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Let the Summer begin…

Well, school is out for Summer, it’s official Blu and Mabel have graduated from 7th and 5th grade, but more importantly Mabel is now going to be in Middle school and she could not be more excited if she tried, to quote her after her recent visit to her new school ‘it’s totally awesome!’, she is planning her locker, a mirror, some photo’s of Florrie and Simba and of course she is thinking about her back to school outfit already, all of major importance when you are soon to be 11 and moving to Middle School… Oh to be that age again!20120624-085220.jpg

I am not one of these mothers that likes to rush around all summer with camps and clubs, my philosophy is that we spend all year setting alarms and working to the schools timetables that come summer it is time to grab some rest and relaxation… So I have told Blu and Mabel we are doing one major activity a week, so last week we visited the Zoo, which my little Florrie just loved, and next week we are going to try a Wild West theme park, then we will add in some local ice-cream shops, home baking fun, and library trips and that will be our summer recess this year, quiet but relaxing!

Florrie turned 13 months last week, where has that month gone since her first birthday, can someone PLEASE slow time down for me, it’s just whizzing by so fast… Well she is officially a toddler now, she can push herself to standing in the middle of the room and waddle across the floor doing more than 12 steps, walking more than crawling now! She is so funny though, just like our dog who grabs the nearest thing in his mouth to come and greet you, she has to pick something up to walk around with and most often it’s my flip flop… Have you ever seen a very cute waddling baby carrying flip flops, it’s hilarious!

Florrie’s eating has improved in the last month, she will try anything that is green, so pepper, cucumber, avacado and cucumbers all are worth a try for her, I managed to get her to eat a strawberry by forcing her to taste it, once in her mouth she loved it and continued to eat 3 more! She loves Mommy’s homemade Mac and cheese and this weekend we have discovered she will sit quietly for over an hour munching on my homemade cheese and tomato pizza, so I have stocked up with fingers of pizza in the freezer, I may be able to get some things done while my little Florrie snacks on pizza!

After a long break Cocktail season is in full session in the Windle house again, this weekend has been all about the mojito’s, homemade pizza, ice-cream, the zoo and this morning we are going to our local farmers market and having a lazy Sunday morning brunch before the big game this afternoon!

Here’s how I made our Mojito –
Take one cocktail shaker, add one whole lime cut into 8 wedges, add 20 fresh mint leaves and 4 tablespoons of organic sugar, then pound all together with the end of a wooden spoon to release all the oils and juices from the limes and mint leaves! Fill two tall glasses with ice then add 6 shaker caps full of club soda and 1 cap of white rum to the mint and lime, shake together then pour the whole thing including lime and mint mixture over the ice add a stirrer and voila… Mojito Madness on your deck!
Happy Summer Recess!

 

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Obsessed with magazines on my iPad

I am love, love, loving my new iPad… Each day I love it more… I will start by telling you about how much i am in love with the camera and video, I used to think that I would never hold up my iPad to take a photo or video, that would look so silly I thought, but guess what, if I look silly, well so be it… I just love the size of the screen for shooting images and the lens is the equivalent to my Nikon according to Paul, so the quality is outstanding in my opinion!

Now don’t get me started on my obsession for the newsstand, I know I had this on my old iPad, but wow the quality of browsing the magazines is incredible with this new screen… My love of the magazines is turning into a full blown obsession, one my wallet cannot afford as I really do not need another subscription to another magazine… But hey it is so easy! My favorite magazine, Country Living is available in both the UK and US version, but why is the UK version so much more expensive, it’s a digital image, there is no material costs or shipping involved, it just makes no sense to me. My new favorite magazine is again a British one, Mollie Makes, for all of you crafting addicts out there like myself, this is indeed a treasure of crafting pleasures all in my favorite Cath Kidston style, but at $6.99 an edition I will only be buying the ones I truly love! All I really need now is the Jamie Oliver and Cath Kidston magazines on here and really there is nothing left for me to miss from back home, family and friends excluded, I mean materially minded!

This last few weeks have been tough Paul’s Dad has been seriously ill in hospital, he was rushed in with pneumonia a couple of weeks ago, he was then sedated for one week and given oxygen to help him breathe and intravenous drugs to help him heal, it was an extremely tough time for Paul, one I think that is difficult to understand unless you live miles away from home… With the flights being so expensive at the moment with the Jubilee and Olympics a major attraction for the UK it was difficult to decide whether to fly back or not, the worst thing about living so far away when something like this happens is that you are so reliant on other people for information and then knowing what to do when you get that information, should I go back or just wait? This week has seen a great improvement thankfully for his Dad, he is now awake, they are still helping him breathe but everyday seems to see more improvement!

I have also been in a lot of pain over the last week, the day after my mum flew home, just typical really I developed a pain in my left side, I finally had a CT scan yesterday, which showed an ovarian cyst, so now I just need to follow up with another doctors visit… All in all things could have been far worse, so I am more than thankful for everything the way it is!

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On to a happier note… My bread machine is back into full time use… In fact it has been working overtime recently trying out new recipes… One of the new things I have made this week is tortilla wraps, very easy and extremely delicious… Be warned though rolling them out thinly is an art, with no yeast in them to give them elasticity it s a lot of elbow grease to get them nice and thin, it is well worth the effort though, I added some wholemeal flour for more fibre and used oil instead of lard to make them more figure friendly, I now know what we are eating is healthy for us!

Until the next post… Stay happy and healthy!

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Making changes…

Thursday, June 7, 2012

my first attempt at dress making

So blogging has not been top of my priority list recently, what with May being a busy month for us, our Anniversary, my Birthday, Mothers Day and then most importantly Florrie’s First Birthday… May just whizzed by us in a blur!  My mum has gone home now, has it really been 4 weeks since she arrived here… We had so much fun, this trip was about practical things like her teaching me to use the sewing machine, I could hand sew but I’ve never been very confident with the sewing machine… Well guess what, I’m not as bad as I thought, thanks to my mum, I’m now a whiz with a machine, ha, ha… Well I’m getting there anyway.  I managed to make Florrie a very cute outfit and a make up bag for a friends birthday gift… I now have many, many projects on my list to make, first off cushion covers to cover the hideous ones that came with the sofa!

homemade burger buns

My goals for this year are to learn new skills, I have a plan in mind to start my own business, I have been in talks with a friend about this for quite some time now… So with one new skill learned and hopefully being improved upon, I have many more listed to go… Learn to crotchet, practice my frosting skills for cupcakes, learn to appliqué …  Our new business idea is an events planning company… Who knows we might actually make it work!

Food and nutrition have been very important to me for quite some time now, it’s very difficult to feed fussy children properly, but I’m trying, it’s also very difficult to cook with a year old baby who is very clingy and on the go constantly, but again I’m trying… I’ve been trying to make my own  bread more and bake more wholesomely..  So far I made my own burger buns, they were the best burger buns ever (I’ll add the link at the bottom), and yesterday I made pita breads, I’ve been buying Trader Joes white whole meal flour and adding it to everything, no ones even noticed!  The other change I’ve made to our diet is whole grain pasta, I’ve been buying brown rice for a while, Trader Joes brown basmati rice, so good, but now I’m adding their brown pasta and also their brown rice pasta too! I make a pasta bake in my steamer with whatever veggies and protein I have in, just add it to the steamer coat in tomato sauce then cook, no ones even noticed… Having Jord with his stomach problems recently, really made me research and change the things we eat!

After reading an article a friend posted on facebook about canned tomatoes and the chemicals from the can reacting with the tomatoes, it has made me cautious about canned tomatoes, I have mainly stuck to plain pasta sauces in glass jars for everything I’m cooking, walmarts, good value one being my favorite, it’s so good with no additives either!  But now I’m thinking, with summer farmers markets just about to arrive its time to bulk make my own tomato sauce and glass jar it up, if that makes sense… My brain is not working very well today!

Diamond Julilee cake

This year I am going to use the fresh local foods from farmers markets, I’ve never really done this before, as it is much easier to shop for produce in the grocery store whilst you are there, but I’m going to make this a weekly outing for the children, adding in an ice cream store visit in for good measure… I also want to get them cooking much more too, hopefully this will encourage Blu to vary his diet and try new things,  so what better way to start than to actually go choose the food you are going to be cooking… Happy summer thoughts to everyone… The sun is shining and we are counting down the days until school is out… Long lazy hot summer days… Ahhhhh!

The website for the burger buns is – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/burger-or-hot-dog-buns/

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Friday, May 18, 2012

I cannot believe that Florence Elsie is going to be 1 tomorrow… Wow, that year has just gone by so fast!

This blog is for my little Florrie Flower, who brightens each and every minute of every day of our lives… As a mother the love for your child grows from the minute you find out you are pregnant, even though her little beating heartbeat surprised us all, the love that grew deep inside me blossomed right from the very beginning!  One year after my gorgeous baby girl arrived into our very busy chaotic family lives, the love that each and every one of us have for her is incredible, she has definitely added a new bright dimension to our days!

She already has 8 teeth, she is a bit of a biter with those teeth too!  She is well on her way to walking, with each and every day she gets steadier on her feet and is standing more, her crawling technique is different, one leg crawls the other sits and she kind of half butt shuffles.  Eating is just not her favorite thing she would rather nurse, yes I am still breast feeding, my boys hate it, but it’s something I love, she loves and it is good for her, so when she wants to stop I will let her, but for now, she loves to nurse day or night.  Her favorite foods tend to be finger foods, she loves carbohydrates, bread and pasta, she will eat steamed asparagus and green beans, but she is petrified of broccoli. How do babies know what all the sweet stuff is, Florence points and says mmmmm if she sees cookies, cake or ice cream, her absolute favorite thing to eat!

6 weeks old

If you say Simba my little Florrie will look for the dog and then in a high pitched noise make a woof, woof sound, she says mum mum and looks at me, she will cuddle in with her head and say ahhhhhh and if you tell her to blow kisses she will blow you a raspberry, she can also wave you good bye, then stand on her own for a couple of seconds and clap her hands together.

To quote a very close friend of mine… I feel like I could explode with the pure love I have for my gorgeous Florence Elsie, each and every day I love you more and more, if that is at all possible… You have definitely turned our family inside out and upside down, but I love each day watching you grow and change into the amazing person you are!

4 months old

FYI… Florence was weighed on Thursday, June 7th and she weighed in at 18lbs 11 ozs with her clothes on!

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School Uniform… yes or no?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lake Mohawk…April 16, 2012

Last night we attended Mabel’s last ever elementary school chorus concert, I know I’m biased but she looked so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes just thinking about how grown up she is getting! It’s hard to believe in a few short weeks she will be leaving Alpine school to move onto the Middle school, how is that possible, she was my baby for so long… It’s even harder to believe that if we still lived in England she would be headed straight for secondary school, now that is such a very scary thought… all that school uniform I would have to buy… Oh how I love the no school uniform over here, now i know alot of you disagree with me over this subject, but after many years of doing the school uniform thing, I personally think it is so not needed.  Many people would argue, my Mum included, that it helps with discrimination against those who cannot afford the designer brands, well I would say that even with school uniform you can see who shops in Asda instead of who shops in M&S, or which child is wearing his older brothers very worn trousers and sweatshirts, and really we can all afford the labels our children want to wear just by shopping wisely, Abercrombie can actually be cheaper than Target if you keep an eye out for the extra discount sales on clearance!  There are also those people that would argue that school uniform is actually smarter than wearing your casual clothes, well to that I would say that it depends on the child, I had 3 boys in school uniform, and whether they wore casual clothes or school uniform they looked the same… Jord always looked neat and tidy in both sets of clothes but on the other hand Lew just always looked a little bit untidy, it was just the way he was when he was younger, school uniform really didn’t change the way he looked… Plus i always hated spending all that money on clothes and shoes i really disliked, i would have much rather spent the money on the nice brightly colored clothes they liked, like i do now!  So after standing on my soap box and giving my opinion on school uniform, I say to you all I just love watching Mabel choose her outfit each day and then running out the door to catch the bus knowing how much time she has spent on what she wears to school, now Blu on the other hand, well don’t get me started, all I will say is that in reality one outfit would be all Blu needed in his closet, so maybe school uniform would work for him… Enough said!

On a side note, I just wanted to say that some of the seeds I planted have sprouted up through the soil, Mabel and I are very excited to see actual green sprouts in the soil, so far the sunflowers are winning closely followed by the cucumbers and basil, I’m not sure what has happened to the strawberries, chives and parsley but we carry on watering them daily!  I also bought a small tomato plant, which hopefully I will be able to keep alive long enough to eat the tomatoes and my hydrangea is still looking good… Fingers crossed I may have a small kitchen garden this summer!

 

I’m going to try and make some fruit and yogurt Popsicles this week, I have some frozen fruit and plain yogurt to use up and some weeks ago I bought the Popsicle makers for the freezer with the intention of making them, well the box is still on the kitchen side unopened, my only excuse is that we did go on vacation for a few days in between.  so this week I’m going to get those healthy treats into the freezer, I’m sure Mabel won’t like them, she is so changeable with what she likes and dislikes these days. I’m hoping to get some vitamins into Blu, his sweet tooth is growing by the day and driving me crazy, maybe these will satisfy his cravings enough that he won’t actually realize they are healthy!

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Rainy Spring Sunday…

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Plan for today, a grayish Sunday in April… Lay in bed with my coffee, my baby girl asleep in my lap, get up and make Jamie Oliver pancakes (so easy, recipe down below) with fresh fruit and maple syrup, water my seeds, get dressed then head out to two soccer games, one in Bridgewater, the other in Madison before heading home to make parmigiana, prosciutto, mushroom and pea risotto with a green salad for dinner and of course then sit down for the evening with a large glass of read wine and my book!

 

Well that should be my Sunday… Fingers crossed!

 

Recipe for Jamie’s easy peasy pancakes:

One cup of all purpose flour

One egg

One cup of any milk you have in… Are you noticing an easy to remember theme here, one cup of everything and your done!

A pinch of salt

 

Mix all the ingredients together until blended, it does not matter if there are a few lumps left, I have my pancake pen (photo above) which I transfer the batter into, I love this so much, I make up double and then the batter put into the pen stores in the fridge for an easy pancake breakfast before school… heat a light layer of oil in a frying pan, I use a spray oil then add about a quarter of a cup three times to the pan, allow to brown slightly before flipping, brown again and then serve with whatever you like… So easy and so good, no need to even write this recipe down its that simple!

 

Next up… I have finally after a few weeks off have devised a menu plan for the week and here it is…

 

 

Saturday – Mediterranean chicken salad

 

Sunday – Parmigiana risotto with prosciutto mushroom and peas

 

Monday – Mediterranean turkey pockets

 

Tuesday – Roasted chicken breasts with grape orange and feta salsa

 

Wednesday – Chicken noodle strudel

 

thursday – Chicken romaine heart wraps

 

 

We are going healthy this week with lettuce wraps, salads and maybe a few substitutes for me with tofu and salmon, I bought a huge box of tofu in Costco yesterday, yes I love tofu, for $3.79, it was such a bargain!

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Basil, Parsley and Chives

Friday, April 20, 2012

Time to get back to menu planning, I realize when I don’t organize my meals in advance how bad mealtimes seem to me!  I’ve had two weeks off now, what with our trip to Cape Cod and then trying to get back into some sort of routine this week… Enough is enough its time to sort out next weeks meals, although I’m not very good at switching seasons with my meals, I always think that fall and winter are so much easier to cook in, I love casseroles, soups and just one pot meals in general, so quick and satisfying!  Spring brings along BBQ season, which I do love too, but then you have to plan sides and salads which I also love but it is alot of extra work all that chopping is very time consuming, so don’t be fooled that salads are the easy route for dinner, they can definitely take some time to prepare!

Spring also means preparing my outside decking room, this year we have put away our 8 seater table as it was just too large for our deck and replaced it with a much smaller iron table and we have gone very shabby chic/country, a style which I love, and matched the table with mix and match chairs, very cute!  Last year we bought lights to put up, but with having a new born baby they just did not get put up, so this year they are going to be put around the decking and then finally I want to plant some herbs and tomatoes, maybe some cucumbers into pots and have a little kitchen garden… So today I’m going to start by planting my herb seeds and fingers crossed they will grow, as I’m not the most green fingered of people out there, but I have managed to keep a beautiful hydrangea alive for almost a month now, with the help of Lewis whilst I was away… Yay for my greenish fingers!

 

One last thing before I start this beautiful day here in New Jersey, whilst we were in Cape Cod we stayed in the cutest little house by the sea, I loved the way the house was decorated and furnished, one of the ideas in there, I have completely stolen… At one end of the kitchen table, a chair had been replaced with a comfy armchair and a cushion… This is a fantastic idea and this week I have so copied it, although my armchair is slightly too low, I need to find a new one, it will be fine for now… We are huge kitchen people, it is the room we spend most of our time in, the comfy chair is so nice to relax in with dinner, coffee or a glass of wine whilst you sit and chat or just enjoy the sunny day by the open window… The best idea ever!