hello?

Hello? Is anybody still here? Ummm…I am not really sure where to begin as I really don’t know what happened or what my deal was.

I guess it started when Sara fell. She scraped her thumbs really bad and at one point I was feeding her one cheerio at a time because the poor thing couldn’t use her hands. Then they got infected. At the same time, she had some ear and eye thing. I suppose 3 creams, antibiotics, and eye drops for a week straight was all I could really handle.

Once Sara was all better, I woke up one day with swelling by my ear and temple. It spread. It was scary and I ended up in the hospital myself for a few days. But I am all good! ūüôā They never did figure out what caused it but it went away and I just pray that it never happens again.

And the list goes on…we celebrated Alex’s 30th birthday, Emma turned 6, we went to Edinburgh to see the Christmas lights turn on, we had Thanksgiving, and we got our house all decorated for Christmas yesterday.

Anywho ūüôā I have been thinking a lot about the blog while I have been away. It really bothered me to not be doing it, but I just…I don’t know. Didn’t have time? Of course I could have made time. But, this is a fun hobby for me not something I want to stress about. I also have two little people and and I am back and forth to the school 3 times a day, sometimes more. I know bloggers who have kiddies and manage. I find it really difficult to get projects done in the little time between school runs as well as finding the time to document and post about it. Excusses? Maybe. But as I said this is an enjoyable hobby, not a job. I want to write and share because I find joy in doing this. I want to work on my house because it makes me happy to see everything coming together. I always need a project and right now my list is a mile long. I guess after a year of working on a house, you’re bound to get a little burnt out and need a break. And if I am not doing house stuff, what can I write about?

Since Christmas is coming (is it just me or is it coming way to quickly?!) work on the house has come to a stand still. I really don’t know how other bloggers do it. I read post after post involving hundreds of dollars being spent on projects. We just can’t do that. We have to save and budget. Big projects, like our plans for the flooring upstairs, are going to wait until the new year.

We have been pottering about doing little things around the house, and I have started painting our bedroom. Although by started I mean I did a quick coat along the top about a week ago when the kids went to bed. Slow and steady ūüôā I will share what we have been up to soon.

Here is what I would like to do, and what I think will work for this space of mashed up everyday home life. I would like to post three times a week. That I think I can manage and still have time to create content. I loved doing my Monday Things¬†so that will stay. Monday’s will be a general post about life, what we are up to, watching, reading etc. Wednesday will be a house post. I will post something about a project we are working on and so forth. And lastly, Friday’s can be food related! I may talk about our weekly menu, a new recipe we tried or I created and things like that. How does that sound?

The reason I decided this is because I noticed there was no real balance. It was either to house heavy, or to food heavy. I think having a schedule like this will not only help me focus but also for you guys. If you are only interested in house stuff, then pop along on a Wednesday for some new stuff. Only food? Then it is Friday for you! What do ya say? Good? Bad?

I’m excited to be back! This is getting quite word heavy, so I will go and see you all next Monday to start this whole thing going again! Yeah! ūüôā

 

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monday things

1. I have been struggling with a cold for the last week and on Saturday I allowed myself to wallow in my own self pity. Nothing got done.

2. I bought my first cinnamon apple candle of the season! It is one of my favorite scents and makes me look forward to dark cozy nights cuddled on the sofa. Yes, I am one of those fall/winter loving people. I do not like summer, and I am glad to see it’s back side.

3. Yesterday, I made a pork roast with all the trimmings for our Sunday dinner. The roast was cooked low and slow and made my whole house smell like a holiday. I may have gotten all sappy/teary asking the kids what they wanted for Christmas and generally freaking everyone out.

4. I love love love apples with pork. I made some applesauce to go with our dinner yesterday too. I just chopped up some apples, tossed them in a pot with enough water to cover the bottom, sprinkled some mixed spice and cinnamon, then simmered until tender. I like my applesauce to be chunky so I usually mash it with my potato masher, leaving some nice chunks of apple in there. I use the left overs in my morning oatmeal (which I just scoffed). It is great because it helps cool down the oatmeal so the kids don’t have to wait to eat it. And it is super yummy.

5. I had to dig out my winter coat this morning. And wear my knee high wool socks. Brrrr. I love it.

6. I want need this hot fudge pudding cake in my life. Now.

7. TV talk now folks. Dexter. What to say, what to say. I love Dexter. It holds a place in my heart. But, what the what is going on this last season? I really expected more. I am a little disappointed to be honest. Boo.

8. Mad Men. Any fellow watchers? What is the fascination? I mean, we started watching it thinking ‘eh, lets watch an episode or two and see if we like it’. We are now into season 3, and we have no idea how we got here. It is so good! I couldn’t tell you why though. Just trying to explain it to someone makes it sound like the most boring show ever. There is something about it and we are hooked. GAH.

9. I really wanted to get this print from Etsy for the kitchen. She had a print with Julia Child’s quote, ‘people who love to eat are always the best people’. I pray she sells it again. It is on my officially nonofficial wish list.¬†

10. I bought paint!! Like, a colour! Go ahead, gasp and clap…I’ll wait. I am so excited to finally see walls that are not so clinical and white. We chose a soft grey which will go in the kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Eeeeek!

11. I am going to go light my apple candle and pretend it is a relaxing fall day while I fold mountains of laundry. Happy Monday all! ūüėČ

hand painted family sign for under ¬£5

Years ago I was in my favorite bit of Ikea. The ‘as is’ section. They had a bunch of random bits of wood piled up, and in the mess I found a white door that was meant for a kitchen cabinet marked down to £1.50 (Or about that. I know it was under £2). I quickly snapped it up thinking I would make a sign out of it. I had no idea what I wanted it to say yet, but it was a bargain and it had two holes in the back already, made for hinges, that would be perfect for hanging.

I decided I would put our last name on it and make a little ‘family established’ sign! My process for doing this is a little complicated because I didn’t have a printer, so bear with me. I went into Word and found a font that I liked. I did one letter at a time on my computer screen, so I could get the letters the size I wanted. Starting with R, I placed a piece of paper over my screen and lightly copied it with pencil. Once I was done coping all the letters, I drew over them with black marker. This was just to make it see through because then I flipped them over and traced them with pencil again, on the back. Heavily trace the letters with pencil this time. Then I placed the letters on the door, with the newly traced pencil facing down, and using a plastic card, I rubbed. This made the pencil rub onto the door giving me a nice outline.

After I had all my letters traced, I used one of the kids paint brushes and some left over paint in a tester pot to carefully paint in the lines. 

It was not perfect. It had some crazy edges, but I loved it. Represented our family perfectly. ūüôā 

When we moved back to the States last year I didn’t know what to do with it. I didn’t want to toss it but I also couldn’t bring it with me either. My father-in-law told me he wanted it and don’t I dare throw it away. Ok then! So away it went. It was stored away the entire time we were gone and when we came back, he gave it back to us. I was actually quite surprised he had kept it to be honest. It really meant a lot to have something meaningful from our old life be kept and also to be able to have it in our home again. 

Unfortunatly, after being stored away it was a little banged up and some of the letters were scratched. So I fixed it using the same method as before. Just a kids paint brush and a tester pot of paint in a similar colour.

 

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You can see the scratches above. Fortunatly, the wood itself wasn’t scratched, it was just the paint rubbing away. Taking my time I just painted each letter again. I didn’t redraw them, I just went for it. 

 

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 And there she is all shiney and refreshed. It is still a little wonky in places, and for the life of me I could never get that 6 looking perfect either time. But that is ok. We are a little wonky too, and seriously who cares? It hangs above our front door and not a single person has noticed the little imperfections that I do. It is perfect.

 

 

The only thing I was nervous about was it being above the door and possibly falling with the door being shut/slammed over time as the holes for the hinges are quite big. So I used blue tack all around the edge of the sign, hung it on two nails, and then used a rubber mallet to tap it all around so it stuck to the wall. It has not budged.

 

In. Love. It pleases me so much to have this sign back with us in our new house. Hanging it up was like telling the house ‘you will do just fine’. And there ya have it! A family sign for under £5! The tester pot of paint was from Homebase and was less than £2 too. And it was so thick and close in colour, I only needed to do one coat.

Last but not least, it is not a trip to Ikea without hitting up the ‘as is’ section. Do it. You never know what treasures you will find.

weekend

Monday has to be the worst thing ever. Just the worst. And it starts with the Sunday dread, so really it sucks away from your weekend too. I never used to care about Monday’s but now I can’t bear them. Alex obviously starts moaning about going back to work, the kids are excited/don’t want to go to school, so it is a fine line with them, and me? Well, good weekends mean that I don’t do jack diddley all weekend. So my Mondays look like a sea of laundry, cleaning, tidying and it is just down right depressing. It is 9:45am and I am already on my third load of laundry. And of course there are still a few more loads staring me down. I am daydreaming of being in bed with a good book and just letting the house go to pot. But, the girls were on their last school uniform gear today so unless I am cool with sending them to school naked tomorrow, I guess I should keep on trucking.

We don’t do much on the weekends. I wish we were the kind of get up and go go go people, but no. Weekends are for rest, sleep, relaxing, playing games, sitting in pyjamas, cooking, eating, laughing, and catching up with family. Not work. Saturdays we always watch the football scores coming in while I call my mom. We speak every Saturday anywhere from 1-4 hours and I look forward to it every week. I don’t really know how we have so much to talk about every week, but even those hours don’t feel like enough. Sundays we usually try to do some house stuff or a project so we feel a little accomplished. I am talking about maybe doing the dishes, hanging a picture, or maybe some light yard clearing. Nothing real serious people. 

But this Sunday we went to the pet store to see the animals because we needed flea stuff for Lily, Tesco to check out the new American food section because I needed some mac and cheese in my life, McDonalds for lunch (it has been so long since we have been lets just say they redid the entire place and we didn’t even know that they had), and then to Papas for a coffee and chat. It was a nice day. Everyone was in a good mood, the sun was shining, good family time was had by all. But it exhausted us. I was in bed last night before 8pm. I feel like I was ripped off and had a day taken away from me. That may sound wrong, but I really need two days of rest a week. It is my treat for keeping all of these people alive and where they need to be all week. Ideally, I would have two days of rest and one day to go and do…but that ain’t gonna happen. 

So that was our weekend! How was yours? Are you a busy bee always on the go? Or are you like me and just want to be a hermit until you have to be a member of society again? 

hello!

So I took an unintentional break it seems. I am not really sure what happened. The last week of school was crazy and filled with parties, concerts, and confusion. And then we had to adjust to summer, which does not sound difficult, but it was.

Day one started with me being jolted awake by Emma screaming that Sara broke the light. Eh? Sure enough, she tried to climb into Emma’s bunk bed and panicked, so she grabbed onto their light and actually snapped the wire. That reminds me, it still needs to be fixed. Before the early nights set in anyway.

Later, I was upstairs doing laundry, and when I went downstairs I noticed little tuffs of fur in the bathroom, which is odd. I realised it was cat fur around the same moment I spotted my razor (!!!) on the windowsill, also full of cat fur. It seems the girls decided it was a fantastic idea to shave the cat. Now, I still do not grasp how they came to this idea, or why they thought it was a good one. This was day one of our summer holiday remember. My girls quickly found out what being grounded meant. Welcome to summer!

Once we found our rhythm, Alex was then off work for two weeks which was bliss. We got a lot of work done in the house and also enjoyed a lot of nothing. Perfect. But now the girls are back in school (hooray!) so lets get this show back on the road shall we!

This is my last year to have one kiddo home for some of the day, so I am happy to be getting back into our routine. Next year I expect to be a blubbering heap on my bathroom floor all day. The perfect way to not deal with my girls leaving me.

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Although, last night it was¬†fun to tell them to get to bed because it’s a school night.

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But I sure do miss them being around.

weekly menu 2

Is anybody else super annoyed that all the good tv shows are ending? Omg we must have had 5 shows that have wrapped up for the summer, and I am feeling so sad and lost without them! We don’t watch a lot of tv through the week, but we record a few shows which we look forward to watching on our Friday night date nights, which basically consists of pyjamas the moment the girls are in bed, a bottle of wine, and all of our shows. Super fancy. Grey’s Anatomy finished a few weeks ago and I am still freaking out over the last episode. I thought I was going to pass out watching it! At one point I was holding my face, and my breath, when Alex told me to calm down. Oh man, I don’t know if I can handle the wait until it comes back! Then we had to watch the end of Blue Bloods, Revenge (oh my word!!! What in the H was that for a season finale? I can’t take it. Alex had a moment of excitement the other night when he thought we had Revenge. Then he remembered it is over. It was a sad moment.), and The Following. I know there have been more, but I just cannot focus. Now we are waiting for Game of Thrones to end this week (what the what happened last week? I gasped out loud more than once.), Modern Family, and The Middle. I hate summer. Boo. But, we have started watching Hannibal. Anyone else? Or better yet anyone else have an idea what is going on?!? It is so crazy and freakishly confusing. We are loving it! Only Hannibal can make eating people look so delectable and¬†civilized.

So weekly menu 2 (no people eating involved here). I love to cook. A lot. But like everyone, I have weeks where I just do not want to feed all these people. This was one of those weeks. I have been feeling tired, lazy, and just not very creative so our menu is full of quick and easy meals to make things a little easier on this momma. I do our shopping on a Thursday which is why our menu runs from Thursday-Wednesday.

Thursday: Fish sandwiches with coleslaw. Birdseye just came out with fish burgers, which are really yummy. We had them on a bun with mayo, lettuce, and a cheese slice ala McDonalds. I also make my coleslaw. Shred up cabbage, carrots, and onion. Make your dressing using 1/4c light mayo, 2tbs vinegar (i like apple cider vinegar for this), a squeeze of lemon, 2tsp of sugar, salt and pepper to taste. The key is to use your hands to squeeze the coleslaw as you mix. This helps to release the juices and really get the flavour going. I suggest making this first so it has time to sit in the fridge and get all yummy.

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Friday:¬†Nothing! The girls went to stay at Papa’s as we had an engagement party to go to. Awesome.

Saturday: pizza. Yep, just the frozen kind. As I said, we went to a party the night before. Enough said.

Sunday: turkey meatballs with spaghetti. I make my meatballs just like the turkey meatloaf. Just add some basil, oregano, and italian seasoning to the mix. Shape into balls and drop into your sauce to cook. My sauce was super easy. Saut√© some onions in olive oil, add garlic, and my secret is a spoon full of caramelised onion chutney. The sweetness helps with the tartness of tinned tomatoes so there is no need to add sugar. Dump in 2 tins of chopped tomatoes, season with basil, oregano, italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Thin out with a little chicken broth as needed. As mine bubbled away for over an hour, I added a bit of broth twice. Just to make sure it didn’t end up to thick.

Monday: roasted chicken thighs with mashed potatoes. I just coated my chicken with olive oil and used the left over seasoning from my chicken kebabs. Then I covered with foil and baked for 45 min. Take the foil off and cook a further 15 min to crisp up the skin. Have you seen the new stir in Philadelphia sauces? They are on sale for £1 right now and I had bought the garlic and herb one to try with fish. I used a little in my mashed potatoes though, and oh my that was a good idea.

Tuesday: ravioli and salad. Finally Tesco carries frozen ravioli. In the states it is common place to get it frozen, and it tastes amazing. I find all other ravioli to mushy and or slimy. Not good. But this? Oh this is amazing. It is four cheese ravioli, cooks in 3 minutes, and it has the perfect texture you would expect from well cooked pasta. Dump on some sauce and call it a meal. It is also only ¬£2 and one bag is more than enough for us as it is very filling. I paired this with a salad and used our new favourite dressing. This stuff is amazing. We have made two batches and I need to make a third. The vinegar is just enough for my tastes (as I usually like it quite strong) and the girls also love it! Score. Please try it! I used an old jar to make mine for easy shaking and storing in my fridge. Also I just used whatever mustard we had to hand which was Coleman’s american style mustard. Very close to a dijon with a hint of spice.

Wednesday: oven baked fish with new potatoes. We love basa fish from Tesco. You get four large white fish fillets and it is usually on deal 2 for £6 which is a great deal for good fish. It does not taste fishy at all, and it also has a more meaty texture which I prefer in a fish. Usually I would just squeeze over a lemon and bake, then serve with salsa on top and rice on the side. But, today is quite chilly and rainy so I want it a little more comforting. As I mentioned I got the new Philadelphia stir in sauce in garlic and herb. I am going to squeeze a lemon over my fish, bake for 10-15 minutes, add the garlic and herb sauce, and then bake a further 10-15 minutes. Just boil some potatoes, toss in a little butter and steam some broccoli. Sorted.

What are you guys eating this week? Trying any new recipes or enjoying any old favourites? I would love to hear any new ideas!

life

Sometimes life just gets away from me. Nothing really needs to be happening but the days just blur into one. I hate the go go go days where you don’t even sit down for a minute and yet you feel as though you have accomplished nothing. Yeah. I have had a few of those days. We have been having amazing weather here in these parts. I am talking 60’s and sunny, which is unheard of really! So everyone I know has dropped everything to be outside. We have all morphed into vegetables and I have loved it. I even retreated to my garden one afternoon with an iced coffee and a blanket. For that precious hour I pretended I was on a beach with a cocktail. Then my burning shoulders brought me back to reality. But oh that hour was bliss. It was the first time I have laid out in my very own yard. Kinda huge!

We spent all weekend outside too. Sunday we tackled the jaggy nettle jungle at the end of our garden. Fun times. I stayed clear of the whole situation because my skin is so sensitive you could look at me and I would break out in hives. I would probably self destruct if I touched a nettle. So Alex saved the day, and his wife, and he got it all dug up. Then I¬†sprinkled¬†baking soda over the entire area. I had read somewhere that baking soda is a good weed killer if you don’t want to use chemicals. The only issue is it kills everything,¬†supposedly.¬† However, we are planning on putting our shed where the nettles were so I am not to concerned about being a grass killer, over there anyway. I will let you know if it works! I wish everything grew as fast as nettles do. It was crazy!

*side note about the nettles. A lot of people told me to eat them. Even Alex suggested nettle soup. Apparently it tastes like spinach and boiling it takes the sting away. Call me crazy, but anything that makes people bust out a rash and hives does not exactly make me want to consume it. No. I am all for eating what you grow, but no. If they grow back, and anyone is an avid nettle consumer, then you are welcome to come take them away!

Then we finally dug up the rest of our garden bed and planted all of our seeds. I am anxious and impatient to see if anything grows. We do have spinach, peppers, tomatoes, and¬†broccoli¬†sprouting. We also have a few strawberries starting! I am squinting at my garden everyday in hopes that something grew overnight. I don’t think I bought magic beans. So slow! Grow already!

Oh, I am going to start Zumba tonight. Even typing that I chuckled. I tried it once and my abs hurt so bad, but not from working out. It was from laughing my booty off! I was not blessed with coordination, or much grace. So Zumba and me are interesting together to say the least. I know it will be a good laugh though, and that is the only workout that I am always game for. The amusing kind.

House projects have come to a stop. We have been doing a bit of painting here and there, but I am sure we all know how horrible painting ceilings are so no need to share the misery. We are getting the kitchen and bathroom plastered in a few days (so excited!) so I cannot wait to bust out some paint on the new walls!

I have a few recipe posts coming up for you guys too. A few of you had asked questions about my whole menu planning process. So, I thought I will do a post once a week with our menu plan and link up to any recipes that we use and love. And if it is my recipe then I will do my best to document the process and post the recipe. Shaking hungry hands does not a good picture make. Be warned!

What have you guys been up to? Enjoying time outside? Or trying a new recipe? Or a new¬†hilarious¬†‘workout’? I would love to hear what you have been up to!