How to Sew a Softie Lion Toy

So today is softie day! Ever thought about making a softie handmade gift for someone your soft about?  This project is a great starting point and perfect for kids over 8 years too!

DIY Lion Softie

So this cutie is relatively easy…materials you need are:

1. some old woollen clothing…I sourced mine from a local op shop
2. some old buttons…check out op shops for this too
3. fabric for the mane…wool felt is great as it has natural stiffness, leather is optional
4. pins, needles, sewing thread & scissors
5. toy fill for your lion…I use 100% corn fibre from here
6. a copy of the lion softie toy pattern template – try & print this on scrap paper…

Lion Softie toy materials

First cut out your pattern, pin onto your fabric and cut.  ENSURE you cut TWO PAIRS of ears and TWO lion bodies.

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Next is to prepare your roaring lion mane…I suggest either 2 or 3 layers for the mane…but you can go crazy!  I have chosen 2 main felt layers with scrap bits of leather as the third.  Cut PIECE ONE 35cm x 8cm, PIECE TWO 35cm x 6cm and the optional PIECE THREE 35cm x 4cm…or smaller bits if you desire…I am all about using found scraps…wool could be great here too.

lion-pic-3Next step: MARK 1cm down from the long side of piece 1 and 2 (0.5cm on piece 3)…please use a marker that is REMOVABLE (like chalk) or else you will see the line on the reverse side.  Then cut strips 1cm apart (0.5cm for piece 3)…pin all pieces together onto one side of your lion piece (as above)…then its time to sew…

How to sew a buttonFor this lion I hand stitched the mane on with running stitch…a great starter stitch for novice sewers…if you are producing a special handmade gift for a small child or baby to play with, I would really recommend you machine stitch mane on…we wouldn’t want any issues now would we?  Then simply place the button eyes where you want them and cut a nose.

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Now its time to sew those button eyes on … in case you are unsure on how to sew a button…I did a video tutorial to step you through it…I hope you find it useful.  You also need to sew your lions whiskers on and again…another video tutorial for you.  Its so easy hey 🙂

So now your lion is starting to take shape!  Its time to either get on a sewing machine, or get comfy with some hand stitching.  Take ONE PAIR of EAR pieces, right sides together, sew around top curve only and turn out to the right side…do this for the other ear also.  Next pin the ears onto the head (right side of fabric) of your lion -I suggest using the body piece that doesn’t have the mane on it-…face ears downward and stitch into place.

Put both pieces of your lion together…right sides facing and pin together…you will note I use 2 pins in one spot to mark where I need to leave open…we can’t sew him completely closed yet after all.

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Now that your lion is all together…time to turn him out and let him see the world…

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What stuffing do you like to use?  Choose your favourite and fill your new creation…ensuring you place plenty of stuffing into the hands and feet.

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Pictured above are just 3 stuffing options…
1.           this is the eco corn fibre stuffing I use for all my baby toys…no chemicals in this baby so very safe…also has a firmer/stiffer feel than other types & gives a good weight to your toys
2.           this stuffing is a curly poly stuffing which has a heavier feel…this will give your lion a very weighty, dense feel…
3.           this stuffing is the toy fill you can get at Spotlight etc…it is the lightest of all and the cheapest.  This will give your handmade gift a spongy lightweight feel.

All that is left is to carefully stitch up this lions side and your all done!  A new friend has now joined your family and is ready for play and fun!  What a beautiful handmade gift you can pass on with pride.  Please please please send me any pics of your creations to funbegins@macaroonkids.com as I would love to see what clever variations you will create.

DIY Lion Softie Toy

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE comments, so please feel free to let me know what you think of the above DIY…

10 Best Kids Crafts Blogs – going handmade

I keep mentioning a few kids crafting blogs over and over and thought maybe I should put all my favourites in one place for easy reference.

O.n.e                              I have a new blog crush!  I am completely in love with Mer Mag!  Its all well and good for kids to create their ‘crafts’ but when you can encourage their creativity into the direction of new stylish ‘decorations’ that look fantastic displayed proudly in the home…well … I’m SOLD! Merrilee is a very talented mum of 2 littlies and frankly, I am completely jealous of her effortless style…check it out and be prepared to be inspired!

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T.w.o                            Recently I discovered Bloesem on Facebook and Instagram and again I am completely in love with their style.  Irene, the founder of this blog, is Dutch and her sleek modern style, along with that of her contributors, really shines through.  I love discovering so many new great kids products through following this blog as well as being inspired to create items with a new twist!

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T.h.r.e.e                        Being a part of this modern world, means we get to ‘taste’ so many cultures from the comfort of our lounge!  While I would love to be roaming the world…this will have to do for now…El Hada De Papel is trilingual…English, Spanish and German (in case you need to brush up on these languages)…Hannah, Noah and Hilke are the writers of this blog and as their title says ‘you (will) find ideas and suggestions for crafting with kids…of different ages’…thoroughly charming…need I say more?

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F.o.u.r                         The graphic designer/mum behind this blog has a sweet ideas to keep little hands busy…Molly Moo has some ideas I want to try myself…kid free

F.i.v.e                         I have referenced this blog recently…I just love Handmade Charlotte!  Every day she posts something either crafty or informative, relevant to busy mums…and its a great ‘go to’ when you want something to keep small fingers busy for 5 minutes.  Rachel is a mother to five children! Yes 5! As well as being a designer and writer of this blog!  She truly puts the busy into busy mum!

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S.i.x                         There is a team of contributors at Classic Play who continually produce easy crafts to do with your kids…I like being reminded that the simple things entertain the children more than the complicated ones.

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S.e.v.e.n                My son ADORES Mister Maker…so here is the website to give your little one loads of entertainment.

E.i.g.h.t                 I have also referenced Made by Joel in previous blog posts…I love seeing what this father comes up with for his little ones…they are our inspiration after all.

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N.i.n.e                  LMNOP is an Australian blog all about its title…love make nurture organise play… doing the homework for you, you can find great Australian designers’ work…all child related…all in one place…below is a pic from Pip Lincolne’s (of meet me at mikes fame) book…

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T.e.n                    If you are after printables for either children or adults…Eat Drink Chic has all the links needed to creatively inspire!

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Enough yet?  Just one more link of another Australian site…for the adult crafter…Craft Hunter! Get your craft on tout suite!

How to create hand painted XO cushions – without zip

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I am loving the current graphic ‘alphabet’ trend and what better combo of letters than the loving XO!  These instructions will work for any letter (like the initial of your childs name perhaps?) or any shape (a heart or cloud … Continue reading

The Perfect Little Girls Dollhouse

When I first found out that I was the lucky recipient of a baby girl, I knew…one day…she would NEED the perfect dollhouse.  A place where her imagination can step out the lives of her creative characters.  So the research has begun!

The beautiful and classic Queen Mary’s Dollhouse is not exactly what I am after…but I am in love with so many different styles!  I love the stylish Swedish Lundby Dollhouse, where stories from another era can be created… the more traditional Victorian style Le Toy Van dollhouse…and I am also partial to the sustainable Plan Toys Eco Doll House…after all what better way to start teaching my children about an environmentally friendly home…

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I am also a huge fan of something sleek and modern like the handcrafted beauty created by Made by Joel or even this Arne Jacobson replica I found on Web Urbanist (amazing dollhouses to check out here) …but which way do I go?

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AND…then…as the universe would have it…the answer came my way.  I have recently found the marvellous blog The Domestic Darling…and she led me to the path of enlightenment …she renovated a tired, well loved dolls house into a new world for her babies and doesn’t it look amazing!

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So keep watching…by this Christmas I intend to renovate my own dollhouse, unleash my creativity and I cannot wait to start!  I can feel the beginning of an addiction coming on…

O’ Oh…I just spotted these shipping container dollhouses…

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*Note: Since writing this I have found this awesome blog all about Mini Houses!  This is the perfect place to start your own research xx

Our Toilet Training Adventures – Part 2

Back in May last year, I posted a blog about the challenges I was experiencing toilet training my son.  Now it is time for an update…

My son who is now 3.5 years, is fully trained…during the day.   He is doing great…but getting here was not easy.  We faced many issues but with time it all resolved.

To get to where we are, we used bribery…yep…bribery!  We had a slight issue called ‘number 2s only in a nappy’…sound familiar?  We were at a loss as to what to do until we got a great tip!

Together, my son and I found an old shoe box, we got the textas out, the ‘gloopy glue’, some scraps of paper and made a fun activity of decorating ‘this very special box’.  We then went around the house and found special items for the box…a wiggles dvd, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt pop up book and some M&Ms…and EVERY time my son did number 2s in the toilet, he got his special box!

At 8PM it was very tricky keeping our word…no one wants to watch Wiggles at 8PM…but I feel strongly about being a mum of my word and you know what…it worked!  No more number 2s in his nappy…what was the point, he would get no reward!

So here we are…working on night times!  Again bribery has been used…and now he is wearing jocks at night!  It has only been 2 weeks…but so far so good (please please please do not make me a lier tonight my son!)…our reward now is a little different.

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Previously rewards haven’t been large, but now he wants a BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!  To receive such an expensive reward he needs to WORK for it.  He receives $2 for each dry night…so after 3 weeks he can go and buy his own Buzz!  3 weeks is a long time to a 3 year old.  So in conjunction with the chart above and a money chart he can watch his tally grow as he inches closer and closer to his goal.

It is so important to teach children about work, about money and about saving…so this is my first attempt.  We still have 2 weeks of dry jock nights to go but as my son says  …’I CAN DO IT’ 🙂 … not sure what we will do once the 3 weeks are up…any suggestions?

I have made this gorgeous chart downloadable, so feel free to adorn your fridge too xx

Party Time…Flamingo Style

I love to throw a party…but to throw a good one is ALOT of WORK!  With Christmas and a very busy December for Macaroon Kids, lets just say I was not overly inspired to put together a January birthday bash for my little girls FIRST birthday!  This all changed when Missy Minzy posted a pic of her new flamingo wall decals on Facebook!  Inspiration washed over me!

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I have only thrown a couple of parties and my wedding, but I am getting better at gathering tips and wanted to share them with you, so with a little planning and thought, anyone can throw a special party, where your guests have no choice but to say ‘WOW’.

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FIRST STEP: THEME!

It is very difficult to put together a party if you have no common theme.  A theme helps you make quick decisions, know what products to look for and also helps to dismiss all the wonderful ideas that you will come across, but won’t actually help your party be great!  Examples of themes include:

> a color theme, I went for a mint and pink color theme;
>a motif theme, in my case a flamingo, but you may like a train party or a bug party;
>an entertainment based theme, for example a hired circus performer may inspire a circus party;
>food based theme, we went for a middle eastern theme with the food, but candy bar parties are ever so popular at the moment; or
>number based, where everything revolves are  a certain number, for example an 18th birthday or 20th anniversary.

Themes can consist of one or a combination of factors, in my case everything was based around flamingo,  color scheme and food!  Choosing a theme can be tricky and sometimes you need to research a couple of ideas to see what will work for you and your space.  Pinterest is great resource for ideas, as are magazines.  The interests of the party person is also a great place to start… but also keep your eyes open…you never know what you may find on Facebook etc.  You will discover so many great concepts that you would love to adopt, that if you do not have a theme,  you will find it difficult to choose which ideas to pursue. A theme keeps the ‘look’ of the party ‘tight’ and ensures everything goes together!

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SECOND STEP: CHOOSE YOUR SPACE

Once you have your theme, you need to know where you will hold your party.  At a venue?  In your own home?  A friends home?  Will the party be inside? or outside?  Start building a vision in your mind of how you want your party to look, write it down and continue to the next step.

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THIRD STEP: MENU

You may think it is a little early to think of the food/drink you are serving…but believe me, if you sort this out early, everything becomes easier!  You need to consider what kind of food you are comfortable serving?  This will help decide whether to have an  outside or inside party and the time of day for the party?  I did not want to be dealing with food too much on the party day, so I opted for a ‘Exotic High Tea’ menu served in the afternoon.  I would much rather decorate than cook, but your forte maybe cooking, so you may love cooking up a storm!  We are very lucky to work with Passionate Life Kitchen with our monthly newsletter updates and I had previously completed one of their cooking classes…so a Middle Eastern theme was a no brainer!  For a first birthday party you can get away with more adult tastes than, say, a 5 year old party…so enjoy it!  Passionate Life Kitchen were fantastic in giving me ideas of what I could serve.  A priority for me was to be able to pre-prep as much as possible and to enlist my mum and sister to help with the food prep!  Obviously google is a great place to start with menu ideas but do not be afraid to approach appropriate people for ideas also…you never know what they may suggest!  I would never have considered fresh date scones with rose petal jelly and cinnamon cream!

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FOURTH STEP: HELP REQUIRED

So now it is time to start bringing things together.  So far everything has been able to be done from the comfort of the couch but now it is time to enlist help.  Consider what your strengths are, what you enjoy doing and outsource everything else 🙂  I am ok with graphic design, but my party was such a success due to enlising a graphic designer Missy Minzy!  The work Irene did was just so amazing and took away so much stress!  From the invites, to the menu cards, to the party props to banners, Missy Minzy put together such an amazing package, that spending your money here will give your party a ‘professional stylist’ look!  I was quite happy to outsource the food also, but being a January party it was hard to find people available to help…so I chose to keep the menu simple, then I could enlist family to help.   I was also ever so lucky that Kate’s Cookies agreed to help me by making some amazing Flamingo cookies!  A few professional touches not only takes away so much stress, but also offers ideas you may not have thought of yourself.

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FIFTH STEP: DETAILS

Now that the location, menu and theme have been chosen you can now start fulfilling your vision.

Let start with the food table…what are you wanting it to look like?  What crockery do you have?  What do you need?  What should you hire? I made a list of what I needed and when I found appropriate things on sale I grabbed them!  I wanted all my crockery to be clean, simple and mint green.  I wanted the food to be the highlight…needless to say, all my parties from now on will be on mint green crockery!  I choose to buy what I need, rather than hire, if I know I can reuse it in my household.  I did the same for my wedding and did not regret it!  If you buy thoughtful pieces, you can reuse them again and again and again.  All parties need a focal point and the focal point also needs to have its own internal focal point.  In this case the food table is the focal point and the central focal point are the flowers (can also be the cake) …whatever your central focal point, have it raised and colorful enough to be noticed and not blend into the background.  Other considerations you need to factor in are the table cloth? a banner? the food layout? cake stands? the heights? a backdrop?

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I knew I needed a back drop to display the birthday banner and I admit I wasn’t sure which way to go…in the end my husband created a ply board back drop for me, which I can now paint on and use as a mood board!  You may want to have something professionally printed, use a sheet back drop, wall paper, a canopy or maybe even a flower curtain…something to draw everyones attention to where the action is…in my case the food table!

Next consider the rest of the space and what you need.  I was going for a summery afternoon feel, so it was tissue paper pom poms for me!  They are so easy to make, but also cheap to buy. I purchased 20 of them, strung them all up and had them hanging overhead to give a garden cafe feel! A space can feel empty if you don’t consider the surrounds of your main focal point and pom poms are an easy, cheap solution!  Another easy solution are 90cm round balloons! I LOVE these!  I also used these at my wedding as they fill an empty space very easily! These balloons are not expensive but before you go overboard with them, there are other factors.  You will need a specialist balloon shop to fill them for you, and they are costly.  Ours were $30 each to fill, hence why I only purchased 2!  If you are considering a large number of them, you will need to get them delivered as they just wont fit into your car!  Also consider the heat.  It ended up being a very warm day for our outdoor party so our balloons popped!  Thank goodness it was after everyone arrived, but it is an expensive spectacle!  Regardless, I loved having these balloons.  We bought the clear balloons and filled them with confetti and metallic gold pieces…they looked amazing!  We also filled the space with standard sized balloons in a beautiful color palette from Polly’s Party Shop, Blaza has a beautiful selection to suit any theme with gorgeous accessories to match!

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So once you have finalised selecting what you require to fill your space appropriately, its time to think of the small details…plates, cutlery, drinking cups, napkins, props, additional details.  Ensure your theme is firmly in your mind before you choose any of these items.

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I love the drinking mason jars around at the moment and as they are not very expensive, I decided to buy these, with cute colored straws!  I also wanted some drink dispensers and decided it was best to hire these from Ryder Loves Miller.

Thank you gifts…if your throwing a childrens party dont forget to consider your thank you gift!  In our case i did not want lolly bags or a lolly buffet and instead opted for a hoola hoop with handmade cookie attached and the kids loved them!

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SIXTH STEP: MEMORIES

Now you have gone to so much trouble to produce a beautiful, happy party, you need to consider the memories!  It is painful to go to so much work and not have a photograph of it…believe me!  With this party, we hired a good quality camera, but of course I ran out of time to take photos of everything!  An even better step is to hire a photographer or have a friend in charge of photos and explain what kind of photos you are wanting!  Trust me, when the party is over, you will love creating a special photo book of the great pics of all your hard work! In my case, I did not even get a complete photo of the food table…all that work and not one photo…yes I am kicking myself now.

One more item I haven’t mentioned…your outfit!  Do not forget to dress yourself and the person in whose honor the party is being thrown…in my case I was lucky enough to create something special for my little girl…

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PARTY DAY:

So it is the day of the party, things will not go smoothly, things will go wrong but keep moving forward.  If possible, have everything ready at least 30 mins prior to the party commencing to get some great photos and ensure everything is ‘just right’.  Try and be as organised as you can be, enlist as much help as you can and do the best you can while having fun!  Its a party after all.

So there are my tips, after throwing this party I think it best to plan inside parties! Much easier to set up prior and no weather factors to deal with.  All in all the party was a huge success and lots of fun to put together…now when can I do it all over again!

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Christmas is a time…

So this is Christmas.  What have you done?  Another year over and a new one just begun…

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Can you believe we are decorating trees, listening to Christmas Carols and visiting Santa all over again?  

We have been using Santa as our ‘get out of jail’ free card for the LAST 6 MONTHS…my son says he wants something and we say ‘ask Santa’ and he says ‘ok’.  Its been pretty sweet but the pressure is starting to build.

A few months ago I blogged on my favourite Christmas Finds to give our children this year.  That blog was constructed when I was finalising our children’s gifts but now I am trying to move away from concentrating on gifts and onto teaching my 3 year old son that Christmas is not just about the presents.

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I come from a religious background, so yes the birth of Jesus is part of the story of Christmas, but I also come from an all- encompassing mindset where I believe we each should be allowed to hold our values and still be appreciated.  There are so many different beliefs in our society that believing that ONE belief is the true and correct one (too often just because that was what we were born into) is naive.  To me Christmas is about being together and unity.

Many may wonder what the philosophy is behind Macaroon Kids.  Christmas is my philosophy…I create gifts for children to be given with love, gifts that last longer than one day and longer than one year…I create the new heirloom gifts that can be passed on to future generations, all while minimising my impact on the environment of the here and now.

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Whether you believe in Jesus, God or Santa, to me Christmas is about love, forgiveness and family…it is about being together and valuing community and valuing each other.  

To me…that does involve giving presents, showing my love and appreciation to others through gift giving… and of course a delicious Christmas lunch.

So a huge Seasons Greetings to you all, whatever your culture, whatever your beliefs, whatever your background…may you enjoy this time..keep safe and keep happy xx

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Middle Eastern Carpet Ride

Passionate Life Kitchen – the name says it all. They are passionate about good food. And life.  Right up my ally!

I was super excited to go to one of their recent cooking classes – which promised to take us on a magic carpet ride through the delicious food of the middle east from Persia through Jordan and Turkey.  Wow – what a ride!  Christine has been to each of these countries and we were so lucky to not only hear her stories, but to be able to taste the gorgeous recipes.

They keep the class sizes small, so everyone gets to have a go.  Christine (our teacher) has travelled extensively and her love of the middle east came through in her stories and the food. The recipes (and spice combinations) are very authentic and  different to what I’d tried before.

[I took a quick break here while drafting this post – I felt the overwhelming urge to eat my lunch.  An hour early.]

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In the 2 1/2 hour class we made a 3 course feast – including:   Persian baba ghanoush (which is smoky eggplant dip) with za’atar flatbread

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Next was the main course – Kasbah Dijaj (Jordanian aromatic chicken stew with rice)

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Next was the dessert of mini baclava cups (Turkish layered pastry and nut delight) served with Labneh.

[Based on the amount of photos I took of the baclava cups, Im sure you can guess my favourite!].

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Then it was on to the Bedouin “whisky” (tea fragrant with sage, cardamon, cinnamon and fresh mint) – YUM!  When Christine was first introduced to this drink upon her travels, she was perplexed…why did a non-alcoholic culture want to serve her ‘whisky’?  She soon discovered that this special delight, while non-alcoholic, was definitely one to add to her recipe list!

After we each took turns to prepare the food, it was time to sit down as a group and enjoy the delicious feast we’d prepared.  (and yes, those 2 coffee cups (in pic below) on the table were BOTH mine!)

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I had such a great time doing this course (and eating the delicious food!). The relaxed atmosphere meant that we could ask questions when we needed to, and had so much fun along the way.  Christine also threw in a few extra foodie delights, but you will have to visit one of her classes to find out about those…they are our secret.  There aren’t any fancy cooking skills needed, but Christine’s knowledge that she loved sharing along the way, along with the easy to follow recipes, would be hard to beat.  My sister even replicated many of the recipes the following week for her birthday party feast!  How lucky was I!  Also, any of these dishes would be great to add to your weekly family menu.

If you want to follow what Passionate Life Kitchen get up to, ‘Like’ them on Facebook and see their daily food temptations.  The best part is they also have *Host your own cooking party or interactive dinner party* Passionate Life Kitchen are also happy to organise cooking parties and interactive dinner parties in your home or venue of your choice, with dishes tailored to your requirements. Plus, you don’t have to do the washing up! What a great idea for a birthday party, an impressive dinner party or just a great reason for friends to get together.  Contact them to discuss your requirements at info@passionatelifekitchen.com.au

If you are signed up to the Macaroon Kids’ monthly ‘Inner Circle’ Email you will know that we feature a family friendly recipe created just for us by Passionate Life Kitchen. Just to give you a sneak peek of one of their family temptations, check out this link…http://www.passionatelifekitchen.com/?p=4406.  Whose kids would not like this!

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Terrarium Style…

A little while ago I was very lucky…I actually WON something!! Go Me!!  I won a wonderful DIY Terrarium Kit from The Little Green Project!

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I was over the moon!  I knew I had to put it together without too much delay as there was live moss inside! 

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So I enlisted the help of my 3 year old to put this baby together!  As the stones were already in the base, he added the layer of Charcoal (this is required to help keep the mould away)…

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Next we needed to rehydrate the dried moss…he loved pushing it all down into the water…the waiting for 5 minutes while it was soaking was the hard part.

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Finally he was able to get his hands dirty and place this moss as a barrier layer between the charcoal and the soil.

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Then, he carefully poured in the soil…

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and he got to poke it around making little hills.

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It was now time to tear up the live moss and place it into his terrarium.

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The final layer…

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Now he could place the big rocks, the mini mushrooms and then all the little rocks into their new homes.  

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My son went a bit crazy with the little stones, I think there were more on the floor than in the jar!  

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…and voila!  The finished product!  How great does it look?

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Needless to say my son was very pleased with himself.  A great project we could do together and which he is proud to show anyone who visits.

Tomorrow (Oct 9), I will put a pic on the Macaroon Kids Facebook Page of how the Terrarium looks…a month on…go check it out xx

 

 

Village Movie Tickets Giveaway!

Our new Online Store is NOW OPEN!!  To celebrate, not only are we giving you 15% off everything, but we are also giving away 2 x Village ADULT MOVIE tickets!!

Yes, that’s right, time for the adults to get some well deserved time off, and with some great new releases, it’s a perfect time to go to the movies on us!

To enter, you must like us on Facebook (if you haven’t already).  Then all you need to do is head over to our Online Store, decide which new product is your favourite and comment below with the name of product and why it’s your favourite.  It’s that easy!

Winner will be drawn at 9am Friday 27th September and can be used at any Village Cinema for a movie of your choice.

Good luck!

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