Sugar free Jelly Worm Recipe

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Sugar is a big no no in our house. Don’t get me wrong, I have an obscene sweet tooth, but if the toddler so much as walks past the sugar bowl she becomes possessed by some sort of hideous toddler demon that is out for your soul! For a while I worried about ADD or hyperactivity, but it soon became clear that it was the sugary treats that was turning her into the very epitome of the terrible twos. Once I started to cut out pure fruit juice, chocolate, commercial ice lollies etc. we had our lovely happy daughter back. That is, until she goes to her grandparents and comes back kneed deep in marshmallows and chocolate buttons!

Of course, I don’t want her to miss out. Her diet was already slightly limited by her peanut allergy, so no sugar knocked even more items off her possible treat list. I started doing some research and found a wealth of recipes online. Unfortunately, the ones that replace chocolate recipes usual include peanut butter, so that’s a no go, but I did find one for jelly worms. She does love a gummy sweet, and she also loves worms, so I thought I’d give them a go. They were super simple and went down a storm. Now all I hear is “Can I have 1 wiggly red thing please mummy. No, two wiggly red things!”

 

Ingredients

  • 2 packets of sugar free jelly crystals
  • 3 packets of gelatine, or 3 leaves
  • 1 cup of water

Soak the gelatine leaves if you’re using them. Bung all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer until everything is dissolved. I then lined a lasagne dish with clingfilm and poured it in there. It should be a 1cm approx layer across the bottom of your container. Then out it in the fridge. It sets pretty quickly, I think it was in there for barely an hour. Then turn it out carefully and cut into strips. Hey presto, jelly worms. AND no more toddler tantrums! Bonus!

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Saving money with LED lighting – a review

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It is no secret that I love a bargain, so when the lovely Jen at MyMakeDoandMendYear  featured an article about LED lighting with a giveaway I was pretty excited. We switched to energy saving lightbulbs when we moved into our current home, and although they have saved us money, they give me the most chronic headaches. The yellow dim glow just isn’t good enough, which means I don’t really put the lights on very much. This leads to Jamie constantly announcing that it is ” like a morgue in here” (which is ridiculous, as outside of horror films, I imagine them to be brightly lit, but anyhoo)…

So I commented on how I was looking for alternative lighting and would love to try an LED bulb out, and I was promptly sent one to try. I asked for a narrow lamp fitting, as I wasn’t sure what light fittings were available in my new house, so thought it best to get one I could bring with me. I tried it out and I wasn’t dissappointed, the light was immediate instead of being a slow build up as with the energy saving bulbs, and it has a nice cosy glow, instead of the dim yellow one that makes my head hurt so much.  Most important of all, I was amazed to read about the savings I could make by moving to LED lighting. As our new house has some halogen light fittings I think it’ll be well worth an investment. Just to show you those savings, here is the infographic that accompanied my new bulb

Won’t Cost the Earth – An infographic by LightBulbs-Direct to promote the Benefits of LED Bulbs for ‘Big Energy Saving Week’. To view the full image click here.

 

Disclamer, I was asked to review this bulb in exchange for a sample.

Freegan Treasure – what a find!

I’ve not written a blog post in an awfully long time! You see, we’re trying to buy a house, and as I sure you’re well aware, it is the single most stressful thing ever. We seem to be paying various people lots of money, and I’m doing all their work for them! Anyhoo, we’ve also been super busy sifting through all our rubbish and clearing it out.  Continue reading

Stopping to smell the flowers

The weather has been picking up, which means we’ve been getting out in the garden. I haven’t done as much this year as I have in past years, but that’s OK. I’ve put an awful lot of  blood sweat and tears into our garden. We only rent the house, but I’ve always known how I wanted the garden to look, and this year it’s just about there. I have barely done anything, but I’m really pleased with it.

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Of course, in a couple of months this will all be gone and I’ll have to put some work in, but I can enjoy it whilst I can. There is one new edition on the patio. I planted into one of the apple crates that we had at our wedding and some of the veg boxes that my brother in law made for us. I think it makes a really nice feature and it looks quite unusual.

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There’s nothing like a little sunshine and a lovely garden to lift the spirits is there?!

Little Surprises

I was feeling pretty miserable during my hospital stay. I was thinking to myself that whilst I had a well stocked house for everyone, I wished I had got the washing done and the house tidied up before I had gone in. I was mostly concerned with how everyone else was, and how I’d look after the toddler when I got home. I most certainly wasn’t concerned with my own recovery.

Jamie came to visit me and told me I had a parcel at home. I was a bit excited as I had won a competition on a blog for a crochet book and four balls of wool. I couldn’t wait to get back and open it! This cheered me up enough to look through my Simply Crochet magazine to see what I could make. I was nil by mouth, so trying to find anything to think about other than food!

When I got home I was confused. The parcel was flat, so it couldn’t have been my prize. I ripped it open and discovered this

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Lots of wonderful knitting notions and needles, and a big sectioned knitting bag. I couldn’t work it out. Had I ordered something at the hospital that I had forgotten about? I looked again in the packaging and found a little slip of paper from Let’s Knit magazine. I had one something else! It was very strange, I hadn’t bought a copy of Let’s Knit for a really long time, but I had bought one on my way out of the hospital. This cheered me up so much! Here it is full of my projects, with storage at the back, and a pocket for notions at the top

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Then, a couple of days later, this turned up

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The other prize I had one! Unfortunately the day after I got this prize I went back into the hospital for my operation, but at least I had some new things to play with when I got home!

I’m back!

You may have noticed that we haven’t posted any blog posts in a while. Well, I (Danielle that is) have been in the wars a little bit. I was suffering with toothache, which led to an emergency root canal. Two days later I was sent to hospital with suspected appendicitis. I was sent home a couple of days later, after which I had the rest of my root canal treatment. As if this wasn’t enough, I was taken by to hospital two days later and had my appendix removed during a routine camera procedure. Turns out it was appendicitis. I had open surgery, so it took a little longer to recover than the normal key hole surgery. Of course, during all this, Jamie was left making sure the toddler was OK and looked after, whilst also juggling work and coming to see me. It’s been tough. I’m finally starting to feel myself again after a few weeks recovering, I’m still exhausted, but at least I can get on with normal daily tasks again!

The first time I was sent to hospital I thought I’d be sent straight home, so I only packed my crochet. I was there for three days, so I had to have basics brought to me, but at least I wasn’t bored!

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This is a cardigan I was making out of scrap 4 ply I had kicking around, which I finished when I got home

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The second time I went in I was a little more sensible about what I took with me. By that I mean that I took two projects! I tried finish my socks, but I lost one of my needles, and the nurses didn’t seem quite as concerned as I was! Whilst I didn’t get much of my socks done, I did start this shawl with some beautiful hand dyed, hand spun yarn.

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And of course, as I had access to my phone and A LOT of time on my hands, I ended up ‘treating’ myself to some new wool. Well, I think I deserved it after all that, don’t you?

Homemade Coffee syrup

I don’t like shopping at Sainsburys, some of their prices are ridiculous, but it happens to be the closest supermarket to my house, and if I need to pick up a couple of bits and don’t want to walk into town, I grit my teeth and go. I’ve been going more often recently, as they are the only shop that sells the Japanese ingredients I have been using.

On one of my recent trips, I noticed a few bits on the reduced section. They are usually very stingy with their reduced food, and they never reduce fresh food, which is suspicious. I did see that they had some baking goods, in particular cinnamon sugar, reduced from £2.99 to 39p.

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Ordinarily I’d whinge and moan about how I could make cinnamon sugar myself at home, but this time I bought it. I had something in mind. I had recently won a competition on Twitter and been sent a lot of coffee samples. Now, I like coffee, but I have a really sweet tooth, so when I saw this, I decided to make coffee syrup from it.

It was so quick and easy, I just added the sugar to the pan, and then used the pot to measure out the same amount of water, then I heated it on the hob until the sugar had dissolved. I then used this cut glass jug I got from a charity shop to store it in.

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Now I have delicious coffee shop grade drinks at an absolute fraction of the price. The syrup should last for quite a while, and it cost the same price as a shot of syrup at the coffee shop!

How to make your own Bento Picks

I have been sucked in to the cutesy world of the Bento accessory. Though not at all necessary, I can’t help wistfully staring at Japanese imported Panda shaped rice ball makers, nori punches and tiny little sauce bottles. After putting a picture of one of Amelia’s bentos on Facebook, a friend of mine said she had a lot of accessories left over from when she used to make them for her daughter, and that I could have them. The set contained an impressive amount of stuff, egg molds, onigiri rice molds, sauce bottles, decorative grass, a nori punch and some animal picks. I also bought her some training chop sticks, so she doesn’t keep trying to steal mine!

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Even with this haul, I still found myself wanting more picks, they really make a cute bento, they’re the difference between it looking like food and it looking really fun! I was trying to find some for a relatively reasonable price when I came across a tip, make your own using a comb and some buttons. I found this tutorial on Oh! Bento, A wonderful blog that features bentos that I aspire to making, with lots of tutorial and wonderful example bentos, including this tutorial http://ohbentouk.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/diy-bento-pickscupcake-toppers/ All you need to do is cut each prong off a comb, then hot glue a button, brad or badge to the top. What a genius idea! I had a rifle through the button and bead boxes and put together all of these. It literally took minutes, and they were all free!

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Not only that, but the toddler helped me choose which buttons and beads we used, so she now says that she made them, it makes it all a little bit more special.

Tricking the toddler into eating

It’s not that she won’t eat, or that she’s fussy with her food, she just won’t sit still long enough to eat it, and even if she does, your dinner always looks better. Cue half an hour of swapping food, and then she doesn’t want any.  Frustrated, and more than a little annoyed at all the food that was being wasted (read  ‘wasted’ as ‘that I ate’) I took to the internet in search of advice. Continue reading

Toddler science – fizzy colours

I am ever searching for things to keep the toddler occupied that means our house will more or less stay intact. This search led me to Pinterest, which has a wealth of toddler activities and exciting experiments. Continue reading