Melting Snowman Biscuits

I haven’t posted here for a while for no reason other than life seems to be getting in the way of blogging at the moment.

However, I am now officially on holiday/maternity leave from work so the messy play and toddler cooking can recommence.

As we are due another addition to our family within the next couple of months there has been quite a bit of focus on making sure that everything is ready for Christmas before they arrive.

So, this morning Little Splodge and I made a start on “practicing” decorating our Christmas cookies.

Thanks to spending too many hours on Pinterest over the last few weeks I stumbled across this picture

snowmen cookies found on pinterest

As this was more a play activity for Little Splodge and less of a baking one I am guilty of taking the easiest approach known to man. I used shop bought digestives as a base.  To decorate them we made use of the icing sugar and little cake decorations we already had in the cupboard and added some marshmallows and writing icing (as you may have already guessed these are not for those watching their waistline).

ingredients for snowman cookies

Unfortunately, Little Splodge wasn’t as interested in decorating the biscuits as she was in eating the ingredients. She did however have a good go at dripping the icing off the spoon and giving it a good squish with her hands (I should point out that I had already rescued some of the icing for some serious biscuit decorating of my own)

little splodge decorating cookies

So, while Little Splodge was happily playing with all the ingredients and creating an almighty mess I actually managed to decorate a few biscuits.

Our biscuits are somewhat brighter that the original image as the supermarket I got the writing icing from didn’t have any black so a few substitutions had to be made.

finished melting snowman biscuits

I am also not ashamed to say that I am very proud of their little scarves.

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Freestyle Painting

paint-pot-banner

We had some glorious weather over the Bank Holiday, despite the weather forecast promising us the usual washout, so we let Little Splodge out into the garden armed with a selection of messy play materials.

Out of pure curiosity, on my part, the play was in no way directed and she was allowed to play as she saw fit.

To begin with she was very reserved and she restricted her painting to the paper

painting on paper

The play did, as I suspected it would, get progressively messier and the paint quickly progressed from being paper based to being on paper, in the tuff spot, on her skin and on her clothes (luckily the clothes she was wearing are generally reserved for messy play as they are already stained from previous paint encounters.)

paint gets progressively messy

Little Splodge also took her glitter shakers outside and decided to use these to decorate her pictures.

She does have a tendency to get a little carried away with glitter and it ends up everywhere. This was no different and a number of her multicoloured paint pictures quickly turned into single colour glitter pictures.

blue glitter picture

Allowing Little Splodge to have undirected messy play allowed me to get an idea of where her concentration level is and what her abilities are in terms of making her own choices as well as skills such as mark making and hand eye co-ordination.

As it turns out Little Splodge is pretty good at controlling her brush and mark making until her concentration slipped about 20 minutes into the play when she started to grab the paint with her hands and splat it everywhere.

We will definitely be allowing Little Splodge to have more free style messy play in the future if only to act as a marker for her abilities and progression.

Messy Play Materials Used In This Activity

Tuff Spot
Paint
Glitter
Sponge brushes
Bristle brushes
Paper

Plum Crumble

finished crumble ready for over header banner

My aunt has a plum tree in her garden and that tree is heavy with fruit.

In the space of about 5 minutes we filled a shopping bag with ripe, delicious fruit and are now officially over run with plums in our house.

Little Splodge is doing her best to eat them all as quickly as possible … she actually ate 6 of them at breakfast yesterday … but we thought we should do something with them other than eat them straight out of the bag.

So we made plum crumble.

Crumble is incredibly simple to make so, once again, we let Little Splodge get her hands in and help with the making … as well as the eating,

Ingredients

Crumble

100g Plain Flour

75g Butter/Margarine

75g Sugar (we just used ordinary granulated)

75g Rolled Oats

Filling

Plums – skinned and stones removed (we used somewhere between 25-30)

A small handful of sugar

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180*c / Gas Mark 4

2)Place plums into a oven proof crumble dish

3) Add sugar to the plums and give them a quick mix. Set aside.

4) Put the flour and butter in a large mixing bowl

5) Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs

6) Stir in the oats and sugar

7) Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the plums in an even layer

8) Sprinkle a little more sugar over the top for extra crunchiness

9) Bake for about 30-40 minutes

As we were using plums fresh from the tree we had to skin the plums and take the stones out before we could do anything else. Luckily, Little Splodge decided to take a nap so we had plenty of time to do this while she slept. As much as I enjoy involving Little Splodge in the baking I didn’t really want her involved in anything that involves boiling water and sharp knives … she is only a baby after all.

Once the plums were ready we pre weighed all of the ingredients and put them into separate bowls so that Little Splodge could add the ingredients as well as mixing them. I’d already put the plums into the baking dish as they were still hot from being skinned and pitted.

crumble ingredients

Little Splodge really enjoyed being able to add the ingredients to the bowl and then mixing them herself.

She really enjoyed combining the butter and flour to make the breadcrumbs although this took much longer than it normally would as she had a bit of a tendency to squeeze the ingredients together and formed quite large doughy bits that then needed breaking up again before we could add the other ingredients.

We used adding the ingredients as a chance to use some texture words and talked about the ingredients being soft, smooth, sticky, and rough while we added them. As Little Splodge has a natural inquisitiveness and likes to get her hands in the bowl at any opportunity this proved to be the best time to talk about texture and the way things feel.

mixing crumble ingredients

Once she had mixed all of the crumble ingredients together it was time to put the crumble together.

Once again, Little Splodge took the chance to feel the mixture as much as possible and loved sprinkling it over the plums.

sprinkling crumble topping onto the plums

The topping did need a little bit of tidying up when she had finished because none of the corners had any topping and the middle had a small mountain of delicious oat goodness.

Finally, the crumble was ready for the oven,

finished crumble ready for the oven

I can promise you that it turned out wonderfully and tasted even better.

Unfortunately there are no pictures of the crumble once it came out of the oven as it smelled too good and within seconds of coming out of the oven it was in bowls, smothered in custard and being eaten by a Little Splodge who was very impressed that she got to stay up later then usual especially to have pudding.

Peanut M&M Cookies

baked cookies

Today we did more baking. The difference is that this time we indulged our sweet tooth and made peanut m&m cookies.

(I know what you’re thinking; peanuts are no good for toddlers. This isn’t Little Splodge’s first encounter with peanuts and she is pretty good at chewing her food before she swallows so we weren’t too worried about her having the peanut m&ms.)

The recipe for the cookies is pretty basic as cookie recipes go.

Ingredients

300g Plain Flour

250g Butter

140g Caster Sugar

1 Egg Yolk

2tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180*c (Gas Mark 4)

2) Mix butter and caster sugar in a large bowl

3) Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat to combine

4) Sift the flour into the bowl and mix well (you might need to use your hands to bring the dough together)

Having learned from our last baking experience Little Splodge was naked apart from her nappy for this batch of cookies. As always she enjoyed the mixing and ended up just a little covered in the flour … as did the table, the floor and my skirt.

mixing ingredients

Once we got the dough together it was time to make the cookies. Luckily, this time the dough didn’t require any rolling out so it was one less thing that could possibly go wrong with the cookies.

They did however, need rolling into balls which proved to be a little beyond Little Splodge’s concentration range so that turned out to be a mommy job.

She was more than happy to help pat the dough balls down a little once they were on the tray and put the m&ms in the middle of the cookies.

unbaked_cookies_3

Just check out those toddler finger prints. They definitely made for some interesting patterns in the finished cookies

unbaked_cookie_closeup_orange

Overall, baking is proving to be Little Splodge’s favourite form of inside messy play. Mainly because she enjoys eating the finished product when they come out of the oven.

If you want step by step instructions from our very own Little Splodge then this video is for you.

 

 

Patio Pictures

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We finally had a day where the Great British summer blessed us with weather that was dry but not a million degrees with too much sun. (I don’t mean to complain about our recent heatwave but when you have hair as fair as Little Splodge’s too much sun can be a problem.)

We got out onto the patio with the giant chalks we’ve had since Christmas but no opportunity to use.

It was Little Splodge’s first experience with chalk and I can honestly say she loved it.

She wasn’t completely sure what to do with the chalks at first but it didn’t take much encouragement before she realised that she could use them to colour on the patio.

drawing stars

She’s still very much in the stage where things haven’t been properly investigated unless they have been tasted and so she was very quick to ensure that the chalk got a good lick. I didn’t join in to check but it seems the decision was that the blue chalk tasted the best … and she went back for several more licks throughout the colouring session.

tasting chalk

As is usually the case Little Splodge’s interest in the chalk quickly infected her daddy who was quick to embrace his artistic side and proved that he can draw flowers with the best of them … even if Little Splodge wasn’t too impressed by the pink and yellow colour scheme,

little splodge drawing with daddy

As the colouring progressed the chalks had to take more and more abuse from Little Splodge as she got more and more excited by the colours and especially once she realised that she could use the chalk to not only colour on the floor but also her clothes and, perhaps most excitingly, her skin. Eventually, despite their giant size our resident toddler managed to break the yellow chalk clean in half by exuberantly launching it across the patio.

Luckily, this didn’t phase her in the least and she carried on playing as though nothing had happened.

Even though the pictures on the floor were mainly created by mommy and daddy the giant chalks were an excellent opportunity for Little Splodge to practice her mark making and hand eye co-ordination as well as giving us a chance to talk with her about colours.

messy play for matilda mae

 

Splish Splash I Was Taking A Bath

Little Splodge has a bath pretty much every night.

I’d like to say it is a nice calming part of our evening routine that lulls her gently into a state of sleepiness ready for bed.

This is not the case.

Little Splodge is something of a water baby and enjoys nothing more than a good old splash about.

We do encourage a certain amount of play time in the bath and provide her with ample bath toys to help her learn about full and empty, cause and effect and other very important life skills that can only be taught by squirty turtles and colourful buckets.

Tonight, however, little splodge decided that her bath toys just didn’t cut it anymore and instead decided to give our calm and serene already chaotic, plastic octopus filled bath waves large enough that we probably registered as a tropical storm.

Obviously, as any good mother would I got a photo of it.

Bath Time Splashing

I would have got video but, in all honesty, I was too busy trying to avoid being completely soaked.