Puzzler World 2013

Okay – so the kids are mad about puzzles, any sort of puzzle from crosswords, to word searches, Sudoku, number puzzles…….you name it we play it! Oh did I not say? I love puzzles too – such a great way to unwind.

We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of the Puzzler World 2013 for the Nintendo DS. At the cost of £14.99, it seems a small price to pay to have so many puzzles at our fingers tips. The fact that you can pop the DS in your bad or pocket and take it anywhere was an added bonus.

So what’s it like? Well there are loads of games to play, and when I say loads, I really do mean lots and lots – in fact if you finish one game there are plenty more to get through and loads of levels to boot. There are lots of the old games that you would find on Puzzler 2012, but a few new ones as well – so you get all of your own favourites, pus a few extra that will so be joining your favourite list.

The variety of games mean that there is something for everyone – my youngest particularly likes the fruit machine and my son prefers the anagrams. They are challenging enough to get you hooked and make you want to play more! We often play together and it’s great that you can play bonus games and gain hints to help you when you get stuck – which you will at one point or another!

So as a family of puzzlers, would I buy this again? Well, for me I could sit and play on it for hours – especially when there is very little on TV and the OH is watching yet another football match. My son (who is 11) really enjoyed it at first, but got bored with the easier levels – he would prefer to be able to jump to the more difficult ones. My daughter (7) really enjoyed it. She needed a bit of help to navigate her way to the games she wanted to play, but soon got the hang of things – she’s even introduced Nanny (who loves a puzzle)  and now Nan is thinking of borrowing the DS when the kids are at school!

All in all, for £15 this is definitely worth the money – plenty to keep you al entertained, a great game for playing together or on your own and superb for taxing your brain and keeping it active. If you have enjoyed previous Puzzler World games, you’ll want to get this one too, and if you haven’t tried it before – give it a go. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be hooked!!!!

How do you deal with losing a pet?

When you children hound you for a pet, they go on and on – or at least my son did until eventually we gave in and let him have the two baby guinea pigs that he had seen.

He was very good and paid for them out of his own money, along with the cage and everything else that he needed to go in it. They were named Fluff and Scruff – Fat Fluff as he became know because he was greedy and also because he had a fat orange strip on his brown body, and Scaredy Scruff because he was quite nervous and anxious!

We have had them for nearly five years now and they have been well looked after – fresh fruit and vegetables twice a day, dry museli and hay! They were always given grass and put out in the run in the summer and came inside for cuddles when the cats weren’t around.

The children’s friends were always excited to see them and sometimes they were allowed to hold the or stroke them which they always loved. Fuff and Scruff were part of the family, and living just outside the back door in their double storey cage, it always made me chuckle when I opend the fridge to hear them squeaking for food – even when they had just been fed!

Well, today is a sad day. My son came down to feed them this morning only to come in sobbing – one of the guinea pigs had died. Fat Fuff was lying on the floor of the cage, whilst Scaredy Scruff was making noises for her food. It is a hard lesson for kids to learn, and although he is eleven, he is a sensitive sole, and this hit him really hard.

Dad fetched the other piggy in and he was allowed to be cuddled, while we put Fluf into a box to be buried – not a nice job but one that had to be done. We discussed burying him in the garden but my son didn’t want that, so instead we rang Nan and asked if we could bury him there instead. Fortunately, Nan agreed, so Dad took him aroud and buried him behind the shed. We are often at Nan’s so this seemed like a nice place for him to be.

The afternoon was spent getting the old cage ou so that Scaredy Scruff wouldn’t be on his own outside. My son asked if Scruff could stay in his bedroom for a few days so he had some company – we agreed as long as the cage is cleaned out regularly during the week.

All day my son has been sombre – often with little tears trickling down his cheeks. It is so horribe to see your children like that. My daughter didn’t know how to react and kept showing us these little nervous smiles – not having experienced any death yet, I’m not sure that she knew how she should react.

It’s been a tough week, and this really has topped it off! It is never nice when an animal dies and I don’t even want to think about our cast who are 13 and 14, as my son has always had them in his life. BUT, death is something that we all have to experience and come to terms with adn today has been one of those life experiences that we all have to go through.

We talked about how these things happen and how sometimes there is nothing that we can do and that nature has to take it’s course. We talked about how it is ok to feel sad, but how important it is to remember the nice things and the good times.

For now, all we can do is make sure that Scruff isn’t lonely and gets lots of cuddles.

RIP Fluff, you were well loved and we hope that you make lots of friends in pet heaven and that they feed you as well as we did x

#project365 4/52

It’s been a dreadful week! It started with me feeling full of flu, spending a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and dosing myself up on as many medicines as I could! They didn’t help much so when a friend recommended nasal spray, I have it a go….. It did help!
Then my daughter was ill, so had a couple of days off of school- we kept ourselves busy by trying out new hair styles- this one was her favourite!
This next photo might be mistaken for a half drunk cup of tea……. This is actually what my OH considers to be a full cup! It’s not that I’m ungrateful, but it was cold and I felt poorly and I have nice big mugs because a like a decent cup of tea- I’m sure he only did it do I don’t ask him again.

As the week went on things did improve a bit, but there was lots to do! I made the most of being at home with a poorly daughter and since she was relaxing and watching television, I got on with some marking- I had 60 sets of these to get through. Then encouraged by Mum being up the table, my daughter wanted to make and colour. She made me this lovely card- the words written made me feel very special, especially as I wasn’t feeling 100% myself, it really cheered me up.
My MIL has been in hospital having an operation, so the end of the week has been spent going backwards and forwards to the hospital. She came home today, so we all had fish and chips for tea followed by these lovely heart biscuits…. They were filled with jam and buttercream and were a very welcome treat after a very long week!!!


How has your week been? Why not join in with @theboyandme and see if you can take a photo everyday for a year!
TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Banana Bread- by special request!

After posting a picture in

#project365 3/12.

I was asked if I would share my recipe for banana bread, so superamazingmum, here you go!
This is a really easy recipe and one that I use regularly. I adapted it several years ago from a recipe that was meant for a bread machine. Even those who don’t cook have managed this in the past as it is so simple. It keeps week and can even be frozen – I freeze per wrapped slices for the kids lunch boxes and just get them out the night before.
It’s also a great way to use up those old bananas…..you know, the ones that are going black that no-one wants to eat? For this recipe, I find the riper they are the better so don’t throw them away.

So, here’s what you need:

225g self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt ( I left this out when the kids were small )
75g butter or margarine
150g castor sugar
1 medium egg
450g bananas without skin (4 or 5 depending on size)

Optional extras:

Apricot jam
Banana chips

I use the all in one method – quick and easy!
Place flour, bicarbonate soda, salt, butter, sugar and egg into bowl and whisk with and electric whisk until smooth.
Using a fork and a chopping board, roughly mash or squash the bananas. Add to mixture and whisk further until there are no more lumps.
Spoon into a greased loaf tin, mini loaf tins or muffin cases.
Cook at 180-200c until skewer comes out clean – about 20 mins for muffins and 40-50 mins for the loaf.
Enjoy hot, or leave to cool.
Mine rarely lasts longer than a day but can be kept for a few days in a cool place or frozen for use later on!

If you want to use the optional extras, leave the bread to cool for 5 mins. Warm jam in a saucepan or microwave and brush glaze over the top of the bread and then sprinkle with banana chips.

Why not try other toppings too? Squirty cream, vanilla butter cream, melted chocolate, cream cheese icing or even custard
If you make this, why not come back and leave a comment to let me know how you have got on? Go on, you know you want to……

Fun in the snow!

It’s not often that we all get time to go out together, but after a busy few weeks we’ve been out to have fun in the snow this afternoon! We were all wrapped up warm and walked to my mother in laws which is about one and a half miles away. We took the sledge and went via the park, had a cup of tea and chocolate biscuits and then made our way home. We were tired and wet but had lots of fun and a rosey glow to our cheeks! A great afternoon was had by all, but after pulling my 11 year old along, I think my arms might ache a bit tomorrow!


20130120-172518.jpg Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

#project365 3/12

It’s been a strange week this week and there have been times when I had nearly forgotten to take a photo, but fortunately I did remember!!!
Our week in photos went like this:
On Monday I decided to make some banana bread. I used half of the amount of sugar and served it with squirty cream (well, it’s all air really) and so this was a healthier snack – pudding Monday night and then in the lunch boxes during the week.
Tuesday was a busy day! OH and I both had meetings so didn’t get in until late and then daughter had Rainbows- it was her last week so she was flown over the rainbow and onto Brownies!
Needless to say it was too much for the OH- he fell asleep on the sofa and snored all the way through Holby. I hate it when he does that, why not just go up to bed!!!! So annoying.
Wednesday was a lovely day. I only work half day and I was given a card from one of the boys I teach. I had only taught him for 7 weeks and he was saying thank you for teaching him to cook and telling me how he had been cooking for his family with the recipes that I had taught him. It was lovely to receive- to know you have had such a positive impact in a really short space of time. It’s the little things like this that make my job worthwhile!
This next picture is a bit of a strange one…. It is my big fluffy cat called Tom. He is really more like a dog than a cat and he is lying here, sprawled out on the sofa for his tummy to be stroked! His is a very good natured cat and likes to lay like this in your arms, a bit like a baby. He’s great with the kids and they love him.

As for the rest of the week, on Thursday we cut open my daughters Princess Doll birthday cake. She wouldn’t let us have any before then…… Good job it was a Madeira cake and would last! It was lovely, the chocolate buttercream went well with the sponge but you could only have a sliver as the slices were so big. The next two photos are from Friday- my son was sent home from school early because of the snow, and he was playing in the snow ( by himself!) in the garden when I got home. Although he is now 11 and at Secondary school, it was lovely to see the little boy again rolling in the snow and making snow balls. I watched him from the window for a while without him knowing- it was lovely watching him laugh and chuckle to himself. During the afternoon, we decided to make some snow marbles. We have filled balloons with coloured water ( a bit tricky, but we put the food colouring in the balloon and then put the balloon over the tap) and then we put them outside to freeze over night. We can’t wait to see how they turn out!

And today, we had some fun in the snow!

20130119-194708.jpgTheBoyandMe's 365 Linky