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Despicable Me Minion Footprints

We have a big minion fan in this house so Izzy was pretty excited when I suggested we make some minion footprints!
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I painted Izzy’s foot half yellow and half blue to make the minions body, and Clara’s teeny tiny foot made a perfect purple minion.

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They made two pictures and I then painted on the goggles and mouths using acrylic paint. Instead of the G on the yellow minions dungarees, I painted an ‘I’ for Izzy, and a ‘C’ for Clara.

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You could make a whole army of minions!

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Easter baking: Chick Cupcakes

Easter, like any holiday, is a good excuse for some themed baking. And let’s face it, who doesn’t like an excuse to eat cake.

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As I was making these for the school fayre I kept Izzy away from them, (no one would want to buy a cake with teeth marks in) but these are something the kids could make – with a bit of help!

You will need:

For the cakes:
6oz caster sugar
6oz butter
3 eggs
6oz self-raising flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
12 cupcake cases

For the buttercream:
3oz butter
6oz icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence

For the chick toppers:
Ready to roll yellow icing
Ready to roll orange icing or orange food colouring
Small sweets or sprinkles for the eyes
A small heart shaped cutter

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1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix the sugar and butter, add the eggs and then the flour and baking powder. Mix well. Spoon into 12 cupcake cases and bake for 15 minutes.

2. While the cakes are baking and cooling, start making the cake toppers. Roll out some yellow icing and cut out 12 circles using either a round cutter or the top of a glass. Check that the circles are the right size to fit on the top of the cakes. 

3. Break off 24 small bits of yellow icing and mould them between your fingers to make a flat oval or tear drop shape. Put one on each side of the yellow circle to make the wings, using the edge of a cocktail stick to make some marks for the feathers. Use a small amount of water to stick the icing together (I just dip my finger in a small bowl of water and then dab it onto the icing so there is just enough water to make it stick without making it soggy).

4. Use either orange icing, or like I did, mix some orange food colouring with the yellow icing to make the feet. If you are mixing food colouring with ready to roll icing, also add some icing sugar as you are kneading it, to stop it becoming too sticky to work with. I used a small heart shaped cutter and cut out 24 hearts to use as the feet. Stick them  onto the circle bodies upside down.

4. For the beak, make 12 more small heart shapes from the orange icing and use a sharp knife to cut the top of the hearts off, leaving a small triangle.

5. The eyes are the bit I had some trouble with. I melted some chocolate to pipe on for the eyes, but it was really messy. Then I thought I would stick chocolate chips on for the eyes but they looked too big. Finally I found some round sprinkles which fit (and covered the piped chocolate which I had tried to wipe off).

6. Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut off the tops to make a flat surface.

7. Make the buttercream by softening the butter with a spoon or mixer, adding the icing sugar a little bit at a time and finally a few drops of vanilla essence. Pipe or spread onto the top of the cupcakes.

8. Place the chick cake toppers onto the buttercream.

9. Put the kettle on and sample your creations!

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This week… 23-29 March

Easter parade
This week Izzy was excited to take part in the Easter bonnet parade at pre-school. She was really proud of her hat and I made some cakes for the Easter fayre.
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Music fan
On Friday it was Clara’s second rhythm and rhyme class at our local library. Half an hour of singing, dancing and playing musical instruments with other babies under one. She loves shaking the maracas and she especially likes a song called “Let’s all clap our hands together”.

She has also started to clap her hands as soon as I begin to sing “If you’re happy and you know it” as she recognises the tune. I think some musical instruments may make it onto the birthday present list (though I may live to regret that).

Clip n’ Climb
On Sunday we went to my niece’s 11th birthday party at Clip n’ Climb. Isabel loves being with ‘the big girls’ and is desperate to be able to do all the things they can do. Last year, at my niece’s 10th birthday, she tried rollerskating for the first time and absolutely loved it. You can read my blog post about it here.

So this year she was excited to try climbing. She was a bit scared at first and when she fell about a foot off the first wall the metal clip hit her in the face which put her off a bit. But she got a bit more confident and tried a few more climbing walls, and even though she only managed to get about a foot off the ground on each one I was really proud of her for trying. And she was super proud of herself. The climbing walls are suitable for ages 4+ but I do think she was just a bit too small.

Back home she asked if we could go back another time “When I’ve grown a bit”.

Meanwhile, Clara enjoyed tucking into some birthday cake!
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Holiday buys
We are going on holiday in a couple of months and now the summer clothes are in the shops I’ve been collecting a few things. I was really pleased with this week’s purchases from Matalan. These matching dresses for Izzy and Clara are just too cute!
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This week on the blog
Shared Parental Leave – better rights for Dads
Little ballerina – settling into dance class
Easter egg shaped cards

Please like Kizzy, Izzy and Baby on Facebook, follow me @kizzy1984 on Twitter or @kizzyandizzy on Pinterest for more like this.

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Shared Parental Leave: Better Rights for Dads

From April 2015, working couples will be able to share up to 50 weeks of parental leave after having a baby.

The new regulations will give families more choice about how they spend the first year of their child’s life. And choice is the key word here.

It’s about not forcing families to follow a particular model and giving parents the opportunity to find a way of life that works for them. Not all families are the same, so a one-size-fits-all policy doesn’t work.

Currently, I’m on maternity leave after having my second baby, now 10 months old, and I’m due to return to work in a couple of months. If these regulations were already in place, they wouldn’t affect us. Financially it wouldn’t make sense for my husband, who is the primary earner, to take time off while I return to work. Plus, I wouldn’t want to return to work any earlier if I really didn’t have to. I know that some mothers don’t take the full maternity leave because they have no choice financially, they are worried about it affecting their career or they want to return to work. And that’s fine if that’s what works for them. But for me, I had a choice and I chose to take as much time off as possible. These new regulations not only give mothers more choice over their home/work life, but fathers too, and that is what has been missing until now.

For me, this is a major step in recognising the rights of fathers. For too long, parenting has been deemed the responsibility of women. It is expected that men will work and have no interest in looking after children. Stay at home Dads get no recognition at all because it is seen as such a rarity. There is always a lot of discussion – and criticism – over the choices that Mums make. But the same people who criticise women for returning to work when their baby is 6 months old wouldn’t think of applying the same negativity to a father who returns to work when their baby is 6 days old. People will generally question a career-driven woman’s commitment to her family, but never a father in the same position. And I can’t see that changing any time soon.

I don’t think it is ever going to get to the stage where men staying at home looking after the kids while mothers go back to work will become the ‘norm’. But then, what is ‘normal’ anyway? The whole point of these regulations is that they recognise that there is no normal. Every family has different needs and wants, and exist within different circumstances.

The flexibility of the regulations means that parents can use the 50 weeks of leave as they see fit – splitting it equally, taking it at the same time or separately. I think the most popular use will be for men to take more time off immediately following the birth of their child. Now, they can only take up to 2 weeks of statutory paternity leave. For many families, it would be really helpful to have two parents home for the first month or two.

Of course, there are some issues with shared parental leave. Some men may really want to take more time off to spend with their children, but social stigma and pressures from employers may make it difficult for them to fully take advantage of these regulations. Some men will feel pressured by their employers not to take time off. They could experience discrimination, be passed up for promotions, and ultimately their career could take a hit. There may be legislation in place to protect them, but there is legislation in place to protect women and maternity discrimination does still happen.

While shared parental leave is a welcome change that will really benefit some families, I think society has some catching up to do before more fathers will feel like they really have the same opportunities and rights as mothers.

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Little Ballerina

Izzy is loving dance class. Only 3 lessons in and she is hooked. She looks the part too, in her new leotard and ballet shoes. She now has some shiny silver tap shoes ready to try out at her next lesson – though I have had to hide them from her as she has been insisting that she needs to show off practice her dancing, and I don’t think my head can cope with that noise right now!
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Looking very serious!

Looking very serious!

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This week… 16-22 March

This weekend the Hubby was away sampling many a german beer on a stag do in Munich, so I was entertaining the girls solo. We were kept busy with two soft play birthday parties (during which Izzy only hurt herself/cried 3 times) and with trying out some Easter crafts. I even managed to get some time to myself once the girls were finally in bed, mainly spent writing blog posts and catching up on Grey’s Anatomy and Once Upon A Time.

Izzy was looking forward to getting a gift, although I did keep trying to manage her expectations so she wouldn’t be disappointed. After all, I knew it was unlikely that Hubby would see daylight during his trip, let alone get chance to shop. She modestly requested a Kinder Egg, before deciding that wouldn’t do – she was concerned that Kinder Eggs were not sold in Germany so she would settle for Lego instead. Sneaky.

However even still drunk hungover Daddy, who had left present buying until the Airport, was able to find a toy-filled chocolate egg in what is the home of Kinder. Seven eggs, in fact. Izzy was over the moon. But still wanted to know why there was no Lego.

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This week on the blog
How to make a sandcastle cake
How to make an Easter bunny bonnet
Bunny rabbit masks made from paper plates
Mother’s Day

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or follow me @kizzy1984 on Twitter.

Easter Crafts: Egg Shaped Cards

I needed to get some jobs done around the house last week and Izzy was desperate to do some crafts. I’m trying to give her more ‘space’ when it comes to crafts, and not hover around her trying to get her to do what I think she should be doing. So this was a good opportunity for me to give her free reign with a very simple activity.

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I folded some A4 card in half and cut out some egg shapes. Then I set out some art and craft supplies and left her to it. She did need some help with writing the cards once she had decorated them, but everything else was her own design.
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Izzy used:
Coloured card
Stamps and ink pad
Tissue paper
Stickers
Foam shapes
Pipe cleaners
Glue stick

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Check out our other Easter-themed crafts:

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