Chocolate Bird’s Nests

Chocolate Bird’s Nests

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I know it’s not the Easter Holidays yet, but it is Mid-Term, so my youngest and I thought it would be fun to create another illustrated recipe blog post. Our previous recipe blog post was published over eighteen months ago and it continues to be very popular, with over 800 page views to date.

These ‘no bake’ recipes are simple to make, delicious to eat and they can be a great way of spending quality time with your children.

Ingredients we used:

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Nestlé Shredded Wheat – we used three of the inner packets, each containing two biscuits – six biscuits in total.

Cooking chocolate – we used a 300g packet

Cadbury Mini Eggs – 200g (These are quite hard and could present a choking hazard to children under 4 years or to older children with swallowing difficulties).

Method:

Ensure that everyone washes their hands thoroughly before starting.

Firstly, spread out some bun cases on a clean, dry tray.

Then let the children use their hands to crumble the shredded wheat finely into a bowl.

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Next let them break the cooking chocolate up into squares in a ceramic (not a plastic) bowl.

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The chocolate can be melted by an adult, by placing the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, or by placing the bowl in the microwave and stirring thoroughly every 60 seconds until melted.

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Add the crumbled shredded wheat to the melted chocolate and stir until thoroughly mixed.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture in each bun case.

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Flatten the centre into a nest shape and place the chocolate eggs firmly on top.

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Leave until set, which takes approximately an hour.

Eat and enjoy.

Ensure everyone’s teeth are well brushed before going to bed.

You could expand on the theme of these ‘bird’s nests’ by talking with your children about Spring, Easter and the promise of new life. You could also talk about what this time of year means to you personally – in a way that is appropriate to their age and level of understanding, of course.

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What Easter means to me.
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That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.

That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt.

Tuesday of this week (my day off) I found myself experiencing a vague feeling of unease and restlessness. I struggled to focus on the tasks that I had intended to complete that morning.

This caught me by surprise. Although this time last year I struggled to even get out of bed on my days off work, recently I’ve been coping quite well and my concentration and attention span have been relatively good. This progress has been a huge relief to me and it’s been nice to feel a bit more like the me that I used to be.

However, this past Tuesday was different, I was struggling to concentrate and I wasn’t sure why. In desperation I decided to vacuum the house. I’m not exactly a domestic goddess but I find vacuuming quite calming.

Gradually my thoughts started to come together. It is mid-term. The children are off school – my teenage son didn’t even stir in his sleep while I vacuumed under his bed! This time three years ago, right in the middle of mid-term, Leah had her first ever admission to our local oncology/haematology ward.

In January and February of that year (2013), three good friends of mine had been pleading with me to meet up with them for a good catch up. I kept putting them off as I was worried about Leah’s health, although she did not as yet have a diagnosis.

Finally on the Wednesday of mid-term week I agreed to meet up with them for a meal. However, as I lifted the last spoonful of my dessert to my mouth, Horace phoned me to say that Leah wasn’t well. Within two hours Leah and I were in a single room on the Sperrin Ward. This is the adult Oncology/Haematology ward of our local hospital. I had never set foot on this ward before. Apparently they had never had a patient as young as Leah before either. It was only a few weeks after Leah’s fifteenth birthday.

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Leah investigating the bed controls during her first admission *as one does*

On our way to the ward, Leah had spied several health promoting posters on display in the hospital corridors. She used her mobile phone to photograph these posters for inclusion in her GCSE coursework – she never missed an opportunity!

On the few previous occasions when I had been in hospital with any of my children, we had always been on a Children’s Ward. It felt very scary being on a cancer ward with my young, as yet undiagnosed daughter, even though the facilities and standard of care were excellent. This was a world that I didn’t want to have any part of.

A few weeks ago I made arrangements to meet up with those same three friends later on this midterm week, not realising the significance of that decision. Thankfully we aren’t meeting in the same place as we did in 2013, as I would find that too upsetting.

I cry most days, but yesterday as my emotions bubbled up to the surface they felt really overwhelming, so I tried to stuff them back down again. First I ate chocolate – I seldom eat chocolate but I do keep an emergency supply.

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That didn’t numb the pain, so then I remembered the Magnum choc ices in the freezer and I ate one of those too.

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Nope, that didn’t work either. My emotions were clamouring for space. I’ve quoted this line from The Fault in Our Stars before as I think it’s so good:

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There are times when the pain that we feel (for whatever reason) must have its way with us. I’m a massive fan of Brené Brown and I love this quote from her book Rising Strong which I’m currently reading:

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Someone once described child loss to me as being like a wound that scabs over but never really heals. Sometimes when we are least expecting it, we have an experience that knocks the scab off that wound and leaves us raw and bleeding once again and there is absolutely nothing that we can do except to find a private space and shed those tears. Then we have to wait once again for the wound to scab over.