Saturday, 31 October 2009

A Kat visited us on Halloween!!!

We had a lovely visit from one of our older daughters this afternoon. Kathryn took time out from her busy schedule to spend time with us and also act as a non Royal Mail postie and hand deliver Sara's birthday card for next week!! The trusty Remoska was pressed into action and I made a shepherd's pie followed by rice pudding topped with nutmeg. The treacle toffee had set beautifully and it was a delicious end to a lovely meal.

Remoska warming ready to go

The base for the pie consisted of: onions, carrots, courgettes, mushrooms,tinned and fresh tomatoes, mixed beans, turkey mince and a vegetable stock cube.

 Whilst the base was cooking I peeled, chopped and cooked four large potatoes. Once cooked these were drained and mashed with a little butter and then spread over the base. Within twenty minutes the pie was golden brown and ready to eat.


Here is Pip having finished her main course and attempting to eat her rice pudding with her hands and spoon!

 A first! Four out of five of our offspring gathered around the family table

Pip wondering whether she dare sneak an extra helping from Kath

  Thinks - "If she looks at me like that, I'd best not have anything"

 Eliza Acton's Rich Rice Pudding- serves 4

 4oz short grain rice

 1 1/2 pints milk

 3oz caster sugar

 2 oz butter

 1 teaspoon nutmeg

 For this you will need a 2 pint buttered baking dish.

 Pre-heat oven to gas mark 2, 300F, 150C

First put the rice into a saucepan, add the milk and bring it slowly almost to simmering point,then let it cook gently until the rice is practically tender which should take approximately 10 minutes.

Next add the sugar and butter and stir until melted, take the pan off the heat and pour the mix into the buttered dish and top with the nutmeg. Bake for 30-40 minutes or longer if you prefer a thicker consistency.

For an extra treat serve with pouring cream.

Friday, 30 October 2009

A Blustery Autumn Day

At the end of a reasonably busy week we actually managed a home day today. The wind was a definite friend for I was actually able to hang out the washing on the rotary airer, it smelt lovely and fresh when I brought it in at the end of the day. Today's meals were based around the use up method of catering and I was pleased to provide two cooked meals for the hungry brood. Lunch was a one pot fish casserole baked in the Remoska. The dish consisted of red bream, onions, courgettes, fresh and tinned tomatoes, white wine and potatoes. Tea was a very easy bubble and squeak, containing cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions, all cooked and then mashed together and baked in the good old Remoska.

These are our selection of books from our library visit yesterday. First up are Pip's selection! She took great care ensuring they were of impeccable chewing quality. It was her first visit to the library and she had enormous fun rearranging the shelves and in doing so devising her own dewy decimal system!

We were struggling to find the easy reader section for Benedict as the library has recently been revamped. With creative thinking we were able to find this selection of books to keep him entertained and encourage his new found interest in the written word. It's interesting how is enthusiasm has corresponded with the onset of his adult teeth appearing. No surprise I guess to Steiner Waldorf fans as this developmental aspect is well known in Waldorf circles.

This cosy Autumn jacket for Pip is finally finished! A trip to the haberdashery stall in the market yesterday led to the unearthing of these pretty floral buttons. The jacket was lovely to knit, an easy straightforward pattern. My post partum brain( yes ten months down the line!!) still cannot cope with anything too taxing. The wool was a dream to knit with, Debbie Bliss 100% Cotton Aran. Pattern from 'Easy Baby Knits'

A close up of the buttons and from this angle you can see in greater detail the woven effect of the knitting.

Pip was very happy with the end result especially the buttons,just big enough to try and grab and chew!

Clappy hands mummy, well done!!!

Benedict had a very busy day dancing. He had his dress rehearsal all afternoon and then performed in the show proper after tea. Here he is waiting for his cue to begin his solo dance. Dave was in the audience this evening; Sara and I attend tomorrow afternoon.

As we are approaching All Hallows Eve, Dave decided to make some treacle toffee. This is known to us as 'Aunty May's Treacle Toffee' as it follows a recipe that Dave's Great Aunty May used to make. It is not complicated but we have lovely memories of Aunty May and this is a good tangible reminder. When she died, we received her Fowlers Treacle Recipes book from which the recipe is derived.

Aunty May's Treacle Toffee (makes 1lb)

1/2 lb treacle;

1/2lb sugar;

1/4lb butter;

2 teaspoons vinegar.

Dissolve all in a pan and simmer for 20 minutes or until a drop of the mixture in cold water goes hard

Dave increased all quantities by 1/2 to give us 1 1/2lb of treacle toffee. Yum Yum!!!

And here is Auntie May, God Bless her!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A long standing special friendship

Ros and I have been friends from way back, when we were mere college students. We have supported each other through motherhood, turbulent teens, sickness and health. Our friendship has survived the test of time and even though we might have periods of non communication due to family commitments, when we do reconnect it is like the continuation of an old conversation. Visiting Ros and Jamie today was a real tonic for us all and the pictures below are a snippet of our time together.

Pip deciding to try out the cat toys and scratching post, ahem

We tried distracting her but she was determined to play with those toys!

Benedict had great fun building Lego with Jamie

How time flies it only seems five minutes since this young man was a wee chap like Benedict

Never work with kids big or small I say!

That's better, smile you are on candid camera!

Monday, 26 October 2009

On with the garden

Well today some of us got on with putting the garden to bed for the winter, removing things in the raised beds and leaving the surface tidy. A dusting of pepper dust was applied to keep the cats away.

Well trimmed and leafless trees

Pip watches on

Sprinkling the pepper dust 

Garden looking tidier

Ben the apple eater

Pip the apple eater

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Clocks Back Sunday

Other folk might have gained their extra hour but if you are living with little ones you can guarantee their body clock will be running to the old time! Dave and I grabbed our extra sleep in shifts as we had once more been up in the night twice checking Benedict and correcting a high blood glucose reading. After Breakfast Dave, Benedict and Pip took Sara to Littledale Scout Camp where she spent the morning clearing some of the land and digging ditches. We had the usual standby Baked Potatoes® (Dave's joke, as they could well be a registered trademark for a great convenience food!) for lunch cooked in the Remoska from the Czech Republic via Lakeland Limited. Whilst Pip and Sara were having an afternoon nap the rest of us played Happy Families, to my shame I can’t remember the last time we actually sat down and played a game together! Dave and Benedict drew with three pairs each whereas I actually won with a comfortable lead of six pairs!

Dave is trying not to fall asleep

San helping Benedict

And then she realises she's on a winning path.

Victory was short lived however as Benedict and I dodged a heavy burst of rain and attempted to clear some of the tree pruning debris from the garden. We have had some good successes with our vegetable plots notably, Swiss chard, courgettes and tomatoes. Sad to say the lettuces were munched at by our not so friendly slugs and the swede tops were taken over by a caterpillar conurbation. Since we did not want to spray I cut them down and as a result unknowingly weakened the plant which promptly rotted right the way through, still I am undeterred and am already working on a simple plan for next year.

Garden with falling leaves needs a bit more tidying for the winter.

This is the first year in a long time where we have actually remembered to light a Baptism Candle on the appropriate day, so Benedict’s special day was commemorated at the tea table. We had a simple soup followed by a quick low carb banana pudding. All in all, it’s been an enjoyable day.

 Benedict with his Baptism Candle and a couple of other candles

 Oh, and Pip is now starting to eat at the table

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Our New House Mate Lenny

This lovable lion arrived with the long awaited Paradigm 522 Insulin Pump. It has been a year since our Diabetes Team provided the copious paperwork to our local PCT advocating such a need. We knew that the early days would present us with some challenges but nothing had prepared us for such a steep learning curve within the first 48 hours: 4 cannula changes, a complete reservoir and line change and hourly glucose readings during the first night, we finally crawled into bed at 5am the following morning! Since then we have had to alter the basal and bolus rates every two days to prevent crashing hypos and off the wall hypers. Despite the chaos Benedict has accepted these changes with his usual matter of fact outlook on life and has never once complained of such inconveniences. I sure could learn a lot from this little chap!

Friday, 23 October 2009

In memory of a dear friend

Sirach 6v5-14:

"A gentle word makes many friends, an agreeable tongue calls forth gracious replies. Let your friends be many but your counselors one in a thousand!

If you would gain a friend, begin by testing him and do not put your confidence in him too quickly. For there is the friend who is such when it suits him but he does not remain faithful in times of adversity.

There is the friend who becomes an enemy and, to your confusion, makes known why you quarreled.

There is the friend who shares your table but does not remain faithful when things go against you. In times of prosperity he will be like your shadow and he will speak freely to those in your household. But if you are humiliated, he will turn against you and will avoid meeting you.

Distance yourself from your enemies and be careful about your friends.

The faithful friend is a secure refuge; whoever has found one has found a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond all price, hold him as priceless. A faithful friend is a life saving remedy, and those who fear the Lord will find one.

Whoever fears the Lord will make true friends for, as a man is, such will his friends be."

I and my prayer partner and friend were prompted to study this passage as a result of a misplaced trust within a new friendship; although painful, a mighty lesson was learned that day. Little did we know, that only a few months later the Lord would call my dear friend home to the kingdom. Wherever you are today give thanks for friendship and Jesus the greatest friend of all.