Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen, which is a little different as it was Boo’s Birthday and we had a cookery party.

Last year I held a Frozen Party in the garden for her, it was a lovely sunny day and we had loads of games and even some snow! This year, however, I decided to do something different. She invited just a few of her school friends and along with her siblings we cooked the party food together.

I’d recently been sent a lovely party pack from Party Bags and Supplies. Boo had asked for an Animal Jam Cake which I made myself, so I figured that the Safari Adventure Party pack would be ideal. I received:
8 cups and plates, 16 napkins, 1 table cover and 8 filled party bags each containing – 1 soft wild animal mask, 1 clockwork insect, 1 wild animal sticker sheet and 1 wild animal tatto.
The pack is £26.99 to purchase.

I was really pleased with the pack, delivery was quick and the price was in line with other party supply companies. I love the convenience of buying everything together in a matching pack.

I am saving the party bags to give away at the Little Man’s birthday in a couple of weeks, but the table looked lovely for Boo’s party today.

To start the party we made Rocky Road. The kids enjoyed breaking up the chocolate and biscuits while I melted the chocolate, golden syrup and butter on the hob. I poured a third of the chocolate mixture into a bowl and the kids added the biscuits to the pan, followed by some mini marshmallows. They put the mixture into a tin and poured the remaining chocolate over the top. We then put it in the fridge to set.

We then had a little art activity but I’ll tell you all about that later.

Then it was time for pizza! And guess, what? We had so much fun making it I forgot to take any photos! We had a little production line going with one child putting on the tomato base, the next child sprinkling on the cheddar, the next crumbling on the mozzarella and finally adding the pepperoni. We made four altogether with the children all taking turns. I did manage to get a snap of two uncooked pizzas! (don’t worry, I didn’t cook them on the hob!)

Finally, the thing they had all been waiting for…dessert! I left them with ice cream, fresh fruit, sprinkles and sauce and they each made their own knickerbocker glory!

Before they went home we sang Happy Birthday to the Birthday girl and she blew out her number 8 candle on her Animal Jam Cake.

Then I gave them all a little bag with a couple of pieces of Rocky Road inside to take home.

We had a lovely time and it was great fun having so many kids in the kitchen.

Sending out a big thank you to ET Speaks From Home and her amazing Carrot Cupcake Ice Cream Cones for linking up last week.
Also, thank you to The Giggles Family for their Easy Sweet Green Smoothie Recipe.

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)

The summer holidays are upon us and it’s raining of course. This week we are going to set to and do a little art activity in the hope of winning a lovely prize from The Old Rep Theatre Birmingham. Even if we don’t win our art may be shown in their gallery, the kids would be really excited about that.

I’ll be writing more about the competition soon and how we get on with our entries, in the meantime here is some information from The Old Rep in case you fancy a way of keeping the kids occupied during the summer holidays.

To celebrate The Old Rep’s upcoming Christmas
production, we would like to invite you to design your very own Treasure
Island! Whether you dream of pirates, sailing ships, mermaids, buried gold, or
something completely different, we want to see what your fantasy island would
look like. Let your imagination run wild with colours, paint, glue, glitter –
you can use anything you like to create your artistic masterpiece. Make sure
it’s bright and eye-catching so it will really stand out!

We are offering a fantastic prize for the winning
entry. Your artwork will be featured on the front cover of our Treasure Island programme,
which will be available at The Old Rep from Friday 20th November to Sunday 3rd
January. The winner will also receive five free tickets for Treasure Island, as
well as the opportunity to meet our pirate cast.

However, even if you are not the lucky winner, your
picture may still be displayed in the theatre. We are going to create a gallery
of as many entries as possible. When you come to see the show you can have fun
searching for your drawing, and marvelling at what everyone else has produced.

To enter the Treasure Island art competition, you
need to submit a picture of your fantasy Treasure Island to The Old Rep by Saturday
10th October 2015. This can be done in two different ways: either
post your artwork to Treasure Island Art Competition, The Old Rep, Station
Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY, or scan your picture and email it to treasureislandart@oldreptheatre.co.uk.

This competition is open to children of up to 12
years. Please make sure that you include your full name, age and a contact
telephone number with your entry. Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that we
will be able to return your picture.

The winner will be chosen by a celebrity judge in
November, so keep an eye on The Old Rep’s website  and
Facebook page.

What are you waiting for? Get creative and design
your very own Treasure Island to be in with a chance of winning!

To enter, you need to submit a picture of your fantasy Treasure Island to
The Old Rep by Saturday 10th October 2015. This can be done in two
different ways: either post your artwork to Treasure Island Art Competition,
The Old Rep, Station Street, Birmingham, B5 4DY, or scan your picture and email
it to treasureislandart@oldreptheatre.co.uk.

 For more information about the Treasure Island, or to
book tickets, visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk
or call 0121 359 9444.

Do let me know if you enter, and Good Luck!

Welcome to Birmingham!

This is one of 89 big owls that have arrived to brighten up the streets of Birmingham and we are on the trail to find them all (well, most of them, hopefully) There are also 121 smaller owlets to find!
Our current finds total 14 Big and 12 Little Hoots.

I wrote a post the other day showing how we got on with our first venture. We have know been out to do some in the City Centre, so for my Sunday photo this owl, Welcome to Birmingham, was the obvious choice.
I also, love the way you can see the reflection of the library building in the window behind it.


A few weeks ago while enjoying a coffee outside a cafe in the Custard Factory I was watching two ladies wrestle an owl from a car. I couldn’t help I’d have just been in the way, but I did give them a round of applause when the owl emerged. The owl was really quite spectacular and I assumed it was for some art installation. That’s usually what you see at the Custard Factory, no point going there for custard.

Then the other night I was watching the local news and I saw more of these owls, lots more of them and they are all over Birmingham until 27th September. They are part of the Big Hoot, a Celebration of Creativity in Birmingham. There are 210 owls in all, 89 giant owls and 121 owlets. The Big Owls were created by artists from Birmingham and beyond, whereas the owlets were created as part of The Little Hoot Education program.
At the end of the trail the giant owls will be auctioned to raise money for Birmingham Children’s Hospital. (Our second home for the past two years!)
If you want to do the trail you find all the information on the The Big Hoot website including maps which you can download. You can also download the app. to your phone to help you find the owls and track your progress. There are incentives offered along the way.
I think it’s a great way to get the kids motivated during the holiday. We have already been out owl hunting and found four giant owls and eight owlets.
Our first find was Buttons, at Cadbury World. A delicious looking owl that looks like he’s coated in chocolate buttons. He is located outside Cadbury World so you don’t have to pay to go in, but of course the kids will want to!
Our second owl was Blodeuwedd, found in the park. 
Then came my favourite owl so far, The Owl and the Pussycat Went to Sea. The detail all around this owl was amazing, truly beautiful. I am a fan of The Owl and the Pussycat though.
Then we found the beautiful Owl of Athena outside a library.
These are the eight owlets we found on the Little Hoot trail. 
We had so much fun finding them and seeing how wonderful they were, we can’t wait to go out and find some more. I hope you have enjoyed my sharing them too.

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Way back in the early 90s I was introduced to Terry Pratchett by a friend at work. I was hooked instantly and now have an incredibly collection of his works, mostly his Discworld series but I do have other books, including some he had written for teenagers which I have been waiting to introduce to my children.

Sadly, the great fantasy author passed away on March 12th this year. This doesn’t mean his books can no longer be enjoyed though, and I’m sure he will still gather many more fans in the future, my children included.

I have now begun my introduction of the Great Sir Terry to my girls with his book of short stories for children, Dragons at the Crumbling Castle. For me it has been a great insight into the younger mind of the author as many of these stories where written before his major books.

Throughout the book you can see Sir Terry’s style emerging, not quite the genius I have come to know through reading his books, but a fabulous introduction for my children. My older daughter, Star, who is almost ten years old and on the autistic spectrum seemed to enjoy the stories the most. She had her favourite parts which have been repeated over and over to anyone who will listen. For some reason she was particularly tickled by the Chilliblainian national anthem ‘God Save Us All’ from the story the Abominal Snowman. She cottoned on to quite a lot of the word play which both surprised and delighted me, a true Pratchett fan in the making.

The book is a compilation of fourteen short stories. Some are shorter than others, some are better than others, they all have that distinct Pratchett humour running through them.  The first story, Dragons at the Crumbling Castle has a young boy setting off to save a castle from Dragons… there is no-one else available at the time. On the way he meets up with Friday Knight the Fortnight and a Wizard called Fossfiddle and together they save the day..and the castle.  We also have an introduction to The Carpet People with two short stories which were later turned into a novel. There is a great story about  the Abominal Snowman of Chiliblains, who like photobombing, and the small town of Blackbury get more than they bargained for when they discover the  Blackbury Monster. There is lots of fun and word play in Hunt the Snorry and Dok the Caveman.
One of Star’s favourite stories was the Great Speck where we have a whole world on a speck of dust, she will tell you with excitement all about the Someone and the Anyone who become the Everyone and saved the King and Duke.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it for children aged 8 and over. It’s great for reading alone or together at bedtime. I’m sure we’ll be reading it many times over.

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Dragons at the Crumbling Castle to review, all thoughts and opinions are my own

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