The Crazy Kitchen: February 2011

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Monday, 28 February 2011

Taking Turns

The school holidays has been a great time to play games with the kids and we've been teaching Jack how to 'take turns'. It's not been an easy task, with lots of crying & screaming a collapsing in a heap (and that was just me....).


Today we played Froggy , a great little game by Chad Valley with brightly coloured frogs & pond. One of the things that makes this game good, in my opinion, is that it doesn't take batteries. Many a time we have got out a game to play and realised that the batteries were dead, then rooted through the kitchen drawer to find suitable batteries and screwdriver only to find that we were one battery short and  then had to find another toy or game or controller that used the same batteries....by this time the kids are bored and no want longer play!


Froggy is for 2-4 players with a recommended age of 4+. Jack is almost 2 but we gave it a go anyway. The object if the game is to take it in turns to move the boy around the lily pads and point one of the 4 colours on his cap towards the frog - if the colour matches the colour on the frogs legs it pops up and you get to keep that frog, and the next player then takes their turn. The winner is the first player to pop up 4 different frogs.


Jack waiting patiently for his turn

Jack taking his turn




Jack certainly enjoyed the frogs popping up but he was a bit reluctant to let his sister have a turn after, and Mummy had to prise the boy from his hand a few times. In between turns he was kept occupied by playing with the spare frogs.


And guess who won?................that would be Mummy, who still needs to learn how to be less competitive and to take losing gracefully !!



Unfortunately it seems that this game is no longer available but if you ever happen to find it at a Jumble or Car Boot sale I would certainly recommend it for your pre-schooler.

Product Of The Week - Victorian Boys Costume

With World Book Day approaching the Victorian Costumes are again a popular choice with my customers, especially the Boys 'Oliver Twist' Urchin type costume.

   


The costumes are available in Black or Brown in 3 sizes - 5-7yrs, 7-9yrs & 9-11 yrs and are priced from £17.99. Alternatively you can buy just the cap, or cap & waistcoat set.


The costume consists of a long sleeved white shirt, elasticated 3/4 trousers, a matching waistcoat & hat, and is manufactured to a high standard giving a costume that should last for years.


You can buy the costumes from my Ebay shop here, alternatively email me directly 


More costumes, including a wide variety of animals are also available for purchase from my Ebay shop or contact me for more details.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Online Shopping Fail

I've had a bit of an Online Shopping Fail..........


My Asda shop was delivered earlier and amongst the shopping was a Steak pie that I added at the last minute whilst amending my order for the 3rd time. I was just about to check-out and saw that there was a Rollback on their 'Ultimate Steak Pie'.


'Ultimate' I thought, WOW that sounds good! According to The Free Dictionary one of the definitions of 'Ultimate' is :  "Of the greatest possible size or significance; maximum"

Perfect for Friday tea, along with a bag of chippy chips, I thought. If there wasn't quite enough to go around my hungry brood I would have some of my leftover curry with my chips (I'm used to there not being enough to go around now that Sam eats like an adult!).

So when I unpacked my shopping can you imagine the laughter from myself & my friend when I saw the size of the pie :





Ok so the packaging states that it weighs just 250g but, come on, it says 'ULTIMATE' ......surely it's an easy mistake to make??



ShowOff Showcase

Flashback Friday - Let them Eat Cake!

I am really getting into Cafe Bebe's Flashback Friday as it gives me a great excuse to have a look through old photos and remember some happy times. This week I have chosen to share the 1st birthday's of my 3 children.


When my eldest son was born we lived in the US and it seemed to be a bit of a tradition there that you would let the baby at the cake on their 1st birthday to see what they did with it. By the time we celebrated my daughter's 1st birthday we had moved back to the UK but still went along with the tradition, and again when it was Jacks 1st birthday a few years later.


So here they are, my 3 children and their 1st Birthday Party pictures - along with their Chocolate Button hedgehog cakes made by Nanny. I think it really shows their personalities :




Sam in 2001, he picked each chocolate button off one by one and ate them reasonably cleanly...



Hanna, in 2003, just dived straight in, head first ......and made lots of mess!


And Jack, in 2010, being the fussy and mischievous monkey that he is just played with it....



And I couldn't leave this picture out......this is me in 1971, age 10 months






Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cooking With Your Toddler...Mini Chocolate Cupcakes & Tantrums






This cake recipe is a nice quick and easy one that you can do with or without your toddler. It's sometimes easier to make the cakes yourself and let them do do the decorating, whatever you do the little ones enjoy joining in but if they're anything like Jack they haven't got much patience - he soon got bored with mixing & wanted to get the sprinkles out....




Recipe


4oz Butter or Margarine - softened
4oz Caster Sugar
2 Eggs - beaten
4oz Self Raising Flour - sifted
1tsp Vanilla Extract


For decorating


Milk chocolate
Double cream
Sprinkles




Its always best to have your ingredients at room temperature before you start.


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 350 F


Line a 12 hole cake pan with cases or 24 hole mini muffin pan. We also used my new Cupcake Maker which I haven't yet used.




1. Cream the butter and sugar together.


Jacks love of mixing was short-lived


2. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract.






3. Stir in the flour.


4. Spoon into the cupcake / muffin cases & fill about 2/3 full.


5. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes for mini cupcakes or 15-20 minutes for standard size. In the Cupcake Maker they were cooked after 9 minutes.


My new cupcake maker 




6. Remove from pan & allow to cool


7. When the cakes have cooled down melt the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts and stir well.


8. Stir in some double cream, enough to thin the chocolate down slightly and make it smooth and glossy.


9. Spoon chocolate onto the cakes & decorate with sprinkles.



10. Enjoy

Gone before I had chance to get my camera out!



And this is what happened when (after eating 3 cakes) Jack was told he could have no more!!



  

Soundtrack To My Life

I have been tagged by the lovely Molly from Mother's Always Right in Him, me & three's 'Soundtrack to my Life'. I don't really listen to a lot of music & I don't really have a favourite band but when I hear something I like I tend to play it a lot. The tracks I like may not always be the most popular for that band - I like to be different!! I have added YouTube clips for them just in case you've not heard of them..... (I just hope the clips load!)


1. Paul Weller - Broken Stones


I've been a fan of Paul Weller for quite a few years and have seen him live a number of times, the first being at Aston Villa Leisure Centre in 92/93 and the most recent at Cannock Chase Forest in 2009. This song always get's me right 'there' when I listen to it.



2. Manic Street Preachers - If You tolerate this.


I bought the  Album 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours' in 1998 and I must say I listened to it a lot - my husband says that it was always playing when he used to come round to my house. When I went into hospital to have my first baby in 2000 this was the album that my husband took into the hospital for me to listen to during labour - when my waters broke and it was time to push I asked for the music to be turned off (well when I say 'asked' I suspect that wasn't entirely true!), this was the track that was playing - quite apt really - "if you tolerate this then your children will be next"......





3. Oasis - Rockin' Chair.


Back in the 90's when the was a battle of the bands between Oasis & Blur I bought 'Roll With It' on CD single and this was a track that was also on there. Another one that always gets me right 'there' and I could for some unknown reason shed a tear to.....





4. Boo Radleys - Wake Up Boo!


This is a much more cheerful song than the previous, a hit in the Summer of 1995 with a line "25, don't recall a time I felt this alive" and as that's the summer that I turned 25 and did have a pretty good time another one that's quite apt - and another one that my husband remembers me playing a lot when he first met me that year!







5. Soft Cell - Say Hello Wave Goodbye

I'm not sure the year that this record was a hit bit I do remember sitting in my cupboard listening to it on my record played with my Dad's huge headphones on writing down the words, moving the needle on the record back to make sure I missed none of them, and probably scratching the hell out of the single at the same time. I still have the single somewhere.....





If you join in please post a link in the comments box below. For those that are tagged, I won’t be offended if you choose not to take part.
I tag:
@Bobbity666
@TheBoyandMe
@JennyPaulin
@meetJoSmith

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Am I turning into my Mother???

Today I bought clothes from M&S......... Are M&S making nicer clothes these days? Or has my taste in clothes changed and I've become middle-aged.........???


I didn't intentionally go looking for clothes in M&S , these days I don't really go anywhere intentionally looking for clothes, except my wardrobe, and then I can never seem to find anything I like. You see I was walking through the clothes section on my way to the cafe where my Mum and Dad wanted to go for a coffee. We had just met up so they could hand Jack back to me after his little holiday at Nanny's, I had my other two with me as well and they wanted to go to Asda so they could use some pester power on Nanny & Pop Pop for some sweets and Match Attax cards, but the coffee is apparently nicer in M&S so that's where we went.

I was quite surprised when I walked through the ladies wear section and saw not just one but a few tops that I quite liked, so when the family was all settled in the cafe drinking their hot chocolates and eating iced Hot Cross Buns I made a quick dash for the fitting rooms, tops in hand..........


After deciding on a couple of tops I could hear that the family had found me........and were getting bored! So I quickly headed over to the cashier, who told me that if I spent £10 in the Food Hall I would be entitled to a voucher that would give me £10 off my clothing purchase, in effect giving me £10 of food or drink or whatever I bought for free! Well I couldn't miss an opportunity like this could I? - Much to the dismay of my 'bored' kids. Good old Pop Pop decided that he would take the boys to Asda for a look round whilst I went to get groceries with Hanna & Nanny - Hanna saw it as an opportunity to 'ask' Nanny for some sweets!


So £24 of groceries later, I headed back to pay for my clothes (via the kids department where I picked up a pair of shoes for my God-daughter). I should have really only spent the required £10 (on wine) but I needed a few bits anyway & couldn't face dragging the kids around Adsa too, and Hanna got Hello kitty chocolates, some flying saucers and £1 off Nanny!!


and this is what I bought : (couldn't get the pics any bigger)



This top in the blue below


So am I turning into a middle-aged Mumsy Mum?? Please tell me not......not just yet anyway, I'm not sure I'm ready.

If there's anyone that doesn't wan't to miss this offer, head over to M&S & claim your £10 voucher. You need to spend over £10 on groceries to get the voucher which can then be used when you spend over £50 on women's clothes, shoes or underwear.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Gallery - Expressions

I have only managed to take part in 1 week of The Gallery as I'm usually a bit late, I will get the hang of it soon, I promise!
This week the theme is Expressions so I took the opportunity to look through some old pics to find some good facial expressions. To be honest most of them were 'happy' but I have managed to find a few that were not so too...

And then I found Smilebox...........and got a bit carried away! Sorry, it goes on a bit...........


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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Tuesday Giveaway........My Buggy Buddy

If you're like me & have a buggy or pram that has no handles such as a Phil & Ted's, Bugaboo or a Quinny then you may be left thinking.....'where do I hang my bags?'.


My Buggy Buddy have come up with the perfect solution. It's a large karabiner clip covered in foam so that it doesn't damage your buggy handlebar. You just push the clip open and hang it over the bar. I leave mine on all the time so that it's always there when I need it. It's great on the school run as it gives the kids somewhere to hang their lunchboxes and bags as my compact buggy only has a very small basket.


They retail for £5.99 and can be purchased here but this week I am giving one of these away to a lucky reader.



To be in with a chance of winning you need to leave a comment below, stating which of the following you have done :

  • Follow me on Twitter @jessies_online
  • Like my Facebook page here
  • Tweet " I've entered @jessies_online competition to win a My Buggy Buddy ,you can win too http://bit.ly/fvu1qV "



The competition is open until 10pm on Monday 28th February. I will then pick 1 lucky winner from all the entries received  (using Random.org)  and contact you for your address. If you don't reply with your address within 5 days I will choose another winner. Entry is only open to those with a UK delivery address. You can enter up to 3 times ,each time you will need to comment below stating which of the above you have done (different each time please!).

Monday, 21 February 2011

Product Of The Week - Cellophane Bags

I have had a shop on Ebay since 2005 and during that time there have been a lot of changes but one thing that hasn't changed is my love of Cellophane Bags. They are a great seller, popular all year round and great value for money at only around £1.50 per pack of 20 (or 30 for plain colours).


They are available in a wide range of colours & themes : Birthday, Valentines, Easter and Christmas to name a few. They are not used purely for parties, they are a great way to package a small gift that you want to make look a little bit special. Many of my customers use them to package their home-made goods, be it Cookies or Knitted Food.


Most of them are a standard size of 12.5cm wide x 29cm high, with gusseted sides. They can easily fit a standard sized mug or party cup which can be filled with sweets or treats, often a favourite for an end of year gift for the teacher. Most packs come with enough twist ties for each bag or you can make them look a bit special by tying them up with ribbon.


I personally would never use anything but a cellophane bag for a party, even if I can't find one that fits the them of my child's party I would use a themed party cup inside a clear bag as they are such good value for money & look amazing.


I am looking for some 'Crafty' bloggers who would make use of some cello bags and write a review, so if you are interested in receiving some of these bags please let me know which ones you could use in your blog by emailing me. Please send a few choices just in case any are out of stock. Depending on how much interest I get I will either pick all of you or some of you to receive some of these fab bags!


Take a look here to see all the cellophane bags currently available.


Here's some ideas to get you going.....


Smiley Party Bag


Party Bag for a Disney Princess

Mothers Day Gift Idea

A Gift for a Loved One

Half Term Fun

Well it's half term & surprise surprise it's raining! That means a bored football mad Sam is kicking a football around the house whilst Jack is having a little holiday at Nanny's and Hanna is playing at a friends house.


Being a work-at-home Mum I still have orders to pack so I thought I would relieve some of Sam's boredom and put him to good use.


I'm wondering how many times I can do the same post this week without it becoming a bit monotonous!!
Checking the order...



Preparing the Widgey Pillow for packing...



Sunday, 20 February 2011

Silent Sunday - Comfort Food



Silent Sunday

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Flashback Friday - Sun, Sangria & a 90's Perm

I was so excited when I saw 'Flashback Friday' on Cafe Bebe's Blog, an invitation to have a good root through our old photo's and remember some good times.



My photo was taken in 1991 during a holiday in the Algarve with my boyfriend. Well when I say 'my boyfriend' he was when we booked the holiday but by the time we went we were no longer together. I have absolutely no idea why I still wanted to go on that holiday with him, looking back I should've sent him packing & taken one of my friends instead, but being only 21 and probably still 'in love' maybe I was hoping that given a little sunshine & sangria the relationship would be rekindled! Oh how wrong I was!!


Clearly I did have a good time, why else would I have my mouth open so wide, laughing loudly?? (Maybe a little too much Sangria in the bathroom had something to do with it!) It wasn't all fun though, as, along with the weather, our 'friendship' deteriorated in the second week when he told me that the reason we had broken up was because he had been, and still was, seeing a friend of mine behind my back!!!!


OMG, I wanted to go home to my Mum there and then but still had to spend another few days sharing a tiny apartment with someone that I couldn't stand to be in the same Universe as, and it was raining outside!


Oh dear this was supposed to bring back happy memories and there I am sharing with the world one of the most  humiliating break-ups of my life! 


The photo does bring back happy memories of having lovely tanned slim legs and the best perm that I had ever experienced though..........


And by the way......I may just be organised enough to actually post my Flashback Friday on a Friday next week!!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Teach them young....

Some days it's more trouble than it's worth to let Jack do the washing up, other days I just let him get on with it.......today was one of those days





All done!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Singing with your Baby or Toddler............Do You??

I must admit that I am not really one for singing to my kids, probably something to do with my awful, out of tune voice - how could I possibly sing my baby to sleep when the sound of my voice would make your ears bleed, those awful singers that they make fun of at the X-Factor auditions are not a patch on me!


Just recently I took Jack to our local Toddler group where we have been a few times before. For the second hour of the session Libby from Smart Talkers came and did some singing and signing with the little ones. I joined in enthusiastically, singing and attempting to remember the signs whilst Jack played in the ball pool and fought for his turn on the ride on train!  I thought he wasn't taking much notice of the singing & signing but hoped he would in the weeks to come.


On the car journey home, still with the tune of 'Twinkle Twinkle' and 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' in my head I absent-mindedly began to sing, and Jack joined in! So for the week since then I have been singing to Jack, not to get him to sleep, more of a distraction - he looks at me like I am some kind of freak, but it works - he sits on the potty for more than 2 seconds whilst we reel off 'Twinkle Twinkle', 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' and 'Wind the bobbin up' and when he starts shouting & screaming in the car I just start singing, and Jack joins in.


It's only been a week, but our almost daily singing has paid off, at the weekend he highly amused Grandma with his rendition of 'inkle inkle, ittle dar', and his speech has come on in leaps and bounds, so however bad you may think your singing voice is, don't worry, it really can't be as bad as mine.......and my little one loves it! 

Tuesday Giveaway.......BABY SENSE Book

This weeks fab Tuesday Giveaway is a BABY SENSE Book 







Baby Sense is the best-selling baby care book written by Occupational Therapist, Megan Faure and specialist nursing sister, Ann Richardson. In this unique book, based on the principles of sensory integration, the sensory world a baby experiences is revealed to parents. This knowledge helps you to tune in to your baby and understand: 
  • how sensory input affects him
  • what he means by the signals he gives; and
  • how to respond to these signals by regulating his sensory environment and stimulation.


The book covers the first year of a baby’s life – the time when development is at its fastest and most sensitive.
Three of the most common concerns of parents in their baby’s first year are:
  • Why is he crying?
  • How can I get him to sleep well?
  • How can I enhance his development?
The answers to all these concerns have the same source: his sensory world. That is the key to whether a baby is happily awake, learning from his world, or falling asleep with ease and sleeping peacefully for long stretches at a time.
The book Baby sense has become enormously popular over the past two years. It has sold 85 000 copies. This puts it firmly in the category of bestseller.



You can buy the Baby Sense Book here, or if you are sleep deprived due to your baby why not buy the Sleep Sense Book here


To be in with a chance of winning you need to leave a comment below, stating which of the following you have done :

  • Follow me on Twitter @jessies_online


  • Like my Facebook page here

  • Tweet " I've entered @jessies_online competition to win a Baby Sense Book ,you can win too http://bit.ly/h1ahVA "


The competition is open until 10pm on Monday 21st February. I will then pick 1 lucky winner from all the entries received  (using Random.org)  and contact you for your address. If you don't reply with your address within 5 days I will choose another winner. Entry is only open to those with a UK delivery address. You can enter up to 3 times ,each time you will need to comment below stating which of the above you have done (different each time please!).


Monday, 14 February 2011

Product of the Week... KONFIDENCE Float Jacket

Whatever age a child first goes in the water they want to feel safe and secure, which makes the Konfidence Float Jackets perfect for introducing the wearer to the joys of swimming, and having fun in this environment.

Made from neoprene fabric they provide warmth, comfort and a feeling of security and the bright yellow backs provides hi-visibility for parents.


- wear with normal swimsuits/wetsuits or UV wear.
- encourages water confidence at any age.


Available in 3 sizes - 2-3yrs, 4-5yrs & 6-7 yrs and in 3 Colours - Pink, Blue & Red. 


Purchase your Float Jacket here for just £22.99






(2-3yrs also available in Gold)



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Silent Sunday - A Day of rest??



















Silent Sunday

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