Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mexican for 5.5 for just over a fiver!

We had Friends round for tea last night and I cooked them Mexican, on a budget of course!

I got 2 packs of Value Tortilla chips (92p) which I grated some cheese (50p) onto and then grilled, once the cheese had gone melted and gooey I put some reduced Sour cream (30p) and some Salsa I had from Approved Foods (33p) on the top and voila we had a nice starter of Nachos.

For main course we had Chilli which I made in the slow cooker with 1 pack of Aldi mince (£2.00), 1 tin of Kidney Beans (30p), 1 onion (8p!) and a chilli mix (38p). Served with some Value Rice (40p)

Meal for 4 Adults, 5 year old and a toddler = £5.21

Friday, 21 February 2014

Saving for your Sanity!

It's been Half Term here this week and Aidan has been off school, that means only one thing amusement or mischief. Aidan definitely needs to be kept occupied or mayhem and much shouting from me ensues, the trouble is this half term fell  a week before both of our paydays, yikes! Luckily for us we had a few tricks up our sleeve to enable us some great Family days out at no cost.

Thanks to the Tesco Clubcard Boost scheme we managed to visit Woburn Safari Park for FREE! I had been saving up all my Tesco Clubcard points and gathering extras where possible as I knew they would really come in handy for trips and days out. For £18 in Clubcard Points we received entry for 3 of us (under 3s are free anyway) a saving of almost £54! We took a packed Lunch and avoided the gift shop so the only cost to us was about quarter of a Tank of Petrol. We had a brilliant Family day out for next to nothing. Now I know that I had to spend in Tesco to get the Clubcard points in the first place but I have only purchased items I would have purchased anyway, eg the week food shop so I do class the things I exchange the points for as being free after all I could have spent the same money at another Supermarket and received nothing in return.

Enjoying seeing the Zebra's from the comfort of the car!

 A second trip we managed to achieve for no on day out of pocket expenses was a trip to the cinema to see The Lego Movie. Aidan like most 5 year olds LOVES his Lego so as a treat for getting a great report at Parents Evening we promised him he could go and see the movie. Now the Movies is not a cheap place to go (at least £15 for 1 adult & 1 child to go) so again we thought "Yikes!" we promised this trip now how are we going to pay for it? Luckily I had purchased a £20 cinema gift card as a present over a year ago and never actually gave it to the recipient so I packed them off on their way with some store bought sweets, popcorn and juice and they had a fantastic time.

Here we have a School Summer Holiday of 6 weeks, usually starting at the end of July, so that means 6 weeks of entertainment will be needed! That's approximately 20 weeks away from now which sounds like forever but I guarantee will pass by quicker than a blink so my plan (and suggestion for any of you good people reading!) is to start now by saving Loyalty Card points, buy a giftcard a week for the cinema or the indoor play place, pop money into a savings pot.

Your Children and your Sanity will thank you!!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Man down!

I was taken out of action completely last week with full blown Flu, I didn't even get  out of bed for 2 solid days.
 "Oh no!" I thought, "the man is going to have to take care of the house!".  But do you know what? He did GREAT thanks to the planner I have mentioned in previous posts. Each day he ticked off his little list, he even managed to dress both children, including our sweet little girl (lets face it, Dads get little girls outfits very wrong sometimes!), with ease as I had decluttered and organised their closets only last weekend as per the plan! 
Normally I would spend a week trying to catch up after being ill but now there's nothing extra to take on!

Friday, 10 January 2014

11 days into 2014 and so far I am feeling much more accomplished and on top of things.

Whilst having a bit of an internet surf I discovered a fantastic site called The Confident Mom which is full of great ideas and tips to help you to be "a calm, cool, confident Family Manager". 

I downloaded her FREE Weekly Household planner and I am so, so glad I did! It is absolutely fantastic. 2 versions are available, a blank one for you to fill in your own schedule or one pre-filled with Daily tasks.

I am a  "tell me what to do" sort of person with these things so downloaded the pre-filled version and have been completing each task daily. So far in 2 weeks I have managed to do lots of little jobs I had been putting off, for example our Kitchen drawers were a nightmare, stuff was everywhere and nothing could be found. Wednesdays task this week was to Organise 3 Kitchen Drawers, perfect! As I had read ahead on the planner I actually did 1 drawer at a time rather than all in one go, this meant I only needed to set a side a few minutes rather than a huge chunk of time, job done!

Amongst other daily tasks here is a list of what I have achieved in 2 weeks using the planner and doing a few tasks each day:

2 cars washed
Coat Cupboard tidied and organised
Disinfected Hair brushes
Organised 3 Kitchen Drawers
Meal Planned weekly
Flipped all mattresses
Finished Thank you notes
Packed away Christmas decorations
Cleaned out freezer
Uploaded and organised Christmas photos
Cleaned Toaster
Cleaned Microwave
Organised pantry shelf
Dusted and hoovered living area x2
Dusted and hoovered Bedrooms x2
Cleaned cooker hood
Cleaned refridgerator shelves
Cleaned Bathroom x 4
Changed all beds x2

Now I don't know about you but I know for a FACT I would not have achieved half of that without this planner.So far I cannot recommend it enough and I actually think I can stick to this schedule as it takes such a little amount of time each day.

And just a reminder the planner is FREE!!

It can be downloaded here

Monday, 30 December 2013

Musings on the end of 2013

So here we are at the end of 2013, 
This has been a hectic year, I have felt overwhelmed for much of it, drowning in day to day life. 
 It's not a nice feeling. 

Christmas even was not particularly enjoyable, rushed and stressful trying to make sure everything was done and pleasing guests ageing from 1 - 86 and everything in between is hard work I tell you! I have felt that I have not pleased anyone this year, not even myself. The children received some lovely gifts but the actual quantities were obscene, they were both overwhelmed by the quantity of presents and in the end it became almost a chore to be opening more gifts. I do realise this sounds awful and ungrateful and of course we are not, in actual fact its quite the opposite as I feel the Children, particularly Aidan, did not get to truly appreciate the gifts that friends and family had worked hard to pay for and spent time choosing for them. 

With all this in mind I have decided to try and give "experience's" rather than STUFF as my gifts for people this year. Hopefully using Groupon and other deal sites I can provide my Family and Friends with an enjoyable day out rather that another item to be put in a cupboard or on a shelf. I have started already by purchasing my Uncle a meal for 2 at a little Italian Restaurant and my cousin a day paint balling with 5 friends. Total for both gifts has been £25 so no more than I would have spent on STUFF.

In 2014 I hope to simplify life a bit, possibly even dare I say it be a little more selfish, by doing things that suit me and my immediate Family of 4 and not always doing what everyone else wants US to do.  I want to try and cut down on our clutter, I want the Children to appreciate things more and probably this will be achieved by things not being so readily available to them. I want treats to be treats and not a given.

To end this post I am going to leave you with an updated photo of the 4 of us, the 4 that matter most to me.

I wish you all a stress free 2014, well OK stress FREE isn't going to happen, so as stress free as possible is probably a better phrase!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

I love Aidan to learn about other Cultures and Traditions and as Chinese New Year fell on a Sunday it gave us the perfect opportunity to some crafts, activities and of course some eating!!

Saturday night we hung lettuce outside for the Dragon to munch on his visit and he managed to leave Aidan a red and Gold pouch of coins under his pillow without even waking him! ;-)

Snake Maze

Making a Year of the Snake Mobile

Year of the Snake Mobiles
Chinese Lanterns

Chinese feast, Spring Rolls, Char Sui Pork, Cashew Chicken and Noodles, Rice, Beef & Broccoli, Prawn Crackers and Tsing Tsao beer!

Tucking in

Noodles are tricky to eat!!!


We watched both Dragon dances and Lion dances on videos on Youtube and used printables from Here:

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

3 becomes 4!

On October 9th we welcomed our beautiful Baby Girl Zoe into the world. 
Weighing in at 6lb 14oz she is dinky compared to her Brother who was 9lb 4 oz!
Big Brother adores her and loves to help out caring for her.

We are so lucky to have such gorgeous Children :-)