June 28, 2012

Robot Fun in the Bath

I love craft foam almost as much as I love felt. And I'm sure you know that craft foam can make for a lovely bath toy. 

Our robot theme lends itself to craft foam fun and I literally sat cutting shapes at the side of the bath, while my boys called for more and more. 

I love observing their creativity. Big One made lots of small interesting robots and Little One, as you can see here below, made one loooong robot. "Even bigger than me", as he put it. I just loved watching his focus on the task and all the little details he added.

Have fun...till next time :)

PS. Linking to It's Playtime

June 26, 2012

Robot Fun {Felt Robots}

Time for another mini theme - Oh how I do love a theme!

My boys have been enjoying the movie Robots and a favourite new book from the library, called Wendel's Workshop, so I thought it perfect timing to have some robot fun.

Felt robots are the easiest to make. No sewing required and you don't even need a felt board, simply a nice big piece of felt for the children to make their designs on. Little One wasn't keen on the activity, but Big One made some amazing robots - so much better than mine.

Mine's the middle orange one. I love the detail in Big One's designs. Yes, even a pirate and exploding robot - so cool.

This last one is a birthday card that I made for a little friend. I stuck a piece of felt to card stock and added this sweet girly robot. I didn't glue the robot pieces on and I also made some extra pieces so that she can make another robot if she wants to. This is a modified version of an awesome felt card I saw here at The Mucky Macbook.

Some more Robot Fun coming up. Stay tuned.

PS. A felt robot set makes for a great gift, don't you think?

Sharing this at:
Show and Tell @ ABC and 123 
For the Kids Friday @ Sun Scholars 

June 18, 2012

Mommy Made Crayons

  A long time ago I saw some homemade crayons at Papervine and I wanted to try and make some for Little One. I have since seen a few similar posts on Pinterest and have been so impressed at how the crayons turned out. Mine, however, didn't come out quite as nicely, but I still had great fun making them and would definitely do it again.

It's pretty cold over here right now, and just in case you're wondering, we didn't have a mini heat wave in June :). This activity was done late December, when it's very hot here in Cape Town. Apparently if you don't have the sun, you can make these using the oven, but I personally think that sun "baked" crayons are much more fun :).

 If you look closely, you can spot some aeroplanes, boats, cars and trains.

The Steps:
  • Go and find all those old crayons lying around and peel off the paper. (Some children love this and it's a great workout for little fingers). Put your crayons into containers. Tip: Wipe your crayons, so that they are nice and clean.
  • Chop up the crayons into small pieces. Tip: For a nicer end result, clean your chopping board after you cut each colour, to keep your colours clean.
  • Put the small pieces into molds of your choice and squash as many crayons as you can into each individual mold. Now put your crayons into the hottest spot you can find. Tip: I recommend using a silicone mold. The star mold I used was an inexpensive soft ice tray and the crayons completely flopped.
  • Keep checking, because as the crayons melt you will have to top up with more small pieces to keep the mold full.
  • When the crayons have melted, carefully move the mold to a cooler spot. The crayons will cool down and harden. Tip: Do be careful when picking up the mold - silicone is soft and unstable and the liquid wax crayon is very hot.
  • When completely hard, pop the "new" crayons out.
  • I mixed better quality crayons with cheaper crayons and I noticed that the crayons separated, leaving a clear wax layer at the bottom of each crayon. I simply shaved the waxy part off with a sharp knife. Tip: I could be wrong, but the softer, smaller crayons seemed to be of a better quality than the bigger, harder variety.
  • All done - It's time to colour - Have fun!

June 14, 2012

a boy and a box

These aren't new photos.
In fact they are all the way from last year May. 
I don't know why I didn't post them. 

When you have a box, you have possibilities...

Never throw a good box away. At least not until it's had a good play.

Didn't you know? All boxes love to play :)

More great box links:

June 10, 2012

Make a Lego poster

Recently we swopped the boy's rooms around and it was the perfect opportunity to repaint and freshen up a bit. I wanted some funky "new" art for both children's rooms and so was on the look-out for some inspiration. Big One is already 10 years old, so I'm mindful of the fact that the art work needs to be approved by him. I was thrilled when he liked my idea to make him a lego figurine poster, using stickers from a book he had in his collection.  As soon as I mentioned it, I was pestered :)...he thought it was a terrific idea. 

When I started though, I realised that I had set myself a rather challenging task. Aligning all those little characters just right, so that this would be worthy of a prominent spot on his wall, would prove to be quite a task. It all worked out in the end (thankfully). So what you see below is the process in action.

mmm...yip, that unfortunately is how my dining room table looks most of the time. I wasn't sure if I was going to share this picture, 'cause I love that you all think I am super tidy and organised and do all my craft projects in a my nifty craft room (sigh, I wish), but no. Instead it's a very disorganised dining room table with unfinished projects, to-do projects, ideas, books , homework...you have the picture :). Oh yes, that's Big One at the end of the table choosing his favourite stickers.

Big One wanted all of these stickers on his poster, so I had a bit of convincing to do and had to encourage him to be rather selective.

It was tricky figuring out exactly what the lay-out would be and how to get all the stickers in a straight line and correctly spaced. I ended doing a bit of measuring and then used a straight piece of cardboard to line up all the stickers. Can you see it in the photograph above?

I tried to get as many stickers on the poster for Big One's sake. I must say, I would have chosen all the vintage, more traditional figurines...he on the other hand wanted the superheroes and baddies. He compromised on a few - sweet boy that he is :).

And up on the wall. He's happy, so I'm happy.

The book that we got all the stickers from is called the Ultimate Sticker Collection: LEGO Minifigure. It is a great little book with more than 1000 reusable stickers. 

June 4, 2012

Spray Bottle Fun

I don't know what it's like in your house, but in mine I'm a sought after playmate. The children would absolutely love me to stop everything I'm doing and just play and be with them - all day! I'm willing to bet that you are always in demand too :). 

That being said, I am always keen on activities that amuse them and keep them busy for a little while. Quick and easy things - things that don't require much thought, or unpacking,  and things that are super easy to clean up. One of my go-to ideas that fulfill these criteria are spray bottles. Toddlers and preschoolers LOVE them. The best part is that it exercises those little fingers and is great for the strengthening of the fine finger muscles.

Little One is happy to simply walk around the garden spraying whatever he can, but I have found some nice variations of this simple idea on the web. One nice activity is to paint with a spray bottle. You can use this homemade paint recipe and water it down a bit. Then find a spot where it can get a bit messy, stick some bigger sheets of paper to the wall and allow the children to spray a painting.

I have also read that you can add food colouring to some water and spray paint snow. Now that sound like so much fun. Pity it doesn't snow here. :(

I have let Little One spray a big window and then "clean" it for me - a nice activity for a rainy day. I have also added a spray bottle to bath time and allowed him to spray the walls. I recently found this wonderful idea - bubble bath spray painting - I know both my boys would love this. I will however, have to find paint here locally that doesn't stain. (Know of any?) I wouldn't want multi-coloured children - although now having said that, it could be fun ;). Another idea for bath time is to allow the children to play with some shaving cream and then ask them to spray it away.

 (mmm, how high can it go?)

Have any more spray bottle ideas? If you do, please share them in the comments.

Till next time, have fun!

PS. Sharing at

June 1, 2012

The easiest yummiest Sponge Cake

Do you have special dietary requirements in your family? We do and to complicate things somewhat, my boys are sensitive to different things. Trying to accomodate both of them is near impossible, so sometimes it means baking two different versions. Oh, I just need to add - the Kitchen and me - we have a rather strained relationship. So, I try to get in and out as quickly as possible :). 

One of the all time favourites in our home is this particular sponge cake. I have baked it many many times and everyone who has tasted it has loved it. (Either that, or I have seriously polite friends).

The best part for me - it's quick and easy.

Original Recipe:
175 grams self-raising flour
175 grams castor sugar
175 grams margarine 
3 eggs
5ml vanilla essence

To make this gluten and casein free, I substitute the flour with Orgran self-raising flour, and the margarine with Blossom Lite (dairy free) margarine.

Oven set to 180°C

Cream the sugar and the marge.
Beat in one egg at a time till smooth.
Add vanilla essence
Add the flour, folding it in with a spoon.

I use a small round non-stick cake pan and spray it with Spray And Cook (contains Soy lecithin)

Cooking time depends on your oven, but approximately 25 minutes to half an hour.

To ice:
Icing sugar
Add boiling water until you have correct consistency
If you want to, you can add a drop of almond essence to make a marzipan flavoured icing
Sprinkles (optional)

Or you could ice with cocoa icing - icing sugar with some cocoa added.

Recently I decided to start baking the cake without the margarine (to make it soya free too) and substituted the margarine with 175 ml of canola oil. It's a bit drier, but  it still works. 

PS. Recipes as you know are often passed along hand to hand, so I unfortunately don't know the original source of this one.


PS. For my American readers, icing sugar is called confectioners or powdered sugar in the US (I think) :).  

PS. Sharing this at
Weekend Wrap Up Party @ tatertots and jello

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