The ‘chosen one’

I thought I would share a little bit of lovely news which we received yesterday (I apologise now for the proud ‘mummy bear’ post)!

Each year, our little Welsh village holds a Race the Train event (it’s very much the village highlight of the year)! It involves lots of people all running the length of our little steam train track and trying to beat the train back to the station.

The local school children are each asked to design the event T-shirt, with one child’s design being the ‘chosen one’ and printed on all the T-shirts. The T-shirts are then sold in the local shops, and the runners and spectators can buy them to wear on the day, or as souvenirs.

Yesterday we found out that my daughters design has been chosen as the T-shirt design for this year! Her excitement level pretty much equals my pride level right now! Walking into our local shop and seeing lots of T-shirts all hanging up with her design printed on them was quite surreal. She said it will be strange seeing lots of people walking around on the day with her picture on their T-shirts!

Now all we need is some lovely, sunny weather for the Race day! ūüôā¬†IMG_1667

Simple Jammy Muffins

We decided to make one of our family favourite bakes today – Jammy muffins! They are easy to make and are brilliant to encourage the little ones to get involved in the kitchen! The recipe and method we use are as follows –

Ingredients Р225 g plain flour, 75 g caster sugar,  2 eggs, pinch of salt, 1 tbsp baking powder, 160 ml milk, 5 tbsp melted butter and 8 tbsp jam.

Method РPreheat oven to 190 C. Add flour, sugar, salt and baking powder to a bowl and mix. In a different bowl, add the eggs, milk and melted butter and mix. Then pour the egg mixture into the other ( dry ingredient) bowl and stir. Spoon half the mixture into cake cases. Then make a well in each cake mix and add a spoon of jam. Then pour another spoon of cake mix over the top of the jam. Bake for 20 mins or until golden. 

We used strawberry jam in our muffins, but you can add whichever flavour jam you like. These are my daughters favourite thing to bake and she loves putting the jam into the cakes, then ‘hiding’ the jam again with the cake mix! A yummy family treat!

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Bottle it up! – (Bottle lid painting)

It comes as no surprise that most kids love painting. The chance to get that little bit extra messy is a sheer joy to them. The squeezing, squelching, mixing and creating is fantastic for children’s creative development, and this is something we should nurture and encourage in kids of all ages.

 Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when he grows up.

Pablo Picasso

There are so many different materials and tools to paint and create with! Lots of  people think paint = paintbrush (and maybe the odd sponge and potato thrown in here and there)! Look outside of that box though and you can paint with pretty much anything! I love encouraging the little ones to experiment with different materials and tools.

We decided to ditch the paintbrushes yesterday and chose to print using bottle lids instead. We used plastic milk bottle lids as they are easy, larger and safe for the kids to hold. I also had my 20 month old nephew staying with me for the day so I wanted something which he would be able to use too!

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We dipped the lids into our coloured paint then printed onto some plain paper. The kids really enjoyed seeing the prints appear on the paper. They created flowers, patterns and even a couple of “very hungry caterpillars” (a huge family favourite in this house)!

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The possibilities are pretty endless with this activity and the finished prints would look lovely on home-made greeting cards, or as home-made wrapping paper!

IMG_1638IMG_1659 IMG_1660A lovely way to mix up a painting activity with the little ones!

Monster Munchies!

I got creative for the kids snack time again today (I’m sorry, I just cant help it)!

My four year old, is a little (okay, very )! obsessed with monsters and other strange and wonderful creatures at the moment, so I thought a crazy fruity monster would be a cool thing to make for him.

I used blackberries for the hair, apple and chocolate raisins for eyes, a tomato nose and a cut out honeydew melon mouth. His face lit up when he saw his ‘little monster’ and he ate it up super quick!

Having fun with food is a brilliant way to help encourage fussy eaters to try new foods. Try it…….. play with food! ūüôā

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A lovely home-made gift

When I found out that my sister was expecting her second baby a couple of years ago, and it was to be a he, I was filled with a need to give her something lovely and home-made. I really wanted it to be super special and I came across the idea of making her a nappy cake. These were traditionally given as part of a mum to be’s baby shower, but are becoming much more popular as stand alone gifts now .

I must admit that when I first looked at how to make them (as a pure novice I hasten to add!) I was a little daunted, as some of the designs were incredibly elaborate. I then stumbled across an easy to follow video on YouTube which showed me how to make a simple two – tiered nappy cake, step by step. After a few practices I had it mastered! I spent the majority of my free time thereafter rolling and wrapping nappies, hiding little surprise vests, mittens and bottles, and generally transforming a bunch of teeny tiny nappies and blankets into a cake!

Once it was finished I was pleasantly surprised by the end result. (Shock horror – it actually looked like a cake)! I wrapped it in some pretty cellophane and added a bow to finish it. (Hey, it’s all in the presentation right)?!

Once our beautiful nephew was born I couldn’t wait to give my sister her nappy cake, bow and all. She was so pleased with it and couldn’t believe I had made it with my own fair hands (I tried not to take offence when several other family members repeatedly asked if I had actually made it)!

If you know a lady expecting a beautiful bundle of joy give this a go! It is a lot easier than it looks and will be very much appreciated by the recipient. I really enjoyed making the nappy cake and my pride level got raised a few notches afterwards! It didn’t cost too much either as I bought everything when on offer (or brand new from a well known on-line website)!

Now all I need is one of my lovely, beautiful lady friends to ‘be with child’ so I can put my ‘cake’ making skills to good use again. Be warned – it is slightly addictive! A gorgeous, perfect way to welcome a much loved, new addition to a family!jakes nappy cake nappy cake

Gorgeous Homemade Gingerbread!

Yet another rainy (August!) day provided the perfect opportunity to do some baking with the little ones. We opted to make gingerbread as it’s pretty simple and is fantastic for the kids to knead and cut out by¬†themselves as the dough can take a lot of handling. The recipe and method we like to use is this:

  • 7 oz plain flour
  • 3 oz butter
  • 2 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2-3 tsp ground ginger (we like to use 3 as we love ginger!)
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 desert spoon water
Preheat oven to 190 C and grease the baking trays. Heat the butter, syrup and sugar but do not let them boil! Once melted, take off the heat and add the flour and spices. Stir and add bicarbonate of soda and water into the mixture. Knead into a ball and roll out onto a floured surface. Then cut out using cutters. Bake for 5 Р8 minutes depending on the thickness of the gingerbread. 
Our gingerbread tasted yummy and the kids loved the process of making the dough and cutting out all the different shapes. They taste much nicer than shop bought gingerbread too! You could also add choc chips/raisins/icing etc to decorate the gingerbread. The kids love making funny faces and adding all sorts of weird and strange features! A yummy rainy day activity!
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Fruity Caterpillar!

Snack time this morning was shook up a little as the kitchen was taken over by fruity caterpillars! I made the kids a fruity snack using blackberries, cherries, and banana. I also added cucumber for the grass. The kids loved them and the caterpillars disappeared incredibly quickly! Super, fun way to get kids eating more fruit and veg!

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The Great British Blackberry Picking!

This morning the kids decided that they wanted to go blackberry picking as there are lots growing where we live at the moment, and my daughter really wanted me to make a blackberry crumble! My niece and nephew were visiting for the day too so I thought it would be a lovely activity to fill the morning! (I refuse to pay for blackberries when they are so readily available for free in our area )!

Even though it was raining we donned our raincoats and headed out! Living in Wales, we live by the motto that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes!’

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The kids had a fantastic time spotting the blackberries, picking them and filling their plastic cups up. We popped into my sister’s home on the way back as we were soaked through, and she made us some very welcome hot chocolate!¬†We made a crumble afterwards with some of the blackberries and it tasted lovely. I always think kids eat so much better when they are involved in their food in¬†some-way. Lovely way to spend a morning!

Our Chocolate Bakery!

I saw a post on Pinterest the other day to make homemade chocolate play dough and thought I would give it a go with my 2 kiddies on a rainy afternoon. It was so simple and smelt amazing! The recipe and method we used was as follows:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Stir constantly over a medium heat. Once a ball is formed, take off the heat and allow to cool. Then knead for a while and that is it!!! Simple and it smells so good! My daughter commented that our home smelt like a chocolate bakery! So we decided to set up a chocolate bakery for the afternoon! I set the kids up on the table with cookie cutters, food bags, sequins/beads to decorate with and a play¬†cash till. We also had a play phone for me to call the ‘bakery’ with my sweet¬†treat orders! We had great¬†fun and played for hours. My little boy usually struggles to¬†hold his attention for longer than 5 minutes so this was a big hit! Recommended activity!

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