March 28, 2012

Design a Ring

Recognise these? The little plastic seals under the lid and that you pull out of a big juice box. They look like plastic rings, don't you think?

Add some play dough and beads and you can transform them into these...ooh la la

These "designer" rings were created by some girlfriends (aged 10 and 12), who came over for a lovely play date. Wouldn't this make a super activity for a little girl's birthday party?

March 22, 2012

30 day {Give Away} Challenge

It's AUTUMN over here in the Southern hemisphere. Yippeee!!  Or maybe it's the first few days of SPRING for you? It's also my blog's second birthday this month - I can hardly believe it. In celebration of this special month, I would have loved to have shared 30 days of giveaways with you. Maybe one day, when my blog's all grown-up and famous, I'll have the opportunity to do just that :). But instead this post is not about giveaways - sorry if you're disappointed! - this post is actually about YOU giving stuff away. 

Whether you want to call it Spring cleaning or Autumn cleaning, I want to challenge you to get rid of some clutter and simplify your life a bit. Since last year I've been on quite a mission to clear the clutter and SIMPLIFY my home. I have been doing lots of sorting and decluttering and of course that means lots of giving away. I wish I had counted the items...I might have given away about 100 things so far?...actually I have no idea, that's just a wild guess. But this strong desire to make my life simpler by having less stuff continues daily. I think it makes me function better and if I'm doing that, then I'm a better, more effective, calmer, happier, more patient Mommy! So, that's really the reason why I thought I would ask you to join me. Are you in :)?

Here's the challenge: Could you part with one thing (big or small) every day for the next thirty days? You can give it away on the spot or put it in a box and part with it at the end of the month. That's up to you. Something I've noticed in my clearing-the-clutter process, is that if I revisit a spot that I have recently cleared, there's inevitably something else I'm happy to part with. I think it's just human nature to look at an item and if you're unsure to hold onto it. But, when you revisit it, it's much easier to get rid if it the second time around.

This blog is a great way for me to stay accountable, so this challenge is for me as much as it is for you.  I won't be posting about it regularly. Maybe just one half-way post, but you're welcome to keep in touch with me via email (see my About Me page) if you need some inspiration. Or touch base on my Love and Lollipops Facebook page.

Oh, one last thing. I have been reading these super blogs for inspiration in this area of my life. I thought they may inspire you too. 

Let me know if you're joining me and Happy Clearing the Clutter!

PS. You could even consider getting your kiddos to join you in the challenge. I think I might just ask Big One to give it a go.

March 18, 2012

Mini Designer Bottle Top and Play Dough Cakes

Bottle tops + play dough = cakes...who would have thought?

These mini cakes were inspired by some very clever creations I saw at  Anne Farrell's blog. I thought of trying to make these with glue, but then realised that it would require some really fine precision gluing and both children wouldn't necessarily be in the mood for such sticky fingers. So play dough to the rescue :).

I have tried a few play dough recipes, but this is definitely one of my all time favourites. It is soooo easy to make and the best part - no stove required!

To create the soft icing colours, I added very little food colouring to the dough. The yellow was our "custard" filling and we used deep purple as our chocolate icing, because I (unfortunately) forgot to make some brown coloured dough. To make a soft chocolatey color, you can simply add a little bit of cocoa to the recipe.

The little beads make for pretty sprinkles to decorate the cakes - don't forget to also have some red ones to add as cherries or strawberries :). 

Wouldn't these make such a sweet addition to a small doll's tea party?

The play dough recipe, found via The Mother Lode

1 cup flour
2 Tbs cream of tarter
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1/2 cup of granulated salt

Add some essence for a nice aroma (orange, almond, peppermint)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and then add a cup of boiling water. Stir until combined and turn it out onto a floured board and knead until smooth. Colour can be added to the boiling water or at the kneading stage. I divide the batch in half and add the colouring at the kneading stage. When you divide it in half, there is enough for two nice hand-sized balls of dough. Just a tip - wear gloves when kneading - the food colouring does stain your skin and it isn't very easy to clean off. Store your dough in an airtight container. 

If you have never made play dough before, I really want to encourage you to give it a go. For many years I used store-bought dough and I have always disliked the artificial and overpowering smell. This dough is really wonderful :). 

March 12, 2012

Recycled Robots

I have been collecting bits and bobs for our robots forever. At Christmas time, I kept all those little plastic and metal pieces that the toys were attached to in the boxes (you know those pieces - the ones that make it near impossible to detach the toy from the box!). Added to that, anything that looked like it could belong to a robot. 
Paper clips, keys, metal bottle tops, batteries (I'm careful that they are not leaking), empty tablet sheets, bobbins (think that's what you call them?), broken toys - it all came in handy.

Granny contributed some nice tins and I set out all the treasures and let the children explore and create.  I joined in too of course - I really can't help myself :)

Big One even decided to hammer a hole and attach the arms of one robot with some small nuts and bolts. He used glue and Prestik to stick down the rest.

Till next time - happy collecting and creating :)

PS. Sharing this at  

March 7, 2012

Adam's Art Spot : Bendy Cardboard Characters

Adam's Art Spot is my oldest son's space here on the blog to share his often quirky art and craft ideas.

I haven't shared an Adam's Art Spot for ages, so I'm really happy to do so today.

Not much explanation is required. The cardboard used to create these little characters are from our recycling box - mainly empty biscuit, tea or cereal boxes. The best part is that after creating these, you can play with them :).

 Cool hey?

Hermie, a common caterpillar by Max Lucado

I review for Booksneeze - have you heard of them? They offer books to bloggers for free and in return they ask that you review the book for them. Today I'm sharing the story of Hermie, a common caterpillar.

I must say that after reading my very first (and absolutely wonderful) Max Lucado book last year, I was really thrilled to hear that he is also the author of many children's books. So I jumped at the chance to read this one and also to share it with my boys.

The story is about Hermie, and Wormie his best friend,  who meet a number of other insect friends during the course of their day. All of these friends however, have some very special and attractive qualities and as a result these two rather ordinary caterpillars feel quite inadequate in comparison. Hermie and Wormie decide to take their feelings to God, who constantly assures them that he is not done with them yet and that patience is required. Now I don't know about you, but I think that comparing ourselves to others certainly robs us of our joy and this story shares this idea very nicely. There is a lovely (albeit predictable) and inspiring ending and the overriding message that we are all unique and that God has a special plan for each of us is delivered beautifully. I also love the fact that the caterpillars talk to God about their concerns - I think that's a great message for children to hear too.

This book was unfortunately only available as an e-book and I would certainly not recommend this version. Big One (aged 9 at the time) and I read it together and were very puzzled by the lay-out. The images do not always match the text on the page and as a result the book doesn't flow easily and we both found the story to be confusing. I was lucky enough to recently find a soft copy of the book at the library, so I did a little comparison. This copy was far easier to read, in that the illustrations are complimentary to the text, and the illustrations were nicer.  All in all a huge improvement from the e-book version. 

I would definitely keep this one on my bookshelf as a regular read to my children, as I think the message it delivers is fantastic.

Thank you Booksneeze for the opportunity to review Hermie!

PS. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed here are my own.

March 1, 2012

Easy to make Hot Plate

If your little one doesn't have a play stove, this is the easiest and quickest little hot plate to make and it's a great substitute. All you need is a small fruit box like the one in the pic. This box was home to some naartjies. Turn it upside down (it's nice and sturdy) and add two CD discs with some glue or prestick.

Till next time, happy cooking :)
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