Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


The Rice Crispie Cake Easter Bonnet

If you haven’t grasped it by now, I’m a bit mad (go read some more of the blog if you haven’t).   I live with 200(ish) imaginary Cheetahs, some banana people, 48 Dinos, 48 Dino Brothers (all called ‘Strike’) and a whole load of medical needs.  I’m also fond of making a cake (or 100), having a go at a bit of crafty stuff and whole-heartedly approve of kids getting stuck in and making a mess.

So when asked whether we could make an Easter Bonnet for the competition at school out of cake, the logical answer would have been….


The actual answer was – “well yes, ok then”.  Then I realised (duh…) that two would be required (one for each child) and that I had to significantly up my game.  The next line was the cruncher – bear in mind I have already said ‘yes’ – “and we can wear them to school…?  OK, time to make a plan… and after a quick trip to Sainsburys here’s how we made an Easter Bonnet Cake…(and you could too)

I glued a plastic serving bowl on an aluminium platter

you need to use ‘extra tacky’ glue and leave it to set for a bit.  Patience is required – this is the frame that you’re going to build the cake on.

Turn the 'hat' onto it's crown and use something sharp to make a hole to fit your scissors into

Using decent scissors (I used florist’s scissors that can be used to cut wire) work outwards from the hole so that it looks like this

into 8 triangles

Stop cutting when the tips of the scissors touch the edge of the bowl.  I tried gluing the triangles into the bowl (to form the actual hat bit) but that so did not work.  So with a bit, ok, a lot, of electrical tape I taped it all into place and made sure there were no sharp edges.

It's not going to show!

Check the fit!

She does have quite a large head – it fits her brother better but it will have to do.

Make sure the glue is really dry.

Ready for action!

Then get yourself a helper as you’ll need to make a shed load of rice crispie cake.

We used (for 2 hats – just) 250g butter, 10 tablespoons (ish) of golden syrup and about 500g of rice crispie (we used the basics range).

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in the microwave (do it in bursts and stir in-between) and then stir in the rice crispies until you get a thick, sticky mix.  Then smother the frame in it (seriously sticky work) and leave it to set.  Make sure you’re working on a tray or something else that will catch the bits!

and leave to set

We left it to set for 24 hours and then set about decorating it.

With icing, icing pens, sprinkles, cutters, writing icing, and anything else that I use to decorate my more sensible cakes

Leaving us with these

this is the Cheetah Keeper’s creation.  All his own work!

and this is what his sister will be wearing on Friday.  Hopefully it won’t rain, or be too hot and there won’t be any wasps about!  Yes, the chick is wearing glasses – just like she does now.

Fun – yes.  Messy – oh good grief, yes.  Quality family time – yes.  Unique – yes.


Certifiable – the life of the Rainbow Leader

I volunteer.  Too much.  I tried to make 2010 my year of not volunteering – it didn’t work.  I returned to the worldwide family of Guiding and became a Rainbow leader (oh, and started playing the piano for the school choir).

Rainbows are aged from 5-7, all my Guiding training is with Guides (10-14 year olds), and Brownies (7-10 year olds).  I’ve risen to the dizzy heights of Assistant Division Commissioner, been part of the consultation for the introduction of the new IT system and taken girls camping abroad.  I’ve spent 8 years involved with the St Albans Gang Show, met my husband and worked with something like 1000+ kids over the last 20 years.  Blimey, that makes it sound very grown-up.

I’ll be a Rainbow Leader until Easter when I return to the safer ground of being Tawny Owl at Brownies.  Not every week – the Cheetah Keeper’s sister needs to have some independence , but if she’s going to go to Brownies, my skills will be part of the deal.

So today, my 2 hours ‘real’ (paid) work took 4 hours which somewhat disturbed my volunteering schedule for today.  Then a trip to the osteopath to have my pelvis back together (again) and then to Tesco to buy supplies – some for home, the rest for Rainbows.

The Rainbows programme runs around 4 themes “Look”, “Learn”, “Laugh” and “Love”.  This week (being the closest to Valentine’s Day) we were working on Love.  We made cards for anyone they love (and yes, we have a 6 year old with a boyfriend…) and then we were planning on icing heart shaped cakes.

Crisis.  No icing pens in Tesco.  None.  Nada.  NOTHING!  Ignoring the fact there were no heart shaped cakes cooling beautifully in my kitchen – there were no *insert expletive of your choice* icing pens.

So what did I do..? (and bear in mind at this point the queues in Tesco are resembling those found on Christmas Eve – there is snow forecast, PANIC BUYING is compulsory…)

I bought royal icing sugar and made icing pens for them.  With my piping bags and a liberal dose of food colouring.

Whilst making nearly 4 dozen little vanilla cakes for them to ice, and some butter icing.

All between getting home from school at 3.30pm and leaving again at 4.35pm to run the meeting.

The cakes weren’t heart shaped but to be honest, making them in paper cases rather than silicone was a good plan (they catch the sprinkles better).

So, in the cold church hall, we played games, sang songs, made cards, iced cakes, welcomed new Rainbows into the family of Guiding, wished others well as they move up to Brownies, sung Happy Birthday to a Rainbow and one of our other fantastic volunteers who’ll be 16 this weekend (she came to Brownies with me when she was 7 – I love the fact she’s stayed…)

They had a fantastic time – in a safe, girls only space.  We’re taking some of them to see the Gang Show on Saturday afternoon and after half term we’ve got a whole load of other stuff planned – including talking about International Women’s Day and continuing our theme of “Being the best I can”.

Making icing pens for them is something that is just another box ticked on the list confirming that I’m absolutely bonkers.  You know what though?  The girls had a fantastic time and that’s what volunteering is all about.  It’s why I find it really hard to use that little ‘no’ word when someone needs a hand.  Which is why I was shovelling snow off the school playground on Monday morning (please don’t tell my GP…)

I work, I have children with additional needs, my health isn’t that predictable, I have a home that needs cleaning and and an ever overflowing washing basket.  Volunteering adds to the mix – it makes me better at all these things (well, maybe not managing the washing basket) and it’s given me friends for life.

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