Monthly Archives: February 2014

So you think you know Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is know for many things, some of them weird and wonderful, some just weird, some just wonderful. If you think you have the
inside knowledge take my quiz to find out….

Take Our Quiz!

I’m expecting 100% scores from all local people, and at least 50% from visitors! Good luck!
Don’t forget to share with your friends.

I’ve banned my 3 year old from Power Rangers!

My oldest son, Lewis, will be four in May and in September he started pre-school. He loved it. As a sociable child he was more than keen to attend, and I was grateful to have a couple of hours to myself each day. I still am. He learns all sorts of skills that I thought him incapable of, however he also discovered something I have come to loath. Power Rangers!

Apparently during free play this is a common game with the children. I know when they’ve been playing it as he comes home imitating a marshall arts instructor and Hi-Ya-ing his way around the house.

At first I thought it was cute. Then he discovered Power Rangers is actually a program on t.v. at the weekends. He would sit glued to the screen, and then minute the credits rolled, jump up and run around the house like some kind of demented ninja! He would run straight into me, high kick the doors and furniture, and shout loudly. I have heard other parents say similar programs like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, have a similar effect on their children.

Again, I wasn’t overly concerned. My little boy was growing up, and boys like a bit of rough and tumble. After a couple of weeks the behaviour took a turn for the worse. I caught him trying to karate chop his 6 month brother Aaron. I couldn’t believe it! Usually Lewis is really good with the baby. I honestly think he was so involved in his pretend role play, that he didn’t quite realise what he was doing. At least, that’s the theory I’m sticking with it for now.

From that moment on, I decided to ban him from watching Power Rangers. He doesn’t know this, as I’m pretty sure he would have a meltdown if I told him. My plan is simply to make sure we are out of the house when it is on and hope he forgets about it. I know he will continue to play Power Rangers with his peers at pre-school, and that’s okay. I’m not trying to stop him from being a boy, but hopefully I can stop  him from trying to eliminate his younger brother!

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Heart Shaped Chocolate Shortbread

After a rather pathetic attempt at making heart shaped flapjacks for Mr C. on Valentine’s Day, it was back to the drawing board. I refused to buy any more ingredients so it had to be something I could make from what I had. The decision was heart shaped chocolate coated shortbread. I was still a little bitter about my flapjacks, but I knew that Lewis (3) would love helping to make these.

You will need:

200g butter or margarine

100g caster sugar

400g flour

1/4tsp salt

1 tablespoon golden syrup (this can be omitted if preferred but it adds a honeyed flavour)

75g  milk chocolate

150g white chocolate

red food dye

heart shaped cookie cutters

To get started cream the butter, golden syrup and sugar together. Then mix in the flour and salt. You will get quite a dry mixture that you should knead until it holds together.

Roll out the mixture onto a floured surface and cut out your heart shapes. Place these onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

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When the shortbread has cooled, melt the chocolate according to the pack instructions. I suggest you do this in three stages, just melting the amount you need for each coloured coating at one time.

To make pink or red chocolate, simply add red food colouring to melted white chocolate until you have the colour you desire.

Dip the shortbread into the melted chocolate and leave to harden.

When your biscuits have hardened you just need to package them. I used a box I had and lined it with some red tissue paper left over from Christmas. And viola…

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Of course you can obtain a ‘neater’ finish with the chocolate if you just do it yourself without a three year old’s help, but that would take away all the fun!

Valentine’s Heart Flapjacks Disaster

I don’t really ‘do’ Valentines Day since the arrival of my two boys. Prior to that my husband and I would have enjoyed weekends away to Amsterdam, London, or anywhere we could get a good deal. The reason for this mostly was because I find it so difficult to find appropriate Valentine’s gifts for my man.

This year, with a three year old and a six month old baby the treat is I did the shopping out of Sainsbury’s instead of Asda!

However, I am not completely immune to the romance of the day and I decided to make something for Mr C. I wanted to do something ‘manly’, that fitted in the theme of Valentine’s, when inspiration struck – I would make flapjacks – they’re manly – and I would make them heart shaped to mark the occasion.

And so I set to work with Lewis helping and Aaron supervising.

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I’m not going to bother telling you the recipe because seriously, you don’t want to try this at home.

After mixing the ingredients we spread the mixture onto the baking tray and started impressing the heart shapes.

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I gave the cutters a good wiggle to make sure the flapjacks took on the shape and then put them in the oven. After ten minutes I had a peek, and my worst suspicions were confirmed – the mixture was spreading back into one huge block. I quickly lifted them from the oven and cut out the shapes again – maybe by now they would hold a little better.

Another ten minutes and they were cooked. Still not heart shaped though, and worse than that, pretty well glued to the baking tray.

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Try as I might I couldn’t rescue any heart shaped flapjacks. Never mind. It wasn’t a total disaster as the oaty mix I now had turned out to be rather tasty sprinkled on top of yoghurt.

It just goes to show, if some-one hasn’t already done it, there’s probably a good reason why. And if you found this page while searching for a recipe for heart shaped flapjacks, my advice to you is don’t waste your time.

It was back to the drawing board. I decided to just go with shortbread, at least I was confident I could make that the right shape! If you want to see how it turned out click here.

Binky Linky

Does blogging about your life stop you from living?

I published my first blog post nearly two weeks ago, and I have to admit, I’ve become a little obsessed with the whole blogging thing since then. I admit, like most people starting out, I thought I would put up some posts and the viewers would come flocking to read whatever I had written. Apparently, it doesn’t quite work like that!

By chance one of the bloggers I was following started up a group to help new bloggers. Twinmumanddad has been a great source of information and advice on all things bloggy. What I did learn pretty fast was that I had to put myself ‘out there’ more and get networking. And so I spent most of last week setting up twitter, facebook pages, bloglovin, google+ and there are many more I just haven’t got around to yet. I was glued to my phone, tablet or computer at every opportunity. I decided that this was really going a bit too far and so I had the weekend (mostly) off.

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Then disaster struck. When I checked my stats, (apparently you should not make a habit of this!), on Sunday I had only 2 views. Two days off had resulted in a total collapse of my viewers. What should I do? Get straight back on and start posting?

Will it always be like this? In order to have a viewing public will I have to give up my life to social media so that other people will read about it? I hope not. I think maybe I am trying to run before I can crawl!

I have several posts in draft which I hope to post soon, and if anything, blogging is encouraging me to make my life more interesting so that other people will want to read about it. How am I going to make my life more interesting you might ask. Well, since I’ve started writing blogs, I’ve started reading them too. There is a wealth of ideas, events and inspiration which will ensure that I am never stuck for something to do with my children.

So will blogging stop me from living? If living is doing housework then yes. Blogging is definitely going to take precedence. Anything takes precedence over that! Will blogging get in the way of me doing things with my family? No. I pledge to keep taking weekends (mostly) off. I may post things I already have in draft form, and check in to my networks when the kids are sleeping, but I will not spend time with my head buried in a computer when I should be living. If that ever changes, I guess I’ll have to stop blogging, though I’ll always be a blog follower from now on.