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Showing posts from May, 2013

Evening Meals (W/C 01/06)

This is the last week of the six week diet that I put the family on... well technically just Daddy and I as Top Ender and Big Boy got more calorific dense food at lunch and puddings so that they were having the right amount for them as growing children. Anyway Next Saturday I'll be able to weigh myself again, so that'll be good!

Saturday - Chinese Duck with Noodles
We really enjoyed this the other week. I have to admit that Duck is one of my favourite meats and despite what everyone thinks about it being a terribly fatty meat I say that just means they aren't preparing it right!

Sunday - Roast Chicken
Daddy is so great at cooking the Sunday Roast now, I'm not sure what is going to happen next year when I'm at Church in the morning and could take over preparing it again!

Monday - Meatless Monday - Baked Potato
We're serving this with beans and a little cheese and a side salad. I think that if we only ate a jacket potato once every six weeks that Daddy would be q…

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Butter Free, Chocolate Cake

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Daddy has been making a lot of Cake in the last few weeks, he has come across a method, which for him is producing rather marvellous cakes and so knowing that a lot of the friends of my blog are also living gluten free I thought you'd like to have a copy of the recipe too. This is similar to the Gluten Free Chocolate cake that Daddy used to make, but this one tastes a lot nicer according to him.

Ingredients
180g Vegetable Oil
40g Milk
2tsp Vanilla Essence
200g Caster Sugar
3tbsp Cocoa Powder
4 tsps of No Egg dissolved in 2tbsp Water
200g Self Raising Flour (Doves Farm mix is what we use)
1tsp Bicarb of Soda
1tsp Baking Powder

Filling (Not Butter Free)
60g Butter (softened)
80g Icing Sugar
1tbsp Cocoa Powder

Topping (Not Butter Free)
50g Chopped Chocolate (High Cocoa Solid content to allow to set)
30g Butter
1tbsp Golden Syrup

Method
Instead of using butter, this cake uses Vegetable Oil and Milk and is done by weight, so don't try measuring it out!

Mix together the oil, Vanilla…

Busy Doing Nothing

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I read a news article this week that said something along the lines that time doesn't fly when you're having fun, that you are just more likely to remember what you do when you have fun in detail and subsequently over estimate the time it took. I'm not sure if this is true, but I do know that this Bank Holiday Weekend seemed to pass in the blink of an eye whilst we were busy doing nothing.

Spending time with family is one of mine and Daddy's top priorities. We make sure that even though we have chores and jobs and other responsibilities that we spend time with the children. We do this so that we can let them know that we put them first, that we think they are important and to show them that we love them, after all it's by our actions that we show love, not just by words.


In the future, it's going to be these short moments that we spend time together that Top Ender and Big Boy are going to remember. It is what they are going to base their own parenting moments o…

Bow Brickhill Woods

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I think I've said it several times before, but it isn't going to stop me saying it again. Milton Keynes is a great place to live and a great place to bring up your family. One of the many wonderful things that makes it so great is that it is a city (okay so we don't have official city status yet, but the Queen and I have been in talks and I'm sure she'll bestow it upon my town soon) in the middle of the countryside. We have great views, just a few minutes from our doorstep and Bow Brickhill Woods is one of those fantastic views. In fact from the Children's bedrooms we can see the woods... well sort of. You'd have to know just where to look, but you can see the tops of a few of the trees!


On the last Bank Holiday Monday in May the weather remained glorious here in Milton Keynes (if not a little blowy, but hey this is the UK we can't have everything) and so we headed off for a walk around the Bow Brickhill woods. I spent most of my time, admiring the view…

Rushmere Country Park Stockgrove Entrance

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With it starting to get warmer again (honestly, we've turned the heating off it must be getting warmer) we're back off on our family walks in the evenings. We're just going to have to work out how to make sure that we get Big Boy fed at the right times so that we can keep his blood sugars steady and not be eating dinner at the time he is normally going to bed! A couple of weeks ago we went to a country park that I used to go to a lot as a child with my family, although it's changed a lot since I was last there. When I was last there it was called Stockgrove Country Park, but despite the name change it's still as beautiful and as fun to walk around as it was when I was young.


The park is on Brickhill Road in Heath & Reach and there is a £2 parking fee, which you pay as you leave the car park. During the Summer months you'll find a lot of cars parked on the grass verges outside the park, so from memory the best times to go are either late in the day or very e…

Half Term Lunches (W/C 25/5)

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I love half term weeks and this week coming is, for us half term. This means that lunches may be swapped around depending on what we are doing and where we are, but also based on how much the Children moan at me that they want something different!

Saturday - Sausage Rolls
Last year, Top Ender and I went for a day out together where we had Sausage Rolls from a greasy spoon type cafe. These were, according to Top Ender, the best Sausages that she has ever had. So as today I'm not doing my Mum's shopping with her, Tops and I are going to go and have a girlie lunch out.

Sunday - Salad and Ham Rolls
Well Daddy and I will be having the Salad, the Children will probably ignore the green bits and just eat the ham roll.

Monday - Carrot and Cheese Sandwiches

I don't think that we are going anywhere special today, but just in case I'm going to plan Sandwiches, as that way if we do go out they are easy to pack up as a picnic.

Tuesday - Chicken Wraps
It seems to be the thing to hav…

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

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It's been a while since I've explained how to make a Friday lunch, mainly because my Friday lunches have been a bit rubbish of late! Today however we have Snail Rolls for lunch for national escargot day (it's American don't worry you've not missed something huge happening to the British) and they turned out fairly lovely!

To make the rolls, I simple used the play-doh method and made a sausage out of my dough and then wrapped one end round into a spiral to imitate the shell on the Snails back. Simple enough, but has already generated some conversation with some friends who saw the pictures first thing this morning... I guess it was early and they were confused.

I split the buns in half, and placed a slice of ham inside the spiral, leaving the snails head attached to help the roll keep it's shape. The lunch is accompanied by a Snail Cucumber and in the orange pot (it used to hold lollies, but I have re-purposed it!) is one of the Cocoa Meringues that I made yest…

Dinner Plans (W/C 25/05)

I've found that working from a set of meals so much easier to meal plan, I know that I asked a few weeks back about what people thought about set meals for a family on a monthly or weekly basis, but I think that I really am going to have to investigate this! Anyway, this is week five of the diet, so not long until I can weigh myself and see how well it has worked!

Saturday - Chicken Satay
We love Chicken Satay! I haven't made it for ages though so I'm looking forward to making it tonight with rice and salad.

Sunday - Roast Chicken
I do love a Sunday Roast and it is still a highlight of the week, even though we've got some great meals planned this week too!

Monday - Meatless Monday Curry and Mac and Cheese
Daddy and I are going to have the leftover curry again tonight (it's all gone now) and the Children are going to have Mac and Cheese as it is one of their favourite dishes.

Tuesday - Lamb Moussaka
It was Daddy who first introduced me to Lamb Moussaka, and I'm …

Hullabazoo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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Whenever we go to my Mums we get to see Whipsnade Zoo, or rather the Lion on the Hill at Whipsnade Zoo. It cheers us up no end on sunny days and we always want to go and visit, and yesterday we got to go to go to the VIP launch of a brand new outdoor adventure play area which officially opens on the 25th May 2013.


The park has been designed around animal movement, which is great for talking to the Children about what animals move like and why and also for letting them burn off a bit of excess energy before going to see one of the shows (the Birds and the Sea Lions were the two we went to) or to warm up on a cold day... Top Ender was rather pleased to be the first child into the park (that we know of) and loved the different areas. She was climbing and sliding and jumping within seconds of walking through the gate and you can see all our photos from the day in our Facebook album. Here are just a selection of the 100 or so that we took.



Newly turned Five Year Old Big Boy preferred the a…

Evita - A Review

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I don't think there is anyone who doesn't know at least one or two lines from at least one song from Evita, which is why I was really excited about going to see it at Milton Keynes Theatre because I know all the words, lines and songs from Evita.


The other benefit, for my Mum in particular, was that Marti Pellow is in the show as she has always had a little bit of a thing for him. I chose not to mention that I had seen him in Blood Brothers a few months back or she might not have brought me an ice-cream in the interval!


The great thing about the show, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, isn't that it is so well known thanks to the film that came out a few years ago, or that it has Marti Pellow in, or even that it is based on the real life of Eva Peron but that the actors are all comfortable in their roles and work well together. I could hear other audience members around me talking about the chemistry between al the actors and I got lost in the musical and the rel…

Parental Guilt

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I'm feeling guilty at the moment.

For Top Ender's Ninth Birthday, I had planned on having a small meal for her with her friends at a restaurant. I'd be there as a parent, but I wouldn't sit at the table with them and they could basically have a lovely "grown up" evening together.

Then with one thing and another it didn't happen. In fact Top's didn't even get a birthday cake.

She got gifts of course, and a lot of money, and a lot of love and she even took over the Facebook page for the day (which she loved) and we did eventually make a cake that we said was to make up for her not having a birthday cake.


Top Ender is so adorably forgiving though, she didn't care that she didn't have a party with friends. She didn't care that she didn't have a cake. She just loved that we love her and that we were with her on her birthday.

I'm still feeling guilty though.

So next week I'm taking Top Ender out for a special meal out.

I'll l…

I always make time 2 play

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When we come out of School, one of the first questions that I ask Big Boy is What did you do today? Normally Big Boy answers "Just Playing!" and hopes I will leave it at that. Some parents might, but I know that "Just Playing" is actually code for learning when you're five and so I ask some more leading questions about what sort of things he played. It is because I know the importance of play that I was pleased to be a part of the Make Time 2 Play Campaign with the British Toy and Hobby Association’s Make Time 2 Play Campaign.


I was lucky as a child, my Mum knew that playing wasn't a reward or a waste of time, but it was a way that my Sister and I learnt best. I've tried to carry it on the way she taught and the way that experts have discovered to be the best way to help Children learn too. Research shows that if you incorporate themes into children's learning it makes the experience more memorable for them and less scary and then they will be more …

Déjeuners of the Week

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This week I'm planning on having Salads, I've done a couple of weeks of Chicken and a week of Prawns but I think that this week would be rather nice with lots of added vegetables in the salad... although I have no idea how that is going to work.


Saturday - Picnic

We're out at Whipsnade Zoo today, so we're having a picnic. The great thing about this is that we have sandwiches, a few sausages, crisps, fruit, some home made cakes and even a salad! Now if we can all keep our fingers crossed for Sun instead of the rain that is forecasted it will all be good!


Sunday - Meatball Subs

For some reason I've had a bit of a meatball craving, so I've decided to do meatball subs for everyone, although I'm not going to do a footlong one as I once had one from Subway and nearly died eating it! I'm out for most of the morning with Tops at Church, so I'm hoping that if I put the meatballs in my slow cooker that by the time I'm home they'll be ready.


Monday - M…

Evening Meals (W/C 18/05)

Week Four of the diet. I'm sticking firm to my decision not to weigh myself until the end of week six, so I can't really say if it's having the right influence on me but my clothes are feeling a little looser!

Saturday - Gammon
Every time we eat Gammon we wonder why we don't eat it more often, and I'm sure that tomorrow won't be that different! We're serving it grilled with new potatoes, broad beans and pineapple.

Sunday - Roast Chicken
I'm getting used to only eating a small amount of dinner compared to what I was eating, but I don't understand how the portion sizes of the food made during the week are so big compared to this one which is so small!

Monday - Meatless Monday Pizza or Curry
When I made the Aubergine and Lentil Curry in week one, there was so much left over that I froze it for a night such as this. I'm off out this evening to the Theatre with my Mum, so I needed something quick to  for dinner. The Children are having pizza because …

How To Be Happy

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I was looking at some of my most popular Facebook posts on my personal Facebook page the other day and I saw that in recent times it hasn't been the questions about food (all those who know me on Facebook love the questions about food!) or getting to laugh at me but the post where I said I was grateful for my life.


I wondered why this was the most popular and I realised it's because that's the one thing that all of us have in common. We all want to be happy, to be grateful for the life that we have and sometimes it takes one of us going through a rather bad situation to make all the rest of us realise that we actually lead for the most part a pretty brilliant life. Rather like my Rules for a Good Family Life, I thought I'd set out some rules I think that need to be applied to be happy.

Make Today A New Start

Let go of the past, of yesterday if needs be and start moving forward today. It doesn't matter if yesterday was terrible, the situation will change if you let i…

Ella's Kitchen The Red One - A Review by Big Boy

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When I was off School sick with the Chicken Pox, Mummy said that I could do some cooking with her if I wanted. I didn't want to, but I did like looking in the cook books that Mummy has, as they have nice pictures of food and the food that Mummy makes never looks that good! The book I liked the most was the Red one which is a cook book that Mummy got sent by Ella's Dad.


Mum says that the recipes in the cook book look good and easy to make and some of them are really tasty looking. I liked looking through at the different pictures and I found lots of different dishes that I would like for Mummy and Daddy to make with me or Top Ender.


The best things in the book are the puddings and Mummy has said that we can make lots of them and that it's on the condition that I eat some of the other recipes. She says that would be fair, but I said that it wasn't fair and so she said it was Life. I really don't understand Mummy at times.

The cook book has some stickers and some bits…

Big Boy is Five!

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Today is Big Boy's Fifth birthday.

It seems unbelievable to me that he has been around for only five years, not because it feels much longer, but because I just can't remember what life was like without him and Tops. So here, instead of a letter to him, are my some highlights of his life so far.

His Birth
I guess I have to start with his birth because it was his first appearance in the world, I mean I know that he was around for nine months before that and that he could hear me and he could let me know when he was pleased or not (honestly though he didn't kick that hard!) but seeing him, using his name, holding him, feeding him and knowing that we belonged to each other was definitely a highlight.

His First Steps
It was a last minute substitution. Top Ender's teachers asked if Big Boy and I would mind talking with Top Ender's class about babies. We weren't supposed to be there, and yet we were, and Big Boy took his first steps.


We all saw them together, this sp…

Big Boy's Fifth Birthday

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Big Boy woke up this morning and was heard by Daddy and I to be talking to his Teddies about how it was his Fifth Birthday;

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ME!
Daddy and I were so excited, here was Big Boy a five year old. He knew that today was his birthday and that he was going to spend the day celebrating and we wanted him to be like that. Just last night Big Boy had been so excited that going to bed seemed to be the last thing on his mind. In fact when I got back from a meeting roughly two hours after bed time, he was still awake and wanting to talk about his Birthday and the things he was looking forward to. 


Luckily he did go to sleep and as he did I went to work. Wrapping up gifts, writing birthday cards, hunting out the cards and gifts already delivered by long distance family, changing his pillow case, putting up a banner and doing this to his bedroom door.

When Big Boy got out of bed to come and see Daddy and I in our room (tradition says the birthday person comes to our room to open cards a…