Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Chocolate Caramel Snack Balls

I have wanted to make some of these snack balls for the longest time. So I did!

print recipe

Chocolate Caramel Snack Balls
Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free, 100% Yum!
  • 1C Cashews (unsalted)
  • 1 1/2C Dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 1-2 Tablespoon Cacao Nibs
  • 1/4C Seeds (I used a mixture of sunflower and pumpkin)
  • 1/4C Water
  • 1C Coconut for rolling
In a food processor, pulse the cashews for a few seconds. Add dates, water and vanilla and turn food processor on high until combined. Add cacao nibs, seeds, cinnamon and combine again using the pulse function. Roll into balls, wet your hands first to avoid sticking. Roll into coconut.Leave to set in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a week, if they last that long!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 20 Balls

This Post was dedicated to Aunty Jan, We love you.

Robin xx

Monday, 24 April 2017

4 New Zealand Books We Love Right Now

In our home we love books! Our whole family loves to read and reading is a huge part of our homeschooling. Fostering a love of reading, storytelling and imagination for our daughter have always been far more important than making sure she could read perfectly by age 5. If a child loves books they will learn to read.

I thought I would share with you some our favourite New Zealand stories and books that we enjoy as a family.

In The Beginning- Peter Gossage  

This is the beginning of the world story according to Maori legend. We have explained before that we are a Secular Homeschooling Family so we do not teach this to our child as fact, nor do we believe it is factual. But the story carries with it vital parts of my family's history and culture. We also believe in respecting the world around us and this book does help to illustrate that. The book goes through all the different Maori 'Gods' and how the Earth as we know it came to be. This will be the start of our Te Reo Maori studies this year. I plan on doing some art projects with this book and use it to help my daughter improve on her Maori vocabulary. I thought where better to start than at the beginning! Peter Gossage was a fantastic author and illustrator I'm sure most Kiwis remember reading his books at school. I could have featured any number of his books in this list but you can check out more of them here Books By Peter Gossage

Elwyn's Dream: Saving the Takahe- Ali Foster and Illustrated by Viv Walker.

This book is brand new to us, our family love native birds so without knowing too much about it I picked it up. This is a true story about how Elwyn Welch used some kiwi ingenuity at his farm to save and successfully bread the Takahe in the 1950's. His farm later became Pukaha Mount Bruce the National Wildlife Center that's not far from our home. I plan on setting up a day trip to Mount Bruce after we have read this book together. This is a very important New Zealand story about our people and our wildlife, it contains so many topics you could pull from to create unit studies, geography, history, science, natural world etc.

The Great White Man-Eating Shark (Early Reader)- Margaret Mahy and Illustrated by Jonathan Allen.

A fantastic twist on a boy who cried wolf tale, I remember reading it at school and found it just as hilarious re-reading it with my daughter 20 years later! I did a full review of this book here. So check that out if you're not familiar with it or need to refresh your memory on how great this story is!
Buy it here on Mighty Ape
Buy it here on Book Depository with Free Shipping

Tangaroa's Gift- Mere Whaanga

I have always loved origin stories and this one is about the Paua, it is the story of how the Paua got it's beautiful shell and why you can only see it's colours on the inside. This one like the first is a Maori legend so it talks about Tangaroa- The spirit or God of the sea. As a family we spend a lot of time at the beach and my daughter is always fascinated by the beautiful Paua shells we find on the beach. You could also create a great art project from this book because it talks a lot about colour. We also really enjoy that the book is in English and Te Reo so we can work on our Te Reo reading skills!
Buy it here from Mighty Ape

So there are 4 New Zealand stories we are loving right now! What are you reading with your kids right now?

See more posts from our book shelf here  or check out some of these other posts about books!

Wolf By Wolf By Ryan Graudin
The Other Side Of The World By Stephanie Bishop
Presence By Amy Cuddy

Friday, 21 April 2017

3 Ways With Bagels

We love bagels at our place! Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch or a lazy dinner we can find a use for bagels! We always make sure we have a pack in the freezer for any occasion! I thought I would share with you a few ways we like to enjoy them!

Cream Cheese, Avocado and Capers! Always toast your bagel, it's just better that way!

Avocado, Tomato and Sriracha. I love hot sauce especially Sriracha! 

Cream Cheese and Blueberry. We went blueberry picking this summer and the blueberries were the sweetest I've ever had! You could also use strawberries or any other berries you have at home. In the winter use warmed frozen berries! 

Check out some of these other quick easy recipes too! 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies With Left Over Easter Eggs!!

I think it was the Tuesday after Easter Monday and I was already sick of the sight of Easter Eggs. So I decided we would get rid of them, in the best way possible! Baking!!

So here is the recipe....

This made approx 65 cookies for us, You can make a smaller batch of 20 by cutting the mixture to 1/3

1 can of Condensed Milk
325g Softened Butter
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence
1/2C Brown Sugar
4 1/2C Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 C Milk
Left over Easter eggs (I used about 3 cups of roughly chopped Easter Eggs, Including mini eggs, marshmallow eggs, hollow eggs and whatever else was left) You can use as little or as much as you want depending on how many chocolaty chunks you want in your cookies.

First Cream Butter, Sugar, Condensed Milk, and Essence until thick and creamy. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder. Turn out on a floured surface and combine by lightly kneading the mixture. Flatten and add 3/4 of the chocolate, kneed some more then flatten again and add the remaining chocolate. Kneed until the chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Once the dough is combined, roll into a log shape and cut into 3rds. Take one of the thirds and roll out into a thinner log, the thinner the log the smaller the cookies. Cut into 3cm pieces and roll those pieces into balls. Place the cookie balls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and press down with a floured fork.

Put into a preheated 180*C oven for 12 minutes until cookies are lightly browned. Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Sore in an air tight container for up to 10 days (if they last that long!) or freeze in a snap-lock bag for up to 2 months.

To see some other awesome recipes click on one of these!
Vegetable Curry Puffs
Tim Tam Brownies
Sugar Free Cocktails
Super Easy Waffles
3 ways with bagels

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Hardest Question My Daughter Has Ever Asked Me.

We are very honest with our daughter, when our boy dog was trying to hump our girl dog we didn't tell her that they were trying to play leapfrog, we told her they were trying to make babies. When she started talking about Santa, The Tooth Fairy etc, we told her they were just fun stories and they weren't real. I didn't think there was much at 6 years old that she could stump us with, I didn't honestly think there were many questions our daughter could ask that we wouldn't be able to answer truthfully and age appropriately. That was until last week.

I can't exactly remember what we were doing that made her ask this question but I think it came about through another discussion we were having about refugees.

We talk about these kinds of things often, it started when I started getting involved with ChildFund. Every now and again we get a letter or a postcard from them about a child and their family and we find their country on the map and we read their story. I think these topics are some of the most important that we can have with our children, to allow them to see a world bigger than themselves, to see the wider world, the other children just like her.

I was explaining to her that people sometimes have to leave their countries because it isn't safe for them and their children. When she asked why I said sometimes it is because of war or fighting in their country.. That's when she asked me. 

"Mummy, what is war?"

Well I really didn't know what to say, I told her it was when people fought, sometimes with guns and people get hurt. She asked me why, it was then that I really didn't know what to say. I told her that sometimes when people don't agree with each other sometimes it ends in war.

My daughter was very dissatisfied with my answer, she had a very puzzled look on her face and I could tell she just didn't understand why people would want to hurt each other. But I really didn't feel like I had a better answer for her. What is war? Is war an argument gone too far, the only way to stop more harm, is it about greed, money or land.

The truth is I couldn't tell her what war was or why it happens, I don't know how to tell her that sometimes people want to blow each other up, blow themselves up, blow up innocent people on the train on their way to work or while they are out with their friends.

We teach our children to work things out, to communicate, to use words to solve disagreements, to be kind, to be gentle with others and accept our differences. How do we then teach them about the world and explain the really tough stuff that I'm not even sure I understand myself?

We censor what games our children play on iPads and what movies on Netflix they are allowed to watch but we sit there in front of our newspaper or 6 o'clock news and see things made only for nightmares. We are worried that our children will see a naked pair of breasts but a dead child in another country is something we shrug our shoulders and try to tell our children that it's another world away, that those things don't happen to children like them, but they are children like them, exactly like them just in a different place.

This is one of those parenting moments I wasn't prepared for. It wasn't the 'birds and the bees' discussion everyone warns you about. I have those answers, I have started those discussions. This was something so much harder to answer, I didn't have these answers nor do I think there are any concrete ones to give a child about this topic.

How would you have answered?

If you would like to see some more of my parenting journey check out these posts:
I Take My Kid To Restaurants-Get Over it!
Please Don't Comment On My Daughter's Body
It Does Matter How Your Daughter Dresses- A Response
Picking Daffodils and Making Memories
Why I Don't Allow Toy Guns In My House

Robin xx

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Vegetable Curry Puffs With Leftovers

I made a really yummy veggie curry last week in the slow cooker and I had a ton left over. Instead of having the same thing two nights in a row I decided to make something a little different. To start with here is my basic veggie curry recipe, I don't normally measure when I'm making this and often just use whatever I have in the cupboard.

Curry Recipe

1 can of chickpeas
1 can of coconut cream or milk
1 can of diced tomatoes
curry powder
tomato paste

Mix them all together in your slow cooker and let that do it's magic all day. When we ate this as a curry I used my potato masher and gave it a very quick mash, leaving some of the veggies whole. We ate this over rice and it was delicious!

Recipe for the puffs.

Mix 2 eggs, 2 1/2C of Flour, 2tsp Baking Powder, pinch of Salt, 3/4C Milk, 2tsp Oil, 2C of left over veggie curry in bowl to form a batter. Heat oil on the stove on low. Test the temperature of the oil using a small piece of batter. Once mixed drop small spoonfuls into warm oil. Once golden brown remove from the oil using a metal spoon or strainer and leave to rest on a paper towel.

And that's it! A really yummy little snack, side dish or a great nibble to pass around at a party! Serve with sweet chili sauce or a spicy mayo.

If you liked this recipe check out these ones!
Red Velvet Tim Tam Brownies
Sugar Free Lemon and Mint Cocktails
Super Easy Waffles


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Code Breaker Surprise Eggs

This is a super easy DIY, we're not big into Easter especially in our homeschool (read 'What is secular eclectic homeschooling?) But our daughter is going to see some of her cousins over Easter weekend and I thought I would use some of the cute Easter supplies around and make it a learning activity!

First up I got some of the empty plastic eggs from Kmart, then on one half of the egg I wrote the suffix of a word; am, an, og, at ect. Then on the other half of the egg I wrote the beginning of the word. Creating a word spinner, the child then has to read each one of the words before they can open the egg. Yam. ram, bam, tam, pam. Log, dog, bog. Star, tar, bar, car. man, tan, ban, can, nan etc. You could also do the same with addition or subtraction facts, the options are endless!

The other reason I was interested in doing something like this because I was able to fill the eggs with things other than chocolate! I used things like little pom pom chicks, stickers, tiny slinkies and other things from the birthday goody bag section at kmart.

Is this something you could use in your homeschool or for your kids? Tip: Check the stores after Easter weekend to get the supplies really "cheep"!

Robin xx

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