Friday, May 24, 2013

Sky Watch Friday

Bright skies but a little windy.  Hoping the weather forecast is right and we have lots of sun for the bank holiday.  Picnic on the beach for us is there is sun.

Other International skies can be seen here.

Counterfeit Kit Challenge May Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to my little blog by the sea in Wales.

This month I am joining in again with the Counterfeit Kit Challenge Blog Member's Blog Hop.  Before I Firstly I need to show you my kit.

This months kit was March's Kit from Polly Scarps:

March Kit - Shoreline - Click Image to Close

This is my kit:

I had the two envelopes in my stash so I started with those.  I then picked out the navy, light blue, green, yellow and red.  Added in some alphas, washi, stickers and lots of embellishments.  I hope to make some of my own too.  I've not included mists and stamps as I will use them as and when needed.

After I photographed this kit my Studio Calico monthly kits came and I had some navy mist and embossing powder which I will include with this kit.

Now on to the reason for your visit.  You should have come to me from Lisa.

Now I emailed off to say I would like to take part in the hop and then 4 days later looked at the challenge; masking.  OMG, MASKING!  Every time I have used masks it goes oh so wrong.  I mean really wrong.  I had signed up for this hop so I was completing a LO successfully or not.  

After 4 different masks and 9 sheets of cardstock I decided enough was enough.   I am really not happy with the misting but it is done now and I wasted enough product and made such a mess I just couldn't try any more.  

This is my LO:

Really, really not happy at all with it.  I had wasted 8 sheets of cardstock and decided I had to do something with the misted bits.  So I got out the punches.  The banner and the circles are what I cut out:

Prefer this LO but the masking it not that obvious.  Perhaps small and abstract is the answer.

From here you should make your way over to Sherrie.

The full blog hop list is published on the CKC site so if you get lost along the way head over there.

I'd love if you could leave a comment so I know that you were here.  Thanks for visiting and happy hopping.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Let's Talk New Crochet Project

About six weeks ago I spotted some cotton yarn over at the Wool Warehouse; Drops Paris.  I had seen this yarn and purchased it before Lucy spoke about it on her blog.  I picked 6 colours with the intention of making a blanket for The Girl for her bedroom.  The Girl has already decided on this colour scheme of her new bedroom when we finally sell our house in the Midlands and move somewhere permanent here in Wales.

Really do love this palette and it is so much more grown up then previous bedroom styles which is what you need when your age is double figures.  

I think for the first time ever I have sat down and planned this blanket myself; chose the yarn, colours and pattern.  No following anyone else's example.  However, if it wasn't for a number of inspirational crocheters out there on the web I would never have had the courage to do this alone.  

These are the colours of yarn I am using:

                       06 Shocking Pink                          13 Orange                               24 Dark Grey

                             35 Vanilla                              23 Light Grey                          33 Medium Pink

I am making granny squares, all different colours and sizes.   I sat down with crayons and graph paper and put the plan together.  So far I have managed to crochet one square.  It is a 6 round vanilla and I'm loving it.  This yarn is lovely to use and the fact you use a 5mm hook means it works up so quickly.  

Will be back soon to show you my progress.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wednesday Words

This week the world lost a wonderful lady.  A truly inspiring, courageous and strong lady.  A true hero...

Photo: Your Beautiful Life 
Dedicated to al the heroes...

Cancer is cruel, there is no other way to say it.

May she rest in peace.

Linking with Emma on Wednesday words and wishes her love and strength in her battle.

Crazy With Twins

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

Short and sweet this week as I have another hospital appointment.  This week a section of my unit as the desk is not very inspiring.

Thanks for all the visits and comments last week.  Sorry I didn't visit many last week as I was at hospital having medical treatment and not well after the treatment.  Hoping today's appointment goes better and can get some visits in later.

Don't forget to visit Julia.  If I don't get round to see you, have a good week.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Project Life Tuesday

This past week has flown by but I have managed to do some work on my album.  This week I completed week 5 and week 6.  Having chosen all the papers to use it was a quick job to actually stick the photos down.  The embellishments are quite simple as I think actually documenting the weeks is more important than all those little extras.  

This is how week 5 looked last week.

I changed some of the pockets around and this is the finished page:

I envelope contains some thoughts on things that have happened over the past few months and how this is the beginning of a year of big changes for us as a family.  Positive changes.

Week 6 looked like this:

Again I moved some of the pockets around:

These pages came together so quickly.  As I said last week I have used papers from my stash for these two weeks.

Sorry about the quality of the photos but have been struggling to take them this week as everywhere I go I get glare.

Over at The Mom Creative you will find a link to plenty of other Project Life posts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Afraid it is short and sweet this week as I have a million and one things to do and the list is getting longer by the minute.  I complete one thing and another 2 are added to the list.  Nobody told me juggling work, kids, house etc would be like this!

This is our menu for this week:

Monday - Roast pork & all the trimmings

Tuesday - Chicken in a cream sauce with pasta

Wednesday - Brinner

Thursday - quiche and salad

Friday - BBQ chicken

Saturday - Lasagna

Sunday - Some sort of roast, depends what bargains there are 
at the butchers

Linking up with Mrs M.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scrappy Sunday

I've not been too productive scrap wise these past two weeks.  After spending the Bank Holiday weekend in hospital, my Nephews Christening last weekend and then hospital treatments this week I've just not had time or the energy to do much.  NSD totally passed me by.  I had wanted to take part in a number of challenges but never manged to.  I hope to have a go at some of them to get my mojo working once I have a little more free time.  My to do list for work and home instead of reducing seems to be multiplying by the day.

This week I made 3 12 x 12 LO's but two are for a blog hop so can't show you then but I can show you this one:

I would just like to point out that although some of the squares don't look straight they are in the LO.  I wasn't standing level with the LO when I took the picture as I was getting light reflections on the photo and then had to straighten the image when I cropped it.

This LO is made for My Minds Eye May sketch challenge which can be found here.

I have also worked on Project life and made my pages for weeks 5 & 6 which I will share on Tuesday.

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sky Watch Friday

These are the misty hills here in Wales this fine Friday morning.

It did manage to brighten a little by lunch time but now it is pouring with rain.  Really, really coming down.  Hope it doesn't last all weekend.

Visit here to see links to many other skies around the world.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is It Wrong To Dress Siblings In Matching Clothes?

I recently went to a party where 2 siblings, both boys were dressed in matching outfits.  To me this seemed very wrong.  It was also clear that the elder brother was not too impressed either.  These two boys were aged 11 and 1.  An age gap of 10 years.  As a scrapbooker who takes a humongous amount of photos of my children to scrap I often dress them co-ordinated. Not matching outfits but styles and colours that go well together.

Twins often dress alike and yes with pre-school children I think at times it can look cute.  But is there a time when it isn't cute anymore, it's just plain weird?

Is an 11 year old dressed the same as his 1 year old brother cute or is it just stretching things a little too far?  Or is the matching clothes thing only acceptable when children are very young or the age gap is small?  I personally don't think an 11 year old dresses in the same style clothes as a baby so why would you dress them the same.  One of them will obviously be uncomfortable and then there are the comments of others to contend with.  As an adult I could hold my tongue but young children asked this boy outright why he was dressed as a baby.  He was dressed the same as his baby brother so this question seemed logical to the children asking.

Kids dressing the same is one thing but whole families?  Are such outfits only acceptable for fancy dress occasions or just plain wrong?

I have a boy and a girl so obviously it is a little more difficult to get matching outfits unless I follow my Mother's example.  Personally for me it's a no, children, even twins are individuals and should stand out alone for who they are and not be the same as someone else.  

I really do wonder if my hate of matching clothes stems from when I was a child and my Mother used to make matching outfits in the 70's for my Brother and I?  There is this one particular outfit I can remember that she made for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977.  As luck would have it my Parents has a burst water pipe and all our childhood photos which were stored in the loft were damaged.  Such a shame I can't show you all.  There were were looking very chic in red, white and blue.  Him with blue shorts and a red, white and blue striped top and me in a matching dress; red, white and blue striped bodice and blue bottom half.  Both of us in knee length white socks and sandles.  Socks and that is a whole different topic.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday?

Exactly how I left my desk last night after I was working on my Project Life album for week 5.  Scrapped January now.  Just 3 1/2 months to do to catch up.  No pressure really.

This is how the spread looked late last week.  I moved a few of the cards around different pockets

Don't forget to visit Julia to see the linky for other craft desks all around the world.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Project Life Tuesday

My progress this week?  Not much.  With one thing and another all I managed  was to cut some paper up and put in the pockets.

I know its a little strange showing this paltry amount of scrapping but I need to keep myself on track.  This is after all progress.

Mixing it up a bit with these 2 weeks and using stash instead of Clementine and Studio Calico PL kits.

I did manage to cut paper for 2 weeks though and all the photos are printed.  I just need time to stick them down, write a little and prettify.  Prettifying is the fun part.

Pop on over to The Mom Creative where you will find plenty of examples of Project Life progress.  Something which you clearly haven't seen here this week.  Life happens I suppose but without life there would not be this project.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Snack Time

Finding healthy snacks for my little monkeys has always been hard.  Offer them fruit and they go and hide.  Offer them veg and they run to the hills.  Snacks usually consist of yogurts, crisps if they are extremely good (or I need to bribe) and home cooked biscuits and cakes.  With home cooking I at least know there are no additives and other things lurking.  

Both Children take packed lunches to school and both want crisps each day.    The crisp and snack industry is worth £2 Billion a year in the UK alone.  The Food Standards Agency say that 69% of children's lunchboxes contain crisps.

However, research by the British Heart Foundation has found that this crisp habit could be causing problems in the future.  A packet of crisps every day is the equivalent of drinking nearly 5 litres of oil.  Yes, you read that right, 5 litres of oil.  To me this is shocking and then there is the hidden salt and sugar in our foods.

I also know that my children don't eat enough whole grains either.  They are not big on brown bread, rice or pasta. The 'white' products contain refined grains which don't have the same health benefits as food containing wholegrain.  I try to sneak the fibre in chocolate and carrot cake by using wholemeal flour but still they really don't have enough. I know my children are not alone but it is estimated that 27% of children have no wholegrains in their diets at all.

To help hearts be healthy the BHF recommends a diet that includes:

  • plenty of fruit and vegetables
  • plenty of starchy foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. Choose wholegrain varieties wherever possible
  • some milk and dairy products
  • some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein
  • only a small amount of foods and drinks high in fats and/or sugar.
  • and to choose options that are lower in fat, salt and sugar whenever you can.

Walkers Hoops and Crosses are made from 56% wholegrain and instead of being fried they are oven cooked meaning less fat.

Last week Walkers sent us a packet of these new crisps to try along with a cute little monkey and a booklet all about their new snack.

After Little Nephews Christening this weekend we put them to the test.  

Starting with the oldest taster:

'They're alright'
Then comes back for seconds, thirds and even tried for a fourth taste!

As a child little Bro was said to grunt once for yes and twice for no.  Since moving to Wales to go to Uni and never leaving he can now grunt in Welsh!

'Yummy, can I have the rest of the packet?  Pleeaaase?'

'MMMMMM, Can I have some more please?'

'{Insert high pitched squeal}'
Only 1 last week, so doesn't talk.  Look on the face and hand held out suggested they are a winner.  

Insert more high pitched squeals.

The crisps come in beef, salt & vinegar and prawn cocktail flavours.


Overall, they were a success and now we have tasted them I was tasked to find some in our local supermarket.  We live in the middle of nowhere and only have a co-op so was quite surprised to see they were already stocking all 3 flavours.  A pack of 6 was priced at £1.89. Only The Boy likes Prawn Cocktail and he loved these.  I am a little boring when it comes to crisp flavours and only ever eat salt & vinegar, ready salted or cracked black pepper.  Personally I found the salt & vinegar hoops and crosses to be too strong a flavour.  The girl thought they were ok but the boy devoured the remaining ones left in the packet.  These crisps are certainly going to find their way in to lunch boxes in our house.

And after much arguing the winner of the monkey?

The little monkey in the middle

As part of this review we received one packet of Walkers Beef flavoured Hoops and Crosses, a super cute toy monkey and payment for writing this post.  All views are mine(**) and those of The Boy (11 on Wednesday), The Girl (9), Little Nephew (1 last week), Little Bro (37) and Grumpy Grandad (old).

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sky Watch Friday

Very very grey here after all the sun on the bank holiday.  Just knew it was too good to be true; Sun on a Bank Holiday weekend, totally unheard off.  Just fits that the weather will be awful for quite some time now.

View from our cottage towards the hills
Very misty and very grey

A little brighter facing the sea but still brewing a rain storm 
which hit all last night with quite a bit of wind

Photos taken 5.45 pm
9 May 2013
Tywyn, Wales

Lets hope that not Summer we have just seen!

To see other skies around the world pop on over to here.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Mexican Feast

This past weekend we have been enjoying some Mexican food courtesy of Discovery Foods with the addition of some homemade garlic flat breads and Mexican snacks (Recipes included below).

We decided to try the bottle of Cajun season and sauce mix first.  I personally like spicy food, not things really spicy but just a little kick.  The Girl is exactly the same, the spicier then better.  Strangely when I was pregnant with her I craved spice and she does have a real love for such foods.  With the Boy I craved sweet things and he loves sweet things way too much.  Unlike the Girl he is not a fan of too much spice.  I should not have been worried with this sauce as it suited all 3 palettes well.

I cut up 3 chicken breasts and sprayed some low cal spray on.  I then added the spice mix which snaps on to the jar lid.  I did struggle a bit to be honest to get the spice pack off.  The boy ended up doing it for me but I do have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in both hands and tend to struggle with such things.  Having said that it was easy enough for a child to remove so couldn't have been that tight.

The chicken mix was poured in to a nonstick pan and cooked.

Once cooked, the sauce was added.  You will be pleased to know there was no problem with the jar lid removal!

I boiled some white rice to serve it with and added some tortilla chips as a side (recipe below) with salsa and garlic and herb soured cream.

The second Mexican meal we had was made using the Fajita kit.  The kit contained 8 flour tortillas, a packet of Mexican spice mix and salsa.  The meat was sprayed with some low fat spray and the packet of spices added.  This was mixed well and then cooked in a non stick pan.

Tortilla's were warmed in the oven whilst this meat was cooking.

Now the simple part, place some chicken, salsa and soured cream on the tortilla and roll.  Its that simple.  I like to get the kids involved and place everything on the table and get everyone to make their own.

The pack comes with 8 tortillas but we only used 6 of them.  The remaining 2 made a third meal.  Whilst the pan was still hot I placed the tortillas in the spicy oil and pressed down.

Rolled them up and cut in to strips.  We had some salsa and chicken left over which I placed in a bowl, popped in a bag and put in the fridge.

Next day I put everything in a nonstick pan, added some thinly sliced choziro and warmed through.

Beat 3 eggs and added to the pan with a sprinkling of cheese.  Once the bottom was set, I popped it under the grill to brown the top.

This served 3 of us for a spicy breakfast.  Served with soured cream and salsa.  

The bottle of soured cream goes a long way and seems to go on forever!  For a snack the children had tortilla chips, sprinkled with cheese.  I popped these in the microwave to melt the cheese and topped with soured cream and salsa.

Even after all these meals we still had soured cream left. I made some garlic flat breads:  

250 g bread flour
1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
pinch of salt
140 ml water
A good glug of olive oil

Mix well then place on a floured surface and kneed for a little while.

Break into small pieces and make flat.

Place in a heated non stick pan (no oil needed).  Cook for about 3/4 minutes and turn.

Cook the other side for a couple of minutes.

Once cooked, sprinkle cheese (the breads are still hot, so the cheese will melt), top with salsa and soured cream.

We all enjoyed these meals and both the kids asked if we could have them again really soon.  

The sauces are slightly spiced so adults will enjoy but still mild enough to suit a child's palette   I find it difficult for both my children to eat the exact same meal as me but with these kits and sauces we enjoyed a number of tasty meals and snacks with no changes being made for them.  Win Win in my eyes.

Just so you know, we still have 1/3 bottle of the soured cream left.  It really has gone a long way.

You can find other recipes at the Discovery Foods website.

For the purpose of this review we were provided with a Perfect Fajita Kit, a jar of Cajun Season & Sauce and a bottle of Garlic and Herb Soured Cream.  All other ingredients were added by myself.  All views contained here are my own with snippets from The Boy & The Girl.