Wednesday, 23 July 2014

School Report Time

My Facebook timeline has been filled with proud parents posting about their kids fantastic school reports and that's great, it's so lovely to be proud.

I'm really proud of Boo, not only has she changed school and had to make heaps of new friends, she's had to fit in even though she is a slow learner and has had a lot of catching up to do. She might not be the brightest in the class but she is the youngest. She no longer needs an Individual Education Plan and is keeping up with the rest of the class. She's gone from not being able to write or spell to producing some lovely stories. Her drawings are really good and she's always got a pen and paper in her hand. What has really surprised me is that she's really good at mathematics, I don't know where she gets that from! Her report praises her for coping with the change of school so well and being good at making new friends. She's also really well behaved and attentive in class. She tries really hard and it's obvious that she really wants to learn. So, even though she doesn't get the best scores in tests, she is a little trouper and I'm sure one day she will prove how clever she really is.

The Little Man's report reflects his personality. He talks to much, he doesn't listen, he does his own thing. He does play nicely with the other children and is not disruptive or naughty, so I'm not too worried about him. He can write his own name and recognise a lot of letters and numbers. He is bright despite being the youngest in the class (yes again, thanks to me only having babies in the summer holidays!) but he doesn't like being told what to do. (He gets that from his Dad!) I'm hoping he will be more settled when he starts reception in September.

So, no A+ in our house (yet) but I'm still a really proud Mummy!



Linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements, currently being hosted over on  AutismMummy

Ethans Escapades

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Kids in the Kitchen - Soda Bread

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen, This week the Little Man helped me make Soda Bread, which is really easy and quick to make, and it involves kneading, and kids love kneading. It was such a lovely loaf that I've decided to enter it into the Bakespiration competition.

Last week, Little Miss T showed us how she makes Naan Bread over on the Beesley Buzz. Thank you for joining in and I hope that there will be others joining us this week as I'd love to see what everyone is up to in the kitchen with their kids.

If you would like to know more about Kids in the Kitchen and why I started the linky you can read all about it here. Sometimes it feels like a task to get the kids in the kitchen, and it can be very very messy. It's all worth it though because they have so much fun and are learning all the time. My mum never cooked with me (although I did do a little baking with my nan) and when I left home to get married at 19 (I know, I was a bit young!) I did not have a clue. My husband had to teach me everything, even how to boil an egg. It's funny, he was watching me decorate a wedding cake a couple of weeks ago and commented on this! I guess I've learnt a lot in the thirty years since. (eeek!) I digress a little...what I'm trying to say is, I want my kids to be able to cook, it is, after all, a very useful skill to have.

So do come and join us, find some inspiration and encourage your kids to cook with you, you won't regret it.

Soda Bread

I remember watching Masterchef not so long ago, that part where they are shown some food and have to write down the ingredients and then go and replicate the food. Well, in this particular episode there was Soda Bread and I was amazed at how many of the contestants had no idea and where trying to make bread in various ways such as proving it in a warm oven. You see, that's the beauty of Soda Bread, you mix it up, knead it and then pop it in the oven. No need to leave it under a tea cloth for a couple of hours to rise! It's so quick and easy to make. 

Ingredients:

500g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp salt
300 mls of buttermilk


If you don't have buttermilk you can make it by leaving the milk at room temperature for about an hour after adding 1 tsp of lemon juice. Or another alternative is to use half milk and half natural yoghurt. 

Method:

Sieve the flour, soda and salt into a large bowl
add the buttermilk and warm water and mix to a sticky dough
turn out and knead on a floured surface for about 10 minutes
shape into a dome and then cut a cross in the top.

Cook at gas 190C/gas mark 5 for about 1/2 hour

Easy peasy!

The Little Man was proud of his loaf

so delicious with gooseberry jam

If you would like to join then please link up your posts old or new below.
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in.





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You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.




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Monday, 21 July 2014

School's Out for Summer

At last, school is over for this term and the summer holidays have begun. The Little Man starts school properly come September as he enters Reception class and goes to school full time. Boo is moving up into Year Three, not such a big wrench at her current school. Had she still been at her old school she would have been moving into another building as the school was split into infants and juniors (like it was when I was at school) Star is going to be in Year Five, but we don't have a school for her yet. I've already decided that she's not going back to her old school and it's been arranged that her home tutor will come back in September to continue her education until we find a school suitable for her. I haven't made up my mind yet because I don't know how disabled she is going to be once the halo is removed. Will it have worked this time, will she be able to hold her own head up? Will she be able to move her head? Are the plates and pins in her neck enough to keep her head on? I know that sounds weird but in laymen's terms it's the truth of the matter. Her ligaments are not strong enough to keep the bones in place, so it will be down to the plates and pins. We won't know anything until after the halo comes off.

Despite Star being home schooled her tutor decided that she still deserved an end of term party. So, Star worked out a menu and wrote a shopping list for what they would need. Then her tutor did the shopping and they set too making a lovely party lunch for us all. Star's choice of food was pizza, four different kinds which she made from scratch and remembered what each of her family members liked best. Garlic bread, spaghetti hoops (one of your five a day!) and chocolate cake.

The tutor also bought party plates, napkins and a table cover and a bag of sweets.

Lunch time came and we sat around our kitchen table at home along with her tutor and had an end of term party lunch. Star worked so hard on the party and thought about everyone making it a really special occasion. Not everyone was home at the time so we had to same some food for the other family members who were at school and work.

I was so proud of my Star.


Star with her pizzas ready to be cooked.



Stars End of Term Party


Linking up with Jaime's Magic Moments over on The Oliver's Madhouse


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Banoffee Pie

I was sent a lovely box of Soreen goodies to try and come up with a new recipe. When I told my friends and family this they were outraged
"noooo, Soreen is lovely as it is, don't do anything with it!"

They were right, of course, Soreen is lovely and we all like it in our house. However, my curiosity prevailed and I found a whole host of Soreen recipes on the website, and here is a little video showing how easy it is to make Soreen flapjacks.




I'm going to have to give these a try!

So what did I come up with....in the nick of time as the rest of the family were fast consuming my box of Soreen? I decided to make a Soreen Banoffee Pie.

I went for a quick and simple recipe. I'd not actually made banoffee pie before but I knew it had a base, then a toffee filling with bananas and cream on top. I used a Banana flavoured Soreen loaf for the base and decided not to add bananas. It wasn't a complete success, I'll explain why in a minute, but it did taste yummy and I would make it again with a little adjustment or two.




Soreen Banoffee Pie.

Ingredients:

1 loaf of Banana Soreen
50g butter
1 can of Carnation Caramel
300ml double cream

Method:

To make the base of the pie I whizzed up the Banana Soreen loaf into crumbs (sacrilege, I know)
I melted the butter in a pan and then added the Soreen breadcrumbs and mixed them together.
I squashed the mix into a small tin (7in) which I'd lined with foil...the idea was I could lift it easily out of the tin by lifting the foil when it was ready. It would be better to use a loose bottomed tin, but mine were too big. (I guess I could have used two loaves??)
I put the tin in the fridge for about 1/2 hour.

When Mary Berry makes the filling for a banoffee pie she puts the caramel in a pan with muscovado sugar and butter and heats it slowly while stirring for five minutes.

I'm lazy, I read the side of the can of caramel and it said to just put it in the pie and chill for 10 mins. So this is what I did.

Then I whipped up the cream and put it on the top.

When I came to serving the pie the filling was really sloppy and the result was a messy looking pie :(
I so wished I stuck to the Mary Berry recipe, you can't argue with the experts. Or maybe I could have just chilled it for longer because the next morning the remaining pie looked much firmer! The presentation is important, but this still tasted really nice despite it's floppy look.



Disclaimer: I was sent some Soreen to try out and asked to come up with a new recipe. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Hospital, Word of the Week



This weeks word of the week is Hospital, but don't worry, it's just that we've had two routine appointments this week and we are hoping for some good news soon.

On Tuesday we took Star for her regular check-up and tightening of screws. It sounds quite horrific, it looks quite horrific, but Star takes it in her stride. We do have some yowls and maybe even some tears sometimes, but overall she is, as her name suggests, a little Star. The Doctors and nurses are always taken aback by her reactions and I wondered why, then I found some posts after seeing a You Tube video by a young man who made his film to express his anxiety of wearing a halo. There were lots of comments from young people afterwards some positive, some not. It helped me to see a little of what my girl is going through seeing as she is not very good at expressing herself. Do watch the video if you have a minute to spare, it's quite harrowing, but he does say that he didn't adjust the halo himself or pull on it, that would be incredibly stupid, it's just to show his anxiety.

Then on Thursday it was back to the hospital for a CT Scan. Now, Star is a pro at these, she's had so many, but this time they had a new machine which threw her a little. Not only that but there was a smell. I'm not sure but I think it was the smell of new plastic? Star however, thought it was anaesthetic gas and began to panic, which then caused her to wretch. We made it through though. I gently reminded her that she had never been put to sleep in the CT scan. She knows the removal of the halo is imminent and has developed a big fear of anaesthetic.

So, we are nearing the end, hopefully. Once her consultant has examined her scan pictures he will decide when to take the halo off. Star is terrified but she knows she cannot keep it on forever. I've just watched a video of a young lady having hers taken off while awake, and although you could see she was terrified, she didn't seem to feel too much pain. I really believe that Star could handle the pain, but I'm not so sure she could handle the anxiety of having it removed. It may be an option. I will talk to her consultant. To be honest, I don't really want her to have the anaesthetic again, she has suffered so much since the last time. Now her hair is falling out which is probably an after affect of the anaesthetic. I know it serves a very good purpose, but it's so toxic and horrible, I hate having to put all those chemicals in my little girls body. Maybe 15 minutes or so of stress would be a better option. I could be there holding her hand (and her daddy would be there too) and we could give her something for the pain. She would be home the same day, with no sickness and no more after effects. She may even get to keep her hair, what's left of it.

I'm linking up with the lovely Jocelyn over at The Reading Residence, do pop along and join in with your Word of the Week, or see what others have been up to.



The Reading Residence