Thursday, 30 July 2009

Reusable Shopping Bag Makeover!

duh! why didn't i think of this earlier? my girl becca over at naptime journal has a great tutorial on how to take your boring, blah, reusable shopping bag and turning it into something adorable!!

go have a look see at her awesome ideas!

Date Night Ideas

Tomorrow night is "Date Night" I have been looking around the internet for a few ideas and I thought I would do a post with a few of these ideas. Some of them are so much fun. Having two children who seems to take up a lot of time and energy it is easy for me when the kids go to bed (which is 7pm) to just want to go to bed too. But I also know how important it is to keep the fire burning in my relationship with my Prince Charming. So I think I might try some of these ideas out. Way fun and way cute!! I have also added some of my own ideas. Things which I would like to do or things we have already done. I hope you like them.

If you have any other ideas please leave a comment to share!! I would be really interested to know what you do on your date nights.... Unless it is dinner and a movie. We do that a lot!

  1. Have a reminiscing night; look at photos of when you first met, watch your wedding video, or listen to some of your favorite songs, and talk about the memories you've made. All this while drinking hot chocolate by candlelight.
  2. Take a Hot Air Ballon Ride. (This is my dream date!)
  3. Make a picnic on the living room floor. Lay out a blanket and light lots of candles around the room. Make heart shaped pizza and serve fresh fruit with fondu.
  4. Go to an indoor Ski area sit on the balcony with Hot Chocolate and watch the skiers while holding hands.
  5. Rent a Fancy car and drive around town like you own it. Make sure you dress the part too!
  6. Play scrabble, only require that all words must have to do with romance or your relationship.
  7. Clear an area in the house that would work for dancing. Have soft music playing while you eat dinner, then dance the night away!
  8. Have a progressive dinner. Eat an appetizer at one restaurant, main course at another, and dessert at another. To make it sentimental, go to restaurants that are memorable and that you would frequent while dating. (This sounds especially fun to me!!)
  9. Fill a picnic basket with all his favorite foods and head to a park (just the two of you) for a nice quiet romantic picnic.
  10. Have a bon fire just the two of you on the shore of a lake or beach. Roast marshmallows or something else and feed each other.
  11. Cook dinner together with your left arm tied to his right. Enjoy a night of laughs and good times!
  12. Have a snow ball or water balloon fight. Water pistol shootouts can be lots of fun, too.
  13. Play a game of twister, clothes optional ;)
  14. Go to the arcade and play your favorite games together. We love air hockey!
  15. Head to the highest point in town. Spend an early evening watching the twinkling lights turn on.
  16. Fly Kites
  17. Hold a kiss for one elevator ride or a bunch of rides.
  18. Go Bowling!
  19. Try something you are both new to, like ice-skating. You'll have a ball learning something new together.
  20. Create your own Drive in Movie. Take your laptop or mini DVD player with you and watch a movie together in the car, at make out point :)
  21. Relive your first date. If you can remember what it was! How fun!
  22. Visit the place where you got engaged. (This for me would be my parents couch.... Maybe we wont do this one!)
  23. Sit on a sidewalk bench and people watch, making up fake names and stories about the people you see. (I love doing this, just ask my hubby!)
  24. Go to a book store and read together (I enjoy doin this on my own too!! One of my favorites)
  25. Get dressed up in your most formal clothes and go to the coffee shop as if you’ve just been to a gala.
I hope that you enjoy these ideas and can get some good use out of them!!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Most Amazing Blueberry Muffins EVER!

I just thought I would share my blueberry muffin recipe because it is awesome!! Enjoy


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

2/3C brown sugar
1/4C flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2T butter


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

Bake for 20 - 25 minutes in a preheated oven, or until done


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Swine Flu, A Mothers Perspective and how to prepare for it!

I know that this blog is about nice homemaking things and ideas and Swine Flu is anything but nice! My daughter has Swine Flu and I wanted to share what we have experienced the past three days with all mothers. I have had to ring mothers of children in my daughters school and church class. I have had to ring friends whom we have been in contact with and explain to neighbors. In doing so I have come to realise that so many people have no idea what to look for, how to help your child cope with this flu better, what Tamiflu is, how to ease the symptoms etc etc. There is a lot to know. I thought I would write a blog post on my experience this past few days in a hope to ease some of the fears all mothers have concerning their children and Swine Flu.

Firstly I know Swine Flu effects everyone not just children but for me I don't worry about myself as much as I worry about my children. All this time hearing about Swine Flu and the deaths which have occurred because of this flu I have not for one minute (until having to type it here on this blog post) worried about what am I going to do if I get it. I have instead worried what am I going to do if my children get it. Last Thursday a friend of mine informed me that her child's school had been closed because of 10 confirmed cases of Swine Flu there. That is when I started to panic. Straight away I typed Swine Flu into Google. As if I wasn't scared enough everything I read was more and more scary. It talked about the numbers of deaths so far the number of suspected cases. They said that they suspect 100,000 a week will contract this flu in the UK alone (for those of you who don't know I am an American living in the UK) and that they estimate the number of deaths to be between 15,000 and 65,000 this year from Swine Flu in the UK alone. As a mother I disregarded the 15,000 number and any number less than 65,000 and though OK I need to do something to make sure my children are not one of those 65,000. On Friday morning I got up. Sent my daughter to school got my son dressed and went straight to the pharmacy to see what I could do to prevent my children from getting this terrible Flu. What did the pharmacist say? They said there is nothing you can do. You and your children will either get it or you wont. I stopped listening to her for a minute and started to panic a little more. See my son was born at 26 weeks. He suffers from Sever Asthma and Seizures in short he has underlying problems! Then I realized the pharmacist was still talking and I should probably listen to her. She then told me the only thing I could do would be to help boost their immune system which will in turn help them to fight the flu off better. She said make sure they are taking a Multi Vitamin every day, Top them up with Vitamin C, and put Echinacea drops in their juice. I bought some of all those things regardless of the price (I know one field of work which wont be hurting from the recession now! Not after my shop on Friday!!)I then started to give them to the kids straight away.

Sunday we got up and went about our way like normal. Out of bed get ready for church and off we go. All the while my daughter complaining of a sore throat and a headache. I gave her some paracetamol (Tylenol in the States)and we went off to church. That evening we had some people over as I was supposed to be catering a wedding this weekend. So the bride and groom were here to finalize things. My children went to bed at 7 pm like always and the next morning at 7am I went into my daughters room. She never sleeps past 6 or 6:30 so I was a little worried about her. She was BURNING UP!! I woke her up and said to her that we need to go downstairs to get her some medicine because she had a temperature. As she started to get up she said mommy I can walk my legs hurt so bad. I then said OK what else hurts, she said my back, my throat, I feel like an ice cube (she's 5), My head hurts and the light from my window makes my head hurt more. I sat down on her bed and rubbed her back for a minute and she said mommy please stop touching me when you touch my skin it hurts. My heart sunk! I was actually in denial. I thought no this cant be it. We went on with our morning I gave her medicine and she sat on the couch and didn't move. She didn't even want to watch TV. A friend of mine rang and in talking I told her my daughter symptoms and she said you need to ring NHS Direct Straight away. They do a diagnoses over the phone. So I did I rang them and after waiting on hold for 15 minutes I talked to a nurse for a whole 4 minutes before she said your daughter has all the symptoms of the H1N1 Flu Virus. You need to ring your GP immediately. Before I hung up with this woman I had already gotten my cell phone and called the GP's office. When the receptionist answered I said hi. I have been on to NHS Direct and the believe my daughter has the H1N1 Flu Virus and advised me to ring Immediately she said well its after 10 am all emergency appointments need to be called in before 10 am to which I said oh OK that's fine I will just bring her down to the office then until the GP sees her and we can make sure that all your patients and yourself get it, I know not very Christ like but this is My DAUGHTER!! She didn't hesitate to take my number then and offer for the Dr to call back and he did within 5 minutes. He then told me that my daughter has all the symptoms of the virus. That they aren't testing people for it any longer and that I need to come and get a prescription for Tami Flu. We are now on day 3 of Tamiflu. My daughter hasn't gotten out of bed this morning but last night when she went to bed she was looking a little bit better.

So what all Mothers Should Know About SWINE FLU!!!!

The Symptoms:

The most significant symptoms are the sudden onset of fever and a cough. Other symptoms include fatigue/tiredness. sore throat, runny nose, limbs / joint pain and headache. Diarrhoea and vomiting have been seen in some cases as well.

People are most infectious after they develop the symptoms of flu, and they can continue to be infectious for several days - typically up to five days in adults and seven in children.

Incubation period for Swine Flu is 8 days. So if you have been around someone within the last 8 days who has it you could possibly get it. But like the Dr told me not everyone will get Swine Flu. Just because you have been around someone with it doesn't mean you will definitely get it. Just watch for the symptoms.

What to do if you suspect you have Swine Flu.

In the UK ring NHS Direct on 08454647 or your GP. In the states ring your Dr. Do NOT go to the DR clinic to see the Dr as this will just spread the Virus more. Your Dr or GP will likely give you a course of TamiFlu. Tamiflu is for children and adults over the age of 1. We received this in a pill form as the GP said this is the only form they have stocks of at the moment. But you can mix it in a teaspoon of something such as applesauce or Chocolate Sauce. Just break open the pill and mix the powder in. A friend of mine suggested melting a small piece of chocolate and putting the powder in that and then letting my daughter eat the piece of chocolate! BRILLIANT IDEA!! Works like a charm. My daughter was complaining that the medicine made everything taste Yucky. In the chocolate she had no idea she just thought I was giving her a piece of chocolate.

Tamiflu can and will likely make you feel more sick. It causes vomiting. And in my daughters case made her other symptoms worse for about 2 - 3 hours after taking it. You only take the pills twice a day once in the morning and once in the evening. Tamiflu and other antiviral drugs are not a cure, but they help you to recover if taken within 48 hours of the symptoms developing by: relieving some of the symptoms and reducing the length of time you are ill by around one day and reducing the potential for serious complications such as pneumonia.

Things to help ease the symptoms if you have Swine Flu:

Make sure you or your child gets LOTS of rest. This isn't hard. All my daughter wanted to do the first day was sleep.

For Body aches warm baths have really helped to ease my daughters body aches. Obviously I only give her warm baths when her temperature has come down. Mostly an hour or so after she has had either paracetamol (Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Baths have helped her loads to feel better.

Things which I now know to have in the house in case someone else gets it:

*7up or Sprite. My daughter has been vomiting and the 7up or sprite can help the nausea. It will also help to keep everyone hydrated.

*Ibuprofen & Paracetamol. Even when giving my daughter paracetamol (Tylenol) on its own it wasn't working the ibuprofen on its own wasn't working either but when I would give her both that would take her temperature down for a little while. I have been told by my GP that she can have one or the other every 3 hours even though it goes over the recommended dose on the bottle.

*Popsicles / Ice Lollies. My daughters temp has been so high at times that she needs something cold to bring it down and these helped. They also were nice because she hasn't been eat much except the Popsicles they seemed to ease the pain on her throat and they gave her the hydration she needed because she didn't really want to even drink much. Lets face it what child would pass up a Popsicle or ice cream if give it instead of breakfast? Not many I know. My daughter was also asking for ice cubes.

*Soup. Last night my daughter said she wanted to eat something and asked for soup. As she hadn't eaten anything for 2 whole days I thought Soup was a great idea.

*Anti bacterial air sprays and surface cleaners. I have been going around the house all day wiping surfaces and spraying the air to try and kill any germs.

*Anti bacterial Hand Gel and Lotions. My hands have felt dry from washing them so much and using the anti bacterial gel. So lotion and hand cream is a MUST.

*A weeks worth of groceries in the house at all times. Who would do the shopping if you and your husband / wife or partner both got it and you were quarantined to stay in your home? It is best to have the things you need already there and not have to worry about how you are going to get food to feed the kids.

*A couple sets of clean sheets and pillow cases. Kids don't always make it to the toilet when they are going to be sick. We gave my daughter a bowl but even that didn't work all the time. To go with this one I would say make sure you have plenty of Laundry detergent too. We have had to do a bit of washing the last few days :) .

*Vitamin C. Vitamin C is for the immune system. Taking this even after you have Swine Flu will help your immune system. It may just help you to fight off the virus quicker.

*Boxes of Kleenex. You will need these for sneezes, coughs and yucky noses. Remember to only use your tissue one time and throw it away. If it lays around it can pass the virus around more.

My daughter has been emotional with it. She is tired and doesn't feel well and the combination makes her upset a lot. She has been getting her feelings hurt easily and has been crying at silly little things. Which means she has needed a lot more cuddles and kisses.

If your child doesn't have Swine Flu FANTASTIC!! I would definitely start doing what the pharmacist and later GP advised me to do with my children. Give them a daily Multi Vitamin, top them up with a small dose of Vitamin C and give Echinacea drops in some juice once a day. These things will not prevent them from getting Swine Flu like the Dr said if you are going to get it you will get it. But it might just boost their immune system enough that they don't get hit with it as hard as they could.

Lastly don't be frightened of Swine Flu. It is easy to be scared. I cried when I found out my daughter had it I was scared to death. All I knew was what I had heard on the news which was mostly about death and people dying from it. But the percentage of people dying from it is so small it is very unlikely this will happen to you. Especially if you take care of yourself and your children. Have Faith and praying never hurt anyone. This is not a scary thing. It is likely we will all know someone with it and possibly you will get it yourself. Don't panic if you are prepared you will have no problems. Even if you are not prepared you will be OK. I am proof of that!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Painted Sneakers and Pretty Flip Flops

School breaks up here tomorrow. I have been looking for fun activities for my daughter to do while she is out of school. I need to buy her some new summer shoes and I was just looking at Martha Stewart (yep I'm a Martha Junkie!!) And look what I found:

My daughter is going to LOVE painting her own summer shoes!! It is going to be such a fun project. I will also make her some shoelaces out of ribbon to match whatever design she paints.

There are also these amazing How easy is it to just Hot Glue flowers onto some flip flops. I am going to make some homemade Fabric Flowers which are found in this post. That way I can put on my own flowers which will match the flip flops better. Once I am done with my daughters flip flops I will post them on here.

I cant wait until Monday to get going on this!!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Clothes Pin Bag

Here in England when the sun is shinning you will find clothes lines in nearly every back yard filled with clothes hanging out to dry. I never used to do it when I lived in the states. When I was talking to my sister the other day she said to me "why would you hang your clothes outside on a clothes line?" The answer is the fact that my dryer holds two towels at a time and no more. if I try to shove more in it then they NEVER dry. It is a nightmare! So I take full advantage of the sunshine. Plus I love the smell of the clothes when I bring them in from the clothes line and it helps to save our plant as well. Why not hang your laundry out? I do admit that it is annoying though having to go back and forth to get a clothes pin each time I need one. So the other day I decided to make a bag that I can tie around my waste to carry my clothes pins in. It definitely makes things loads easier. Here is a little tutorial on how I did it! Enjoy!

What you will need is a pair of toddler jeans or pants. Ribbon for the tie and I used some scrap material to decorate it a little.

First I cut the legs off the pants. And cut out the crotch.

Next to add a little bit of girlie ness to my little boys pants I cute two hearts out and then sewed some material on the inside behind the hearts kind of a reverse applique.

I also took the same material that I used for the hearts and did a hand stitch to gather it in. This I then used as a sort of frill for the bottom of my bag.

Next I cut along the seem in the waist at the sides this is where I put my ribbon, or the tie for around my waist.

I then pinned it all together and sewed a straight stitch along the bottom and a quick stitch on the sides where the ribbon is for the handles. And that was it. Trust me when I say that now hanging my laundry outside on the line just became LOADS easier. No running back and forth to get the clothes pins!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Banana Bread

So I have for the past 10 years been in search of the perfect Banana Bread recipe. This is no lie. I have tried out so many recipes it is not funny. I could probably write a book on all the different recipes. But if I did write that book the chapter in the book which would be called BEST BANANA BREAD RECIPE would seriously have only this one recipe in it. It is such an easy recipe and the bread is so flippin moist! Seriously if you love banana bread (or just the batter like me) you seriously have to give this recipe a go!! Happy Baking!!

2 cups flour
1 teas Baking Soda
1/4 tea Salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1tsp vanilla
2 eggs beaten
2 1/3 cup mashed overripe bananas


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees (175 c) lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, combined flour, baking soda and salt. In a seperate bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir in Eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten, pour batter into preheated loaf pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 60 - 65 minutes, let cool in bread pan for 10 min and then turn onto a wire rack.