Thursday, 31 October 2013

Adventures in Baking - White Chocolate Chunk Flapjacks

There hasn't been any baking to update you on in the last few weeks.  Owing to the large amount of birthdays, we've all been a bit caked-out.  This week, everyone has been back at school and in a rare moment of domestic goddess-like behaviour, and with a house to myself for a few hours, I decided to have a search through the cupboards for ingredients to make something.  I found a bar of white cooking chocolate that was pretty much unused (I think my mother had given it to me to finish up after using some for shavings on top of a pudding).  My initial thought was to make some cookies but all of the recipes I found needed ingredients that I didn't have.  Most likely someone had eaten them before I had got a chance to make them into something - typical!

The one thing I did have the ingredients for, however, was flapjacks.  Perfect, I thought, I'll just make them then, and pray really really hard that they don't end up like mini slabs of concrete like my previous efforts have.  Then I looked at the chocolate again.  Maybe I should just save it for another day and buy the extra ingredients I need for cookies.  Then the need for something sweet got the better of me.  No, I'll just throw it into the flapjack mix and see what happens.  So that's what I did.

The results were pretty great to say the least.  I made a special effort to time the flapjacks as they went into the oven - 20 minutes dead at 140ºC to be exact which gave me a soft slightly crumbly flapjack.    The chocolate had given them a really good flavour too.  Everyone wanted more, but sadly the recipe only makes 16 which doesn't last long around here!


Seven of the flapjacks - they ate the rest before I had a chance to take a photo!

So, in case anyone would like to try it, I've written the recipe down for you here:

White Chocolate Chunk Flapjacks

150g butter
120g light brown sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
250g porridge oats
100g white cooking chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 140ºC (Fan)/150ºC (Electric)/Gas mark 2.

Heat the butter, sugar and syrup gently in a pan until well dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oats.  Mix until the oats are well coated.

Leave the mixture to cool for a while and then add the white chocolate chunks and stir through until they are evenly distributed.

Press the mixture into a 18cm square tray bake tin, lined with greaseproof paper.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes (It may need a little longer depending on the oven but don't let it turn golden on top).

Remove tray from oven and leave to cool on wire cooling rack.  Once the flapjack firms up you can remove it from the tin and leave it in the paper to cool further.

When the flapjack is almost fully cooled cut into 16 squares with a sharp knife.

Enjoy on your own with a glass of wine with your children!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

I Am A Hoarder

There.  I said it.  I am a hoarder and I keep stuff, just because.  I have always known this a bit but the true extent of my compulsion only really hit me this week when I decided to reorganise my airing cupboard.

I decided that after removing everything I should sort out all the outgrown clothes and keep some for ds2 and the twins, which would need to go into the loft.  So, sorting out the airing cupboard became sorting out the loft as well.  It was an eye opener to say the least.

Once I entered the loft, which I already knew was full to bursting point, I started removing things bit by bit - to be quite honest this was the only way to see what we actually had up there.  Bits of our family past came tumbling out of the loft hatch at an alarming rate.  Dh said junk, I say memories.

So, I sat for a whole afternoon organising children's clothes into ages, getting rid of school uniform (from a school that the children no longer attend) and repackaging the useful bits into black bags, this time with labels.  Dd1 and Ds1 helped by taking all the baby and toddler toys to the local charity shop.  I think we have managed to entirely restock the shop ready for Christmas!  I am rather sad about that of course, ds1's first birthday present, a brio toddler train set, was in that lot.  It had been played with by all our children and was such a solid toy, but I suppose there comes a time when I have to stop hanging on to things and move on.

In addition to that I managed to clear all the unused and far too old linen and cot bedding from the airing cupboard.  I now have a whole shelf devoted to the clothes that ds3 will shortly grow into and the school uniform that ds2 needs in the summer (plus I can still shut the door).

Dd2 has benefitted from the clear out by way of an entire wardrobe of new coats - she is like the Imelda Marcos of winter coats in fact.  A lovely Boden number that I bought two years ago for her to grow into, a full length rain coat bought for a bargain £1.50 in a sale and two ponchos that once belonged to her sister.  Proof that apart from all the "junk" I do sometimes keep useful stuff.  Ds3 also scored a couple of coats too.

Useful
Not Useful (Apparently)

Despite my post the other week, I can honestly say that if I never see another cloth nappy again, it might be too soon.  I now have a whole pile of them for sale on a pre-loved cloth group that I still belong to, which hopefully will boost the coffers a little this month.  Sadly, our other baby stuff which I see as being good quality and still very useable seems to be fetching very little on Ebay - why is that always the case?  So it looks like the charity shop will have a few more donations yet.

The whole loft clearing has been a bit emotional for me.  Not just because I like keeping stuff to remind me of when our children were smaller, but also because it marks the closure of a period of our lives that we will probably never have again.  

I am very happy with the extra space though, I'll need it to store more stuff... ;)

Monday, 28 October 2013

Lego Saves the (Rainy) Day!

The half term holidays are nearly over, thank goodness, but what do you do with five very bored children on a wet and windy afternoon?  Well, as a mother of five I'm quite used to this scenario, so earlier on this week I hit the Argos website to search for something to keep them all entertained.  We quite often shop at Argos now that the only toy shop in town has sadly closed down and I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised with the range of toys they have, particularly the dedicated shops within their website, such as Skylanders and Lego.


Yet another wet and windy day...


I decided to order some Lego.  The twins had some brilliant little Lego suitcases for their birthday a few weeks back and they have been played with almost non stop since then, so when I spied a great big bucket of Lego (suitable for ages 4-99) I knew it would be a hit. In addition to that I chose a Lego City stunt plane, mainly because my 8 and 11 year olds both love this range and I thought that it might encourage some rare cooperation in building it.


Our Lego delivery

The Lego arrived very promptly and the children were keen to get building straight away!  As predicted dd1 and ds2 set to work on the plane and dd2 and I opened the big bucket of Lego, which was pleasingly packaged in a unisex yellow coloured bucket (I like this - toys do not need to be blue or pink). Inside there was a great array of bricks including some new eye pieces which we'd never seen before. There was also a small booklet of ideas for models. Dd2 immediately requested that I start making these (with her help) so that's just what we did. Ds3 had his own plan and got to work with his own pile of bricks freestyle!  But, then isn't that what Lego is all about?






By the time we'd finished making a couple of small models, ds2 and dd1 had completed the stunt plane and refuelling truck, including putting all the stickers on the plane. They had done a fabulous job (without even arguing!). 




It was lovely to spend time with the children this way. I can't remember the last time we all sat together round the kitchen table playing with one thing. The teen was initially nowhere to be seen, but after an hour or so I had to go and do some other jobs and I was quite surprised on my return to see him sitting with his youngest siblings making models for them to play with.  They were all still playing with the Lego at five o'clock when I came to make their tea. I had to ask them to stop because we needed the table back to eat at!



I may moan at the increasingly huge amount of Lego strewn across the floor in ds1 and ds2's bedroom at times, but I have to admit the children had a fantastic time with these sets,  I've never seen them so engrossed!

We chose this Lego in conjunction with Argos, all opinions are our own.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Dream Garden For My Family

Dh and I are incredibly proud of our garden.  When we moved in to this house 12 years ago, the garden was just a patch of bare earth, not even rotivated or fenced off from our neighbours.  Dh set to work and transformed it into a fantastic family garden for ds1 and later dd1 when she arrived.  We spent many happy hours out there with the children and as our family expanded, the garden evolved too of course.  We added further borders, trees to make it more private and the children had a swing then a climbing frame and latterly we grassed over the bark play area and removed all the play equipment so that they could have space to run around.


Our garden, looking beautiful in Summer 2012

Once the twins arrived, our garden wasn't really very child friendly any more and there was not a lot for them to play with.  I felt bad about this and decided to get them a swing which was a great success!


Ds3 swings for the first time!

We haven't lavished much attention on our garden in the last year or so - dh has returned to work in the city centre and this extra time commuting, especially in the summer, means that he has less time to tend to his beloved garden.  When I saw that Tots100 were running another of their super competitions for bloggers to become play ambassadors (idly wonders whether the winner will be required to host a party serving Ferrero Rocher) for Activity Toys Direct, with a top prize of £750 to spend on your garden, how could I refuse to enter?

Growing up I was always playing in the garden wherever we lived, and although I like to think my children are the same, they really are not, favouring gaming over gardening any day of the week!  My favourite thing in our family garden was a Wendy House that my dad made for me out of wooden packing crates.  I can still see and smell it now when I close my eyes!  It had a fitted carpet (which often got damp and hosted large amounts of earwigs!) and a sliding perspex window with red gingham curtains held up on a small length of curtain wire.  It had shelves running round the top of the inside and cup hooks on which I hung the tiny china cups from my dolls' tea set.  The outside was painted white with black beams rather like a mock tudor house!  It was so special, none of my friends had anything like it!  My dad was a really practical man and could turn his hand to making this kind of thing very easily.  I like to think that if he was still here now he would happily make something similar for my children, but very sadly he isn't and neither dh or myself are really practical in that respect.

My garden makeover would therefore include a play house for the twins to play in.  I have my eye on the rather lovely looking TP Toys Forest Lodge 2 (I wish it were big enough for me!).  Our garden isn't huge so this would not only serve as a play house but also has a sand pit underneath and a slide!.  I can't sew curtains so I would deck it out with some beautiful bunting instead and of course a dolls' tea set too!


Beautiful Multi Purpose TP Toys Forest Lodge 2

Not quite like mine was, but perfect for tea parties with dolls (www.emmabridgewater.co.uk)

I love bunting, so pretty and colourful (www.cottonbunting.co.uk)

As far as the rest of the garden makeover is concerned, well that's easy!  Our fence is falling down so I'd fix that - not exciting but the trellis that is attached to that fence was something my dad made before he passed away and so I'm keen to keep it supporting the beautiful honeysuckle that grows down that side of the garden.  Once I'd done that I would create a chill out area for the teen and the pre-teen and their friends on our existing deck.  I would love some funky sort of umbrella and some outdoor beanbags for them too.


Comfy and colourful (www.fatboy.com)
Funky in the shade (www.ikea.com)
Maybe we should also have a patio heater so that we could enjoy the garden into the evening, instead of the cold forcing us back inside the house.  This might even encourage our older children to spend more time outdoors, who knows!

Lastly, we love to cook (and eat!) and so I'd spend some time and money on some planters really well stocked with herbs.  Our current ones have been especially poor this year, again I think due to having less time to spend in the garden.

Ready for a feast (www.gardenoasis.co.uk)


I think that would just about use up our £750 budget and ensure there would be something for everyone in our garden.  Oh wait, I forgot ds2!  He's a football mad boy so I think we'd possibly have to include a goal like this TP Toys Super Goal.  Compact enough for our garden but still plenty of fun!

Super goal for a super footballer

There it is, our perfect dream garden for a busy family of seven!  I wonder if our dreams will come true?

This blog post is an entry into the Tots100/Activity Toys Direct garden makeover competition.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Why We Love: Skylanders

If, like me, you are a parent of a small boy or two it probably won't have escaped your notice that there is a series of computer games for the major consoles called Skylanders.  We were first introduced to them a few years ago when ds1 asked for a starter set for Christmas.  At a cost of about £60 it wasn't cheap but came with the game, character figures and a "portal of power" on which the figures are placed.

We dutifully bought ds1 this and relatives chipped in with other character packs so that he had a good set to start with.  The game is an adventure game aimed at ages 7 and up and is played via an Xbox (which we have), Wii or Playstation 3 games console.  The portal, which you recieve with the starter pack, plugs into the console and allows any of the character figures you place onto it to appear in the game so that you can play as your chosen character.  Ds1 loved the variety of this and he and his friends who all played the game swapped notes as to which figures were the best to get and who had what.  It all became quite competitive!

Last year the sequel Skylanders Giants was launched.  Ds2 was keen to purchase it having seen his brother play the original game and so he bought the additional pack (new game and one giant figure) which we could place on the existing portal.  Ds1 had outgrown the original game and so very generously gave his younger brother all his figures, which also worked within the new game.  Ds2 started his own collection of the figures and now has an army like quantity and spends hours (when I let him) "levelling them up" (whatever that is) and planning which to get next.

As a parent, it makes a nice change from all the gory 18 rated games which my boys are so keen to own.  I have seen ds1 and ds2 gain so much pleasure from not only playing the games but also from the additional element of collecting the different sets of figures.  Ds2 likes the books based on the series too, particularly the strategy guides (and I'm pleased as long as it encourages him to read more!).

Ds2 has been eagerly awaiting the new game, Skylanders Swap Force, until this week that is!  Six months worth of hard saved pocket money and birthday money and I can hear him shrieking with delight playing the new game as I type this.  The basic premise from what I can gather, is that several of the characters are now swappable and so further characters can be made by mixing the top of one with the bottom of another.  Ds2 informs me he's just made Wash Zone, which sounds more like the local launderette than a character from a computer game, but what do I know?  From what I can hear so far it seems to be just as good, if not better than the other two games in the series.  I have one very happy 8 year old indeed!  It is certainly a pricy hobby, with figure packs ranging from about £8.99 to £24.99 but I have been impressed by the fact that the original figures we bought for ds1 are still used in the current game, so no wasted pocket money!

So, from ds2 and I, Happy Swaptober!
                           


This is not a sponsored post.  We bought the products mentioned ourselves and are just sharing our thoughts on them.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Be as thorough as you need to be

I've read a few posts on other blogs just recently about parental guilt.  Guilt over food, controlling your children in public or returning to work to be specific, although there are others I'm sure.  So, I'm writing about my own parental guilt and how I have tried to get over it.

Years ago, when I was still working, my boss once said to me during an appraisal, "you're as thorough as you need to be". That's to say, I wasn't perfect at my job but I had all the bases covered to a good enough standard.  Since becoming a parent I've kind of adopted this as my mantra for life in general.  I'm not a perfect housewife, I don't have a showhome kind of house, but it is clean and fairly tidy (if someone came to visit me right now I wouldn't be embarrassed by it).   I don't always cook the best meals (dh will testify, last week he accidentally ended up with a raw pork chop!) but I plan our meals and try to provide everything that my family needs and wants from their food, even if sometimes they don't eat it.  In short everything I do is as good as it needs to be on a day to day basis. 

As far as the children are concerned I try not to beat myself up over minor things.  The major things are all covered of course.  They are fed, clean and loved, but I don't spend hours a day providing them with stimulating activities or making sure their diet covers all the major food groups, as long as their needs are met and everyone is happy then thats good enough for me.  I do feel that there are far too many areas a parent can become guilty over these days and I wonder whether my particular generation puts too much pressure on ourselves to provide everything and to be perfect.  My parents never had to, and at risk of yet again sounding like my mother (see what I did there?), it was never like this when I was a child.

Maybe it's because I've got a large family, and I've been through the whole mum guilt thing a few times but I have almost become immune to it.  At least I thought that was how i was feeling.  Then last year, ds1 went to high school and the whole mum guilt thing started again,  perhaps being as thorough as I needed to be wasn't going to cut it after all.

I think the guilt over providing the right things for your children reaches a peak when they are secondary school age or thereabouts.  If I had a pound for every time one of my eldest two came home moaning about how their friends have the latest game/phone/holiday abroad then I'd be a rich woman. The problem with teens and pre teens, I'm learning, is that they can make you feel totally rubbish for not buying the latest 18 certified video game for them, because x y and z at school have it and they will be so unpopular if they can't have it too.  Things were so much easier when they were small and just seemed to accept the differences between themselves and others without wanting to be part of the latest trend.  But these days they do, and according to ds1 and his friends I am "tight" and a terrible parent for not allowing him to hide away in his room with access to all kinds of stuff.  Other parents let their children do it, apparently. *sigh*


It says 18, not 13!

It's not about the cost, our kids don't go short and have access to shared consoles, tablets and other stuff, it's about control, guilt over control.  While all my kids are under 18 isn't that what I'm supposed to do though, control what they do and make sure it's appropriate?  I don't think I'm completely strict over this and other things.  I've let ds1 play a 16 rated game (only if his younger siblings are not in the room) and dd1 has a basic smartphone, its a compromise I thought we were all happy with.  We still resrict Internet access and the younger children get timed access too.  I'm as thorough as I need to be, remember?  I guess I'm just upset that my older children can't see things my way and understand that I'm doing it for their own good.

I know I'm right and so I'm trying to step back from mum guilt for now at least.  The lightbulb is back on in my head again and its made me realise that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, even if my children are hell bent on following their friends it doesnt mean that I have to follow what other parents do, or feel guilty when I don't.  We're all just doing our best after all, surely there should be no shame in realising this?  So be as thorough as you need to be, that's my motto and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Bye Bye Cloth

It's been a good few months since we stopped using nappies on the twins (more like over a year really)  and with encouragement over the last six months we've also stopped using them at night.  My washing machine is suddenly breathing a sigh of relief as the daily loads of twin related laundry are a thing of the past, but I can't help but feel a little nostalgic over the lack of a nappy laden washing line in our back garden.




I had always wanted to use cloth nappies on our children but dh wasn't quite as keen and so our first two children used disposables.  It was only when ds2 was born that I finally decided to give washable nappies a go as the council were making noises about fortnightly bin collections and the thought of 70 or more nappies festering in a bin in our garden made me feel a bit ill.  So, I took the plunge and bought a few different types to try and found it was all pretty easy really.  Ds2 wore cloth until he potty trained at two years old.

When I discovered I was having twins nearly four years later, I got all of our nappies out of the loft and dutifully washed them ready for our new arrivals.  I was going to need a few extra however, so I hit the Internet once more.  This is where insanity hit me.  Things had moved on rather in the cloth nappy world, there were so many new and different types to try.  They were fluffy, pretty, slim and you could even have them custom made to your own design.  I braced my credit card.




Several shopping sprees later and I must admit I had myself a pretty nice looking stash of various types.  I even had matching pairs for every make so that the twins could always be coordinating.  Barely a week went by when I wasn't adding something to our collection.  It was fun and after all if I was going to be changing upwards of 16 nappies a day then I may as well have some enjoyment out of it!




That's not where my love of cloth ended however, I joined forums on the Internet which let me talk with other cloth users about our obsession, sharing information and proudly posting pictures of our latest purchases.  That rush of excitement when one of us found a retailer was having a sale or, more exciting still, a new brand or pattern had been launched!  I made online friends - I even joined Facebook so that I could stay in touch with them.  Many of those people are still my Facebook friends now, it's funny to think that four years ago we all shared such a strange hobby (if that's what you can call it) and now we are still sharing what we get up to as our families grow.  Some of us still use cloth and some don't but we're all still there to chat to one another when the need arises.




As I reached into the back of the chest of drawers in the twins room this week and discovered a handful of nappies still there "just in case" I knew it was time to put them away and finally say goodbye.  I have loved being a cloth nappy user, not only for the distraction it has given me from a fairly mundane task but for all the great friends I've made.  The added bonus of saving money and even making some money back once I had finished with them has been the icing on the cake really.  I'm not sure I'd have had half as much fun with disposables.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Adventures in Baking - Part Two

Since I last updated you on my baking journey, I've decided to up my game a little.  October is a month of many birthdays (three, which is far too many really and poor planing on my part too).  So, this month I decided to concentrate on perfecting my cake baking skills.  Remember me telling you about ds2s first birthday cake?  Well, pretty as it was, it tasted quite terrible and despite me covering it in enough icing to make your teeth ache for about a fortnight, the tasteless cake couldn't be hidden.  My aim then, to make a birthday cake that was light and fluffy and tasty all at once (I can dream, right?), so two weeks ago I had a dry run. For this I didn't chose a traditional birthday cake.  As I still had a tub of cocoa to use up, a Chocolate Victoria Sandwich cake in my aforementioned Mary Berry book caught my eye.

The twins and I set to work, combining the ingredients as directed in the all in one recipe and dividing into each lined tin.  







I even used the scales so that each tin had the right amount.  The results were fairly impressive if I say so myself.  There was a lot of mixture but it gave me a nice deep but fluffy cake which everyone seemed to enjoy.  New Baking Powder definitely helped too.





Buoyed by this success, I used the same recipe without the cocoa to make a birthday cake for the twins last week.  I wanted to keep the decorations fairly simple so went with buttercream and a tonne of dolly mixtures!  Poor dh went to about half a dozen shops in the city centre to find them as it appears no shops near our house actually sell them.  I think the results were pretty good although I had issues with the jam oozing out of the middle owing to the weight of the top layer.  It all tasted great however, and so I prepare to attempt cake number three for ds1s birthday this week.  Currently I'm wondering if I can do some sort of minecraft themed cake of if my imagination has got the better of me!


Terrible picture and I forgot to put it on a plate

In other baking news, I finally managed to get a good result with the chocolate fork biscuits attempted previously.  It turns out that I really should have read the recipe properly and used soft margarine and not butter.  As you can see my second attempt resulted in a much bigger biscuit and the weren't burnt this time!


So lesson learnt, always read the recipe properly and use the correct ingredients.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Rainy Day Adventure

One of the problems I have now that the older three children are in school in the day and the twins are only at pre-school for half a day, is that quite often (well, ok its every day) we tend to just do the school run and then flop in front of the television until its time for the next school run or whatever.  Unfortunately, we live in what is possibly the rainiest part of the universe which makes the getting out and about a bit of a miserable affair, plus it takes about four hours to get everyone suitably dressed for the weather.  That said, I was feeling a bit fed up of our four walls this week and there's only so much Mr Tumble any parent can take in one day, so the twins and I donned our waterproofs (official costume of Cheshire) and went out for a little adventure.

We really didn't have to go too far afield as our local town is blessed with a couple of pretty decent nature reserves.  We've visited before, on Sunday afternoons, when the twins were much smaller and I could push them around in a buggy, but I haven't been back recently and I'm really not sure why.

When we arrived we were met with a bear!  Our town is otherwise known as Bear Town and a few years ago the town was adorned with fibreglass bears which were decorated by schools and businesses and placed all around the town - this is one of the bears who now has a permanent place up high on a pole overlooking the mere.

Bear on high

The twins then set about to see if we could find a real one...


Bear Hunt!!!

We found some ducks but they were quite far away.


Look Ducks!
They are out there somewhere!

They were a bit scared at this part of the track - apparently the bear might live down here and be waiting for us!


Beware of the bear!

We did find some coots - they were looking a bit hungry, but our snacks weren't for them.




We stayed for a while and watched the birds in the mere, including some rather menacing looking swans, who also seemed to be after something to eat!





Finally, we managed to capture a picture of one of these little robins.  There were several, all flitting between the bushes busily searching for food.  


Robins always make me think of shhh... Christmas

Having something to eat ourselves seemed like a good idea at this point and as our adventure began with a bear it seemed only fitting that  it should end with one too.  Fortunately I brought some of the new Barny bear shaped cakes with me, which are individually wrapped and could therefore be popped into my handbag.  They are perfect for taking on an adventure and the twins chose the chocolate flavoured variety which have a milk filling (there are also plain sponge with a chocolate filling too, we had those when we got back!).  The twins thought they were delicious (so did I!).


Yum!

Bears can be tasty too!

We really enjoyed our autumnal walk and we are definitely going to do it again soon, if only to see if we can find that bear!


Even the Car Park was full of nature, but no bears

This post is an entry for BritMums 'Little Adventures Challenge' in partnership with Barny, the bear-shaped snack providing a little discovery in every bite.  Find out more about Barny here.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Center Parcs Family Bloggers Club

We've had a few ups and downs over the last five years or so.  Two redundancies, two new jobs, and two new babies to be exact.  As a result of this one of the things that we've decided to cut from our budget is holidays.  For a number of reasons this doesn't bother me too much but recently I've thought how nice it would be to get away with the family, especially now that they are all past the baby stage and we can, theoretically at least, pack a bit lighter.  When I saw that Center Parcs had teamed up with Tots100 to allow 12 lucky blogging families a chance to review a holiday each at one of four Center Parcs sites across the UK, I immediately thought "I'd like to have a go at that".

When our first three children were little the bulk of our holidaying was done at Center Parcs (Whinfell Forest).  Our first holiday as a family was there.  Not wanting to go to far afield with a young baby who had recently undergone heart surgery, the lake district was the perfect venue for our first trip away, not too far from home but still away from it all.  Happy, happy memories.

When I started looking through all our photos and video clips for our entry into this competition, I sadly couldn't find any pictures of our first family holiday (I think we were pre digital age then!) but I've found quite a lot of others, including ds2's first holiday there.  It has brought so many memories back for me and I've had tremendous fun making it.  We don't have any proper video equipment and so it is more of a montage of stills, but I'd never used any video editing software before so that's another first for me, along with all the ones mentioned in our entry of course.

I've chosen to visit Sherwood Forest if we do win, mainly because it would be lovely to experience something new for the older children.  I would love for my twins to experience the Center parcs magic for the first time too.  When we've visited in the past I've always been pleased to find a good range of activities for the whole family.  My personal favourite was the weekend we "broke the children" - they couldn't move for about a day after we bombarded them with swimming, walks and horse riding, which was good because it allowed me to have a fantastic treatment at Aqua Sana while they were recovering!  In fact you can see the evidence of this in the shiny faced photo of me with ds1 - I'd just had a facial, but I was very relaxed!

So, here is our entry, fingers crossed that we get to be part of the Center Parcs Family Bloggers Club!




Friday, 4 October 2013

Then and Now

Today my babies are four years old.

Four.  Nearly big enough for school.  

They are so excited to be four, excited about the presents and the cake!

They will never be big to me, they will always be my babies.

I look at them now and still see them as I did four years ago, tiny, helpless, they needed everything from me.






But, they don't any more.  They have come so far, they are not tiny premmies any more, they are my big girl and my big boy. 





Happy Birthday my beautiful babies.
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