Toddler Meltdown Snack

I am sure you can relate at just how often one of our little people has begun to fall apart just that bit earlier than expected.

They are suddenly oh so tired and ready to sleep but supper isn’t ready or they are just too tired to eat BUT oh the horrors if they fall asleep with an empty tummy and then wake in the middle of the night starving.

Over the years this simple meal has saved many a crazy moment.

All children love custard – so we came up with the idea of using custard powder and milk then throw in an egg and keep whisking while it cooks, serve with a drizzle of honey to entice your tired little person into eating. Within minuets you have a nutritious (dairy and egg) tummy filling snack made.

Once they taste this yummy easy to eat snack – yes I often have to sit with them on my lap and shovel it in – they happily eat it all and with full warm tummies, they snuggle down for a good night sleep. And that means a good night sleep for mommy and daddy too!

 

Grapefruit Lollies

Hmmm – as uninviting as they sound my children have made an awesome discovery! Grapefruit Lollies! Well actually they were at a friend on Monday who introduced them to the idea so naturally on Tuesday we had to spend the morning making them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The idea it to basically peel and cut grapefruit into thirds or quarters,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roll it in as much sugar as Mom will give you…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stick in a wooden stick, lay on a baking tray and freeze over night.

And voila you have grapefruit lollies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can imagine these going down really well on a hot summer day. Just how to store them till then. Will need to give that some thought!

Health Challenge

Fruit Platter

Last weekend I once again had my life challenged and need to once again readjust mindsets and expectations. Suppose that is what makes life so exciting – it’s a journey that just keeps us growing and learning more and more.

Last year was a wreck of a year for us – owing to many hard circumstances we found ourselves trapped in a survival mode. Whereas before I had spent much time ensuring our family ate well and had healthy meals I had lapsed into buying cheap, unhealthy shop bread, smothered with whatever spread we could find. We had always made our own juice but now my children were drinking thick, sticky jungle juice that smelt of chemicals. Deep in my mind I knew we’d need to address this but I was just not in the place to do so.

Over the past few months we have again ensured that the kitchen is filled with fruit and vegetables so that the children can fill up on bananas, apples and carrots. I have however been acutely aware that our protein intake has been lacking and that we have been eating far too much bread and processed foods.

When I heard about a health day being run at the Oikos Farm and knew that the time was right. This was such an encouraging day and I came home feeling inspired and encouraged to make the changes necessarily. What I found most encouraging was that unlike many health talks they did not insist on us going completely raw or absolutely no sugar or cakes or only organic. It was clear that these are fundamental but just as important we need to consider we are sourcing our products from.

For example bread and flour – in moderation – are not bad. However the flour we are using has been processed in such a way that it can cause great harm to our bodies. Sugar in moderation is fine too – if it is brown sugar bought directly from the mill before it has been processed and bleached. Yogurt is also fantastic – but make your own.

This does sound like a great deal of work and effort but when one considers the hardships that cancer and illness brings it
inspires one to go the extra mile.

We have spent this week looking at what we are using and are slowly weeding out the bad and replacing it with the good. So many adjustments have been smooth and easy whilst others will be more challenging. It is my heart to share this journey – the ups and the downs – with you with the hope that you will be inspired and motivated to look at your family and see how you too can benefit from these changes in your lifestyle.

As I said life is a journey, one that we never quite get perfect or reach a final destination, instead we just keep learning and growing. So please drop in again soon and join the ride.

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Maths for Lunch

This last week I decided to help our little maidens learn their numbers – during lunch. So we embarked on a fun project that sorted lunch time out for me as well.

We began by making some white bread dough (8 cups of flour, 1 packet of yeast, about 4 cups of luke warm water, some oil and salt) Then at the last minute – much to maiden #1’s horror I added BLUE food colouring.

Once it was well kneaded we left it to rise. About half an hour later each child was given a ball f dough on a floured surface. The older children made all sorts of creatures whilst I helped the girls make their numbers 1-5.

This was a great activity as it worked their fin muscles whilst they were learning something “academic.” For my more visually orientated child this activity was crucial as she could see the number being physically build. She also had the opportunity to touch and feel the number as a concrete object and then even eventually eat it!

Once we had shaped the dough we splashed them with water and cooked it in the warmed oven. The length of time depended on the size of the creations – but once they began to go brown we took it that they were ready.

The kids were delighted with the results.

When offered his lunch….

Lord Dad was a bit concerned about what exactly goes on while he’s at work 😉

But the rest of the household filled their tummies up on blue bread and jam!

This was one of those easy to do activities that we can easily repeat and it would still be enjoyed just as much. There is so much learning that can be drawn out of making normal bread and so much more out of bright coloured number bread.

So take the plunge have some coloured bread for lunch today and leave a comment saying how it turned out.

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Raw Banana Ice-Cream

Once we found out that our one son was allergic to milk ice-cream had to go 🙁 At first this was very hard – especially on special occasions! One day a friend introduced us to banana ice-cream. This simply involves freezing ripe – but not over ripe bananas. You peel them, swish them in lemon juice and freeze them. This is a job the kids love to do. Besides being fun it helps develop their preschool hand-eye coordination, sorting and sequencing skills. Then when you want ice cream simply place the frozen bananas in a blender – we find our handheld Braun mixer works the best. You just need to eat it quickly as it tends to melt.

The kids love it and we’ve even used it in cones! Then again if you don’t feel like blending the bananas the kids also really enjoy munching on a frozen banana on a hot day! (For a treat you can dip the ends in melted cooking chocolate and refreeze) Yum, yum!

For those trying to go even healthier you can make your own coconut oil chocolate then it’s truly healthy and you can just keep eating!

In : Treats

Our Turkish Trip

Mist early in the morning. Bolu province / Tur...

This year our homeschool journey has found us learning about the Jewish feasts and studying the Geography of the Holy Land. We have used Ann Voskamp’s book A Child’s Geography – Explore the Holy Land, and it has been an amazing journey so far. This remarkable book has allowed us to embark upon an amazing Turkish trip.

This imaginary Turkish trip has left me wishing that I could travel there today. Never before did I realise that Turkey was where Ephesus was or that Abraham has lived in Turkey or that this was where Mnt Ararat is. I think that  have learned and enjoyed this as much as the children.

 

We decided to finish our Turkish trip with a Turkish meal. We tried our hand at making Turkish delight – but it didn’t work too well, but kids still enjoyed the yummy goo we concocted.

We then prepared some flat Turkish bread

 

and tavuk sis kebabes that Lord Dad cooked on the braai / coals for us while

we made some yumurtah ispanak (spinage and egg) in the kitchen.

Once we were all ready we found a youtube video of some whirling dervishes and some Turkish music online and we settled around our table to share the joys and mysteries we had discovered on this most intriguing Turkish trip we had taken.

 

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Homemade Berry Jam

Over the past few years we have been making our own jam – and what a blessing it has been. I would never have pictured myself as a mommy who makes her own jam but when you have 7 people scraping a tin clean in no time (and you see all the preservatives added – one becomes something one didn’t expect.)

Raspberry Jam

Many people ask me how I make jam and to be honest it is so simple – once someone has told you how 🙂

Last month we spent a day with some friends who own a campsite in the

Drakensberg and while we were there Knight #1 and I spent some quality time together picking bramble berries. (I believe that these are known as blackberries elsewhere.)

 

We picked and picked and picked and came home with one treasured kilogram of berries. This was then made into jam (we managed to squeeze out 3 jars from our precious kg.)

Blackberry

Here’s how we made them:

  • Weigh your fruit (we’ve used this recipe with figs, plums, strawberries and
  • Add the same amount of sugar as you have fruit – though I do find this often too sweet so I have on occasion halved it. blackberries)
  • The boil it all up together. (You can also cook the fruit first and then add sugar once it has softened. This sometimes help prevent the sugar burning on the bottom while the fruit cooks.)
  • Keep stirring all the time as it catches and burns easily. Slightly reduce the heat and keep it bubbling away. (Please be careful it doesn’t pop up onto you as it will burn really badly at this heat!)
  • Simultaneously boil a big pot of water filled with the bottles and lids you want to use for the jam. These need to boil for 20 minutes to steralise them.
  • Once the jam is boiling you will want to know when it is ready. The easiest way to do this is to put a tiny drop on a saucer and then tip the saucer. If it runs easily it is not yet ready. Once you tip the saucer and the jam is sluggish or doesn’t really move it is ready.
  • Take the jars out of the water and tip jam into the jars. Fill the jam right up to the top of the jar -so if overflows slightly – and put on the lid. This heat will create a vacuum and will keep the jam fresh for the next year. (We usually do this late at night when all little people, are fast asleep and not busy running under boiling pots!)

Yes, we have had some jams that have gone off and others that have ended up being very runny but overall it has been a great skill to learn and one way that we can keep eating jam daily without worrying about the excessive cost or the preservatives poisoning our bodies.

Yum, Yum bramble berry jam on huge pancakes!

Let us know how your jamming goes.

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Life Celebration Tea Party

After our scare with the twins being so sick we decided to take a restock of our days and spend some time together just enjoying life. So we had a Life Celebration Tea Party!

Firstly we popped over to se7en (a most amazing and inspiring site) and made a batch of their basic cookies. The most basic and most versatile mixture that was SO yummy – (we actually made a double batch and froze it for another day)

We then scooped and mixed….

Then we cut stars and hearts…

Added icing and sprinkles….

and then had to scrub that table clean!!!

Hearing thunder and realising a storm would spoil our picnic our Maidens dashed outside to gather flowers to put on the mat indoors.
We quickly whipped up some homemade apple juice and orange and carrot juice, set the tray – we had to now add some sarmies as it was lunch time and the knights were ravenous, – and settled down for a picnic tea (in the lounge) to the sounds of thunder and pouring rain.
What smiles and giggles and life filled the room and Lady Mom said,
“All is well with my soul!”

Don’t forget to pop over to se7en to find out more exciting ways to use this great basic recipe!

Household Helpers

Ever wonder what the easiest way to stimulate a little ones hand-eye coordination as well as their attention span? Well one of the best tricks is to get your child to do whatever you are busy doing! Try include them in your everyday chores as well as other household activities that they will enjoy. Recently our 4 and 2 yr olds helped squeeze a bucket of grapefruit and then we spent a whole morning freezing bananas to make banana ice-cream!

The activity involved them peeling the banana, throwing the skin in the rubbish bucket, dipping the banana in lemon juice and then placing it in the freezing tray. This required them to recall a method and a procedure, they had to focus for a length of time on one specific task and constantly use their hand-eye coordination. This was obviously developing their fine motor skills too. There was no pressure to join in or stay with the activity but they all enjoyed it so much. Some came and went while another say for about 45 minutes working in the task. It was a most enjoyable time for us all – and we now have banana ice-cream to look forward too!

You may not have stacks of bananas to peel and freeze but look at your day and see what routine tasks you perform and where your child could either help you or even do them for you. They love working alongside Mom and being of use. They also really enjoy doing “big people’s” activities rather than playing with plastic pretend toys in another room when they could be involved in the real deal. Let them wash dishes, just take out the knives and glassware, show them how to use a cloth properly and you’ll be amazed at their capability. Let them help you hang up washing on a smaller line or a clothes horse. They can help wipe tables, put dishes away and tidy cupboards. Even a 2 year old can carry their own clothes to their cupboard and learn to put them away.

All these activities are so vital to their fundamental development and coordination skills and yet so often we over look them. Before long they will be busy with school work and friends treasure these special times with your little helpers.

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