The Elves Arrived!

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Remember my North Pole breakfast post well it happened.

I got up at 6am after a night on the couch to ensure they didn’t hear me sneak down. Phew.

I estimated I’d only need 30 minutes top it look me 50 minutes to prepare as I gently moved spoons one by one out the way to find the right ones. I had thought to set table night before with table cloth and  everything else but not spoons!

Finished just in time.

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The food. So hard to photograph Glitter jelly when it’s pitch black outside but they look great and you barely it’s in jars.

Yum yum although the fruit candy canes were severely overlooked!

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These were more successful than thought and were scoffed pretty fast. After few hours rest we then had porridge.imageimage

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After all that fun it’s good to restock your energy levels

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Will you be doing one? We’d love to see pictures

tracy

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North Pole Breakfast!!

We’ve been doing elf on the shelf for about 2 years now but we’ve never had a special elf breakfast so this year we are! This is my plans because by time we do it maybe you’ll have done yours.

First stop I went to the poundshop. I bought 3 pack of bowls and one of plates plus a 3 bowl tray, paper straws and mini crackers. I have also collected jars and couple of glass bottles. Our table cloth will be laid and the elves in presence.

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Hartleys fulfilled everyones elf food desire by releasing glitter jelly! This is perfect for north pole breakfasts and this is what the jars are for so the kids can see the glitter and they will look pretty on the table too. Click the picture for the food delight I plan to serve.

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North Pole breakfast is all about eating things you wouldn’t normally but I’m a sucker for including healthy treats so heres my food list:

As the breakfast is a welcome back from the elves they will be bringing gifts in the form of chocolate advent calendar for kids and picture ones for adults, also christmas mugs for the kids as christmas isn’t complete without a christmas mug!

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Throughout December we also have other activities and small cheap gifts to keep them busy. Again pound shops are great for these and if you don’t manage them all you can give the rest in their stocking or save till next year.

  • make your own crackers
  • painting decorations
  • fake snow
  • fake snowman
  • writing christmas cards
  • writing santa letter
  • christmas eve box: pjs, hot chocolate and a book to share.
  • making treats for the family dog
  • making christmas biscuits

Hope you like some of my easy, cheap ideas. We will see you next weekend when we will hold our breakfast and you can all meet our Elves.

tracy

Reducing your Food Bill

I’m constantly trying to reduce our food bill whilst not compromising on quality! We have one cows milk protein allergy child, one vegan wannabe and I’m intolerant to cow’s milk so we spend a lot on soya milk. Therefore I need to save in other areas.

Here’s what I’ve done.

  • If you like free range eggs buy mixed weight box I get 15 free range eggs for £2
  • Check if buying separate is cheaper than multipacks. Ive bought single soup tins cheaper than multipacks and it’s cheaper to buy 2 smaller washing powder boxes (22 washes£3 each) than one big one (40 washes £8) and I get more for less.
  • Make a weekly/monthly menu and list so you only buy what you need
  • Try shop brand items (one up from value) for a cheaper price things like: cereal, butter, yoghurts for kids, flour, custard, baked beans, tomato sauce, kids treats all taste great except batter, dumpling mix, gravy granules, fruit juice, which I buy as value items. Only thing we buy branded are: vimto, chocolate, crisps, tomato soup, washing powder.
  • If you’ve time in your week check out local fruit and veg shops as they are lots cheaper than supermarkets. Also check locally as close to us there’s a few places where people sell what they grow from their garden wall and they taste divine with super cheap prices. Also if you go to a veg shop you can get half or a full bag of potatoes that could last you most the winter
  • Sometimes its worth buying organic salad and veg as lasts longer therefore saving you especially things like carrots which as a value item come in huge bags and cucumber.
  • As it’s nearly halloween buy edible pumpkins you can carve them with the kids and eat the inside so no waste!
  • Buy juice and fizzy water for cheap fizzy drinks without the brand price tag
  • Check prices don’t just pick up what you normally get sometimes things go on offer sometimes its cheaper to buy a bigger item than smaller as will last longer and save you next trip if you shop weekly.
  • Consider shopping for cupboard things less. We shop fortnightly and it’s cheaper as I can buy tons of milk and pasta knowing it’ll last and I can buy things I can use for multiple meals also instead of throwing half away because by time I go shopping again it’ll be off
  • Bulk cook. If it’s cheaper to say buy bigger pack of mince buy it and freeze the extra meal for an easy throw in the oven meal later in the month
  • If you’ve a weaning or small toddler save a few spoonfuls of each meal easily for ready to go home cook food
  • Bulk out meals with cheaper items like lentils, pasta and veg
  • If you shop online check any offers on. I shop with sainsbury’s and some days you can get free delivery if you spend over £40 and get it delivered after 2pm

We would love to hear your tips what works for you!

tracy

 

 

 

 

Weekend fun

This weekend we got up to all sorts!

We had a guest for lunch so whilst I cleaned the playdough was out.

Daddy Critter made a Chinese Buddha.

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Big Critter made sausage rolls..

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…& other food! Chips I think

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Baby Critter wasn’t impressed at not being allowed to play.

Next we needed to go shopping for food ( it was late lunch so there was time)

So post bag was packed with Pappi

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This is Pappi & Big Critter. Pappi (pap-ee) has been with us since Big Critter was 12 months old hes now 5 & a half. He’e very loved & comes on all sorts of adventures.

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Once we were home it was time to throw bouncy ball up the stairs & catch it whilst mummy cooked!

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Today being Sunday we’re just relaxing watching Tv whilst mummy crafts & the baby sleeps. Bliss

tracy

Wonderful world of lemons

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I love lemons they have all sorts of uses some include:

cleaning power, useful for your fridge to keep it fresh, over a salad, cooked with salt & aparagus yum!, can stop fruit browining so perfect for a fruit salad!

Here’s 3 thins I recently used lemons for:

Lemon Cake

I made two one for Big & Baby Critter’s Nannie & one for home. Super yummy cake & not too big either so can indulge a little without a massive cake to add to your hips. Preheat oven to 180 C

225g of each: butter, caster sugar & self raising flour,

4 eggs & zezt of 1 lemon.

Cream the butter & sugar, add eggs. Sift in flour & bake!

I covered mine with tinfoil for first 30 mins to stop it burning then baked uncovered for a further 15-20 minutes & browned beautifully.

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Lemon Water

Its a well known fact lemons are sour & acidic but it’s probably less known they are alkali forming when digested! This makes them perfect to add a few slices to water to make refreshing health benefiting drink. I often do this for a change but this makes it perfect for skin complaints, headaches, sore tummy from too much acid foods. If you have health issues its worth a look into alkali diet to solve them I used it to heal my blistered eczema worked a treat & tastes sooo yummy

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  Lemon sugar scrub 

Click the title for the link of how to make this. Literally made from sugar & lemon juice with some olive oil. It leaves my skin so soft & lush. Its cheap to make & doesn’t go often quickly so perfect as a present too.

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TRACY 🙂

 

Victoria Sponge

I made this other day & had to share because it was SOOO yum! My cake making tastes good looks rubbish you’ve been warned.

Preheat oven 190/fan 170/GM5*

CAKE

200 g caster sugar

200 g softened butter

200 g self raising flour*

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder*

2 tablespoon milk*

FILLING

100g butter

340 g jam

140 g icing sugar

Mix cakes ingredients all together. To reduce lumps sieve the flour & pre softened the butter.

Grease 2 sandwich tins or 1 bigger cake tin line with greaseproof paper & grease that. Bake for 20 minutes. I personally found it took 40 minutes & had to cover with foil to stop top burning.

Whilst that is cooking beat the icing sugar & butter together for filling.

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If you used 2 tins skip this step. Once cake is cooked & cooled slice in half, easiest way is to hold top firm & slice through.

Smother in the butter icing & top with jam, replace top & dust with icing sugar.

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Now this bit requires lot of attention but is easiest part….. EAT CAKE!!!

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*These are common acronyms you may find on your recipe travels:

self raising – SF

tablespoon – tbsp

teaspoon – tsp

gas mark – GM

tracy

 

Barnardos Eggciting Challenge!

So Big Critters new school has handed out fundraising packs to raise money for Barnardos. The challenge we are set is look after a hard boiled egg for a week without cracking.

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You can keep a diary & decorate your egg, taking pictures as you go. We got behinds sorting this so egg is awaiting Big Critter in the kitchen. Once he’s home from school he wants to decorate it as a Jawa from Stars Wars. This is fairly easy & requires small amount of black paint & a gold pen.

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 So I just popped egg in with this & slowly boiled for about 20 minutes to prevent cracking.

Unlike previous requests from old school we are asked to get 1-2 donations not ask all & sundry to donate this is brill because puts less pressure on the kids & teaches them little is better than none. We will ask family & hopefully donate at least £5.

Few hours later Big Critter is home & off we go! We drew a rounded triangle for the jawa face & filled it in.

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Using gold pen we draw two little eyes.

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Proud owner of boiled Jawa egg, who after 6 shots wouldn’t concentrate long enough to look at camera! 

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Houdini!!!!!!!!!!

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Will update at end of week with a hopefully intact egg.

tracy