Thursday, 30 December 2010

Cooking for Kids: Stilton Mushrooms on Toast

One of the nicest things about being in the UK is the large choice that you get in the supermarket.  It was something that I totally took for granted until my husband was working in the Netherlands and we spent school holidays there with him.  Stilton is the most famous blue English cheese but I have yet to find it in either Germany or the Netherlands so as a result I usually buy a wedge when we are here.  Luckily for me this was sitting in the fridge when I needed a quick supper and was watching Nigel Slater with his Christmas Suppers on iPlayer.  This is my adaptation of his recipe which you can find here.  He suggests serving this with rice or as an accompaniment to steak - we just had it simply on plain toast.  Delicious.  This amount would have served 2 (or one very hungry mum with Dad having a taste now and then ;)  )

approx 300 g of button mushrooms, sliced
dried thyme
200g Stilton
50 g  pinenuts
toast to serve

Fry the mushrooms in the butter until soft.
Sprinkle over a pinch of dried thyme whilst they are cooking.
Crumble over the Stilton and pinenuts.
Allow the Stilton to melt into a creamy sauce.
Serve on toast.
About 10 minutes start to finish!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Christmas Activities

Snowbound this week as the UK has the worst weather for over a century.
Having flown in from Amsterdam last week we found ourselves stuck in a house with very little in the way of food or craft stuff but here is what we have managed so far....
Luckily I stocked up on cheap craft kits when I got the chance and stashed them away
we did

sticker mosiacs (sort of painting by numbers using stickers)

scrape art postcards

heat fuse bead ornaments

foam and sequin decorations


we also used the foam templates to draw around then paint

B's ended up totally brown where he mixed all the paint together - then he decided the templates needed to be decorated as well.

paper chains

and Christmas cookies
Heres wishing you all a merry Christmas!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Party Games: Paper Plane Attack

My littlest is 3 at the beginning of January and so we have been thinking about birthday parties past and present.  One of the games that we played at the last party we had at our house was "paper plane attack" and all the kids involved found it an absolute blast.
You need enough kids to divide them into two teams and a fairly big space to play this in.
Put some kind of barrier down the centre of the space (we used a line of chairs).
Give each child two pieces of paper and get them to make paper planes from them.
When everyone has two planes divide the group into two teams one each side of the barrier.
You have one referee who has a watch to time 1-2 minutes.
When the referee says go everyone throws their planes over the barrier towards the other team.  You are allowed to pick up any planes that land on your teams side of the barrier and throw them back.
When the time is up the winning team is the team with the least number of planes on their side of the barrier.
Have lots of rounds to decide the overall winning team!

Monday, 20 December 2010

Fine Motor Skills: Pipe Cleaner Threading

Threading for beginners with  large bore beads and pipe cleaners.  This was supposed to be an activity for B but proved to be a hit with everyone.  I now have three lovely new bracelets.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Fine Motor Skills and Scissor Practise: Playdough and cotton bud hedgehogs

Thanks to A for this activity!  He appeared with the first one in his hand and R and B immediately wanted to make their own.
 This is A's

B decided to join in
This is his first one
R decided that she wanted her spines short so cut them in half
B then decided that he wanted his cut with the scissors - especially if he got to do the cutting.  Soon we had a small hedgehog family.

Friday, 10 December 2010

File Folder Games: Number Train

Onward with the battle to get B to count!
I found a really colourful train to print out from here.
Next I loaded it into a paint program and set to work.
I wanted to print the first set of carriages with just the numerals 0-9 on them.  These were to be stuck in the file folder.
Then I printed an identical set to allow one-to-one corresponding matching of numerals. They were laminated for durability as usual.
Then we printed another set and stuck "cargo" in the carriages before laminating; you could use just dots to make it more basic but I figured my anti-number son might like something a little different.  BTW sequins are OK to go through a laminator. (I only discovered this thanks to a video by Shelley over at if you haven't found her site already head over there as there is lots of stuff for free as well as resources to buy)
We also printed a third set to use much later with the numbers in word form.

So much for the plan.
Here is the first version finished.

Although it will do for now I am not happy with the finished graphics.  First my printer ran out of yellow so the colours are not as good as the original graphic.  Also I printed out the graphic to fit an A4 page and it is pixelated. Finally it is a little boring really I want to add some rails and some scenery.  (Stand by for the revised version in the New Year if I get a chance!)
B loved helping to stick the trains together.  Then my number hating son put the pattern recognition skills he has learnt over the last few months to good use and before we could even play it once he noticed the patterns were numbers "No Counting!" and off he went!
Better luck next time I hope!