Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Chocolate Easter Egg Baskets

Are you entertaining family and friends over the Easter weekend? Do you need a quick recipe that will feed the masses, taste delicious and even better the kids can make it?!....

Chocolate Easter Egg Baskets

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400g milk chocolate
160g shredded wheat
1 bag of mini eggs
plus a selection of pretty cupcake/muffin cases
Makes 14-16 nests

Break up the chocolate and place in a pyrex bowl. Place this bowl over a pan of simmering water – make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate may seize.

Chocolate Easter Egg Baskets

While the chocolate is melting, crush the shredded wheat by putting it into a plastic food bag. Seal and hit with a rolling pin until all the ‘pillows’ are completely destroyed!!

Chocolate Easter Egg Baskets

Add the shredded wheat to the melted chocolate and stir well so that the shredded wheat is completely covered! Spoon this mixture into cake cases and then press the back of a teaspoon into each case to create the basket shape.

Chocolate Easter Egg Baskets

Add 3 mini eggs to each nest plus any other decorations that take your fancy! (For UK readers, our decorations are from Waitrose!) Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours to harden. Take out 15 minutes before eating. Enjoy!

What are you cooking over Easter? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Sprout’s House

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Ice Lollies

Are you wishing away the cold weather and embracing the sunshine that has been peeking through the clouds? What better way to get in the mood for a hot Summer than with some homemade ice lollies!!

Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Ice Lollies

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Sprout has been quite ill recently not only with the chicken pox, but also with a rather nasty chest/ear infection. With the infection she didn’t eat for nearly a week, so I have been trying to get as many vitamins into her as possible to give her depleted system a little boost. These lollies have proved to be the perfect solution for several reasons - Sprout loves whizzing the ingredients, they are full of vitamins and best of all - for Sprout - they are pink!!

Ingredients -
1 banana
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 cup of frozen strawberries and blueberries
A splash of coconut water – if you haven’t used coconut water before it is definitely worth trying. It is made using the clear liquid from the centre of young, green coconuts. Full of potassium and electrolytes, low in calories and fat free it makes a really hydrating drink.

Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Ice Lollies

Put all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth. I used a stick/hand held blender similar to this one which I love as it's quick to wash up, and comes with a few accessories including a whisk, 1 litre beaker and a compact chopper. I used the compact chopper for this recipe.

Next, spoon the mixture into the lolly moulds and freeze for at least four hours. When you’re ready to eat the lollies simply pour boiling water over the outside of the moulds and the lollies should be easy to release.

Strawberry, Blueberry and Raspberry Ice Lollies

We had a couple play dates at the beginning of the week and these went down a storm on both occasions!

Sprout’s House

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It's So Very Cheri


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How to achieve Night Time Dryness!

Are you tackling potty training with your little one, but haven’t quite conjured up the energy to conquer night time dryness?
Or are you fed up with changing your child’s sheets in the middle of the night?

Achieve Night time Dryness in seven easy steps

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Sprout’s potty training journey began in August 2012 when I tried to potty train her over the summer holidays. It soon became clear from the numerous puddles around the house that she simply wasn’t ready for this step! Her second attempt took place towards the end of October just as we had moved house and were about to get married. Luckily, it turned out to be fairly painless.

We didn’t tackle nighttime dryness until mid-August 2013 and I think it took us about 3 or 4 weeks to crack, however compared to daytime potty training it proved to be fairly painful!!

So I have compiled 7 simple steps for you to follow in the hope that you have an easier time that we did!!

1.   Invest in a really good waterproof mattress protector!! The last thing you want to be doing is trying to dry out a urine soaked mattress in the middle of the night! We bought a cot bed mattress protector from Little Green Sheep.

Achieve Night time Dryness in seven easy steps

   It is made from layers of super soft organic cotton between which there is a layer of food grade polyurethane. The sheet is flat rather than fitted to encourage breathability and help create a barrier against dust mites. This also means that you can position the protector wherever you need to! Sprout has used hers ever she started sleeping in her cot and now uses it on her full sized single bed. Neither her cot bed mattress nor her single bed mattress have any marks or stains on them!

2.  Buy a couple of packets of these Pampers Bed Mats.

Achieve Night time Dryness in seven easy steps

  These are literally worth their weight in gold as they help cut down the amount of laundry you have to do. As a working Mummy, I found it hard to keep up with washing all the sheets especially ensuring that the mattress protector was dry and ready for the following night. We started off by laying one of these sheets across the top of Sprout’s bed sheet so that if she had an accident it would just be a case of changing her pjs and possibly the duvet cover. The only thing about the Pampers Bed Mats is that they are a bit ‘plasticky’ so as Sprout began to have more dry nights we moved the pampers sheet to underneath her bed sheet and since then have just removed it altogether!

3.   One of the most important things you can do is give your little one the chance to empty their bladder by hopping on the potty or loo just before you tuck them in and say goodnight.

4.  Even more important is to give them the opportunity to wee just before YOU go to bed! This will give them a great chance of remaining dry through the entire night! Sprout has been dry over night for about 8 months and we still pop her on the potty each night as we make our way to bed. Generally, she snoozes right through this night time wee and we usually have her potty right next to her bed so it doesn’t tend to disturb her too much.

5.  We also leave the potty in the same place in her room each night so that she can use it if she needs to.  

6. Leave out spare pyjamas, bed sheets, duvet covers and even towels just in case you need them for those middle of the night changes! The last thing you want to be doing is riffling through your cupboards at ‘silly’ o’clock in the morning.

7.   If you find that your child is continually wetting the bed in the night then it might be worth limiting the amount they drink after 4 or 5pm so that their bladder is not too full.

One of my friends has recently used these tips to help her daughter stay dry through the night and has reported back that it only took them a week achieve night time dryness!!

Have you got any night time dryness tips?
Pop your ideas in the comments section!

 Sprout’s House

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Rainbow Cake

Want a cake that wows? Try this Rainbow Cake with an added extra surprise inside!

Rainbow Cake - children's party

At the beginning of March, I shared the party bags I had created for a little group of Sprout’s friends who she has known since birth. On that occasion, I also made a Rainbow Cake – in fact I ended up making two - one as an experiment earlier that week and then the real thing!

Rainbow Cake - children's party

I used this recipe for the sponge and then iced it using this vanilla icing from the Hummingbird Bakery! 

For this particular recipe, you have to make two batches of the sponge and then divide each batch into three bowls (ie six bowls overall) so that you can add food colouring to each one.

Rainbow Cake - children's party

Although, the colours look fairly vibrant in the bowls you can see from the finished product that some of the layers are a little bit indistinguishable in terms of colour. I think I need to add more food colouring!!....

Rainbow Cake - children's party

For the icing, I ended up making 4 or 5 batches of the Hummingbird vanilla frosting although I probably could have done with another batch.

Overall, the cake was quite a success and it was certainly devoured by Sprout’s Daddy’s colleagues! However, I did think that all that vanilla icing made the cake quite sweet so for the real thing I decided to use chocolate icing.

Rainbow Cake - children's party

I used the same sponge recipe again, but defected to the Hummingbird Chocolate Frosting recipe. I also decided to halve the number of layers to three, so the end result consisted of three thicker layers.

This time once I had iced the first layer (all apart from the very centre so the smarties don’t go soggy!); I used a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the centre of the middle layer. This layer was then placed on top and the centre filled with smarties. Smother this layer with icing and then pop the last layer on. The last step is to ice the entire cake and decorate!

Once the cake was iced, I used a palette knife dipped in boiling water to help get a really smooth finish on the sides of the cake. On the top, I piped rose swirls using a Wilton Tip 1B and then used the same tip to pipe little decorative touches around the base of the cake. 

Rainbow Cake - children's party

As there were going to be three small people blowing out candles, I used these happy birthday candles so everyone had a good chance at blowing out a couple of candles.

Rainbow Cake - children's party

The inside of cake came out surprisingly well with three chunky coloured layers and a little smartie surprise in the middle. I’m afraid I  didn’t manage to get any ‘nice’ photos of the layers, but here’s one after it had been devoured by the masses!!

Rainbow Cake - children's party

Have you tried making a Rainbow Cake? If not, have I tempted to you to have a go? 

Sprout’s House

Monday, 31 March 2014

How to keep track of Medicines!

Is your child ill? Are you juggling different medicines? 
Trying to keep track of which child has had which medicine?

How to keep track of medicines

Last week was a bit of a toughie - for all of us!! It mainly consisted of no sleep, a plethora of medicines, no sleep, doctor’s appointments, no sleep, no food, no sleep, no water and did I mention no sleep!!....

Sprout’s House was hit by another wave of germs which nearly took us all down. Not content with having chicken pox at the start of March Sprout rounded the month off with a raging chest/ear infection.

At the beginning of the week, I headed off to London on a course leaving a slightly lethargic Sprout lying on the sofa. She made it into pre-school on Monday morning before succumbing to a temperature by midday and having to be rescued by her Daddy. I arrived home on the Tuesday afternoon to find a rather subdued Sprout and a rather tired Daddy both of whom were suffering from a serious lack of sleep after two nights of coughing and spluttering. Another sleepless night followed, by which time Sprout wasn’t eating and barely drinking so off we went to the doctor who diagnosed a chest infection and possibly an ear infection too.

We left having been prescribed a hefty dose of antibiotics alongside the Calpol and Nurofen that she was already taking. And this is the crux of the post….after a limited amount of sleep my ability to juggle three different types of medicine was pretty non –existent. 

Keeping track of medicines

I ended up keeping a record of what I had given her and when on the kitchen black board as well as using the back of an envelope to keep a note of how much water I had syringed into her mouth. Not particularly effective as I kept forgetting to update both! So with that in mind, I have devised a Medicine Record sheet to help me keep up with the medicines that I have given Sprout. 

How to keep track of medicines

The week ended with both Sprout’s Daddy and I fighting a losing battle against Sprout’s germs – although we are all on the mend now. It is certainly the most ill I have ever seen her and has beaten chicken pox hands down in terms of severity. Here’s hoping that the arrival of Spring, and fingers crossed some warmer weather, will give us all some renewed energy and vigour!! 

I hope you are all feeling well. If not, please feel free to download my Medicine Sheet to help you juggle all those medicines. Leave your survival tips in the comments below!!

Sprout’s House