Thursday, 28 July 2011

Bird update

The little sparrows we saved the other day survived the night. I told daughter to take the box they were in into the garden yesterday afternoon so the chicks could get some fresh air. I returned into the house and could hear a lot of chirping so went back to the garden to see why all the chirping and there, sat on the arm of the garden chair was the mother sparrow with food in her mouth for her chicks. We released the chicks onto the lawn and the mother went up to them and started to feed then. They were following her all over the garden. All afternoon they stayed in the veg patch and the mother kept feeding them, it was lovely to watch. The garden rarely gets cats in because of our dog so I think they will be fine now with their mother feeding them. A happy ending, aw.  


Anyone need the loo?

Today took the girls and the dog to The Yorkshire Sculpture Park at Wakefield. It was a lovely hot day so we packed a bag with suncream, dogs water bowl, drinks and a packed lunch and off we went. The venue is free but parking costs £5.00. I was a bit disappointed with the park really, I was expecting a bit more than there was. Don't get me wrong, we had an enjoyable day, lots of walking and nice views to see. Won't rush to go again though.

It got us out of the house, in the fresh air and we all got some exercise. We must have walked a fair few miles around the park and lakes. When we returned to the car I noticed a man going to the ticket machine to buy a parking ticket so gave him my ticket to use. The ticket is valid all day so that was my good deed for the day.

How have you been occupying your days over the school break?

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Garden Find

Well plodding along with my diet. Had for breakfast a yogurt and two oat bran muffins. Lunch was cottage cheese and a fillet of smoked mackerel. Evening meal was salmon marinated in curry powder and a few slithers of hot chillies. I cooked this in foil in the oven and had with a curried yogurt sauce. For my snack at work tonight I have  cottage cheese with some smoked salmon trimmings mixed in. Can't wait to get onto the phase where I introduce veggies into the diet. We have been invited to a BBQ Saturday evening but I think I may drive so I'm not tempted with booze and spoil the diet too much. 

I went out to water the veg patch after tea and noticed something move. I turned off the hose pipe and went to investigate. I found a tiny baby sparrow caught in  some netting I had over my strawberry plants. Called daughter No2 to come and help and together with the help of daughter No3 we cut the little fellow out of the netting. I pulled the netting off the strawberries to throw it away and there was a second chick caught in the netting. We rescued this one too and went to find a box to put them in. I set about digging worms out of the garden to try and feed them because we had no idea how long they had been there. I tried to see if I could see their nest  so we could pop them back but I could not find it. I don't think they would have stayed in the nest if I had  found it because they were flying out of the box as we tried to feed them. So if they are still alive when I get home in the morning I shall take a picture of them. I have reared abandoned chicks and chicks the girls have found to good health in the past. So lets hope we found these before they got too weak. We are a soft bunch and cannot bear to see an animal in distress no matter how small it is.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Menu Week 25/07/11

MONDAY - Roast pork, yorkshire puddings, veg, potatoes (did not get around to having this yesterday)

TUESDAY - Roast chicken, salad, pesto pasta, homemade coleslaw and garlic bread

WEDNESDAY - Chicken stirfry and noodles

THURSDAY - Italian meatloaf, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy

FRIDAY - Fish in butter sauce, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas

SATURDAY - Lasagne, wedges, salad and homemade garlic bread

SUNDAY - Not sure yet as may go out for the day so maybe a quick pasta dish

Kept to the budget today but did not bother to take any pictures today because I went shopping later this afternoon and by the time I arrived home and saw the time I thought I'd better get it all put away and get dinner started. I though I might go over budget today with buying extras for my diet but I did okay.

Me and diets!!! Always starting one and never get very far with one!!! I am now trying the  I have seen good results  on another blog I follow. The blogger has lost a lot of weight. It will be harder for me because I don't eat meat, only fish and shellfish. So for the next 3-7 days I eat just protein, nothing else. Today I had omelet with cottage cheese for breakfast. Cottage cheese with prawns with an oat bran muffin for lunch. Smoked haddock and poached egg for dinner and a fat free yogurt. I have been stuffed. No hunger at all today. I must buy some tofu this week because I don't think I will be able to cope with so much fish. So here I go again, trying another diet. Lets see how far we get with this one.

Friday, 22 July 2011

School's out

Well it's that time again, school holidays! Daughter No2 finished college 2 weeks ago and daughter No3 finished at 1.00pm today. Six weeks of no more rushing around in the morning and no driving to and fro to college. No more packed lunches to make and no more hair straightening to do first thing in the morning, bliss! I actually love the school holidays. My two are at the age they don't need me to entertain them but we shall have days out and spend time together.Trips will be cheap days out with a picnic and a visit to the cinema to see Harry Potter at some point.. Refuse to pay extortionate prices at ripoff cafes and snack booths. I guess I will be the girls taxi for the summer, dropping them off at shopping centres and friends. We have 9 days holiday down south to look forward to in a few weeks which I am looking forward to.

Sorry it's been a few days since I've posted. It just seem to be one of those weeks with nothing interesting happening to post about. Hopefully will have some frugal days out to post on soon. Got the grandchildren staying this weekend so may not get the chance to post for a day or two.

Hope you all have a great summer break.


Made a cheap dessert for this evening using these three items

Can peaches, custard & yogurt
The peaches have been in my cupboard since last summer. I won them on a tombola stall but they have never been eaten because they are in a light syrup but for this dessert I drained the fruit. I then blended the peaches into a puree. I mixed the puree into a pint of chilled custard I made earlier. Reserved a little of the puree to decorate the top of the dessert. Into this mix I then added what was left of a large tub of yogurt that had been in the fridge for a while. There was about 200ml of yogurt left . Give it all a good mix then place in four dessert dishes and top with a spoonful of peach puree.

Peach Fool
One cheap dessert that tastes rather nice.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Menu Week 18/07/11


Going shopping later today because I've a parcel to pick up in Tesco. If you order from Tesco home and get it delivered to your local store it's free delivery so saves me £5.00. I will be going there to shop today so got the parcel delivered there.

So looking in the fridge I still have quite a bit in there but shall use up all the odds and ends to clear it out a bit. For lunch I shall use these leftovers...

Grated cheese, mashed potato, mushrooms & baked beans

I mixed the cheese with the mashed potato and dusted with flour. I then fried this in a little oil so it was nice and crispy. I also fried the mushrooms. I was going to have an egg with all this but I'm not too hungry so shall leave the egg off.

So this was my lunch with a blob of brown sauce.It was lovely comfort food on this very wet and windy day. Now to use up some beef casserole that was left from a meal. I'm going to make some pastry and make a beef pie for Hubby's meal tonight. The girls are not here for a meal this evening so there will be plenty to make a pie just for Hubby.

Had £55.00 to spend on groceries this week. Spent £4.20 at the potato farm the other day on a 12.5kg sack of potatoes and a bag of new crop potatoes. Today I went to Aldi and spent £24.58 on this lot

Aldi £24.58
I then called into B&M Homestores for loo roll and squash and spent £2.98 there. Onto Morrisons then with a spend there of £12.28.
Morrisons £12.28 & B&M £2.98

I finished off at Tesco with a spend of £9.09
Tesco £9.09
So with this lot I have planned my menu for the week. My total spend for the week came in at £53.13 so in budget again.  All these stores are very close to one another so I don't waste petrol travelling to them all.

MONDAY - Leftover beef pie, chips, peas and carrots

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese & homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY -Sausage, mash, vegetables & onion gravy

THURSDAY - Homemade potato cakes, egg, beans, bacon and mushrooms

FRIDAY - Casseroled chicken drummers, potatoes, yorkshire puddings, veg and stuffing balls

SATURDAY - Chicken/Tofu Fajitas

SUNDAY - Roast pork , roast potatoes, veg, yorkshire puddings and gravy

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Rubber Chicken

I'm sure most of you will know what rubber chicken is but if you don't it means to s-t-r-e-t-c-h  a chicken to make as many meals as possible and use every bit of the chicken.

Tuesday four people had roast chicken with salad. This is how I used the chicken over the week.

I then stripped every last bit of meat off the carcass and I stored this in an old margarine tub which was then put in the freezer for later in the week.

Today we had the tub of chicken, thawed then added to a casserole of carrot, marrow, onion and chicken stock. This was our meal tonight and there was plenty for three.

                                                                                                                                                              Sometimes I make this with the leftover chicken or make a chicken pie. Another thing I use leftover chicken in is a stir-fry or in fajitas.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                                                  The carcass along with another I had in the freezer was put in my slowcooker with an onion, carrot, bay leaf, black peppercorns and some water and left to cook for six hours.

This was then strained and stored in containers to freeze. I got three lots of stock for later use. All I had left was some skin and bones. The carrot from the stock went to the dog.

What do you make with your chicken leftovers? I could do with some new ideas to try.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Menu Week 11/07/11

Went to Morrisons today to try them out . I tend not to shop there because you cannot check their prices on their website so I can not compare them to my regular shopping haunts. I did find them very good on price in the fruit and veg department. They were way better than Tesco. I had £60 to spend on groceries this week and I came in budget. In Morrisons I spent £40.67 and bought...

My Morrisons shop
I then went to my usual Aldi to buy things I knew were cheaper there. I spent £17.20 in Aldi on....

My Aldi shop
So I was in budget today with a spend of £57.87. I still need some eggs from the farm but they are only £1.00 and I may need some potatoes but I shall wait and see how far the remainder in the sack I bought two weeks go lasts. So with this shop today I have decided on my menu plan for the week.

MONDAY - Coley & pesto fish cakes, sauteed potatoes, peas and roasted tomatoes

TUESDAY - Roast chicken, jacket potatoes, salad, coleslaw and homemade bread

WEDNESDAY -   Casseroled chicken, mash, yorkshire puddings and vegetables

THURSDAY - Bacon frittata, salad, wedges

FRIDAY - Beef casserole, potatoes, vegetables and yorkshire puddings

SATURDAY - Homemade pizza and wedges with salad

SUNDAY - Roast Pork, apple sauce, sage & onion stuffing, Roast potatoes, vegetables

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Oven Disaster

Was in the utility this evening when I heard a noise from the kitchen. Went to investigate to find this....

the inner glass had shattered on the oven door. So more expense to fork out. There's always one thing after another. Thankfully I did not have our meal in the oven at the time or that would have been ruined too. Luckily we have two ovens so I still have one I can use until we get a new piece of glass.

Think I've to buy a new iron too! Every time I iron the electric cuts out. Did it four times the other day when I ironed and did it again today. Will only buy a cheap iron because they never seem to last me long. Mooooor expense!

Had a good clearout under the stairs today. This is the dumping ground for all the shoes.

This is a pile of some of the shoes. I still had another red box of shoes under there which is daughter No2's box. Had her sort through her box when she returned from college. Some of the shoes had not seen daylight for a very long time. A lot of tatty shoes were binned. None of the shoes to be thrown out were any good for the charity shop. It's now a lot tidier and we can actually find our shoes now. So another job done today that I have been meaning to do for months.

No spare cash will be left at the end of this month then will all the  things we now have to buy. Hope nothing else happens that's going to cost us this month. Any disasters in you home this week?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Temptation of the shops

Got to thinking about my spending after reading an American blog. Five years ago when I lived in the  big city of Leeds, my pastime when I was bored was to wonder round the big shopping centres buying whatever took my fancy and generally getting into debt buying things I did not need or really want. If I wasn't in the big shopping centres I'd be in the huge supermarkets that sell everything nowadays. I'd saunter along the aisles

popping whatever took my fancy into the trolley. Because the supermarkets are so big it took me a couple of hours to do a shop. After the clothing department tempts you it's then the household department, then the entertainment department. I used to come out with a trolley full and it used to cost us a fortune. Then there was the time it took to unpack the stuff and put it all away when I got home! I think it wasted a day going shopping when I lived in the city.

Where I live now the supermarkets are not very large and the temptation is not there to spend as much, but I've also worked hard at not wasting money now and I don't often get tempted  away from my shopping list when shopping. I now dislike clothes shopping and get irritable if I have to shop in the large shopping complexes.  I buy most of my clothes from charity shops now. I do buy the odd new item that I want. The majority of the clothing budget goes on the girls and hubby and myself don't bother much with clothes these days. When the clothing budget has gone the kids have to wait until the next months budget is available before they get anything else. Same with my food budget. I allocate myself a certain amount each week and try my best to stick to it. I find it easier if I withdraw the money from the bank then put my shopping money in a separate purse then just use this for any groceries. I've simplified my way of shopping now and don't waste a whole day on grocery shopping now preferring to use my time in other areas.

How do you feel about this ?  Are you happy giving your money to the big guys? Are you one of the 'don't need it, don't buy it brigade'? Talk to me, let me know how you feel about this.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

It's free

Not many things are free in this life but if you work hard as my daughter No3 has at high school it pays. This is the second year now daughter has been in the top 15 of her year group to be chosen to participate in a freebie day out. Pupils are awarded house points for good work and the top 15 pupils with the most house points have been given a day out of class to go for 2 games of bowling. A meal at the bowling alley. A visit to the cinema to watch a movie of their choice and a coach to take them to and from the complex.  ALL FOR FREE. Too often schools are always wanting money for this and money for that so it made a nice change to read a letter from school not asking for money. So this is daughters treat next week which she is looking forward to.

Well it shall soon be upon us, the school holidays! Daughter No2 breaks up from college this week and daughter No3 breaks up two weeks after. I have a few items that will need to be replaced in the uniform department for when they return in September and intend to get them very early on in the holidays. I detest the hordes of people who engulf the uniform shops a couple of weeks before term starts. The shop is too crowded, the kids are always tired and fed up with trying uniforms on so I am going to be prepared and buy early before the crowds descend and the shop still has some stock. I have already bought daughter a pack of 3 shirts from Tesco for £6.00 which is very cheap. The most expensive item will be the blazer. Must admit she's had her wear out of it. She's worn it every school day for two years now but it's time for a new one. Poor girl is going to school at the moment with a hole in her shoe! but I told her I am not buying new school shoes for the last few weeks of term for them not to fit when she returns September. Thankfully I have a daughter who is very understanding of my frugal ways and agrees with me it's silly to get a new pair now.

No, these are not her shoes!
Lots of frugal cheap day trips and things of interest to sort out over the next week. I see lots of picnics and dog walking around large parks for a start. What activities have you planned for the holidays? I need some ideas for teenagers if you have any suggestions.

Bye for now

Monday, 4 July 2011

Menu Week 04/07/11

MONDAY - Cold chicken, salad, homemade coleslaw, pesto pasta, new potatoes and garlic bread

TUESDAY - Spaghetti bolognese and homemade garlic bread

WEDNESDAY -Egg, chips and beans

THURSDAY - Chicken and bacon pie,vegetables and boiled potatoes

FRIDAY - Fish in parsley sauce, mash, carrots and peas

SATURDAY - Beef burgers/ veggie burgers, wedges, corn on the cob and vegetable kebabs

SUNDAY - casseroled chicken drummers, Yorkshire puddings, sage & onion stuffing, potatoes and vegetables

Hi all who dropped in for a read today. I've had 78 views so far today and the days not over yet. It would be nice if you left a comment to say hello or became a follower. It's nice to have a new blogger drop by, I like to drop by their blog too to see who they are. So don't be shy, come on over and have a chat.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Lovely Sunday

Had a lovely day today just doing things together as a family. We went to our village boot sale this morning. I remembered to put some sun cream on but wish I'd remembered to bring my hat. My head got very hot and uncomfortable with the sun beating down on it.

Hubby striding ahead

The boot sale was quite busy and it had a good amount of stalls. I made a few purchases and the girls bought some bracelets.

My boot sale finds
I bought two wooden puzzles for the grandaughter, a jar of damson jam and a nice medium sized bowl which I shall use for salads. In all I only spent £4.00. We went home and I did some tidying then we had lunch then we went out to visit a 'Pick Your Own' farm. The weather was really hot by now so I remembered to take my hat and apply more suncream. Here I am picking raspberries.

Me picking raspberries

My Girls picking strawberries
The strawberries were put in the basket after we tasted one to check they tasted good. We seemed to eat one, save one until we got full on eating strawberries. Daughter no 3 was rather excited about going fruit picking because she has not been before. We picked a basket of strawberries and half a basket of raspberries.  The farm also had blackberries which we sampled and blackcurrants, sampled these too but did not pick any because there were not many left. Daughters sampled a gooseberry but neither were impressed with them. I don't like gooseberries neither. The farm was very busy, it seems to be a very typical English summer pastime to pick strawberries on a Sunday afternoon. We had a really enjoyable day  and went home with our booty.

Our booty

We shall have some with whipped cream later after our our meal and daughter No3 wants to take some to school tomorrow in her packed lunch. I'm sure none will go to waste. Summer fruits are just lovely to eat with nothing done to them, they taste so gorgeous.

Hope you all had a lovely day today.