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SB is out at Ballet class, and BB is doing one of the things she likes best - pottering around and playing. Yoshi, Terry and the recently purchased Dragon are on the stairs. I’ve no idea what the game is about, there are a bunch of Lego people up the top.
Later I will probably be annoyed that she has left them on the stairs
Right now, I’m going to pause, take a snap and enjoy listening to her game for a couple of minutes, and treasure the moment, for those who aren’t here to have such moments themselves anymore.
It will be ‘Jesse’s Song’ time before you know it.
As soon as H had headed off to work this morning, BB was agitating for us to find an old top of hers and sock as she wanted to make and elephant cushion for SB for her birthday. After much rummaging in bags of old clothes, we found a suitable top that was near enough in colour to the sock to be acceptable.
So then she settled down to sew (no time to get dressed of course):
They had made sock animals at Wodensmeet the day before, and she had a plan in her head :-) And she pretty much did it all herself, bar a bit of help with tying knots onto the ends of the thread. And she shew me various ‘tricks’ she had learnt making the sock animals as well. I love that she was able to plan and execute this pretty much all by herself
BB is a much more focussed child with such things than her sister, and doesn’t like doing a bit and then coming back to it, so 5 hours later, with just a couple of breaks for food really, she had a rather cool sleeping Elephant cushion
Meanwhile, I had been prising SB out of bed (no mean task, that girls is hopeless at waking up and getting up) She did her normal morning faffing about. Did a couple of bits of book work - Collins Primary Grammar on Adverbs and the Spelling book. Something, else of which I’m blank right now. A decent piano practice and then she wanted to bake some cakes to take to guides as it’s her birthday on Saturday. After some umming and ahhing, settled on Banana Muffins as easy and we had a stash of very ripe bananas.
After bit of toing and froing to the shops – first for eggs, then for cake cases she settled down to bake:
And they turned out well, though I could notice the salt in them. We don’t tend to add salt a lot to cooking, certainly not into things like Muffins. But sshe had been following the recipe and it had had salt in obviously. Guides were a bit low in number tonight as some school event on so plenty came home again
She is a good baker, but not very quick. So by the time they were in the oven, and she had done a good tidy up on the kitchen I was desperately in need of lunch. So some quick beans on toast and then BB went off to get dressed and SB disappeared upstairs as well – either playing with Cindy/Barbie or reading a book – she is re-reading the the Stephen Bowkett The Wintering trilogy(that I read as bedtime books a while back) and is on the second book, The Wintering: Storm.
I got on with cooking curry for dinner – including a very nice Moong Dall based on a recipe from a book I bought recently, Hansa’s Indian Vegetarian Cookbook as felt the need for some more inspiration on the recipe front. Hansa’s is a vegetarian Gujarati Restaurant in Leeds. We went to it a couple of time, though I was never that impressed by the food. But the recipes in this book seem pretty good, and they are fairly simple and practical recipes (and probably simplified/ tweaked for the UK market somewhat) compared to some Indian recipe books.
Got them back downstairs, SB did a Clarinet practice, BB pottered around a bit in the garden annoying the fish in the pond, and indoors with some Lego. And then before you know it, it was time to head out for BB’s gym. SB did a bit more book work whilst there, mostly Galore Park Science. I forgot to take in the collection of bits I have to pass back to the Deep Enders who we did see there briefly, as BB has moved up into an older class.
BB also received her Certificate and Badge for the proficiency award they did before half term.
Then it was home, for a 30 minute turnaround, quickly warm up the curry so that SB could have dinner before Guides. Back home BB settled down with Walking with Beasts on the TV, whilst beheading Lego people with a Lego knight. Followed by a bit of a late bedtime as SB not back from guides until past 9pm
Here they are at around 6 months old at our first Muddlepuddle Summer Camp:
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Around a year old:
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At around 2 1/4:
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And now they are 6:
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My elder girl made jam today, with negligible help from me, just some health and safety supervision . We have one of those purple leaved wild cherryplums in the garden [and numerous little ones appear that we have to chase after, as wild and widespread as the elders] . They are nearly nearly ripe – a bit sharpish. However, the village craft fair is soon, and she wanted to enter the jam section with the jam we made last year with these plums plus whatever [and it really was as laid back as that!] .
This year we more or less followed a recipe from this book, which I have had for many years and love
She sterilised jars and equipment, picked as many of the plums we could reach [and i sawed a few small branches off that stopped DD1 climbing up to reach a few more] – 1.3kg .
She put these into our heavy pan and covered with 750mls water and simmered until they were all mushy. DD1 and grandad [staying here as an emergency visit as nana has been admitted over the weekend to hospital - frantic is the name remember!] mushed through a colander and took out all the stones. DD1 wanted some bits in the jam, so then added some of the smushed stuff too.
She measured and had 1.2l of pulp and water. So she added 1400g of sugar [eek!] and also as much grated ginger as we could [about 40g] from the dried knobbly bit lurking by the cooker [ :blush: ] .
Then put on a good rolling boil until we reached jam temp on my sugar thermometer. Since this is the first time she has made jam, I had her trying the different ways of testing done-ness.
At her first call I thought we were prob slightly under, so filled 2 jars [I have a jam funnel, so much easier for her], and then she boiled some more, tested again and was much more convinced. She has a nice jar each of under and over [possibly!] and will try some of each from the not so pretty jars to decide which one to enter.
I am getting way behind with blogging. the world has been far too busy and stressful, and I have been concentrating entirely on work out of those moments when directly interacting with the girls. This completely workcentric period is hopefully coming to an end, but it is clear that in this economic climate, i just can’t afford not to be a type A person at work, and that this will eat horribly into my home time.
we did have a really fabulous historyetc nearly a fortnight ago, which I promised to blog! It was a full house, with all the families there. there were also some additions. My niece and nephew, G’s nephew and B with daughter R who came with Michelle, and will hopefully come fairly regularly.
My parents tooke the opportunity to visit friends and play golf – I suggested that might be a more relaxing day
At this distance it is harder to remember all the ins and outs of a day, unfortunately, which is why i should have blogged at the time. I thought M and E did really well. They are both schooled, they both want a fair bit of my attention when I am around [understandable] and they are not so used to mixed ages and some freedom in choosing what to do. E settled with me and making the herbal remedies, as did M. However, E was grad persuaded to do more things without me so close, tho always nipping, admiring, hugging etc before moving on. M decided that he was a bit uncomfortable doing more crafts, initially grumping that he had to do schoolwork in half term! and mostly played with G’s nephew. He did say he had a great time tho.
SO, I started with the elderflower herbal remedy and pretty much everyone made this, and at the end of the day, with the 2 R’s I made the rosepetal distilled water
a) elderflower water
The Romans, as Pliny records, made use of it in medicine and in Italy in the medicine of the School of Salernum. Elder still keeps its place in the British Pharmacopoeia, the cooling effects of Elder flowers being well known.
How to make!
Fill a large jar with Elder blossoms, pressing them down, the stalks of course having been removed previously. Pour on them boiling water to half way up the jar, stand the jar in a warm place for some hours. Then allow it to get quite cold and strain through muslin. Put into bottles and cork securely.
washing to whiten and soften the skin
drink as a tea to help with chest complaints
soak linen and place agains boils and afflictions of the skin
soak linen and place against temples for migraine.
b) rose water
the Romans found it prudent to continually spray the audience with rose water, simultaneously making its members smell better and protecting them from errant germs with the rose’s antibacterial properties.
How to make!
2-3 quarts fresh roses or rose petals
Ice cubes or crushed ice
1. In the center of a large pot (the speckled blue canning pots are ideal) with an inverted lid (a rounded lid), place a fireplace brick. On top of the brick place the bowl. Put the roses in the pot; add enough flowers to reach the top of the brick. Pour in just enough water to cover the roses. The water should be just above the top of the brick.
2. Place the lid upside down on the pot. Turn on the stove and bring the water to a rolling boil, then lower heat to a slow steady simmer. As soon as the water begins to boil, toss two or three trays of ice cubes (or a bag of ice) on top of the lid.
3. You’ve now created a home still! As the water boils the steam rises, hits the top of the cold lid, and condenses. As it condenses it flows to the center of the lid and drops into the bowl. Every 20 minutes, quickly lift the lid and take out a tablespoon or two of the rose water. It’s time to stop when you have between a pint and a quart of water that smells and tastes strongly like roses.
Antibacterial for skin infections
tea for digestive disorders or nervous tension
to flavour foods or as a perfume.
Other activities ongoing were making roman pestles and mortars for grinding fruit with clay, making a bulla, making roman coins and some roman maths, dressing peg dolls in a toga, making mosaics – several varieties – sticky felt squares; fimo; happy maize pictures. There were also some really delicious roman foods cooked up.
Globuli Curd cheese, 500 g or about 1lb, A cup of semolina, honey, olive oil.
Press curd cheese through sieve or let it hang in cheese cloth until it’s drained well. Mix with the semolina into a loose dough. Let it sit for a few hours. (Have a sip of the vino Caroenum while you wait). With wet hands form the mixture into dumplings. Quickly fry them in olive oil for a few minutes. Drain and roll in honey.
b)Libum (sweet cheesecake)
Libum was a sacrificial cake sometimes offered to household spirits during Rome’s early history. The recipe below comes from the Roman consul Cato’s agricultural writings, which included simple recipes for farmers. Libum, sometimes served hot, is a cheesecake he included.
Ancient Roman Libum Recipe
Libum to be made as follows: 2 pounds cheese well crushed in a mortar; when it is well crushed, add in 1 pound bread-wheat flour or, if you want it to be lighter, just 1/2 a pound, to be mixed with the cheese. Add one egg and mix all together well. Make a loaf of this, with the leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick.
Modern Roman Libum Recipe (serves 4)
1 cup plain, all purpose flour
8 ounces ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup clear honey
Sift the flour into a bowl. Beat the cheese until it’s soft and stir it into the flour along with the egg. Form a soft dough and divide into 4. Mold each one into a bun and place them on a greased baking tray with a fresh bay leaf underneath. Heat the oven to 425° F. Cover the cakes with your brick* and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden-brown. Warm the honey and place the warm cakes in it so that they absorb it. Allow to stand 30 minutes before serving.
*The Romans often covered their food while it was cooking with a domed earthenware cover called a testo. You can use an overturned, shallow clay pot, a metal bowl, or casserole dish as a brick.
Also sweet and salty dates – for which I can’t find the recipes. They were absolutely all delicious. I think more enjoyed by adults rather than the children. However, I am really enjoying the addition of some of the food of the time as well
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Driving with SB to her Bikeability session today. She was telling me how she had fixed Nana’s TV.
She said it had crashed, it wouldn’t change and the picture was all funny. She said she turned it on and off , as that is wha you usually do.
None of us have really got used to H being back on work time yet. So it was a bit of a struggle getting up this morning. Even BB slept in a bit longer than normal, and SB took multiple wakings to get out of bed by about 10 !
THe first bit of the morning after I saw H off to work (first morning to de-ice the car) is a bit vague, having breakkie, houseworky bits (which don’t really tend to stick in the brain) I guess. Looked at stepladders on the web as going to paint the playroom ceiling and woodwork next week and we don’t really have one that reaches properly to that height (being rather higher than our old house), which means being balanced a little bit to high on the one we do have. Other then the girls room a ffew years ago, we haven’t done any decorating since we moved in really. Alos need a deeper standoff for the ladder (well, borrowing the Deependers ladder) as the one I have isn’t deep enough for our wide eaves. So perused, but didn’t decide.
BB mostly played a game with the chess pieces (not chess, some imaginary game). SB got up at last after much poking, did piano practice, I cooked boiled eggs for not long enough (I normally use method one that Delia gives here ) but forgot to turn off the stove at one minute, so carried on letting them boil for longer. But not enough, so weren’t cooked quite enough. will stick to my normal method, which looks more complicated than neccessary, but isn’t , and is reliable.
After breakfast, they both contrived to go upstairs to get dressed and then both ended up coming downstairs complaining that the other had poked them in the eye, or kicked them in the head (!!) and various other complaints. I didn’t really have patience for this, so told them to take it in turns to get dressed so as to avoid conflict.
Then it was outside into the garden, into a lovely sunny, if a little chilly day. Playing with bunnies, cleaning out Skittle hutch, a bit of playing etc. The kids disppeared back inside after a bit, and I carried on with my gardening plan for this year. Which is to try to do at least 1/2 hour in the garden most days (well those that I’m around, and when it isn’t horrible outside) and to gradually work at getting tasks done. So today I cleared an over grown area behind the greenhouse and put some of the black woven sheeting down, I can now move some other stuff onto their, throw away the rubbish, and then clear the rest of the area behind the sable, where at some point we plan to grow a fan trained Apricot or something. I’ve already cut down the fig, so that it can regrow from the base and we can hopefully try to train it against the wall, rather than have it grow up 20 feet and shade the greenhouse. I’ve also cut back some of the holly bush that had grown out so much it was getting in the way. Will need to cut back the top as well, but right now it has lots of berries on, so will leave them for Xmas stuff and the birds for now.
The pile of stuff in the RH picture to be sorted stored by the greenhouse, then clear the stuff at the end and the ivy along the walls. No idea what to do with the great big roller, hide it soemwhere else in the garden I guess. It’s been there for years I imagine, feels like it belongs in the garden. There is also a path down there as well, probanbly the middle is roughly where the edge of the black plastic is.
Was getting hungry, so warmed up with a cuppa in the conservatory and then got lunch.
after coming back inside, and after lunch, SB did maths, DS French game, DK project book and Art de Lire French and played recorder. BB was in best pottering about mode. She decided to make an xmas card, found the card, the colours and sat and happily did that without any input from me.- it ended up as an interesting xmas (outside) and Halloween (inside card She made a couple more later on in the day. They are fab
She also drew out the design she wants for her birthday cake (a Tiger this year, she managed the first 3 letters of Tiger, but needed help on the ‘er’ .
SB also played a bit of some imaginary game with the Chess pieces, and then it was time for Ballet class. Cold, getting dark to early sort of day, we rushed there and me and BB rushed back, to find H home from work in the mean time. Cups of tea, retrieving SB, BB settled down to watch a Star Wars film again, tea cooked, and we watched Edwardian Farm on the trusty iPlayer.
Interesting to see Morwellham Quay. I rember visiting there on a school trip around 1975/6. It must have been in the early years of the restoration, I remember the quays being full of squelchy mud.