Sugar Cookie Solar System

After commencing our salt dough solar system project Arlo seemed disappointed that the planets were not edible and so whilst waiting for our paint to dry we set about making a batch of sugar cookies. This is an extremely simple recipe and one which can be adapted with all sorts.

You will need:

150g plain flour

100g butter

50g caster sugar

A few drops of vanilla essence to taste

(You can add chocolate chips, nuts, berries, fudge pieces – pretty much anything you want to this basic dough!)

This is a baking project which Arlo also very much likes to participate and I created a short tiktok video as we went along.

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and then bake at a medium heat for approx 12 mins – this can vary based on the size and thickness of shapes you cut out.

If you do not have cookie cutters then use things you have in the kitchen – a tumbler makes perfect circles and a pizza cutter is always great fun.

Whilst these are in the oven get your decorations prepped. Follow the instructions on the icing sugar box to mix it up, use squeezey tubes – melted chocolate is always nice too.

Mum tip: use an ice cube tray to put a small selection of sprinkles out. I give Arlo a few cookies on a baking tray with a bowl of icing and then leave him to it…. if I gave him the whole lot there would be none left!

By the time out cookies were finished, the paint on our salt dough solar system was set too and we had two versions of our solar system.

Decorating cookies

You will need:

  • Writing icing
  • Sprinkles / sweets
  • Biscuits
  • Flat oven tray
  • Ice cube tray

This is a really quick and simple activity – especially if you don’t particularly like baking because you could use something as simple as a digestive – all of the things you need can be added to the supermarket food shop if you don’t have them in your cupboards already

I set this up with biscuits on a large flat oven tray to provide lots of space for spilling sprinkles.

Mum tip: Pour a small amount of sprinkles in to an ice cube tray rather than giving a toddler a whole tub (I learnt this the hard way)

Then simply let them get to work. The tubes of writing icing are easy to handle but this could easily be done with melted chocolate or mixed icing sugar.

Use whatever you have in the cupboards and then let it fit the theme – we’ve got chick shaped biscuits here for Easter – we decorated one for every person in the house, and Arlo was delighted to deliver these to everyone once finished.

Easter Eggstravaganza

Spring time flowers and bunnies on my windowsill
Daffodils are a must have at home to make if feel like spring. Love that you can pick up a bunch for less than a pound to brighten up a windowsill

We love to celebrate in our family… any excuse for a gathering and we will all get together and start planning the food. Easter is quickly becoming as commercial as Christmas, and I don’t see this as a bad thing. We aren’t religious as a family but having been bought up in a multi cultural city I think it’s important to acknowledge all cultures, (we have also enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year, Diwali and Pride recently) – an easy way to learn about others is to join in with festivities and it’s also an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family.

This bank holiday weekend we have done so much I’m going to have to split this up in to several blog posts – we kicked things off with a trip to a local children’s farm “Hatton Country World” on Good Friday – a glorious day spent meeting lots of baby animals, and running around in the sunshine.

On Saturday we went to a not so festively themed “Ice Age” walk at the Botanical Gardens for some quality time with Nanny. This is another beautiful local attraction we have been visiting as a family since I was a child and it was lovely to see Arlo running around outdoors and marvelling at all the new sights.

On Sunday I hosted the egg hunt to end all egg hunts, with four children aged 1-6 years I knew we had to try and make it fun (and fair) for them all. I also wanted to make them earn their treats, and focus more on fun and festivities than the sweets and chocolate.

A welcome to my Easter egg hunt - the first clue card attached to my floral wreath
This beautiful wreath was from Hobbycraft, and with a little bit of home made bunting, and some garden signs the kids knew they were in for a treat walking up the pathway! Welcome to my Easter egg hunt!

I purchased a fabulous little set of clue cards from an Instagram store A little bit vintage and the simple rhyming clues led the kids to locations all around the house.

The first card was a welcome and I attached this to my front door wreath, and with personalised egg hunt bags left in the front garden, and the clue led them to “the place you leave your shoes” and here they each had a little parcel to open (bunny ears, tails and bow ties). I made these bags for the kids - a simple little personalised design featuring their names and bunnies in Easter colours

I made these little bags for the kids to take along on their journey to gather up all of their treats. A simple little design with their names and a bunny in Easter colours

The clues then them to “the place you cook” – of course Logan the eldest ran straight to the kitchen….. however we predicted this would happen and so actually the treats were hidden inside the play kitchen, and Logan quickly realised he had to pay attention, taking on the role of “clue reader” like a pro!

The first challenge to complete for the Easter bunny was to decorate some real chocolate Easter Eggs. Surprisingly the kids all completed this task with their chocolate eggs intact, keen to earn the next clue card.

 “Head to where you brush your teeth” – the kids all rushed upstairs to the bathroom, and of course I had to include one messy play activity so I had pre filled the kitchen sink with shaving foam…. they had to dig in, fetch all of the eggs and count them correctly for their next clue, which led them downstairs to the dining room table.

Here they all had to paint a wooden bird box, and again they all rolled their sleeves up to get stuck in, really focusing on the activity before proudly placing their finished items in the garden to dry and getting the next clue, which led them to “where you fetch the mail” We thought it was time to get some treats out now and so the kids all got a jellybean filled carrot shape along with a brand new nature trail clipboard and the next clue which sent them to under the sofa to find some bubble wands (a firm family favourite) and a clue card which told them to head outside. We stopped for a refreshment break before getting back to work for the Easter Bunny….. and the next challenge was to plant some sunflower seeds.

They did this task really well together, all getting stuck in and helping share the tools and fill each other’s plant pots with soil and so they earn their next clue pretty quickly – which led them to my bookshelf with a basket filled with strange items…They went back outside and here it was revealed that they were to use the items in the basket to make cress hair for potato heads. This one delighted Lincoln because I bought curly cress to match his hair.

With our bird boxes, plant pots and potato heads all proudly on display after a couple hours of activity we felt like they really had earned their rewards… and so the final clue led them all charging upstairs to find the “good stuff”

They all received a personalised “champion egg hunter” top and more chocolate than they could carry – you’d think that this would spoilt their appetites, but not this family – with the hot weather we decided to break with tradition, cancel the formal roast and set up a buffet style array of food.

We then went back to the garden to enjoy the sunshine with some ice excavation, the older boys enjoyed a good old fashioned water balloon fight, Arlo splashed around in his tuff tray and Paloma bought her play doh outside to make the most of the sunshine.

The egg hunt champions 2019!

Chef Arlo

Did you know that daddy is a chef! At 21 months it’s about time that Arlo started learning a trade and so daddy picked up a packet of Pastry and set up an invitation to play on the kitchen table (apparently this is also called “mise en place” and is quite a professional set up.

Basically he chopped up lots of ingredients and set them up in little dishes ready for Arlo.

First of all they spread the included tomato sauce all over the dough base which they rolled out onto an oven tray.

Then they chucked on a mix of ingredients which work well together – leftover chicken, sliced red onion, peppers and cherry tomatoes along with chunks of mozzarella.

There’s no set way to do this – everything just got chucked on and then daddy sprinkled on some herbs and popped them in the oven for just shy of 15 mins.

These tasted delicious and the activity kept Arlo amused for quite a while. Lots of interaction with daddy and chatter about colours, vegetables and food items.

Have you tried cooking with your little one yet? Share some of your ideas in the comments – we would love to try them out!

The Cookie Monster

One blustery day in January cousin Paloma came over for the afternoon. I didn’t quite fancy heading out and about with two toddlers, so I set up an invitation to play with some gingerbread men.

Most supermarkets have a set like this, with some cookies, tubes of coloured icing and some decorative bits and pieces. I had some extra tubes of icing and toppings in the cupboard.

Here’s my “mum hack” – To set up the activity I used cupcake cases for each topping, and gave each of the kids a deep oven tray to try contain some of the mess – I set up on the Ikea Lack table so they had easy access.

Paloma is two and really got involved with the activity – squeezing her icing out carefully and choosing and placing her sweets nicely – before picking them off and eating them all.

Arlo on The other hand couldn’t wait to quality test the goods!

We had five cookies in our kit so we did save one for Paloma to give to mummy and Arlo for daddy. It was quite fun to see them both be so proud to gift their cookies and they certainly enjoyed the experience – learning to concentrate, talking about colours and textures and being creative.

I want to encourage Arlo to get involved with baking so this is the first step to building up trust and learning some basic kitchen rules with “real” food as opposed to his play kitchen.