Monday, 28 February 2011

This week I will be watching....

This week I will eagerly be watching bakes-a-lot-lady's blog as she takes on the challenge of only eating cake for a full week! I LOVE baking and so this sounds like my perfect kind of week and I am looking forwards to trying some of the recipes. Good luck Bakes-a-lot-lady! Have a look yourself, here is the link:

It's all about the money, money.......

So this week we have started the week off by looking at money. We are taking part in an NCT sale at the weekend and selling off toys and clothes that we have grown out of etc to raise money for our new tent. This seems like an ideal opportunity to teach the children a little more about money. I want them to help me write up the price labels, list what we are going to sell later in the week and hopefully a sales forecast so we now how much we could make from the sale, so I thought we would run through some maths work first. We started with our maths workbooks and then I printed some sheets with different money-related questions off. There were questions about ordering from a menu in a cafe and how much change they would receive from a five pound note or a ten pound note. For Ruben I printed off some pictures of coins, he recognised all of them from saving up his pocket money and then he had to work out what things he could buy from his smaller shopping list. Then we decided to get out the play till and make a little shop. They each got 5 toys and put price labels on each toy, I gave them each a bag of coins containing the same amount of money. We put the toys in the family room and set the till up on the little table.

 Working out prices for all our toys.

 I put their money in a little coin bag
Browsing the toys!

And finally working out the total costs of their shopping and how much change they need back. Its really good practice for real life, just hope they go a little quicker in a real shop otherwise there will be real tailbacks at the tills in Tesco! Hopefully, this morning has got them thinking more about money and this will prove helpful when we are getting things ready for the sale.

The dining room is now our family room......

So here our new look family room is. I haven't got any before shots sadly, which would have made much more sense. Anyway, this is my new display cabinet, it looks a bit sad and empty at the moment as we haven't filled it, don't think it will take long though. The idea is that we all get a shelf each to display things that we like or have made. My shelf though is simply to display my (growing) collection of china
 Its all mis-matching china but I love it. My mother in law has rescued lots of pieces for me. My mum has passed me down a tea set, which I loved as a child and now use occasionally as a treat. Nothing like a cup of tea from a china teapot and china teacup.

 This is a sofa which was upstairs in Bailey's room. Its very comfy and we all squash up to read on it.
 I took these Ikea drawers from my bedroom to store all the kids craft, felt tip, paper, hama beads, paints and play-doh in. It was a good idea and looks much tidier plus my bedroom looks much nicer too. The photo frames on top of the drawers are what the kids made at Shirebrook last month and the eagle figure is Bailey's little project.
 This is what we bought from Ikea. Its only small but I didn't want to loose too much space in the room and it fits perfectly too
 Cordelia made this 'Charlie and Lola' inspired mobile and we hung it on the light fitting in the middle of the room
 I've put some picture sof the children when they were little up on the walls, I love photographs, especially ones of the kids. I can't believe how fast they are growing up. I especially love the one of Bailey (far left) as he hardly ever lets me take his picture now he is nearly a teenager :-(
 More photo's of the children
 Hmmmm, had these a while in the garage, also from Ikea. They can be used as photo frames but I just think we could do something more exciting with them, just not sure what yet.....any idea's???

This little table (above) was given to us by my father in law and I really love it. I spent ages putting beeswax on it (and suffering from the fumes!) and I love the old charm of it. Plus it was free!!!

These are my two little extra buys from Ikea, who just goes to Ikea without coming back with something that they didn't go far? It's just impossible! So I bought 3 of these glass jars and some extra cupcake cases (because you can never just have too many) I really like the idea of storing them in here. The cake stand above is just perfect as it has a glass lid. I have been after one of these for ages but they are so expensive normally to buy, this one cost about a third of all the ones I've seen before so was a bargain. Just wish I had taken a picture of the yummy cake the girls made and displayed (for about 5 minutes before it was all eaten anyway) yseterday!
All in all the grand cost of our redecorating? £40! Which was for paint and the white bookcase as all the other stuff we had in the garage or it was kindly given to us. Carole Smilie eat your heart out :-)

Busy, busy Sunday

Well actually Sunday was a quietish day actually, considering the day before with trips to the library, Ikea and into town too. So we got up (quite early for a Sunday) all ready to have a really good walk in the forest, which I have been looking forwards to for ages but the weather was truly grim! So that shelved that plan. Instead we went to look for a new tent for the summer. We only started camping last year but we really LOVE it! We bought a tent in the sale which has been really good, especially given the price we paid for it. But we really need one a little bigger this year. When we got back Piper really wanted to make a start on her dough doll (I bought her this fantastic little book for 30p in the summer all about dough dolls and how to make them) So dad supervised the taking of the photo's and helped out.

 She used a salt dough recipe which was quite easy to mix.
 Ruben finally made a start on his shaker maker painting! Did you notice how different his hair is? I took him for a walk last week and on the way home he said 'Come on mum let's go into the hairdresser's and make me an appointment, my hair needs cutting' So there you have it, he wanted it cut quite short and so it is (I wanted to have a little cry but resisted! I loved his long locks!)
 Back to the doll...doing some rolling and below the finished doll. Its actually a pumpkin style doll which is very cute and smelt rather yummy, the dog even tried to eat one that Cordelia made as she thought it was a dog biscuit!!

The girls also made a very delicious chocolate cake with dad, which was a nice to change! I'm normally in charge of all things baking related but they managed without me, so I put my feet up with a cuppa instead. Unfortunately, daddy was far too busy supervising and missed an opportunity to take a picture of said cake! Which was a big shame as it looked beautiful, tasted divine and plus it looked superb on my new cake stand from Ikea!

A trip to Ikea

 Well last week passed in a bit of a haze! As it was school holidays here I was kept super busy by the kids who always meet up with their school-friends, so there were sleepovers, trips to the cinema (we went to see The Voyager of the Dawn Treader, which was a very good film and has ignited our love of the Narnia books again!) and general catch ups with friends we don't see as much as we'd like too. I was exhausted by Friday. We have been re-doing our dining room into a family room as we don't really use it as a formal dining room because we have a table in the kitchen. I will post pictures of the new room in my next blog post as I haven't taken a any photo's yet. So..... as we were doing our 'family room' up we needed a new bookcase, where best to have a trip out? IKEA!!! The kids love Ikea, I have no idea why but they love skipping around the living rooms they have set up and playing 'house' in the kitchen areas. There aren't many photo's as...well they just weren't still longer for my phone to take photo's!!

 Having lunch in the 'new' kitchen
 Cordelia is ready to tackle the pots!
 The best bit about Ikea is the food court afterwards. Where else can a family of 6 have a main course (hot dogs) free refill drinks and a dessert (ice cream since you ask!) for less than £10? No where! We rarely eat out as a family because its just too expensive so this was a nice treat. I'm not promoting unhealthy foods either but every now and again a little treat is good for the soul! And we did burn bags of energy off walking (or running in some cases!) around the shop first so I don't feel too guilty!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ice Skating Friday

On Friday, we went to our first ever hom ed ice skating session. We were all very excited as we hadn't been in a while! It was a little stressful trying to get skates on three children and myself, especially as they were so excited!

 Cordelia and her friend, who was ever so helpful teaching Cordelia how to stay on her feet and not on her bum!
 There, much better!
Sadly, I didn't get many photo's as I too was trying to keep upright! I did fall quite hard on the ice with Piper and as my back is already about as strong as string I've not had the best of weekends! Feel much better after a few days of painkillers and rest though. On the plus point I had such a lot of fun ice skating as I just laughed and laughed the whole time at myself and the children. Good job its only once a fortnight as it might take me that long to recover before we do it all over again, but I have a strong feeling we will be doing it all over again!

Ruben's turn for baking

Well we had plans for a carrot cake but he wanted to make cupcakes instead and as we have a house full as its the holidays and we have friends sleeping over and children sleeping out! So lots of extra mouths to feed and daddy too of course!
 He took ages to sort out what colour cupcake cases he wanted to use
 In the end he went for using an equal amount of all of the colours and worked out that he had 24 cupcake cases.
 Measuring his ingredients out and memorising my recipe

 Ooops too much flour, so back in the bag it goes
 Cracking the eggs in a separate bowl
 My turn for the electric mixer
 Into the cupcake cases
 Best bit? Licking the spoon of course!
Finally the decorating, melted white choclate and sprinkles! Yummy yum

Piper makes Oat and Raisin Cookies

Piper's contribution to the group party was some scrummy oat and raisin cookies (again from the Humming Bird Baking Book).
 Firstly she weighed all the ingreidents out by herself
 Then she mixed everything perfectly with the electric mixer
 Sometimes only a wooden spoon will do!
 Making the dough form together
 Rolling them into balls
 And ta-da! Huge oat and raisin cookies were created. They smelt delicious, I wish our house could smell like that all the time
And here is our cookie mountain. Looks like my Pippi is going to enjoy baking as much as her mum!