Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dolls House on a budget

It is school holidays and I have two very busy little bodies to keep entertained. They have a box of dolls house furniture that they love playing with but no dolls house. We are on a very tight budget and while I would love to buy them a large dolls house with all the attachments that is just not possible at the moment. So what is a mom to do? Well, get creative! I made  a four room house out of two flat boxes, some scrap material and some string. 

 I need to mention that the furniture is a little bit bigger than that of a Polly Pocket and the size of the boxes I used are about about 30 by 50 centimetres squared.You will need to use boxes large enough to fit the furniture of the dolls you are using. Also, if you are making a house for Barbie, the walls will have to be much higher than I have made for my house.

I took two large, flat boxes we had lying around. You could make as many rooms as you like of different sizes but these two boxes were more than big enough for our needs.You can also use normal boxes and cut the walls  to the required size. Cut the box about 5cm from the bottom of the box and tape the flaps shut. Lie the boxes next to each other and then make holes along the inner two sides which are touching, lining up the holes so that they match.String some  ties through the holes or if you do not have any, just use some string and tie the boxes together.

Next choose some fabric to line the bottom of the boxes. I used two different colours in each box ( a very pink pink as chosen by my daughter and two different blues chosen by my son) to make four separate rooms. Cut the material to size and then glue it to the bottom of the box.This is as far a we have gone but you can let your imagination run wild and cut doors and windows into the side of the boxes, cut out pictures from magazines to glue to the "walls" as art work, even make curtains for the windows by cutting out squares of material and gluing them over the window openings.

Finally get down on the floor and play.This is the best part of making a dolls house and a great excuse to play with dolls ( particularly if your next birthday is the big 40).

Have fun and post some photo's to let me see how it turns out

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hot fudge pudding cake

My husband and I spent a wonderful afternoon at Rutlands. If you have not visited them, love books and reading and live in or near Pretoria, you have to make a visit. We bought a number of books, including a set of four Pillsbury cookbooks, mostly with chocolate as the main ingredient and looking as if they have never been opened. I could not resist. I decided to try one of the recipes for lunch today and it was a resounding success, so I decided that the recipe was too good to keep to myself. Try and let me know how it turns out.

Hot fudge pudding cake
1 and1/4 cup cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbs margarine or butter,melted
1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup sugar
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa
pinch of salt
1 and 1/3 cup of boiling water

Cream, ice cream or custard to serve

  • Heat oven to 190C
  • In a bowl combine the flour,3/4 cup of sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt
  • Combine milk , melted margarine and vanilla essence and add it to the flour mixture.
  • Mix well.The mixture will look like cookie dough.
  • Spread it in a small ovenproof dish and pat down with your hands
 for the sauce
  • in a seperate bowl mix together  sugar, cocoa and salt.
  • Sprinkle evenly over the dough mixture in the baking dish
  • Then pour over the boiling water
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 190C or until the center is firm and springy to the touch

Serve with custard, whipped cream or ice cream.

Be warned, this is a very decadent pudding

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Toothless or Lightning Mcqueen

Big brother turns four this month and after long debates as to whether he wants  Cars or  Dragons as a theme, mom made an executive decision and decided on cars ( mainly because I had no idea how I was going to make a pitch black dragon cake and have it looking anything but downright scary). After scouring the net endlessly, I have finally found instructions for a Lightning McQueen cake that looks doable as well  a couple of fun ideas for food and decoration ( go to Disney Family website). Now all I have to do is find the energy to put the plans into action. The birthday boy has been promised a jumping castle and very kindly informed his grandparents that they were also allowed to jump on the castle ( photo's to follow!!). Before the party takes place I have three days of holiday too look forward to, just me and my wonderful spouse. I am counting the days, particularly with the knowledge that there will be no little voices waking me at before sunrise or a very sweet  voice shouting in my ear "Mommy wake up. I got a hairstyle".

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day to all you special dads. I particularly want to say thanks to my wonderful husband and my own dad for all they do for our families.

 Here is a list of some of the wonderful things I can say than you for to my husband:
  • Tea in bed every morning ( I am spoilt , I know)
  • Holding my hand through a 27 hour labour ( not fun and I really do not think I could have done that)
  • Staying calm and taking care of me when my waters broke at 32 weeks and we were an hour away from the hospital.
  • Washing dishes (which I hate)
  • Going out searching for pineapple in the middle of winter because I HAD to have some pineapple NOW during my second pregnancy
  • Endless readings of "The cat in the Hat" and other favourite stories, to the point where Daddy can quote entire sections from the book
  • Staying at home with sick children when I cannot.
  • Supporting and encouraging me as a mom
  • Valiant efforts at doing a ponytail every morning ( what a special dad)
  • Singing silly nonsense songs because the children love them
  • Train rides, visits to the zoo, taking us to granny and grandpa, long walks together.
  • Letting us have a dog when you are not a dog person
  • Letting us watch endless reruns of How to train your dragon,Cars, Barney ( a particular favourite), Mary Poppins and a long list of other DVDs.
  • Making yummy pancakes on Saturday nights.
  • Taking care of our family 
If you want to read the job description for dads, go to Stray Thoughts. Barbarah has given a long list of things that men let them self in for when they take on the role of dad .

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My awesome premmie

We received Noah's first school report on Friday and my heart broke.Every mom wants her child to be top of the class with masses of friends. Or do we? Noah' s report was not very encouraging. His marks were mostly 1's (still exploring the skill) and I cried myself to sleep last night wondering if we have failed him in some manner. This morning brought a new perspective. Noah is a happy, healthy little boy. He is an introvert like his mom, which goes a long way in explaining why he has no special friend at school yet ( he has only been there six weeks). He has reached all his milestones, taking his time but getting there in the end. His conception and birth are both miracles and my baby boy is a fighter, surviving his first few precarious days with a battle. He is funny,curious, fiercely protective of his sister and generally just a normal little boy. He loves reading and music, plays endlessly with is cars and will seldom say no a game of "golf" ( read anything involving a ball ) with his granny or granpa.Maybe his pencil grip and some of his other skills are not quite what they should be but I know my boy will be okay in the long run and I just need to trust him that he will get there is his own time and in his own inimitable way.

Striped engiraffes

I have recently discovered a great website, Lion Brand Yarns, where there are dozens of free, easy patterns to knit and crochet. I am getting a bit bored crocheting granny sqaures, so I thought I would try my hand at knitting Noah a giraffe. He is a bit obessed with "engiraffes" ( his words) and so I decided to knit him a lovely stripey giraffe. His is done in blue and yellow. It is nearly done and so cute.I discovered this link on Busy Budgeting Mama. You really must go and read her blog. The website is really pretty and  Natalie, the author, has some really great ideas for arts, crafts and recipes. My next project is the felt food on her website.