Thursday, 27 May 2010

The To Do List Before You Die

We all have one - don't we?

Today, I think (and I still won't believe it until it actually happens) I've actually ticked one off my list.  Now, my list isn't very big.

If I think hard about it, this is probably one of only a very slight few (in no particular order):

1) Return to St Lucia
2) Return to New Zealand
3) Write a novel
4) Get novel published
5) Times 3 & 4 over :D 
6) Meet Dirk Benedict - well, at least see him in the flesh from afar!

Today, I may have just ticked off number 6.

That's what all my excitement is about.  I've admired (and fancied - although is it unhealthy to fancy a man the same age as your dad?) this man since I was about 11, when he appeared in The A-Team.  I watched him avidly, feeling quite stalker-ish actually, on Celebrity Big Brother. I can believe that poor man was subjected to Jade Goody!

I vaguely remember him as Starbuck, but did buy the DVDs a while back, and kindly had my memory refreshed.  Oh thank you for DVDs! 

He's currently in theatre as Lieutenant Columbo.  A good internet pal made us aware of this.  Another spotted that it was touring!  I'd missed Cardiff, and even Windsor (could have stayed at my mum's) and the closest to me is either Plymouth or Truro.  Plymouth will be a good 2 hour drive, but it's closer than Truro.

Anyway, I knew Hubby couldn't really take the time off (and probably wouldn't be that interested), so I asked my Dad (who is an A-Team fan, too, and he liked Columbo) if he'd come.  Sorted out the child care, as it's a school day and I've booked two tickets for Plymouth.  The last two on the fourth row, which I think is the best as they're more expensive than the first three rows (apparently you'd be looking up in those). It's the matinee performance which will work well with the kids, and travelling and everything!

Oh. My. God.  I'm going to see Dirk Benedict in the flesh!

Quiver - that's because I'm trying to refrain from jumping up and down like an excited teeanger!

Oh sod it!

Jump! Jump! Jump!

Not really sure this is what I designed my blog for... but thought what the heck, gotta put my excitement some where!

So, now I realise I actually do have a 'To Do List Before I Die' maybe I should add a few more things to it? 

And no, I don't fancy climbing Mount Everest!  Let's keep it realistic.  To be frank, I never thought I'd see Dirk aka Face, aka Starbuck in the flesh!

If you need a reminder, picture of 'The A-Team' - taken from Bullets & Bikinis - Season 3

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Be Careful What You Say

I am not very good at holding my tongue.  I am certainly not very good when it comes to swearing.  I do it all the time, especially when something angers me, I find it de-stresses me.  I have to let it out.  Better out than in, isn't the saying?  But obviously I have to watch myself in front of my two children.  (Maybe a swear box would help!?).

Ben is now five and growing up so fast, and Kieran is three, soon to be no longer small enough to be my baby. I swear I am not broody!  (Photo: on our way to the Isle of Wight aboard the Red Funnel Ferry in October 2009)

I'm saying 'flipping' a lot lately.  And I quickly change 'bloody' to 'bloomin' and trying to remember it as 'Oh my goodness'... which sometimes comes out God-ness!

Gosh you don't know how hard it is for a compulsive swearer! 

Anything that I do mumble accidentally, I'm hoping falls on deaf ears! 

I watched an episode of Desperate Housewives the other day, which covered this topic of a child using profanities.  I laughed so hard as Gabby and Carlos argued using the word blank, blanked and blanking!  Maybe I should try using that word?

But there are other things I say, which aren't rude, but I must say quite a lot.

Like today, for instance.  Kieran and I were talking about a cuddly toy that he'd taken out.  I usually don't allow them to take toys out with them, for fear they will get lost, and usually wherever we are going there are bound to be plenty of toys or things to do, so they are not needed.  Today we were off to Stars In Training, and Kieran needed to be entertained while Ben was in his class.  So I allowed 'Monkey' to travel with us.

Monkey was apparently ill, so Kieran told me, and when I asked him what was the matter with Monkey, why was he poorly, Kieran answered, "because I said so."

When one of my children are not doing as they are told, or asked, I sometimes count to three, with the fear of a punishment if I get to three they usually start doing as they are told.  Kieran (or Ben  - depending on who is being naughty) starts to count for me now.... One... Two....

Then, the other day, I got showed up rotten by my three year old.  I'd met a friend and her two children at our local farm (Puxton Park) which has a play den.  I have membership, so it works well to kill time for an hour or two over there.  Ben was at school, so I only had Kieran with me, and my friend's son is the same age, so they played nicely.  Tired of running around like a loon, Kieran asked, in his cute way, if he could see the animals, and I told him that we could once I'd finished my coffee.  "Too much coffee, Mummy," is the response I had - loudly.  Yes, and some mums did hear him and chuckle! 

He likes to wave his cute little finger at me too as he does it.  He's usually saying, 'One more' with that gesture.  He used it on me yesterday as I put his shoes back on (we were at Puxton again, meeting some more friends - I swear my kids have a better social life than me!) and, holding up his cute index finger, he wanted to go on the 'bouncy pillow first, Mummy.'

He also uses 'ages' because I tend to say that a lot.  'Oh I haven't seen/done this in ages'. Kieran tends to use it... but a little in the wrong context.  Which does make me laugh!
Ben can also come out with some classics.  Like the time I was trying to encourage him to eat some of his carrots by saying they would help him see in the dark.  He's not silly!  He replied, 'but carrots go downwards, Mummy.  How do they get to my eyes?'

So you see, you have to be careful what you say, however innocent.  Their little brains are taking it all on board.  What with the continuous asking of 'why?' Thankfully Ben has grown out of that!  Kieran on the other hand...

Anyway, I'd much rather they say these things, than coming out with something truly awful that they've picked up from naughty Mummy having one of her funny turns...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Mum's Birthday Cake...

That I made! Coffee, Chocolate and Walnut from my Green and Blacks recipe book.  Coffee icing is from another chocolate book.

Oh and Kieran helped... with the washing up!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

My Kitchen Bibles Provide The Variety Of Life

I have seemed to have collected a lot of recipe books over my time.  But I've actually had a clear out.  If I've got at least one meal idea or recipe from that book, that I use (and we liked) then it's worth keeping.  Otherwise I've got rid.

I have (now let me count) five Jamie Oliver recipe books. In fact, they're not mine, they are actually hubby's. But my favourite, and the one I use the most, is The Ministry Of Food.

I bought it for Hubby, either for Birthday or Christmas last year, because I thought it looked good, and it was cheap with someone like The Book People (and secretly I wanted it).

There are two bibles in my kitchen; Tana Ramsay Real Family Food, and The Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver.

Now, firstly, I want to say that I do have a husband that can cook, and when it was just the two of us we used to take it in turns, but nowadays I do most of the cooking. I'm at home all day, it makes sense. Since becoming a full time housewife, and having two young children, and being a bit of a believer of what goes in, has to come out, i.e. all this artificial rubbish really can't be good for us, I've wanted to move away from using ready meals/jars, and provide good home cooked food.  I especially feel it's important for my children's health and growth.

Now, I am someone who can cook (but then I believe everyone can cook). I can follow recipes, or at least tries but I'm not one for doing anything too fancy. I'm just not that confident... or patient.  I don't like all this faffing about either. Recipe books for me have to be laid out in a clear, concise fashion. I like to know the prep time, the cooking time etc. too. And the actual recipe needs to be easy going. If there are things in it I just wouldn't entertain in my cupboard, or it's about marinating the day before - forget it!

Though, I must say, the jars in my cupboards have been replaced with all sorts of wholesome ingredients, herbs and spices!  I now see a new recipe and think, oh good, I've got that!

Tana's is laid out beautifully.  Bullet points and everything.  I can see quite quickly if I want to try a recipe in this book.  I've actually tried many.  This book has definitely earned its place on my kitchen shelf - and title of bible.  And her book is really for the family and kids in mind.  I see this book being really handy introducing my children when they're a bit older to wonderful new tastes and flavours.  

Jamie's Ministry of Food is great whether you can or can't cook. Whatever you do, don't think, 'I can cook, I don't need this book!' You do!

There really is no excuse for cooking from jars, packets, and ready meals. Everyone can eat healthily - and quickly! Don't use the excuse about lack of time! There are at least two pasta recipes that can be done in under ten minutes, which both of my boys love. They're bloody scrummy! And soooooo simple!

It has loads more recipes too that can be done in under twenty minutes... probably no longer than if you used a jar.  Real Family Food has a 'Food In A Flash' section.  You can create some great healthy meals in no time at all.

Ministry of Food covers some of the basics, that even I needed to know. It has stew recipes for each meat, that I've adapted to my own uses, depending on which vegetables I get in my fruit and veg box.  Roast dinners! Vegetables! Gosh, I love his cabbage and bacon recipe with Worcester sauce.

Variety is the spice of life!  Start it with your food - and get cooking!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

My First Post

Just a little bit nervous. But I sort of want to put something on the blog, so it doesn't look ridiculously empty.

I've decided to blog, for a couple of reasons, but mainly to encourage me to write.

I am a mother of two young boys (currently 5 and 3) and have somehow stumbled into writing. I love it! My life is such a better place for it. I am far from being a bored housewife. Seriously, house work gets in the way... I would much rather be sitting here writing.

I'm not one of those people who have known all my life I've wanted to write. I've had moments in my past where I used to get itchy fingers, this urge to write, but I never knew what. I used to write a lot of letters when I was younger, to my cousins and pen pals. And one time, someone did say to me, 'You've got such an imagination you should be a writer!'

I say stumbled because I found fanfiction in 2006. Used to read it, and by reading it I used the then develop my own plot bunnies, and an internet friend (who I will be forever grateful for), encouraged me to write them. So I did, and oh my, some were bad. But I've had great support in the fanfiction realm and now, four years on, (I hope) my writing has improved.

I still have a long way to go, but last summer I decided it be nice if I got paid to write. It would work around my kids. I could stay at home. I've been there and done the full time job, and I know I'll just get frustrated with the incompetence of others. I'm better off at home! Trust me! (This way the cat and the kids only hear my ramblings... Hubby is probably so relieved to go out the door at 7.30am).

So, knowing there was still plenty of room for improvement, last summer I enrolled with the Writer's Bureau. I knew that I wouldn't have as much time to concentrate on this until my youngest son started school, but I could start and work at my own pace. (My problem is that I am impatient and want things NOW! but I know that to become a successful writer it is going to take time).

I'm following the course as it is designed and concentrating on the non-fiction side first. Admittedly, I think fiction suits me better, but I'm giving it a go. It's teaching me research and all sorts, so all is good. Getting me into good habits, though I had already developed some with writing fanfiction.

Topics that I've covered so far is Weston-Super-Mare, Real Nappies, Meal Planning, and Recycling. Mainly stuff I know about as a full time mum!

I did get my first assignment published in the local paper, covering why 'We Love Weston'. And I have managed to get a couple of tips published in Practical Parenting. One of which, (which started out as a letter to them for my 4th Assignment) made 'Tip of the Month' and they sent the boys some goodies. (To technically my first paid piece!).

My goal is to eventually get all of my assignments published some where, paid or unpaid. But I am finding it hard to organise myself in juggling my time about. I get stuck into another assignment, and so the previous one goes out of the window. And I am still writing fanfiction. I started a series that I need to finish.

I also do have novel ideas now jumping around inside my head. I try to note them in Onenote as much as possible. They are there ready and waiting for my fiction part of the course, and when I feel ready to sit down and write a novel.

Gosh, I need to write a list of all the things I need to do! I'm a list person, if it's on the list it will (eventually) get done. Or Dumbledore's Pensieve.

So here it is. My blog. My very first blog.

I watched Marley and Me recently, with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, and a very naughty dog. Maybe this will be my column.