Thursday, 30 January 2014

Mr Mischief days 1-7

I made a softie mouse last year for T. I'm feeling a bit 'flat' about the festive season being behind us- but also want to look forward to all that 2014 may bring. 

Our boy starts school this year and although I'm a bit sad I want to encourage his excitement and build his ( and her) anticipation. From January 21st- Feb 3rd the kids will wake up every morning to discover this mischievous mouse's overnight antics.

Here's what he got up to the first 7 days : )

reading to the bed friends aaaalllllll night
joy riding in Barbie's car
hanging of the tv
playing with the toilet paper
pretending to fish for the fish!
getting into the weetbix
messing up T's undie drawer

Monday, 27 January 2014

email time capsule

An easy idea for the techy minded people out there : )

M, T and a friend enjoying the big screen at a very cool exhibition ' final act' at the Canterbury Museam

I recently set up email accounts for both children. Every now and then I send them an email and some photos. When they turn 13, 16 or 18 ( I'm not sure yet) I'll give them the password to open their email time capsule : )

Today I'm asking them both these questions and I'll send it off to wait in cyberspace. You could make up your own questions too. I imagine they will get some laughs in future...

How old are you? 
What color is your hair?
What color are your eyes? 
What is your favorite foods?
What is your favorite song?
What is your favorite treat?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite book?
What is your favorite shop?
What do you like to do with Dad?
What do you like to do with Mum?
What is your favorite movie?
What is your favorite TV programme?
Tell me about your friends...
What is your favorite thing to do outside? 
What is your favorite thing to do inside? 
What do you want be when you grow up?
What food do you think is yucky? 
Tell me about what are you good at...
What was your favourite Christmas present? 
                                   What was your favourite birthday present?
                                 If you could have a wish granted what would it be? 

I thought this looked interesting too:

Sunday, 26 January 2014

cauliflower pizza

I'm doing some experimenting with food while on my efforts to decrease my sugar intake...


I came across a recipe for a cauliflower pizza base.

It was yummy and doesn't it look a lot like regular pizza? I used this recipe. I think even the husband and kids would eat it : )

Friday, 24 January 2014

plum jam

This is the first time I've made jam. I was inspired by my brother who made some a few weeks ago ( and his boys set up a wee shop to sell it to the people on their street). Some serious cuteness right there.

photo by A Healy

Our friend's next door gave us a big bowl of plums from their tree so we made some too.

It was reasonably successful so I thought I'd share what I ( we ) did.

T was more interested in helping me with this. M wrote the labels but she doesn't eat jam so not at all keen to try it. He can't wait to try it on his toast in the morning.

We used this edmonds cookbook recipe 

1. Put plums and water into a preserving pan, boil until soft and pulpy.
2. Add sugar, stir until dissolved.
3. Boil briskly for 18 minutes or until setting point is reached.
4. Do the test by placing a saucer in the freezer for 10 minutes. Place a little jam on the saucer and return to freezer for a few minutes, if jam is not jelled enough boil for a couple more minutes and test again.
5. Pour into sterilised jars.
6. Makes 6 X 350ml jars.
This how to test jam link

And this how to sterilise jars link. We got our jars from a friend but it wouldn't take long for a family to collect enough.

I also made a couple of phone calls to my mum ; )

So we have 6 jars of jam, 4 to keep and 2 to give to the jar and plum donators. It' s set enough to call it jam but I'll admit that it is runnier than the stuff we buy from the shops. Next time I'll probably add the pectin stuff mum was telling me about.

kid made jar labels
labels for the lids

it smelt amazing

chief tester


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

covering the kid's school books

This is something I really enjoy doing. Some parents don't and as a teacher I don't really mind either way.  I've thought about why I like covering our kid's school books:

I enjoying the cutting and pasting involved, I find it relaxing.
Mum did it for us- wallpaper and pictures from magazines and comics if I remember correctly : )
I like choosing the colours/ theme and patterns with them.
The kids like adding their own touches
They enjoy seeing the finished product ( I do them when they're sleeping for them to see in the morning)
I'll keep their school books as momentos, how they're covered tells us about what they were interested in at the time
It's one way for them to express themselves at school
Looking different makes their books easier for them to keep track of in the classroom
I hope that they will take some pride and care of their books as a result
I like using clear ez covers ( sooooo much easier than clear book cover AND they're reusable)
ez covers can be wiped so books stay cleaner

I covered some books in gift wrap from the 123 mart using clear ez covers for on top. The rest of the books I used patterned ez covers- just to save myself a bit of work ( not all of M's books are in the photo!). T wanted to draw pictures for his covers and M wanted to use pictures from old magazines and colouring books.

Each book has a photo of them on it - fun and handy for relief teachers! : )

my faves = bottom right the tiger and top with the magnifying glass x

faves= middle bottom with the bunny ears and the photo on the right taken in Wellington with mum x

Sunday, 19 January 2014

a mud pie cafe

This idea for outside play was inspired by this picture, found here

We went to the local Salvation army store and spent $4 on a pot, cooking and serving trays, knives and forks and utensils. I had some old plates and bowls in the garage.

The empty sauce container came in handy and a couple of glass jars for special 'ingredients' ( for younger kids - just think blunt unbreakable things to be on the safe side).

Since we've had our house re-painted and re-carpeted I've been a bit precious about what they do outside, and then bring inside with them. I thought they were overdue for some reeeeallly messy play.

They had a great time and got really into it. There were even some special flourishes, all sorts of things were being used as garnishes!

For clean up we tipped the mud back into the garden and hosed everything else down (including them) took all their clothes of at the front door, had a wash and changed into clean clothes.

Friday, 17 January 2014

sugar free gingerbread

The kids got some cool wee spring biscuit cutters for xmas so since it's a yuck day outside I thought we'd try them out. I'm on a bit of a health kick at the moment ( new years reso!) so I used a sugar substitute called Sweete in these. Sweete is derived from stevia. 

noun: stevia
1. a shrub native to tropical and subtropical America, whose leaves may be used as a calorie-free substitute for sugar.

With between 30 and 300 times the sweetness of sugar, depending on which source you believe, a pinch of stevia extract gives the same sweetness as an entire cup of sugar.
Stevia in liquid form is available at Piko ( a wholefoods store here in ChCh) it was $17 for a small bottle about the size vanilla essence comes in. I thought this was a cheaper option ( $8.50 for a 150g bag) and being in a sugar type form I'm hoping it will be easier to use in baking. It's available at Countdown too.

Here's an interesting article: about stevia being the latest weapon in the war against sugar

I bought our Sweete here: http://www.sweete.co.nz

For the recipe I took a gingerbread one, added an extra half a cup of flour and another egg. They tasted yum ( slightly less sweet than reular gingerbread)the kids didn't notice the difference.

cutting gingerbread in pjs, a tiara and accessories- as one does

friends helped
easy for little hands
M told us how it is done

the springs on these cutters make it easy to push the gingerbread out
I used our sandwich cutter for dino biscuits