Friday, 19 September 2014

Getting back in the swing of it...

I can't believe the kids have been back at school for two weeks now.
The summer holidays were over so quickly, and for the first time ever I found myself wishing that we had an extra couple of weeks together. Our summer wasn't perfect - whose is? - but it was good. As usual I planned, and we stuck to it for the most part.

We had very few 'I'm bored' whines.
We had loads of days at the beach and the park.
We spent a lot of time in the garden and the children played well together.
We went away to La Rosa campsite and the kids coped brilliantly with the break.
We got lots more guinea pigs and Mini is loving them.
We did lots of crafts at home and spent proper quality time together.
We went fruit picking a LOT and Mini learnt to make jam.
We went to London for a day out and the man in Fortnum and Mason complimented the children on their behaviour.

It was just really relaxed and chilled. But by the end the children were starting to bicker and compete, so although I'd enjoyed having them at home, I knew they were ready to go back to school.
In fact, Dollop started school, and has settled brilliantly. She loves it, and even though her tummy hurt this morning, she was still desperate to go in. She's made friends and so have I.
And Mini has settled well too. He has been reluctant on many days, but we've made it there - on time too - and he's gone in and got on well. Mini tells me he's been placed in the top maths group - which makes me proud, but I'm prouder of the fact that he told me that he's worried about it in case it's too difficult.

So now I'm a stay at home mum, with 2 school children. I'm also suffering with depression and something called TJD. I am tired ALL the time. I'm taking some time to look after myself, and gently get back into the swing of school runs, blogging, housework, and all the other things that a mum has to do.
How are you managing? Have your children settled back into school routines OK?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Kids crafts - T-shirt decorating

Last year we tie-dyed t-shirts, this year we've used fabric pens (and we're tie-dying again) - it's such an inexpensive activity that I hope we'll be able to do a variation on it each summer...

Why not give it a go?

You need:

Plain white cotton t-shirts (we use school PE t-shirts from the supermarket at just a couple of pounds per pack)
Fabric pens (my local craft shop sold these - about £5 a pack)
Newspaper/scrap paper

1. Lay the newspaper inside the t-shirt. This will prevent your design soaking through to the other side of the fabric.
2. Grab your pens and draw! Or even write a message or joke.
3. Follow the instructions for setting the ink - usually running an iron over it, perhaps with a tea towel.

I'm linking up to #SummerSandpit on The Adoption Social:
The Adoption Social

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Kids crafts - Chocolate truffle curls

Who doesn't love a chocolate truffle? We all do for sure.

The other day we nipped into Morrisons for a few bits and Mini said that he'd liked to make something for the NC and I - all on his own. After frantically thinking about something that he was old enough to do by himself, that I could actually eat (on soft foods only at the moment), I recalled watching Hope and Greenwood on Friday night making truffles, ah - perfect.
So we picked up a pot of cream, and a few bars of chocolate, and headed home (though on the proviso that I would help with the hob job of melting chocolate).

So here's Mini's recipe for Chocolate Truffle Curls

You need:

200g dark chocolate
3tbsp double cream
25g butter
Cocoa powder

1. Put a bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water. Make sure it doesn't touch the water. Break the chocolate and put it in the bowl with the cream and butter.

2. Let it all melt together, stirring every now and again. Mummy says this is called gan-ash.

3. Once melted, let it cool, then put it in the fridge.  (At this point mummy put a few tablespoons of the mix into another little bowl to try a flavoured truffle)

4. Once it's hard, take it out of the fridge and let it get a bit warm - mummy said it took about 30mins.

5. It should be soft enough to use a little spoon to scrape thick curls of chocolate stuff, and drop them gently into some cocoa powder. Use a spoon to cover them in cocoa then carefully put them on a plate. Mummy said truffles are normally round but I don't like getting my hands too mucky so we didn't do that.

6. Keep them in the fridge and eat when you want!

Mum's note:
I reserved some of the ganache and added a pinch of seasalt, 2 capfuls of gin and some freshly squeezed lime juice. It set softer than Mini's gananche but was still enough to make very soft truffles (and they're gorgeous!).

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Kids crafts - Collages and Sticking

Who doesn't love a bit of sticking and gluing? My kids often want to get the coloured paper out, a pritt stick and some random slips of paper.

So this week, I got a few boxes of odds and ends out of the craft cupboard, some pots of glue and a pile of sugar paper. Sometimes I need to structure craft activities else Mini flounders a little, even at 7, his collages often end up very random and he doesn't seem to have much of a clue what he wants to create - unless I suggest a theme...but often some free play like this is just what Mini and Dollop need to let their creative juices flow...and just enjoy spreading the glue, sprinkling on the confetti, getting feathers stuck up their arms, and peeling the glue off their fingers after...

Linking up to #SummerSandpit on The Adoption Social:
The Adoption Social