|FOOD|A-Z cooking with kids - Lion cupcakes

We are joining in with the A-Z Blog hop today hosted by our friends 3princessesand1dude we chose the letter 'L' and decided to make Lion cupcakes!

These are really simple for little ones as it's just like playing with play dough but they are super effective.  Perfect for a birthday or play date.

Ingredients - makes 10 muffin paper sized cupcakes
100g self raising flour
100g butter
100g caster sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp Vanilla essence
1 pack white ready to roll icing
Cocoa powder
Yellow food colouring
A small white icing tube
1 tsp jam

Heat the oven to 160oC.
1. Beat the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour and fluffy.
2. Beat the eggs with the vanilla essence and add a tablespoon at a time along with a tablespoon of flour, mix in well befor repeating until there is no more mixture.
3. Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases, you want these to be flat on top so don't over-fill.
Once cool decorate.
Method for decorating
1. Split icing in half, mix half with yellow food colouring and half with cocoa powder, and knead well until mixed throughout.

2. Roll out the yellow icing and using a glass or cutter the same size as the top of the cakes cut enough circles for all yours cakes.

3. You will need to re-roll to make them.

4. From the leftover icing sugar, roll out 20 small balls, make 10 balls of the same size from the brown icing.

5. Use a Gallic press to make the mane, put in a small amount and give it a really good squeeze, smaller children may need a little help to squeeze, it depends on your press.  We used 3 lots of icing for each mane.

6. Ues a little water mixed with a tiny bit of jam as 'glue' and stick the icing base on top of the cake, squeeze the 2 yellow balls and brown ball together to form the mouth and nose, you may need a little jam glue underneath to make it stick.

7. Add a dot of white icing for eyes. And roll tiny balls of brown icing for the pupils, drop on top of the white icing.

8. Attach the mane using the jam glue, if you prefer you can add the mane all around the face (I thought that would be too much icing though!)

I hope you've liked our cakes and have seen how easy it is to decorate them with children.  Becky is running an accompanying linky for this blog hop, so if you have any cooking with kids posts, grab the badge and link up! 

A-Z Cooking With Kids

|#letslearn|Lets learn Linky

If you are looking for the #letslearn linky I’m afraid that I have decided to stop running it, it just hasn’t take off in the way that I wanted it to and so I am no longer going to be hosting it.

A big thanks to everyone who has previously linked-up and for those who have supported us each week.

I will still have an educational/learning post each Friday and I will be using #letslearn on social media.  I’ll also be continuing to build the pinterest board so if you fancy a re-pin, re-tweet, share or repost make sure that you use the hashtag and tag me in.

Thanks again, much love Leandra x

|FOOD|Branston caramelised onion chutney sausage rolls

So with the success of our Branston Burgers recipe I thought I'd try another Branston based recipe on the family at the weekend. 

Here, I've added. Nice layer of the onion chutney to the sausage rolls before cooking. It was delicious!  Really added a nice twist to sausage rolls even though maybe I should have cut them into 3 not half 😉 or just serve with some salad. 

Ingredients - makes 9 decent sized rolls or 6 'mahoosive' ones (shown!)
1 sheet puff pastry
1 pack sausage meat (I also made some using my vegetarian sausage roll recipe)
3 tbsp Branstons caramelised onion chutney
1 beaten egg to wash

Heat oven to 160oC

1. Cut the pastry sheet into 3 with the long edge horizontal. 

2. Spread a layer of chutney along your pastry, I used 1 tbsp but experiment, you may prefer more or less! 

3. Roll the pastry into sausage shapes and place on top of the chutney. 

4. Use the egg wash to paint along the length of the pastry and roll to form a seal. Cut each into 3, or 2 'mahoosive' ones like I did!  Make sure that the seal is underneath when on the baking tray. 

5. Paint with egg wash. 

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes and serve! 

You can also cut the lengths into smaller sausage rolls for parties!  

I hope you've enjoyed these, if you make them do let me know! 

Have a look at the Branston website for  lots more Branston recipes

|OUT AND ABOUT|Delapré Abbey, Battle of Northampton re-enactment

Back at the beginning of the month we visited a beautiful local house called Delapré Abbey, at the moment there is a big renovation going on at the Abbey so you cannot visit the house without prior arrangement and not everyone will be accepted to visit.

The gardens are open year round, however and are free. There's lots of space to run around and enjoy the fresh air! 

Our visit coincided with the anniversary of the Battle of Northampton which was being remembered by a fantastic medieval re-enactment. 

The 'battle' took place in the gardens, there were 4 teams of knights battling to win. I was incredibly surprised that the actors were really fighting and some of the clashes were quite nasty, I can't imagine what it would really have been like in Medieval times, pretty gruesome I expect!  

One of the poor men received a rather nasty blow to the 'gentlemens vegetables' as the particularly good lady commentator announced! 

We had a great time sitting in the sun cheering for our side which happened to be the home team, who, of course won!  The sun was shining, the swords were clashing and our little Knight had a fantastic time. I thought that T would enjoy it as he is really into Knights right now but I had no idea just how much The Hubs would enjoy himself, he was really getting into it and enjoyed it almost as much as T 😂

If you liked this post and you are local to Northamptonshire or just visiting us, you can see all of our local out and about posts here.

Monkey and Mouse

|FUN|Oobleck colour mixing Tuff Spot

Sometimes it’s the super simple activities that are the most popular and teach your little ones without them even realising.  This tuff spot was one of those invitations to play.

This started when T was watching his Dad mix some cement to fix our shed!  He was absolutely fascinated by the fact that the water and cement mix made a solid mixture.  He asked if he could have a go and I said I’d set up something similar for him to do.  Little did I realise that this would last over 2 hours!

I started by adding water to some small bottles, squirters and providing some syringes along with a box of corn flour, paints in primary colours and mixing items like spoons and pots.

We started mixing some paint into the water and then mixing that with some corn flour.  We talked about the secondary colours and how mixing primary colours made them.  It didn’t take long before I could leave T to his own devices and leave him to do his own thing.  

T then decided that he wanted his brother H who’s 15 to come and help and between them they came up with measuring how much water to add to corn flour to make the traditional oobleck mixture.  Then how much of the primary colours were needed to mix a ‘perfect’ secondary colour.

It was great seeing the boys working together, enjoying each other’s company and basically finding their own entertainment with such a simple tuff spot invitation.

This activity covers the following learning skills:-

Science (Physics)
Maths (Measuring)
Art (Colours)  

Like this post?  You can see all of our tuff spot posts here.

Monkey and Mouse

|LEARN|Education quizzes - great quizzes for revision

 The coming year marks 3 very big milestones in the academic year for us, Kelsey is sitting her A-levels, Hayden will be sitting his GCSE’s under the new format and it’s Thomas’s first year at primary school!

Although the teens don’t live with us and so do little homework with us, we still like to support their education and make sure that they have everything they need to feel comfortable with their learning and revision.

When I heard about Education Quizzes I headed over to the site to have a look at what it offered, lots of fun education quizzes based on the national curriculum from Key Stage 1 through to GCSE’s.  A number of the quizzes are available for free and the subscription costs just £7.50 per month, which will provide a plethora of quizzes for your children.

Aware of the fact that not all parents can afford the subscription fee, Education Quizzes have just launched a school subscription which can work out to as reasonable as £2.00 per pupil per year, the rate does depend on the number of students at the school but I’m sure that most schools could actually afford this, I shall definitely be mentioning it to Thomas’s school to support their learning. I think that offering quizzes for revision or homework would be a great addition for any school to offer. You can see more information about the School subscription here or share with your children’s schools.

I really wish we’d have known about this when Hayden was sitting his 11 plus, I think that is would really have helped with him feeling more confident about taking the exam and  I’m sure that around revision time next year he will really benefit from using this resource and taking the quizzes to support the work he is doing at school towards his learning.

The KS1 quizzes look perfect for after Thomas has completed his Reception year and I’m sure we will really benefit from using them.  Both of the boys are definitely the sort of children who benefit from learning without knowing they are learning and this method is absolutely perfect for that.  I love that it’s computer based and that there are focused areas for Students, Parents and Schools.

So, why not share this link with your school and see if they will sign-up and help other parents and children during these really important times in your children’s life.

 Disclaimer: this post has been written in collaboration with Education quizzes.

|FUN|tin can alley game

This week on the Kids make and bake channel T made a simple tin can alley game from recycled tin cans.

It's really simple and doesn't take long to save the cans, you could also use drinks cans if you have them.  
Why not challenge your whole family to a game?  It's great for all ages.

New video's are up every Monday, we'd love it if you would give us a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel!

|FUN|5 second rule cards for tots

Have you heard of the game 5 second rule?  It's a family game where each player has 5 seconds to name the 3 items on their card.  The game can be played simply, just with a timer and great memory to inventing 3 items or, like us you could have the board games version.

T loves to play family games and if you've followed me for a while, you probably realise by now that family time is so important to us and we like nothing more than a family games night.

This is a particularly favourite game, but it's age 8 and over so trying to include T was getting a bit difficult, he liked having his own card but we found that trying to think of challenges on the fly was getting difficult.

I decided to create some cards for him myself with some more simple challenges so he could join in with the rest of us.

My cards are in PDF format and you can download a set of our 5 second rule for tots cards here.

They can be printed on card in duplex or printed separately and stuck together.

Don't feel that you have to use the board game, as long as you have a timer and a few challenge ideas, you too can play this game, you can even download an app to play the game and use these cards to include your little one!

Do you adapt any family games in order to include your little one?  I'd love some more suggestions to expand our family games.


|#letslearn|let's learn linky week #11 - 15 July

So who's on countdown?  Although we don't have summer break yet (T's nursery is all year) we still have loads planned!  I can't wait!

Thanks so much for linking up last time I've pinned all relevant posts to my #letslearn pinterest board pop over and take a look of you missed them.
Welcome to #LetsLearn, my weekly linky for all your learning blog posts, from early motor skills with babies and STEM activities to reading and writing for early years to GCSEs and beyond with your older children.  You are welcome here at #LetsLearn.  

We all know that kids learn more through play and whilst they are playing they learn far more than sitting at a desk, so learning with lots of fun is very encouraged here.

My favourite post last week was this great dump truck alphabet game from homeschoolpreschool.

My post this week if for these 5 second rule for tots cards.

Onto the linky...

Please link up to 2 posts, old or new.

The rules are pretty basic stick to 2 posts and comment on at least 2 posts please including mine. 

I'd really appreciate you grabbing my badge please too, or at least pop a link back to here to say you are joining in as it helps to spread the word for me.

{I'll only comment and share on posts that have linked back to me}

I'd also really appreciate any social sharing or spreading the word about this new linky please, I really want it to be a success!  
The Linky is open right through until Sunday night.   By linking up you agree to be reminded by twitter or newsletter, if you'd like to be removed, please email me or comment :)

|FOOD|branston burgers

We were recently sent a box of goodies from Branston to try, having 3 boys who love Branston pickle I knew I'd have some keen testers!

I thought I'd use some of the Original pickle to spice up one of the boys favourite meals, burgers and I used some of the rich & smokey BBQ sauce on top!  These went down really well, they all liked the addition of the pickle and some vintage cheddar and little gem lettuce finished them off a treat.
(photo from the Branston website)
Rather than pepping up a family favourite, why don't you take a look at the Branston recipes on their website, there are some great ideas to try, we'll be giving the Sticky pork chops a go soon!
Ingredients:- (makes 10 burgers)
250g lean mince
1 egg, whisked
3 tbsp. original Branston pickle
1 breadcrumbs made with 1 thick slice of bread
1. Mix all ingredients together, with your hands.
2. Make into patty's or burgers, we've got a burger press which is a godsend and makes them really easily but you can also do this by hand.
3. Cook on a BBQ, gently fry or cook in the oven until cooked through (time will depend on thickness of your burgers)
4. We served with some lovely vintage cheddar, little gem lettuce and Branston rich & smokey BBQ sauce.
I'd love to hear from you if you try this recipe ;)  how do you like to eat your Branston?