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?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Ring with a Story

Most of us have pieces of jewellery in our jewellery boxes that have a story behind them. For most of us, our wedding rings are worn everyday, and yet other pieces can add a huge amount of interest and flair to an outfit, and combining the two can be rather special. If you're in the market for a ring or any special piece of jewelry, you can check out where they have a wide variety of unique jewellery.

Today I would like to share with you one of my favourite sentimental rings that goes well with one of my favourite outfits.

When my mum was younger, she got a job in a jeweler shop. This was her first job and her first paycheck was highly anticipated! She purchased two rings with this first paycheck- a topaz and an amethyst set in gold. These rings symbolised the start of her freedom and adulthood, and as you can imagine, they were very special rings to her.

When my twin sister and I turned 21, my mother passed these rings onto us. I received the purple amethyst ring, and my sister received the brown topaz. It was such a meaningful 21st gift, and I love purple, so this was such a wonderful present to receive. I know how much the rings meant to my mother, and now they will be passed down as a family heirloom.

This ring is such a stunning piece, and although I usually don't wear large stones I love the colour and shape of this ring and wear it a lot more than my other rings.

It also goes perfectly with one of my favourite tops- this purple and gold peacock feather blouse/

The ring paired with this outfit makes me fell confident and glamorous- it is amazing what a piece of jewellery can do to lift an outfit! Wearing it also reminds me of my mum, and although we are close and see each other a lot, it is nice to still have that visual reminder of her.

Do you have any sentimental pieces that work well with your everyday outfits?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

WCW Easy Snack Mix

Both my boys have been a bit sick this week, but that doesn't stop them from feeling hungry! Soup and toast have been high up on the menu, but I wanted to put together a snack mix that I knew wouldn't be too harsh on their throats, as they are having trouble swallowing pretzels and cereal pieces.

Both of my boys love popcorn, so this formed the basis of the snack mix.

Easy Snack Mix
1 cup air-popped natural popcorn
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Sunsweet Diced Prunes

Mix everything together and serve!

You can add anything you want to this mix- the popcorn adds a lot of volume to the snack without being too filling, and the prunes help with any digestive issues! Nuts, cereal pieces, other dried fruits and chocolate would all go well in this mix.

What do you like to put in your snack mix?

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Why I do Style Dares

I completed most of the Fox in Flats Style Dare for May, and really loved some of the outfit combinations.

I  have had a few people ask why I bother to take selfies and document my outfits daily, when I also have lots of other things to do during the day and also need to get my boys out the door each morning.

I find that knowing what I am going to wear each day actually makes the day start smoother. I used to try on a few different items each morning and then end up rushing out the door, but a Style Dare gives me a clear goal of what my outfit should be like. Yes I have days where I do the school run in my workout gear or don't quite manage to see a hairbrush, but for the most part my clothes are sorted.

One of the best things about this Style Dare is rediscovering things in my wardrobe. This top had been languishing in my closet, and the last time I had worn it was Christmas 2014. However, it fit the brief for Pure Gold perfectly, and it translated well to an Autumn piece when layered with my jacket.

One of my favourite prompts was Sparkly, as I had just received this fabulous new dress and needed an occasion to wear it. This meant I could wear sparkles during the day and feel amazing- it was just the push I needed to wear this dress instead of saving it for a special night out.

One of the other prompts that pushed me out of my comfort zone was Marsala- the colour for 2015 that I have never worn near my face as it brings out my redness. I did have some more berry tones in my wardrobe that could pass for this colour, and this ended up being one of my favourite outfits for the month.

I even got my family in on the fun with the Dynamic Duo prompt, as I matched my outfit colours with my son's wardrobe choice. This necklace was chosen for me by my boys too, so it was a special outfit and the boys loved that I was wearing "their" colours and the gift!

Andrea does an amazing job of compiling these style dares, and there is a real sense of community on Instagram when we use the hashtags and comment on each other's photos. I have a lot of women in my Instagram feed who can put together an effortless outfit, and while my photos may not be perfectly posed or in the best lighting as we usually take them in the morning as I am rushing out the door, I will continue to do these dares as a way to push my style boundaries, find things in my wardrobe, and be part of an amazing group of women.

Linking up with Confident Twosday, Wardrobe Wednesday and Thursday Fashion Files
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