Pancakes Pancakes!

Every Friday, R brings back a school bag with his school work and a book that the school loans out for the weekend. I was quite impressed by the idea of allowing the child to read a book with the parent because I believe not many schools do such a thing. As a mum whose always on a lookout for good reads, I get very excited when I look in his bag every Friday. So on this particular day, I peeped into the bag and was surprised to find Eric Carle’s Pancakes Pancakes book. 

If you know Eric Carle, he’s famous for his collage like pictures in his books. We’ve got the popular The Very Hungry Caterpillar book that R and I have read countless times. Pancakes, Pancakes is no different with a simple story line of a boy who wanted to eat pancakes but his mum didn’t have the ingredients and set him out to get them. 

So after reading the book before R’s nap, we made pancakes together using the recipe at the back of the book. It’s truly a simple recipe with 5 pantry items. For a toddler of about 26 months, he was able to whisk, mix and stir the ingredients together. I spoke a lot about the ingredients we were adding, the actions that we were doing and the various types of cutlery and utensils we were using. I also believe that lots of talk is necessary to keep the learning going and for the toddler to pick up vocabulary in an active manner. 

Essentially the recipe in the back cover of the book is really simple. Apparently, it’s Eric Carle’s mother’s recipe and that’s what we followed. (The book has since been returned and I forgot to note the ingredients however based on memory and until I can confirm it, they were:

  1. One cup of plain flour
  2. One cup of milk
  3. One egg)

Mix it all up, put a dollop of butter in the frying pan and pour a ladleful of batter when pan is heated. 

This makes another good activity on a rainy morning or afternoon where pancakes are good for breakfast or tea. And why not get your little assistant to help you along. 

Three Ingredients Nutella Brownies

Lately I’ve been trying to include my toddler in my cooking and baking adventures. I try and do this about once a week and since he doesn’t go to full school yet, he’s rather free in the early evenings after his nap. 

So I’m regularly on the hunt for simple and easy recipes that the little one can manage without much assistance. I help with measuring the ingredients, occasionally pouring the ingredients into the big bowl and putting the batter or mixture into the oven. And like all mothers, I give lots of instructions and reminders during the process. 

Anyway, this recipe is not mine so credit goes to Kirbie Cravings and here’s the link http://kirbiecravings.com/2013/02/easiest-3-ingredient-nutella-brownies.html

 Essentially, this is all it requires. 

  1. Half a cup of plain flour
  2. One and a quarter cup of Nutella (which works out to the 350g jar)
  3. 2 eggs

Preheat the oven at 180°C, mix all the ingredients together and bake for 15 minutes. The toothpick should come out dry when it’s cooked. These brownies don’t come out really thick plus I cut them into bite sized pieces so they were really easy for little hands to handle. 

The best part is that it took less than half an hour from start to end. Of course with a toddler, it may take a little longer but it’s long enough to sustain his interest. 

They were so delicious I must admit I popped way too many pieces in my mouth. Will I be making these again, you bet!

#Reubytalks

With a baby sleeping on me at the moment, after many tries of putting her down and failing I decided that I should pen down some of the things my eldest has been saying. He just turned two recently and it was only in the last couple of weeks when he started talking a lot more with his expanding vocabulary. At this point, his pronunciation isn’t very clear but as I try to listen harder, I’m able to make out what he’s saying. 

This is also the age where whatever he says is the cutest. I think it’s got to be the innocence of a toddler trying to articulate himself. And yes, kids do say the darnest things some times.

Recently his grand aunt bought a ride on car and I refused to unbox it until his papa came home. The minute he came home, this happened. At this point, R hasn’t really spoken in sentences, so it surprised me. 

R: Papa, car!

Papa: Ok! (can’t remember what else happened though hubby was talking to me)

R: Papa, car! (emphasizing his point)

Papa: Ok! Papa will open it soon. Papa needs to put down his bag and have dinner. 

R: Papa, papa, car, open! (getting very impatient)

Papa: Yes, papa heard you. Can you wait?

R: Papa, open car please! (It sounded more like papa, pen car piss)

My reaction to this was wow! Put him in a situation where he wants something quite badly and he’ll be able to say what he wants quite clearly. I was impressed.

The other night, his papa was trying to get him to sleep. It was past his bedtime but he had so much to say as if he was regaling tales about what happened in the day to his papa. At this point, the connecting bathroom light to the room was still switched on. 

Papa: R, it’s time to sleep. Sleep now.

R: Off. Light. Dark. 

The husband and I heard this and chuckled to ourselves. Our little boss has spoken and so the papa went to switch it off. 

Ok, baby needs to be rocked. Be right back with more soon. 

Ham, Spinach and Cheese Muffins

I’d love to have R help me in the kitchen. I’m certain that kids take great pride in their work when they are actively involved in the process. The outcome may not be the best, great if it is but if not it’s alright. However, the learning process is more important.

With that I decided that he could help me in making his tea time snack that day. I figured that if he liked it, I could freeze a few and when I was short of time or had no idea on what to feed R, I could easily pop this in the microwave for a quick and fuss free meal.

The preparation is a little tedious as you’d need to chop the spinach and ham otherwise, the combining of ingredients is very fast.

Ingredients:
2 cups of grated cheese (I used cheddar)
2 cups of self raising flour
2 eggs
1.5 cups of milk
0.5 cups of ham (I added about 1 cup)
A large handful of baby spinach
Half a teaspoon of salt (for taste especially if the ham is not salty enough)

Method: (makes 12 muffins)
1. Preheat oven at 180°.
2. Chop the ham and spinach.
3. Sift the flour.
4. Whisk the eggs.
5. Make a well in the flour and combine all the ingredients together.
6. Mix well.
7. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin.
8. Bake for 25 minutes or till the top is golden.

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R helped me with whisking the eggs.

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And with combining the mixture.

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I think he enjoyed greasing the muffin tin the most.

The end product was a little too bland for my liking. I didn’t add salt to the mixture but the next time, I would for more taste. R wasn’t so interested in eating the muffin although he managed to dig all the pieces of ham and that was really what he wanted.

Cooking with a toddler also means there’s a little bit more to clean up like when the mixture spills on the floor or when he gets a little curious and sticks his finger in the mixture. Nevertheless, it’s really the process that counts and the fun of making something together. I was glad he understood my instructions and I definitely enjoyed having him help me.

I must add that I’m really no expert when it comes to baking. So, giving credit where it’s due, this is the site for the recipe http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2014/06/ham-cheese-and-spinach-muffins-cooking.html?m=1

A pool birthday party

I’ve gone quite quiet lately and so there’s a little backlog which I’ll get through.

We were recently invited to a birthday party for kids. The beauty is that the host lived in a condominium which meant there was a pool. We haven’t brought R swimming for a long time but he’s had plenty of water play. I loved kids birthday parties too because these little ones get to interact and have fun together. For this particular party R had a blast in the pool that he refused to come out of the water. The husband was first to surrender but the little one had so much energy and kept wanting to go on and on.

The other great thing about this party was that there was a professional photographer snapping pictures of the little kids and their families. I must say he did a great job as the pictures captured the joy and innocence of the kids. I took photographs of R and his dad playing in the water but it was nothing compared to the pictures of a professional.

All in all, it was a good time spent for the little ones as they had fun and we, mummies had fun catching up. Win, win.

Library Finds #2: All Creatures Great and Small by Naoko Stoop

A Christian book for kids that introduces the idea that God made all creatures, big or small, wise and wonderful. He made every flower, every animal large or tiny, mountains and rivers and every living thing on earth.

It’s a good introduction for little kids to the idea of God and that he created everything on earth. We’ve read the story of creation to R before and this book reinforces the idea. The illustrations are very cute too, with various animals that he can identify. Of late he has learnt to say moon so he’s been pointing that out to me in the book. And so when I ask him who made the moon I’m hoping that he’d say God!

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Bubbles

A favourite among kids.

So one evening a little kid with his father were blowing bubbles which attracted R. The duo then left the playground but R wanted to continue. I went up to get the bottle of soap solution from my home so that we could continue the bubble fun.

My husband started blowing and R was happily catching them when suddenly a group of bigger and taller kids descended upon him. Stunned and shocked R looked around and wondered where these kids came from. As I was standing from afar, I observed and laughed. It seemed like he realized that the world doesn’t revolve around him but hey, there were others who were older, taller and bigger than him.

Eventually we walked back home and continued the bubble fun for awhile more at the corridor and he was fine again.