Sunday, 31 August 2008

School Days

So, that's it, the holidays are over today: where on earth did that go?! Tomorrow Emily will be putting on her brand new shiny uniform and starting Year 2 at school; that's her third year of full time school - I just don't know how that happened!!

I know lots of little girls who are starting 'big school' for the first ever time this week. So, lots of luck to Elise, Gracie, Milli, Charlotte, Amber, Annabel and Alyssa; I know you'll all love it and do really well!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Billy Jimmy Choo

Could Imelda Markos pop by and pick her child up please?!.....

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Sniff, Er, I Seem To Have Something In My Eye!!

Yesterday, Emily spent the day with Auntie Gemma and her fellow bridesmaid Ellie trying on bridesmaid dresses. They got them and when I went to pick Emily up she tried it on, along with tiara and flowers: OMG! Can't remember last time I've been that choked up; she looked absolutely beautiful (and so grown up!). And then my sister goes and puts Xander in his waistcoat and cravat from his pageboy outfit; what are you trying to do to me woman!

Can't post pics till after the wedding but believe me, they'll be worth the wait!!

Monday, 25 August 2008

In Training For 2012

We've loved watching the Olympics round here over the past couple of weeks so were really sad to see it end yesterday. I can't wait for it to come to England in 2012 and really hope we can get tickets; I've always wanted to go and watch it!
Anyway, I was quite surprised at how Xander took to it; I really thought he was too young to pay much notice but he seems to have loved it! In the past couple of days, I think he's realised that he wants to be an Olympic athlete as he's been practising every time the athletics came on. He comes up, knocks on my knee and says : "Marks" and then does this:

On your marks...

Get set...


He's already broken the Gillard World Record for the 'Round The Dining Table Sprint' and is aiming for gold in the 2009 World Championships in the 'Vaulting Over The Chair Arm' event!

Today's Bank Holiday and Rob's working so it's just been me and the munchkins. This morning, whilst Xander had his nap, Emily and I did some scrapbooking. Emily did 2 layouts, first one of her and Abi:

Then pictures of Grandad's RAF Day:

I finally got a layout finished that was from an ideas Lauren's sister Mandy showed me. Mandy's a scrapbooking teacher in South Africa so obviously has some good ideas! This is a layout of Xander at the Eureka Museum the other week:With a nice bit of stitching on the pockets:So, quite a productive day, which is a good job as this week is going to be busy. Emily is going bridesmaid dress shopping with my sister tomorrow while I study, then off to the seaside with my parents on Thursday. Once that's done and the weekend's been and gone we're back to school! Where does the time go?!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The Mini-Me Of Quilts!

There's been quite a bit of quilting happening around here this past week. Our friends Mandy and Nick had a beautiful baby girl, Molly, a couple of weeks ago; so what better excuse to buy tonnes of pink squares and run up a baby quilt!

Once I got started, I realised I had too many squares for one quilt, and so decided to make a mini-me quilt for Molly's big sister Ella, so she could use it for her dolls.

I also had my first ever go at embroidering free hand, by personalising Molly's quilt. Hmmm, the embroidery actually came out OK, the quilting round the edge, not so well! Anyway, she's 2 weeks old, what will she care?!

My next project is to make a 'jeans' quilt. We have enough old denim round here to make quite a big one so hopefully that'll be ready by the time Winter sets in (probably next week the way this Summer's gone!!).

Friday, 22 August 2008

Billy, Billy & The Big Bunny!

We've had a lovely afternoon: we went down to Cannon Hall with my neighbour Jill and her son Matthew. It's been a while since Emily and Matthew (who's her age) have had chance to play together so it was good to get them together.

The main attraction down there is the farm. Last time I went, I was pregnant with a certain little bubba so couldn't really stroke or feed the animals. This time I could, and so could that certain little bubba!
He also seemed mightily impressed with what was, quite frankly, the biggest bunny I've ever seen in my life:

However, there were also some teeny tiny bunnies to balance things out a bit:

After a bit of coaxing (and lots of convincing that they wouldn't eat her hand!) Emily got down to feeding the goats:

And this guy queued up for his turn:

And this Billy who looked very curious about our Billy:

A lovely day all in all and thankfully it stayed dry for us! Just one week of the school holidays left now then back to the usual routine; along with having a child in Year 2! Sniff!!

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Onions & Pretzels

What's this? A food related post on the blog that has nothing to do with cakes, muffins or cookies?!

Yesterday was definately a day for savoury flavourings!

My son has strange taste! After I'd picked him up from nursery, we popped to the Co-Op to buy some onions. Xander had great fun, helping me pick them then carrying them back to the car. He then sat and held them all the way home, took them in the house, kept tight hold while I took off his shoes, still keeping hold when I put Playhouse Disney on. Eventually he put them on the floor infront of him so I picked them up and put them in the kitchen - BIG mistake! Cue screams, tantrums, beating of fists until I eventually handed them back and he continued to hug them! Strange boy! Know what to get him for his birthday now.

Then, last night, I went for my first ever trip to Costco with my friend Cheryl. OMG! Now, for theose blog readers over the pond, Costco's probably no big thing, but I've never seen anything like it in this country! Rob and I have been to the US several times and always love the supermarkets; as soon as I walked in this place I said to Cheryl 'I feel like I'm in an American supermarket'. It even smelt like an American supermarket! Then I got to all the American style food; it was HUGE! That's what I always love about America, they don't dilly dally about with 'individual' portions; they find the biggest container they can and whack it in!!

After hotfooting it down to the Membership desk to say 'sign me up woman!' I then went back and bought a few treats to take home. First of all a huge back of San Francisco coffee (we both lurve SF!), a family size back of beef jerky for my hubby; and this little tub of pretzels!

Poor Rob didn't know what to try first! I'm already planning another trip down there on payday!

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Round Up!

Almost a week since I last blogged? That's not like me at all these days; I'm usually very keen to waffle on aimlessly!!

In my defense, I have been majorly busy this last week or so. I'm right in the middle of my final project for my English course. It has quite a large percentage mark towards my final degree grading so I'm putting in lots of work to get the best mark I can. So, I've been knuckling down to it and doing lots of research lately; I'm now starting the analysis part which I'm hoping goes well and backs up my argument or I may have to do a bit of quick thinking!!

I also had a bit of a run of domestic goddessness this past week! I did tonnes of baking last week: cakes, muffins, cookies etc; finally got round to doing all those little bits of sewing that have been mounting up (patching up jeans, sewing on buttons etc); blitzed the housework which had been somewhat neglected lately; and got a quilt made for our friends Mandy & Nick's new baby girl Molly!

The weekend was very busy too. Aswell as the aforementioned studying and domesticity, I had the indignity of getting on a bike for the first time in a year! Emily is getting so good on her bike that it's impossible to keep up on foot, so I borrowed Rob's bike to go and follow her around the park. Surprisingly I did only fall off once, but I ached in places I didn't know you could ache the day after!

On Saturday evening we went to Ally and Steve's for some pizza, beer and a bit of a disco in the conservatory; cue the kids completely ignoring the disco and Ally and I dancing round to Duran Duran!

Yesterday was a trip over the Pennines to take Emily to her Nanna's. She's staying there for a few days and doing fun stuff while I get yet more work done! Though how much they'll be able to do with this blooming weather I don't know!

Right, back to it!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

A What Cake Cooked In A What?!!

Yesterday, I decided to try something new in the baking department. I made a cake from a new recipe book I got last week. What's in it? Carrot and parsnip! Yes, that's parsnip as favoured in a Sunday Roast, but not really top of a cake ingredients list! But, why on earth not, thought I'd give it a go!

Then, the other unusual thing about this recipe. Did I stick it in a cake tin and bang it in the oven? No, where would the fun be in that? It went in the slow cooker for a few hours! Don't know if I've missed something all these years but I've never heard of cooking a cake in a slow cooker. So far, my slow cooker experience has been chilli, chilli and chilli; so last week I bought a slow cooker cook book and so far, it's been pretty successful. The other night I made Italian sausage stew which was absolutely beautiful, so when I saw they did puddings, I thought I'd trust them!

And the verdict? De-blooming-licicious!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Debunking A Myth!

So far today I have:

Got 2 kids and myself up, washed and dressed
Done a load of washing
Played 6 rounds of hangman with Em
Made Em a batch of pancakes from scratch
Been to the supermarket
Made a cake
Dewormed the cats
Done the washing up
Caught up on all emails regarding playdates, birthdays etc
Devised a colour coded revision tool
Revised field, tenor, obligation, social distance, semantic domain, lexical choice, nominalisation, theme/rheme and deontic modality

And it's still only 12.15!

There are still a few people out there who think that housewives and/or students sit around all day drinking coffee and watching daytime tv! Ha!

Oh, better add 'written a blog post' to that list! ;)

Monday, 11 August 2008

Soggy Weekend!

It's been a bit of a wet weekend all in all, but fun none the less!

On Friday we took the kids to Flamingoland which was great! They had lots of rides:

Lots of animals, who at times seemed more curious about us than we were of them:Xander got to see his favourite 'Ish':And Emily's favourite 'Aslans':Xander got his first ever go on a 'proper' theme park ride, which he loved:

So how does this constitute part of a soggy weekend when as you can see, the weather was pretty dry? Well, something possessed me to do this with my daughter; look at the second row from the back (note to self: it's fine having a hood, but they tend to blow off when you're hurtling down a shoot at 100mph!!):

The other part of our soggy weekend was on Saturday. We got 24 hours kid free and headed off to Marie's house for a music festival in the town square. One problem with outdoor festivals: they don't do too well when it's bucketing it down!! We did brave a couple of bands but did spend most of the day in the pub trying to keep dry!! Now obviously, this was no great hardship, but it was a shame that the festival was a bit of a washout. It was really nice though to spend a kid free day with Marie, and her hubby Kendo and some of Marie's friends (hi Paula and Karen!!).

Afterwards, we went back to Marie and Kendo's where Marie kicked my behind on Guitar Hero! Alas I shall never be a rockstar!

All in all, it's been a lovely weekend; though I'm planning on staying much drier for the rest of the week!!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Oh How They Grow!

OK, so we all know that these little munchkins of ours grow up way too quick, but sometimes you have those moments when it really hits home. Like the other day when we went to Eureka! the children's museum. Bless Eureka! it hasn't changed a bit since we were last there 4 years ago, which made for a few moments of de javu when we looked at the pictures. Of course, the presence of Xander was new in the pics, but one element was still there, but looked remarkably different (ie much bigger!!):

Sniff! My little girl's all grown up!

Of course, she loved the museum, lots of things to discover for her ever curious brain! What was quite surprising was how much Xander loved it; we thought most of it would just go over his head but he was fascinated and was into everything:

Today we're off to Flamingoland, no doubt Xander will have a whale of a time practising his animal impressions!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Pilot Heroes & Biker Chicks

You may have noticed that there's been a distinct lack of scrapbooking going on on the Garlics lately. Of course, I'm not to blame; it's all Marie and Lauren's fault! Firstly, my weekly scrapbooking crops with Lauren were rudely interrupted by her giving birth (Abi, I love you, but me and mummy have to scrap, it's the law!). Of course, I still have my online crops with Marie, but lately she's been making me gossip and drink wine whilst chatting on MSN instead; Marie, it's not on woman! :P

However, I have actually manage to soldier on and complete my first layout in nearly 4 weeks! You may remember a few weeks ago I blogged about Grandad's RAF reunion. Well, it produced some wonderful pictures and so just had to be scrapbooked; plus so many people loved this picture of Xander and his Great Grandad (including me!) that I couldn't resist!
So, this week Rob has taken a week off so we can do some family stuff. We have a couple of days out planned but yesterday we just had a lazy day, including some time at the park. It turned out to be a momentous day as Emily finally got the hang of riding her bike without the stabilisers! Go Emily! It's a good job really; as you can see from the video, the bike's getting way too small for her now and we need to start thinking about asking Santa for a shiny new big girl bike (and they don't come with stabilisers!!)

She now won't get off the bike, which is going to prove difficult when we need to go anywhere!

Monday, 4 August 2008

Remembering Reece

When I was first pregnant with Xander, I joined a birthclub online and met 3 other women who have turned out to be really good friends: Marie, Rachel and Wendy. We'd log on every day to talk about our pregnancy woes, plans for the future and excitement when we all found out we were having boys! Eventually, Marie had Ewan, Rach had Cam, I had Xander and Wendy had Reece. Today is Reece's 2nd birthday but also the 2nd anniversary of his passing. :(

To call it tragic is an understatement, I don't think anyone can beleieve it still. I can't even imagine what Wendy and her lovely husband John went through. What made it harder was they live in the US, and so going round and comforting them was impossible and I know all Marie, Rach and I wanted to do was get on a plane and be with them.

However, Wendy and John have coped admirably throughout all this and they have kept Reece's memory alive beautifully. Reece also now has a little brother, Ian, and I know he will be brought up with his big brother firmly in the forground of his mind.

So, today I will be remembering this special little boy and sending all my love to Wendy, John and Ian.

Happy Birthday from Auntie Lou. xx

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I sat down this morning to do some studying, and this is the view that greeted me:

This is my final course book and as you can see, there ain't much left! Woop woop! Now OK, I do have a 6 week research project to do and the dreaded exam (I will apologise now for the black cloud that will no doubt be my constant companion for the next 2 1/2 months!) but, after studying these things since February, it's quite a momentous day that I'll finish them! In a strange way, I think I'm going to miss them!

So, this is where the hard work begins. I'm averaging about 78% at the moment, which is well within my target of a 2:1; but the research project carries a lot of marks and the exam is 50% of the total, and I haven't done an exam since my Maths GCSE in 1990! Aarghhh!!

So, wish me luck, think I'm going to need it!!