Oh to be a child again

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Several times this week I have found myself looking at baby boy and thinking how nice it would be to be a child again! To have no worries, to have everything done for you and to just be loved.

Money worries have been dominating my life recently and I will admit to not being attentive enough or grateful enough for the good things that are happening all around me. I need to remind myself of a previous post where I told myself that things were not really that bad and that there are people worse off.

Yes, we may be trying to manage on a £15 a week food budget but there are others who have no food. Yes, we may be limiting the amount of times we put the heating on but there are others who cannot afford to have it on at all. Yes, we are trying to walk to most places and only use the car when necessary but there are people who cannot afford a car at all. Yes, we may be going without the luxuries in life but there are others who do not even have the basics.

I am lucky! I have a roof over my head, food on my table, a wonderful family and all in all a good life. It may be hard at the moment but who doesn’t go through difficult patches every now and again. I look at my son and whilst I think how nice it would be to be a child again, I know that I wouldn’t change where I am now for the world. All I have to do is make sure that he has happy memories so that when he is older he wishes that he were a child again, not because life is hard for him but because he had such fun growing up!

image credit – http://www.liveluvcreate.com/tags/wish_child_again_to_be.html

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Chocolate orange brownies – a little bit of heaven!

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Last Sunday I decided to try and be a bit domesticated and do some baking. Mr K is fussy and quite frankly weird when it comes to cakes and sweet things (he’s not keen on much) so my options were limited. After much deliberation I decided on chocolate orange brownies. I did not realise what a hit these brownies would turn out to be, not only with Mr K but with friends and family as well. They were such a hit that I am making some more today and thought that I would share the love (and the recipe) on here for everyone to try. So here goes:

Line a baking tin with baking paper and heat the oven to roughly 180c.

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Melt 200g butter, 200g dark chocolate and the zest of a large orange in a saucepan over a low heat and then allow to cool.

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Whisk together 350g caster sugar and 4 large (5 small – medium) eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy.

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Next, carefully add the cooled chocolate mixture to the sugar and eggs.

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Sift over 100g plain flour and 50g chocolate powder and stir together gently.

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Add 100g chocolate orange, broken into small pieces, before pouring the mixture into the lined baking tin. Bake in the pre heated oven for roughly 40 mins. Once baked,cool in the tin.

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When the brownies are cool I like to make an already sweet brownie even sweeter by topping it with a chocolate fudge topping.

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So there you have it. Seriously sweet chocolate orange brownies. Enjoy!

Do you have a favourite recipe?

The original recipe came from http://www.bbcgoodfood.com and was slightly modified by myself.

Controlled crying – lifesaver?

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For the past few weeks our house has been a no sleep zone. Baby boy decided that sleep was for wimps and so was waking up to 5 times a night, sometimes for an hour at a time. Mr K and I were struggling. Last Sunday was the last straw. I had finally managed to get baby boy back off to sleep at 3 in the morning after being awake on and off since 10pm and as soon as I got back in bed he woke up! If I hadn’t been so exhausted I would have cried. Instead I left him to cry. I’m not proud of it but I knew that if I had gone in to him again I would have shouted at him.

The next day I decided to find a better solution. I knew that baby boy needed to learn to settle himself to sleep without myself or Mr K being in the room so that if he woke at night he could go back to sleep on his own. I looked on google and found what seemed like hundreds of different ‘sleep solutions’. So many of them suggested leaving baby boy to cry and cry until he eventually fell asleep. Now after speaking to my Health Visitor I knew that getting baby boy to settle on his own would involve some crying but just leaving him to scream just seemed cruel.

After a lot of research I decided to try a version of the method suggested by Jo Frost (SuperNanny). Basically, baby boy was to be put in his cot, tired but awake, and then I was to leave the room. If he cried I was to leave him for 2 minutes before going in to settle him. If he cried again then he was to be left for 4 minutes before settling him, then 10 and then 15 (if crying continued then stay with 15 from then on). I discussed this with Mr K and we both agreed that we had to try it and be consistent.

The first night went well. He settled himself to sleep after the 10 minute check but before the 15 minute check. I was pleased with this as I thought that it would take longer. He woke in the night and again he settled before the 15 minute check. The second night was even better – he didn’t even make it to the 10 minute check and again only woke up once in the night and settled quickly. The rest of the week followed suit. Baby boy settles well at bedtime and a few nights has not even cried once. The longest we have gone in the night is to the first 15 minute check and a couple of times he has even woken up, moaned a bit and then gone back to sleep on his own.

I didn’t like the idea of leaving baby boy to cry at all but lack of sleep was killing me and this method has honestly saved my sanity. Baby boy is sleeping much better and despite what the critics may say, we are all a lot happier.

Have you used a controlled crying sleep method? Did it work for you?

Image credit – http://www.someecards.com

Autumn Days

My favourite hymn at school was ‘Autumn Days’. Maybe because it didn’t actually seem like the usual boring hymns or maybe because it was just such a lovely song but I always enjoyed singing it.

I was reminded of this hymn today when out for a walk with baby boy. The leaves were falling off the trees all around us and someone was having a bonfire. For some reason the words just popped into my head (I could only remember the first verse though) and I started humming the tune. It made me think to the future, next year when baby boy will be walking and kicking the crunchy leaves on the ground. I smiled at this thought. I don’t normally like to think of him growing up but this really brought a smile to my face.

When I got home I had to have a look on the internet for the rest of the words. I found that a lot of them were actually true for me. The smell of bacon, the taste of apple pie, the smell of grass after rain and a win for my home team (come on you blues). All of these things make me happy! I am looking forward to baby boy experiencing all of these things (although I doubt he will ever hear a milkman singing as in the song) and I hope that he will enjoy them as much as I do.

I also hope that baby boy gets to sing ‘Autumn Days’ at school. It would be a real shame if he doesn’t.

What are your favourite autumn things?