Monday, July 6, 2015

Superhero Family Fun Dinner

My boys are currently obsessed with superheroes- Marvel Avengers, Batman, comic books, anything will do! We decided to have a family fun night based on superheroes, thanks to the help of The Official Super Hero Cookbook. If you have boys in your house, you need this book! As well as everyday items, it has great ideas for birthday themes and jazzing up lunchboxes, and it even comes with stencils.

We looked through the cookbook and chose what we would like to eat, then I helped the boys write out the menu and a list of ingredients and supplies we would need.

Our main course was Holy Guacamole with Krypto Dogs, Wonder Woman Crudites and Superman Sauce. We also had Joker Juice as our drink.

Dessert was Plastic Man Pudding- this was absolutely delicious! I did change it to Batman Pudding and used a Bat cookie cutter to place some blue fondant on top, and we only needed small amounts of this sweet treat.

The boys both really enjoyed planning, cooking and eating our special superhero themed family fun dinner.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lovely Linen from Parachute

There is nothing I like better on a cold winter evening than to snuggle up in bed on nice clean sheets. Walking into my bedroom and knowing that I have crisp, clean sheets waiting for me makes me want to go to bed early!

Linen is a great way to express creativity as well as tie in your bedroom look- whether it be modern, vintage, colourful or a plethora of patterns. I love interchanging my linen colours to give my bedroom a new look, and I love mixing and matching textures and colours.

One of my favourite looks is a white duvet cover paired with simple white sheets. It always feels so inviting, and white works well in both winter and summer. It is such a classic combination that will never go out of style.

Parachute Linen has been inspired by their Venice Beach surroundings to create a linen range of classic white items, with a grey Fog colour to complement the range.Their linen is available here in New Zealand but also worldwide, so it is perfect for a gift if you need something for a friend or family member overseas.

The thing I love, and why I am sharing this information with you today, is that Parachute has partnered with Nothing But Nets, an organization that provides safe sleep to those in need. For every Venice set sold (which will be available in White Linen), Parachute has committed to sending one life-saving bed net. This is a perfect excuse to get some new bedding and help someone at the same time! So far, parachute Linen have donated over 3,900 nets to help prevent malaria. For more information about Nothing But Nets, please click here.

Buying bedding you love shouldn't be a hassle or out of reach. When you shop online with Parachute Linen, you simply select your preferred fabric, colour and style, and receive it delivered to your door. You will also be helping those less fortunate by updating your bedroom linen!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WCW Pinterest Recipes June

Time for an overview this week of some of my Pinterest recipe pins that I got around to trying this month. In order to keep my pins under control, I choose five recipes every month to try, and if they aren't winners then I delete therm from my board. If my family gives the dish a thumbs up, it will get moved to my Plan To Eat account for future reference. This has helped me keep my pins manageable and also let me find some new family favourites!

The recipes we cooked are:

French Toast Blueberry Casserole
Salmon and Rice Loaf
Oriental Express Chicken
Crockpot Garlic Alfredo Chicken
Taco Pasta

First up is the French Toast Blueberry Casserole. I got up an hour earlier than everyone else to have a delicious breakfast ready on a Saturday morning. My boys love blueberries, but this casserole fell flat. I think they didn't like the texture of the cooked bread, so my husband and I had a lot of leftovers!
VERDICT: Delete.

The Salmon and Rice Loaf was also a dish with plenty of leftovers- although this was alright to eat, it wasn't "wow" enough for us.

Onto the Oriental Express Chicken. I have tried a few recipes from this website and have never been disappointed. I made this dinner thinking that it would get a thumbs down from my 5 year old who doesn't like chicken, but he ate the chicken straight away and asked me to make this more often! My husband agreed with the 5 year old, and I had clean plates all around.

Since I had a busy weekend of crafting, I was looking forward to the Crockpot Garlic Alfredo Chicken. However, this was another dish that fell flat for us, possibly due to the fact that the sauce was average. Since this recipe relies on the sauce to carry the dish, I will be trying this with a different jarred sauce.
VERDICT: Keep with modifications.

Lastly, we tried Taco Pasta. As a family of Mexican food afficionados, we were looking forward to this and it didn't disappoint. In my opinion, the cream cheese makes this dish special and it was so easy to cook.I snuck in some vegetables by adding corn and topped this with salsa before serving.

Please note that these are only based on my personal preferences and the verdicts of my slightly picky children, so you may want to try these recipes out if anything takes your fancy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Poppins Book Nook- Forests/Woods

Welcome to the June edition of Poppins Book Nook!

This month's theme is Forests and Woods.

The book we read this month is a New Zealand book called Kahu the Kiwi, about a Kiwi who loses his way in the forest and then makes friends with a boy, leading to many adventures.

For some of my readers, a kiwi to you is a fruit. However, the Kiwi is a national icon of New Zealand and lives in the forest. It is a nocturnal, flightless bird and we learnt lots of fun facts about kiwis after watching this video, as well as some ways on how we can help save this wonderful namesake, as New Zealanders are also known as Kiwis!

Aren't they cute!

We decided to make our own Kiwis using egg cartons, colouring pens and cardstock. Our class mascot, Moose, was visiting our house today and so we made one for him too.

First, we coloured our egg carton pieces brown and drew feathers. Then we slotted the two pieces together and added cardstock wings and a beak. We then added some eyes and we were done!

The boys (and Moose) were very proud of their Kiwi creations.

We also made some gingerbread trees. Using standard gingerbread dough, we cut out our trees sing a cookie cutter and baked them in the oven for 12 minutes until golden brown.

As it is winter here currently we dipped them in melted white chocolate to make them snow topped trees, and then we taste tested them!

We had a great time learning about classical music and painting our own masterpieces, Click below to see how other members of Poppins Book Nook were inspired!

 Clip art by MelonHeadz.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom - 3 Dinosaurs - ABC Creative Learning - As We Walk Along the Road - Brain Power Boy - Chestnut Grove Academy - Embracing Destiny - Every Bed of Roses - Farm Fresh Adventures - Growing in God's Grace - Kathys Cluttered Mind - My Bright Firefly - Peakle Pie - Preschool Powol Packets - Pray Species - SAHM I am - Stir The Wonder - Sunny Day Family - Sweet Silly Sara - Teach Beside Me - To the Moon and Back - Tots and Me - Tree Valley Academy - Witty Hoots

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

WCW Pineapple Ginger Caramel Slice

I love looking through my mum's old recipe book- it is such a trip down memory lane. It is so fun to recall childhood meals and memories of lunchbox baking, and now to have the recipes to give to my family is a very special thing.

One of the recipes in my mum's book was for a slice that I remember her making for adults, which I never tried. Luckily, both of my boys like pineapple and ginger, so when I made this slice the entire family inhaled it and I had something for everyone's lunchbox!

Pineapple and Ginger Caramel Slice
125 g butter
1/2 cup white sugar
2 Tbsp hot water
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 450g tin crushed pineapple
2 tbsp crystallised ginger (chopped)

Grease a 20cm x 30cm sponge roll tin.
Cream together the first measure of butter and sugar.
Add the hot water and beat.
Sift flour and baking powder together, and add to the butter mix.
Press mixture into tin, retaining a piece the size of a golf ball and placing this in the fridge to chill.
Bake at 190 degrees C for 20 minutes.
Heat the condensed milk, butter, golden syrup and brown sugar in a saucepan.
Pour over the baked base.
Drain the pineapple well and sprinkle this on top of the base, along with the ginger. 
Grate the reserved base mixture over the top. 

Return to the oven and bake at 160 degrees C for 10 minutes.
Cut when cool.

This is so gooey and yum, and the flavours go together wonderfully. Try to get the best crystallised ginger available for your budget as this really makes a difference to the slice.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

5 Tips for working out on Winter mornings

Brrr, it has definitely been chilly these past few days. This makes me want to stay in bed, so when my alarm goes off at 6am I have been less enthusiastic about getting up!

image via Buzzfeed

Here are some tips I have put together for staying warm in winter if you are exercising, whether it be outside or in your own home.

1. Set the alarm. 
Even though this doesn't work in every situation, I find that setting my alarm stops me from going back to sleep as I put my phone alarm far enough away so that I have to get up to reach it anyway. This means that I am up, and so it is harder for me to justify getting back into bed. It is important to listen to your body though, and if you really need a sleep in then feel free to crawl back under the covers!

2. Set out clothes.
I know a few people who sleep in their workout clothes, or put them right beside the bed. For me, I put my clothes out by my heat pump and get dressed there! Not only does it encourage me to walk out to where I exercise, it also means that my clothes are warm since my heat pump automatically goes on each morning. If you are venturing outside lots of layers are a must, including gloves and a hat.

3. Change your exercise routine.
If you are really struggling with getting up in the morning to do early exercise, consider doing it after your evening meal or at another time of day. Personally, I have been working out after I drop my son at school as then my other son is usually happy to eat his second breakfast and I feel more alert. For others, this might mean joining an indoor class instead of exercising outside. There are many great community exercise opportunities run my fitness groups, your local council and recreation centres.

4. Buddy Up.
I am always more inclined to exercise if I know someone is waiting for me to show up, as the accountability keeps me going. I belong to a running group, Extra Mile Runners, so the opportunity to run with a group is more appealing than me trying to run in the dark on my own. Doing a gym session with a friend or even going for an afternoon stroll with a family member can also work well to change things up and keep you active during the colder months.

5. Have a hot drink or meal in mind. 
I look forward to my morning coffee, so planning a hot coffee after a morning workout, or making a hot herbal tea after a run outside, are sure fire ways to keep me warm. I am a naturally cold person, so in winter I prefer hot meals too. A workout will warm me up, and then to keep that warm buzz going I enjoy an omelette or some porridge and a hot drink after my workout session.

Do you have any tips for keeping motivated in winter? I would love to know!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Date Night Movies for Winter

One of the things I look forward to the most is date nights with my husband. In winter, we tend to enjoy a hot drink, followed by a movie and popcorn, and this gets us out of the house and able to enjoy each other's company without being interrupted.

Here are some of the films we are planning to see during the colder months in New Zealand.

Mr Holmes:
Starring Sir Ian McKellan as a retired Sherlock Holmes, who finds himself reminiscing over a 50 year old case in his home in Sussex post WWII. My husband and I really enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes movies released in 2009 and 2011 featuring Robert Downey Jr., and so I am anticipating that this version will also entertain us both.

San Andreas:
As a Dwayne Johnson fan, I really want to see this even though it may be hard to watch at times due to the earthquake scenes. This movie is about the San Andreas fault line, not a GTA game as some fans thought, and features Dwayne Johnson as a helicopter pilot trying to rescue his estranged daughter as the city crumbles around him.

The whole family is going to this, as my boys adore the Minions and their funny antics. This is the first movie aimed at children that I have been excited to see this year (my mum took the boys to Spongebob so I dodged that bullet!) and this will make a fun day out for the entire family.

Ant Man: 
My son can list all of the superheroes of the Marvel subset, and Ant Man is the latest version of a superhero character having his own movie. Paul Rudd is an actor that my husband and I enjoy watching, and it will be interesting to see how he holds his own in this performance as a somewhat serious role.

Fantastic Four: As a Marvel-fanatic household, we are also looking forward to this movie being released at the start of August. This is my husband's pick of the bunch!

As you can probably tell, we enjoy action packed movies, and I will still get my fix of romantic comedies through our movie nights at home and also going to the movies with my mum.

Are there any movies you plan to see this winter?
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