Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sweet Treat Sushi!

Dried fruit is usually enjoyed by most kids. Try not to give them too much as the sugar content is quite high. For a bit of fun, why not try this:

Sushi – Sweet Treat Style!

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Ingredients:

An assortment of dried fruits (sultanas, chopped dates, chopped apricots, dried apple, cranberries)

If you like you can also include other ‘fruit snacks’ like fruit poles, fruit rulers, fruit straps (Most are supposedly 99% fruit)

Small rectangular fruit strap/roll up

 

Method:

  1. Dice up some dried fruit and leave others in long shapes
Use any dried fruit!

Use any dried fruit!

2. Place dried fruit into the fruit strap/roll up

Fill with dried fruit

Fill with dried fruit

 

3. Roll up as tightly as you can

Roll it up tightly

Roll it up tightly

4. Using a sharp knife, slice into small portions

Slice into small portions

Slice into small portions

Yibba Yabba Yummy! Put one in your child’s lunch box or have as an afterschool treat!

Have fun, the combinations are endless!

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Samballs – an alternative for sandwiches!

Not a boring lunch!

Not a boring lunch!


I have a kindy kid who is not partial to sandwiches. Sometimes I make her non-bread lunches (pasta, rice or crackers) but generally I make her sandwich. I am not one for cutting lunches into shapes – I would love to be that kind of mum, but the truth is I am not that organised to be able to put the time into making princess shaped sandwiches! So here is what I often make for her and is quite a winner with my other kids too!

Instructions for Making Samballs (We call them samballs because they are sambos shaped into balls!)

1. Cut the crusts of the bread. Fresh bread is easier to work with. (Thawed from the freezer is fine too)

Cut the crusts off

Cut the crusts off

2. Spread as usual with whatever your kids like. (Butter, avocado, creamed cheese, mayonaise)
3. Add a small scoop (1 or 2 tablespoons – depending on the size of your bread) of something to fill your samball. (Diced ham, chopped chicken,grated cheese, drained tuna, corn or whatever yummies your kids will eat!)

Add your ingredients to the centre of the bread (buttered or spread with whatever you like)

Add your ingredients to the centre of the bread (buttered or spread with whatever you like)

4. Shape into a ball! I find it easy to fold each corner into the middle and use my fingers to mould it into a ball.

Roll into a ball!

Roll into a ball!

5. Pop them into an airtight container and they will be lovely and fresh for lunch time!

Samball suggestions:
cream cheese and diced ham
chicken and avocado
tuna, corn and mayonaise
avocado, grated cheese and grated carrot
egg, mayonaise and lettuce
cream cheese and smoked salmon
salsa and grated cheese

I am Ready and Refreshed for This Week…Thank You Long Weekend!

Nature has so much to offer

Nature has so much to offer

I love long weekends! Just love them! I love that extra day to do more, or to do nothing….but it is another day without any pressures! (Let me be clear, I don’t go to work, in fact having everyone at home is more work, but I still love it!)

How did your long weekend begin? I don’t know how or why this happened, but today I woke up cranky! I am quite exhausted at the moment; my toddler thinks 4am is an appropriate wake up time, so perhaps I was too tired to remember that today was a long weekend! So, I dragged myself out of bed and snapped at the kids. Not a good start. I told myself “This is not going to be a good day…” Then I heard what I had said and had to fix it.

I did the only thing I could think of.

I climbed back into my bed and got out again, this time from the other side! (That was kind of weird, since it was hubby’s side and I don’t deal with that kind of stuff well!)

So with a different frame of mind I reappeared ready to thank Her Majesty for the day off and ready to make the most of this extra day! Today I let the kids in the kitchen; we made ourselves omelettes for breakfast.  Hubby had to disappear off to work so the kids and I went for a walk. Nothing too exciting, but it is for us, for we seldom do it! I have a multitude of excuses of why we don’t go, usually it is too hot or I am too busy. But today, the glorious winter sun was beckoning and most of the housework was done. So off we went.

And it was wonderful.

So wonderful.

My girls rode their scooters and I pushed bubby in the pram. She squealed with delight as her sisters rode ahead. They were all so happy. Then I realised it. I was happy too.  I think it was all that fresh air. It was reconnecting with nature, taking in the beauty of those native plants and the red outback earth.  I love nature.

Exercise and fresh air! Love it!

Exercise and fresh air! Love it!

The kids were quite happy to come home. I usually detest playing with food, but today, I let them create with their fruit! We had all sorts of fruit animals! (Perhaps you have seen my strawberry mouse on facebook today?) Both of my big girls proclaimed “This is the best day ever!” I had to agree.

So, tomorrow is back to work, school and kindy. Bubby and I need to get groceries and other jobs. Tomorrow is not back to the grindstone. It will not be ground hog day.  It will be a new day. I am refreshed and ready for it. And if I do wake up at 4am feeling like a slug, I will remember how to energise myself (even if I have to get back into bed in order to get back out of it again!)  I am going to do this more often and I have made a mental promise to take the children out for a walk more often. I know we will all be better off for it!

Are you refreshed and ready for this week?

Baked Eggs in Bread Baskets

Serve with crispy bacon, salmon, spinach leaves or baked beans

Serve with crispy bacon, salmon, spinach leaves or baked beans

This would have to be one of our kids’ favourite breakfasts! We usually serve them for guests – because they look a bit fancy and we get so many compliments about them! They are quick and easy to make. Serve on their own or dress them up with crispy bacon, smoked salmon, spinach leaves or baked beans! Yibba Yabba Yummy!

Baked Eggs in Bread Baskets

Ingredients: (Perhaps allow one for each child and two for the adults)
Sliced bread, crusts removed
Butter
Eggs

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 200˚C
2. Butter your bread. I only do once side, but hubby loves butter, so he has both sides buttered! Carefully press each slice of bread into a non-stick muffin tin. (This is the bread basket) You need to have the buttered side pressed down into the tin, so it doesn’t stick! Leave the corners of the bread facing out.

Press buttered bread into a muffin tin

Press buttered bread into a muffin tin

3. Carefully crack one egg into each bread basket. Don’t worry if some egg spills into the tin, it will still bake nicely.

Crack eggs into bread

Crack eggs into bread

4. Bake in the oven for about 15 mins. This will depend on how you like your eggs, so check them from 15 mins. (15 mins gives me a firm white but a runny yoke, a few minutes more will give a firmer yoke)
5. They should be nice and easy to lift out. You may need tongs or a spoon if they are too hot to handle.

Lift out and serve immediately

Lift out and serve immediately

6. These are fine to serve as is, but feel free to add crispy strips of bacon, smoked salmon, spinach leaves, asparagus or baked beans! (Go as fancy as you like!)
Enjoy! These are a lovely weekend breakfast! (Sometimes we even have them for dinner when hubby is away!) Do let me know how you go!

Homemade Sausage Rolls!

So easy! Much Healthier! Yummy!

So easy! Much Healthier! Yummy!

Homemade sausage rolls taste so great! You will be surprised at just how easy they are to make. I prefer not to use a packaged sausage mince, I don’t like all the additives and fillers and…it is so easy and much healthier to make your own! This is a great weekend cooking project for you and the kids, the whole family will love them…and the kids won’t even notice the hidden veges!

Homemade Sausage Roll Recipe
Ingredients:
250g beef mince
250g pork mince
1 cup grated carrot
1 onion finely chopped (use a food processor if you like)
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons mixed herbs (dry or fresh)
1 teaspoon mustard powder or curry powder
(Optional: salt and pepper to season)
Pastry:
4 sheets puff pastry (Cut each in half to make 8 pieces)
1 beaten egg and 1 tablespoon milk to glaze pastry

Method:
1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well! (Too easy, the kids will love to get their hands in and mix for you!)
2. Divide the mince mixture into 8 log shapes and place on the middle of each pastry piece.

Place mince in the middle and fold pastry in to overlap

Place mince in the middle and fold pastry in to overlap

3. Fold one half of the pastry on top of the mince log and overlap the other on top to form the sausage roll. Repeat with remaining mince and pastry.
4. Brush each roll with egg and milk glaze. Cut each into 8 pieces. (Make sure the overlapping pastry is on the bottom)

Allow some room between each piece

Allow some room between each piece

5. Place on 2 paper lined trays and bake at 200˚C for about 25 mins. You may need to turn the sausage rolls over and bake for a further 5 to 10 minutes.(see tip below!)

6. Serve with tomato sauce! Yibba Yabba Yummy!
Notes: If you are making these for toddlers or young children, you won’t need to add any salt or pepper. If you are making them for adults, season with salt and pepper and you may want experiment by adding a dash of worstershire sauce, more curry powder etc)

Tip: These do tend to ooze a bit which can make the pastry soft, so after 25 mins I replace the baking paper with a new piece and turn the sausage rolls over and bake for a further 10 mins or until the bottoms are browned.
As always, if you do make these, please let me know how it went! Enjoy!

Yummy! Serve with tomato sauce!

Yummy! Serve with tomato sauce!

Making Coloured Pasta Necklaces

So easy to make at home!

So easy to make at home!

Threading activities are wonderful for children. They help develop hand-eye co-ordination, patterning, colour recognition and finger dexterity. You can make necklaces, bracelets and even measuring strings. Make sure you talk to children during and after this activity, language is so powerful!

How to Make Coloured Pasta

Materials:
Hollow pasta with tube shapes (penne, macaroni)
Food colouring
Hand Sanitiser gel or rubbing alcohol
Zip Lock bags

Instructions:
1. In each zip lock bag, place a few squirts of hand sanitiser and a few drops of food colouring. Seal the bag and mix it well.

Mix hand sanitiser and food colouring

Mix hand sanitiser and food colouring

2. Add enough dry pasta to fit in the zip lock bag comfortably. Seal the bag and move the pasta around carefully until all the pasta is coloured.

Seal and give the bag a gentle swish!

Seal and give the bag a gentle swish!

3. Place coloured pasta on a tray to dry. These could dry within an hour, but I prefer to leave for a few hours, or overnight. (The food colouring will stain your hands and clothes if you don’t let it dry completely!) If you find your pasta is still wet underneath, transfer it to another tray lined with paper towel.

Allow to dry on a flat tray

Allow to dry on a flat tray

4. This pasta will keep for months in an airtight container (Don’t eat it!)

Tips for Threading with Children
1. Make a ‘needle’. An easy one to make is with a cotton tip. (ear bud) Tie a piece of string onto the bottom end of the cotton tip. The top end becomes the needle which is easy to thread through large pasta shapes. (May not fit through smaller macaroni)
2. Have a ‘stopper’. Tie another cotton tip onto the end of the string, this time horizontally so the pasta cannot fall through it.

Threading needle(left) and Stopper (right)

Threading needle(left) and Stopper (right)

3. Don’t make the string too long; it will be harder for small children to manage threading.
4. Talk about it! What colour are you using next? Why have you used this colour? Tell me about your pattern. What are you going to do with this necklace/bracelet? What is tricky about threading? What else could you make?
5. You can also thread strings of pasta to measure things! (Let’s make a one metre pasta string, how many lengths will our lounge be?)

Family Garden Craft

Here is a simple but lovely idea for home or school. Children can make the entire project themselves, and depending on the age of the children, they can be as fancy or detailed as they like!

My Family Garden!

My Family Garden!

Materials:

Coloured patty pans or cardboard to make flowers (two for each person)

Coloured Popsicle sticks (one for each person)

Photos of each person (family or class members) cut into circles. We used a milk bottle lid to trace around the photo to make them fit perfectly.

Instructions:

  1. Turn patty pans inside out. Flatten one slightly, but leave one inverted.
  2. Glue the inverted patty pan (we used a yellow one) onto a flattened patty pan, coloured side up. (We used a different colour for each person)
  3. Glue a photo into the middle of the inverted patty pan. (This is now your flower!)
  4. Glue each flower to a coloured Popsicle stick (The “stem”).
  5. You can add cardboard leaves if you like!
  6. If you like, you can put them into a garden (vase, flower pot, cardboard box etc)   Fill the pot with wishing stones, river rocks or coloured rice! You may need to use play dough or blu-tac to hold them steady.
Glue a photo into an inverted patty pan(yellow) then onto a slightly flattened patty pan.

Glue a photo into an inverted patty pan(yellow) then onto a slightly flattened patty pan.

Ideas for using and displaying:

Gratitude Garden: on the stems or leaves, write one thing you are grateful for or love about  that person.

Garden of Goals: write a goal or a hope to achieve on the back of each flower.

Friendship Garden: write names on stems/ leaves or petals.

You can also make a sign or your pot:

The Jones Family Gratitude Garden… Year 2 Learning and Growing Together

This was a nice weekend project for my bigger girls. It was a pleasant reminder of how much we love each other and how unique we all are.

My girls could do this by themselves!

My girls could do this by themselves!