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Recipe: Straight from the gingerbread factory

Here is a quick and easy gingerbread recipe – great for getting the kids involved in baking and for saving money on sweet treats!

Ingredients:

  • 350g/12oz plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g/4½oz butter
  • 175g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • Icing and decorations (smarties, sprinkles, raisins etc.) – optional

Method:

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and blend until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Lightly beat the egg and golden syrup together, add to the food processor and pulse until the mixture clumps together. Tip the dough out, knead briefly until smooth, wrap in clingfim and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  4. Roll the dough out to a 0.5cm/¼in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using cutters, cut out the gingerbread men shapes and place on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until lightly golden-brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling. When cooled decorate with the writing icing and cake decorations.

Henry had a really great time eating these bad boys. I had fun icing funny faces on them. It’s a win-win as far as I’m concerned.

henrys gingerbread

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Coupon Fanatic

I went into Boots today, armed with at least fifty or more coupons and vouchers for various baby products. I bought jars (exclusively for emergencies/day trips I’ve told myself) fruit pots, fruit pouches, cereals, formula milk and wipes. Nothing I purchased was full price, and I even got some of it for free!

The bags were unbelievably heavy, and the total came to around £38. Then I handed over my mountain of vouchers and the cost just dropped. It continued to go down and down, until I ran out of vouchers at around £21.

Not bad considering it is all stuff I would’ve bought/needed anyway, if maybe just not that particular brand. But it doesn’t matter to me and it certainly doesn’t matter to Henry.

And I wasn’t the only one in the shop doing it. I bumped into another mum with a bundle of coupons in her hand. Every penny counts!

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Sweet Potato Among Other Things

I spent quite a long time in the kitchen today, making massive batches of various baby food for Henry. I made him his favourite carrot and parsnip, as well as lots of sweet potato and some apple for him to try.

He had parsnip today for lunch and then sweet potato for dinner. It’s the first time he’s eaten two solid meals in one day, and he kept opening his mouth for more. He ended up eating quite a bit. He’s a very hungry little baby these days. I’m surprised at how quick the weaning is going, considering he is only four and a half months. It won’t be long before he’s on three meals a day!

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Different Tastes and the New Highchair

Henry has had carrot for the past couple of days, so I decided to introduce him to some parsnip today that I prepared earlier in the week. He loved it, and kept opening his little mouth for more. He is getting the hang of eating off a spoon a lot quicker than I expected him to. Yesterday he even grabbed the spoon off me and put it in his own mouth. I guess he really was ready to start weaning then. I hate all these guidelines that don’t take into account that every baby is different. I should really remember this and use my instincts and the advice from our personal health visitor over the governments guidelines in future.

We tried him in his new highchair that came this morning too. We bought a purple snack highchair from Kiddicare, and it is brilliant. Under thirty pounds and it does the job. They have a lot of the same highchair but with different designs, all for £29.99 too. I chose the purple one because it looks rather nice and it matches our rug and curtains as well…

I should make up some more food for him, as it is so much easier just to get out a little cube of puree from the freezer. I’ll make some more carrot and parsnip batches, and try some sweet potato, then apple next. It’s all very exciting. I’ve been using my new Tommee Tippee explora food blender as well. It works so well, and I am really glad I got it. I don’t have the space to store a full-size blender or food processor in my kitchen. Also, from experience, I know that they tend to just get left in the box most of the time until one day you feel like making a smoothie or a soup and then afterwards, realise that it’s just made a whole lot of mess to clean up when you could have just bought a carton from the shop for a few pounds.

Anyway, it is lovely and small. It’s just the right size for making batches of baby puree to freeze, small enough to leave out on the counter inbetween the toaster and the kettle, and it doesn’t make too much mess. It is also really easy to cold-water sterilise in a bowl of Milton solution.

I am glad that I haven’t gone down the ‘pre-made baby food in jars’ route. This has got to be so much healthier, and cheaper.

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Infant Formula

We’re moving house in six days, and Henry is going to be looked after by his grandparents. I went to the supermarket this afternoon to pick up some formula, just incase I am not available for longer than expected and he gets too hungry. I still want to breastfeed, but I would rather have a happy, well-fed baby for that day and continue as normal after than let him get all in a bother.

I didn’t expect such a range of different brands and types though! I stood in the shop for a good ten minutes trying to figure out which one I should purchase. I settled on a few single-feed, ready-to-use cartons of SMA First Infant Milk. I would put a lot more thought into it if it wasn’t just for one day, and as a last resort if I’m caught up with the move. But I’m sure they all contain roughly the same sort of thing. Personally, I can’t see the benefits of one brand over another. It also makes me glad that I chose to breastfeed after seeing the prices of formula!

I hope he drinks it from the bottle. I’m sure if he’s hungry enough he will. He’s taken a bottle before, but obviously this will taste very different!

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The Perfect Pushchair

I adore my pushchair. It is absolutely perfect for me. It was paid for as a baby gift by my parents, but the other half and I got to choose it. We all went down to Mothercare and did the funny test-run around the store. It was the first one we tried out, and after trying several others, it always came back to that one. We decided on the Silver Cross Pop Classic Stroller – Blue Bubbles, and I have never regretted it. It fits perfectly in the boot of my small, run-around-town car, is really very light and is so quick and easy to expand and collapse. I look at other parents struggling to work out how to pull their buggies apart and I smile to myself.

It was because I heard so many stories about new mums and dads spending a fortune on huge, expensive travel systems, only to go out and purchase a smaller more practical model at a fraction of the cost just weeks later that I decided on this one. It may not be the best, but it is the best for me.

Take my advice, buy a pushchair that you can use. There are so many available, but make sure it will fit in with your lifestyle. But most of all, don’t be the parent standing outside their car for twenty minutes in the rain trying to remember which lever you were supposed to pull first.

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Baby Clubs

You’ve probably heard this a million times, but I’m going to say it again because it’s the best advice I’ve got. Never buy anything for your baby full price. Ever. Collect vouchers and coupons, sign up to mum and baby clubs online, and stock up when the local supermarket holds its ‘Baby Event’.

The following are just a collection of the many branded clubs you can sign up to. They give you a range of free baby things, vouchers in the post and more baby inspired reading material than you can get through in your entire life. They all want your custom though, and every company is competing for it! So save the pounds and click through to the links below.

Emma’s Diary

Bounty Baby Club

Boots Parenting Club

Mothercare Baby & Me Club

Tesco Baby & Toddler Club

Sainsbury’s Little Ones

Asda Baby & Toddler Club

Toys R Us Mother and Baby Club

Tommee Tippee Parenting Club

Aptamil Baby Club

Cow and Gate Baby Club

SMA Baby Club

HiPP Baby Club

Pampers Baby

Huggies Club

Fisher Price Mums Club

 

If I’ve missed any, please comment or email me henrysmother@hotmail.co.uk