Making Crayons!

Things never quite go according to plan in our house – you may have noticed – and in a bid to solve Sam’s sleep issues I was supposed to be starting a baby massage course, unfortunately they had to postpone so the boys and I were stuck in for the afternoon with no forward planning for what I could do with them – well more to the point a stir crazy Elliott..

I reached for the craft box and discovered a whole bunch of old broken crayons so I decided that instead of trying to draw with them we would make new ones instead! I was going to take pictures of all the stages but I couldn’t find my phone and Elliott’s couldn’t wait for me to find it before we started.

Here’s what you need –

Old wax crayons,

paper cases OR a silicone cupcake “tin”

If you’re not using silicone then a regular cup cake tin

First of all you need to heat your oven at around gas mark 5, it doesnt need to be exact just nice and hot,

Line your cupcake tin with the paper cases

remove all the paper wrappers from your old broken crayons

Then set about dividing the wax crayons into the cake cases – you can really fill them but make sure they don’t over hang the cases as they will drip onto your tin. – I decided to keep Elliott’s crayons in colour groups to help Elliott with identifying his colours, so every crayon he had to say what colour it was and then put it in the correct cup cake case; only when he had finish did we mix some of the colours together that had fewer crayons.

Pop your crayons into the oven for around 5 minutes – or untill all the crayons have melted….this is when I found my camera…when they come out they will look like this –

Then you just leave them to set in the tin, when they have you take them out of their cases and voila new crayons! (you don’t need a hand blender unless you are also trying to cook dinner at the same time!)

And they actually work too

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“I can’t get no sleep”

It was pointed out to me, in not such a subtle way, that I havent been keeping up with my blog too well lately. I have “work” coming out of my ears, lots of lovely companies patiently waiting for reviews and the most amazing competition to run and not a huge amount actually making it live.

Well my problem is in a nutshell Sam! We are having a lot of trouble getting him to bed at night, he generally goes to sleep FINALLY at 2am every night, has a disturbed nights sleep waking me up 3-4 times untill Elliott wakes up at 7.30am and as you can imagine I am a zombie most of the time with constant headaches. I’m not feeling sorry for myself it’s just something I have to try to get through and solve.

During the day things don’t ease up particularly, he is the clingiest baby I have ever known, he would be attached to me 24/7 if he could. He does spend time playing with Elliott but not for long and then he is back to moaning at me to be picked up again; he wont even sleep in his own bed – I’m DRAINED!

Yesterday we did our first baby massage class in the hope that this will wind him down at night and get him to bed at a normal time and at the moment I am trying to turn the light off at 10am regardless of whether he thinks its time to sleep or not to try to get him to get the hint – it’s not working so well but I am at least trying to be pro-active and not just get bogged down by it.

I remember when Elliott was Sam’s age, we would have all day together, if he wasnt out in the buggy he would have two 20 minute naps a day and when he was in bed by 8pm I would miss him so much I would have to fight to stop myself from going in to his room and waking him up for a cuddle – I am yet to experience this with Sam, he is always there.

My husband is amazing, I don’t tell him often but he really should get a medal – he goes to work, comes home cleans the house, baths the kids – to give me 5 minutes where Sam will happily be in a different room to me – and we get absolutely no time together and yet last night when I was at the end of my tether with exhaustion he walked into the house from a 8am – 4pm shift and 4 hours traveling – took the kids from me and sent me away to rest!

I know in a year, 2 years Sam wont be a baby and wont be a total mummy’s boy and I will look on these days and miss all the cuddles and my baby sleeping all night in my arms but for the time being its just putting an enormous strain on everybody. He’s a baby, a gorgeous one at that, it wont be forever and as a wise friend once said to me, before Elliott was born, children go through phases and as soon as you are wondering if one will ever end a new one has already started.

So for now at least I will continue blogging and trying to work with amazing companies but it just means that things are a little slower than on other blogs and I really don’t want to be publishing sloppy work for the sake of getting things out when I know I can do better and the brands I work with deserve better….you will know when I have had sleep because there will be reviews flying out like nobody’s business and my goodness the Kiddimoto prize will be amazing for someone now that the weather is getting warmer.

Tomorrow I am taking the boys over to Barnet to see Saraya Cortiville again, we all love Saraya and Elliott has been saying all day “I want go Raya pwease pwease”. The boys are having their pictures taken for a whole new blog look – so keep your eye out as that’s going to be hitting very soon also.

Please stick with me – I will be worth it in the end 😉

 

 

Tots Bots – Drying Time Comparison

I would love to be able to report today on the absorbancy of the new minky version of the Tots Bots Easy Fit nappy but Sam had other ideas because within less than an hour in the nappy he decided to have a poo and it was all over and into the nappy bucket…..well actually that isn’t strictly true it was straight into the machine because I was so keen to get it back onto him I didn’t want to wait!

Due to the children both being ill I have to admit that the nappy wash had been neglected and so it was rather full with the vast majority of my stash going around into the machine, I should have split it into 2 batches because some of the nappies had to go back in a second time for rewashing . As such our new nappy also came back out with a little bit of staining on it but I honestly think this was for 2 reasons, 1 – bad over stuffed washing machine and 2 – Sam has weetabix for breakfast every morning and someone recently said this can have the effect of making grainy poo stick to nappies, which is what we had.

When the nappy came out of the machine the first thing that was screamingly obvious was that the minky liner felt almost dry to the touch and actually it was the pul outer that needed drying. We don’t have a tumble dryer and at this time of year the only option is to dry nappies in the house and my usual place of choice is in the airing cupboard next to the hot water tank but not everyone has one of these so to keep conditions to those that everyone can reproduce I decided to just pop the nappy side by side with a bamboo tots bots on an airer in front of the radiator.

The only trouble we ever have with Tots Bots is the drying time and that, again, is due to not having a tumble dryer. It can sometimes take up to a day for a Tots Bots nappy to dry, depending on how many are in the airing cupboard at the time, and this is purely down to the fact that they are made with a layer of bamboo – bamboo is great in nappies because it is extremely absorbent, has antibacterial properties and is also softer than cotton, especially if you aren’t tumble drying because cotton can go hard and crusty. Bamboo is also very eco friendly as it is fast growing and doesn’t need chemicals to be so. I knew this when I started using Tots Bots nappies and honestly the benefits of using them vs the lengthy drying time was outweighed so we have now built our “stash” to include 12 Tots Bots Easy Fit.

So here they are side by side to see how fast they dried. It was obvious that the new nappy would win hands down on drying time but I was still shocked by the results. The way the nappies were able to get lots of air to them probably helped as they went on the airer at 9pm and the bamboo was dry by 9am the next morning, the new nappy however was dry by midnight! I think this has to be the fastest drying nappy I have found, I couldn’t believe it!

I think for us with the new tots bots the drying time is no longer a compromise for a really great nappy but actually a bonus because I really can wash my nappies in the morning and realistically have them on Sam in the afternoon!

The next test I was hoping to do on the new nappy was, again, to see how long it would actually last for however, once again, after an hour Sam pooed! So it is back in the nappy wash and I am about to get it out and dry it and my hope is that tonight I can do a very brave test and see if it is realistic to booster as a night nappy!

I am first to put my hands up to the fact I am very inexperienced with using cloth at night as it’s always scared me a bit but we have done it a few times now and Sam isn’t a heavy wetter so I’m going to give it a go. The new nappy has a much more stretchy outer cover so it has more ability to be able to add boosters etc for overnight use so I will not only take pictures once he is stuffed ready for bed but also take a picture of what I am going to put in there – results will hopefully be in tomorrow, so watch this space!

Pancake Day

Unless it has escaped anyones attention but today is pancake day and so I made the brave decision to try to make pancakes! This probably doesn’t sound like a brave decision but when it comes to pancakes I am a disaster, they always end up in the bin in a big sloppy burnt mess!

Having received a good quality saucepan set for Christmas from the in-laws I thought it was worth seeing if this would end my pancake curse and after a 30 second recipe search, thanks Delia, we were off!

For the pancake mixture

Preparation method

  1. Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with a sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs – any sort of whisk or even a fork will do – incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so.
  2. Next gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don’t worry about any lumps as they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre, then whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now melt the 50g/2oz of butter in a pan. Spoon 2 tbsp of it into the batter and whisk it in, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round before you make each pancake.
  3. Now get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and, to start with, do a test pancake to see if you’re using the correct amount of batter. I find 2 tbsp is about right for an 18cm/7in pan. It’s also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so it can be poured into the hot pan in one go. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it’s tinged gold as it should be. Flip the pancake over with a pan slice or palette knife – the other side will need a few seconds only – then simply slide it out of the pan onto a plate.
  4. Stack the pancakes as you make them between sheets of greaseproof paper on a plate fitted over simmering water, to keep them warm while you make the rest.

Elliott insisted on cracking the eggs for me, with a bit of help, he is actually getting quite good at it! The rest of the recipe was very easy to throw together and then came to the frying, the bit I always screw up!

Well I actually did it, despite my over friendly neighbour talking AT me at my backdoor, Elliott demanding to go and feed the rabbits and Sam waking from his nap on the sofa and moaning, the results weren’t bad even if I do say so myself!

unfortunately the house was so filled with smoke from cooking that it blurred the pictures!

The boys had their first taste of a pancake, Sam had his plain and Elliott wanted his with banana and chocolate spread – well I can’t blame him! They seemed to go down pretty well.

Unfortunately Elliott then left his pancake unguarded for a moment and this is what happened!

We Have a Pancake Thief

Hope everyone enjoys their pancakes!

Trying To Put A Cork In The Bottle

My husband and I were chatting the other day and he was saying how our children will be a generation that will almost have their childhoods at their fingertips.

We have digital TV, digital cameras, storage for a thousand TV shows, photographs and family videos but I still don’t think I agree with him. I think with all these things it will help us remember things more clearly but I think the things we are trying to really capture every time we take a photo or record a video that will sadly always be lost – how our children feel.

I love the feeling of holding my babies in my arms, the way the world just melts away and in that moment everything is perfect. I love the feeling I get when Elliott runs to me when he finishes school and how, as much as I wish he didn’t sometimes, Sam only wants Mummy.

I miss how it feels to have Elliott lay on my chest and sleep – Sa, of course does it now but that’s a new feeling for Sam the feeling of Elliott is gone – I can remember it but I can’t be in that moment again, I can’t feel it and smell his hair – I can’t go back to when he used to always smell like “sticky biscuits” and would open his mouth and try to swallow me when he tried to give me a kiss.

I will always have my boys images to look at and invoke happy memories but when technology can capture who my boys truly are I at every moment of their childhood I will be a very happy mum