Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams


It has happened. It didn’t happen in a week I expected, but it has happened all the same.

I made an entirely inedible cake.

I didn’t fancy making the million layered Dobos Torte thing, the Princess Torte looked delicious but a lot of faff which left me with the yeast-leavened cake option.

I found a recipe for a German Butterkuchen which sounded dead simple and really tasty with its cinnamon sugary topping and ridiculous amounts of butter involved (seriously don’t calorie count this one, it involved 220g of butter!)

butterkuchenI’m not entirely sure what went wrong apart from the yeast mixture never rose – maybe I didn’t let the butter mix cool enough and killed it with heat or maybe the place I left it to prove was too cold. I don’t know but whatever the reason, it didn’t really rise so I didn’t have much hope when I sprinkled over the cinnamon butter sugar topping (I did warn you about the calorie count…) and put it in the oven.

The resulting cake looked like a mountain range which struck me as a little odd and when I sliced the cake it looked mostly like uncooked dough and it pretty much tasted like it too. The crunchy cinnamon topping layer was delicious though and I expect if you aren’t a total lummox with yeast it would actually make a really nice cake to have with afternoon tea. As it was I managed a whole mouthful before putting the rest of my slice in the bin.

butterkuchen2If you want to have a go at making Butterkuchen, the recipe I followed is HERE – I just hope you have more luck than me with it!!

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Many thanks to Kerry Gold for providing the butter for this bake by sponsoring #greatbloggersbakeoff2014 – Sorry I ruined it!!

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GreatBloggersBakeOff
I’m taking part in the #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014
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To see the other great entries in European Cake Week click here to see the linky on MummyMishaps

255sepTori went to a birthday party today and afterwards we went to the park and Caius couldn’t resist drawing on her party balloon. I think the sunshine had gone to his head…

256sepTori came home clutching this Gruffalo Game as a prize for her Summer Holiday project. It’s nice that all my her hard work was rewarded in the end.

257sepCaius is off to a conference tomorrow until Saturday so we all went out for dinner together as a treat. Tori is finally reaching the point where she can try the puzzles on activity sheets which is nice and Arthur was loving his new Cars colouring sheets I had brought for him.

258sepAfter school today I set the Smalls the task of planting a small mountain of bulbs and seeds in our front garden plot in the hope that come Spring and Summer we will have some pretty flowers.

259sepPutting on a brave face for the camera – he had just had his MMR and Pre-school boosters and was feeling sorry for himself.

260sepSports day got cancelled before Summer due to the strikes so it rolled around today instead. Tori had fun and came first and second in her two races and her house team came second overall.

Arthur is suffering after yesterday’s jabs and has a temperature and is generally a bit off colour.

261sepCaius came home today, the kids went to their Dad’s, I baked this week’s GBBO bake (Butterkuchen) and then I went outside to give the guinea pig his dinner only to discover that he has died :‘(

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky


On the last day of the Summer Holidays Tori and Arthur were very excited when the postman delivered a HUGE parcel – they were even more excited when I informed them that it was actually theirs. Inside were a pair of Stretchkins all ready to come out and play – Arthur chose the dog and Tori the frog and they had them out of the boxes in seconds, grinning from ear to ear.

stretchkins1The Stretchkins are big, stretchy cuddly toys with elastic on their hands and feet so they can walk, dance, run and play along with your child. Arthur’s dog is about the same size as him when they stand side by side, which he thought was great.

Both Tori and Arthur ran around with their Stretchkins and even insisted on taking them with us when we walked to a friend’s house – Arthur carried his but Tori walked the whole way with her frog on her hands and feet. She got lots of smiles from passing cars and people we passed commented on how funny and cute she looked.

I loved the way the Stretchkin moved as Tori walked, swinging its head from side to side as it strode along with her – its head turned the right way whenever she lifted her hand to wave too. Tori thought it was hilarious and giggled her way down the street.

stretchkins2

We played board games at our friend’s house and Tori insisted on Frog joining in too – sat on her lap she used his hands attached to hers to roll the dice on his turn. She danced in front of every mirror she passed all day and when Arthur said he was too tired to carry his Stretchkin home we could even use the hand elastic to hang him on Tori’s shoulders for a piggy back home!

Tori sat her Stretchkin in her bookcorner to read with her, Frog and Dog have played with Arthur’s Cars and Trains and have sat at the table for breakfast with us. I think though, the biggest sign that Stretchkins have been a hit is that both Tori and Arthur have insisted on having them in bed every night since they arrived – if that’s not a seal of approval then I don’t know what is.

stretchkins3

The elastic on their hands and feet seem durable – there is very little sign of wear on them after a couple of weeks of play including being worn outside. The elastic did seem a little too strong/tight at first but it soon fitted their hands and feet perfectly after a little while of use to ease it in.

The Stretchkins are very cute and cuddly and can be played with in lots of different ways – they come in four different characters: Frog, Dog, Elephant and Pink Unicorn so there is something to suit every child’s taste.

Suitable for children 3+years they are great for encouraging little ones off the sofa – they are such fun in the way they bop and move around that it is hard to resist larking around with them.

You can buy Stretchkins from Smyths, Argos and Amazon with an SRP of £19.99.

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We were sent two Stretchkins in return for an honest review. No other payment was offered or received.


As ever I am late to the party but here you can Follow my blog with Bloglovin so you will never miss a post again… or something like that.


I have shamelessly stolen this from Liberty who found it on Pinterest – in reality my soundtrack would just be *wimper*gurglegurgle…braaaaaaaaiins *shuffle shuffle* because I suck at running, hiding and fighting so it would be over in about three seconds…

Ah well, iTunes on shuffle and at the ready, here we go:

#1 Wake Me Up When September Ends, Green Day

That works…

#2 Beer or Gasoline, Chris Young

That, however, does not.

#3 Marshmallow Attack! (Frozen OST), Christophe Beck

Appropriately dramatic and sort of chase-y, I’ll take it.

#4 Bye Bye Love, The Everly Brothers

I think my iTunes is cheating. Aside from the ‘She sure looks happy’ lyrics at the start, this works!

#5 Open Your Eyes, Snow Patrol

I can’t decide if this one works or not. The opening line works – ‘All this feels strange and untrue,/And I won’t waste a minute without you.’

#6 The Show, Lenka

‘I’m just a little bit caught in the middle/Life is a maze and love is a riddle/I don’t know where to go I can’t do it alone I’ve tried/And I don’t know why.’  Nice and upbeat and kind of on topic.

#7 The Mighty Quinn, Manfred Mann

Nope, can’t make this one work – it’s just too happy…

#8 Hero, Chad Kroeger (Featuring Josey Scott)

‘I am so high, I can hear heaven./I am so high, I can hear heaven./Oh but heaven, no heaven don’t hear me.’

#9 Heartbeat, Scouting For Girls

I think, iTunes, I’d be skipping more than one. (I told you it was cheating, I didn’t even read the list of what the songs were for until after I did the shuffle and wrote the list…)

#10 Awake and Alive, Skillet

The opening lyrics are appropriate and at least it leaves me with a little sense of hope I guess…

‘I’m at war with the world and they/Try to pull me into the dark/ I struggle to find my faith/ As I’m slippin’ from your arms/It’s getting harder to stay awake/ And my strength is fading fast…’


Now you see this is the week I should dread really. Because I literally never make pastry – I have now done it twice in my life and both were for the Great Bloggers Bake Off. Last time was way more successful.

My hands are too warm for pastry. This is my excuse and I am sticking with it right the way through this disaster.

So, it was pastry week and I had a load of cooking apples sat looking at me in the kitchen and I got sucked in by the guy on the market shouting about British strawberries so I had two boxes of those too – nothing for it, Apple and Strawberry Pie it had to be. So obviously as I had no idea what I was doing, I decided to invent a recipe and completely wing it. The only thing I did was look up a very basic recipe for sweet pastry and I even managed to get that wrong in the end.

Apple & Strawberry Pie

strawberrypie1First up I prepped the apples which came from my parents’ garden so there were a few wriggly inhabitants that needed removing and such like. I then put the chopped apple in a bowl and added a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar (I think it was actually three but in hindsight should have only been two) along with a teaspoon of mixed spice and half a teaspoon of cinnamon. I stirred all these together and left them to… soak? Marinate? Anyway, I left them whilst I made the pastry itself.

I followed the instructions I found and ended up with something closely resembling cake batter so I threw in more flour and a spoonful more sugar and kept mixing until it stopped being basically runny. The recipe I looked at then said ‘roll and use’ which is what I did. I think maybe I should have chilled it for a while first because it was so soft that it just slid down the sides of the pie dish and made holes everywhere and generally looked terrible. I patched it up as best I could and realised that I didn’t have enough to make a top for the pie so I was going to have to make a second lot anyway.

Before doing that I decided to fill my pie as I wasn’t sure I had prepared enough fruit. I put a few halved strawberries on the bottom then poured in the sugary spiced apple mix. I then added a layer of sliced/halved strawberries on the top and used them to fill up any parts that had less filling.

Then I made more dough – slightly more successfully than last time but still super soft and useless – fought it onto the top of the dish, patched it all up and sprinkled the top with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Then I baked it at 180°C for about 30 minutes (almost all of that time I was GBBO-style sitting in front of the oven watching it fearfully) and decided it was done!

The pastry on the top was crisp and crumbly however the filling had produced so much liquid that when you lifted a slice out it quite literally pooled out into the space as strawberry-apple juice – it would have passed as a self-saucing pudding last week! This meant that it most definitely had a bit of a soggy bottom, oops.

I liked the pastry lots and Caius assures me that the whole thing is in fact very tasty – I haven’t converted myself though, I still don’t like cooked fruit…

strawberrypie2

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GreatBloggersBakeOff
I’m taking part in the #GreatBloggersBakeOff2014
-
To see the other great entries in Pastry Week click here to see the linky on MummyMishaps

248au A relaxed day after our long trip yesterday, rounded off with tea in the sunshine at the park.

249sepLast day of Summer for the Smalls and they were very pleased to get some new friends in the post. They are definitely enjoying reviewing Stretchkins and they’ve only had them for a day! (That T-shirt Tori is wearing used to be mine. I got it after falling in a stream on holiday resulting in requiring new clothes. It breaks my head that it fits her now…)

250sepThere they are, much taller than last year but still smiling. Tori all ready for Year 1 and Arthur ready to be in Snail Group at Pre-school.

251sepLetting off a bit of steam after school… (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it.)

252sepIt’s not a birthday meal without cake and you are NEVER too old for a Lightning McQueen cake ;)

253sepThe end of the first week of term and Tori saw it out in style at her friend’s birthday party. We also had a visit from Meggy, Scott, Baby Edith and Jet The Dog AND went to the pub after Tori’s party and had chips for tea!

254sepA relaxed Saturday – we popped round to English Folkfan’s house (and finished eating Lightning McQueen) and I spent the evening blindly inventing this pie for the Great Blogger’s Bake Off. Next time I’m using a recipe…

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