We've just finished three weeks of spring break. Caspar and Otis have spent almost all day, every day, outside on their bikes, or on the neighbor's trampoline. They always come home hungry. While I often have snacks ready for them, sometimes I am busy with the baby. Sometimes I want them to get their own snacks - you know, life skills and all that. Today I am sharing three snacks that are really popular in our home. Caspar and Otis can make all of these themselves, without any adult help. It's usually Otis doing the baking but Caspar can help... Read more →

1. / 2. / 3. / 4. / 5. / 6. / 7. / 8. / 9. / 10. / 11. / 12. Does your child's school use cloth napkins? Most Montessori schools do. How about at home? I know many families don't use napkins at all (cloth or paper) but I've found them really useful not only when the children first start with solids (weaning, baby led or Montessori style) but also for teaching grace and courtesy, just plain manners at the dinner table or when out at picnics or eating with friends and family (snack or morning tea).... Read more →

I believe education starts from birth and that a supportive home environment is key! I'm talking health and lifestyle, not just teaching our kids how to read and write. I want to set a good example, be a role model and also involve my children in the decision making in our home. There is no doubt that obesity and inactivity are huge concerns in our society. Too many children don't know what is in their food, are unable to make informed and educated decisions or are unable to regulate their food intake. Parents have to take the lead and I'm... Read more →

My children go back to school on Monday. Much of my focus this week has been on baking and getting together lots of easy lunchbox ideas. While my children are generally happy to eat the same foods every day I like to ensure they have lots of variety. I grew up with vegemite sandwiches (and chips for recess) every day. I can't say I ever remember taking any vegetables to school. School standards have improved since then, the boys' previous school was very strict, and their current school is pretty good at promoting healthy eating. I am not sure that... Read more →

It's been on my mind for a while. I had been making Otis' school lunches for him and I felt really bad about it. I honestly just wasn't organised enough. I often made his lunch late at night, baking at the last minute to fill the lunch box. Argh not ideal. It's not really about being organised it's about priorities, knowing what is important and just finding the time to make it happen. So why is it important they do it themselves? I recently read this article by Dr Angeline Lillard (Professor of Psychology and author of this book). Dr... Read more →

We tried something a little different with our baking today. I wanted to create a recipe that Otis could follow independently. I typed out the recipe and included images of the exact ingredients he would be using. I printed out two pages one with the ingredients and one with the method. I laminated the pages so Otis could cross off the items and steps as he used them. This was a good idea especially for the ingredients as Otis loved marking them off as they went into the bowl. Such a fun process. I put all the ingredients and all... Read more →

A wonderful part of living in Brisbane is that with the warm weather (even in winter) our dough always rises. Always. We've been using the dough recipe from Smitten Kitchen and it's the best. Ever. Each child makes their own pizza. It takes them five, ten minutes at the most. Squishing the dough in-between their fingers. Licking the tomato sauce off their hands. Gently dusting the finished pizza with cheese. Sweeping and brushing off all that flour. So many things we make with the children (baking, bread, pasta) take such a long time. Pizza being so quick is a great... Read more →

I am always on the lookout for new foods to make with my children. Always looking for new experiences to share with them. Dumplings have to be one of the easiest foods to make. Anything that requires wrapping (think spring rolls, dumplings) attract my children. It's kind of like wrapping a present and a little like origami. We tried a new Japanese Gyoza recipe but could only find dumpling wrappers (not specifically Gyoza) locally (I only thought after that we totally could have made the wrappers too!). We used ground meat, ginger, garlic and cabbage which tasted really fresh. Both... Read more →

Living in Brisbane our lifestyle has totally changed. Although the warm weather is everywhere in Australia right now, never before have my children spent so much time outdoors. Practically all day, everyday. Dirty feet - every night. The boys have been using the Nature Play Passport which has given us a few new ideas. The boys love chocolate and I knew I could come up with a healthy chocolate snack. They don't look so pretty but they taste fantastic and only took a couple of minutes to make. Today we walked to our local library to find a beautiful organic... Read more →

Independence isn't something we can teach. It isn't something we can do on the weekend. We need to live it. They absorb it and it becomes a part of them. Doing becomes a part of their being. It's not just about independence though, being involved in their own food preparation is also about self pride and confidence, empowerment, practical life skills and knowledge. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. Learning to knead takes time and lots of practice. I'm demonstrating to Otis here. Making pasta with children is time consuming and incredibly messy - but it's like magic, turning flour and eggs into... Read more →

As soon as my children could walk they were able to get and in some small way to begin with - prepare their own snack. My children generally don't over-eat. After school is the time they are most interested in snacking. If I see the kids continually getting food out of the fridge or cupboard before dinner I will say something but this usually isn't a problem. If you are concerned about snacking at inappropriate times it's possible to put some food out only during the times you would like or allow the children to access the food. There are... Read more →

Usually when Otis cooks he works up at the kitchen bench (we use the Fun Pod). While this is fine I like to occasionally move everything down to his level. Working at a child sized table means he can move around a lot more and often works for extended periods of time. Today Otis cooked the Mini Berry Pancakes from this fabulous cook book. He needed a lot of verbal guidance but completed all the hands-on food preparation and cooking by himself. Before starting we put all the ingredients and tools on the table. I pre-measured the milk and the... Read more →

To brighten things up a little we decided to print on some of our plain napkins. A bit like our Inside Outside Fruit prints! . We've had these fabric paints for years and they are worth the initial investment. It's not that they are terribly expensive but if you want them in lots of colours it adds up. With our Inside Outside Fruit we used paint stamps because it's important to get an even(ish) thin layer of paint on the fruit. This time Otis did lots of simple sploshing but Caspar used the roller to get even coverage. . .... Read more →

As with most parents, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I would not call myself a good cook but I'm finally getting the courage to experiment. I've made banana bread everyday this week and everyday I've included something different, something extra to keep it interesting. I also try to keep my baking nut free, just in case there is any left over for Caspar's lunchbox. This is the basic recipe I used today. Dry mix: 1 cup white spelt flour, 1 cup wholemeal spelt flour, half a cup rapadura sugar, 1 teaspoon natural/pure baking soda, approx 1... Read more →

Ok, you know it's not snowing here. But true to European tradition snow reminds us of Christmas. Today while being rushed by last minute packing, wrapping and craziness, Otis and I made some Christmas Snow Cakes. The recipe was sent to me by Renata; - grated/shredded coconut - sugar - 2 egg whites Whip the egg whites to snow then lightly pour in the sugar and grated coconut. Make the cakes in a small paper basket and bake for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Knowing my children hadn't eaten fresh coconut before I chose to grate it myself, but... Read more →