DECEPTIVELY FUN DINNER

I decide to do the kids a fun dinner with a difference….all was not as it seemed but it was still a healthy tea!

Here’s what was on the menu..

We had dessert first…shephards pie..

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I made it by layering a sundae dish with mashed potato.

20140915-204448-74688224.jpgfilling with the mince..

20140915-204517-74717385.jpgand topping with mashed potato, some gravy granule sprinkles, tomato sauce and a cherry tomato on top!

20140915-204641-74801100.jpgwe then had our dinner for pudding! …..egg on toast.

20140915-204732-74852542.jpgI created it with 3 simple ingredients..

20140915-204822-74902082.jpgto wash down our dinner we had a lemon squash beverage….lemon jelly!

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HAVING IT LARGE, SUPERSIZED FOOD.

We decided we wanted to make some of our favourite things super sized…the way they should be ;-)

Here’s some of the yummies we made..

20140912-181447-65687684.jpgGIANT FINGERS
We made our fingers by making a simple biscuit mix, we mixed together 100g butter, 100g caster sugar & 200g plain flour & a few drops of vanilla essence (optional).
We rolled then into fingers long enough to fit our home made Finger box & cooked at 180c for around 15 minutes. Once cooled we covered them in melted chocolate and placed onto some greaseproof paper to set in the fridge.
We made the box by using a display stand that the supermarket was throwing away, we cut it down to size to form a box but you could use any box and and print off ‘finger’ pictures to stick to it.

20140912-181513-65713925.jpgGIANT MIKADO
We made our Mikados using breadsticks and chocolate. We simply melted chocolate and dipped our breadsticks into them before standing in a beaker in the fridge til they had set.
Our box was made with a cereal box which we covered with ‘Mikado printed paper’ and we lined our box with foil.

20140912-181557-65757081.jpgGIANT WEETABIX
We made out giant breakfast by crumbling some weetabix into a bowl, we then added a little bit of water and shaped it into a large weetabix using a piece of card to keep it together around the edge, we placed it in a warm place overnight to harden back up.
We served our giant breakfast in a mixing bowl with a serving spoon and a giant glass (vase) of milk.

20140912-181645-65805187.jpgGIANT FERRERO ROCHER
It was quite tricky to make but easy to devour! We brushed ice cream wafers with water to make them slightly soft and moulded them to a greased bowl (x’s 2) & then left them in a warm place to dry back out. We then carefully removed the two halves from the bowls and covered with melted chocolate, before they’d completely set we sprinkled the outside with hazelnuts and returned to the fridge, we then filled the inside of the two halves with hazelnuts and a jar of chocolate spread. We used a little more melted chocolate to seal the two halves together.
Finally we wrapped in some gold wrapping paper that we’d scrunched up for effect….

We then used our fingers to eat it for pudding!!!

20140912-181722-65842186.jpgGIANT POP CORN BUCKET..We made our giant bucket using a length of cardboard that we rolled into a giant tube and secured with gaffer tape, we then slotted a plastic mixing bowl into the top and filled with yummy popcorn!

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We were most definitely full to the brim!

OUTDOOR ALPHABET HUNT

We decided to go on an alphabet hunt & create our own ABC photo log.
We made some letters on a note book and used an iPhone to take our photos and add our text with a simple app.
Here’s some of the letters we found…

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It was a great way to learn our letters :-)

COUCH POTATOES ON TOP OF WALES

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We’re no strangers to the mountains & love to find some of the most beautiful spots in Wales to lap up gorgeous views. Our usual mode of exploration is our feet & you’ll often find us hiking in the hills in mid Wales in search of natural beauty.
Last week we headed away from our usual spots and drove North on an adventure to Snowdonia. We’ve visited on several occasions before and climbed several peaks including the summit of Snowdon so are no strangers to the awe striking beauty that greets you at the very top of the highest peak in Wales. With an elevation of 1,085 metres (3,560ft) above sea level, this towering mountain really is something special & is a must for any explorers bucket list. On clear days you are promised 360 panoramic views that stretch over the national park and out to the ocean that hugs the North Coast.
After defeating this mountain with the children in tow we were extremely overwhelmed to have an invitation to ride to the top on The Snowdon Mountain Railway. We’d travelled on the railway a few years ago and due to snow had only made it halfway up before the snowdrifts made it impossible for the train to go any further so we were really excited to go back to complete our journey.
We planned to make the very most of our ride to the summit & take advantage of the difference between a hike with only essentials in tow, maps, safety equipment, common sense, planning etc & being able to carry things up that would otherwise not be on our essential list to go in our rucksacks, so our plan was to toast the occasion ‘Family Days Tried & tested’ style..

We packed plastic champagne flutes, lashings of tea, iced gems and, of course, somewhere comfy to sit to take in the view…..we were to become couch potatoes with the aid of an inflatable sofa on the summit of Snowdon with the most beautiful views you could ever imagine absorbing from the comfort of your own settee.
It was a gorgeously blue skied day, with no wind & only breeze forecast for the mountain so we were set for our adventure…..
Here’s what greeted us…20140909-191330-69210943.jpgwe arrived at Llanberis mountain railway station and spent some time watching the trains coming and going..

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Noah was in awe of the trains.

20140909-191604-69364042.jpgbefore we boarded our train we checked out the drivers carriage..

20140909-191722-69442755.jpgWith our tickets in hand, some snacks for the journey and our deflated sofa tucked under our seat we were off…up, up and away….

20140909-191939-69579159.jpgthe scenery that accompanied us as we climbed high and higher up the mountain was spectacular.

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20140909-192306-69786404.jpgwe passed trains on the way up.

20140909-192446-69886457.jpgwe passed through Rocky Valley….which was rocky :-)

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20140909-192617-69977299.jpg we climbed higher & higher..

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20140909-192813-70093245.jpgThe views were a stark contrast to those that we’d seen during the snow, here’s the same spot, one lush greenness basking in sunshine and the other glistening white under a beautiful blue sky…

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20140909-193032-70232271.jpghalfway up and we were enjoying every second of beauty outside our window.

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20140909-193340-70420513.jpgwe past lots of walkers on the way up..

20140909-193455-70495603.jpgNoah spent lots of time waving :-)

20140909-193542-70542038.jpgwe could see the familiar summit approaching..

20140909-193647-70607912.jpgwe pulled into the station alongside the cafe nestled in the sky..

20140909-193833-70713706.jpghere we were able to use the wash room, purchase a cup of tea and snacks or just sit and admire the beautiful view out of the window…

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20140909-194141-70901804.jpgwe had taken our own snacks and drinks so we headed straight to the top to inflate our sofa and sit to enjoy the most beautiful views ever…

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20140909-194507-71107484.jpgwith a quick trip to the trig point for a ‘on top of Wales’ selfie :-) before heading back to the platform to watch our return journey train coming back for us..

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When we got back down we spent some time in the small train museum before choosing some souvenirs in the gift shop..

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20140909-195152-71512684.jpgwe had an absolutely fab day on Snowdon Mountain Railway and would like to thank them for inviting us to ride on the train… It certainly made a little boy who loves trains very very happy & a family who love the mountains very happy too…. It was a great adventure!!

You can find more info on Snowdon Mountain railway on theirwebsiteor over on their facebookpage.

**please remember that if you are hiking it is not advisable to take a sofa with you and to always be sensibly prepared, taking the train up enabled us to reach the top of the mountain in completely different manner to our usual ways & experience it in an unusual way. We love walking, but we also love mountain trains :-)

ABANDONED SHIP ADVENTURE, NORTH WALES

20140909-140354-50634282.jpgOn August 10th, 1979, a former Sealink passenger ferry called “The Duke of Lancaster” was beached at Llanerch-y-Mor in North Wales with the intention of turning it into a floating leisure and retail complex called The Fun Ship, unfortunately the project never achieved it’s full potential due to many legal disputes with the local council & now sits slowing rusting on the shoreline. You are not able to enter the ship but can walk around its perimeter to absorb all it’s awe.
It’s a fantastic canvas for some very talented pieces of graffiti artwork.

We stumbled over The Duke of Lancaster whilst browsing google earth for places to visit along the North East Wales coastline, we were not disappointed by what greeted us in reality.

We parked down along the sea wall down a gravel path in an area used for fishermen. The track was on the A548 opposite Garden Row, Holywell CH8, North Wales.
The ship was visible at the end of the track from where we had parked so we just headed along the sea wall path to the ship. Once at the ship we continued on the path, under a railway bridge & into a small farmers market shopping area which had a small play park and cafe, once we’d had enjoyed an ice cream and a play we headed back the way we had came.

Here’s how our walk went…

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20140909-140537-50737489.jpgas we got closer we were met by a fence which we peered through..

20140909-140711-50831936.jpgthe sheer size of it swept over us as we got closer..

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The ship had a fantastic awe to it as it loomed over us..

20140909-141047-51047549.jpgthe graffiti that graced it was quite a stunning display of art..

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20140909-141216-51136896.jpg<br /the walk surrounding the ship was teamed with wildlife..

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Our walk took us approx 1.5 hours and was well worth the stop off!

SPOOKY WALK AT TALACRE LIGHTHOUSE

20140908-223023-81023778.jpgTalacre lighthouse is on Talacre Beach, on the North coast of Wales.

Its a great spot for a walk with the kids with miles of beautiful sands surrounding it, at low tide you are able to walk up close and personal to the lighthouse.
The dunes that lie along the shoreline of Talacre beach attract scientific interest with their unique collection of natterjack toads and wintering birds. You can even spot skylarks, meadowpipits, or warblers & the dunes are also ideal for a spot of sand sledging :-)

Talacre Lighthouse is famous for its ghostly sightings, including a figure wearing old-fashioned lighthouse keeper clothes. The lighthouse was abandoned in 1883, but still stands to this day, we used this story as a chance for a spooky adventure as the sun went down and ended our walk in the darkness with tales of spooks as we left the beach. We even claimed to the kids we’d seen a ghostly figure following us… It was all great fun.

We parked in the carpark adjacent to the beach in Talacre at the end of Station road, Holywell, North Wales CH8 9RD

Here’s how our walk looked…

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20140908-223200-81120548.jpgwe watched the sun slowly descend…

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20140908-223359-81239374.jpguntil in disappeared behind a bank of low cloud…

20140908-223443-81283512.jpgwe walked up and around the tower and explored..

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Our walk was very atmospheric and really enjoyable, it was a great place to install a little spooky tale into the kids…

RAINY DAY GRASS SELDGING

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After a morning of rain the sun came out and we decided to take our sledge and find a grassy bank for some sledging fun….
So out we went….dressed in bin bags and carrier bags…

20140908-215443-78883714.jpgwe found a bank and off we went..

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Everyone had a go!

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Sledges aren’t just for snow!

20140908-215733-79053296.jpgand guess who got towed home :-)

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‘SEEING OUT SUMMER’ PAPER LANTERNS

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We decided we wanted to make some paper lanterns to help us say goodbye to the summer during a twilight walk.
We mainly used sticks & sticky tape, greaseproof paper (you can use tissue paper), some pva glue and battery operated fairy lights..

Here’s what we did..

20140826-115825-43105667.jpgwe made a frame using our sticks using sticky tape to tape them together..

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We then added a little water to some pva glue (half water half glue) which we used to paint over both sides of some greaseproof paper, Mila did the same process using tissue paper. This made the paper more manageable when applying to our lantern frame.

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We did this over and over carefully laying the sheets onto our lantern frames until they were covered on all sides except the bottom..

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20140826-120403-43443155.jpgwe then hung them outside to dry..

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20140826-120506-43506249.jpgonce dried we used a little garden wire threaded through the top which we attached to a bamboo cane to carry, we attached battery operated fairy lights to the garden wire inside of the lantern..

20140826-120657-43617078.jpgwe finished by covering the bottom of our lanterns with a piece of greaseproof paper which we secured with sticky tape..

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20140826-120843-43723857.jpgwe then headed out as the sun went down for a lantern lit walk..

20140826-121727-44247597.jpgour lanterns turned out beautiful and we can’t wait to try different variations using leaves for the autumn and incorporating designs for Halloween and Christmas.

THE FAMILY DAYS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE

20140823-163449-59689540.jpgWe decided that we wanted to take THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE to raise awareness of ALS ,MACMILLAN, WATERAID, & THE BRITISH HEART FOUNDATION
Here are our reasonings for these chosen charities…
Awareness needs to be raised for WaterAid because we’ve always actively supported them, it’s a charity which is very important to the plight of clean water, hygienic sanitation and treating water for its values to life in its purest form. We also walk and have the teeniest comprehension of what some lesser fortunate humanity need to do to endure they reach water which all too often is dirty. It’s a delicate line which Wateraid are tirelessly trying to thicken.
Walking with ample filled beautifully cleaned or naturally sourced water bottles from the shop is something we take for granted.
We choose to do our challenge at the waterfalls to prevent wasting water, & our Wateraid bucket was filled with dirty water.
We felt that our challenge stuck with the FAMILY DAYS TRIED & TESTED ethos.

ALS is the main focus of the ‘icebucketchallenge’ & has been a great & fun platform to raise much needed research money and awareness for ALS & Macmillan for cancers which are on such a wide scale and affect so many people on so many levels, as a family we know first hand the importance of endeavouring to find a cure for such an unforgiving disease that continues to take loved ones undiscriminatingly.
(Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord)

We choose to supporting the British Heart Foundation as the ‘ice bucket’ struck a similarity for us with Mila, 5. She’s been dipped in ice buckets and even iced waterfalls on emergencies on numerous occasions to try and shock & correct her heart back to a safe state, it’s a journey which the BHF has supported us with & helped us gain knowledge of and a comfyness of living with a child with a heart condition. Their work through research is especially close to our hearts.

We choose to incorporate our challenge with a walk to the waterfalls carrying our bags of ice with us to give some understanding to the children of what people around the world go through in their need to find water.

The kids did really well in their challenge and most importantly we text our donations when we got home…

Here’s how our ICE BUCKET CHALLENGEwent…

20140823-164929-60569777.jpgeverybody carried a bucket..

20140823-165030-60630786.jpgand the bigger kids carried bags of ice..

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20140823-165240-60760499.jpgthe kids grasped at an understanding of the difficulties of walking a long way with a valuable load..

20140823-165527-60927991.jpgwe waked for around 2 miles to reach a waterfall deep in the Brecon Beacons..

20140823-165655-61015736.jpgwe finally arrived at the waterfall to set up..

20140823-165743-61063932.jpgwe filled our WaterAid bucket with dirty water as we know that some people walk for miles and miles in search of water only to find dirty water they have no alternative but to use..

20140823-165939-61179118.jpgand we filled our buckets with the ice..

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20140823-170048-61248335.jpgand then we were set!!

20140823-170147-61307154.jpgTO VIEW THE VIDEO PLEASE SEE OUR FACEBOOK PAGEhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Family-days-Tried-tested/287237957955725?ref=bookmarksthey did really well

20140823-170434-61474790.jpgDONT FORGET TO DONATE!!

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20140823-170628-61588188.jpgwith a quick emptying of our wellies we started our walk back, soggy, wet and a little cold but really pleased with ourselves..

20140823-170742-61662088.jpgand the wellies didn’t last long though..

20140823-171118-61878971.jpgand as always we couldn’t resist stopping on the walk back for some well earned tree climbing..

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20140823-171242-61962940.jpgwe enjoyed our challenge and had fun doing it…

20140823-171347-62027603.jpgand the kids carried their buckets all the way back to the car :-)

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Our 3 nominations are chosen with fun in mind and will have a longer timeline of completion due to having to personally request individuals once school resume in two weeks…
We nominate any of our followers whom are willing to donate to either or all of the above charities, the teachers of Undy Primary School, South Wales & our lovely Welsh beauty & the voice of Wales Charlotte Church (whom we are trying to contact)

MOST IMPORTANTLY, DON’T FORGET TO DONATE!!!

For more info on he charities we have tried to raise awareness for please visit their sites.

http://www.wateraid.org/uk

http://www.bhf.org.uk/

http://www.macmillan.org.uk/IceBucketChallenge%E2%80%8E

JUNGLE THEMED BATH

We decided to make bath time a little bit more fun by turning the bathroom into a jungle…
We used real leaves from the garden and a few packets of battery operated fairy lights to hang from the shower curtain rail. We finished with some plastic jungle animals to play with and some green jungle juice shampoo…

It took around 15 minutes to put together…

Here’s how it turned out..

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20140821-195431-71671264.jpgwith the scene set all that was needed was our jungle explorer :-)

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20140821-195719-71839251.jpgNoah loved his jungle bath and emerged wrinkly and squeaky clean :-)