Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen linky.
This week we cooked Parmesan and Garlic Baked Potatoes and I’ll give you recipe in a little while.
I started Kids in the Kitchen because I wanted to spend more time teaching my children the basics of cooking as well as spending more time with them. I do try to do the arts and crafts stuff with them but to be honest, it’s not what I’m good at. So each weekend we have one day either playing games or doing arts and crafts and one day doing some cooking together. I started this regular spot because I wanted to share what we cooked, but I also made it a linky so that others that stopped by and share what they have cooked with their children too. So please do join in if you can.

I’d like to thank last weeks linkers for joining in. Over on ET Speaks From Home we see the lovely Miss C baking bread with her mum. Learning how to bake bread is a fantastic skill for children to learn and it also makes the house smell really yummy!
If you pop on over to The Beesley Buzz you can see all the recipes they have been getting up to on their nectar savvy blog challenge including their fabulous frozen banana penguins!

Parmesan and Garlic Baked Potatoes.

I know I haven’t mentioned this before but Star is a fussy eater, in fact she doesn’t try many different foods at all and this is one of the reasons why I wanted to do more cooking with her. It’s well known that kids that cook their own food are more likely to eat it. This doesn’t necessarily work with Star unless it’s something she likes already. So this week I was a little crafty and picked one of the foods she loves and added a little twist. Star loves baked potatoes, usually with baked beans or grated cheese. In this recipe the potatoes are baked in garlic and parmesan so I was taking a little risk.
Ingredients:
potatoes
grated parmesan
chopped garlic
Method:
Boo washed the potatoes for me and I cut them in half.
Then Boo sprinkled the chopped garlic into a large roasting tin and Star sprinkled in the grated cheese.

They placed the halved potatoes cut sides down into the cheese and garlic.
I then roasted them in a hot oven for about 45-50 minutes.
When they come out the cheese and garlic has created a crispy topping on the potato.
Well, Star ate her potato, but only after I scraped off the topping and gave her a portion of baked beans! The rest of us really liked them though.

Do come and join in our linky with your posts. I’d love it if you included my badge so that others may come and join in too.

This weekend I went to my third Blog Camp, the first one I went to I had not even started this blog but it did give me the inspiration I needed and helped me in my direction. I’ve always learnt loads at Blog Camp and enjoy meeting up with other bloggers that I read and communicate with on Social Media platforms.

So this year I decided to learn something different and went to the talks ‘Making Awesome Videos’ and ‘Fundraising Fun’ The first one, obviously, because I would love start doing more videos for my blog. It’s not something I feel entirely comfortable with, but then if I’m not in front of the camera then I may give it a try. I don’t really want to publish videos of the Littlies either, cute as they are to me. I have however, seen some awesome videos that my kids love to watch and I’ve thought I’d love to try that. So watch this space, now I know a few technical tips there may be something coming up in the near future. I’ll share a few tips with you, curtesy of Ruth from www.geekmummy.com

1. Make sure you have good lighting, just  like a photograph, videos look better when well lit.
2. Make sure you have good sound. If you have background noise or the sound is not so good then invest in a directional microphone. 
3. Have something, like a tripod or stand, to keep the camera still while you film. 
4. Edit your videos to get the best shots and sound, and don’t make them too long, people just don’t have the time to watch long videos.





I went to the fund raising talk because this is also something I am considering but not on this blog. My daughter has a rare condition and we are realising just how difficult it can be to get the right treatment when needed. So I feel really inspired to raise awareness for rare conditions and fund raise if I can. It’s not something I feel entirely comfortable with but sometimes when you feel passionately about something then you need to step out of your comfort zone. I don’t ever aspire to be as awesome as Team Honk, but if I can do something that helps to make a small difference I will be happy.

I also went to the talk on ‘How to be a Freelancer’ as this is something I’d like to do. Well, it’s something that I’ve done before. Many moons ago when the older kids were still babies I used to write for magazines like Mother and Baby and Practical Parenting. I would put the kids to bed and sit with my typewriter and tippex and write to my hearts content. Then I would post my articles off with a covering letter and wait for ever and a day to hear whether they had been accepted for publication. It was always a thrill when they were, and then I’d have to wait a few days for my cheque to arrive, then a few days more for my bank to clear the cheque and then I’d go on a spending spree.

Times have changed, oh yes indeed. Now you don’t even have to submit your article or even write anything before typing off a pitch by e-mail to your chosen publisher. Then if they bite you write and then they pay.

Todays talk was presented by Molly from Mother’s Always Right, Alison from Not Another Mummy Blog and Fi Star-Stone from Childcare is Fun.

Some tips I learnt.

1. Get to know the publication and pitch to them accordingly.
2. Sell yourself wisely.
3. Build a portfolio of your work.
4. Make yourself stand out but keep it brief.
5 Outline your idea in the first sentence of your pitch.

Writing articles is not like writing blog posts, but you will have brushed up your writing skills by keeping a blog.

The other talk I went to was ‘Working With Brands’
If I’m honest, I didn’t really think I had much to learn here, but Becky from Baby Budgeting.co.uk gave a  really interesting talk and I did pick up some tips. I don’t really contact brands myself, I wait to be contacted, but it’s nice to know that it is something that is OK to do so long as you do it right. If there is a brand you really want to work with then find a contact and let them know why you would like to work with them and what you can offer them. Be detailed, they like to know that you will promote on Social Media platforms as well as through your blog. Tell them what your blog is about and why it would suit the brand. Sell yourself well.

I also learnt that it’s not all about numbers, how many blog visitors you have, how many Twitter Followers, or Facebook Likers. These seem to be the things I’m always striving for and become envious of those who have thousands. However, I may not have a huge following, but I do get lots of feedback. Quite a few times now I’ve had people tell me how one of my reviews has encouraged them to go and buy the product. That’s amazing, that’s what brands would like to see. Silly me, I don’t have a copy of the messages! Next time I’ll take screen shots and keep them in a folder so I can show them off. It shows that even though I don’t have thousands following me, those that do are paying attention to what I have to say, and that is much more important.

Interesting fact: Sally from Tots 100 said that only the very top blogs in the Tots100 charts have a humongous number of page views, the average for most blogs is 7 to 10, 000 per month. (If I remember correctly, she was talking about the top 100 blogs)

Personally, I find the stats are so difficult to track you are at risk of driving yourself nuts if you take it all too seriously. I use four different trackers and they all give me different results. Which is right? I don’t know and it used to bother me quite a lot. When I quote my stats I do an average of all four results and use that. See, O level math came in useful for something after all!

It really isn’t all about the numbers though, and from now on it’s not going to bother me too much. If brands only want to work with blogs with huge stats then that’s their loss. I’d rather have fewer followers that I know are actually reading my blog and interacting with me, maybe one day the brands will catch on to this?

Like my blog why not Subscribe to Raisie Bay

This week I have been waiting.
I have been waiting for three weeks, but this week it’s hit harder because before I was just trying to have a little holiday fun and not think about things.
I have still been chasing up answers though, even though I’ve not had much success until today.

Today our Limbo was ended, well sort of. Yesterday, after calling the hospital and getting a much less than satisfactory reply from the ward secretary, I decided to call the hospital patient liason team PALS. They promised they would find out what was happening for me.

Now, those that know me, know that I am a patient person. I’m good at waiting. However, this involved my little girl and she is in pain. I was told three weeks ago that she would need an operation to fix her neck. I was told that I would contacted by the end of the week and told what the next steps would be. I wasn’t contacted and haven’t been contacted since. So we have been in limbo. Is my daughter having an operation, when will she be seen again, are there any other options, is it going to get worse, can it be fixed???? So many questions and no-one to answer them.

Today, PALS called back. I wasn’t home, I’d popped out for just half hour when the call came. OH took it and informed me when I got home that our daughter was going to have an operation and that they would call next week to discuss it.

I can’t say I’m happy with that, it’s all very vague and of course, “we’ll call you” has been heard so many times now and they rarely do call.

Still, the fear has returned to my soul. The fear I have felt so many times since my girl woke up with a twisted neck almost nine months ago. I am scared, very scared. Of course I want her fixed, but how I wish it could have been done that first week she spent in hospital, why has it dragged on so long, why is it no better? Can it be fixed?

I will always be in limbo until I know the answers.

The Reading Residence

If you like my blog then please Subscribe to Raisie Bay

I cried, I laughed, I trembled, I clapped, I watched in awe, I used my imagination to it’s fullest and then I cried again. If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone watching the Stage Play Hetty Feather, it’s take a box of hankies. It will awaken every emotion.

Hetty Feather

Hetty Feather is a book by Jaqueline Wilson. Hetty is baby who is taken to the Foundling Hospital because her mother cannot look after her. She is then fostered out to a family in the country side and has a nice life until it’s time for her to return to the Foundling Hospital to be prepared for her future as a servant girl. She hates the hospital and vows to run away and find her real mother, who she believes to be a bare horseback rider she saw in a circus while living with her foster family. She finds her opportunity to escape when they have a very rare day out and she finds the Circus. Does she find her real mother? Is she really the circus lady? I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you but there are some scary moments ahead while Hetty searches for her mother. 

The Stage Play

Sticking quite close to the book the play begins with Hetty as a baby being brought to the Foundling Hospital by her mother. There are no scene changes as such but the whole stage is set up a little like a circus ring. The floating ribbons and ropes are manouvered around to create different scenes such as the hospital, the trees in the countryside and the circus. 
Apart from Hetty all the actors have several parts to play and they do it so good you barely notice that it’s the same actor playing her brother, a circus performer or even another girl in her hospital dorm.
There is a lot of action climbing the ladders and swinging from the ropes and ribbons. It’s very circus like and totally entertaining. We were all mesmerised from beginning to end.
The music complimented the play rather than taking it over. It was a vital element, but overall it didn’t really feel like a musical.
The play is aimed at children seven years or older. I took my almost seven year old and eight year old daughters along with my niece (22 yrs) We all really enjoyed the play although the youngest, Boo, was a little scared at times and Star (8) spent a lot of the show in floods of tears, the final tears were happy ones she said. I wouldn’t really recommend the show to younger children although there was a younger child in front of us who appeared to enjoy the show despite asking his mother lots of questions. 

The Foundling Hospital

The Foundling Hospital was not actually a hospital but the first ever purposely built children’s home for babies born into poverty or social exclusion. It was established by Thomas Coram in London in 1739. The babies were sent away to wet nurses until they were five years old and then were brought back to the instution to recieve a basic education until they were old enough to leave for employment.
Play Information:
Adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves and directed by Sally Cookson
Pheobe Thomas (Holby City) stars as Hetty Feather
The Play will be shown at Birmingham Town Hall from April 22nd to April 29th then will be touring Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Sheffield and Dubai.
Disclaimer: I was given four tickets to see the show for the purpose of this show. Photographs were provided for me to use on my blog. All thoughts and opions are entirely my own. 

Like my blog why not Subscribe to Raisie Bay

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. I hope you’ve all had a lovely Easter, we have another week off school, yay!
I’m cheating a little this week, because even though the kids have been helping me cook loads, I haven’t actually prepared a complete post. So I’m going to tell you how to make easy peasy Chocolate Bark with the Little Man. One of the big favourites in this house at the moment is home made sausage rolls after being inspired by the Brilliant Chef. The kids love rolling out the ready made puff pastry and filling it with sausage meat. They think they taste much better than the ones you can buy in the supermarket, and even better than Greggs. They work out cheaper too, so if your kids love sausage rolls, give it a try. All this chocolate and fat is not really good on a regular basis, so I’m going to find something more healthier for them to cook or make in the kitchen this week.

Before I carry on with our recipe I like to thank those that joined in last weeks linky. Remember, it’s really easy to join in, just link up a post of something you and your kids have been doing in the kitchen. The posts can be old or new.
Last week we had Easter Nest Cake Pops from Let Kids be Kids. I’m so jealous because my cake pops have never worked out, but I think I may have been a little impatient. Karen and her little ones make it look like childsplay, literally!
The Beesley Family have been busy working on their Necter Savvy Blog and would love you to take a look at what they have been up to, and get some tips. They still managed enough time to link up with Kids in the Kitchen with their lovely decorated Easter Eggs, now why have I never thought of that?
Next up we have some real cute Easter Bunny cakes from new blogger MancFamilyRobinson. Do go and give them some new blogger love.
Last but not least is Anna and her boys from In The Playroom and totally delicious looking Apple Biscuits. These we really have to try!

Thank you everyone for joining in x

Chocolate Bark.

Making chocolate bark is easy and fun and the kids just love making their own chocolate flavours.
You can put anything at all in the chocolate, I’ve heard that chillies are good, but not for me!

In our chocolate bark we used;
200g chocolate, we chose milk, but you can use any chocolate.
two handfuls of mini candy coated chocolate beans
two handfuls of mini marshmallows.

Method:

The Little Man broke up the chocolate into chunks without eating any. Oh the restraint, I can’t do that!
Then I put the bowl on top of a saucpan of hot water and stirred until the chocolate had melted. You can melt chocolate in the microwave but I have burnt chocolate this way and burnt chocolate makes me want to cry.

I put the melted chocolate into a large plastic bowl and let the Little Man add his ingredients a handful at a time and give it all a big stir.
We put the chocolate on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and put it in the fridge until it had set hard, (about 1 hour)
Then we took it out and left it for 5 mintues before using a pastry cutter to cut out shapes in the chocolate.
The adults get to eat the scraps!

Do come and join in our linky with your posts. I’d love it if you included my badge so that others may come and join in too.