Saturday, 30 March 2013

Will I let you into a secret?

I will let you all into a secret, we have decide to move house this summer. We have been here four years come June but have the opportunity to move somewhere else, somewhere that has better long term security for us. Somewhere that I can paint a wall any colour I want, decorate the house to suit my personality, to

change a carpet if I feel like it, living in private renting can be so restrictive, I pay the rent but its never my house.

So the process has began, for any of you that follow my blog  regularly will know that I have put up some photographs of loft clearance. I say clearance in the broadest sense of the word. A lot of the boxes were put up four years ago when we moved in, well now they are coming down OH is opening them rooting through them, deciding that "one day we may need this", resealing the boxes and putting them to one side to move to a new loft.

We have been sorting through book cases, the last house we had was huge and we had ten book cases full of books. Wonderful sets of encyclopaedias, some of them forty years old, sets of Charles Dickens books, one huge bookcase taken up by my university books - why have one reference book when you can have ten? We acquired an e-reader earlier this month and so when daughter No3 was over the other day she was presented with dozens of books.

I have sorted out my knitting needles, wool and patterns. I use to love knitting but now it makes my wrists
sore. I have had many happy hours lost in the world of cross stitching, but now it places too much strain on my eyes - old age does not comes itself!! So I have sorted out these and will pass them on to a friend of mine who will give them a loving home and put them to good use.

We sorted out hundreds of CD's from weird and wonderful music tastes to encyclopaedias, toddler computer games that no longer run on modern day computers, many of these will never be used and so have been binned. All our years of photographs were scanned onto the computer and saved onto disc  a few years back these are being kept.

Next up was the wardrobes, suits that hubby has not worn for twenty years, jackets that just do not suit us any more, tops and skirts that are just not me any more. Clothes of the grandchildren's that are kept here so we have clean clothes to change them into if need be that they have out grown.  I decided that we should try selling clothes online and put the money towards taking the grandchildren out for a treat.

By starting sorting out this end now it will give us more time to be doing what needs done in the new house when we get the keys.

This is a sponsored post but the idea came about because we are moving.

Project 365 24th - 30th March.

Gosh the end of March, three months in already, a quarter of the way through our 365's. Been great finding new blogs to read, new people's pictures to look at and new people's lives to follow, for better or worse.


OH had been away fishing for the day, managed to catch two and took one to an elderly friend on the way home and brought this one home and I took it across the road to our friend Samantha.


Took Bob up to our friends cottage again today, and we did tree and leaf rubbing and picked flowers to bring home and dye. You can read all about it here.


Granddad spent time showing Bob how to use a magnifying glass. They were looking at all sorts, the cacti in the bedroom, flowers, etc. I was busy sweeping the kitchen floor and Bob decided he would have a look at how big the sandy gritty pieces looked.


Following on from Mondays experiments I tried a daffodil and a chrysanthemum as well. The daffodil looked really nice with the tips turned green.


Daughter No3 came visiting tonight with her boyfriend, and wanted to go down and see the cottage we keep going on about and take a walk along the river to see the gruffalo graveyard.


Did some baking today, and very yummy they were too. Grated apple and lemon cakes.


I had sat in ALL DAY on Thursday waiting on a parcel courier company to uplift this parcel, needless to say  as I have taken a picture of it today then it was not uplifted, very very annoying as I had a dozen things needing done.

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Friday, 29 March 2013

Grated apple and lemon cakes.

I had a few apples and  lemons needing used up and so decided to make some cakes using them.

Basically made a

4oz marge, 4 oz coconut sugar, 2 egg, 8oz flour cake to which I added two peeled and grated apples and the juice and grated rind of  1 lemon.

Once these were cooked and cooled I made a butter icing to which I add grated rind and juice of another lemon and then decorated them.

They made for a very light moist cake with a lovely flavour.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

The sun is out - time to Spring clean.

It is the end of March, its suppose to be Spring, somebody forget to tell the snow clouds they were suppose to have left a while ago. This time last year we had the children playing in the river dressed in t-shirts and shorts it was that nice. 

Sadly it may not be very warm but the sun is still shining. I don't know about you but despite my best efforts the cobwebs seem to be breeding in the corners of the rooms, and with the bright blazing sun shine streaming through the grubby windows it shows up all the dusty corners. One of the advantages of the winter is you can turn a blind eye to them easier and shut your curtains at 4pm.  

The clocks change this week and time to think about Spring cleaning, it may be an old fashioned idea but I for one like to freshen up curtains and bedding at this time of year, give the house dust mites and the bed bugs a shock and expose them to daylight, some hot soapy water and some fresh air to blow them all away. Also with having allergies in the family this is not something we usually put off, I like my quilts and curtains done twice a year.

Certainly one of the things that makes this task much much easier to do these days is a washer dryer. Pop you curtains, or quilts in the machine, press a button and walk off and leave it. Come back a few hours later and they are washed, dried and ready to be ironed. No need to have to hang them out in between the snow showers.  I doubt many of you will remember how much fun the spring cleaning use to be. I remember as a child, when life was much simpler back in the 60’s, the smell of the washing boiling away in the boiler, treading up and down in the bath with bare feet in the cold water to rinse the articles and then arguing with my brothers and sister over who got to turn the handle on the mangle, it was the highlight of our Easter Holidays.  Grandma probably appreciated it as it made the work easier for her, though I must admit it was probably a lot quicker to do it herself.

I wonder how many people still do a Spring clean?

This is a sponsored post but the thoughts and memories are all my own.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The experiment that didn't work - Why?

We toddled off down to my friends cottage last night as we all love it down there. It was cold but dry and as Bob was not feeling himself we decided to do a few things close to home there instead of going gruffalo hunting again.

We armed ourselves with crayons, pencils and paper. First off we decided to do some bark rubbing. This wasn't as easy as I thought it would be as most of the trees seem to be quite smooth. But we found a rough one and tried it out.

tree rubbing.

the result of the rough tree. 

So we then thought we would try leaf rubbing. Probably the wrong time of year for this as very few trees have leaves on them just yet. But we found a few to try with.

this worked better than the photo shows

the fern leaf worked well. 

So then we decided we would pick some flowers, these were picked on private land and so it was done legally. We picked twenty snowdrops, enough to split into four of five colours and a few daffodils. 

So when we got home we set up our experiment. 

We got four small bowls and Bob chose four different food colours.

Bob added water to the bowls and measured half a teaspoon of food colouring into each. 

I then got Bob to split the snowdrops into four piles. Division is something he has not covered in his education yet so I got him to put them into four piles one at a time. Experiments can be educational in more than one way.

We then discussed what we expected to happen and why, Bob learnt that the flowers would be thirsty and that when he is thirsty he drinks and so the flowers would drink the water up and as the water was coloured the flowers would change colour. 

So we left the flowers over night, came down this morning to look at them

next morning

and for some strange reason every one of them is still white!! 

Not a hint of a tint anywhere - would somebody like to tell me what went wrong?

I decided to freeze the coloured water in ice cube trays and next week we will do experiments with them, 

Ok having read some nice peoples comments, I added a chrysanthemum and a daffodil to some blue food dye, and 30 hrs later I have these. 

I really like the daffodil

I mentioned on twitter that I had also added snowdrops to the blue gel colouring and they had changed colour 36 hrs later, sadly they had also wilted but as requested here is a picture of them. It is out of focus but clear enough you can see the result.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Glebe Farm carrot cake mix

Daughter No2 had seen this in a shop and decided to pick it up for Bob, sadly she does not have the time to make this with him due to her working hrs.

So she passed it into me and we decided to have fun making it. I do not tend to buy this sort of item but it is nice to try things out. Also thought it would be great for Bob now his reading is coming along well and Fifi was not here that he could read and follow the instructions for himself.

So we took out packet of carrot cake mix. and set about making it. The only drawback the instructions had for us were they were in a paragraph not bullet pointed or numbered, so Bob needed to start from the beginning every time, he could not scan and find the point he had finished at, so I pointed out his starting point for him so he did not end up getting frustrated. His learning skills have come on great and I'm sure this time next year he will manage.

First off we read the front of the packet that told us we needed to add margarine, eggs and carrots.
Bob knows he cannot eat eggs, and it does tell you you can use egg replacer.
The instructions told us to melt the margarine, but as a lover of flora cuisine we just used that instead. The instructions also say you can add walnuts and/or sultanas if you want. So we added sultanas as we cant add nuts.

weighing out the flora cuisine

adding the soaked egg replacer

grating the carrots
Bob has never grated carrots before as him and mummy use the food processor, mine is in a cupboard so it is easier to do it by hand, and more fun. 

mixing it up

We added 2 oz of water to get a good consistency, was a bit dry without but that could have been due to the lack of water in the egg replacer compared to eggs.

in the oven
It suggests two 6 inch sandwich times, but I used one 8 inch as I dont have 6in ones.

ta da, finsihed
It cooked up nicely, didnt rise much bit gluten free stuff rarely does. The pack suggests butter icing but sadly I have been unable to source Bob friendly icing sugar for a while so we just ate it as it was.

Bob testing it out.

The end result was for my liking a wee bit sweet, but the consistency was good and it was very edible. 

I will need to look out for some of the other types and try them out as well. 

The price compares very favourable with buying shop bought cake of this type.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Project 365 17th - 23rd March

Gosh this is us into spring all ready, just somebody forgot to tell the weather I think. Again the snow has missed us, roads twenty miles east and south are shut and north passable with care.

It has been a cold week but we still went out and had fun.


This little chap came wandering through our garden, same time as last year, just before ten at night, though the flash does make it look like  daytime.

hedgehog passing through the garden


We went off to our friends cottage again, we love it there and they are happy to have the company. We decided to have fun and we built a den, you can go and see the fun we had here. Bob decided afterwards he would have a seat.

talk about relaxed


Bob decided this morning that he was having far too  much fun to come down for breakfast. He eventually came down and ate his breakfast, looked and the clock and said "wow it is ten to ten" Seems no time since he struggled with on the hr and half hr not so long ago so I was pleasantly surprised.

playing jigsaws, really need to get him some more


OH has been clearing out moving boxes around in the loft and we finally came across this button jar, The button jar was my daughters favourite toy at her grandmas house when she was very young. With a button jar, a few plastic bowls she played tiddly winks, cooking, meals, learning counting, colours, sets. When my mum died my daughter decided this was the one item she wanted from her. At the time we were in the middle of moving house and this ended up in the loft. Well now it is down and in a pile ready for Monday.

fun in a jar


The cupboard and loft sorting continues and today I found my jewellery box. This was bought for me when I was eleven. It use to play Edelweiss, but no loner does. There are still a few bits left in it from way back when, a few pieces from Berlin are still in there. Way past their best but memories none the less.

past its best but still whole


Up visiting a friend, love the view she has out across the headland. But I often wonder why the very out of place red brick wall is in the garden of the white house. Does it have some historic context?

a view across an overcast headland


Last night I made microwave cake and hazelnut custard.  You can read the post here. 

cake and custard. 

TheBoyandMe's 365 Linky

Microwave cake and hazelnut custard.

Had a notion for cake and custard, but as it as half past seven at night I decided to make a quick cake and use the microwave.


cream together
4 oz margarine
4oz coconut sugar

mix in
2 eggs and
6 oz light brown self raising flour and
 2 oz wheatgerm

I had some chocolate sauce from profiteroles and I poured this into  the bottom of a bowl and then poured the cake mix on top.
Cook in the microwave for approx 6 mins.

While the cake is cooking make the


Measure 1pt of Alpro soya hazelnut milk in a jug
Pour most of this into a pan and bring to the boil.
Stir 2 tablespoon custard powder and 1 tablespoon into the cold milk.
Add the hot milk to the jug and mix then return the whole lot to the pan.
Stir constantly until the mixture boils.

Serve with the cake.

Made a nice easy cake, the coconut sugar enhances the flavour and complimented the hazelnut custard. To ting the changes you probably could of added some ground hazelnuts to the cake.

Some of the ingredients were supplied by Healthy Supplies, but the recipe ideas and findings are all my own.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Healthy Supplies items for March

This month I chose some staple items and tried a few different items as well. 

 Thought I would try some of their jams, thought these would be nice to use as a spread in cakes and will see what else I may use them for not just a s jam. I chose a morello cherry fruit spread and wild rapsberry Topped up with agave syrup because I much prefer it to using white sugar.

Also topped up with gluten free noodles as hubby will happily eat these but is not keen on other gluten free noodles. Also picked some corn alphabet shapes as well to ring the changes for Bob.

Topped up with basic baking ingredients, coconut sugar, gluten free flour and  vine fruits.

 I love cherries and so decided to buy some dried cherries, freeze dried cherry powder and three different flavours of snack size bags of  raisins, cherry, cola and pineapple. 

I use a lot of flaxseed it is great to add to either stews, cakes, bread, pancakes or sprinkle over your breakfast. Never tried this bread mix before but as it is gluten free and full of seeds I could not resist trying it. 
Lastly I saw the vegeset and want to have a try at making my own jellies of dairy free milky puddings. This I am hoping will work well with the cherry powder.

Here are some links to items I have been making lately with my products from Healthy Supplies.

Hazelnut and marzipan cake 
Take a block of pastry 
Black rice pudding
Two smoked paprika recipes 
Quick and easy soba noodles recipe
Breakfast smoothie
Jelly tot cakes
Mint aero cakes 

The products are supplied by Healthy Supplies but the recipe ideas are mine and the  findings remain honest. 

Monday, 18 March 2013

We made a den

We took Bob out to my friends cottage again today and decided it was a bit boggy to go walking through the fields so granddad decided we should make a den.

I had plans for something simple, but granddad had other ideas.  But regardless Bob had lots of fun, and that was what mattered.

First off all they searched 
high and 

low for somewhere good to build the den. 

they found the spot and hunted for material

then they draped  twigs for sides

did some internal decoration

and had some help and advise from the expert

and then carried on building

inside the finished den.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall