Saturday, 19 July 2008

Countryside Meanderings

The girls and I had a lovely Saturday afternoon pootle today.

Dh brought the girls into work and we swapped over at lunch time, so we left him and ss in the shop, took a quick trip up the high street and grabbed some ham, sausage rolls and fruit and headed home for a quick lunch before we were on our way.

First stop was Crich Village Fete, so dodging the showers, and holding onto our coats as it was very windy, we admired the tractors, the girls slid on the inflatable slide, whizzed around on the waltzer ride (the girls not I, getting too old to get too dizzy ;-) and then manged to win two froot shoots on the Tombola, just in the nick of time for the girls, as they were getting thirsty. We also won a bottle of lemonade on the raffle and some nice bubble bath for me :-) I didn't get the bottle of Brandy I was after for dh, which was a shame, as it was a bloomin good bottle, but hey I reckon we got our monies worth.

We also played on the park and purchased some lovely homemade cakes and biscuits, which is what these very British fetes are all about surely. I also now know that Crich has a huge field in the middle of it, with a park attached, that I never knew was there before, I guess you wouldn't unless you live in the village, but for the size of house we need, its currently out of our price range. Oh and the other fact that its in the country, which dh maintains he'd be happy to live in, but I'm not convinced, or I think he'd be in far more of a hurry, he's a townie really, although loathe to admit it. I hate to say, but I think I may be pushing it to get him out of the small town we're currently in......

After the fete, we decided to go and feed the Ducks, so it was off to Cromford. We parked at Arkwrights Mill and proceeded to get 30p's worth of duck food, which kept the kids and the ducks entertained in the random shower that appeared the second we got outside, thus I ended up drinking my hard earned coffee in the rain, whilst reminding dd2 to stay away from the edge of the canal, least I end up having to fish her out, a prospect I could do without.

As the rain was intermittent we decided a walk to the Troll Bridge (1st bridge along from where we were) would be a good idea, so goading dd2 with 'look there's another puddle' we bounced along the path, splashing Peppa Pig style in all the puddles (thanks to Crocs, no shoes were harmed in this process) to the bridge, and then it was goading everyone to walk back with the prospect of an ice cream at the van in the car park.

Ice creams consumed, we admired the old mill site, mooching around the stores and purchasing a notebook for dd1 and a pink watering can for dd2. We had a good look at the old water flow, which used to keep the mill running too, whilst I explained to dd1 how it was used to power the mill in the days prior to power stations. Then we headed home to eat pizza for tea, my lazy Saturday night treat to myself.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Blueberry Muffins

Tonight I've made Blueberry Muffins.

Two ants were harmed during the making of this recipe, but none are in the cakes.

Heat your oven to 210 oc

Get a muffin tin and place paper cases inside.

Then get a bowl and a spoon

Put in the following:

12 oz self raising flour, sieved
4oz plain flour, sieved
3.5 oz of soft brown sugar
1 punnet of blueberries
and mix together.

In a seperate bowl or jug whisk the following

8 oz of milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

make a hole in the flour mix and pour the milky mix in and stir.

Melt 4oz of butter or marg and mix this into the mix also.

A metal spoon is advised for use in this recipe, as the mixture sticks to it less.

Spoon into the Muffin Cases and bake for 30 mins, test to ensure the middle is cooked.

Enjoy with a nice cup of Earl Grey. (and no ants)

The March of the Ants

Roughly two weeks ago today, I opened the cupboard next to our dishwasher, to find an invasion taking place. A small invasion, but none the less one that could grow in size if left un interuppted. Yes, we're talking about ants here, so I promptly set about squashing all the ones I could find with some kitchen towel. Highly technical I know. Dh said, 'we need to find where they're coming from' Sherlock that he is, so 'we' (read I) emptied out the cupboard, mainly cereals on the bottom shelf and sealed biscuit tin on the top one. I gave it a good clean and we waited a bit. When we looked again an hour later, the kitchen towel came in useful again, seems our invasion is coming up the water pipe, from under the cupboard. I can only sumise that when we paved over the lawn a few weeks ago, we upset the food chain somewhat, so they've decided to look inside for additional fodder. So 'we' set about putting a stop to it.

The next day I purchased an ant trap from Wilkos, courtesy of the company Nippon. This proceeded to sit in the cupboard until tonight, unopened, as the one thing I asked dh to do, two weeks ago, was to pop 4 holes in the side of it, put the bait in it and install it in the cupboard. This he failed to do.

I had thought that my squashing and constant cleaning efforts were working, as the ant population has been negligable in visibility for a about a week, but tonight, I've spotted two of the little munchers already. I'm pondering if it's the rain that's bringing them in? as it was rather wet, the first time we noticed them. Which ever it is, I've squashed two on the counter top tonight......and I've given up waiting for dh to do his bit in the household and have set up the ant trap by the water pipe myself. Fingers crossed, this should do the trick within the next week. I apparently have to top it up daily, so we shall see. Might be a bother if the ants are coming in elsewhere as well though?

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Movie Fix

Our family finally got a movie fix this Sunday with the release of Kung Fu Panda, it meant a movie had finally arrived that we could take the whole family too. So come Sunday teatime, dh and crew, shut the shop and arrived at our house. Crew I hear you say, yes, of course. We had a 'shop outing' and took Mike, Richard and Richard H along with us all too, hell, can't have too many grown ups going to a kids movie, without some kids in tow, right :-) Thus the 10 year old, 4 year old and the 2 year old, got to enjoy the movie with a pile more people to bug too.

SS bailed out into the 'boys' car at the 1st hurdle, leaving dh, the girls and I, to venture to Derby on our own. We convened in the cinema reception and loaded up with popcorn, sweets, drinks, and in Mikes case a hot dog and ice cream too. Unfortunately for us, we arrived a tad early, which I think was dd2's downfall in the end, as not only did we take her to the cinema for a 17:45 showing, we also made her sit there for longer than she wanted........yep you guessed it, the last 25 mins or so of the film got missed by dh, as dd2 threw a bored paddy! ho hum......he didn't have to take her out, his choice, I'd just have paced the back with her for a mo, but dd1 was cuddled upto me for the 'scary' bit, so I got away with it. Shame really as she sat through the whole thing that was Mims Island the other month.

Anyway seems on the whole Kung Fu Panda was a hit with the family and friends alike, so much so that I got begged for the sticker book and stickers earlier today, so now we're collecting those as well. Pondering how many wushi finger holds we'll see at the event this weekend.

Monday evening, saw Meridian giving dh and I a much needed night out, so whilst she looked after the kids, we did cinema again, this time to see Wanted. Woooo Hooooo, what a fab film, it doesn't stick too closely to the graphic (do these things ever?) but yay how cool was that. Angelina good in it (did you ever expect her not to be, she loves those chick with gun roles) James MacAvoy, wow, loved the metamorphosis in this one, mind you I liked him in Shameless too. Meridan made me laugh, with her comment of, 'when did he get hot' good to see that other English chap in it too, the one who was in Hustle and Game on, can't remember his name though!
So if you want to have a great action packed night out, go and see Wanted its marvelous.

This weekend I also inflicted my Banana cake on Richard H, which I think he liked? Dh says its nice too, but he could just be making the right noises. Dd1 likes it, dd2 is non plused by cake, unless she can eat the icing off the top, or its lathered in chocolate. Well what else is a girl to do with food that's heading for over ripe, and what with Gordon Browns blatherings this week, about food waste (like we ever have enough around to waste) .

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Pink Cakes on Wednesday

I've made some lovely Pink Cupcakes this evening.
The whole cake isn't pink obviously, just the icing, but I've tried one and they're yum.
I had a random 5 seconds where I didn't have much to do, so cakes to fill the cupboards it was.

If you want to make them, here's what I did

8oz Self Raising Flour
8oz Butter/Margarine
8oz Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Essence

Mix the lot together and spoon into Muffin Cases.
Bake for 20 mins
I did mine at 180 oc in the Fan Oven, so you can guesstimate from there.

Leave to cool, then do an icing of your choice. I did buttercream

3oz Butter/Margarine
6oz Icing Sugar
half tsp Vanilla Essence and half tsp Red Food colouring

Sieve the icing sugar over the Butter and then mix it in, adding the essences. If the butter is a little stiff, you can add half a table spoon of milk, but margarine won't need it. Then pop on top of your cake.

It was nice to eat one of these and relax for a minute once they were cool, as it has been a rather hectic day, with pre-school runs, swimming, proper school settling sessions and ballet all in the mix. I even managed to attend the start of a local stores sale, where the dd's got a new umbrella each, which dd2 promptly put the curved end in her mouth and got it stuck, it retrieved fairly easily, but she got a sore mouth from it and wasn't a two year old to try and eat an umbrella.