cardboard box: doll's bed

I'd been thinking about getting bed for Moo's doll when I realised I had the prefect sized box. so why not make one?

Moo and I carefully removed all the regular packing tape and replaced with gummed tape so that it matched the box and would be possible for moo to decorate or paint if she wanted too. I remembered about gummed tape from my childhood, it looks like brown paper but has an adhesive side and gums up when water is applied (you can get it at art shops).
We then cut the bed head and ends with slots,  we chose to make it look similar to Moo's bed, but you could cut any decorative shape
Cut away the sides off the box and use these to cut out the legs of the bed. We cut small slits in the bed base  for the legs to slot into. taped to secure. 
Then I finished it off by making a little doll size crochet blanket. 

Moo says "ssshh.... Red Riding Hood is sleeping."

loaf : soda bread

I have just started making bread. The idea of making my own bread has developed since Mima was born and a desire to make as much as possible of what she eats, so I know the ingredient and where they came from. I tried using a bread maker with decidedly average results, the loaf didn't rise much, looked horrible and tasted very yeasty. So I thought I would try soda bread. I had a recipe from the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook so tried that first. We were very happy with the result, it tasted lovely and looked fantastic. Soda bread is so quick and easy to make that it is now part of my weekly routine, I make two small loaves.
I will update you on any better recipes I find in the future, actually if you know any please email them to me! Also if I give it all up and start buying bread at the supermarket!
The recipe in the River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook is for double this amount. I like to make this smaller size.

125g plain white flour
125g wholemeal OR spelt flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
pinch of salt
150ml plain, full fat yogurt
100ml whole milk

Pre heat oven to 200C.
1. Put flour, bicarbonate soda and salt in a bowl and whisk to thoroughly combine.
2. Stir yogurt and milk together, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. This will make a sticky dough, which results in a lovely moist loaf that keeps well.
3. Scrap on to a baking tray lined with baking paper, forming a large mound, I like to leave the surface nice and textured.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool.
I slice and freeze what we don't eat that day.

rainbow connection: three


I was browsing kids craft blogs for an indoor activity to do with Moo and her little friend on a wet day and I came across this easy way to dye pasta for making crafts.

The colours are so intense, we all made necklaces and a pasta rainbow with all the leftover pieces.

What you'll need 
dried pasta in different shapes ones with holes are best for threading 
string - we just used regular cotton kitchen string
hand sanitiser
food colouring
snaplock plastic bags

1. Divide uncooked pasta into a snaplock bags.
2. Put a few squirts of hand sanitiser into the bag.
3. Put a few drops of food dye into the bag.
4. Seal bag and shake until dye has taken evenly. Moo loves doing this part.
5. Empty onto tray lined in baking paper, dry in the sun or if it's pouring with rain outside (like here) dry in oven at 100c for about 15 mins.

This also works for dyeing rice, so we'll be trying that soon I'm sure.

cardboard box : sorting box

Since Mima was born we have been getting our fruit and vegetables delivered by a company called Ooooby (Out Of Our Own Back Yard). They provide boxes of seasonal fruit and vegetables straight from the grower to you at a reasonable price. You receive details of where everything was grown, whether it is organic and recipe suggestions. It has been brilliant with a young baby to look after and now  feeding.
With all these boxes, I was inspired by Moo's castle and wondered what could I make for a one year old? I thought a sorting/posting box, with cut out shapes to match her toys would be cool and I was right she loves it! I think the fact that she can post her toys which she knows and loves makes this even more appealing.

I started with the rectangular Ooooby box.

Traced the outline of some of her toys and cut the shapes out.

I painted the edges of these cut outs in bright colours to accentuate them and make the box look fun.

loaf : sticky gingerbread

I love a good gingerbread loaf, infact I have a big weakness for any ginger spiced baking, but gingerbread goes particulary well with a nice strong black coffee on a weekend morning. I've tried quite a few different recipes and this one is by far my favourite, good old Nigella.
150g butter
200g golden syrup
200g black treacle or molasses
125g dark muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 2 x 15ml tablespoons warm water
250ml full-fat milk
2 eggs, beaten to mix
300g plain flour
 Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loaf tin 
with baking paper. Makes either one large loaf (30cm x 20cm) or  two small loaves (9cm x 22cm).
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over a lowish heat along with the sugar, syrup, treacle, fresh and ground gingers, cinnamon and cloves.
3. Take off the heat, and add the milk, eggs and dissolved bicarbonate of soda in its water.
4. Measure the flour into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed. It will be a very liquid batter, so don’t worry. This is part of what makes it sticky later.
5. Pour it into the prepared tin and bake for 45–60 minutes until risen and firm on top. Try not to overcook, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.
6. Transfer the tin to a wire rack and let the gingerbread cool in the tin before cutting.
I made two loaves, and wrapped one in baking paper and tin foil to gift to a friend who is due to have her third baby in the next week or so. It can frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for 3–4 hours.

first birthday party : three


As a friends daughter once said "party time, party time!" On Saturday we had a party to celebrate one year as the parents of the lovely Mima. To our delight Mima loved it as much as we did.


The theme was 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' so we had fruit balloons and a happy birthday sign made from leaves as decorations.


The food at a party is very important, so I loved the idea of a theme that heavily influenced the food. The menu was based on what the caterpillar eats in the book, I tried to include everything he ate in some form or other.
Below is the menu:
apples - cider
plums - mini plum crumbles
strawberries - strawberry champagne
oranges - mandarins and orange juice
chocolate cake - chocolate brownie
ice cream cones
pickles - baby gherkins
Swiss cheese
cherry pie - mini cherry pies
sausage - homemade sausage rolls
cupcake - a caterpillar cupcake birthday cake 
watermelon - this is the only thing I didn't manage to include as the fruit is out of season

Mima wore her butterfly wings without complaint for the entire party!

first birthday party : two


I can't believe Mima turned one yesterday. The fastest most amazing and exhausting year of my life!

We had a lovely day, so I thought I would share some of it with you.

I read a lovely post on the blog che and fidel a little while ago, about buying birthday gifts for your children. She talked about in this age of excess being wary of giving them too much, which I totally agree with. She had this lovely rhyme which I will always use:
"... something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read..."
Something I want - Drum from Trade Aidsomething to read - books from Peppin and Dorothy Bulter Children's Book Shopsomething to wear - butterfly wings and rosette card made by me. We didn't get her a something she needs as this year she didn't need anything.

It wouldn't be a birthday with out blowing out a candle! But what kind of cake do you give a one year old who hasn't had sugar before? I found this fantastic unbaked bakery a short drive from our house Little Bird Organics which has the most amazing, delicious, healthy treats on offer. We choose the berry chocolate brownie slice for Mima's birthday cake which she really enjoyed, she made lots of hmmm noises.

Happy Birthday Mima, you are our beautiful wee girl, we adore you, you have changed our lives forever and we love that xx

kale crisps

Kale seems somewhat of a fad food right now, I've been seeing kale on blogs and recipe books all the time lately. Maybe it's relatively new to New Zealand, but I had never eaten it before but I was certainly keen to try. Kale is a superfood that is crazy high in nutritional value, it has high levels of vitamins K, A, C to name just a few and has antioxidant and anti-inflamatory benefits. There's plenty of reading around if you want know more.

I'd come across this recipe a wee while ago on My New Roots food blog and thought it would be the perfect first try. It actually took a request for Kale Crisps from Moo's daddy for me to get around to making them. I was delighted with the result, very addictive. 

We found curly kale at our local wholefoods store Harvest Wholefoods. Louise has informed me kale is crazy easy to grow, possibly the most hardy vegetable there is to grow. I will have to give it a go. 

KALE CRISPS: adpated from recipe by Sarah Britton on My New Roots

200 grams of kale (I used the curly variety)
juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon agave syrup 
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons tamari
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 100C. Line baking tray with baking paper.
2. Wash kale thoroughly and dry, trying to remove as much water as possible.
3. Tear kale away from stem. Each kale leaf should be torn into about 6 or eight pieces
4. Place all ingredients except for the kale into a bowl, whisk together.
5. Add the kale and mix together with your hands, gently massaging the leaves with the dressing.
6. Lay kale out on the tray and place in oven. 
7. At 30 minutes, remove from oven and gently unstick kale from pan if it has stuck and replace for another 10-15 minutes until kale is dry and crispy.
8. Allow to cool. Can store in fridge for up to a week.

healthy eating for the family

A few months ago I went to the 'Mash up' in store event at Nature Baby. Natural Ange was doing a talk about healthy eating for the family sponsored by All Good Bananas.
I was actually interested in going to ask her about why Mima vomits after eating bananas, but her presentation was fascinating, I believe a must watch for anyone with a small family.
For those of you who are interested and have a spare 20 mins here is the video version of her talk...
There has been a lot written lately about the dirty dozen and clean fifteen so I won't go on about it but below are the lists...

DIRTY DOZEN - buy organic, or even better grow your own
Green Beans
Kale and Greens

CLEAN FIFTEEN - buy conventional
Sweet Corn
Sweet peas

And for those of you wondering why Mima vomits after eating bananas, she has had enough banana from me! I probably had a banana a day while pregnant and breastfeeding, so she was getting plenty from me. I have stopped eating them while still breastfeeding and Natural Ange suggested trying her on them again when she is two. She said her children had similar sensitivities to fish and apples, foods she ate a lot.