Saturday, July 26, 2008

Olivia's favourite Strawberry Tart

(aka Strawberry Glace Pie)

6 cups fresh medium strawberries (or slightly more if you like)
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour)
1 9-inch baked shortcrust pastry shell
To prepare strawberry glaze, in a small saucepan crush 1 cup of the smaller berries; add 1 cup water. Bring to the boil; simmer 2 minutes. Sieve berry mixture. In a saucepan combine sugar and cornflour; stir in sieved berry mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till thickened and clear. Spread about 1/4 cup of the strawberry glaze over bottom and sides of pastry shell. Arrange half of the whole strawberries, stem end down, in pastry shell. Carefully spoon half of the remaining glaze over berries, thoroughly covering each berry. Arrange remaining strawberries, stem end down, atop first later; spoon on remaining glaze, covering each berry. Chill pie at least 3 to 4 hours. Serves 8.
[sorry the recipe is in American units - I have never bothered to convert it, as it's so basic anyway - 1 cup is 8 fl oz; the rest is fairly basic to work out]

Fire Station Open Day

Between the title and the photos, you can work out what we did this afternoon, I bet. The kids had a good time, in particular Alex (of course) - but all three had fun pretending to slide down the poles (or climb up, as the case may be) and playing a few games and of course, sitting in engines and cars. It was another nice day, weather wise, so it was nice to have a walk over to the station and browse around.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Raspberries, meringues & cream, oh my!

Here's a small selection of today's activities - we went to Garson's Farm, which is a pick-your-own place, and also a large garden centre - and picked raspberries, blackberries & runner beans. We had hoped to pick strawberries, as I promised Olivia I'd make a strawberry tart, but the field was picked out, so we had to buy them from the farm shop, along with meringues, cream and a number of other things. Yum!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 1: Survived!

Well, first day of the holidays is over and we have all managed to make it through - only 40 some odd to go... Today, rather than simply stay in the house and do nothing (which was, admittedly, tempting) we headed out to Hampton Court to meet one of my quilting blogger friends who was in town for the day. The kids and I went through the maze at Hampton Court - Alex actually chose the right paths each time, quite by chance, and got to the centre very quickly. The girls took a little longer.

They have a new thingy in the centre of the maze (new from the last time I was there, which was, admittedly, som time ago - probably about 5 years or so). After the maze, we met my friend for a coffee (or ice cream, depending on your personal inclination) and then headed over to Bushey Park, for a play in their excellent playground & sandpit and a little picnic. Saw a few deer on the way, as well. After exhausting ourselves there, we went home and put up the paddling pool - the weather finally, knock wood, seems to be cooperating about these matters... long may it last!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Haven't killed them yet

...the tomato plants, that is. Quite a few (still very small) tomatoes are on the plants now, and if we ever get any sunshine this summer, who knows, they might even ripen...

In case you are wondering, the plant at the far left is not sickly, but rather a different variety of plant - it was given us by a different friend. It's called a banana leg tomato, so we expect it to have a rather odd shape - certainly the baby tomatoes are much more oblong than on the other three plants.

Poetry day

Here's a poem that Olivia and one of her friends wrote (complete with creative spellings!)

My next door neighbour

My next door neighbour is very very posh
my next door neighbour never takes her shoes off
my next door neighbour says I'm very very plane
my next door neighbour says im really dumb in the brain
I say im not very very plane
I say Im not really dumb in the brain
but you are very very posh
and you never take your shoes off.

Personally, I kinda like it!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wetland visit

Finally had a nice day today ("nice" in this instance meaning warm enough not to have to wear a jacket and not raining) so Geoff and I took two out of three kids to the Wetland Centre - Sarah being off with a friend at their holiday caravan down near the coast. No photos of the kids to share, but here are a few of some other stuff at the Wetland Centre - a couple of herons

some interesting seed heads

and a frog, spotted by Alex, who is very fond of frogs...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tooth gone!

Not the best photo of Alex, but it shows his missing tooth (bottom row). There was much excitement at home and at school, bless him. So sweet! And very excited to get some money in exchange. At least it's not wobbling any more - no sign of the new tooth yet, but I'm sure it will come before long.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Tomato progress

Our tomato plants actually have a few (very small) tomatoes on them - this is the largest, and it's about the size of a marble - maybe a little larger. The others are teeny, tiny. But there are lots of flowers and buds on the plants, so at least things are heading in the right direction. The kids are very excited to see the tomatoes and are monitoring progress closely. One plus to all this rain is that I don't have to water the tomato plants every day!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sports Day, Round 1

I have actually been to two different sports day type events today - the one at school, this morning (using "morning" in this instance, the way delivery people or repair people use it - to mean 8amto 1 pm - or in this instance, 8.50 to 1.30) and one at Brownies/Guides/Rainbows this evening. Luckily, the weather was clear - which is more than I can say for what Sunday, which is the school fair, looks to be like. But that's another story.

Anyway, there are no photos from the Guiding sports day, as I was doing facepainting all the time and Geoff is hopeless with a camera (even if I had remembered to give it to him), but we have some from school. Above, Olivia is not cheating at the egg and spoon race (okay, tennis ball and spoon - same principle), she is handing over to the next person... I just loved the look of concentration on her face. This was the only race she did in the end, as it happened - she was scheduled to do another one, the obstacle race for year 3, but they had to cancel a handful of the last races for various reasons, and that was one of them.

Here she is (below) starting out the race. Although her team (the school is divided into 4 teams across the school - like Houses in Harry Potter) came last overall, they did well in this race. (We are all blue - Panthers.) And here's Sarah, about to come third in her running race - she has resigned herself to third place in the sprint - every year for ages she has run against the two same girls (the yellow team member varies), as Elle (in red) is the fastest Tiger girl in their year and Manahil (green) the fastest Leopard. Sarah is the fastest Panther, but not as fast as the other two, so she always comes third (Elle wins). The Tigers always take the sports day cup as well - this year was no exception. It's one of those facts of life we all resign ourselves to! (Mind you, some of us care more than others.)

The little kids do less racing and more skills - this was Alex catching a ball as part of his circuit - i didn't see everything he did, as I was busy try to watch 3 kids at once and make sure the tea & coffee urn wasn't boiling dry, plus set out the plan for Sunday's fair. Yep, one of those days.

And finally, here are a couple more races - Alex doing a straight running race and Sarah doing the sack relay. None of my kids are fabulous athletes, though they are all ok, but they had a fairly good time, I think, so that's what matters.