Saturday, 31 March 2012

Month in Numbers ~ March

Funny old month, March.  All a bit something and nothing and I think my collection of numbers reflect that.
55,000: the amount The Brainy One donated in air miles to buy me a flight to New York City.  {More about that in my OLW post tomorrow afternoon}
3: the amount in pounds Stirling I won on the EuroMillions Lottery.  I won't be starting a new life just yet!
8: the number of Zumba classes I attended
1: the number of times I drove the car.  There just didn't seem to be the need.
458: the amount of photos I took.  Ridiculous, really.
15: the number of times I walked the dog

And that was March.  I've left the layout looking fairly sparse on purpose. We're still feeling pretty empty after the events five weeks ago and although there are some pretty big things to look forward to this year, it's hard to be enthusiastic about anything much.
Don't forget to hop over to Julie's to see who else has been counting their month away.

Photo a Day: 31st March

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Spring Concert

The youngest 4 years at The Boy Child's school put on a Spring Concert this afternoon.  Ranging in age from 3 to 9, they performed the children's musical Tatty Bogle.
I was such a proud mummy!
 ~ my shivering caterpillar {well, it was winter time ...} ~
 ~ my singing caterpillar ~
~ my listen-to-that-applause caterpillar ~
There are moments when being a mummy is the best thing in the world, ever.
This afternoon was one such occasion.

Photo a Day: 29th March

6am: The Boy Child had an accident while asleep.  He hasn't done that for a few months, but these things happen when you have little people in the house.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Photo a Day: 28th March

9am: Coffee with my mum and my American friend.
My American friend is spending the Easter holidays in the States and I gave her a JBP {just because present} for the flight.
You can read about what I gave her here.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Photo a Day: 25th March

9pm, Sunday evening.
Tray of tea for two.
Final episode of Upstairs, Downstairs on the BBC.
The Brainy One watches it under sufferance.
We'll catch up with tonight's episode of Homeland tomorrow.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Photo a Day: 24th March

The Boy Child has a far better social life than either me or The Brainy One, without doubt.

Pot Luck Blog Hop

Welcome to Deb's Pot Luck Blog Hop cum House Warming Party; it's lunch time here and I'm just about to put the kettle on.  If you're following the Hop around the globe, then you'll have come to me from Karen at Random Reflections.  Doesn't her recipe sound delicious?
~ your hostess, but not looking her best, admittedly ~
For our very first dinner party as newly weds, I turned to the Queen of British cooking, Delia Smith for help.  Her recipes are straight forward and easy to follow. Our guests loved it and continue to eat with us every few months or so; proof in the pudding, as it were.

Beef in Beer
serves 4-6

2 lb (900g) chuck steak, cut in to 2" (5cm) squares
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz onions (350g), quartered then separated into layers
1 well heaped tablespoon plain flour
15 fl oz light ale (425ml)
1 sprig thyme  or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 fat garlic clove, crushed
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 1, 275F, 140C
Heat the oil in a large flame proof casserole until sizzling hot then sear the meat in it ~ just a few pieces at a time ~ till they become a dark mahogany brown all over.  As the pieces brown, remove them to a plate, then add the onions to the casserole and, with the heat still high, toss them around until brown at the edges.  Now return the meat to the casserole together with any juices.  Add the flour, turn the heat down, and using a wooden spoon stir it around to soak up all the juices.  It will look rather stodgy and unattractive at this stage but that's quite normal.
Next gradually stir in the light ale and, while everything slowly comes up to simmering point, add the thyme, bay leaf, crushed garlic and some salt and freshly milled black pepper.
As soon as it begins to simmer, stir thoroughly, put on a tight-fitting lid and transfer the casserole to the middle shelf of the oven.  
Cook at a gentle simmer for 2 and a half hours.  Don't take the lid off and have a taste half-way because, early on, the beer hasn't had time to develop into a delicious sauce; the beautiful aroma will make you very hungry, but please leave it alone!
Serve with mashed potatoes and red cabbage.

Your next stop on the Hop is Stephanie and the beginning of the dessert recipes. Should you lose your way, you'll find a full list of participants in Deb's kitchen.  Don't forget to tell her I sent you.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Photo a Day: 23rd March

You would think that with The Boy Child in school from 8.30am to 3.30pm, there would be enough time in the day to get done everything I want to do.  So how is it that I am constantly looking at my watch as soon as the time passes midday?  I swear that time speeds up between noon and 3.10pm {when I leave on the school run}.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Photo a Day: 22nd March

I don't mind admitting that I like ironing.
I like the whole process of creased to uncreased and pristine.
I find ironing calming.
I prefer The Boy Child's clothes to The Brainy One's shirts.

Happy Mail 2012: #6

Five parcels were deposited with the Royal Mail this morning.
Four recipients in the UK and one in the USA.
If you'd like an chance to be a recipient of the next round of Happy Mail, just send an email with your address to: roo1968ATyahooDOTcoDOTuk with Happy Mail 2012 in the title.  It would be nice if you left a comment here as well.
There is no catch.
You don't have to do anything in return.
Stalking the Postie, one of my favourite past times! 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Photo a Day: 21st March

Regardless of the colour of the sky, aircraft contrails are almost always visible in the skies over West London.  I don't understand residents who moan about the noise coming from Heathrow; if you don't like it, don't live in a suburb that's under the flight path.
Back in the day, I lived in a small cottage that had landing lights at the end of the garden ... so that these guys could see to land without taking our roof off.

Move More, Eat Well 2012: February

I continued to do well in February with my aims for improving my fitness levels.
I went to Zumba a total of seven {7} times; I missed two sessions because The Boy Child and I went to stay with mum for half-term.  I walked the dog a total of seventeen {17} times and most of those walks were either a couple of laps of X Park or Y Park or a combination of the two.
I found it more difficult in February to keep to my commitment of eating a proper lunch at the proper time.  I still ate hummus with pitta bread, yoghurt with soft fruit, satsumas.  But I found myself snacking mid-morning and then topping my lunch off with chocolate or custard creams.  And both of those things are pretty 
addictive; easy to have just one more.  Worse still has been the amount of chocolate consumed in the evenings.  I know that I don’t need it, that I’ve eaten enough at supper time, but I still do it.  And I’m a hypocrite, because I’m extremely vigilant when it comes to making sure The Boy Child doesn’t have sweet things that often. 
My body’s measurements have hardly changed from what they were in January; just .2lb from my weight, hardly what you’d call a noticeable loss, and ½” from my thighs.  I know that I started Move More, Eat Well because I wanted to be fit, not to lose weight, so how come I thought, “is that all?” once the measurements were taken.
Cathy Zielske correctly notes that the writing down of the numbers demystifies them to some degree.  They’re just data.  No more, no less.   
Two changes I've made that I continue to do well with are:
1) Eating a proper lunch at the proper time
2) Zumba classes twice a week
Two changes still to be made are:
1) Eat less chocolate!
2) Join a gym ... and go regularly.  {the Zumba ladies are moving their classes out of my area and getting to their new venue would involve 2 bus rides.  I want to be able to walk to where I'm going to exercise.}  

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Photo a Day: 20th March

If The Boy Child has a good day at school and if he tries hard with his reading homework, his reward is half an hour on the iPad ~ YouTube videos of Thomas and Fireman Sam.

On Rare Occasions ...

... words fail me.
This came in the post this morning ...
Look closely ... there's The Boy Child posting a letter ... there's the letterbox postcards I like to send ... there's my own handwriting.  And I know that there, in the heart of this canvas, is Deb.
The one and only Deb.
The incomparable Deb.
A lady with with a kind and generous heart.
A lady with the capacity for selfless love of others.
And Deb, I'm borrowing words directly from your mom here: "I never thought much about how the words “thank you” could never be enough. There must be a better term when something touches your heart so deeply and lifts your spirits to the point of soaring--and all I can say is “thank you”? ... I suppose we’ll all have to be satisfied with “thank you so much” until I can come up with a better phrase."

Thank you, Deb.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Photo a Day: 19th March

I have scrapbooking.
The Boy Child has Thomas the Tank Engine & assorted friends.
The Brainy One has remote-controlled off-roading vehicles.

Sketch Challenge

Those lovely girls over on the SAG blog set a sketch challenge on Saturday.  It turned out to be one that Amy had previously set in October 2010, but, as we know from Miss Smith's recent class, revisiting a sketch is no bad thing.

Yesterday was the first Mother's Day for The Brainy One without his mum and coming just 3 weeks after the loss of his lovely dad.  We kept the day normal, routine and quiet.
And you know what?
It was perfect.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Photo a Day: 18th March

Not much scrapbooking going on just now, but I am keeping up with Project Life.  I have a few scrapbook ideas so am hopeful that I'll find the time this week to get back in to a groove.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Photo a Day: 17th March

I spent a pleasant couple of hours in the kitchen listening to Tony Blackburn's Pick of the Pops ~ 1973 and 1994.  I boxed off the ironing, made this and stewed fruit.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Photo a Day: 16th March

A highlight in my day is the opportunity to have lunch with The Brainy One.  One of the advantages of having a husband who works from home a lot.  We decided against going out, in favour of lunch at the kitchen table:
Ham rolls for me,
Corned beef with Branston pickle for TBO,
Crisps (potato chips),
Satsumas (like a tangerine),
Red wine for TBO,
Pear cider for me,
Pot of tea for two.

It's those simple pleasures that bring us so much joy.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Monday, 12 March 2012

No Photo a Day Today

Today is my father-in-law's funeral.  There will be no photo of the day.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Photo a Day: 10th March

The Boy Child on his return from a classmate's birthday party.

10 Things

This month ~ a pictorial tribute to my father-in-law. 
 A life of service begins
 A loving son
 Marrying the love of his life
Becoming a family
 Always the family; first, last and forever 
 A proud and devoted Grandad
Sharing a name and a birthday 
The final time, little did we know it

Please forgive my indulgence with this post.
My lovely, lovely father-in-law.
A man with an enormous heart.
A man who lived a life of service to others.
An adored husband.
A beloved dad.
A devoted grandad.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Photo a Day: 9th March

How do I know that it's almost Spring?  Mr Heron is back on the pond in the park and on the look out for ducklings and moorhen chicks.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Happy Mail 2012: #5

The mood around here needs lifting.
Two parcels of Happy Mail will be deposited with the Post Office tomorrow morning. One recipient will be receiving her second parcel ~ that's how it goes when randomness is involved.
If you'd like an chance to be a recipient of the next round of Happy Mail, just send an email with your address to: roo1968ATyahooDOTcoDOTuk with Happy Mail 2012 in the title.  It would be nice if you left a comment here as well.
There is no catch.
You don't have to do anything in return.
Stalking the Postie, one of my favourite past times! 
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