Homemade Playdough

Have you ever made playdough for your kids? My mum used to make it for us all the time. Here’s her recipe:

DSC02456

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • a few drops of food colouring

Method: 

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir over medium heat until dough thickens.
  3. Remove from pan and kneed on bench until pliable.
  4. Allow to cool and store in a well sealed plastic bag.

DSC02459

There are plenty of playdough recipes out there.

Here’s one that doesn’t need cooking.

Here’s an edible version.

Here’s one that’s great for kids with sensitive skin.

DSC02489

Well, baby E loved playing with this playdough. She loved the feel of it in her hands, and loved poking and prodding at it. I think she’s a bit small for cookie cutters, but I’ll get some out next time and try them. She also decided she liked the taste. Oh dear!

DSC02490

Do your kids like playdough? What recipe do you use?

 

Freezer Green Smoothies

I used to make green smoothies for breakfast at least three times a week. Needless to say that when my baby was born (over a year ago now!), this is one of the things that slipped.

Now, that wasn’t such a big deal, as I was still eating (reasonably) well. But come Christmas, we were given so much chocolate. So, for the rest of December (and most of January, too), I’ve been snacking on Chocolate non stop. My sweet tooth has come back with a vengeance! Some mornings, I even grab chocolate from the fridge for breakfast (gasp)!

As I was browsing Pinterest the other day, I came across this blog post from Hello Glow, about making a months worth of green smoothies and storing the ingredients in zip lock bags in the freezer.

So I decided to give it a go. Here’s my spin on it:

Freezer Green Smoothies

Ingredients (per bag)

  • 1-2 cups of spinach or cos lettuce
  • 1/2 a zucchini
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 banana or 1/2 a mango
  • 1/2 cup berries (I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and frozen boysenberries)
  • 1 cm knob ginger
  • 1 cm knob turmeric

Method

  1. Fill your bags (I used 10) starting with the greens, then the fruit.
  2. Close your bags, squeezing as much air out as possible, and making the bags as flat as possible too.
  3. Stack your bags in the freezer.

DSC02348

Blending time

  1. Take one zip lock bag out of the freezer, and allow it to thaw for 5-10 minutes on the bench.
  2. Add contents of bag, along with about a cup of liquid to your blender. I added half greek yoghurt and half water.
  3. Add any extras you like. This morning I added 1/2 cup of oats and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds I’d soaked for 10 minutes, as well a teaspoon of cinnamon.
  4. Blend until smooth!

DSC02350

Here’s what my smoothie looked like this morning. Not green at all! And it made enough for two glasses this size.

Some would prefer their smoothies sweeter, so if this is you, add more fruit. I prefer them not so sweet, as I’m trying hard to break my sugar addiction.

DSC02353

Chopping fruit and veg in the mornings is what used to put me off making smoothies. But because all the fruit and veg were chopped and ready in the freezer, it really was so quick and easy to make. And it took me maybe one hour yesterday to wash, chop and bag the ingredients.

I’m back on the bandwagon.

DSC02352

(Those strawberry tops were for my daughter’s breakfast – no chopping fruit this morning for my smoothie!)

I’d love to know, do you drink green smoothies? Do you find them a chore to make? Would you consider this freezer method of making them?

Berry Picking

A couple days after Christmas, my Mr, baby E and I went berry picking with some dear friends. We brought home two big ice cream containers full of boysenberries, bramble berries and raspberries, and ate as many as we could while we picked. Here are some photos.

We ate lots of berries in the next few days, but then I froze the rest so they wouldn’t spoil. Now I need to decide what to make with them. Here are some ideas:

This berry almond crumble from Simply Recipes looks delicious.

As does this raspberry sorbet from Creme de la Crumb.

Mmm… this triple berry summer buttercream bundt from Smitten Kitchen looks divine (I drool over everything she makes)!

Have you been berry picking this summer? What’s your favourite way to use berries?

A little break

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas, and are looking forward to celebrating the new year. I’ve had the most wonderful Christmas, and have so much to be thankful for! I’m looking forward to everything 2016 will bring.

I’ve given myself a little break from creating jewellery over Christmas. I’ll get back to work early in the new year, but for now, I’m enjoying not creating.

I wasn’t sure what next year would look like for me, as I applied for a job which would make me very busy and would give me a lot less creative time, let alone family time. In the end, I missed out on the job. It’s not the end of the world, as it may have been a bit too much for me to handle anyway. Something else might come up, but I’m not too worried either way. So at this stage my job titles for 2016 are chief bead roller, jewellery designer extraordinaire, social media boss lady, baby food chef, story teller, nap enforcer and cuddle lady.

When I get back to making I’ll be discontinuing a few designs, as well as coming up with many new exciting ones. I’m still always up for creating custom designs for you too! Thank you friends for a wonderful 2015, and I’m so looking forward to an even bigger and better 2016!

Check out my online shop here🙂

How to get stuff done with a busy baby

This is what works (or doesn’t work) for me😉
  1. Create when your baby naps. This works really well about 50% of the time when my baby decides to nap for 2-3 hours. Sometimes she’ll only sleep for a short while, and then I’ll be halfway through rolling a tray of beads, hands dirty with clay, and I’ll have to get her up. Other times, housework wins over making. This only happens when the house actually resembles a pigsty, and I feel guilty for letting my baby crawl around in it.
  2. Give your baby a new toy to keep them occupied. Right now my baby is going through a bit of a clingy phase, so unless she’s only just woken up in the morning and isn’t hungry, this doesn’t really work for me. She needs me to be playing with the new toy with her, thus defeating its purpose.
  3. Work after your baby has gone to bed at night. This works well, but the downside to this is I miss out on spending time with my husband. But I don’t really mind if all he’s doing is watching his favourite show: COPS.
  4. Give your baby some TV time. This actually doesn’t work for me. My baby gets bored of the TV very quickly. Even when something interesting (like Play School) is on, she prefers to be crawling around, throwing blocks, reading books or standing at my chair pinching my belly.
  5. Get a babysitter. I haven’t done this yet, but my baby has two grandmothers who are both very keen to spend time with her. I’m sure if I asked, they would be happy to mind her for a couple hours so I could get some beads rolled and baked.

12224670_187570084916096_431037903_n

How do you get stuff done with a baby (or kids in general) around?

(This post first appeared on my shop blog)

Ricotta Cheesecake

I first found this recipe on Pinterest (follow me here) from the blog Diva Eats Italia. It looked so easy and delicious, and I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge that needed using, so I decided to give it a go. I adapted the recipe slightly based on my tastes and what I had in the cupboard.

ricotta cheesecake

Ingredients: 

  • 2 x 375g tubs of ricotta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp butter (room temperature, for greasing)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar (for coating pan)
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal (for coating pan)
  • 2 x 250g packets of cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

ricotta cheesecake

Method: 

  1. Place ricotta in a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl for 30 minutes to strain excess liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C and place racks in bottom third of oven.
  3. Grease bottom and sides of 23 cm springform pan with butter. Mix 1 Tbsp sugar with 2 Tbsp almond meal and sprinkle over pan to coat. Tap out the excess and set pan aside.
  4. Puree drained ricotta in food processor for 15 seconds or until smooth. Add cream cheese and puree until smooth.
  5. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth, about 1 minute.
  6. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and bake in oven for about 1 hour 20 minutes, or until just set.
  7. Transfer to a rack and let cool in pan for about 3 hours.
  8. Refrigerate overnight so cake can set completely.
  9. Enjoy with strawberries (and cream, if you like)!

ricotta cheesecake

The only problem with this cake is that you can’t eat it right away! Because I had to let it cool overnight to set, we couldn’t eat it last night for dessert. So I was naughty and had a slice for breakfast. I just couldn’t help myself!

ricotta cheesecake

Prints With Joy

I’ve started a new etsy shop selling printable quotes for instant download.

It’s called Prints With Joy.

As the items are for instant download, they’re super cheap – $2.50 – $3.50 AUD! There’s no postage fees or waiting for delivery, simply purchase, download and print.

Here’s how it works. After you’ve made a purchase, you’ll be directed to download the file. You’ll get both the JPG and PDF versions. After you’ve downloaded them, print on a good ink jet printer with quality paper (200 gsm or more) – or simply take the file to OfficeWorks or another print shop to print. Each design is 8 x 10 inches, which makes them easy to frame. Once framed they make great gifts, but because you can print as many copies as you like, why not keep one for yourself!

Here’s the sort of thing you’ll find there:

I paint the watercolour backgrounds and do all the graphic design myself. I only use everyday phrases or quotes from the public domain, and all the fonts and graphics used are ones I’ve bought (with a commercial license).

I hope you like my shop!

Winter.

image

By the beginning of June I was already over winter. The cold nights, the wet ground, the expensive gas bills(!), the fact that it’s still dark when it’s time to get up, and gets dark again so early in the evening. These are the things I don’t like about winter. Give me summer, autumn, or even hayfever-ey spring any day!

Getting up to my daughter when she wakes in the night is ten times worse in winter. And changing nappies is more of a chore as there are so many more layers to remove and replace.

Anyway, now that I’ve had my whinge, it’s time to move on… Only one more month till spring!

My new business.

So I’ve started a new little business…

It’s called Two Little Teeth, and it all started when my little Elsie was 6 months old. I love being a stay at home mum, but was wanting a creative outlet and also a way to earn a little extra money.

A few months earlier, my lovely mum gave me a silicone necklace from a local baby shop. It was pretty, but expensive (over $30!). I wanted some other colours and designs to match my clothes, but didn’t want to spend too much. So I did some research and decided to make my own – for myself and also to sell!

Over the next few days I wondered what to call my business. Suddenly, Elsie cut her first two teeth and Two Little Teeth was born.

Head over to my website to check out my designs. I hope you like them🙂

Some helpful parenting resources.

There is so much parenting advice out there – good and bad. Here’s some resources I’ve found helpful. What works for me might not work for you. Remember, my biggest piece of advice is to do what works.

image

1. The Australian Breastfeeding Association. For any and every breastfeeding issue. Their website has heaps of great, reliable information. Even though I was one of the lucky ones who could breastfeed without too much trouble, their articles and forums would put my mind at ease when I’ve been unsure about something. They also have a breastfeeding helpline. Sam and I also went to a breastfeeding education session run by the ABA before our daughter was born (which I would highly recommend). I’ve also been to a few local group meetings which are always good.

2. Pinky McKay. Her Facebook page specifically. Pinky is a lactation consultant and gentle parenting advocate. People ask questions on her page which she (and other people who like her page) answers with advice and suggestions. Reading through these questions and answers has been so helpful to me, and has often given me ideas of things to try when I’ve been struggling with a baby who won’t sleep. It’s really just reassuring to know that there are other babies out there like mine!

3. My mother’s group. I’ve been lucky to be part of a great group of women (who all have super cute bubs) who still meet up regularly. There’s been no bitchiness (that I’ve picked up on anyway) and even if we have different opinions or ways of doing things, we support and encourage each other. I consider these girls my friends, and hope we keep catching up for life.

4. My family. Elsie’s so blessed to grow up surrounded by big extended families who love and care for her. She has 4 grandparents, 5 aunties, 6 uncles, and 3 cousins (hopefully more to come). They’re mostly local too, which I’m very glad about. They’ve all been great with practical help and are so supportive of our parenting. We really couldn’t have a better family.

What are some things you’ve found helpful as a new parent?