Monday, 31 March 2014

Saving time & money

Yesterday I saved time & money in the kitchen, I always try to make extra meals on a Sunday, it make for an easier evening when some meals are part prepared ahead of time & it saves money on fuel if the oven is filled to capacity when it is on. 
Whilst cooking lamb shanks for lunch I filled the oven by cooking a beef & mushroom casserole, some liver & onion & a batch of chocolate chip cookies at the same time. 
Tonight we had peppered steak, mushroom, chips & peas. Tomorrow I'll cook triple quantity of potatoes, cabbage & carrots & we'll eat liver,bacon & onion with mash & veg. Wednesday we'll eat the casserole with mash & veg, Thursday the rest of the mash & cabbage will be turned into bubble & squeak & I'll grill some sausages to go with it.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Dressmaking


Decision made, these 3 pieces will be used to make me some new summer dresses, each piece is 3mt by 2mt. I will use my wedding dress pattern, this isn't as daft as it sounds as the pattern is a crossover top, high waisted with an A line skirt.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Easter Hols

I am determined to get a few jobs done over the Easter break, so I've started some prep. Last weekend I dug a hole in the crap in the spare room, the one without a bed in it. A couple of evenings this week have been spent sorting out summer skirts I can no longer wear & by this morning I had this.


 An hours ironing & I have this




A nice assortment, but not much of it goes together, I'll have to have a think, I'm reluctant to spend any money, so I'll need to see what else I can find.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Tagsies

Tagsies

Farm animals on a pale blue background

Paw prints on a pale pink background

Rocket man, astronauts, planets & rockets

Fleece & ribbons backed with poly cotton.

Monday, 24 March 2014

No waste

I defrosted 500gms of minced beef, then in my large pan I softened a finely sliced onion & 6 rather sad looking quartered mushrooms. To this I added a handful of oats, dried herbs, an oxo cube, a squirt of tomato puree & the defrosted minced beef. Once the beef was cooked & added the leftover veg & gravy from a previous meal. Last time I was preparing potatoes I peeled, cooked & mashed extra & kept it in the fridge.
I now have 2 cottage pies & 4 portions of bolognese sauce in the fridge/freezer, 4 days when I don't need to cook when I get in from work all in less than half an hour.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Garden pics 23rd March

The hanging baskets are flowering nicely

Cabbage & Lettuce

Rhubarb

Potatoes

Cabbage

Tomato plants

Under the 'Cold Frame'

MIA

I'm not finding the time to blog much at the moment, I'm still helping Lizzie out by drying her washing most days.

Thursday, by the time I arrived home from work my ankles were badly swollen, the are usually a little swollen by the end of each day, but Thursday evening they were huge & I could barely walk. I went to bed at 7ish & slept through until 5:30, when it was time to get up and get ready for work.

Catherine, I'm glad the book arrived, I hope you enjoy it.

Yesterday I swept & washed the downstairs floors, today I need to do upstairs. I'd like to get the sewing machine out for an hour too, but I'm not sure I'll manage it.

I will take some garden pics when it gets lighter & post them later.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Rinse & Repeat

I'm having a busy week, my L&M's shifts have changed part way through the week, so Monday & Tuesday were 2 late nights on the trot & now we have early mornings. Unfortunately either way means a long day for me.

Every day, after work I've been to DD Lizzie's to collect wet washing, her twirly washing line snapped & her tumble drier is on the blink, so Mum to the rescue, I've had washing on the line & over the airers. I have more room to stand airers as I have spare bedrooms.
I've made some eBay sales that have been packaged up & dispatched, so a trip to the post office has been fitted in too.
Helen, my other DD has also been round with curtains to be altered, despite being huge with the expected twins she & her partner are busy redecorating their house, they are hoping to move to a bigger house in the New Year so they have room for all the children.
I've also been baking & make banana loaf, choc chip muffins & cherry buns.
In between this I've managed to make more taggies & do a few more rows of crochet.
I'm off to bed now as I need an early night to recharge my batteries!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Money in

I've made another eBay sale, that's 4 this month & I've listed 3 more items.
Today's sales bring the total to £63 since February, I shan't get rich, shall I, but it all helps.
I also took a finished taggie to work & got £5 for it.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Taggies


I am making these for the new grandchildren that are due later this year. I am making a few extra in the hope of selling a few, I have 2 orders from work colleagues already. 
They are fleece on one side & poly-cotton on the reverse, I have pale blue fleece with farm animals on, pale pink with paw prints on & black with rockets & astronauts on


I have 10 of them cut out, I only have enough ribbon to finish 6 & I had hoped to finish those 6 today but there was an alarm ringing at work! So I had to drive my L&M to work to reset the alarm, it took a couple of hours to contact the relevant people, search the relevant areas, press the relevant buttons in the relevant order and then wait to see if the reset had worked. By the time we got home our tea had gone cold so I made fresh & then we sat & watched an episode of Lewis that I recorded a while ago. Now all I want is my bed & finishing the taggies can wait until tomorrow.

Money in, money out

I've sold 3 more items on eBay & made £20, my exhaust has been repaired for a cost of £99. Why is it some much harder to earn extra money than it is to spend it!
My L&M has been in the garden all day, he was at work yesterday so had to do 2 days worth of garden chores in one day.
I took my DGD's to the park for a couple of hours yesterday, they are still taking about it today as there is a zipwire in one of the parks near here & they love it.
My pension payments will start in August, £139 a week, anything left after the taxman has had his share will be paid of the mortgage.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Some good news

We've had 2 lots of good news this week, firstly one of our nephews & his GF have bought their first house together, they are only in their mid 20's so have done incredibly well to get on the housing ladder so young. they both have good jobs & work really hard.
Second lot of good news is that my son has joined the fire brigade, it's not that easy to get in & it has taken him 2 years hard slog, but he's in & he's happy.
Unfortunately I think the exhaust is blowing on my car, hey ho, I'll get it fixed at the weekend I hope.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Lighter nights & using up my stash

The evenings are getting longer & lighter so rather than spending every evening under my quilt making crochet baby blankets I've started using some of my fabric stash. I've cut out 10 x 16 inch poly cotton squares, 10 x 16 inch fleece squares & lots of small lengths of coloured ribbon.
I had two long narrow pieces of poly cotton left after cutting out the squares, I then cut the pieces into four lengths, these I will make into scrunchies. 
These are the fabrics I'm using, the light isn't good enough to photograph the darker fleece, I'll try to get a picture of it tomorrow.


I shall still crochet for an hour or so just before I go to bed as I can't sit & do nothing.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Garden Pics 2

More cabbages with lettuce, onions , garlic & leeks in the bed behind


Yet more cabbage, we like cabbage


Tomato seedlings

More tomato seedlings

A pot of spring flowers

Garden Pics 1

The hanging baskets are looking lovely

Cabbage


Cabbages & lettuce

The Cold Frame!

Food

I checked the fridge this morning & there are 7 or 8 mushrooms that are past their best, I have loads of onions in there too so I got a piece of shin of beef from the freezer & I shall make a beef & mushroom casserole for tomorrow, it will be served with mash, carrots & peas, it will be enough for 2 days I expect so I will serve it again on Thursday but add some curry powder to it & serve it with rice & mango chutney.
Today we will have a roast dinner, with pork for the L&M, I'll just have the 'go withs'. 
I have a large piece of smoked haddock in the freezer, I shall defrost it & cut it into 3, my L&M & I will have smoked haddok with poached egg on Wednesday, the remaining third will be added to some coley & made in to a fish pie.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Meatloaf/meatball recipe

This is a cheap and versatile recipe, it's tasty too.

You will need
2 x 454 gm packs of sausages £1.39 ea
1 x 900 gm pack Mince £3
1 x pack stuffing mix 15p
1 egg beaten 10p
Seasoning, pepper, tomato puree, dried chillis.

Make up the stuffing according to the instructions on the packet.

In a large bowl mix together the mince, skinned sausages, made up stuffing mix, pepper and beaten egg. I find it easiest to use my hands to mix everything thoroughly together. At this point I divide the mixture into two, I add a generous squirt of tomato ketchup or puree to one half of the mixture. I pack this mixture into two one pound loaf tins, cover with foil and cook for 40 mins to 1 hour. To the other half I add dried chillis & then form into meatballs, I cook these on a baking tray for about 15 mins.
I serve the meatloaf sliced with mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage & gravy. I serve the meatballs in a tomato sauce with pasta or in a curry sauce with rice.
You can use many different seasonings to flavour this recipe, I use chillis because we grow them & dry them when we have a glut.
Depending on the size of your appetite this recipe provides quite a few servings.

I can buy tubes of sausage meat from my butchers, but I have costed this recipe using sausages, you will need to skin these, but it is easy to do.
If I don't have a packed of stuffing mix I use porridge oats or breadcrumbs & add grated onion & some water if the mix seems too dry.

2 x 454 gm pack sausages  £2.78 
1 x 900 gm mince £3 
1 x pack stuffing mix 15p 
1 x egg 10p
Seasoning 10p

Result!!

Firstly, congratulations to Catherine, who won the giveaway book, I wish I could send all of you a copy of the book. 

I phoned the AA today as they wanted to charge me £175 this year. I negotiated the price down to £45, much better as I don't travel far I just dread getting stuck somewhere with a defunct car.

I've also made a few quid on Ebay, not much, but every little helps.

I'm knucking fackered

My darling granddaughter Norah has just been collected by her Mum Lizzie, Norah has been here since yesterday after gym club, my beloved L&M has gone out for a drink with a friend, he left 2 hours earlier than he needed to. I think he'd had enough of being a spy on a secret mission, crawling round the floor looking for hidden magic stones! Norah & I went to the sorting office to collect a lamp I'd ordered, went to the service station to put petrol in the car, went to the supermarket to buy bread & Kinder eggs, we hung washing on the line, we did jigsaw puzzles, read stories, wrote letters, did drawing & colouring, fed the fish, we did some sewing to make bedding for some dollies, found a hat and scarf for Norah in case it snows next week & made cress heads. Tomorrow my L&M & I are collecting DGS Neal & taking him to the garden centre & to look at the tropical fish.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

And the winner is

Catherine, leave your address as a comment & I'll post of the book to you, I won't publish your address

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Twice in one day, or is it time for Tena Lady

One day last week I got home from work at 4, made a cup of tea & sat down with my laptop to read my emails. I didn’t have long as I was due at Lizzie’s house at 5 so she and her husband could go to parents evening. I suddenly woke up to find it was 4:45 & I needed to loo urgently, since my illness urgently means urgently as my bladder has shrunk to the size of a pea! I galloped along the hall towards the loo & my phone started to ring. It was Lizzie checking I hadn’t forgotten our arrangement. I reassured her that I was about to leave whilst simultaneously trying to pull down my tights & knickers. I made it to the loo, plonked myself down only to find the lid was down. Fortunately I do have some small measure of control left but I was still faced with a trickle, but not a flood! I went upstairs, got changed & got to Lizzie’s by the skin of my teeth.
I left Lizzie’s around 6:30ish, having spent my time watching one DGD dance, listening to the other DGD’s description of her day at school & DGS reading bits from his newest book, Rudie Dudie, all this whilst fending off Mad dog, who can’t decide whether I’m her best friend or an intruder the children need defending from.
I arrived home & realised that yet again I needed to loo, I should have gone at Lizzies, but couldn’t face the resultant hysteria from Mad dog if I were to venture upstairs.
I put my key in the lock, pushed the door & it wouldn’t open properly, something was stopping it. I pushed & shoved & was eventually able to snake my arm around the door & dislodge the free newspaper that was wedged between the letterbox & the wall. This took some time, by the time I got through the door & to the toilet, well, lets just say I went upstairs & got changed yet again.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Giveaway Draw

I will pull a name out of a hat later on this evening

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Another one finished

This one is pink, burgundy & white

This one is pale blue, white & 2 shades of light green

March money & shopping

We were paid on Thursday & both of us transferred money into the joint account. I did an online shop at Mr T's £94, on Monday I shall go to the butchers & spend another £30 to £40. I have put cash into a tin to pay the milkman £14, the egg lady £8, petrol £45.

My supermarket shop included potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, apples & bananas, we have cabbage & lettuce in the garden. I also bought tea bags, sugar, butter & cheese, baked beans, soup, tinned fruit & tinned fish (pilchards & sardines) tuna is too expensive. I needed washing liquid & dishwasher tabs too. By the end of last month my cupboard was nearly bare, on the last day of the month my lunch was a tin of peanut soup, it was nicer than it sounds, fortunately.

There is less & less left in the joint account at the end of each month as the bills keep creeping up, we increased out mortgage payment by choice, but everything else is going up too. I'm cancelling both phone contracts, they were £15 but have now gone up to £18 & we will go back to PAYG. I'm having a smart meter fitted soon, which may help with the gas & electric costs, though I can't cope if I get cold as I seize up. 

I still need 2 more summer dresses, so I check the charity shops regularly  & I'm keeping an eye out for new to us bedding as well as ours is very thin & wear into holes soon.

Giggles & laughter

My darling L&M & my gorgeous granddaughter Norah are sat cuddled up on the sofa in fits of laughter watching Tom & Jerry. It's a very old one where Tom is a concert pianist trying to play a piece of music despite all of Jerry's shenanigans. It's lovely to see them enjoying the cartoon together after a hard days gardening.

New book giveaway

I have a spare copy of the book A Girl Called Jack, please leave a comment if you would like this & I'll pick a name out of a hat & post it off to you.
I've followed her blog & love her recipes & her attitude, so I bought 2 copies of her books as gifts, only to find that one of the intended recipients already had a copy, hence the giveaway.