Things I Know About Boys – Super Heroes

After a long absence due to lethargy, apathy and work on a page for our school P & C I’m back blogging.

During this period we, as a family, flaunted the M rating and went to see The Avengers.  We had seen Thor on video a few weeks before and decided that the Marvel series violence and adult themes were vastly different to those of DC’s The Green Lantern which fortunately DB and I had watched by ourselves.  No ominous black cloud creature that sucked the skeletons out of people in The Avengers.

We all thoroughly enjoyed it (and would like to fit in a second viewing).  Had we been watching it at home, Bruce, after having called out “Hulk Smash!” would have leapt over the lounge and taken on the persona of Hulk.  He did excitedly whisper “Hulk Smash!” and jiggled about in his seat as did Squidge.

On the way home we discussed which Avengers we would like to be.  DB’s decision will ultimately be determined by which of the male Avengers Black Widow ends up kissing (sigh).

The boys couldn’t quite decide and in the course of the 20 minute drive home changed their minds many times.  This led me to think about their obsession with super heroes.

My boys love being super heroes.  Squidge was obsessed with Superman, Spider Man, The Incredibles and the list goes on.  We had an old mattress that we would put in front of the lounge and he’d leap from the lounge on to the mattress.  Or we’d lean it up against the lounge and he’d scale it like it was the wall of a tall building.

Dash and Spider Man fighting baddies on the lounge

Bruce’s first costume was Superman but his favourite for years has been Spider Man.  For his 3rd birthday DB bought an adult Spider Man costume via Amazon and dressed up.  Bruce was convinced Spider Man had come to visit him on his birthday and was completely able to suspend his disbelief, even telling DB when he came back in to the room as Dad that Spider Man had just been.

Bruce, Spider Man and Squidge

He was also a big fan of Sportacus – what parent doesn’t love a hero that promotes healthy eating and exercise?  We welcomed that obsession with open arms.

Sportacus

Both of them have loved Iron Man, Batman, and characters that while not being Super Heroes were nevertheless heroic and cool.  Transformers, Harry Potter, Buzz, Woody or any of the Star Wars characters.  It doesn’t really matter – nor does it matter if they’ve never seen the movie/tv show/read about it.  They seem to learn about the characters as if by osmosis – they absorb popular culture happening around them and make it their own, invent story lines, costumes and weapons where they don’t have them ready-made.

We now brace ourselves for the next wave of ‘what’s in’ as far as super heroes are concerned.  What will be today’s obsession?  Bruce got a Spider Man book from the school book club today.  So that’s his – back to his origins.  Squidge got an Avengers chapter book.  Captain America watch out.

I’m noticing more and more Lego Super Hero models appearing on the shelves and expect that as birthdays and Christmas approach the nagging will start.  But I don’t blame them – they look pretty cool.  And who wouldn’t want that?  For our little family it’s a coming together of obsessions – super heroes AND Lego.

Faster than a speeding bullet!

Who do your little heroes and heroines dress up as?

The Complete Disneyland Experience – the Theme Park

Days 1 and 2 in Hong Kong were, to paraphrase Jan Brady, “Disney, Disney, Disney!”.

I’ve already written about the journey there, and our accommodation in which the Disney brand was constantly re-inforced.  The theme park was no different.

The theme park itself contains different themes.  It certainly needs at least a 2 day pass and even then we didn’t conquer it all.  Fantasyland for example.  Apart from a great 4D show (think 3D with water, smells of food, and wind wooshing around) – Mickey’s Philharmagic and a turn on the Cinderella Carousel the rest of it passed us by.  While I enjoyed the Carousel I’m not sure that it was worth people elbowing us out of the way to get on.  Firstly, the park designers have designed a queue system that will only let the right number of people who can fit on the carousel through, therefore you’re not going to miss out.  Secondly – they are pretend horses held on by poles to a piece of metal that goes around in a circle.  It’s not something from Mary Poppins – these horses aren’t about to come to life and prance around the theme park.  Perspective people!

Toy Story Land was brilliant.  The attention to detail was exquisite.  Like the fences made out of K-Nex.  At last an opportunity to be around K-Nex and not stand on it!

Rex and K-Nex

Both days we did the Slinky Dog Spin ride.  Great ride, long queue – but hey – if you’re going to a theme park, expect to line up and build up your repertoire of games because I Spy wears thin after the 8th queue.

Slinky Dog Spin

DB, who is much braver than me, went on the RC Racer ride.  Squidge and Bruce met some ‘toy soldiers’.  For a family who is as big a fan as us of Toy Story it was a blast but in all honesty there could have been a couple more rides or attractions.

Toy Soldiers

Toy Story Land is the newest section of the park.  However, in what looks like one of the original parts, is Tomorrowland.  It’s in this part that we found Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters – a great fun ride that is tucked away.  We did it a few times over the course of our visit and never had to wait.  It was a lot of fun – you get to blast Zurg!.  Also here was Space Mountain which DB tried out on his own.  But we all joined a huge queue to watch the very clever Stitch Encounter – an interactive show which re-ignited our interest in this Disney character.  And finally in Tomorrowland we went on the Orbitron and made the mistake of letting the kids control how fast our ‘ship’ went up and down while the ride spun around.  Their personalities shined through as Squidge was super cautious and Bruce didn’t hesitate to make us all feel ill.

Adventureland included a fantastic boat ride with wonderfully realistic animatronic jungle animals and real fire and water – so watch out!

Adventureland

We didn’t see the Lion King show  but did get to see some of the characters in the Main Street USA Flights of Fantasy Parade.  I’m not usually one for parades but this was pretty cool and left us with the Mickey Mouse ear worm for the rest of the day.

For all that we did we didn’t do it all.  I would go back again, for sure.

What’s that on your plate? Is it a cupcake? Is it a muffin?

No, according to DB and his work mates it’s a muff-cake.  Debate has raged in our house lately over whether what I’ve been baking constitutes a muffin or a cupcake.

Last week I made lemon and yogurt muffins which were simply DELICIOUS.  The recipe stated it would make 12 muffins.  I stretched that out to 18 (for lunch boxes throughout the week).  And thus started the debate.

You see, this recipe was very light – the combination of the lemon juice, yoghurt and the bi-carb soda made the mixture so fluffy it looked more like mousse than muffin batter.  DB’s argument is that a muffin should be denser.

And it was missing what seems quite the critical component of a muffin – the muffin top (probably because I’d stretched the ingredients to make 18 instead of 12).

DB also told me he wouldn’t pay $4 for one of my muffins – they are just not big enough, not like the ones on sale at work.

Believe it or not this consumed a fair amount of the adult chatter in our house for a few days.  I sent some in to work with DB to garner opinion.  The term muff-cake was devised by DB, 2 Computer Scientists with PhDs, a Computer Programmer and a Software Engineer.  I can’t argue with that.

To summarise, my muffins lacked:

  • density
  • a muffin top
  • size

Enter the texas muffin pan which we purchased on Saturday afternoon and welcome the raspberry and white chocolate chip monstrous muffin.

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffin

Where before I could get 18 muffins out of this batter, in order to get the size, density and muffin top, I made 6.  Which you have to chop in half because one is too large to eat on its own.  Go figure.

This is a recipe of my own, adapted from one that’s been used for so long I can’t remember where it came from.  But it’s worth trying – big or small, they are delicious.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • 2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
  • 3/4 cup (140g) white chocolate bits.  I usually use more and cut down on the sugar
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries (can be substituted for toasted macadamias)
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

  • Grease muffin pan (6 hole or 12 hole) and/or line with cups/baking paper
  • Pre-heat oven to 160 – 180 degrees celsius
  • Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir in remaining ingredients
  • Fold through frozen raspberries
  • Spoon mixture into pan
  • Bake in oven for 15 – 20 minutes for the normal size and 25 – 30 minutes for the enormous size

By the way, the 2 Computer Scientists with PhDs, Computer Programmer, Software Engineer and DB have deemed this monstrous muffin a mini-cake.  Fair enough.