Wednesday, 15 April 2015

No school place for us

Tonight many parents of 3 and 4 year olds across the country will be waiting up nervously for THAT email to arrive in their inbox, the email that tells them what primary school their child will be attending in September. I am mum of a 4.5 year old but there will be no school place for us.
I decided months ago not to apply for a school place even "just in case", it seemed a bit pointless when I had no intention of him attending. With each stage that has passes it feels more and more like we are now home educating instead of simply parenting(that's a whole other blog post). I guess September when everyone begins school will be the last stage although nothing will change in our house, we will simply carry on as we are; learning through play and everyday life, following Sebs lead.
People are starting to ask about Seb and school;  if he has been that day, is he due to start in September and so on. I haven't had any negative responses (to my face) about home education yet but I'm sure I will have to deal with it at some point. Seb himself has happily told people that his school is at home, not something I have told him but it seems he has worked it out himself.
I feel confident in my choice at the moment, I feel it is the right path for our family right now and we are excitedly making plans for September such as Not Back to School picnics and a Center Parcs break.

Slow Cooker Corned Beef Hash

When I posted in my meal plan that I was making Slow Cooker Corned Beef Hash this week, I had a couple of people ask how I did it in the slow cooker so I thought I would write down how I make it to share. 

Slow cooked corned beef hash,  family crock pot recipe

I have previously posted my normal Easy Corned Beef Hash recipe for oven cooking  but for the slow cooker corned beef hash i do it a little differently. It's all about the layering! This is so quick and easy to put together but goes down really well with kids and adults alike. An easy family meal that you can adapt to your families tastes. 

Tin of baked beans
Tomato Ketchup
1 onion
1 pepper
1 tsp dried crushed chillies/chilli flakes
Tin of Corned beef
3 or 4 potatoes
50g cheddar cheese

Pour your tin of beans into the bottom of the slow cooker and then add a couple of squirts of tomato ketchup and some chilli.
Dice your onion and pepper (I sometimes sneak a grated carrot in too) and add to the beans and stir it all together. Open your tin of corned beef and roughly dice it, layer on top of the bean mixture and gently press the corned beef down with the back of a spoon. Slice your potatoes thinly( i don't bother peeling them) and layer on top of the beans/beef. I add 2 layers of sliced potatoes so the mixture underneath is covered. 
Cook on high on high for around 3 hours or low for around 6 hours.

Check the potatoes are cooked using a knife and if they are, sprinkle the grated cheese on top on them and leave to melt with the lid off for around 20-30 minutes, once the cheese is nice and melted it's ready to serve.
Don't forget to check out my other slow cooker recipes. 

Monday, 13 April 2015

Diggerland Yorkshire Review

On Saturday we headed to Diggerland Yorkshire in Castleford, West Yorkshire. We were lucky as the day was dry and sunny and the boys couldn't have been more excited. Seb was eagerly reading us the leaflet we had, telling us all about the free parking and baby changing and of course the DIGGERS!!!

We live fairly close to Diggerland Yorkshire and had looked at going previously but I will be honest the price put us off. On the door prices are £19.95 for any child or adult(upto age 65) over 90 cm tall, any child under 90 cm is free and over 65's are £9.95. For us that would mean it would cost nearly £60 or £80 in a couple of months when Alex hits 90cm which is alot of money to a young family. You can pay a bit less by booking and paying online which is always handy.

We arrived at around 11am, it was easy to find with clear signage and there was plenty of (free)car parking. We headed to the entrance and were greeted by a friendly member of staff who explained what we needed to know, stamped our hands and waved us in.

Diggerland Yorkshire

I really wasn't sure what to expect, I had worn boots and the boys wellies as I thought it might be muddy but it was all paved and my first thought was how clean and tidy it was, it looked like the place is really well looked after. The second thing I noticed was SpinDizzy a huge JCB which lifts you up in the air and spins you! Phil and Seb went straight on, Alex is too small for the ride so we kept our feet firmly on the ground!

There is a path that leads you round the different activities each fitted with a safety gate and an arch telling you the height restrictions for the activity, some safety info (some bits arent suitable if pregnant, have heart issues etc) plus facts about the diggers. Each activity is manned and I have to say the staff were great, really friendly and I loved that there was a pretty much even split of males and females as I had expected it to be fairly male dominated.

The park isn't huge but there is plenty to do, you can have unlimited goes on the rides and we took advantage of that, luckily for us the park wasn't too busy so we never faced long waits for a ride. As Alex is under 90cm he was limited with the things he could go on, this was fine as all the information you need on the height restrictions is online so we knew before going and to be honest he was happy just watching everything. There were some rides for over 90 cm and some for over 1m, Seb was able to go on everything and in a couple of months when he hits 110cm he will even be able to drive many of the machines on his own.

After giving everything a go we headed up to the restaurant area where we had a quick bite to eat. It was very clean and reasonably priced and there were even some (coin operated) rides in there. Phil said he thought it would be nice to have some colouring sheets and crayons available in here which I thought was a good idea. There are also toilets and baby changing in here and they were also clean.

There is also a soft play area(included in the entry price) on site we popped our heads in here and it was a nice sized soft play but it was really busy with no empty tables to sit at so we gave it a miss. Instead we headed back to have another go on a couple of rides before heading home.

Of course we had to buy something in the gift shop before leaving and I found it really reasonably priced, I got some pyjamas which were £5.99 a pair and the boys got a digger toy eachieve which were £4.99 there are also some pocket money bits like Diggerland medals for 99p and everyone gets a free Diggerland certificate which is a lovely idea.

So do I think Diggerland Yorkshire is worth the money? For our family, yes I do! The boys absolutely adored it there and didn't want to leave, Seb wanted to revisit his favourite rides and before bed(in his new pyjamas) he told me that he had had a very exciting day. Even us grown ups had fun. It is definitely more expensive than other days out so perhaps one for special treats or for a birthday. In fact I am already thinking of sending Phil Dumper Truck racing there for his birthday!

For more information take a look at the Diggerland website, you can also followDiggerland on Twitter.

**We were sent complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review but all opnions are my own**

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Banana Honey Flapjacks

At the weekend we were going out for the day, i wanted to pack some snacks to take along to keep our energy levels up,  so I decided to get my bake on using some of the ripe bananas we had in the kitchen. I usually make banana bread or pancakes both delicious but i fancied trying something different.  These more ish Banana Honey Flapjacks are a great addition to a picnic, lunchbox or just as a tasty snack.

Banana honey flapjacks

40g Butter
60g Sugar
1tbsp Honey
2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
200g rolled oats
Preheat the oven to 200° and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper. Melt the butter in a pan then add in the sugar and the honey and stir together.  Peel and mash the bananas and then add them into the butter mixture. Add the oats and combine.Spoon the mix into the lined baking tin and flatten down with the back of the spoon. Bake in the oven for around 15-20 minutes until golden on top. Leave to cool and cut into fingers or squares.
These are fab as they are or you could add dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips into the mixture. Keep in an airtight tub for several days. 

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