Happy Mothers Day (belated!)

Happy Mothers Day! For yesterday.

I hope everyone had a lovely day. My day was actually no different to most, seeing as the hubby and Miss Q went off rotavating the allotment, leaving me to keep an eye on the dinner (after they prepped it and got it on!).

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But must say the hubby made a big effort for me, and I got not one, not two but THREE bunches of tulips! So my house is full of beautiful flowers this morning – which definitely make me smile!

And they also made me a cake – using marzipan. Miss Q’s school homework this week had Ā a history of “Mothering Sunday” and how it was tradition to make/bring simnel cake, which is a fruit cake covered in marzipan. I love marzipan so told her she could make me one for Mothers Day – but without the fruit cake bit! So on Saturday they found a recipe for an almond and marzipan cake and firstly made the marzipan from scratch on Sunday morning, before then baking the cake. Very impressive šŸ™‚

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I hope that you all had a lovely day yesterday, whether it was Mothers Day for you or not. We had some lovely weather too so I think people had a great weekend – but because of the Boy and his chicken pox, we didn’t get to leave the house and enjoy it!

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Happy New Year!

Belated Happy New Year to everyone!

The end of 2015, and the beginning of 2016 have been very busy indeed.

I had a few things that I wanted to wrap up and have out of the way before Christmas, and wedding thank you cards were very high on that list for me. I spent a few days and sat down and wrote them and sent them, it was a huge relief when they were sent. I really was so grateful for everything people did for us for the wedding that I wanted to make sure the year didn’t end without us sending the cards (I don’t have a great track record with thank you cards. I have bought them on each baby, and only on the last child did I actually manage to write them – and at that I only delivered about 75% of the writen cards!)

Our grand-daughter arrived last week (my step-grand-daughter, officially) and so we have been trying to help out and spend time with her and her parents. She is amazing, and I am hoping that having these grand-children (there’s another arriving within a month!) will help me ward off any more broodiness I may have for wanting more of my own!

Also our washing machine finally went kaput, so we have had no way of washing our clothes for the last week (luckily I was up to date before Christmas) – while working out what our options were going to be. But I have just ordered a new washing machine (which is actually a wedding present that my aunt and uncle realised would be needed soon!) so I am very excited about its arrival at the weekend. I would also say my step-mum will be happy to hear, as I arrived to her house today with 4 loads of laundry… I’ll bring the rest tomorrow!!

We had a lovely Christmas, and New Year. The kids were back to school this morning, and somehow I managed to get them there in one piece, with uniforms and lunches so a good start! I have so much that I want to do in 2016, and I’m looking forward to seeing what and how much do I actually manage to get done! x

Happy Thanksgiving!

Even though it is not part of our traditions in Ireland, I love the idea of Thanksgiving. The name appeals to me – a day to give thanks.

So this year I have decided to attempt to bring a little USA Thanksgiving to our house. I’ve the kids all coming down, there’ll be 14 of us (4 of them under 10). I’ve already had a few disasters, like my apple pie falling to pieces in my hands, not being able to find cornmeal for my cornbread and it seems our sausage behaves differently to how the American recipes say it will!! But its an experience… and a great reason to get family together.

I’ll let you all know how it goes. Happy Thanksgiving to you, wherever you are in the world. I am so thankful for all I have, and I’m happy to give thanks and celebrate today.

Christmas Planning!

I LOVE Christmas!

I refuse to start decorating, or “getting in the spirit” until December…. but I start planning ages in advance.

We have a big family, we have a lot of people to buy for, and a lot of days to organise…. which of course costs a lot of money, but also takes a lot of organising, and can cause a lot of stress if I don’t feel I’m sorted early enough!!

Every year I feel that I leave certain things until the last minute – and therefore the following year I strive to be more organised. It means then I can enjoy December and all the festive celebrations properly!

Our first tradition of the season (actually starts before December!) is that on the last Friday of November, “The Toy Show” is on. This is an Irish television programme where children play with toys and show them to the presenter, there is some music and dancing and a bit of audience participation… with lots of prizes thrown in (cue “and there’s one for everyone in the audience”) – and our kids are allowed stay up late for this, as we were as children, with a big box of Christmas sweets. And I set up mini Christmas trees in the kids rooms for them to start it all off.

The rest of the decorations then go up on the 1st of December, except the tree which is around the 8th.

What do you think, is it too early for Christmas planning or discussion?

Chocolate Biscuit Cake!

I’ve made this chocolate biscuit cake a few times now, for special occasions. It is really simple to make, and so delicious! Friends and family have got the recipe from me and have been making it since, so I decided I’d share it here.

Here is a picture of the most recent one that I made for Princess P’s communion last week, this was much thinner than usual because I used a larger tin!

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I used the Odlums recipe http://odlums.ie/recipes/chocolate-biscuit-cake/ as a base recipe, and then made some changesĀ (used a bit extra chocolate used a mix of digestives, bourbon creams and a few rich tea, my kids don’t eat raisins and I wasn’t sure who’d eat nuts – so I used the raisin allowance in crunchies, and I used the nuts allowance on mars bar and I added a few extra maltesers too!

Below is theĀ rough recipe that I used after changing the base recipe:

275g Ā Butter

150ml Ā Golden Syrup

250gĀ Good Quality Chocolate

200g Packet of Digestive Biscuits (roughly crushed)

200g Packet of BourbonĀ Biscuits (roughly crushed)

125g Crunchies (roughly broken)

125g Mars Bars (chopped)

120gĀ Packet of Maltesers (chopped in half)

METHOD:

Base recipe recommends to line a 15cms/6ā€³ round cake tin or a 2lb loaf tin with a double layer of greaseproof paper, but I’ve tried it in different size tins with no problem. Because you’re not baking it, the tin size doesn’t matter as much.

Melt the butter, syrup and chocolate in a pan over a low heat. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are well mixed together. Add in the chopped mars bars so they soften slightly.

Add the crushed biscuits, maltesers and crunchies. Stir well.

Transfer to prepared tin. Level it on top and press down well to avoid ā€œair gapsā€. Allow to get cold and hard.

Again the original recipe said wrap completely in greaseproof paper and store in a fridge, however I was told that if the cake was iced (in a sugarpaste icing) that it would be good kept out of the fridge for up to two weeks. (I also discovered that you don’t store a cake covered in sugarpaste icing in the fridge because it goes sticky)

This cake is just delicious. Even before it sets – I have a big problem keeping my spoon out of the pot when the butter, syrup and chocolate are melted together. Mmmm.

Here’s one I made for Baba Z’s christening, so you can see they can be decorated any way!

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Happy Easter!

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A belated Happy Easter! Its still Easter Monday, so Easter weekend so I’m just getting in there on time šŸ˜‰

We had a lovely weekend here, full of chocolate and goodies!

I woke up to a beautiful Easter basket and a bunch of flowers from my other half. I’m following the Slimming World plan, so even though I won’t deny myself the chocolate, I’m trying to eat lots of fruit alongside it. So this is what I came down to:

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There are so many Easter eggs here in the house at the moment, even if we let the kids eat chocolate constantly for days there’ll still be chocolate here!

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This isn’t even half the eggs! šŸ™‚

Happy St. Patricks Day!

Happy St. Patricks Day everyone!

We had a lovely family day today. We all got dressed in green, and headed down to the parade. My son was walking in it with his playschool so that added more excitement. After the parade we went to the carnival but there was nothing age appropriate, so we got an ice-cream and went to the park for a play. We came home and had a treat dinner (chips and sausages!) and watched another family movie. And now the kids are in bed, we’re having a few cold drinks together! Its been a lovely day šŸ™‚

How have you guys celebrated St. Patricks Day wherever you are?!