Saturday, July 28, 2012

we are ready, bring on the olympics!

this is the ever changing chalk canvas that resides in our kitchen and is always changing, i added some felt rings with bluetac to complete it  :) tutorial for chalkboard canvas here

the british dinner was made last night,

roast beef and yorkshire puddings ... very tasty!

he loved the british dinner :)

the yorkshire puddings were totally new to polly and she loved them :)

the goody bags were handed out this morning,

i had my first ever walnut whip during the opening ceremony this morning (NZT), YUM!

the flags were hung out the front of our paddocks,

lucky for me it's a breezy day, so they look totally awesome ... but interesting to see if they survive the day out in that wind though!

the decorating was completed,

the four nations that make up great britain were aptly bought to life through lego ;)

ben made sure we had many olympic sports represented by our lego family, he did a great job with them :)

and we HAD to have some new zealand support going on ... we went with some large letters so no one can mistake who our number one team is ;)

the cupcakes were made,

we made over 60, some for steve's workmates, the peeps hockey teams, and our real estate agents :)

the peeps did a fantastic job of deocrating and making the cupcakes

 the peeps got busy making their 3D london buildings to add to the décor

hard at work
one of the finished london iconic buildings, they really are worth the investment as the peeps had the best time making them

and we are finally ready for the start of the games ... 
let the competition begin :)

i have linked up to the following parties :)

Thirty Handmade Days

olympic survival kits

we are ready to go, are you!

ok, its a day (or two) late but late is better than never ;) after blogging every day for a year, it's hard to get back into the habit after a break away from it, it kinda goes lower down the priorities list ... i'll get there though because i love sharing!

the olympic kits i have made for my family to get us involved with the games AND to make it an enjoyable learning experience for us.  i home school ... so sure, learning is important to us but even if you don't home school, getting actively involved with all life has to offer must definitely be a top priority and that's why i find any excuse, occasion, celebration to get excited about and i MAKE my family join me and i encourage you to get on board too!  you can make the celebration fit into your budget, i guarantee you will find things around the home that will work and if you have a computer and LOVE free printables as much as i do, you are home and hosed.

if you are new here (welcome) i will catch you up with the idea behind our olympics celebration, home-style.  each member of the family has been given a "second" country to support at the olympics.  i make sure for every event i chose different countries so there is always a new culture to explore.  each person gets a goodies bag full of printables, recipes, foods, flag, books, craft ideas, information, and other bits and pieces from our country (new zealand), the host country (england, we've expanded this out to include the four british countries), and their "second" country. for this summer olympics we have usa (ben), australia (pollyanna), belgium (me), and switzerland (steve).

i made these bags, the same tutorial as i used here for the halloween goody bags ... just a bigger version of it!

i went onto the book depository (they ship free worldwide, love that!) and chose an official olympics activity book for each of the peeps, plus a fiction book that takes place in their second country.

some books to keep the learning going through the whole event :)

i then spent some time on the net researching some traditional recipes for each country and the host country.  i printed them out as each person will need to make a sweet and savoury recipe from their country and the host country during the games.  i made sure all the recipes were authentic ones and also something the peeps would be able to make with only a little adult help ;)

i have provided each person with their team lists for each sport and also included the new zealand team.  if you use the team lists from wikipedia you can download them as a pdf and print four pages to one.  the wikipedia lists are fantastic and my favourites as they provide the draws and tables the peeps can use to fill in as they see the athletes competing.

i then used a whole lot of free printables to put in each goody bag, every thing from opening ceremony bingo cards, word searches and crosswords, bookmarks to personalise, olympic writing paper as the peeps will have to write something everyday about what they are witnessing, colouring pages, and some fantastic free country units from currclick.

the free printables and recipes

the next step is to make full use of the international section of your local grocers/supermarket.  before i went i googled the favourite foods for each of the countries so i would have some idea of what i was looking for.  for example, i had no idea (even though we are next door neighbours) that tim tams were an australian invention! the world is such a melting pot you will be amazed at how many things are in your local grocers that you use weekly that actually originate from somewhere very different :)  if you want some good ole' new zealand products check the lamb in the butchery dept, the kiwifruit in the produce dept (if it's zespri, it's from nz) ... you get the picture!  make it an adventure, i always learn SO MUCH putting these goody bags together for the family.

a table full of goodies from usa, australia, swiss, belgium, english, and new zealand. 

i added a couple of other bits and pieces, this time we went with real flags rather than colouring some in.   i found some truly british landmark puzzles, and a couple of other trinkets.

some more goodies

then fill the bags and you are good to go for 16 days of all out fun, culture, laughter, and crazy excitement ... jut the way every day of the olympics should be ;)

bring it on :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

what have we been up to ....

busy preparing, tomorrow i will bring you the kit bags i have FINALLY finished :) but for today, here is a pictorial look at some of the olympic things we have been doing this past little while :)

we made some very cool pasta art, during our studies about italy

we also made home-made pizzas for lunch that day :)

they were REALLY good!
while studying mexico we made the BEST home made tortillas ... they were so good the peeps told me i was never allowed to by store made ones again!

seriously these are SO good and absolutely delicious we have since made them 4 or 5 times!

 home-made tortilla recipe

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup of oil (any oil we have used both olive oil and coconut oil and both are delicious)
  • 1 cup of warm water
put all the dry ingredient in a bowl and use a fork to mix them together.  then add the oil and mix through until its evenly dispersed with your fork.  add the warm water and mix together.  i start with the fork and then once most of the mixing is done i get in their with my fingers and make sure it's all mixed together and forms a ball.  the above literally takes five minutes and most of that is measuring time ;)  then cover the bowl with cling film and leave it to rest for an hour or more.  i make the mix at breakfast, then leave it until lunch when we do the rolling out and baking.  

divide the dough into 12 even(ish) pieces with a knife and then roll out.  in a dry non- stick pan (that's right NO oil or butter) put in your tortilla on medium high and weight for the air bubbles to take hold, flip when brown spots appear on the underside (about 30 seconds) ... it really is that easy!  if i don't have my helpful chefs, i can usually roll one out in the time it takes one to cook.  we had some left over the other day and i heated them up for 30 secs in the microwave to go with our mexican dinner ... and they were still superb!

we have been doing a little bit of decoration around the house too! more on that tomorrow along with the finished olympic survival treat bags ... london style ;)
good luck to the junior women's all whites who start their campaign in 6 hours time!~

Thursday, July 19, 2012

olympics food

food ideas ... olympic style :)
let's talk food, i love a good celebration and a good celebration involves fun, delicious food!  the olympics definitely falls under something to celebrate so i have been trolling pinterest for exciting ideas and come up with plenty :)  here are some of my favourites:

love these olympic torches from a small snippet ... such a cool treat idea for during the olympics and remarkably healthy as far as olympic style snacks go! 

this is TOTALLY impressive and this link to nanaimo bars includes a full recipe .. i had never thought to look for an olympic rings cookie cutter!
so after seeing this gem i went to google to see if i could find my own olypmics cookie cutter and i found ALL SORTS of cool food decorating things!

  • the cake craft shop have a fantastic range of cupcake and cake decorating toppers and wrappers for the london olympics AND they ship internationally!
  • on ebay uk, i found this cool olympic torch with flame cookie cutter
  • and at cheap cookie cutters, you can get a whole ragne of cookie cutters, including the olympic rings AND they ship anywhere in the world!

love this idea from baby budgeting, we are going to use it lots during the olympics and you can see down below, the peeps and i had our first crack at it today :)
such a cool idea from scrappin'mom, an olympic brunch ... everything here was put together for the winter olympics but most of her ideas will work well for the summer olympics too ... i am especially loving the grilled cheese gold medals!
healthy food flags!  these flags were designed for the sydney international food festive and i think they would be an awesome edition to any olympics celebration ... this i am definitely doing one night during the olympics, i don't think i will attempt the new zealand flag though! ... maybe i'll get everyone to do their second country's flag as part of their kit ... oh the mind is turning!

Olympic Cupcakes! There are some other Olympic party ideas at this site but they are mostly for winter Olympics. These cupcakes look great and so easy to make that I had to share!
love these cupcakes from oopsey daisy, she actually used them as a winter olympic birthday party treat for her son ... love that it is such a simple idea and totally doable for the amateur baker! the peeps and i are going to make these next friday for steve to take into work :) 

sugar cookies iced with the appropriate colours, they look so sweet!  full instructions and recipe from the decorated cookie.

love these olympic ring cookies from cake spy!  again a simple idea the peeps could help with :)  check this onto the to-do list!
great ideas right?  i love that people have so many creative ideas with food, it makes it so much more fun than your everyday sandwich!  as mentioned above, the peeps and i had an olympic style lunch today using the inspiration from baby budgeting ... we loved it, something we will be having a lot during the olympics.  

the busy peeps making edible olympic rings

we used not so blue blueberry jam, marmite (black), strawberry jam, cheese, and avocardo ... i have some definite ideas for alternatives to everything but the blue ... any ideas would be very welcomed!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

olympics printables and crafts for you and the family

happiness is children learning :)
ok, this list i can vouch for as i have printed, used, made, laminated them all but a couple of them over the last couple of weeks with great success for learning, décor, and crafty olympic projects.  even if you don't homeschool, i am sure most of these will come in handy if you plan to get on board with the olympics over the next couple of weeks :)  i've put them into categories so it's a little easier to find what you are after!

great learning freebies:

  • study ladder has just made available a download for an olympic learning booklet.  the booklet is 8 pages and is in an A5 format, everything from learning about london, to the history of the olympics, the flag, ideal meals for athletes and more.
  • activity village is always a go to site for me with regards to any celebration sporting or not.  they do crafts, worksheets, colouring pages, printable puzzles, printables of all sorts (bookmarks, flags etc), information for the event, party ideas, and lots more for all sorts of events and celebrations ... the olypmics is no exception and is a fantastic resource regardless of whether you have tots or teens :)
  • passport templates, we have been using a passport and stamping it with a new countries stamp once we have done some learning on a given country.  the peeps have LOVED this and it has been one of their favourite parts to our olympic build up so far ... not to mention they have now gained 20+ passport stamps!
  • homeschool share has fantastic resources to make a lapbook or just to use in conjunction with the learning you are already doing.  we have used numerous printables from this download, the peeps really love the little foldables rather than just a flat worksheet to do their learning in :)
  • this has been a great resource, printables of traditional national dress.  i have used them in conjunction with other material when we have learnt about a specific country.  the peeps are given the printout and then have used the internet to research the traditional dress of the country so they can colour them in appropriately
  • the notebooking fairy provides this awesome worksheet that is a great way to start your learning about a new country ... we have used this extensively!
  • enchanted learning is a great place to go, some are free and some are not so choose carefully, but is totally worth your while browsing their EXTENSIVE collection :)
  • project britain has a fantastic list of resources that includes, websites, worksheets, and information about the games and the host country .. the nice thing with this website is they are also in curriculum subjects.
  • kathy's cluttered mind also has plenty of free printables and craft ideas for the olympics on her freeBEE friday series ... great stuff for all ages, definitely worth checking out and i found HEAPS of resources to use over there.
  • teachers pay teachers do have SOME free resources for the olympics, this one i used with my older peep as an add on and it proved to be a really good learning resource.
  • another freebie at teachers pay teachers is this one from cooperative learning 365 ... polly LOVED this one, and that's an understatement!
  • sparkle box has a fabulous range of printables for the walls ... love them and as you can see below the classroom is looking very festive thanks to their free printables ;)
sparkle box free printables, now adorning our art wall :)

craft ideas:
  • red ted art's blog is full of fabulous craft ideas, everything from making medals, to torches, and wreathes ... over 20 ideas to browse and choose from!
  • this fantastic big ben 3D makable from paper toys is perfect for the slightly older crafters ... it is really detailed and you have the option of printing in colour or black/white for the kids to colour.
  • kates creative space has a tutorial to make your own olympic tees.  this is one we are prepped and ready to go with ... make your own olympic ring t-shirts, how cool is that!  we are doing this as a family next week so i will show you the results then :)
  • again, activity village has crafts for the olympics that will keep you busy until the next ones!  this medal chart of there's i actually made for my sister and sent it over to her with mum a couple of weeks ago.  they are having a mini olympics using the wii super mario olympic games game, such a great idea!
  • this is one i have yet to try but is definitely on my to do list for this weekend, diy olympic rings necklace from remarkably domestic this is a great craft for the older kids and the finished result looks awesome.
  • the kaboose is a bit like, activity village, a must go-to for any event to find crafts, printables, and even yummy recipes!  they have instructions to make everything from swimming goggles, to an olympic torch, to pompoms and more.
well this should keep you going until tomorrow ... at least!  tomorrow we will be talking food, olympics themed food to be exact! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

a week of OLYMPICS fun coming at you :)

its time to get busy and get ready for the olympics!
back to posting each day this week as the OLYMPICS are coming up faster than i can keep up with.  so to catch up i am going to be organising all our olympics schooling, crafting, and family activities here on my blog to give you guys some inspiration and motivation to get preparing!

i love sport, but more than that, i LOVE fun.  i will use any excuse to make the everyday a party and the olympics is the perfect opportunity to get the family involved in celebrating .. as some of you who follow along (seriously, thank you so much!) will know, each major sporting event i give every member of the family a country to follow.  for the summer olympics 2012 the family have been given the following countries:

  • we will all be supporting New Zealand ... it's compulsory, otherwise you can't be part of the family ... harsh but those are the rules
  • Steve has been given Belgium as his second country
  • Benjamin has been given USA as his second country
  • Pollyanna has Australia as her second team to support
  • I have Switzerland ... bring on the fondue ;)
the peeps have been given countries that both send a lot of athletes, so there will be plenty of individuals to cheer on regardless of event. as for Switzerland and Belgium they were pulled from the hat and are two countries we haven't supported in the past, so its a good opportunity to learn about their cultures.

each person gets a goodies bag just before the opening ceremony with information on their country competing, the flag, some country info, recipes from the country, some of the country's foods to sample, and a bunch of other goodies about the sporting event and the host country.  this makes us completely involved in the event, encourages the peeps (and us adults) to appreciate the diversity of the world we live in, and makes for a really fun time.  i will show you the kits i am putting together later in the week.

during the coming week we will be doing some olympic style decorating, home learning ideas, country kits, and lots of other bits and pieces in order to be ready for the olympics to begin.  there is heaps of inspiration on pinterest, tons of inspiration boards, and of course my own olympics board where i have been gathering plenty of inspirational ideas!  join in the fun and make the olympics something you and your family will remember for years to come!

Friday, July 13, 2012

people have the best ideas

this is where you will easily find them!

just found this on pinterest and what a great idea it is ... this is like a linky party for homeschoolers. however, instead of linking up your blog you link up your pinterest page so homeschoolers can find each others pinterest pages and follow along.

i have just spent an hour checking out some of the lovely homeschoolers and their amazing boards ... so many ideas, so much pinning of wonderful learning inspiration i can't wait for our winter holidays to be over!  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

fourth of july ... new zealand style

happy fourth of july :)  i used the hot milk cake recipe from here :)
it's the winter school holidays here at the moment and the days have been stunning.  bright blue skies, warm(ish) sun, and lots of happy peeps wondering around the place ... almost like summer, almost ;)  the peeps and i have been studying countries in preparation for the olympics, which being a sports mad family, we LOVE.  as a small country, we send a good number of athletes and a few even have the prospect of winning a medal.   however, we have nowhere near as many as other countries and not in the diversity of sports as in other countries.  

to make up for our lack of numbers for all major sporting occasions i give everyone in the family a 'second' country to support. everyone gets a goodies bag with their country's map, team info, flag to colour, other printables relevant to the country, foods from the country, and some recipes they have to cook during the event for the family.  it's a great way for the peeps to learn about a different culture and all that a country has to offer!  as with all hands on learning, it seems to stick more ... during the last summer olympics polly was three years old and had jamaica as her second team.  she doesn't remember the names of the athletes but she does remember they had really fast runners and what their flag looks like! 

anyway to cut a really long story, slightly shorter, ben's 'second' team for the olympics is USA!  he is delighted and i decided the best time for him to cook his american meal was not during the olympics but on the 4th of July.  because i like to make things more work than they need to be i also decided we would have a fourth of july crafting day, have hotdogs for lunch, and then finish off the day with an all american burgers feast and fireworks ... why go small when you can go bigger!

we did a LOT of crafting!

all the peeps made these canvases, first painting the strips on and then making the paper 3D star to attach on top ... instructions for the star are available here from happy life, crafty wife :) and the inspiration for this craft came from here at bee in our bonnet

the peeps also made firecrackers with pringles cans ... such a cool idea and a great take home gift given all the containers were full of pringles! printables for this craft came from here and they were all FREE :)

some of the happy crafters, the boys weren't into making flax flowers!

... but they all came back when we started to put this stuff on the table!

dinner, with the make your own burger bar, curly fries, potatoe salad and plenty of red, white, and blue ... 

this guy had the biggest burger i have ever seen!

this was it ... honestly, what was he thinking!

then we headed outside for some fireworks and a warm up around the brazier :)

ben and the fireworks ... that boy and fire, it's a worry ;)

we had a great day and night!

we had a great day, awesome friends, fantastic family, brilliant food, happy peeps, and pretty fireworks, not to mention bags of crafting ... definitely a great way to celebrate america's independence, kiwi style (we had beetroot in our burgers ;))  and where did all this inspiration come from?  PINTEREST of course, and you can find it all on my fourth of july board!