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The Dog Eats The Leftovers

About This Blog

This Blog is meant to be a light-hearted look at how a parent as to navigate his or her way through life whilst bringing up two teenagers on a very limited income. We want to share what we have learnt and hopefully help anyone else out there struggling to make things work in a seemingly chaotic world. I don't always get it right and I am certainly not perfect.....

Memory walk For Alzeihmer’s

Families Posted on Sun, September 13, 2015 19:11:41

Adam and I did the Memory Walk for Alzeihmer’s today. We went there, did it and got the T-Shirts. I was walked out by the end of it but it was a very positive experience. I’m not sure if they will ever find a “cure”. It’s such a complex condition. How much of any disease is caused by diet, lifestyle, stress, relationships………we are such complicated creatures. Perhaps if we all learnt to enjoy the present a bit more and count every minute as a blessing we might all be healthier.

After wards we went to see mum and dad. Its a rare occasion for them to have both their children there at the same time.

my friend Ollie

Pets Posted on Sun, September 13, 2015 18:59:26

It doesn’t matter where I am, what I am doing or how busy the day…Ollie is always there. Most of the time he’s hedging his bets in case there’s food around but, even so…..most humans are never THAT pleased to be in my company. His breath isn’t so sweet now but he’s still gorgeous.


Money Matters Posted on Sat, September 12, 2015 15:02:30

For anyone that claims family tax credits you know how damn complicated the paperwork is. I completely went into meltdown recently when I thought I was losing a considerable amount of money because Noel had left school.

I am not good at reading forms and when I went and read the form again a few weeks after the meltdown I realised I needed to TELL THEM which college and course he was going on so that I could still claim benefits.

I also forgot that my earnings have plummeted this year and I had moved down into the lower working hours bracket. So I phoned them up and estimated my earnings and I assumed it was put right. But then I got a letter with the new information and half of it was wrong………. So I wrote to them…….

Word of advice…….read your tax credit details VERY carefully and follow up with a letter reinforcing what you told them on the phone if you need to change anything.

ALSO……TALK TO PEOPLE. My neighbour suggested I apply for housing benefit as I am on a low income at the moment. I really don’t want to live on benefits…..I would prefer to earn my own money and be able to support myself. But life is difficult and if the help is there ASK. Its not a case of pride. If you know you can turn it around and get the job you want you will do it. But don’t be too proud to ask for help. Check out your local council web sites and also the Government benefits pages. Even the best and greatest people have tough times.

What to do when your kids don’t need you.

Families Posted on Sat, September 12, 2015 14:42:58

I’ve worked in schools for most of my life, primarily as a freelance drama and dance teacher. I used to enjoy the school holidays even though money was always tight. Unfortunately I never got paid during holidays, but you can’t have it all can you?
Spending time with the kids when they were young was a privilege. I was never one of those parents that said “I’m glad they’ve gone back to school” or “They’re doing my head in!!” (popular Leicester expression).

To be truthful, I always felt very depressed when they went back after the holiday. The house felt empty and the thought of six weeks depressing school run in the slowly darkening mornings and evenings put a dampener of everything. Not to mention the Autumn term being the longest and toughest for most teachers and and the oncoming Christmas the most expensive.

This Summer break was different. I’d just lost a job, had no money and no chance of a holiday (not had one for 10 years! nothing new there). But, apart from that… kids don’t need me anymore. They need me to provide food, hugs, counselling and laundry service. They also need me as target practice when something or someone gets them angry and they need to project it onto a crash test mummy/dummy.

To be honest, it was a very lonely 7 weeks and I’m feeling like I’m wasting my potential.

So….time for a new outlook. Time to think ahead.
Maybe a career change. its never too late.

Noel can get a job though. He’s eating too much.


Family friends and their dogs

Families Posted on Thu, July 09, 2015 17:58:26

Oh, I just couldn’t resist this. My lovely friend Mel, her dog Iris. She has hay fever and can’t stop scratching. I laughed like a drain….Iris can’t see the funny side. Mel’s daughters put H.M.S TITANIC on the first one, but it popped!

Bad Breakfast Buys & Ollie

Shopping Posted on Thu, July 09, 2015 17:39:19

5.45am this
morning and I’m trying to drink my coffee in peace and check emails
on my phone. I thought you would be interested to see my
up-close-and- personal friend who had his eye on a few bits of
Carbonara pasta left on the kitchen table. “Come on mum. I’m
starving”. I caved in for the simple reason Ollie salivates like
Niagra and its only a matter of time before one of us slips on the
stuff and ends up at A & E.

As usual I
was lured in by the “reduced” shelf at the local supermarket on
Sunday and came home with a few items for teenage snacking. The
Lizi’s On The Go Granola packets looked really interesting and at 50p
a shot it was worth buying a couple. I could have bought a large
500g packet of own-brand Granola for not much more but – every time
I’ve bought cereal in the past half of it gets left in the cupboard
and 8 months later ends up in the bin. Cereal would rot the dogs
teeth and vets bills are expensive. I can still get human fillings
for kids on the NHS. Anyway, Lizi’s (whoever she is) On The Go was
found by Hayley when she surfaced from her stink-pit at 11.00am. Her
idea of being On The Go was to stand at the sink reading the
instructions: 1. Open Packet by pressing down along the dotted line
2. Pull packet open 3. Put in 2 tablespoons of water 3. Mix
thoroughly 4. Consume. It took her 30 seconds to fulfil the last
instruction because there was only about 3 tablespoons in the packet.
“A bit sweet” was the verdict, followed by “Mum what can I
have for breakfast?”

Ok, so,
let’s go through Lizi’s (whoever she is) On-The-Go theory, taking a
moment to review it with a normal packet of cereal….. 1.Walk to
cupboard. 2 .Open cupboard, bend down and get a bowl. 3. Close
cupboard. 4. Walk to opposite cupboard. 5. Open cupboard and take out
cereal packet. 6. Shut cupboard. 7. Open cereal packet, lift and pour
required amount into bowl. 8. Walk or jog to fridge. 9. Open fridge
and get milk. 10. Walk or jog back to bowl (really getting into
this!) 11. Lift milk carton and pour onto cereal. 12. Pick up spoon.
13. Consume. ….. Phew! I’m tuckered out!

I had a near
epiphany with the Mug Shot. This flew into my trolley with Noel in
mind. And it’s Guilt Free! Wow! I am a parent….. a woman….. a
mother! Guilt is my middle name. Oh yes! I’m a Catholic as well!
……. Can I bulk- buy? ………….

Oh, hang
on…….I think it’s talking about the fat content. It’s only got
2.3g of fat in it….

Amongst the
ingredients are:- Sugar, Dipotassium Phosphate, Trisodium Citratel,
Dried Glucose Syrup, Maltodextrin and Stabilisers………but hey
ho, I can feel guilt free giving it to my teenage (skinny) son
because it contains hardly any fat.

Noel said
it wasn’t as nice as the Pot Noodle.

“Isn’t a
Mugshot one of those photos you have when you go to prison? Noel

I’m feeling a bit like one now”.

I’ll live
with the guilt.

Cooking from scratch

Families Posted on Mon, July 06, 2015 12:33:08

I don’t really want this blog to be all about food. It’s just that
purchasing food seems to be what I do the most and it is my biggest
bill. The chips are down financially (no pun intended) and, when
that has been the case in the past, food shopping is always the first
to get hit. I am a little tired of TV programmes promoting the
“cooking-from-scratch” and “shop well for less” idea and,
much as I like Jamie Oliver, his thirty minute meals cook book
required me to buy a load of equipment that I couldn’t afford. To
prove my point I went out and bought the ingredients to make my own
pizza bases and toppings. I quite enjoyed the process of making them
with Hayley and, as the photo suggests, they were full of
promise…..but when they came out of the oven they had ballooned,
the mozzarella was a river and there was no taste there at all. Now
there are massive slices of the stuff taking up most of the fridge.
I’m vegan but tried the dough and it was a bitter disappointment.

you are going to experiment Mum can you do it at lunch time and not
at dinner. And if you do, can you warn me.” Noel suggested.

Hayley patted me on the arm “It’s OK mum, you tried your best, you
always do…it’s just this time you didn’t succeed.

Noel was bothered about the waste and said he would eat it cold later
on in the evening……..It’s still in the fridge. I suppose I shall have to filter
bits to Ollie over the next few days. He already had his eyes on it
last night and wouldn’t go for a pee until I’d given him a taste. He
can sniff out a leftover from miles off. He’s easy to please.

The home made baked beans were amazing though. Although it is
cheaper to buy a tin from Aldi and, next time I shall just pop over
the road to Asda and get two Pizzas for a quid each because, at least
I know they will be eaten.

Now I need to find a use for a large bag of bread flour and some left
over yeast. I can’t even give it to my ex-husband, who is an artisan
baker. He only uses organic, locally milled flour. The kids are too
old for me to turn it into Play-dough.

Cutting corners is difficult. Cheaper toilet roll is useless as well.


Families Posted on Sat, July 04, 2015 17:12:35

I am trying to teach my son some basic cookery skills. It looks like I am going to have to work some evenings and weekends in the near future so I am hoping that I can come home to a cooked meal that has been rustled up by one of my children.

I watched him wrestle with the ring pull on the baked beans, “It’s going to splash back at me, I’ve got my best T-Shirt on.” He then spent the next ten minutes trying to make up his mind what he was going to have with the beans so I started to do it for him.

“Mum, I can cope much better if you stopped staring at me.”

“Do you want me to go Noel?”

“Yes….it would make my day!”


I did put the random comment on my previous post saying “I made my own baked beans”. And then the doorbell rang and I pressed the submit button by mistake.

One can of chopped tomatoes, some tomato purée, one can of haricot beans in water, drained. Make the sauce first, reduce slightly and add the beans. Absolutely gorgeous! Twice the price of buying ready made baked beans but well up on taste and no added sugar.

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