Tiddler update: 7-months

Tiddler turned 7-months last week. I had a look back at my post from 5-months and am so shocked at how much he has changed already.

At 6-months he was starting to crawl (after a couple of weeks of rolling about); it really didn’t take him long to get going, he really took to it like a duck to water, and is speeding about the place now, so much so that I struggle to keep up with him sometimes. Last week he starting to pull himself up onto low-level furniture and actually tried to take a step towards me! I know you’re not supposed to compare children as they all develop at their own pace, but I feel constantly amazed at how much more advanced he seems at this age, compared to his older brother at the same age.

Another speedy first was the arrival of Tiddler’s first two teeth!! Two weeks ago, after several months of severe dribbling and much discomfort, they popped through one weekend – first one, then the next day the other to make a matching pair on his bottom gums. Toddler got his first tooth at the age of one, so again, Tiddler is speeding ahead.

In common with his brother, Tiddler loves his food, and the baby-led weaning is going really well. We’ve dropped one of his bottles a day and instead giving him a yummy, nutritious snack instead, and he’s joining us at every meal time, which is lovely.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Tiddler’s mischievous little personality – he is here there and everywhere, trying to get into things and doing things he shouldn’t, including chewing on wires, shoes and tiny toys that should be out of his reach (it’s like trying to look after an enthusiastic puppy). He still has his awesome giggle – we invented a game of chase yesterday before bedtime (that’s right Mummy, why don’t you get me so excited that I then don’t want to go to sleep?!); I would tell Tiddler that I was coming to get him and make some kind of lion-type growl, he would squeal in delight and spin around before speed-crawling to the other side of the room; once I caught him, he would roll onto his back and giggle manically, kicking his legs in the air as I tickled him. Little things like that make all the sleepless nights, the constant housework, washing, cooking and exhaustion just totally worth it 🙂

on running a playgroup

I feel I have taken on the ultimate responsibility (apart from raising my children obv.), and taken on the running of a playgroup. The group is an established one, and the lady who had been managing it is relocating. Despite several requests, no one had put themselves forward to take over, so I suggested that I may be able to help with the admin side, seeing as that is what I’ve done during my career and am good at it, on the proviso that others were willing to part-manage as I couldn’t guarantee that I’d be there every week, and that I did not want to lead song-time (I’m tone deaf and really not that into singing in public….).

So, several weeks on with no one else really wanting to take on the responsibility other than to occasionally help to set up (put toys out before everyone else arrives), I have reluctantly decided to manage the group and have been handed the reins.

I led my first song-time last week, despite having a sore throat. I probably hid behind Tiddler a bit, but decided that I would have to just get on with it, and that if they didn’t like my singing, well then someone else can offer to do it next time (no one did). I do have a couple of lovely ladies who have offered to put their names down on a weekly rota to come in and help set up, so am not totally on my own, but it does feel like I have taken on a lot of responsibility somehow. The group is weekly other than bank holidays or during really appalling weather conditions, which is quite a commitment seeing as that I have two very young children who tend to pick up germs rather easily, possibly from licking random toys that they find at places such as the playgroup or the doctors surgery, and therefore have a fairly high frequency of being poorly.

There is also the task of coming up with crafts for the toddlers to do. I love crafts and used to spend a lot of my time pre-children doing crafty things. Toddler crafts can be a bit limited and usually involve vast amounts of PVA glue, glitter or paint. On the plus side however, I did quite enjoy having a good old root around at Hobbycraft in the kids section, and was probably giddy on the power of spending the playgroup’s money rather than my own – I came home with an assortment of card, paper, stickers, foam-sheets and felt.

I’m sure things will settle down into a routine and I’m starting to enjoy the idea of being a playgroup leader (power trip already maybe??!). Maybe my singing will also improve as I do seem to be spontaneously singing random nursery rhymes around the house which Toddler is enjoying, asking for an encore, so maybe it’s not that bad after all…

The gift of time

I have been given a rare treat this afternoon – the gift of time. This sounds strange, but let me explain. I usually spend my days running round like the proverbial blue-bottomed fly, dashing between the kitchen – making up bottles, snacks, getting breakfast/lunch/dinner prepared, or doing the washing up / putting laundry on, before scurrying to the living room – trying to keep Toddler and Tiddler entertained, stopping Toddler from hitting Tiddler on the head or snatching toys off him, or changing nappies / wiping snotty noses/ picking up toys to prevent trips hazards… and so on.

After lunch today, Tiddler was ready for a nap; weaning is clearly exhausting work. Toddler is also slightly off colour and (after last night’s ‘let’s stay up til midnight and keep everyone awake’ antics) he is also, after much whingeing, ready for some sleep. So far they have slept for 2 ½ hours. I know I should go and wake them now otherwise they may not sleep well tonight, but I am loving the freedom of having some time to myself.

Ok, so I’ve spent half the time preparing for the next playgroup (which I’m now running, another post on that later), thinking of craft ideas and sorting out rotas and money. I’ve also spend an hour online flicking between different blogs having a good old read with a cup of tea, and I’ve made a loaf of bread (well, started it anyway, it’s sitting in the kitchen doing its ‘rising’ thing right now). So it’s not been entirely unproductive and I’ve managed to drink a whole cup of tea without it going cold.

It’s also been nice not to have to have a tiny child hanging off my leg / wiping snot or dribble onto my clothes for an afternoon (not to say I don’t enjoy spending time with my offspring, but occasionally it is nice to relax with slobber-free clothing).

So if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a new mum, the gift of time will always be well received.

Saving money on your grocery bill part 2

Hopefully our budgeting tips in my last post have inspired you to make some changes of your own.

In April we saved £45. Here are some more of the changes we made to achieve this:
– Baking bread
I never thought I would be able to or have the time, but once you get into a routine you find a way – sometimes I make up the dough whilst I’m doing the evening meal and put it onto bake later that evening. I make 2 loaves a week with a 1kg pack of Sainsbury’s multigrain seeded flour.

Total cost for 2 bloomers is £1.73 (£1.09 flour, 12p fast action dried yeast (a sachet from an 8-pack box), 30p butter, 2p salt. I’m also going to add 20p towards electric for baking in the oven). Saving £1.17 on the two shop bought loaves we’d normally have.

I have also made foccacia bread to go with pasta, which I have calculated cost less than 40p a time and is super easy to make (15p 225g strong white flour, 6p half sachet fast action yeast, plus 7p for salt, sugar, garlic* and rosemary, 10p baking cost). *I sprinkled some chopped garlic on top which isn’t included in the original recipe.

– Making soup
I’ve done this before but never to save money. I’ve made Tomato, Lentil & Carrot soup, Potato & Leek soup, and Spring Vegetable soup. All were easy to do and the cost was minimal as they’re vegetable based. I froze portions so that we could have enough over a week for lunch.

– Baking more!
I keep a well stocked store cupboard of different flours, dried fruit and sugar, so if we want a sweet treat, it’s pretty easy to whip up a batch of scones or biscuits. It doesn’t actually cost too much as I add one or two things to the shopping list every week to keep the cupboard topped up, and have used Sainsbury’s basics flour mixed in with slightly more expensive flour to stretch it further (seems to work fine!).

I’m keeping track of our May shops now and am hoping that our changes will have saved us more money this month! Our food budget does include household items and Baby stuff (including Aptamil baby formula which is very expensive). With Tiddler weaning, I’m hoping we can lose one of his bottles a day soon, plus Toddler will be potty training in June, so am hoping to save a bit on his nappies too.

I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more recipes and information on how to stretch our budget further and managed to find a gem of a book at the library which I have since bought on Amazon as it was so handy – ‘How to feed your family for £5 a day’ by Bernadine Lawrence. A lot of the advice we do already (bulk cooking and freezing), making a list and sticking to it, weekly meal planning etc., but I found lots of extra tips, and some excellent recipes too.

I have also found some brilliant blogs and websites:

Chilli, Sage and Lemon – Jess is doing her own grocery challenge and posts lots of yummy recipes along with updates on her monthly spends. I’ve successfully tried a few of her recipes now including Mushroom and pea pasta and no knead foccacia, and will be trying out the chilli recipe tomorrow.

The Family Recipes site has a wealth of hints, tips and recipes. They have suggestions for feeding a family of four for £100 a month. Yes, I know, amazing! Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily follow their suggested meal plans, I have found some new and interesting recipes, so definitely worth a look.

Money Saving Expert site – the grocery challenge thread on the forum – make sure you have plenty of time to browse, I ended up spending a whole Sunday evening on there!

With the money saved, Mr N has kindly agreed to let me use some of it for a treat for myself (as I’ve been spending half my life in the kitchen in the past few weeks I could do with a treat). I’ve purchased a spa day voucher for £35 which includes full use of  gym /spa faciliites plus a Swedish back and shoulder massage – I can’t wait to use it!

If you’re planning your own grocery challenge, let me know how you get on, and good luck!

How to save money on your grocery bill

We decided in April that though we plan all of our meals really well and only strictly shop for the food we need for that week, we weren’t really budgeting and could probably save ourselves some money. Saving on the food bill is a hot topic at the moment, with food prices soaring and families really struggling to eat well on the money they have. Food banks have reported huge increases in people using their services – even people with professional level jobs have been reported as visiting as they find their incomes being squeezed. The Money Saving Expert website even has a grocery challenge with a huge thread about it on their forum (and some very useful tips should you wish to have a go yourself).

We are very fortunate in that we manage ok and have a fairly healthy monthly food budget. I think this is partly down to us managing our money really well (thank you Excel spreadsheets, I knew you would come in useful one day) and the fact we don’t really go out, we don’t smoke or rarely drink and don’t tend to go on holiday. I know this probably makes us sound really boring, but with two children under the age of three, getting out on an evening is tricky, and even if we do get a babysitter, we’re usually too tired to do anything anyway!

Anyhow, I seem to have digressed from my main point which is that though we’re doing ok with our food budget, we felt that we probably could trim it slightly. Any savings would go towards any home repairs, or putting to one side for little treats or even towards a trip away later this year.

So, we started our own ‘grocery challenge’ in early April. The main points were that we should save money where possible, but still eat really healthily as always (especially now Tiddler is weaning, we want to get him off to a good start).

How did we do?

Over the course of month 1 we saved £45. Not huge, but a good start.

How did we do it?

So, what did we do to make some savings? Well we’ve done quite a lot, which will make for a long post, so I’ll split over two posts (I know, I know, but good things come to those who wait and all that…. )

Weekly meal plans

Previously, we’d plan for the next few days ahead and do two shops per week. Now, we plan for the whole week and do one main shop and a small top up shop (for basics like milk or veg). This has definitely saved us money as I’m buying some things in bulk rather than a couple in one shop then a couple more in the next shop (e.g. 4-pack of baked beans rather than 2 tins a time).

Making food go further

When doing a roast chicken, we always kept enough meat for the next day’s meal. Now however, I’m setting slightly more aside so that we have some for lunch, either in soup or sandwiches, plus make Toddler some chicken nuggets (I make a big batch and freeze them), and make stock from the carcass (I also freeze the stock so I can use it later on).

I’ve also started adding split red lentils to my home cooked beef Bolognese so that we have extra to set aside for another meal. I add pulses to other meals now too, like haricot beans to beef chilli which seems to work well.

Being a more savvy shopper

Shop around – as I tend to shop at Sainsbury’s, I have got to know the prices of things generally. However, I recently took this one step further. One evening, armed with my shopping list, I went onto their website and noted down the price per kilo of the fruit and veg I needed for that week. The next day I went to the local market and bought any of the fruit & veg from the list that cost less per kilo than Sainsbury’s. Anything I couldn’t get there, I bought later on at Sainsbury’s when I did my usual weekly shop.

Join a wholesaler – I joined Costco last year, mainly to buy nappies, but found that I could also get bulk loo roll cheaply (40 rolls of Triple Velvet for around £11), and found some good offers elsewhere too – 100g jar of Schwartz mixed herbs for £1.49 for example, which lasts us months, plus a 2kg bag of sweet potatoes for £1.47 (1kg in Sainsbury’s is £1.28 which had been the cheapest I’d found before Costco).

Going veggie a couple of times a week

Meat is expensive, so finding some nice veggie recipes has been really useful. I’ve made split red lentil and sweet potato casserole, red lentil Bolognese, and mushroom and pea pasta, all of which were filling, yummy and best of all, Toddler seemed to like them (phew!).

Toddler chicken nugget recipe – 12 nuggets for less than 79p!

Chicken nuggets

This is a good recipe for using leftover roast chicken, makes yummy nuggets for little tummies and unlike shop bought ones, doesn’t contain any nasty stuff. Plus they cost me less than 79p to make and I make enough for 3 Toddler meals!

Recipe (makes around 12 nuggets – more if you make them smaller)

80g left over roast chicken, cut into small pieces (approx. 50p)
1 slice bread made into breadcrumbs (5p)
1 small apple, peeled and grated (12.5p – taken from a £1 bag of 8 from market)
1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled (Kallo free-range, 7p)
Pinch of parsley and thyme (fresh or dried – use slightly more if fresh) (3p)
A little flour for coating (1p)

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and roughly mix.

Knead the mixture slightly to ensure it sticks together.

With damp hands divide up the mixture into 12 and roll in the palm of your hand to make balls /nuggets – you may be able to make more if the nuggets are quite small.

Roll each ball into the flour to coat.

Fry the nuggets in a pan in a little oil on medium heat, turning frequently to avoid burning. It will probably take 6 or 7 minutes to cook through.

Place onto kitchen roll to soak up any fat.

Served here with beans, cauliflower cheese, cherry tomatoes and left over yorkshire pudding! (and tomato sauce...)

Served here with beans, cauliflower cheese, cherry tomatoes and left over yorkshire pudding! (and tomato sauce…)

Toddler loves these with beans and a potato waffle, but they can be served with green veg and potato salad too!

Tiddler’s baby-led weaning adventure

Bowl
Now that Tiddler is 6-months, he is showing an interest in joining us for family mealtimes. With Toddler, we successfully used the Baby-Led Weaning method, and have opted to do the same with Tiddler. Memories of Toddler looking tiny when he first sat in his high-chair have come flooding back; Tiddler looks just the same!

Having dug out my BLW bible (Baby-led weaning; helping your baby to love good food – Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett), I remember that you can serve up pretty much anything that the rest of the family is having (making sure it’s not processed, or full of sugar and salt and is cooked properly if meat.

We began in earnest a couple of weeks ago. During week one, Tiddler had:

Sticks of lightly boiled or steamed swede, carrot, butternut squash and broccoli, plus sticks of apple, mango and celery; he particularly loved the celery, possibly as he’s teething and it felt nice on his gums!

He took to it pretty quickly, being able to grab the sticks of food and bring them to his mouth before having a good chew. His face when he accidently swallowed a bit of food was so lovely! Tiddler seems to be so much more advanced with eating than Toddler was. It’s possibly down to us. With Toddler we were quite cautious and only put one or two things out at a time, whereas with Tiddler, he has been sitting with us at the dinner table for a little while now and has been watching his older brother with interest; as it’s worked for us previously, we’re also a bit more laid back about it, less worried about him choking, and allowing him to be a bit more adventurous (I don’t recall giving Toddler celery for a long time).

In fact, Tiddler has done so well, that last night we treated him to his first ever roast chicken dinner which he loved. He had:

Strips of chicken, a roast potato cut into quarters, a stick of parsnip and carrot, plus a couple of pieces of broccoli.

Afterwards, I took a recipe from my trusty Annabel Karmel book and sautéed some chopped banana in butter with a sprinkle of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed orange juice, before serving with a little Greek-style yoghurt in a bowl with a spoon. The resulting yummy and sweet tasting banana-y puree was lovely and I gave some to Toddler too! This was Tiddler’s first attempt with using a spoon so I pre-loaded a little of the banana mush for him and he took to it pretty quickly. I’d like to add that following the BLW approach, I wouldn’t usually make any sort of puree but this was quite yummy and a great way to offer a sweet (but low-sugar) treat.

I’ve also been offering Tiddler water (plain tap water) in a little sippy-cup, which he also enjoys, particularly as he has a cold at present and is dribbling a lot from teething, he’s probably grateful for the extra fluid (he’s formula fed by bottle now which isn’t as thirst quenching as breast-milk).

BLW is fairly easy really; there’s no need generally to prepare anything different for baby when cooking. The main tips I can give are:

– Only lightly boil or steam veg sticks, as if they are too soft, they break up when baby tries to pick them up (tends to happen fairly easily with butternut squash, even if I boil it for a couple of minutes!)
– Make the sticks 1 ½ – 2 inches long – babies like to grasp things with the whole of their hand, so it’s best to leave some space as a ‘handle’ with the rest of the food sticking out of their hand to munch on
– At first, BLW is about experimenting. I don’t expect Tiddler to have a proper feed from this for several months, but to find out about tastes, textures and improve his coordination; I try to make sure he’s had a milk feed before we start lunch or dinner so that he’s not hungry
– Include baby at family mealtimes at first to give him (or her) the opportunity to join in, even if only sitting in a highchair and playing with a toy. Babies learn a lot through imitation and will be eager to join in as soon as possible!

Tiddler has enjoyed the following food over the last fortnight:

– Florets of broccoli
– Sticks of lightly steamed / boiled carrot, swede, butternut squash, parsnip
– Sticks of celery, apple, mango and cheddar cheese
– Cauliflower florets with cheesy sauce (taken from our cauliflower cheese lunch)
– Strips of roast chicken
– Roast potato
– Banana with Greek-style yoghurt
– Piece of toast cut into strips

Book review: ‘Honour’ by Elif Shafak

Honour by Elif Shafak

Finding time to sit and read is quite a luxury at present, what with having two little ones to run about after, and a stack of seemingly never ending housework to get done. I was however, more than tempted by BritMum’s inaugural book club offering of Elif Shafak’s ‘Honour’, and was duly sent a copy. I was intrigued by the first line ‘my mother died twice’ and I managed to get the first couple of chapters read within an hour of receiving it!

Honour is a tale about the Topraks, a Turkish-Kurd family who move from rural Turkey in the 1970’s to London, taking with them the cultural values so deeply ingrained within their society, and the subsequent difficulties the family has in adjusting to its new life which ultimately lead to the horrifying murder, committed in ‘honour’ of the family’s name.

The story highlights the inequalities between genders in the Toprak’s culture– how men have ‘honour’ and women have ‘shame’. The story is complex and told from many different points of view, jumping between characters and time / location, which felt disorienting at first, but later on only added to the rich tapestry of the tale and helped to provide me with a deeper understanding of how and why the characters behaved in particular ways. The story felt fragmented as it is told in pieces, building up to the main act of the ‘honour’ killing, and details of this pivotal act are given fairly early on which takes a little tension out of the story telling, despite this, the story drew me in and even though I knew what the outcome would be, I found it hard to put the book down.

Admittedly, I was apprehensive about reading this book, as the culture is so far removed from my own, I really wasn’t sure it would keep my interest or that I’d have any empathy for the characters. I’m glad however that I persevered. Being a mum, I found it both disturbing and yet strangely compelling how differently boys and girls were (are still?) treated – little boys being ‘sultans’ and girls being forced to stay quietly in the background, accepting whatever ‘fate’ throws their way. The story depicts how cultural values can be so pervasive that even though they are female, mothers accept that women have ‘shame’ and men have ‘honour’, and are complicit in perpetuating the cycle with their children. The descriptions of life in rural Turkey, and the traditions and superstitions were so vivid that I developed an appreciation for the concept of family ‘honour’ and how it affects both men and women, even though I still find it disturbing and I found myself getting angry quite often at the injustice of how females are treated in such communities.

The book has a twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting. I won’t spoil it for you just in case you want to read the book!

Overall – the book was fairly well written with some good character development and vivid and colourful accounts of life in rural Turkey within a small and traditional community. The story felt a little contrived in places and the ending seemed quite rushed with a couple of outstanding loose ends. Given the subject matter however, the author does well to provide a sympathetic account on behalf of both the killer and victim. I would recommend the book.

 

Disclaimer: a free copy of this book was sent to me as part of the BritMum’s and Penguin book club. All opinions are my own.

Why shopping at your local market is stressful but may save you money

Box_of_vegetables_180x198

As part of my recent epiphany about saving money on our food shop, I decided that I should try to buy fruit and vegetables at our local market. Everything I have read about economising mentions how useful these markets are, how you can save lots of money, buy seasonal and local produce thus not only helping you to save cash and be healthier by increasing your fresh food intake, but reducing your carbon footprint too. Having shopped at our local market previously I’m not so sure about these claims, but am willing to give it another go.

Being organised, I have already planned out our next week’s meals, I visit the Sainsbury’s website to check their prices on fruit and veg that we need. I want to make sure that I don’t buy anything more expensive that Sainsbury’s (where we buy our weekly groceries) otherwise it negates the whole point.

Armed with my list of groceries and prices, I head to the market with Toddler. Our local market (Coventry, seeing as you asked) won an award for ‘Market of the Year’ in the mid-2000’s. Not sure what the criteria was but if it included smelling of fish and having an oddball selection of goods on sale (mini-table top pool table anyone?), then it was certainly up there with the best of them. The rickety old merry-go-round that I recall from my childhood is still in the centre, looking forlorn with its peeling paint and no children riding on it.

There are a lot of fruit and veg stalls, and I have a quick trawl to check prices and see what’s on offer. Disappointingly, a lot of produce is the same or more per kilo than Sainsbury’s, and there aren’t one or two stalls offering all I needed, I would have to queue at several to buy a couple of things from each. This is pretty stressful; I’m used to throwing stuff into a trolley and queuing once at the supermarket, plus Toddler is usually in the trolley seat and not able to grab random vegetables prompting me to say ‘no, don’t touch’ every 3 seconds.

At one stall, I enquire about the price of sweet potatoes as there is no sign. I’m told its £2.28 per kilo. This is a whole pound more than at the supermarket so, seeing that there is nothing else on the stall to tempt me, I try to beat a hasty (yet polite) retreat. Toddler however, has other ideas and wants to play statues and refuses to move. The stall-holder, with no other customers within a 10-metre radius seizes his chance and starts giving me prices for other produce, to which I politely decline ‘erm, no thanks, it’s not on my list today’ whilst pulling Toddler on his reigns to try and escape. As I shuffle on, Toddler moving at the speed of a slow snail, the stall-holder, clearly desperate for a sale, begins waving random vegetables at me – cucumbers, peppers, lettuces. I try to avoid making eye-contact and urge Toddler through gritted teeth to get a move on. Being on a tight-time frame and having not yet bought anything, my stress levels are beginning to rocket. We move onto the next stall. In my anxiety to actually buy something, I purchase a kilo of sweet potatoes for £1.74 – a whole 46p more than at Sainsbury’s. And they’re from China!! So much for saving money and buying local produce. To be honest, I’m really not sure if we grow sweet potatoes in the UK or when they are in season but I already feel like I’ve failed in my task to save us cash, and God-knows how many air miles our potatoes have accumulated.

Over the next 20-minutes however, I am able to find 3 punnets of Strawberries for £1 (I ignore the fact they are from Spain), a green pepper for 55p and cherry tomatoes for 50p. I also buy celery and broccoli. Later on, I work out that even with paying for parking, I have saved £2.42, and have three quarters of the items on my list, so it’s not a total failure. I guess we’ll have to come back next week and see if we can find any other bargains. Maybe I’ll put Toddler in a pushchair too and speed up the whole process! In the meantime, it’s off to Sainsbury’s to stock up on everything else we need.

How to grow an orchard in your back garden – part 2

So, the fruity twiglets are taking root and the cherry twig is starting to bud, which is good news, they are clearly settling in well.Whilst out and about shopping (not for garden related things) I happened upon some Blackcurrant shrubs for a bargain £1.97 each at Costco, so our garden is now the proud recipent of two of these bushes – I’m growing one in a pot and one has been planted in the border to add some greenery, so we’ll see which one does best, a kind of fruit-bush growing experiment if you will.

Blackcurrant bush

Another exciting growing experiment – Toddler and I planted some Cherry Tomato seeds – some into make shift plant pots (empty loo rolls cut in half!) plus a teeny little terracotta pot I found in the garage. The loo-roll pots are now in a seed tray with a cover to stop them getting cold. On a roll, I then found a cute little Tomato plant for less than £1.50 in Wilkinsons, so Toddler now has several Tomato seeds germinating and a Tomato plant growing in a pot.

Tomato seeds planted in compost in loo roll pots!

Tomato seeds planted in compost in loo roll pots!

Little tomato plant

Little tomato plant

Toddler loved sowing the seeds, using his tiny trowel to add the compost before sprinking the seeds; we also planted one for his friend M. Hopefully one of them will produce something – I’m always a bit wary of sowing seeds, never having had much luck with growing anything from scratch.

All we need now is some sunshine, and hopefully we’ll have a fruit salad on our plates before too long.