The Best Ever Oat and Raisin Cookies in the world

I dont say it lightly, but these cookies are amazing and never last in our house.  They truly are the best.  This is an American Recipe (it came on the back of some sunmaid raisins from the US), but that said is super easy for the boys, as I have some plastic cup measures that they use.

So here goes



Ingredients

3/4 cup softened butter or margarine
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 cup Raisins
 
Method
Heat oven to 180. 
Beat butter, brown sugar, caster sugar, milk, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.
Combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add to butter mixture and mix well.
Stir in oats, raisins and nuts, if using. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets.
Cool on wire racks.


Then get the children to clean up after themselves!


If you like them, then I am sure you will love the best carrot cake in the world ever too, dont take my word for it, have a look at some of the comments.

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Spiritual Sunday – Happiness

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

Guillaume Apollinaire

This kind of hits it on the head for me at the moment.  I need to stop all the hustle and bustle, all the pushing and pulling and just be.  


So this morning I am thankful for the boys returning from the shop with some lovely flowers and I bit my tongue about not having enough money.


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A little help for my friends

I have been ever so lucky in this wonderful world of blogs to have made some great friends and have met some really inspiring people, so today I want to tell you about a couple of them and ask you to help where you can.

Firstly Stephanie.  Stephanie is an inspiration to me, has been since the moment I first read her blog Bah! to Cancer, you see Stephanie has been dancing with Breast Cancer (you don't die from dancing do you?) and  doing so in a dignified and insightful way.

One of Stephanie's Ideas is the Bah! Brilliant Book Bonanza, This is a great way of giving uplifting books to people who need a good read. 

She is also taking part in the race for life and has a Bah! to cancer team.  All in all she is a really special kind of person, once that you don't come across all the time.



Next up is Dan and the Hadrians Walkers, who are these people you ask and what are they doing.  Well they are a group of 60 people who in July will be walking the length of Hadrian's Wall in six days. That's 84 miles across the entire width of England.
space
They are  walking in aid of the Joseph Salmon Trust, a charity founded by Dan's friends in memorial to their son Joseph who died aged 3 in April of 2005.
space
The Joseph Salmon Trust supports parents who have lost a child by providing financial assistance to those who need it most.


You can find their just giving site here 
  


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Mini(isms)

Me and Mini take my mum shopping every Thursday and whist in the car on the way yesterday we were chatting as you do and he just stopped me in my tracks.  I can not believe this little man of mine, my baby, my cuddler will be 4 next month and I just had to record some of the things he says and I love.
 

Although shopping with Mini and Mum can be stressful, I love the speical time I have with mini on a morning, I love our cuddles and our little chats.

You want to be a nurse, not a doctor as you don't want to wear a stethoscope, but you do want to help people and you like the way the nurses always help me.  So yes you want to be a nurse that travels round the world and first you want to go to Haiti.   This really stopped me in my tracks as we have never talked about jobs before.

You told Grandma today that you would be going to college after school.

I love the way you stop mid-sentence to try and think of the right word, you just sit waving your hands.

You also seem to start every sentence with the words "you know mum", to which I often reply "yes I know mini".

You have started to clap out syllables and spell out words

You ask for J A M on your toast

When asked your name, you always reply with your full name, including your middle name.
You are fiercely independent

You still love your dummy and are not ready to give it up just yet, although you only have it for bed.

Your bears are also firmly required when you go to bed and I often wake with a bear and you beside me.
 

I love how you always manage to turn upside down in your bed!

You think I am beautiful.





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Please Vote for me!

I am such a happy little blogger right now, I have reached the top five in the Family Fun Blog Catagory in The Mad's, the awards for  Daddy and mummy Bloggers in the UK.
 
To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement, especially when you see the others in the Family Fun Blog Category, I am in such good company.  So I am asking you to please vote for me, but I would also like that vote to be a fair and just one, so please let me introduce you to my fellow and somewhat amazing peers: Have a Lovely Time Have a Lovely Time is a collaborative blog written by a team of ten parent bloggers and journalists, who review family-friendly days out and attractions. The site covers everything from overseas holiday destinations to pantos and British days out, with a focus on affordable ways for families to have fun together. Website havealovelytime.com
NurtureStore   NurtureStore is a store of ideas and inspiration for parents and childminders based on the experiences of Cathy, a part-time childminder and full-time Mum to two little girls of her own. The blog covers a range of activities, from cooking and gardening to crafts, imaginative play and yoga. Website nurturestore.co.uk
A Mother¹s Ramblings
A Mother's Ramblings is the story of Pippa, and her two children, known as Top Ender and Little Ender. Pippa shares with her readers stories of family days out, country walks and holiday plans, with lots of laughs along the way. Apparently Pippa¹s favourite TV programme is Neighbours, and her favourite colour is blue.  Website amothersramblings.com It's a Small World After All Family It's a Small World After All Family is the story of Victoria, Stephen, Eve, Edward and Dickon, who are planning to head off on a round the world trip in late 2010. In the meantime, this blog has lots of fantastic posts about family days out in and around London, with gorgeous photographs alongside. Website itsasmallworldafterallfamily.wordpress.com I didnt ask directly for any votes for the nomiation stage, but I am asking for your help now. So please vote for me, please ask your freinds to vote for me, please blog about voting for me and ask friends of your friends to vote for me too. I really appreicate and value everyone who takes the time to read my blog.
Click here to vote
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The Gallery – Hidden Places / Secret Britain

This week The Gallery theme is about painting a picture of the world we live in: The hidden bits, the bits you feel are special and people should know about. The bits people wouldn't necessarily see. It is inspired by the  BBC initiative to discover Secret Britain.


 When Countryfile was on TV on Monday night this is what the boys said their secret place was.



We have a place that we go, a place that is just perfect.  It has a fjord, so the boys can watch as the cars drive through it.


It has a beck so the boys can paddle, now they don't care if it is in wellies and clothes or wetsuits and crocs.  They just love water.


It has grass, so you can picnic and we always do.


It often has wind (well we are talking the North of England here), so perfect for kites.


It has some fantastic signed walks too, even a roman road.


So where is this wonderful place I hear you ask, well it doesn't have a name, it is on a road in the middle of the North Yorkshire Moors, about 15 minutes drive from TheMadHouse.  It is the place we go to have fun as a family, to relax, to enjoy each others company and to just be. 

It is our place.


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Whats going on In TheMadHouse

Things are moving forward in the MadHouse at the moment and we have so much going on, so this is a bit of a mixed bag of a post to say the least! Mini and School
My wonderful, adorable and perfect little one is due to start school full time in September and I am finding the transition and knowing this really hard at the moment.  I commented on his preschool review that I was disappointed that they had been unable to move him to mornings with his key worker to enable the transition to full time easier for him and guess what, the head of year informed me last week that they have a position for him going on a morning.
So MadDad and I have had a chat to him and on Tuesday he is going to spend an hour at preschool with the morning children and me and we are going to see how he settles.  I have decided that if he doesn't settle that I am not going to push it, as he has been rather clingy since I was in hospital last week.Mini and Pampers Underjams Mini has been dry during the day for the last 11 months, but night time has been very different for him.  I know you shouldnt compare children, but Maxi was dry night and day at the same time, so we dont have any other experiance.  So when Lucinda at Fleshman Hillard offered to sent me some Pampers Underjams, I jumped at the chance and they have done the business for us, no more upsets about not being a big boy, no more of Mini not wanting to wear any protection and no more wet beds.   They have really worked for us, Mini wanted to be like his big brother and not wear anything, but underjams are designed not to look like pulls ups, so he wore them and it has got us though to a stage where he doesnt need them at all. If you would like a sample of Pampers then please e-mail Lucinda directly and let her know your name, email address, mailing address, name of blog (if applicable), gender, and weight of child and she will get some out to you.
Jury Service
I blogged that I had been summonsed for Jury Duty and  was really concerned about how I would manage with it all, so I tool your comments in to consideration and wrote a letter to the court service explaining my situation.  I detailed that I am main carer for my mum, that I really didn't want to put Mini in to child care and that I also had health issues and I have been excused from this and future service, which is such a relief.  So thank you for all your advise and comments.
Mum
My mum is settled at home, has given up smoking and is really doing very well.  I am so proud on her for making such an effort and I know that it is really hard for her, as she used to be so much more independent.  We received a wheelchair for her this week, which will make getting out and about much easier.
She was initially turned down for a ramp and a stair lift, but I have had a meeting with the Head of Occupational Therapy and we are waiting for a visit from an architect to see how a ramp can be installed and also the man from the stair lift company came this week to look at how a stair life could be installed.  My mum lives in a listed terrace and it seems that nothing is going to be simple!
We have also seen the consultant about the test results and although mum does have a hernia, she is not well enough for surgery, so they are going to treat it medically, so all in all, things are looking much more positive for mum.
Now we just have to see it she is entitled to attendance allowance, we have submitted the paperwork (5 weeks ago) and are just waiting to hear.
Maxi
My ever enchanting eldest is going to be taking park in a six week craft course after school on a Wednesday, which he is really looking forward to.  He also wanted to take part in an after school multi sport activity, but it is for 2 hours and is very expensive, so MadDad and I felt we had no choice but to say no.  Firstly his swimming tuition would be due the same week and also we feel that 2 hours is a long time for a 5 year old, plus he would be ravenous, I always take a snack for him when I collect him from school and he still manages to eat all his dinner, he would never survive till 5.15 without any food.
He was pretty upset initially, but I am sure that he will get over it pretty quick.  I find it pretty annoying that they offer these things over the summer term, which is when I least need organised physical activity.  We always do something after school when the weather is good, even if it is just a trip to the beach, woods or the park.  I would much rather they do something over the winter.
Me
Well I am still shattered and I think that my iron level must still be low, as I am struggling for breath quite often.   I have had to give up caffeine, which for those of you that know me, you will realise it has been a really hard thing to do.  I am a Tea Monster.  I love my tea.  I am down to one cup of decaffeinated in the morning, which MadDad brings me in bed and then I am on to Mint Tea, which now the mint is growing again in the garden is not too bad (who am I kidding).  The reason for giving up the Tea is that caffeine inhibits the absorption of iron and I am keen to try what ever I need to, as I would like to avoid any more blood or iron transfusions.
My tummy is still swelling and I am waiting for an appointment for some additional tests.  I have an appointment with my Plastic Surgeon to discuss reconstruction again.  I am not yet ready, but this way I am at least kept in the system.
I have bought a shopping trolly to make life easier when taking mum shopping, less bags for me to carry means I can offer an arm for support
Edited to say shopping trolley purchased from Ikea for £17
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Locomotion – A great day out


The boys took me to Locomotion, which is part of the National Railway Museum, but based at Shildon, as they had a steam gala on today and the Tornado Peppercorn Steam Train is there this weekend.


Yes, even though it was raining, we decided to make the most of the holiday weekend and take a picnic anyway!
So I made chocolate cakes and biscuits with the boys first thing, we packed a flash or two and also took some hot-dogs and buns in our food flask and set off.


It is a great place, with loads to do for the children, games of all sorts and we had a great time.  In the photo above Mini and Maxi are setting the table against the clock in Hackworth's cottage.


There is lots of small interactive games scattered throughout the place, which is great for keeping the boys occupied and of course it is full of trains!


And even thought it was cold and a little damp there is a fantastic play park, which the boys really enjoyed.  A perfect day with my boys regardless of the weather.

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Writing Workshop – Untill the next night



I am anxious, trying not to think about what might be wrong
I am trying hard to banish any worrying thoughts from my mind
To compartmentalise my health worries
Separating them from our everyday life

But I am tired, oh so tired, exhausted beyond belief
Trying hard to keep up with my boys
which I do manage most day's
But my nights suffer for it

The thoughts they run free in the dark
No longer masked by the bright sunshine of the day
They invade my sleeping hours
Leaving me no where to hide

So how do I verbalise my worries?
Will talking about them make them feel more real?
I can not give them any more power than they already have
So I will keep them to myself for now

I will the night to pass, the clock to tick forward
bringing the darkest hours before the dawn
Dawn brings me my family, my reason, my being
Giving me something to distract me

I can almost feel the apprehension gripping on to my heart
The nervousness making my tummy turn to jelly
Yes I am worried
But I refuse to allow the dread a presence during the daylight hours

And soon enough the day does come
A shard of light piercing the dark night
The tiptoe of tint feet
And great big warm cuddles making everything alright

Untill the next night .......


This week I chose prompt number 5 - Pick an emotion that best represents your state of mind right now and write creatively on that theme.

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The Gallery – Portraits

This weeks prompt over at Sticky Fingers for The Gallery was Portraits, how apt seen as I received these from school this week.




They don't get much more adorable than this, do they?

I am so lucky to have two such wonderful children, so some special things about my boys.
I love nothing more than my morning snuggles with Mini, he often comes and joins us at some point during the night and we love it, we are cherishing the fact that he wants to be close to both me and MadDad.;;;;;I

I love the fact that tucking Maxi in to bed is always such a treat, he is usually asleep before you even get out of the room!

It is hard to believe that Mini is very nearly as tall as Maxi and he now has size 10 and a half feet!
I am so impressed with Maxi's reading, it is coming on in leaps and bounds and he gets really animated when reading to us on an evening, the four of us sit together on the sofa and really love this time.

I also really like the fact that they are becoming part of our neighbourhood and love that they are often called on to come out and play (I go up to my bedroom and watch them out the window).


I think maybe the time is coming for the stabilisers to come off Maxi's bike.  We are only holding off, as we know that what one does the other always wants to follow.

There is nothing better than coming home to two boys who make my heart sing and make most things a joy.


They both blamanche or milky jelly.  They adore making it, which couldn't be simpler.  Dissolve the jelly in a quarter of a pint of boiling water, allow to cool but not set and then add half a pint of milk, pour in to moulds then pop in the fridge 30mins later you have this....


Perfect to serve with strawberries


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