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Showing posts from January, 2012

Pure Love - Wordless Wednesday

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This was the first time that Top Ender met Baby Chicken. I think it shows pure love.



Youngs Seafood and Fish Balls - Fish Is The Dish

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Just before Christmas Youngs Seafood and the lovely people behind Fish Is The Dish arranged to send some frozen fish fillets, fish cakes, fish fingers, fish pie and easy cook fish pieces to fill up my freezer. Normally the only fish that I have in my freezer are a few Salmon fillets, some gluten free fish fingers that Daddy takes to work and some prawns (I don't think I ever buy prawns yet they are always in the freezer, I think my Cats put them there) so this was a new experience for me. If I am making something with fish I will either use the fish that is sent or will buy something from a fishmonger to use, just because I'm not used to having fish you can cook from frozen.


I quickly figured out the fish pieces are great to have in the freezer as they can quickly be turned into something tasty and filling as they don't have to be defrosted. Jo at Mummys Knee suggested that I fry some with sweet chilli sauce they would be perfect for a late night snack and wouldn't you…

Cod Bobotie - Fish Is The Dish!

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One of the first things I said to the team behind Fish is The Dish was that I didn't have the confidence to cook different fish dishes. I knew how to make oven baked fish and I knew how to make fish pie and that was all I made. I didn't have the confidence to buy fresh fish, I didn't have the confidence to buy different types of  fish and I might have filleted a whole Salmon once but it certainly wasn't a skill I was ready to add to my Food CV. Once in Scotland and given a master class in preparing fish, selecting fish, the different types of fish and winning the fish filleting competition between the bloggers at the event I had more confidence but I was still waiting for that break through that meant I had confidence with cooking fish.
This week we had Cod Bobotie. It's an egg based dish and so because of Daddy's recently discovered allergy to eggs it was just for Top Ender, Big Boy and I. I was stuck with what to make for Daddy and was considering making him…

Tell Me About Your Packed Lunch

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Hello Everyone!

A conversation over the weekend has my creative lunch idea juices flowing, but I need your help.

Can you please let me know of restrictions that the School your child goes to puts on what goes in your children's lunch boxes?

Are you allowed chocolate biscuits or Crisps?

Do you have to have a portion of fruit or vegetables?

Do they limit the amount of dairy?

Are they not allowed things like peanuts because of other children's allergies?


I'd also really love to know how long your child gets to eat lunch and what sort of provisions are made for storing packed lunches until lunch time.

Do they have a cold area to store them in or an area they can heat up food?

What kind of lunch box do you use?

Do you use cold packs or Thermos packs?


And the last area that I would really love to have some feedback on is you (and other grown ups) and the packed lunch.

How long do you spend making a packed lunch?

Do you make packed lunches the night before or in the morning befor…

Valentine Hearts Pie - Wordless Wednesday

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Cake Batter Rainbow Rice Krispies Treats

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We make a lot of Rice Crispy Treats, sometimes we add chocolate and make them into Nest Cakes, sometimes I melt a load of Marshmallows and sometimes if I have left over bits of biscuits and raisins I will add those in with some chocolate and have our very own version of Tiffin. When on Pinterest I saw Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats I was really excited because it looked delicious. Only problem being it was in American measurements and so I had to use my special skills to turn it back in to English measurements and of course I couldn't not add my own special touches!


Pippa's English Measurements Cake Batter Rainbow Rice Krispies Treats Recipe
3 Tablespoons Butter 280g Marshmallows (I used mini ones and medium sized ones as that's what I had) 4oz Sponge Cake Mix 100g Rice Krispies 50g Rainbow Drops (I may have over sprinkled and used closer to 60g) 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract Cake Sprinkles
Method
Grease a 9inch Square Pan and Mix the Rice Krispies and Rainbow Drops.
Melt t…

The Baby Shoe Company - Cuteez Shoes

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Just a couple of weeks ago my sister and I were online together and talking about Baby Shoes. My sister sometimes rivals The Shoe Blogger for her love of shoes and all of her daughters are developing the same trait and we thought that Chicken (her newest baby) would be no different. Just a couple of days later and I was offered some Baby shoes from The Baby Shoe Company to review and as my Sister loves shoes and I had some plans about ditching the Nappy Cake I thought that some of the Leather Cuteez shoes would be just the thing to welcome the new baby.

This weekend we finally got our chance to go and visit with my Sister and her family and to meet Chicken, who was born last Wednesday evening.


Chicken is adorable and seeing as she pooped in her nappy when Daddy was holding her, I take it to mean that she likes me best...

Everyone loved the various gifts I had for the family (My sister love her "Wine", her partner loved his "Pint" and the eldest three Cousins loved …

Helping your Children with social and emotional skills

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Before Daddy and I made the choice that Big Boy wasn't going to go to a Nursery before he started School we weighed up the pro's and cons of the situation. We knew that one of the hardest things for us to do wasn't helping him develop his reading skills or math skills or his creative skills but it was going to be helping him develop his social and emotional skills to the same level as his peers because he wasn't going to have as much interaction with people his age as he would if he went to a Nursery or playgroup. A lot of what I am talking about in the rest of this post comes from the research I made into the subject when Top Ender was small and Daddy and I wanted to help her to develop into a well rounded little girl... she is pretty well rounded so I think that they work!

I love paper plates for a variety of reasons and paper plates with drawn on emotions are great fun to play with. I sat at work one lunch time and drew as many faces as I could, there was happy, sad…

This Is My Son

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Big Boy has changed so much in the last few weeks I keep having to look at him to check if he is the same child. Suddenly all the baby parts of him seem to have vanished and I have a little boy ready for School standing in front of me. I know of course that he is going to be going to school, I am trying to make the most of our time together with a Starting School To Do list but it just seems that it is coming round so quickly.


Big Boy has a wicked sense of humour and always has. If something in the past tickled him you would know about it with his giggle being heard loud and clear Now his sense of humour has developed to be more sophisticated. Yes, he still tells the same rubbish made up Knock Knock jokes and they still delight him and of course even the remotest suggestion of slapstick has him rolling in the aisle but he has taken to reciting whole passages of films or cartoons that he has enjoyed and will often come out with the most obscure quotes or details. In a few years I think…

Forget Nappy Cakes

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With my newest niece being born just a few days ago, I wanted to give my Sister and her partner a gift that and decided on some Baby Clothes. I wanted to do some form of Nappy cake and as I had already checked with my Sister what size clothes they were lacking in (I tend not to buy for the first couple of stages if I can help it as everyone does and you get overwhelmed with clothes that get grown out of so quickly!) and brought the usual assortment of vests, socks, sleep suits and a couple of outfits that I just couldn't resist.

How to make them look attractive as a gift though? A plain standard nappy cake is all well and good but how about something more in sync with the recipients? How about this;


A glass of white wine for my sister and a pint of beer for my brother in law. I just used tissue paper to cover the inside of the glasses and slotted a vest inside. With the wine glass there was enough "wine" left over to fold over the top and for the beer glass a frothy head…

A Gluten Free Cheese and Mustard Loaf

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Since discovering that Daddy was a celiac we have pretty much led a Gluten free life here at A Mothers Ramblings. It's not a bad life once you work out that the normal rules of cooking don't apply and that with a bit of adaptation you can make almost anything using gluten free flour... everything apart from a decent loaf of bread that is. You can buy wheat free bread and for the most part they are okay, but you know how bread is when you bite in to it? Light and fluffy and crunchy and delicate and yummy all at the same time? Yeah, Gluten free bread is nothing like that.

As part of the Morphy Richards House Proud Innovators I was sent a Premium Plus Stainless Steel Breadmaker to try and reading through the instruction booklet I found that there was a few Gluten free breads and cakes. As all of the ingredients were things that I normally have in my gluten free pantry I knew I could make something easily but it wasn't until Daddy's birthday that I had the opportunity to g…

McCain's Frozen Jacket Potatoes - A Review

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It's no secret that I love jacket potatoes, I make them in my slow cooker, in the oven, in the microwave and even on the BBQ. I will serve them with casserole or sausages or a salad or even fish and if I am ever feeling down then this is a great comfort food and served with butter and a bit of salt and pepper it cheers me right up. The only problem is for a truly great jacket potato you have to know that you are going to want it at least an hour in advance. Cooking it slowly in the oven or slow cooker or even on a BBQ is the only way to achieve that crispy skin whilst getting the soft fluffy middle.

McCain (yes the McCain of the Daddy or chips fame) asked me last week if they could send me a new product that has just been launched; Frozen Oven Baked Jacket Potatoes which are cooked from frozen and ready in about five minutes. I figured what the heck, I might as well try them!

Big Boy and I decided to have them for lunch. I took the potatoes out of the freezer, placed them on a mic…

Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake - Wordless Wednesday

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Pin It Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free chocolate cake
375 grams gluten-free self-raising flour 400 grams brown sugar 500 ml cold water 125 ml vegetable oil 65 grams cocoa powder/drinking chocolate 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon xantham gum 2 teaspoons white vinegar 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined and smooth. Pour into greased baking pan(s). Bake 60-65 minutes, or until a skewer in the middle comes out clean. I found it starts as a very runny mixture so bake in the centre of the oven to allow for the longer bake time needed, rather than on the top shelf.
Makes two 7" round cakes. I kept one as a round iced cake, and cut the other one into "brownie" shapes. If you only want one cake, just halve the ingredients.
Chocolate Icing (Egg and Gluten Free, but NOT Dairy Free)
120 grams butter 400 grams icing sugar 50 grams cocoa powder/drink…

Family Fun At The Library

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Here in Milton Keynes we are spoilt for Libraries as there are so many that we have access too. I love going to any of the local libraries and taking Top Ender and/or Big Boy as I think that they are a great place to go as a family. I love that we can go and sit and read for free, that we can find books that we think we might like to read and borrow them for free and in our area we can even use PC's to access the internet for free too.

We tend to go every couple of weeks on a Friday evening to what I think of as the "main" library. Daddy and the children head off to the Children's section whilst I return the books and have a quick look at the seasonal books on display and head off to find a few books that I might like to have a read of. I then find my family in the Children's section where they are normally surrounded by a pile of books that Daddy has to read to them and a pile of books that they wish to borrow. I then read some more books to Top Ender and Big Bo…

Christmas Equals Snow - Big Boy Giggles

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Big Boy was looking at DVD's in WH Smiths with Daddy whilst Top Ender and I were looking at note cards, when Big Boy found a Pingu DVD.

"This is a Christmas DVD Daddy!" said Big Boy who is still sure Christmas comes every month.
"How do you know that?" asked Daddy
"It has snow on the cover!" Big Boy answered looking at Daddy with disbelief


A Menu For A Dinner Party I Am Never Going To Have

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Reading cooking books is great fun and I do it quite a lot. Recently Daddy suggested that when I was clearing out a lot of books from the book shelf I might consider clearing out some of my cooking books. The evil stare I gave him made him realise I was not parting with them for anybody! When I read cookbooks I come up with Menus for dinner parties I am never going to have and it is a bit of fun to work out what the main course is and to work out how I would make the meal, who I would invite and if it was Come Dine With Me what the sarcastic voice over would say about me.

The lovely people at Morphy Richards saw my post on how much I love my slow cooker (and how I had discovered that you can make Jacket Potatoes in a slow cooker a revelation of epic proportions in this house) and so they sent me out The Ultimate Slow Cooker Cookbook. Which was handy as out of all the cook books I own, I don't have a slow cooker cookbook! I took the book to bed with me and read all the different re…

Fun Family Cakes

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Posting about the Cat bread this morning, made me think about the last time we ate something cat shaped as a family. Any time Daddy, Top Ender, Big Boy or I are in London we try to go to the Japan Centre. It is by far my favourite store and I could spend hours standing around having fun looking at the different products that the shop sells, buying bits for the bento lunches I make for Top Ender and Big Boy and trying to work out if I need another bottle of Soy Sauce or packet of noodles and why it is so hard to teach yourself to read Japanese.

The last time we went to the store we brought some character "cakes" for a late afternoon snack. We chose Hello Kitty and Totoro cakes (they are about the size of a large doughnut) and we ate them sitting on the sofa in our pyjamas after a long, but fun, train journey home.



My plan is to try and make some breads that we can make look like other favourite characters in the future. Perfect for family fun as we try to create the right sha…

A Starling In My Window - The Gallery

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The other day Top Ender, Big Boy and I took my Mum out to look at buying some new curtains. Before we went to look at the curtains though we had a sneaky fast food lunch and as we sat in the car to eat it (Big Boy was asleep) we had a little visitor who I think wanted to join in with our meal.



Cat Bread - Wordless Wednesday

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When Daddy made his lunch the other morning, he found that his Genius bread was cat shaped...

Looks like my creative lunches are rubbing off everyone and everything!

You Can Thank Me For The Lack Of Snow

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It's typical isn't it? Over the last eight years where I live, there has been snow in January (I know it's eight years because I was at home with a two week old baby and everyone was stuck where they were when the snow fell and that baby has just turned Eight). This year I wanted to be prepared and I brought Sledges and a snow shovel before Christmas so that the now traditional weather change wouldn't catch me out. I even have a new flask, thick socks and Snow boots that Hi-Tec sent me (The St. Moritz 200 in beige and cream)


Animal Planet Magazine

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Top Ender is becoming a voracious reader. I'm not surprised as I can quite easily read a book in a day given half a chance! It was with great delight that Top Ender received a copy of the Animal Planet magazine to review as it combines two of her favourite things... animals and reading.

The magazine was interesting, it had a few articles in that Tops was fascinated by and she kept coming to find me to tell me tidbits of information that she had read and thought needed to be shared. There were a few things to do that were crafty but Tops wasn't interested in doing them and even the free gift from the front of the magazine was soon discarded. I think that the magazine was good as it kept Tops amused and she was interested in what she was reading and of course it had the added benefit of her learning something too but it wasn't right for her.

We had been offered a six month subscription if we liked the magazine, but Top Ender has decided to decline the offer as she thinks tha…

What You Missed If You Don't Live With Me

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Hello Everyone!

Sorry I've not been around for the last week or so, but since the start of the New Year I have been in a bit of a funk. I think it was brought on by me being me and on top of that being ill, but the good news is it has passed and so the blogging resumes! I have so much that I wanted to talk about or wanted to share and so I thought a little bit of a catch up was in order and so here it is!

In December I was sent a huge parcel of toys. Really it was huge, it took up most of my stairs.

In it there was Mission Earth, Wild Science for Girls, Children's World Map Puzzleball, Schleich animal pack, Morbs, Sylvanian Families Family, Fireman Sam Fire engine, Zhu Zhu Princess, RastaMouse, 50th Anniversary Etch a Sketch, Club Penguin Puffles & Penguins and a Mould and Paint Christmas set. I did what every good friend does and gave it all away to people in the School Playground or to Top Ender's class teacher for use in her classroom. I thought that you all wouldn…

Helping your Children with developing Creativity and Imagination skills

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When Top Ender was young she had set ways in which she played and explored the world and whilst her verbal skills were very advanced, I wanted to help her to develop her creative and imaginative side so that she could explore the world in other ways. As every parent knows the want to help your children develop their skills as much as possible is deeply rooted, we want to make sure that our children have the same opportunities (and more) that we did. We want to pass on our knowledge and with things such as Reading and Maths Skills but I think that helping our Children with developing Creativity and Imagination skills isn't something that we think of as being able to be taught... but they can be!

I of course don't mean that you can teach your child to be Mozart (well maybe you can, but I think that a lot of talent like that is within a person to start with) but you can help them to develop skills that will help them make the most of their own natural talents and enjoy things of …

Toys, Toys and More Toys!

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Over the last few months Top Ender and Big Boy have had a few Toys sent to be reviewed that for one reason or another I haven't got round to blogging about, but mentioned elsewhere. I thought it would be a good idea to blog about them though as others might find our observations useful!

Sing-a-ma-jigs
These were great fun. They are small teddies that when you squeeze their Tummy emit a sound. These can then be squeezed  rhythmically to create a song. The problem is working out what song they are singing and how fast to squeeze the Sing-a-ma-jigs! These provided hours of entertainment and we have brought them as a gift for others because they were so much fun.

The Sing-a-ma-jigs live in BB's bedroom in his Teddy Tub and are frequently heard being squeezed to produce a song. I don't think that any of us are clever enough to start making our own music videos though.

A Bananagrams Playing Cat?

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As has become tradition here in the UK on New Years Eve there were fireworks let off. As has also become tradition, some fool let several fireworks off earlier in the evening before we had a chance to get our three cats back in after their evening constitutional. If I am being kind I like to think that the fool was actually some local family pretending with their children that they had made it to Midnight and were ringing in the new year together, but knowing better I think it was a couple of people who had drunk just a little too much during the early evening and thought now was a good a time as any.

Willow (Top Ender's cat) was in the garden when the first of the evenings pyrotechnics lit up the sky and pretty quickly she shot through the cat flap, down the kitchen and scrambled up the front and over the top of my fridge to hide herself in the small gap behind the fridge. As she scrambled up the fridge she knocked several of my Bananagram tiles off the fridge rendering my New Ye…