Friday, 27 February 2009

A Jelly*belly Jelly*brain Giveaway

If you really, really wanted to, you could go here. Where there is a giveaway for a gorgeous beaded watch. Only if you really, really want to you understand. I wouldn't want you to be too eager...... because I WANT TO WIN IT!!!! :P

Seriously though, go support Mrs Jelly. She has mummy brain like me. We need all the help we can get ;)


Thursday, 26 February 2009

A Whole Lotta Not Much

I know, I know. I should be nominated for the least bloggy blogger in the world award based on recent posting activity. In my defense, there's been some serious pain here! Pain for me that is. I've been suffering really badly with sciatica and have been off work all this week whilst feeling like I could happily chop myself off at the waist to get rid of the aching. So, not much has been going on around here except for me sitting (very gingerly) on the sofa, not chasing the kids around and counting the minutes until I can take my next round of painkillers. Thankfully today it's finally eased off some so I can start to get back to doing things (carefully!).

Things weren't too bad with my back up until Sunday, so on Saturday, rather than face another weekend of cabin fever with the kids, we loaded them into the car and went off to the Space Port at Liverpool to see this:

This is the Doctor Who: From Script to Screen exhibition which has been running there. Despite being only 5, Gracie is a bit Doctor Who fan and Kendo and myself both really like it too so we wanted to see this. Gracie wasn't too sure about the lifesize costumes - 'cause Cyberman are SCARY! but she really enjoyed getting to see the TARDIS and some of the other props and stuff from the show. Here's a couple of pics from our day:


Egg trying to get a closer look at the Beagle space probe exhibit. Eek!


Gracie and the TARDIS


Kendo, Egg and the TARDIS


Grace and K9 (she loved this!)


Egg and K9 (clearly not reading the "please do not touch the exhibits" sign!!)


Exterminate!! This is as close as Grace would get to the Dalek (can't say I blame her, without the magic sofa cushion to protect her).


Egg and the Cyberman (this is Egg's "scared" face, pulled especially for the photo).

There was also a great planetarium show all about space travel (Grace loved the seats that lie all the way back and the fact that the screen was on the ceiling).

On Sunday Gracie had 2 (count 'em) birthday parties to go to so MIL and SIL took her for the first one (while I was off being pampered and having a trial run of make-up for a friends wedding in April (Grace and I are bridesmaids). When she'd got back from the second party I was bending down to take her party shoes off and managed to do something to my back to aggrevate the sciatica. Cue the big pain and much ouching from me. So, that's put pay to anything else really going on around here.

I did get a rather nice surprise this week in the form of the parcel from my swap buddy for Katy's FQ swap. I was paired up with Jana over at Lola, again and she sent me this packet of gorgeousness:


A lovely card and this voile draw string back with a packet of cute vintage buttons and containing this:


FOUR fat quaters for this gorgeous, yummy, yummy fabric. It's from the Arcadia by Sanae range for Moda and it is just lovely. The note from Jana said it is one of her favourites and I can see why. I totally love it. Jana - you've spoiled me! Thank you. Now I have to think of something to make with it - but it needs to be something for ME so I get to keep the yummy goodness for myself. I'm thinking maybe a new bag for Spring. I might even play along with the mystery bag sew-along that Jana is running, that would be quite fitting.

As far as crafty projects go, I've been working on whipping this up. Well, actually, whipping implies some amount of speed, and there are Octogenarian's speedier than I am this week, maybe carefully stirring would be a better description? I'm making this anyway:


Which is round, and crocheted and monochromatic, and will be revealled in all it's glory should I ever manage to finish it. Which I hope I will.

That's it for now I think, except to say that my motormouth Sister-in-Law has started a blog, so you could go over there and give her a blogland welcome, if you'd like. Although, I'm not sure I should encourage you to be nice to her, she did call me loopey. Hey! I resemble that remark Auntie Yan!


Monday, 16 February 2009

Tunnel Vision

Photo borrowed from here.

I’m struck this week by how easy it is to get so focused on just getting from day to day that you* forget about the bigger picture. When you* have small children they take up so much of your brain capacity that it’s difficult to stop and remember things are actually going on in the world outside your metaphoric four walls.

Getting through life on a practical level these days is so exhausting. Times are tough on everyone. You’re working hard (if you’re lucky enough to have a job still) to pay for the basic things we need for living – put a roof over your head, food on your table, clothes on your back. When you’re not working you’re home looking after the things you’re working to pay for – watching the kids, cooking meals, doing laundry. It’s easy to get lost in this treadmill and to forget that if you* don’t stop to pay attention to the world once in a while that you’re going to miss your life passing you* by.

Things are going on while you’re distracted by the mundane. Good friends are planning weddings and the start of new lives. Other friends are saying goodbye to old lives and moving on to new pastures. If you’re too focused on battling the day to day you* can miss the fact that you* need to be paying attention to these things. That maybe you* should be doing more to help. Then you* have to apologise, because before you* know it you’ve been unintentionally crubbish and haven’t done what you* should have done.

It works the other way too though. The things you’re hyper focusing on. It can be like holding a balloon. You’re concentrating so hard on keeping things together, on holding on, that if you* don’t let up the focus a little you* could squeeze that bit to hard and things will explode. Maybe you* need to learn to let go a little.

I think it's about the balance. It's nearly the end of February and I haven't picked my One little Word for 2009 yet. Last year's word was Simple, this year, I think my word will be BALANCE. I need to work on the balance in all aspects of my life. In balancing my focus, balancing my time, balancing my energy. Things are out of kilter and balance needs to be restored.

Sorry. I’m waffling now.

There are something’s you could/should do this week.

You could/should pop over to here, and here and here and help out with this great cause if you can.

You could/should go say “Hi” to this lady who is back in the land of blogging – hurrah!

You could/should wish this lady Good Luck with her interview.

You could/should send some ~~~~Get well vibes~~~~ over here for the arm versus pavement injury.

Stuff has been going on here. I have my shiny new car (no photos yet, I haven't gotten that far), I have the worse sciatica flare up I've ever had in. my. life. OUCH! I have a severe case of startitis and no signs of the finishing disease anywhere in my future.

It'll all be good come Friday though. We're going here for the day. There will be cupcakes and cups of tea and crafty talk and reminders that the internet world is a fabulous thing - because sometimes you find a kindred spirit out there.

Still waffling. Ah well. I'm all done now. As you were.


* obviously by “you” – I mean me, just in case that wasn’t quite clear ;)

Monday, 9 February 2009

The Blog Name I Should have Snapped Up.

Perusing my Google Reader list this morning (which is looking hideously bold at the moment because I haven’t had chance to catch up for ages… I’m currently running at 357 unread posts! Eek!) led me over to Trash Towers and the discovery of this great blog. I should have snaffled this blog name. Definitely suitable for me at the moment. Although, on closer reflection whilst I am a mother, no-one actually uses the term Mama to describe me, and if I ever indeed had it, I’m sure I lost it long since, rather than being in the process of losing it, so maybe it’s a good job I’m the cookie blog instead.

Anyway. There are writing prompts posted on the Mama’s Losing it blog and I thought, like Ms Trashalou, I would play along today. There are a couple of prompts to choose from:

1.) Tell us about a lie you told that you later regretted.

2.) Choose a task you'd like someone to complete and write a poem asking them to do it.

3.) Describe a talent you have.

4.) Write a list of ten things on your mind this week.

Hmmmm. I think I’m going to have to go for #4. I do like a nice list.

1. I’m still a little shell shocked by the fact that we seem to have inadvertently bought a new car this weekend. When I say inadvertently I mean that we went to look at some cars, but I really wasn’t anticipating actually buying one, but we have, it should be ready to collect by the end of the week. My new car is black and shiny and contrary to what my MIL thinks purchasing a black car does not mean I’m taking up drug dealing – although I will have to pay for it somehow.…....hmmmmm.

2. Working in education is weird. You’re on a continual circuit of the academic year going round the same processes year after year like a hamster on a wheel. Then there are some points in the year where you’re not only thinking about the current cohort, but also looking at the new intake for the next academic year. It’s like juggling, only with students instead of balls. I wonder if they bounce?

3. I am acutely aware that I’ve consumed a crazy amount of sugar and fat this last week. I feel like my arteries are made of chocolate fat and golden syrup is running through my blood stream. Hmmmm….detox anyone?

4. We still don’t have good snow. Part of me desperately wants a good snow fall so Egg can get to make his first real snowman – part of me really doesn’t want any snow because I know that I’ll still have to go to work in it, which is just depressing to think about.

5. Potential crafty projects. I have so many things that I want to make that I can’t decide where to start and therefore haven’t started anything. It’s counter-productive for me to see all these good inspirational blogs and ideas because ultimately I get “I wanna make that “ overload and manage to actually accomplish nothing. Not sure what to do about that really.

6. I’m crap at keeping a journal. I desperately want to be the kind of person who can journal daily. I’m just not. I think I might have to finally admit defeat. This makes me a little sad. Why can’t I do something that in theory is so simple?

7. How is Grace really getting on at school? It’s Parent’s Evening again tonight. I’m thinking it’s probably going to be more of the same (which is good), descriptions of this alien child that does as she’s asked without question and is super well behaved. Why is she like that at school and can be a complete cowbag at home? She’s whizzing through her reading books at a rate of knots. I love that she loves reading, because I love reading. I wonder what I should read next? I need new things to read.

8. Is there anything more excruciating for a parent than listening to your child tell you that other children in their class have been mean to them? Is it wrong that you want to march round there, grab the little meanie runts by their pigtails and swing them around whilst simultaneously forcing them to promise never to be horrid to your little one again?

9. Why isn’t organisation something you can buy? My life at the moment is thoroughly unorganised. Between work stuff, and home stuff and school stuff and Gracie’s social calendar (which is better filled than mine), and thinking about finances and trying to organise a holiday and basically dealing with life, I can’t seem to get a handle on any of it. Back to the juggling again – if I drop one plate will they all fall? I wish I could buy organisation in the supermarket along side the washing powder. My mother was born organised. Clearly it skipped a generation. I suppose that means there’s hope for Gracie though.

10. What are we going to eat for the rest of the month? I’m sick of cooking the same meals over and over again. I need menu plans because it’s much easier and less stressful if I know what we’re eating in advance – and cheaper because I shop with a list so don’t spend so much on superfluous stuff at the supermarket. It’s hard to think of new things to make though, especially if the kids are feeling fussy. Grace has just started on school lunches, which hopefully will make her a little less inclined towards fussy eating, but there’s still some things she won’t eat. Why doesn’t this parenting melarky come with a handbook??

So there you go. That's what is swilling around in my brain at the moment. Is it any wonder I can't get anything done??


Thursday, 5 February 2009

A Little Taste of Heaven?

No kids.

No hubby.

No noise.

No housework.

Tea and biscuits.

Two hours of scrapbooking time all to myself.

I think that might be a little bit of heaven right here on earth :)

I managed to get my two hours of scrapping time in this morning (as promised to myself when I booked the day off work). I even completed a layout. Go me!

It's photos of Egg with his Christmas present off Kendo (he buys the kids something just from him each year). A skateboard. Considering Egg could trip over a pin head, probably not the most statistically safe choice, but he loves it none the less. The photos weren't great (Christmas morning madness I think) so the title and journaling are more of a focal point. I love the black, white, red colour combo though. I've used this on a couple of layouts before and I always like how striking it looks. Doing boyish pages is really hard though! Pink and fluffy girlie pages are so much easier!!


The acrylic paint didn't turn out quite like I was hoping. It was suppose to add a little grunginess but I think it's a bit too neat. Ah well. Overall I'm quite pleased with it.

I managed to get a little further with my Christmas envelope album which is from the challenge that Louise set here.


I'm totally loving this Papermania pink and green Christmas paper. Really funky colours to work with and a little different from the usual Christmas paper fayre.

For the inserts I've done a bit of a mini book thing for the kids letters to Santa:



This just needs the journaling on. I've chosen the rest of my photos, I just need to decide what to do with them. I might do a couple with just index cards on the back for journaling and some on greetings card so I can have a double spread. I think it's a "pick up-put down" kind of project though, which is good for me. Means I won't get bored with it.

My copy of Scrapbook Inspirations arrived in the post today so I'm going to settle down with that later with a cuppa once the kids are in bed and see if I can keep the mojo mojoing for some more pages.

Still no decent snow around here. We had about a 1/2 inch overnight and it was gone by lunchtime. We're getting seriously jipped I tell you! :P


Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes and Catching Up

I do love a nice bit of alliteration in the morning. Very soothing I find.

I can’t believe it’s been over 2 weeks since I blog. I apologize. Time seems to be slipping away from me way too fast already this year. A bad cold the week before last and a week of crazy busy preparation for our Semester 1 Board of Examiners meeting at work have meant what little energy I’ve had in my spare time has been spent on vegging out in front of the TV and communing with the sofa.

Things are a little calmer now, and I’m feeling mostly better (apart from some stubborn sinus congestion which seems to have taken a real liking to my nasal passages and refuses point blankly to shift. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr).

I haven’t done anything remotely crafty for a couple of weeks so I’m starting to get that itchy palmed feeling where you know you need to start something. Anything. I managed to stave it off for a while last night by doing a little baking – something else I haven’t done in some time.

A while ago by good buddy Louise surprised me with this fabulous little flippy cupcake recipe book and I’ve been meaning to try something from it for ages. Last night I delved through my baking stash and picked out a recipe that I had all the ingredients for (thrifty baking – love it!). I ended up making Caramel Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate butter cream and chopped nuts and chocolate chip topping. Damn fine they were too. Of course Kendo is back on his diet so banned me from having them in the house – not that my work colleagues are complaining about that today.


Here’s the recipe, should you wish to give it a bash. Sorry for any US readers, it’s in UK measurements and I haven’t got the time to convert it.

Caramel Chocolate Cupcakes


100g (4oz) Dark chocolate
140g (5oz) unsalted butter
145g (5oz) brown sugar
80g (3oz) golden syrup
155ml (5 fl oz) milk
125g (4 ½ oz) plain flour
40g (2oz) self-raising flour
1 egg – lightly beaten

For the topping:

150g (5oz) butter – softened
250g (90z) icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons hot water
chopped nuts and chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 170oC/ 340oF/GM 4

1. Line a bun tin with cake cases

2. place chocolate, butter, sugar, syrup and milk in a small saucepan. Stir over a low heat until melted and smooth. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes.

3. Sift the plain flour and self-raising flour into a bowl.

4. Add the flour into the caramel mixture. Next, stir in the egg. Mix until just combined.

5. Divide the mixture equally between the paper cases. Bake for about 30 minutes. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

6. For the toping, beat together the butter and icing sugar. Combine the cocoa powder with the water and add to the mixture. Beat until smooth and creamy. Swirl over the cupcakes adding chopped nuts (I used pecans) and chocolate chips to finish.

I actually only baked mine for 25 minutes, and there was a little too much batter for 12 cupcakes (so I made a few extra). They were very good though.

Mostly this week I've been upset by our total LACK of snow here. We had about a half inch fall on Sunday/Monday and it was gone by Tuesday morning. How the chuff am I supposed to help Egg make his first snow man when there's no bloomin' snow?? It's not on. I'm sure if I was down South where things have ground to a stand still I'd probably be complaining about too much of the white stuff, but I'd still like a little. Just a couple of inches. A snowman's worth isn't too much to it?

I have booked a day off work tomorrow (taking back some of the lieu time I racked up last week) so I’m planning to have 2.5 hours of crafty time to myself in the morning while Eggman and Gracie are at school. Fingers crossed nothing crops up between now and then! Hopefully it means I’ll have crafty things to share before the weekend (for a change).