Boring Lunchboxes?

We've got easy ideas that take seconds to make!

Looking for some Summer Fun?

We've got lots of ideas!

Thinking about Summer?

Why not kick back and relax?

Having a Family Movie Night?

Why not take a look at what we've been reviewing and what we thought?

Don't know what to cook?

Why not take a look at what we've been eating?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Keema Inspired Sloppy Joes

If you saw my blog post about Keema, then you'll know it's basically an indian mince. It has various spices in, that make it tasty but not too spicy (well depending on how many chillies you put in!) and the good news is that when you use the Keema as a base for dishes that use mince as a basic ingredient, such as Spaghetti Bolognese or Shepherd's Pie it adds a new twist to family favourites. I spoke to Daddy and we thought about what we could turn the Keema into that we would enjoy, that our children would enjoy and what would be something worthy of winning the competition too (nudge nudge, go vote for me!).

Keema Ingredients Hamper

We thought about what it was that was in the Keema, and it was when I said that there was cumin, we knew what we had to make it, what we were going to turn it in to. Baked Sloppy Joes! We really love Sloppy Joes, and one of the spices in the recipe we make is Cumin, so we thought it would mix well. Daddy decided to make the dinner, mainly because he loves making Baked Sloppy Joes. We added more tomatoes to the Keema, and we didn't add in all the chillies as the children wouldn't eat it if they were all in there (they are seriously bad with the chillies!). Whilst we were at it we also added a little more onion, because who doesn't love onion and mince together?

Keema about to be turned into Baked Sloppy Joes

We put it in a dish, and added slices of gluten free bread rolls on top, which we had spread Garlic Butter on (home made!) and then added slices of Mozzarella to the top of the slices of bread rolls and basically that was it before we threw it into the oven.

Keema inspired Baked Sloppy JoesKeema inspired Baked Sloppy Joes covered in cheesy garlic bread

As soon as the meal was cooked (around fifteen minutes as the Keema was already cooked) we served it. The Children didn't realise that there was anything different in the sloppy joes, but Daddy and I could tell that there was and really enjoyed this slightly spicier version of what is becoming a classic in our home.

Keema inspired Baked Sloppy Joes with cheesy garlic bread

This version of the Baked Sloppy Joes is going to be in regular rotation in our house. What would you make with the Keema if you were making dinner for your family?

We were sent the ingredients for Keema, and added our own extras to give it our own special touch.
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Thursday, 23 October 2014

A Spooky Bostik Craft Time

When the box of craft items arrived from Craft Merrily and Bostik I was super excited, surely this would be the month that I looked in the box and someone had handily written a sneaky note giving the children and I some ideas of things to make with the brilliant craft items. I eagerly opened the box and found out that, no. They hadn't.

Family Craft Bloggers Network

It was quite late when I opened the box, the children were in bed and as I sat on my bed looking through the items and hoping for some inspiration when I started fiddling with a piece of wool whilst watching TV and ended up somehow without thinking about it, creating a pumpkin!

Wool Pumpkin

I was so proud of myself. I had no idea how I made it, but working "backwards" I figured out that I had been sort of making a pom pom and had been wrapping the wool round a wedge of cardboard. I'd then used a little part of a pipe cleaner to fix the bottom together and a little binding to fix the top together and create a stalk.

I'm going to let my hands do more crafting without engaging my brain in the future.

The other thing that I managed to do was create a little monster leaf, by sticking eyes to a leaf, using the glue pen. This craft took on new meaning the next day when a few other bloggers decided to borrow my idea and they created monster leaves with their children.  

Monster Leaf

I'm so pleased that my little joke to brighten up the children's lunch, caused inspiration in others. I feel like my work is done.

Monster Leaf

And of course I can't finish this blog post without mentioning the spooky eyes that I made using Bostik Glue dots and a cheap set of lights from a £1 shop...

Spooky Monster Eyes

They are being turned into something rather spooky for Halloween, so watch this space!

We were sent the items as part of the Bostik Family Craft Bloggers Network.
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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

K'NEX Construction Toys- Could you be the next ultimate K’NEXPERT builder? #Review

I never had any K'NEX as a child, I remember one of my cousins did as I played with it one rainy afternoon when there was a family party happening downstairs and us children had got rather bored. I think I had high aspirations of building a working Ferris Wheel like on the box, but I think in the end all I ended up doing was making some random works of art. When K'NEX asked if we'd like a box to have a go at trying to be one of their ultimate K’NEXPERT builders I said yes, hoping that the children would be inspired, instead they looked at me as if I'd gone crazy!

K'NEX Construction Set

Of course as I explained what it was that they were supposed to do they looked a little more interested, but the box was left alone for most of the Summer. Big Boy was seen however, emptying it out on the floor and placing things in size order, one rainy afternoon!

Pile of K'NEX

So it seems that for us as much as we love the idea of K'NEX, that the reality is unless Mummy or Daddy plays with it, it's going to go unplayed with. At least that's what we thought until I opened up the box last night to have a play myself and found this Ice Cream inside!

K'NEX Ice Cream

It seems, that either Top Ender or Big Boy (my money is on Big Boy) did have a go!

If you or your family think that you could be the next ultimate K’NEXPERT builder, then enter the competition which will be judged by a panel of experts including David Church of Royal British Legion Industries, with 15 years K’NEX building experience including the construction of a life-sized Monster Truck, and Joe Smith, Chief Development Officer at K’NEX.

The judging panel will be looking for originality and creativity when searching for their winners. The hunt for the ultimate K’NEXPERT builders in the UK is open until October 31st 2014, so you haven't long to submit a photo of your construction, plus up to 200 words on how they came up with the idea and how many K’NEX pieces were used. Full entry information and terms and conditions can be found at www.knex.co.uk.
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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Microwave Dinners

After my review post about the One Touch Microwave by Sage, I was after suggestions of meals that would feed the family and that used the Microwave as more than just a tool for reheating the food. Basically I wanted to be the sort of person who would be able to rustle up a brilliant meal in minutes and have people be amazed that I did it by using the Microwave. I called my sister up, she too uses her Microwave as something to quickly heat up leftovers, or to make quick things in so we got to work thinking up some ideas of some meals that we could cook using the Microwave, other than the Chicken and Vegetables I made.

Microwaved Chicken and Vegetables

And this is what we came up with.

Baked Potatoes.

One Pot Pasta.

Poached Eggs.

Quick Casserole.

Quick Quiche.

Scrambled Eggs and Bacon.

Nachos.

Prawn Curry.

Salmon Salad.

Soup.

French Toast.

Risotto.

Meatloaf.

Spaghetti Bolognaise.

Frittata.


My plan is that each week, I'll make one of the dishes and report back if it's been a success or not and give a basic recipe too. If you have any other ideas, let me know and I'll add them to the list!
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Monday, 20 October 2014

Barbie Fashion Design Maker #Review

Everyone who knows Top Ender knows one basic fact about her, when she grows up she wants to be a Fashion Designer. It's all over her blog, it's the only thing she chats about when talking about future careers, when looking at the local Schools that she could attend over the last few weeks, it's been one of the deciding factors (do the Schools offer Design Textiles or similar) and if you took a peek at any of her digital art you'd find hundreds of different clothing designs.

It wasn't that much of a shock therefore, when she suggested some items we might like to look into buying for her that the new Barbie Fashion Design Maker, aimed at girls aged 5+ ,was on the list.

Barbie Fashion Design Maker #Review

What was a shock for Top Ender, was when Mattel asked if we'd like to review the design maker and without Top Ender knowing I accepted the review and before we knew it the package arrived and Top Ender was busy downloading the app onto her tablet. I hadn't even realised there was an app to go with the doll.

Top Ender using the Barbie Fashion Design Maker #Review

The app is really simple to use, you can pick through the various options to create different outfits for Barbie. You can add belts, photographs of you or pets or other things you've photographed and change colours and fabrics and basically it's a load of fun, and I may have borrowed Top Ender's tablet to have a play myself once or thirty times. Although she didn't allow me to save any of my creations as apparently they didn't meet her strict criteria of being fashionable. Or anything anyone would wear ever.

The hard part was when it came to printing the clothes.

Did I not mention that you print the clothes? Oh. Well, what happens is after you've created the outfit, you print it on special paper and then peel the paper off and stick it to the Doll and you can stick it back to the paper if you want to give the doll a new outfit.

The first problem was I couldn't work out how to print the outfit from the tablet app. Luckily Daddy worked out that all we had to do was save it as a PDF, send it to ourself so we can get it from our email and print it from the main PC. There is an update coming that will mean you can print from the tablet app, but for the mean time this is a work around. You could of course just use the website, but Top Ender really likes the app.

The second problem was when Daddy went to print it. Daddy decided to print the PDF on a piece of ordinary paper first just to check that everything lined up.

It didn't.

I claimed however that it was different paper and that would make a difference, so ignoring all sense I loaded the printer up with one of the fabric sheets. Which promptly got stuck in our printer and didn't print properly.

Trying to get the Barbie Fashion Design Maker to line up

I waited a couple of day before trying again, as I didn't want to disappoint Top Ender and ran into the same problem. Now, we have a front loading printer, so I thought it was possibly this that was causing the issue but the fabric sheets do say that they are possible to be used in these sorts of printers!

Barbie Fashion Design Maker printer issues

We've now run out of the paper to print the designs on, and I'm sure that we'd be able to buy refill packs eventually, I just can't be searching for the right thing. Top Ender loves the app and the doll and I love the idea of the doll, I just wish it worked a little better for the RRP of £49.99.

We were sent the doll to review.
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