Menu Plan Monday and loads of lovely veggies

Just none of them grown by me or at least not yet anyway. Though I did go food shopping today and as I've been feeling a bit rough around the edges lately I stocked up on fruit and veggies and plan to stuff myself with them this week.

Monday - Roasted pork chops and root vegetables. I have onions, carrots, turnip, parsnip and potatoes and I can chop and chuck the whole lot into the oven for an hour and forget about it:)

Tuesday - Chicken and vegetable soup and crusty bread. I've made another batch of the no knead bread tonight and it's pretty good with soups and stews, rubbish for sandwiches but I'll make a small loaf and we'll get through the whole thing at dinner.

Also I need to bake 35 cupcakes today for Chloe to take to school tomorrow for her (early) in school b'day party.

Wednesday - Mum is taking Chloe clothes shopping this afternoon (good luck to her, she's gone right off shopping lately) for new clothes for her birthday, but it means that my mum will sort dinner for Chloe at her house. Robert already knows he'll be late home tonight so I'll have any leftover soup from yesterday or a salad and make him something light like sandwiches when he finally gets home.

And I need to remember to send chocolate chips to school tomorrow with Chloe. They'll be making choc chip cookies and Easter biscuits as it's their last day for two whole weeks!

Thursday- Last day of school and Robert knows he'll be home early tonight so, weather permitting, I'm breaking out the bbq. I'll make burgers and marinated chicken skewers with salad and plenty of tomatoes at least that way if it rains cats and dogs I can just cook indoors instead.

Friday - We're having movie night this Friday with the big screen and projector and all that faff so I'll make nibbly things like nachos and popcorn and dips and whatnot. They'll probably snack on sweets and crisps the whole way through the movie so I'll waste my time making a proper meal.

And I have to make a cake and cover it with chocolate buttercream to be taken to my mum's house tomorrow where she has a monster sized bag of sweets for the girls to decorate the cake.

Saturday - We're having dinner at mum's because it's Chloe's birthday tomorrow and she'll be spending tonight at my mum's house too and having a sleepover with her cousin. Is it just me or is this birthday turning into a week long event?

Sunday - aka Chloe's actual birthday. We'll be going to mum's house in the morning, though not too early and taking her presents with us. Then it's off out for Chloe, Aimee, mum and me to soft play heaven (with it's own coffee shop), and after that we'll meet up with Robert and my dad for a late lunch/early dinner at Zio.

I'll make some toasties or something else simple on Sunday evening before bath time.

And after a week like this on Monday when we're all off together we'll be going to the beach with nothing but a bag of sticks, a box of matches, a packet of sausages and a bottle of ketchup if I get my way:)

Folksy Friday - Gardening on the brain

Garden, garden, garden!!! If I hear one more thing about that bloody garden I might go spare.

I've been digging and weeding and emptying and filling and planting and transplanting and lifting and laying and I've come to realise a few things about gardening in the past few weeks.

I'm no longer young enough to be doing without a kneeler.

Garden Kneeler - Recrafted

Now that I want to use all or as much space as possible for fruit and veg, there's a serious lack of colour out there. I know green is a colour but even so, sometimes it was just nice to stand with my coffee in the morning and look out at the flowers. I've realised that if I can't have a flower garden, I can still have flower garden bunting.

Flower Garden Bunting - Hollie Lollie

For reasons I won't go into for fear of revealing my own stupidity and the downfall of trying to look over and through one's specs at the same time, I wish I had some cane toppers.

Terra Cotta Cane Toppers - Caroline Nash Crafts

Figuring out where to put up a bird house or bird feeder becomes a question worthy of Mensa when taking a very agile cat into consideration.

Bird House - Buns Stuff

And to think I could have just paved over the lot and filled it with beaded flowers instead.

Lavender - Fleurs de Perles

Trial and Error - Silver Coil Brooch

I was sitting a few nights ago at my desk, chatting away on twitter and absentmindedly playing with some silver plated wire that I had leftover from a different thing altogether but when I finally switched the pc off and looked down I had a pile of little coils and twirly bits of wire.

I kind of liked them and thought they'd be nice on a brooch instead of the usual buttons and such.

I sat myself down with a cup of tea, picked a few colours of felt for the backing and whipped up a quick mock version.

And I still kind of like it. Don't get me wrong, because I wasn't paying attention when I made the coils they're as rough as day old knee stubble, but I know that and I know I can do a much better job of them. Plus I'm pretty sure it will look 100x better when I use silver floss instead of regular thread to attach the coils to the felt.

And in spite of all that I still kind of like it, and if you do to you can expect to see some variations in a shop near you sometime soon.

Menu Plan Monday

Just a little quickie plan this week because we'll be doing a fair amount of running around and meals will mostly be something thrown together quickly on the go.

Monday - Chicken stew. I made a big pot on Sunday evening so I don't have to think about cooking tonight.

Tuesday - Baked cod (which I have portioned in the freezer) with pesto and garlic potatoes and whichever veg is handy.

Wednesday - Chloe will be at mum's again this evening so I'll lift chili out of the freezer and heat it for Bob and I.

Thursday - There's a ton of chicken in the fridge and I have a huge batch of no knead bread in there too so we'll have fresh bread, leftover chicken and a salad, plus Bob and Chloe will likely work their way through half a jar of pickles.

Friday - I'll make burgers with all the usual bits and pieces and some onion rings too.

Saturday - Pizza. I haven't had pizza in what feels like ages and I'm having a bit of a craving for all that bread and cheese:)

Sunday - I don't know just yet. I'll be going shopping on Saturday and I'll either buy something with dinner in mind or I'll use something from the freezer. There's a turkey crown in the chest freezer that I suppose I really should use, but I really don't like turkey. I'm more likely to cook and shred that to use in soups and things than as a roast.

Shhh, come closer

Keep it to yourself, but I've finished Chloe's birthday present with a whole two weeks to spare.

I know I'm supposed to be a big girl now, all grown up and what not, but I really just want to sit down and play with it myself:)

And before anybody points it out, I get that there probably shouldn't be an ice cream cone in a picnic basket, it would melt! But I don't care.

I'm particularly chuffed with the 'basket' which doubles as a mini picnic blanket too.

I was even very clever (forethought and everything) when I was making it and used organza ribbon for the corner ties instead of the matching fabric ties I'd originally planned when I thought about it.

I mean, we all know that the navy and other big burly knot tying blokes are secretly trained by five year olds so I figured that ribbon with just enough texture to stay in a bow, but slippery enough for me to be able to work out the knots Chloe will no doubt tie in them was the perfect choice.

The only question now is do I wrap it up and stash it out of the way until her birthday, or do I hide it as is in case I think of anything else to add to it?

Folksy Friday - The Chloe's Choice Awards

My cold addled brain has taken complete leave of its senses, perhaps the grunt work in the garden on Saturday morning really wasn't the best idea after all, so this week's Folksy Friday comes straight to you from the very lovely Chloe. She has impeccable taste by the way.

Chloe is already a big fan of Hotdog, so it was no surprise that her first stop on Folksy was a visit with the pups. She already has two to call her own but reckons she can make room for another, or maybe two.

Hotdog's alter ego, Betty, is also currently running a giveaway. If you fancy being in with a chance of winning some of the most gorgeous beads and charms I've ever seen then pop over and enter.

Chloe's second stop was with the other mousie. Her itty bitty pirate kitty has been very well looked after by the pups though I've a sneaking suspicion that they're only trying to catch a glimpse of her treasure map. Yes, our pirate is a girl, what of it?

Of all the gorgeous little creatures at Nats Nest that Chloe could have had her pick of, she fell in love with the carrot oddities. Though I can't say I blame her.

Chloe's first encounter with Oddsox was way back before Christmas when I allowed her to shop via twitter avatar and she badly wanted Shaz's sock monkey. Because she's a kind hearted child she completely understood that the monkey in question belonged to Shaz and was a gift though I'm fairly certain she'd be a tad less understanding and probably would have been willing to go a few rounds for the elephant.

And lastly, but by no means least, another Nicsknots Diddy Handbag. And again, she already has one. This one in fact, only in red, but she's rarely parted with it. Don't let the name fool you either, it's her go to weekend bag for taking to my mum's house and I've seen that child walk out the front door with a book, handful of toys, purse, whichever piece of jewellery is currently in favour, lip salve, hair bobbles and a DS all tucked inside that bag. She rocks at Tetris too:)

And with that I bid you all goodnight, seeing as it's actually still Thursday and past Chloe's bedtime and I fear past my own as well.

Menu Plan Monday

I'm going to dip my toe very gently back into menu planning.

Planning meals has become a bit of a nightmare around here since Robert started his new job. He started at a time when a ton of new contracts had just come in, which meant a lot of overtime and neither of us having the first clue what time he would be home. Plus he hates to reheat food, but I don't blame him there, nuked food isn't great.

This means that since the beginning of the year I have been cooking our evening meal in two batches, the first for Chloe and I and then again later for Robert. The child can't exactly wait until Robert gets home which is more often than not after 8pm and she's fast asleep by that stage. Needless to say I've been cooking a lot of quickie meals lately.

In the last week or so, I have cooked a few things in the crockpot, now I know that crockpot food is quite often associated with Winter food and while the sun has been shining here for the past couple of weeks of the temperature is still in single digits so I figure I can get away with it.

I've found myself waking at around 5.30am for the past week or so and my body isn't having any trouble with it at all so I might as well make use of the time in the mornings to prepare an evening meal and give myself a break from cooking twice every night.

I've plundered the archives over at A Year of Slow Cooking and I'll be making as much use as humanly possible of my crockpot this week and we'll see how it goes.

Monday Balsamic Chicken with Spring Vegetables Chloe has recently developed a love of all things pickled, her favourites being a jar of baby onions in balsamic vinegar so I don't see us having any issues with this dish.

Tuesday Boston Baked Beans and Baked Potatoes Yes it seems you can actually bake potatoes in a crockpot, however because I'll be home in the afternoon I'll just through them all in the oven and bake them normally and then pop a couple in the crockpot on low for Robert. I made a huge batch of the beans on Sunday and these really do reheat brilliantly, in fact they're even better reheated than they are the first time around.

Wednesday Chloe will be at my mum's house for dinner this evening so I only have myself and Robert to worry about and we can both have green chili cheese burgers once he's home. Don't laugh but I saw them on Bobby Flay's Throwdown, made them once and have been addicted ever since. However if you like the idea that I'm making something bright green because it's St Paddy's day then I'm happy to go along with it:)

Thursday Cream Cheese Chicken we've had it before and love it, but Chloe refuses to accept that there is cheese in a meal until there is cheddar in a meal so we always add a couple of handfuls for her.

Friday Rotisserie Style Chicken with steamed veg or salad. This comes with the benefit of leftovers for lunch on Saturday.

Saturday Pho Robert loves it and we're planning on getting stuck into the garden so we can dip into this as needed, plus I'm guessing that leftover chicken will stretch beyond just lunch so there'll be sandwiches for any starvos.

Sunday Pulled Pork I won't add the Tabasco in while the food is cooking though, I won't miss it but if Robert does I can add it to his portion at the end.

Hopefully doing this will give me more time to bake in the afternoons because that has slid lately too and I'd like to make some of my own bread this week.

Sandwiches again!

I think I need to start posting my menu plan again. I've fallen into such a rut lately where cooking is concerned that I'm pretty sure the family have been tempted a couple of times to pop over to the neighbours, who constantly seem to be boiling cabbage, for dinner!

And it isn't just food at home that I've been struggling with lately.....

This is Chloe's menu plan for school. You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Now as far as I'm concerned that's a pretty good selection of food and I'd be chuffed to have any of it set down in front of me for lunch every day, but the kids don't seem to agree.

Chloe took school meals right up until the last two weeks before Christmas when she announced that she wanted to take a packed lunch because most of the kids in her class took a packed lunch. After checking with her teacher and confirming this was correct (don't panic the poor mite wasn't being sent to the school cafeteria on her todd, some of her best friends are in another P1 teacher's class and they take school meals, she wasn't alone) I agreed that she could take a packed lunch to school figuring that the novelty of a cold lunch on a cold day would soon wear off.

It didn't!

Almost three month later and she's still taking a packed lunch and, for the sake of complete honesty, I do not rock the packed lunch.

She's fast getting sick and tired of my offerings, but still unwilling to go back to school meals. I've even found myself resorting to filling her lunchbox with those crappy pre-made, pre-portioned thingies that supermarkets love to tell us that kids love to eat.

I'm telling you I should be ashamed of myself, there was probably more nutritional value in the large quantity of plastic pots and wrapping that I sent that child to school with on Friday than there was in the food!

So I need your help. You have to give me some inspiration for kid's school lunches or at least point me in the right direction before she starts to chew on the corners of desks.

And speaking of cushions.....

I've finally finished the first batch of new cushions for me:) They're mine, all mine.

It feels like an eternity since I've made something for myself so I'm a teensy weensy wee bit precious about these cushions.

Husbands who arrive home from work, kick off their nasty work boots and fling themselves onto the sofa feet and all, not to mention 4 year olds who will still occasionally wipe a stray booger on anything unlucky enough to be within arms length are in very real danger of winding up on the endangered species list, if you get me.

I've been meaning to make these for, ooh a couple of months now, isn't it amazing how easily time gets away from you, and yet what it all boiled down to was an hour or so on Thursday evening pressing and cutting the fabric and a very thoroughly interrupted 90 minutes this morning and I have six completed new cushions, plus two more covers ready to be filled.

I already looked like a mad bag lady carrying six of the inserts home on Wednesday, adding the last two would have been just pure insanity. Plus I can always collect them on Monday.

In the end I went for simple envelope cushion covers because in this house zips tend to get broken and I figure they'll last a heck of a lot longer this way.

In case it isn't immediately obvious from the photo the cushions are a pale buttermilk yellow and a soft pistachio green which are conveniently enough the very same colours I've chosen to repaint the living room eventually.

So I'm moving ever closer to my cosy welcoming home and so far I'm managing to stick to my very tight budget because I saved a bundle on the fabric.

Because my local fabric shop also carries out a curtain making service when a new print arrives in one of the seamstresses whips up a curtain so that it can be hung to display the fabric properly, but because of the limited space they only do this with the most expensive fabrics, then once they either decide they won't be reordering any more of that print or it becomes an end of line print, the curtains are taken down and popped in behind the counter out of sight.

However if you know they're there you can buy them for £3 each! Each curtain is roughly two yards of fabric and both of those prints originally sold for £22.99 per yard. Picture me with the big grin on my face. Add to that the fact I found 300 thread count heavy weight cotton sheets on sale in Makro for £6 and my new covers ended up costing me a little more than £1 each and I still have a little more than half the fabric left.

I did spend a bit more on the inserts though, but I opted for the ones that love the washing machine and tumble dryer. I have the same pillows on my bed and they've lasted years so I really can't fault them. I'd much rather spend the extra now, than end up replacing crappy inserts every few months.

I'm also working on a little something for Chloe's room at the minute which is turning out to be just about one of the cutest things I've ever set eyes on. I'm taking my time though, because I will be posting a tute once it's complete.

Folksy Friday and I'm not well

I knew this would happen, the second I opened my gob on twitter this morning and said I quite fancied a wee day to myself, but thought I was too old to be pulling a sickie. Yup, I started yet another game of "tag you're it" with Murphy!

I made a go of the day, we had breakfast and I took Chloe to school, but by 10.00am I could feel the familiar tickle in the back of my throat. Now I have a pounding headache, a neck like a wrestler and my ears feel as though they are filled with cotton wool.

I make that a 1 all draw between me and that Murphy bloke!

Like any perfectly normal and sane person, when I get a dose of the sniffles I quite like to feel sorry for myself and curl up in a ball somewhere comfy.

Comfy means cushions and not the sad little pancaked cushions I'm currently in the process of replacing, but cushions like these;

Not to mention the slippers, and sick or not I'll be having a pair of these at some point. The question is, in my currently weakened state, will you beat me to this pair?

And of course I'll need a big pot of tea, preferrably filled whilst I'm not looking so that my flu med addled brain starts to convince itself that I have a magic teapot and magic teapots that never run out need to be kept warm and toasty;

So what do you do when you're feeling under the weather?

How awesome is it

that when I get stuck in work with my two arms the one length, twiddling one's thumbs so to speak my first thought is to give you lovely darlings the chance to win a little bit of springtime bling?

Awesome, I know!

So would you like to win some springy broochy goodness?

You would, well of course why wouldn't you and as if you even needed another reason to enter, I've even gone and made it super easy for you too:)

And if you win, you even get to choose which brooch you'll be sporting this Spring.



or even Green

All you need to do is pop over to my shop, have a nosey around, then come back here and have a guess in the comments which item has had the most views.

You can even have a second entry for tweeting about the giveaway, but you'll have to remember to come back here and leave a second comment, otherwise it's hard for my poor brain to keep track.

You can even copy the following to make it all the easier to enter twice

I just entered @seethewoods fab Spring Brooch Giveaway Join me!

If someone gets the right answer, then clearly they'll win, failing that I'll just pick a name out of a hat on Wednesday, how's that sound?

***Only comments on this post will be taken as entries***
UPDATE - We have a winner:) Betty's Place guessed correctly and it was in fact my Autumn Brooch which has the most views and favourites too, only just pipping my pincushion rings to the post. Betty if you'd like to choose a colour, your new brooch will be off in the post to you asap:)
Chin up my lovelies, there will be more giveaways to come!

Garden 1 - Me 0

I'm trying, really I am, but my garden is kicking my ass this year.

Normally by this time of the year I have the garden pretty well cleared and at least an idea if not a full blown plan of what I'll be planting and where.

This year, not to much!

The poor thing is all just so ratty and unloved looking at the minute. Ideally what we would like to do is move some of the larger plants to the front garden which will free up a lot more space for vegetables at the back, we just haven't really got around to do it yet. Although if it is going to happen, it'll have to be done in the next three or four weeks to then allow us time to get the ground ready for replanting.

I'm thinking that it should be easy enough to move everything which is currently along the front of the top level and of course there are a load of things which are already in pots and it's just a matter of picking the things up and carrying them around to the front garden. Go on, ask me why I haven't done it yet, you know you want to?

We didn't use the decked part of the garden much this year and it rained a lot more so it's a bit lethal up there, a bit like a slip and slide so that will need a good clean and scrub before it's safe to use again.

That trough planter thingy needs completely gutted and refilled, nothing we planted in it last year grew so the soil is pretty much dead and the cat has made it her own personal sandbox since then.

The stairs badly need to be sorted out and scrubbed down, there are even a couple of ferns growing on them now.

And if there's time, I'd quite like to give it a lick of paint. I hate that drab grey cement colour and I much prefer the soft green we used around the decking. Well when it's clean and had a freshen up I prefer it, but I think while I'm doing that I'll carry on across the back wall behind the trough and the very front wall below the little hedgerow too.

And because none of that is going to happen while I'm sitting here, guess where I'm off to. Maybe I'll even move those pots round to the front garden, or maybe I'll just stand out there for an hour chin resting on broom handle, coffee cup in hand wondering where to start first, you never know!

Before I go, I've just realised that, and I have to say this very, very quietly, but it hasn't rained all week, not so much as a drop so I'll even be able to mow the lawn for the first time this year too:)

Folksy Friday - Bring Me Sunshine

I don't know what it is this year, I'm mean I normally really and truly do love Winter, but it's been different this year. I normally welcome the chance to to dress all snuggly, to dig out the extra blankets and break out my rather large collection of scarves, like I need an excuse, but this year it feels like the cold has seeped into my very bones. Maybe I really am just getting old.

In saying that though, I've been the happiest little girl in the world to wake up to see the sunshine streaming in through my bedroom window and I can feel the old bones soaking up a bit of warmth.

So play along with me here. I thought that if I could find some of the brightest and most beautiful sunshiny yellow goodies on Folksy, they would act as a kind of anti rain dance thingamy.

"dotty" sunshine girl by "so dotty"

Summer Sunshine hair slides by Chain of Daisies

Pineapple Sunshine Charm Bracelet by Pebblerox Jewellery

Mellow Sunshine by Gossimar Wings

"Italia Print" Photos by Rosie

Button Heart Giclee Print in Orange by Dig the Earth

Positive mental attitude and all that jazz!