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MTM – Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder treason and plot
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

We had our muffin tin on Friday to celebrate Bonfire Night. Which was actually on Thursday, but never mind. Bonfire Night is when the English, and presumably the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish as well, remember the attempted blowing up of Parliament in 1605. (Story below) Here is our tin:

We have fire-coloured tins containing mung bean sprouts (no reason for these), Yorkshire parkin and custard, marmite on toast “guys” with a chocolate penny, sparklers and cinnamon stars for fireworks. The meaning of these becomes clearer once you know what bonfire night is about!

The brief story is that James the first and his government were very repressive towards Catholics. (And I do mean very). And so some Catholics got rather tired of this and decided that a new government was needed, and they filled a cellar under the Houses of Parliament with gunpowder in barrels, and coal and wood. And they intended to blow it all up at a time when Parliament would be in session on November the 5th. But someone tipped off one of the MPs and they were discovered. Guy Fawkes was the person there at the time and so he was tortured for the names of his friends, which he refused to give. Eventually the conspirators, or at least some of them, were caught and sentenced to an unpleasant death, and King James ordered bonfires to be lit in the streets to celebrate that Parliament (and himself) had been saved. Incidentally, this is the same King James as he of the KJV. Not a very nice person, although he was slightly gentler towards the Catholics in later life.

You might wonder why anyone nowadays would celebrate such an unpleasant happening – an attempted act of terrorism foiled by an equally unpleasant government – and the answer is because it’s traditional. Nowadays everyone has fireworks (for the gunpowder) and a bonfire on Bonfire Night, and pretty much everyone, at least of my age, knows the rhyme above. Children used to make a “Guy” out of old clothes and trundle him round the streets calling out “a penny for the guy” so people would give them some money to buy fireworks. I imagine they may still do this in some places but probably not most. That’s where your word guy meaning a man in general comes from, by the way. 🙂 And parkin is traditionally eaten on bonfire night too, at least in the North.

But I told Froglet the story so we could talk about how when people are cruel to others, sooner or later the others will turn around and do something unpleasant back (in this case I mean James being almost Inquisitional towards the Catholics and them responding by trying to blow him up).

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MTM – Childrens Lit

If you’re looking for the Save One Mammy post, it’s here.

Like I said last week, I’m really excited about this theme. I love books, especially childrens books. Click here to see what everyone else came up with.

Froglet and I picked Star Seeker as our book. It’s actually on loan from a friend but we love it so much we’re definitely going to buy a copy. We love the poetry, the illustrations and the explanations about the Solar System in the back. It’s a great book for any kid interested in outer space.

Click on the photo to get a closer look… I think… Anyway clockwise from right we have:

Cookies on Venus = a gingerbread rocket
Mars, the red planet = bread roll covered in tomato paste
Fireworks on Pluto = yoghurt and raspberries with sprinkles
Moons and asteroids = cheese and pickled onions
Saturn = Pineapple rings and gold-wrapped chocolate
The Milky Way = frothy whipped cream with a gingerbread Bear and a pinwheel, representing the page you can see open (my favourite).

In case you can’t read it, it says:

I’ll spin like a pinwheel
Through the Milky Way’s froth
Take a ride on the Great Bear
And never fall off

Can you guess why cookies for Venus and fireworks for Pluto? 🙂


MTM – Apples

This week’s theme is apples. Michelle at Her Cup Overfloweth did a really imaginative tin – with a super-cute apple tree – and I’m sure the other ladies did great ones too although I haven’t had chance to check them out yet. But you can find them all at the link above.

Ours was not so imaginative.

Green tins for apples. Cheese ‘A’s, PB apple volcano, apple cupcake, apple-and-cranberry pancakes.

To make the pancakes, I subsituted 1/4 cup of apple sauce per egg. And the volcano is a hot baked apple with peanut butter lava and bits of dried apricot for rocks. (Should have been raisins but we didn’t have any). We baked the PB in the apple but it would probably be better to just bake the apple on its own, then hollow out some space in the middle and put the PB in so it can melt and overflow without trying to burn.

Apple and PB is a great combination – surprisingly – but Froglet wasn’t very keen so I’ll just do those for me in future. 🙂

Next week’s tin is a Childrens Lit one and I am very excited about it – we are doing Star Seeker.


Muffin Tin Swap Package

I meant to post this nearly two weeks ago – the 28th – but didn’t get round to uploading the photos and then forgot about it! Oops!

We were very excited to receive our Swap Package from Heather on Tuesday. Heather and her two lovely girls put a lot of thought into it and Froglet was thrilled with all the little individual parcels – I wish I had thought of doing that with ours! Thank you so much Heather!

Everything was wrapped in red or blue tissue paper – Froglets favourite colours. He insisted on taking everything out of its box or packaging so he “could feel” the paper cases, pinwheels (from our wishlist, yay!) and picks. Seemed like a strange request to me, but maybe he’s more tactile than I’d thought. He enjoyed arranging the picks in a little wooden pot my sister got us from Romania, and stacking all the different shapes of muffin tin. We now have enough muffin tins to last a lifetime! His favourite bit was the muffin-puzzle-cake set, which he wanted to use immediately but I managed to convince him to just have a Muffin Tin lunch instead (see below). I love the puzzle cake idea too and am looking forward to trying it out. Other than that, my favourite item is the pack of cute swirly-shaped picks that can hold a label:

The size of the package made me realise just how much more expensive things are over here (or cheaper in the States if you prefer). Just the one star-shaped silicon tin would have used up our whole budget, I’ve only seen that type in the specialist shop in Luzern. Switzerland doesn’t do budget shops, or at least our bit of it doesn’t. I think the French-speaking part is perhaps more that way inclined. Next time we’re involved in a swap I shall definitely arrange a special trip to the UK to visit all the pound shops over there instead!

Check out all the other cool swap packages here.


MTM – people and faces

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

This was a last-minute tin but Froglet was very excited about it because he loves face-biscuits. They’re very popular generally over here. The Swiss call them spitzbueb which means something like cheeky rascal. (Bueb is boy).

Avocado, olives, tomato, cucumber, nasturtium flower, bread-cheese-jam people, spitzbueb

Froglet made three different faces with his ingredients. I had thought he might put the flower in the persons hair but it got used as hair and as a nose before he ate most of it. After that he used the rest as a flower! In picture two the bread-person and cookie are “bruises” (?!) and in picture three the bread-people are ears.

Don’t forget to check out what everyone else made here.

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MTM – I’m 30, and Switzerland is… much older.

Well, this weeks theme – Celebration – was remarkably apt. Monday was my thirtieth birthday. (Although I’ve been thinking of myself as thirty for a couple of months already. This seems to happen whenever my birthday is approaching).

Moreover, August 1st is Swiss national day. So we combined the two into a Swiss birthday tin. I made Aelplermagronen (Alpine macaroni cheese) and put all the ingredients in the tins separately.

Clockwise from back: pasta x 2, cheese sauce, bacon, fried onion, apple sauce

I had to make it all separately anyway, as The Engineer is not a big fan of onions or applesauce – at least not on his mac-cheese! It is a pretty odd combination, but I rather like it. Some cantons also put potato in, but potato and pasta is too much starch for us. I should also say that the pasta we used is the wrong sort, it ought to be proper macaroni.

Froglet ate the pasta (under duress), the apple sauce and the bacon, rejecting the cheese and onion. He must be the only child in the world not to like macaroni cheese!

We also made cake, and birthday jelly/jello (non-Swiss this time!) in our new muffin tins. These are they, minus the jelly – which you can see by clicking here – I just wanted to show you because I’m really chuffed with them:

As you can see, they have lids at the top and the bottom, because they are actually jelly molds, but I thought they would be so cool for having MTM picnics, like this one we had last week.

Don’t forget to check out what everyone else celebrated this week.


MTM – weather!

We’ve had a lot of hot weather and thunderstorms recently, including the largest hailstones we have ever had, I think. (nothing like what you get in America of course, but still the size of large marbles).

So here is our tin – I think these ideas were my own but I’ve seen so many other tins that maybe I have been inspired elsewhere and forgotten it. If you’ve done a weather tin let me know and I’ll link to you! and don’t forget to click here to see what everyone else did this week.

Pickled onion hailstones, yellow nasturtium-sun in blue banana-yoghurt sky, bread and marmite thunderclouds and yellow pepper lightning, white bread/cheese/marmite cumulus cloud. Served on upside down lasagna tray for thunder noise!

Froglet absolutely loved playing with this meal.

Look Mummy, the thunderclouds have arrived…
*bangs them together while making thundery growling noises*
I’m going to dip it in here to make blue thunderclouds. Why are you writing down what I said? … what’s a blog?

The great thing about pickled onion hailstones is they accurately portray what a hailstone looks like inside as well as outside! Marmite is British yeast extract (Aussies and Kiwis also have it but theirs is slightly different).

We can take the flag out later and stick it in the muddy ground where the plants are growing.
*When asked what for:* For fun! And to show that it’s windy.
The hailstones are dropping out of the thunderclouds…
bang! It went in the sun!… bang! It went in the blue sky!

We were meant to have snow too, but I hadn’t had chance to make it so we had it as a snack later instead:

Chocolate and coconut snowman, strawberries hidden under cream snowclouds.

Look Mummy, I made an eye and a nose for the snowman.

MTM plus one

We did do our tin yesterday but I got delayed posting. This weeks Muffin Tin Monday theme was Dips & Sauces – click through to Her Cup Overfloweth to see what the other fab mums have done for theirs.

We had three dips and various pretty boring things to put in them. From front to back: redcurrant yoghurt, salsa, homemade cheese dip. Tacos, slices of nectarine and apple, carrot sticks, and frankfurters in the middle.

I think Froglet has never had salsa, tacos or cheese dip before – well I know he hasn’t had this cheese dip because I made it up as I went along today! It’s philadelphia cheese, milk, dried thyme and basil. Mmmm. He didn’t like the dip on carrots, but did like it on the sausages. He didn’t want to dip anything in the yoghurt at all, and asked where his spoon was for that!

Sadly most of this didn’t get eaten, because I was badly organised and we ended up having our afternoon snack about an hour before dinner time. Ah well. The Engineer and I enjoyed it so much that it’s now been added to our permanent summer menu plan!

MTM – Pancake fillings

I was not feeling very inspired by todays Muffin Tin theme, but fortunately Froglet was too keen for me to pass on it. He has been asking for pancakes since Thursday and it hasn’t worked out (I usually plan meals in advance). So, limited by the thought of pancakes, I was able to find inspiration and actually enjoyed making it too.

Big/Little: mushrooms, tomato wedges, cookie cutters, cheese rectangles… and snickerdoodles for dessert.

What you can’t see is that the large tomato is actually pink rather than red. Very tasty too.

Froglet had fun with the cookie cutters, and ate everything, even a second helping of mushrooms.

I feel bad because loads of you commented on our tin last week and I didn’t get round to commenting back, but will do so this week, I promise.


Sensory Muffin Tin Monday

Today there was no theme suggested over at Her Cup Overfloweth, so I decided to do a sensory tin. I was inspired by ABCand123 who have been asking for contributions for the Five Senses – and now I’ve logged on I see that they’re actually doing that theme today. So hop over there for more sensory activities!

The tin itself is very close to the Monkey Bites we did as a copycat tin a few weeks ago, because those went down so well. I just added a couple of things with strong smells or specific feels. And this time I blindfolded Froglet and made him guess using the other four senses. At the end I took the blindfold off and let him tell me what he could see too.

The one you can’t see is instant coffee powder. We also had banana pieces.

I did all four senses for each tin before passing on to the next one, which worked ok but I think next time I would have him smell all the tins in turn, then listen to them all in turn etc, because once he’d got in his mind that a tin sounded like x, he would keep guessing x if unsure, rather than reverting to I don’t know or thinking of something else.

As you can see, there was nothing there that he guessed first by touch, although if we had done them in a different order I think he would have got raisins and water. Next time I would do touch before smell – I intended to this time but accidentally started writing smell first!
Froglet hadn’t the faintest idea what the coffee was – when looking at it, he actually guessed brown sugar after I’d written down “don’t know” – and that’s because we don’t drink coffee. We only have it in for guests. So no, I didn’t make him drink it.

Check out HCO (link above) to see what the other creative mums have done this week.


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