Spending, Gardening, Kids

August 15, 2006
Spending, Spending, Spending

We seem to have had an unusual week last week—we spent money on not one, not two, but four fairly major purchases. So truly unlike us! The first not so major purchases were a trip to the toy shop and some preserving jars and general preserving equipment. We won’t be doing too much preserving this year—but when I do make my 1st batch of jam, they are not going into recycled jars. Hopefully we are going to try and make some blackberry jam in the next week or so.

The 1st fairly major purchase was a new video camera. The one we spent a fortune on a few years ago, which someone did not put away carefully one day (we won’t name names) has been broken for almost a year now. When Michael went to the shop to have it fixed—it turns out it was cheaper to spend almost £300 on a new one with a three year warranty. So hopefully we’ll have that at the end of this week.

The 2nd fairly major purchase was a holiday. We booked a cottage in the Lake District for a week next May. We were there two years ago when my mom came to visit us. It’s a really cozy cottage in one of my favorite villages there,
Grasmere. It was the 1st one Michael took me to.

The major purchase last week was a large dresser (hutch) for the kitchen. We bought a 4’ base unit (sideboard) last spring for the living room—but then a couple of weeks ago we decided we wanted it in the kitchen with a top shelf unit for it. Of course that is almost impossible to match up—so we decided to buy a new one, and move the old sideboard upstairs. So a few weeks ago we went off to the pine shop to see what they had- the one I liked, which is 4’6”, cost £1000—so I decided against it. Then during that week I decided that that was the one I wanted. We decided we’d go back the next day-as it’s the last one from the maker of that type and I didn’t want to miss out on it. Then the next morning in the mail was a letter from the Pine Shop inviting us to their private sale for previous customers (this will be the 3rd dresser I’ve bought there). So we waited and went last Wednesday morning, and laid claim to the dresser unit within moments of walking in. It was down to £600—so was worth walking away the 1st time.

I know—you say why on earth does she need 3????? Well—we have one built in cupboard/closet in this house—we need somewhere to put things.

We also decided on one more major purchase—we are going to buy the kids new beds. We are going to get them Midi Sleepers – but not with a slide. They like the idea of bunk beds—so this is a good compromise and clears up some floor space so they have more room to play. We haven’t ordered those yet—but we should have them next month some time. We bought them such functional beds—but I think they should have some kids beds now. So we’ll order them in a week or so after some alterations to their rooms—and I need to pick out some new material to make the curtains for the bottom half of the beds.

Kids, Kids, Kids

Ok—to the important part of the blog—the kids!

Today was not Kieran’s day. When we were watering the garden—they were trying to water the flowers in the top window box of their play house. He was standing on a small stool, wearing only his underwear, when he lost his balance and fell backwards landing with his bottom in a flower pot! Poor kid—but it was fairly comical. Kieran doesn’t like any clothing he is wearing to be wet—it’s one of his oddities—so needless to say—the underwear had to come off as they had just watered that pot, and now he was wet. So off he goes, happily playing in the buff—when guess what happens next. Yes—as he is on the glider, he bumps his bum into a wasp. So-as he says “a ‘waps’ bit his bottom”. Poor kid!

Hazel has been as busy as ever drawing pictures galore. She is trying to ‘write’ words—she’ll put down—S Q T R O N—and then ask me what it spells! She is also starting to pay attention to the written words in her books as well—and has pointed to quite a few and told us the right name for the word. We read two new books this past week—they fell in love with ‘The Long Weekend’. We’ve had to read it almost daily for a week now.

On the playing front—I finally taught them to play a board game. In the last two years I’ve bought the games— even bought some in the States, but then I put them away in the one cupboard I have. Board games bring on such a sense of dread to me. I wonder why? Probably because too many games when we were kids ended with someone throwing the board up in the air and shouting ‘cheater!!’ at whomever they were playing against. So I’ve decided to get over that feeling and remember how much fun a good game can be. I brought out a ‘no-winner’ game called Snails—which they truly enjoyed. They like playing Memory and Snap and were ready for the new challenge. Candy Land will be next.

We spent some time in Toys R Us on Sunday. We finally bought them some new Play-Doh and two boxes of regular Lego’s. They’ve only had the Lego Duplo set so far—and we felt that even Kieran was ready for the real things. They’ve played with them fairly consistently the past two days. Even I got in the act today and made them some animals—following samples, of course!

While we were at Toys R Us the kids spent the whole time riding two-wheelers (hopefully we can hold out till birthdays/holidays before buying them their much needed bikes!) in the shop, giving me plenty of time to browse, and purchase without being detected! So we have some holiday/birthday shopping done. I usually try to start now, and be done by mid-November, as December is usually very busy here. We have made it a bit tricky on ourselves by not buying branded items—but we usually mange to indulge them every December.

House, Garden, Allotment

We’ve finally set on a colour for the upstairs bathroom—it’s a nice bright, light blue. We had the bathroom retiled, a new floor and new walls done months and months ago—so hopefully it’ll be presentable soon! Michael just needs to do a second coat on the baseboards, paint the door, some touch-up on the walls—and then lay the floor tiles. It’ll be the only really done room in the house! I just need to pick out a fabric and make some curtains—so it’ll be done in a year or so!!

The new dresser unit will be here on Thursday—so that’ll give the kitchen a whole new look and feel. Hopefully a good one! At least I’ll have somewhere to store all the canning things I bought.

The garden is progressing slowly. Michael (ever notice who does all the hard work??) has to build a retaining wall up in our upper section before anymore digging can be done.

We have picked some plums from the three plum trees that are on the boarder with our neighbours. Most have unfortunately been infected by a teeny-tiny moth, even though a bate was used. We are going to use two bates per tree next winter to see if we can get more edible fruit. Hopefully—if we have enough we will try and preserve some. Because this year, most will go in the compost bin.

The amazing news is—I am a Super-Duper ‘Grower’ Lady! (Hazel calls me a grower lady) But I am super-duper this week—as I have grown an eggplant, in England without using a green house!! I thought it would be fun just to try it. I put it in the sunniest place in the back garden—and it’s working! Mind you—the fruit/veg that are ripening and harvestable so far are—eggplants, butternut squash, and cooking pumpkins—
all the things I’ve never cooked—and all things Michael and the kids have never tried before! Let’s hope we like them! The other thing that is ripening are our blueberries. H& K hate that I’m making them wait almost a week to eat them—but they’ll enjoy them more when they’ve ripened that much more.

As to the allotment—the dry weather has been bad for our potatoes—so that was a bit of a disappointment this week. But on the plus—the raspberries and blackberry’s have all had a great year.

My next ‘gardening’ challenge was purchased yesterday—house plants! I’ve never had much luck with them before—even managing to kill a snake plant—but I set myself a challenge. Actually—I bought two African violets two years ago and they are still here, and still flowering. Anyway—the challenge is to get flowering house plants and see if I can get them to re-flower. The trick is—they will be in my south-facing living room window. It has sun all day (well-in theory it should—after all this is England!)—so it’ll be a bit tricky for me not to kill them within a month or so—which is the usual for me with these more delicate plants. Wish the plants luck!

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