Category Archives: cooking

The day of rest??

It’s Sunday. We are in mid-tidying frenzy as I am determined to get our kitchen reorganised and the hallway clear in anticipation of the arrival of a large Essentials delivery. Scary scary. In between tidying and directing, we have been very busy today.

We finally dug our potato council potatoes up. Got a fab haul is year, really pleased with our efforts, and having a roast chicken with beautiful, fresh, boiled potatoes to celebrate!!  We didn’t quite the timings right, so can’t enter our results in 😦 Will try harder next year!

E and H are into baking at the moment, so asked if they could make some biscuits. Not best timing when mid-kitchen mayhem, but we managed it. E couldn’t cope with the stickiness of the dough, so H and I followed the recipe directions, which said to put the dough between a folded sheet of greaseproof paper and roll away. This worked really well, and will be definitely using this method in future! H and I cut out all our shapes, H rolling her own dough and doing her own shape cutting, then piled them in the oven. Recipe was for 30 but we seem to have made double that using small cutters, so all good!

E then decided to make the hairy caterpillar from her Rainbows handbook. I bought the bits to do this about a year ago, and she finally decided to do it today…probably to do with clearing out the hallway and finding the stash! Required a pair of stockings, elastic bands, sawdust, grass seeds, decorations to make a face. E mixed the saw dust and seeds (we didn’t have any grass seeds, so hoping cress and mustard seed will work??!) then spooned mixture into one of the stockings. she then tied the end with an elastic band, then 3 more bands along the length to make a series of caterpillarish bulges. She then drew a face on the front with permanent marker and put it in an old ice cream tub and covered in water. Will see how it grows!!

L took the remaining sawdust mixture and happily sat spooning it backwards and forwards between two bowls.

It’s E’s birthday next week, and we are planning an outdoor mini-celebration with hopefully lots of bubble-blowing. I’ve been gathering bubble blowing ideas from Pinterest, and tried out one of the ideas today. We bent a pipe cleaner so it had a heart-shaped loop at the top, then dipped in fairy liquid and water mixture. It blew lovely big bubbles. Here are a few more of my bubble-blowing ideas!

Right got more washing to put on, and a dishwasher to empty. Oh and must get dressed…it is nearly 2pm after all!

Later update…ended up going on a nature walk this afternoon, we’ve found our local ponds (very newly made) are finally teeming with life.  We saw loads of different butterflies, beautiful dragonflies, watersnails, and lots and lots of frogs!


E catching frogs



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Dog days

Today has been a bit of a special day, as we were adopting a dog for a day.  Radley is the Dad of the puppy we are hopefully bringing home to be part of our family towards the end of this year 🙂 B and I got up stupidly early (i.e. before 9am!) to tidy up the downstairs bits, not having had a dog before, we weren’t sure what Radley’d make of the array of buttons, barbies, fridge magnets etc. that are normally scattered all over our floor, and certainly were this morning!

Only E was awake so she made a sign to go on the front door saying: ‘Don’t ring the bell, knock on the door’, so the little ones didn’t wake up when Radley got here!  By the time Radley arrived at 8.45am we were ready!  E then got to spend some time playing with him on her own: following him round the garden, round the kitchen, round the dining rm, up and down the stairs (we swore we weren’t going to let him upstairs…!).  We got a running commentary of his every move!

When H woke up finally, she got a lovely surprise, and had fun joining in the Radley-adoration-club! L was a bit more shocked by Radley’s appearance, but once he’d woken up properly he loved him being here too.

We made some communal rounds of toast for breakfast, and then we all went out for a walk with Radley at about 10am. This led to a session at our local playground, then an introduction to the downside of having a dog…cleaning up after it (bleurrggghhh!), not my favourite bit!  This a big pet hate of mine – people not clearing up after their dogs – so kids were well up on what was needed, we had nappy bags with us, and E found us a red dog bin too.

Back home and friends came over to admire Radley and see if they could still visit us with a dog in situ!! Radley was beautifully behaved, and loved the increased attention! The small girls disappeared off to play, and E dug out a find from a nearly new sale we’d been to at the weekend, a Crayola Illumination Station and we figured out how to get it to work, and replaced the batteries!  E then set to work on her creations! That was her set till lunchtime, which is a pretty impressive concentration span for her 🙂

After lunch we set the kids up with playdough, and B and E took Radley out for another walk.  When they came back, L took Radley out into the garden to show him his sandpit, and generally mess around in the dirt with him!

Our friends went home, and we set to work converting a punnet of strawberries we picked yesterday into Strawberry ice cream using this recipe! I’m leaving out the vanilla bit, and just sticking with the strawberry bit!  E cut up and measured all the strawberries, blitzed and sieved them.  I separated the yolks and creamed them with the sugar, but she poured the cream in and stirred on the hob.  She then stirred it all together, and sieved it into the tub we had ready for it. It’s now in the freezer and I’ve got to remember to stir it every half an hour!!

Radley is now fast asleep.  We’ve exhausted him!  We’ve just made some popcorn and covered it in icing sugar. It has now been mostly scoffed, and the kids all have icing sugar all over their faces! We’ve sat down to watch H’s Angelina Ballerina DVD, and having some down time. Phew!

Radley will be going home soon, and we’ve had an absolutely fantastic day with him.  We’re really pleased with how he’s fitted in with our family and really looking forward to meeting his puppy progeny in a few months time!


Sunday with cakes and more reading!

Today was meant to be the lazy sunday I didn’t get last weekend!  It never seems to work out like that though!!

It started well, with being able to stay in bed and have a cuddle with B.  I only mention this because it happens so rarely!!  He’s either not there, leaves at 5.30am, or the kids force one or other of us out of bed! This morning, all the kids disappeared off downstairs together 🙂

Our cuddle was soon interrupted by E, asking if she could read some more of her book with me!  She re-read what she’d done yesterday with far less stumbles, and then she let me read a line at a time, then she read it on her own.  We managed 2 pages, and then it turned into me reading, and us talking about the story, and E finding particular words, like ‘faster’ on the page.  Amazing stuff!!!

Reading time over, I came downstairs and joined B, H and L for breakfast, then had to sort out a series of Freegle collections so we could start to clear a space in the room E has her beady on having all to herself.

H then commandeered the laptop so she could play computer games, while E disappeared with L, and both came back covered in make up, and with ‘interesting’ hair styles!


B then headed off to deliver his campaign leaflets, and we went to feed our friends’ cats while they are away.

We came back and H decided she wanted to crack some eggs, so we funnelled that energy (!) into making a banana cake, which L helped with too.


When that was in the oven, E decided to do some cooking too.  She decided she wanted to make a sponge cake with pretty icing. She did a fab job, and we used the opportunity to talk about double digit numbers again, and as she was adding ingredients she was reading the digital scales.  She got the amounts spot on, and we even got up to recognising 200 🙂


Meanwhile, H and L sat on the floor playing with Mr Potato Heads- ahhhhh!


E decided to decorate her cake with icing in concentric circles.  It sort of worked?!


And H did the Alpaca Wacka (I hate Nuzzle and Scratch!!).


B finally came home for lunch, and we had soup and banana cake 🙂

I seized the opportunity to escape to the docks for shopping break.  Had a lovely mooch round the Gloucester Arts and Crafts centre trying to find a belated (as always) present for a friend, then to The Works to price up canvasses and acrylic paint, as considering letting the kids produce some ‘experimental’ art!

Came home and we tucked into E’s beautiful cake.


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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in art and craft, cooking, Literacy, Uncategorized


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Rules – 3 days on

I can’t believe that we’ve managed to stick to the rules I came up with for 3 whole days!  The difference is unbelievable.  Whereas my usual evening routine  is chasing the kids out of the kitchen after tea and herding them up to bed, leaving the clearing up ‘for later’, and sweeping all the toys in the sitting room to round behind the sofa, I now have a clean, clear kitchen, and a toy-free sitting room.  Woop woop!!

We’ve had a couple of wobbles from E, who likes to refuse to do something before she’s even heard what she’s being asked to do!  At the outset when I said 1 person was to clear table, 1 person to lay it, and 1 person to make lunch and tea, both E and H said that I would be making the food, and they would do the other 2 jobs between them.  When E has refused to do her part I have in turn said that I would refuse to make the food then!  That has done the trick so far!!  There have been a couple of times that the table has been cleared from the meal before so well, there has been no clearing to do before the next meal!  Or with the extra time I have I’ve cleaned, cleared and laid the table if they’ve been absorbed in something else and I feel guilty to drag them out to do chores!

I expected E to kickback against the new ‘regime’, and also expected H not to really get it.  H is generally a bit rubbish at helping out, usually refusing point-blank to do whatever it is we’ve asked her to – well it is a 3 year old’s prerogative!!  She has really surprised me in how well she has got involved in the jobs.  I didn’t know she knew how to stack plates, or if she actually knew where our food-waste bin was!

The bribery element is on track, and all bribes have been delivered 😉  If they keep it up all week they have a special treat to reward them at the weekend!!

Meanwhile, with the time I have saved, I’m setting a few new challenges for myself.  Not only have I managed to keep the kitchen counters clear and cleaned (previously unheard of!), but am also ontop of the dishwasher filling and emptying, the bread-making, and the washing (more or less).  Also found time to tidy the play room, clean out the guinea pigs and sort out the clean washing that’s been hanging around for days, and tidied the kids’ rooms.

My new challenges stem from noticing that our food-waste bin was mainly full of stale bread from where I have a complete inability to cut a loaf of bread past a certain point, so always end up with a dried-up chunk left over!  I’ve invested in a tin of custard powder, and some large freezer bags, so will be saving these bits up and will make a bread and butter pudding once a week.  I have also bought some tinned salmon and am going to try a recipe in E’s cookbook for fish cakes which needs breadcrumbs!

As part of the new and improved, Super Me, not only am I teaching myself how to run a household, but also to cook.  I love baking, but hate cooking.  I bought some casserole steak a couple of weeks ago and stuck it straight in the freezer.  I decided to defrost it a couple of days ago, and have been alternately looking at it and searching recipes, and finally turned it into a beef casserole today.  I know all this sounds ridiculously simple to most, but I am well chuffed with myself 😉  I last attempted a casserole a year ago, or maybe even longer ago than that!  I didn’t really like it, so have been searching for a different recipe, not that I’m fussy!  I have tasted it, and it is good!  At least tomorrow night’s dinner is sorted.  I am tempted to try making dumplings though…!!

Also – can anyone recommend a source of recipes (either a book or online?) for baking recipes, preferably sweet treats 😉  We’ve exhausted our usual stash of recipes and are on the look out for something that isn’t a cookie, a muffin, a banana cake or a flapjack!!  We even tried to make profiteroles the other day.  They came out beautifully, unfortunately it turned out I had well over-cooked them and they were crispy to the touch…oops!  Crispy profiterole anyone??!


Posted by on September 27, 2010 in cooking, housework


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Many wondrous things!

Yesterday was busy, non-stop, exhausting.  After getting up stupidly early, we had to drop B off at the station, waving him off for the week 😦  We went home to get dressed and have breakfast!  E decided on the way home that we needed to have pancakes, so pancakes we had! Or more precisely, drop scones.  Yum!

We went off out to the library to return our overdue books, and stock up on new ones. I also picked up one I’d reserved: Stray Sock Sewing – fun, fun!

Home for lunch and the enacting of our new rules.  Worked a treat!

After lunch we went to our local market stall and stocked up on fruit and veg.  They also had loads of gourds and mini-squashes as well as indian corn.  E chose several to make an autumn display for our newly clean and tidy table, it looks fab – must take a pic!  Then a customary look at the fish – a wander round the aquarium shop next-door.  Then back to the library to drop off the Tudors box of books we borrowed from the Library Education Service, and on to Tesco for a few bits and pieces.

On the way we managed to add more to my little notebook, including a conversation about eating poisonous things which resulted in ‘what would happen if you ate a raw potato?’, and ‘would you be ill if you licked the outside of a conker, or would you actually have to eat it to get ill?’.  There was another conversation about drinking rainwater, which after a quick synopsis of the water cycle, and me advising that it might not be advisable to drink lots of it, but it can be cleaned.  E now wants to find out how water can be cleaned for drinking.  That should keep us busy for a bit.

E did some random cooking involving herbs from the garden, spices from our kitchen collection, breadcrumbs collected from the bread board and her favourite implement, the pestle and mortar.  She then roasted them in the oven and I had to do the taste test!

Recently E has been asking to do maths, so we’ve been doing some maths games from my new book, I bought her a year 2 workbook last week which she’s been doing, we’ve been doing some online games I found from the Toy Theater and we’ve talked about numbers non-stop, so she now knows her 2 times table, without realising it, understands number bonds, and has been using stickle bricks to demonstrate her understanding of these ideas and also some extra demonstrations of comparison lengths etc.

Last night she announced, as she climbed up to her bunk bed, that she is going to get a learn to read book from the library every time she goes so she doesn’t have to go to school. I haven’t said anything about going to school!!  She reeled off a load of reasons why HE is way more fun than school!  Finally.

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Posted by on September 26, 2010 in cooking, Home Education, Literacy, Maths


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