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Silent Sunday on Monday

Happy Humdrum Christmas

I'm happy. I'm about to spend another sleepless night coughing, but I'm grateful my cold and cough appears in the evenings only.

It was a shame we had to drive down in that awful weather on Monday, but I'm happy we had the chance to see our niece and meet her toddler son for the first time.

I'm bemused our son was underwhelmed by his BMX bike, but I'm pleased he was delighted with his tablet from his grandparents.

I'm slightly worried that he spent a long time playing a coin game on it, but happy he sent me his first email (aged 7). Scary.

Tomorrow we get to spend the day with my parents and I can't wait.

And at this very moment, I'm extremely happy that I get to read the new Rebus book. My bestest present so far!

Hope you had a good one.







Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday #3

Meal Planning Monday - always late!

Wrote my week's planning on Saturday. Posted it Wednesday! Here goes ...

Saturday - cheat lasagne (fresh sheets of pasta, cheese sauce tub, Look What We Found bolognese) and garlic bread from the freezer YES

Sunday - roast chicken with veg gratin using up rest of cheese sauce from yesterday YES

Lunches at work - soup made today

Monday - meatballs n pasta (all meat bought on 3 for £10 at Waitrose) HAD TUESDAY

Tuesday - beef casserole and dumplings HAD JACKET POTS

Wednesday - jacket pots with tuna OOPS PIZZA COMING...

Thursday - pizza wraps

Friday - outlaws staying so hopefully they will buy a takeaway!

Silent Sunday #4

Silent Sunday #3

His name's Edna. Edna Book.

For every time I worry that my son spends too much time in front of the telly or on my laptop, please let me look at this photo to remind me of the time he spends with his nose in a book. I'm not that worried really; he lives for football and spends hours playing with his mates in the park. But on Tuesday at the school book fair, he wangled an early "Good Parents' Evening" gift out of me in the form of the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. I'd planned on buying it anyway, and there was £4 off at the fair! I told him he would have it taken away if we didn't get a good report.

Yesterday was Parents' Evening but we only got to see his Maths teacher as his class teacher was off sick. Thankfully he got a good report for Maths.

But I couldn't really take the book off him in any case, should he get a bad report from his class teacher. He's already finished the book! Within one day, he'd finished it! That was because he read on the way home from schoo…

Silent Sunday #2

How to get humdrum but happy

December's issue of Psychologies has this as a strapline. Coach Jessica Chivers suggests ways of finding even dull (necessary) housework activities more appealing. She talks of reframing the chore - I find that phoning my mum makes emptying the dishwasher much more enjoyable.

She also talks of exchanging the bucket list of "things to do before you die". Okay I don't think many of us would sniff at seeing the Northern Lights, but how about standing on Southsea beach, facing the Isle of Wight, during Cowes Week. Try and beat that contrast of white sails against the blue sea.

I'm thinking of creating my own list; not a bucket, rather a suitcase filled daily with "things" that have made my life happier, made me more content. Maybe this is where my blog is heading...

Silent Sunday #1

A new desk!

I've moved my desk area. It's still situated under the stairs in our open plan front room/stairway area. It's no biggie really. I just turned it 90 degrees and tidied it up. BUT it's made a huge difference. We can now sit and type at the desk, or write, while still looking at half the room. I'm hoping this will make a difference to the frequency with which I blog... you never know!

Meal Plan Monday

Well last week didn't go to plan as I was ill. Clearly Mr Humdrum can't cope so I had to muddle on. I managed to resist the Dominos helpline but we did have fish n chips Thursday night. I also made butternut squash soup and veggie soup - the former for my lunch and the latter to have in a cup as a starter to get more veg down us.

This week we will mostly be eating OOTF (Out of the Freezer) as I am loath to spend more money on food when I have a whole dead farmyard in there.

Roasted turkey breast with some trimmings
Gammon steaks for the boys and jacket potato n tuna for me
Home made steak burgers and home made wedges (pic below)
Omelette with soup as a starter
Chicken curry, not sure which flavour yet

In other news I did a tiny shop in Aldi tonight. Last time I stuffed my basket down in a huff about the long queues but today I persevered. Will report on quality!

I am also trying to "eat clean" for some of the day.



Meal Planning Monday - a bit late

I keep seeing the meal planning linky by At Home With Mrs M and not joining. Well today, albeit a bit late, I am. Even if just admit that I'm winging it this week. I'd been to a spa last weekend with my girlfriends (oh did I mention it on my last blog post?) and hadn't got round to my weekly shop. However tonight Elf has a friend over to play, and they're currently eating pasta with ham and tomato sauce, with garlic bread. They will be having chocolate muffins in a minute if they don't mess around too much. Gawd knows what we're having tonight... jacket potatoes? Omelette?

I have posted a picture of my latest chicken pie which was my best, if I say so myself. I don't make my own pastry, I'm sad to say. I can, but I don't often. But the pie was lovely - 6 chicken thighs, leeks and creme fraiche. Mashed potato and carrots n broccoli on the side. Oh and yummy gravy. Perhaps I'll do that again this weekend.

I promise I'll do better next week. I …

Norton Hotel spa break - bliss

Last weekend, four girlfriends and I went to a spa weekend near Winchester. Every year we try to do something; the last two have been at Centerparcs. This year I'm working in a school and can't take time off. This suited us fine, Saturday night costing £129 pp including two 25 minute treatments, lunch, dinner and breakfast.

We arrived on Saturday morning in time for our treatments - I had my nails done and a mini facial. The others had massages or the same as me. The spa was quite a big one for a hotel, and at no point did we feel we were "on a deal". My therapist was very nice and my treatments were wonderful. My nails are still fine now two days later, no chips at all! My facial was just what I needed going into Autumn. I feel like very refreshed now.

Sun loungers around the large pool made relaxing rather easy. The pool was large enough to do lengths. We had a large sauna and steam room, heated tiled beds by the side of the pool, curved to soothe those leg muscles…

Souper Sunday - roasted butternut squash (New Covent Garden)

Today Elf went to football training (scored two goals, one left-footed again) and then went conkering (as opposed to conquering) with his mate up the road. Left with all of this free time, I entertained my old friend who was staying, along with her 19 year old neice, who we were trying to help make a life plan. Greasy haired, we sat in our PJs, ate a brunch and gossiped. My friend used the make-up I bought yesterday to give me smokey eyes. I wondered if Mr Humdrum would notice; he did but didn't say anything as he thinks I look weird with anything other than nude eyeshadow on. Anyway, after this I decided to do some baking and made the oaty cookies from my previous post, but swapped the apricots for chocolate drops, and I made soup which I would take to work this week.

Roasted butternut squash from the New Covent Garden Soup for Every Day book. Yummy! We had a cupful with our cheese on toast dinner; Mr Humdrum approved and even Elf said it was yum! The cookies were nice too. I mad…

Selfie Saturday - I need a makeover

I'm sure I've seen a linky for selfie Saturday but I can't locate it. Here's my first pic using the new iOS 7 camera edit feature. Trying to make myself look like a 60s model! I need a makeover ...

Next week I'm going for a spa weekend as a real treat (I don't do this very often) with four friends. No kids and no blokes. Bliss! I'm having a mini facial and mini mani. In preparation I have bought some new make up - purple eye liner, silver/blue shadow and a pink gloss called Turkish Delight. I feel like I need a teenage bedroom night in where I shut myself in, armed with make up and hair stuff to experiment!

Do any of you ever feel like you need a new look? How do you go about it?


The search for new food and Oaty Energy Cookies recipe

Last week's article by Polly Williams in the Guardian's Family section, entitled The Munch Bunch, explained the reason for the £12,000 extra that a boy costs to raise than a girl - appetite. Polly states "a magic porridge pot would be the perfect solution" and she lists two omelettes, Weetabix and toast as her teenage son's breakfast.

This was exactly what I'd been thinking. Well not exactly, as my boy is 7, but man, can he eat? Polly's friend states a boy needs 4 meals a day. That's my boy too. Breakfast - 3 Weetabix. Either a packed lunch (with 6-7 items) plus snack bar, or a cooked lunch and a snack bar, snacks after school, dinner, topped off with Weetabix for supper. And he can eat in between this too. My mother-in-law told me that there will come a time when you can't get enough bread or cereals down them. And there's nothing to him, not one ounce of fat. It all gets burnt off.

I'm always on the look-out for home-made solutions. I tr…

Football frenzy

Up until now, it's just been sports day and 10-length time trials at swimming that have moved my heart into my mouth and rendered it painful to watch. You desperately want them to do as well as they can, you don't want them to be upset with their performance, you wish you could take their place etc etc. 

Well now I can add competitive football matches to this list. Elf has just started in his under 8s team. Two friends play, and we are getting to know the others in the 7-strong team. We know some other parents very well, and it's a good opportunity to catch up over the dodgy bar coffee.

Last Sunday they played for the first time as a team. They'd not even trained together before as a unit. One mum's other son had started the week before in the under 9s and had endured an excruciating 15-1 loss. It's not that they're bad players; they just haven't had the chance to gel, nor to receive the specialised team training yet. So this week we fully expected the sa…

A Humdrum A-Z of summer holidays A-D

A is for Are we there yet?
One and a quarter hours into our four hour trip I hear it. It's not actually Are we there yet, more How long? I was driving and Elf was in the front seat, so we were able to converse in between bouts of DS, PSP, reading and listening to his iPod (he kept asking me to turn my music down!). I did take the opportunity to explain miles per hour and distance covered. He's seven, but he understood that if I'm going at 70mph, then it's going to take just under and hour to go 60 miles.

B is for beaches, hence the photo.
We are not a theme park family, I tell people. Don't get me wrong, they have their place. We use Paulton's Park as a meeting place with my best friend's family once a year, and the boys have been known to go to Legoland on an inset day. But not at the expense of the countryside and certainly not the beach! I spoke to a boy at school the other day who said he'd been to a seaside town very near where I grew up in Cornwal…

Road rage and blood pressure checks ...

I promised more on this from my Facebook teaser earlier.

Can I firstly just say I'm not proud of myself. I know I wasn't wrong, but I'm not proud of what I did.

Let me explain.

I was driving home from a Waitrose shopping trip, I'd ambled around the precinct, talking to some old lady who I didn't know, chatting to a shop assistant in John Lewis who I only knew from popping in there since Elf was born. (We have a 7 year relationship and discuss quite personal things, but we only ever see each other in the shop.) The free Waitrose cup of tea had mellowed me and as I drove home, I admit I was driving nearer 25 mph than 30 through the city, but that was my only crime. So far...

A black Audi was driving right up my backside all the way home. Admittedly I could have sped up, but tailgaiting me was not going to get that kind of response. I continued, singing along to The Charlatans, Can't Get Out Of Bed.

I wanted to pop into the local shops to get my blood pressure checked …

Blogger comment question - help please!

I have reached the end of my tether with Blogger - I cannot get my comments to work on either my private or my public blog. They are just f-ed up! I have tried everything and I mean everything, uninstallling, reinstalling IntenseDebate, uninstalling again, then reverting back to Blogger comments and messing with the html. I now have to set the Reader Comments manually to Allow for each post, which takes away the ability to post on the go (as it has to be done on a pc not my iphone or ipad).
I am so grumpy about this and am wondering whether to Wordpress it.... Can anyone help or let me know if it is just me?!
- Grumpy not Humdrum Mum

Peace is shattered

The boy Elf is back after holidays with both sets of grandparents in the West Country. My week of peace and quiet is over.

But my social life is back!

There is nothing like a free ice cream

It didn't come completely cost-free though. It cost some of my pride.

I was waiting in a cafe for a friend on an outside bench when the bench collapsed. I fell in and I ended up with my legs and head sticking out the top! I managed to extricate myself from it but had to ask my friend who was queuing for help! I'm sure loads of people in cars saw me. The staff came over and checked I was ok and removed the whole broken bench.

They said Would you like a drink?

I replied Well I was thinking about having an ice cream - and promptly got one.

I recommend The Garage's Eton Mess ice cream but I don't recommend the way I got it.

Magazines, eating clean and blogging

Mags - I thought I'd grown out of magazines. At 42 (ahem), the only Cosmopolitan I'm interested in is the liquid variety. A look online gives me these headlines: official 50 Shades of Grey lingerie launched (I have one style of pants, the same as my mum!); the new fringe style (made that mistake too many times to repeat; have these people got shares in fringes?); careers masterclass (having swapped the rat race of marketing for a teaching assistant role, this is irrelevant); and Fearne Cotton models some clothes or other. I don't mean to be rude, but she holds no relevance for me. Strangely I'm interested in reading how Gwynneth admits how a liquid diet left her hallucinating ... but let's get on.

Other magazines like Red, Living, Glamour etc don't hit the mark. I do like Woman and Home, and She - this just shows my age!

However today I've discovered Psychologies. When it first came out, I pooh-poohed it - I have a degree in psychology, I told myself, I don…

A hot home-made scone or housework?

Today is the start of my holiday. Elf is away with the grandparents, Mr Humdrum is working. I have one whole week to myself. As I work in school, when people go on at me for having loads of holidays, I remind them that, lovely as it is, I don't get time off sans enfant!

I have a few plans: I must clean the house, tidy a few hot spot mess areas, clear out infant school paperwork ready for junior, get school uniform ... But I also have nice things to do: see World's End in the cinema, write some letters, experiment with some recipes (hence the scones), meet a few friends for coffee, read a few books, give myself a manicure ...

Recently I decided to take up a new mini-hobby - Mr Hundrum gave me a sketch book for my birthday so I might use it. I also want to get back to learning something and have decided to pick up my Teach Yourself Latin book again.

So those are my plans. Let's see by Friday how I've done!

Off with the baking apron and on with the rubber gloves.

Our first family (beer) festival

Last weekend we went for The Longest Day Beer Festival at a village near us. It was a group effort, five families with eight kids - boys 3-8 and girls 6-9. It was our first family festival and our first beer festival - usually the dads just go on them! The weather wasn't being kind to us, it was raining and blowing a hoolie but hey. We were trampers this weekend if not glampers!

We arrived at 2pm ish and once the camp was up, the boys went off to play footie and I set about making Pimms for the ladies (compete with lemons, limes, grapes and cucumber but I forgot the mint!) while the men went off to suss out the beer tent and list.

A first for us - we allowed the older boys to roam freely between the camping field and the beer tents and pub garden. There were security all around, and it was only a two minute walk from the tent to the beer tent. At different points, the oldest boy was found reading to himself in the gazebo and at another, two other boys were sat at the side of the …

Worry box - just for kids?

Recently I heard of a child who was given a Worry Box. He was to write little notes, his worries, and place them into the box. I'm sure we can all work out why - we put the box away, and the we can then get a good night's sleep.

On and off, I've been waking up in the night, unable to get back to sleep, and have started having what I call "Busy head". I can't get thoughts out of my head, thoughts that would not worry me much in daylight, but at 4am, they do.

For a variety of reasons, I went to the doctor last week and I think amongst other things, I might be anaemic. A fasting blood test last Friday will show those results soon. I complained to the doc that I'd lost my "vim and vigour" since Easter. (There are other reasons for my possible anaemia - I am 42 and think things are 'changing' - but I'm not discussing that here!)

For most of the time since Easter, it's been a mammoth effort to get anything done around the house. I'…

One infection

I just phoned my best mate for a chat. I've been feeling a bit crappy the last couple of weeks and needed some advice and cheering up. I listed my symptoms; she listened, made me laugh and promise to book a doctor's appointment on Monday.

She then told me her husband has tonsillitis. He's on 4 different types of antibiotics.

The conversation then turned to her daughter's 6th birthday last Wednesday. Guess what she bought, she asked me. Both One Direction albums. This is after having heard my son's copy of the second album last Sunday. The same album I heard for the whole of the Easter bloody holidays. My mate said "We've been infected too by them."

It was then the realisation dawned. One Direction had been the cause of both mine and her husband's maladies. We'd been Infected!

Last minute homework

Why does it always happen to us?!

Get rid of the baby stuff!

This is not a post about symbolically getting rid of all the baby paraphernalia associated with having a new baby. I haven't actually done that in the years since I realised I would not be having another baby. Never say never eh?

No, this is a post about un-babyfying Elf's bedroom. It started with Mr Humdrum asking me to tidy his room. I must add that I wasn't told in a controlling You Must Do This Housewench kind of way. More of a You Two Are Off On Holiday Still And I'm At Work So Can You Both Tidy Elf's Room.

I decided while Elf was playing computer games (a relatively new thing in the Humdrum Household, which serves to make me realise he is 7), I would tackle the room. It was only covered in dirty clothes that he hadn't put in the washing basket (yes he's 7 not 17) and some bits'n'bobs that were put upstairs when we had a party downstairs.

Elf has an odd room, it's quite small with a cabin bed, book shelves and two chests for clothes, with…

The Humdrums in London

Us Humdrums took a cheeky trip to The Big Smoke for a couple of days. Our main plan was to visit the Science Museum. And not spend too much money!

We did fork out for the London Eye and it was worth it, especially the 4D experience.

Leftovers = soup!

I know this looks a bit weird but I've been whizzing up the leftovers of casseroles that I've made. If there's not enough for a freezer dinner, or even if there is and there's still more, this is where it goes.

I find Elf avoids the veg in my casseroles but obviously loves the meat and the taste. I tend to give him a small bowl if he's having a freezer/orange shelf dinner it a pizza etc. Not that I am that fussy about whet he has, but this way it's the best of both worlds.

This is leftover lamb casserole with red currant sauce, sweet potato and butternut squash.

Come to think about it, it's why I make my own soups! Duh.

Mumming-up

Mr Hundrum and I had words this weekend. About me feeling crap all last week and having to cope, before I stamped my feet in Sunday and spent the afternoon in bed.

I asked him: "Are you not interested in me being ill, not sympathetic or do you think I'm putting it on?"

He replied "I'm not a very thoughtful person." Now this isn't entirely true. Who bought me a new Touche Éclat when mine was running out?

But I can see what he means. It's easier not to be thoughtful when that would mean taking control of the Boy and the household. Let's just pretend she's alright really. Or that she will be better in the morning.

So instead of mumming-up and making myself even more ill, I shall spell it out for Mr Humdrum.

I. A. M. I. L. L.

I. N. E. E. D. T. O. G. O. T. O. B. E. D.

Did I mention I'd been ill?

Having been ill for one week now (not that I have mentioned it much, or moaned about it, or been sent home from work because of it, or been sighing every 10 minutes - something I inherited from my dad), I just hope I'm at the end of the cold-morphing-into-sinusitis.

Mr Humdrum returned from an overnighter in Brighton on Saturday, and threw this at me: "I suppose you'll be going to do our weekly shopping?"

I threw this back. NO. Last Sunday I managed, whilst feeling awful (did I say I had been ill?) to cater for and throw an afternoon party for 20 adults in my house for Mr H's mum's 60th birthday, then during my two days off in bed, I managed to cook for all of us, and pick the Boy up from school, take him to Beavers and swimming, then when I returned to work for two days, only to be sent home early each day, I still picked the Boy up and cooked, oh and looked after him on the aforementioned overnighter when the sinusitis was really kicking in.

AT WHICH POIN…

Testing my Blogger app 123

You can tell how long it's been since I blogged properly. I didn't know there was a proper app! This will be fun ...

To test the photo upload, here's me as a baby and my recent Mothering Sunday card. Wow I can upload more than one?!



Liberty, illness and mini Love Bombing

I think I've had a few revelations this week. Firstly this isn't a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book excerpt, it's a unique JH. He was referencing an artist he'd learned about at school that day; for the life of me, I can't remember the artist's name. His mum and dad will be proud one day, and you saw it first here.

Liberty - Having been off work ill for two days this week and sent home early for the consecutive two, I either didn't feel like looking at Facebook, or when I did, I didn't want to be posting rubbish as I was really at home ill. So I lurked. I read, I commented in my head, and didn't actually comment on anything. There is one post I must go back and comment on - a friend's OH has added his Blackadder quote on the Blackadder Status Day Update last week. But it was liberating to realise that actually, I didn't miss out on anything by not commenting. I didn't feel the pressure to "like" or comment on something. These are …

Beaver Patrol

Mr and Mrs Humdrum and The Messengers are in the pub. The boys at a Beaver sleepover and we are out on the town. We have played pool and darts and are currently annoying a group of lads headed up by Mr Jason Statham the scaffolder. Well a lookalike. The pub is empty. Mrs Messenger may get twitted in a minute.

Hairy korma

Mrs Humdrum is obsessed with Hairy cooking at the moment. We've had in the last week and a half: chicken korma, cassoulet, spag bol and today lamb tagine is in the oven for tonight, with rice pud to follow. I bought the Hairy Dieters' cook book during half term after I saw a couple of the recipes at a friend's house. It was reduced and I think I paid about a fiver for it. I was tempted not for the diet reasons, but it had what I call "proper" meals in it - casseroles, pies etc; food I would want to cook regardless of being "healthy".
Admittedly I haven't been following the dieting part of the book (have you seen how much pasta 50g actually is?) but I have justified this by feeling inspired again about cooking, and have been enjoying cooking from scratch with healthier ingredients. Maybe I'll start the diet thing later...
The only downside is that the recipes are quite time-consuming (two hours approx each), but then you would expect that if you…

Family 5-a-day challenge

I just had a random idea to draw up a 5-a-day fruit n veg challenge wall chart for us. This should work in tandem with my Shuffle not Sniffle pledge (previous post - running and eating soup to stop me getting the kids' germs at school). (Not at the same time.)

It then struck me - I'd only had one apple to register today. Elf had nothing despite having school dinners! He quickly asked for an apple, laughing. I will ask Mr Humdrum but I suspect he will have one item and that'll be the garnish in his bought sandwich.

FAIL!

Must try harder tomorrow!

Please can you help the teaching assisant Miss!

Today I supported a few children in Year 5 in their Science lesson. They were doing a test on light, shadow and the solar system. I realised I need to gen up a bit on the terminology used; I haven't studied this since I was at school... 30 years ago?!

This evening I "redesigned" my two blogs - this one and my personal, private one. Do you like the new layout?

Elf is 7!

Last week Elf turned 7. My little boy. I'm not allowed to call him little anymore. I'm also not allowed to kiss him, or hug him, or well, do anything with him. It's all daddy at the moment. Do 7 year old boys cut their apron strings and velcro themselves to dad?

We had a lovely family meal at Pizza Hut, very civilised, on his actual birthday. The next day we had his local friends to come over for cake n juice. Then tomorrow his exuberant celebrations will be topped off by a football party. This is the cake made by my friend - it's a football match, Man U -v- Real Madrid in 4 4 2 formation. Cool!

Except it's snowing and the football ground is outdoors. Why was he born in January?

Soup two

Today's effort was good old leek and potato. I amended the recipe slightly (blended it all rather than keeping the waxy potatoes more solid, using all floury potatoes and keeping skins on - more from the point of laziness!). Even Ben ate some, not bad.

I'm also currently chilling sweet potato and sweetcorn burgers that I made earlier. I've made 2 beef ones as I'm sure the boys will turn up their noses at veggie dishes - especially as Ben doesn't like sweetcorn!

I went for my New Year run yesterday and I'm going out again with Ally tomorrow as I finish at 1pm.

Ben's holiday work is done, decs away, shopping done, new trousers bought for work ... Almost ready for the new term tomorrow. I just need to do my nails tonight and get my own school bag ready.

Six weeks til half-term! Yay!

Operation Shuffle not Sniffle starts

New Covent Garden Soup for January 17th "Cream of turnip with smoked ham". Being Cornish I used a swede instead of turnip. It was a lovely consistency but I'm disappointed with the lime taste. It says to add a thick lime slice, and to make sure it's properly blended. Unfortunately for me it's overpowering. But Mr Humdrum and I consumed our bowlfuls for our starter. Fish course later.

The next soup? Leek and potato (January 27th). I may swap cream for crème fraîche though.

2013 Day One!

A rare pic of me as Warden at our New Year at the Cells New Year's Eve party.

I wish you all health and happiness for 2013. And to myself too.

2012 was a year that started off in the first month with the shattering news of my redundancy. Four months, s lot of soul searching and hard work later, I started a new job in a role I'd always wanted, and I've never looked back. That's the happiness bit sorted out. It also covers wealth, which I don't like to include if it means financial wealth. I have enough, less than before but I am richer in other ways that I couldn't have dreamt of.

My 41st birthday in June heralded the start of health issues with high blood pressure. I thought I'd been lucky but it's up again.

Resolutions? To look after myself. I've shelled out £25 on the New Coventry Garden Soup book, so I can ensure I put the right stuff in. I'm fed up getting the school kids' sniffles!

And I need to get out onto that common again with m…