May 24, 2013

Fruit Snack

Like other little children, my little one doesn’t like fruits and vegetables very much. That’s why it’s hard to me to find a good way to give her fruit and vegetable every day.
I have to find different ways sometimes, because she gets tired easily of the same recipe.
On the other hand, this fruit snack is her favorite, she likes it very much and she eats it anytime. It’s easy and fast to prepare and I make it for my children very often.

Ingredients (1 serve):
1 Pear
1 Banana
1/2 glass of milk
1 teaspoon of sugar
Peel the pear and the banana, put them in the mixer with milk and sugar and mix until smooth.
Taste it before serving, you can add more sugar if it’s not sweet enough or milk if it’s not liquid enough.
Serve it in a glass or in a mug with a straw.
If your children, like mine, don’t like to taste new snacks, straws will make the snack more interesting and funny to drink.

Bananas, milk and sugar are the basic ingredients for this snack, but pears can be changed and you can use other fruits instead of it: apples, peaches, apricots, strawberries, etc…
You can also try to mix more than one fruit to the basic ingredients, just try and put some creativity in your snack.
Adding some cereals, dried fruits or nuts on the top it will get more tasty and good as dessert after dinner too.

Don’t forget to ask your children to help you to choose the ingredients and preparing the snack.
Be carefully: knives and mixer must be used by adults and not children!
Follow my suggestion for cooking with children, also you will find other tasty and easy recipes to cook with your children.


May 9, 2013

Friendly Snake

Spring could be a very rainy season and children (and parents too) could get bored of it. When children are tired and bored of the same games in rainy days it’s time to “build” a new friend together to play with.
This project is easy and keeps children very busy for some time during the work and then they will play with it for days.
This funny project is a good one to make with little children too. Little children should be helped more but they will have great time.
Just my last suggestion: if you have more than one child, make a snake for each child. I made just one snake  with my two children and when we finished it they started to fight for the snake.

What you need
  1. 4 or more rolls of toilet paper
  2. Split pins
  3. Scissors
  4. Crayons
  5. White paper 
  6. Glue
I had 6 rolls of toilet paper and I gave three to each of my children to decorate with crayons.
My little one needed lots of time to decorate just one roll because she had no idea and she didn’t know what to do, so I helped a little bit decorating the rolls and giving her ideas on decorations.
Anything is a good decoration: colored circles, hearts, stars, lines, etc.
Anything your children like to draw.


When all the rolls are decorated, cut two small triangles  on each side like in the pictures.


In order to join the rolls together, make little holes on each side where you are going to put the split pins. Do not allow your children to do this step because it’s very dangerous!
Then join the rolls with split pins like in the pictures below.


Repeat this step for each roll.

On a white paper, draw two funny eyes and a long red tongue with crayons and cut them out.
Remember to help little children during this step and please do not allow your little ones to cut with scissors.


Stick the eyes and the tongue on the very first roll.


And here your  Friendly Snake!


Don’t forget to give it a funny name!


Apr 5, 2013

The Great Duckling

One of my jobs, as a mom, is to help my children  to learn what is dangerous and what is not in their life.
Little children have to learn lots of things during the day at home. Just the daily life at home must be very stressful for them. They have to learn how to live in a house, how to behave, what is right or wrong, etc.
Often they haven’t the ability to understand those things immediately, so parents have to talk and try different ways if talking is not enough.
Lots children’s fears start from that: the child is uncomfortable, starts to cry and hasn’t the ability (or words) to describe what’s wrong. On the other hand, the parent could not understand, and if doesn’t find a good way to talk, has to imagine what it could be. But sometimes it’s so difficult to understand that parents must try different ways to help the child.
And that’s exactly what happened to my little child and me!
She has always been a joyful girl with no fears, just new things to be careful of.
I’ve always known she doesn’t like to wash her hair very much but nothing more than that. She’s usually had her bath or shower without any problems since last year.
From that time, anytime I washed her hair she started crying and shouting and she didn’t want to wash her hair. I understood she didn’t like water in her eyes.
Personally, I didn’t experienced that annoyance and my older child never told me she was annoyed by water in her eyes.  So that’s my first time I faced this problem.
I asked her what was wrong but probably she hadn’t the right words to explain. She told me the water was burning her eyes, so I thought it was too hot for her.
It wasn’t the temperature!
Could it be the shampoo???
I told her I would be more carefully with the shampoo. She told me it was just the water
So, if the water in the eyes was the problem, I told her to “look at the ceiling” when I washed the hair.
Bad idea! 
When she looked at the ceiling she saw the water coming down and she started shouting and trying to come out the bath.
I tried to wash more gently, and using a container for some warm water in order to be more carefully of the direction of the water.
Reading a book I saw a little boy who covered his eyes with a towel.
Ok! Lets try!
Nothing again!
Months went by and I wasn’t able to find a solution. Meanwhile, having bath was getting more and more difficult for both of us.

duck400 Then I found a towel with a lovely duckling stitched on it.
It was a gift that was stuck in the pile of towels, I used it sometimes but without a special meaning. It was just one of her towels like any other.
I had an idea!
Dumbo can fly with a feather! The duckling would be our feather!
We started our bath time as always, and as I’d thought she didn’t want to. I put her in the warm water with all her water toys. I left her some time to play with water toys.
Then I told her it was time to wash her hair but I had a surprise: The Great Duckling would send the water away from her eyes.

I folded the towel and I put it on her face and I told her to stay calm and look at the ceiling.

It worked!!!!!
I was more than surprised!!!
I washed her hair while she sat in the water, completely calm and relaxed, with her face under the towel.  She asked me about the duckling and I told her it was there, sending the water far from her eyes.
Nothing more than that!!!
Since that day we’ve used The Great Duckling any bath time and she’s never cried or shouted because of water in her eyes.

At the end of the bath, the towel is always soaked and her eyes full of water but she feels good because The Great Duckling was there to send the water away from her eyes, and now she is more calm and cooperative during the bath.
Thanks to The Great Ducking I learnt a lesson about children: I can’t do all the job by myself, I need someone who helps me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a real person or a stitched duckling on a towel. With a little bit of creativity a normal towel is now a good friend who helps us to bring joy and happiness in our home.
One day she will understand that water is not so dangerous and we all will laugh about it!


Mar 15, 2013

Sweet Hearts

Some days ago, I had to cook some cookies but I was very  late to bake them. I had no time: I spent my afternoon playing with my children and then I realize there wasn’t enough time to bake cookies.
Well, I found out that frozen puff pastry and some jam would be good enough to bake cookies.
Sure, they would have been different from classic cookies but easy and quick to bake.
This is a very very easy recipe to bake quickly lots of delicious cookies. I made it with gluten free puff pastry, but it’s good with any puff pastry.

I suggest quantities and jam flavor, but changing quantities you’ll have less or more cookies and jam flavor has to be the one you like. You can also make different cookies with different jam flavors.


  • 250g frozen gluten free puff pastry (or any puff pastry if you don’t need gluten free one)
  • Strawberry jam

Preheat the oven at 180°C.
Defrost the frozen puff pastry. Microwave oven would be perfect.
Then flatten the puff pastry with the rolling pin on a board. Don’t forget to put some gluten free flour on and under the puff pastry (on the board) and some on the rolling pin or your puff pastry will stick on the board and on the rolling pin.


Cut out heart shaped cookies from the puff pastry with shapes that should be normally used to cut out cookies. I used a heart shape but any shape is good for this recipe, it can use any kind of shape: stars, animals, and so on…  or cut out different shapes, in order to have different cookies.


Cover a pan with waxed paper and lay all the cookies on it.
Put a teaspoon of strawberry jam on each cookie, spread all the jam on the cookies and leave just a little edge.



When finished bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Enjoy your cookies!! 


Mar 8, 2013

Homemade Play Dough

When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to homemade play dough to keep me busy while she made cakes. I loved play dough and I loved pretending to cook a cake like my granny.
I have such wonderful memories about those days, thinking about my granny and I making a cake or cooking homemade pasta, make me feel so peaceful.
My daughters also love playing with play dough and any time they ask I make it for them and let them play as much as they like.

Homemade play dough has lots of qualities that anyone should think about before giving any play dough to children.
First of all it isn’t dangerous for children, it’s made by flour, salt, water and a drop of food color (if you would like to add it) so also little children, who have the bad habit to put everything in mouths, can play safely with it.
You can chose the ingredients, so if your child has any kind of problem with ingredients (intolerance, allergy, and so on..)   you can use the best for him/her.  
Your children can use the same shapes you use to cut cookies because the ingredients are the same of the cookies.
It’s not made by plastic so when it’s dry and children will not able to play with it anymore, you just throw in the compost bin.

  • 2 cups of plain flour (or gluten free for intolerant children)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Food coloring (optional)

In a big bowl mix flour and salt well, then add water gradually.
Mix with your hands and add water until the dough is smooth. Probably you need less water, depending of the flour. 
But if you add too much water don’t despair! Just add some more flour until the dough is smooth.
On the other hand if it’s too hard add a little bit of water.
When the dough is smooth and soft enough (remember that children are not strong as parents) add a drop or two of food coloring and mix well with your hands.
For a brighter color add more food coloring.
Remember that different colors of food coloring could be mixed together, so you need to buy just red, blue and yellow to have all the colors your children want.

Ask your children to help you mixing and coloring the dough. They will learn to mix ingredients to have a dough to play with and they will also learn how to mix colors to obtain a new one.

You can also make 3 different dough in different colors: 1 red, 1 blue and 1 yellow and let your children free to mix two or all of them to make different colors.
Show them that adding different colors in different amounts they will obtain new colors.
Make it together and they will learn a lot.
Then let them free to play with their play dough, stay with them helping for hard things such as making a difficult shapes or colors.
Play dough is a such creative game for all ages, I also enjoy myself playing with it.

Children learn a lot: little ones learn to use their hands, that are difficult and powerful tools to learn to use, they learn colors, they use their creativity to make things with their own hands.
Big children have the opportunity to let their mind free from everyday routine and use their creativity to create something new while relaxing a bit.
And parents… spend a great creative time with children making different shapes, colors or creations together.


Feb 28, 2013

Garden life

I’ve had a great love and respect of the Nature since I was a little child. I really care about any animal, plant and all the wonderful things around me.
This is a very important value I would give to my children.
To make this real I spend lots of my time reading books about animals and places where they live with my children. I have started doing this since they were little children. Now my older daughter is grown and she also enjoys TV programs about wild life.
Our garden is my favorite place of the home.
Any season brings something special and I really love spending my time watching the life around me: flowers, plants, birds and little animals that live or are just pass through the garden.
I usually encourage my children in watching life around us, I spend time in the garden and watch birds on the plants or listen to them tweeting. Spring and summer are the best seasons to do this.
But also fall and winter are full of life. During fall and winter little birds usually eat seeds that are difficult to find in cold seasons, they also like to eat small pieces of bread and cookies.
In order to help our little friends, I usually put some small crumbs (the ones drop on the table during the dinner) in the grass in the garden in front of my kitchen windows, in the evening so they have the time to find and eat them in the next early morning.

When winter is really cold, like this one, crumbs are not enough, that’s why my children and I hanged up some food in the garden.
I bought sticks with seeds at the pet store, they are food for canaries, long sticks with seeds on them, then we hanged up on the plants in the garden using some laces.

We needed to find good places where hanged the sticks.
They must be in a high place on a plant, but not too high to not be reached, and not too low, birds will feel in danger and our cats and dog like hunting little birds in the garden.
They must be hidden to make the birds feel save to eat, but not too much or birds won’t see them.

We hanged up lots sticks in different places, some that I thought good and some that my children thought good. We also hanged some stick in places where I’m sure no birds will come to eat, but my child would like to hang there.  
I’ve been doing this for years and I know it’s a good help for little birds who live in the garden. It’s important to change the sticks any time they finish their seeds and place them in the same place or just near.  Any fall and winter sticks must be changed because seeds last on the sticks are humid and birds won’t eat them.

It takes time before birds find and feel save to eat the seeds, the first time I did it, no birds came and I found most of the sticks unharmed.

The next winter, I hanged up lots of new sticks in the same place and birds started to come and eat.
The next winter, they felt in a safe place and they didn’t care my presence and they ate their seeds also when I was out in the garden.  
When the birds find the seeds they remember where they find them and come back everyday, so remember to place them in a quite place where no one can scare them.
In my opinion, it’s important for children spend their time in this way, they have the chance to do something helpful and they can see the effects of it. They also have the chance to watch little animals that live in their garden and take care of them.
Children will learn to love and respect the place where they live and do their best to take care of it and its inhabitants. 

Feb 15, 2013

Ruffled scarf

I’ve never knitted before in my life and to be honest I don’t like it at all.
My mother is very good at knitting and she tried for lots of time to teach me but I always found it a little bit boring. I love knitting things and I usually ask her to knit something for my children and me, she likes it very much and she does it with pleasure.
One day I saw those ruffled scarves, they were so
lovely and my older child loved it and would like one for her.
After a quick search on the internet I found that is very easy and knit a scarf is not so difficult, the only thing I had to do is… repeat the same thing for lots of times. 
My research revealed me also the kind of yarn I need and I went to buy it. Then I need to understand how to work this yarn that was so different to the ones I knew.
Lucky for me I found a video tutorial on that shows how to knit a ruffle scarf.

The yarn I bought was like a kind of tape and the holes on the up side of the tape were the parts that had to be worked, it was different of the one used in the video but the working process was the same.
I bought 3 balls of yarns of 50g each. For my child’s scarf I used just 2 of them, so it’s 100g, that is the right quantity for a child but it’s small for an adult.


Then I started to knit this tape as a normal yarn with knitting needles.
It took lots of time to finish it because I’m not good at knitting, I just know the basis and actually, because of I don’t like it very much, sometimes I didn’t work on it for days.
Anyway, I finished my first ruffled scarf and I’m sure anyone can do the same because it’s very very easy.
I think it could take very short time and it could be finished in about 2 or 3 hours, but I’m not very fast and good at knitting so I had to check any movements of the needles.
I’m sure an expertise person can knit the scarf very quickly.
By the way, the point is that I made it by myself!!! And my daughter is so happy about it!!!
I hope anyone would try it and will tell me about their scarf.

Feb 5, 2013

Gnocchi Recipe

Gnocchi are kind of cubes made by mashed potatoes and flour. This is another good recipe to make with your children.
I usually make it with my older daughter who really loves making the dough and cutting the cubes.
It’s really easy and it takes about an hour to make and cook.

This is my personal version of this recipe, there are lots of different kinds of it, but this one is the one I usually cook and, of course, it’s can be made by plain or gluten free flour.

5  Potatoes (medium size)
300g gluten free or plain flour
a pinch of salt

Serves: 4
Peel and boil the potatoes until they are soft. 
Mash up all the potatoes, then add the flour and salt. Mix all them with your hands until you have a dough. The dough must be like a play dough and not be sticky. If it’s too sticky add some flour.



Take some dough and make one or more stripes working it on a pastry board  cover in flour.

cuttingNow cut some cubes of about 1 cm with a knife. For children it’s enough a knife that doesn’t cut too much because the dough is soft.

Put all the cubes on a board and put some flour on them in order to take them divided from each other.

Now it’s the time to cook your gnocchi.

Put all the gnocchi in pot with boiling salted water. Wait until they bob up, they’ll not bob up all together but one by one so you have to take them out of the water with a spoon and put them in a colander.

When all the gnocchi are cooked put them in bowl and mix it with the sauce.

You can use lots of kind of sauces: from tomato sauces to butter sauce.
Just add the one you like and serve hot.

This recipe is really loved by my children: it’s easy and funny to make, it’s good to eat and little children easily learn to eat by themselves because the soft cubes are easy to pick up also with a small fork.

My older daughter told me she is proud when we make this recipe, because she can eat something she cook by herself.

I’m sure you’ll have some good time cooking this easy recipe with your children. Remember it could be take some more time because children, especially little ones, are not very talented cutting with a knife.
This could be a good activity to do on Sunday rainy afternoons and cook it for dinner.


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