Sunday, June 19, 2011

Birthday treats - cherry slice recipe

The party at the park (yesterday) was lots of fun. I hope the guests had as much fun as we did :) Here are some pictures from the grand occasion.

Ahhh... I see what all the fuss was about... Cake IS good!

Good boy, reading the cards first!
Zingzilla Birthday cake made by me. Shame about
the teenage acne he seems to have!!
Cupcake tree makes its usual party appearance :)

Why yes - here in Australia, we really DO ride kangaroos to school!

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Cherry Slice, Lime slice and Fruit Kebabs
(on Paddlepop sticks to minimise risk of injury)


Cherry Slice Recipe:

Ingredients:
A) 1 pack scotch finger biscuits (I am lazy and these are easiest to crush)  and 3/4 cup of shredded coconut (desicated would also be fine)

OR

B) 3 cups of coconut

1/2 pack of those sticky cherries you buy in the cooking aisle, chopped fine
1/2 can condensed milk
100g melted butter
Pink colouring (optional)
375g block of dark cooking chocolate
1/3 cup cream
(8 x 8" slice tray, saucepan for melting chocolate, two mixing bowls)

Method:
1. Crush biscuits. Or, preferably, find someone to do it for you ;)
2. Add shredded coconut.
3. In a separate bowl, mix condensed milk and butter until combined. Add chopped cherries and a tsp of food colouring (if desired)
4. Add 'wet' ingredients to dry ingredients
5. Press into your slice tray and refrigerate
6. Melt dark chocolate. Add cream and blend well.
7. Pour over slice base
8. Return to refrigerator until set
9. Cut with a hot knife

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This is my own recipe, but I have taken inspiration from my friend Tameka who makes an absolutely unbeatable cherry ripe slice (much more fiddly than this one) and my oldest friend Jo - who loves no fuss cooking as much as I do (and who gave me the easy lime slice recipe that I used as a base).

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bean bags for toddler games...

Well, after a freak rainstorm forced us to postpone Small Boy's FIRST Birthday celebrations, we were a little bit down. This week we're back to being all psyched about the big event :)

We're basically repeating the celebrations of the first two first birthdays. Does anyone else feel obligated to make sure that nobody misses out by giving each of your children the same experiences - as misguided as they may be? (More about that another day) Well in our household, a first birthday party means friends at the tiny park down the road, a themed birthday cake and bocce. So that is what is on the cards tomorrow!


However, because we now have lots of friends with tiny people in their lives, I'm having to add some special toddler games into the mix. Small Boy got a bubble blowing machine for his special day, so we'll be firing that up. I also thought 'Rob the Nest' would be kind of fun to watch. If you don't know what 'Rob the Nest' is, click here. Think small people frantically running with bean bags, looking bewildered when finding their nest empty, despite all their hard work! I know... I'm a sadist, but it was always one of my favourite parts of being a junior primary teacher. The inner smirks I would have watching that game!!!

Anyway, the party is fast approaching, so I took two hours out of my kitchen work to rustle up some (26 to be more precise) bean bags. They are a little bit, let's say rustic to look at I'll admit, but not bad for a couple of hours work (with two mini-helpers to boot).


I chose rubber-backed curtain fabric because a) it has bright-coloured, fun designs b) it might be a little bit more waterproof c) it doesn't fray d) it was what I had on hand



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In case you want instructions, here they are:

BEAN BAGS

You will need:
* rubber backed curtain fabric
* rice
* pinking shears

Method:
1. Cut rectangles from your material
2. Sew along three sides of each rectangle, making sure the 'open' side is a short one. I sewed over the corners for extra strength, but in hindsight, I think maybe I should have sewn all around three or four times for strength.


3. Carefully pour rice. Aim to half-fill each 'pocket'

This is as close as she got to pouring the rice. We were on a time limit
after all and I have no time for extra vacuuming today!



4. Carefully sew the bags shut



5. Trim the edges with pinking shears and you're done!




What do you think? Will they stand up to a kids birthday party?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cheap and cheerful nursery art

I know this has been done a thousand times in blogs all over the internet. But I thought maybe someone out there was itching for a new project... and didn't realise they probably have all the materials they need! It's so easy, anyone (I mean anyone) can do it :)



You need:

* a hideous old canvas (feel free to buy a new one if you don't have any embarrassing old paintings tucked away)
* scissors
* a stapler (does not have to be anything fancy, but the sturdier it is, the easier your job will be)
* fabric - I love this print, could not resist paying way too much buying a piece

Step 1
Find somewhere firm and flat to work. Iron your fabric thoroughly.

Step 2
Trim your fabric to size and shape. I like to allow a couple of inches all the way around the outside. I also thought that I would like to cut a piece large enough that it's reuseable should I ever get sick of having it wrapped around a canvas.


Step 3
Fold the fabric around the canvas, securing with staples as you go. I just stretch and staple so that the front looks neat. I know there are proper rules for doing this, but I'm a wing it kinda gal.

Step 4
Secure with extra staples



Step 5
Stand back and admire your handiwork!



It really is so simple, but has added a little lift to a boring part of Small Boy's room. I wish I'd got the guts up to do more of these when the other two were small - it's a quick, cheap way to update a bedroom :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ahhh... bliss!

Just spent a long weekend with my gorgeous family on sunny Rainbow Beach. Despite the fact that this (beautiful, secluded) piece of coastline is only a couple of hours down the road from us, we had never visited. I'm so glad we have now!
Don't judge us for our dress sense. We were relaxing on holiday, OK?

We spent much of our days lazing around. A walk on the beach followed by a nice leisurely nap, something to eat and another walk on the beach... We rented a townhouse in front of a walking track leading to the most beautiful, white beach. We could hear the ocean from our bed, and the surrounding bushland created a lovely dark, restful feel in the house.


We really needed it - after several weeks of battling one bug after another, we were exhausted, run-down and in dire need of some rest. Fresh, beach air and lots of sleep were just what the doctor ordered! How do people with three small kids manage a three hour, mid-afternoon nap? We put the Small Boy in his cage  portacot, and the other two with a movie on the iPod, a selection of books and toys with instructions it was 'rest time' but that we wouldn't be cross if they just played quietly. We are so lucky, they are great kids and just had a mix of quiet play and napping themselves. I think all that fresh beach air wore them out!


Our walks were lovely, too - we had the Small Boy in his hiking backpack as we walked through bushland alive with birds and littered with flowers, mushrooms and other interesting things (no spiders, hooray!). On the second day, we walked up a hill to overlook the sparkling coastline atop the largest sand dune I've ever seen. I wished we'd had some cardboard!


See what I mean about cardboard? Next time...

Trying to capture the 'rainbowness' of Rainbow Beach.

The town itself was relaxed and clean with the right blend of shops. A couple of fish and chip shops, a pie shop, a gelati shop, a pub that served steak - all the favourites were covered! Nobody gave a second glance to two small adventurers on their scooters, which was nice too :)
Yes, I know I am a cruel mother! I was laughing that it had taken so long for Little Miss to 'fall in' to the ocean. She has a natural talent for it! Lucky small boy had two shirts on and could share one with his sister...

I want to go back, just thinking about it. I know my city-loving husband is not absolutely dying to go back, but I think he had a good time too. That's the nice thing about him. He's happiest when we're happy, and happy we were :)
I love reading your comments, thanks for stopping by :)