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How to melt crayons into a rainbow!
If like us, the kids have got a bit bored of crayons, don’t despair – there are creative things you can do with them!
Did you know about the hashtag #kidscrafts101? Every week, Maggy @redtedart, Me, (ali) @incredibusy and Ana @babbledabbledo – set an instagram challenge, with a ‘theme’ and this week in question was rainbows – now, we have a few rainbow crafts on the blog that we can call upon, however, having teenagers and pre-teens in the house, it’s good to push and encourage their creativity, as they have become more and more drawn to staring at their screens and not wanting to be quite as creative as they used to be…
So we have FOUND A WAY and that is stop motion animation – so – check this out, we set up a tripod, take a series of photos, and make an animation! What fun…
For this particular craft, we took a square canvas* and some unloved crayons, and got busy, you can watch the stop motion in the youtube link below….
You will need:
Glue Gun (or tape, glue gun is quick and easy though!)
Watch the video here for instructions, basically, glue the crayons to the top half of the canvas.
Prop the canvas at an angle and start warming the crayons with the hair dryer.
Move the hair dryer to the top of the crayons, and start heating from the top so that they melt DOWN… note, the red didn’t melt as fast as the other colours, yet it still looks OK in the final result.
Lower the canvas to a smaller angle so that the crayons don’t drip off the end of the canvas, have fun, and don’t worry if the crayons ‘splatter’ that’s all part of the fun and creativity!
The one thing I really struggle to put into the recycling bin, is the toilet roll tubes, I can always think there is SOMETHING we can make with them, whether it’s planting seedlings in them, or making these lovely bird seed feeders. They are so easy to make, and the kids are tickled to be using peanut butter, to spread onto the loo roll tubes, cra-azy eh?!
So simple to do… basically, spread the peanut butter on the toilet roll tube, and sprinkle the bird seeds over the tube, pushing the seeds onto the peanut butter ‘glue’.
We do find some peanut butter a little dry, so – do as you do with toast! – paste a little layer of butter on to the tube before you spread the peanut butter onto the tube.
Then, slip the tube onto a thin branch, preferably in view of the window. We love eating our breakfast and watching the birds eat theirs – we have a favourite chubby blackbird in the garden, will try to get a photo of the bird seed feeder in action!
The carrot cake is a classic, and this carrot cake recipe’s a super-simple variation on that delicious theme. Just add grated carrots to the dry ingredients, which include both plain and wholemeal flour for extra texture.
Once you’ve beaten in free range eggs and some butter, you’re away – just pop it in the oven. The tangy lemon icing on this carrot cake recipe contrasts with the sweet, cinnamon-flavoured cake to really bring the flavours to life.
200 g (7oz) self raising flour
115 g (4oz) wholemeal flour
350 g (12oz) caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 ml (9fl oz) butter
3 Large carrots, peeled and grated
4 organic free range eggs Icing
2 unwaxed lemons, zested
225 g (8oz) Fairtrade icing sugar
Mix together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in carrot and gradually beat in Flora Cuisine and eggs. Pour into a greased and bottom lined 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin.
Bake in preheated oven 180°C, 160°C fan, gas mark 4 for 45–55 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack. Icing – Zest the lemons. Squeeze out the juice and add to icing sugar in a bowl with the segments. Mix gently and spread over the cake. Sprinkle with the zest.
Note – make sure your icing is not too runny – we had lots of fun scraping the icing off the board as it dripped through the cooling rack!!
This week we have handed the blog over to the kids… it seemed appropriate – as this one is ALL about them, and we took them on the train to FlipOut in Wandsworth – really easy to walk there from the station, with a group of teenagers, and probably the most popular party destination for SW19 families it would appear! Lots of our friends had recommended it to us, so we were all eager to try it out… this is what they thought, over to Spike…
FlipOut IS AMAZING! last week it was my birthday, and having heard how brilliant FlipOut is from all of my friends I decided that FlipOut was the place to go; it didn’t disappoint, I have been to many other ‘trampoline parks’ but flip out was by far the best. It has a massive array of things to do such as the bouncy basketball court that was hilarious and we had loads of games on that and challenges like shooting backwards and shooting after a 360, and there was a MASSIVE foam pit that you could flip into, or just jump (that is just as fun) and you could have a race in the foam but because it was so uneven and soft we all ended up sinking. My favourite thing however, was the ‘valley’ trampoline, this was basically two trampolines opposite each other making a ‘v’ shape and you could wall run and bounce from wall to wall.
Another fun thing about FlipOutis that there is loads of space to just bounce from trampoline to trampoline and to play games like tag or stuck in the mud if you are with friends. There are trampolines on the walls at an angle as well so you can bounce literally ‘bounce off the walls’ and there are also SUPER bouncy trampolines that spring you high up into the air. There is a really cool wall with a super bouncy trampoline next to it and kids and grownups compete to see who can get the highest.
The atmosphere at FlipOut is brilliant, there are walls lined with graffiti that makes the place feel really atmospheric. There is also a battered black London cab that serves as a clock because the time is shown in red on one of the blacked out windows. Loud and energetic music also fills the air making it a really enjoyable experience. At the entrance there are two really long trampolines that act like lanes and some really fun trampoline races can take place. If ever you get tired you can just take a short time out for a drink of water and a snack and then bound straight back on.
FlipOut caters very well for all ages because it has a pro zone where pros can back flip and wall run without disturbing any less experienced trampoliners. FlipOut also has a large area which is designated for little children only and it has a mini foam pit. As well as this the pro area can be accessed by anyone as long as they can land a back flip. on top of this there are three super bouncy trampolines in alcoves at the edge of the building so you can jump alone if you feel like it. Also, all under fives have to be accompanied by an adult.
After leaving FlipOut I was really energized and enthused to do some more trampoline activities and come back again because after you leave the weightless world of FlipOut then you are dying to go back again. The time allotted is perfect because you are exhausted after all the bouncing that you feel that you don’t NEED to go on again, even if you want to. overall I really enjoyed the flip out experience and would rate it a 10/10!!
for any extra information visit the FlipOut Facebook page: @FlipOutwandsworth
It’s almost Halloween! We’ve been scouring Pinterest for inspiration for some ‘healthy’ snacks for a bit of a party, (and maybe some lucky trick or treaters!) We’ve made these coconut flapjacks using some porridge oats, and desiccated coconut (thank you Ciara @myfussyeater for the recipe, which we’ve based our coconut flapjacks on) and decorated them with @divinechocolateuk, totally inspired by the work of @thesimplesweetlifeblog – big thanks for the idea!
Really fun ghostly coconut flapjacks for Halloween parties – and you’d never guess that these are vegan too! watch the whole video to find out more, oh, so don’t forget to click here http://bit.ly/1OVHKCD to subscribe for more Halloween fun, like our milk carton skull lanterns…
For the COCONUT flapjacks:
100g / 1 and a half cups porridge oats (use certified gluten free if necessary)
60g / 3 tbsp desiccated coconut
80g / 2 tbsp nut butter (we used peanut butter, Ciara uses cashew nut butter)
150g / 3 tbsp coconut oil
100g / 3 tbsp date syrup (can use maple syrup or honey instead if you’re not vegan)
2 teaspoons Flax Seeds
2 teaspoons Chia Seeds
For the Fairtrade chocolate topping:
100g / 4oz dark chocolate
1 tbsp coconut oil
50g Fairtrade Dark Chocolate
50g Vegan white chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f. Grease and line a baking tin or dish.
Mix the porridge oats and desiccated coconut together in a bowl.
Heat the nut butter, coconut oil and syrup into a saucepan over a medium heat. Pour over the oats and desiccated coconut and mix.
Pour the mixture into the lined baking dish and cook for 15 minutes, or until the edges of the mixture begin to brown. Allow the mixture to cool. You can put the dish by an open window, or once it’s cooled a little, in the fridge to speed this up.
Place the Fairtrade chocolate and coconut oil together in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir continuously until they have melted. Pour the melted chocolate over the porridge oats and allow it to cool once again.
Once the chocolate has cooled and set, cut the flapjack mixture into small pieces.
The flapjacks will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Once they have cooled, melt more dark and vegan white chocolate in two bain maries, (a glass bowl, in a pan of boiling water) and decorate – start with the white ghost shapes, and once these have cooled add the dark chocolate eyes, and ghoulish mouths…. we used a chopstick to ‘paint’ our melted chocolate – watch the video hereto see how we do this!
We’ve had ourselves a full and active summer, we just didn’t want it to be over…
Youngest started at ‘bigger than ever’ school and we thought, that’s it, Autumn is on its way – And then, with great joy, we packed our tent into the back of the car and took ourselves off for a long weekend to North Wales. We were meeting my sister, husband and Gracie the dog, for an amazing family weekend at The Good Life Experience, and WHAT a wonderful family festival.
Located in the grounds of the Hawarden Estate, former home of Prime Minister William Gladstone and now owned by his great-great grandson Charlie Gladstone and his wife Caroline (they of vintage lifestyle brand, Pedlars). You may have seen us talking about Pedlars over on aGreenerLifeforUs.com too – as they’ve been one of our #sgiew (@sogoodineveryway) photo challenge judges.
It’s a stunning location, with a castle, rolling grounds, a lake… before you even start to take in the iconic helter skelter, the beautiful bell tents, and general loveliness that goes to make this such a fabulous spot for a family festival of Music, Culture, Food & The Great Outdoors.
The Good Life Experience was founded in 2014 by four friends Cerys Matthews, Steve Abbott and Charlie & Caroline Gladstone, and they’ve crafted a festival that is wonderfully entertaining, based around themes of slow living, hand crafts, and the great outdoors, with a bit of poetry and live music thrown in for good measure. Fabulous guest speakers, art & craft workshops, swing bands and lindy hop dancing, coffee stops, ceramics, archery, axe throwing, Jennie Maizels‘ sketchbook clubs, Alex Pole forge kitchenware, plasticine stop motion animation, bushcraft, a dog show(!) and so much more!
Between the six of us, we managed to cram a LOT into the weekend, listened to the amazing (and hilarious) Doctor John Cooper Clarke, adventurer Ben Fogle talking about his life, DJ78 with his classic wind up gramophones, and John Higgs, talking KLF and the spectacular Swing Patrol swing dance class… yes, I’ve looked them up on the internet, there IS a class near me!
We marvelled at Neil from the Harwarden Estate and his amazing pumkin carving, we danced and cheered for the amazing Stealing Sheep.
As Tim at Gather Outdoors said, it’s great to meet up with so many like-minded people all in one place (and many that we follow and interact with on the ‘gram!)
If delicious food, finding out about other cultures, and a love of peace sound like your perfect evening’s entertainment, book your place at Conflict Café, in the atmospheric tunnels underneath London’s Waterloo Station.
Here chefs including Imad Ghossain (pictured) from Lebanon and Ruby Kughanathan (pictured) from Sri Lanka will delight diners with food from their home countries, helping to show how much we can get to know about others and their countries simply by breaking bread with them and sharing a meal.
Both Imad and Ruby became passionate about food by watching their mothers at their stoves at home as they cooked for the family, and then joining in. They left their countries of origin for a safer life and believe very much in the power of food to help transform attitudes, hence their support for Conflict Café.
This pop-up restaurant is being run by peacebuilding charity International Alert for the third year running from 22
September – 2 October 2016.
Conflict Café was inspired by a tradition that is common to many cultures around the world: coming together and reconciling differences by preparing and sharing meals. Diners will sit at communal tables and enjoy traditional dishes while finding out more about issues facing countries affected by conflict. It’s hoped that strangers will be inspired to talk together and start conversations about building peace through food.
Rebecca Crozier, International Alert’s Head of Emerging Programmes, explains the reasons behind the idea: “Across different cultures and continents, food has the power to bring people together and encourage the act of sharing. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is custom for the perpetrator of a crime to cook a meal for the victim and their family as a way of fixing broken bonds. In Europe, too, we find ways of using food to calm domestic storms, to unite communities and bring neighbourhoods together. She adds: “We hope that Conflict Café will give diners a glimpse into the diverse cuisines and complex histories of some of the countries where we work, highlighting the positive role that food can play in peacebuilding.”
The organisers say that eating a meal may not obviously be changing the world but, if a diner is giving a thought to Lebanon or Sri Lanka in their hurried life, they believe that they are already ahead. The event changes – or creates – that person’s perception of that country. People will not often take three hours to read everything about world events. But if they go out for a great meal and hear someone from that country talk, they will be experiencing human detail from that country. They may tell their friends about it or write on social media and that’s how change can take place.
The initiative kicks off with Conflict Café: Lebanon, a country which ended its civil war just 10 years ago and is now hosting more than one million refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.
The focus will then shift to the delicious flavours of Sri Lanka where, after nearly 30 years of conflict, more than a generation of Sri Lankans have grown up with no real experience of peace.
Conflict Café is part of the Talking Peace Festival organised by International Alert, a charity established by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other visionaries 30 years ago in a bid to secure an end to some of the world’s most bitter disputes. Once you’ve eaten you can take a look round the other tunnels in the House of Vans complex. These are housing other parts of the festival including the Create Syria multimedia exhibition.
This shows footage of exiled Syrian artists and cultural figures running workshops in Lebanon with refugee children and young people to help them to overcome their experiences of war.
The whole event is at the House of VANS, Arches 228 – 232 Station Approach Road, London SE1 8SW