Monday, 26 November 2012

Make it Monday - A little artwork

Over to David, just turned 7, for tonight's Make-it.

Isn't this just the happiest drawing?

He drew this for me yesterday afternoon.

It's him, me and my parents' little dog Roscoe.

David, as I'm sure I've said so often, is not the arts and crafts lover that his older two brothers are. He is the running around all day long, sports loving boy.

Recently though, he has started to take some time out and indulge in his creative side.

And when he does, the results are always as sweet as the picture above.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Big Brothers & Boxes

What more does a boy need but big brothers and boxes?

Today I took delivery of my hubby's main Christmas present which the boys helped me wrap up. 

We were then left with a big empty box.

I went off to help Calum with some accordion after bathtime and came through a little while later to find James had made the box into a bespoke car for Alasdair.

The car stereo was playing his favourite song (Silver Wings)...

The boot (trunk) was full of toys.....

And he had asked for a tough car so James made it a Land Rover.

Inside the box he added a couple of comfy cushions, a teddy or two and then Alasdair spent the rest of the evening quite content in it, before parking it carefully at bedtime.

I'd love to share what the present in the box was, but as my hubs reads my blog then I mustn't! I'm very excited about it though and equally excited about the saving I made through an Amazon Black Friday week special deal!

Monday, 19 November 2012

David's Lego Party

On Saturday David had a few friends and his cousins round for a Lego party to celebrate his 7th birthday.

He was so excited from the moment he woke up in the morning, forever asking when it would be his party - it didn't start until 3pm so the first time he asked I could see him deflate when I said it was still 7 hours away!

I put his excitement to good use though and he helped me get everything organised.

His first job was to fill the Lego party bags with the Lego goodies we had found on Amazon.

He helped me make the sandwiches.

He put the Lego mini figure rice paper pictures on the cupcakes as I iced them.

He watched me make the mini figure head cake pops.


Then finally it was time for the party to start.

While we waited for everyone to arrive I had dot to dot sheets from for those who were waiting. I also found a blank Lego man picture and everyone had to design their own Lego man.

We played 'stick the Lego shark on the water while blindfolded' (again from Amazon).


There was also a game of pass the parcel. Whenever anyone took a wrapper off they were given a chocolate Lego mini figure that I made using our mini figure ice cube tray.


I found a great printable Lego bingo (just search for that on google and it will come up). The kids really enjoyed that and I really enjoyed that we had a nice quite game to play!

After the bingo I brought out some of the Lego board games that we have in our cupboard. The partygoers split into two groups and played two different games, then swapped over.


The smaller ones played their game much quieter than the bigger ones above!


Then it was time for the food.






And the birthday cupcakes.

Daddy was away at a conference all day and arrived home half an hour after the last guest had left (apart from the cousins, who were still here). Some of you may be thinking that was rather convenient of him........:0)

Anyway, just so that he didn't miss out on all the Lego fun, we had a family games night and spent it playing....

....a Lego board game of course!


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Happy Birthday David!

Today we celebrated the 7th birthday of our energetic, strong willed but incredibly sweet and loving 3rd born.

He was born in the early hours of a very frosty Remembrance Sunday morning after a nice easy labour (in as much a way as you can call childbirth easy!) An hour and 20 minutes after I first woke up that night he was born.

My brother & his wife were on standby to look after our older boys, who were then aged 5 and 3. However, when my husband went to call them he came back upstairs to me and said, 'What's plan B? They aren't answering their phone!' We knew we could ask one of our neighbours to come but it was 3.30am and we didn't know if they would hear the door knocking (we couldn't ring them as we had never thought of taking their phone number since we see them all the time anyway!)

Fortunately my quick thinking hubby phoned a single friend who lived a few streets away. She answered her phone and was soon round. The next obstacle was the heavily frosted up windows on the car but after a liberal dose of de-icer we were soon on our way.

For some time afterwards we teased my brother and sister-in-law about their missing the phone call that they had been primed for for so long. Apparently every other night they had taken the phone upstairs but not that one. 

Three years later when our 4th boy was born, I think my poor sister in law still felt so guilty about it that when we phoned her to come round she was here in record time! Which was just as well considering how quickly HE came - 45 minutes after I first woke up. I had literally just sat on the hospital bed.

Anyway, back to the birthday boy. I thought it would be fun to look through his previous birthdays and see how he has grown.

Here he is at 12 hours old. Back home and tucked up.

I couldn't resist adding this one of his proud big brothers.

From the start he had such beautiful big dark eyes. The other three boys all have their daddy's blue eyes. He has my green eyes, although his are a much darker green.

I couldn't find his first birthday photos on this computer, but he is on his 2nd birthday. (That's a fire engine cake)

On his 3rd birthday.

4th birthday.

5th birthday, complete with pirate costume.

And last year, on his 6th birthday, surrounded by his brothers and cousins.

This year all he asked for was a Pillow Pet, which he loves. He also got a remote controlled Rally Car, which he also loves. I think both contrasting gifts sum up the two sides of his personality so well!

Lastly, here he is with his cake tonight. And the Pillow Pet.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Recipe of the week - Jam Rolly-Polly {gluten & dairy free}

This is one of our Calum's most requested cakes.

I make it with just jam as a filling or with jam and buttercream icing too. If you aren't concerned about allergies you could also try filling it with fresh whipped cream & berries.

Another variation I make is to turn it into a chocolate log. We always have one of these as one of our Christmas Dinner puddings. To turn it into a chocolate log just add a couple of ounces of cocoa to the mixture and fill it with chocolate buttercream icing instead. I also cover it with chocolate buttercream on the outside too and mark it with a fork to look like a log. It wouldn't be Christmas without a chocolate log!

If you want to make this with 'normal' ingredients it will work fine too, just use plain flour rather than self raising. The reason I use self raising in my gluten free version is simply because I prefer the texture it gives over the gluten free plain flour. The plain flour gives a much drier texture, making this too hard to roll.

With wheat flour though you won't have to worry about this, and making it with self raising flour will make too fat a cake, again trickier to roll.

You will need:

4 eggs 4oz sugar 4oz Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

1tsp vanilla essence

Some extra sugar for sprinkling

Your choice of jam for filling

~Using the whisk attachment on your free standing mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together well until they look really light and creamy.

~While this is mixing you can prepare your Swiss roll tray. Grease it lightly and line with baking parchment/grease proof paper.
~When your eggs and sugar are ready gently fold in the flour and vanilla. Try not to mix it too much or you will flatten the lovely air bubbles you have just beaten in.
~Bake at 200C for about 12-15 minutes only. It is important not to overbake. If you do the cake will be too dry and rolling it won't be so successful!
~The cake is ready when it is lightly golden.
~While the cake is baking, prepare a sheet of baking parchment/grease proof paper slightly larger than the baking tray. Sprinkle it all over with your extra sugar.
~When you take the cake out of the oven, carefully but quickly tip it upside down onto the prepared parchment and sugar. Peel off the baking parchment that was on your cake in the oven.
~Now cover with a clean, damp tea towel and leave to cool down.

~When your cake has cooled, spread your chosen filling all over the cake. Then, starting at one of the short sides, roll up the cake. You can use the baking parchment to help you push and roll.
~Transfer to your serving plate and add more sugar on top if you wish.

Don't worry if it cracks a little on top. It adds to the charm and proves that it's home made!


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Little Artist

In our dining room, right below the whiteboard where I write our weekly menu plan up is another whiteboard that is for the boys to create their own masterpieces on.

Normally when Alasdair has a go he scribbles all over the whole board randomly, although to him it isn't random as he tells us what he is drawing.

Then other night however I noticed a HUGE change in his scribbles.

On the left of his picture he has drawn our family. We do look like blobs but you can make out that they a meant to be figures and they have legs.

After he had drawn us he took the green pen and started drawing some circles.

When I asked him what these were he replied that these were our apples and potatoes!

Don't you just love the way the mind of a 3 year old works?!


Saturday, 3 November 2012

Things I'm loving...

It's quite a random selection of things I'm loving this week!

Firstly, now that the dark nights are well and truly here I was able to try out this fun bath idea that I saw on Meghan's blog back in the summer. Of course when she shared it, they were in the middle of winter and we were in the middle of summer, and it was light here until about 11pm! It was such a cool idea though that I knew we would have to try it out when the season was right.

Basically you float a bunch of glow sticks in the bath and turn out the lights. The bath gives off a magical glow and makes a super exciting bath-time. There is enough light from the sticks to light the bath area but in the photos I took it looks a lot darker, but still pretty cool!

Theses actually look a bit like Olympic Rings here!

As well as the darker nights being here to stay, so is the colder weather.

That gives us the perfect excuse to warm up after the school run with some hot chocolate and cake!

I'm loving that the panda suit I made last year for the little man still fits him, and that he loves to wear it too!

Calum's class had to decorate their homework jotters with things they love and I love his cover! It really sums him up.

On the front he has the Beano, Calvin & Hobbes and Lego.

On the back he has Diary of a Wimpy Kid and his favourite British Olympic Gold Medalists.

Sticking with Calum's homework, his teacher has so many fun ideas for them. For their spelling words last week they could either make up a story using the words or use them in pictures. Calum was so inspired by our trip to London that he based his spelling words around that.

Isn't this amazing?

Oh, one more thing from Calum's homework.

He's our little bookworm and is currently reading through all of Roald Dahl's books. He was so excited to come home this week with their new reading book for school - Roald Dahl's 'The Magic Finger' but in Gaelic. I've never seen any of his books translated to Gaelic before.

Finally, I loved that this week I started some of my piano pupils on these...

The music above is from the book below - my first ever Christmas carol book, which I got when I was about 8!

And that's my list for this week! We're looking forward to fireworks tonight for Guy Fawkes night. Enjoy whatever you all have planned for the weekend.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Recipe of the Week - Gingerbread Pancakes (Gluten & Dairy free)

I wonder how many blog posts now begin with the words, 'I saw this recipe/craft project on Pinterest.....'?

Quite a few, I would imagine.

Anyway, I came across a recipe on Pinterest for Gingerbread Pancakes. Rather than making the recipe that was there though, I took it as my inspiration and adapted my own gluten & dairy free pancake recipe.

I'm pleased to say that it was a big hit with everyone in our house and so I though it only fair to share the recipe!

Maple syrup is optional, but we certainly can't eat breakfast pancakes without it, although you can just see a tin of Golden Syrup in the background. That's James' preference.

For the pancakes you will need:

400ml soya milk
2 eggs
2oz brown sugar
8oz Doves farm gluten free self rasing flour
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1tsp ground ginger
1tbsp vegetable oil

~ Put your griddle or large non-stick frying pan on to heat while you get started on the mixture. That way, it will be nice and hot when you are finished mixing.
~Whisk the eggs and milk together in large bowl, preferably a big batter jug with a pouring lip. Just do all the mixing by hand. No need for a fancy mixer!
~Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together until you have a smooth, pourable batter.
~Pour dollops onto your griddle/pan and cook for a couple of minutes before turning over and cooking the other side, again for a couple of minutes.
~Keep the cooked pancakes warm under a clean tea towel while you make the rest of the batch.
~Serve with syrup and maybe a few sliced bananas too.

OK, so they look just like normal pancakes but they taste like a cosy autumn morning.