B is for Bunchems Product Review

This review post brought to you by Nuffnang and Bunchems.  We received a Bunchems Mega Pack to review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

We love doing creative things in our house. While cooking is a great creative activity and one I think all children should be regularly involved in, it is not the only creative process my girls love.

Bear and Bear love to build, craft, design, draw, paint and colour.  Drawing, painting and colouring happen a lot here with the girls having easy access to paint, markers, pencils and paper from their craft trolley. Building and construction not so much.  At the moment storage is an issue so it is harder for the girls to find their construction materials when the mood strikes them.

Bunchems product review

So when I was offered the chance to review the Bunchems Mega Pack kit I was intrigued to see how Bear and Bee would react.  They have seen the advertisements on tv so I knew they would be interested when they opened the parcel. As it turns out both girls love Bunchems.  Hubby and I love them too.  Hubby happily made a few creations too (see photo below) and I love how easy they are to use and store when finished.  Bunchems are a great way to combine the girls' love of craft and construction.

Bunchems product review

Apart from the pieces in the Bunchems packs being great colours they are just the right size for this age group.  Large enough to create all sorts of cool characters but small enough to store where they are easy to access.

Bunchems product review

Bunchems product review

After investigating the Bunchems for a few minutes, Bee got straight to work making accessories for her new rainbow soft toy leopard.  The Bunchems grip the short plush well enough to stay on but don't get stuck or pull threads.

Bunchems product review

Bee went on to make a paper copy of her Bunchems collar so she could keep her design and use the pieces to make something else.

Bunchems product review

Bear thought Bee's creations were cool and set to work making her own version.

Bunchems product review
Bunchems are great for fine motor skills too.

So what can you create with Bunchems?  Pretty much anything!  The girls have tried both their own creations as well as the ideas in the guide book that comes with the kit.

Bunchems product review

I think Bee's green bat is a groovy dude.

Bunchems product review

Bear's birdy is very cute too!

Bunchems product review
Hubby's creation
 If your kids can think it, they can probably create it with Bunchems.  So too can the grownups!

C is for Cranberry Fruit Drink Product Review

Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink

Here in the three foot cooks household we have been enjoying a delicious new range of drinks from Ocean Spray.

We were recently sent some of the new Ocean Spray Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink to review.    I regularly use the dried cranberries from Ocean Spray in trail mixes and Christmas recipes we haven't tried the drinks before and I must say that they have been a resounding success.

In North Queensland where we live, as in many parts of Australia, we have been experiencing really high temperatures this summer.  Combined with our normally high humidity here in the tropics it has been a challenge to stay hydrated.

Bear and Bee are fortunate to attend a school with air conditioned classrooms and where they are encouraged to bring water bottles which can be kept in the classroom fridge for easy access.

However after drinking water all day at school both girls prefer to have something else to drink at home with afternoon snacks.  Bee's favourite drink is milk and she has raspberry cordial as a treat while Bear prefers orange juice and soft drink (which she only gets occasionally).  So you can imagine my delight when both girls declared that they love the Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit drink.

Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink
Bear enjoying her drink beside the pool.
Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink
Even though she won't drink other juices Bee loves this one.

The Ocean Spray Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink is such a great swap for high sugar drinks like cordial and soft drinks and even has less calories and sugar than Bear's preferred brand of orange juice.

And I love it too.  This year one of my goals is to consume less sugar which I have been trying to do by cutting back on coffee, tea and soft drinks.  Now I am going to be swapping some of these drinks for the Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink.  With only 10 calories per serve, the Fruit drink is healthier option and it tastes great.

Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink

For more information on Ocean Spray's Cranberry Low Sugar Fruit Drink visit their website here.

We love the Cranberry Fruit Drink so much I have plans for using it in some recipes with Bear and Bee.  Keep watch for my upcoming posts on Berry Frozen Yoghurt Pops for Breakfast and Cranberry Jelly Desserts.

** All reviews are 100% my opinion.**

C is for Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

We seem to have a lot of Christmas themed cookie cutters in our house.  How about yours?  More than any other theme our collection of trees, reindeer, stars and gingerbread people seems to grow all by itself.

So it seems a waste not to make use of this overload of festive cutters.  Here are 5 ways you and your kids can use your Christmas cookie cutters these holidays.  And they are not all cookie recipes!

Idea no. 1. For easy melted bead ornaments.  No need to carefully place the beads on the design trays before ironing to make a new ornament for the tree.  Follow these step by step instructions for Cookie Cutter Melty Bead Ornaments and make some really colourful, and sometimes interesting, designs like we did.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts
My favourite is the colourful star.  I love how it turned out.  I also like the tree.  The way the green beads curled when melted is pretty cool.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Just remember to keep these cookie cutters for ornament making from now on.  Best to be safe and not use them for food again.

Idea no. 2. For homemade wrapping paper.  Dip the thicker edge of the cutters in some paint on a tray and stamp it all over large pieces of craft or butchers paper.  Cheaper and more personal than store bought gift wrap.  For ideas on how to make your own wrapping paper The Imagination Tree has this post on Cookie Cutter Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags while over at Nurture Store you can read about their Homemade Gift Wrap with Christmas Scented Paint.

Imagination tree wrapping paperNuturestore wrapping paper

Idea no. 3. Salt dough ornaments/gift tags.  If you don't have any more room on your Christmas tree, turn salt dough ornaments into one of a kind gift tags.    Once baked and decorated you can write names and the year on the back of the ornaments and then use ribbon or string to tie them to the gifts.

An easy to follow post for making these ornaments is this one on Salt Dough Christmas Decorations from Be A Fun Mum

Be a fun mum

Red Ted Art used their Easy Salt Dough Recipe to make a gorgeous star garland.

Red Ted Art

Idea no. 4. Treats for your furry friends.  Make sure your pet dogs are in on the festive treats with these homemade dog biscuits.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Idea no. 5.  For Christmas Cookies.  Of course I had to include one regular cooking activity.  This is a great way to keep the kids busy in the lead up to the Christmas break.  Get them to help make a big batch of sugar cookies and then let them loose with the icing and sprinkles.  These would make lovely packages for neighbours or elderly relatives. We used our recipe for a basic biscuit dough but you could use your own favourite sugar cookie recipe too.

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

Christmas Cookie Cutter Crafts

For more ideas on crafts using cookie cutters have a look at our Pinterest board.

Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas from the three foot cooks!

V is for Veggie Mac and Cheese {Childhood 101 Guest Post}

If you follow our blog, you would know that I have been a regular contributor over on Childhood 101.

Here is my latest post on a reworked classic Family Dinner Idea - Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese. And the best part? It only takes one pan!

V is for Veggie Mac Cheese

Click here to read the full post.

I is for IKEA Inspiration

I is for IKEA Inspiration

I find IKEA a great source of inspiration not just for myself and organising our house but also for items for Bear and Bee to use and enjoy. We are travelling south to visit family these school holidays and hopefully I will be able to squeeze in a visit to this Swedish icon.  I would love to go regularly just to revisit some of their displays but it is a 12 hour trip so once a year is the best I can hope for.

This year I don't have a long wish list of IKEA products.  We need some more rolls of drawing paper and Bear and Bee's paint sets need replacing but I am really looking forward to just having a look around.
I is for IKEA Inspiration

IKEA is great for finding items for your budding chefs too. I have put together a list of my favourite products. Almost all of these we have and use regularly.

1. Kids cutlery sets - Bear and Bee use these every day for their meals and we have an extra set for impromptu picnics.

2. Kids plates and bowls - these also are used by Bear and Bee everyday and are great for when they want to make their own lunch or afternoon tea. No worrying about broken china.

3. Grater with container - both girls still find grating most veggies tricky. They seem to be able to handle this grater better than the upright box style and can manage to grate cheese and zucchini with it.

4. Bag sealing clips - these are fantastic for closing up bags in the pantry.  Some items like flour and sugar go in resealable containers but sometimes we have a small amount of an ingredients left after experimenting with something new.  Both Bear and Bee can open and close these clips unlike some resealable containers that can be harder to open.

5. Felt fruit and felt vegetables - these are perfect for our pretend play kitchen. Many a meal has been constructed out of these felt food items.  I like them much better than plastic versions and they are lasting very well.

6. Felt birthday cake - the felt birthday cake we have is slightly different to these cupcakes.  It has been used for numerous pretend birthday parties.

7. Ice cube trays for ice in fun shapes - these are good for cold drinks in hot weather but have lots of other uses too. If your child loves small world play the fish shape tray will make great icy fish shapes in a polar play setting.  The trays are good too for sorting seeds and dried beans when practicing those fine motor skills.

8. Placemats in cute designs help make dinner time fun and keep the mess to a minimum (just maybe!). Unfortunately I couldn't find these on the IKEA website to link to but I am sure if you get a chance to visit the store you will find some great versions.

9.  Ice block moulds - I love that these moulds come with a stand.  It makes filling them so much easier.  We have made lots of ice blocks using these moulds including fruit juice and berry and yoghurt versions.

10. Play kitchen - I would have loved this one for bear and bee but we just couldn't get it home. Not enough space in our car.

11. Step stool -  with twins both wanting to help in the kitchen I invested in a learning tower but this stool would be good if you have one child or are short on space in your kitchen.

What have you bought from IKEA that you love using with your kids?

**This is not a sponsored post I just love IKEA's range of products and their affordability.

S is for School Holidays

S is for School Holidays

In Australia our mid year school break is approaching.  While it is winter for us I know many of you are in the midst of summer school break so I thought a list of food related activities for the school holidays might come in handy right about now.

1. Learn to make something new - book into a cookery class or do a swap with a friend. They teach you and your children how to make a favourite dish and then you can return the favour.

S is for School Holidays

2. Plan and make a picnic - indoors if it is cold, outdoors if the weather is warm enough. There is something about a picnic that makes the food extra special so you don't need to go to a lot of trouble. These Iced Chocolates and Strawberry Shortcake Kebabs are good picnic treats and don't take much time to put together.  Visit our Picnic Food Pinterest board for some other ideas.

S is for School Holidays

3. Visit a working farm to see where our food comes from.  Dairy farms are great for kids but you might also have a sheep or crop farm nearby that welcomes visitors.

4. Visit a farmers market or local produce co-op. Many places will have samples for you and your children to try.

S is for School Holidays

5. Host a cookie decorating or cupcake decorating play date for your child and their friends.

6. Try out new ideas for lunchbox items.  Search our Lunchbox Ideas Pinterest board, magazines or kids cook books with your child for possible items for your kids lunch boxes.  Have them help make some things off the list and taste test them for back to school.

7. Bake something together that takes a little extra time that you don't usually have.  Try homemade bread or a rainbow layered cake.

8. Visit your local library and borrow some children's cooking books.  Read them together and choose something to make. We made Gingerbread Cookies after borrowing and reading a Maisy book from our local public library.

S is for School Holidays

9. Take inspiration from your child's favourite book and see if you can come up with a dish to make. Try our Ariel's Treasure Cakes or Cinderella's Pumpkin Doughnuts.

10. Spend the day with grandparents or another elder for your community (if you don't) have any relatives close and make a recipe from their collection.  You can discover some wonderful tried and true recipes this way and chances are your child will remember this time spent together for a long time to come.


To help you plan what to do on the holidays, I have made this activity list into a free printable.  You can read it with your child and mark the activities you want to do. Or use it as a checklist and tick each one as you do it.

Click on the image above or on this link to download the free School Holidays Activity List printable.

Have a safe and happy break.

H is for Hand Pies

H is for Hand Pies

What is a hand pie I hear you ask? Well maybe you already know.  I hadn't heard them called hand pies before.

Mini pies? Yes. Hand pies? No.

So in case you are in the dark like I was, hand pies are mini versions of regular pies. Easy to hold, very easy to eat and you get to enjoy the crispy pastry edges as well as the yummy filling.

At least that is what Bear and bee love best about hand pies.

H is for Hand Pies

We made hand pies a few weekends ago to share with family at a BBQ.  With the weather cooling down only a little and mostly at night time it is still nice enough to enjoy an outdoor barbie but now we can add the fun of a camp fire or brazier fire.  

Bear has desperately wanted to make pies this last week so these hand pies were the perfect solution for dessert.  We were able to customise the pies for each person by making small amounts of filling and then mixing and matching.  Bear was happy to work with apples and blueberries while Bee chose raspberries and strawberries.  I like to keep some frozen fruit in the freezer for use when the fresh versions are out of season so apart from the apple all the fruit we used for these pies was frozen.

For the fruit feel free to use whatever your family prefers. We peeled, cored and chopped an apple and mixed it with a teaspoon of brown sugar.  We also used frozen blueberries, and raspberries which we allowed to thaw a little.  The frozen strawberries were thawed slightly and chopped into smaller pieces.

H is for Hand Pies
Bear cutting apple for the pie filling.
H is for Hand Pies
Adding the brown sugar is optional.  A little rice malt syrup would work too.

You can use either ready made or homemade pastry.  We found both types worked well for this recipe. You might also like to try puff pastry for a flakier crust.

H is for Hand Pies

These pies are delicious served warm with custard or vanilla ice cream.  They would also be a nice addition to school (or work) lunchboxes.

If you would like to make hand pies with your children, here's what we did.

H is for Hand Pies

Fruit Hand Pies
Makes 6 approximately

2 sheets of ready made shortcrust pastry
1 quantity of homemade shortcrust pastry

1 1/2 cups fruit, all one type or a mix
1/4 cup almond meal
1 egg, lightly beaten
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on pies

1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper.

H is for Hand Pies
Waiting for the frozen strawberries to thaw.
3. Prepare the fruit for the filling.

H is for Hand Pies

4. Cut the pastry into 12cm x 8cm rectangle (or close to this to suit your pastry sheets).

H is for Hand Pies

5. Take one pastry rectangle and top it with a teaspoon of almond meal and some of the fruit. Make sure you leave a clean border around the edge of the pastry rectangle.

H is for Hand Pies

6. Place another pastry rectangle on top and press the edges together to seal.

H is for Hand Pies

7. Gently press the edges together with a fork.

8. Place the pie onto the prepared baking tray and cut 3 slices in the top of the pastry.

9. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.

H is for Hand Pies

10. Brush the top of each pie with the beaten egg.

H is for Hand Pies

11. Sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar over the pies.

H is for Hand Pies
The lighter pastry is the ready made version.

12. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

H is for Hand Pies

H is for Hand Pies