Monday, 29 June 2015

I Did It!



Yesterday I took a walk in the park. A 5k walk to raise money to beat cancer!
When I woke it it was piddling down with rain. My heart sank. I was looking forward to the walk but imagine how awful it was going to be doing it dripping soaking wet! I didn't even know if it would be feasible to take an umbrella?

The rain continued while I got ready and we all climbed in the car. It continued all the way to the park. Then as we arrived it stopped! 




I've not done the Race for Life before, I didn't really know what to expect. I arrived in my pink t-shirt with my number attached to my front and my name banner on my back. I also had my 'beautiful' fake tattoos applied.


First came the warm up. We were entertained on the stage by singers, radio DJs from Heart fm and a zumba lady. People got up to tell us of their stories of cancer, good and bad. We listened, we danced, we got in the mood. There was also pink smoke but I didn't get a photo as I was having a last minute...well, you don't really need to know....





Then it was time to queue up ready for the off! The runners first followed by the walkers. There were lots of both.



The race was started by the Little Man's school friend aged five. He was diagnosed with cancer at two years and has had a kidney removed. He is now in remission.

 Then the walk began and I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. I did ache a little, funnily enough it was my right hip and my left ankle that hurt the most so I kind of balanced out. Thankfully my feet did not hurt at all, although they were throbbing a little by bedtime.



It was the best feeling ever crossing that finish line!

If you are thinking of doing the Race for Life, or are doing it but have never done it before, here are a few things I've learnt from my experience.

  • It's ok to do it alone, whether a runner or a walker there are lots of others doing it alone too.
  • It's ok to take an umbrella, probably not if you are running, but there were lots of walkers carrying them although it didn't rain again. 
  • Remember your water, it's very thirsty work.
  • You can wear headphones with your music on, but the atmosphere is great and I feel you'd be missing out on a lot.
  • A lot of walkers had little bags, phones and basically anything that you would take on a walk in the park. I felt a little empty handed but I'd just come to walk.
  • You don't have to take anyone with you but it's really nice to see a friendly face as you approach the finish line.
  • Finally, the obvious things...make sure you are wearing comfortable clothing and trainers. I heard so many people complaining on the way around that they were too hot or their trainers were rubbing their feet. 

Thank you to everyone who donated for my walk.
I'm so proud to be a member of the #Pink Army

  Thanks for stopping by my blog, let's stay in touch, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and I love following back.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Macaroons (again)

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. This week Boo made macaroons. I know the Little Man made macaroons for kids in the kitchen before but Boo was really keen so how could I say no to her.

Last week we were joined by J from the Free From Farmhouse who made some delicious looking Cinnamon Rolls. I was so tempted by them that I went and made some myself, I didn't even wait for the kids to come home from school, naughty mummy!

This is the last week of the month but you still have plenty of time to join in. Come and share what you have been doing with your kids in the kitchen. All posts are pinned onto my Pinterest Board which is a great place to go for inspiration, and I will tweet them and give you a mention here the following week. I've also started to 1+ the posts on Google plus which I am trying to use more.


Follow Anne's board Kids In The Kitchen on Pinterest.

Macaroons

Boo wanted to make these because she had seen them in a cookery book. When she's not watching Masterchef or the Great British Bake Off re-runs, she's looking through my cookery books! So I said she could make them but she had to do it all herself.

We came across a little problem straight away because the recipe was for making two batches of macaroons in two different colours, but we only wanted to make one. So she had to do some maths to work out the recipe. It's a little different to my previous recipe but I think it worked a lot better, the mixture was thicker and the final macaroons much more crunchier.

Boo working out her recipe


Ingredients


  • 2 egg whites
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g icing sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • drop of food colouring

  • Filling: whipped double cream

Method


Put the egg whites and caster sugar into a mixer and whisk until thick and foamy and stands in soft peaks.
whisk in the food colouring
mix the ground almonds and sifted icing sugar together
Add half of almonds and icing sugar to egg mixture and continue whisking
Add the rest of the almond mixture and continue whisking until stiff.
Put the mixture into a piping bag with a 2cm plain nozzle
Cover two baking trays with baking paper
pipe on mixture in 5cm circles leaving plenty of space between them.
Leave to settle for about 15 mins
Bake at 170C/gas mark 3 for 12 to  15 minutes

When cooled remove from tray and sandwich with the cream.




So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
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. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)





Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.




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Monday, 22 June 2015

Cancer, I'm Coming to Get You

This is what I will be wearing on my back on Sunday when I do the Race for Life.
It's the names of all the people I know that have been affected by Cancer.



Purple names are my family members that have been taken
Green names are friends or relatives of friends that have been taken
Pink names are the ones that I'm really doing this for, these are the fighters and survivors.


My dream is that we find a cure for cancer.

The youngest person in pink is the Little Man's school friend, aged four years, currently in remission.

I can't heal these people, I can't make the cancer go away.

I can help to raise money to find a way of helping them though and that is what I will be doing on Sunday. So if you can spare even just a little then please, please sponsor me on my Justgiving page.
Or you can text JSBA71 and £5 to 70070

Thank you xx



Sunday, 21 June 2015

My Sunday Photo
























This week we took a trip to Digbeth, Birmingham and I took this photo outside The Old Crown, the Oldest pub in Birmingham.
It claims to date back to 1363 but most of the current building was constructed between 1450 and 1500. It really is a lovely old building, in walking distance from the City Centre. It also has a very lovely beer garden!


OneDad3Girls



Sunday Snap

Friday, 19 June 2015

What's the Time, Fitbug? A Review

I keep looking at the pretty pink orb on my wrist but it doesn't tell me the time. Maybe I'm too old school, maybe I miss wearing my watch....I know, most people tell the time with their mobiles now but I like my watch! So, if there was one thing I would change about the Fitbug Orb, it would be to have the time on it!



So if it doesn't tell the time what does it do?

Well actually, it does quite a lot and I'm already really quite attached to mine.

The Fitbug Orb

The Orb arrives in a little box along with a wristband, a belt clip and a lanyard, a battery and a little booklet.
It's available in three colours, pink, black and white. Mine is pink.

A Fitbug Orb is a fitness, sleep and activity tracker that you wear about your body and connect to your mobile phone or tablet. You can also connect it to your laptop or computer.

The Orb itself is a a round slightly domed device that works by battery which can be easily replaced. Replacements cost around 95 pence each. The Orb then fits into a holder, either the wristband or the clip. You can then choose where to wear it, either on your wrist, clipped to your belt, attached to your underwear or around your neck. The Orb uses a 3 axis accelerometer to accurately measure your every step and move.

Activity Tracking

The Fitbug Orb tracks your steps both normal and aerobic. Depending on the information you give it it will give you a target to reach each day. If you don't make the target it lets you know how you can improve your performance. It also tells you the distance you have walked and how many calories you have burnt.
As well as tracking your steps you can also add any other activities you do such as household tasks or swimming.

Diet Tracking

The Fitbug Orb tracks everything you tell it you have eaten, it will add up the calories for you and calculate how many calories you've consumed to how many you have burnt. Then it will suggest how you can improve your diet and eat more healthily.

Sleep Tracking

By wearing the Orb in bed it will track how long you sleep and how often you are disturbed. It will make suggestions on how much sleep you need and how you can improve your sleep by giving you goals such as going to bed earlier. 


Goals

You can fill in your goals, for example how much weight you want to lose, or how many inches. The Fitbug will keep track of these for you and encourage you on your way.

A Screenshot of the Dashboard as seen on the PC. It shows different on my mobile phone but the account can be viewed online by logging in. You can also view other pages for nutrition, activity, goals and sleep.



























Before buying a Fitbug Orb it is advised that you check it is compatible with your phone or tablet. You do not view any of the information on the Orb itself, it is all transferred by Bluetooth to your phone or tablet, or you can purchase a dongle and have the information sent straight to your PC or Laptop.

Cost

The Fitbug Orb costs just £49.99 which is cheaper than a lot of similar products on the market.You can purchase several accessories from as little as little as £1.95. In fact I think everything is reasonable priced, even a spare wristband only costs £6.99

The Orb is run on battery so there is no charging involved. The battery should last four months and you can buy replacements for just 95p. I think it's a lot more convenient not worrying about charging the device. 

My Opinion

I am familiar with using pedometers or step trackers and at first I believed the Fitbug Orb to be just another step tracker. I am really pleased with all the features that come with it and it's really useful. I have been using it to improve my activity while I prepare to do the Race for Life, but I will continue to use it afterwards as I would really like to get fitter and lose some weight. Walking is the perfect exercise for me so I intend to increase my steps taken each day and improve on the number of aerobic steps taken. I've found that a brisk fifteen minute walk will add to your aerobic step count.

I will also continue adding to the food diary as the more food you add the easier it becomes to fill it in each day.

I have found monitoring my sleep interesting. I knew that I wasn't getting enough sleep and that I woke a lot in the night. Just having the Orb has made me more conscious of getting to bed earlier and improving my sleep patterns.

My phone is a Sony Xperia SP which is android 4.4 It was 4.3 but I had it upgraded. It is not listed as a phone that will work with the Orb and I think I'm lucky that it does, it's probably because of the upgrade. It does work though, although sometimes I have to refresh it a few times before the days statistics will show, but I really believe this is a phone issue rather than an issue with the Orb. Once updated I can view everything on my online account. I may consider getting the dongle and have it go straight to the computer until I am able to purchase a new phone.

The wristband is really comfortable to wear. I thought being rubber it may be uncomfortable, particularly as I have sensory issues. I have never been able to wear a watch in bed but I have wore the  wristband. The belt clip is my favourite though because I don't have to take it off to do the washing up or whenever I need to put my hands in water. 

Overall I'm really pleased with the Orb and the only thing I would change is as I said in the beginning...I'd have it tell me the time! 

You can sponsor me for the Race For Life on my Just Giving Page here or by texting JSBA71 and £5 to 70070

Thank you x



Disclosure: I was sent a Fitbug Orb to help me train for my Race for Life, I offered to write this review, I was not asked. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Banana Bread

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen were we share our recipes that we have made with our kids. This week we had some bananas looking distinctly brown so I decided to make Banana Bread with the Little Man. First though, I like to say thank you to those that shared last week.

From Tickle Fingers we had two posts, a yummy Healthy Breakfast that you can prepare the night before and no less than Five Vegetarian Meals, all of them mouthwatering.

Next we have some delicious looking Cheese and Pesto Bread from Mum, M and More. I really have to try this, I do love bread.

Thank you for joining in, I hope you will join us again. All posts are shared on Twitter and our Pinterest Board, which is a great place to go for inspiration.

The linky is open for a month and you can join in as many times as you wish, old posts or new.

Banana Bread


Ingredients:


  • 285g plain flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110g unsalted butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 85ml buttermilk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 very ripe bananas

If you don't have buttermilk you can use ordinary milk at room temperature and just add a tsp of lemon juice, this is what I used. 

Method:


First grease a loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4

Mash the bananas in a bowl 
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
Add the bananas, eggs, buttermilk (or substitute) and vanilla extract to butter mixture and mix well.
Add the soda and the salt to the flour and then sift them all into the butter mixture
Fold in gently
Pour the mixture into the tin
Bake for about an hour until well risen and golden
Allow to cool in tin before turning out.
































So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
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. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)





Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.




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Friday, 12 June 2015

Fishing and Rescuing Princesses!

I'm always astounded by the imagination of my children. Within seconds of arriving at a place they are transported to a complete fantasy world and the simplest things become the greatest adventures.

We took a trip to a local place that I used to visit often as a child, The Lickey Hills. It had been a difficult morning and I didn't think we would be going anywhere. Star was worrying about, well, everything, and was being really awkward. I knew that once we actually arrived somewhere she would relax and enjoy herself, it was just difficult getting her to leave the house.

I was right. As soon as we arrived at the Lickey Hills all her anxieties abated and she was happy with her surroundings. We started with the ponds and streams and they instantly pretended that they were fishing. They used sticks as their fishing rods and were in competition with each other to see who could catch the biggest fish. We didn't actually see any fish, but we did see a lizard.









































After lots of fun around the water we went to find the bench that the children had let me take a photo of them on a couple of years ago. I loved the photo so much that I had it made into a canvas. This time they were not so obliging and wouldn't pose so well, but I did get a photo.


And this is the photograph that I took two years ago (just checking and it was almost to the day!)


When we visit the Lickey Hills we always go to visit the Toposcope at the top of Beacon Hill. The kids call it windy castle as it's almost always windy up there and it looks like a castle. We usually walk up there through the woods, but it's quite a trek and Star would only be able to make it now on a good day, and this was not a good day. So we cheated a little and I drove up there instead.


As soon as we got there their imaginations set in again and they were into a game of princesses  trapped in the castle trying to escape. The Little Man just enjoyed running around and exploring.

We did have a really nice day out and I'm so glad I managed to persuade Star to leave the house.








Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My Television Dad Awards

Have you noticed how TV Dad's get a raw deal? They are often portrayed as stupid, the butt of everyone's jokes in the sitcoms. In the soaps they are usually the bad guy. Even in cartoons the Dads are not treated much better. Take Daddy Pig for instance, he's overweight and grumpy and can't even hang a picture properly.

So bearing this in mind I'm going to choose five of my favourite TV Dads to share with you, and lets see if we can find some good qualities in them and present them with a best Dad Award.

My Hero - George Sunday


This Dad was actually a superhero, Thermoman, from the planet Ultron. He lived on earth under the guise of loveable George Sunday with his wife Janet and two children Cassie and Ollie.  George was a really nice guy but he often had trouble understanding humans and their earthly customs creating some funny moments. The character flips from being Thermoman, here to save the world, to a normal family figure. His children also have superpowers and can talk from when they are born. 
So, although he messes up a lot, it's not because he's a bad person, it's because he is an alien superhero.


I present George Sunday with the Award for Best Superhero Dad 

Image source TVtropes


The Simpsons - Ned Flanders


Ned Flanders is the neighbour of The Simpsons. He is friendly and compassionate and considered a pillar of the community. Ned was married to Maude who died in a freak accident. They had two sons Rodd and Todd, that Ned is left to care for. A devout Christian Ned Flanders is a truly nice guy who would do anything to help anyone, even donate his kidney.

Ned did once get drunk in Vegas with his neighbour Homer and end up marrying Ginger who later came to live with him. She left when she got sick of his sickly sweet personality.

So Ned's only fault is that he is too 'darn diddly sweet'



I present  Ned Flanders with the Award for Best Single Parent Dad 
Image source Simpsonswiki




Angel -Angel


Ok, I'm going out on limb here as this is a bit of a weird choice. However, I was a big Angel Fan and unbelievably, he did actually become a Dad to baby Connor.

Both Angel and Connor's mother were Vampires and shortly after his birth he was kidnapped and taken to another hell-like dimension. (I did mention weird)

In this dimension time went faster and the baby grew quickly. He was brought up by his father's nemesis and soon returned as a teenager to kill Angel.

Angel never wanted any harm to come to his son despite that he had returned more than a little crazy. To save him he arranged to have his son's memory wiped so he could go and live a normal life with a regular human family.


I present Angel with the award for Dad Who Made The Biggest Sacrifice

Image source Fanpop


My Family - Ben Harper


The Dad in this show was a dentist and a father of three. He was quite cynical and mistrusting of people and was bossed around by his wife and fleeced for money by his children. Altogether they are displayed as a dysfunctional family but really they often all work together to get each other out of trouble. 

So, although Ben Harper would not really win any Dad of the year awards, he was always there for his kids, even if it was just to hand out the cash!


I present Ben Harper with the Award for Best Sardonic Dad.
image source The Jitty


The Royle Family - Jim Royle


The Royle family appear to spend their lives on the settee in front of the television. Jim Royle is lazy, ill-tempered and rude. He constantly rants at the television and his family and expects everyone to do everything for him. On occasions though, he shows a much more compassionate side, especially when his family are in trouble. The only time I really liked him as a Dad was in the Christmas special episode where his daughter Denise went into labour unexpectedly early and he was the only person home. He sat with her in the bathroom and comforted her until help arrived. He showed true compassion for a short while he remembered the time when she was born. 

The Royle family are a regular family, nothing special, nothing strange, just portraying their every day life normal life.

I am presenting Jim Royle with the Award for Most Normal Dad





There you have it, my favourite Television Dads and the awards I would present to them. Do you remember them? Who would you choose as your favourite TV Dad?

This is my entry into the CurrysPCWorld #TopTVDads competition to win a Samsung SUHD TV.

Minions Bento Lunch Box

The new Minions Movie comes to the Cinema in the UK on June 26th. To Celebrate I am taking part in a challenge to create something Minion related with Green Giant Sweetcorn.

One of my favourite treats are sweetcorn fritters. I love them served with Jerk Chicken and a minty yoghurt dip. However, not all children love Jerk so I have decided to make sweetcorn fritters for a lunch box treat instead. They go really well alongside a banana...we all know Minions love bananas!...and a little salad of cucumber and sweetcorn.























Sweetcorn Fritters Recipe

  • 60g plain flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 30ml milk
  • 1 small 198g can of Green Giant sweetcorn, drained
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, egg and milk until you have a smooth batter.
Stir in the sweetcorn.

heat up the oil in a large frying pan until quite hot

add the batter trying to keep a round shape

cook for about 1 minute on one side before turning over to cook on the other.

You should make around four fritters, depending on how big you make them.

I made my fritter look like a Minion using Yo Bear Fruit strips and a small circle of cheese for his eye.

I cut the banana in half and decorated it with edible ink pens.


We love Green Giant Sweetcorn in our home, the kids love it's sweet flavour and I love that I'm giving them something nutritious. It goes with almost everything!





















This is my entry into the Tots100/Green Giant Minions Challenge

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Remembering A Year Ago Today

I was recently asked what my favourite blog post was. To be honest I really struggled to answer. To me, a favourite suggests something happy or at least upbeat. A lot of my better writing is not so happy. A lot of my happier times do not have much writing, they are more photos. So how do you choose a favourite?

In the end I chose the post that marked the end of my daughter's nightmare journey. In truth, it's not the end, because there will never be an end, but it had been a real tough time and when I wrote that post everything looked rosie.

When you have children you expect ups and downs, maybe even the odd hospital trip. The other two little ones have been to hospital too. Boo collapsed with a febrile convulsion when she was two years old, that was really scary, I thought she had stopped breathing. The Little Man had a very nasty fall, again at two years, and he hit his head causing a concussion. Even with the older kids hospital trips had been on the menu. So it was nothing new taking my daughter to hospital with poorly neck. What was new was how long it took them to fix it.

A year ago we were in hospital. Star had already had a manipulation in theatre and the halo returned. Then it was time for her fusion. She went down to theatre in the morning for a three hour operation. We didn't see her again until  over six hours later.

Those were the longest six hours of my life.

They took a bone graft from her skull. They opened up the back of her neck and fused the occipital bone to the C1 and the C1 to the C2. They used the bone from her skull and plates and pins made from titanium.

from etsy


We met her in recovery and once back on the ward we let everyone know..

"she's back, she's ok, it worked!"

We didn't say

There were complications, she lost a lot of blood, we could have lost her.

We couldn't think of these things. The consultant told us but we let it go over our heads. We couldn't worry about that now, she was with us, she was alive, she was ok.

The next couple of days were tough and emotional, but Star bounced back eventually.

Just one more operation to go, six weeks later she had the halo removed.

That's when I wrote my favourite post.

I couldn't let the anniversary of her operation go unnoted. It was huge for us, life changing for Star.

A lot has happened in the last year. Star has lost a lot of her hair, but most of it has grown back again. She has eight small scars and two big scars on her head. four of the small scars are on her forehead.

She went back to school, part time first, then full time. She has already received a certificate for completing a half term of school with 100% attendance.

Last month we received a diagnosis from the hospital for her of Elhers Danlos Sydnrome, Hypermobility type.

On top of everything, Star has high functioning autism and her behaviour can be quite challenging at times.

No matter what, she will always be my Star, my shining Star!


Raisie Bay has reached the finals of the MAD Blog Awards, I'm so thrilled. It would be lovely if you could take a minute to vote.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Kids in the Kitchen - Baked Doughnuts

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. This week eldest daughter needed to make doughnuts in a hurry. But doughnuts are not made quickly, the name gives it away, they are made of dough and dough needs to be left to rise for at least a couple of hours. Then I remembered that someone had submitted a recipe for baked doughnuts which were a lot quicker. A little search through the Kids in the Kitchen Pinterest Board I found the recipe on Autism Mumma's Blog. They really are quick and easy doughnuts. Eldest Daughter was happy, but then Little Man wanted a go, so we made some too.

Last week on Kids in the Kitchen we were joined by The Brilliant Chef. This is one young man to look out for, I'm sure we'll be eating in one of his restaurants in the future he has so much talent.
We were also joined by the lovely Skye from Mummy Plus Two Girls blog who made some scrummy looking Spider Man Cakes

Thank you for joining in. I can't wait to see what everyone has been cooking this week.

Baked Doughnuts.

From Autism Mumma's Blog;

Ingredients:


  • 4oz self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 oz of caster sugar
  • 2.5 fl oz of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tp vanilla extract
  • 1oz melted butter

We made the doughnuts in a muffin tin so they did look more like muffins than doughnuts, but they still had that light fluffy doughnut taste, just less greasy than the deep fried ones.

Method:


Preheat oven to 190C/gas mark 5
Grease your muffin tin (or doughnut tin)

Sift together the flour and baking powder in a bowl, stir in the sugar

In another bowl, combine the milk, egg, vanilla extract and melted butter.

Make a well in your flour mixture and add the wet mixture

Mix well until smooth

Pour the mixture into the tin

Bake for 12-14 minutes until risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Decorate...we used a little icing made with icing sugar, pink colouring and water, and sparkle sugar

The Little Man hard at work

 Mixing, mixing, mixing...it's tough but someone has to do it!

 The girls decided to help when it came to decorating.

 The finished product! They look like cakes but taste like doughnuts.


So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
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. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)





Thank you for reading, if you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay
You can find out more about Kids in the Kitchen by clicking here.




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