Bowood Country Park

The kids have been off for 10 days for the Autumn half term with Halloween during the second week.My friend Dee asked if we wanted to go out for the  day, so we went Bowood County Park which is just down the road from us.

We did the obligatory walk around the lake which was so stunning with all the Autumnal colours of the tree reflecting off the water.The kids haven’t done the walk for over a year and it was in the height of Summer.They have visited with other relations or have been with friend for birthdays but they just stay in the children’s adventure play area.

Bowood Country Park Calne, Wiltshire

 

We found blackening wax caps nestled in the moss under sweet chestnut trees.An edible mushroom bright red in colour with orange stems found in boggy areas.We saw a huge gaggle of geese grazing, where I moved far too close  to get a photo and they hastily gandered off.

Bowood Country Park Calne, Wiltshire

 

After walking around the lake we headed off to the little waster cascade and little grottos hidden in the wooded area of the park.This kind of landscape gardening along  with the faux temple was very typical of Victorian botanist.The temple is 4 pillars, a few steps up to a seating area, there’s no actual temple.But the view is just immense and breath-taking with the Autumnal air and colours.We could view Bowood House from where we sat but this was an extra charge so after picnic we spent two hours in the adventure playground.The kids played on huge swings, pirate ships, death slide, trampolines in the beautiful settings of Bowood Country Park.Me and Dee sat chatting away and drinking tea from the take away booth in the play ground.

It cost us £35.25 for a family ticket (2 adults + 2 children) and plus Mouse.I hate the fact that a family is classed as two adults and two children by the way.

It was a very enjoyable day even though a tad chilly.

I’m linking up with Fiona of Come Mill for Country kids.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

And Jayne of Mum’s The Word for Closer To Nature.

Mum's the Word

Dirty Tricks – ASDA Spooky Scribes Challenge

Kip has written Dirty tricks for the ASDA Spooky Scribes challenge.

This is Mr.Clown, the spookiest clown that ever escaped from the circus.

This is Miss Vampire, the scariest, weirdest  vampire that ever even existed.They always played wicked tricks on each other.Every day.It was Halloween and they were both planning the biggest trick, the most menacing trick ever! Miss Vampire was putting mothballs and bat poo into 50 water bombs.And Mr Clown was sending plastic pencils.When they were used they turned into marigolds that squirt out clown wee.Yuk! Miss Vampire sent her screeching bats to drop her horrible water bombs on Mr Clown.But at the same time he was sending his friend Little Miss Vampire to deliver the fake pencils.The bats arrived at Mr.Clown’s cave.”What’s all the noise?” cried Mr Clown.Then a water bomb landed on his head.”Yuk, yuk, yuk.I’m going to bathe in frankfurters now.Curse you!”.All at the same time Miss Vampire was squirted with clown wee.”Er, I’m going to bathe in mothballs now!.
These are just two of the exchange tricks that happened in the deep dark wood.
If you like Kip’s Dirty Tricks spooky Scribes story please leave a comment.The story with the most comments in the Spooky Scribes challenge gets there story printed in book form and I get another voucher.

Disclaimer: 

We were sent two Halloween costumes from the ASDA Hallowwen costume range, a note pad, coloured markers, face paints and a voucher in exchange for a review.

Slow Cooker Halloween Punch

As you probably know I love old cookery books with old recipes.Charity shops are my biggest source for such finds and nothing makes me happier to find an old book that’s been pre-loved and passed on to be found and loved again.

I found recipe in an 80′s slow cooker recipe book but as usual I’ve had a bit of a fiddle.The cinnamon sticks replaces ground cinnamon, I’ve used the apples differently from the original recipe but the alcohol content is the same.This punch is very warming and pleasant to drink and can be easily steadily drunk without realising it was having an effect on you.

Slow Cooker Halloween Punch

1 litre (2 pints) dry cider

1 cinnamon stick, broken into two

8 cloves 

2 apples, cored and thinly sliced

2 tbsps light brown sugar

1 orange sliced

150 ml (14 pint) gin

Preheat the slow cooker on HIGH.Pour the cider into the slow cooker.Place the cinnamon stick pieces and  cloves into a small piece of muslin and tie with string.Carefully hang the bag into the pot and leave the string to dangle over the side.Add the apple slices.Leave on HIGH for one hour.Remove the muslin bag, add the sugar, stirring until dissolved.Turn to LOW and add the orange slices.Stir in the gin just before serving.

slow cooker sunday

 

Joining in with Mediocre Mum’s Slow Cooker Sunday.

 

 

 

Samhain- The Celtic New Year

 

Samhain, The Celtic New Year is a day where we remember our ancestors who have gone before us.We think of relatives and friends who have died, particularly in the last year.It is a very sombre occasion very different from the commercial Halloween that is celebrated on this day.Halloween has origins in Pagan traditions but have lost it’s meaning and significance because of the commercialism we see today which does sadden me some what.As a parent I always explain with the children the  holidays and special days that have Pagan origins.

Last Saturday I went to Avebury Stone Circle for the Samhain Gorsedd.It’s the first time I have vivisted in two years so it was nice meet up with old friends.The circle lasted about an hour where the meaning of Samhain was explained, poems read and songs sung.We remebered those who had died that year when a stafff was passed around as names were called out.Cakes and mead also passed round where each person would say to the person stood next to them in the circle,  “May you never hunger” when offering the cake and “May you never thirst” when mead was passsed to the next person.

After the ritual I warmed with half an ale and shared bowls of chips my friends and we left Avebury to visit West Kennet Long Burrow not far from Avebury and in view of Silbury hill.West Kennet is a Neolithic burial site, it was very eerie inside but very pearceful at the same time.High on the hill we stayed inside for about 10 minutes taking in the atmosphere and looking at the stones and the chamber.

Samhain, The Celtic New Year celebrates the end of an old year and the beginning of a new one as the 8 festilvals are represented as a wheel.This is cyclic like the revolving Sun and the ebb and flow of the Moon’s cycles.Yule is the next festival celebrated on or around the 21st (this is based on the Sun’s position so it differs each year between the 20th-21st December) and was Christianised as Christmas.I talk about in more detail next month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Festival of Samhain

Samhain- The Pagan New Year
 
Samhain crone halloween
 
The Crone represents The Goddess as wise woman, healer, and keeper of the mysteriesSamhain is a cross quarter festival which is celebrated at the end of October or the beginning of November.The Sun is now in mid Scorpio.This is the Dark of the Moon.Also known as Halloween, Hallows Eve, All Souls Night, Night of Hecate and Cailleach, Feast of the Dead and Festival of Rememberance.This is summer’s end and the beginning of Winter.Samhain (pronounced Sow-ein) is when the veil of this world and the next thins, ancestors, relatives who have passed over return if they wish.We hold ceremonies to honour our dead, remember them.As a mother and a Pagan, I like to celebrate this night firstly with the children Trick or Treating.Then I spend time in meditation thinking of people close to me who have died.This is when we look inside ourselves and connect with cycles of life.For this is the new year, but with no end and no beginning.Pagans do not see time as linear but cyclic.Just as the Moon has cycles, so does the earth and so do we as humans.On this night some choose to use Divination to predict how bad the Winter will be.Many misconceptions surround Samhain, this night for this is sombre festival unlike Halloween.

Raising Pagans

I like to tell my children the meanings behind the different festivals from non religious view.I feel it’s important for them to learn the true meaning as well as getting into the whole Trick or Treating experience.

Story Telling

Find a story that you feel represents death.They are many lovely stories that I have read to my children to help teach children how to deal with death, as it is a part of life and I feel it’s important to talk about their fears and feelings.The subject should be approached in such a way that you do not frighten them, but help them understand what it means to die.Take in to account your children’s age too, try not to make it too complicated.

Masks                               


Get the children to make an animal mask.Ideal ones would be a bear, a squirrel or a fox.Get them to act out their animal.Do reseach with your child on how animals survive the winter, watch a nature programme, look for evidence in your local envrionment of animal activity.

Carve a Pumpkin

Turnips were originally used to make small latterns, but pumpkins are so widely available now.Mark out your design.Then cut out, remembering which parts are to be removed.Place a candle inside and put outside.This is a tradition of lighting the path to your house to show spirits where you live, if you wish them to visit.
If you have an Altar decorate with appropiate materials.Small gourds, pumpkins, leaves made into wreaths, purple or black candles (REMEMBER: NEVER LEAVE A CANDLE UNATTENDED AND TEACH YOUR CHILDREN SAFETY) maybe lit.Incense maybe burned.

Nature Walks 
 
Every Sabbat I like to take a walk with my children either to the woods, fields or to a local park.We look for signs in nature that represent the season and often bring back what we find.You set up an altar (a window sill if fine) with things that

Hallowe’en
 
We went out trick or treating last night.We only ever go to the houses with a pumpkin set outside or in the window.I was very happy that they had no Nestle chocolate or related sweets.My home made tote bag stayed in one piece and the pumpkins looked great and so did the kids.
Jack Skellington Halloween pumpkin
I entered Chrissie’s pumpkin carving competiton.I didn’t get down to the final 5, we did like Nurture Store’s entry and voted for that one.
We put my pumpkin along with the pumpkins the kids carved with their dad outside.Don’t they look fab?
Only to find this morning we a pumpkin fall out across the road and outside another person’s flat.
Smashing Pumpkins
 
However I did make these *coughs* ok sort of.I had over the weekend tried twice to make some chocolate muffins from the Green and Black’s chocolate recipe book but they were pants.So I cheated and bought some mini ones from Tesco.Caitlin rolled out some cake icing and stamped out the eyes after I cut out several circles.Each eye has one of those silver balls as pupils.

Simple Roasted Pumpkin And Carrot Soup

simple roasted pumpkin and carrot soup

Pumpkins have become synonymous with Autumn and Halloween decorations but this year I decided to cook with it for a change.This is a simple roasted pumpkin and carrot soup that only has 5 ingredients with no gluten or meat.The vegetables can be changed to make variations, spices or herbs added to the pumpkin and carrots whilst roasting.This soup is very thick, so I thinned it out quite a bit which yielded enough soup for two more servings for all of us.

Roasted Pumpkin And Carrot Soup

1 small eating pumpkin, quartered and seeds removed

3 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into largish cubes

1/2 bulb of garlic

Drizzle of olive oil

Approx 2 pints of hot water

Seasoning

1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.Take a roasting tray and place the chopped pumpkin and carrot in a single layer.Break apart a bulb of garlic and place 1/2  of  it onto the tray.Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil all over the vegetables and garlic.

2. Roast on the top shelf for about an hour or until the vegetables are soft.Keep an eye on the garlic as you don’t want this to burn.

3. Leave  to cool for 1/2 an hour so the vegetables can be handled. Remove the skin from the garlic by squishing each clove between your fingers.Use your fingers and thumb to remove the root end and place them in a liquidiser or food processor along with the carrots and 1/2 pint of hot water and pulse for two minutes.

4. Remove the skin from pumpkin with your hands.Cut the pumpkin into chunks and add it to the liquidiser or food processor.Pulse again for two minutes, adding enough hot water to make the soup a consistency that suites you.

5. Decant the soup into a saucepan, I put half into containers to freeze.Heat the soup gently and season to taste.

6. Serve with pumpernickel bread.