Monday, May 31, 2010

salt dough creations

I gave Jumeirah a packet of twisties in the car yesterday. She was half way through when I hear her yelp and say " LOOK! Its a dog, Mum!" Child with a very active imagination, so I thought. But check it out! It really is a dog!!

I have no idea what happened to Friday.. I swear I wrote something. But strangely, I cant find it nor can I remember what I wrote... hmmm must have been one of those days :)

I got organised over the weekend, realising that when I am organised, crafty times and play times are so much more fun. I know what to get out, I am more excited about what we are doing and that becomes infectious and so my kids are excited too! I decided to make some playdough and put something different with it this morning.

The dough I ended up making was more of a salt dough which can be hardened and I gave them some gorgeous beads and things to stick into the dough. We also had some playdough cutters to make shapes for them to bead on.

Salt Dough

2 cups of plain flour

1 cup salt

1 cup of warm water

mix well

add colouring if you like or you can paint them when they dry out

I found this mixture needed more flour added but I think it was because the night air was damp and cold when I made it. It needs to be a non sticky consistency. Will keep in the fridge wrapped in Glad Wrap.

Amahli was straight in, shes not normally allowed free reign of my beads as I really like them and they are hard to find so I normally reserve them for Jumeirah to make bracelets. But I am learning to let go of my analness and let her try out new things with " my" stuff. :)

She cut out a teddy bear and a hand with her dough, using her hands to flatten it out nad push the cutter down. She was incredibly meticulous with each bead, totally not what I thought she would do ( maybe she knew I was letting her use special things and knew not to rock my boat) and pushed each bead into the dough.
I even let her use my tiny beads to decorate her little "A" and she was so careful to get each bead into the dough without ruining the shape. She was fascinating to watch :)

She wanted to keep making these little art works and made 4 of them before announcing she was getting Jared for a turn.

As I made this dough last night, Jared didnt watch me making a colossal mess, all he saw was this neat, blue dough so he too was keen to play.

He didnt want my help at all, and was also really particular in where beads where placed. He made patterns on the hands, faces on some of them, and all the points on the stars.
He was proud of his hard work too which I always love to see.

We cooked them in the oven for about 3 hours on a low setting to help them to harden.
All of the creations have holes in the top so we could hang them when they were done.
We havent hung them yet, will show you what they look like when we find the perfect place for them :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

kids in the kitchen: pizza

Jumeirah is the rescuer of animals, great and small. She gets this mostly from her Nanna, Im sure. Recently it was this giant moth that kept attacking me in the kitchen... she carefully told him I wasnt his biggest fan and he'd be safer not in my kitchen :)

Ok, so I have sent all who entered in the Postcard swap an email tonight... quite a decent number of people are involved, each of you in it will get to write 9 postcards to send.. should be fun!!

Its a quick one tonight... Im am beat and in need of a shower and an early(ier) night :)
The other day, it began at 3pm...the whine, the sigh, the "I dont think I'll like that." How it started?
That dreaded question again " Whats for dinner?"

I have been trying a few new things here, nothing to spectacular, but I am seriously over Spagetti Bolognaise and I had made a few really easy slow cooker things for hubbin and I that take absolutely minimal effort and tasted divine but it wasnt getting through the stringent testing of my three littles. Well one would eat whatever she could find ( and especially floor things) but the other two were much harder to please.
And so the other night, I told them they could each pick one ingredient and we would create something new together.
At the shops, Jumeirah picked chicken and bacon, Amahli picked ham, and Jared picked pineapple and cheese. I think the bigs were hoping for my Chicken Monterey ( cooked chicken covered in BBQ sauce, sprinkled cooked bacon on top, then covered in grated cheese and popped into the oven to melt. ITS SO YUM) but I was determined to do something different,something we havent done much before.
And so we also got pizza bases and pizza sauce ( and pepperoni for daddy) and went home to make our own pizzas.

(yes they do seem very meaty pizzas but I wanted them to pick as they wished. Jumeirah would have had a complete broccoli pizza but unfortunately we forgot so I promised her next time:))

Its a known fact in our house that as soon as I have let them help in the kitchen, they have been more willing to try what they make. Jumeirah hates shop pizza so I was hoping that this easy dinner that she would make would be a hit.
I got all the toppings ready, and set it out ready to create.

They all enjoyed spreading their own toppings, Jared needing to taste everything to make sure he like it, Amahli eating most of hers before it go to the pizza, Jumeirah doubtful that she was going to like it.

We sat round the oven to watch what would happen to them and talked about things "melting".

The smell was amazing and soon enough they were ready. Surprisingly, they were inhaled AND enjoyed :)

( her face still has the remnants of another face painting session)

Oh YUM.....pineapple, bacon and smokey bbq sauce for me :)

What recipes do you cook with your kids?? Can anyone give me some more kid friendly ideas??

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Simple beach fun

Today I took the littles to the beach. I dont do it often enough which is crazy seeing as its about 7 minutes away, its free, and they love it! And whilst I am not a huge fan of sand, it was so nice to be outside and in some wonderful fresh air.

(you'll have to excuse the photos... I didnt take my camera as sometimes its nice just not having it hanging around my neck. Regretted it as soon as we arrived but luckily I had my phone. So these are phone photos :) )

Never one to miss an opportunity for some sneaky learning fun, heres what we did :)

Traced the letter "J" in the sand and then follwed each other on it, first walking, then jumping, then running. Amahli thought this was brilliant and raced around saying "a J!", squiggled with the stick in the sand and jumped on it :)

We then drew a J and found stones to copy it. This only got half done before we moved on...

Jared found a great log and so we balanced like elephants on a string along it. Amahli did the one foot up one foot down technique but Jared really liked this and tried really hard to keep his balance.

Jared found and picked up his first Blue Soldier Crab. Normally its mother earth Jumeirah who does this but as she was at school, he braved it and walked around with his little friend, showed his his choice of rock pools, introduced him to Amahli and told him all about her, before returning him the the sea.

Amahli had a ball tranferring sand from one part of the beach to the water and did this for ages.. such a funny little one to watch. She also managed to sneak in a little swim...

We watched as the sun hid behind a cloud and for just a few moments, the world went darker, alot darker :) We talked about how we have a sun in the day and the moon at night.

I turned to the left between these two photos... no we didnt have dissapearing rocks :) These two photos are EXACTLY as I took them. The dark one was quite eerie but fascinating as we could actually look at the sun.

We chased and squealed and raced till we dropped...

An awesome beach day :)

OK I know I said I was going to send out the lists for the swap today but I had a few sneakies JUST scrape in as I started to do them.. so Im finishing them now!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

window painting/ cotton bud painting for little fingers

My favourite way to be serenaded...

I have just about finished making the lists for the POSTCARD SWAP... I am actually pretty excited about it :) We got quite a good number of girls doing this from all over the world so it should hopefully be exciting for you too! You should recieve an email from me porbably tomorrow with the names and addresses of the people that you will be writing to. I will blog a bit more on this tomorrow, how and when to send them and hints about what to write. Stay Tuned!

I cut a few more Mumma strings today, and with that came a small leak from my face. With the rocky start Jumeirahs had into school life, she has wanted me to walk her to and from her classroom each day so she can prepare herself. This term is completely different from her, we've had no tears and the things that were bothering her have stopped, thank goodness.
She has been meeting me at the side gate in the afternoon and now has three other girls that all meet their mums with me at our spot. But this morning, she decided that she would be ok to walk by herself down the big hill, across the wilderness of the playground and down to her classroom. I encouraged this whilst I worried about the 5 million handball games she'd have to negotiate, wet ground that we all slip and slide in most mornings, "big kids" ( need I say more?? They are a scary breed) but she assured me she was ok, kissed me and turned and off she went. And I started leaking, realising that another thread in my chain to her was being cut. I watched her almost all the way, silently begging her to stop running on the concrete (I like her face the way it is thankyou) and proud of her that she has taken and pushed herself through this step. Ok its not alot, but it was a big thing for both of us :)

Today I decided to be brave and attempt a craft we did a fair bit at preschool, but one we knew would be mesy and sometimes unpredictable.. window painting.
Its finger painting but on a window or mirror which totally changes its appeal and effect. I made some finger paint from cornflour glue, tinted it blue, and spread a really thin layer onto the glass door.

Both came over, fascinated with what I was about to do. I took photos of my efforts as I wasnt sure i would be game to take photos of them doing it just in case I coludnt put down the camera fast enough.
Once a thin layer is applied, you can draw in the paint with your finger.

Once you have a design or picture, put a piece of paper over it to take the print. (You dont have to do this bit but it can be a good way to keep a picture if they want to).

Amahli was keen and I tried to encourage one finger to draw with but she was hell bent on using her whole hands to spread.

I let her go :) ( This craft isnt even attempted without wet towels to clean up on hand)

Jared wouldnt go any closer to it than about 10 metres back. But I quickly showed him a cotton bud and suggested he use that instead and he, surprisingly, was able to do it and enjoy it!

We printed a few but they were happier to just explore the paint.

In the afternoon, we went with a much more low key and easy painting experience and did cotton bud painting.

Amahli hadnt quite filled her crafty quota and was bugging me to "paint now!" As she is still learning to hold a paintbrush, these little cotton buds really encourage a very fine grip which really helps those muscles develop. It was great for Amahli as the paint dries really fast so she doesnt have much chance to get covered in it, the colours are really vibrant and fun to paint with, and she can paint as many as she likes!

Monday, May 24, 2010

magic beans: bringing stories to real life

A hug is two hearts wrapped in arms.

Such a busy weekend here.. but such fun :)

I have had such a great change of heart this last week.. think it comes from finding what I want to do with myself, having some goals and a great friend to kick my butt encourage me :) Thanks friend xx

Over the weekend we did lots of bits and pieces.. I finished a few more goodies for my almost ready little shop. Its something I have wanted to do for ages but needed some motivation to get started and just do it. Its a little way off yet but it should be great! Some wonderful little things to keep little minds happy and busy.
We also got to and planted out magic beans. We talked about it on Friday night and woke up fully prepared to start but it was raining and so we read the story of Jack and the Beanstalk ( from our prize from Grow with me Gifts) and also own our copy of a Jack and the beanstalk book and then waited for it to stop.

This happened late in the afternoon and as soon as it had, I had one very eager kid with a fist full of magic beans out the door... and then stop up short. " Mum if I plant these, it wont really reach the clouds will it? I dont think we need a giant around here right now." Think we will be ok, my love :)

ANd so we trotted to our ever growing patch of garden and dug some holes. Now, its nearly winter here, the days and nights are getting colder. I wasnt sure how our beans would survive the cold weather so Jumeirah suggested we save some for when we grow our "real" garden when Pa comes and that way they will have a bigger spot to grow and we can wait until it gets warmer to plant them too.
And so we planted three, "in case two dont work".

She dug holes, kissed them good luck and popped them into their cosy new homes.

We then watered them lightly as the ground was still soaked from the rain. We also checked out the progress of our "Egg plants" ( our plants we planted from our easter egg cards we made from homemade paper) and were surprised again at how they are growing!!

Tomatoes too, are taking over the world, going to find some stakes to give them a bit more direction.

Magic beans planted, we went inside for something else to do. The suggestion was face painting. Something we have done in ages and so I said yes. Now in my preschool teacher days, I was quite a whizz at face painting. Today they wanted bees and cats and I could not work out how they were supposed to look.

Jared looked like he'd been attacked with black paint, and the girls.. well I just dont know. But they loved it, as did half the shopping centre when I had to take them out and they refused to wash it off...

And to top off a great day... it starts to rain again and God gives me this little glimpse of a rainbow.. and I know that just for today.. all is well :)