Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Flipping good fun on Pancake Day!

Pancake day...Pancake Tuesday... Shrove Tuesday. Whatever you may call it, it's the day of the year when pancakes are eaten in households all over the UK!

The celebratory eating of pancakes is usually confined to just one day of the year, but I  must confess, we sneak a couple of extra Pancake days (not necessarily Tuesday!) into our yearly calendar!

Here's my age-old recipe that I use time and time again... similar to Delia's but in my opinion, easier!

Ingredients
10 fl oz semi-skimmed milk
4 oz plain flour
2 eggs
Lard, for frying

Method

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large jug or mixing bowl. Whisk with a hand whisk for about 2 minutes. I don't sieve the flour as the whisking incorporates enough air to give the pancake 'bubbles'!
  2. Heat a knob of lard in a frying pan until just smoking. Add a ladle of the pancake mix to the pan, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan and then cook until the pancake loosens from the bottom of the pan. Flip(!) and cook the other side for a few more seconds.
  3. Serve warm with a filling of your choice. I stick to lemon & sugar but there are all sorts of crazy options out there!
  4. You can keep the mix in the fridge for a day... but ours never lasts that long! Enjoy!


Friday, 13 February 2015

Half term begins... and it's raining!

My children started their half term holidays today... and it's raining! We managed a quick dash to our local library in between showers and chose some good reads for the week. We also have the facility to borrow DVD's from the library too and so we chose 'Maleficent' this time; for a very reasonable sum of £1.55, you can borrow a DVD for up to 7 days... that's at least 4 viewings of a great family film! Just need to stock up on popcorn!


Tonight's tea was my eldest's choice - Macaroni Pasticcio. Ours might not look as good as the picture but so long as everyone enjoys, that's all that matters!


Hope you are all enjoying the start to the half term break - I just hope the rain leaves us along for a couple of days!






Friday, 30 January 2015

Fantastic... Mr Fox!

As a child (and an adult!) I loved reading - mostly Enid Blyton, but my other favourite author was/is Roald Dahl. My children are now at the age where they are studying books at school, not just reading for fun. There's nothing wrong with reading for the sake of it, or course, but reading, understanding and analysing books and stories is a skill which will help them in years to come.

Twinkl is a great website aimed at both school staff and parents with loads of resources suitable for all levels of primary education. Some resources require a subscription although there are lots of free resources available too.

My son (7) is currently studying 'Fantastic Mr Fox' - one of my favourite Roald Dahl books! So, as I know the book pretty much inside out, I thought it would be easy to help him along the way... but do I really have time to design worksheets, word searches and reading comprehension questions? In a word, NO! After a quick look on Twinkl, I was pleased to find a whole range of 'Fantastic Mr Fox' specific resources - everything from writing frames and colouring sheets to word searches and character profile sheets!


That saved me a fair few hours design time! So a quick download and print has given me lots of activities to complete with my son. He's a great reader but needs something that grabs his attention and at the moment, Roald Dahl seems to have done that! I need to keep him on track and I'm sure that the Twinkl resouces will do just that!



Watch this space for updates... next task - the human body for a 10 year old!

PS.. if anyone is interested in a paid subscription, message me via Facebook here and I can send you the link for membership! x

Monday, 26 January 2015

Why I am a perfect parent (and how you can be too!)

Put simply anyone can be a perfect parent and here's how. I am a perfect parent because I know that my children are NOT perfect! We as a family have good days and not so good days . We have more good days and have learned how to turn each day into a good day, well at least part of it!

Rule one
Listen

Rule two
Don't make promises that you can't keep.

Rule three
We don't keep secrets but you can keep surprises.

Rule four
Eat as a family around the dining table as often as possible.

Rule five
Ban electronics for a set time each day - talk!

And that's it!




Friday, 23 January 2015

Going back in time.... A house made of history!

Apart from the resident spiders that seem to dwell in our roof spaces, I love living in an old house. It's a 4 storey Victorian terraced house and as we work our way through the renovations, we find all sorts of bits and bobs that relate to our house's former life.

Both of my children are studying the Victorian age at school and so they are able to take some of the findings in to school to talk about them with their classmates.

We've found Victorian servant's bell wires, vintage light fittings and switches and, more recently, newspapers from the 60's stashed away in one of the loft spaces. So, being a nosey-parker, I read the newspapers from 1962! It was humorous to see the out look on life was quite different then. These are the pieces that amused me the most! Apologies for the creases.... the papers are pretty old!

'Some women, of course, don't realise that housework is as simple as ABC'
Love the 'Free Time' drawer - that's the 'junk' drawer in my house!
I didn't realise the Channel Tunnel was planned in the 1960's!

Regarding the MP's 'wage scandal' (bottom right picture, above), £1,750 in 1962 is approximately £33,000 in today's money. If they could see into the future, no wonder they were having a moan as nowadays, the average wage of an MP stands at about £74,000!! Scandalous indeed!

So, back to the normal household stuff! As we are updating things around the house, we have covered old fireplaces and bricked up chimneys and so have left behind little treasures of our own. We put together a time capsule and hidden it in the basement for a future finder to enjoy. We included a newspaper, letters from my children, drawings and a couple of small toys and trinkets which represents our children's lives in the early 2000's.

We've also allowed out children to draw on the insides of plaster-boarded internal walls - so one day, another family will hopefully have the joy of discovering our lives! Or maybe they will just think that we are crazy!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Blue Monday? Fix it with Sugru!

Sugru is a cool, mouldable 'glue' that turns into rubber making fixing, modifying or even making things easy and fun for everyone. The patented silicone technology is unique. Out of the pack, Sugru feels like play-dough, and it's that easy to use too. It bonds to almost any other material and cures just by exposing it to air. Its durable cured properties mean it'll stay strong and securely bonded anywhere from the freezer to a steamy hot shower, from the home to the great outdoors. Sounds hard to believe but it's true!
Findings from a recent poll on sugru.com have revealed that the most feel good DIY projects are those that involve organising and sorting your stuff. So far so boring? Not when you’re given a helping hand by a few tiny friends….

Almost a quarter of those who took part in the online poll voted for one of last year's most popular projects - Sugru + Lego = perfect cable holders - as the ideal way to help banish the blues this January.
The simple but ingenious idea came from a fan in Germany and soon snowballed into one of Sugru's most shared pieces of content of all time reaching hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
So, if you missed it first time around - here's a guide to how you can organise your cables at home or at work. Proven to help turn that frown upside down!
Did you know, it's also International Lego Day next week (28 January) and Sugru is offering free shipping all week so you can start planning your own project
You can also check out some other feel good projects here to help keep yourself entertained this winter.
As a Lego-loving family with a list of things to fix, I'm sure we'll be using lots of Sugru in the coming months and years!

Friday, 2 January 2015

Winter Health - eat well, sleep well, be well!

Christmas is over and we're starting the New Year - complete with resolutions (achievable and not-so-achievable!). Here's some helpful ways to hopefully dodge the coughs, colds and bugs that seem to be around at this time of year!

  1. Eat fruit. Fruits, especially berries such as blueberries, cherries, strawberries and blackberries are naturally high in vitamin C, bioflavonoids and antioxidants. These all help to boost your immunity levels. Other good sources include broccoli, apricots, peppers and kiwi fruits.
  2. Vitamin D3. Our main source of vitamin D is the sun and so as the days are shorter in the winter, our levels can go down. Vitamin D is vital to ensure adequate absorption of calcium for our bones but it also plays a crucial role in the normal functioning of the immune system. Many of us can become deficient in vitamin D over the winter because even when outdoors with some skin exposed, very little vitamin D is produced due to the angle of the sun during the winter months. A daily dose of vitamin D3 can therefore help to fortify the immune system through the colder months.
  3. Echinacea. This is a fabulous herb which 'modulates' the immune system, which simply means that it helps to teach it what to do, thereby rebalancing it, meaning it can function better. Echinacea is also a powerful lymphatic cleanser; it stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection.
  4. Zinc. This is essential for the immune system and healing. Enjoy seafood and nuts and seeds, especially sunflower and pumpkin seeds. 
  5. Honey. Manuka honey has great health benefits. Enjoy this delicious tasting food and stay healthy.
  6. Stay active. When it's cold outside, it's difficult to get out there and do some exercise but try to! Research has shown that exercise is another way to help your immunity.
  7. Bin it! Don't leave dirty tissues or hankies lying around - it can also spread your cold. When you cough, sneeze or blow your nose the secretions that end up in your hanky or tissue are teeming with the virus that's making you sick. These viruses can survive for some time once they leave your body, so when you leave a tissue for someone else to pick up, you are actually leaving a little virus bomb to go and infect someone else's hands. So throw away any used tissues and wash your hands straight away.
  8. Sleep well. Your immune system helps you to fight off common infections, Poor sleep and insomnia can affect our immune system so make sure you get plenty of rest.
  9. Vitamin C. There is considerable evidence that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) plays a vital role in many immune mechanisms. Infection rapidly depletes the normal levels of vitamin C. Remember that bugs stay active on surfaces so avoid touching too many public places such as escalator rails or cash point surfaces.
So, with these few tips you *should* be able to ward off the dreaded colds which are still lurking, waiting to catch you out!