Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. I really thought that no-one was going to link up last week but then I was surprised with some last minute entries, so thank you so much for joining in.

We are taking part in the Bahlsen Bake Off and that means we have to cook something from their cookbook with Bahlsen Biscuits as an ingredient. The recipes are absolutely mouthwatering and we have already made two and I’m pretty hopeful I’ll be working my way through both books. So this weeks Kids in the Kitchen recipe is one from Bahlsen, not the one we are entering into the bake off challenge so I can share it with you here.

First though let me say thank you to those that linked up (finally) last week.
The kids from The Brick Castle made these lovely colourful Rainbow Swirl Cookies
Bud and Little Miss from Red Rose Mummy made delicious Cheese and Paprika Straws
Ben and Elizabeth from My Mummy’s Pennys used home grown peppers for their yummy Easy Pizza
We also had some amazingly Easy Pizza Bread from the boys from In The Playroom

The Ultimate Choco Leibniz Cupcakes

Before I begin I just wanted to tell you what I’ve learned about my children this week, they can cook! Now, I admit, I’m a bit of a control freak, I always butt in and often take over. However, filming them has put a different perspective on things. It’s not so easy to take over when you are in control of the camera, you have to let them get on with it. Not only that but I don’t like the sound of my own voice on videos so I’ve been keeping as quiet as I can too, no barking orders or being a bossy mum. 
We have made cupcakes many times so I knew this wouldn’t be difficult for them. What I didn’t realise is how much they could do by themselves with so little input from me. They read the recipe, weighed the ingredients and mixed them. They cracked their own eggs and managed to do it without getting shells in the mix. Over all they were amazing and these cakes they really did all by themselves. Well, apart from taking out of the oven and putting them to cool. 
2 Choco Leibniz dark biscuits
40g unsalted butter, softened
140g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
40g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
120ml milk
for the frosting

140g unsalted butter, softened
280g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbs milk
2 choco Leibniz dark biscuits


I preheated the oven to 170C/gas mark 3 and then processed the first two Choco Leibniz biscuits in a food processor until they resembled fine crumbs. This was my main input apart from putting in and taking out of the oven.

They all helped to put the cake cases on the tray. Then they measured the butter, sugar, flour and cocoa powder and put them in a big bowl. then they added the salt eggs and milk and mixed them all together. Finally they added the crushed biscuits and mixed again.

They put spoonfuls of the mixture into the cases.

I put the tray in the oven and we waited for them to cook. Then after 20 minutes I took them out and we left them to cool.

Then it was time to make the topping. They measured the butter into a bowl and seived in the icing sugar before adding the milk. They poured the mixture into a piping bag which I had prepared for them. Then they took it in turns to ice their chosen cakes.

The final two biscuits were broken into shards and used to decorate the cakes.

The end result was not so perfect looking cakes (although they were not too bad either!) But they tasted really nice. I am sorely tempted to make them again myself.

I don’t have many photos because I was making a video of them. Sadly the video was not good because 1. my phone kept playing up and cutting off after about 10 seconds and 2. I commited the worst ever crime in photo filming and forgot to hold the phone horizontally!!

If you would like to see the actual recipe for Choco Leibniz Cupcakes you can find it on the Bahlsen Website along with some of the other yummy recipes.

Now it’s your turn, please come and share your recipes that you have made with your kids help and link up to my linky. 

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.

I have 25 years experience of kids parties, I think I may have learnt what works and what doesn’t during that time. I’ve tried all sorts, from small parties in my living room, garden parties, parties in a hired venue with entertainers and parties in kids play areas. I have to say though, I love them, and I’m willing to put everything into them and believe me, they can be very hard work.
So my first tip has to be has to be….

1. Decide How Much Work You are Willing to Do.

Are you willing to spend hours making the food, organising party games and cleaning up afterwards? If not then maybe you should consider holding your party in a hired venue with caterers and entertainers, in a kids play area or in a restaurant. This means that all the work is done by others and you can sit back and enjoy the party. 

2. Do You Need a Theme?

If you are doing the party yourself, or hiring a venue but are still in charge of the decorations and table wear, then you need to decide on a theme. Now, you may think you don’t need a theme and this is fine, but you will probably find your kids are begging you for a Disney Princess or a Micky Mouse party. One of the most simplest but effective themes I’ve seen is a Neon Disco, everything is just brightly coloured and the kids can come in their favourite neon clothing or disco outfits. 

3. Who is Doing the Catering?

You can hire someone to do the catering for your party but it’s cheaper to do it yourself. It really doesn’t need to be complicated, we are talking kids here. even if you don’t want to make sandwhiches you can just stick a few pizza’s in the oven along with some chicken nuggets and party sized sausage rolls and that’s the savoury sorted. For dessert you can make jelly or trifle and if you are not confident in making cakes then just buy some cheap cupcakes and a few chocolate fingers or party rings. I like to add a few grapes or strawberries to the table to add a healthy touch. Do be prepared though, getting the food ready can be really time consuming, especially if you are doing it all yourself…you could always ask for help from friends and family. 

4. Displaying the Food

It’s always nice to have a nice table covered with party food, with a pretty table cloth and some themed decorations. However, it’s not always necessary, especially when you don’t have room. When I had a small house I used to find that picnic boxes, which can be purchased from Party Stores, are great. You just pre-fill them with some food before the kids arrive and then hand them out. They are great for garden parties so the kids can take them outside and picnic. 

5. Party Games

This is where party entertainers are a godsend! Entertaining kids can be a pain, but there are few things that can help. First of all remember that you can’t have any losers! If you do you will most likely have tantrums and tears, depending on the ages of the party goers. The answer is simple, when you have a game make sure all players get a little prize, even if it’s a sweet. When a child is ‘out’ then call them a winner and give them a prize then tell them to sit out of the game so you can pick the other winners. I always play along with them so I can be the first ‘winner’ because no child wants to be the first out of the game.  A good tip I learnt more recently is to  give each child an empty party bag at the beginning of the party and let them collect their prizes in it to take home at the end…you can always pop a slice of cake in before they leave if you wish. If you don’t know what games to play, then take a look on Pinterest, it’s always a great source for any kind of party. 

6. Invitations

If there is one thing I have learnt about kids parties, particularly school age kids, you never know how many are going to turn up for sure. I have experienced even more problems because all three of my littlies have birthdays in the summer holidays. I do my best to get phone numbers of parents of the children invited and give them a call a few days before the party and remind them. I always cater for the number of children invited even though generally only half of them will turn up. When my older children were younger they had much bigger numbers at their parties because their birthdays are term time.

As for the invitations, you can get them to match the theme of your party if you wish. I’ve not always done this. You should include the date of the party, the time it starts and finishes and any special instructions like fancy dress. I also put on my mobile number.

Think about how many children you want at the party. If you invite the whole class and they all turn up you will end up with 30 children. If you are using a hired venue then you may be restricted on numbers because you will be paying for each child. However, if you are hiring a hall then you may want to fill it as much as possible so the more the merrier. Get your child to decide who they want to come and then use your judgement based on how many you can cater for.

7. Activities

As well as games you may wish to provide some activities for the children. I generally start a party by having the children make something. For example, at my daughter’s My Little Pony Party we coloured in cut out ponies and stuck wool on them for tails and manes. Other favourites include making bracelets, planting seeds in little pots, or decorating biscuits…which they can eat later. I had a princess party for my other daughter and we made crowns and tiara’s which the children then wore for the duration of the party.

My Little Pony Activities
Princess Tiaras

8. Let Them Play

You need to decide how much structure you will have to your child’s party. If you plan every minute you risk wearing the children out and they will become un co-operative. I had a party in a box for my daughter and it involved followed a very detailed set of instructions for games and activities. It was lots of fun, but once I noticed the children losing interest I sent them outside to run around the garden and play. After about 15 minutes they were ready for more games and puzzles.

9. Squabbles

Depending on the age of the children and whether or not their parents have stayed at the party with them, you may find yourself dealing with some squabbles between the children. If you notice two children not getting on with each other you could try splitting them up into different activities. It’s a difficult situation if a child is being naughty, but you have to remember that it’s not your responsibility to discipline them. I find it’s a good idea to keep a phone number of all the parents so you can give them a quick call if the child is being particularly disruptive, or has become upset or hurt. Useful too if a child starts to feel poorly.

10. Hometime

Make sure the parents know what time to pick up their child. Have their party bags ready, they are always less upset about leaving when they have a handful of goodies to take with them.
I always find I’m cleaning up for a good while after a party so I make sure I have a little treat for myself at the end of the day, I will deserve it.

I now have three small children with their birthdays all within a month of each other! Parties are even more hard work so now I’ve started thinking of alternatives. I do love parties though, so one of them at least will get a party and this year it’s going to be Boo who wants a Frozen Birthday party, that should be fun in July!!

Finally, I’d like to end with this little video of a box a goodies I was gifted to help with my daughter’s birthday party. It contains sweets and toys for the party bags, party bags, balloons, a banner, a poster, a pin the tail on the donkey game and a lovely yellow t-shirt from Vertbaudet.

I’ll leave you with some of my birthday cakes.

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Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this post, I did want to share my party tips with you. I was however, gifted the box of party goodies from Vertbaudet. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own…as are the cakes!

Last weekend my friend tied the knot with her partner and what a beautiful day it was.

The wedding itself was held at the Registry Office and the reception was at a local venue called Rowheath Pavillion. I have visited here before a couple of times and it really is a lovely place. The first time we came was to find a geocache by the lake.

The weather was gloriously sunny, I bet there were a few sunburnt guests at the end of the day!

My friend asked me to make the wedding cake which was a real honour, although it sent me into a fit of panic in the days leading up to the wedding and I was so nervous on the day. Of course once I’d arrived at the venue and put the cake together I was able to relax and enjoy the day. Especially after I’d received a few comments and made a very emotional Mother of the Bride cry. (I do believe the tears meant she liked it, well I hope so!)

My friend made her own wedding dress and she looked beautiful. After the vows we went into the courtyard for a while before being whisked off by coach to the reception venue.

When we arrived at Rowheath Pavillion we took advantage of the sunshine and had some fun in the grounds.

Well, the rest of my family were running around having fun, I was nursing a sore hip after falling off the coach! And this was before the alchohol was flowing. It wasn’t a bad fall, just a slip really but I managed to strain my hip because I have loose joints. It was ok by the evening and I even managed some dancing (although I do believe the alcohol and being able to remove my heels helped.)
The littlies had fun on the wonderful playground they have there. We even found a wriggly caterpiller on one of the climbing frames and OH carefully put it on a leafy bush. 

The reception meal was vegetarian which I loved, especially the Homity Pie. The room looked lovely with all the decorations and flowers. Then the bride and groom cut the cake, which was an amazing moment for me.

Then we danced the night away.

It really was a lovely day and we all had so much fun. The Little Man keeps asking when we are going to Wedding again! 
I’m so happy for my lovely friend and her new husband and hope they have a wonderful future together. Which I’m sure they will because they are made for each other.

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And I’m linking up with Country Kids because we spent a lot of the day outside in the most beautiful place. We’ll be going back there as soon as we can to have a walk around the lake.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

My word of the week this week is Shopping because I have another tale to tell.

My griping about online grocery shopping has been expressed before when I had a lot of problems back in February. I have tried alternatives, I’ve been shopping and come home in a taxi and I’ve tried shopping with a free home delivery and both were fine but much more expensive. Not only do I tend to put more in my trolley and spend more money, but the added cost of bus fares or taxi fares pushes the cost up even more. We are a family that spends in excess of £200 on food every week, I really cannot afford to spend more. Online shopping does work out cheaper mostly, you can keep a tab on how much you spend and keep delivery costs low, and they are cheaper than bus or taxi fare.

I guess I’m just doomed for disaster!

This week I did my online shop but went out on the day. It was ok, I’d chosen a four hour slot and OH was home. Only I was back late at 3.30pm (road works!) and OH had to pick up Boo from school at 3pm. Guess what time they delivered my shopping? Yes, 3.15pm! It could have been anytime between 12 and 4pm and they came at the only time we were both out! They offered to deliver the next day.

The next day came, but the shopping did not! I received a text to say my order had been cancelled because payment had been declined. A quick check with my bank told me that I’d not enough money in my account to pay for the shopping (I was £2 short) because I’d been charged for the shopping I had not received the day before. IT WAS THE SAME SHOPPING!!

So, I called the shop and they were very apologetic and promised to deliver my shopping the next day and not to take anymore money.

My shopping did not arrive the next day. Why? Because even though they had picked the shopping and put it on the van, they had not given the driver a time slot to deliver it, so he took it back to the depot.

By now, my anger has dissipated and I’m laughing. It really is a joke.

Today my shopping arrived in the alloted time slot with no substitutions..phew! However, I was charged the highest amount for delivery because of it being Friday. Also, my bank is still showing a pending payment for the shopping I have not received which means I cannot access my money.


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The Reading Residence

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen, my linky where we can share what our kids have been cooking in the kitchen. This week we made cake pops. I have vowed that I will make them properly one day as every time I try I fail miserably, so for this attempt I had the kids helping me. I chose to make them this week as I seemed to have a lot of cake pieces needing using up after making my friends wedding cake. Here is a peak at the cake for starters.

wedding cake

Before I get on to this weeks recipe I’d like to thank those that joined in with my linky last week. From ET Speaks from Home we had homemade Pizza and Scones, two lovely recipes made with help from the kids.
The boys from In the Playroom Blog made a delicious puff pastry pizza. I prefer puff pastry pizza to the normal bases.
Thank you so much for joining in, I do hope you will join us again. I have tweeted and pinned your recipes to my Kids in the Kitchen Pinterest board.

Cake Pops

  • baked cake
  • buttercream
  • chocolate
  • decorations
  • lolly sticks
As I said we had lots of left over pieces of chocolate cake. I measured out 350grams and let the kids break it up into crumbs. They really loved this, sadly my kitchen floor did not love it so much…not an activity if you are very house proud!
We made up some butter cream using 100g of butter and 200g of icing sugar. 
We mixed the butter cream into the cake crumbs and then moulded the cake into small balls.
The kids really loved doing  this too!
I then melted 50g of chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. I dipped the lolly sticks into the chocolate and then stuck them into the cake balls. I then put them into the fridge for an hour or so.
Finally we covered the the cake pops with chocolate. In theory you are supposed to dip the cake pops into the melted chocolate but we found ours were a little too crumbly (as always) so we dribbled the chocolate on the top. Then we sprinkled them with hundreds and thousands for decoration. We left them to set propped up in an old egg box.
I’m much better at making cakes than cake pops, but the kids had lots of messy fun making these. They had fun eating them too.
Now it’s your turn, please come and share your recipes that you have made with your kids help and link up to my linky. 

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.