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Handmade Baby Boy!

Life in our house is busy as usual, but I have had to take a step or two back and learn to let others help me out… Not easy for this busy Mom of 7, but I’m learning… My glucose levels have returned to normal, gestational diabetes scare over… Yay, but my iron levels are dangerously low, 60% depleted, so this explains how bad I’ve been feeling! the extreme tiredness, the shortness of breath and the occasional palpitations! This week I start hour long infusions of iron, hopefully this will make me feel so much better, I’ve been adding lots of iron rich food to my diet but I have to give in this time and take the IV, but if I had the choice I would just try the diet for a while longer!

As I am kind of on an in forced rest, my body won’t let me do too much, I get totally exhausted and very breathless easily, I’ve been concentrating on making baby items not only for this little boy who seems to be causing me so many problems at the moment, but later on for my Etsy shop Florrie’s Attic! I love, love, love babies in hats, boys hats are a little more difficult to find something different, so I’m working on ideas for cute baby boy hats! I’m also working on a fabric baby blanket with a crochet edge, at the moment I am using boy colors but the options are endless and I am totally in love with this new thin, spring blanket!

I have found a couple of links to handmade burp cloths and crib sheets, so this is definitely something I would like to try, JoAnn’s is a destination this week for supplies! Here are the links…
Hand made burp cloths
Handmade crib sheets

We are starting our little girl and boy room this week, well I say we, what I actually mean is I am organizing the colors and Paul is starting the manual labor! I have finally decided on a colors and I am very excited… We went to Sherwin Williams yesterday for paint samples, so I am hoping that the colors will be perfect! I love mismatched shabby chic style and I think this room will be perfect for a little girl and tiny boy to share… this is my inspiration!

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On a final note for today, Martin Luther King Day, of course I always have to talk about food… Although I am not actually cooking at the moment, I am in charge of the menu and tonight we have cheesy spinach baked penne I have been using gluten free brown rice pasta from TJ’s, I also like the fact that this recipe uses lots of iron rich spinach, combined with lower fat cheese options like cottage cheese, now I’m not sure my family will love this, but I love cottage cheese, we are going to have this with my favorite baby kale salad from Costco and some kind of protein, not sure what that will be yet, as I need to go to the grocery store, but I’m thinking mine will be baked tofu!

Links I have found for free crochet baby patterns…
Baby girl hat crochet pattern
Triple crochet cocoon and hat pattern
A guide to properly sized crochet hats… a must when you are making hats!
A super chunky baby cocoon
Newborn to 3 months crochet beanie

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Trying to stretch a dollar or two…

This year has certainly been financially difficult for us, we have had several car accidents costing us a lot of money not only with paying the first $1000 but also with insurance rates increasing dramatically. We also had a chimney fire and parts of our roof were damaged with the hurricane that came last year… All in all 2013 has been a little bit of a struggle in many ways… But on the positive side, we still have each other and I firmly believe that positive thoughts breed positive behavior!

With that said with things the way they are at the moment I am all in for trying to save a little bit of money, I particularly love this time of year food wise, you can really make your dollar stretch with hearty, healthy meals, soups and stews are perfect fall money saving meals, lots of root cheaper veggies fill out all those fall meals, last night I made a delicious potato, green bean and chicken soup, served together with a rustic sausage, apple and sage stuffing bake, I estimate the cost to feed a family of 6, and I say 6 as that is how many people ate this dinner was $2.65 per person… Hearty, warming, yummy and very cheap! With this in mind, I am challenging myself to make healthy fall meals for less than $15 a night… Can it be done? Who knows but I am going to try, I love a bargain and I do love a challenge!

Very quick chicken and potato soup… I found this recipe on the whole foods App, I did tweak it a bit, so no link…. I love this app for healthy recipes, I use it a lot!

2/3 packet of frozen hash brown potatoes ( a trick I got from the Pioneer woman, when you just don’t want to peel and grate potatoes or just do not have time)
1 finely chopped onion
1 stick of celery chopped
2 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons of paprika
4 cups of chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ready cooked chicken tenderloins ( these are another of my short cuts, Costco have a large bag for $14, and are perfect for very quick healthy meals)
2/3 bag of frozen green beans ( the recipe actually said frozen peas and although I love peas my children do not, and as I wanted them to eat it, I changed to something we would all eat)

Place all of the ingredients into the pot, placing your chicken tenderloins on top, cover, bring to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes, then take off the chicken and chop or shred the meat, place to one side whilst you blend the contents in your pot, add in your green beans, top up with a little bit more water if you think the soup is too thick, bring back to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes then add your shredded chicken and simmer for a further 5 minutes… Time to serve… Delicious!
(Of course this recipe would also work well in your crock pot, I would place all the ingredients as stated in the slow cooker and cook on high for two hours, then follow the instructions for adding shredded chicken and beans but this time together, switch to a low setting and cook for a further hour).

I have always been a fan of repurposing things, I love Antique shops, thrift stores and flea markets, you can find so many hidden treasures… I don’t get to go nearly as much as I would like to these days. There was a time not so long ago when we used to spend Sunday afternoons in a little town called Lewis, near Brighton browsing the antique shops then drinking coffee in the quaint little coffee shops, of course this was when my boys were much younger and we just seemed to have far more time on our hands… Oh how I hunger for those lazy Sundays right now! I really think in this economy many people have turned to making and repurposing things within their homes… In the days of Margaret Thatcher, life became about the money and the possessions you had… Keeping up with the jones’ was the phrase of the day, and for some this is still very much the way things still are… I have never been like that, my style is shabby chic, I don’t care if something is designer and expensive or cheap and second hand… If I like it, that is all that counts! All this is a very fortunate trait , as right now I am very keen on making, creating and repurposing to create things I love for those that I love!

On a side note… Florrie’s Attic has taken a back seat in the last few months, due to the dreadful first trimester sickness, it was as much as I could do to get out of bed and cope with my family let alone think about my beloved Florrie’s Attic… But now 16 weeks later I think I am finally feeling a little bit better and my head is buzzing with all things Florrie’s Attic… First I have to complete some projects I had already started and post them up, then I will be moving on… Look out little boys things will be being added very soon… Some things are just meant to be!

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It makes me want to be a Pioneer Woman!

I remember a time when long summer days meant no alarms, free time with no commitments, laying in bed in the mornings, sitting outside drinking endless cups of coffee, day trips to the beach and just being able to read and read a good book… Not this summer! So far this summer has consisted of getting up rushing a cup of coffee and then rush, rush, rushing around, driving someone here, driving someone else there, it almost feels worse than when they are all back at school… I am exhausted and we are only on week 2!

I love watching the food network and I really miss watching Jamie Oliver back in the UK, but now I have a new addiction… The pioneer woman, she is a mother, a wife, a photographer a blogger and right now she has me thinking I could quite happily go and live on a ranch somewhere in the middle is nowhere… Her life just looks so calm and relaxing, just the total opposite to my chaotic life… I am just not so sure Paul or the boys could cut it as a cowboy though!

Every Saturday morning I love to watch her new show, this weeks episode was a girls night in and she made a salad pizza, Mabel and I were drooling as she topped this perfect pizza crust with melted cheese and a lightly dressed salad, of course if boys had been involved in this night in there would have had to have been meat involved, I am sure men and meat go back to caveman times when they went out hunting, I just don’t get it myself, anyway back to the subject of salad pizza, the dough she made was so easy, no bread maker, no kneading and very few ingredients… Easy and it looked delicious… My kind of food!

The pioneer woman’s quick and easy pizza dough recipe

Tonight we are having salad pizza courtesy of the Pioneer Woman, but of course in my house there will be men dining so the obligatory meat dish will be served to compliment this light pizza, but I think us girls will be more than happy with salad on a pizza… Yummy!

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Happy Birthday Jord

Years ago when we only had our boys, no girls for us, or so we thought, it would have been hard to imagine a Saturday afternoon shopping with just us girls, and for Paul even harder to imagine, but with Blu firmly attached to the Xbox controller at home that’s how we spent yesterday afternoon… 2 gorgeous girls, their Mom and one very lucky Dad having the best afternoon shopping in Rockaway… Yay, mine and Mabel’s favorite pastime ever!

Now don’t get me started, but years ago it would have been not only hard to imagine a girls and their Dad afternoon shopping but an afternoon shopping in a Mall 3500 miles away in the USA, now that would have been really hard to imagine too, but these days we take that all for granted, Macy’s, Target, Abercrombie to name but a few, these are all stores that have become an everyday name to us, sometimes I find it hard to believe that M&S, Monsoon, Laura Ashley are not those stores I just pop into for a quick browse… It’s hard to believe that life has changed so much, yet still in many ways is exactly the same!

With the hot sticky weather upon us I have been finding it harder and harder to menu plan, we are on a healthy eating plan, but we are not taking it too seriously so it does not become an obsession, take yesterday for example we had a healthy breakfast and lunch but then after a long afternoon of shopping we bought a pizza, and instead of feeling guilty which is exactly what I normally do, I’m just excepting it and moving onto another day… A real break though for this Mom who used to be anorexic!

So with the cooking happening outdoors right now, I have been making healthy chicken/salmon and veggie foil parcels for the grill… I bought some Trader Joes sauces to flavor the chicken, I know its cheating a little bit, but its just so much easier, I’ve then been adding my Farmers Market veggies then grilling them until just cooked… They are very healthy, delicious and extremely popular in my house at the moment!

On the menu for tonight is chopped Swiss chard, bruschetta topped chicken served over Alfredo whole wheat spaghetti, with maybe a Mojito on the side!

We were going to head to the beach today but as it is Jordan’s 22nd… Yes I do feel old saying the baby of my older children is going to be 22, anyway as I was saying, Jordan’s Birthday is on Wednesday and most of us are around, we are having an early start for a Birthday breakfast on the beach, with that in mind, Mabel has now chosen a beach theme for Jord’s big day so I’m off to the Christmas tree store for supplies for the big day today… I’m officially getting old, it only seems like yesterday that I was 22 and pregnant with him… Oh well, Happy Sunday everyone!

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