Whilst sorting through our stuff (yes, this process is taking forever) I decided I really should do something about my endless supply of vintage linen. Doilies, place mats, napkins, handkerchiefs, the list goes on and on and I just didn’t think I’d be able to use all of it. I’ve already sold a lot of my lace trims, and I’ve given other stuff away, but what about these larger items? We used a lot of them for our wedding, so I was struggling to part with them. I was laying them out on the table to go through them when it occurred to me that they would make a great patchwork, and as we don’t have a tablecloth, it seemed like the ideal thing to make!
I positioned them all out on the table and pinned them together. I then ran them through the machine, zig zagging them together. This probably wasn’t the correct way to do it, there was a bit of buckling and ruching, but hey! I’m still learning! The result is a little rough around the edges, but I like it that way, and more importantly, I used my linen for something genuinely useful!
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!”
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!
As you can probably guess, we eat a lot of Japanese food in this house. It’s healthy, easy to cook, and absolutely delicious! One of my favourite things to have in the fridge is Japanese Potato salad. It isn’t necessarily very healthy, but it is incredibly scrummy, and can also be a great way of using up bits and bobs in the fridge! This recipe isn’t strictly the ‘proper’ way of making it, it’s just a simpler way of doing it that works for us! If you don’t have Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise for this recipe, then normal is fine, but there is a recipe here for Kewpie style mayonnaise that tastes pretty much the same!
1 medium potato
2 boiled eggs
ham or cooked bacon
mayonaise (preferably Japanese if you can get it!)
Peel and boil the potato whole. It is done when you can easily push a chopstick through it. This takes longer than you think! Mash together the eggs and mayonnaise. Slice the ham or bacon up into tiny rectangles and stir through. Mash the potato and add the spring onions. You can also cook some cabbage or onion to add to the spring onions. Mix the egg mixture to the potato until it is a smooth consistency, adding more mayonnaise if you need to. Feel free to add any cooked vegetable that needs using up!
That’s it! It keeeps in the fridge for a couple of days, but chances are, it won’t last that long! You can eat it however you want. I like to eat it from the fridge, with a spoon!
I actually made this quite a while ago and I’m down to my last cupful, but I thought I would share this recipe with you as I’ll be definitely making it again. It contains borax substitute which isn’t particularly easy to get hold of. If you can pick it up from a local hardware store then that’s fantastic and it will definitely save you money. I had to get it from Amazon for around £3. This meant that the whole box (around 50 washes) cost about £5.50. That’s not as cheap as it would be if you could source borax substitute cheaply, but still cheaper than most washing powders. Not only that, but I know what is in it. My daughter and myself both have sensitive skin and allergies and have been fine with this powder, which is more than you can say for some of the big brands.
This powder is great, but you will have to use a stain remover or pre soak for tough stains. No different to commercial powders there really, but it does clean your clothes well and you don’t need to use as much. I use 2 tbs per load and it does fine. Also, you can add a scent to your powder in the drawer. Anything you like really. At the moment I’m using a strawberry diffuser oil thingy, but check that what you use won’t ruin your machine!
The recipe I use is
500g of borax substitute
750g of soda crystals
3 household soaps
3 cheap body soaps
You can use all household soap, or all normal soap. You can buy 3 bars of body soap for 50p in Sainsburys. You need to grate the soap so it is really fine. This will no doubt hurt your hands! It certainly did mine! If you find the soap pieces are a bit big then you can use a stick blender to break them up a bit. Mix the soap pieces with the other ingredients. Make sure that you are wearing gloves and that you don’t stand with your face over it, you will taste soap for days! Once it’s mixed together you can use it right away, all you need to do is give it a little shake everytime you use it to ensure it is evenly distributed. Et voilà! Home made washing powder!
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!
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!
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.
The toddler loves Play doh, she just can’t get enough of cutting and squishing and rolling it. It is, however, ridiculously expensive. The first kind she had was Crayola 1+ which was gluten free and couldn’t be nibbled on, though not encouraged. This stuff was so hard, and it cost a whopping £1.99 a pot! She couldn’t really play with it on her own because it was so tough, and it broke some of her cutters.
We put up with it until last Christmas when one set of grandparents got her some proper Play doh, and the other got her a Disney Princess Play doh castle thing. This stuff is much easier for her to play with, but I have a real issue with her mixing up the colours, because I don’t want to have to buy more! So, with this is mind, I took to Pinterest (as if I need an excuse!) in search of Play doh recipes. I saw an amazing pin of galaxy play doh, but, as so often happens on Pinterest, there was no link to the original poster and no recipe, so I tried to recreate it. I used a standard Play doh recipe
2 cups of plain flour
2 cups of water with food colouring
1 Tbsp. of cooking oil
1 Tbsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of salt
Mix liquid ingredients together in a large pan. Begin to heat liquids. I added one bottle of blue food colouring, and one bottle of black. I also added a pot of edible shimmer and glitter as the original picture I saw was really glittery. In a separate bowl mix together all the dry ingredients, and then add these to the heating liquids. Stir until the play doh comes together and thickens. Cook until it gets that sheen to it. Let it cool slightly and then knead to bring proper consistency. Store in plastic container. Ta dah, you got play doh!
Once it had cooled down I added some star sprinkle things that had been kicking around in the toddler’s craft box for a while, and we made a galaxy, complete with stars and planets. We used some of her sparkly beads as the planets.
Then we used star cutters, and gave them they’re own planet, and added more glitter too.
We had loads of fun, and I don’t have to worry about her mixing this up , and she only needs one colour. Also, as we had all the ingredients, I made two tuppaware tubs of Play Doh for free!
Toddlers cost a fortune, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that! They outgrow toys in a matter of minutes, and I don’t know about you, but I rarely feel like I get value for money from them. Continue reading →