Well! That was a rather unexpected hiatus. First of all we were without internet for nearly two months, then snow arrived and all indoor activities were suspended until the snow had gone 😀
So, meanwhile, Max and Ruby both had birthdays, there was of course Christmas, our new dog sitting arrangements, guitar lessons and snow days. Ruby has been learning guitar at school and is in to her second term now. Here’s a little clip of her playing the Wallace and Gromit theme in her first term:
Our cat, George, sadly passed away last year and has since caused much debate in our household over whether we were ready for another cat. Then, by chance, we started dog sitting and have been totally converted! Having a dog is a HUGE responsibility, so we think we’ve got the best of both worlds being dog sitters. We take them for walks and get to play whenever we like, we have sleepovers when their owners are away, it’s great fun.
The dogs we look after are both cocker spaniels.
Callie is a working cocker spaniel. She is a little slimmer and taller than a normal cocker and has more energy than you would believe!! She is very loving and wants to go on walks all day long. Callie loves exploring in hedgerows and splashing about in any water she can find.
Paddy is a cocker spaniel. He is much more relaxed and sensible than Callie, although he loves to go on walks with her (and roll his eyes at her antics from a distance!) Paddy loves being made a fuss of, his comfy basket and treats.
The first day the snow fell, none of the teachers at Ruby’s school could drive through the narrow country lanes to get to work, so it was declared a snow day. We all dressed up warm and hiked to the sledging hills. There were sledgers, snowboarders – some people even went down the hill in a canoe!
Afterwards we went home for hot chocolate and marshmallows, which has got to be one of the best things about snowy weather 😀
Did you guys all have a good Christmas? Normal service will resume later in the week with our first make of 2013. Happy New Year everyone!
Yes, it’s still raining. So the indoor makes continue. Today we have another foodie creation, pizza. It’s easy, it’s fun and it tastes delicious – so here’s how…
For our dough we follow a recipe from The River Cottage Family Cookbook. It might look like a long recipe, but it’s really just three short stages that are very easy to follow.
To make four small pizzas, you will need:
500g / 1lb 2oz Strong White Flour (bread flour) – plus extra for dusting work surfaces
2 teaspoons Salt
1 sachet Easy Blend Yeast
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 teaspoons Sugar or Honey
300ml Warm Water
- Put the flour, salt and yeast in a large bowl and mix together.
- Add the oil and sugar (or honey) to the warm water and stir well.
- Pour the oily water in to the flour a little at a time, working the mixture together with your hands until you get a dough that is not too dry and not too sticky.
- Flour your work surface, you are now ready to start kneading! If you have any brothers who are always telling you how strong they are, you could challenge them to knead the dough for you. Set a timer for about ten minutes, if you can manage longer that’s great. You hold your lump of dough in place with the heel of one hand, and stretch it away from you with the other. Then fold the stretched part back over on to the part your holding, turn it around a bit and repeat. When you finish your dough should be all smooth and bouncy.
- Shape the dough in to a ball then put it back in to the bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave it for about an hour and a half to two hours, somewhere away from drafts that is warm, but not really hot like next to a radiator.
Ok, while we’re waiting for the dough we can make our pizza sauce (also from the River Cottage cook book.)
You will need:
1 Clove of Garlic
400g Tin Plum Tomatoes
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Sugar
- Peel your garlic, then use a garlic press or crush the garlic in to a paste with the flat part of a knife (ask a grown up to help).
- Tip the tomatoes, garlic and olive oil in to a pan. Use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up the tomatoes.
- Add the sugar, turn to a medium heat and let the tomato sauce bubble for a while, stirring every now and then to prevent burning. After 5 to 10 minutes you will have a nice thick, pulpy sauce.
- Let the sauce cool.
You can also prepare your toppings now. We always have mozzerella, but other than that we use whatever is in the fridge. Today we had ham, sweetcorn and chicken. You can use whatever you like best.
You will need to have a really hot oven for your pizzas, we put our fan oven on 200°C, so make sure you heat it up ready.
Now it’s back to the dough:
- The dough will have nearly doubled in size, divide it in to four pieces.
- Sprinkle flour on your work surface and shape your piece of dough in to a circle…or a square…or even a cat! You can use a rolling pin if you like.
- Put a baking sheet in the oven to heat up (we needed to use two to fit all our pizzas on).
- Spread some sauce on your pizza, then add your toppings. Why not try making a face or a pattern?
- Place your pizzas on the hot baking trays (best to cook one tray at a time on the top shelf) and bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the base looks cooked and your cheese is bubbling.
Then, tuck in dude!
Everyone loves weekends and school holidays, however, boredom is very sneaky and can set in unexpectedly at anytime. Once it has you in it’s clutches it can be hard to feel inspired, but never fear! This is where we aim to rescue you from that dull, deflating foe. We would like to share our boredom busting ideas so you need never despair again.
We like crafting, art, playing games inside and out, cooking, making music, dancing…you name it, we’ll give it a go! We like to try and use things that you would normally find at home or in your garden, although we sometimes need to buy extra materials for special projects. You don’t have to follow what we do to the letter, improvisation is a great thing. If you have an idea to do a project a different way, go for it! And please leave us a comment, picture or link to your own blog to let us know how you got on. If on the other hand you like to stick to the instructions, we try and make them as clear and simple as possible – again, please show us how your project turned out.
The basic supplies we always have in our house are; paper, scissors, pva glue, glue sticks and pens/pencils. You will need these for most of our arty craft projects.
We hope you will enjoy our blog, now, let’s get cracking!…