Simply Being Mum’s Summer Memories 2014

Each year I wonder if time passes even quicker.

We are almost at the end of the summer holidays once again.

It’s only seems a few days since I posted about how we schedule the summer-holidays.

And now I’m preparing for back to school.

This time next week, we will be day two into the school-run once more.

Did we achieve all we set out to do this summer break?

Not quite, but we did plenty, and lots more than we could have anticipated. Or could have planned for.

There was the week at Callow Top, Derbyshire,  where we discovered the most adorable village and sweet shop.

Tissington

‘Mary’ parked in Tissington Village by Edward & Vintage Sweet Shop

2 visits to Blists Hill. Our annual pass has been put to very good use once more.

Blists Hill

Victorian grocers and pharmacy at Blists Hill

A day with the monkeys, at the Monkey Forest Trentham Estate. Loved this!

Monkey Forest

Monkey Selfie at The Monkey Forest Trentham Estate

Picnic in Beacon Park, Lichfield.

Lichfield

Lichfield Cathedral near Beacon Park Lichfield

10 days touring Devon and Cornwall.

Combe Martin

Combe Martin Beach Devon

Lot’s of clotted cream topped ice-creams.

Clotted cream topped Lovington's ice-cream at Woolacombe Bay Devon

Clotted cream topped Lovington’s ice-cream at Woolacombe Bay Devon

Days spent at Tintagel

Tintagel

King Arthurs Castle – Tintagel in North Cornwall

…and Boscastle.

Beautiful Boscastle near Tintagel

Beautiful Boscastle near Tintagel

And even a very posh tea at Netherstowe House!

Vintage Tea at Netherstowe House Lichfield

Vintage Tea at Netherstowe House Lichfield

Many many memories.

“The days are long, but the years are short” Gretchen Rubin.

And the summer holidays seem to be getting shorter each year!

Have you made lots of memories this summer?

Food Waste Friday / I Dropped A Watermelon

Each week since March 2008, in order to motivate her to waste less food, Kristen The Frugal Girl, has posted a picture of any food that has gone bad over the last seven days. She found this embarrassing practice so helpful, to her, that she invited other bloggers to post their own photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

FoodWasteFriday I started participating in October 2010 and have found, 3-years on, the amount of food I waste is minimal. Every Friday, as part of my No Waste Tastes Great routine, I account for all my potential food waste as well as confessing to any items that I failed to save.

Kristen kindly asked me to host Food Waste Friday, alternate weeks and her initial invite for everyone to join in is cordially extended here!
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Remember I carried a watermelon?

Well this week I dropped a watermelon.

Want to know what one looks like when it hits a block paved drive from say 3 feet in the air?

Like this.

I dropped a watermelon!

I dropped a watermelon!

Okay, so the question is ‘how to divert from a fail on the food waste front’.

No Friday fridge this week, rather let me introduce you to my freezer.

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I don’t talk about my freezer frequently here, because it isn’t used that much. There’s not too much to tell.

Top shelf I keep frozen fruit (there’s kale also at the moment – as I am desperately trying to start eating it) and ice-cubes.

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This is my ‘smoothie drawer’. See the addition of chopped watermelon. I wonder why that’s in there? Oh yeah, I made a save.

Middle drawer is bread and veggies – with some emergency breakfast crumpets should they be required.

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Bottom shelf is ice-cream (I love, love, love ice-cream!) and some hand-me-downs. Very often I get half consumed bags of bits and pieces from my Mom.

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I’m a pretty safe bet when it comes to ‘using things up!’.

And that’s it this week, A save (frozen watermelon) and and introduction to my minimal freezer.

How’s your Fridge (and freezer) looking this Friday? Any waste to confess? Any top tips on what to keep in a freezer for emergencies?

(I won’t be back at the blog until 25 August Guys! See you then!)

As always I’ll leave the last word to Kristen…

“How did you do this week? If you blogged about your food waste, link us up by entering your blog link into the comments section below. You’ll save money, reduce your trash output, and get a little publicity for your blog! And if you don’t blog, you can still share about your food waste by leaving a comment without a link.

Those of you who participate in Food Waste Friday can now grab a fancy-schmancy button to perk up your posts. If you copy and paste the following code into your Food Waste Friday post, this little graphic will appear.”

Simply Being Mum
Simply Being Mum

If you blog on WordPress, just make sure you’re in html mode when you copy and paste the code, or it won’t work

Competition Inspiration

The summer holidays are scheduled at Chez Wright. Somewhat flexibly this year.

BeFunky_schedule.jpg

We’re working our way through the activities. And having lots of fun. The chart is becoming less cluttered by the day.

Finding ourselves with an hour to spare on a rainy Monday morning, I remembered the Fat Face competition I’d picked up while in Ashbourne a couple of weeks ago.

 

Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Ashbourne, Derbyshire

I adore Fat Face. In particular Fat Face jeans. My friend will vouch that after I had my first child she literally had to cut a pair of Fat Face jeans off my ever declining hips as they became larger and larger to the point that I no longer needed to open the zipper to remove them. But that’s a story for another day.

I tend to do my Fat Face jeans shopping once a year, when on holiday. Their stores always seem positioned in the nicest of English towns. Ashbourne, Shrewsbury, Abersoch, Bournemouth.

Something I never do, normally, is pick up competitions in stores. But when I saw this one, I could not resist.

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Not necessarily because the prize was unmissable (although it would be fun!), but rather it looked like a great activity for an hour on a rainy Monday morning.

I was right. It was.

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Getting to the point of this post.

Inspiration can be found in all sorts of places. As a Mum sometimes it’s hard to keep thinking up new activities for the Kids that keeps boredom at bay, even just for that showery hour.

They read and followed the instructions themselves. No leading from me, no real intervention. their own thoughts and creativity. No set plan of how it was going to go. Sometimes it’s good to just leave them to it, let their minds work it out and come up with the solution.

And there was a chance to win a trip in a camper van at the end of it. Win-Win.

Do you enter competitions? Or use them as an activity for the Kids? Any good ones out there to pass an hour or two when the TV is becoming rather tempting?

**Fat Face have no idea they are being mentioned on my blog**

Food Waste Friday / ‘Mum You Are So Embarrassing!’

Each week since March 2008, in order to motivate her to waste less food, Kristen The Frugal Girl, has posted a picture of any food that has gone bad over the last seven days. She found this embarrassing practice so helpful, to her, that she invited other bloggers to post their own photos, and Food Waste Friday was born.

FoodWasteFriday I started participating in October 2010 and have found, 3-years on, the amount of food I waste is minimal. Every Friday, as part of my No Waste Tastes Great routine, I account for all my potential food waste as well as confessing to any items that I failed to save.

Kristen kindly asked me to host Food Waste Friday, alternate weeks and her initial invite for everyone to join in is cordially extended here!
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Simply Being Mum’s Friday Fridge

I was watching this video on YouTube, to check it, before sharing on this post and Second-Born walked in. Standing behind me he just looked at my with a wry smile, shook his head and walked out the room.

Continue reading

Engaging Children In Decluttering

Very often it’s so much easier to put things off until you have the ‘time’ to do them.

Problem is, does that time ever appear?

There’s a saying that you ‘make time’. Sometimes you just need to get started and the time will find itself.

There’s another saying – ‘You are what you repeatedly do’.

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And I like to declutter 20 things in 20 minutes repeatedly.

So, on my journey to a simpler life, a clutter free life, when at home – I do a daily declutter.

Even when the Kids are off school. Which, as I am sure you can imagine, can be a little challenging.

Similarly to what Erma Bombeck said, “Cleaning the house while the children are growing is like shovelling the sidewalk before it stops snowing.” – Decluttering while children are on summer break is exactly the same. Clutter appears not disappears.

Unless, you engage them in the process. And to engage them it has to be fun!

How do I make decluttering fun?

Like this…

My cake-decorating cupboard desperately needed decluttering (see above).

Amongst my throw out items were small pieces of various coloured icing.

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One of the reasons I love baking so much is that it’s a fantastic creative outlet, and you eat the finished article. No clutter there then – even if it creates an expanding waistline! Consuming the finished article is (or at least ‘should be’) a pleasurable experience.

As I culled my cupboards, the Kids were happily moulding sugar into amazing masterpieces.

It was such a great suggestion from me, Mom, that Second-Born added it to their summer-break schedule!

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The sugar sculptures are unlikely to get eaten as the tylo powder sets them rock-hard. But it saved the icing from the bin. We’ll display them in the clutter-cabinets for a while.

Rather than #nowastetastesgreat it’s #nowastelooksgreat

How’s your decluttering going? How do you get the kids involved?

No Waste Tastes Great / A Video And A Selfie

It’s Friday Guys – time for No Waste Tastes Great

Click here to learn more about my Friday routine

Simply Being Mum’s Friday Fridge

A video this week. (If you listen closely, right at the end, you may hear ‘Mom’ being shouted from another room!)

As you can see a rather packed fridge. But everything has a destination in mind. There’s no grocery shop, today, as we have plenty to keep us going over the weekend with a few store cupboard supplies thrown in.

There is waste however. Boo.

waste

This is left over from what we had taken away, on holiday, the previous week. It just didn’t get used up.

On a more positive note, in the video you’ll hear me mention a recipe I rustled up last night.

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It’s this one.

It was very good! A keeper, super simple to make, nutritious and tasty. And the Kids’ loved it.

(It’s likely I will share my variation on this Jamie Oliver dish in the near future).

You’ll notice my fridge is still brimming with plastic. It’s not a good look. This is most definitely something I am going to be addressing. In fact it’s my pledge for #ZeroWasteWeek.

I’ve signed up – have you?

Beware – if of a delicate nature please divert your eyes – there’s a selfie coming up.

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How about you? How is your fridge looking this Friday? Any waste to declare?

Thanks as always to Kristen, The Frugal Girl, (the founder of Food Waste Friday and the inspiration behind No Waste Tastes Great)…Don’t forget to head on over to her’s to link up your Food Waste Friday post!

FoodWasteFriday

Summer Break Non-Negotiables

Our Summer’s are scheduled here at Chez Wright.

There are holiday’s to take, and days out to enjoy.

Many fun activities…

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…Indoor and outdoor

But there are also the non-negotiables.

Just like Patti Stanger (my most-favourite matchmaker since Yente) there are 5 non-negotiables.

The first of these non-negotiables is Summer reading.

(Can you guess what the other 4 non-negotiables are?)

Fortunately this is backed up by the school also encouraging the Kids’ to keep up with their books.

This summer the Kids are tasked with reading 10 books each.

So, we hot-footed it to WH Smith (as part of the Kids’ Summer schedule) to pick up a new book each. First-born chose well, a Jacqueline Wilson trilogy – so that was 3 for the price of 1.

bookshelf

(One of my favourite childhood memories is browsing the books at WH Smith on a Saturday afternoon. A considerable amount of pocket money was spent on Judy Blume books).

Second-born deviated slightly.

But as he has many unread books on his bedroom bookshelf, I’ll let it go. This time.

There’s also a walk to the local library planned. That should cover any remaining short-fall in reading material for the rest of the summer.

But the Kids’ aren’t the only ones reading.

It’s a standing joke that my summer-reading preference always looks a little like this, come rain or shine.

big

This is an oldie but goodie. A great book, which I have read before. It stands the test of time.

I’ll be moving onto this book next.

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And then when I finish with it, maybe I can up-cycle it into a shelf like this?

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Or then again, I know a Big Sis who may just love it as a recycled Christmas gift.

Did I just mention the C word? Oh yes, I’m thinking about Christmas already. A simple Christmas takes some forethought.

What are you reading this summer? I’m looking for inspiration. What am I missing out there? I still have 8 books to get through to match the Kids target this summer.