Friday, 5 October 2012

A day off...

I'm having a day off today. A day off from dashing into town and being at college all day, then dashing home to get back in time for the children to all get home. Last weekend  I made meals ahead of time for all of this week, and it certainly paid off. I had more time in the evenings and tea was not rushed. Each night it was already made, we just had to heat it through or cook some vegetables to go with it. Such a relief...

This week at college I have been doing maths, (decimals, fractions and percentages) I am finding it very hard and I guess that it's because I didn't pay much attention at school, I am now paying for that. 

They say when you are young that your brain is like a sponge, it is able to absorb all the knowledge far easier. I find my brain to be more like a piece of coral, it is brittle with bits breaking off every now and then. I feel resistance, like my brain is fighting back and does not want to be force fed this tasty knowledge.

Never mind, I'm working out mortgage prices next week, what joy...

This week I again forgot to do my weight loss shopping list. This Monday at the whale weigh station, I lost another 2 lbs. That is a grand total of 19 1/2 lbs lost so far. So I could add 16 sausages to my list.

In other news Katie continues to be harassed by the girl bullies. She continues to tell the teacher and they continue to intervene. The girls however have found a loop hole in the teachers demands. The teachers have said "this is not acceptable" and they are to "leave Katie alone". But what the girls have done is told their friends to bully her instead, they stand by and watch claiming that "we have been told to leave you alone so it's not us that is doing it"... 
Mrs Anderson is to intervene now anyway...

I have had a flu jab and my arm now feels sore and bruised, Katie has has a cold and has been feeling miserable at school what with the girls being mean and her having a sore nose and throat. She is having a day off with me today and is currently watching Finding Nemo. She is all snuggled up on the sofa in a blanket, with a mound of tissues and three cats strewn about her. She is happy :)

A stray black cat keeps coming to visit and he eats our cats food. He sneaks in and sneaks out but you can clearly hear him, he sounds very old and breathes heavily. We have named him Darth Vader. If we could catch him we would take him to the vets. As soon as he sees you he scurries out and I wonder if he is sleeping in our store room at night. He does not seem to be looked after as he is very scruffy and is always hungry. Maybe he has worms too? As the weather worsens I worry for him...

Today I have to get some housework done. Over the week I have just about kept my head above water with the cleaning and tidying but today, the place needs a real clear out and needs to be prepared for next weeks onslaught of activities.

 There are beds to change, washing up to do, a bathroom to clean, windows to wash, phone calls to make, hoovering to be done, cobwebs to gather, dusting to do, bins to empty, meals to plan, a garden to mow, Facebook to check, ironing to do, washing to hang out... the list is endless.

Still, I have three days to get it all done. When the children get home they cam help with what jobs are left to do today. Saturday morning is the time we get most jobs done and everyone pitches in. 

So sitting here is not getting it done, I have written my list and I have had breakfast, so on with the housework. 
Like I said, It is a my day off...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Weight loss shopping list

I totally forgot to write down my weight loss shopping list from this Monday.

I went to weight watchers and I lost a further 3 1/2 lbs.
This is equivalent to:

Two bags of flour
One bag of rice
One bag of sugar
Two tins of cat food
One small bag of ground almonds
One small bag of sesame seeds
Two Jamaica ginger cakes
A six pack of jammie wagon wheels
A golden syrup cake
A double pack of Jaffa Cakes
and a pack of Oreo's...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Loving autumn...

Today is a gloriously sunny autumn day, yay!! 
tomorrow it will rain, booo!
But I love autumn so much, I don't care.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Weight loss shopping list...

Just a quick post to add some more things to the weight loss shopping list.

Last night at the "whale weigh station" I stood on the scales and I have lost a further 2 1/2 lbs. That means so far I have lost 1 stone. :)

This is the equivalent of :

Two bags of flour
One bag of rice
One bag of sugar
Two tins of cat food
One small bag of ground almonds
One small bag of sesame seeds.

Our leader gave me a green glass pebble to represent my stone. The first of many I hope :)

Our home now belongs to us...

Yesterday was a very important day. It was the day that I signed the tenancy contract for our home. We live in a council house and we have been tenants here since January 29th 2000. 

Since my marriage ended, my ex husband has had his name on the tenancy with mine. He had not removed it when he moved out. For the past 5 years his name has been on the tenancy and, in the beginning, his thoughts were "I could move back in if I really wanted to, and you have no right to stop me."

The council needed a letter from him, relinquishing his rights to the tenancy and stating that he agrees to me being the sole tenant.

Five years later, he has finally done just that.

It took a lot of persuasion and I trod very carefully over this matter for a long time. 

In the end, he said 
"Fine, you write the letter and I will sign it"

At the end of the day he has not lived here for 5 years, he lives in his own home and he would be liable for any rent arrears (there aren't any) if there were to be any.

Our tenancy office has been an absolute star. She reminds me of Folella Benjamin.:) 
She has been such a kind and helpful Lady.

So at 12:45pm I arrived here.

I came out just 5 minutes later at 12.50pm. 
I am now, legally, the sole tenant of our home...


So, here it is, the contract. 

Basically it states that you should pay your rent, behave yourselves, be nice to your neighbours, look after your home, garden and pets. 

They will, in return, take our rubbish, fix things that go wrong and deal with our neighbours if they are naughty.

Yay, Our Home :) :) :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Weight loss shopping list...

I thought I would share my weight loss with you guys. 
I have been going to weight watchers every Monday and have done so for four weeks now. 

In that time I have lost 11 and a half pounds. 
This is just under: 

Two bags of flour, 
One bag of rice &
 One bag of sugar.

Every week I hope to add to my shopping list. I thought this would be a different way to visualise the weight loss and keep me motivated. 

A lady at weight watchers has lost 33 lbs so far, this was the equivalent of the three tyres that she had in her garage. 

Just imagine walking around with that all day !!! 

The trouble is I still walk around with all that extra weight, no wonder my feet ache and back hurts at the end of the day.!!

I weigh in tomorrow, so fingers crossed, lets hope there will be more on my shopping list  :)

Friday, 14 September 2012


How can it be possible that after less than eight days at senior school the bullies have chosen their first target.   

Katie had really enjoyed her first few days at school but at the end of the first week the bullying had begun.

On the first occasion the group of three or four girls thought it would be fun to pull Katie's hair and then to poke her hard in the back while they called her names and swore at her.

Over the next few days they would sit in front of her at the lunch table and kick her under the table and call her names.

They have sworn at her, pushed her, poked, kicked and punched her, pulled her hair and made her cry.

She has now told me and has told Sam. Sam is on her campus and he had looked out for her the next day. These girls did some of this in front of him too, they are two years above Katie and are in Sam's year group. He stood up for her but they took no notice and were gone before a teacher saw what happened. He knew who they were and was able to tell his head of year. Katie told her English teacher who then got her to identify them by using the photos displayed on the school walls.

Many years ago Mr Patching (Katie's English teacher) helped Charlotte with a very similar situation and it was actually Charlotte who suggested that Katie told this particular teacher. She knew he would help her and get it sorted out. The school has a zero tolerance approach to bullying.

The girls in question have been identified, teachers have been informed, The Almighty Mrs Anderson has been told and is now on the warpath 
(even Jim quakes at the sound of her name).

When Katie went to the reception area to identify the photographs, the receptionists asked if Katie was Jim's little sister. When she replied that she was, they joked that it was fortunate for the girls that Jim was on the other campus as they knew he would "find them and have a little chat" as they put it. 

Jim has be bullied off and on throughout his whole school life. Whether it be right or wrong, he always stuck up for himself and fought back, he never let them get to him and he never went down without a fight. He would never stand by and watch anyone else get bullied either, he would always intervene, even if he got into trouble for it himself. He would never let his little sister take that kind of abuse. So I guess the receptionist ladies are right. They know him well.

Katie will be fine, she has done the right thing by telling her teacher and she still loves school. I will watch carefully to see if she wants me to intervene at the school myself. At the moment she is happy with the support she has from school. I am glad that she tells me what worries her and feels that she can talk to me about anything. As a team the children have all spoken to Katie and supported her, they have all comforted her and told her how much they will "kick their butts if they do it gain" (Jim's idea) 

I am sure she will be fine, 
I will make sure she is fine !!!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The last days of summer...

The summer holidays are over and the children have returned to school. I have begun college and now, the relaxing days of summer are but a distant memory.

Many things happened this summer but over all the children just vegged out. They were not bothered whether they went here or there, they were happy to lay about and just chill...

For most of the summer Katie wore her pyjamas and chatted to her friends on Skype. Jim played on-line with his friends as did Charlotte. Sam went out and about, mostly to the skate park or into town.

School takes so much energy from them, they really just wanted to recharge at home and actually, they enjoyed each others company.

We spotted this little fella the other day. I have a picture of myself somewhere, about age 15, holding a hedgehog just like this.

 He did not eat the slug as he had just eaten a saucer of cat food. After everyone had looked at him we let him go under the bushes where we found him. The slug was let go under a different bush.

 This little sauce pot has had so much love, 
I think she will burst...

I don't know who loves who the most...

Unfortunately the ironing was not a priority and yes, Jim is wearing a school PE top... 

 This was a different hedgehog we think. He was snuffling about in the garden late one evening. He was so loud we could hear him even though we were watching television.

For many nights the children slept downstairs if they wanted to. They often spent time with each other and the house was quite a happy one this summer. And yes, Jim is under the coffee table.

They love each other really...

 Jim also mowed his new grass twice this holiday. It looks lovely and he has done such a great job :)

We had two barbecues. We cooked burgers and sausages and chicken. We had salad and rolls too. I have also joined weight watchers and so far I have lost 11 1/2 lbs. I chose the salad and chicken.

This was devoured in no time at all...

And yet more food. This is the packed lunches for all four children. Now they are back at school they all need lunches everyday. All holiday my food bill has been astronomical. The children have had lunches and snacks at home which they would normally have at school. Up until now they have had free school meals, but this term they all begged for packed lunches as the school meals are not particularly nice. Often, when they got there, the best choices we already taken.

Not everyone can stomach food early in the morning. Jim can manage a little bit like scrambled eggs and Sam feels sick if he does not eat. He eats a small sandwich and then feels he can eat more. Katie is a slow coach and so breakfast for her is eaten just before she heads out the door. Charlotte gets stomach cramps if she eats too early or is rushed and so breakfast, for her, must be taken slowly.

Sam's breakfast had the word "poop" written on it :)

Asda gained a few hundred pounds from us this term as everyone was desperate for new uniforms. Katie is 11 and has size 8 feet, Jim and Sam have man's size 10 feet (did I mention that Sam is one inch off of being 6 foot) and Charlotte has size 11 shoes. You try finding a sensible school shoe for a girl in a size 11...

This does not include the PE kits and Charlotte's uniform. Sixth form now has a dress code. They are no longer allowed to wear what they please, they must were clothing suitable for an office environment... 

It's a good job I have money to burn...
(that was me being sarcastic)

Jim was happy to return to school. Who cares if you are 15 and have an image to maintain, you can still take cookies in for your mates. He has no shame :)

And this September Katie went to senior school, so far so good. She is really enjoying it there and most of her friends have joined the same school too. 

This is on her first morning. She has gone in with the attitude that, she will start as she means to go on. Doing her homework as soon as she gets it, packing her bag the night before, being organized, checking her planner and lessons the night before school. 

I hope things will stay that way but I know how easy it is for them to be overwhelmed and loose interest in school. So, so far so good. 

When she came home from school for first few days, 
she fell asleep on the sofa, 
even before tea time.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Lazy Days...

I am always up early, I can't help it. I am usually awake before the alarm goes off. When the holidays arrive I take delight in going to bed on the first night and turning the alarm off, so it does not wake me in the morning. I still wake before it should have gone off anyway. :)

This morning I was awake before 5am but drifted in and out of sleep until I pinged awake at nearly 6am. I slowly got up and came down and had a large drink of water. I was still wearing my dress from yesterday. Lol. My head still feels very fragile and bruised. Yesterdays temperature was 31 degrees and by late afternoon I had the beginnings of a migraine. I get that tell tale sign of a tiny little pain behind my left eye and a gentle ache in my head. 

Along with chocolate, cheese, wine, too much sleep, not enough to eat, bright lights, strong smells, late nights, no sleep, too much coffee, dehydration and stress, hot days tend to set off a migraine too. (aren't I lucky) I took my tablets with plenty of water before it really hit and lay down in the relative cool of my bedroom. Jim bought me the fan and I drifted in and out of a painful and hot sleep. I had left the washing up as we had only just eaten tea, the children were still busying themselves in the evening, but I thought a lay down and rest would do me good. I could wash up later.

When I woke, it was dark and the house was quiet. The clock read 00:7 ( I call this "James Bond O'clock) I searched my head for the pain, only to find that it was still there, beating away behind my eye and on my temples. Arcing across my brain in it's sadistic rhythm. The more I searched for it, the more pain I found. I took more tablets, drunk more water and lay back down in the hope of finding sleep. I was grateful that this time, nausea had not played it's part. I know that it takes about 20 minutes for the pain to be overcome by the tablets. I waited patiently and with each wave of pain I knew that soon, they would start to ease. By 12:39am a wave came but this time it felt deadened, not as intense, not so piercing as the one before. Finally...

This morning the sun is already warm, 22 degrees at 8:49am...

I have done a couple of loads of washing and hung them out, unfortunately the washing up still needs to be done... I shall wait a while for the children to wake and get them to give me a hand today. 

We have had a very lazy holiday so far. We haven't done much at all, but I think the children have enjoyed the freedom of vegging out and doing as they please. They will have enough to keep them busy come September. Today will be another lazy day, possibly 33 degrees here. It is too hot to do anything much in that heat, it is energy draining. What must be done, must be done early or left until late.  

But there is a small pain in my head that tells me, 
this is not over. :(

Thursday, 9 August 2012

This week...

It has been a bit of an all sorts kind of week, lots happening and nothing at all. The internet came back on as mysteriously as it went off and peace was restored to this house. 

The flea problem seems to be well and truly under control, the cats have new flea collars and all the rooms have shown no further signs of the little invaders. 

The children and I spent afternoon and evening watching Jurassic Park, followed by The Hulk and then The Fantastic Four. 

Charlie had found a new sleeping place and Jim helped with the washing up. Sort of...

The rabbits have been cleaned out and then loved, when putting Jason back in his hutch he gave an almighty kick and scrammed my arm quite badly. Ouchy...

We had never eaten "Fruit Loops" before and probably never will again, for all the "Americanism" of them, they are pretty dire. Every other film of the 70's and 80's that was made for children seemed to have this cereal playing a cameo role, therefore becoming a desired object, in this house anyway. So we decided to try them, just to see what all the hype was about. 

Our unanimous verdict... MEH...

As a result of not eating the strange fruity loops (meh) the children, as always, were still hungry. I appreciate that they are still growing and need constant feeding but it has become a bone of contention in this house. 

Food arrived and was quickly snaffled away before the end of the week, ingredients for meals obviously remained, but all the nice picky, snacky bits had gone and everyone, at one stage of another, stood at the fridge and declared "There's nothing nice to eat" to which I would always reply "eat some fruit" or "have a drink instead"...

 The food especially disappears at night... Something to do with the teenage residents I would assume, more than any other.

And they have no regard for the notice I lovingly leave them when I have gone to bed... 

Still it could be worse, Not sure how, but I'm sure it could...

Anyway, as always, leaving the best until last, Jim is massively pleased with the grass that is growing now. 

He is like a proud father, showing every visitor and guest to the house his new offspring...

Friday, 3 August 2012

Garden Transformation

On Monday we made a plan to just clear this area of our garden. It had become overgrown and was really depressing to look at knowing that I could not physically work hard enough myself to put it right and get it clear.

So I called in the cavalry (AKA : my children) and we set about clearing away all the weeds and detritus. We could then decide what to do next.

It was really bad !! 

There was so much to do, the ground was solid and the weeds were really hard to budge. Their roots were deep and so difficult to get out. The spiders were huge and there were lots of slugs and snails.

Years ago we had a vegetable patch but as time has gone on and my back problem has worsened, the area became more and more neglected. Fortunately I covered most of the ground with an old carpet and so suppressed the weeds to a large extent here.

This is a very rare picture of me with my large bottom facing the camera (sorry). Jim fixed up the fence the best he could. Katie helped to clear the rubbish with me as she is more bendy in the middle.

Jim and Sam really worked their socks off and lifted the slabs and cleared the weeds. I was surprised at just how strong they are now and although it took some effort, they worked hard and matched or exceeded the work done by any grown man. What also surprised me was that they actually enjoyed themselves, despite getting dirty and working up a sweat.

All afternoon we cleared and re-cleared the area, going over and over until it was done. Jim thoroughly enjoyed this. He was given full reign to decide what went where, who did what and what the plan would be. I think he liked this bit of responsibility and took it on well. Sam was so eager to help and there were few arguments.

Jim has been doing construction at school lately, he has enjoyed the tiling and has done an awesome job. 
He got a distinction in his exam for his coursework. He has learnt how to make cement and use grout and adhesive. I think this project has given him the chance to show that he can use his new found skills in the garden too. The boys have also been able to use their strength to do things that us mere mortals cannot do.

We removed all of these slabs and stacked then up to be used again once the area was clear.

Jim marked out where he wanted things to go, we will plant shrubs at the back along the fence. Steve, our tree, will go in this box once it is fixed and filled with soil. The bench will be at the back but placed on slabs so it wont sink into the soil.

Jim spent over two days getting to this point and was not going to give up. On the first day we worked until it was too dark to see properly any more. The next day Katie and I went into town and bought dome grass seed. When we got home Jim had got to this point and had already planted Steve. He seeded the ground and within half an hour it rained and watered it for us.

Over the little park near us someone had dumped some wood from their garden. It had been there for a couple of months and I had seen it hidden below the bushes.I thought it would look nice in our garden. Jim and I went over there yesterday and brought the wood back. We put it behind the small wall that Jim had built. We will plant our shrubs behind the wall and use the wood in this area.

I particularly like this bit of wood. I think we will be able to go and get some shrubs this week. We need something that grows in partial shade and is hardy, we would like something that flowers too. 

We have spent only £5.08 on grass seed so far, the rest of the things we have used we already had laying around the garden. The wood we found for free over the park. The box Steve is planted in we already had. (The box does not have a bottom and so his roots will go straight down into the soil below). Steve was a small twiggy thing growing in our front garden by accident, Charlotte planted him in a bucket three years ago and he has been replanted twice since.

Jim has also re positioned my rotary airer and will finish off the garden this week. He has layed some slabs in front of the shed for me too. He is only 15 years old but he has worked as hard as any man this week, I am so proud of all of them. They have worked so hard and have been amazingly helpful for their dear old Mum...