Saturday, 30 August 2014

Baking with a toddler - the slummy mummy way

Over the summer one of J & mummy's favourite activity has become baking cakes. After a few trial and errors we now have our baking time down to a fine art, it's a time we both love, and the cakes at the end taste pretty damn good!
Bear in mind J is only 2.5... So his patience isn't so great, I discovered the hard way waiting for ingredients to be weighed was way to long for him, so using cake mixes are the ideal alternative. My favourite ones are by Wrights Flour who have an array of cake mixed from chocolate fudge, Ginger, Madeira, toffee, carrot etc. They are also fairly cheap for the amount you make up. You simply need to add water a vegetable oil (stock items we all have) & then you're away!

Here's our baking routine -
1. Mummy gets the kitchen ready, clean tops, bowl ready, oven pre-heating, and chair in the kitchen for J to stand on.
2. Mummy & J wash hands.
3. J gets his apron on (& in our home his chef bandanna)
4. J picks the cup cake cases and puts them in the tray.
5. Mummy empties the mix in the bowl and J stirs the flour, mixing out the lumps.
6. Mummy adds the water and oil - J mixes it in.
7. Mummy helps J mix, but generally leaves him to it.
8. Mummy spoons the mix into the cases - J licks his spoon.
9. Mummy puts the cakes in the oven. 
10. We check on the cakes together, and when it's time mummy lifts them out.
11. J helps check to see if they are cool to decorate, once they are - Mummy uses the back of the spoon to spread the icing on, & J decorates with sprinkles from a little bowl.
12. We both taste test the cakes in the garden.

I'm sure over time J will do more and more and we can learn to follow recipes together as well. I purchased a little baking set for him and it's ideal as he can grip the smaller spoon easier, he also knows not to mess with the bigger spoons. Yesterday we made chocolate fudge cake cup cakes for Grandad's birthday. We all enjoyed them!

Bird Land Bourton on the Water - a bird-tastic day out

I was looking for somewhere different to go with J when someone suggested Bird Land, I checked out their website and armed myself with the postcode for the sat nab GL54 2BN and set off, the postcode takes you to the pay and display car park in Bourton which is right next door, we parked up and walked the short distance to Bird Land, and entered a feathered world of fun. 

The park is lovely with aviaries displaying various birds, they also have open pens for different birds such as flamingos, and other water birds, our favourite was the penguins who you can watch swimming under water with the viewing panels, J was fascinated watching them dive for their food, and coming up close to the glass. He raced around the aviaries taking in all the different birds and mocking their calls! 

The park is well laid out with lots of outdoor room for picnics to take it all in, with the weather looking glum we opted for the eatery on site, which was lovely, serving homely food and reasonable prices. The play area is well equipped with a sand table to build some master pieces. 

We spent hours here, and loved it. It's under a tender to get in, with children under 3 getting in for free! So another bonus.
 We will be returning again before the end of the year I'm sure it'll become one of our hot spots

Brown Bear- at last a decent baby shop comes to Witney

With the parent parking spaces being full near Waitrose yesterday I had to park in the long stay area of the car park, I'm so pleased I did as I got to discover Brown Bear which has recently opened in Witney.

The shop is situated on the end of the row of shops (opposite end to Hacketts) and has lots of goodies for babies, toddler and parents. I loved wandering round and seeing the amazing aray of stock that they have.  Brown Bear isn't like the other children's shops in Witney, for a start it's really accessible, and buggy friendly all on one level with space to wheel around (hooray!) it's light airey and a pleasure to  browse around. Along with the usual baby things Brown Bear also stocks all those 'life saving' baby times such as snooze shades, gro bags, gro clocks etc. Many of these items I remember waiting days for to arrive when J was a baby having had to order them online (& pulling my hair out in the waiting process)  they also have some adorable new baby items, including the range of the 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. J also spotted his favourite Gruffalo in the shape of a Trunki, luckily he was in the buggy else I'm sure he'd of been out and whiz zing around on one.... Which I'm sure the staff wouldn't of minded, the lady behind the counter was friendly and welcoming and willing to help.
The shop is just round the corner from the rear entrance of the Methodist church where there the children's centre holds sessions, so it's ideal to visit before or after!
Big thumbs up from me, I will definitely be making a return visit.