Toddler Chores

 I recently read about a Europe family, that coddled their child so much, that by the time he went to school he couldn't do anything for himself. He was actually classified as being developmentally challenged! Well, at least I won't have that problem as my Mom puts the Little One to work on a regular basis. 

The great thing is, at the age of 3 she's too young to have an attitude about helping yet. And if you get the Little Ones to help as soon as possible, you shouldn't have that problem later. In actual fact, she loves doing these chores as she feels like such a grown-up doing them.

Kids are very resourceful. They think they can do everything and you will be pleasantly surprised about how much that can and should do. The only thing is safety. Even washing dishes we remove the knives or anything sharp. Think practical. To get an idea why not go to Your Modern Family for a quick printable list?


Aloe Ridge Self Catering House near Swellendam

We decided to finally take the weekend away holiday we were supposed to take when the Little One got sick. It's getting close to the end of year and I haven't had my annual vacation yet so I am close to tears from tiredness and stress. We took the newlyweds with to add to the fun and I must admit it was fantastic! 

Where do we go you ask? Well we headed to Swellendam to a place called Aloe Ridge. It provides the most beautiful self-catering houses ever with access to the main bar which is in front of the biggest piece of green grass ever! (See the first photo!)

The place is really beautiful and the houses even better (if that's possible)> Each house has 2 full (huge) bedrooms with on-suite bathrooms. Each bathroom has a bath and an inside shower as well as an outside shower. Imagine, a shower under the stars...

It also has an open-plan kitchen (with dishwasher!), dining area and living room with a fire place and TV for the winter. In summer you go outside where there is a big patio overlooking the Breederiver with a braai and a swimming pool. The place is so good you never want to leave.

I really do love this place and would go every weekend if it was possible. If you ever come to Cape Town, go make a turn here. You can go river rafting, relax in the sun or have a pizza at the local tavern.

These 2 girls accidentally ended up wearing the same pajamas...I had to share though cousin might kill me! 😉


Healthy lunch

The Little Princess is having 2 meatballs, some baby carrots, sugarsnap peas, red pepper slices and mini corn with half an orange and some blueberries. I do so well with her lunch box every day but when I prepare mine I tend to just add leftovers or don't prepare one at all! So bad for my health as I am then stuck with getting a quick take away which isn't always healthy.

To fix that I added some leftover chicken, steamed broccoli and cauliflower dressed with salt and peeper and the other half of the orange. This was dinner and really good, so when I am happy with dinner then it really is good enough for lunch.

How do you prevent the lunchbox blues?


Choc-Chip Banana Bread

I love banana bread. So much that I can eat a whole loaf smothered in butter in a day! In the old days you could only really enjoy this treat when Mom or Granny baked it. Now you can buy it at the local store, but in the cake section to give you an idea that it is supposed to be a treat and not treated like bread!

That doesn't stop me from adding a heap of butter! But I have realized that I can make it a lot more healthier by baking it myself. While this does take an hour in the oven, the preparation side is really only a few minutes with a little elbow crease.

 What you need:

  • 115g butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g cake flour (or 280g cake flour only)
  • 140g whole-wheat cake flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 ripe bananas
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • ½ cup dark chocolate shards/chips

What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to a moderate 180°C.
  2. Grease a standard loaf tin with some butter and line with grease-proof paper.
  3. Melt the butter in the microwave for 20 seconds or until JUST melted
  4. In a big bowl, cream the butter and sugar. You can use an electric mixer but I use good old elbow grease for this.
  5. Add one egg at a time and mix well to ensure it is incorporated before adding the second one.
  6. Sift flours and salt onto the mixture.
  7. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas well with a fork until smooth.
  8. Add the bananas, chocolate, vanilla and mix well.
  9. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and place in the middle of the oven.
  10. Bake 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Allow to cool in the pan then remove and slice.
  12. Enjoy with a big spread of butter while it is still slightly warm.

How good does this look? Next time I'm thinking of adding some berries to the mixture instead of the chocolate. What do you think will be a good combination?


Christmas Gingerbread House

It's that time of year again and we need to entertain the Little One and her cousins. But this year we were really smart. I bought 3 sets of "gingerbread house kits" that had all the pieces of the house was already prepared and baked!


All we (as the grown ups) had to do is put the house together and prepare the icing for the "glue". I must admit, I think we had almost as much fun as the kids. It is so satisfying seeing something go from the boring 2 dimensions to something exciting in 3 dimensions!

The only downside of buying per-prepared houses are that some pieces were broken when we opened the packets. The solution is to use some of the "glue" and apply liberally to the inside of the crack and allow to dry before construction the house. Now the fun part (or dirty party if you are the house cleaner): the kiddies get to decorate the house!

We found the best way was to mix some icing sugar with as little water as possible (otherwise it runs of the roof!), spread it on the sides of the roof and give the kids a whole bunch of sweets to decorate. We also bought cute little gingerbread men and helped glue it to the houses. My cousin also made these cute little Christmas tree cupcakes, which we just added to the houses as decoration.

If you do wish to make your own then use this recipe. This recipe is enough for 2 houses and some gingerbread men.

  • 360g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 300g syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 tablespoon mixed spice
  • 3 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

For the edible glue:

  •   6 egg whites
  • 1,5 kg icing sugar sifted

1.    Preheat oven to 180ºC.

2.    Cut out the following paper patterns for the gingerbread house template

3.    Cream the sugar and butter until fluffy.

4.    Add the eggs one by one and mix well.

5.    Add the sugar, zest and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.

6.    Meanwhile sift the flour, baking powder and spices.

7.    Add flour cup for cup to the butter mixture until a dough forms.

8.    Add the dough hook and 'knead' for a few minutes.

9.    Fold in baking parchment and rest for 1 hour in the fridge.

10. Knead the dough until its elastic and roll it out to about 0.5 cm. (we did it at 0.25 cm and it was too thin).

11. Cut out the shapes for the sides and roof.

12. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

13. Allow to cool and dry over night.

Just look at how much fun they are having! 

So here is to a Merry Christmas to you all and a prosper (and fabulous) new year!