Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2014

This year the Pumpkins at Thomas’s school have grown really well, with enough for a large one for each class plus a few smaller ones left over, so before the end of half term they had a Pumpkin decorating contest, all the parents were invited to vote for their ‘favourite’ Pumpkin just before they collected their child/children (so that there was no favouritism) here are their decorated pumpkins.

School pumpkin 1

School pumpkin 2

School pumpkin 3

School pumpkin 4

School pumpkin 5

I think that they are all great, none of them were carved out and hopefully they will be used in the School Kitchen after the half term holidays the ‘favourite’ pumpkin was the ‘Pumpkinpine’, well done to all of you, I am sure you had lots of fun.

For hints on how to carve your own Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin click here.

Happy Halloween

Gill

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Doesn’t time fly its Halloween again, and I can’t wait, I have been trying out some Halloween treat ideas for next week, much to Thomas’s delight, they would be great for a party, you could use the ‘eyeballs’ as a spooky decoration.

 

Eyeball 2

Ghastly eyeballs on sticks

What you will need

  • Large white marshmallows
  • Red food colouring or red icing in a tube
  • Smarties
  • Round Black liquorice sweets or black icing in a tube
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Scissors

Eyeball 1

What you need to do

  1. Carefully trim the edges from your marshmallows to make them round
  2. Stick a cocktail stick into each one
  3. To make the veins dip the end of a cocktail into the food colouring and paint thin wiggly lines onto the marshmallow or pipe on red lines with your icing.
  4. Attach your Smartie (iris) to the front of marshmallow with icing or by slightly wetting the marshmallow to make it sticky.
  5. For the pupil cut the liquorice toffees into thin slices and stick one onto the smartie by slightly wetting it or add a blob of black icing.
  6. To serve simply stick them into a pumpkin

 

Swamp pot

Gooey swamp pots

What you will need

  • Packets of Lime Green Jelly (each pack will make approx. 3 servings depending on pot size)
  • Spooky sweets – snakes/body parts/bugs
  • Chocolate biscuits
  • Popping candy

What you need to do

  1. In a jug make up the jelly as per the instructions on the packs.
  2. Pour the jelly into your clear pots and put them into the fridge until they just begin to set.
  3. Remove from the fridge and carefully push your sweets into the green goo, arrange some so that they are sticking out and hanging over the pot.
  4. Return your pots to the fridge to set.
  5. Place your chocolate biscuits in a bag and bash into crumbs with a rolling pin.
  6. Just before serving sprinkle the chocolate crumbs on the  top with some of the popping candy for a crunchy exploding experience.

Both ideas went down well with Thomas, he enjoyed the Swamp Pots the most.

Whatever you do/make for Halloween have lots of fun.

For lots more spooky ideas/treats/games click here.

Gill

Read Full Post »

October 21st is Apple Day, it is an annual celebration of apples and orchards, there are lots of organized events being held around the country, at many of these events you can: taste locally grown apples, have a look at apple orchards, talk to the growers, bring with you one of your unknown varieties of apple for the experts to identify, watch cookery demonstrations using apples and taste the results, learn about growing, pruning and grafting apple trees, buy apple produce (jams, jellies, chutneys, cakes, pies etc.), cooking equipment, apple crushers, apple presses, harvesting equipment such as ladders, apple pickersapple wizardsfruit stores and storage boxes not to mention apple trees to start off your own ‘orchard’ and much, much more, they make a great day out for all the family.

Last week Sylvia arrived in the office with a large bag of her own freshly picked apples to share amongst the staff. Thomas is not a great fan of apples so I started thinking of ways to try and tempt him, this idea made me ‘smile’ and would be great for a children’s party – especially a Halloween Party.

Scary apple smile

Scary Apple Smiles

What you will need

  • Red skinned apples
  • Lemon Juice
  • Caramel/Toffee/Chocolate/Peanut Butter Spread
  • White mini Marshmallows

What you need to do

  1. Wash you apples and cut them into quarters.
  2. Trim off the core and seeds and cut out a wedge from the skin side of each quarter.
  3. Brush the flesh with lemon juice to stop it from turning brown.
  4. Fill the ‘gap’ with a spoonful of stiff Caramel/Toffee/Chocolate/Peanut Butter Spread.
  5. For the ‘teeth’ place your mini marshmallows in rows, one at the top and one along the bottom.

Scary apple smiles

Was Thomas tempted?  Yes, but I think the Toffee Spread had a lot to do with it!!

Why not give it a try?

This week we also celebrate Bramley Apple Pie Week 20th – 26th October for recipes and ideas on how to enjoy and store your apples click here.

Gill

Read Full Post »

If you have been reading my previous blogs you will know that I love Autumn especially getting out for a walk and collecting leaves, seeds, nuts and fruits I simply can’t resist it. The fruits such as Blackberries and Apples can be cooked to enjoy now in Pies and Crumbles or made into jams, chutneys and preserves to savour over the next few months, the seeds and nuts can be planted and will produce new flowers/wildflowers for your garden or a new generation of trees, all that remains are the stunning colourful leaves and the seed/nut cases.

You can have lots of fun with leaves and when you have finished they can be turned into valuable leaf mould for your garden, for lots of ideas for your wonderful leaves click here. This year the Beech has produced a bumper crop of seeds (which are often called Beechnuts or Beechmasts) and as I have quite a lot of the Beech seed cases I got thinking … they are very dry, hard and often spikey just like the prickles of a Hedgehog, so why not ….

Beech Seed Case Hedgehog

Make a Hedgehog from Beech Seed Cases

What you will need

  • Dry Beech Seed Cases
  • Potatoes
  • A Cocktail Stick
  • Sticky Tack or Glue
  • Conkers
  • Black felt tip pen

What you need to do

  1. Choose a potato preferably with a flat side (to stop it rolling around) this will be the bottom.
  2. Leave one end of the potato bare for the face then make holes with your cocktail stick in rows along the back and sides inserting beech seed cases by their stalks until you have covered your potato.
  3. Draw or stick on some eyes then add the conker nose securing it in place with Sticky Tack or Glue

If you have plenty of materials why not make a Hedgehog family and arrange them on a tray/lid with some of your leaves.

Hedgehogs are busy at the moment looking for a safe place to hibernate and eating plenty of food to build them up for the winter months, why not have a go at the new free Gardening with Children Family Competition or School Competition for a chance to win a Hogitat Hedgehog House, a Field guide to Hedgehogs and some Hedgehog Food for the Hedgehogs in your garden.

The Hogitat Hedgehog House

The Hogitat Hedgehog House – a perfect winter retreat for your prickly garden friends

Have fun

Gill

Read Full Post »

I love Autumn; the crisp, frosty mornings when spiders webs appear to have been decorated with crystals, the misty mornings when the fields are cloaked in white and the rich, damp, earthy smells as you walk through the woods. At this time of year most of the plants in the garden have started to die back, the stars of Autumn to my mind are the trees, many of which are dazzling in their ‘coats’ of many colours and heavily laden with masses of fruits and seeds of varying colours, shapes and sizes just waiting for the perfect time and opportunity to break free and become the next generation of trees.

There are many varieties of trees where I live, I just cannot resist the temptation to collect their seeds, my favourites are conkers from the Horse Chestnut Tree and the Spinning Jennies from the Maples, Sycamores and Ashes it is lovely to watch children picking them up and throwing them into the air so that they spin round and round on their way back down, this will only work with a single seed, throw a double one up and it just comes straight down.

SYCAMORE KEYS

A Spinning Jenny is actually a winged ‘fruit’, its wing is made from fibrous papery tissue and contains the with seed at one end, they often grow in pairs but when mature they are often released singly, the correct name for them is a ‘Samara’  their shape enables the wind to carry their seed farther away from the parent tree ideally in an area where trees are not already present and where they can germinate and grow, they have many names depending on where you live they are often referred to as keys as well as wingnuts, helicopters and whirlibirds, in the North of England they are referred to as Spinning Jennies.

I have got quite a collection already if you find them in bunches they make a lovely Autumn decoration or if you are a gardener like me you can plant them and watch them grow in the spring.

The environmental Charity The Tree Council, which was founded over 40 years ago, works in partnership with schools, communities, organisations and the government to make trees matter to everyone, on the 23rd September they launched the start of the new Tree Year with Seed Gathering Season which runs until 23rd October, its aim is to encourage and inspire school children, families and groups to take part in activities to collect, sow and grow trees together to ensure the future of their green landscape for more information and events in your area have a look at their website.

If you have collected conkers and have some spare to grow click here for a guide to growing your own Horse Chestnut Tree.

Green Horse Chestnut Leaves

So get out, have fun and enjoy all that Autumn has to offer.

Love your environment

Gill

Read Full Post »