Saturday 31 March 2012

My birthday meme - 28th November

I was challenged by Cheryl from madhouse family reviews a few weeks ago to join in with this meme, and as I thought it would be interesting to find out the answer for personal interest, so have decided to join in. The meme originally came from The Five F's blog and I will add my name to the original linky as she is tryng to get a Meme linked up every day for a year.

Now with out looking up my birthday one of the mad things I can tell you is Cliff Richard with Travelling Light was at No1, and I have always been a fan of his, but she does not ask us nice simple questions like this didnt ask this.

The questions needing to be answered are as follows

1) When is your birthday? 28th November

2) Pick three people who share your birthday  and share what you know about them?

well off to good old wiki for this one and I decided to pick people I have heard of firstly John Bunyan, English cleric and author (d. 1688) wrote some good literature, probably best known ( by me anyway) for The Pilgrims Progress, next born in 1961 – Martin Clunes, British actor - annoying prat who irritates me and 1958 – Kriss Akabusi, British athlete and television presenter.

3) Is anyone listed as being born on the same day as you (ie the same year)? If so, what do you know about them? 

well wiki tells me just Judd Nelson American actor He is best known for being a member of the "Brat Pack" in the mid-1980s; and for his roles as John Bender in The Breakfast Club, Alec Newbary in St. Elmo's Fire, and Jack Richmond in Suddenly Susan.

4) List three people who died on your birthday and tell us what you know about them

Washington Irvine Writer. Perhaps best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle," Washington Irving was born on April 3, 1783 in New York City, New York, USA. He was one of eleven children born to Scottish-English immigrant parents, William Irving, Sr. and Sarah. 

Jeffrey Dahmer

Serial Killer / 1960 - 1994

Jeffrey Dahmer was a sex offender and serial killer who killed 17 males between 1978 to 1991. Dahmer was sentenced to fifteen consecutive life terms. He was murdered by a fellow prison inmate during his incarceration

and Leslie Nielsen made his big screen debut in Forbidden Planet, and in the 1960s and 1970s, he took on a large quantity of low-quality roles. The turning point in Neilsen’s career came when he was cast as the poker-faced Dr. Shirley Rumack in the immensely popular spoof Airplane! (1980). This type of role defined his career from then on, and he is remembered fondly as a comedic actor. Cant say as he was my cup of tea but he appealed to many.

5 List three notable events that took place on your birthday.

well I thought this one was very apt this week -
1956 Great Britain Petrol Rationing 

28th November, 1956 : The British government has released further details of it's proposed petrol rationing to begin next month. Personal drivers will be allowed sufficient petrol for to drive 200 miles per month or about 2 gallons of petrol per week and businesses will receive and extra 4 gallons per month. As the government set out it's plans which are expected to last for 4 months the British Public began panic buying of petrol filling cars and any spare cans they could, local garages have therefore implemented their own form of petrol rationing for regular customers prior to formal rationing starting next month . 

and probably the best thing she ever did for this country 
1990 England Maggy Thatcher Quits 

28th November, 1990 : Margaret Thatcher formally tenders her resignation to the Queen and leaves Downing Street for the last time. 
and finally 1967 England Foot and Mouth 

28th November, 1967 : With new outbreaks of Foot and Mouth still increasing daily the National Hunt Committee, on the advice of the Ministry of Agriculture has cancelled all horse racing until further notice 

and lastly Tell us about a holiday that falls on your birthday.

Thanks giving day is the 4th Thursday in November and so some years will fall on the 28th but that is all I could find.

Now I need to tag some fellow bloggers, so instead of going for my usual victims  friends I have decided to choose some new bloggers so we can find some new people to look at.

I have chosen Chloe at Pea Green Pantry
City Girl at City Girl at Heart
Markus at misterdoctorbeckymark2 ( hope he doesnt tweet under that name its a mouthful)
and finally Gemma at fromglummumtoglam

Please dont forget to add your post to the linky so everybody else can find you.

Project 366 #91

My oh has been down the allotment planting potatoes, has got nine rows in, roughly half the piece on the right of the garden. Last year was a total disaster and we achieved nothing worth eating, so reluctant to spend hours putting in small stuff.

We have also bought sweetcorn, chillli peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and peas, a lot of which can be started off in next doors greenhouse as they offered it to us for using as they dont use it any more.

Lets hope this year is more fruitful than last.

grandma and granddad were supervising

Friday 30 March 2012

Project 366 #90

Well the allotment year has to start somewhere, so it has started with 4 strawberry plants, lets hope this year is more fruitful, every pun intended, than last year was.

Over the weekend it will continue with the planting off seeds in the indoor trays for the windowsill. Not sure what yet  but watch this space.

Cheep holiday flights

Grandma and Granddad wooden top had seen the advert, and thought it was a spelling mistake when they booked up to go off on holiday ....but no - they got what they paid for....

 and Granddad was too scared to follow up on the complaint when Grandma complained about the in flight entertainment.

Have linked this up to Blog match  Where in the world are the grandparents? courtesy of John Crane

Gluten free turkey fajitas for tea.

I am finding more and more ways to adapt recipes to make different things for eating, and its handy to experiment on a night when the children are not here then if it goes pear shaped hubby and I will make something else.

So tonight I decided to try gluten free tortillas', this is one of daughter No2's meals of choice if she is coming over for a meal and as she is gluten free so thought this is worth experimenting with.

From what I have been reading tortillas are basically just 2 parts flour to one part water with a bit of salt and sugar for flavour, so how hard can they be I ask myself?

 I mixed 2 cups of doves farm flour and as we all know this stuff is not quite as supple as normal SR flour so  I sieved in 2 tsp Xanthan gum and 1 tsp baking powder along with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar and then mixed with 1 cup warm water.

I divided the mixture into eight bits and rolled them out flat then put them in a lightly oiled frying pan for 2 minutes each side, they bubbled up and browned slightly.

I fried up some turkey breast with a bit of salt, pepper and tamarind, and also some red onions and tomatoes. Once it was all cooked I spread the tortilla with sour cream and salsa sauce, added a bit of grated cheese and put some turkey and onions on and rolled them up. They tasted very nice, but were not quite as pliable as shop bought ones. Next time I will try adding a teaspoon of glycerine or cooking oil to see if they are slightly more pliable.

The tamarind added a nice flavour to the turkey, and the finished result was very nice.

The highlighted products were supplied by Healthy Supplies for me to use as I see fit.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Project 366 #89

sorry I am feeling tired, sore and un inspirational today and not been anywhere to take a picture, so here is my  offering, -  the cause . Quite impressed you go along to the Dr get a diagnosis and a printed leaflet at the same time.

Kitchen inventions

I saw this heading as a theme over on Foodies 100 site as a competition entry to become a Morphy Richard Innovator, and thought about the way I cook, the experiments I do, and the varied results I get from these experiments, what better reason to apply for this job position?  I dont know if you could actually call them inventions....but some of them have been very inventive shall we say.

 Home made yoghurt has to have been my biggest learning curve in this last year. I know it works well with normal dairy milk as I have made yoghurt for years. So I tried with coconut milk and this just produced....well coconut milk,,,I tried with rice milk and this produced ......separated milk. We tried next with chocolate flavoured milk under experimental conditions, and did get different results with the different ingredients, but finally we did manage to crack the soya yoghurt lark and still use this method to this day.

Cooking with a lot of normal ingredients missing truly does make you inventive - how about pastry?   Thinking outside the box so to speak certainly can produce useable results , in various different guises.

Bread was one I like to try as it really is a stable for anybodys diet and have never seen why Bob should be any different, so we have made rolls using pumpkin  and from bread we progressed to Brioche which was hilarious the first time, onto making it in  chocolate successfully as well, which if you layer up with custard makes a nice for bread and butter pudding.

Pancakes were more of a challenge  but we have mastered a fool proof method, use yoghurt in them, and it is even possible to make meringues egg free, what better way to make snowmen for Christmas.

A lot of this is made easier by having a basic understanding of how ingredients work, I have tried to make this easier for other people to understand for people when baking, and a lot of it is about getting your head round how things work.

So I am using this post as my job application, out lining my experiences and experiments to strengthen my CV. Its really just a shame I had not got my head round the difference between sponsored posts ( paid for which none of these actually were) and review posts where the items were provided free of charge to use and talk about, but I have learnt that as well in the last month, so onwards and upwards.

Thank you for taking the time to read my job application

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Project 366 #88

This is stage one in my experiment to make and perfect a gluten and dairy free cheesecake, needs a bit more marge in the biccie crumbs but tastes yummy.

Sometimes you just have to do something.....

People often wonder how we cope with children like Bob...but then you dont have a choice, you are given what you get and make the most of it...and I have always said that we are actually very lucky when you read other parents stories.....and this is one of those times I really thought "I want to help make a difference to a child much worse off than what (hopefully) we will ever have to deal with."

Let me introduce you to Niamh Curry 

Her parents say
Our little girl Niamh was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma (Stage 4 High Risk) just before Christmas 2010 when she was just 3 years old. Since then Niamh has spent countless days and nights in hospital for treatment that has included Rapid Cojec Chemotherapy, a 4 hour operation to remove the tumor which was located on her adrenal gland, high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant and 14 treatments of Radiotherapy. On top of this there have been lots of blood and platelet transfusions, lots and lots of scans and general hospital visits and loads of time away from home. 

Despite all this Niamh still remains the happiest, kindest, most caring little girl you will ever meet. She is always smiling and loves a huggle with her big sister Hannah or her mummy and daddy. 

We were already aware that there is no UK relapse protocol and now had to face the harsh realisation that any treatment in the UK does not aim to cure Niamh. 
In the US this is not the case and there are many relapse protocols. This is where we need to take our amazing little girl to give her the best chance of survival. The treament Niamh needs is at The Children's Hospital of Philidelphia and costs around £450'000. 

So there is fundraising going on in various guises to try and help raise the money needed. I first came across this little girl because a lovely woman on Loquax, Carol Dunkley , is having a fun day on April 28th  to help raise funds, part of this fun day is a raffle.

Carol is selling raffle tickets at £5 each, paid for through just giving (so you know its going to where it should). You make your donation, send Carol and e-mail and she sends you back your ticket number. If you win thought you need to cover the postage to receive the item, so all money goes towards Niamh.

 Prizes include

A Panasonic camcorder, an iPod Nano 8Gb, an iLov Stereo Speaker doc for iPod or iPhone, a Nokia Mobile phone, an iLov Enhanced Stereo speaker for iPod/iPad or iPhone, 4 tickets to see Stomp in London, 2 x National Express Tickets to anywhere in the country and more....

If you cannot afford £5 you can make a donation of any amount, every 50p makes a difference, and remember if you are a tax payer you can claim gift aid and help raise even more towards the total.

Why not buy somebody something different for their Easter and help give a little girl a chance?

Tickety Toc and Team Umizoomi - Nick Jr. a review

Having done a review on the brilliant new Dinosaur Train for nickjr a few weeks back,  which my daughter tells me many of her friends children are raving about and many parents she knows have it on sky+ and their children watch it over and over again.

I was fortunate enough to have been sent another dvd for the children to watch and talk about, and maybe these will become a big a hit as dinosaur train. The dvd this time has four different programmes on it, Dora the Explorers Easter adventure, all of us are familiar with Dora, but I will admit we have not watched this one as Fifi cannot stand Dora (sorry nickjr).

We did sit down and watch the other programmes and first up we watched Team Umizoomi whichs Nick Jr says

Math is everywhere, so every episode of Team Umizoomi is filled with everyday math problems that kids can solve with a little help from Milli, Geo, and Bot. Team Umizoomi was designed to help kids develop their skills with and to build their confidence in problem solving and important early-math concepts.

You can go and be interactive on their website as well.

The episode we were sent is the Easter episode called The Umi City Egg hunt which will air next month. The team have to help their friend April find her rainbow egg which tumbles into Rabbit Town.

I liked the mix of live with animation, and the interaction between them. Bob was happy to join in and was pointing out the correct shapes on the screen, though he did get one wrong when helping build the carrot, but thats what this programme is all about - learning. He was also counting with the programme and verbally enjoying it. It also had a train in so he was happy. It is a bright colourful programme that different young children will get different things from.

Fifi did not like this but it is not designed for her age group (nearly ten) and for her it was too much like Dora.

Next up we had 2 episodes of Tickety Toc  which they describe as

A race against time! Come and see what goes on behind the clock!

Inside an old clock shop is wall full of clocks. Big clocks, little clocks, silly clocks and sensible clocks. All of them ticking away to themselves and keeping perfect time. And right in the middle is one very special clock. This is the Tickety Toc Clock. As every hour passes, the Tic Toc Clock springs into life to chime in the time. It all happens as regular as clockwork!

But chiming the time isn’t as easy as it seems! For behind the face of the Tickety Toc Clock lies an extraordinary wooden world where things definitely don’t always run so smoothly. This slapstick show centres on our inseparable heroes, Tommy and Tallulah, and their remarkable friends as they race against time to keep the clock ticking. In this beautifully crafted series, the pressure is always on and every madcap minute counts!

This will air on Monday 23rd April at 8.15am.

It sees the main characters interacting with others to solve a puzzle as a team, and again it features a train so you cannot go wrong with Bob. Bob could not really grasp the concept of it taking place inside a clock, but then you dont need to to watch it, Fifi was old enough to work out inside the clock was like the TARDIS, bigger on the inside than out. 

It is a bright colourful programme with plenty of interactive participation for the young ones that even Fifi happily watched.

I feel this will be a big hit with the youngsters as was Dinosaur Train.
I was sent this disc as a thank you from Nickelodeon with no obligation to do a review.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Making the most of the lovely weather

We decided as it was such a lovely afternoon, warm without being too hot, blue skies and wind free, a strange phenomena on the West coast of Scotland I thought I would go out and visit some of our well visited local historic sights and put my camera to use.

Actually took nearly 100 pictures, but have selected sixteen of the best of them for you and stuck together in a wee display.

The changing face of Auchencruive

These pictures were taken this morning, we walk along here regular in the summer, so will take some pictures of the changing face of the walk along the river at Auchencruive estate.

flowers at auchencruive
the buds are out but not quite opened to flowers

waterfall at auchencruive
not a lot of water washing over the waterfall

river ayr at auchencruive
the trees are still bare

trees reflected at Auchencruive
but the ivy on the wall is starting to turn green

the sun was quite low, and with no leaves on the tree cast a good shadow 

Project 366 #87

We went for our usual walk with the dog on the way back from dropping the children home this morning, and as it has not rained for a while we decided to walk along the river at the estate and see what is happening on the world of flowers and other spring changes.

Now for all the sun is out during the day, the temperature is still dropping over night, therefore we had early morning dew, which I thought was very pretty.

It looks better if you blow it up, you can see all the drops on the ends of the blades of grass.

Monday 26 March 2012

Making the most of the light nights

Well as you all know the clocks changed yesterday so we thought we would make the most of the beautiful evening, warm enough to be nice without being too hot to walk in. The dog struggles at the best of times now but the heat does her no favours, so we opted for a walk along the river under the trees.

From where we park the car we have to cross the bridge over the river to the easier side to walk along.

They had nice long shadows on the bridge, and had fun interacting with their shadows

playing with shadows

As we reached the end of the bridge Fifi spotted this bush and reckoned it looked like a porcupine


and that this tree looked like the gnarly fingers and arms of a witch

We went down to the river and spent time throwing stones in the water and got some impressive splashes, We tried to see who could get the biggest splash, could throw a rock the furthest, and granddad even managed to find one flat stone he skimmed across to the water. You dont get many flat stones as every body does the same thing.

 water splash rocks

The swans thought about coming over but didnt come near enough to interact with. Sometimes the kids surprise you, Fifi saw three ducks, and she knew it was two daddy ducks and a mummy duck. I asked her how she knew so she told me mummy ducks are all brown and daddy ducks have green heads, guess she is growing up after all.

On the way back to the car they ran on ahead

and hid behind a tree, shame about the ivy in Fifi's nose. The tree needed to be a bit wider to hide the two of them, but Bob still managed to jump out and shout "boo" at us as we went past, and made us jump.

playing hide and seek

I must admit I enjoy taking them out and the interaction you get, and the chance to look at things from a childrens' perspective

Project 366 #86

It was a lovely evening so we pottered off down the river for a walk after tea, and have chosen this one as my picture of the day, and have done another post with other parts of the walk.

throwing stones in the river

You can read about the rest of what we did here

and as this is the only one of the kids I have for this week it has to be my link up for this weeks

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Sunday 25 March 2012

Project 366 #85

This picture ties in with my walk along the river this evening. We are very luck to live in such a beautiful part of the country with the amount of parks, the river and the beach within a few miles of us.

A sunny Sunday half day off

It is the end of the year as far as holidays are concerned at work, and so I had two hours to use or I would have lost them, so I finished at twelve today.

John Crane granddad went fishing
After a quick bite of lunch we toddled off down to the car boot sale where we bought a few bits and pieces to use in photographs, I was looking for stuff to enhance my food photos, and also got a few pieces that my John Crane grandma can use.

We bought a cooked chicken and salad while we were out, and then after tea we wandered down the river with the dog to enjoy the evening sunshine now that clocks have changed and it is lighter for longer. Whilst we were there granddad stopped for a spot of relaxing fishing, he even managed to catch one.
Granddad was sent out courtesy of John Crane and blog match, you can go and see where in the world are the grandparents  to see what the others are up to, or follow them on John Crane Facebook page

There were some nice reflections on the water, and I used my favourite one for my project 366 offering for today, but here are a few others I thought I would share with you.

the dog found a squirrel on the riverbank

The swans came over to get fed but we had nothing for them but they reflected nicely in the shallow water

 The uni has featured in a fair few of my pictures recently, but then it is a nice building in a beautiful location.
Paisley University Ayr

Saturday 24 March 2012

Life has to be super organised with kids like Bob

Been reading other posts on how some of you feel your homes are lived in, loved in, but untidy happy places.
Feel this must be a great sense of achievement to be able to do this. You have biscuit crumbs under the cushions on the couch, milk spilled on the worktops, last weeks sandwich stuffed in the toy box, dirty dishes on every conceivable surface in the kitchen, how I feel this must give a great sense of relaxed parenting.

Well not in this house, or my daughters for that matter. The biscuit crumbs contain milk and maybe egg, so merely touching them would bring Bob out in a nasty rash, and effect his breathing,  the milk spilt on the worktops at breakfast then touches the bread you spread jam on for the lunch, is enough to put Bob into anaphylactic shock requiring epi-pens and an ambulance or possibly worse. The sandwich stuffed in the toybox at the last gathering of friends is enough to make Bob very you see where I am coming from....having a child like Bob your house cannot be "normal", you cant let things linger or spills go unwiped.

Everything must have its place, every crumb of normal food has to be worried about and cleared. The dishcloth you have used to half heartedly wipe your work top with is now a massive cross-contamination risk. You ever watched them do this in some of the well known fast food eateries....?
In this house has to be thrown in a bowl of sterilising liquid in case it comes into contact with Bobs part of the kitchen.

Your fridge if you are well organised will have cooked meat away from raw meat away from fruit and veg where they never meet. In my house my fridge has distinct sections as well, dairy for hubby, lactose free for me, and dairy free for Bob ( in my daughters house Bob has his own fridge, and eventually I would love to have a separate fridge/freezer but funds do not permit such an item). How many of you spread bread with butter and then stick the butter knife in the jam jar...yes right...not in my house you dont!!

My cupboards are a work of art, could put them in for a Turner prize, cupboard top LHS is full of Bob friendly flour, all in separate tubs, all meticulously marked with what is in them, buckwheat flour, rice flour, potato flour...well you get the picture. Egg replacer, gluten free baking powder, you will also find various sugars in there, dried fruit and cake decorations to name but a few. If you go into the floor level cupboard to the right hand side of the hob you will find normal flour for normal baking, eggs, and cake decorations that are not Bob friendly, these are not as well labelled or organised as they dont need to be. They are just in their bags, scattered around and untidy....but we dont go in that cupboard when Bob is here so that is my little area of rebellion.

Not Bobs cupboard
The freezer is the same, top draw Bob friendly stuff home made soya ice-cream, dairy free cheese, home made bread dough ready to defrost and cook,bottom two drawers are not, they contain normal dairy ice-cream, maybe pre-made foods, but they all have to be kept wrapped and separated (again one day I may have his own for him).

So I have had to become innovative, caring takes on a whole new meaning when your grandchilds life depends on it, but then it has just become second nature I suppose.

Project 366 #84

Time I get in from work these days I seem to be physically knackered and have little energy. In my 6 hr shift I walk on average 7.1 miles, wielding a hoover, mop, making beds, pushing various trolleys and generally working physically hard, but still dont think I should be quite as knackered, so today when I came home I sat down on the couch and fell asleep for about 45mins. herefore the dog has not had her walk yet, so for my picture I had noticed that my mint plant is starting to grow again. During the growing season pretty much all I drink is mint tea, and I have both peppermint and spearmint in the garden.

Friday 23 March 2012

Project 366 83/366

I have neglected to catch up with a friend of mine for the last few months, so this week we have become re- acquainted and have been out together three times, roll on more outings together. Though I must admit I could do with a new friend to go out with, but the old one will need to do for at least another year.

Thursday 22 March 2012

Project 366 82/366

Was a nice afternoon, so took old stiffy bones the dog out for her afternoon stroll, she doesn't get off her lead very often as she is getting very hard of hearing, and doesn't see to well either any more so have to keep a constant eye on her so she does not wander away.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Project 366 #81

My friend Samantha, ( E's mum) across the road becomes an old lady today, and I have to love the ingenuity of her wonderful daughter who made up a 6ft sign for her and tied it to the trees out the front.

I added the daises as it was cheaper than a bunch of flowers!!

Happy Birthday Sam

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Project 366 #80

TheBoyandMe's 366 LinkyI have decided to link this one up purely and simply because I have never seen such a thing on a riverbank before, scan down to the second pic dont just glance at the top one.

I toddled off for a nice long walk all by myself today, had dog out this morning on the way back from dropping the grandchildren at home, but was too lovely to stay in, so I went off for a walk along the bypass, under the underpass to the river where I took a nice pic of the riverbend in quite a few settings but I liked it best in sepia. This was going to be my picture of the day......

But then I got further up the river, heading back into the town, and lo and behold there on the river bank was not the usual fisherman you get at this good fishing point, ......but a young man and his drum kit

- I mean what else would you really expect to find?? Not the best picture going but they were on the opposite riverbank through the trees.

Monday 19 March 2012

Project 366 #79

We did some baking at tea time tonight as we had the oven on anyway, so Bob made some cakes to share with E, and Fifi made a packet of biscuit mix.

She decorated the biscuit when they had gone cold, and did this one for me.

I hear you say aaaaahhh how nice, but I would like to add it was the smallest biscuit that she made, but its the thought that counts. You have got to love them.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Project 366 #78

Went out for a walk with dog after work, yet again, such a predictable life I lead, and it was a lot colder than I thought it was. I come out of work very warm and dont feel the cold the cold going to the car, but the wind was bitter.

Whilst out walking I got a few nice pictures of the big strip of crocus's? croci? anyway I decided after I got home that this was a more appropriate picture for eht day considering where I live.

Well done Kilmarnock!

What a sad sad ending to what should have been the best day in Kilmarnocks history - my thoughts are with the family, and the rest of the team.

Saturday 17 March 2012

Project 366 #77

We were busy Thursday so never got for a walk with the dog, yesterday it just poured down all day. So as the sun was shining and the sky was blue when I finished work today decided we would go straight out to walk the dog before I sat down in case I could not be bothered getting back up again.

Due to all that rain that we got then a few of the small burns have a decent amount of water in them, allowing me a few pictures opportunities that normally would not have been there.

Friday 16 March 2012

Project 366 #76

My *darling husband* decided we needed an extra storage to hold some of his junk items in the shed that "he may need one day", so he did some reading and research and decided we needed one of these.

How I wish he hadn't, the two of us at it for 3 hrs yesterday and took us another 2 hrs today to build the bloody thing!! I have cuts all over my hands from the sharp edges, the ends of my fingers are raw and numb from the little pieces. It would have been easier to store all the extra bits in the dustbin.