Tuesday, 30 December 2014

My Hopes and Wishes for 2015

This is the week of the new years resolutions. My personal opinion of the new years resolution is that every year many people decide what they want to change about themselves or their lives and for the first few weeks of the year they attempt to do them. However after a few weeks they give up, soon forgetting all about them. Now I'm not saying that everyone does this. Some do stick to it and succeed.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014

What's inside D's Christmas Eve box

Last year the American tradition of Christmas Eve boxes hit the UK in a huge way. With thousands of children getting one for the first time. Family and friends where doing this for their children, however I felt D was too young to actually benefit from a box as he was only 9 months old. I do love the tradition and the magic surrounding it.
Thursday, 18 December 2014

Beginning Christmas Traditions

Well, Christmas is sneaking up on us all again. With only 7 sleeps until the Santa arrives I wanted to talk about Christmas Traditions.

When you are a child you think that every child in the world gets Christmas like you. However as you grow up you discover that every family has a unique Christmas that is moulded by traditions, family and even by the way in which Santa brings your toys.
Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Review - V-tech Alphabet Ride-on Train

This review is on a toy I have been very undecided with for a few months now.

For D's first birthday he got the V-tech ride on train. He was very excited about it and I remember it was out of the box minutes after it was unwrapped.

This may have had more to do with Granda's excitement than D's but still it was a hit right away it played song's and things popped out one end after you put them in.

The V-tech ride on says it promotes letter learning, hand coordination, walking, riding (look up).

This is one of the few things that really got D walking, it was just the right weight for him to find his balance and was easy to turn around to go the other way. Even after learning to walk D used the train to run around our house faster and faster as he learnt to run.

The V-Tech train is a ride on with a difference. It comes with letter blocks that can be inserted into the train in two ways;
The first way is to put the blocks in a slot at the top of the train and push it down so that it shoots out the back of the train section and into the 'cargo' section  which is under the seat. D did hate this at the start as he couldn't get the blocks in the slot the right way. He still persevered and after about two months of daily fits of annoyance he got one block in, to which he celebrated by clapping for himself! It did still take a few weeks before it went in every time but we got there. This aspect is now of no interest to D, I honestly don't know why but it has been 3 months since he Played with the train in this way.

The second is to insert the blocks into the rectangle shaped holders on the side of the train section. When you insert the blocks it tells you the phonic and a word beginning with the letter. This is where our problems started and still lay. The blocks each have a unique pattern on the bottom which pushes in little spikes to recognize the letter. The blocks have to be in exactly the right way or it won't recognize the block, D cannot do this. This aspect of the v-tech train is a massive let down for me as we had been looking forward to learning phonics using the train and it's blocks. But at 21 months D still has struggles recognizing the right way to put the block in and how to push it properly into the space and activate the response.

Another feature I wanted to talk about was the ride on aspect of the train. This is a rarely used part in our house, D actually puts other toys in it to take them to a different room. D can use the ride-on part (the seat) alone, but only alone. He has tried on numerous occasions to play with the ride-on train as a whole but he cannot get it to move, when he puts his feet down to move forward he catches the 4 wheels of the two sections (back 2 wheels of the train and the front two of the seat) which are surprisingly close together when both parts are joined. D got extremely frustrated at this and now doesn't even try to use it this way anymore, he even has a Fit if I try to attach them for him.

Although the train does have wonderful music, sound and all round audio it uses, I do feel that the uniqueness that was created by the versatile uses of tge train have been let down in the fact that over a period of 9 months D hasn't been able to use two of the key factors of the toy. The Train does have an age range of 12 - 36 months. This means that in theory D shouldn't be able to do certain elements of the train yet. Although I we do love using the train to pretend to be a train driver and listening to it's music and sounds. I was hoping we could use it to aid with learning letters and phonics. This so far has just proven to be extremely frustrating for D and ends in the train being pushed over and D sitting himself on the bottom stair until he has calmed down.

All things considered, I do like The alphabet train by v-tech but I do at the same time think that there is a gap in the age range provided where it becomes very difficult to engage D and means that it hasn't been played with in the last month or so. I do however hope D starts to use the train again sometime soon.

I apologize that there are no pictures of D using the toy I really tried to get some but he kept freaking out when I tried to encourage him to play with it. I do have one or two but they are on my camera and my sister has her laptop.

All thoughts and opinions are my own. I would love to know if you have an experience with the V-tech alphabet train, leave me a comment below. I look forward to hearing about your experience!
Thursday, 4 December 2014

Let's Get Baking - Chocolate Strawberry Creame's

This week we are making Chocolate Strawberry Creame's.  We where supposed to make Chocolate Pepper mint Creame's but I thought we had pepper mint flavouring, so when we went shopping I didn't get any! Oops a daisy!

( yes I do have a habit of doing 1 thing wrong every time! ) These hold special memories for me as I remember making them with my Mum, Sisters and Brother a good few years ago now near Christmas.

I want to make these a Christmas tradition with D. We will make everyone a little bag up to give to them with their Christmas presents and they can eat them in the few days before Christmas. (We usually give everyone their presents during the week of my Birthday so mid December time).We will be making pepper mint ones too, probably next week when I remember to get pepper mint flavouring!

To make this recipe for either  strawberry or pepper mint Creame's you will need;
A few drops of either peppermint or strawberry flavouring/ extract
120-135ml (8-9 tablespoons) Condensed milk
450g icing sugar
Chocolate (a pretty good amount we used about 200-300 grams)
Cookie cutters (we used small Christmas ones)

Before I tell you the recipe I want to tell you that this recipe made 150 of them. If you don't want to make this many then either half the recipe or use medium sized cutters.

Now the first thing we did was add the condensed milk to the bowl and using a sieve we added the icing sugar about 1/4 at a time. This meant that we didn't get covered in it when stirring it. D loved watching the icing sugar fall into the bowl from the sieve. It looked a bit like snow! Now we mixed (a lot) until the mixture was like dough. Yes another recipe that's like playing with play doh!

D decided not to listen to me anymore!

Once the mixture was like dough we added in our food colouring and flavouring. This part is pretty messy and best done in the bowl as you don't want food colouring to stain anything! D loved adding food colouring and watching it change colour as we where kneading the dough to mix the colour. You will need to use more icing sugar here as the dough becomes very sticky with the colouring.

Once the dough is all one colour that your happy with. We can roll it out to about 0.5 inches thick using icing sugar as flour to make sure it doesn't stick. Now it was time to use the cookie cutter. I really think this was D's favourite part. He loved pushing the cutter in. At this point D was getting frustrated by the fact he had to wait for me to roll it out again to make more. So daddy took him into the living room while I finish cutting. Once the shapes where cut we put them on baking paper to dry. All in all it took me about an hour to cut them all (good thing I will only do it once a year!) Now they need to be left to dry for about 4-5 hours. Ours are on sandwich bags as I couldn't find the baking paper so either works! Haha

Once they are all dry you can melt your chocolate. I did this part alone as D was asleep due to me leaving it to late to start them. Once I had melted the chocolate I started to dip them in one by one. (yep I'm being serious) But they kept breaking which I think it was because they where so small. So after about 40 of them where dipped I just used a spoon and drizzled the chocolate over them all. I also just added chocolate on top of some at the end to use it up. Now you let them dry again.

Once dry I bagged them up into bags of 10 and popped in the fridge over night. Then put them in the cupboard ready to be given out. These keep for about a 3 weeks so that's why we made them last. Now they are just waiting to be given out.

This was a great recipe to make and lots of fun! But next time it will only be half as we don't need so many considering I'm making peppermint ones too. But this year we will just have extra.

The recipe is from a book called baking for girls (my mum got it when we where in our early teens) although we didn't follow it exactly I just wanted to let you know I did not just think it up. I can no longer tell who wrote the book though as the front cover name has rubbed away with use during baking and someone ripped out a few pages over the years.

I hope you enjoyed reading along and I really do hope some of you try this! D loved them he has now eat two bags and always goes to get some. Only two at a time though.
Oh and here's all the extra photos too.

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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

D at... 21 Months

Another month has flew in and D is now 21 months. He is growing up so fast now and we are learning new things almost every day.

We are now at that point in D's life where going everywhere in the pram is no longer tantrum free, D loves to walk.

This is sometimes a problem when we are in a hurry and D wants to walk, however we do let him walk for as long as he wants when we can. It's usually about an hour of walking before tiredness sets in so we can get some places completely without the pram.

This month we have carried on learning about getting dressed. Last month D learnt to use zips, I have quite regularly found D has unzipped his coat when we are out. Which he finds hilarious.  I walked into the living room after a bath 2 weeks ago to D sitting on the floor putting his trainers on! He can now put on all of his shoes with the exception of his lace up trainers. I must say they are mostly on the wrong feet. When told this he takes them off, puts them in front of the right foot and the process begins again on the right feet this time. D's favourite shoes to put on are his wellies! He is regularly found running round the kitchen with his wellie boots and Jammie's on. Amazingly we have never seen the wellies on the wrong feet! Which I think is a massive achievement.

He has also now started to learn to put his own trousers on. He can put both feet into one leg each (not always the right one) and pull them up at the front,  we haven't yet got them over his nappy at the back but It only takes him to move a few steps before he comes for help. I think we might be getting to the potty training stage soon.

D has also been developing his vocabulary (oh big words! Haha). This month most things he says are very clear and easily understood. He has also learnt to say;
Bye (instead of waving at the phone)
Night night
Why (this now means everything us replied with why)
Oh (which follows the many whys)

Lastly D has learnt to recognise some colours! It has taken a while now but he knows what colour blue, white and black are. We discovered this by hanging up the washing! Yes really, D loves to help us clean and tidy. But most of all he loves to give you hangers when hanging clothes up. Daddy asked D fir a blue one and he got a blue one! So I asked for all the other colours and every time D got it right! I must say it was a very proud moment for us as we have all been learning about colours for months now.

All in all I think D is learning quite well for his age and still seems to be doing it so fast! Can they not stay small forever?

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Saturday, 29 November 2014

Mummies Attachment Issues

This week we don't have anything to report in Our Adventures This Week, as in a moment of what I can only call complete and utter madness I agreed to D going to stay with his Granda for a few days. So I know what your thinking... It is only a day or two? Well that's what I initially thought too.

It all started when we where doing our normal shopping trip. D had been making it clearly evident that he didn't want to do any shopping,he kept trying to run out of shops (we have backpack reins) and when this failed he literally threw himself on the floor and pretending to cry. Yes pretending he didn't actually cry! After 2 hours of this happening I was getting to my wits end, when D decided it was a brilliant time to flop down in the middle of Iceland and scream because we wouldn't let him carry a raw gammon joint! People where looking at me as if I was the most evil person they had ever seen! I was now getting angry with everyone, if my child wants to have a tantrum because I won't let him carry raw meat that's fine but it's none of their business!

We did manage to calm D down and get around another isle before my phone went. My dad wanted to ask could he take D for a few days.. This has happened before when D can't go up for a few weeks he will take him for an extra night when he can. So with this in mind I agreed. Later on, just before he arrived to get D I asked how long he was planning to keep him. His reply was until Saturday, for some reason this didn't register in my head until after he was here. I did think I could do a few days without D.

Well as it turns out the thought of not seeing D for 4 nights is just too much! I managed to go about 9 hours before I started to really miss him, I kept looking up thinking I could hear him only to remember he's not here. 2 hours later and I had somehow ended up in bed, crying. Yes I was really lying in bed bawling my eyes out after 11 hours of not seeing my little tantrum thrower! It was at this point I realised that I have attachment issues.

I must confess this really rattled me as D has been staying with his Granda every possible Friday from he was 3 months. To make matters worse I didn't cry the first, second or any other time D has stayed out. So I decided that I was going to try and do this for both D and myself (I do need to be able to let go for a few days at some point) so why not now?

I went to sleep still really missing D but feeling able to relax just enough to sleep. After waking on Wednesday actually feeling like I could get through the day and if I couldn't then I'd ask for him to come home early.

We made plans to go see some family members and visit the Continental Market (where my aunt works). After arriving at the market she asked where D was, so I explained. This seemed to make me start to feel like I had the night before but I put it to the back of my mind. After arriving at our destination I again had to explain where D was, twice. After the first time I couldn't shake the Feeling of really missing D. At this point I could tell I was beginning to feel a little Depressed over everything.

D had now only been gone for about 26 hours. I couldn't concentrate on anything for longer than 10 minutes. I was still having conversations with people and seeming to be okay (even to myself). After 3-4 more hours I realised that I was just sitting there thinking about D and what he was doing or how he was and that I had been doing this for about an hour! I promised myself I would try to get through until Thursday morning as after all he hasn't seen his granda, aunt's, uncle's, nanny or cousin (yes they all live together) since Halloween.

This didn't really work as by 11pm I was sending my dad a message telling him that I wanted him to bring D back on Thursday (I didn't mind what time, but it had to be Thursday). After about 1 hour of messaging we had agreed that yes he is coming home on Thursday about 8pm and going up to visit with me today (Saturday). Immediately after this conversation, I suddenly didn't feel depressed or even sad anymore. I was very optimistic and glad that he would be coming back home on Thursday in time for a bath, very very big cuddles and a story before getting ready for bed.
When D arrived I got a huge hug and kiss. Then granda asked him if he wanted to go again! (I could feel myself start to panic) D's immediate reaction was to try and get to him to go back with him. I have to admit that this actually really scared me, he had only been in the house for about 3 minutes. D cried when I wouldn't let him go back with granda and this broke my heart. But I just couldn't let him he was only back, although he did then wave to granda and his auntie when he calmed down a few minutes later. He even give them hugs as they where leaving. Then something happened, D got up onto the sofa beside after they left and held my hand as tightly as he could. Now you have to understand D holds my hand for very few reasons; to lead me to something he wants, when crossing roads and to go to sleep in bed. He has never just held my hand! I would like to think that this meant that he too had missed me a lot.

Looking back now on the past few days I do realise that maybe I was being a little bit selfish. However in my defence everyone around me could tell that something really was wrong. I cried both nights he was gone and I actually felt like part of me was missing. I do feel like this is something I really need to work on. I know that D can't be with me most of the time for the rest of his life, but for right now I know that 2 day's is definitely my limit and I will not be testing this boundary again any time soon.
I never realised how attached I am to having D around. I know that some of you will be reading this thinking 'she is crazy', but well frankly yes I am! I am completely comfortable with being the crazy mummy if it means I don't have to experience this feeling again. I also know that I can't be the only mummy out there with attachment issues.
So I would really love to know about your experiences on the matter. Leave me a comment and let me know:
What's the longest you have been away from your child if ever and how did you feel?

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com
Thursday, 27 November 2014

Let's Get Baking - Runny Fudge Cupcakes

This week we have been a bit more adventurous with our recipe, we made runny fudge cupcakes!
Yes you have probably never had runny fudge and are wondering what it is?

Well runny fudge is just fudge made wrong. Which is what I done. I don't know how I made it wrong as I followed the recipe as it said to do. I do think that I didn't let it boil quite long enough.  With this said it's rather easy to replicate as I made it wrong twice. Basically you follow the instructions in the recipe which can be found here. All exept the last one only beat it for about 2-5 minutes and pour half out into a bowl or tray lined with baking paper. You can then continue to beat the remaining fudge to make actual fudge!

Let the fudge cool either in the fridge or just sitting in the kitchen.  You will notice that the top layer will start to set but when mixed or put in a pipping bag it will all go runny again. (Don't worry it will set on the cupcake) Ensure you make the fudge without children as it gets very hot!

Next you'll need to make the cupcake mix. Your little ones can help at this point. Get all of your ingredients out and have them ready to weigh and use, you can use any recipe for cupcakes you like.  We used a basic recipe for plain cupcakes as we are adding fudge later, if you want to use our recipe here are the ingredients:
125g unsalted butter
125g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
125g self-raising flour
About 250g icing sugar
About 200g unsalted butter

Once you have all you ingredients you'll need to pre-heat the oven to 190°C, put your cupcake cases out on the tray ready to and go get your little one!

Now the first step is to cream the butter and suger, the easiest and fastest way to do this is to use an electric wisk (ours recently broke and D absolutely hates Sound it makes) Ours was then done by hand for the two reasons above. This way just takes slightly longer but also means that D could join in with the mixing. Although you can use the electric wisk then let them have a few goes at stirring it so they are involved.

Once the butter and sugar are creamed, it should look like the above picture. The next step is to beat your eggs, best to do your eggs one at a time in a seperate bowl or mug with a fork adding into the mixture once beat. Doing this ensures you won't get a rotten egg in your mix and have to start again. I must say this bit usually makes me feel a bit sick when doing it by hand wisking, it kind of looks like lumpy gloop.

Once you have not so lumpy gloop or smooth mixture if using an electric wisk. It doesn't matter too much which. D rather liked mixing it at this point as it's all gloopy and a different texture to most things we have made.

The next step is to sift in the flour. Get your child to mix as you add flour bit by bit and help them to mix in between adding flour.

He is concentrating so hard on that spoon!
Once all the flour is mixed in and the mixture is smooth with no lumps you can start to add the mixture into your cupcake cases. Make sure you don't go over about two-thirds full as they can end up really big and all stuck together.

Once they are all filled (we made 10) you can put them in the oven. Our recipe like most takes about 10-20 minutes just keep an eye on them while you tidy up. They should be lightly browned and will bounce back up when lightly pushed down with your finger.

Once the cupcakes are ready remove from the oven and allow to cool. D really hated this part! He just wanted a cupcake. But he soon changed his mind when he found out there was more to make. If like me you tidied up while the cupcakes where baking then you can just use the same bowl to make your icing. We actually used two types of icing butter cream (which is my favourite type, D's too!) And royal icing. I must admit to you that I hate making royal icing so we will not be doing this again, if you want to make it you'll need 125g of icing sugar and an egg white. Beat your egg white in a mug or separate bowl with a fork and slowly add the egg into your icing sugar (be careful as you only need to use about a quarter of the egg for stiff icing and half for runny icing . Ours was runny as I added too much egg and thought it was ticker than it was. Oops a daisy.

To make butter cream I don't really weigh anything out anymore but I roughly start with 125g of unsalted butter (Stork) and cream the butter in the so its soft. Then just add small amounts of icing sugar and cream with the butter until it looks and tastes right (you can use a recipe if you want) add in coco powder to make chocolate flavour if you like (we didn't). Put your icing/ butter cream into piping bags or washed out zip lock bag and your ready to go!

I don't have any pictures of us icing our cupcakes as Daddy was out this week and D loves doing the icing. He just squeezes the bag until it's basically all gone so I didn't have any hands! Twice during this process he tried to just squirt it into his mouth. Haha

Remember your fudge? Well you'll need it now, using a butter knife cut an X shape in the top of each cupcake. Push your finger into each cut until about half way down the cupcake. Cut the corner part off your piping/ zip lock bag and insert into the top of each hole squeezing until the fudge has pushed it back out or is coming out over the top a little. We also added a small layer over the top of the cupcake for extra yumminess!
While I was getting the butter cream bag D decided he needed to taste test our fudge by dipping his finger in. I think it passed as he seemed very happy with himself!

Now get your icing/butter cream and again cut a hole at the bottom/ corner of your bag (this one needs to be a little bigger than your finger) start piping In whatever way you want, we made spirals like on shop bought cupcakes. Continue to do this until it's all gone (you may need to double your amounts if only using one icing type as we used two). Now back to your fudge, again pipe the fudge around your design and allow everything to set. (Leave them on a plate or on baking paper as they can drip while setting). If you made real fudge too then you can set one piece on top of each cupcake if you like.

I must say that I was pretty anxious about this week as it can be very messy but we managed to not make any unnecessary mess, I was really proud of D for this! I can tell you the cupcakes are amazing and are being made for Christmas, I even have requests from family members to make them some too!

I am sorry that we don't have many pictures this week, like I said Daddy was out so it's hard to get them and bake at the same time! We will have lots next week.
Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review - Froggie Bubble Blower From ELC

Today I wanted to share with you another great toy that we use a lot. The Froggie Bubble Blower from The Early Learning Centre.

When we first got the Froggie Bubble Blower I was really excited to use it as D was really into bubbles at the time. But my excitement was rather short lived as the first time D got in the bath with it we turned it on and almost instantly he screamed and tried to get out of the bath! I think it is safe to say it really scared him. I don't know what element of the Froggie Bubble Blower scared him but I do think it was the mechanical sound it makes.

With that being said we kept trying and came up with a way to make D more comfortable with the frog. We now sing '5 little speckle frogs' when we turn him on. We have been using the Froggie Bubble Blower in our bath routine for months now.

I must say I was really impressed with the bubbles, I thought they would just be like normal bubbles you blow. But no these bubbles are like frogspawn!  They stick together and flow down into the bath exactly like frogspawn sits in a pond. This means that the bubbles are easily played with without them all popping. D loves pulling them down and sticking them all over his belly, while laughing at himself. The bubbles are also amazing at creating hairstyles on top of his head. We particularly love doing this before rinsing his hair with water for shampooing.

D loves the sound the Froggie Bubble Blower makes, he makes ribbet noises. We have Incorporated the ribbet noise into our '5 little speckle frogs' and we have to wait for him to ribbet in between our singing and the froggies music this can sometimes take a few seconds but D is really good at waiting for it to come and if I say ribbet before the frog I get shouted at along with a very load 'stop it'. The music that froggie plays is really fun, D is regularly dancing to it while playing with the bubbles.

Another feature I was really pleasantly surprised about is that unlike a lot of our bath toys the suckers on the Froggie Bubble Blower are amazing. I am really not exaggerating, the first time I put it on the wall it was too high up but as we didn't use it during the bath I didn't move it. When I was cleaning the bathroom later on I tried to take it of and it just wouldn't move! In the end Daddy had to come in with one of my baking tools and push it behind the suckers to release it. I can say that now we always move froggie while the tiles are still steamed up. But I must say it will never be something a child could remove which is a massive plus in my book as it contains batteries.

The final thing I want to share with you about froggie is how easy it is to clean. No you don't have to remove the whole device every time it's used to empty/fill it. You just gently pull the bottom of the yellow holder for the water and bubble bath solution (there's a little bit cut out for you to grip) and it comes straight off as does the actual blowing part that makes the bubbles (I always say the tongue part when talking about it) when just pulled down. All you then have to do is rinse and clean then put them back.

The Froggie Bubble Blower is a bath time toy I am always recommending to friends and family which have children who love bubbles. The good thing is I don't think it's only suitable for a year or two, any child under the age of 7 or so would probably love it. (I must confess that when my bubble bath is runny low I also use it, I mean who doesn't want bubbles that last their whole bath)

I did try to get a video of froggie to show you but I can't work out how to do it or how to use You Tube, but I will work on this for next time!

You can get your own Froggie Bubble Blower in The Early Learning Centre and on their website.

All of the opinions and thoughts are my own and are completely honest.
Thank you very much for reading.

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Our Adventures this week #5

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Last week we had planned to go out and learn about autumn, but with the ex hurricane hitting the uk that got postponed. (But you can keep up to date on our projects page to see how we are getting on.)

While the horrid weather was here we played inside with D. We played with his puzzles which he is really good at and knows where most of the pieces go and claps for himself every time he gets one right which is really cute!. We also played with D`s instruments and sang songs. I think this was D`s favourite day this week. He learnt how to do "incy wincy spider" on his hands (now he will only do it for me and makes sure nobody is watching and I don't have my phone.). He is also learning to sing "you are my sunshine" he can sing when skies are grey and don't take my sunshine away very clearly!

This week we also went to visit family ( my granda and granny) where D had lots of fun with the toys and his cousin who had a light up green spider.

We then took D to granda's where he stays every week. On the way there we started to learn about the autumn weather as we waited on the bus for nearly an hour and it was freezing. Right now I'm on my way to pick him up and find out what he's been up to.
Thursday, 20 November 2014

Let's Get Baking! - Gingerbread Baubles.

Last week our Coconut Snowballs recipe was very popular, both in our house and by everyone reading along with us!

This week we are following a recipe! (This is quote rare for me usually I look up ingredients, put them in a bowl and hope for the best!) The recipe we are following is here.  It is how ever not very gingery so I would recommend adding an extra  spoon of ginger to the recipe.

Most of the actual mixing of the ingredients is done in a food processor, however you could do this by hand it will just take more time. We did use a food processor to mix everything, I did this part alone, but after it was mixed D and Daddy really had fun helping me to knead the dough and wrap it up ready to go in the fridge for 15 minutes.

I have to say this week was lot more hands on, D loved getting his hands into the dough and poking and prodding as you tell from our pictures. During the 15 minutes I used the time to tidy up, better to do it as you go along. We then rolled out the dough and began starting to cut out our Christmas baubles. Although I do have to admit I rolled them too thick and I thought we did have a Gingerbread Man shape. Oops a daisy.

Once in the oven and baked we got our piping bag, a mug and chocolate. Top tip: when melting chocolate to pipe a design. Pop the piping bag inside a mug fold down the top around the mugs edge.  Add the chocolate and put in the microwave in 10-15 second increments until melted using a teaspoon handle to stir the chocolate in the bag.If you don't have a bag use a zip lock storage bag, just make sure it is cleaned out first.

D also really enjoyed this bit, I mean who wouldn't squeeze the bag and chocolate comes out! so we decorated our Christmas baubles with lots of yummy chocolate both white and milk kinds. I am also going to make sure we put a little hole at the top of some next time (These are being made for Santa on Christmas eve). Once they are dry we will hang 2-3 on the tree to have before going to bed for Santa coming!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas Is Coming!

It's coming, Christmas will be upon us before we know it.  We are now in the preparations of Christmas ( YAY, just in case you didn't know I LOVE Christmas.)

We started our official Christmas preparations last Thursday by putting up our Christmas decorations!  I know it's still early but I love Christmas to last as long as possible. ( Daddy certainly wasn't pleased.) Off we went in search of all last years decorations as well as the new ones we  bought while out shopping.

We got the snowmen in a pack of three, the silver drums, bows and glitter silver balls small ones in a pack together with 6 of each, the snow flake baubles in a pack of 10 with white ones in too, we also got our paper garland type thing (i cant remember what it's called.) and the red and white bells in a pack of 10 from Poundland. we got our blue sparkly reindeer in a pack of 2 and our reindeer hanging plac from B and M Bargains for £1 each and i got all the window gel decorations in 3 packs from Poundland. we got our snowman plate and D's new stocking from Belfast's St Georges Market on Friday. our Santa hand towel is from Primark and was £2.50. Finally our Christmas oven glove is from Dunne Stores and was £2.50

Everything was out and sitting in the living room. So our first step was to get the tree out and up once this was done we put the box out of the way. now came the part most people dread about putting up the decorations, the lights.As usual no matter what way I wrap them to go away they always tangle up. What most people don't realise is that the bulbs just catch on each other and its easier to simple hold roughly the middle and gently  shake them, you'll soon notice that the bulbs will just need moved from around one another and you don't end up with knots!

Oh and when putting them away use this tip:

  • get a longish bit of cardboard (I am sure you have plenty from all the presents),

  • get a pair of scissors and cut slits down each side about an inch apart on one side

  • and the same on the other only start in between the cuts on the other side.

  • Wrap your lights around catching the wire between each slit and hey presto they wont need untangled next year!

After I get the lights untangled ( I forgot to do my cardboard trick last year) we where ready to go D was helping hold the lights at the bottom while I wound them around the tree. we plugged them in and get the decorations out of the boxes and onto the floor. D helped me put up my special Nightmare Before Christmas baubles on the tree while he felt the velvet loop and bow they hang with. We slowly but very much enjoyably put all out baubles on (although i have to admit I did have to move some of D's) D then decided we had to put on all the snowflakes, snowmen,  jingle bells, presents,  drums and pine-cones he could find in the box on three branches of the tree. so we got them one by one and D helped distribute them to the rest of the tree.

We then made a start on the window and D defiantly loved this part, he really enjoyed touching the gel decorations as we don't have anything with that texture. He was really amazed that they stuck to the window and was excited that Santa and his reindeer where in there too! Well after hanging our decorations and creating our garland we had everything up!

I must say I really enjoyed doing this with D this year as he was still too small last year and we will be doing this every year from now on!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Our Adventures This Week #4

This week we have been thinking and preparing a lot for Christmas.

We have been getting ready to decide on our Christmas dinner menu, started our Christmas trial runs of our baking goodies!

We made Coconut snowballs this week. Which went down a treat! There are only 2 left :) so these will definitely be on our Christmas goodies list! Find out how to make your own in our last post.

We even put up our Christmas decorations after our festive shopping trip for new decorations. We will be telling you all about our day of decorating this week :)

We went on a shopping trip and now have a few of our Christmas presents in! Oh it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  (My favourite time of year!)

In keeping with our Christmas themed week and because D couldn't go to Granda's again this week, we are having a Christmas themed movie day today. We have lots of treats in and movies set to record as well as our DVD's. So I'm off to get excited and enjoy time with D watching our movies.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend and are getting ready for the Christmas season!
Thursday, 13 November 2014

Lets Get Baking - Coconut Snowballs

I love to bake, everything and anything so long as it tastes good. Usually at Christmas we buy lots of  sweet treats, something special for Christmas and Santa, Christmas day desert and for boxing day lounging around watching films. this year i have decided that we will not be buying these things as we can just as easily make them in the days running up to Christmas. some of these things I have never made so it is probably best we do a trial run of baking everything. Plus this means we can see if everyone likes them (no point making things if nobody will eat them).

With this in mind I have decided that every week we will make one thing we are making for Christmas as lots of the recipes are child friendly and the only thing that makes baking better is baking with children! (I will probably regret saying this when we get to cake type things).

To start us of we went with the simplest thing we are making, Coconut Snowballs. I have to say these are the simplest things you'll ever make and are perfect for making with young children. If you'd like to try making these you will only new a few things and 3 ingredients.

You will need:

A large/ mixing bowl

3 spoons

Greaseproof paper/ (cling film in squares about 1-2 inches bigger than you want your snowballs)

A microwave bowl/ a ceramic or glass bowl

A microwave or pot


desiccated coconut (about 300 grams)

Tin of condensed milk

A large bar of your favourite chocolate (about 1-2 large bars)

That's it, now all you do is pour the condensed milk into the mixing bowl and slowly add small amounts of coconut while mixing (probably best to let your child mix while you pour as D just tried to dump it all in). continue to do this until the coconut is still all covered in condensed milk but is not runny. it should look like very thick porridge or like this picture below (this was before D decided it needed a taste test!)

Once you have got the right consistency you can melt your chocolate either in the microwave (checking every 15 seconds or so) or on the hob whichever you prefer. (we did ours in the microwave but I forgot about it the first time and burnt it. oops!). once your chocolate has melted you can get your cling film or baking paper ready (I do recommend you use cling film) if using cling film get a spoon full of chocolate and spread in a small circle in the centre of the cling film, put on however much coconut mixture you want (just remember it has to close around the mixture) hold under the cling film and pull the cling film up and to close twist. just repeat this until all your mixture is gone and pop in the fridge until the chocolate is set.

To make using greaseproof paper put a small dab of chocolate on the sheet, put the mixture on top and mold into shape (with a spoon or even tiny fingers!) add more chocolate on top and repeat until the mixture is gone. Pop in the fridge to set and go eat the rest of the chocolate or mixture if there is any!.

I have to say we did thoroughly enjoyed doing this, D especially loved mixing the coconut and condensed milk, as well as eating lots of it! He was also fascinated by how you could change the shape by touching and poking it. We did make ours using greaseproof paper but we will be using cling film at Christmas ( I only thought of it when we had finished). But i think it is very safe to say our first attempt at this didn't go to bad nothing went horribly wrong and they taste amazing!  (Shhhh I'm having a sneaky one now.)

I have added all of our extra pictures below so you can see how much fun we had! I hope you enjoy and try these as they are very simple and perfect to make Christmas eve morning to leave out for Santa! (It will make your children even more proud that Santa will get something they made themselves just for him) Plus they can have some after lunch.

We didn't use any recipe just done it the way I remember doing it with my mum and hoping that 1. I got it right in my memory and 2. I didn't do something horribly wrong. Well nothing happened and i like I said they are really scrumptious.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Review - My Pal Scout

This is my first review so stick with me a little.

As it's coming up to Christmas ( we love Christmas in our house!) I thought I would share with a review on a toy we got last year from Santa, My Pal Scout.

Scout is a dog/teddy that can be personalised to your child. He teaches them colours, sings bedtime lullabies and songs that you pick from a list. Some of the songs are personalised to things your child likes and their name.

When you plug scout into the computer it asks you the child's name, favourite food, colour and animal.

Scout is one of very few toy's that have been constantly played with every day or two for the past year. D really loves scout and is constantly giving him hugs when scout asks for them and tells him he loves him.

I was really pleasantly surprised at how D knows what parts of scout to press and now recognises the symbols for each thing scout does. He especially loves singing along to the songs.

My Pal Scout, teaches D about friendship and feelings which is something unique for the age range of the product.  Scout asks for hugs when he is feeling sad in sad voice or tired promptly followed by a yawn. He even asks for D's favourite food (biscuits) when he is hungry. Scout tells D "I am hungry, may I have a biscuit please".  Teaching D manners in the process! Scout also tells you he is happy in a very happy voice.  We have found that D has been slowly learning from scout and everyone around him that when people are sad they sound different,  D now associates someone being sad with them wanting a hug. Which coming from a 20 month old always cheers you up!

Another big plus for me is how little battery power scout uses. Usually toys that D plays with a lot need the batteries changed every 2-3 weeks. Not scout, we have changed his batteries three times in the almost year we have had him. Even with this the batteries weren't done I just didn't want them to start to rust inside the toy.

The soft plush is nice for D to cuddle and surprisingly easy to wipe clean if anything ends up on scout. D loves taking scout to bed. Although he didn't like lullaby function, just to cuddle. This allowed us to turn scout off using the switch inside his back. Meaning that D wouldn't be woke up by hitting the on button. (it is where D usually holds him, his foot.)

This is definitely a toy I would recommend to anyone for a little boy and leapfrog also do a girl's version called My Pal Violet you can find them both here. I can say with great pleasure that Leapfrog are very high on our Christmas list this year!

These are all my own honest opinions. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed our review of Scout.
Saturday, 8 November 2014

Our Adventues This Week #3

It's been another week already? Where is all the time going in the run up to Christmas?

Well this week D turned 20 months.

We also done a bit of retail therapy this week and D got a new toy. It's a monkey! I'd like you all to meet 'mine'. When we asked D what he was called this was the reply every time.

We also learnt about autumn this week you can keep up to date on our projects page!

This week D rediscovered his mega blocks. He has now developed an obsession! They have been played with at least twice a day this week.

D has now got over his fear of water over his face. (doing a little dance) This is a massive achievement for us and bath time isn't a struggle anymore. D pours the water over himself and finds it hilarious.

All in all we had a fun week discovering and growing together.
Thursday, 6 November 2014

D at 20 Month's

I can't quite believe we are already writing this, feels like yesterday I was writing the last one.

Well here we are 20 month's!

We have been busy this month learning lots of new things and growing lots. D is almost ready to go into size 18-24 month clothing. We have been getting some outfits here and there ready for the next size.

D has learnt about animal sounds this month and can now say rawr like a lion, bauck bauck like a chicken, moo like a cow and oink oink like a pig. His favourite is to oink.

D also learnt how to use a zip this month which is a good step as he now loves to help get dressed. Although he can now get his pj's off which seems a regular occurance when they have zips.

We are also learning about autumn and the changes it brings with it. You can keep up to date with us in our projects page.
Saturday, 1 November 2014

Our Adventures this week. #2

Firstly I'd like to apologise for not posting this week and also for this post being so late.

But we have been very busy this week.  Firstly on Monday we went to the orthodontist for my sister who's living with us at the minute.  She got her braces of after 2 years!

Although she thinks her teeth are too big. What do you think? Here she is dressed up as Elsa for her work Halloween do.

We then spent Tuesday getting our costumes out and ready for Halloween.  We also went and done some shopping.  D had lots of fun discovering new ways to jump on his auntie and we all watched Halloween films!

We had another trip to the orthodontist on Wednesday and visited all our family on Wednesday where D had great fun running around with his light up spider! Me and D helped his aunt get ready to go out for her work do that took 2 1/2 hours :-o.

Then it was Halloween!  D dressed up as a spider and I was a Gothic Alice in wonderland.  Daddy didn't dress up.  had lots of fun. Going trick or treating, eating lots of party food, having a party and watching the fireworks from the window as D cried when the noisy ones went off. It was later than normal when we got home to bed but D went straight to sleep.

Today we learnt how to make animal sounds. D can now say rawr, oink, meaw, moo and bawk bawk. They are really cute! Right now he's dancing round the living room to Jake and the never land pirate band.
Saturday, 18 October 2014

Our adventures this week #1

This week hasn't been all that adventurous. We have more been playing at home due to our bad weather. But we have been trying to learn our colours which is still a work in progress D can now say red and blue very clearly he just can't tell what objects are blue and red yet.
Anyone got any advice on how to encourage this?

We had a few early starts this week but we managed to avoid any tantrums. On the days where we got up and out early we took D to get a treat for being so good and patient. We have had a lot of appointments to attend.

But we have decided to go on a walk maybe next week and collect some autumn type things and create pictures with D to show him all the autumn colours and teach him how the world changes through the seasons. Provided it doesn't rain really badly!
Monday, 13 October 2014

D at 19 months.

D is getting so big now. We are so proud of him, his speech is getting so good recently. He talks in sentences 90% of the time. We learnt numbers and new words this month!

He now can:
Count to 5
Say Happy Birthday
I want
Thank you
Help me

He now knows what he wants and if he can't say it he'll take you to it and say me please. Which is just way to cute! So I usually say yes when this happens.

He has started lip singing to theme tunes, songs on the radio, nursery rhymes and paired with his dancing. He's like a little rock star.
Saturday, 11 October 2014

Letters To D

I want this to be our first post to put special moments from our first year and a half.

Dear D,

Wow it's been 19 months and yet so much has changed! I look back and think you used to be the length from from my elbow to my hand and now your nearly up to my waist.
We have watched you grow and learn. But the best part is seeing you become your own person with all your little quirks and tantrums.
I remember when you where about 2-3 months. We went with granda and your aunts and uncles to the ulster folk and transport museum, but you refused to stay in the pram and we had forgotten your sling. You cried that much we all had to take turns carrying you. That I suppose was your first tantrum.

I also want to tell you about your first plane journey. It was going to see granny, great granny, all your aunts, cousins and grandas who live in England. I was prepared for world war 3! I had dummys, baby food, bottles, toys, blankets and everything else I could think of.
But we got on the plane at airport and you had a banana baby breakfast. (I think this is where your love of bananas comes from) when we lofted off you had a little cry but only until you got your
bottle. Then you went to sleep! You slept from just over Northern Ireland all the way to London. Everyone on the plane told me how brilliant you had been and the air hostesses had forgot you where there.

Well I think this is enough memories in one letter.

Love from
Mummy x


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