Remembering ANZAC Day with Children

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The 25th April – ANZAC Day, commemorates the sacrifice of all Australian men and women during times of war and occurs on the anniversary of one of the most significant battles involving troops from our newly formed nation.Remembering ANZAC Day

While I have watched the diggers at the ANZAC Day marches grow old and their numbers dwindle, the observance of this important national holiday seems to be very much alive and growing.

We have always attended the ANZAC Day march and service, but this year is probably the first year my eldest will grasp some of the significance of the day.  I want him to understand the importance of these people’s sacrifice, including that of his great, great-grandfather, great-grandfather and uncles, and the importance that these events have had on the history of our country and the world.

The boys waiting for the ANZAC Day Parade last year

The boys waiting for the ANZAC Day Parade last year

We have been reading a few story books about ANZAC Day to help him understand the events we commemorate and the way we remember them. These are our favourites so far.

Remembering ANZAC Day

Anzac Day Remembering ANZAC Day

Remembering ANZAC Day

Last week I also took the boys to the Queensland Museum.  It has two fitting displays related to the ANZAC legend. The first was The Courage of Ordinary Men. This exhibition was a moving display about 3 Australian diggers awarded the Victoria Cross medal for courage during WWI.Remembering ANZAC Day

The second exhibition was Remember Me: The Lost Diggers of Vingacourt, a collection of photographs of Australian troops taken in France while on leave from the frontline. They were lost until only 3 years ago. I fell  in love with these hauntingly beautiful sepia images. If you live in Australia, keep an eye out for it as it travels around the country over the next few years.

Last night we even made ANZAC biscuits to enjoy over the long weekend. Yum! Remembering ANZAC Day

Tomorrow we are off  to watch the parade my Grandfather used to march in when he was alive. Master O has picked out remembrance badges for all of us to wear and found an Australian flag to wave. He is excited. Success!

I hope you enjoy your long weekend if you are in Australia or New Zealand. Make sure that you check out your local ANZAC Day celebrations. Lest we forget.

Easter Weekend Baking

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I hope you all had a very enjoyable Easter. The four-day weekend was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and indulge in some extra special treats. This year I chose just a few sweet things to make over the weekend and they were more than enough. I though I would share what I created with links to the recipes.

Firstly, the most decadent baked caramel filled cheesecake. I will be making this again very shortly. We all loved it!

Easter Baking

My own take on Cinnamon/Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. I love anything cinnamon.Easter Baking

 

Easter Baking

The kids decorated their own cupcakes with the decorating kits I picked up at Kmart. They had lots of fun.Easter Baking

Easter Baking

Easter Baking

And what Easter would be complete without Hot Cross Buns? These are mini ones I made in the Thermomix.Easter Baking

What treats completed your Easter?

Homemade Ice Cream: No Churn, With and Without the Thermomix

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Since the Thermomix has joined the Crooked Household, we make nearly everything we eat using  just the basic fridge and pantry ingredients. However, after nearly 2 years of Thermomix ownership, I had not attempted to make traditional ice cream. We had made sorbet and cheat’s ice cream using frozen yoghurt or milk and fruit, but not that delicious creamy stuff.

We very rarely buy ice cream, there are just too many nasties in the store-bought stuff, so being able ‘healthify’ a treat was a great option.

The recipe I used was for traditional ice cream from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. It is so simple, quick and super delicious!

Homemade Ice Cream - Thermomix

To suit everyone in the household I removed the sugar and instead added a little Natvia (stevia) to sweeten. Next time I might try maple syrup.

To store this delicious concoction in, I purchased these Retro Kitchen containers. A 1 litre container and a set of 4 mini ice cream tubs. So cute!Homemade Ice Cream

Since this little adventure I have been looking into other ice cream recipes, in particular the no churn ones. It seems that the secret ingredient is condensed milk, which I have been wanting to make from scratch in the Thermomix (see recipe here). I am going to one or two of the following recipes a try over the Easter season. You don’t need to have a Thermomix for these recipes, just a hand beater or food processor.

No churn Vanilla Ice Cream 

Caramelised White Chocolate No Churn Ice Cream

Nigella’s Coffee No Churn Ice Cream

Here are my two monkeys enjoying their first taste of homemade ice cream. It got the thumbs up from them. Homemade Ice Cream

Do you make your own ice cream? I’d love to try your recipe.

Easter Themed Kids’ Activity Bags

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Now that I have been on a bit of a roll creating the Activity Bags for the kids, I had to make some Easter themed ones. You can see some of my other activity Bag posts here and here.

There is an abundance of Easter themed crafting items about at the moment so it was really easy to create these activities. Take a look….

Easter Egg Word Creation. A 3 letter word and picture clue.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Colour Match. Match the top and bottom part of the egg to the picture.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Number Match. Place the correct number and colour of  pom poms into the numbered egg.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Egg Colour Match. Place the correct coloured egg yolk into the egg.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

Easter Symbol Sequencing. Match the sequence on the cards using the correct symbols.Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

These fun activities live in an Easter gift bag by the garage so we can grab it when we are heading out.

Easter Themed Kid's Activity Bags

With Easter holidays starting at the end of this week, I can see these will get a good workout before Easter arrives.

Have a great day.

Little Boys’ Bedroom Redecoration

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Here is a little bedroom redecoration teaser…..I am waiting for the room to be repainted before I can really get my hands on the room but take a look at what I have already purchased for the redo…..

Just before Christmas we decided to move our two boys into a room together. We weren’t sure how it would all go, but we could not be happier.

The room was previously decorated in a dinosaur theme…… Dinosaur themed boys bedroom

And this worked for both of them while I could buy matching dinosaur linen for our youngest’s cot. However, once Master C moved to a big bed, I could no longer source a comforter to match his brother’s.  Apparently that is a big deal to a 2 year old.

So I was forced to visit my favourite Children’s linen store, Adair’s Kids ;) . Here we chose a travel/plane themed ‘Toby’ comforter and the matching cushions.

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Decorating a Boy's Room

Isn’t the suitcase cushion the cutest!? That is what really sold me on the whole set.

I didn’t love the matching artwork that they sold in Adairs, so it took some hunting to come up with something to go on the walls.  Finally I found two very amazing Etsy stores with the most amazing prints.

Firstly, I picked up this set from the lovely Trish at Strawberry Jam Studio.

Redecorating Little Boys' Room

 

And here it is framed waiting to be hung in a freshly painted room. (Sorry for the poor picture, the weather here is still miserable!)

Decorating Little Boys' Room

I cannot rave enough about how amazing Trish’s customer service was. Thank you, Trish!

The colours perfectly suit the linen. The boys love the dog and giraffe flying the planes and I love the typography and quote.

The other piece I picked out for the room was this brightly coloured world map from Wallfry. Decorating Little Boys' Bedroom

Decorating Little Boys' RoomAgain, the colours are perfect and the Geography teacher in me loves a map.

So there is the start of the makeover. I am itching to sort out some better storage solutions in this room now that Master O has started school. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Amazing Hot Cross Buns

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I LOVE Hot Cross Buns.  Unlike others who groan at their appearance in the supermarket on Boxing Day, I am excited.

In the past I have had a few attempts at making my own, but I have never been able to master the texture.  They have either been too dense or too dry.

Last week though I made the best Hot Cross Bun I have EVER eaten! They were light, soft and perfectly spiced. Full of fruit and delightful with some butter.

After hearing it’s amazing reviews, I used the recipe from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. Making them in the Thermomix made the task so simple – all the more reason to bake them all the time. If you don’t have a Thermomix there is no reason why you can’t make these in a stand mixer or with good ol’ elbow grease. You can find a version of this recipe here.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

To make these little baked goods healthier for my family, I used spelt flour and stevia to sweeten.  Quirky Cooking also makes some healthy substitutions to this recipe which you can see here.

Seriously, if you like Hot Cross Buns, go make this recipe – NOW. You will not be disappointed!

Cheat’s Sour Dough

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A few weeks ago I tried to create my own sour dough starter.  Things seemed to be progressing well then something went wrong. My starter started to stink and failed to rise, although it bubbled nicely. I decided to toss it – a tough decision as I had invested a fair bit of time into it.

Sourdough Starter

After trying to research what went wrong, I realised that even the ‘experts’ give contradictory advice. So I have decided that for the moment, sourdough is a little too ‘high maintenance’ for me.

However, I have wanted to get into creating my own bread to enjoy on the weekends, in particular spelt loaves with little added yeast.

The first loaf I made was Alyce Alexandra’s Cheat’s Sour Dough. This loaf looks and tastes like a sour dough but instead uses just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to do the rising.

It was really simple to make using the trusty Thermomix.  I followed Alyce’s instructional video which I found on You Tube.  If you don’t have a Thermomix you could certainly whip this loaf up in your food processor.

The dough proved overnight and although wet and sticky, took very little effort to shape. It needed to be baked for 30 minutes, perfect for breakfast.

Cheat's Sourdough

Cheat's Sourdough

And this is what my baby looked like…..

Cheat's Sourdough

Instead of using baker’s flour, I used spelt flour. This messed with the texture a little. Next time I will try of combination of both these flours. I also stuffed up the oven temperature but this was the Little Loaf that Could. The bread had a great crust and sour taste.  While it tasted lovely freshly baked, I enjoyed it most toasted.

I had my slices with smashed avocado and the sweetest heirloom tomatoes. My boys had it hot out of the oven with butter and honey. Delicious! So delicious I didn’t even have time to photograph a slice before the family devoured it all.

But don’t worry, I am going to make it again tonight, ready to bake first thing Saturday. I will stand guard with a camera and a wooden spoon(to rap thieving fingers) to ensure a picture of the first slice.

Have a great weekend.