Cautionary Tales For Children
Wonderful witty poems great for reading to your children. The stories and rhymes will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Research has shown how important YOU are to your children and how as a dad the things you do, and keep on doing, really count, whether you live with them, or you are a single dad and are only able see them once a month, once a week or more, what you do really matters. This site is dedicated to all dads but will be of special relevance to the single dad. Remember, you are half the reason your children exist and they need you whether you live with them or not. As their dad, you have what it takes to make their lives successful and fulfilling no matter how often you see them. This site is about all the positive things that we as parents have to offer our children.
Make little sugar mice and then gobble them all up!
Look at them sitting round the plate wondering whatís going to happen to them... ahhh, donít they look so cute, what they donít know is that weíre going to eat them all up.
Who hasnít crunched up the odd sugar cube, or had a secret nibble on one of those big sugar crystals you get in posh coffee shops? Well we all know that too much sugar is bad for you, but somehow if you turn fuffy icing sugar into solid sugar sugar mice, the idea of eating it doesnít seem so crazy. Of course, provided you donít eat too many mice at one sitting and take care of your teeth afterwards, then it is perfectly OK.
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Sugar mice come to us from an age where sweets were somewhat more simple than they are today. Softer and easier to eat than a gobstopper or other traditional types of hardboiled candies, sugar mice are also very easy to make. No cooking is required, and provided that you are careful with the amount of water (or liquid) you add (you only need a tiny amount) you should have very little trouble making some lovely little mice at your first attempt. Whatís more, making your own sugar mice is very much cheaper than buying them, and of course they taste better, because you made them. For this recipe I have used sugar laces for the tails, although traditional sugar mice often used regular string (not edible), and I have used some ready mixed chocolate fudge detail icing. This is great for kids to use. It comes in handy little tubes, (also in a range of colours) and is really fun to apply as the finishing touch. Donít worry if your kidsí mice are all misshapen and have odd shaped eyes, the fun is in the making and then later... the eating as a special treat, or pudding after a meal. You don't need to add the lemon juice or traditional peppermint essence, so all you really need is some icing sugar and an egg and you're off and running.
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Donít be tempted to make your mice too big. For starters they will take ages to dry out properly and secondly, you really will find out how quickly neat sugar can make you feel sick, quite apart from the fact that eating a lot of sugar all in one go is quite bad for you and your body.
How to make them
Separate an egg so that you have only the white of one egg in a mixing bowl. To do this you crack and open the egg shell and tip the yolk back and forth between the two halves of the shell, letting the white dribble out. Lightly whisk up the egg white so that is a little bit frothy. If you have it, add a few drops of lemon juice, if you want your mice to have a peppermint taste, then add a couple of drops of peppermint essence, although neither of these are necessary. Pour three quarters of the contents of a packet of icing sugar into another mixing bowl. You probably be able to make about ten mice with this. Itís a good idea to save some icing sugar so that you have some to add to the mixture later if it gets too wet. . . .
I canít stress how little sugar you need to add to the icing sugar in order to make the icing dough. Add the egg white mix a drop at a time and mix it into the icing sugar. You are aiming for a thick solid but pliable dough. If your egg white isnít enough you can add a few drops of water at the end. When the icing dough is solid and pliable, take it out of the bowl and roll it on a clean dry surface, that you have lightly dusted with icing sugar. The dough should be firm enough to keep its shape if you roll it into a big ball. If it is still a bit runny, put it back in the bowl and add some more icing sugar. When you have got the dough to a firm, stable consistency, pinch off a small amount about the size of a large marble and roll it into a ball between the palms of your hands. Make sure your hands are clean and dry. . . .
Make simple, smooth mouse shapes from each ball by grntly pinching the sides of one end to make the nose. An ideal shape is a teardrop which has been flattened on the base. Do not make your mice too big, because they will take a long time to set, it is likely that they will slump as they set and will be too much to eat in one go! 8. The tails are made from confectionary sugar laces. Make a hole in the back of the mouse using a cocktail stick or a thin chopstick and poke the sugar lace in as far as possible, carefully smoothing the hole round the lace once it is poked right in. The eyes are the finishing touch. To make the eyes, first make one hole in each side of the head end, then either drop a tiny bead of melted chocolate into the hole or use shop-bought, pre-prepared chocolate fudge icing, dispensed conveniently from a small tube.
The recipe instructions are so easy to follow, and they're quick to download.
Cooking with your kids
Kids love cooking. Our recipes are illustrated and so simple to follow, making it really easy for you and your children to cook together. Encourage them to read the recipe and gently help then solve any problems that come up. Make sure they go back to the instructions and check that they have the right stuff and are doing things in the right order. Itís lovely when they feel in charge of something and begin to see how they can solve problems.
Cooking with your kids is an important thing to do. It gives them a real sense of achievement and satisfaction, while teaching them some very useful life skills; measuring, estimating, following instructions to achieve a result, dealing with some limited forms of danger (i.e. the hot stove or oven), and gives them confidence and the knowledge that they can prepare food, which is, after all, one of lifeís basic requirements.
What could be a better way to spend an afternoon? Your place gets filled with that gorgeous smell of baking, you and your kids have a great time together, exploring the world of cooking and you all get to eat some tasty treat when itís all over, just in time for tea.