Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cookie Dough Truffles

So I saw an amazing idea on Chef in Training, cookie dough truffles! Yum! Because it was a dough she substituted egg for condensed milk. I tried out the recipe but only had evaporated milk.

Apparently they are NOT the same. I ended up with a runny mixture that never set (though tasted nice).

So I just used my normal cookie recipe and used a fudgey coating. 

Please note though, this recipe does contain raw egg. I don't mind as my kids are at an age where they eat a lot of any mixture we make and they only have one at a time. But maybe check out this one if you want an egg free version.

Mix together:

8oz plain flour
4oz butter
4oz brown sugar
1 egg
7oz chocolate chips

Once all mixed together roll into small balls and set aside.

Melt in a bowl:

Approx. 200g plain chocolate
a can of condensed milk (can also use a little less of double cream or evaporated milk, but add gradually!)

Just adjust according to how thick you want it. 

Once it is cooled dip in the truffles and coat, then set aside on grease proof paper or a silicone tin or anything else non-stick. 

Good news? You should have enough cookie balls left to do a tray of cookies. (8 mins at 180 degrees C) So that if you were making these for someone else you can keep the truffles for yourself and give them the cookies. :) (you're welcome!)

Let set in the fridge, then eat!

In fact, we were going to a friends house for a play date the next day. After dinner when we'd all had one I asked the kids if we should take some over to their friend's house.

No sooner had the words left my mouth that simultaneously Andy, Izzy and even one-year-old Ethan all yelled "No!". (slightly muffled though as they were still munching.)

And yes, Izzy styles her own hair, and if you're wondering she will do other's too, you just need an appointment. In fact just the other day she did mine with not only five different types of clips, but also a tiara. 

I know, you're jealous.

Monday, 30 January 2012

One Day Monday

Happy Monday! Hope you've all got a great week planned/no tantrums and whinging. And that your kids are well behaved too ;)

Here's some eye candy I've been adoring recently:

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How yummy does this look? I actually made a chocolate fudge cake yesterday, and we still have most of it left. I may just attempt this one today as you have to break up your cake and then mix in the strawberries (I could NOT figure out how they'd done it.) Over at Betty Crocker.

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This card is so cute, plus perfect for the man in your life. As in there's no flowers or love hearts. Found here.

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I love these dolls, Izzy would too. They're from Cook You Some Noodles on Etsy. I think I could attempt a knock off and Izzy would never know - as long as she didn't see this picture and realise how good it should look! Such sweet fabric for the dresses too! Good job my friend Kathryn (she's my much more talented friend who I stole this idea from) is planning a fabric shopping trip soon, it's a sad state when the majority of your sewing fabric is actually from old clothes and sheets...

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I love these bean bags. And it  looks like something I could actually do! As in it  is sewing in mostly straight lines :) The yellow stripey fabric is my favourite. Cute! From So You Think You're Crafty.

So what are you working on/oogling this week? Have you gotten motivated again after the Christmas crafts rush? I accidentally took off nearly a month (to recover!), especially as the kids were not sleeping well, but am not sewing and crafting again :) My sanity is thanking me.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Our Living Room - The Real

So this area behind the chair seems to be a bit of a dumping ground...

For games, 

And apparently the bits of popcorn that are no good for eating.

This table usually has playdough on top of it, 

And papers from colouring underneath.

At any given time the heater will have some washing drying on it. And Ethan will have been practicing a little interior design. Note the unique way he has placed the ornament in the middle of the T.V. screen. Genius! ;) And the car was Ethan's main Christmas present. He and Izzy love it, but it is noisy so it has a curfew. We disconnect the battery between the hours of 6.00pm and 8am. 

The wire for the hubs' x-box is out for easy access, man that thing is long! And if you look closely you can see a nice patch of dust under the telly that the fat duster couldn't get to. So I left it :) It's in case Izzy wants to practice letter formation. Perfect for writing her name, plus she's done her job for the day! Winner!

And finally, this frame has been here over a year now (the one on the floor), waiting for a spray paint and relocation. I'm such a procrastinator. Though I have been pleasantly surprised at the lack of interest it has had from the kids. No smashing of the frame so far...

Hope that speedy tour wasn't too much of a shocker. I'm keen to get on with a quilt for my friend's baby! Once I have a project in my head I can't seem to think of much else, and the squares are all cut up and waiting for me! (Inspiration here.)

So, please tell me I'm not the only one whose kids are able to write their names in the dust? And I now realise that this post also lets you know that I allow my kids to have snacks in the living room. Please don't judge too harshly!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Our Living Room - The Ideal

Wondering what The Ideal vs. The Real is? Click here to find out.

If not, on with the tour!

The view from the kitchen. Oh you spotted those prettily labelled boxes already? A closer look? Of course!

Remind you of anything?

Yes I copy myself too!

I know open storage isn't ideal with small children, but the boxes make it much easier to hide things and tidy afterwards. A while ago I took all Izzy's jigsaws out of the boxes and put them into these bags from Ikea.

ISTAD Plastic bag, assorted colours Package quantity: 50 pack

They come in a pack of 50 and are resealable. I also use them for food and games. We've had to replace a couple, but we've had them for years now and mean that the jigsaws take up much less space.Plus how long do jigsaw boxes last before the edges rip and a side comes off? I'm sure it's not just our house that it happens in!

Much better than ripped boxes!

To the left of the T.V. is our corner sofa (great for lying out or visitors, both -not-so-much). The gallery wall is just above. Since we rent all the pictures are hung with command strips. They've been up a year now (most of them anyway, I add to it every so often), and I've had one that a corner came loose on, but it still didn't fall down, I just had to replace a strip to make it straight, cos I'm conventional like that.

On the other side is the bookshelf, my old feeding chair now Andy's gaming chair. Incidentally I'm sat on it typing this right now! See the laptop table? So convenient! Plus it also means I can type at the sofa too!

Also just realised pretty much every item of furniture in this shot is from Ikea...does this mean we're cheap? (probably!)

The bookshelves are three billy bookcases joined, the little table and chairs were a gift a couple of years ago that I painted and the chair and laptop table are also Ikea. The little table in the corner with the lamp on came with the bed and mattress we scored for Izzy for £30 (new!), and as a bonus they just lived a couple of streets away from us!

Another view of the sofa, I'd like to change up the art on the left to something more colourful but I'm not sure what.

Plus I'd love to put doors on the bookcase...

Just some half doors at the bottom would be perfect. But at the moment it works pretty well (and I'm too cheap to fork out more for doors than I did for the bookcases). It just looks more cluttered than I'd like. The bottom is scrapbooks and big folders we don't use so much. The next up at kid height is their books and colouring pads, then our books (a few wire type things in the basket) and on the top a few toys and their art caddy.

I did have a lot more toys in this room, but on an evening when me and hubs were trying to chill out it always involved a big tidy/look and trip over toys. So most are now in their rooms and I just rotate some of them every so often. They tend to colour, play with the garage or do jigsaws down here. 

Plus the trains are in this toy box.

How do you deal with the clutter? Or do you have a playroom or separate family room?

We literally have two rooms downstairs. This and the kitchen, unless the cupboard under the stairs counts? 

And actually if you ask Harry Potter I'm pretty sure he'd say it doesn't. 

So two! But I do love our petite home :)

And the winner is...

Karlene Hansen!

Email me and I'll get it ready and posted to you ASAP!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Brown Paper Packages Tied up with String

Are now one of my favourite things!

For my mother-in-law's birthday I had Izzy help me wrap her presents and make the card. In other words I'm actually not allowed to wrap presents without her since Christmas, so I now choose kid-friendly ways to wrap. (read simple ways to wrap!)

I recently found a Christmas scrapbook pack discounted and snatched it up. The papers above, tags and letters are all from the pack! There are still lots that are definitely Christmasy but I'll just save them for a few months ;)

The card is a cake shape with little strips for candles and Izzy's finger prints for flames. She liked that bit.

The paper was sellotaped at the back and then I tied some string round with the tag on. Izzy used Pritt Stick to glue the letters on.

Simple but I like that it's the same colour theme for them all (and it was cheap too, bonus!). 

Do you have any tips? How do you wrap your presents? Do you also have a three year old who insists on doing it herself too?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Kitchen - The Real

Wondering what The Real vs. The Ideal is? Click here. And here for the Ideal version.

A little late (I've been scoring some awesome guest posters for mid February to finish the series), but maybe the dramatic photos will make up for it...

There it is! Washer full of wet clothes and a pile ready to go. Recycling piled up on the far left surface, plus dirty dishes (though most are in the dishwasher, I tend to pop them in throughout the day and turn it on in the evening to empty when the kids have breakfast) and paintings drying on worktops.

But actually, if I ignore the clothes...

I kind of like it.

Because when I clean or cook (or dance) in here my kids come too. And this is where we play, paint, glue...

and where my kids play with mummy's toys.

Because I'm also getting good at sharing ;)

Oh except not so good at sharing this cupboard...

Though I have to say this was right after Christmas. 

But now I'm realising that it's not that long since then. 

And all those chocolates have gone.

Maybe I should be better at sharing...

Where does it all happen in your home?

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kitchen - The Ideal

Wondering what The Ideal vs. The Real is? Click here for an intro!

Sorry this Ideal vs. Real post's a little late in the week. Like I mentioned before, it's easy getting the 'real' photos. The ideal ones...not so much. 

Anyway, here it is!

This is as you come in from the living room. The back door opens out onto our back garden, or patio. It actually doesn't contain any grass apart from the stuff I haven't weeded out...

As you can see it's where our washing machine and dishwasher is. Man I really love having a dishwasher!

Because I'm lazy efficient, when the kids (or I) mess up our clothes I throw them straight into the washing machine and then just add to them each day to create a full load. Rather than walking ALL the way upstairs to the basket.

This is to the right of the washing machine and sink. I love all the storage, though I could always use some more :) but compared to our flat we were at three years ago with only four cupboards...this is fantastic!

The table and my crafting area. My fabric is stored in the box under the desk. The two magazine files hold mine and Izzy's crafting supplies. Though if you look carefully you might be able to guess why Izzy is banned from playing there at the moment. The front drawers are no longer white, but stained with different shades of acrylic paint. 

And the table is perfect for us. It extends on each side for when we have people over, see this post for when we had my family over too. Plus the seats just pop out making them really easy to cover in fabric! 

I really want to paint the table white and recover the chairs in a thick stripped navy and white fabric. But I'm too chicken. Plus hubs said "What will we eat our dinner off if it goes wrong?"

Well obviously I didn't consider that a possibility! But now I am! 

And the fridge. Come on, I know it's the moment you were all waiting for! And if you squint you can see all those reward magnets on Izzy's chart.

And yes, there are two doors leading out into the same tiny patio a mere 2 feet from each other. The patio doors were added just before we moved in, and I do love the light, and breeze in the summer. I guess they left the other door on for lots of access?

And as a last little nosey in, you want to see my messiest and most shameful cupboard?

Hubs affectionately calls it my craving cupboard. As I may have stocked it particularly well during my pregnancy with Ethan. Lots of fruit pastilles. Mmm... Though I did have a box for the crisps but hubs stole it back for man type things.

Anyone else have an equally shameful cupboard? Crisps, biscuits and chocolates? Though I did just notice some rice cakes at the back there. Not sure how long they've been there. I'm pretty sure they were a first hand-held food for Ethan. He's 20 months now...

Tomorrow, the real! 

Update: here's the real.

Friday, 20 January 2012

A Special Giveaway (and I'm one!)

So I totally spaced out and just realised that today my blog is one!

So as a thank you to all of you who are following along with my ramblings and occasional craziness I thought I'd do a little giveaway:

This has been the most popular post since I made it so I thought maybe one of you would like to win one too? Don't worry you can choose whatever names or words you want.

Unfortunately I can't send it with a frame too because most of you are  international followers and it would be too heavy. But it is simple enough to frame, or mat and frame.

Just leave me a comment with what you would choose for the red bit!

I'll choose a winner this time next week. (Friday evening here in the UK) 

Thanks for joining in and sharing with me. I really appreciate all your input and support. I've enjoyed every minute!

Good luck!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

DIY Magnetic Reward Chart (and a little unloading)

Now, I don't know about some of you, but we've been struggling a bit to get our kids to bed at the moment. Ever since Christmas when we let their routines slip a little they've been a bit...tricky.

Let me expand a little. Normally both kids would eat dinner, play quiet games, we'd take them upstairs; bathe them, brush teeth, pjs, story song, prayer. Then I'd say night to Izzy with Ethan, sing him a song in his room and say night to him. Blow a kiss to Izzy and then high five hubs when we got downstairs and do whatever we wanted! 

Yep I hate the old us. We were smug and over confident. I mean don't get me wrong...since Ethan was born bedtime and nights have been very tricky (like up every two hours feeding till 13 months hard). But since Ethan was 14 months till before (20ish months) we've had it fairly easy!

Not now.

Izzy screamed, ran about, came downstairs for a drink, tissue, toilet trip, cuddle, teddy...ran screaming into Ethan's room (who'd just fallen asleep),.

Ethan would cry, demand to be held, not fall asleep alone etc, etc. I'm sure most of you know the drill.

This went on from about boxing day until a week or so ago. I'd have to sit in Ethan's room holding him till he fell asleep, then quietly put him down without him waking, sneak out of his room and then have to repeat till he managed to stay down. Only then could we put Izzy down, which would take a long time too. Plus Ethan would surprise us with 3.30am wake ups refusing to fall asleep and wanting breakfast. Ugh.

Sorry, this was supposed to be a simple tutorial but it has turned into a great big offload! If you skip past the last bit that's fine, just typing it has been very therapeutic.

Anyway, things have been improving greatly but Izzy is still struggling to stay in bed. So one night I had a brainwave. 

She loves reward charts. I've had them before  for bed times, potty training and other random things...but I wanted to make a really special one now she was a little older. And one I could reuse.

Serendipitously I also found some magnetic paper in the pound shop that I had yet to use...

So I made this for my fridge. If you also want to make one, here's what you'll need:

Mod Podge (I made my own recently with half and half water and white glue, though I think a little more glue to water may be even better, this one make a few bubbles, but worked really well still!)
Scrapbook Paper - For the front of the chart, mine was a slightly patterned pink.
Images for magnet fronts - Mine is the flowers and presents paper, but you could print off your kids fave cartoon characters, game or whatever you fancy.
Magnetic Paper - Mine's upside down because it just looks like normal paper the other way round. I used one sheet for the chart and about a third of another for the magnets.

Cover the paper side of your magnet paper with Mod Podge and then smooth on your chosen trimmed background.

Cut out your magnet images and Mod Podge them onto another sheet of magnetic paper.

When your chart background is dry draw on your chosen design. I chose a castle with a garden path. But choose whatever you fancy or print one off and skip the background paper bit. I'm sure there are more original ideas, but Izzy really loves princesses right now.

Cut out your magnets and leave to dry.

You'll probably need to lay them under some heavy books after to prevent them from curling a little a the edges.

Then show and explain it to you just-woken-up child.

She gets one magnet for going to bed without getting out or shouting out and going straight to sleep (we found that if we said go to bed "well" or "nice" that wasn't specific enough). And another if she stays in bed 'till her alarm at seven.

The alarm clock is one we got from Ikea when we were married that you can record your own wake up. She does her own new one every now and then. Sometimes it's: "Time to wake up!" or "ROOOOOAAAARRRRRR!" or "Poopy morning."

You know, she keeps it fresh. :)

So far it's working pretty well as an incentive and she knows she can choose a magazine when she gets to the castle.

So what do you do with your kids to help with bed time routine? Ethan is still struggling to stay in bed past 5.30, and will normally wake Izzy too...

Please, for my sanity, don't tell me that your kids are perfect sleepers. I don't have much left to go till I'll be on the crazy train! 

p.s. I will have some Ideal vs. Real posts to show before the end of the week! I've not been struggling with the 'real' shots though! 

Monday, 16 January 2012

I may be addicted to Picnik...

So I made another Valentines printable...

Click the image to download it. I thought it would be pretty on the front of a card. Or even framed. I was in particular thinking framing it for my daughter's room when I made this one.

But I thought this one was a little more manly...

Again click on the image to download. Please don't use for monetary gain without asking first. Enjoy!

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