Sunday, March 31, 2013

Applique TShirts

Before Christmas .... ahem .... I found some T shirts for The Girl from KMart, on sale, for $2.50 each.  I picked a few up with thoughts of appliqueing them and putting them in her Christmas stocking.

Well here we are, Easter weekend, and I just finished them.  Yes, right in time for winter.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Marbled Eggs for Easter

Pictures of these eggs have been floating around Pinterest in the lead up to Easter.  I thought they'd be a great surprise addition to the kids lunchboxes this week, so gave them a trial run last night.

They do look more like they would suit Halloween though, than Easter, don't you think?

Easy to make.  Just hard boil your eggs.  Gently crack the surface with a spoon or by rolling along the bench top.  Pop into a ziplock bag with food colouring of your choice.  Rub the eggs so the food colouring covers the whole surface.  Pop onto a rack to dry, ensuring there is newspaper underneath to catch any drips of colouring.  Once dry, peel.

This was my afternoon tea.  The St Patricks Day meets Halloween edition?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Letting Children Be Risk Takers

I try so hard not to be a 'cotton wool wrapping' mother.  You know the mother (she is probably hidden inside you, she is in me); won't let her child climb up the high tower at the park as its too dangerous and they might fall and get hurt; won't let her child ride their bike down the hill because its too dangerous and they might go too fast and fall and get hurt; won't let her child climb a tree because its too dangerous and they might fall and hurt themselves.  On it goes.

Do you ever stop to think about what messages we are sending our children each time we tell them to stop, its too dangerous?  I know we do it out of fear, as we don't want them to get hurt, but are we putting our own fears on them?  Scary ground that one!  Do they simply see it that Mummy and Daddy don't trust their awesome stunt skills, and don't have the confidence in their ability to pull it off?  

Its not easy though is it?  Watching your most precious small person doing something that could potentially hurt them.  Its hard to stand back and watch them take risks.  Biting your tongue.  Turning your head the other way just in case there is carnage.  Stopping yourself rushing forward and removing them from the situation altogether.

I like to look at the positives of this, in what are we teaching our children by allowing them to take risks?  We are teaching them to learn what their limits are.  We are teaching them confidence.  We are teaching them persistence, to keep trying until they get it right.  We are teaching them to take risks in life - when its OK to take to a risk and when its not.  We are teaching them consequences for their actions.   We are giving them opportunities where we can be proud of them, high five them and praise them for being awesome.  We are filling their love tanks.  All the sort of things that in the long run of life, help them develop solid life skills.

This weekend the hubby built the boys a ramp to ride their bikes over.  I bit my tongue.  Its too dangerous I thought.  Then I thought, whats the worst that can happen.  A trip to A&E with a broken bone?  Done that before, no biggie.  A few gravel grazes and a bit of blood.  Yup, daily occurrence here.  So I kept my mouth shut and watched the first few attempts through squinted eyes.  Then I got on my bike, and tried to show them how to get airborne.  Then I found myself coaching them on how to get the most air.  I got caught up in their excitement and really got behind encouraging them.  And lets be honest, all the while praying like crazy they won't hurt themselves, but I kept my fears hidden, and openly supported them.  And had fun doing it.

Danger Mouse, my three year old, was launching himself airborne over that ramp in no time.  He fell a few times, and each time we encouraged him to pick himself back up and try again.  Sprat, who is 5, wasn't so confident.  But by day two, after some more coaching, he was going over it with both feet on the pedals and landing it standing up.  By day two, Danger Mouse, was jumping it on the scooter - but that's another story.

Give your children a chance to take risks.  Allow them the freedom to learn consequences for their actions, in a controlled environment, where mum and dad are there to supervise (and pick up the pieces).  Give them the freedom to climb a tree, slide down the biggest slide in the park and ride their bike down a big hill, putting your own fears behind you, and not on them.  Your little person will probably surprise you in their ability.

Mine have.

And if they do crash, and there is a bit of blood, crying and a trip to A&E - what an awesome story they are going to have to tell their friends ....

Friday, March 22, 2013

Royal Icing Easter Egg Cupcakes

I've been trawling the internet trying to find an Easter cupcake decorating idea that doesn't involve tiny Easter Egg topped cupcakes or chicken cupcakes.  I wanted to try something a bit different.

I saw a pin on Pinterest which inspired this idea.  I soon discovered that I didn't have a very steady hand, and didn't like to pay attention to detail, so they were a bit messy, but I still love how they turned out.

I drew my egg template onto baking paper, drawing 20 eggs for 12 cupcakes (allowing for breakages, child disasters etc).

I made up my Royal Icing (I cheat and buy mine in a packet from the supermarket).  I mixed it until peaks appeared, so it was a nice firm consistency for piping.

Flipping my baking paper over, so the drawing was on the opposite side to where I was piping, I then simply piped following the egg design, and decorated them using various colours.  I left them to dry for two days before attempting to use them on the cupcakes.  Its a good idea for the 'stick' part of the design to be quite thick to help avoid snapping while placing them in the cupcakes.

I baked a simple Vanilla cupcake, adding a Mini Creme Egg in each centre before baking, and iced with a Cream Cheese Icing.  Using a kebab stick, I made holes in the cakes first before inserting my Royal Icing Eggs.

This is what happens when you leave a 2 year old unattended with a cupcake (thats my white photography background its squished on) ... I've no idea what she was thinking.  I would of eaten it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Salted Caramel Slice

I was yearning to do some 'normal' baking (ie, not dairy, wheat or sugar free) this week.  Not necessarily to eat it, just to bake with ingredients I was familiar with.  I found this recipe in the latest Bite Magazine (from the NZ Herald) and took it along to my Friday morning Playgroup.

Apart from the base being slightly crumbly, it was good.  Salted caramel is just delicious.

250 grams butter
100 grams sugar
100 grams cornflour
50 grams icing sugar
350 grams flour
1 can caramel condensed milk
50 grams walnuts
1 1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 170 degrees and line a 20 x 30cm slice tin with baking paper.

Cream together the butter and sugar and add in the cornflour, icing sugar and flour.  Mix together until it forms a ball.  I used my hands for this.

Divide the mixture in half and use one half to press into the tin and place the other half in the fridge.

Bake for 20 minutes until just starting to turn golden.  Remove from oven and cool.

Mix the salt into the caramel condensed milk and spread it evenly over the cooled base. Sprinkle over the walnuts, dice up the remaining dough and sprinkle that evenly over the top.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 - 25 minutes.  When cool, slice into squares and store in an airtight container.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wardrobe Wednesday - A Bit of Art

I have to stop myself from wearing this skirt everyday.  I am rather obsessed with it.  I tend to get really focused on one favourite piece of clothing and wear it till I am sick of it.  Or it falls apart.  A bit like when you are a teenager and have a favourite song that you play on repeat every spare minute of your day until you can't bear to hear it anymore.

So I only allow myself to wear this once a week as I want the joy to last.  I know, it does sound pretty crazy, but we all have our quirks.

I picked this up from the markets in Whitiangia over the summer, but the lady who makes them is actually based in Raglan and is often at the Tamahere Markets in Hamilton.  Check out her website, she makes some awesome stuff -

The bird is hand painted, and I love the doillies.  I team it up with a plain white singlet and my much loved and very worn jandels.  Perfect casual summer outfit.

I found this necklace at the markets at Cooks Beach over summer as well.  I may have a thing for birds?

Check out what everyone else is wearing for Wardrobe Wednesday over here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seriously The Best Playdough

This has to be the best playdough ever.  I've tried quite a few over the last 5 years and this by far has been the best.

It will last for months in an airtight container, and makes a nice big batch so its great to share amongst a group of children (the above photo is only half a batch).

1 cup salt
7 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons Creme of Tarter
Food colouring
4 cups of boiling water
5 cups of white flour

In a big bowl, mix together the salt, oil, Creme of Tarter, colouring and boiling water.  Mix through the flour with a wooden spoon and leave it till its cool enough to knead into a nice smooth, silky dough.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Do You Read a Bit?

My sister in law popped around the other day, and caught a glimpse of my bedside cabinet from down the hallway.

"That's an impressive book pile you have going on there Julie".

I guess I have read a bit this summer.   Does anyone else's bedside cabinet look like their local library check in desk?