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Silent Sunday - 29/3/15


Gratitude List #13

This week has flown in.

Its been very college based to be honest. Since its the Easter holidays next week we have been trying to get in as many assessments as possible. I've been rushed off my feet with Clients (even with 2 cancellations). I like being busy though. It makes the day in the salon go in faster too.

I had a bit of good news early on in the week too, My GP has reduced my Anti-Depressants from 40mg down to 20mg. Its been years since i was reduced so I'm really excited. I'm actually seeing a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Here's hoping i cope well enough on the 20mg to maybe get it reduced again before Christmas.

This week I'm grateful for ...

  • Agent D ... He's been a massive help to me this week. He took a half day so he could collect Agent M from school while i was in college and even came in to let me cut his hair for assessment. He's been cooking more this week cause I've been feeling so run down and gave me some space to just chill out in bed when i was feeling a little overwhelmed. He's been helping out alot with Agent M too ... Checking homework and practising his words with him. I feel all warm and happy when i see my 2 boys together :)
  • My Mum ... I finally get to see her next week and I'm so excited. With the funeral of an Uncle this week, i cant help but think about death alot. It could visit anyone at any time and i realise just how precious time with my family is. I'm very lucky that i still have my mum and that i get to speak to her all the time :)
  • Lemonade and Honey ... My saving grace this week with this sore throat. I sounded like a 40-a-day smoker at the beginning of the week which Agent M found hysterical. "Mummy sounds like a Gruffalo"
  • Daffodils ... I love seeing them sprouting up in parks and i bought some to put in the living room. They are one of my fave flowers :)
  • Breakfast Club ... Since the week back from October break, Agent M has been going to the breakfast club at school which has meant that i could make it into college on time. Being able to drop him off at 8.15am has been a life saver and I'll be honest, I'll miss it when it stops after the Easter break.

My Crafty Argos Haul

Well its less than a week till Easter which means that the kiddies will be on holiday again for 2+ weeks. *Que sighs from across the country*

I'm actually looking forward to this holiday. Maybe its because i have all my paperwork caught up so i can actually have fun and spend time with Agent M. Maybe its because i'll be seeing my Mammy at the beginning of the holiday which is making me near jump for joy ... Who knows ... but the point is, I'm excited.

I'm also prepared!

Last week i was browsing the Argos App and found some great clearance activities for Agent M to do during the holiday if we have a rainy day or if we just wanna get messy.

The first thing i actually spotted was this bird house. We are hoping to get the garden all nice and pretty so i thought that this would be a nice personal touch from Agent M.

The paint that comes with is Acrylic but i'm not sure how well it will hold up in the rain so i may need to have a look for a (bird safe) waterproof coating to make it last.

It was only £2.49 (Half Price!!) and can be found HERE on the Argos page
In keeping with the Garden theme, i also seen a paint your own Gnome kit. I love stuff like this as there is no set rule how your garden gnome should look (I've recently spotted Zombie ones which were really funky). This blank canvas will let Agent M come up with whatever type on gnome he likes (I can always use some of the Acrylic paint we have in the house if he wants more colours).

Again it was half price at £2.49 and can be found HERE

If the weather takes a windy turn, He can take a kite out for a spin ... and what better kite than one he designed all on his own :)

This came as a 2 part kit ... Though I've not opened the boxes yet, I'm not 100% sure if the pens are waterproof for the umbrella (or if the umbrella is waterproof for that matter) but then he can always just decorate it as something to do ... It was the Kite i knew he would love.

Both kits were £2.99 and can be found HERE

Last, but certainly not least was this little gem!

This is a 1000 piece craft chest that is filled with pipe cleaners, felt, paper, lolly sticks, googly eyes, pom poms etc and not only that ... the chest itself is there for the little ones to colour in. I was really happy with this big set. 

I get annoyed sometimes that crafts is seen as a girly thing with lots of pretty princess or make up like boxes to decorate (the "girl version" to this chest can be found HERE) but very little for boys. So when i saw this i just jumped at the chance ... Plus being half price at £6.49 didn't hurt either ... You can find the craft chest HERE.

***I'd like to say that in my house we don't like gender specific toys ... I don't think only boys should play with construction and cars while girls only play with dolls and tea sets ... but some craft kits are VERY girly, with all pink or lilac crafting materials which even if i had a daughter would be very limiting. For these types of toys and activities, it should be a one size fits all kind deal and be for everyone to enjoy ... Sorry about the rant there but it does my head in sometimes :)

There are  loads of places that you can pick up some great kits for low cost ... Home Bargains for example has some lovely Mister Maker kits for 99p and Wilko have their own range of craft kits at pocket money prices. Supermarkets have some nice seasonal stuff in that i'll often buy and put away till the times right.

Its nice to have a stockpile of "Rainy Day" activities put aside to pull out when the Lego just wont cut it anymore that day.

Do you have a Rainy Day box at home? What kinds of things do your kiddies like to get up to when you cant play outside?

The Diary of a Frugal Family

Happy 1st Birthday Blog

When i had a flick through my calendar the other week i was really surprised to see a note to myself "27th March - Been Blogging a year" ... Really? A Year all ready?

A flick back to my first post confirmed yeah, I've been blogging a whole year. 

It just doesn't feel that long but then time flies when your having fun.

I've loved being part of the blogging community and I've loved finding other blogs throughout the year. I regularly check my "Fellow Blogger" folder on my book mark bar to check in with my faves. Its fun seeing what everyone gets up to and getting to share in their experiences.

I like joining in on blog hops and linkys too for the same reason and have made some lovely friends online.

Not only have we swapped recipes and crafty ideas but I'm met some mums out there that have been struggling with motherhood and PND. Having had it myself when Agent M was born, i could 100% relate to what these women were going though and just chatting at 2 am when we each felt alone done wonders for me as it did for them. Being part of the blogging community to me isn't just about getting the stats or getting the posts out on time, its about meeting new people are sharing experiences. Its about helping each other out and knowing that even though your miles apart there is someone that will send you a virtual hug if your feeling kinda crappy or send you a virtual high five cause your kid had finally learnt to use the potty.

I've really enjoyed blogging and as time goes on I'm learning more and more about how to do it better. How to make my pictures look great or when is the best time to post etc. 

Social media is a big part of that too. I have a Facebook page up and running to coincide with the blog which I'm still trying to work on and grow. Every time my phone tells me i have a new like, i get a little giddy as its possibly a new blog to follow or a new person to join in the conversation.

Twitter as well has been a great way to connect with all you lovely bloggers and crafters. Joining in on twitter parties and chats has been fun ... its like a giant coffee morning :)

I'm hoping to have a Giveaway soon to celebrate the Blog turning one and I'll be sure to keep you guys posted but till then, thanks for coming back and reading my ramblings. Thanks for making me feel part of the club and thanks for just being awesome!

Bubble Art Thank You Cards

As you know it was Agent M's Birthday last week and he was a very lucky boy getting such nice prezzies and alot of pennies from our family.

I think its really important that kids say thank you for the things they receive and what nicer way than with a homemade thank you card.

I know you can buy thank you notes and the like in shops but making them ourselves just has a more personal touch and its alot more colourful than just a wee bit of paper.

Since there was a few cards to make, we thought making bubble art ones would be out best bet. *Plus i think Agent M really wanted to blow some bubbles*

They are really easy to make and even little tots can have fun with them *just make sure they are blowing the mixture, not sucking it up the straws*

You'll need ...
Food colouring or paint
Washing up liquid
Disposable cups
Cardboard (or blank cards)

I also cannot recommend highly enough having a PVC sheet down. It can get messy!

The more colours you have, the more jazzy the cards will look, though you can go for a theme if your making the cards for a special occasion i.e pink and red for valentines

We used watercolour paint in ours and since its coming up to spring, Agent M wanted "light" colours.

I put a dollop of each paint colour into individual cups and mixed in some water to thin out the paint. *You could use poster paint too but we didn't have any. You'll note that the blue is oil paint. It worked well on the cards but it took ages to come off my hands ... I wouldn't recommend oil paint!!!*

Next add a splodge of washing up liquid to each cup and let the bubble blowing begin :)

Agent M loves this bit cause he goes crazy when it comes to blowing the bubbles ... this is where that sheet comes in handy as the bubbles might overflow slightly.

Once the bubbles reach the top of the cup its time to get printing.

Remove the straw and place the card over the bubble mix then lift off. Doing this over the different cups will give each card a different look.

Repeat till you have all the cards you need ... then set to the side to let them dry.

Its a really simple way to make unique cards and alot more fun than buying them :)

*You can just use regular paper if you just wanna make a nice picture with your little ones ... or even make unique wrapping paper* 

Added to the Linky ...
Mini Creations
Let's Talk Mommy
Mummy Do It

Alternative Corn Dogs

Last Summer when we were down in England on Holiday, we went to a restaurant called "Ribs 'n' Bibs" ... To say it was amazing is an understatement.

The food is American Smokehouse style and its all very authentic. While we were there Agent M seen Corn Dogs on the menu and was desperate to give them a try. We ordered a plate and we all fell in love.

It was such a simple snack ... A Hot dog on a stick, covered in a batter then fried. Delicious!

Cut to last week when i was sitting in college killing time between clients by browsing on Pinterest, and i found a recipe for Corn Dogs ... UK style :)

Why do i say UK style? Well you see the original recipe for corn dogs used "Cornmeal" ... VERY different to what we have in supermarkets with a similar name "Cornflour".

I couldn't find cornmeal the last couple of times I've wanted to try the recipe. The substitute i see alot is polenta but Agent D cant stand the stuff so i was at a loss ... Till that recipe on Pinterest.

It suggested making the Corn dogs with Pancake batter ... Not strictly "corn" dogs then (hence the Alternative lol).

The recipe is simple and it take about 10 minutes all in to cook.

You'll need
Bamboo skewers
a jar of hot dogs
4oz self raising flour
1 oz caster sugar
1 egg
4 tbs milk

To make
Pre-heat the your chip pan or heat up some oil in a pan.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for a few minutes then slide through the hot dogs. You may wish to half the hot dogs to make them more manageable to cook.
*I tried the first one as a full size dog but it didn't quite fit in my chip pan so i halved them. Made it easier for Agent M to eat too*

Mix up the batter ingredients and coat each hot dog in the mix.

Place the hot dogs carefully into the oil and fry, turning to even out the cooking (the hot dogs rise to the top browning one side

Serve on their own or with ketchup and/or mustard.

Silent Sunday - 22/3/15


Gratitude list #12

Another week ... Another list.

Its been a sad start to the week with My Uncle Billy passing away but even in that i can be grateful that he's no longer in any pain after suffering really bad at the end. Cancer is quite frankly a bitch and the number of people close to us that have some form of it is really scary.

Agent D's Nan has been diagnosed recently with breast cancer which is scary as she stays too far away to go and visit regularly which is devastating to him as its his last grandparent. I'm very lucky in that i have 3 of mine i can visit any time.

As we get older, it becomes more evident that our parents and grand parents are getting older too. I think we're reaching that scary age when you realise that no, we're not all indestructible and we wont be around forever. That's why we have to make sure we make the most of the time we have together while we still have it.

Speaking of getting older. Yesterday was Agent M's birthday. My little dude is now 8 and that one step closer to the dreaded teenage years lol.

This week I've been grateful for ...

  • Agent M and getting to watch this little boy grow up into a very clever young man. He's been building his Lego Technics this morning and played with his cousins for a bit. He's such a sociable little boy. 
  • My mum for helping me get his birthday sorted. I've been rushed off my feet with college and home that without here i doubt he would have had such a great day.
  • The clients I've had at college helping me pass assessments and reach my targets. I'm £14 off my £80 target with 10 or so weeks to spare. I'm so grateful for that as i know there are some who haven't made even half way and what ever is left to pay comes out our pockets. Not fun!
  • The sun has been coming out to play more this week which has made the mornings seem that much nicer. It wont be long till the heat is in the air and we can put the woolly jumpers away for a while. I even had to wear my sunglasses this week ... posh! lol

  • Date night tonight. Even though we're not going out or anything, being able to have dinner together and watch a DVD while chilling on the sofa is a fantastic way to spend time with my man. The potential of a long lie is making my skin tingle with excitement. Its the little things really.
  • Speaking of little things ... I've really been getting into the whole spring thing by getting flowers for the house (or making my own) to put around the place and i found some lovely vases in Asda clearance from mothers day that were just gorgeous! I suppose i could say now that i got something for mothers day but I'm quite happy just having them there ready to put a couple of daffodils in later on in the week :)

My Baby turned 8

I feel so emotional when i look at Agent M today.

Yesterday was his 8th Birthday and i cant believe its gone in so fast.

Its like I've blinked and hes when from a newborn to starting nursery ... i went to put the kettle on and hes only gone and turned 8 on me. I'm terrified to go put a load of washing on in-case i come back and hes off to college!

He had a lovely day though and thanks to everyone who wished him a happy birthday. He got to open one of his presents before school and have a wee play. He got so excited that he got his first ever Minecraft figure. This is his new fave thing so it was nice to see his wee face light up when he seen it.

He did have to wait till after school for the rest of them (we just don't have time in the mornings to mess about unfortunately) but he was a very luck boy getting some books, a few games, some money and even his very own tablet.

Because i cant really afford to spend alot of money on him all the time, birthdays and Christmas's are special because he gets kinda spoiled. Its nice to see that he is really grateful for it though. All day everyone got kisses and cuddles and lots of thank yous.

We even had a few near tears when he seen his birthday cake that Mama decorated, especially for him :) He came through all emotional telling me how he was "so happy" ... Such a wee darling is my Agent M

Because it was a school/college day we didn't really get a chance to do anything really special but he's asked if we can go to the Lego store in Glasgow when we are on the Easter break to spend his Birthday money so we will make a day out of that :)

Make a wish

Till then though he's got plenty to play with and thanks to his Uncle Tommy, he has a massive Lego Technics set to be getting on with :) I think that will be today's mission till Papa comes to pick him up for a sleep over.

Its strange seeing him sit and build something aimed for 10 - 16 when to me he'll always be my little baby boy. He seems to think now that he's 8 he's "officially a big boy so cant be [my] baby anymore" ... I very much beg to differ. Even when he is 50 with kids of his own, he'll still be my baby :)

Our first picture together

Gratitude List #11 - Mother's Day

I’m running behind again!

I feel like the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland these days, always running about late for something.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming Easter holidays more and more as its gonna be 2+ weeks of catching up on everything … College work, Blog posts and fingers crossed can get some crafting done.

I have been able to pass a few more assessments this week though which I am grateful for. With 12 weeks left at college, the pressure is on to get clients in and get the mountain of practical done. I’ve managed to get the project work down to my last one and there is only 2 more tests to go so I’m actually feeling confident about passing the course … Yay!!

Rather than tell you guys what I've felt grateful for this week, I wanted to focus on one thing that’s been at the front of my mind the last few days … Mother’s day.

As you know, yesterday was mother’s day here in the UK and although it was kinda forgotten about in my house *I had a wee cry about that last night*, I realised I am very lucky to be able to spend the day with my little Agent.

He is what some call a rainbow baby, meaning he was born after I had previously lost a pregnancy (or in my case 2), and I got me thinking about all the lovely mummy’s out there who aren't able to celebrate with their Angel babies. To me, even though they can’t hold their babies, doesn't make them any less of a mama and I send out buckets of love to them all!

I am beyond grateful that I have him in my life and that I get to be his mummy. I dont think i was ever going to get to be a mummy and through-out my pregnancy i was terrified something would go wrong but here he is ... My perfect little boy! I honestly can’t imagine my life without him and the fact that he is here at all makes him my little miracle. Realising that he’s gonna be 8 this week just blows my mind because it’s gone in way to fast. No matter how much I beg, he just won’t slow down this whole “growing up” thing :)

I’m also beyond grateful that I was able to talk to my mammy on mother’s day. Yeah I get bummed out when I can’t get to see her more than a couple of times a year but at least I get to see her. I had friends that spent yesterday putting flowers on their mum’s graves and that is just so heart breaking. I can’t (and point blank REFUSE to) imagine not having my mammy anymore.

That she’s coming up in a few weeks makes be so giddy I could almost cry and that I get to spend a week with her this summer is making me drunk with excitement. I don’t care that I’m a couple of years off of 30, she’s always gonna be my wee mammy and I’m always gonna be her wee lass :)

Cheerz Polaroid Photos

I'm a bit of a pest when it comes to taking photographs. I cant help it though ... I love taking photos!

I can be sitting in the bus on the way to college and see a really nice garden or be on the morning walk to school and see the sky look gorgeous and i just cant help but take a picture.

I love being able to look back on them and remember what was happening when the photo was taken.

Photos are almost back to the instant days of Polaroids where you can get a hard copy quickly ... but i feel they aren't as classic as the Polaroid snaps. I liked the whole square look with a space to caption at the bottom. I have loads of my baby photos on Polaroid film which just makes them feel retro :)

You don't even have to go out to get photos printed nowadays either ... If you want the proper photos on gloss card you can order them online and get them sent straight to your door which is how i stumbled on this little gem.

Its an online company that will print off your photos Polaroid style and send them to you through the post. You get to upload the ones you want, Caption them if you wish and they even come in a gorgeous wee keepsake box.

I couldn't resist and I'm seriously glad i did ... There are few options you can choose ... The cardboard box with different designs, each costing £13.00 for 30-40 pictures

I went for the polka dot version and was thrilled to bits when they arrived :) They were so cute and the quality was brilliant!

While on the site i found some photo booth style photos too that just made my teen years with friends come flashing back :)

Did you ever pile into them with friends to take the weirdest photos? I know i did :)

You can get 5 strips for £6.50 with each strip holding 4 photos. Like with the Polaroid style snaps caption each strip and can move the images about so that they are exactly as you want.

I cant wait to start putting the pictures into my albums and some in my Smash Book ... I love how i have retro style snaps of some of my fave photos of my boys :) Plus i have the handy little box to keep the ones i don't use in ... 

Aren't they gorgeous? Some of the photos are darker or lighter than i would have liked however that's on me as I'm still getting the hang of camera settings rather than just point and shoot. I like it though as when i look back i can see how much I've learnt.

There are loads of different products on the website which range from magnets and individual photos to wall art and photo books. I have a few other items from Cheerz which i love and will share with you all soon but till then, if you want to get your own photos you can get £4 off your order using the code SARKIS.

K is For ...

I've always been envious of the things I've seen people make with wool ...

When for years the best i could hope for with wool was to make a Pom-Pom.

I'd lost count of the amount of times i had tried to knit. I've had my Gran try to teach me (much to her distress when i just couldn't get it) and have bought ump-teen books claiming to teach a novice to knit (and crochet). 

Nothing could make me get the hang of it till one day i was at Agent D's dads house and i decided to give it another go.

I don't know if the stars had aliened and the moon was in the correct positioning. Perhaps there was a guardian knitter watching over me, fed up on the holey bunting and seriously foul language every time i touched the needles ... who knows.

But what i do know is, i managed to make a small row of stitches. 

That's why K is for Knitting

The excitement that burst through me from this little knitted square was unreal and I'm pretty sure Agent D's dad thought i had actually lost my mind but to me it was like i had mastered the violin or something.

I decided to start over and make a square (since all the books recommend making a simple square till you get the hang of the tension). 

I cast on a row of 20 and every time i counted out the stitches, i was amazed to find i still had all 20. Granted on one occasion i had 21 (which I'm still not sure how i managed to add one)

Its not the neatest as some of the stitches are a little looser that others but for my first ever attempt at knitting, I'm quite chuffed :)

From that first square, I've made several more as I've decided to make a nice big blanket. I've always wanted to make a blanket that can be passed down to Agent M when hes older and has his own family so why not start now. I do a little bit of knitting at night while Agent D watches his car programs and I'm getting there slowly but surely.

I absolutely love the colours of the wool too ... It was a brilliant find from Poundland which is a lovely chunky knit.

If your wanting to learn to knit there are loads of tutorials online you can view without having to spend money. 

I found some of the videos on YouTube a bit more helpful than anything written on paper

Plus there are online forums you can join to get advice or even share patterns. 

Some of my favourites are 

I'm hoping to have the blanket finished by the time winter comes but if i have it finished before i turn 50 I'll be genuinely surprised :)