Sunday 31 January 2021

Sunday Shenanigans

We were given a large bunch of banana's this morning via Olio.

The three squishiest were quickly snapped up by DD1 who made a delicious tray of banana cupcakes. They were decorated with homemade buttercream, mini eggs and rainbow drops. 

DD1's baking skills are starting to become  legendary.

 Once I was allowed back into my own kitchen again I made a quick batch of pickled radishes for the fridge. I'm looking forward to munching on them once they have had a day or two of pickling.

I haven't made these in quite a while so it will be a lovely treat.


My current knitting project is a little caridgan pattern I found on Pinterest. However now I've gotten to the sleeves it looks like it might be 3-6 size rather than 6-9. How annoying!

X x X

Saturday 30 January 2021

Chinese new year 2021


I was very lucky with my timing on OLIO last night. One of our local volunteer distributors had an enourmous load of fruit and vegetables to rehome.
I won't be needing to do a veg shop for a little while. 
Breakfast was pastries and fresh fruit.
Lunch sandwiches, side salads and more fruit.
Dinner this evening is a slow cooker chicken stew. 


 I spent a little time this morning collecting our Chinese New Year resources together.

My parents very kindly printed out the free pack from HERE.

Each activity is cut out and stored in it's own  envelope. I'm going to start getting a few activities out each day from Monday and make it a sort of theme until the 12th of Febuary. 

X x X

Friday 29 January 2021

What came after


 It's been a tough week. 
Yesterday we all finally exploded and ended up shouting and screaming at each other. There were tears from almost everyone.
It was useful though.
Once everyone was calmed down. Children were cuddled, plied with snacks and given free reign on kindles while DH and I worked out just what on earth we were going to do.
Homeschooling 3 children is hard and we are not coping. I confessed that I felt like I was doing 500 things at once and all of them badly. DH confessed that didnt like being a teacher to our children and wanted to be a Dad again. 
We came to the conclusion that our childrens education is important BUT what they were learning right now wasn't. The lessons being set by the school are ridiculous.
 Does my 8 year really need to know fronted adverbials? 
Should my 10 year old be crying over converted frations?
No, was our answer.
So this morning we told the school we would be focussing on an hour of maths, reading and writing each day. 
Already the older three seem happier and more free.
DD1 looked at newspaper articles and wrote her own article in the same style.
DD2 learned about fractions in the kitchen with a pizza.
DS read a book with his Daddy about dinosaurs and then wrote a little book report about it.
It was good old fashioned fun learning and I honestly think they picked up more today than in the past week.

This afternoon we took 5 cheerful children to the park to burn some energy rather than drag 5 fed up and angry children out before they tried to fight each other.

It felt like freedom.
Long may it continue.

X x X

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Community pantry


Eastleigh recently opened its first community pantry recently. I heard about it last week on facebook and decided to investigate.
The pantry works by giving each family a number of different colour tokens for a suggested donation of £5.
I was given 8 blue tokens and 2 red tokens.
As you can see they stretch pretty well with a little thoughtful planning.

My red tokens purchased; 

 10 chicken drumsticks  
500gm of pork mince.

My blue tokens purchased;

Fresh mushrooms and carrots (2 for 1)
Sweede and onion (2 for 1)
Tinned sweetcorn and mushroom soup (2 for 1)
2 x tinned tomatoes  (2 for 1)
1 bottle of cooking oil
1 jar of bolognaise sauce
1 packet of gingernut biscuits 
10 microwave meals (10 for 1)

Free items;

2 pots of liver.

The microwave meals are small child sized so DD3 and Gman will be having hot lunches for a few days. The meals are mixture of mac n cheese and arribiata pasta. 

This weeks meal plan will include;

Spaghetti bolognese 
Chicken stew (slow cooker)
Sweet and sour chicken (slow cooker)
Liver and bacon pie
Mushroom and sweetcorn pasta bake

Sounds like a tasty week 

X x X

Saturday 9 January 2021

Foodie day


We were given some more goodies via Olio this morning. The lady who was offering them lived within walking distance so I popped DD3 and Baby C in the buggy for some fresh air. The roads were very quiet but the pavements were full of dog walkers enjoying the winter sun.
Our goodies today included petit pains, beetroot salad, shredded ham and more corn bread. As you can see most of it turned into a very tasty pizza bread lunch. 
The rest of the beetroot salad I steamed for a few minutes before blending it into mush and hiding it in some bolognese sauce. 
Tomorrow I will tackle the cornbread. It's proven unpopular with the children in its raw state so I will try dressing it up somehow.

Gman spent the afternoon giving his dinosaurs a bath. I asked if he wanted to have a bath with them but apparently that's weird 😂. All of his dinosaurs are now squeaky clean, lovingly towelled dry and popped into his bed to warm up.

Tonight will be spent trying to rehome the last of the TT donations before a fresh load arrives tomorrow.
It's a good thing i like to stay busy 😂

X x X

Friday 8 January 2021

Getting on with it

It's been pretty wild but I think we are finally settling into a new routine of home education, toddler wrangling, baby appeasing and housework. 
At 9am each weekday morning there is a virtual registration where almost 30 children wave, shout, squeak and drop at each other while the teacher looks very harrassed and marks everyone present on the register. After that you can do your online work in whatever order you please as long as its submitted by 2pm.
We have learnt the following things;

* NEVER teach them all the same lesson at the same time! It's almost impossible to help with three separate types of maths at the same time.

* Leave their favourite lesson till last or they will loose interested in finishing all the other bits first.

* Work out who can do what independently.
DD1 needs 1:1 help with maths, but reads very well. DD2 adores maths but struggles with reading comprehension, DS can play the phonics games independently but needs help reading tasks. 

* If all else fails bribery, currently with a small bowl of Rainbow drops, can usually do the trick!

In other news the washing machine has been repaired. £75 including parts, labour and call out charge. The man that did the repair was very efficient and had the whole thing done in just under 30 minutes. I will be keeping his phone number on standby for any other appliance problems in the future.

I recieved my first Treasured Trash drop off this morning to. Our area co-ordinator had quarentined the bags for 48 hours in her garage first which was very thoughtful of her. It was mostly 4 black sacks filled with children's toys and books. I've grouped bits together and listed it mostly on Olio and Free pages on Facebook. Almost 65 listings all together but a lot of it has already gone or been arranged for collection. 
One of the treasures I found was a handknitted mermaid blanket.

The sparkly teal and lilac yarn is divine! Someone must have spend a very long time knitting this bad boy. DD1 said she liked the yarn but didn't need another mermaid blankets. So tonights job is to unravel it back into a ball and then turn it into a crochet dress that I spotted on Pinterest.
 I feel like it will be just the right sort of busy work to be doing while watching When calls the heart. 

Do you think the wives and mothers of Coal Valley would approve of recycling old knitted items in new ones? They seem a resourceful and thrifty bunch to me.

X x X


Monday 4 January 2021

One of those days!

Well... it's certainly been a bit of a strange day at Frugal house.
Ladt night about 7pm we had an email from the childrens school saying that it was closed today due to various issues.
Then today at 1.30pm a fresh email announced the crisis was over and school would reopen tomorrow as usual.
And now 6 ish hours later it has closed again. What a rollercoaster. And after all that money on new school shoes 🙄. Typical.
Add to that stress a blocked washing machine that left my kitchen looking like a paddling pool. Thankfully all sorted now thanks to a lovely local repair guy who diagnosed and fixed the issue over the phone! 
It's all been a bit much to be honest.
The good news is that DH won't have his wages cut until AFTER he returns to work as his furlough pay is based on previous wages! So there's silver linings if you looknhard enough for them.

Good luck everyone.

X x X


Sunday 3 January 2021

Lavender loveliness

I've been given a large bag of dried lavender to be creative with. My first thoughts are Mothering Sunday gifts. 
I've found a few ideas on Pinterest that I'm going to try out over the next few days. 
As the children are back at school tomorrow I've mainly focussed on spending some time with them. I'm suspicious they won't be in school for very long though, I think we may all be locked back indoors together soon enough.
DH popped to Asda with girls for some winter school shoes. £15 each! I really miss the charity shops when we take a money hit like that. If the February swap meet goes ahead I will certainly be adding shoes to my hunting list.
Tomorrow I will be spending the morning giving the ground floor a good blitz. It'll be bliss to do it with a few less children underfoot. Baby C isn't on the move just yet and is content to sit and watch me work. DD3 can be distracted with crayons, paper and little jobs to "help".



Friday 1 January 2021

Olio food goodies

 Thanks to Baby C deciding to 'decorate' both herself and me in the early hours of New Years day, I was up bright and early this morning.
It meant I could snaffle some early goodies on the food sharing app OLIO. There is a lady within walking distance who distributes free unsold food from local supermarkets.
Today we recieved everything in the photograph above.

* rocket chillis
* cheese twists
* croissants 
* cinnamon swirls
* 6x soft brown rolls
*4x petit pain
6x crusty white rolls
1x humous
1x cornbread

We ate the pastries for brunch between us as they really are best eaten asap. 
The petit pain were turned into garlic bread and served with our dinner of spaghetti bolognese. The humous is about to be eaten with some tortilla chips this evening in front of some lazy evening television. 

I found a recipe on Pinterest to quick pickle most of the chillis as it was a huge bag. I tried a tiny piece of one raw and found them to be quite mild so I'll soon have them used up.
This leaves only the bread rolls and cornbread to use tomorrow. Sadly the bacon stash is empty at the moment or a round of bacon rolls would have cleared them out nicely. I do however have some tins of tuna so I may try tuna mayo rolls instead. 
The corn bread I'm undecided on.
How would you use it ?

X x X