Sunday, 29 December 2013

No Couch Potatoes Allowed!

Get up! Get moving! Dance! Run! Jump! Crawl! Wriggle! Slide!

The ButterBalls are always on the move, which keeps me on my toes and leaves us all exhausted at the end of each day... exhausted but happy and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Besides helping me burn up a few calories, all that active play develops the Butterball's gross motor skills and coordination. It also helps improve balance and builds strong little bodies.

When playing games together, kids practise turn-taking and sharing. They learn about good sportsmanship and how to be team players. They even practise math skills through score keeping! 

These are but a few of the benefits of Active play and right now, after an amazing day at the Moses Mabida Peoples Park, the benefit I'm totally loving is...sleepy exhaustion.

After all that action, the Butterballs are easily drifting off to sleep :)

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

As the sun sets on this special day, 
May the true spirit of Christmas live on in our hearts,
 May the joy of Christmas continue to bring smiles to our lips 
and may the love of Christ envelope our homes, friends and family.
So, from me and mine.... 
Here's wishing you all a very Blessed Christmas!!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve Surprise Box

The Butterballs are finally tucked into bed (while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads...hopefully!)
It's normally a mission to get them into bed, but this year we introduced a new family tradition which worked like a charm!
After dinner, came the great reveal...a Christmas Eve surprise box!
  • new PJs
  • lavender scented bubble-bath
  • book- The Night Before Christmas
  • DVD- The Christmas Story Keepers of the Bible
  • Popcorn
  • Hot chocolate
  • mini marshmallows

What an awesome secret weapon!! 
The Butterballs spent a happy half hour splashing about in the tub. 
Then, they eagerly jumped into their PJs and cuddled with Dad on the couch, mugs of hot chocolate in hand and bowls of buttery popcorn on their laps.
After the movie, they happily climbed into bed. 
Eyes glowed with wonder (or glazed with sleep) as they listened to their bedtime story.
What peace!
 And now to play Mommy-Santa!!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Party Time - Christmas Eve's eve.

Our family's Christmas dinner is on the eve of Christmas Eve (23 Dec). Like so many South African Indians, our menu is quite diverse.
  • Braaied honey-glazed rashers and sticky pork ribs. (proudly South African)
  • Crab curry and Mutton Breyani. (Indian!)
  • Roast chicken, roast turkey, roast potatoes (traditional Christmas fare)
  • a variety of salads and side dishes
  • Peppermint tart
  • key lime and white chocolate cheesecake

The kids table was done in red, green and white.

The cute little cupcake and jelly toppers are free printables from foreveryourprints

Loving craft time!

Photo booth pics. The props for the photo booth were designed by Linda Collen. Thanks Linda!

What an awesome evening shared with special friends and family!

Friday, 20 December 2013

4 sleeps till Christmas!!!!

The ButterBalls are super excited! (so am I!!)
 Tonight, they get to sleep in front of their Christmas tree.
Snuggly bedding...check.

Movie and popcorn...check.

Oreos and Milk... double check.

Simply love the cute Oreo Elf Feet. 
I made our pair from craft foam instead of paper (so we can reuse them). 
Pity we don't get Mint Oreos in Durban...
All set for an evening of twinkling Christmas lights, cuddles, snuggles and giggles!

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Snow Day Sensory Play

After reading so many stories about snowmen, the ButterBalls wanted to play with real snow (top of their holiday wish-list). Real snow? That's a little hard to come by in Durban (where it NEVER EVER snows).
So after much research (Thank God for Pinterest!!), I decided a Snow Day Celebration would be the perfect solution.

Squeals of surprise and joy greeted the Snow Day breakfast table.

Breakfast menu: a snowman pancake with chocolate drop eyes and mouth, sitting on a 'hill' of scrambled eggs, wearing a bacon scarf.

The White Hot Chocolate was a hit! And very easy to make: Heat milk in saucepan and add pieces of white chocolate and a drop of vanilla extract. Heat through, till chocolate has melted. Pour into mugs, top with whipped cream and a pinch of blue sprinkles. Yum!!
The mugs were ordinary glass mugs that had the features drawn on with Sharpies (thanks Linda!). Baking them in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15min ensured that the drawings stayed put.

Next, the Butterballs built snowcastles. Their eyes positively glowed as they dug into the snow.
Snow in Durban? Why yes....thanks to Snow-in-Seconds. Just a tablespoon of this powder makes about 1 cup of  realistic snow. All you do is add water and the powder puffs up absorbing the liquid, leaving you with fluffy 'snow' that won't melt. I used ice-water which upped the real factor. The powder is also reusable. Perfect for squashing, squeezing, kneading, rolling into snowballs and pressing into sandcastle molds!!!

The ButterBalls cooled off in their very own Melting Snowmen Pool... shaving foam snowmen with craft foam features...and a few sparkly snowflakes. They adored the silky softness of the shaving foam as well as the fresh, fruity scent! I got this amazing idea from bathactivitiesforkids. Will definitely try this one again, maybe in the tub this time.

While they splashed about, I whipped up a batch of frosting and set up the next snow-based work station. Snowman Cupcake decorating!!!

The ButterBalls loved decorating their snowman cupcakes. Ethan did more eating than decorating (as usual!).

To burn up the extra sugar, our next activity Indoor snowball fight. What a blast! Luckily, the only casualty was Dad's coffee mug.

The ButterBalls ended the day with a mug of Snowman Hot Chocolate, before snuggling up to listen to their bedtime story- Frosty the Snowman.
The perfect ending to a Snowy Day!!!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Mini Masterchef- stained glass cookies

Having seen so many beautiful stained glass cookie Christmas decorations, I've been just dying to bake a batch with the ButterBalls.
Thus began the hunt for an easy, *child-friendly*, cookie recipe.

The first recipe that we tried produced cookies that looked like this.

Needless to say, I was not impressed! Although the ButterBalls did enjoy eating them...

So... round 2. This time we tried the sugar cookie recipe from Glorioustreats....perfect!!!
The recipe was easy to follow and the dough wasn't sticky or difficult to work with. The cookies were delicious! I'm sure they would have been firm enough to hang on the tree, didn't get a chance to try though. They were eaten before they could cool ( also, I forgot to make a hole for the ribbon).
Ah well, there's always next year.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Kitchen Science- Baking Soda(bicarb) and vinegar

For some strange reason, each time I went shopping this month, baking soda has been on my grocery list. As a result, I now have 2.5kgs of baking soda on my recently-tidied pantry shelf!
So...time to use it up!

This Science experiment, that I found at Creativelyblooming, was super easy to set up.
Just spread out some baking soda on a tray/cookie sheet/shallow dish and add colour to some vinegar.
The ButterBalls loved using the medicine dropper to suck up and squirt the coloured vinegar...great for fine motor skills.
The ButterBalls were so impressed with the tiny eruptions, they only paused for breath when the last drop of coloured vinegar had been squirted.
500g of baking soda gone, 2kgs to go...

This experiment is a slightly different take on the normal baking soda volcanoes.
Place small glasses onto a tray...or place it in the sink or tub (so much easier to clean up!)
Half-fill each cup with baking soda and add a few drops of food colouring.
Add about 2tbls of bubble-bath to each cup (bubble-bath makes the reaction last longer...also creates more fizz)
This time, the ButterBalls used ketchup bottles to squirt in the vinegar. Ketchup bottles are so versatile...
perfect for squeezing paint, icing, vinegar...

Watching the little volcanoes erupt was exciting! Seeing the colours mix together was pretty amazing too.

I found this activity at momto2poshlildivas. My ButterBalls adore balloons so I knew that this experiment would be a hit.
The ButterBalls poured vinegar into plastic bottles, then using a funnel, they spooned baking soda into their balloons.

Next, the tricky bit-stretching the balloon over the neck of bottle without dropping any baking soda...(*Help mama, help!)
Once this was done, the ButterBalls lifted their balloons, sprinkling the baking soda into the vinegar below.
With lots of bubbling, fizzing and hissing, the balloons slowly expand. Awesome!
The Science behind it.
The baking soda is a base and the vinegar is an acid. When combined, their reaction produces carbonic acid which is extremely unstable. This carbonic acid breaks down instantly into water and carbon di oxide which fills the balloon as it expands.
Try explaining that to a 2 year old!!!

All in all, lots of bubbly, fizzy fun... and I have just enough baking soda left to whip up a batch of RVC!!