More Christmas Crafts

I have been trying to make Christmas decorations with my daughter using only the craft supplies that I already have.

I don’t have a lot of card left so I have been recycling old paintings that my daughter did that had just been sitting in a drawer! We enjoy getting paints out and making pictures but I never know what to do with them afterwards! I decided it would be nice to use the old paintings to make decorations. I have been using Christmas cookie cutters as stencils to cut shapes out. I plan to make a lot of these to use as decorative hangings.

I have a lot of coloured lolly sticks so used those to make triangle shapes to become Christmas tree and angel decorations. I used recycled yellow card and the star cookie cutter to make stars for the top of the trees. We stuck on sequins for the baubles. I used pipe cleaners to make wings and halos for the angels.

The hand and footprint crafts that we did earlier have been stuck onto some twine to make a nice decorative hanging. We also decorated the hand print wreath with a little glitter glue and sequins.

I wanted to make a wreath out of the pinecones but I don’t have a hot glue gun and PVA glue just isn’t good enough for sticking pinecones together. I decided I would try stringing them together with wool and have created a really lovely looking pinecone garland to hang over the fireplace.

Using a few of the card pieces I had left I cut out some bauble shapes and let my daughter decorate them, she used sequins on one and crepe and tissue paper on the other.

We had a few stones that my daughter had collected so I have painted a baby Jesus on one of those. If I have time I may paint some more Nativity figures on some of the other stones.

It is lovely having homemade decorations in the home and hopefully they will last a few years and add to our collection of Christmas decorations. Now I just need to attach wool to the baubles, trees and wreath and decide where to hang them.

Tuesday’s Bakes

I still like to do baking at least once a week. I much prefer having homemade treats at home than shop bought cakes that are full of sugar and all sorts of ingredients!

I am wanting to make more savoury snacks just to add variety to what we eat and also to make my husband’s lunch boxes more exciting!

Today, with the help of my daughter, I baked a lemon drizzle tray bake and cheese and herb muffins. The lemon drizzle is light and fluffy and will need eating up quickly before it dries out! The muffins have a real savoury flavour, I added black pepper and a pinch of curry powder to make them really flavourful. I have frozen some of these so they are available for later on as we won’t eat all 12 before they dry out.

I am hoping to get into bread making again as I really enjoyed having fresh homemade breads. Hopefully there will be more posts to come on what has been baking in my kitchen!

I know my baking may not be aesthetically pleasing, I go for the homemade rustic approach! As long as it tastes good I am happy!

This Week in Photos and Thoughts

I have been struggling this week to come up with a good blog post. I have lots of ideas but somehow can’t seem to materialise them into something worth reading!

After a restless night with my 8 month old, I began Monday morning with comforting bowls of cinnamon, sultana and banana porridge. Just what we needed to set us up for the day ahead.

Monday was quite a breezy day, we took a walk to the seafront and spent a little time on the beach.

I didn’t get any baking done this week as I had run out of sugar and had no alternatives such as honey! I did however cook some nice meals including, bolognaise, sausage and chickpea casserole, swede and potato pasties and cheese and vegetable pie. (My son no longer has his dairy allergy so we are able to eat cow’s milk products again). The pie was particularly stay, I used a pinch of curry powder in the pastry that gave it extra flavour dimension.

As you know I like to take photos of food, so here is one of our lunches from the week and also one of our fruit and yoghurt breakfasts! I try to provide fruit or veg with each meal.

Today we took a walk in one of the local parks, we had a lovely stroll amongst the fallen leaves and enjoyed looking at the trees and seeing the ducks and birds on the lake.

I have been trying to get back into Bible study and feel that I am needing more guidance in my life at the moment. I really want to find out God’s plan for me and find out where he is guiding me. I have installed a Bible app and have several daily readings set up relating to different aspects in life that I feel will help me. I am really excited about getting back on track with my faith and becoming a better Christian.

I have been acting out the Nativity with my daughter and she enjoys dressing up as Mary whilst I narrate. We have also had trips to the park and lots of playing with Playmobil!

Yesterday afternoon we had a little hot chocolate break. My daughter loves marshmallows so I made us both a hot chocolate topped with marshmallows. Of course they were all eaten up first!

Thank you for reading all of my ramblings! Hope you have all had a good week.

Quick Children’s Christmas Crafts

I am always trying to find ways to keep my 3 year old entertained! She is awake at 6am and the day is so long!

With Christmas coming up I thought it would be a good idea to do a few themed crafts. I found some inspiration from pictures online. I am only using the craft resources I have, money is tight and shops are closed!

We collected lots of pine cones and have painted those in different colours. I am planning on putting string on some to use as baubles and also attaching some together to make a wreath.

The other crafts involved hands and footprints. I got both children involved in this and then my daughter decorated them later when they were dry. We made snowmen from footprints, Father Christmas handprints and a wreath out of green handprints.

We also made a Christmas tree picture from a finger print painting. I cut out a tree shape and then my daughter put foam shapes all over to make it look like baubles.

I am hoping to get a few more festive decorations made with craft items we have available. It will just be a case of making what we can from what we have. This will save us from wasting craft material and also save us money from having to buy anything new. It gives me a challenge in coming up with ideas by using what is there.

Hopefully there will be more posts of our Christmas crafts.

How I Spent this Weekend

I had a lovely walk with my family on the South Downs on Saturday. It was nice getting some fresh air and enjoying the scenery. We were pleased we got out yesterday as the weather has been bad today with strong winds and heavy rain. I can’t wait to see the Downs at different times of the year, it will be so picturesque covered in snow and in the Summer it will be a perfect place for a picnic and will be lovely to see the sun shining down on the sea.

On Saturday night I cooked a mackerel for dinner. My husband bought it in the reduced section from Tesco knowing we would be able to make a meal from it. I seasoned the mackerel and added some garlic and rosemary and fried it in a pan until golden and cooked through. I served it with a mixture of quinoa and couscous with peas and sweetcorn and broccoli on the side. The dinner was delicious and both children enjoyed it too so a definite winner.

I still had plenty of parsnips from the Morrisons food box and have a recipe for parsnip and clementine muffins that is in the Lidl Christmas food guide this year. I had all the ingredients (used satsumas instead of clementines) so I thought I would give these a go. The result was delicious tasting muffins that I will definitely be making again.

Tonight I made pizza for dinner using a recipe for a quick pizza dough. This is a dough that is made with baking powder instead of yeast for a dough that is ready to bake as soon as it is made. I like this as it is quick and doesn’t have to be planned in advance. I topped the pizza with lots of veggies and salami – a nice tasty weekend dinner.

The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, watching some films and playing with the children. We also made a den for my daughter this morning and had pretend tea and biscuits!

Hope you have all had a good weekend.

What’s Been Cooking This Week?

Most of my posts feature food – I love cooking, baking (and eating)! So I shall write about what’s been cooked and eaten this week.

I have been using up the vegetables that I got in the Morrisons Too Good To Go box. I made a large carrot cake which used 1lb of carrots. This cake was lovely and moist and had great flavour.

Cake mix ready to be baked

I made a swede pearl barley risotto, this was a new recipe and I really enjoyed it. I added peas for a bit more colour and flavour. I enjoyed this as an alternative to rice and my family liked it too.

Another of my favourite ways to get lots of vegetables into meals is by making soup. I made a minestrone type soup yesterday which fed us for 2 lunchtime meals. It was really tasty and filling.

I had some spring onions in the food box which I have used throughout the week. I used some in a stir fry and in pasta. Tonight I used them in loaded baked potato skins.

I have enjoyed some lovely foods this week which were tasty and budget friendly.

What I am Doing to be More Environmentally Friendly

Like so many others, I am starting to think more about our impact on the planet and how collectively making small changes to how we live can give us a better future.

To reduce waste, I use cloth nappies on my son. He has been in reusable nappies since he was about 6 weeks. I used disposables on my daughter but didn’t like the amount being thrown in the bin and knowing that they will just sit in landfill for years! I do still use disposables occasionally but I know that what I am throwing away is far less than using them full time. I use fleece nappy liners which are washed with the nappies so there is no waste at all.

I also have reusable wipes to go along with the cloth nappies. I prefer these to packaged wet wipes as they have a better grip for cleaning. I have microfibre face cloths which I use for cleaning hands and faces after meals

When my daughter was a baby I purchased bamboo reusable breast pads and I am using them again now when breastfeeding my son.

Before falling pregnant with my son I started using reusable sanitary pads, I found using these easy and again I like the fact that I am not throwing things away that will stay in landfill for years.

I have recently bought some cleaning products that come in dissolvable sachets. These are plastic free and haven’t already been made up with water, meaning less packaging. I purchased glass spray bottles to dissolve them into. The products smell really good and the bottles look good on display also.

In the bathroom I have started using a shampoo soap bar instead of a plastic bottle of shampoo. This means that it is plastic free and zero waste. We also as a family all have bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic ones.

I am hoping to transition all of my toiletries into being plastic free and will gradually replace them with eco friendly alternatives. I recently purchased a plastic free deodorant which smells really nice – like Turkish delight!

For clothing I generally do not buy many clothes. I went through my clothes in the spring and got rid of lots that I didn’t wear or were tired and worn. I have to admit that some of the clothes in my wardrobe I had had since I was about 15 or 16! When I evaluated what clothing I did need I purchased them from a website selling clothes made from organic cotton and are ethically sourced.

I am really keen to advance in what I am doing to be more environmentally friendly. I am hoping in the new year to start shopping at a zero waste shop and really cut down on single use plastic that enters our home.

I am aware that eco friendly products do appear quite expensive at first and this is the reason why I am doing it gradually. At the moment we are on a tight budget but I am doing what I can when I can to be more eco friendly.

I hope that the small changes I have made so far will contribute to making a difference to our future.

Thanks for reading about the start of my journey to living better for the planet.

Foodie Sunday

Sunday was quite a relaxing day. I wanted to make something nice for lunch seeing as it was the weekend and we were all at home together.

I decided to make a quiche and just made up my own recipe using what food I had. I decided on a carrot and sweetcorn quiche and made the pastry with a mix of plain flour and cornmeal. The results were extremely tasty. The cornmeal have the pastry a lovely texture and the carrots and sweetcorn went well together in the eggy quiche mixture.

I will definitely be making this quiche again – If anybody is interested in the recipe let me know and I will write a blog post for the recipe of my carrot and sweetcorn quiche.

Here’s what is left of the quiche! Didn’t get a photo beforehand – we were all too hungry!!

In the afternoon I picked up a food box from Morrisons which I had reserved yesterday from the Too Good To Go App. We are on a tight budget at the moment and getting a mystery box of vegetables and fruit for £3.09 is definitely worthwhile.

I was pleasantly surprised with what was in the box – I will be able to make plenty of soups and stews with the vegetables and they definitely won’t go to waste.

The only downside to the food box was the amount of plastic that the vegetables were in. I felt this was unnecessary and would like to see less plastic used in the future.

For dinner my husband put together a Sunday roast. We had roast chicken with roast potatoes, stuffing and veg from the Morrisons box which included Brussels sprouts, broccoli and roast parsnips. This was a delicious Sunday roast and was lovely sitting round as a family all enjoying a wholesome homemade meal.

For dessert I made up a quick microwave sponge. I used one of the pears from the food box and made up a low sugar chocolate sponge with the pears mixed in and microwaved it until it was cooked through.

We love eating homemade food as a family and I enjoy cooking and baking and experimenting with foods. I look forward to making lots of yummy foods with all of the vegetables and I am really happy to have saved good food from being thrown away.

A Sunny Afternoon Well Spent

Yesterday the weather was so beautiful – blue sky and bright sunshine, a perfect day to get out and explore.

The day can be very slow and long being at home all day with two young children and often we just need to get out for an hour or so for a bit of exercise, fresh air and a change of scenery.

We walked to the playground after lunch. My daughter absolutely loves going to the playground so we spent a good while there. Opposite the park is the seafront so we walked back home along the seafront. We had a little stroll on the beach and splashed a few pebbles into the water. My daughter collected a few pebbles in her pocket to bring home!

We strolled along the seafront a little further and then stopped for a sit on a bench and a box of raisins!

All the walking and the sea air definitely did us good especially on such a bright sunny day.

I ended the afternoon ordering some food from the Too Good To Go App which food businesses use to sell off leftover products from that day. A local bakery had a mystery bag available for £2.66 so I thought I would give it a go. I got two lovely loaves of fresh sourdough bread. We had some with our dinner – I made a veggie curry with brown rice. The bread was perfect for mopping up the curry sauce.

It is such a good idea to save food from being wasted so I was really pleased I was able to make this purchase and will be looking out for more food to be saved in the future.

That was how I spent my sunny Thursday afternoon, hope you all had a lovely day too.

A Hectic Week (Moving House)

We made the move down South last week and have managed to get nearly everything unpacked!

New Location

It has been challenging trying to unpack and find a home for everything whilst trying to entertain a 3 year old and 7 month old and also keep on top of daily jobs such as laundry and washing up!

Empty boxes flattened and ready to be recycled

I am pleased with how well we have got everything away, all of our furniture fits and we bought ourselves a sofa and two armchairs from a charity shop which are in great condition and fit the room really well.

It is now just a case of getting some rugs and some storage units/boxes for the toys. A few pictures on the wall will just add a homely touch and then I think everything will be sorted.

I managed to sort through a lot of things before the move and got rid of so much stuff! I am pleased that we don’t really have lots of things.

One of my space saving ideas was to buy two DVD wallets that hold up to 96 DVDs each. I removed all of my DVDs from their cases and have stored them all the the dvd wallets. We had so many DVDs and they were taking up so much space. I now have two wallets that fit in one small drawer in the TV cabinet! It is nice to have them all tidied away in one place.

I will hopefully find more time to blog about lots of new interesting things in the near future!