29.9.11

DIY 'FIND-IT-JAR'

Whilst in quarantine a few weeks ago, and in preparation for the next MOPS activity, the kids and I made our own 'find-it-jars'.  I'd seen these jars all over blogland and thought it would be a great all-ages activity.





First, the kids hunted around the house for small items.  Not hard in this house!  Each child then placed their items neatly on a white piece of paper so that we could take a photo.


Then they popped their items into their jar while we coloured some rice.




We coloured our rice using this method.*  Although this time we simply put a few drops of food colouring into a ziplock bag full of rice, shook the bag until the colour was evenly distributed and in less than a minute it was dry.




Then the kids poured the rice straight from the ziplock bags into the jar on top of the collected items.



Then popped the lid on and shook away until the items were spread out and hidden within the rice.  You might want to secure the lid with super glue or a hot glue gun if you think your children might be tempted to open the lid!


We printed the photos of our items onto everyday white paper and attached them onto the jars with clear contact. You could also attach it around the top of the jar with string.  Alternatively you could just type the words & stick onto the lid, but as my youngest two can't read - we took photos.



  By covering the photos in contact, this meant that the kids could use a whiteboard marker to circle or cross off the items once they'd found them and then simply wipe off again for next time.


These jars would also make a great game for adults if you made it a little harder by putting smaller and alot more objects inside.  I have even seen them with crossword clues attached.


 If you are a little apprehensive about your kids and glass, you might like to try these fabric ones and I have  heard of no-sew 'seek & find bags' made using a pencil case and duct tape!


For more ways to amuse your kids these school holidays, check out our Kids Craft Page.

Joining in with the The Imagination Tree today.



* To be honest, this time I actually skipped the alcohol sanitiser and just used a few drops of coloring and it dried within a minute.  The colors were not as evenly spread or vibrant, but as you can see in the photos - it was certainly good enough for this activity.
* I would recommend not using all the one color (like one of ours) unless the items inside were of the same color as the rice, as the objects were just too easy to find.

27.9.11

EASY PEASY MINI CHEESECAKES


This recipe was given to me by my sister Lou.   Every time I make them I am always asked for the recipe.  Always.  The base is simply a butternut snap biscuit placed in the bottom of the patty pan.  Easy peasy.

Mini Baked Cheesecakes

1 packet of butternut snap biscuits
1/2 cup castor sugar
zest of 1 lemon
250g philidelphia cream cheese
2 eggs
topping - berries, crunchie/choc, etc.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, zest and eggs. Put one biscuit in bottom of patty cases as the cheesecake base. Spoon mixture into patty cases to half full. Put on topping. Cook for 25 minutes at 150 oC (302 oF). Cool then refrigerate. Delicious!


For more easy peasy recipes, head over to my easy recipes page.


22.9.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS... part four

Just like the previous posts of simple handmade gifts for girls, this craft is quick and easy and uses up your fabric scraps.  Perfect for a bit of last minute gift making.


Fabric yo-yo's

I borrowed my sister Lou's yo-yo maker to make them and they were so quick and easy.  A couple of minutes each.  You could purchase one at your local craft store, but they also sell them here or here for around $10. They even come in other shapes like hearts, butterflies & flowers.  


Here is a link to a tutorial on how to make them using a yo-yo maker, and 
here is a link on how to make them without one (also quiet easy).

You can add them to a t-shirt like my sister Lou, who made these cute green & yellow numbers.  Frog has one of these gorgeous t-shirts (gifted to her by her Aunty Lou) and it is one of her absolute favourites!




I think they might also become as addictive as the fabric covered buttons.  Actually, I have combined the two and have been making headbands with a yo-yo and fabric covered button on the top for Frog and a few of her friends for their birthdays.


As well as embelishments for headbands and tshirts, you could add a brooch back, or sew onto a hairclip or a hairtie, put them on a card or even sew them together and make a cushion, a bracelet or a garland.  I have even heard of people sewing them together and making whole quilts out of them!

For more creative inspiration I'll be heading over to our creative spaces today.

If you have made some simple handmade gifts for girls, I'd love to hear about it.  I'd love to include a guest post or two if anyone is interested?

21.9.11

DIY Chalk Paint with a touch of Fizz.

My kids have always liked washing the windows (yes, I like to use child labour). It's all about the spray bottle and spraying as much as you can. So last week, after a little too much fun was being had while washing windows that I actually did want cleaned, I just filled an old spray bottle with water and sent Bear off around the garden spraying to his hearts content. Not a stone, leaf or slater was left unsprayed after the good hour he spent out there.


I had seen a few recipes for sidewalk chalk paint around blogland and had been wanting to give it a try for some time, but after seeing how much fun Bear had with the spray bottle, I had to give this one a try!

We played around with a few recipes and ended up with this one, changing it's name to be a little more Aussie of course...


FIZZY FOOTPATH CHALK PAINT

1/4 cup cornflour
250g of baking soda
1/2 cup cold water
a few squirts of dishwashing liquid
a few drops of food colouring

You might like to play around with this recipe to get the consistency that's right for you. You'll just need to add more water if you return to it the next day and it's started to dry out.

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and spray on the painted chalk. Watch it start to fizz!


I had trouble dragging Bear away from this activity.

Incidentally, bicarb soda & vinegar are apparently a great natural combo for cleaning your bathroom - might just have to set this game up in the bathroom next time... minus the food dye of course!


For more fun kids activities, you might like to check out our Kids Craft Page.

19.9.11

ANOTHER SPRING KIDS ACTIVITY...


Last Tuesday at playgroup we revisited this fun spring activity and after reading this post, we also added some toilet rolls into the mix.  Even easier for the kids to spread with peanut butter* and just roll in bird seed and stick on the end of a branch.


For more details on how to make this simple pinecone bird feeder, check out this post from last year.  

If it's a sunny day tomorrow at playgroup we'll be pulling out the duct tape and giving our other favourite spring activity a try with all of the kids.

For more fun and simple activities to amuse your kids, check out our Kids Craft Page.
* Once again we used a peanut butter substitute made from sunflower seeds due to allergies.

17.9.11

THIS SATURDAY I'M GRATEFUL...

There are many moments as a parent where you just need to take big breaths in and out and count to ten. Kids having tantrums, kids squabbling over toys, kids refusing to put their clothes on, kids refusing to take their clothes off, kids refusing to walk any further, kids refusing to drink from any cup that is not pink, kids emptying the contents of their bowl over the table, the floor & themselves, kids vomiting from the top bunk at midnight all over the floor and over their sleeping brother on the bottom bunk just a few hours before their father heads off to Sydney for the weekend and leaving you at home with the (now potentially infected with gastro) kids. Kids who wet the bed an hour after their elder sibling has vomited numerous times on the closed toilet lid, waking up (did I actually sleep?) to a rainy day (no chance of washing those sheets and towels) and to liquid all over the kitchen floor coming out from under the kitchen sink just weeks after we had the leaking dishwasher repaired. Yes, that did all happen last weekend and more!

Yet, I am grateful. I have to be grateful. I have to find the things that I am grateful for (or maybe I'd sink - it's a coping mechanism). I much prefer to live life with a glass half full/Pollyanna kind of outlook.

I am grateful that whatever caused the vomiting did not spread to the rest of the household. I am grateful that the liquid coming from under the sink, was not in fact a leaking pipe, but a newish bottle of windex with a loose lid that had tipped over. I am grateful that I am an 'old hat' at looking after the kids for the weekend sans husband. I am grateful that this weekend, even though Mr FGB is working, it is a sunny day and I can catch up on that washing and we are off to a birthday party in the park.

I have many moments as a parent that I just need to take a big breath and push through the exhaustion and frustration and find that inner strength that I didn't know that I possessed before I had children, but am grateful that this year these moments don't feel like they are back to back with no reprieve, like they felt last year. This year, there are many more moments where I can breathe easily, get back on track and see the bigger picture, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the small minute by minute.

I'm OK this year, but I went through a long time last year when I wasn't OK. It all got too much and I was able to talk about it with those who cared and get some more support and although I still have my ups and downs - I'm doing more than OK. Incidentally, I was very impressed this week to hear about "RUOK?" day. You can read more about it here and here. The idea is to make sure that you ask the question and make sure your friends are actually doing OK. A lot of us are pretty good at hiding it.

You can also read about what others are grateful for with the lovely Mira Narnie (we love you Brenda!), who is hosting this week while the gorgeous Maxabella has a little blog hiatus (we miss you Bron!)


P.S. I'm also grateful for this cute wooden game of croquet that we found on someone's nature strip while on a walk one afternoon - love those kind of finds!

12.9.11

EASY PEASY HOMEMADE MAYO


While in the middle of making chicken sandwiches recently, Mr FGB discovered that we were out of mayonnaise.  So, I scavenged through to the very back recesses of my recipe folder and after a little searching pulled out my mothers homemade mayonnaise recipe.  We grew up with this mayonnaise, and this page comes from a lovingly written out recipe book that my Mum gave me when I first moved out of home over 17 years ago now.... but I'm not sure if I ever made it.  I got lazy and we just buy it.  Sorry Mum.  I think that is going to change now though as this was yum.


It's quite yummy, doesn't include egg and is very, very easy.

If you can't read the image above in Granny's writing, the recipe is as follows...

GRANNY'S MAYONNAISE
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon powdered mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt.

Mix together and put in jar.

For more easy peasy recipes, head over here.

8.9.11

DIY CHAI TEA SACHETS

My creative space of late has involved the making of tea.
Those who know me will know that I'm not much of a tea drinker, but chai - I like.  
Inspired by Goose's experiments, I thought I'd have a go at making my own.


It worked so well I thought I'd give it a go for our MOPS activity last month. 
Chai actually means 'tea' and Masala means 'spices'.   Masala chai can be made with any spices/flavours that you like.  I used Cathie's wonderful recipe and instructions* as a base and experimented a little myself to come up with sachets of 'Masala Chai for one'.  I was quite pleased with how they turned out.


To make the envelope/packet, I downloaded a template from here.  Then used some gorgeous printable teapot images from the Sew & Tea WhipUp Action Pack Mag Issue 3.**  This mag has lots of info and ideas about making your own chai and even making your own tea bags which of course I had to give a whirl also. 




Speaking of tea.  I've also been making some teatowels.  Worked so well, I think gifts of tea and teatowels might just be featuring quite a bit in our Christmas presents this year.


Speaking of teatowels, the talented Anna from Shiny Happy Art, has just launched her 'healthy enough snack teatowel'.  Such a great idea and I'm totally chuffed to have one of my suggestions included on it.  Go on over and check it out.



 I just had to include this photo of the back of the teatowel.  I know, you experienced sewers will think it is ridiculously easy (which it is) but as a new sewer I'm quite proud of myself and had to just show it off.

Head on over here for loads of creative inspiration from some very clever ladies.



* Thanks so much for the inspiration Cathie!
** I can't recommend this online mag highly enough.  It is meant to be for kids and Goose loves it.....but so do I!  The latest one has just come out and Goose and I have made some things out of it already.  Will share soon.

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