Sunday, August 23, 2015

Making Paper Plate Dinosaurs

D for Dinosaur!

Dinosaurs are Naomi's current obsession. Whenever she sees dinosaurs, she gets very excited and keeps on saying out loud, "Dinosaur, dinosaur... Rawr!!" She doesn't know that dinosaurs are actually extinct and every time she sees animals that are large and look ferocious, say huge reptiles such as crocodiles, she will also label them as "Dinosaurs!".

Understanding that Naomi's puppy love now is Dinosaur, I thought of asking her to do some dinosaur crafts with me. After browsing so many dinosaurs craft ideas in the internet for inspiration, my pick finally fell to creating paper plate dinosaurs and Naomi and I realized this idea yesterday morning.

Naomi is able to use scissors and she loves cutting papers with scissors at school. However, since we don't have any plastic scissors suitable for kids at home; for this particular activity, I relieved Naomi from the cutting tasks. I cut all the materials before we started this activity then made Naomi do the assembling and pasting parts only to create the dinosaurs.

Dinosaur, rawrrrr!

The dinosaurs that we made yesterday were Brontosaurus, the long necked dinosaurs. Here's how I created the dinosaur crafts.

Naomi loves peeling sticker tapes and pasting them on objects now.

Paper Plate Dinosaurs

Materials:

  • Paper plates, plain white ones would be better
  • Double-sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Colourful origami papers or small round stickers
  • Glue, optional
  • Big marker or plastic eyes
  • Pencil colours

Top one is my exhibit A. Bottom is created by Naomi.

Preparation tutorial:
  1. Cut the paper plate into half. Set one aside for the dinosaur's main body.
  2. Take the other half of the paper plate and draw dinosaur's head (with long neck), tail and two legs on it. Cut all of these parts. You can ask your kids to cut these parts if they are big enough to handle scissors.
  3. Place a small piece of double-sided tape in the bottom part of the dinosaur's neck, the upper/bigger part of the tail and upper parts of the legs.
  4. Draw some big circles on the origami papers to make the spots on the dinosaurs' body. Then paste the back of these circles with double-sided tape or you can ask your kids to use glue to paste the spots. You can also use small round stickers for the spots.
  5. Draw an eye and mouth on the dinosaur's head. You can also use the plastic eye and ask your child to place this in the dinosaur's head, if you have any.
Naomi refused to colour her dinosaurs yesterday.

How to play:
  1. Teach your toddler how to assemble the dinosaurs with the available parts.
  2. Ask him or her to peel the double sided tapes in order to assemble or attach the parts of the dinosaur to the body.
  3. Before pasting the body spots, you may ask your preschooler to colour the dinosaur with pencil colours.
  4. Ask your kid to place the dinosaur's spots by pasting the colourful round papers made from origami paper or round stickers.
  5. Voila! Paper plate dinosaur is now ready to be played.

The last dinosaur we made yesterday.

Naomi had fun and was so serious too when making this craft yesterday especially since she knew that we were making dinosaurs. 

P/S: You can also pack this craft in your toddler busy bag. If you intend to make this craft as part of your busy bag, you just need to have all the cut materials ready and the double-sided tapes already pasted on each body part then let your kids assemble the paper cuts into a dinosaur later on.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Making Mini Sausage Buns

Last week, I bought a packet of mini/cocktail cheese sausages in case one day I have the mood to try making some home-made sausage buns, which Naomi loves. When I bought the sausages, I had not made up my mind on when to make the sausage buns nor selected any recipe to follow.

This late morning, I took my sausages out from the freezer and started making the bun dough during lunch break. The decision to make some mini sausage buns was somewhat impromptu and only after I defrosted my frozen sausages, I quickly studied some recipes to make the bun dough and how to roll the dough into small buns. After some reading, I made my sausage buns dough by modifying some sweet bun/ white bread recipes I know as follows.

First attempt in making mini sausage buns.

Mini Sausage Buns

Ingredients:

For the bun dough:
240gr Bread Flour
130ml Fresh milk
1 Egg white
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
35gr Sugar
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Yeast
25gr Unsalted butter, at room temperature
20-21 Mini sausages, at room temperature
Sesame seeds for sprinkles, optional

For the egg wash:
1 Egg yolk
1 tbs Liquid milk

Best eaten warm, I guess.

Tutorial:

1. Double boil or heat fresh milk in a heat-resistant bowl until lukewarm.

2. As per the general bread maker function: Place fresh milk, vanilla extract, white egg, sugar and salt first in the bread maker.

3. Pour the bread flour then make a small hole in the flour.

4. Put the yeast in the flour hole (make sure the yeast is not in contact with the liquid ingredients before kneading).

5. Turn your bread machine on (I use the basic program). Once all the mixture forms into dough, add the butter in. Continue kneading.

6. Knead the dough once, which takes about 10 mins from the start, until the dough is smooth and elastic.

6. Take the dough out of the machine and place the dough in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.

7. Divide the dough into small balls, about 20gr each, and place them in a tray lined with baking paper. Let them rest for 10 mins.

Proofing the small dough balls.

8. While waiting, pat dry all the mini sausages.

Make sure the sausages are dry before rolling it into the dough.

9. Take a dough ball and flatten it by using a rolling pin in a lightly dusted working surface. Close two ends of the flattened ball until it forms a short stick. Shape it like a cone by using hand roll then roll it flat with a rolling pin. Place one sausage on the bigger/wider end and roll it like a Swiss roll. Place the sausage bun on a tray lined with baking sheet. Repeat this step for all the dough balls and let them rest for another 30-45 mins.

How to roll the sausage buns.

10. Mix the egg yolk and milk to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash on each sausage buns and sprinkle the top with some sesame seeds.

11. Bake the sausage buns in a preheated oven (170 degree Celcius) for 15-20 mins or until golden brown

**This recipe makes about 20-21 mini sausage buns.

Want some mini cheese sausage buns?

I must admit that my workmanship in rolling or shaping the buns today was far from fantastic or neat. Obviously, I still need more practice in working with bread or bun dough. Good thing was that, everything tasted great so I was relieved! The buns were mildly sweet and soft and when eaten with savoury delicious sausages (in the form of sausage buns like this), the buns tasted even better!

Before I left my house to pick Naomi up from school/day-care this evening, I brought a couple of sausage buns for her to munch in the car on our way home. She ate one and a half buns in the car and when she saw my tray full of sausage buns on the dining table at home, she took one more bun. However, this time around she only ate the sausage and passed the plain bun to me.

Nom nom.

When my husband came home, he ate one bun before dinner and ate two more buns after dinner. I guess I can be proud of my first trial in making sausage buns because my man ate three of them almost at one go. 

Sausage buns are kids' favourites and widely accepted by adults too, so it's never a bad idea to try to make some at home. However, since sausages are processed food, I suppose it's wiser not to let our children eat them too often. Once in a while is fine. Just my two cents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Big Baby is Almost 3

Naomi is turning 3 next month! How time passes so quickly like a passing cloud.

People say that once kids turn 3 years old, their cuteness or baby look is depreciating! I hope this is not entirely true.

My cute baby is now a pretty little lady.

I plan to make a small birthday celebration for Naomi at her school/day-care next month so she can celebrate her big happy day at her "second home" together with the people she loves other than her family, namely her teachers and friends. This year, I try to accommodate the theme of her mini birthday party in accordance to her obsession right now. I also hope that Naomi doesn't fall sick on her birthday and our regular bakery can pull my idea into the cake. Birthday cake is always the centre of birthday celebration so it is very important.

Once I read about a Mommy who does yearly interview with her daughter on the kid's birthday. Birthday interview is actually a great idea to capture memories and see how the child's interests and milestones change as she grows up.

Inspired by this Momblogger's birthday interview, I want to do a similar birthday interview to journal Naomi's developments and current interests thus far but my problem is Naomi just started talking few words and can't string a sentence yet. As such, she can't possibly answer all my interview questions. This said, I will just write down the interview questions (and modify some as I deem fit to Naomi's age now) and answer them based on Naomi's current milestones and interests.

1. How old are you today? 34 months and 1 day old.

2. What is your favourite colour? Not sure yet. I can say all the colours but can only match some of the colours to their names correctly for the time being.

3. What is your favourite food? Creamy pasta, all sort of vegetables and noodles.

4. What are your favourite desserts? Butter-cream cake and yoghurt.

She loves butter cream!

5. What is your favourite fruit? Strawberry.

Strawberries are expensive, Mama says. But I don't care.

6. What are your favourite toys now? Play-Doh and cooking set. 

7. What are your favourite TV shows? Donald Duck and Chip & Dale (for now).

8. What is your favourite animal? Dinosaur. Oh, dogs too.

9. Where are your favourite places to hang out? Arcades and parks.

10. What are your favourite songs now? Pull the Carrot (拔萝卜) and Rain Rain Go Away.

Rain, go away!

11. What do you like to wear? Matching pyjamas.

12. What makes you happy? New toys and water play.

13. What makes you sad? The moments when my parents take Ah Gong's iPad and smartphone away from me.

14. What are you good at? Making a mess?

The messy mess.

15. What makes you laugh? Daddy and funny cartoons.

So funny.

16. What are you afraid of? The sound of thunders.

17. Who is your best friend? Maybe Dorothy (Mommy here is not sure about this one, ok? Dorothy is the one who loves to Hi-5 Naomi every now and then.. so likely Naomi's BFF is Dorothy.)

18. What do you love about school? The fun activities, play times, singing and friends.

Introducing my Shanghai Doll.

19. What are your favourite activities other than playing? Sleeping and transforming myself into a couch potato.

20. What are your worst habits? So many that I better list them in bullet points for clarity as follows:
  • Sucking my pacifier almost all the time, especially at home. I can do without pacifier and napkin at school tho'.
  • Randomly placing my pacifier and napkin when I don't need them then frantically and furiously look for them when I want them.
  • Running around like a hyper kid when my parents bring me out to the supermarket, mall, park and other fun places.
  • Riding one and each of the joy rides I can find in the mall or hypermarket before I agree to join Mommy for groceries shopping.
  • Putting all the toys I want to the shopping trolley without thinking of the price.
  • Wanting to eat the unpaid strawberries in the supermarket trolley before Mommy or Daddy could find any place to wash them.
  • Peeing on my pants when I am angry.
  • Crying buckets and throwing tantrums when I don't get what I want. Never mind the location.
  • Not bothering to clean up my toys after playing. But sometimes, I do clean my toy mess when I have the mood.
  • Sleeping horizontally so Mom and Dad don't get much bed space and wake up with body aches the next morning.
  • Sleeping with all my toys-of-the-night. They eat the bed space but I want to sleep with them
  • Peeling my fingers and toes' hard skin and nails until they look quite ugly despite my parents' and teachers' scoldings and warnings.
  • Eating my booger silently. Usually Mom and Dad will shriek then scream, "No No, No No!"
  • And many more.

The above pretty much depicts Naomi's current interests. As for her latest achievements, my girl's vocabulary has now grown larger as opposed to few months back. Naomi can now communicate to us what she wants and what she doesn't want. She can sing few nursery songs and count 1-10 in English, Bahasa Indonesia/Melayu and Mandarin with our guidance. In addition, Naomi is now able to identify, recognize and say some objects he is familiar with out loud. She loves to show her affection to us and that's why I consider her as a little heart-breaker. Further, Naomi can eat her food by herself, go to toilet, undress and dress without our assistance. Nevertheless, Naomi still wants to co-sleep with us and is very attached to her pacifier and napkin. What else, ah?