Fun at home on a rainy day

Flowers for any occasion

Mother’s day shouldn’t be the only day of the year that mother’s are reminded how special they are!   And with a little more thought and time you can take flowers to a scrumptious teatime treat that is so simple to make that the children will love joining in!

Adding edible flowers to cookies or cakes is a simple way to add a little springtime beauty to even the most boring of shop bought cakes!  (Yes you can cheat and use a ready made cake – just drizzle on some of your own icing and sprinkle on some safe, sugared edible flowers and then surprise the marvelous mum in your life with an impromptu garden tea party! )=

Our favorite edible flowers are:   Chrysanthemum, cornflower, dandelion, marigold, daisy, geranium, lavender, nasturtium, rose, violet

Using edible flowers:

The safest way to get edible flowers is to buy them from a local organic farmer’s market or grocery store.   It is very important to make sure that the flowers have not been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals.  Clean the flowers very carefully in cold water and let them briefly air dry.   (Keep a little of the stalk on for easier handling if you are using them for decoration)

To use flowers as decoration on a cake, you can crystallize them using an egg white wash and sprinkling with fine, caster sugar.

Important!  Raw egg white risk – there is a risk of salmonella with raw egg whites, so use pasteurized egg whites from the shop to be safe if you are concerned.

To crystallize edible flowers, gently brush the flowers with a thin coat of whisked egg white (whisk the egg white to a light foam) and then carefully cover in caster sugar.  Depending on how delicate the flower is you can dip the flower into a bowl filled with sugar and gentle shake off the excess.   Then place the sugared flower onto a plate, or parchment paper to dry (about an hour)  Once they are set they will be dry and brittle.   You can then use them to decorate cakes, cupcakes or cookies!

If you want to make your own batch of beautiful cookies we loved this simple recipe for homemade shortbread cookies from Stone Gable Blog.   They look so beautiful and would make a really special treat decorated with edible pansies and violets!

And if mum prefers a lighter treat, or is staying away from sweets and sugar, why not create a beautiful garden salad that is sprinkled with colorful edible flowers?

Anyone for a game?

We love garden games in our family, and often spend hours making up some amusing ones of our own.

So we had put together a few essential items to have in your garden game kit, along with a a few ideas to get your family started.

If you can gather together some buckets, balls, beanbags, various bats, hoops, rope, chalk, dice and cones – your children can be kept busy outdoors all summer long!

Create a crazy golf course – with tubes to putt through, obstacles made from toy trucks or teddy bears to maneuver around are a few simple ideas.   Let the children draw and design their course first and then see if you can enlist the help of grandpa for some building assistance.  You don’t have to create the whole course in one day, add a new hole each week through the summer holidays and then have a big competition and barbecue with your friends and family ( you could even invite friends and family to create their own crazy golf course hole for the day! )

Buckets of all shapes and sizes can be used to throw beanbags or balls into from different distances.  Older buckets can have arches cut into them (by an adult) and flipped upside down to make tunnels for balls, or really tricky goals for a game of tennis ball football.

A washing line or rope attached at volleyball height can be a great way to use a large sponge ball for a child friendly version of the game.    You can make the game trickier for older children by switching up the rules with things like:  10 year olds can only use one hand, or teenagers have to be sitting down!  That way the younger members of the family will have a fighting chance of being the champion!

Races (with a reason) are always fun, and adding the element of having to roll a six on the dice before you can run really adds to the excitement!   Roll a six, pick up three different objects (balls, hoops, beanbags) and run over, under or around obstacles ( boxes, sheets and cones ) and then fill up a bucket at the end.  The first team with all the objects from the pile in their bucked wins!

Making up your own rules to familiar game can put a fresh twist on football, or a new take on tennis.

Perhaps using a table tennis bat and ping pong ball instead for a game of rounders, or just using your hands and a beanbag for a quick game of touched it tennis.

Give your children a few pieces of sports equipment and let them make up some new games.

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