Tuesday 31 March 2015

Squash pizzas


I found this recipe whilst searching for squash recipes one day. I often get vegetable boxes from the local farm and, depending on the time of year, I sometimes end up with an abundance of squash. I love squash soup and risotto but I also like to try new things so I enjoy searching for and trying out new recipe ideas.

As soon as I saw this recipe I thought it was worth a try. I only used 3 ingredients for these squash pizzas as my children like plain cheese and tomato pizza but you could add any topping of your choice. It is a fantastic way to get your children eating vegetables as the squash is disguised by the topping. The children enjoyed helping me make this too. I always think getting the children to help prepare food is another good way of getting them interested in it and hopefully eating it! 

I really was pleasantly surprised with the taste as well. It tasted just like pizza! I think it would make a good alternative for those who can't eat bread or for those who are looking for something healthy.


One squash (I used a small acorn squash)
Tin of tomatoes or passata
Any other toppings of your choice


First, slice the squash and place it on a baking tray.


Next, spread the tomatoes or passata over the top. Then cover with cheese and any toppings.


Finally, bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese turns golden and squash is soft.


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Friday 27 March 2015

Paper flowers tutorial


Spring is here at last so I thought it was time to do some spring crafts. I decided these flowers would be a great craft to start with, not only are they fun to do, they also really brighten up the place! Last year we made a spring table and I'm hoping to do the same this year too. It's a great way to teach the children about the seasons as well as creating a space to display all their wonderful crafts.


To make these flowers you will need some coloured paper, scissors, pipe cleaners, buttons and a stapler or sticky tape to attach the various pieces together. I had a pack of A4 paper and cut each piece into quarters. You will need 2 quarters for each flower.


Firstly, take 2 quarters of the paper and fold into a consertina. This is a great activity to help develop those fine motor skills.


Then join the 2 pieces together with staples or tape.


Get a pipe cleaner and twist round the centre of the paper as shown here.


Thread a button onto the pipe cleaner to make the centre of the flower.


Open up one side of the concertina and staple or stick together.


Do the same with the other side to complete the flower.


R smelling his flower! He couldn't manage to fold the concertina on his own but enjoyed using the stapler and threading on the buttons.


Our first 2 flowers!


Next, I thought it would be a good idea to make vases for the flowers to go in. I found 2 small, plastic bottles and gave them to the children to paint.


Here they are painting the bottles.


The finished vases. I was particularly impressed with D's stripy vase!


Here are the flowers in the vase ready to be placed onto our spring table.

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Wednesday 25 March 2015

Colour mixing


We have been learning about colour mixing recently so I thought it would be a good idea to do a little experiment about colour mixing. I have seen this experiment quite a lot of times on various websites on the internet and was intrigued to see for myself how it worked. It is a simple experiment to set up and uses everyday items from around the home. 


First I got 6 glasses and gave D the job of pouring water into 4 of them.


Then, we mixed some liquid water colour into the 4 water-filled glasses, leaving an empty glass in between them. Finally, we took some kitchen paper, halved it and folded each piece a few times so it became a thin strip. We placed half the paper strips into the coloured water and half into the empty glass.


Then it was just a question of waiting! You can just see the coloured water start to soak up the paper strip and transfer to the empty glass. The liquid is able to do this via capillary action.


This experiment takes a very long time. After a few hours it looked like this.


By the end of the day the middle cups were almost full. 

This has been an excellent learning activity and D keeps talking about how blue and yellow make green and yellow and red make orange. It's lovely to know that they've taken something in!


Monday 23 March 2015

Learning about the senses - Touch


We have been learning about the senses recently and I have already written about how we learnt about the sense of sight, hearing, touch and taste. The next sense we learnt about was the sense of touch. As before, we read one of Sally Hewitt's books, this time it was 'Touch that', all about the sense of touch.


Next, we played a guessing game. I got together 10 items that felt different, and placed them in a bag.


The children had to put their hand into the bag and feel an item and try and guess what it was they were feeling. They absolutely loved this game and we had to play it over and over again! I tried to make sure they closed their eyes while handling the objects to really make them use their sense of touch to think about the objects and what they could be. R found keeping his eyes shut extremely difficult. He would open his eyes after only a few seconds!


Then, I asked the children to describe what each of the items felt like and I wrote this down.


Finally, we made some cardboard feely hands! I got some cardboard and drew round the children's hands. Then, I cut them out and gave them to the children along with a bag full of fabric. We searched for different textures of fabric to use to stick on the cardboard hands. The children loved being able to explore the different fabrics. As they explored, I asked them to describe how the fabrics felt.

Next we will be exploring the sense of smell!


Saturday 21 March 2015

Turkish Style Yorkshire Puddings Recipe


The title of this recipe may sound odd as I'm pretty sure they don't have Yorkshire puddings in Turkey. This recipe is a bit of a fusion of Turkish and English cuisine. A Turkish friend of mine made it for me a few years ago and I have been obsessed with this new way of serving Yorkshire puddings ever since. You can make your own Yorkshire puddings but I tend to use shop bought ones quite often for the convenience. If you would like to make your own you simply whisk together a cup of flour, a cup of milk and a cup of eggs. Then you pour it into muffin tins and bake. Once cooked you can add the filling. These Yorkshire puddings are filled with a mixture of tomatoes, mushrooms and onions and sprinkled with cheese.


Yorkshire puddings
tin of tomatoes or fresh tomatoes
grated cheddar cheese


To make the filling, chop and fry the onions until soft. Then, add the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes. Lastly, add the tinned tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes. Add seasoning.


Spoon the mixture into the Yorkshire puddings and sprinkle with grated cheese. Then, bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.



Friday 20 March 2015

Solar Eclipse 2015


So today was the big day. We had all been waiting in excited anticipation for this dramatic event and we were not disappointed. The day started off with cloudy skies and we did worry that, like the 1999 eclipse, we would miss the sighting, but luckily the sky began to clear. There was a thin layer of cloud moving around the sky but it did not disrupt our view in any way. 

We headed to my parents house to watch the eclipse as they have a large garden. Also, my Dad is an amateur astronomer and has all the equipment, so I was confident he would know the best way to view the eclipse.


I was surprised to see that my Dad had managed to find our special eclipse glasses from the 1999 total solar eclipse! I can't believe he had kept them this long and, more importantly, had actually been able to find them again!


The big telescope had already been set up by the time we had arrived.


We also had a smaller telescope set up at a lower level which was the perfect height for the children to view the sun comfortably. We had been learning about the solar eclipse over the last few days, mainly by doing some solar eclipse crafts!. Here you can see how we learnt about it.


We managed to see it very clearly by projecting the image of the sun onto a sheet of white paper.


Here you can see that less of the sun is covered.



This was the image of the sun at it's most hidden at about 9.30am. About 90% of it was covered by the moon.


The children enjoyed looking at the sun through the special eclipse glasses. I explained to them that we couldn't look at the sun with our naked eyes as it was so bright it could damage our eyes. They did enjoy trying on the glasses.


Here R is having a go with the glasses. He looks like he's really enjoying the view!


Here he is again, this time looking at the image of the sun projected onto the white paper.


We also tried using a colander to view the eclipse which proved to be quite fascinating. What we could see were loads of tiny little crescent shapes projected onto the white paper.


Using a colander was by far the easiest way to sight the eclipse. You simply had to hold up the colander and look at the paper. With the telescope you had to move it around to get it pointing directly at the sun which was a bit more difficult as it took a while to get it pointing in the right direction. Overall, we had a fascinating morning. My Dad was even live on the local radio talking about it! Now we await the next solar eclipse in 2026!

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