Friday, 30 March 2012

Easter Baking with Kids: Cinnamon Crosses (and some other Easter playgroup activities)

This morning was our Easter celebration at playgroup, so I decided to make cinnamon crosses with the kids. They are REALLY easy. I've made them at a few camps, with my own kids and at playgroup a few times.

Cinnamon Crosses

You need:
1 packet puff pastry sheets
melted butter
pastry brush
cinnamon/sugar in a shaker

Defrost a pastry sheet and cut it into 2cm strips. Cut the strips into 2 pieces, one piece longer than the other. Lay the pieces onto baking paper, in the shape of a cross (the longer piece makes the vertical part of the cross, the shorter piece is the horizontal part of the cross).

Now is the fun (kid-friendly) part! Use the pastry brush to "paint" butter over the crosses. Use the shaker to sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake at 180˚C (160˚C fan-forced) until the pastry puffs up and turns golden (5-10mins).

Other Easter playgroup activities

We made Easter Sensory tubs...

Thanks Deb at the Aspiring Mum for the great idea!
and stained-glass windows (which even the 1 year olds were able to do with assistance!)
Mr Fun's craft (with a bit of help from Mummy)
We had an Easter Egg hunt (with plastic eggs containing chickens)...

and talked about how the Easter eggs/chickens remind us of the new life that Jesus gives us.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Do you know what your tea-towel has been doing today?

The first time I caught Mr 1 wiping his nose no my tea-towel, I was both amused and grossed out. Sadly, it wasn't the last time that happened, which always makes me wonder, "what has my tea-towel been doing today?"

Playing boo?
Wiping a child's head?
Being a superman cape?
Wiping the floor?
Being a floor cushion?
Assisting a child to slide on the floor?
Wiping a nose?
Lying, sad and abandoned, on the floor?
Returning home, with the assistance of a 1 year old?
My tea-towel provides much entertainment for Mr 1 (and you'll be pleased to know that I do wash it, A LOT!).

Do you know what your tea-towel has been doing today?

My Little Drummer Boys
Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

When spontaneity is splendiferous

I have always been a planner - I like to organise activities, I like to invite friends to do things with me. Since having kids, I have become even more of a planner - juggling weekend obligations (such as birthday parties, time with extended family, church commitments), organising catch-ups with other families (who are likewise busy), making sure that we have "family" time and that Franky & I have time together as a couple. But, from time to time, I experience the freedom of spontaneity and I love it! I love looking outside at an unexpectedly sunny day and saying to my kids, "let's go to the farm today". Today was one of those splendiferously spontaneous days.

On the weekend, we went to visit some old friends on the other side of Sydney. It was lovely to catch up and the kids had a ball. On the way home, Mr Fun fell asleep in the car. I looked outside at the beautiful, sunny day and had a sudden urge to go to the beach. I suggested it to Franky - Mr Fun was already asleep - we might as well make the most of it and keep driving! Franky was a little unsure, but didn't take too much convincing. We stopped by our house to collect our swimmers and the kids' PJs and drove to Cronulla. We spent the afternoon at Shelley Beach - playing in the playground, going to the beach and had fish and chips for dinner.

Yes, the kids went gone to bed quite a bit later than usual. Yes, our routine was thrown out for the day and I didn't get the washing done. I couldn't do this every day - our house would be a mess and our kids would be all over the place (plus, I don't think that my planner brain would be very happy...). But I'm so glad that we did it that day! We all had a great time, enjoying the sunshine and the sea. We created some awesome family memories.

Mr Sociable helping his brother to hold on
Franky and Mr Sociable looking at the sky and dreaming
Fun times!

When did you last do something totally spontaneous? How did it go?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Easter Craft: "Stained Glass" Window

Next Friday is our play group Easter celebration and I'm planning to make some Easter "stained glass" windows with the kids. Today I had a practise run with Mr Sociable and he liked making them. The result is quite pretty too!

cellophane, cut into squares
clear contact
scissors (optional: craft knife, metal ruler & cutting mat)
coloured paper

1. Print out the template (choose either A4 or A5). I used A5 paper (so that there wouldn't be too much area to cover before the kids lost interest!). In your printer settings, make sure you choose "actual size" rather than "scale to fit" & select the appropriate paper size (either A4 or A5).

2. Cut out the paper frame and cross.

3. Cut out the contact a bit bigger than the frame.

4. Stick the frame and cross onto the contact. After a bit of trial and error, I found the best way to do this was to roll the contact out gradually and smooth the frame onto the contact as you go (just like when you cover a book). I also found it helpful to do this part without kids "helping" ;)

Smoothing out the frame onto the contact
Gradually peel away the backing paper

Frame and cross stuck onto the contact
5. If you are preparing beforehand, stick the backing sheet back onto the contact until you are ready to make the "stained glass" with kids.

With the backing paper stuck on
6. Now it's time to get kids involved! Place the frame, sticky side up, onto the table and ask kids to put cellophane squares all over the clear window.

First square

Finished product
9. Put it on the window, or give it to someone special!

Alternate projects:
* Use the same process to make an Easter card. Cut a window out of a blank card (I used a craft knife, metal ruler and cutting mat), attach contact to the front, stick a cross and coloured cellophane behind the window.

* Use other Easter-themed pictures to make your stained glass (picture of an Easter egg, Easter bunny, chicken, etc).

Thursday, 22 March 2012

DIY edible paint

A few weeks ago, my friend told me about making edible paint for her 1 year old to play with. I was keen to have a go! So I found this recipe and made some paint with the boys. It was really easy! My colours are much more vibrant than those pictured in the recipe - I think I must have used a lot more food colour!

First, we mixed the cornflour and cold water (2 cups cornflour, 1 cup cold water). Next, we added 4.5 cups boiling water (2 cups at a time) & mixed it all up.

I divided the mixture into 7 smaller containers and used food dye to colour them. Mr Sociable helped to mix in the colour. Mr Fun mixed a little, but mostly tasted it ;)

As you can see, this recipe makes quite a lot of paint. I have put the leftovers in the fridge to use another day. You may want to halve the quantities if you don't want so much!

I scooped out small blobs of paint into an egg carton. Once the boys had finished painting, I scooped the leftover paint back into the containers to go in the fridge. Then I put the egg carton in the compost. Easy clean up!

Mr Sociable painted some flowers, experimented with mixing colours and making handprints.

Mr Fun painted a little, ate a little and then wandered off. He came back for more after a while and then decided it was more fun it paint with the water from the cup. 

This was quite a bit of prep for a short time painting. But, making the paint was half the fun! I really like knowing exactly what is in it - no big deal if Mr 1 eats a spoonful of the paint! Thankfully we have a lot left over, so should get another couple of painting sessions before we need to make more.

Have you ever made paint? What are the funniest things your kids have painted?

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

We bought a great box (with a bonus piano) - Wordless Wednesday

Earlier this week, I wrote about buying a piano. One of the great things about buying the piano is that it came with a great box! Immediately, I started to make plans for turning it into a truck...

"Jack is hiding down in his box until someone opens the lid... POP!"

Making the truck

Testing out the back door

Using our much-loved mini rollers to paint the truck
In future craft sessions this week, I am planning to add a steering wheel (using a split pin & plastic plate) and wheels (probably just from black paper with alfoil mags).

But, even it it's unfinished form, the box truck has already had a lot of play. Mr 4 had a playdate yesterday - they spent a long time playing "rescue" with the new truck (wearing fireman and policeman outfits).
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