Friday, 31 January 2014

New Kids on the Block

A new family has moved into the street, the first few days there was a real ruckus, banging & shouting until the early hours. The next few days there were groups of men leaning on my fence watching the house where the newcomers live. It seems to be quieter now, though as our living room is at the back of the house maybe we just can't hear anything.

Tomorrow I will find the camera cable & upload the pics I have taken of my L&M's hard work on the indoor garden, you mean not everyone has seed trays all over their spare bedrooms?

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Cooking

2 liters of broccoli & Stilton soup made, well broccoli & cheese, the reduced broccoli & bought yesterday & all the leftovers from the Christmas cheeseboard that our guests last week didn't want. There was a small amount of Stilton, some goats cheese, brie & half a herb & garlic roulade.
I also made two liters of minestrone, using all the leftover veg in the fridge, a tin of tomatoes, some left over baked beans & a handful of pasta stars.
I also made eight ready meals for my L&M, these will go into the freezer for him.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

M.I.A.

I seem to have been missing in action lately, this has been for a variety of reasons.
Lizzie was released form hospital, eventually the problem was diagnosed & she is getting better, but slowly.
My request for reduced hours at work was refused, but my request for paid compassionate leave to be Helen's birthing partner was agreed.
I'm beyond tired, which is why I requested reduced hours, as my request was refused I have started going to bed at 8, I'm feeling better for it, but it does limit what I get done in the evening & so my blog has suffered as has my knitting & crochet.
I took Norah to gym class yesterday at 4:30, she came back afterwards, ate with us & went to bed at 7 & I followed soon after. This morning we took her home & then collected another DGD & took her with us to the garden centre to buy some Little Gem lettuce seeds & to the aquatic shop to buy water for the fish tank. We treated her to fish & chips & ice cream & then took her home.
It's been a long time since our last payday on 20th December, we don't get paid until 30th but despite the length of time, plus Christmas, two of the DGD's having birthdays before payday & repairs needed to the PC we still have over £100 left in the bank account after yesterdays shop, when I bought a few reduced items, a head of broccoli, a packet of crumpets & a packet of pain chocolate for Norah's breakfast. I still need to buy milk but I don't need anything else.
I'm making two batches of soup tomorrow, broccoli & cheese using the reduced broccoli & some cheese leftover from Christmas, I'm also making minestroni with a bag of bacon scraps from the freezer & I have all the other ingredients needed. These are for my lunches next week and I need to make some ready meals for my L&M's lunches too.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

What a day!

Yesterday passed in a blur, what was meant to be a day of gentle housework, some pottering about & some knitting soon turned chaotic.
My L&M received a phone call about 11:30 from an old school friend. He & his girlfriend would be coming over for a light lunch about 1ish. I had a scrummage in the fridge and came up with a menu. I went to the local bakers to buy a nice loaf, my L&M picked some leeks from the garden. I made a pan of Leek & Potato soup, a bowl of salad & opened the cheese board left over from Christmas.
The visitors arrived, looked at the table & then announced that they only eat healthy food, they aren't eating potatoes so the soup was no good & they aren't eating bread because of their healthy eating kick, but didn't want salad as it's too cold for salad!
I just love it when people lecture me about a healthy diet, complain about what I serve & drink 3 bottles of wine between the 2 of them.
After they left I froze bread, my L&M & I ate the soup, the cheese went back in the fridge & I was intending to make the salad into a soup as well. 

I sat down to do some knitting & my phone rang, DD Lizzie needed to go to hospital, she'd been unwell all day but didn't want to miss work so had struggled through. She's made an appointment at the walk in clinic for 6 o'clock, we were 10 minutes late as it took us over an hour to do a 20 minute journey, but we got their eventually. At 9:30 they decided to admit her & I returned to my car, parking cost me £11.94, £6.94 for me & £5 for a mum who'd been at the walk in clinic with us, her toddler had fitted & she'd been scared, rushed him to hospital & only had £2.80 in her purse & couldn't get her car out of the car park!
By the time I arrived home my ankles were the size of footballs, fortunately they had gone down by this morning as I have the DGC today whilst SIL goes to hospital to be with Lizzie.

Hardup Hester

Those of you who followed me as Hardup Hester may be surprised to see some of the recent posts on my old blog, they are nothing to do with me. Just thought I'd let you know that.

Friday, 17 January 2014

News

Helen had another scan today, one baby is definitely a boy, the other one had the umbilical cord between it legs. The midwife thinks it is probably a girl but suggested not buying anything in pink just yet.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Financial planning

Sounds posh doesn't it?
It's not, it's just me working out what I need to do if my request for reduced hours is met.
I've applied to draw my pension, but as far as I can see, I will still be earning £42 a month less than I am now. This isn't a huge amount I know, but it's a lot when we are already on a tight budget.
I'm putting £5 a week into my savings account & all my spare change into a tin, this will be for Christmas.
As soon as I've knitted some baby cardigans for Helen I'll crochet some more blankets & hope they sell.
I shall still put money in my milk envelope & my egg envelope on payday & I'm having my pension paid in to a different account to the one my wages go into, in the hope that some of it can be saved.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stuffing balls

Jeanne asked how to make stuffing balls, this is how I make mine. You can use a standard packet mix and make it up according to the instructions on the packet, I usually start with a packet mix, make it up and add sausage meat. Either way I find the mixture is firm enough to hold together when shaped into balls. Cook for 20ish mins on 200 or until the feel firm & are taking on a little colour.
I hope this helps.

I've made my decision, will it be agreed?

I've been home since 4 & despite having poached eggs on toast & 2 or 3 cups of tea I've only just got warm and it's almost 6, the heating is on, but not very high for economy reasons & I'm sat under a blanket. Part of the problem is tiredness I think, because of this I made a decision at the weekend. I have decided to ask to reduce my hours at work, my pay will drop of course but I'm going to draw my pension & hopefully the 2 will balance out.
I've put my request in writing, I have no idea how long it will take for a decision to be made or what the decision will be, all I can do is wait & see.
Today I had a delivery of paper, 20 boxes, they all had to be put away, it was a lot of lifting & shifting.
I've also asked for compassionate leave when Helen has her twins as she has asked me to be her birthing partner

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

I would do anything for love

Or would I?
I would sell my body to feed my children, though these days I could only sell it to medical science & I'd probably only get 50p.
What bought this on?
A discussion with someone about working from home, she claims she has a job that she is giving up soon & asked if I'd be interested in applying for it.
Allegedly she works for one of the online gaming companies, she gambles online every day & her job is to attract and befriend  new gamblers & to encourage disheartened gamblers to keep on trying & therefore losing even more money.
Now I'm not sure if she is a fantasist, does this job even exist?
Even if the job does exist , I couldn't do it, maybe if I still had children at home I'd feel differently, but as things stand I couldn't encourage someone to gamble, to lose money, to risk their family life etc just to receive a wage.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Speeding up the Sunday roast

My L&M love a roast dinner so I do one most Sundays. I serve stuffing balls & Yorkshire pudding with the the dinner as it means the meat stretches a lot further. Some Sundays I have things to do, some times I'm tired & can't be bothered to spend hours in the kitchen, so I keep a supply of stuffing balls & Yorkshires in the freezer & I don't mean Aunt Bessie's. I make 2 dozen stuffing balls and 2 dozen Yorkshires at a time & freeze in 4's. I also cook a larger joint, slice it & freeze it in portions. This way if I'm having a busy or lazy weekend all I have to do is cook the veg & my L&M still gets his roast dinner.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Visit part 2

Nothing concentrates the mind more efficiently when in a queue than the small voice that says 'Nana, I need the toilet', We're 8th in the queue, I'm unsure just how good her advance warning system is as she's only 2 & 3/4s. Do we abandon the tin of spaghetti hoops & head for the car, or do we hope for the best & carry on queuing? She's wearing wellies so they may manage to contain any spillage & she's adamant that only spaghetti hoops will do for lunch. We risk it & make it home and to the toilet without mishap, I open the tin of hoops and warm some up and make some toast to go with them. She emerges from the toilet, shows me her hands that she has washed. 'Here's your lunch' I say. 'My want tuna sandwich' she announces!

The Visit

DGD Norah came home with us after gym club last night, we treated her to takeaway sausage & chips & she went to bed soon after she'd eaten. This morning we took my L&M to work, stopped at the local shop to buy crumpets for breakfast & then came home & after breakfast we played for a while. She helped me hang some washing on the maiden & carried some dirty cups out of the living room to load in the dishwasher. She also helped me straighten my bed & the bed she slept in.
At 12 I took her home & swapped her for her sister Eileen & bought Eileen home with me, As we were driving home I asked Eileen what she wanted for lunch 'Spaghetti hoops' she said, so I stopped at the local shop & purchased some spaghetti hoops, once home I asked if she wanted lunch, 'Yes please, tuna sandwich' Oh well, the spaghetti hoops can stay in the cupboard 'til her next visit,
I visited the local charity shop earlier in the week, I managed to get another 4 Horrible History books for DGS, he was very pleased.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Fish

We had fish in cheese sauce for tea, I served it with mashed potato & carrots from the garden.
 I poached the fish in some milk & then used the milk to make a cheese sauce, I used grated cheese from the freezer that was left over from Christmas
Frozen Coley 6 portions £2.50 so 83p for 2 portions
Potato 40p
I'm not sure of the costing for the cheese sauce, but if I allow 50p it still only cost £1.33 for a meal for 2 of us.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Water, water everywhere

The road to the lock is closed, the road to the village is closed, the road to the church is closed, the road to the shop is closed, the Midsomer Murder episode I'm watching seems to be about a flood and it's still raining!
DD, Helen managed to come over with her partner & the children, she's expanding rapidly & getting tired but her partner takes great care of her.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Men & Meat loaf

I served up the meatloaf.
L&M 'What this?'
Me 'Meatloaf'
L&M 'What's in it' poking it suspiciously.
Me 'Minced beef & sausage meat'
L&M 'Can't we just have cottage pie, I like cottage pie'
Me 'Ok' thinking I'll mash up the other portion of the meat loaf & top it with mash.
L&M starts eating and after a few minutes says 'This is really nice, I didn't think I'd like it but I do'.

MEN!!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Food

Meatloaf for dinner today with yorkies, cabbage & carrots from the garden and gravy. I also have some leftover mash, but if my L&M wants roasties I'll do some & use the mash to make a cottage pie for tomorrow's dinner.
I am taking a portion of HM soup to work tomorrow for my lunch, I must remember to take the mugs with me too, if we aren't allowed to keep mugs in the cupboard I'll drop them off at the charity shop and just take one of mine in to eat my soup from.
The egg lady will be here today, £3.80 for 20, not cheap, but lovely big eggs, I have the correct money ready for when she arrives. The egg lady visits every 2 weeks, so 10 eggs a week is plenty but I'm careful to count the days/eggs left before I use any. Next week my L&M is on late shift so won't want an evening meal & I have either a boiled egg & soldiers or a poached egg on toast for my tea most nights. If I run out of eggs I shall have mashed sardines on toast 34p a tin in Mr T's & a third to half a tin is ample, or if I have and leftover mash I can make fishcakes with them.
I found another unwanted recipe book when I was tidying the study, so I've listed it on Amazon, I hope it sells, it's only a £5 but it all helps.
I need to have my hair cut one day this week it is growing fast, but still very fine & flyaway, I shall keep having it cut until all the blond has gone & I'll settle for being grey now it is so light. I've found a 'walk in' hairdressers and it will only cost £12 & I am saving £5 every 6 weeks on hair dye.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Thank you Floss

The wool arrived yesterday, but due to visiting grandchildren I wasn't able to get on here. It is beautiful, and, as you say, suitable for either gender, a 250gm ball, so it will go a long way, the needles started clacking last night.
Dear Floss, thank you so much for your kind gesture.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Cheap meals this month

I have enough in the freezer to make at least 4 portions of each of the meals below and there also still some pork chops and some sliced cooked meat, some in gravy, some to be used in sandwiches. There is lots of cheese in the fridge, I shall grate up all the hard cheese scraps, the soft cheeses have a use by date of March. All this will last us the month, all I need to buy is bread, potatoes & milk.

1) Leek and potato soup, using leeks from the garden.

2) Turkey & Mushroom  pie, make a white sauce, add cooked mushrooms & turkey, top with pastry & serve with mashed potato, cabbage & gravy.

3) Any leftover pie filling can be added to cooked pasta, place in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with breadcrumbs & grated cheese & cook til golden on top.

4) Spicy lentil soup, made with leftover lentil roast made for Tom's GF Christmas lunch.

5) Turkey soup/stew

6) Yorkshire puddings, small ones each with a couple of leftover pigs in blankets in.

7) Broccoli & Stilton soup.

8) Ham, egg & chips made with a few slices of ham.

9) Cheese & Potato pie, my L&M will have this with a couple of rashers of bacon, I'll eat it on it's own.

10) Meat loaf, made with a tube of sausage meat, some mince, half a packet of made stuffing or some breadcrumbs and a generous dollop of tomato puree of ketchup.

A few bargains

I went to the local charity shops to buy DGS a couple of books, I got him 2 Horrible Histories, I found a lovely work dress for £2.50 & these lovely shoes, they were £5.80, but I don't think they had been worn.


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Bits & pieces

Hi Froogs, nice to see you, I didn't realise you'd lost me. Love the quilts, roll on retirement & I can start making some more.

I have my DGS here today, we're making a PacMan cushion for his bedroom, I'll post a pic when it's finished, I've also made another hat & scarf set & I'll post pics when it's pressed.

I've bought a book of quick baby knits, as DD Helen is expecting twins I better start to knit quicker. She has one large sleepy baby & one small lively one, the midwife has suggested that the smaller baby was conceived a week after the larger one, the next scan should show the gender of the babes, then I can knit in the correct colour once I've used up the cream I've already purchased

We visited the in laws yesterday, the drive home was horrible, very heavy rain, but it was nice to see MIL, BIL was there with his new GF, they are off to Vegas on Friday & Thailand in March, oh how the other half live, not a job between them & all those exotic holidays.

I haven't made any NY resolutions, I don't bother, we none of us know what life will throw at us next, all we can do is our best, our best to roll with the punches & try to come up smiling. I'm finding it very hard to work full time, but have no option, the mortgage still needs paying.

I'm determined to spend lots of time with the grandchildren, this makes life harder as it means less rest for me but they are a source of joy to both my L&M & I.

Work could be interesting next term, mugs are being removed from the staff room, I'm assuming  we will be expected to use the 30p drinks machine & the lockers could be the next thing to go, there is talk of the room being changed to a meeting room, I thought all schools had a staff room, but maybe not.