Miss K’s Pancakes

Sometimes Miss K potters in the kitchen, mixing ingredients and trying mainly to make ‘drinks’. She uses the cappuccino frother to process her ingredients and of course this usually comes with some chaos and an end product that is less than desirable, but a four-year-old must have some experimentation opportunities!

Today she mixed together apple juice, maple syrup, water, mango sauce, vanilla sugar and rice milk. It was really too sweet and so we thought of a great solution – let’s make pancakes.

IMG_3613

They turned out awesome, so we wanted to share the recipe with you all.

Miss K’s Pancake Ingredients:

  • rice milk
  • maple syrup
  • mango sauce
  • water
  • apple juice
  • vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  1. Use some creative spirit in mixing together the first 6 ingredients. Once you have a cup worth of mixture that reminds you of mango-flavoured maple syrup put it to the side.
  2. Mix together the flour and baking soda, add a pinch of salt.
  3. In a bowl or jug blend together eggs and rice milk. Add the syrup mix and flour gradually until you have a good consistency (smoothie like).
  4. Fry up on an oil of your choice, serve with fresh strawberries or your favourite topping.

Enjoy!

 

Barley, Pumpkin and Orange Salad

On occasion Miss K’s kindergarten has a surplus of food left over from their lunch. Yesterday it was cooked barley and I was given a large container of it to take home. I love surplus food – what an opportunity!

After perusing some possibilities and feeling inspired to experiment, I decided to make a salad to take to pot-luck dinner tonight. It’s turned out quite well and so I thought it worth sharing.

IMG_3593

I would describe it as a sweet-and-sour salad. For those of you who need to avoid gluten, you might replace the barley with a gluten-free grain. The salad is vegan as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked barley
  • half a medium-sized Hokkaido pumpkin
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 medium-sized clove of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • sweet paprika powder
  • half a lime
  • optional: some mango or mango-nectar
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • a handful of fresh mint leaves
  • a handful of chopped spring onion

Instructions:

  1. Cut up carrot and pumpkin into small cubes, place into a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of balsamic, salt, pepper and paprika powder. Bake in the oven at 175-200°C until golden brown
  2. Place cooled barley into the salad bowl. Peel the oranges and divide into their parts, cut these into smaller pieces and place in with the barley. Mix together with the handful of chopped spring onion. Set aside in the fridge.
  3. Into a small blender (or you could use a hand-held mixer) place the clove of garlic, mint leaves, 3 tablespoons of olive oil the juice of half a lime, one tablespoon of balsamic, salt and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup (plus optionally mango/mango-nectar). Blend until smooth and salad-dressing-like. Mix this into the barley and orange in the salad bowl
  4. Add the cooled pumpkin and carrot into the salad bowl and mix carefully.
  5. Serve!

Spring is here, the sun is out and salad is glorious!

Knitted Chickens and a Rooster

Many years ago I learnt to make knitted chickens during my Waldorf/Steiner teacher training. This is a quick and easy craft idea that can be used as a last-minute gift or an addition for the nature table this time of year. It’s also really great for using up your odds-and-ends yarn ends stash (I know, I just can’t bring myself to throw them out either!)

IMG_3555

The basic pattern is just a knitted square using garter stitch. This project is also perfect for a beginning knitter and does not really require counting or measuring.

I suggest starting with a smaller square – I often cast on 10-20 stitches using size 4-5 needles and corresponding wool in a ‘chicken’ colour. I knit until the piece looks like a square (you can fold the square in half diagonally to get more accuracy, matching length and width) and then cast off. Keep the yarn end long to stitch the chicken up.

I fold the complete square diagonally to make a triangle and use the left over yarn end to stitch up one side to the ‘right angle’ point of the triangle, and then a little more on the next seam. I leave a space through which to stuff the chicken, making sure to get stuffing evenly (not too full) to the ends of the triangle. I then sew the rest of the seam up.

If there is still a yarn end long enough, I guide the needle back through the body to the ‘right angle’ point. I secure it with a knot at that point and then bring the thread through the stuffed body out the back and back down again to the secured point. I secure the yarn again and this creates a dip in the back. I then weave the yarn in and cut it.

IMG_3558

To make the beak and other wobbly bits (they have a proper name right?) I use a crochet hook and another colour of yarn.

To be honest, I’m not a crochet expert, so explanations of my haphazard approach are rather futile – I just crochet until it looks about right. Maybe you are able to glean something from these photos? Sorry if this doesn’t really help…

And just to show what you can do with some embellishments and different coloured yarn, I made a rooster as well this year!

IMG_3556

As a basic guide with the rooster, I gradually changed from grey to green on one corner of a larger knitted square. Once I’d sewn it together (same as the chicken) I crocheted a series of chain loops at the tail end and added a few more flat chains where the wings are for extra colour.

I also found this blog post with more detail and a slightly different approach.

This really is a great last-minute make and a stash-buster. Enjoy making!

Felt Butterflies

Hello Dear Readers,

It really has been years since I last posted and I’ve been feeling the blogging itch recently. I am determined to begin my sharing again!

I had been super busy working at my school in Berlin and so have not had the space to share my creations of the last years; there have been so many creations, so I may from time to time introduce a previous project to you.

Today I would like to share a spring/Easter project I completed just yesterday: a felt, embroidered butterfly. I saw something similar in a children’s nature-toys catalog and had to try make one. Miss K also made one herself! (She can now confidently thread her own needle at 4 years old, which makes my hands more useful for my own projects.)

If you would like to make one, I have included instructions and a pattern below. Happy sewing!

IMG_3548

You will need:

– coloured felt sheets

– coloured thread

– a needle

– pattern (printed and cut out)

Felt Butterfly Pattern

Instructions:

1. Once you have cut out the pieces of felt in the colours you have chosen (4 pieces: 1x big wings, 1x small wings, 2x body) place pieces together and baste-stitch the body together.

IMG_3544

Haphazard blue basting-stitch on yellow body-part.

2. Blanket stitch around the body (you may need to do this on each side respectively around the wing-area).

3. Embroider the wings as desired. I used detached chain stitch to make the antennae as well.

Looking Back at Advent

It feels like a week ago Advent began, yet it is already over. We have really enjoyed all of the little things to do getting ready for this time, the time to honour the child-like, the precious, the innocent and the equal-ness of all people.

We began with an advent calendar that I picked up from a local bookshop here in Berlin. It is really the most sweet thing. The little picture below shows what Miss K called the doctor’s house – as you can see, when we opened the window, there was an advent wreath with four candles burning in it. More on the advent wreath later.

Advent Calendar - Mrs Winter Creates

Advent Calendar – Mrs Winter Creates

Miss K and I made about 5 large sheets of stamped wrapping paper early on in Advent. I carved out some stamps from corks and we used plant-based watercolour paints to do our work.

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps - Mrs Winter Creates

Home made stamps – Mrs Winter Creates

The paper we used was filling in some boxes we had sent to us, so it was a great upcycle kind of activity.

We also got to work on a very German custom of making cookies and giving them as gifts. The first batch were chocolate, but we also made vanilla, ginger and winter-spice cookies. Our neighbours and the mail-man got a little bag each (wrapped in our home-made paper).

Cookies - Mrs Winter Creates

Cookies – Mrs Winter Creates

I also bought a very simple advent wreath for our table. I set the candles on it by forcing a sewing needle into the bottom end of each and then poking it through the wreath (which has a straw base inside).

Warm light - Mrs Winter Creates

Warm light – Mrs Winter Creates

During my school’s winter market I was able to buy some very beautiful ceramic decorations. I wanted to make some myself but ran out of time, so this was a blessing.

Ceramic Christmas decorations - Mrs Winter Creates

Ceramic Christmas decorations – Mrs Winter Creates

Heart - Mrs Winter Creates

Heart – Mrs Winter Creates

Miss K, who has her birthday in November, took some convincing that the candles were not birthday candles (‘Marmelade in der Schue’ anyone?) and did not need blowing out. In the end she learnt the word ‘candle’ and was able to make the leap.

Smiley season - Mrs Winter Creates

Smiley season – Mrs Winter Creates

In the last few days of Advent, as the little wax figurines of Mary and Joseph came closer toward the Christmas tree, Miss K became really excited that Mary has a baby Jesus in her belly. She was so careful not to touch the figurines. Finally on Christmas Eve, Mary and Joseph stood under the tree and a baby Jesus was before them.

We ate our dinner and Miss K and I went to see if we could see the first star in the sky. When we came back there were presents around the tree.

Christmas Tree - Mrs Winter Creates

Christmas Tree – Mrs Winter Creates

These last few weeks have been very special and quiet. Now snow finally lines the streets and we all stay indoors and enjoy the quietude. Wishing you all the best for the new year!

Saint Martin’s Day – lantern walk

There are some lovely traditions and festivals done by most families here in Berlin. One of my favourites is definitely St. Martin’s Day with it’s bonfires, feasts and lantern walks.

Unfortunately, we were a bit too ill to go to the planned St. Martin’s celebration at Miss K’s Kita. I was rather sad that I had to miss this first, reverent, celebration with our community there. I made Miss K a lantern anyway hoping to jump onto someone else’s walk on the Tuesday night.

I made the lantern out of an upturned distilled water bottle with the bottom cut off. We screwed the candle to the lid on the inside and were able to take it out and easily light it. On the outside I had autumn leaves glued between butter paper (I couldn’t find wax paper that you can just iron together – best craft paper ever). I taped some leaves on the join to finish it off, tied it through 4 holes with wool and hooked it onto a purpose made stick I bought.

Mrs Winter Creates - autumn leaf lantern

Mrs Winter Creates – autumn leaf lantern

Mrs Winter Creates - autumn leaf lantern

Mrs Winter Creates – autumn leaf lantern after some use…

On the Monday night we did some practice in our living room. We had sung the lantern song on Sunday just holding leaves (when I had a voice), so I only had to whisper it Monday night to have Miss K singing and walking along.

Mrs Winter Creates - living room walk with lantern

Mrs Winter Creates – living room walk with lantern

Mrs Winter Creates - living room walk with lantern

Mrs Winter Creates – living room walk with lantern

We put a hoop in the middle of the room and piled leaves in it to have as a kind of fire. Actually, usually people congregate to sing around such a fire and do the lantern walk through the neighbourhood in procession.

Mrs Winter Creates - warming her toes by the 'fire'

Mrs Winter Creates – warming her toes by the ‘fire’

There are LED lights you can buy for lanterns to make them safer, but I just love a candle in the right place. So does Miss K of course!

Mrs Winter Creates - having a good look at our candle

Mrs Winter Creates – having a good look at our candle

On Tuesday we organised with another family from the Kita to take a walk around the neighbourhood with our lanterns. There were many other families and some groups doing the same. It’s a lovely mood and the children recognise each other having their lanterns – everyone is doing something together and that feels good.

Mrs Winter Creates - out on our walk

Mrs Winter Creates – out on our walk

I really hope that next year we are well enough to go to our Kita’s celebration to sing and eat and walk, but I am satisfied that we got to do something for this wonderful celebration.

Bread smells like home

We have been ill the last week with a flu that has left me voiceless, which is an interesting thing with Miss K who now repeats all I say in a whisper.

Here in Berlin, things are truly closed on Sunday except for occasional bakeries, mini-marts and cafes. I enjoy the luxury of a spend-free day. I didn’t have any bread today though, so I thought I’d make some. No sour dough this time; I followed this recipe with the exception of adding two teaspoons of honey as I thought the yeast might need something to grow on.

Mrs Winter Creates - white bread

Mrs Winter Creates – white bread

Miss K loved working the dough, though I made no photos and just enjoyed the moment. The bread is delicious and worked out a lot better than I had expected. I let it rise in a warmed oven for a lot longer than 1 hour.

Mrs Winter Creates - enjoying the bread

Mrs Winter Creates – enjoying the bread

Miss K definitely preferred the inside, but I didn’t mind as I found the crust the best.

And once we were done we cleaned…

Mrs Winter Creates - cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates – cleaning

She really did help me with all those dishes, but also spilt some water around. This only meant that some of the other kitchen surfaces also got cleaned…

Mrs Winter Creates - cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates – cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates - cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates – cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates - cleaning

Mrs Winter Creates – cleaning

Sadly, I won’t be going to work tomorrow (I’m really enjoying teaching again). Miss K will be going to her Kindy and I think she will enjoy it – especially as we will be sharing a lantern walk in the evening.