Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tonights dinner

On Sunday I menu planned for the week. I haven't done this properly for a few weeks.

The plan this week is:
Monday- Steak and chips. Stephanie had dinner with her dad before he bought her home so no veggie version needed.
Tuseday- Chicken stir fry, quorn stir fry for Stephanie
Wednesday- turkey curry, Stephanie is with her dad no veggie needed
Thursday- tinned fish and pasta
Friday- home made pizza
Saturday- Eating out (my sisters Hen night) Children at their dads.
Sunday- roast, Stephanie with a quorn version.

Today I was talking abou tfood with the children at school- we made stir fry last term with a company that came in and cooked with us. I started to think oh but I don't have any mushrooms like they used, I don't have any spring onions, or stem ginger. I'm going to have to go to the shop. I argued in my head-NO, NO SHOPPING!

I was good and I didn't go to the shop. I used ground ginger as I have that in the kitchen. I have chopped onion in the freezer, so used that. I didn't have any mushrooms substitutes, but I do have lots of other frozen veg.

In our stir fry I put;
soy sauce
ground ginger

All of which I had in the kitchen already. I tasted good. I also have some left for lunches for the next couple of days;

Lovely! One looks darker than the other, as Stephanie doesn't  like the soy sauce so the veggie one is very pale. Nevermind, I will still eat it.

I keep checking my ebay items, I have lots of watchers on them with 5 days left to go so hopefully they will all sell brining in extra cash.

As it is payday I sent over £100.00 to the car savings fund to get that back on track. That leaves another £278 to find before the end of March.

Monday, 24 February 2014

another lovely family day out

On Sunday we went out for the day- I know I said i'm saving, but I booked this on groupon last month (before I overspent on other stuff) look:

Now the full price for our day out should have been £9.00 for an adult and £5.50 for a child. As Dylan doesn't often want to com eon days out with us these days :-( I booked 2 tickets at the bargain price of £5.00 each through groupon when the offer came up last month. It should have cost me £14.50. therefore I saved £4.50 by buying this way.

So I packed lunch for Stephanie and I, determined not to spend more than I needed.
When we got there we discovered the wildlife park was high up on a hill and windy! Good job I had packed lots of layers to wear! LOL
However it did make it rather cold to sit outside and eat our picnic- especially for my poor sister who is breastfeeding lol.
So we took ourselves into the café, now as is normal in these places there are signs saying now picnicking, only food bought here to be consumed etc etc.
Now my sister was buying sandwiches there, I was not. So I bought a hot choc each for me and Stephanie to warm up as we ate. the staff seemed to turn a blind eye to our own sandwiches being eaten (thank you!), perhaps as we had bought drinks, it was incredibly windy and they still had half their tables empty. I'm sure it would have been a different story in the height of summer!

We had a fabulous time there, we looked at all sorts of birds of prey, we watched displays with some of them flying- others refusing! LOL

We then got to meet the husky dogs, well 2 of them. They were so over friendly lol. one of them knocked Stephanie off the bench. Lucky there was a lovely older couple sat behind her who were quick at catching and 2 Stephanie is not at all nervous of big dogs look;

The lovely Coco jumping up for a hug! lol
The staff at the park were very knowledgeable about the animals they have and incredibly friendly. They answered all of the children's questions even the repetitive ones, with good humour and patience.

As it is called eagle heights I expected lots of feathered friends. I was not disappointed. But I was also amazed at just how many other species there were there- there is even a reptile house.

My nephew trying out his parseltongue!!
Yes Stephanie's Harry Potter obsession is passing off onto other family members.

From talking to the staff we learnt that most of the animals in the pack are rescued, they have been collected by the park when owners have been unable to care for them so that they are not euthanized. What a fantastic ethos!
This is only a 30-40 minute drive for our home. we will definitely be going back. What a fantastic gem of a place.
The link for the park's website is eagle heights, just in case you are in the area and want to take a look. I can even recommend the play area- very challenging even for adults! LOL

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Shh I have a confession!

I've been a little but naughty this month. :-(

I confess I dipped into my savings, you know the ones that I was saving to repay the car off early.

My laptop died. it has been on the off for a while, very slow working on occasional days. I have been sharing Dylan's pc with him, but when he is writing essays and things for his exams its not easy to share, so I spotted an offer on a desktop computer and went for it. I have dipped into the savings and I'm not proud. now I need to find ways to earn back that money. I loaded some items into my Etsy shop the other day. As yet no buyers, but hopefully I will. I need to get more made so that there is a range in the shop to take peoples interest and then hopefully I will get  a small side hustle as Team Collier call it going.
So how much have I dipped out of my savings? £452.00. not all of that went on the computer some of it went on our trip to the cinema the other day, a little on a Chinese last week. So how am I going to pay this back and keep up the current rate of savings? Honest answer is not sure yet but I am determined to do it. I think it is feasible to set myself a target of making my current rate of savings each month which is £342.11 plus a little more. I am setting the target of £400.00 to make it a nice round figure. Which means in the next 8 months that will be paid back. How am I going to do that?

Well I will take any opportunity I can to save money. So last night it was girls night. I went to  a tribute Bon Jovi act (love Bon Jovi but the real thing is far too many £££'s for me to get there) This one cost £7.50. I had put away £30 for this night thinking I'd have a few drinks and let my hair down so after paying entrance fees that left £22.50 for me. What's left in my purse will go towards this months savings. This is what I had left when I came home last night;
I hear you what kind of pub is this that you only spend 50p? Well seeing as I know I have wayyyy over spent this month and I am off out for my sister's hen party next week so I will be spending again. I offered to be designated driver last night. So I paid my entrance fee; one of the girls had pre-booked the tickets so I needed to give her my money neither of us had a 50p so I paid £8.00 and said no worries. Then as reward for being designated driver my lemonades were bought for me. Did I have a worse night for not drinking? Not at all. I loved it I was jumping up and down shout/singing with everyone else. I also know without having spoken to the girls I definitely feel better than they do this morning ;-)

So that there £22.00 is going to wing its way straight back into the savings leaving £278.00 to find the rest of the month.

So I am going to keep a close eye on Elaine's blog as yesterday her and the children have set themselves an eye wateringly high savings target and are planning on several side hustles to  achieve this. I'm going to be watching closely to see if there are some ideas I might be able to magpie in order to achieve our, albeit smaller, target this month.

Friday, 21 February 2014

My new venture

Good evening, I have decided to try another avenue to make a little extra cash.
I got thinking the last few days to see what I have in abundance and what I am able to do.

It turns out I have plenty of fabric and I can sew! It has been mentioned to me in the past that I could sell the things I make. however I have always thought hmm not sure. Recently I have had a few request to make presents for frineds and family. This made me think perhaps I could sell my wares.
This would certainly help as I have more fabric than I need so I can use it to stock my little shop.

Do you want a peek?

My shop is called littlefamilyof3sarah and you can find it on Etsy here. Go on take a peek, let me know what you think and if you have seen anything on my blog I have made that you would llike to buy. I am in the very early stages of the shop so haven't got much stock listed yet but I have plans for more items over the next few weeks.

Do you already sell on Etsy- or somewhere else? Do you have any tips for a newby like me?

These 2 aprons are currently in my shop.

Vegetarian food

On Tuesday Stephanie announced she is a vegetarian. I don't like to tell my children they can't do things without trying first, obviously unless it provides a very high risk of danger. Ok I say tell me more well I don't want to eat meat anymore, I'll still have eggs, milk and fish but no meat!

Now it was too late for me to do anything on Tuesday as it was 20 mins until dinner was cooked! So Tuesday she had a roast minus the meat. Wednesday Stephanie had vegetable fingers whilst Dylan and I had left over lamb curry. Thursday we al had quiche. we made it ourselves so Dylan had salami and cheese in his. Stephanie had cheese peas and sweet corn and I had cheese peas, sweet corn and onion.

We have never made quiche before as they have always refused to eat it. Dylan had some at his aunts a few months ago and said it was alright. However, as seems to be the pattern with my children they love the homemade version :-) looks like quiche is on the menu more often then. Which is fine when I get the eggs on cheap like I did the other day. :-)

Are you, or is someone you cook for vegetarian- what recipes would you suggest for Stephanie to try??

PS the winners of my approved foods giveaway are announced here take a peek and see if it is you!!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A homemade indoor game

At the moment my children are into this;

BIG time. they have been playing with this for a couple of days. I have revisited (So Far!!) the urge to tell them to tidy up my living room. The fact that I am not expecting visitors is helpful. My friends/family that we were seeing this week have got either the flu bug or the norovirus bug doing the rounds so we have been entertaining the three of us ourselves.
This building is Olivanders, the wand shop. There are many more buildings planned for building.
I have joined in with the children to help them with their building. You see we are making Hogwarts and Diagon alley. Once complete we can play Harry Potter to Stephanie's delight. This game has helped bring the 2 children together not easy when you have a 15 year old boy and a 7 year old girl I can promise you. Being outside as a family and becoming amused is much easier- they like to ride their bikes together and are planning that we go canoeing and other exciting outdoor things. But playing nicely inside- almost unheard of. This is why I love Lego and am trying to ignore the building site that used to be my living room.
So when I saw that centerparcs are running a competition involving building your own family game I knew that I had to enter this 'Harry Potter world'.
So This is my entry to the Center Parcs and Tots 100 February challenge. If I’m chosen, I would like to visit Longleat Village’.
The centerparks sites look just our kind of thing with plenty of active activities to keep all 3 of us entertained. Whilst we would prefer Longleat Village I am sure we could have an amazing time at any of their villages.
Now I know technically the building of our game is not yet completed but that, I believe is the beauty of it. The children are learning that they can work together to complete something. They have been busy helping each other. For me the process of making this game is far more important than the end product. So carry on building children- Mum's not going to tell you to tidy up just yet!!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

What's on your needles?

I have spotted lots of blogs showing off their current knitting projects today which have inspired me to show off my current work in progress.
I have discovered that Tami is showing off her gorgeous sock yarn blanket here I can't wait to see the finished product. Tami is holding  a WIPW linky, I am joining up with this this week, it reaches out to my inquisitive nosey nature.

So here is my WIPW picture;

it's sleeve no. 1 for the cardigan I am knitting for myself. I am a little nervous it isn't going to fit which for a first project for myself isn't too surprising. If it doesn't fit me I am sure it will fit one oft he girls so I am ploughing on regardless ready to learn a lesson!

So what are you knitting this week? How is the project coming along?

blogging from my phone

My laptop about given up  Not good but there you go, so I'm posting from my phone to see just how easy/sustainable an option it is.

The other day my approved food order came in several boxes, Stephanie was straight in there they have kept her amused ever since

She is making a home for barbie and ken, its not finished yet and looks set to amuse her for the rest of the week. Good old cardboard boxes! What is keeping your little people busy thisweek?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Approved foods giveaway!

Today I received our latest Approved foods order.

Here it is before I unpacked it all.

This is what I got for my money this time;
I hjave salsa, gravy, batter mix, massive bag iof pasta, tortillas, lots of pitta breads, ice cream mix, lemon juice, cake decorations, cheesecake mix.
This little lot should have cost over £60. Including delivery I have paid £19.69. that's a massive £51.94 saving.
Into the freezer went the pitta breads, the store cupboard is nice a full again. We have lots of options for enhancing our meals now.
 My little blog is almost 4 years old! Would you believe it. so I have decided I'm going to have a little giveaway. I have some goodies left from a previous approved foods order which we have decided we don't like. I have 8 packets of these;
So I thought I would give them away to my readers. I am offering 2 packets of cous cous as a prize, so that is 4 prizes available.
To be in with a chance to win please leave a comment below to say that you would like to be entered. I will draw the lucky winners at 8pm (UK time) on Thursday the 20th February. Please feel free to share this post on twitter etc. I'm sorry but I can only offer this giveaway to UK residents.
In the mean time if you would like to check out approved foods and place your own bargain order please follow the link to the right hand side of this blog post.

*******EDITED 20.02.14- Pam and Sharon looks like you are the lucky winners CONGRATULATIONS!! Please email me your postal addresses at littlefamilyof3@hotmail.co.uk  and I will get your prizes sent straight out to you both. ***********

what is that mysterious orb in the sky??

Yesterday was a very sunny day so I collected Stephanie from her dad's with her bike and we headed off to the park.
for a little lady who initially getting on her bike said she didn't want o. she suddenly decided that she did want to ride her bike, she went off around the lake 4 times! She is a funny girl at times.

Only one hair raising moment when a goose decided to chase her! Turns out that particular goose doesn't like bikes! Once she decided that we had been around the lake enough times we played in the park before going for a swim.

I hope you have all had a lovely start to the half term and those of you that have suffered through the last couple of months weather are able to get sorted out soon.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Slip and a leap

I felt that the last month I have slipped off the non spending band wagon. I have bought a lot of things, although needed I have spent more than I budgeted for. The children have need new clothes/ footwear. I needed new shoes when mine got a leak! With the weather as it has been leaky shoes are not an option!

So this week money has been eekkky. I have had just £0.50 sat in the bank. I had £4.00 in my purse, now that is down to 50p. Stephanie had a non uniform day at school in the week costing £1.00, then the tooth fairy visited last night cost £1.00. Today I took my sister for her wedding dress fitting cost £1.50 for parking. So I have been creative with cooking/meals. It has been good for me as I haven't been able to do what I normally do when tired on a Friday and pop to asda for a pizza. I had to make it using ingredients already in the house. So I have done ok. I will be ok as I have money due in Monday and Tuesday this week. Phew! Not much but enough to cover what I need. I have booked Stephanie on a dance course on Monday which will cost £15.00. The rest of the week we won't need to spend as we have memberships etc we can use. I will need to top the car up it is almost on empty. However, we will just do more local things we can walk to as far as possible. Monday the children have th dentist and from their to Stephanie's dance class, we can't walk to these as they are a couple of towns away and we just won't have time between the 2. I need to collect Stephanie from her dad's tomorrow as his car is broken so he can't drop off as he normally would. Apart from that we will be local all week until Sunday. I have booked us a day out through groupon the day out is half the cost it normally would be and Stephanie has been asking to go for over a year. Its costing me £15.00 for the day instead of £30 thanks to the vouchers. we may pop to the zoo one day as well if the gale force winds die down soon. I don't mind going out in the cold/ wet but I do object to being blown away!

The good news is the money situation means that I have got my total no spend days this year to 25! which I am fantastically pleased with.
The freezer is emptying nicely (needs defrosting) as we are eating up what we have.

Oh and my iron broke today, so I can't do the ironing :-)

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Making the most of it.

As everyone is aware we are having extremely wet weather here in the UK at the moment. I am lucky that where I live we have only been affected by wet roads! I have my car tidal waved by lorries on my way to anf fro work but that is nothing compared to what some areas are experiencing.

In a town only a short drive away there has been horrendous flooding leaving people cut off and unable to get to the shops for food etc.

We have still been able to get out and explore. So on Sunday we went to a park in a nearby town which has been affected by the flooding.

The park has a  lake which has swollen slightly.

This is actually the foot path set fairly far back from the lake. The benches in the background of the photograph are set a couple of foot back from where the lake usually sits.

Knowing my water babe wouldn't be able to resist a splash I packed a spare change of clothes and a flask of hot chocolate for when we had finished.

Emptying her welly- a futile task!

Splish splash!

how deep is it?

Even the little people were exploring.
I hope that the weather stops soon and those who have been affected by the weather are able to get back to normal ASAP!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Learning to sew.

Stephanie has really got interested in sewing and cooking recently. Fabulous news as they are hobbies I enjoy and we can do together.
Last week I made her book week costume, she is going to be Hermione from Harry Potter. I made the robe, but Stephanie decided she would need a satchel bag and she wanted to make it herself. Here she is making it;
We started last Sunday and finished it today. I helped Stephanie with drawing out the pattern pieces and then on how to sew them together. However she has done the bulk of the work herself.
The finished product.

The name Hermione sewn on.

Some wizarding iron on patches.

A very proud little lady with her new bag.
We didn't buy anything to make the bag, it is made completely with items from my stash. The pink fabric is left over from a dressing up outfit I made, we used an old pair of Dylan's jeans in the middle of 2 layers of the pink to add some 'stiffness' to the bag. The handle is made from an old shirt.
The patches were even stashed away. I bought them in a sale something like 50p for the lot when Stephanie was a baby. The intention was to make something with Dylan using them, but he didn't want to use them.
So a bag made by Stephanie and not a penny spent- perfect project!!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

home making, a Hogwarts school uniform tutorial

This weekend I have spent money on items we needed but i have also saved money by making things for myself. The first thing I did was to bottle the fruit vodka I made last year. there is 1 bottle of blackberry vodka the others are damson vodka. It is very strong, I couldn't resist a little taste as I bottled it. It is very strong though I will need lots of lemonade in mine.

One of the full bottles is destined to be a present for my dad's birthday in April, it was my dad who first introduced me to fruit vodkas.

The next thing i have done is make Stephanie's book week costume. She came home fro school on Friday very excited that she can dress a sher favourite charcter. At the moment she is loving Harry Potter, oh who am I trying to kid- she has been into Harry Potter for the last year in  a BIG way. SO she came home can you get me a Hermione costume please mum. Well i looked on amazon- £20! So I decided to make our own. Here is what a did;

I laid Stephanie on a black bed sheet (cheaper than the material in the fabric shop. I drew around her. I then realised I could make less work for myself if I folded the fabric in half. The fold becomes the shoulders, so less seams and no faffing with a neck line!

 Then I folded the template in half to make sure it is symetrical. Also keep it to cut up the front of the costume to make the front opening
This is the cloak before sewing. Sew both sides and along the sleeves.

Once sewn it looks like this. Print off the Harry Potter crest required. As Stephanie is wanting to be Hermione I printed the Gryffindor crest. Laminate to add strength.

Stitch around the outside of the crest to hold it securely in place.

There you have a Hogwarts witching/ wizardry robe for £5.00. If you happen to have an old black bed sheet or other suitable fabric then you could cut the cost even more!
I think Stephanie's face says it all.

Saturday, 1 February 2014


I need to focus. I have lost my focus a little this week. I have bought lunch despite having a packed lunch- because I didn't fancy it! Then I couldn't be bothered to cook so bought a pizza in asda. Today I had a little shopping spree. I have bought things we needed actually if I am honest its things I wanted and convinced myself we need. I could have managed without my favourite smellies- bought at 85% off but still unnecessary. Other things I needed so bought cleaning products etc.

I did spend a little on getting these developed;

Yes I finally got around to developing the photographs of our visit to Disneyland at Christmas. This is item number 15 on my bucket list. I am so pleased with them. It's a shame there aren't more of Dylan but he hates them being taken and gets very upset if I try and get any of him. Not worth spoiling the fun we were having for as they wouldn't be very good with his grump face on them all! LOL
We had such an amazing time. I am so pleased that I managed to save for this experience, and to keep it as a surprise. We got all the way to Disneyland before Stephanie found out where we were going! I will never forget our holiday. Expensive but worth it!
Now I need to get my savings sorted out so we can work towards some more of the items on our bucket list.