Joy Is…

Oh Rocky…
Homemade rocky roadMmmm the joy of homemade Rocky Road. YUM. And Soooooo easy. My version goes like this –

Rocky Road:

Melt 250 gm bar of dark chocolate in bowl over boiling water, pour into a bowl which has a handfull of each – mini marshmallows, pistachios, dried cranberries, puffed rice cereal (maybe two of these, I used gluten free), and a pinch of flaked seasalt. (feel free to add what you like though, crushed biscuits and chopped dried apricots or dried cherries are a hit too) Stir, and pour into a 9 x 13 inch tray lined with greased baking paper. Chill. Dust with icing sugar. Cut. Eat. If any remain, save in a tin which you will then open immediately and eat more from. Life is short, just enjoy it!

Treasure huntersChilly winter walk with friends on the beach to look for burried ‘treasure’ (I sneakily hid some sweets/lollies) Any little pirate loves this activity.

marble run towerMarble run tower. How could you not love this! Great rainy day fun, and only $10 on sale too so a total bargain that has provided hours of entertainment.

Beautiful child portraitMy baby boy. Ahhh I just Love him. Look at those eyes! x

Pansy printingPansy printing that we did at our local playcentre – Literally the best thing ever!!!! I will do a proper blog post on the soon. Involves real pansies and a hammer, but even then I got much more into it then my son, oops.. for a change…  resluts are so pretty as you can see. Joy! x

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Easiest Ever Way To Poach Eggs

This is one of those ‘life hacks’ I keep reading about them – basically a way to simplify life and make any task easier! And well, if there is a shortcut, I will take it!

Poached eggs rock, but mine always tended to turn into a frothy mess of stringy eggs in a kind of vinegar infused broth. Not so good. Not any more. This is a super easy way to making the best poached eggs ever. You will never look back, I promise!

You will need: (aside from eggs and a pan of water..yeah ok)

  • Plastic wrap. (Also known as cling film, saran wrap or glad wrap depending on where you are!)
  • A small remekin or cup or similar

easy poached eggs

Thats it! So far, so S-i-m-p-l-e! Place a piece of plastic wrap over a ramekin  with enough to cove the edges like shown.

super easy poached eggs Break in the egg…poached eggsBring the edges of the plastic wrap together and twizzle it around (yes, twizzle) as shown. Bring your pot of water to a light simmer and lower in your egg/s! plastic wrapped eggs poachingYour eggs will take 2-5 min to cook depending on their size, freshness and whether they came out of the fridge or not. The good thing is you can easily lift the egg out at any time and give it a gentle squeeze to see if it feels firm enough for your liking. When done, simply untwizzle the plastic wrap (taking care as the plastic will get hot and even melt a little if it touches the side of the pan) and slide your egg onto you toast. You can toss the used wrap in the bin and empty out your pan and the only bit of washing up you will have to do is your plate, knife and fork! Whoo hoooo!!!! (If we are going to get all techincal and fancy, I have read that the method is called to Sous Vide, but, whatever.)Plastic wrap poaced eggs - mess free!In my humble opinion, nothing beats a beautiful free range egg on a slice of hot buttered toast, with a generous grind of black pepper and sea salt. Mmmm mmmm! And combined with this easy peasy, mess free method, poached egg time is now any time! x

Table Salt Drawing – Easy Creative Fun!

table salt activitiesSometimes, its the most simple and basic of ingredients or items found already in the home, which make for the most absorbing and fun activities… This one is an easy, quick to set up activity perfect for some quiet concentration on a rainy day.

Take table salt, a pretty dull but staple pantry item, and one that you would not readily assosiate with children (!!) but oh! The fun they can have with it! (supervised… of course!) Ok yes, they will at some stage probably stick a wet finger in and then lick it. They are children after all, and it looks so temptingly similar to sugar… But if that’s the only way to learn that it doesn’t taste good then its not something to get too stressed about!

For this activity you will only need table salt and a deep sided tray. I used a large oven baking try. Then you can use your imagination as to what you provide your child to play with (or indeed, theirs) My son chose a few toy cars at first, and made tracks in the salt, pretending it was snow. He was quite excited by the tracks that the cars were making, and then he started to draw in it with his finger, so I gave him a chopstick to use which he just loved.

Driving toy cars in table saltDSCF1391DSCF1399DSCF1393 DSCF1395

My son is quite (I think) talented at drawing and yet it is not something he will generally choose to do, he would much prefer a construction activity over sitting at the table with paper and pens, he gets too easily frustrated when the drawing goes ‘wrong’ and not how he wants it to look. However, he loves this activity – salt drawing is more of a tactile experience then ordinary drawing, and mistakes can easily be shaken away. He makes me take photos of his ‘best work’ so that it can be treasured forever.

So give it a go! And if you are the type of parent that feels like the ought to do more ‘creative stuff’ with your little one, but just can’t face anythig that will result in sticky mess, ease your conscience and reach for the salt! It will only require the most minimal clean up (at worst a simple bit of sweeping that you can even encourage your child to do) and they LOVE it. It will keep them engaged far longer then a magnetic doodle board, or the TV, and encourage their imagination and fine moter skills, whilst you can pat yourself on the back for being a ‘creative mother’. Yay! x

An Obsession with Polymer Clay

So, it appears I have gone “cray cray” over polymer clay. Ever since seeing a friend wearing a necklace a few weeks ago with these beautifully coloured beads that looked as if they were made of sugar candy, I knew I had to get my hands on the stuff. I literally started dreaming about it. And now I have, I have found it is deeply theraputic to mix different coloured clay to exactly the right shade, and shape the clay into perfectly round balls, or try to create a geometric shape that doesn’t look like a half chewed peice of cheese (harder then you would think). The best thing about it is its relatively mess free but still very tactile, doesn’t take up much space and I can craft away at the kitchen table whilst listening to a bit of BBC radio and sipping on a cup of tea. Bliss. But then I realised that I needed to have a purpose, rather then just aimlessly making shapes, so inspired by that necklace that started me off I am dipping my toes into making some jewellery. Dangerous waters I feel, as polymer clay can easily be Bad with a caplital B…a box of goodies

The supplies arrived. You gotta love the internet! Oops I may have sneaked in more then just polymer clay…

 candy beads

Ok so the clay I am using is called Premo Sculpty, but I know that ‘another’ name for this stuff, the name I remember it by, is Fimo. But Fimo, woah, wait a minute, that is just not cool. I mean, its for kids surely? – I first found love with polymer clay back when I was about 12, I remember hours spent creating ‘delightful’ jewellery containing teeny tiny models of fruit. A whole greengrocers strung on a necklace if I remember correctly. Ahhh bless my mum for wearing my creations! Luckily, I feel my skill level and tastes may have (fingers tightly crossed) improved 20 years on so I am hoping that my new found obsession may acually be profitable this time round. And I am determined to make fimo, ahem, I mean polyer clay, cool again! Yeah baby! (Memo to self – steering well clear of miniture bananas is key)

Ta Dah!!! Freshly baked clay beads and earings (No fruits were attempted at any stage)

polymer earings

tutti fruiti polymer necklaceI hope I’m still allowed to use fruity colours…?

Its still a work in progress creating them into wearable peices of jewellery but I hope to have enough made up to be able to sell them soon! I am thinking etsy and my facebook page… I will also do a little tutorial too so watch this space…………………………….. (Not actually that space. That would be silly) x

Slime!

slime recipe

My son was so excited by this activity. You only have to say the words “lets make slime” to any 4 year old boy to watch their face light up with joy! The fact that is was green, (his all time favourite colour) just made it all the more wow-tastic.

Now we have made gloop many times before, which is just cornflour and water mixed together. If you haven’t made it you must, its a wonderful sensory activity for any toddler or child. This time however I wanted to make something a bit more, well, slimey, for my boys to really get their teeth (or rather hands) into.

slime dough

slime

The mixture is one of those that you can tweak a bit to make it more runny or more firm and ‘dough’ like depending on how much water you add. The best way to go is on the ‘less is more’ principle and just keep adding a little more water at a time until it is the right kind of sliminess for your liking!

Slime Recipe:

  •  2 and 1/4 cups cornflour
  • 1/2 cup shampoo
  • 5-7 tablespoons of water. (start with 5, mix and see if you need more. Once you have gone too runny its hard to get it doughy again)

optional:

  • a few drops of food colouring

Put your cornflour in a bowl and mix in the shampoo, I just bought some cheap shampoo at the $2 shop as it was bright green and smelled nice! Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish, if your shampoo is not brightly coloured enough. Now add the water a tablespoon at a time and mix well before adding each extra tablespoon. As you can see from the first photo, ours went a bit runny, however as we played with it it lost some of the moisture and became more dough like. It is more fun when doughy as it seems to have a stretchy, shinny, gooeyness which the boys loved. We could do handprints and roll it into balls, then watch as the balls ‘melted’ off our hands. DSCF1353 DSCF1352

J liked it best when it was in a bowl, with more water added so he could stir it around and around. There are not many photos of the firmer dough as I was so busy playing with it (with the boys ahem..) that it was hard to keep my hands clean enough to take photos! I stored the firmer dough in an airtight tub so we could play with it again. I would say it lats for a few days but not that long.  You may just need to add a touch more water to rejuvinate it! Oh and by the way, it looks crazy-scary-messy I know, like “aghhhh why would you ever make this in your house you mad person???”… but trust me, it’s actually not that messy and is sooo easy to clean up with just the wipe of a wet cloth. Promise ;-P x

NB here are a few extra photos of a firmer version of the slime made on a separate occasion. homemade slimeslimehomemade slimeslime ball

It’s been a while…

Ah its been a bit quiet on the creative front lately (understatement) due to several factors… the main one being our whole household getting infected wirth strep throat!

Joy definetly isn’t Streptococcus . Strep is not something I was that familiar with. Oh but I am now believe me!

There wasn’t much that helped sooth my throat except a remedy I made from a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey.

Sore throat cure

Sore and strep throat remedy:

  • 1 tablespoon of melted or runny Honey – (organic Manuka honey would be the best to use, but I used whatever was to hand)
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar (again, organic would be best I’m sure)
  • half a cup of water

Basically mix ingredients in a glass and gargle then spit out first, then gargle and then swallow the second time. Do this every hour. I kept my mixture in a jar in the fridge until I needed it.

It really helped to sooth it ansd I’m sure worked more effectivly then the antibiotics!

Here are some photos of us at our worst…

IMG_5402Poor little J probably had it bad. Very high fever, vomiting, and very swollen pussy tonsils, and an ear infection. I have never seen him so poorly 😦

IMG_4334Next to go down was me, I also got a lovely eye infection to complement the other symptoms nicely…

IMG_5434Mmmm attractive close up, it was so itchy and sore!

IMG_5505

And then it was poor S who was hit, and my husband too but luckily he got onto antibotics very quickly and evaded most of the symptoms other then a sore throat. Phew! S got strep and the eye infection as well… 4 days of not eating and finally he had an ice lollie (ice block to NZers!) IMG_5511

Finally everyone was on the mend and I breathed a sigh of relief that things could go back to normal… But I relaxed too soon, as one week later I was driving home and my car was ht by a drunk driver! Luckily I was alone without the kids and was hit on the passenger side. I have to say it was one of the scariest moment of my life when I was hit and both airbags went off. Plus, the naughty scoundrel drove off, but the hapless fool didn’t reckon on the fact that he had left part of his car beind with the number plate on it, so the police were quickly on his tail and caught him, ha! He is being charged on 3 counts, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and fleeing the scene of an accident. Unfortunately I had to spend 3 hours horizontal in a neck brace in A&E which was scary, but 8 x-rays later I was given the all clear and could go home and hug my family. It’s definately times like these that make me question why we live in New Zealand so far away from family…

car crash

Still, I am counting my blessings as even though the car is a written off, we had insurance and I walked away pretty much unharmed.

Life is precious, don’t sweat the small stuff people! x