Recipes

It’s O Antiphon time!!

I love traditions!

Growing up as number 4 I had the blessing of a family life well established with traditions.

Traditions for birthdays, Lent, Easter, Saint namesake feasts, Advent, Christmas…. each year marked out by treasured memories!

Creating traditions is therefore one of my most favorite aspects of parenthood! And discovering NEW old traditions, especially when it comes to our Catholic Faith…. well I’m like a child in a candy store!!!

oantiphon

This year is the first year we will be adding the O Antiphons into our Advent traditions! (squeal!! πŸ™‚ )

In the evening prayer of the Church called Vespers, the beautiful prayer “The Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55) is preceded by an antiphon. In the 7 days leading up to Christmas, these antiphons all start with “O”.Β These beautiful antiphons find their origin in the Monastery’s of the 6th/7th centuries. They reflect the words of Isaiah anticipating the coming of the Messiah, crying out from the wilderness through time and into our hearts and homes. They are also the verses we commonly know from the Advent hymn “O Come O Come Emmanuel”.….. Ah Ha! I hear you say πŸ™‚

Each of the O AntiphonsΒ highlights a different title for the Messiah:

O Sapientia (O Wisdom),

O Adonai (O Lord),

O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse),

O Clavis David (O Key of David),

O Oriens (O Rising Sun),

O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations),

and O Emmanuel!

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There are so many ways to add these beautiful prayers into our Advent celebrations and so many great resources online! As we are only beginning this year, I’m trying to not be too ambitious! πŸ™‚

DECEMBER 17th – DAY ONE – “O WISDOM”

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O Wisdom…. how we all need the Wisdom of God!

King Solomon knew that Wisdom was greater than any treasure he could ask for.

“Come and teach us the way of prudence”

Prayer: I have downloaded and printed out this great prayer companion from Family, Feast and Feria which we will pray tonight at dinner time. We will also listen to these beautiful audio tracks of the antiphons being sung…. not to mention listen to “O Come O Come Emmanuel”…. here is one of my favorite versions… LISTEN HERE

Decoration: Red Poinsetta table cloth, Advent wreath, colouring in sheet (from Michele Quigley)

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Gift: Catholic Prayer book – I have some pretty amazing ladies who I know through online groups and they enjoy making prayer card images which they share with us all. I was able to take these beautiful prayers and put them together in a Diamond Photo 6 x 4 photo book. Each of the children received one this morning as their “O Wisdom” gift. Β photo (12)

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Fuzz and his prayer book!

Food: I’ve heard sheep’s brains have been served as an option for today…. firstly I don’t think I could handle cooking them and secondly I think only Curly Sue would be brave enough to try them, seeing that she is my Lambs kidney fan!

So I’ve gone for a safer option and have made a version of my Date & Almond cocoa balls. I figured dates are rich in Selenium which is good for your brain and the almonds are a good source of protein :). Wisdom balls they are!

Recipe for “Wisdom Balls”

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– 1 packet of pitted dates chopped (I use scissors)

– 1/2 cup of water

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 3 tbsps honey

– ground almonds ( I free pour this so it will make sense soon!)

1. Put chopped dates, water and vanilla into a saucepan and heat slowly until the mixture becomes completely mushy

2. Take off heat and add cocoa powder and honey. Stir until completely combined.

3. Now add ground almonds until you have a stiff enough dough to make into little balls.

4. Wet your hands (this helps them not get too sticky) and roll into balls.

5. Roll in ground almond or leave as is.

5. Refrigerate until firm.

Have a blessed day!!!!

Ruth

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Wonderful St Joseph

It is the Feast of St Joseph, husband of Our Lady and foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

What a feast!!! πŸ™‚

As each year of rich liturgical feasts and celebrations role by, I get more and more enthusiastic with incorporating them into our family life! Now the children are older and therefore more able to understand and participate, I have great joy planning for each big feast. I am also dutifully reminded by Sunshine and Master Luke about what I have done in the years past… just in case I forget πŸ™‚

Last year I came across a truly beautiful Italian tradition for celebrating the Feast of St Joseph… A St Joseph Altar. Below are a few links to give you the history and also a peek at what others have done (not to mention a link to my last minute attempt last year! :))

History of St Joseph Altar

Shower of Roses 2013 St Joseph Altar

Our humble attempt at a St Joseph Altar 2013

Therefore I am REALLY buzzing with excitement about tomorrow! πŸ™‚

This is what we have planned to celebrate the wonderful, humble man who was given the precious role as head of the Holy Family.

ACTIVITIES:

– A simple family altar set up with pictures of St Joseph, Holy Family and candles

St Joseph picture

This is my latest edition to our holy pictures collection πŸ™‚ I LOVE the added gold highlights

– Family morning Rosary (Joyful Mysteries to meditate on the role of St Joseph)

– A St Joseph Mini Lapbook – I use a simple manila folder and the children cut, paste, fill out and colour to their age and stage :). I have put this together myself, so the link for the PDF is highlighted if you would like to download it. If you do, please make sure you link back here if shared. Thanks πŸ™‚ Β St Joseph Mini Lapbook

– Sort the Order colouring in activity and pinned timeline – I have quite a lot of BRILLIANT Catholic colouring in books that I photocopy on a regular basis for my kids. I have sourced a range of pictures depicting scenes from the life of St Joseph. The kids will have to order them as a timeline correctly and after colouring them in (if we have time :)) they will pin them along a string chronologicallyΒ above the family altar. Below are the three I have used for St Joseph.

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Life of Mary Colouring book by Sr Karen Cavanagh

Colouring Book about the Rosary - St Joseph Coloring Books

Colouring Book about the Rosary – St Joseph Coloring Books

Communion of Saints Coloring Book - Holy Imitation series

Communion of Saints Coloring Book – Holy Imitation series

St Joseph Altar

Our parish is having a sung Latin Mass tomorrow evening at 6pm to celebrate the Feast. St Joseph has a very special place in the hearts of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (the order who look after our Parish). It is worth reading why… CLICK HERE!

Following the Mass we are going to have a shared feast to celebrate. We will decorate a St Joseph Altar and share in some of the traditional foods that are found in Italy on this feast. The kids and I are going to be VERY busy baking, cooking and crafting our contributions tomorrow!

Here is our MENU we are creating (Catholic Cuisine by the way is a WONDERFUL site to check out for feast days!)

Pasta Milanese

– Honey Pasta

– Lentil Soup

Zeppole

St Joseph Bread

Fig biscuitsΒ – thanks Catholic Icing for this clever way of recreating the original πŸ™‚

Frittelle di San Giuseppe

Yum, yum, yum!!!! πŸ™‚ The house will smell wonderful and our hearts will be lifted up in thanksgiving…. I very much look forward to tomorrow!

One last thing πŸ™‚

I have recently painted a picture of St Joseph (below) and have limited edition prints for sale on my Etsy store. Here is the link if you would like to check it out πŸ™‚ ETSY STORE – RUTH GREEN

St Joseph - original painting by Ruth Green 2013

St Joseph – original painting by Ruth Green 2013

May your own feast of St Joseph be truly blessed!!!

Ruth xxx

 

Liturgical feasts at home… the simple way! :)

It is SO easy to be overwhelmed by others awesomeness!!!

Especially now that there is a whole world of awesome individuals blogging about their awesomeness! Not that these people consider themselves awesome, infact most would be too humble to read this affirmation…. but I often feel somewhat lacking when I read about the multitude of crafts and activities that some mum’s come up with on a daily basis to teach their kids about their faith.

Last year I aimed TOO high and I learnt a valuable lesson.

My children don’t see the long list of things I want to do with them, but they do see WHAT I do with them.

This year instead of trying to celebrate everything, I went through the Church’s calender and selected major feast days and some saints who we have special devotion to or would like to learn about.

Phew!!! Already I felt a load off my shoulders!! πŸ™‚

Secondly, I have started to put together a liturgical supplies box… a WHAT you say?

It’s not anything fancy, just a box with purple material, green material, white material, gold material, candles, prayer cards etc. Stuff I can whip out easily the night before, or the morning of a feast day and create a focus point! You could be elaborate and sometimes it’s fun to go all out, but I’ve noticed that my kids appreciate even the simplest of arrangements and that’s what counts! πŸ™‚

Thirdly I have invested in some GREAT saints colouring in books and story books. I have tried to make a list of all the saints that these cover so I can plan ahead… but that is still in the making :). One vital tool in my homeschooling is my multi-function printer… I like to photocopy my precious colouring books so they can be used again and again! πŸ™‚

Check out “Communion of Saints – colouring book” by Holy Imitation series. This colouring book is fat, the illustrations are beautiful and there is a GREAT range of saints!!

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And lastly I’m trying to make one meal for each feast we celebrate a themed one! There are SO many websites out there with great special food ideas! Catholic Cuisine, Keeping the FeastΒ andΒ Catholic CultureΒ are just a few. If you don’t have time to do anything fancy, which let’s face it, is most of the time, then cookies or cupcakes with the right liturgical coloured icing make any feast a FEAST! πŸ™‚

So here after all that babble is our celebration for the Feast of St Joseph…. told in the words of Master Luke and Sunshine.

OUR FEAST OF SAINT JOSEPH

Sunshine: To celebrate St Joseph’s Feast day, we made our very own St Joseph altar.

Master Luke: The altar had tools on it, pictures of St Joseph and candles. There were buns and other food.

Sunshine: There were three levels, symbolising the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. On the day we went to Mass at my Gran and Granddad’s work (which is a Catholic run charity called The JPII Centre for Life).

Master Luke: We made breadcrumb “sawdust” and put it on our dinner.

The kids are having an exhausted day!!! All this moving and shifting has taken it’s toll this week. You would think yesterday was a year ago asking them to remember πŸ™‚ Te he he!

So yes, we transformed our family altar into a St Joseph altar using two different sized boxes and a white sheet. I used the beautiful picture of the Holy Family that lives above Fuzz’s bed as the main focus and then we surrounded it with food, a bottle of wine, candles, books with pictures and prayers to St Joseph, some tools etc. I put this together in the morning before the kids were up quite quickly, thanks to my box :). For more info on St Joseph altars look here.

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The kids were enthralled with it when they emerged and it set the tone for the day :).

Mass was beautiful in the small chapel at my parent’s work and we were blessed to have our Emeritus Bishop say mass! As mass is at 12pm, it was a gift that my four plus my 21 month old nephew (whom I look after on Tuesdays) were VERY well behaved! Thanks St Joseph πŸ™‚

For dinner I made a very simple pasta bake.

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– 1kg mince

– 2 grated courgettes & 1 grated carrot

– garlic

– 2 x tins of Savory diced tomatoes

– salt & pepper

– 1 packet of gluten free spiral pasta

– grated cheese

– SAWDUST…. breadcrumbs!

This last ingredient, from what I can gather, is a fairly traditional element of dishes celebrating St Joseph. The kids loved they idea of having “sawdust” on their dinner πŸ™‚

For pudding we made Zepolle di San Giuseppe… because they looked SO good! πŸ™‚

This is the link for the recipe which we followed roughly and therefore ended up with something a little different (Gluten Free does that too!) but they were still good πŸ™‚

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Overall, we had a lovely day! We kept it simple, we kept the focus and I think the kids will remember it… hopefully :). The test will be if they keep me to doing the same things next year!

What counts is that we did SOMETHING! I feel so passionately about sharing our RICH faith and traditions with my munchkins… there is a reason God gave us the Church and it’s feasts so let’s share these treasure with what ever means we have πŸ™‚

Blessings!

Ruth

Part Two: Master Luke’s 5th Birthday part – Star Wars Jedi Training

After a crazy Saturday making one R2D2 cake, Sunday finally arrived with MUCH excitement! We loaded up the car in a frantic fit as we had to make Mass, then go onto Grandma and Granddad’s house. As we are in our second temporary residence since the big quake in Feb last year, we have VERY little room for hosting a children’s party. My wonderful inlaws were generous enough to offer their home as the site for Jedi Training…. and thank God they did! πŸ™‚ The space was perfect!

SCHEDULE FOR PARTY

(what we proposed… with kids in party mode, things change!)

2pm PARTY GUESTS ARRIVE – Star wars music playing, star wars colouring in sheets to pass time

2:30pm Padawans (Jedi learners) to congregate in the Jedi Training room (garage) for a mystery visitor

Yoda came especially to give the young padawans a lesson on the force and what a Jedi is. 95% of what he said was straight from the movies… but the general audience would have been happy if all he said was “mmmmmm”

2:45pm PADAWANS SPLIT INTO TWO GROUPS

One group was to construct light sabers and the other to undergo a series of Jedi challenges. As we had quite a few younglins under 5, everyone eventually ended up in one group πŸ™‚

LIGHT SABER CONSTRUCTION

– Giant pool noodles cut into 3

– flat glass blue marbles

– black duct tape

– silver sharpie markers

– silver dot stickers

– coloured sticky jewels

The padawans were each given a 3rd of a pool noodle. A hole was made in one end and they inserted the special power crystals (marbles) into their light saber. Black tape was then wound around the hole end and it was time to “bling” their sabers! πŸ™‚ When construction was complete, Gran hot glued a black card circle onto the end to hold in the crystals. A really simple but FUN activity!!! There were lots of busy busy wee hands πŸ™‚

TRAINING CHALLENGES

We had lots of ideas for this, but due to time constraints and everyone in one group we stuck to two. Use the force, feel the balloon and Storm Trooper battle πŸ™‚

The first game was silly and fun! The padawans lined up in two lines, facing each other, holding balloons. They then took turns putting on a welding mask (to replicate the blast helmet Luke skywalker wore episdode 4… just in case you wanted to know! :)) and walking down between the two lines. The other padawans had to throw their balloons at them and they in turn had to “use the force” to fight off the balloons before they hit them. Lots of giggles and enthusiam, was there!

The next game was a HIT!!! On a large piece of black card I had stuck 4 paper towels, each with a basic drawing of a Storm Trooper face. The padawans were then given a less than traditional Jedi weapon, a water blaster (more Han Solo really!) and given 5 shots each to wet the Storm Troopers. The concentration and comradery were awesome! Β One by one the padawans shot their blasters until the Storm Troopers were soaked and therefore destroyed! Luckily I had drawn a few extra as a second round was requested! πŸ™‚

3:15pm JEDI GRADUATION

After successfully completing their Light Saber construction and Jedi Challenges, the young Padawans graduated as Jedi Knights. Yoda emerged from a restful slumber and low and behold he had a “friend” ?

Master Luke was stoked to shake Darth Vader’s hand (who had turned to the good side for the day!)

Each newly graduated Jedi Knight received his light saber and a certificate.

3:30pm FIRST MISSION AS JEDI KNIGHTS

The Jedi Knights were then given their first mission…. to destroy the Death Star!

The Death Star maintained it’s strength right until the last attempt and then exploded spectacularly!

DEATH STAR PINATA

– inflated beach ball

– ripped up newspaper and paste

– grey paint, black sharpie and black crayon

There are some great websites out there on how to make a good Pinata :). I read them afterwards… so will do things a little different next time, but the end result did look like the Death Star πŸ™‚

3:45pm GRADUATION FEAST

The Menu:

– Wookie Cookies (Choc chip cookies with a choc W on them)

– Leia Cupcakes (cupcakes iced with faces and oreo cookies stuck on the sides)

– Hoth Snow (popcorn with icing sugar)

– Luke’s Tauntaun (cheerio sausages)

– C3P0 pieces (chicken nibbles)

– Ewok Scroggin (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate raisins etc.)

– Han Sandwiches (ham sammies)

– Darth Vader Licorice

– Fruit Sabers (fruit kebabs)

– Jabba Jelly (green lime jelly)

– Cloud City Clouds (marshmallows)

– Dagobah bugs (jelly lollies lovingly crafted into bugs by Gran)

– Bantha Milk (milk with blue colouring)

– Jawa Juice (fruit juice)

– Yoda Soda (lime icecream with lemondade….YUM!)

– R2D2 cake

Hungry Jedi Knights and parents!

Β A fantastic party for a wonderful boy!!!!

A huge thank you to EVERYONE who helped make it such a memorable birthday… I’m not sure who had more fun, the kids or the parents πŸ™‚

Star Wars spans the generations, that’s for sure!

Blessings!

Ruth

Part One: Master Luke’s 5th Birthday – R2D2 cake

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

… lived a wonderful boy who turned 5 and asked his mummy oh so nicely for a Star Wars party πŸ™‚

Here is part one of what was a fabulous (extremely busy) weekend πŸ™‚

SATURDAY

The making of R2D2

Master Luke has rather high expectations of what I can do. With an artist type mum and an engineer dad, he comes up with grand imaginative schemes and then tells me how to draw up plans πŸ™‚

An upright R2D2 cake was requested and so the two of us did our research and planning. Saturday morning, 10:30am the work began!

I needed to make…

– 4 gluten free choc mudcakes

– double batch of rice krispie and marshmellow slice

– double batch of choc ganache icing

Β STEP ONE: Ice cakes and stack

Β STEP TWO: Insert 5 halved chopsticks into cakes to hold together

Β STEP THREE: Cover cakes in ganache icing, then with rolled out white fondant icing

STEP FOUR: Cut out legs from Rice krispie slice and cover with white fondant icing. Form extra bits with fondant.

STEP FIVE: Use left over Rice krispie slice pieces to mould head. Using a small mixing bowl, line with plastic wrap, snuggly fit pieces in and compress with a cup until they are formed into a solid bowl shape. Β Cover with grey tinted fondant icing.

STEP SIX: Attach iced head to the body with more ganache icing.

STEP SEVEN: Colour fondant icing blue, roll out and then get creative making R2D2’s details :). I also used a knife to make markings on his body.

STEP EIGHT:Β Β Put body & attached head onto an upturned shallow cake tin on a big tray. Attach iced legs with chopsticks.

STEP NINE: Polish him off with just damp cloth πŸ™‚

Β 7 hours of labour!

One happy birthday boy!

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO: Β Jedi Training… the party!

Blessings

Ruth

Veni sancti spiritus! Come Holy Spirit!

Pentecost…

I have spent many a prayer time meditating on what it must have been like in that room.

To experience the coming of the Holy Spirit as the disciples did… WOW…

We have had a sick week with Fuzz, Curly Sue and myself down with bad colds.

The upside to this has been a week of busy hands and lots of stories… mostly on two topics, Ancient Egypt and Pentecost πŸ™‚

Here are two activities that have kept us busy…

Gifts of the Spirit Flaming Mobile

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The children were keen to make something for Pentecost with flames. While playing outside last week I was inspired by their hula hoops :). So what was once (and will be again in a week of two) a pink hula hoop is now a “Ring of FIRE!!” (you need to do the finding nemo voice!).

Fairly simple craft…

Step One: Cut A4 pieces of coloured paper (red, orange, yellow) into strips width ways. Staple these around the hoop, creating a pattern of red, orange and yellow.

Step Two: Cut out 7 large red flames, 14 smaller orange flames and 14 even smaller yellow flames.

Step Three: Stick the orange and then yellow flames onto the big red ones on both sides

Step Four: Write in black marker one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit on each flame

Step Five: Punch a hole in the top of each flame and tie to a piece of string.

Step Six: Attach the seven flames evenly around the hoop and hang your mobile up to be admired πŸ™‚ (we have an extra flame created by Curly Sue :))

The children are enjoying standing underneath it and pretending to be the disciples πŸ™‚

We had a fantastic lesson on the importance of the Holy Spirit and the gifts while the children were busy cutting and sticking. As a creative person I often find it hard to step back and let the children cut and stick their own way… it is hard not to hover and dictate what things should look like πŸ™‚

BUT how are they going to learn if not by doing and experimenting… I have to limit myself to the odd gentle suggestion! πŸ™‚

Chocolate Mud Cake Pentecost Cupcakes with Madarin Cream Cheese Icing and Marshmallow Sugar flames

What a mouthful to say…. and what a YUMMY mouthful they are!

Inspired by a pin on Pinterest (SEE HERE), Master Luke and Sunshine were really keen on making our own versions. So as usual they differ a little from the original and as I said before… I let the children do the decorating, so they are not as “professional” as the ones from the pin πŸ™‚

STEP ONE: Make up a batch of my Gluten Free Choc Mud Cake recipe (Click here for the recipe)

STEP TWO: Divide into mini cupcake pans. We made a double batch of mixture and it did 36 mini cupcakes and 4 texan muffin tins

STEP THREE: Cut mini baking marshmallows in half and dip the sticky cut side into sugar (coloured with several drops of yellow and red food colouring… a FUN exercise in itself for the kids!)

STEP FOUR: Make a batch of cream cheese icing. We used mandarin zest instead of lemon for ours… just to be different! Add a few drops of yellow food colouring.

(Click here for the recipe)

STEP FIVE: When the cup cakes have cooled. Put a teaspoon of icing on top and arrange the little marshmallow flames in a circle.

Voila! Pentecost cupcakes… Green Team style πŸ™‚

May you all have a blessed Pentecost πŸ™‚

Ruth

The birds and the bees

My baby is 1 next week!

A year ago we were overdue and HUGE, waiting for the arrival of our number four.

“Fuzz” has been our earthquake baby.

We found out we were pregnant with him on September 5th 2010, the day after our city was rocked with a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. My pregnancy was not an easy one, with 3 other little ones, bouts of pneumonia and whooping cough and to top it all off, another massive earthquake on February 22nd 2011, in which we lost our home and our lives changed forever.

My hubby and I are great supporters of Natural Family planning, and especially the Billings Ovulation MethodΒ (will blog about that another day! :)). This means that we are aware attune to Β my fertility cycle and know when we conceived each of our treasures. Before “Fuzz” was conceived, God showed me a picture in my heart of His hands outstretched, holding within them a bright, pulsating light. I heard His words echo in my heart… “It is your choice”

It IS our choice…. to be open to life or not…

This choice isn’t an easy one and to tell the truth, there never really is an “ideal” time to have a baby, BUT we need to trust!

Here was God offering me this exquisite new life… this pure, beautiful future saint πŸ™‚

I was cross at first! I must admit…

I shared with my hubby how this was entirely unfair of God as I had this, and this and this reason NOT to have another baby.. yet…

Then we prayed! (well my hubby started and I dutifully followed :)… still steaming a little)

When we brought our hearts to the Creator, when we humbled ourselves before Him and surrendered to His will… then the power of His life giving Love had room to work on our wills!

Anyway… we were blessed πŸ™‚

“Fuzz” was born after much waiting 9 months later, weighing in a whopping 10lb 11 πŸ™‚

He IS a light! A beautiful, happy, placid, affectionate baby boy who seems to be completely unaffected by the stress I carried throughout my pregnancy (except his hair that is! It stands straight up :))

I praise God every day that we didn’t follow my will and wait , as we would never have had the opportunity to love such a precious treasure!

Well enough about the birds… Now the bees… πŸ™‚

Here is my GLUTEN FREE Choc Mud Cake recipe I used for his birthday cake and cupcakes. It is rich in flavour but much lighter than your traditional mud cake.

Melt 60gm of good quality 70% dark chopped up choc with 2/3 cup water over low heat until smooth.

Beat 90gm softened butter with 1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar and 2 eggs until light and fluffy.

Sift into butter mix, 2/3 cup of gluten free self raising flour (I mix 1 cup gf flour/1/2 tsp salt/1 1/2 tsp baking powder then take out 1/3 cup :)), 2 tbsps cocoa, 1/3 cup almond meal.

Then add water/choc mix.

Stir until completely mixed and put into a 20cm round cake pan.

Bake at 150C for approx 35-40mins

I double the mixture and use half for cupcakes πŸ™‚

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These buzzy bee silicone cupcake cases I found at our local Warehouse. Have had a look online and can’t find a source for you, but they were super cute and so easy! I needed something that was little to no fuss as we were having a combined Mother’s day lunch for both our mums, plus a mini party for Fuzz πŸ™‚

I also cut out of the 20cm round cake, a beehive and decorated it (not my best job as I was in a hurry) but the overall effect with the cupcakes was cute πŸ™‚

Enjoy baking and check out the Billings link πŸ™‚

Blessings!

Ruth