Sunday, 30 November 2014

Christmas kindness advent

I recently read an article about the 'entitlement' culture that our children seem to be a part of.  The article went on to point out how we as parents have a tendency to fuel this entitlement culture. Whilst I understand what the author says and to some extent, I am guilty of it as well as a parent, the reality is also that our children live in a very different world to the one we did and it is a herculean task to take away all the commercialism and materialism out of their lives (at least in my opinion).  

So to balance it, I thought we could do something that teaches Lil Miss J to do things for others this holiday season and I'm hoping we can carry it through past the holiday season as well. 

A quick look at pinterest revealed loads of ideas and here is our version of the Kindness Advent (which will be opened alongside her 'Frozen' advent calendar - I know, I know!).  

We have some very simple ideas on there - some as simple as choosing books to donate to charity, buying some food and donating to the homeless shelter, writing a thank you letter to her teachers, leaving a treat for the postman etc.  The toughest task was slotting the activities based on our days' commitments in December.  There will be a certain degree of flexibility - but as long as we do one random act of kindness a day, we will have achieved what we wanted to out of this exercise. 

The idea is to focus her attention on doing things for others and realising that this in turn will bring her joy. 

This cost me nothing to make! The envelopes are school dinner money envelopes and I just stuck some printed images on them :) 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Flower cupcakes

So I have been on a blogging hiatus for over a year now.  Blogging fell by the wayside. Life and the universe got in the way - so on and so forth.  

In the last month or so, I joined a Whatsapp group with my school batchmates.  I don't get to spend a lot of time on it but I'm grateful to those on there that encouraged me to start blogging again.  

So I'm trying to start up again - let's hope it lasts!   I've always loved baking and most of what I bake is usually foolproof but icing and frosting - that's a whole different kettle of fish and not one I'm overtly comfortable with.  But having seen these flower cupcakes on facebook and pinterest, I thought I'd try them out to see how they turn out. 

Not too shabby for a first go!

For the vanilla cupcakes: -

1 cup self-raising flour (sifted)
1 cup sunflower oil
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.  Prepare the cupcake tin with cupcake liners. 

2. In a bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until well mixed. Add one egg at a time and whisk thoroughly.  Add vanilla extract and mix. 

3. Spoon in the flour and mix with a light hand. 

4. Using an icecream scoop or ladle, pour in the batter into the cupcake liners filling them about halfway. 

5.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a cake tested inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

For the buttercream: -

40 g butter
125 g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
15 ml milk

1. In a food processor, add in softened butter and icing sugar and beat using the whisk attachment. 

2. Add vanilla extract to the milk and pour whilst the food processor is on. 

3. Beat for 2 minutes until the icing is smooth. 

For the flowers: -

Mini marshmallows
Coloured sugar

1. Cut the mini marshmallows diagonnally. 

2. In a ziploc bag, pour in the coloured sugar.  Add the cut marshmallows to this sugar.  The sugar will stick to the sticky part of the marshmallow creating the "petals".

I didn't have any coloured sugar, so I made my own by putting some sugar in a ziploc bag and adding a few drops of food colouring and then mixing the sugar around. 

To assemble the cupcakes: -

1. Take a cupcake and spread a layer of buttercream on it.  The buttercream is only a glue for the marshmallows. 

2. Take out the marshmallows from the sugar and arrange the petals starting from the outside.  
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