Saturday, 16 September 2017

Meal Plan Friday 15th September 2017

Where has the time gone? We are fully back into the school routine and have the joys of homework added into the mix now. Easy or slow cooked meals are becoming even more important.

Friday - Smoked Mackerel with roasted new potatoes, Beetroot and salad - I will be writing this one up

Saturday - Spag Bol with garlic bread

Sunday - Individual Chicken and Mushroom pies (homemade apart from the puff pastry) - the boys pie will not have mushrooms served with carrots and broccoli

Monday - Spaghetti Carbonara - we use mascarpone and not too much egg thanks to a recipe by Jo Pratt Madhouse Cookbook

Tuesday - Jamie Oliver 5 ingredients Pasta and Aubergines the boys will have tomato pasta and ham and peas

Wednesday - Treat Thai Take out for us, the boys will have Jackets and beans

Thursday - Crispy Chicken, Mash, baked beans and broccoli 
The Tactical Mummy

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Meal Plan Friday 8th September 2017

We have survived the first week back at school, only for the eldest to have a sick but we have managed to avoid hospital so we are counting that as a win.

Friday - Mr MC&W is in London so we have no idea when he will get back so he will have a microwavable meal and I am having jacket potato with beans and cheese

Saturday - Easy food boys will have pizza and we are having a charlie bigham chilli

Sunday - Boys are having mash, sausages and veggies. We are having from the Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients Lovely Lamb hotpot. I am even using the neck fillet and for me that is being brave.

Monday - Smoked Paprika Paella 

Smoked paprika paella cod peas

Tuesday - We have some pesto left over so will be having. Boys will have ravioli.

Pesto pizza aubergine goats cheese

Wednesday - Omelets and Chips

Thursday - Roasted Chicken Breasts and new potatoes with Honey and Cumin for us all.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Growing Dahlia Plants from seed

The time c.ucf.Earlier this year I stumbled on a link called "Blooms for Bees", you would need to grow Dahlia plants from seed and then count the number of bees on the flowers and submit your finding. I am a huge fan of bees and thought it would be fun.

One morning a beautiful envelope dropped through the letter box containing three small packets of seeds. I was excited but also a little concerned as I have never really grown anything from seed. I have seen my Mum grow vegetables from seeds, we grew up in a house where in spring we were dodging plants on window sills in fact everywhere, but I had never really caught the bug. Maybe to do with the fact I worked in hotels and never had any garden or space to call my own.

First stop was the garden centre to buy a seed tray and seed compost. I happily sewed the seeds, placed them on a sunny windowsill and waited. I did not have anything to water them with so found an old baby cup, it tricked out the water perfectly.




Not all the seeds germinated but lots did, then came the question what do I do next? they looked way too big for the seed planter. In to the shed I went, knowing I had potting compost and plant pots left over from the hanging baskets I planted up last year. The seedlings new home was on the patio table, poor things got rather cold and were not watered nearly enough, I am not sure how they survived. Though on really cold nights they were put them in the children's play command den. They looked leggy and not great and I honestly felt rather sad and even like I had let them down.







Early June we bought some bedding plants, so I decided to plant them out at the same time. My thoughts were I would have given it a go and if they do not make it I will learn and try again next year. But these poor sad looking plants began to flourish. 





Now look at them, they are stunning and have grown so big. The best part is the pollinators they are attracting, the garden is alive. I am shocked, with only a small amount of knowledge they to grew and I must admit I have caught the bug.  

If I can achieve this giving some of the poor care these seedlings received, maybe it is worth a go, not giving up even when times are bad. My fingers seem to be getting a shade greener, along with my willingness to try things out. Maybe we can all have green fingers, if we give it a go, laugh off a disaster and just keep trying, when it works you feel rather proud.



Thursday, 31 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 1st September 2017

It is here the week I have to get myself back into gear and think about packed lunches again and evening meals that can be prepared in advance or cooked fast. As the children will clear the cupboards on getting home.

Friday - Chilli Bean Wraps with avocado, Sour cream, Cheese and lettuce. The boys had Mcdonalds (again, as I said this blog is totally honest) on Thursday so will have fish and chips tonight instead

Quick chilli bean wraps

Saturday - Italian Style Burger loosely based on this but I have brought in the chicken burgers and will serve with a crispy green salad

Italian style chicken burger


Sunday - Roasted Sausages, Potatoes and red onion with honey and mustard sauce. Boys will have similar but not too much sauce or onion.

Monday - Cajun Chicken Gumbo

Cajun chicken gumbo

Tuesday - Cheats Pasta Bake

Cheats gooey pasta bake

Wednesday - Meatballs all homemade

Thursday - Tuna Melt Wedges with crispy salad

Tuna melt potato wedges

The Tactical Mummy

Monday, 28 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 25th August 2017

Wow where has the summer holidays gone to. Can not believe next week I need to be thinking about packed lunches and quick evening meals again. This week Mr MC&W is on holiday so we are having a lazy one and not making any plans at all.

Friday - Gnocchi with a two cheese sauce. The boys had peas and changed the blue cheese for Parmesan. Served with crusty bread and a green salad

Gnocchi with two cheeses and bacon

Saturday - Mr MC&W passed a huge exam at work so it is treat of steak and chips for us. The boys will have homemade pizza

Sunday - Pork and dumplings. The boys are having a McDonald's as a treat for lunch so will have a picnic dinner.

Pork- goulash with herby dumplings

Monday - It is going to be warm so we are going to have a lunchtime family BBQ

Tuesday - Mushroom Stroganoff the boys will have pasta with a homemade tomato sauce

Mushroom stroganoff

Wednesday - Ravioli for the boys and we are going to have a treat charlie bigham meal, as we are on holiday.

Thursday - Southern Chicken (thanks McCain), Roasted new potatoes, Roasted tomatoes and Salad. The boys will have fish fingers, Chips and peas.

The Tactical Mummy

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 18th August 2017

Wow the meal plan really is late this week, I apologise. I have been rather poorly for over a week now with Vestibular neuritis which means I have been feeling constantly dizzy. This has not been pleasant and I am not completely better.

Friday - Gammon, Egg and Chips for us all

Saturday - Cesar Salad and salad for the boys

Sunday - Fish cakes with salad and roasted new potatoes. Boys will have chicken, Mashed potatoes and broccoli

Monday - Ravioli (brought) mozzarella and tomato salad and garlic bread

Tuesday - Bhaji Frittata with mango chutney. Omelette's and chips for the boys.


Wednesday - Take away curry. chicken curry for the boys

Thursday - Sticky Chicken Tray bake

Friday, 18 August 2017

Annual Seeds Review

A little while ago I wrote a post, I was full of excitement because we had sewn a few packets of seeds on a small side border. I had visions of a border carpeted in the most wonderful flowers.

Annual seeds to update border

Sadly this has not been the case, we watered them and I did not even weed for a while as I was not sure what was growing weed or wild flower.

We are now mid-August and this is what we have.




Well, not a huge success is it? I have to laugh at how sad these two flowers look.


There a couple reasons I know they have not worked, my youngest son has turned into a plant destroyer. He has pulled off petals and whole flower heads, he stomps through the border snapping plants under his small podgy feet. Then factor in slugs and snails who think they were planted as a tasty treat.




We have had some success and they are very pretty just a shame not in abundance.





Will I try this again? yes, I will try this again and in the same place. Next time I will sew a lot more seeds, they are not that expensive. Also, sew over a longer period and hopefully next year I am only battling slugs and not the plant destroyer.

Sometimes things work and some things they do not, I will try again next year with as much hope as I did this time.
Oldhouseintheshires
Oldhouseintheshires

Friday, 11 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 11th August 2017

The summer holidays have not been full of the paddling pool fun and games we were hoping for. We have all been sick this holiday and it has put us out of action for around two weeks. This meal plan was quickly put together as I have now come down with the virus and feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Friday - Fish and Chips with peas easy to prepare and always popular

Saturday - Cajun Chicken Burger

Cajun chicken pineapple burger

Sunday -Toad in the hole

Monday - Paprika Pork served with tagliatelle

Paprika Pork

Tuesday - Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Broccoli and a cream sauce the boys will have a tomato sauce

Wednesday - Treat night so a curry box the boys will have chicken curry

Thursday - Courgette Lasagne - this is such a simple dish but really tasty

Creamy courgette lasagne


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Meal Plan Friday 4th August 2017

The meal plans have been a little delayed due to us getting back from holiday and then our youngest being very poorly. He needed a lot of care and we forgot the meaning of the word sleep.

Friday - Spicy Chicken (this was a McCain Gourmet) served with vine roasted tomatoes and new potatoes. The boys had homemade pizza.

Saturday - Moussaka (thank you Tesco Finest) with a fresh red onion, tomato and cucumber salad. I always thinly slice the red onion and put it in a bowl with lemon juice while the dinner cooks. The boys had linguine with ham and peas using up the tomato sauce we used yesterday for the pizza.

Sunday - We will have beef pie, roasted potatoes and green veggies and the boys will have jacket potatoes with sausages and peas

Monday - A new smoked mackerel salad nice light and fresh. The boys will have cheesy pasta

Smoked mackerel beetroot salad creamy horseradish dressing

Tuesday - Spaghetti and Mozzarella bake

Tomato and mozzarella spaghetti bake

Wednesday - Moroccan Mushrooms. The boys will have risotto with ham and veggies

Moroccan mushrooms with couscous

Thursday - Mexican Bean Chilli

Mexican bean chilli

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Hanging Basket Problems and Rescue

This summer weather or should I say the autumnal weather has been playing havoc with my hanging baskets.

They are being drenched, yet not getting enough water. They are being blown about all over the place, then add in the rather chilly temperatures and grey sky.

The plants are really unhappy, as you can see after another night of hard rainfall the petunias are looking really rather sad. The photos below show the damage the weather has caused.




They almost seem to be dying back and nothing is spreading as it did last year.






This has made me a little sad, but enough of that, what can I do to help them out.

One problem has been a lack of water, I thought due to the fact it had been raining hard they would not need watering, I was wrong. I gave them a good water and added some liquid feed. I will check them every day come rain or shine to see if they need water. I will also feed once a week. I did not feed the hanging baskets at all last year but these guys need a helping hand.

Deadheading, I deadhead them regularly but I really need to give them some time and attention. Especially after the hard rain fall, the flowers really suffer and need to be carefully dead-headed especially the flowers that have been damaged in the rain.

I am hoping these simple steps will help them recover and maybe we can get some warm sunny weather and they can begin to flourish again.


It is not all bad news though, the Nemesia Ice Pink is doing really well.





The Osteopermum and the Argyanthemum with regular deadheading are abundant with flowers, a lesson learnt from last year.






Seeing these three plants do well has helped my confidence, as I was starting to question if it was the weather or my skills as a gardener.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Growing Grape Vines

Mr MC&W likes a good climber on the house, to be totally honest I really am not that keen on them. We have ivy at the front which I keep secretly trying to rip bits down from. For ages he has wanted to grow a vine up the side of the house, he has always loved the one that grows on his parent's home. This has taken a lot of persuading and I have finally said yes but with the understanding, they are not allowed to get too big. 


The wall perfect for the vines
We have a perfect section of wall for the vines as it gets a lot of sunshine, we will also train it around the corner to grow up the wall that faces the patio. 

We went to our local garden centre and bought a red and white grape vine, as you can see they are very simple and nothing fancy. I was wondering if we should have looked into this more and brought better grape variety, then I remembered I am not a wine maker. Though I am a good wine drinker.





I planted them and ran some wire for them to start growing against. Mr MC&W drilled holes using a drill with a masonry bit for a raw plug then screwed a screw in, he then fed the wire round them. He did two heights of wire to help support the vines as they grow.






So far they are doing really well and maybe one year we will have a Mud, Cakes and Wine vintage out of it or I expect the birds will have a wonderfully tasty treat.

I will be attempting to prune these in early winter, that would be November time and will post then about how I go about this as a totally beginner with no idea what I am doing.






DIY Daddy

Cuddle Fairy

Friday, 21 July 2017

Meal Plan Friday 21st July 2017

The boys have been off school for a few days already. Luckily Mr MC&W has a week of work coming up. We have decided that we are staying at home and doing random days, we have not planned anything and just do gardening and relaxing at home. 

The meal plan is a little dull as we just do not know what we will be up to.

Friday - Boys will have Fish Fingers and Chips. MC&W and I will have the beetroot and mackerel salad 


Saturday - I have some blue cheese and red onions we need to use up so we are having Blue Cheese Mushroom burgers. The boys are having tortellini.

Portobello and blue cheese melts

Sunday - We will have sausage casserole and the boys will have pasta, tomato sauce and ham

Monday - Simple and quick Omelets with ham and cheese with salad

Tuesday - Tuna Pasta bake as not had this in ages 

Wednesday - Meatballs and Spaghetti - we all love this meal

Thursday - Chicken curry for the boys and for us we will have chicken breast roasted on courgettes and tomatoes served with roasted potatoes and mixed roasted veg


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Painting a Garden Shed

About three years ago we had to have a dangerous willow removed from the garden, rather than it falling on our house. Removing the tree opened up a great space for a shed. We brought the shed with some lovely green paint and had grand ambitions of painting it.




In those three years a lot has happened but we never got round to painting the shed. Recently we have made some massive changes to the garden and this was the the perfect time to paint the shed.

This was Mr MC&W project and he used:

  • Sage Green Paint -  For Wood and outdoor use
  • Cream Paint - For Wood and outdoor use
  • Hammerite - For the metal work
  • Masking tape
  • Paint brushes - Large for the green and the main body of the shed, medium sized one for the cream and smaller ones for the cutting in and hammerite
  • Kitchen towel and of course baby wipes





First of all we had to carefully take down the Jasmine and the supporting wires and lay it flat. Next we had a long discussion on what would be cream and what would be green.




Mr MC&W then masked up the areas and began with the green paint. We considered using a roller but found using a brush allowed us to get into the nooks that are part of the wood. We did two coats of green and then re masked up for the cream.

We brought much smaller brushes for the cream paint an the paint was much thinner again two coats were needed.

We took of the masking tape and found the cream paint had leaked through and we had to make good with extra green. Mr MC&W almost though it would have been simpler and quicker to be careful and not bother with the masking tape at all.




We were very happy with our efforts and the the MIL asked if we were doing anything with the hinges? we said no as could not change them. She then told us about hammerite.

This allowed us to paint the sliver hinges black. The paint was not easy to use as it is thick and took work to get it looking OK. We must admit it has made a huge difference.






Lesson we learnt

  • Use a brush not a roller
  • The paint up close is very hard to make look good but from a distance it looks great
  • Check the weather for a weekend of dry weather the paint takes about two hours to dry
  • Keep children in when its drying - they are drawn to wet paint
  • Hammerite is not easy to apply its thick and takes time
  • Do the joins carefully as the paint can easily leak through

Enjoy Colour and the end result 




Twin Mummy and Daddy
Cuddle Fairy