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Three children *** Two dogs *** Two parents *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That's us!

We've been blogging since January 2010.

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"A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe."

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  • Briony I loved these large poppies when we had our allotment, you just never knew where they were going to pop up each year as they... 25 Jun
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Time to smile

"God has an inordinate fondness for stars and beetles."

- J B S Haldane

Debs Random Writings

I’ve been featured by

baking

Raspberries, please.

There has been an alarming increase in the height of my children recently. It always happens in the spring. They seem to shoot up, as soon as the sun hits. The Teen is near enough my height now, and her sister seems able to look me in the eye a little bit more easily, than I’d care to admit.

And as for the Boy, well he is taking on the appearance of someone who has begun to stretch. Looking just as willowy as his sisters. Watch any of them for long enough, and I swear you can see them growing.

Now, they are not managing this on meal times alone.

The most likely form of extra nourishment, are the homemade goodies I make. The theory is that if I make them, I can keep the snacks on the healthy side. Also there is a limit to how much I can bake/grate/chop.

A big favourite at the moment is raspberry and chocolate chip muffins. Each muffin is practically half raspberries, half muffin. Not overly sweet. Rather yummy, if I say so myself. Our supply of homegrown raspberries has long since run out, so I often find “frozen raspberries” written on my shopping list. Not in my handwriting. A subtle hint to make more.

The good news is that they are incredibly quick to make and bake. I have my muffin making kit piled up ready in the cupboard. I use a cup measure as it’s so much quicker to scoop the ingredients. Speed is of the essence. Especially when you have three children who take it in turns to check if the muffins are ready yet. (Seriously, do they have a rota for who goes in next to scout for muffins?)

Apart from the milk and raspberries, the rest of the ingredients are near by in another cupboard. I reckon I can have these muffins ready to eat within 20 minutes, if not less. I win “best Mama” points if they can smell them baking as they walk up the drive after school. You cannot beat a warm muffin after a hard day chatting with your friends studying.

So here’s how we make them (when I say we, I mean me):

Ingredients

In first bowl, mix the:

2 cups of self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 cup of semi-sweetened chocolate chips

In second bowl, mix the:

100ml oil
200ml milk
2 tsp of vanilla essence or lemon extract

Also need a muffin tin, lined with 12 paper muffin cases

What to do:

1. Pour the contents of the second bowl into the first, until it is just mixed. Do not over mix.
2. Divide the combined mixture between the 12 muffin cases.
3. For a 2 oven Aga, bake on the third shelf down in the top oven, for about 12-15 minutes, turning the muffin tray around halfway through. For other ovens, bake at 200°c/400°f/ Gas 6 for 15-20 minutes. The muffins are ready when they are golden brown and risen.
4. Take out of the oven. Move the muffins from the tray onto a wire rack to cool.

These muffins never make it beyond the day they are made. I live in hope of putting a batch in the freezer for another day. In all fairness, they are so quick to make, that it’s not a big problem.

More of a challenge is having enough raspberries available, which explains the added request for frozen raspberries to my shopping lists.

My solution is to plant more raspberry canes. I’m aiming to have a row of raspberries this summer. I miss my fruit cage and may have to make a new one. When the Teen was a toddler she used to be pushed disappear in there, after meals,  and feast on all the soft fruit. No need to serve up a pudding. Nothing beats fruit straight from the plant.

Yes. I need to work on my raspberry production.

Grow little raspberry plant. Grow. I have three children waiting for muffins.

PoCoLo
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Happy St David’s Day

Couldn’t let St David’s day pass without cooking up a batch of welsh cakes. This year, I dusted the cakes in caster sugar, for an added treat.

It is impossible to make small batches of welsh cakes, so we are now ploughing through a small mountain of the cakes. Should keep everyone quiet for a while.

Happy St David’s Day.

(If you are after the recipe and other celebrational ideas, head over to my St David’s idea page)


 

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Hurray! A Rainy, January weekend

The frost has gone and replaced by rain. Not heavy but enough for me to change my dog walking route and opt for a quiet weekend. I’m not keen on mud season. I seem to spend too much time trying to keep mud out of the house, only to start again the next day. One day, I will just give up, throw seeds at it and see what plants we have growing in the house by summer. Might be quite interesting. Peppers and tomatoes growing in easy reach for my salad preparation.

My theory is that there is always an upside, or silver lining, if you look hard enough. This weekend was good. We did the Big Garden Birdwatch as a family. We do it each year. Despite the rain, there were a good number of different types of birds, to count. Improving everyone’s identification skills.  There was also a creative vibe bouncing around the house, hitting everyone. Even the Pup whittled a stick by the fire, although it looked more like an attempt to make kindling rather than a great masterpiece. I live in hope.

After homework was reluctantly, by some, complete, the paints were out. All three children, at one stage, were busy painting. Birds, feathers and eyes. Just experimenting away from the pressure of a classroom.

They finally enthusiastically decorated the gingerbread house. We are coming up to Candlemas, half way through winter. It seemed a good time to mark it with gingerbread. We’ll be celebrating with Candlemas activities later in the week, as usual. I wouldn’t miss it.

I love the jelly bellies they gave the gingerbread men. The tummy buttons sank down due to lack of room. Not that any of it lasted long after this photo was taken. A small piece was reserved for today’s packed lunch.

In between it all, I was creative too. I positioned the old Singer machine at the end of the kitchen table and started on a patchwork. Not for long. Middle daughter hovered.

It wasn’t long before, she reappeared with patchwork squares, cut up and ready to go.

I didn’t mind, did I?

I was hardly going to say no. Especially as she went on to bake the cake in the top photo, later on in the day.

For her patchwork, she laid out the squares on her bed. Running up and down the stairs to fetch the next strip to sew. Loving using her great great grandmother’s hand cranked sewing machine. There is something rather special about sewing with this machine.

She finished it too. That evening, when I went up to say goodnight, I found she’d laid the finished quilt top on the end of her bed. It looked pretty, but lacks the warmth of a quilt, yet. Next stage is to sandwich the layers and quilt it. My patchwork is a long way off that stage. Partly as I’ve changed the scope. It started off as a small pincushion, but as I eased into the process, it grew to a cushion cover and then full steam exploding into a lap quilt.

I’m enjoying making the stars. Up to now, I’ve favoured handstitching over machine piecing. This project is changing my mind. Even cutting them out is obstacle free. I’ve figured out the best way to construct them, so they are a joy to make. Diamond bunting spins out from behind the sewing machine, when I’m in full swing. When I had a chance, I should add. I’m heading for a scrappy quilt. Mixing patterns with a nod to random, as it progresses. Opinions on favourites change as each new star is formed. I’m really, absolutely enjoying this quilt. It is not a quick one, but I don’t mind. The old Singer sewing machine is perfect for the job.

It was a good weekend. As the children grow, weekends are subtly changing. No afternoon walk this weekend, as we had hoped, but there was less screen time. (Not completely free, although they do seem to learn cooperation through Minecraft than I never anticipated. And coding too, which is good as it’s in context.) There was more making and reading. More family time. Together.

So how was your weekend? Hope you had a good time.


 

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Photos

There have been cases when people lifted my photos and words, and used them without credit to me or asking permission first. Using them for their own commercial gain. I have now added a level of security to deter people from doing this. Apologies to people who do play nicely. If you would like to use any of my photos, please contact me.

Copyright notice:

All my words and photos are copyrighted to me. They cannot be used for commercial benefit by anyone else. If you would like to use any of them, then please ask me first and don't just take. Written permission only. Don't pass my words, photos or ideas off as your own. It's not nice.