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 Youtube.com 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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