Thursday, 1 December 2011

"Free" Day Fun

As those of you in the UK probably know, some (most?) of the schools were closed yesterday due to the strikes.

Which meant a "free" day at home with Izzy. Even though she gets 2 days off a week at the weekends, those days always fill up so quickly. This coming weekend we are in Bath, the following weekend Izzy has birthday parties to go to on the Saturday and Sunday, the following weekend is my little sister's 16th birthday, and then it's Christmas! Plus, Liam is home at the weekends and he always wants to get lots of housework done, which doesn't make for a relaxing day. {rolls eyes in teenage fashion at hatred of housework!!}

So yesterday's only aim was to enjoy ourselves!

We started with pancakes in pjs.

French pancakes as they are Izzy's favourites - Liam often makes American chocolate chip pancakes at the weekends as he prefers them, but today was all about the crepes with lemon juice and sugar!

I ate two pancakes and the children shared three between them. This recipe made the perfect amount for us all to be full but not uncomfortable. Unlike when I was a child and my Mum would make pancakes on Shrove Tuesday - I'd eat at least 6 pancakes before rolling going off to school!

Mid-morning my Mum and littlest sister came around as Olivia wanted some photos of her with the children. We managed to get quite a few nice ones...

...thanks to Mum standing behind the camera making the kids laugh/smile...

...and we even managed to get one that I kind of like with me in it - practically unheard of!!

They're going to come back again sometime when Liam is home to take some more photos - we never get photos taken of all 4 of us so it will be nice. :)

After Mum and Olivia had left, Toby went for his nap and it was time for the most important part of Isabelle's day - baking muffins!

These certainly aren't the most pretty muffins I've ever produced, but they smelt amazing if that counts for anything?! Izzy seemed happy with them anyway!

I asked Izzy to bend down so you all wouldn't see my messy kitchen counters to fit in the photo, but she was worried you would all think she was really short!!

I'll never learn my lesson that if you try to peel a muffin when warm, half of it will stick to the wrapper!

Unfortunately the taste of these was only ok. Nice  enough to keep Izzy happy, but not good enough for me to post the recipe. I should've used fresh mango (which I have sitting on the counter, duh!) as the dried mango didn't go as soft as I'd hoped. And the white chocolate completely melted into the cake, boo. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. They are still perfectly edible (indeed I ate 3 yesterday and have eaten another 1 today!), and Izzy had fun making them which was the main point anyway.

For lunch, we had roasted cauliflower with avocado and salsa. Liam hates cauliflower so I thought today would be a good day to eat lots - I miss the cauliflower and sweet potato curry I used to make all the time, but this was pretty tasty too. I'd never roasted cauliflower before, but it worked really well - I just roasted it at 200C for 20-25 minutes, with a little oil and salt.

Izzy had ketchup instead of salsa, but apart from that she loved it - she gobbled it down super quick! I really like "snack plates" for an easy lunch - quicker than making a "proper" meal, and you get to eat lots of different things - win!

Toby was still asleep when we ate lunch. We didn't eat until 1.30pm, but as he was showing no signs of waking up, we decided our tummies couldn't wait any longer! When he did eventually wake up, he had some cold roasted cauliflower. He doesn't like the feel of avocado anyway - he likes the taste in guacamole, but is funny about "messy" things touching his hand!

Mid-afternoon, we decided to get some fresh air. My Mum was doing a shift in an ice cream parlour in town, so we went down there to see her. And eat ice cream of course. Well, I had coffee - it was grey and drizzly by the afternoon, but the children still wanted ice cream!

Izzy chose the mango yoghurt ice cream for Toby to have but, apart from the fudge stick, he didn't really eat much. So I ended up eating some, until he decided that his pushchair was boring and he wanted to run around outside that is!!

Izzy chose cookies and cream for herself...

Bless her. She had a really good day yesterday, but she was still eager to go back to school today. When I asked her if she'd enjoyed a day off she replied "yes...but I need to go to school to learn Mummy"...that's me told!

It started raining on the walk back home, which Izzy decided meant it was "hot chocolate time"! I didn't have one as I was still full from the unexpected ice cream, but the children enjoyed them.

I wish I'd taken a photo of Toby's cream moustache - he looked so puzzled by it, funny!

Unlike the rest of the day - which was lovely - dinner was a bit of a fail. I'd planned to do a vegetarian "fry-up" (not that any of it was fried), but then discovered that the potato bread I thought was in the freezer wasn't there, and we only had two eggs left. Liam and Izzy had one egg each, so I just had toast, garlic buttery mushrooms and Linda McCartney sausages. Still plenty of food!

The sausages got a burnt under the grill - you can tell a little at the ends, but the underneath was pretty much black. Next time I will bake them I think. As I wasn't having an egg, I served myself most of the garlic butter from the mushrooms. There was lots of it - love how it soaks into the toast, delish! :)

Those of you who had the day off yesterday, did you do anything nice? What is your favourite way to spend an (unexpected) day off? Yesterday was pretty perfect for me - it was just so nice to be able to relax and not be tied to any strict schedules. Once the children are older, we'll be able to do more things (like Lara taking her boys ice skating, which looked great fun!) but while Toby is so young, trying to go out for the day is usually more stressful than it's worth as he refuses to sleep in his pushchair but gets super grumpy if he misses his nap! Ah well, they'll grow up (too) soon enough. Izzy enjoyed relaxing at home while Toby slept anyway as it meant she got 100% of my attention!


  1. Aaah thanks for the shout out. I do still remember the "grumpy when missing nap days" .... and that was just me ;-)

  2. That day just looks like so much fun. I didn't go on strike (won't go into why as I got some rather uncalled for comments on another forum about it) but most of the teachers in my school did - my class loved it though as they had the playground to themselves, were first in for lunch etc- it was quite exciting for them! If I have an unexpected free day then pancakes for breakfast are fab (normally I would have porridge before a run) and then maybe a walk and a starbucks for a treat :)


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