12 Oct 2016

Crafting with Baker Ross

Its fast approaching, you can see it ahead. You have the countdown and the conversation outside the school gates.....

"How many days until half term?"

Whether you look forward to that time or you are filled with panic (about the possible childcare Tetris you have ahead of you) its time to get things prepared and ready for the never ending (or maybe that just my house) whines of "I'm Bored" or you get fed up at watching your children turn into TV zombies (again maybe just y boys) and you decide enough is enough lets do something fun.

Baker Ross are (I think) one of the best for offering variation and kits which are easy to use, fun to make and allow you to polish that Mum halo. There website is great as you can look for the general I need to fill up my craft cupboard stuff or split into categories to allow you to offer seasonal (and educational - not saying that bit too loudly) activities at home. You can find their Halloween Shop and their Autumn Shop to pick up some fun half term goodies.

We came home to a fun bundle of goodies from Baker Ross to get our half term planning on the go. Both little ones were super excited - one of thing I love about their activities is that you can allow both kids to have a turn. Most kits come with multiple kits inside to allow you to share the fun. Our bundle included :

Skull Colour-in Mini Gift Bags  in a day of the dead design - which I have been talking to Maxwell about and explaining how this is different to a spooky Halloween and more about a celebration of those that have passed. I'm thinking we can make some cookies to pop inside the gift bags. To go with these a set of Fibre Tip Pens. The packet has 3 sets which is great as they seem to go missing in our house. Halloween Dotty Art - something new I've not tried before. Black and white dotty pictures with sticker sheets in multi coloured dots to make up the pictures. Looking forward to trying these with the little one as he like using stickers. The woodland Friend stickers will be emptied into a bowl for the kids to just create (make a mess) with on sheets of paper. Thehttp://www.bakerross.co.uk/owl-jewel-decoration-kits-1 http://www.bakerross.co.uk/owl-jewel-decoration-kits-1 got opened straight away (and when the husband came home he got instructed in the art of owl decorations too) M loved these as it was easy to follow and he enjoyed making it himself. Its now hanging above his bed. The Sand Leaf decorations kit looks FUN!!! But that one will need my full attention - but hoping to turn the finished ones into a wreath. The Halloween PomPom kits will be perfect half term fun - everything you need in the package to add some spooky fun to our front room. And finally some cute little bee badges.

What are your kids crafting plans for half term? 

#BRCraftClub ~BRbloggers

10 Oct 2016

Flora Lunchbox Challenge

Packed lunches. I'll be honest those 2 words often fill me with dread (usually because its not until 10pm that night I remember I've not made it!) We switched our M over to pack lunches about a year ago - when the school menu changed and I found out my son was choosing to eat a plain jacket and a fruit salad daily. (He is a fussy eater and needs a BIG push to try new things. He is also stubborn.) and making the change over to packed lunches had been a learning curve for me. Especially for a fussy eater. Towing that line between offering a lunch which is balanced, he will eat and fill him up for the rest of his school day.

The team over at Flora commissioned a survey to look into the packed lunches that are heading into schools all across the country. They found out that 1.6% of primary school packed lunches in England are meeting the nutritional standards for school food.

Flora are launching their latest campaign to help improve school lunches across the nation. The understand that we don't need a lecture on it, instead we need help, ideas and solutions to help us (at 10pm when we realise we have forgotten) to create a simple and healthy lunch. Flora have distributed 631,000 lunchboxes across the UK which contain easy to make and plant based recipes.
These little booklets are fab and is a puzzle piece to slot together a packed lunch which ticks all the boxes. The issue I have with my eldest is that he does not like cold things like ham or cheese - and will not eat pasta or cold cous cous. This leads very few options for us when making his lunch on a sandwich type. I really like the look of these Ham-Asaurus sandwiches - which you never know might get my cold meat avoiding son to maybe just maybe to try them. He has a problem with ceratin food textures, mainly "gooey" as he calls it - we just need to keep trying.

This does mean I have to be a little bit more creative when it comes to my lunch options for him - as his "sandwiches" are around the same theme - a jam of some type or dairylea. I try and offer lots of fruit (which he loves) as well as some more snacky type bits alongside. The booklet does offer some fantastic ideas of chicken pittas and filled sandwiches (which I'm sure my youngest will love when we get to that age) but these options do not work for my biggest boy sadly.

I put together a couple of lunches taking inspiration from the guide.
This first lunch has a mini bagel with cream cheese in it. (I try occasionally sneaking in cucumber - it comes back in soggy half eaten mess or a sandwich uneaten) Then half a packet of some ready salted crisps, a mixed selections of fresh strawberries and blueberries, a fruit snack school bar and a homemade oaty chocolate bite. These bites are like little flapjacks and the recipe is from Ellas Kitchen Big Baking Book- based on their chunky oaty cookies.
These were made by melting together butter, honey and golden syrup - before adding in oats and flour. I stirred in some chocolate drops also - as a little bit of a treat. Baked for 15 minutes then left to cool. Drizzled over a little melted chocolate and added a few Halloween sprinkles. This mixture made around 16 bites and the oats will give some slow release energy for the afternoon and little brains to work.
This lunch is 4 cream crackers and Dairylea triangle (an easy to digest cheese and biscuits), with the other half of the crisps, a plum and orange, a drinkable yoghurt and an mini apple cake. This recipe is great for using up those soft apples in the fruit bowl. Its a very light sponge mix but heavy on the baked apple. I used dark brown sugar which gives it a lovely caramel flavour.

This recipe is from the really worth buying How to feed your whole family by Gill Holcombe based on her All in One Apple Cake. Using 5 sweet apples chopped and diced mixed with sugar and spices before adding in 2 eggs, a little flour and some oil. Stirring together you get almost a pancake type mixture. I baked these into small cases rather than one big cake. These are a nice little sweet end to a little lunch for little fingers.

My boy is growing big and is always on the go - keeping him in food, and interesting food is one that will be a continual battle in our house. Keeping giving him things he is not keen on and balancing in that alongside foods he will eat is what is working for us right now.


This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by Flora. Check out their lunch planner and recipe ideas here.

Review : Teletubbies Pull Along

We are very lucky at times to be picked for reviews of toys, and we have so much fun. This one came through a while ago but due to life being hectic and me needing some time out the review has not made it onto the blog - I sincerly apolgise for this. I am finding my feet again now. Here it goes.

Now I will admit in my younger years I remeber the intial teletubbie craze - Yes we had pins on our school ties and the cuddly toys - it was strange being a teen in the 90's. Now I have kids of my own and teletubbies has returned to the screens - bringing with it nostaglia and a fondness watching my little ones be interested in the characters of LaLa, Dispy, Tinky Winky and Po.

This little one was super excited when a box as big as him appeared at the door. He was climbing all over the box before I could even get it open. We got sent a Pull and Play Noo-noo The toys are really changing, from the squeeze cuddly toys I remember. This electronic activity centre is packed with features, which includes a 6 piece shape sorted and a 3D puzzle board with the teletubbies characters. It makes sounds and lights up and can be pulled around the room with ease.

The different ways in which children learn has been considered in the design - offering problem solving, encouraging hand and eye co ordination and teaching cause and effect. Its fully interactive and the most important thing is that they have fun playing with it. We have been playing with and talking about colours, naming the shapes and singing the songs. It has been a great piece to have about during the week - as it takes up little room and everything can be stored in the toy (yay for minimal mess). We played a game where I hid the pieces around the room and little man went off on a treasure hunt looking for all the elements to complete the puzzle.

I've found little one a few times quietly sitting emptying the Noo-noo and replacing all the puzzle pieces. Sometimes the simple ideas give the most return.

We really enjoyed playing with this. Its a RRP of £49.99, very sturdy and is bringing lots of fun around this house. I would recommend this as a perfect Christmas gift for little ones.