Banana Bread

I used to make the following recipe all the time.  It’s quick, easy, uses leftovers and comes out perfectly every time.  Somehow, I managed to loose the scrap of paper I had it written on.  I remember originally getting the recipe from Money Saving Expert‘s forum.  Roll on about four years later…and today I stumbled across it again!  Happy days.

So here it is, so I can’t loose it again!

You can play around with the ingredients, use less sugar, part whole wheat flour, add cinnamon or nutmeg, etc.

In your mixer bowl throw in…

2-3 over-ripe bananas
1 cup (or less) sugar (white/brown/whatever)
3 tbsp veg oil
2 eggs
2 cups self-raising flour

I like a teaspoon of mixed spice or cinnamon.  Adding chocolate chips are nice, as is raisins or walnuts.

Mix for a few minutes then put all the mix into a cake tin.  Bake at 180 degrees in a fan oven, for around 45 minutes.

Easy and delicious.  It’s also nice with butter and jam.  Mmmmmm.

 

Who said bad luck comes in threes?

1.  Pranging the neighbour’s bumper with our car……………………………..£180

2.  Dropping a new bottle of the dog’s insulin……………………………………£ 30

3.  The plastic housing coming off the water pump on the car…………….£230

4.  Dropping my phone and smashing the screen………………………………£ 70

5.  Add to that an expensive year anyway (unexpected trip to Kenya

for Lily for her Grandfather’s funeral, a school trip to Barcelona, etc, etc)

………………………………………………..EQUALS……………………………………..£0 left for Christmas.  Oh well.  It’s just as well that I had already decided that we would be focusing on the real meaning of Christmas this year anyway!

Last night for FHE we watched this video.  It is a really beautifully made version of the nativity story.  We also started a scripture paper chain and are planning to read from these each night.

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This is what it’s really all about. This is so beautiful.

Cutting back!

Paddy has an unruly mop of hair…
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…and I’m on a spending fast. So a good scout around on YouTube and I found a couple of useful video tutorials.  And we ended up with this…
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Not too bad for a first attempt I reckon. He seems pleased enough with it.  It saved me a tenner so I’m pretty chuffed too!

Stand firm!

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So getting rid of the car is a good move. Isn’t it? It’s pouring with rain and howling a gale and I’m waiting at the bus stop to catch the bus to my fifth night shift in a row.

At least it’s not too cold.

And if this turns out to be the lowest point in my new adventure into clearing off our debts then I guess I can count myself lucky.

In the meantime I might indulge myself in a small bout if the poor-me’s!

Progress

I have a rather swollen face, having just been to my first of four dentist appointments for root canal filling and crown.  Ouch – on the wallet and in on the gums!  But it has to be done.  While I was in town I finally made a start on my Christmas shopping and picked up a few bits for the kids.  I also popped into the local greengrocer.  I think this man might possibly me the most grumpy man on the planet, but with such low prices I can forgive his complete lack of conversational skills!  I got all of this for £6.  And for that I don’t care if he is a miserable old goat or not!

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I’m still really enjoying my reading now that I’m back into the swing of it.  The library has really come up trumps and I’m getting emails most days to say that some of the mahoosive list of books I have reserved are ready for collection.  I finished Lady of the Rivers, by Phillipa Gregory which was BRILLIANT.  It has made me want to reread The White Queen as I missed most of the recent TV series.  And then I was onto this book…

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…I LOVE Janet Evanovich and her Stephanie Plum novels are probably my most favorite series on the plant.  Ever.  But I’ve really been enjoying this series too.  Carl the monkey makes me laugh in every chapter!  I devoured this cook over a couple of days and then moved onto this book, which I think was the first book I ever put on my kindle wishlist after I got my kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago.

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This novel isn’t quite what I was expecting and I’m a little tempted to move onto one of the other novels I’ve got sat waiting in a pile.  But I think I’ll persevere a little longer.  Lily has turned back into a book worm again (which is lovely to see) with books from the teen section of the library and Paddy has been showing a little more interest in having a go at reading different types of books.  I explained to Lily that he is really struggling with his reading and she is going out of her way to encourage and cajole him into it.  On Friday night we all piled into my bed and with a little help from Lily and I he managed to ready most of a Dr Zeus book ‘And to Think I say it on Mulberry Street’.

I’ve also picked my crochet back up again and an making some progress with Lily’s blanket although with the weather due to get chillier I really should think about starting the wrist warmers that I’ve been thinking about.

We’re planning to get the Christmas tree and decorations up tonight – I’m looking forward to starting to feel properly christmasey as I’ve been so busy that it’s mostly passed me by this year so far.  So dinner tonight will be something quick and easy.  I’m going to make a big pan of soup with any veggies in the fridge that need using up with some chopped up chorizo or garlic sausage.  And then we’re planning to make homemade thin crust pizzas using this recipe which looks easy enough.

I’m still catching the bus.  I don’t mind catching it to and from late shifts and night shifts but I have to admit that I’ve been sorely tempted to throw the towel in and admit defeat when I have to get up extra early (5.30am!) to make it to the bus stop in time for the first bus to get me to an early shift.  The first morning I did it I nearly missed the bus.  I swear it came about 3 minutes early!  So I had to leg it down the road, looking like a giant plum tomato in my huge red puffa jacket – NOT a pretty sight!  As I skidded to a halt just as the bus doors were starting to shut the bus driver looked a little startled as I hurled myself in – ha!  That’ll teach him to leave early!

It’s the little things!

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That is part of my current Amazon wishlist that I now have on order from the library!  And I’m excited by this!  Mark seems a little bemused by my new found enthusiasm for my library membership.  But I’m just amazed that I haven’t thought of reserving all the books I’d like to read before. Doh.

See, the first unexpected but really positive thing to come out of my new frugal lifestyle! 

And – get this – the county’s library service has it’s own app from which you can search for,   reserve and renew books and even download ebooks! How the library has changed in a few short years.

All of this has made me very happy. So maybe it is the little things in life…!

All is forgiven…

…at the library.  As I won’t be spending any money at all on books next year I decided it was about time I went to the library to find out what my outstanding late fee bill was.

£46.70

 

Whoops! After I’d had my public flogging and stint in the naughty corner (actually they were really nice about it and said I could pay it off slowly) we had great fun choosing a few books to take home.

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We had Paddy’s parent’s evening today. His lovely teacher said what a lovely child he is and that she loves having him in her class – proud Mummy moment – and he often brightens her day when he shares with her random facts about dinosaurs, or fossils, or ninja turtles! However, he is falling quite far behind with his reading levels. We knew he was struggling but hadn’t realised by quite how much.

So we need to find a lot more time to read with him, and to him. He needs a lot more practice with frequently used words to work on his instant recall of them. And the other usual things such as the 2 5 and 10 times tables and number bonds to 10. I’m hoping that frequent visits to the library will help him to get lots of different types of books and that he might find something to really spark his interest. Fingers crossed.

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