Tuesday 29 January 2013

"Grandparents are a delightful blend of laughter, caring deeds, wonderful stories and Love."

Yesterday we had a visit from Mrs M's parents which was lovely. It's always nice to see them and I'm really greatful that we have such a good relationship. They sat down and said to Opeie "look what we've got for you". Knowing how much the boys love Batman they had brought a Batman figure and as soon as I laid eyes on it I thought 'uh oh'. It's was a figure from the DC action league range. I've seen these about since starting the super hero squad collection, their the DC equivalent and I've been itching to start a collection of them for some time. I'm not sure how Mrs M will feel about me starting another collection but at least now I can blame it on Nanny Roo and Grandad Gary.

Opeie has barely put it down since opening it yesterday and is sitting next to me as i write this clutching it. he spent most of the time while nanny and grandad were round really investigating his new toy. I love watching how interested he is in things. although presents are not important in comparison to time and effort from their grandparents it's really nice that they take an interest in the things that the boys like. The boys are so lucky to have such caring grandparents, who have so much time for Opeie and Seth.

Thank you Nanny and Grandad you've made our little prince very happy and Batman and The Riddler have become the best of friends xx

Sunday 27 January 2013

A week in photos

A snap shot of our life, from our phone photo albums. 

(What did you do this week? Anything exciting? Leave a comment below to share what you got upto...)

NOT THE ONIONS!!!!! I Hate the onions, Pauly....

Man! How does Daddy see through these jam jars?!

"To cease to admire is a proof of deterioration."

Well it seems that we've had our fill of the snow for this winter. I think we made the most of it though. We did all of the usual snow activities, We made snow angels, had a snowball fight, Made a LEGO  snowman, built an LEGO igloo, all with our own little twist. Although we had lots of fun and I do love the snow I'm glad it's cleared as getting out and about in the car was a bit of a pain at times. It was great while it lasted but lets please all stop to think about the casualties of the snow. The deteriorating snowmen with missing arms and eyes and the igloo's that would be no good to any of the passing Inuit's we may have in the Shropshire area. Today I will be thinking about you all. Until next year my fallen frozen comrades.

Friday 25 January 2013

"You've got to get obsessed and stay obsessed."

Its been a busy week on the Super Hero Squad collection front. Ive been snapping up every one i can find on eBay for Opeie's collection when he's older. Welcome to my obsession. I don't think i need to say anything else so just a short one tonight until my next update.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

"Beauty is not caused. It is."

if I'm not giving Mrs M a beauty session then its Opeie that's making the most of my 'beauty treatments' as Mrs M calls them. Bathing him might be a nightmare of epic proportions and brushing his teeth has only recently started getting better but you can be sure that like his beautiful mommy, Opeie will be completely relaxed when he is getting his nails done...

When he see's me with the nail clippers in my hand he is straight over and looking for some pampering and while I'm trimming his nails there is complete silence and concentration on his face. I really wish he had the same level of composure when partaking in bath time fun, i know he will get there eventually though.

Our food adventure : Wholefoods Market Cheltenham

Hello, It's Mrs M here.

Remember in my last post, I touched upon my love for Wholefoods Market? The amazing supermarket which I became obsessed with whilst we were in Florida... well this week I have some exciting news.  ( even more exciting if your a lover of Wholefoods in the UK.)

Being a person who's always always loved dairy and eggs until three years ago, life and food became tricky when I had to stop eating the above, with soya in a matter of a day.  Last week I tried eating products with eggs and dairy in them, and boy was I ill, I could barely breathe, to the point I was contemplating ringing the hospital in the middle of the night... no more eggs or dairy for me!

Well, I'm starting to feel a bit happier about the thought of being a 'Vegan' for the rest of my days... ( I'm still not that happy with the term 'Vegan' - not sure why though ... I usually just say I can't have meat, fish, eggs, dairy or soya, but i suppose 'vegan minus soya' is a quicker explanation, right? )

Due to being slightly miserable about eating the same meals, we decided to go on a little adventure.

You're right! You guessed it, a Wholefoods Market in the UK! I was so worried about feeling let down when we were on our way over there, as i knew they didn't have the Daiya that I pine over, and I knew they didn't do other things like hoagie rolls, or the coconut ice cream, and yoghurts I love in America, because the night before I'd spoken to the team leader in charge of the produce, I'm not sure if it's ok to add his name, but let's call him , Mr Helpful. {Because that's what he was!}

Mr H at Wholefoods was amazing, and told me to ask for him when I got to the store. When I arrived he came over and greeted me, which was lovely. He is very knowledgeable and you can tell how much he really cares about his customers and the job he does. I was so grateful to him for listening to me go on about how much  I LOVE Florida, and Wholefoods Market on Turkey Lake Ave, and lots of other random things....  we had a lovely chat.

Mr H, introduced me to the team leader of Health & Beauty ( lets call him Mr Info)  who was also a Vegan, and interestingly had done a raw food diet for 6 months, ( I've been reading Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet) so we had a lot to chat about, and he had so many interesting facts to tell me about foods, and how they will benefit me, ( and Opeie, I explained he still has Mama milk - which thankfully didn't phase him) and was totally inspiring in the way that he spoke about the food that we eat. He also knew the answer to everything I asked him, gave me a sample of Vegan Raw protein powder which I've tried and love, and it was so helpful and I felt so relieved that I wasn't the only person in the world with these dietry issues. So Mr I, and I found me some great things to eat!

One of the things I love about Wholefoods Market is that everything looks so damn tasty! They have so many different types of veggies, fruits, salads, herbs, spices and things, it's a beautiful thing. If I could afford to, i'd buy everything from there. But sadly my grocery budget doesn't stretch that far :( 

They also have a real good selection of all the things I love, stocking all Pukka products, Doves Farm, Nakd, and they do their own range which is called Fresh & Wild ( instead of the 365 range in the USA)

One thing I was hoping to find was coconut milk yoghurt, as the one in Florida was delicious, and I've not been able to find one in the UK, so when I saw this... 

Gorgeous So Yo Coconut milk yoghurt.
Amy's frozen Vegan meals.

....... I was in heaven! The Co Yo Coconut dairy, soya free yogurt was on offer too! ( And may I add, It is the most amazing yoghurt ever!)

It's not all overly, overly healthy foods, Cheltenham Wholefoods Market have a vast selection of wines, beers and desserts, chocolates, a amazing bakery which makes everything from gluten free cookies, cakes and breads, regular cookies biscuits, breads, rolls etc, and they seem to specialise  with the most amazing cupcakes ( which Opeie and Seth had the hard task of sampling) and so many other things. ( Including a resturant which i will visit next time and let you guys know about!)


Notice how the Sam Adams beers have gone down? haha!

So after about 2 hours of chatting and being shown around the store with Mr H and Mr I, I had a trolley full of veggies, vegan foods, US Beers, cupcakes, almond milk, coconut yoghurts and lots of other things. Opeie was very very happy, as the kind lady at the till even gave him some cute stickers. ( The staff are so helpful and lovely! ) Thanks to the staff at Wholefoods Cheltenham.  See you again! x

Monday 21 January 2013

"The English contribution to world cuisine - the chip."

It doesn't happen all that often but tonight i haven't been in a great mood, there's lots of things playing on my mind and to be fair ive been a bit of a grump. I decided to have a bath to relax and try and switch off. While i was in there Mrs M came in with a chip butty. I have an issue with eating in the bath i always just thought that it was a bit scutty but Mrs M said i need to embrace bath time eating, as it's Mrs M's guilty pleasure, when I met her she would always take a bath with food... (we've come a long way since then, the trifles in the bath and yoghurt pots on the edge of the bath..... ) so, i decided to give it a try.

Well i felt liberated! It has all the same benefits as eating at a table like curing a hunger but has the added bonus of you being able to quickly clean yourself off when you drop something down you, which is even more beneficial when you have a beard, genius. I may have a roast dinner in there tomorrow.

Random post i know but i felt it was something that needed to be shared, thanks Mrs M . x

“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart”.

Today was day three of the Shropshire snow, we checked online to see if Seth's school was open but then decided it wasn't safe enough for him to go in so we kept him off. Obviously Seth was over the moon at that. We wanted to make sure that we made the most of the snow and i asked Seth what he wanted to do. Seth decided that he wanted to build an Igloo, one that he can sit inside. I asked him what shape he wanted it and he decided on an Igloo shaped like Jokers head (Oh dear).

When i told Mrs M what i was going to try and attempt she looked at me like i was losing my mind. in hindsight i guess it was a bit much for an activity that should be finished in a couple of hours. It was a very cold afternoon after all. I decided to give it a try anyway.

First we got our sledges and filled them with snow from the front garden and pulled them round the back as we knew we were going to need loads of it. We made a really huge pile of snow and started to shape it. It did take us some time but Mrs M being the thoughtful thing that she is she broke up the cold afternoon with an outdoor tray of hot chocolate and cookies for us.

I think at that point Seth could see that a Joker shaped igloo was going to take a long time to make. Which i guess is the reason Seth said "it looks a bit like a Lego mans head, could we make a mini figure shaped one to go with the snowman we made?" It was like music to my ears, that was definitely doable so we shaped the pile into a Lego head shape.

Seth wanted the mouth to be the door so after patting the pile until it was solid and adding the Lego bump on the top we started to carve the door and insides out.

Opeie came out to join us for a bit after his nap too which was nice. He didn't really know what to make of the igloo and he definitely wouldn't go inside. Mrs M was pretty impressed with what me and Seth had been doing with our morning.

The whole thing took a few hours to make but we had lots of fun and i really enjoyed our 'boy time'. The end result didn't come out quite how i wanted it but Seth loved it and was pleased that he could sit inside it. It was starting to get really cold so after tidying up our creation we headed in to get changed and have some warm drinks.

As we were heading in i found some carrots in my pocket from feeding the rabbits and Seth decided he wanted to give our Lego head igloo a classic snowman nose...

" Ice-cream is exquisite - what a pity it isn't illegal."

A month or so back we received a message on our Facebook page after adding the post about our pink Lego from one of our readers Tricia. We had asked at the end of the post for any idea's on what to build next. After reading our post about building our Jokers Ice Cream truck Tricia commented "What about an ice cream shop?". I had a chat with Seth to see what he thought and after the initial excitement of someone reading our post and making a suggestion (because Seth thinks that were famous because of the blog) Seth agreed that it was a great idea, but decided that if we were going to make an Ice cream parlour it was going to be a Joker Ice cream parlour. We decided to start this build off a little different with my architect partner drawing up some plans on how he thought the final piece should look...

Seth had a few initial ideas, the first was that the entrance had a spinning door (like in the movie Elf, as he put it) and it also had to have a nose that lights up. Not a huge ask so i decided to build the revolving door first and build the rest around that. I knew that this was going to end up being a bigger build than the Jokers Fun house we had built a while back just from the doorway but we were well prepared for it. 

I made the fascia to the building first including the light up nose and as i said before the revolving door...

Once the fascia was finished i started to build backwards adding inside stairs and two side rooms for customers, then i added a base plate for the main restaurant area. Before putting in tables and chairs i wanted to add in an interesting floor design so i used a Joker face and the name 'Joker Ices'.

I then added the till area with fridge and other accessories. I had a Butcher Mini figure in my collection and he worked out really well for the cashier. Mrs M's favourite part of the build was this figure, she really loves the hat. I also tried the Joker head on the same uniform.

Seth came up with plenty of new ideas as the build progressed. It's great building with Seth because he is never short of fun ideas and things to add to get it just how he wants. This time round he lost interest on the actual building early on so became more of the foreman dishing out instructions as i built. Seth's next specification was that he wanted a security room and camera for goons to watch over the customers...

Then we moved on to an idea he had about a toilet with a trap door that went into a cell. He thought it would be really funny if the trap door sprang as the customers were having a wee.

I needed the build to be as easily accessible as possible so the boys could play with it so it needed to be pretty open. i built a large door with a clown face on for the toilet so that Seth could put the mini figures in and out easily. Its all about the playing after all.

If i was going to build a trap door with jail cell then i thought i should build Joker an office out the back of the Ice-cream parlour next to the cells. The colour scheme for Jokers office was going to be different from the whites and pinks of the restaurant but i wanted to build a fitting door for the entrance to Jokers area that also fit in with the restaurant area colours.

 I made the jokers area purple and green, the obvious choice really. one of my favourite smaller pieces was the jokes throne which was easy to make and was very effective. I spent days looking through our Lego for some Lego brick money and playing cards which i know we have somewhere but they seem to have vanished so i found some dynamite, kryptonite and a mug with a smiley face on for Jokers desk. After building the area i thought the walls looked a bit bare so i added some hooks to attach a skeleton to the wall (one of Jokers previous prisoners).

Well the Ice cream parlour was ready for the grand opening. Seth wanted trumpet players on the entrance so he made them for me...

The tables and chairs were built, the floors and stairs were added, all we needed now was customers and there was no shortage of them.  I loved this part of the build because adding the customers really made the build. We didn't want to discriminate only using DC mini figures so we gave all our figures chance to sample Jokers tasty Ice-creams.

The Monsters managed to get in early and snag a booth...

Darth was obviously feeling generous with his time that day as the stormtroopers were lucky enough to get a lunch break.

A couple of the Avengers got to make the most of the frozen fun although Thor wasn't best pleased with the service...

It was nice to add a few personal touches to the build too Using mini figures we had made of people that we know. Obviously Myself, Mrs M and the boys were there for the grand opening after all 'Jokers Ices' are sponsored by Giftsfromthepirates.

Our friends Chris and Michelle managed to stop by for a quick drink and an icy treat.

And even Mr McGinley, Seth's Tae kwon do teacher was seen in the queue waiting to be served

There was a steady foot flow and the counter was hectic with customers...

Mrs M even got involved making this chap who was apparently on a date (fancy hat!!)...

Mrs M was such a great help while i was building this, sorting the remainder of Seth's new Lego into colour order and finding me parts that i needed, were such a good team.

The overall thing took a week or so to make but mainly because when you have a young child running about all day it's hard to get a large chunk of time to sit down and build. We got there in the end and without wanting to toot my own horn to much i think it came out pretty good. I'll let Tricia be the judge of that though as this was all because of her idea.

The boys have had lots of fun playing with it and Seth has come up with some pretty great scenario's, he's got such a fun imagination he always makes us chuckle. Opeie loves getting involved too and he especially likes the trap door toilet. I'm sure this will keep the boys very entertained over the next few weeks.

Thanks Tricia you certainly kept us occupied x