Push Cakes

Bank Holiday Weekend baking with Lil D is always a good idea.

Having watched yet another YouTube video, Lil D had her heart set on pushcakes.

First up the sponge.

We’ve been obsessed with the funfetti craze we’ve been seeing everywhere at the minute so we opted to try lemon “skin” and sprinkles for our sponge. Baked flat on a baking sheet and sliced right down the middle when cool, ready to cut out circles.  Experience shows regular sprinkles do not show up when baked so no spectacular funfetti this time. The circle cutting was hugely satisfying though, and the scraps are on standby for some Danish Romkuglar (Rum Balls).

Next you need frosting to create layers between your sponge circles.  Lil D decided on purple but something brighter could have been more effective.  She assembled her pushcake all by herself, piping and squishing sponge down with glee.

In the meantime I was moved to play with the mini cake shapes.  They screamed mini victoria sponges – an idea we really need to keep in mind for future baking moments.

Mini food is fantastic and we all enjoyed today’s activities so well done YouTube, you win again (^-^)

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April book club: Jim Reaper

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Jim has a dream. He dreams that his parents will buy him a limited edition Bazoom!, an awesome scooter, and his best friend’s sister will think he’s as cool as she is.   The problem is that there are only a limited number of Bazooms! left and mum’s definitely not going to buy it given her obsession with staying healthy.

So that leaves dad.

Except while trying to convince dad, Jim and his friend Will discover that the mathematically challenged accountant may not be spending his days (and nights) crunching numbers…

This is a fun story with a cast of characters that make you laugh: from Will, Jim’s best friend, with his jelly brain and obsession with snails, to Jim’s little sister Hetty, whose worldly wise attitude sits alongside her love of blackmail.

The language is accessible to young readers and the pace keeps everyone moving along nicely. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the story and look forward to reading more about Jim Reaper.

Watermelon Coasters

IMG_4063Spring time, healthy eating, brighter days, watermelon coasters… They all go together in auntiedotes world.

Bear spotted these on pinterest, and having brought them to my attention how could I not give them a go?  An hour per coaster later and no glass need ever sit on the table unadorned again!

What’s the point of being able to crochet if you can’t make fun stuff.

The super simple pattern can be found here

 

An Eight Year Old’s Guide to surviving your first concert.

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Little Mix- Get Weird Tour

 

When your two awesome aunties present you and your mama with tickets to your first ever concert you gotta get yourself mentally prepared.

*Start by watching all their videos on YouTube.  Learning the words and dance moves just makes sense.  Be sure to point out how little the girls are wearing in all those videos.

* Plan your perfect outfit.  The more bling the better.  This is, after all, an occasion darling. Keep in mind that with great shoes comes great responsibility.  Hope that Mummy has plasters on standby.

*Be prepared to stay up wa∼y past your bedtime.  Unheard of (especially on a school night)

*Bring your people watching eyes.  There are sooooo many people at this concert.  Some have really cute outfits.  Some are even younger than you. Woah, those two girls are getting the action signed for them. How cool!

*Expect LOUD noises.  We mean way louder than you’ve ever been allowed to play your music.  Good job Mummy was able to fashion some impromptu earplugs.  #MacGyver moment

*Accept that you may have to listen to a LOT of songs that you really don’t know and a LOT of chat that you can’t really understand before they finally sing your favourite songs.  No fast forward button here more’s the pity.

*Remember that there will be screaming.  Girls can really scream when motivated.  Warm up those vocal chords and join in or thank Mummy again for her ingenious earplug solution.

* Tell all who will listen just how awesome your aunties are.

Pom Pom Planets

The planets have aligned. Pom poms meet science!

I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying it is to create a solar system in a morning (^-^) The rings of Saturn, the eye of Jupiter, whether or not to include Pluto – the megalomaniac in me is pleased.

These little cuties will make a gorgeous mobile for some budding scientist. They’re out of this world ☄

Swedish Chokladboll

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Swedish Chokladboll

Ever since trying the fabulous mocha balls in KaffeO (Belfast) I’ve been obsessed with having a go myself.  Memories of Stockholm and Copenhagen trips are always worth reliving.

A quick google led me to this recipe. Oats, butter, sugar, cocoa and coffee.  No bake simplicity.

As I followed the quick steps I began to fear dryness. The KaffeO chokladboll had been so moist and chocolatey.  I began to suspect further experimentation would be needed but gamely carried on. (Mostly because I had used all my oats.)

After an hour of chilling in the fridge the mixture did form a ball but I wasn’t convinced that they would be the texture I was looking for. Still, the mixture tasted amazing so at worst I’d made an awesome sprinkle for icecream.

A couple more hours in the fridge and the verdict is in. They held together as a ball; not as dry as I’d feared but definitely not as moist as I wanted.  The flavour had sadly dulled a little with the chill but hope is not lost.  There will be a revenge bake.  I’ve since seen a creamed butter method or the addition of cream for moisture.  I can *totally* see these as my signature afternoon tea offering, just as soon as I can get them right.

Walking our way to fun

It was a great surprise to receive a Fitbit Flex for my birthday (thank you Bear) in a fetching bright pink (yay colour!) Even more of surprise how interested the whole family was in what this thing can do…

 

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My fancy new Fitbit Flex

Count steps that’s what!

Woo!

I already track my steps with phone based pedometer, but who has their phone with them every minute of the day?  This tracker on my wrist stays with me day and night, tracking my steps and my sleep! Yay for a more accurate look at my activity!

Lil D was at nanny’s over Easter so, of course, she needed to have a day and night with it on. I’ve since read lots online about how kids don’t need trackers like this, that they don’t need the motivation of counting steps- but she has a healthy competitiveness and is already the most active of us all.  She loved challenging herself to get to the next step landmark (for Auntie Eims records of course!) Maybe a tracker that tells her steps right there on her wrist would be better than one that relies on an app to update, but she’s a tech savvy girl with no problem getting into the app.  (FitBit officially don’t set up accounts for children under 13, so we’d really need to look into a different type of tracker if any of the kids wanted one).

We walked, we danced, we played football, we walked around the house strangely to get us to the 10000 steps! And it was fun!  It just so happened that Lil D had just got some flashy new trainers and even more exciting leggings (complete with zip up pocket in the back, ideal for key holding says Lil D). Brighter days and longer evenings all combined to the make this the most active Easter break ever!

Mysteriously when Lil D went home, the step count total was somewhat smaller… (it was Sunday- a good day to rest!)

Nanny is eyeing the Fitbit now too…maybe we should all get one?  You can apparently challenge friends through the app…  which of us will do the most steps?

(P.S. walking to work every day means that I achieved a marathon -26 miles- in 5 days…I’d say I’m unbeatable!)