Today we did more baking. The difference is that this time we indulged our sweet tooth and made peanut m&m cookies.
(I know what you’re thinking; peanuts are no good for toddlers. This isn’t Little Splodge’s first encounter with peanuts and she is pretty good at chewing her food before she swallows so we weren’t too worried about her having the peanut m&ms.)
The recipe for the cookies is pretty basic as cookie recipes go.
300g Plain Flour
140g Caster Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
2tsp Vanilla Extract
1) Preheat the oven to 180*c (Gas Mark 4)
2) Mix butter and caster sugar in a large bowl
3) Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat to combine
4) Sift the flour into the bowl and mix well (you might need to use your hands to bring the dough together)
Having learned from our last baking experience Little Splodge was naked apart from her nappy for this batch of cookies. As always she enjoyed the mixing and ended up just a little covered in the flour … as did the table, the floor and my skirt.
Once we got the dough together it was time to make the cookies. Luckily, this time the dough didn’t require any rolling out so it was one less thing that could possibly go wrong with the cookies.
They did however, need rolling into balls which proved to be a little beyond Little Splodge’s concentration range so that turned out to be a mommy job.
She was more than happy to help pat the dough balls down a little once they were on the tray and put the m&ms in the middle of the cookies.
Just check out those toddler finger prints. They definitely made for some interesting patterns in the finished cookies
Overall, baking is proving to be Little Splodge’s favourite form of inside messy play. Mainly because she enjoys eating the finished product when they come out of the oven.
If you want step by step instructions from our very own Little Splodge then this video is for you.
Aliens Love Underpants is another one of our library finds.
I’d heard of the book before but knew absolutely nothing about it so when we found it in the kids story box we borrowed it without much expectation.
This book has a wonderful rhyme throughout the text, the pictures are wonderfully bright and often hilarious.
Also the general idea of aliens visiting Earth purely to steal our pants is much more amusing than it initially sounds.
It was daddy who got to read this story to Little Splodge and she was more that happy to help to read the book taking every possible opportunity to get involved and spent most of the story pointing at all the different things on the pages while daddy tried his best to read the story around her hands.
Although I suspect that her daddy and I enjoyed the actual story a little more than she did (I even had an out loud giggle at a couple of points) Little Splodge definitely enjoyed the pictures in this book and was perfectly happy to sit and look at the book by herself for a little while.
Even though we’ve only read it the once so far I suspect we’re onto a potential favourite with this book and I’m planning to buy a copy for us to keep as soon as possible.
Having entered the ‘if I see food I have to have it’ stage of pregnancy the time has come to progress from three meals a day to three meals plus copious numbers of snacks. Little Splodge is also a great believer in snacks and regularly has two snacks a day between meals.
So, when I saw this recipe it just had to be made. Not only is it very wallet friendly it is also very easy to make which made it perfect for involving Little Splodge.
- 200g Plain Flour
- 200g Butter
- 200g Grated Mature Cheddar Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees / gas mark 6
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl
- Stir to combine
- Bring together with hands to form a dough
- Roll out to approx 0.5cm thick
- Cut out biscuits
- Place onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper
- Bake for 10 minutes until golden brown
- Leave to cool for a few minutes
This is not the first food she has had a hand in helping to make so I already knew that she enjoys giving things a good mix but I wasn’t sure how she’d react to rolling and cutting. (The majority of her playdough play results in manic squishing and attempting to eat it.)
Knowing that with the ‘help’ of a toddler this was going to take much longer than I would normally we set up a mini kitchen in the living room using Splodge’s art table as a work top and off she went.
I helped her get all of the ingredients into the bowl and she stirred them around for a while before I stepped in and helped bring it together to form a dough.
Next Little Splodge had a go at rolling out the dough with various degrees of success.
Once she’d finished poking and beating the dough with the rolling pin we finally got to cut out the shapes.
Our cookie cutter collection is small to say the least so the majority of the shapes are Christmas themed and the round ones were created by a glass that was helpfully sitting in the kitchen cupboard.
Then it is simply a case of popping them in the oven for about 10 minutes. We baked the larger ones for 12 minutes just to be sure.
Don’t they look delicious?
Then came the final test for the biscuits. Would Little Splodge like them?
That looks like a yes to me.
Credit where credit is due this recipe came from the lovely Kim over at The Triplet Diaries. My theory is if it’s good enough for triplet boys it’s good enough for our Little Splodge.
Little Splodge loves books and at the tender age of 17 months has over a hundred books on her shelf. But, no matter how many books we seem to have we’re always running out of books to read that we haven’t already read and reread.
So, to keep up with Little Splodge’s love of stories, and in the interest of being thrifty, we’re big fans of our local library here. It is literally round the corner from our house which makes it very easy to get to … even for tiny toddler feet.
Despite popular belief libraries aren’t the draconian halls of silence we’re led to believe and our little library even holds a baby and toddler group where the littles are encouraged to take part in simple arts and craft activities related to a story they just heard.
Sadly, since I’ve been back at work we haven’t been able to get to the group but we still make great use of all the free books to help Little Splodge learn to read and to provide us with a wide range of bedtime stories.
This is this week’s haul of books. At first glance the majority seem somewhat advanced for a one year old but having read two of them at bed time last night they’re proving to be excellent for story time.
Since finding out that we’re expecting our second baby we’ve been on a bit of a money saving drive and every part of the budget that could be cut in some way has been. The food bill has proved one of the easiest places to save some money.
Up until recently we have been guilty of wandering somewhat aimlessly around the supermarket putting things in the trolley that “might be nice” or “we could maybe have that for dinner one day”.
So, the first thing we did was take stock of exactly what we had in the cupboards, fridge, freezer etc and started to come up with meal plans that would use up what we already had rather than buying more food that would inevitably just end up sitting in the cupboard for weeks, if not months, on end.
Once we’d used up the majority of the food in the house I started looking for recipes that were filling, nutritious, family friendly and easy on the wallet. I did suspect I was asking the impossible but as luck would have it at the same sort of time I was really starting to get serious about cutting the food bill there was a lot of media coverage about food banks and families living below the poverty line and the BBC started airing the Great British Budget Menu which suddenly flooded the BBC website with many many recipes that, for the most part, fitted all of my criteria.
The outcome is that for the last few weeks our food bill hasn’t been above £20.
I’m so pleased with how it’s turning out so far that I thought I’d share my weekly meal plans so you too can get a taste of these deliciously thrifty recipes.
All of the recipes in the meal plans link through to the relevant recipe on the internet.
We first discovered Colin McNaughton and this wonderful book when we borrowed the slightly different The Aliens Are Coming! from our local library. Little Splodge loved it but we were unable to find another copy anywhere. As it turns out the book was out of print but Here Come The Aliens! was it’s replacement.
The story is simple to follow, the writing beautifully bouncy with lovely rhymes and the descriptions of the aliens hilarious.
Little Splodge loves this book and it is always a big hit when it comes out for story time.
We have had to stop reading this book at bedtime though as Little Splodge gets much too excited by it and then won’t sleep.
Overall Here Come The Aliens! is a fantastic book that introduces children to a wide range of vocabulary while being just disgusting enough for young children to be captivated.
As Little Splodge gets older I’m hoping this book will help us with some messy play activities. I’m already planning something along the lines of creating her own alien using papier mache, lots of paint and plenty of things to stick on.
We finally had a day where the Great British summer blessed us with weather that was dry but not a million degrees with too much sun. (I don’t mean to complain about our recent heatwave but when you have hair as fair as Little Splodge’s too much sun can be a problem.)
We got out onto the patio with the giant chalks we’ve had since Christmas but no opportunity to use.
It was Little Splodge’s first experience with chalk and I can honestly say she loved it.
She wasn’t completely sure what to do with the chalks at first but it didn’t take much encouragement before she realised that she could use them to colour on the patio.
She’s still very much in the stage where things haven’t been properly investigated unless they have been tasted and so she was very quick to ensure that the chalk got a good lick. I didn’t join in to check but it seems the decision was that the blue chalk tasted the best … and she went back for several more licks throughout the colouring session.
As is usually the case Little Splodge’s interest in the chalk quickly infected her daddy who was quick to embrace his artistic side and proved that he can draw flowers with the best of them … even if Little Splodge wasn’t too impressed by the pink and yellow colour scheme,
As the colouring progressed the chalks had to take more and more abuse from Little Splodge as she got more and more excited by the colours and especially once she realised that she could use the chalk to not only colour on the floor but also her clothes and, perhaps most excitingly, her skin. Eventually, despite their giant size our resident toddler managed to break the yellow chalk clean in half by exuberantly launching it across the patio.
Luckily, this didn’t phase her in the least and she carried on playing as though nothing had happened.
Even though the pictures on the floor were mainly created by mommy and daddy the giant chalks were an excellent opportunity for Little Splodge to practice her mark making and hand eye co-ordination as well as giving us a chance to talk with her about colours.