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Friday, 4 November 2011


Where has the time gone.

RL has just taken over so for the moment I will put blogging on a back burner.

This doesn't mean that I don't still read others blogs but I just do not have the time to keep mine up to date at the moment.

Best wishes to all who read


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Back to Normal

Well as normal as we can be.

Tom has settled into college althouigh there was an initial hiccup in that one of his 'A' level subjects was no longer being offered (Sport of all things).
David has settled back into school ok; and myself and Dave are now both back at work.

There has been a definite coolness in the air the last few mornings and certain veggies are no longer growing, so it is time to clear out these and look at the next stage.

We have chopped down a couple of trees and cleared a good space in the back garden as we need to have a new oil tank and it has to be sited in a different place.

We still have swede, parsnips, carrots, spring onions and leeks in the garden and tomatoes, cucumbers and both bell and chilli peppers in the greenhouse; there are also some all year round cauliflowers which we are trying under a netting cage.

We have been fairly lucky in that although some crops haven't produced huge amounts it has been enough for us as a family, and we have given some away of others as well.

The potatoes we grew in old compost bags were delicious, so we will be doing that again next year.

I will have to have a look at my menu plans as some days we need an evening meal which can be served at varying times due to Tom's time of arriving home and other activities.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Catch Up

Apologies again for the absence in posting.

We have been away on holiday and also have all the usual things going on in school holidays.

The garden has been producing well, although a little slow at times.

I am looking to concentrate on using things we have in the cupboards and freezers again for the next couple of months and only buy essential fresh items. I have just stocked up the freezer with a big meat order so we are set with that for 2 months; I also noticed that there are a few things in the tins cupboard that have been there a while, so if in date I may well donate for the village Tombola stall if not then they will get incorporated into meals. I need lunches just for myself again once back at school so that is an easy way to use things up.

The boys and myself have just over a week left before we return to school and Tom starts college, he also gets his GCSE results tomorrow, hopefully he will get what he wants.

Dave has next week off as holiday so will be doing a few tidying up jobs outside etc.

I hope to get back into more regular posting once things have returned to "normality".

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Tom's Handy Work & Dave's Crazy Paving

Tom decided yesterday that he was going to take down a tree at the bottom of our side grass area, which although not over big was overhanging the road and was generally getting in the way.

Here is the result of work so far, he will strip the branches and saw them into logs for the log pile for winter.

Dave has been laying some crazy paving using some broken slabs he has been allowed to take from the farmers land next to where he  works.
Here is what he has done so far.

Thursday, 2 June 2011


I feel I should apologise for my lack of posting, but life has just gotten in the way.

We have been getting the garden sorted, trying to fill as many gaps with produce  so that we can reduce our grocery bill. The idea being that we grow enough veg so that the veg box delivery will incorporate fruit as well so that is taken off the supermarket list.

I am still making 99% of our bread, buns, cakes etc it is only really when I'm short on time that I purchase items.

As myself and the boys have been off school this week and there has been a day out with friends dinners have not been from the menu plan, but have still used bits up from the freezer.

Another thing we need to look at is that we have to pay for the college bus for Tom now instead of it being a free pass, so that is another £300 per year to find, plus books and along with an increase in car insurance of £130 per year and then general increases as normal, so we need approx an extra £500 for normal living expenses. So this is where I'm hoping the garden will help.

I'm hoping to have a stall at a local car boot sale in a couple of weeks time which will hopefully get rid of some clutter and also be an outlet for some of my jams that i have been making.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Wet & Windy

Well  the weather has changed to wet and windy, the rain is very welcome as it means the whole ground will gat a good drink not just the areas we choose to water.

All the veggie seedlings are doing well despite the lack of water.

Dave had a work trip to holland last week but is now home safe and sound; and Tom starts his GCSEs today properly.

Both boys decided to measure their heights at the weekend, Tom is now 171cm so 1cm short of 6ft and David is 163cm so 5ft 5 inches.
They are both still eating for England and I can never seem to keep them full.

Dinners this week will be taken from summer menu 4 with possibly a couple of changes due to the boys activities.

I hate to say it and wish the time away but I can't wait for things to be ready in the garden, there is so much enjoyment from picking and eating something you have nurtured from a seed which then provides food for the table.

Hopefully things will continue to grow as they have and we will see the benfits soon.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Planting out & Jam Making

I've over the weekend planted out the green beans, courgettes, cucumbers and chilli plants; the cucumbers and chillis are in the greenhouse but the others are outside.
Just need the tomatoes to get a bit bigger then they will go in the greenhouse as well.
The parsnips are coming on lovely and will be planted out within the next week hopefully.

Dinners this week are from summer menu 2, although we did have a bbq on Sunday and used up the leftovers on Monday.

I'm just waiting on the strawberry plants coming so I can get them planted out and hopefully we will get some fruits this year.

I have been in jam making mode over the weekend, I found some fruits in the freezer and some reduced to silly prices in the shop, so I have made 10 gooseberry, 4 strawberry, 2 seedless blackberry(pulp is back in the freezer to mix with apple for a crumble) I also made 5 apricot jam using dried apricots, and I reboiled the pink grapefruit marmalade, which never set properly when I made it earlier on.

I still have some more blackberries in the freezer, so will make some more of that when I get the chance.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Back to "normal"

Well today saw the boys both back to school this morning after 2 long weeks of holidays. I am also back at work today; could have quite gotten used to not having to go in.

Although this week we are on a 3 day week owing to a bank holiday monday and the Royal Wedding on friday.

The seedlings are coming on in leaps and bounds in the greenhouse and just need to be bit bigger then they will be put to harden off outside for planting on towards the end of May.

We are also creating a wild flower area in one corner of the back garden which will hopefully attract some beneficial insects especially bees.

I need to get some jam made to use up the remainder of the blackberries and gooseberries from the freezer from last year, although I may just save a couple of bags of blakberries just in case i don't get any this year.
Dave wants me to put a stall outside selling it, good idea in essence but we are on a no through road so no passing cars, but maybe if I make some and if it doesn't go could have a stall at the next carboot sale in the village.

Meals this week are from Summer Menu 1, but if the idea for a bbq takes us then obviously things will be jigged around.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Catch Up Time

I have had a little break from here due to Dave being off work, and us enjoying some natural wake-ups rather than an alarm at stupid o'clock.

We have cleared the back garden and the beds have been dug over ready for when the seedlings need planting out; all the seeds have been sown and are in the greenhouse covered with bubblewrap overnight to help with some extra insulation.

Tom has now turned 16 (where does the time go) and we had a bbq/campout party for him and approx 12 friends on Friday night.

Dave has now gone back to work this morning, and myself and the boys will continue this week to just potter about, although I would think they will have some more lie-ins.

I still haven't got around to tweaking the menu plans but yesterday we had salad and today will be mince and tatties as I have some veggies that need using.
This will be a job for me to do this week, I'll be making do for meals using odd bits up before having a meat stock up again at the end of the week.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Into the Last Week before a Break

We have started the last week of school/work before we all have some time off.

Myself and the boys get 2 weeks as school holidays and Dave has a week off taken as annual leave.

This will be good in that apart from one day where I arranged an appointment for first thing we can get up without the alarm, which will be so much better for our bodies.

Dinners this week are from menu 2. I will probably during the time off have a revamp of these to incorporate some lighter type meals.

I have been looking at our household budget to see if we can make any savings on the day to day expenses, not just the normal monthly bills which I already try to keep as low as possible. I know that one area will be better once we start getting some produce from the garden, as obviously this will reduce the grocery bill again.
Another area which I have been monitoring closely is petrol, I try to incorporate as many things into each outing as possible, thereby keeping the consumption down.

I have been baking more snacks etc for the boys and Dave to eat either as part of their packups or when they need something but its too far from dinner. I have made sausage rolls, corned beef & onion pasties, weetabix chocolate brownies and fairy cakes as well as the daily loaf of bread and extra garlic bread when we need it for a meal. The boys will often have a sandwich as a snack which is a good way of filling them up enough to keep going , but not too much that they don't want thei dinner. There is also always fruit and yogurt available.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Has Spring Finally Sprung

Now the clocks have gone forward, we are getting that extra hours daylight at night, although losing it in the mornings at the moment.

I can see the start of lots of things coming through in the garden and hedgerows.

The wild garlic which I moved last year has come through with more vigour than ever before, and as I left it to seed alot of it has self set creating a lovely bed approx 2ft x 3ft which is nearly full of the wild garlic. We love using this in salads and even mixed in cooked dishes, where you want a hint of but not lots of garlic. The gooseberry bush is coming to life which is a miracle in itself considering that it was just put in and left approx 5 years ago, I dug it up last year and replanted it much deeper, hopefully this will mean that it might bear some fruit.

Dinners this week will be from Menu 1 but with a little swapping about due to the boys activities.

The boys are both going through growth spurts and now as well Tom has hit that stage where needs approx 3000 cal just to maintain his weight never mind that he is really active.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Organic Veg Boxes

I have a weekly organic veg box delivered by a wonderful company http://www.woodlandsfarm.co.uk/.

The contents are always, have always been lovely and fresh and are very good value; I have been using them for approx 5 years now; and apart from one week during this last bad winter when we ourselves were snowed in they haven't missed a delivery.

I tailor my box to suit our needs as a family but they do standard boxes as well.

Take a look and maybe you might find they are a company who could deliver to you.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Bright Sunny Day

This week we will be eating from menu plan 4, with possibly a couple of tweaks.

There was only a small carrier bag of landfill rubbish to go into the wheelie bin this week which I'm very pleased with. I have been trying to catch a few stray items which should be recycled but have been ending up in the landfill bag, and it seems to be working.

As Dave is still working some extra hours I need to get some more baking done as he needs extra packup and the boys both seem to be in a growth spurt as can not keep them full.

Got some cream yesterday so am making ice-cream this morning.

The weather is starting to look a bit more hopeful for getting seeds planted and into the greenhouse to germinate under bubblewrap. So I need to sort what compost etc I need i have all the seeds ready.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Week Commencing 14 March 2011

We are eating from menu plan 3 this week.

We have had very changeable weather over the last few days going from warm bright sunshine to dull overcast with showers and the temperatures have been like yo-yos as well.

The rhubarb is really coming through now, and I moved some daffodils which had grown up in the rhubabrb area; my plan is to make this a dedicated rhubarb patch which will make it easier to maintain, so this year will also see the horseradish being moved into a different separate area which can be just for it.

I have sorted out what seeds I will be growing this year and and am just waiting for the overnight frosts to cease so I can get some seeds in, I don't have a heated area so they go in trays in the greenhouse with bubblewrap as insulation over the top, this worked fairly well last year.

Today has also seen the landill bin go out for only the second time since the start of the new year, so that is a similar timespace to what we were when I was recording everything; again the weekly landfill rubbish has fitted into a carrier bag and as much as can be has been recycled or composted.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Week Commencing 7 March 2011

We are eating from menu 2 this week although there will be a couple of changes to incorporate Pancake Day on Tuesday.

We have awoken to a clear blue sky with sunshine; yipee!! It is lovely to hear the birds singing their little songs.

I had a bit of a declutter from my computer desk so quite a few papers etc which were no longer needed have gone into the recycling bin. Landfill rubbish was only a carrier bag size so all is good there.

Tom has an interview at one of his chosen colleges this week; along with all the football ,karate and snooker which both boys are doing, this just adds to the already hectic schedule for evenings.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Week Commencing 28 February

We are on week 1 in the menu plan this week.

I have had a quietish day today, went into town to open the boys bank accounts which they wanted, with cash point cards, then to KFC for lunch and finally to a friends for coffee.

The weather has been very wet and dreary.

I heard on the news earlier that fresh vegatables will be more difficult to comeby as alot of farmers in Lincolnshire have fields of crops which were ruined in "the big freeze". The farmer interviewed was the owner of the organic farm where I get my veg box from. This will make it more imperative to try and grow more in the future.

We had one last day off school due to teacher trianing, and will all be back tomorrow, until Easter.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Freezer Update

I defrosted the big chest freezer yesterday, and apart from a couple of loaves of bread which had to be given to the birds there were no surprises.

Unless you count the 2 large carrier bags of bananas (approx 50) Banana Cake anyone?

There was also more rhubarb and blackberries than I thought but they will be used soon.

The freezer doesn't seem as full now but that might have something to do with the 2 inches of ice which were in the bottom.

I have to take the car to the garage today but will make a big batch of Banana Cake later, some of which can go into the freezer for the future.

I will sort the larder freezer tomorrow, but at least there is now space for the contents to go into the chest one whilst I sort it.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Half-term holidays

The boys and myself are on half-term from school this week.

We won't be doing much, just kicking back and chilling.

There are a couple of jobs I need to do; I have 2 large freezers, a shop size chest freezer in the shed and a larder freezer in the kitchen; my plan was to defrost and organise the chest freezer, but Dave left the door on the larder one ajar at the weekend so although nothing spoiled, it now needs defrosting as well.

The boys are planning on having lie-ins most mornings, and then just chilling with their friends.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Week Commencing 14 Feb 2011

The menu plan is now running on a 4 week rotation so I won't bore you all with the details every week; I'll put the 4 week plan up on the sidebar.
Suffice it to say we are on week 3 this week.

Dave is still working long hours which means that most of the household chores, running around is left to me.

The weather here has been mixed to say the least, with wet cold days, dry clear cold days , and windy sunny days.

Laundry has been and will be pegged out onto the line weather permitting, or the indoor airer if not.

I have had to order some more heating oil but I'm hoping this will now last us until the summer and we will be back on track, don't really want to have to find an extra £300 for 500 litres.
We usually have 500 in July/August and 500 in February, well this winter we had to have 500 in November as well, although there was a little of that left but not enough to last through and the minimum order is 500 litres.

I will be sorting through my seeds soon and deciding what to grow this year. Some things we had too much of last year but others not enough so I need to try and get the balance right.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Garden Produce

Last night saw us eating leeks taken from the garden which had over wintered beautifully.

These I sauteed lightly in butter and served with our gammon, we also had mashed swede and carrot.

I have been very lax on the decluttering front but did make a small start yesterday afternoon, and cleared a pile of magazines; you know the ones you read and then keep for future reference to never return to.

Hopefully this will now spurr me on and i can get this moving.

Monday, 7 February 2011

menu plan w/c 7 Feb

Mon - sausage & chips

Tues - gammon, mash, veggies, parsley sauce

Wed - lasagne

Thurs - beef casserole

Fri - chilli & saffron rice

Sat - burgers

Sun - roast lamb and all the trimmings (boys will have chicken)

Monday, 31 January 2011

Menu Plan w/c 31 Jan

Mon - Fish & Chips ( fish baked in the oven, hm chips)

Tues - sausage & mash, assorted veggies

Wed - pork casserole

Thurs - mince & tatties

Fri - pasta bake

Sat - tacos

Sun - roast chicken with all the trimmings

Monday, 24 January 2011

Menu Plan w/c 24 Jan

Mon - pie & chips

Tues - haggis (Burn's Night)

Wed - lasagne

Thurs - beef casserole

Fri - chicken & rice

Sat - quiche

Sun - roast beef

any veggies used will be from the organic veg box or our garden which have been frozen

Monday, 17 January 2011

Menu Plan w/c 17 Jan

Mon - roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli

Tues - steak pie & hm chips

Weds - mince cobbler

Thurs - pork casserole

Fri - chilli & rice

Sat - pizza

Sun - roast pork,yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans, leeks

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Shopping less at the Supermarket

I have been looking at the meat pack which my butcher does £30 delivered

Fresh Yorkshire Chicken
Joint of Scotch Silverside
Corner Gammon Joint
1lb Lincolnshire Sausage
1lb Minced Steak
2 Scotch Rump Steaks
2 Lincolnshire Pork Lojn Steaks
2 Yorkshire Chicken Breast Fillets
2 Ind Scotch Steak Pies

Now I have worked out that if I buy 2 of these plus some extra sausage, pork cheeks and shin beef (for casseroles and curries), then some fish from the docks I can easily have the meat/fish for a month for approx £100 (we are big meat eaters); the meat/fish will average £3 per meal for the 4 of us.

Add in the organic veg box or homegrown veggies, fruit and potatoes from the farm shop if not the veg box, milk and dairy from the milkman, eggs from the farm gate and homemade bread, cakes and pastries.
We have the makings of good wholesome food without much supermarket shopping, maybe once a month or couple of months for tins, dry goods, household and toiletries.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Menu Plan w/c 10 Jan

Mon - chicken curry & jacket potato ( there is enough curry leftover from yesterday)

Tues - fish pie served with carrots and green beans

Wed - bolognese

Thurs - sausage casserole

Fri - beef stir fry

Sat - quiche

Sun - steak

any veggies used are either from the organic veg box or our garden which have been frozen

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Getting Back To Normal

Well yesterday saw Dave go back to work and today has seen the boys go back to school; I return to work tomorrow.

Today will be a general catch up day, which will include the following jobs:
putting clean laundry away
baking for the freezer
putting the Christmas tree and decorations away
making a birthday card for a friend

I also hope to if I have time to make a start on some decluttering, even if only one box and will take baby steps to achieve this.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Menu Plan w/c 3 Jan

I am trying to use as much as possible from the freezer and cupboards this month, although I do need some meat and fish before the end of the month. I also receive a weekly organic veg box.

I have planned meals for basically the whole month but will only post them here weekly.

Mon - takeaway ( I save my coppers throughout the year and this pays for a New Year treat before we all go back to work/school)

Tues - pork steaks, roast potatoes, carrots,broccoli,sprouts and swede

Weds - savoury mince and mashed potatoes, green beans

Thurs - gammon and chips

Fri - tacos, salad

Sat - HM pizza

Sun - chicken curry and pilau rice

any veggies used are either from the organic veg box or our garden which have been frozen

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Happy New Year to everyone.

I am going to do a few things a little differently this year.

I will not be logging all our rubbish as we pretty much have it down to where we are putting the minimum we can for us into our landfill bin. We ended the year by having put out 12.67kg, so just over 1.0kg per month or for those who like to visualise the equivalent to a bag of sugar.

The garden is going to be more productive for us this year than last year as we have more time to get things planned, and we will concentrate on maximising our growing room.

Another thing I'm looking to do is to try and make more of the snacky things which the boys like to eat, not always easy I know but even though it hasn't produced much more packaging this last year, I feel I should be at least trying.

I am also going to be more stricter with my grocery budget and menu planning, especially as certain grocery items are subject to the VAT increase on 4 Jan.

Add into the above that I want to do some serious de-cluttering and get back into my card making then I think I will have a full year ahead.