|COOK|stuffing smothered pork chops

I noticed how cheap the pork chops were on a recent shopping list, but The Hubs finds them a little bland on their own.  I thought I'd tart them up a bit with some things I usually have in the fridge and cupboards!  The Hubs loved them, they still work out pretty cheap but taste nice (apparently!)

Serves 4
4 pork chops
100g stuffing mix
4 slices smoky bacon
4 slices of cheese

1. Pop the oven on at 160oC
2. Make up stuffing according to packet (I didn't add the optional butter). Flatten 1/4 of the stuffing onto each pork chop.
3. Wrap bacon round the pork chop and stuffing, hold in place with a cocktail stick if necessary.
4. Bake in a shallow dish in the oven for 25 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and place a slice of cheese on top, put back in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Enjoy! Lx

|FUN|Around the world, guest bloggers, food ideas & featured activities

We had a great feature month last month and some really great guest posts and featured activities.  A full round up and acknowledgements will be coming up on Wednesday.

This months theme is 'Around the World' I have met some wonderful friends from all around the world, online and this is our little way of recognising the different customs and cultures of those we interact with.

We will be doing our usual activities, but we are looking for guest bloggers and if you've an already published post you like us to feature we'd love to hear from you!

Anyway, if you feel you have something which fits the bill or would like to share, please let me know and I'll make sure it happens.

Leave me a comment, or send an email  :)

Hope to have some more wonderful collaborations again this month.

|FAMILY|sealife centre, Great Yarmouth

Last weekend we thought we'd take T to the seaside, to have a wander on the beach, eat fish & chips on the prom and go to the sealife centre, our nearest beach is Hunstanton, but as the Sealife centre was closed for refurbishment we decided on Great Yarmouth instead, and to my delight the Octonauts were also there which I knew would be a great hit with T.

We set off early and so arrived in Great Yarmouth at around 10.30, I didn't do my usual plannig to find a nearby car park so we did end up quite a way a way, however, a friendly traffic warden helped to se us in the right direction, and provided a little local history lesson at the same time!

The donkeys were on the beach, I didn't even metion to T about riding on one as he wasn't interested when we saw the ones at the scarecrow festival! 

We got to the Sealife centre and were given a little pack from them and some Octonauts goodies, a sample magazine, a paper hat, a colouring sheet etc. We used a 2 for 1 merlin voucher and T as an under 3 was free, it would have cost £15 for the 3 of us, had I not been talked into purchasing a guide book and pacu food - each £3.  The first thing we did was feed the pacu's. The food lastest about as long at T's attention span, by this time he knew the Octonauts were in town and wanted to see them!

We watched the penguins, they were a bit stinky!

T was really fascinated by the turtles and the starfish.

T finally got to meet Peso, they shook hands and T stood in front for a photo.

We had a mini meltdown in the gift shop, T wanted to buy the over priced Octonauts merchandise, but there was no way we were going to pay 4 times more than we'd paid for some characters in Asda, trying to communicate that with a 2 year old is quite difficult.  We agreed on having fish & chips for lunch and then going back for a souvenir.

Rather then eat on the prom, which I really wanted to do, we went to Harry Ramsden's it was lovely and I had fish & chips too, I know most vegetarians would gasp in horror, but it really is just on the very rare occasion that I succumb.  This came to £25 for the 2 of us as we shared ours with T!  In hindsight, next time we will eat on benches overlooking the sea, just like my sis and I did with our grandparents as children.

After lunch we headed back to the Sealife centre shop, T had a large shark toy and an Octonauts book, he was getting really tired by this point and needed a nap.

The hubs and T had this photo done which is going up in T's bedroom.

We took a stroll back to the car via the beach, T helped me collected some pebbles and sand for a little craft project and got quite tired so ended up being carried back to the car half asleep, in the car park, he ran off messing about trying to play hide and seek which made his Dad very angry, they both got upset and it was a shame to end our day that way.

All in all we had a lovely day, I'm not going to let a couple of small incidents mar a rare family day out.  I'm really looking forward to our next trip, to Clacton to visit friends, either at the end of October or begining of November.

|PAPERY PEEP|my month in paper

After the thrill of last months papery peep, I found myself a bit in limbo this month and feel as though I didn't really get very far when it came to my paper adventure.

I read the grand total of 0 paper books, I have read 3 paper magazines, but I'm ashamed to say that I slipped over to the dark side and read 2 ebooks and 2 emags!

I am also ashamed to say that I am a very bad penpal this month, I have a stack of correspondence to address but it's still waiting for attention, this is foremost on my list of to-do's.  I have, however, treated myself to some rather lovely stationery for my pen letters so that was a positive :)

T and I wrote a little letter to his cousin just before he started school, who apparently was thrilled to receive his letter with a few little extra's.

T has a few packages and letters this month, he's even started to ask if there's anything for him when we collect the post from the post box.

I wanted to participate in the national 'thinking of you week' but I clean forgot about it - I'd not written it in either of my planners and so I forgot :( 

I didn't manage to start #30lists this time let alone finish it, I think it was a challenge too far and that's the one that had to give, I may try and complete it as and when or I may just mark it down to experience, as of yet I'm undecided.

I did manage to make a wedding card from some recycled packaging which I was super proud of.

T and I are hosting our kids sticker swap, it's not too late to join, I'm closing the group on the evening of Monday 29th September, email me if you'd like to participate, I'm really looking forward to putting together a little package for our recipient and T's on snack choosing duties!

On a slightly different papery note, I'm really struggling with paper from work at the moment, I have on average 3 meetings per day which have minutes, agendas & actions plus many, many other respective documents or papers for the various projects I'm working on.  Now I know there is a time and place for paper and I want to try really hard to use my ipad more to read my agendas and minutes and bamboo paper to record my own notes but I do struggle with it, the consequence is, a paper trail equivalent to a small forest has infrultrated my desk and workspace!  This really needs managing so I will be concentrating on that, this coming month.

Wow there we have it, my month in paper!

I'm joining up to The Reading Residence's papery peep for this post.

The Reading Residence

|THE LIST|27 September

Hi and welcome to my 'The List' this is my first post and I'm hoping to join in every week with bulletpoints of reflection from the previous week.  Each week will not be this intense, I promise!

Blog/social media
~ the past couple of weeks have confirmed what I thought! I really need my blog planner and schedule to keep up momentum! I need to do this for work so why should by personal/blog life be on a 'wing and a prayer'?
~ T and I have made great progress this week on prepping for post projects (because I've planned!) 5 in total.
~ We received another product for review this week, looking forward to that being posted next Wednesday.
~ Have braved contacting people I know in real life to join in my kids sticker swap! is this where my real-life and blog-life start to merge??  A few are from work - no-one at work knows about my blog!
~ Trying to use twitter more, but not having a lot of sucess.
~ Have too many ideas for time at the moment and trying to think of ways to capture it all so nothing is lost!
~ Trying to identify best times and when to communicate about blog posts.
~ Joining in with new linky's (like this!)

~ T has  had no accidents this week, that includes naps at nursery too, so yes I think he's definitely cracked that one.
~ T has become one of those annoying 'Mummy, Mummy, Mummy, Mummmmeeeee' kids, I'm really hoping this is a phase!  When I ignore him he gets upset.  How can I stop this?  Advice welcomed please! 
~ T has started to say 'what?' All... The... Time... we're working on 'pardon' and it seems to be getting better.
~ T now gets himself dressed 'properly' and is loving that independence.
~ T has started to write random letters down, he doesn't recognise any other than 'T for Thomas' but both nursery and we are chuffed with that!
~ The Hubs attended a Microsoft server course,  won't pretend to understand, cause I don't, but very proud of him nevertheless!
~ The Hubs is all into The Ryder Cup at the moment.
~ We had a lovely day out last Saturday as a special treat for T, more about that tomorrow.
~ The teens are getting on well back at school, H didn't make the school football team but doesn't seem too bothered by that.  His weekend team lost 8-3 last week.
~ Grandpa is in hospital again, this time he's had 2 falls.  Hoping to visit later or tomorrow. 

~ I completely wasted yesterday again! Just drifted aimlessly through the day without too much thought and very little accomplished.
~ Feeling shattered, started taking vitamin D, multi vitamins and forever echinacea.
~ Ready for autumn now! starting to feel cosy and put all the fairy lights on last night, if it wasn't for damn x-factor I'd be snuggling up with my boy on the sofa.
~ Very pleased that Strictly has started.
~ Collected the free lego from The Daily Mail

You may notice that there's a distinct lack of information about work - there's a reason for that, I want my list to be constructive, positive or something I really want to record for future (will help me with project life too!) none of which can be said about work at the moment ;)

Mums' Days

|#MYKIDSAID|'Ladies do the dinners...'

Me to T - when you are a big boy you will have to get dressed and make your own breakfast
T - no Mummy, I won't
Me - why darling?
T - because ladies do the dinners and I'm a boy!!

Well he certainly hasn't been brought up like that and I know it's not come from nursery, so I can only assume this was observational. Suffice to say Daddy is cooking dinner tonight!!



His word this week, not mine. 

Seriously if I've heard him say 'mummy, mummy, mummy etc etc' once, I've heard it a million times!!!

And if I don't answer after 3 times he gets all hyper sensitive and says I'm being mean to him! 

Didn't see this coming at all.

Linking up to The Reading Residence Word of the Week.

|FUN|rock excavation

I saw these awesome excavation rocks over on familyandcraft Instagram feed and just knew we had to have a go!  Well my first idea was to create 'eggs' which is why they contain crocodiles and turtles but I realised they were far too dark and hard so in the end I just added them to our ocean small world as rocks, then after a while showed T how to reveal the surprise within!

ingredients for 'stone dough' - I used 1/2 these quantities and made 5 rocks
1 cup dried coffee grinds
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup sand or cornmeal
3/4 cup water

Mix all dry ingredients together.

Add water, then shape around 'treasure' or figures.

Bake on low for up to 2 hours.

I gave T a small hammer to help him break open the rocks, ours weren't actually 'baked' all the way through but this was quite good for T ask it meant he could get into them relatively easily.

We have a pinterest board dedicated to all things 'ocean themed' for small children, have a look for some ideas, or better still follow us, all of this months ocean blog posts will be added throughout the month. We will be tagging all of our activities with #booboxocean if you'd like to follow or join in over on Instagram or twitter. All of our ocean themed blog posts can be found here if you'd like to catch-up.

|#kidsstickerswap|ideas and more details

I'm organising our first kids sticker swap and as you can see, we are really excited by it!  I saw a great idea over at The Reading Residence for fantastic packages of stickers for kids, unfortunately I can't afford to subscribe, so I thought I'd organise a swap instead! 

A few people have already signed-up but our cut off is Monday 29 September so if you'd like to join in, please email me or leave a comment below, the more the merrier :)

We're looking to receive our packages by 20 October.

I've started to put together some ideas on our kids sticker swap pinterest board these include lunchbox notes, printable stickers and some ideas for how use your stickers.

This got me thinking about what to put in my sticker pack, so here's a little list of things that I'm going to keep handy for when I'm putting my package together, if you've got other ideas, please leave me a comment, I'd love to make this a joint effort!  If you would like to post to our pinterest board do let me know, you don't have to be part of the swap to share ideas!

If you join the swap I will automatically send you an invite to post to the pinterest board if I know your account.

Here's my idea's list...
stickers (obviously!)
lunchbox notes
foam stickers/shapes
postage stamps
cute post-it notes
post-it flags
pictures cut from magazines etc
Oh yes and we're going to add a couple of little treats in for good measure!
(Edit 30/09/14)
sticker earrings
nail stickers
(Edit 19/10/14)
Window clings

Oh and I'm thinking about a Christmas sticker swap - anyone in?????? ;)

|CREATE|The rainbow fish CD craft

Today's ocean themed craft is brought to you from our friends over at 3princessesand1dude they have made these amazing CD fishes, T and I will be trying them out at the weekend too, what a great recycling project!  Thank you so much for contributing to our ocean month.
And so without further ado, over to Becky!
This week we have been reading stories and doing some Under The Sea activities. Our favourite story was The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. We watched the story HERE. The monsters loved the animation and were all enthralled by the 6 minute video!

Whilst they watched the video in set up a quick activity so we could make our own rainbow fish.

To Make 1 fish you will need:

PVA  Glue
Googly Eye
Sticky Gems
Anything Colourful you can stick!
First of all cover the shiny side of the CD in glue..then stick on your gems/sequins and other sparkly bits! Add a googly eye and leave to dry. 
Whilst your waiting draw some fish lips and a tail and glue to the respective sides of the CD you should end up with something like this:
We made a shoal of fish and made an interactive art piece! complete with blue wavy sea (a blue sheet!!) and seaweed (ripped strips of crepe paper). The monsters loved making their fish 'swim' around!
We love how sparkly and shiny and rainbowy they turned out! And what a use for those old scratched CD's!! 
We have a pinterest board dedicated to all things 'ocean themed' for small children, have a look for some ideas, or better still follow us, all of this months ocean blog posts will be added throughout the month.  We will be tagging all of our activities and food with #booboxocean if you'd like to follow or join in over on Instagram or twitter.  All the ocean themed posts on the blog can be found here.
If you have an ocean themed post you'd like us to link to or you'd like to write a guest post, please leave a comment, there's always space for more!

|COOK|sausage & potato hash

The nights are drawing in now, so a little midweek comfort food to keep you and your family suitably full for a night in front of the TV and fire!

Serves 4
5 medium potatoes, scrubbed and diced (leave the skin on)
8 sausages
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 peppers, chopped
2 chicken, vegetable or pork stock cubes
1 cup water

1. In a frying pan, heat the oil and cut the sausages into slices directly into the hot oil, fry until browned.  Heat the oven to 160oC.
2. Tip the sausages and oil into a large bowl and add 1 stock cube, the water, potatoes, peppers and onion, mix thoroughly and tip into a 1.5 litre casserole.
3. Sprinkle the remaining stock cube over the top and cover with baking foil.
4. Bake in the oven for 15 mins, remove the foil and cook for a further 15 mins.
5. Serve with some yummy veggies and enjoy!

Have a lovely week! Lx

|COOK|local & free food and meal planning Monday - 22 September

~ Harvest/forage/store ~
11 eggs
1 cucumber
Fallen apples for the chickens

 ~ Meals made from the garden/forage ~
Egg muffins
Small bit of salad from the garden
Green beans from honesty table
Nettle soup from freezer

~ Progress ~
Not a lot, but looking out for more on the honesty stand.

~ Plant/sow/forage ~
Buy runner beans from honesty stand
Try and get hold of some free courgettes
Harvest salad leaves
Forage more nettles!
Harvest baby beets

~ To do ~
WIP Prepare planting plans for winter harvest.
Pickle some shallots

And onto this weeks meal plan...

~ Meal Plan ~

Monday - Cheese & onion pasties, with sautĂ©ed new potatoes & salad
Tuesday - Chip night
Wednesday - Cheese soufflĂ© with salad & chips
Thursday - Turkey escalope with carrots & tartiflette
Friday - Chilli pockets
Saturday - K & Dad's curry!
Sunday - Sausage pasta

Enjoy your week Lx

Linking in to meal planning Monday over at athomewothmrsm.com

|FUN|halloween playdate

We love hosting play date's, we love having T's cousins round for a few themed activities and food and so we can see each other.  Although T sees a lot of his cousins separately, the 3 of them don't get to see each other at the same time very often.

Our Halloween playdate was our first one and we had a great day.

The Hubs and I spent quite a bit of time planning the day together, we both wanted our play dates to be a joint affair!  The Hubs took charge of our first activity and helped the little ones carve a pumpkin, although T was the only one who was willing to scrape out the pumpkin guts!

After everyone had a hand in carving the pumpkin, we had some lunch, there wasn't really anything very spooky or themed, only the tableware.  The food was just veggies & dips with cocktail sausages, I didn't want to 'theme' it too much and run the risk of putting them off!!  I did do jelly in spooky glasses, topped with a little squirty cream and ghost sprinkles!

After lunch they all laid down for a rest in a nest on the floor, they watched a Scooby Doo Halloween film, this was supposed to be for T to take a nap, but of course, he didn't!

After their rest it was time for another activity, this time it was monster gloop, with pumpkin stirrers, they especially liked this messy activity.  As the oldest, Molly liked it the most and showed the boys how to mould the gloop, we all got very messy, myself and Sis included.

After a bit of clean-up, we decorated pumpkin cookies.

It was time to go and everyone took home a spooky party bag filled with, a clementine pumpkin, spooky bubbles, a pumpkin straw and lots of goodies!

We hope you like our Halloween play date. It's just the 2 boys and me this year and in the evening we're going to have an adults scary Halloween evening - I can't wait, I love Halloween!! 

See you soon, I hope you are having a good weekend Lx

|FUN|Ocean themed books

Today we bring you some ocean and sea themed books from Story Snug and a little peek at a cute book nook and some more book recommendations from Cuddles & muddles & muddy puddles.

It's no secret that I love books and that I encourage T to read all the time, so I was delighted when Cuddles & muddles & muddy puddles and Catherine at Story Snug said they'd like to join us for our ocean activities month.

Catherine has some lovely suggestions for books to accompany this theme, you can visit her blog here and see the lovely books she's recommending.  Have a look round - there are loads of book recommendations to share with you little ones.

I particularly like the look of 'commotion in the ocean' and T and I are off to the library this week to have a look to see if we can find it!

Cuddles & muddles & muddy puddles made this fantastic book nook in their cardboard den.  I really love this idea and T and I will be definitely be making a book nook sometime, I can't wait to have somewhere to snuggle up and hang out with books!  You can link to their post here.

There are also some reading recommendations for 'under the sea' books!  And you can see their cute little small world aquarium here. Have a look around whilst you are there, there's lots of great activities for toddlers.

Thanks so much for joining us ladies, we've loved being able to incorporate books into our theme and really appreciate you helping out.

We are off to find some books this week, what are you up to?  Have you read any good books with your young ones lately?

We have a pinterest board dedicated to all things 'ocean themed' for small children, have a look for some ideas, or better still follow us, all of this months ocean blog posts will be added throughout the month.  We will be tagging all of our activities and food with #booboxocean if you'd like to follow or join in over on Instagram or twitter.  All the ocean themed posts on the blog can be found here.
If you have an ocean themed post you'd like us to link to or you'd like to write a guest post, please leave a comment, there's always space for more!