How to make a simple spider

Thankfully toddlers are not art critics. They take joy in simple pleasures and aren’t going to worry if your arts and crafts skills aren’t going to get you a gallery listing.

You can make a simple spider using:

  • Cardboard inner tube
  • Scissors or sharp knife
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Marker pen or felt tips (or buttons or googly eyes).
  1. Cut your paper tube to size (toilet rolls are a good size but a paper towel roll will need cutting in half or thirds).
  2. Make eyes. The simplest option is to draw then on but googly eyes are great if you have a packet lying around.
  3. Make 4 holes on each side of the paper tube (roughly parallel).
  4. Push 4 pipe cleaners through the parallel holes so they stick out each side. You now have 8 legs!
  5. Draw a web for your spider or print one out from Worksheet Fun.
Advertisements

Making your own gourmet nut butter – it’s easy!

wp-1485639944207.jpg

Home-made Tree nut butter

Ingredients

  • Raw unsalted nuts.
    • I used a 150g blend that was cashew nuts (51%), almonds (26%), brazil nuts (11%), hazel nuts (6%), macadamia nuts (6%).
  • Oil (I use Rice Bran oil).
  • Salt

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free.

I posted recently about how easy it is to make peanut butter and wanted to try my hand with tree nuts.

Making your own nut butter can be great if you have a food allergy in your family. It’s handy because you can customize it and experiment with different nuts. It can also be a cost effective way of making nut butter. Often tree nut butters are really expensive but if you’re able to pick up the nuts cheaply then it’s quick to make your own!

Directions

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  1. Roasting gives the nut butter more flavour. You can choose whether you want to buy roasted nuts or roast them yourself (if purchasing pre-roasted, check the type of oil that has been used if you have a soy allergy). Roasting gives the peanut butter more flavour and helps to loosen the oils inside the nuts to blend into a smoother butter.
    • Heat the oven to 180’C / 350’F and toast the nuts till they are golden and glossy with oil. This will take about 10 mins.
  2. Put nuts, a pinch of salt, and a teaspoon of oil into a food processor.
  3. Blend on 10-20 second bursts and scrape down the sides with a plastic spatula as needed. You’ll find it starts off looking a bit like crumbly breadcrumbs – this is normal!
    • I found the tree nuts were a lot tougher than the peanuts and took longer to blend. You don’t want to overheat the motor on your food processor so be kind to it and aim for short bursts on/off!
  4. Continue blending  until shiny and smooth.
    • Add a teaspoon of oil at a time if you’re finding it dry.
  5. Add salt to taste.

Potato Latkes

latkes

Potato Latkes

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
    • I use around 450g per batch.
  • 1 small red sweet onion, finely diced.
    • I have used brown onion as well for more of a hashbrown flavour.
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • 3T flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Oil (or butter) for frying.
  • Toppings: sour cream & apple sauce.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions:

  1. Grate the potato.
    • A food processor is great for this! I have also hand grated. In some countries you can buy bags of frozen pre-shredded potato.
    • Note: if using a food processor for the potato then you can also use it for the onion but remove the potato first.
  2. Squeeze the potato with your hands to remove excess moisture and then pat dry.
  3. Put the potato in a mixing bowl and add onion, eggs, seasonings, and flour. Mixture should be thick and cohesive.
  4. Heat and oil a frying pan and fry batches of potato mix (I use about 2T for each patty).
  5. Fry for several minutes on each side.
  6. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately or keep warm in the oven on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
    • If you want to wait and have everyone eat together then you can brown each side of the latkes on a higher temperature, cook for a slightly shorter time, and then finish them all off in the oven for 5-10 mins.

Learning to count

Funnily enough, when reading our one Dora the Explorer book, Miss 2 can count 1-5 in Spanish but in English will normally jump to her favourite numbers (7,8,9).
One of our recent craft activities was creating ‘Counting to 5 in Five Languages’ (English, Maori, Mandarin, Spanish, and French) but we ended up adding Croation as well as one of the families we play with regularly are bi-lingual.

Miss 2 chose the buttons with some guidance from me to encourage a mix of sizes and colours. Then I hot glued on the buttons and we’ve hung it on the fridge.

I try to count in different languages but it’s nice to have a reminder on the fridge and the buttons are a nice visual for her.

Now on Pinterest!

Yay, FlyingSolo is now on Pinterest and lovingly curated to make things easy to find. Posts have been saved across multiple boards so that it’s easy to find things to do on rainy days, or things to cook for dinner, or baking, or gluten free recipes, or dairy free recipes etc.

Have fun and please remember to share 🙂

How to make hanging hand towels

 

Toddlers love becoming independent and however they phrase it, what they’re thinking is along the lines of ‘Me do! Me do!’.

At meal times, Miss 2 is understands that when she’s finished she needs to wipe her face and hands with a wet bamboo cloth (although sometimes she’d rather I chase her giggling into the lounge). I’m also teaching her to wash her hands before meals and that hands get washed after using the toilet (not that she has shown the remotest interest in potty training).

She already thinks washing hands is a fun activity because it means playing with water (and poking at the taps, the plug hole, and trying to splash water on the floor) but drying hands is still very parent-led. I thought I would make the idea more attractive by making Miss 2 her own hanging hand towel and putting it right where she can reach it.

The first step was putting up some no-damage removeable hooks in the bathroom. The next step was looking for some towels that would hang easily. The problem is that most towels aren’t designed to hang easily (especially not off little hooks) and with a toddler in tow and limited budget, I don’t have the luxury of searching through stores. The solution, therefore, was to make my own!

I found some gorgeous large-sized adult face cloths at Kmart in attractive eye-catching colours. I found some ribbon in the craft box and selected some large buttons from my Bag-of-Buttons. The trick is to cross over the ends of the ribbon, place the button on top, and then sew through cloth-ribbon-button. Make sure that everything is nice and sturdily attached.

It’s a cheap way to make something practical, eye-catching, unique, and still washable! Plus toddlers love little accent features (like buttons, ribbons, applique etc.).

How to make a new hat unique

 

If your toddler is anything like mine then getting them to wear a hat in the summer can be an ongoing mix of pleading, resignation, determination, and liberally applying sunscreen lotion.

I was delighted recently to find a wide-brimmed toddler hat in the clearance bin with an adjustable tie that goes underneath the chin (a style reminiscent of primary school children). Being on clearance, all of the patterned hats or ones with cool designs had sold out (apart from extra, extra small) so the challenge became to add some personalised touches that might tempt her to wear it.

The felr cupcake (and remnant feathers) was from a superhero mask we made last Halloween at a playgroup (and only recently destroyed in a fit of toddler pique); all it needed was a few new rhinestones glued on. The felt was infused with months-old glue that made it extra-strong and durable but also meant it bent a needle in the first attempt to attach it to the hat:

wp-1485534147628.jpg

 

Necessity is the mother of invention. The solution proved to be sewing the cupcake to a button and then sewing the button to the hat.

The butterfly was rescued from some fairy wings that Teddy had been wearing. They had finely reached the point where the gauzy fabric had detached from the framework and they needed to be chucked but not before the butterfly was saved with hazy thoughts of using it for ‘something’. Then along came the hat and Voila!

I wish I could say that watching me lovingly spend an afternoon creating Miss 2 her own unique, personalised, hat was sufficient to enamour her with the idea of wearing a hat whenever she’s outside. It hasn’t. On the otherhand, she is rather fond of the hat and will wear it substantially longer than any hat that has come before. I’ll take what I can get!

How to make Multi-seed bread (Toddler friendly)

Often Multi-grain bread recipes will include things like whole linseed, sunflowers, pumpkin seeds, and these can be a bit rough on a young toddler’s gut. This is especially apparent when they get old enough to inform you ‘Poo! Seeds!’; they can obviously feel it. So, the seeds I’ve used for this bake are gentler and smaller passing through; the wonderful thing about home-made bread is that you can adapt it to suit. I also really like making Ancient Grains bread which is very light and fluffy!

Ingredients

  • 325ml water
  • 2T + 2 tsp oil (I use rice bran)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2T sugar
  • 3c 2T flour
  • 2T milk powder
    • Baby formula also works.
  • 9-12T seeds (I used 3T ground linseed, 3T poppy, 3T sesame).

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.

How to make Linseed Bread

To make a 750g loaf. This was delicious with home made peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 290ml water
  • 2T oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T sugar
  • 3c bread flour
  • 2 1/2T ground linseed/flaxseed
  • 2T milk powder
    • Baby formula also works!
  • 3 tsp bread improver yeast

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes; you may want to lower the oven tray when you turn the temperature down. I also recommend removing the loaf from the bread tin for the last 5-10 mins of cooking to allow even browning along the base.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.

Note: This will not turn out the same if you simply cook it in the breadmaker (it will be okay but not amazing) because the bread is contained by the size of the breadmaker and you can’t vary temperature and distance from heat.

Tip: A longer rising time will result in fluffier bread. I have sometimes done 4 knockdowns (two lengthy and two short) and 4 rising times meaning that the bread with 4-8 hours of ‘proofing’ before baking. Gluten based bread loves getting knocked around; all that kneading and rising helps to elasticate the dough and allows the gluten + yeast to work together to create tiny air bubbles.

If you’re interested in the chemistry of breadmaking check out this great post from Serious Eats.

Did you know? A commercial bakery will go from start to bag in 3 hours or less when making bread; traditional methods (and sourdoughs) take 18-25 hours. One theory behind rising numbers of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease is our move away to industrialized baking; a longer rising time results in decreased gluten proteins as they break down and change. It’s something to think about if you’re considering decreasing gluten in your diet.

How to make Milk Bread

dav

Milk bread

To make a 750g loaf. This was a sweeter denser bread that toasted well. It was delicious with butter & jam, and also with vegemite & avocado.

Ingredients

  • 310ml milk (full cream or standard not trim)
  • 3 tsp oil (I use rice bran oil)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T sugar
  • 3c bread flour
  • 3 tsp bread improver yeast

Allergies: soy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Put everything into the breadmaker in order listed. Select Dough only.
  2. When it finishes, select Dough only again so that it goes through another knockdown/rising cycle.
  3. Take out dough, knead for a couple of minutes, and place in bread tin. Let it rise while oven heats
  4. Heat oven to 220’C.
  5. Bake at 220’C for 10 minutes, then at 180’C for 30 minutes.
  6. Bread should sound ‘hollow’ if you take it out of the tin and knock on the bottom.