Homemade colorful Chocolate

I wanted to give the kids a treat this week since they have been unusally good and co-operative during the school holidays. Hardly any fights, they ate their meals pleasantly, went to bed without fuss, did their homework properly… just great! I bet this will all change once they have their “reward”.. oh well… least I had a good week!

I recently bought some cute moulds that I found in the shop and got this idea for the kids to color some melted white chocolate and “paint” their own chocolate.

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I also made my own little “pipping bags” out of baking paper as I didn’t want to waste my piping bags with a small quantity of chocolate. Knowing the kids, most will get stuck all around the regular sized piping bags. They are also really simple to make. I just cut out rectangles, fold it into 2, cut. Fold each cut side into two and cut again. Repeat until you get the size you need. After that, just roll the paper in a cone and secure with some tape…

Next, melt a bag of white chocolate over a water bath…

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Portion out the melted white chocolate into individual bowls and add food coloring. The kids really love mixing and watching the colors blend. Add more food coloring if you want a deeper / brighter color. The kids seem happy with pastels today.

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Fill up each piping bag with a color of chocolate and snip of the ends. I started with a tiny snip to see if the kids were comfotable with the flow. If they have no patience to use the piping bags, they can also fill the moulds with a teaspoon. Just watch that most of the chocolate actually ends up in the mould and not in their mouths!

In the end, the boys used the teaspoon, or just poured from the bowls into the mould. Only my little girl had the patience to pipe pink eyes and nose for her cat.

Once mould has been filled, tap the tray to get the air bubbles out and pop it into the freezer. My freezer is really really cold, so the chocolate literally set in 15 mins! The kids were sooooo excited to unmould it….

We have Legos….

and cars that disappeared as soon are we took them out of the moulds!

as well as cats and kittens…

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It’s a fun activity. Looks like I’ll be going to the store to get new colors that we can color the chocolate again next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Homemade Butter cookies with SPRINKLES

,The school holidays are finally here! Kids are super duper estatic over it, and mommy here has to figure out how to keep them occupied with the sudden “extra” time she has at home with them. Since baking is one of our favourite activity at home, i wanted to share this quick and simple butter cookie recipe that i always use. Its really quick to whip up, and the best part is that it doesn’t require cooling time in the fridge. I can prep the dough and use it straight away, PLUS its done baking in the oven in 6-8mins! Perfect for the impatient little kids.

This is the recipe i used – Butter Cookie recipe

The only thing i did different was to give the children a dazzling array of sprinkles to decorate the cookies. Obviously this is the highlight of baking cookies and such fun for them. I bought an assortment of sprinkles from the supermarket, some chocolate rice, some mini M&Ms, chocolate chips and even mini oreo cookies….

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The older kids can ball the dough up themselves, and you just need to help ball up and flatten the dough a little for the little kids, so they can add their toppings..

And after 6-8 mins of baking……

 

DIY Rainbow Princess Tulle Dress Tutorial

My 5 year old daughter is such a girl at heart. Loves her sparkles, her big princess dresses and her tiaras. She has been asking me to make her a rainbow princess dress for close to 6 months now, and after that, she would continously ask when her dress would be ready, i finally roped in the rest of the family to help make her dress together this week.

This is a NO SEW dress! So impressive isn’t it? I came across this dress online couple of years back and i actually had made a dress for her for my brother’s wedding, but she has long grown out of the dress. There are plenty of online tutorials for making this dress, and many youtube video tutorials as well. However, you make your own unique dress based on the colors of tulle you use and the theme of your dress.

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Materials

Tulle (My tulle are 6 inches and 25 yards per roll) To go round one layer around the top, i used 4 rolls. You multiply by how many layers you want to do. 2 layers will give you a big poof dress, i recommend not tying more than 3 layers on, or your child might get lost in the dress.

For the rainbow dress, i got a roll of each color (7 colors in total). I also used 4 rolls of white tulle for the 2nd layer.

Crochet top ( i bought mine online, and i made sure that it is lined, just so it is more comfortable for the children)

I love making this dress as not only is it simple, it is really quite therapeutic for me to sit and just tie knots.

You start first by measuring the length you need. I measure the length from the bottom of the crochet top all the way to the floor. This would give you enough allowance for the knots, so the final length is just off the floor. If you want it shorter, measure to the ankles rather than the floor. I usually make dresses longer so they don’t grow out of it so quickly. It so happens that the length to the floor is the same length as my long ruler. You actually need double the length that you measured, as you make the knot after folding the strip of tulle into 2. For example, if you need 10 inches, you actually cut a 20 inch tulle strip and then fold into 2 to get 10 inches again.

So back to the ruler, i simply loop my tulle around till i have 10 strips, and cut only on ONE end to get strips that are double my measured length. If you don’t have anything to wrap the tulle around that is the right length, just measure and cut some cardboard to the correct length.

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Once you have your strips cut (you need 10-12 strips per color), you are ready to knot. Put the crochet top through your leg so that it is easier to work with. Start at the bottom row, and put the folded end of the tulle strip through one of the holes at the bottom “line” of the crochet top. Pull the rest of the strip through the folded end to “loop”. Since this is a rainbow dress, i started at the side first.

And you keep going till the entire first row “holes” are knotted with a tulle strip.

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The above picture shows the inside of the dress, i.e. the back of the knot. Refer to the picture below for the knot that is visible on the front of the dress:

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Close up of the knot on the inside of the dress:

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So once you are done with the first row, you get a super duper bright dress that is so bright that it hurts my eyes! Just too much color! Also at this point, she inisted on trying it, even though it is not ready yet. For shoulder straps, just pick a color, and measure directly on the shoulder, cut 2 strips and just tie them on.

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To tone down the colors, but still be able to see the rainbow colors, i added a 2nd layer of white tulle.

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Go slowly, and knot every “hole” in the crochet top on the next level above the first layer. She was so excited to try, she didn’t even let me finish the back for her.

Our finished product! The little rainbow princess was so happy with it, she wore it the whole day. And she has now asked for a pink and purple dress with a long train……

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DIY Cork Board

I love my fabrics, i really have a huge stash of fabrics that are waiting for me to start my projects. If you are anything like me, awesome fabrics are really really really hard to say no too. This is a super quick, super easy project to do and you get to use up your fabric stash, and buy some more! oops…

I don’t know about others, but i really love big big cork boards. Probably it is close to impossible to stay on top of the activites for 3 children, plus regularly used go to recipes, dates for school trips, grocery lists etc. A big cork board allows me to pin EVERYTHING on and i can look at everything at once, and EVERYTHING is within reach.

However, i have never seen anywhere selling cork boards that big, so this is what i came up with!

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My lovely sister in law bought me this super cute fabric that went nicely in my living room. All you need is fabric (enough to cover the cork board), cork board (i bought mine from Art friend), and a frame (i bought mine from ikea).

I was quite pleased that i found a frame from ikea and a cork board at Art friend that are exactly the same size, approximately 61 cm x 91 cm. You will need approximately 1 m to 1.5m of fabric, depending on the width of your fabric. I used a little over 1m for mine. No measurements needed, just iron your fabric perfectly flat, ensure you get all the wrinkles out. Spray some spray adhesive onto the cork and cover with fabric. Trim off the excess, making sure to leave enough fabric around the board to fold over to the back, approximately 2 inches is more than sufficient. Ensure you get all the air bubbles out. Fold over to the back and spray more adhesive.

Then just pop the backing from the frame and put it back into the frame. Remember to omit the glass or plastic panel from the frame. Done! Great as a notice board or as wall decor.

We also have some samll cicular fabric cork baords avaible at our online shop. Click on the link for purchase or for more information. Fabric cork boards

DIY Lego Room Ideas

We re did the kids play room this year, and one of the many many requests from my son was LEGO! and MORE LEGO! Just LEGO everywhere. But since the playroom is a SHARED playroom with his younger siblings who aren’t crazy lego fans, i told him i would make him a little lego corner where he can play to his heart’s content. So here are some ideas that i did for his little lego corner. We even made some together!

  1. Lego table

We bought a second hand ikea table and some lego base plates. And it was simply a matter of spreading some glue and sticking the base plates on, making sure the plates are nicely aligned. This is a good activity for the kids as they go really excited with just pouring the glue on the table and brushing it evenly over the table.

2. Lego Wall

This is pretty much the same as the lego table, just mounted on the wall. I thought of doing a wall to give him more surface area to play with, as if his friends come, the little ikea table might not be big enough for 3-4 boys.

The wall is slighly more complicated, i bought some plywood from artfriend, and used hot glue gun to glue the lego base to the plywood, again making sure the bases are nicely aligned. Then its just getting the husband to drill the plywood into the wall. Done!

3. Lego crayons

OK, so this is not strictly for his corner, but he wanted some crayons and i have a lego man silcone mould, so i said why not? This works great for party favours! For his set, i re used my kids’ left over crayon stubs, just broke it into smaller pieces, and randomly filled the mould with different colors to get a rainbow lego man crayon. Pop it into othe oven at about 100 degree celsius till all the crayon has melted. Take it out of the oven and let it cool at room temperature. Pop it out when cooled and you have rainbow crayons!

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For those who would like a more natural option for younger kids, our online shop sells the same lego man crayons and others crayons made out of 100% cosmetic grade beeswax, and “colored” with food coloring. This would be the safer option for the little ones who are still putting stuff into their mouth. Click on the link for purchase or for more details. Handmade crayons

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4. Lego holders

This is super fun to do together with the kids! Even the younger kids had fun making this. You basially build an open top box that you can put your markers, color pencils and GASP! MORE LEGOS!

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DIY Mother’s Day Present – Handsewn Heart Buttons Tote Bag

This is a cute sewing project to do with the children. They have been really interested in sewing lately, probably because mummy has been on her sewing machine a lot last few weeks. I had previously taught them how to sew buttons, and they helped sew buttons for a busy bag previously. 5 Busy Bag Ideas – Part 1 Since then they haven’t really got a chance to sew buttons again, so this week, they both said they really really really wanted to sew some buttons, and since mother’s day is coming, i thought this would make a great unique gift for grandma.

I love these plain canvas tote bags from muji. So versatile, as you can sew on them, paint on them, use fabric crayons or even stamp on them. And being the hoarder that i am, i usually have a few of these tote bags at home. The kids decided that they wanted to sew a heart button…… Now i don’t know where you can find a massive heart button, and i thought that it would be too randomn to just sew a bunch of heart buttons haphazardly all over the bag, so i got my older boy (6 years old) to draw a heart with a fabric marker. I printed out a quick heart template and got him to trace it onto the bag. And then i took out my box of buttons and they took turns to sew buttons onto the bag within the heart that my son traced.

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The children used mainly the big bright buttons, this size is perfect for them, as it is large enough for them to hold and not prick themselves with the needle. It is also easy for them to find the “holes” on the buttons. My son did try a few buttons where you sew through side to side, and he found that easier than sewing on the regular buttons.

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You would need to help sew in the blank spaces, as the little buttons would be a little too challenging for them at the moment. But keep going slowly, and am super impressed this activity kept them interested for a full 30 mins! By then, there isn’t anymore space to sew the big buttons anymore, then it is up to the adults to finish sewing more buttons to cover the empty spaces

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I thought it looked really cute, but the kids decided that it would look better with an outline, so they traced the heart with a fabric marker. Personally i prefer it without the outline! Hope you have fun with this project, and you could trace any shape out that you want to create your own unique tote bag for your mom!

Homemade fresh cheese

We have been wanting to try making our own cheese for quite a while now, and we finally took the plunge this week since the kids were asking how do people make cheeses. Granted this is an extremely simplified process of making cheese, nontheless it is still cheese, and a good introduction for the children. The recipe is actually quite simple and straight forward to make, and the kids had a lot of fun stirring and feeling rather adult about it.

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This is the recipe we used, Homemade cheese

The recipe works well and the kids were excited to see each process.

The only thing we did different was use a coffee strainer instead of a muslin cloth, i had a clean unused cofffee strainer at home and i really didn’t want to go make a special trip to get muslin.

My older son who loves his milk wasn’t too impressed with the cheese as its not really “milky”, well, our milk we get here dosen’t taste the most flavourful even though we used full cream milk. But it does have a really nice texture almost like ricotta cheese.

With the left over cheese, i used it in place of the regular bechamel sauce for our lasagne. Definately much easier than making a bechamel from scratch if you already have some cheese in the fridge. Oh yes, my bolognaise is purple instead of red, because i found some purple carrots in the market that day…..

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DIY Playtent with an Ikea Hack

We recently moved house and we are finally blessed to have more space for the children to play in. Now my kids and i LOVE playhouse or tents, but those store bought ones are not only kinda small (kids will grow out of them in NO TIME), but also pretty expensive, considering they won’t be playing with them longer than a couple of months.

We have a LOT of shelves, for all our junk, especially the kids toys, so we decided to use one of our existing IKEA shelves and screw in some hooks on the shelves and wall, and pretty much just suspend a 2 meter long fabric to make an instant and semi permanent tent!

Materials needed:

Enough fabric for back and front, 2 m each (the distance i wanted from the wall to the shelve was 2 meters, please measure the distance between your wall and shelf).

Hooks; hook size has to fit your grommet size

Grommets

Sewing machine

Steps / method

  1. Cut fabric to length and width you need. I bought 2m of 2 different fabrics, and i just lined them up, folded them neatly and trimmed off the sides to make them exactly the same size.

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2. Right sides facing each other, pin all the way round.

3. Sew with 1/4 inch seam allowance all around and leave about 4-6 inches open.

4. Clip the corners so you will get nice pointy coners when you turn it out.

5. Turn it right way out through the opening.

6. Iron the tent flat, making sure the opening are folded neatly.

7. Top stitch all around with a 1/8 inch seam allowance, closing the hole shut.

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8. Screw in the hook to the wall and shelf. I used 3 hooks on each side so the tent doesn’t droop in the middle, but you could hold it up on both ends to see if the droop is significant for you to want to add the middle hook.

9. Add and hammer in your grommets where your hooks are suppose to be. Follow the instuctions on how to use the grommet that you purchased. I also find it much easier to only put in the grommets AFTER the hooks are on the wall, hold up the tent and mark it with a fabric marker. Then you can be sure your grommets will fit the hooks perfectly.

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10. Hook on the tent to the hooks and its done! The nice thing about this tent, is that it is reverisible! so when they are bored of one side, you could just flip it and hook on the other side. Its also easy to detach to wash.

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Our finished tent!

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Parenthood: Quotes to calm a crazy day.

file_000If only we had model answers or a picture to piece the puzzle but parenting is one of the toughest job. Juggle it with work stress, other family obligations and multiple kids, some days can be unbearable. There are days that I need to be motivated or encouraged and here are some words to parents out there who need a spark to brighten up their day.

I always imagine this as season. The phase will pass though it feels like forever.

Here are some quotes that I found meaningful and refreshing. So take deep breathes, and enjoy the journey!

Welcome to parenthood and it’s a journey of love, laughs, tears and dirty diapers.

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