Monday, July 29, 2013

How to make a sourdough starter

Recipe - How to make a sourdough starter

I've recently started making sourdough as my bread of choice. And I've been using my own starter, which I started from scratch! It's Winter and the weather is well and truly living up to our local Winter's reputation. So what better than soups, stews and slow cooked meals with delicious sour dough on the side! Then toast it in the morning and top it with eggs, avocado and baby spinach! Brilliant!

My first step on my way to sourdough was to figure out how to create or buy a starter. I found a few helpful sites on starting a starter. I was pleased to see many agree that it could be done with just flour and water, however, the quantities often differed, some included honey, molasses, yeast and other ingredients. I decided to give it a try with plain old flour and water.

So here's what I did:

You will need:
- a large jar or container with lid (several really - your collection will grow and grow!)
- 1 cup plain or whole meal flour (I used half/half)
- 1 cup luke warm water

What to do:
1. Measure 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour and combine well in your jar. (That's it! Almost..)
2. Leave on bench overnight with lid resting on top but not sealed
3. Put your lid on and leave for another day or two in the fridge. You can check on it in the meantime... give it a smell, a stir, a taste if you like! :) (A great sensory experience for kids too!)
4. Now you've left it for a few more days... Today you can 'feed' your starter... usually when you feed it you'd discard or use 1 cup of starter each time... because you've just begun, take out 1/2 cup of starter and put in another container with lid. You can feed both and you'll have a second starter on it's way to a friend in no time.
5. To feed: Take out your 1/2 cup of starter, discard or use to start another batch! Add one cup flour and one cup water to each batch. Stir well. Return to fridge.

Basically by this point your starter is ready to use. I found it all felt a bit experimental to begin with... I just trusted the process and hoped it would work! My first loaf was a resounding success and there have been many more since! (I'll share my recipe soon!)

I've since passed on some of my starter to several friends and family members and it's lovely to think that from that first cup of flour and water comes bread in several homes! Beautiful! :)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fostering Independent Play

Since Miss Daisy was small we have aimed to give her time each day to play alone.

When she was born, we read a great book by a local mum called Calm Baby, Confident Mum which was invaluable for us as new parents. In a chapter on play/awake time it detailed three types of 'play' babies should experience in their day. 
- play with mum
- play near mum
- play independently

This post is about independent play and how we've used that in Miss Daisy's (and now Peppa's) first years. Independent play started with time in her cot, on her play mat or with a few select toys in her first months of life. A bonus with giving your newborn baby time alone is they can experience sights and sounds around them without extra stimulation from you.

As Miss Daisy grew we transitioned this independent play to be longer time periods and encouraged her to focus on a specific task for an extended period of time.
One of her favourites was to do puzzles which we extended in various ways to peak her interest. She is still keen to do puzzles independently to this day!

As she was able to move about more we focused on her play mat as a space for her to stay and play. Leaving her for small periods of time with a variety of interesting objects/toys and at times redirecting her back to the mat to continue play. This was never a strict rule but it was nice to see her develop self control and interest as she stayed there for longer periods of time.

We have come to the age of three now and have a very creative, empathetic and imaginative little girl who loves to play doctors, cafes, mummies and babies and so many more in depth games. This can be hard when your regular playmate is under one and unaware of 'the rules' so it means mummy becomes a pivotal part of play. 

So here we are in a transitional phase once again. I'm learning how to give Miss Daisy enough interaction and attention but then also give her time to play independently and discover for herself. Some days this coincides with Li'l Peppa's nap time (bonus for me!) and other times not but it's still something I think is important for her development.

This morning she asked for 'Plato' so I got the play dough box out for her - she played independently for just over an hour. I love listening to her as she creates , singing her own little tunes and narrating what's happening as she goes. One hour folks! That's dishes done, shower had, baby to bed kinda play!! Great huh??

Some other 'boxes' we have here that keep her occupied independently include her 'cut and paste box' and her 'puzzle box'. 

The puzzle box is where I store all of our puzzles. I usually keep a few on the bookshelf in the play area but generally we get them out for specific play. This keeps them a bit 'special' and interesting as well as keeping them tidy!! Flat wooden ones are kept in large zip lock bags which I had left over from our last Busy Bag Swap to keep track of pieces!

The cut and paste box came from seeing these posts from Adventures At Home With Mum and Learn With Play At Home. 

It is filled with bits and pieces, scissors and glue so that Miss Daisy can cut and paste to her hearts content. It sits on an accessible shelf and Miss Daisy is allowed to pull it down anytime little Peppa is in bed! Again, something special just for her! And again, she can spend up to an hour creating independently! (After a few uses it gets filled with cuttings and I recycle them and start again!)

Confession: She's just spent the last 45 minutes with her cutting box creating while I write this!

What sort of things do you have to encourage your children in independent play?

Hello, I'm back!!

Well it's turned into an extended kind of break! We enjoyed two weeks of family time while hubby was off and then I've snatched a few extra days (weeks) to continue taking it easy!

It's given me time to think about the direction I wish for this blog to take and I feel as though I'm sort of pressing the rewind button. Taking Just For Daisy back to it's original, simple form and purpose.

If you're a die hard fan of Just For Daisy (haha, anyone?!) then you'd have noticed that my facebook page is no longer there. I've disabled it until further notice as I feel like it's a time thief and not necessary for the direction I want this blog to go!

If you want to make sure you keep receiving my posts you can subscribe by email over on the right there and get Just For Daisy straight to your inbox.. or you can follow me in your reader of choice! :) Otherwise just pop in when you remember! I'd love to still connect with you and I know that facebook directed plenty of people here that I now won't please keep sending me your lovely comments and messages! :) I'm also still on instagram and pinterest so feel free to jump on board there too!

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to being present at home and in this space in a new and focused way. Sharing with you the things that are happening in my life and with the loves of my life.
That is after all, Just For Daisy.

Li'l Peppa - 13mo
(Sick but happy playing dress ups!)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Some snaps and a video of our holiday fun so far!

We're nearly halfway through our holidays... but we've had the absolute best start! We had my niece's 4th birthday party on Sunday just gone... where we dressed up and had a fabulous time! My clever sister made this Barbie box for the kiddies to use for a photo booth!! Fun!

The following day we headed 500km or so west and met up with Aunty Hannah from Paint On The Ceiling and her precious family in their fabulous new home! Our girls LOVED spending the week with their cousins.

When we arrived Hannah told me she was hoping to make a cousins video like the family video she made of their first few weeks settling into their new home. After much consideration... well no, I immediately agreed that this was totally necessary and an absolutely fabulous idea!!

Here is a snippet of the fabulous week of memories our kids created! Isn't it fabulous! :) While it loads take a wander over to Paint On The Ceiling for 3 Great Reasons to Take More Family Video! You really should take more - I know we're going to!

I'm off to enjoy my final week with the family while hubby is off! Hope you're enjoying your school holidays, Summer breaks or just making the most of your everyday! xxx