Sunday, 29 May 2011

walk at Wimpole

Instead of going to the farm as we always do, today we decided to walk to the folly. We went through the black gate opposite the stable block and followed the pathway to the front of Wimpole Hall. Then we walked on the path around the house until there was a gate. We could see ridges and furrows in the field opposite, evidence of the plough pulled by oxen used on Wimpole’s medieval farmland.Then we turned right and went through a gate. We followed a footpath away from the Hall across the field (grazed by sheep and cows), walking until we reached the ha-ha and iron bridge. We bore left, towards the lakes reaching the Chinese bridge. We crossed over the bridge and kept going up the hill until we reached the folly. These Gothic ruins, also known as sham ruins, were made purposefully to create a spectacular view from the Hall in 1768. We then followed the path past the ruins and back down the hill crossing over a different bridge.
The girls loved the walk because there were animals to spot, poo to notice, feathers to collect and bridges and fences to climb. Husband was happy because he could collect walking data with his new GPS device (a Garmin 450) - it is quite cool (although you do need to invest in maps).  According to it we walked 3.35km, in 58min plus 38min stopping time (waiting for E)! You can't actually get right to the folly but it was nice to look back to the house. There were some lovely wild flowers and grasses to look at and we saw a rabbit!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Husband's birthday

Today is the husband's birthday but I have left him to go to the Chelsea Flower show. My dad has been looking after P (as he prefered that option than look at flowers). The girls and I made Tim a cake.

flowers flowers flowers and loos

Today I had a childless day and went with my mother to the Chelsea Flower show. I am not a great gardener but there were some lovely gardens.  But enough of the smelly stuff - the Chelsea Flower show as some of the best portaloos - FACT! But word of advice if you ever go - take your own Pimms (or else a small morgage to buy it)!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

what maternity leave is for

... have been at the beer festival today (with P and E) and have tried a range of different beers in the sunshine! What a fab afternoon :).

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

ice-cream 2

Following on from yesterday's pretend play, today we made some real ice-cream. First we went found a recipe and then we went to the shop to buy the ingredients. Then we came back and started. First we made a custard by just boiling 300ml of milk. We whisked 3 egg yolks and 125g caster sugar together and then added this to the milk. We gently heated this and whisked (well Evie whisked and I held the saucepan). When it had thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, we turned the heat off and let it cool. Then we whisked 300ml of double cream. Evie went into the garden and collected some mint and then she washed it and I chopped it. I also finely chopped some dark chocolate. We then added the cream, mint and chocolate to the custard and stirred it. Then we poured it into an old ice-cream tub and put it in the freezer.
This activity has been good for science (we have talked about changes of state and the different parts of a mint plant), PHSE (washing hands and mint) and literacy (reading and following instructions).

Monday, 23 May 2011

ice cream

Inspired both by recent trips to the park (where there is an ice-cream shop) and another blog ( E and I made some playdough (my recipe is so easy - 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, 1 cup of salt and 2 tablespoons oil and then adjust flour and water as needed). We then added yellow food colouring and "nillia" [vanilla flavouring] to make vanilla, green colouring and some freshly picked mint for mint and added cocoa powder for chocolate. E suggested using sequins as sprinkles. E then had an ice-cream shop. I wrote a menu and got some coins (I like to use real ones although was careful not to let P eat them) and we have had a lovely morning with P and me eating lots of ice-cream! What I loved best was E kept telling me "Don't really eat it Mummy; it is just pretend". This was great for numeracy (measuring the ingredients, counting and sorting the money and the language more and less), fine motor skills and speaking and listening.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

weekend bliss

The whole family went on a lovely cycle ride to my favourite play area in Cambridge -  Lamas land. It has such a lot of lovely play equipment that caters for a wide range of ages. After a play we had a picnic and then the wind blew the clouds away so we cycled along Grantchester Meadows to The Orchard Tea Room for cake and ice-cream! WE came home via Hobson's conduit where we all got attacked by stinging nettles. All in all about a 10 mile cycle ride!
Later Miss I made some chocolate muffins for her school snacks from one of her children's cookbooks - I had forgotten how easy muffins are!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

post party

Isabelle and 7 friends enjoyed making pasta at the Cambridge Cookery School. It was brilliant - over 2 hours they made pasta, sauce, chocolate moose, decorated a cake and the ate it all. It was the calmest party ever.  Then we came home and had a BBQ with family with a cake i had made - what a fab weekend.
The rainbow cake was terribly easy to make. I bought some paste food colouring (the stuff crammed with e-numbers and warnings about hyperactivity - but it is only once a year right :) ). Then I made 5 different mixtures each with the Hugh F-W approach to sponge cakes (weigh the egg in its shell and use this weight to give you quanities of butter/SR flour and sugar). I then added the food paste (and then added a bit more to make it really lurid) The mixture went in a base lined cake tin in the oven for 15 mins at 150 (fan).  The yellow food dye made the sponge sticky and so I had to be careful when I turned it out from the tin and when it was on the cooling rack, but I didn't have the same problems with the other colours). The multiple layers and top where joinned and finished with a buttercream icing.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

WOW - I have a 9 year old

It doesn't seem two minutes ago since my lovely Isabelle was a new born baby - I remember looking at her and saying to her I will never get cross with you ever .. Humm well I failed with that one! And now she is 9 - life really does speed up when you have children. Well to celebrate she went off to school with her rainbow cookies, but she said "the class couldn't sing happy birthday to me because the inspectors are in and people might get silly so I will have a special day on Thursday". MJ came down and we went to dinner at Wagamamas!
Isabelle's favourtie colour is purple (I might have said pink!)
Her favourtie book is ... "humm I can't decide lots of books - I like the mysterious Benedict society (current read) ).
Her favorite food is roast potatoes.
She likes to read.
Her best subject at school is history.
She is good at maths and English.
Her friends are Gabby, Olivia and Tom.
She doesn't like having her hair brushed.
She is not good at times tables.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

I am just looking ... I won't touch

says Little Miss E as she looks lovingly at the cakes we have just baked.  I catch her guility moving her finger off the cake - no will power that child. "I'm just trying the icing Mummy" she tells me, "Umm quite good!". I have moved them further back on the worktop. Miss I has made Smartie Cookies (from to take into school to celebrate her birthday. We deviated from the recipe slightly because we added the smarties as we mixed the dough up so now they can't be seen ... plus we made them too big and they spread massively in the oven - still live and learn :). Having sampled one they also came out slightly too dry -  oh well I will have to have another go.Then to take to my friend's I whipped up a wholemeal orange cake with Earl Grey icing - looks yummy!

Friday, 6 May 2011

depression sets in

Today I had to go in to school and hand in my return to work letter. I knew it was coming, mostly I love my job and the people I work with but have really really enjoyed maternity leave - watching P grow and change and also having E at home too and being able to go places with her and play with her and generally not having to rush ... still all good things come to an end :(

Anyway with everyone else at school/nursery  P and I go to a little singing group at the Friends Meeting House on Hartington Grove at 10.15. P's favoutite song at the moment is:

Up Like a Rocket (she likes being up high in the air)
Down Like the Rain (and then dropping down)
Back and Forth like a Choo-Choo Train(followed by being shaked from side to side).

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

1st post

Having spent many an hour reading other people's blogs I thought I would have a go at my own as a place to record my attempts at being a good parent to my children.... how many things do I actually do with my children? Can I figure out how to use this?