I seem to have lost something…

We love the Wii

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There is always much concentration, much shouting and much noise around the playing on the Wii. Sometimes a little too much.

At present the boys have been challenged to not ask to play on it for an hour. Then I might let them play on it. Kinda Catch 22 parenting.

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Pudding adventures: Chocolate orange pudding

I have two copies of this same recipe in different books, and had always thought it looked interesting, so was quite enthusiastic when Sebastian suggested it as our next option. Alas, our baking was dogged with problems from early on.

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The initial melting of the butter and chocolate went smoothly enough – it was only later I discovered that I hadn't read the recipe properly and we had used butter which was intended for another part of the recipe in this part. Oh well.

Sebastian was then stirring together the flour and the cocoa powder when….whoops…the plastic jug slipped off the bench and all over the floor.

Sebastian then cleaned it all up.

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Of course, we had used the last of the cocoa, and we weren't going to reuse what had fallen on the floor. So someone had to go to the shop to get some more. Sebastian and I had, over the previous week, been talking about when he and Jude might be able to walk to school, or go to the shops, by themselves. So this doubled as the big moment of Sebastian's first solo trip to the shop.

As it is only a seven minute walk either way, he was back before I could fret. He even managed to ask for assistance to get the cocoa off a shelf he couldn't reach.

After that distraction, it was back to the cooking.

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We finally got it into the pudding basin as directed.

However, we were out of alfoil and really a second trip to the shop really wasn't in order, so we just made do with baking paper on top.

There was opportunity for Sebastian's favourite part of baking though.

By now our timeframes were completely shot and then got further extended as the pudding really didn't seem ready after 2 and a half hours of boiling. Sebastian went to bed with a promise he could try if he was still awake when it was ready.

After 4 hours or thereabouts, even though it still seemed less than completely cooked, I got it out of the basin.

Cutting it open, it actually looked quite recipe-accurate…

And it tasted fine. Sebastian really liked it, I was less wild about it. I think the orange needed more boiling in its skin mostly.

I don't know whether it was the additional butter which made it need to cook for so long, or the lack of alfoil which meant the top kept fairly damp, or whether it was just that the recipe underestimated the time. However, if we choose to make this one again, I think we will be leaving ourselves plenty of wiggle room!

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Fleet lego

Sebastian constructed this impressive looking space ship. But more impressive

…it transforms into a fleet of individual matching star ships!

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A boy, his funny hat and his singing lion

Zachary and his much beloved, somewhat belated, birthday presents. He wears the hat constantly, including in bed. The carers at childcare love it because they always know where he is, as he jangles softly whereever he goes.

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Apple, poleta, golden syrup and lemon pudding

So on to pudding three. We didn't have any lemon myrtle, but decided to forge on regardless as the recipe did offer lemon peel as a substitute.

The complexity in this pudding came from the initial cooking of the apple, followed by the cooking of the polenta.

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Sebastian was suspicious of the macadamias, but I assured his they were necessary.

The puddings looked delicious coming out of the oven

but failed to keep their form coming out of these dishes.

Tasted good though!

We found that the additional pudding which wasn't eaten immediately actually was properly set and shaped, so our verdict is that we probably needed just a couple of minutes more of cooking time, and probably to leave it for a minute or two before serving, rather than the "serve immediately" instruction in the recipe. Sebastian also believed that we needed to actually grind up the macadamias rather that just chop them, and I don't think this is a bad call.

Was also delicious for breakfast the next day!

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With Magills, at park

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As it was a beautiful weekend, there was time for multiple parks. On Sunday we made out way to the John Knight Memorial Park to catch up with Thomas, Andrea, Martin and Daniel and to enjoy some more time in the sunshine.

The boys were excited because, for the first time in ages, there was water in the creek which flows through the middle of the park.

Zachary and I stuck with the equipment and played and chatted respectively. The big boys took off with Martin and (occasionally) Daniel and some other kids to explore and adventure – I only saw them sporadically, but figured they would be OK on their own adventures, especially when they would come and ask me permission to adventure to specific places. But I was definitely following the "let your children be free" approach to parenting.

Eventually, after a good couple of hours of running about, it was time to collect the boys who appeared to be engaged in some activities involving the freezing of time and fighting of evil forces, and wander home.

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More pudding – Chocolate Brownie Pudding

After much pouring over recipe books, Sebastian decided that our next pudding effort would be warm brownie puddings with chocolate sauce. These are individual puddings with lots of dark chocolate and a chocolate sauce to pour on top.

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Together we melted the chocolate and whipped up the batter. I think the more enjoyable moment for Sebastian involved the wooden spoon though…

The puddings went into their individual containers ready for cooking – chocolate, butter, flour, sugar and frangelico (who knew we had some in the house!).

Before:

And, after

They rose rather better than I expected and ended up very puffed up. which made the sauce logistically challenging, but not impossible.

So the sauce was made:

and the finished products served up to a grateful crowd.

I thought they were delicious, and while Sebastian didn't disagree, he found them a little rich and proposed that next time we should try with milk chocolate. They were consumed enthusiastically all round though.

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With Prossers, at park

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Taking advantage of the beautiful sunny Canberra winter day, the small boys and I went to the park with Catherine and her small boys. That is a lot of small boys it must be said.

Anyhow, while the smaller subset of the boys played on the equipment, the two bigger boys wandered about exploring the pond and, as they slightly grandly titled them, wetlands. The exciting discovery of the day was the rushes, and the fact that they explode into gigantic balls of fluff when dry and poked.

Sebastian and Jude took us all on a guided tour of the wetlands before we headed home as the sun began to set, and the cold set in.

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Farmers Market!

Zachary and I took advantage of the beautiful sunny Canberra winter morning to ride up to the farmers' market. Well, I did the pedalling, while Zachary reclined in the back of the trailer. I hadn't ridden there before, but it was a very pleasant 20 minute ride.

We stopped for a chocolate cupcake and awaited for Jasmin's arrival – keeping the macaroon salespeople in sight as we knew it would be her first stop.

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After hot chocolates it was off around to buy lots of vegetables and fruit. I love all the apples and pears, potatoes covered in dirt and delicious baby carrots. Not to forget the green green leaves and the giant pumpkins. We bought up our supplies which would fit in the trailer, bid Jasmin a farewell, then headed on home.

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