Our house is scattered with textas (amongst many other things) and it’s only recently that the mini monsters learnt to put the lids on! As a result we had heaps of textas that no longer worked. Trying to live by my new reduce, reuse philosophy I looked up a way to re use the textas rather than just turfing them in the bin. To my delight I stumbled upon a few posts which changed your dried up old textas into watercolour paints! Inspired, the oldest monster and I set about seeing if this was too good to be true!
Firstly after collecting the dried up textas we sorted them in to broad colours such as green, blue, red, pink etc. Next we popped them into mason jars and added water so they were half full. Instantly colour started to seep out of the texts showing there was still some life in them yet! We popped them up on my kitchen windowsill for about a week. They actually looked quite pretty all the different colours.
After about a week, we collected some pilers and set about pulling out the middle of the textas to make sure we had got every last drop of ink out of them. The crayola pipsqueak ones were the hardest ones to crack but the rest came apart relatively easily. Word of warning, wear gloves if you don’t want stained hands!! We added the middle bits to a bowl and added as small amount of water to it before squeezing the middle bits with a fork to get the last drops of ink out. We then added that mixture, minus the texts bits to our original mix!
We stored them in the mason jars and just popped the lid on when we were done using them. The watercolour paints were of great quality, better than any store bought ones I have used. And that was it, we were left with beautifully coloured watercolour paints which the monsters were happy with and I felt good about being able to reuse these old textas!
We used these paints over the next couple of weeks in a variety of ways. Obviously we used them to paint firstly, we also mixed the colours together to experiment with how to make colours. I also used them as colouring in the weeks play dough recipe. We are currently collecting all our textas again to repeat the process!
Tired after a day of crafting and saving the world? Let us do dinner for you, order your monster meals here.
After weeks of badgering by the oldest monster we set off to check out the Maribyrnong branch of Inflatable World.
We arrived right on opening time and luckily had the place pretty much to ourselves for a bit. The price isn’t too steep, about on par with any regular play centre, with the added bonus that you can bring food in. However the entry price only gets you admission for 2 hours but my kids were ready to go by that time. After watching a short instructional video, they were off!!!
There was a great Under 5’s area which consisted of about 3 bouncy castles and slides, a basketball bouncy area and a general soft play area. My under 5 loved this area.
Moving through the arena, the next section held about 5-6 different types of inflatables. There was a climbing wall, a big ball to swing off, a few slide castle combos and a resistance running type inflatable. Moving further through to the last section there was about 4 other inflatables, two containing jump walls where the kids could free fall for a bit (a hit with the 2 older kids). There was also a giant slide which the younger kids enjoyed. Parents can join in on the bouncy fun or supervise from the sidelines. There were staff members wandering around to make sure all was hunky dory.
Overall it was an easy, fun way to spend a couple of hours and the kids loved it!! So much so they are already requesting a return visit and the oldest monster has requested her next birthday party to be held there (high praise indeed!!).
Tired after a day of bouncing around like a loon? Let us do dinner for you, order your monster meals here.
Messy Faces is in no way affiliated with Inflatable World nor were we paid for this review. It was just a place we genuinely enjoyed.
World Meat Free day is coming soon. On June 15th 2015 thousand of people have pledged to give up meat for the whole day. But why?? Where’s the harm in a little chicken teriyaki, or a lamb vindaloo? Frankly nothing, if in moderation. But we as a species consume a ridiculous amount of meat, and as a result, are causing all sorts of damage to the planet and ourselves.
1. It’s not healthy to eat so much meat.
Too much meat equals lots of saturated fat floating around our bodies and can lead to increased chances of disease and heart failure. Cutting down on your meat could possibly save your life.
2. Cows fart a lot!
Think your spouse trumps too much in bed? The world's 1.5 billion cows and billions of other grazing animals emit dozens of polluting gases, including lots of methane. As a result agriculture is responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world's greenhouse gases.
3. Veggies are cheaper
Won’t give up meat for the planet, do it for your back pocket. Pound for pound on average vegetables are 60% cheaper than meat. OK that's a made up statistic, but start eating a few vegetarian meals a week and you will notice more change at the supermarket till.
4. Cut out the middle cow
Cows must consume 16 pounds of vegetation in order to convert them into 1 pound of flesh. While I’m not suggesting we start eating grass and hay, imagine the savings in water and chemicals if we only had to produce 1 pound of vegetation to create 1 pound of food?
5. Vegetarian food can be really nice. Honestly
Give it a try and see. Instead of just leaving the meat out, think of the vegetables as the stars, the best book I’ve bought recently is Thug Kitchen – eat like you give a f*ck. Which literally swears at you until you try one of their delicious meat free meals. Believe me, it’s worth a try.
Pledge your support for World Meat Free day here….
Lentil and leek cottage pie.
This is a great dish to start off you vegetarian career as everybody knows what cottage pie should basically look like, also it’s a great recipe for kids dinner.
All stock used in our delicious kids meals is made from scratch. Although we always use the freshest ingredients in all our meals, stock included, there are some great benefits to homemade stock if you wanted to give it a go yourself!
1. You know what goes in it!
These days we are much more conscious of the quality of food that we eat. We are aware of the negative health effects of things like excessive salt, and the presence of the countless additives and preservatives that seem to creep in everywhere. If you make your stock you control the amount of salt that is added (Messy Faces stock contains none and still packs a punch of flavour). Homemade stock is also guaranteed to contain no additives and preservatives, unless you put them in of course!!
Homemade stock is a great alternative for people with food allergies too- allergic to tomato? Don’t put it in.
2. Its a cost effective method
You save money in your grocery shop by not buying stock but using ingredients you already have! Win Win!
Stock can be made with whatever vegetables you have sitting in the bottom of your fridge. Carrots and tomatoes that are looking a bit sorry for themselves are flavoursome additions to your stock. Don’t keep celery on hand? Buy it on special and freeze what you don’t need for next time.
Australian’s are throwing out approximately $2.7 billion of fresh food every year. Using up unsightly vegetables and veggies close to the end of their usability makes great sense.
3. The environment will love you for it!
The environment is impacted by us throwing out bucketloads (or garbage bins) of fresh food as well as your hip pocket. When food is dumped in landfill, it rots and forms methane which we don’t need more of! Methane is a known contributor to global warming so any reduction in its production is important.
There’s also the environmental cost of producing the food in the first place. Water, energy and other natural resources were used in the production of that sad looking little carrot- shame to let it go to waste.
While making your own stock seems like such a small thing, every little bit helps in the areas of healthy preservative free eating, saving cash and protecting the environment.
OUR HOMEMADE STOCK RECIPE
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tablespoon Mixed Herbs (Fresh or dried)
1 Bay leaf
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Chop all ingredients up into smallish pieces. Add Olive Oil.
Put in saucepan and heat for 30-40 minutes on a low heat stirring occasionally.
Once cooked, blend in blender or with blending stick.
Store in sterile glass jars.
Keeps in fridge for a week. The stock can be frozen for use at a later date.
At four months of age my daughter would wake 6-10 times per night, every night and scream in obvious pain for 30-40 minutes. Four GP’s, two pediatricians and a course in anti-reflux medication (that did nothing) later, an Osteopath that I was taking her to suggested I cut dairy out of my diet and see what happened. Desperate at this stage for some sleep, I did and six days later I had a completely different baby.
She was then diagnosed with Cows Milk Protein Intolerance and referred to the allergy department at the local children’s hospital where for the first time I felt that someone actually listened and understood when I described little Miss’s symptoms and distress instead of making me feel like a neurotic mother.
Going without dairy was an interesting experience for me. She was quite sensitive so I had to eliminate it completely and if I did eat dairy I saw a re-emergence in the symptoms in my daughter a few days later. It took a bit to get used to soymilk and you would be amazed where milk pops up in everyday foods, even gravy granules! Luckily I was able to slowly re-introduce milk into my diet at around 12 months of age and weaned her to soymilk at 14 months.
We also discovered at wheat intolerance at the age of eight months when we attempted to introduce it. Luckily that seemed to self-resolve by 12 months (and I never had to go wheat free!!). At around the age of 18 months we were able to successfully add small amounts of cheese followed by yogurt into her diet. Eventually around the age of two she was able to tolerate small amounts of cows milk and now at two and a half there is no evidence that she ever suffered any intolerances.
Cooking for a child that has allergies is a bit of a minefield as you have to double check and triple check all your ingredients and it really stretched my cooking abilities so that my poor daughter basically ended up with meat and veg every night- not that she seems to have minded as meat and veg is now her meal of choice!!
#cowsmilkprotienintolernace #kidsnutrition #dairyfree #kidsmeals #messyfacesmeals
Messy Faces, delicious and healthy meals for kids. Yummy, wholesome and handy for parents.
1. Salt Dough Ornaments
Easy to make, salt dough ornaments make a great craft activity for the kids but also double as Christmas gifts for doting grandparents. Simply combine 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of salt and ½ cup water to form dough. Roll out the dough, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes and bake in the oven for approx 3 hours at 140 degrees. Once they have cooled, paint and decorate with Christmas colours and glitter.
2. Atrium at Crown Casino
Crown Casino on Melbourne’s Southbank decks out their atrium in a Christmas theme every year. This year is a spectacular show with music, lights and fancy baubles that is well worth checking out for some free entertainment. Shows run every 30 minutes and last about 5 minutes. There is also a Santa in attendance throughout the day giving out candy canes and posing for (free) photos with the kids. Check out Crown in other cites to see what they offer if your not Melbourne based.
3. Cookie Decorating
Either bake your own gingerbread men or buy the store made decorating kits. The kids love decorating with icing, lollies and sprinkles. It will keep them occupied and provides a tasty afternoon snack. For the more adventurous among us there is always the home made (or home constructed) gingerbread house!
4. Write letter to Santa
What parent hasn’t used the line “Maybe you can ask Santa” when dealing with the constant “I Want ….”, now the chance to get those ideas down on paper (and get a great idea of what they really want!). A trip to the postbox is always a novelty around this house as is getting a letter for when Santa writes back. The City of Melbourne offers a special post box and a return letter for those kids who write a letter to the big jolly man.
5. Myer Christmas Windows and Santaland train
The Myer Christmas windows are a Melbourne institution. This year’s theme is Santa and the 3 bears. Go early to avoid the queues. Santaland on level 6 has a great little train that scoots around Santa’s grotto. Great free entertainment, our kids could ride it all day! Once again getting there first thing is recommended and we have also been told that dinner time (5-6pm) is another ideal time to go. If the queues not horrendously long pop in for a visit to Santa, you can take photos on your own camera as well as having the option of buying the professional photos.
Tired of spending a small fortune at Christmas on gifts that probably won’t make it out of the cupboard past Boxing Day? Give a handmade food gift, thoughtful, tasty and won’t break your credit card. Try a couple of these recipes for starters, pop them in interesting shaped jars or boxes and decorate with ribbons or tinsel and yours will be a gift actually worth giving this Christmas!!
Spiced Nuts – These will be gone before the turkey is carved.
Onion Jam –Make sure you make enough for yourself this jam is addictive!
(recipes from www.taste.com.au and www.nigella.com)
When we started developing our meals for Messy Faces, we really loved the idea of a vege curry. Little did we know that this recipe would provide us with a major headache in the form of coconut milk! A crucial ingredient that just wouldn’t conform to our no additives or preservatives policy!
The majority of the coconut milk you buy off the shelves contain all sorts- stabilizers and emulsifiers plus all sorts of E numbers. There are other options such as the organic brands which can be quite pricey or the option that we use at Messy Faces- make your own.
Our coconut milk is home made from organic coconut shreds and water, nothing else! Side note here, if you do decide to have a go at making your own check the coconut that you use- the majority of desiccated coconut contain similar additives to the tinned coconut milk.
We use a Thermomix (yes that machine that you either love or hate!) to make our coconut milk but it is just as easily done with a saucepan and blender. If you have a thermomix and are keen to give it a try a quick Google with provide you with countless recipes to try.
If your old school and want to try our traditional recipe here it is.
1) Place 4 cups of water into a saucepan and heat up but not so much that the water boils.
2) Place 2 cups of coconut in a blender or food processor and add the water. Safely blend it all up as per your blender or food processors instructions for blending hot liquids.
3) After a few minutes of blending, you should have a thick and creamy liquid that you can strain using a thin piece of cloth and a colander.
4) The end result will be a lovely, preservative free coconut milk that can be stored in your fridge for 3-5 days.
Because it’s Halloween and because kids will be kids – with bulging bags of treats – here are the Messy Faces top 5 energy burning activities for kids.