Sunday, 30 November 2008

now i've seen everything

Just came across a recipe for cookies that are supposed to induce labour. And you know, they worked for Betty and Susan, so they must really induce labour!

*rolls eyes*

Thursday, 27 November 2008

can't argue with that

The other day, Jack announced to everyone at nursery, "I was in mummy's belly when mummy and daddy were on honeymoon!" Very true, and thankfully I'm not really embarrassed by it. These are modern times, you know.

In other news, Jack no longer wants a Fire Bike (TM) but now only wants a Dinoco Lightning McQueen car. It's blue and shoots little plastic rockets, which apparently makes it super cool. He wants nothing else, just the car. I was informed that the Fire Bike (TM) was too dangerous for him because he's too little. I asked him what Mia would like for Christmas, and he informed me that she should also get a Dinoco Lightning McQueen car. Probably so that she doesn't use his.

Jack's an innkeeper in this year's Christmas play at nursery, and he has a line: "I have no room." We really need to watch ourselves because we keep joking around with him and telling him to say things like "We have no room - try the Travelodge!"

In Mia news, she has been saying lots of new things like "gone" (while holding her hands up), "look" (while pointing at random things), "Jack's socks" or "Jack's shoes", and her current favourite "uh oh." Annoyingly, I am still "daddy" and every animal is "dog WOOF!"

Thank you, that is all.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

tales of the road

The Department for Transport is launching a new campaign for road safety entitled "Tales of the Road." It's a much-needed update to the Green Cross Man (which I missed, having grown up in Canada, but got to see in those retro clips they love to show on Channel 4) and is aimed at school children.

The animation is modern, suitably creepy for the seriousness of the moral (very "A Series of Unfortunate Events"), and should be effective when it airs on television. It's memorable, which is the point of campaigns like this. The site is a clever combination of information for parents and teachers, and games for the kids. I'm not entirely convinced that the games will appeal to all children, and suspect that slightly older children (e.g. age 10 and up) will find them a bit naff. Call me sexist, but I can see younger boys really loving the game and responding well to it. An animated boy attempts to cross the road, but when he doesn't stop, look, or listen, he gets hit by a car, his body flies down the road, and an illustration labelling his potential injuries appears at the end. Not too gross or traumatic for the little ones and it gets the message across, but would an older child be as affected by it? Would it appeal to girls or would they dismiss it as a bit "gross"?

The fact that the site has a competition to win a bike every month will definitely generate a lot of traffic (no pun intended.) I think that over all it's well done, but the proof will be in how our children see it and what kind of difference it makes.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

how funny is thaaaaat?

I love the Barefoot Contessa, AKA Ina Garten. She's like the bigger, older, American version of Nigella, who cooks with fat and sugar with wild abandon. She's the One Fat Lady, if you like. A friend of mine attended her book signing yesterday in Illinois, and brought with her a stick of butter for Ina to sign. Hilarious and brilliant, and appreciated by the Contessa herself. Jen is my hero.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

it's beginning to taste a lot like christmas

And just to be different, I shan't write about the US elections in this post. And you can't make me.

Inspired by Caroline's pumpkin bake-o-thon, I decided to put together some pumpkiny goodies using the extra tin of pumpkin puree that was lurking in my cupboard. (It was for Canadian Thanksgiving but, ironically, we were in the States at the time.) I have a very loud and persistent sweet tooth at the moment, but I need to try and keep eating as healthily as I can. You know, so I can stuff my face for two solid weeks at Christmas. (Mental note: ensure Christmas outfit has an elasticated waist.)

First up were Starbucks Pumpkin Scones, which are normally slathered in icing, but I was a very good girl and refrained. I used wholemeal flour instead of white, Splenda instead of sugar, and didn't need to add the half and half because the dough was wet enough (in the UK, you could use single cream or whole milk.) They emerged from the oven smelling spicy and Autumnal, and were remarkably light and not overly sweet. I can see why you'd want to add the icing (as you'd find at Starbucks) because they aren't as sweet as a cake or muffin, but I was quite happy to polish one off without the extra sugar rush. I think these would be lovely with some honey for breakfast. The recipe tells you to divide the dough into 6, but I made 12 scones that are a very decent size. 6 is just stupid big.

The second recipe was for Pumpkin Muffins, and again, I substituted wholemeal flour for white, Splenda for sugar, rapeseed oil for the applesauce (because unsweetened applesauce doesn't seem to exist in this country), and omitted the walnuts. I reduced the quantities to make 12 muffins only, so this used up the remaining pumpkin in the tin very nicely. They smell like Christmas, and taste like little cakes. The raisins make the muffins beautifully sweet, and the pumpkin makes them satisfyingly filling.

If I can figure out how to make a healthy pumpkin latte, I'll let you know.

Speed Racer for president

While watching television yesterday evening, Barack Obama appeared on the screen. Jack asked, "Is that Lewis Hamilton?"

If presidential candidates drove racing cars, that would be very, very cool indeed. In fact, next election I think they should have an automotive race of some sort to determine the winner. Either that, or roller derby.