5 Easy Easter Crafts

Here are some easy ideas for keeping the kids busy over the Easter Holidays. Some are easier than others. But all practical and tried.

1. Thread Easter Eggs
This is a remarkably simple project I have discovered in various forms. Check out Amazing Moms craft. You need small balloons, coloured thread, starch or fabric stiffener and scissors.

2. Easter Eggs Craft Suncatchers
This is a stunning and simple craft for decorating a sliding glass door or bedroom window that I found on Capture the Details.
You will need: crayons in pretty colors, a crayon sharpener (usually built in to the larger crayon boxes), wax paper, invisible thread, a small hole punch, an iron and old towels

3. Easter Eggs Magnets
For those that don’t like cooking or baking or trying to colour eggs, this is a lovely way for kids to experiment with patterns, and just a chance to be wonderfully creative. I found the idea on No Time for Flashcards. You will need some coloured foam or cardboard sheets, possibly 2 colors but use as many as you have or want, some glue, a few colors of glitter glue , scissors and magnetic tape. I think the possibilities are endless on this one with crayon, paint, glitter – maybe some stickers for the smaller kids. Working with the kids, will also allow parents to give a message of the real meaning of Easter.

4. Recycled Easter Bunny BasketThis could be a nice preparation in lead up to Easter. Make them create their own container for an egg on Easter morning. You will need a recycled plastic container, white cardstock paper, cotton ball, scissors, markers, glue.

Opportunity to be creative with bunnies, chicks and perhaps some other characters the kids can identify with. Different sizes, coloured containers could create quite an Easter family for the kids. Perhaps used as placecards if you are sharing an Easter meal with your family. Makes and Takes is a great website with lots of practical ideas.

5. Easter Matching Game
This is a lot simpler than the rest. You basically need to print out a PDF and cut up the blocks for your kids to play a matching games with eggs, bunnies and chicks. Something different – and of course – very cost effective!!! Click here for the printable page.

And make sure that amongst all this wonderful activity you remember to take some time for yourself!

Easy cooking with kids

So my mission was to find something easy to bake for dessert when my lemon meringue failed. My husband suggested I make the Ina Paarmans Chocolate Brownies that we had in the cupboard. So my 2 year old daughter Zoe and I donned the aprons and prepared the brownies. What easy baking!

You simply mix oil, melted butter and eggs with the mixer, add milk, beat again. Add ingredients from box and fold in. Zoe liked the folding in. Unlike the measuring cups where she wanted ingredients everywhere BUT in the bowl the mixing was fun! Even the noise from my mixer did not put her off staring into the bowl.

You pour ingredients into your pan, cook for 35 minutes and allow to cool. I added some icing sugar on top.

And my friends loved the brownies.

Reflecting on it. Had Zoe been maybe two years older I could have measured the ingredients out and just told her what to do (well if we exclude the oven). But it was truly that simple. And I think the simplicity is key – her attention span ran out when I put them in the oven and she went off to play somewhere else.

For another truly easy recipe try the Cheesecake or maybe some chocolate Easter Eggs for your kids. All in the name of fun and creativity in our kitchen!

Kids Jumping Into Life

Jumping from early on

What is it about Jumping that has kids fascinated. My daughter walks through the door of her aunts house on a tuesday and right through to the back yard. She has two favourite pit-stops. The trampoline or the sand pit. But of late – the trampoline seems to be favourite. Come Mommy, Come Daddy, Come Granny, Come Pompom, Come (aunty) Gayle. The story is the same – the poor supervisor is the one who resists least.

She will jump as long as anyone is willing to stand with her (and often cries when she has to get off). The reason she needs to be supervised, is that she is two and seems to lack all common sense. But she knows she loves jumping.

But Why?

At two the jumping skills are being refined, from one foot jumping to two foot jumping. There are plenty of published benefits, but an article I found on the web give a few insights to why it is beneficial for kids to learn to jump.

* Have an effect on academic success – By helping a child learn to control movement of the body, it can help a child learn. Because a trampoline teaches muscle control and coordination, many children see an improvement academically when regular use of a trampoline occurs.

*Improve self esteem – A child gains confidence as he masters new skills on the trampoline. This can translate into a better self image that may help improve academic success.

*Teach persistence – It often takes many tries to master a skill on the trampoline, but because it is so much fun a child will often persist. This can teach the important lesson that doing something right is worth the effort.

I like the idea of play being educational but I guess our kids know better than we do that playing is learning. And sometimes my bright little spark knows better than I do what is good for her.

Jumping bunny – I love you!

For something else fun for kids visit our Tea for Two blog

Home Made Easter Eggs

I know some of us are more challenged than others in the Kitchen. But with Easter coming up we need to get creative!

Found this great link from Ideas Magazine for making your own Easter Eggs with your kids. My memories from childhood are still sweet – home made eggs where you keep running to the fridge to turn. And of course – a stockpile of choccies in the fridge to nibble on!

Give it a try and let us know how it works out for you!

For more nibbles from our kitchen try out the easy to make Cheesecake

Mother tell your children …

This little chat was inspired by one of those simple polls you get in FB. It was a choice of what advice you would give a younger version of yourself. I started thinking what I would tell my daughters instead. Yes I have regrets, I have things I have learned painfully. Maybe I can spare them some heartsore .. and of course there were the things I was told and never believed.

So I will work on the basics of the poll I would have created from my mom’s advice:
* This too shall pass
* Nil illegitimatii carborundum
* You can’t expect to be loved until you til you love yourself
* If you fall in shut your mouth

This Too Shall Pass
Whatever you are going through in life, be it difficult friendships, exam stresses, depression or just life, given time it will pass. You won’t always be in high school with its inherent strains. Your deadline will eventually pass and you will be able to focus on something else. Your pain at being hurt or dropped or ignored by someone will ease as you make new friends. It will pass – but you need to lift your head and get through it the best you can.

Nil Illigitimii Carborundum
This is the polite way of saying “Don’t let the B** grind you down”. You can’t give anything more than you have to give. Your best is all anyone can expect from you! People will always try to be dominant – try to put themselves in the upper position. You need to learn what your strengths are and not let others define who you are.

You can’t expect to be loved until you love yourself
We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted by those we look up to. But until you believe in yourself (pimples, cellulite and funny frizzy hair) no one else is going to think you are lovable (well except mom and gran). This was a long life journey for me. I filled a lot of time saying IF instead of saying WHY NOT. I think I missed a lot of opportunities and a lot of potential friendships because I was so busy focusing inwards that outwards passed me by.

I think I also made the mistake of selling myself short. We need to believe that we deserve the best. What makes us less worthy of being happy or loved? Believe that you are worth it and others will recognise that you are too.

If You Fall In – Shut Your Mouth
This one is a strange one. My mom used to scream it when we whizzed around the pool. And it grew later to mean anything we were getting ourselves into. If you fall into a situation where you feel you are drowning – don’t be silly and swallow water. Do something about it. Be prepared. And learn to swim sooner than later.

Falling into the water is not the problem. Deal with what you can control – and control those things. Someone will come along shortly to help you out – you just need to be above water to catch the lifebelt.

Mothers Advice
We all know that just as we had to learn our lessons, so will our kids. It is finding the wisdom to know when to let them buzz around the pool – and when to get the lifebelt ready.

As moms – what advice do you think you should have been given – or believe that your kids will be better off knowing? Please let the rest of us hear it.

And for the best advice we can give to Mothers from Mothers read Mandy’s blog.

Winter Outing in Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium

We all sit with the trouble of keeping our kids entertained during Cape Town winters. It is cold and wet – and our kids get ‘cabin fever’ at home. Two Oceans Aquarium has the answer to keep things in budget!

My husband and I bought season tickets (one year) two weeks ago when we went to the Aquarium. The reason for this is that at R96 an adult, each expedition can cost R200 before you even look to see what your kids cost. A new season ticket costs R207 (renewal is R189) and kids under 13 season tickets are R99 (renewal R90). So for a once off fee, you can cover an expedition any time over the next year when your kids are bored!

My kids are lucky enough at present to be free (under 3) so it was just the expense for the adults. So any Sunday afternoon we can pop into town and see the sharks and Ping-pings (penguins). The area with the penguins and frogs etc has been done up since the last time I visited so I can see that they are constantly looking at improving the experience. My only question is – what happened to that big old turtle that swam in the BIG tank. I missed him!

For more information on Two Oceans Season Tickets or general entry tickets visit their website. It is more affordable to go online to buy the tickets – but you can do so at the Aquarium as well. It does not take long – you fill in the form and when you are finished with your little trip around the Aquarium you collect your new membership cards.

I think it is wonderful to get our children out of the house and to experience nature. Zoe was delighted – she got to touch the starfish. Since my little one is quite timid around animals the fact that she has touched starfish and wild birds lately is a wonderful feat for me!

So if you have not been to the Aquarium in a while or your kids are taking an interest in National Geographics programmes on wild life – maybe an outing is not an idea to be scoffed at!

Eagle Encounters at Spier

On a mild sunny day like today I have found the perfect escape for the family. We packed a picnic and went off to Spier planning to visit the Cheetah Programme and the Eagle Encounters.

For only R30 (adults and kids over 3), there is definitely FULL value for money. We were let into the Raptor area where all birds are easily accessible (they are in open enclosures secured to their stands) where the children (short and small) can also see the birds.

Firstly you can stroke the Owls they have at the entrance, with staff carefully overseeing the kids. The owls are peaceful and fully willing to be stroked (their magic spot is behind their neck apparently). Then they have an amazing selection of eagles. The most I have EVER seen in a group. Fish Eagle, Black Eagle, Marshall Eagles – you name in. All in pretty close viewing area (but not too close for kids to get into trouble). The enclosures are clean and tidy. The staff are accessible.

They have other raptors including Cape Vulture, Secretary bird, an array of Owls, Kites. Just a really good representation of birds that our Creator blessed us with.

What struck me is the size of the Eagles. Wow. And of course – what made my Mom’s heart glad was the call of the Fish Eagle. It hits a chord in your soul.

In my opinion, well worth the investment to see the birds.

The Cheetah programme is only worthwhile if you intend to have an ‘encounter’ with one of them. This costs R110 per person. We did not have this available. And I think our two year old is a LOT too young for such an experience. You can enter the area for R5 adult (weekends) but there is very little to see if you are not going to go into the cages for the encounter.

Spier does not encourage what they call “Private” picnics, prefering you to utilize their deli. We however had our own Woolies combo of delights packed and had a lovely enjoyable picnic under the wispy leaves. Relaxing. Good for the soul.

If you are interested Eagle Encounters has a facebook page. I see they have a special deal on 1 April for a free ‘encounter’ added into your entrance ticket.

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