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Spend Less Time Cooking And More Time With The Kids This Christmas

5 Dec

I absolutely hate peeling spuds, the whole tasks really grinds my gears. Not only does it somehow make the tips of my fingers sore but I also seem to lose half a potato to the bin by the time I’m done!

What a time consuming, boring task!

Over the years my peeling of potatoes hasn’t really improved despite the increase in family size. A great example would be Christmas Day… Its on this day that I seem to spend the majority of the morning stuck in the kitchen peeling veg instead of enjoying the festivities with the children. Yes… I do enjoy cooking but I’m not a massive fan on the preparations side of things.

But seriously, its not just about peeling potatoes, its more the issue of missing important family time to the kitchen.

The video from Aunt Bessie’s highlights my point perfectly. If anything I feel somewhat envious of the mothers ability to get dinner on the table so quickly therefore allowing her more time with the family.

With this I thought I’d have a go at sharing some of my ideas on ways to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with the family this Christmas.

1- Frozen & Ready peeled Veg – This year I’ve decided to do a mix of my own roast potatoes and that of Aunt Bessie’s. I’m also going to opt for some ready prepared veg. Given the child’s father is with us for dinner he will be doing the peeling and if I can get away with it, the cooking too.

2 – I will prepare the sausage meat stuffing for the Turkey on Christmas Eve. If I’m feeling really lazy I could just add some sausage meat to some packet stuffing! However, I do love homemade stuffing and given I don’t do it that often I’ll make to effort.

3 – This year I plan on not over doing it when it comes to the selection of veg on offer! I always do this and find I have it being cooked on all four hobs as well as in the steamer. I don’t know why I do this every single year, especially given there is always loads left over. I just never learn!

4 – I plan on making a really fancy dessert this year and will again make this on Christmas Eve. I’m planning for it to be a dessert that can be served cold so I’m not required to spend longer than needed in the kitchen come Christmas Day.

5 – the last few weeks I’ve seen the shelfs in the supermarkets filling up with treats. Some of which have been on offer and actually look incredibly tasty. These include nibbles and party foods that you tend to serve Christmas during that of the early evening. This year I will most defiantly be stocking up. Who wants to return to the kitchen to spend even more time preparing food instead of eating from a tin of Quality streets while watching the ‘Polar Express’ with the kids?

Oh… And like stuff isn’t stressful enough this year, but I’ve found myself needing a new built in cooker or replacement door as our cooker door has quite literally fallen off and smashed into a million pieces. So, unless I pull the pennies together and fast, Christmas dinner will have to be elsewhere…. Actually is that such a bad thing?

Whether your having the whole extended family over for Christmas or its just you and the kids, its important to remember that as great as Christmas dinner can be, its nowhere near as great as the time spent side by side with those you love.

This Post contains a sponsored video. However, all words are honest and that of my own.

Guest Post – How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

12 Apr

How to keep children occupied during a long car journey

Modern in-car multimedia entertainment systems give children access to the same sorts of backseat delights that you’d expect on a long haul flight.  However, while plugging kids into a drip-feed of movies and games might keep them quiet, there can be more to be gained from the experience of going on a long car journey.

Every parent knows that a long car journey can be miserable for all concerned if youngsters are not kept happy. Wailing, arguing and fighting from the back of the car can drive you to distraction. But there are many things you can do to make your journey not only bearable, but fun as well.

Joining in

Kids like to be involved in what is going on around them and that applies to car journeys too. Discovering new things is what childhood is all about, so why not use play as a way to make kids feel like they’re part of an exciting expedition?

Forget ‘I spy’ – car bingo is far more fun. Before you leave home, spend some time with the children designing and making bingo cards. Instead of numbers, draw pictures and write the names of things that you’ll see on the way. The first to spot every item on their card shouts, ‘Bingo!’

Make a stop

The longer the children spend in the car, the more likely they are to get bored and grumpy. So be sure to schedule in stops along the route and let the kids know when you’ll be taking a break.

The UK is full of interesting things to see and do. A little bit of research before setting off could make all the difference to a long car trip. A short detour to visit a castle, for example, will give young ones something to look forward to.

Treats

Be careful when it comes to handing out sweet treats during the journey. Sugary snacks may buy you temporary respite from complaining children but you could pay a heavy price later. Sweets and fizzy drinks are soon guzzled, and the rush of calories can make kids restless and bad-tempered.

Try freezing bottles of fruit juice before you leave. Children will enjoy sipping at the melted juice, which will help to keep them topped up with fluids.

Packing lots of healthy fruit is also a good idea. Treat kids to a taste of the tropics by including unusual items like star fruit to tantalise their taste buds.

Stories

Audio books are widely available either as downloads or on CD, but nothing soothes like the sound of mum or dad reading a story. Why not record yourselves reading some of your children’s favourite tales so you can play them in the car?

Alternatively, encourage children to come up with their own fairy-tales. Just start a story off and let children take turns to add the next part of the fable.

Contented children can help towards a hassle-free trip. Adequate car insurance can also give you peace of mind, so you that if there’s a problem, you’re covered.

Author Bio:

Liam Williams writes for the Sainsbury’s Finance Money Matters blog. In his spare time he enjoys motoring and organic gardening.

 

Sponsored Guest Post

My Illustration for The New World Colour Collection Rainbow Cookbook

20 Mar

For those that know me, I mean really know me, it will come as no surprise when I tell you about a project I’ve been working on, one that has nothing to do with special educational needs, writing or even that of autism, but one that involves me doing something else I love.

I’ve actually been commissioned to create an illustration that is set to feature in an online Rainbow cookbook.

I was really excited to be invited to get involved and couldn’t wait to get designing.

The Rainbow cook book is one of them really special ideas, involving 7 food bloggers who are a dab head in the kitchen and 7 more who are keen illustrators (either by trade of hobby). Both those providing a recipe and those set to work on illustrations were appointed a colour taken from the rainbow. Once food bloggers had created their recipes they were passed on to us along with the colour we had been appointed!

The recipe I was appointed was Meatloaf Cupcakes with Roasted Beetroot Mash, by Mike at Mikes Baking. The colour we had been appointed was Purple.

I also received a photograph of Mikes finished recipe (see the above) to help me on my mission to create the perfect illustration.

Admittedly, I first panicked, wondering if I could possibly do this fantastic recipe proud, lets not forget this is a commissioned piece so I needed to get it right! I was given a period of two weeks and a deadline of the 23rd March 2012 (Yes, I hate deadlines). Thankfully, I finished ahead of schedule, finally finishing this morning. I sent it off with bated breath and yes, they loved it.

So, here it is, my illustration for the

Appliances Online New world Colours Collection Rainbow Cook Book

So, what do you think? For the full recipe and steps needed to create this spectacular, pop over and check it out at Mikes Baking

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