A Mothers Ramblings: November 2012

Monday, 26 November 2012

Book of Spells - A Magical Game!

A couple of weekends ago, thanks to Mumsnet, Big Boy, Top Ender, Daddy and I went down to London to get a chance to play with the new PS3 game Book Of Spells at Sony Head Office. As regular readers may remember Top Ender and I are HUGE Harry Potter fans and we knew that JK Rowling had had a hand in this game and we were eager to have a play. We spent an hour in Sony HQ playing on the game and Daddy and I were amazed at the technology that has gone into this "children's" game. We then got a copy of the game and a PS3 to play it on to take away with us.

Book of Spells and Wonderbook

The game is brilliantly simple. You are a student at Hogwarts, who has permission to take a special book out of the restricted section of the library where you meet a professor who helps guide you through the book/game. I think anyone who has ever seen a Harry Potter film, or read one of the books has a secret desire to actually go to Hogwarts and discover that they too are a Wizard and this game helps you to live this dream.

The game works thanks to augmented reality, which is a clever (some might say magic!) way in which computer graphics and the real world environment you are in combines to make an augmented reality. You see yourself on your TV screen but with the magical world of Hogwarts around you. This enables you to watch stories about various Wizards of note from history and be able to interact with the stories (you get to choose the answers in some stories and make various things happen) and also allows you to visit different areas all within the book.

It's probably easier to tell people who ask though that it works because of magic.

The book happens to be a guide for young Wizards to learn basic spells, and as you work your way through the book you learn spells that Potterheads (like me and Tops) have learnt from reading the Harry Potter series and you get to actually put them into practice. It's so much fun to actually be casting magic and see yourself doing it on your TV in your own living room rather than just imagining it. Take a look at Big Boy and Tops having a play with the game to see what I mean.



Tops and BB are loving playing The Book Of Spells. When Tops and I were out, Big Boy managed to play the game by himself for an hour (Daddy was around he was making lunch and doing the dishes though) as the game is easy enough for a four and a half year old to play without adult interference and Tops finds the game stimulating enough that it isn't leaving her feeling bored because it's so simple that her four year old brother can play it. Daddy and I have even managed to have a go when the children are in bed and as the game can link up to my Pottermore account, it already knew what wand had chosen me (14 1/2in Hawthorne with Phoenix Feather core) and house (Hufflepuff) I had been put in.

There are plenty of little touches that make this game as magical as every child knows Hogwarts to be and I got choked up a couple of times seeing Top Ender and Big Boy experience this magic. Actually, even Daddy and I got drawn in and at times couldn't believe how real the magic was.

This is a brilliant game and so beautifully made that anyone who loves either Harry Potter or magic is sure to be thrilled when playing with it. Just make sure that if there are a few adults around who also love Harry Potter or magic that they get to have a go too, otherwise you might find that if they ever do get accepted to Hogwarts they might share their Canary Creams or Ton-Tongue Toffee with you...

I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network, a group of parent bloggers picked by Mumsnet to review products, services, events and brands. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.

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Sunday, 25 November 2012

What's For Lunch (W/C 26/11)

Daddy said to me this evening that he knows I am ill as in all the time he has known me he has never known me to spend all day in bed. Today I've really felt useless and I'm sure that in a couple of days I'll be fine, but until this very heavy cold passes I'm left feeling tired, sore and very, very sorry for myself! I have to sort out the children's lunches though, even if it is just a blog post so that Daddy knows what to make if I really can't get up in the morning.

Monday - Baguette Pizza

I didn't end up using the baguettes last week and I thought that it would be nice to have a bit of a home made pizza. The children love it when we have it for a weekend lunch and it's one of my favourite sneaky treats too!

Tuesday - Ham Roll

Nice and simple and easy to work the carbs out on! The good thing about it is that it is quick and easy to prepare and to eat.

Wednesday - Salmon Pitta

With Wednesday being Orchestra day, it's important for Tops to have a quick lunch and one that will help her stay full for longer too. I think that Salmon is a good thing for that as it's brain food too.

Thursday - Chopped Egg Bagel

I was trying to think of some nice lunch ideas to go with bagels as Big Boy loves them and I thought that chopped Egg would be a great choice, even more so if it is slices as they would stay in the Bagel more easily!

Top Enders Friday lunch and Big Boy's too

Last weeks lunch didn't really happen as we were all starting to come down with colds and there wasn't the time in the morning to make the lunch I had planned. In the end the children had a great lunch, but I didn't take a picture because I forgot. The lunch this Friday is to celebrate St Andrews Day and that is all the clue you are getting!


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Saturday, 24 November 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 24/11)

A couple of weeks ago someone on Twitter attacked my meal plans as being unhealthy and basically saying that the food I give my family, in particular to my children, is child cruelty. At the time it didn't bother me as the resulting discussion with other, more sane, Twitter users showed that the idiot who judged did so on very little knowledge on me or my family. The meals that I blog about giving to my family each Saturday and Sunday don't include the vegetable side dishes, the snacks the children have through out the day, the breakfasts we eat or even all the details of the nutrients and vitamins as well as fat that go into every meal.

Today though it's got to me.

I know I'm not the most healthy person. I know that some of the foods I give my children appear to be pandering to them rather than getting them to eat what I know to be good and healthy BUT nobody should judge me or my children based on that. They don't see that for breakfast the children have fruit and some form of carb. They don't see that normally at every meal they have a choice of different vegetables. They don't see that my children are both happy, healthy (well apart from the whole Type 1 Diabetes thing) and loved. And that's what I've got to remember, oh and also Children need fat in their diet for my children around 25 to 35 percent of their calorific intake should be fat based!

Saturday - Picnic Food


We are spending the afternoon at Drayton Manor, for their "Believe in Christmas" event. We're so lucky to have been invited up to the theme park again as Christmas at Drayton Manor is a fantastic day out and the Children love being able to drink Hot Chocolate and eat picnic food that we take with us as it's a treat to have a picnic on such a cold day!

Big Boy and Top Ender and Drayton Manor at Christmas

Sunday - Roast Sausages


This week whilst we are at Church, Top Ender and I are leaving Daddy in charge of making a Sausage Roast. I've not asked him, but I guessing he is going to be making his Sticky Sausage Roast as it is a firm favourite. We'll just need to be 100% certain on how much Big Boy is going to eat of this so we can work out his carbs!

Sticky Sausage Roast

Monday - Risotto


I actually quite like Risotto and especially the kind I make where I look to see what vegetables I have and throw them all in. The Children and Daddy tend to eat it because they are not only hungry and know I will throw an epic fit if they don't but also because I add bacon and they all love bacon!

Tuesday - Pizza


Finally we get to eat Pizza. No really, it's going to happen tonight. I have the Red Onion, I have the Boursin and I even have sweetcorn ready for mine! The rest of the family are going to have Ham and Pineapple (well no pineapple for BB he's a sensible lad like me and doesn't trust it on pizza!) and Tops might be persuaded to have some sweetcorn on hers!

Wednesday - Sardines and Spaghetti


I do like Sardines and I like Spaghetti, so when I saw the dish on Fish is the Dish, I thought it would be a great mid-week meal. The only thing is I'm pretty certain that nobody else in my house likes Sardines. I'm using fresh sardines, so we'll have to see how this goes!

Thursday - Moroccan Honey Chicken


I'm after a new cook book, all mine are well used up and uninspiring. I got a chance to read through Nosh for Busy Mums and Dads and I want it! Especially because it was reading through it that made me want to make Moroccan Honey Chicken. Plus I kind of what the lady who wrote it to adopt me as she seems a really great Grandma.

Friday - Mince and Tatties


We are off to Leighton Buzzard to see the Christmas Lights being turned on. I grew up in Linslade and have actually never been to the Christmas lights being turned on, so we thought that it was about time we made the effort to drive the twenty minute journey! We're going to spend the evening with my Sister and Mum as they still live in the area, and we like doing Christmas things together! I chose Mince and Tatties for dinner as it is St Andrews Day and it's the only "Scottish" meal I know how to cook that everyone can eat and isn't Cock-a-leekie Soup!

Do you covert cook books like I do? How many do you own?

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Friday, 23 November 2012

Disney At Christmas

The first time we went to Disneyland Paris as a family was in a January. Daddy and I had been together one January (I suppose technically that was our first trip as a family but you know what I mean!) and knew that compared to what the internet said it was like in the Summer that it wasn't that busy and we thought that for our first trip abroad with a child we should go off season. That trip was magical. Top Ender was enthralled with Disneyland so much that we arranged another trip the following year because we had to go back to relive memories and to make more magical new ones. Plus Winter in Paris is rather like Winter in London, a bit wet, a bit cold but you don't really notice as you're in DISNEYLAND!

Top Ender the first time she met Mickey

We wanted to go back with Big Boy, but money was tight and it wasn't until this Summer that we managed to get back to Disneyland Paris. It wasn't that busy (despite what the internet says) and we managed to get on every ride we wanted, see the shows and meet a few characters too. We had an absolute blast.

Family Fun At Disneyland Paris

Again we were really hit with the Disney bug and we wanted to go back. Daddy and I were plotting ways for us to return in the Summer of 2013, finding some long lost rich distant relatives to bump off, selling an organ or two... you know the usual late night things Daddy and I talk about.

It was when Disney gave us a call and asked if we'd like to go over to Disneyland Paris to see the Wreck It Ralph film and to be there for the launch of their 20th Christmas season that we started getting really excited. Who wouldn't A want to go and see what was tipped to be the best Disney film since the last Disney film (we're big Disney freaks okay? I've even seen some films that Disney employees were surprised I could quote and I'm pretty sure that we own everything in the world ever filmed by them...) and B Who wouldn't want to see Disney all dressed up for Christmas?! I would have moved heaven and earth, sold both my children and called myself Bob to be there. Luckily all we had to do was tell School and work and pack.

We travelled over by the Tunnel again, I think it's amazing that you can drive on a train in the UK and drive off in France. Daddy drove to Disneyland Paris, where it had been arranged that we would stay in *THE Disney Hotel* you know the big pink one at the front of the park?! WOW.

The view of the park from The Disneyland Hotel

Okay let me tell you a little about the hotel. To first get you in the right frame of mine imagine growing up rich and being treated to the beautiful luxury that rich people get everyday.

Now, think of yourself pulling up in your car to the entrance of the hotel, where doormen tip their hats to you, where a man will go and park your car for you, where a trolley for your bags in magically produced out of thin air.

Imagine the door being held open for you, whilst a gentleman wishes you a good day...

Okay, now imagine a sweeping foyer with Christmas Swags decorating the landing balcony's that over look into foyer. Now imagine a tree that is so tall you can't quite make out the top, covered in baubles and candy canes and lollipops. Now imagine a Gingerbread house, in a winter wonderland with a toy train running round in circles around the house and a candy cane forest. 

That's what you see just as you walk into the hotel. You aren't even properly in the door yet and it's amazing.

One of the Disneyland Paris Christmas Trees

We got to our room, met up with the rest of our group and were told we could go out into the park for the rest of the day. Big Boy and Top Ender were amazed. They had been here just a few short weeks before, but now the park looked so different and it was a whole lot more impressive than the pictures they had seen on the Disneyland Paris Facebook page or videos on the youtube channel!

Now it was Christmas in Disneyland. Where it Snows (Bubbles) on Main Street, where you can here Christmas Carols playing, where everyone looks like they have just walked off a film set for a Disney Holiday special and of course there are Mickey themed decorations just about everywhere you look.

Christmas Decorations on Main Street

One of the perks of staying in the Disneyland Hotel is that you get a Fast Pass that allows you to cut out most of the queuing on the rides with a Fast Past queue. Think of it as a VIP Perk. We did queue for a lot of other rides that we love, just like when we came in the Summer, and to be honest there wasn't that much of a queue for a lot of the rides. The brilliant thing about Disney too, is that they make their queueing for the rides interesting. There are things to look at, you can sometimes see part of the ride and of course the cast members help the queue to move along quite quickly.

Big Boy meeting Mickey and Minnie

I can't explain how magical Disneyland is, I can't explain how much more magical it seems at Christmas. I hope that the photographs I've included in this post (and you can see more over on our Facebook page) help you to see that it is a stunning place and that if you can you should get booking a trip to Disneyland Paris for Christmas or any time really!

Our trip was paid for by Disney, but when we went in the Summer we paid for ourselves and totally would go at Christmas again once we've saved up enough money!

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Christmas Decorations Made From Bread

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it is to me. I love Christmas and love all the preparation that goes into making the whole of December special. For me and my family, things are starting a little earlier though as last Friday we headed off to the Shopping Centre in Milton Keynes to see Santa arriving with my Sister and her children (and we bumped into Playground Geek Mum and her daughters too) before heading off to have dinner together. As Big Boy has been off School ill for the last part of last week, he and I found some time to play with some decorations for our trees that Hovis suggested we make.

I was a bit worried when Hovis first suggested that we make Christmas decorations using bread and fresh cranberries, I mean food products go mouldy if they are left out too long, but after some reassurance from other parents who had made bread ornaments before and confirmed that they wouldn't go mouldy if they were dried out or painted so with the Christmas Music turned on we decided to give it a go and I toasted an entire loaf of bread.

A loaf of Hovis Toasted to make Toast Christmas Decorations

Big Boy loved using the cookie cutters to make the different shapes in the bread, and he thought it was great fun following the instructions we were sent too. As he is learning to read he was able to pick out a few words that he knew and it was a great experience for him. The only problem he had really was that he wasn't strong enough to push down on the cookie cutters to push the shape right through.

Big Boy using a cookie cutter to make a Toast Christmas Decoration

As I said we made the ornaments for our trees in the garden, as we haven't got our Christmas tree up quite yet (if we could I would!), and they will make some great treats for the birds this winter as I'm sure they won't be able to resist them for long, even with our three cats stalking the garden! Big Boy raided my cupboard to find cookie cutters that he wanted the decorations to be and was rather pleased to find a waving Santa, even if he does look a bit dodgy made of toast!

Santa Toast Decoration

We were going to make a Popcorn and Cranberry garland to decorate the trees with too, but Top Ender and Big Boy decided to make a snack out of the popcorn instead as Top Ender was rather disappointed that she didn't get a go at making the toast ornaments! It was a great afternoon and now that I know that the toast isn't going to go mouldy, we're going to make some more closer to Christmas for the trees in our house (watch my video to see how many we have!) and to replace the ones the birds have eaten in the garden!



We were sent some bread and other ingredients to make the ornaments along with some rather lovely cookie cutters.

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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Tomato Tarts

Yesterday I made some Tomato Tarts for Big Boy and Top Ender to take to School for lunch. When the first batch came out of the oven, Big Boy decided that they weren't for him and would much rather have a Sausage Roll (which I had luckily made).

Hot Dog Sausage Roll and Tomato Tart

This did mean that I was left with several Tomato Tarts for my own lunch and after I had eaten them and discovered that they were delicious, I thought I'd share how to make them as they could be a great addition to a Grown up's lunch box or possibly even any family gatherings over the Christmas Holidays!

Ingredients

Puff Pastry
Boursin Cheese
Tomato
Milk

Method

Turn on the Oven to gas mark 7.

Line a baking tray with Greased Paper, this just makes it easier to remove the Tomato Tarts when cooked.

Cut the puff pastry into squares. You can make the squares large or small to your own personal preference, some of mine are really rectangles.

Turn up the edges of the pastry to form a raised edge with a central well.

Add a "lump" (Technical term there) of Boursin to the middle of each square. I used the Fig and Walnut version for some and they tasted delicious! I pushed the cheese down a little to sort of spread it into the space.

Fig and Walnut Tomato Tart

Add a slice of Tomato to the top of each square (or more if you've made a large square) before placing the square onto the baking tray.

Gently give each square a wipe of milk with a pastry brush (you could use beaten egg, but I thought the milk would taste better considering the cheese) before placing in the oven at gas mark 7 for 15 minutes.

You may need to leave your tray in for longer depending on how brown you'd like your Tarts to look, my large tart took around 30 minutes for it to be the colour I was happy with.

Serve. These taste delicious served warm or cold and are very nice with a bit of Salad...

Tomato Tart

I was sent some Boursin, and of course didn't say no as I love Boursin!!

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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

A Tribute To Tara!

I know there is no Gallery theme this week due to Tara having had special magic stuff done to her eyes by the team at Optical Express who have given her magic bionic eyes (her words not mine!) but I thought that you'd all like to see my gallery post anyway... it's in tribute of Tara's special new eyes.

Four Eyes Looking at YOU!

From left to right Clock wise we have Top Ender, Big Boy, Me aka Mummy/PippaD and Daddy aka Flyfour.

We took this by looking down a tube at the local park one at a time and then merged the four photographs together!

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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! - Wordless Wednesday

When Santa came to town

When Santa came to town

I love that Top Ender and Big Boy are such good friends with their Cousins and that they could all share seeing Santa arrive at the local Shopping Centre together. For more pictures from the day, including some Top Ender took on her new Barbie Photo Fashion Camera Doll see our Facebook Album!


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Sunday, 18 November 2012

What's For Lunch (W/C 19/11)

Now that we are counting carbs, it's a lot easier for me to fall into the trap of making the same thing for lunch everyday as I know how many carbs are in certain foods off the top of my head, but I'm not going to. I know how important it is for children (and adults) to have a varied diet and I like thinking of new ideas too. With that said, don't be surprised if you see a few regular foods start to pop up each week.


Monday - Beef Baguette



If there are some left over veggies I'll add these to the lunch too, I'm sure that the children love roast potato sandwiches as much as I do. If not I'll have to come up with something super cute to make the lunch more visually appealing as a Beef Baguette sounds a bit boring! Big Boy is going to be sampling some different Indian foods in school this afternoon, so his lunch box might look a little empty.


Tuesday - Tomato Tarts



I have some pastry in the freezer that I'm wanting to use up. I figured that Tomato Tarts would be a good use, a square of pastry, a slice of tomato, a sprinkling of cheese (possibly some of that Boursin) baked in the oven and then put in the lunch box! It's a bit like Pizza, but classier... also if there is enough pastry left over I might make some cheese straws as the children love Cheese Straws!


Wednesday - Ham Sandwich



I'm thinking a ham sandwich should be eaten fairly quickly for Orchestra attending Top Ender, but will also allow both children enough energy to get through the rest of the afternoon.


Thursday - Thanksgiving Turkey Rolls



It's Thanksgiving in America, and what better way to pay tribute to our American Friends by having a Thanksgiving themed lunch today? We will be eating Turkey Rolls, and drinking apple juice as some of my friends always have Sparkling Apple Cider on Thanksgiving and I'm not sure if it's an American thing or not, but it sure tastes good!


Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's too!



Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too!

I do have an idea planned for this Friday, but I'm hoping that I might be able to come up with something else that is a lot more fun. Stay tuned to see if I manage it!

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Saturday, 17 November 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 17/11)

Last week things went a little awry with Big Boy being ill, and a few meal swaps. This week we might not have Daddy at home with us a few nights and so the meals might get swapped round again depending on if he can or can't be home with us on time, or if he is super late and won't be eating with us at all.

Saturday - Pizza and Salad


When Big Boy was ill this last week we couldn't have his friend round for tea, so I swapped a couple of meals around and we're having the Pizza that we didn't have on the Thursday tonight. Although as we're going to be in London until dark we're not going to be making our own bases and using some pre-packaged gluten free ones. I still thinking about toppings, but I think mine has to be red onion and sweetcorn. Actually can you put Boursin on pizza? I had some delivered this week to try... hmmm I'll experiment and report back!

Boursin

Sunday - Sunday Roast


Roast Day! Yay! We had pork last week, which although nice just wasn't as great as Chicken so I'm thinking that this week we'll have beef. As Daddy is in charge of cooking the roast because I'm at Church I just hope that he knows how to cook beef properly. I can say for certain that Daddy will cook peas and carrots with the potatoes and yorkshire puddings for the children and of lots of Roast Potatoes.

Monday - Sausage Curry


Big Boy has been learning about Diwali at School and this afternoon they are going to be trying some different Indian foods so I thought it would be nice to have a mild curry for dinner. I've made it a Sausage Curry as everyone loves Sausages! Despite what Daddy says though a curry is a curry if you include vegetables and so I'll add some cauliflower and broccoli as nobody apart from me will know they are there!

Tuesday - Baked Sloppy Joes


We didn't get to eat the baked sloppy joes last week, so we're having it tonight. I can't express just how lush this meal is, we are all still in love with it. The good thing is if Daddy is late home, this is the sort of meal that can be kept in the oven on low and still taste as amazing as when it was first served. At least I hope it is.

Wednesday - Pasta and Casserole


I love pasta, it's fairly cheap (well the non Gluten Free stuff is anyway) and it is easy to prepare. Tops, Big Boy and I are going to eat it with some Aunt Bessie Casserole. I know that sounds odd, but the great thing about Pasta is that it goes with everything and I really need to use the casseroles up that I got when I went to spend the day with the Aunt Bessie's team! Daddy will just have to have plain old pasta when he gets in, although I might be tempted to heat him up a tin of soup.

Aunt Bessie's Frozen Casserole

Thursday - Jacket Potatoes


When I make the curry on Monday, I'll make a second batch of curry for Daddy to put on his Jacket Potato tonight. That way he won't complain about having Jacket Potatoes, whilst the children and I quite happily tuck into our bean and potatoes!

Friday - Tuna Steak


Quite a while ago Daddy and I had Tuna Steaks for our evening meal. I can't remember what we had with it but I do remember that we both liked it. The Tuna Steaks were more like eating meat than fish, which was a good thing for Daddy as he didn't used to eat a lot of fish, and they were really filling. Plus I really fancy a nice Tuna Steak with a home made Salsa sauce over the top.

So that's what we are eating this week, what about you?

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Verify a Blogger Blog on Pinterest

There is a way to verify your blogger blog on Pinterest, but it does involve a little work (isn't it always the way?) and this will hopefully help you to do this.

1) Go to Pinterest and download the verification file. You will find it in your account settings, fairly close to the bottom. Click the button and you'll be taken to a new screen, where you can download the Pinterest HTML File.

Verify Blogger Blog on Pinterest

2) Open the HTML file in notepad and leave open on your desktop for a minute.

3) Go to your blogger account and create a new page. I know you don't want to, but it's only for a minute or  five.

4) Swap to the HTML compose section for your page and then copy the HTML file from notepad and paste into the blog page. Title the page something obvious, as you can see I went with TEST. Publish this page.

How to Verify Blogger Blog on Pinterest

5) Open your blog and go to the new page you have just created. You will need the URL of this blog page for the next step.

6) In you blogger dashboard, you need to go to settings, then Search Preferences and then open up the Custom Redirects. You are about to create a custom redirect to get Pinterest to the URL that it is looking for.

7) In the custom redirect boxes you need to put in where Pinterest expects to find the file (the address is on the page where you downloaded the file from) and where it actually is. For me the Test file is at http://www.amothersramblings.com/p/TEST.html and I had to show it to be http://www.amothersramblings.com/pinterest-4bec4.html . Make sure that you tell the redirect it has to be permament.

Pinterest Blogger Verfiy Redirect

8) Then you simply tell Pinterest you are done by clicking on the link. I had to do it several times before it realised I wasn't lying and then I simply deleted the page to keep my header tidy.

Verified Blogger Blog on Pinterest

Hope this helps you all!

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Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too - Wreck It Ralph

If you follow me on Twitter or know me on Facebook then you can't have missed that last weekend I was in Disneyland Paris with some lovely other bloggers to see Wreck It Ralph, which is out here in the UK in time for February half term (read my review of the film now so you can get really excited for it!). We loved the film so much that I had to swap around a few of my lunches in order to make a Wreck It Ralph Friday Lunch for Top Ender and Big Boy and I thought you'd love to know how I did it.

Let's start with the pudding, because who doesn't want to start a meal with pudding?!

Wreck It Ralph with Cherries from Pac Man

If you've seen the Wreck It Ralph trailer you will know that Ralph is seen eating a Cherry. I thought, wouldn't it be cool to make a Cherry Cake Pop? So I did. Making Cake Pops is surprisingly easy, all you have to do is make a cake, crumble it up and mix in some butter cream icing until you have a dough like substance and then roll it into balls. Now comes the hard part. You then have to dip the top half of your ball into melted Chocolate and then let using a spoon drizzle a thin layer over the bottom half before letting it set and dipping again to get an even and smooth covering all over the ball. When this doesn't work you will get frustrated and I'm sure if you work more slowly that you'd get a better and more even end result than I did.

Cherry Cake Pops (that look terrible)

The cherry stems are strawberry Fruit Bowl Peelers, which I thought made the cherry cake pops look more like the ones Ralph has in the film and of course it helps add into the five a day that we should all be eating as a minimum on a daily basis.

Wreck It Ralph themed Rice and Peas

The main part of the meal is rice that has been cooked in a Beef Bisto Stock Melts, to give the rice some flavour and also I wanted it to be coloured so that it would look like mud that Ralph falls into when he is "defeated" in Fix It Felix Jr (the computer game he lives in). The Green Peas are supposed to represent Sour Bill, a character in Sugar Rush (one of the worlds/games that Ralph goes to) and the Cheese is the all important medal that winners of all the arcade games Ralph takes part in receive when they win.

Wreck It Ralph Themed Lunch

The drink is a Chocolate Milkshake, as it along with Coke feature in the Candy Rush world, and we thought it was rather cool to bring in yet another link to the film. And the Oreo? Well. Oreo's have a rather fun line in the film and who doesn't like an Oreo?!

So there you have it, a Wreck It Ralph themed Friday Lunch.

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Thursday, 15 November 2012

Disney's Wreck It Ralph - Review

Wreck It Ralph Poster

Last Friday night we were very lucky to have been invited to watch Wreck-It Ralph at Disneyland Paris. We were so pleased to have been invited as we have been eagerly waiting for the film to be released here in the UK since we saw the trailer before Brave. If you haven't yet seen the trailer, take a look. I promise you it's worth the two minutes and twenty seconds.


The storyline for the film is quite a sweet one, it's about Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) a "bad guy" from an arcade game called Fix It Felix Jr, who has been the bad guy day in, day out for the last thirty years and has become disenchanted with his life. He wants something more and he knows that in order to do it he is going to have to stop being bad.

Ralph goes rogue and tries to be a hero in other games that he has access to via the Game Central Station (a multi socket extension cord), but the problem is he was coded to destroy things, not to be the hero.

Game Central Station

On his quest to be the good guy he meets Sergeant Calhoun (voiced by Jane Lynch) who has a tragic back story, sweet but feisty Vanellope von Schweetz, and of course we get to see some of our favourite game characters from popular games such as Sonic the Hedgehog!

Whilst Ralph is away from his game having "gone Turbo" as the other characters call it, the arcade manager believes that the game is broken and if it can't be repaired will turn the machine off, meaning all the inhabitants of the Fix It Felix Jr game will be homeless! Felix (voiced by Jack McBrayer) sets off to find Ralph and bring him home and he too finds himself in worlds that he wasn't programmed for.

The characters have to work together when a deadly enemy threatens all the games and we find out that sometimes if you are brave you can save what matters most to you.

The film is brilliant, there is no other word for it. The story is complicated enough that you can't guess all the plot twists, but easy enough to follow that even four year old Big Boy declared the film to be the best he's seen. Top Ender loved the strong female characters in the film and the first question she wanted to ask producer Clark Spencer when we met him (he's such a nice chap) was "When is the sequel coming out?", which I was rather eager to know too.

Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman)

There are so many gamer references and jokes that this film will stand up to repeated viewing and I know that when it comes out on DVD we will be among the first to buy it (I'm starting to save now!) and even then I'm sure that we didn't pick up on everything. 

The 3D feels very natural, in fact I actually forgot at one point that it was in 3D despite wearing the requisite glasses! The film is also very beautiful, you can tell that those who have created the film have thought everything through, down to the very last detail (such as basing the world of Candy Rush on Circles, the world of Fix It Felix Jr on Squares and the world of Heroes Duty on Triangles) to make the different worlds we see feel true to their arcade roots and Clark Spencer explained some of the processes they went through, including inventing some new technology and processes to make the Candy Rush world look as tasty as it does!

All of my family enjoyed the film, understood the film and were eager to watch it again, which I have promised them we will do in February Half Term when it comes out here in the UK. It did provide me with a lot of inspiration for our Special Friday Lunch this week, so make sure you pop back tomorrow to see just what I mean and if you are still eager to find out more about the film, check out the Facebook page where there are some behind the scenes tidbits of information and early character sketches amongst other images.

Disney kindly paid for us to visit Disneyland Paris so we could see the film ahead of it's European release.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My Best Friends - Wordless Wednesday

Big Boy with Best Friends Mickey and Minnie

Big Boy told us that Mickey and Minnie were his best friends.

For more pictures of our trip see our Facebook page



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Sunday, 11 November 2012

What's For Lunch? (W/C 12/11)

As I said yesterday, we're at Disneyland Paris this weekend having a lot of fun. It does mean that I have to go shopping on Monday instead of my normal Saturday trip. I just have to work out quickly how to feed the Children on Monday and as we've also just swapped from being reactive to Big Boy's diabetes to proactive I do have to do a lot more counting...

Basically a way to help manage diabetes and the whole blood sugar level issue is to work out how many grams of carbs Big Boy is eating and then according to the wonderful ratio that his lovely Doctor has worked out for us we calculate how many units on insulin Big Boy needs. This means that no longer will I have to tell Big Boy that he has to choose between Yorkshire Puddings and Roast Potatoes or only give him a pudding if he is going to do a lot of exercise after or his blood sugar was on the low side to start with. The Doctor has a lot of faith in us and so Daddy and I are kind of crossing our fingers and really hoping for the best!

Monday - Jambon  and Gruyere Baguettes


Come on we were in France yesterday, if we can't still indulge in a little French Culture then when can we?! I have some of those Part Bake Baguettes in the cupboard and I'll make sure I pick up some Ham and Swiss Cheese on my way back from the gym on Monday morning so that I can make them fresh just like the lovely French Boulangerie's do!

eiffel tower


Tuesday - Boiled Egg


Actually I don't want to tell you too much about this one as I have a great idea, I'm just not sure if it will work! So for now just assume the children are having a boiled egg sandwich and some fruit salad. Actually as an aside, a while back Warburtons asked if I'd like to take part in a little study about the amount of Fibre Tops and I eat. I agreed, knowing full well that everyone in our house eats the right amount of fibre because I plan all our meals and snacks down to the last grain of salt! As expected they came back to me and said that we, unlike most women and Children in the UK, do eat enough Fibre. So the Sandwich today is made from Wholemeal Bread to make sure we maintain that perfect fibre intake!

Wednesday - Karaage Chicken


A quick lunch today as Top Ender has Orchestra at Lunch too. I've gone with Chicken Nuggets which is what Karaage is basically. There will be some dip to dip them in and some vegetable stick "chips". I think I might have to join in with the children today!

Thursday - Pasta


Top Ender has her second ever Handball session this evening. She really enjoyed it last week, and I expect her to be just as ravenous so I'm making a lunch that I hope will sustain her until dinner time. I think that Pasta is a good option and now that we know that Big Boy just has a little extra insulin to cover the pasta carbs I'll be a happy Mummy knowing he's not running high.

Friday - Top Ender's Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too!


Bisto Stock Melts sent out a great parcel to Me, Top Ender and Big Boy a couple of weeks ago. Amongst the Stock Melts and Garlic for me was a chefs hat and apron for Big Boy and Top Ender. The Children love these aprons as they have their names on and every time they are helping out in the kitchen they put them on. Unfortunately the Stock Melts aren't gluten free, so I can only make food for the children and I with them... which means they are perfect for a Friday Lunch!


Stock Melts in Use Last Week


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Saturday, 10 November 2012

What We Are Eating This Week (W/C 10/11)

This week I'm skipping the meals we eat at the weekend as we are in Disneyland Paris to see the film Wreck It Ralph, we're all really excited about the film because we've seen some great trailers for it! Anyway don't forget to follow me, Flyfour, Top Ender and Big Boy on Twitter for some fab behind the scenes pictures and tweets.

Monday - Roast Something


I'm not sure what it will be until I've been shopping, but I couldn't go without having a roast and as I'm at home on my own I figure I'll have lots of time to prepare it just how I like it.

Tuesday - Gammon and Potatoes


I love Gammon Steaks and although I don't eat it with Pineapple like Daddy and Top Ender, I think that it would be a great Tuesday meal. I'm going to do mine with a sauce. It will probably be a Mushroom and Parsley Sauce, but I'm not sure just at the moment.

Wednesday - Baked Sloppy Joes


I really can't explain how lush the baked Sloppy Joes I made last week tasted, but basically EVERYONE loved it. It was so tasty that we have to make it again and soon and so it's now a Wednesday night dinner because of how fab it is.

Baked Sloppy Joes


Thursday - Home Made Pizza


Now Big Boy might be having his friend over for tea tonight, and if he is I always think it's fun to get them to make their own Pizza for dinner. Whilst the boys make theirs I'll make one for Daddy, Top Ender and I to share and serve it with some Salad and Garlic Bread.

Friday - McDonalds


Santa is arriving at our local Shopping Centre today, so my sister and I are going to meet up and take all the children to see him arriving and take a walk around Santa's village before going for a Family McDonalds together. My sister loves Christmas as much as I do and so we love going to all the "free" events that help get us in the mood!

Sign Pointing To Our Local McDonalds

So that's our plans this week! Are you looking forward to Wreck It Ralphs UK release in February 2013?

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted Xbox 360 Game Review

Over the last few weeks Top Ender and Big Boy have been so loving towards each other that I've had to check a few times that whilst I'm in the kitchen preparing dinner that they haven't actually knocked each other out and that is why there is near silence in the living room. Gone are the fights over what they are going to be playing on the Xbox, gone are the temper tantrums when one of them chooses a game that the other didn't want to play and instead they are playing together. Nicely. Helping each other and generally being the great kids that they appear to be in all my other blog posts! It turns out that the copy of the game Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted for the Xbox has transformed my children into gamers who share...

Madagascar 3 - Europe's Most Wanted Xbox 360 Game Review

Now I haven't actually got a look in on the game, but having watched Big Boy (aged 4) and Top Ender (8) play the game in Story Mode I can tell that it is easy enough for them to understand and to be able to work out that each of the different characters have different strengths to perform different tasks, (The fact that when the characters get stuck and tell you they need another character also helps but hey lets let the kids think they worked this one out themselves!).

The children are slowly working their way through the game and have even played Circus Mode with Daddy which is more about playing different games than working their way through different levels. All in all I think that they will finish the game some time this month, with no adult intervention and I think that's a great thing. I mean wouldn't you love just for once not to hear;

"MUM? I CAN'T GET PAST THIS LEVEL!"

just once when the children were playing a computer game? I now not hearing it is music to my ears!

I've read a few reviews of the game where people are saying that it is very simple and for children, well of course it is it's rated as PEGI 3 which means it's suitable for all ages and I think it's especially good for younger children like BB.

And just so I'm not the only one who keeps singing Afro Circus every time they hear Madagascar 3...



We were sent a copy of the game to review.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Autumn - The Gallery

Last week we were on holiday in Scotland. It was a lovely Autumn break, although at times it felt more like winter. As the 3G service was patchy at best in the caravan we were staying in, Daddy and I found ourselves of a loss of what to do once the children were safely tucked up in bed (under layers of blankets and duvets, bed socks and hot water bottles) and so we started watching Autumn Watch on the BBC.

The night before we were going to go out to Loch Leven, a Loch near where my Mum grew up, Chris Packham talked about the Pink Footed Geese that were doing their annual migration from Iceland to Loch Leven. What a coincidence we thought. Wouldn't it be lovely to see them we said.

We were at the Loch for several hours and didn't see a single Pink Footed Goose. 

Disappointed but not too disheartened about it (it's a big Loch they could have been anywhere) we were ready to head back when suddenly a flock of Pink Footed Geese flew over, rather noisily too. We weren't quick enough to get a photograph of them as they flew over head, but they landed in some nearby Farmland and we managed to get a photograph then.

Pink Footed Geese Loch Leven

To me this picture is my 2012 Autumn and so is my entry to Tara's Gallery.

The Gallery Link


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Remember, remember the 5th of November - Wordless Wednesday

Fireworks on Bonfire Night

Fireworks on Bonfire Night

Fireworks on Bonfire Night


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Monday, 5 November 2012

What's For Lunch? (W/C 5/11)

It's a good week this week, we have Monday as an inset day and then this Friday we are heading off to Disneyland Paris with a few other bloggers for a weekend of fun and all things Disney! So, here are this weeks lunches;

Monday - Ponyo Noodles



As the Children are at home today, I decided to go with the Ponyo Noodles that I brought a few weeks back at the Chinese Supermarket. You know in the film Ponyo how 
Sōsuke's mother Lisa puts hot water on some noodles waits a few minutes and has magically turned the dry noodles in to noodles and soup? That's what I did. Although with out the magic and with more trying to read Chinese characters so I could work out how to make them!

Tuesday - Cheese Pizza Wraps



I love Pizza Wraps, They are quick and easy to make (so means I can get back from the Gym and still have more than enough time to shower and make lunch before the Children go to School) and as they are pizza on wraps they are quite economical to make and of course my two love Pizza. Not sure if these will be warm or not until I make them though...

Wednesday - Red Salmon and Cucumber Roll 


Top Ender needs a quick lunch today because of Orchestra, so things like Pasta or Rice is out of the question because it takes her a while to eat them. Today though she and Big Boy will have some lovely Red Salmon and Cucumber for lunch and they shall be able to eat it as quickly or as slowly as they like!

Thursday - Hot Dog Toasties


These are going to be cold Hot Dog Toasties which are just Hot Dog Sandwiches cooled down and served. That way they are crispy and not soggy and something different from the usual sandwich that all children get at lunchtime.

Friday - Top Enders Friday Lunch And Big Boy's Too! 

Top Ender's Friday Lunch and Big Boy's Too!

We're off to Disneyland Paris today and I did think I would do a special Disney themed lunch instead of my originally planned Remembrance Sunday lunch, but then I remembered that we are going to be leaving far to early for me to make a special packed lunch for us all and that it might just be easier if we have a semi-normal lunch made the night before... but it will still be special!

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Saturday, 3 November 2012

What We Are Eating This Week? (W/C 3/11)

I was so ready for this weeks menu that I actually planned it before I planned last weeks! We're back at School on Tuesday and we have another little break for the end of the week (skip ahead to Friday, see where we are and then come back!) that I am SOOOOOOOOOOO excited about. Actually we all are excited but this is about food, so on with the menu.

Saturday - Baked Sloppy Joes


If I could choose what Country I was from I think I would choose America. I think that it's because most of the TV programmes I watch are American, most of the books I read are set there and of course because most of the foods that I see on Pinterest are from there too! I saw a pin for Baked Sloppy Joes, instead of serving it as a sub sandwich, the sandwich is baked on top along with the mince. I think it sounds like a great lazy Saturday meal so we're going to try it!

Sunday - Roast Pork


We had pork during the week and it was lush! Seriously though out of all the roasts the one I think is hardest is Pork, because you want a nice crispy bit of crackling but you don't want to over do the Pork. If I ever find the best way to do this I'll tell you! I'm going to do this Pork on a bed of sliced of apple, which if is mushy enough will be the apple sauce that I serve it with. Well, I say I am but I'll be at Church so really it will be Daddy cooking this one!

Monday - Honey Mustard Chicken


I think I've said it many times before that I LOVE Honey Mustard Chicken. Sometimes I cheat and buy a jar of sauce and other times I make my own. We'll be serving this with Creamy Mashed Potato, Carrots and Green Beans as I think the sauce on the veg is lovely, second only to the sauce on the Chicken.

Tuesday - Leftover Casserole with Jacket Potatoes


When I made Casserole a couple of weeks back there was enough left over to freeze, so I did. The best way to eat this will be over Jacket Potatoes, at least this seems to be the way that we always ate leftover casserole when I was younger! I suppose if I'm recreating my childhood I should also get a lot of buttered french stick on the table too!

Wednesday - Sausage And Bean Casserole


Big Boy has a hospital appointment this morning, as he hates going to the hospital for appointments (he still too clearly remembers being diagnosed) we've decided bribery is the best option and so I've planned Sausage and Bean Casserole as Big Boy loves this.

Sausage and Bean Casserole

Thursday - Salmon and Lemon Creamy Pasta


I'm not the only person who loves pasta am I? I would live on the stuff if I could get away with it. Actually pasta and bread! I read a diet plan based on blood types once and I'm apparently my blood type means I should eat bread a lot. I should try it out shouldn't I?! Anyway the Salmon is Smoked Salmon, it's creamy because I'm using creamed cheese to stir into the Pasta and the Salmon with have a dash of lemon.

Friday - Something Disney-fied


Yup that's right! We're heading back off to Disneyland Pairs this weekend with a few other bloggers thanks to Disney. Daddy, Top Ender, Big Boy and I will all be tweeting (and I'll be updating Facebook too) and I've made sure that I have some very large empty memory cards so that I can take hundreds of pictures during the three days that we are there.

So that's what we are eating this week, what are you eating this week?

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