Monday, 24 February 2014

Meal Plan Monday - The weekend away edition

We are off for a long weekend away on Friday this week.  So meals at home will be with leftovers and from store cupboard.

Monday

Leftover roast beef, yorkshire puddings and bubble and squeak

Tuesday

Beef (using up the last of the roast beef)  with black bean and noodles

Wednesday 

Jacket potatoes and various toppings

Thursday

Chicken pie (from freezer), chips and beans

Friday - at Center Parcs

Bolognese (cooked at home and taken with us)

Saturday

Sandwiches and soup for lunch
Pizza

Sunday

Indian meal - booked!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Kitchen dreaming and a fab offer from Magnet Kitchens

I am sure that I can not be the only person who often dreams of a new kitchen.  There really isn't anything all that wrong with ours apart from the fact that I didnt choose it!

But if you are in the process of looking for a new kitchen I wanted to share with you an exclusive deal on Magnet Kitchens.  They have just launched an online exclusive promotion to guarantee your dream kitchen at the best possible price. 

From today there’s a special purchase offer – with an exclusive voucher only available online – for a selection of ranges covering six key styles, including the Genoa White which I lust after! 

So I decided to put together a mood board for my dream kitchen, just in case I win the lottery or come in to some money!



My dream kitchen

My dream kitchen by mum-themadhouse featuring porcelain tea cups

Can you tell what my favorite colour is?


Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Would you love to be mentored by TV chef Gizzi Erskine #launchingpeople

Samsung is launching an exciting mentorship programme with TV chef Gizzi Erskine.  The programme is called "Launching People" and will feature four celebrity mentors who are searching for undiscovered British talent.  

A TV show will be broadcast following the mentors helping budding filmmakers, musical game changers, picture takers and food lovers launch their brilliant ideas.

Gizzi Erskine is looking for someone who has passion and knowledge about food, and who is happy to be a little unconventional and break the rules.  I love the fact that she acknowledges that a simple ideas is great, but she would like to see simple with glitter on top (a girl after my own heart that loves glitter)! 

To enter, you simply need to submit a two minute video showcasing your passion, personality and introduce your idea. For more details on entry requirements and about the program please go to www.launchingpeople.co.uk.or take a look at the manifesto video.

I might even put forward Mini and Maxi and my ideas about cooking with kids, as I feel; strongly that there is a whole generation of children growing up who do not have access to home economics at school or cooking in general and that children should be taught to cook and bake from an early age.

I grew up in a home where people cooked from scratch every day and were ready meals were something that had been cooked and frozen such as a pie.

I remember making meals and cakes in school, learning about shopping, recipes and OK it wasn't scintillating, but it was essential;  I see people like Jack Monroe who are doing a great job teaching people about cooking on a budget and Elaine from Mortgage free in three, who shows you how to use your store cupboard effectively and really feel that if children were taught this from an early age we would be in a much better place.

If I can talk them into doing a video with me then I will make sure I pop it on here too!


Friday, 7 February 2014

5 Great activities for learning to tell the time

Both my boys can now tell the time, it was one of the best things we taught them.  It meant that we could tell them to wait a certain amount of time and they understood and also to return at a certain time and they did!


Clockworks

This is a fab BBC Bitesized program and both the boys have loved this.  It has three levels, so they can develop their skills. 

A Watch

A tell the time watch really helped both the boys.  There is something about the act of wearing a watch that really encouraged them to learn faster.  The Watch Hut has some great childrens watches that are perfect for telling the time

Clockwise

This is another BBC game and again has three levels to choose from. To practise o'clock times only, choose level 1. If you want to test your knowledge of 15 minute intervals on the clock, choose level 2. At level 3 you will be tested on times including 5 minute intervals.

Orchard Toys Tell the time

Over and over again I have sung the praises of Orchard Toys and this game played a big part in the boys learning process.   Say the time aloud and try to make a match on your playing boards.  They are learning without even realising it.  



Paper Plate Clock

We had so much fun making our own clocks.  We spent time discussing them and time whilst making them and they really helped the boys grasp an understanding of quarter past and quarter to.  



Thursday, 6 February 2014

Student Debt

Although many folks blame the economic recession as the cause for America’s exorbitant education costs, the truth is that this trend had its birth nearly four decades ago.

Since the late 70s, the average cost for a 4-year college degree has continued to rise while federal aid has simultaneously remained on the decline. Take for example the Pell Grant which was one of the most prevalent forms of federal aid in the early 70s.

Back in the day, this grant covered about two thirds of an individual’s tuition costs. Now, you would be lucky to receive enough aid to cover the fees let alone the tuition! Not to mention the interest rate hikes on other federally subsidized loans.

Just last year, Congress failed to stop an interest hike on the Federal Stafford Loans which doubled the number from 3.4 to 6.8 percent on all undergraduate loans.

 With help from the financial counselors at ConsolidatedCredit.org, we’ve compiled a visual timeline dating as far back as the GI Bill.

Wondering how inflation will impact your kid’s college costs? Or how your grandparent’s education compares to yours?

Take a peek at the following infographic to find out.






Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Win a romantic trip to Paris with P&O #FerryBigLove

It can not have passed you by that Valentines Day is nearly upon us and  @POFerries are looking for you to tweet them your love story with the hashtag FerryBigLove to be in the chance to win a trip to Paris.  



How does it work?


Tell @POFerries on Twitter who you’ve got #FerryBigLove for and why. The more examples you share, the more chances you have to win. They will choose one special #FerryBigLove tweet to win the trip to Paris. Where they will photograph the couple’s journey and create a beautiful film.
And don’t worry if you haven’t got a Twitter account; just click on the ‘TWEET YOUR LOVE STORY NOW’ button and sign up today.


  1. Tweet @POferries telling them who you’ve got #FerryBigLove for and why.
  2. Don’t forget to use #FerryBigLove in your post.
  3. Share the tweet with your loved one too.
  4. They will choose and contact the Paris trip winner on 7th February, for them to be whisked away on the 14th February.
  5. Keep an eye on Twitter, as they will be giving away romantic gifts all the way up to Valentine's Day.
  6. Ferry good luck!
This was my entry.............




Tuesday, 4 February 2014

One simple way to cut your energy costs


Did you know that daylight could save over 150000 tons of CO2 every year in Europe alone?  I didn't, but it makes sense as when we are letting the light from outside our houses in we are not using energy to light our homes.

So my simple tip for cutting energy is to make sure you open your curtains or blinds to let in as much sunlight as possible.  


This time of year we need all the sunlight we can get, so make sure that your windows are clean and let what light there is outside shine in.

I hadn't realised just how dirty my windows had got until we had some sunshine on Sunday, which shamed me in to getting out and giving them a quick clean, which made a massive difference. 

Also skylights let in twice as much light as standard windows, so it is essential that you open any VELUX blinds you have on them too.  I am a great believer if it is possible to reduce energy consumption then we should, not only as we are saving money, but we are also saving the planet.

In cooperation with VELUX


Monday, 3 February 2014

Free Magazine - Grown Ups


I have mentioned many times before my love of Free online magazines.  They are perfect for a cup of tea and wind down.  



Grown Ups Magazine is a FREE resource for parents, teachers, extended family, or anyone who lives or works with kids. Inside, you’ll find inspiring activity ideas, advice for relationships (with both your kids and other adults!), and stories of real-life parenting from the trenches. 

Even batter you can subscribe to this free on your ipad via the Apple newsstand.

To see the other free magazines I have featured, just click here.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Cooking with Kids - National Yorkshire Pudding Day

Yorkshire pudding batter is a great recipe to make with kids.  Dead simple.  Really inexpensive and delicious.

This is our no fail recipe, even MadDad and the Minimads make it with success every time.



Ingredients (makes 12 to 16 puddings)

115g of plain flour
Pinch of salt
3 eggs
275 ml of milk (or half milk and water)
  1. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and blend or whisk to a smooth consistency, kind of like single cream.
  2. Put the batter in the fridge to let the air bubbles settle.
  3. Heat your oven to its hottest setting and add some sunflower oil or lard to a Yorkshire pudding tin.  Place the tin in the oven and make sure the oil is very hot (smoking), pour the batter into the tins and place back in the oven.
  4. Leave at full temp for 5 minutes and then turn the oven down to 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until the Yorkshire puddings are golden and risen. 
  5. DO NOT OPEN YOUR OVEN DOOR FOR THE FIRST TWENTY MINUTES.
The only part of this my boys do not do now is the oven bit.  We have yorkshire puddings most Sundays and I have not made the batter myself in the last two years!
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