Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Cabin Fever

We're still stuck inside with impetigo, so we've made a lot of progress with our baking challenge: to bake every recipe in the Hummingbird Bakery book. We made the oat and raisin cookies, and they were very good!

In fact they were just the thing with a favourite mug. I got twice the number of cookies suggested, and they were pretty big.

Sausages has been making "strawberry cake" in his play kitchen recently, so we also made the strawberries and cream cupcakes. These were another big success. I altered the icing a little by crushing a couple of strawberries and mixing in the juice. Yum! And one of your five-a-day, right?

Another great success was the banana cake, which was dense and spicy, like a cross between a banana loaf and gingerbread. The texture of this is just perfect, but I did leave out the baking powder, purely because I couldn't find it.

We also made a freezer full of juice lollies to eat in the sunshine. These are cheap, healthy, and fun! The moulds cost less than a pound, and can be reused and reused. The only problem I have is that sometimes the handles go missing, probably lost in the garden on sunny days.

Almost as fun to eat as it is to wash up the moulds! I got the mop out of the utility room to clean up after this cleaning up and a slug fell out! Eeeewwww! Needless to say he was swiftly evicted from the house.

I'm still reading Cloud Atlas, and enjoying it a lot. It's so hard to write a split narrative well, and this one is intriguing. It's slow going though, I'm not getting much time to read. When Sausages was little I kept a book in the car, and read when he fell asleep, but Bob wakes up when the car slows down, let alone stops, so that's not an option these days, and I fall asleep with the boys these days. It's tiring running around with them, in a good way.

The Adventurer's Vest is finished and half sewn, and awaiting buttons. I don't really fancy attaching a zip as per the pattern, so I thought I'd do small toggles for both the pockets and the front fastening. I'm looking forward to getting this finished as soon as the quarantine allows me to go button shopping.

The grey on the long circular is a gift for a friend. She chose the yarn herself because she is sensitive to wool, and asked me to knit a pattern I had knitted for myself and she admired. I hope to have it finished before her birthday next month. This has been a long time coming; she gave me the yarn to knit it a year ago when I was deep in pregnancy yarn aversion. It's a pattern I love, and I'm looking forward to getting it done.

Do pop over to Ginny's and Tami's to see what other crafters are working on this week, and do let me know what you are up to!


Wednesday, 4 June 2014

We're in solitary confinement again here because of impetigo. Sausages is very unhappy with it, so I let him choose the lunch today:

Some friends of mine were chatting recently about baby-led weaning, and how they feel it has supported their children in making good food choices (or not, as the case may be!). We loved baby-led weaning with Sausages. He is a big eater, and has never eaten "children's food." Once, we were at a wedding where he swapped his child's meal of chicken nuggets, chips and beans with an adult for their duck breast and samphire. Despite being born prematurely, a combination of extended breastfeeding and baby-led weaning has helped him to grow into a strapping lad. He tells me he's going to be "all the way big like daddy" one day. We have put him in charge of Bob's weaning journey, which will start after he is six months old in July, so watch this space for some interesting meal times! Anyway, when asked to choose a special treaty lunch to cheer him up, my preschooler chooses corn on the cob. It's a boost to the parenting reserves, I can tell you!

I spread out his Adventurer's vest to take a WIP photo and he asked me if it was ready to wear yet. No, but soon! I've got the pockets and arm bands left to do before making up. There's lots of yarn left, so I might even make a smaller one for Bob. Just as with the bootees I made for Bob's christening, I find Debbie Bliss' patterns a little over-written, although the finished garments are fabulous. Do pop along to Tami's and Ginny's to have a look at what everyone else is working on.

This week's reading is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas, but I'm right at the beginning so I don't have much to say about it. The part I'm on is written as short diary entries, which perfectly suits my brief opportunities to read these days. I'm also reading constantly with Sausages. Our themes at the moment seem to be mostly dinosaurs.

My latest effort from the Hummingbird book is the Brooklyn Blackout Cake. It's a plain chocolate cake, sandwiched and covered with a chocolate custard, then coated with crumbs.

All I can say is that the water-and-cornflour custard takes me right back to school dinners at my convent school. It's probably lovely for everyone else, but the associations are pretty strong for me. While eating my slice I was looking over my shoulder, waiting for Sr. Immaculata to come and check that I had cleared my plate. Husband requested the cake, so I'm hoping he'll manage it himself.

Bob, my sweet little boy, does not like to go to sleep. Because of his tongue and lip ties he doesn't feed to sleep, and at the moment he wails if I just rock-and-ssshhhh, so it's slinging to sleep twice a day at the moment. I am mastering the art of transferring to the pram once he's asleep. He loves to be close, this boy; to put his head on my shoulder or his hand in my mouth while he's watching the world. He goes to sleep smiling and he wakes up smiling, crawling onto my face and snogging my nose in the middle of the night, waking me up for a chat while the big boys are asleep. So different from his solemn brother, but they adore each other, spending time cuddled up reading together. I am so blessed.

What are you crafting and reading this week? Were your babies different from each other, or did the familiar dominate? I'd love to hear from you


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Carrot Cake and Lemon Cupcakes

Over half term I managed two more recipes from the Hummingbird Bakery book.

The first was the carrot cake, for which I have heard rave reviews. It was delicious, but VERY sweet. The sort of cake that can't do without an accompanying cup of tea or coffee.

The second was the lemon cupcakes. The recipe suggested 12 american-sized cupcakes, but since I was feeding small people I went for English fairy-cake size, and the mix made 21. These were delicious; not strongly flavoured, but freshly lemony.

We packed them up with the brewing-up kit and headed off to the Ickworth Wool Fair. We saw some of these being sheared:

The small people loved these guys:

There were some lovely exhibits, including these rare breed fleeces

While I was enjoying the yarn produced by these enthusiastic new and local dyers I bumped into Joanne from Not So Granny. To be honest, I think I weirded her out! The things these celebs have to put up with...

Look at those colours, by the way. That green? To dye for!

Ok, I confess, I broke my stash diet. I bought this single skein of 4ply spun from the fleeces of the flock at a nearby National Trust property. I've been trying to get hold of this since we started going there, and this is probably my last chance. More on that later...

While I was photographing it in the garden I noticed that while we have been rushed off our feet the garden has come into its beautiful summer plumage without us. It's a bit of a reminder to me to slow down and savour the seasons. Spring has gone so fast for me this year, and with it Bob's babyhood. He is four and a half months old now, and in to everything. Sausages is so grown up, and played so well with his friends at the fair in a way he couldn't manage just six months ago. He will be four in just three months. Four seems awfully grown up!

I hope you had a great bank holiday, or weekend. Fancy some cake? Do pop over, there's plenty here!