Frugalicious Food = Frugal + Delicious

Myself and Cass from Diary of a Frugal Family have decided to start up a food blog - Frugaliscious Food.


Frugal + Delicious = Frugalicious.

You can find us on twitter to @frugaliscious_
We are looking for guest posts too, so if you have a great receipe, then please let either one of us know.




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Cooking with Children – Lamb Stir-Fry


 We were given a some welsh lamb and the ingredients to make a welsh lamb stir fry from the Cool2Cook2 book which has been produced by Meat Promotion Wales (Hybu Cig Cymru) to help get kids cooking.


I love getting the boys in the kitchen, so we set about following the recipe on Saturday evening.  The boys chopped all the vegetables, whilst I did the ginger and MadDad prepared the lamb, which was welsh and organic.


I have to say that the recipe was really easy to follow and the boys did the majority of the work, with me and MadDad supervising.


We really enjoyed it and there was 4 empty bowls at the end of the evening.  In fact the boys enjoyed it so much that we made Lamb Kofta Kebabs out of the book for Sunday dinner.


They went down a treat.  If you can get hold of this cook book then I would, it has some very easy, well balanced recipes in it and the MiniMads want to try them all and I can see it being used time and time again, especially when they are a little older and I can get them to cook dinner for us all!


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Spiritual Sunday – Grateful

I am so grateful to Interflora who sent be a bouquet of flowers just because they like my blog.  They even matched them to the blog colours too.
I am grateful that it is my mums 67th Birthday today, after her hospitalisation and all that came with it earlier in the year, I didn't think we would get this far and we have and she is doing really well.  
I am grateful that she got on to a special COPD trial at the local hospital, even though it makes me taking her twice a week.
I am grateful that we have had a week of Mini going to school without any tears and tantrums.
I am grateful for heating on a cold Sunday morning.
I am grateful for the wonderful friends I have made blogging and on twitter for the support I have been given with Mini starting school.
I am grateful that my Brothers MIL may be released from hospital next week, she has made a miraculous recovery. 
What are you grateful for this week?
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Quality Time with Mini – Face Painting!

Mini and Maxi usually got to football practice on a Saturday morning, but mini has a bit of a cold after starting school, so we decided that we would spend the morning together and let MadDad and Maxi go off to Saturday Club together, whilst we had some quality time together.
So we got out the face paints we had been given as part of the TRU Toyologist programme and had a morning of painting and fun.
Mini decided that he wanted to try out some different ones for Halloween, so I give you the skeleton and vampire looks.
But before you think I got out of this scot free, just being the painter, then think again.  Mini decided that it was only fair that he have a go at painting mummy..............  So let me present Mrs Mad the wicked witch of the North.
The paints are so easy to use and watch off very easily and I removed Mini's first design with baby wipes.  We had such a fun morning.  Plus we are going to look really good at this years Halloween Party.
Review
We were provided with a set of boys Snazaroo Face Paints from Toys R Us which retail at  £9.99.  They are really easy to use and the accompanying booklet gives you loads of ideas for images which you can copy and step by step instructions.  The only issue is the booklet uses both the girl and boy pains which contain different colours and paints.
The pack comes with both a sponge applicator and also a brush and both are very easy tiouse, as you can see from the photo of me, which Mini did all my himself from the book.
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Mourning more than the children being at school

Since I am laying it all bare about how I feel about the boys being at school, it is only fare that I really admit as to why I feel so bad.



Back in July 2008 I had my ovaries and fallopian tubes removed, an oophorectomy is the technical term.  As you may know I carry a genetic spelling mistake which makes me very high risk for a number of cancers.  My Aunt died from ovarian cancer and my other Aunt who had already had a hysterectomy had primary peritoneal cancer (she is currently in remission).  So my risk of ovarian cancer was over a 60% lifetime risk.

We talked to specialists, McMillan and my family and we knew that the risk of contracting ovarian caner increased if I still had my ovaries when I was over 35.  Also ovarian cancer is a silent killer.  Woman tend to be stage 4 before they are even diagnosed, as its symptoms are often just passed off as women's problems.   Also there is not an effective screening programme for it in the UK.

So we made the very hard decision for me to undergo surgery.  This decision was harder than the one to have the mastectomy.  My children were hard come by, I had numerous miscarriages and difficulties when pregnant with both the boys, but we always wanted more.  We discussed when we got married that we would love to have 4 children at least.  But we made the choice that it would be better to be alive for the children we already had rather than take a big risk and try for more children.

I though that I was happy with this decision and it is only since Mini has started school that I realise that I am mourning, not only by gorgeous handsome boys being at school, but I am also mourning the loss of future potential children that we might have had.  I am mourning the life I always thought I would have.



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The Gallery – A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home

I have said before that my main motivation for my boys is happiness, I think that if you are happy you can do anything, take on any challenge and be what ever you want to be.  

Also I find happiness infectious, a smile can light up a room, so for me picking out images that reflect this weeks Gallery was hard, not because I didn't have many to chose from, rather I have lots of images with smiles on.


So enter our world for a moment, Mini is using my hoodie to be Obi-Wan_Kenobi, who is is here (well after MadDad) and the other photo is one of a series of out takes on the first day of school, where the boys couldn't stop laughing!




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Electronics – where do you draw the line or how much is too much?

We have a lot of technology in TheMadHouse, lots of electronic gadgets, gizmo's and games, but for my sanity I we are introducing technology free time.

It has never been an issue for us in the past, but both the boys are getting to an age where they would gladly play on the Wii, their leapsters, Daddy's ipod touch or the PS2 for all their waking hours.  We are getting tantrums when they are told "no more electronic time".  We have never had to ration it in the past but that is where we are headed.

So we are going to be changing the rules on our reward system and the boys will be able to exchange their points for more than just things in Mummy's shop they will also be able to exchange them for time on the wii, PC or an electronic gadget.  We already work on the premise of no screen time after 6pm, after I read some where that it helps them switch off in time for bed.


 I don't think I am going to be in for an easy ride from the boys and this is not a decision we have taken lightly, but we are going to try.  I am aware that it is going to be hard for me too, as it means no PC or twitter for me too once they are home from school.  It also means that I can not bribe the boys or use the wii as an easy option to stop them fighting, but I am hoping it enhances all our days.

We are also going to have one whole day at the weekend which is technology free after 9am.  This shouldn't be too difficult as we always have a least one family day at the weekend.

I am doing this now, as I don't want to end up with teenage boys who are glued to their screens and have no conversational skill at all.

So wish me luck and where do you stand on the how much is too much line?



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The odd one out

I have that follow feeling in my tummy, the one I describe to the boys as butterflies, but truth be told it isn't.  It is a physical pain caused by dropping them off at the school door each morning.  At least today Mini went in without the tears and upset of last week, at least Maxi always runs to be in, but I walk away with a heavy heart and a hollow emptiness that nothing can fill.

I used to have a career when we lived down South, I was a successful Facilities Manager and my colleagues were shocked by the fact that I was pregnant.  I was the most un-maternal woman in the building, but my love for  my boys has been a slow burner.  I never had a POW feeling when they were born.  They never swept me off my feet with a barrage of warm feelings, but these feelings have grown and developed as I have had the pleasure of learning to be a parent and now I am consumed with overwhelming and unconditional love for them both.  There are days when I might not like them, but I do and always will love them.

I enjoy their company and the time we spend doing, making, playing, baking and just being together.  I fear I am becoming a bore, a lonely, sad mother.  Yes that is what the issue is I am lonely.  I do have friends here, but they have both just gone full time at work, so I am left on my own during the day and I am sad.

I am looking for part time work to help pass the time and to try and make new friends, but it easier said than done.  I have applied for positions, only to be told I am over qualified and to be left feeling even more worthless than I feel anyway.  Before now I have only ever had positive interviews, but I live in an area of high unemployment and my skills although transferable are not as sought after as they should be.  Coupled with the fact that I want to collect the boys from school, well it makes getting a job pretty much impossible (or that is the feeling I have).

So on Wednesday I start 2 mornings a week helping out with the reception children at the school and I am looking forward to it.  I hope that it will help lift my mood and stop me coming home with tears in my eyes.

Worse still are the people who say take some time to do things you want to do, well I WANT to be with my children, I don't want to pamper myself or go for a run, I want to cuddle my boys.  I want to wallow in this self pity.  I don't want to clean the house or do the ironing.  I want to go to the park and find shells with the boys on the beach.  I want more children, which I can not have.
I am mourning the loss of her children.  The woman who has marked the calender and is looking forward in an unnatural way to half term.  I listen to the other mums talking about their children being at school and I feel nothing in common with them at all.  I do not relish the start of the school day or dread the clock ticking closer to collection time, in fact I feel the opposite and look forward to collecting the boys and visiting the park.

So in a lot of ways I guess I am the odd one out.



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Wonderful Whitby Abbey

We are lucky enough to live a mere 20 minutes away from Whiby and thankfully the boys love the place as much as MadDad and I do.  We take every opportunity to escape the humdrum and melt in to the old fashioned perfectness of Whitby, but we don't often go to the Abbey, in fact I can not remember the last time we went.

So on Friday as the sun was shining, school had not yet started and MAdDad was off, plus we were looking after my 5 year old niece (as her Nanna is terminally ill), so we decided Whitby was where we were going.


We loved it, yes it is often windy, but it is a fantastic place to explore and allow the children to be free.  I have to say that we have been members on English Heritage since Maxi was born and I love visiting with the boys. 

We took a picnic and some books and had a wonderful relaxing visit.

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TheMads go Mad at Butlins

As I was going to be at TheMads we decided to make it a family break and take the children to Butlins, now I have never ever been to Butlins and the last time MadDad went was over 35 years ago, so I think we had preconceived ideas.
We stayed in the Shorline hotel and I have to say I was super impressed with the size and layout of the rooms.  The boys room area had junior bunkbeds and a TV and DVD player, which showed children's TV channels.  The room had a big fridge and also tea and coffee making facilities.  It was perfect.  The only issue we had was that our package didn't include breakfast and that would have been £30 for the four of us in the hotel, but that didn't put us off, we took advantage of the large fridge and had cereal and milk!
The first thing the boys wanted to experience was the pool and experience it we did!  In our two days at Butlins we spent more time in the pool than anywhere else.  We were wrinkly prunes, but the boys adored it and so did we.  Maxi got to go on 3 of the slides as he was the right height and Mini enjoyed the children slides and also the white slide too.  My only gripe about the pool is that there is nowhere to hang your towels in the shower area and we like to wash our hair after being in the pool.  During the days we either spent our time in the pool or the play area outside.  The boys didn't go on any of the rides at all, although they did spend an hour in the indoor soft play.
I have to say I was pretty apprehensive about the entertainment.  I had visions of young children being entertained whilst the parents all had a drink and left them too it (not that there is anything wrong with that, its just not my cup of tea).  Well I needn't have worried.  The little ones entertainment is in the pavilion and there is a stage in the centre and a coffee area where parents and children can sit.
The boys had so much fun, they watched Barney, acrobats and got involved in all the drumming.   If they are happy, then we are happy and as parents of young children neither of us want to have a hangover, so a nice coffee went down fine with us.
We ate at Papa John, which is a pizza place and offers a buffet service between 5 and 7, which was perfect for us and the children.  It meant they could have as much salad and pizza as they liked (it was £7.75 for adults and £3.75 for children)
So my verdict, well I am going to leave it to Maxi this time "Can I live here Mummy?"
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