Saturday, 31 October 2015

Our Adventures This Week #36

Sorry that we are posting late today, I was super busy yesterday with getting everything ready for today! We have had a really busy week this week! We have been trying to do so much Halloween related activities to keep D and Uncle L busy during the half term week.

We started our week on Monday with a good deal of baking our Pumpkin Pie and getting crafty with our Spider Trick Or Treat Bags. If you missed our posts on how to do them you can click on the links.You can also find out how to make the Halloween skittles. The boys really enjoyed doing these and where quite proud of the outcome!

This week was shopping week and we spent most of Tuesday doing our shopping trip. Before we spent the afternoon getting the house organised and tidied. We all made some dinner and got sorted for bed. I spent the evening making D this Superhero Cape, You can make one yourself if you like just check out the post by clicking on the link to find out how!


On Wednesday we got everyone up a bit earlier than normal and off we went to discover science at W5 in Belfast where we found out all about many different aspects of science. They had a haunted house but I must say for somewhere that is recommended for ages 0 - 16 the Halloween haunted house was pretty scary! We will be sharing the rest of the day with you next week so do remember to come back. Here are some pictures of the haunted house which neither D or Uncle L liked. I spent the evening after we got home making one of my favourite recipes, Pumpkin Soup which you can also make yourself by clicking the link.

Thursday we did our usual family visits trip and we did get around to seeing everyone yesterday! We didn't stay at nannies this week though as Daddy wasn't feeling well but I think we did pretty well finally getting around everyone and they where all in too.

Yesterday we got to making some pumpkin pancakes from the rest of our pumpkin. They where quite nice so I must make them again. We also got everyone their costumes ready for today and had a good tidy up again to make sure everything is away. This was more for me than anyone else as I don't really have too much times today to keep tiding up all over the house while helping everyone get dressed!

I do plan on putting up a short post later tonight or tomorrow of how our Halloween went too. What are your plans for today?

Happy Halloween everyone!

Halloween @UsTwoPlusYou

Friday, 30 October 2015

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Will autumn upon us and many wonderful vegetables being harvested and brought to all the supermarket shelves it is certainly the time for good, warm home cooked meals. One of my favourite meals is some good old pumpkin soup. Like I said in our previous post about our pumpkin pie (Missed it? Click the link to find out how to make your own.) our pumpkin was massive! There was way more than enough to make the pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup and there is still more left which I plan on using tomorrow and Saturday with D and Uncle L.

The thing I love about making pumpkin soup is really just how easy it is and I also loves this recipe as you can freeze it for up to two months so it can last right up to Christmas if you would like it to! Now on with the recipe.

To make pumpkin soup you will need;

  • 1 kg of peeled and deseeded pumpkin that is cut into chunks

  • 140 ml of double cream ( I used a larger tub but I did only add roughly 140 ml)

  • 2 onions of medium or large size

  • salt and pepper for seasoning 

  • 700 ml of vegetable stock 

You will also need

  • A large pot ( A very large one is best)

  • A sharp knife

  • A chopping board

  • Spatula

  • Blender (Either hand or a normal blender)

Pumpkin Soup Ingrediants

So now that you have all you need lets get on with the cooking!

To start you need to peal and finely chop up the two onions. I really hate cutting onions as I cry so much that I can barely see.

Finely chop onions - Pumpkin Soup

Once you have your onion chopped you will need to add it into your pot with a little oil and cook through the onions until the onions are soft but now browned. This should take about 5 minutes or so.

Cooked onions - Pumpkin Soup

Now it is time to add in your pumpkin to the pot and again you will need to cook it through without letting the pumpkin brown. Do it on a low heat, I did most of this on a 2 - 3 setting on our cooker This does take a good bit of stirring to make sure it all cooks pretty evenly. It should take around 5 - 10 minutes for the pumpkin to cook and you will know by the change in colour.

Add in the pumpkin and cook

You can get on with making your 700 ml of vegetable stock and you will need to then add this into your pot. Once you have added the Stock to your pot you need to bring it right up to boiling point before turning it back down to a simmer for about 10 more minutes until the pumpkin is very soft.

Add your stock - Pumpkin Soup


Now you need to add in your double cream. Simply pour it into the pot and mix together. Once you have mixed it you can add in your seasoning.



 Bring the soup back to boil before removing from the cooker. Now you just need to blend it. You can do this while it is hot or wait for it to cool. 



Now you are done and have some delicious soup! Just serve it up.


I hope you all enjoy this one as it is certainly a favourite of mine!

Halloween @UsTwoPlusYou

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Halloween Craft Ideas - Spider Trick or Treat Bags

So guys Halloween week is definitely upon us with lots of activities to go out to and keep the children entertained. However as not everyone enjoys long days out during the half term break there are still plenty of activities you can do at home to keep the kids entertained and happy. If you missed our first post on Halloween Craft Ideas/Activities you can find it by clicking on the link.

Over the weekend we got crafty again with make two things I think you might like to try. The first activity we got to doing was making some spider trick or treat bags out of some paper plates. I am not sure where I came across this one but I remember seeing it in a Halloween activities google picture search and I thought these would be great for D and Uncle L to make during Halloween week. We are hoping to get some trick or treating done on Halloween but if the weather is bad we won't be participating so I will just put a few things inside these for them both.

Okay so now on with the making of some spider trick or treat bags. To get started you will need;

  • Paper plates ( We used plain white ones. You can use any you like and black would work best but remove some painting fun.)

  • Black poster paint

  • Brushes

  • Paint pots or use one of your paper plates

  • Pipe cleaners ( 6 per bag)

  • Googly eyes ( Large ones seem to look best)

  • A tablecloth or mess mat to keep the area clean from paint and easier to tidy

  • Sellotape

  • Scissors

  • PVA glue

  • Cup of water to wash brushes

To get started once you have everything all set out and ready to go you can get started! The first thing you will need to do is paint your paper plate black. You can really just let the kids go at it here as after all it won't need to be perfect. D and Uncle L do like to get artistic every once in a while, D wasn't to bother about how his overall black turned out looks wise. He was more interested in how many times he could make his brush move up and down without needing new paint! Uncle L on the hand was very interested in making sure his plate was fully covered in black paint and that it was all pretty even. This picture is from our first attempt that Daddy threw out by accident as they didn't dry for 2 days so we tried the new way of keeping as one plate and painting before cutting.

We put our plates to one side to dry out, this took about an hour so we got on with our other activity at the bottom of the post during this time while we waited. You can do this to or for some other inspiration of things to do for Halloween during this time you can click on our Halloween Badge at the very bottom of the post. (The one with the cool pumpkin.)

Once all the paint is completely dry you will need to take your plate and fold in half. Once folded you need to cut along the fold. Mum's and Dad's may need to help at this point and will certainly need to watch all those little fingers if they are doing it themselves. I did this part for D as we are still waiting on our scissors arriving. After you have cut your plate in two you now need to glue the outside edge (The ribbed part) together using PVA glue. D loved doing this as he does rather enjoy using PVA glue and helps to squeeze it out and spread it along. Uncle L managed to make this cool bubble while trying to show me he had glued it together! He pushed the two end together and the bubble appeared.

Once you do that you will end up with a paper plate that should look similar to this.

Now you will need to get 4 of the pipe cleaners for each bag and cut the in half. It is probably going to work better at this point if you cut these as the wire is pretty tough and will need some good sharp scissors to cut through it. Once you have 8 small pipe cleaners you will need to put a short piece of sellotape around the top of each pipe clean. I added ours onto the end that was cut. I did it at this end to ensure there was no sharp pieces of wire hanging out.

Now that each pipe cleaner has some sellotape on it you can now sellotape them on to the back of your spider anyway you want. Let the kids sick them all down and I do recommend you use separate pieces of sellotape to make sure they stick well. I used sellotape here because glue just doesn't mix very well with pipe cleaners. Another plus is that you can turn your spider round and keep working on it. D loved sticking the pipe cleaners down but he was rather impatient in waiting on me adding the tape around the pipe cleaners.

Now to give that spider a friendly face you can add some dots of PVA glue where you would like to stick on your googly eyes on and stick them down. I am not entirely sure why but D finds doing this hilarious and will laugh from the lifting up of the googly eyes  right through the process of sticking them down. Then and only then will he stop laughing. You can also add a lovely little smile using a little bit of paint.

Now we are almost at the end. The final thing you need to do is to put four smallish holes into your paper plate about 1-2 cm from the top opening of your trick or treat bags. I did this for D by using the end if a pair of scissors with a piece of blue tack underneath (Remember Art Attack? That stuff sticks in your head!) You can use a pencil if you prefer. Uncle L did his own the same way. Once we had 2 holes on either side of the opening at the top we used a full size pipe cleaner on the front and another on the back. Simply thread each side through and up to meet the pipe cleaner just enough to twist it around itself and make it more secure. Tada! You have now got a lovely unique little Spider trick or treat bag.

If you don't like spiders you could replicate the bag for a pumpkin by using orange paint and adding some darker orange lines in. You could also make a ghost by adding a bit of white paper/ card on the front and back of the bag in the shape of the bottom half of a ghost. You can make this into whatever you like from the basics!

Now the second craft idea I want to tell you about comes from Becky over at 3 Princesses and 1 Dude. I seen this last week and honestly I just wanted to get time with the kids to do this. I love using recycled materials to make new things and there is nothing better than making a good classic game from things you normally throw in the bin!

So I am talking about these little spooky goodies. We have ghosts, bats and pumpkins in this fab little homemade game of Halloween skittles. I love that these are so super easy to do that you would be able to do them  with young children from 1 years old right up to Uncle L's age of 14 years old and possibly beyond too. To find out how to make this great game click on the link 'Halloween skittles' above and don't forget to check out our little slide show below to see the fun D and Uncle L had making these.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Let's get baking - Pumpkin Pie

Well guys Halloween is coming, fast. We are only days away from Halloween now and with Halloween comes pumpkins! We love pumpkins in our house and so we got busy yesterday making some Pumpkin Pie. I love pumpkin pie and we have found a great recipe which we are following today over at BBC Good Food.

We started out with this massive pumpkin..


To get started with making Pumpkin pie you will need:

  • 350 grams of Shortcrust pastry

  • 140 grams of caster sugar

  • 25 grams of butter (you need to melt this just before adding it in to the mixture)

  • 750 grams of Pumpkin ( This needs to have already been peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks)

  • Plain flour ( A pinch or two to add over the top at the end)

  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 2 eggs (you need to have beat them already)

  • 175ml of Milk (we used semi skimmed)

  • 1 tablespoon of icing sugar


You will also need:

  • 2 large mixing bowls

  • Rolling pin ( if using unrolled pastry)

  • Sieve

  • Scales

  • 22cm Tart tin the recipe recommends one you can remove the bottom from but ours didn't and it worked fine. (We used a cake tin)

  • Saucepan

  • Baking beans (or rice which we used instead of baking beans)

So let's get baking!
To start you will first need to cook all your pumpkin in the saucepan covered with water. just before you put it on you will need to pre-heat your oven to 180 oC You need to bring to boiling point then turn it down and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. you can tell when it has been cooked enough as the pumpkin will become soft and change colour. I did this part myself without wither D or Uncle L due to the boiling water and use of the cooker.

While your Pumpkin is simmering away you can get on with getting the kids involved and putting your pastry in your tart tin and cutting to size. Use a knife around all the edges of the tin to cut. Uncle L and D both got busy pushing our pastry into our shallow cake tin! Once it has been cut you need to put some baking paper on top and then add either your baking beans or your rice.


Simply put in the oven and cook for 15 minutes with the baking paper and rice/ baking beans then for 10 more minutes without the paper and rice/ baking beans to 'blind bake'. This simply means to cook the pastry until the pastry is a pale golden colour which looks slightly like biscuits.  By this point your pumpkin should already be cooling with the water drained and you can allow the pastry to cool down with it. Turn the oven up to pre-heat at 220 oC while you get on with the rest.

Onto the filling! Be warned this is going be incredibly gross. So now your pumpkin should be cool enough to use. If not take a small break or get on with the next step and come back to the pumpkin after. Now using one of your bowls and your sieve you need to push all your pumpkin through the sieve ( you can just puree it if you like). In the spirit of making it the way of the recipe we used the sieve. Uncle L just hated this part! I must say it was incredibly strange. In the words of Uncle L 'It looks like someone threw up some brains!' (yes he seriously said that!). Eventually you will finish with the pumpkin. Hurrah!


Now using your other bowl you will need to add your sugar, half of the cinnamon, nutmeg, melted butter,  beaten eggs, salt and butter and mix these all together into a runny mixture. As you can imagine this was both D and Uncle L's favourite part. They do love to mix things up. It was rather exciting this time as the mixture changes colour with all the ingredients inside


Once you have a good runny mixture add in your mix to your pumpkin and mix together until all the mixture is of a thick but still runny consultancy.

Now it is time to pour your mixture into your pastry and pop back in the oven. You will need to cook it for 10 minutes at 220 oC and then turn the oven back down to 180 oC and allow to cook for another 30 - 45 minutes. You will know when to take it out after the filling has just started to set and is no longer runny.

You just need to allow it cool before you remove the pie from the tin and add the rest of your cinnamon to some flour and dust it over the top. Pop it in the fridge and serve still chilled.

We could not wait to try it out! Uncle L was least patient in the waiting on it to cool! It was rather delicious and brought back some lovely memories from when my aunt used to make this for our Halloween parties.

Now we did not in any way use even half of our monstrosity of a pumpkin! We will have some more lovely Pumpkin recipes coming up in the next few days so if you love pumpkin like us, don't forget to come back.

If you would like some more inspiration for Halloween just click on our new Halloween Icon. Do you like it?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Handmade With Love - Superhero Cape

Hey guys, I have been busy tonight making something for D. It is much easier to make things for younger children as I am only really starting out with a sewing machine but I have hand sewn many things before. Sewing with a machine is very different altogether!  Tonight I spent around 2 hours making D a superhero cape! I think this is pretty awesome (If I do say so myself.) I have seen these everywhere on Facebook pages of people who make and sell these. I recently found an old polyester house coat that hasn't fitted me since I got pregnant with D and thought " What is the use in this sitting around?", so I decided I would make a superhero cape with it as the material is in great condition and I really didn't wear it all that often!

I thought you guys might like to know how to make it so I am going to do a bit of a tutorial with this one.

The starting house coat is a size 12 -14 and is a red polyester.


I started by cutting out a general shape of a cape with a neck piece (Please excuse my bad cutting!) I didn't have enough material to make 2 whole pieces for the front or the back so I made 1 whole piece which will be the front and two just over half pieces which will be the back. I simply cut the fabric off the house coat with as much as I could get without getting the seams.


I then used some pins to pin the two back pieces together. I did this on top of the front piece so I could cut the neckline to match as best I could. Being careful not to catch the bottom layer when doing the pins. If you are making this you will also need to ensure you have the front of the fabric touching each other or this stitching and extra fabric will be visible on the cape when you are finished.



Once I had all the pins in place I got the fabric (front of fabric touching again with the two back pieces) and stitched along where the pins are taking the pins out as I went along. Once turned around to the front of the fabric the join looks like this.


Now it was time to attach the front and back together. I got the two fabric pieces and put them together (again front sides touching) And added all my pins in. I find it much easier when all the pins face the same way. Those little white dots are the pins.


Once I got all the pins in place I got stitching using the inside line of the pins as my guide. I left a hand sized gap along the neckline. This is so I could get my hand inside to pull the fabric out so it is the right way around. I then pulled all the fabric through the hole and stitched up the top hole by pushing the extra fabric back through the hole and stitching a small line along the hole.


Once turned around the right way it looked like this.



This is where using recycled material ended as I had to add some Velcro onto the two ends around the neck so D can wear it. If you are doing this you can also add en emblem to the cape. I will be adding one on later as I don't have any other colours in the material.


Now D has 1 superhero cape lovingly made by me to dress up with! This was super easy and didn't take much time at all to complete! This whole cape has cost me about 6p and an old house coat. Our Velcro came from some cable ties I bought to sort out all Daddies cables at his desk and came in a pack of 25. I used one and the pack cost around £1.50 ( I don't remember the exact price). You can't really beat that can you?

Let me know if you like the tutorial so I can do one again, I have a few dressing up idea's in mind you can make from your own old clothing or things you can buy pretty cheap in shops! Is there something you would like me to try making?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Let's Get Cooking - Puff Pastry Pizza

For our Let's Get Cooking post I am telling you all about one our most loved recipes that is easy to make and you will all be able to join in as a family! We are making Puff Pastry Pizza. This tasty recipe is perfect for either lunch or dinner and is pretty quick to make too.

To make Puff Pastry Pizza You will need:

  • A roll of ready rolled puff pastry (You can make your own but this went very wrong the last I tried)

  • Tomato puree

  • Cheese (Grated of any kind is best)

  • Some vegetables ( We used peppers)

  • cooked meat (We have used ham and pepperoni

  • A spoon each

  • Baking paper

  • Oven tray (you may need 2 )

  • A knife ( sharp)

  • Chopping board


To make Puff Pastry Pizza:
First you will need to cut your puff pastry sheet into equal portions (if you are making this for a toddler you can divide up smaller portions after cooking as they need to cook evenly). We cut ours into 4 equal quarters of the puff pastry sheet. Do this part yourself or let another adult do it as you will need to use a sharp knife. Once your puff pastry is cut you need to give each person a square of baking paper that is bigger than the puff pastry.

While you have your chopping board out you should cut your veg up into small chunks (or they won't cook well). I cut up our Peppers and left them on the chopping board. You can do these first two steps before seating your children to join in if you like.

If you are using ham or chicken you can get the kids involved by asking them to rip it all up into small pieces. D and Uncle L love doing this ( although D didn't want to help much )!


Now you will need to spread on your tomato puree. It is best to do this with the underneath side of a spoon. If you tilt the spoon slightly so it is on the edge this works better and will spread evenly. ( D wasn't too happy that Daddy needed to do his!)wpid-wp-1445820617741.jpeg

Now it is time to add your ingredients to your puff pastry pizza. You can really go mad here and add whatever you like. Don't worry if someone doesn't want to add much. It is their pizza and with toddlers you can still add a few bits before the they add they cheese to sneak some veg on there that they like! I think someone got hungry half way through and started putting things in his mouth instead of on the pizza!

Once you are finished adding everything you like on your pizza you now need to add your cheese. We always use mild Cheddar as this is the only cheese everyone eats so it is the only one I really buy. However you are welcome to use your favourite cheese.

Now it is all finished and you just got to cook it in a preheated oven at 180 oC for around 10 -15 minutes. I usually pair our pizza with some sweet potato chips which I prepare before we sit down to make our pizza. These are really simple to make you just cut up some sweet potato into good sized chips. Add to an oven tray and drizzle some oil over the top. Pop in the oven with your puff pastry pizza and you have a great dinner.


We didn't have any sweet potato chips this time as we had a big lunch and this is pretty filling!

I hope you all enjoy these as much as we do. I have never heard a bad thing from anyone who tries them. If you missed our stuffed peppers recipe you can check it out by clicking the link.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

My Sunday Photo - Sculpture

I can't believe how fast the weeks are going by, it feels like only yesterday I found the #MySundayPhoto link up and now it is week number 3! We are again linking up to One Dad 3 Girls for this wonderful link up. This week I wanted to share with you a photo of something different in our beautiful city and although there where some lovely pictures from this week, I chose this one.


I didn't just choose this picture just because I liked the bright lights in the dark sky but because this week I also learned

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Our Adventures This Week #35

This week we have been much more relaxed than last week but that seems to really be our pattern, one week we get really really busy then the next we have a pretty good pace to our week.

We spent Monday at home with D playing most of the day with his toys or watching Dora The Explorer on TV. Myself and Daddy spent most of the day cuddled up on the sofa watching a film or two before Uncle L came back from school. We then spent the rest of the day tiding up around the house as D had made quite the mountain of toys and puzzles in each room!

Tuesday was a fun filled Day for us all, We did have a few bits we needed to pick up so we had a little shopping trip which only lasted about an hour. Once we got back home we quickly put the shopping away and off we went to the park with D. He was very excited about going to the park and playing on the slide. We did take a while to get into the park itself as D became quite the little explorer and wanted to find everything he could on the way there! We have lots of photos to share with you. D even made Daddy join in and run around the climbing frame with D!

After the park Uncle L came home and we got to making another dinner Made by everyone, which we will be sharing with you next week so keep an eye out for it.

I had to take Uncle L to the doctors on Wednesday as he had his appointment which went very well and he now has a doctor. Finally! We also had to go into town to get a package I had missed when we went to the park. After we got home it was pretty late and we just had dinner and all got ready for bed before we watched a movie.

On Thursday we didn't manage to get to anywhere but Nannies as we ended up all sleeping in and running rather late but we did spend a little while at Nannies and she found her dog! D had lots of fun playing in Nannies before we had to come back home (well past bedtime!)

Yesterday I did spend most of the day sorting out some of the few boxes we still had downstairs from moving in. Daddy and D played games together and D helped me unpack the boxes when he was allowed. We also had a great big development in the potty training yesterday afternoon/ evening. D asked to put some pants on instead of his nappy! Although he didn't use the toilet as I did have to put a nappy on for bed but he will have them on all day today and we can see how we go.  After a few TV shows I got a bit carried away with making something which I am going to share with you all next week too. This is the reason I am posting very late today, I did not realize how long I spent doing this and very quickly 10pm turned into 2am!

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Friday, 23 October 2015

What We're Reading - Pirate Pete and His Parrot by Jenny Woods

As Promised here is our toddler book edition of What We Are Reading this month. If you missed yesterdays post on What We're Reading you can read all about our change to novels at bedtime with our first novel The Witches by Roald Dahl. We have also had a new piece of furniture added to D and Uncle L's room for all the books they own between them but mostly for D's books as he does own a lot of them, we made this between myself and D's Uncle! You can read all about our New Bookcase by clicking the link. Now on with our toddler edition of the month. This month we have had a bit of diversity in our picture books. I must say this is a welcome change from our normal same book being read over and over each day then 5-6 books at night! There has been one book that D has wanted to read a few times over the month which is Pirate Pete and His Parrot written by Jenny Woods and illustrated by Richard Watson.


Pirate Pete and His Parrot by Jenny Woods is about a pirate called Pete who is forever getting into trouble any time something on his ship goes wrong. His captain is usually the one everything happens to so this is very bad! Pirate Pete's Parrot is the reason for him always getting the blame as the only thing his parrot can say is "He did it!". This clever little parrot has the best timing when it comes to his only known words and leads to some disastrous situations. Pirate Pete plays pretend with the captain's hat when they are getting boarded by some nasty pirates! Pirate Pete's Parrot might just save the day!

D has been really enjoying reading Pirate Pete and His Parrot as D loves anything to do with pirates and their antics and their certainly are pirate antics in the book! D has been much more engaged with this book than with some of the others we have read and even told me he liked this book with a great big resounding "YES!"

I have to say I am very impressed by the illustrator Richard Watson's work, the pictures in the book are beautiful. They are so colourful and are incredibly descriptive, much more so than other books we have been reading. There is an attention to detail that you simply don't see all that often in books written for young children and toddlers. This mixed with the bright colours, wonderful characters and story  really makes this an enjoyable book to read and look at with your child.


The story itself is what really captured D, it is exciting, funny and everything a pirate story should be. There is a fantastic use of descriptive words with a lot of them relating to feelings and this paired with the descriptive pictures is a good way to introduce children to the words they can use to describe how they are feeling. This is something we have been trying to teach D but it can be hard to teach a toddler more than happy, sad, angry and sore in everyday life as being angry or scared is not really something we tend to show our children in daily life or at least we all try not to let them see these feelings. The story is both simple and engaging at the same time. This one is a little long and would be better suited for toddlers of D's age rather than a younger child of 1 - just over 2 years old as their attention span is shorter. Each page has 2 - 4 good sized sentances on and there are plenty of things on each page for D to find relating to the words I am reading. D really engaged with the parrot in the story and loved saying "He did it!" along with the parrot.

Pirate Pete and His Parrot is a very good book for any lover of pirates, adventures, sailors or those who like books about getting in trouble.

You can purchase Pirate Pete and His Parrot by Jenny Woods on The Works website by clicking the link. The book costs £1.99. You may also find this book in some book shops.

Don't forget to check out some of our other favourite books by clicking on the What We're Reading badge below!

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Thursday, 22 October 2015

What We're Reading- Roald Dahl's The Witches

It is that time of the month for us to tell you all about what we have been reading! Last month just after I posted our what we are reading post I spoke to Daddy about trying to read D an actual book with chapter's and not many pictures each night instead of the short toddler books we had been reading D. The reason for this is that it is incredibly hard to get D to sleep at night and this becomes even more so if it is in his own bed and he knows you are going to leave him when it is over. We spend an hour or two just trying to get D to go to sleep!

I had got thinking in the last few weeks as to what we could do to help improve D's sleeping and after trying a few ideas that failed I remembered that as a child my mum used to read me novels that she enjoyed along with lots of children's novels.  I do think back on those stories as my first real introduction to reading novels. This slowly developed into a very big love of mine and I have always loved reading. I remember being a huge book worm as a child with one of my favourite days of the year being World Book Day. There was always something happening between the pages of a book that just enticed me in. After speaking to my mum she has told me that I was always reading and regularly read books on a much higher reading scale than my age!

This imaginative journey novels so often inspire in children is something I know I really want D to have growing up. Toddler's books are wonderful don't get me wrong I love sitting with D and reading a good book with beautiful pictures and I do still do that during the day. My problem with these books is that most of the time they are a book written to teach children about a particular lesson or to help engage toddlers and children to grow their minds. There is just so much more to a story that unfolds over the many chapters of a novel that simply cannot be recreated in a book containing 20 pages or less. With this in mind I really wanted to pick a great author who we could discover with D. I wanted that author to have wrote books that really engage any audience and the one that sprung to mind was Roald Dahl and what better book of his around Halloween than The Witches?


Obviously with D there is a limit on how much of a book we really can read as his attention span is pretty good but it isn't great. I have been pretty surprised with the length of D's attention during our night time reads though! I have found that every night it takes around 24 pages for D to fall asleep which is much different than before and is much the same as one toddler book in regards to pages. The amount of words and length of reading do dramatically change when you switch to a novel so we are spending more time on the actual reading rather than the selecting of a book D likes.

Roald Dahl's The Witches is about  A little boy referred to in the book as Boy who's parents have died in a car crash and he has been sent to his grand mama in Norway. The story is narrated by Boy and has a wonderful child like feel to it. His Grand mama tells him all about REAL witches and the happenings of these witches all around the world especially in Norway. They have to move back to England together for Luke to finish his education. There are witches in England too and witches do not like little children, or any children for that matter. Their plan and ultimate goal in life is to rid the world of children. Some one has to stop the witches from carrying out their terrible plan. Nothing is ever that simple though and there are many great set backs and shocks inside the pages! You will find out how to spot a witch throughout the story and these are skills that every child must have.

I have really enjoyed reading Roald Dahl with D and from what I can tell D has been really engaged in the story as we follow along, He is extremely perceptive as a toddler and will pick up on many parts to the story or the characters that are there to shock and repulse some readers.( Not D, He loves these bits!) The Witches has turned out to be a very enjoyable read for D and has had a great effect on his night time routine, we have been simply replacing our marathon reading session at bed time with a very satisfying and relaxing 25 pages from our novel. D has shown a great engagement with Roald Dahl's characters and very much enjoy hearing all the different voices, pitches and accents that are portrayed by Roald Dahl as a writer.

Reading The Witches by Roald Dahl at night has given D a great boost in his memory capabilities. Every night just before we read The Witches we do a small recap on what has happened in the book. We try to keep this to a small amount and will go through some small sentences like 'Witches are real' 'There is a Grand High Witch' Lives with his Grandmama'. The very last sentence or two will relate to the previous nights happenings in The Witches. This helps D to remember what has happened in the book as well as promoted his capability to remember many important events in the book and D has really grown and attachment to the main character ....

Roald Dahl has such a great imagination and portrays the story so it is suitable for all readers young and old! We have been loving hearing all about witches and I have been starting to point out people wearing gloves ( a sign used to spot a witch!) to D to get him engaged when we are out which has got me a very strange look or two but this game is rather fun to play as well as passing the time and reminding D of our story.

I love the imagination this book unlocks for D and the wonderful and very broad spectrum of characters in the story. There is never a dull moment during this story. I am most astonished by the sheer joy D expresses at any happy or exciting parts to the story. There is something for everyone to love in Roald Dahl's The Witches. If you are looking for a book for older children or like me you are looking to try out a novel at bed time to help your little relax easier or to help send them to sleep I would recommend trying out The Witches.

Now don't fret we are still telling you all about our most loved toddler book of the month too! This will be coming up on the blog soon but why not check out our previous favourite toddler books of the month. We've loved reading Henry's Pirate SurpriseWe're Wearing Out The Naughty Step and Daddy Pig's Old Chair

You can find Roald Dahl's The Witches on Amazon by clicking the link. You may also find this book in local bookshops.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Crafts for Kids - Halloween

Well Halloween is very fast approaching and with that will come the half term holiday! What are you planning on doing with your kids this half term?

We have spent a bit of time recently doing some different crafts to share with you for some idea's this half term.

We started with a pack I picked up from Poundland which was pretty good. It was a kit to colour your own balloons. Here are the bits below.

The back of the package.

The Pack contains 8 balloons in black, green, white and orange, 3 colouring pencils and 2 sheets of stickers for colouring in.

colour your own balloon's package

To use the kit you first need to colour in your chosen face/ features stickers. We did use some of D's colours along with those from the pack for some added variety.

You will need to blow up however many balloons you will need and just add the stickers to your balloon and you are done!

Here are our finished balloons:

Both boys seemed to enjoy doing this package and although I loved doing this one the colour of balloon you use does really change your overall outcome. D quite enjoyed colouring and made me help him with his face as he liked to play with the pencils. I do recommend you have your child's colours near as you do only get three pencils.

Next we made some Halloween picture's with card, EVA foam, glue and googly eyes. D just wanted to stick everything down so I cut some shapes out and put the glue on (We did use PVA glue before and D just covered himself in it!) D stuck the piece's down and dictated as to where he liked them.He was very interested in our googly eye's and pumpkin. He did really dictate as to what I could cut out too! Uncle L made a knife covered in blood which was very Halloween and he quite enjoyed doing his He used different colours of card and I love the effect this had with the silver paper glistening like a knife and the blood looks like it is wet from the glossy paper! (please excuse the glue as it is not yet dry!)

We then made some stick puppet's! We all enjoyed this one and again I did help D with his cutting (must get another pair of kids scissors! we lost our pair and now I cannot find them in shops!) We made a pumpkin and a spider.

These where quite easy though we had some trouble getting the spider's legs to stick. First you will need to decide what it is you are going to make. You can really make a lot of Halloween characters with this so you can please everyone!

Once you have decided what to make you will need a base shape. Our base shapes where a circle and an oval. Next you will need to decide what you need to add as features for example; eyes, mouth, nose and legs.

D needed to add some shadow lines to create his pumpkin so we used some lines of EVA foam to do this. D also used some black EVA foam to make his pumpkin stem. We then added some large googly eyes and a blue (D's choice) pipe cleaner for his mouth.

Uncle L added some googly eyes to his spider and then attached some different coloured pipe cleaners to the back to create the spiders legs.

After you have added everything you need to make your stick puppet you will need to add the sick! Because you cannot have a stick puppet without a stick. You just turn the puppet over and glue you stick on then just let it dry.

Do you have any plans or idea's for Halloween half term?

Let me know in the comments or send me a link via facebook or twitter, we are always looking for more things to do over school holidays!

For some baking idea's this Halloween why not check out our bat shaped stained glass biscuits?

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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Lets Get Baking- Mars Bar Brownies

So all credit for this recipe goes to Simon's Dad who first got me making these! They are incredible and defiantly one I keep handy at all times!

They are quite easy to make and seriously yummy! You don't want to miss out on These Mars Bar Brownies!

To get started you will need:

  • 2 Eggs

  • 125g Caster Sugar

  • 2 Medium mars bars (frozen for an hour or two)

  • 75g Butter/ Margarine

  • 150 Plain Flour

  • 2.5ml/ 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 250g milk chocolate (your favourite makes them better)

You will also need:

  • Square cake tin (Any will do though)

  • Baking Paper

  • 2 Medium Bowls (1 Glass)

  • Saucepan

  • Electric Whisk

  • Sieve

  • Metal spoon

  • Plastic or Silicone Spatula

  • Knife

Ingredients Mars Bar Brownies

Now let's get to actually making them!

You first need to pre-heat the oven to 180 oC. Ensure you grease and line your cake tin with butter and baking paper. D did not like this part and hated getting butter on his hands! (TIP If you use a small piece of baking paper this is much easier and cleaner)

Next you need to melt your chocolate it is best to do this with a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water but you can use a microwave in 10 - 15 second intervals, stirring in between. Melt 175g of the Chocolate that has been broken up. Mix slowly until melted and smooth. You need to leave it to cool of a bit. I did this part myself as it uses boiling water.


Using the other bowl add the butter and Sugar together. Ensure the butter is cut into small pieces for the whisking. Whisk together until fluffy. Add the eggs to the Mixture  and whisk. Both D and uncle L loved using our new hand whisk. There was a tantrum or two so I think I need to get another one! As usual this was one of D's favourite part. They both managed to take turns too.

Add the eggs to the Mixture  and whisk. Both D and uncle L loved using our new hand whisk. There was a tantrum or two so I think I need to get another one!


Stir in your Melted chocolate which should now be cool. Both D and uncle L enjoyed this. I must say we managed to not get it everywhere!

Next you will need to sift your flour and salt into the mixture and fold this into the mixture. Use the leftover chocolate to add in some chunks to the mixture along with any fruit you want to add. Fold these into the mixture too. It is fine to let kids mix at this point but do try not to let them do too much mixing as it can affect the recipe!

Now you need to transfer your mixture to your cake tin. Make sure you spread it evenly with the spatula be careful to get right into the corners. D got very excited at this point as he knows it is almost time to cook them!


Using a sharp knife (Do this yourself and be careful!) cut the Mars bars into pieces.Once cut place the mars bars all over your mixture push some down too for mars bar pieces all through or you can add them in the last step too. D and Uncle L did love doing this and we managed to not get any fingers sticking into the mixture.


Pop in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes.

Now allow to cool down but do try some warm (Just not right away let it cool a little). Cut into squares and your done!

I would have to say we all really enjoyed this recipe and it shows that not everything has to be the same! This is defiantly approved by both D and Uncle L.


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