Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #5

It's meal planning Monday time! Of course it is actually Tuesday but let's not talk about that.  The winter bugs have finally left our house, it took two weeks but I am finally feeling better. We did well with our meal plan last week and ate everything, the boys loved their Chinese food and eating with chopsticks.

This week is mostly eating food we already have in the house. It meant that we had a pretty cheap sueprmarket shop this weel. Hopefully we manage the full week of meals again!

Weekly meal plan #5

Monday Toad in the hole with mash

Tuesday Garlic Parmesan Pasta

Wednesday Salmon, baby potatoes, green beans and carrots

Thursday Cheesy Gammon Pasta

Friday  Fish, chips and peas

Saturday Easy homemade pizza

Sunday Leek and Potato Soup with crispy bacon

If you like to meal plan why not add yours to the link below?

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Win a Selection of Cadbury Chocolate

It's January, the weather is cold and winter bugs are flying around. To help combat those January blues I am giving away some chocolate to one lucky person. Not just one or two bars but 10 bars of Cadbury chocolate all wrapped up in a special postal box and delivered to you. Yum!

All you need to do is fill in the rafflecopter below. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

1. Open to UK residents only.

2. Entrants must be over 18.

3. All entries will be checked and verified. 

4. Please ensure i have a way to contact you if you win.

5. Prize is one postal box containing a selection of 10 Cadbury chocolate bars. No cash alternative. Prize may be subject to change if product becomes unavailable. 

6. Once I have the winners details I will arrange for the prize to be sent direct to the winner. 

7. If I am unable to make contact with the winner within a reasonable time a new winner will be drawn. 

Monday, 23 January 2017

Weekly Meal Plan #4

Four weeks into 2017 already! Last week we managed most of our meals until the weekend despite the poorlyness hanging around all week and the smallest two being on antibiotics. Barney was off his food for some of the week but I can't really blame him and he made up for it with milk. I am hoping this week will be better all round.

Weekly meal plan

Monday Lasagne
Tuesday Pizza Night
Wednesday Omelettes with beans
Thursday Pasta with pesto and peas
Friday Cod bites with potato waffles and peas
Saturday Cheese and broccoli pasta
Sunday Chinese Chicken Curry

Why not join with meal planning Monday? Add your link below.

An InLinkz Link-up

You can also take a look at my previous weekly meal plans and 5 reasons why you should be meal planning

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Totally Pawsome Paw Patrol Paw Print Cakes

Like so many other children my boys absolutely LOVE Paw Patrol, they just adore those pups! Alex spotted some Paw Patrol Paw Print cakes in the 2017 annual and decided that we needed to make them. In fact he left the book open on the correct page on the kitchen worktop. Thankfully I managed to convince him to wait until I had the actual ingredients in the house before we attempted it!

I used my own cake recipe to make the cakes instead of the one in the book as I know it works. For the topping I also used some awesome chocolate milkshake flavoured icing sugar made by Sugar and Crumbs to make the topping. I picked it up in Hobbycraft and it was so yummy that I want to try the other flavours now! You can of course also use normal chocolate buttercream. These totally pawsome chocolate paw print cakes would be so cute at a Paw Patrol or animal themed birthday party.

Paw print cakes

Chocolate paw print cakes

150g margerine, softened
150g caster sugar 
3 eggs, lightly beaten
110g self raising flour
40g cocoa

Preheat the oven to 180° and line a fairy cake tray with paper cases. Cream the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs, flour and cocoa. Beat until you have a smooth batter. Spoon into the prepared cake cases until they are around 2/3 full. Bake for around 15 minutes unil cooked through. Leave to cool.

150g Chocolate Milkshake Icing sugar
150g margerine, softened
Giant white chocolate buttons
Normal white chocolate buttons

Beat the icing sugar and margerine together until you have a smooth buttercream. Top the cakes with the icing, add one giant button and 3 normal sized buttons to make a paw print.

Do you have any Paw Patrol fans in your household? Would they enjoy the paw print cakes?

Chocolate paw print cakes, Paw patrol cake

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Home Education in December

Well December certainly flew past and we are already halfway through January. I don't think I will ever get one of these update posts out on time! Here is an update of our home education in December.

December was definitely about the countdown to Christmas for us but of course learning never stops.Alongside the Lego advent calender(which the boys loved), each day we had an advent task to complete and it has been lots of fun. Some of my favourite activities were making Christmas pudding cakes, gingerbread and Christmas cards.

The start of the month saw Seb making use of his birthday presents. He built the Lego train set he received with no help which was a brilliant achievement. He also received a Hot Wires set for his birthday which is fantastic (I really recommend it), he has spent so much time building the various ideas from the book including a radio, burglar alarm and fan, he can do it all independently. Alex loves getting involved with this too.

We have had a few nice days out including Cannon Hall Farm where we met Father Christmas, visited the animals and let off some steam at the soft play and outdoor play area. They had baby meerkats which the boys loved, they are so cute! We also went to Temple Newsam, local parks and the boys went to Lotherton Hall with their grandparents one day. We also visited the panto Barnsley Civic Theatre with lots of other home ed families.

We have read loads of Christmas themed books this month, we had a few from the library plus our own collection at home. Of course there were some new books under the tree at Christmas for us to get into.  What do Grown Ups do All Day? is a new favourite with us all. We also watched some of our favourite stories on TV, We're Going on a Bear Hunt, The Snowman, The Snowman and The Snowdog and Revolting Rhymes were popular with both boys.

Seb has been really into his maths workbooks this month. He finished his times tables book and has nearly completed a more general maths book including place value,  fractions and time telling, I thought it might be challenging but he seems to be flying through it all.  He was so eager he was even working on it on Christmas eve. We used mini marshmallows to help with fractions which went down well! 
He has also started to enjoy writing which is a big leap as writing has never been something good he is keen on. I have left him to it and just encouraged lots of fine motor activities. This on the he has written his own short story and made it into a book, and him and Alex both enjoyed writing at their desk when I set it up with lots of Christmas cards and fun pens. I am going with the new found enjoyment and hoping it continues.

Of course with Christmas came yet more presents. We received lots of games this year and favourites with the boys have definitely been Orchard Toys games, Road Block Jnr and Pipeline. The last two are so good for logical thinking and we have been playing them a lot.

In December we also finally got round to doing the skittles in water experiment which captivated us all.  I love a bit of kitchen science. We got out some paper plates and coloured pens so the boys could draw what it looked like before and after too.

We ended the month with lots of talk about new year. Lots of questions about how many days, weeks and months are in a year. We let the boys stay up for the first time on new years eve, Seb managed but Alex was asleep by 10pm!

Thanks for reading about some of what we did in December. Come back next month to see what we are getting upto this month. 

Monday, 16 January 2017

Weekly meal plan #3

Happy Monday Meal Planners! Last week was pretty rubbish, we have quite a lot going on at the moment, paired with us all being poorly and limited sleep my motivation waned and our meal plan went a bit awry including a naughty Domino's on Tuesday. Anyway onwards and upwards, here's to a better week ahead.

I went through the freezer and will be emptying it a bit this week. As well as our main meals,  I also have a few portions of soup to defrost for lunches and a huge bag of cauliflower to do something with. I am planning on making a batch of pasta sauce up this week to portion and freeze for lunches and speedy dinners.

Monday Italian chicken and rice

Tuesday Cheesy hot dog pasta

Wednesday A mishmash day from the freezer. Cottage pie for the boys, steak for Phil,  chicken burger for me all with sweet potato mash

Thursday Slow cooked leek and potato soup with crispy bacon

Friday Fish bites with cheesy mash and peas

Saturday BBQ chicken pasta

Sunday Cottage Pie

If you like to meal plan, why not join in with the meal planning linky. Simply add your link below

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Things to do in Dewsbury With Kids

If you follow me on social media or read my blog regularly you will know that as a family we love to get out and about. Yorkshire is so beautiful and there is so much to do. Today I am focusing on things to do in Dewsbury with kids, some of these are in Dewsbury itself, others a short drIve away.
I wrote last year about the closure of Dewsbury Museum and sadly it has now closed but there is still plenty of things to do in Dewsbury to keep you busy.

1. Crow Nest Park This is probably our favourite place in Dewsbury. When Seb was born we lived right by this park and I have lots of memories of walking him around the duck pond and playing in the snow. A green flag award winning park which is lovely in any season. Ducks to feed, grass to picnic on, a playground, outdoor gym and a secret garden. There is a cafe too just in case you fancy a cuppa or an ice cream.

Crow nest park, Dewsbury

2. Dewsbury Country Park A great space to take the kids when they need to run and be free. The boys had fun here splashing in puddles recently. Dewsbury Country Park is being transformed into the largest new woodland in West Yorkshire.

Dewsbury country park

3. Charlottes Ice Cream Parlour My boys love a trip to Charlottes Ice Cream Parlour. As well as the tasty ice creams and milkshakes there are animals, crazy golf, a brand new playground and gorgeous views. In school holidays there are also tractor rides, minature train rides and a giant inflatable slide.

Charlottes ice cream Parlour

4. The Pie Shed This is the perfect place to visit with the kids for a treat of cake and milkshakes. Their cakes are amazing and the range of milkshakes is pretty amazing too. Who doesn't want a unicorn milkshake?

The pie shed, Dewsbury unicorn milkshake

5 Wilton Park and Bagshaw Museum Or as we call it Batley Park and Museum. The park has a lovely big playground,  ducks and swans to feed, a cafe and some nice baths to walk. The museum is great for a small local museum with interesting exhibits from both local history and further afield.

Wilton park, Batley

6. Oakwell Hall and Country Park A bit further on from Batley is Oakwell Hall and Country Park. The hall dates back to 1583 and is open to visitors, we visited last year as part of Heritage Open Day. As well as the house (which has connections with the Brontes) there are beautiful gardens to enjoy. The Green flag award winning country park is lovely for a walk and there is a gift shop, nature trail and great play area too.

Oakwell hall

7. National Coal Mining Museum Around 10 minutes drive from Dewsbury the National Coal Mining Museum is a great place to visit for all ages. Learn all about the history of mining, take a trip 140m underground, meet the ponies, go on a nature trail, tour the site on the on site train or enjoy the play areas. 

8. Savile Town Wharf and Shepley Marina On a sunny day you can't beat sitting at the wharf, seeing the canal boats and having a drink at The Leggers Inn while the kids play on the play frames. Every summer the whole town comes to enjoy Dewsbury Canal Boat Festival (29/30th July 2017) with boat rides,  ice cream and donkeys. Down the road in Mirfield is Shepley Marina which on selected dates runs boat trips for all the family to enjoy.

Canal boat trip

9. Dewsbury Library Dewsburys main library in town has a large well stocked children's area. Every Wednesday there is a story time and craft session and during the holidays there are often activities on including the reading challenge during the summer holidays. 

10. Dewsbury Sports Centre Head to the sports centre and take the kids swimming. The centre offers lessons for all ages as well as normal swim sessions and there is a slide open on selected days. 

11. Soft Play Tire the kids out by taking them to soft play. There is one soft play in Dewsbury itself which is Krazy Kingdom, as well as soft play is also has a trampoline park.

12. Adrenaline International Based in Liversedge Adrenaline International is one of Europe's largest family entertainment centres. Both a trampoline park and soft play along with a cafe for refreshments we can't wait to visit.

13. Royds Park Minature Railway Based in Royds Park in Cleckheaton this minature railway is on our list of places to visit once the weather warms up a little bit

14. Pets at Home If your kids love animals check out Dewsburys Pets at Home who run free workshops throughout the year. Some are after school, some at weekends and some during the school holidays.

If you want to travel a bit further take a look at 60 things to do in West Yorkshire for some great places to visit.  There is so much to do! 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Enjoying the winter sun at Middleton Park

On Sunday we headed to Middleton Park in Leeds to enjoy the winter sunshine that was desperately trying to break through the cloud. I do love a winter walk to blow the cobwebs away. It was really quite mild and we didn't need hats or gloves and the sun did manage to appear.

Just 4 miles south of Leeds City Centre Middleton Park is 630 acres, 200 acres of which are made up of ancient woodland. As well as the amazing woodland the park has a small lake with ducks to feed, a play area and lots of space to run around. There is also a cafe and visitor centre. Middleton Park is also home to Middleton Railway which is the worlds oldest working railway, pretty cool! The park is only 20 minutes from out house but for some reason we have never visited until this weekend.

With wellies on, we set off into the woodland first to explore. It is pretty interesting to walk around as the woods feature many bowl shaped pits which are the remains of an early form of coal mining. I had never heard of this before so it was quite cool to see and learn something new. There are benches dotted along the paths so we had a quick pitstop for an apple. It would be a gorgeous place to sit and eat lunch. There were other families around but it felt really peaceful and calm.
While walking we spotted a family building a den in the woods. The boys were so interested in what they were doing so I think we will be attempting one in the woodland behind our house soon.

We are definitely planning on heading back to Middleton Park in a few weeks when the railway is open again.  There is more to explore in the park and the boys want to go on a train ride.

Why not take a peek at our other local days out.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Barney at nine months old

Barney is now nine months old. I have been thinking about how miraculous babies are recently. How they are born helpless with just a few reflexes and how quickly they develop and change. It really is pretty amazing. Barney is no longer recognisable as the tiny newborn he was just a few short months ago

I haven't had him weighed since our last update but he definitely still growing! He takes around 28oz of milk a day at the moment as well as 3 meals and a snack some days. He is still enjoying his food.
In my last update i mentioned that he was starting to sleep tbrough the night again well scrap that. It lasted a couple of weeks and now we are back to giving a bottle at some point during the night again.  He likes to sleep on his front now and also sometimes wakes himself up by getting wedged into a corner of his cot! He is terrible at napping during the day and will happily have just 15 minutes sleep which is obviously not enough. It is difficult to have proper nap time which is the same every day as we are of course doing different things each day. He would happily naps for ages in my arms but again much as I would love that I have two other children to look after.

We still have a non crawler, he still spends a lot of time on his hands and knees rocking before giving up and rolling instead. He can move his arms and legs but hasn't worked out how to coordinate them yet. We all encourage him to crawl but then I step back and think hang on, I don't want him to crawl, he will be into everything even more!
He is getting very cheeky and I can see glimpses of the toddler he will soon become. He waves and tries to clap, chatters away and is generally a happy little thing.
He has been happier with other people this month. At Christmas he was happy to be held by others and I am thinking of leaving him with grandparents for an hour or so soon to see how he goes.

Being outside
Touch and feel books
Knocking towers down

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Our weekly meal plan #2

The first week of the year flew by in typical fashion and I am back with my second meal plan of 2017 already. Last week went well, we ate everything, woohoo. We also did some baking as Alex was desperate to make some Paw Patrol cake, I will post the recipe up this week as they turned out pretty well.

This week we are using up the left over Christmas turkey from the freezer. I think I am going to get some baking done too, some savoury muffins and maybe a banana bread. I am also going to do a stock take of the cupboards for next week's plan,  they are so full but I never seem to use much from them about the same old herbs etc

Our weekly meal plan

Monday Pork shoulder slow cooked on a bed of onions and apples with mash, veg and gravy

Tuesday Homemade Pizza, garlic bread and salad

Wednesday Cheesy vegetable pasta bake

Thursday Sweet potato and coconut soup

Friday. Turkey and ham pie with green veg

Saturday Date night. Baked brie with bread, popcorn and pringles

Sunday Steak for Phil, chicken for me and the boys with sweet potato fries and veg

What are you eating this week? If you want to start meal planning for the  new year, why not come and join our Facebook group or join in with the linky below.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

December Degustabox 2016

The December Degustabox arrived just before Christmas and today I am bringing you my review and a huge discount code. 

For those who might not be familiar with the Degustabox, it is a monthly food and drink subscription box. Each month they deliver a lovely box full of food and drinks from both new and familiar brands. The lovely team at Degustabox are offering my readers a massive £7 off your first box, all you need to do is sign up and enter the code 0TDCQ at the checkout. This would make a fab treat for yourself to perk up dreary January. 
The December Degustabox was bursting with a real mix of products for us to try out.


Nutri-Brex Gluten Free Coconut and Crispy Rice breakfast cereal is naturally gluten free. They are a bit like a crisper version of weetabix. We have been enjoying them with milk and fresh fruit. I really enjoy these in the morning and they are very filling. 

Bahlsen Liebuken

Bahlsen Lebkuchen Mischung I love Lebkuchen, so festive! These gingerbread type biscuits enrobed(I love that word) in chocolate are a real treat. Bahlsen products are always great quality and these are no different. 

Bahlsen Akora These are heart shaped Lebkuchen but with a jammy filling and come in two flavours.  I am not a fan of filled biscuits but the boys absolutely loved these. 

Hoots snacks

Hoots Snacks These multi grain snacks are baked not fried and provide an alternative to crisps. They are available in 5 flavours;we received salt and pepper and salt and vinegar to try. They reminded us of croutons, they were yummy and we could definitely like to try the other flavours available. 

Eisberg alcohol free wine

Eisberg Sauvignon Blanc Alcohol Free Wine Alcohol free wine can be very hit and miss. Having tried Eisberg in the past I can tell you that it is one of the good ones! This small bottle is going to be used in cooking. 

Gallo risotto

Gallo Risotto We received two Gallo risotto products in this months box. Expresso 4 cheese risotto pouch is super quick to make in a pan or microwave and perfect to serve alongside meat or fish. The Gallo Risotto Box 3 cheese and vegetable is a perfect on the go lunch as it just takes a minute in the microwave with no need to add water. 

Newtons Appl Fizzics

Newtons Appl Fizzics A refreshing blend of apple juice and sparkling water. This is really lovely and would be a nice alternative to alcohol. 

A2 milk

A2 Milk We go through absolutely loads of milk in this house. My boys love it and I do find myself running out midweek. The A2 long life semi skimmed cows milk is the perfect thing to have on hand for these moments. It is easy to digest as it is produced with out the A1 protein which can trigger symptoms of lactose intolerance. 

Maggi 3 minute noodles

Maggi 3 minute noodles Maggi is such a great brand with some fab products and these noodles are no different. Simply pour in some boiling water and leave for a few minutes and you will have some tasty noodles to eat. I do try to keep a couple of these kind of pots in the cupboard for quick lunches and will definitely be buying Maggi noodles in future.

What a Melon

What a Melon I had never heard of watermelon water before trying this and  I was pleasantly surprised by this all natural drink. It is really refreshing (it would be amazing in summer) and I love the vibrant colour and packaging.

Bite+ Falafel

Bite+ Multigrain Flakes These multi grain flakes make a great snack alternative to crisps. We received the Falafel flavour and while they were not to my taste the boys enjoyed trying them.

Oh fudge, apple and cinnamon

Bristows Oh Fudge Fudge is always a hit and these gift boxes filled with wrapped fudge pieces are a perfect present for a host or just to eat yourself. We received Apple and Cinnamon flavour and while it isn't a flavour I would usually opt for I really enjoyed them. 

So that was the December Degustabox. You can also take a look at what we received in previous boxes for an idea of what to expect when you subscribe. You can also say hello to Degustabox on Facebook , Twitter or Instagram

 **I received this box for the purpose of this post, all oponions are my own**

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

How to make Paper Plate Dreamcatchers

I originally saw the idea for paper plate dreamcatchers on Pinterest. Being the the type of person who has a stash of paper plates in my craft cupboard I decided we would try to make our own. Alex goes through phases of having bad dreams so making these for the boys room was a great way to talk about our dreams.
Paper plate dreamcatchers

First up I cut the middle out of the paper plates with some sharp scissors leaving us with the outer ring. Then the boys picked out some bright paints and decorated rings how they wanted.
After painting we drizzled PVA glue over the top and sprinkled lots of gold glitter on top. We left them to dry over night(they were very gluey!). 

The next day the boys punched holes into the paper plate rings. We made a hole for hanging, some inside for weaving and some at the bottom to attach feathers. The boys love using our hole punch so really enjoyed this part!

Paper plate dreamcatchers

We used some rainbow yarn to weave in the centre of the dreamcatchers. They both really enjoyed this part and I will definitely set up some more weaving activities as they are so good for fine motor skills. Then we added more yarn for hanging and some at the bottom. Then we stuck on some bright craft feathers with a little bit of sticky tape.

Our paper plate dreamcatchers are hanging in the boys room and they love them. They are such a bright cheerful craft and are a great way to bring up the subject of dreams in a relaxed way. I am thinking about buying a real dreamcatcher to add to the collection.
Paper plate dreamcatchers

Paper plate dreamcatchers

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