Another birthday party!

So this weekend marked another big event in our family – my daughters 8th birthday! I feel like I have only just recovered from my sons birthday a couple of weeks ago and we are doing the birthday thing all over again!

My daughter wanted a little party in our home with a few of her close friends, and she chose to have a princess theme for her party. (After all, if you can’t be a princess on your birthday when can you?!)

I made some home made decorations for her including some simple glittery name bunting. This was so easy to make and looked lovely and sparkly above the food table (I was originally going to make her a castle backdrop but I completely ran out of time)! She was super happy with her glittery alternative!

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To make her name bunting, I cut out pieces of yellow card and used glue to write each letter of her name onto each piece of card. I then shook gold glitter flakes onto the glue to form glittery letters. I punched holes in the top of each piece of card and threaded some pretty ribbon through to attach them together. I then hung the bunting up above the food table! It looked very pretty and effective!

I also added a princess theme to some of the food. I made Marshmallow Pops as my daughter loves them and had requested them especially! I mainly used pink sugar sparkles, hundreds and thousands and white chocolate to make them look extra princessy! (There were a few milk chocolate ones thrown in for luck too mind)!

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If you would like to make your own Marshmallow Pops, find the recipe here – https://paintboxmum.wordpress.com/2015/12/13/marshmallow-pops/

My daughter is a huge fan of salad so I knew I needed to get a healthy option onto the party food table too! I found a brilliant idea on Pinterest, which placed the salad into pretty little tubs. Such a simple idea but looks very pretty. I didn’t have any tubs so I improvised and used some cute cake cases. I popped some salad leaves into each one, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices, which I cut the edges off using a cookie cutter. I placed the cases into a flower shaped serving plate to serve them. The salad looked very lovely and pretty and was eaten all up! It definitely disappeared far quicker presented like this, rather than just placed in the usual salad bowl!

I also used cookie cutters to make shaped sandwiches. The kids loved these and they made a nice change from the usual squares or triangles!

IMG_3450.JPGWe had a lovely day celebrating and partying! I saved lots of money by making things myself, and the extra touches made her party extra special!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends whatever you are up to!

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Marshmallow Pops!

We love Marshmallow Pops in our home and I serve them a lot at family celebrations. Friends are always asking me how to make them! They are always shocked when I tell them how easy they are to make so I thought I would write a little blog post showing how simple and easy they are to do!

To make Marshmallow Pops you will need – marshmallows, lollipop sticks, chocolate, sprinkles etc to decorate.

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Begin by placing two marshmallows onto each lollipop stick.

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Next melt your chocolate of choice. I do this in a bowl in a microwave, checking and stirring it frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. Once your chocolate is melted pour it over your marshmallows. You can choose to cover the whole of the marshmallows, or just partially. I covered all of the mallows! I always allow the excess chocolate to drip off a little at this point, as otherwise it can sometimes drip off later taking all of your decorations with it! Once some of the excess chocolate has dripped off, sprinkle on the decoration of choice. I love using sugar strands, chocolate strands and hundreds and thousands!

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Place your Pop onto a plate gently and put straight into the fridge. (I find if you do all of the Pops first and then place into the fridge a lot of the chocolate begins dripping off, so it is easier to place each Pop into the fridge once you have made it, so it can begin chilling (and setting) straight away).

Repeat until you have made all of your Pops. Allow to chill in the fridge until set. Then enjoy!

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Fruity snail!

I got a little creative with my sons fruit snack the other day (yes I know, it’s fast becoming an obsession – I apologise)!

I decided to make a fruity snail for him as he loves all insects, bugs, snails, slimy things etc! I used his favourite ever fruit for the snails body (honeydew melon),then added a shell made from grapes, a sliced banana head and used raisins for eyes and sliced grape for the mouth.

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My son loved his special snack and it disappeared at a pace far faster than our friendly snails!

A Lovely Little snack!

I decided to make my daughters snack a little more interesting today! (If you have been following my blog for a while, you will know how much I love getting creative with the kids food)!

I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make some heart shaped sandwiches, then added some strips of cheddar cheese and some mini cheese biscuits on the top to make a pretty pattern.

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I also added some cucumber and beetroot to finish off her pretty snack! She really enjoyed her food and ate the lot! A lovely way to make food more fun!

Crazy cupcakes!

One of my kids favourite things to bake are what we call ‘crazy cupcakes’! They are a little bit of a fun baking idea which we started baking a couple of years ago when my daughter had been poorly. She had lost her appetite whilst ill and it hadn’t really returned! Nothing was tempting her, so I had a brainwave to try these little beauties! I thought if she helped make them and we added a surprise, fun element she may want to try some. It certainly worked and she loved them! They have since become a little bit of a family tradition!

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Crazy cupcake recipe (makes 24 cakes) – 

Ingredients –

Cake mix – 6 oz softened butter, 6 oz caster sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs and 6 oz self raising flour

Filler ideas – glacé cherries, chocolate chips, raisins etc

Topping ideas – icing, sugar strands, sprinkles, chocolate strands, mini mallows, sugar stars, mini chocolate balls, sugar flowers, strawberries, tangerine pieces

Method – Preheat oven to 170 c. Put the sugar and butter into a bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix again. Add the flour and mix. Make sure the mixture is smooth. Now for the fun, surprise part of the crazy cupcakes! Divide the mixture into different bowls ready to add the different fillers to each. (We use three bowls as we tend to use three different fillers.) Next add each of your fillers to each bowl. I put cherries in one bowl, chocolate chips in another and raisins in the third bowl. Mix each bowl thoroughly, and pour into cake cases. My little ones love this part as it is a big surprise to what filler you are going to have when you get to eat your cakes! Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Leave to cool and then decorate. We use icing and then the kids get to go a little crazy with their toppings. This time they used chocolate strands, sugar stars and mini mallows!

The cupcakes tasted super yummy and the kids have great fun helping to make them. A lovely, fun way to bake with your very own mini bakers!

Pizza fun!

Yesterday me and the kids decided to make some pizza for lunch. I prefer to make our own pizza dough usually, but I spotted a box of ready made pizza bases in my local shop the other day, which were discounted by a huge amount! I bought the bases for absolute pennies, so I thought I would give them a go! They were too big a bargain to miss!

I love making pizzas with the kids as they love having the freedom to create whatever they want on their pizzas. They can let their imaginations go wild! My daughter loves making faces on her pizza and my son likes making patterns with the different toppings. They really like the fact that they have helped prepare and make their own lunch, and tend to eat a lot better if it is something they have helped to make themselves! pizza quote blog

If you want to make your own pizza base I usually use the recipe below as it is so quick and easy.

Pizza base recipe – 375g plain flour, 1 tsp salt, 7g dried active baking yeast, 2 tbs olive oil, 1 tbs caster sugar and 225 ml warm water.

Mix flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Mix in oil and water. Knead into dough, then roll into your base shape. Top with your desired toppings. Bake for 20 – 25 mins at 190 c.

Once you have your base you can choose what toppings you would like. You will need a tomato purée / tomato and herb sauce and grated cheese to spread over your base to stop it burning. My son and daughter also chose tomatoes, ham and sweetcorn to add to their pizzas. I put all the different toppings into different bowls so that they are easily visible, and the kids can get into them easily. IMG_2636IMG_2640

The kids love decorating their pizzas in their own styles!IMG_2643 IMG_2644Once the pizzas were fully decorated, I baked in the oven at 190 c for about 10 minutes as we were using the ready made bases. Usually I bake for about 20 minutes when using our own home made pizza dough. IMG_2650IMG_2652

We served our pizzas with salad and garlic bread and they were yummy! No leftovers at all! I was pleasantly surprised by the ready made bases. They were super easy and tasted nice enough (not as good as our home-made ones though)!

A yummy, tasty meal which the kids loved!

Fruity Butterfly!

I thought I would share another one of my fruity creations with you! Being a little adventurous with food really helps to encourage little ones to eat more and make healthier food choices!

I made a butterfly for my daughter using sliced banana for the body and apple for the wings. I also added pear strips and cherries to decorate. Yoghurt drops made perfect little eyes too!

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She loved her super cute fruity snack!

Pizza Pasta!

My son and daughter both take a lunch box (bocs bwyd as we say here in Wales!) to school with them for lunchtime. I tend to find myself stuck in the usual rut of making sandwiches to fill their boxes though, which must get a little boring despite the variety of fillings!

Both of them enjoy pasta so I decided to try a pasta lunch instead! I cooked up some pasta and once it was cool I popped some in each of their tubs. Then I stirred in a teaspoon of cold passata sauce (any type of tomato and herb sauce works well).

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Then I added some chopped ham and chopped cherry tomatoes. Finally, I sprinkled over some grated cheese.

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A yummy alternative to sandwiches in the kids lunch box (or in your own)!

A very fruity blast off!

I thought I would share another idea to liven up fruit time for the little ones.

I decided to make this fruity space rocket for my sons snack time (his 4 year old self is currently aspiring to becoming a spaceman so I thought this would be a big hit)! I used a banana as the rocket ship and added some fruit flakes for the windows. I made the rocket flames from tangerine segments, and dotted some more fruity flakes as stars. Finally, a cheese cracker biscuit was a far off planet to explore!

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He loved this and said it’s one of his favourite snack times ever. High five for mummy!

Another fantastic, yummy way to encourage children to eat healthily and to eat up!