Honey Cornflakes Cups

At one point blogging took a back seat not because I wasn’t doing anything much but I got hooked onto baking. To be precise, baking cookies and some sweet treats. And once I was hooked onto something, it was very difficult to pull me away unless I got bored of it or I’ve gotten interested in something else.

It was also rather coincidental that I chose this snack to start with considering the Chinese New Year was fast approaching. I never intended to bake goodies but rather snacks for R for more variety other than his usual biscuits.

This was super super easy. I was also reminded of the activity that I did in school with my pupils prior to writing their procedural text. The children had fun making their own honey cornflakes cups but many of them burnt because the honey was poured directly onto the cornflakes instead of being mixed with butter. So, this recipe that I adapted from http://www.noobcook.com is much much better.

Ingredients:
50g of unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of honey
150g of cornflakes
Colored sprinkles known as hundreds-and-thousands

Method:
1. Heat the butter and honey in a saucepan. There’s no need for it to boil. The idea is to get a frothy mixture.
2. In a big bowl, pour the mixture over the cornflakes and mix it till the cornflakes are well coated.
3. Spoon the cornflakes into cupcake cases and sprinkle with the hundreds-and-thousands.
4. Bake in a preheated oven of 150° for 10-12 minutes or until the cornflakes are golden brown.
5. Cool and serve or store them in an airtight container.

Trust me, these would all disappear quite quickly coz its oh-so-yummy!

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Valentine’s Day Craft: Heart and Star Stamping

January was a time for us to settle into a new routine and generally start afresh. The month flew by and now we’re into February. And just like that, a few new festivities are soon approaching.

Here’s an easy Valentine’s Day craft that R did together with me. The variation can be tweaked to whatever product, be it a card or a poster or a little art piece to be hung on the wall.

I carved out a heart shape on a carrot and since I had some ladyfingers in the fridge, I thought why not two shapes. Why limit ourselves to just the heart. With some paint and paper, he went stamping away until he decided mixing colours was more fun. Whichever way, it’s still something that was fun and from the heart.

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Here’s him mixing colours and learning to stamp.

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The end products on paper and paper plates. I intend to paste a little ribbon on the back of the paper plates so that they can be hung. I had accidentally poured out too much paint too so that’s how we ended up with so a few variations.

Try it and have fun! 🙂

Library Finds #5: Take a Look, Vroom by Liesbet Slegers

The minute I showed R this book in the library, he kept repeating the word car and couldn’t let go of the book. That’s a good sign for me to borrow it and I did. It was even more fun when he realized he could slide pages of the book to expand the images. We’ve come across touch and feel books, flip flap books but not one that slides so this got him interested for awhile.

It’s a very simple book appropriate for toddlers with simple illustrations. And like most children’s books, this was no different with the repetition of words and phrases such as “hello” and “take a look”.

Just to give you an idea of how the slide images look like, here’s a picture.

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I’m certainly going to look out for more of these kind of books.

Library Finds #4: The Apple and the Butterfly by Ieia and Enzo Mari

Majority of the books we know are ones with texts. There’s normally a story line however, with this book there are only graphics. Very simple pictures with few distinct colours drawn against the white pages of the book. Wordless books like this one was one I stumbled upon and I thought it was very interesting for kids who are learning to talk to school going kids. It enables them to create their own story of the book based on the pictures. As a teacher, I’ll say sharing this book prior to a writing activity would spark the child’s imagination. Or, simply to create constructive classroom talk or discussion as an oral activity. For a Science activity, this would be a good prelude to teaching life cycles. I also believe when children have more experiences in a variety of ways, for example, through hands on activity followed by a book or a craft, it enables them to remember better.

For R at his age, he could identify the apple, tree and butterfly while I crafted a very simple story with it. The older the kids, I believe the more they’d be able to say about the pictures based on their own imagination. Very simply a caterpillar crawls out of an apple, and as it grows, it changes into a cocoon and eventually emerges as a butterfly. It then feeds on a flower and as the season changes, the butterfly lays an egg and eventually the cycle continues.

Here are two pages of the book

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I enjoyed this book and hope to find more wordless books.

Library Finds #3: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Oops, I’m way behind in my posts for various reasons. I recently got rather hooked onto something (which I’ll blog later on) and neglected this space. That’s not to say that I’ve not gotten books to write about though. So yes, I’m playing catch up now.

This heart-warming story of a giraffe who realized that even though it was tall and thin, couldn’t run as his knees would buckle let alone dance. Whenever a Jungle Dance is held every year, other animals would have a grand time but Gerald never enjoyed it cos he was really bad at it.

When it was his turn to dance, the other animals would laugh and mock at him leaving him very depressed and lonely. Then, as he sat by himself and looked up, he was amazed at the beauty of the moon. Meanwhile, watching Gerald all this while was a cricket who had words of comfort for Gerald and encouraged him to try again, in Gerald’s own way. With that Gerald grooved and moved in his own beautiful way till he was amazed at himself that he was dancing. This shocked the other animals which were taken aback when Gerald danced again.

This, to me is a little beautiful yet simple story. Little children like R may not understand the meaning behind the story but I believe school going children would. And it’s simple since all of us go through moments when we are not as good as others in whatever we do and at times we get laughed at. But, to stand up and try again is what is more important just like Gerald.

A beautiful story that I might just borrow the book again when my kids are bigger.

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.