Day 28 of My Month of Gratitude

Today is a special day for my daughter, and for me that my first child is almost finished in primary school.

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish
  18. Being a SAHM
  19. Chocolate
  20. Books
  21. Online Recipes
  22. Sunshine
  23. Online Shopping
  24. Grandparents
  25. Sleep
  26. Podcasts
  27. Support
  28. Community

Today is the day of my daughters Confirmation. I’m not going to discuss the religious side of it, because its not really my thing but there are lovely aspects to it that come up from the whole event. There is a lovely family aspect of the day, as it brings family together to celebrate the childs day. There is also a lovely community around the event, particularly between the school and the church. It is lovely when you go to Mass on a Sunday and you bump into a selection of people that you normally would not see. The school put in a lot of work to get the children prepared, and our parents association is hosting a tea and coffee morning after the confirmation mass. The whole day is a lovely example of bringing people together.

Community is a lovely thing to have. Years ago I was in a situation that I was living in a town that I didn’t really want to live in, I hadn’t grown up in a town like it and everyone wanted to know everyone else’s business and I hated it. I remember a day I was in a friends house and we were both giving out about the town and living in it. I realised that day leaving her house that it was a conversation we had had over and over again, and that there were two choices – either make a change, or accept it and be happy with it. I wasn’t in a position to leave the town, my step-children lived here and it was important that their father lived nearby and so I also had to stay here. So I decided to focus on the positive things about the town and one of the main things I focused on was community. That aspect of wanting to know everything about everyone also creates a place where you are known and linked back to the people in the town, and into the town community. That was at least ten years ago, and now I am happy living in the town and focus on the positive aspects of it. The friend I was with that day left the town a few years later and set up a great life for herself in a different town, and it made a huge difference to her. So we both one of each of those options – I got happy with the town, and she got out. It made a huge difference to both our lives. If we had just stayed going over and over how much we hated the town, we would still be giving out about it at this stage and nothing would have changed.

I am thankful for the community that is around us, in the town, in the school, for the kids in the church, in the babygroup and from our friends and family. Community is important, and really does add to the feelings of well being for people.

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Day 17 of My Month of Gratitude

For the day that is in it, proud to be Irish, Happy St. Patricks’ Day everyone!!

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. Healthcare
  17. Being Irish

So it popped into my head as the obvious one for today, but I wasn’t sure if it was kind of for the comedy factor that I was thinking it.

Then I realised that so many of the general things on my list that I am grateful for, the things that we take for granted, are because I am living here in Ireland. I do love our little country. I love the fact that there are no snakes (thank you St. Patrick!) or giant poisonous spiders (#fear) and that our weather is generally quite steady (although that could be questioned a bit the past few years) and that we are a peaceful country overall.

But also the Irish people do seem to be a particularly good sort in general. Oh I know that is a generalisation, and that it is true of some and not true of others. I have seen tourists here in our country looking for help to find something and no-one stopping to help, and we do have loads of mean-spirited horrible people who would be the opposite of a “good sort of person”. I don’t spend much time with people like this, most of my friends and family would definitely be the lovely Irish people you would want to meet. I think though in particular when we leave our country we see it more clearly, how we become even better, more fun lovely and friendly, very helpful and our true colours show.

I would always be proud to say that I am Irish, because I am proud of our country and I am proud of our people. I am not saying we are perfect, and nothing bad happens here, or is done by Irish people here or abroad – because that would not be true. But when you hear what can happen in other countries where maybe there are harder struggles for people to deal with, or the amount of things we have available that we take for granted are not available, I realise again how lucky I am. How lucky I am to be living in my country. I am grateful that I am Irish, and for all the luck of the Irish that comes along with that! 😉 I am sure that people all across the world will feel the same about their own nationality and their own countries, and that is brilliant!

Happy St. Patricks Day! Hope you all enjoy the day, if it is something that you celebrate. As it is here, we are not sure of our plans for the day but the kids all had dress-up days in school on Friday where they wore their green clothes in and had their faces painted with shamrocks, which they all loved! With it being a Sunday, even if it is just a day that you get to spend together and enjoy the little things, I hope you get to do that! x

Day 15 of My Month of Gratitude

I’m late, it’s no longer the morning! I’m really busy today, and that gives today’s thing to be grateful for!

  1. My Husband
  2. My Children
  3. My Step-Children
  4. My Step-Grandchildren
  5. My Family
  6. My Friends
  7. My Home
  8. Our Utilities
  9. Our Health
  10. Education
  11. Coffee
  12. Technology
  13. Being Alive
  14. Baby Smiles and Laughs
  15. Special Occasions
  16. .
  17. .

Yesterday was one of step-daughters 21st birthday. She had her party last weekend and I made the cake – it looked great! And then yesterday her mum planned something special for her, for her actual birthday. So today I am making her chosen birthday dinner, and she gets her present and her special dessert.

Each of the kids have a particular dessert that they get for their birthday – the eldest is a red-velvet cake, the next has always been ice-cream because he doesn’t eat cake but has recently decided he likes roulade (so guess what I’m learning to make for his birthday next month!), the next is chocolate biscuit cake with white chocolate decorations, the next is cookies, the next is brownies, the next likes to be surprised but likes to have a fun and rich flavoured cake (like a ferrero rocher cake or salted caramel!) and so on….

As it is her 21st birthday, we have a tradition for 18ths and 21st that they get money – at 18yrs they get a bit more money, but just handed to them. The 21st present is money, a bit less than at 18yrs old but it is given in a fun way. We’re on our fourth 21st birthday, so have spent a good bit of time coming up with ideas and always thinking ahead to the next one (I’ve had todays way of gifting the money chosen for the past 3 years following a comment she made 3yrs ago!)

A lot of my friends think that I am mad spending so much time and thought on making these occasions special, particularly as the last two years I was pregnant and then had a newborn and we fell behind in the birthdays. But yet I wanted to catch up on them, as opposed to just starting over fresh – or doing one big meal. However it is important to me, and I love doing it. I think that this is what memories are made of, they know that I will always do my best to make their special days special. I did catch up, I think I did one big meal and four different cakes! And then got back into doing the rest of them close enough to being on time for the rest of the year! And this year I’m being more on the ball, and getting the birthday meals organised quicker!

I have decided to simplify things for myself and for my own kids I have just been doing a cake and tea party where everyone comes for literally cake and tea to blow out the candles, and then for the older kids I am doing the birthday meal for just the birthday person (and their partner and kid/s if applicable). It means I am only doing the big meal for the 17 of us twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas, possibly also Fathers Day. Their fathers birthday we do a big take-away here, nice and easy, no cooking!!

But I am so grateful for all these little opportunities to spoil and remind our children how special they are, and for us to get together and make memories with all these special occasions.

 

Pancake Tuesday 2019!

Yum yum yum, I just love pancakes, and Pancake Tuesday is like a day made for me!

The rule in this house is Pancakes for Breakfast, Pancakes for Lunch, Pancakes for Dinner and Pancakes for Dessert!

This year I’m being very focused on trying to lose weight and I didn’t go mad with eating pancakes as I normally would – however I still did overindulge!

I made what I thought was a giant batch on Monday night, so it would be ready for Tuesday morning. My eldest girl got up and started making pancakes. I hadn’t planned on having any but she brought me one up in bed with sugar and lemon on it. Yum. I just had the one and refused any more. However the kids must have kept eating downstairs because the giant batch was very much reduced when I came down the stairs!

I sent them into school with the shop bought little mini fluffy pancakes along with their lunches.

For dinner then I made a savoury sauce for the pancakes. Myself and the hubby had it with mushrooms and chicken in the sauce, the older two kids had it with just chicken in it, and the 5 year old had plain chicken and grated cheese on hers. I used the sauce from this website here and instead of continuing and adding the green beans and fried onions, I just made it into the pancake sauce. (And by the way, the full green bean casserole is delicious, it is a very looked forward to addition to our Thanksgiving Dinner!).

For dessert then, there was a selection of different sweet pancakes chosen from butter and sugar, chocolate spread, chocolate spread and marshmallows, chocolate spread and marshmallows and icecream, chocolate spread and bananas and icecream (this one is lovely with some chopped nuts on it too, and also a spoonful of Baileys is delish!) and of course the hard to beat, and probably my favourite, the lemon, butter and sugar pancake!

I definitely wasn’t as on track yesterday as I should have been, but I definitely didn’t eat as many pancakes as I would normally. And now this morning I drew a line under it and we’re moving forward back on track!

The recipe that we use for pancakes is this one here from the Delia Smith website. We just multiply out the recipe a few times, at least 3 times the recipe if we all want to have some. And for yesterday, I made two batches and think 7 times the original recipe in total!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’m not a big person for Valentine’s Day, however I love flowers any day so I’ll happily take another opportunity to get some flowers. My hubbie picked up some flowers for me the other day, a little bunch of pretty pink roses and a bunch of purple lilies. I told him to get them before the rush of Valentines and only being left with expensive options!

But for some reason my children love Valentines Day and want to make a big deal about it. And its not about the big things, its the little thoughtful details. My son bought me and his Dad and little sister little presents. My eldest daughter made cupcakes yesterday for all the lunches today, brought me breakfast in bed, and had Kinder Eggs and special treat wake-up-waffles bought for her brother and sisters for breakfast! All without my involvement, I just brought them to the shops and let them go in, and I was under strict instructions not to go in to her room!

I realised they would like some little things done for them too, so got a chocolate cereal for breakfast (a rare treat here), strawberry laces for their lunch box (I’m strict with the no sweets policy in school) and wake-up-waffles for their after school snack (not knowing Q had bought the same for their breakfast!) and I have some Lindor sweets for them because Q joked a few weeks ago about having “Red Rain” for Valentines Day (last year I had dropped red Lindor sweets over the bannisters to them calling it red rain!) And for the hubbie I made one of his favourite cakes!

I don’t think that Valentines Day should be about big gestures, but I do think that the little things that we can do for the ones we love are nice, and even though we should make the effort every day, there’s no harm of making things a little bit more special today too! And to also remember to do something nice for ourselves too!

I do love the art-work that comes home from school for Valentines Day too!

Happy Valentines Day everyone xx

Pumpkin Picking!

pumpkin 1

Pumpkin Patches are a relatively new idea in Ireland (as far as I know anyway!). We had planned to go to one last year but couldn’t for some reason, so this year I was adamant we were going to go.

The one we chose to go to was one that we didn’t need tickets for, and no entry fee. You could go and pick your pumpkins, potatoes and corn and pay for what you got. This took off the pressure of paying in advance – although we paid for it because of the giant pumpkins our kids chose!!!

We all got our wellies and waterproofs on and headed through the “haunted” corn maze to the pumpkin field. The kids had great fun running around the field looking at all the different sizes, colours and shapes of the pumpkins. Then they decided that they wanted to get the biggest possible pumpkins – which was an idea we should have knocked on the head, but we didn’t! We’ll know better for future. We did manage to talk two of them down to looking for nicer looking shape and colour ones instead of just the size being the priority. They stood over their chosen pumpkin until we arrived with the wheelbarrow.

pumpkin-2.jpg

You can see the size of the two giant ones, particularly when you notice the size of the wheel or even the “large” pumpkin underneath the two giant ones!

We got a little shock when it came to paying, but they did a bit of a deal for us. And we did end up with 5 big pumpkins in our “trolley”. The farmer was over talking to us, about the amount of eating we had in the wheelbarrow – and even though we only wanted them  mainly for carving, we are going to do our best to use as much of them as possible. I’ve been searching for recipes and ideas, and what is best way of freezing the flesh or the purees. You might be seeing some posts of any successes coming up in the next few weeks!

Happy Mothers Day (belated!)

Happy Mothers Day! For yesterday.

I hope everyone had a lovely day. My day was actually no different to most, seeing as the hubby and Miss Q went off rotavating the allotment, leaving me to keep an eye on the dinner (after they prepped it and got it on!).

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But must say the hubby made a big effort for me, and I got not one, not two but THREE bunches of tulips! So my house is full of beautiful flowers this morning – which definitely make me smile!

And they also made me a cake – using marzipan. Miss Q’s school homework this week had  a history of “Mothering Sunday” and how it was tradition to make/bring simnel cake, which is a fruit cake covered in marzipan. I love marzipan so told her she could make me one for Mothers Day – but without the fruit cake bit! So on Saturday they found a recipe for an almond and marzipan cake and firstly made the marzipan from scratch on Sunday morning, before then baking the cake. Very impressive 🙂

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I hope that you all had a lovely day yesterday, whether it was Mothers Day for you or not. We had some lovely weather too so I think people had a great weekend – but because of the Boy and his chicken pox, we didn’t get to leave the house and enjoy it!