Archive for February, 2012

First Week of Lent – Pretzels

February 28, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years and 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year and 1 month (13 months)

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Recently I stumbled across some interesting information.  Apparently pretzels are traditionally Lenten food.  The shape is meant to imitate arms crossed in prayer and traditionally there isn’t too much exciting in the recipe, so they made good fasting food (not sure about the stick of butter used to glaze them, ‘though!)

So I decided in lieu of some of the goodies my team of scavengers devour in the afternoons, I would bake pretzels.

I have two recipes that I would like to try, but I went for this one first:

~tantalizing link to pretzel recipe~

I did go for the half and half flour option and I used instant yeast.

They were actually very easy to make.  (But then, I am rarely intimidated by baking.)  As always, the hardest thing was finding the time – after the dough had proved and I started rolling and shaping Little Princess decided she needed a feed NOW.  *sigh*

I also sort of followed the instructions on the second recipe for the shaping.

~tantalizing link to second pretzel recipe~

And the result?

Well, I was slightly alarmed at the day-glow orangey-brown colour they turned in the oven.  I can only assume that is something to do with the soda.  However, post glazing and salting:

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And truly, YUMMO!  If this is fasting I wish Lent went all year round!  (Actually, the biggest problem is that it is still Lent and I want to eat them all.)

Oh, and just a tip that you may not need, but remember if you melt the butter in the microwave the container will probably get hot:

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Pancake Day

February 21, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

 

Lent is fast approaching, but what do we need first?  Pancake Day!  And if you are around these parts, you will know why the French call it Fat Tuesday.

We started the day with blinis.  Yes, “blinis” not “blintzes”.  They are  similar but they are not the same.

A couple of years ago, DH and I backpacked through Russia (amongst some other wonderful places.)  Oh, alright, maybe not a couple of years ago, but we like to think that the years aren’t going that fast.  On that trip we stayed in homestay accommodation (quite a mixed bag of experiences, there!) and we got to taste quite a variety of blinis for breakfast.

The best blinis in the whole world were for the Homestay Wife in Krasnoyask (I have since forgotten her name, but I have not forgotten her blinis.  I also have not forgotten her husband telling us that she cooked them for him every single morning.  Wowsers!)

Well, this recipe tastes a lot like hers: ~tantalising link to blini recipe~

It is worth reading the comments and actually paying attention to the description of when to turn the blini (I forget to do that every time and about the first three end up in the bin until I remember those instructions are there…)

The wonderful Krasnoyask Blinis (needs capitalisation) were filled with smetna and rolled somewhat like a burrito.  She then fried them to re-warm and seal them.

I decided to make them like that this time, but to put them in a casserole dish and reheat them that way.

Now, these little fellows are fiddly to make, and knowing how crazy life can get around here, I decided to make the blinis the day before.  What a brilliant idea.  EXCEPT – well, as I explained to Sam-O, blinis purpose in life really seems to be the vehicle ferrying the melted butter to ones mouth.  Oops.

This is the second batch:

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I would have to say that they were quite a success.

I even managed to keep a couple aside to use for the boys’ lunch the next day.  These ones I spread with nutella (I warmed it up so that it spread thinly and easily).  Then I folded it in halves and in halves again so that it was a quarter of a circle shape.  Win!!  (This idea is not my own.  We had some super yummy ones done just this way at the Peter and Paul Monument in St Petersberg.  MmmHmm.)

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(Yes, alright, this isn’t one of our pics, but that’s where the blini man was.  This pic is from http://russianworldforums.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=713)

 

For lunch we had a German Pancake (more carbs…):

6 eggs / 1 cup flour / 1 cup milk / 1/2 cup sugar

Pop a hot dish in the oven with butter in it.  When the butter is all melted, pour in the batter and bake away until fluffy-ish.  Brush with a little butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  (Thank you to the Aldi Australian Cookbook for this one…)

 

Afternoon tea involved store bought pikelets.  Pikelets are not my forte and Possum had his first date over from big school, so I didn’t want to stuff up. (And let’s be honest, just how many hours can you stand over the stove flipping pancakes?)

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And for dinner – well a nice chicken curry packed with veges really seemed to the anecdote required.

Bog Monster

February 20, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

 

We found THIS in our yard:

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IMG_3864 It rose from the mud looking mighty scary.  It approached, reaching up with its front paws and calling, in a surprisingly sweet voice, “Mummy, Mummy!”

Possum befriended it…    IMG_3867    

We decided to take the Bog Monster inside and bath it, and would you believe, under all that muck we found Little Princess!

Autumn Duck?

February 13, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

Today, I am feeling old.  I have been to the doctor and received some news.  It is news that I have always known would come one day, and lately I have been suspecting, but I still didn’t want to the be told.

I have arthritis.

I have arthritis in one of my toes at this stage, but I am sure I will end up with it in most of my feet (as in most of each foot, as opposed to me actually having seventeen feet and getting arthritis in sixteen of them!)

So how did I know this would happen?

I studied ballet.  I did a lot of ballet.  At the time I had a number of injuries, as with any relatively elite athlete.  However, the biggest issue, I believe was that I went onto pointe about a year too soon.  I had the muscle strength, but not the bone strength.

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Of course, if I were to do it again, would I do it differently?  Uh-uh.  Nope.  Nada.  Unless it involved doing MORE dancing. ~shrug~ What’s a girl to do?

It is interesting to note that I am approximately retirement age for a professional ballet dancer.  They tend to retire due to a combination of injury and gradually decreasing energy levels.  I certainly fit that bill.

So I guess I am off to try glucosamine and hope, that what my doctor said is right – the advantage of getting arthritis so young is that there is a better chance joint replacements will improve in my life time!  Hmm.

Sometimes it does stop raining

February 13, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

It has been raining here.  Quite a lot.  Indeed, you could say it was a wet summer.  You could say a lot of other things, too, but we will settle for “wet summer”.

But sometimes it stops and the sun comes out a little.

And it leaves muddy puddles behind.

Possum and Bandicoot love muddy puddles.  (Oh my!  I sound like the narrator on “Peppa Pig”.)  They play in them at almost any opportunity, including once dressed and ready for school – well you can imagine how that ended.

Anyway, a little later, Little Princess decided to leave her tiara behind and discover what all the fuss was about:

 

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IMG_3808 Hmm.  Cool and mooshy on the toes…

IMG_3809 Splashy… IMG_3810 

Really splashy!

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Surely I could wriggle in a bit further…IMG_3819

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Aaah… that’s better.

 IMG_3814 Foot spa…

Writing…  IMG_3815      

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Oh, hang on, I think Mummy and I were about to go out.  Better go inside and find her.  

 

 

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Pardon the blurriness on these last couple – I was retreating towards the bathroom pretty quickly!

Playgroup Craft – Valentines

February 12, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

 

Most weeks we attend a playgroup for 0-5 year olds.  Each week one family brings morning tea for everyone and another brings a craft activity for any of the kids who would like to do it.

Craft is my thing.  I can prepare it before hand.  I have enough trouble getting our mob into the car and there on time without having to cut up fruit and bake muffins!  Fortunately, some of my playgroup friends love doing this and would hate to do craft.

Playgroup craft is aimed at approximately 2.5yos, but there are kids much older and much younger in the group, too.

This week I am doing a Valentine’s Day craft.

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Now I have done collage activities with my kids before for Valentine’s Day, and have happily cut out hearts, hearts and more hearts freehand, but this time, I wanted them all the same shape so that they would go together nicely.  My first idea was to try and find some cookie cutters (er, I mean biscuit cutters, DH!) and trace them.  Then I had a much smarter idea – I found a heart template.

It is more than I would spend if I was doing this activity just at home, but as I was making 30 sets of these for playgroup, it seemed worthwhile!

Then I had the clever idea of using one of those shape cutters.  I couldn’t find one in the shops easily (always the way, isn’t it?  I am sure that I have seen them everywhere previously!) and I convinced myself it was a luxury, anyway.  On the off chance I asked my friend Sam-O if she had one.  I am so glad that she does, even if I might need to buy her a new blade.

I am linking to this tutorial, because the written instructions had me going crazy.  It is, however, really super-dooper easy to use.

TUTORIAL HERE…

Soooo…. back to the craft.

Cut out your hearts in various colours and sizes.  (I used cheap wrapping paper, mostly.)

 

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Have your compulsive counter count the total number of hearts over and over and in various ways, just for a bit of fun…

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Gather a set of hearts of each size.  Here you can do a sorting exercise if you want with the kids or you can just do craft – they sort them anyway, even if you don’t do it formally.

Glue them one on top of the other, from largest to smallest.  (Note- it is less messy to put the glue on the back of the top piece rather than on the front of the bottom piece.)

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Ta-daa!   

 

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So now you can leave it as it is, write a message on the back, punch a hole and thread a ribbon, stick it on the front of a blank card….

Happy Valentine’s Day with the Little Ones.

My Sweet Valentine – a Teaser

February 11, 2012

Possum is 5 years 9 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 7 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

 

St Valentines’s Day is just a few days away so here are some teasers of some of my inspirations:

“We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

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The Day It Rained Hearts

By Felicia Bond

Summary: This is a sweet story of the day it rained hearts on Cornelia Augusta.  Like snowflakes, Cornelia’s hearts were all unique.  With each heart, Cornelia decorates the hearts for different people.  Though it never rained hearts again, Augusta manages to make special hearts each year. 

 

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Romans 8:39
"Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

A book that goes with it is:

clip_image002[7]By Debi Gliori / Houghton-mifflin


Will Large love Small forever, no matter what? The answer – of course – is yes, as every parent knows. But sometimes little ones like Small need to be convinced. Large knows just how to reassure Small in this warm, tender, and irresistible story about the unconditional love between a parent and child.

 

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Heart Fingerplay

I put my hands together, (put palms together)
This is how I start.
I curve my fingers right around, (curve fingers down so that fingernails touch)
And I can make a heart!

image With this activity pack.

 

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Family Valentine’s Day Party

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Day 2 Tears

February 2, 2012

Possum is 5 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

Yesterday, Possum started “Big School”.  He loved it.  LOVED it.  How much?

“Why do we have to have school holidays?  Why can’t I just go to Big School and stay there for ever and ever?”

 

This morning was a different matter.  It was a miserable rainy day – even more so than yesterday.  It was dark outside.  And he had to start earlier than yesterday.

Worse than that, when he got dressed this morning, he forgot he had to wear his uniform and put on a comfy T-shirt and pair of shorts, ready for a wet, loungey day.

It went downhill from there.

 

And he is not alone.  Last night I was watching an old episode of Jimmy’s Food Factory (the Breakfast episode).  Jimmy made his own Rice Bubbles and there was also some slow motion, close-up footage of popcorn popping.  I thought to myself how much the kids would enjoy that and that I should show them today.

And then it hit me.

No Possum.  No Possum again today.  Nor tomorrow.  Nor almost ever again.

I really don’t like the forever bit of this school thing.  Actually there is so much of this school thing that I don’t like.

*sigh*

*sniff*

I want my Possum back.

Possum’s First Day of Big School

February 1, 2012

Possum is 5 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 3 years 6 months

Little Princess is 1 year 1 month (13 months)

 

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