Foolproof home baked bread in minutes!

Hello my lovelies,

It’s the school holidays here in England and that means 6 weeks of scrambling to find activities for my child that won’t break the bank. Thank goodness for Pinterest and Facebook viral video’s! I found a really cool video for bread in a bag and just had to make it.

Yesterday we baked bread in a bag and it was a-mazing! Light, tasty and super duper easy to make.  In fact, my 5 year old daughter did 95% of the work!

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I measured out all the ingredients in 3 stages so that it was easy for my daughter to add them into the zip lock bag.  She had so much fun!  All you’ll need besides the ingredients, is a large zip lock bag and a few plastic tumblers.  The recipe is in cups which, surprise, surprise I couldn’t find yesterday so I used one of my daughter’s ikea plastic cups which worked perfectly.

So, here’s the recipe and method:

Foolproof bread in a bag

Into a large ziplock bag, add  1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons white sugar (next time I’ll use 1/2 this mount as it seemed a little sweet to me), 1 pkg rapid rise yeast and 1 cup of warm water.

Seal the bag letting out the air as you go and then comes the fun part.  Play with the ziplock bag and massage it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.  My daughter LOVED this part!

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When it’s combined, set the bag aside for 10 minutes.

Now open the bag and add 1 cup of flour, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. Once again, seal the bag letting out the air as you go and play with the ingredients in the ziplock bag and manipulate it in your hands so that all the ingredients combine.

Open the bag and add a cup of flour.

Seal the bag again and manipulate to mix the flour in.

Lay the bread dough on a floured surface and gently mould into the shape of a bread loaf. Place into a greased loaf tin.

Cover and allow to rise for at least 45 minutes in a warm place.

Bake at 190 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Once baked, turn out onto a cooling rack and wait five minutes before devouring with butter and jam!

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Bright blessings,

Mama R

x

 

 

 

 

New amazing way to bond with your daughter

Hello my lovelies,

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Today I wanted to talk to you about a meaningful way to connect with your kids, especially your daughters.  My little one is 5 turning 6 as she likes to remind me, and with our busy lives, I often find we don’t connect as much as I’d like.  It was really getting me down that I didn’t get enough time to really find out a little more about what makes my little girl tick when I happened upon a great idea on Pinterest.

It’s called the Mommy and daughter journal. We bought this pretty journal from WH Smith which my daughter decorated with stickers. And the basic idea is that as the Mommy, you start off by writing an introduction letter to your daughter.

 

Mine said:

 

Dear Darling,

Would you like to be my pen pal?  Instead of posting letters to each other, we can keep them in this lovely notebook.  Does that sound like fun?

I will write to you in the notebook and leave it on your bed.  Then, when you write back, start on a fresh page and when you’re done, leave the notebook on my bed.

You can write about anything you like! Things that make you happy or sad or even things that happen during your day.

In your first letter, please tell me two interesting things about you.

Love

Mommy

xxx

 

Let me tell you dear readers, when I first started this notebook I had no idea it would become such a brilliant tool and keepsake!

Not only does writing in it help my daughter with her literacy and handwriting skills but I’m finding out so many great things about my little girl.  Some of the entries bring tears to my eyes and I cherish every one of the little, ‘I love you mommy, you’re the best’ messages.  One day I will present this book to my daughter as a special keepsake gift.

So, how do you go about starting your own notebook?

Firstly, I would recommend taking your daughter shopping to choose a notebook that you both like.   While you’re there, pick up some cute pens, stickers and washi tape. My daughter loves to decorate in our notebook with washi tape and pictures for me.

Next, write your first entry to your daughter. Remember to keep it lighthearted and fun.

I don’t pressure my daughter to write in our journal. If I’ve written to her a few days before and she hasn’t written back, I gently remind her and she usually can’t wait to go write something for me.

I know that my daughter struggles sometimes, with her literacy at school when she has to write stuff from imagination.  She just doesn’t know what to write!  I reassure her that she’s not the only one who finds a blank piece of paper intimidating.  That’s why I have found it helpful to use prompts in my letters to her. For example, in my first letter to her, I prompted saying, ‘In your first letter, please tell me two interesting things about you.’ This helped to give her a starting point.  I do this with all my letters. Here are some examples of prompts I’ve used recently:

  • What are your favourite foods and why?
  • Which toy is your favourite and why?
  • Who is your favourite teacher and what do you like about her?
  • Let me know some fun things you would like to do during the school holidays
  • If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

 

Another winner was an entry I wrote to my daughter listing ten things I loved about her.  The return message squeezed my heart.  She wrote ten things back to me and oh deary me, they were so precious!

Don’t forget when you are writing your prompts to give your answers to your own prompts. Tell your daughter what your favourite foods are and why.  This helps the bonding process and makes your journal feel less of an interrogation!

I always remember to slip in compliments on what my daughter has done well and to tell her how proud we are of her and how much we love her. To me, you can’t tell your kid these things enough.  No adult ever complained to the shrink that their parents told them they were proud of them and loved them too often!

I’m honestly so glad we started this very special little practice.  Try it and see what an impact it has on your relationship with your little girl.

 

Bright blessings,

Mama R

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY giant bubbles

Hello my lovelies,

diy giant bubbles

Here at Swish Cottage, we are always on the lookout for fun and educational things to do with DD.   She absolutely adores blowing regular bubbles and DH, after watching a youtube video on creating these giant bubbles decided to give it a go.

It’s super easy.

All you need is a bit of dowel rod cut in two, some wool, Fairy washing up liquid, some water and some glycerine.

To make the bubble wands DH used the spare wooden thingie that opens the door to the loft.  As I said, he cut them in two and tied the wool around the dowel rods on both ends in a loop. It should be quite a long piece of wool as you’ll see in the pictures below.  DH says you could use sturdy sticks from the garden.

To make the bubble mixture you mix together, 1 part FAIRY dishwashing liquid to 6 parts water and mix in a couple of teaspoons of glycerine. DO NOT froth up the mixture.  Mix slowly to combine.

It’s also worth mentioning that we tried this with cheap dishwashing liquid and it did not work so we recommend Fairy dishwashing liquid.

Please excuse my run down greenhouse. It’s due a makeover this Summer.

So once you’ve got your mixture made up and your ‘bubble wands’ ready, place the wool into the water as shown below.

You’ll notice that the wool will start to tangle a bit and as you lift up the wands, there will be bubble mixture in that triangle in the middle.  

Slowly move your arms further apart and then swing you arms sideways to catch the wind/air which will cause the bubble to swell. Et voila!

A large magical bubble in the making!  And there it goes!

Warning!  Kids go nuts for these bubbles!  There will be squeals and screams of delight… and you may not get any rest for a few days until the novelty wears off!

Cheap, cheerful and exciting!

Bright blessings,

Mama R

Halloween light jars

Hello my lovelies,

DD and I kept really busy on Monday.  We not only baked the Moist Banana Bread I posted about yesterday we also decorated our mantle for Halloween.

I had been taking a tea break and browsing a Christmas Facebook group that I joined when I saw someone had used paper napkins and modge podge to do some gorgeous glass jars for Christmas.  I remembered I had a few halloween napkins in the  halloween boxes of decorations and knew exactly what to do with them.

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I think they came out fabulous! It kept DD and I busy for quite a while cutting out the napkins and painting with the modge podge.  They are super duper easy to do.SONY DSC

 You just cut out your images from the napkins. Then use a little modge podge to stick the images to the glass jars wherever you want to place them. Then GENTLY – I cannot stress this enough –  dab the modge podge onto the napkin images on your jar generously.  REMEMBER do this VERY, VERY GENTLY or your napkin images will tear like DD’s jar in the front. She was so proud of it that I didn’t have the heart to try to help her to get it perfect. Because she doesn’t need it to be perfect that’s just my perfectionism coming through!

Here they are placed in situ in my entrance hall.

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Doesn’t this little guy look like the Cheshire cat?

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Bright blessings,

Mama R

x

Camp Funshine update and Christmas aprons

Hello my lovelies,

Today has been a difficult day.

My daughter is testing her limits at the moment and driving me pretty much insane.  Nevertheless we had a craft day today.  She was given all sorts of little crafty make and do things for her birthday and after our trip to the shops, and I figured since we couldn’t go play outside, crafting was a good idea.

 This is one of the spoon people she made…

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and this is her Christmas apron that I made!  And of course when you ask your kid who’s acting out to please smile…. she closes her eyes and makes a face!

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I made one for myself last night so now we Mommy and Me matching Christmas aprons all ready for our holiday baking.

I’m probably not going to get to do as many Camp Funshine posts as I wanted to because I’m just not getting a chance to post what with keeping DD occupied!

 Yes, I know I’m a mad person but I have been thinking of Christmas and have already bought all of my daughter’s gifts and am now working on DH and MIL’s gifts.  I’ve done my Christmas menues and just have to make up a grocery list.

 Yes I know, I’m crazy!

 Bright blessings,

 Mama R

x

Pasta fun for 18 month olds

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I was making dinner tonight and my daughter was trying to grab the pasta away from me.  It was then that I remembered making pasta jewelery when I was a child.

While dinner was cooking we threaded Penne and Rigatoni onto a piece of string and had the greatest fun.  Of course my daughter had try to eat some of the pasta which she quickly learned tasted a lot better when cooked.

This game is fantastic for fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination.  It’s also a lot cheaper than some of the expensive cotton reel toys out there.

When your child is done playing, place the pasta and the string into a zip lock bag for next time.

PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD NEVER LEAVE YOUR CHILD ALONE WITH ANY LENGTH OF STRING AS THIS POSES A STRANGULATION RISK.

Have fun!

Bright blessings,

Mama R

x

Coaxing a toddler to eat with yummy, healthy foods

Over the past 3 days my 16 month old DD has refused to eat.  Her high chair tray has gone untouched and she’s even refused to be spoon fed.  It’s very upsetting as a parent and finally at my wits end I decided to cook. And for fun, I baked.

I figured she might be bored with boring sandwiches and porridge for breakfast and turned to Finger Food for Babies and Toddlers by Jennie Maizels.

What a treasure trove of brilliant recipes and nutritional facts.  Surely something in this book would tempt her?

With DD’s help we made savoury pancakes, banana and honey cakes, flapjacks and oat biscuits all from the Finger Food for Babies and Toddlers.  Since I was in a cooking mood and the kitchen was in a fine mess anyway, I made blueberry muffins and Tuna and sweetcorn fish cakes (my own recipe) and turkey balls from Annabel Karmel. These turkey balls are just to die for!

Since I bought the ingredients, tomorrow I’m going to make mini quiches and ham and cheese muffins.  I’ve frozen most of it and kept only a few small portions out for the next couple of days.

For dinner, I added some pasta bows and tomato sauce with cheese to the turkey balls and DD’s eating like she’s never seen food before.  Needless to say I’m about to collapse I’m so tired! But very chuffed she’s now eating.

If you haven’t a copy of Finger Food for Babies and Toddlers by Jennie Maizels then definitely put it on your Amazon wish list.  It’s just brilliant.  Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite.

Savoury Pancakes (Finger Foods for Babies and Toddlers)

  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml milk
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 T oil, plus more for frying

Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the flour, break in the egg and add a little milk. Stir gently.  Gradually mix in the rest of themilk and the tablespoon of oil until the mixture resembles the consistency of single cream.

Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes before using.  Heat a medium frying pan, then brush with a little oil. Pour a small amount of batter into the pan and swirl around to cover the base, the thinner the better.

Cook for about a minute or until the edges are coming away from the sides of the pan and it starts to bubble up from underneath. Flip the pancake over and cook for another minute until golden in colour.  Transfer to a plate, cover with greaseproof paper adn keep warm. (Putting greaseproof paper between pancakes will keep them from sticking together.)  Repeat until all the batter has been used.

Serve filled with cheese or fillings of your choice.  Creamed spinach and leftover bolognese sauce make good fillings.

Oat biscuits (Finger Foods for Babies and Toddlers)

  • 100g wholemeal flour
  • 25g porridge oats
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 T golden syrup
  • 50g butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in the syrup.  Rub in the butter using your fingers to form a sost dough.  Flour the work surface, place the dough on it and pat into a flat shape about 5mm thick.  Use an 8cm cutter to cut out the biscuits. Lightly grease a baking sheet, place the biscuits on it and bake for about 10 minutes until they are slightly browned.  Leave to stand for 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack.

Flapjacks (Finger Foods for Babies and Toddlers)

Makes about 12

  • 100g butter
  • 100g demerara sugar
  • 1 T golden syrup
  • 150g porridge oats

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees centigrade.  Grease a baking tin or loaf tin approximately 18cm square.  Melt the butter in a pan, then stir in the sugar, syrup and oats.  Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tin and press flat using the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then mark out 12 squares.  Cool completely before removing the flapjacks from the tin.

Mama’s tuna and sweetcorn cakes

  • 1 x 170g tin of tuna in brine, drained
  • 300g mashed potato
  • 100g sweet corn
  • 50g finely chopped leek
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Flour for dredging
  • More oil for frying

Fry the finely chopped leek in a teaspoon of oil until translucent.  Mix tuna, mashed potato, corn, leek and breadcrumbs together. Season if desired. Form the mixture into medium sized balls then squash down to form a pattie. Dredge in flour then fry on both sides until golden.

And boy did she eat!  As there were some interesting new things for her to try her interest was piqued and she ate some of everything!  After dinner I served DD a chocolate and fruit fondou.  This is what she did with it…

Looks like she had fun!

Bright blessings,

Mama R

xx