Category Archives: Crafts with kids

Crafts for children and with children

Trying to be Sugar Smart Week 2 – Drinks

As you may have seen last week, we are taking part in a scheme with Kallikids to try and be a more sugar smart family. In week two our challenge was all about drinks.

We were challenged to make the world’s most disgusting drink, and the world’s most delightful (low sugar) drink. The goal was to show kids just how much sugar was in fizzy drinks, and demonstrate that low-sugar alternatives can be great.

So, just how much sugar IS in fizzy drinks? Well, in a 500ml bottle of coke for example, there are cubes 13.5 of sugar, or 54g. That is a huge amount of sugar. Enough to set my teeth on edge!!

How much sugar is in fizzy drinks?
How much sugar is in fizzy drinks?

I must admit, the drinks part isn’t too much of a challenge for us, as we’ve never allowed our children to have fizzy drinks, and consequently they haven’t really developed a taste for them. They are actually quite repulsed by most fizzy drinks, and will only try them when at a friend’s birthday party or occasion to be polite, but then come home really thirsty and want to drink juice or squash.

Iced water is so refreshing, but will the kids drink it?
Iced water is so refreshing, but will the kids drink it?

I’m not being too smug and self-righteous though. My kids still hate to drink water! Toby isn’t too bad, but Hugo flatly refuses. When very small, we used to give them fresh apple juice very diluted with water, and as they’ve grown older we also give them sugar-free squash. If we’re out we allow them to have fruit shoots or similar, or again they enjoy apple juice or squash when we’re out. They also enjoy milk and milkshakes, but they have learned at school about the amount of sugar in shop-bought milkshake, and were so disgusted that they often shy away from them.

Delicious smoothies, juices and milkshakes
Delicious smoothies, juices and milkshakes

They really enjoyed making smoothies as part of our experiments though, and it was their immediate choice when I asked them what healthy drink we should make. I’m really guilty of not making smoothies enough, as they are a brilliant healthy choice for kids. They also like making them into ice lollies too. It’s partly because my old blender broke, so I only have a food processor, and it’s quite messy to wash up afterwards. So if anyone feels like donating me a great blender/Nutri-bullet type machine, feel free! Just think of how healthy you’ll be making my family!!

Fabulous and healthy smoothies
Fabulous and healthy smoothies

The obvious choice for their disgusting drink had to involve vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Explosions and fizzes go down a storm here! So we added the coke and mints experiment for good measure too. Shame the kids thought that one actually tasted nice! We also added the 13.5 cubes of sugar found in coke to our vinegar potion, to see if it improved any. Of course it did not! Toby’s face was a picture – take a look!

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Sugar Smart drinks advice and experiments for kids. Reduce sugar in drinks for your children and help them to make healthy choices.
Sugar Smart Drinks – please pin for later
RachelSwirl

How To Make An Anglo-Saxon House Model

Today we’re showing you how to make a model of an Anglo-Saxon house. You guessed it, another homework challenge! I absolutely relish these build at home challenges, but I’m aware that they make some parents (and children) cringe, so we’re here to help you!

Firstly, a very quick background history. The Anglo-Saxons came between the Romans and the Vikings in Britain. So around the period AD 400. They ruled England for 600 years, and formed the basis of its culture, language and borders.

They set up in mostly small settlements, and built their houses from wood with thatched roofs. The houses were one room, and had a hearth with a fire for cooking, heat and light. The fire had a metal cooking pot hanging from a metal chain above it. A small room next door sometimes housed the animals, and they were also kept outside the house in small pens.

Here, Hugo shows how he made his model:

Our model of an Anglo-Saxon house was not the best one presented. We should have perhaps used straw for our thatched roof, but it is difficult to buy in small quantities. It’s great if you have a horse, or keep rabbits or chickens though – you probably have plenty of straw to spare! We also made it quite small, using a cat food box, but Hugo insisted he wanted to use this as he liked the ‘flap’ effect to enable you to look inside. Some of the bigger ones were very impressive!

What have you had to make for your homework lately? Come and share it with us!

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How to make an Anglo-Saxon house, witha demonstration video here. History homework sorted!
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Cuddle Fairy

 

One of Each #littlemakes

Easy Last Minute Christmas Treats to Make With Kids

Last minute? Me? Haha never let it be said!!

OK, I’m no Super Mum, but I’m trying my best! My kids are high as kites, and we need some activities which will capture their interest and keep them (relatively) calm!

If you are in the same situation, or are short on time or skill like me (!) here are two extra-easy yummy last minute treats to make with the kids for Christmas.

  • Chocolate Yule Log

This is so easy. Just take a ready-bought chocolate swiss roll of your favourite variety, and ice with chocolate buttercream icing. Then pull a clean fork through the icing in a slightly wiggly pattern, and decorate with ready made icing toppers or holly leaves, and sprinkle with icing sugar for snow. It’s a no-fail kid pleaser!

Chocolate Swiss Roll Yule Log
Chocolate Swiss Roll Yule Log

2. Chocolate Biscuit Houses

A great alternative to the gingerbread houses, much easier and much more likely to get eaten too! Take chocolate biscuits, put them in a triangle shape and stick together with icing. Once dried, put more white icing along the top and let it drip down like snow, then embelish with sweets, sprinkles or anything else your heart desires!

Christmas Chocolate Biscuit Houses with Sweets
Christmas Chocolate Biscuit Houses with Sweets

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Easy Last Minute (and very yummy) Christmas Treats To Make With Kids
Easy Last Minute Christmas Treats To Make With Kids

Vlogmas Week 2+ Is This The End?

Week two of Vlogmas saw us flagging somewhat. We managed 6 of the 7 days I think, plus a few more, and then….. well it’s all starting to fall apart a bit!

Last week was the final week of school, which meant so many busy things happening. Two nativities, school disco, and Santa visit which I’d co-ordinated via the PTA. I also had my little one off school sick,  which meant I missed out on the school dinner I was invited to. Lots of school events which I wasn’t allowed to share unfortunately, so no great Vlogmas content!

Then the panic also set in with Christmas shopping. Suddenly  I feel very disorganised. I haven’t bought everything I need yet, and haven’t wrapped anything at all. I didn’t even write a card until Sunday!

So I’ve pulled back with the Vlogmas thing. I hope nobody minds. I suspect nobody even noticed!

It isn’t likely to improve much any time soon. I was at the hospital today for a follow-up consultation from the procedure I had done last week. It was successful, but means that the doctor is going ahead with the Radiofrequency Ablation operation THIS THURSDAY!! I’m then going to be out of action for two weeks (like I wasn’t out of action already!), but I’m now in total panic mode trying to do all of my last minute Christmas preparation in the next two days. Or alternatively, I could just write about it…..!

Please wish me luck as you watch some of my Vlogmas videos from the past week or so….. Merry Christmas!

Diary of An Imperfect Mum

 

Vlogmas ’16 – We Made It Through Week 1!!

Did you know we were doing Vlogmas? Do you even know what Vlogmas is?? I didn’t until quite recently, when I made the somewhat rash decision to take part! It’s a Vlog a day in the run-up to Christmas, for the whole of December.

Shall I just reiterate – a DAILY vlog!

Crazy, I know! But when I started this blog, it was partly because my boys were really getting into YouTube and wanting to make their own videos, and I wanted to help, guide and supervise what they were doing to ensure they were being safe and sensible. Then, we kind of let things tail off, and it all went quiet for them. So I wanted to pick up the pace and re-spark their enthusiasm and mine.

I also wanted Family Makes to be much more crafty, and Christmas is the best time of the year for crafts, so another good reason to document it.

So, we’re winging it a bit, to be honest. I’ve made a list of ideas with possible dates, but we’ve already deviated from it, as I have such a painful back at the moment (and am going into hospital today to have a procedure done on it – eek!)

So without further ado, here are our first week’s worth of vlogs. Of course, it depends how it goes in hospital today, whether we’ll be able to keep it up or not. Wish me luck!

We’d also love it if you could follow us on Youtube, and leave some likes or comments too if you could please!

Thanks for watching!

RachelSwirlYou Baby Me Mummy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How To Make Chalkboard Gift Tins For Christmas Gifts

The nice people at Rust-Oleum sent us some lovely paints to use in our craft projects. They also sent us a link to their inspiring website where we found a fabulous idea for chalkboard painted gift tins, and decided to make it our own!

We recycled some sweet tins, one plastic and one metal, and covered them with Rust-Oleum Chalkboard spray paint. The steps are very straightforward, but we’ve made a how-to video for you to follow and see what we made:

  1. Eat all the sweeties from your chosen container. I know, this is the tough part!
  2. Make sure the tin is clean.
  3. Consider using a primer (or skip this part if you are impatient like me!)
  4. Spray the tin and lid separately with Rust-Oleum Chalkboard spray paint. Use two thin coats if necessary, rather than one thick coat which may run.
  5. Once dry, apply your chosen design with chalk or chalk pen – take care as chalk pen can be quite difficult to remove (although not permanent, it can leave a smudge). You might want to consider using a stencil or repeating pattern.
  6. Fill with your chosen gift and give to the lucky recipient!
All finished! Home made chalkboard gift tins
All finished! Home made chalkboard gift tins

You might also like to see our other project using chalkboard paint, the Advent Calendar.

Directions and a short video for how to make these lovely chalkboard painted tins. A great upcycle/recycle of your sweet tins or cake tins!
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You Baby Me MummyHannah Spannah
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking SundayWe Made This Life

Little Loves #6 – Rescued

#LITTLELOVES

It’s been a funny old week or two, which I would love to be rescued from. My back has been so poorly that I’ve hardly been out, and I’m going slightly stir crazy! It doesn’t make for great blogging when you can’t get out and do much either! Let’s see what I’ve managed…

READ

Ready, Set, Relax book
Ready, Set, Relax book

A lovely HLTA at our school has given me a book to help Hugo with relaxation, as he’s had trouble sleeping. He also wakes up and then can’t get back to sleep again. So I’ve been reading this book which gives a lot of background into relaxation, self-esteem, and other issues. Hugo hasn’t taken the relaxation side very seriously, but I’m hoping he is at least taking some of it on board to use at a later date.

WATCHED

I’ve been watching  a series on BBC2 called ‘The Victorian Slum’. I was never interested in history at school, but now it absolutely fascinates me. I think it’s because it is brought to life in a much more interesting way these days than when I was in school. My kids love ‘Horrible Histories’ (and so does my Husband!).

Hugo was also fascinated by this programme where families have gone ‘back in time’ to live in the Victorian slums. We’ve enjoyed watching a few episodes together, and I’m so pleased he is taking an active interest.

HEARD

Toby wanted to ‘introduce’ (!) me to the song ‘Half a World away’ – he put it on YouTube for me and sang along. I was absolutely blown away- he is such a good little singer. I really wish he would sing more often. Proper singing, not shouting or making up rude words to songs!

MADE

I had a great blog post ready, all about pumpkins – carving, preserving and what to do with the left-over bits. Unfortunately our brilliant vlog went awry as for some reason my phone seemed to video in a kind of stop-motion jerky way. So, the whole post was scrapped!

Carving pumpkins for Halloween
Carving pumpkins for Halloween

But I did make some delicious pumpkin soup in the slow cooker. I just threw in all of the pumpkin with some vegetable stock, some cinnamon and nutmeg, and an onion with cloves stuck in it (which was later removed).

Pumpkin soup in the slow cooker
Pumpkin in the slow cooker
pumpkin-soup
Pumpkin soup

I also roasted the pumpkin seeds, drizzled with a little olive oil and salt.

Pumpkin seeds redy for roasting
Pumpkin seeds ready for roasting

Plus, I shared the pictures of the pumpkins on Instagram. So the post has been part rescued!

WORE

We went to a Halloween party and the whole family wore costumes and scary make-up. Toby insisted on having a zombie zip face, but unfortunately didn’t want to sit still long enough for me to do it properly!

Intent on being rescued from the Zombie family, Hugo wanted to be a Dementor from Harry Potter. He ended up removing the mask with all of the draped ‘rags’ I had attached to it very quickly though, so he could run around with his friends!

Zombie Family Makes at a Halloween party
Zombie Family Makes at a Halloween party
Zombie Boy Toby with zipper face paint
Zombie Boy Toby with zipper face paint
Hugo rejected the Zombie family in favour of Harry Potter's Dementor
Hugo rejected the Zombie family in favour of Harry Potter’s Dementor

AND LASTLY..

Something else to love is that my new car arrived last week, but unfortunately I’ve been so poorly I haven’t even been out in it yet! I finally got out and about today, but my kind Hubby had rescued me by leaving me the automatic as it was easier to drive! So I’ll let you know what I think of the Nissan Pulsar when I finally get to drive it!

Little Loves

The Reading ResidenceKeep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Two Tiny Hands

Why Dens Are Still Cool- Come build a den with us!

Our boys are getting older, and it seems like each day there is something else they used to enjoy, which is now no longer cool. Thankfully, building dens is not yet one of them!

This summer, my boys teamed up with children from a few other families staying with us at Chataigne, and they all built a den in the recently unveiled rockery area between the trees. Come and have a look at what they made:

Outdoor den building
The den – you’d hardly know it was there!

It doesn’t take much to build a den, just a few trees or other shelter, and a lot of imagination. Look at this den – it doesn’t look anything like the sort of den I imagined they would want to build, but then that’s my imagination, rather than theirs. Most importantly, their den appeared to require various signs chalked on bits of wood, including the obligatory ‘No Adults or Dogs’ (poor Daphne the Doodle was most disappointed in this).

No Adults Allowed sign on the den
No Adults Allowed sign on the den

Otherwise, den building seemed to require a small plastic slide, plant pots, and sweeping brushes! They are therefore house proud den builders at least!

Den building Dens inside
Interior of the den

It was lovely to see though, children as old as 13 and as young as 5, boys and girls, all playing nicely together. They were also in the shade, away from the glare of the sun. They were discovering nature and enjoying the fresh air. I’m so pleased that they had this place to pop in and out of, to play different games in, and to call their own.

Dens in the trees
A den in the trees

So den builders unite. You don’t need much:

  • A shady corner, trees, a tent, a shed or play house.
  • Maybe an old sheet or curtains, a rug or some cushions
  • Pieces of wood for important signs
  • Toys and games to keep yourselves amused
  • Something for decoration – paint or chalk, pictures you made
  • Most of all, lots of imagination and a quest for fun!

Have a great time, either indoors or out, making dens. If you want more inspiration, you could take a look at our Pinterest board ‘Childsplay’

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Build a Den With Us!
Build a Den With Us!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays CornwallYou Baby Me Mummy

Best of WorstDear Bear and Beany

Look Inside an Xbox 360

We were really excited to be able to find out what’s inside an Xbox when we got to our house in France. Some of you had requested or suggested this as the next in our series of ‘Look Inside’ items.

Our old Xbox was broken, so we decided to open it up to take a look inside. We did it quite carefully in case we were able to have it repaired later, but it was still lots of fun to do!

Have a look at our video and see what awesome things we found inside our Xbox 360…

“I was about to get a hammer to smash the Xbox up because I was getting so bored and frustrated! But sadly I could not 🙁  . We still enjoyed doing the opening up though. It was really interesting to take a look inside and see what components make up our favourite games console.”

Next time we might be a little bit rougher, and really break something up! What do you think it should be?

Please subscribe to our Youtube Channel to see the next videos we make. As well as breaking things open, we also do Vlogs, mostly about our travels. We also like to share gaming videos.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
ethannevelyn