hooray! Tuna sandwiches, mini pork pies, cherry tomatoes and everything else.
They now want one every day. lol

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A photo everyday for a year - Week 31 #Project365

Another week of the summer holidays have gone....I have hardly seen my girls this week. They have been too busy playing outside which isn't a bad thing but I am missing them....

Now for a photo every day.

196/365 - 29th July
Blue skies and sunshine....Then it rained. Then sun then rain. I gave up running outside to bring the washing in and just left it. lol

197/365 - 30th July
Sunday was a good washing day.....Apart from a couple of tiny towels I emptied the washing basket! I felt like I was winning at life. 

198/365 - 31st July
Ellie patiently waiting to go and play out with her friends.

199/365 - 1st August
We made Moon Sand.

200/365 - 2nd August
Another rainy day....It didn't stop the girls playing outside though.

201/365 - 3rd August
Becky helping to hang the washing out.

202/365 - 4th August
Ellie having trainer problems....She over ties her trainers then just pulls them off....When it comes to putting them back on she struggles to get the knots out of the laces.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Outside all week... #WotW

This week my Word of the Week is:

On Sunday my fella Stu gave the backyard a tidy and weeded it. Considering it is all concrete there sure was a lot of weeds around the outside and on the walls...That was the start of the girls spending more time outside. I haven't been outside much but my girls have.....

At the start of the holidays I was worried about them spending too much time on electronics but I really shouldn't have worried. I said they could have 4 hours a day. That's it. This week I don't think they have hit their limit once. That is including my teen Becky too who is obsessed with watching YouTube.

They have played with water, played out with friends. Out, out. Away from the security of the back yard and out of my sight. It's been nice having some free time but I can't be productive because when they are in the big wide world I worry....I am sure I will get used to it. Becky always has her mobile phone with her so I can check up on them and I have, several times.... 

They have been to the park, played football and tag in the back street, eaten meals outside, played on their scooters on the front street and been to the park some more....

We made some Moon Sand and I made the girls play with that outside....They made enough mess making it I couldn't be doing with more mess inside too. hehehe

The weather has been so strange. It is going from glorious sunshine one minute to rain showers and grey sky the next. I just want some proper weather for this time of the year. Sunshine, blue skies and dryness! Then I may spend some more time outside.....

The weather hasn't stopped the girls though....On Wednesday we had a rainy afternoon....I was all for snuggling down and watching a film but they were having none of it. They played outside in the rain for a good hour. It was just spitty/drizzly rain not a full on downpour!

I have been letting the girls play out in the back yard until about half past eight on an evening....The other night it was coming up to 9pm and Ellie started asking to play outside again.....Eesh! She wasn't ready to be done playing. 

As I write this the girls are outside again....They keep running in when it rains and are straight back out when it eases off....I have no idea what they are playing but I can hear giggles and chatter through the window.....Such a lovely sound to hear!