cooking with kids, teenage reviews

Going Plastic Free

Going Plastic Free

As a family, Plastic Free July had us thinking – what can we do more to encourage people to be more aware of their plastic use, maybe going plastic free? Can we create a cleaner world for generations to come for July and the other eleven months?!?

Firstly – let’s remind ourselves WHY we are doing this:

“Crude oil extraction causes problems like deforestation, oil spills, pollution of toxic chemicals. From the 100 million tonnes of plastic produced each year, 10 million tonnes ends up in the sea. Plastic doesn’t break down like natural materials – there’s an area of floating plastic the size of Turkey* in the North Pacific.”
*source, Greenpeace via BetterShoes.org

Our family has made several changes over the last few years, so we’ve been carrying reusable bottles, going plastic free, and also reusable cups and cutlery (we love a Spork for the name as much as anything!) for when we are out and about.

KITCHEN

At home in the kitchen, we’ve ditched the plastic and sponge pan-scourers, and started using coconut coir crocheted cloths, we order our milk and orange juice to be delivered every other day by the ‘milkman’ – and love that he collects our used (clean) bottles (he is a ‘he’ yes before we start dissecting whether to call him a milk-delivery-operative) – , and we’ve been saving the milk bottle aluminium lids to pop in the recycling kerb side collection box too – we post them into a pop can – as they are very small!

We’ve recently been given an espresso machine, which we were loath to use because of the plastic (landfill) capsules – however, you can now buy compostable plant-based capsules so that’s a winner!

Howdens have put together this helpful guide with some simple ways that you can make more sustainable choices in your day-to-day life. With the kitchen at the heart of the home, they share top tips for creating an eco-friendly kitchen and to explore how even small changes can make a big difference. click HERE

And – we’ve even extended the plastic-free policy to the bathroom, with natural deodorant in a cardboard tube, and bars of shampoos too… it’s been an interesting experiment, but so far, we are very fragrant!

And shoes, man – so many modern shoes contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride); polyurethane plastic, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) EVA Foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) (found this all out here: http://www.bettershoes.org/home/material-selection so we’ve even been rethinking that too – you CAN get shoes made from natural materials, like cork and organic cotton, and wool – like Po-Zu and Baabuk.

A really good read is this book, No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey, the fella who brought us #2minutebeachclean – it’s a really easy read, perfect for kids and teenagers and supports behaviour change and helping others habitually #choosetorefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups – just to name a few.

This post has been written in conjunction with Howdens – although of course all thoughts and words and photographs are my own.

Further reading:

Sign the petition to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to “Make coffee cups recyclable!” HERE

Do you have bread bags, polythene, toilet roll bags, bubble wrap etc you want to recycle? post it to Polyprint.  accepts recycling from the general public. Please visit their website for details.   ♻️

baking, cooking with kids, create

Carrot Cake recipe with Lemon Icing

carrot-cake-lemon-icing-kidschaos-instagramThe 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.

fairtrade-carrot-cake-lemon-icing-kidschaosIngredients
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

 

organic-carrot-cake-lemon-icing-kidschaosMethod
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!!

Ali also blogs over on Incredibusy.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

cooking with kids, key stage 2, life

With two boys, who seem to be growing bigger every week, we are doing that thing of contemplating extending the back of the house. When they were small, pre-school, it didn’t seem so crucial to have separate living and playing areas – Although, as they got to school age, establishing the sitting room as the ‘grown-up room’ gave back some tranquility and escape from the lego.
pozushoes
And now they are nearly as tall as me, we’ve had to buy bigger beds, with built in desk and wardrobe space, and had to rethink the downstairs living area…

As you know, we love ‘family cooking time’ where we bake and cook together as a family, yet these boys take up a LOT of room in our galley kitchen these days.

The kitchen is one area that we have not changed since moving in, and I LOVE our old Edwardian kitchen floor though, ridiculous as that sounds, these tiles make is so hard! It’s something I have been struggling to come to terms with inevitably having to say goodbye to these beautiful old tiles – unless we can find a way to incorporate them into a new layout!

Glass box kitchen extension, Richmond : Modern kitchen by Holland and Green

So we’ve been looking at LOADS of different kitchen layout designs, to find a way to do this, perhaps with a glass box extension, to let in more light, without taking too much of our small mid terrace garden?

Or shall I just bite the bullet and go for something completely different and accept that change is as good as a rest as they say? There’s always the option of finding some new rather lovely tiles to play with! – watch this space!
Modern kitchen by Pixcity
baking, cooking with kids, food, gardening

It’s been a lovely colourful summer, people have been grumbling about the on-off weather, rainy, then sunny, then rainy again, but it’s meant we have a lot of green in the fields (and our back garden), picnics in the park (sometimes under umbrellas!) and the multi-coloured fruit in the hedgerows have been in abundance!

The joy of finding all of this free fruit has been a delight, it’s brought smiles to our faces and with the winter months approaching, and summer picnics a distant memory, we’re so glad our Ocean Spray cranberry cartons do much the same, adding colour through the refreshing taste and by delighting us throughout the year (the boys just love them in their school packed lunches now the Autumn term has started).
Meanwhile, we’ve really enjoyed foraging for the fresh (FREE) fruit and made copious crumbles, and cakes and we’ve frozen blackberries for morning smoothies in the winter (TOP TIPs: freeze loose on trays so that you can bag them as single loose frozen fruits, rather than a big frozen clump! We also add dried fruit to our smoothies, and have a jar FULL of Ocean Spray’s dried cranberries, they add a real tangy zing)BlackBerry Crumble KidsChaos

aller farm glampingWe’ve spent a lovely staycation weekend down in Devon too – we seem to have given up camping this year (although the tent WAS out earlier in the summer for a night under canvas with 10yo) As a family, we tried out a bit of glamping, and are totally converted – it’s the way forward, the kids loved picking the red apples in their orchard, chasing after the free range chickens, and feeding the black and white Friesian calves, and we loved waking up to such a fabulous view of the green fields, and the wispy white clouds and blue skies…aaahhhh.

So as we head towards the end of the summer holidays, we are still going for our evening stroll around our own neighbourhood and continue to be overwhelmed by the natural colours which will forevever amaze us – Planet Earth at her best….(can’t beat a good British Sunset can you?!)Sunset-KidsChaos

I’m working with BritMums and Ocean Spray highlighting the everyday moments of colour that give each of us a little lift, just like Ocean Spray adds colour to our day and delights us all year round. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own.

charity, cooking with kids, kids

Camila Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company Plate Pledge

You may have previously read my Kids Company article for Britmums – and I have been lucky enough to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh on a couple of occasions – She is an amazing and awe-inspiring person. Plate-Pledge

Every week, thousands of children rely on Camila’s charity Kids Company for their main meal of the day. They come to be fed, to learn how to cook, and to find a safe place to be a child. Cooking together and meal-planning, has been a really important time for my children and I, and we often find time to bake the odd cake together even now with all of the homework they seem to have as they get older.
We were reading Jay Raynor’s article in last month’s Observer and the statistics still astound us – that today through Kids Company’s centres in north and south London, Liverpool and Bristol, they now support 36,000 children and provide 3,000 meals a week. Of those children, 85% rely on Kids Company for the main meal of the day. “We find children coming to us with quite severe issues of malnutrition,” says campaigns director Laurence Guinness. “We have toddlers with rickets, 10-year-olds who look like seven-year-olds. When you see adolescents looking skeletal you understand why they join a gang.” “There is no responsible adult caring for these children. There’s a gaping hole in the safety net. There is no allocation of resources to the lone child.”  

My 10 year old son has pledged £2 today to the Plate Pledge – he asked me to type:
“This is from my 10year old son – who today cooked a fish supper for our family and baked and iced a cake. He is giving £2 from his piggy bank towards a healthy tasty meal for another child tonight.”

As well as having the privilege of meeting Camila, I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing beautifully minded brands, and I was very proud to read this little note from Camila and Kids Company last week:

“We are delighted that 1 Two Kids has decided to continue its support of Kids Company through the Sophie La Girafe Baby skincare range in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is wonderful to have this support for our 36,000 vulnerable children, young people, adults and their families,” says Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE. 

Kids Company recently launched a challenge to pledge support for a further 580,00 meals for these children – so far, with donations from as little as £2 each, equivalent to a plate of food to help make a hungry and vulnerable child happy – they have reached an amazing 549, 833 – to reach their TARGET: 580,000 visit kidscoplatepledge.org to learn how you can help too.

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and FunCraftsKids.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

cooking with kids, crafts, gardening, gardening with kids

DIY Bird feeder from half an orange

We have always been big ‘bird’ fans (no, not BIGBird, as in the Sesame Street character, although that has always quite amused…) – As a child we fed the birds in the garden at home, with various bird houses, structures and fat and seed balls, watching to see if the naughty squirrels had somehow managed to nab the grub before the bluetits could get to it!Bird Feeder Orange and Peanut Butter

Bird-Feeder-Peanut-Butter-ingredients-KidsChaos
So we wanted to share this easy birdfeeder with you –

you will need:

half an orange

some peanut butter

some bird seed…

string – (we love the baker’s twine!)

Bird-Feeder-Peanut-Butter-pierce-the-sides-KidsChaos

Scoop out the content of the orange (we have a smoothie every day, so we added the orange to that).

Spread some peanut butter into the orange skin, and add the seeds.

Pierce holes in the side of the orange skin ‘cup’ – actually do this BEFORE you add the peanut butter and seeds!

Thread string, and hang on tree..

We’ve also done this with a toilet roll – can you believe! Click here to read more and here for more fab bird feeder ideas.

Ali also blogs over on Incredibusy.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

 

baking, cooking with kids, crafts

Melted Hama Beads and Perler Bead Craft

A quick one to share with you today – we made some cute Melted Hama Beads (or Perler Bead) Fish! I’ll let you guess which one I did… which one was Maggy redtedart’s and which one my 11yo son created!Hama Bead Perler Bead Craft

You can use cookie cutters with your salt dough for this fun craft, however salt dough is so malleable that you could also simply shape the dough by hand.

Push your hama beads gently into the dough in your desired pattern, place the dough shape onto some grease proof paper, and onto a baking tray and pop into the oven on a very low temperature, and just keep an eye on it! As the perler beads start to melt, bring the tray out of the oven and allow to cool. fun eh?!

For salt dough recipes, check out http://www.redtedart.com/2013/12/02/easy-salt-dough-recipe-stars/

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!

 

baking, cooking with kids, crafts

Every month we run a craft challenge on a theme – November is #Snowman #Crafts.

snowman craftsOur first contribution is our snowman sandwich – a quick post-school pick-me-up!
Using two circular cookie cutters, (one for the head, one for the body) we cut a snowman shape out of one slice of bread… Buttering the other slice with peanut butter (or jam, if you have a peanut allergy!)
Sprinkle over some icing sugar, and place the second slice of bread over the top, adding silver baubles for buttons, and raisins for the eyes – you’re away!

Share your Snowman Crafts photos on Instagram, or over on Twitter, using the hashtag #GetYourCraftOn, add your link to the linky below, and we’ll pick the best ones to feature here on the host blog the following month. (and on our Pinterest board too)

The photos you share do not have to be of the finished article – let’s see your work in progress as well as your completed masterpieces! Anything related to the #SnowMan crafts or #Olaf (! if you’re Frozen fans) topic. Just tag them with #GetYourCraftOn and follow and tag us too so we know you’re taking part) Our team’s four Instagram accounts are: @incredibusy (that’s me!), @redtedart @bluebearwood &@missielizzie.

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So what’s #GetYourCraftOn?

It’s a monthly craft challenge organised by four bloggers – zingzingtree, Red Ted ArtMe And My ShadowKids Chaos (me!)

Ali also blogs over on aGreenerLifeforus.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello!