Posted in Crafts

How to make a pinecone reindeer

My Christmas holidays as a child are memories of festive crafts and it still remains my favourite time to craft with my own children.

One of the materials we like to use over December are pinecones and last week Hamish and I made pinecone reindeers.

Reindeer made from pinecones

A little pinecone reindeer made by Hamish

How to make a reindeer from a pinecone

You will need:

Strong glue
Googly eyes
Pipe cleaner ( brown)
Pompom ( red)
Christmas bell


Bend the pipe cleaner into the shape of antlers and glue to the top of the pinecone.

Glue on the eyes and nose.

Either tie the bell with a bow or glue it at the bottom.

These make great quick crafts especially for little ones.

Posted in recipes

Cooking with McCain- Sunny fries

As a mom I am always buying frozen fries but I do worry about how healthy it is to constantly feed Hamish potatoes fries at almost every meal.

Now, with the new McCain rosemary and garlic sweet potato fries I can not only add a little variety to his love of fries with anything, but I also feel he is getting a healthier, more balanced diet by eating them.

To try them out, I made him a sunny plate of fries with his chicken pops.

To make your own:

You will need:

  • Rosemary and garlic sweet potato fries from McCain. These cook from frozen so simply open your packet and remove as many as you need
  • Olive oil
  • Chicken pops
  • Tomato sauce


  • Heat the olive oil in a frying pan on high
  • Add your McCain’s rosemary and garlic sweet potato fries . Fry until crispy
  • Drain on a piece of kitchen towel
  • Whilst these drain fry your chicken pops
  • Remove from heat once cooked.
  • Place the chicken pops in a circle.
  • Fill the inner circle with tomato sauce.
  • Use your fries to form sun Ray’s around the chicken pops.

These rosemary and garlic sweet potato fries are delicious with any meal and have become one of my favourite go to sides.

Posted in recipes

Cooking with McCain- Pickled Beetroot

The last few weeks I’ve been using the new McCain products to deliver some yummolicious sides to our meals.

Have you tried any of them?

There are diced potatoes, diced beetroot and rosemary and garlic sweet potato fries.

My favourite has to be the diced beetroot.

Christmas gifts of love

Today I decided to share the love by whipping up some early gifts for our family for Christmas….I made and bottled my first ever pickled beetroot.

Ea h year my grandmother always made sure we had several bottles of pickled beetroot over the Christmas period and I have always envied her ability to pickle anything.

Whilst I’ve made pickles before the preparation in peeling and cutting the beetroot has put me off ever attempting to make my own.

McCain diced beetroot is already cleaned, skinned and diced therefore taking much of the preparation time away and honestly this left me less intimidated to try a new recipe.

I’m also excited to gift some of my favourite products to some of my favourite people this year. ( Any guess what my family are recueving this year?)

All they need are some lables and ribbons on the jar.

To make your own :

You need :

  • 1 bag of McCain diced beetroot
  • Half a cup of white vinegar
  • Half a cup of white sugar
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Peppercorns


Bring your McCain’s diced beetroot to boil straight from the freezer for 10 minutes in a pot of water. They need to still be tender when you remove them from the heat.

In a separate pot pour in your vinegar, sugar, bay leaves and pepper corns and bring to boil.

Remove from heat.

Wash the jars you are going to use and microwave on high for 5 minutes to sterilize your jars.

Scoop your cooked beetroot into the jar, three quarter full.

Now pour the vinegar to cover the beetroot.

Fasten the lid tightly and leave to cool completely before placing in the freezer.

If your beetroot is stored in a cupboard it can last 12 to 18 months and if opened in the fridge will keep for 1 -3 months. ( not that ours ever lasts that long)

Your beetroot will be ready to try in 2 weeks.


Posted in recipes

Cooking with McCain- sweet beet salad

I absolutely love beetroot. From fresh to pickled, so it came as no suprise that McCain’s new diced beetroot would be a firm favourite for me.

My family however, are not fans of beetroot at all.

So, being a creative mom I decided to sweeten things up with this sweet beet salad.

To make your own :


  • McCain diced beetroot
  • Mint leaves
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar


  • Boil the McCain’s beetroot straight from the freezer. I used a full packet for 5 of us.
  • Once boiled, strain your beetroot and place in a salad bowl.
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder with 3 tablespoons of white sugar and sprinkle generously over the beetroot.
  • Stir in and add mint leaves.

I served this salad warm but you could also serve it chilled.


Posted in recipes

Cooking with McCain- Easy peasy potato salad

As the busy mom of a very demanding 4 year old , I also work from home so I find cooking can sometimes seem like the worst part of my day.

Because of this I love anything that simplifies my evening meal preperation.

Like these McCain diced potatoes.

Not sure where they have been all my life but I would have loved them when Hamish was weaning. I could have just taken a few out the bag and boiled them instead of cutting up a full potato for him.

All McCain vegetables are freezer to pot so there is no need to defrost prior to cooking.

Cooking with McCain’s

On Friday night I made this yummolicious potatoes salad for the kids to tuck into.

You can view our video here

How to make your own :


  • 1x packet McCain diced potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • Mayonaise
  • Mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Boil your McCain potatoes in a pot of water.
  • In a separate pot put 2 eggs on to boil.
  • Once they are cooked. Strain the potatoes and place in a salad bowl.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Mix your desired amount of mayonnaise with a teaspoon of mustard. This gives the potato salad a tangy taste.
  • Peel and dice your eggs. Put the yolks aside to crumble over the top. ( I remove them completely as I have a fussy child in the house who doesn’t eat them)
  • Mix the diced egg into your potatoes and pour the mayonnaise in.
  • Mix well.

I use this potato salad as a side but it could also make a delicious summer meal by doubling up on the potatoes and adding bacon bits, peppers and onion.

Posted in Family Life, Fun mamma Rainbiw kids club, preschool, preschoolers, Toddlers

A spring scavanger hunt

September brings the first day of spring and although Cape Town was certainly not showing any signs of spring weather in early September, I compiled a spring scavanger hunt to keep Hamish busy.

The hunt is designed to use on a walk about your neighbourhood but you could also use this inside your garden.

Scavanger hunt.

Look at your garden/park or beach and draw or write a list of things for your child to find.

We started nature walks and hunts when Hamish was about a year old and would collect things onto his pram.

Give each child a copy of the hunt and a pencil to mark off what they find.

I’ve found that this activity works well for smaller children if you attach your print out to a clipboard. This makes it easier for them to carry around and ensures the wind does not blow it away.

You could also give younger children stickers to stick on to mark off what they find instead of a marker.

If you know that you will do the hunt on a regular basis, you can save paper by laminating the print out and use a white board marker to cross off as white board markers will just wipe off the laminating.

Things to find

I put together a list of 20 easy to find items in nature.

  • Bird
  • Thorn
  • Ant
  • Spiders web
  • Leaf
  • Pine cone
  • Flower
  • Log
  • Rock
  • Mushroom
  • Cloud
  • Dandelion
  • Grass
  • Bug
  • Stick
  • Mole hill
  • Earth worm
  • Tree
  • Sand
  • Caterpillar
  • Bark

Happy hunting ….

Posted in recipes

How to bake a dinosaur

We are shameless dinosaur fans in our home and I recently wanted to treat Hamish to a fun treat.

I decided to bake him a giant brontosaurus biscuit.

I set it on a plate with a banana mountain, some mint leaves and a sun made from an orange slice.

The biscuit was just a butter biscuit recipe and you can recreate any dinosaur as I cut the shape free hand with a knife.

To make your own

Basic Butter Biscuits

(Recipe Credit unknown)

  • 250g Butter
  • 3/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1 cup Maizena (corn flour)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Essence
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • +-2 cups flour


Cream butter and sugar until creamy and white.
Add oil, vanilla essence, maizena and baking powder and mix well.
Add enough flour to make a soft dough.
Roll and cut with a cutter or pipe through a nozzle.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 – 15 minutes.
Decorate as desired

Posted in Blog posts, Crafts

4 ways to play with your cereal box

Whilst shopping this weekend we treated Hamish to one of his favourite Kellogs froot loop cereals.

Thanks to consumerism we can now buy these boxes with baby shark or a gorgeous mermaid at twice the price.

None the less I love that these cereal boxes often contain kids activities so that the card of the box can be reused.

Last weekend we had a baby shark themed box and made some fun baby shark puppets

and this week there was a lovely mermaid paper doll on the back.

After cutting out the printed mermaid , I looked at how else we could use our cereal box to encourage learning through play.

Here are the ways in which we used our cereal box to play.

1. Make a puzzle

We cut the front image panel off of the cereal box and cut it into a puzzle.

This is especially great for younger kids to practice building their own puzzles.

You can start with 2 pieces and work your way up to your childs puzzle building ability.

2. Letter hunt

We are currently learning letters and to read so it was great fun to have Hamish search for specific letters on the box.

You could do the same with words or shapes.

Or ask your child to find curvy letters, letters with tails, letters with straight lines.

See who can find the letters of their name the fastest, etc.

3. Eye spy

This age old game can be played only using the cereal box image.

For younger children try eye spy a colour or a shape instead of the letter of a word.

4. Cut and create

Give your children scissors, glue and paper. Let them cut out the box and create a new picture onto the paper.

Most importantly, have fun.

Posted in Crafts

Make your own personalised pillow case with wax crayons

To celebrate Hamish turning four years old I wanted to make a personalised art work that I could add to his keepsake box for when he us older.

So, we made our very own personalised pillow case.

You will need :

To make your own you will need:

  • Wax crayons
  • Wax kitchen paper
  • A pillowcase ( white or a light colour)
  • A hot iron

(Note- Never leave a child unattended with an iron. A parent should iron or oversee the ironing of the final product.)

How to make your pillowcase

To make the pillowcase,we used the crayon and Hamish drew himself onto wax paper. ( the shiny side)

We then turned the wax paper over onto the pillowcase and ironed on the back until you can notice the image transfer.

Use a very hot iron.

The image transfers onto the pillowcase and is now ready to lie proudly on your child’s bed.

( a reminder to write your letters in reverse or they will transfer back to front )

Posted in Crafts

5 easy ways to reuse your birthday party balloons

All Hamish wanted for his birthday this year were balloons and a birthday cake.

Naturally I wasn’t about to let him down.


We all know how much I hate the effect that balloons have on Nature.

Waste not

Because of how much I hate buying balloons, I decided we would make these balloons last as long as possible.

A week later we still had these 10 metallic balloons floating around the house and so, I decided to craft with them ….

How to craft with old balloons

Here are 5 fun ideas of what to do with your old balloons.

1. Floating Hamish

We chose a photo of Hamish in a tube.

Cut it out and sewed it to the bottom part of a balloon. This now looked like a hot air balloon. Hamish threw it up and watched it float down.

This would be great using helium balloons. As it would look like he was floating in the sky.

2. Happy faces

I have Hamish pompoms and wool and he made some happy faces on the balloons.

A nice emotions game could be to ask your child to create the face of how they feel now and open discussion on the result.


I cut dino body parts from paper and we glued it on.
Added a flashy eye.

Note ….it’s best to use a thin card and rather tape it on as the paper was way too thin and this brontosaurus looked more like he had broken his neck.

4. Drum

Just stretch a deflated balloon over a coffee can.
Hamish glued beads and used 2 craft sticks as drumsticks.

This was the hit of the day.

We also experimented with sound to see how different things make a different sound. ( so he hit it with sticks, his hand, spoons, ect)

5. Pretty jars

This is actually really cool.

I reuse the glass jars in my pantry so this can add a pop of colour to the jars or you could use it to colour co-ordinate your spices, ect.Just trim the top of a balloon off and pull over a glass jar.

So the next time you have some balloons floating about why not pop out this post and create a fun repurpose idea.