Florence, Uncategorized

Happy Birthday sweet baby Girl 💟

Today is the last day my baby girl will be 4, her sweet face, her chubby cheeks and her cute little smile are only four for just today, tomorrow she will wake up and be a whole 5 years old… 

It’s crazy to think it was 5 years ago that I was planning to go into the hospital and meet my little girl… From the very first moment I saw her beautiful face I was totally in love and knew that this little girl was going to be very special in all our lives.  Today she is funny, smart and the bestest big sister a little brother could ever have.

Florence’s favorite thing to do is stay at home and play with her toys, she loves her toys so much, babies, Barbie dolls, kitchens, dolls houses, soft toys… the list is endless.  She loves to paint, draw, chalk and write letters.  Another of Florence’s favorite things is water, she loves to have a bath for hours upon end with all her toys joining her, she loves to play with water and most of all she likes to swim in water at the pool or at the beach, she is definitely my little water baby.

We have a crazy life with so many people living in our house, Florrie loves her siblings, each and every one of them, Mabel does her hair beautifully and paints her nails, Blu is just Blu with her and she adores him, her older brothers all adore her and in turn she has a special place in her heart for each of them.  Oh I must not forget our dog Simba, yes we do still have Simba and Florrie enjoys spending time with him.

Florence has been to dance classes which she loved, unfortunately the classes stopped and we now need to find another little dance school which we love as much as the last one, hopefully she will be starting dance again after the summer.  She is right now playing soccer, her Dad is the coach, she loves to run around play the games with the ball and meet the other girls.

This little girl makes me smile every day, she says the funniest things, she loves life and I’m glad at the moment I have chosen to homeschool her, it means I get to spend everyday with her, learning along with her, sometimes I teach her and other times she teaches me, more often than not it is her showing me something… She is crazy, funny, beautiful, but most of all she is simply amazing and we all love her to bits…


Happy Birthday sweet Girl… Have a wonderful day tomorrow 👑



Where to begin… This little girl of ours brings so much joy into our life, there has not been one day since she was born that she has not bought a smile to our faces! She is a crazy child, with wild curly hair that will not grow, she is always happy, but just recently she has started a crying phase, very loudly I might add, whenever we say no to anything… It’s driving me crazy! This past week she has been poorly, she had a fever and a head cold, but Friday saw her happy smiling face re-appear… Yay, this makes her Mommy very happy!


She is not the best eater in the world, she goes through phases, sometimes she loves pasta, sometimes she loves pizza, but she always loves chocolate and ice cream! She loves to drink water and milk from Starbucks, but her favorite type of milk still comes from Mommy, now I know some people won’t agree with extended breastfeeding, and to those people I say it is your problem not mine… We cuddle in bed just in the evening and she nurses for 5 to 10 minutes, it’s just our time together and we both love it, so how can it be a bad thing?

She is not potty trained just yet, she knows totally when she needs to go, but with the arrival of Tate, she likes to be just like him and diapers are one of the things she likes to copy, I’m not worried it will come soon! She still sleeps in our bed every night, she tosses and turns and takes up most of our king size bed, what would we do without that size bed, some mornings there are four of us snoring away in our family bed!


Florence is the joy of all our lives, she has coped with having a new little brother remarkably and she loves him so much! Her smiles and laughter fill our house each and every day, the cute things she says fill our lives with so much pleasure… HAPPY 3rd BIRTHDAY beautiful girl, we love you with all of our hearts!

The day she was born…


Her first Birthday…


Her 2nd Birthday…



Will we have anymore children?

A lot of people think Paul and I are crazy, and maybe we are… The standing joke at the moment is when will number 9 be coming along? Of course having 8 children is unusual, well not as unusual as I used to think before I got addicted to the social media and blogging, it is hard work at times having 8 children of all ages to give your love and attention to… But the rewards can be the best ever!

I never saw myself as a mother of eight who wallowed in every moment, I only wanted one child, at the ripe old age of 19 when I had my first son I was very happy, who would have thought 27 years later I would have just had my eighth child and that I would be so happy and enjoying every moment of new motherhood in my forties!

This last weekend, just gone was a crazy mix of celebration and despair… First off celebration, on Saturday we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary… The first time I ventured out for a couple of hours, baby less… Very weird but wonderful both together! Sunday of course was Mothers Day, most of my children were working or playing soccer, but I did get treated to a little shopping trip together with a slice of cheesecake and a glass of white wine in the very crowded Cheesecake Factory… Thank you Farrel, it was a lovely thought, although next time I think we will avoid the Mall on Mothers Day! I was also lucky enough to have my own Mum here which made it all the more special too! Finally the despair part, Monday saw my Birthday, yet another year older, despair I’m getting nearer to the big 5 0… But there was joy too, eight children come into their own on special days, you realize through all the pain, the heartache and the worry x8, that there is pure joy… Each and everyone of them brings kindness and a love that cannot be compared! Through every worry for each of your children, there is a life you have created and a love like no other… So we may be totally crazy, life is hectic, expensive and sometimes very noisy… But I have come to realize we are very lucky and it’s just the family we are!

So in answer to the question on everyone’s lips right now… Will we have number 9… I guess you will just have to watch this space, who knows what the future will bring, but for now we are just enjoying getting to know our new little bundle of pure joy!





My favorite things to eat…

I am going to try and post my favorite recipe of the meal we have eaten in the last week, each Wednesday… This week I have two favorite recipes to share with you, both were very delicious and super healthy, I am trying to add chia seeds to all of our meals, more often than not I forget as I am usually doing my normal multi tasking Mommy act at this time of the day, but I will get into the habit soon… Fingers crossed!

Black bean and arugula salad with creamy avocado dressing

1/2 can of drained and rinsed black beans
5 small sweet baby peppers sliced
1 bag of arugula
1 small red onion finely sliced
1 handful of pea shoots chopped
1 handful of Cilantro chopped
1 avacado
2 tablespoons of lime juice
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together the first 6 items, then take a ripe avacado and mash or blend in a blender for a few minutes with lime juice and about 1/4 cup of water then add red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, stir then coat your salad with your creamy dressing… Serve fresh with whatever takes your fancy, we had spicy Mexican pork with ours then a huge bowl of fresh strawberries for dessert… Healthy and very delicious!

White turkey chili with a twist

1 packet of ground turkey
Small amount of oil, I used spray coconut oil from Trader Joes
2 cups of chicken broth
1 tablespoon of cumin
1-2 tablespoons of red pepper flakes
1 small red onion finely chopped
3 small sweet peppers slice
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 can of cannellini beans drained
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3/4 pack of orzo

Sauté the onion in the oil for about 5 minutes, then add peppers and sauté for another 5 minutes before adding ground turkey… Cook until browned then add spinach, let it slightly wilt before adding chicken broth, red pepper flakes, cumin and cannellini beans, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Cook orzo according to the packet instructions, add the feta cheese, stir until slightly melted then when the turkey chili is cooked, combine it with the orzo and cheese mixture… Serve and enjoy!

It is Florrie’s second Birthday this coming Saturday, so after a long weekend filled with Anniversary, Mothers Day and Birthday celebrations, I am trying to concentrate on getting everything ready for my little flower to have a wonderful day too… This has meant finishing off her wigwam playhouse (tutorial to follow soon), shopping for cupcake supplies… Guess what cake she is having? and of course getting her some fabulous new princess pink toys! In a family as large as ours, parties don’t really need to be more than the people that are living in our house, well at the tender age of 2 anyway and that is about all I can cope with at the moment, I am sure next year maybe a different story!

Have a wonderful day… Sunny spring wishes for everyone!




My not so favorite things…

Menu plan for this week

California flatbread – page125 food network magazine
Green chili stew – page 152 food network magazine
Steak with spicy olive pesto – page 123 food network magazine
Big Greek salad – page 125 food network magazine
Turkey and rice stuffed peppers – page 125 food network magazine
Monday night red beans and rice – page 112 food network magazine
Spicy sausage ragu nachos with pickled onions – page 136 food network magazine

This California flatbread was delicious, we made the pizza dough in the bread machine pizza dough recipe then instead of drizzling lemon juice over before serving I added the balsamic glaze from Trader Joes… So good, worth a try, and added a nice prelude to thoughts of Spring, coming soon!

My favorite things so far in 2013 are having my Mum here and sharing her birthday along with her, taking a photo every day so that I can look back over 2013, although some days I have forgotten (all photos can be seen on Instagram, my username is florrieflower) but I’m trying hard to keep to my resolution, my new lockable straining lid pasta pan from Costco and Trader Joes Coconut oil body butter, this is sooooo nice and so reasonably priced, after a hot shower it is wonderful to rub in over your body, the smell is divine and it leaves your skin silky smooth, something I desperately need in this freezing cold weather!

Things I am not liking so much in January is the cold snowy weather, I am so ready for spring to arrive, not being able to light a warm fire whilst we eat in the evening, due to our fireplace being under renovation, having deer standing on my doorstep when we are trying to get out our house and not having a working washing machine still… Trips to the laundromat are just not fun anymore and it is costing me lots of money, I have had friends offer me to use their machines… Thank you, but I’m not always in Madison at the moment, as you can imagine washing for 10 people can take up to 3 machines at a time in the laundromat, in fact yesterday we had 4 machines running, 2 extra large ones with dark and light colors, a red wash and then a white wash in the extra small machines, thankfully it was not busy unlike Sunday when you had to fight to get a washing machine, now that was a nightmare!

Well it’s a snow day here in a very white NJ, so after a 5.15am phone call and then a much needed lay in, I am off to put some cinnamon roll dough in my bread machine, (cinnamon roll recipe), then I am going to bake some vanilla sugar cookies… (vanilla sugar cookies)It just feels like I should be baking today and so that is what I am going to do!
Have a very warm winters Day!



Birthday Frenzy!

Frozen pizzas, garlic bread sticks, chocolate cake, vanilla ice cream and a glass of red wine all make up a winters Saturday night watching a movie… Priceless, when you just want to relax and forget the events of the past week… Well, that’s how we spent our weekend anyway!

Normally in our house Birthday season does not start until March when Paul kicks off the celebrations, but this year is different as my Mum is staying with us and hers is one of those annoying January Birthdays… Annoying because you just give yourself a huge pat on the back that you have successfully completed Christmas, presents bought, wrapped and opened, food planned, cooked and eaten, children happy and back to school, then BAM, it starts all over again, but this time you have to switch into Birthday mode… This is something I am just not used to and it threw me for a loop!

So my Mum’s Birthday started with a relaxing cup of coffee in bed, then some housework and preparation for the rest of the day… Table laid, cake frosting made and cream whipped! Lewis then cooked my Mum a Birthday Brunch, bacon, scrambled egg and crispy toast… All very delicious! We then chilled out for a while with coffee in the kitchen then it was time to kick off the real celebrations with a glass of wine at our local brew pub down by a very snowy, icy Lake Mohawk!

There is an article in my latest Food network magazine, a Birthday cake for each month of the year, January’s cake was a delicious vanilla cake, so Mabel and I decided that this would be the cake we were going to make my Mum. The ingredients in the sponge were not a conventional equal parts fat to sugar to flour, in fact the cake had considerably less sugar to fat and flour, it also had a large amount of milk/cream and eggs, but I do have to say this was one of the nicest cakes I have tasted, it had a slightly less sweet taste that worked really well with the incredibly buttery vanilla frosting, it was more like a shortbread consistency that really worked well with the whipped cream and strawberries I added to the recipe!

Well my three eldest boys are heading to the Jersey Shore this afternoon… Atlantic City here they come! It will be interesting to see how they have coped since Hurricane Sandy and how much damage there is down there… I have told them I want lots of photos! They have snagged a huge bargain, probably because no one wants to go down there in January, the hotel room for the three of them is only $47 with fees and that is to stay in one of Mr Trumps Casino hotels!

With half the house out tonight it is going to be left over night here tonight… We are having lunch at the trendiest new place in Rockaway, Buffalo Wild Wings, I will report back my verdict of the newest sports bar in town… So my thoughts on dinner are LEFTOVERS, always good to clear out the refrigerator at least once a week!

Two more Birthday wishes go out to my nephews this week, well actually last week too… My brother’s youngest son was 7 last Friday and his eldest son is 12 tomorrow… Where does the time go to, 7 and 12 is just getting too old now! Happy Birthday!