Saturday, December 9, 2017

Home Made Christmas Ornaments

A few years ago (in fact it was actually 4 years) ago Emma from She Sows Seeds posted a blog post on how to make Hand Made Dough Ornaments.  At the time I thought they were lovely and went about purchasing the little plastic letters on ebay so we could put writing on the ornaments.  I never got around to making them 4 years ago however Sienna had her friend over today so I planned this Christmas Activity for them.  It's so simple and just requires 3 ingredients a saucepan and a hotplate.



1 Cup Bi-carb Soda
1/2 cup of cornflour
3/4 cup of warm water

I doubled the recipe so we had enough dough for both girls to make their own ornaments.  

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a saucepan and then add the warm water and stir.
  2. Turn hotplate on to medium heat and just start mixing until the liquid evaporates and forms into a soft dough.  This took about 5-8 minutes of stirring.
  3. Leave dough to cool for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Then ready to roll out and make your ornaments.
I purchased a small set of Christmas Cookie Cutters for $3.50 from the Reject Shop and we used these.  

Remember to make a hole in the ornament with the end of a thin paint brush so you can hang them up.  We discovered it was best if we left the metal cookie cutter on the dough and put the hole in it while it was still in the shape.  We used a toothpick and moved it around the hole to get rid of any tiny little bit of dough in the hole.  

Once the hole was done we carefully removed the cookie cutter and then pressed some words into the dough.

We rolled the dough straight onto our kitchen bench and then used a thin piece of cardboard to slide the ornament off the bench (a postcard would work perfectly) and then put it onto baking paper (parchment paper).  Once they were cut out they were ready for the oven.

I heated the oven up to 100 degrees and baked them for a little over an hour and turned them over half way. 

You can leave the dough to dry for 24 hrs however I wanted Sienna's friend to take them home with her for her Christmas Tree so I baked them.  They are so easy and it was a great little activity for the girls.

If you didn't have the letters you could even use the end of a pen to hand write something or even a sharpie pen would work too.  Years ago I made some gift tags for Christmas however I used clay but this would also work.  Here's some photos.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Around Here

Last week of school to get Graduation and two all day fun school excursions and I think we are done for 2017.  Where does the time go.  The last month of school is so busy fitting things in but just one more week and then both kids will be in High School next year.  Managing events for two different schools sometimes requires a degree...OMG you have to be organized that's for sure.  We are still enjoying our Christmas Tree which we put up a couple of weeks ago and playing Christmas music from time to time.  Here's some pics from the last few weeks.

Receiving a special "Music Award" for the year which she had no idea she was getting.

So proud of her.

This one turned 14 and grew a few more cm's.

Mum has lots of little wind up toys and we bought her a little wind up cat to add to her collection.

These are fun to play with no matter what age you are.

Home made sausage rolls were a big hit on Friday night.

Hand made Birthday Card for her friend's Birthday.

My on-line order of Beeswax arrived after reading this post.

Quick toasties before an evening meeting.

Receiving Certificates of Distinction at the Awards Ceremony.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Around Here

Around here we are getting into the Christmas spirit.  Each year we put up the Christmas tree on the last weekend in November however as it's James birthday it always seems so rushed and I'm usually having the family over for a BBQ so there's cleaning the house making a cake and enjoying the birthday so this year I decided to put it up mid November and I'm really pleased I did.  It's nice to have the twinkle lights and house in the festive spirit so this will be our new tradition.  Here's a few pics of what's been going on around here.

I love our aqua silver and blue Christmas decorations.

Putting all the hooks on the decorations.

The tree is now complete so time for a family photo.  They both insisted they keep their socks on!!

Washing on the line on a beautiful sunny day.

Dinner sweet potato mash with beans and chicken.

They keep getting taller month by month....

About to cook some bacon and eggs for breakfast.

His down time.

Her down time.

She jumps on the trampoline every afternoon doing back flips.

Last Music Concert for the year and last one for primary school as Music proud of her.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Sunday Outing

Today the kids and I went into the city to the Museum of Brisbane to see two exhibitions.  The first one was called "Tastes like Sunshine" which started on the 12th August and finished today.  The 2nd one is called 100% Brisbane - Everybody has a story to tell.  I'm not sure when this one finishes.  I've been meaning to get into the Museum for the last couple of months and since today was the last day for one exhibition we went this morning.  Everyone must have gone into the city today because King George Square car park was full at 10.00 am and as one car left the ticket machine would let one car in.  It took us 13 mins of waiting to get in however it's $5 and the Museum is right upstairs so we just waited in the queue.  Here's some pictures of our MOB visit which is free and they always have great things there.

The Museum of Brisbane is located in the city hall.

Entrance to Museum.

Exhibition - Tastes like Sunshine.

Beautiful photos of backyard market gardens.

Story about one house at West End.

Details about the above photo.

All the fruit and veggie boxes.

Believe it or not this art is made up of toasted marshmallow skins.

This was fun smelling the different scents.  Frangipani, Sunshine, Mangroves and Thunderstorms.

James with the Marshmallow art.

Checking out a radio booth.

The 100% Brisbane Exhibition.

Brisbane in the hey day.

The old Brisbane City Skyline...the middle building at the back. is the T&G Building where I had my first job.

Beautiful arch window in the City Hall Building.

Sienna did some clay art work with legumes.

Touch screen information wall which was really fun.

Family selfie in the lift on the way down.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hummus from scratch (really)....

A while back Emma from She Sews Seeds blog posted on her Insta-story a video of her making home made hummus from scratch.  She got so many questions that she put it into a blog post for us and you can read about it here.

I've made hummus a few times before however as my kids don't eat it so I don't make it often and have only used canned chickpeas.  Emma swears that making it from the dry chickpeas is far better and that her method makes the creamiest hummus around.  She freezes it in containers as they go through a fair bit so I decided to give this mystery of dried chickpeas a go.  I often refer back to my blog for recipes so I'm going to type it out here as well as Emma's link above.  Below is a summary first followed by the actual recipe.  PS...both my kids tried this on seaweed cracker biscuits and liked it.

At night time before you go to bed or after you clean the kitchen put the chickpeas into a bowl and top up with water about 1 inch (approx 2.5 cm or so) above the chickpea line.  Leave on bench overnight.

In the morning empty the water out of the bowl and place the chickpeas into a big pot of cold water (ie just tap water) add salt and bi-carb soda and bring the pot to the boil.  Simmer for 1 hr.

Drain the water and let the chickpeas cool to room temperature.

Last step is to mix it up in your Thermomix or food processor.  So basically it seemed a bit daunting but in fact was super easy.  You could also start in the morning and then whip it up in the afternoon if you wanted to.  

I am converted to this hummus as it's the nicest home made version I've made so I highly recommend you giving it a go.  Here is the actual ingredient list and instructions by Emma, the above is an overall summary.  Here is a link to another way to cook and preserve chick peas using the slow cooker which is a great idea.  Thanks Cheryl for the link to this method.  I've also found a recipe for home made Tahini which I will be having a go at.

2 cups dried chickpeas (available in the soup section at the supermarket)
2 teaspoons of salt1 teaspoon of bicarb sodaJuice of one lemon3 tablespoons of tahini5 garlic cloves (actually probably way more…I adjust to taste and always add in more garlic!)1/2 cup water (also can vary, depending on the consistency you want for your hummus)1/3 cup olive oil1 tablespoon ground cumin2 teaspoons paprika

Soak your chickpeas overnight in a big bowl of water, cover to about an inch (or more) above the chickpeas. No need to refrigerate, I just leave mine on the bench.
In the morning drain the chickpeas of all water, put them in a pot and cover with new water. Add in the salt and bicarb soda, bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour. Ensure that you have enough water and they don’t dry out.
Once the chickpeas are cooked they should be easily squashed between your fingers, but not be falling apart. Drain them and let them cool to room temperature.
Once cooled, place the cooked chickpeas, lemon, garlic and tahini in a food processor (I use my Thermomix) and blitz.
With the food processor running, slowly pour in the half a cup of water until you have a creamy texture and your desired consistency. More water may be needed.
Add in the oil, cumin and paprika and process until combined.
Adjust lemon/garlic/cumin/paprika flavours if needed, or more salt.
Chickpeas on the tray waiting to cool to room temperature.

Tastes great.

Beautiful creamy and smooth.

I filled smaller containers so they could go into the freezer and then I just need to thaw one at a time.  I've got some to give to my friend for her family as well as 4 small containers is enough for us.