Friday, June 28, 2013

{Learning to Read Activities}

Mr. 4 has become very interested in reading and learning, I think mainly because his 'big bro' is a very independent learner and also partly because we encourage it a lot in our house. 

Each week I put up a new word on the fridge for each son. They are each at a very different stage of learning, so the words account for that variation. It takes no time at all to prepare, especially when the template is done and you just update the new word. I have a few 'word of the week' templates saved and just print off the next one each Sunday night ready for the week ahead. 

Some examples for my 4 year old learning his 2 letter words:
at - it - be - on - to - do - am - so

Some examples of the words my 6 year old is learning:
perseverance - versatile - isolated - contemplate - fortunate - collaborate - persuade - satisfy
(I also add the meaning and an example of the word for my older sons word).

Another step I have taken with my 4 year old to help him practice the words we learn, is a game he has called the 'car park game'.  This is a great way to take something my son loves and use it to benefit both the fun element and the learning too.

Here I just printed off the page and added it to the quiet book I made for him a while back {link here} after laminating it.
Simply said, you get a few different cars and I challenge him by asking:
- "Can you drive the red car to the number 13?"

- "Can you drive the train to the word 'at'?"  etc...

He gets such a kick out of it, but in all honesty I thought he would play with it for about 5 minutes. He carried it around with him for the majority of the day and just played. Little did he know he was actually practicing sight words. In my opinion, the best learning with kids is done when they are actually having fun! 

Lauren x

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

{We almost missed the Big Red Car}

In about 2 weeks, my eldest boy turns 7. I have loved watching him grow up and move into a new phase in his life. His interests and passions are blooming and evolving. We are (somewhat) out of the world of 'toys'. He loves reading, playing sport, the occasional sky landers game and Star Wars fever has hit our house hard!
However, when he was the age of his little brother (3-4yrs) he was still into things like play school, wiggles and Thomas.

My (just) 4 year old often follows exactly what his big brother does. They refer to each other as best mates and have recently moved into the same room (after many requests from them both). Little bro thinks big bro is a rock star and practically worships the ground he walks on.

Sometimes I forget he is still just 4 and so I put on a play school and a wiggles episode recently to break up the monotony of being indoors from the Sydney rain. I was initially met with "its a baby show", but he didn't move the entire episode of either!

Maybe it's inevitable with the second sibling that they miss out on some of these things and are swept up with what big brother/ sister watches. Perhaps it's even more this way when siblings are the same gender?

Either way, it was nice to just watch my 4 year old enjoy being a preschooler and sing along to some nursery rhymes etc...

Has this happened in your house with the second child or is it just us?

Lauren x

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

{Smoked Salmon Rillette}

When I was flipping through my cookbooks recently, I came across a recipe that I just HAD to try. It was found in Matt Moran's cookbook 'when I get home'.

It has a fancy name...a 'rillette' which is just a fancy name for a paste like condiment. Don't let the name turn you off, it packs a punch of flavor and it's very easy. I toasted some lebanese bread trianlges in the oven (spray with olive oil spay and sprinkle with salt) and served it on a chopping board next to the 'salmon rillette'. I could easily imagine it on some warm toast with a poached egg for breakfast too. Having a jar of this in the fridge is the kind of thing that you would use in many different ways, because it's so delicious. 

500ml vegetable stock
sprinkle of salt
300g salmon fillet
150g smoked salmon, chopped
100ml creme fraiche 
1/2 bunch of dill, chopped
1/2 red onion
pinch of cayenne pepper
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp capers or caper berries, rinsed and chopped
pepper to taste.

1. Boil the stock and season with salt. Place the salmon fillet in a heatproof bowl then pour with enough stock to  cover the fillet and seal with glad wrap. Set aside for 30 mins.
2. Place remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and mix gently until combined.
3. Flake the salmon fillet and separate from the skin. Place salmon flesh into the creme fraiche mix and place a little extra lemon zest and dill on top. 
4. Chill in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 

Go ahead and try it, it's amazing. In the meantime, I am hanging to enjoy some in the morning with a poached egg for breakky...YUM!

Lauren x

Sunday, June 16, 2013

{Cookbook Obsessed}

One of my favorite things to do is just sit with a cuppa and a selection of cookbooks from my collection and just flip! (A few of my favorites are pictured above).

Cooking has always been and will always be a favorite thing of mine to do. I've described it before as a kind of edible artform. I love experimenting and playing, finding new ingredients, techniques and flavor combinations. Letting me loose on the kitchen is I suppose my version if therapy.

Today is a kid free morning for me, so I am taking a moment to browse my collection. A time to get inspired and add something new to my 'to try' list.

I know I have a tone of books, but to me you can learn so much about a culture, location and an era just by looking at what and how the food is/ was prepared. It is a fascination of mine that borders on an obsession and I am on the hunt to find some old vintage cookbooks to add to my collection (antique road trip anyone? lol).

Q: Do you like to browse cookbooks too? What cookbooks do you love having in your home?

Lauren x


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